Thursday, July 09, 2015

#Wikipedia - is it about articles or about information?

To be blunt, Wikipedians write articles in one language. Many are quite good at it. they think that their way is the only way. They scorn what others do when they do not do it in their image.

Wikidata is a centralised hub for information on everything that is in most Wikimedia projects, that includes all Wikipedias. It proved to be vastly superior to the old Wikipedia way of "interlanguage links" from its start.

From the start items and statements have been added about all the facts at a fantastic rate. It is obvious that Wikidata knows about more facts than all Wikipedias combined. When Wikipedia has an article, it is typically better presented, but when there is no article Wikidata may inform where Wikipedia does not.

Except that Wikipedians do not accept information from Wikidata. In many ways their argument are similar to the arguments against Wikipedia in "them olden days". Their call for sources is in many ways understandable but wrong. Take for instance the article on the Wateler Peace Prize, It exists in three languages, French, Dutch and English. It is an old and respectable peace prize and all three articles list the laureates. They are people and institutions. Slowly but surely more information is added about all the laureates linking them to the award. It does not take long for Wikidata to have superior information over all three articles.

It becomes superior because there are no redlinks and they are always linked. The information can be seen in any language, it just takes transliteration or labels to be always understood. It is information, it stands on its own and as Wikidata matures, it will become more obvious why information like this is solid.

Wikidata is not beholden to Wikipedians. They may choose not to use it in the articles they work on. But denying the value of Wikidata as a source of information for everyone puts them in a position where history will prove them wrong. The tragedy is that they deny it to the people seeking information and that is why their attitude hurts what the Wikimedia Foundation stands for,
Thanks,
      GerardM
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