Thursday, January 07, 2016
#Wikipedia - #Search - #Wikidata
Getting oodles of money to improve search is wonderful. A lot of good work will likely be done. It is also a great moment to consider existing questions that have not been resolved. It is all about having no result and how it might be improved giving the unique opportunities of the Wikimedia projects.
The first thing to consider is a favourite story of the first chairperson of the Dutch chapter. He volunteered at a library and people complained that they could not find what they were seeking for. He tracked what people could not find and realised that there is a people problem; they cannot spell. He aggregated the numbers and included a redirect for the really problematic words. People were happy. Librarians were happy because they now had a way of divining what books to buy on what topic; they knew what people were looking for and the library could not provide.
This is also possible for a Wikimedia search. When we know what people are looking for and cannot find, we can provide information anyway. The information on Mrs Boevink has been fleshed out but it only exists on Wikidata. When it has a Wikipedia article, it may not be in your language. It can already be provided as a search result but that means that "other" projects are taken seriously.
When a subject is not found at all, it means that people have an interest. It means that an article on such a subject will actually be read. This is a metric that people would enjoy; how well read are the articles that I started. What impact do I have. It is only a thought but it will motivate people to write Wikipedia articles. This is particularly important to the small Wikipedias. When they write what people want to read, it will prove a process that positively affects the community.
So oodles of money have come in. Now lets be serious of finding Waldo.