Saturday, July 02, 2016

#Wikimedia - #notadog and #notmemberofthepack

It is controversial when you tell the #Wikipedia crowd that they do not look after their own. I am not a Wikipedian, I do not want to be as my experiences are not that positive. It is not that I do not care deeply about free content and the opportunities the Wikimedia Foundation offers.

My point is simple; as a community we seem to be only interested in the production and maintenance of content and not really in the quality of the reader experience / the consumption of all the good stuff that exists. I will support it with a number of examples.

Wikimania is the annual Wikimedia conference and it boasts many high grade presentations important for the understanding of the past and the history of what we do. For this reason it makes sense to do a thorough job and include all the presentations in Wikidata so that we provide the same opportunity to explore this content as we do for TED conferences and presentations. When we do, we will honour the many Wikimedians who presented in the past. This may prove controversial because of the many conflicting notions of notability.

Wikisource is "Wikimedia project, an online digital library of free content textual sources on a wiki". For readers there is one vital problem. Much of it are works in progress, some need a finishing touch others still need a lot of tender loving care. With a different approach to finished goods and, it is easy enough to know the status of sources, a clean user interface can be delivered to potential readers expanding the reach of the work that is done.

Commons is an "online repository of free-use images, sound and other media files, part of the Wikimedia Foundation". As a repository it functions really well. Large numbers of media files are deposited and used within the Wikimedia projects but my experience is that when you seek an image, it is really hard. The category system is hard to navigate, there are no labels attached to images that help finding relevant content and it is English only. Finding something among 32,289,013 files is really hard. For now I have given up on Commons.

Being critical of Wikipedia is frowned upon. A typical response is "so fix it" but when solutions are offered that improve its quality, typically a suggestion falls on deaf ears. It is easy enough to improve the functionality of red links, but this idea is probably to mundane to consider even though it has been proven to be easy to implement.

People fault me for being blunt. To some extend it is part of the culture I grew up in; to some extend it is because I have lost faith in the "community". My experience is that there is too much group think and I am definitely not a member of the pack, I prefer to make up my own mind, I articulate my opinions and arguments and care not too much when people react negatively without considering the arguments.
Thanks,
       GerardM
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