Tuesday, January 17, 2017

#Wikimedia - What is our mission

Many Wikipedians have a problem with Wikidata. It is very much cultural. One argument is that Wikidata does not comply with their policies and therefore cannot be used. A case in point is "notability", Wikidata knows about much more and how can that all be good?

To be honest, Wikidata is immature and it needs to be a lot better. When a Wikipedia community does not want to incorporate data from Wikidata at this point, fine. Let us find what it takes to do so in the future. Let us work on approaches that are possible now and add value to everyone.

Many of the arguments that are used show a lack of awareness of Wikipedia's own history. There are no reminders to the times when it was good to be "bold". It is forgotten that content should be allowed to improve over time and, this is still true for all of the Wikimedia content.

The problem is that every Wikidata provides a service to every Wikimedia project and as a consequence there are parts of a project where Wikidata will never comply with its policies. Arguably, all the policies of all the projects including Wikidata service what the Wikimedia Foundation is about it is to provide "every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge".  When the argument is framed in this way, the question becomes a different one; it becomes how can we benefit from each other and how can we strengthen the quality of each others offerings.

Wikidata got a flying start when it replaced all the interwiki links. When all the wiki links and red links are associated with Wikidata links, it will allow for new ways to improve the consistency of Wikipedia. The problem with culture is that it is resistant to change. So when the entrenched practice is that they do not want Wikidata, let's give them the benefits of Wikidata. In a "phabricator" thingie I tried to describe it.

The proposal is for both red links and wiki links to be associated with Wikidata items. It will make it easier to use the data tools associated with Wikidata to verify, curate and improve the Wikipedia content. Obviously every link could have an associated statement. When more and more Wikipedia links are associated with statements Wikidata improves but as part of the process, these links are verified and errors will be removed.

The nice thing is that the proposal allows for it to be "opt in". The old school Wikipedians do not have to notice. It will only be for those who understand the premise of using Wikidata to improve content. In the end it will allow Wikidata and even Wikipedia to mature. It will bring another way to look at quality and it will ensure that all the content of the Wikimedia Foundation will get better integrated and be of a higher quality.

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