Friday, December 27, 2013

#Wikidata handwaving II

Being an academic can be a blessing and a curse. What it implies is learning. This means that an academic has mastered "much of the understanding of certain subjects. One of the biggest challenges of someone who has understanding on an academic level is, being understood by "other" people. To achieve this, a clear understanding combined with simple sentences and words is needed.

This type of language is knows as "Jip en Janneketaal" in the Netherlands. Expressing yourself in this way is as hard as expressing yourself in a foreign language.

The next challenge for an academic as expressed in Wiktionary, is "having no practical importance". The combination of unintelligible language and no practical relevance is an absolute killer in any conversation. This is when helpful people are so important; they point to the W3C when the Wikipedia article about OWL ass-umes too much.

The argument about upper ontologies and classes is for me academic. I understand the notions expressed in the W3C document but they are not implemented as a system in Wikidata. I understand the idea behind the database reports with "constraint violations" but there are no constraints in place and not much is done as a result of the reports.

The "Wikidata generic tree" shows how much effort has gone in building something that resembles an ontology. It has 17,612 entries! There are reports with constraints that people think are important. All this work needs to be championed.

Tools like Reasonator work better when an item is recognised as a human, male or female. There should be tools that help an editor add relevant information. The use of such tools should be obvious, it should be default and most importantly they should be up to date. When they are, everybody will use them. As a result we will get more data and we could have something like an ontology as well.

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