Thursday, October 29, 2015

#Wikipedia versus the sum of all knowledge

Today #Wikidata is celebrating. Its achievements are great. The developments over the last three years have made a difference. Expectations for the new year are good; the glass is filling and half full and the air above is buzzing with ideas.

I comment often on things Wikidata. Most often I have a point, sometimes I am wrong but that is the prize for independent thought. <grin> Blazegraph for instance IS the SPARQL software Wikidata uses. </grin> It is like templates, it is another language to learn and I am spoiled having used Magnus's wonderful toolset featuring WDQ.

As Wikidata matures, it will be a challenge for Wikipedia to adapt. Business is not as usual. It is not the WMF introducing technical novelties, it is another community that knows Wikipedia intimately well and knows where the skeletons are hidden. Wikipedia has never been about the sum of all knowledge. At most it is the knowledge that is deemed notable in one language at a time. Wikidata knows about all knowledge that seems notable in all Wikipedia languages. Wikidata is expected to indulge in "article placeholders". Guess what, they will include what is deemed not to be notable but what is notable elsewhere. Article placeholders as I understand them, will be generated texts. They will not be always that easy or obvious to create. Thankfully we still have Reasonator to fill in the gaps.

The future for Wikidata will include more of the sum of all knowledge. The notion of aiming for the sum of all knowledge gave focus to the effort that build Wikipedia. With Wikidata we already have the sum of all available knowledge in the Wikisphere. It will be surpassed as more linked data will poor into Wikidata. Information that will be new to the Wikisphere, information that Wikidata will happily share with all takers.

The future will be great particularly when Wikipedia is able to adapt.

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