Sunday, July 30, 2017

#Wikidata - Mrs Helen M. Duncan is not the only geologist

There are many ways of updating Wikidata. Individual statements for individual items are made. They are worthwhile but on the grand scale of things they have little impact. Another approach is to seek sets of data that can be updated all at the same time.

Mrs Duncan is among others relevant to the Smithsonian Institute. The approach of adding loads of data for many people has the advantage that when the same issue like Mrs Duncan not being identified as a geologist, is fixed for many people at the same time.

To do this, I identified a category that implied the missing statement and I used PetScan to add all of the missing data in one go. Together with Mrs Duncan I made 1005 humans a geologist.

These are small numbers, they hardly register. But as it is, there are Wikidata administrators actively preventing edits because Wikipedia cannot cope with the volume of changes in its recent changes. 

There is no plan, no timetable for the underlying problem to be solved. Wikidata people are told not to make mass edits. It is however the only way to make a real difference and make Wikidata halfway usable.

There are two options:
  • improving Wikidata as fast as we can and in the best way possible - as a consequence changes at Wikidata will not all be visible in some Wikipedias
  • allow Wikidata to edit to the extend that Wikipedias can keep up with the volume of changes - as a consequence people will go away and new projects will not start
There is a prima facie case to be made for the edits to be seen in the Wikipedias. Its efficacy has not been studied and some say that the user interface sucks too much to be useful. Arguably keeping these changes is based on beliefs/assumptions and not on established facts. 

We should imho make all the edits we can make and when the Wikipedia recent changes are to be salvaged, give it the highest priority particularly at the Wikipedia end. It sucks that we can not provide all changes to them but hey that's life. 
Thanks,
      GerardM
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