Friday, July 25, 2014

#Wikidata #statistics - waiting for storage

With the Games being really popular and with the mass additions of statements using AutoList2, you would expect that it shows in the stats for Wikidata.

It does not. There is a problem. Labs ran out of storage. New hardware was ordered and with a bit of luck, the three shelves of new storage will provide ample space for the foreseeable future.. There is a truism that has it that discs will fill up in half the expected time..

Yesterday they were initialising the hard drives and next will be moving and copying the data to its new location. With a bit of luck the software that generates the statistics will find it and, we will have something to ponder again.
Thanks,
     GerardM

Thursday, July 24, 2014

#Wikipedia - the death of Eric Garner

Mr Garner died in New York. For whatever reason he was held in a choke hold by a police officer. Because of the stress or whatever, Mr Garner died of a cardiac arrest. Sadly there are many such incidents in the United States. It is not that strange given how much violence in all kind of forms is celebrated. It is not strange when many police officers think they are invulnerable to any critique.

It is a sad story, it is a news worthy story but it is not a story worthy of an encyclopedia. At best it is worthy of a footnote in an article on police behaviour in 2014. Given that there is a Wikipedia article, there is a Wikidata item. Given that Wikidata has the aspiration to include Wikinews, it may not be that bad but still.
Thanks,
     GerardM


#Wikidata - Henri-Guy Caillavet; a French MeP

At #Wikidata several people are adding information about former and present Members of the European Parliament. In the "Mix-n-Match" tool we link information from the European Parliament to Wikidata and, by inference to many Wikimedia projects.

It involves identifying people who were also an MeP. Often items can be merged when multiple articles exist for the same person or Wikidata does not know a person was a MeP.

What is surprising is that the demise of Mr Caillavet is not known on the website of the European Parliament. Linking data will make it easier for them and for us to know about such things in a more timely manner.
Thanks,
     GerardM

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

#Wikidata - let us get rid of fixed descriptions

In Wikidata, there are "descriptions" for each item. They may have been a good idea at the time.. everybody does them. But really what helps most:
When there are two Mr Gerokostopoulos to choose from, which one to choose .. or you do not know English and prefer another language.. Even more adventurous, new information is added and, the generated text gets updated automagically while the fixed texts weighs us down even more.

Really.. Why have them? What is the added value? What stops Wikidata to get rid of all that junk? The best argument is that it frees up time to add more statements!
Thanks,
      GerardM

#Wikidata - a letter from Mr #Modi

I receive a letter on behalf of Mr Modi, the prime minister of India. It is an invitation to give input to the PM for the transformation of India. The idea is to connect people and their elected representatives effectively.

I am not from India but I am pleased with this invite. My suggestion is obvious; I want the people of India and the world to know about all the members of the Lok Sabha past and present.

In all the Wikipedias and Wikidata we know about many of them. For some we know their political affiliation, for others we do not. For some we know their gender and for a few we do not. For most of the representatives we do not know if they studied and where.

Mr Modi, having this information in Wikidata makes it easy to learn about the elected representatives of India. To find them, their name as written in any language needs to be provided only once.  Mr Modi, India is relatively well served in this but it would be appreciated when more facts are available.

You will be inundated with ideas that may transform India. Having information in all the official languages of India about politicians past and present will bring them closer to the people they represent. It will be appreciated when you give our project your blessing.
Thanks,
     GerardM

#Mediawiki - the #Media viewer

The #Wikimedia Foundation has a problem with people accepting new functionality. The reasons why are often irrational and steeped in conservatism but that is another story. A blog post does not help much at that.

What may help is the assessment of bugs. In bug 68372 it has been identified that in certain browsers a name like MilutinDostanić.jpg will show up properly in the URL when seen from Commons and not from within the Mediaviewer. The Mediaviewer will show it like MilutinDostani%C4%87.jpg.

Technically, technically there is nothing wrong with that. From a user perspective it looks like shit. When a bug is closed because technically there is nothing wrong and a difference in behaviour is not considered as being of enough relevance, a user gets pissed off.

When bugs are reported and when user acceptance is important, differences between expected behaviour and actual behaviour become important because they are often what prevents acceptance of new functionality.
Thanks,
     GerardM

#Pywikibot - wants you to peek under the hood

For most #Wikimedia projects, Pywikibot has proven itself to be a trusted hard working tool. Literally millions and millions of edits were only possible because of the people operating the bot.

Before Wikidata, the interlanguage links were maintained by what was called "pywikipedia" bot. Now Wikipedia has been harvested for information with this bot to enrich Wikidata.

As time goes by, the architecture of MediaWiki has changed a lot. Consequently Pywikibot had to evolve as well. Its architecture changed as a result; it aims to use the latest API and other MediaWiki functionality.

From July 24th, 2014 and ending on Sunday, July 27th there will be a big online event to learn what more needs to be done for Pywikibot. What bugs need an urgent fix, what features are missing or incomplete. Obviously, it is a also time to look at the code and look for "bit rot".

It would be awesome when more people who care for the Wikimedia projects and know their Python get involved and ensure that Pywikibot will remain the meanest and most powerful bot platform around.
Thanks,
    GerardM

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

#Wikidata - Awards of Vienna

There is Vienna the city and, there is Vienna the state. The Wikipedia article merged them into one while they are not the same thing.

A person who was awarded the "Goldenes Verdienstzeichen des Landes Wien" died recently and as information was available in a category it was possible to include all the people who were awarded in this way.

One slight problem; there was no item for the award because all the "Verdienstzeichen des Landes Wien" are in one article. It is easy to create an item. I did. Doing the same for the state of Vienna is for another day or for someone else.
Thanks,
       GerardM

#Wikidata - for some balance; survivors of KZ #Dachau

With some regularity I referred on my blog to people known for their part in Nazi Germany. It always leaves me with a bad feeling and as a result I blogged several times about the victims.

A survivor of KZ Dachau died recently. It not only said so in the text, there was also a category indicating he was once a prisoner in Dachau.

The total number of people who were prisoner at Dachau is significantly higher in Wikidata than in any Wikipedia. This is the consequence of each Wikipedia knowing about a different subset of humans.

I am sure that when the references to Wikipedia articles for KZ Dachau are analysed many more people will be known to have been imprisoned in Dachau.
Thanks,
     GerardM

Monday, July 21, 2014

#Wikipedia & Wikidata - set theory and categories

According to many Wikipedias, Mr H. is a German. When this fact was introduced in Wikidata it was reverted; Mr H. was to be considered a national of "Nazi-Germany".

This raises an issue; when Mr H. is not a German all his victims are not German either. Arguably even the people who lived in the territory of Nazi Germany and were judged by its laws, are not necessarily Dutch, Belgian, French either.

This example is stark. However, the same issue exists in so many other contexts as well. Are the people who died before the break up of the Netherlands Dutch or Belgian? How to consider the people who lived in colonial times and lived in the colonies? What about the people who are only notable because of their actions in the USSR and now live in Russia, Armenia, Estland, Ukraine... ?

The categories of the Wikipedias are used to provide specific information for Wikidata items. For over 400 categories queries have been defined showing what Wikidata recognises as its content. All of them are in many parts; these are all about "humans" and items will only show when subsequent statements are true as well.

When "nationality" is involved, it follows that both the Wikipedia categories and consequently items in Wikidata suffer from the complexities indicated above. When for instance Spanish governors of Cuba are part of the category tree of Cuban people, it is arguably wrong. However the argument also has it in for the people who lived their whole life on the island that is Cuba..
Thanks,
      GerardM

Sunday, July 20, 2014

#Wikimania - a visa denied

Meeting Amir at a conference, a hackathon is a pleasure. Having him around is a sure way of getting all kinds of problems solved. Giving his intimate expertise of pywikibot and our projects he makes it seem easy to resolve issues. The biggest issue is often that it takes time for his bots to complete.

Amir has been to many conferences but we will have to miss him in London.. It took the British embassy several weeks and all kinds of excuses why it took so long to decide that they are afraid that he will not go back.

Really?

The success of Wikimania 2014 will not be as great because one of our best and brightest will not be among us.
Thanks,
       GerardM

Friday, July 18, 2014

#Wikidata - Joep Lange, HIV researcher

Mr Lange was on his way to a conference in Melbourne about HIV. He and several other HIV researchers died because his airplane was shot out of the air over the Ukraine.

Mr Lange was a professor at the University of Amsterdam. He was considered to be a „World’s Top AIDS Researcher“.

I am appalled that Mr Putin considers the Ukraine responsible because "it happened over Ukrainian territory".. That is a bit too simplistic and obvious an excuse.
Thanks,
     GerardM