A perfect Wikipedia

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Noto Emoji Oreo 1f4c4.svg This is an essay. It expresses the opinions and ideas of some Wikimedians but may not have wide support. This is not policy on Meta, but it may be a policy or guideline on other Wikimedia projects. Feel free to update this page as needed, or use the discussion page to propose major changes.

This page illustrates thought on a perfect Wikipedia software-wise, perhaps it should be called A perfect mediawiki but as the following oh so illustrates we do not live in a perfect world, the whole thing was originally written by Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason but feel free to add to and improve this page as long as it stays within the original concept of a unified Wikipedia.

First, i would like to say before this seems a bit unfair of me just writing about some utopian software without doing the slightest bit to help write it, well except for translating a bit i would like to say that these are ideas about what i would like in a perfect world, of course i think they should be implemented but don't take this as preaching.

Second, i would like to begin with saying that i think proposed ideas such as Single login and Wikimedia commons are really crappy, not the concept itself but i think they're working from the wrong end, there are more things to keep together than to separate, and therefore we should think what to separate, not to join.

I've been asking myself recently, what do i need to have different when i edit my beloved Icelandic Wikipedia and when i edit the English one, and when i fix the occational things in Danish and German the answer is: not alot.


Unipedia, which is probably a stupid name for the whole concept i just invented is that idea, to unify the whole thing under one hat, i've been thinking about this a bit over the last few months and have brainstormed a bit about this.

The current system is a resault of too large of an expansion, initially when the project launched the devs presumably just needed to create a German Wikipedia and the easiest way to do this with the current system was just to make a copy of the CVS tree, create a subdomain, a new database and just put it there.

The system however is a bit of a bitch to deal with, there is no unified watchlist, you have to create an account in and set your favorite preferences for each one, not to mention that when you actually begin editing you find that you want to use some image on the English Wikipedia, either you can just write the http url for it and enclose it in some custom html code to align it correctly, or — if you want to use thumbnailing you'll have to copy it, re-upload it, fill in copyright information, point to the original one etc. All these things are tedious and just waste time people could rather spend editing pages.

Desired features[edit]

  • Language preferences — I should be able to choose to use any language for the interface on any Wikipedia.
  • Unified Watchlist — A watchlist that would show pages i'm watching regardless of what Wikipedia they're on.
  • Unified accounts — i should be able to go to any language using my current account, retaining my curent preferences, however i should be able to use different language interfaces for different languages.
  • Unified recent changes/New pages — It should be an option to merge two RC pages, such as Icelandic and Farose into one, default would be to display it only for the current language however.
  • Metadata, there should be, perhaps a namespace called Metadata: here people could register for example that Epli means the same in Iceland as Apple in English and that Æble also is an apple, with this information interwiki links would be generated for all articles that have been defined to be on the dame topic. It would not just stop there however, the magic Image: namespace could perhaps even have one image, and a description of it in many languages.


Languages would in this concept be a top level namespace, each namespace would perhaps even have a separate database for some of its namespaces, but the same for various other things.

Hence, when someone would want to read the English article about apple he or she would go to:


And someone from Iceland would go to:


And someone from Japan would go to:


Now, people wouldn't always have to type that, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple would be seamlessy translated to http://wikipedia.org/wiki/en:Apple and therefore the current link system would work.