Abstract Wikipedia/Requirements

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This is part of the Abstract Wikipedia development plan.
Continues from Abstract Wikipedia development organization.

The following strong requirements are based on the principles and practices of the Wikimedia movement:

  1. Abstract Wikipedia and Wikifunctions will be Wikimedia projects, maintained and operated by the Wikimedia Foundation. This mandates that Abstract Wikipedia and Wikifunctions will follow the founding principles and guidelines of the Wikimedia movement.
  2. The software to run Abstract Wikipedia and Wikifunctions will be developed under an Open Source license, and will depend only on software that is Open Source.
  3. The setup for Abstract Wikipedia and Wikifunctions should blend into the current Wikimedia infrastructure as easily as possible. This means that we should fit into the same deployment, maintenance, and operations infrastructure as far as possible.
  4. All content of Abstract Wikipedia and Wikifunctions will be made available under free licenses.
  5. The success of Abstract Wikipedia and Wikifunctions is measured by the creation of healthy communities and by how much knowledge is being made available in languages that previously did not have access to this knowledge.
  6. Abstract Wikipedia will follow the principles defined by many of the individual Wikipedias: in particular, neutral point of view, verifiability, notability, and no original research (further developed by Community Capacity Development and by the communities for each local wiki).
  7. Abstract Wikipedia and Wikifunctions will be fully internationalized, and available and editable in all the languages of the Wikimedia projects. Whether it is fully localized depends on the communities.
  8. The primary goal is supporting local Wikipedias, Wikidata, and other Wikimedia projects, in this order. The secondary goal is to grow our own communities. Tertiary goals are to support the rest of the world.
  9. The local Wikipedia communities must be in control of how much Abstract Wikipedia affects them. If they don’t want to be affected by it, they can entirely ignore it and nothing changes for them.

The developers of Abstract Wikipedia do not decide on the content of Abstract Wikipedia, just like the developers of MediaWiki do not decide on the content of Wikipedia. Unlike with the other Wikimedia projects, the developers will take an active stand in setting up and kick-starting the initial set of types and functions, and creating the necessary functions in Wikifunctions for Abstract Wikipedia, and helping with getting language Renderer communities started. Unlike with other projects, the development team of Abstract Wikipedia and the wiki of functions will be originally more involved with the project but aims to hand all of that over to the communities sooner rather than later.

The following requirements are used as strong guidances that we apply in the design and development of Abstract Wikipedia:

  1. Abstract Wikipedia and Wikifunctions are a socio-technical system. Instead of trying to be overly intelligent, we rely on the Wikimedia communities.
  2. The first goal of Abstract Wikipedia and Wikifunctions is to serve actual use cases in Wikipedia, not to enable some form of hypothetical perfection in knowledge representation or to represent all of human language.
  3. Abstract Wikipedia and Wikifunctions have to balance ease of use and expressiveness. The user interface should not get complicated to merely cover a few exceptional edge cases.
  4. What is an exceptional case, and what is not, will be defined by how often they appear in Wikipedia. Instead of anecdotal evidence or hypothetical examples we will analyse Wikipedia and see how frequent specific cases are.
  5. Let's be pragmatic. Deployed is better than perfect.
  6. Abstract Wikipedia and Wikifunctions will provide a lot of novel data that can support external research, development, and use cases. We want to ensure that it is easily usable.
  7. Wikifunctions will provide an API interface to call any of the functions defined in it. But there will be a limit on the computational cost that it will offer.
  8. Abstract Wikipedia and Wikifunctions will be editable by humans and by bots alike. But the people running the bots must be aware of their heightened responsibility to not overwhelm the community.


Continued in Abstract Wikipedia architecture.