October was an eventful month for CIS-A2K with important events taking palce across our Focus Language Areas as well as a global edit-a-thon.
Marathi Wikipedia - Vishwakosh Workshop for Science writers in IUCAA, Pune
A day-long workshop was organised for science writers at Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Pune on 7 October, 2017. Eminent astrophysicist-mathematician couple Jayant and Mangala Narlikar, and renowned ecologist Madhav Gadgil were among the dignitaries present at the event.
The workshop was planned in three sessions. Presentations and discussions were conducted in first session, while second session was focused on actual editing demonstrations on Wikipedia. In the same session the new websites based on different subjects developed by Marathi Vishwakosh were presented. The process of content contribution in text, images, audio and video forms was explained in this session. The third session was to explore networking with Dyanmandals formed by Marathi Vishwakosh Nirmiti Mandal. Insisting the expertise of invited authors to contribute the articles in their own chosen fields in a well-structured format, this session will not only train the authors in content generation but also make them understand the expectations of laymen and common readers.
More details of this event can be found here.
Bhubaneswar Heritage Edit-a-thon
Bhubaneswar Heritage Edit-a-thon started in 10th October has reached 150+ articles with 24 participants from 10 different languages. This edit-a-thon is aimed to improve Bhubaneswar's digital presence – and establish Bhubaneswar as a QRpedia city.
Odia Wikisource turns 3
Odia Wikisource, the Odia language version of Wikisource, an online digital library of free content textual sources run by the Wikimedia Foundation, celebrates three years of contributing to the free knowledge movement this October. Odia Wikisource is a sister project of Odia Wikipedia, the oldest Indian language Wikipedia. The Odia Wikimedia community, a group of active contributors to Odia Wikimedia projects in India, has been working towards digitizing rare books that are no longer under copyright as well as encouraging authors and publishers to free-license their work under the Creative Commons ShareAlike License 4.0. This license allows anyone free use of the work with due attribution. The books are usually digitised into Unicode text by scanning them using Optical Character Recognition technique. This ensures their easy accessibility on the Internet so that people may easily copy, share and use these works for citations and references. If the books are damaged to a degree that they cannot be scanned, volunteers take the painstaking effort to manually type out whole books and manuscripts.
Started on 20th October 2014, The Odia language Wikisource project turned 3 years old in the month of October. The project has around 6,537 pages of which 505 pages are validated. In the month of December, the community is planning to organise a workshop cum conference to strategize and discuss future events and projects for Odia Wikisource. Over last 3 years, the community has collaborated with organisations like Srujanika, Utkal University, and many authors to bring valuable books under Creative Commons license. Find more about Odia Wikisource project here.
CIS-A2K signs MoU with Telangana Government
The Centre for Internet and Society recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Telangana Government’s IT, Electronics & Communications Department with an aim to catalyse the development of the Wikimedia movement in Telangana and improve the state of free-licensed digital content in Telugu and Urdu. The Principal Secretary for IT Department Mr. Jayesh Ranjan and renowned Telugu Wikimedian and Theatre Scholar Pranay Raj were present for the occasion. Mr. Konatham Dileep, Director (Digital Media), IT Department and CIS-A2K Telugu Community Advocate Pavan Santhosh were signatories to the memorandum.
This MoU is the result of successive meetings between the Digital Media wing and Telugu Wikipedians, CIS-A2K members and the Wikimedia Foundation. These discussions enabled all stakeholders to come up with a comprehensive plan to develop the free knowledge movement in Telugu and Urdu.
Katta Srinivas, a historian, teach and long time Telugu Wikipedian, says, “As one of the participants in earlier discussions with the government, I am happy to see progress in this respect. Especially, [the planned] photo archives of museums, photos of historical places and other events can be free-licensed as part of these initiatives. This decision can lead other government organizations to take up similar initiatives in India."
Apart from these, some of the planned activities include releasing encyclopaedic photos and media content from government archives, increasing awareness about free licenses and Wikipedia among government officials, etc.
Indian Women Bureaucrats: Wikipedia Edit-a-thon
CIS-A2K has been working with Indic Wikimedia communities in an effort to bridge the gender gap on Indic Wikimedia projects. To this end, CIS-A2K's last work plan period hired an independent research intern who undertook the development of a toolkit that details best practices which may be followed for encouraging the participation of women. In addition to this toolkit, CIS-A2K has also been conducting edit-a-thons and workshops in order to bridge the content disparity on Wikipedia wherein one finds more biographies of accomplished men than of accomplished women. CIS-A2K has collaborated with Breakthrough, a human rights organisation working to make violence and discrimination against women and girls unacceptable, in order to overcome these biases on Wikipedia. With the beginning of this program period, CIS-A2K has also been working with Feminism in India in order to continue such edit-a-thons as part of our initiative to bridge the gender gap on Wikipedia.
We are all aware of the large reach and popularity of Wikipedia. However, what most people don’t know is that, according to a study conducted in 2011, globally only 9% of the editors on Wikipedia were women. And the percentage for India is even lower, just 3%.
Wikipedia recognises the systemic gender bias that is created because of factors such as these and thus enables its diverse range of users to edit and create Wikipedia pages, with reliable and authentic sources.
Feminism in India conducts monthly Wikipedia edit-a-thons with different organisations exploring various facets of gender in India, thus increasing content on women and marginalized communities on Wikipedia as well as training women to create and edit Wikipedia pages and hence increasing the number of women editors.
For October, we collaborated with The Centre for Internet and Society and co-hosted one on Indian Women Bureaucrats at CIS’s Delhi office. The edit-a-thon was aimed at creating/editing Wikipedia pages of Indian women bureaucrats who lack representation on the platform currently.
The CIS team prepared a list of women bureaucrats a week before the edit-a-thon, while most of the names did not have a page on Wikipedia, some had pages with very basic and limited information (stub pages). We used online resources for references.
We were a group of 4 participants in total. The event began with a discussion on Wikipedia and its gender gap and on the whys and hows of Wikipedia editing for new-comers.
After that, each participant chose one or more Indian woman bureaucrat absent from Wikipedia, and started digging through the internet looking for interviews, news reports and e-books to write comprehensive Wikipedia articles on them.
By the end of the day, the participants edited a total of 8 Wikipedia pages in English.
- Anna Rajam George: Japleen
- K. Prithika Yashini: Japleen
- Ira Singhal: Tanya Kapoor
- Supriya Sahu: Tanya Kapoor
- Isha Basant Joshi: Tanisha Kapoor
- Sivakami P: Tanisha Kapoor
- Kanchan Choudhary Bhattacharya: Shinjinee
- Shakuntala Gamlin: Shinjinee
Participants’ testimonies on their first experience of editing on Wikipedia:
Shinjinee: Attending the Wikipedia Edit-a-thon was a great learning experience. I learned how to create and edit a Wikipedia page, so now I will be able to contribute towards bridging the gender gap that is there in the pages dedicated to important personalities.
Tanya: The Editathon was interesting. I did not know how to edit Wikipedia pages. It was for the first time that I was attending an Editathon organised by Feminism in India. I learned new things about Wikipedia i.e. how to use citations, and insert paragraphs and links, etc. Overall, my experience was amazing. And will surely attend such editathons in future.
Tanisha: It was the first time that I participated in a Wikipedia editathon event. I am very grateful that I got this opportunity. I never knew that anybody can edit a Wikipedia page. Also, I learnt a lot of new things. I got to know how to create Wikipedia pages, what things one should keep in mind while editing a page. The coordinator was also very helpful. It was fun working with the members of FII. Will surely attend such events in future. It was a wonderful experience.
Interview with Asaf Bartov
CIS-A2K had the pleasure of hosting Asaf Bartov, Senior Program Officer, Emerging Wikimedia Communities, Wikimedia Foundation in August-September of this year. He was here to conduct Technical Trainings across Indian language communities, focussed on Wikidata. Beginning his “Wikiyatra” in Cochin, Kerala, he met and trained several Wikimedians across the country in Mangalore, Hyderabad, Chandigarh, Bhubaneswar, Kolkata, and Pune. We had a long sit down chat with him in Bengaluru before he hit the road:
Can you tell us a little bit about the philosophy of Wikidata and the evolution of Wikidata? Is this a renewed effort on the part of the Foundation to technically equip its communities?
Wikidata is the latest major wiki project by the Wikimedia Foundation and I feel it is a little misunderstood. On the one hand, anyone who is actively working on Wikipedia or one of the other projects has to deal with Wikidata at least a little, mostly for inter-wiki links (the things that link one language to another) but that's a very limited use of Wikidata. I think a lot of Wikipedians all over the world- also in India- don’t really understand why Wikidata exists, why has it come to complicate our lives- is it only for programmers, etc. I’d like to offer some very brief description of why it exists and what it is good for.
Wikidata was created out of multiple angles of usefulness and there's all kinds of uses and all kinds of reasons to have Wikidata but I'm going to focus on two that are easy to understand and relevant for every Wikipedian or every other Wikimedia project contributors' lives. First of those is that we have a lot of data on our projects. In Wikipedia, for example, we have a lot of information. If I want to know what the capital of India is, that information is very easy to find on Wikipedia. But what if I want to know how many countries export oranges? That’s a reasonable question. That’s not a bizarre question. What are the countries? Is that information available on our free knowledge projects? Yes, it is. It is probably mentioned in the Wikipedia articles about those countries, among their exports. So you would go to the article about a country like Spain, and under the section “Economy”, may be subsection “Exports”, it will probably mention that Spain is a major exporter of oranges. And likewise, in the article about Greece, it will also probably mention that it exports oranges. But does that mean I have an easy way to get an answer to my question if i don’t already know that Spain and Greece are exporters of oranges?
If I just look at Wikipedia and say “who exports oranges?”, Wikipedia doesn't actually answer that question very well. And that's a relatively simple question. What if I want to know who are some painters who are also the sons of painters? Painters whose fathers were also painters, or mothers. That's a kind of funny question may be, but it's interesting and there are some painters who are(emphasis added) the sons of painters. There's no easy to way to get an answer for that from Wikipedia, even though the information is in there. So if you go to the article about Jan Brueghel, you will see that he is the son of Pieter Brueghel, who is also a painter. But if you don't already know that, how can you extract that from Wikipedia? So this sort of lateral queries that is cross-cutting questions that we want to ask of the data (that we already have somewhere on Wikipedia)- this is a need that Wikipedia itself doesn’t fill. And Wikidata does. So that’s one need that Wikidata exists to help with.
[Here is the result used for father-son painters query.]
The other need is - the data we have on Wikipedia, is very easily outdated. If I contribute on a smaller Wikipedia- like the Kannada Wikipedia, Punjabi Wikipedia- and I have an article about a city in Poland, and that article has a little info-box with statistics and facts, one of the facts about the city is its population size and may be it's mayor's name. The article on Kannada Wikipedia about this Polish city would have the population number as of when the article was created or translated from a language, which could be five or ten years ago. And may be it stays exactly that way for years, because the Kannada speaker who created that article is probably not living in Poland, probably not noticing when that city has elections and the mayor changes or when Poland has a census and now new population figures are available. The Polish government doesn't send the Kannada Wikipedian a memo. There's no email arriving. So when the data has become out of date, we don’t know about it. Polish Wikipedians are likely to notice and likely to update Polish Wikipedia but Kannada Wikipedia will probably remain with the old information, with the now incorrect information, and there's no way to really know that. Now multiply that with how many such Wikipedias we have across how many languages and you realise that we have a huge “up to dateness problem” across our Wikipedias, especially on smaller wikis. So that’s a problem. Not only that the data just generally goes out of date, not only that I don’t get an email or reminder to update the data, but even if I did get an email like that, I would have to manually fix it on Kannada Wikipedia. And then someone else would have to fix it on Portuguese Wikipedia and multiply that by a hundred active Wikipedias. So that’s a second problem that Wikidata exists to solve.
What if we could centralise that one piece of information about the population of this city or the name of the mayor? What if we could keep it in one place and then that’s just one place that needs to be up to date? All of the places that want to use this datum- this piece of information- can take that piece of information from that one place, so it's guaranteed to be up to date as long as at least one person speaking any language updated it. And all the other Wikipedias, including the small ones, with very few volunteers, could actually get fresh, up to date data. It wouldn’t magically write whole paragraphs of Kannada text but that number, that data, could be up to date.
Now it turns out that the solution to both of these problems- the problem of data and keeping it up to date and saving a lot of manual work across many wikis- and the first problem that I mentioned of what I called cross-cutting questions, it turns out that you can solve both of these problems with a freely-licensed wiki of structured and linked data and that is Wikidata. That's just the long way of saying Wikidata. It’s a wiki that gives us all the advantages of a wiki- we have accounts, we have talk pages, we have revision histories, we can revert vandalism, we have everything that you would expect in a wiki, we have watch lists, it's freely licensed of course, so that people can use the data that we collect and most importantly, it is structured and linked. The data is structured, meaning that every piece of data has a very clear identity. To make the contrast clear, Wikipedia is unstructured data. Wikipedia is text. If you read the articles about that city in Poland, you will read about its history and its politics and about its demographics and it may include some data. It will include some numbers and facts but it will also include large pieces of text.
Wikidata doesn’t include just large summaries. Wikidata has specific piece of informations and for each piece of information, there is a place. It’s like a form that has fields and values for the fields: name is this, birthdate is this, birth country is this. Each field, each piece of information has structure.
And the final element of Wikidata is that it is linked and structured data. So not only does the data have structure but it can link and refer to other pieces of data. When we say that the capital of India is Delhi, we don’t just say: capital of india, what is the value? What is the value of that value - DELHI - it’s not just a bunch of letters. We actually link to the Wikidata item about Delhi and that item has a whole list of pieces of data about Delhi - population, square kms of Delhi, etc. The fact that we describe data and then we also link to other pieces of data is what makes Wikidata so powerful. That’s what allows us to answer questions like - who are some painters whose fathers were also painters? The reason Wikidata can answer that is that it is a database of structured and linked data. So that is as short as I could make it and answer to why does Wikidata exist, what problems does it come to solve.
Given your info-box example, is there an apprehension among Wikipedians to explore Wikidata? And is that because of an inherent design structure or do you think it's a perceived complexity? What are your thoughts on this?
Yes, there is apprehension, but there is also great enthusiasm. Wikipedians are famous for having opinions and all Wikipedians have their own opinions. In most communities, among the people who understand Wikidata(which is usually a minority of the community), there would be people who are super eager to put it on info-boxes tomorrow and there will be others who say “well, we understand the general idea but we’re not sure we want in on Wikipedia. Wikidata can do its own thing on its own wiki but may be not mix it with Wikipedia.” These are attitudes we see everywhere, and to some extent, like all other tensions in the community, including the tension between inclusionists and deletionists on Wikipedia - people who want articles about most things and people who want only articles about very important, notable things. Just like every Wikipedia has inclusionists and deletionists, they have to find a modus vivendi to figure out where to draw the line. The communities will have to figure out whether and how to use Wikidata. I don't think it is a very bad sign for Wikidata that there is some resistance to it among some Wikipedians. As I said, earlier, the concerns that Wikipedia volunteers had raised about Wikidata are very reasonable concerns about how to track, how to encourage people to edit. After all, if you see a typo on a Wikipedia article today- very few people do it but- theoretically, you could click the edit button, find the typo, fix it on the spot and hit save changes and you’ve made a fix to the article. But if you find that the mayor’s name of this city is wrong and that mayor’s name came from Wikidata and nobody on Wikidata updated that mayor’s name because it’s brand new, how do you fix that? It’s not clear. If you click the edit button, you won't see the mayor’s name, you will see a piece of code that says, “bring me the value of this number from Wikidata.” So to an novice, to a causal contributor- and Wikipedia benefits a lot from casual contributors- to them, it won't be as easy to reach and fix that mayor’s name on Wikidata. Now, again, this is a debate. I won’t go into all the sides of the debate. There are also answers to this. May be we don’t want it to be so easy to change something in the central database of facts. Maybe we’re okay with paying the price that a causal contributor won't be able to fix that mayor’s name. Because, remember, that will change it in all Wikipedias that will take the value from Wikidata Maybe we’re okay with not allowing a casual contributor to fix that. They can still fix typos on Wikipedia but maybe not values on Wikidata. Some people find that a compelling argument, others don’t. I think it’s fine. Like I said, Wikidata is a young project and these debates are part of its growing pains.
Having worked on both the projects, what would you say is easier: explaining the merits of Wikidata and the philosophy of Wikidata or to explain to a layman the benefits of editing Wikipedia and getting them on board?
I think explaining the benefits of editing Wikipedia is easier. Because people know Wikipedia already, people use Wikipedia, and explaining the benefit that you’d have if you edit Wikipedia is easier. Explaining how to edit Wikipedia is not as easy. So people can readily understand if I update Wikipedia, there will be more articles or they will be more correct - that’s easy to understand. But, explaining to them how to actually do it, how neutrality works on Wikipedia, how what they remember from school is not necessarily something they can confidently put in the article (that may not be neutral), how they have to verify and provide footnotes for the things they have put on Wikipedia, how to edit something that is inside a template- that is harder than editing Wikidata. What’s hard about Wikidata is understanding the basic concept. That’s hard for people to see. If you just look at Wikidata, it doesn’t tell you alright these are the problems I’m here to solve. Wikidata doesn’t do that, it just sits there. It is hard to grasp what it is for. But if you do understand what it is for and some basic terms like item, statement, property, then it’s actually easier. It’s the “what” that is a little tricky to comprehend. Once you do, editing Wikidata is actually easier and more friendly than editing Wikipedia.
What are some essential skills one needs to possess for Wikidata editing? Do you think there are “lifehacks” that existing Wikidatans could use to engage further on Wikidata?
To edit Wikipedia, on the one hand you just need to click the edit button and then you can just some type some text. Theoretically, it’s very easy. Like I said, it’s not actually just typing text. If you’re only fixing a typo, then, yes. But if you’re trying to contribute a paragraph with sources then you suddenly need to think about how to phrase things and how not to use what Wikipedians call “weasel phrases”. For example, even using the word “obviously” is an un-encyclopaedic word to use and people are not born with that realization that if they’re writing on Wikipedia, then they should never ever use the word obviously because nothing is obvious to an encyclopaedic writer and we should not be writing that anything is obviously the case. We should just say that it is the case and provide footnotes. That’s a small thing but someone needs to teach you that, someone needs to help you refine your free expression to be neutral point of view expression and none of us is born with that ability. Even the oldest Wikipedian had to learn how to phrase neutral phrases. It’s hard, it’s different from how we usually express ourselves. Theoretically, it’s just typing text but in practice, you do need some fairly sophisticated textual skills or self expression skills, rhetorical skills, and distinctions you need to make. It takes thinking about what encyclopaedic terms means and some people have difficulty with it. They would not immediately understand why you can never write Pelé is the greatest football player who ever lived. Even if it happens to be true according to some system of assessment, that too is not an encyclopaedic thing. An encyclopaedia should not have an opinion on the greatest football player who ever lived. That’s not an encyclopaedic question. So to grasp that, is actually a little difficult. In that respect, Wikidata is again easier. Wikidata deals in facts, in a small piece of information: what is the height of this mountain, what is the date that this book was published? These are relatively simple, factual, clear-cut things. Not always, not all of them, but mostly. So editing Wikidata in that sense, requires less sophisticated textual skills. It doesn’t require rhetoric. It doesn’t require a lot of nuance in reading a paragraph and thinking, is it completely neutral? Is it actually proving what it says it is claiming? It doesn’t require those skills. It just requires attention to detail. Wikipedia also requires it, but Wikidata mostly requires attention to detail. Once you’ve grasped how Wikidata works, editing it can be easy. You can spend an infinite amount of time on Wikidata literally just translating labels and names. Of places, of towns, of characters. If you speak a different language, it has a script. You can just transcribe the names in Kannada and Cyrillic and Arabic. Even that is a lot of work that you can usefully do on Wikidata, that is almost trivial if you can read another language. In that sense, Wikidata is less demanding in terms of skills. The most important thing I want to stress is that Wikidata is not just for programmers, not just technical, does not require sophisticated understanding of computers. It has a model, requires someone to explain that model to you. Maybe one day we’ll have a good video tutorial. But for now you can learn it from someone who already knows Wikidata and once you do, you can easily work on it.
We were speaking about global communities that have taken to Wikidata. Could you reiterate your point about what they’re getting right? What encourages these communities to sustain and to continue engaging with Wikidata?
I would say the communities that have really embraced Wikidata had the advantage of already having among them a large number of people who understood the concept of structured and linked data, before Wikidata existed. Because Wikidata didn't invent structured and linked data. Linked data is a thing out there on the web. It was promoted intensively by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the web, in recent years. Some Wikipedians understood this. Those Wikipedians happened to be from Western Europe. Linked data was a hot topic in Germany, in the Netherlands, in Belgium, to some degree in France so those countries had kind of a running start even before Wikidata itself was created.
The other thing is that partnerships with cultural institutions are very popular and successful in those countries. Partnerships like that really lend themselves to proving Wikidata is useful. When you have, for example, an art collection by a museum and the museum is happy to give you their metadata, huge xml files full of all their item information, with all their professional curator metadata and you are able to match it to what Wikidata already knows about those things and the many thing that it doesn’t yet know, the many objects in the museum that aren’t covered on Wikidata, it’s easy to kind of find new uses for Wikidata and recruit other volunteers by telling them, “here come join me as we model all the paintings of Van Gogh ever- not just ones with Wikipedia articles- on Wikidata”. I’m pointing out that GLAM partnerships - galleries, libraries, museums and archives - that are generally happening a lot and successfully in Western Europe and significantly less here in India- they were also another factor that helped recruit those communities to Wikidata.
One of the key ways in which Indian Wikimedians engage with and continue to stay in touch with their communities is through a set of shared interests which keep them going. Do you think it's possible on Wikidata to create such meta communities to keep the interest sustained?
Wikidata has room for people to congregate according to shared interests just like Wikipedia and the same mechanisms that worked for Wikipedia in creating those spaces. For example, Wikipedia India on the English wikipedia. That’s not something that came with the software in the box. Wikipedia wasn't invented with the notion of WikiProject. That’s something that volunteers created one day to coordinate the activities of those of us really interested in India. So you start a page, call it WikiProject India and you start curating that page and collecting to-do lists, collecting featured articles, signing up new volunteers to recruit them into the WikiProject. It’s just the social space that was created on Wikipedia around a theme. There can be other themes. So Wikidata offers exactly the same opportunities. You can have WikiProject on Wikidata about a country, about a culture, about a more narrow topic like Brazilian football. You can use Wikidata in similar ways to create to-do lists for yourself. For example, you could have an automatically generated list of people from Kerala that are covered on some other language Wikipedia, but not on Malayalam Wikipedia. That can be a useful to-do list for the Malayalam community because presumably they like writing about people from Kerala and if there's a notable person from Kerala, who is covered on five other language Wikipedias but still doesn’t have an article on Malayalam Wikipedia, that's an interesting thing to know about and Wikidata can generate that report very easily. That's an example of how you can congregate around a shared interest on Wikidata.
In the Indian context, anything outside of regular academics is seen as skill development. We have situated Wikipedia in Education. What would the Wikidata counterpart of that be?
Wikidata can still situate itself within educational institutions. Maybe just in a different context. For example, the technology of structured and linked data is hot in the world today. We are entering or have entered the age of linked, open data. These things tend to reach the entire world over several years so in Western Europe, its already understood in museums and libraries and universities. They are all interested in inter-operating data and sharing data and people in other regions of the world and people in other regions of the world are slower to jump on that band wagon but in a year or two or five, it will happen in India as well. That means universities gradually will begin to develop an interest in structured and linked data. In the technology, Wikidata, like Wikipedia, offers a programming API. You could get computer engineering students involved in building tools for Wikidata. Or building a data entry platform. Or improving the user experience. You could go to a design school and involve them in solving or offering solutions to the usability challenge of Wikidata. These are just some examples of how Wikidata can be used in some universities and some schools with some sensitivity to their context. In addition, people in almost any department- if the professors themselves have grasped that basic concept of Wikidata- they could see value in assigning to their students the work of improving Wikidata about the topics of the course. For example, if you are teaching genetic biology, you could have your students go over the Wikidata entries for certain kinds of genes or proteins and make sure that they have good info and make sure they have labels in your Indic language. There are ways to integrate Wikidata just like there are ways to integrate Wikipedia. They are both forms of knowledge. If you are a teacher and you have some Wikipedia or Wikidata volunteers to advise you, together you can come up with all kinds of interesting potential collaborations. Again, this is new and less well understood than Wikipedia. By now, any university instructor you meet will at least have used Wikipedia one way or another; Wikidata probably not. You have to start earlier. You have to explain the concept. Once you do, Wikidata is every bit as useable in the classroom as Wikipedia.
My last question is on the difference between Wikipedia and Wikidata. On Wikipedia, you can debate and contest the claim that has been made. This is unique to Wikipedia. Do you think that this would be an issue on Wikidata? How do you think Wikidata engages with the politics of the data?
It is an issue on Wikidata. In general, much less so than on Wikipedia. Because Wikidata again deals with individual pieces, so the population of a city is a certain number and it also has an obvious source: the population census of that country. If you have access to that census then there is not much room to debate that. Someone might debate you and say you are using an outdated census, there is actually a newer sense. But even that won’t develop into a big debate. You look into it, you find out. Is there a newer census? If there is, then, great, we use that number. Argument done. There’s not a lot of those interminable debates that we can have about politics about religion, about homeopathy because it is individual facts rather than whole paragraphs of text. I can write a paragraph of text about anything that will upset a lot of people because they will say it misrepresents how it actually was, or it leaves out some important details or includes something irrelevant. There’s a dozen ways to upset people in a single paragraph. But in a single piece of data like “what is the currency of this country” or “what is the height of this mountain”, the potential to upset people is significantly less. You can certainly get into a lot of fighting if you ask, “what is the country of Kashmir in Jammu”? That's a disputed territory but the Indian government doesn't like anyone to even acknowledge that it is a disputed territory. So that’s an easy way to get into an argument. We need to figure out what does Wikidata say about this? In the field country, what should it say? One of the solutions Wikidata has for controversial places where facts are not so simple is to actually allow multiple values for a particular field. So a city or place can actually be said to be in this country according to these sources or in this country according to other sources. Wikidata can actually take a step back and represent the fact that there is a significant disagreement about the fact. We leave it at that. The consumer of Wikidata can have both of these competing contradictory facts, each with references and make up their own mind; may be they have a particular context that’s a legitimate use of that data. Wikidata itself can present you with the controversial facts in a relatively sophisticated way. You can certainly have arguments about that on Wikidata as well. Statistically, the vast majority of your work on Wikidata will go unchallenged, uncontested and so that’s actually a much smoother editing experience for newbies because they’re much less likely to be confronted with people disagreeing with them.
CIS-A2K in the news
Please find below a list of our monthly media mentions:
Look out for
Wikimedia Foundation and Google in conjunction with CIS-A2K are conducting a pilot program in order to encourage Wikipedia communities to create locally relevant and high quality content in Indian languages, with the help of infrastructural resources.
An annual online edit-a-thon aimed at enhancing understanding among Asian Wikipedia communities.
Keep me updated!