Community Wishlist Survey 2019/Miscellaneous/Provide an easier way to create a wikitable from a Commons dataset

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Here's a graph created from a Commons dataset,
but where's the corresponding wikitable?

  • Problem: Tabular data can be stored on Commons by creating a page named something like Data:Page title.tab. This allows the data to be used across multiple pages, projects and languages. There are several templates that can be used to easily turn the data into a graph, but bringing the data to other sites via a wikitable is difficult. This proposal is to provide an easier way to create these wikitables and to fix a handful of bugs that severely limit the usefulness of Commons' Data namespace - these bugs also affect map data pages stored at Commons, so maps users would benefit from these fixes as well.
  • Who would benefit: A central repository for tabular data has major benefits for editors; it allows tables and graphs to be created from a single data source and enables the data powering both the table and the graph to be updated simultaneously. Additionally, it allows content to be reused across multiple projects and languages (particularly beneficial for smaller communities, which can piggyback on the creation and maintenance work of the larger communities). A central repository that easily allows the creation of tables and graphs would probably lead to more graphs being created - readers would benefit from an alternative (and sometimes more easily understandable) way to view the data. An additional benefit for readers would be the availability of more up to date data across the various languages and projects. An easy way to get the data out of the data page and into a wikitable is the key to wider adoption of the technology. (BTW, the graph software can do much more than simply displaying "traditional" graphs. The example at Template:Graph:World Historical Highlights shows a graph based on a world map; the map data comes from a .map page and the statistical data comes from a .tab page. Adding easy creation of wikitables to the mix would open up very interesting possibilities.)
  • Proposed solution: We need three things:
    • An easy way to access and display the data.
      • This would be akin to the current methods for accessing content stored on Commons - <mapframe> for map data and [[File:Image.jpg]] for images and other files. It could possibly be achieved by expanding on the transclusion method that works at Commons but nowhere else. (Typing {{Data:Page title.tab}} will display the data page as a wikitable.)
      • There should be a way to customise the display of data e.g. setting column widths; adding formatting such as highlighting rows, columns and cells; selecting which parts of the dataset to display and some way to add wikilinks.
    • A link to the dataset so that people can easily edit it.
    • Fixes for bugs that make Commons’ Data namespace limiting or difficult to use (the following issues also affect map data stored at Commons):
      • Support appropriate documentation of CC BY SA data on Commons (T200968)
      • Add a data-page-only wiki markup header to datasets (T155290)
      • Track Commons Dataset usage across wikis (what links here) (T153966)
      • Support Data namespace redirects (T153598)
    The lack of support for redirects and what links here means that moving (or splitting) pages in the data namespace is liable to break stuff, with no way to know whether this has occurred – a really unacceptable situation for a repository that is supposed to be available across projects and languages.
  • Phabricator tickets: See above.
  • Proposer: Gareth (talk) 02:02, 30 October 2018 (UTC)

Discussion[edit]

  • I had no idea one could do this. It's great. It even seems to use colourblind-functional colours by default. Adding tables seems like a good idea, but I can also think of lots of other things I'd love to have, so I've added a wishlist for new templates to the talk page, including your wish for tables. Thank you for alerting me to the existence of this. HLHJ (talk) 03:06, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Very much support this work. A good data/graphing infrastructure would be a priority for me. That should include a simple integrated service to convert CSV/TabSV files to JSON (even if post-editing the JSON would be required). --Gregor Hagedorn (talk) 12:24, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
  • I'm not sure why this was moved to the "Multimedia and Commons" section - tables aren't really multimedia and Commons simply acts as the data repository; adding/customising the tables would take place at other projects. I think placing the proposal in this section is quite misleading. Gareth (talk) 01:57, 2 November 2018 (UTC)
    • Given the above, the vague rationale for the initial move and the lack of further explanation, I've moved this back to the "Miscellaneous" section Gareth (talk) 05:35, 7 November 2018 (UTC)

Voting[edit]