Talk:Abstract Wikipedia

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Naming the wiki of functions[edit]

We've started the next steps of the process for selecting the name for the "wiki of functions" (currently known as Wikilambda), at Abstract Wikipedia/Wiki of functions naming contest. We have more than 130 proposals already in, which is far more than we expected. Thank you for that!

On the talk page some of you have raised the issue that this doesn’t allow for an effective voting, because most voters will not go through 130+ proposals. We've adjusted the process based on the discussion. We're trying an early voting stage, to hopefully help future voters by emphasizing the best candidates.

If you'd like to help highlight the best options, please start (manually) adding your Support votes to the specific proposals, within the "Voting" sub-sections, using: * {{support}} ~~~~

Next week we'll split the list into 2, emphasizing the top ~20+ or so, and continue wider announcements for participation, along with hopefully enabling the voting-button gadget for better accessibility. Cheers, Quiddity (WMF) (talk) 00:18, 23 September 2020 (UTC)

Merging the Wikipedia Kids project with this[edit]

I also proposed a Wikipedia Kids project, and somebody said that I should merge it with Abstract Wikipedia. Is this possible?Eshaan011 (talk) 16:50, 1 October 2020 (UTC)

Hi, @Eshaan011: Briefly: Not at this time. In more detail: That's an even bigger goal than our current epic goal, and whilst it would theoretically become feasible to have multiple-levels of reading-difficulty (albeit still very complicated, both technically and socially) once the primary goal is fully implemented and working successfully, it's not something we can commit to, so we cannot merge your proposal here. However, I have updated the list of related proposals at Childrens' Wikipedia to include your proposal and some other older proposals that were missing, so you may wish to read those, and potentially merge your proposal into one of the others. I hope that helps. Quiddity (WMF) (talk) 20:06, 1 October 2020 (UTC)
@Eshaan011 and Quiddity (WMF): Ultimately, I agree with Quiddity but, in the real world, not so much. We have already discussed elsewhere the possibility of different levels of content and respecting the editorial policies of different communities. Goals such as these imply that language-neutral content will be filtered or concealed by default in some contexts. Furthermore, the expressive power of different languages will not always be equally implemented, so we will need to be able to filter out (or gracefully fail to render) certain content in certain languages. Add to this the fact that language-neutral content will be evolving over a very long time, so we might expect to begin with (more) basic facts (more) simply expressed in a limited number of languages. To what extent the community will be focusing on extending the provision of less basic facts in currently supported languages rather than basic facts in more languages is an open question. It does not seem to me to be unreasonable, however, to expect that we might begin to deliver some of the suggested levelled content as we go along, rather than after we have substantially completed any part of our primary goal. (Quite why we would take the trouble to find a less simple way of expressing existing language-neutral content is unclear; perhaps it would be a result of adopting vocabulary specific to the subject area (jargon). In any event, I would expect some editorial guidelines to emerge here.)--GrounderUK (talk) 15:31, 4 November 2020 (UTC)

Why defining input or output parameters for pure "functions" ?[edit]

Some functions may also take as input *references* to other functions that will be called internally (as callbacks that may be used to return data, or for debugging, tracing... or for hinting the process that will compute the final result: imagine a "sort()" function taking a custom "comparator" function as one of its inputs).

Note as well that formally, functions are not imperative about the role assigned to input and output parameters: imagine the case of inversible inferences, like "sum(2,3,:x)" returning "{x=5}" and "sum(:x,3,5)" returning "{x=2}", like in Smalltalk, Prolog and other IA languages: no need to define multiple functions if we develop the concept of "pure" functions *without* side effects.

So what is important is the type of all input and ouput parameters together, without the need to restrict one of them as an output: binding parameters to values is to assign them the role of input. The function will return one or more solutions, or could return another function representing the set of solutions.

And to handle errors/exception, we need an additional parameter (usually defined as an input, but we can make inferences as well on errors. Errors/exceptions are just another datatype.

What will be significant is just the the type signature of all parameters (input or output, including error types) and a way to make type inference to select a suitable implementation that can reduce the set of solutions.

-- verdy_p (talk) 09:30, 29 October 2020 (UTC)

A question about the logo voting[edit]

Question Question: I have a question about the logo voting. Is the page Abstract Wikipedia/Logo about Abstract Wikipedia or wiki of functions? (Or about both?) --Atmark-chan <T/C> 06:56, 3 December 2020 (UTC)

The page is a draft, for early propositions; for now there will be no specific logo for Abstract Wikipedia itself, which will not start before one year (and that will still not be a new wiki, but an overall project across Wikimedia projects, to integrate Wikifunctions, Wikidata and other tools into existing Wikipedia projects)
The content of that page will be updated in the coming discussions about the final organization of the vote. The draft is just there to allow prople to prepare and reference their proposals (I just made the first proposal, others are welcome, the structure for putting multiple proposals and organize them is not really decided. For this reason, that page is a draft to complete (and note that there's no emergency for now for the logo, even the early wiki for Wikifunctions will be in draft for many months and it is likely to change a lot in the coming year; we have plenty of time to decide a logo; note also that the current alpha test wikis use an early custom logo, seen in the Facebook page of the project, but very poor; it was based on some older presentations of the project before its approval by the WMF).
Wikifunctions however is not just for Wikipedia and will certainly have a use on all other non-wikipedia projects or even projects outside Wikimedia, including non-wiki sites).
The proposals to submit soon will be for the new wiki built very soon for Wikifunctions only (note: the name was voted, but is still not official, it will be announced in a couple of week, we are waiting for a formal decision by the WMF after legal review; this is independant of the logo). I don't think we need to include the project name in the logo (and during the evaluation of names, it was decided that it should be easily translatable, so likely the name will be translated: translating the project name inside the logo can be done separately in an easier way if the logo does not include this name, which can be composed later if we want it, or could be displayed dynamically on the wiki, in plain HTML, without modifying its logo; a tool could also automatically precompose several variants of the logo with different rendered names, and then display the composed logo image according to the user's language, if Mediawiki supports that).
How all other projects will be coordinated is still something not decided, and only Wikifunctions has been approved as a new wiki, plus the long-term project for the Abstract Wikipedia (which will require coordination with each Wikipedia edition and other development for the integration of Wikifunctions and Wikidata.
In one year or so, it will be time to discuss about Abstract Wikipedia and the logo (if one is needed) should then focus Wikipedia.
Note also that Wikifunctions will work with a separate extension for MediaWiki, which will have its own name too (WikiLambda) but it will be generic and not necessarily tied to Wikifunctions: this extension may be later integrable to other wikis, including outside Wikimedia: it will be a generic plugin for MediaWiki. But we are too far from this goal, and it will require some interests from other external wikis (they already use several other extensions, including notably SemanticMediawiki, which may or may not also be used later along with Wikifunctions, possibly for building AbstractWikipedia as well). verdy_p (talk) 10:40, 3 December 2020 (UTC)
@Verdy p: Oh, I see. Thank you! Atmark-chan <T/C> 08:05, 4 December 2020 (UTC)
I'm not convinced that there will be no new wiki for our language-neutral Wikipedia but I agree that none is yet planned! --GrounderUK (talk) 12:25, 4 December 2020 (UTC)

Confusion on Wikipedia[edit]

Apparently, there's a big confusion throughout multiple languages of Wikipedia about the real scope of Wikifunctions and Abstract Wikipedia. I tried to fix the Wikifunctions Wikipedia article and separate the items into Abstract Wikipedia (Q96807071) and Wikifunctions (Q104587954), but the articles in other languages need to be updated to better reflect how both the projects work. Luk3 (talk) 19:19, 30 December 2020 (UTC)

@Luk3: well done, i've updated the page in italian --Sinucep (talk) 19:49, 2 January 2021 (UTC)
Having this project running under the name Abstract Wikipedia is a needless way to engage in conflict with Wikipedians. Why not rename the project here into Wikifunctions now that we have a name? ChristianKl❫ 01:25, 16 January 2021 (UTC)
@ChristianKl: This topic explains exactly that the two projects are different in nature. 𝟙𝟤𝟯𝟺𝐪𝑤𝒆𝓇𝟷𝟮𝟥𝟜𝓺𝔴𝕖𝖗𝟰 (𝗍𝗮𝘭𝙠) 12:22, 16 January 2021 (UTC)

Inter-language links[edit]

Greetings. The existence of two separate wikidata items, Wikifunctions (Q104587954) and Abstract Wikipedia (Q96807071), has broken the inter-language links. E.g., en:Wikifunctions lists four languages (English, Català, Italiano, Vèneto) while pt:Abstract Wikipedia lists nine languages (excluding English). Any ideas how to fix this? Maybe split the redirect en:Abstract Wikipedia into a new article? Fgnievinski (talk) 21:44, 25 February 2021 (UTC)

Logo for Wikifunctions wiki[edit]

Wikifunctions needs a logo. Please help us to discuss the overall goals of the logo, to propose logo design ideas, and to give feedback on other designs. More info on the sub-page, plus details and ideas on the talkpage. Thank you! Quiddity (WMF) (talk) 23:01, 14 January 2021 (UTC)

  • The logo should be inviting to a broad public of users. It shouldn't produce a "this project is not for me" reaction in users who don't see themselves as technical.
Maybe a cute mascot could provide for a good logo. ChristianKl❫ 00:46, 16 January 2021 (UTC)

There's no consensus in Wikidata that Abstract Wikipedia is an extension of it[edit]

@DVrandecic (WMF) and Verdy p: The project description currently says: Abstract Wikipedia is an extension of Wikidata. As far as I'm concerned what's an exntension of Wikidata and what isn't is up to the Wikidata community. I thus removed the sentence. It was reverted. Do we need an explicit RfC on Wikidata to condem Abstract Wikipedia for overstepping boundaries to get that removed? ChristianKl❫ 13:00, 16 January 2021 (UTC)

  • @ChristianKl: Your edit was reverted because you seem to have used a weeks-old version of the page for your edit, and thus have yourself reverted all the recent edits for no reason at all. 𝟙𝟤𝟯𝟺𝐪𝑤𝒆𝓇𝟷𝟮𝟥𝟜𝓺𝔴𝕖𝖗𝟰 (𝗍𝗮𝘭𝙠) 13:07, 16 January 2021 (UTC)
    Actually this edit was based on a much older version, than just one ago, it used the old version from 16 October, 3 months ago, and the Wikifunctions name was still not voted ! Other details have changed since then, there were some new announcements, changes in the working team, changes for some links (including translated pages). What you did also dropped all edits by the WMF team made since 3 months up to yesterday. verdy_p (talk) 17:45, 16 January 2021 (UTC)

@ChristianKl: I agree. I have qualified the original statement, quoting the relevant section of the Abstract Wikipedia plan. Hope it's okay now.--GrounderUK (talk) 15:02, 16 January 2021 (UTC)

I revisited your addition: note that it will break an existing translted paragraph, so to ease the work, I separated the reference, which also included a link not working properly with translations: beware notably with anchors (avoid using section headings directly, they vary across languages!) I used the stable (untranslated) anchor and located the target of the link more precisely. Your statement was a bit too elusive, as there's no intent for now to modify Wikidata before 2022 to add contents there. It's clear we'll have new special pages, but not necessarily new content pages in Wikidata.
The "abstract content" needed for Abstract Wikipedia is also different from what will be stored initially in Wikifunctions (which will be independant of any reference to Wikidata elements but will contain the implementations of functions, needed for transforming the "abtract content" into translated content integrable to any Wikipedia (or other wikis, multilingual or not...). The first thing will be to integrate Wikifunctions (still useful for reusable modules and templates), but this is still independant of Abstract Wikipedia still not developed this year: Wikifunctions will just be one of the tools usable to create LATER the "Abstract Wikipedia" and integrate it (don't expect a integration into Wikidata and Wikipedias before the end of 2022; I think it will be in 2023 or even later, after lot of experiments in just very few wikipedias; the integration in large wikipedias is very unlikely before about 5 years, probably not before 2030 for the English Wikipedia: the first goal will be to support existing small Wikipedias, including those in Philippines languages which seem to grow large and fast, but with lot of bot-generated articles.). verdy_p (talk) 18:49, 16 January 2021 (UTC)
Thanks. I'm not sure what you found "elusive"; my statement was a direct quotation from the linked source, which asserts that Wikidata community agreement is necessary for any eventual changes to Wikidata and that some alternative will be adopted if the community does not agree. Perhaps the plan itself is elusive, but additional speculation about timescales and the nature of the alternatives seems to obscure the point; it is also absent from the referenced source (and makes additional work for translators). You make a couple of points above that I don't agree with. It is not clear to me that new special pages will be required in Wikidata but, if they are, they will require agreement from the Wikidata comunity. I also believe that early examples of functions in Wikifunctions will (and should) be dependent on "reference to Wikidata elements", in the same way that some Wikipedia infoboxes are dependent on such elements.--GrounderUK (talk) 20:39, 16 January 2021 (UTC)
There's no "speculation " about timescale in what is to translate in the article. All this is already in the development plan. I only speculate a bit at end of my reply just before your reaction here (it seems clear that about 5-10 years will pass before we see a change in English Wikipedia to integrate the Abstract Wikipedia, simply because it does not really need it: the Abstract Wikipedia is clearly not the goal of this project; on the opposite, Wikifunctions will have its way in English Wikipedia quite soon, just because it will also facilitate the exchanges with Commons, also needing a lot of the same functions). I clearly make a difference between Wikifunctions (short term with a limited goal), and Abstract Wikipedia (no clear term, but in fact long term umbrella project needing much more than just Wikifunctions). verdy_p (talk) 03:25, 17 January 2021 (UTC)
If the timescale is in the development plan, please indicate where this is. The timeline on the main page only states that Abstract Wikipedia development "proper" will start in 2022 (elsewhere, "in roughly 2022"), not that "integration" with Wikidata will be achieved (if agreed) by July 2022 (or whenever "the second year of the project" is deemed to end).--GrounderUK (talk) 11:25, 17 January 2021 (UTC)
This objection can't be serious? The Wikidata community has no mandate to decide whether another WMF project, the WMF, or even a non-WMF site, does some commentary stating a project is an extension of Wikidata. The WMF announcement, Abstract Wikipedia/July 2020 announcement, is quite clear on the 'sourcing' for this sentence. In particularly, the end of paragraph 2 and all of paragraph 3. ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 11:59, 19 January 2021 (UTC)

I am trying to understand "Abstract Wikipedia" (please help)[edit]

Dear @Quiddity (WMF): and others, after not having had much time for this project, I am now trying to catch up with the developments and understand for myself what "Abstract Wikipedia" is all about.

In my current understanding:

  • Wikipedia is an encyclopedia with articles that consist mainly of text.
  • "Abstract Wikipedia" is the name of an initiative. This initiative will have two results: first, a new wiki called "wiki functions". This new wiki will, second, help to create new "information pages" in the Wikipedia language versions. These information pages (as I call them) will constitute the so called "Abstract Wikipedia".
  • The information pages will be a better version of the "ArticlePlaceholder tool". The "ArticlePlaceholders" are not supposed to be articles, but exactly "placeholders" for articles where they do not exist. For example, Wikipedia in language X has no article about a certain German village. If you search for the village, you will get a "placeholder", which is basically a factsheet with titles/descriptions and data coming from Wikidata. (These placeholders exist currently in a small number of Wikipedias, experimentally.)
  • The information pages will be "better" than placeholders because of Wiki functions (WF). The WF are code that can transform data/information from Wikidata into something that looks not like a factsheet but more like sentences.
  • This means that in future, the reader of Wikipedia language version X will search for the German village. If the Wikipedians of that language version have not created such an article, then the reader will see the "information page" (again, as I call these pages) about that village. Or: if article and information page exist, the reader will be offered both. (A consequence: we might tend to have less data in an article that could be better presented via the information page.)

To me (and maybe others) it is confusing that "Abstract Wikipedia" is the name of the whole initiative and for one of the two results of the initiative. Also, the proposal talks about "articles" in "Abstract Wikipedia", and that sounds as if the information pages are supposed to replace the encyclopedic (text) articles. Finally, "Abstract Wikipedia" will not be a Wikipedia as we know it (encyclopedia with text articles).

So, what do you think about this summary? I am open for any correction necessary. :-)

Kind regards Ziko (talk) 10:44, 21 January 2021 (UTC)

@Ziko: Hallo. That is partially accurate, partially incomplete, and partially not-yet-decided. I would try to clarify it like this:
  • The Wikifunctions wiki has a broader goal beyond purely linguistic transformations. It will host functions that do any kind of specific calculation on any kind of data.
    • As someone who thinks in lists, I found these 2 links particularly helpful for getting a better sense of the scope of the project: The (minimal) mockup screenshot of what a potential future Main Page might look like; and the very short list of Abstract Wikipedia/Early function examples (~50 examples out of what will hopefully become 100,000+++).
    • Part of its scope will include some of what we currently use templates/modules for, on the other wikis. I.e. this will partially solve the problem we currently have, of needing 150+ separate copies of Template:Convert (and 130+ copies of Module:Convert) which aren't easy to maintain or translate. It won't solve it completely (in the short-term at least!) because the largest wikis will inevitably continue to want to use their own versions instead of a global version; but it should make things vastly easier for the smaller and mid-size wikis. It's also not a solution for the entire problem of "global templates" because Wikifunctions is not intended to host simple page-lists or box-layout-design code or many other template/module uses - but it will be able to partially solve the "calculation" part.
    • There are some obvious existing semi-comparable projects in the math realm, such as fxSolver and WolframAlpha, but nothing (that we know of) in the more linguistic and other-data realms.
    • This Wikifunctions project will be useful as a place to collaboratively (and safely) edit shared code, which can then be utilized on the other wikis, and even beyond.
    • For example, at d:Q42, we know the birth-date of the subject in the Gregorian calendar. But Wikifunctions will provide a way for users to take that date and run calculations on it, such as: What day of the week was that? What was that date in the Hebrew calendar? How old were his parents at the time? What was the world/country/city population at the time? etc. -- Users will be able to run the calculations (functions) directly within the Wikifunctions wiki, as well as be able to output the result of the calculation to some other wiki.
  • The Abstract Wikipedia component is separate, but with overlap. Many of the aspects of how it might be implemented still need a lot of discussion.
    • For a content example, you make a good comparison with ArticlePlaceholder as a simple precursor. There's also Reasonator (e.g.1 en, e.g.2 fr); However those don't exist for many languages, nor most statements (e.g.3 vi). In the backend, those short descriptions are actually coming from the AutoDesc tool. (e.g.4). That AutoDesc system currently has 27 translatable word-elements, and can only handle very simple sentences for cases where each word can be separately replaced with a translated word (and the word order tweaked per-language). The most important difference to both ArticlePlaceholder and Reasonator - but also to projects such as LsjBot or Rambot - is that we want to allow the community to take more ownership of the way and the scope of information being rendered into the individual languages.
    • The Abstract Wikipedia project (and the linguistic function parts of it within Wikifunctions), aims to be able to generate more complex content. It will partially rely upon Lexemes within Wikidata, and partially upon "functions" that convert sentence-structure-fragments into multiple languages.
    • Regarding how that content might then appear within any particular Wikipedia project, there are 3 broad options outlined at Abstract Wikipedia/Components#Extensions to local Wikipedias (which I won't attempt to summarize; please read!). But there are also options beyond those 3, such as partial-integration (and partial local-override) at a per-section level. E.g. The Wikipedia article on "Marie Curie" (which only exists in any form in 169 languages today), could have an "Abstract version" shown at a small wiki, but the local editors at that small wiki could be able to override the intro-section and/or the "Life" section, or add a custom "Further reading" section, whilst still retaining the rest of the "abstract version". This should enable readers to get the most possible information (in their language) at any given time, whilst also enabling editors to improve any part of the content at any given time.
    • Those sorts of details are yet to be discussed in great depth, partially because we need to determine what is technically possible/feasible, and partially because we need to slowly build up a broader community of participants for this sort of discussion/decision.
    • It will be unusually intricate in the sense that components on different wiki projects will be working together to create the outcome of the project. But in the same domains of things we're all already very experienced with.
    • We currently expect that the term "Abstract Wikipedia" will disappear in time, and it is really the name of the initiative. We don't expect that there will be, in the end, a component that will be called "Abstract Wikipedia". Or, put differently, the outcome of Abstract Wikipedia will be in the interplay of the different components that already exist and are being developed. But that's also up for discussion, as you can see in the discussion above.
Lastly, yes, naming things is hard. It's both hard to initially come up with perfectly descriptive and universally non-ambiguous short phrases for things, and even harder to change them once people have started using them!
I hope that helps you, and I'll emphasize that we would also welcome any help making clear (and concise!) improvements to the main documentation pages to clarify any of this for others! :-) Quiddity (WMF) (talk) 23:00, 21 January 2021 (UTC)

Dear @Quiddity (WMF):, thanks so much that you took the time for your comments! This helps a lot. I am still digesting your explanations, and might have a few follow up questions later. But this helps me to study further. For the moment, Ziko (talk) 14:49, 25 January 2021 (UTC)

Spreadsheets functions[edit]


I often use Spreadsheets and I like Wikifunctions. From my point of view Spreadsheet functions syntax is language independent. The most syntax of the functions there like IF or MID are translated into many languages and so user can edit the functions in their language. From my point of view this is a chance for Wikifunctions to get more contributions after I think that editing Spreadsheet functions is something what can be done by much more people than more complex programming taks. If I understand the function model and am able to write functions in Wikifunctions I can help to create something what helps to bring spreadsheets functions into a Wikifunction. This is something I say after I tried to convert a Spreadsheet function into a programm in R. After that works I think it can also work in other programming languages. I am not good in Programming and so I think I can only create a tool for converting a Spreadsheet function with the skills I have at the moment but not a gadget or something like that what is more integrated in Mediawiki. Please tell me what you think about that. --Hogü-456 (talk) 21:09, 1 February 2021 (UTC)

@Hogü-456: Thanks for your comment. I am also rather excited about the idea of bring spreadsheets and Wikifunctions close together. But I am not sure what you are suggesting:
  1. it should be possible for someone who has the skills to write a formula into a spreadsheet to contribute functions to Wikifunctions
  2. it should be possible for a spreadsheet user to use functions from Wikifunctions
I agree with both, but I wanted to make sure I read your comment right. --DVrandecic (WMF) (talk) 23:20, 1 February 2021 (UTC)
I suggest the first thing and the second thing is also interesting. I dont know if there is a equivalent in Spreadsheets for all the arguments in Wikifunctions. So I think it is possible for the most things but not for all. --Hogü-456 (talk) 18:53, 2 February 2021 (UTC)
I agree both are interesting. There is also a third possibility, which is having a spreadsheet implementation of a Wikifunctions function. In spreadsheets, arguments are ranges, arrays, formulas or constants, and different spreadsheet functions have different expectations of the types of argument they work with. For example, in Google Sheets, you can SUM a 2-dimensional range but you can't CONCATENATE it. In Wikifunctions, any such limitations would be a result of the argument's type. In principle, a Wikifunctions function could concatenate a 2D or 3D array, or one with as many dimensions we care to define support for. GrounderUK (talk) 20:01, 2 February 2021 (UTC)
Interesting points. We will definitely take a very close look at spreadsheets once the UX person has joined us, in order to learn from how spreadsheets does allow many people to program. I think that the mix of guidance by the data and autocomplete is extremely helpful, and we can probably do something akin to that: if we know what the function contributor is trying to get to, and know what they have available, we should have pretty good constraints on what could be done. --DVrandecic (WMF) (talk) 00:38, 4 February 2021 (UTC)