Wikimedia Café/minutes 2019 12

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19 December 2019[edit]


19 December 2019 at

  • 6pm UTC (13:00 Eastern / 18:00 UTC)
  • 11:30pm Indian Standard Time
  • 1pm New York City

Proposed agenda[edit]

  1. Introductions, including usernames and/or realnames, affiliations, interests in attending the meeting, and one thing for which you're grateful
  2. Anyone can edit and review the notes from last meeting - Wikimedia Café/minutes 2019 11; notes for this meeting taken in similar way
  3. Documentation of Wikitext
  4. The NavWiki project (Ran out of time)
  5. Your agenda item here

Planning to attend[edit]

  1. ↠Pine () 22:17, 29 November 2019 (UTC)[reply]
  2. Abhinav619 (talk) 08:49, 3 December 2019 (UTC)[reply]
  3. Rajeeb (talk!) 15:30, 07 December 2019 (UTC)[reply]
  4. Blue Rasberry (talk) 11:37, 12 December 2019 (UTC)[reply]




Introductions, including usernames and/or realnames, affiliations, interests in attending the meeting, and one thing for which you're grateful

  • Pine introduced the format of these meetings - they are to have chats about Wikipedia which result in publishing on wiki about anyone's projects or current issues
  • Lane introducing United Nations using Creative Commons license with images!
  • Kevin: I'm Kevin, software developer. I just started a side project where I extract data from the Wikipedia dumps (currently hosted at ). That led me down a rabbit hole, and here I am.
  • I'm grateful for my cat, who's been headbutting my through this whole meeting.
  • Abhinav - I am lying in bed, it is late at night in India. I contribute to Hindi Wikipedia and Hindi Wikisource. Since this is casual conversation, I want to share that many places in India are in political crisis with Internet access cut. I am grateful that I am in an area which still has access.
  • Yair rand - editor of lots of wiki projects, I am happy that Wikidata is improving in several directions
  • Geertivp - Board member of Wikimedia Belgium since 2014 - Wikipedian since 2005 For 14 years I have been running a private Wikimedia server at my office. I am early retired since this year and spending my free time with Wikimedia.
  • Rajeeb: I am in Kolkata. I do outreach projects with Wikimedia projects including medical and LGBT+. I have a club called Wiki Pathshala in my city. I am here to learn more about what you are doing in the group.

Anyone can edit and review the notes from last meeting - Wikimedia Café/minutes 2019 11; notes for this meeting taken in similar way

Documentation of Wikitext[edit]

  1. YR says:
    • We have dropped the norm of documenting changes in Wikitext. In the past 5 years or so, many updates have not come into our documentation. In template datasystems, or how to use SPARQL in Wikipedia articles,
    • The graph extension uses the Vega language to present graphs
    • The template datasystems are not well documented and are supposed to be intermediaries between Vega language and Wikitext
    • Template data is supposed to be between Wikidata and Wikipedia
    • Lua is moderately well documented, I think, but we do not have good pointers from where people might use Lua applications to where the documentation is
    • I had been considering creating a list of of needs.
  2. Pine: the Wikimedia Cascadia organization this last week made a group trip to a newly renovated natural history museum in Seattle, the Burke Museum. We met with someone who was an expert javascript developer, and we started discussing Wikidata. This person is going to the Wikimedia Summit and planned to advocate for building out documentation for Wikidata. There are things which volunteers could do but some of the development needs to be done professionally, or might not come to exist in the time needed.
    • Pine: So far as I know, both Wikimedia Foundation and Wikimedia Deutschland hire technical editors, and I expected that these people would be able to meet needs.
    • Pine: The Wikimedia Foundation is building out technical documentation in Arabic language.
    • Kevin: I have technical skills to do documentation and recognize where it is needed.
    • Kevin: I expect to advance documentation, then 1-2 core people would need to be volunteer support team to set an agenda and advise on how to produce documentation. Probably the only way to do that is with staff.
    • YR: The issue of staff versus nonstaff depends on domain. Sometimes when a new tool is available the only person who can document it is the person who built it. For things that are non-technical, the documentation has to come from the community, because the norms of using a tool are different from how to use a tool.
    • Pine: I am uncomfortable with the notion of Wikimedia Foundation staff being an entry point for onboarding new contributors because they have expressed some different values as compared to the Wikipedia community. As an example, earlier this year with the Fram case, the Wikimedia Foundation came to major public differences with the Wikimedia community on moderation policy. The WMF can also have differences in view of the NPOV policy.
    • Pine: Is documentation a different skillset from development?
    • Kevin: Yes, this is absolutely true. I work in development, and people who do development typically are unable to do documentation for external users.
    • Lane: Why is this so?
    • Kevin: There is a norm in professional settings to have other people doing documentation to supplement what developers do. People trained in documentation know normal cases, edge cases, and what sorts of users to anticipate.
    • Lane: Is documentation a career path for professionals?
    • Kevin: Yes, technical writers can specialize in this. They collaborate with developers and produce documentation in a way that developers are unable to do.
    • Lane: I had some students at my university doing social research on Wikipedia data. They started with documentation at
    • Lane: They probably spent 10-15 hours coming to learn about how to access the data that they wanted, when I wished they could have spent 2 hours getting what they wanted and understanding what it meant.
    • The Wikimedia Foundation builds documentation here.
    • Pine: Another area for documentation was with complicated sets of templates for publishing English Wikipedia's newsletter, The Signpost. For this and other projects using templates, it is hard for new users to enter this discussion.
    • Geertivp: I think we should make a distinction between technical documentationm, both about the core and the GUI, and also about end user documentation. These are two different types of documentation which should be written by two different authors. The developer is concentrated on technical details necessary for further development and maintanence. An end-user would "only" need to know how to use a functionality.
    • Geertivp: I think we need better documentation about infoboxes, on the "global templates" project, and on using the Visual Editor. One problem which I suffer from frequently, especially in Europe, while editing multiple languages: different languages use different templates, with different names, different parameters, and different rendering. There are thousands of variants and no need for that variation. It is just confusing the users, and embarrassing all of with additional and unnecessary coding work. With all of this variation we require documentation of each template, which is a waste, where if we had one template per purpose, reusable in any language, then we could document that well one time for multi-lingual usage and adaptation. A Developer is different from an end-user, so we need also two types of authors for documentation. We need a separation between technical, both core and GUI, and non-technical, end-user, documentation. Infobox templates with Wikidata LUA modules behind the Visual editor, see One single template irrespective of language or project, e.g. the Wikimedia Commons {{Wikidata Infobox}} should be available on all wikis. To be centrally stored. Same name irrespective of language, same parameters, same rendering, and central multi-lingual documentation.
    • Pine: Would Wikidata be a path for interlinking information?
    • Geertivp: Yes, but such a template does not exist right now.
    • Yair rand: There are some other challenges with this (?)
    • Geertivp: inventory of existing templates could be listed in Wikidata?
    • Rajeeb: I do projects in English, Bengali, and Hindi, and I have seen differences in templates for all of these. I agree that we should have global template documentation and that it would be best if what we had for one language applied to some other languages.


  • Kevin: Thanks for hosting!
  • Rajeeb: When is the next meeting?
  • Pine: We have been doing meetings on some Thursday at this same time.
  • Pine: If anyone has agenda items for next month then feel free to add.