Wikimedia Clinics/002

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki

This is a digest (a processed, edited summary) of the online conference call Wikimedia Clinic #002. It sacrifices fidelity to people's exact words in favor of clarity, brevity, and digestibility.

Except for the introduction, the topics are brought up by volunteers participating in the calls.

Topic 1: Introduction[edit]

quick principles[edit]

  • listen with patience and respect
  • share your experience, but remember others' contexts are very diverse, and may not match yours.
  • be of service

These calls are a Friendly Space.

Purpose of Wikimedia Clinics[edit]

  • provide a channel to ask questions and collect feedback on one's own work and context
  • help direct people to appropriate resources across the Foundation and broader Wikimedia movement

If we can't answer your questions during the call, we (WMF) are committed to finding who can, and connecting you (this may happen after the call)

Examples of things the Clinics are not the place for:

  • complaints about interpersonal behavior - there are appropriate channels for this on-wiki, and there is the Trust and Safety team.
  • content or policy disputes on specific wikis. But it is okay to seek advice on how to better present one's positions.

Topic 2: Shared, global templates repository[edit]

Amir (WMF): I have been trying to promote the idea that some templates in Wikimedia projects should be sharable. eg. Citation templates, Citation-needed templates, Infoboxes, etc. The idea is documented at Mediawiki. There is also a proposed one-page specification and a fuller version. It is an idea and not a project as of now. In 2015, this was voted No.3 in the Community wishlist survey. There is a good deal of community support for this. Feel free to discuss, support, or oppose.

Topic 3: WikiLambda/Abstract Wikipedia[edit]

Wikilambda is a proposed new project started by Denny Vrandečić, founder of Wikidata. A global repository of templates (see previous topic) may happen as a part of this project. more details.

The Wikilambda project itself: technology in which you can write code to generate standardized text for WP articles in a lot of languages. Not machine translation! This is text programmed by actual people, but following specific templates which can be translated into multiple languages.

This is not a replacement for Wikipedia. It will generate articles that are repetitive by nature (e.g. pieces of content about similar items, for example mountains, have similar ways of being described, for example using words such as "altitude" or "location"). Helpful for languages that are smaller, with few editors.

Topic 4: New main page on Northern Sámi Wikipedia[edit]

Wikimedia Norway commissioned a design firm to redesign the main page of the Northern Sami Wikipedia. From this to this.

Topic 5: Usability of Commons[edit]

Presentation of topic[edit]

Volunteer: General layout and usability of Commons is not very friendly or inviting for young users. And the mobile version is problematic: for example, categories are not displayed to mobile users.


  • Asaf (WMF): For a long time, categories were not shown in the mobile version. Some months ago display categories became an option on Commons as an "advanced feature" for logged-in users through the Settings menu on the mobile version of the site. Categories are still not shown or even hinted at for non-logged-in visitors of Commons, i.e. to the vast majority of people browsing for media files.
  • Volunteer: Sometimes when we ask people to look for images on Commons, they report there too many files or sub-categories on the topic, and it's difficult to navigate. We should consider this in order to make it inviting and useful to new users.
  • Miriam (WMF): There is a Commons app (for Android) developed by volunteers in Turkey in collaboration with Wikimedia UK. It is very friendly. Check it out. Re Commons usability and searchability, the search team at WMF is trying to improve. Prototype of the new search being developed for Commons. It is visually appealing and thanks to the structured data that is being added, the search algorithm is expected to improve. Phabricator tasks to watch: T246792 and T252685
  • volunteer: The presentation of the files looks old fashioned. Presentation on sites like Instagram is much better, while their content is often of lower quality than on Commons.
  • Asaf (WMF): A group of academics made an interesting non-Wikimedia experiment providing a visual search interface. The Commons app is aimed at contributors more than at consumers of media from Commons.
  • Miriam (WMF): In that experiment, two technologies being used: Image recognition, and image similarity. That's how it is possible to filter search and keep it relevant. These are complex technologies to develop, but they work pretty well. We are depending on the Search team and Commons team, with some work these technologies may be added to Commons.

Topic 6: Contributing to Wikimedia during the pandemic[edit]

  • Asaf (WMF): It is a time of confusion and uncertainity. In this time, everyday contribution to Wikimedia projects is gratifying and grounding for me. Invites everyone to share how COVID-19 affected your Wikimedia work.
  • Aaharoni-WMF: During the time of social distancing and lockdown, I took some pictures of the impact of COVID-19 on social life and uploaded those to Commons and inserted them in articles and that's what people see. I have seen some people share that from Spain and UK. In many languages there are COVID-19 outbreak articles; insert the relevant photos in those articles! We need to document this for people to read in future.
  • Asaf (WMF): Yes, people in the future will be able to understand the impact of the 2020 pandemic using the resources we build today. Browse the COVID-19 pandemic by country category on Commons to get an idea of the amazing documentation already collected.

Topic 7: on the Branding project[edit]

  • a volunteer asked in the chat whether the entire movement would be rebranded
  • Asaf (WMF): There is no decision to rebrand the Wikimedia movement, or anything else, as far as I know. The active conversation is indeed about possibly rebranding the Wikimedia Foundation, the Wikimedia movement, and some other entities that would opt-in to the new branding. The scope explicitly does not include the Wikimedia projects, i.e. the wikis, though it did at an early stage of the Brand project. Yesterday (i.e. June 16th) the Brand team had a dedicated session with updates. That was the best place to hear news and engage with them.
  • other volunteer: But do you know whether WMF staff are also invited to complete the survey? Or do you have another process for feedback?
  • Asaf (WMF): I believe staff is invited with all Wikimedians. I have not seen any additional invitation for staff.

Topic 8: Populating information from Wikidata[edit]

  • volunteer: I am working on putting population tables on 1600 towns & cities in 10 Wikipedia language projects, but I am facing a problem fetching historical population data from Wikidata as the information isn't sorted.
  • Asaf (WMF): I am not aware of a way to do that in plain wiki syntax. If you use the query service, you can add an "order by" clause to get data sorted by year. If you have some on-wiki Lua code that runs the query, add an "order by" to it.
  • another volunteer: We did the same in Turskish, can share tremplates

Topic 9: Meta Profile[edit]

A volunteer reported being blocked on English Wikipedia due to their IP, and not for any edits they have made.

Asaf (WMF) offered to help over e-mail. He referred the volunteer to the English Wikipedia's UTRS system, where one can request the IP block exempt status for one's account.

Topic 10: How to use information from Wikidata in other projects?[edit]

Presentation of topic[edit]

Amir (WMF): the Help page about How to use information from Wikidata on wiki pages of other projects is missing answers. For example: what is the wiki syntax to insert the label (not value of the property) of an item if I know the Q Number?


Topic 11: How to generate citations from Wikidata[edit]

Presentation of topic[edit]

volunteer: I would really like to cite on Wikipedia sources described as items in Wikidata, but it seems very hard at the moment.


  • Miriam (WMF): In some Wikipedias there is a template to cite a source by Q number. For example, Cite Q on English Wikipedia.
  • another volunteer: here is a template we used to cite references
  • volunteer: Yes. I am looking for something more general, that can be used in the Visual Editor. It could be used to create some sort of libraries.
  • Asaf (WMF): (added post-call) It sounds like the volunteer is looking for a user experience in Visual Editor of a browseable, searchable database of citeable sources. That does not exist yet, but is being actively pursued by the Wikicite project. See the WikiProject Source MetaData on Wikidata, and Wikicite's latest annual report.

Topic 12: Lexemes in Wikidata[edit]

  • volunteer: What is going on with Lexemes in Wikidata?
  • Asaf (WMF): As far as I know, active development of Lexeme is slowed, to focus on Structured Data on Commons. But the talk page suggests some progress is still being made. You can also follow this board on Phabricator for specific status of individual features and bugs.

Topic 13: Are there plans to improve Wikisource?[edit]

Presentation of topic[edit]

Volunteer: Is there any plan to improve Wikisource? Or Wikivoyage? It's very difficult to use.


  • Asaf (WMF): There is some incremental work happening as part of the Community Tech Wishlist work. Several wishes from the Wikisource community were accepted and are worked on. No wishes from Wikivoyage made it to the top of the list, but as you can see there, a couple scored fairly high, and might be pursued eventually.

    If you expect a complete redesign and modernisation of the platform for either Wikisource or Wikivoyage, I am not aware of any Foundation plan for that.

    The work on Structured Data for Commons can really revolutionize the browsing and search on Commons and modernize the user experience; likewise, progress on Lexicographical Data could potentially create a modernized interface for lexicographical knowledge in (or alongside) Wiktionary. We can envision similar transformations for Wikisource, but there are no concrete plans to the best of my knowledge.

Topic 14: Grants & Events[edit]

  • CAlmog (WMF): Due to the pandemic, we had to cancel or push back all our in person events. As some countries are lifting restrictions, we are looking to return to funding local events. While we are doing this research, we are interested in your thoughts on how to fund and support such local events. You can write me about grants requests or hosting some sort of event. We need more scenarios to review how we can fund events.
  • volunteer: What is the deadline for the next round of Project grants? The program page doesn't have the timeline for the next round yet.
  • Asaf (WMF): we will ask the program officer to update the page.

Feedback on the Wikimedia Clinic format[edit]

  • Volunteer: Please promote it in more groups. Please send us invites for future 0800 UTC sessions.
  • Another volunteer: This was great, very useful :D. I was puzzled by the name "clinic" xD. For me, it was perfect.
  • Asaf (WMF): The term was loosely inspired by the concept of a legal clinic. The idea was to make a space to bring issues and get assistance, or feedback. I now see it is also just a nice space to hang out and chat with Wikimedians. :)
  • Asaf (WMF): should we create a sign-up page for people wanting to be personally reminded/invited to clinic calls?
  • multiple volunteers: yes!