On 27 November 2015 at 12:08, Andreas Kolbe <jayen466(a)gmail.com> wrote:
The Wikimedia movement has always had an important
principle: that all
content should be traceable to a "reliable source". Throughout the first
decade of this movement and beyond, Wikimedia content has never been
considered a reliable source. For example, you can't use a Wikipedia
article as a reference in another Wikipedia article.
Another important principle has been the disclaimer: pointing out to people
that the data is anonymously crowdsourced, and that there is no guarantee
of reliability or fitness for use.
Both of these principles are now being jettisoned.
Wikipedia content is considered a reliable source in Wikidata...
I agree that "reliable source" referencing and "crowdsourced content"
indeed principles of our movement. However, I disagree that Wikidata is
"jettisoning" them. In fact, quite the contrary!
The purpose of the statement "imported from --> English Wikipedia" in the
"reference" field of a Wikidata item's statement is PRECISELY to indicate
to the user that this information has not been INDEPENDENTLY verified to a
reliable source and that Wikipedia is NOT considered a reliable source.
Furthermore, it provides a PROVENANCE of that information to help stop
people from circular referencing. That is - clearly stating that the
specific fact in Wikidata has come from Wikipedia helps to avoid the
structured-data equivalent of "citogenisis": https://xkcd.com/978/
a person can provide a reliable reference for that same fact, they are
encouraged to add an actual reference. Note, the wikidata statement used
for facts coming in from Wikipedia use the property "imported from". This
is deliberately different from the property "reference URL" which is what
you would use when adding an actual reference to a third-party reliable
Furthermore, the fact that many statements in Wikidata are not given a
reference (yet) is not necessarily a "problem". For example - this
is a Wikidata item for a scientific
publication with 2891 co-authors!! This is an extreme example, but it
demonstrates my point... None of those 2891 statements has a specific
reference listed for it, because all of them are self-evidently referenced
to the scientific publication itself. The same is true of the other
properties applied to this item (volume, publication date, title, page
number...). All of these could be "referenced" to the very first property
in the Wikidata item - the DOI of the scientific article:
item is not "less reliable" because it doesn't have the same footnote
repeated almost three thousand times, but if you merely look at statistics
of "unreferenced wikidata statements" it would APPEAR that it is very
So, I think we need a more nuanced view of what "proper referencing" means
in the context of Wikidata.
Peace, love & metadata