On Tue, Jan 26, 2016 at 7:33 AM Pete Forsyth <peteforsyth(a)gmail.com> wrote:
(Note: I'm creating a new thread which references
several old ones; in the
most recent, "Profile of Magnus Manske," the conversation has drifted back
to Wikidata, so that subject line is no longer applicable.)
Andreas Kolbe has argued in multiple threads that Wikidata is fundamentally
problematic, on the basis that it does not require citations. (Please
correct me if I am mistaken about this core premise.)
Every statement on Wikidata /should/ be referenced, unless the statement
itself points to a reference (e.g. VIAF, images). However, at the moment,
this is not a requirement, as Wikidata is still in a steep growth phase.
Over the last few years, many statements were added by bots, which can
process e.g. Wikipedia, but would be hard pressed to find the original
reference for a statement.
Humans, bots, and tools increaingly add references to Wikidata statements;
I wouldn't be surprised if Wikidata starts requiring references within the
next few years on all (new) statements.
I've found these
threads illuminating, and appreciate much of what has been said by all
However, that core premise is problematic. If the possibility of people
publishing uncited information were fundamentally problematic, here are
several platforms that we would have to consider ethically problematic at
* Wikipedia (which for many years had very loose standards around
* Wikipediocracy (of which Andreas is a founding member) and all Internet
* All blogs
* The Internet itself
* The printing press
Every one of the platforms listed above created opportunities for people --
even anonymously -- to publish information without a citation. If we are to
fault Wikidata on this basis, it would be wrong not to apply the same
standard to other platforms.
I'm addressing this now, because I think it is becoming problematic to
paint Wikidata as a flawed project with a broad brush. Wikidata is an
experiment, and it will surely lead to flawed information in some
instances. But I think it would be a big problem to draw the conclusion
that Wikidata is problematic overall.
That said, it is becoming ever more clear that the Wikimedia Foundation has
developed big plans that involve Wikidata; and those big plans are not open
THAT, I believe, is a problem.
Well, I sure hope WMF has big plans for Wikidata! But do you know of any
such plans that don't revolve around the usual suspects, such as
importing/linking to extisting datasets, or re-using Wikidata in
third-party sites and products?
For example, a "secret" plan along the lines of "company X wants to use
Wikidata, but they don't want to announce this publicly yet" would be
perfectly fine by me. Wikidata is CC-0; technically, no one needs to even
ask permission or link back.
I simply do not see any sinister, nefarious plan the WMF /could/ have for
Wikidata, given their long established policy of staying away from editing
If you have even minimum indications of "evil" WMF plans for Wikidata,
please share them! Saying "I know nothing about their plans, therefore they
must be evil" doesn't really cut it.
Wikidata is not a problem; but it is something that could be leveraged in
problematic ways (and/or highly beneficial ways).
I feel it is very important that we start looking at these issues from that
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