(A translatable version of this announcement can be found on Meta )
It is my honor to introduce Abstract Wikipedia , a new project that has
been unanimously approved by the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees.
Abstract Wikipedia proposes a new way to generate baseline encyclopedic
content in a multilingual fashion, allowing more contributors and more
readers to share more knowledge in more languages. It is an approach that
aims to make cross-lingual cooperation easier on our projects, increase the
sustainability of our movement through expanding access to participation,
improve the user experience for readers of all languages, and innovate in
free knowledge by connecting some of the strengths of our movement to
create something new.
This is our first new project in over seven years. Abstract Wikipedia was
submitted as a project proposal by Denny Vrandečić in May of 2020  after
years of preparation and research, leading to a detailed plan and lively
discussions in the Wikimedia communities. We know that the energy and the
creativity of the community often runs up against language barriers, and
information that is available in one language may not make it to other
language Wikipedias. Abstract Wikipedia intends to look and feel like a
Wikipedia, but build on the powerful, language-independent conceptual
models of Wikidata, with the goal of letting volunteers create and maintain
Wikipedia articles across our polyglot Wikimedia world.
The project will allow volunteers to assemble the fundamentals of an
article using words and entities from Wikidata. Because Wikidata uses
conceptual models that are meant to be universal across languages, it
should be possible to use and extend these building blocks of knowledge to
create models for articles that also have universal value. Using code,
volunteers will be able to translate these abstract “articles” into their
own languages. If successful, this could eventually allow everyone to read
about any topic in Wikidata in their own language.
As you can imagine, this work will require a lot of software development,
and a lot of cooperation among Wikimedians. In order to make this effort
possible, Denny will join the Foundation as a staff member in July and lead
this initiative. You may know Denny as the creator of Wikidata, a long-time
community member, a former staff member at Wikimedia Deutschland, and a
former Trustee at the Wikimedia Foundation. We are very excited that
Denny will bring his skills and expertise to work on this project alongside
the Foundation’s product, technology, and community liaison teams.
It is important to acknowledge that this is an experimental project and
that every Wikipedia community has different needs. This project may offer
some communities great advantages. Other communities may engage less. Every
language Wikipedia community will be free to choose and moderate whether or
how they would use content from this project.
We are excited that this new wiki-project has the possibility to advance
knowledge equity through increased access to knowledge. It also invites us
to consider and engage with critical questions about how and by whom
knowledge is constructed. We look forward to working in cooperation with
the communities to think through these important questions.
There is much to do as we begin designing a plan for Abstract Wikipedia in
close collaboration with our communities. I encourage you to get involved
by going to the project page and joining the new mailing list. We
recognize that Abstract Wikipedia is ambitious, but we also recognize its
potential. We invite you all to join us on a new, unexplored path.
Wikipedia/June 2020 announcement
Katherine Maher (she/her)
Wikimedia Foundation <https://wikimediafoundation.org/>