[WikiEN-l] Proposal: WikiData

Parker Conrad parkerconrad at gmail.com
Fri Feb 15 18:44:54 UTC 2008

Hey Phil - I work for a small wiki called "Wikinvest", and we've been
working on a wiki for data for a few months now (data being especially
important for investors). We should be launching it next week, at which
point you can come check it out for yourself, but in the meantime TechCrunch
wrote about us a bit the other week and has some screenshots, here:

There are a few important features that we thought a "wiki for data" should

1) Datapoints may appear in many places on the site; anywhere updated should
mean everywhere updated
2) Standard revision control features of a wiki should apply - people can
change datapoints where they believe they have better information, those
changes are surfaced in "recent changes", data has a history page and
changes can be reverted, and we insist on sources for all data that is added
or changed.
3) This is mostly applicable to us - the browse for data is organized in
such a way that all data is associate with a company page and a metric page.
So, for example, if I was reading an article about american airlines I could
click on the "data tab" to see all the data for this company. One piece of
data would be Revenue per Available Seat Mile (an important metric in the
airline industry). If I clicked on "Revenue per Available Seat Mile" I'd be
taken to a page with that data for all companies for which it was

What we're building might give you some ideas, or perhaps there's a way we
can collaborate.


On Wed, Feb 13, 2008 at 1:34 PM, Philip Sandifer <snowspinner at gmail.com>

> One of the frequent inclusion/deletion arguments has been over "cruft"
> of various sorts - plot summaries, "in popular culture" sections,
> strange but interesting lists ("List of songs that mention the title
> over n times" where n was something weird and large was an old
> favorite), etc. The basic problem in these cases is that while the
> information is often verifiable, it seems somewhat tangental to a
> reasoned and well-organized presentation of major facts on a subject.

> <snip for length>
> I propose that we need to dramatically rethink how we treat chunks of
> data on Wikipedia. In many cases - from fictional topics to real-world
> ones - there is often a large chunk of information that is worth
> presenting, but that does not present well in article form. Our
> current method of spin-off and sub-articles leaves us with a mass of
> articles that often make poor articles even as they contain valuable
> information. (And I would say that [[School Hard]] and [[Political
> positions of Hillary Rodham Clinton]] are articles of more or less
> exactly equal quality)
> In more practical terms, what I'm imagining would be an article on,
> say, Buffy the Vampire Slayer that had some clear link to data and
> sidebars. Click on it, and a navigational engine comes up that guides
> you through the sidebar content - a list of episodes that one could
> delve into and, from there, get plot summaries, credits, overviews of
> reviews, etc. A list of characters, an overview of critical
> commentaries, heck, a huge link collection of reviews of the series or
> of episodes. In other words, a way of having our article - structured
> with a clear lead section, and specific, well-sourced sections - be
> the top layer of a mass of well-organized content. Something that
> gives us an option for a topic beyond "have an article on it," "don't
> have an article on it," or "throw it into a messy list that doesn't
> quite function as an article."
> Thoughts?
> -Phil

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