[Foundation-l] Software idea: a "Wikipedia Explorer" that lets you browse Wikipedia and more

Kang-Hao (Kenny) Lu kennyluck at csail.mit.edu
Tue Jan 3 18:13:37 UTC 2012

I know this is somewhat out of topic. Sorry about that. Technical
discussions should go elsewhere.

(11/12/28 6:39), Yao Ziyuan wrote:
> If Wikipedia can implement the things I talked about so far (topic-specific
> chat rooms, forums, topic-specific resource announcement and discovery)
> right on wikipedia.org, then certainly it's the most ideal solution.

No, it's not. The Web with only one site, wikipedia.org, is not
interesting at all.

> [snip]
> then we have to implement all this on a separate website or as a separate program 
> ("Wikipedia Explorer").

s/website/websites/ and that's how the Web behaves already. What might
be missing is the direction for readers of an entry to find the "right"
place to chat/share. Wikipedia currently implements this as a section,
namely, "External Links". Indeed a separate program that aids users to
find the right link among all the links in the external links section
could be useful.

In any case, asking wikipedia.org to become the only place where all the
chatting/sharing happen is just not realistic, and that's not ideal
either in my homble opinion.

(11/12/28 6:51), Yao Ziyuan wrote:
> [snip]
> So instead I'm planning a desktop-based browser that simply browses
> wikipedia.org and provides additional features such as ebook
> creation, creating a FreeNode chat room for the currently browsed
> Wikipedia article, creating a virtual forum in a "distributed" manner
> by storing each user's posts on a Blogger.com blog

I think it is always better to find existing places for
chatting/sharing. Your program could maintain a community editable
mapping from Wikipedia entries to chat rooms/visual forums.

You mention yet another protocol based on HTTP headers. Believe me,
there are already tons of protocols like that. Reusing an existing one
might give you a better starting use base. Developing your program as a
Flock add-on would have the same effect too. (The ideal situation is
indeed if there's Wikipedia mirrors as playgrounds for MediaWiki extension.)

(11/12/28 6:08), Yao Ziyuan wrote:
> The idea behind this program idea is that I have long felt Wikipedia
> is not just an encyclopedia; it's the biggest "ontology" (
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ontology_(information_science) ) ever
> made on the Web.

Since you mentioned this, if you haven't heard of Semantic
MediaWiki(SMW)[1], an MediaWiki extension, already then you might want
to bring your idea to that community too. If I recall correctly,
Wikipedia couldn't (or hasn't) adopt SMW for performance reason, but
there's a starting project called WikiData[2] from the Germany branch of
Wikipedia Foundation.

[1] http://semantic-mediawiki.org/
[2] http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikidata


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