Talk:Reading/web/Projects/Wikidata Descriptions

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Verifiability policy on English Wikipedia

Finnusertop (talkcontribs)

According to en:WP:V all material in articles needs to be verifiable. This often means the material has to be accompanied by inline references (en:WP:MINREF). This proposal neither includes a technical application to format inline references where they are needed nor addresses the significant problems of verifiability on Wikidata.

We can put aside the fact that Wikidata is notoriously bad in terms of references overall (Over half of statements on Wikidata do not have a source. Over half of "sourced" statements are sourced to Wikipedia, and according to the verifiability policy on the English Wikipedia, material on Wikipedia articles can't be sourced from other Wikipedia articles.) This is not relevant because the Reading team's proposal does not pull data from statements, but descriptions of items. Descriptions neither need or even support references on Wikidata. Descriptions do not even have to be summaries of statements (whether sourced or not). 100% of data pulled by this application will be unsourced.

A further complication is presented by the fact that Wikipedia has adopted the WMF Biographies of living people (BLP) resolution but Wikidata has not. Something like "American-born Greek", in the description of Maria Callas, would definitely be the kind of potentially contentious material that needs an inline citation to be displayed on Wikipedia, if the person was alive. Wikidata descriptions can consist of anything, but if this example is anywhere near typical, information pertaining to subjects' ethnicity is a BLP issue.

Wikidata simply isn't ready yet. Its standards and performance of verifiability are seriously lagging behind Wikipedia. Wikidata has not implemented WMF resolutions that the English Wikipedia has, and we are bound by them.

Melamrawy (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Hello @Finnsertop, what is the relevance between the description and the reference? In any case, the description isn't intended to add new information to the article, but, as shown in the screenshots, the idea is to allow displaying information, in order to make it easier to learn about the topic in a few words, without several screen scrolls. In that specific example, why would the "American born Greek" description be problematic if Maria Callas was alive?

RexxS (talkcontribs)

Because completely unsourced descriptions of a living person's ethnicity are potentially offensive or libellous, or both. Callas was an American of Greek descent and may have rightly objected to being identified otherwise without any supporting evidence.

The idea that we might be using somebody's unverifiable judgement of a person's identity is so far from WMF's policy on living people that you really ought not to have to ask why it's a bad idea,

Jo-Jo Eumerus (talkcontribs)

We do not want Wikipedia to become filled with information that is unverifiable. Using unverified information on Wikidata as a brief description on Wikipedia is very likely to contravene that. And the problem with putting unverifiable information on living people on Wikipedia is that it easily ends up being libel or hurting living people in some way - see for an example.

RexxS (talkcontribs)

The simplest solution to all these concerns is to create a {{mobile-only}} template on each Wikipedia that wants it. It would then be placed at the top of any article to provide a location for article editors to create a mobile subtitle that is compliant with each Wikipedia's verifiability policy. That subtitle would override anything pulled from Wikidata in that Wikipedia's mobile view.

Such a solution would allow articles that have uncontroversial descriptions to stay, while giving local editors the ability to fix problems locally. It hands the responsibility for policing each Wiki's verifiability policy back to the local editors.

Melamrawy (WMF) (talkcontribs)

I guess the argument around with this suggestion would be that instead of embedding content from another project, we will be creating article synopsis--which is yet another type of "description" content within Wikipedia. I don't know how communities, collectively, would think about that.

RexxS (talkcontribs)

"Error: Module spark-md5 has failed dependencies" - that's always a good sign when making a reply!

The whole point is to allow editors at a given project to override content being imported from another project with something that is locally generated.

It matters not a jot how you choose to label it - summary, disambiguation, subtitle; editors will be up in arms if content from another project is inserted into the English Wikipedia without giving the locals the ability to substitute something for it if it is deemed necessary.

Do proposals like Wikidata Descriptions get looked at by the community liaison folks at WMF? And if not, why not?

Melamrawy (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Hi Rexxs, what I am trying to say, is that it is really up to communities to decide if this kind of brief content within Wikipedia is something that they need to work on, and I think this would be a different argument than this feature's discussion. In line with your thought, would it make a difference if descriptions are editable within or via Wikipedia?

To your other point, proposals do get looked at, and are communicated by community liaison folks, like myself :).

RexxS (talkcontribs)

Fair enough, @Melamrawy (WMF). I don't think that it would be a different argument at all, but let's explore that:

So if the community of English Wikipedians decide that this kind of brief content is something that they need to work on, how would you square that with the "brief content" being used as a sub-title on the mobile view of the English Wikipedia?

How would an English Wikpedian go about changing something that they felt breached one of en-wp's core policies, if it was not available to edit on en-wp? Please don't tell me "all they need to do is go to Wikidata and edit it". Every week I get opposition to my efforts to enable infoboxes to draw data from Wikipedia because they don't see why they have to go to "another website" to make changes to what they see in the infobox. Or worse, I get opposition from editors who don't trust the editors from other language Wikipedias to decide on content for the English Wikipedia. I know it's as if we're having the same misguided arguments over and over, but I get worn down after a while trying to make the case.

Melamrawy (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Nice thoughts. So, if at some point we ended up having brief content as part of the articles, and they are brief enough to show under article title and provide clarity to a reader without scrolling on mobile, then the logic of this feature we are proposing here, will change or we wouldn't need to implement it, because the problem we are addressing would be solved.

The other point was my question, so actually if you can directly edit descriptions from our Wikitext editor, without having to go to yet "another website", would that be a mid option between what you are proposing (of building new descriptions) and this current proposal? Thanks for your thoughts on this argument. Appreciated.

RexxS (talkcontribs)

I would be willing to bet that if editors could directly edit information on Wikidata from the comfort of their "own" article on en-wp, you wouldn't get a peep of opposition. But my advice is not to ahead with the sort of changes you propose at Reading/web/Projects/Wikidata Descriptions until you've got a working in-article editing function available. In the meantime, I'd stand by my suggestion of a template for the en-wp that, when present, would override the Wikidata Descriptions. I think it would be relatively simple to implement and give a stop-gap fix until our Wikitext editor gains the capability to edit cross-project. Good luck with it.

Reply to "Verifiability policy on English Wikipedia"
Jo-Jo Eumerus (talkcontribs)

I wonder if such a feature could also work using article text (say, the first sentence in the article) rather than Wikidata, both for the sake of articles without Wikidata items and for Wikidata items with quality issues - I otherwise foresee a number of complaints about the latter.

Melamrawy (WMF) (talkcontribs)

You mean extract the lead sentence from each article. Problem is lead sentence isn't always indicative. Apparently you see the value of te feature, but you are looking for different ways to implement it? What is the concern with Wikidata? Thanks.

Jo-Jo Eumerus (talkcontribs)

There have been a multitude of complaints - not always on centrally visible places - on the English Wikipedia about the lack of sourcing and difficulty in editing of Wikidata entries. Thus such a change might not be liked over there.

Also, maybe there is research out there saying otherwise, but in my experience the lead sentence of a Wikipedia article usually is indicative - which is something also required by the guideline. And really, the majority of all Wikipedia articles don't have an associated Wikidata item.

TheDJ (talkcontribs)

The lead sentence is also VERY VERY long generally (somewhere around 20 and 40 words) and funnily enough hardly ever sourced in practice. Regarding coverage.. that's a challenge to fulfill, not a problem. It's not like we have wikidata descriptions now, so a description is not a requirement, it's a nice to have. Also I strongly suspect that this is a perfect example of the 80:20 like logic. The most read articles will have very high Wikidata coverage, and the remainder won't be off any worse than before.

Jo-Jo Eumerus (talkcontribs)

Technically, leads are usually dependent on (sourced) text elsewhere on the article.

TheDJ (talkcontribs)

Nice in theory, but in practice I don't think it really matters... Wikidata descriptions are somewhere between a disambiguation tag and a first sentence. And closer to a disambiguation tag. How much sourcing do you want to apply to a 4 word tag... ? We have categories with more words than most wikidata descriptions. It seems to me like a problem that doesn't actually exist in practice.

Jo-Jo Eumerus (talkcontribs)

Nationalist debates are not unheard of. So yes. Nor will complaints about errors on Wikidata that get posted on (or about) Wikipedia instead because it looks like this text is part of Wikipedia.

Jo-Jo Eumerus (talkcontribs)

I wonder if the first few words of a Wikipedia article could make a short enough description or not - to address the length concerns.

Reply to "Using article text?"
Defunes43 (talkcontribs)

Earlier this year, the French community voted to ban any information from Wikidata in the written part of the articles. How does this fit into that?

Mafritzha (talkcontribs)

Title is not necessarily the written part of the article, but still, there was strong opposition in "French Bistrot" to such a change. Please do a proper votation on French Wikipedia for such changes !

Nouill (talkcontribs)

And a lot of French peoples are supporting wikidata... If you don't want to create another flamewar don't ask the French community, because she is very divided (lot of people have be block in the last year for conflicts related to wikidata on wp:fr) and a flamewar just need pretext to repop...

Reply to "French WP vote"
Oliv0 (talkcontribs)
Melamrawy (WMF) (talkcontribs)

This is true. As announced here earlier, the idea is to help readers disambiguate what the article is about, quickly and easily.

Reply to "Conflict of purposes"

Suggestion for future changes, if needed

Melamrawy (WMF) (talkcontribs)
TheDJ (talkcontribs)

i wouldn't put "edit this" there. It will act as a lightning rod for people willing to edit, while they already are in the edit interface. People won't be able to make the distinction and just get confused. Just make the area of the subtitle clickable and then move the user into a separate edit flow.

TheDJ (talkcontribs)

Also, when adding extra editing flows like this, please consider how the wikidata community could patrol those edits efficiently.

Reply to "Suggestion for future changes, if needed"
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