Phase 2 of Wikidata faces English Wikipedia resistance
Supporters argue that phase 2 of Wikidata would give the English Wikipedia access to Wikidata's growing database of statements (sourced claims about the properties of subjects – here, London).
The deployment of phase 2 of Wikidata to the English Wikipedia, originally scheduled for 8 April but delayed due to technical problems, may be rescheduled again as the result of community resistance, it emerged this week.
As of time of writing, concerns with the deployment – which allows wikis to automatically retrieve data from the central data repository at wikidata.org (see previous Signpost coverage) – fall into two categories. The first, made most forcefully by User:Risker, suggests that the deployment should be preceded by a full debate on its merits. Although Wikidata supporters counter by pointing out that the deployment only makes interaction with Wikidata possible rather than compulsory, Risker is unmoved. "Anyone who's spent any amount of time on English Wikipedia knows that statement is untrue. As soon as it is enabled, it will be used, even over the objections of other editors, because there's no rule against it", she wrote on the English Wikipedia's Village Pump.
The second strand centres on the idea that the likely result of any discussion would be to reject the current implementation for the English Wikipedia. In addition to WMF Editor Engagement specialist Steven Walling's comments last week regarding the difficulty that new users will have working out where the values they see on the rendered version of the page can be changed, it was also suggested that the English Wikipedia – as by far and away the most complete language edition – stood to gain little from data sharing. Others disagreed. "I think Wikidata is great ... it will enable lots and lots of super cool things in the years to come, and having over the years lived through the deployments of commons, categories, new skins and who knows what else I am also confident, along with Denny, that we will figure it out as we go", wrote User:Phoebe . The discussion continues, at Wikipedia:Village pump (technical).
March engineering report published
113 unique committers contributed patchsets of code to MediaWiki (stable)
The total number of unresolved commits stood at 816 (also stable)
Wikimedia Labs now hosts 154 projects (stable) and has 1103 registered users (up 101).
—Adapted from Engineering metrics, Wikimedia blog
The WMF's engineering report for March was published this week on the Wikimedia blog and on the MediaWiki wiki ("friendly" summary version), giving an overview of all Foundation-sponsored technical operations in that month (as well as brief coverage of progress on Wikimedia Deutschland's Wikidata project and the now Wikimedia CH-led Kiwix offline reader project). Although the eight headlines items will be the focus of this "Technology report", the WMF-led publication also contains a myriad of updates about smaller initiatives which interested users should peruse at their leisure.
The first of the eight highlights the beginning of the registration period of the Amsterdam Hackathon, scheduled to take place in late May (24 to 26 May) and temporarily replacing the Berlin Hackathon, which would have been in its fifth year; the second the introduction of Lua to Wikimedia wikis (see previous Signpost coverage). The third highlights the recent WMF-supported improvements to the Translate extension, which assists users in translating interface messages and other communications into their own language; the fourth points to work done by OPW intern Valerie Juarez to provide better guidance for would-be bug report filers. Other headlines included a "collaboration with the Noun Project towards creating an 'Encyclopedia Collection' of free icons"; reference to a blog post exploring Parsoid; and "Wikipedia Zero winning a SXSW Interactive award for activism and gaining a new partner, Axiata".
The guidance provided to mobile uploaders appeared to be insufficient, with dozens of copyright-infringing and out-of-scope images being uploaded since the mobile upload facility came online last month.
It was item five, however, which came under the spotlight this week. The project in question, helping users "upload images to Commons from mobile phones, allowing [them] to directly add a photo to a Wikipedia article that has no image", was trialled in March with logged-in users but was more latterly actively pushed to all visitors to the mobile site, causing a jump in the number of uploads to more than 200 per day. Failing to repeat the success of the Wiki Loves Monuments photo competition, however, those uploads were criticised by Commons editors this week for being of poor quality. One estimate put the number of good images at just 10%. Although some were optimistic that providing better information to uploaders would help, others pointed out that the uploads of the average new contributor, even made through the traditional upload interface, did not fare much better.
In related news, the Foundation stressed in a blog post that supporting Wikimedia Commons was one of their key priorities, pointing to several new hires they will be making to support multimedia work. "[Over the past few years] we haven't invested enough [in multimedia support]" WMF Director of Platform Engineering wrote Rob Lanphier and Deputy Director Erik Möller, "[but] this is about to change".
Not all fixes may have gone live to WMF sites at the time of writing; some may not be scheduled to go live for several weeks.
MediaWiki to take part in Google Summer of Code: The Wikimedia Foundation was this week named as one of the 176 organisations that will benefit from Google's "Summer of Code" project this year, funding student developers to contribute to MediaWiki and related projects for three months over the summer (wikitech-l mailing list).