German chapter commits to further Wikidata development
The Wikidata team (2012–13) of whom over half will continue to work on project beyond 31 March.
German chapter Wikimedia Germany (WMDE) committed itself this week to funding the Wikidata development team past the original 31 March deadline, ending fears that the delays the project suffered during its first phase would translate into phase three being abandoned.
By the time of the switchover, phase one will be all but complete and a framework phase two is likely to be in place on some if not all wikis. Nevertheless, it has become increasingly clear that its third phase (dynamic lists) will still be in the design phase on that date. According to the blog post accompanying WMDE's decision, one of the goals of the new development phase will be to rectify that and to 'flesh out' the phase 2 implementation to support other data types, most notably co-ordinates. A further goal sees Wikidata deployed on projects other than Wikipedias. Throughout, commentators will be watching to see if the self-described "biggest technical project that a chapter of the Wikimedia movement has ever undertaken" can be brought to proper fruition in a reasonable timespan.
The big question that remains is financial. The first year of Wikidata's development was funded by grants from donors interested in its potential role as a general data repository, including the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence (approximately €600,000), the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation (~€300,000) and Google (~€300,000). That €1.3 million (equivalent to US$1.6 million) supported eight full-time developers and four support staff for a year; the plan now is for "a team of eight", implying a cost of around €850,000 euros per annum. The chapter say they will raise that "by means of donations", from "additional partners" if necessary. If the number of Wikidata enthusiasts is anything to go by, it'll be money well spent.
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.
Onboarding profiled: The Wikimedia Foundation's "Onboarding" project, which aims to get more registered users editing, was profiled in a post on the Wikimedia blog. The scheme initially focusses on welcoming users and providing them with ideas on how and where to contribute. The results were modest but positive, the post recalls: "users given the new interface were significantly more likely to try to edit (+4.3%), and more of them also completed their first edit to content (+1.8%) within a day of registration". In related news, Wikimedia Commons is to become one of the first wikis outside the English Wikipedia to install code generated by the WMF's E3 team. Following a user request, it will gain post-edit feedback ("Your edit was saved.") and the newer Guided Tours facility.
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