Wikipedia talk:Persondata

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Deprecation update[edit]

As the Persondata debate has been quiet for a while, I thought I would update people with my behind the scenes work. As I have mentioned before, I have my personal extract of all articles with Persondata, which I am converting to use Wikidata instead. I am in the process of finding the wikidata code for my records and about 20% of the way through.

I currently estimate I will end up with about 2,000 out of 1,190,744 Wikipedia articles with a Persondata article not linked to a Wikidata item. However, a lot of these appear to be new articles and they do seem to be created eventually. Certainly too few to worry about.

My next step is to check the birth and death dates. Do they exist on Wikidata? Is there a need to use dates from Persondata. A few weeks and I will have the answers.

My conclusions so far are

  • No need for any action creating wikidata items from Persondata
  • Name: No need to copy this to Wikidata - the EN label is rarely missing if there is an enwiki link. There is a suggestion of a defaultsort equivalent, but Persondata is too random to be useful especially as wikipedia DEFAULTSORT is just as easy to extract.
  • Alternative names - I have ignored this field - it is just too random to be useful.
  • Short description - This one should be copied to Wikidata. Lots of entries are missing a description and it makes it really painful when searching for a person.
  • Birth & death dates - My first impression is that wikidata is pretty much complete with dates. I may change my mind when I have run some analysis but my current feeling is that there is no need for Persondata dates to be copied over.
  • Places of birth & death - I have ignored these fields up until now. They will be in my analysis but I would not like to say how useful these will be for updating Wikidata.

In summary, assuming my work over the next couple of months does not throw up any major issues, the only remaining useful metadata on Persondata is the short description. If that is copied across to Wikidata, then I can withdraw my personal objections to Persondata deprecation and obsolescence - ie Wikidata is a better alternative. Periglio (talk) 01:48, 18 January 2015 (UTC)

In addition to this, I propose that we create Wikidata tracking categories, so that it is easier for bots to export Birth and death dates and maybe short description. It could be enforced in a similar way to Template:Commonscat. George Edward CTalkContributions 19:33, 22 January 2015 (UTC)
@Periglio: Thanks for your work on this. Are all of the short descriptions copied over now? Should we begin deprecation or is there any other data that you want to work on further? Kaldari (talk) 18:18, 13 March 2015 (UTC)
Periglio reported that done three months ago (above) but the tracking cat Persondata templates without short description parameter now contains 1961 pages. It isn't something that stays done. --P64 (talk) 19:15, 13 March 2015 (UTC)
Kaldari was referring to updating Wikidata with the Persondata field. My personal view is that Persondata is no longer useful for Wikidata - I now have to convince Wikidata of that. The other question is whether Persondata is ready to be deprecated. It is still a maintained data source, are we sure no one is using it? Rather than having a whole new deprecate debate, I am thinking a simple RfC - does anyone use Persondata? Periglio (talk) 19:35, 13 March 2015 (UTC)
@Periglio: Personally, I think the template is ready for deprecation. It is effectively obsolete at this point do to the availability of similar data from Wikidata, and it seems we have exported what we can to that project. Kaldari (talk) 17:46, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
Do we have a tracking category for English-language short description empty at Wikidata?
Why should it be our responsibility to export? Is there a technical reason why Wikidata cannot automatically monitor new pages, or Persondata short descriptions, and import from EN.wikipedia?
Wikidata does not yet automatically pay much attention, per my last month's report immediately below. --P64 (talk) 18:25, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
@P64: There's no category that I know of (and I wouldn't know how to make one) but it's a good idea.
WikiData only copies from us in the first place because we asked them to. PLbot recently (mostly) finished copying the Persondata short descriptions (and I don't know about new Persondata added since then). And since Persondata is on the verge of being officially considered deprecated if not ready for deletion, there's no real point in setting up a copying routine for Persondata.—Msmarmalade (talk) 09:44, 22 April 2015 (UTC)

WD pages for people continue to be revised automatically by reference to our Persondata parameter SHORT DESCRIPTION. Here is one example from Wednesday [1]. I created our biography of Dorothy Rice Sims 2015-02-02 with completed Authority control and Persondata templates. Her pages at WD and FR.wiki were created -03-10. WD revised the page by reference to our {Persondata} -03-25. --P64 (talk)

I still think it's a good idea for us to deprecate this template. Asking editors to fill out 7 fields of data just so we can copy one of them elsewhere isn't a good solution. Kaldari (talk) 20:02, 1 May 2015 (UTC)

RfC: Should Persondata template be deprecated and methodically removed from articles?[edit]

Discussion can be found here (archived). Thanks, —Msmarmalade (talk) 07:28, 6 May 2015 (UTC)

This RfC has since been closed (oldid). This was the conclusion reached:
Consensus is to deprecate and remove. There is a strong numerical majority in favour, and while good faith objections have been raised, there appear to be adequate responses and/or practicable workarounds for these. One theme that does come out is the disjoint between Wikidata and Wikipedia, perhaps a separate RfC might address the form of a feature request to manage this, which is probably the most widely expressed concern. Guy (Help!) 13:46, 26 May 2015 (UTC)
Msmarmalade (talk) 04:03, 30 May 2015 (UTC)
I have submitted a request to the AWB developers to disable the code that adds/updates Persondata, which should stop many bots from adding/updating Persondata. From reading the RfC, it's not clear to me what process should be followed to remove the template. (e.g. Should the data be moved somewhere else, or always just deleted?) GoingBatty (talk) 16:34, 30 May 2015 (UTC)
Here's the previous request (marked as "in progress") if that's relevant. Hmmm, I'm not particularly sure either (perhaps bad RfC design on my part :P), do you think we need separate consensus to delete? The one thing we know is that Wikidata has indicated that they will only take |SHORT DESCRIPTION=. Perhaps moving |ALTERNATIVE NAMES= to infobox's |alias= parameter would satisfy those who said in the RfC that they used it for searching. But that leaves articles without an infobox, or not enough information for an infobox. We could start by deleting Persondata where all the information is replicated in Wikidata/infobox? —Msmarmalade (talk) 02:37, 31 May 2015 (UTC)
The closing summary, reproduced above, begins "Consensus is to deprecate and remove." (emphasis added). Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 13:18, 1 June 2015 (UTC)
At the same time, "removal" does not equal "immediate removal". I deliberately worded the RfC question "methodical removal" which means checking all data is accounted for before deleting. I think a fair few users supported this RfC only because of the assumption that the process would not involve carelessly deleting data. In order to respect that, I think we need to discuss this in more detail before making large scale edit/deletes. —Msmarmalade (talk) 13:23, 1 June 2015 (UTC)
As I've just pointed out to you elsewhere, this is ridiculous. The closing summary began ""Consensus is to deprecate and remove", not "Consensus is to deprecate and talk about removing at some point in the future". Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 13:28, 1 June 2015 (UTC)
I understand that you probably want to get this over and done with, me too, but please don't rush on ahead without checking in with the community. The consensus was not "delete immediately" either. Which is why we're talking about it. —Msmarmalade (talk) 13:34, 1 June 2015 (UTC)
No one is "rushing", we've been discussing this for - literally - months, and we now have a community consenseus "to remove", with none of the conditions, that you seek to impose, attached to it. . Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 13:47, 1 June 2015 (UTC)
There is no hurt in waiting a little longer for people to actually see the RfC conclusion and contest it if they so desire.—Msmarmalade (talk) 14:15, 1 June 2015 (UTC)
If you wish to create a policy of having a cooling-off period after well-pubicised RfCs, start another RfC for that; there is none at present. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 14:25, 1 June 2015 (UTC)
I've unwittingly steered us off topic again. Regardless, there is no clear consensus on HOW to remove Persondata —Msmarmalade (talk) 14:40, 1 June 2015 (UTC)
To reiterate: there is clear and unambiguous consensus to remove it, with no caveat requiring a delay. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 14:52, 1 June 2015 (UTC)
To be clear, we're talking about how to remove Persondata, not whether or not to. —Msmarmalade (talk) 13:37, 1 June 2015 (UTC)
That's not "clarity"; it's simply wrong. You have edit-warred to impose an instruction "please do not delete existing Persondata information until otherwise advised", which is contrary to the community consensus expressed at the RfC. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 13:47, 1 June 2015 (UTC)
I have limited patience. Please don't accuse me of edit warring when I haven't exceeded the 3-revert rule, and gave an explanatory edit summary. I put that phrase there in order to try and avoid immediate careless deletions; perhaps I should further add to it that ongoing discussions are determining how we should delete the data. That is an oversight on my part and I'll go and fix it now. —Msmarmalade (talk) 14:15, 1 June 2015 (UTC)
I didn't accuse you of "exceeding the 3-revert rule", I accused you - and did so correctly - of "edit warring"; and your edit summary does not excuse that. And no-one is suggesting "careless" deletions. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 14:23, 1 June 2015 (UTC)
My apologies then; I thought the two were synonymous. It seemed to me that careless deletions is exactly what you were proposing above and elsewhere.—Msmarmalade (talk) 14:40, 1 June 2015 (UTC)
Well, you were wrong. Remarkably so, given participation in the various discussions where the care taken was described in detail. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 14:52, 1 June 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── The outcome of the RfC was clear and we don't re-litigate the question once it's decided. "Consensus is to deprecate and remove." The Persondata templates can be removed from any article without problem; there is nothing being deleted here. Should anyone wish to see the Persondata, the article history will contain it. --RexxS (talk) 16:34, 1 June 2015 (UTC)

Since the template is used by 1.7 million articles, we will need a bot to remove it, and it will have to be one with admin privileges. Hawkeye7 (talk) 20:19, 1 June 2015 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Bots/Requests for approval/Yobot 24. I am admin can clean hat is left semi-automatically after the first run. -- Magioladitis (talk) 21:45, 1 June 2015 (UTC)
@RexxS: Thankyou for your changes to the wording, something like that is all I wanted to convey but couldn't work out how to fix it—Msmarmalade (talk) 03:36, 2 June 2015 (UTC)


Also, does anyone know how to add the official notices of deprecation on this, and other, relevant pages? —Msmarmalade (talk) 02:39, 31 May 2015 (UTC)

Done. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 13:18, 1 June 2015 (UTC)

Template tracking categories[edit]

The template tracking categories have been nominated for deletion here. -- WOSlinker (talk) 16:19, 30 May 2015 (UTC)

Next steps[edit]

One theme that does come out is the disjoint between Wikidata and Wikipedia, perhaps a separate RfC might address the form of a feature request to manage this, which is probably the most widely expressed concern.

—Guy (The RfC closer)

Although there seems to be a lot of enthusiasm with the demise of Persondata, the second sentence of the closing statement seems to have been overlooked. Persondata has provided a focus for the discussion of the basic biographical information on Wikidata but at the moment this discussion has nowhere to go. WP:Biography is a likely candidate but I have struggled to get any response when I post there.

The disjoint between Wikidata and Wikipedia will require a lot of work and discussion. I personally have huge lists of articles that conflict with Wikidata that I do not know how to handle. The Persondata debate attracted quite a few people, it would be great if the spirit of Persondata lived on improving the biographical data. The big question for me is where to go from here? Periglio (talk) 05:39, 2 June 2015 (UTC)

First, get a bot going to delete it from all the articles. Lugnuts Dick Laurent is dead 06:36, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Bots/Requests for approval/Yobot 24. -- Magioladitis (talk) 07:31, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
Bazinga! Lugnuts Dick Laurent is dead 07:33, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
Persondata is being removed because Wikidata is a replacement, but unless there is a continuation of the discussion going forward, we probably should have kept Persondata and deleted Wikidata. (Exaggeration for dramatic effect). There has been a lot of interest in the Persondata debate, I would like to see this developing into an ongoing project to improve the biographical data on both WIkidata and Wikipedia. I am hoping for some suggestions on how to do this. Periglio (talk) 08:13, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
  • I'm not sure if it's a loss that has been mentioned, but removal of alternative names from article pages will result in worse location of those articles from search engines if the alternative name is not mentioned in the main text. Particularly this will affect people for whom there are many possible alternative transliterations (e.g. from Cyrillic, Arabic, Chinese, etc.) which don't really warrant an individual mention in main text. I'm conscious that the current solution doesn't address that point at all. SFB 09:17, 14 June 2015 (UTC)
The persondata template is not rendered on the html page and would not be picked up by search engines. Having said that, any content not in the article would be lost. The current discussion is at Wikipedia:Bot_requests#Remove_persondata if you want to take it further. Periglio (talk) 13:13, 14 June 2015 (UTC)
@Periglio: I've just had a go at searching some alternatives and I think Google picks up on the redirects for alternative names. For example, "Denis Kimetto" is only present in Dennis Kimetto in the persondata but google picks it up, yet "Mutaz Barsham" is not found for Mutaz Essa Barshim, despite it being in the persondata. The obvious difference I see is that one search term is a redirect and the other one isn't. That may be an obvious and useful alternative to listing the names on the page. SFB 21:38, 14 June 2015 (UTC)
I think that is due to Google doing an alternative spelling search Did you mean: "dennis kimetto". Certainly, redirects or disambiguations can be used to handle alternative names on Wikipedia. Wikidata on the other hand contains fields for alias and different languages. One day in the future Wikipedia will be showing the Wikidata information, maybe. The only problem now is that any alias solely in Persondata is in danger of being lost. My experience has shown that the data entry over the years has been too random for a useful bot extraction. I am personally hoping the methodical deletion crowd win the day so that every article will undergo a individual visual check. Periglio (talk) 22:43, 14 June 2015 (UTC)
@Periglio: I think it would be reasonable to combine that with a bot run which confirms that all extractable data on an article's persondata is now present in Wikidata (i.e. no subsequent additions are deleted) and that the alternative names are empty and if so delete the persondata. Maybe even try and read for alternative names as simple semi-colon delimited names and delete if we have a 100% Wikidata match for those (I know practically all of my additions can be read this way). SFB 19:51, 17 June 2015 (UTC)

Persondata and AfC[edit]

I posted a message at AfC asking that Persondata be taken out of the process, and the only response thus far has been questioning the disconnectedness between Wikidata and Wikipedia. Does someone who is more knowledgable about Wikidata than I, care to respond? Also, just a note that @APerson: has recently mentioned at bot requests (link) that the next version of the script has Persondata taken out of it (waiting for approval I think?). Thanks, —Msmarmalade (talk) 02:16, 3 June 2015 (UTC)

Msmarmalade, well, as soon as Theopolisme updates the code in his userspace, the version of the script in use by everyone will no longer add any sort of Persondata to articles.
Periglio responded to your post over there by noting that [t]here is no need for Wikipedia editors or reviewers to worry about wikidata. I agree with this viewpoint, but if anyone disagrees with me and would like the AFCH tool to keep adding Persondata in the meantime, I'll immediately revert the change I made. APerson (talk!) 03:58, 3 June 2015 (UTC)
So is a bot going to be removing all the persondatas? Quis separabit? 18:20, 13 June 2015 (UTC)
The debate lingers on! Wikipedia:Bot_requests#Remove_persondata +++ Periglio (talk) 18:52, 13 June 2015 (UTC)