Creating "Open Data" on Wikipedia

In an earlier post I mentioned that I was going to start an article on “Open Data” on Wikipedia. This is a blow-by-blow account (a few technical details are omitted).

  1. Do not be afraid. (I used to be afraid, but there is no need). Nobody has ever made me feel unwanted (there have been robust discussions, but none angry). So I go to WP and search for “Open Data”. (The capitalisation may be important – always start with a capital if you can). There is no such page, but it offers one a start

No page with that title exists.

You can create this page or request it.

So by clicking on the first link you get a fresh page headed “Open Data

2. You don’t have to write the whole page at once. Even the title and a few words is enough. This is a “stub” and others can add to it or modify it. Let’s see how far we get before nightfall.
3. Read some WP pages to get a sense of style. Good ones have an introductory paragraph and then the body, made of several labelled sections. Then there are usually links to other WP pages, and finally references. WP is very insistent on good references. Of course you don’t have to have them all at once.
4. You can always backtrack if you get something wrong. WP saves everything. No-one minds if there are 100 versions of something. Indeed if you are on a flaky connection you may wish to make a number of small changes and save after each.
5. You don’t have to let people know who you are. I do, but I don’t expect it from others. You can use an IP or (if registered) an alias, or a real name. I use “petermr” which is not difficult to crack (use Google). If you are registered then add a signature (~~~~ is the magic) which links to your own WP Talk page.

Since all the edits are recorded, I can simply link to them!

  • Page creation. Note that WP has formatted the page nicely (I simply have to remember that there is no need for a title, that each section has ==foo== and to add {{stub}} at the bottom. The links go in [[..]], e.g. [[Open Access]]. I’ve saved it after a paragraph as it’s dinner time. Any visitor will see that it’s a new page (stub) – they may or may not feel they want to add something. It’s not my page, it’s our page. However it’s probably good manners to wait a day or so before editing a new page.
  • Here is the history of the edits. Notice that a Wikipedian has already spotted the article and removed the “stub” before me!
  • Here is the latest version. It’s not “mine” – it’s ours. Anyone can edit it – I am sure at least there are typos and many other links and references can be added.
  • the real final version tonight.
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One Response to Creating "Open Data" on Wikipedia

  1. Pingback: Unilever Centre for Molecular Informatics, Cambridge - petermr’s blog » Blog Archive » “Open Data” Wikipedia NPOV, three revert, etc.

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