I can only relate my impressions to you. The first two items I looked at
(Jerusalem and Obama) happened to be protected, so on my first visit I was
completely non-plussed as to how to edit anything on Wikidata. I never
noticed the lock icon (whereas I would have noticed, say, a coloured box at
the top of the page informing me that the item is locked). If I had been
just a random user, I would not have been back.

Once I got over that one, I found the order in which statements are listed
completely confusing. I would have expected them to follow some logical
order, but it seems they are permanently *listed in the order in which they
were added to Wikidata*. So someone's date of birth can be the last
statement on a Wikidata page, or the first.

Compare for example the location of the date of birth for Angela Merkel in to the location of Barack Obama's date
of birth in

I tried to figure out a way to change the order, but couldn't find one.
Again, profoundly demotivating. Machines may not be bothered by this,
because they can instantly find what they are looking for, but people are.

It might help to establish a default order for statements that makes
logical sense to a human being, and that people can become used to.

As for actual editing, a few weeks ago, figuring out how to add an IBM
subsidiary to the IBM item, with a reference, must have taken me something
like half an hour. I read Wikidata:Introduction, learned about properties,
and then checked Help:Editing, which contained *nothing* about adding
properties. The word is not even mentioned.

After clicking "add" in the *existing* subsidiaries statement for IBM item,
I saw a question mark icon with a "help text" that reads,


Enter a value corresponding to the property named "subsidiaries". If the
property has no designated value or the actual value is not known, you may
choose an alternative to specifying a custom value by clicking the icon
next to the value input box.


I didn't find this text helpful at all. It could have simply said, "Enter
the name of the subsidiary in the text box, and then add a reference."

At any rate, this is what I did. After I clicked "add reference", I got a
new field that came with a "property" drop down menu pre-populated with
"sex or gender", "date of birth", "given name", "occupation", "country of
citizenship", "GND identifier" and "image", none of which are remotely
relevant to entering a reference.

The single property that would be most useful to list in that drop down
menu when people have said they want to add a reference is "reference URL".
But it's not included. If newbies don't know this property exists, how are
they supposed to discover it? Somehow I got there, but it was not enjoyable.

These are indeed all user interface issues, and quite separate from the
other aspects we have been talking about. But they contribute to making
this wiki less attractive as a site that ordinary people might want to
contribute to manually, on a casual basis.

Yes, if you are sufficiently motivated, you can figure things out. But as
things stand, I didn't find it inviting.

On Sun, Dec 20, 2015 at 11:25 AM, Lydia Pintscher <> wrote:

> That is why I am working with re-users of Wikidata's data on this.
> They can link to Wikidata. They can build ways to let their users edit
> in-place. inventaire and Histropedia are two projects that show the
> start of this. As I wrote in my Signpost piece it needs work and
> education that is ongoing.

Use a licence that requires re-users to mention "Wikidata" on their sites,
ideally with a link to the Wikidata disclaimer, and you won't have to do
any education at all, and at the same time you'll have done a great thing
for transparency of data provenance on the internet.

Moreover, you will have ensured that hundreds of millions of Internet users
are told where they can find Wikidata and edit it. Surely, if you actually
*want* to have human beings visiting and editing your wiki, that's in your

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