[OSM-talk] Wikibase items instead of usual templates for wiki pages?

Tobias Knerr osm at tobias-knerr.de
Sun Jun 9 16:05:38 UTC 2019

On 09.06.19 13:59, Joseph Eisenberg wrote:
> Has this wikibase feature been discussed and approved by the community
> in some forum? Perhaps it happened before I was involved with OSM? I
> don't quite understand how it works.

The way it works is that every tag has a "data item". This is the one
for natural=isthmus, for example:


Of course, you're not expected to find this numeric URL yourself. You
can get there from the wiki page for that tag by clicking on a "pencil"
icon next to the description in the infobox, or by using an
"OpenStreetMap Wiki data item" link that appears in the left-hand menu
on every page that has a data item associated with it.

The idea behind data items is actually quite similar to how templates on
the wiki work: There is a number of possible properties that you can
fill in with information. The properties which are currently available
are mostly identical to the ones used by the templates: Whether the tag
can be used on nodes/ways/..., links to related/required/implied tags,
an image, and descriptions in various languages.

If some information is omitted from a wiki page, the infobox will pull
it in from the tag's data item. Otherwise, the information written
directly on the page will take precedence.

A potential benefit of data items is that language-independent
information does not need to be manually copied to each translation. And
while software like Taginfo has been able to extract information from
the wiki for a long time, the hope is that this kind of extraction will
eventually become easier thanks to data items.

I do not believe there has been a community decision to stop adding
information directly on wiki pages. So the other wiki contributor's edit
was probably premature.

Of course, though, the current situation with content duplicated between
data items and wiki pages isn't really ideal. But there's probably still
some work left until data items can fully replace the existing systems
(updating data consumers, plus working on usability and documentation).


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