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Semantic MediaWiki: Toward smarter wikis

Semantic MediaWiki: Toward smarter wikis

Posted Jul 14, 2011 3:00 UTC (Thu) by Baylink (guest, #755)
Parent article: Semantic MediaWiki: Toward smarter wikis

> ... the capital city is [[Has capital::Paris]] ...
> ... its population is [[Has population::65,821,885]] ...

And that's a perfect example that not only is data modeling hard, so is syntax.

Either Paris is *not* the name of a page, and the syntax of the first example is wrong, or 65,821,885 *is* the name of a page... or the second example is wrong.

In short, you can't *just* do this as a marker on a wikilink, or else you have no way to mark inline non-link text that is suddenly also data.

So, you either need *two different ways* to tag semantic data (as a marker inside a standard wikilink *and* as some other syntax on unlinked text -- and believe me, mediawikitext syntax is messy enough right now)...

*or*, you need two *layers* of marker, the traditional way to mark wikilinks and a separate way to mark semantic text... which is *equally* confusing to editors in the first example -- and do you put the semantic marks inside or outside the wikilink marks? (The problem is even more difficult than it was for me to punctuate that paragraph readably. ;-)

(And note that I'm not even mentioning that we're out of paired markers here...)

This is a great idea... but coming up with an end-user implementation that doesn't cause everyone to tear out their hair is going to be non-trivial in the extreme. (For those who haven't read the Jargon file recently, that translates as "very *very* close to theoretically impossible" :-}).

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Semantic MediaWiki: Toward smarter wikis

Posted Jul 14, 2011 5:04 UTC (Thu) by BrucePerens (guest, #2510) [Link]

The article calls them "typed links".

Semantic MediaWiki: Toward smarter wikis

Posted Jul 14, 2011 10:00 UTC (Thu) by skierpage (guest, #70911) [Link]

Amazingly, they thought of that. At one point there was different syntax for annotating links and values, but you've always been able to specify the type of a property using the special property [[Has type::Number]] (for population, other types include Date, String, URL, Geographic coordinate). See

SMW annotations make statements about wiki pages, and much of its workings including user properties like [[Property:Has capital]], live in wiki pages. It's oddly powerful.

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