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Forum Semantic MediaWiki: The Rebirth

Good news guys! We have graciously had the Semantic MediaWiki enabled on our wiki. The staff sent the following message, which I'll pass on to you:

I have enabled Semantic for Dragonball wiki. I do ask one favor though. Our DB
servers are usually under a lot of stress from SMW. Luckily, we're making
improvements to fix this but we would still ask you to block or ask users not
to use the Special:Ask page. In order words, try to manually define your SMW
queries as opposed to the CPU-sapping dynamic functionality of that page.

So try not to use Special:Ask for now. I imagine this won't be a problem for most of our users, since most probably don't know how to do semantic queries in the first place, but to anyone here, please keep that in mind. -- Nonoitall talk contr 06:12, August 10, 2010 (UTC)

EXCELLENT! I saw it coming up at the bottom of articles and thought it had been. I think the best thing to do now is have one article completely set up to use the new functionality to serve as a template and example for how it's done, and as an explanation to users on how to filter the process throughout the Wiki. GTGohanBlueGroup6blue400 1203477316 wwwtengoverguenzablogspotcom-luis-v-blue-goku 06:18, August 10, 2010 (UTC)

Good idea! I'm going to try to put together some new infoboxes for episodes and sagas tomorrow that will have the annotations built in. Once those are finished, it should be a no-brainer to annotate our episode and saga articles, and then we'll have plenty of info to work with for our tutorial article. :-) -- Nonoitall talk contr 10:56, August 10, 2010 (UTC)

I was thinking this will also be a good opportunity to get our categories organized a bit better. Now we can just use categories for what a subject is and use properties for information about that subject. For example — since Goku is a Category:Character who could have the property Property:Knows technique::Flight there's no longer really a need for Category:Characters who can fly. -- Nonoitall talk contr 11:24, August 10, 2010 (UTC)
Just a precaution though: I think we should make sure as many of our property definitions as possible should come from templates. The properties can be retrieved however we please, but using templates when defining those properties will keep us from ending up with two different properties for the same thing, like Property:Knows technique and Property:Knows move. -- Nonoitall talk contr 11:37, August 10, 2010 (UTC)

Well it took me a little longer than I anticipated to get the hang of it, but I think the new saga navigator box is ready, and it packs quite a bit of the functionality that will be required for the episode infoboxes to work gracefully. Tonight when site traffic is down a bit I'll try replacing the legacy saga navigator boxes with the new SMW one and see if all goes smoothly. Then the episode infoboxes should go quicker. :-) -- Nonoitall talk contr 00:35, August 12, 2010 (UTC)

The saga navigator boxes are in place, and appear to be functioning correctly. They provide our wiki's first semantic properties: Property:Last edited episode (for DBZ sagas only) and Property:Last episode. Not horribly exciting yet, but they lay the foundation for some smart episode boxes (or perhaps, complete episode intros), which I hope to have ready ASAP. Those will take a little more work to get in place since we'll need to place them in each episode article, but once that's done we'll have enough information to really put to good use. Would anyone be interested in helping to get the episode intro in place? (Like I said it will have to be put into each article once it's done.) If no one chimes in here, I'll start a new thread about it when it's time to do that though. -- Nonoitall talk contr 10:18, August 13, 2010 (UTC)

Your doing a great job with that. Sure, I'd be interested in helping you, just let me know when and what needs to be done!  SSJ4 Lewich  talk  contribs  11:05, August 13, 2010 (UTC)

Old discussion

Hey guys. With our newfound drive to get more references into the wiki, I thought it might be time to reawaken discussion of the Semantic MediaWiki (SMW) extension. (For the original discussion of the subject, which died down before a real decision was ever made, see here.)

For those unfamiliar with it, SMW is a very powerful extension for wikis that allows users to 'teach' the wiki certain things about the subjects on the wiki, using a mechanism called annotations. Annotations can be created in articles that allow the wiki to store certain 'traits' about a subject, and those traits can then be recalled and used anywhere on the wiki. This would allow us to do a lot of neat things, like lists/tables that can be automatically created, sorted and updated, and references that automatically pull up information about episodes without needing massive switch templates. It also would make it possible for users to do specialized searches, for example - searching for characters whose race is Human and that have the Flight ability.

Annotations can be easily integrated with infoboxes as well, which would allow the information that we have to enter into the box anyway to be recalled and manipulated for reuse anywhere else on the wiki. (Think: Automatically generated episode/chapter lists, that keep themselves updated whenever a change is made to the episode's information, and the same thing with references to those episodes/chapters.)

Dantman demonstrated some of SMW's usage in the first discussion, and you can see a list of other wikis on Wikia that use the extension here. To learn more about the extension itself, you can take a look at its webpage and manual.

Anyway, in order to get this extension included in our wiki, we need the community's consensus. There is a certain amount of learning curve associated with new extensions (particularly ones as powerful as this), and it has the potential to be confusing if misused. We need a few users who are willing to learn the ropes if the extension is going to help us. On the other hand, it also has the potential to be a great tool to ease searches and maintenance and enrich the wiki's contents if it's skillfully weilded.

So let's get the discussion (re)started, and be sure to say whether you support or don't support the inclusion of this feature on our fine wiki!

Speaking for myself, I support this and would gladly take the time to learn the usage of this extension if it means reducing redundancy and improving the functionality of the wiki. -- Nonoitall talk contr 05:19, July 27, 2010 (UTC)

I for one support this idea, I would gladly learn the usage of this extension. I use it on the Naruto wikia and it is great! TeenGotenksSSJ4 SonikFan112 GotenksNV 05:26, July 27, 2010 (UTC)

I'm kinda neutral here. I don't really have the time to take the lead on this, but I'll certainly adapt if we decide to add this. -- SSJ4 Goku(2) 06:25, July 27, 2010 (UTC)

I definitely support this, it would be a great way to have references neatly organized etc. I know many users, especially our new Citation Corps. would love this extension. You have my support.
 talk contr 
06:42, July 27, 2010 (UTC)

Well, I don't really mind this idea, but if we all agree, I'm sure I'll come to support and appreciate it. 510253-3411355-gohanSS2 SSJ2AJB talk contrib GohanSuperSaiyanArmsUp

I'd be interested in getting read up on this so I know the in's and out's of it, and help other users to understand.  SSJ4 Lewich  talk  contribs  10:40, July 27, 2010 (UTC)

Well, I'm not really familiar with all this, but I'll definitely be helping out on what I can.

13:49, July 27, 2010 (UTC)
I support. If it will decrease inefficency, then I am all for it. BrolythelegendBroly 7 13:54, July 27, 2010 (UTC)

I'd take a neutral stance on this one. I would, of course, be willing to understand how to maneuver the protocol if it is put into effect [if it becomes a necessity] but I wouldn't want to make the wiki harder to maneuver [if that's what this does]. I'm hoping it's easy to maneuver, if in fact it is stabilized for usage. - Zarbon by raykugen-d2ygchz PrinceZarbon talk contribZarbon ava3 16:43, July 27, 2010 (UTC)

I support this, as it seems it could help a lot in organizing stuff. However, I have no experience with the system, so I'm not sure how complex it can get. But from the few things I've read about it, it seems it would greatly improve the Wiki, even at the expense of a little complexity.--Sega381 19:04, July 27, 2010 (UTC)

For anyone who doesn't know how this function works, going on the list of Wikis that use it, which can be found up there, and using it on a wiki you're comfortable with. TeenGotenksSSJ4 SonikFan112 GotenksNV 19:33, July 27, 2010 (UTC)

I support at least the concept of the Semantic MediaWiki. I will agree with some of the other comments on here as well though. If this manor of updating the Wiki makes it more complicated or more difficult for the average user to navigate the Wiki, then I must change my stance to against it. In any case, though, to be useful in the process I will need to know more about the exact nature and programming behind it. Dragon Ball Z GT Goku GTGohanBlueSuper Saiyan GotenGoku,Gohan,Gotendragonball-z-image-2 20:42, July 27, 2010 (UTC)

I'm Neutral on the idea. I don't quite fully understand how this concept goes. It does not sound like a bad idea at all but I would have to see it in action to determine how good it is. - Bulma22SuperTienchaChichi01Talk ContributionsLaunchDragonBallE

Ultimately, I think it depends on us how complicated we're going to make it. In many ways, annotations are similar to categories, but they allow for more flexibility in how their data is recalled and used. Even if there are only a few experienced users who really know the ins and outs of the extension, I think it could still be used in an unintrusive way that wouldn't scare off those unfamiliar with its usage. One example is infoboxes like I mentioned above. In that instance, the only person who really needs to know how to use SMW is the author of the infobox template. Any user of the template can continue to use it as though nothing has changed. The benefit is that the infobox now automatically stores the information entered into it in a database, which can be used to simplify and enhance other areas of the wiki.
It's also important to weigh the other side of the equation. If we forgo adopting this extension, and as a result are forced to use hackish techniques to achieve the same ends, have we really made the wiki more friendly to inexperienced users? -- Nonoitall talk contr 21:14, July 27, 2010 (UTC)

Nonoitall, I can confirm for you that new users will have a easy time using this feature. When I first came to the Narutopedia, the option was already in fuction, and I was able to use it without any prior knowledge. I can assure you are not going to effect the experience of inexperienced users. TeenGotenksSSJ4 SonikFan112 GotenksNV 21:22, July 27, 2010 (UTC)

Using Narutopedia as an example, it's worth it to look at their episode list, just for a small example of SMW's abilities. No one had to spend hours of copying and pasting to assemble that table; and adding a new episode to the wiki or correcting an existing episode's information will automatically update the table as well. An analysis of the page's wikitext shows that the table isn't really a whole lot more complicated than any ordinary table — but it is a heck of a lot more concise and less error-prone. -- Nonoitall talk contr 22:43, July 27, 2010 (UTC)

So, so far am I right in my impression that we're either supporting or at least willing to try this out? (I'll still give the discussion a few more days before taking any action — assuming we choose to move forward with it.) -- Nonoitall talk contr 22:35, July 29, 2010 (UTC)

Perhaps the topic should be placed within the system messages (as seen above, the message that can be disabled) I will let you word it Nonoitall, but this would help all users to see that this discussion is on going.
 talk contr 
01:38, July 31, 2010 (UTC)
Good idea and done! I've also tried to notify most of the site's active users, but if you fellows can think of anyone I've missed who'd be interested in this discussion, be sure to invite them. :-) -- Nonoitall talk contr 02:58, July 31, 2010 (UTC)
I made a couple edits to the site notice, makes it more noticeable. What do you think?
 talk contr 
03:07, July 31, 2010 (UTC)
Haha looks great — that should attract more attention. -- Nonoitall talk contr 03:18, July 31, 2010 (UTC)

it sounds great and i will adapt to it over time but i suggest that we just stay with dragonball z and not make things too complex

Sorry for taking so long to respond. I don't completely understand this Semantic MediaWiki thing, nor do I have any idea how it is used, but I still support it if it will make our Wiki easier to use.  SSWerty  05:17, July 31, 2010 (UTC)

Btw, after the above messages, I still support the idea, and I am even more convinced of its usefulness. I'm finding a problem in another Wiki that would be easily solvable with this Semantic MediaWiki extension, but which right now is a real pain in the ass. So, I'm all for trying it out.--Sega381 16:23, August 2, 2010 (UTC)

So does anyone object to trying this out? If not, shall we give the discussion another few days (say until next weekend is over with) and then go ahead with this if no one's opposed? -- Nonoitall talk contr 08:28, August 4, 2010 (UTC)

Yeah, I think that sounds like a good plan. Many users will need training or at least a refresher course in how the coding works to be able to help implement it themselves over time. But that comes next I suppose. Dragon Ball Z GT Goku GTGohanBlueSuper Saiyan GotenGoku,Gohan,Gotendragonball-z-image-2 16:04, August 4, 2010 (UTC)

Agreed. I plan to read up on it real soon, I can help any users who are struggling and help introduce it to the wiki?  SSJ4 Lewich  talk  contribs  16:12, August 4, 2010 (UTC)

Let me see if I understand: A statement with a source is put on a subject and stores it, so anything related to the subject has the information, without the need to put it manually again? Vegeta MorningVegeta - San Talk ContribVegeta Morning 17:08, August 4, 2010 (UTC)

Sort of. As an example, we could write the following on Goku's page:
Goku is a [[race::Saiyan]].
Afterward, we could recall that information about Goku anywhere on the wiki like so:
Gasp! Magic! Goku's article says that his race is {{#show: Goku | ?race}}!
This is just one small example of SMW's usage. Once the character pages are properly annotated (which can be done fairly painlessly by integrating annotations into the infoboxes) we can also do things like automatically generate tables of characters based on their race or other annotated characteristics. Another place where this could be infinitely helpful is in automatically generating episode/chapter references based on one piece of information (like the episode's name or number). It's all about reducing the amount of times we have to repeat ourselves to the wiki. -- Nonoitall talk contr 21:22, August 4, 2010 (UTC)

Oh, I see. Well, after that explanation, I support the idea. Vegeta MorningVegeta - San Talk ContribVegeta Morning 22:24, August 4, 2010 (UTC)

@Nonoitall, I believe I am now confident in the way in which it works, hopefully I can offer some sort of support to any users who need help in working it. I went to another Wiki to use it for real, I think I now have the hang of it. I've also read all documentation on it :)  SSJ4 Lewich  talk  contribs  16:57, August 5, 2010 (UTC)

Good deal! It looks like we're going to have quite a few people who'll be able to help us adopt this extension. -- Nonoitall talk contr 19:29, August 5, 2010 (UTC)

Its settled then. What day to you plan on making this happen?  SSJ4 Lewich  talk  contribs  19:43, August 5, 2010 (UTC)

I'm for waiting until this coming weekend is over with (just to allow time for anyone who hasn't had a chance to comment yet) and then seeing if we can get up and running at the beginning of next week, assuming no changes in consensus. :-) -- Nonoitall talk contr 20:55, August 5, 2010 (UTC)

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