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Help:OmegaWiki, Wiktionary and the Wikimedia Foundation

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This page is here to explain what are the relations between OmegaWiki, Wiktionary and the Wikimedia Foundation. It answers the following questions :

  • What is the point of OmegaWiki if we already have Wiktionary?
  • Why is OmegaWiki not a Wikimedia Foundation project?
  • When will OmegaWiki replace the Wiktionarys?

Why OmegaWiki was created[edit]

The idea of OmegaWiki came to several multilingual contributors to Wiktionary, somewhere between 2004 and 2007...

In Wiktionary, when you want to add a French=>English translation, you would edit the French word at the French Wiktionary, and add the translation. If you want that the English Wiktionary also has your translation, you'll have to edit the French word at the English Wiktionary and add your translation.

You'll probably also want to add the same translation in the other direction, i.e. English=>French. This means that two more pages have to be edited. So, basically to indicate that a French word XX and an English word YY express the same concept, you'll have to edit 4 pages to be complete. Now, consider that there are 170 Wiktionaries as of today... There is much redundant work involved.

The same will happen if you want to add relations, such as hypernyms. Even though hypernyms are based on semantics, and are therefore (more or less) independent of languages, you'll have to edit all the Wiktionaries one by one to enter such a relation.

The idea of OmegaWiki is therefore to be based on concepts (what we call DefinedMeaning). You'll only need to edit that concept once to indicate that a French word XX and an English word YY are representing this concept.

So, OmegaWiki is created[edit]

Around 2007, the first prototype version of OmegaWiki came online (at the time, it was called WiktionaryZ, but renamed later on because it is not a WMF project).

Concerns were expressed such as:

  • I contributed so much data to Wiktionary, I want this data to be automatically imported before I come to OmegaWiki
  • it lacks a lot of features that I'd like to see before I come from Wiktionary (e.g. inflexions table which we still don't have)
  • discussions on such a multilingual project will be obviously mainly held in English, and my English is not good enough, so I prefer to stay on my language version of Wiktionary

Then, we had no programmer anymore to implement new features.

OmegaWiki is not a WMF project[edit]

OmegaWiki was created with the idea to become a project of the Wikimedia Foundation.

Its software is an extension of MediaWiki called WikiLexicalData. It is opensource. However, OmegaWiki is not a WMF project.

The WMF already has a dictionary project, Wiktionary. There cannot be two projects with the same scope, and there is no consensus in the Wiktionary community to integrate or merge some of its functionalities with OmegaWiki. (There is also no consensus for a solution that would involve Wikidata).

It is also not clear whether the WMF would be beneficial to OmegaWiki. A huge influx of newbies - and bureaucracy - might just kill the project.

What about an automatic import of Wiktionary?[edit]

So you want to import the Wiktionary(ies). Which Wiktionary?

  1. All!
    Then, you need to merge the data representing the same concepts from the different Wiktionaries. There is no easy way to do that with 170 Wiktionary each having its own structure.
  2. Only the English Wiktionary
    Because it is the biggest! Then, what do you do with the other Wiktionaries?

Also, importing the English Wiktionary, which would be a good start, is already not straightforward at all.

For example, one of the definitions of the word "medicine" at Wiktionary is A treatment or cure. Defining a word by using synonyms is not allowed at OmegaWiki, because all synonyms share the same definition, and you cannot define "cure" as a treatment or cure. So, the definition needs to be changed.

Furthermore, the page "medicine" at Wiktionary shows a list of translations in other languages for that concept. Other lists of other translations for the same concept will be found at the pages "treatment" and "cure". These lists need to be merged in order to be imported to OmegaWiki. Doing it automatically, if feasible, is a lot of work.