Wikidata:Usability and usefulness/ExampleUsers

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The Example Users show possible users of Wikidata. To consider our different users it is helpful to have them in such a graspable, story-like form. However, while having these as examples the Wikidata Team is aware that these don't cover all possible ways of our users are – just like any other example, it is not as rich as all the actual users the example stands in for.

As of July 2017 the Example Users are built mainly on the experiences of Wikidata team members.

Active Wikipedia Editor[edit]


"Melissa" – “Wikidata sounds great but what is in it for Wikipedia Editors?”

Melissa works as a librarian at the Boston Public Library. She edits Wikipedia articles on photography and literature.


Melissa is part of the Wikipedia community since seven years. Since then she wrote articles or correct them. There are a few other people in her interest areas to whom she regularly talks on article discussions. Wikipedia is a useful and meaningful hobby, so she is happy to introduce new people to it as part of the digital education program of her library.


  • High quality Wikipedia articles help her to show that editing Wikipedia is worthwhile.
  • She wants to feel productive – maintaining list of works just feels too tedious.
  • She enjoys teaching.

“I like that some of my work on Wikidata benefits other Wikipedias.”


  • She checks if content about photographers is up-to-date.
  • She is watching articles and talk pages about famous authors and photographers.
  • She maintains sitelinks and infobox data for her articles on Wikidata.

“Another editor set up some checks between Wikidata and Wikipedia for me. They are very useful for my quality assurance work.”


  • Usability problems make it hard for her workshop participants to get started.
  • Vandalism is giving her articles a bad reputation and her having to clean it up

“I don’t understand Wikidata well and have a hard time teaching it to others.”

Active Wikidata editor[edit]

Niels, Active Wikipedian

"Niels" – “I love how people come up with useful and clever ways to use our data.”

Niels is a 30 year old network administrator from Amsterdam. He has a passion for the works of painters from the 17th century like Vermeer, Rembrandt and van Goyen. He likes going to the Rijksmuseum and looking at all the great classic works on display.


Niels is an administrator on Wikidata. He is regularly involved in discussions on modeling and meta-discussions on Project chat, Request for Properties and Administrators’ noticeboard. He knows several other active editors and admins from events. Aside of socializing, the events are great to learn about the latest (3rd party) tools that can help in one’s work on Wikidata.

He loves Wikidata, but is impatient with the progress of the project.


  • He feels most comfortable when he is in the loop about everything.
  • Interesting queries are a creative outlet.
  • Everything should be machine readable, so queries can be used and mashups  build.
  • He gets a kick out of seeing his data and queries being used.

“An edit like adding a single “instance of” statement can make a huge impact on the usefulness of our data.”


  • He does administration tasks like blocking spammers, closing RFCs, mediation and reviewing of edits.
  • He imports data on art using a chain of python, excel and 3rd party tools like quick statements. For a medium amount of data he uses manual edits with the support of several gadgets.
  • He tries to ensure the coherence of data modeling in arts.

“I enjoy watching new editors having fun with editing,”


  • He needs to clean the data he gets. This includes a lot of manual checks, too.
  • Convincing Museums to cooperate and release their data under CC0 is hard.
  • Adoption on other Wikimedia projects takes a long time.

“I wish thing would move along faster, so we could see progress happen sooner.”

Occasional Wikidata editor[edit]

Eloise, occasional Wikidata editor

"Eloise" – "I’m so much looking forward to watching this film now! When I am back at home I will check and update Wikidata’s data about it."

Eloise is working as a veterinarian since 5 years. When she is not working, she loves watching movies with her  friends. She also follows the news about upcoming movies: Who is going to direct or be part of the cast?


Eloise is active in the French Wikipedia and occasionally on Wikidata. She reads and checks veterinary articles and occasionally joins the discussions if she is sure she can add to it. She only speaks French, which limits her reach.


  • She wants to be perceived as well informed about films.
  • It should be easy to connect her interest (I read that… is directed by…) with putting in this change.
  • She feels more secure when she has a scaffold to build upon.

“That list on Wikipedia was created using the data I contributed!”


  • She updates values of film grossing, release data or actors.
  • She fixes errors and marks myth-and-gossip values as deprecated.
  • She checks if there is missing data with a query she found on another user’s page.

“Nice, she is going to take this role. I’ll update that, so it appears on the French Wikipedia article”


  • Sometimes people try to make Chuck Norris play in upcoming movies.
  • It is annoying, when she can’t build upon pre-existing items.
  • New actors don’t have an item and they need to have one to be added to a film’s item.

“Quickly adding a statement is fun, but creating items is work!”

Active editor on a small Wikipedia[edit]

Mahdi, Active Wikipedian on Swahili Wikipedia

"Mahdi" – “It is so much harder for my small Wikipedia to gather information and maintain it than it is for the larger communities.”

Mahdi is a 27 year old researcher and teacher at a university in Nairobi. He specialized in urban infrastructure and city planning. On Wikidata he usually adds labels and descriptions for items and properties in Swahili.


Mahdi has been very active in the Swahili Wikipedia for about 2 years, mostly organizing editing sessions at his university to help people overcome technical hurdles and thus grow the content on it. He also gives talks and workshops to spread the word and gain new editors for "his" Wikipedia.


  • He wants to find a better process to engage new (readers, editors) on his Wikipedia.
  • He wants to make knowledge and learning materials accessible in Swahili  to keep the language alive.
  • People that don’t speak English should have the same access to knowledge.


  • He adds data on cities he does research on on Wikidata.
  • He translates labels on Wikidata to Swahili.
  • He organizes editing sessions.
  • He gives talks to recruit new editors.

“I enjoy watching new editors having fun with editing.”


  • He hates that editing is cumbersome on smartphones.
  • He struggles with the low quality of content on Swahili Wikipedia which doesn’t capture new editors.
  • He is worried about the decline of the Swahili language.

“It’s hard to attract new editors when there is so little content.”

Data user in small start-up[edit]

Alex uses Wikidata’s data

"Alex" – “I whipped up this Marvel Cinematic Universe visualisation – just in time for the new marvel movie. Let’s see how it fares on Twitter.”

Alex is a programmer from Russia. He created the 3rd party service «MovieExplorer» on which he spends most of his time working on with a friend. Movie Explorer accesses Wikidata and creates visualizations for movies and TV series.


Alex is very active in the MovieExplorer community and often talks with them. He regularly posts on Twitter about new features or visualizations. On Wikidata, he mostly fixes small errors that he notices when using MovieExplorer.


  • He wants to show users cool and correct visualizations of movies, series and genres.
  • He wants to feel appreciated by positive feedback on social networks and blogs.
  • He enjoys being productive when adding new features and getting data for them.

“The Marvel visualization already has 352 shares on Twitter and was fun to make!”


  • He is designing and creating new features for the app.
  • He fixes and adds values on Wikidata.
  • He spreads the word about MovieExplorer.

“For the 'explore-characters' feature I need to rewrite a part of the code.”


  • It seems that the docs often lack crucial information and assume existing knowledge.
  • People complain about mistakes in his project – but the wrong data comes from Wikidata.

“It was worth learning all this, but without the help of people on IRC I often would have been lost.”