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Re: status and problems on sematicweb.org

From: Markus Krötzsch <markus.kroetzsch@cs.ox.ac.uk>
Date: Thu, 12 Jan 2012 17:43:00 +0000
Message-ID: <4F0F1BA4.9000806@cs.ox.ac.uk>
To: Yury Katkov <katkov.juriy@gmail.com>, Semantic Web <semantic-web@w3.org>
CC: Semantic MediaWiki users <semediawiki-user@lists.sourceforge.net>, Linked Data community <public-lod@w3.org>
Hi Yuri,

let us take this to one mailing list semantic-web@w3.org, as this is the 
list that is most involved (please drop the others when you reply).

As the technical maintainer of the site, I largely agree with your 
assessment. In spite of the very high visibility of the site (and 
perceived authority), the active editing community is not big. This is a 
problem especially given the significant and continued spam attacks that 
the site is under due to its high visibility (I just recently changed 
the captcha system and rolled back thousands of edits, yet it seems they 
are already breaking through again, though in smaller numbers).

I do not want to blame anybody for the state of affairs: most of us do 
not have the time to contribute significant content to such sites. 
However, given the extraordinary visibility of the site, we should all 
perceive this as a major problem (to the extent that we attach our work 
to the label "semantic web" in any way).

So what can be done?

(1) Freeze the wiki. A weaker version of this is: allow users only to 
edit after they were manually added to a group of trusted users (all 
humans welcome). This would require somebody to manage these permissions 
but would allow existing projects/communities to continue to use the site.

(2) Re-enforce spam protection on the wiki. Maybe this could be done, 
but the site is targeted pretty heavily. Standard captchas like 
ReCaptcha are thus getting broken (spammers do have an effective 
infrastructure for this), but maybe non-standard captchas could work 
better. This is a task for the technical maintainers (i.e., me and the 
folks at AIFB Karlsruhe where the site is hosted).

(3) Clean the wiki. Whether frozen or not, there is a lot of spam 
already. Something needs to be done to get rid of it. This requires 
(easy but tedious) manual effort. Some stakeholders need to be found to 
provide basic workforce (e.g., by hiring a student to help with spam 

(4) Restore the wiki. Update the main pages (about technologies and 
active projects) to reflect a current and/or timeless state that we 
would like new readers to see. This again needs somebody to push it, and 
for writing pages about topics like SPARQL one would need some 
expertise. This is a challenge for the community.

I am willing to invest /some/ time here to help with the above, but (3) 
and (4) requires support from more people. On the other hand, there are 
probably hardly more than 20 or 30 *essential* content pages that we are 
talking about here, plus many pages about projects and people that one 
should ask the stakeholders to review. So one might be able to make this 
into a shining entry point to the semantic web in a week of work ... 
together with (1) and (2) above, the invested work would remain valuable 
for a long time.



On 12/01/12 10:43, Yury Katkov wrote:
> Hi everyone!
> What is the current status of the semanticweb.org
> <http://semanticweb.org> website? It used to be the main wiki about the
> semantic web, it has a lot of cool and useful information about
> everything. But now it seems abandoned. I mean, there are about 30 real
> writers who update the information about their projects an write
> articles, but they do something like 30% of changes. The other 70% is spam!
> Are there guys who support the website?
> Who manages the community, are there any plans of creating projects and
> articles about SW? Is there community at all?
> In my opinion if this great website suppose to be alive the first goal
> is to find volunteers who'll help administrator to combat spam (with
> bots, extensions and editing policies) and support the new activities
> and projets on the wiki. (I'm ready to be one of them).
> If this wiki lived only in the past when it was a big hype around
> Semantic Web topics and now without a big funding nobody wants to use it
> - wouldn't it better to be frozen?
> I appreciate and admire people who started up the wiki. Please, don't
> let it be the rotting memorial to the past of the Semantic Web.
> -----
> Sincerely yours,
> Yury Katkov, WikiVote llc

Dr. Markus Kroetzsch
Department of Computer Science, University of Oxford
Room 306, Parks Road, OX1 3QD Oxford, United Kingdom
+44 (0)1865 283529               http://korrekt.org/
Received on Thursday, 12 January 2012 17:43:35 UTC

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