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Wikitravel talk:CIA World Factbook 2002 import

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What about creating a list of words that should be converted to links to other wikipages, it gives instant wikification. 213.116.236.249 03:36, 6 Aug 2003 (PDT)

Oops, forgot to log-in before commenting. Aholstenson 03:38, 6 Aug 2003 (PDT)

OK, so, here's my comments on Afghanistan (and thus other import files):

  • I'd like to put a disclaimer at the top or bottom that says that it's a first import of country data. Something like this: This article is an import from the CIA World Factbook 2002. It's a starting point for creating a real Wikitravel country article. Please plunge forward and edit it.
  • It'd be great to move the "Quick facts" box -- which I love, by the way -- up where the flag is, and move the flag into the quick facts box.
  • It's probably important to put rights info on the Image pages. Something like "Map of Afghanistan, from the CIA World Factbook 2002 http://url/to/the/original . Public domain"
  • I prefer PNG files to GIFs. It'd probably be easier to convert the things now, before they're all in.
  • I think we should use a special user for CIA Factbook imports so we can track copyright stuff -- or, rather, public domain stuff -- from there.
I agree that a disclaimer should be put on the pages (I would prefer the bottom where it is out of the way =). Moving the "Quick Facts" is also a good idea, I'll try moving it and see how it looks. I also prefer PNG as an image format so I'll try to do an automatic conversion (with ImageMagick or something). As for the user I thought I logged in as my own user before submitting data (apparently I did not). Cheers Aholstenson 11:14, 6 Aug 2003 (PDT)
I actually did all the changes that I thought of, except the PNG conversion. There's a good tool called gif2png on the BurnAllGifs.org site. I thought having the disclaimer at the beginning would be best; I don't think that the CIA Factbook format is what we eventually want country articles to look like. Lastly, I expect to use user information for copyright stuff, and since the CIA factbook is public domain, it's easier to mark it under that specific user. -- Evan 15:32, 6 Aug 2003 (PDT)
I made some other changes to the Afghanistan page (added a heading for the Flag). I'm going to convert the gifs to pngs today and maybe even upload them (I've only got an old modem here so it will take some time). Andreas Holstenson 01:58, 7 Aug 2003 (PDT)
I've updated the Afghanistan page once more, I've been working on a small addition to the Wikipedia Code which can provide larger maps and flags in the special namespace. It's very basic right now, it's available at http://puffy.nu/~davos/beta/SpecialAtlas.php.txt ,put it in the main wiki folder remove the .txt extension and add it to the valid Special Namespace list in Language.php (the $wgValidSpecialPagesEn variable). Then unpack the file atlas.tar.gz ( http://puffy.nu/~davos/beta/atlas.tar.gz ) in your webserver root. Then with a bit of luck you'll have a Special:Atlas page to access in your browser (via the Afghanistan page). Andreas Holstenson 07:04, 7 Aug 2003 (PDT)
Can you clue me in to why this is needed? I think the image handling for Wikipedia software is pretty much OK. What does the "Special:Atlas" namespace do? -- Evan 09:34, 7 Aug 2003 (PDT)
Well actually it only shows the large map/flag for a country currently. I thought it would be a waste creating a new page for every large version of a map. You can do without the flags but larger maps are needed. Andreas Holstenson 10:14, 7 Aug 2003 (PDT)

w/r/t uploading: obviously, I already have the factbook on the wikitravel.org server. So, it'd probably be easier to gimme your code, and I'll run it on the server, instead of over your slow modem line. I really want to get this done. -- Evan 09:34, 7 Aug 2003 (PDT)

First I have to figure out how to auto-submit the images to the site. But that houldn't take long. Andreas Holstenson 10:14, 7 Aug 2003 (PDT)
The problem with the images are that you have to be logged in to be able to upload file (and I can't login automatically). There has to be another way (I'm thinking direct database modification). Andreas Holstenson 11:15, 7 Aug 2003 (PDT)
If you do not object I'll import all text-pages when you say (the script is set up on a server I can use). No adding of the Special:Atlas page will be needed (fixed it with Image Pages). Take a look at Afghanistan once more and comment on things that need fixing. I also have a few scripts that need to be run on the server (insert images into the database), I'll upload them and some resized maps when I import the other content. Andreas Holstenson 13:50, 7 Aug 2003 (PDT)
I'm not going to upload the new map, the scripts will take care of that later...

I have some problems with the factbook imports: At my first trials to edit the Perivian country page, I got pretty confused with the discrepancy between the structure of the factbook and the structure proposed by the Country article template. Actually, I didn't know at all where to begin my editings. On the Mexico country page, I've seen a similar problem.

My proposal (excuse me, Andreas, for all the work you have had with the imports): Move the factbook on a seperate page and begin every country page with the hierachy of headlines as required by the Country article template. The factbook page could be linked from the "Know" section. (see Utopia I as an examples.)

Since some of the factbook infos are really useful to get an overview about the country, it is maybe a good idea to put some selected items in the "Know" section by default. (see Utopia II as an examples.) In the example, I have enhanced the subsections of the "Know" section following the factbook. In this case, It would propably necessary to find a useful selection of factbook items good for all countries.

Hansm 06:13, 2003 Sep 6 (PDT)

Well, after having sucked the Wikitraveller community with my testings (don't look at "recent changes", you will damn my), I'm ready with a script that could move the factbook stuff on a seperate page (see Utopia II for an example). Sorry, I had realized the possibility of test pages in a specail name space too late. I intend to run the script in a few days, if there is no explicit opposition against that. Pages that have already been so much edited that the factbook is built into the intended heading structure remain untouched. I swear, kill me if not. Until then, I wait for:
  • Contradiction
  • Improofments of the Country article template
  • Opinions about what items of the factbook are important for the country page.

--- Hansm 16:14, 2003 Sep 7 (PDT)

Hans: I don't like this idea. I don't think we need separate CIA factbook pages -- we're not a CIA factbook mirror site. Those are just placeholders until we get real articles written. Extra especially, I don't want scripts run against wikitravel.org. -- Evan 09:04, 8 Sep 2003 (PDT)
OK, seperate factbook pages may not be necessary since the original factbook can be linked, if necessary. Nevertheless, some info from the factbook seems to be useful. So you prefer to edit all the factbook stuf manualy? With a lot of "stat slashing" summaries? And how about the proposal to initialize the coutry pages with a useful heading structure? ---By the way: Did you ever think about a problem that may rise when Wikitravel will be an often used Internet travel guide? Commercial tour agencies could start to bomb Wikitravel with scripts in order to place recommendations on their own stuff or to throw out the concurence. Can you prevent those scripts? --- Hansm 09:44, 2003 Sep 8 (PDT)


I think that the stat slashing is the best way to go. If you think about it, all wikitravel articles should be edited by someone (human not script) at some point, so I'd rather let people pick and choose what facts to leave rather than have a script. Right now they work as a good place holder and probably encourage people to edit pages. As for commercial tour agencies, I guess we'll have to deal with that if it ever happens.Majnoona
No, Majnoona. The factbook import is some placeholder, but not a good one, and it does rather the opposit from encouraging people to write. See above why I do think so. --- Hansm 12:38, 2003 Sep 8 (PDT)
The cia factbook info is partially useful, but partially completely UNuseful because it's so darned long! I've been manually editing them but it takes forever... One suggestion - if you want to use a script to put the appropriate HEADERS into each article then that might be a very good thing to do because it gives people something concrete to work off. Newbies don't know that they're there and I'm STILL 'forgetting' what they're supposed to be after a month.
You can rip it all out. Ctl+A in your edit window should do it, eh? -- Evan 19:56, 8 Sep 2003 (PDT)
Hmmm. I kinda agree with you Karen, but I'm still not liking this "Utopian" solution. I'm thinking we have two issues here: 1)Scripting. I'd like to suggest creating a script policy. Maybe something along the lines of "A majority of admins must agree to any script that will effect more than n pages." Or something. Move this discussion elsewhere? 2)The default format for country pages. I'd like people to comment on the subset of facts I have on the Wikitravel:Country article template before anything else happens. If we are going to make some sort of global change, I'd like to only do it once. WikiTravel should be 'hands on' as much as possible or it's not going to be usefull. Majnoona
Well, for starters I'm leaving more info in than you... I think it's potentially useful to know what the major industries/produce etc are for the country. It gives you a taste of it in a very quick and painless way. btw, if everyone just took on ten countries to hack-and-slash the totally irrelevant stats we'd be done in no time and we wouldn't NEED to be talking about a bot! It takes less than five minutes per page once you've done a few. KJ 18:19, 8 Sep 2003 (PDT)
I agree!! Usually I'm all for scripts, but it doesn't seem worth the bother at this point. All of this is a one-off anyway since all the countries will more or less develop in their own way... Please feel more than free to change what I have on the Wikitravel:Country article template to fit what you've been doing (If I dont agree we can have my first 'edit war' ;-)). I'll be doing quite a bit of weeding over the next few days (classes have started and I'm easily bored). Still think the scripting issue will come up sooner or later... Majnoona
Maj: why don't you get started on a Wikitravel:script policy page? (They're called "bots" on Wikipedia, btw -- for no good reason). -- Evan 19:56, 8 Sep 2003 (PDT)

Has the script already been run?! I'm trying to find an unaltered country so I can make a list of which stats I think should be kept and I can't find one! I've hit the random button about twenty times and all I get are 'hack-and-slashed' entries with very little statistical info remaining... so has somebody been hard at work, or have I been unlucky? btw, I'm limited in what I can do today - the whole internet seems to be running like a snail... :( KJ 18:51, 8 Sep 2003 (PDT)

Try List of countries. China was the first one I hit and it was unmodified. -- Evan 19:51, 8 Sep 2003 (PDT)

Hans: here are some reasons I don't like scripts:

  • Unintended consequences. If you have a bug in your script, you muck up a whole lot of pages, and you either have to correct them, or I have to correct them.
  • Unilateral. You get a whole bunch of pages that work exactly the way you want them to. If I want them to work another way, I have to write another script.
  • Suck up resources. Bots take up bandwidth and other resources on the server that could be used by people hand-editing a file.
  • Unnecessary. Most problems that people want to make bots for are unnecessary. As KJ pointed out, we could replace all the articles imported from the CIA factbook with country templates with just a few minutes of work from a number of Wikitravellers. This other approach takes less person-hours overall, and it requires buy-in from a lot of people.

I know you've done a lot of work on your script, and I hate to oppose it, but I don't like the CIA factbook sub-article idea, and I don't want bots running for non-consensus projects. -- Evan 19:51, 8 Sep 2003 (PDT)

I found some. Must have been 'luck of the draw' that made edited ones turn up before. Maybe we're making more of a dent in the pile than I thought? :) KJ 20:19, 8 Sep 2003 (PDT)

I agree with Maj in the point that the dicussion can be divided into the two mentiond issues and I want to encourage the admins to write the Wikitravel:script policy. Be sure that I won't violate it.

Concerning the script discussion: I have run the script on my testing pages, only, and I won't run it until an agreement is found. Evan: Making the script was rather playing around and personal research than kind of work. So, it need not be run only cause it exits. Of course, unintended consequences are always a risk when using scripts, but I don't estimate them to be too big in this case since most country pages are still in their original state or "stat-slashed" only. If already more elaborated pages should get damaged, it wouldn't be such a big deal to restore them. The result would be only unilateral if the script was run without agreement about the Wikitravel:Country article template. The bandwith and the resources on the server are not more charged as they would be by manual editings, propably even less since manual editing often requires previews.

Concerning the Country Article Template discussion: I'm still convinced that a predefined header structure on every country page would make writing much easier for newbies, and not only for them. Furthermore, I don't see what should be bad with some selected country infos in table form, but the original tables are much too long. But propably, the Wikitravel talk:Country article template page is really a better place for discussions about that. --- Hansm 02:41, 2003 Sep 9 (PDT)


Moved from article by Evan


So, do I understand correctly that the idea is to edit and build upon the useful info. from the CIA world Factbook in order to get an article with information valuable for travelling? Or are we aiming to completely replace the CIA World Factbook information with new text?

My personal feeling is that we need to change the country articles to be fully prose, and not have all that silly tabular stuff that's on the imported pages right now. I think that a lot of the tabular information would make good facts to include in prose about a country, but I don't think it's necessary to keep them in tabular form. So, yes, replace. -- Evan 06:15, 30 Sep 2003 (PDT)

Defactbookization Status[edit]

So, I did a database query, and of the 258 articles imported by User:CIAWorldFactbook2002, 111 have been edited by someone else, and 147 are still untouched.

Kind of humbling -- we have a lot of work to do. --Evan 09:59, 24 Dec 2003 (PST)

That was the decision of at least 3 admins, Evan included. Now it's perhaps to late to solve this prob with a script. But I'm sure that many buisy manual workers will do it, just a matter of time. -- Hansm 20:34, 2004 Jan 9 (EST)
For the record, it took until today to finish converting Factbook articles into Wikitravel-format articles. By my count, that's 2 years, 9 months, and 28 days after the import was completed. It probably would have taken longer, but I got sick of seeing those imports on every funky little Pacific Island nation I looked at, and decided to crank through the last 40 of them in a couple days. - Todd VerBeek 18:15, 5 June 2006 (EDT)

Benefits of Defactbooking a country page[edit]

One thing I have noticed is that after I have defactbooked a country page only then will someone start editing the page and adding good information, even though the page has previously been left untouched for months. Perhaps this means that many of the Factbook listings are acting as a barrier to making good Wikitravel articles. It may be too daunting to change a factbook country article. Maybe contributors peceive a seemingly complete article and are reluctant to change it as they cannot find somewhere to add appropriate information. Simply adding a template, moving a few notes from the geography section that are reworded into an introductory paragraph, plucking out the capital, ports and harbors, languages, climate, terrain and history and adding a stub notice seems to do wonders. Takes about half an hour to do, especially if one is previewing a few times to get the map positioned right. -- Huttite 05:39, 20 May 2004 (EDT)

VFD Discussion[edit]

Wikitravel:CIA World Factbook 2002 import[edit]

  • Keep. Per the January VFD factbook pages have been deleted, but I'm listing this here as it wasn't clear from that VFD whether this page was included or not. I say keep this article - it's harmless and a discussion about how Wikitravel country articles got their start. -- Ryan • (talk) • 13:49, 9 May 2010 (EDT)
  • Keep. Correctly phrased as an historical article. No need to delete this. --inas 20:36, 9 May 2010 (EDT)
  • Keep. I actually noted this particular page in the original VfD proposal as outside its scope, but it was behind a renamed link ([[...|discussion pages]]), which in retrospect was not as clear as it should have been. — D. Guillaime 00:00, 10 May 2010 (EDT)

Result: Kept. -- Ryan • (talk) • 23:29, 20 May 2010 (EDT)

Wikitravel talk:CIA World Factbook 2002 import[edit]

  • Keep. Per the January VFD factbook pages have been deleted, but I'm listing this here as it wasn't clear from that VFD whether this page was included or not. Delete if Wikitravel:CIA World Factbook 2002 import is deleted, keep otherwise. -- Ryan • (talk) • 13:49, 9 May 2010 (EDT)
  • Keep. Talk page for above. --inas 20:37, 9 May 2010 (EDT)

Result: Kept. -- Ryan • (talk) • 23:29, 20 May 2010 (EDT)

So where are these scripts?[edit]

The MediaWiki manual's Importing external content page still has a prominent section "Example: CIA World Factbook 2002".

Yet apart from the dead passive voice Scripts were written, tests were done, and eventually the entire factbook was slurped into the system, there's no reference to the actual scripts! Where are they, otherwise I'm going to delete the link over there. skierpage 14:43, 20 September 2012 (EDT)

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