Proposal:A central wiki for interlanguage links

From Strategic Planning
Status (see valid statuses)

The status of this proposal is:
Request for Discussion / Sign-Ups

This proposal is associated with the bolded strategic priorities below.

  1. Achieve continued growth in readership.
  2. Focus on quality content.
  3. Increase Participation
  4. Stabilize and improve the infrastructure
  5. Encourage Innovation

This is a featured proposal.
This template automatically categorizes into Category:Featured proposals. All proposals marked by this template should be on this list too.


Interlanguage links between all languages
Current situation:
interwiki links
between all languages
=> proposed links of all languages to one central point
Proposed situation:
links of all languages
to one central point

A central place to maintain interlanguage links instead of full maintenance of all interlanguage links on all languages to avoid n2 complexity.


Interlanguage links could be added by linking only to the central wiki, which will fetch all the interlanguage links from the central wiki. On this new central wiki interlanguage links are maintained only once, but in the same way they are on a current project. This will result in a much less complex n1 solution.


As the Wikimedia projects grow, more articles are written about the same subject in different languages. When one interlanguage link is added in one project, in the current situation, it needs to be added to the other as well.

In the case where 20 languages have an article on the same subject, each article should link to 19 other languages, so there are 20*19=380 links to edit and maintain, almost n2 complexity. In case of 100 languages, the number of interlanguage links will amount to nearly 10,000. With 250 editable Wikipedias, we can have up to 62,250 individual interlanguage links per lemma.

This proposal will have a positive effect on the article history and on watchlists too, as many edits are related to interlanguage links.

Interlanguage conflicts will be much easier to resolve, as only one place needs to be changed.

First step towards a Central database of facts

The interwiki would have a page for each topic with an automatically generated list of "what links here" which can be used for the interwiki links. This could be extended in a number of ways.

  • If this interwiki page also contained the info box data for that topic then any language could translate the info box and autocreate info boxes in that language for every topic using that info box. Omegawiki could be used to automatically translate infoboxes and tie each data item to a particular defined meaning.
  • Category information could also be included as structured data so that searches for intersections between categories could be done automatically eg. MALE ARTISTS, BORN in KANSAS,USA between 1930 and 1940.
  • The table of interlanguage links could be used by Omegawiki to automagically create new entries there (if they wanted to).
  • Interwiki would not be limited to "notable". Topics which are grouped or listified on Wikipedias could have separate interwiki pages - separate pages for the Holy Roman Empire, the German Empire, the Weimar Republic, Hitler's Germany, East Germany, West Germany, Reunified Germany with start dates and end dates and maps for each. This allows unambiguous references in interwiki while allowing the encyclopedia pages to have a more narrative structure which is not distorted by the requirements of structured data.
  • Once an interwiki topic has a coordinate the Google map overlay can link to the page in your language - not just English.
  • As the structured data would be machine readable it would be reusable for many other functions.

Key Questions

  • How to handle the transition between the current and new situation
  • What will be the page name on the central wiki. In my opinion it is not really an issue as Commons has a similar challenge.

Potential Costs

This needs a programming solution, which might cost salary


Centralized interwiki database (merged from separate proposal)


Create a single, centralized database to handle interwikis.


Instead of having the interwikis be repeated, often with errors, if not then at least with an excessive amount of bot edits, on all languages, create a new, centralized wiki (or other interface) where the groups of interwiki per subject are defined. On the Wikpedia languages, one would need only to link to this one wiki, and all interwiki (to other languages, but also to Commons, wikispecies, wikisource) would be updated automatically whenever they are changed on the central wiki.

Once such a central wiki is in place, it might also have other uses. It could for example have data around which could be used as parameters for infoboxes on the various languages.


Interwikis have been around for a long time. At first they were created and updated by hand. When that proved to be not manageable any more, bots came to the rescue. However, the interwiki infrastructure is deteriorating again, and we seem to be well beyond the time where bots could save us. Plans like the above have been floating around for many years (I still have an email I sent where I called it "an idea that has been floating around more" - it is from 2004), but it seems nobody ever got around making an attempt to do it.

Key Questions

  • What should be used to identify pages on the centralized wiki? English? ID numbers? Any language+name pair?

Potential Costs

  • Developer time
  • The average Wikipedian becoming less connected to interwikis


Proposer: Andre Engels

Community Discussion

Do you have a thought about this proposal? A suggestion? Discuss this proposal by going to Proposal talk:A central wiki for interlanguage links.

Want to work on this proposal?

  1. VisionHolder « talk » 02:28, 30 June 2010 (UTC)
  2. HenkvD 12:57, 30 June 2010 (UTC)
  3. -- --Gaeser 07:06, 1 July 2010 (UTC)
  4. Andrew Dalby 16:37, 3 July 2010 (UTC)
  5. Hoo man 22:42, 7 July 2010 (UTC)
  6. --Julian Mendez 23:33, 12 July 2010 (UTC)
  7. Diego Grez 23:49, 12 July 2010 (UTC)
  8. --Carl Steinbeißer 21:05, 23 July 2010 (UTC)
  9. J 1982 12:22, 20 April 2011 (UTC)
  10. Vibhijain 10:24, 6 May 2011 (UTC)