Proposal talk:Geonotice improvements

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Great proposal. We've already discussed this internally as one of the key improvements we want to make to the CentralNotice system. I've pointed Tomasz Finc, who is the principal developer of the CentralNotice system, to this discussion in case he wants to weigh in on some of the issues involved -- this is definitely something that could immediately be taken forward by a skilled volunteer.--Eloquence 05:12, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

Excellent. If no volunteer takes it up, I hope the Foundation will consider hiring someone. A geography-based alert system for marshaling journalists (whether amateur or professional) seems to be just the kind of thing that people like Jay Rosen and Clay Shirky (former and current Wikimedia Advisory Board members, incidentally) are looking for as an element of the future of news. If their ideas about the future of news pan out (professional-amateur collaboration will be the norm; volunteer/amateur contributions will allow professional journalists to do more with less, a necessity given the decline in news ad revenue), it would be sad if Wikimedia projects ended up not being significant players because our news projects just couldn't provide enough useful functionality or attract enough users.--ragesoss 16:10, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
It would be great to get someone on board to add this functionality in. Were already considering basic geo location identification for our next fund raiser gateway and I'm sure we'll learn plenty through its implementation. --Tfinc 18:16, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
Happy to say that we have a GeoIP extension nearing completion. It's first test will be for our Donation gateway. Subsequently, it's being built to be re-used anywhere else.

Commons:Geocode Users

Commons:Geocode Users should be mentioned here. I wrote a little openstreetmap-based drag and drop javascript thingie to generate a babel-box template for commons users to supply their location. The basic idea was to allow users to subscribe to feeds of articles needing images near their base location. Many articles on the different wikipedias are already geocoded, and crossreferencing these coordinates with the user coordinates, and filtering for missing-images-templates or even looking for articles with no images would be a rather trivial task. Unfortunately the user response to this idea was not very enthusiastic. This might be in part due to bad marketing on my place [1], privacy concerns, and simple misunderstandings (I don't want to be spammed with picture requests; see recent wikitech mailinglist thread). Anyhow. I think this might be a good way to start. Usability can be easily improved so that the user does not have to manually paste the template. And the backend logic to bring users and image requests together is - as I said - trivial to implement. --Dschwen 17:45, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

I'd like to see this done in the same way as OpenStreetMaps, where user location is part of preferences and there is the instant gratification of seeing other dots nearby representing other users who are sharing their locations. And having that as part of preferences could a) lead to higher adoption, and b) work as the basis for all kinds of map preferences.--ragesoss 14:46, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
The magic needs to just happen without requiring users to do anything first. Think of reading articles and "you can edit", it's all right there without any opt-in. Manually defined locations can be one of the sources for the information, but it shouldn't be the only one, and it's not necessary to have it public. There's the IP location databases, and Firefox 3.5 provides a facility to give websites the user's location. Firefox is wired to Google's geolocation API by default, and I continue to be amazed how it misses the location I'm sitting at by only about five metres. As much as possible should be done automatically and offer the users a possibility to refine or opt-out. --Para 15:26, 1 August 2009 (UTC)

great idea

I think this would be awesome to try out! Geonotices have proved to be wonderful for helping out with local meetups; I can even imagine having two filters, opt-into notifications for local events and opt-into notifications for wikinews stuff. Both pages to set the notifications could be unprotected, and we could just see how it went. -- Phoebe 21:34, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

The key thing that must be opt-in is sharing your own geolocation data. At a base privacy level, you share no geolocation data. For any query of a geolocation system to work, you must submit a location - presumably your own. Some WMF server can then process a query with that and give you some results. If you let the server keep the data and regularly repeat a query, you could provide an alert service - possibly as a geo-watchlist, or even as an RSS feed of alerts. If there is a mechanism for anyone to build a query ready to take a location and save it, then anyone can add it to their geo-watchlist.
Beyond this you're likely going to need to share geo-location information between users. Is there really going to be a significant number of people want to share anything more detailed than the nearest town or city? --Brian McNeil 15:35, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
Agree. See [2]. In most cases higher precision than the nearest town is not necessary in any case. If you are willing to travel at least 10mi I do not need your location down to a yard. --Dschwen 16:00, 1 August 2009 (UTC)

A fine suggestion but

In the amount of time this suggestion has had in discussion so far someone simply could have written the software. There doesn't appear to be any real opposition to it. I'd expect most of the discussion to just be minor feature shed-painting. The original watchlist geonotice stuff I did for enwp was something like 15 minutes of work. --Gmaxwell 01:31, 1 August 2009 (UTC)

I agree, writing the stuff is not the problem. But convincing users to participate will be. Commons' Geocode Users has about 50 participants. Discussion should focus on how to sell it to the user and how to take the wind out of the (usually vocal) nay-sayers' sails (see the FAQ on the Commons Geocode Users page for an attempt). --Dschwen 04:08, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
Actually. I'll do it, I'll write a proof of concept bot for what I think would be a good use on commons. --Dschwen 04:09, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
Well, I just went and joined the commons geocode category. I'm not active on commons, but can you give me some idea how well publicized it's been? There certainly wasn't a technical barrier to participation, so I'm curious what the barrier is. -- Philippe 06:54, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
Well to publicize it right we'd have to set sitenotice up and mention it in the welcome template. Buth things may be easier if there is some application to show. --Dschwen 13:30, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
I certainly hope this is something that is easy to set up, and that this is something that can get wide community support as well. I wonder, is English Wikipedia the only place where something like this has been implemented so far? Personally, I am most looking forward to seeing more editors of the multilingual Wikipedias at our local events in polyglot New York City.--Pharos 20:49, 1 August 2009 (UTC)

work in progress

This is an excerpt from a set of simple scripts I'm writing on the toolserver. So far I'm extracting the locations of commons users, and the coordinates and titles of en.wp articles that have a request (photo,audio,video) template on their talk page. The list shows potential photo shooting targets in my neighborhood. I already have an idea for detecting clusters of coordinates which may be worth taking a slightly longer trip for the users. --Dschwen 17:30, 6 August 2009 (UTC)

Nice! I'd like to play around with it once it's in a state where non-programmers can use it fruitfully.--ragesoss 18:28, 6 August 2009 (UTC)
A simple query interface is up and running. I'll have to filter the dataset some more. Most town articles on en wp contain redundant coordinates. --Dschwen 18:12, 7 August 2009 (UTC)
You're planning on something more open-ended later, right? For example, something that could filter based on user location from a large list of templated notices along the lines of:

{{Geonotice photo op template

|photo opportunity = yes

|reporting opportunity = yes


|time= 20:00 UTC

|location = Main concourse, Grand Central Terminal, New York City, New York

|coordinates = 40°45′10″N 73°58′35″W (this would preferable be optional in cases where something in the "location" parameter has coordinates in its article)

|description = Senator Smith is hold a press conference about proposed improvements to the Metro North rail service.

|link =


...where a template like that could translate relatively intuitive info from users into a form that's easy for a script to make sense of. At least, that's the kind of preliminary system I had in mind for making geonotices useful for Wikinews.--ragesoss 19:46, 7 August 2009 (UTC)

Yeah. Make the template generate a url with all the parameters in it then we are in bussiness ;-). --Dschwen 20:31, 7 August 2009 (UTC)
There is a "Results on Google Maps" link now. Yeah, evil, I know, but quick and easy to implement (plus I still have issues with OSM + Konqueror). And I finally got around to make numbered labels (with imagemagick). With the default pushpins printed maps are pretty much useless. (note to self: poke User:para about this). --Dschwen 23:06, 7 August 2009 (UTC)

Bug 5361: Local/Geographic User Messages

Just a quick link to a 2006 bug report on this topic:
GChriss 02:21, 9 August 2009 (UTC)

Improving the existing code

try {       xhr = new ActiveXObject("Microsoft.XMLHTTP");   }
catch(e){   xhr = new XMLHttpRequest(); }

function gc_getNotices() {
	path = wgServer + wgScript + "?title=Wikipedia:Geonotices.js&action=raw&ctype=text/javascript&maxage=3600"
	xhr.onreadystatechange = function(){
		if(xhr.readyState == 4 && xhr.status == 200)gn_processResults(xhr.responseText)
	}'GET', path, true);
function gn_processResults(text) {
	var notices = !(/[^,:{}\[\]0-9.\-+Eaeflnr-u \n\r\t]/.test(text.replace(/"(\\.|[^"\\])*"/g, ''))) && eval('(' + text + ')');
	if(!notices) return
	for (var notice in notices) {
		var R = 6371; // km
		var d = Math.acos(Math.sin(*Math.sin(geoip.latitude) + 
				Math.cos(*Math.cos(geoip.latitude) *
				Math.cos(geoip.longitude-notice.lon)) * R;
		if(d < (gn_radius || notice.radius || 250)){
			document.getElementById('watchlist-message').innerHTML+='<div class="watchlist-message cookie-ID_'+notice+'" id="ID">'+gn_format(notice.text)+'</div>'
function gn_format(text) {
	return text.replace(/&/g, "&amp;").replace(/"/g, "&quot;").replace(/</g, "&lt;").replace(/>/g, "&gt;").replace(/\[\[([^[\]{|}]+)\]\]/g, "[[$1|$1]]").replace(/\[\[([^[\]{|}]+)\|.*?\]\]('??\w*)/g, '<a href="'+wgArticlePath+'" title="$1" class="extiw">$2$3</a>');
if(typeof(geoip) != 'undefined')gc_getNotices()

Instead of coding the coordinates into the loader, it loads a editable JSON page (which some xsv checks), finds the distance to the IP and parses for display. I haven't tested it and it doesn't have cookie support. -- Dispenser 21:16, 15 August 2009 (UTC)


Some proposals will have massive impact on end-users, including non-editors. Some will have minimal impact. What will be the impact of this proposal on our end-users? -- Philippe 00:09, 3 September 2009 (UTC)

Channels and tags

One could add channels, categories and/or tags to allow people to filter for relevant events or to assign different relevance (and consequently willingness to travel) to different types of events. --Fasten (Wikinews: Aktion Deutschland Hilft asks for donations after the earthquake in Indonesia) 18:50, 19 October 2009 (UTC)