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Wikidata’s odd first 100 entries

Wikidata, the database that centralizes data from the Wikipedia-related projects, made odd choices to fill its first 100 entries.

Wikidata is – basically – the editable database that glues all the Wikipedia websites together. Wikidata launched in 2012, 11 years after Wikipedia did. Unlike Wikipedia’s anarchic evolution, Wikidata’s entities seems to follow a pattern. Logically, each entry in Wikidata has an ID number, and the designers made a few interesting choices when it came to prioritizing entries:

These five first arguments clearly show that the designers decided to start with the largest concepts possible that evolve around us.

The following is a bit strange : Q6 and Q7 are empty, and seem to have never existed (so they’re not deleted entries, but voluntary blanks). Q8 is happiness and then Q9, Q10, Q11 and Q12 are all empty, and seem to have never existed either.

Q13 indicates that the Wikidata database designers knew what they were doing, because Q13 is triskaidekaphobia, or the fear of the number 13 (ha!).

Q14 is empty.

Then places appear :

And then suddenly Q19 is… Cheating. Funny how the designers of Wikidata felt the necessity to introduce this entity early in the process.

Then we head back to a few places on earth:

And Q23 also comes as a surprise: George Washington. So the first personified entity introduced in Wikidata – before God and its sons of all religions, and before all the heroes of Human History – stands the father of the USA.

Q24 shows that the designers of Wikidata have room for humor as Q24 is Jack Bauer, the character of the series 24.

Then we jump back to listing places:

And Q42 is of course dedicated to Douglas Adams, the author who popularized the number 42.

Q43 is Turkey, and Q44 is… Beer!

Q45: Portugal, Q46: Europe, Q47 is empty, Q48: Asia, Q49: North America, Q50 is empty, Q51: Antarctica, and finally Q52 is Wikipedia!

Q53 is Club-Mate, the second alcohol after Q47: Beer, and the first brand in the list. That’s a rather odd choice, but maybe it was the favorite drink of the database designers.

Q54 is the meme line “All your base are belong to us”, again an odd choice and probably a form of humor.

Q55 is Netherlands, and Q56 is the famous lolcat. Q57 is the song Never Gonna Give You Up, Q58 is penis, Q59 is PHP, Q60 is New York City, Q61 is Washington D.C., and Q62 is San Francisco.

Q63 doesn’t exist.

Q64 is Berlin, Q65 is Los Angeles, Q66 is Boeing, Q67 is Airbus, Q68 is computer, Q69 is the Swiss city Courrendlin, Q70 is Bern, Q71 is Geneva, Q72 is Zürich, Q73 is Internet Relay Chat (IRC), Q74 is Breighton, Q75 is internet, and Q76 is Barack Obama, the second person in the list after Q23 Washington.

Let’s also note Tim Berners-Lee credited as father of the internet in Q80, Abraham Lincoln in Q91, The fictional dish Lopado­temacho­selacho­galeo­kranio­leipsano­drim­hypo­trimmato­silphio­karabo­melito­katakechy­meno­kichl­epi­kossypho­phatto­perister­alektryon­opte­kephallio­kigklo­peleio­lagoio­siraio­baphe­tragano­pterygon is Q101, pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis in Q102, Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious in Q103, and Q666 is Number of the beast.

The above observations show that the order of apparition of entities in the database sometimes fit a hierarchical logic (from universe to human, listing countries before cities), but the introduction of lighter concepts early in the process (Q56:lolcat…) shows a random approach to knowledge-building, and suggests that no ideology was followed to prioritize one element over the other (although the Anglo-Saxon culture clearly dominates). However, when observing the use of the numbers 13, 19, 23, 24, 42, and the empty slots (6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 47, 50, ..), there seems to be a more hidden numerological pattern established by the designers of the database.