Sysop:Public domain

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There is a lot of information in the public domain, from our own trusty U.S. government. You know, the folks who gave us free GPS satellites, invented the Internet, stuff like that . . .

Anything on a web site with a .gov suffix is likely to be in the public domain, which means we can use it any way we want. (I assume our editorial policy requires us to give them credit, but it's not a violation of law if we "forget" to credit them.)

I've been learning a lot about PHP programming and databases this quarter, and I think I could program a bot to create articles. It could do it more accurately, and a whole lot more quickly, than copying and pasting by hand.

If you all give me the go ahead, I'll look for a database of terms and explanations similar to the one Sharon and I were copying from (National Institutes for Health). I was thinking of the CIA fact file with country profiles.

The way I would program the bot would be to see if a given title had an article (if so, do nothing; go on to the next entry). If it's a "red link", my bot would create an entry with the raw text copied from the public domain source. It would add a link or footnote, giving them credit.

I would "throttle back" the bot, so it would only add 10 entries per hour, and only when we had someone around to watch it. I would also provide an emergency shut off switch available to all sysops!

This would be my first bot, so wish me luck. :-) --Ed Poor Talk 17:15, 10 July 2007 (EDT)

That's a very intriguing suggestion, Ed. The attractiveness of this would depend on the reliability and quality of writing of the specific government source. I look forward to seeing what you come up with.--Aschlafly 17:23, 10 July 2007 (EDT)
This sounds like a good idea. My only concern is the quality of the entires being generated. I usually have to sort through the .gov indexes to find the useable information. ~ SharonTalk 18:10, 10 July 2007 (EDT)

I found country backgrounds from the CIA World Factbook, all laid out neatly in a table. [1]. Check out my (second, corrected) addition to Senegal. --Ed Poor Talk 18:43, 10 July 2007 (EDT)