Talk:WikiLaw (3)

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I'm moving this page to WikiLaw (3) for two reasons: (A) This is actually the third proposal titled Wikilaw, and (B) this is the convention used by other recent proposals [ie. NonFreeWiki (2)]. My apologies for the inconvenience. –MJLTalk 23:41, 30 May 2019 (UTC)

Development wikiEdit

@Capankajsmilyo, Arepticous, and Owen912: I have included my testing wiki in the proposal. I'm currently testing out an implementation of Cargo in order to see if that is a good alternative to Wikibase. A good use case of Cargo is DiscourseDB which utilizes Page Forms. It's not as bad as I originally thought, but I'm still working on ways to improve the interface. –MJLTalk 03:03, 10 June 2019 (UTC)


This proposal should really clarify its scope and how it differs from the countless existing projects. Some countries have sufficiently good public systems. Others have for instance Wikisource,, and , plus several PACER "mirrors" such as , , the Internet Archive etc. Nemo 20:16, 30 June 2019 (UTC)

@Nemo: It is my understanding that what separates WikiLaw from the rest is the structured data portion of it. This will not only make laws machine readable, but it will reflect the law's true nature as an interconnected and living thing always in repair. Plus, having the statutes of many legal codes in one place will allow for easier research and review. –MJLTalk 06:44, 1 July 2019 (UTC)
That's definitely nothing new. Please click the links and study their technology! Nemo 10:47, 18 December 2019 (UTC)
I think a key difference with this project is it won't be limited to US Law. It will attempt to encompass all jurisdictions. There are no services like that. Supertrinko (talk) 19:24, 19 December 2019 (UTC)
Exactly! –MJLTalk 15:25, 20 December 2019 (UTC)

Government Debates leading up to statutesEdit

I'm curious if this sort of thing would be out of scope for this project? The debates that lead up to laws passing or failing to pass? Would WikiLaw hold Parliamentary minutes showing the debates and concerns raised about new laws, debates that could end up affecting the bill before it is brought into law. I think reading such content would be valuable in terms of researching the history and intent of a law.

I think WikiLaw would be a good home to store all parliamentary/congressional/other minutes.

As an example: I could take a Bill raised in Parliament, WikiLaw would hold the initial bill, the parliamentary readings, amendments made to the bill, and the final Act that is passed into law, and then amendments made to that act in future. Supertrinko (talk) 03:25, 13 January 2020 (UTC)

Note that all this is in scope for Wikisource as well, although the English Wikisource has few: s:en:Category:Parliamentary speeches. Have you tried posting a selection of parliamentary debates from some country/topic/law/whatever on Wikisource, to get an idea of how it may work on MediaWiki and what features might be interesting to have? Nemo 09:53, 13 January 2020 (UTC)
While on their own, parliamentary debates would be well placed on WikiSource, combined with the benefits of placing legislation on WikiLaw that have been laid out on this project page, parliamentary debates would be a useful addition and better placed on WikiLaw. It would assist in researching the history of certain legislation, something that is not so easily done on WikiSource, as WikiLaw would be tailored to legislation and legal history. Supertrinko (talk) 20:27, 13 January 2020 (UTC)
@Supertrinko and Nemo bis: My speculation would be that Wikisource would maintain the transcribed record of any debates, while WikiLaw would manage its position in relation to various legal database. For example, I introduce HB-555 in Congress. It gets amended in Committee, and we debate on the house floor. Finally HB-555 would become MJL's Law. Relevant items within WikiLaw's database would likely include HB-555 as introduced, HB-555 as amended, the public act, and the codified statute. A property of these items could be a pointer to the debate on Wikisource. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯MJLTalk 06:31, 26 January 2020 (UTC)
@MJL: It's a good point. While Bills and Acts will be changing based on amendments, and therefore are well placed on WikiLaw. Parliamentary/Congressional debates and readings are unchanging, and therefore are best placed on Wikisource. I agree with this. Supertrinko (talk) 19:17, 26 January 2020 (UTC)

Version ControlEdit

Wikimedia content has an inherent feature that would fit perfectly in WikiLaw. Version control. All changes that are ever made to any page across Wikimedia are extremely detailed in "View history".

Legislation is something that sort of has this, in that every Bill that becomes an Act is attributed to a member of Parliament (I'll use the Westminster system for my example, but I'm sure it applies in other systems).

Every Act could have a history page that shows which politician made each change and when. It could link to sessions of government where the bill went through its readings, the related hansard, what amendments were made, and eventually show the final bill that was enacted into law, amending another act.

Politicians themselves could have their own pages on WikiLaw, where you can research the history of Bills they have introduced, or speeches they've made (assuming we'd want government speeches included).

With this in mind, I'd suggest each section of legislation should have its own page, like what I've done with Pensions Act 1849, s2. If any amendments are made that changes a section, the section can be updated. Then pages like Pensions Act 1849/Whole display the entire legislation.

With this, you'd have a page for a section in the bill it was originally created in, then any acts that use that paragraph would repeat that text.

All this is intended to make tracking changes to legislation much easier, which I think is one of the reasons WikiLaw should be a thing. Supertrinko (talk) 21:48, 27 August 2020 (UTC)

Dev wikiEdit

So at the Development test wiki, I was able to make a pretty good approximation of what I think a page on a single section of a code would look like.

Basically, CGS 1-2z will display a reader-friendly version (mainspace) of some prominent information which is stored in Item:Q5. The mainspace page calls this information (like the text of the section) using the pre-existing parser function {{#statements:...}}. This method has the obvious limitation of not being able to store "rich text" (or mediawiki formatted code), so that will remain a challenge going forward with automatic intrawiki links which is a highly desired feature for this project.

Eventually, as will be shown with CGS 1-1, WikiLaw will be able to generate tables for certain sections which consist of multiple subsections. Likewise, mainspace pages on different legal codes will be broken up as a table into links of its constituent parts. –MJLTalk 04:54, 29 October 2020 (UTC)

@Supertrinko: You might be interested in the above update. –MJLTalk 04:57, 29 October 2020 (UTC)
@MJL:I'm liking it so far, agree that interlinking will be an essential hurdle to cross. Another thing will be making navigating older versions of acts easy (i.e. before amendments), without creating many duplicate pages of the same paragraphs. I suspect item pages may be of help there. Supertrinko (talk) 21:57, 29 October 2020 (UTC)
@Supertrinko: Btw, I've merged your wikilaw testing wiki into my testing wiki and added you as a 'crat and admin there. I hope you don't mind, but I think our efforts should be unified. –MJLTalk 14:07, 3 November 2020 (UTC)
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