Task 2: Help us to show who fills the role of head of government on Wikidata

Lucy Chambers
Jun 1, 2017 · 4 min read

Update: 2017–06–05. This mission is now over. But don’t despair, you can still help! There are now more missions like this over on the Wikidata:WikiProject Heads of state and government. Come join us!

Welcome back! This is part two of a five part series examining how to use Wikidata to answer the question: “What is the gender breakdown of heads of government across the world?”.

Last time, we were trying to fill in blanks in the office held by heads of government. Our job now is to answer the question:

“Who currently occupies the role of head of government in a given country?”

The way to say this in Wikidata speak is “Last time we filled in blanks in P1313 statements, our job now is to complete the P1308 statements for all of the offices we added last time”.

To do this, we’re going to be looking at another report that we call the officeholders report (or P1313 + P1308). You can find the report here. And below is a quick overview of what things look like at the top of that list at time of posting:

First, let’s deal with the gaps:

The information in the second column is what we added in the P1313 report in the first challenge. The information in the third column is what we are focussing on this time. So how do we add the officeholder?

You can’t hold an office that doesn’t exist, so if the office is missing or incorrect for the country you care about, take a peep back at the previous post and do those steps first. Once the office exists, visit the page for that office (you can click through from the second column of the report).

On that page, search for whether there is a statement about the post of officeholder. Often there is, it just isn’t up to date.

If there isn’t a statement about officeholder, add one. You can find the “+ add” button at the bottom of the list of statements:

Start typing ‘officeholder’ in the box indicated and you should see it pop up. Note: we are writing this with English as our default language, but you can use Wikidata in your language and search for the equivalent, or just type P1308 and you’ll get the right result!

Now, add the person who currently occupies the role — start typing and suggestions should start popping up.

Here I’m editing the Prime Minister of Madagascar:

In most cases, these people should already exist in Wikidata but if the record for the person doesn’t exist, add it by clicking “Create new item”. Next, fill in the necessary statements, including at minimum:

  • instance of (P31): human (Q5)
  • occupation (P106): politician (Q82955)
  • position held (P39): the particular name of the role of the head of government in a specific country. E.g. Prime Minister of Algeria (not just prime minister). For bonus points, add a start time here as a qualifier.
  • sex or gender (P21)

If you are relatively familiar with Wikidata, you can always add additional fields as suggested here.

Second, let’s chat about what to do if you spot that the wrong person is listed as the officeholder

In most cases when the data is wrong here, it is probably because it is out of date — i.e. this person used to be the head of government but isn’t any more. If this is the case:

  • Visit the page for the office in question (click through from the second column of the report if that’s easiest).
  • Find the section for officeholder and look at who is listed there.
  • Add an end time qualifier for any people who are no longer head of government, and check that the rank for this entry is normal. (See the Wikidata documentation on ranking).
  • Add the current head of government and a start time qualifier for them. Change the ranking to preferred (see above).
  • Refer to the ranking documentation for what to do if incorrect information has been added (i.e. a person was entered who was never head of government).


Congratulations! You have just made another important link in the step to make politicians around the world more accountable.

Have any questions or struggling with any of the steps? Tweet us at @everypolitbot and we’ll gladly help. It also helps us to improve this documentation so you are doing us a favour.

Join us in the next post when we will be examining the data from another angle.

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Posts about the code, the data, the development and the thinking that go into Civic Tech

Lucy Chambers

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Plain language talker on tech. Twitter = ⚡️reactions.

mySociety for coders

Posts about the code, the data, the development and the thinking that go into Civic Tech