User:Larry Sanger/Will these comments ever stop

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Can we rename Basque to Basque language, please? I expect we'll want articles on the Basque people and culture. --User:Vicki Rosenzweig

Go ahead! No need to ask me. --User:LMS


Hi Larry -- I can't get links to Amazon and Pricescan to go away -- help! User:JHK


Just don't put in the ISBN numbers... --User:LMS

You can leave 'em for now, I'll fix them all at once in the PHP script (soon...) --Magnus Manske
Yes, please leave them. ISBNs are useful and important information (in fact, I think in this medium, it's more important to have ISBNs than all the other information traditionally in a bibliography--CMS is simply out of step on that one. Let the software decide what to do with them. --LDC

Larry, can you look at my wikification of your article on Argument from common consent - as well as wikiing I've added a couple more points that I made up, and contradicted one of your examples :) - User:Verloren

I'll try to get to it sometime soon. I've just driven to Longmont, Colorado and the plans for the next week are up in the air, but I'll be at work.


Larry, I've sent you a 'favicon.ico' icon by E-mail, which should complement the new logo graphic in modern browsers -- user:The Anome

This is something for the sysadmins to deal with...I forwarded it to Jimbo. --User:LMS


Thanks for the welcome. Interesting project; heard about it in the NYT Magazine piece. Forgot to put in my blurb that I have a philosophy BA. I see you graduated Reed in '91... know Jeff Hungerford (now Brideges)? We were in grad school together in Seattle. --User:Brian Hopkins

Can't say that name rings a bell. I'm very glad to hear that the NYT Magazine piece brought in some good hands! --User:LMS


Trying to redirect ABM Treaty to Treaty between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems results in page name is too long.


I see. Are those the only two names used? My main concern is that "ABM Treaty" might be (or might soon be) ambiguous. --LMS


Dear Larry,

I'm brand new to Wikipedia, but I've jumped in with both feet. Right into a fire! My special interests include fantasy literature, which led me to start a page on Christian mythology. Well, since then it's been madness. I've tried to be neutral, compromising, and respectful, but I'm now seeing wholesale redirection of pages, loss of content I wrote, and ideas that disturb me -- for example, should we really have an encyclopedia with no "Greek mythology" page? (It got redirected to "The stories of the Greek religion.") My question for you -- have I breached etiquette in some way? Am I contributing badly? I feel discouraged -- what can/should I do about it? Should I just let it all drop, forget about these pages, and focus on Tolkien and D&D posts?

Thanks for any comment you have. Sorry to be a pest. -- User:Cayzle

Cayzle: I think you've made a great contribution, and I don't think you've done anything wrong. Just don't let other people get to you. -- User:SJK

I agree completely with Simon: you've made a great, important contribution, and you've essentially done nothing wrong. And don't let me get to you.  :-) If anything--since you ask--I would recommend that you (and all of us, of course!) try to be more sensitive to how others' beliefs are characterized. On those grounds--and this is not to say anything damning at all about you personally, bear in mind--I really do think there's something wrong with Wikipedia's listing old Bible stories as "Christian mythology," without further ado, etc. If there were a big Bible stories or traditional Christian stories article, and then, in addition, a Christian mythology article that explained the very notion of referring to those stories (and perhaps other stories) as a "mythology," that would be good. In any case, this is one issue (unlike other issues) that would be better treated sensitively by an expert. I think the right way to go about finding out how to do this is to solicit the advice of a few different religious studies professors, after having presented the issue clearly and in full.

I hope it's clear that this has nothing to do with you in particular; it has everything to do with the issue that you happened to have raised. Realize that you do not have direct control over what you've contributed. Neither do I (!), and neither does anyone else. We're working on it together, and the only thing that holds us together, I think, is the neutral point of view policy: the only thing that keeps us from all-out constant edit wars is that we are jointly committed to making each other, and future participants and readers, happy with how our many different views are characterized. This gives us a reasonably clear goal that nearly all of us, at least in practice, are willing to pursue. But it requires tolerance and intelligence, and probably a good sense of humor.

Just since you asked!  :-) Cheers, Larry

Under Buffalo, in the State of New York, page my link goes to a description of the water buffalo, bubalus bubalus, instead of the city! Help! http://www.wikipedia.com/wiki/New_York Werner Moeller


Fixed! Buffalo, New York is in the standard U.S. city format. --User:LMS


You wrote on Wikipedia Religion and Mythology standards

"Well, we certainly don't need a "Wikipedia Religion and Mythology standards" page to discuss this tiny issue. I'm insisting on the point mainly because I think it's very important what our joint understanding of what the neutral point of view policy entails--"

LMS, I have often criticized you for (IMO) not being NPOV, and you have often apparently found me offensive about this. In the interest of fairness, I'd like to say that the above strikes me as a great example of how NPOV issues on Wikipedia should be handled. (So am I getting mellow, or are you? :-) Have a good one.)

Excellent. By the way, people aren't NPOV; what they write is or isn't NPOV. You can be as biased as you want, and I don't care at all. What I care about is whether texts are unbiased. --User:LMS

I wanted to contribute a new article on post-structuralism. I mistakenly added it through a link to post-structuralists. I changed the link to make the article "post-structuralism" but the older article (post structuralists) remains and it is the same -- would you mind deleting it? Thanks, SR


Just redirect it to the new article title! Misspellings, alternative spellings, etc., I don't think there's any point in deleting--just redirect 'em.

Very busy here in Colorado, and sorry I haven't been able to participate more, folks. --User:LMS


Larry, Ive managed to work on New_Age some more without anyone over-writing, removing, or revamping. Your opinions are welcome, as always on my graffiti page. If you think the article is close to a done state, maybe Vicki could do some editing to polish it.~User:BF


I'm not really sure I like the 'grey splodge' favicon.ico now on the site: it appears to be based on the old logo, as well. It seems to me to be inferior to the one I submitted; would you like me to submit a few variants on the new logo? -- The Anome


I don't like it either. Complaints on this should be sent to Jimbo. Did you submit that nice "W"? Do it again...to jwales at bomis.com or jasonr at bomis.com. Don't expect immediate service over the holidays, of course. --User:LMS

Done. The Anome

Note: there's a small bug with the version I sent: however, it works nicely as-is for at least IE and Konqueror users, and only looks wrong in Mozilla. I've already sent a new version to Jimbo (Walone2.ico) which should work OK in IE, Konqueror and Mozilla. Merry Christmas! The Anome


Larry, I'd like to ask that you put a page on historicity on your agenda for articles. Your article on falsifiable was appreciated, as I expect one outlining historical criteria would be. -- BenBaker


"Historicity" is one of those words bandied about by Continental philosophers a lot more than someone with my sort of training. The main content of the article would be filed under historicism, I suspect. I'll do a little entry on that. --User:LMS


Thank you for the Christmas present. It does seem that historicity (as I understand it) and historicism (as you have written about it) seem to be different topics. To my knowledge, historicity is 'actual occurrence or existence; historical genuineness'. I would expect that an article on wikipedia would cover what criteria are generally used by historians to support the belief that historical events occurred. Your article is about the belief that there is no "ultimate" truth, no [absolute truth]. But again, thank you for the present, it is quite interesting, and opened my mind to another view I hadn't heard expressed previously. --BenBaker


Oh, I see! Well, I don't know anything about that. You'd have to ask a historian! --User:LMS


Thanks -- this is a pretty interesting project. I don't envy your position, but I appreciate your work. I also want to ask you to do something I do not know how to do: in the new article, "Evolution of Homo sapiens," and the link in the article "Homo sapiens," "Homo" is spelled with a small h. The convention is a capital H -- can you correct this? Thanks, SR


Yep; it's just a matter of doing a redirect. I will do that... --User:LMS


Anchorage, eh? That's where BrantEaton was born (father was serving in the USAF stationed at Elmendorf AFB) --BrantEaton


Very cool! You know, Anchorage has an extremely high "achievement index" (average score tests of school students). So.  :-) --User:LMS


I just read your article, The Nature of God in Monotheistic Religions and find it very interesting, but it leaves me confused because it seems more an abstract discussion of issues in theology in general, rather than a presentation of how the different monotheistic religions view God. Am I misunderstanding the intent? It seems to me that you could change the title to "The Nature of God" and cut the first two paragraphs, and it would still be a very useful and interesting contribution. But I really expected an article on "God in Monotheistic Religions" to be at least as much, if not more, about Monotheistic religions than about "God" as such.

By the way, a Jewish theologian defined "theism" as the claim that God is both imminent and transcendent (thus distinguishing theism from either pantheism or deism, and also setting up an agenda for "theology," viz. how exactly could God be both at the same time? I do not know if this would fit into your discussions of theism, I sense that you are working through a particular intellectual tradition. -- SR


Well, just calling the article "the nature of God," which was my first thought, would raise a more serious problem, viz., the article doesn't discuss all conceptions of God, such as pantheistic and polytheistic ones--it focuses on just the one that is (roughly speaking) shared by the major monotheistic religions. But the article could perhaps live on a different page that makes it clear it's about philosophy and not comparative religion. I solicit suggestions.

The issue you raise is just totally ignored, for no good reason, by the article; it certainly isn't intended to be a complete discussion. So, it should be added! (By you, perhaps, please?) The issue fits in very well and is certainly part of the intellectual tradition I'm reporting about. --User:LMS


Alas, I would not be the first person I would ask to make further contributions, it has been a long time since I was immersed in these issues. I appreciate your concern about the title of the article -- How about "Theistic Conceptions of God" or "The Nature of God in Western Theology" or "Philosophical discussions of Monotheism?" I don't mean to pick nits, but if your intent is not an essay on comparative religion, I think you'd be better off cutting the phrase "Monotheistic religions." This of course would leave the field open to another article -- one which I couldn't write, but would love to read! -- SR


Aha! Good one: The nature of God in Western Theology. I think that would do it. However, I'm not sure how much theology per se is in the article. Enough, I suppose. --LMS


Larry,

What a wonderful project! I stumbled onto Wikipedia entirely by accident a few days ago, and find it fascinating. The quality of the contributions is great. I hope to become a contributor, myself. I also hope the pressures of life do not prevent you from carrying on with these endevours far into the future. --SRWenner


Thanks! Why merely hope to contribute? Do it!  :-) I hope I'm doing this when I'm an old man; there isn't much danger of my quitting. --User:LMS


This is an update of my original comments to reflect current status. I mentioned in Resurrection of Jesus Christ/Talkarchive that I read an essay by Michael Polanyi. It inspired me to learn more about his philosophy of science. I'm now reading his book Personal Knowledge. It seems to me that his ideas could shed light on the title=Faith_vs_science_with_regard_to_the_Wikipedia Wikipedia faith vs. science discussion. <>< User:tbc

I know zero about Polanyi. I'm not sure why I should care about the faith vs. science discussion now. Should I read some part of it and respond?

No. After I finish his book I'll try to apply what I've learned to add to that discussion. So far the book is a delight. It's been a long time since I delved into philosophy. Early in the book, Polanyi writes, "[C]omplete objectivity as usually attributed to the exact sciences is a delusion and is in fact a false ideal." I can't wait to learn how he backs up that thesis! Doesn't that make you the least bit curious about his work?


Larry, do you have anything new to report as far as selection of a Colorado domicile? <>< User:tbc

No! I'm moving back to Columbus, Ohio, or that's the plan, now! I'm afraid Colorado is now looking too expensive, and Columbus isn't a bad place (it's where I went to grad school)... --LMS

Would you kindly look into the following problem: I believe that one of the participants is acting improperly in cavalierly erasing extensive work I have done on the Bipolar Disorder and the Depression topics. I am a neuropsychiatrist with great expertise in this area, and as you may see from the Talk on the Bipolar Disorder topic, Anome has cavalierly gone in and deleted all of my work. I made extensive corrections to the egregious misinformation he had provided, but out of respect for him I never changed or deleted any of his work or his misinformation. I simply added corrections to balance his misinformation. I realize that someone has to decide whether to delete his errors but I did not feel that it was my place in this sort of forum in which I hold no official position, and out of respect for Anome (who openly admits that he is not an MD and therefore cannot be a psychiatrist) I changed nothing of his work. I hope you will inform him (since I assume that this is the case) that it is improper to arbitrarily delete someone else's entry because it may embarrass him as exposing the fact that he is passing out unreliable information. I am a brand new participant but I surely have no intention of participating in this project if the unqualified and uninformed can arbitrarily delete the work of those who are informed experts who provide evidence in the literature for their explanations. I should appreciate your assurance that my assumptions in this respect are correct and, further, your informing him of what is and is not appropriate in this forum. Please also take the trouble to inform me what I should do if I find that someone has entered flawed information as in this case. I believe it would help reassure me (and perhaps others with some qualifications) that their effort is not wasted and that there are some standards to the project.

Checking back with the Depression site I see that Anome has again deleted my work, and his written to me both in the entry and in the Talk, stating that:

(1) He is authorized by you to delete my work (2) He writes to me: "Hey, SE! Please don't just revert my changes - I am trying to merge in your point of view. Please don't just write CORRECTION all over the place: it breaks up the article, and forces others to edit the article back into readable shape." --

I do not find it acceptable for anyone to "merge" my work and I cannot imagine that you prefer the unqualified to be "merging" or modifying the qualified, much less that you authorize this.

Please let me know whether you are interested in having me participate by restoring my original work. I realize that it cannot remain with the word "CORRECTION", but I am sure you understand that this was the only option given my desire to respect the integrity of Anome's original writing--however filled with error. I should prefer not to discuss this with him any further, and I should appreciate your letting me know your decision at your earliest opportunity.


Hello, doctor!

First, let me welcome you to Wikipedia. As a psychiatrist with some willingness to work on this project, you're extremely valuable--invaluable, in fact--and we don't want to lose you. I should think that the rest of us, who lack your expertise, should go out of our way to respect your views and your contributions.

Second, let me say that, for better or worse, Wikipedia contributors do not claim ownership or exclusive authorship over their contributions; the whole thing is collaborative. This doesn't mean that Anome was justified in his particular edits of your work, but it does mean that, in general, we're collaborating on articles and not just staking out our individual claims. Our sister project, Nupedia, which I hope you will visit, is different--exclusive authorship is certainly possible there. What conclusion to draw from this about Wikipedia and your participation in it, I leave up to you; but I do hope you'll participate. To learn more about this aspect of Wikipedia policy, please see Wikipedia policy as well as Wikipedia/Our Replies to Our Critics.

Third, there is one thing that has come up only seldom before now (because usually the nonexperts happily defer to the experts), though it has indeed come up now and then: when a nonexpert tries to edit an expert's work, and the expert disagrees, what are we to do? My basic suggested rule of thumb is, of course, that we defer to the experts. But in some cases (and I certainly do not make this claim in your case--I haven't reviewed the page in question at all--I'm writing in generalities), a nonexpert could be justified in sticking to his guns. Just for example, it is possible that the expert has an ax to grind, and the nonexpert knows enough to be able to see this and is right to object (because we have a neutral point of view policy). Another example would occur when the expert's text needs some basic copyediting, as does happen sometime, and someone does the copyediting. Even in such cases, we (nonexperts) should do our best not to step on expert toes. Actually, this is just an application of general wikipetiquette; we should do our best not to step on each others' toes generally.

This (the third point) is something that would be great to discuss further on http://meta.wikipedia.com .

I'm crazy enough to think that we can be bold in editing pages and yet maintain a high degree of wikipetiquette! --User:LMS


Please see my detailed, line by line, justification of my edits in talk:Bipolar disorder and talk:Depression, especially the citation of opinions of medical authorities, and my earlier comments to SE.

Oh, and welcome aboard, SE! -- The Anome

Anome, I'll have a look, since you invite it. Hmm...I think that saying "Hey, SE!" after the person has reported (and we might as well take the person at his or her word, I suppose) being an evidently distinguished psychiatrist. It seems to me that evincing that attitude is going to tend to drive people away who have a low bullshit intolerance (where "bullshit" means dialogue of the sort that they happen to find worthless). (Of course, I don't expect you, me, or anyone to be perfect. We all make mistakes.) Moreover, the merits of your points aside (I admire your desire to enforce NPOV!) I doubt your disrespectful manner of replying helped to convince the person you were trying to convince; please see wikipetiquette. It seems to me you were a little too concerned to assert your moral equality with the guy for purposes of working on Wikipedia articles. But few people here will dispute that (at some level); you could therefore have made the point much more nicely.

We should work on ways to agree with each other and arrive at consensus. If we don't do that, we're going to waste way too much time in personal disputes. Frankly, I'm getting tired of all that. We've got to stop it... --LMS

I think we had two people with "low bullshit tolerance", and an unnecessary clash took place, with not much respect on either side. That said, I'm happy to apologise - I've certainly calmed down now and I look forward to further progress on the article. SE's input has certainly been helpful, and I look forward to his/her contributions in future. -- The Anome

Sounds very good. Yep, two people with low bullshit tolerance.  :-) Would that we all increased our bullshit tolerance and decreased our output of bullshit.  :-) --LMS


I wasn't sure what you meant by confirmation that I wrote the False Claims stuff. User:Warnermendenhall


Answered on your page! --LMS


Larry...isn't the direct realism of Thomas Reid a bit archaic? If we relied on sensory input unaided by technology for information about the universe, we would be forced to conclude that most physicists since about 1935 were insane (not to mention people in most other fields of science). I certainly hope that there are enough Wikipedians familiar with scientific developments over the past 50 to 100 years to reflect within the Wikipedia the increasingly accelerating level of consilience currently underway in virtually all fields. F. Lee Horn


There are people with all sorts of backgrounds, actually. You misunderstood what Reid's realism says. --LMS


Perhaps I wasn't placing enough confidence in the process whereby the Wikipedia is being written. It's not surprising that I may have misunderstood Reid's realism. The entries in the Wikipedia have so far been my only source of information about him.


Right; if you rely only on the Wikipedia entries, then (unless you are already familiar with the philosophy of perception as its prosecuted by analytic philosophers) you might very well not understand Reid's realism just on that basis. --User:LMS


Ouch! Well, like they say: "A litle knowledge is a dangerous thing." Forgive my presumptuousness. F. Lee Horn


Sorry, I am new. Your response forced me to learn how to redirct articles -- Something that will be most useful.


No problem! Yes, redirecting is very useful! --LMS


Larry, I have started an entry on Religious_Pluralism, which deals with some of the issues raised in recent Wikipedia discussions in the various anti-Semitism related articles. I have tried to create a useful format, describing both intra-religious pluralism (between denominations within a religion) and inter-religious pluralism (between different religions), and I have currently separated viewpoints within each section by faith. Different ways of presenting this material are possible, but its a start. I've only worked on it for a little while, but I plan on adding more this weekend. I've also asked Slrubenstein and Wesley, and anyone else, to join in. Any comments or suggestions would be appreciated. RK


I gave a few comments, but not about the content of the article, about which I don't think I know enough. I guess I can add the general comment that we have to be careful not to try to use Wikipedia to do our own original research or even some significant syntheses of old material (which could be controversial, actually). So I would ask questions like this: is this subject (or something like it) actually discussed under the heading "religious pluralism"? Can we, without stretching the ways this topic are actually discussed by theologians and others concerned, distinguish between intra-religious pluralism and inter-religious pluralism? For all I know, the answers to these questions are "yes, of course." But in that case it couldn't hurt to drop a few names, conferences, etc., into the article. (By the way, not all my philosophy articles would meet this standard!) --User:LMS

This subject is nowadays discussed by many liberal Jewish scholars and rabbis under the title "religious pluralism" and more often, just plain "pluralism". Dozens of articles on this topic are easilly available on the web; hundreds more make reference to it.
  • A significant number of books on theology by Jewish authors have sections on this topic.
  • I have three books on this topic by Islamic scholars; I assume more exist. Eventually I will have time to add material from these works. These Islamic scholars are (unfortunately, in my view) not representive of Islam, but they speak for more than just themselves. There is a Muslim intellectual minority which lectures and writes about these issuess; they argue that Islam needs to confront pluralism head on; without developing a form of it, they argue, Islam condemns itself to perpetual warfare (in the literal sense of the word) with the rest of the world.
  • In the last 20 years some liberal Christians scholars and priests have adopted this terminology, but I don't know how representative it is. I doubt that many people know of this term.

I plan on adding a significant number of names, references, books and organizations to this topic; right now the entry is just a beginning; over the next week it will evolve. I have some references in front of me that I will add some info from over the next few days. Others, no doubt, will join in with additional information and perspectives. User:RK


Fine! I am not surprised. --LMS


Larry...the way Wikipedia is currently structured we can go from general topic areas (Biology, for example) and work our way down to articles about specific subjects. What do you think about adding a method of looking up an article about a specific subject and then working our way back up to see what general area(s) it's under? I think this would be helpful. Or can we do this already and I just haven't discovered how? F. Lee Horn

I think this would be a great idea. As Wikipedia is currently structures, I doubt that there is an automated way to do this. But for the sciences at least it wouldn't be that hard to add a new set of links to each article, as we work on them, to do precisely what you propose. User:RK

But...consider the fact that we can simply encourage people (add a rule to consider!) to add the general subject(s) of an article whenever we create articles. I try to do that myself, at least with the philosophy articles. Simplicity is key. If we don't keep this simple, it's going to be harder to use. One reason Wikipedia is so successful is that it is easy to use. There are, by the way, lots of ways to solve this problem. One suggestion that someone (or several people) has made is the idea of backlinks: on an article page we list, in a column or at the bottom (for example), all the articles that link to the article in question. This could be tweaked all sorts of ways.

Really, the place to make such a suggestion would be on feature requests and we could discuss it on Meta-Wikipedia. I don't make such decisions unilaterally, and usually such feature are created only if interested programmers feel motivated to contribute them! BTW, see the archives of Wikipedia-L; Magnus has added a "category" feature that does something of the sort you suggest. I am skeptical, as you'll see in the discussion. --User:LMS

P.S.: RK, thanks for the e-mail, sorry I haven't replied. It's awful, my backlog. --LMS


Moved discussion of the question, "Should talk pages be used for debating?" to this page.


Moved question to talk:Arab-Israeli conflict.

I too am very interested in the legal issues raised by Wikipedia. I know a local intellectual property [IP] attorney and will run some of this by her. Lawrence Lessig of Stanford ought to be contacted as well. He is an IP attorney/professor and this should fascinate him given his recent writings. User:warnermendenhall

Very interesting. I will invite Prof. Lessig to my talk on the 16th! He's talking in the same series on Feb. 20. --User:LMS


We've been having problems lately on the Esperanto wikipedia of people just adding links to webpages but not writing an article. Such as a link to an webpage about the Bahai faith, but no content. What should we do about this? What did the English wikipedia do? --User:Chuck Smith


We've been deleting the link (leaving a blank page) saying (more or less), "Wikipedia is not a web directory. If you want to add a link, first add a little content." Nobody complains much and it keeps people on task. --User:LMS


I've been around Wikipedia awhile now, and I just realized I had never thanked you properly for such a great contribution to the common good. So thanks very much for Wikipedia. I hope it continues to grow as it is now, and I expect it will. --User:Dmerrill


You're welcome? That sounds presumptuous. Probably the biggest thanks should go to Jimbo, who hired me to design and spearhead a successful open content encyclopedia project, and who has provided all other kinds of essential support--without him it just wouldn't have happened. And of course you should thank people like yourself, the many people who have supported me and each other in our efforts to keep us on the task of writing a high-quality, international encyclopedia. --User:LMS


Hi, Larry. I've been sporadically trying to get a count of pages, but not having much luck. A comma search returns an empty page almost every time now, presumably because the wikipedia database has grown so large that the search script times out or uses up its memory quota problem on the server. It got better for a while when the talk pages were omitted from the results, but the continual growth of Wikipedia has now returned it to the same situation as before. FWIW, the last comma search I ran that actually got a result back from the server was around the 22nd December, when there were 19800 or so pages, by my usual counting criteria. I'd been looking forward to announcing 20K by Christmas, but couldn't get the numbers to do this.

The rate of addition of new pages still seems to be gradually climbing - 200+ in the last two days - so we are definitely over 20000, and I'm 95% sure we're over 21000. -- User:Malcolm Farmer


I suppose we have "moral certainty" that it's over 20000 by the criteria you've been employing. So, we might as well announce this! --User:LMS


Larry, as I anticipated someone (who chooses to be known as 128.32.172.xxx) keeps changing Vietnam War to reflect what I see as a decidedly non-NPOV. From this person's changes and attitude I gather that he and I are never going to agree on the areas they keep changing. Any suggestions? User:F. Lee Horn


I've got to get to work on other stuff, so I'll just have to speak in generalities: I'd suggest trying to make sure both of your points of view are (1) represented fairly and (2) attributed to people who actually hold those views. If you want to assert that P and your collaborator wants to assert that not-P, then, given that both views are represented among experts or concerned parties who debate about the stuff, there's no point in making the article say one thing rather than the other. It should say both, each attributed to the people who hold it. Not seeing the details, I can't be sure that this will help! --User:LMS


Thanks, Larry. That's probably what we'll wind up doing. User:F. Lee Horn


BTW...every once in awhile, it seems as if there are two versions of User:F. Lee Horn in the system! For example, I got a note from Dmerrill on that page just a little while ago, but about 1/3 of what I had posted recently on that page wasn't there. When I clicked on another link to User:F. Lee Horn, everything was there again! I'm confuzzled!


The only thing I can think to suggest is to press the "refresh" button often...? --LMS

F. Lee Horn - I know what the problem is. You had two pages, F._Lee_Horn, and F.__Lee_Horn (extra space in the second). But the web browser turns two succesive spaces into one, so they look like they have the same name, even though they are different pages. I removed the page with two spaces for you, and redirected it to the one with one space. -- User:SJK

Thank you! I rather suspected it was something like that, but I didn't realize that the browser would condense the spaces that way. Sorry about that. :( User:F. Lee Horn


Page titles to be deleted is getting rather long. Could some-one at the server end start deleting a few of them?


Larry, Larry, Larry! RE the article on Theosophy: I'm composing this as I go along. Is that a problem? If so, I'll change my modus operandi. If not, please look under the Virtues for an elaboration on patience (once someone writes it, that is. Hmmm!). ; ) This time I just stepped away for an extended dinner.  :) User:F. Lee Horn


Hey Larry. I am one of the maintainers of periodic elements pages. I recently added links for each of the elements to a Los Alomos National Laboratory website that has great information. Earlier today I found this copyright notice:

Unless otherwise indicated, this information has been authored by an employee or employees of the University of California, operator of the Los Alamos National Laboratory under Contract No. W-7405-ENG-36 with the U.S. Department of Energy. The U.S. Government has rights to use, reproduce, and distribute this information. The public may copy and use this information without charge, provided that this Notice and any statement of authorship are reproduced on all copies. Neither the Government nor the University makes any warranty, express or implied, or assumes any liability or responsibility for the use of this information

My question is this: Does this constitute that this work is in the Public Domain (or something similar) that can be re-copyrighted under the FDL? Related question: Can an otherwise FDL document be forced to include such notices from source material? User:maveric149

IANAL, but I was involved with some complicated negotiations regarding federally copyright material. The answer to your question is no. The reason for this long notice is precisely to get around the fact that the federal government can't copyright anything. So what happens is that the federal government contracts a non-federal group to produce the data who then give the government the right to use the work. In this case, the copyright belongs to the University of California who have put conditions on its use which are not compatible with the FDL. User:Chenyu
I'm sure you're entirely correct about the positions of the lawyers on both sides, but let me clarify some of the other nuances of copyright law: Rule #1: Anyone can claim to own a valid copyright on anything, and since there's no downside to doing so, lawyers for the presumed holder of the copyright always claim all rights, regardless of whether or not they think they have any. Rule #2: Even if the lawyers on the other side think the ones exercising rule #1 are just blowing smoke, they always advise their clients to believe the spurious claims, because if the lawyer is wrong, he can be held liable for contributory infringement, so "just say no" is the safe thing to do.
In this particular case, the UC's copyright claim is almost certainly hot air, since it's very clearly a "work for hire" paid for with federal tax money. The prohibition on the federal government on claiming copyrights does extend to works for hire, but that's a fine point that some judges can be bamboozled about. The lawyers on both sides know this, but the UC's lawyers still insist on claiming copyright and any lawyer you hire will advise you to take the claim seriously even if it probably will be thrown out of court eventually. So, the UC Regents (who are entitled to claim copyrights in general on stuff they create without federal funding) will continue to claim the copyright. But the facts are probably that we can use the text legally since we already paid for it. If we use the text, though, the regents might sue, and even though we'd probably win eventually it might cost too much to defend and federal courts don't general award legal costs for these kinds of defenses. Such is the state of copyright law. --LDC
Unfortunately, you are almost certainly wrong in this case. 17 USC 101 (2001) defines a "work of the United States Government" is a work prepared by an officer or employee of the United States Government as part of that person's official duties, which means that the exclusion of copyright in 17 USC 105 (2001) does not apply to government contractors. 17 USC 101 (2001) also defines work for hire and in this case, it's pretty clear that it isn't a work for hire. (Works by contractors are not works for hire.)
Government contracts typically include a clause that explicitly states that the work done under the contract is not work for hire and that the copyright belongs to the contractor. In the case of the Department of Energy the relevant regulations are in 48 CFR 927 (2001), and I have no doubt that if you look at the contract that was referenced, you would see that it contains standard language assigning copyright to the University of California, which is probably why they included it in the notice.
And I disagree about the behavior of lawyers and judges. Federal judges generally know the law. Also, when two sides agree on the law and the facts, the losing side generally gives in even if they have more financial resources, because federal judges will grant court costs if one side is obviously behaving badly. If the law were clearly on our side, there wouldn't be a problem, because if the state of California wouldn't even try to sue. Unfortunately, it isn't.

BTW, IANAL, but I learned what I did about federal contracting and IP as part of an effort to get information from the Department of Labor and the state of Minnesota (see my web site for details). -- User:Chenyu


Well, yes, it's a lot more complicated than I make it sound, but still I have to disagree: federal courts are frequently overturned on appeal in IP cases, often unanimously. For one thing, courts often take things like contract terms and department regulations such as those you mention at face value, without considering whether or not they comport with Title 17, which is controlling authority. The circuit courts have conflicting precedents about these matters, and many long-standing questions have yet to make it to the Supreme Court precisely because the "public domain" doesn't have good lawyers. It's slowly changing: the EFF is taking some good cases (like getting the Sonny Bono act overturned), and the circuits are slowly coming around to agree more with them. I'm not a lawyer either, but I've studied law and IP law in particular a lot, and it's a real mess. --LDC

I say, if the author says its copyrighted under such and such conditions, we treat it as such. Even if the author is legally wrong, its better just to avoid the hassle of potential legal problems, and write the thing ourselves -- User:SJK

I'd have to agree with SJK here, but if it would save us a lot of work, maybe we should think more about it. I'd like to see what Jimbo has to say, since ultimately he's the one who's liable. (We should move this discussion elsewhere.) --LMS

Done, discussion copied to Copyright/Wikipedia and Copyright Issues. Please continue discussion there User:maveric149


Okay, I didn't mean to do any harm with the links. I should have readen the Wikipedia Policy better. --User:Georg Muntingh


Well, no great harm done!

Always glad to see someone so interested in adding to Wikipedia! --User:LMS


Larry, someone is removing articles I write, as well as my comments to the Recent Changes page. Is there anything that can be done about this, or should I just give up and go home? User:F. Lee Horn

I found the Public speaking - it was a problem of capitalization, I think. --MichaelTinkler

What is the user ID or IP #?--I will investigate immediately. --User:LMS

Is the problem essentially a misplaced public speaking article, or is there more to it? --LMS


Well, as an example, the notice that's automatically posted onto Recent Changes when I wrote the above note to you appears to have been deleted. Perhaps I just don't understand the system well enough or something. User:F. Lee Horn


I've noticed this too, and I think it's just that when someone changes a page very soon after you do, your change doesn't show up. I don't know why, though... user:Dreamyshade


In your preferences, what's your setting for "Show Minor Changes"? The default is "off", which means that if you don't change it, and someone edits your work slightly and checks off the "This change is a minor edit" box below the summary section in the edit screen, it won't show up on your "Recent Changes". -- User:Paul Drye


If I may jump in... It's just the default behaviour of UseModWiki; your comments can be seen in the page version history. Recent Changes shows only the latest change to a given page. If you would like it to show all changes, go to your Preferences page and check the "Show all changes (not just most recent)" box. --Stephen Gilbert


Well, either I'm totally misunderstanding something, or I'm not making myself clear. I have made at least six or seven comments about various articles today, some of which were comments about changes I had made, others of which were comments in the "Talk" sections of articles. As of just now, only one of them was left on "Recent Changes," the one to MichaelTrinkler. Is this normal? User:F. Lee Horn


Yes, totally normal. It is a little annoying, yes. --LMS

See also : User:Larry Sanger