Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Guild of Copy Editors

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Can anybody help?[edit]

Can the GOCE help with eliminating closely paraphrased text, in particular to rephrase the problematic texts? There is an rather large article that had GA status, however someone found out that it contained some directly copied material that was there even years before it became GA. After an administrator checked, he found closely paraphrased text and opened a new GA review. However he didn't tell the users who had helped to improve the article, where to look for all instances of the problematic text. As the users could not probably have the same strict criteria as the reviewing administrator what to consider as closely paraphrased problematic text while comparing it to cited sources, the article remained largely unfixed. As a result, the article was delisted. --UA Victory (talk) 17:54, 4 March 2015 (UTC)

Place a request on the GOCE's Requests page, along with a brief explanation and a link to the relevant review page(s), and we'll take a look. At some point, we'll need a link to the text that was paraphrased. If you do not have that yet, please obtain it and post it on the article's Talk page before posting a request for the GOCE. Thanks. – Jonesey95 (talk) 00:43, 5 March 2015 (UTC)
The problem is that the reviewing administrator provided only several samples of closely paraphrased text, which were quickly fixed. However, he refused to check the whole article and provide all samples of problematic text. --UA Victory (talk) 03:58, 5 March 2015 (UTC)
We edit copy. We can't read minds, not even yours. And we generally steer away from the drama that pervades some parts of WP. If you have a dispute with another editor, there are forums for dispute resolution.
We are helpful editors, but you haven't given us any relevant details. If you want to be coy, that is your prerogative. If you want help, please gather and then provide information that will allow us to help you. Thanks. – Jonesey95 (talk) 04:24, 5 March 2015 (UTC)
I don't have any dispute with another editor. The article is Russo-Georgian War. Here is the last GA review. The article needs to be checked in depth. Since it's quite large, then maybe the task should be split between several editors. --UA Victory (talk) 07:37, 5 March 2015 (UTC)
@UA Victory: I've taken a look at the GAR and the DYK. The reviewer who noticed to close paraphrasing (Nikkimaria, who isn't an administraotr and is a she) pointed to enough examples to indicate that there is a problem, but could not be expected to go through the whole article checking it all. That is what you seem to be requesting. But it isn't a copy editing job either. What I suggest is that you and others developing the article do a thorough check for copyvio, fixing whatever you find. Then, when there's no more copyvio in it, if you like you can make a request at the WP:GOCE/REQ page and a copy editor will tweak the prose. Regards, --Stfg (talk) 11:54, 5 March 2015 (UTC)
Sorry, I don't know Nikkimaria that well and I misremembered her user status. The problem is that large parts of the text are single-sentence informations each with unique cited source and sometimes 100% rephrase is quite difficult without distorting the facts. For example, the cited source says: "A resolution was adopted by the European Parliament in which Russia was heavily criticised for its actions", and this is rephrased as "The European Parliament passed a resolution condemning Russia." Should that qualify as copyvio? --UA Victory (talk) 14:25, 5 March 2015 (UTC)
IMO, no. Did Nikkimaria (or another editor) cite that particular sentence as close paraphrasing? Miniapolis 14:41, 5 March 2015 (UTC)
No, that particular sentence was not cited as a close paraphrasing.
Nikkimaria for example cited this text from the article: "Georgia was first created in the tenth century, defined as the lands in which Christian rituals were performed in the Georgian language. After the Mongol invasions, the Kingdom of Georgia eventually was broken up into several principalities. In the nineteenth century, the Russian Empire gradually annexed the Georgian lands. In the aftermath of the Russian revolution, Georgia declared its independence on 26 May 1918." as opposed to the original text:

Georgia as an ethnic territory was first created in the tenth century, defined as the lands in which church services and prayers were held in the Georgian/Kartuli language. (...) The Mongol invasions in the early thirteenth century halted Georgia’s expansion and eventually led to the breakup of the state. (...) Georgia had furthermore broken up into several principalities in the fifteenth century, a fact which sealed its fate. (...) In 1801, the east Georgian kingdom was annexed to Russia and became the Tiflis province (gubernia). (...) Imeretia was conquered in 1810; (...) With the February revolution of 1917, the Soviets took power in Tbilisi and Baku. (...) Many factors, including Turkish pressure but also the fear of Bolsheviks, led the Transcaucasian Seim to declare independence from Russia on 22 April 1918, a move which was reluctantly accepted by the Armenians and Georgians, opposed by the Bolsheviks and SRs but enthusiastically supported by the Azeris. (...) A month later, the Transcaucasian Federation that had been created broke up into its constituent units, Georgia declaring its independence on 26 May."

IMO the first sentence seems more problematic and should be rephrased as "In the tenth century Georgia was established for the first time and was defined as the lands where Georgian language was used to perform Christian rituals." Should that be problematic rephrasing? --UA Victory (talk) 15:14, 5 March 2015 (UTC)
I agree with Minapolis that the first example you gave is not problematic, and that the first sentence of the later example is where the problem lies there. The procedure of taking one sentence from a source and paraphrasing it into one sentence of the destination is that you retain the organization of the information, and that's why the paraphrase is close. Here the giveaway is that the date of creation and the lands it consisted of -- two separate facts that don't need to be in one sentence -- are in one sentence in both versions. Yes, the wording is too close as well, and another giveaway is to have retained the redundant "first created". Another danger with this procedure is that if one merely tweaks a sentence into another sentence, the second sentence often ends up sounding laboured. Usually it's best to find relevant facts from a few sources and assemble them in our own way. It's more difficult with history sections, because the natural order is chronological. It isn't copyvio to retain chronological order! Face-smile.svg But we can associate facts in different ways. Here's one attempt:
"Georgia was established in the tenth century. (make this even better if you can say from another source who established it) Consisting initially of the region where the Georgian language was used in Christian worship (or liturgy, if you prefer), it gradually expanded until the 13th-century Mongol invasions. Over the next two centuries, it became fragmented into a number of (or say how many, if you can source it) independent principalities. ..."
The 19th-century and Russian Revolution parts look OK to me. Again, if you can use another source to explain when and how it became a kingdom, that would help. HTH --Stfg (talk) 16:45, 5 March 2015 (UTC)
Reliable English-language sources about history of the region are quite scarce. Retrieving the new sources is not the problem, the problem is that the article already exceeds 100 KB suggested limit, includes several hundred cited sources and barely covers all aspects as briefly as possible.
Your attempt at rephrasing seems helpful, however it left room for some misinterpretation. Georgia initially included a part of Georgian-dominated lands and later included all of them. As I have said, sometimes it's quite difficult to completely rephrase without distorting the facts.
I don't think that retaining the original organisation of the information should be counted as copyvio, since it can be sometimes necessary to show the connection between two facts, such as explaining why Russia was condemned: "After Russia deployed its troops, it was condemned by the international community." Indeed, WP policy regarding close paraphrasing is really tricky and that's why I sought the help of more experienced editors who specialise in prose writing. --UA Victory (talk) 15:33, 6 March 2015 (UTC)
The article as you quoted it said, "Georgia was first created in the tenth century, defined as the lands in which Christian rituals were performed in the Georgian language," and my paraphrase said, "Georgia was established in the tenth century. ... Consisting initially of the region where the Georgian language was used in Christian worship, ...". I fail to see how either one leaves room for any misinterpretation that the other doesn't, since they say the same thing, albeit in different ways. What you quoted from the original says nothing in the nature of "initially included a part of Georgian-dominated lands and later included all of them", so I don't believe it was I who introduced any such misunderstanding. But please yourself: my intention was to illustrate how to recognise and avoid close paraphrasing, not to write the article for you.
As to retaining the original organisation of the information, WP:Close paraphrasing says: "Although facts are not subject to copyright, a selection or arrangement of facts may be considered creative and therefore protected." (My emphasis.) Yes, it requires judgement, but it isn't all that lax. I already agreed the Russia bit was problem-free. --Stfg (talk) 16:09, 6 March 2015 (UTC)
One has to carefully read the entire chapter in the cited source to understand more or less the summarized history. In short, there were also other regions or kingdoms where the Georgian language was used or Georgians lived and later they became part of the unified Kingdom of Georgia. Your suggested paraphrase could imply that later expansions of Georgia led to expanding to non-Georgian areas. Sorry, I didn't want to draw anyone in prolonged discussions about history.
Can I count on any help from the GOCE in rewriting closely paraphrased prose? Should I post a request on the request's page? --UA Victory (talk) 16:46, 6 March 2015 (UTC)
Probably not, for the reason you've just implied. You didn't ask for us to read that entire chapter. I merely looked at the limited source text and article text that you presented here, and illustrated how to avoid close paraphrase of that very limited excerpt. I don't believe I changed any of the meaning of those excerpts, nor introduced any misunderstanding, but I didn't look at the article, nor at any of the sources, to address anything not covered in those excerpts. That's what one needs to do when developing an article -- and by the way, it's much easier to avoid close paraphrase of large tracts than of single sentences. But few copy editors will accept a brief to go into the sources in that kind of depth and do that kind of rewrite. That's what subject experts (who should know how reliable the sources are, and where to look for more, etc) should do, and most copy editors couldn't. You're more likely to get that kind of help from members of whichever Wikiprojects are interested in the article. --Stfg (talk) 17:12, 6 March 2015 (UTC)
I should perhaps add that I picked up on the words "halted Georgia’s expansion" in the source. But in doing so I didn't say anything about the extent of the expansion, and I still don't believe I implied anything that the source extract didn't imply. --Stfg (talk) 17:16, 6 March 2015 (UTC)

() IMO, it's unrealistic to expect the GOCE (or anyone else not actually creating the article) to wade through all the source material to avoid copyvios. Sorry. Miniapolis 23:48, 6 March 2015 (UTC)

I've attempted to rephrase the article. What is your opinion on those examples whether should they be counted as copyvios?
The source says: "Following a process of ethnic cleansing and mass expulsion, its population has been reduced to 216,000, from 525,000 in 1989." The article: " After an ethnic cleansing of Georgians, the population of Abkhazia was 216,000 (a decrease from 525,000 in 1989)."
The source: "Russia's Ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, called the demand by the Western states "a tall order"." The articles says: "This was called "a tall order" by Vitaly Churkin, Russia's Ambassador to the UN." --UA Victory (talk) 12:09, 17 March 2015 (UTC)

I need help with Copyediting[edit]

So, I'm a newbie to Wikipedia. And Wikipedia suggested me Sadda Haq (TV series), and I started with the Copy Editing part. I want some advice from some experienced users here before I edit the page, if you don't mind. CyanoTex (talk) 11:20, 7 March 2015 (UTC)CyanoTex — Preceding unsigned comment added by CyanoTex (talkcontribs) 11:16, 7 March 2015 (UTC)

Welcome, and be sure to sign your talk-page posts with four tildes like this: ~~~~. Wikipedia:WikiProject Guild of Copy Editors/How to and checking Wikipedia:Simplified Manual of Style if you're not sure about something are good places to start. Have fun and all the best, Miniapolis 14:45, 7 March 2015 (UTC)

Your do not edit boilerplate tag[edit]

Unless this guild is going to actually do major edits as claimed....stop adding your do not edit boilerplate {{GOCEinuse}} to the top of pages. It's fine if you're actually doing major edits, but is a discouragement to others that might be interested in helping.--MONGO 02:47, 8 March 2015 (UTC)

See User talk:MONGO#Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 and Talk:Malaysia Airlines Flight 370#Peer review suggestions (sounds like that PR bot needs tweaking :-)). The page could probably use an FAC-quality copyedit, but I'd suggest not using {{GOCEinuse}}; most editors don't, anyway, for request articles. If there continue to be problems, we'll have to decline it until it stabilizes; however, I don't see any problems other than MONGO's premature tag removal. All the best, Miniapolis 14:52, 8 March 2015 (UTC)
After some early experiences of edit conflicts, including one very rude requester who told me his requested article was free for me to edit and ten minutes later created an edit conflict because he "couldn't resist", I always use {{GOCEinuse}}, both for requests and for tagged articles. But if I take a break of more than an hour or so, I replace it temporarily with {{Under construction}}, to signal that the copy edit is still incomplete while making room for other editors. I can't agree with the advice not to use GOCEinuse at all, but we shouldn't keep it there and inactive for too long. Currently the boilerplate asks editors to remove it if there has been no editing for "at least 24 hours", whereas {{In use}} just says "in several hours". I think 24 hours is too long and propose that we change the GOCE one to say the same as the standard one. --Stfg (talk) 16:35, 8 March 2015 (UTC)
I agree with this last bit. We aren't special. Let's make the GOCE's template say the same thing as {{Under construction}} {{In use}}. – Jonesey95 (talk) 16:49, 8 March 2015 (UTC)
Did you mean that, Jonesey, or {{In use}}? I meant the latter. Under-construction doesn't avoid edit conflicts. --Stfg (talk) 17:18, 8 March 2015 (UTC)
I meant {{In use}}. Corrected above. – Jonesey95 (talk) 19:26, 8 March 2015 (UTC)
FWIW, the under-construction documentation says it's for new articles; otherwise, I think we're supposed to use in-use ("several hours") or GOCEinuse ("24 hours"). For me, 24 hours is better than several; my editing is interspersed with RL, and I edit by section—a single long section (between saves) often takes a while. Frankly, I think this is a tempest in a teapot. All the best, Miniapolis 23:04, 8 March 2015 (UTC)
Agreed about the T-in-T, but I think it would be reasonable to change the wording to "in several hours". A full day is a long time to ask other editors to stay away from an article. I also edit section by section when it looks like an article is somewhat active, but if I let my edits take too long and end up with edit conflicts, that's life. – Jonesey95 (talk) 23:37, 8 March 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I don't use either. I start my session by removing the copyedit tag and commenting "begin ce. rem tag." It's worked well... Lfstevens (talk) 04:12, 9 March 2015 (UTC)

I do the same, with a similar edit summary, and have found that that works best. The in-use tags (generic or GOCE) seem to annoy some editors—although {{GOCEinuse}} is handy for backlog articles, since I don't have to check the history when looking for an "unclaimed" article. All the best,Miniapolis 14:12, 9 March 2015 (UTC)
There's also {{GOCEeffort}}, which tags that the article is being worked on but does not suggest that others keep away. I sometimes use it on large articles where I expect to be busy for a few days. -- Diannaa (talk) 14:26, 9 March 2015 (UTC)
Hi, Diannaa. Yes, that's a nice "compromise" tag I forgot existed :-). All the best, Miniapolis 23:24, 9 March 2015 (UTC)
I also never use the "in use" tag. If an article is being actively edited I figure I should wait to do copy editing anyway. If it is a big, semi-popular article that could potentially get edited while I'm working on it, I go section-by-section, and for the 99% of articles that aren't changed very often, I just go ahead and edit. Perhaps we should deprecate the GOCEinuse tag? Tdslk (talk) 20:57, 9 March 2015 (UTC)

Comma usage in Misao Okawa article[edit]

Hopefully this is a relatively simple request, but I would appreciate it if a copy-editor could review the final couple of sentences in the Misao Okawa article, which have been repeatedly stripped of commas by another editor.

  • Current version: On her 117th birthday she said that her life seemed short. When asked about the secret of her longevity she jokingly replied "I wonder about that too".

In my view, this lack of punctuation could cause confusion, and is grammatically incorrect, but I would appreciate a third opinion. My belief is that the sentence should be punctuated as follows (with the three additional commas highlighted in red to make them more clearly visible here):

  • On her 117th birthday, she said that her life seemed short. When asked about the secret of her longevity, she jokingly replied "I wonder about that, too".

Maybe a colon (or comma) is also after "replied"? --DAJF (talk) 00:23, 16 March 2015 (UTC)

@DAJF: "On her 117th birthday" and "When asked about the secret of her longevity" are adverb clauses, and clauses at the beginning of a sentence should have a comma separating them from the rest of the sentence. Concerning "too", that may just be a matter of opinion, but I personally tend to be rather liberal with commas. For the sake of readability, I think all the commas should be re-added. --Biblioworm 00:33, 16 March 2015 (UTC)
DAJF, thanks for contacting us. This page is for requesting that the GOCE copy-edit entire articles. If your question is restricted to these few sentences, can you please move this whole section to Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Guild of Copy Editors? Thanks. – Jonesey95 (talk) 01:45, 16 March 2015 (UTC)
(Section moved from Wikipedia:WikiProject Guild of Copy Editors/Requests as per request)
OK, thanks. Moved as requested. And thanks for the feedback on the article. Hopefully the problem is now resolved. --DAJF (talk) 02:07, 16 March 2015 (UTC)
I would omit the final comma, before "too". It doesn't look right to me, especially since it is quoted speech. If I were writing "I wonder about that, my friend" or "I wonder about that, dear", then I would use a comma, but I would not use a comma if I were saying "I wonder about that too" or "I wonder about that sometimes". I don't know if there is a rule, but that's what my gut says. – Jonesey95 (talk) 02:26, 16 March 2015 (UTC)
Just my 2p: the comma after birthday is optional because, although normally "clauses at the beginning of a sentence should have a comma separating them from the rest of the sentence", an exception is made in many guides (on both sides of the Atlantic) for short clauses. I'd have left it as it was previously. The comma after birthday is probably better included, per Biblioworm, and it does aid readability. A comma is definitely needed after replied: standard rule.
We don't insert a comma before "too", because this is a direct quote from a written source. ("I wonder about that too" and "I wonder about that sometimes" are different. The sometimes is just an ordinary adverb. OTOH the too isn't, as it means the same as "I, too, wonder about that", rather than "In addition to what we've just discussed, I wonder about that". But ... <shrug>) --Stfg (talk) 10:45, 16 March 2015 (UTC)
On second thoughts, "I wonder about that too" is ambiguous: either I wonder about that, as do other people, or I wonder about that, as well as about other things. Perhaps the comma would disambiguate it to the first meaning (?) --Stfg (talk) 15:43, 16 March 2015 (UTC)

Timeline verb tense[edit]

I have a simple format/layout question which I cannot answer after almost an hour of searching in various MOS/Guideline pages. I know there's the Help desk, but I think the Guild has the most knowledgeable editors on this subject and provide a quicker answer.

What tense is used for timelines? If there is a second part of the event that occurs after the date of the event in the timeline but is now in the past, which tense is used? Which of the following is in line with Wikipedia standards (or at least grammatically correct)?

21 March
(Present/present) A Wikipedia editor asks a question on a talk page. The question is later answered on 22 March.
21 March
(Past/past) A Wikipedia editor asked a question on a talk page. The question was later answered on 22 March.
21 March
(Present/past) A Wikipedia editor asks a question on a talk page. The question was later answered on 22 March.
21 March
(Present/future) A Wikipedia editor asks a question on a talk page. The question will be answered on 22 March.

The MOS/guideline pages I have searched include:

  • Wikipedia:Timeline standards — It does not have a guideline/essay template at the top, and it does not have the appearance of a guideline page (ie. not much prose explaining things). A short discussion on its talk page does not give a clear answer/consensus.
  • MOS:LIST — Skimmed through the page, the "Timelines" section doesn't have much content. The example uses the past tense, but the example sentences "A thing happened", "Not much happened", and "Something else happened" are generic and I can't tell if the tense is intentional or just what the author wrote.
  • Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Stand-alone lists — Nothing useful/relevant.

Please note: I'm asking which is correct according to Wikipedia editing guidelines...if there is any. If this issue is not addressed (as my search suggests), then I can start a discussion on an appropriate talk page (is MOS:LIST the best option?). I'm expanding and cleaning up a timeline (which uses the above date formatting) to soon nominate as a featured list. At first, I used the present/past but after realizing that using past after present does not seem appropriate, I changed to present/present (which seems to me to be the best combination). Sometime in the next week or two, I will list the article for a copyedit, so if I can fix this issue, it will save a guild member some work. Thanks for your assistance!! AHeneen (talk) 03:10, 22 March 2015 (UTC)

Either of the first two looks right to me. The important part is to be consistent throughout the article.
I think if you bring this up at MOS in the hope of establishing the One True Way, you will come away disappointed. Consistency within articles is strongly supported (well, mostly strongly supported, don't get me started on date formats in articles and citations), but consistency from article to article is not something that is part of the culture around here. – Jonesey95 (talk) 04:54, 22 March 2015 (UTC)
Google for timeline tense [1] gives a few more places where this has been discussed on-wiki. I vaguely remember getting involved in a discussion somewhere, but can no longer find where. There were supports for both of your first two, so it may be difficult to get an agreed standard. Actually I agree 100% with Jonesey95. --Stfg (talk) 12:09, 22 March 2015 (UTC)

Since it involves word usage in the encyclopedia...[edit]

...members of this project may be interested in this discussion. BMK (talk) 06:58, 20 April 2015 (UTC)