From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Structural or Decorative?[edit]

The article states that a barn star has "no structural purpose," but the caption beneath the photo read, "a barnstar with hole used as a building reinforcement device." Reinforcement sounds structural, not merely decorative. Which is correct? --Wordbuilder 02:49, 6 March 2007 (UTC)

  • so far, no-one knows! There's a discussion on this at the bottom of the page.--mikaul 10:07, 6 March 2007 (UTC)
    • How did I miss that? Sorry. --Wordbuilder 14:40, 6 March 2007 (UTC)

Fixed. --Una Smith (talk) 21:49, 10 March 2008 (UTC)


Someone else mentioned having pictures of barnstars and similar taken in New Orleans. I live in Charleston, SC, and these (and non-star shaped examples) are very common structural aides in our historic, yet earthquake and hurricane prone city. However, this article only mentions a few cities. I don't think the article needs to mention every place in the world these occur, but I feel there should be some better rationale for what's included and what isn't than just author bias. --Jhlynes 04:07, 15 November 2006 (UTC)

Barnstars as architectural devices and similar[edit]

In Britain, some older terraced houses are held together by steel rods or wires tied at the ends by a large metal S or X on the walls of the end houses. The function of these shapes is clearly identical to that of barnstars, but I don't know of a name for them. It would probably be useful to include them in the article if anyone has any more detailed info on them.Lee M 00:32, 13 July 2005 (UTC)

Also in the Britain older houses in towns and cities sometimes have on them fire insurance marks. These were to show who insured the property to make sure the wrong fire-brigade did not put the fire out. This was in the days when insurance companies maintained their own brigades. Maybe we ought to have some Wiki award signs based on these for eminent UK Wikipedians. Apwoolrich 17:49, 27 July 2005 (UTC)

They're tie plates. The rods are called tie rods. They're usually iron, not steel. You find them on all sorts of UK buildings, including barns. They are usually structural, sometimes decorative. Go ahead and add this if you like. Not in an editing mood. 19:55, 17 September 2005 (UTC)

These can also be plate-shaped. An old house of mine had a couple which had been used to remove an outward bulge in the brickwork. A tie rod with a thread at each end was run through through the house from outer wall to outer wall, the middle was heated so it expands and the tie-plates were loosely screwed on. The rod contracted as it cools, pulled the walls together and removed the bulges. Apparently. Daen 14:31, 26 March 2006 (UTC)

Wall ties or wall anchors as they are sometimes known, are added to improve the support structure of a building or structure in areas where it is failing, or as a pre-emptive action to strengthen weak points. They can run across the outside of a wall, through a wall, or between walls. The ties used between walls consist of a round bar, spanning between the failing wall and the strongest, most favourable point of the opposite wall, with threads at both ends, onto which a plate (the anchor) is fastened. The plate has the function of distributing load across a wider surface area. Where wall ties are used to stabilise a failing wall, it is sometimes preferable to use the wall tie to pull the wall back so that it is vertical or near vertical. There are various methods of doing this, but the two most common are; gradually tightening the tie plate nut, and heating the center of a short rod, causing it to expand, then fastening the tie plate onto the ends - the bar then contracts as it cools, effectively pulling the bulge out of the wall. The tie plate can come in many shapes and sizes, including circular, square, cross, and star shaped.

I suggest this article be merged into an article on wall ties containing the above information, or at least something resembling the above information. --▫Bad▫harlick♠ 23:19, 11 November 2006 (UTC)


barnstars meant to represent the mark of the builder.

The mark of the builder? What's that? --Abdull 21:06, 11 August 2005 (UTC)


The Modest Barnstar

What stops a registered user from adding an award image to his user page?

Probably wikipedians checking the history. It'd make them look less credible. -- Deltaspectre 00:11, 5 December 2005 (UTC)
Same reason I don't wear the Congressional Medal of Honor on my suspenders. It'd make me look like a dumbass. There isn't any policy to prevent you from awarding yourself a barnstar. Try the one at the right if you feel the need. User:Pedant 23:40, 21 November 2006 (UTC)

Moved from article[edit]

They still can be seen on many buildings there. I lived in Richmond, Virginia for six years and constantly saw them.

The explanation preceding this is accurate. I am sincerely impressed with Wilipedia!

In Charlottesville, Virginia where I was born and raised -- until Vietnam -- you can find these stars in the ruins of the old Confederate Clothing Factory.

Traveling on the interstate you can still see the tall chimney still standing, made of bricks. I enjoyed roaming the places I have lived and traveled to learn of their history and culture. --Maury 21:12, 25 January 2006 (UTC)

Heavily starred buildings[edit]

This looks like vandalism.

Barnstars are seen not only on barns, but on many older buildings, often of brick. A long steel rod is passed entirely through the building; a star on either side is threaded onto the ends of the rod and they are tightened. This helps to keep the structure from collapsing. A heavily starred building should be examined for failure of the mortar, and may require tuckpointing or more drastic repairs.

Eric 18:09, 10 April 2006 (UTC)

I removed the section. The added ext link only confirms the suspicion in hoax. Plates are threaded on coupling rods. A star would be a poor stress-distributor. `'mikka 02:23, 29 December 2006 (UTC).

My understanding of barnstars, especially on masonry buildings, is that they anchor the threaded rods which hold walls true (vertical) to each other, or to tie a wall into framing or other structural members to hold it true. An abundance of barnstars in a masonry structure is taken to indicate potential brickwork or foundation problems. I'll look for some sources. --Ssbohio 07:48, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

Germany before USA[edit]

it should say 'in Germany and the United States.' i just find it relevant that chronological and alphabetical order come before population or military power.. and yes i might be a bit wierd and harsh by saying this, flame me at your own desire.. --Tyriel 11:48, 28 June 2006 (UTC)

Bourbon Street Barnstars?[edit]

I have some pictures of barnstars sighted in/near the French Quarter of New Orleans. Is there some place where these can be uploaded? Perhaps a space could be set aside for Wikipedians to upload images of their barnstar sightings. Terry Yager 21:08, 8 September 2006 (UTC)

Barnstars on Wikipedia[edit]

  • Arg, seriously people. Look under Administrator (like, any other except for the Wikipedia page). It has referances at the top of the article linking to Wikipedia admins. When ever I look for the Barnstar page, it always sends me here, from which I go to the Wiki-Barnstar page. It would be much harder for newbies on Wikipedia to find Barnstars if they can't go through the link that was previously at the top of this page. My. $0.02 Sharkface217 22:40, 4 November 2006 (UTC)
    • Can somebody send this Barnstar page in for Mediation? I don't want this to get ugly. Sharkface217 22:51, 4 November 2006 (UTC)

It's not a problem! Just use the solution found at Help and Cheat sheet and POV etc. Use the {{selfref}} template (which is taken out for mirrors). Done :) --Quiddity 23:43, 4 November 2006 (UTC)

Hmm, I just noticed the November at the top of the thread, and the November at the bottom are seperated by a few years! I still stand by my suggested solution though. :) --Quiddity 23:50, 4 November 2006 (UTC)
That's crazy! I just started watching this page today after this situation came up at Talk:Esperanza--Ed ¿Cómo estás? 23:52, 4 November 2006 (UTC)
Now that I've seen that discussion, I'm not so sure at all. Sounds like a Wikipedia:Village pump (policy) question to me (and be prepared for disappointment). I defer judgement on this one to the wikilawyers.. -Quiddity 00:01, 5 November 2006 (UTC)
  • There is no need for it to go anywhere, I think using the self-ref template was a good enough solution. There is no need to muck up what works very well. --evrik (talk) 03:42, 5 November 2006 (UTC)

Mention Wikipedia?[edit]

Straw poll (18/16/01)[edit]

Your input is requested below. Ral315 (talk) 07:05, 8 November 2006 (UTC)

Should there be a link to Wikipedia:Barnstar on Barnstar?


  1. Yes A straw poll at a userpage for someone against the question seems to be a tad biased to me. Personally, I see nothing wrong with informing the reader of more information on the topic. In "fact," it's biased to withhold the information. The only legitimate question, IMHO, is how to present it. Rfrisbietalk 13:31, 8 November 2006 (UTC)
  2. Yes - When I first got here, I hit barnstar from the Random Article. I saw the Wikipedia Barnstars link and clicked that, and read up on Barnstars, and I thought that they were the neatest thing, and that's what got me editing here. I can see bending this little rule. --Shrieking Harpy Gay flag.svgTalk|Count 06:19, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
  3. Yes per my comments. --evrik (talk) 15:20, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
  4. Yes definately. Many people who read wikipedia are active editors themselves (or possibly future editors). The help pages are a mess and I never find what I am looking for. I'd appreciate a link in the Barnstar article and don't see how this interrupts the reader of that article. --Splette :) Talk 15:32, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
  5. Yes. I always thought avoidance of self-refs is a pointless attempt of trying to ignore the fact we are already one of the most important phenomenas online.-- Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus | talk  15:35, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
  6. Yes. In situations where an article shares its name with a feature/aspect of WP (barnstars, vandalism, etc), it may be useful to create a template that says "X is also a WP feature. Click here to read about it." Appleseed (Talk) 18:22, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
  7. Yes might be a self-reference, but after all, Vandalism links to Wikipedia:Vandalism as well. Many people might also have trouble finding about barnstars through help pages. Michaelas10 (Talk) 15:37, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
    • In the interest of fairness, I'd say there's a far more pressing need for that link. Someone looking for our pages on vandalism and policy may well have a very urgent need to find those pages -- since when have barnstars been urgent? Luna Santin 18:09, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
  8. Yes, but as an external link or in a self reference template at the top. Night Gyr (talk/Oy) 19:25, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
  9. Yes, somewhere, anywhere. Barnstars are demonstrably more well-known as wiki-awards than otherwise. User:Pedant 20:03, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
  10. Yes If other pages have trackback, why shouldn't this one? Sharkface217 05:24, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
  11. Yes, but only within the {{selfref}} tag so it's not picked up by mirrors. We should be using that template a lot more consistently... -- nae'blis 07:11, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
  12. Weak support of nae'blis's idea, if it's viable. riana_dzasta 13:12, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
  13. Yes per reason given by User:Splette. Robocracy 13:58, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
  14. Yes: a single line, displayed at the top of the article page in wikiconventional form, as suggested a few days ago by evrik: "For the use of barnstars within the Wikipedia community, see Wikipedia:Barnstars." It is neither self-referencing nor recursive. It is a useful and beneficial solution which serves the vital meta-issue of utility perfectly. Athaenara (talk) 04:15, 13 November 2006 (UTC)
  15. Yes--Ed ¿Cómo estás? 04:20, 13 November 2006 (UTC)
  16. Yes- In italics, at the top of the page, just like on Templates, Searching, and Disambiguation, as suggested by User:Athaenara. --Carterhawk 08:57, 14 November 2006 (UTC)
    • Oh, and as a note, I went to the Barnstars article looking for wikipedia barnstars for use outside of wikipedia.
  17. Yes I found the article, looking for the wikipedia barnstarts. There should be a reference. --FocalPoint 18:01, 15 November 2006 (UTC)
  18. Yes Of course. Note if this straw polls ends up without consensus, the page should still be restored to its previous state, which had the link. *Spark* 21:26, 15 November 2006 (UTC)
    For the majority of the Wikipedia Esperanza organization's existence, it has never had this on here. Ral315 (talk) 00:09, 17 November 2006 (UTC)


  1. No; Barnstars are not an essential Wikipedia process, and don't deserve to receive an exemption to the avoid self-references guideline. Ral315 (talk) 07:04, 8 November 2006 (UTC)
  2. No, for the exact same reason as above. Nobody off-Wikipedia cares. ~Kylu (u|t) 07:09, 8 November 2006 (UTC)
  3. No. If somebody is unaware of the Wikipedia namespace, they probably don't have too much interest or business with barnstars. Harsh, perhaps, but also probably true. The vast majority of our users are readers first and foremost -- it's more than easy to find your way to this page via the normal course of duties. Anybody who sticks around is sure to see one on somebody's userpage and get curious. Luna Santin 07:16, 8 November 2006 (UTC)
  4. No; non-essential, and for some non-preferable. I'd much rather a few simple words of positive feedback to a gold star. Not as bad as the Wikipedia:Emoticons though (also self-ref'd: Emoticon#See also)... -Quiddity 09:24, 8 November 2006 (UTC)
  5. No (not here) - Simply put, our use of barnstars is only notable within the Wikipedia subculture, and to include it would just an egotistical act. As said above, nobody outside of Wikipedia cares. Such an exception to WP:SELF might be more appropriate to a (yet to be written) Wikipedia culture article, to which a reference to our use of barnstars would be entirely appropriate. – ClockworkSoul 19:31, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
    • Isn't it actually common across several wikis, such as meatballwiki and others? Night Gyr (talk/Oy) 19:35, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
      • Meatballwiki is mostly self-references as it is. As an encyclopedia, avoiding self-references is necessary. Ral315 (talk) 05:40, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
  6. No. I personally do not like the self reference this will make on the article. However, if this has to be absolutely done, use the hidden text (like we use for that damn "Esperanza" group. User:Zscout370 (Return Fire) 22:01, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
  7. No Per Luna Satin. There is no need for this sort of self-referencing. Thε Halo Θ 12:04, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
  8. Hell, no: Way too incestuous - something WP must avoid at all cost. This would be like Saab selling cars to Vauxhall. Moreschi 18:25, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
  9. No. We are developing the encyclopedia for the benefit of readers, not editors. ×Meegs 23:53, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
  10. No - Unless you can find documented, non trivial sources, referring to the Wikipedia barnstar, it does not belong in a mainspace article. Chris Kreider 01:23, 11 November 2006 (UTC)
  11. No - but the fact of this usage of "barnstars" in the wiki context would be worth mentioning. — Hex (❝?!❞) 12:16, 11 November 2006 (UTC)
  12. No --ElKevbo 05:15, 12 November 2006 (UTC)
  13. No - Shameless self advertising. However, I would fully endorse if a link was placed on a template on the article's talk page. Much like a "Supported by this project" template. that way everybody can eat their pie.... Spawn Man 06:01, 12 November 2006 (UTC)
  14. No. For the same reasons I gave on Talk:Esperanza. TacoDeposit 15:37, 12 November 2006 (UTC)
  15. No per Ral315 and Luna Santin. WP:ASR should only be broken for things integral to the encyclopedia, like the link to wikipedia:civility at civic virtue or the link to wikipedia:verifiability at Formal verification. Picaroon9288 23:39, 12 November 2006 (UTC)
  16. No though Barnstars are mainstream awards for Wikipedians, those who are off Wikipedia do not need to know about them essentially in order to read/edit the article or understand the rules of Wikipedia.¤~Persian Poet Gal (talk) 19:06, 15 November 2006 (UTC)
  17. No per Ral315 and Kylu. Wikipedians do not need to learn about barnstars in order to become good or even great editors. ▫Bad▫harlick♠ 17:33, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
Also the correct term isn't even "barnstar" - a tie bar would be more accurate, with a barnstar being a type of tie plate. I suggest merging this article with an article on tie bars, or maybe even on building structure etc. Hopefully people will learn that hijacking an article just because some people can't remember to prefix "WP:" before they go read up on wikipedia policies and practices isn't appropriate.▫Bad▫harlick♠ 17:46, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

Maybe or Neutral[edit]

  1. Perhaps. By nature all barnstars have always meant to be unofficial. They can by nature never be an essential part of wikipedia. In the light of that, I do not see the harm in putting Wikipedia:Barnstar on Barnstar given the widespread usage of barnstars on wikipedia... After all it is quite noable being the first hit on a google image search and the second hit on a regular google search. --Cat out 15:51, 9 November 2006 (UTC)


Biased is quite a bad way to put it, as there's no bias in not presenting irrelevant information that doesn't relate to the topic on Wikipedia. And it's at my userpage because it spans more than one article. That's why I posted it here- so that readers of this page would be able to express their opinion as well. Ral315 (talk) 05:58, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

Inclusion of this text is a reasonable solution:

--evrik (talk) 15:03, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

I don't believe so. Barnstars don't affect the readers, and that should be our first thought. Only in cases like Vandalism, where it's an important process that readers might look for, should we not follow WP:ASR. Ral315 (talk) 15:08, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
  • I just moved the poll. --evrik (talk) 15:20, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
  • Let's give the poll a couple more days. I may not be around much until Monday, so let me just say this- if it does appear that a consensus forms around the self-reference being included, it should be at the bottom of the page in a "see also" section, not at the top as was at some points the case. Since there is a significant number of people who think it should be there, I think that's an acceptable compromise from my end. Ral315 (talk) 16:39, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
  • I think the self-reference should go at the top so that people don't have to read down the article to find what they're really looking for. --evrik (talk) 16:49, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
Examples of Self-Refs (Look at THESE):
  • As I stated above, I don't support a link being given on the main article page. However, I would like to see a template giving the link on the barnstar talk page. This way both parties could be satified? Spawn Man 06:04, 12 November 2006 (UTC)
  • I think that is a perfectly acceptable and even desirable solution. --ElKevbo 06:28, 12 November 2006 (UTC)
  • Heck yeah it is! Yay! I made a good suggestion! :) Spawn Man 06:38, 12 November 2006 (UTC)
  • Works for me. – ClockworkSoul 13:22, 14 November 2006 (UTC)
    • Works for me as well. I'm glad we have been able to reach a comp.--Ed ¿Cómo estás? 01:49, 15 November 2006 (UTC)
Works for me. Would probably be viable in some other selfref situations, as the talk page is the second place I look if I am trying to find a new term I haven't come across before in WP context. -- nae'blis 07:17, 15 November 2006 (UTC)
  • I think that since no consensus has been reached, it should go back to having the self-ref at the top of the page, which is where it was before this tempest in a teapot started. It does 'no harm' to have the reference at the top, and is consistent with a lot of other pages. I'm goping to ask that the page be unprotected. --evrik (talk) 15:30, 15 November 2006 (UTC)
    • It's consistent only with a few disambiguation pages, and I'm not convinced that they belong there either. Really, if there is no consensus to bend the rules, then the default should be to follow them. – ClockworkSoul 15:35, 15 November 2006 (UTC)
  • Are you suggesting we make this a {{disambig}} page? --evrik (talk) 15:39, 15 November 2006 (UTC)
    • Heh. No - I'm suggesting that this isn't a disambig page, so we shouldn't do it. :D – ClockworkSoul 15:46, 15 November 2006 (UTC)

I still think that this tag is a reasonable solution that meets everyone's needs. --evrik (talk) 16:39, 15 November 2006 (UTC)

I'm not thrilled by it, but I don't care enough or think it's big enough of a deal for me to invest energy in fighting it. If you put it on the page, I'll be content to just accept it. – ClockworkSoul 17:34, 15 November 2006 (UTC)

Query: What do wikipedians have against newcomers learning more about wikipedia? Self References are one of the best ways to find out more information about an aspect of wikipedia, especialy since searching the other namespaces can be difficult and confusing for someone who has never done it before. Unless the wikipedia article can encompass every self reference from every other article, we need them to be spread out in places where people would expect to find them. Ill never understand, especialy in the case of Esperanza, why some wikipedians want to keep a solid wikipedia Community from growing. The reader who comes across wikipedia barnstars may then be interested in contributing to wikipedia, going from reader to editor. --Carterhawk 21:52, 15 November 2006 (UTC)

A curious question. I respond with a counter-query: did you learn about barnstars by reading the barnstar article, or by some other means, such as visiting user pages? A followup query: why do you assume that some people's preference to keep Wikipedian cultural references out of articles that don't directly relate to us is a calculated attempt to keep newcomers in the dark? – ClockworkSoul 22:02, 15 November 2006 (UTC)
1)Through a userpage, however in looking for more information on them, i first came here. For me finding out more about wikipedia policies and culture involves a great deal of hoping an article in the Main namespace has a link to an article in the wikipedia namespace. 2) My suspicious nature. --Carterhawk 06:20, 16 November 2006 (UTC)

A thought What about a change to the underlying mediawiki software? What I propose is that the software track any namespaces that are set to cross reference each other. When each namespace has an article with the same name, add a tab button to the top of the article to the right of Watch that takes the reader to the other namespace. It avoids self referencing in the article, and makes related information in other namespaces easily accessible. This approach would, in theory, satisfy both groups, would it not? --Carterhawk 06:28, 16 November 2006 (UTC)

After coming up with this I added the idea to this discussion page where it belongs. --Carterhawk 08:00, 16 November 2006 (UTC)
  • I think that the {{selfref}} template is meant to deal with this. --evrik (talk) 15:15, 16 November 2006 (UTC)
  • No, it's not. That template has nothing to do with the issue of if a self-reference should be made in the first place. The template is purely a technical measure to allow mirrors, forks, and other versions/copies to supress or properly (however they define it) redirect the link(s). --ElKevbo 20:06, 16 November 2006 (UTC)
  • user:Ais523 has come up with a javascript that does what I proposed, it works great and looks great. User:Ais523/selfreftab.js --Carterhawk 22:54, 16 November 2006 (UTC)
  • I just added the {{selfref|For the use of barnstars within the Wikipedia community, see [[Wikipedia:Barnstars]]}}. Please feel free to replace it with user:Ais523's javascript. --evrik (talk) 23:03, 21 November 2006 (UTC)
    • I have reverted it. As far as using JavaScript, hiding things with JavaScript is not ideal; many browsers do not support JavaScript, and controversy has been expressed over this. But in general, I think a compromise would be ideal; how about putting the link in the "see also" section, where it'll be less out of place? Ral315 (talk) 00:48, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
  • Until such time that we can come to an agreement, we should just leave the article as it is right now with the reference. I thik it serves the greater community and does not harm. --evrik (talk) 04:26, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

"five points" star vs. "five-point" star[edit]

  • In the first paragraph, is not the proper English language usage "five-point"?
    • And so the alternative, without the hyphen would be "five points"?
      • Wikipedia at least effectively teaches and standardizes English. So should we not always make sure that our WP sentence are grammatically and spellingwisecorrec?
As long as it is spellingwisecorrec —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:04, 22 June 2009 (UTC)
        • And if there is a rule to whether to use the singular or plural, can someone let me know the WP article one could look in, if any?
  • PS: Notice that one says, "one woman," and, "two women," but not "two woman"!
Yours,etc. Ludvikus 19:30, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

Structural vs. Decorative[edit]

It is clear to me that there is a major confusion going on here. There are decorative "plaques" that either feature star motifs (PA dutch) or are actually star-shaped (sheet metal?), and steel/iron forgings that function as anchor points for structural tie rods holding two opposing walls together. The image in this article is clearly the latter, yet the text not only makes no mention of the structural purpose, but specifically excludes it.

I'm going to re-write this in the near future. Anybody have a useable image of one of those decorative stars? Pjbflynn 23:37, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

You're right. This article seems lacking in those respects. In fact, earlier on this talk page, someone even thought that a discussion of tie rods and plates was "vandalism"! Here in Philadelphia there are loads of 18th- and 19th-century brick buildings that have such stars on them. On many of those buildings it looks as though, far from it being a random repair, the wall was designed to have the stars in certain places as anchors for joists, although I don't know that for sure. Some may be purely decorative, but I believe that many of them probably are joist anchors (and the joist itself may simultaneously serve as a tie rod) and some others may be tie plates for ad-hoc masonry repairs done, say, in 1860 on a building built in 1760.
   So some of the problems in this article currently are that such stars (a) were not just for barns, but rather were also used on brick houses; (b) were not only German or German-American; (c) were not always non-structural, but rather also seem to have been used as joist anchors, combination joist-anchor/tie-plates, or just ad-hoc tie plates. However, this article needs input from a good secondary source such as a book written by someone with real knowledge of the subject (e.g., architects, people who do renovation on colonial-era buildings). — Lumbercutter 22:37, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
I used to do renovation work on old buildings and may be able to find a source. To my best knowledge , a star-shaped anchor is for timber construction, while bigger tie plates are used for masonry, but barnstars almost certainly had a structural purpose prior to the decorative/award one. I've definitely seen something in a textbook about this; let me check it out.--mikaul 10:17, 1 March 2007 (UTC)
Well, I've searched high & low and can't find a reference to barn stars which indicate even a vestigial structural use. An online article [[1]] I found is very interesting on the subject, citing finds of old wooden barn stars in carpenters' shops which clearly cannot have had a sturctural purpose. The page has a link to a range of good photos (I've emaled for permission to use) all of which show a wooden star placed high in the eaves of the roof, too high (IMO) to be of any structural purpose, even if they were strong enough for the task.
There is no clear terminological distinction between painted barnstars and wooden or metal ones and pages like this one [[2]] often elect to call the painted versions 'barn stars' and the wooden/metal ones 'hex signs'.
I'm confused and a bit disappointed! Being quite 'up' on structural joinery, I feel certain there should have been an original use as a tie-rod end, especially for large & precarious timber structures like barns, so I'll keep looking, but with diminished hope...--mikaul 10:40, 6 March 2007 (UTC)


OK, so this has the potential to really upset some people (given the whole "barnstar as wikipedia award" thing), but by what verifiable source is this image being labeled as a "barnster"? From all of my research, I can find not a single reference to a reinforcing plate such as this being called a "barnstar". Indeed, they seem to be used predominantly on urban masonry (brick) buildings.

All that I can find searching for "barnstar" is those sheet metal (tin, copper) decorative types. Lacking a source defining a star-shaped tie rod anchor plate as a barnstar, I think the image(s) need to be renamed. Pjbflynn 01:32, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

  • A lot of the stuff I've read while searching for a structural connection mentions barn stars being a kind of 'trademark', fixed by the builder by way of signature, expressing pride in his work. It's this connection which is behind the barnstar an award for work well done, I think. The onus is on those of us who believe them to have a structural purpose to find evidence to back the claim up. At the moment, the article makes totally unsupported claims to this end; the decorative/award usage has plenty of corraborative evidence, by contrast. --mikaul 10:48, 6 March 2007 (UTC)
Well, the real issue as I see it is that there are two distinctly different objects being labelled as "barnstars", and I can find no source describing a barnstar as a thick metal plate with a hole in the center, can you? My contention is that these are not properly called barnstars. As for their structural function, I've found plenty of refs to that.
Yes, it's a message board, but it describes exactly what's being discussed
Just search for the word star
Same thing, just search
A good page about the purely decorative sort

Of course you can't find any mention of a structural function for barnstars, because this image does not show a barnstar. It shows a star-shaped tie plate. Pjbflynn 14:12, 6 March 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for that, I knew I'd seen them somewhere. At the bottom of the page on the first of your links is a pic of a house and on the extreme rhs you can see the exact same star plate as is illustrating the barn star article. That seals it for me, although there are some claims to the effect that "barnstar" is an appropriate name for the item illustrated here.
Have a look at the Wikipedia:Barnstar page for the design history, or if you want to go straight to the original rationale behind Wikipedia's use of it, see this link. The creator of the original Wiki barnstar claims the name is synonymous with "a fancy style of bolt washer used in early America to secure a long steel rod spanning the whole structure for support"; although technically that could be debatable, a futher link from his page takes you to the true origin, where (it is claimed) the bolt-based 'barnstar' is so-called because "it comes from early American architectural construction techniques, being used like a bolt on either end of a barn to secure a long, steel rod that spans the entire structure for support." (my bold)
This is where I first saw one, in a photo "somewhere" :/ Hope this goes some way to resolving things. --mikaul 20:03, 6 March 2007 (UTC)

I have already tracked back through the Meatball Wiki and the Barnstar Subterfuge origins of the Wikipedia Barnstar. I think it would be useful to restate my concern and see what folks think.

The issue is that the image currently on this page called silverBarnstar.jpg, (and by extension, all the modified versions used as Wikipedia awards) is mis-named as a barn star. I have found plenty of sources (some linked above) that show and define a large, non-structural decorative star of wood or metal as a barn star. The only source for referring to the physically very different object in the picture as a barn star is the Barnstar Subterfuge, and I believe this is in error.

The object in this image is essentially a large washer, used on the ends of iron rods that pass through opposite walls of a masonry structure. These rods, generally called tie rods, serve to hold the sides of the structure together, either according to original design, or as a repair later in the building's history. These plates are usually called tie plates, and vary in their shape and degree of decoration. Apparently in the UK they are known as pattress plates. I can find no evidence of these plates being used on any non-masonry structure (usually urban houses and industrial buildings), and not on barns.

Unless someone can come up with evidence of these tie plates being used on barns, than the image must be renamed. I'm not really sure how to go about that, and the problem is compounded by it's use in so many "award images". Pjbflynn 04:24, 7 March 2007 (UTC)

It seems to me that there are two clearly seperate subjects here. From my reading in trying to cite this, and the discussion here, I'm thinking that Barnstars are a symbolic ornament. It's expected that some structural tie plates may have been decoratively shaped like stars, but this seems to be at best midly relevant to the topic of discussion. To try and make an analogy, consider hood ornaments, and assume that they were once used to open hoods of vehicles. It may be worth noting that this could be an origin for them, and cross referencing "Hood Latch," but the discussion of hood ornament design solely for aesthetic purposes is of its own merit. The best resolution appears to make an XRef and sentence reference to Tie rod, which will in turn need some discussion of tie plates. Autocracy 14:27, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

Removed text[edit]

I just did a revert to remove this text:

Barnstars (aka earthquake washers) were employed in the early 19th century. Earthquake bolts (accompanied with decorative washers mostly in star form) are often associated with repairs made to buildings following great earthquakes. Iron bolts and decorative washers (stars) often used with them were attached to rods inserted laterally through buildings to straighten walls and provide additional structural support. The star washers were found both internally adjacent to major wood structural beams and as “end cap washers” of the long rods on the building exterior. Many of these are still visible on older multiple story brick buildings in major cities.

The ends of floor joists in older brick buildings sit in tiny pockets within the masonry wall. These small pockets are usuall not more than a few inches wide. The walls would not have to move much for the joist to slip out and fall (as would easily happen in an earthquake). To prevent this, a hole was drilled through the brick wall and run an iron rod into a floor (or ceiling) spanning the room or all the way through to the brick wall on the other side. An iron metal star or “washer” was affixed at the ends of the rod with a nut screwed on the end. Because the bricks and mortar weakened over time and are soft in nature, a large washer was used to disperse the stress of keeping the walls plumb over a wider area. Large stars were used as they are far more decorative than round or square washers, especially on older more historical buildings which were to be preserved. These tie-rods and/or "star bolts" devices are occasionally referred to as earthquake or hurricane bolts because such disasters often warrant their use.

The only part of this I dispute is that these anchors should not be called barn stars, so I'll try to encorporate this text into the Tie rod article. Pjbflynn 16:31, 10 March 2007 (UTC)

Oh, I also removed the misleading silverBarnstar.jpg image, as clearly USA.Press was describing that. Pjbflynn 16:39, 10 March 2007 (UTC)

Added "Confounding with similarly shaped structural tie plates"[edit]

As Pjbflynn astutely pointed out, "this has the potential to really upset some people"—but it needs correcting nonetheless. I added "Confounding with similarly shaped structural tie plates" to the article. — Lumbercutter 17:56, 10 March 2007 (UTC)

Completely agree with the removal of the tie-plate text and your fine additional section should be an end to the matter, I think. No need to "upset" anyone or anything; there no point at all in changing name for the Wiki-award, simply because the word actually refers to something other than the object depicted. This is the way a lot of common names start out, often in ingorance of the "true" meaning or "correct" usage ('scuse my relativism) and the source of many an amusing etymological journey... this is usage outside of the public Wiki and I vote we keep the term in it's present form, display of ignorance, warts and all. What the heck, why not have it as a verb as well ;) I've made a note on the Wikipedia:Barnstar page, FWIW --mikaul 20:49, 10 March 2007 (UTC)

As far as I'm concerned, the recent work here has been great in improving the article. Autocracy 21:29, 10 March 2007 (UTC)

I just undid a division of this section, as I can find no evidence of this naming confusion anywhere but online communities. While I like this section clarifying the error, I'm not wild about the name. It just seems clunky and unencyclopedic. I can't at this moment come up with anything better, though. Pjbflynn 05:36, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

I've had a go at fixing it. The hex-sign is no more a barnstar than the tie plate is, so I've added that into the 'confusion' section. The newer metal stars are proably nearer the lineage of the 'genuine' wooden ones, so (after a bit of messing about) I've left them in 'History'. I think we could probably expand this section, but it needs some verifiable research. I do have another photo, come to think of it. Anyway, feel free to revert/edit the title etc. mikaul 12:56, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

Barn Stars, Protection from Fires, and Contribution to Collective Goods[edit]

When I first saw the use of barnstars in Wikipedia I was reminded of research on collective goods. I can't recall the titles of the books but my memory is that in some communities people would organize local fire departments on a contributor basis. People who had paid to support the fire department would have a marker placed on their property as a signal of their contribution. Does anyone else have info on these markers and how they might relate to barnstars? thanks --Ted 15:49, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

Ted, what you are talking about here are called fire marks these were in Benjamin Franklin's era and can still be seen on Philadelphia buildings as well as those of other older American cities. Fire insurance subscribers would pay in advance for protection and in return receive a fire mark (usually a metalic logo) to attach to their building. Only the fire brigade employed by the fire insurance agency that provided the marks would put out a particular building if it was to catch alight. See Fire insurance marks --Rfsjim (talk) 05:22, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

Do they really exist in Germany?[edit]

The article lede claims that barnstars are "originally and most commonly seen in German [and German-American] farming communities." I am a German, although admittedly I don't spend much time in farming communities, and I don't think I have ever seen such a thing. On Wikipedia, yes. (This is why I came to this article.) In an American movie, maybe. But never live. I always thought this star was used as a US national symbol, as a part of the US flag. I have no idea what the German word for this thing would be. These images don't seem to be used much on the German language Wikipedia, and where they are, people use the English word. Note that I am talking about the ornamental thing here, not the common practice to cramp parts of a building together with two pieces of metal in an X shape. --Hans Adler (talk) 13:00, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

I pared it down to just "German-American" because I suspect that there may not be many of them in Germany today even if there were in centuries past. I suspect a bit of the cultural-evolution equivalent of founder effect with this. Some emigrants from Germany to the U.S. in the 18th and 19th centuries may have brought this tradition with them and it propagated strongly in states such as Pennsylvania. This would not necessarily mean, however, that there were tons of barn stars in Germany then, or that there are many left today. This founder effect of sorts could easily lead to a situation where there are more barn stars in the U.S. than there ever were in Germany. Please note that if present-day rural residents of Germany know specifically otherwise, you can revert my edit. But I think it's more sensible to bring the claim back with specific verifying knowledge rather than leave it in as a dubious, unproven idea (i.e. the idea that there are plenty of barn stars in present-day Germany). — ¾-10 16:30, 13 January 2008 (UTC)


I'm an Englishmen, so this word looks fine to me. However, but per WP:ENGVAR, shouldn't this be esthetic? I don't know the intricacies of American spelling, but I know you chaps are fond of removing nominally superfluous vowels, and I know you remove the middle 'a' from its opposite. PRB (talk) 09:09, 13 May 2008 (UTC)

While those of us on this side of the Atlantic do generally prefer our words with a minimum of vowels, we decided to keep the extra 'a' in the case of "aestheic". I don't know why that word is an exception to the unwritten rule of American English, but I suspect it may have been for reasons of aestheics, interestingly enough. – ClockworkSoul 19:46, 13 May 2008 (UTC)


While on tour of Charleston SC, the tour guide pointed out the anchor plates on some buildings, explaining that following the earthquake in the late 19th century, tie rods with anchor plates were used to reinforce damaged buildings; shortly after that, some new buildings were built with purely decorative plates (no tie rods). The presence of the plates was not necessarily evidence of tie rods, nor even that the building had been there before the earthquake. This is a thirty year old memory. It would be nice to have a verifiable (orginal) source on the history of architecture. Naaman Brown (talk) 18:20, 28 October 2009 (UTC) Added: I am not sure what word the tour guide used for what I called anchor plates above. As I recall, they appeared to resemble sea shells or chrysanthemums.

Just like a Wikibarnstar![edit]

A barnstar is just like a wikipedia barnstar. Very interesting. hmm? —Preceding unsigned comment added by RNelson5577 (talkcontribs) 16:37, 16 April 2010 (UTC)

Not really, because Wikipedia barnstars were derived from these barnstars...  fetchcomms 22:28, 16 April 2010 (UTC)

Wagon wheel-like barnstars[edit]

The article mentions barnstars occasionally having a "wagon wheel" style rather than a five-pointed stars, but the article has several images of stars but not one illustrating this "wagon wheel" style. It'd be nice to see what these actually look like, if someone could replace one of the images with one in this style? GiftigerWunsch [TALK] 22:00, 4 May 2010 (UTC)

Traduccion a wikipedia español[edit]

Este artículo esta siendo traducido y transferido a wikipedia en español por Daimond (en este caso un ip) (talk) 02:30, 6 February 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia Barnstars[edit]

Any one know where the talk page is for the "Wikipedia Barnstars" know, the kind that get put on people's user page if they are good etc. Thanks. NelsonSudan (talk) 20:07, 19 August 2011 (UTC)

Yup, check out the project page at "Wikipedia:WikiProject Wikipedia Awards" and its talk page at "Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Wikipedia Awards". Regards, — ¾-10 16:01, 20 August 2011 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

Hello fellow Wikipedians,

I have just modified 3 external links on Barnstar. Please take a moment to review my edit. If you have any questions, or need the bot to ignore the links, or the page altogether, please visit this simple FaQ for additional information. I made the following changes:

When you have finished reviewing my changes, please set the checked parameter below to true or failed to let others know (documentation at {{Sourcecheck}}).

You may set the |checked=, on this template, to true or failed to let other editors know you reviewed the change. If you find any errors, please use the tools below to fix them or call an editor by setting |needhelp= to your help request.

  • If you have discovered URLs which were erroneously considered dead by the bot, you can report them with this tool.
  • If you found an error with any archives or the URLs themselves, you can fix them with this tool.

If you are unable to use these tools, you may set |needhelp=<your help request> on this template to request help from an experienced user. Please include details about your problem, to help other editors.

Cheers.—InternetArchiveBot (Report bug) 12:39, 27 October 2016 (UTC)

Rural homes or barns in rural farms?[edit]

The article reads: "and many rural homes in Canada"

Are rural homes decorated with barnstars? Really? Not barns in rural farms? Any sources? (talk) 21:17, 21 July 2017 (UTC)