Talk:Optics/Archive 1

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Suggestion: Anyone planing to follow all those broken wiki-links in the page? I am giving it a shot but would appreciate help as it is a tiresome job. Thanks, askewmind 00:29, Feb 17, 2005 (UTC)

Q: Are there any direct connections over optics and information theory? It is listed at 'Other optical fields'. --HarpyHumming 19:27, 28 Feb 2004 (UTC)

No mention of Mechanical?[edit]

In my work, We design various optical systems within our product. The EEs design the electronics which cause the LED to illuminate. They also design the circuits which senses the current passing through the devices which react to light. Everything in between seems to be mechanical. Light pipes, Prisms, Lenses, Mirrors, angles, Textures and materials. I've always considered Optics to be everything that goes on in between the source and the detector. The medium itself may be electromagnetic in nature but MAKING IT USEFULL requires mechanical manipulation. Light is whats there, Making it useful is optics. Any reason why the mechanical aspect of optics has been missed in this wikipedia entry?

I don't know what you mean by "mechanical" here, or why you think it is missing. Optics includes anything that manipulates light. That would include light pipes, prisms, lenses, mirrors, angled reflecting and refracting surfaces, and scattering from textured surfaces. There is an unfortunate tendency in industry to assume that optics is something that naturally falls in the purview of a mechanical engineer (since it's clearly not an electrical problem). I would hate to encourage that. Opticals is a specialized discipline in its own right, not a subtopic of mechanical engineering.--Srleffler 01:20, 15 November 2005 (UTC)
There is a field called either "optomechanics" (41k hits on Google) or "opto-mechanics" (84k hits on Google) related to the mechanical aspects of optical design (for example, does my compound lens stay in focus if the temperature changes?). Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be a WP article on it. -- The Photon 06:23, 7 January 2006 (UTC)

Missing article "Optical"[edit]

There is a redirect to this page from the article Optical, which describes an important musician within electronic dance music (referenced on a fair number of pages) - does anybody know how to fix this (and recreate the original article) or set up a disambiguation page? I'm quite new to this and haven't worked it out yet. Will Lakeman 13:06, 20 May 2005 (UTC)

Usually when there's a clear primary usage of a word, that's left at it's current page, while others are placed at, for instance, optical (musician). In cases where it's possible people can get confused but one is clearly the major usage you can put a diambig sentence at the top of the article. If there are multiple alternative uses that link can be to a disambig page (ie Ontario or operator), but I think where possible disambig pages should be avoided. Official guidelilnes can be found at Wikipedia:Disambiguation specifically the section on types of disambiguation.--Laura Scudder | Talk 18:07, 20 May 2005 (UTC)
Thanks Laura, the page was under Optical (artist). I have inserted a sentence at the top of this page, although I'm not entirely sure I've got the format right, re: italics and boxing etc. Will Lakeman 19:46, 22 May 2005 (UTC)


I am not much on these details, but I think I have seen Physical Optics in capitals. I am not sure about Gaussian optics. Quantum mechanics is not capitalized and maybe not born approximation, but Physical Optics is a less common approximation and tends to be confusing in lower case, because on can so easily take it literally.

My sense is that quantum mechanics, Gaussian optics, Born approximation are the correct capitalizations. I don't know about Physical Optics. — Laura Scudder | Talk 20:03, 4 September 2005 (UTC)
Gaussian, etc., in captials because it's a proper name. Otherwise, standard wikipedia style is not to use capitals in article titles. -- DrBob 23:06, 4 September 2005 (UTC)

Split Off "Geometric Optics"?[edit]

Per my discussion with User:Srleffler on the Talk:Nodal_point page, it seems wikipedia needs a discussion of geometric optics, and I think it should perhaps be separate from this article. Any thoughts on that?

Specifically, my interest is to see it explained somewhere in wikipedia why all light passing through a central shutter is evenly distributed over the entire image frame that results (as opposed to the wrong idea that light which passes through the center of a central shutter ends up in the center of the image frame, light that passes near the edges of a central shutter ends up at the periphery of the image frame). —Severoon 19:57, 24 February 2006 (UTC)

There is more than enough to say about geometric optics to justify a separate article about it. All that is needed is someone with the expertise and the time to tackle it.--Srleffler 04:12, 25 February 2006 (UTC)
I've still got my well loved copy of Fundamentals of Optics by Jenkins and White hanging around. A bit busy teaching during the school year, but adding some meat to a geometric optics article would be a lot of fun over the summer. :) -Tjkiesel 17:07, 1 January 2007 (UTC)
Think about a pin hole camera. In geometric optics, the rays are straight lines, so a ray passing through the center of the lens or through the pinhole continues at the same angle and reaches the ccd or film on the opposite side. (So you have to turn the film upside down.) David R. Ingham 05:55, 26 February 2006 (UTC)
This is a good start, but doesn't really explain the phenomenon in an optical system using an aperture or central shutter. The reason this explanation does not satisfy is that, with a pinhole camera, if you increase the size of the hole the effect is that the image is destroyed. With an optical system, however, changing the size of the aperture doesn't degrade the image at all, nor does light passing through a particular part of the aperture fall on a corresponding part of the image frame.
I don't mean to mislead anyone—I myself understand the phenomenon, I simply don't have the time to memorialize it on these pages with the polish required for the article. The answer to my question becomes evident when you consider a single point source of light. The front element of the lens gathers light rays emanating from the point source and directs them toward the aperture. The aperture allows some of these light rays to pass, which then fall on the back element. Assuming the point source is in the focal plane of the lens in its current configuration, the back element of the lens will cause all of the exiting light rays to converge to a point. If you picture the path of the rays through the lens, you can imagine the effect on the image frame if the point source were to drift upwards and to the right in the focal plane: the point on the image plane will move down and to the left.
Once it is clear how a lens handles a point source, it's easy; a more complex subject than a point source in the focal plane is nothing more than an array of point sources. The rays emanating from each point source pass light through the entire aperture. Make the aperture smaller, therefore, and the effect is not to vignette the image frame, but instead to decrease the luminosity of each individual point.
This explains why only point sources of light in the focal plane are in focus in the image frame. Those point sources that fall in the focal plane will converge to a sharp point on the image frame. Those point sources behind the focal plane will converge to a point behind the image the image plane, this will manifest as an aperture-shaped blur. Those point sources in front of the focal plane converge to a point in front of the image plane, which manifests on the image plane as an upside-down aperture-shaped blur. This also makes clear how aperture and sharpness are related...with a small aperture, a substantial movement of the point source out of the focal plane is required to make a given size blur on the image plane, whereas with a large aperture, a much shorter movement corresponds to the same size blur.
Are the images below of use to you? I made them for another purpose yesterday. If needed, I could prepare modified versions for use in an article.--Srleffler 21:53, 26 February 2006 (UTC)
Cooke triplet, 80 mm f/5
Cooke triplet, 80 mm f/10


Optics was pretty much classical even after Planck's famous explanation of blackbody spectrum in terms of quantized radiation, and Einstein's explanation of photoelectric effect interpreted as implying that light itself is quantized. Instead of arguing over them, I just pinned to the rise of quantum optics. OK? Dicklyon 03:55, 5 October 2006 (UTC)

Education/Training Section?[edit]

It would be nice to have a section discussing the training one needs to pursue a career in optics. I would have found this incrediby useful back when I was looking at grad schools. Here is some stuff to put in it: -Most people obtain undergraduate degrees in EE, ME, Physics, Math, etc. then go on to pusue graduate degrees or training in optics. -List of "top" schools in optics (University of Arizona, University of Rochester, University of Central Florida, etc

To be fair, that would be done when the article is more of an overview of optics and less a listing of topics within it. I've not seen an article yet that goes into much or any detail on jobs within that particular area, so i think once the article is referenced and well-rounded, maybe there could be something like that added.
For instance, the article on Chemistry, there are no results for "job" or "career". Don't know why, perhaps it's just the fact that it may impinge upon POV? SConfident.gif J O R D A N [talk ] 14:35, 23 January 2007 (UTC)
A section on the training one needs to pursue a career in a field might be OK, but attempting to list schools with programs in a discipline tends to cause problems. The article on photonics used to have such a list, but it slowly grew to be an excessively large part of the article. I removed it, because it violated Wikipedia is not an indiscriminate collection of information. We're not a directory of University programs in optics. In principle, listing a few "top" schools could work, but only if there is an NPOV means of deciding which few schools are the "top" ones. Otherwise, it becomes a directory of every school with a program in Optics.--Srleffler 16:32, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

Ion optics[edit]

Aren't ion optics a type of optics and thus shouldn't they bear mentioning here? If this is the case, the intro has to be changed to include more generality about any particle rather than just photons. Wikipedia brown 21:38, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

I would prefer to keep the narrower view of what "optics" is, for this article. From that point of view, "ion optics" is not part of optics per se, but rather uses the word "optics" metaphorically—ion optics is related to ions in the same way that optics relates to light. It's similar to atom laser. An atom laser is not a laser, but rather is an device in which atoms become coherent in the same way that light becomes coherent in a true laser.--Srleffler 23:14, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

Work needed[edit]

I reviewed this article for Version 0.7, and I don't think it should be rated as B-Class, especially considering the breadth and importance of the topic. Much of the content consists of lists rather than prose, and I don't think the article is very comprehensive (what about a history section, for example). Also, the referencing is weak. I would suggest expanding with prose then using of the Wikipedia:Summary style where appropriate. Walkerma 07:53, 18 September 2007 (UTC)

Branch of physics?[edit]

[Copied from User talk:Oli Filth]:

i notcied u changed my small edit to optics as being branch of physics. Am thinking we should not call it a branch since its merely based on electromagnetism, i mean there are no fundemental laws of optics, there all based in electromagnetism(thats what light is). Lastly, even on the physics page its not listed as a branch of physics or a core theory but merely a sub-branch of electromagnetism. Am thinking we should call it a branch of physical science since thats how its listed on encyclopedia encarta. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:06, 9 April 2008 (UTC)

I reverted the change from "physics" to "physical science", because both are correct and the former is more specific. As to whether optics is a "branch" of physics, I think that's a good topic for discussion here. Optics is an odd discipline. Moreso than most other areas of physics it crosses over into engineering and technology. Optics is as much a "branch" of engineering as it is of physics. I'm not sure your argument based on fundamental laws holds water, though. There are certainly laws of optics, such as conservation of étendue. Such laws are not, of course, fundamental, but neither are the laws of thermodynamics. "Laws" are not generally very important in modern physics, anyway. Theories are much more powerful.--Srleffler (talk) 03:57, 9 April 2008 (UTC)

I like the change from "is a branch of physics" to "is a science". --Srleffler (talk) 03:09, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

Removed from article.[edit]

Removed the following:

Ibn al-Haytham is regarded as the father of optics for his influential Book of Optics, which correctly explained and proved the modern intromission theory of vision, and for his experiments on optics, including experiments on lenses, mirrors, refraction, reflection, and the dispersion of light into its constituent colours. He studied binocular vision and the moon illusion, speculated on the finite speed, and rectilinear propagation of light, and argued for the corpuscular theory. Due to his formulation of a modern quantitative, empirical and experimental approach to physics and science, he is considered the pioneer of the modern scientific method and the originator of experimental science and experimental physics, and some have described him as the "first scientist" for these reasons.

The claim that al-Haytham "is regarded as the father of optics" would need a citation, and would need to say who regards him as such. (I don't doubt the truth of the claim, but it is not suitable for WP as-is.) The same is true of the statements involving "he is considered" and "some have described". Wikipedia requires such statements to specify who holds that point of view, and may require a citation.

I removed the whole paragraph because it doesn't belong in the introduction and the article doesn't currently have a history section. (See History of optics.) If someone wants to expand the article to give a summary of History of optics including a discussion of al-Haytham's work, that would be great.--Srleffler (talk) 21:42, 12 May 2008 (UTC)

New version of article.[edit]

The alternate version of the article discussed below is at s:User:ScienceApologist/Optics workshop.

I am concerned about this edit for the following reasons:

  1. The fact that someone was working on a major rewrite of the article should have been disclosed on this talk page first.
  2. It appears that the author of this new text is currently blocked from editing.
  3. Blocked users are not permitted to edit, by any means. This is a social proscription, not merely a technical one. Evading the technical block by editing elsewhere and having a meatpuppet proxy insert the text for you is probably against the rules.

I have not yet reviewed the text itself, but intend to. My concern is not related to the merits of the new text. It might be best to revert the article and discuss it further here first.--Srleffler (talk) 18:45, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

Correction to the above: ScienceApologist is banned from Wikipedia for three months. Attempting to write articles elsewhere and have others insert them is almost certainly a violation of the ban. See Wikipedia:Banning policy.--Srleffler (talk) 19:04, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

I'm somewhere in the high 3000s in terms of edits, my only run in with SA was with his gang, never with him personally and that was highly negative. To the best of my knowledge I've never edited directly or indirectly together. You don't know me, but I am not his meatpuppet. SA did not coordinate with me in anyway. And blocked editors can do whatever they want on other sites and I'm not blocked. So how about a little WP:AGF? In terms of my reasons the goal was to get the involvement of the people on this page diff.
If you want to revert, feel free. IMHO this version of the article is substantially better than the previous. I see no reason to reject a high quality article released under the GFDL because wikipedia doesn't like the editor. What you are advocating is not merely a ban, but full on political censorship. The people here have to decide whether to: ignore the new article and revert, cannibalize the new article for content to include in the old one, cannibalize the old article for content to include in the new one or just start with the new and keep editing from there. I wanted the Optics editors to be aware of this version and now you are. jbolden1517Talk 19:03, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
I recognize you mean well. I am concerned that posting this material may be a violation of SA's ban, regardless of the merits of the text. As noted in the banning policy, a ban is a social construct, not a technical one. Evading the technical measure (the edit block) does not absolve SA of violating the terms of his ban.
I'm sad to see this whole situation. MY interactions with SA have been largely positive, and I know he has done much good work on WP in the past. I was not aware he had been banned until now. I haven't looked into the background of the matter. The process behind this edit concerns me greatly, though. Independent of good faith of the editors, good intent, or good content, allowing a banned editor to fork an article, edit it on another site, and reinsert it into Wikipedia just seems like bad policy. SA should wait until his ban expires, and then introduce his new version of the article here personally. I suggest that he do so by creating a subpage with the new text and starting a discussion here first, however, before replacing the article.--Srleffler (talk) 19:14, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

I think we disagree on the policy. We have time to settle this since Durova and SA are going to work privately some more.

SA was banned for incivility / POV pushing with regard to attacking minority viewpoints. He wasn't banned for say copyright violation or something that throws his independent work into question. If there controversy on optics, like minority viewpoints then absolutely that requires much more care. The policy does not prevent them from making suggestions, This does not mean that obviously helpful edits (such as fixing typos or undoing vandalism) must be reverted just because they were made by a banned user, but the presumption in ambiguous cases should be to revert. And this has to do with an editor who has directly edited in violation of his ban. I believe that all that is required is:

  • I take responsibility (i.e. if the content was a copyright violation then I could get disciplined)
  • I notify that I'm acting on his behalf with this edit

As far as reciprocal projects, As such, bans issued by the Wikipedia community or by the Arbitration Committee are not binding on other projects.

Anyway, as I stated my goal was notification of this group. jbolden1517Talk 19:44, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

I'm happy to discuss the matter with you, and I am not well versed in this area of the policy, so it's possible I'm mistaken. I don't believe the reasons why he was banned are at all relevant, since the ban was a site-wide ban not a content ban. I think I see where you're coming from, given the policy, though:

Wikipedians are not permitted to post or edit material at the direction of a banned user, an activity sometimes called "proxying," unless they are able to confirm that the changes are verifiable and have independent reasons for making them. Edits which involve proxying that have not been confirmed to that effect may be reverted. Wikipedia's sock puppetry policy defines "meatpuppetry" as the recruitment of new editors to Wikipedia ...

This passage does appear to allow an established editor to post material written by a banned editor. Strictly, you should have read the entirety of the text you are posting, and be satisfied that the text is verifiable and that you stand behind it. I doubt that anyone contemplated that such edits would include rewriting an entire article, however. Replacing an entire article this way may be against the spirit rather than the letter of the policy.
The line above the one you quoted is also relevant: "By banning a user, the community has decided that their edits are prima facie unwanted and may be reverted without any further reason." It seems to me that the community of editors who work on this page have a responsibility to at least check SA's work thoroughly before it goes live. This is different from a standard edit for two reasons: one is that the detailed editing is happening on another page of which we have been unaware, so there has been less scrutiny than usual. It's much easier to proofread individual edits as they happen, rather than proofing an entire block of text all at once. By working on the article elsewhere, SA has (with good intent) subverted the normal WP editing process and decreased community involvement. The second reason is what I've quoted above: SA's edits are, for these three months, prima facie unwanted. For these reasons I strongly suggest that this material be introduced on a subpage of Optics or Talk:optics, and be reviewed and edited here before it goes live. Once SA's ban expires, he would of course be free to post the entire text himself, but I still recommend putting it up for editing on a subpage first.--Srleffler (talk) 21:11, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

This is no way to revamp an article. Is SA wants to work on it, incrementally, allowing others to be involved, when his ban is up, that will be great. Hopefully we'll be able to talk him into a summary style instead of an 89 KB article at that time. Dicklyon (talk) 04:02, 7 April 2009 (UTC)

Durova and SA are now modifying it. But there are large chunks of the current article that are little more than lists, that are now replaced with exposition. I think there is a lot of meat there worth discussing. I noted a few minor issues in terms of phrasing, and one area where I think he has a hidden formula. I haven't seen much else that's wrong with it, but I focused on the math. At the end of the day do you really think that the current link off sections are better than the exposition? If so why? If not then why are we all getting ready for a pissing match about what the proper process is for substantial improvement? The goal is a good encyclopedia not a good bureaucracy. jbolden1517Talk 18:58, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
No, I don't mean any relative quality judgement. It's just not an acceptable process to replace an article in whole when you've got a number of other editors interested in the content; especially when it involves a banned and highly controversial editor this way. Let's just wait until he's back, and let him expand sections incrementally, or do moderate reorganizations on a time scale where others can comment or participate. Dicklyon (talk) 23:18, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
Good point, though. Even if the article written by SA is eventually used in its entirety, in place of the current article, it would be best and easiest for editing to do it section by section. --KP Botany (talk) 23:21, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
That's basically my position as well. I expect we will mostly end up using SA's text. I expect that people here will make changes to it. I just don't want to see the whole thing dropped in here in one piece before everyone has a chance to review it. It's not unusual for a whole-article rewrite to be done on a subpage, with editors of the article contributing and moving it into the main article when there is consensus that it is ready. The short delay in improving the article will pay off in the end.--Srleffler (talk) 03:06, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
Well, the article's a piece of shit, so it's nice to see that Science Apologist has found something worthwhile to do during his downtime. As long as it isn't being used for an anti-pseudoscience platform, as is almost every single thing he and his gang do on Wikipedia....
I think the ban, in part, reflected that: the tiresomeness of a bunch of anti-pseudoscience quacks increasing the presence of pseudoscience quackery on a thousandfold with their original research, non-scientific rants against pseudoscience.
So, I'm concerned, for the very reason that SA and at least one other of his gang are currently on break: will this rewrite require a careful review to make sure it's not being used as anti-pseudoscience quackery?
Another question: Will the references actually relate to the text? Or will they be as unrelated as the references used to support the anti-pseudoscience quack fests the antipseudoscientists pollute with? I got more than a little tire of deleting "the memory of water" articles inserted by the anti-pseudoscience quacks. Are we assured there will be accurate referencing?
Is this within the scope of the ban? I'll ask that at arbcom. --KP Botany (talk) 22:10, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
I asked. If the answer is it's okay, then I think we should upload it in its entirety. --KP Botany (talk) 22:48, 7 April 2009 (UTC)

KP I've looked briefly over the last 4 years. I don't see any evidence of more than a single edit or two of fringe vs. mainstream science. I may have missed something but I think this is a non issue. I also read through the article and nothing in it struck me as controversial. These formulas are right out of a good freshman college level treatment of optics. Are there any alternate theories that he would be failing to represent? jbolden1517Talk 01:01, 8 April 2009 (UTC)

I've have had some serious problems with sources by others who edit with him who advocate the strong anti-pseudoscience essays be added to articles. Major problems--like the topic not being mentioned at all in the articles used as references. Without reviewing any sources in this article, the article looks fine, on topic, well written, generally appropriate in language and level, and fairly well developed in a logical order as a topic. However, if the point is to go for FA it can't be any harm to check the sources carefully.
--KP Botany (talk) 01:08, 8 April 2009 (UTC)

Results of arbcom question[edit]

There's no issue with using SA's article here, except of course, giving him credits for the issue, according to arbcom. (See link above.) Therefore, I propose that we add it in section by section and edit it here. It's significantly better than the article here in many ways, appears to be generally well researched, has the correct depth more so than this article, and someone above is already willing to edit the math part, and the article would serve the users on an important major encyclopedia topic. --KP Botany (talk) 00:31, 8 April 2009 (UTC)

Well, spoke too soon. Durova says there is a licensing issue and it can't be used. --KP Botany (talk) 00:36, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
Actually Kaldari is the one made that claim, he is dead wrong about there being a GFDL issue. Wikisource is a GFDL site. Anything released to Wikisource is GFDL is licensed to wikisource. Under the terms of the GFDL wikisource can GFDL license to anyone else, including wikipedia.
There is no licensing issue nor any requirement SA copy the material himself. He released it under the GFDL and any wikipedia editor can treat this like any other free content. We don't have to wait three months to start discussing it. I think discussion should start happening in general on the article. I think we can wait on the copying if they aren't finished but I think a read through makes sense. This is obviously live content. jbolden1517Talk 00:56, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
It's a bit more complicated than that. The GFDL is not as free as some other open source licenses. Among other things, it requires that the authorship information be preserved when the document is copied. In particular, it requires a list of every author and a log of every change. Within a wiki, this is handled automatically by the history log. If you want to copy an article between wikis, you have to copy the history log as well. If you fail to do that, you're violating the terms of the license. This won't prevent us from moving the article here, it just means it has to be done right, by someone who knows what they are doing.
The comment about SA having to copy the material himself confused me. I'm not sure what was behind that. The article appears to have multiple authors, based on its history log on Wikisource. Unless those are all accounts and IPs owned by SA, he has no more standing than anyone else to move the article. You're right that the article is released under the GFDL. As far as I can see anyone can move it, as long as they do so in a way that complies with the terms of the license. Perhaps there are other license requirements I am missing, however.--Srleffler (talk) 03:20, 8 April 2009 (UTC)

Actually, I was talking about Durova's comment, but it's a bit hard to follow:

Upon what basis could they possibly decide? Must he violate his siteban and refute you here himself? The port was a license violation, done in good faith but unauthorized. We seek to improve the encyclopedia in compliance with policy, and without disruption. This request is becoming counterproductive. DurovaCharge! 00:06, 8 April 2009 (UTC)

Yes, I think using it instead of this section by section, starting with the lead, then the most important sections, rather than in strict order, would be useful. Add his user name here in the edit history when uploading his work, would be nice, also, to indicate the particular editor who was the primary author. I can't see any issues with giving him FA article credit if that's his primary purpose for editing, also.

Can we just post and discuss here section by section to include as many editors interested in this article as possible? --KP Botany (talk) 01:03, 8 April 2009 (UTC)

I think your posting idea is good. I don't know what Durova means by a license violation. I do know she wants to keep the primary location for the work over on wikisources for now. In the meanwhile though no harm in doing the looking. I think starting the process is a good idea. jbolden1517Talk 01:57, 8 April 2009 (UTC)

New lead section from ScienceApologist on wikisource[edit]

moved text to Talk:Optics/WS1. I think this is likely to spawn a bunch of comments and pages.... jbolden1517Talk 01:26, 8 April 2009 (UTC)

Since you've said you don't understand the point on the licensing, you better check with Durova and see if this is OK. Dicklyon (talk) 03:13, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
As it stands, it's a license violation. At the least, a copy of the original article's history log needs to be posted on a page associated with the article. I'm not familiar enough with the license, though, to know if that is sufficient. Durova appears to be more familiar with it, and has implied that more is required.
The difficulty may be in how to handle the license's attribution and change log requirements when the text is imported into the main article. The license requires that the list of authors and list of changes be preserved indefinitely.--Srleffler (talk) 03:30, 8 April 2009 (UTC)

Simple decision. Which is better, right now, Wikisource article or this one?[edit]

I suggest an immediate decision that could be very simple. Set aside the question of absolute verification of sources, which will take time. On the face, which article is better, the one at Wikisource or this one? If it is this one, then we should resist the port. If it is the Wikisource article, then the most efficient thing is to replace this article with the Wikisource one, en masse, i.e., encourage those working on this to port the while thing immediately. Going over it section by section is something that we would do at leisure.

Now, about the sourcing. Worst case scenario, assuming nobody finds some glaring trap in the article. He's done some tricky thing with sources, referencing, say, some anti-fringe web page, which will only be found by following the links. I find this highly unlikely, after all, his stated goal, and it is believable, is to be the first banned editor to contribute an FA. It would be quite stupid to put a little bomb in, given that once found, it would be gone in a flash, and, while technically it would not be his responsibility, politically he'd be dead meat. And it would be found, enough people mistrust him that there is going to be a fair amount of examination of the article. If people want to, I'd suggest listing all the new sources, after the port, here, and then editors can check off that they have verified that source, making it easy and efficient; and then the editor checking it off would be considered responsible for that source as if they added it in. Having dozens of editors looking over all the sources without any organization would be a huge waste of time. Don't trust a verification by some editor you suspect of being in cahoots with SA? Well, check what that editor checks.

The point is to take conflict and turn it into cooperation in creating a thoroughly verified page.

(Because SA is banned here, he can't work on the article here, so the article will, I presume, remain there until he's finished. If you think the port is likely to happen, and you'd like to work on the article immediately, I'd suggest going to Wikisource. I have a global account, it's easy, I just go there and log in with my wikipedia user name. It's worth setting that up, takes practically no time, I did not have to create a special Wikisource account. (It's in the user profile, under preferences.) That doesn't work if there is another account there with the same name, but that would be rare at Wikisource, I think.)—Preceding unsigned comment added by Abd (talkcontribs) 20:29, 7 April 2009

I vast vast majority of the sources are really vanilla. There is one foreign language that I can't check. There is a link to a commercial site that does optics research, an education page I'm not sure qualifies as an RS but is certainly not objectionable. And there even is a link to wolfram (who himself does fringe science) so... Unless the foreign language source is a time bomb the article is propaganda free. jbolden1517Talk 02:23, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
The question asked is not one that we can should attempt to address yet. Wait until the author of this material can participate in the discussion; wait until the license issue is cleared up; and give editors time to digest it all. Dicklyon (talk) 03:14, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
The original author of the material, doesn't have to participate, he released it under the GFDL. It is now licensed for use in other GFDL works (like wikipedia) non revocably. The only right that SA has that you don't is to create a version of the article without other people's changes and release it under an entirely different license. If SA has a stroke tomorrow and dies we can use it. I don't see any reason we should have a worse article for months because SA can't post here. Either the material is good or it isn't. I think it is very good, others seem to agree. The counter argument so far is that people haven't had time to review it. This isn't war and peace, just read it and start thinking about what you do/don't like. Remember our goal here is to have the best possible article on optics. jbolden1517Talk 03:58, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
Abd, I think you should calm down. There is time to do this right. Relax. We can turn conflict into cooperation, but that will be best done by taking time, so everyone can review the material prior to its inclusion. Once we have had time to digest the new text, we may well all agree that it should be imported.--Srleffler (talk) 03:37, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
Bomb potential. I think the problem is more likely to be well-intentioned sources that aren't what they say. As with any article, simply check all the sources, and check them well. SA's article is tons better, but has lots of rough spots. --KP Botany (talk) 07:13, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
This is a wiki. I asked the question, and if there is no clear answer that the article there is better, then it's moot. I think it's better, but if someone familiar with this article thinks otherwise, please say so. We do not demand that "everyone" review most edits, we just make them. This one is being reviewed, in many different ways, by many editors. Suppose SA weren't banned, and he came along, worked intensively on the article, then made a large edit like this. What would you do? I'm suggesting, do the same. If you preferred the old, you'd revert it out. If not, if the newer article was equally preferred, you might still revert it because of the problem of reviewing many changes at once. But if the newer was better, then it would be better to start the process of reviewing the sources and checking. Like we do with articles all the time. It's true. Anyone could start taking pieces of content from there and start shifting the article that-a-way. But I don't think that would be fair, and the work would be wasted if it is then determined to do a whole-article port, and there would be no systematic review. I do not see one single person claiming that the article there is not better. So what, exactly, is the problem? SA is a highly experienced editor. It would make no sense for him to do a poor job reflecting the sources, he knows how to do it right. If he's made some mistakes -- everyone makes mistakes -- they can be fixed, and then the result is an even better article. "Tons better, but has lots of rough spots." I'm just going to note that the last part of the comment does not contradict the first, and if we avoided rough spots, insisting on perfect articles, we wouldn't have very many articles! Wiki theory is that articles grow and improve and that each change for the better takes us closer to the ideal. However, articles can reach a plateau where gradual changes don't cut it, because restructuring is needed; but if, somehow, a major change can be made that improves the article, the opportunity should be taken and not rejected because it isn't perfect. If the Wikisource article isn't perfect, but it's better than this article, this article must be even more imperfect. If, by perfection, we mean that every i has been dotted and every t crossed, but it's a stub, then we have a shallow idea of perfection, where every source has been verified meticulously, but there are only a few of them, etc.
We can have both. If his article is ported, and checked systematically, while the interest is there, it will be a better article overall, and it will be verified in detail. That's what I'm suggesting, cooperation in verification, where it's documented that each piece of text has been verified against the sources, an editor signs off on it. If there is a problem, then it we know who made the mistake, and who is responsible for it. It would not be SA (unless somehow some very clever trap were laid, and there is utterly no reason to expect that. SA may have been devious at the end, but nothing involving source fraud, nothing on that scale and depth, it would go against everything he stood for, i.e., scientific accuracy, rejection of weak or false claims, etc. --Abd (talk) 00:36, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

By way of explanation[edit]

Hi, and apologies for being a bit tardy in coming here. Hadn't noticed this discussion was ongoing. Our goal is to raise the article to FA. Due to SA's editing status that means a few things need to be worked out. Now to settle any misgivings, yes the Committee is aware that he's drafting improvements. People at other wikis draft work based upon Wikipedia articles all the time (think Citizendium etc.). And before we port this we'll be handling the proxy issue legitimately. The GFDL issue also needs to be addressed. Rather than get too deeply into the mechanical details, let's talk about how to move forward in the most productive way.

Everyone is welcome to improve the draft article here. When the porting gets done your changes will come over here along with everything else, and more eyes and hands on that draft are really valued. A key thing to remember though is that once it forks over here the primary author won't be able to work on it directly anymore. So the overworked mentor (that means me) will have to proxy edit each new change he makes from that point onward. Please be accommodating in that regard: I have other commitments on deadline.

The general plan at this point is to put the page on article review shortly, keeping it at Wikisource until late in the review so that SA can make major revisions directly. During the latter part of that review we'd port it over here, with all the policy and licensing i's dotted and all the t's crossed. Once the active editors and reviewers agree that it's ready for FAC we take it there. SA doesn't own the article; no one does. Yet right now everyone can edit the draft at its current location. That's an advantage, so please make yourselves at home at the Wikisource draft and treat it like a wiki. DurovaCharge! 04:47, 8 April 2009 (UTC)

It would have been better to have posted a note, and link, here at the beginning of SA's effort, so that others could contribute throughout. It will probably all work out fine in the end, but in the meantime the late notice of this effort has generated unnecessary mistrust. It also compromises what SA is trying to achieve. The text will be better when other editors have tweaked it. This could have happened faster if we were informed sooner.--Srleffler (talk) 05:03, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps. If we shared it too early would everyone have believed it was a serious effort? Anyway, let's do our best from this point forward. DurovaCharge! 05:14, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
But let's do it here, not off at another wiki site. Dicklyon (talk) 05:21, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
If the intention is to make it an en.wikipedia FA, then working here is a must, not all editors will read the talk page, or even see the link to the work space, but this gives the most editors the chance. And, one section at a time just makes sense. This also makes it easier for SA to contribute, and makes the GFDL with multiple editors much easier to work with--all the edits are here already. --KP Botany (talk) 07:16, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
Interesting how quiet this article and talk page were until people learned that ScienceApologist was working on it. The fact is that the primary editor is unable to do it here. So make your choice: if procedure is more important than the end result, working here makes sense. If getting the best article possible is the goal, then cooperate within the parameters available to him. It's rather easy to hit 'edit' at Wikisource. I promise it won't hurt. :) DurovaCharge! 14:51, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
Yes, people discuss articles more when there is content change to discuss. It's pretty standard, the only addition being extra conversation devoted to discussing SA. That issue was dealt with by the arbcom posting. They said, "no problem," so time to move on.
The problem with doing it there is that you keep mentioning the issues with bringing it here with its edit history. It seems you are asserting that this is potentially problematic. Therefore, it seems, that moving it here with the least edit history over there is the best idea. If I misunderstand how does more editing over there not lead to problems with transferring the article history if there is a problem in the first place? It seems that a one editor article history move is more straight-forward than a multiple editor article history move, from what you've said. So, is there a problem moving it here with its edit history? If there is, is this problem worsened by more edits on another place? Also, what about editors who don't edit over there? Saying you can register over there is fine, but if it's an article being worked on, this is the place to do it. --KP Botany (talk) 22:58, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
The best version of the article available is the one that should be shown. Nothing prevents his current (and far superior) version from being live on en.wikipedia while its being improved at en.wikisource. Why keep a substandard article live when a much, much better one is available? The GFDL explanation doesn't suffice, because the perception that copying it here with a link to the source revision is a GFDL violation is incorrect. We commonly avoid cut and paste moves on en.wp, but that is a stricter interpretation than the GFDL requires and stricter than the views of the WMF, Creative Commons and the FSF. The best argument is that taking unfinished work from SA and posting it here without his permission is poor thanks for his hard work; what I would hope is that he would recognize that the article, as is, is so much better than what we've got here that it does a disserve to readers not to use it. Avruch T 16:27, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
If the article is accepted here, and especially if it becomes an FA, SA should get open credit for it, he may need that if he wants to come back. SA and I may be strongly opposed in certain areas (I'm guessing, because we never actually tangled), but he also deserves a fair shake, and if he wants to improve the project, in spite of all the problems, I'm all for it and I want to make it easy and effective. If he violates this assumption of good faith by misusing the opportunity, well, we'd have the answer to those concerns. I'm not expecting it. If you read this, SA, good luck. I'll help to the extent I can. --Abd (talk) 21:02, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
Regardless of what might or might not be legally allowed under GFDL, I suggest that the article be copied over only at such time and under such conditions as ScienceApologist agrees to, for this reason: that to cooperate with ScienceApologist now may perhaps encourage him to write more than one FA in this way, which would only benefit the project. A delay of a few weeks or months in copying over the material will be small in comparison to the benefit of having possibly more such articles in the long term. Besides, it's only civil. Coppertwig (talk) 22:46, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
My comment came out sounding more pragmatic than I intended. What I really meant was, let's show respect and appreciation for ScienceApologist for the work he's doing on the draft article. Let's also be even more careful than we usually ought to when talking about other editors, since SA can't post here to defend himself. I see no need to speculate about anti-fringe "bomb[s]": the only thing to be concerned about in an article of this nature is scientific and historical accuracy, and the reasons for which SA was blocked have nothing to do with that. Coppertwig (talk) 22:19, 10 April 2009 (UTC)

On the copyright issue, I've asked for a second opinion from someone who has commented before on the issue. [1] Part of my concern, Coppertwig, is the issue that Durova has raised, that editing it at wikisource gives it a GFDL edit history that has to be transfered in full. However, the article at wikisource contains material from this article--it's not all new. So, will more editing at wikisource create a bigger problem? If that's the case, then all discussions about what we allow SA are off, because the article may not be transferable, if the copyright issue exists, with additional editing at wikisource. The wikisource article already doesn't have associated with it a list of everyone who has edited it, because some of it was copied from here without its edit history. --KP Botany (talk) 23:20, 8 April 2009 (UTC)

If you would like to port the article on some other schedule than the one that has been planned among the active editors, presumably you'll also assume responsibility for moving SA's further edits with the Committee's permission? DurovaCharge! 23:28, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
Among which active editors? These? Or the ones at wikisource?
Still, I think that others keep raising this issue, you also Durova,

"I see that not all of the edits on the history list come from SA's account. The GFDL requires all previous authors to be attributed, and all changes to be logged. It's not clear to me how one does that in this case. Conversely, if the argument is that those contributions and changes can be handled by reference to this page and its history, then the same would be true of SA's contributions."

And the article at wikisource has been partially copied from here, so it seems just waiting until Moonriddengirl has had some time to look at the situation, then getting clear on the copyright issue might be best. There are plenty of editors who have already volunteered to port the article, and I have no special talents to offer in that arena, but no objections either. --KP Botany (talk) 23:45, 8 April 2009 (UTC)


This whole thing is a scam. It is a scam intended to make it look like SA is invaluable to Wikipedia and to showcase his “abilities”. And it is a scam that was actually dreamt up by Durova and SA prior to SA’s ban with precisely this in mind. The problem (what makes it a scam) is that the current article is in no way representative of SA’s contributions to Wiki. As such it is a meaningless charade at best and at worst a devious and deliberate deception.

The point is this: over the past few years, SA has made virtually no attempt to improve straight science articles in the way he has attempted here – if that was what he did most of the time then he wouldn’t be banned, and if that was what he planned/pledged to do in future then nobody would object to his speedy return. However, SA’s contributions to Wiki are very different and consist mainly of badgering and abusing people at fringe science and paranormal articles. Note that I do not say that his contribution is to articles on those subjects, for his contribution is directed mainly at people rather than content, with his stated aim being to drive editors away from Wiki if they do not share his scientistic fundamentalist attitude – the only attitude, in SA’s eyes, that editors should be allowed to hold and articles should be allowed to present. That this is totally antagonistic to the aims of Wiki goes quite unnoticed by SA and his supporters who share the same blinkered view and exclusionist agenda.

One further point. SA apparently now has the stated goal of trying to be the first banned editor to produce a featured article. Never mind the fact that he’s too late; the article he is working on is lifted hugely from already existing articles and thus represents the work of many editors. It is therefore not in any sense his contribution, but this, like all things collaborative, seems quite lost in the solipsistic world he inhabits. With regard to this whole business, I am reminded of a line from the Shawshank Redemption:

“The colossal prick even managed to sound magnanimous!” Molto Cipolle (talk) 13:35, 16 April 2009 (UTC)

I think we should focus on what makes the Optics article the best. There is no question that SA and his gang have been destructive. What is needed to address these sorts of problems is rapid enforcement of behavioral prohibitions. But he hasn't been a problem on Optics and we don't have anyone, right now, arguing for say inclusion of formulas + description of the properties of light reflected from alien spacecraft. The moment we do the whole situation has to change, that's when I think the ban does need to be enforced aggressively. But right now it is a non issue, everyone involved is in the "mainstream". Why create a problem that doesn't yet exist? jbolden1517Talk 16:15, 16 April 2009 (UTC)
If someone wants to work on improving the Optics article, incrementally, giving others a chance to help and comment, that's fine. Leave SA out of it. Dicklyon (talk) 01:06, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
I encourage you to check out and help edit the text over on Wikisource. It's a good start, but he can use lots of help. The more users from here who work on it before it gets moved over, the better.--Srleffler (talk) 02:55, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
SA is working on this article. I don't care if he does it to make himself look better, or to overthrow the Burmese government. We aren't interested in whatever personal vendetta you have against him, Mr. 1-contribution-sock. Headbomb {ταλκκοντριβς – WP Physics} 01:45, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
SA's other agenda is not important either way. Our goal is to do whatever is best for this article, and for Wikipedia. We'll take the best text we can get and give credit the way Wikipedia normally gives credit. If the article gets to FA quality, great. If it does so on SA's timeline that's fine, but if it takes longer that's fine too. We should neither oppose nor support what SA is doing merely because of his agenda.--Srleffler (talk) 02:50, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
Molto Cipolle: please comment on content, not on the contributor, especially not one who can't post here to defend himself. Headbomb: LOL! Coppertwig (talk) 22:40, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
I agree; we should not be talking about SA, but about wikipedia content; and not about wikisource content, either. Dicklyon (talk) 00:03, 18 April 2009 (UTC)

Just found this (very tardy). If anyone is going to accuse me of concocting a scam, please contact me so I'm aware of it. If I'm honest I deserve a chance to set the record straight, and if I'm dishonest then (durnit) I wanna find an angle that gets me money. ;) DurovaCharge! 18:25, 16 May 2009 (UTC)

Request to port article from Wikisource[edit]

I support replacing this article with ScienceApologist's version at wikisource. Durova, ScienceApologist's mentor, has indicated that ScienceApologist is ready to have the material copied over. [2] The ScienceApologist version is longer and contains a great deal more information, and has a lot more in paragraph form rather than lists. After copying it over, people might want to incorporate back in any information from the current article that they might find to be missing, and possibly shorten the article by moving some information to subarticles.

I've gone through the whole article (except the list of references) and it looks fine to me, to the best of my knowledge up to the level of detail to which I checked it, except for the minor comments I've made on the talk page, many of which have already been fixed. I didn't read the references to verify the information, but (except for those minor comments) found no significant conflicts with my own prior knowledge or the information on Wikipedia pages when I followed wikilinks. This is not the type of contribution that ScienceApologist's ban was intended to prevent.

The actual copying over should be done in a way that respects GFDL. I'm not sure, but I think the best way to do it is for an administrator to transwiki it, then merge the page histories. Alternatively, if it's done by copy-and-paste (which might be the wrong way to do it, though), I think it would be a good idea to at least list the contributors in the edit summary. Note that the Wikisource version may only be there until it's copied to here; we can't rely on a link to the page history there as a way of attributing the work to the contributors under GFDL. (Involved editor; have helped edit the Wikisource version). Coppertwig (talk) 20:54, 17 May 2009 (UTC)

I reverted insertion of the new text, just on the general principal that the article text should not be replaced while there is a discussion on replacing it in progress here. Also, the text was a cut and paste, which violates the licensing requirements of Wikisource as you have noted above, and violates the copyright of every editor who has contributed. Note that this would be the case even if SA had inserted the text himself. He is not the sole author of the new version, and does not have standing to simply cut and paste the text. I believe you are probably right, that the correct way is to use the same procedure that is normally used for transwikiing articles.
I do have to disagree with one statement above: "This is not the type of contribution that ScienceApologist's ban was intended to prevent." A ban is a ban. A site-wide ban is intended to prevent all contributions. You may be confused by the fact that SA is currently subject to two separate bans: a topic ban related to specific articles, and a site-wide ban for "disruption, gaming and wikilawyering". I'm not in a position to evaluate whether either of his bans was fair, or whether ArbComm should allow an exception, however. In any event, SA and Durova have argued that there is another way to insert the new text without violating SA's ban, so I think we should proceed with building consensus for that.--Srleffler (talk) 02:54, 18 May 2009 (UTC)
First off it is not a copyright violation. For copyright to be violated several things need to occur one of which is an entity with standing needs to own copyright. It is unclear which entity other than wikimedia you think has standing for the copyright to be violated. As for the ongoing discussion I have yet to see a single person create any argument what-so-ever that the current version of the article is better. If they are ready for the copyover it should happen. I think it is time for the people arguing against this article to raise an issue with the article. jbolden1517Talk 04:37, 18 May 2009 (UTC)
Hi. :) The contributors to Wikimedia have standing for their own contributions. WP:C notes that when contributors produce their own content, they "retain copyright to...[their] materials." Similarly, the copyright policy on Wikisource notes, "Original works or translations placed on Wikisource are thereby licensed under the GFDL. The copyright holder retains copyright...." Wikipedia and Wikisource are both clear that copyright belongs to the contributors who author the material, and GFDL is clear that attribution to the authors of that material must be provided. We can't even move material from one Wikipedia article to another without crediting the original. From WP:C: "Wikipedia content can be copied, modified, and redistributed if and only if the copied version is made available on the same terms to others and acknowledgment of the authors of the Wikipedia article used is included (a link back to the article is generally thought to satisfy the attribution requirement)." (Wikipedia has interpreted this as satisfying the attribution requirements for §4(I) of the GFDL.) Since the Wikisource article may not be retained and its history may cease to be preserved, which is essential, transwiki seems the best bet both to comply with copyright licensing terms and Wikipedia's policy. (I have no opinion as to the merits of the material and haven't even read the article. Coppertwig had asked me yesterday to give an opinion here.) --Moonriddengirl (talk) 11:36, 18 May 2009 (UTC)

(outdenting) Moonriddengirl. First off, thanks for finally presenting a good case rather than an argument by assertion! I also agree transwiki is the best way to copy this over and should be done as soon as possible. Now onto the meat:

As for Wikipedia:Copyrights regarding wikimedia not assuming copyright as per free software they are right this is very common in free software licenses (like KDE and the Linux kernel). So no disagreement there, but I would point out the courts have been iffy about the standing of anyone with regard to large blocks of texts. In the lawsuits involving the kernel the only successful ones have involved blocks of code for which standing is clear (i.e. a single contributor and unpatched). The courts have generally thrown out the mixed blocks as having any protections because of issues of standing. This is quite unlike the MySQL or GCC where people assign dual copyright, where there seems to be little difference in enforceable blocks between free software and commercial. Now the optics article is mainly composed of stuff from other wikipedia articles integrated and connected. The integrator (Science Apologist) has indicated again and again an intent to push this over to wikipedia (thus laches would apply to SA). All the rest of the contributors went over to his user page to work on an article for the purpose of porting back to wikipedia optics, so again laches for all of their content. So I see at least two reasons that there is not any protected content at all on S:User:ScienceApologist/Optics workshop. Whose copyright are you asserting is violated and on what block of text if you are asserting an actual violation occurred? If you aren't asserting a violation occurred and that transwiki is simply preferable then we are in full agreement. jbolden1517Talk 13:08, 18 May 2009 (UTC)

It's not necessary to prove that there is a violation of the copyright laws of some country, or for there to be such a violation, in order to be able to insist that Wikipedia policy be followed. Wikipedia's copyright policies are designed to prevent problems. For example, following Wikipedia policy now may prevent difficulties in future in case the laws change. Moonriddengirl is the admin who usually handles copyright issues, and I suggest respecting her opinion on this. I see no downside to making sure authors are attributed; whether or not it's legally required in this case, the authors may appreciate it, and where volunteers are involved that can be important.
I suggest the following procedure:
  1. Find out whether Durova, SA's mentor, approves of this procedure.
  2. An admin transwikis the article and its talk page to this project, into Transwiki space or User space. I'm willing to host it in my user space. So it can have a name like Transwiki:Optics or User:Coppertwig/Optics. A request can be made at an admin noticeboard such as WP:AN or WP:RM for an admin to do this, or perhaps one of the admins who supported the proposal on the arbitration talk page might be willing to do it if asked (Kaldari, Rootology, Juliancolton or Paul August; sorry if I missed anyone).
  3. An editor moves the page into article space. This editor takes responsibility that the article is a productive contribution to Wikipedia. I suggest giving it a different name, e.g. Science of optics. There would then temporarily be two articles.
  4. Possibly, merge tags are placed on the two articles to notify people of this discussion. However, since the SA version is longer and contains much or all of the information in the current article, "merge" would in effect mean "replace".
  5. If there is consensus for a merge, then an admin does the actual operation, in order to be able to merge the page histories if appropriate. I suggest making a request at WP:RM for an admin to do this.
Or alternatively:
  1. An admin who perceives consensus here for such a move goes ahead and transwikis the page over here and copies it onto this page, perhaps merging the page history and hopefully also bringing over the talk page to be archived somehow.
Srleffler, I disagree with you. A ban has two parts: a purpose, and a set of rules. The purpose is to prevent a subset of SA's edits, i.e. the type of edits that were considered disruptive in some way. The rules specify that SA can't do any edits on this project: that is, preventing all such edits is a method of preventing the subset of edits that were considered disruptive. If SA were to post the material here it would be a violation of the ban, but that's not what I'm proposing. The rules of the ban do not prevent SA from writing at Wikisource, and they do not prevent other editors from copying such material to here provided they take responsibility for it. The type of material SA has created at Wikisource is not part of the subset of edits that would be considered disruptive in any way, in my opinion. It's just straight science: no problem. (I think one of SA's bans is about fringe science. This page is not about fringe science.) WP:Banning says "Wikipedians are not permitted to post or edit material at the direction of a banned user, an activity sometimes called "proxying," unless they are able to confirm that the changes are verifiable and have independent reasons for making them." In other words, we can't copy the material to here just because SA wants it copied; but we can copy it to here if we're confident that it's good material that will improve the encyclopedia. Per jbolden1517, I don't think I've seen any arguments that the current version is better; and if there are some bits people want to keep from the current version, they can edit them back in later. Coppertwig (talk) 14:12, 18 May 2009 (UTC)
I agree with the first proposed procedure: transwiki the article to WP space, then seek consensus for a merge. The merge needs to replace the text with the new text, but preserve the full edit history both of the original WP article and the work that has been done over at Wikisource.--Srleffler (talk) 17:34, 18 May 2009 (UTC)
I accept your argument about the nature of the ban. You have made a good case.--Srleffler (talk) 23:04, 18 May 2009 (UTC)
(I hate edit conflicts. :/) I haven't looked at any material that has been moved here (or away from here) at any point, so I don't know if there has been any kind of licensing problem. I was asked to weigh in on how to best bring it here, and seeing your note above thought to clarify (in case you didn't know) that the Wikimedia Foundation takes the stance that copyright ownership is in the contributors. I know that there have been some questions as to whether Wikipedia's contributors have enforceable copyright in their text, but so far I have not seen a successful challenge to the policies that presume they do (the only active one I recall was at WT:Merge). Unless policy is changed, this is our official stance on the matter. Unless the contributors of text that was not previously published here explicitly release their material into public domain, then (their intention to place it on Wikipedia notwithstanding) they still own copyright to the material by our policy. They have reasonable expectation of attribution, given our licensing policies. (I'm not sure how you mean that expressing an intention to place material here would nullify substantial similarity under laches, unless they have expressed an intention to place material here without requiring credit for their creative content. Or unless you are asserting that they violated GFDL first by porting the material away from Wikipedia without proper attribution and that there is no creative content requiring credit under GFDL. That may very well be true. Again, I haven't looked at the material. My main point is that transwiki is preferable, so we are in full agreement there. :) I believe it is necessary within our policies and licensing terms.) --Moonriddengirl (talk) 14:18, 18 May 2009 (UTC)
No problem with claims this is policy. I have problems with claims that this is the law. People have been throwing accusations around of criminal behavior, and tortable behavior not policy. I think we should separate those two factors off. Sticking to legal for a second, in terms of laches, it is fairly common for material from one wikipedia article to be freely copied to another. For example we have explicit "merges" of articles where the history of one article is frequently deleted. If there were a positive claim that the origin of all material needs to be preserved this sort of blanket copying (especially merge / delete) would be prohibited. I think that is going to nullify an attribution claim by an author. I've written material which is in the SCO article which came from my Caldera Open Linux, there is no attribution and Educational programming language for example has blocks of text from more than a dozen wikipedia articles. This is common practice, so yes I am making the claim that the intent of releasing here nullifies claims that attribution is required and hence laches would apply.
Now in terms of policy if tjis shouldn't be happening there is a much more substantial problem than optics, as much 10% of the articles are polluted with blocks of text taken from other articles. The whole site is one big violation. And optics involves huge numbers of paragraphs taken from other articles. Given how commonly this operation is performed and given that the optics article has had this operation performed on it, I don't see anyone who has a claim of standing. Someone on my talk page is starting to make such a claim and I'm working through it but so far I don't see any such text for which I'd want to be plaintiff in a copyright lawsuit against (talk · contribs) or myself.
Anyway since at this point there is no objection to the transwiki. Lets just do it. I can't understand what the hold up has been.
And since you are discussing enforceability has wikimedia or a wikipedia editor every sued someone for a GFDL violation? I hadn't know of any. It would be wonderful to have some actual case law rather than debating what we think would happen. Having a block of wikipedia text which a court found to actually found there to be any unambiguous standing would be impressive IMHO. jbolden1517Talk 20:13, 18 May 2009 (UTC)
It may be fairly common, but it's also against procedure, which explains how and why to give credit very clearly at Wikipedia:MERGE#Performing the merge. We certainly do what we can to fix them, such as at Wikipedia:Cut and paste move repair holding pen and with templates like {{merge from}} and {{splitfrom}} and {{Uw-c&pmove}}. If you find an article where material has been copied without credit, please fix it. :/ Given that our procedures are clear and that we have processes set in place for correction out-of-procedure moving of material as well as warnings that we provide for out-of-procedure moving of material and since I have seen individuals blocked for doing this, I think you'd have a hard time claiming laches...particularly since the individual contributors are the copyright holders and plaintiffs and can't be found to have contributed to the problem by not requiring that their rights be recognized unless you can show that they knew their own copyrighted materials were being unlawfully used and did nothing about it. In other words, if User:Sam1 ignores the copying of his material from one article to another, it doesn't follow that User:Sam2 has "slept" on his rights. You might be able to claim that Wikipedia is contributory to infringement for not enforcing its own licensing requirements, but I think the processes in place for enforcing such might stand to protect Wikipedia from claims of nonfeasance. User:Anthony Appleyard alone could probably protect us. :) Of course, we are wandering far into the theoretical. It is Wikipedia's policy that respecting GFDL licensing requires attribution; it is Wikipedia's interpretation of GFDL that this is a matter of law. Whether or not this has ever been tested in court, I don't know. I understand that Wikipedia's editors have successfully sent DMCA take-down letters for GFDL violations of material to which they've substantially contributed. They have forced cessation of publication and credit, from what I've been told. Successfully prosecuted? No clue. But to the main point: I personally don't know what the holdup is on the transwiki. I don't know how to transwiki something from Wikisource. I know I failed in my efforts to transwiki something to Wiktionary, because I was not an administrator on Wiktionary. I don't know if one must also be an administrator at the source wikimedia project. I'm also not sure if there's consensus for the move. But I presume somebody else knows the answers to these questions. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 22:02, 18 May 2009 (UTC)

On the GFDL issue: transwiki may be the most straightforward way to satisfy GFDL attribution requirements, but it doesn't seem to be the only way. Images transferred from en to commons, for instance, commonly refer back to the image's deleted edits on en. Gimmetrow 22:24, 18 May 2009 (UTC)
Have you seen this done with images where there is more than one contributor? If there's only one contributor, it's a very simple matter to give credit. When addressing copyright problems, I will, for example, sometimes put in text contributed by somebody with an edit summary that says something like "Text contributed by User:Sam1 on 1 May, 2009". Transwiki is safest when there are multiple contributors, but there are other ways...some of which are very tedious. :) --Moonriddengirl (talk) 23:07, 18 May 2009 (UTC)

(outdenting) MRG -- OK that makes sense regarding merge policy But given that you would think the redirect would then have to be protected from deleting, immune to AFD. I also agree on a notification being sufficient, that was my point back in April. There is no GFDL transwiki requirement for a history page. Merged from "ABC" which is a URL where that document has a history is sufficient.

As for you Sam1 and Sam2 it depends. If I engage in a process knowing that such a violation is likely to occur then I have slept on my rights. For example that's why you see bible publishers explicitly assert what is the degree of copying which is legal since they is a long tradition of copying large chunks of the bible around and they want to prevent laches from attaching. The German Bible Society (holder of the copyright for the UBS) has had some challenges based on exactly this sort of attachment. I understand wikipedia is being more conservative here, and they aren't wrong to be conservative. But I'm trying to keep this strictly on points of law since the practical problem is obvious.

Anyway regardless, the article in question here wikisource optics actually the kinds of merges I was discussing above, in fact that is a large percentage of the article. Most of it is encumbered this way. So the question I'm raising is I can't find any unencumbered text. That being said I still happen to agree that transwiki certainly makes the most sense and we are being theoretical but there have been some rather serious and baseless claims made about law.

As for the DMCA takedowns they don't mean much, since they weren't challenged but they would provide some interesting information. I'd love to hear more. Is there any place these are listed or shown? jbolden1517Talk 23:53, 18 May 2009 (UTC)

I think the redirect should be protected from deletion. It isn't protected by admin tool uses, but it is by practice, when done properly. When an article is completely merged, it is supposed to be placed in Category:Redirects from merges with the template {{R from merge}} placed on it, which warns against deletion. The direct link is sufficient to a GFDL document where the external source remains intact. In this case, I understand, there is some risk that the wikisource version will be deleted. With respect to equitable defense, are you by any chance thinking of estoppel? Laches occurs when a party fails to prosecute to protect its rights in a timely manner, resulting in further hardship to the defendant. Unless there is a definition of laches with which I'm not familiar (entirely possible), Sam2 can't be guilty of it until his personal rights have been violated and he fails to take action, no matter what Sam1 may have done. Estoppel is what we have if Sam2 allows Bob to believe that his material can be freely used and then later tries to prosecute him for using it. If you engage on the process knowing that it might occur, then, yes, you might be found to have some liability in the resultant infringement. But if there are active processes in place to protect against such happening, I think we'd be hard pressed to show that any contributor should have known infringement would occur. Strictly on points of law, though, of course, United States courts have broad discretionary rights in allowing equitable defenses for copyright. Lacking a very clear precedent, I don't think we could predict where any court would land. (In my actual experiences with the law, I wouldn't predict that even with very clear precedent. :/) I believe I last saw reference to DMCA takedown at the village pump, but I'm not entirely sure. That's the last place I remember reading a conversation about GFDL violations of Wikipedia, and it seems likely. If I were trying to dig up old discussions, I'd also use the newly implemented search archives at WT:C and WT:CP. I don't know of any such list, but Wikipedia is large, and it's always possible. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 00:25, 19 May 2009 (UTC)

jbolden1517: Please stop being disruptive. This is not a new issue. We've been handling GFDL imports and copyright issues for years. The people you are arguing against know what they are talking about, so please try to listen instead of just reasserting your position. First of all, your assertion that SA has no effective copyright in the rewrite is wrong. SA rewrote the article from scratch. There is certainly enough creative input there to attract copyright protection. Sit back and relax for a minute. The proper way to do this, regardless of any legal issues, is to have SA make the edit. It is his work, so it should be readily apparent to anyone looking through the history that he did the rewrite. The only way to assure that for perpetuity is to have him actually make the edit. If you'll hold on for a little bit the issue will be moot. Kaldari (talk) 22:08, 18 May 2009 (UTC)

How about you all stop throwing around baseless accusations. So far this page contains at least 20 factually errors about copyright law. So if this is clear cut, and everybody understands it then why is everyone getting it wrong? You for example are contradicting the people from "your side" regarding transwiki and actually agreeing with the people who are arguing there is no license issue. If you can't even tell what the two sides are then perhaps you don't understand the debate? jbolden1517Talk 23:36, 18 May 2009 (UTC)
I disagree with you. The copyright issues affect SA the same as everyone else. The article is not solely his own work, and he does not have standing to move it here except by complying with the terms of the GFDL, the same as anyone else. The article can and should be properly moved by the transwiki process. There is no reason for SA to be the one to do that.--Srleffler (talk) 23:14, 18 May 2009 (UTC)
Standing is a right to sue not a right to copy. The word you are looking for is "licensed". For example if I am the exclusive publisher of a work licensed to make 50,000 copies and I have printed the all I might very well have standing but not be licensed. Conversely with respect to a public domain work I would have license but no standing. jbolden1517Talk 23:34, 18 May 2009 (UTC)
Honestly, the whole discussion on points of law is not really relevant. Wikipedia policies are meant to both comply with applicable law and to reflect our mission, and we should rely on those policies without trying to reinvent the wheel. Moonriddengirl mentions above that the Wikimedia Foundation generally regards attribution by URL to the source history as acceptable for the purposes of GFDL 1.3 (and proposed migration to CC). Even so, in cases where we are able to transwiki and merge with history intact, of course we should do that. So, one more vote for a transwiki/merge and a request that we stop debating points of law. Nathan T 00:10, 19 May 2009 (UTC)
Its relevant because I'm being accused of a crime / tortable act not a policy violation, IMHO a WP:NPLT directed against me. It is also typical admin rule, public domain text can't be used unless the "right people" approve of its use. But more generally it is also relevent because this is a really good test case for policy. This is a very complicated article in terms of origins. At least AFAIK from this discussion I've learned that our merge policy, which are the basis of the our copyright defense and our deletion policies severely contradict one another in their interpretation. Moreover we don't really follow either policy and systematic non following of policy is how you end up losing a lawsuit. So all BS claims of copyright aside (no one is actually thinking of suing anybody AFAIKT despite the language directed at me) there is a fairly good issue being uncovered. Though this may not be the right talk page for it since everyone keeps confusing the legal issue and the policy issue since this is Optics and not copyright page. But I'm pretty frustrated at this point jbolden1517Talk 00:38, 19 May 2009 (UTC)
I must have missed where someone accused you of committing a crime (which, given we're discussing copyrights, demonstrates on its own that the claim isn't serious). Anyway, I don't think you need to take that seriously and it seems that we've resolved the outstanding issues that truly need resolution. As for policy test cases, discussions about the policy should probably take place at the policy page - since we appear ready to transwiki the article, there doesn't appear to be any disagreement here that requires a more official application of policy. Nathan T 03:28, 19 May 2009 (UTC)
Thank you very much, Moonriddengirl. Kaldari, it's not necessary to "let SA make the edit". If it's transwikied, I believe the page history will be automatically copied over, and SA's edits and other peoples' edits will be shown as their edits. If the page history is then merged with this article's page history, again SA's contributions will show as his in the page history. Furthermore, that's not the only way to do it: there are other ways, such as mentioning the contributor in the edit summary. We often copy material from other websites. All that's needed is that the other website release it under the right license (and that this can be established, etc.) and that it's attributed, etc. The original author doesn't have to do the edit.
To transwiki, I think you just go to Special:Import. I think you only have to be an admin on this project. Don't feel you have to get involved in that aspect, Moonriddengirl, unless you feel like it: I was just asking for your input on copyright issues: thanks again for that.
(ec) Nathan, I don't think the Wikisource copy will remain there once it's been copied to here, since that isn't Wikisource's mission, so a link to there won't satsify GFDL attribution.
I'm setting up three polls below, to try to sort out what consensus is on various aspects of this situation. I don't think anyone is supporting using copy/paste rather than transwiki, so I haven't put in a poll on that. Coppertwig (talk) 00:20, 19 May 2009 (UTC)
I actually don't think thats necessary - there seems to be a pretty clear consensus that SA's version of the article should be transwikied, I think what we need is someone who actually knows how to do it ;-) Nathan T 03:28, 19 May 2009 (UTC)

Is the SA version preferable, content-wise?[edit]

Setting aside (for purposes of this question) copyright issues, ban issues, and what procedure to follow, and just comparing the content, the SA version is preferable.

  • Support. Longer, more informative, looks to me to be heading towards being a featured article. If too long, some of the material will make useful additions to other articles after copying it over. Coppertwig (talk) 00:20, 19 May 2009 (UTC) (Some of it was originally copied from other Wikipedia articles anyway.) Coppertwig (talk) 17:05, 31 May 2009 (UTC)
  • Support jbolden1517Talk 00:26, 19 May 2009 (UTC)
  • Support. See my rant below. --Pjacobi (talk) 08:51, 26 May 2009 (UTC)
  • Support per rant etc. Verbal chat 17:17, 26 May 2009 (UTC)

Copy piece-by-piece?[edit]

Copying the SA version into this article one section at a time, rather than all at once, so that there can be discussion about each part. (Based on suggestion by Dicklyon here.)

  • Weak oppose. I prefer copying the whole thing at once. Adjustments can be made later. I think the new version contains most or all of the information in the old version; anything missing can be re-added later. Coppertwig (talk) 00:20, 19 May 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose I have yet to hear anyone claim any existing section is better than the section in the new article. jbolden1517Talk 00:26, 19 May 2009 (UTC)
  • Reluctant oppose. I would actually prefer this, but I think the licensing issues are better handled by a full history merge, so that the history log from Wikisource becomes a part of the history log here.--Srleffler (talk) 03:17, 19 May 2009 (UTC)

OK to transwiki to this project?[edit]

Setting aside the quality or usefulness of the content, as far as copyright issues and ban issues are concerned, it's OK for someone to transwiki the article to this project, perhaps putting it in user space for now until it's decided how much to incorporate into this or other articles.

  • Support.Unsure due to possible GFDL issues re [3] (01:32, 24 May 2009 (UTC)) SA is not banned from editing Wikisource. We can use material from other sources, i.e. Wikisource in this case, licensed under GFDL. The article is of good quality and useful to this project. It's not being copied in response to a request from SA; rather, we want to copy it because it's useful to this project, and we were only holding back out of courtesy, no longer necessary now that SA has indicated a desire to have it copied. Transwiki will maintain the page history (I believe). Coppertwig (talk) 00:20, 19 May 2009 (UTC) (Note: this poll is intended to be primarily about whether it's OK to bring the material over to this project, not about whether transwiki is preferable to another method of bringing it over. Perhaps it would have been clearer if I had put "Setting aside the quality or usefulness of the content" in parentheses. This question is intended to focus on copyright and ban issues.) Coppertwig (talk) 00:32, 19 May 2009 (UTC)
  • Support Obviously the best solution. No one has ever disagreed this is preferable. jbolden1517Talk 00:26, 19 May 2009 (UTC)
  • Support.--Srleffler (talk) 22:18, 18 May 2009

Transwiki prefereable to cut-and-paste?[edit]

It's better for an admin to transwiki the article and merge the page history, in order to show the contributions of individual editors who contributed at Wikisource, than for the material to be brought here by a cut-and-paste move.

  • Support. Coppertwig (talk) 14:53, 23 May 2009 (UTC)
  • Support. Note, though, that this issue may not be subject to any consensus here. The proper way to import materials from another wiki is governed by policy, and there are legal issues that we cannot simply choose to ignore.--Srleffler (talk) 14:59, 23 May 2009 (UTC)
    Right; and similarly for the previous poll, whether it's OK to bring the material here: that may depend on the arbitration committee and stuff, not necessarily just consensus here. Nevertheless. Coppertwig (talk) 18:39, 23 May 2009 (UTC)

Transwiki isn't possible[edit]

First, it is important to note there there are two very different transwiki processes, one is manual and one is automatic. Only the automatic method copies over the article history. The automatic method relies on using Special:Import, which unfortunately is disabled on the English Wikipedia (not sure why). Kaldari (talk) 16:40, 26 May 2009 (UTC)

I've requested that the Import feature be turned on for so that we can merge the article histories. Kaldari (talk) 16:52, 26 May 2009 (UTC)
I wonder why Import was turned off in the first place... server hogging? Sceptre (talk) 16:59, 26 May 2009 (UTC)
I apologize to Kaldari, Durova, Sceptre and ScienceApologist for having made a fuss about transwikiing when it wasn't actually possible to do. Coppertwig (talk) 01:12, 30 May 2009 (UTC)

Porting request filed with ArbCom[edit]

There have been three basic impediments delaying the importation of optics improvement drive:

  1. GFDL: multiple editors have worked on it at Wikisource, and all of them need to be credited.
  2. Proxying: ScienceApologist is currently sitebanned, so it's necessary to seek limited permission to proxy edit.
  3. Moving forward: more proxy edits will be necessary as this moves to peer review, etc. So it's necessary to line up a small team of willing volunteers and to structure a proxying permission request accordingly.

The basic idea is to free things up enough so that good content progress can occur smoothly without going so far that chaos or drama result. If we're fair, then no matter what we think of ScienceApologist personally (positive or negative) we can all agree that this article improvement drive is a good thing for Wikipedia's readers and a difficult thing to undertake while the primary editor cannot edit directly. Cooperation is essential, so let's put the project's best interests foremost and interact collaboratively. DurovaCharge! 00:55, 19 May 2009 (UTC)

Here's a link: Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Amendment#Request to amend prior case: Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration.2FFringe science Coppertwig (talk) 00:44, 23 May 2009 (UTC)
ArbCom has approved the request: Kaldari, Sceptre, and myself have permission to proxy edit for ScienceApologist on a limited basis related to this article. We would like to move ahead as smoothly and productively as possible. Input and cooperation from other editors is welcome. Best wishes, DurovaCharge! 16:51, 26 May 2009 (UTC)

Where's the question?[edit]

The old Optics article was such a shameful crap (lists only, not nearly an overview of the field, and starting with an image of historic interest only), that I can't imagine a content issue why it shouldn't be replaced by the new version. In fact, on dewiki we just discussed the same thing and would happily take SA's version as a base for our replacement article.

In fact, writing from scratch is a good method to get rid of very sub-standard articles which just existed way to long. The old article just had no content that suggested building upon it instead of doing a full replace.

Can please everybody arguing about the author of the replacement version stand back for a while (unless they want to qualify for making sanctionable personal attacks) and the content issue be focused on?

--Pjacobi (talk) 08:51, 26 May 2009 (UTC)