User talk:Iridescent

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An administrator "assuming good faith" with an editor with whom they have disagreed.

Donations to wikipedia[edit]

My boomer dad recently asked me, "What do you think about donations to wikipedia?".

Since he's not at all familiar with Wikimedia, how would be a good way to explain to him in simple terms the controversy, and my mixed feelings about it?

Would it be good to suggest donating to a local affiliate instead?

Benjamin (talk) 10:15, 18 December 2019 (UTC)

Say "OK doner" :) ——SN54129 15:16, 18 December 2019 (UTC)
I am not sure what controversy we are talking about... Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk) 10:21, 18 December 2019 (UTC)
Ditto. There's certainly a school of thought that the WMF is expanding too quickly because they feel obliged to spend the money as it comes in and donations outstrip running costs (see Guy Macon's essay), but that's not a controversy but a dispute over whether incoming cash should be treated as running costs or endowment. (In most jurisdictions, cash donated for charitable purposes needs to be spent on those purposes within a reasonable timeframe, and can't be hoarded as an endowment unless the money was explicitly given as endowment, so we end up spending money on things it could be argued are unnecessary.) @Benjaminikuta, I'm not sure what controversy you have in mind nor why donating to local affiliates directly instead of donating to the WMF so they can distribute the funds to the local affiliates would make a difference. If you're not sure about whether the WMF is deserving of your money, just give your money to your local women's refuge, donkey sanctuary, cancer research trust, or whatever other cause you feel is deserving—it's not as if the WMF is going to fall apart for want of your and your dad's donation. ‑ Iridescent 2 15:10, 18 December 2019 (UTC)
Agreed. I've been toying with an essay that argues not to give money to the WMF. Since it's likely the opinion of a long-time Wikipedian might be newsworthy, I have been thinking hard about what points I should make & how to make them. (Since I doubt saying "Don't give them money because they're all meanie-butts" will persuade many people.) -- llywrch (talk) 20:26, 18 December 2019 (UTC)
I'd personally be reluctant to donate any cash to the WMF at present. Slightly cynically, I get the impression that the annual fundraising drive is more a case of a publicity campaign to ensure the general public remain aware that Wikipedia is (at least theoretically) independent, non-profit, and not subject to external editorial control, and a class-consciousness exercise to try to create a sense of a bond between the WMF, editors, and readers.
The latter is a very common tactic; when you pay your £3 membership of a political party, or mail off your $5 to the charity of your choice, it likely costs them more than that in the administrative costs of processing your donation and in the ongoing costs of sending you future mailings, bumper stickers, membership cards etc. The charities, campaigns, political parties etc treasure these small donors nonetheless, as it creates a base of loyalists who feel—both literally and emotionally—invested, and are more likely both to actively participate in the cause, and to proselytise for the cause. (There's a reason Trump sells those MAGA hats rather than give them away even though he doesn't need the money, a reason the British Labour Party charges idealistic young students for the privilege of carrying out unpaid labour, a reason historic buildings charge admission fees even though it costs more to hire the ticket collector than they make in ticket sales…) In reality, it would take 200,000 donors making the suggested $5 donation for US readers, or 380,000 donors making the suggested £2 donation for UK readers—and that's not taking into account the processing fee for each transaction—just to match the money the WMF has received from Amazon this year. Despite all the "We need the cost of your daily coffee to defend Wikipedia's independence!" hype, if we removed the "Donate to Wikipedia" link from the sidebar altogether I doubt Finance and Administration would even notice; the fundraising is an editor recruitment and retention tool.
I'm not really the best person to be talking to about this side of things, as I've never been particularly involved in either the financial or the recruitment-and-retention side of things. user:Risker and Whatamidoing (WMF) are probably best placed to give the WMF's side on why the small donations are important and where the money goes, as previously mentioned Guy Macon has written a lot on inefficiency and overexpansion, and GorillaWarfare has put in a lot of thought in the past into what does and doesn't work (but is probably busy with the Arbcom transition). If you can dig Somey and Kelly Martin out, they've had quite interesting things to say on the topic as well in the past from a pure-blood HTD perspective.
If you do write any kind of public "the WMF has too much money" story, be prepared for a full-on attack from the brogrammers at the WMF. See Wikipedia talk:Wikipedia Signpost/2017-02-27/Op-ed for a taste of how the good ol' boys have reacted in the past, even in the context of an obscure and largely unread article buried in the Signpost, when it comes to anyone questioning the necessity of their constantly raising ever more money so they can keep awarding grants to themselves for their pet projects. ‑ Iridescent 18:09, 20 December 2019 (UTC)
I'm not worried overmuch about the "brogrammers". For one thing, I've been around here a lot longer than most of them. For another, I've worked with computers & the web long enough to know well that even in the most professional surroundings something like 75% of all computer-related projects fail. (It's just that the big technology companies are able to hide their failures far more effectively than a minnow like the Foundation.) In any case, it appears their cowboy days with the software are over so there is little to gripe about on that side of the business. (I have ideas about how they could do their jobs better, but I'm content to wait until they ask for my opinion. Which might happen before the heat death of the universe.) And lastly, I've spoken truth to Jimmy Wales in the past & I'm still here; if he can't drive me away I doubt someone like Jorm can.
No, what I have to say should come as no surprise to anyone who read what I wrote in relation to my ArbCom campaign. The non-technical side of the Foundation has no idea how Wikipedia or any of the projects actually functions, so many -- if not most -- of them pursue commendable but vague goals that accomplish nothing concrete although arguably justifying their paychecks. (The curious can read my recent comment to Guy's excellent essay.) For the last decade or so I've been content to dismiss the Foundation as little more than a honeypot to divert the incompetent while the rest of us actually achieved something, but I was angered to learn this summer just how much Foundation grant money is floating around. Many volunteers who are creating the content that attracts readers are paying for that content out of their own pockets. meanwhile, one individual managed to create a nice little existence on Foundation grants while producing little more than crap articles. If there is enough money to provide volunteers with some level of income, that should go to the people who are creating the content. (Or at least fighting to keep the spam, vandalism & trolling to tolerable levels.) -- llywrch (talk) 19:31, 20 December 2019 (UTC)
The non-technical side of the Foundation has no idea how Wikipedia or any of the projects actually functions isn't entirely fair. It's not always obvious because they tend to use their real names on the Foundation website and a pseudonym on the projects (plus, some of them are active but in other language projects so en-wiki folk aren't aware of them), but quite a few of them have long and active histories on the projects. (As an example, Sherry Snyder, the WMF-er regular editors are most likely to encounter as the WMF's de facto ambassador to the human race, is the alter ego of WhatamIdoing who's been active for years.) ‑ Iridescent 19:49, 20 December 2019 (UTC)
Fair point. There are several noteworthy exceptions. What if I amended that to read "Most of the non-technical side"? -- llywrch (talk) 21:30, 20 December 2019 (UTC)
The Internet Archive is running an appeal right now and they have a 2-for-1 arrangement with matching funding. I've no idea how much they need the cash but I found that more tempting than WMF. Johnbod (talk) 15:36, 18 December 2019 (UTC)
I wouldn't be totally surprised if Internet Archive becomes absorbed by the WMF at some point—taking it over would seem to me to be an eminently sensible use of spare cash and server capacity. (It wouldn't quite tally with empower and engage people around the world to collect and develop educational content under a free license or in the public domain, and to disseminate it effectively and globally, but wouldn't be a million miles away either.)
It's also the worst kept secret in Silicon Valley that SmugMug is considering shutting down Flickr because they can't make it profitable, and a Flickr/Commons merger would also seem to make complete sense—the Creative Commons stuff could be moved to the Commons name with the holiday snaps and amateur porn retained on an arms-length residual Flickr to prevent it contaminating the Sum Of All Human Knowledge, and importing the Flickr community en masse would give us an instant and massive boost to the editor base, comprised almost entirely of knowledgable and friendly people with a demonstrable interest in working in collaborative online communities. I don't think even the most rose-tinted WMF loyalist would deny that Commons is dysfunctional and would be improved by a mass influx of new blood. ‑ Iridescent 18:09, 20 December 2019 (UTC)
  • Thanks for the ping. Aside from the obvious (that the "small" donations actually make up most of the donations when viewed in aggregate), getting individuals to donate gives them a sense of partial ownership and increases what some corporation would undoubtedly call "brand loyalty". That, by itself, is a valid reason for seeking out those small donations. Generally speaking, active participants in the Wikimedia projects (who make millions of hours of donations in time and effort) aren't making enough monetary donations in relation to the grief they cause when asked to cough up, and it's the reason that logged-in users don't normally get more than one message (if that). Something to bear in mind is that the enwiki campaign essentially pays for the infrastructure of the entire system. Could it be done better or differently? No doubt. And yes, I'd like to see more resources dedicated to areas where Wikimedia projects are just starting to make inroads (particularly in terms of editors), and that means more money. We have to remember that the overwhelming majority of those editors are going to gravitate toward the existing major-language projects, so maintaining and improving the infrastructure that supports those projects is the key to expanding both the editor and reader cores outside of the global north. (The reason that the community tech project is working on "small" projects only this year is that a goodly chunk of those "other language" editors have focused on things like Wikisource because it's their version of low-hanging fruit.) I'm not going to defend the budget in any way, since bluntly put it was never released to the community, and I question how much information even the Board was given this year. Risker (talk) 18:39, 20 December 2019 (UTC)
That's pretty much what I meant by a class-consciousness exercise to try to create a sense of a bond between the WMF, editors, and readers—I'm not saying this is a bad thing, there's a reason groups ranging from major political parties down to your local stray cats' home solicit donations even when they don't actually need them. I'm not convinced by the "small" donations actually make up most of the donations when viewed in aggregate once you factor in the costs in terms of time and admin of running the fundraising campaign and processing all the donations, but I still agree that it's important, if nothing else so we have the option of telling Google, Amazon et al that we no longer want their money should it become necessary. (If there is a controversy—and I'm still waiting for the OP to explain what he meant—I suspect "the enwiki campaign essentially pays for the infrastructure of the entire system" is one of the causes. The WMF is not great at saying where the money actually goes, and I'm quite sure that most of the donors to e.g. French Wikipedia assume that their money is going on improving coverage on French Wikipedia and maybe closely associated projects like Commons, not on vanity projects like Faroese Wikisource or translating Wikipedia into Old Church Slavonic.) ‑ Iridescent 19:23, 20 December 2019 (UTC)
I think I'll have to disagree with the thought that "editor recruitment and retention tool" is a goal for fundraising. If it were, then they'd be able to tell me what percentage of donors are also editors, and they have no idea. (I'm curious whether editors are equally likely as others to donate.)
Having a lot of small donors does provide a certain level of independence from major donors and other funders. In grant-speak (i.e., ignoring the fact that money is fungible), grant money is usually restricted to a particular project (software or otherwise), so the small donors are largely paying for ongoing/operating costs – such as funding the affiliates. Most chapters get 50% or more of their total budget from the WMF.
What I'm hearing about strategy is that there is push for decentralization. I'm not sure how it's supposed to work at a practical level, but I think that I finally understand the problem they're trying to solve. Some (potential and current) affiliates find that receiving funds from a US charity either can't be done, or causes problems for them. So they seem to be looking at ways to make global/movement-wide money be accessible to the whole movement. (That push for decentralization makes it seem unlikely that the WMF would merge with the Internet Archive, or any other group, for that matter.) Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 21:01, 20 December 2019 (UTC)

Related to this, and cross posted to the mailing list:

My dad recently said to me:

"I was solitated by them after looking something up. I thought it strange the way they were pleading for donations. They made it sound like they might be shutting down if we the general public didn't donate."

Has there been any research into how common it is for readers to get the wrong impression from the marketing messaging?

(I know the fundraising team has done plenty of research on which messages bring in the most money.)

I've heard of this sort of thing happening before, and I think it's highly antithetical to our values to be deceptive.

Benjamin (talk) 23:34, 25 December 2019 (UTC)

Season's Greetings![edit]

Weihnachtsstern - groß.jpg
Faithful friends who are dear to us
... gather near to us once more.

May your heart be light

and your troubles out of sight,

now and in the New Year.

SandyGeorgia (Talk) 01:55, 23 December 2019 (UTC)

Holly Berries (11797428345).jpg
Thanks, and the same to you… ‑ Iridescent 15:50, 23 December 2019 (UTC)

Be well at Christmas[edit]

SilkTork Christmas.jpg Have a WikiChristmas and a PediaNewYear

I was a little irritated earlier this year, and for that I am sorry. Be well. Keep well. Have a lovely Christmas. SilkTork (talk) 16:05, 23 December 2019 (UTC)

If that was during Framageddon, then don't worry, we were all snappy. If it wasn't, then whatever it was I've already forgotten it. ‑ Iridescent 16:40, 23 December 2019 (UTC)

2 more sleeps[edit]

Made it my elf-553756.jpg
🔔🎁⛄️🎅🏻 Atsme Talk 📧 17:52, 23 December 2019 (UTC)
Thanks. same to you ‑ Iridescent 16:32, 24 December 2019 (UTC)

Happy holidays![edit]

P dove peace.png Hi Iridescent! All the warmest wishes for this seasonal occasion, whichever you celebrate - or don't, while I swelter at 27℃ (80.6℉), and peace and prosperity for 2020. Seriously hoping that you'll join me for a cool beer in Bangkok in August when it will be even hotter! Seriously hoping that the WMF will use their surplus funds to finance the trip for a lot more people - Bangkok is a heck of a long way away for most people.
Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 11:50, 24 December 2019 (UTC)
Thanks, and the same to you. Very unlikely I'll make BKK; per my longstanding gripes to the WMF, while scheduling Wikimania over the summer vacation may be great for the professional-student PhD types who dominate WMF decision-making, it makes the event virtually impossible for ordinary people to attend; not only is it always the most expensive time of year to travel, but workplaces are invariably short-staffed making it very difficult for people to get time off, and kids are off school so it's impractical for people with families to travel (I very much doubt that anyone's children would welcome losing the chance to visit SeaWorld so that mommy or daddy could attend The process of upload, disseminate and report a GLAM and how wikidatifying it improves it: a Brazilian experience and Attribution: Laws and Norms within Open Communities and Communicating to the Public, nor would I want to be the one explaining to a child that they won't be able to meet Mickey and Minnie but instead if they're lucky they might meet Andy Mabbett). I didn't attend Wikimania when it was held a ten minute walk from my house. This is the point at which someone from the WMF pipes up to say that all their research shows that the core editor base doesn't find this a problem, to which my reply remains the same; if that's what your sample is saying, then it's a problem with your sample as the quickest "who is actually doing the heavy lifting on the wikis and what do I know about their personal circumstances?" exercise shows that people aged 30-50 (who logistically can't fly around the world in July), and retirees (who generally can't afford to travel peak-season) are the glue that holds the wikis together. There's a subthread on this up above which I still stand by. ‑ Iridescent 16:48, 24 December 2019 (UTC)
Nothing like reading a spot-on rant. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:36, 24 December 2019 (UTC)
They always bring back the classics for Christmas! But the new bit in the middle certainly made me laugh. Johnbod (talk) 18:41, 24 December 2019 (UTC)
It's the time of year for repeats. If you're lucky you might get "Wikipedia's notability rules are confusing and contradictory", "List-defined references are a barrier to entry for new editors", "Wikidata is more trouble than it's worth", "90% of the Manual of Style could be deleted and nobody would even notice let alone miss it" and "What does Katherine Maher actually do?" as well. ‑ Iridescent 21:10, 24 December 2019 (UTC)
As a dissenting voice, I'll note that the one time I attended Wikimania I found it very informative & rewarding. However, the choice of talks & presentations were far different all those years ago than what is offered now. And some noteworthy people in the area of Internet & knowledge were invited to speak too, although Richard Stallman showed up anyway. Sometimes I miss the old days, despite its Wild West environment. -- llywrch (talk) 21:18, 24 December 2019 (UTC)
That was in the days when the WMF consisted of CBD and a couple of Jimmy's drinking buddies and the annual budget was $1,508,039 (compared to $104,505,783 last year). Now, per a couple of WMF-ers (including the now-notorious Jan Eissfeldt) a few threads up), "the statistical correlation between Wikimania and onwiki editors is terrible" and It's more affiliate folks and edit-a-thon folks than everyday editors; as far as I can see it's nowadays mainly a bunch of insiders gathering once a year to slap each other on the back and network with an eye on future grants. The informal local meetups are likely a much better place if you just want to share knowledge about getting things done. Plus, those were different times when it came to networking; it's now much more efficient to film your presentation and pop it on YouTube where anyone who's interested can see it, or even just post a transcript on-wiki, and if you want senior people to hear your opinions you have a much better shot tweeting at Katherine Maher than you do trying to buttonhole her in a room full of 1000 people. ‑ Iridescent 21:40, 24 December 2019 (UTC)
Which is why I referenced my one Wikimania I attended, not any of those in the last few years. I have noticed that the occasional interesting session does slip in, & yes one can learn from the transcript/video of the session, but it's not the same. Any more than watching a TEDx presentation is the same as actually being there & able to interact with the presenter. Or reading about a writers' conference is not the same as attending Bread Loaf.
But I will agree without reservation that recent sessions are designed for "affiliate folks & edit-a-thon folks". It's the eternal search for the best paying job that requires the least amount of work: the Foundation -- & apparently the affiliates -- attract people who are looking for a paycheck, but really aren't into writing (or research, or even sorting out data), so they look to wriggle their way into a job working for a thing no one claims to understand ("it doesn't work in the theory, but it works in practice"), look like they're doing something productive for a few years, use that on their resume to get a better-paying job, & repeat. The folks who are doing the work that put Wikipedia in the top 10 most visited websites, on the other hand, are not only interested in presentations that are more tangible, they aren't that driven about networking to advance their careers. (Yes, I got to talk to some interesting people at my Wikimania session, like the reporter from Nature who did the comparison of reliability between Encyclopaedia Britannica & Wikipedia, & met other Wikipedians like Paul August in the flesh, but the point was to exchange ideas & experiences, not to buff up one's professional network.)
As for Katherine Maher, Twitter, & getting the attention of the alleged bosses of all this... I do sometimes wonder if my profanity-laden rant at her on Twitter did prompt her to start actually looking into FRAMgate, but it's not important that I had. Rather, it's that one had to use a non-Wiki medium to get the attention of the head of a Foundation known for Wiki software. And that instead of courting burn-out by confronting this, I simply focus on writing content; it's simpler & more satisfying. -- llywrch (talk) 00:36, 25 December 2019 (UTC)
  • A lot of people, including the WMF who consulted me over Skype two years ago about holding Wikimania in Bangkok, don't realise that despite it's excellent geolocation, cheap flights, and really low cost of the hospitality industry, due to the climate the Academic year in Southeast Asia is almost the opposite to that of traditional Western countries: August is slap bang in the middle of term time. Attending university here is more like a continuation of Grade 12, and a lot stricter than a UK 6th form centre, with uniforms, attendance registers, etc. Unless they are in Grad Sch doing a PhD or post grad teaching diploma they are very much treated like children (I do know, I taught in a leading Thai uni). Hence attendance figures from Thailand won't be amazing, and it remains to be seen how many come from neighbouring Laos, Cambodia, and Burma. There will be a few from former British colonies Malasia & Singapore, and of course with their cheap flights the Phillipinos will arrive in force, and it's not too far from HK and Western Australia, and there are about 300,000 US and European expats living here who might be curious enough to pay a visit (but most of them are not in Bangkok), so the WMF is going to have to cut a chunk out of Maher's luxury travel budget and use it for scholarships if Wikimania in Bangkok is going to see much more than me and Risker, and a few other regular Wikimania old timers from Europe and North America who go not to hobnob, but to stir things up in the hope of some better recognition for the work the volunteers do - something that it seems a high-flying, tweeting ED ostensibly hasn't got a clue about as this page would appear to demonstrate. Anyway, I'll be there and gladly buying the beers for anyone who can put up with my company for a few minutes. Someone needs to come and help dilute the overwhelming/overbearing presence of WMF staff on their major annual junket (or publicity stunt). Maybe we can twist Guy Macon's arm. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 03:30, 25 December 2019 (UTC)
Heh. I'm planning to skip Bangkok, unless I have to go there to work on something specific like Comms Committee or the last remnants of the strategy stuff. I went to Hong Kong on a partial scholarship and, well, let's say I didn't find the 40-degree temperatures all that enjoyable. (I don't think it ever got below 30 degrees, even at 6 a.m.) Iridescent is at least partly right; there aren't that many English Wikipedians who are ground-level volunteers in attendance. I have to say that there's a rather interesting and much more varied representation from outside of the English/European world, though; probably less than half of the attendees from Asia/South America/Africa are "the usual suspects, if for no other reason than that the chapter culture hasn't really taken hold there yet. In Cape Town, I'd say probably 60-70% of people there were front-line editors first, and anything else they did was extra; it was the first Wikimania I was at that had so many people who would describe themselves as editors first. The Wikimedia Conference/Summit (in March/April of each year in Berlin) is hardcore insiders, though. I confess that, with the exception of the first Wikimania I attended, I have always gone with an "agenda" - whether it be representing a particular group (mostly FDC or Strategy), seeking out support/volunteers on a particular issue (a lot of the infrastructure work for the Orangemoody case was arranged at Wikimania Mexico City). I do think there's something to be said for learning more about the technical changes and improvements that have been made or are coming down the pipeline, and for getting frontline editors sitting beside the developers to better highlight real software issues, and this is pretty much the only big conference where there's a sufficient cadre of both to really have an impact. (Developers don't go to most editing or interest group meetings, and non-tech editors aren't usually invited to hackathons and technical conferences.) As to flights to Bangkok being cheap...well, not from here. Six months out, and I'd be looking at airfare that is about 45% more than my *total* expenses (flights, lodging, food, etc) for the Italian Wikimania. I just can't justify spending that much out of my own pocket.
So yes, I have been to a pile of Wikimanias (and other WMF-related conferences/meetings), and I suppose in some senses I'm something of an insider. Ironically, I keep being asked to do things because the "real" insiders think I'm not one of them. Risker (talk) 05:01, 25 December 2019 (UTC)
I can’t go for RL reasons anytime soon, but even my friends on non-Western wikis have been less than impressed in the past. One comment I got from a steward who went to the one in Montreal (or maybe South Africa?) was that it focused too much on the in-person stuff and not enough on the actual editing communities, and this was from a steward who is highly involved RL in his language group. TonyBallioni (talk) 05:20, 25 December 2019 (UTC)
Bangkok, from it's actual geolocation as practically the region's major hub, two airports close to the very modern city, excellent rapid mass transportation systems, and extraordinary low cost nice, budget hotel accommodation (from $20 a night with en suite - yes, there is not a '0' missing), and restaurants with an amazing diversity of affordable food (give the $1 street food a miss), and $3 for a beer, is an ideal location for SE Asia, India, Indonesia, Philippines, and even furthest cities in Australia for only $450 round trip. The downside is the low Wikipedia penetration in Thailand, and with the Philippine WMF handling communications and content with 0 knowledge of local culture and media, I'm not quite sure how they think they are going to do it.
Note that culturally, the Philippines and the rest of SE Asia have nothing in common - a total cultural dichotomy. I am very wary of what's going to happen, following my experience in terrible accommodation in Washington D.C., a chaotic venue spread across the steep slopes of an Italian alpine village, the lack of food and catastrophic organisation of peripheral events in Hong Kong, and the stogy picnic-packed lunches and and sour red wine in London (although there was a nice grand piano in the Barbican...). If the WMF can release enough budget to get things done properly and not 'on the cheap' as they usually do, and confide the organisation to truly experienced people, it could be a success. At least I'll already be here and I won't be wasting upwards of $2,000 on travel and accommodation like I have in the past when/if things go wrong. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 10:06, 25 December 2019 (UTC)
It's still prohibitively expensive to get to for most of the Wikipedia userbase, who like it or not are primarily in Europe and the Americas, from which travel to Thailand is eyewateringly expensive both in terms of money and in terms of environmental impact. (A quick dip into Skyscanner quotes £800/$1100 for a return trip from London to Bangkok arriving August 4 and departing August 10; that's less than the £794 for a round trip to Auckland on the same dates.) The prices you quote don't seem particularly cheap to me; outside the bubble around London $20 for a room and $3 for a drink isn't significantly different to what you'd pay even in the notoriously expensive UK—if "cheap lodging", "cheap high-quality food" and "ease of access from as many places as possible" were the primary considerations, Wikimania would permanently rotate between Las Vegas, Istanbul and Buenos Aires. ‑ Iridescent 16:03, 25 December 2019 (UTC)

Happy Holidays[edit]

Spread the WikiLove; use {{subst:Season's Greetings1}} to send this message
Thanks, same to you ‑ Iridescent 21:10, 24 December 2019 (UTC)

Happy Holidays[edit]

Bonheur Matisse.jpg
Season's greetings!
I hope this holiday season is festive and fulfilling and filled with love and kindness, and that 2020 will be safe, successful and rewarding...keep hope alive....Modernist (talk) 02:13, 25 December 2019 (UTC)

Good luck[edit]

TPS query[edit]

Iri, I am hoping you can direct me, and if not, one of your talk page stalkers can. What is our current thinking on edit summaries? (Remember the olden days, when non-use of edit summaries was enough to crater an RFA?) My watchlist is being hit extensively by edits from an experienced editor who is not using edit summaries, I have asked the editor on user talk to please use edit summaries and explained why, they have removed the message and yet continue editing without edit summaries. What next? It is not clear to me if we have a guideline in this area (well, don't be a dick applies, but I digress). SandyGeorgia (Talk) 19:18, 25 December 2019 (UTC)

It's "accepted practice" rather than "enforceable policy" so it's not something that's actually enforceable by anything other than social pressure. It's still considered unacceptable enough to at the very least dent an RFA (see Wikipedia:Requests for adminship/Hawkeye7 3 for a high-profile recent example). Looking at the contribution history in question there seem to be no truly blank edit summaries but instead the auto-generated /* Section header */ type, so Ozzie may have fallen into the same trap Hawkeye fell into of thinking that because there's something in the edit summary field it doesn't count as blank, and being genuinely confused at why people considered it disruptive. (Help:Edit summary cautions against leaving the field blank, but doesn't explain that most editors consider an auto-created summary to be equivalent to blank; I'm not surprised that even experienced editors like Hawkeye find it confusing.) That said, given that Ozzie currently has over 200 sections on their talkpage I'm not inclined to take the whole AGF thing too far; one "well, it's technically not forbidden so you can't force me" is one thing but two is the start of a pattern. Some of the people who complained at Hawkeye's RFA (or Hawkeye himself) might be better placed than me to discuss how seriously people actually take the edit summary issue; I've been largely absent from Wikipedia other than periodically checking this talk page for quite a long time now. ‑ Iridescent 19:36, 25 December 2019 (UTC)
Very helpful, Iri, and exactly answers my query. Considering your mention of AGF and pattern, I don't know what to do next in this situation. More and more, I am realizing that I just need to unwatch every single medical article I watch, and give up on my area of editing focus on Wikipedia; it has become a special-agenda warzone, and productive editing is no longer possible. Thanks for informing me on whether this was enforceable, which is all I really wanted to know. Best, SandyGeorgia (Talk) 19:52, 25 December 2019 (UTC)
I don't think your guy has much of a special agenda, but he has his own way of editing & sticks to it. He's busy on the MED project talk page, & a section there might have an effect. Johnbod (talk) 22:05, 25 December 2019 (UTC)
I doubt it, but I know a post there will result in retaliation. If this is not enforceable, there is nothing I can do. I can only continue to do what I have been doing now since 2015: unwatch more and more medical articles that I once tended. I don't want to sit here and click over and over and over to figure out what an edit is and whether I need to check it. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 23:30, 25 December 2019 (UTC)
...but doesn't explain that most editors consider an auto-created summary to be equivalent to blank. I added some note about that at Help:Edit_summary#Section_editing. However I am not sure whether experienced editors are even reading that page to learn using edit summary though. – Ammarpad (talk) 10:07, 26 December 2019 (UTC)
Pedantic I know but the main concern in Wikipedia:Requests for adminship/Hawkeye7 3 were temperament/behaviour issues, not really edit summary usage, at least from my reading of the Oppose section. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk) 10:21, 26 December 2019 (UTC)
Thanks for the bcc ping, Jo-Jo (I didn't know such a thing existed). Not to worry. Although I rarely weigh in on RFAs anymore (an interesting bit of history can be found at User talk:SandyGeorgia/arch95#June 2013, and as a once very-high-profile editor, I have to take care not to become a target for trigger-happy admins), I don't miss much in that department. I understood Iri's response in the context of edit summaries. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:22, 26 December 2019 (UTC)
If you don't want to use the {{bcc}} template to force a notification without mentioning the person's name in the text, you just need to link the person's username in the edit summary. If for some reason you want to ping someone without drawing attention to the fact you're pinging them, pipe the username to a punctuation mark (as I've done with the comma and period in the summary to this edit). By playing around with pipelinking to invisible unicode characters in the edit summary it's probably theoretically possible to make the notification completely invisible, although I can't see why that level of secrecy would ever be necessary since by that point you presumably wouldn't be having the discussion in public.
Be aware that in the past some people have got very annoyed at being bcc-pinged, as it means they get a notification saying they've been mentioned in a discussion but when they do a ctrl-f on that discussion to see where they've been mentioned, they don't see their names. I can't find any of the complaints off the top of my head but I know there has been wailing and gnashing of teeth about it in the past. ‑ Iridescent 09:14, 27 December 2019 (UTC)
I see, thanks Iri! I'm still trying to adjust to this new-fangled pingie thingie (and so far hating it). Since I watchlist evey FAC I review, and once had half of our medical content watchlisted (hyperbole alert), and once had the second busiest talk page on the 'pedia (behind Jimbo), these pingie thingies mean I will need a new daily processing style. Until/unless I give up on improving medical content and disappear again, I guess I will have to adjust the way I used to organize my daily activity. I used to process my talk page first (in case there was an urgent FAC need or something I had to know before reading FAC), my regular editing next (to get my "fun" editing done before I "went to work"), and last, I "put on my FAC hat" (which put me in a whole different mode, since I had to be battle ready with my iron-clad asbestos suit on, fully focused, and leave behind my colorful and colloquial vocabulary for a much more professional tone). Now, when I get these blooming pings, I have to go check them in case they're important. I feel like I need to take Ritalin or something (as if I don't have the ability to hyper-focus), being pulled different directions in the middle of work, and it seems as if FAC nominators are used to instant gratification now (not Jo-Jo, whose conduct is quite impressive). Thanks again, Iri, best, SandyGeorgia (Talk) 13:38, 27 December 2019 (UTC)
PS, I can't imagine how the delegates (errr, coordinators) keep up with FAC/FAR these days, with the global @FAC ping going off all the time. When nominators or reviewers needed my immediate attention (to withdraw, for example), they had to come to my talk page or WT:FAC to request it. My TPS and other FAC followers were then able to help me get all my work done, as they often saw my talk requests before I did, and could answer many of them. Other editors don't see pings to the coords, so can't help them process their workload-- maybe another one of the (many) factors slowing down FAC processing, and another reason that FAC talk is dead, and there is no healthy discussion of issues affecting the process? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 13:44, 27 December 2019 (UTC)
I don't think the {{@FAC}} batsignal to the coordinators is activated unreasonably often—at the time of writing it's been used 297 times since its creation in 2013, which is less than once a week. The only people who are aware of its existence are experienced enough to know not to abuse it. I doubt it has much to do with the decline of activity on FAC talk; I suspect that has more to do with the fact that assorted Defenders Of The Wiki began using the talk pages of FAC and TFA as a happy hunting ground for 'civility patrol', making people reluctant to participate there. Plus, a lot of the disputes that used to generate the most verbiage—to what extent writers retain control, infoboxes, referencing styles, the role of WikiProject local consensuses, main page protection, whether and when the MOS can be disregarded…—have largely reached at least a grudging consensus over the years. (It may be a statement of the obvious, but for better or worse we no longer have Eric, Tony, Mattisse, ILT and the infoboxers picking fights, and the small handful of remaining Formatting Consistency Is More Important Than Accuracy Or Readability en-dash warriors and date format hardliners are largely restricting themselves to grumbling at each other on Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style, so there are fewer arguments to have. Declining activity isn't always a sign of stagnation, sometimes it's just a sign that there's less of a need for tinkering.)
I still dislike the Echo system ("pings") intensely, but recognize that it's not going to go away. If you find you're being flooded with notifications, go to Special:Preferences#mw-prefsection-echo where you can disable any notifications in which you're not interested, and also mute notifications from anyone in whose opinion you know you're not interested. It's still formal policy that pings can't be assumed to be received, so anyone who genuinely needs to solicit your opinion will still notify you on your talkpage in the old-school way. ‑ Iridescent 14:07, 27 December 2019 (UTC)
Oh, my. More cans of worms to unpack! By checking my preferences, I solved one irritation (Cross-wiki notifications), but "Muted users" raises another TPS question. Since pinging is so standard nowadays, is it fair for Editor A to demand that Editor B never ping them again? Why can't Editor A mute Editor B in their preferences? Why should Editor B be charged with "harassment" if they are doing standard pinging, and why should Editor B be charged to remember not to ping, when pinging is so commonplace and Editor A could simply mute Editor B in their prefs? If Editor A edits too fast, makes an extreme number of errors, and rarely returns to discussions about those editing errors, yet forbids talk page posts or pings, what next? Another pingie-thingie problem. I yearn for the days when we had Requests for comment/User conduct/Editor name, so we could calmly analyze editor behaviors outside of the circus that is ANI.

Back on topic, seriously, Iri, look at what it must be like to be a FAC/FAR Coord these days. Even if the @FAC template isn't engaged often, add those once-a-week occurrences to the times an individual coord gets an individual ping, and extend this across all of FAC. Consider that I could process the volume at FAC that I did because of the TPS effect: nominators and reviewers posted issues to my talk or FAC talk, and the whole blooming FA community (hyperbole alert again) would dig in, often before I could respond, and often meaning I didn't need to respond. Even when I was a single delegate, and still when I had help from Karanacs, I had a cadre of editors who knew the processes well, and could be trusted to do basic things, like archiving a withdrawal and more. It strikes me that the pingie-thingie has reduced the amount of collaboration that resulted from more open talk page usage.

I believe (could be wrong?) that the infobox wars post-dated my time at FAC, so I didn't see that problem on talk. But what is in abundant evidence after only one week of FAC reviewing is that prose has seriously deteriorated without the likes of Tony and Eric. It is not hard to see why the promotion rate has escalated from the 50% range to the almost-70% range, with a decrease in FA production, and why we have the GOCE combing through FAs; prose that is getting through is problematic. I reviewed one-third of these archivals; most of those were going through without my review. Tony launched the RFC that did away with an FA director, without prior discussion, and the FA process has itself to blame that it is floundering IMO, but that's another can of worms. Nonetheless, Tony's prose reviews were helpful, and no one has replaced the serious prose review we once had. You can look at the same archivals above to see what today's prose reviews look like: long strings of nit-picking followed by an eventual Support, even though I later showed real prose problems.

A problem I see affecting the FA process is the utter lack of respect shown to delegates/coords. In catching up on history after "The Incident" which you posted to my talk earlier this year, I see Coordinators being forced to strike perfectly rational commentary from a FAC, as if a Coord isn't in good position to know what is actionable and what is not. In recent discussions, I see Coords being forced to withdraw from a discussion after their judgment is called into question. I see involved editors shutting down FAC talk discussions before a Coord has even weighed in. On FAC talk, we see one editor trying to force me into personalizing a discussion by pointing fingers at individual articles or writers, as if a delegate who processed around 5,000 FACs and FARs is not positioned to offer a well-qualified opinion in a way that attempts to avoid personalization. To that editor, I offer the monthly FAC archive for perusal, since a former delegate should not be pointing fingers at specific editors' work. I could ask a competent copyeditor to look at the recently promoted examples that I mention, but how does personalizing help here? Current examples should suffice, and avoid the need to personalize. Again, overall, I don't see how the Coords can be effective with this kind of disrespect in evidence.

On the MOS issues, there are some things that are always tipoffs to more serious underlying issues. Just as an article search for instances of "however", "in total", "subsequently" and the like often gives indications of weak writing, examination of hyphens and dashes often turns up grammatical errors. In number-dense topics, it is important to know the difference between a hyphen and a dash, when hyphens are required on modifiers, and how to re-cast sentences to avoid convoluted constructs involving hyphens, dashes and convert templates, which can be dreadful to read through. Many of the other significant MOS issues are easily fixed (I often just do them myself), but for content areas that are dense with numbers, it's important that the writers learn to use hyphens and dashes correctly. Since the writers' and researchers' talents may be wasted in applying dashes and NBSPs, they can also be encouraged to bring in a collaborator who will do that for them before they approach FAC. We should not be seeing repeat nominations from experienced writers that are not MOS-ready.

No, I don't think that FAC talk is dead because the infobox and MOS warriers have moved on: I think it's dead because the three processes no longer work together, with each becoming the turf of sub-segments of the FA community, and no leader for a rudderless ship. Best, SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:14, 27 December 2019 (UTC)

(ec) I get more pings from the TFAcoord template than I do from the FACcoord template, at least so far. As for the troubles with FAC ... I honestly lost a lot of heart/etc when Eric was forced out of the whole project. I've long felt that too much emphasis is placed on prose and not enough on the actual content - and I'm frankly scared to dig into any of the sourcing on some of the FACs ... which I know I need to do. I've been less active in the last few years because... well, yeah. Moving. I'm finally settled in one place, and we're going down next month to empty one of the two storage units still remaining to move from the old town to the new place. Hoping to be able to unearth a pile of the book boxes too... and get them into the house .. I feel lost without all my books around me. I do have the most important ones, but it's always the obscure one that you need most. I don't like the habit that's current at FAC of insisting on a huge long list of problems before a nominator will take a reviewers word for the fact that there are enough issues with the candidate that it needs archiving/withdrawing. I can't really blame most nominators for it either... there really isn't anyone to go to for a good copyedit before FAC... Eric's gone, John's gone, Tony's.. well, cranky. Dank's busy with TFA. I have no idea who I'd get to copyedit anything I was likely to bring to FAC. And I will say that WP:ERRORS isn't helping ... the insanity that was going on there where folks couldn't see that their own preferences in prose styling are not the same as prose errors. I'm happy if the prose is understandable and clear to a non-expert. I think we expect too much sometimes on prose and also have too many folks who can't see that prose styles vary and that just because you think something works better doesn't necessarily MAKE it objectively better. Prose is often subjective ... and we need to stop kowtowing at the idea that we please everyone all the time with prose styles.

I'm girding my loins for some digging into sourcing/content after we get the storage unit emptied ... I'll be on the road with hubby for a couple of weeks mid-January... me let loose with a computer, internet, and time to sit and be annoying... we should all be worried.

And as an aside, I'm mad at both of you, SG and Iri. I woke up at 2am last night and made the mistake of poking my head in here and ... well, next thing I knew I was deep in the FAC talk page archives dealing with TCO/Pumpkin/JM/etc. Never did get back to sleep... and I'm blaming you both. Ealdgyth - Talk 16:33, 27 December 2019 (UTC)

I agree entirely with I'm happy if the prose is understandable and clear to a non-expert. My approach to reviewing (and writing) has always been "if I were a reasonably bright 14-year-old with no prior knowledge of this topic, would I understand it?" and "What is being omitted here and why?"; I think MOS compliance is virtually irrelevant provided the article is internally consistent and there's no ambiguity in what's meant. (Something like Ceilings of the Natural History Museum probably breaks more MOS rules than it adheres to, and the world hasn't come to an end.) I respectfully disagree regarding the importance of the hyphen/endash/emdash distinction; there's a legitimate aesthetic argument for keeping them consistent within any given article, but unless you're using some weird font intentionally designed to exaggerate the difference then , and - are virtually indistinguishable onscreen unless you're literally measuring pixels. The conservatism of the MOS guardians and of the style guides from which the MOS is drawn means we have far too many arbitrary rules inherited from the days of metal type which just aren't relevant to a wholly onscreen—and increasingly, wholly on-speaker—environment. ‑ Iridescent 19:04, 31 December 2019 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Not interested Sandy. I don't have rose-tinted spectacles about the past, and don't think I am God's gift to FAC, unlike the way some people obviously do. You have yet to provide any examples of any actual problems; this isn't about claiming that there are no problems, or about "personalisation", as you well know. (Except in the way that that you are trying to personalise it against certain people without naming them - I note that some of the "examples" of heinous crimes you refer to concern me. I stand by them all, and I don't need someone who embarrassed themselves so staggeringly by once accusing me of being Merridew to try and pick a fight when I have better things to do). I'm not interested in whatever games you're playing at, and will continue to do what I do before the diminishing sense of enjoyment I get from editing WP is sucked out of me for good. Big claims require big evidence. If you can't be bothered with the evidence then stop pinging people when they don't need to be. - SchroCat (talk) 16:39, 27 December 2019 (UTC) Addendum: I was not the only person asking for evidence of the problems you keep claiming, so I'm not entirely sure why I was the one you decided to ping. I suggest you either ping the others or drop your suggestion onto the long and meandering wall of text on the FAC talk page. Or you could just do what several people have asked and provide examples. Without proof of the problems, there will be no agreement on what the problems are (I may have missed it in the over-long thread, but it's still not clear what the problems are), and if we don't know what the problems are, no-one is going to suggest ways to improve whatever you think the situation is. - SchroCat (talk) 19:17, 27 December 2019 (UTC)
@ Ealdgyth, Oh, you poor thing! For THAT, I should offer to get in a car and come help you unpack books!! Seriously, Ealdgyth, you are right that the sourcing issues could be more significant than the prose issues. I am sure I told you many times that I frequently threatened Raul to never even consider naming you as delegate, because we could not survive without your sourcing reviews. Although I once had to write to ArbCom because of a bad COI issue involving Awadewit, including a very personal attack on me, we are also missing her serious source work wrt comprehensiveness-- I don't think anyone does that anymore. I would really Really REALLY like to see you recuse from a FAC, put on the Ealdgyth source review hat, and show 'em how it should be done. On TCO/JM etc, when I reread those messes, I see that Raul's approach was so right. He let those discussions rage until everyone had aired everything, and then came in with the gavel. I let those nimwits bother me too much; today I am much more inclined to ignore the unhelpful. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:46, 27 December 2019 (UTC)
@Iri, so back on the pingie thingie, I guess we have evidence of the problem :) You're faulted if you ping 'em (stop bothering me), and you're faulted if you don't (talking behind my back). I won that discussion about the problems with this pingie-thingie :) :) SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:55, 27 December 2019 (UTC)

Back to the original point, if anyone wants an illustration of irony in action I doubt you'll do better than this. ‑ Iridescent 20:42, 1 January 2020 (UTC)

Well, with that laugh, my New Year is off to a grand start! I don't think I should add that to my wall of fame. Or should I? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 20:50, 1 January 2020 (UTC)
Looking at that wall, I'm more worried by the fact that in 2012 I apparently wrote a 174-word sentence. I'm surprised Malleus didn't spontaneously combust. ‑ Iridescent 20:59, 1 January 2020 (UTC)
Maybe he did, and it's all your fault? Holy Mother of All Run-ons! SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:02, 1 January 2020 (UTC)
PS, some medical editors these days are forcing 12-word sentences into leads of articles, which has totally ruined the possibility of a well-written lead for a Featured article. At 174, you'd be sacrificed and your body donated to medical research. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:05, 1 January 2020 (UTC)
I'll guess the people pushing for a 12-word maximum are all American? The Flesch–Kincaid cult is one of those pseudoscientific oddities like polygraph tests which is taken as gospel in the US and almost totally unknown everywhere else. (Don't get me wrong, short sentences are generally more readable than long ones, but not at the expense of sacrificing meaning. It's keeping the number of clauses in each sentence reasonably low that matters, not the word count.) ‑ Iridescent 21:26, 1 January 2020 (UTC)
bzzzzt ... the three main advocates are from three different, non-US countries. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:28, 1 January 2020 (UTC)
Ah, found the discussion in question. Two of those editors are crazy and the third I'm unfamiliar with; you can safely ignore whatever they come up with. Where there is a global consensus to edit in a certain way, it should be respected and cannot be overruled by a local consensus is arbcom-mandated policy, and patience is already wearing thin at the attempts by WP:MED (and by one WP:MED editor in particular) to try to issue a unilateral declaration of independence from consensus whenever he disagrees with a guideline. The infobox wars may have ground to an inconclusive stalemate, but if there's one definite change they brought about it's that both Arbcom, and the community in general, are no longer going to put up with whatever bunch of people happen to comprise the membership of a project declaring that they're the sole style arbiters over whatever articles they decide fall into their remit. ‑ Iridescent 21:59, 1 January 2020 (UTC)
You can lead a horse to water ... SandyGeorgia (Talk) 22:08, 1 January 2020 (UTC)

Edit summaries[edit]

I've mostly stopped using edit summaries outside the mainspace, and I'm not sure that anyone's any worse off as a result. Most of my talk-page summaries were single characters – r or c for the most part, and sometimes I'd spell out reply or comment if it occurred to me that a new editor mightn't guess what I meant – and almost none of them were actually helpful.

Then the devs finally implemented a way to get your previous edit summaries into the edit-summary dialog box in VisualEditor, and that killed it for me. It turned out that I got what I (we) asked for, but not what I (perhaps only myself) want. I've just given up, and except for now having to actually remember to type an edit summary when it matters (I've missed a few), the Sun still seems to be rising each morning.

But work-me is going to take advantage of this conversation to ask: for a (new) reply on a talk page, do you really care what the edit summary says? If it should exist at all, is there a way to automate their addition? I can think of a couple of options:

  • Add a simple pre-determined edit summary, such as one that says "Reply" (ideally, in addition to the section name). This is one step up from my r or c, or the re and fix and typo that other people frequently use, but it's not much better than nothing.
  • Auto-paste the (beginning of the) contents of the reply into the edit summary.
  • Omit edit summaries entirely (just use the section name).
  • Give up on automating edit summaries, and encourage people to continue supplying cryptic and pointless comments.

What do you all think? Perhaps even more importantly, can you think of any other options that should be in my list? WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:57, 29 December 2019 (UTC)

I couldn't care less on talk pages, unless something significant has changed (for instance, if you are altering an old post). I kind of like your first list of suggestions, but don't want edit summaries eliminated on talk pages for the times when it is important to say something. I hate the auto-fill option. I often realize after the fact that my edit summary was auto-filled to a previous reply in bad ways. I guess I would dislike auto-paste for similar reasons. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 13:47, 29 December 2019 (UTC)
I used to paste my replies into the edit summary (“the first bit of the comment”) but people said they found it annoying. Now it’s just “re” or “fix” etc. I do find it helpful when the summaries distinguish between a reply and adding a sig or minor fix. –xenotalk 13:51, 29 December 2019 (UTC)
User:Xeno, it might have been less annoying when edit summaries were constrained to be much smaller. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:43, 2 January 2020 (UTC)
I mostly either do "re", "ce" or "add" in articles (or "rvt", usually with a bit more), partly because I like to edit in a string of edits, so only the last will appear on most watchlists. On talk I mostly either do "re", "cmt" or copy a headline from my comment. I still expect to see something on other people's edits. Johnbod (talk) 15:26, 29 December 2019 (UTC)
For talk pages, 80% of my edit summaries are "comment", "reply" "question" or "editing myself". For subpages in my own user space, the summary tends to always be "." (It's my scratch area, no one needs to know what I'm doing.) Everywhere else, I try to provide a clue about what I did to help other people when they trudge thru the diffs to see what I did. And the more trivial my edit, the more cryptic my edit summary tends to be. (Sorry, but I get annoyed when I'm forced to write an edit summary longer than the actual amount of text effected.) -- llywrch (talk) 10:03, 30 December 2019 (UTC)
Pet peeve, someone makes a tiny punctuation correction with no edit summary, and you spend ten minutes trying to figure out what they changed! On Featured articles, I don't want them messing with my logical quotation or citation style. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 14:32, 30 December 2019 (UTC)
It's very easy to see punctuation diffs with WikEdDiff, which is a gadget you can enable in your preferences. --Izno (talk) 14:49, 30 December 2019 (UTC)
Thanks, Izno. [1] SandyGeorgia (Talk) 14:54, 30 December 2019 (UTC)
MOS:POINTS might be interesting on that specific diff. But yes, both full stop removals jump out with WikEdDiff (whereas the one in the middle of the paragraph does not with the normal diff). --Izno (talk) 15:35, 30 December 2019 (UTC)
Well, fiddlesticks. I only wrote the medical portions, and left the ENGVAR and other writing to two now-gone editors. I see there is inconsistent usage of Dr v Dr. throughout the article. On my own there, and unsure which way to go. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:12, 30 December 2019 (UTC)
I take it back. The promoted version was consistent with Dr except in one direct quote and one image caption, so I'm going back to that. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:14, 30 December 2019 (UTC)
Which is why you'll find I have edit summaries consisting of "+,", "-;" or "&->and". Cryptic, unless you've wasted 5 minutes over a diff only to find someone did no more than fiddled with the punctuation. FWIW, I will usually mark an edit as minor, even if it a substantial change, as a way to indicate IDGAF if someone changes it back. (I will not mark an edit as minor if I have reason to suspect I'm treading on a matter some editors care deeply about. No gain in accidentally triggering a WikiFeud over something trivial, e.g. the misuse of the word "comprise".) -- llywrch (talk) 18:06, 31 December 2019 (UTC)
I write a concise version of the main points to which I want to draw attention, so someone reading the history can get a sense of what the entire comment is about. I appreciate, though, that very few do this (I'm not sure I can recall any others, off the top of my head). Since copy edits don't add any new points, typically all I'll say is "copy edit". isaacl (talk) 17:57, 30 December 2019 (UTC)
I consider it a courtesy thing to at least briefly indicate what I'm doing, even if it's a mini-summary like "re" or "typo". Otherwise, it makes it impossible for anyone reviewing the history to know whether my edit is one they ought to be looking at, short of actually viewing the diff itself; by not using a summary, one is essentially saying "I'm so much more important than you that saving the time it would take me to type one word outweighs the time it will take you to view the diff". Obviously I don't see this as relevant to such things as userspace sandboxes where there's no reasonable expectation that anyone else will have a reason to view the history, but on anything public-facing or community-facing it just seems like basic courtesy. (When it comes to talk and collaboration pages—especially high-traffic pages like the admin noticeboards and Arbcom cases—there's a special circle of wikihell reserved for people who delete or overtype the auto-generated /* Section header */ part of the edit summary, making it impossible for someone viewing the page history to see if the comment was made on a discussion you're following or not so you have to read the whole thing.) ‑ Iridescent 19:17, 31 December 2019 (UTC)
Aren't we all reading from WP:NAVPOPS in such circumstances, though? Hovering doesn't require a lot of effort.
Isaacl, what do you do when you're just leaving a quick reply in a section on a talk page? "Copy edit" hopefully doesn't come up very often there.
User:SandyGeorgia, you might want to go to Special:Preferences#mw-prefsection-betafeatures and turn on "Visual diffs". It lets you toggle back and forth, and remembers whichever view you used last. (Work-me really ought to make them move that into regular prefs some day...) WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:48, 2 January 2020 (UTC)
Considering my years mostly away from the farm, I think I have a ton of outdated editing habits. How about this? I don't even know what you're talking about :) :) SandyGeorgia (Talk) 01:52, 2 January 2020 (UTC)
My approach is the same for short responses. For really short comments, the concise version in the edit summary may well coincide with the full text (I may elide some words). I use "copy edit" when I edit my own comments for typos, grammar, and the like. Sometimes when I'm adding an additional thought for clarification that doesn't alter the main takeaways, I say something like "expand to clarify". isaacl (talk) 01:59, 2 January 2020 (UTC)
@WAID: We're definitely not all reading from WP:NAVPOPS. Firstly, according to Special:GadgetUsage only 52,141 accounts out of 37,969,111 (or ​1730) even have the navigation popups gadget switched on in the first place. Secondly, the navpop gadget only works for an old-school mouse-and-cursor user—as the WMF is so fond of pointing out, more than half of traffic is via the mobile interface, and a sizeable chunk on top of that will be people using the desktop interface via mouse-free devices such as ipads or touchscreen PCs. If you think that having navigation popups installed negates the need for edit summaries, try browsing the history of WP:ARCA on a phone.
Normal diff
Visual diff
@Sandy: By 'Visual diffs' she means this feature, which shows diffs in terms of how they affect the rendered output rather than in terms of how they affect the underlying wikicode. It's useful in some contexts—for something like reordering the fields in a table or infobox it makes it much easier to see at a glance whether the change is actually having an effect—but because it only highlights changes to rendered output it masks under-the-hood nuisances like people trying to insert list-defined references. It's worth turning it on (go to Special:Preferences#mw-prefsection-betafeatures and check "Visual differences") as it doesn't cause any disruption to have it on (it just adds an unobtrusive "show visual diff" option when you view a diff) and it's sometimes useful to have the option. ‑ Iridescent 07:15, 2 January 2020 (UTC)
Also note that even on devices that allow hovering, this requires a degree of fine motor control which can be a problem for some editors. isaacl (talk) 07:42, 2 January 2020 (UTC)
I can't hover. Some may have noticed how much it takes me just to make one post. As my husband likes to say, "What is so 'essential' about your essential tremor?"
Iri, that Mediawiki page is a mess. I finally found tiny little caption text at the bottom of each image to figure out what they were trying to show us. Every time I encounter techies trying to give instructions, I come away convinced to stick to my old-fashioned ways. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 14:31, 2 January 2020 (UTC)
Ok, Iri, I did it. OMG horrible. I changed the setting in preference, and then got this delightful button that allowed me to toggle between the two views. And I toggled. And was confronted with a mass of eye-jarring color and what seemed to be your whole user talk page. Undo! SandyGeorgia (Talk) 14:38, 2 January 2020 (UTC)
VE tends to have tantrums on talkpages. On articles, it works fine—e.g. it highlights the Dr Johnson diff you initially raised perfectly, and with something like this it's much clearer to see what the actual change is than trying to figure it out in diff view (viewing it as a normal diff makes it look like a major rewrite took place, when all that actually happened was someone moved one sentence and updated an image). My main issue with it is that—as with everything related to VE—it's unusably slow for any page longer than a couple of paragraphs. ‑ Iridescent 15:21, 2 January 2020 (UTC)
Iri, thanks for trying to help me, but I'm really too pissed today to benefit from your efforts. The retirement button looms. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:23, 2 January 2020 (UTC)
There's something about the markup on this talk page that breaks the visual diff view. (I assume it's the unclosed <div> element whose opening tag is added by User:Iridescent/Talk header.) It's a bit flaky: sometimes it will just hang, usually when there are a lot of edits between the two comparison points, but on occasion even where there are only a few. I agree that the colours are not great; I had assumed that the colour-contrast issues were evident and would get addressed, but I suppose I should check if the problem has been raised to the appropriate venue. isaacl (talk) 17:08, 2 January 2020 (UTC)
"Something" is that most of the page is an (unclosed) table. One of the devs is working on making table diffs less-bad in the visual mode, but I make no promises about it happening any time soon, or making this page work even when that patch is deployed.
There's a Phab task to find the ideal color combination. I do expect that to happen someday. It would help a lot if the semantic meanings that most of the world associates with red and green were shifted to a pair of colors that didn't cause so much trouble for colorblind people. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:09, 2 January 2020 (UTC)
Thanks for the update on the colours; good to know one day it will be looked at. Didn't find any unclosed tables, but as I mentioned, there is an unclosed div element. isaacl (talk) 01:38, 3 January 2020 (UTC)
The unclosed div is intentional, to generate the border around the page. I know that it's an unfunny in-joke that wasn't even funny at the time and is now just irrelevant, but it's been there so long I'd be reluctant to lose it. ‑ Iridescent 20:33, 3 January 2020 (UTC)
Yes, I knew it's intentional and for the border. (No idea what in-joke is being referred to, though.) You could close the div and probably resort to some no-archiving techniques to keep it in place, but I don't think there's a way to keep new sections added via the "new section" link from being added after the div closing tag, so it would be onerous to maintain. isaacl (talk) 01:16, 4 January 2020 (UTC)
I have tentatively-possibly good news: If I understand the conversation this morning between some devs, then there's at least a 50% chance that the border will just automagically keep working. This might be confirmed as soon as, probably a couple of months, to be honest. But it's at least not out of the question. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 01:12, 9 January 2020 (UTC)

Totally not canvassing anyone[edit]

Honest. I just want a couple of smart people to look over Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Medicine-related articles/RFC on pharmaceutical drug prices and tell me (on MEDMOS's talk page, or ping me) whether you think that you/other experienced editors would probably be able to provide some sort of constructive response to the question.

Naturally, it all makes sense to me, which in my experience means that it's all the way up to, oh, I don't know, maybe 50–50 odds that it will make sense to people who haven't been following this whole long thing for the last month. If it's seriously screwed up, please have mercy on your fellow editors and tell me ASAP. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:04, 2 January 2020 (UTC)

@WhatamIdoing, I personally don't think drug pricing should ever be included, except in those rare cases where an unusually high or low price is itself part of the drug's notability. Retail costs vary so much as to be virtually irrelevant (from my perspective in England, we'd be correct in listing a price of £9 for every drug for acute conditions and a price of 0 for every drug for chronic conditions), and retail pricing is the only number readers are interested in. (Bulk pharmaceutical dealers aren't getting their price information from Wikipedia; nobody outside the business gives a damn what the manufacturing and distribution costs for their medication is, only what they'll pay for it; consider the reaction if I went through Category:IPhone systematically replacing all the price information with Apple's wholesale cost to vendors.) Even the wholesale cost is effectively meaningless since in most countries it's set through collective bargaining between governments and manufacturers so pricing can vary by orders of magnitude between territories. What listing pricing in the articles essentially boils down to is yet another case of "the US is the only place that matters". As you correctly point out, virtually none of the pricing information included actually meets Wikipedia's usual standards of verifiability, but are the result of a small handful of people with an agenda grasping at straws just so they have something to list as a "standard price".
That said, this isn't a hill worth dying on and I'm not planning to participate. The pro-pricing faction is led by some of Wikipedia's most vocal and dogged editwarriors, and if any decision goes against their preferred outcome they'll just run an interminable campaign of obstructionism until everyone else gives up out of exhaustion. On some meta-issues that potentially affect hundreds of thousands of articles (did someone say "infobox"?) it's worthwhile fighting to prevent a perverse outcome, but in practice keeping the dubious pricing information just means a relative small batch of articles will include one extra line which virtually nobody will read.
If you really want to force the issue and can cope with a burst of ill-feeling, put your (WMF) hat on temporarily and pull the necessary strings to get the articles withdrawn from Internet-in-a-Box and the assorted CD-ROM etc schemes, on the grounds of failed verification and potential inaccuracy, and petition Google to exclude them from the Knowledge Graph and search results. Unverifiable price information would probably be gone within a matter of minutes. (Personally, I think petitioning Google to exclude all articles with a {{Failed verification}} tag from search results would be the single best thing to happen to Wikipedia, but good luck with that.) ‑ Iridescent 20:30, 3 January 2020 (UTC)
The WMF doesn't "do" content, and what to include, including whether a {{fv}} tag is deserved, is a content decision.
What I'm trying to figure out is whether you think a hypothetical experienced editor is likely to be able to read that and respond usefully to the question. I've just learned that I've got described some of the examples wrong, and I want to try a suggestion that will cut down on the amount of repetition between examples, so it's not ready to go, but I really want a sanity check (or three) about whether the RFC "question" is too confusing. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:57, 3 January 2020 (UTC)
Yes, I'd think any editor with a basic understanding of Wikipedia's verification rules would understand the point you're trying to make. While it probably violates some arcane rule or other, it might be worth including a TL;DR executive summary at the start like "Is it synthesis to assume that pricing in some places is representative of pricing everywhere?" so people browsing Wikipedia:Requests for comment/All or summoned at random by the bot can judge at a glance whether this is a discussion in which they have any interest. ‑ Iridescent 08:24, 4 January 2020 (UTC)
I'm not sure that example would technically be SYNTH (sounds more like straight-up NOR, as it's not combining multiple sources), but some of the database entries have content from agencies that sell to large sections of the world, so it might not be unreasonable. I'm planning a short question (the first two lines), but I don't want it to be too focused on SYNTH. Within certain reasonable bounds of sanity, I don't really care what the outcome is, as long as I get one. If people say that any item in that database with six data points can be used, as long as it's added during the new moon to a section called ==Probably incorrect cost estimates==, I can go along with that. My goal is just to get this settled in MEDMOS.
Also, please note that by asking you to sanity-check the RFC question, I've disqualified you from being drafted into closing it. Any other admins who want to claim immunity are welcome to chime in with their advice, too. ;-) WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:24, 4 January 2020 (UTC)

Talk:Banita Sandhu[edit]

Hello, Iridescent. I notice that you have protected the above talk page because it has been repeatedly recreated. It seems that this actress has been in the news lately, and the article page has been created again. I came across it and was going to add WikiProjects, but I won't bother if you feel that the article doesn't yet pass notability requirements and should be deleted once more.—Anne Delong (talk) 05:19, 7 January 2020 (UTC)

  • (Out of curiosity) If you don't mind my asking, why was the talk page deleted and protected in the first place? When the article itself wasn't? ——SN54129 10:17, 7 January 2020 (UTC)
    The article was repeatedly deleted and protected too. Presumably when Ponyo undeleted the article they forgot the talk page. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk) 10:24, 7 January 2020 (UTC)
    Crikey, it was and all wasn't it! Many thanks, Jo-Jo. ——SN54129 11:12, 7 January 2020 (UTC)
  • @Anne Delong: The current incarnation is IMO different enough to the version that was deleted at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Banita Sandhu that WP:G4 doesn't apply, but there's something very dubious going on here. It's a page which has had long-term problems with recreation by spammers (which led to it being salted in the first place), and the editor who requested its recreation was promptly indefblocked leaving this in his wake.

    As far as I can tell she still fails to meet Wikipedia:Notability (people)#Entertainers—contrary to popular belief "appeared in a film" does not confer notability by Wikipedia standards, the relevant cut-off is Has had significant roles in multiple notable films, television shows, stage performances, or other productions. That said, I don't fault Ponyo for restoring it, as the request came from someone who appeared at the time to be a legitimate and established editor, and there's at least a reasonable case to be made that even appearing in a single film constitutes enough of a change in circumstances for notability to be reassessed.

    I'll unprotect the talk page as it's a perverse situation for the talkpage to be uneditable while the article exists, although I imagine that unless the article is expanded fairly quickly to demonstrate notability by Wikipedia's standards it will be re-nominated for deletion, re-deleted and re-salted. ‑ Iridescent 13:14, 7 January 2020 (UTC)

Yes, Iridescent, I expect it will... ——SN54129 13:17, 7 January 2020 (UTC)
It won't be me that does it; I know most admins don't stick to it but I firmly believe that except in cases where it's absolutely clear-cut an admin who's previously deleted/blocked shouldn't be the one to delete/block again but should let someone else do the assessing. ‑ Iridescent 13:21, 7 January 2020 (UTC)
Apologies, I didn't mean to imply that it would be you. Merely that, now its flaws have been highlighted at WP:AN/Iri, its days are probably numbered :) ——SN54129 13:35, 7 January 2020 (UTC)
Thanks, Iridescent. It may be too soon, but there's a lot of news reports about upcoming roles, films about to be released, etc., so likely if it's deleted it will just have to be recreated later anyway. I'm not very familiar with Indian news sources, so I'll leave it to someone else to determine if these are independent and reliable.—Anne Delong (talk) 12:39, 8 January 2020 (UTC)


I guess it would look prodigiously self-important if I posted a "Statement" at the Kudpung RFAR merely to the effect that I agree with every word in your "driveby comment". And it doesn't seem like the talkpage is intended for that kind of thing either. But I really do. Every word. I had to say it somewhere. Bishonen | talk 16:25, 9 January 2020 (UTC).

You probably should. If people are willing to bring arbcom cases on the flimsiest of grounds, he might need all the friends he can get. And it's probably setting the stage for a lot more of its kind. ——SN54129 16:30, 9 January 2020 (UTC)
In the "had to say it somewhere" department, my stepfather died last night, while my father is also dying, and I have no interest in engaging Wikipedia anywhere today There, I said it. I said it here only because I cannot find a funeral wreath to put on my talk page as a way of informing others why I will go silent with messes popping up all over the place. And pretty much anyone I care about reads Iri's page anyway. I don't know how Kudpung responded to me, I don't want to know how Kudpung responded to me, I don't want to have to process Wikipedia dysfunction today. (Nor do I want to see any condolences on my talk page; pls let me go away for a few days and process my own stuff.) SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:32, 9 January 2020 (UTC)
I'm so sorry. Do you like any of these, Sandy? Bishonen | talk 18:23, 9 January 2020 (UTC).
@Bishonen, thanks. @SN54129 I agree, WP:ARC is one of the few places where pileons are important as the arbs need to gauge the depth of feeling not just who can shout loudest. @Sandy I'm so sorry to hear that and hope you're OK; if you don't want any kind of wreath or statement then blacking out your talkpage (just copy the code from the diff) might be what you're looking for. ‑ Iridescent 08:50, 10 January 2020 (UTC)
Thanks to both of you, but that userpage stuff increases drahmaz anyway. Just saying why I am not engaging: I know I should stay away from anything that provokes an emotional response right now, and with my history of admin abuse ... SandyGeorgia (Talk) 08:56, 10 January 2020 (UTC)

Large infoboxes[edit]

Stumbled across a very large infobox and corresponding discussion: Syrian Civil War and Talk:Syrian Civil War#Size of the infobox. Apparently it is making the article unreadable in some displays. Carcharoth (talk) 18:28, 10 January 2020 (UTC)

Good god, that's a mess—quite aside from the fact that it makes the page unreadable on smaller displays, it also breaks virtually every part of WP:ACCESS I can think of owing to its fiddly detail, use of color-coding that's virtually incomprehensible to people with perfect vision let alone those with colour-blindness, even the blink attribute. (The underlying template that drives it is even more of a nightmare.) You probably want RexxS for this one as he understands the accessibility issues but also can't be accused of having an anti-infobox agenda. ‑ Iridescent 18:57, 10 January 2020 (UTC)
Good grief indeed. Personally, I'd delete it, or at least take an axe to Template:Syrian Civil War infobox. That's the sort of thing that gives pro-infoboxers a bad name. Anyway, I took a look at it at the extremes:
  1. On a 4K screen, I was able to zoom in to the map at 500% and I still couldn't make out any detail, although the rest of article was no worse than most articles on a very hi-res display.
  2. On a 1280x1024 display, the infobox squashes the lead into a thin column on the left. That's the infobox doing the squashing, not the image.
  3. On my (older) mobile web display using mobile Chrome, the lead comes before the infobox, so that's an improvement, but there's no collapsed content, so there are screens and screens of thin four-column text before we get to the article.
  4. On the Wikipedia App, it does a much nicer job: there's a scaled and slightly cropped image of the map at the top, followed by the title and a collapsed infobox, then the lead, and then the rest. That's pretty usable, unless you're foolish enough to expand the infobox, then you have loads of scrolling to do before you even get to the lead.
  5. There's nothing unusually problematic for screen reader users, who possibly have the easiest time of anybody not using a HD monitor.
Anyway, the big problem lies in the use of a table of four columns for five of the sections in the infobox. You just can't cram four columns into an infobox-width table and expect anybody without a wide screen to be able to read the info. There might be some sympathy if the four columns were a concrete representation of four distinct factions. However, the USA and Russia both appear in two columns, Russia in the first, USA in the second, and both of them in the fourth column. FWIW, Al-Qaeda appears in the second and third. So I'm not at all convinced that there is a useful structure created by the use of four columns. There actually seem to be six rough groupings. If anybody actually wants to use the information in that infobox, they would be much better off with it presented in just a couple of columns, as that would make the App usable as well as older, smaller screen displays.
Nevertheless, I'm pretty sure nothing's going to change. I've read the debates at the talk page and at Wikipedia:Templates for discussion/Log/2013 August 26 #Template:Syrian civil war infobox and nobody wants to actually fix the problem, either by reducing the content of the infobox or by re-arranging it into a more reader-friendly layout (or preferably, both). The underlying sentiment seems to be "I've put a lot of work into getting all that information into that space, and the readers will just have to buy a bigger monitor". Sorry to disappoint you both, I only work miracles, and this one is going to take a lot more than that. Face-sad.svg --RexxS (talk) 22:17, 10 January 2020 (UTC)
Come on Rexx - you can do it! There's really only one guy, and lots of half-interested opposition, to which you can now add me. That discussion was 7 years ago. Johnbod (talk) 22:22, 10 January 2020 (UTC)
Isn't this ridiculous infobox an unavoidable result of these ongoing violations of NOTNEWS? And there's Timeline of the Syrian Civil War, with another one just as big for every six-month period, and there's Cities and towns during the Syrian Civil War (I have no idea what's going on at the top of that page). Open up Template:Syrian Civil War--storing every article in those templates would power a small city. Plus, those timelines are little more than day-by-day updates where the source, most of the time, is Local Coordination Committees of Syria]--so one wonders about RS as well. Drmies (talk) 22:29, 10 January 2020 (UTC)

Did someone mention an infobox somewhere that needs deleting... CassiantoTalk 22:38, 10 January 2020 (UTC)

This one needs pruning, not deleting. A war is a topic where an infobox makes sense, so readers can see at a glance who took part and what the casualties were. An infobox roughly 20 times the size of the infobox on World War II, not so much. (At the time of writing the infobox alone comes to 50,823 bytes; as of last May when the list was last updated there were 2881 Featured Articles shorter than that.) ‑ Iridescent 22:47, 10 January 2020 (UTC)
I agree. An infobox serves its purpose well here. It's just a shame it makes your eyes bleed when you open the page. CassiantoTalk 23:06, 10 January 2020 (UTC)
Yep. The same thing was starting to take hold early on in the 2019 Venezuelan presidential crisis, and considering that is not yet the Syrian War, it was shocking. People were using the infobox as in a war, with casualties, injuries, commanders, who supported whom, and pretty soon the infobox was extending beyond the second section in the article, naming every politician in recent history. I bolded trimmed the hell out of it one day, explained why on talk, and the edit stuck. Had it not, I'm pretty sure we'd have the same thing there today. (And, yes, Drmies-- all driven by NOTNEWS, which the entire suite of recent Venezuelan articles very much are, because they ran on ITN for months during the acute stage of the crisis. In the Venezuelan articles, apparently we have to track every protest casualty, every protest, etc ... out of control, fed by being on the mainpage, ITN.) SandyGeorgia (Talk) 22:59, 10 January 2020 (UTC)
Don't articles on contemporary events always turn into such proseliney messes? At least the infobox map is something rather unique on the Internet. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk) 10:36, 11 January 2020 (UTC)
I feel like part of the lifecycle of a Wikipedia article should sort of be a proseline mess, honestly. It's like a geologic process—you quickly add sedimentary facts in one after another, and when better sources come along you combine and prune, and optimally you're left with an article that provides proper context instead of "On X, Y. On Z, AA." Trying to make a really good article out of breaking news is just a waste of time; I don't bother really touching articles on media that hasn't come out, etc. because it's the apotheosis of the "wikipedia is building sandcastles in the surf" phenomenon.
As to the infoboxes, I've always felt the main problem with them is some people treat every field is something to be filled instead of being judicious and focusing on the most important topics. Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs talk 15:32, 11 January 2020 (UTC)
Yes, that was the logic that stuck when I cleaned it out on Ven topics (we don't need to fill in combatants, casualties, etc to make it look like war because a conflict infobox was chosen). I don't know if this always happens when something is In The News on the mainpage, but what a miserable experience it is to edit a topic that is ITN. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:34, 11 January 2020 (UTC)
This one is a particular favourite example of infobox bloat, given that it's such a high-traffic article so the number of people inconvenienced by it was suitably magnified. As has previously been mentioned on this talkpage (IIRC by Ealdgyth), in any "worst of infoboxes" list the 20 or so boxes using File:Fictitious Ottoman flag 1.svg deserve an honourable mention. ("Well yes, Islamic states didn't have flags until the 19th century, but we need to have something in the infobox. Shall we use the post-1844 flag which might be anachronistic but at least represents the correct country and is recognisably similar to the present-day Turkish flag? Nah, let's just make something up instead.) ‑ Iridescent 18:27, 11 January 2020 (UTC)
Winston could be worse: |tailor=, |barber= and |fav_whisky= are still missing :) ——SN54129 18:52, 11 January 2020 (UTC)
If you care: Henry Poole & Co (who now do a steady trade dressing lookalikes and actors using their original patterns for him), Truefitt & Hill, Johnnie Walker Black Label although he preferred brandy. ‑ Iridescent 18:59, 11 January 2020 (UTC)
I’d always heard it was red label and club soda in the bathtub for breakfast. TonyBallioni (talk) 17:06, 12 January 2020 (UTC)
He wasn't much of a whisky drinker; he much preferred brandy. (Special Brew—the uniquely foul-tasting malt liquor much beloved by English street vagrants as having the highest alcohol-to-price ratio of any drink—gets its bizarre taste from an attempt by Carlsberg to make a drink Churchill would like by attempting to replicate the taste of brandy in a beer.) When he did drink whisky he used to dilute it very heavily, a habit he acquired in the army where it served as an ad-hoc water purifier, which is probably how he acquired his reputation as a heavy drinker despite rarely being drunk since people would see him drinking ten glasses of the stuff and not realise it was only a few drops of whisky in each glass. The Scotch Whisky website has a brief article on his relationship with whisky. ‑ Iridescent 17:30, 12 January 2020 (UTC)
I used to enjoy a couple of Special Brews (on the beach, after working the lunch shift) when I worked in a pub/restaurant in Cornwall an alarmingly long time ago. Johnbod (talk) 17:43, 12 January 2020 (UTC)
^^^Football hooligan! ——SN54129 18:10, 12 January 2020 (UTC)
Don't get me started on WP:FLAGCRUFT. I think I may hate it more than Cass hates infoboxes on composers. Although ... I probably hate the stupid habit of using coats of arms as icons for medieval military topics even MORE. At least someone might have a chance of recognizing some modern flags - no one in the world is going to pick out File:De Ros arms.svg in the infobox of Wars of the Roses to know that it signifies Thomas Ros, 9th Baron Ros. It's just clutter... but you can't convince the MilHist project that they are useless. It's hard enough to keep the stupid flags out of the sister cities sections on city and town articles! Ealdgyth - Talk 19:18, 11 January 2020 (UTC)
And it went beyond even flags on the Venezuela "conflict" infobox; they were adding logos of political parties as parties to the conflict, in addition to the flags. When I started seeing them naming countries in support of Guiado (there are more than 50) and countries in support of Maduro-- with their flags-- in the infobox, I was able to convince them to STOP THAT! SandyGeorgia (Talk) 19:26, 11 January 2020 (UTC)
If it's any consolation, at least we finally managed to get rid of this industrial-grade infobox fuckwittery. ‑ Iridescent 19:35, 11 January 2020 (UTC)

Bathing regulations at Athens[edit]

Bathing Place of Athens, Eton 20190711 133628 (48256866862).jpg

Not important, but—in the context of that sign, what the heck is a "nant"? None of the definitions I can find seem to fit. Thanks, Newyorkbrad (talk) 12:43, 13 January 2020 (UTC)

Swimmers, I guess – in Latin nant is "they swim", and nans, nantis is "swimmer". Caeciliusinhorto-public (talk) 12:55, 13 January 2020 (UTC)
It helps to know this is taken at Eton, home of Eton College which has its own bizarre idiolect (this is by no means the most incomprehensible sign around the town). A "nant" is a pupil who is able to swim (a "wet bob" means they can also row; a "non-nant" means they can't swim). "Fifth form" also known as "D Block" means age 15–16, and each form is in turn divided into three divisions through which the pupils progress over the year. Once a pupil has passed all their examinations but remains a pupil at the school, their status changes to "First Hundred". "Athens" is their name for a spot on the north bank of the Thames (on the Thames Path about 500 yards west of Eton) where a set of steps lead into the river. So to translate from posh to English, "Pupils in the latter ​23 of GCSE year, or who have passed their GCSEs, are allowed to use these steps to swim in the Thames. They must take precautions to ensure no women see their genitals, and are not permitted to swim across the river to the other side or to touch any passing boat".
I always recommend anyone who's never been there to visit Eton; just walking through the town serves as a crash-course in what's wrong with the English ruling class and why. Literally everything in the town—from the grocery stores to the post office to the parks—is either devoted to catering to the arbitrary whims of the charmless offspring of the landed gentry, tinpot dictators, and the tasteless nouveau riche, or is directly run by Eton College and feels like an 18th-century theme park. I'm no Trot, but I wouldn't shed a tear if the entire town were bulldozed to the ground. ‑ Iridescent 21:15, 13 January 2020 (UTC)
To be quite fair, the “Landed Gentry” can’t afford the fees anymore. The rest are all there though. Giano (talk) 21:48, 13 January 2020 (UTC)
If anyone is in any doubt whether Old Etonians are really so inbred they're becoming a different species, I direct them to Eton wall game#Play. ‑ Iridescent 22:04, 13 January 2020 (UTC)
To be fair, I think there are probably worse places. My education was literally hammered into me by Jesuits, so Eton seems possibly progressive by comparison. Anyway didn’t your Prince Harry go to Eton, just look at him. Giano (talk) 22:20, 13 January 2020 (UTC)
My education was literally hammered into me by Jesuits – Um... I'm trying to imagine that. EEng 05:22, 14 January 2020 (UTC)
For Harry, that was progressive – it's not so long ago that there wouldn't have been any chance of sending a prince of the blood off to a public (*gasp*) school with the riff-raff. Most of them don't even have earldoms! Caeciliusinhorto (talk) 22:31, 13 January 2020 (UTC)
Indeed; IIRC Charles's ill-fated stint at Gordonstoun was the first time ever that anyone in the line of succession was permitted something as déclassé as attending school, and Gordonstoun at least has the advantage of being in the absolute middle of nowhere so there's little risk of any of the little darlings ever having to interact with an oik. Eton has always been where the vulgar rich send their offspring; a list of Old Etonians reads like a Who's Who of crooks, conmen and paedophiles. (Your genuine posho either hires private tutors or packs the kids off to Switzerland.) Hilariously, the relevant part of the website of the self-appointed World's Greatest School are a Wikipedia mirror. ‑ Iridescent 20:16, 14 January 2020 (UTC)
Ah yes, I think we got blessed with the children of the Danish (?) royal family recently over here. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk) 20:19, 14 January 2020 (UTC)

Arbitration case opened[edit]

You recently offered a statement in a request for arbitration. The Arbitration Committee has accepted that request for arbitration and an arbitration case has been opened at Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case/Kudpung. Evidence that you wish the arbitrators to consider should be added to the evidence subpage, at Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case/Kudpung/Evidence. Please add your evidence by January 28, 2020, which is when the evidence phase closes. You can also contribute to the case workshop subpage, Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case/Kudpung/Workshop. For a guide to the arbitration process, see Wikipedia:Arbitration/Guide to arbitration. For the Arbitration Committee, CodeLyokotalk 05:03, 14 January 2020 (UTC)

Yeah but no, I think I have better things to do with my time then get involved in something as blatantly "verdict first, trial later" as this one. I've semi-joked before that it's possible to predict the outcome of arbcom cases before they even take place just by looking at the personal grudges of the participants and calculating how far they each think they'll be able to push their preferred outcome and still call it a compromise, but I'm not sure I can recall an example this blatant before. Why not just save everyone the time and jump straight to "Kudpung admonished" now? ‑ Iridescent 20:22, 14 January 2020 (UTC)
Because the winding path to get there is essential to the cathartic release. EEng 21:34, 17 January 2020 (UTC)
To quote Wikipedia, which as we all know is never wrong, the actual trial has as its only goal the presentation of both the accusation and the verdict to the public so they will serve as both an impressive example and a warning to other would-be dissidents or transgressors. Wikipedia's bureaucracy may suck at delivering "fair", but all elements of it have always been very fond of the notion that by sending signals they can remould both the editing community and the reader base into something more desirable. ‑ Iridescent 21:49, 17 January 2020 (UTC)
I meant nothing so noble, merely that giving periodic vent to blood lust helps prevent actual violence breaking out. EEng 01:43, 18 January 2020 (UTC)
I'd vote for you, Iri.Martinevans123 (talk) 21:52, 17 January 2020 (UTC)
Maybe this (which is this for those unable to play BBC News videos) is a better way of resolving Wikipedia conflicts? Carcharoth (talk) 18:30, 15 January 2020 (UTC)
"All the hits.. all the poses... all the hair!!" Martinevans123 (talk) 21:43, 17 January 2020 (UTC)
With most of these established editor-on-established editor "both sides have been dicks but we need to be seen to take action so let's see whose friends can shout the loudest and declare them the winner" cases, which seem to have become the new fad at ARC and especially ARCA recently, they could probably be settled equally well by flipping a coin. Now he's back on the committee NYB presumably can't comment here, otherwise this would be the cue for him to dig up that old Kelly Martin quote about Arb cases meaning blocking whoever's being the most annoying and repeating until the noise stops. This particular spat is a little unusual; usually these things are popularity contests in which friends and allies of the respective parties dig for dirt to smear the other guy, but this one is an unpopularity contest about which of the parties has managed to annoy more of The Wrong People with the people the parties have annoyed over the years scrambling to find pretexts to complain. (See also: Fram, The Rambling Man, Malleus…) In that context TBSDY has an advantage, as despite his long record of obnoxiousness most of it took place long enough in the past that the people he hassled and harassed are no longer around to testify,* whereas some of the people whose toes Kudpung stepped on a couple of years ago are now members of the WikiElite.
*Before any Civility Defenders take exception to this comment, I point out that the off-wiki harassment which was one of the factors that led to TBSDY being blocked a decade ago is still on his website, and that the website in question is still occasionally updated so it's not some old unmaintained site which he's just forgot to shut down.
Somey probably deserves some belated recognition here; a decade ago he was predicting Wikipedia deteriorating into blocs of self-appointed power users manoeuvring to get each other sanctioned, back at a time when most people were predicting that by now it would either have collapsed altogether and been replaced by something better, or matured into some kind of utopian future where the interpersonal shit was a thing of the past and everyone was working for the common good. ‑ Iridescent 21:26, 17 January 2020 (UTC)
Well it's the same as any organization, and in particular volunteer organizations: some people won't get along, sometimes it's mainly one person's fault, sometimes it's just a clash in personal styles, and so people end up avoiding each other and the group splinters. Trying to deal with interpersonal issues by mass agreement of the group is impossible; eventually you need a hierarchy to make a decision. isaacl (talk) 04:32, 18 January 2020 (UTC)
But Wikipedia, and in particular Wikipedia in Wild West times, was never a typical mass-membership voluntary organisation; the volunteers at the Salvation Army, Rape Crisis or the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds don't spend a significant part of their time trying to engineer purges of those they consider ideologically impure, and there weren't many people back then who thought the backbiting and infighting of 2004–08 were anything more than the growing pains of a new startup that hadn't yet settled on which direction it was going to take. Almost everyone back then was either a pessimist who expected that either the internal tensions would tear it apart and Google or Microsoft would swoop in and pick up the pieces (go back over the history from 2007–08 and you can find lots of earnest talk about how to decide what would be worth salvaging when the Great Reckoning arrived), or an optimist who believed that under Sue Gardner's benevolent guidance, by 2020 the WMF would have done to the rest of the internet what we did to Encarta and Britannica, and by now Google and Facebook would be obscure hobbyist sites. (Neither was a particularly implausible scenario, either; back then the boom-and-bust cycle seemed inevitable for every website, and the burning issue was how we rode out the cycle.)
With the exception of a few minor tweaks like Vector and Hovercards, our general look-and-feel is unchanged since 2004 and our rules (written and unwritten) largely date from 2006–07. There weren't many people who predicted that Wikipedia could simultaneously be both one of the most important websites in the world, and a case study in stagnation (these are the WMF's official charts; it's astonishing just how flat all the lines are between 2007 and now). If in 2007 you'd said that in 2020 we'd not only be discussing the same issues but it would largely be the same people both doing the discussing and as the subjects of discussion, you'd have been laughed at. ‑ Iridescent 09:42, 18 January 2020 (UTC)
Great stuff, but you mean what Encarta, and the internet in general, did to Britannica, and we (plus neglect) then did to Encarta. Britannica was already a baked koala in commercial terms by the time anyone had heard of Wikipedia. Johnbod (talk) 14:51, 18 January 2020 (UTC)
Clay Shirky talked about the problems with trying to solve interpersonal issues by consensus in online communities back in 2003. It's not surprising that Wikipedia has struggled with resolving the same problems. isaacl (talk) 20:06, 18 January 2020 (UTC)

Why is Wikipedia:BUTTHURT red? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 23:22, 17 January 2020 (UTC)

I assume because in the current climate there's been a sharp turn in opinion against even jocular redirects that could be taken as offensive. Given that we even got rid of WP:Don't be a dick because it was considered sexist and offensive, creating a joke redirect that's quite literally equating Wikipedia disputes to anal rape is so far beyond the pale it's unreal. Ritchie333, have you lost your fucking mind? People have been indeffed for less. ‑ Iridescent 09:42, 18 January 2020 (UTC)
Shocking. But that definition says its only "analogy". Martinevans123 (talk) 10:26, 18 January 2020 (UTC)
The source mentioned above is based on online forums. (WP:RS, anyone?) Here's another one, with a different take. Kablammo (talk) 16:10, 18 January 2020 (UTC)
For what it's worth, I think on Wikipedia it's always best to assume that the worse possible interpretation will be the most likely one...safer that way :) ——SN54129 16:19, 18 January 2020 (UTC)
best to assume that the worst possible interpretation will be the most likely one – Certainly I always do; it's perhaps my most important source of inspiration. EEng 22:08, 18 January 2020 (UTC)
For the record I don't endorse censoring "butthurt" (which I consider just a modern variant of "pain in the ass"), nor do I in any way endorse the pearl-clutching reaction of a certain (invariably American) group to "dick", "cunt", "bollocks" etc, but this is the climate in which we operate. As has regularly been pointed out, this is the website where "sycophantic" was deemed a blockable swear word, and Ritchie knows as well as I do (or ought to at any rate) that Sandstein is always looking for a pretext to carve another notch in his gun. ‑ Iridescent 13:37, 18 January 2020 (UTC)
I see we don't have DIVA anymore, either, for butthurt editors who flounce (or pretend to-- they never really do). SandyGeorgia (Talk) 13:58, 18 January 2020 (UTC)
We still have DIVA, but it's now at Wikipedia:Don't be high-maintenance. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk) 14:00, 18 January 2020 (UTC)
@JJE, well sort of—the page was moved, but at the same time it was moved it got a thorough neutering from the Purity Patrol to remove any language which anyone could ever possibly find offensive, and in so doing removed most of the point of it in the first place. ‑ Iridescent 14:12, 18 January 2020 (UTC)
If editors who flounced out remained flounced, this whole peculiar episode wouldn't be happening in the first place.[2][3] ‑ Iridescent 14:03, 18 January 2020 (UTC)
And the first of those based on an AN appeal that was effectively supervoted in (an appeal itself premised on an assurance that drama would be's that looking, three months later!) ——SN54129 14:40, 18 January 2020 (UTC)
I'm not sure I'd label the circumstances of one as a flounce. Anyway, I'm actually looking at an entirely different episode, and wondering we can't call spades by name. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 14:07, 18 January 2020 (UTC)
I don't know enough about Kudpung to say for certain, but his certainly looks like a flounce and subsequent thinking better of it to me. TBSDY was practically the platonic ideal of a flounce, given that he literally spent the subsequent decade bitching about how badly off we were without his guidance (Wikipedia - you once were great, now you are the shit-pile of the Internet was written six years after his resignation) while at the same time socking with his Letsbefiends account. ‑ Iridescent 14:17, 18 January 2020 (UTC)