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This is Pete St.John's scratch pad for things that may be of interest to other Wikipedians but which are unready for publication as components of articles.

Universal Turning Machine contraversy[edit]

This is a synopsis of the contraversy. Wolfram Research announced that they were awarding a prize to an author, Smith, for proving that a certain algroithm, Stephen Wolfram's (2,3) Turing machine, was Universal. The difficulty comes from interpreting the word "Universal". Consider the statement: "(2,3) is Universal":

  • if "Universal" is taken to mean "as in Minsky's original defintion" then the statement is false, as pointed out by the Stanford logician Pratt in [[1]] to a newsgroup. I think this would be the natural interpretation from glossing the announcement as it was worded. Note that in the old-fashioned language of the original inventors (such as Turing), the requirement of storing the input in the computer can be taken to imply the input is finite.
  • if "Universal" is taken to mean "Universal, relaxed to include infinite input sets" then the statement is trivial. (Your Pet Rock could solve the Travelling Salesman Problem if it were given all solutions to all problems as input).
  • if "Universal" is taken to mean "Universal, relaxed to include infinite input sets, but the input is highly restricted in special ways" then the statement is (presumably) true. Such is the actual statement of the theorem in the prizewinning submission. The import of such a theorem is beyond my scope to judge; it's outside my field. I'd just trust the experts on the prize panel, which include Ron Graham and Dana Scott. See the rebuttal from Wolfram [Todd Rowland's rebuttal]

My opinion: the Announcement from Wolfram Research was overly broad and merits criticism as such. The actual statement of the theorem may have been too technical but also would have been less attention-grabbing. My sense is that Wolfram is too self-promotional for the tastes of many scientists (but not too self-promotional by the standards of American business), but that the basic science is pretty good (if not as earth-shaking as the self-promotion makes it appear).

Wording about the controversy for use in articles[edit]

At this time I (Pete St.John 15:43, 2 November 2007 (UTC)) am trying to come up with mutually acceptable wording that's reasonably fair and impersonal. The latest attempt (see e.g. the smith page):

Smith's result relaxes the defintion of "Universal" to include infinite input; but with special restrictions which may have important theoretical ramifications. The controversy seems to break into two main interpretations; this is a current news item and this presentation will evolve as new journalistic/editorial contributions develop. The two interpretations are:

  • The definition in the paper is wrong, and the implicit relaxation of "universal" to include infinite input, however restricted, is a mistake. As one editor put it: "The proof was subsequently demonstrated to be fundamentally flawed by Stanford University's Vaughan Pratt Argument against the proof"
  • The statement of the press release is wrong. If it had mentioned relaxing the defintions to permit infinite input there would have been no objection. See the rebuttal from Wolfram Research Wolfram's rebuttal to Pratt

There seems to be some agreement from both sides that wording of the result, at least, can be improved. The actual publication of the (possibly revised) paper in a peer-review journal will resolve this ultimately, if no mutually acceptable wording appears meanwhile.

Quote from Pratt[edit]

On his talk page Professor Pratt wrote,

  • ...I don't mind modifications to the definition of the behavior of this kind of machine, such as whether the "rest of the input" is blank or periodic, and the criterion for acceptance. What I do object to is any modification to the definition of "universal" that would make an LBA universal. Smith's argument is equally sound for this 2,3 machine and LBAs. By all means define a new concept called say Wolfram-universal that makes both LBAs and this 2,3-machine Wolfram-universal, but then be clear that you are not claiming that either LBAs or this 2,3 machine are universal as customarily understood. The consequences of the latter include both P and not-P, i.e. that line of reasoning is inconsistent. (While good concepts should be named after their inventor I feel that justice is better served by naming bad concepts such as this novel notion of universality after the most senior authority to endorse them.) --Vaughan Pratt 19:53, 5 November 2007 (UTC)

My opinion, premised on this (but not necessarily in accord with anyone else's opinion; we're talking about politcical, pedagogical, and social matters here now, not purely technnical ones) is that:

  • First, the wording of the original paper should perhaps be improved, making explicit the assumptions, axioms, and definitions. The paper is quite involved and I can't assess it myself.
  • Second, the wording of the Press Release is definitely misleading with respect to the conventional, commonly accepted context of the term "Universal".

And finally I'm not fit, myself, to judge the utility of a new concept or terminology in this field. Pete St.John 20:33, 5 November 2007 (UTC)



Metaprosopa A single word for Fictional Fictional Characters. The Greek term for Dramatis Personae is dramatos prosopa. An example is that Euphistopheles refers to Ptolemipiters as an Ancient Authority, but Pete refers to him as a Metaprosopon. We maybe want to find a better single word if we want a sucessful meme.

Puppet of Blood and Bone Wetware, from the point of view of the Avatar, if the avatar thinks like a necromancer.

Psychophant A rabid sychophant. Examples range from eristic political demagogues to the guy who buries bodies for you. Unfortunately, as the word is a homonym for it's base, it doesn't work well spoken.

Meta Neural Net A neural net that encodes an evolutionary algorithm that adapts neural nets, particularly, itself. This is because I want to title a chapter in a book, The Proper Study of MNNkind is MNN

Groupie A node in a graph that has few neighbors (i.e., has low degree) but is connected to nodes that have many neighbors (high degree). Pete coined this term in a graduate class around 1981, in reply to a remark by Joel Spencer, and apparently it made it into the literature, but it does not appear in this Glossary of Graph Terms, Particulary Concerning Cliques. It got a good laugh at the time, though.

I do find this reference, where the term is used in the online abstract of a paper (coauthored by Erdos, not surprisingly): Local and global average degree in graphs and multigraphs


Wikipaedian A juvenile Wikipedian, e.g. reverts anything with a stylistic blemish just to maximize their edit counts. Coined by Martin Wheeler who can be ironically self-deprecating.

Copypasta May be taken to mean copy-and-pasting a canned, superficial reply or comment, e.g. "See WP:Foo, Bar, and Baz" in lieu of a specific, pointed remark. But it may also refer to an Anime thing, I'm not sure.

Some Metaprosopa, and other Folks[edit]

Euphistopheles a.k.a. yoof. The winner of the first resolved election for Architecture Review Board membership at Lambda MOO and a necromancer at the MMORPG Everquest (currently "Yoof" at the MMORPG Vanguard) among other things. Refers to Pete as his "puppet of blood and bone".

How to make a Zombie Cockroach[edit]

Start with the emerald cockroach wasp. Necromancy gets short shrift in real life, but zombies thrive, e.g. the drugged-victim scam in Haiti.

Ptolemipiters is a metaprosopon in more than one fantasy novel (I'm trying to find references; I think maybe Lin Carter, L Sprague de Camp...) by more than one author. My favorite example was a parody of a medieval scholarly debate between two wizards; since in the Dark Ages deference to authority was a more powerful force than logic or experiment (since Ancient Europe had been a more advanced civilization, in many ways, than Medieval Europe), the winner of the arguement will be the one who cites the more ancient authority. After going through Aristotle and Plato, one cites Ptolemipiters, who does not exist (in the fictional world of the novel). The other, embarassed not to recognize this Ancient Authority, concedes the arguement (rather than admit ignorance).


For recursion in Enumerative Combinatorics see Recurrence Relations.

For computers that can adapt themselves dynamically in firmware, see Programmable Logic Devices and Evolvable Hardware.

I will be writing up something about self-referential Genetic Algorithms alluding to an East Coast Computer Algebra Day poster presentation (I was at '96, the third, which does not have it's own web page).

Userbox Recursion[edit]

My userbox could use better artwork:

REC This user is in love with recursion.

Here is a link to Pete's template if you would like to improve the artwork.

Some Quotes[edit]

"Life's a Bitch, but Bitches are Life". --Pete

"Men are basically smart or dumb and lazy or ambitious. The dumb and ambitious ones are dangerous and I get rid of them." --Field Marshal Rommel N.B. I haven't found a source for this. A less pithy but plainly equivalent version is at Kurt_von_Hammerstein-Equord#Classification_of_officers but that is not sourced either.

"Wisdom is the accumulated effect of applying intelligence to experience." --Euphistopheles, citing Ptolemipiters.

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." --Bertrand Russell

"Youth is wasted on the young, but experience is wasted on the old." -- Euphistopheles.

"What is the meaning of 'what is the meaning of life?'?" -- Peter, adapted from [Paul Graham essay] (footnote 3).

"The Tree of Knowledge is not Totally Ordered" Pete at Is Information Theory part of Mathematics?

"And here's to standing on each others' shoulders, and not stepping on each others' toes..." -- Pete, asking for cooperation from biologists re Genetic Algorithms, at the Molecular Biology project talk page.

"If it ain't broke, break it." -- Daniel Everett in Edge dot Org, which reminds me a little of my own motto, "Do hard things the easy way, but do easy things the hard way" (push-ups are a hard way to lie on the floor, chess is a hard way to sit quietly, etc).

Edit Counting[edit]

I went to Itneriot's edit counter with my User Name and got these results (19 day lag they say. I'll try to keep track of Total Edits and Distinct Pages, although one thousand (magic number for respectability) seems far off. But I got to learn to make a table! Not every kind of edit is counted.

The raw results:

Username PeterStJohn Total edits 52 User groups user Image uploads 0 (0 cur, 0 old) (browse) Distinct pages edited 28 Edits/page (avg) 1.86 Avg edits/day 0.28 Deleted edits 0 First edit 2006/08/04 19:51:23

The table I made from it (updated now it's been a little over a year):

Pete's Edit Counts at this edit date
Item/Metric Values 2007/10/04
Total Edits 52 415
Distinct pages edited 28 156
Edits/page (avg) 1.86 2.66
Avg edits/day 0.28 0.03 *
Deleted edits 0 4
First edit 2006/08/04 19:51:23 ...

Note *: I don't understand the 0.03.

Pete St.John 17:23, 7 February 2007 (UTC)


I'm involved in, or have been involved in, some doozies.

Controversies, misc[edit]

  • Erdos Numbers Categories; see my seperate user space page.
  • Wolfram (2,3) Universal Turning Machine; See above with "controversy" mispelled, but I'm afraid of breaking links.


This note was just reverted from Ronz's talk page, I wanted to save it:

== Crossing a line ==

- Ronz, I woke up this morning to find the post you made here. I find it very inflammatory and accusatory. Please consider refactoring or I WILL report this to the appropriate forum. -- Levine2112 discuss 18:35, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

The reference is to this item from ScienceApologist's page:


I've already sought advice on the situation with Levine2112. Best not to accuse anyone of it at all. Even if you're absolutely sure, only the most blatant cases will ever get through WP:SSP (where an editor is clearly doing nothing at all other than just taking another editor's side). While you could probably convince others that these editors have been recruited to help Levine, and are being told what to say and when, it still isn't enough for WP:SSP. Best to take treat it as a behavioral issue. --Ronz (talk) 16:48, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

The phrase "sought advice ...with Levine2112" in juxtaposition with " could...convince others that these editors have been recruited to help Levine, and are being told what to say and when..." is disengenuous at best. Pete St.John (talk) 19:25, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

From QW:talk this item:

...I cannot find any evidence that these website reviews are actually peer reviewed. They appear to be solitary reviews, submitted to the journal, with no reviewing criteria at all. --Ronz (talk) 16:39, 12 December 2007 (UTC)

That is, Ronz complains that the review is not reviewed. Think about it. Pete St.John (talk) 20:38, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

What is there to think about. My concern, which has been brought up by others as well, is does this review meet WP:RS. Simple as that. --Ronz (talk) 16:50, 1 January 2008 (UTC)
This seems amazingly circular, but consider these propositions:

1) QW is not peer-reviewed.

2) QW should be peer-reviewed.

3) There exists one person who has publically criticised QW for not peer-reviewing itself.

4) QW is an evil fascist conspiracy to inflate the costs of over-proscribed medications.

5) Anyone who disagrees with any word spoken or written by anyone who agrees with QW about anything, is destroying the Immortal Crystalline Edifice of True Science and causing the imminent collapse of Human Civilization.

Ronz, which of those 5 propositions do you believe I am claiming, and that I believe is supported by the citation? Hint: item 3. So someone publishing that QW should be peer-reviewed, is not a reliable source for the existence of someone publishing that QW should be peer-reviewed? No, that's surely not what you mean. My theory, and it's only a theory, is that you are ascribing one or more of the other propostions to me. Sorry to get to this late, I was out of town over the Holidays and I'm swamped. Still. Pete St.John (talk) 18:18, 3 January 2008 (UTC)
No, I'm simply asking if it's a reliable source. --Ronz (talk) 18:23, 3 January 2008 (UTC)
Ahhhh. You mean: is the review (quoted) from the website (the pharmacists, whatever) in the set of Reliable Sources? I'll address that at your page. Pete St.John (talk) 22:39, 3 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Here, in response to the list of 5 propositions, Ronz restated his question, and I went to answer it at his talk. However, there, in response to the same list (which I had pasted over), he writes:

You've made my point for me. Thanks! When you actually want to discuss facts, let me know by actually discussing them yourself. --Ronz (talk) 18:25, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

I was going to answer the last iteration of your question, because I finally figured out (part of) the confusion, but I'll let your remark right there settle it. Bye. Pete St.John (talk)

Which I replied to as above. I'm no longer interested in trying to explain anything at all to user Ronz. Pete St.John (talk) 22:46, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

Piecing together some bits re QW[edit]

(from this QW talk item (I edit this, so some italics and indentation are mine; sentences beginning (PHS) are my current edtitorial additions):

Okay, here's a pretty neutral site which seems to verify that Quackwatch articles are indeed not peer reviewed. This is from "The Consultant Pharmacist" (the official monthly peer-reviewed journal of the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists) and is a website review of Quackwatch. Under limitations, the review states:

A giant step toward true legitimacy would involve active peer review of the articles to be published, a logical transition for a site that relies on so much of the accepted medical literature as its foundation.

I hope this will settle this discussion. Also, I think this review will serve as an excellent source for other statement already included in this article as well as new information. -- Levine2112 discuss 04:41, 12 December 2007 (UTC)

Levine, that's excellent. I had missed the reference to an actual citation, in all this. You have a professional society, which can reasonably be presumed to share QW's stated goals, stating something (it would be good if QW implemeneted peer-review) that can be interpreted via common sense to reach the desired statement (QW was not at that writing peer-reviewed). Thank you, even if these folks never agree. Pete St.John (talk) 01:21, 13 December 2007 (UTC)
I think it is time to archive tangential discussions. This one is pointless, the supposed "new source" for the attempted phrasing has been rejected by community consensus. ScienceApologist (talk) 20:12, 12 December 2007 (UTC)

(PHS) The "new source" mentioned is the one I used for several revisions of my proposed compromise sentence. So I construed this to imply I was myself flogging a "pointless" phrasing that had been "rejected" by consensus. However, note the dates: I had been proposing sentences for a while, but had only noticed that specific citation on the 13th, but SA rejects it on the 12th. But we continue:

(PHS) example of my proposing a sentence from the 12th, the day before I noted the specific citation above, but half an hour (I think) after SA's "pointless" remark:

Some web sites very definitely are peer-reviewed in the traditional sense of scientific journals; for example, you can read the "information for authors" section of the Electronic Journal of Combinatorics. So that's citable. Obviously, most web sites are not peer-reviewed in that sense. So how about this sentence:

Quackwatch, like Wikipedia and most web sites, is not publically known to be formally peer-reviewed in the traditional manner of scientific journals.

by saying "publically known" we can invoke common knowledge to avoid OR, and anyone can refute it by finding a reference that Quackwatch is peer-reviewed in that sense, in which case we'd change the article. The sentence as I posed it is clumsy, and not obviously relevant in context, but if it could settle the edit-war, I'd call it a cheap concession and we can all get on with our lives. Pete St.John (talk) 20:44, 12 December 2007 (UTC)

(later, back on the 13th)

ScienceApologist, consider this arguement: "QW criticizes some publications for lack of peer review. QW itself is not subject to peer-review. Therefore, QW is hypocritical." That arguement is wrong but it's convincing to amateurs. We want to educate the public, not ignore them. Is there no encyclopedic way to address that concern? Pete St.John (talk) 01:16, 13 December 2007 (UTC)
That argument is plucked out of thin-air! Please, keep to the sources. ScienceApologist (talk) 16:03, 13 December 2007 (UTC)

(PHS) His response is actually a non sequitur.

Reply by ScienceApologist: I object to this characterization. My response is actually to say that I do not think that an argument should be included in an article that has not been outlined in sources. As far as I can tell, this argument you outline is not found in any source we've been able to locate to date. Therefore, it really has no business being included in the article. ScienceApologist (talk) 21:23, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
surrebutal by PHS I didn't propose that arguement for inclusion in the article. "Wrong but convincing to amateurs" is exactly what neither of us wants in the article. It has to be addressed in the article. Do you not understand the difference between "include" and "address" or are you just being arguementative? Pete St.John (talk) 22:11, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
I disagree that an argument which cannot be sourced needs to be addressed in the article. This is not me being argumentative, it's what I truly believe. For example, there are people who say that the Big Bang couldn't happen because of the conservation of angular momentum. It's a ridiculous argument, sometimes convincing to amateurs, but it certainly doesn't belong on the Big Bang page as it cannot be source by a reliable source! ScienceApologist (talk) 16:38, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
How about this sentence:

Bao-Anh Nguyen-Khoa, PharmD, in a review of Quackwatch, recommends that QW institute a formal peer-review process for their own web site, in accordance with their advocacy of peer-review for medical publications.

Pure statement of pure fact, citing a reputable source, as per Levine2112 above. Pete St.John (talk) 01:35, 13 December 2007 (UTC)
Not in the lead. And what is more, the paraphrasing is highly POV. They, in fact, say that QW is instituting more formal review processes and they laud them for it. ScienceApologist (talk) 16:03, 13 December 2007 (UTC)

(PHS) this threw me at first, I thought I had misread something in the Nguyen review. But no, SA is actually lying. This, right here, is the moment that I became personally hostile.

Update. And ScienceApologist, you misquoted; I believe you are being eristic. So I've corrected the proposed sentence with a verbatim quote:

Bao-Anh Nguyen-Khoa, PharmD, in a review of Quackwatch posted by The Consultant Pharmacist, recommends that QW implement formal peer-review processes for their own web site, in accordance with their advocacy of peer-review for medical publications, writing, "[a] giant step toward true legitimacy would involve active peer review of the articles to be published..."

The huge advantage of Religion, over Science, is that it is above criticism. The huge advantage of Science, over Religion, is that it is open to criticism. ScienceApologist, let's build consensus, and not fight, OK? "giant step towards ture legitimacy would be..." is not the same as "they already did it because they are so great". Right? Pete St.John (talk) 18:00, 13 December 2007 (UTC)

(PHS) SA never answered that one. I believe he flatly lied about the material cited. This belief is exacerbated by his not ever having acknowledged the error since. Pete St.John (talk) 21:09, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

Reply by ScienceApologist: Are you saying that the error I made was to say that Nguyen-Khoa was not saying that QW was instituting more formal review processes? I got from his article that QW was, in fact, hoping to add more contributors which I view as improving the review process (which has, up to now, been dominated by a singular perspective). Perhaps you are focused on the idea of peer-review as a method as opposed to simply adding extra contributors? To me, I think that simply adding extra contributors is a way to institute a more formal review process. It's not peer-review in the sense that most journals impose it, but it is still more formal than some guy who writes papers and publishes them on his website. Conceivably, now, there will be more oversight. Nguyen-Khoa is praising the site for this. I don't appreciate being called a liar. That is, in fact, a personal attack. I just chalked it up to it being an extremely involved discussion and thought it best to simply ignore the attack. Now I see that you interpreted this as a direct affront. Well, I'm sorry. If I had known, I would have responded. In the future, to avoid such unpleasantries, perhaps you could post requests for responses directly to the talkpages of users before you decide that they are bad apples? ScienceApologist (talk) 21:17, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
surrebuttal by PHS Actually I would have preferred the discussion to take place on the talk page of this page, but that's OK; it's all just user-space. Your prose is a bit fulminous for me, but: yes, I'm saying that the error you made was to say that Nguyen was not saying that QW was instituting...(etc). That's not how I would phrase it so that people could understand what I meant, however. So I break it down like this:

1. Nguyen says that QW should institute peer-review for itself. I construed this to mean, that Nguyen believes QW should institute peer-review for itself (and by easy implication, that Nguyen believed at that writing that QW didn't).

2. You said that Nguyen meant just the opposite, that QW had instituted an improved process "and lauds them for it".

3. I pasted the exact quote: "[a] giant step toward true legitimacy would involve active peer review of the articles to be published..."

Do you agree that at the time of writing, Nguyen believed that QW could improve by instituting a new, or additional, peer-review process beyond what he believed they had at the time?

Do you have any clue at all why I feel you are being argumentative? Pete St.John (talk) 22:07, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

I agree with point 1. Point 2 is a misinterpretation. While I did indeed say that Nguyen-Khoa was lauding QW for instituting better review processes which in my mind is exactly what adding an expert board is. This is not the "opposite" of point 1 which is about "peer review" -- a different aspect. So I agree with your statement that Nguyen-Khoa believed that QW could improve by instituting a kind of peer-review process. But I'm not being argumentative by pointing out that Nguyen-Khoa actually lauded QW for improving their editorial oversight and review process. Please assume some good faith here. I'm really of the opinion that Nguyen-Khoa is not criticizing QW but rather pointing out that the directions they were taking were going to improve the site: and that further improvements would have been appreciated by him along those lines. ScienceApologist (talk) 16:38, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

The 3RR evasion item[edit]

At this diff, is the sentence that reflects what Levine and I thought was approaching consensus (note we were consectuive):

Bao-Anh Nguyen-Khoa, PharmD, in a website review posted in the The Consultant Pharmacist, recommends that Quackwatch implement formal peer review processes for their own web site, in accordance with their advocacy of peer review for medical publications, writing, "[a] giant step toward true legitimacy would involve active peer review of the articles to be published"

In a later (shortly later!) diff, ScienceApologist has added wording:

Bao-Anh Nguyen-Khoa, PharmD, in a website review posted in the The Consultant Pharmacist, gave QuackWatch a positive review for two articles on the site that discussed "natural remedies" available at pharmacies. Quackwatch reported that while pharmacists were unaware of the efficacy of such alternative medicines, they continued stocking them because the profit margins for such remedies were larger than conventional drugs. Of criticisms of Quackwatch, Nguyen-Khoa writes, "It appears that uses the emotional reaction of its critics to substantiate its position." Nguyen-Khoa also expressed some personal concern that most of the articles on the site were written by Stephen Barret noting as well that steps were being taken to rectify the problem. Nguyen-Khoa recommended that a mirror "academic counterpoint" and a more rigorous review process be put in place to improve the website as a resource.

This change is, actually, kind of odd, because I think it reflects poorly on QW; it connotes that Barrett is a dubious contributor, while in context the reviewer is concerned that many articles are written by one person, not that that particular person is Barrett. But whatever the intent, the previous wording had been discussed at length on the talk page, and this change was unilateral. Since it's an addition and not a revert, 3RR, which is very definite about reverts as opposed to edits, can be considered not to apply. Note that the very next diff, TheDoctorIsIn reverts ScienceApologist, and they have a brief edit war over it. So in this segment, three of us suported one wording (me, Levine2112, and TheDoctorIsIn) while ScienceApologist fought it (even though his wording, while somewhat confusing, is on the whole more critical of QW than the original.) The next editor in the history is Anthon01 (who sustained my wording, just replacing "posted" with "published").

Then at this diff ScienceApologist reverted back to his wording. (intervening is one edit by an anon, elsehwere on the page).

Then here MaxPont says there is consensus, and SA has gone against it, and he reverts back to "my" wording. At this point, I, Levine221, TheDoctorIsIn, and MaxPont sustained the wording, and only ScienceApologist had reverted it. So the impression MaxPont had of forming consensus is not plainly wrong.

Then in the next edit here, OrangeMarlin reverts back to ScienceApologist's version, and flags it as minor. So far four for one wording, and now two for the other. Does OrangeMarlin believe that SA's wording is consensus? Be that as it may, I can find no recent history of OrangeMarlin on either the article page, or the Talk; I checked the Talk back through the history into the 13th. He seems not to have participated in the discussion. The impression made is that he reverted to restore SA's wording, on the basis of his confidence in SA, and not on the basis of the discussion; and he has other edits on other pages that are merely reverts to SA.

I don't know that we acheived a convincing consensus on a particular wording, but we were working on it, and at the very least SA knew he was not in a majority. Pete St.John (talk) 01:55, 15 December 2007 (UTC)


The Wikiquette item I started re Ronz (see my talk) is here. That became an RfC here which is not getting any attention as of this writing. Pete St.John (talk) 19:18, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

  • Followup. The RfC, which never got any comments, was deleted by Spartaz, this diff. If he moved the page to a more appropriate place, he didn't notify me where. Pete St.John (talk) 20:12, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
Nuked. The following is from the Spartaz's talk. Note to self: build all these cases here in user space, and just copy them where they belong in Debate Space. Pete St.John (talk) 21:27, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

Attempted RfC removed[edit]

I created (or, attempted to create) an RfC, which had been here (it's gone from there; if it was moved to some place more appropriate, nobody has informed me and I don't know where). You deleted reference to it at the RfC list, this diff, suggesting in the comment that the RfC was mal-formed. I do not see any notification of this action either. I attempted to follow the instructions. Can you indicate what I did wrong? Spa siba. Pete St.John (talk) 20:17, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

RFC's need to be certified by two users within 48 hours of creation to avoid deletion. Spartaz Humbug! 20:31, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
Right. In the item you deleted, I described my basis for considering two users to have attempted to mediate (up to that point). When I created the RfC (at the recommendation of the response of the wikiquette item, which is now archived) the button didn't work (maybe just lag?) so I attempted to reproduce the item manually. After the article was ignored for some time (several days) I added it to the "candidate" section manually. (That was proably more than 48 hours ago, now). So, if nobody comments, then it is deleted? An RfC can merely be ignored and deleted without comment? The response at the wikiquette was that the matter was too complex for wikiquette. The archive (with the wikiquette item) is very laggy for me, I may have dificulty finding the material. Pete St.John (talk) 21:04, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
You are correct, the RFC must be certified by two users within 48 hours of being listed at RFC/UC and this did not happen. This is the way the system works. RFCs are very blunt instruments. Singleton issues are better dealth with at WP:ANI. Frankly, if this issue happened a couple of weeks ago and there has been no repeat then I would suggest that you just let it go. Spartaz Humbug! 21:10, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
This is from a long-running battle of considerable complexity; the claim is that the accused uses subtle and diffuse methods to debate unethically and harangue editors out of the venue. He's won, because I did leave the venue (not being able to stomach the harangue) and put my attention on the request for intervention. The result was that it was too complicated: exactly the accused's method of success. And naturally nobody wants to investigate it thoroughly, because of exactly that complexity. But now, I have to reproduce the case as an AN/I (escalating from the Wikiquette, which got no response as too complicated, and now from the RfC, basically ditto) and the material is buried in the deleted RfC and the archived Wikiquette, where it will be a PITA for me to reconstruct. So what's my take-away from this? First, there is a great way to hound people away from editting: by being sufficiently oblique, over a long enough period of time, that no simple set of diffs convinces an admin to take an action, and nobody will do anything if it's not simple. Second, next time I submit an RfC I must find two people to certify them, since I wouldn't be doing an RfC in the first place if it were simple. Pete St.John (talk) 21:24, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

deleted RfC relocated[edit]

Spartaz (see above) restored it to my user space, here. Pete St.John (talk) 22:07, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

funny typo[edit]

I'm trying to find the extra bracket in this footnote (from the IPv6 page):

A number of governments, however, are starting to require support for IPv6 in new equipment. The U.S. Government, for example, has specified that the network backbones of all federal agencies must deploy IPv6 by 2008,[1] and spent the money to acquire a /16 block 281 trillion network addresses to start the deployment.[2][3] [4]

Can Wiki flamewarring be poetry?[edit]

I stole this from Nancy's talk because it's just pure, undiluted, crystalline poetry. I have no idea what the topic is.


Do not hasten me a message again. Your information is dotterel. There is no much atrocious information on this site it makes me asinine. Remember I am a M.D. I hope to never apprehend from you again. —Preceding unsigned comment added by M.D Lawes (talkcontribs) 07:47, 27 January 2008 (UTC)

Barnstar of Conceding a Point[edit]

Work in progress. I'm rushing a bit because of Nancy. In her case, she didn't precisely concede a point, but notify me of a AfD after the article was already flagged, before I ever looked, so I was just slack. But the "point" is that she did something that was contrary to the advance of her own position towards a consensus that reflects concerned opinion instead of merely towards the victory of her PoV. And that's the purpose of the Barnstar of Conceding a Point. Also I like the graphical pun. If I can upload the image. Pete St.John (talk) 23:04, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

OK it's uploaded. Testing:

Onehundredpx-BarnstarConcession.PNG The Barnstar of Conceding a Point
Awarded to Pete St.John for Testing His Own Barnstar -- himself 21:51, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

Here's the second attempt image, resaved with transparent backgound, but: BarnstarConcession.PNG

But here's the original. Somhow I lost the invisibility of the background color? I didn't change it (knowingly): Original Barnstar.png But ah! a different file. The one I had found was "100px-Barnstar.png" and this is "Barnstar.png".

footnotes for testing footnote bugs[edit]

  1. ^ August 2005 directive from the Office of Management Budget
  2. ^ DOD to allocate its IPv6 addresses
  3. ^ Bitten by IPv6 (correction to the first report)
  4. ^ Providing the Tools for Information Sharing: Net-Centric Enterprise Services (Department of Defense Chief Information Officer Information Policy Directorate)