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

This is my journal associated with my Wikipedia editing. I have other MediaWiki journals, which I'll link to some other day. See also Special:Contributions/RobLa; it may be that I'm making changes to articles in the main namespace rather than just updating my journal.



updated: 03:58, 7 May 2022 (UTC)

1/ I'm causing all sorts of problems with the histories of West Seattle Bridge collision and West Spokane Street Bridge. One would think that (having been an editor/admin as long as I have, not to mention my time at the Wikimedia Foundation) that I would understand how to restore histories of wiki pages. Alas, I got lost in a sea of redirects. I appreciate that User:SmartAn01 cleaned up after my mess!


updated: 05:20, 22 April 2022 (UTC)

1/ Did way too much worrying yesterday about the Range 12 Fire that happened north of the Yakima River. I fear that one of the stories about the eastern Washington fires made it easy to conflate many of the fires. Here's the story:

  • "Fires burn across Eastern Washington, some Prosser-area residents evacuated". Tri-Cities Herald. July 31, 2016. Retrieved 2022-04-22.

...and here's the 2016 Washington wildfires fires that were conflated:

All of those fires were put out while Barack Obama was still President of the United States of America. I really shouldn't be too worried about the 2016 Washington wildfires.


updated: 09:27, 16 April 2022 (UTC)

1/ I should stop obsessing about the aughts:



updated: 03:08, 16 April 2022 (UTC)

1/ It would seem (based on discussion at Talk:Aughts#1900 to 1909) that Grandpa Simpson didn't say "aughts".


updated: 09:18, 14 April 2022 (UTC)

1/ Staying up way too late again; this time, adapting the text from Bob_Kiss#Mayor_of_Burlington into this section: 2006 Burlington mayoral election#Kiss as mayor. I think I want to copy some of the improvements to the text back to Bob_Kiss#Mayor_of_Burlington, but not tonight (er...this morning).


updated: 03:30, 5 April 2022 (UTC)

1/ Preparing for my talk tomorrow ("Editing Wikipedia: Because Someone Has to..."). I'm probably going to edit User:RobLa live on the air. We'll see.


updated: 07:08, 29 March 2022 (UTC)

1/ I've been doing lots of editing in advance of a talk that I'm giving, sarcastically titled "Editing Wikipedia: Because Someone Has to...". I have an hour to speak, so I'm going to be relying on audience questions. We'll see how it goes....


updated: 08:37, 18 March 2022 (UTC)

1/ I just wanted to quote a comment that I made at Talk:SVG animation#Years of collaboration SYMM and SVG, so that I don't lose track of the research that I stayed up way too late doing:

Okay, I was there during the development of the SMIL Animation module, which was used in SVG for many years. In the current version of the SVG animation article, it states: "The SYMM Working Group, in collaboration with the SVG Working Group, has authored[year needed] the SMIL Animation specification, which represents a general-purpose XML animation feature set." This is indeed correct, and I will cite this list of reliable sources:

  • - this document shows the publication of working drafts between August 1999 and August 2001 for the SMIL 2.0 specification. That was the period of time that the SYMM working group was working with the SVG working group.
  • — this document was the portion of the SMIL 2.0 specification that was designed to be embedded in other XML documents (like SVG). The editors (Patrick Schmitz and Aaron Cohen) were continuously active particpants in the working group that published the SMIL 2.0 specification, and were heavily involved in many of the drafts between 1999 and 2001.
  • — the "Past News" section of the "AudioVideo" charter for the W3C has plenty of historical reading material.

I can answer many questions about the history of SMIL from 1996 until 2001. I can also answer other questions, but 1996 to 2001 was when I was really paying attention. The years after that will require other living sources, but there are plenty of those folks around. Regarding the SYMM<=>SVG working group collaboration, I'm reasonably sure it started in 1999, but I don't know when it ended. -- RobLa (talk) 08:25, 18 March 2022 (UTC)


updated: 01:23, 10 March 2022 (UTC)

1/ The Singer Building in lower Manhattan reminds me of the Smith Tower in downtown Seattle. In thinking about why, there are many many things that makes sense to me now.


updated: 13:26, 3 March 2022 (UTC)

1/ Interesting. The French version of this article (2022 Belarusian constitutional referendum) is on the front page of French Wikipedia, but the English version probably doesn't stand a chance of getting on the front page of English Wikipedia. A few days ago, I suggested expanding the "Russian invasion of Ukraine", but the discussion stalled (see Wikipedia:In the news/Candidates#Expanding Russian invasion of Ukraine bulletpoint from Monday, February 28). I could try improving 2022 Belarusian constitutional referendum and trying to get it on the front page, but I really should work on other things.


updated: 08:24, 1 March 2022 (UTC)

1/ I started editing this journal entry when I was working on a replacement template for Template:Webarchive. I then got distracted doing other things. Before I knew it, it was after midnight (here in the Pacific time zone).


updated: 07:41, 27 February 2022 (UTC)

1/ I'm planning on speaking at an event with a data science organization called "Data Umbrella" (website: One thing I want to give those folks is a link to user resources that I can edit right up until the last minute (in case I think of something I should put there). It may be the page evolves into yet another Wikipedia tutorial, or it could just be a place where I dump links that I think are interesting. We'll see. Anyway, here's the page: User:RobLa/NewEditorLinks.


updated: 02:34, 7 February 2022 (UTC)

1/ It's been fun learning about the politics of St. Louis (the city) and St. Louis County, Missouri (which "St. Louis the city" has not been part of since the 1870s, it seems). I've been learning this as I've been trying to figure out how to make the article about the 2021 St. Louis mayoral election less of a wall of tables, but instead includes enough explanatory prose for the reader of the article to get the gist of it.


updated: 04:51, 12 January 2022 (UTC)

1/ It would seem that the introduction for the ISO week date article could be simplified a bit, so I created User:RobLa/ISO week date. As of this writing, it's a direct copy of the current version of ISO week date, but my hunch is that I should be able to simplify that a bit; if by no other means than to post a comment on Talk:ISO week date with words to the effect of the following:

What's all this about? Does the average reader really need to know that the "Gregorian leap cycle, which has 97 leap days spread across 400 years, contains a whole number of weeks (20871). In every cycle there are 71 years with an additional 53rd week (corresponding to the Gregorian years that contain 53 Thursdays)" before they get to the table of contents for the article?

We'll see if I get around to that. I suppose I should make "User:RobLa/COI" more complete before I do any controversial editing.


updated: 09:21, 3 January 2022 (UTC)

1/ Well, staying up way too late again. I'll blame it on "New Year's Eve lag. Anyway, a comment over on Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Years sent me down a rabbit hole. In short, I'd rather join Wikipedia:WikiProject Decades than Wikipedia:WikiProject Twenty-Tens decade, but until someone starts the former (which I'm too lazy to do), I'm going to have to settle for the latter.



updated: 10:03, 5 February 2021 (UTC)

1/ Having a discussion over on User_talk:RobLa/Condorcet about Condorcet method and Copeland's method, as well as Wikipedia:WikiProject Voting systems. Once again, I'm staying up WAYYYY too late here in the Pacific Time Zone.


updated: 01:12, 29 January 2021 (UTC)

1/ Created User:RobLa/WikiProjects as an experiment. More experiments to come....


updated: 10:22, 8 January 2021 (UTC)

1/ I'm staying up WAYYYY too late again. Worked on Political eras of the United States, and weighed in Talk:2021 storming of the United States Capitol earlier today (er... make that "yesterday"; it's still Thursday, January 7 as far as I'm concerned)



updated: 07:45, 30 December 2020 (UTC)

1/ Fixing redirects in old #2020-07-03 entry from "Draft:Charles Joseph Minard in Infographics" and from "Draft:Charles Joseph Minard in information visualization" to User:RobLa/sandbox/Charles Joseph Minard in information visualization. I'm not quite done yet....


updated: 21:56, 25 November 2020 (UTC)

1/ There was an interesting story in the Washington Post about Publix yesterday.[1] It makes me want to start a United States supermarket chain ownership article. Perhaps I'll start such a thing here: User:RobLa/United States supermarket chain ownership. It appears as though we already have List of supermarket chains in the United States, but it doesn't give the historic perspective.


updated: 05:42, 18 October 2020 (UTC)

1/ VisualEditor really needs support for ~~~~~. Anyway, I'm having fun writing about Ben Sasse...


updated: 20:30, 28 August 2020 (UTC)

1/ As I said over on Mastodon,[2] editing the redirect for Menard's has been fascinating.[3]


updated: 09:29, 9 August 2020 (UTC)

1/ my mind is still blown that yesterday (August 8) was the 40th anniversary of Xanadu coming out in the movie theaters. I didn't actually see Xanadu until September or October, but there are many mysteries of my childhood that make total sense to me now. To be clear, Xanadu was a terrible movie, but I really thought the ELO side of the soundtrack was pretty good. I usually skipped over "Don't Walk Away", which wasn't a very good song. Well, it seems that the current owners of Xanadu movie copyright are hoping that it makes a kitschy comeback:

I had personal reasons for listening to the radio on the evening of August 7, 1980 (past midnight; thus, August 8) that had nothing to do with the movie. As I was trying to get to sleep, I'm pretty sure I heard "I'm Alive by ELO". It had personal significance for me.

updated: 09:31, 9 August 2020 (UTC)

2/ Fixing up the header for my first journal entry of August 9, and making a second one while I'm at it.


updated 23:46, 29 July 2020 (UTC)

1/ I would love some help on Draft:2018 New York's 14th congressional district election. Maybe I can get some help on Talk:Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Most of the current draft is copied from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.


updated 21:26, 24 July 2020 (UTC)

1/ my thoughts on the items to sections to articles

link: #items_sections_articles

I was explaining to a friend what my idea of the idealized form of article growth on Wikipedia is (and on the other wikis I'm involved with). I'm curious what other people think (please comment in the "User talk:RobLa#items_sections_articles" section I created on the User_talk:RobLa page).

In the idealized growth of English Wikipedia articles, a "thing" (topic, subject, item, whatever) follows this pattern:

  1. the item gets mentioned in the prose of a well-established, notable article
  2. the item gets mentioned in a few sentences (or even a paragraph) in the prose of well-established article
  3. the item gets a titled section in a well-established article, probably with 2-3 paragraphs. By this point, the item is established as notable information about the subject of the well-established article. All of the edit wars have been fought to establish this.
  4. the item is overwhelming the well-established article, and it's time for the item to have its own article.

Note that I'm careful to use the phrase "the prose of a well-established, notable article" rather than "the big stupid set of template-heavy tables that dominates low-quality articles". It seems to me that we have a lot of template-heavy articles that are dominated by tables and don't tell a story. I hope we can fix that.


link: whoa, LST! (#LST) - 22:23, 24 July 2020 (UTC)

2/ whoa, I'm trippin'! It seems it's possible to do some pretty trippy things with labeled section transclusion (see Help:LST). Actually see this page: User:RobLa/CA-21-2020-election. The colored maps on that page really tell a story. Am I just seeing colors, or are those really a thing?


updated: 23:51, 22 July 2020 (UTC)

1/ Don't mind me, just playing around with labeled section transclusion over at User:RobLa/CA-10-2018-results.


updated: 22:28, 6 July 2020 (UTC)

1/ Hmm....which of these seems more historic

Don't mind me, just thinking aloud about why 2018 New York's 14th congressional district election is a red link, and 2018 California's 10th congressional district election isn't.

updated: sometime after 1/ was

2/ Ok, now 2018 New York's 14th congressional district election is a redirect to 2018 United States House of Representatives elections in New York#District_14, which is marginally better than before.

updated: 23:37, 6 July 2020 (UTC)

3/ See also Special:Contributions/RobLa; it may be that I'm making changes to articles in the main namespace rather than just updating my journal. For example, I've been trying to figure out what happened with the Audrey Denney article and all the redirects to-and-from what used to be a promising article. She's running for office again in California's 1st congressional district.

updated: 00:27, 7 July 2020 (UTC)'

4/ I really should spend some time doing other things than editing wikis. I hope someone else writes the article I suggested here:

I really think Draft:2018 New York's 14th congressional district election should exist, and that 2018 New York's 14th congressional district election should be more than a redirect.


updated: 23:14, 3 July 2020 (UTC)

1/ Renamed "Draft:Charles Joseph Minard in Infographics" to "Draft:Charles Joseph Minard in information visualization" (update 07:45, 30 December 2020 (UTC): now located at User:RobLa/sandbox/Charles Joseph Minard in information visualization). Oh, and I attended the Miraheze board meeting earlier today (see User:RobLa/Miraheze for what I mean by "Miraheze")


updated 20:38, 2 July 2020 (UTC)

1/ My friend User:ZappoMan has started editing English Wikipedia again (see Special:Contributions/ZappoMan). He seems to have diven/dived/dove into the deep end of the pool, making a change to List of presidents of the United States who owned slaves, which was almost immediately reverted by User:Drdpw. ZappoMan then made a change to The Supersuckers, which is something that was almost immediately reverted by User:XLinkBot, which is a bot. That bot seems to be pretty busy: Special:Contributions/XLinkBot, so I'm not sure that I blame the bot. It seems to be pretty hard to become a new editor on English Wikipedia. Maybe User:AnomieBOT can help User:RobLa/Bot figure out how to make good bot edits.

updated 02:24, 3 July 2020 (UTC)

2/ I "created" Draft:Charles Joseph Minard in Infographics. Actually, I just copy/pasted a big chunk of Charles Joseph Minard (the part under "Information graphics": Charles Joseph Minard#Information_graphics ). I copied into a new article, and hit "save". It looks like a pretty good article already.

updated: 04:33, 3 July 2020 (UTC)

3/ My journal-writing army has doubled in size: User:ZappoMan/Journal. Soon, the journal-writing army will take over the world!

05:33, 3 July 2020 (UTC)

4/ Speaking of armies, I suppose I shouldn't overestimate the size of my journal-writing army. Napoleon really botched that one: <>. I'm pretty sure that Minard had nothing to do with Menards....


updated 04:22, 29 June 2020 (UTC)

1/ I made User:RobLa/Human brain. It's not about my brain per se (though I arguably have one), but it's a copy of the lead section of the current "Human brain" article. In my not-so-humble opinion, it's way too long, and way too complicated. A lot of it needs to be moved down to the article body.

I also set up a redirect from to The Center for Election Science. They often refer to themselves as "CES", but that seems kinda silly to me.


updated 01:39, 27 June 2020 (UTC)

1/ Well, I think I'm going to create mw:User:RobLa/Journal too...


updated 04:09, 11 June 2020 (UTC)

1/ I was making a link from a different MediaWiki-based wiki to Wikipedia. Over there, it's configured to allow interwiki links to Wikipedia. I like that. I wanted to create a Help:UTC page on that wiki. We don't have a help page for UTC on Wikipedia, and (as of this writing) there's not a help page over in MediaWiki's help docs (e.g. mw:Help:UTC). Yet timestamps here on EnWiki talk pages all have UTC in them. I wanted to be able to type Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) on a help page over there, but we didn't have a redirect on this wiki. Well I fix that a couple hours ago.  :-D


updated 06:09, 9 June 2020 (UTC)

1/ I renamed this page to User:RobLa/Journal. I'm going to move the top portion of this article back into User:RobLa/Decade articles, where it probably belongs.

updated 06:18, 9 June 2020 (UTC)

2/ I've made it so that links like User:RobLa/Journal#2016 and User:RobLa/Journal#2015 should work.



In surfing around, I found this conversation from 2009: Talk:1990s/Archives/2012#Suggested_reform_of_decade_articles. I also decided to bust this page up to make it more readable and organized.


Potential future target for next step



One thing I would like to do is figure out how to tie the portal articles into decade system (e.g. 1920s • 1950s • 1960s • 1970s • 1980s • 1990s • 2000s • 2010s, see Portal:Contents/Portals/History and events for the current list). For example, the articles listed in User:RobLa/Decade articles/1980s could be created using the same technique that I've used for for 1800s-1840s.


  1. ^ Kornfield, Meryl. "Family of dead Publix worker files lawsuit alleging grocery chain stopped him from wearing a mask". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2020-11-25.
  2. ^ My toot on Mastodon: "Rob Lanphier (". on 2020-08-28. Retrieved 2020-08-28.
  3. ^ "Menard's: Revision history", Wikipedia, retrieved 2020-08-28