User talk:Ben/Archive 1

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I'll archive any
on a subpage.

Ben (talk · contribs · count · logs · block log · lu · rfas · rfb · arb · rfc · lta · socks)

The Wikipedian formerly known as Benedict the Moor.  

Please be gentle.

WP:VPP and Hruodlandus

Just FYI: not having seen you post at WP:VPP recently, I don't know whether you saw my comments/links there in your thread on username blocks, about the block of Hruodlandus Brittannici limitis praefectus (the Latin name of the historical Roland), now lifted by the blocking admin. -- Ben 15:14, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

Thanks! - CHAIRBOY () 15:30, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

"Not-censored" box

Not meaning to "stalk" but rather to learn by example from your contribs, I saw your recent exchange on an article talk page where there'd been repeated requests to censor text, pictures, or the entire article. Thinking, perhaps naively, that one clear statement up front might help reduce the repetition, I came up with the following box, and added it at the top of that talk page. If you'd find it helpful, please use or adapt wherever you deem suitable. -- Ben 17:43, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

Before complaining about article content, please read: Wikipedia is not censored.
An interesting idea. Let's see how it's received by others. Regards, CHAIRBOY () 17:57, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

Here is the one used in the breast article. you might be able to adapt parts of it. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Atomaton (talkcontribs) 20:18, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

Stop hand.svg

Please note that this Talk page is for discussion of changes to the Breast article. Wikipedia is not censored for minors, and the images used to illustrate the subject matter are necessary for the quality of the article. Please refer also to Wikipedia's Content Disclaimer. Off-topic discussions, including discussions about the acceptability of images of nudity on Wikipedia, serve no constructive purpose in improving the article, and may be removed. Thank you for your understanding.

Overall, this seems more like an attempt to intimidate people from objecting to Pornopedia. Pointing out that Wikipedia is not censored is good, but more emphasis needs to be placed on keeping the discussion of images to their content and relevancy, and not about "OMG HES NEKID!!!" As it reads, it seems more to the effect that people are not allowed to talk about images that contain nudity, without regard to their relevance, and that such discussions will be ignored and deleted. When I saw the one on Talk:Ejaculation, my first response was "to hell with you." (And that's the nice version.) Then I reread it about 3 times and realized that nudity is the topic that is not of relevance. Try turning the phrasing to:
"Off-topic discussions, including discussions about the acceptability of nudity in images on Wikipedia, that serve no constructive purpose in improving this article <snip> may be removed."
The bold emphasizes my addendum, and the <snip> is an unnecessary comma-and contingency. This turn of the phrase will actually make it mean what you want. As it is written, it can be interpreted as a form of censorship itself, saying "if this picture is has nudity, you are not allowed to object to it." And there are plenty of valid reasons to object to some of these images, above and beyond the nudity itself. -- jsa 06:22, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
On second thought, I think this phrasing would be even better:
Off-topic discussions that serve no constructive purpose in improving this article, including discussions about the acceptability of nudity in images, may be removed."
It seems more cohesive and authoritative as a statement, and perhaps stresses the intended meaning even more. We can safely omit the "on Wikipedia" part, as "this" before it references the article on Wikipedia for us. -- jsa 06:36, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
I've read this through carefully, several times, and I think we agree on the meaning we want to express, but perhaps we are not parsing the two statements the same way. Please walk with me through the two versions and let's see if we can come to some harmony in interpretation.
Original: "Off-topic discussions, including discussions about the acceptability of images of nudity on Wikipedia, serve no constructive purpose in improving the article, and may be removed." -- Subject is "off-topic discussions" (of which "...acceptability of images of nudity..." is only one example), and the statement is that such discussions (a) "serve no constructive purpose in improving the article" (precisely because they're off the topic of how to improve the article), and (b) for that reason they may be removed. As far as I can see, this leaves anyone perfectly free to object to one or more specific images for other reasons, such as not fitting the article's needs, being worse for the purpose than other pictures on the same topic, all the other "valid reasons". These would not be "off topic", as they would address how to improve the article, so the statement is not even referring to them. That seems to me to be the outcome you wanted. Have I got that right or wrong?
Your last revision: "Off-topic discussions that serve no constructive purpose in improving this article, including discussions about the acceptability of nudity in images, may be removed." -- Now the subject is "off-topic discussions that serve no constructive purpose in improving this article", and immediately I'm confused, because by definition the topic of the talk page is how to improve the article, so anything off that topic does not address that purpose, and the point of adding the modifying phrase escapes me. It seems to suggest that some off-topic discussions may actually be on-topic, and that only the off-topic discussions which actually are off-topic may be removed. Either there's a redundancy here, or a suggestion that "off-topic" does not in fact mean "not addressing how to improve the article" -- but in that case what is the topic of the article talk page? The rest of the statement, making "...acceptability of images of nudity..." an example of the subject as subject to removal, doesn't seem to have changed at all; this version even leaves intact the declaration that "discussions about the acceptability of nudity in images" serve no constructive purpose in improving this article. By removing "on Wikipedia" we only lose the present focus on what Wikipedia is and is not, e.g. "Wikipedia is not censored". (Whether images would be suitable elsewhere, off-wiki, would surely be even further off-topic.) So it seems to me this doesn't achieve the outcome you wanted. Again, have I got that right or wrong?
Please tell me if I've missed or misinterpreted something along the way. Thanks! -- Ben 12:48, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
I think you are right, the inclusion of "that" creates two possible readings. Namely the one of conflict is that it implies there will be off-topic discussions that are somehow relevant. If you omit the word "Off-topic", there would be an implicit statement that any discussion no about bettering the article will not be tolerated. Thus "Discussions that serve no constructive purpose in improving this article, including discussions about the acceptability of nudity in images, may be removed." This (should) essentially declare any subject without "constructive purpose" off-topic for you. Leaving "Off-topic" in, but removing "that" makes the statement more declarative, admonishing the reader for being off-topic. "Off-topic discussions serve no constructive purpose ...". So it really depends on if you are trying to nicely point out that subjects not on topic are inappropriate, or aggressively declare that off-topic discussion is pointless.
The semantic of "of nudity" vs "nudity in" (I believe "nudity within images" may be grammatically more appropriate actually) is harder to explain, but it's the difference between an image that contains nudity for the sake of nudity, and one that for whatever reason happens to contain nudity. A girl flashing the camera would be "of nudity", since nudity is the focus of the picture. An image of a mans ulcerated penis in the context of an article about STDs would be something that would have nudity in it, but not be the focus/intent of the image. As for "on Wikipedia", it's my opinion that with the preceding statements already citing Wikipedia and it's standards, you have laid down the basis of your authority in removing off-topic discussions. Additionally, by omitting that part, you also imply that "on McDonald's website" is just a off-topic as "on Wikipedia". Perhaps "its" added would help that part, by inheriting "the article" as the subject, which in turn inherits it's meaning from the first sentence of the statement in the paragraph. All of which are understood to be on Wikipedia
"Discussions that serve no constructive purpose in improving this article, including discussions about the acceptability of nudity within its images, may be removed."
The emphasis here, I think, is that "the nudity of the article's images" is not a relevant topic of discussion. That if a person has a problem with that, whatever Talk: page it is on is not the place to discuss the subject. It takes the emphasis off Wikipedia and makes the statement about the article directly. i.e. "there may a place that is relevant to discuss nudity on Wikipedia, but it isn't here." Rereading the above, I think adding in "off-topic" in a declarative my be important actually.
"Discussions that serve no constructive purpose in improving this article, including discussions about the acceptability of nudity within its images, are off-topic and may be removed."
Is that one better for you? Like I said, in the two statements before that line, we have established the basis of our authority in declaring nudity off topic by Wikipedia standards. The final statement is now about the article itself and how using the fore mentioned authority to protect it from off-topicness will be applied. Actually, you might even go as far replacing "may" with "will" in that line.
I think the hard part here is that the phrase has to carry the weight of "nudity in general" but not limit "nudity here specifically." The only real case for discussion of nudity is "is this necessary to illustrate the subject?" And as so much of the answer to that question is conditional by both the subject and the image, and is a very relevant question to be discussed. An example here would be of, say, a Ninja Turtle with a penis. It would be topical for the Ninja Turtle article as it does illustrate the concept, but it's not the best image as they are typically not pictured with penises. If there article were to be on the fictional Middle-Aged Well-Hung Anti-Hero Tortoises, it might very well be impossible to represent them without the penis. Context means everything when dealing with acceptable nudity.
"Discussions that do not serve the purpose of improving this article, including objections to the relevant usage of nudity within its images, are off-topic and will be removed."
That's my final, most terse, and most thougt out iteration on this for the moment, (hopefully) implying "off-topic in general, but general nudity in specific". I hope I answered your questions and left a bit more to consider. Sleep beckons. -- jsa 17:53, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

Thanks, Atomaton!

I have now turned my one-line box into Template:Notcensored. Your longer box I've adapted into Template:Notcensored2, with two minor changes from the original text: 1) removed the blank line from top, 2) used BASEPAGENAME to provide the article name automagically, so that doesn't have to be typed in every time.

It's probably better to "subst" these -- {{subst:notcensored}} or {{subst:notcensored2}} -- rather than make the poor computers transclude them each load. That also reduces the risk of being affected by template vandalism. -- Ben 11:08, 16 January 2007 (UTC)


For now I'll assume you aren't a Cplot sock(looking at what you said you ment by your post). It was just what it appeared to be combined with the fact that you contribs were all recent that made you a suspect. If I see anything to further make you a suspect, however, my opinion of you will change very rapidly. --Wildnox(talk) 03:22, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

Thank you for your gracious assumption of good faith, and for not biting. -- Ben 05:33, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

Alright then

Having read your explanation, I retract my claim that you are a Cplot sockpuppet. I would also like to apologize to you for what must have appeared like a grossly incivil removal of all your comments from my talk page. If you want an explanation of why I removed your comments without reading them, well, see my talk page history. Pretty much every single time I tag one of his socks, Cplot leaves either a snippy remark, or posts one of his giant diatribes, or just blanks the page and fills it with obscenities([1], [2], [3]). I was on my way out the door as it were, and didn't want the emotional drain of reading yet another childish insult, so I just reverted without even glancing at what you actually said. Rather embarrassing for me. I really hope this doesn't put you off editing or anything. --tjstrf talk 06:51, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

Thank you for your kind note, and for your apology, which I both accept and appreciate. Certainly no hard feelings on my part. After what you've been through, it's a wonder you're not seeing Cplot in every shadow of your own home! -- Ben 07:22, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
No, just in new editors with three(ish) word long noun phrase names who mention federal agents in their posts, show up on policy related pages, and create very short userpages for themselves... The only real part of the pattern you didn't fit was that your name isn't in CamelCaps, and that one's only common, not always true. Just be glad you didn't pick the name User:BenedictTheMoor, or you would have been indef blocked off of an AIV report before you had a chance to even try explaining yourself. --tjstrf talk 07:33, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
Now that would have proved a U.S. government plot! ... <skating on thin ice> ... -- Ben 07:49, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
BANNINGS TIME! ok not really... --tjstrf talk 08:10, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
Robert Anton Wilson, who died just a few days ago, was a prolific writer on what I can only roughly summarize as "countercultural" themes, including a series of novels involving conspiracy theories -- starting with the Illuminatus! trilogy he co-authored with Robert Shea. Sometimes real live conspiracy theorists made Wilson himself a figure in their conspiratorial cosmology. One time he was in a radio talk show, and a woman caller launched into a rant at Wilson, concluding with: "... and you're the people behind the international banking system!" Wilson jovially replied: "Well, I certainly won't deny that; it can't help but improve my credit rating!"
If Cplot is bound and determined to insist that You're All Federal Agents, you can be upset by that or have fun with it. Of course you must (to be honest) not claim any such official role, but you might respond: "I can neither confirm nor deny any such statement." "Your entry cannot be accepted at this venue. Please fill out form USG-FARAWAY-2007-01-23bi1776 in triplicate and submit it to the appropriate office." (not saying what office) "Due to recent changes in high-level budget allocations, this file had to be truncated, and your contributions were regrettably relocated to paper storage. Please feel free to consult the copies at Sub-basement level 5 of the FARAWAY Archive Annex." ... and so forth and so on.... What? You want to know what FARAWAY means? F*d*r*l Ag*nts R*nn*ng All W*k*s And Y*h**. There should be a logo for your user page and those of others thus accused. Make this something like the rogue rouge admins, and people might line up to join. Just an idea to mull over. Even if you never actually do any of the above, perhaps thinking about it now and then will let you smile. -- Ben 08:26, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

Isfahan International Airport

I would have used the World Aero Database figures as well. The figures probably got updated or I just typed them in wrong. I have seen Canadian airports where the runway headings have change 20 degrees from one edition of the Canada Flight Supplement to another. Cheers. CambridgeBayWeather (Talk) 10:01, 2 February 2007 (UTC)

TfD nomination of Template:UsernameAllowed

Template:UsernameAllowed has been nominated for deletion. You are invited to comment on the discussion at the template's entry on the Templates for Deletion page. Thank you. -- Ned Scott 08:24, 5 February 2007 (UTC)


You make a good point about the time zone differences, I'd support any type of "closing review" or simply reverting the close. John Reaves (talk) 08:41, 5 February 2007 (UTC)


When you finish it, feel free to drop me a line. I would love to look it over! -- Chrislk02 (Chris Kreider) 21:21, 5 February 2007 (UTC)

Reply from User Talk:Silverhand Re: Nuremburg

Hi Ben and thank you for following up with me on my talk page. I was, indeed, aware Nuremburg had history before it was made famous in the 1940's. However, based on my review of the user in question's user page, I had trepidations about going any further. I read the template and it honestly said what I wanted to say without going into too much detail. OTOH, I did miss the part about the signature and subst. I appreciate you bringing the information to my attention! --SilverhandTalk 19:01, 6 February 2007 (UTC)

@tip of the hat@ Gotcha re: why to use subst. That makes perfect sense. Heh, yeah... When I read his user page... Well, it kinda threw me for a loop. At least I choked down my knee-jerk reaction and went for something friendly. --SilverhandTalk 21:44, 6 February 2007 (UTC)

Welcoming new users

Thanks for doing this, but always do a brief check on who you're welcoming. For example, you left a welcome message ("thanks for your contributions", etc.) at User talk:Tityboy whose only contribution was this... --Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 11:27, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

On the honey/vinegar and carrot/stick scales, I prefer the left sides. Being courteous, considerate, and compassionate, even to people who walked in the door in a nasty mood, can sometimes break that bad mood and let them reconsider their attitude. I don't like making threats -- and as a non-admin, thank goodness, I'm in no position to carry them out anyway. -- Ben 12:49, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
Well, I don't share the view (experience has taught me differently), but thanking someone for their obscene vandalism is surely still a bit odd. If you must welcome out-and-out vandals, could you at least use an alternative template that doesn't thank them for their contributions? The Wikipedia:Welcoming committee page says: "It's best to check a new user's contributions before welcoming them. Compliment them and thank them for the work they've done! You'll sometimes find that they're not new at all, but simply have a blank Talk page (in which case you might still welcome them, but with a note apologizing for the lateness), or that they are new, but have done nothing but vandalise articles (in which case, depending upon the seriousness of their vandalism, you might add a welcome and a warning, or just add a warning)." --Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 12:57, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
Even {{uw-vandalism1}} starts out with a welcome and ends by AGF-ly thanking the user.... -- Ben 13:15, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
And please note from the timestamps, I added my comments bracketing the warning already posted. -- Ben

{{uw-vandalism1}} doesn't thank the vandal for their vandalism; it's probably a good one to use instead of the Welcome template in such cases (though most editors use it only in less obvious or extreme cases than this one, to be honest). --Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 14:37, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

Since this seems to mean a lot to you, I've removed the "Thanks for your contributions" from the "Welcome" boilerplate text I'd put on that talk page. For the rest of the welcome, I'll rely on "A gentle answer turneth away wrath, but harsh words stir up anger." (Proverbs 15:1). -- Ben 20:16, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

I think that that's much better; after years of fighting vandalism, it's true that thanking the vandal for his racism or obscenities or just plain childishness does tend to get to me. Happy editing! --Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 22:05, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

Format of "Notcensored" template

I think the only thing I did to the two templates you are talking about was adding it to a category. I saw it while surfing around the talk page of the sexuality portal. I thought it was a good idea and I attempted to find it a good category to call home. --Pinkkeith 14:39, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

Okay, I just went back and looked at my edit history and I forgot that I placed the link to the guideline on one line. Sure, I don't mind it being changed. I just thought it looked cuter that way. Thanks for asking first not many do that. --Pinkkeith 14:43, 12 February 2007 (UTC)


Not a problem, and don't worry nothing will get TfD's in the near future. I saw the Username malarky TfD the other week and I thought I caught most of yours. Any I have put as TFD just change it to rename. Just my tuppence worth but maybe trying to group them with the prefix rfc, and all the templates titles should be in lowerecase. Also please get stuck in I'm not the oracle on templates, just someone who is now going cross eyed having looked at them for so long. Cheers Khukri - 19:02, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

Okay. The long forms now also have lowercased shortcuts. Since the longstanding {{UsernameBlocked}} already had shortcut {{unb}}, I gave the others similar shortcuts (as close as I could get, since {{ucr}} and {{unc}} were already taken), and then also rfc-prefix forms with just three letters after the dash:
Template lowercase short rfc- prefix
{{ArticleConcern}} {{articleconcern}} {{artc}} {{rfc-arc}}
{{ArticleDiscussion}} {{articlediscussion}} {{artd}} {{rfc-ard}}
{{ArticleResult}} {{articleresult}} {{artr}} {{rfc-arr}}
{{ConductConcern}} {{conductconcern}} {{ucc}} {{rfc-ucc}}
{{ConductDiscussion}} {{conductdiscussion}} {{ucd}} {{rfc-ucd}}
{{ConductResult}} {{conductresult}} {{ucres}} {{rfc-ucr}}
{{UsernameConcern}} {{usernameconcern}} {{uncon}} {{rfc-unc}}
{{UsernameDiscussion}} {{usernamediscussion}} {{und}} {{rfc-und}}
{{UsernameAllowed}} {{usernameallowed}} {{una}} {{rfc-una}}
{{UsernameBlocked}} {{usernameblocked}} {{unb}} {{rfc-unb}}
That should save a bit of typing time. -- Ben 08:24, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

The assorted CC debates

It is certainly good to have your viewpoint at the various CC discussions, Ben, as you are adding a viewpoint that is brining up issues others may not have thought of. Please, however, don't take the proposed deletions of the templates and categories personally. No one is trying to make things more difficult. Rather, it is the hope that simplifying the disambiguation templates will make everyone's editing and usages of disambiguation pages simpler. It is of course fine that we disagree on the topic, but if we all stay calm in the discussion, it will flow much smoother. -- Natalya 03:16, 13 February 2007 (UTC)

You have been doing some thorough research to support your ideas in the discussions - it is impressive! (regardless of whether or not we agree) -- Natalya 23:39, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

Re: Make Way for Ducklings

...I've been trying to think of some witty comeback for a day, but nothing's coming. Gaaaah. :p Very nice. – Luna Santin (talk) 22:14, 13 February 2007 (UTC)


Was there a specific reason you redirected User:ΞΞΞ, or was it just a general courtesy? The reason I ask is because he asked on my talk page to have them deleted, so I assumed he didn't want redirects there. Any light you can shed on the situation would be appreciated. Essjay (Talk) 05:40, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

Perhaps I misunderstood. You'll have noticed the discussion on his old talk page and at WP:RFC/NAME; he didn't want to break policy, he just really liked the Greek letter Xi. I'd suggested he could change the username to English but keep "ΞΞΞ" as his "nick" or "signature" to retain his identity -- which is just what he's done. The old talk page had the whole username controversy, and now that's gone. But both his old and current signature still have "ΞΞΞ", so he's not by any means trying to erase the link. The old posts still point to User:ΞΞΞ, so redirecting to User:Dashes just lets correspondents reach the right ID. Otherwise, they might go to the old talk page, find it empty, and create it by posting comments there instead of at his new page. This seemed better. But if Dashes wants even the redirects gone, by all means his wishes should have priority, and I'll owe both of you an apology for my misguided meddling -- Ben 06:08, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
I'm not sure at this point; a lot of users who are renamed want the redirects for the reason you described, but many others don't. I think the best thing for us to do now is to ask him. Essjay (Talk) 06:16, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
I've asked him on his new ID's talk page, avoiding even the use of those Greek letters. -- Ben 06:34, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

Re: Please revive WP:FAIL redirect, at least temporarily.

I have restored it, and points to Wikipedia:Wikipedia is failing. While cross jumping is not really that good, since the target page appears to become stable, there is nothing wrong with that redirect. -- ReyBrujo 01:48, 17 February 2007 (UTC)


Hi, I notice you sign your posts as Ben. I was wondering if you were interested in actually having Ben as your username. The new usurpation policy allows users to take over the accounts of users who have never made any edits and User:Ben falls into this category [4]. If you're interested you just need to fill out a request at WP:CHU/U and wait a month (providing no objection is received from Ben). WjBscribe 08:22, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

Done! Thanks! -- Ben 16:08, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

Wikipedia in usernames

As your probably aware, I've asked Jimbo to comment on the use of wikipedia in usernames. I think its probably for the best as it seams clear that this is a very confusing topic! I'm not sure either way. Hope your OK with me doing this RyanPostlethwaiteSee the mess I've created or let's have banter 23:12, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

Username block template

Hi, Ben. The optional parameter in that template should be pretty helpful. By the way, I'm not actually an admin myself. If you want to quickly check who is in future, enter the relevant account name into special:listusers, which notes each account's access levels. If you want as many admins as possible to know about the new feature, I suggest posting a note about it at the general administrators' noticeboard (WP:AN). WjBscribe 19:17, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

Done. Thanks! -- Ben 17:30, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

RFC templates

Could we discuss them? GracenotesT § 04:01, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

Please tell me exactly what I did that was not beneficial, and we'll go from there, I suppose. GracenotesT § 04:02, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
OK, I think I see it. However, I would greatly prefer to have a standardized templates for all pages, so maybe having two numerical parameters (like {{{1}}} and {{{2}}}) would work? GracenotesT § 04:03, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
By the way, I am sorry for any inconvenience that I caused in making the changes. GracenotesT § 04:08, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
Not at all, thank you for the (fittingly) gracious thought! However, because these templates are NOT identical, the -concerns recommend a "nature of concern" or "nature of objection", the -results recommend an "outcome of RFC", and the article-s require an article name, the instructions differ accordingly, including the "sample text" suggested for each. Otherwise I would have used templates from the start. A template for the table at the bottom would be nice, but please leave the rest customized to the templates. Thanks! -- Ben 04:14, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
...I hate to carry this on longer than it needs to be, but does the second version at {{RFCtemplate}} look good (using ParserFunctions if needed)? If not, you can fully undo all of my changes, and I'll transform {{RFCtemplate}} into the table. Thanks! GracenotesT § 04:22, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
I think having the table as a template would be nice. As for the other -- having to type the same text into parameters that otherwise would be plainly formatted on the page really wouldn't be a great savings in time, and would make it that much harder for any later editor to update the page, due to having to learn that template first, and due to the limit on text imposed by the number of parameters. It was a lovely idea, though, and I do heartily thank you for the work you put into it! -- Ben 04:32, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
All right. I'll be on the road to implementing your suggestion. (By the way, the number of parameters isn't that big of a deal, since you could have up to... well... a huge number, all of them conditional.) But great job with your work with these templates! I didn't create them, after all, nor am I really involved with RFC. GracenotesT § 04:36, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

Just one more thing (I promise!). Do you want the new table to stretch all the way across the instructions box, or just have it aligned to the right, as it is now? If the former, it needs to be on a different row with a colspan of 2. Sorry... I just love the template namespace, probably what caused this problem :)GracenotesT § 04:51, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

I'd been thinking of adding one more column with "Parameters, (req)uired or (opt)ional", but I don't know what'll happen when the table gets wider than the instruction box. I don't really care about the alignment so much, it could be left or center, just so the info's there to tell the user of one template where the others are. Thanks again! -- Ben 04:58, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
Mmmmm.. NOT stretch-all-the way, though. This may end up on WP:RFC, not just inside boxes! -- Ben 05:00, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
Having a width of 100% means that the table will take up the full width of the box in which it is placed, not the full width of the page. GracenotesT § 20:45, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

Including sigs in templates

Hi Ben, I was wondering if the RFCN templates really needed to have sigs included in them? I've seen a few examples of double signing like this one: [5]. I think users generally don't expect the template to automatically include the sig, so the instinct is to sign anyway. Given that the templates as WP:UWT generally don't include pre-formed sigs, I suggest the RFCN ones should work in the same way... What do you think? WjBscribe 12:50, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

I've seen many warning templates go unsigned. I don't know whether it's people simply don't think of it (since they didn't "write" the template text, and the instructions just say to put the template on the user's talk page) or because they're (perhaps unconsciously) reluctant to sign what may seem a hostile message, or because they feel they're acting on behalf of the system so it really isn't "their" message at all... and there's no point speculating. I think all such templates should default to auto-signed, with the option (sig=n) to consciously omit that -- for instance, if one wants to customize a signature. I'm going to propose all the UWTs have the auto-sign feature added. -- Ben 13:03, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
Well if you thank that's the way to go. But I suspect that will be counter-intuitive for most users (it certainly would be for me). WjBscribe 13:07, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
I was trying to tack onto my ending: ...", once we can work out an auto-subst: (because the auto-sign only works when subst'd, and UWTs generally aren't subst'd)." And got an edit conflict with your reply.
Well, when everything works the same way, it becomes easier to learn. I didn't invent the autosign, by the way, that's taken from pre-existing templates. -- Ben 13:15, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

The HTML spaces in WP:AADD

... were added because the italicized "essay" followed by the non-italicized "on" looks like a single word, the space between them disappearing. With that added nbsp, the space looks normal. Hmmm... is this a difference in skins? I'm using plain vanilla Monobook, the default skin, and thus I suspect the one most commonly used. -- Ben 03:39, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

Dear Ben, regarding the spaces I removed, the way you changed it, there appeared to be three spaces between "essay" and the next word on my screen. It looks normal with just one regular space. I am also using monobook, however. What browser are you using? Alternatively, we should ask some other people for their opinion on the talk page. --Cpt. Morgan (Reinoutr) 07:53, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
Firefox, with default sanserif font = Helvetica 16.
Okay, here's a comparison table, last column forced into my default font:
essay_on separator normal size small text as in WP:AADD small, default=Helvetica 16
no space ...of this essayon making solid... ...of this essayon making solid... ...of this essayon making solid...
one normal space ...of this essay on making solid... ...of this essay on making solid... ...of this essay on making solid...
nbsp plus space ...of this essay  on making solid... ...of this essay  on making solid... ...of this essay  on making solid...
space, nbsp, space ...of this essay   on making solid... ...of this essay   on making solid... ...of this essay   on making solid...
In the last column, you and I should be seeing the same thing. If the last two columns don't look alike to you, your browser uses a different default sanserif font, set in the "preferences"; please tell me what it is, and I'll try viewing the table that way. Thanks! -- Ben 12:11, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
One more thing: with my screen resolution, the small-text lower-case "o" (o) is only five pixels tall, the smallest still-legible size. I'm quite prepared to believe that the blame for the space disappearing between "essay" and "on" should be placed on my system/browser settings. If the text looks right to other people, I won't mess with it just to make it look right to me. -- Ben 12:38, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
Dear Ben, thanks for going through the trouble. The two last columns indeed look different, but in both cases a space is clearly visible between "essay" and "on". For comparison, I included a row without a space to your table above.
I am not sure which standard font I am looking at here, but...
  • ...of this essay on making solid... (Helvetica)
  • ...of this essay on making solid... (Arial)
  • ...of this essay on making solid... (Times, only for comparison)
  • ...of this essay on making solid... (Standard)
...from this small test, it looks like my standard font is Arial (which is the standard sans serif font for Windows and Internet Explorer). But as stated above, even with Helvetica, I am clearly seeing a space between "essay" and "on".
Hope this helps, regards, --Cpt. Morgan (Reinoutr) 13:17, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
It does indeed, thanks! In Arial, the spacing looks right. I've changed my default sanserif to Arial, accordingly, and to make sure that what I write looks the same to other people as to me. IE has a large enough user base to be a good "target audience". Thanks again! (It's also just occurred to me that there are subtly different versions of "Helvetica" floating around, so we may still not be looking at the same font there! Aiiiii!) -- Ben 13:36, 22 February 2007 (UTC)


Great work with all your user templates to make them more welcoming......

Random Acts of Kindness Barnstar.png The Random Acts of Kindness Barnstar
I award you this barnstar for helping to make user templates far more friendly and your work on WP:RFCN to fight for the newbies RyanPostlethwaiteSee the mess I've created or let's have banter 01:40, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
For me? My very first Barnstar! Oh, thank you! I'll put it in a place of honor! -- Ben 04:15, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for the help

Thanks for restoring my talk page after that guy deleted it (accidentally, I think). I appreciate you keeping an eye out! Philippe Beaudette 22:54, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

WP:RFCN and adding names

Apologies for reporting those names, Ben. I just got the new TWINKLE javascript, I was too overzealous. Thank you for your advice. --sunstar nettalk 19:05, 24 February 2007 (UTC)

While we're talking about RFCN :), I may as well ask you if you like the layout on Template:UsernameAllowed (Template:RFCtemplate taking up the whole width). GracenotesT § 17:53, 26 February 2007 (UTC)
Also note that the notice about the sig appears twice: once in Template:RFCtemplate, and once above it. GracenotesT § 17:55, 26 February 2007 (UTC)
Re: Whole-width layout: okay, looks good, in my view nothing's wrong with either way, since you've assured me it won't affect how it looks when outside any box, alone on a page.
Re: Notice about sig: above refers to that particular template, below stresses that it is true of all the templates listed. Reduces surprises and inaccurate expectations, since some people aren't used to the autosign feature, and have ended up with double-signed messages. -- Ben 19:41, 26 February 2007 (UTC)
Although that last isn't true of {{UsernameBlocked}} yet. Drat; I've also got to update the documentation to explain the optional "reason" parameter. But it's fully protected, so I can't edit it. -- Ben 19:46, 26 February 2007 (UTC)


Hi Ben, as I understand the position, the crats have requested that all discussion about usernames in usurpation requests happens at WT:CHU/U rather than at WP:RFCN for their archiving purposes. Can you move your comment from WP:RFCN. I know you double posted but if people see your post there, it risk a discussion taking place at WP:RFCN, which was what Luna and I were trying to avoid. Cheers, WjBscribe 10:24, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

Done! I also took the liberty of changing your word "here" to "there" to clarify your meaning, and made the wikilink internal. -- Ben 10:40, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
Good point, the word here was clear to me, but pretty confusing for anyone else! WjBscribe 10:45, 27 February 2007 (UTC)


I'm sorry to have taken so long to answer you, but I just saw your 21 January 2007 question at Wikipedia talk:Template messages#New template proposal, and replied there. You may still find the information useful, even if (as I hope) you have long since resolved the Proprioception issue by other means. -- Ben 00:40, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

Thanks, to be honest, I stopped worrying about it and forgot about it. Now that you bring it up again, I do still think it would be a good idea to have the template I was proposing. I was looking for something more like:
This could be used to tag the article, not necessarily a user's talk page. But thanks anyway. --Selket Talk 00:53, 1 March 2007 (UTC)


I was just wondering how come you know so much about policy with a relatively low number of edits? I'm asking becuase I saw your first edit was this and it seams you had a clear understanding of username policy and jumped right in at the deep end without any edits RyanPostlethwaiteSee the mess I've created or let's have banter 01:59, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

Short answer: Long, long ago I took the motto RTFM to heart.
Long answer: I'd used Google as a search engine on many occasions, ofen enough in the past few years it had led me to Wikipedia, and I'd become familiar with WP's uneven record of factual reliability, as a volunteer project and open "online community". As a participant in many other (offline) projects and communities over the years, I find the social processes, the backstage work, often more interesting than what happens onstage in full public view. I've helped cobble together bylaws, mediated disputes, written speeches and press releases and handout flyers and newsletters, kept membership and mailing lists, cranked ditto- and mimeographs, and had many conversations with members or leaders of other voluntary communities about how they worked and what the basic shared assumptions were. So very quickly I started paying more attention to the backstage workings of Wikipedia than to the featured articles -- or, as one might say, more attention to how the sausage factory works than to the pretty plastic-packed sausages on the store shelves. I went though the policies, guidelines, essays, all the bits of lore about Jimbo's guiding philosophy -- I'd have loved to put him in the same room with Lanza del Vasto of the Community of the Ark (whom I met over 30 years ago) and just listen to them converse -- and then the much messier matter of how the details were worked out in actual disputes. (I must say, people who actually have to live and work together tend to treat each other much more gently, unless the community has already gone very very sour -- one severe disadvantage of the online setting.)
It was in reading the Village Pump, not for the first time, that I came across a list of questionably blocked usernames, and recognized one as the Latin name of the historical Roland, apparently regarded as long and nonsensical by the blocking admin. Well, the medieval songs and sagas are an interest of mine. I registered on Wikipedia in order to comment on that case. The blocking admin reversed himself, and I got hooked on that sort of backstage conversation. I wrote to the list's author (another admin) about the unblock, read his contrib history, saw him encounter a recurrent pattern of requests for censorship on article talk pages, looked up how to do templates, wrote a couple of "not-censored" templates to help him reduce his workload, and got hooked on another kind of backstage work. Username issues and templates easily account for more than half my wiki-time since then. I've edited some articles, but I think more for "backstage" contents like category sortnames (how the articles get alphabetized) than for the texts the readers see.
My work on the RFC-related templates (see {{RFCtemplate}}), especially {{ArticleConcern}} and {{ConductConcern}} and {{UsernameConcern}}, actually owes something to Lanza del Vasto, who'd told me that when anyone came to him with a complaint about another community member, he'd take the one by the hand, lead him to the other, and say to the other, "This person has something to tell you." He'd let them try to work it out together before getting anyone else involved. Then, if necessary, one mediator. Then, if necessary, a group of three. The community as a whole wouldn't get involved until as a last resort -- and its decisions were by consensus, there meaning that the meeting didn't end until everyone either agreed or voluntarily chose to leave the community. (Don't let anyone tell you that pacifists are pushovers or soft.)
Wikipedia is nowhere near that strict about consensus, or even the meaning of consensus. I don't suppose it could be; an online community can't be kept in one room until everyone either agrees or leaves.
But I still think people should try to work out their problems one-to-one first, and then with one or a few mediators, before involving the whole community. And that they should treat each other gently, with courtesy and consideration and compassion, as though they're both going to have to live and work together for a very long time to come. And that using the community decision-making (or rule-making) process as a weapon against fellow community members in the short term will tend in the long term to break down the basis of mutual trust that lets a community survive and prosper.
Which is why seeing all-too-familiar symptoms -- like a rise in rule proposals to forbid this-or-that noninjurious act, or the turning around of benefit-of-doubt from innocence to guilt, or the refusal of those with some degree of power to explain or account for their use of that power against others -- worries me.
I've seen it before in other voluntary communities. Some of them don't exist any more. -- Ben 03:57, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

More RFC template stuffs!

By the way, the <includeonly>subst:</includeonly> thing does work if the template's substituted, but if it's transcluded, the following will result: {{ConductDiscussion}} {de-transcluded. Ben)

(Feel free to remove it after viewing.) If someone accidentally doesn't subst, the above mess will appear. You can do a subst=subst: hack (see here), except people don't always type those out. Forced substitution would be good, but it doesn't look like that's going to be implemented. GracenotesT § 04:39, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

  • I am keenly, painfully, aware of what happens when one doesn't "subst:" these templates, which is why the instructions and examples stress that they must be subst'd. I wish there were a way to auto-subst, say by putting some sort of "auto-subst" code at the start of the template itself -- but until then, all I can do is keep giving those instructions and examples. I'd have put "subst:" in all the RFCtemplate entries if that wouldn't have made the table too wide. *sigh* -- Ben 05:50, 1 March 2007 (UTC)
  • Ah. So let's be sad about substitution together! :) GracenotesT § 19:59, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

Re: Editprotected edit request at Template: talk:User5

Since you perm-protected {{User5}}, I should let you know I've requested an edit, at Template talk:User5, to add {{rfcu}} at the end for reference by Wikipedia:Suspected sock puppets, where {{User5}} is extensively used. -- Ben 04:50, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

Hi. I didn't actually protect {{user5}}; apart from anything else I'm not an administrator. I merely noticed the talk page didn't have {{permprot}} – as seems to be standard for protected templates – so I added it. You can see here that the template was actually protected by Luna Santin (talk · contribs · blocks · protections · deletions · page moves · rights · RfA); contact him for an explanation, or alternatively just wait until your {{editprotected}} is noticed – Qxz 05:20, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
Thanks, Qxz! I've sent that on to Luna Santin, as you suggest. -- Ben 05:47, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

ssp template

Another useful addition--thanks for making it. --Akhilleus (talk) 00:12, 3 March 2007 (UTC)

Ben, I think it would be redundant in {{user5}}, precisely because the place that template is most often used is SSP. {{usercheck}} is great, though, and I'm sure I'll use {{ssp}}--I spend more time looking at SSP than is healthy, and I refer to the cases in comments on ANI, etc. --Akhilleus (talk) 03:45, 3 March 2007 (UTC)

Wow, Ben, your template skills are impressive! My initial reaction is that I'd want to keep {{ssp}} and {{socks}} separate. There's two reasons--first, most of the time, I want to link to the SSP case, but not necessarily to the confirmed/suspected categories. Second, people often don't tag the userpages of the master and socks, so the categories don't get populated, or they're woefully incomplete. Thus, a lot of the time the categories aren't useful. I can see one definite use for {{socks}}, though--if you're doing a 2nd (or 3rd, or 4th) SSP report, you can then say "this user has already used socks, see {{socks}}" (and hopefully the previous cases got tagged). --Akhilleus (talk) 06:10, 3 March 2007 (UTC)

Evidence of a conspiracy

Ben, I know that you don't know me but you were kind enough to give your devastating expose of the Duck test on my behalf. The witch hunt is continuing and I just posted something you will find very interesting here [6]. Please read and add your voice if you feel so inclined. Your voice really is very much needed here. -- Brittainia 07:14, 3 March 2007 (UTC)


As much as I would like to help you, my patience in doing so has just run dry. I don't know what the hell I'm supposed to do to help you, and I have more important things to do right now.—Ryūlóng (竜龍) 00:11, 6 March 2007 (UTC)

Hey Ben. Changes done, thanks for making it very simple to understand; I am an utter wiki markup illiterate. I struggle remembering four tildes half the time. Neil (not Proto ►) 17:55, 6 March 2007 (UTC)

Re Template:Userlinks

Hi Ben,

As you were the last person to edit the protected {{Userlinks}}, could I prevail upon you to make one more edit? ...

I'm in the middle of some complicated editing here, but will be happy to read, digest and act on your request as soon as this editing is completed and I've allowed my brain to cool a little. Hope that's okay, David (talk) 03:26, 6 March 2007 (UTC)

...Have finally attended to your request; hope all is working okay. Yours, David (talk) 02:42, 7 March 2007 (UTC)

Your changes to {{checkuser}} and {{checkip}}

If you want to make large-scale changes to these templates, please recieve the approval of the checkusers prior to doing so. For one, I have asked a couple of checkusers, and not one of the checkusers wants the SSP link, nor do they want the links to the categories.

Not only that, but your changes have totally broken WP:RFCU. I have had to revert them in the meantime. The only change which the checkusers who I have spoken to seem to endorse is the obvious one: swapping the link to Essjay's WHOIS server over.

Please seek the consent of the checkusers before making large-scale changes to the template. They are there to serve one purpose: to aid the checkusers. Cheers, Daniel Bryant 05:26, 6 March 2007 (UTC)

Can't speak for DB or any of the other clerks/CUs/what-have-you, but for my part, I think we're coming on a bit strong, here, in large part because we're still more than a bit emotional over recent affairs. Those templates in particular are largely static, but two changes you made I do very much appreciate -- the dnsstuff link in {{checkip}}, and the default value for {{rfcu box}}. Minor quibble point: subpages don't actually enforce the ucfirst convention, so I took that out for now. – Luna Santin (talk) 06:14, 6 March 2007 (UTC)
Ah, and I missed a few, even. x.x Thanks. – Luna Santin (talk) 06:39, 6 March 2007 (UTC)
Daniel and I seem to have worked out the checkuser/checkip problems. (click to see) -- Ben 07:11, 6 March 2007 (UTC)
Very glad to see a happy ending, then. :) Cheers. – Luna Santin (talk) 07:18, 6 March 2007 (UTC)

{{user5}} problems

Ben, the problem is a bit difficult to describe. As you know, the SSP cases each have their own subpage, which are transcluded onto the main SSP page. Basically, halfway down the list of active cases, the listing went bonkers. The specific locus was in Wikipedia:Suspected sock puppets/Classicjupiter2, in the line where Protector777 (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · page moves · block user · block log) was listed--instead of what you see there, there was a messed-up line that included the word "separator" as a blue link, "page move" as a red link. The following users in the list simply appeared as user, and the comments to the case didn't appear; the rest of the cases in the list didn't transclude properly, but simply appeared as links, like Wikipedia:Suspected sock puppets/Adversegecko.

The weird thing is, the case subpage for Classicjupiter2 displayed normally, and so did the rest of the cases. I don't get it. It might be some peculiarity of my local setup, I guess. But we can try to test it, and see if the anomaly happens again. I'll be available for a few hours tonight, and again tomorrow afternoon. --Akhilleus (talk) 04:39, 7 March 2007 (UTC)

Well, my eyebrows went up at the fact that the problem started halfway down the page. If it was inherent to the template, or even to how the template behaved when transcluded on a subpage that was then transcluded onto a main page -- it should have happened every single time it was used there, not work fine in the top half and break down in the bottom half. So this is a major clue that the nature of the problem is something else.
It doesn't surprise me that the subpage itself looks fine: there you're looking at a transcluded template but not on a transcluded subpage; you're seeing the page directly.
My first thought was that maybe something about that line, in the Protector 777 entry or just above it, had some odd character, extra {'s or whatever, that Wiki-parsing misinterpreted, sort of the way omitting or adding an apostrophe in the double-apostrophe italics tag early in a paragraph can screw up your italic or boldface formatting for the rest of the paragraph. So I went and looked closely at that area of that subpage... and found nothing even vaguely likely to have such a result. (Drat!)
My second thought, and my current working hypothesis, is this:
Transclusion creates a certain amount of overhead for the system. Not much for each transclusion, but it adds up. This is one of the reasons templates are no longer allowed in the signature or "nickname" of our account preferences. (Not the only reason; it would be too easy to change a signature all over Wikipedia by altering the template, both "changing history" and creating a sudden huge transclusion workload as all the signed occurences were changed.)
Well, first of all WP:SSP's main page has a huge number of "user5" templates, due to all its transcluded subpages (compared to relatively few on each individual subpage). And secondly, the last update incorporated a bunch of subtemplate transclusions to "user5"... so, multiplied all together, it took the system a while to process all the changes. Apparently it had only gotten halfway down WP:SSP, and after that the changes weren't fully processed.
I wonder whether everything would have looked normal had you seen the page five minutes later, due to the system catching up... or whether it would have stayed stuck like that, due to some limit on how many transclusions per page will be processed at all. But I don't wonder enough to want to go back and try it again just to find out.
One of my major changes from the last attempt was to eliminate as many transclusions as I could. Except for "rfcu" (which subcontracts its work to subtemplates), all the subtemplates -- including the separator dot, {{·}} -- have been replaced by hardcodes, reducing the workload immensely. That may be all the solution that we need. I hope so, and it would make sense given what you saw on the page. -- Ben 05:24, 7 March 2007 (UTC)

Ben, your explanation makes sense, although I did reload the page a couple of times before I posted the request to revert. I wonder if in the future SSP cases should subst the {{user5}} templates. The main page takes a long time to load sometimes.

Probably a good idea. It would vastly reduce the transclusion workload. One side-effect would be the "rfcu" link would not update on any existing entry if a checkuser were later opened on that user, so you might miss seeing some relevant info from after the subpage's creation... but if your users are aware of that, and treat the absence of the link as "there was no rfcu report then" rather than "there is no rfcu report now", they can always check for new entries with a new rfcu request, even in preview mode and not saved.</s? -- Ben 05:54, 7 March 2007 (UTC)
... or I could drop the whole idea of rfcu being a "disappearing" link in user5 (take out the "cond=n" parameter), and just let it stay a redlink when there's no rfcu page. But this was why Ryulong reverted the change to user5 before, he found that "ugly", and the "disappearing" feature was the condition he demanded to allow the update back in. His other suggestion was the WP:SSP use a new template with rfcu in it, and leave user5 alone. So you may want to think that one over. -- Ben 06:14, 7 March 2007 (UTC)

Akhilleus, the GOOD news is that WP:SSP does not appear to have been hosed up. In fact, please tell me if it is any slower-loading than before, or the reverse. And the other GOOD news is that {{subst:user5|Mykungfu}} does not lose the auto-updating feature of "rfcu"; that will continue to show new pages created after the subst'ing. Example of subst'd template:
          Mykungfu (talkcontribspage movesblock userblock log • rfcu)
So please recommend subst'ing if there's a slow load at WP:SSP, to reduce the transclusion overhead without losing any functionality. Yayyyy! -- Ben 02:36, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

more strange goings-on with {{user5}}

Take a look at Wikipedia:Suspected sock puppets/AndyCanada. If I click on "block log" for Prolancet‎ (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · page moves · block user · block log) or Firstocean (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · page moves · block user · block log), I get taken to a log for User:Prolancet.E2.80.8E or User:Prolancet.E2.80.8E. Any idea why that is? --Akhilleus (talk) 20:29, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

I'm not getting that result now, and (from resolving the code by subst'ing) I don't see anything that could have caused it. The template hasn't changed... could someone have been working on the blockuser page itself, to change how a username gets parsed? ".E2.80.8E" is a character encoding, I don't know for which characters without going to look it up, but since the problem's gone I doubt it's traceable any longer. — BenTALK/HIST 21:45, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
Ben, I'm still getting the problem on the case subpage. It works fine in the message above, though. Confusing. --Akhilleus (talk) 21:56, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
I retyped the list of suspected socks and the problem disappeared. Dunno what was happening, but its resolved, at least for me...--Akhilleus (talk) 22:00, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

Aha, there never was a problem with Firstocean's entry, which is why checking that block log never found one. The problem was solely with Prolancet's entry, and we could both have stared at our screens forever without seeing it... because it wasn't there to be seen.

Last night I met upon the stair
A little man who wasn't there.
He wasn't there again today;
I wish, I wish he'd go away!

The difference between the first and second times Prolancet's name was typed was that on the first try an invisible character was put after the final T and before the first closing bracket.

Here's a cut-and-paste of that segment → Prolancet‎}

Go into edit mode, put your cursor just after the bracket, and backspace/delete (NOT left-arrow): first stroke, you delete the bracket; second stroke, nothing seems to happen; third stroke, you delete the final T. That second stroke deleted the invisible character.

I would guess that, in trying to type the first closing bracket, some almost-correct key combination like control or alt or fn, plus ] or }, got entered, resulting in no wrong visible character, no visible character at all. Anyone would naturally shrug and go on to type both closing brackets correctly. Everything else parsed the username without a problem, but block-log could not....

It's the "intermittent" problem that's the real headache, isn't it, like the car that squeaks except when the mechanic is there. At this point taking a sledgehammer to the car is generally a great stress-reliever, though perhaps a bit more expensive in the long term than two pints of Guinness at the local pub while grousing to the publican and your fellow drinkers. — BenTALK/HIST 01:44, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

Your inputbox idea for WP:SSP

... I took it and ran with it. ... Working code for tryout on the talk page. ... Commented-out copy at the bottom of this section on the actual WP:SSP main page. If everyone's happy with it, remove the comment marks and let it run!

By the way, try subst'ing {{socksuspectnotice}} on your own talk page with no parameters, and hit Preview (don't save). Okay. Now try the same thing on User:Mykungfu, since his talk page's protected. Which evidence page gets linked? Neat trick, huh? A side benefit from {{ssp}}! -- BenTALK/HIST 19:38, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

Ben, thanks for your work on this. I'm in favor of implementing it, obviously; the only question is whether we should wait for comments. On the other hand, it seems like few people watch the SSP page, so we could reasonably claim that we two form a consensus... --Akhilleus (talk) 22:45, 9 March 2007 (UTC)
I'm delighted to help, and to get a chance to do a working infobox. I'd struggled to make one work for WP:RFCN, but features like editintro and preload just don't work in post-a-comment mode, so what's the point? Then I thought of WP:SSP, and found you'd been five weeks ahead of me....
Wait for comments? Your original suggestion on WT:SSP waited over a month for comments already, and nobody objected, so.... Inputbox added, and instructions substantially revamped to fit; items headlined, and put in a sensible order, like, oh, collecting evidence and opening your case before tagging the suspect accounts with links to that case. If this was silly of me, please move things around to where they should be. Enjoy! -- BenTALK/HIST 06:02, 10 March 2007 (UTC)

Revamping WP:SSP's case-filing system

Alright, way to be bold! Thing is, the instructions are still complicated, because of the unfortunate decision someone made at the beginning of SSP to have separate pages (2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc.) for each case on a particular user. Using the {{ssp}} template to discover previous cases is clever, but it will be beyond the capability of some users. Is there any way to have the inputbox run a script to see if a case has already been filed on a sockmaster? Or, the other thing to do is to steal another idea from RCU and have each sockmaster get a single case page, no matter how many times they're reported. Looking at the subpages of SSP ([7]) shows a pretty healthy number of sockmasters w/multiple cases, and there's always the danger that one of them (like Mykungfu) might get a new case filed, and then you'd have 5 Mykungfu cases, with new information getting added to the 1st case. I'm not sure how to solve this problem, but I wanted the reporting system to be as simple, and elegant, as the one at RCU, and unfortunately it isn't. --Akhilleus (talk) 15:48, 10 March 2007 (UTC)

Gahhh, what a long link to encode! Try Special:Prefixindex/Wikipedia:Suspected sock puppets/ next time! I've just added [[Special:Prefixindex/{{FULLPAGENAME}}/|subpages]] to the "Closed archives" box on WP:SSP.
I completely agree with you about the complexity of the case-filing system. I use the same simple-minded search engine, {{highrfc-loop}}, to search for RfAs, RfBs, RfArbs, RfC/Users, and SSPs, and it has to take account of not only the "_(2nd)" style of suffixes but also "_(2)", "_2", and "-2", because the different areas use different subpage-numbering formats, and sometimes more than one. I even thought about coding for Roman numerals, because some people have used those, but then I remembered actual usernames like "Giano II", and my brain began to hurt from trying to distinguish between "the second case involving 'Giano'" and "the first case involving 'Giano II'". It's bad enough that usernames might also end with "_2" or "-2", as it is.
Yes, it would be much easier all around to keep one file per username and just add to it over time, the way WP:RFCU does. Cross-indexing sockpuppet names would also be a wonderful feature to add, because right now it's not easy to find out whether someone's been investigated as a sockpuppet (rather than a puppetmaster) since the filenames don't cover puppets. You just have to hope the userpage got tagged at some point in its history.
The solution would be to adopt an RFCU-like system -- which would even allow cross-referring the cases between SSP and RFCU, as long as the two areas chose the same username to title the report on a group of IDs.
So, first step: propose the change. Second step: get it approved. Third step: revise the new-case creation system to match RFCU's, wherein a little outright theft of code seems appropriate. Fourth step, and here's the heartbreaker: go through all the existing files, and consolidate the multiples.
For investigation: Will we have to make any other changes in file format (once they're all singles) to let RFCU's system work for SSP?
My lovable and cuddlesome and bright little {{ssp}}, whom you'd take home to meet your mother, will handle either system, without changing any code. The system change would make things simpler, not harder, for templates as well as for human beings. {{rfcu}} is simpler than {{ssp}}, though I think earnestness of character counts for something too.
Now, just one more question, to make your brain hurt too: who gets to go revise all those {{socksuspect}} and {{socksuspectnotice}} templates that are currently linking to (2nd), (3rd), (4th), etc., cases, and redirect them to the new single files? (Since they've been subst'd, we can't just change the template code and have the posted copies all snap into shape.)
Well, I'm in favor, but we'd all better realize that the changeover will take hard work, and time. We'll need to build the new version of WP:SSP on a secondary page, copy over all the subpages too, make the changes to the copies, keep "mirroring" the updates to the main SSP, and test the new system thoroughly, so that on The Day we can just rename the main page to old, rename the new page to main (and thus with all the subpages -- we'll need to automate this step to make it happen fast), and there everything will be neatly in place to go on with. When we're sure it's solid, and nothing's missing, then delete the old versions.
I think this will take more than the two of us.
I, for one, don't have the system authorizations to do the moves and copies and deletes, or the skills (yet) to write the bots/scripts. At the speed I work, and the number of hours per day I can invest, I don't know how long it would take me alone just to consolidate multiples into singles.
The archives, oh my goodness, they're organized by month of case-closing, so the same-username cases aren't even filed together... and who the heck would know (or care) when an old case was closed, if all they've got is a suspect username, and all they're trying to find out is whether User:JohnDoe is a sockpuppet or sockpuppeteer? Where the heck is an index of cases by username, covering both puppetmasters and puppets? Thank goodness for the userpage histories, if people remembered to use appropriate edit summaries (did they?) at least the taggings should show up -- but if the evidence wasn't conclusive enough on earlier reports, there won't be anything shown on the block logs.
Yechh. I hope you're well-and-truly daunted by the prospect. I sure am. We need the advice of some seriously skilled and experienced gurus here. They may know ways to make this a much simpler conversion. For one thing, let's ask the people who set up RFCU for advice. It would be in their best interests, because the better SSP works, the less workload overflows into RFCU. -- BenTALK/HIST 21:58, 10 March 2007 (UTC)
  • I didn't answer this before: "Is there any way to have the inputbox run a script to see if a case has already been filed on a sockmaster?" I didn't see that option in the documentation, and have never seen the underlying code -- I assume it involves Javascript, but I don't really know even whether that's all it's written in. It would be a nice feature to suggest to the author, but I suspect the answer will be: "If you enter a pre-existing file name and click the button, you'll find the pre-existing file in front of you instead of the preload (unfilled-out form), and the editintro header won't be at the top of the page. Doesn't that already tell you whether a case has been filed?" -- BenTALK/HIST 22:21, 10 March 2007 (UTC)

A search box for WP:SSP

Ben, I think you've demonstrated that the SSP filing system won't change soon. To merge all the Mykungfu cases, just as one example, would require merging page histories--the kind of thing that has to be done manually by an admin. And there are at least 55 suspected sockmasters that have multiple SSP cases. In contrast, changing the links in the subst'd {{socksuspect}} and {{socksuspect}} notice cases wouldn't be that difficult--as long as you know how to code a bot. I don't.

As a stopgap, though, one of the other kinds of inputbox is a search box. Maybe we could put one on the SSP page, so one of the steps in filing a case would be a search for "Special:Prefixindex/Wikipedia:Suspected sock puppets/PUPPETMASTER". Try this:

Put "Mykungfu" in there, and you find his cases; put "Akhilleus" in there, and you find that so far, I'm clean...

BTW, I'm pretty sure that the inputbox won't allow scripts to be run. Code is here. --Akhilleus (talk) 00:40, 11 March 2007 (UTC)

Wouldn't it be easier on everyone to just give the subpages link and say "go look"? It's an alphabetized list. Everyone who's ever used a telephone directory or a book index, or found their scores on a class roster, knows how to look up names in alphabetized lists. It doesn't even require typing anything: you click the link, you scroll the page. Along the way, maybe you see other names than the one you were looking up. "Him? HE does sockpuppets? I once argued with him -- and then all these new names piled in on his side! Hey, that was -- he -- they -- that was a scam!" And a little more truth comes out than from only seeing the name you asked for.... -- BenTALK/HIST 01:02, 11 March 2007 (UTC)
Say, did you try clicking those buttons with the text kept as is? Left-hand-button successfully finds the file I created for those who click the "Start a case" button on WP:SSP without changing the text. Right-hand button finds nothing, and suggests trying Google instead.... oh, that doesn't look good. Wikipedia's own search engine sends customers elsewhere, and here it isn't even Christmas. (Macy's, Kris Kringle, oh, if that has to be explained then it isn't funny.) -- BenTALK/HIST 01:24, 11 March 2007 (UTC)

Gahhhhh! Picture me running in tight circles in the middle of the room, bashing my head with a discarded tabletop that is rapidly splintering and beginning to shed pieces of itself along my trail. At last I slow to a stop, fling the few remaining shards away, and turn to you with a bleeding forehead, a mad gleam in my eyes, and a frighteningly calm voice with which I tell you:

I, sir, am a blithering idiot.
And you, sir, are a blooming genius.
I should have taken the clue from your being five weeks ahead of me on the SPP case-creation inputbox idea, and before that from your bringing up to me the niche for templates like {{rfcu}} and {{ssp}}:
... that I function best when I listen carefully to your suggestions, and just try to figure out how to push them the last step, from design concept or prototype/mockup to fully functioning gadget.
You were right about using inputbox to search as well as create. And I even thumped on the detail that would make that idea work prettily... but didn't realize it.
Yes, Special:Prefixindex/Wikipedia:Suspected sock puppets/ was the detail... or, rather, it was one little trivial fact about the "Special:" pages in general. The simplest thing.
The search mode of inputbox, with those two buttons, was just the wrong mode.
We can use the create mode instead. Just one button, which we can custom-label.
We can even use the same default you specified above:
"But but," you object, "we just want to read the page; we don't want to edit it."
I grin through the thin trickles of blood gently running down my face, and assure you with a tone of very possibly mad glee: that's quite all right; we can't edit "Special:" pages; if we try, we just get put into "read" mode anyway.
So here's WP:SSP/Search, transcluded below using its full name. Enjoy! -- BenTALK/HIST 22:00, 11 March 2007 (UTC)
To find case reports about a suspected puppetmaster (sockpuppeteer):

Cases are stored on subpages of Wikipedia:Suspected sock puppets.
Enter the suspected puppetmaster's username into the box below. Leave out the "User:" prefix. Replace only the word PUPPETMASTER, leaving the rest as is. Then click "Find a case".

Example: to find cases about User:Mykungfu, enter:
Special:Prefixindex/Wikipedia:Suspected sock puppets/Mykungfu

Or just erase PUPPETMASTER and click to see all subpages.

Your searchbox

That's a very crafty trick, using the "create" inputbox that way. I'll remember that in the future.

As for your question about {{socksuspect}}, I suspect the answer is that the whole "system" of SSP was built piece-by-piece on an ad hoc basis, and no one ever gave much thought to how the whole structure worked. Adding to the category to the template might be a good idea. In addition, it seems like there's a bunch of duplication in Category:Sockpuppet templates, which might be worth cleaning out sometime. --Akhilleus (talk) 23:14, 11 March 2007 (UTC)

All done

I know when to do what I'm told. You know, this would be a lot simpler if you got sysopped. Want me to nominate you? You'd sail through. Neil (not Proto ►) 12:37, 10 March 2007 (UTC)

Thank you so much for all the help, Neil. I know I've been a bother, getting you to unlock the tool cabinets every time I wanted to tinker with the gadgets, add bells and whistles, or develop brand new gadgets myself -- and I appreciate your willingness and kind forbearance. Getting my own set of keys to the tool cabinets would surely make some things quicker for me, and easier for the people I keep pestering to open it.
If it was just a question of the editing access -- edit protected templates, move or delete pages -- and if people felt they could trust me to always do that wisely and well, given my occasional blunders and my quite short Wiki-history, I'd be happy of that. Tinkering with the works seems to be my calling here.
The rest of the admin role, such as the "cop" duties, and particularly the social divide that seems to exist between admins and non-admins -- perhaps inevitably, from the imbalance of power (one party can block the other, not vice versa, and they both know it) -- is something I need to think about, long and hard. And I rather think people ought to be nervous about handing it out to someone without a longer track record.
You know, just a partial "admin bit", something like "trusted editor" status without the blocking powers, might be a useful option for the project. Clearly it's possible for powers to be subdivided, like the differences between admin and bureaucrat and steward -- or the difference between unregistered editor and newly registered editor and established editor with regard to creating pages or editing semiprotected pages. One more such gradation of access should be entirely do-able. Could we broach that idea widely enough, and high enough, that it might have some chance of being considered and even acted upon? -- BenTALK/HIST 19:42, 10 March 2007 (UTC)

RFA nomination :)

Hi Ben. All systems go! I just discovered that using {{BASEPAGENAME}} magically gets replaced by the owner of the talk page's name in it. Isn't that clever? Marvellous. Ben Ben Ben. Neil (not Proto ►) 22:04, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
Hi Ben, please let me know if my comments need any clarification. I wish you the best, Johntex\talk 23:31, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

good luck with rfa

i oppose those who cite your limited time here. we have a saying in my fraternity. you weren't chosen to be here, you were born as such. the_undertow talk 06:01, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

Template skills request

Hi Ben, wanted to ask a favour as you're a wiz with templates. Have a look at Uranium, which is the main page FA at the moment. We had a bit of a problem when one of the templates used in it was vandalised tracking down which the problem. As you can see it uses over 40 templates to create the infobox. Do you think you (or someone else who's good with templates) could create a single (or a few) template (s) with multiple parameters to do the same job? That number of templates just to create an infobox seems ridiculous. Would appreciate your input. WjBscribe 02:25, 19 March 2007 (UTC)

I'll take a look.... -- BenTALK/HIST 18:59, 19 March 2007 (UTC)
I have to say, it's a beautiful modular design: {{Elementbox_header}} starts the infobox format, then subsequent subtemplates get slotted in as they're invoked, and finally {{Elementbox_footer}} closes the infobox. This makes any single template fairly simple by comparison, and thus easy to maintain. Considering the total amount of information conveyed, and the opt-in feature (the subtemplates are only invoked if, and in the sequence, you choose to invoke them), it's the most efficient and flexible design I can imagine.

There actually are single templates available already -- {{Element}} and {{Elementbox}} -- which do take multiple parameters as you suggest. Not being modular, such a template is much less flexible in terms of what it lists and where, but if you want to put all your eggs in one basket ("and then watch that basket!", as Mark Twain wrote), try that.

Either way, you'll want to protect anything transcluded into the Main Page, and cascading protection should work as well on the infobox subtemplates as on a single {{Element}} or {{Elementbox}} template; conversely, leaving either method unprotected is still an opportunity for vandals. -- BenTALK/HIST 20:21, 19 March 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for taking a look into the matter. I confess the technical elements were beyond my expertise. Given the discussions at WP:ANI about how to deal with templates in main page FAs the multiple template issue is far reduced. If you think the multiple templates are worthwhile then best to stick to them. I just wanted an opinion from someone more knowledgable about templates. Thank you also for your pre-emptive support in another area :-). WjBscribe 22:21, 19 March 2007 (UTC)

Removed your !vote

Just so you know, I undid your comments on WJB's RfA, as he has not yet accepted the nomination. Be sure to add it to your watchlist so you can express yourself when he has accepted and it is transcluded on WP:RFA. —bbatsell ¿? 22:36, 19 March 2007 (UTC)

Roger wilco. -- BenTALK/HIST 22:40, 19 March 2007 (UTC)
Sorry, I hadn't read your comment so I didn't realize you knew that it was against "protocol" — not sure if you know the reasoning behind the requirement that it be accepted and transcluded first, but if you'd like to do some light reading (heh), have a look at CSCWEM's RfA that went off the rails for that reason, which people then used as an excuse to oppose him when he re-filed the RfA properly. It's really to protect the nominee more than anything else. —bbatsell ¿? 22:45, 19 March 2007 (UTC)
I hadn't seen CSCWEM's RfA, which certainly provides extra reason not to start the race before the gun goes off; thank you. The instructions I'd seen spoke only of not embarrassing the nominee if he/she decides not to accept, and on that basis I wished only to say that my support for the nomination was not dependent on the nominee's acceptance or answers to questions -- I have simply seen so much of WjB's contributing style in issue-deciding areas (as distinct from article edits), and found it so consistently responsible (even in contentious discussions, even when we disagreed) that I no longer have any reasonable doubt as to how WjB will handle admin tools. I'm certainly willing to wait, for WjB's sake, to actually say that at the proper time.... but it's already true, right now. That's all. -- BenTALK/HIST 23:35, 19 March 2007 (UTC)
The RfA is now listed. Though you seem to have missed the first place spot :-). WjBscribe 23:48, 19 March 2007 (UTC)
I took it back. I was there firstest, if not necessarily with the mostest,* and I've got the page-edit history to prove it! -- BenTALK/HIST 01:38, 20 March 2007 (UTC)   *(historical misquotation acknowledged)

Re: Your Quote

Thanks. I didn't know there was any updating involved in the stats, I just though they were static, so I copied it directly. Thanks. And yes, it truly is a good quote, otherwise I wouldn't have added it. Good luck on the remainder of your RfA :-). ^demon[omg plz] 01:31, 20 March 2007 (UTC)


Cool work, Ben! So what do you think of this little project? I wasn't gonna show it to y'all until it got built up a bit. We can talk about renaming it soon. OK? --Kukini hablame aqui 02:45, 20 March 2007 (UTC)

{{notcensored}} and {{notcensored2}}

I just wanted to ask you a question, personally. Do you think that the difference between the two templates, if the latter is kept, should be made between images and text, or sexual and merely non-sexual offensive? I think that the latter distinction would be more useful than the former... what do you think? GracenotesT § 02:46, 20 March 2007 (UTC)

The first was addressed to any demand for censorship, sexual or otherwise (political, religious, etc.), and was intended to remain general, even generic.
The second concerned specifically images, and addressed demands for censorship of images involving "nudity" -- though as noted the box text had come from Talk:Breast, which isn't even a matter of "nudity" in many states -- rather than necessarily "sexuality". A mother nursing her infant, or a cutaway diagram showing the internal anatomy of the breast, isn't a matter of "sexuality" to most people.
And as for "offensive", that's so subjective that... if we used that as the basis for which of the two templates to apply, how could we ever agree?
Presumably no-one would call for censorship of anything unless they either found it offensive themselves or believed that someone else would. But "offensive" is still the subjective judgment; the call for censorship is the (more objectively) observed action. Both templates address the call for censorship.
Enough, I think, to say that {{notcensored2}} is for articles appropriately illustrated with images of areas of the human body that some people have insisted not be shown. This is still potentially vague, since it might refer not only to the areas covered by modern Western swimsuits, but to bare legs (shuddered the righteous Victorians) or indeed any part of a woman's body except her eyes (demands the strict Muslim).
{{notcensored}} is for everything else that brings calls for censorship. It would be for what {{notcensored2}} concerns, too, if {{notcensored2}} did not exist. -- BenTALK/HIST 03:14, 20 March 2007 (UTC)
Oops, I meant nudity and not sexuality. Thanks for pointing that out. I bring this up because, as an exercise, I went through the talk archives of Breast and Fuck, and saw comments of fundamentally different nature. I inducted that the difference in objections was [debate about existence of article] vs. [debate about existence of images in article], which correlated in this case (and others) to [vulgar but not fully sexual] vs. [sexual/nudity stuff] (perhaps "vulgar" is a better word than "offensive"), although maybe wrong and such, or maybe the system is fine as it is. GracenotesT § 03:22, 20 March 2007 (UTC)
I regret to say that "vulgar" is unlikely to help us escape the traps inherent in the term "offensive", since "vulgar" itself connotes "that which is offensive to those of us with a refined nature, though it may not offend the lower classes", and is even used to denote "lower-class". The word "ain't" is considered vulgar, though it is far from obscene. -- BenTALK/HIST 03:50, 20 March 2007 (UTC)
If we had to define what "offensive" or "vulgar" was every time we related it to content, {{notcensored}} should probably be deleted due to lack of usability. However, that template, and any other templates about censorship of text (that is assumed, according to common sense, to be offensive), should likewise use common sense in its implementation. GracenotesT § 20:02, 20 March 2007 (UTC)


Funny thing is that I castigated User:Ryanpostlethwaite, as I thought he'd submitted it. Darn those missing tildes. Neil (not Proto ►) 23:03, 21 March 2007 (UTC)