User talk:Cynwolfe/Archive 4

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Archive 3 | Archive 4 | Archive 5

Clean slates

Lovely to hear from you! Yes, several aspects trouble me here: you've put your finger on all, I think. I don't know why such contradictory standards are applied, and can't even guess at their purpose; yet all seem enshrined as policy. Irrational. Confused, even absurd. Has it something to do with AGF, perhaps? I'd love to see a clean sweep. Haploidavey (talk) 15:14, 22 January 2011 (UTC)

This usually seems to chime with classroom "learning activities." Unfortunately (oh, the irony), the vandalism levels there fall short of semi-protection criteria. Just to expand on this a little: on a percentage basis, you may well be right but on that particular article the last sustained attack was on Jan 21 and was the "work" (?) of a single school-net IP. It lasted only an hour or so. Before that, a single instance on Jan 7th. For what it's worth, I too wish things here were otherwise, and on several counts. But of course you already know that. Haploidavey (talk) 13:58, 24 January 2011 (UTC)
Hm. Last night I reverted this,, and earlier the same day there was this. I suppose my overall impression of the nature of edits to most articles on my watchlist distorted my view there. Cynwolfe (talk) 16:12, 24 January 2011 (UTC)

Re "break"

Hoping all is well. Paul August 15:23, 22 January 2011 (UTC)

Thanks, Paul. I guess it is. I have some content contributions that I hope to complete, eventually. Cynwolfe (talk) 16:12, 24 January 2011 (UTC)
That's good, though you sound a bit uncertain ... Paul August 19:57, 24 January 2011 (UTC)


Thanks for the Gruen; it seems a timely reappraisal. By the way, have you read the comments "of our time" at the magazine link? Sums it up really - there's fuel for some Gruen of the future.

On use and misuse of Graves, yes, it bothers me too. And there are others. It might be good for the cyclopedia if Graves at least (and certain other Grand Schemers - Frazer for sure, maybe Dumezil) were brought to discussion at the References noticeboard. Haploidavey (talk) 22:54, 29 January 2011 (UTC)


Because without you intolerably drab. Wareh (talk) 02:58, 31 January 2011 (UTC)

Or drowned in rising tide of confusion, or suffocated by impoverished stodge. Haploidavey (talk) 12:23, 31 January 2011 (UTC)
Yes, I jumped to my selfish reason; but every day Cynwolfe works here the light of learning's lamp reaches new corners more brightly, where more curious souls hadn't even suspected what they could find out about the past. Wareh (talk) 15:12, 31 January 2011 (UTC)
I knew Wareh was secretly the force behind this. Cynwolfe (talk) 15:20, 31 January 2011 (UTC)
Oh dear. Did I go all uppity on your acolyte? Mea culpa, Dea. (Sacrifices piglet, wafts cloud of incense towards Goddess and beats hasty retreat into personal Cloud of Unknowing). Haploidavey (talk) 17:28, 31 January 2011 (UTC)
Please be informed that I shall have to hale both of you to ANI for violating WP:BORG, which clearly states that "editors must communicate with each other in the affectless, stunted manner appropriate to a 20-year-old male whose only social experiences are in the online 'community.' Expressions of humor, wit, warmth, passion, or any other human emotion are deprecated. Erudition, though not an emotion, may be offensive to others, particularly if you care. Keep in mind that the Wikipedia community is above all a Safe Place where lack of knowledge should be no hindrance to editing. These principles apply to articles, which should read as if bot-generated, and to talk pages. If confronted on a talk page by an editor who refers to 'remedial education' and your need thereof, remain calm. Repeat "synth" and "OR" at least thirty times, until you provoke a sufficiently uncivil response to sustain a Wikiquette notice. Congratulations! You are now a valued member of the WP community. Please feel free to waste the time of other users who obsess about something called 'content.'" Cynwolfe (talk) 13:15, 31 January 2011 (UTC)

Perhaps you missed this?

The front page of today's New York Times included an article you might have wanted to read:

  • Cohen, Noam. "Define Gender Gap? Look Up Wikipedia’s Contributor List," New York Times. January 31, 2011; excerpt, "...because of its early contributors Wikipedia shares many characteristics with the hard-driving hacker crowd, says Joseph Reagle, a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard ... [but,] adopting openness means being “open to very difficult, high-conflict people, even misogynists,” he said, “so you have to have a huge argument about whether there is the problem.” Mr. Reagle is also the author of “Good Faith Collaboration: The Culture of Wikipedia.”

The article is about gender disparity in Wikipedia, but one phrase caught my attention: "so you have to have huge argument" about everything, including the bare existence of a problem worth looking into. --Tenmei (talk) 04:41, 1 February 2011 (UTC)

Thanks for pointing this out. I read the NYT every day, but somehow hadn't seen this. Here's a bit I didn't like: "Ms. Margolis said she was an advocate of recruiting women as a group to fields or forums where they are under-represented. That way, a solitary woman does not face the burden alone." As far as I know, I'm the only woman who regularly participates in the Greece & Rome Project (or has an interest in the military history of antiquity), and I sometimes announce my gender on talk pages, but I've never experienced this as a "burden". I haven't encountered any problems on WP that I would attribute to my gender, and feeling "solitary" on WP to me would mean no editors who shared an intellectual frame of reference. In intellectual matters, I tend to look at misogynists with gentle condescension, since obviously they're operating with, er, limitations of perspective.
I would distinguish between a bias in content that exists because of editorial gender imbalance — a bias that may be unconscious and results from gender-determined interests — and active misogyny, which shouldn't be tolerated any more than any other abusive behavior. The NYT examples of disproportionate coverage of topics are apt, but can be remedied if those interested in the topics contribute. The problem would lie in ad hoc applications of WP:NOTABLE, but again, I see this as more a battle of inclusionists against editors who get their kicks wielding rules to keep stuff out. (No secret which side I'm on.) Perhaps I should put my time where my mouth is and keep a better eye on AfD discussions.
The following is nonsense: "Wikipedia is experiencing the same problems of the offline world, where women are less willing to assert their opinions in public." Why? Because they're afraid men won't like them if they do? (I've never found that men dislike women with opinions anyway, so as far as I can see this reticence is something women impose on themselves.) If you're "less willing" to assert your opinions, no one can do it for you. If you have an opinion worth having, you need to be willing to stand up for it.
And: "This includes an ideology that resists any efforts to impose rules." Seriously? If we have any more rules, it will become impossible to create anything other than list articles. To return to your last point, Tenmei, the rules prolong conflicts because they put up artificial barriers to frank discussion and encourage those "difficult, high-conflict" people to play procedural games instead of focusing on content. That is what I'm finding exhausting about WP. The rules attempt to suppress normal tools of persuasion — which, let's face it, include ridicule — while proclaiming "focus on content, not the person." In fact the rules value behavior over knowledge, and process over product.
I do think gender affects choice of topic, and I've seen articles within traditionally female areas of interest challenged for notability. I have a feeling we lose a lot of valuable contributors of both genders who dislike the culture. I wonder whether more mentoring is the solution, not just for women, but for any new users who don't arrive equipped with a full suit of armor. Mentoring, however, usually occurs only when people get themselves into trouble with egregious behavior, and there's something condescending about WP:ADOPT, because it doesn't frame the relationship as the befriending of a colleague. It's like Big Brothers Big Sisters, or a parent and child, or getting a puppy from the shelter. The retired history prof who sees the value of WP and wants to contribute her expertise is unlikely to seek this "adoption."
Absurd applications of WP:CANVASS also keep people from allying with knowledgeable colleagues to improve a page or keep it on track. The requirement that such communication be "neutral" is particularly absurd, because it assumes that no encouragement or persuasion should occur. The canvassing diagram is hilarious; surely it's a satire? I emphasize "application" rather than the rules themselves, however, because the rules are almost always sensible — it's the zealotry with which they're applied. And the rules directed at behavior encourage exactly what they advise against: focus on the person and not the content. Worst of all, they obsess about the thing that's hardest to control in off-the-cuff written communication — tone — rather than intellectual rigor. I mean, I have friends who are professional writers who are constantly apologizing for something they said in an email because it may not have come across the way they intended. The courtly protocols of talk pages are not what's most important.
OK, enough ranting. To paraphrase Mark Twain who stole it from someone else, sorry I wrote such a long response but I didn't have time to write a short one. Again, thank you very much for pointing out the article. Cynwolfe (talk) 23:47, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
Just passing by and saw your door was open so I thought I'd put my head in and give you the benefit of my own opinion. First, WP does need more women. What's the point of being well behaved if there are no women around to see it? (I'm speaking on behalf of the generality of males, not for myself, you understand - I'm enlightened). Secondly, you're wrong about the rule against canvassing. Canvassing is a licence for intellectual thuggery. The idea that a college of experts work together to maintain standards is cute at best. Who says they are experts? Who appointed them? From what I've seen, it's a case of quid pro quo ("I'll help you with your battles if you help me with mine"). Some are not more equal than others. All contributors are only as good as their sources. Fullstop. Now I've got to hurry or the elevator will go without me. McZeus (talk) 03:43, 2 February 2011 (UTC)
My point about canvassing (in this context) is that as defined it prevents women from rounding up other women to address gender bias. There's no grounds to ask me to look at an article on fashion or friendship bracelets because I haven't shown a WP interest in those topics; the grounds to ask me would be that my "bias" as a woman would counter male "bias"; that is, a woman asking me for help in a notability dispute involving a line of cosmetics would be doing so contrary to WP:CANVASS, because she would be assuming that I would support her over the guy who proposed the AfD. You see the problem? If so few Wikipedians are women, you can't overcome unconscious gender bias in regard to notability and such unless you allow women to, well, canvass other women. This is hardly "intellectual thuggery."
That said, if women are "less willing" to give their opinions, they can't be surprised if their opinions don't count. There is absolutely nothing to keep women from participating in WP if they choose to. Look at Elen of the Roads, whose RfA was approved with great speed and enthusiasm. But behavioral rules that impair normal social interaction guarantee that risible imbalances of coverage will continue. If you set up a "community" that restricts normal freedoms of speech and association, the result won't be a healthy diversity. Cynwolfe (talk) 16:37, 2 February 2011 (UTC)
As a classicist, you well know that a mob of women can be even more dangerous than a mob of men. McZeus (talk) 22:21, 2 February 2011 (UTC)
I'm sure you're just joking with me, and I should just stop talking about this or I'll have to send myself into exile again. I don't like feeling muzzled, and none of the real-world workplaces I've been in have imposed the kind of restrictions on speaking freely and forming cooperative alliances that WP does. Hence the perception that the culture is that of the isolated gamer who interacts only within a rigid set of rules, when it's supposed to be a collaborative venture. No one who's done actual collaborative work such as publishing or artistic production would attempt to forbid normal human interactions. Cynwolfe (talk) 23:42, 2 February 2011 (UTC)
On the other hand, ick, I don't want Wikipedia to become a place about sharing our feelings … Cynwolfe (talk) 20:09, 3 February 2011 (UTC)


(moved from elsewhere) Hi, Wmpearl. I was looking for Icarus images and saw the relief from the Musée Antoine Vivenel you uploaded. Do you know where I can find more information about it? After a great deal of searching, I've only found it in this book, which doesn't add much. Cynwolfe (talk) 01:29, 1 February 2011 (UTC)

I saw this in another museum having a special exhibition about labyrinths and photographed it. I know nothing else about it. Sorry! Wmpearl (talk) 03:24, 1 February 2011 (UTC)

Thanks! Cynwolfe (talk) 23:42, 2 February 2011 (UTC)

Celt religion

I made a google search for comparation with Roman issues and found a rewarding reading in the book of J. A. MacCulloch 1911 Rel. of the Anc. Celts. It seems very good stuff. I was looking for something on Neptune but instead I found interesting points on:

1. Esus god-tree, bull and 3 craned or horned god = Erulus the 3 headed monster in Etruria and Rome (and Geryon) (Ch. III p. 38).

2. Human sacrifice of fertility to a fertility god who was originally a dying god of vegetation (ch. XVI p.234). Varro ap. August. VII 19 cited at p. 235 says the sacrifice to a god equated to Saturn must be of men because man is the best seed. Argei?

3. Irish sacrifice at/of foundations of a child born without a father (p.238). RR?

Is this book quotable? I also read the WK article and its citations, it looks this old book is better than newer ones.

Thank you for the attention.Aldrasto11 (talk) 12:18, 5 February 2011 (UTC)

Thank you for the reply. I would also add on point 2 the wicker man sacrifice, the Argei could be seen as similar even though thrown in water, as dedicated to fertility god Saturn, a died god.
I know MacCulloch is from the time of Frazer but I found his reasoning rigorous and citation style quite scientific. See e. g. the chapters about afterlife and Elysium.
The WK article I hinted to is Celtic polytheism. I found the level of its cited works not comparable to MacCulloch's, just an impression. Why insisting in deying evidence about human sacrifice? Even the Phoenicians and Etruscans practised them and the evidence about Celts is overwhelming, as head hunting too. The view expressed in the section on afterlife too talk of transmigration, which Mac Culloch showed to be wrong.Aldrasto11 (talk) 02:24, 6 February 2011 (UTC)


The article seems to be based entirely on Smith. The incredibly thorough Brouwer (who seems the core resource for the B. Dea), lists Medea and various others; and whatever he lists, he explicates. But no trace of Angitia there; she's not even indexed. So...

Good work on that List of Deities. Yes, Neo galore; much well-meaning enthusiasm (cf the Thalia website and its relatives). Haploidavey (talk) 14:27, 6 February 2011 (UTC)

I'd never have thought of a real-world grouping. An excellent notion (not just because I'd never have thought of it, but because it could work very well indeed). The rest of the list requires, um, attention, of course; and how much more do the articles? With all this confusion, Arnobius would seem to have a good point... Still, on we go.
Your recent additions to Fauna (goddess) are very helpful. Sweating over the impenetrable Bona Dea, one forgets just how many of these tangles and thickets could arise from ancient casuistry, damn it. Haploidavey (talk) 16:08, 6 February 2011 (UTC)
I did see the Rawson; not that I've read it, nor would I have thought of it. Thought of this as OR hadn't even begun to think of crossing my mind. Haploidavey (talk) 16:15, 6 February 2011 (UTC)

On redirects

I really don't know why I suggested deletion... other than that after two years here, just about, I still don't have anything like a grasp of certain basics. Glumly yours, Haploidavey (talk) 17:47, 7 February 2011 (UTC)

Yes, I meant redirects. Pretty basic stuff, and I have a hell of a time grasping not just how to, but when to; it's all part of generating content, and it all seems to get harder. I thought it was just me... Anyhow, heartfelt thanks for responding so constructively to my vague moaning! Haploidavey (talk) 19:57, 7 February 2011 (UTC)
You mean there isn't a NovaRoman god of bicycle tyre punctures? Ah, you know just how to make an old Porkydavey split his flitch... My keyboard got wet (make of that what you will, I'm not even gonna try). And "Ceres is mocked by a boy" is... perfect. Imporcitor regnat! Oincus Woinus! Haploidavey (talk) 23:48, 7 February 2011 (UTC)
Ah. I get you. Haploidavey (talk) 00:28, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
Spaeth's translation of Imporcitor as "Maker of Pigs" (yes!) would have been spectacular if correct. It even made very good sense. All other sources give "he who plows with wide furrows". Puh. Haploidavey (talk) 01:27, 8 February 2011 (UTC)

Gender issues

I'm not ignoring you, I'm just stumped for something sensible to say. My brane seems a bit dedd at the moment ;o --Elen of the Roads (talk) 00:32, 8 February 2011 (UTC)

That's perfectly OK. I've kinda regretted my outbursts on the subject, but not enough to delete them. Cynwolfe (talk) 00:53, 8 February 2011 (UTC)

Womb veil

Have you considered nominating womb veil for Good article status? Kaldari (talk) 18:13, 8 February 2011 (UTC)

Hi, Kaldari. I remember your good help on that article. One or two other editors have suggested that it might be a potential GA. I very much enjoyed doing the work on it, as I like to take breaks from the kinds of content I usually edit, and I think it would be an article that people outside WP would enjoy reading. I mean, I certainly didn't have the slightest idea that birth-control devices were manufactured or available on that scale in the 19th century, and I was very tickled by the quaint sound of the phrase "womb veil."
I've never worked on a GA, and I have to confess my fears that the process would involve everything I don't like about WP (since I've already done the part I like, which is learning stuff and writing about it). You may recall that we faced some efforts to edit the article into something else entirely (ancient Egypt somehow turned up momentarily). On the other hand, if the new Women's History project were interested in fostering it, I would be pleased to return to it in good company. The topic seems timely, given the current buzz on expanding the scope of WP to cover more topics that pertain primarily to women. I was also thinking I might contact the Kinsey Institute to see whether they had any materials. If we're lucky they might even have an illustration. Cynwolfe (talk) 18:49, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
That would be very cool indeed. Well, just think about the GA idea. It usually isn't too traumatic (just a single reviewer to deal with), and I would be happy to help with the process. Kaldari (talk) 23:04, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for the encouragement. I have some things I want to get off my plate first, and look forward to dealing with this when my mind feels a little fresher. Will keep you posted, especially if I find interesting goodies. Cynwolfe (talk) 01:27, 11 February 2011 (UTC)

Invidious grex

Damn. I thought I'd got the rot; but am glad you did. Btw, you know the Ceres pic you sent; did you look at the source? If not, I heartily recommend you give it a whirl, if only to see the dreadful fate of little scraggs who cheek Ceres. It's Ovid, of course, but with copious illustrations from all and sundry. Snake-boys galore! Haploidavey (talk) 19:44, 8 February 2011 (UTC)

What glorious things you've done! Haploidavey (talk) 13:56, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
Davey was a little short of lizard, and carefully made up the shortage with mint; but then he forgot the instructions, and carefully applied the mixture to his membrum virile. Alas!
What a perfect example of the frat boy that lies at the heart of every man. There's also the "lizard-slayer" Apollo, which may have to do with his medical aspect. Cynwolfe (talk) 15:01, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
Thank you so much for your e-note. I've resumed here, in more carefully measured, manageable doses; a break of sorts. Haploidavey (talk) 14:00, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
Oh dear. Perhaps I should revert. I mean, as conspiracy theories go, it's probably no less plausible than any. What would you say to Danae, plus a shower of gold? Haploidavey (talk) 01:05, 11 February 2011 (UTC) (And I only just noticed your edit summary!)
Hey, spot on. It would be horribly stretchy. I for one am deeply impressed by your grasp of Roman gaming and chair-ergonomics. En passant, you could queen your pawn with a demure email to the Museum. Wouldn't they just love it? Haploidavey (talk) 12:32, 12 February 2011 (UTC)
I do so love a compliment from you. Lately, I've felt less a Danaid than the "holey jar"... (which forgets even to sign its posts... Haploidavey (talk) 14:20, 14 February 2011 (UTC)


No objection to your changes, however it is my understanding that etymology sections are usually placed at the beginning of articles. Just a thought. Athenean (talk) 22:58, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

Thanks for the feedback. They may well be, and I'm sure I'll be overridden. But really, how is this useful to the average reader who's looking up Orpheus? It's completely unwelcoming to the 16-year-old looking up an allusion in some mythology-based adventure, and comes across as intellectual strutting along the lines of "if you don't like it, you don't have to read the article." My approach to dealing with major mythological figures can be found at Pluto (mythology) and Mars (mythology), though the latter is still missing some significant sections. Cynwolfe (talk) 23:20, 9 February 2011 (UTC)


Hey, just wanted to thank you for your comments in that Livy discussion. That was definitely the last time I respond to a task on a group forum page (in fact probably the last time I participate in a wp group forum at all). Apart from what you wrote, there was approximately zero appreciation for the many long hours I have put into adding substantial material on wikipedia from Livy. Everyone else seemed more concerned about getting into a technical argument than about finding a solution, despite my request 3 or 4 times for a proposed solution. Blaah...that's one way to discourage people from contributing.--Urg writer (talk) 06:31, 17 February 2011 (UTC)

Juvenalia and senialia

Now that's creative, and did you see how it happened? I laid the road, and blithely walked onward. You rounded it off beautifully. We laughed til we pissed ourselves inadvertently micturated. Me and my mum. And please, don't apologise. It was entirely appropriate, and somehow very, very funny.

I thank your scholarly self for the ominous goodies. Any library without a work on Epilepsy in Babylonia is woefully incomplete. Btw, your link to "On Divination" offered me a preview; but perhaps my link only works from the UK? (talk) 13:54, 18 February 2011 (UTC)

That could be. Or maybe they just ban me from certain books after I devour too much of them? Don't know what Big Google does. Cynwolfe (talk) 17:35, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
Big Google's a wayward authoritarian. I really wasn't kidding about Epilepsy in Babylonia. I've spent half the day in it - so in response, it's yes, with a vengeance. Haploidavey (talk) 01:34, 19 February 2011 (UTC)

Links in Juno

Could you please help me fix the links that show in red? The spelling seems correct...?! Sorry for the trouble and thank you.Aldrasto11 (talk) 02:24, 19 February 2011 (UTC)