User talk:NSH001

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E-mail is enabled on my account, but before using it to contact me please be aware that:

  • I think that, on principle, all wiki communication should be open for all to see
  • Therefore if you send me an e-mail, you should assume that I will publish it on an appropriate talk page, in order to reply to it there
  • If you think there is a good reason to contact me, in confidence, by e-mail, you should first ask for my agreement not to publish it.
  • I will only agree to this for a very good reason, for example copyrighted material which cannot be freely published.

In any case, I am likely to respond more quickly to a request on my talk page than one by e-mail.

Don't worry if you want to send me an e-mail that has nothing whatsoever to do with Wikipedia; if that is the case, then there is no reason why I should publish it here.

Oliver Kamm[edit]

I appreciate your comments on Oliver Kamm's talk page. Although I have other pressing tasks to attend at the moment, I'll eventually return to the discussion. Also, don't let TJive intimidate you. He's nothing but a bully. Sir Paul 06:24, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

It's ironic, though. I have long regarded Kamm as a pretentious fool who isn't worth a minute of anybody's time trying to read him -- which is why I've been reluctant to get drawn in. Yet I'm still wasting time on him...--NSH001 15:07, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
update: (after 12 years!) Kamm is so ludicrous I find it hard to take him seriously. The trouble with Kamm goes back a long, long way – long before I was on Wikipedia (can't remember when, exactly, but it was in the days of dial-up modems that blocked your phone line, and might give you download speeds of 5 Kbytes/sec if you were lucky). I still think it a waste of time dealing with him, but I suppose it was only a matter of time before Kamm's malign influence would blow up so spectacularly on Wikipedia and lead to an Arbcom case (June 2018).[i] Worth reading Brian Leiter's classic piece from November 2005. --NSH001 (talk) 10:47, 22 June 2018 (UTC)
more: There are many sources on Kamm's foolishness that can easily be found in a google search. I note the following two only because Philip Cross has been working hard to keep them out of Kamm's page:
--NSH001 (talk) 17:00, 22 June 2018 (UTC)
  1. ^ For the avoidance of doubt, I am clear that Kamm is not Philip Cross, although he has certainly influenced the latter.
A non-entity publicly, intellectually, and yet he has a wiki page. One can't edit it appropriately because he is under the radar that captures serious things.Nishidani (talk) 19:17, 22 June 2018 (UTC)
I decided to keep those few sentences from 2006 at the top (i.e., tell the bot not to archive them) partly because it's nice to have a record of when I started editing Wikipedia (well, not quite - it's the first ever message on my talk page, though) and partly because I quite like having a mildly derogatory remark about Kamm at the top of my talk page. He deserves a much more serious condemnation, but WP:BLP wouldn't allow it (rightly so, I think) and in any case posting negative stuff tends to be counterproductive. Plus he's really not worth the effort. --NSH001 (talk) 20:12, 22 June 2018 (UTC)

Citation and referencing style[edit]

Introduction[edit]

Consensus at WPMED is to keep refs generally over one line. Please do not switch them to over many.[1] Best Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 13:13, 7 August 2016 (UTC)

Doc James, I am thinking very long term here. Most larger wiki articles are effectively rendered uneditable by the presence of numerous long, horizontally formatted templates (LHTs[a]); the only edits feasible on such pages are trivial changes such as spelling corrections, or automated edits where the script/bot doesn't care about the formatting.[b] Of course this is just my opinion, but I do know several other editors share my dislike of long, horizontally formatted citation template clutter (LHT clutter). As well as making the wikitext unreadable, such templates also make it very difficult to find and correct errors in the citation templates, or indeed in anything else.
It doesn't surprise me that the Wikimedia Foundation finds it necessary to spend large sums on things like Visual Editor, given that the mess resulting from long, horizontally formatted templates makes directly editing wikitext so user-hostile. I want to see a wiki that is clear of all this clutter, but that is going to take several years to achieve. In the meantime I am effectively banned (without having commited any offence) from many, perhaps most, articles because of citation clutter. Hence I am (slowly) developing a private script to help in this task. I call the script "ETVP" for "Easy To Visually Parse", because wikitext should be nice and easy to read. I aim eventually to make it easy, using the ETVP script, to switch to short-form referencing, or to LDR, or to some combination of the two, or indeed to anything else that will reduce or eliminate citation clutter. It was not originally my intention to leave ETVP templates in-line, but when I first tried it I was surprised at how much more readable the wikitext became, so my current thinking is to retain it as an option (the main disadvantage appears to be that it is too easy to turn it back into horizontal formatting, as you have demonstrated!).
I am relaxed about not edit-warring with you on this, although I do think making the wikitext harder to read is irrational. Partly this is because the ETVP script is still a long way from being finished, but the main reason is that my focus is on the long-term, and edit warring on individual articles is of no benefit in that aim. I have always anticipated there will be some resistance to in-line ETVP templates, simply because people don't like change, or just get upset by unexpected change, or by anything surprising. I note that most WPMED articles are of a scientific or academic nature, where short-form referencing is the natural style. Once I've got the ETVP script working for that style, then I believe it could be very useful for the WPMED project.
--NSH001 (talk) 21:18, 7 August 2016 (UTC)
The majority of the editors at WPMED like the references over one horizontal line rather than over dozens of lines.
Yes there is a minority who like it over dozens of lines. I find having it over one horizontal line is easier to edit not harder.
What we need is an option / gadget so that those who want it over one line when they hit edit get it over one line and those who want it over many lines get it over many lines. That means win-win for everyone as everyone gets the way they find makes it easiest for them to edit. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 22:27, 7 August 2016 (UTC)
Look more carefully. ETVP is not "dozens of lines" (per cite). I think you might be referring to the (not very wonderful) "vertical" format that you get in the template documentation; even then (provided you eliminate the blank parameters), it rarely amounts to "dozens" of lines. The ETVP script has been carefully thought through to give you what it says on the tin: it uses the minimum number of lines and white space while still maintaining clarity. Roughly, items that logically belong together go on the same line, important items go at the top (title, authors) and references (for example, identifiers) go at the end (a bit like wikipedia article layout). The aim is to take advantage of the human visual system, which works orders of magnitude faster than the rest of the brain. This makes it very easy to spot errors, often instantly; in addition, you'll often spot errors you weren't even looking for in the first place. This is impossible to do if the template is strung out over two or more lines (by lines, I mean lines on the edit window, not the single line you're referring to), buried in a mass of other wikitext. I think one reason why cite templates are so badly infested with errors is precisely this difficulty of spotting errors in the horizontal layout. But what makes the horizontal layout even more annoying is the difficulty of spotting the beginning and end of the same template, especially if there are large numbers of horizontal cites buried within the same paragraph. With the ETVP format, the eye can again spot the beginning and end of a template instantly. So not only does the horizontal format make it difficult or impossible to spot errors in the cite templates, it also makes it difficult or impossible to follow the "flow" of the article text itself. To see this, try an experiment: (a) open in edit mode the version of the article before my edit, and try to read out loud the article text from the wikitext, then (b) do the same with the wikitext after my edit. Notice how much easier (b) is!
Take a look at Muhammad Najati Sidqi#References and Khazars#References. These are examples of the the work of the ETVP script on articles that were already using short-form referencing. Notice how easy and pleasant it is to read the citation templates there. Although I intend to implement LDR first, my aim (eventually) is to make it easy to switch articles to short-form referencing, with all templates in ETVP form. This is my preferred referencing style, and the most natural for scientific, technical and academic articles. But basically, the ETVP script will eventually let editors use any referencing style they like, as long as it doesn't involve long, horizontally formatted templates.
Note that ETVP is not the same as "vertical". Short templates are actually easier to visually parse if they are "scrunched up" (eliminating all unnecessary spaces) and kept on the same line. The ETVP script recognizes this, using a cut-off of 50 characters (this seems to work well so far, but it could be easily tweaked if necessary). Perhaps the fans of horizontal templates are aware of this, but then wrongly assume that it applies regardless of length. The general principle is that short templates are fine if they're kept on the same physical line, but the longer the template, the stronger the case for a vertical or ETVP format. For an extreme example, see this egregious edit, which I don't think anyone would want to defend.
One might also note the contrast with infoboxes, which are already, mostly, more-or-less in a vertical format, with one parameter per line. Editors don't have any problem editing infoboxes. So in my view, the difficulty some editors say they have with editing ETVP or vertical format is imaginary, not real. Probably they've just gotten used to the default that they get when they click the "cite" button on the edit window or from using most of the standard cite-generating tools. And why should they care? For most editors, adding cites is just a tedious but necessary chore, to be done with minimum effort; they care about the info they're adding, not the errors they're creating or the messy wikitext they're leaving behind.
--NSH001 (talk) 11:10, 8 August 2016 (UTC)
P.S. The idea of a gadget seems like a good one, except I'd want it to appear in an ETVP format, not the vertical one.

Notes on the Syntax highlighter gadget[edit]

Jonesey95 has suggested the syntax highlighter gadget as a possible solution to the near-impossibility of reading and editing pages full of LHTs.[b]

Initial thoughts:

  • The default setting is far too cluttered; in particular, there is no need to highlight wikilinks. However it is possible to customise it so that only templates are highlighted. This works, and is actually quite useful.
  • However, this is moot for those who, like me,use an external editor for most of their editing.
  • It doesn't distinguish nested templates, in contrast to the ETVP script, which indents templates to mark the depth of nesting.
  • In any case, this problem is so fundamental that we shouldn't need to depend on a gadget to fix it.

Conclusion: better than nothing, but not really a solution to the problem. By providing a makeshift patch that papers over the problem, it reduces the pressure to get the problem fixed properly. It does mark the beginning and end of templates clearly (very good!), but the ETVP script also does that. The ETVP format also makes it easy to spot errors instantly, and the highlighter is of no help in that regard. --NSH001 (talk) 21:51, 28 February 2017 (UTC)

Further thoughts:

  • The gadget doesn't work on diffs (and wasn't intended to), but templates in ETVP format are still easily distinguishable in diffs.
  • Not distinguishing nested templates is a major drawback, especially in Infoboxes where cite templates are common. Not a problem when using ETVP, as the script uses indentation to indicate nesting.
  • There is no need to highlight short templates (that's just unnecessary visual clutter). In my view only templates EITHER longer than about 100 characters OR which wrap around lines in the edit window need to be highlighted. Of course, the ETVP script takes account of template length, but it has no way of telling when a template is going to line-wrap. But note that templates in ETVP format are designed so that they usually won't line-wrap, except for long URLs or long quotes or exceptionally long article or chapter titles. Even then, the line-wrapping is restricted to the long piece of text, and does not affect the readability of the rest of the template.

I vaguely remember trying some sort of highlighter or edit-helper several years ago,[c] and rapidly rejecting it as too cluttered and too distracting; if my memory is correct it also suffered from a lot of bugs. In contrast, I can see that I might sometimes use this highlighter, even though most of the time I will have it turned off. The author of this highlighter, Remember the dot, deserves some thanks and credit for the thought and effort he or she has put into this script. It's obviously useful to many editors, but it's not a solution to the problem of LHT clutter. --NSH001 (talk) 09:44, 1 March 2017 (UTC) and NSH001 (talk) 10:32, 2 March 2017 (UTC)

Let's get the terminology right[edit]

I have seen other editors (not just Doc James), when talking about this infuriating problem, use the phrase "over one line" to refer to horizontal cite templates and "over many lines" to refer to other formats.

Yes, it is true that the annoying LHT format only occupies one physical line of the computer file. But to use "over one line" in the context of a discussion of the merits of the different formats is very misleading. On the actual edit window that real-life editors use, it also occupies many lines. The difference is that the LHT format will line-wrap at unpredictable positions, depending on where in the text it occurs, what font size is being used and the width of the edit window, among other factors. At least the line-breaks in the "vertical" format are predictable (making it more readable than the LHT format), while the ETVP format is specifically designed to make it as readable as possible.

Incidentally, this problem of line-wrapping is one reason why, generally, I don't mind manually formatted citations; as long as they don't contain long URLs, or other long items, they will usually fit into one line of an edit window, so they don't disrupt the readability of the wikitext in the same way that LHTs do. (I have mentioned elsewhere that there are compelling reasons for preferring templated citations, of course.) There is another reason why manual citations are generally acceptable in the body of an article: they are still in a narrative format, so (unless they contain a long URL) they fit in quite naturally with the rest of the article. Very different from cite templates, where the important task for the editor is to visually parse the argument-value pairs (updated December 2017).

--NSH001 (talk) 15:53, 14 March 2017 (UTC)

What's so bad about long horizontal template clutter (LHT clutter)?[edit]

  • It puts off new editors from joining Wikipedia. See self-selection below, and my responses to Doc James above.
  • It violates every principle of sound coding practice. Any professional computer programmer who wrote code like this would soon be out of a job, or more likely, would never be taken on in the first place.
  • It obfuscates everything. Similarly, at school I was taught how to write English properly. If I had written an essay in such an unstructured, amorphous form I would have received a big fat ZERO as my mark for such an essay. If you (generic) write English without any structure, the result is incomprehensible. The same applies to wikitext.
  • It causes errors because errors are so difficult to spot and to correct in LHTs.
  • It causes even more errors because LHT clutter makes it difficult (almost impossible) to follow the natural flow of the article text within the wikitext.[d]
  • It makes diffs hard to follow. It's bad enough trying to read wikitext cluttered with LHTs, but the problems are multiplied when you (generic) are trying to establish who has added or deleted what in a diff.
  • It sets a bad example. New editors will usually just copy the techniques they find already being used, so, not surprisingly, the result is a cancerous expansion of the usual steaming heap of unreadable and uneditable text.
  • Summary: it makes editing Wikipedia difficult, slow, error-prone and very, very unpleasant. The problem is so bad, so annoying and so infuriating that either LHT clutter has to be gotten rid of (preferably completely), or I will leave Wikipedia. The reason is obvious: how is it possible to edit anything cluttered up with LHTs, when this clutter, apart from the exceptions footnoted below,[b] makes editing impossible?
  • Conclusion: LHT clutter should be  E . X . T . E . R . M . I . N . A . T . E . D.[e]

The paradox: if LHT clutter is so bad, then why are most articles using this style?[edit]

Well, I really don't know. It baffles and perplexes me that anyone could possibly tolerate this mess. But any strategy for getting rid of LHTs needs to address this paradox. Some possible explanations:

  1. Self-selection. The WMF has been worrying for years about the long-term decline in the number of active editors. Not that surprising really, when someone new to Wikipedia opens up a page in edit mode and discovers an amorphous, unstructured, smushed-together, incomprehensible and almost unreadable heap of steaming LHT doo-doo. So the small minority that's left, and which heroically persists in trying to edit Wikipedia, has, for the most part (not all, and certainly not including me), self-selected as those who can somehow tolerate LHT clutter.
  2. False perception of authority. People assume that, simply because it is so common, LHT clutter must somehow be "right", or "officially approved", or the "standard" citation and referencing style, although per policy (WP:CITESTYLE), there is no one, single, standard citation style on Wikipedia. All this despite the fact that LHT clutter is the worst possible citation and referencing style.
  3. Lack of exposure to better citation styles. So editors are simply unaware of better alternatives: they may dislike the clutter, but just assume it's something thay have to put up with. Or they may be aware of better alternatives, but then find it takes a lot of time and effort to change the citation style (plus they may then have additional battles based on WP:CITEVAR).
  4. Unfamiliarity with academic citation styles, especially among editors who haven't had a university-level education.
  5. Poor citation-generating tools. These have plenty of faults and shortcomings. Among their faults is that they offer only the LHT clutter style, or if they do offer a choice, it is between so-called "vertical" and LHT, with LHT clutter being the default. The "vertical" form, as given in the template documentation, isn't that great either, but it's still a huge improvement over LHT clutter. None of them offer an ETVP form as a choice, of course, since ETVP is a new concept. Since the default option is the easiest one to choose, the result is that the LHT dungheap just keeps on growing.
  6. Poor citation template documentation (in fact, most of the citation template documentation is quite good; I'm referring here to the distinction between "vertical" and "horizontal"). The "vertical" style offered as an alternative to the LHT clutter format in the template documentation is very poor (but still a huge improvement on LHT clutter). It obviously hasn't been properly and thoroughly thought through though.[f] I will discuss this in more detail in the ETVP documentation, but see my responses to Doc James above for a brief outline. This may partly explain why editors (bizarrely) choose the LHT clutter format instead.
  7. Syntax highlighters. My first reaction to Doc James' request above was simply bewilderment and perplexity, since trying to edit LHT clutter is a physical impossibility[b] (well it can be done, but only at the cost of a phenomenal amount of time and effort). Note that for serious editing, I use an external editor (but I do use the standard wikitext editor for small changes, and to preview edits made in the main, external, editor). So I pay little attention to developments in the standard editor or its gadgets. Well, syntax highlighters (if properly configured) do solve one of the most infuriating problems about LHT clutter, namely the extreme difficulty of spotting where an individual LHT begins and ends. I think it's clear that without syntax highlighters, LHT clutter would never survive as a citation style;[g] otherwise editing a page full of LHT clutter is physically impossible. But that still raises questions about what newbies do, since they won't be aware of syntax highlighters. And as I explained above, syntax highlighters still have some drawbacks, and in any case, the ETVP style renders them unnecessary.[h]
    Conclusion: syntax highlighters are like a medication that alleviates (some of) the symptoms, but doesn't cure the underlying disease.
  8. Inadequate wikitext editor. The wikitext editor needs to properly support separation of long citation templates from their inline antecedents, whether it be list-defined references (LDR), parenthetical referencing or short-form referencing. In one click[i] it should enable an {{sfn}} template, or any of its siblings, including any of the harvnb family, to be inserted in the article body and at the same time the corresponding long cite template added, if not already present, in correct alphabetical order, to the relevant bibliographic listing. Similarly for named references and their corresponding entry in LDR.
    As an alternative my ETVP script effectively does this already by transforming a whole article all at once (it still needs polishing, though). The wikitext editor should also allow a single click[i] on an {{sfn}}/{{harvnb}} or named reference to bring up the corresponding long template in a popup for easy editing.
    I guess the first suggestion is too difficult and impracticable to be worth the effort, especially if we already have a script to do the job. So I'd like to limit myself to just two small suggestions, that should be possible without too much effort:(updated, December 2017)
    • A popup to show the corresponding full citation when a short-form cite is "clicked"[i]
    • Toggle the size of the edit window (edit box) between the standard size and full screen, or full screen with only minimal menus and toolbar.[j]

--NSH001 (talk) 07:39, 16 June 2017 (UTC)

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ "LHTs" may also be read as "long horizontal turds", to reflect the revulsion they induce.
  2. ^ a b c d In my experience, there are three small exceptions where it is sometimes possible to edit such pages, despite the presence of LHTs:
    1. trivial changes, such as spelling corrections (but this can still be difficult, slow, and unpleasant)
    2. all automated and most semi-automated edits. This includes, for example, edits made via a script, or by pressing an "undo" or "rollback" button.
    3. if there are substantial parts of an article that are free of LHTs. For example, it is sometimes possible to edit the lead or Infobox, since these can be relatively or completely LHT-free. Similarly it is possible to edit categories and navboxes at the end of articles (a place where LHTs almost never occur).
  3. ^ From memory, this was wikEd, which I think was the only available tool at the time to offer syntax highlighting.
  4. ^ Syntax highlighters can alleviate this problem, but using ETVP formatting is a better approach.
  5. ^ I am old enough to remember the first broadcast episodes of Doctor Who. On a black & white 405-line TV set receiving analogue signals broadcast on Band I VHF, no less. Anyone remember those big H-shaped aerials that marked out the houses of those families who could afford to buy a television?
  6. ^ Sorry, I couldn't resist the alliteration!
  7. ^ For the avoidance of doubt, I am not interested, even with the availability of syntax highlighters, in the survival of LHT clutter as a citation style; I want it to disappear completely.
  8. ^ Editors may still, of course, have valid reasons for wanting to use a syntax highlighter. The point is that ETVP means that syntax highlighters are no longer needed to deal with long templates, but syntax highlighters may still be needed for other reasons.
  9. ^ a b c possibly a click or double-click together with a control key, or combination of control keys
  10. ^ This should reduce the incentive for editors to use the LHT clutter format, since the reason usually offered for preferring LHT clutter is that the "vertical" form takes up too much screen space. Well, the ETVP format uses less screen space anyway compared to the documented "vertical" form, but let's give editors more space when they need it.

What are "turd templates"?[edit]

Definition[edit]

A turd template is another name for a Long horizontally formatted template (LHT) as defined above. As explained above, LHTs make editing difficult or impossible (with some exceptions), in addition to being undesirable on general grounds.

Opening, in edit mode, an article full of LHTs is like entering a house where every previous visitor (editor) has left a "deposit" all over the floor. Hence the name.

--NSH001 (talk) 22:28, 3 May 2018 (UTC)

More trouble from the usual suspect[edit]

I see you are, understandably, busy at the moment, but eventually if you can look at the Mathews 1900 source (I have a downloaded copy) and the 'social organisation' ref. on the Jingili page, could you find a wiki table capable of reproducing the structure Mathews provided. No urgency in this, any solution up to 2020 would be most welcome. Best regards Nishidani (talk) 14:48, 7 May 2018 (UTC)

Nishidani, how complicated is your table? · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 16:24, 9 May 2018 (UTC)
I looked it up. It does not look too difficult, so will give it a try. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 16:28, 9 May 2018 (UTC)
For a minute, Peter, I thought you were inquiring about our dining settings, which are rustically simple, forks, knives, a plate, cheese dish, wine glasses. Of course, if it comes to the menu's results, that is infinitely complex, my wife being a superb cook in the great Italian culinary art.:) Nishidani (talk) 16:31, 9 May 2018 (UTC)
Nishidani, Sounds practical. Anyways, I have drafted a table for you, where do you want it? · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 18:58, 9 May 2018 (UTC)
Oops. My mind is always drifting in the run-up to dinner. If you are alluding to the table on the Jingili talk page that requires a fix, it should be placed under the section on social organization. In the meantime, many thanks for your kindness. Nishidani (talk) 19:04, 9 May 2018 (UTC)
Done. You should check the spelling and order of the contents of the main cells. I have left the formatting as basic as it gets. If you need it to be made a bit fancier, let me know how and I will see if I can do it. Cheers, · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 19:12, 9 May 2018 (UTC)
I see now that you have different data on the talk page to what I got from Matthews. I think you may have to talk me through the fix, as it is not obvious to me. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 19:17, 9 May 2018 (UTC)
I have made a best guess of what is needed. It may be wrong, so let me know if it needs to be fixed. Signing off for the night. Cheers. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 19:57, 9 May 2018 (UTC)
'Bout time to call it a day here too, Peter.- I've been on a boring article on a different topic elsewhere all afternoon, and will get back to this tomorrow. Thanks again. Nishidani (talk) 20:03, 9 May 2018 (UTC)

On the technical side[edit]

See the removalism practice putting down roots at the 1946 page, I wondered what policy is regarding shifting such materials, if they eventually are removed on technical grounds as sources for the text, to a 'See also' section. All over wiki you have See also sections, whose reliability is rarely if ever challenged. I think Suarez's book should be put in one such section because it is undoubtedly a useful lead for future readers 'to consult, since wiki won't allow it to be actually cited. ?Nishidani (talk) 12:32, 15 May 2018 (UTC)

Well my view is that, re Suárez, the RSN discussion was inconclusive, because the only "independent" editor to respond did not offer anything worthwhile in response to your extensive arguments, merely IDONTLIKEIT stuff. I'm tempted to add something in again from Suárez, just to see what happens. In any case, I think it would be wrong to conclude that, if we don't actually use the book, it's not RS - merely that we used other sources for the same material (and that tends to corroborate Suárez). Haven't looked at the other stuff yet.
"See also" sections are meant for internal wikilinks, but it would certainly be possible to list external sources, not cited in the article, in a "Further reading" section, as long as they are relevant to the topic. --NSH001 (talk) 12:05, 16 May 2018 (UTC)
The RSN board never helps out in this area, and since the discussion was inconclusive, I don't know what to do. Of course Suarez is RS, but I think for the moment I'll adopt your suggestion and put it into a Further Reading section. There can't be any objection to that,(though there will be!) Thanks Nishidani (talk) 12:19, 16 May 2018 (UTC)

What have I done wrong[edit]

With the Madley quote in para 2 of the Tasmanian article? Damn it and sorry.Nishidani (talk) 16:53, 9 June 2018 (UTC)

Fixed. Some of your lessons seemed to have percolated through the Alzheimerish matter. I failed to watch my p's, hence the q(uerie)s! Nishidani (talk) 17:15, 9 June 2018 (UTC)

Books & Bytes – Issue 28[edit]

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Issue 28, April – May 2018

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I can't manage to yank the dummy out of my mouth[edit]

What did I do wrong with cite ^ [[#CITEREF|]]. at Eora (note 34 or thereabouts)? Nishidani (talk) 20:29, 17 August 2018 (UTC)

Just a couple of typos. I thought your eyesight was quite good? (unlike mine) Cheers --NSH001 (talk) 21:46, 17 August 2018 (UTC)
The eyes still have it - I'm unspectacled still- but the visual input evidently has problems being processed in the old timer's clogged and diseased grey, going on dark-, matter! Nishidani (talk) 08:50, 19 August 2018 (UTC)

Books & Bytes – Issue 29[edit]

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Precious anniversary[edit]

Precious
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Five years!

--Gerda Arendt (talk) 06:58, 29 September 2018 (UTC)

Thank you Gerda, much appreciated.
I must be getting old (amazing how time flies!)
--NSH001 (talk) 07:11, 29 September 2018 (UTC)

Books & Bytes, Issue 30[edit]

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ArbCom 2018 election voter message[edit]

Scale of justice 2.svgHello, NSH001. Voting in the 2018 Arbitration Committee elections is now open until 23.59 on Sunday, 3 December. All users who registered an account before Sunday, 28 October 2018, made at least 150 mainspace edits before Thursday, 1 November 2018 and are not currently blocked are eligible to vote. Users with alternate accounts may only vote once.

The Arbitration Committee is the panel of editors responsible for conducting the Wikipedia arbitration process. It has the authority to impose binding solutions to disputes between editors, primarily for serious conduct disputes the community has been unable to resolve. This includes the authority to impose site bans, topic bans, editing restrictions, and other measures needed to maintain our editing environment. The arbitration policy describes the Committee's roles and responsibilities in greater detail.

If you wish to participate in the 2018 election, please review the candidates and submit your choices on the voting page. MediaWiki message delivery (talk) 18:42, 19 November 2018 (UTC)

thanks[edit]

I don't think I've ever actually thanked you for all you've done on a number of projects I've been involved in with our mutual friend, so if you would forgive the lateness of this, thank you very much Neil, your contributions are greatly appreciated. nableezy - 23:32, 27 November 2018 (UTC)

Hey, no problem, I always appreciate a "thank you". In any case, I've always found it a pleasure to work with our brilliant old friend. --NSH001 (talk) 23:42, 27 November 2018 (UTC)
P.S. Nableezy - Thought about nominating the latest effort for DYK? I'm too lazy to do it myself! --NSH001 (talk) 23:49, 27 November 2018 (UTC)
ya will do. nableezy - 01:02, 28 November 2018 (UTC)

Taxes for Peace not War[edit]

I am trying to distinguish between organisations of conscientious objectors, - who object to conscription on principle - which this is, and those who objected to a particular conscription, which are in the anti-conscription category. Category:Peace organisations based in the United Kingdom is a subcategory of Category:Political advocacy groups in the United Kingdom. It should be in the most specific. And it is clearly an organisation, not a movement.Rathfelder (talk) 19:45, 16 December 2018 (UTC)

No.
Firstly the organisation is called "Conscience". Its full title is "Conscience: Taxes for Peace not War". Its literature uses both, but mostly the shorter form. It is never simply "Taxes for Peace not War".
Secondly (thinking of the obvious example), 100 years ago, conscription was of millions of men to fight and kill each other either face-to-face, or within shooting range of each other. Nowadays, in modern Western countries, conscription is mostly of money to pay for the technology that does most of the killing and destruction, with a paid volunteer army sufficient to do the nasty face-to-face stuff when deemed necessary. So it is very definitely against "a particular conscription", namely the conscription of money (and even a volunteer army requires conscripted money to pay for it).
(added later) And just supposing conscription were re-introduced, or proposed to be re-introduced, in the UK, there isn't any doubt that Conscience would be against that. That follows a fortiori from its main purpose. Another reason for including it in the category. --NSH001 (talk) 22:05, 16 December 2018 (UTC)
Thirdly, probably Category:Peace organisations based in the United Kingdom should probably not be a subcategory of Category:Political advocacy groups in the United Kingdom at all. Many members of the former will also belong to the latter, but not all. It is possible, for example, to promote peace at a personal level, or at a slightly higher level, mediating disputes, without engaging in political advocacy.
(later) Ah!! I took your word for it, but I've just checked, and in fact – contrary to your claim above – the former is not a subcategory of the latter! Neither is it a subcategory by virtue of being in a chain of subcategories whose highest category is a member of the former (yes, I checked that as well).
Fourthly, your edit summary "removed Category:Anti-conscription organizations" is misleading as you also, in the same edit, removed two additional categories not mentioned in your edit summary.
Fifthly, your mass removal of categories is worrying. It is tiresome, annoying, time-consuming and difficult to go through and check in detail all your edits when you are making so many (and I have only had time to look at a few). In the future, at the very least, if a page is in both category A and category B, and you are removing category A because B is a subcategory of A, please say so in your edit summary. It is annoying to be forced to trawl through all the categories on a page to try to find the one which is a subcategory of the removed category. That's simply a basic courtesy to your fellow editors. Usually removing category A will be correct (and I have done this often enough in the past), but also the question of whether category B should really be a subcategory of A in the first place needs to be considered.
Sixthly, you final point about its not being a movement is debatable. Yes, it's an organisation, but it is also part of the peace movement. Peace movements require organisation in order to be effective.
--NSH001 (talk) 21:54, 16 December 2018 (UTC)
Conscience:Taxes for Peace not War is the campaigning organisation formed to represent those in the UK who desire or promote the principle of 'conscientious objection to military taxation' (COMT). In addition to trying to get the law changed to recognise this, it also works to get COMT recognised as a human right globally via the United Nations, and campaigns in the UK to decrease military spending and increase spending on peace-making. In that sense it is in an organisation. But COMT is also a movement; as people are made aware of it as a concept, those with pacifist tendencies do tend to 'get it' straight away and come on board. A combination of information campaigns and social media activity has seen support for COMT in the UK risen by some thousands in the past few years. It is now being pushed for within UK political parties by their membership. Local branches are being proposed and discussed; one has just started in Scotland. COMT, co-ordinated by Conscience:Taxes for Peace not War, is increasing in awareness, support and social acceptability. At what point does it get to be defined as a 'movement'?
I am also getting weary of these unexplained category changes. Putting Conscience:Taxes for Peace not War down as being in Cyprus looked more like vandalism than a mistake. SandJ-on-WP (talk) 08:23, 17 December 2018 (UTC)
SandJ-on-WP Thanks for your comment. --NSH001 (talk) 09:08, 17 December 2018 (UTC)

Books & Bytes, Issue 31[edit]

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Books & Bytes
Issue 31, October – Novemeber 2018

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Sent by MediaWiki message delivery on behalf of The Wikipedia Library team --MediaWiki message delivery (talk) 14:34, 21 December 2018 (UTC)

How difficult is it for you to apply your citation style if I make a mess of it?[edit]

Hi NSH001. You've fixed up my citations in an article.

Thanks for that. But it's had me wondering - if I go in and make more edits, how much should I worry about keeping your citation style intact?

Does it take you a lot of effort? Or can I just add in citations with the visual editor, and then it's as simple as a click of a button for you to fix them?

Thanks --Sanglorian (talk) 07:19, 7 January 2019 (UTC)

Re citation style taken on its own, it's no trouble at all. But there are a couple of points worth mentioning:
  • If you want to cite something written by say, John Smith in 1995, first check that the cite isn't already in the biblio listing. (This shouldn't be difficult, as the listing is in alphabetical order - and my script keeps it that way.) If it is already in the listing, then all you need do is use {{sfn|Smith|1995}} – or {{sfn|Smith|1995|p=25}} if you want to cite a page number. No need to trouble yourself to provide a full citation!
  • Do check the automatically generated citation against the source, especially for the date and author or authors. These are crucial items to get right in a citation, and automated tools often get them wrong, or miss them out altogether. This applies whether it's VE or some other tool such as ReFill. These tools often get the title wrong, so check that as well.
I hope that helps. --NSH001 (talk) 08:16, 7 January 2019 (UTC)
Sanglorian - A few more points before I forget (raised by recent edits on Dreamtime, but generally applicable):
  • Don't worry about maintaining citation style, at least on those pages where I am active.
  • But I do recommend (if you're not already familiar with them) that you familiarise yourself with WP:CITEVAR, and with the documentation on short-form referencing - {{sfn}} is a good place to start.
  • My script has a vast array of options. Its main purpose, and original motivation, was to get rid of #turd templates. One option, which remains possible, is just to switch them regardless. This is what I usually do with Nishidani's stuff - he makes a lot of small blunders and mistyping of template syntax, and doesn't always follow WP:MOS, but he never misses out crucial citation details such as date and author/editor names, and my script is capable of fixing most of his blunders and correcting according to MOS. There is another, more cautious option I use if he's added a lot of new material. This option still switches cites if both date and author(s)/editor(s) are present, but if not, it leaves them in-line (in ETVP format), so that I can preview, and if necessary, edit the cites. In these cases, my script has to generate something to put in the |ref= and which will appear in the corresponding {{sfn}}s once it's switched. My script is getting pretty good at this, but sometimes I might want to tweak what the script generates. Note that these cites are not mistakes, these details are missing because they really are not in the source. Once I'm satisfied, I re-run the script on the tweaked version, to give the version that I will post on Wikipedia.
  • There is a third, even more cautious option I use whenever I can see that Visual Editor has been at work (and in some other circumstances where there is reason to believe that the cites are full of errors). This option merely leaves all the cites in-line but in ETVP format. I expect, in these cases, to have to manually inspect every cite, manually correct any obvious errors, and go back to the sources to add missing details and correct mistakes. I then re-run my script (once in simple cases, twice if I want to be cautious) as described above.
  • Because the in-line cites are in ETVP format, they are easy to find and correct
  • So my advice to you is: don't worry about me, but do worry about the crap that VE generates. For example, on Dreamtime [2]:
    • VE missed out the date and author names on all the cites to The Conversation, even though they are very clearly displayed there.
    • VE generated a non-existent second author, also called Gill, on the cite to Gill 1998.
    • Don't worry about the stupid stuff that VE generates, such as blank parameters or |language=en. My script will delete it automatically.
    • But do take the trouble to check the cites against the sources (very few editors actually do this, whether they're using VE or some other citation-generating tool - one reason why citations are so full of errors). Especially if you can see that date and/or author(s) are missing. That will definitely be helpful.
    • Also, do try to avoid duplicating cites, as I recomended above as the first point in my earlier reply to you. For example, you duplicated the full cite to Swain [3], whereas it would have been easier and quicker just to put {{Swain|1993|pp=21–22}}, causing me extra work in having to de-duplicate it. (BTW my script does eliminate duplicate templates, but in this case there were too many small differences for it to recognise the duplication; if the only difference were the page numbers, it would have recognised them as duplicate.)
    • Also good practice: if you've checked the source, and it really is undated, you can put |date=n.d., and if there really are no authors or editors, you can put | author = <!-- not stated -->. This is helpful, as it tells later editors they don't need to check those items again.
Regards, --NSH001 (talk) 15:42, 9 January 2019 (UTC)
Sorry about my many blunders. Sometime back someone even wondered if this were not a trace of some incipient Oldtimer's disease. Could be, but I tend to discount that probability, perhaps apotropaically, because (a) I have a dreadfully aged keyboard, with several keys loose or permanently hunched down and not quite responsive (b) when I do read what I write, the spelling errors are appallingly obvious (c) but I unfortunately edit and then don't check the result more often than not (d) often out of laziness but as frequently because, esp. recently, I can only edit rapidly because I have a thousand daily chores lingering around which require intermittent but constant breaks and attention. I tend to read up on something, keep it in my head and organize it mentally and, when back from a hospital ward, or wherever, dash to my study, glance through notes, and then make a rapid fire edit or series of edits. Ah, for the good old days when one could sit down, read and work carefully for several uninterrupted hours. Have a great New Year, Neil, and profound thanks for your unremitting assistance. I thought wiping incontinent arses by the disabled a tough chore, but cleaning up these texts must be no less trying.Nishidani (talk) 16:23, 9 January 2019 (UTC)
Don't worry about all your little blunders, they're no trouble since they can be fixed automatically - and they're part of your unique charm! Plus they help me stress-test my script. It needs to be robust before I release it to the great unwashed wiki public, and if it can handle your messes, it will probably be able to cope with anything (ha! probably not - it's not possible to anticipate all the crap that people type into Wikipedia). Yep, I know about old keyboards - the "C" key on my older laptop completely stopped working. Had to solve that one by getting a USB keyboard. Takes up more desk space, but at least it's easier to type on. You have a great New Year too, my old friend. --NSH001 (talk) 00:17, 10 January 2019 (UTC)
Thank you! That is all very useful. I will try to keep the citations clean and correct. Please do feel free to share other tips if you notice other mistakes (or if I keep making the same ones!). You mention writing {{Swain|1993|pp=21–22}} is easier than using the citation tool, but is that still true if I'm using the visual editor? Should I prepare these in a separate notepad and paste them in? Sanglorian (talk) 08:46, 14 January 2019 (UTC)
I'm always happy to help! Regarding Visual Editor, I never use it, and have no intention of ever using it, but I understand it has a facility to "switch" to editing the source text directly, so if you do want to continue using VE, that is likely to be your best option if you want to insert stuff like {{Swain|1993|pp=21–22}}.
It takes a little effort to learn how to use short-form referencing, but once you've done so, it's a lot easier to edit than any other citation style. I don't see why you would need to use Notepad, since if you want to insert a short citation, you should already know the author name(s), date, and page number(s) – and that's all you need. If the full cite isn't already in the biblio listing, you can allow VE to generate it, and my script will automatically fix it (generating both the short cite, and moving the full cite in ETVP format into the biblio listing), provided you've checked its work as I described above (I guess you'll probably need to "switch" into source text to do that). Good editors should always check their citations, and it's a pity that so many don't. --NSH001 (talk) 09:32, 14 January 2019 (UTC)

Philip Cross Arbcom[edit]

Thank you for intervening in the request I opened. As you can tell I'm very new to the processes involved.

I too added the Kamm difflink but was told all my difflinks were meritless.

A certain user has now gone after me just for opening the request. Your talk page is really interesting I'll be reading more soon.

Thank you for stepping in, I really appreciate it. Alex Tiffin (talk) 23:00, 16 January 2019 (UTC)

Oh dear, I see you've been blocked for sockpuppetry. I sigh with despair when I see editors such as yourself and Kal Holman – who have basically the right idea about the neocon warmongers (including Kamm), and the way Wikipedia is being misused to push the militarist agenda – go and shoot yourselves in the foot by breaking the most obvious rules. I certainly wondered whether Kal Holman was doing it deliberately, in order to go whining off-wiki about being blocked for bringing an Arbcom case. Stupid, stupid, stupid.
That said, I hate having to use up valuable time arguing at places like AE and ANI, and do it only very rarely. I think this is the first time I have raised anything at AE (not absolutely sure, I might have contributed incidentally at AE before), as I hate to see an injustice. So I'm also fairly "new" at AE, although I have watched many dozens of cases on subjects that concern me. BTW, as you probably know already, Kamm is lying at that Capx piece Cross linked to. I wish you all the best for the future, and thanks for stopping by to thank me.
--NSH001 (talk) 06:28, 17 January 2019 (UTC)
Alex, I may have been a little too harsh on you above. From your talk page, it seems you may simply have forgotten your password or something, then set up another account to get access, then gone back to your original account after managing to get the password reset. Or something like that. A real sockpuppet would not leave details all over the place, as you did, obviously linking one account with the other. Also you haven't been behaving like a sockpuppet usually does, which is either to get round a block, or to try to give the misleading impression that other editor(s) is/are taking your side in a dispute. But just remember, sockpuppeting is a big NO-NO on Wikipedia, it's dishonest, and attempting to deceive your fellow editors. --NSH001 (talk) 08:06, 17 January 2019 (UTC)