User talk:PocklingtonDan/Archive/1

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Hello PocklingtonDan! Welcome to Wikipedia! Thank you for your contributions. If you decide that you need help, check out Getting Help below, ask me on my talk page, or place {{helpme}} on your talk page and someone will show up shortly to answer your questions. Please remember to sign your name on talk pages by clicking Button sig2.png or using four tildes (~~~~); this will automatically produce your name and the date. Finally, please do your best to always fill in the edit summary field. Happy Editing! DuncanHill 17:23, 31 October 2006 (UTC)

Tidying up Pocklington[edit]

Hi, yes, you replied in the right place! Good to see a new user contributing so much - I can't remember why Pocklington was on my watchlist (I'd probably done some Disambig Link Repair on it). Keep up the good work :) DuncanHill 18:35, 31 October 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for the cleanups. Meant to say that yesterday but only just figured out how to quote! I've finished the Pocklington article tidyup (will keep it on my watchlist) but I'm off to prowl the rest of wikipedia now :-) PocklingtonDan 17:02, 1 November 2006 (UTC)

Roman legion[edit]

You have been critizing the Roman legion article and mentioned battlefield deployments we have not yet shown. Are you interested in explaining to one of our graphic inclined editors how such a formation looked like, so we can create pictures of accurate examples. Thank you Wandalstouring 21:19, 4 November 2006 (UTC)

Certainly, will post a fulle response on your user talk page. Cheers - PocklingtonDan 23:34, 4 November 2006 (UTC)
The new images are quite instructive, but could you make also a little (as an example) differntiation for the enemy troops, skirmishers and main battle line/s so the reader does not suspect the velites to run headlong into a line of heavy infantry. Wandalstouring 15:14, 5 November 2006 (UTC)
I was trying to avoid any representation of the enemy lines at all since the aim was to concentrate on the Roman lines. However, I agree that the solid block is misleading and may be interpreted as a single block of heavy infantry. I will try and revise these later - PocklingtonDan 17:14, 5 November 2006 (UTC)
In the Battle of Ilipa Scipio used an echelon formation shaped like a V or U with only the frotal edges actually engaging in combat with the enemies flanks. The Cannae formation should have a longer weak center, as this was the essential plot to counter an attack of numerically supreme forces.
Perhaps in shades of color the position of better armed troops and skirmishers can be shown. -> all formations were covered by a line of skirmishers to be able to group and approach the enemy unmolested. Wandalstouring 19:00, 5 November 2006 (UTC)
I agree with all of the above, the trouble is trying to convey all this information pictorially in anything less than 1280x1024 resolution for each picture :-) I was trying to keep the representations as simple as possible so as to give a general indication only. I would be more than happy to do a whole series of large illustrations showing exact unit dispositions, terrain, differentiatin between different unit types etc, but I don't think such a small section of an article deserves it. Perhaps a seperate article of Roman Infantry Tactics might be more suitable, but this is currently a redirect rather than a page in its own right and I didn't want to go creating any new articles given current apparent disarrary of suerstructure - PocklingtonDan 19:07, 5 November 2006 (UTC)
Size doesn't matter. If we have the ressources and the knowledge to create good material, we do it and it doesn't require whole new articles. Of course it is a question what we want to show and how much detail. So, let's leave the terrain issue mostly aside. I think a difference between skirmishers /light ranged combat troops and heavy infantry should be made. the difference between cavalry and infantry is quite good. We could make chariots and elephants one group and give them only one line through the center. Wandalstouring 20:29, 5 November 2006 (UTC)


If you claim Rome was a militarized state give me a source etc. Wandalstouring 14:57, 7 November 2006 (UTC)

Certainly, which article is this in? Cheers - PocklingtonDan 15:12, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
Military history of ancient Rome but others need also sourcing Wandalstouring 15:19, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
OK, just flag anything you think needs a cite in these artiles as wikicode "fact" (citation needed) and I'll get onto it. I'm sure I'll have cites for almost all of it, since I'm working from a large collection of sources here as well as from memory. - PocklingtonDan 15:33, 7 November 2006 (UTC)

revenue generation Roman military[edit]

Could you make it in color or at least with some lines to make it clearer what belongs to which kind of financing in this diagram. Wandalstouring

Good idea - one colour for say taxes on citizens, one for provincial taxes, etc? I'll look into doing that, thanks - PocklingtonDan 17:02, 8 November 2006 (UTC)

Way too much info[edit]

you put way too much detailed info into the Roman military article. Could you try to outsource it to other articles like: Military history of ancient Rome Wandalstouring 20:57, 8 November 2006 (UTC)

I disagree - the history section is very small, and any other info put in, for example, the branches section is the minimum necessary to make sense of the terms and put them in context. I think the Roman military article serves an essential purpose to bring structure to the topic and any notes within it are purely to give it context and make it easier to understand. In my opinion it is pretty much pared down to the bare minimum - let's not forget this is a massive topic covering an entity with 1300 years existence and numerous reforms, and the article is scarcely longer than that for gladius for example. I seem to be ping-ponging at the moment between people telling me to split articles down into smaller articles and people telling me to merge smaller articles into larger ones. As far as I can tell the general agreement between me, yourself and others was to make the Romam military article an "extended disambiguation" page. The disambiguation necessarily entails some small amount of history - it doesn't make sense to mention two different types of army unit without putting into perspective that a reform led from one to the other. I agree that none of the history or detail should go very deep - that would be the job of a specialist page - but I do believe that it is the necessary glue that binds together the various terms and links used. I don't think any article can really be "too detailed" either - that seems a misnomer for an encycolpedia - it seems to me that if a section that briefly summarises a topic gives more information than a dedicated article on that topic, that the dedicated article is lacking and needs work, not that the summary needs to be pared down. I have in front of me on my desk just a few reference book from my colelction on Rome that together amount to over 6000 pages, which are themselves commentary and abbreviated versions of tens of thousands of pages of recorded data from archeology, contemporary sources etc - I really don't think that an article that is barely two pages of A4 on the Roman military can be said to be too detailed! :-) Of course, this is wikipedia, so if there is a consensus it needs to be pared down, or even if one individual is keen to pare it down, then it will happen. I would just always rather see too much information on a topic than too little. - PocklingtonDan 22:44, 8 November 2006 (UTC)
I just wanted to point out in addition that in creating the Roman military article I followed the convention and precedent in setting covered areas and section titles and content of other military articles such as British military and US military. The ROman military section matches these closely and is in fact shorter despite covering a much larger stretch of history. Cheers - PocklingtonDan 22:52, 8 November 2006 (UTC)

this is no reference[edit]

[1] this is no reference. - Wandalstouring 17:54, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

Hi - Sorry, didn't understand your message "this is no reference" on my user talk page. Can you clarify please? Cheers - PocklingtonDan 17:57, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

open the edit function:

  1. ^ Including the millions of citizens of Rome

<[ref>Including the millions of citizens of Rome<[ref> Wandalstouring 18:08, 9 November 2006 (UTC)


Additionally, a lot of the plunder traditionally returned to the Roman Imperial purse was kept by the army, who began to demand it of their generals as a right, and given the low wages and high inflation in the later Empire any plunder gained came to be seen as the right of the troops[1].

  1. ^ Grant, M., The History of Rome, Fabre and Faber, 1993, p. 287

prior you state that there was no expansion and so there was no more plunder what had been vital for the economy. Now you say the troops kept the plunder in a section of the late Empire which did face trouble because there was no plunder.Wandalstouring 18:11, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

Hi. OK, the first reference was intended as a footnote rather than a cite. Is this not allowed? On the topic of the plunder, the Roman army has been argued as an example of Raubwirtschaft (Toynbee, Burke) - an economy based on plunder rather than production, capitalism etc. Revenue had certainly dried up drastically by the mid to late empire after the borders became roughly fixed but of course any war had the opportunity for some plunder, even if it was nothing like on the scale of the earlier expansion. I think the difference here is scale - in the late republic and early empire look at the massive money lavished on the forum and the massive numbers of slaves brough back (maybe up to 50% of the population at one time) which simply wasnt sustainable in the late empire. Also, given inflation and the reduction in real worth, the military had to be paid with plunder and donatives in addition to their salary to prevent mutiny. I don't see there's a contradiction here, it perhaps just needs explaining more fully. - PocklingtonDan 18:40, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
OK, we had a lengthy explanation about the financial state within the Empire and I made it clear that there were no great campaigns outside their realm, while we talk about plunder there, I think this way it is more evident and makes sense to the casual reader. Wandalstouring 19:47, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
This reads a lot more clearly now, yes. Thanks - PocklingtonDan 08:34, 10 November 2006 (UTC)

Please check if I linked the right guys in Roman military[edit]

Toynbee and Burke

Wandalstouring 23:44, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

Spot on, yes. Cheers - PocklingtonDan 08:34, 10 November 2006 (UTC)

License tagging for Image:Rmn-mil-cmd-strct-3.png[edit]

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Thanks little computer robot thing, tag added now :-) - PocklingtonDan 13:12, 10 November 2006 (UTC)

Roman military Manpower[edit]

Wouldn't there be a little bulk of first going down (at least Hannibal's first two years in Italy) and then up to 250,000 (150,000 army as Polybius says and manning 220 quiquiremes as Polybius says) during the Second Punic War? Wandalstouring 23:06, 11 November 2006 (UTC)

I did see the quote of 100,000 men for the navy of the time, yes, but I thought the army of the time was only 50,000 and that any larger figures included those troops serving on the quinquiremes?? I don't have any Polybius texts, I'm only seeing his figures quoted in secondary sources - if you can help me out with some cited numbers for before, during and after the first punic war that would be a great help. I know the first punic war did represent a massive military investment in men and materiel by the romans and is often quoted as an example of their ability to push themselves and absorb massive losses. Cheers - PocklingtonDan 08:58, 12 November 2006 (UTC)

new project[edit]

Roman military is soon quite finished. Military history of Africa could need some help, are you interested? Wandalstouring 23:29, 11 November 2006 (UTC)

I agre that the roman military article is definitely looking almost finished. I would ideally like to get a few more cites in there to stop things being flagged as "citation needed" or removed at a later date. Africa's not really an area I know a lot about - I'll take a look at it though. Cheers - PocklingtonDan 09:00, 12 November 2006 (UTC)
Almost finished is not yet finished. Peer review for a new style of article right now when there is a hot debatte on the use of bulleted lists. Wandalstouring 02:45, 13 November 2006 (UTC)

Converting lists[edit]

I think you are doing ill service by converting list into prose and destructuring the whole. try blockquotes and make the first word in fat print. That is a very old and widespread encyclopedic layout. Wandalstouring 17:48, 14 November 2006 (UTC)

hi wandalstouring, I think it is only fair to consider the immediate reactions to those who read and review the article. Whilst the bullet points displayed a clear and strong immediate layout to those of us with knowledge of the subject, every one of the three peer reviews stated that they found them confusing. I think that without explanation around them in prose form people were finding them hard to understand. I think perhaps we were assuming too much about an average reader's knowledge of the terms we were using, and a lot of it didn't make sense to people. I agreed with you initially about the bullet points (they are clearer to me) but it makes sense to write the articles so that they are clearest to the maximum number of people using them. Cheers - PocklingtonDan 17:55, 14 November 2006 (UTC)
Now it is much less clearer. Cheers. None of the peer reviews complained that bullleted lists make it not clear to anybody. It was about established FA rules saying it has to be in prose. As I already answered you, you could do it very differently (read again the suggestion of Kirill Lokshin) and kept a clear structure while using lots of prose to explain things even to the lowest bidder. Think first, edit later. Wandalstouring 18:28, 14 November 2006 (UTC)
Hi Wandalstouring. I don't think this is something to get upset about. I thought it was very clear from the peer reviews that all three reviewers to date commented that they thought that prose would be better than bulleted lists. Expanding to full prose has made things less clear to someone familiar with the terms who is scanning the article (you and me) but much clearer to someone unfamiliar with the terms who is reading it through from start to finish (the reviewers and general readership). I did think first and edit later - I called a peer review, listened to their responses, posted what I was gong to do in response to their reviews, and then did it. I can't think of a more thorough or transparent process than what I did. PocklingtonDan 18:40, 14 November 2006 (UTC)


I have edited now with three different styles of blockquote. While you can use prose on them and even hinder the text flow from any major disturbance (you can still have the easy and fast navigation the article privously had). Sorry, but If I want to look up something now, I have to read several minutes before I get anywhere. Wandalstouring 18:42, 14 November 2006 (UTC)

Hi Wandalstouring, I think what you are saying applies only to you and me scanning the article quickly for terms we are familiar with - this is not how a normal reader would approach the article - they would not be familiar with the terms used and would need to read it logically in prose form to make sense of it, this understanding has only come to me based on the peer review. - PocklingtonDan 18:47, 14 November 2006 (UTC)
I disagree. You mix up layout and writing style. Answered on my talk page. Wandalstouring 18:55, 14 November 2006 (UTC)

Welcome to the Military history WikiProject![edit]

Food in Roman times[edit]

Would you be interested in helping me on some articles relating to this?? I see youre interested in Roman history! --SunStar Net 01:33, 17 November 2006 (UTC)

Its certainly an interesting area but not really one that I know an awful lot about. What sort of angle are you approaching it from? Mass transit of grain from africa to feed the penniless of Rome etc? Military rations? Or the haute cuisine of the rich? Or all of the above? - PocklingtonDan 08:06, 17 November 2006 (UTC)

EssjayBot III[edit]

I've setup the bot to archive your talk page, but I had to adjust the format you provided: The archive the bot uses must have an archive number (i.e., User talk:PocklingtonDan/Archive/1) or it will not be able to automatically move to the next archive when it reaches the size limit. I've set it up to use the format User talk:PocklingtonDan/Archive/1; if you'd prefer the number in some other format, let me know. Essjay (Talk) 01:46, 17 November 2006 (UTC)

Many thanks, that format will be fine. - PocklingtonDan 08:06, 17 November 2006 (UTC)

Military history of Italy[edit]

Just another request based on your activity on Roman topics, but would you like to make a brief synopsis of Roman military history for the article on the military history of Italy? One is needed, and I really need to get back to filling in the other topics myself. Thanks for any help. -KingPenguin 01:57, 18 November 2006 (UTC)

I am already committed to too many projects at the moment but will keep this on my talk page and have a look at a later date if I get a chance. Cheers - PocklingtonDan 08:49, 18 November 2006 (UTC)

Major error[edit]

Roman-military-size-plot.png This diagram is wrong from the point you branch of the Eastern Roman Empire (and none in the peer review realized this factual error). At the moment the Eastern Empire branched of the military was divided in half. In your diagram the Eastern Empire started with a few hundred men and rapidly expanded to hundred thousands (thanks to which series of military geniuses?). Wandalstouring 17:54, 14 November 2006 (UTC)

I understand what you are saying - can you give me a quick sketch of how you think this can be better represented? Cheers - PocklingtonDan 17:57, 14 November 2006 (UTC)
I wonder why it did not yet change, I told you the solution several days ago. Well, at the time the Empire is split, split the army in half - the Roman army (Western Roman army) graph drops to half the value the empire had perviously, afterwards you continue from these points. Your diagram may have another error, the foederati are possibly not considered Western Roman troops in all sources. Your approach of not counterchecking the data for the Eastern Roman Empire may thus lead to inflated numbers for it. Cheers Wandalstouring 21:35, 18 November 2006 (UTC)
Hi wandalstouring, i've got a lot on at the moment and am trying to get round to everything in turn. i still do not understand exactly how you want the split to be represented and really would like to see a sketch you could provide me with please, it would help enormously. I haven't yet seen any indication that foederati were not considered part of the ROman military - in the late empire they *were* the roman military! Cheers - PocklingtonDan 21:38, 18 November 2006 (UTC)

Roman Military Project[edit]

Just a note about your restructuring of the Roman military articles; are you not, essentially, re-creating a portal through a hierarchical structure of articles like that? Have you considered creating a Wikipedia:Portal for the project? - Vedexent (talk) - 23:25, 17 November 2006 (UTC)

I'd also direct your attention to the discussion here - Vedexent (talk) - 03:52, 18 November 2006 (UTC)
Thanks, I shall have a look at this now - PocklingtonDan 08:43, 18 November 2006 (UTC)
You got your own Portal:Military of ancient Rome now. feel free to edit. Wandalstouring 21:36, 18 November 2006 (UTC)

Summary : only the keys to understand[edit]

Hello, I did User:Yug/Wars when I prepared my history exam, I think you can use this page to start a “Concise Roman military History” readable in 5 minutes. I think a such convenient think is need, If you (one other people) agree, I think we have to do so :] . Yug (talk) 18:20, 18 November 2006 (UTC)

Hi, the Campaign history of the Roman military article is more complete that that list, and I don't think wikipedia normally do "concise" versions of articles, cutting out some info - i thinkthe emphasis is normally to present as much information as possible, and make it quick and easy tor ead by providing navigable sections and sub-pages rather than simply removing content, so I don't think I agree with the creation of a "concise" version of the article. Cheers - PocklingtonDan 19:45, 18 November 2006 (UTC)

Internal Headers[edit]

I've noticed that you repeat the headers

  • Prior to the Roman kingdom
  • During the Roman kingdom
  • During the Roman Republic
  • During the late Republic to the mid Roman Empire
  • During the late Roman Empire

on most of the top level pages.

May I suggest that we already know that we're talking about Roman history because of the article titles, and that we already know that we are talking about during because it is a chronological organization of the article. A more succinct header structure might be

  • Pre-Monarchy
  • Monarchy
  • Early Republican
  • Late Republican to early Imperial
  • Late Imperial

Just a thought. It isn't a big issue, and it may be too late in the game to change it now. - Vedexent (talk) - 19:18, 19 November 2006 (UTC)


Hey - I just noticed User:PockBot. While laudable that you don't want to sit around waiting for someone to solve your problems - please note that while Kirill has said that he isn't aware of any current bots that do this, please note that the Military History Wikiproject does maintain an automated list (or, I believe has it done for them by an external agency) of all articles that fall under the scope of the Project and their status, much like your list. So, something very much like this is already automated. You might want to look into that first! See Category:Military history articles by quality, and Wikipedia:Version 1.0 Editorial Team/Military history articles by quality/1

One rule of software development is that after you have completed requirements capture, investigate whether there are any "off-the-shelf" solutions that can be adapted to your particular challenge economically. It prevents you from having to re-invent the wheel each time.

Of course, if there are none, then you charge forward and build your own ;) - Vedexent (talk) - 19:25, 19 November 2006 (UTC)

Hi, thanks for the links, they do seem to contain similar summaries, albeit for a wider category. I've already done a look around and I didn't see any existing bots or processes for doing this. If there is something behind the scenes (perhaps in the "editorial team") its frustrating given the nature of wikipedia that they don't seem to be visible or accessible to all. I've kicked off a formal proposal/request for PockBot including a full spec and I'm hoping that if someone already has something similar somewhere they will let me know and reject PockBot. Given that the bot once written could perform the stated task for any category, and be run at any time by any user, it might be more flexible than any existing tool, in any case - I can definitely see how the tool would be useful for any number of task forces etc. Cheers PocklingtonDan 20:05, 19 November 2006 (UTC)

If you are following the discussion on the automation task force then it appears the the list is generated right off the database, if I understand Kiril, and not running of a "web-aware" bot - which is what I assume you're attempting to put together? A sort of web spider with the ability to store lists of articles from given starting category points, check those articles' talk pages for "quality tags" and compile a list? - Vedexent (talk) - 20:22, 19 November 2006 (UTC)

Exactly, what is in existence at the moment seems to be fairly heavy and limited-access, what I'm looking at is exactly what you've described - PocklingtonDan 20:30, 19 November 2006 (UTC)
Do you see a problem with this approach? - PocklingtonDan 20:31, 19 November 2006 (UTC)

None at all. I think such a spider would be hight-moderate level complexity. How are you thinking of implementing it? I assume you have a platform that you can run a small web application on - say a web server/PHP or PERL mod running/MySQL for the database? That would seem workable, as you can activate/deactivate it with simple web requests - and you can have some automated process somewhere out there to kick off such requests if you want to automated that.

Thinking of going with an XML based parsing of the html pages (I'm assuming that Wikipedia spits out well formed HTML and therefore paras-able XML) - say a DOM handler, or going with something like regular expressions to try and pull out the relevant data?

Just curious - you might not even be thinking along these lines yet :) - Vedexent (talk) - 20:48, 19 November 2006 (UTC)

I've already started on the basics, I don't think it would be too tricky. I'm going to be using perl/regexp to match everything with a trusty old flatfile database. Deactivation code is pretty simple, just give it a deactivate action via web request from the bot user page. Basically it will go and grab the category page, parse it for links to other categories, and for links to sub categories. It will build up a really small disposable database of 1) subcats and 2) articles. It will process each subcat for articles until it is left with a long list of articles. Then it will go to the talk page ofeacha rticle and parse for article class flag, tag each article int he database, then spit it out as wiki-marked-up text. In the initial development the status page will have to be manually edited with the table of data that gets spat out (no idea what API is for editing wikipedia via remote perl script), but in a later version I would expect it to then upload the data to the status page itself upon completion. - PocklingtonDan 21:09, 19 November 2006 (UTC)

Interesting :) I guess regex is a good "quick and dirty" way to go :) I'm not that familar with PERL, working mostly with PHP for "rapid prototyping" and JSP/Servlets for more robust solutions.

I guess you're trusting that the categories are arranged in a tree structure - which they should be - but God help you if someone has accidentally defined a cycle in there.

As for API's to interface with wikipedia: what classes/functions/libraries exist for web access? Adding/updating the page shouldn't be a problem - just send a POST request emulating a wikipedia user login (for PockBot) and another which emulates what you'd get for saving a page edit. You could even "boilerplate" those from manual submissions and just do simple substitution just prior to submitting them. A POST header HTTP request is all text based - no reason you can't manually code one :)

In any case, I'd love to see source code when you get it running, if that's OK with you :) - Vedexent (talk) - 21:48, 19 November 2006 (UTC)

Sure thing. I'm off work tomorrow so should be able to get it up and running then, I'll leave a message on your tlak page when I get it done. Cheers - PocklingtonDan 22:10, 19 November 2006 (UTC)
Meh, didn't get it finished today. Got a few hours work in and its now possible to run the bot from a category and get a list of all pages in that category and subcategory but there are problems with timeouts and getting wikipedia to accept code returned via scripts due to edit tokens etc. Should be able to sort it but maybe not before end of the week now. - PocklingtonDan 21:30, 20 November 2006 (UTC)


Some remarks:

  • it is "Primary sources", not "Primary Sources", and so on
  • "See also" goes before the "Notes" section
  • Consider avoid adding both the side and bottom templates to a page
  • If a section is void, do not add it.

--Panarjedde 17:41, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

Please see response on your tal page - PocklingtonDan 17:48, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
Do not reply there, I am watching this page.--Panarjedde 17:56, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
From my talk page
Thank you for what I'm sure was intended as a positive contribution to several articles, but in fact you have made it very difficult for me to work on adding the content I have been going through and adding to several articles - I put in short-term flags of areas I wanted to work on (what you descrbe as voids) and you have commented vast swathes of the articles out. Please do not do this. I prefer not to write an entire article in one swoop but to continuously work on it, expand it,a nd improve it across multiple edits. You make it difficult for me to see where I am up to. With regards to side and bottom templates, I am not sure what you mean - I have been inserting a template ont he right side, and a link tot he portal at the bottom, as is standard policy. Please have some flexibility since you can see I am obiously improiving articles and adding content - I have 1000+ edits and ave brought several articles from nothing to B class in a short space of time. You are impeding my work. -PocklingtonDan 17:46, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
I tried to be polite. The fact is that some of you edits are sloppy, and require editing. I'll try again.
  • Manual of Style requires section headers to use capitals only for the first word and for proper nouns. So "Primary Sources" is wrong.
  • Manual of Style gives "See also" section before "Notes"
  • You should follow standards with a grain of salt. If you add the long side template and the bottom template to a stub, you end up with an article that has a huge void space on the left, without additional information. Templates are meant to aid navigation, not to clutter the articles.
  • What is the point of adding a section and later filling it? Add it when you have something to write
I will assume your good faith, but I do not think that adding portal templates is "obiously improiving articles"; and the number of your edits is irrelevant.
--Panarjedde 17:56, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

I told you I am watching this page, please, answer here.

From my talk page
I hate that so much time is wasted bickering over things like this. Some of my edits may well be sloppy. I consider adding factual information with a few typos or stylistic flaws to be better than adding nothing at all. I'm all for bots and editors brushing up grammar and style etc, but I'm just asking for a bit of common sense and flexibility - clearly I am working on those articles as you can see in edit history and sometimes putting structure in place before later going on to fill it. THis is part of the natural process of how articles evolve - especially early on, it is necessary to put a structure in place before adding full content. I have no problems with the de-capalization of section headers, I just don't see it as an earth-shatteringly important issue either way.I am not simply adding portal templates to pages - that is a lare art of what I have been doing recently, since it is important to link articles on similar topics together through templates and categorisation, but I have also written substantial articles such as Campaign history of the Roman military. I don't get hung up over typos or failing to implement wiki style perfectly. - PocklingtonDan 18:02, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
I hate wasting time too. But hopefully a discussion now will help me saving time later.
What I am saying to you is that adding a "work in progress" structure is not allowed. Add structure only when you have something to say. Is it so difficult to understand?
Furthermore, why you are against using style when you add content? Why don't you write "Primary sources", when it costs you nothing? Why don't you use proper layout, if it costs you nothing? The natural process here is to add content, not structure.
As regards "link[ing] articles on similar topics together through templates and categorisation", why do you need a huge template, when a link to the portal is enough?
Please, answere here.--Panarjedde 18:10, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
(sigh) In the instance of the List of Roman wars article, I made a clear comment on the talk page describing what I was doing - it was necessary for the article to have section headers from 1st century AD to fifth century AD in order to show that these were valid periods to be covered even if there was currently no content - I think for an encyclopedia to b misleading is far worse than to scope the required information properly, even if that content isn't added yet. I don't understand why this is even an issue - I had left the page edited in that state for a very short time in order to add the structure and go away and add the content, I had stated what I was doing on the talk page. With regard to being against using style when adding content, sticking to a wishlist of abitrary stylistic choices is not forefront in my mind when adding content. Neither is spelling. I will often go back and clear up my typos and grammar and wikify but this is a separate process. If I am adding content, stopping to edit typos and wikify items not only slows me down but can break thought processes. With regard to the main template for the roman military, it was suggested that such a thing be created for ease of navigation within the topic. I find it helpful, as I'm sure others do, and it certainly isn't against any wiki regs I'm aware of, what is the problem with it? - PocklingtonDan 18:22, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
[As regards having sections from 1st century AD to 5th century AD] You can achieve the same effect in a cleaner way, by telling it in the introduction to the article
[As regards leaving articles in an unfinished state] Why don't you edite one page per time?
[As regards style and corrections] Style is important, otherwise why you were adding structures? And why you don't care of introducing correct information since the beginning, instead of continually editing a lot of articles? Remember you are not the only one to edit these pages, allow other editors to contribute in a comfortable way, by leaving a clean article.
[As regards the template] Do you really need that huge template in any page dealing with Roman military? Why the link to the portal is not enough? The problem with the template is that it is huge.
--Panarjedde 18:29, 22 November 2006 (UTC)


You clearly used the wreath from Image:Nova Roma Flag.jpg to create this image, and since the Nova Roma flag is copyrighted and only used on Wikipedia under fair use, you cannot do that. I'm certain you can find a non-fair use wreath to use to make a new copy of this image, so I won't tag it for deletion, but expect that you will work on a new image to replace it soon. Thanks.  OzLawyer / talk  22:26, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

My apologies, this is a misunderstanding on my part - I thought that since it was on wikipedia it was int he public domain and therfore OK to use as te base for a new image. Since this is not the case I will try and find an alternative image on wikimedia that is specifically flagged as public domain and change the header image accordingly. Thanks - PocklingtonDan 07:51, 23 November 2006 (UTC)
I will base the new image on this file, which is definitely public domain - PocklingtonDan 08:16, 23 November 2006 (UTC)
New image uploaded now based on true public domain wreath rather than fair use one. Thanks! - PocklingtonDan 08:42, 23 November 2006 (UTC)
Great work--looks even better than the old one (although to be honest, I think it'd look better without the periods).  OzLawyer / talk  13:28, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

The Military history WikiProject Newsletter: Issue IX - November 2006[edit]

The November 2006 issue of the Military history WikiProject newsletter has been published. You may read the newsletter, change the format in which future issues will be delivered to you, or unsubscribe from this notification by following the link. Thank you.

This is an automated delivery by grafikbot 23:04, 26 November 2006 (UTC)

Reversion of Dave's edit to military history[edit]

Thanks Dan. The article has been made really super. I didn't mean to mess it up. On that first heading there is a link problem. It goes to a broken redirect. The proper way is to have it go directly to the article referenced. That was why I made the change. But you are right. At the moment the article is locked. As soon as it is unlocked I will fix the link with a pipeline symbol so the title does not change. If you still find it objectionable revert it and I will then look at the redirect unless you have fixed it first. Once again congratulations to whomever on a marvelous cleanup. If you had a hand in it, bravo.Dave 14:55, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

Yes, it is of interest. You may have run into me before. I forget where. But again bravo. The whole thing was so disorganized it was tough to know what coherently to do and once you start down the slippery path of chaos it gets worse and worse. This way I can see articles of a specific type that can be filled in in a specific way. It is much easier to do work on it, and now there is a nice template. Finding time is of course a tough problem. But when I think of the labor I had to go through when I was a boy and trying to learn the subject, the running around to libraries and trying to find the books only to glean a little information here and there in hand-scrawled notes, which always got lost, and required boxes of index cards, and you never could get the whole picture at any time; in fact, your picture depended on the rare book you managed to lay hold of, and when I think of how the scholars hoard all the resources and the information, only to be doled out in little driblets for a high prices, or not even to be let out at all, because it might break their rice bowl, I realize how important to mass education the Internet and specifically Wikipedia are, and know that I can at last participate in the mutual education process without having to lop off my feet metaphorically speaking because they are too long or break my bones stretching them because they are too short in order to lie in bed with the vampire that haunts the byways of Academia. She seems to require that my tongue be cut out also, so that I may bleed all the more for her. Whew. Where was I? Oh yes, thanks for helping to restart the Roman military in a coherent fashion. Disciplina is the key concept. We have to get all the molecules vibrating together in order to usefully use the psychic energy released by Wikipedia raising the communicative entropy. This is a big heat engine here. Lots of hot air. See you on the scene. If I violate your discipline again let me know.Dave 05:48, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

Help Request[edit]


I am nearing completion of the development of PockBot, a wikibot currently under Request for Approval. I am unsure how to make PockBot add entries to articles, there seems to be a system of edit tokens etc that stops it from simply adding data from GET request over HTTP via impersonating a user request. I could do with some help please in knowing how to write to a wikipedia page from a Perl script via HTTP. - PocklingtonDan 13:48, 5 December 2006 (UTC)

The source code of User:Pearle, a bot written in Perl, is publically available as far as I can remember, so you might want to see how that bot does it. Most bots (my bot, for instance) operate by visiting the edit page (the same way a human would) using GET, reading the information and the tokens, and then submitting by faking a form-send from the page (using POST). (Bot523 actually uses a Web browser to do this; there are other methods, however.) Hope that helps; you might want to ask the bot owner's noticeboard for more information, although it's quite low-traffic. --ais523 13:53, 5 December 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for your incredibly quick response t my query, hadn't tried that before and figured i'd be waiting days for a response, so thanks. I will take a look at the Pearle source code as you suggest but IIRC that's a pretty huge bit of code so I might be hunting for a while. WOuld it be possible to see the relevant code from your Bot523? I take it makes a GET request and then screen-scrapes the edit token etc out? This should be compatible with my bot. I have made several stabs at it but can't get it to work (the shame!). I will take a look at Pearle but if you were able to show me code you got to work for Bot523 it would be greatly appreicated. Cheers - PocklingtonDan 13:58, 5 December 2006 (UTC)
Sorry, I see now your bot is in javascript. The exact POST/GET strings you use would probably still help though if possible - PocklingtonDan 14:00, 5 December 2006 (UTC)
For GET, it's something along the lines of'Learning_to_Labour'?action=edit&afddecat=Y (to take the first page it would check if I ran an AfD-decatting run now); the &afddecat=Y bit at the end is ignored by Wikipedia and only serves to tell the bot what to do. As for POST, I cheat and do;, so I don't have to bother parsing out the tokens because they're in the form already, and the browser that's interpreting the bot works out the details of the request itself. --ais523 14:26, 5 December 2006 (UTC)

Has someone blocked one or more of my bots?[edit]

I believe an admin may have blocked one or more of my bots without notifying me. My two bots are User:PockBot and User:PocKleanBot. Both operate from IP usually. As of this morning neither bot will write results to wikipedia despite the code remaining unchanged. Could an admin please investigate as to why they are blocked and why no-one has notified me or left a comment on their talk pages??? Thanks - PocklingtonDan 17:12, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

PB not blocked explicitly. Rich Farmbrough, 17:32 12 December 2006 (GMT).

(after ec) Greetings! I am responding to your {{helpme}} and here's what I found out:

  1. User:Glen S blocked User:PockBot on Dec 7 citing "This bot is NOT approved. Its page says you will run it for approval soon; Great. Start editing THEN." However, PockBot was approved on Dec 6 (before the block) for trial, then again on Dec 8 (after the block) for full use. Since the bot is now approved for full use, the block should be lifted. I recommend contacting Glen S about it.
  2. User:Makemi blocked User:PocKleanBot on Dec 11 citing "bot is adding multiple identical messages to the same users' talk pages". It looks like this page may be the source of the block. I'm not sure exactly what your bot does, but this is definitely a problem and should be fixed.
  3. As to why no one left a message on your or their talk pages, I'm not sure they have to. According to WP:B, "An admin can block on sight any bot that appears to be out of control." I would say that it would have been more courteous to leave you a message. Maybe you could put a note on your bot's user page to say something like "Please leave me/my bot a message when/before blocking."

I hope that answers your questions. Let me know if you need anything else. ~ Amalas rawr =^_^= 17:33, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

They don't appear to be blocked any longer. —Centrxtalk • 17:34, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

PKB was unblocked a while mins later. is not blocked AFAICS. Rich Farmbrough, 17:35 12 December 2006 (GMT).
Thank you for the help, I will try running PockBot again now. Cheers - PocklingtonDan 17:36, 12 December 2006 (UTC)
Can you VNC on to that box and use a browser? Rich Farmbrough, 17:38 12 December 2006 (GMT).
Its OK, I just ran the bot again now and it ran fine. I only have very limited access to the bot's server via telnet and FTP on a cheap ISP unfrontuately! - PocklingtonDan 17:39, 12 December 2006 (UTC)
Good I can see the write. Rich Farmbrough, 17:43 12 December 2006 (GMT).


That template is worthless and offers no worthwhile advice. It only serves to clutter the talk page and adds no redeeming value. Who or what added it doesn't matter, "Strategic Clean-up Coordination Points", or whatever they're called, aren't official. John Reaves 08:34, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

Replied on your tlak page - PocklingtonDan 08:38, 12 December 2006 (UTC)
Since when does a bot have the same rights as a user? John Reaves 08:40, 12 December 2006 (UTC)
Replied on your talk page - PocklingtonDan 08:48, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

I blocked your bot[edit]

I blocked your bot and commented on its talk page, just so you know. Cheers, Mak (talk) 18:18, 11 December 2006 (UTC)

Thank you, response left on your talk page - PocklingtonDan 18:20, 11 December 2006 (UTC)
I'm happy to unblock the bot as soon as you're ready, it's just that people tend to get cranky when they get multiple duplicate messages, and I figure that's what the block button is for (I only set the bot for 15 minutes, so you could see it and fix it). Let me know when you're ready for an unblock, if it's before the block expires or if it doesn't expire correctly. (my block is def. not meant to be punitive, and I understand the need for test runs, I was just trying to minimize damage) Mak (talk) 18:23, 11 December 2006 (UTC)
actually, the block should have expired by now, so go crazy, just keep an eye on it :) Cheers, Mak (talk) 18:26, 11 December 2006 (UTC)
I hope I didn't come off as angry or anything. I appreciate the work you're doing. Cheers, Mak (talk) 19:42, 11 December 2006 (UTC)

Take a look here[edit]

If you are programming bots you may find some suggestions and feedback in our automation departement which exclusivly serves this task. Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Military_history/Automation Wandalstouring 05:16, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

Thanks, Wandalstouring - PocklingtonDan 12:24, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

No problem[edit]

It popped up on recent changes in the Vandalism Control Network channel, which isnt usual for a bot as all approved bots are hidden from our feed. So I took a look and thought I better block or you'd be killed by the Bots team :)

Sorry again, and wont happen again now :)  Glen  14:49, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

user page in strange category[edit]

Thanks for the tip. I hadn't even noticed. I'm not quite sure how that happened. Heavy Metal Cellisttalkcontribs

Replied on your tlak page. Thanks - PocklingtonDan 19:02, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

"Discussion" section generated by bot[edit]

Hi, Dan. I received a notice from your bot about the cleanup needed on American English. I was going to ask a question on the talk page, but when I clicked on the edit button next to the word "Discussion", it took me to an edit page for Template:PockKleanBotCleanup. If I had made my comment about the American English article there, I think it would have been transcluded onto all the other pages which carry this template.

I've subst'ed the template at Talk:American English, which solves the problem in that case, but it might be good if you altered your bot so that it automatically substs the template on talk pages. I think a lot of users would have the same instinct that I did. Thanks for making the bot, though — seems like a very good idea. —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 21:35, 11 December 2006 (UTC)

Thank you, I have replied on your talk page :-) - PocklingtonDan 07:39, 12 December 2006 (UTC)


Please stop your bot. The massive spamming of Talk pages is not acceptable. Require an opt-in, first, at least. User:Zoe|(talk) 19:46, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

Responded on your talk page. Thanks - PocklingtonDan 19:49, 12 December 2006 (UTC)


Your recent bot approvals request has been approved for trial. Please see the request page for details. -- RM 19:30, 6 December 2006 (UTC)

Thank you. I will commence trial and post up results shortly. - PocklingtonDan 19:44, 6 December 2006 (UTC)


Your recent bot approvals request has been approved. Please see the request page for details. When the bot flag is set it will show up in this log. -- RM 20:41, 8 December 2006 (UTC)

Many thanks for your assitance throughout this process. - PocklingtonDan 21:43, 8 December 2006 (UTC)

proposed new "how to get started writing a bot" page - your opinion?[edit]

I think there is confusion on how to go about starting a bot (eg here and here) and there is no wikipage covering this, the main bot page talks only about policy, not avenues for getting started, how to make a bot etc. I have made a suggestion that a howto page be established and, as a frequent editor helping out with bots, I would appreciate your comments. Many Thanks - PocklingtonDan 07:52, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

Great idea! I can help out with the pywikipedia section, if you'd like. —Mets501 (talk) 14:21, 9 December 2006 (UTC)
Thank yuo - PocklingtonDan 16:26, 9 December 2006 (UTC)


See my reply at Wikipedia_talk:Bots#Would_like_to_add_a_new_section_to_this_page.2C_or_a_new_page_altogether. Thanks, — xaosflux Talk 15:56, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

Thank you - PocklingtonDan 16:26, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

The Technology Barnstar[edit]

Barnstar-lightbulb3.png The Technology Barnstar
For creating Wikipedia:Creating a bot to help out future bot operators. Well done! —Mets501 (talk) 01:54, 10 December 2006 (UTC)
Thanks! - PocklingtonDan 11:14, 10 December 2006 (UTC)

Welcome Bot[edit]

If you are a member of any website, you will know virtually every user based site has a welcome page. I became an editor about two months ago only after three years of using and making edits to wikipedia, quite simply because someone welcomed me and i read up the pillars! I come across contributing IPs and members with redlinked user and talk pages every day, if only there would be a welcome page they would know about the input they can make. Wikipedia has passed the stone ages but there are so so so many more articles that still need to be created, for example Category:Acari. If we could have the input of more edits even if they are scarce, we would be allot better off.

Please can I request that you make the welcome bot and that it should be operable from user accounts like my own, if possible/allowed so as to see to the problem. Or we can push for a welom page to appear in the nav.

FrummerThanThou 00:45, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

Thank you, replied on your talk page now - PocklingtonDan 07:39, 12 December 2006 (UTC)
perhaps you can recoment someone who could build it for me? cheers. FrummerThanThou 07:42, 12 December 2006 (UTC)
Replied on your talk page - Thanks PocklingtonDan 19:01, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

How to Bot[edit]

Hi, have had a quick look, will pop back if I get time. P.S. I like PockBot. Rich Farmbrough, 16:49 12 December 2006 (GMT).

Thank youm replied on your talk page - PocklingtonDan 19:03, 12 December 2006 (UTC)


PKB blocked for 15 mins. Rgds, Rich Farmbrough, 19:47 12 December 2006 (GMT).

Thanks - PocklingtonDan 19:47, 12 December 2006 (UTC)


For one thing, it clogs up the Recent Changes page. For another thing, it's a form of canvassing, which has been rejected in the past. Was the bot approved to perform this action? User:Zoe|(talk) 20:00, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

I don't see on Bots where you got consensus to run this bot, and I don't see it listed at Wikipedia:Registered bots. User:Zoe|(talk) 20:02, 12 December 2006 (UTC)


I put a three-hour block on your bot; do you have a script running to restart it periodically? It doesn't seem to be turned off. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 23:07, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

Started running at 22:52. (I'm to bed, so can't extend blocks tonight.) Rich Farmbrough, 23:09 12 December 2006 (GMT).
Replied on talk page - PocklingtonDan 08:18, 13 December 2006 (UTC)

Bohm interpretation[edit]

Hi, You marked Bohm interpretation as requiring cleanup, but you did not leave a note on the talk page indicating what the problem was. Is there a specific question you had? linas 05:09, 13 December 2006 (UTC)

Replied on your tlak page - PocklingtonDan 08:19, 13 December 2006 (UTC)

Agvan Dorjiev[edit]

I started with article about Agvan Dorjiev who is part of Russian buddhist history and then I got the note that all what I have started , will be deleted.I asked couple of times , whats wrong with my story and there were no answer,I was waiting all the time someone to explain but no result.Today appeared this note about delete,SO maybe u could give some advice whats wrong as I noticed youre nick there on page history .Is it common procedure just simply to delete whats placed hier,Maybe u could enligthen me about this little bit as u were last person to visit this page.Thnxx.--VanemTao 03:22, 13 December 2006 (UTC)

Hi VanemTao, you would need to contact the editor who deleted the contents for the reason that they did so. They should have said why either in the edit summary of their edit, or on your tlak page, or on the talk page of the article. If they did not so, contact them directly and ask the for explanation - PocklingtonDan 08:21, 13 December 2006 (UTC)

Hi Dan[edit]

Don't be downhearted. Rich Farmbrough, 21:01 12 December 2006 (GMT).

Thank you, but I have withdrawn the bot, it's too much hassle! - PocklingtonDan 08:32, 13 December 2006 (UTC)

Thank you[edit]

...for all your hard work, and for dealing gracefully with all the flak you have received over PocKleanBot. I still think we can accomplish your noble goals by diffusing articles marked for cleanup into the relevant WikiProject categories, which should be contained under Category:Wikipedia cleanup categories (but most are not yet listed). WikiProject Hawaii, for example, would like to have a cleanup table updated based on article categories, and reports generated on a weekly basis for newsletter distribution. A WikiProject cleanup taskforce could opt-in to receive these updates or just view them on a project page. The cleanup process could benefit from this bot. I think this bot can also be used as an opt-in feature, similar to SuggestBot. For example, a cleanup task force could opt-in, and your bot could scan their edit contribs for similar articles needing cleanup. Or, Wikipedians listed by interest could put their money where their mouth is, and opt-in to cleanup articles based on that criteria. Any way you choose to do it, as long as you give the user the option, it will be successful. Unfortunately, automatic unsolicited talk page messages go against the prevailing culture of Wikipedia, and due to human psychology, nagging has a negative perception. I share your desire to speed up the cleanup process, and I hope we can work together to achieve those goals. Please don't take any of this personally; consider this failed bot run as an opportunity to improve your bot. We need you, and as your bot approval page demonstrates, you have support. Again, your efforts are greatly appreciated. —Viriditas | Talk 03:55, 13 December 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for your comments but I've taken too much heat over this one and I'm just not interested in continuing with it - PocklingtonDan 08:33, 13 December 2006 (UTC)


It's clogging up the Recent Changes page because each entry takes up space on that page. It's spamming because you are making tons of communication to people who are not interested. You have determined that they are interested. Plus you are running a bot which has not been approved, that's not allowed. User:Zoe|(talk) 21:03, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

Actually, lots of people were interested in receiving the edits. Lots of people thanked me, lots of people got on with cleaning up the articles in question. In fact a small minority (less than a dozen out of the hundreds (almost a thousand) contacted so far felt it necessary to leave vehement comments on my talk page (that's about 1%). The bt was not spamming, it was targeted at people with an interest int he article. I was not trying to sell you viagra, I was posting a helpful notice to your talk page. For some reason a small minority including yourself took disproportionate objection to that. Contrary to oyur statement, it is permitted to run a bot without a flag at a low edit rate before and during the RFA process to test proof of concept. Regardless, i have voluntarily withdrawn the bot. - PocklingtonDan 08:39, 13 December 2006 (UTC)
PocKleanBot appears to still be running, leaving messages on people's talk pages about "cleanup co-ordination" (e.g. diff=93924345), though it says it is shut down on its page. StoptheDatabaseState 23:08, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

Your notice[edit]

Thank you for your notice. As long as you do not operate your bot to spam my talk page again, I will not post any messages to your talk pages. On a second note, you might want to learn that I am an admin myself. I also suggest that you tone done a bit. Considering my post as harassment is a bit odd. If you feel it is and you want to "report" it to another admin, please do so. In the mean time, please do not run your bot again, as there is no consensus to do so, as there are already enough people that disagree with your bot, so it is not approved. --Ligulem 08:51, 13 December 2006 (UTC)

You will be glad to learn that the bot which felt such a "nasty" edit on your talk page has been voluntarily withdrawn due to the complaints of about 1% of the editors to which it left messages. 99% of of editors contacted found no complaint and on withdrawing the bot there was reluctance from other bot operators and calls for me to reconsider. It is hard therefore to consider seriously your position that the bot had "no consensus"/ My bot did not "spam" your talk page, you are using inflammatory language to describe a useful fucntion that was being performed by a bot. Your being an admin is irrelevant and does not excuse you from the requirements of the official policy of civility when using wikipedia. My comment on your talk page echoed the tone of your own comment as left here. Since the bot is no longer operating and will no longer add messages to your talk page, I will hold you to your word that this is the last I will hear from you - PocklingtonDan 09:02, 13 December 2006 (UTC)


Your bot "notified" User:Daniel575 of an article issue. Daniel575 has been indefblocked. - Che Nuevara 00:40, 13 December 2006 (UTC)

Thank you for "notifying" me of this. - PocklingtonDan 08:10, 13 December 2006 (UTC)
Haha I didn't mean to be facetious -- I just figured he probably wouldn't get the message ;) - Che Nuevara 17:11, 13 December 2006 (UTC)
OK, no problem. Thanks - PocklingtonDan 17:14, 13 December 2006 (UTC)

useful template for you[edit]

Wandalstouring 22:47, 13 December 2006 (UTC)

PockBot Comment[edit]

Dan, (gee that's a nice name...) I used your bot on the "Units and formations of the United States Air Force" category, and it gave it's output on the talk page. So far so good! After reviewing what it gave, I have come to the following conclusion: it's a great tool for making sure all the articles in a selected category tree have been reviewed! The format was easy to read, although the scrolling section inside a scrolling section (how it appeared to me) was a bit unwieldy at first. It would seem that this tool should have been around for a while, but I guess sometimes even the most basic tools get forgotten.

I'm not calling your tool simple, but rather basic. What I mean by that is it should be used a lot - as a basic "house-keeping" tool. I can use this again, after I have worked my way through the tree flagging appropriate articles, to make sure all new articles have been rated appropriately. I really like it.

Thanks for a great tool, and I hope to use it again, and again, and again.... You should make a userbox: "This user has experienced the PockBot - and liked it!" - I'll put it up on my userpage! -Dan AKA NDCompuGeek 03:28, 15 December 2006 (UTC)


I've noticed you're very involved here, you might be interested in my proposal for Wikipedia use logo variations created by members of the wiki community to mark national and international awareness days, Remembrance Days, notable anniversaries, and observance days. Please comment on Wikipedia:Village_pump_(proposals)#Logo Variations and on my talk page. Thanks! FrummerThanThou 05:50, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

Thanks Frummer, I have left my comments on the proposal page - PocklingtonDan 09:56, 15 December 2006 (UTC)


Your page was desecrated. Anyways, about the above, it may be reconsidered in a positive light. I've been having an exchange with RM from the bot approval team, I told him he did not consider the point you made, he confided in me that his concluding words on it where unjust. I think it would be given some time on trail. I think the points you made where the difference in between its possible success and failure. I hope you might reconsider your time schedule for its creation. In the meantime I hope to get enough support prior to reapplying. Thanks FrummerThanThou 22:58, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for the vandalism revert! I have responded on your talk page in full. Cheers - PocklingtonDan 09:57, 15 December 2006 (UTC)


Hey, Dan, I recently opened up a project on Google Code for perlwikipedia, and I wanted to know if you'd like to help develop it, seeing as you've got quite an impressive bot written in Perl. All you need is a Google account and SVN experience. Thanks! Shadow1 (talk) 22:26, 16 December 2006 (UTC)

Replied on your talk page. Cheers - PocklingtonDan 22:30, 16 December 2006 (UTC)

talk page comment[edit]

I sincerely appreciate this effort to use this nobots template. This is perhaps a compromise that we could use. But nevertheless, I'm still not sure that I like the idea. We do opt-in procedures for other things, like the sign-post delivery bot, and that is working well. If you seriously want to consider this though, you'll have to reactivate your bot request and deal with those people who are either on the fence (like myself) or who are adamantly opposed. Even with opposition, a small trial could possibly be attempted to see what would happen, but in the end you might have to resort to opt-in procedures using the "nobot" template. Frankly, I think your bot idea is one of the better ideas to come along in a while, but I also think that the opt-in is an excellent idea. Even if only a small number of people sign up for it initially, it could still make a difference. But you could also suggest other ideas. For example, run the bot as you desire and when a notification is made, you have three paths to take: 1) You hit a "nobots" opt-out page, so you ignore it, 2) You hit a "nobots" opt-in page, so you post the message, or 3) You hit a page that does not use "nobots", so you post your message once and only once to that page along with instructions for how to use the "nobots" flag for future messages. This idea could possibly work, since it would limit any potential spamming and have a default opt-out behavior.
Also, is there an easy way to fully opt-in or opt-out of all bot requests, such as {{nobots|deny=all}} or {{nobots|allow=all}}? Such a facility should exist before we talk about bots being compliant. If your bot request is to succeed in a potential opt-in situation, we want to make it as easy as possible to "allow all". -- RM 15:40, 18 December 2006 (UTC)
My original idea was that {{nobots}} would be equivalent to {{nobots|deny=all}} and "" would be equivalent to {{nobots|allow=all}} - since bots are intrinsically well behaved, thanks to the BAG. But the explicit syntax would be at worst harmless. Rich Farmbrough, 15:53 18 December 2006 (GMT).
What do you mean by ""? No template at all? Or this: {{nobots|deny=}}? If the former, that would be a default opt-in, which may not be acceptable. If the latter, then it is less clear to the non-technical user what it means. I'd like to make the template as easy to opt-in as possible. -- RM 16:42, 18 December 2006 (UTC)
I think he meant no template at all by "". I don't think I'd bother re-starting RFA process unless it was permitted to write in this circumstance, certainly not while nobots template is so new. I think the nobots template is a great idea and needs to become more widespread. Rather than having to opt-in explicitly to each and every bot, they can deny all or allow all, or something in between. - PocklingtonDan 16:49, 18 December 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for the lengthy response. I would envisage the behaviour being exactly as you describe in your 1,2,3 options, altering the template it leaves on user talk pages to describe how to add nobots if doesn't want to be notified again. There is also code now to stop it writing the template if the template is already there for another article, so that it will only ever write once even if they haven't yet had time to add the nobots template after the bot's first edit. I wanted to get an idea of how I needed to change the bot before I re-requested bot approval. Thanks for your help! PocklingtonDan 16:18, 18 December 2006 (UTC)
Did you understand that for step 3, I meant that you only ever post one message of any type forever until the nobots template is used, not just one post for each unique message? -- RM 16:46, 18 December 2006 (UTC)
Yes, I understood that, if the template exists for any article, or the nobot template exists, the bot would not write to the page - PocklingtonDan 16:51, 18 December 2006 (UTC)


I would support your working with that, there are threefour other recommendations I would make:

  1. Make sure no-one ever gets to moan twice, consolidate the list from the bot's contributions and, unless someone's opted in a higher notification rate than once/ever, avoid them.
  2. Analyse people's contributions using some sort of diff, several small changes of half a dozen characters may indicate copy-editing.
  3. Don't necessarily try to do the backlog.
  4. Do small trials , 10 articles, 10 articles.... so that you can fix any remaining fixable problems

Also grab this list Wikipedia:List_of_Wikipedians_by_number_of_edits and see if you're using up editors faster than cleanup articles - the bot might be self limiting. Rich Farmbrough, 15:49 18 December 2006 (GMT).

Thanks for taking the time to respond:
  • A user shouldn't now be given the opprtunity to moan twice, since the bot checks for existence of messages it has left already, and also for existence of the nobot flag. It wouldn't leave an edit in either of these circumstances.
  • There is some differentiation of editors already (it ignores IPs, bots, editors with 2 or less edits per article). I could up this to ignoring users with say 4 or less edits per article - I'd rather do this than examine the content of each edit because that would cause an exponential increase in the number of read requests the bot needed to make, meaning it took far longer to run and also caused more server load. I would think that in most circumstances anyone making 5 or more edits to an article is unlikely to be copyediting only, but I could always up this limit yet further?
  • The bot already does ignore the backlog - it only looks at articles flagged from the current month.
  • I agree, smaller discrete trials might be better.

Thanks - PocklingtonDan 16:23, 18 December 2006 (UTC)

The user could delete the existing message from their page and still not put up a nobots template. You should still avoid them. BTW, I've modified the template. -- RM 16:48, 18 December 2006 (UTC)
If that's the case, it removes a lot of the worth and power of the nobots template. The whole point of the nobots template as I see it is as a powerful set-once-and-forget tool for users. If a bot has to keep its own list of which users accept its edits, this duplicates and makes worthless the nobots template. I would strongly argue for all bots obeying nobots as a robots.txt substitute for user talk pages, I don't see the point of running two systems in parallel. - PocklingtonDan 16:54, 18 December 2006 (UTC)
If you're not willing to bend on this aspect, you may have trouble getting approval, but you can feel free to try anyway. I really don't understand why it is such a big deal to use an opt-in, even with the special permission to spam once. If you can't compromise on that, I doubt that you'll be successful. People archive pages, and when they archive them, they may receive more messages from your bot, even though they don't want to receive more. There is no reason why they should be forced to place a template on their page if they don't want or know how to. See also Wikipedia:Spam for more information on those guidelines as to why this has such strong feelings. -- RM 17:02, 18 December 2006 (UTC)
If we were to allow your suggestion, we'd be better off automatically placing {{nobots|allow=all}} to their page, since that's exactly what you're suggesting that the default behavior should be. -- RM 17:07, 18 December 2006 (UTC)
I am disappointed that you consider the bot to be spam. It is not untargeted, it does not promote a business, product or service, it does not canvass for votes, it does not add comemrcial external links - in short it does none of the things identified as spam as listed in the article on spam that you yourself linked to. We allow editors to leave messages to people's tlak pages without prior consent - I'm confused as to why you consider that not to be spam, but you consider the bot to be spam. I think you are confusing the issue by considering the rate at which the bot makes edits. If you have no complaint against one editor leaving one message on a user talk page asking for help cleaning up an article then it seems inconsistent to object to a bot doing the same thing on a larger scale. - PocklingtonDan 17:15, 18 December 2006 (UTC)
The spam guidelines do focus on the more problematic forms of spam, but the type of spam we are referring to is "Wikipedian-on-Wikipedian", and it is that type that is not allowed. Since the formation of BAG, such bots have generally not been permitted, so there is no reason to waste time updating the page to focus on such things. Unapproved spambots get blocked immediately now. But you saw evidence of this when you tried to submit your request and had a number of people complaining about spam/unsolicted messages. In this case, spam = unsolicted messages from a bot. -- RM 17:29, 18 December 2006 (UTC)
Let me put this a different way. If you'd be willing to compromise on this, you'd save us all a lot of future effort because we have a singular problem: How do we propagate the "nobots" template tag to allow people to opt-out or opt-in? Having a bot like yours that can perform its task while at the same time raising awareness to the new tag system is a good thing. But it can't become a spam bot. A long time ago, in the formation of Wikipedia:Spam and before BAG, I ran my bot posting project messages on hundreds of talk pages. I got loads of complaints from only a single message. My intentions were good (like yours), but people do not want their talk pages cluttered with bot messages that they did not request. It was only a single message, and it generating lots of complaints, including being blocked. You are suggesting that we have no single message only limit at all! Unless this general feeling changes, the Wikipedia consensus is that bots need to be opt-in, unless there is compelling reason otherwise and at the moment I don't see the evidence that this has changed. -- RM 17:21, 18 December 2006 (UTC)
I gotta drop off a 'me too' to what RM has said. Opt-out won't work for less technically-adept editors, and it may be seen as a nuisance even to people who do know how to use nobots. Opt-out means that it's the people who aren't interested in your bot or its service and don't want to hear from you that have to do the work; that sort of thing builds resentment. Opt-in puts the onus where it belongs—on the people who want to use and promote this bot. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 17:33, 18 December 2006 (UTC)
Specifically addressing the point above: "it seems inconsistent to object to a bot doing the same thing on a larger scale" The Spam guidelines say that a "Friendly notice" is acceptable, but only on a small scale. Scale is the issue. Large scale postings are just not permitted. Small scale postings may be. Generally speaking, this has meant that if you need a bot to do it, it is too large scale. There is a stress here on the "personal touch". This is similar to the reason why Welcomebot had a hard time being approved. All spambots, no matter how useful, are given greater scrutiny, as are bots in general. Call it inconsistent if you like, but that's consensus. -- RM 17:40, 18 December 2006 (UTC)
OK, thanks. I thought maybe if it obeyed the new nobots template it could work, but it appears not. Its not worth developing this as opt-in only, the model simply wouldn't work for this bot. I won't request a new RFA. Thanks - PocklingtonDan 17:54, 18 December 2006 (UTC)
Well, it might if the basic premise is changed. There are people who work on cleanup, or a project, who are willing to work on more than one article. This could be a variant of SuggestBot, giving someone a list "n" articles for cleanup that they have worked on or are part of a wikiproject. What do you think? (P.S. need to add some kind of sig for the archiving bots to get their teeth into. Rich Farmbrough, 09:42 19 December 2006 (GMT).

HMS Venturer[edit]

Hi Dan. The reason I didn't call it a V class is there wasn't actually such a thing. Venturer was built as part of the "'U'-Class Long hull 1941-42 program" by Vickers Armstrong. I know it can be confusing but this program had both subs beginning with U & V like its predecessor "'U'-Class Short hull 1940-41 program" which also had subs with U & V names. The main difference being most of the earlier were U's with some V's and the later were mostly V's with some U's. The main difference between the earlier and the later was the latter had 3/4" plate on the pressure hull as opposed to 1/2" and a finer bow and stern. Otherwise they were the same design. The source I use is 'Conways All the worlds Fighting Ships 1922-46' which I've found to be the best. Will leave you to sort the articles how you want ;) Cheers Galloglass 00:31, 21 December 2006 (UTC)

Cheers Dan. I think I might have been a bit over-verbose above though and may have given you the wrong impression. Venturer and what you might call the 'unoffical' V class were the "'U'-Class Long hull 1941-42 program". Appologies if I gave you the wrong impression. Galloglass 14:09, 21 December 2006 (UTC)

Which bot?[edit]

Hi, Do you happen to know of a bot that goes arround afixing templates to set categories, I'm woking on that right now. In the meantime, welcomebot is put asside for a week or two. Ta! frummer 13:53, 22 December 2006 (UTC)

Perhaps you can use this featured list article Battles of the Mexican-American War. Kirill and me are discussing the topic (see my and Kirill's talk page) to improve our lists. Oh and merry Christmas (take a wikibreak ;)) Wandalstouring 19:46, 22 December 2006 (UTC)

The Military history WikiProject Newsletter: Issue X - December 2006[edit]

The December 2006 issue of the Military history WikiProject newsletter has been published. You may read the newsletter, change the format in which future issues will be delivered to you, or unsubscribe from this notification by following the link. Thank you.

This is an automated delivery by grafikbot 23:15, 26 December 2006 (UTC)

List of castra[edit]

Hi Dan. Thank you so much for your attention on this article. What you say about the picture is true. However, the permanent camps stayed there for generations and became the basis of future cities. So, they never did go away. And, they do represent an image of where the permanent frontier was. I thought the image was really quite good, and on the description page I had listed links to all the articles on the legions.

I'm not trying to frost you, buddy. You do good work. I only want to suggest, would it not be better to label the picture carefully and point out in the description that it only refers to PERMANENT camps, which were the equivalent of what we term military bases, rather than deprive the article of some good and interesting information? Something for you to ponder. And don't let Wetman get you down or drive you off. Now that I have sown the idea, I know that you will think about it and respond according to your concience. Thanks, brother.Dave 23:52, 29 December 2006 (UTC)

"ERROR: Unrecognised bot status. Something has gone wrong."[edit]

This is what I keep getting when I try to use PockBot. I've tried disabling it, in order to enable it again and reset the status, but it won't disable itself either. Could you please post to my talk page once it's fixed?

Also, if I try to crawl a category that contains the same article in several subcategory paths, will Pockbot eliminate the duplicates? NeonMerlin 19:31, 3 January 2007 (UTC)

Thank you for the heads up, I have reset PockBot now. I think it had crashed while running and got mangled. It should work fine now. And yes, PockBot only returns the first instance of each article it finds (ie you won't get duplicates). Cheers - PocklingtonDan 08:23, 4 January 2007 (UTC)

WelcomeBot Update[edit]

Hi Dan, had a good new year's day!? ...About the WelcomeBot, its been getting interesting. I set up camp at Category:WelcomeBotResearch to establish some points for analyses. Made a new {{welcome123}} template mentioning WP:ADOPT and WP:WikiProject. Lately Hagerman has made some great input with his latest development, you can see his IRC bot which is live and has begun storing data into his local MySQL server. I would very much appreciate you signing in and participating in the research and drawing interesting conclusions. frummer 00:10, 2 January 2007 (UTC)

plz see Wikipedia:WikiProject Platenica, RE my email. Best. frummer 14:51, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

PockBot still not working properly[edit]

PockBot's recent report on Category:Dungeons & Dragons was incomplete; it was also incorrectly placed, at Category talk:Dungeons. When you have this bug fixed, could you please have the report done yourself, so that if there are any more issues, we don't have to wait for each other to come online for you to get the bot debugged and me to get the report? NeonMerlin 05:44, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

P.S. It would be very helpful if PockBot could identify stubs by stub tags rather than or as well as WikiProject tags (since the former are much more common, and the latter rarely found without the former); my guess is, any template on the article page itself with "stub" in its name is a stub tag. NeonMerlin 05:54, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for the heads up again. I'm not sure why it didn't run the full category, it looks like it might not be treating the "&" character properly in cat names. I'll try and get that fixed. I will also look to implement the stub template idea as suggested. It might be a couple of days before i get a chance to fix these, thanks - PocklingtonDan 09:06, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
I have fixed the code so that you should always be able tor e-enable the bot even if it has been disabled or crashed while running previously(found a bug). I also am now testing code that should detect stub templates int he articles and flag them accordingly in the outputted list. I can't find any reason why the bot would not run the full D&D category for you - according to the user contrib log it ran both cats, 7 minutes apart. I will try and reproduce this error. - PocklingtonDan 17:00, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
OK, as per your suggestion, the bot now additionally identifies stubs from any stub templates on the article pages. There does seem to be a bug in the URL encoding meaning that the bot will have problems with cats or articles with non-standard characters in them. I will look into fixing this but it will probably be tomorrow now - PocklingtonDan 19:19, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
Great. But it doesn't seem to similarly identify featured or good articles from tags. It told me chess was not yet classified, when in fact it is a featured article. Would all this be doable too?
One last minor note: it seems a bit counterintuitive for the little cogwheel on the status page to keep spinning after Pockbot's finished. Why not retarget the animated GIF to a static one?
I know I'm making a lot of demands, but they'll make your great bot even greater. NeonMerlin 13:14, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
Not a problem pointing out bugs or suggestions for improvements, I welcome these. I have added code now so that it can detect if article is flagged as a featured article even if a wikiproject flag doesn't exist. Good articles seem to be a bit muddles because an article seems sometimes to be flagged as a good article while the project banenrs state A class, I think I'll leave that for now. The cogwheel I'll have a think if I can do something similar but it would probably have to be done via javascript or similar because the gif is just loaded and left there, I think only javascript could halt it/swap it out once it had been loaded. I'm still looking at the URL encoding/decoding problem for odd characters - PocklingtonDan 14:38, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
About the good articles: A-class is a subset of good articles, and a grade between good and featured, so if a good article template is present you know the article is either GA-class or A-class. As for the character encoding, couldn't you just take the hex code for the character and precede it with a percent sign, at least for Latin-1? NeonMerlin 20:34, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
(unindent) I'm using a Perl module that does exactly that - translates non-standard ASCII characters into URL hex codes as used in URLs. However, it does seem to be playing up, I've re-run it for D&D and got it to write the results to the right place but its still not pulling cat contents for cats with non-standard chars. I'm almost there! - PocklingtonDan 18:20, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

Tactics of the Roman century in combat AfD[edit]

Please take a look; you appear to have created two copies of the AFD. This notice courtesy of the Department of Redundancy Department. Edison 19:06, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

Doh! Thanks :-) - PocklingtonDan 19:24, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

Category:Long Beach, California[edit]

Why did I comment out the scroll window code? It's probably just me, but I HATE scroll wubdiws within an internet page. The only place that I've seen them put to good use IMHO is for panorama pictures (see Santa Catalina Island, California. BTW: You should put in an HTML comment that says you should only comment out the header if you want to get rid of the scroll window. You code causes some interesting things to happen if you comment out the footer as well.

[An aside: Someone decided to be 'helpful' on my very long talk page and so they put the TOC in a scrollable window. I should have just reverted him immediately, because when I finally got around to archiving my talk page, it was a PITA trying to figure out what was the code for the scroll window, and what was the stuff I had cut-and-pasted to do some other stuff on my page.]

What would be nice is if you could turn your PockBot results table into the new sortable tables.

I probably won't rerun PockBot until I do a first go-through of the current printout, which is good enough for what I wanted. It took awhile even on that fairly small category. I'd hate to think how long it'd take if someone asked it to do category:California. You might want to add checks to see if the bot is trying to digest too large a category.

I actually found out about PockBot when I traced through the AFD nom Articles for deletion/Ralph Alvarez by User:DeleteAsstBot. Because of that nom, I added a comment at User talk: BlankVerse 11:26, 11 January 2007 (UTC)

Hehe, everyone has personal bugbears, I just used the scrolling div to stop the output from dominating a massive area of the talk page. I'll wait and see if anyone else dislikes it to and if so alter the template to remove it. What happens when you comment out the footer too? I presume it corrupts the table?? The PockBot results table is sortable, using javascript. Is there a way to make wikitables sortable using wikimarkup instead? Is that what you mean? PockBot does take a while to run - best just to leave it running in another window - but its still 100s of times quicker than doing the task manually. There is already code in place to cut off after fetching I think either 500 or 1000 articles (I can't remember) so it returns a reduced results set in such instances and warns that not everything was fetched. Thanks for all the comments, much appreciated :-) PocklingtonDan 11:38, 11 January 2007 (UTC)
If you comment out the footer, the table is still there, but everything you add below the table ends up above the table when you save (or preview) the page.
I don't think you need to worry about how much room the PockBot output takes up. Remember, these are category talk pages, so 98% only have WikiProject templates if they have anything at all, and my guess is that most don't have anything on the talk pages.
As for the sortable tables: I don't know any of the details. There was a Signpost article a few weeks ago, and it pointed to a text table that you could play with. Pretty nifty. I just went back and looked at your table. When it's still in the scroll window version, it's sortable.
I'm using Firefox, so I just had PockBot working away in one of the tabs while edited a different page. I'm not really sure how long PockBot took, but I know that I did edits on 4-5 pages before I noticed that things had finished.
There are currently 10,597 articles with {{WikiProject California}} on their talk pages. I guess I can't use any of the main California categories. ;-) BlankVerse 11:58, 11 January 2007 (UTC)
Fair enough, I'm not too protective of any edits that improve things, so you can go ahead and change the template if you want. My udnerstanding of wiki markup is dire and I had to get help to set up the templates as they are know so I just know that if I meddled with them I would rbeak it! :-P
Yep, PockBot deliberately doesn't get involved in massive cats, not just for performance reasons, but because people would just be overwhelmed by a list of 10,000 results anyway, and couldn't effectively do anything with the results. It seems to be getting used as intended - to tidy up smaller, more manageable cats. - PocklingtonDan 12:05, 11 January 2007 (UTC)
In your first message to me, you imply that the bot is parsing the template test. Why don't you look for the categories instead, since they seem to be fairly standardized at: [Class]-Class [WikiProject name] articles. Also: Does the bot just look at the first WikiProject template that it finds, or does it compare multiple templates (I've seen at least four WikiProject templates on a single article). BlankVerse 09:52, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
I don't see a particular need to recode to look at categories instead at the moment, its a good idea but since your previous comment I've changed the code so it should catch al varieties of wikiproject template article ratings. As for comparing various ratings from different projects, no it doesn't, the article rating returned will be the last one it finds in the article. In theory, all the ratings from different projects etc should all be identical for a single article. If they're not, this isn't really the bot's fault, and it would be confusing for it to return the status as "A, or maybe B, or Stub according to this person" ;-) - PocklingtonDan 10:14, 12 January 2007 (UTC)