User talk:SemanticMantis

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Welcome to my talk page![edit]

Please feel free to leave any (civil) comment you like.

Please do not delete, revert, or otherwise remove anything from my talk page.
And please do not judge me for excessive typographic emphasis; recent experience has proved that my request must be made very clearly and prominently.


User_talk:SemanticMantis/Archive_1 through 01/21/2016 User_talk:SemanticMantis/Archive_2 1/22/2016 to 04/28/2016

Newer Threads[edit]

Lawn maintenance[edit]

-- putting this old thread back on my talk page to remind myself to work on this SemanticMantis (talk) 19:09, 4 May 2016 (UTC)

Please express your thoughts on the disadvantages of lawn care as it is practiced in the United States. My request is a response to your invitation at Wikipedia:Reference desk/Miscellaneous#Lawn maintenance at 16:48, 4 June 2014. (I am adding your talk page to my watchlist.)
Wavelength (talk) 19:01, 4 June 2014 (UTC)

Hi Wavelength, thanks for your interest! I am an ecologist, specializing in theoretical plant ecology, and turf lawns are something I've thought about quite a bit. I don't usually appeal to my own authority on WP, but I thought it would save time to let you know that I know what I'm talking about. Of course I'll be happy supply refs for any subclaims if you'd like. So, without much organization, I'll throw out my thoughts, and see what parts you're interested in.
  • Most people on the USA that own houses have turf lawns, mostly because that's what it came with, and that's all they know. Many of them spend money on fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides. Fertilizers take an enormous amount of energy to produce, through the Haber process. Then, they are often over applied, and runoff fertilizer is very bad for all of our natural ecosystems, but especially for streams, e.g. eutrophication. Herbicides applied to lawns are usually selective, in that they don't kill turf grass, but they also have their own ecological problems Herbicide#Ecological_effects.
  • Ok, but what about people who don't use fertilizers and herbicides? They still usually have a monoculture of grass, often a type that is an invasive species, or of a type that is not well adapted to local conditions. For example Kentucky bluegrass is beautiful, but it is silly to grow it in most states, because it needs extra water that native species don't. In the south, there are many bermuda grass lawns, which don't provide any resources for the local fauna. So, monocultures are generally bad, and we've replaced huge swaths of our formerly diverse suburban and rural acreage with one type of plant. Insects, birds, amphibians, and many other animals are thus displaced.
  • What if I don't care about insects and birds? (I'll even ignore how human society depends upon biodiversity and ecosystem services) Well, huge chunks of the country are naturally arid, (CA, TX, AZ, NV, etc) and simply cannot support a turf lawn without irrigation. Using potable water on grass is just silly, but millions do it anyway, even when they live in deserts, and are facing water shortages in the near future.
  • But I don't irrigate my lawn-- well, then we come to gas mowers, which in my opinion totally ruin my weekends. Even if I don't have to mess around with an expensive machine and breath its exhaust in the hot sun, I'm annoyed by all my neighbors doing it. And of course in addition to noise pollution, there are lots of other pollutants they emit as well. 4-stroke mowers aren't all that terrible, but 2-stroke weed wackers are amazingly polluting, as are most leaf blowers. By some measures, they are worse than an SUV, see e.g. String_trimmer#Power_and_emissions. So I use a Fiskars push reel mower, which I'm rather happy with.
  • After all this, I conclude the prevalence of massive turf lawns in the USA is just bad for our society. Especially the way they are commonly cared for, and in many cases, they are not even used much! I feel totally different about it if e.g. someone has many children, or grandchildren who need space to play, or if one wants space for a game of croquet or badminton. I spend tons of time in my yard... but I have many neighbors with giant lawns that never seem to use them! But we keep them, just because of a sort of cultural momentum, and thinking it's "normal", and fearing what our neighbors would think, and not knowing what else to do.
  • So, what are the alternatives? There are several, depending on the biome you live in, and what needs you have for the yard. E.g. if I lived in the band from eastern CO to western PA, and I didn't have much need for lawn play, I'd install a prairie. If I lived in CA or AZ, I'd do some sort of xeriscaping. Another key thing is that many nice urban/suburban neighborhoods have nice big trees. And here's a key concept: Trees and grasses generally don't live together, they require different environmental conditions. So, trying to get trees and grass to coexist is just ecologically unsound in a household setting (it can happen in nature, but it usually needs a frequent fire regime). So for big chunks of the USA, having a nice tree canopy, with shade-tolerant groundcover underneath is a nice solution: It takes no water, mowing or fertilizers, and will tolerate a bit of foot traffic. Of course, none of the alternatives are truly maintenance free, but they can be much lower maintenance than turf lawns, and are almost always ecologically superior if you do a little research.

Anyway, there's some of the key points that I'm happy to proselytize on :) As for my personal life, I can't practice everything I preach. I rent in TX, so I can't just convert my whole yard to non-turf. But I do use the push mower, and I've removed lots of turf around trees, and turned them into ornamental beds. This way, at least I have less grass to tend to, and use less water than if it were all grass. If you'd like some specific information on turf alternatives that might be good for your needs, just tell me roughly where you live and how much traffic/play you expect. Cheers, SemanticMantis (talk) 21:10, 4 June 2014 (UTC)

Thank you very much for your generous reply, which I have read in its entirety. All of it interests me, and I propose that the information be covered in Wikipedia, if it is not already. Of course, it would be with a neutral presentation of views. Here is a link to Category:Landscape. Here is a link to
Wavelength (talk) 22:24, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
Coverage on WP is a good idea! I'm sure a some of it is on WP (e.g. some of the links above), but it is scattered about in many places. It is hard to be neutral while still proposing that certain things are "better", especially in such a complex area. I don't really think "Why lawns should be minimized in modern society" is a very good candidate for an article :) Also, I usually only make small corrections to article space, and spend most of my WP time on the ref desk, because those are tasks I can handle in ~10-15 minute work breaks. Anyway, do you have any specific articles in mind that could use this info? I could probably find various sources to scientific publications for many of my claims above, but I'm not sure where they would fit. If you have some suggestions of what/where I should include some of the ideas, I'll listen and at least give it 15 minutes a day :) SemanticMantis (talk) 23:20, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
There could be a new article called "Alternative lawns" or "Alternatives to lawns" or "Lawn alternatives"; there could be a new article called "Anti-lawn movement". In searching for online sources, I found some dissenting views.
Do your work breaks allow you to develop articles gradually in a "sandbox"?
Wavelength (talk) 20:40, 5 June 2014 (UTC)
I think Lawn alternatives would be a good place to start. Sure, I can work on a sandbox article in small chunks. Do you want to start one in your space, or should I start one here? SemanticMantis (talk) 20:48, 5 June 2014 (UTC)
I prefer that you start one in your user space. Later, I might improve it, preferably in article space because I prefer to avoid editing in user spaces of other editors, except their talk pages.
Wavelength (talk) 20:57, 5 June 2014 (UTC)
Sounds good. I'll get a rough copy started and maybe ask a few others to take a look once it's presentable. Thanks for your help and encouragement! SemanticMantis (talk) 17:08, 6 June 2014 (UTC)
The original discussion has been archived.
Here is another external resource.
Wavelength (talk) 00:04, 29 June 2014 (UTC)
Here are a few reports like the one from which I quoted at the beginning of the discussion archived at Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Miscellaneous/2014 June 5#Lawn prohibition: Turf War : The New Yorker (July 21, 2008).
Wavelength (talk) 01:08, 29 October 2014 (UTC)
"Food Not Lawns" is a new Wikipedia article.
Wavelength (talk) 21:28, 24 January 2015 (UTC)
Here is a news report about lawn maintenance for an elderly woman in Texas.
Wavelength (talk) 20:14, 12 June 2015 (UTC)
"Tapestry lawn" is a new Wikipedia article.
Wavelength (talk) 19:10, 21 June 2015 (UTC)

-- putting this old thread back on my talk page to remind myself to work on this SemanticMantis (talk) 19:09, 4 May 2016 (UTC)

consider edit[edit]

would you consider removing the word "important" from your closure comment title? I'm being a stickler but of course your comment along these lines isn't more or less important than anyone else' seems to be suggesting a kind of authority too..I partly state this as I do disagree with the interpretation of policy contained within the post (see my response there) so don't like the authoritative suggestion implied by the bold. Don't take this as a disrespect or a criticism of you (I'm actually a fan of your presence over at the reference desk).. (talk) 16:33, 13 May 2016 (UTC)

Hey, thanks for the vote of confidence. I think it's important because there were two bolded requests for closure when I came in. I have changed it to "somewhat" important, and also changed the bolding. I do dislike even an accidental and unintended inference of appeal to authority ;) SemanticMantis (talk) 17:11, 13 May 2016 (UTC)
thanks for taking the time. (talk) 17:15, 13 May 2016 (UTC)

Some stroopwafels for you![edit]

Gaufre biscuit.jpg Thanks for your comments on the RefDesk. After reading the answers about floating ants I spent 2 days on Google learning new stuff! (((The Quixotic Potato))) (talk) 16:45, 14 June 2016 (UTC)
User:The Quixotic Potato Hey thanks! I spent a year or so hanging around an ant lab at UIUC, sometimes I wish I would/could have stayed there, because ants are just so awesome :)SemanticMantis (talk) 17:35, 14 June 2016 (UTC)

Personal attacks really not necessary[edit]

I suppose I must have stepped on your puppy at some point, Semantic Mantis. But I can't apologize for something I am unaware of.

You seem to hold an unswerving grudge of incivility against me, for example I know a bit of Greek, but I also don't bother spelling user names correctly when said user has been rude and unhelpful to me. Given that you are advocating incivilty rather than dialog and process (I have never intentionally misspelt your name) and make vague accusations and call names, I can only see this type of behavior as a personal attack.

If you don't feel like discussing a perceived slight on my talk page, go to ANI, because that's where I will go if you continue to slur me without reason.

In the meantime, I don't hold grudges and usually find your biology and linguistics spot on, so very often don't bother to comment once I have read you've answered the question. So I hope this note let's us put an end to this. μηδείς (talk) 03:00, 25 June 2016 (UTC)

Hi @Medeis:, thanks for your comment. The bit you quoted - I was speaking conceptually, on behalf of I think you were rude and unhelpful to him for no reason. He's a sweet kid, and lots of people treat him like some sort of idiot troll, and that bugs me. So I wanted to point out that, if someone is rude to me online, I often don't bother too much getting their name right. I guess I didn't explain very well, but I was hypothesizing a bit about his motives/feelings, not giving my own.
I'm a bit confused by your general confusion. How many years have we been bumping into each other here? How many times have I talked to you about WP:BITE and WP:AGF? Maybe not enough, but I do recall mentioning those to you on many occasions. I don't think you've ever done anything specifically awful to me in particular, but I think you have a long and consistent pattern of failing to AGF and biting IPs/newbies. Not horribly mean, but "low-level hostility toward OP or other respondents" is a phrase that I think describes a lot of your comments. At some point, I gave up asking you to be nice to our users, and instead decided I would treat you how I saw you treating others. A bit petty, indeed. But if you look at my comments, you'll see that they are not strictly personal in nature. For example when someone said you were being rude and unhelpful, I said something about how a lot of your recent posts were that way. That is a comment about your responses, not about you as a person.
I like many of your answers on biology and linguistics too - that's part of why your bitey behavior bugs me: the benefit of you good answers is undermined by your comments that push people away. Anyway, I don't really bear grudges either, that's why I usually put in good faith efforts to help you when you post questions. Funny story: a while back I noted that I hadn't seen you around the ref desks. I almost dropped a line on your talk page, along the lines of "Hey medeis, haven't seen you around, what's up, did you ever make that hooch?" But then I didn't, and a few days later I saw you show up again, doing something rude and unhelpful, so I dropped it.
But now hopefully I've cleared it up: TLDR: I think you're often rude and unhelpful to IPs and new users, and that that behavior reflects poorly on our ref desk. I think you're also often helpful and positive, but sometimes the former is easier to see.
I understand some of your frustration, but think it is counterproductive. It is far easier, I think, to ignore a post you don't like, than it is to ignore hostility when it comes to you online. There's all kinds of crap I see on the ref desk I don't like, but, with the exception of a few snide comments (mostly to Stu and Bugs, but some recently about you), I try to not say anything unless I think I can directly help. And honestly, even when I make snide comments, I think that can sometimes help. For example I went on a campaign where I told Stu several times, repeatedly, to not just type up the first thing that springs into his head. A little rude and brusque, but that's what he was doing, and I think at some level he didn't even know it. And it's hard to say for sure but I think he's gotten better. So maybe I should have been more direct with you, because the main thing is I think that your help at the desks is undermined by the bitiness. If you were a little nicer, I think you'd be a great asset.
BTW, I won't be around much for a while, I'm leaving on a trip. So rather than discuss this at length, let's make a deal: I'll try to be nicer to you, and you try to be nicer to IPs. SemanticMantis (talk) 15:45, 28 June 2016 (UTC)
P.S. on spelling: the Greek sig you use has a lowercase mu (), not an upper case mu () so I assumed the "correct" spelling in English was "medeis", but I see now your actual username is "Medeis", so if I gave offense by improper spelling or lack of capitalization, I assure you it was entirely accidental, I have never personally intended to slight you by misspelling your name.
The mipselling is a side issue, except for the fact that you defended it as deserved. The central point of disagreement between us is that you tell me I can ignore posts I "don't like". I do not attack posts because I dislike them. I object because they are obvious violations of policy or the disclaimer. The next time you see me abuse a newbie for posting something I don't like (but which is cromulent per policy), bring it to me directly, please. Talking about me negatively in the third person when I am in the room is not normally considered polite. μηδείς (talk) 02:01, 29 June 2016 (UTC)
Yeah, I'm not talking about your "policy" issues. Though I think you're often wrong on those, I can simply revert/change and treat that as a professional difference of opinion. But the very thing you linked above has you saying

", is accessing google illegal where you live? μηδείς (talk) 01:16, 23 June 2016 (UTC)"

Full context here [1] That is no difference of opinion on policy, that is you being bitey and rude. The question was 100% cromulent and your comment 100% WP:BITE. So to reiterate, I'm not giving you a hard time because we disagree on policy, I'm giving you hard time because you're mean to people. As I said before, I can try to be more polite to you, but it will be far easier if you try to be polite to others. SemanticMantis (talk) 15:02, 29 June 2016 (UTC)

Please comment on Talk:John Stuart Mill[edit]

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Ping issue[edit]


Did you mean, @SemanticMantis: or SemanticMantis? Which one do you/others prefer anyway? Does both work btw? Note:I think ping word has a computer literature meaning i.e. not good. There is also another one i.e. @SemanticMantis: I know of. -- Apostle (talk) 04:02, 27 July 2016 (UTC)

Hi I don't care which form you use, and they both work. I think there might be a slight preference for the ping template, but I'm not sure. One thing to be careful about-- look at this:
Here is a comment.
--Someone reading quickly might think that comment was written by you, and that doesn't happen with the ping template. So that's one reason people might prefer ping. If you leave it like this -- -- then there is also no confusion.
As for ping itself. I think that word originally comes from SONAR usage, and it's an example of Onomatopoeia, because the sound going out sounds a little bit like person saying "ping!". Or at least, sometimes. Here [2] is an example of a real-world sonar ping and sweep. That doesn't sound like "ping" to me. But this [3] is an example of a sound effect that is what most people would imagine a ping sounds like, and it does sound a little bit like "ping" (maybe old sonar used to sound like that? This might make an interesting question for the ref desk, I bet Nimur and some others might know a little about this :)
Anyway, in computer terms, Ping is also the name of a program that checks to see if another computer is responsive - Ping_(networking_utility). In both cases, ping is neutral, and not bad. It is perfectly polite to use in any context, so don't worry about that. The Wikipedia ping template is named by analogy to the computer term I think - it sends out a little message and if the the user is responsive or available they will get back to you. SemanticMantis (talk) 14:46, 27 July 2016 (UTC)
Okay thanks. Face-smile.svg -- Apostle (talk) 18:12, 27 July 2016 (UTC)
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How to handle vague or challenging questions[edit]

Your comments will simply age off the talk page, why don't you write an essay instead, which will remain in perpetuum? μηδείς (talk) 17:03, 6 September 2016 (UTC)

@Medeis: That's not a bad idea, thanks for the suggestion. I don't really know much about Wikipedia essays. I guess anyone can write one? That's how I read Wikipedia:Essays - well, I know I can write a personal essay, but I'm not really interested in writing a personal essay, because I have no interest in pushing my own POV. Rather my intent is to have us acting consistently and in accord with extant guidelines. So it would make more sense to me to have it be a Wikipedia essay, so that others could edit it. Would you be interested in collaborating?
It would be nice if all our askers would read Wikipedia:Editors_are_not_mindreaders, but of course they won't. I don't see anything at Wikipedia:Essay_directory that is specifically about the reference desk, so maybe it would be nice to have some of these things written down in the same place for easy reference. SemanticMantis (talk) 19:54, 6 September 2016 (UTC)
Right now my computer access is limited, my usual computer won't power on, and I am using a Mac I bought used 11 years ago. I feel like I am wading through molasses. You might simply ask at the talk page if anyone has experience. If you create one in mainspace it will most likely end up changed beyond recognition, however. You could also follow the user space model of Kainaw's Criteria, which gives you control, but then you'll be quoting yourself. In any case, if you start something, let me know. μηδείς (talk) 20:34, 6 September 2016 (UTC)
User:Medeis, ok, will do. BTW, I have also been using an old mac laptop a lot recently, so I know that molasses feeling! It's obviously not a full solution, but I'm considering getting one of these tiny computers [4] for $69 - they play up the game console aspect, but it's a full featured Linux computer that can do most anything a desktop can do, I think it would be plenty quick at web browsing and editing WP. SemanticMantis (talk) 21:42, 6 September 2016 (UTC)
Cool, thanks, I'll check it out. I have no interest in games, but for $69? My mother has been insisting I buy her a computer so she can skype my nephew. I'll just tell her it will cost $140 plus tax, hehe. μηδείς (talk) 22:22, 6 September 2016 (UTC)
You would rip off your own mother?? SpinningSpark 14:47, 6 October 2016 (UTC)

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Community bans[edit]

You said on the Ref desk talk page "Wikipedia is free and open, and it would be rather difficult to force any one user away". Actually, it is quite easy via a community ban. All that takes is consensus amongst the participating editors that the editor nominated for banning is, in fact, sufficiently disruptive to warrant it. It is not required that the editor has breached any specific rules for this to happen. SpinningSpark 14:58, 6 October 2016 (UTC)

User:Spinningspark Thanks, that's good point, I suppose I meant that in my limited experience such consensus has been hard to find. StuRat and Medeis are two others that have managed to avoid that kind of banning in recent memory, despite displaying consistent (though very different) patterns of bad/disruptive behavior. I'll happily tell anyone who will listen my opinion: Bugs is generally not helpful in matters of science, and additionally seldom gives anything like sufficient reference. He also has demonstrated a pattern of WP:BITEy behavior, often replying "who says so?" or "what did google tell you?". I don't know that I've ever seen him WP:AGF. I don't know that I would support banning him from the reference desks totally, but I probably would support banning him from the science desk. If you start any such action or become aware of one, please let me know. In the mean time, I'll continue to ignore/chide him as I see fit :) SemanticMantis (talk) 17:23, 6 October 2016 (UTC)
I agree that the Science Desk is where he is a real problem. At least he stays away from the Maths Desk. I would be willing to take this to ANB if there was first a clear consensus at the RD that editors there thought he should be so bannned. If that happened, and clear evidence was presented at ANB, it would pretty much get rubber stamped in my opinion. On the other hand, lack of consensus at the desk, or outright opposition, would make it very unlikely to succeed. Due to my foolishly intemperate language during the last interaction at the RD talk page really makes me an inappropriate person to open such a discussion. If such a discussion is opened at the RD, I recommend that it is formalised as a WP:Request for comment which (hopefully) will keep the discussion focused and permit a formal close with a definite decision to be carried out. SpinningSpark 17:45, 6 October 2016 (UTC)

How's it coming along?[edit]

Just read on your user page: I'm still new to Wikipedia, so I mostly bide my time contributing to the reference desks while I get the hang of things. It's been something like six years, hasn't it? Do you feel you're starting to get it or do you still need a bit more time? Face-smile.svg Cheers and have a good weekend. Basemetal 18:48, 8 October 2016 (UTC)

Hi User:Basemetal. Wow, as luck would have it, I read your message six years after my first post, almost to the day [5]! So thanks for the reminder of my wikeversary. Time does fly, eh? I originally thought I'd get more into article editing, but for now I'm happy to add the odd wikilink, fix typos, re-word, that kind of small stuff. Also, I *do* still learn new things about how WP works fairly often, though I suppose I can't count myself as "new". I do feel fairly comfortable with the reference desk, though it feels a lot less active than it was back in 10/11. Oh well. Cheers to you too :) SemanticMantis (talk) 14:25, 10 October 2016 (UTC)

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Ref desks[edit]

Bugs has asked me to refrain from "attacking other users". I will continue to do so. Challenging guesswork and asking for references is not an attack. Both Stu and Bugs are advised to drop this matter until such time as they learn how to properly reference posts. If they cannot tolerate criticism of poor responses on the reference desk, they should improve their performance, not yell at the critic. At the very least they should stay out of the way of the many helpful volunteers who do understand how to provide appropriate references at the reference desk. Any further comments in this thread will be deleted as vandalism. SemanticMantis (talk) 17:48, 14 October 2016 (UTC)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

You need to stop attacking other users in front of the OP, whether you agree with their answers or not. If you've got a problem with an answer, take it to their talk page. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 06:41, 12 October 2016 (UTC)

Nah, when I see a bad answer, I can and will challenge it on the ref desk. If I write on a talk page, that won't help OP. Challenging an answer is not a personal attack, I don't make personal attacks, but I do say critical things. I do good work here, and get lots of thanks. Work on your own behavior before you try to advise me again. SemanticMantis (talk) 13:33, 12 October 2016 (UTC)
"Maybe you're having some problems with reading comprehension" is an attack. And comments like "Next time, do it without being asked, and you'll be on the path to being useful here" are patronizing and insulting. In short, another attack. Stop it. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 13:56, 12 October 2016 (UTC)
You're not my boss, and Stu needs to do better. Both of you have come close to getting banned. There is nothing wrong with me telling Stu that he should provide references on the damned ref desk, and that would make him more useful. SemanticMantis (talk) 14:02, 12 October 2016 (UTC)
You're not Stu's boss either... nor mine. If you said it the way you said it here, and on his talk page, it wouldn't be a problem. Instead, you insist on copping an attitude, showing him up and attacking him in front of the OP. That kind of thing cost TRM his adminship and who knows what else. Don't be the next TRM. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 14:05, 12 October 2016 (UTC)
Ok, you're right. When you or Stu deserve to be chastised like impudent schoolboys, I will do so on your talk pages. When I want to tell you that you got something wrong, or need to supply a reference, I will do so on the ref desk. But do watch out for the log in your own eye. Just a few days ago you were making some very personal attacks against other users yourself. SemanticMantis (talk) 14:20, 12 October 2016 (UTC)
Your comments above are also personal attacks. But I would be interested to know where you think I made a "very personal attack" against another user. Then I could consider corrective action. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 14:38, 12 October 2016 (UTC)
No, you keep using those words, but they don't mean what you think they mean. And I'm pretty sure I said I was done, this time I mean it. Go do something helpful. SemanticMantis (talk) 14:59, 12 October 2016 (UTC)
Just as I suspected: You've got nothing. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 17:04, 12 October 2016 (UTC)
If you can find a place on the ref desk where I've talked to a good-faith editor the way you do, let me know. But I make an effort not to do that. And so should you. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 14:12, 12 October 2016 (UTC)
Yeah, you mostly just harass IP's. If you can find a way to make useful, well-referenced contributions that don't challenge the asker, let me know. In the mean time, stick to what you both know and can reference. I'm done with this conversation for now, have a nice day. SemanticMantis (talk) 14:20, 12 October 2016 (UTC)
Not when they're operating in good faith. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 14:38, 12 October 2016 (UTC)
Thank you SmanticMantis, as usual you have been succinct, professional and spot on.2600:8806:4800:5100:BC2E:997:104C:BFBF (talk) 20:56, 12 October 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for the vote of confidence! Bugs isn't *entirely* wrong, he just didn't find the right example. I do get frustrated and lose my temper on rare occasions, and say things I shouldn't. Usually it's only due to consistent and repeated poor behavior, but that doesn't give me license to be sarcastic and unprofessional, as I was e.g. here [6]. But here's the important part: I understood that I was out of line, and fixed it ;) SemanticMantis (talk) 21:21, 12 October 2016 (UTC)
If Red Desk volunteers were chosen, (as clerks are at some boards here), and if the prerequisites were even the most basic traits such as: ability to provide references, be mature, be professional, have basic comprehension and researching skills, etc. there would be a few less regulars and a lot less drama at RD. Thanks again for your participation, your RD responses have provided me with links to great volumes of knowledge in areas I was unfamiliar with prior to an OP's request for info. 2600:8806:4800:5100:BC2E:997:104C:BFBF (talk) 21:43, 12 October 2016 (UTC)
The out-of-left-field IP here says he "speaks for many", but that's not quite it. The "many" are just one guy, a banned user speaking through "many" different IP's. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 21:34, 12 October 2016 (UTC)
I've gotten lots of thank messages from many other registered users, so in a sense he *does* speak for many. Funnily enough, I got thanked twice for calling out Stu's poor behavior here [7]. You might say that was a personal attack, but I'd say it was standing up for respect in and professionalism on our boards. Also, if you read the words carefully and think about what they mean, you'll see that I said nothing about his personhood whatsoever, just addressed the content of his useless and offensive comment. SemanticMantis (talk) 21:59, 12 October 2016 (UTC)
When an acronym has too many letters, memorizing it becomes a challenge and hence a distraction. And BDSM doesn't belong there either. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 22:16, 12 October 2016 (UTC)
I don't give a flying fuck what you think about LGBT issues or initialisms, that is not a topic I will ever ask you about. SemanticMantis (talk) 22:29, 12 October 2016 (UTC)
Bugs being rude, borderline harassment
I'm not talking about any issues. Only that an extremely long acronym of any kind is hard to remember and hence is counterproductive. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 22:34, 12 October 2016 (UTC)
A blurb from 2011 says that according to Guinness, the world's longest "acronym", or technically "initialism" I suppose, is N.I.I.O.M.T.P.L.A.B.O.P.A.R.M.B.E.T.Z.H.E.L.B.E.T. R.A.B.S.B.O.M.O.N.I.M.O.N.K.O.N.O.T.D.T.E.K.H.S.T.R.O.M.O.N.T. which supposedly stands for Russian words meaning "The laboratory for shuttering, reinforcement, concrete and ferroconcrete operations for composite-monolithic and monolithic constructions of the Department of the Technology of Building-assembly operations of the Scientific Research Institute of the Organization for building mechanization and technical aid of the Academy of Building and Architecture of the USSR". ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 22:48, 12 October 2016 (UTC)
BUGS: PLEASE CEASE AND DESIST You've said your piece, and I asked you to leave it. Let me repeat, since you're having a hard time understanding:
I don't give a flying fuck what you think about LGBT issues or initialisms.
And of course you couldn't even be bothered to cite a fucking reference. Any further posts by you in this thread will be deleted as vandalism. SemanticMantis (talk) 22:59, 12 October 2016 (UTC)
Here are 2 clues for you: A) Having a dynamic IP doesn't make someone a banned user. B) Your edits at the RD have been less than helpful...they are for the most part chit-chat....opinions....and unhelpful.2600:8806:4800:5100:E8D9:11DD:B311:59F7 (talk) 22:41, 12 October 2016 (UTC)
You've been after me since at least 2009. I guess you'll never get tired of it. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 22:48, 12 October 2016 (UTC)
1) Cars sounding louder at night: You made the unsupported claim that wet roads reflect sound better, and seem to have completely misunderstood the Q to be about frequency of sound, leading you to provide poor refs, unrelated to the actual Q. You also posted that sarcastic bit that has no place on the Ref Desk.
2) LGBTQ: A couple posts with refs supported my assertion (trying to be funny, of course), that just adding more and more letters to the acronym is getting silly, so it's not my opinion only.
And no, I haven't "almost been banned", just some whiners complaining to the Admins and getting very little support there. Anyone can complain there. If I posted a complaint about you, would you then say you were "almost banned" ?
Just get your own house in order. Ever hear "those who are without sins, cast the first stone" ? Try to live by it. StuRat (talk) 22:24, 12 October 2016 (UTC)
My house is fine Stu. I've helped many people here today with appropriate references, you have not. You get complaints on a regular basis. I have no problem admitting when I'm wrong, I just did so on your talk page. You should try it out, it's very freeing. Every single fucking time someone tries to correct you, you just try to pick at them. It's unbecominng and childish. Try acting like a fucking professional - it's not that hard. Most of us manage to do it. I have no interest in continuing this discussion with you here. Take it to the talk page or AN/I if you want to continue this. I really suggest you don't. One of your main problems is you don't know when to quit, but you'll only end up embarrassing yourself if you try to press this. SemanticMantis (talk) 22:29, 12 October 2016 (UTC)
If you had avoided making personal attacks on StuRat, this discussion would not have happened. And your talking like a low-life does nothing to improve your argument. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 22:38, 12 October 2016 (UTC)
Not sorry; I can and will be impolite and swear a bit when you sea lion me all fucking day on my own damn talk page. I'm done with this Bugs. You've said your piece, now go away. It would be a bit different if either of you were helpful, but as it stands you mostly make my volunteer job harder. I honestly hope you enjoy it, because if you don't, then you're just annoying both of us. SemanticMantis (talk) 22:43, 12 October 2016 (UTC)
Bugs, if you don't know what sea lioning is, look it the fuck up. I am not going to educate you on sea lioning while you sea lion me. I've asked you politely to let it go, twice. And you keep coming back. So let me repeat:
Any further posts by you in this thread will be deleted as vandalism.
I can't make it any more clear. I can be professionally civil to you on the ref desk but I don't have to allow you to repeatedly pester me on my talk page. SemanticMantis (talk) 23:09, 12 October 2016 (UTC)
  • I basically agree with what 2600 said. In my experience as a regular reader and contributor of the desks, Mantis is completely the wrong target for complaining about the indeed sometimes unnecessarily flaming type of posting we see at the desks. Occasional outbursts he mentioned himself are really the great exception, fed by a frustration I can relate to, and he's one of the volunteers always focused on the question and on referencing answers to what was asked, and most importantly: On helping the OP. It's perfectly alright to point out poor and incorrect answers, I've had them pointed out to myself by other, smarter volunteers, and though sometimes embarrassing, I've always learned something valuable. SemanticMantis, please keep up the great work. Bugs, please leave him alone. He has stated and re-stated that he's not interested in continuing this discussion. ---Sluzzelin talk 23:14, 12 October 2016 (UTC)
Thank you for your kind words! Your contributions are consistently high quality as well :) SemanticMantis (talk) 23:32, 12 October 2016 (UTC)

I've now posted a ref, as have others, showing that cold air dampens the volume of sound less than warm air. You have yet to post a ref supporting your claim that wet roads reflect sound better. StuRat (talk) 23:22, 12 October 2016 (UTC)
Not what this is about, at all. Thank you for providing references. If you want to play a shitty game, go ref the shitty opinions you just posted on the misc desc. Otherwise, I'm done. If you don't want me to hassle you for lack of refs, provide refs. If you think I need a ref for something I write, the place to say that is in the thread, with a [citation needed] tag, not on my talk page days later. SemanticMantis (talk) 23:25, 12 October 2016 (UTC)
I didn't wait days, I asked for a source almost immediately, and right where you made the claim. I didn't add the tag, but then I don't think you use it consistently either. I will add it right now. StuRat (talk) 23:57, 12 October 2016 (UTC)
Great. It's probably useful to point out that was a claim that I made without citation. So thanks for that. But overall, you just still seem to be missing the point. When I write responses (or Jayron, or BenRG, or Vespine, or Nil Einne, or Nyttend, or JackOfOz, or Tevildo, or ... really most of us), we have a sense of what needs to be cited. We have either formal or informal training on how to conduct ourselves on a reference desk. That does not necessarily mean citing every single thing. Nor does it mean making shit up. I can tell by how fast you respond and how ignorant you sound sometimes that you often don't do any research at all before you post. I'm not going to cite examples, because I'm talking about a pattern over the past six years, and you know that I'm not the only one who has brought up your poor performance. You consistently jump to "I think..." and that makes my job harder. All I'm asking is for you to get on our level. I can see you have tried more recently, and I want to thank you for that. Unfortunately, sometimes you seem to think wikilinking a few words in the response suffices. Sometimes it does, but often it does not. You may want to read the essays about whether you do or do not need to cite that the sky is blue. I tend to err on the side of over citing.
I am not being mean to you personally, I want you to do better, for your sake, and for all of us. I know you're a smart guy, and you often have good ideas and suggestions. And you do get thanks sometimes, and I know you want to help people. But this is first and foremost a reference desk, I don't think a whole month has gone by where you haven't posted some seriously bullshit guesswork. I've been rubbing elbows with you for six years now, don't pretend we're strangers. I freely admit that I lost my temper and behaved poorly recently. Now can't you do the same and admit that you have posted a lot of guesses? I'm sure you think you're right, I don't think you intentionally mislead, but that's what happens when you spout off on certain topics that it's clear you have no training in. All I'm asking is for you to do a bit of research before you type, and include references that support your claims. It's not that hard, and it can be just as fun, I promise. SemanticMantis (talk) 00:13, 13 October 2016 (UTC)
That bit about wet roads reflecting sound better looks like a total bullshit guess to me. Please prove me wrong. As for saying "I think", I consider that important when not absolutely certain, rather than just post answers I believe to be correct as if they are fact, as you apparently prefer. StuRat (talk) 00:49, 13 October 2016 (UTC)
I've provided two references. I am happy to do so on polite request. Now stop trying to criticize me and instead work on improving your own reference abilities. I can and will continue to ask you for citations when I feel they are needed, please feel free to do so with me. I never said that I'm perfect. I only said you need to do better, which you've been told often, for years. Go ahead and try to pick at me if you want, but that won't change the fact that I'm only the most recent in a long line of users who have told you you're not doing it right. Now, have to good grace to leave me alone too. SemanticMantis (talk) 01:58, 13 October 2016 (UTC)
You've actually provided 4 refs, none of which support your claim that wet roads reflect sound better than dry. Bad refs like this are far worse than no refs, as they waste everyone's time trying to read through them and determine if they support your claim or not. If a ref actually did support your claim, you could provide quotations to that effect and page numbers, so as to not waste everyone's time. StuRat (talk) 13:11, 13 October 2016 (UTC)
The difference is that you post spurious guesses on subjects you know nothing about, not just once or twice but all the time. You know how I save time when reading the ref desks? I ignore all posts signed by Sturat. So far, I've not missed much. --Viennese Waltz 13:17, 13 October 2016 (UTC)
You have a logic error there, since, if you haven't read them, you can't possibly know what you've missed. StuRat (talk) 17:24, 14 October 2016 (UTC)
Well done, Mantis, I agree with everything you've said. You have another supporter here. --Viennese Waltz 07:04, 13 October 2016 (UTC)
Agreed. Standing ovation for Mantis.--WaltCip (talk) 12:37, 13 October 2016 (UTC)
Thank you both, for your kind words! I hope to continue to live up to your expectations. I find it amusing that I've gotten four unsolicited messages of support right here during this hectoring, and also was thanked several times for my challenges of Stu's poor conduct over the past few weeks, including my current message on his talk page. I don't know how any of you noticed, but I do appreciate it!
I no longer have any desire to help educate this pair, and will proceed to minimize contact, but I can hope that someday they will see the writing on the wall. SemanticMantis (talk) 13:42, 13 October 2016 (UTC)
I noticed it because I'm one of your talk page stalkers. Probably ever since I posted something on your page almost two years ago. The Mantid stars have been deleted since then, but the sentiment of that post remains unchanged. I try not to pay too much attention to squabbles at the desks, and I think your conclusion is the right one, since your efforts are unlikely to change anything. Sadly, but realistically. ---Sluzzelin talk 14:13, 13 October 2016 (UTC)
Fear not, they are not deleted, merely archived! And I do treasure them. I've thought about assembling them and some others in a little memento case, but fear that would come off as bragging. SemanticMantis (talk) 14:25, 13 October 2016 (UTC)
The post is archived, but the Mantid stars are gone :-(. ---Sluzzelin talk 15:05, 13 October 2016 (UTC)
Hm, probably not considered encyclopedic for some strange reason :-/ Oh well, I remember it much like this [8]. Maybe some day I'll find an unencumbered image and put it on Northern_Praying_Mantis, that should keep it from getting deleted :) SemanticMantis (talk) 15:27, 13 October 2016 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Please comment on Talk:Aquatic ape hypothesis[edit]

The feedback request service is asking for participation in this request for comment on Talk:Aquatic ape hypothesis. Legobot (talk) 04:25, 14 October 2016 (UTC)

Because you asked to discuss it here...[edit]

Please read This discussion here for information regarding Vote (X). I'm not saying you don't have a point (and saying that I'm also not saying that I agree with said point. And saying that also means that I'm also not saying I don't agree), but Vote (X) has been specifically and directly banned from any editing of Wikipedia. Not "editing which is innocuous and non-disruptive" but "any editing at all" That's sort of how banning works at Wikipedia. If you'd like to stop admins from removing the posts, blocking the IPs, and locking down the desks, then you do have two options.

1) Start a discussion to modify Wikipedia's banning policy to add the phrase "Unless the banned user isn't doing anything harmful, and then we'll leave them alone." If you can get consensus to add that to policy, we'll have backing to stop removing Vote (X)'s posts. 2) Start a discussion to modify or remove Vote (X)'s ban in some way, perhaps adding language that states "Vote (X) will be allowed to edit at Wikipedia in contravention of their ban so long as it isn't too disruptive". If you can get that to pass, we'll have justification to stop removing her posts.

Other than those two courses of action, I'm not sure what else we can do. Vote (X)'s ban was enacted by the community, and admins are not allowed to freely overturn community consensus. Admins that do unilaterally overturn community consensus generally aren't admins for much longer. --Jayron32 18:09, 14 October 2016 (UTC)

Thanks Jayron. I'm not sure why you're so careful to not give any opinion on the matter, I thought that was part of why we were discussing these issues on the talk page: to share our opinions on how best to improve the ref desks.
Anyway, my understanding is that banned user's comments may be deleted at any time, for no other reason than that they are banned. Not that banned user's comments must be deleted every time they are detected. I certainly am not optimistic of the chances of getting high-level banned user policy changed just because of one banned user on the refdesks. It is conceptually possible for her most frequent deleters to simply refrain from doing so, though I also don't believe that to be likely.
I just may well lobby to have vote X reinstated, I recall thinking whatever the ban was for didn't sound all that bad to me. I'm certainly not going to wade through a six year old SPI [9] on the matter. Socking is an understandable temptation, and far from the worst sin one can commit. I'd honestly rather have a contributor who socked six years ago, compared to some of our most frequent contributors who also happen to be fairly useless/disruptive IMO. If she'd like to contact me as a sponsor, perhaps for some sort of trial period/parole, I'd be willing to listen. However that would depend on her being able to post on my talk page, without a few of her sworn enemies swooping in to delete anything she writes. That still wouldn't change the nazi troll issue, but I honestly feel like restoring vote x might lead to less disruption at the desks, though I have no comment or opinion on what she might get up to elsewhere. So: Vote X if you want to plead your case to me, I'll listen, though of course I can't promise anything.
Honestly, I'm not terribly unhappy with the status quo: I think you and others have gotten much better at keeping semi-protection short and relatively infrequent, and I do thank you for that. SemanticMantis (talk) 19:28, 14 October 2016 (UTC)
I don't have opinions. I have ideas, but I also have no attachment to any of my ideas. Opinions are like assholes; they always stink. Ideas are valueless, and if any ideas I have turn out to be bad ideas, I'm not bound to keep supporting them simply because I had them first. Opinions are always fucking worthless because if they're bad opinions, then we become attached to them because we own them as opinions, and feel the need to bend over backwards and perform convoluted contortions of logic beyond credibility to keep an opinion, or we simply ignore logic with the unassailable idea that "It's just my opinion" which should be sufficient for me to believe it. Fuck all that. I have an idea, and if it turns out my idea sucks, we don't do it. I'm not going to commit to an untested idea, and I'm not going to support or oppose anything that has or has not been shown to work or be useful. So, to sum up, the reason I don't given any opinion is that I don't have any opinion. The purpose is not to provide opinions, the purpose is to share potential solutions. To your other issues, the "may" vs. "must" issue is a red herring; since any user may remove the comments, and that is clear through policy, what's the point of restoring them? Wikipedia has no musts; we're a volunteer organization and every person is free to contribute how they see fit. I cannot make you remove the comments, so there is no "must", but users who correctly identify a banned user may (as in, is allowed to) remove such comments as they see fit. --Jayron32 23:27, 14 October 2016 (UTC)
It seems you have some very strong feelings about the word "opinion", and I find that very confusing. WP works by consensus, yes? It is my understanding that consensus is reached through sharing preferences, agreements, and yes, even opinions, on the topic of how to best proceed in matters of article content and encyclopedic policy. SemanticMantis (talk) 13:50, 16 October 2016 (UTC)
If I may comment as a participant in the "useless silly two-way vendetta" (with which characterization I wouldn't really disagree, incidentally): it's true that VoteX's current behaviour probably wouldn't get her banned, and I don't know the details of the original reason she was banned (I believe it was something to do with changing dates in articles), but I wouldn't describe her postings as "innocuous". Her usual pattern is to post something long, irrelevant, and subtly inaccurate, wait for better-informed participants to correct her, then engage in simple contradiction and personal abuse - fortunately, we usually don't allow that third stage to eventuate. She may not be a vandal in the strict sense, but I would still say her postings are harmful to the desks, and would not support her reinstatement unless she showed genuine contrition and a resolve not to continue her habits. If, of course, she _did_, I'm happy to revise my opinion - she's not stupid, and has the ability to be a positive contributor. But I doubt that'll happen. Tevildo (talk) 19:45, 14 October 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for you sharing your experience. I will readily admit I likely have some sample bias. I mostly see posts deleted that share a simple sentence or two discussing the issue, possibly giving a basically correct fact. Assuming the collapsed post below is from Vote X, it seems s/he has missed the mark of what I was hoping for, which was more along the lines of showing an example of how to be helpful and relevant. SemanticMantis (talk) 13:50, 16 October 2016 (UTC)
Dangerous, terrible, possible world-ending content. DO NOT LOOK!#@!#$_#*.

This post is made by me, and any modification to this section will be considered vandalism, not to mention boorish. SemanticMantis (talk) 14:07, 16 October 2016 (UTC)

Re these comments:

[10] (note the edit summary) Argument by dubious analogy doesn't work in legal contexts, which are governed by actual statutes, etc., or in cultural contexts, which follow emergent customs rather than dodgy logic. The objection is that the vast majority of the populations concerned consider it to be wrong, and any relevant legal instruments use different terms, therefore if you use the term you will be legally incorrect and be considered ignorant or culturally insensitive by anyone who cares about the matter. {The poster formerly known as} (talk) 14:13, 14 October 2016 (UTC)

"I'm right because I've got reasons!!!" is still not a valid argument. You can stop embarrassing yourself. One of her titles is still not The Queen of England. It won't become one no matter how many convoluted attempts at rationality you try. --Jayron32 15:31, 14 October 2016 (UTC)

Here is Jayron32 accusing an editor of dishonesty and retracting one minute later.[11]. See how he grovelled this morning.[12]. I'm no scientist, but he said (18:49, 14 October 2016)

Electrons do not move.

That's unbelievable. His comment

"I'm right because I've got reasons!!!" is still not a valid argument.

is disingenuous. Nobody said that. Take a look at [13] to see how argument should be presented. In his original submission Jayron32 did not claim

She does not have the title of Queen of England anywhere on earth, even in England.

He then berates an editor for addressing the argument he made, not the argument he didn't make. He may be unfamiliar with the concept of courtesy titles - these are titles which the holder does not have but is accorded as a mark of respect (rather like an honorary knighthood). Even worse is his arrogant assumption that an editor should not advance an argument just because he (Jayron32) thinks it is incorrect. There is currently before the Administrative Court (per the last link) what is described as the most significant

constitutional case for centuries. The Brexiteers dismiss the arguments as ludicrous, but nobody suggests that citizens are not entitled to make them.

That is not how we do things in England.

Letters Patent issued by the Queen commence with the formula

Elizabeth the Second by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories, Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith:

It is open to Lord Pannick or anybody else (I was once invited to come through the judges' entrance onto the bench at the front of the Court of Appeal where the judges sit) to argue that since the "other Realms and Territories" are not independent states either the claim that Her Majesty cannot be accorded the dignity of Queen of England must fall. The claim that the English, the Scots and the Welsh are not "nations" (as advanced in an earlier discussion) is false - they send national teams to the World Cup. They play international rugby, cricket etc. All three countries have a National Day and patron saints - if Scotland were not a country it would not be debating independence. And if Elizabeth can be Queen of Scotland after independence she can be Queen before. There are too many editors who are not English and do not know what they are talking about. Here's just one example.[14]. Reading that edit summary I'm tempted to comment What the 'ell?.

You may not be aware of this but the author of that edit has surreptitiously blocked a contributor to the talk page while leaving the edit untouched. Likewise Zzuuzz has surreptitiously rangeblocked large areas of the Home Counties following edits to the project pages while again leaving the questions/comments unmolested. (talk) 15:09, 15 October 2016 (UTC)

I think maybe you missed my point. I am not at all interested in discussing anyone's behavior in this thread other than VoteX's behavior. I think Vote X might have the ability to help out in good faith on WP. If he/she wants to tell me about that, and plead their case, they can contact me via email. The content of said discussion should focus on how Vote X can positively contribute in good faith, ideally with past evidence and things they would currently post if they were allowed to. Such hypothetical candidate posts should demonstrate a civil demeanor, and a knowledge of how to provide relevant references. Otherwise, please refrain from stirring up shit on my talk page, that happens often enough for my tastes as it is. SemanticMantis (talk) 14:07, 16 October 2016 (UTC)

I really wish User:Future Perfect at Sunrise could refrain from deleting posts from my talk page, after I specifically and repeatedly politely asked him not to do so. I find his persistence very WP:POINTY and rude. A post on my talk page from an IP that someone believes is being used by a banned user will NOT destroy WP. I encourage Fut. Perf. to please stop harassing me, and direct his attention to something that can improve WP.

Thanks... and a question[edit]

Thanks a lot for answering my question on RD (about converting motion picture to still frames) you recommend ffmpeg, which seems to be "give me a text command, human" type software (correct me if I am wrong, please). Such a software is almost impossible for a guy like me to use. Can you please tell me some GUI type software that does that very thing ... Jon Ascton  (talk) 02:16, 16 October 2016 (UTC)

Thanks Jon, for consistency I've responded over at the original thread [15]. Feel free to ping me on the desks for followup in the future :) SemanticMantis (talk) 14:20, 16 October 2016 (UTC)

Please comment on Talk:Twin paradox[edit]

The feedback request service is asking for participation in this request for comment on Talk:Twin paradox. Legobot (talk) 04:25, 18 October 2016 (UTC)

Please comment on Talk:James Watson[edit]

The feedback request service is asking for participation in this request for comment on Talk:James Watson. Legobot (talk) 04:25, 22 October 2016 (UTC)