User talk:SteveBaker

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NOTE: I know some people carry on conversations across two User talk pages. I find this ludicrous and unintuitive, and would much prefer to follow Wikipedia's recommendations (see How to keep a two-way conversation readable). Conversations started here will be continued here, while those I start on other users' pages will be continued there. If a user replies to a post of mine on this page, I will either cut/paste the text to their page, or (more likely) copy/paste from their page to this one and continue it here.

Antibiotics and placebos[edit]

That was a great story. I am glad you posted it. I will tell it in the future, always giving you credit :-) Dbrodbeck (talk) 22:14, 14 November 2014 (UTC)

can you post a link here so I can read it? please?Agent of the nine (talk) 16:25, 12 June 2015 (UTC)

Sorry, it was 6 months ago - I don't recall what it was that Dbrodbeck was thanking me for. SteveBaker (talk) 16:48, 12 June 2015 (UTC)

I'm guessing something to do with antibiotics and placebos? lol it's okay one can only find so much treasure. Agent of the nine (talk) 13:18, 16 June 2015 (UTC)

Merge discussion for Bike-engined car[edit]

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An article that you have been involved in editing, Bike-engined car, has been proposed for a merge with another article. If you are interested in the merge discussion, please participate by going here, and adding your comments on the discussion page. Thank you. Sincerely, SamBlob (talk) 18:12, 29 November 2014 (UTC)

Pneumatic non-return valve[edit]

Information icon Hi, and thank you for your contributions to Wikipedia. It appears that you tried to give Pneumatic non-return valve a different title by copying its content and pasting either the same content, or an edited version of it, into another page with a different name. This is known as a "cut-and-paste move", and it is undesirable because it splits the page history, which is legally required for attribution. Instead, the software used by Wikipedia has a feature that allows pages to be moved to a new title together with their edit history.

In most cases, once your account is four days old and has ten edits, you should be able to move an article yourself using the "Move" tab at the top of the page (the tab may be hidden in a dropdown menu for you). This both preserves the page history intact and automatically creates a redirect from the old title to the new. If you cannot perform a particular page move yourself this way (e.g. because a page already exists at the target title), please follow the instructions at requested moves to have it moved by someone else. Also, if there are any other pages that you moved by copying and pasting, even if it was a long time ago, please list them at Wikipedia:Cut-and-paste-move repair holding pen. Pneumatic non-return valves KTo288 (talk) 08:32, 30 November 2014 (UTC)

audio impersonation[edit]

Interesting, Steve. There are two issues here, I only addressed adding to the original recording, e.g. in a conference room with high noise, and I said it would be hard to add to it due to not having a clear patch of room noise from then. So you're saying it's trivial to add in extra audio into a low-quality recording of people's conversations? (to extract room noise and then splice it in without any noticeable clips or change that makes it obvious the person was added in post-production?) For my response I assumed the person would just be willing to read their lines - can they then be dubbed in easily into a high-noise actual recording of an actual conversatoin, with constantly varying background noise?

Because in this case the background noise might be really obvious as well (for example if anything else is happening), and repeating a section, or cutting abruptly or anything else, might be really obvious. . . .

I ask here because the person used 'impersonation' and I think that's wrong on its face. (It's often a crime.) On balance I would say the OP's intentions are not pure, but in any case I would like to 'keep them honest' by not posting details about how to do it. 212.96.61.236 (talk) 16:06, 11 December 2014 (UTC)

I would assume that 'clean' recordings of the extra person's words would be placed into existing lulls in the existing conversation - not spliced into them...but even so, resynthesising noise is easily done...I do it a lot in two dimensions when I use a resynthesis algorithm to remove objects from a photograph and resynthesise new data to fill in the gap....I'm sure it can be done even more easily in one dimension for audio. So you'd introduce your gap, resynthesise the room noise to fill it - then add the synthetic voice over the top.
As for bad intentions from the OP. First, here on Wikipedia, we're required to Assume Good Faith - so unless we have evidence to the contrary, I assume that our questioner is asking this for reasons of good, not ill. For example (s)he might be making an amateur movie about some fictional event and want to do what they did in Forrest Gump where their hero is inserted into a section of archival footage. I don't know - but I am required to assume good faith. Secondly, wikipedia isn't censored. So we are able to discuss this kind of thing with appropriate scientific/encyclopeadic detachment.
SteveBaker (talk) 16:33, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
same guy here. Sure, but he used the word 'impersonation'. Hard to find any honest context someone would use this word in. (they would just use a different word.) It sounds like a criminal category, and is one, or at least a word for something that is wrong on its face. If he hadn't used the word 'impersonation' I wouldn't have thought twice about it. it just seems wrong, in any context. (Because impersonation is really about the idea of identity theft. He even gave us the context, where someone would be impersonated and put into a conversation.) 82.131.223.148 (talk) 21:38, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
No! Impersonators exist for humor and to have historical figures appear in modern movies. The actor who plays Alan Turing in the new "The Imitation Game" movie is "impersonating" him...no horrible nastiness there. As I said, we're REQUIRED to assume good faith here at Wikipedia...it's not just a suggestion or a hint...it's a rule. SteveBaker (talk) 22:15, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
there is a sense of 'impersonations' like standup comics do, but I don't think anybody says the actor playing Alan Turing is 'impersonating' him - we just don't use the word in this sense. (Except in an impromptu over-the-top impersonation sense.) I've never heard anyone use it the way OP did, have you?
Okay, so I just reread the OP. It's not even about the word impersonation. I am extremely bothered by this: "Can the voice of one person be recorded, analyzed and then be used(dubbed)to show that this person was present in a conversation between others?"
it is written legalistically (to show) - i.e. to prove. Now, assuming good faith I can imagine that the Defense is asking whether this is possible (a possible defense against someone actually participating in a conversation.) If so I would answer in the affirmative or negative, but without enabling this behavior. But it looks really like someone is asking for a way to have this done. Just because we assume good faith doesn't mean we don't also keep people honest. 212.96.61.236 (talk) 00:39, 12 December 2014 (UTC)

Let me axe you a question.[edit]

I get the pixture that when you said I should of said "intents and purposes" you thought I didn't know what I was doing. I come acrost that a lot. Merry Christmas. μηδείς (talk) 19:30, 19 December 2014 (UTC)

Glade at least she know what she’s doing -because I don’t. Merry Christmas Steve. --Aspro (talk) 00:42, 26 December 2014 (UTC)

Reason for getting the greece postcard[edit]

The reason is because Callisto in Xena Warrior Princess is from there and I'm going to a Xena Conventrion in four weeks and I wanna show people a postcard of the real Kirra. Venustar84 (talk) 21:45, 27 January 2015 (UTC)

misplaced post[edit]

Hi Steve, I think your response here [1] went to the wrong thread. Cheers, SemanticMantis (talk) 16:27, 3 February 2015 (UTC)

Ooopsie! Small editing SNAFU. All better now. Thanks for letting me know. SteveBaker (talk) 18:43, 3 February 2015 (UTC)

Ref Desk proposal[edit]

Hi Steve, reading through the discussions on the talk page again, I have a simple proposal that I'd like your feedback on before I shop it to the whole group. It's very simple: For a trial period (1 month?), we agree to not remove or hat any questions for reasons of seeking medical/legal advice (and perhaps extend to include requests for opinion). Rather than a free-for-all, we first respond with boilerplate or a template, something along the lines of this:

At that point, we can remove any responses that diagnose, proscribe, treat any illness or legal situation, but allow links to RS. Perhaps even demand that any responses include references, or risk removal. Would that seem ok to you? The thing is, we really don't get that many medical legal questions, and I like how this puts us in the position to police ourselves as respondents, rather than posters. As I see it, this proposal is consistent with our guidelines, and it might forestall some debates, because hopefully the use of a template will warn all our regulars (and irregulars) to be on their best behavior. On the upside, we can then provide useful information, such as links to other people's opinion pieces, links to WP pages that are about medical topics, peer-reviewed literature, etc. So, any thoughts? Would you support such an experiment? Thanks, SemanticMantis (talk) 15:00, 6 February 2015 (UTC)

tl;dr: No, I wouldn't support it. I think that's a step too far - and a step too soon - and a huge distraction from the problems at hand.
A STEP TOO FAR
The medical and legal disclaimer is there for a reason. We have to protect our less smart responders (let's not name names) from crossing the line into diagnosis, prognosis and treatment - because that's illegal in Florida, where the Wikipedia servers are housed and practicing medicine without a license is illegal. That could result in lawsuits against individuals and against Wikipedia as a whole. That's quite aside from the moral/ethical issues. Wikipedia (rightly or wrongly) speaks with a voice of authority. We'd like people to see the reference desk as a place to get solid answers that can be relied upon...but with medical advice, we're trying to scream "NO! IGNORE EVERYTHING WE SAY! WE'RE NOT DOCTORS!"
If someone asks "I get this horrible pain in my chest several times a day after meals - what should I do?" - and we put out your disclaimer - then along comes an editor who carefully follows your guidelines and answers only with a slew of links to scholarly articles about indigestion and antacids - then the OP takes antacids and then drops dead of a heart attack - then I hope you'd agree that this would be a major problem. Even though we'd only pointed to articles relevant to chest pains related to mealtimes, by choosing one article versus another, we'd have implied a diagnosis and a treatment - and that's illegal and immoral. We can't provide an accurate and comprehensive list of all of the articles relating to chest pain because we're not doctors and we could easily miss some rare condition that overwhelmingly affects male Icelanders that a doctor would only have noticed in person. Even if we were doctors, forming any kind of judgement about the cause of our OP's ills is tough without meeting him in person and interrogating him about other symptoms, life history, etc.
So your proposed guidelines don't prevent the kinds of problems that relaxing the medical advice rules could potentially result in...and certainly would open us up to serious criticism and possibly legal difficulties that might extend beyond an individual editor. Suppose someone here does something like that and the lawyers decide to sue all of the reference desk regulars for negligently failing to prevent them from posting...noting our conversations about relaxing the rules....noting this very conversation we're having at this precise moment...we might all end up in jail for accessory to manslaughter.
HELL NO!
I would STRONGLY oppose such a measure...even on a trial basis...no matter how wrapped in caveats and disclaimers...I'd have to fight it tooth and nail. By choosing which medical articles to link to, we would be implying a diagnosis and/or a treatment and/or a prognosis...and that's contrary to Kainaws' criterion.
A STEP TOO SOON
Aside from the legal and ethical issues...On another level. We do need reform...we need to stop this constant bickering over what to hat and what to delete and how to scold our OP's and respondents. We need some solid guidelines. Pushing that reform through is going to be very tough. If you try to use this as a gateway to major change to the most controversial part of all, then you'll derail the entire thing. I would personally have to strongly oppose someone (you) who would appear to be on the side of the very reform I'm trying to push through.
My opinion is this: PLEASE let's get the basic reform going - lets lay out the grand plan for how we categorize problem posts - and what we do about each category. Let's have the system run for a while and get people used to it. When that's done, it'll be much easier to have a more nuanced view of medical/legal questions. But I really don't want to derail the discussions with a major bombshell such as you're proposing.
Besides, you stand zero chance of getting consensus. We've been through the medical/legal ban thing enough times already - and there is NEVER consensus to change the rules. There are enough people who, like me, feel that our present stance is about right who'll make sure that the status quo won't change. What we mainly need is more uniform and consistent responses rather than a random collection of hatting/deleting/ignoring/scorning/lambasting/joking/arguing that we typically get when this happens.
So, sorry - no, I most certainly don't support your proposal.
SteveBaker (talk) 16:14, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
Well, I think you're misunderstanding the spirit. What I'm proposing isn't actually even a change to our guidelines. I've read them carefully. The guidelines say we can't give advice, but they actually recommend not removing advice seeking questions. Upon reflection, I agree with you in the sense that I don't think it is good to say in the template that people are allowed to post after the template had been posted. The main point is that by using a template, we can avoid lots of the debate on closing/hatting, and a template is less disruptive and easier to undo than hatting or deleting. BTW, I totally agree with you on the ethical considerations, and we shouldn't even imply diagnoses. As for your reform idea- it's mostly just me and you talking, with some of Robert. The stuff from Bugs isn't that relevant, and few of the other regulars seem to be joining in over the past few days. Not a ton of action there.
I'm not sure if people don't want to work on categorizing and flow charting, or if they just want to steer clear of any more arguments and drama. Also, FYI, I've posted similar comments about a template on the pages of a few others, including Jayron, Medeis, StuRat, Wnt, Robert, Jack of Oz, and Baseball Bugs (a vague list of the people who seem to be interesting in discussing these issues, and making a point to include people who seem to have different viewpoints on the issues). Interestingly enough, Medeis seems mostly on board, though I didn't write the exact same thing on that page, and didn't mention anything about allowing responses. Others seem cautiously positive so far, as you can see if you look at their talk pages.
Again, the explicit allowing of responses to questions seeking advice was not the main thrust. I was thinking more in line with the homework template that some people use. And I fully support removing any responses that give medical advice. If advice-seeking questions stay and get flagged, then many more readers and posters will start to get the idea that we don't give medical advice.
So, is this revision any more agreeable to you?
I don't mean to derail your ongoing thread, but it also doesn't look like it's going anywhere much at present. My thought was that this current version could be shaped into a relatively easy template to pass. That could help build good will and a spirit of reaching consensus, but maybe I'm too optimistic :) SemanticMantis (talk) 18:09, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
OK, if you've dropped the part about being allowed to post links/reliable-sources/whatever in response to a medical advice question? OK - but what are you now saying that we don't already do? We already have a choice of four templates that pretty much say what we need:
So to summarize what I think you're saying:
  1. Post a template telling the user that he's screwed up -- we already have that covered -- see above.
  2. DO NOT post any kind of reply - whether specific to this person or generic advice about what you happen to think might ail him. This is current policy.
  3. Don't delete his question...not sure about that. We've flip-flopped on that a couple of times. It's a part of what I'm trying to formalize - but not *JUST* for medical/legal questions...those are just the tip if the iceberg.
Well, I *think* this is what we're already doing...or at least what we're supposed to be doing. I really hate your template because it's too wordy - and ambiguous. It says that our goal *IS* to give you advice...that's really mudding the waters...we just told him that we're not going to answer his question - and now we're saying that answering it is our goal. Then we go on to say that if we DO answer his question (which we won't, but it is our goal) then there are no guarantees.
That's just a mess...it's horrible! All we need is "Don't ask theses kinds of questions (here's why). We're not going to answer. Go see a doctor." - and the existing templates do exactly that.
As for what we delete and what we don't...my opinion is: Don't delete the question - it confuses people who can't find their question later - so they just re-ask it. Do use a standard template so we have a consistent, pre-agreed and official-sounding message. Do delete policy-violating answers...don't hat them - we don't want the OP to read them at all because they may be illegal. If someone needs to read them, they can use the edit history. Don't debate the matter on the customer-facing page - that makes us look inept - take it to the talk page.
When you remove the 'allowing people to post informational links' part of your proposal, what's left is what we already have - but don't always enforce.
So, IMHO, there is nothing new here...we're done. SteveBaker (talk) 20:14, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
My proposed template does not say our goal is to give advice. Did you read it? It also doesn't say to not reply after the template. I specifically said nothing about allowing or disallowing further responses. Also, our guidelines say do not say that we are not allowed to respond to questions seeking advice, they say we do not give medical advice. Have a read of the paragraph that starts "When answering a question that appears to be soliciting medical advice..."[2] -- which makes it perfectly clear that it is permissible to respond, provided that the response does not contain medical advice.
I was aware of some of those other similar templates, but not all, so thanks for pointing those out. However, they aren't being used, and people are deleting things instead. I thought a new template and new discussion would help bring more people on board to avoid deletions. Those deletions often cause problems, and that was what I thought we were both working to change.
What I was trying to do was to get people to agree on something simple, to build good will and community. My goal was to have a template that would both satisfy Medeis' desire to play cop/deleter, while satisfying other users' desire to not have their responses removed, or things needlessly deleted without consensus.
I thought it would be very difficult to get Medeis and Robert McClennon to agree to the same template, since one like to delete everything, and the other wants to delete nothing. At present, I have gotten agreement from them, and sooner than expected. I confess I didn't suspect that you would be so dismissive.
I came here hoping for some constructive criticism and productive discussion, and you've told me "No way in hell", "I hate your template" and other disparaging things with lots of angry looking *ASTERISKED CAPS*! I must say I'm a little surprised by that. SemanticMantis (talk) 21:46, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
OK, let's pull this apart a bit:
My proposed template does not say our goal is to give advice. Did you read it? -- yes, of course! Here is what you said:
"Our goal here is to provide citations/links to informational references and WP articles."
As I explained earlier, we cannot provide citations and/or links without implying that those references are relevant to the OP's presumed medical condition...which in turn implies that we understand what that condition is...which means that we've formed a diagnosis. If we also link to articles like Tylanol - then we're implying a treatment.
It also doesn't say to not reply after the template. I specifically said nothing about allowing or disallowing further responses.
No, but that is the implication of "Our goal here". I know what you mean, but I think it's very confusing to the OP. Moreover, I don't see the relevance of telling the OP this at this time.
Also, our guidelines say do not say that we are not allowed to respond to questions seeking advice, they say we do not give medical advice.
Yes, indeed, we're allowed to respond with things like "We can't answer your question" and "The reason we can't answer your question is..." - this does not give us license to say "Look at this article about indigestion". We can't tell them all about the condition we suspect they have - that's diagnosis - and for 100% sure, that's not allowed.
Have a read of the paragraph that starts "When answering a question that appears to be soliciting medical advice..."[3] -- which makes it perfectly clear that it is permissible to respond, provided that the response does not contain medical advice.
Indeed. No medical advice whatever - neither express not implied...read a little further down the guideline an you'll see:
Any answer that provides medical advice, whether the question sought it or not, should be removed, or at least hatted,
I was aware of some of those other similar templates, but not all, so thanks for pointing those out. However, they aren't being used, and people are deleting things instead.
I absolutely agree. But the solution to people not using a template isn't to make another template that they also won't use. We need to fundamentally change the sloppy and inconsistent application of our guidelines by codifying the process - precisely and unambigously. IF (you see this kind of question) THEN (you do this and then that). IF (someone answers inappropriately) THEN (you do this other thing and then that). Clear rules, that are easy to regulate. If someone repeatedly hats something that shouldn't be hatted - or if they answer inappropriately - then we have a single clear thing that we can point to and say "YOU SCREWED UP - DON'T DO IT AGAIN!" - and if they do, then you can invoke the "disruptive editing" rule and have them topic banned.
The problem isn't "what is a medical question" - we already know that. We know what is allowed in terms of responses - what we're lacking is a clear set of rules that say when to hat, when to delete, when to ignore, when to use small font, when to... yeah... everything.
I thought a new template and new discussion would help bring more people on board to avoid deletions.
Why? That approach has failed miserably at least three, possibly four times in the past. I don't think you have the history with the RD to understand the depth to which this has already been debated. We know what's allowed and what's not. You're not bringing anything new to the table. The problem is not "WHAT" we're allowed to respond to - it's "HOW" and "WHEN" we respond to it.
Those deletions often cause problems, and that was what I thought we were both working to change.
Yes, but the approach you're taking here has been tried...many times before...it doesn't work (as evidenced by that pile of existing templates that are never used!). What I'm trying to do is both entirely new - and applies to ALL of our stupid problems - from someone posting an inane joke in response to a question that has not yet been answered, to how we handle trolls, to how we deal with medical questions *and* how we deal with answers to all of those things.
What I was trying to do was to get people to agree on something simple, to build good will and community.
We've done that before - we get an overwhelming consensus - but without a clear process - some people feel it's their job to pick their own set of rules.
My goal was to have a template that would both satisfy Medeis' desire to play cop/deleter, while satisfying other users' desire to not have their responses removed, or things needlessly deleted without consensus.
I understand your goals...mine are pretty much the same - but my ambition is to fix ALL of the problems. The people we're trying to rein in don't only delete medical stuff - they also attack questions that appear to be from trolls - answers that maybe are kinda construed as personal attacks...professional advice of any kind...you name it! I actually don't have problems when Medeis deletes medical advice stuff...it's the expanding cloud of other stuff that gets caught up in it.
What is needed is a clear set of rules that tells all of us what we are supposed to do. No other response would be acceptable - and because the rules are laid out step-by-step then you can point clearly, and unambiguously to where this person overstepped the mark. If a rogue editor doesn't follow the community-agreed, consensus-driven procedure - then after a couple of infractions, big trouble will ensue. If someone feels the need to play RD-cop and sanction people, then so long as they follow these hypothetical pre-agreed processes then we will thank them profoundly for their prompt actions rather than having gigantic bust-ups every single freaking time. Done right, everyone wins. In the event that we find a new kind of problem that we didn't write into the procedures - then we merely have to say "This is a CLASS C question" - and the procedure for dealing with it is already codified. That makes it much easier to get consensus on how to deal with new issues. We can even say things like "Every post that we think is coming from notorious troll User:XXXXXX will now be classified as CLASS E"...and everyone instantly knows what we're going to do. Clear rules that are easy to follow, easy to police, easy to provide a slap-on-the-wrist to people who get over-enthusiastic in applying sanctions.
I thought it would be very difficult to get Medeis and Robert McClennon to agree to the same template, since one like to delete everything, and the other wants to delete nothing. At present, I have gotten agreement from them, and sooner than expected. I confess I didn't suspect that you would be so dismissive.
I've read what they replied to you - and I think you're reading their responses FAR too optimistically. But, as I said, the problem isn't with templates - it's the rules that apply as you use them. We do already have consensus agreement on a comprehensive set of rules - we just don't have the procedures to apply them nailed down. Attempting to get new consensus for new rules is just disrupting the path to what we actually need to do.
I came here hoping for some constructive criticism and productive discussion, and you've told me "No way in hell", "I hate your template" and other disparaging things with lots of angry looking *ASTERISKED CAPS*! I must say I'm a little surprised by that.
Well, you came to my user page, asking for my reaction - and I'm just trying to tell you how I feel. I do truly hate your template. My constructive criticism is "Don't bother - it won't help". That's what I'm telling you - I'm not going to sugar-coat it - I think your first proposal sucked - I think your second proposal is irrelevant.
Also, I don't like that you're sneaking around talking to people individually, instead of having the courage to go to the WP:RD talk page and have a decent open discussion, allowing everyone to bounce ideas off of each other...that's not good. You are having conversations where A talks to B, A talks to C, A talks to D. At no point does B talks to C or C talk to D. Divide and conquer. Definitely not the Wiki Way. Not the kind of thing that enamours me of your approach!
But, in truth, I think you simply don't have the history here to know why what you're doing (a) won't help and (b) will derail a serious effort for very real reform.
You'll note that I tend to give stronger opinions to people who come to my talk page. You asked for my unvarnished personal opinion - you got it! Please don't complain when I tell you how I feel.
SteveBaker (talk) 03:13, 7 February 2015 (UTC)
I agree with Steve's greater point that in most "medical-advice" situations, it would be very hard to provide links to sources without strongly implying a diagnosis or suggested treatment. If a question-asker describes a set of symptoms, and I provide a link to a disease (likely one of thousands) that can cause those symptoms, I have told the question asker what disease I think they have. I've made a diagnosis, and communicated it to the question asker. That's pretty much exactly what the guidelines say shouldn't happen.
I'm often strongly against stupid medial-advice deletions, but those tend to be questions that are not actually medical advice that someone has tried to force under that umbrella for who knows what reason. I'm talking about questions like "How do I clean a straight razor?" or "How does the average lifespan of a smoker compare to a non-smoker?" which will often be deleted as "medical", even though they don't ask for diagnosis or treatment. APL (talk) 23:50, 8 February 2015 (UTC)
Yes, and that particular situation is already covered by a really excellent "bright-line" rule - Kainaw's criterion. Basically, if you can fully answer the question without diagnosis, prognosis or treatment - then you're good to go. So both of your example questions are clearly acceptable and can and should be answered.
User:Kainaw's observation really clears up the whole classification situation. But it doesn't help with matters like: Should we remove the question? Should we also remove the answers? What about the title? Should we use a template? What should we do when someone violates these rules?
But it's a really, REALLY good start. SteveBaker (talk) 00:47, 9 February 2015 (UTC)]
You know, I can give and take harsh judgment and criticism. Something I got a lot of training in as a scientist... I'm no wilting lily, but I did expect a little more civility. That's water under the bridge as far as I'm concerned, but please don't accuse me of "sneaking around" - these are all public talk pages, and I specifically told the people involved that I was soliciting the opinions of others. It's not like I'm using private emails to form some secret cabal or something. Now that I've chatted with a few people individually, I'm very glad I didn't post this to the talk page. SemanticMantis (talk) 21:46, 19 February 2015 (UTC)

March 2015[edit]

Information icon Please do not remove content or templates from pages on Wikipedia, as you did to Wikipedia:Reference desk/Humanities, without giving a valid reason for the removal in the edit summary. Your content removal does not appear constructive and has been reverted. Please make use of the sandbox if you'd like to experiment with test edits. Removal of reasonable discussion from the Humanities Reference Desk. Robert McClenon (talk) 00:21, 21 March 2015 (UTC)

Like-Minded Person[edit]

"Dreaming the same Impossible Dream"

The Like-Minded Persons' Club
For displaying here common sense and uncommon good taste by agreeing with me or saying something I would have said if only I'd had the presence of mind, I hereby bestow upon you Provisional Membership of the Like-Minded Persons' Club.

To qualify for Full Membership, simply continue to agree with me in all matters for at least the next 12 months.

(Disagreements are so vulgar, don't you think?)

Congratulations, Steve.

Actually, I have a confession to make. There was a time when I had formed a less than positive impression of you. But that time seems a very long time ago now, and these days I find myself in agreement with most things you post. A paragon of sensibility, if I may so so. That's me. You're OK too. Carry on.  :) -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 20:40, 12 April 2015 (UTC)

That fits well to my reason for coming here, and I don't even have to write a new headline. Thank you for the colorful metaphor "In a vast treeless desert without any aardvarks, do aardvarks climb trees?", used here. — Sebastian 21:38, 5 May 2015 (UTC)

IT slaves[edit]

Like-Minded Person[edit]

"Dreaming the same Impossible Dream"

The Like-Minded Persons' Club
For displaying here common sense and uncommon good taste by agreeing with me or saying something I would have said if only I'd had the presence of mind, I hereby bestow upon you Provisional Membership of the Like-Minded Persons' Club.

To qualify for Full Membership, simply continue to agree with me in all matters for at least the next 12 months.

(Disagreements are so vulgar, don't you think?)


Agent of the nine (talk) 13:21, 16 June 2015 (UTC)

ArbCom elections are now open![edit]

Hi,
You appear to be eligible to vote in the current Arbitration Committee election. The Arbitration Committee is the panel of editors responsible for conducting the Wikipedia arbitration process. It has the authority to enact binding solutions for disputes between editors, primarily related to serious behavioural issues that the community has been unable to resolve. This includes the ability to impose site bans, topic bans, editing restrictions, and other measures needed to maintain our editing environment. The arbitration policy describes the Committee's roles and responsibilities in greater detail. If you wish to participate, you are welcome to review the candidates' statements and submit your choices on the voting page. For the Election committee, MediaWiki message delivery (talk) 13:00, 23 November 2015 (UTC)

ani[edit]

Information icon There is currently a discussion at Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents regarding an issue with which you may have been involved. Thank you.

Witch hunting[edit]

Hi Steve, thanks for your recent comments. Right now, I'm actually more frustrated with the long-term semi-protection than the unilateral removal of troll/banned user posts. At least without the semi-protection, some IPs got through, now very few will jump through the necessary hoops. Do you think the issue of the duration of semi-protection might be successfully clarified at AN and/or Wikipedia_talk:Protection_policy as suggested recently by Modocc? I know there must be a few others who see things our way, if you're interested, we could perhaps recruit some helpers and sandbox something together. Maybe the duration isn't the right angle, but the only other thing I can think of is to get enough admins to revert the one who keeps semi-protecting so that we force the ball into admin court. I'm really just floundering for any way to keep the ref desks open, as I think you agree they should be. SemanticMantis (talk) 17:01, 2 February 2016 (UTC)

Yeah - the semi-protection is harsh - and the fact that the numbers of questions that are being asked has totally nose-dived is proof that it's not a viable answer and is damaging to the ref desks.
Troll-removal is something that's tolerable IF there is clarity in the process so everyone can see that the labelling of an OP as a troll is justified. But (as Bugs helpfully - if unintentionally - demonstrated) - what we currently have is a bunch of witch-hunters who are judge, jury and executioner...another classic witch-hunt trick.
I don't know what can be done through the machinations of ANI or whatever - but IMHO, we know that the Ref Desk is "special" and if the Ref Desk regulars could arrive at a reasonably solid consensus as to a solution, it would be tough for the admins and/or the witch-hunters to counter it.
For me, if I can't tell that someone is a troll - I'm going to answer their questions as well as I can. If I think they are a troll - then I won't answer - I won't mention that I think they're a troll - I don't feed trolls - but I don't impose my opinion on other people. If it's so bloody obvious that we have a troll, then it should be obvious to everyone not to feed them. If it's not obvious to everyone, then maybe it's not a troll...or at least not an especially obnoxious one. The only way to adjust my behavior is to help me to identify those trolls...and a secret cabal of troll-hunters with their own private methods isn't going to cut it for me - I need a set of rules and some evidence that one or more of those rules have been broken.
SteveBaker (talk) 17:51, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
Yep, I agree entirely. Going a bit further: if I think a question about e.g. human sexuality is trolling and ignore it, while you AGF and give a good, factual answer with references, then I'm still fine with the situation, and wouldn't yell at you for troll feeding. In my experience, trolls don't get wicked excitement when they get a reference, they get excited by arguments and disruption. But the troll-hunters don't seem to agree on that point either. SemanticMantis (talk) 21:31, 2 February 2016 (UTC)

Reference desk issues[edit]

Steve, hi. I'm sorry that things have become rather heated over on WT:RD, and I'm quite happy to discuss things rationally. If you feel that the Perth IP's posting is acceptable because it's interesting, or not harmful, or similarly productive, whether or not it's from a banned user, you're quite entitled under WP:BANREVERT to restore it, if you "take full responsibility" for it (whatever that may mean), and we just have a disagreement on the implementation of banning policy that probably doesn't need further discussion - I would not encourage anyone to restore postings from banned users, and I might perhaps advise you to look at the Google results for "perspective sight" before wholeheartedly accepting the IP's anecdote as factual, but I think this particular incident can be closed. However, if you accept the principle that banned users should not be allowed to edit (and, if you don't, that's fine), but feel that I am being too sensitive when it comes specifically to WickWack, we can look at the evidence and see if things can be improved. If that's what you'd like to do, establishing an approximate baseline for my first criterion, by seeing how many acceptable posts we get from Telstra, might be a useful start. Rather than speculating, looking at the actual data is always a more productive approach. Tevildo (talk) 19:26, 10 February 2016 (UTC)

Firstly, I deny that I restored a post from a banned user. There is absolutely zero convincing evidence that that is the case. What I did was to restore a perfectly valid answer to a question from someone who is innocent until proven guilty. The onus is on you to prove that you deleted this interesting response on solid grounds - and so far, you have quite utterly failed to do that.
Your suggested statistical approach is invalid. You don't have enough samples to know whether there are one (ie WickWack) or two (WickWack+"binocculars"-guy) people posting from that part of the world. No amount of effort in counting such people would produce a valid result from what must be a very small sample size. Furthermore, if I *did* find other postings from that area - what's to stop you claiming that those are ALSO WickWack? That's an entirely fruitless line of investigation based on a flawed understanding of the statistics of the matter. So I'm not prepared to enter into that analysis.
Furthermore - if you were correct, and there were zero other people posting from telstra/Perth, then the admins could have imposed a range-block on all of those addresses. Evidently, they chose NOT TO DO THAT. Then you come along and are now imposing (in effect) your own personal range-block on people from that area. Why do you have the right to do that when the admins already decided NOT to impose such a draconian measure? That's why I describe your actions as vigilante-ism. Your actions lie outside the established rule-of-law that we have around here.
The only way I could accept your assessment is if you had some other kind of impressive clue about the identity of this poster. Maybe they always post at 12:34am - maybe they consistently use an unusual grammatical formation - maybe they have a propensity to use some rare word. But "no references" and "misspelling" doesn't narrow the field one jot - everyone here posts without references where none are easily available (which is certainly the case here) - and absolutely everyone misspells things occasionally.
I don't know why you want me to google "perspective sight" - I didn't see a smoking gun there. I'd already searched for references about this use of binoculars for aligning railroad tracks and come up dry (just as we all came up dry on the OP's original question). This is a pretty obscure use of binoculars - probably only relevant in places in the world with a predominance of long, straight, flat railroads (Australia) - and only in times before precision wheel gauges and lasers would be used. For technology that's obsolete and restricted to a very few applications, it's common to find zero information online. I don't doubt you'd find it in a 1900's Western Australian Railway track-maintenance manual...good luck finding THAT online!
FWIW: What convinces me that the post was genuine was the idea that the foreshortening that comes with magnified viewing intensifies any wiggles in the track from gentle curves to sharp diversions. I very much doubt that most people would have thought of that if they were just making something up...it's a very clever idea. So I'm 99% certain that Australian railways really did use such devices - and I'm not at all surprised that there are no google hits for it.
It's certainly possible that the post did indeed come from WickWack in a rare spate of sanity, posting something that (s)he has personal knowledge of. The content of the post was primo stuff. So the sole reason for erasing it would be because WickWack had posted it - and is a banned user - and that's an assessment of identity that I'm not prepared to make.
I simply will not dissuade a person who may be an intelligent expert on antiquated Australian railroad technology from contributing here just because your personal "gut feel" says so. Without further evidence, what you're doing is nasty, abusive, in clear violation of WP:AGF and vigilante-ism of the worst kind. What you're doing here is a witch-hunt that is far, far more damaging to Wikipedia than WickWack has ever been. So please don't expect me to be persuaded without some actual tangible evidence that you know something from that post that is better than a blind guess that this is one individual from a crowd of 700,000 people.
If you truly believe that you can judge whether this is a bad guy from nothing more than the IP address - then you should go back to the admins and demand a range block on the whole telstra/Perth range because you claim to believe that this wouldn't shut out valid users. Without that, you have no authority to apply such a wide-ranging campaign of intimidation.
SteveBaker (talk) 20:34, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
Fine, you want to be hysterical, be hysterical. I shall revert WickWack if he posts again, and I'll refer you to WP:PROXYING if you intend to continue in this vein. We can sort this out at ANI if we have to. I hope we don't, but I can see it coming to that unless you calm down and look at things objectively. Goodbye. Tevildo (talk) 21:05, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
I can assure you that I am calm, and that I am looking at things objectively. Objectively, you seem to have no good reason for erasing that post. If you have one, then tell me it and this is over. If you don't - then stop doing what you're doing because it's not right. But now you want to turn my (reasonable) doubt that you have good reason for what your doing - into an accusation that I'm somehow colluding with WickWack to help him do what he does? Fine - take it to ANI. SteveBaker (talk) 21:13, 10 February 2016 (UTC)

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ArbCom Elections 2016: Voting now open![edit]

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

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A page you started (Geocell (cartography)) has been reviewed![edit]

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