User talk:ThatPeskyCommoner/Archive 18

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Thanks for helping make Wikipedia better. Enjoy your research! Cheers, Ocaasi 17:23, 22 August 2012 (UTC)

Hi Pesky, Do you really need this? It seems that Hants county library service offers Credo, as well as lots more (The Times archive 1785-1985, Britannica, etc), to search from home - all you need is a library ticket number. And if you aren't already a member you can join online. Might as well leave the Credo subs for people in countries with less good public library services! PamD 07:02, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
Ahh - it would rather depend if I can access it online from home, as I generally can't get to the library itself. At the moment we have so much shite going on ... I will look into whether I can get access from home via the library service. Pesky (talk) 09:57, 25 August 2012 (UTC)

ZOMG! iPhone dictation faux pas!

"We're putting together some things to bring in to you later (semi colon)" came out as "We are putting together some things to bring in to you like to suck cock ...." LULZ! Pesky (talk) 10:10, 23 August 2012 (UTC)

LOL! Pesky, do you know how to make a vertical userbox?-- RexRowan  Talk  12:13, 23 August 2012 (UTC)
Not off the top of my head, but I wouldn't think it would be too hard to do. Pesky (talk) 06:30, 24 August 2012 (UTC)

Plain English and editor retention?

Hi Pesky - It took a while for me to respond to your call. But can I interest you in this?

Best to you and your family, —MistyMORN 19:45, 13 August 2012 (UTC)

Wow! Absolutely! You've hit the nail right on the head there. Plain English is much more important than many people realise; I think a lot of Wiki-Old-Timers don't realise that they're almost talking a WP/Collegiate American "dialect", which others may not understand the same way that they do. Pesky (talk) 05:55, 14 August 2012 (UTC)

I don't know about you, but this was new to me: WP:REDEX. Hugz, —MistyMorn (talk) 11:04, 20 August 2012 (UTC)

Some of us Wiki-old-timers have been fighting for "plain English" for years. And plain code. People generally support the first (which is good for readers) but don't realise the second is vital for editors. Rich Farmbrough, 02:35, 28 August 2012 (UTC).
There was a nice presentation about plain English at Wikimania. Rich Farmbrough, 02:36, 28 August 2012 (UTC).
I wish I had been there! Misty, that thing has been on my user-page links for fast access for ages – great stuff! People underestimate the possibilities of plain English; I suppose that having been a teacher of all ages and all levels of brain-power for such a long time, I know so well that one can get really complex ideas across with clarity to a bright-enough small child; we should be able to make policy pages much more clear and readable! Here's one on how some antibiotics work: "Part of the way that bugs have baby bugs is like having a big long bar code with a zip up the middle, which unzips, and finds new bits like jigsaw pieces to make two zips out of the first zip, and then zipping them both up again to make two babies. The medicine works a bit like putting fluff in the zips so they can't zip up again to make baby bugs." Pesky (talk) 05:21, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
Yup, I think I had actually seen the exercises before, but had passed over them as not being an immediate personal priority. The points you're raising about the relevance of plain English for Wikipedia made me consider them in a different perspective. —MistyMorn (talk) 12:02, 30 August 2012 (UTC)
Adding: I actually love explaining DNA to kids! So long as they can read a bit, and understand that you can put the same letters together in different ways to make different words ... if you have an unlimited number of each letter you can write whatever you want to! Now combine that with the idea of a multi-coloured bar code with a zip up the middle ... they can go end-to-end in any order, but blue pieces can only go side by side with yellow pieces, and red pieces can only go side by side with green pieces ... it's actually quite simple! Pesky (talk) 05:43, 28 August 2012 (UTC)

The cancer explanation: it's making the wrong pieces in the wrong place, and the bit which tells it when to stop doesn't work. Pesky (talk) 06:03, 28 August 2012 (UTC)

Yes interesting, using less well labelled entities appears clearer. And that's because we are postponing or completely avoiding discussion about "the bit that tells it when to stop" - or even giving it a name. Rich Farmbrough, 19:04, 28 August 2012 (UTC).
I've always found, with bright and inquisitive kids, that they can grasp concepts incredibly fast provided that you can relate the idea to something they're familiar with. And they can ask the most searching questions, lol! And I love it when the answer is "I'm not sure - let's find a good book / encyclopaedia and look it up, shall we?" ... and then finding creative small-child ways of translating the answer into something which they can understand. Pesky (talk) 08:07, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
Of course being inquisitive is virtually a characteristic of childhood. It is those of us who it is not beaten out of that become Wikipedians. Rich Farmbrough, 11:25, 30 August 2012 (UTC).

Autism Spectrum Quotient

Hello! In your WP:AUTIE essay you linked this test. How is it reliable? Eg., if I get 28, does it indeed mean that I am likely affected with Asperger's syndrome? — Dmitrij D. Czarkoff (talk) 00:25, 14 August 2012 (UTC)

It's the kinda standard test used in a lot of places. I think (as with so many personality-type tests!) that you really need to do it probably several times at reasonably widely-spaced intervals, in different moods and so on, to get a clearer picture. Having said that, a 28 score is in that greyish-area which would suggest that the testee has some autism-spectrum characteristics. If you're really interested, work from memory of your childhood and see if you can re-do the test as if you were a much younger you (if you know what I mean!) Also see if you can find some family members or other people who knew you as a young child (ideally see if you can find some who knew you when you were learning to talk!) and get their input on their memories of you. Autism-spectrum disorders were massively under-diagnosed going back to the 50s, 60s and 70s, with the only thing being recognised was the quite severely impaired type. The aloof, loner, "shy child", a bit socially-inept but "gifted", possibly a bit clumsy, with some slightly odd repetitive behaviours / mild OCD-type things, maybe a bit of toe-walking and hand-flappiness, wasn't recognised in the old days as being likely autism-spectrum.

Adding: when talking to people who knew you as a child, be careful not to ask leading questions! So ask along the lines of "What did I used to do if I was upset / overwhelmed / excited (etc.)?", and not "Did I used to toe-walk on the spot, flap hands, cover my ears, flinch at noises other people hardly noticed?" and so on. The more medical-history (kinda thing) you can get, the more you'll get a better picture of whether you're autism-spectrum. Effectively, the more ASD-markers / indicators you had as a youngster, the more likely it is that a 28 score is a reliable indicator.

Adding more: old school reports (if you still have them!) can be quite revealing. Things like "Doesn't make friends easily", "Won't play games which involve holding hands", and little things like that. You might be interested in this. Pesky (talk) 05:25, 14 August 2012 (UTC)

Well, I'm mostly curious here, as I don't see any RL consequences of assuming the status of person affected with Aspenger's syndrome (AFAIK I'm not legally obliged to disclose it, am I?). I'm pretty sure that I would score a bit lower in my childhood. Though in July, when I took this test for the first time (you linked it from that RfC, I believe), I scored in the same range. P.S.: as I was told, as a child I passed all the watched milestones on average rates (though I learned to pronounce the remaining sounds of my mother tongue just a day before my parents wanted to take me to speech therapist, but I don't think they waited too long). Oh, and I always rejected all the teamwork (when forced, I offered others doing the whole task alone to their delight) and only contacted 3-4 people of 30 in my group until the last two grades (those corresponding high school in US, if I get this right). — Dmitrij D. Czarkoff (talk) 09:52, 14 August 2012 (UTC)
Gee Dmitri, that sounds a bit like me, other than the speech part -- I hated teamwork too! Pesky, what do you mean by "toe-walking?" Over here, it is possible that a certain degree of ASD might fall under the Americans with Disabilities Act and qualify you for certain accommodations (not having to work under flickering florescent lights for example) if you have the diagnosis. But it would be controversial and I don't know if there is any law putting mild HFA or Aspergers under ADA protection, Montanabw(talk) 20:37, 14 August 2012 (UTC)
Dmitri, with two tests running at around the same kind of score, and the childhood things, it does sound likely that you're on the autism spectrum. I'm in the UK, and I know very little about laws, benefits, etc. relating to it in other countries. I doubt whether mild Asperger's or HFA would get you any benefits / accommodations of any kind, but conversely I can't see any real problems associated with "coming out" other than having to deal with people who just haven't a clue what autism spectrum stuff is really about, and make all sorts of assumptions and have all sorts of prejudices. The good side of coming out with it is that it puts you in a better position to be able to help others in whatever ways seem appropriate to you, if you want to. It can be really enlightening for neurotypicals who haven't a clue to meet someone who looks "just like them" (apart from maybe a little bit unusual in some ways), and it can really help other Aspie/Autie people to have a few helpful hints and tips from someone else with it.

Montana, the toe-walking thing is that thing you may have seen (much more often in kids than in adults) where, when distressed or excited, the kid goes onto tiptoes (to one extent or another) and "pads" on the spot (like a cat kneading you with its paws, a bit!), or walks keeping the heels off the ground in situations which make them edgy. Severely autistic kids often toe-walk to the exclusion of any other kind of walking. One very definitive little subtle marker is a kid who, when upset or excited, lifts the heels off the ground; tucks in the elbows, and lifts the hands up to shoulder level, close to the body, and usually palms facing forwards; and slightly curls their body around their tummy. Sometimes very, very subtle, sometimes really marked, with rapid on-the-spot tiptoe-steps, very tense tummy and noticeably hunched over, and very flappy hands, or covering the ears. It's very like a prolonged startle-response.

This is a fascinating video in many ways. Don't just listen to what they're saying (although obviously take it in, lol!) but watch the body language very closely. Pesky (talk) 03:29, 15 August 2012 (UTC)

Adding: I've done the test several times in different moods, and always score in the 35 - 38 range. I really hate: crowds, noisy environments, talking on the phone, people being too close to my back, people approaching me too fast, loud voices, people touching my head, strong smells, people being angry. Pesky (talk) 04:25, 15 August 2012 (UTC)
Love the girl that narrated! Well, for one thing, I'm REALLY clueless about body language, I sort of picked up on stuff you are saying with the kid with the bubbles, but the rest -- I guess you are describing almost a standing fetal position? Like so many other things in my life, I am once again not quite fish nor fowl; I seem to score between 28 and 32, depending on day and mood, so though I FEEL really ASD, I don't think I'd get ANY accommodation or sympathy because most of the time I seem to "pass.". I think part of this is because I am quite extroverted (ask me to speak to a group of 100 and I'm quite excited and happy to do so!), even though I have that "user interface" problem (I see from various materials that many HFA sorts that are shy and introverted are more frequently not diagnosed as they just don't draw attention to themselves -- I tend to draw attention to myself). Some kinds of noise just drive me batty (those houses where people keep the TV on all the time, in particular), other kinds (rock concerts when I'm in the audience), not so much. Same with crowds. If I'm in control of my body and direction (like in the audience at the rock concert), I'm OK; but if I feel trapped, (like standing in line to get into the rock concert) I'm more anxious. I agree with you about angry people. I definitely hate ANYONE touching me if I didn't give permission first. And yes, certain sensitivities to smell, bright lights, especially at the wrong angle, and I didn't learn to ride a bicycle without training wheels until I was almost 8, if memory serves. (which, interestingly, was the same age my dad FINALLY agreed to get me a pony of my own that I could ride by myself!) This in spite of my mom having me in baton at 2, ice skating and ballet at 4, etc... :-P I did fine being a little professor, but I wish they'd had remedial P.E.! Montanabw(talk) 23:11, 15 August 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────The interacting / speaking thing can be a bit odd; you sound a bit like me, there! I have absolutely no problem at all in public speaking, whether the audience is 10 or 1000. But social conversation? Not good at it, at all! I used to duck right out of it and stand in my own little world on the sidelines, but now if I'm forced to be an a multi-person social situation (or force myself to be) I tend to over-compensate and become manically hyper, in an effort to appear friendly and outgoing, lol! Haven't got it right yet! (Don't really want to, as I don't like having to be part of a social situation.) I'm brill at doing the in-depth lecture on equine coat colour genetics (or a few other subjects) if anyone asks me; but lousy at noticing when they've had enough and are wishing I would shut up! If I'm the one who's in control of the situation, then all is usually fine, but not if I'm just another bee in the swarm, as it were. Much like you! Pesky (talk) 03:24, 16 August 2012 (UTC) Adding: the hand-flapping, toe-walking, jumping, hopping, spinning, face-pulling finger-fidgeting, etc. are all called "stimming" behaviours. Search for autistic stim on YouTube and you'll see quite a lot of them. This is quite a good one; so is this. Pesky (talk) 03:58, 16 August 2012 (UTC)

There is another self-admined test around, by Baron-Cohen. I find questions like "I would rather go to a library than to a party." rather irritating, because it depends which library and which party. I am also not sure of the value of diagnosis, since the really useful questions are about what effect the condition has on your life and whether there are mitigating or exploitative strategies. And these might well be useful for people who are fall well below the diagnostic level. Rich Farmbrough, 19:14, 28 August 2012 (UTC).
I think this is the same test, and the attribution is poor. I remember one of the questions. Rich Farmbrough, 19:16, 28 August 2012 (UTC).

A few validation studies of ASQ here.

For a rather longer list which might have something of interest to you, try entering this exact search string into PubMed (sorry, no way of linking the square brackets):
"Child Development Disorders, Pervasive"[Mesh] AND "Validation Studies" [Publication Type]

MistyMorn (talk) 23:11, 28 August 2012 (UTC)

Wow! Nice blue-link surfing through that lot will give me some interesting reading!

Gotta laugh, really ... I was reading through this and effectively ticking checkboxes for what I was like at school age. Hmmm. Results: all boxes ticked for "Social/Emotional Concerns"; 2 out of 4 ticked for "Communication Concerns"; and 4 out of 6 for "Behavioral Concerns". LULZ! (Mind you, my IQ always tested as sky-high.) I think I would have got on in life so much better if HFA had been diagnosed more when I was a kid! Pesky (talk) 09:30, 29 August 2012 (UTC)

Question for those "in the know": does interaction with toys constitute any part of any ASD assessment? In common with several ASD-people of my acquaintance, I hated dolls (spooky, nasty, don't know what to do with them, boring), and loved animal toys and construction toys. Pesky (talk) 09:37, 29 August 2012 (UTC)

@Dmitri (and also Montana): this looks into the AQ test reliability. Pesky (talk) 11:27, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
Pesky, you might be interested in the Introduction to this study [1]: While several diagnostic scales for children and adolescents with ASD are available (Attwood 1998; Ehlers et al. 1999), only one peer-reviewed scale, The Autism-Spectrum Quotient (AQ) was designed specifically for adults (Baron-Cohen et al. 2001). Its authors emphasize that it is useful in identifying autistic traits and as a screening instrument but not as a diagnostic tool. As a diagnostic tool, The Ritvo Autism Asperger Diagnostic Scale-Revised (RAADS-R) [2] will be more reliable, though perhaps less easy to administer than an orientative screening tool like AQ. —MistyMorn (talk) 13:07, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
Quite interesting. Still I'm pretty sure no test makes medical consultation compulsory. — Dmitrij D. Czarkoff (talk) 19:13, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
Sure. (With children, I believe, it's generally a matter of referral by schools, parents etc.) —MistyMorn (talk) 19:41, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
I remember, that in my school years three psychologists changed (I attended rare school, which had staff psychologist; this isn't common in Russia, or at least wasn't back then), and only one of them actually presented herself to the pupils. I'm pretty confident, that those 15 minutes of self presentation in class were not enough to make even the most basic assessment. — Dmitrij D. Czarkoff (talk) 20:07, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
The only thing that any professional said about me in my school years (1960's - 1970's) was that I was "very intellectually skilled / advanced, but emotionally and socially very unskilled". Dmitri, you're right about that 15 minutes thing! NO, definitely not enough ;P

I've hunted around for some other cool online things, and found a few (including an online version of the RAADS-R) over here. One of the failings I found in completing the RAADS-R is that I felt I really needed to have an option which said "sometimes"! My own results on this one are here, if anyone's interested! Pesky (talk) 05:48, 30 August 2012 (UTC)

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Eeep, I wrote an essay!

Hello, Peskers (and hello talk page stalkers)! I hope the little grandkiddy is doing okay. Thankfully, kids are robust little creatures. I hope he continues to get better. Anyway, I wrote an essay, (working title: "Don't diagnose other editors"). The first draft is here, in my sandbox. It's about something I've seen people do around here - speculating unduly on the mental health of another editor, often during disputes. Quite harmful, I think. It might have a slant on it from the work I did with mental health stuff in the NHS, but I don't know. The essay is designed to discourage it (while at the same time encourage good communication about mental health). I popped a link to your AUTIE essay at the bottom, as a good example of an advice essay for people with mental stuffs to deal with while editing.
Anyway, I wrote in the space of maybe an hour or two, so it might be a bit rambling or unclear or...something. I'm a bit sleep-deprived. I'd really love if you could take a look, give some feedback! There are some hidden text comments/ramblings from me as I worked. Any talk page stalkers are welcome to take a look too. I'd appreciate any tweaks, helpful links, suggestions for improvement, anything at all. For all I know, it's terrible! :P Big hugs, as always! :) OohBunnies! (talk) 13:39, 25 August 2012 (UTC)

On the whole, it seems pretty good and well thought out. I commented within some of your hidden comments, fixed a spelling error, and did a couple of minor tweaks. I'm never entirely sure where to draw the line between mental health problems and physiological differences which can affect mental approaches (to be really technical, depression is kinda a chemical imbalance, etc. ... one could go on and on!) but I always personally put autistic differences outside the mental health subset, for the same reasons that I put colour-blindness etc. outside it. It's literally just a different (non-typical) "operating system", as it were, but I do know that a lot of people think of it as a mental health issue. The difference is that there's no "cure", and no medication which can make auties more like neurotypicals. (And would we want it, if there were? ;P) The percentage of people with autism-spectrum "disorders" is higher than the percentage of people with red hair, or green eyes ... so: what is "normal"? It's kinda interesting, the way we humans classify things! Red-heads can burn atrociously in levels of daylight which the vast majority of other people tolerate, but we never think of them as being abnormal, or disabled, or having "No-Black-Gene Disorder" ... Pesky (talk) 07:36, 26 August 2012 (UTC)
Maybe we could start calling red-headedness "genetic eumelanin deficiency", or "hypopigmentation disorder" ;P Pesky (talk) 13:38, 26 August 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for reading it and tweaking it. I know autism is a bit different, which is why I barely mentioned it, just linked your essay at the bottom. I would comment more now but I'm exhausted. Time to curl up with some food and a movie, I think. :D OohBunnies! (talk) 19:00, 26 August 2012 (UTC)
(talk page stalker)A radio 4 programme I was half-listening to yesterday seemed to say that red-heads may be more likely to respond non-standardly to anesthetic and have those nightmare awake-during-surgery scenarios, as well as that finger contracting thing (Duchesne, is it?) - all because of Viking genes. Nothing to do with the above except the red-head connection, but it seemed interesting! PamD 08:17, 2 September 2012 (UTC)
I've woken up every time I've been under "partial" anesthesia and I am Scandanavian (blonde, not redhead) once was getting wisdom teeth surgically removed, (luckily the local was working just fine); the second time I was getting an endoscopy and was ACUTELY aware of the tube, started gagging, they upped the dose, and then I was apparently out cold so long they were starting to worry if I would ever wake up; the third time was in the middle of my surgery for a detached retina, again the local was fine, but I still started to cry, just terrified to move, the stupid doctor actually started yelling at me, and thank god for a solid nurse who just grabbed my hand and calmed me, that time they upped the dose enough to put me under without putting me out. Montanabw(talk) 20:31, 3 September 2012 (UTC)

The Olive Branch: A Dispute Resolution Newsletter (Issue #1)

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Steven Zhang's Fellowship Slideshow

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Yes check.svg Done

Sending good stuff through the ether

Littl'un is going for surgery this afternoon. His tumour has grown a lot even in just two weeks, and is now occupying most (if not all) of his left lung. The surgeons don't know yet quite what they'll be doing (they'll make final decisions once they can actually see and feel what they're dealing with), but it may be as extensive as removing the entire lung. All good thoughts, vibes, prayers and other wossnames for him and his mum. Pesky (talk) 04:59, 22 August 2012 (UTC)

I hope he gets better soon, poor thing. -- RexRowan  Talk  10:30, 22 August 2012 (UTC)
A long day, yesterday. He was in theatre for about 7 hours; they've removed the entire left lung. There was some attachment to both the diaphragm and the pericardium, but everything went as planned and the surgical team are (quite justifiably) very chuffed with how it went. He's in PICU (paediatric intensive care unit) at the minute, under sedation, but it's quite likely that they'll be letting him wake up today and he may well go back onto the ward this afternoon. Pesky (talk) 06:09, 23 August 2012 (UTC)
So glad it went well, Pesky. Living on a single lung can prove a remarkably strong option. As I've seen at first hand with a certain iron lady character... Best to you all! And hugz, —MistyMorn (talk) 08:14, 23 August 2012 (UTC)
Wow, that is good news! He needs to take it easy now. -- RexRowan  Talk  09:37, 23 August 2012 (UTC)
They are amazed with him this morning :D He's doing almost all his own breathing so they have reduced the effect of the ventilator massively; he's opening his eyes and moving his arms about; his colour is good and he's looking great (though he'll be looking better once they've removed another tube or two!) Pesky (talk) 10:12, 23 August 2012 (UTC)
You must be so happy! Look after the little sweetie pie! :D -- RexRowan  Talk  12:14, 23 August 2012 (UTC)
My thoughts are with both of you, and I hope the resilience of youth will see him through. Penyulap 08:29, 23 Aug 2012 (UTC) (moved here by Floating Boat as Penyulap can only edit his talk page)
I sincerely hope he's doing well too. A boat that can float! (watch me float!) 13:47, 23 August 2012 (UTC)
Hope recovery continues to go well! Montanabw(talk) 17:55, 23 August 2012 (UTC)
  • Gosh! Hope the poor mite continues to recover well. Thoughts are with him and his family. Elen of the Roads (talk) 22:59, 23 August 2012 (UTC)
This is such good news for such a serious situation and such a wee little person. Good, strong, get-well thoughts for the baby and all of you in his family.(olive (talk) 23:07, 23 August 2012 (UTC))
  • You have my very best thoughts, wishes, and prayers Pesky. — Ched :  ?  23:36, 23 August 2012 (UTC)
  • Best wishes to the poor child, glad to hear he's doing so well. What a horrible time for you all. PamD 07:13, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
  • He's incredible. Amazing recovery from surgery - you really wouldn't know, looking at him, that he had such a major op so recently. He's back up on the main cancer ward now, drinking a bit, eating a little, talking a bit - even smiles occasionally. It's just a question of dealing with one day at a time. He'll have to go back to theatre at some point to have the PIC line put in (they had to remove the arterial line they were using for transfusions during the op, as his leg swelled up quite badly), and as there's no massive rush to start chemo just yet we can afford to wait a week or so to let him recover a bit more before going back in. No results yet from path lab who were given his porridgey lung to investigate, so we still don't know precisely which cancer it is, just that it was massively fast-growing, malignant, etc. Pesky (talk) 10:02, 25 August 2012 (UTC)
God, I thought it was the little doggie on the top of the page. It's a boy isn't it? I'm so sorry to have said poor thing, you must be confused. I'm so happy he's getting well, please keep optimistic and my thoughts are with you! -- RexRowan  Talk  10:18, 25 August 2012 (UTC)
Lol! No, I wasn't confused at all – I think "poor thing" about people, too!

The incredible child is walking about, and playing with the toys in the playroom! The only trouble he's having with walking is because of his swollen leg. The medical staff are astounded with his rate of recovery. Pesky (talk) 07:40, 26 August 2012 (UTC)

So good to read about such a strong recovery! Rich Farmbrough, 02:54, 30 August 2012 (UTC).
He continues to do well; he's home now for a few days, though he still has his NG tube in. He's going back for surgery on Tuesday to put the PIC line in. We still have no definitive results from the path lab; this is proving a tricky one to identify! They may very well send samples off to a number of other specialist centres to see if anyone else can recognise it. Pesky (talk) 03:37, 1 September 2012 (UTC)
This is good news .. and his physical strength means that whatever this is he has the resources to fight back.... hugs to you, Pesky.(olive (talk) 04:20, 1 September 2012 (UTC))
Yes, it's looking promising. He's a real little fighter, such a will to be "up and doing". He gave them a fright when he was in PICU, though – he was in a supposedly drug-induced coma, but was metabolising the drugs faster than they were going in ... so this supposedly-comatose toddler rolled over and sat up, and scared the nurse out of her socks! Such determination, bless him!

Many thanks to everyone for all the moral support, and so on. It really does make a difference to me. Pesky (talk) 04:34, 1 September 2012 (UTC)

You are such a good gran, bless you! I wish my gran was this nice. She has lost it a long time ago. -- RexRowan  Talk  09:06, 7 September 2012 (UTC)

Do it for science

Hi Pesky,

I participated in a research, they still need more data so would you like to have a go? [3] -- RexRowan  Talk  08:57, 5 September 2012 (UTC)

I haz sent the email :o) Pesky (talk) 03:01, 7 September 2012 (UTC)
Awesome, she replied pretty quickly. The test is simple but some of them are very confusing to me. Typical I guess. :D -- RexRowan  Talk  09:02, 7 September 2012 (UTC)

Standard offer failing

The process whereby a suer applies to get unblocked seems to me to be broken. Maybe it's simply coincidence but I am currently involved (not necessarily WP:INVOLVED) in three cases where this seems to be the case. Of course I accept that these editors may not end up as active unbanned editors, whatever we do, but it does seem that the way it works tends to be

block => appeal => decline => appeal => decline & remove talk page access.

Part of the reason is that the things we tell people not to do are contrary to human nature, and only a discussion (if that) will resolve these issues a lot of the time.

When someone is blocked they generally have at least three or four things that they are emotionally invested in

  1. What was "wrong" with WP
  2. What they wanted to do to fix it
  3. The person or people who stopped them from fixing it
  4. The person who blocked them

Probably also

  1. The rule under which they were reverted
  2. The rule under which they were blocked

As well as not dealing with these issues under standard offer, we are denying any kind of process to the blockee when they are right, and this must happen sometimes!

What do you think, can we put together a better, less confrontational process?

Rich Farmbrough, 21:22, 1 September 2012 (UTC).

This is something I've been fretting about, on and off, for quite a while. I'm really not sure what process could be worked out, though I am sure that something could be worked out. Wikipedians are passionate people. We get heavily emotionally invested in the 'pedia, whether it's good for us or not, and no matter how many times we're told not to get too emotional about stuff. We do get emotional - it's "species-normal behaviour" for H. sapiens. It does particularly bother me when the blockee has a damned good point, and / or is right, and ends up just banging their heads against a brick wall in an effort to get anyone to understand what they're seeing. People do some stupid things when they're terminally frustrated, and what seems to happen is that they get zapped for doing the stupid thing without anyone really looking into why they were terminally frustrated and dealing with the cause rather than the symptom (irritatingly stupid reaction to profound frustration). I know all the WP:NOTTHERAPY stuff, but, seriously, when the 'pedia itself has caused some of the problem, I feel we have a kinda responsibility to make sure that we really, really listen when someone points out something (rather than someone) seriously dysfunctional in here. I'm spouting a load of waffly stuff, I know, but there is a point to it, really! In some instances, what we seem to be doing is exiling / punishing people who've come down with symptoms caused by the pollution in our environment; punishing the affected, rather than eliminating the pollution ... so we can say "look, nobody here has pollution-induced symptoms" [whispered aside ... because we've got rid of all the symptomatic people] "therefore there is no pollution problem." Pesky (talk) 07:25, 2 September 2012 (UTC)

Adding: I suppose, really, that the picture I'm trying to draw (and hopefully without anyone screaming "Hyperbole!" or "Godwin's Law!") is that there are two ways of sustaining what appears to be a healthy, thriving community. One is a community that notices really quickly when it's damaging people, and finds ways of reducing / eliminating the damage, and finding productive, nurturing jobs for the people we've damaged, ourselves. That's a healthy, thriving community in many ways. It has ethical health. The other is simply to shoot anyone who begins to show symptoms of community-induced ill-health, "because people are replaceable units". That way we have a high percentage of symptomless people. If people can hide their symptoms and retreat into little ghettos where they can gnome quietly away with a very low profile, so nobody notices that they're showing symptoms of damage, we don't notice them, so they don't get shot. We have, at times, a rather insidious parallel to the Ceaușescu regime. We silence the dissenting voices; we disempower, disenfranchise, and marginalise them until they become sufficiently damaged that we can eliminate them. Pesky (talk) 07:44, 2 September 2012 (UTC)

I tend to disfavor blocking talk page access in these disputes. The person does need their own spot to rant, and until a total ban is approved (which should be a lengthy process), too fast a shutdown just leads to sockpuppeting. And I think Pesky is right; we don't want to act like a crumbing dictatorship! Montanabw(talk) 20:25, 3 September 2012 (UTC)
Perhaps you haven't noticed that I've been banned from commenting on the RfA process since the beginning of the year? Ceaușescu would be proud. I don't remain here because of any "addiction", I remain because of sheer bloody mindedness allied to a belief in the goal of freely available knowledge. Malleus Fatuorum 22:07, 3 September 2012 (UTC)

A time is coming when we will each have to choose between doing what is right, and doing what is easy.

Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. (Rowling, J.K.)

Yes, I know. I commented at the ArbCom process that silencing critics was a Ceaușistic manoeuvre, and should be considered to be unworthy of us. Br'er Rabbit has made the Lord of the Flies comparison many times, too. We know what the problem is; it's the solution which currently evades me. Pesky (talk) 03:22, 4 September 2012 (UTC)

That ArbCom case was a fiasco, a disgrace, and quite clearly demonstrates why no solution other than starting again is realistic. Administrators are in charge, and they're determined to remain in charge, whatever the price. Historically that sort of intransigence has had only one outcome. Malleus Fatuorum 04:42, 4 September 2012 (UTC)
It was certainly not one of the brightest-shining moments in our collective history. At times, we seem to do a kind of parallel of deciding to ignore anything which Einstein said on the grounds that he "looked scruffy" or was wearing the wrong kind of jacket. I'm sure we can do better than this; I'm almost sure that, eventually, we will be able to work out how to. But we do have a tendency to judge people by the wrong criteria. Pesky (talk) 04:47, 4 September 2012 (UTC)

I think that the real thing which we most need, as a community, to overcome, is the (sad) fact that it's so often much easier to pick holes in the way someone says something, to penalise them for that, than it is actually to listen to what they are saying, and to address that one. It's a thing which humans do. Pesky (talk) 04:58, 4 September 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia claims to focus on civility, but is unable to recognise incivility unless it involves a few swear words. Rather typical of a project run by children I would suggest. Malleus Fatuorum 05:01, 4 September 2012 (UTC)
I can understand what you're saying, but it's not only children that fall into those patterns of behaviour. Certain cultures and societies (at various times) have always over-reacted to the wrong things, while failing to address the right things. Consider the days when the legs of furniture had to be shrouded in cloth, to disguise the fact that they were "legs" (and therefore indecent or shocking), while at the same time women were denied the vote (being clearly inferior and incapable of making a sensible decision) and children were sold into effective slavery as chimney sweeps, sometimes (often?) resulting in their death. Children were replaceable units, and chimneys had to be cleaned, after all, but legs – no, not fit to be seen in polite company. Pesky (talk) 05:18, 4 September 2012 (UTC)

... injustice, lack of insight, inability to address wrongs, nah, no problem. But we sure as heck can stop people from saying "legs". Pesky (talk) 07:50, 4 September 2012 (UTC)

I agree with Pesky that "children" are not the problem; my own greatest difficulties on-wiki have mostly been with people well over 30, one I know was over 50 because that individual self-disclosed his age. While a couple disgruntled undergraduates have been a minor pain in my rump, some of our best and brightest have been students of various sorts (the excellent genetics work on the horse coat colors articles was mostly done by someone who was a grad student at the time). A few years back I also had a very nasty dispute between myself and another so-called adult successfully, skillfully, and effectively resolved by an admin who happened to be only 13 years old (unbeknownst to me at the time, said admin just revealed this datum to me recently)! I think the bigger problem is that people feel invisible and indestructable on-wiki and thus do things they would not do in real life; not that I favor mandatory identification of editors, but just that optional anonymity has two sides. The trick is bringing out the best (letting a born diplomat do her thing even if only 13) while shutting down the abuses (such as my recent observations of an editor trying to bully others by claiming dubious expertise based mostly on being retired and thus wise...) Montanabw(talk) 20:00, 5 September 2012 (UTC)
Yes, it's about mindset rather than calendar age. And about local (in broad terms) culture. The culture of the American South is very different to that of the more northerly parts; the culture of the British Isles and Western Europe is markedly different from that of the majority of the USA. I've known plenty of youngsters (under-15s) with far greater skills than many of the over-50s I've known. Differentiating between superficial scratches in a veneer and "real problems" (like death watch beetle in the main oak frame) isn't necessarily a function of calendar age. Pesky (talk) 07:17, 6 September 2012 (UTC)

So I guess this makes me an offical TPS, about which I am not sure, but I was drawn here first by the link to the ASD test (on which I scored a 36, incidentally) and then I just had to comment when I read this section. One thing I've thought about, IRT the "standard offer" and other reintegration strategies: would it not perhaps help both sides to create a dialogue framed using something like your "things angry/blocked users probably have emotional investment in" list above? In other words, rather than let the AN/I combine chow down on the heads of irate users to extrapolate possible reasons behind their anger, why don't we just flat out ASK the angry user?

  • What did you think was wrong when you did what you did (edit war, PA, violate 3RR)?
  • What did you want to change? *Why do you believe the other party stopped you?
  • Assuming that you had a choice, and that "let me do whatever it was I just did" wasn't an option, what would you have preferred as an alternative to being blocked?
  • What would you like to see changed about WP that will prevent you or another user from being in this situation in the future?"

(I'm painfully aware of the shortcomings of some of those questions; obviously they'd need to be tinkered with substantially til they sounded less condescending and more likely to elicit useful answers!) So rather than toss our seemingly insurmountable "standard offer" at a blocked user, or blocking their talk page access because they acted in a way consistent with human nature, we could give them a constructive way to vent, while also gathering information which would allow the rest of us to make WP a less-bureaucratic, more-welcoming environment. (I should clarify: not all blocked users would be suitable for this process! Socks, vandals, random trolls, editors in search of 'teh lulz', TheTruthIsOutThereAndI'mTheGuyToProveIt types...not a good fit. But a plain ol' Reasonably Constructive Editor (RCE) whose opinions, process, or tactics have gotten on the wrong side of one or more other RCEs...instead of blocking them, or doing any of the usual crap, we could give them the opportunity to answer some questions like these, which would hopefully be beneficial to BOTH sides. The user gets to vent and to offer his/her opinions in a way that doesn't disturb content pages; WP gets to retain constructive editors and learns where processes need to be improved. Everybody gains a little.) What do you think? GJC 03:06, 7 September 2012 (UTC)

Welcome to Granny's Animal Sanctuary and Autie-Haven! We like our stalkers, in here (nothing wrong with being a talk page stalker, at all, very useful little subspecies ;P)

Wow! Another really cool idea, here! What do you think about the idea of actually making something like this into a standard kinda debriefing questionnaire / page / wossname, for blocked users who are worth working on / with? I guess that the people who should be reading / assessing the answers and comments from the blocked user ideally should have either the right kind of personality to be able to see through the smokescreen to the real nuggets of gold, or actually come from some kind of professional background where they're used to hunting through the smoke (maybe anyone with a background in counselling, psychology, psychiatry, anything else where they're used to untangling challenging situations and thoughts).

AN/I is a pig of a place, much of the time, and if an erring editor does answer on there, they're more likely than not to be swamped by attacks from all sides, which really doesn't help.

Resolution, rather than punishment or exile. And not requiring belly-to-the-ground grovelling, foot-licking, arse-licking behaviour from the offender; just a sensible discussion of the problems (as seen from the offender's side – the problem (offender) as seen from the other side will already have been made quite clear! – with the goal of fixing some things. Pesky (talk) 05:28, 8 September 2012 (UTC)

Comment: we seem to have a strategy of eliminating people who notice a problem just because they had a really bad strategy for dealing with the problem. This is lacking in insight. What we're doing is the same as what they did – we have a really bad strategy, ourselves, on this one. If we can suss out better strategies, ourselves, we may be in a position to work on getting them to look for better strategies. The blind leading the blind comes to mind. People who are talented observers aren't always talented strategists. This is where teamwork should kick in. Together Everyone Achieves More. TEAM. Consider the crew of a tall ship. Many crewmates, some officers, one captain. (OK, it's not a precise analogy!) The captain makes good use of the very junior crew member in the crow's nest, because, from where he is, he can see more. It doesn't necessarily mean that he's good officer material, but that doesn't affect his ability to see more. A good captain (and good officers) use that guy up in the crow's nest to extend their effective range of vision and allow them to make better plans, come up with better strategies, than if he weren't there. Pesky (talk) 06:23, 8 September 2012 (UTC)


Hi Pesky,

Recently I thought of blogging. When I am awake, I feel I want to write my feelings but I would spend hours trying to find the correct word or tone and stare at the screen then write nothing and close the tab. But when I'm sleeping. I can make connections with my feelings and sometimes I wish I could wake up and write down exactly how I feel but I couldn't. When I wake up, everything went back to blank again. Do you experience this? -- RexRowan  Talk  09:17, 7 September 2012 (UTC)

I tend to get the reverse – when I've needed to write arrangements for music, for instance, I've dreamed the whole thing, and then been able to sit down at the piano the following morning and play it out, with the only thing left to be done being little tweaks. Done the same with poetry – dreamed the entire thing, then sat up and wrote it down quickly. My mother always used to keep a notebook and pencil by the bed, so that she could jot down things if they suddenly came to her in the night, because she (like you) tended to "blank" on waking. Have you ever tried lucid dreaming? That might give you a connection between sleep and waking which you could find helpful. Pesky (talk) 05:09, 8 September 2012 (UTC)
Yes, note to self: 'keep a note next to me bed and try to wake up whenever possible.' Thanks a lot!:D -- RexRowan  Talk  09:40, 8 September 2012 (UTC)

Thought for the day

Flint knapping is cutting-edge technology. Pesky (talk) 07:13, 8 September 2012 (UTC)

Hahaha, hi tech, better than blue tooth ;D -- RexRowan  Talk  09:39, 8 September 2012 (UTC)
Flint knapping is frequently the process (technology?) of making knives, axes, saws, arrowheads, spearheads, and so on. Cutting edges ... Pesky (talk) 10:24, 8 September 2012 (UTC)
Oh, cutting edge! Now I know what you meant! :D -- RexRowan  Talk  11:58, 8 September 2012 (UTC)

New Project idea

Hi Pesky, would you like to review this for me? Thanks a lot! It's at an idea stage, welcome further ideas! [4] -- RexRowan  Talk  17:05, 5 September 2012 (UTC)

Hey, that's a cool idea! It's not, obviously, going to fix every glitch (you'd need a magic wand for that, lol!) but it certainly has the potential to grease the wheels a bit. Mega project, though ... much of the English language, in use, is highly idiomatic, and it could take a while to catalogue / translate / define various idioms. That, of course, doesn't mean it's not worth trying. Pesky (talk) 03:06, 7 September 2012 (UTC)
Thank you very much Pesky for your comment here and on the project page! My younger son is going to have a home visit from a doctor on Monday. The little boy is just like me, very confused with playing with other children. He always tells me he doesn't want to go to school because other children won't play with him and would hit him if he tried to tickle them. I felt sad and guilty that my son has to go through what I went through but on the other hand, I'm the only person who can completely understand him and know that he's not making up excuses to avoid school. -- RexRowan  Talk  08:01, 7 September 2012 (UTC)
Poor little tike! I understand that so well! My schooldays were pure hell. See if you can locate another child with similar interests and fascinations; if he and a mate can jabber to their hearts' content about something which fascinates them, he may develop a bit more confidence. Animal-assisted "therapy" is another one to look at; if you can find him a helper for this, who really understands their animals' body language and wossnames, and can teach him how to understand them ... then he might be able to do what I did and apply the same kind of learning to humans. But, in the meantime, he'll develop confidence in his animal-worker (if they're a good 'un!) and may make friends in that environment, which will have some carry-over effects. Pesky (talk) 05:15, 8 September 2012 (UTC)
Thank you for your valuable advice! Both my sons have autism and await diagnosis. Personally, I think my elder one has an higher IQ and he has OCD, non stop rearranging and categorize his toys and magazines. My younger one is on the lower spectrum, he does spinning and repeat certain phrases all the time like a record stuck in the loop. I did a false belief experiment(part of the Theory of Mind designs) on them and they both failed. They have no idea what deception means. -- RexRowan  Talk  09:45, 8 September 2012 (UTC)
You're welcome! Hey – did you see about the FIRST (Flexible Interactive Reading Support Tool) Project? Might be of interest. Pesky (talk) 02:53, 9 September 2012 (UTC)