User talk:scs

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Keeping threads together: If you post here, I'll reply here. If I post on your talk page, I'll look for your reply there.


2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014

Peace award[edit]

I, Dweller, award thee, Ummitt, ye dove of peace in glorious recognition of peacemaking in the midst of yea we the savages of the Ref Desk.

Congratulations. --Dweller 12:33, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

Did you see this? --Dweller 09:23, 11 January 2007 (UTC)

Pastafarian Award[edit]

[[Image:Touched by His Noodly Appendage.jpg|thumb|right|This Pastafarian award goes to Steve Summit in recognition of his elaborations on building a spaghetti bridge. Unceremoniously presented by Sluzzelin ]] Hello Steve Summit. I found your insightful elaborations on building a spaghetti bridge interesting and appetizing. I prepared myself some pasta and decided to award you one Flying Spaghetti Monster for your answer at the Science Reference Desk. ---Sluzzelin 23:13, 28 January 2007 (UTC)

Heh, this gave you away. :) ---Sluzzelin 20:23, 29 January 2007 (UTC)


Here is a little reward for creating the ever-so-great archival bot for both the help desk and reference desk. — E talkbots 06:26, 17 August 2007 (UTC)

Why, thank you! —Steve Summit (talk) 11:25, 17 August 2007 (UTC)
Vitruvian Barnstar.png The da Vinci Barnstar
For creating the ever-so-great archival bot for both the help desk and reference desk. — E talkbots 06:26, 17 August 2007 (UTC)

The Butterfly Effect[edit]

Cherry pie with lattice top, April 2006.jpg Have a Pie!
You are hereby awarded ONE PIE for having the line of the day on the Science Desk!

ArakunemTalk 19:52, 28 October 2007 (UTC)

Yum! Thanks! :-) —Steve Summit (talk) 19:57, 28 October 2007 (UTC)

Ref desk -- removing unused date headers[edit]

Hey Scs! Thanks for all the work you do keeping the Reference Desk archives running.

The math reference desk will occasionally go a few days without a new question. Is it OK for me to removed unused date headers, like this, or will that break your bot or make more work for you? -- ToE 15:58, 1 January 2015 (UTC)

Thanks. That's no problem; it's the right thing to do. (Changes in archiving policies have meant that those orphan headings are somewhat more likely to occur now; the bot and I don't do as good a job of removing them as we used to.) —Steve Summit (talk) 19:38, 1 January 2015 (UTC)


The day that Steve Summit learns something from me is the day I have to spend some time meditating on how far I've come... I'll surely bike into my day-job, stare blankly at the open terminals and the flashing cursors that avail themselves to every esoteric bit of hackery inside of today's popular computer-toys; and I will have to wonder... how have I gotten here? I still remember struggling to install Borland Turbo C++ off of a floppy and onto my PS/2,... trying to figure out what magic those "programmers" did to create the funny characters in the .exe files... If I could only learn what keys to press, I could make my own games ....
Thank you, sir.
Nimur (talk) 16:36, 16 January 2015 (UTC)
When you can snatch the pebble from my hand... now where did it go?
When you can snatch the pebble from my hand... you give me that back.
When you can snatch the pebble from my hand...
Steve Summit (talk) 05:28, 17 January 2015 (UTC)


You have a very clear way of putting things. EEng (talk) 16:33, 7 February 2015 (UTC)

Thanks. I try, sometimes I succeed. (And, I'm pretty sure you got this, but it wasn't at all personal when I said "I have not reviewed EEng's actions; he may be a real jerk". You just might also be a perfectly fine individual. :-) ) —Steve Summit (talk) 21:25, 7 February 2015 (UTC)
I understood perfectly. Perhaps you'd like to join my glittering salon of talk-page stalkers at The Most Fun Place in the Saddest Place on Earth. EEng (talk) 01:23, 8 February 2015 (UTC)
Well, now, that there user page is a bit of a two-edged sword, because skimming it I find you have some affiliation with or affinity for what my freshman handbook called the "red-brick liberal arts school both up Mass Ave and up Chuck river", and how do you know I'm not still simmering over the misnaming of That Bridge? (Lucky for you I'm not; I subscribe to the theory that after taking a look at the plans and the shaky design, the Engineers didn't want their name on it anyway.)
But on the other hand, I find that some of the allegedly "clear words" of mine you were presumably talking about are sitting there on your page now, and how can I object to the flattery of citation? :-)
The funny thing is that, when I wrote that, I was utterly unaware of the earlier imbroglio that Softlavender's neighboring citation looks to be a decent summary of. And you even got a block out of it! I'm somewhat envious.
It is indeed a very old story. I was reminded of a rather overwrought parable I once wrote as part of an old RfC, musing among other things at the sometimes glaring asymmetry of skinnedness expectations between inferior and superior editors: when a new or non-admin editor complains about what he perceives as personal attacks by another user, he's often told to get a thicker skin, but when that same editor gets testy about the way he's treated by senior editors or admins, suddenly it is a WP:PA on his part, and he's liable to get blocked for it. (In fairness, I don't get the impression this problem is as bad as it once was.)
But it's scary easy to fall into this sort of trap, a fact that was brought home to me when I realized that I had at first assumed that you were a new, inexperienced user (one who "may well not be here to build an encyclopedia"), based solely on the fact that that was how the superior-seeming admin/editors were treating you. But in fact you've been around about as long as I have.
Anyway, happy editing, and don't let your "edgy and humorous style" get you in too much trouble... —Steve Summit (talk) 23:49, 8 February 2015 (UTC)
In case you're wondering how all this began, it was here that I first ran afoul of a certain breed of editor that runs in packs for mutual defense. This pack dropped in to visit me two or three more times until I got blocked for asking "Why does everything have to look like what some self-satisfied roving enforcers are used to?" BGwhite was one of the editors to which I referred, and he himself made the block, if you can believe it -- he said it was "namecalling". It's this same group of four or five that comes out of the woodwork whenever they smell blood. EEng (talk) 04:48, 9 February 2015 (UTC) P.S. Two of the best courses I ever took were just down the street at the trade school -- #1 Dudley bus and all that.
Coincidentally just today we have a new and excellent example of this behavior -- see this diff [1], and contrast the drop-in editing leading to it with the careful discussion linked from its edit summary. EEng (talk) 21:05, 9 February 2015 (UTC)</> That interaction, amazingly, was resolved amicably -- I judged too harshly. When you get browbeaten over and over by drop-in knowitalls that's what happens to you.

nil desperandum[edit]

Re: We just have to continue leading by example. Flood out the noise with the signal (but not throw out the baby with the bathwater). I just can't bother commenting anymore. Ugh. ---Sluzzelin talk 00:25, 15 March 2015 (UTC)

Date headers 2[edit]

Hi Steve; it looks like the bot had a bit too much green beer and has been slipping on creating date headers at the RefDesk. I've caught us up. Oddly, some were missing one day and some were missing two. I was going to leave a message on the talk page like normal, but threw up in my mouth a bit after seeing that mess. :-P Matt Deres (talk) 14:49, 18 March 2015 (UTC)

(talk page stalker) @Matt Deres: It looks as if both Steve and his bot have been offline since the 16th. We'll just have to stick the headers in by hand for now. -- John of Reading (talk) 15:26, 18 March 2015 (UTC)
Thanks, guys. I've been traveling for the last 36 hours or so, but have resurfaced, and will kick off a normal pass tonight. --Steve Summit (talk) 16:05, 18 March 2015 (UTC)

Interesting date header glitch on WP:RDMA[edit]

Hey Steve, here is an interesting Scsbot edit. I assume it was brought about by cmglee apparently adding their own date header a bit early followed by me removing a couple of unused ones. I doubt this needs to be addressed, but thought you would enjoy seeing it.

Thanks again for the work you and Scsbot do. -- ToE 08:28, 11 April 2015 (UTC)

Yeah, there's a neverending series of never-before-seen weird situations that come up from time to time. I'm pleased that the bot tends to get most of them mostly right, at least... —Steve Summit (talk) 13:22, 11 April 2015 (UTC)

Village pump proposal: Placement of support and opposition may be misleading[edit]

Thanks for participating in the MoS proposal. Regarding your contribution, it might be clearer if you listed your support for action #1 in the "support" section and your opposition to the other actions in the "oppose" section. Otherwise, it looks like you oppose the entire proposal.

As for the content of your opposition, I'd add that we're talking about questions from Wikieditors who are actively seeking information about Wikipedia's rules and minutiae, not style experts reaching out into the article space to tell others what to do. Darkfrog24 (talk) 23:56, 20 May 2015 (UTC)


Any idea why your bot today added date headers for tomorrow to the ref desks, help desk, etc., during the 11th hour of the day rather than waiting until tomorrow's arrival? Deor (talk) 20:25, 28 May 2015 (UTC)

I'm traveling and running the bot in an unusual way, and it's having some... issues.
I hadn't noticed that it added dates for tomorrow already -- thanks for pointing that out.
(It ends up being consistent with some of the other mistakes it's making.)
--Steve Summit (talk) 20:42, 28 May 2015 (UTC)

Bot not working?[edit]

Hey Scs,

The archiving bot has not archived the help desk for a few days now. I was going to do it manually but I wanted to make sure I wouldn't be stepping on any robot toes before I did it. Thanks! --Stabila711 (talk) 03:09, 29 August 2015 (UTC)

If you haven't started, no need -- the bot's running now! —Steve Summit (talk) 03:46, 29 August 2015 (UTC)
Thanks! I didn't start. I didn't know if there were just triggers that weren't being flipped or if the bot was actually offline. I didn't want to just start moving things in case that would have caused further errors. I know how finicky certain scripts can get and I didn't want to cause more harm than good. --Stabila711 (talk) 03:50, 29 August 2015 (UTC)
No worries. The bot is only semiautomated, and I was away last night so didn't kick it off. —Steve Summit (talk) 04:00, 29 August 2015 (UTC)

RD archiving[edit]

Hey Steve! Is this just the result of running the bot to archive one date (14 October) when there is still an earlier date section (October 12) in place? Cheers! -- ToE 03:34, 26 October 2015 (UTC)

I think (but I have not yet positively confirmed) that it means that:
  1. there was some October 12 content somehow added after October 12 was first archived, and/or some October 12 content that was not contiguous with the "main" group of October 12 content that was initially archived; and
  2. there was no October 13 content at all; such that:
  3. when the bot archived October 14, it noticed the two "orphaned" October 12 questions and scooped them up, too.
Steve Summit (talk) 22:37, 26 October 2015 (UTC)

Please respond to my comment[edit]

Can you please reply to my comment at this place. Thank you! -- (talk) 22:54, 26 October 2015 (UTC)

by the way[edit]

I complemented you there. please reply. -- (talk) 00:19, 27 October 2015 (UTC)

Mathematics reference desk archiving delay request[edit]

Hey Steve! Since WP:RDMA#October 23 contains a section -- WP:RDMA#5 millionth article -- on the predicted time of the 5 millionth English Wikipedia article, could you please hold off archiving that date of the Math desk until after this coming weekend when the event should occur. Archiving WP:RDMA#October 21 on schedule would be fine, and there is little enough activity on RDMA currently that holding off on Oct 23 shouldn't cause any problems. Cheers! -- ToE 14:05, 27 October 2015 (UTC)

Good idea! But -- mind like a steel sieve -- I'm unlikely to remember. So I've temporarily taken Mathematics out of the script. But I'm equally unlikely to remember to put it back in after the 5e6th article arrives, so you'll probably have to remind me then. —Steve Summit (talk) 14:12, 27 October 2015 (UTC)
Thanks. Will do. -- ToE 15:22, 27 October 2015 (UTC)
So I guess the Saturday Sunday prediction was correct. And lookit that! Commemorated in red in the icon in the upper-left corner of the page and everything.
(Okay to archive the thread tonight?) —Steve Summit (talk) 14:08, 1 November 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for the indulgence. -- ToE 13:00, 2 November 2015 (UTC)
Me 'n' Jorge, we're such nice guys. :-) Steve Summit (talk) 14:58, 2 November 2015 (UTC)

Ref desk Computing leap seconds[edit]

In response to the systems that handle leap seconds query let me offer this web page and its accompanying paper and its accompanying slides

All of that is from a pair of symposiums aimed at considering and exploring the problems, see as the gateway to both of those.

Yes, it violates POSIX, but POSIX is self-inconsistent if it uses a time scale that has leap seconds. A big point of that paper is that computers do not want to use mean solar days, they want to use "atomic days" and to let the mean solar aspect be part of timezone/localization outside the kernel. Doing this is not standard and requires effort, but I know that manufacturers of GPS-based NTP servers have provided the ability to emit GPS or TAI rather than UTC specifically because customers are using a scheme like this. There are many caveats, and anyone doing this is violating at least one standard, and they tend not to publish white papers talking about how they are violating standards.

Note that this week's news from ITU-R WRC-15 says leap seconds will continue at least through 2023, see so it remains important to be prepared for them to keep happening. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Steven L Allen (talkcontribs) 20:02, 18 November 2015 (UTC)

Feel free to move this to refdesk and improve along the journey to there.Steven L Allen (talk) 20:25, 18 November 2015 (UTC)


Hi Steve! I suspect it should be "...different ways of using..." here. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 13:11, 22 November 2015 (UTC)

No, I meant that! See, many people use POP/IMAP on even-numbered days, and webmail on odd days...
(Thanks.) —Steve Summit (talk) 15:12, 22 November 2015 (UTC)
Well, I agree in principle, but "completely different days" is not possible on a planet with different time zones ;-). --Stephan Schulz (talk) 16:07, 22 November 2015 (UTC)
Heh. And don't try to figure out the elapsed time of the encryption step, if leap seconds might/might not be involved... —Steve Summit (talk) 20:01, 23 November 2015 (UTC)

Representation of numbers in binary[edit]

Could you tell what's the value of 102112?I'm confused on whether should we convert it to decimal or should we do it in binary itself to calculate the value.

JUSTIN JOHNS (talk) 06:35, 28 December 2015 (UTC)

@JUSTIN JOHNS: If you can calculate in binary you don't have to transform the notation to decimal. By the definition a natural power is a repeated multiplication, so:
CiaPan (talk) 08:06, 28 December 2015 (UTC)
CiaPan is exactly right. Note well that in CiaPan's explanation, we never converted anything from binary to decimal; everything is worked out in binary.
For comparison, if we wanted to convert everything to decimal and work it out that way, we would have
(And, hey, CiaPan, thanks for the handy primer on <math>!) —Steve Summit (talk) 16:07, 28 December 2015 (UTC)
It's my pleasure. :) More examples of LaTeX expressions structure available in Help:Displaying a formula, esp. in §Larger expressions. --CiaPan (talk) 06:01, 29 December 2015 (UTC)


You used word "should" five times in your one-paragraph closure on ANI re FPAS incivilities. (Q: Do you realize how weak is that language? [For e.g., I have a friend who told me he goes balistic whenever hearing the word "should", because it never is designed to accomplish anything, and won't, for example, when he doesn't receive a check in the mail, he calls to complain, and is told it was mailed, and he "should have received it". {I've tried to eliminate the word from my personal vocabulary as a result. I don't want to be another source of weak speach/thought. It does me nor anyone else any good and is a waste of time. I imagine your close will have the same effect - nothing done, nothing accomplished, waste of time.}]) Thx for your consider. IHTS (talk) 15:21, 11 January 2016 (UTC)

Thanks for pointing out that the word can be ambiguous. In my usage (and understanding) it's not, but I appreciate the perspective. —Steve Summit (talk) 15:54, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
You should eat five servings of fruits & vegatables every day. You should do 45 minutes of rigorous cardiovascular exercise 3 times per week. You shouldn't eat saturated fats. You should drink 7 glasses of fresh water everyday. You should ... (Tell me when I'm boring you to death. [Skip that, I already did myself in by writing this. :( ]) Cheers. p.s. I had pinged Jimbo Wales in that ANI. By closing it so quickly, you put an obstacle for him to respond, were he so inclined to. And it was a perfect opportunity for him to respond on the fundamental point of profanity and admin expectation of "conduct at a higher standard". (Had he replied, that would have been something. Instead, we have your pathetic five "shoulds". Good one.) IHTS (talk) 18:22, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
Hi User:Ihardlythinkso, I just came here for an unrelated reason, and couldn't help reading your advice. I thought you should consider the importance of modal logic, how English modal verbs denote various concepts in deontic and alethic modality, and perhaps you ought to endeavor to use these words carefully, rather than ban them :) Seriously, I don't mean to pick any fights, I've just had tons of fascinating conversations about modal logic and the English language. One guideline that I find helps clarify things "Every 'should' should have an 'if". That is to say, many modal claims are in fact presumptive of a background conditional, and putting this clearly can avoid problems. So, rather than "You should brush your teeth", a parent could prefer to say to their child "If you don't want cavities, you should brush your teeth". Cheers, SemanticMantis (talk) 22:56, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
Apples & oranges. (Linguistics & psychology/politics.) p.s. It's also healthier to eliminate weak words "just" and "hope" from active vocabulary. (They're good only in manipulating others.) IHTS (talk) 00:00, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
Oh my; I hope you never have to discuss anything regarding just cause and never wish to express any optative thoughts... SemanticMantis (talk) 15:51, 4 February 2016 (UTC)

Help desk archiving problem[edit]

January 11 and 12 link to the Current Help Desk even though the archives for later pages have been created. I can substitute the correct date when I fall behind, but since the links are supposed to be there, is there some way to fix that? I didn't want to do it manually since I might mess it up but I guess at this point I could.— Vchimpanzee • talk • contributions • 19:50, 18 January 2016 (UTC)

(talk page stalker) @Vchimpanzee: The pages just needed a purge, which I have just done. The code in the archive header works out whether the following day's archive has been created. -- John of Reading (talk) 22:05, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
Thanks. I figured that out, but it wasn't working.— Vchimpanzee • talk • contributions • 23:36, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
Thanks, John. @Vchimpanzee: Everything working right for you now? —Steve Summit (talk) 01:43, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
It is now, thanks.— Vchimpanzee • talk • contributions • 17:54, 19 January 2016 (UTC)

What I actually came for[edit]

Hi Steve, it seems I am the only person who actually read your last topic on the red desk talk page and answered what you were asking (I did jump back in, but only after the whole thing was entirely derailed. Actually I don't think the poor thread ever even got on the rails). While I'm very busy this week, how about we run an actual straw poll next week? We could work together to remove any non-voting comments. I hate to tell people not to talk (it always annoys me when others say we shouldn't discuss things) but in this case, anyone can still open their own threads, and we won't be able to get anything resembling a !vote without some purging of non-votes. Any thoughts? SemanticMantis (talk) 15:54, 4 February 2016 (UTC)

Thanks, I appreciate that.
Me, I have mostly decided (based on the entirely characteristic way that thread got utterly derailed) to completely give up, walk away, wash my hands of all of it. But I'm busy (on business travel) myself, and haven't actually written any inflammatory farewell notes, and meanwhile I've calmed down a bit, and may yet recant. —Steve Summit (talk) 01:24, 5 February 2016 (UTC)

Bot archiving reference desk[edit]

Hi! I noticed that a topic on the reference desk, "How to prevent Google Chrome apps from knowing tab is not on top ?", was archived by Scsbot. Scsbot used an incorrect edit summary, and it seems to have ignored the fact that the most recent reply in that section was written about an hour before it archived that section...

I am not sure why the editsummary was incorrect, but I assume that is easy to fix.

But what isn't easy to fix is that the bot seems to archive stuff that shouldn't be archived. I haven't looked at the code, but shouldn't that bot ignore sections that have recently been replied to? The Quixotic Potato (talk) 02:15, 29 March 2016 (UTC)

The RD archiving has always been strictly date-based, without regard to any recent activity. Consensus at WT:RD has always supported that, but it could certainly be brought up for discussion again. (It may be time for a new archiving bot sometime soon, for a number of reasons.)
You tricked me with that diff link; I was afraid something was wrong at first! But all is well. I didn't run the bot last night, so it had two days' worth of work to do tonight. It archived March 22 and March 23 in close succession. The link you posted was actually a composite diff encompassing both edits. (Note the fine print "One intermediate revision by the same user not shown".) —Steve Summit (talk) 03:00, 29 March 2016 (UTC)
Hahaha, I tricked myself too! Do you have a link to the consensus that the RD archiving should be strictly date-based, without regard to any recent activity? That page has 122 archives! And do you personally have an opinion on this matter? I think it would be better if the bot would check the section, find the most recent timestamp, and make a decision based on that. I know this is much more difficult to create, and I assume you are probably very busy, but I think it would be an improvement over the current system. The Quixotic Potato (talk) 03:21, 29 March 2016 (UTC)
I have no links to previous discussions handy, sorry, but feel free to bring the question up on the talk page. —Steve Summit (talk) 03:30, 29 March 2016 (UTC)
OK, thank you! Do you have an opinion on this topic (and a preference for date-based or activity-based archiving)? You seem to be the RD archiving expert around here. The Quixotic Potato (talk) 05:11, 29 March 2016 (UTC)
I have no strong preference. —Steve Summit (talk) 14:55, 30 March 2016 (UTC)