User talk:WillowW/Archive07

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Soddy's hexlet[edit]

Hey Geometry guy, I worked a little on Soddy's hexlet today; I hope that you like it! :) I was wondering, though, whether you could make some nice pictures for it, and also whether you could track down a reference for the cyclide thing. It seems pretty obvious, but I couldn't find a good reference online nor in my slim collection of books. Thanks muchly! :) Off to work again, heigh ho, Willow 22:54, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

Hi there Geometry girl. I had a a look at Soddy's hexlet already yesterday and it is a perfect signature for you, in the way that it uses a coordinate transformation to reduce a fascinating theorem to something entirely easy to see. I guess a geometers' version of this statement would be something like: "For any three mutually tangent spheres there is a unique Dupin cyclide tangent to to each of them along a circle". I'll ask around for a good reference and or pictures, but I'm not sure it will be easy to produce nice pictures because the geometry is a bit complicated. Well I can probably draw 6 pennies around a central one, but I think you are looking for a bit more...! Geometry guy 00:14, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
I saw your edits to (really, your complete rewrite of) Soddy's hexlet. It's much improved, of course. The fact is, I originally wrote that in about fifteen minutes and knew it was horrible, so I never wanted to go back and look at it. Thank you! --N Shar (talk contribs) 01:54, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
I've now added some references and additional comments, and copied in the image from Dupin cyclide. Feel free to add life to my prose in your inimitable way. Geometry guy 12:24, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

Thanks, Geometry guy! I'll check it out instanter, although I've got to dash off again... Willow 12:39, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

Saintly tolerance[edit]

I am amazed by your forbearance on the Immune system talk page. The urge to rend and tear those rude and insulting newbies into little meaty chunks must have been overwhelming. TimVickers 17:19, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

You're so good to me; thank you yet again. :) It wasn't difficult at all to keep my lioness leanings at bay, since I also see the world through their eyes. My mind does have a tendency to bring things to life, usually a happy, playful life; I often don't even notice myself doing it. It's a gift I covet in the real world: the power to restore things to a happy life, at least the innocent and the good. Sorry if that sounds really strange, but thank you again, not least for fixing the writing, Willow 17:46, 1 March 2007 (UTC)
P.S. Why is immune system unprotected? I hate to think of your time being spent chasing after vandals, however good you are at it. :(

It's on the main page today, so policy says we can't protect it. Oh well. P.S. if you have time in the coming week, could you have a good critical read of the antioxidant article and comment in its FAC? Thanks TimVickers 20:17, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

I'll be happy to; I read it this morning, and I've been brooding on it before writing, as I usually do. Things often percolate up from the depths, even if nothing occurs to me initially; somewhere, some gear is turning, if ever so slowly. ;) I'll have to do it quickly, though, because I'm leaving soon to visit my sister, who's even more Luddite than I am. ;) Don't be surprised if you don't hear from me for a while; I'll be having fun, though — we're thicker than thieves. ;)
I also have a favor to ask of you, or perhaps something for you and Opabinia to brood over. On a really random whim, I created a little nightingale yesterday, a remarkable bird with such good vision that she can read all the NCBI taxonomy files and vocal enough to generate decent Wikipedia stubs for all 350,093 taxa that the NCBI knows about. My new pet passerine is really nice and smart enough to know all the taxonomic ranks, so she can even craft taxoboxes herself and give references and categories at the bottom. The thing is, I'm not sure how to upload her files, or even if I should; I seem to remember a WP rule that one shouldn't upload luscine-generated files, no matter how lucid. ;) What do you think I and my little bird should do? She's eager to help out at Wikipedia, and sing her heart out, but doesn't want to offend with her music. Anthropomorphically in love with the world, Willow 22:13, 1 March 2007 (UTC)
I meant to respond to this yesterday, but got distracted reading the reams of text generated by the whole Essjay mess. How does your script work - is it a javascript screenscraper type of thing that runs within the browser, or would it require a machine to run on? The question here is the same as the question I had on the Pfam thing - which I never did get back to thinking about much - how do you avoid redundancy with existing articles? Maybe you should try a test run on a small group that's unlikely to have many articles already. I like the idea of just creating the upper-level articles and getting progressively more specific. The main difference that I can think of between something like this and Rambot is that these articles, once created, probably won't get edited much at all, while starter articles on locations have an obvious population of contributors to draw on and expand from.
On your image-creation question, the first thing that comes to mind is POV-Ray, which is nice in being flexible but mathematically precise, and having lots of geometric primitives to work with. It's kind of deceptive, though, if you're not patient with it; you do a couple of simple examples and think 'hey, this is pretty easy!' and then the next thing you know, you put your camera inside a sphere. But I'm really not the person to be asking about images; I've created exactly one good non-protein image in my life and I reused it everywhere for months. Opabinia regalis 00:55, 3 March 2007 (UTC)
Daisy is a relatively simple nightingale (sorry, little bird) wrought of C that just makes the WP stubs with the taxoboxes, refs, and categories, plus some plausible text, but doesn't upload them. She's knows all the taxonomic ranks by name, number and Latin name, and know which rank is the parental to another. For the rest, Daisy relies on her crib sheets, the NCBI files, which she mines for the scientific and common names of the taxon and its parents, as well as the references. Since she also has the NCBI taxID, she can make an external link to the NCBI taxon page, which itself has other nifty external links. (The idea for Daisy came to me from my day making Dactylella, Daonella, Dasycladales and Dendroceratida.) To avoid duplication, I suppose I could make a list of the taxa now in WP; there are only about 80,000, and (I hope) neatly sorted into categories. Daisy could then check whether the page was in the list and not make it if it was. I'm clueless about the uploading, though; any ideas? There'd be roughly 350,000-80,000 = 270,000 files, making a compressed tar file of maybe 150M.
I haven't read up on Essjay, but from what little I know, it does sound like a mess. Pity that they didn't interview Tim! Or you: "Hi, I'm a 5-eyed worm who fell asleep in a cozy mud-bank in the Cambrian and didn't wake up until just now. I'm disappointed that I missed out on so many birthday parties, but it was a really good nap. I would love to hear from any other Problematica; I enjoy seafood dinners and long walks along the sea-shore." ;) It's disappointing that Essjay lied, but it's also disappointing that he and Wikipedia have an Adversary of such devoted malice; the underwear initiation rite for admins is starting to seem plausible... ;) He does remind me of Milton's Satan; being uncreative himself, he descends from nobility to pitiful delight in ruining others' creativity. :( Willow 12:44, 3 March 2007 (UTC)
Haha, I would actually quite enjoy an interview as a Cambrian Rip van Winkle ;) I'm not sure Daniel Brandt is as bad as his caricature as the enemy of all that is wikigood - if you spend all your time digging around in the mud, you might eventually pan some gold, I suppose - but he certainly is an intrusive puffbag who enables and encourages a lot of lesser puffbags. I suppose the whole thing shouldn't be overly surprising, since lies are probably second only to porn in terms of total volume of internet content. (Category #3 is 'things you wish were lies, but are depressingly true'.)
From what I remember, uploading your files sounds like a good pywikipedia job. I downloaded the pywikipedia framework once a long time ago to test some tagging thing that I then got sick of - maybe it was around the time of the mcb assessment getting started? - anyway, I'm quite sure it has a facility for creating a new page, so a python script to fish out the appropriate file from your dataset and upload it is probably pretty straightforward. (Insert muttering about my dislike of python here ;) As a first approximation, it may well be that any taxa stubs that aren't correctly categorized might just as well be obsoleted by your stubs anyway. Opabinia regalis 07:16, 4 March 2007 (UTC)

Welcome back[edit]

Good to see your typeface again. TimVickers 19:18, 11 March 2007 (UTC)

Daisy's taxonomy files[edit]

They look very good. Would it be possible to import the references on the Tree of life page of a phylum and add it as a standard list to all the stubs in that Phylum? I don't think you can copyright references, as they are not your work. TimVickers 00:52, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

Daisy could easily do that, but she has a question: how far down the taxonomic tree should the phylum references be used — just in the class articles, or all the way down? Her idea had been to use the references provided by the NCBI, but only for the taxonomic rank of the article, e.g., phylum-specific references in phylum articles, and class-specific references in class articles. However, it would be just as easy to include the NCBI references of the immediate parent taxonomic rank, or of all higher taxonomic ranks. Which do you think would be most sensible? Please reply quickly, since I'm apt to do it tomorrow; thanks much! :) Willow 04:42, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

P.S. Oh, and where should the references go — perhaps under "Further reading"?

Further reading is best, since they do not support specific points in the article. If a specific list of references is possible then the more specific the better. Looking forward to the results! TimVickers 16:41, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

Thanks! :) One last favor: would you please look at, say, Talk:Methanomicrobia and tell me your opinion about which WikiProject banners should be included? I'm now inclined to include only the Microbiology banner (not {{Wikiproject MCB}} and {{Tree of Life}}), but I'd also like to alert people that a photo or a taxobox is needed. Perhaps I should add the "needs-photo" and "needs-taxobox" flags to the {{WikiProject Micro}}? It wouldn't take much work. Please reply as soon as you can — thanks muchly! :) Willow 16:52, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

I agree with Tim on which references to bring in and where to put them. The most specific reference list possible is best; probably don't bother with anything more than one level up, since it probably won't contain much of interest.
I'm a little skeptical about tagging them as needing a diagram/picture/taxobox/etc, as the relevant projects might not really want thousands of articles dumped into their queues, and at the volume of articles this could grow to, it could overwhelm the global image request system too. Or does the project tag not use the same categories as {{reqimage}} et al? Opabinia regalis 01:00, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
See my repurposed User:Opabinia robotus/ for a very simple pywikipedia script that can upload these things (uploaded by itself, naturally) - or at least, can upload an arbitrary text file. It's trivial to tweak so that it loops over a directory of files or whatever; it just needs to know how your files are organized. If you want to try it, the instructions for downloading the pywikipedia framework are at m:Pywikipedia (I suggest the Jan 30 version on Sourceforge; tonights CVS build didn't work for me.) It takes one filename as an argument, and (currently) puts it at User:Opabinia robotus/filename. (Hm, and I just remembered to add an edit summary.) Opabinia regalis 03:04, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

Wow, thanks, O! I even sort of follow your program, which does you great credit since I've never learned Python. But it's not trivial for me; could I maybe generalize your program to multiple files on the command line with a for loop like this?

for taxofile in sys.argv[1:]:

Should the program sleep between uploads to spare the poor server? Also, do I need to do that thing?

I'm also tempted to put the file directly into its spot in Wikipedia, but I don't want to touch an existing page. Could I add something like

if len(articlepage) == 0:

Does len pertain to articlepages, or should I use some other method, maybe like articlepage.exists or something?

Let's see: there's lots else to ask and to answer!

  • First and foremost, thanks for your support on the stub controversy, which caught me by surprise.
  • I totally agree with your and Tim's suggestions on the references, which I hope to tackle today. There are a few annoying bugs (e.g., " a order") that I still need to fix in the simple program.

Important problem: I need advice on how to categorize the taxonomic stubs. My original idea was to make a category for every major taxon (that's what Daisy does right now), but there are sometimes too few members. I've taken to grouping everything under the phylum (e.g., Category:Euryarchaeota) but that doesn't group articles by their taxonomic rank. Perhaps I should make new sub-cats such as Category:Archaea phyla, Category:Archaea classes, etc.? Please give me your advice — thanks! :) Willow 12:12, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

I'm afraid I know little about taxonomy, so have no useful advice except encouragement. TimVickers 16:55, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

Oh, how I know what you mean! I honestly don't know why I'm always getting distracted by bright shiny things that I know dangerously little about and that my poor powers will never attain — a little Icara with Daedalin dreams. ;) But that makes the encouragement all the more welcome.

But really, Tim, you're ideally suited to judge which categorization makes the most sense for smart non-experts, no? I'm going to try out the new idea, and please let me know if you like it. Willow 17:42, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

See updated version of the python script, which iterates over an input list, won't clobber existing pages, and throttles its edit rate. (To answer the above question, you'd want to do for taxofile in sys.argv, since sys.argv[1] is just the first element in the input list.) That's probably the minimum functional version to let loose anywhere ;) To start creating hundreds of thousands of pages, we'll presumably need a bot flag.
On the taxonomy categories: have you mentioned this at the tree of life project? They 'maintain' those categories as far as I know, so they're probably the ones in the best position to decide what's most useful, and consistent with existing standards. I like David's idea at first glance, anyway. Opabinia regalis 01:41, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

Taxonomy-stub and archaea-stub[edit]

Hi -i - I see you have recently created two new stub types. As it states at Wikipedia:Stub, at the top of most stub categories, and in many other places on Wikipedia, it is recommended that new stub types are proposed prior to creation at Wikipedia:WikiProject Stub sorting/Proposals, in order to check whether the new stub type is already covered by existing stub types, whether it is named according to stub naming guidelines, whether it reaches the standard threshold for creation of a new stub type, and whether it crosses existing stub type hierarchies. Your new stub types are currently listed at WP:WSS/D - please feel free to make any comments there as to any rationale for them. And please, in future, consider proposing new stub types first! Grutness...wha? 01:36, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

Taxonomic lists and categories[edit]

One solution might be to use lists rather than categories if there are too few members. In that way you have a full page but can preserve the taxanomic ranks too. One problem is that you would not be able to automate such a process since it would probably require the human touch. David D. (Talk) 12:34, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

Thanks, David! But I'm not sure that I understand your idea? Every stub should have at least one category, isn't that right? Including the stubs in list pages would also be nice, although how do you think the lists should be organized? Eager for your insights, Willow 12:40, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

Do all pages need a category? From a taxonomic point of view it makes little sense to have unpopulated categories. What i would do is consolidate all your loners and pairs into a list that defines some sensible group (sensible from a taxonomic and numbers perspective). Then categorise that list in the appropriate category. There is nothing more frustrating than clicking down through categories to find only one or two aritcles. Much better get get stopped short to see an article in the form of a well organised list that allows some context to be gleaned from all the relationships. May be i could set up an example if you give me a group to work with? David D. (Talk) 18:03, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

Sure, I'll try to bore down all the way to species for one segment of the taxonomic tree to give you something to work with. Can you wait a few hours? Thanks, User talk:David! :) Willow 18:09, 14 March 2007 (UTC) P.S. I guess I'd like every page to have at least one category; that way, the pages could always be found by prowling the categories rather than the articles themselves. Does that make any sense? I somehow intuit that will be useful someday.

Here is a solution I just found, before you start the tedious bore. It's not exactly what i am saying but i think the problem is similar and it might be a better compromise. Category:True_vipers pretty much stops trying to subdivide the vipers further with this big category. Note that also listed in thecategory is the List_of_viperine_species_and_subspecies. So may be the solution is to have fairly big category AND lists. David D. (Talk) 18:14, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

That does seem like a good idea! I think my little bird could make such a list pretty easily. What do you think would be the minimum and maximum limits on the number of (sub)species that we could get away with putting in a single list? I somehow doubt that people would want to dig through a list of thousands of species, even if it were alphabetized, although I might well be wrong about that. Maybe there are general policies or guidelines here at Wikipedia? I seem to be woefully ignorant of those. :( Willow 18:22, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

Hard to say on length and the natural break point may be different depending on the organism. i can say that this list is far too long. List_of_dog_breeds. i could live with a couple of pages, about 100-200? The nice thing about a list is you can add a comment here and there to make it more useful than the bog standard alphabetical lists set up by the categories. David D. (Talk) 18:33, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

Brilliant, David! :) Of course we don't need an alphabetical list, since the categories provide them already. So perhaps the list should be organized by taxonomy? Perhaps use the intermediate taxonomic ranks as subheadings? :) Then a reader could surf the list from the table of contents. Are there other sortings we should consider? This is fun! Willow 18:44, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
P.S. What does "bog" mean?
Bog standard TimVickers 19:51, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

"Perhaps use the intermediate taxonomic ranks as subheadings? " Exactly :) David D. (Talk) 20:44, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

Got it, chief — I'm on it. ;) Willow 20:59, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
OK, Daisy did it; please check out List of Archaea genera. :) Is that what you had in mind, kind of? Perhaps it's too long? We could reduce it to "List of Archaea families", if that'd be better. Willow 17:49, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

Taxonomic references, proofreading, pictures and inter-wiki's[edit]

Hi all,

It looks like Daisy won't be able to sing those exhaustive reference lists before she has to go to sleep tonight. (I'm helping her work out the various bugs in her throat.) But it would be really helpful if you all could proofread, say, one randomly chosen page each from Category:Archaea phyla, Category:Archaea classes, Category:Archaea orders, Category:Archaea families, Category:Archaea genera, and Category:Archaea species. (As an aside, here's a fun, risqué mnemonic for the taxonomic ranks: King Phylip came over for good sex.) We should try to catch everything awry before Opabinia encourages Daisy into polyphony; it would be awful to repeat the same mistake in 270,000 pages! Thanks muchly for your help and time, Willow 20:59, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

P.S. Another difficult question: is there a semi-automated way to find free-use images for a given species? I was thinking of using Google Image and filtering with "", but I honestly don't know that government images are free. Does anyone have any good ideas?

PPS. Daisy figured out how to add the synonyms to the taxobox. :)

Maybe filter for wikipedia? i did one random search and it looks like the German wiki might be well ahead. Have you looked to see how they categorize things? David D. (Talk) 21:44, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

That's excellent, and also raises another good point — should we add interwiki links to other wiki's? Perhaps the French, German, Japanese and Russian ones, which seem to have the greatest number of taxa. But there's also no harm in adding others, e.g., the Swedish, except for a higher chance of a broken link. It's easy to implement however we want it. Willow 21:55, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

Actually i might have got lucky when i picked Nanoarchaeum_equitans, if you look at Euryarchaeota you'll find there are a lot of red links. Looks like you might be the leader in wiki world. David D. (Talk) 22:06, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

On a second look, it would likely be hard to do the interwiki links, since the other wiki's don't generally use the Latin taxonomic name, but rather some adaptation, e.g., de:Halobakterien. The foreign alphabets (say, for the Russian and Japanese wikis) would've been hard, too. But if we can get this going, perhaps we can send them the code so that they could do it themselves?

A semi-automated way of finding species pictures would be wonderful, but that too may be just a pipe dream. Let's keep looking, though! :) Willow 22:24, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

.gov websites can definitely host copyrighted/unfree images. I think you'd have to search a site that explicitly licenses all of its content under a free license, like PLoS. I have to say I don't think this will work, though, or at least would need a lot of human oversight; there's a danger of finding non-representative or otherwise poor images. Opabinia regalis 02:30, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

Help with nested templates?[edit]

Hi Willow, Opabinia regalis pointed me your way from this discussion as someone who may be willing and able to help beautify a template. Actually, I'm trying to nest two templates together but have so far failed. The example I'm playing with is on ITK (gene). Any thoughts you have would be much appreciated...

Actually, in reading a bit of the discussion above on NCBI's taxonomy data, I think there is quite a similarity of your effort and the one I proposed here, essentially doing the same for all genes in the mammalian genome. The previous discussion was pretty lengthy (mostly my fault for lumping too many issues together), but if you're interested in working together or sharing notes, I'd definitely be open to it! Cheers, AndrewGNF 01:07, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

Hi Andrew!
You're right, they do seem analogous, now that you mention it! That hadn't occurred to me before. I'll be glad to help with the template and with setting up the mammalian gene pages; but you need to know from the start that I have huge holes in my background — in computers, biology and, well, everything — so you'll have to be patient with me and also not assume that I know stuff. My knowledge is pretty much stitched together from conversations and what I can dig up on the web. You'll have to forgive me straight away, since I didn't follow all of the previous discussion; can I review just a bit and perhaps you re-explain at a slightly lower level?
From what I remember, you wanted to create a Wikipedia page for all mammalian genes, right? My first question: is there a general code for each such gene, with which one could query different databases? Is the same code used for non-mammalian genes — like, if an analogous gene were found in rats and spiders, would it have the same code in each? Or, maybe there's a table of gene synonyms somewhere? Knowing about such codes would be really helpful in setting up the "External links" section of the Wikipedia page.
Still other questions: should we have separate pages for a gene and its product (say, like, the gene dnaK and the protein DnaK)? What is the scope of the information on each gene page, and where can the information be found? It's all about book-keeping, but some books are kept better than others. ;)
Hopefully you won't get flustered by praise, but I think you and Novartis are great for tackling this. Your heart's in the right place, and I'm pleased as anything that even a half-educated shepherdess can help. Looking forward to a friendly collaboration, Willow 11:31, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

Hi Willow, Great, glad you’re enthusiastic about this. Don’t worry about holes in knowledge. Bioinformatics is filled with people who are jacks of many trades, masters of none. In fact, up until a few years ago, you couldn’t even find a “card carrying” bioinformatician because there were no such academic programs. Anyway, you’ll fit right in… On to your questions…

First, an overview… There is consensus that there are roughly 25,000 – 30,000 genes in the human genome, and a comparable number for all “close” relatives (primates, mouse, dog, rat, etc.). However, a big problem is not everyone agrees on the exact list of genes, and moreover, people can’t agree on what to call genes that everyone agrees exist. The ITK (gene) is a reasonable example. You’ll see here links to many different databases, all of which have a different ID for the same gene. Keeping track of all the cross-references between databases is quite a chore, so many examples of “gene portals” have been created to essentially keep up-to-date as each database evolves and new ones are added. We at GNF have one too (called SymAtlas) and we are somewhat unique in that we use our gene portal to also present data which we’ve generated and released to the public domain.

SymAtlas (and other gene portals) are great at displaying structured data – information stored in tables and databases. But, of course, they are not good for storing (much less collecting and displaying) “free text” information, and this is of course a strength of a wiki. My proposal is pretty straightforward. We can take our structured content in SymAtlas (which we’ve collected and maintain from a large number of public databases) and use these data to seed protein infoboxes for all genes ‘’en masse’’. We’ll also hyperlink from SymAtlas to Wikipedia to give our (somewhat sizeable) user community a place to add that “free text” knowledge. The stubs hopefully will lower the barrier for SymAtlas users to contribute (since they’ll be editing a page rather than creating one). In turn, the Wikipedia community can contribute the extensive editing, beautifying, vandalism-fighting, and everything-else expertise (and also the domain knowledge contributed by the MCB project) and really help things take off.

By analogy, biology journals often publish “review articles” which summarize the current knowledge in the literature for a particular gene or gene family. I would love it if the Wikipedia community maintained (and SymAtlas linked to) a continually-updated review article for every gene in the mammalian genome.

And in response to a couple of your questions (which are good questions, by the way, that point to important issues in the field)… There is an effort here to standardize gene names (ITK, for example), so it is this name that I suggest we use as the title for the Wikipedia pages. And regarding genes versus their protein products, personally I believe all that information should go on one page. We commonly refer to “gene function” when we really mean the function of the protein product, and although SNPs are a property of the gene, they are highly relevant to the protein product.

Whew! I hope you made it through all of that without falling asleep. If you want to break out the discussion into smaller bits, I’m happy to do that too. Let me know if you have any other questions or topics of discussion. When we have a common framework of understanding, we can move on to the specifics of what should be done and how we might work together… Cheers! AndrewGNF 22:04, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

Hi, I did make it all the way through, but I don't have time to reply right now, unfortunately. Could you send me a few gene portals besides SymAtlas so that I can get an overview? Thanks muchly, Andrew! Talk soon, Willow 23:03, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
Sure, here you go:
... but of course, our SymAtlas is the best... trust me... ;) (In all the examples above, you can view a gene report by typing a gene symbol into the text box -- ITK, BTK, AKT, etc.) AndrewGNF 00:05, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

IRC on Work via WikiProjects[edit]

Hi Willow, I recall your interest in looking at unassessed articles. I am trying to set up an IRC meeting to plan a strategy for this. The starting point is this discussion. Your input (and help) is most welcome - can you make it? Thanks, Walkerma 04:53, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

Hi Walkerma, I'm hugely flattered to be invited to a strategy meeting, but I don't think I can make it, for a few reasons. First and foremost, I'm getting stretched too thin. :( I really shouldn't be contributing to Wikipedia at all, since I received a stern warning from my boss about being "lazy" and not getting enough done there. I've been working pretty hard to keep her happy, since it would be a real blow if I lost that job. :( Also, I'm no good at strategizing; I generally just dive in and make things that others want or need — whether they know it or not. ;) Least importantly, I've never actually used IRC and I'm a little daunted about learning how it works. I was brought up rather sheltered from technology, so I'm learning about computers rather fitfully.
I'm glad to help as I can, though. After the strategy meeting, just let me know what needs to be done, and I'll try to weave magic. ;) Affectionately, Willow 11:52, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
OK, thanks for the offer of help. Don't feel daunted, I regularly feel that way when I talk with the techie people here! IRC is actually very low tech (rather like IM, which I've used only once!), which is why I can handle it. But I'll let you know what we come up with. Meanwhile, get into your boss's good books. Cheers, Walkerma 02:15, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

Maybe Daisy..[edit]

..should use templates where possible? For external links a template similar to this {{Daisy | genus=Nanoarchaeum | species=equitans | microbe=yes }} could be used to give the following type of output.

The advantage of such a strategy is that if the formating for the links changes later you only have to adjust the template rather than geting a bot to change all the pages. Another thing to consider is that the target links can be modified in the future to account for new resources, or removed as they become obsolete.

How about this, for your workhorse species?  :) {{Daisy | genus=Luscinia | species=megarhynchos | microbe= }}

or Daisy can be more general and only go with genus, like this: {{Daisy | genus=Luscinia | species= | microbe= }} or the minimalist look: {{Daisy | genus=Luscinia }}

Strangely Daisy is not represented on tree of life website!!!!!, but understandably not present on microbes are us. Clearly this template needs tweeking but you get the idea. You can find the template in your user space at User:WillowW/Daisy. David D. (Talk) 22:08, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

By the way, you could have an 'if statement' coded into the template such that if the species is not a microbe the microbes are us website will not be shown. David D. (Talk) 22:34, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
Another super-brilliant idea — I'm on it, chief! ;) Here's another list to peruse; there are minor changes. Are there too many entries, or is it OK? I like the way the Table of Contents came out. I guess the references will have to wait another day, though; I'm dashing off to work soon. BTW, my boss was really nice about the L-thing, you shouldn't have a wrong impression of her; it's just that she might have to let me go, because business isn't so good, despite our best efforts. :( Willow 22:39, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
Just added an if statement for the microbe function too. Now only get the microbe site if add some text after the microbe option in the template. See the changes to the examples above. David D. (Talk) 22:57, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
Really have to run, but here's another list to proofread. I'm trying to keep the list around 50-150 entries long. Please send along any suggestions — thanks! :) I'll tinker with the template when I get the chance. Willow 22:59, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

Fashion wikiproject![edit]

I'm so excited that you're on board for the wikiproject. Looks like you keep busy with a bunch of other stuff, but any contributions are welcome! I was really amazed when I started looking at how bad all the fashion coverage on wikipedia is. Normally I wonder how anyone even knows the half stuff that gets posted on wikipedia, but it's actually kind of fun to find a topic that's still in its infancy, so amateurs can contribute meaningfully too!

Thanks for your offer to help with MathBot--I don't even know what that is but it sounds good and I'll take any help I can get... :)

And as far as calliopes go, I just had a picture book with one in it when I was little that I really liked. Most of the time, I get people asking me about the muse Calliope, but I guess you sensed I'm not high-brow enough for that! Calliopejen 02:46, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

Hi Jen,
It is fun starting from scratch! I'm really glad that you started the WikiProject, since it's way more fun to edit when you feel part of a community and not all alone, don't you agree? I'll try to do my part; the MathBot is what produces those brightly colored tables of article assessments, counting the numbers of good and important articles. The WikiProject banners that you put on the Talk pages allow you to assess each article for "quality" and "importance". I'll try to set it up on Monday; it's mainly a question of creating some categories. Willow 22:11, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

New User Page[edit]

Not sure about your promised new User Page: it seems to move away from the wonder and fascination of the main image, which (in addition your incredible talent to work on a huge variety of wikipedia articles across the namespace) seems to me to capture many of your individual qualities, but hey, what do I know :) ! Geometry guy 19:39, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

Not to worry, I'm just tinkering. The lists of articles are getting rather long and unwieldy, and I don't like to seem like I'm putting on airs, so I was trying out ways of hiding the information. I wanted to just put the lists into default-hidden NavFrames, but I couldn't seem to make it work correctly. :(

Tinker away: it looks good, and this is your space!

I'm so relieved and glad that you liked that other thing, too, although it's not yet meant for public viewing. It still needs work to get the tone right: impishly mischievous but also elusively affectionate. I'm hoping that over 50% of its readers will find it wickedly funny, not merely wicked. ;) Thanks for your suggestions! :) Willow 21:56, 16 March 2007 (UT\EvC)

I found it fabulously funny, even as the willing target of your rapier wit! I wish I had time to write the reposte you ask for! Geometry guy 00:22, 17 March 2007 (UTC)

Taxonomic references[edit]

Happy news, Daisy cleared her throat and can now sing all the NCBI taxonomic references note-perfect (I think). She'll try to weave it together with David's template idea, and try it out on Monday. Please send along any other suggestions you might have for the taxonomic pages and lists. Doesn't it feel like the time before a concert, when the orchestra is tuning up? :) Willow 22:42, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

P.S. If anyone else has suggestions for how I should improve my user-page, I'd very much appreciate it. Thanks!

Just for you info those icons on your "prettier" page don't suit you at all. The're too generic. David D. (Talk) 23:17, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

fashion wikiproject[edit]

thanks so much for getting the article-counter thing set up! do you know why the WP:FASH page looks all screwy though? it seems that whenever the right pane gets beyond a certain width it makes the left pane super-small. i know basically nothing about table set-up and just copied the layout from another wikiproject, so i am helpless to fix it! :) any further ideas/help much appreciated! Calliopejen 17:41, 18 March 2007 (UTC)

What a great page![edit]

Stumbled on it by accident and was blown (gently) away. What a page, what a person, what a devotion! My hat is off to you. Arcfrk 13:13, 19 March 2007 (UTC)

I'm fond of hats, too, especially ones with broad brims and maybe a nice ribbon. :) Thanks ever so much for your kind note; people are so wonderfully nice here, I often feel like the guest at a surprise birthday party. :D I also feel like I've stumbled into a little garden, an echo of Eden, where all of us can work together for something truly good. Looking forward to reading your contributions, Willow 14:39, 19 March 2007 (UTC)

Help with citation templates?[edit]

Hi all,

What's the Wikipedia citation template for a book chapter? There's a zillion taxonomic references to chapters in Bergey's Manual. :)

The taxonomic references and synonyms appear to be working, as long as the reference is to a journal and the NCBI entry itself is OK. I'm still working on fixing glitches in the NCBI file itself; stay tuned! :) Willow 23:14, 19 March 2007 (UTC)

Hi Willow. If you mean citing a book chapter instead of a specific page or section (is that it?), I'd just use {{cite book}}, which provides a | chapter = parameter. I presume you're familiar with it, but you can find more usage instructions by following the link to the template page. Fvasconcellos 23:57, 19 March 2007 (UTC)

Need help proofreading the taxonomic references[edit]

Hi, the taxonomic references seem to be working, but they should be proofread before they're uploaded en masse. To warm up, Daisy made a list of the 4428 NCBI taxonomic references that she thought were journal articles. They're grouped into 19 sub-pages (listed below) of roughly 200 references each, sorted by the NCBI reference ID number. Would you all be so kind as to pick one sub-page for proofreading, and note which references aren't journal articles and other mistakes? Please list your name and your chosen section here, so that we don't overlap. Thanks muchly! Willow 21:47, 20 March 2007 (UTC)

P.S. I know that some articles don't have a dot in front of them; that's a bug for single-author articles that I've fixed already.

P.P.S. There appears to be a glitch in Wikipedia, so only the first few hundred references are visible, although they're all formatted correctly. Here are the individual sets:

You'll want to flag misformatting inappropriate journal names or article titles, as well as publication dates, volumes or page numbers. All of these articles should have a valid {{PMID}} for convenient cross-checking. Noting duplications is good, too, although that's intrinsic to the NCBI, not to Daisy; I'll try to write a script that at least identifies them all. Thanks so much for your help! :)

List of proofreaders of journal references:

  • Willow, refs 1-1000, one glitch: Skinner (1992)
  • David D. (Talk), ref 1001-2000 done all look good. Thanks, wow, you're fast! :)

List of proofreaders of nonjournal references:

  • Willow, refs 1-1000
  • I'm doing 2001-3000 TimVickers 22:56, 20 March 2007 (UTC)
These references are duplicated, is this a problem?
  1. Wiedenmayer, F. (1977) Shallow-water sponges of the western Bahamas. Birkhauser Verlag, Basel and Stuttgart. (reference ID 2376 in the NCBI citation database) and
  2. to be published in Flore de la Nouvelle-Calédonie (P. Lowry, pers. comm., May, 2000). (reference ID 2431 in the NCBI citation database)
  3. Martin, A.P. and Bermingham E. (1998). Systematics and evolution of lower Central American cichlids inferred from analysis of cytochrome b gene sequences. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 9 (2):192-203. (reference ID 2533 in the NCBI citation database)
  4. Roe, K.J., Conkel, D. and Lydeard, C. (1997) Molecular systematics of Middle American cichlid fishes and the evolution of trophic-types in 'Cichlasoma (Amphilophus)' and C. (Thorichthys).' Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 7 (3):366-376. (reference ID 2531 in the NCBI citation database)
  5. Murphy, W.J., Nguyen, T.P., Taylor, E.B., and Collier, G.E. (1999). Mitochondrial DNA phylogeny of West African aplocheiloid killifishes (Cyprinodontiformes, Aplocheilidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 11 (3):343-350 (reference ID 2528 in the NCBI citation database)
  6. Sano, R., M. Takamiya, S. Kurita, M. Ito and M. Hasebe. 2000. Diplazium>subsinuatum and Di. tomitaroanum should be moved to Deparia according to>molecular, morphological, and cytological characters. Journal of Plant>Research 113:157-163, 2000 (reference ID 2617 in the NCBI citation database)
  7. Nakazawa, A., Krienitz, L. and Nozaki, H. 2001. Taxonomy of the unicellular green algal genus Vitreochlamys (Volvocales), based on comparative morphology of cultured material. Eur. J. Phycol. 36:113-128. (reference ID 2705 in the NCBI citation database)
Otherwise 11 corrections made. TimVickers 23:43, 20 March 2007 (UTC)

Thanks, Tim, I made the corrections in the original NCBI file! :)

Note that
  • Wilson, D. E. and Reeder, D. M. (eds.) Mammal Species of the World A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. 2nd edition. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington and London 1993. Nowak, R. M.: Walker's Mammals of the World. 5th ed. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore and London, 1991.
contains two separate sources (Wilson and Reeder, 1993, and Nowak, 1991) that have somehow been combined. --Aranae 23:55, 20 March 2007 (UTC)

Thanks, Aranae, that's also a true error in the NCBI file, but I could fix it by creating a new reference. Thanks for pointing that out! :) Willow 20:21, 21 March 2007 (UTC)

I can barely even load these huge pages at the moment, but did you intend to use a) a semicolon between the first and second authors but a comma thereafter, or b) no period between the last author and the date? Not that those are important in any case. Also, the thread below is technically correct; these should be in projectspace. Opabinia regalis 04:10, 22 March 2007 (UTC)

Hey O, the semicolon does look strange, no? But it's part of the {{cite journal}} template; it separates the first author from the coauthors. Whether the period appears at the end of the author list has (so far) depended on what's in the NCBI file, but I can fix that. Thanks for your help and also the advice; in retrospect, it was really dumb to put these lists into article space. :( Hopefully, I won't always be such a clueless Chloe. ;) Willow 09:31, 22 March 2007 (UTC)

List of NCBI taxonomic journal references (part XX)[edit]

Hi, WillowW. I have noticed that you have created a lot of lengthy articles like List of NCBI taxonomic journal references (part 15). I can imagine such an info developed by a collaborative project can be quite useful, but I do not believe it belongs to the article's space. Per WP:NOT Wikipedia is not an indiscriminate collection of information.

Would you consider transwiki the texts to Wikisource? Or maybe as a subpage to a Wikipedia project? Alex Bakharev 20:55, 21 March 2007 (UTC)

Hi Alex,
First off, welcome to my Talk page! I've admired your work, especially the AlexNewArtBot, so I feel as though I'm being visited by a celebrity. :) Won't you come in and have some tea?
Thanks for being so nice about pointing out my poor judgment in putting those lists into article space; it was thoughtless. They've now been deleted and I'll reconstitute improved versions elsewhere, probably as subpages of my user page. They're not really useful in themselves; rather, they're a useful exercise to check whether our taxonomic references are being formatted correctly.
Thanks for stopping by! Hopefully, your next visit will have a happier occasion. Willow 09:44, 22 March 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for the nice words. I agree with your decision Alex Bakharev 11:04, 22 March 2007 (UTC)

Please help Daisy :)[edit]

The latest set of 4537 taxonomic journal references reflects your latest suggestions, as well as the removal of sundry bugs from Daisy and formatting errors in the NCBI file itself. If you have some time, please choose one of the 19 sections above and check it for errors of any type. Most likely errors: (1) the journal name is incorrect; (2) commas are missing in the coauthor names; (3) the author names don't agree with those of the PMID article; or (4) the PMID-linked article is incorrect (e.g., a rat placental article instead of a taxonomy article). Thanks very much for your help, Willow 18:28, 22 March 2007 (UTC)

  • Willow (parts 1-19): Basic fixes throughout, both in code and NCBI file. Willow 21:10, 23 March 2007 (UTC)
  • Willow (part 01) Done: 3 errors found
  • Willow (part 02) Done: 5 errors found
  • Willow (part 03) Done: 8 errors found
  • Willow (part 04)

WikiProject History of Science newsletter : Issue I - March 2007[edit]

The inaugural March 2007 issue of the WikiProject History of Science newsletter has been published. You're receiving this because you are a participant in the History of Science WikiProject. You may read the newsletter or unsubscribe from this notification by following the link. Yours in discourse--ragesoss 04:09, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

WP:FASH: You're welcome[edit]

Thanks for the welcome. I made the note that I was the first male user to sign up as a way of trying to subtly remind anyone else reading it that our haphazard coverage of fashion is but another symptom of the tendency of Wikipedia editors to be overwhelmingly men (there's some page about this; can't remember what it is) ... I wasn't surprised that it was a group of women who got together to do what was long overdue.

I would hardly call myself a fashionista ... I don't fit the mold at all; I dress in T-shirts and blue jeans or something like that most of the time; Brooks Brothers or Gap when I have to dress more formally. I would be about as lost as Andrea Sachs is at the beginning of the story in a real fasbhion setting (I explained my reasons for doing the articles on my user page).

But good fashion is beautiful to look at, and there are a lot of great stories to tell about the people involved (I'm hoping to nominate Anna Wintour for GA status soon now that I've done everything suggested in peer review). Daniel Case 16:11, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

Linking dates[edit]

You probably spent a lot of time linking the year dates in the Encyclopedia Britannica article. In general, when just the year is shown (no month and day), the date should not be linked unless there is a compelling reasons to do so (the reader is suggested to click the link per the context of that date). This is discussed in the "Dates and Numbers" section of the manual of style: Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style_(dates_and_numbers)#Partial_dates. If there was an easy way to revert I would but I don't see any way to do it except a manual removal of the links. -- Stbalbach 01:17, 26 March 2007 (UTC)

I added those links because — as I understood it — the automated peer review asked that all dates should be linked. I'll fix them when I get the chance. I hope that won't prevent you from Supporting the FA candidacy of Encyclopædia Britannica. Willow 01:32, 26 March 2007 (UTC)

Encyclopedia Britannica review request[edit]

Hi Geometry guy,

Could I ask a favor of you? On the advice of my friend, Opabinia regalis, I've been working on the Encyclopædia Britannica articles (and its relatives) since early December. Roughly a week ago, I put it up as a featured article candidate, but it's received surprisingly little attention so far. Could you maybe look it over and make constructive and ruthlessly impartial criticisms to help make it a better article? I'd appreciate it muchly! :) Geometry girl 21:07, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

Hi Geometry Girl, nice to hear from you, and I'm flattered that you ask my opinion. I'm extremely impressed by the vast amount of work and scholarship that you and others have put into this article. However, I'm not sure I am the right person to ask (or maybe this is why you asked me), because I do not very much like the result. It manifests many things I dislike about wikipedia, from turgid prose to inline citations for every sentence lest they be regarded as "original research" (you can be sure I will be voting for "attributable" rather than "attributed" at every opportunity). One of the worst things about attribution (rather than attributability) is that it can be used to conceal a systematic bias by making some sentences appear authoritative and others not. And this has happened here, in my view.
I suspect from some of the discussions on this talk page that you share my point of view that an article should be interesting as much as it should be authoritative, but it is difficult to defend this point of view against the bureaucrats. In the quest for FA status, editors dot every i and cross every t in the definition of a perfect wikipedia article, and the result is unreadable. In the event that this point of view is what you are looking for, here is some constructive but ruthlessly impartial (aka scathing) criticism:
  • At nearly 70kB, the article is way too long. Why, for instance is the section on "history of editions", which has a "main article" to refer to, longer that two or three short paragraphs? The "criticisms" subsection looks like it should be spun off into a separate article for more reasons than just length (see below).
  • The introduction is also too verbose. Not surprisingly, it has four paragraphs (why? Because the rules say so!), but these paragraphs are long, and do not provide a guide to the content of the article. The English is also rather poor in places. Here are some detailed criticisms.
...published by Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., a privately held company owned by Swiss billionaire and actor Jacqui Safra.
Surely this is not first sentence information (unless there are legal reasons for doing so)? I assumed when I read this, that the Safra family founded EB! Surely the first sentence should concentrate on the historical reputation of EB?
Despite its name and preference for British spelling, the Britannica has been published in the United States since 1901.
What is this supposed to mean? Just say EB tends to use British spelling, but has been published in the US since 1901! There is no need to make this into an implied contradiction.
adopt a "continuous revision" policy of annual revision
Maybe there is a technical meaning here, but the quotation and repetition is lost on the general reader.
a single Propædia volume that aims to give a hierarchical outline of all human knowledge.
This tense change might be grammatically possible, but suggests the POV that Propedia failed in this aim. Surely it did, since the aim is nearly impossible, but this should be stated rather than implied by dodgy grammar.
the Britannica has historically had difficulty remaining profitable
Why "historically"? And why in the middle of a verb?
and also lowered its price point,
i.e., "reduced its price". The modern euphemism does not make the article more interesting. If a more subtle meaning is meant, it should be stated.
the Britannica has aggressively leveraged its reputation to sell spin-off products.
Do I need to comment on this? This language is tabloid, not encyclopedic.
  • Shockingly, for all the earnest efforts of the editors to comply with wikipedia policy, this article is not WP:NPOV! The non-factual aspects of the article are heavily weighted towards the shortcomings of EB. This is something I note as a casual reader who cares not at all about EB (I can very well believe it will sink in the face of internet competition). Yet no opportunity is spared, in this article, to suggest a weakness here, a lack of authority there. There is the constant suggestion that it has failed, that it cannot compete with online resources (wikipedia perhaps?). The critics are respectable, the management vigorous. There is half a page on reputation, over a page on criticism. Neutral point of view is not something achieved by giving a reference for every sentence, it is something achieved by writing every sentence in a factual way, with no agenda other than to make the sentence interesting, and providing a good balance of factual information.
  • Most of central portion of the article is purely factual, and the content here is much better (maybe thanks to Willow?).
  • Towards the end, it all starts to go wrong again. I was shocked to read the heading "Coverage of topics and systemic bias", especially as the body only uses the weasal words "seems to suffer somewhat from..." and quotes praise that it is one of the least biassed encyclopedias. The "corporate structure" subsection appears to contain an unsourced libellous statement:
In December 2002, the Britannica management told employees it would raise the contribution paid into their 401(k) accounts — just before eliminating those accounts completely.
I think this should be rephrased or deleted.
  • The competition section is not as bad as it could be, but still seems, to the casual reader, to display hostility to EB. It would be much better I think, to start with EBs strengths in the market (especially historically) and then to describe the challenges it faces. It is up to the reader (and the market) to decide whether printed encyclopedia's are doomed or not.
Well, I hope some of the above is constructive, and not just damning. If you share some of these opinions, you are welcome to copy them over to the relevant article talk page.
If on the other hand, I am wrong that you and some other editors do not share these concern, then my comments may just be offensive to the huge efforts you and many others have made on bringing this article to such a evolved state. If so, please accept my warmest apologies. Geometry guy 23:40, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

Hi Geometry guy,

Your impartial review is just what I and the article both need. It tastes slightly of wormwood for me, since I'm drinking in my own failings; but so does absinthe, and I hope your review will be — medicinal. :)

Regrettably, the uneven style and whiff of bias are not the residues of some awful edit war, nor evidence for the failure of the Wikipedia's collaborative editing; rather, they're almost entirely due to one confused editrix wrestling with contradictory feelings and data. On the one hand, I support the EB in its mission, which seems the twin of Wikipedia's own mission, and have warm admiration for those who have worked to make it better, from the charming rogue William Smellie of the 1st edition to Christine Sutton of the latest. Judging from my readings, the best encyclopedias are always a labor of love, not money. On the other hand, I'm too unfamiliar with business to appreciate what is normal practice, and I'm too easily offended by some things. I suspect that my feelings are also colored somewhat by the broad-brush criticisms sometimes leveled by the EB's upper management, which I have to work to forget.

Friends are the best mirrors; thanks for helping me and the article become better! I'll try to improve the specific things you point out, and then work on the more general problems. Some of the lame writing is nothing more than me trying to squash too many facts into one sentence, e.g., the Britannica name/British spelling/American ownership sentence in the lead. May I ask you again for help, after I've had a go?

Today I saw the yellow catkins blooming on the willows; they're awakening to life after a long winter. Spring is so beautiful, isn't it? Willow 07:51, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

As the saying goes, with friends like me... ;) Sorry for the bitter pill, but the blunter of my comments were really directed at the bureaucrats and the FAC process. Mathematics is currently going through FAC, and I fear it may have the life-blood sucked out of it by the inline-citation crowd and other interest groups. In a sense, every WP article is original research because it involves gathering and presenting information in a new (and hopefully fresh and lively) way. I really hope WP:ATT is successful, because it seems that many wikipedians do not understand what "attributable" means, and when a specific attribution is not necessary (or even harmful). By their standards, it sometimes seems to me that an article can only be WP:NOR if it is plagiarism!
Anyway, enough complaining, as I see you have already set to work and am very impressed! You have reinvigorated the introduction, not so much because of my suggestions, but by reordering it so the most relevant and interesting information appears first. (It reminds me of a process I have seen quite a bit on WP: an article slowly loses its energy through a series of small edits to please everyone, then maybe a new editor comes along a refreshes it completely with a rewrite.)
The first three paragraphs, in particular, are great. The fourth is possibly TMI for the lead. Alternatively, I dare you to split it in two and Wikipedia:Ignore all rules! I also have a small edit to propose: feel free to revert if you don't like it.
Spring is lovely indeed. TTFN Geometry guy 11:47, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

It's always a pleasure to hear from you, and thanks for your contributions to EB and other things. :) I'll keep plugging away; I think the "Criticism" section needs some balancing and reorganization, as you point out. There's also a lot left to research on the Britannica Online. Please send along any more suggestions; they're really helpful!  :) Utterly no rest for the utterly wicked, Willow 12:41, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

You are very welcome, princess ;) Geometry guy 17:41, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

Lots of progress![edit]

I see that EB is coming on in leaps and bounds and gradually winning round the FAC crowd! I see also the pressure to be more critical of EB, but am glad it is being resisted. If EB is being nasty in its approach to WP then WP can show its strength by rising above this level, and this article (thanks to you) is a great opportunity to show this. I looked at it again recently, and the only thing that really jumped out at me was the "Edition summary" table, where words and phrases such as "dubious scholarship", "botched", "illustrious" and "pioneered" do not (for all their lovely energy) fit the encyclopedic tone. There is one other thing that I am in two minds about when I read the introduction and the corresponding discussion of the third era of the history: is it really necessary to emphasise that the mass market was (north) american? It conveys the impression that EB had to be dumbed down for the US market, which may be true, but is also potentially insulting. The idea of "broadening" the market already provides sufficient explanation, and maybe the reader should be allowed to draw their own conclusions. Geometry guy 21:43, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Thanks ever so much; you're great! I'll get right to work. Willow 21:48, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Hello again. I saw that you rather hesitantly moved the competition section further up the article following a request at FAC. I agree the move makes sense, and think your hesitancy serves to highlight some intrinsic problems with the tone and NPOV of this section. I can think of three things that could be changed, but I'm filtering them through you as you know the edit history and FAC sensibilities far better.

  1. The first two paragraphs could be made punchier and more relevant. I have in mind something like the following reordering (the main point is that this article is about EB rather than about these other encyclopedias).
  2. The next paragraph on Internet competition is a bit confusing, and gives the impression that EB is an old-fashioned print source which cannot keep up in the internet age. Now that the competition section is right after the information about online and multimedia versions of EB, the shortcomings of this paragraph are even more transparent: the only hint that EB has responded to the challenge is the use of the word "other" in the last sentence. There are probably several ways to fix this. Let me know if you would like me to think about it some more.
  3. Most controversially, the comparison with wikipedia. In my view, this section is still neither NPOV nor NOR. I have some suggestions to remedy this, but I don't imagine getting agreement is going to be easy.
    • State the factual comparisons first: number of articles and/or words, the fact that WP is free and has more articles on pop culture, and the web traffic data.
    • This section must mention the fact that anyone can edit WP, whereas EB only solicits expert contributions. (This is an example of what I meant about NPOV in my grumpy first reply: NPOV means providing relevant facts in a balanced way.)
    • Be very careful not to make implicit interpretations of this data. The reasons why web traffic is much higher for WP is surely a combination of many factors (the detailed indexing by Google being another). In particular, the mention of "product differentiation" and "perceived value" looks like OR to me and I think the section would be better without it.
    • A link to criticism of wikipedia would be a good idea to demonstrate the impartiality of the article, for instance by mentioning the criticism of inaccuracy of WP. This makes the Nature study even more interesting, and a nice way to end the section.
    • It should be clarified that the Nature study is a comparison of WP with the online version of EB (I found the Nature article slightly disingenuous about that point: it is clear from the title, but rather glossed over elsewhere).

I noticed a couple of points in the criticism section as well.

  1. Do you know when Marie Curie was given her own article in EB? If so, it might be better to compare this date with the dates of her Nobel Prizes, then state the fact that in the 11th edition (1911) she was only mentioned in her husbands biography. The facts are already shocking enough to the modern reader, and this might be a more encyclopedic way to present them.
  2. The date of the 3rd edition could be mentioned when discussing Newtonian gravity.
  3. The sentence "The Britannica has also been criticised unfairly" contains the implicit assertion that the previous criticisms were fair. I suggest reworking this paragraph with an opening sentence such as "Some critical reviews of the Britannica have themselves been criticised..."
  4. The second sentence of the section refers to the editors delaying new editions "for as long as possible". Is there a source for this (e.g. is this what EB says itself)? If not, I think it would be better to make a more factual statement, such as saying that 20-30 years has been the typical period between major new editions.

Anyway, make of the above what you will! I'm surprised you are not yet heartily fed-up of all the criticisms coming from all directions. And if you want me to do any actual editing based on the above, let me know! Geometry guy 16:22, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

Thank you, thank you, thank you! How could I be fed up when my hands are heaped with riches? You all gave me what I wanted most. I wanted to be good, but was not; yet now, thanks to all of you gently shaping me and showing me a finer way, I've shed the burden of at least a few baser impulses towards the Britannica. ;) "Be she ever so vile, this day shall gentle her condition." Did you know that today is my first Wiki-birthday? I started editing exactly one year ago today. I'll brood over how best to implement your suggestions; thank you again, Geometry guy! Willow 17:25, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

Hmmm... I think it is more evident that you bring out the best in other wikipedians! Anyway, I'm glad you feel so much reward for the positive spirit you bring to the project. Happy wiki-birthday, Geometry Girl! Geometry guy 17:52, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

Fantastic work on the article and impressively fast as always! Clarifying the content of reference [5] has solved several problems (not just my own "as long as possible" issue). And your rewrite of the comparison with wikipedia is great: compelling, balanced and encyclopedic! It seems that the competition and contributors sections got reversed again. Ah well, at least it provided the incentive to make improvements... and I'm happy to change it back (with ref to FAC) if you'd like another editor to do it. Geometry guy 19:02, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

Sorry, I got tied up with customers for a while; the trials and tribulations of a day job... ;) Thanks for fixing my broken reference; I had to run just then. If you feel that the article would be improved by swapping the order back again, please go ahead; please make sure to put the Coleridge image before the section heading for proper formatting per MOS. I'll try and flesh out the remaining glitches as well, but there's still lots to do here at work. Thanks also for your really kind words, which made me very happy, Willow 20:04, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

Yeah, I understood that - some customers are more demanding than others, I guess! ;) Work well - I'll see if I can sort out a few glitches in the meanwhile. Oops no, I have a someone calling me, so maybe not just yet... Geometry guy 20:24, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

Congratulations on the FA status! It seems I was (inadvertantly) the last person to edit before the star was awarded; ironically I was working on some material that probably needs to be replaced by something more attributable, but I wanted to defend against some edits that were simply too strident in their criticism of WP (e.g., using words like "vast majority") in an article which is supposed to be about EB instead. Anyway, enjoy the nice birthday present. Geometry guy 09:26, 12 April 2007 (UTC)


I deleted your favor on Qxz's page. Qxz has left Wikipedia and he's pretty adamant about having his talk page empty. I suggest you respect his wish. MahangaTalk to me 03:25, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Re: Help with EB?[edit]

Hi Qxz,

It looks like something bad has been going on; I hope it wasn't too unpleasant for you!

I have a favor to ask of you. I remember fondly our work together on Wikipedia and I hope that you can help me with the Encyclopædia Britannica article, which is now a featured article candidate. It's received a few excellent reviews, but overall it's received surprisingly little attention. Could you maybe look it over and make ruthlessly constructive suggestions? Thanks muchly! :) Willow 22:36, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

You at least deserve a response. I left five days ago, or at least thought I did. Since then people have been arguing so much over (a) why I've left, (b) whether I should be blocked, (c) whether my talk page should be protected and (d) whether people should be leaving comments there that I've been forced to keep coming back in order to blank it and tell them to go away. Sooner or later they'll get bored, or I will. As for your request, I'm well beyond any further involvement in the content of this project, I'm afraid. There are simply too many things and people that I disagree with. I strongly suggest you reconsider your own involvement – Qxz 06:49, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Dear Qxz,

I'm really, really sorry to hear that you're leaving. :( Thank you for writing; I know it must have cost you something. As unlikely as it seems, I hope our paths cross again someday, perhaps in the real world.

Thanks, too, for your kindly meant suggestion, but I'm too much in love to leave. I'm trying to leave good gifts for others to find. For all of its silliness, Wikipedia is still an Eden for me, where I can meet really smart, really nice people and have the chance for selfless acts of teaching and kindness. Willow 07:32, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Er.. hi again. I forgot about you for a moment, my apologies. OK, this may be a bit confusing. The person you thought was Qxz was actually me, trying to make a new start after resigning as an administrator and "leaving". Which, as you can see, didn't really work very well. I originally planned to just go but I've decided to be honest. So, I'm actually Gurch. Sorry about that. I'm still rather frustrated with one thing and another, but since I don't have anything better to do right now, I'll have a look through the article.
At a glance, it certainly looks featured-quality. As far as length is concerned, once you discount the references and the table it's a little long but certainly not excessive. As for pictures, well, I've never personally thought them to be that important, but it gets a whole criterion to itself on WP:FA?, so I think those that it has are fine. And most of them are public domain, which should hopefully satisfy the fair-use-is-evil people.
One thing I did notice is that there doesn't seem to be an image of the thistle logo (except a very small one in the corner of the web page screenshot). I see you brought up its trademark status on the talk page; it should be OK to include it under a claim of fair use (to be on the safe side if nothing else), which seems to be common practise for logos; convention seems to dictate that this would go in the infobox, but I think having the title page of the 11th edition there is fine (and indeed 'more free'). I note the to-do list wants a history of this logo; I can't think of anything beyond the Scottish ties already mentioned in the article, though if there is anything else to say about it it would probably be a worthwhile addition.
Looking at the FAC, I see the more recent comments mostly seem to be concerned with minor grammatical and stylistic changes, which suggests several people have gone through it quite thoroughly already. If that's the worst they can find, then it can't be too bad; those issues seem to have been addressed. I also observed a certain reviewer being annoyed that only the errors he specifically identified were fixed, and not others; one could argue that that's the way FAC works, but at any rate I haven't found any more myself (but then I'm not particularly good at spotting that sort of thing). I did notice a couple of "i.e."s in the middle of paragraphs; I don't know what the style guidelines say about those. Some issues of neutrality were also raised on the FAC, and having seen a similar problem at various times while working on the Wikipedia article, I can sort of see what they're getting at. However, I think your recent contributions have largely addressed these points.
The section header "Status in 2007" might go somewhat against Avoid statements that date quickly – especially since come next year someone will probably just change it to "2008" without making any changes to the section's content –
Encyclopædia Britannica Online needs attention if it's to stand alone as an article; I note this is on the to-do list of the main article. Personally, I would just make that a redirect and cover it in a section in the main article, as there's only really enough there for a short section – if the section did grow, it could always be split off later, but size isn't an issue with the main article at the moment. The article is also unsourced, which depending on who you ask is an even more important concern.
If I were to contribute to the FAC, I'd support this article. However, it's probably not a good idea for me do so; it would likely give the impression that you had been posting on talk pages in an effort to gain more support (even though that's not really true). In over 75,000 edits (erk!) I don't think I've ever edited a FAC page, and for various reasons I'm disinclined to make any edits at all right now.
Hope this is useful – Gurch 18:36, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

Hi Gurch,

Thanks so much for your encouragement and suggestions, which I've already tried to incorporate into the article. I still don't know what happened, but whatever it was, I'm sorry that it was so corrosive of your faith in Wikipedia. I really appreciate your taking the time again to write to me. I can sympathize somewhat; I've also had a few eye-rolling moments over my year here; but since I'm keenly conscious of saying something stupid myself nearly every time I open my mouth, it's pretty easy to be patient and forgive (well, everyone but myself, that is). Also, when things go really badly, I tend to feel mournful and lonely, rather than angry; sometimes I'll visit a bright place to remember why I'm here.

I'll confess, I think the name Qxz is more euphonious than Gurch, so I'll probably continue to think of you as Qxz. It also reminds me of the rectangular multipole moments — oops, I guess I'll have to make that! ;) I did think, when we first met, that you must've been here under a different name, or at another wiki, since you seemed so much more clued in than me. ;)

Hoping that you find a path that's kind to you, Willow 22:10, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

I see you added some more pictures; a good selection, though I think one or two of them might be better off slightly smaller (in particular the "when in doubt, look it up" ad and the screenshot of the CD-ROM version). At lower resolutions things get just a little squashed, perhaps 250px wide would be better instead of 300.
It's interesting that you prefer 'Qxz' – I haven't even figured out how to pronounce it. I can't really keep switching between accounts, as that would confuse people, and I don't think a username change request would go down well. However, if you insist on having it that way – Qxz Gurch Qxz Gurch 10:12, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

Hey Gurch!

It's great to hear from you again; I'll take it as a sign that your spirits are returning? :)

Thanks for the EB image advice; there's always tradeoffs between layout and legibility, no? Are you surprised that the EB FAC has received so few votes? I am, a little, although I suppose I should be grateful, since it gave me enough time to reply to those who've written so far. Thanks for all your help, Willow 10:32, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

Ah yes, Enyclopedia Britannica[edit]

Although I've more or less (unintentionally) ceased my Wikipedia activity (I haven't quit, though), I was just dropping by and noticed the message you left me and I have to say I'm glad that someone is working on this article. It's really deserving of the featured title and I was happy to vote for it. It's certainly in better shape than when I first found it. NauticaShades 19:10, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

Wow, it has come a long way! :) Thank you for your Support at FAC and for all your work; I hope you can come back soon! :) Willow 19:38, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

FAC has been a bit quiet recently. I don't find your writing style in the least floury, more flowery if anything. TimVickers 21:00, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

Oh dear, then I'm doomed. ;) Oh well, I can't help but be fond of my angiosperm friends, especially when they're trying so hard to cheer me up, growing in my garden. Thanks for your own cheery pick-me-up, Willow 21:24, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

hi :)[edit]

Hi there! Nice to meet you. We seem to be crossing paths a lot ... I just edited another article you started. :) I'm in the midst of working on references for biographies of scientists, so we might have some overlap for a while. And nice work on Encyclopædia Britannica! It looks great. best, phoebe/(talk) 23:51, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

Hi phoebe! :) Should I wpbio-tag the biographies that I've worked on? They're not all scientists, though, so I wouldn't know what sub-group they'd be in. Is there a list somewhere? Thanks for visiting and see you around, Willow 23:57, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
P.S. Thank you so much for the Support and the copy-editing! It means a lot coming from an expert; it just made my day radiant. :) Have to dash off but see you soon, lots of luck with the bios, Willow 00:23, 5 April 2007 (UTC)


Hi Willow! I saw your request at the copyeditors' club for E.B. As a member in some standing, I am glad to contribute some "ce to E.B." You don't strike me as an editor who particularly needs your articles copyedited, but if it helps... I assume you will correct anything I get wrong in the process. –Outriggr § 03:44, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

Thanks, Outriggr! I really appreciate your help over there, and your supportive words, well, everywhere. :D I was a little despondent yesterday, but things turned the corner last night with Phoebe's support, and it's only gotten happier and happier since. I'm sure that we can make this a fine article, one that we'll all be proud of. :) Willow 03:55, 6 April 2007 (UTC)
No problem. I hope you don't find my FAC comments annoying, as that's not my intention. When I come across what I think are subtle instances of "core policies say this isn't quite right", I like to test the waters. It's instructive. (Physics-crank OR and racism POV are no-brainers, but how far do these policies reach?) However, my interpretations could be whacko. I try not to be whacko, but it comes through sometimes. :) –Outriggr § 04:04, 6 April 2007 (UTC)
Hm. And your talk page indicates it's already been copyedited twice?! One more round I guess... –Outriggr § 04:07, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

Reference please[edit]

Dear Willow, your Alpha helix edits contain some pretty cool geometric information regarding characteristic sums of dihedral angles in different helices. I would greatly appreciate if you give me a reference for this information. Do you happen to know the variance of the sums and individual angles? 14:38, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

Thank you for your kind note,! The stuff on the characteristic dihedral sums were cobbled together from several sources, as I recall. I'll try to dig up those references next week; I'm rather busy right now with Encyclopædia Britannica — and real life. ;) By the way, by what name should I call you? Please consider becoming a Wikipedian and getting your own user name! :) Willow 17:41, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

Any news on that reference? I think I understand now how that equation works and what it assumes. It is approximate. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Apodtele (talkcontribs) 14:58, 10 April 2007 (UTC).

Hi Apodtele! :)
If I'd known that you were interested in the derivation, I could've told you that immediately; I remember that much at least! :) It does depend on two approximations, namely,
  • The Cα-C bond vector of residue i is exactly parallel to the N-Cα bond vector of residue i+1. If I recall correctly, they're actually about 7° off according to the usual Engh&Huber bond geometry.
  • The cosine of the N-Cα-C bond angle for residue i is exactly -(1/3); that is, it has perfect tetrahedral geometry, ≈109.5°.
Consider two adjacent residues in a helix, apply a little spherical trigonometry, and you get the formula. Naturally, it would apply to any polymer with tetrahedral bond geometry, such as poly-methylene. I'll try to track down that reference later today, but I'm really swamped with Encyclopædia Britannica. Hoping that this helps, Willow 18:11, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Merci. This is exactly what I suspected. Apodtele 18:32, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

I would really appreciate the reference, please. A book or a paper which pays this much attention to the polypeptide geometry is worth my reading at least. Apodtele 01:14, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

I have added explicit note about the missing reference to the Alpha helix page. Apodtele 17:07, 18 May 2007 (UTC)

I'm so sorry, I keep forgetting to go to the library for that.  :( I'll try to tackle it next week. I'm very sorry for being so dilatory, and please remind me as often as it takes — I'm juggling an awful lot right now, so that wiki-duties sometimes get overlooked.  :( Willow 19:19, 18 May 2007 (UTC)


Hey, thanks for your message, it put your comment into happy perspective. :) I've also seen your message on The Signpost tipline, and I have simply disagree with you on being nice to Britannica. I never much liked them, but their attitude to Wikipedia is unacceptable. There's a difference between merely being dismissive and being outright nasty, and ever since the Nature comparison, they've really lost it. Seriously, listen to this lecture by the man who wrote the comparison - I found his account of Britannica's reaction quite enlightening. I was disgusted by our article in Britannica, it is as biased as they could make it, and yet their website is full of narcissistic drivel about how marvellous their encyclopedia is. Their article on the Ridolfi plot is 264 words long, it's had 200 words added in the past 96 years (I checked the 1911 'pedia) - by contrast, I spent an hour writing the Wikipedia article, it's three times as long and not even half finished yet. You know that saying of Gandhi, "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win"? We're into the fighting stage now, and my god have they taken the gloves off. Dev920 (Have a nice day!) 18:45, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

Heya Dev! :)
I totally know where you're coming from on the Britannica. Sometimes I feel a swell of outrage when I think of their top brass' remarks, like the public toilet metaphor or the "hulking, mediocre mass" quote. It's not very scholarly and rather rude; if they truly believe that we're quixotic fools, they should pity us rather than scorn us. For my part, I think that they should be less of an old boys' club, having so many old (or dead) boys and less than 7% women in an era when the majority of college students are women. But I feel certain that, beyond those top brass — who have to say whatever it takes to make money — there are a host of hard-working editors and well-meaning contributors who love their subject and just want to share their vision of beauty with the world. It's hard for me to feel angry towards them or the text itself; I can't help but feel kinship with people trying to preserve beauty and memory in a sometimes ugly and forgetful world.
It's true, I think, that their gloves have come off since the Nature study. Given its history of flirting with bankruptcy, the Britannica may be fighting for its life yet again. Maybe it's just me, but the signs do suggest that they're engaged in a calculated FUD campaign against Wikipedia. But I think it will fail; I'm not afraid, I won't waver, and I have no doubt that another impartial review will rightly value our articles, as I bet you do, too. It's only a matter of time; if we persist in making good articles, their worth will be recognized. Come again sometime and let's talk of happier things, Willow 19:39, 6 April 2007 (UTC)


Hi, I noticed your interest in the equipartition theorem from another user's talk page I was watching. After a glance at the page, I have two recommendations:

  1. Please try to limit clauses within sentences so they'll be more readable. I only got through the introduction, where there were so many caveats and clarifications in each sentence that I had a hard time reading. Concise is good!
  2. The table of contents reads like just a long list of topics. Usually a hierarchical form is more useful, and the lack of a hierarchy in the table of contents suggests that the article itself may not be optimally organized. Please help readers by guiding their eyes.

Good luck improving the article, and please let me know if I can be of assistance. Regards, Gnixon 04:12, 7 April 2007 (UTC).


Wandered across your work on the Propaedia ... it looks great. I am a little concerned about copyright, though; I'd imagine it's copyrighted, like the rest of Britannica. I don't have a copy handy, so I don't know how much of the hierarchy you've copied out, and I don't know what would constitute fair use in this case -- perhaps only a couple of layers. Thoughts? -- phoebe/(talk) 03:56, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Hi phoebe! That's a good question, and has troubled me as well. The Propædia is definitely copyrighted, but the posted parts are taken from the Tables of Contents. I believe that tables of contents can be listed without copyright violation, as done by many libraries. At least this memo seems to say that the practice is legal, since it hasn't been considered by the courts. Do you know of anything more recent or more specific? also routinely shows tables of contents, but that's hardly definitive. Perhaps I ought to remove one more layer, just to be cautious. Thanks for your help! :) Willow 06:25, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
To be safe, I removed the whole thing and filled in Table 1 a little more with the major subjects covered by each Part. That should be OK, don't you think? Willow 17:37, 10 April 2007 (UTC)


Let me know when Sandy is satisfied, and then I will vote to support. Well done! --Ssilvers 02:12, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

Congratulations on the amazing work, Willow, and thank you so much for adorning my talk page with the delectable peaches ! (I liked Outriggr's coffee, too:-) That was quite a chunk of work to take on, and you did an excellent job. I'm sorry I never got around to supporting; I like to print and read a hardcopy before supporting, and considering that I'm still struggling to catch up from a lot of travel, I just never got to it. Congratulations again on a job well done !! SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:28, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
Hi Sandy, thank you so much for your kind words and please don't worry! :) I was really glad that you took the time to give such a careful review, and your encouragement to review the references was just the push I needed. You might be seeing me again at FAC, if and when I can improve equipartition theorem; fools rush in where... ;) Willow 15:50, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
Hi, I just wanted to chime in and say very very well done on getting this article up to FA status! I'd buy you a beer if I was on the same side of the planet! Cheers, darkliight[πalk] 15:39, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
Hey Darkphoton! Thanks for the toast, mate! "There's nothing so mournful, lonesome or drear, than to sit with a girl with no taste for good beer." ;) Drink me a fine one, and we'll call it even. Cheers! Willow 15:50, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

My congratulations too! Sorry I couldn't help more, but you certainly should be proud of this achievement. -- Ssilvers 23:11, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

Thank you all, and I hope we can work with one another again! It reminded me of antiphony in music, where voices sing in counterpoint to each other, calling and responding. It was a real pleasure and, like knitting, we had the added pleasure of something nice in the end! :) Willow 23:21, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
Thank you for writing, Willow—I did enjoy the latte. Since I am lacking the creativity to respond with an equally inspired picture and message, please accept these perfectly tasty Brussels sprouts! Now, the real surprise is that the barnstar I offered you some time ago was in fact a presentiment, an advance award for your successful EB FAC. (So you are a fan of counterpoint? I am listening to the Goldberg Variations.) –Outriggr § 04:42, 14 April 2007 (UTC)
It's a favorite piece of mine, too! :) When I first moved into my own place, I was playing Glenn Gould's version while I was unpacking. It was late at night, and kind of spooky; I was all alone and had drunk too much coffee; the whole house was bare and isolated far in the country. All of a sudden, I heard a man's voice singing along with the Variations, which completely freaked me out. Luckily, after a little investigation, I realized that I was hearing Glenn's own voice humming along with his playing. Whew! :)
I do love counterpoint. I like to make little contrapuntal pieces out of familiar nursery songs for my nieces, although I have a pretty limited repertoire of rhythms and harmonies. If I ever finish Nature and Knitting, I'd like to develop some articles on counterpoint and contrapuntal works. I tend to go for less well-known topics, so perhaps The Art of the Fugue or Pergolesi's Stabat Mater? Do you have any preferences or suggestions? Thank you again for the barnstar, which I've never forgotten, Willow 10:33, 15 April 2007 (UTC)
That's an interesting story (Haunted by Gould). If you'd watched Silence of the Lambs which featured the Goldbergs sometime before, I can imagine you being that much more spooked out. But I don't picture Willow and Hannibal getting along. :) Now regarding your question, I am a drive-by classical listener, so I can't offer much. Given your preferences, I expect the Well-Tempered Clavier is not obscure enough. So Die Kunst der Fuge it is. I can't wait! Good to see the sprouts are still fresh. –Outriggr § 04:04, 24 April 2007 (UTC)

I've never really given out awards – especially barnstars, now that you can get one for a few hours of anti-vandal work they've become worthless – but the work you've done not just on this article but elsewhere deserves recognition. Though I feel the Featured Article process is a bit tedious and uses up effort which could be better expended elsewhere, the thought that contributors such as yourself are actually producing high-quality content is just about the only thing keeping me here. If only I could do the same myself; sadly, it seems I am resigned to maintenance work (and if the outcome of this arbitration case is as I expect, I will essentially be denied reinstatement of adminship, so that's out, even if I wanted it). Anyway, I usually express thanks with the aid of a few copies of Image:Tournesol.png, so here we go:

Tournesol.png Tournesol.png Tournesol.png Tournesol.png Tournesol.png

Gurch 15:13, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

Hey Gurch, thanks for the flowers! I don't think I've gotten a bouquet here before, especially one that blooms before my eyes. I'll soon put them in a vase, to preserve them.
I'm really sorry that you're feeling down. I don't understand how the arbitration case pertains to you, but you'll always have a home here; there'll always be something that needs to be done, don't you agree? :) It doesn't have to be something grand like Wikipedia; it could be something small, but worthy. Perhaps you might choose a neglected country, or a neglected disease, or a neglected person, and write something to honor them and make them more intelligible to the world
Please don't despair. Wikipedia has its foibles and disappointments, to be sure, but it is also self-renewing and combines gentle strength with high purpose. Jostling in the halls of Wikipedia, harsh or foolish people can call themselves to our attention so much that we miss the angel who glides softly past us, quiet and determined. That's when we should leave our small disagreements behind and walk with her to someplace better. Affectionately, hopefully, Willow 21:12, 17 April 2007 (UTC)
The angel who glides softly past us, quiet and determined – are you talking about yourself, there? :) I doubt I would make a good angel. Though I have been doing a lot of stuff quietly. Boring stuff, unfortunately. Re-organizing the top-level administrative and maintenance categories – in other words, the sort of stuff nobody else can be bothered to do. Not sure how much use it really is.
Anyway, if you're interested (probably not!), the arbitration case partly concerns Betacommand's use of automated tools to perform administrative actions at high speed without bot approval. This has always been against policy, but in practise has been tolerated as a last resort when dealing with large administrative backlogs. An arbitration ruling on the matter would end this, and since it has never been acceptable under policy, would bring past actions of this sort under question.
While I'm not involved in the case, if the Arbitration Committee finds, as seems likely, that such actions are unacceptable, that would also apply to some of my own actions – particularly a batch of around twenty thousand pages I deleted in October 2006. Whether Betacommand is asked to re-apply to Requests for adminship or not, I am not currently an administrator, and would have to request again anyway. Given that I also made a lot of controversial username blocks which were the subject of much discussion – on RfC and even as far afield as Slashdot – and ultimately resulted in a policy change, it seems unlikely that a bureaucrat would be willing to re-assign adminship without another full RfA. Given the current expectations of RfA, I doubt very much that a re-nomination would be successful. As I said before, I have no interest in being an administrator again, but the fact that my past conduct may be 'officially' unacceptable is the sort of thing I have to take notice of.
Now, any more comments like that, and I'll have to insist you stop writing articles and start writing poetry :) – Gurch 22:22, 20 April 2007 (UTC)
Thank you for sharing all that with me, Gurch. I feel it as you do, but I wish I could help you see that this is not all we are; paths fork, people change, and we can grow and be other than we are. I sense that I will never be an admin, and you too will grow in new directions. The world is rich with possibilities and imagination, and there are many ways to contribute to Wikipedia. Willow 00:37, 21 April 2007 (UTC)

Discussion of category removal?[edit]

Dear Editrix,

I might understand your reasons for deleting the categorizations of "Clothing", but it would be nice to discuss it, no? We're not in any rush, and we now have two WikiProjects relating to clothing and fashion, the Textile Arts WikiProject and the Fashion WikiProject. Even if you feel that your approach is the only reasonable one, it would be gracious to allow us to participate in the decision of mass deletion. Thank you, Willow 09:55, 15 April 2007 (UTC)

Sorry to worry you. Definitely not deleting the category of Clothing. It's a hugely important category. It was once cluttered with about 3000 unsorted items, and I've been trying over a period of two years to sort that clutter into subcategories. I'm only putting garments into drawers, not burning the dresser. And I'm quite finished now. --TheEditrix2 10:00, 15 April 2007 (UTC)
Follow-up: You may wish to weigh in on the suggestion I've just posted at Fashion WikiProject. Thanks! --TheEditrix2 10:22, 15 April 2007 (UTC)
OK, I'll look it over, and I'm sure the others will, too — it's a pretty friendly atmosphere there. :) Willow 10:46, 15 April 2007 (UTC)


Hello Willow!

First, let me say excellent work on the Britannica article. I looked at the edits since the 1st nomination and the article has come a long way. Second, I rearranged some of the paragraphs as you suggested in order to improve the flow of the article. Also, I am going to try and incorporate the positive relationship idea. Unfortunately I won't be able to work on it until tonight after I get home from work. The Signpost has been published on Tuesday lately so I think I should have enough time. Thanks for the suggestions, and keep up the good work!

Great job! KnightLago 11:47, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

Thanks, KnightLago! I was pretty shy about making the suggestions, but I'm glad that you liked them, especially the positive relationship one. Wonderful collaborations might blossom if we could only get past the "us vs. them" mentality. Our common enemy is ignorance, don't you agree? The Britannica and Wikipedia share such similar and fundamentally noble goals with each other, they might as well be siblings. Even though siblings are notorious rivals, still they glory in each other's successes and mourn each other's set-backs. Thank you again and good luck with the article! :) Willow 12:00, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
Nice job again. I had planned on adding to the article but I was at the hospital most of the night with a friend whose parent is sick. Keep up the good work. KnightLago 11:34, 17 April 2007 (UTC)
Yes, I saw that and tried to be helpful. I really hope that your friend's parent is OK; I nursed a close relative last summer, so I have an inkling. :( Kind wishes be with you all, Willow 11:47, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

Misguided vandal-fighter ;)[edit]


Welcome to Wikipedia. It might not have been your intention, but your recent contribution removed content from Equipartition theorem. Please be more careful when editing articles and do not remove content from Wikipedia without a good reason, which should be specified in the edit summary. Take a look at the welcome page to learn more about contributing to this encyclopedia. If you would like to experiment again, please use the sandbox. Thank you. A link to the edit I have reverted can be found here: link. If you believe this edit should not have been reverted, please contact me. ROASTYTOAST 21:50, 20 April 2007 (UTC)

Umm, hi, I did explain my reasoning in my edit summary, right? That paragraph was redundant with an entire section I wrote earlier, the one just after the lead. Forgive me, but since I wrote almost everything in that article, I might be allowed to remove a teensy bit of it, no? Thank you, however, for being so scrupulous in safeguarding my work. :) Willow 21:54, 20 April 2007 (UTC)
RT, as far as I can tell, Willow has been working very hard to develop this article essentially from scratch. We should at the very least give Willow a chance to "finish." Willow has been extremely responsive to comments and suggestions from others at this article's "peer review" page. Gnixon 13:52, 22 April 2007 (UTC)
I knew you wern't a vandal. Your userpage is too fancy to be a vandal. But I do apoligize for any inconvience I caused. --ROASTYTOAST 23:31, 23 April 2007 (UTC)


Hey Willow, I am relatively new to frequent editing and have been traveling throughout the tangled web that is the various wikipedia user pages. I have noticed that you appear very frequently in the places that I visit and that you always have a kind and helpful word for those with whom you work. I have determined that you are one of the best wikipedians out there and would be honored if you would be the one to welcome me to wikipedia. I have never been welcomed in the way that I see on almost every user page and this makes me sad :(. If you don't have time I understand but please consider my request. Thanks so much for being who you are and keep up your great work! Cronholm144 00:16, 25 April 2007 (UTC)

Nothing I write can convey the depth of gratitude I feel and, in equal parts, inadequacy that I cannot respond as beautifully as you have to me. Happily, the spirit of your words has quickly overcome all such negative feelings. I have been given the great gift of hope and I will do my best to instill that hope in everyone I encounter here and elsewhere. If there is ever a time you are in need, know you have many friends here. I am so glad that you consider me one of them. I would love to lend you my support on any article that you are working on, just let me know. I love math and my knowledge spans from the elementary to multi-variable calculus. I am always willing to learn so don't hesitate to use me as an uninformed sounding board. Again I am at a loss for words so I will end my blather soon. I, like you, will do my best to serenely banish that ignorance that lurks in the shadows of all minds, if not quite as eloquently. Cronholm144 04:18, 25 April 2007 (UTC)
Thank you, Cronholm, for your touching words and for giving me the pleasure of welcoming you and the chance to share something close to my own heart, which are two rare gifts. I'll look for your articles here, and I hope that you'll give me the benefit of your insights into mine — only you have to promise not to look until they're nearly done! ;) I sense that I'm nearly done with equipartition theorem; any suggestions you have would be very welcome. Yours indeed, Willow 15:38, 25 April 2007 (UTC)

Thank you! :)[edit]

Thank you, dear Willow!

Dear Willow, your beautiful words have moved me so much, I can hardly find the words to say. Indeed, we had never directly talked before; but I've seen you around, and your grace and kindness are a wonderful ray of sunlight that always makes me smile. There's no need for more words when just a "thank you", a smile and a virtual hug is enough to seal our newborn friendship. I hope to talk to you soon, little sunray ;) Love, Phaedriel - 22:49, 25 April 2007 (UTC)

In fairy tales, when a heroine must quest to find three things, they usually aren't so pleasant, nor the reward so great! ;) Warmly, affectionately, Willow 14:20, 26 April 2007 (UTC)

Knitting Blog[edit]

Take a look at [1]. I am still working slowly on the EB article. Sorry !--Filll 20:10, 29 April 2007 (UTC)

  1. ^ Cite error: The named reference thomas_1992 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  2. ^ Cite error: The named reference kister_1994 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  3. ^ Cite error: The named reference sader_1995 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).