Wikipedia:Help desk/Archives/2008 July 20

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July 20[edit]

Next step to take with user breaking rules?[edit]

Hello, over the past few weeks these users User:Popride & User:Popride2 have been given friendly advisements on the use of their user pages. The main problems are that they're using them to store articles and are including them in WP categories. I've removed them from the categories a few times, and another user showed them how to use a subpages, but they don't seem to be listening...and keep adding their user pages back to WP categories. I haven't given a real warning yet because I don't know which one to use, or if that's the appropriate step. Does anyone have advice on what they might do? Thank you Louis Waweru  Talk  00:30, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

You may want to take this matter to WP:ANI, depending on how serious it is. —Mizu onna sango15/Discuss 00:41, 20 July 2008 (UTC)
I'd take it one further and I actually suspect these two users, plausibly sockpuppets, are using their userpages as advertisements... x42bn6 Talk Mess 02:32, 20 July 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for the advice. I think I will make the changes myself, and resort to WP:ANI if they're undone. Nice to know that's there. Louis Waweru  Talk  11:05, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

Login and Password[edit]

Hello. When I login on Wikipedia (not a mirror site) by clicking Login / Create account at the top-right corner and finish typing my password, I can highlight different parts of it (numbers, letters (not case sensitive), and punctuation) by typing Ctrl+Shift+Left Arrow. The same happens when I login through the secure connection. This happens if I login to forums but not my e-mail account via my web browser. What should I do to fix this if possible? Thanks in advance. --Mayfare (talk) 01:15, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

I'm not entirely sure what the problem is...? ---J.S (T/C/WRE) 03:06, 20 July 2008 (UTC)
Do you mean that when you highlight the password, you can see the actual password instead of seeing ********* as you would expect? − Twas Now ( talkcontribse-mail ) 03:57, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

I still see ********* when I highlight my password. Let's say that the password is 30 characters long. If the first 10 characters are numbers, then the first 10 characters are highlighted by pressing Ctrl+Shift+Right Arrow. If the next 10 characters are letters, then the first 20 characters are highlighted by pressing the same combination of keys. If the last 10 characters are punctuation, then the entire password is highlighted again by pressing the same combination of keys. --Mayfare (talk) 14:56, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

For me, ctrl-shift-right highlights the whole password, no matter what it is. Perhaps it's a browser problem. Algebraist 15:00, 20 July 2008 (UTC)
In many programs, Ctrl+Shift+Left and Ctrl+Shift+Right moves the cursor one "word" in that direction, and highlights that word. The program decides what it considers a word. In my Internet Explorer 7.0 on a Wikipedia password displayed with ********, it appears to make word boundaries at spaces and punctuation, but not when changing between letters and digits. PrimeHunter (talk) 11:41, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
Why is this a problem? --Random832 (contribs) 16:29, 23 July 2008 (UTC)


My computer's clock is substantially slower than that of every other clock I own. I frequently change it to reflect my current time, but it always falls behind within a matter of hours. With that said, would this affect my timestamps (and the time given for every edit I make), since Wikipedia uses Universal coordinated time? Thanks in advance. —Mizu onna sango15/Discuss 02:19, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

I am not 100% sure what you are asking, but I will try to answer the best I can. The time that it is on your computer does not affect UTC time. The UTC time that Wikipedia uses, i.e. the time on your timestamps and in page histories, is run on Wikimedia servers and is not based on your computer time. So basically, if you change the time on your computer, it will have no affect on anything that has to do with Wikipedia. Did that answer your question? « Gonzo fan2007 (talkcontribs) @ 02:23, 20 July 2008 (UTC)
Yes, it did. I apologise for not being clear enough. Best, —Mizu onna sango15/Discuss 02:26, 20 July 2008 (UTC).
It's ok, I thought that was what you were asking, but wasn't 100% sure. Cheers, « Gonzo fan2007 (talkcontribs) @ 02:28, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

(undent) Depending on what operating system your computer runs, you may be able to enable the Network Time Protocol to synchronize your computer's clock automatically to a highly accurate standard clock. --Teratornis (talk) 03:18, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

At Gadgets in your preferences, you can select a clock in the personal toolbar that shows the current time in UTC while you are logged in to Wikipedia. It has no effect on the clock in your PC but it can be practical to easily see how old UTC edits and comments are. PrimeHunter (talk) 11:47, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

ref help[edit]

Whats wrong with this reference? [1]


  1. ^ "Inpatient Hospital Discharge Database Documentation Manual". State of Massachusetts. May 2006. Retrieved 2008-07-19.  Check date values in: |date= (help)

Is it the .doc that's messing it up? Grk1011 (talk) 03:29, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

No, you just need to put
in front of the address or Wikipedia won't recognize it as one. Someguy1221 (talk) 03:36, 20 July 2008 (UTC)
Thanks! Grk1011 (talk) 03:39, 20 July 2008 (UTC)
If you want to know about the technical details, that results from the {{Cite web}} template putting the value of its url parameter into an external link. --Teratornis (talk) 04:05, 20 July 2008 (UTC)


When a page uses template:reflist, where do I find the content that's being transcluded (that is, the actual list of references)? Lordofmodesty (talk) 03:34, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

Anything in the article that is found in the <ref> … </ref> tags. − Twas Now ( talkcontribse-mail ) 03:54, 20 July 2008 (UTC)
Ohhhhh, okay! Thank you very much. Lordofmodesty (talk) 03:58, 20 July 2008 (UTC)
For details, see WP:FOOT, WP:CITE, and WP:CITET. --Teratornis (talk) 04:02, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

A problem with apostrophes in the topic title?[edit]

Two weeks ago, I tried to update some information in'_number

The update became visible in

and in

yet not in the original "Skewes'_number" page that I edited (and that the search engines tend to find). A few days later, the updated content became visible also at "Skewes'_number", but a few days later that page apparently turned again into the old version, while the updated one remained in the other two pages. I checked several times now, and the results are confusing; the latter two links always contain the updated information, but the "Skewes'_number" page somewhat randomly alternates between the old and the updated content. I have no idea what causes this; perhaps the apostrophe in the topic title, or some faulty redirection ... (talk) 09:05, 20 July 2008 (UTC)Best regards, and many thanks if someone can fix this, TK

It's URL encoding, nothing to worry about. The first two pages you listed are actually the same page, which is named Skewes' number and the last one is a redirect, Skewes number. The apostrophe is represented by encoding because you can't have one in a URI. Many other characters have to be replaced, too, including %, &, (, ), ®, etc. The actual article title is usually displayed in the Address bar, but you can always find it at the top of the webpage. Admiral Norton (talk) 09:41, 20 July 2008 (UTC)
Does that answer TK's question though? He/she is asking why the displayed content isn't always what's really in the database. Some sort of caching anomaly is my guess.-- (talk) 10:19, 20 July 2008 (UTC)'_number and is the same page for Wikipedia. It sounds like your browser cached an old version of the former and you sometimes saw that (maybe you switched between computers or browsers). is a redirect to PrimeHunter (talk) 23:46, 20 July 2008 (UTC)
I am not sure. Today I tried accessing the page from two computers from which it has almost certainly never been accessed before. Typing "Skewes number" in Google gives a list of hits, and clicking on the top hit leads to the Wiki entry with the first URL of the three links above, and the old version is displayed also on those computers. so I cannot see how local caching could cause this.
Clicking on "Refresh" does not alter anything. However, clicking on the "article" tab at the top of the page changes the URL in the address line from "Skewes'_number" to "Skewes%27_number" and displays the new version. After some clicking around, suddenly also clicking the Google top hit starts displaying the updated version, but some time later things again seem to return to this puzzling state. (talk) 15:04, 21 July 2008 (UTC)TK
Some ISPs cache pages. The bottom says "This page was last modified on [day and time]". Do you see different days? PrimeHunter (talk) 23:21, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
Yes, the dates are different with the two versions, May 1 vs July 12, and clicking the "Refresh" button does not cause May 1 to change to July 12. Does this mean that my local ISP does not access wiki at all, but simply gives me the page as previously cached on its server? Or is it the Google search engine that has this page cached, or perhaps some "third party"? (talk) 12:58, 22 July 2008 (UTC)TK
Assuming you don't click "Cached" in Google's search results, you should not be able to get a version cached by Google. Apart from that I don't know where the old version is cached. PrimeHunter (talk) 17:33, 22 July 2008 (UTC)


hello there - is there a cheatsheet for all the wikicode used? some of it is straightforward but I'm sure there is plenty more. Thanks! --Coxsmith (talk) 11:42, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

Indeed. Please see, appropriately enough, Wikipedia:Cheatsheet. This does not have all wikicode but covers all the basics. Cheers.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 13:48, 20 July 2008 (UTC)
Since you asked about all wikicode, also see Help:Editing, Help:Wikitext examples, Help:Edit toolbar, Help:Table, Help:Template, Help:HTML in wikitext, and WP:EIW#Edits. You want everything in the "For editors" section of the MediaWiki manual: m:Help:Contents#For editors. For Wikipedia to have become a top ten Web site, it needs a powerfully expressive markup language, and "power" does not coexist with "simplicity," although Wikipedia makes it simple for new users to correct typos and so on. Wikipedia's design does a pretty good job of keeping simple jobs simple, without limiting the possibilities for complex jobs too much. With some systems, you have to learn a lot of things before you can even say "Hello, world!" --Teratornis (talk) 18:23, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

OK to create subpage within a talk page?[edit]

An editor is asking if we could create something like Talk:Satanic ritual abuse/list of scholarly texts. Is it ok with policy? —Cesar Tort 15:07, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

The relevant guidance is at WP:SP - it appears that this proposal may fall under item 3 of disallowed uses, but it's not entirely clear. – ukexpat (talk) 15:20, 20 July 2008 (UTC)
Does the user want to use that subpage temporarily, in order to draft/flesh out a list of sources, or does the user intend for the list to live in that subpage permanently, as sort of an appendix to the article? If the former is correct, then I would think this is allowed. If the latter, definitely not.--The Fat Man Who Never Came Back (talk) 15:36, 20 July 2008 (UTC)
If it were used to list works for use in citations, I'd think it would be fine. -mattbuck (Talk) 15:46, 20 July 2008 (UTC)
As a temporary resource, it should be fine. But not as a permanant resource for the article. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 16:04, 20 July 2008 (UTC)
Our intention is temporary. We are trying to get a good list of sources together, and to vet and categorize them in order to write a better article. However, may I ask why keeping permanent bibliographic lists linked to entries is a problem? Shouldn't easy access to reliable sources be a plus to the project? Especially if said lists are not just being compiled but contain sources categorized and vetted for reliability? Aren't we trying to use our resources productively here in order to create and maintain the most reliable entries possible? I'm no policy hound, so maybe I'm missing something basic here, but from a purely educational/informational standpoint it seems completely counterintuitive to ban such permanent lits.PelleSmith (talk) 16:24, 20 July 2008 (UTC)
I’ve already created the page. You can see I linked it below the [Image:Replacement filing cabinet.svg] in Talk:Satanic ritual abuse. Hope this is ok with you all… Cesar Tort 16:56, 20 July 2008 (UTC)
The {{WPBS}} template at the top of Talk:Satanic ritual abuse lists several WikiProjects. Given that sources for the Satanic ritual abuse article might also be suitable for other related articles, a subpage of one of the WikiProjects might be a better place to accumulate this information, so the sources could be useful in more places. In general, WikiProjects may have lots of pages to use as collective scratch pages, so I think a list of sources would make more sense in the Project: (Wikipedia:) namespace than in the Talk: namespace, but that's just my opinion. --Teratornis (talk) 17:47, 20 July 2008 (UTC)
One problem with using a subpage of an article Talk: page as a "process" page (a collaboratively-edited list of references is an example of such), is that the subpage is already in the Talk: namespace, so it does not have its own talk page. Thus if there is a dispute about something on Talk:Satanic ritual abuse/list of scholarly texts, where will editors discuss it? The idea on all wikis that run on the MediaWiki software is that we have pages where people collaborate to produce current revisions, and each of those pages has an associated talk page where people can have background discussions. Process pages should not be in the Talk: namespace, because process pages need their own talk pages. Instead, process pages should go in the Wikipedia: namespace (a straightforward place would be under a relevant WikiProject), or possibly in the User: namespace. --Teratornis (talk) 18:02, 20 July 2008 (UTC)
Is there a reason why discussion about the subpage contents can't take place at the main talk page -- Talk:Satanic ritual abuse -- as it already has been?PelleSmith (talk) 19:03, 20 July 2008 (UTC)
The discussion can occur anywhere, but it will be easiest for newcomers to find if it follows the same convention they see on the rest of Wikipedia. Wikipedia is a do it yourself system, with a constant influx of new users who are trying to figure out what's going on. Keeping the structure consistent makes this slightly easier. One of the things a new user should learn fairly early is that every page has an associated talk page, accessible from the "discussion" tab at the top of every page. Pages that don't follow the near-universal convention create extra complexity and make Wikipedia harder for new users to learn. There are some untidy exceptions, of course, such as this very Help desk page, which acts like a talk page, but isn't actually in a talk namespace. I think it's best to follow Wikipedia conventions, unless (as in the case of the Help desk) there are some really compelling reasons to break them. --Teratornis (talk) 15:41, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
Putting the discussion about the references in, say, the Wikipedia talk: namespace (which is where it would be if the references page is a subpage of a relevant WikiProject) provides a couple of other modest advantages.
  1. The discussion will then be searchable with Google. See: Template:Google custom#Problem with the Talk: namespace.
  2. Keeping the discussion that is specifically about the references on its own talk page makes it easier to find than it would be if it gets mixed in with larger discussion about the topic. Whether that is good or bad, of course, depends on lots of things.
--Teratornis (talk) 15:50, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

(undent) What about moving the list to Satanic ritual abuse/list of scholarly texts and discuss it in Talk:Satanic ritual abuse/list of scholarly texts? (alternatively, we can use one of my subpages such as this one). —Cesar Tort 20:31, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

Because subpages have been disabled in mainspace, and because pages in mainspace are only meant to be the articles themselves. I'd agree that the best thing to do with a list of sources would be to make it a subpage of a relevant WikiProject, especially if the sources can be used on multiple articles. Confusing Manifestation(Say hi!) 23:00, 20 July 2008 (UTC)
For the details about why we don't have subpages in the main (article) namespace, see WP:EIW#Subpage, e.g. WP:SUBPAGE. --Teratornis (talk) 15:44, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

Question on Spam[edit]

As you wish. Anyway. Thanks for your feedback. But please delete My Name.

Cannot find new item, checked delete log[edit]

About 12 hours ago, I tried to enter a new item, End Times Round Table but can find no trace of it now, even after checking the delete log. Any ideas? Thanks. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Aero Fusion (talkcontribs) 17:08, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

It was speedy deleted: [1]. Algebraist 17:15, 20 July 2008 (UTC)
Twice. – ukexpat (talk) 20:44, 20 July 2008 (UTC)
Just once, actually, unless it was also deleted under a different article name. Tan ǀ 39 20:48, 20 July 2008 (UTC)
Oops yes once, the other log entry was patrolled. – ukexpat (talk) 03:57, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

image help[edit]

On page 192 of this link there is an image the the old Melrose High School. The book that it appears in (the link) was published in 1902. Has the copyright expired yet or to i need to upload it as copyrighted (building burnt down in 1897 so no free available)? Grk1011 (talk) 18:18, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

As far as I am aware as the book was published in the United States then the image is well out of copyright if it hasn't been renewed since the date of publication. Therefore you should be free to upload it as expired. MattieTK 22:51, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

New to Wikipedia.[edit]

I have an account set up in Wikipedia but here is my question. I am an independent Irish filmmaker living in the States and i wanted to set up a Wikipedia Page about me and my films and achievements and because I'm new to this site, I really couldn't find an answer to this question. How do I set up a Page about me and my films? Thank you.Fimano (talk) 18:49, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

Please note that Wikipedia is not a webhost, it is an encyclopedia. Therefore, you are highly discouraged from making a page on here about yourself (see Wikipedia:Conflict of interest), especially to promote you or your organization. Calvin 1998 (t-c) 18:52, 20 July 2008 (UTC)
If you wish to, then just search for the pagename you want and create it by clicking the redlink. However, as Calvin states, it is generally not advisable to create a page about yourself unless you have several third party, reliable sources to show your notability. -mattbuck (Talk) 18:54, 20 July 2008 (UTC)
Alternatively, post your bio at or  – ukexpat (talk) 20:46, 20 July 2008 (UTC)
Based on his talk page, I have a strong feeling that this is his IMDb profile, so his article should be James McDonald (director). − Twas Now ( talkcontribse-mail ) 00:53, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
However, there is a policy against writing your own biography on wiki. see Wikipedia:Autobiography. Grk1011 (talk) 00:57, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
WP:AUTOBIO is not a policy, and though he is discouraged from creating an article about himself, he is not entirely obliged to abide by it. —Mizu onna sango15Hello! 23:36, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

Account deletion[edit]

Can an administrator please delete my account here? Or at least delete my user and talk pages? Cheers.--TV-VCR (talk) 20:08, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

Due to the fact that Wikipedia content is licensed under the GFDL, all edits must be kept for attribution purposes, and so your account cannot be deleted. You do, however, have the right to vanish, which you can exercise by (1) requesting your user page (found at Special:Mypage) and/or user talk page (found at Special:Mytalk) be deleted, by adding the {{db-userreq}} template to them; (2) requesting to change your username to something that is unconnected with you (possibly a random collection of letters and numbers); (3) never logging in to your account again. If you do this, you are still free to register a new username if you wish to continue editing Wikipedia. x42bn6 Talk Mess 20:09, 20 July 2008 (UTC)
Thanks --TV-VCR (talk) 20:12, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

Strange glitch[edit]


I seem to be having trouble viewing a page Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution page, where there are two layers of text, with the top one immovable, so you can't read the scrollable underneath version. I've purged cache and change browsers but it still doesn't render properly. Is it some strange vandalism or something. Thanks Rambo's Revenge (talk) 22:16, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

There must have been template vandalism. I fixed the page by purging it. PrimeHunter (talk) 22:19, 20 July 2008 (UTC)
Yep all fixed, also as an aside the culprit has been blocked too - I wasn't making it up :) Rambo's Revenge (talk) 22:35, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

Too speedy deletion[edit]

I tagged an article for speedy deletion last night so I could move a better page there, but now I can't remember what it was called (doh). It's not in my contributions list, so I guess it's sleeping with the fishes. Any idea how I can find out what the title was? Clarityfiend (talk) 23:17, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

An admin can figure out at Special:DeletedContributions. Just remember next time to mark new pages you tag for speedy deletion as "patrolled", so it shows up in your logs. Calvin 1998 (t-c) 23:22, 20 July 2008 (UTC)
It was Randy Disher which redirected to Lieutenant Randy Disher. PrimeHunter (talk) 23:33, 20 July 2008 (UTC)
Thanks. Next time: no chewing gum and walking at the same time... Clarityfiend (talk) 00:45, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

Nissan Xterra[edit]

There's a problem on Nissan Xterra. I can't see the buttons so i dont know how to fix it. Grk1011 (talk) 23:37, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

Ok, its back to normal now but im gonna upload a screenshot because this is bizarre. Grk1011 (talk) 23:48, 20 July 2008 (UTC)
No need. It must have been template vandalism of a form which has been frequent the last week. PrimeHunter (talk) 23:50, 20 July 2008 (UTC)
O well, i uploaded it while you were responding i guess. Grk1011 (talk) 23:56, 20 July 2008 (UTC)
I'd also like to add that it showed up fine in Internet Explorer and fine when my friend brought it up in Firefox (I use firefox too). Grk1011 (talk) 00:09, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
Yes, that's the frequent template vandalism. The order is usually: 1) A template is vandalized. 2) Some of the pages which transclude the template are updated to show the vandalism. 3) The vandalized template is fixed. 4) The affected pages from 2 are fixed either by being updated automatically by the wiki software (can take a long time) or manually by purging them. Whether you see a vandalized page version depends on where in this process you are. PrimeHunter (talk) 00:28, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
Oh, ok i see. The strange thing is that i was looking at Nissans during that time and it didnt show up on any of those pages which have the same templates. Grk1011 (talk) 00:31, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
Usually, only some of the pages in 2) are updated while the template is vandalized. PrimeHunter (talk) 00:38, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for reverting me, Grk1011, but I still think WP:BEANS applies here - the whole point of this vandalization is to get attention and to see their work on this site. Here, we have essentially immortalized it. Whatever. Tan ǀ 39 01:38, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
Regarding essays, I think WP:DENY would be a more relevant argument against "immortalizing" the vandalism, while WP:BEANS would be an argument against explaining how it was done. PrimeHunter (talk) 02:00, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
Hm, agreed. Tan ǀ 39 02:01, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

(undent) Do any of our anti-vandalism tools have a feature to automatically purge all pages that transclude a previously-vandalized template, after someone repairs it? Then we won't have zillions of unpurged pages floating around out there to confuse users with the vandalism relic. The manual way to clean up the mess is to check the backlinks for the template, and follow the links to purge pages manually. --Teratornis (talk) 15:58, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

I might add that our apparent lack of such a one-click method of cleaning up all the damage result from template vandalism can lead to multiple Help desk questions and responses which have the side effect of calling attention to the vandal. Ideally, the first good-faith user to see the problem should be able to fix it and purge all the affected pages, so no one else needs to be aware of it. --Teratornis (talk) 16:02, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
Nothing I've seen does that. I guess someone should write it (from a computer-illiterate perspective, it looks easier than some of the stuff in twinkle). Another feature that would be useful is 'recent changes to unprotected transcluded pages'. Unfortunately, I doubt we'll ever reach your ideal (since template vandalism is always going to be technically trickier than, say, pageblanking) but it should be possible for the first wikitech-savvy user to quickly sort out everything. Algebraist 16:05, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
Sorry, I reverted because i didnt know that it was a problem that others had experienced before and "a picture is worth a thousand words". How was i supposed to explain that a black screen with a message took over a page? lol. Grk1011 (talk) 16:06, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
When templates are edited, transcluding pages should automatically be added to the job queue for automatic updating, but this can take a long time. And some templates are transcluded on a huge number of pages. I think you are effectively proposing a manually controlled high priority job queue. In order to avoid vandals messing with priorities, I think such a tool would have to be restricted so it was only applied after damaging vandalism. It would be nice with an automatic way to find out which of the transcluding pages were affected while a template was vandalized and giving them high priority. PrimeHunter (talk) 17:24, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
While it's still possible to mass-edit pages as fast as you want, I'm not sure there's much point restricting mass-purging. I suppose we could make it rollbacker-only or something, but vandals could do the same thing with their own JS anyway. Algebraist 12:05, 22 July 2008 (UTC)