Wikipedia:Village pump/Wikipedia chat

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This page is largely defunct, as not many Wikipedians check in on it. Try the Wikipedia:Village pump instead, or sign up for Wikipedia-L, Wikipedia's mailing list. Plus, there's a real-time IRC channel #wikipedia on (previously which started December 8, 2001). See Wikipedia:IRC channel for further details.

I find there is a page named 'Wiki.Cgi' in Chinese Wikipedia, and it made the system running disorderly. please delete it.

I translated some content of the HomePage into chinese, and edited the homepage for Chinese Wikipedia. It is only a translation for the English Wikipedia, or we, Chinese, can edit it freely?

There are two character set used by Chinese, Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese. I think Wikipedia should provide two versions for them.

i find it is too difficult to edit Chinese page.

The project is fantastic, but your definition of fascism is hopelessly outdated and misleading: there should be a way of knowing who writes your articles so people have a sense of source: otherwise the impression is of an objectivity which is totally misleading.

Toger Griffin

Today, suddenly, I can browse these pages almost instantly. In past days my browser was timing out.

Does anyone know what was going on? David spector

Prior to the introduction of new wikipedia software and a new server in July 2002, these problems were all too common. Hopefully now they are a thing of the past! Enchanter

I hope I don't accidentally erase this page...

I'm interested in writing software under open source licenses. Would it be possible to download and integrate Wikipedia into, say, a word processor?

-DarkPhoton darkphotn (at) yahoo (dot) com

Wikipedia is free and open source - the Software is licenced under the GNU GPL and the articles themselves under the GNU FDL. So you can use wikipedia articles and software in your own open source projects. Enchanter

I see at least one topic which Wikipedia covers but does not list in its search engine, that is Conditioning. I wrote that article long ago, so it should have been spidered. It contained some provocative comments of mine (but arguable), so I suspect that it has been removed from the search index. Dear maintainers of Wikipedia, why do you start to deceive? Grasso

The search engine had some problems under Phase II software (before 2002 July 20). This article shows up in a search now. Toby 23:36 Jul 28, 2002 (PDT)

Some articles are really dull without images, and they are a whole lot less intuitive without those life-bringing and explaining images. Too bad there isnt yet a upload-facility, and too bad that images take more time to make than plain text. :)

If Wikipedia is to become multimedia, it would probably be best to standardize on bitmap (including animated ones), audio, and video formats, or at least to have preferred types. Perhaps even Flash or Shockwave could be part of said standard. I'm not sure if there's even a decent vector-drawing format for web pages out there, but I'd be interested to hear of one if there is. --Belltower
Check out which is an overview of a proposed standard at the W3C. I agree that there ought to be preferred standards, I think it is also important to have size limitations. Those of us w/ slow connections will be much happier w/ a few small images. I disagree about Flash and Shockwave. There should only be open standard formats used.
I do not know if Flash mets the definition of "open standards", but there is enough information out there for folks to write their own Flash authoring software and plugins. However, there is not yet any free way of editing Flash that I've heard about which gets in the way of the whole collaborative effort-thing. In general, that is the problem with images is that they create larger hurtles for editing. Shockwave is certainly a bad idea. - Eean
I don't think flash is a good idea for wikipedia. One of the great things about wiki is that it is so fast and uncomplicated to load each page. I think that if there was some kind of vector format (ie. the instructions stored on and rendered by the server) this would be really useful.
Flash and .bmps are both MS Windows-specific, and so we should avoid them. .Png and .Jpg are recommended for images. --KQ
Macromedia Flash certainly works on other systems besided Microsoft Windows; I view Flash all the time under the Solaris Operating Environment. Of course, it doesn't always work, so there may be issues, as with the Java platform, where Microsoft has f***ed with things to encourage people to design content that only works on their machines. We, presumably, would avoid that. However, this doesn't mitigate against all of the other reasons to avoid Flash, such as its being almost always a waste of time. — Toby 23:37 Aug 6, 2002 (PDT)


Would it be possible to put the parent category on the top of a topic page? For example, what topic would Hanlon's law be under? What about Murphy's law? Occam's Razor?


Chuck: our convention has been to put cross-references at the bottom of pages. See the Wikipedia FAQ and explore the links...

Just a thought, but why is Wikipedia called that? More of the world uses English than American, so surely the name should be Wikipaedia? Or is the U.S.-centrism unintentional? -- James

It was started by Bomis, and Bomis is an American company. Besides, I once researched this question, and in terms of sheer numbers, more people speak American English than British English. This question should have been asked on Wikipedia FAQ. --LMS
Well, Encyclopaedia Britannica is spelt the British way, and that's supposed to be from the University of Chicago! -- Mark
Of course, the flip side is that it thus leaves the path wide open for us Brits to start our own WikiPaedia -- MartinWheeler

Perhaps we should have a parent category for Wikipedians, such as I've just done for me? -- Wikipedians/Belltower

a separate namespace for users is a good idea. we all know how tight nickspace is, and when competing with all the human knowledge, its gonna be tight ;) --sandos Wikipedians/sandos

The new Wikipedia software has a "User:" namespace for users. So user pages have names like "User:Fred". -- Anon.

Is there some kind of style guide for Wikipedia? I have two specific questions: How to write B.C., as I am sure you are aware some (see political correctness have suggested bce (before common era) etc., and there is the problem of multiple spellings of names in languages other than English. For example on the astrometry page I changed the spelling of Hipparcos to Hipparchus because that is how it usually appears in print.

There is no style guide, but do see Wikipedia policy. We don't care if you write B.C. or B.C.E. Proper punctuation does use the periods (full stops to you Brits), according to Chicago Manual of Style. Even Nupedia leaves this up to the discretion of the writer. The multiple spelling problem will be solved by "REDIRECT" pages.
I would recommend the use of BCE and CE instead of BC/AD. BC/AD are specifically Christian terms, especially AD (Anno Domini -- Latin for "year of Lord"). BCE and CE are better -- they can mean either "Christian era" or "Common era" and are thus more acceptable to non-Christians. -- Simon J Kissane
Well, but.... As someone who teaches in a thoroughly politically correct environment, I can attest to the 'feeling' that B.C.E. and C.E. are more 'sensitive', but just wait until the anti-colonialists get around to feeling hurt about the 'C' part. I'm working on a page for Chronology or 'Era'. --MichaelTinkler
I just found "BCE" used in the Moses article, and rather than go ballistic (I loathe political correctness) I decided to put on my unbiased Wikipedian hat and lay the controversy out in the open. See B.C.E. <>< tbc
tbc, I am (a) a practicing Christian and (b) a practicing historian. I don't feel very strongly about it. One of these days I'll finish my entry on "Chronology" and you'll see why. Until the 8th century NO ONE much used A.D. or B.C. It just wasn't an issue.

Clocks or dependancy on machines was not an issue. Time was not an issue. Religion is only an issue for those who seek to invent themselves around it. Like we invented time, not so long ago. __dgd

I happen to personally in the back of my mind chuckle every time I see someone who thinks that they're solving soemthing by using Common Era - after all, the only thing it has in common _is_ the slightly incorrect year of the birth of Jesus. We're right that B.C. and B.C.E. are both dating from Jesus (I tend to say in class "The Christian Era" and "Before the Christian Era" and no one has ever corrected me - they know it's true). We can bend the knee to weaker brethren, though, in the words of St. Paul, and mean different things by our abbreviations. --MichaelTinkler

At the moment, I would guess random people off the street are more likely to know B.C. and A.D. than they are to know B.C.E. and C.E. That may change some day, but in the mean time, isn't it self-defeating to try and make our articles more accessible by making them less accessible?

Let us suppose I create three pages, A, B, and C. I make A redirect to B, B redirect to C, and you know what I do with C. Will this crash Wikipedia?

The answer is no, as a redirect cannot cascade. When A redirects to B, all you will get is the "Edit Text" window for B, with the next redirect code (to C) visible, but inoperative. Nothing more will happen. - MMGB on any attempt to access it blows up for me with "Warning: MySQL Connection Failed: Host 'localhost.localdomain' is not allowed to connect to this MySQL server in ./databaseFunctions.php on line 8". I'm attempting from IP from behind several layers of firewall. Is MySQL just unhappy with me in particular, or is it a error that's coming up for everyone? --Romaq

No, it is everyone. This is surely my fault, as we are moving the servers to a new facility.

I don't know how to fix it, but I haven't really tried. I will have time to review this later today. If I'm lucky, some clever person will post a tip or two for me here.  :-) --Jimbo Wales

If someday image upload is allowed, please, allow only JPEG and PNG. GIF is inferior than PNG at all and have patent problems. MNG is a PNG variant that allows animations, but i think we better avoid animations too. --Tuxisuau

I don't know about anybody else, but the few images I have put on Wikipedia articles, I have used the 'upload files' facility on, and linking directly to them, for instance the image below's url (minus the spaces) is: http :// meta. wikipedia. com / upload / austmap.png

I assume they'll remain there, or will be moved to a more apprporiate location, in the main site's hirearchy - Mark Ryan

Question about the new Wiki software: what is it & is it available for use on other projects? -- Tarquin

The software is written in PHP, uses a mysql database and is released under GPL. So yes, it can be used for other projects. See wikipedia:PHP script. AxelBoldt

Mmm i had few subpages which really does not belong to any arrticle (like: more about me or literature). Since i see subpages are discouraged, where should i put them? Don't tell that onwhere and i should delete themm user:szopen (and i have to sign now with user:szopen what a !@#!@#

I'm not sure about the subpage question, but you can sign by typing three ~ symbols back to back... I thought they were going to allow subpages on the user space, but I don't know what happened... --Chuck Smith
What do you mean three ~ symbols? Could you explain a little better? --Luis Oliveira
Three ~ symbols like this: ~ ~ ~ (without spaces)
You can't use subpages anymore, but you sure as hell can create pages with titles that contain a "/" ;) --Magnus Manske

I'm just curious, a new user and haven't been able to find this addressed anywhere, why the name of the person who posted each article isn't on it somewhere, an e-mail link, user id, anything. I've been reading random pages, found a few typos I think should be corrected but am not sure which way, of the two ways the word is spelled, is the right one (they're "jargon" words). So don't want to make the change myself. Also, in one case, I'm just really curious who wrote the article in case I might know her/him. So how does one contact the writer, is that possible at all? --BetsyB, 6-11-02 9:40 p.m. CDT

For many articles, there is no single author of an article to ask! But you may be able to track down the person who wrote the bit you're calling into question: you can see a list of who has made changes to an article by clicking the "Previous versions" or "History" link in the sidebar. Each change (going back several months -- older entries haven't yet been imported from an older version of the database) lists the time, the username of the editor (if logged in), and a brief description. (You can see exactly what changed in each edit by clicking the "diff" links.) Click on a username to get that person's personal page; if they don't list a way to contact them, you can write a message for them in their user talk page, and hopefully they'll read it.
Often, though, the simplest thing would just be to write your question on the talk page for the article you're trying to correct -- that way, other people who might be more familiar with the topic are also likely to see your question if the original author is on vacation / no longer on wikipedia / sleeping with the fishes. --Brion VIBBER

***Also, I'd like to add that I've scoured the world of Wikipedia recently and have found it impossible to find the pages which provided translators and information on learning new languages. When I look under the "Language" Thread, all that seems to come up is the philosophical and historical aspects of language, rather than actual translators or learning resources.*** -July 23, 2002

Well, the reason for that may be that wikipedia is not a collection of links, but an enciclopedia. There are some external links, but that's not the purpose of the project AstroNomer 02:38 Aug 28, 2002 (PDT)

I'm a new anonymous contributor. I have a question about how much detail to put in an article. Is providing source code to an article mouse driver too much detail? Would it be appropriate to create a seperate article mouse driver source code for the code? Is this type of low-level information wanted? What about adding information to the bootstrap article about the format of a boot sector (bios parameter block structure, partition table and signature)? What types of information is desired? Also, what are the guidelines for creating new articles? I understand that this isn't a dictionary, but would it be appropriate to add an article for dynamic linking with a definition and examples? What about articles which compare things? Example: dynamic linking vs static linking. Thanks! — Anonymous

I don't work on the computer science articles, so I can't answer in too much detail. Generally speaking, an article like mouse driver source code isn't wrong (assuming that it doesn't conflict with the GFDL; there are some GFDL/GGPL compatibility problems), but it's probably a lower priority than a new article on an unexplained subject. (Somebody from the CS pages correct me if I'm wrong!) An article on dynamic linking that only defined the term would get us all upset, but what you're proposing sounds better. The important thing is to say something about an idea, not just a word. The article dynamic linking vs static linking is oddly named, but the content sounds great — in fact, it sounds like an excellent addition to the article dynamic linking! We can always spin the debate off to its own page later if dynamic linking gets too crowded. Just make sure to write about the issues from a neutral point of view. — Toby 03:33 Jul 24, 2002 (PDT)

As Toby said, adding information is in general not bad, though I think with source code you have to be careful. In Wikipedia, we usually don't include full sources of f.e. books or laws (there may still be some around, but these are being replaced), instead we simply link to it. I guess including source code of a specific mouse driver (assuming it is allowed under the GFDL) would be just the same. However, including source code as an example could be very useful. You can illustrate an algorithm by giving a short example. If many mouse drivers use a similar algorithm, or if it is useful for the article, sure, add code examples.
As for the dynamic linking, I think there certainly could be an article about it, since it will not be in your average dictionary. A good definition, history of its use, maybe even a code example, it could all be included. Comparing it with static linking is also certainly wikipedia-material, though I would propose to include it in an article about linking in general. In that way, possible other linking methods (can't think of any, though) can easily be included in the article. In any way, you have to make a good division between the dynamic linking article and the article containing the comparison, since the latter will also need explanation about what dynamic linking is. If the two article become too much the same, I guess making dynamic linking a redirect to the other article would be the solution.
In general, don't be afraid to do something wrong. Everybody does, but there are enough of us to (eventually) correct it. So just do what you think is best. Hope this helps! Jheijmans 03:48 Jul 24, 2002 (PDT)
Gotcha. So an article perhaps called "Library Linking (Computer Science)" containing the various types including comparisons between them would be best practice (with the understanding that if individual types of linking became too lengthy that the article would be split into seperate discussions and linked together)? I think I'll do that next then. Thanks! -Robert Lee

August 3, 2002

I have two questions. The first is if there is any way to make internal links on a single page; I can't find mention of them in the editing help. For example, I just did some reformatting on the Aberdeen page, and the person who provided the information on Aberdeen, Scotland, provided a LOT of information in multiple sections. If the section names could be provided as a list of internal links at the top of the page, it would be more convenient for users.

Secondly, the only way I can figure to make a new page is to embed a link in an existing page. Is there another way that I've overlooked? If a link is made to a non-existing page, then modified to point to an existing page, does the first empty page still exist?

John Knouse

Firstly, no, there is currently no way to make an internal link to somewhere else on the page. This has been discussed recently though on the wikipedia mailing list as a possible additional feature for the wikipedia software.
Secondly, you are right that the only way to create a new page is to create a link on another page. This may be seen as a good thing, in that it helps to ensure that most pages have links to them. As for the empty page you mentioned - pages are created when someone makes the first edit to a page, and are never normally deleted after that (even if everything on a page is deleted, you can still get back everything that was deleted by looking at the article history.)

Hope this is helpful - Enchanter

Yes, it is possible to start a new page with no links to it, although if at all possible you should create a link first - if there is no Wikipedia page that would be improved by a link to your new page, you should start asking yourself whether the page itself is worthwhile. Still, if you do want to continue, all you have to do is take the edit page of another subject (whether the page exists or not, although the second is preferable in case you do something wrong), and in your browser change the title of the page to whatever is the new subject you want to create. Then open that page (in Netscape this is simply done by pushing 'Return' or 'Enter', I think it's the same with Explorer, but I am not sure), and start editing. Press 'Save page', and you're ready. But again, first try to do your very best to look at pages that might profit from a link to your new page, edit in the link, and there you go.

I just created a page called SLASH'EM, and I think this game is more correctly called Slash'EM. Is there any way I can correct the capitalisation in the title? I wouldn't be bothering you with this stupid question if it weren't that for some reason, Slash'EM is still a broken link.

Done -- Tarquin 07:54 Aug 6, 2002 (PDT)

If you want to do it yourself, you can do the following: Create a new page with the right name and copy the contents in there. The old page should become a redirect (usually), which looks like #REDIRECT [[New Page Name]]. Jeronimo

Hi, I'm new here, as will become obvious from this meta-question:

Is just plain editing the right way to post questions to this page, or this there something that will just prepend a given message to the page?

No, just edit this the usual way, like everything else. Only put comments at the bottom please (also our usual way).

My first non-meta question is why there isn't a link to computer science from the main page, if there is a link to Biology? Am I overestimating the importance of the field I am in?

It is linked; look under applied arts and sciences.
Toby 23:37 Aug 6, 2002 (PDT)

I stumbled across Wikipedia the night before last, and I haven't been able to tear myself away to get my work done. Nor have I been able to find a way to communicate directly with management, so I'm using this forum. One of the introductory info pages says there's talk of forming a non-profit org: I have some years' experience with both 501(c) orgs (setting them up and qualifying them) and computers (programming them and negotiating contracts for hardware and software), and I would love to help with that project. Would whoever I should talk to please e-mail me at and let me know whether that's a possibility? Thanks,


Hi, isis, and thanks for your consideration. The best way to get in touch with the regulars that most influence Wikipedia development (which is what passes for "management" here) is the through the Wikipedia mailing list, Wikipedia-L. I hope to see you there! — Toby 04:04 Aug 9, 2002 (PDT)

Done. Many thanks.


A New Top-Level Topic Area

I would like to add a new top-level area, Stages of Human Life, to the main page (under under Culture) or, more appropriately, to its proper place in a more comprehensive multi-level table of contents.

This new topic would have articles like Conception, Neonatal, Infancy, Toddler, Young Adult, Adult, Marriage, Middle Age, Senior (or Mature, Old, Elder,...), Death and Dying. Further elaboration (subtopics) could include topics such as Neonatal>Sonogram>Ultrasound Sensors.

I understand that I don't need permission to create pages. I'm posting this question here only because I can't edit the main page. David 15:17 Aug 11, 2002 (PDT)

Towards A Better Table Of Contents

The current Main Page table of contents (TOC) is pretty serviceable for much of the current content of Wikipedia. However, ideally, I'd like to see the 'pedia have a really generalized, multi-level TOC. Creating such a TOC would be a wonderful subproject in itself, and would be welcomed by those who prefer to see articles organized in a logical, top-down fashion, rather than only accessible by searching. It doesn't have to be planned meticulously in advance, since subcategories can be refactored at any time.

The current main-page scheme of only four top-level categories is not satisfying. The fifty three refining subcategories is likewise lacking in a sense of completeness. Some people may be able to think of articles whose content deserves to be in an encyclopedia but do not fit well in the current TOC.

There are some alternative TOC pages, such as Wikipedia arranged by topic, but they contain in their hierarchy only a subset of all the articles. Another problem is that some of them contain redundant topic and/or subtopic information. This may not be a good idea because the information might change in one such TOC scheme but not in another, since they are independent.

Other alternatives, such as the Dewey Decimal System and the Library of Congress catalog scheme are, in addition, not very user-friendly (clearly my own opinion, which I give only to show part of my motivation). They were devised to catalog books, not encyclopedia topic areas.

I look forward to reading others' views on the subject of top-down TOCs. David 15:18 Aug 11, 2002 (PDT)


Guys, what's happening with the Anastasia page? I've tried to update that for the past few days, but my chnages never get saved. Nor can I save anything under Talk.

Crime in Sydney seems to have a similar problem.


I see a number of edits from you on Anastasia Nicolaievna Romanova from today and a couple of days ago; and a couple edits on Talk:Crime in Sydney. If there's something missing from that list, you'll have to be a little more specific... are you trying to make changes, but when you hit "save" you get an error message? Or does it claim to save, but you don't see the changes? (What were the changes?) What browser are you using? (Some may have bugs.) Did you happen to come by during a time when the server was down? etc --Brion 02:27 Aug 28, 2002 (PDT)


Hi Brion. I see that the changes are there now. However, they just were not being saved the other day. The terminal that I was on (I'm elsewhere now) would save without complaining, but when I returned to either of those two pages, the change would not stay there - this in spite of the changes being noted under recent changes. You can see what I tried to save in the history list. Yet at the same time, it would save changes that I did to Nicholas II. It was very puzzling. In both cases, at that terminal and this one, I was on Internet Explorer. I was largely convinced that you had a server problem - did you?

- Arno

Not at the times listed for your edits; at least not that I know of. From your description, you were probably having cache problems -- the old versions of the pages were likely stuck in the cache (your browser's, or perhaps your ISP's) so you saw the old version even after the database was updated, because the cache didn't feel the need to go and fetch the page again. (Note that the Wikipedia no longer caches pages internally since about mid-July, so a cache problem is either on your end or in the middle somewhere.) --Brion 00:21 Aug 29, 2002 (PDT)
I'm glad to hear that it's not a problem at my end. I suppose there's some comfort in knowing that not being able to cache pages internally is a Wikitech generated problem!! Eclecticology 10:43 Aug 29, 2002 (PDT)

Hey, whoever fixed up my article on Taijutsu, much thanks. :)


I've been working on a chess book. I'd kinda like to just submit it here. Thing is I'm going to have to upload a LOT of .jpgs-is that going to be a problem? Lir 11:58 Oct 5, 2002 (UTC)

Sounds great to me. There are a couple of people already doing a good deal of work in the chess area so you might want to coordinate with them. Just look at the history of chess and associated articles to see who the heavy contributors are. --mav

Is anal-retentive spelled with a hyphen, or not? ;-) --Ed Poor

Check out the WikLink project. It's basically a Wiki-style bookmark editor (Wikipedia meets Open Directory Project). Very cool. -- RobLa 22:12 Nov 10, 2002 (UTC)

I found a article with an odd copyright Python_and_Java_typeheckexample. Is this ok? It seems to be against the wikipedia idea... jdandr2