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May 21[edit]

What (exactly) is the workflow for a new Wikipedia article? (Wikipedia doesn't tell, please no fairy tales...)[edit]

Dear reference desk folks,

I hope you can help with this. I'm writing a research paper (for a library-&-inf. science journal) with an assessment of Wikipedia as reference work, but after some months I'm still lacking understanding of how exactly the evaluation of a new article runs. I have authored one article in 2010, made edits in varied articles, have some years of experience (although sparsely), but I'm still far from "seeing" the process clearly. My question could be phrased in different ways, but I'm not sure what and whom to ask:

  • What exactly is the workflow?
  • Exactly what happens when new content is added to Wikipedia? (If there is a defined workflow)
  • How is a new article received and evaluated? (Is there anyone appointed to check new submissions?)
  • Is there a defined workflow that all contributions follow? (mandatory checking, specific sequence etc.)
  • Can a new article stick without some editor approving it?
  • Does editor rank influence the initial decision or only if a dispute arises then the hierarchy becomes relevant?

The sources I have read without success in understanding what exactly happens once a new article is put online include:

I hope someone can enlighten me on that. But REALLY enlighten (not pointing to existing evasive content). Best regards, Vmkern (talk) 01:50, 21 May 2017 (UTC)

Wikipedia works through a magical combination of chaos, pedantry, and volunteerism. Few things are mandated. There are people who decide to help out in a particular portion of the encyclopedia, but nobody - apart from the vanishingly few employees Wikimedia has - is required to do anything a moment longer than they wish to. The process for creating an article is not straightforward as there are multiple ways of doing it. Registered users may decide to start their composition in a user sub-page or directly in the live article space. Unregistered users may use the process here (and see also here). The AFC process is staffed by volunteers who try to nurture both the users and new articles and any page (anywhere) may be considered for deletion. New articles will stay by default; another user does not have to vet them per se, but in practice, plenty of people patrol new pages on a voluntary basis. Hierarchy is not supposed to be relevant, but as with any organization, more established users find it easier to have their opinions heard. Firstly, simply because they supposedly know what should stay and what shouldn't, so they tend not to make obviously inappropriate articles. Secondly, they know how the system works and how to operate within it. (For example, they'll start in draft space rather than article space, so that their rough drafts aren't out in the open for people to see). In extreme cases, that amounts to gaming the system. Matt Deres (talk) 02:26, 21 May 2017 (UTC)
An "exact" workflow is pretty much exactly what there is not.
Most organizations start out small and informal and collaborative, and as they get bigger, discover that they need more and more rules and structure and bureaucracy and enforcement mechanisms. Wikipedia has had some of that, of course, but to a remarkably small extent compared to other large institutions. To a large extent, Wikipedia is a huge group of people working collaboratively and cooperatively, doing whatever they want as long as "what they want" keeps mostly inside the guidelines, and/or doesn't cause too much disruption. For the most part, people follow the guidelines (and a few rules) for some combination of (1) because they want to and (2) because they recognize that the guidelines are essential for the site to function as it does, but notably not (3) because there are heavyhanded enforcement mechanisms forcing them to.
All of which is by way of background to say, there certainly is no one, exact workflow for article creation! I gather some editors start at WP:AFCHD, which seems to have a pretty well-defined process. But if a reasonably experienced editor has an idea for a new article, they can just write it in place and then wait for others to improve it. (One I remember creating in this way was glass cutter, though that was a few years ago by now. But I don't imagine I couldn't do that today.) —Steve Summit (talk) 11:49, 21 May 2017 (UTC)
Other semicasual processes that patrollers or others may do is tag pages for problems, such as lack of references or categories, or section headers. Some others will go around adding categories or stub templates. yet others like to disambiguate wikilinks that go to disambiguation pages in error. Others may copyedit to fix up mistakes. Yet others specialise in adding a comma after the word "however". Many of these simple non-controversial but repetitive jobs are done by Wikignomes. Robots may go around looking for vandalism, or semi automated processes may fix up references. Projects can go around an tag pages as belonging to a project. Then a group of editors may be interested in improving those pages, or defending against deletion. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 12:55, 21 May 2017 (UTC)
There was one editor who used to spend his time changing everybody's hyphens to dashes, or was it the other way about? Either way, the difference is barely discernible, but it made him happy I suppose. Alansplodge (talk) 13:59, 21 May 2017 (UTC)
May I also recommend a look at Category:Books about Wikipedia. Alansplodge (talk) 13:45, 21 May 2017 (UTC)
I have created a few articles over the years, going back to 2006.. It may start with me wanting to look something up in Wikipedia and finding there is no article.I wanted info about Johnny Carson's TV show director and there was no article so I created Fred de Cordova. Since its 2006 creation it has had 40,000 page views, or 59 per day. Not knowing about draft space back in 2006, I had a naive goal of getting a keepable draft, with a claim of notability and inline references before I hit "save" and it appeared in mainspace where eager deleters waited. As a result the browser kept eating large sections of the text, before I got to a 4000 word article with a number of references, however ill-formatted. In one sad case, the subject I created an article about was a child of early British royalty. I did my research, wrote the draft article in my user space, then found that we already had a fine article about him under a somewhat different name, so I deleted my article. It sometimes seems that "all the good articles are already written" which it comes to places, historical persons, and topics in science and culture. I once took an encyclopedia and went article by article to see if Wikipedia had an article for each article in the encyclopedia. One was missing: a fish called American plaice so I created the article. It gets about 25 views a day.Sometimes science news includes exciting new things which seem to have encyclopedic notability and get widespread coverage in the popular media in addition to publication in a refereed scientific journal. I created an article about ViroCap announced in 2015, a sensitive test which can "detect most of the infectious viruses which affect humans and animals" and is "as sensitive as the various Polymerase chain reaction assays for the viruses." I think I jumped the gun and it would have been better to wait for more secondary reliable sourcing in science journals, since it has been 2 years without much followup. Much of science is this way. Wikipedia assumes notability for US politicians at least down to the state legislator level, and to verify that I created articles about three such legislators,Ambrose Abbott, Jesse C. Gilbert and George Herbert Babb in 2008. They are hardly important or well known, just verified. But there have been thousands of such legislators in US history. These boring articles only get about one view per day. Copiale cipher and Rita Crundwell were subjects in the news which seemed to have obvious notability and lots of good sources, and they get 90 and 87 page views a day. So one can select clearly encyclopedic subjects with lots of references, which somehow got missed, the draft an article in user space, adding references and categories, then simply move it into mainspace. like the articles about de Cordova and the fish. I really think that does more to enhance the encyclopedia than to create articles about things in the news, although that is more exciting. If you start an article in mainspace with a title, a couple of sentences which make some unclear claim of notability or no claim of notability, and which have no references, some overzealous patroller is likely to tag it for deletion or for lacking references, which you may find off-putting. You may find it useful to find the templates which help format references. To find categories, it is helpful to consult a good article about a similar subject, and copy the appropriate categories. Edison (talk) 17:20, 21 May 2017 (UTC)
  • There is no official workflow. Any workflow has a step that creates an initial article in the main namespace, and for a article that will remain in Wikipedia, that initial article must be about a notable subject and have reliable sources. (It must also adhere to a few other policies, like not being a copyright violation.) The article can be poor in almost all other respects: it will be improved by the editing process. The rationale for this is that any article is better than no article, because it becomes the starting point for improvement. Example: In the early days of Wikipedia, There were one-sentence stub articles of the form: "George Washington was the first president of the United states" with a single reference. By policy, this is still acceptable. Most contributors now create an initial draft that meets the two criteria and then move the draft to mainspace. Others create a quite good article as a draft before moving to mainspace. Still others create a draft and solicit comments on the draft. I have created quite a few articles by copying from the public-domain DNB. I have used various techniques, but in every case the initial mainspace article met the two criteria. The crudest technique that I used initially was to dump the raw DNB article into mainspace with only a single addition of an attribution to DNB for the article, before then cleaning, formatting, adding links, etc. My rationale was that the edit history would show exactly what had originally come from the DNB. I later did most of the initial steps in a draft article and them move it to mainspace, since I finally (doh!) figured out that the edit history is retained. In no case did I attempt to adhere to anybody else's workflow standards. -Arch dude (talk) 18:37, 21 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Note that we actually have a policy that states that we should NOT provide you with an exact workflow: Wikipedia:Ignore all rules. This policy includes an explicit injunction to avoid instruction creep. -Arch dude (talk) 18:41, 21 May 2017 (UTC)
The key to organizing [Wikipedia] is to organize people around what they can do and more importantly what they want to do. This paraphrases Abbie Hoffman's words in Revolution for the Hell of It (1968) p.135. Abbie died too soon to hear of Wikipedia and instead spoke of "an alternative society". Blooteuth (talk) 22:21, 21 May 2017 (UTC)
I created Stratford Langthorne Abbey and just look at it now. I'm both proud and humbled. Easy to create a stub and then WP editors will take over. Itsmejudith (talk) 22:56, 21 May 2017 (UTC)
Likewise, this was my very first article, in all its glory, written by an utter beginner who obviously had no idea of what he was doing. Look at it now. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 23:08, 21 May 2017 (UTC)
My first was Vampire (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) because I noticed that stuff about vampires in general was repeated for each of the prominent vampires. It was more than a stub; but in about a week someone replaced it with, well, a mess! — Later I replaced Enclave and Exclave with Enclave and exclave and List of enclaves and exclaves, because they had so much overlap. I announced my intentions and then Just Did It. (From time to time, the article proper grows to resemble the list. Eternal vigilance is the price of brevity.) — Those may be my only creations; I wonder whether there's a tool to see whether there are others. —Tamfang (talk) 04:41, 22 May 2017 (UTC)
Go to "User contributions", click "Only show edits that are page creations". It will greatly cut down on the possibilities but still shows pages you created by being the first commenter on a talk page, moving a page, creating a redirect, etc. as well as new articles. Rmhermen (talk) 05:41, 22 May 2017 (UTC)
Thanks. Wow, I was quite the redirectin' fool for a while. Also one article that I had forgotten: List of places in Cieszyn Silesia, out of List of German exonyms for places in Cieszyn Silesia and List of Czech exonyms for places in the Polish part of Cieszyn Silesia and List of Polish exonyms for places in the Czech part of Cieszyn Silesia. —Tamfang (talk) 08:02, 23 May 2017 (UTC)

Thanks Matt Deres, Steve Summit, Graeme Bartlett, Alansplodge, Edison, Arch dude, Itsmejudith, Jack of Oz, Tamfang, Rmhermen. I'm now enlightened about the notorious-and-nonexistent editorial workflow. Very interesting. It seems to me the huge success of Wikipedia a threshhold/critical mass thing. That's why the English Wikipedia has good quality and the Portuguese one, not. What a social/civic phenomenon. Vmkern (talk) 14:15, 22 May 2017 (UTC)

I picked a Página aleatória (which I assumed to mean "random article") and it came up with [[pt:Teudas]]. What's poor quality about it? (talk) 19:09, 22 May 2017 (UTC)
Picking one counterexample at random is no basis on which to demolish a general statement. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 22:28, 22 May 2017 (UTC)
In the Portuguese Wikipedia, Teudas links to a stub article about an obscure Gnostic Christian who was a disciple of Paul of Tarsus, and to a longer article about the concept of Messiah in Judaism. The latter article is flagged as lacking reliable sources for part of its content. Blooteuth (talk) 01:44, 23 May 2017 (UTC)
"Teudas" in pt:wp doesn't link to any other articles. While "Messiah in Judaism" is defective, lack of sourcing is not one of the criticisms. The Portuguese equivalent would be Messias no Judaísmo, which gets no hits. The nearest articles are [[pt:Messias]], complimented for having "reliable and independent sources" and [[pt:Judaísmo messiânico]], which receives a similar accolade. (talk) 10:56, 23 May 2017 (UTC)
Do you speak Portuguese? Teudas links via a disambiguation page to two Portuguese articles I mentioned. Your links to them don't work. Check whether the complimentary accolades you think you see there are actually flagged weaknesses. Blooteuth (talk) 01:26, 24 May 2017 (UTC)
The Teudas page mentions (by way of disambiguation) one person - Teudas (professor de Valentim). This is the disciple of Paul of Tarsus you mention, and, as you say, the article is a stub. I can't find any link to a longer article about the concept of Messiah in Judaism. The English article of that name (which you link to) doesn't have a Portuguese equivalent listed under "Languages". The Messias article is flagged Esta página ou secção cita fontes confiáveis independentes. Both these criteria are linked to. The link to the first says Os artigos da Wikipédia deverão ser baseados em fontes confiáveis (ou fiáveis) e que tenham sido publicadas. ["The articles of Wikipedia must be based on reliable (or faithful) sources which have been published."] The second link is Citar fontes independentes é uma extensão de Wikipedia:Verificabilidade e explica a importância das fontes independentes ao escrever um artigo na Wikipédia. ["Citing independent sources is an extension of Wikipedia:Verifiability and explains the importance of independent sources to writing an article in Wikipedia."] The second article I cited is tagged in precisely the same manner as the first. The tags point out that not all the content is sourced - but that's true of all Wikipedias. (talk) 08:41, 24 May 2017 (UTC)
I referred to the Portuguese article Messias that is flagged with "Esta página ou secção cita fontes confiáveis e independentes, mas que não cobrem todo o conteúdo (desde novembro de 2012). Por favor, adicione mais referências inserindo-as no texto ou no rodapé." (my bolding). The words in bold do not convey an accolade. However I can't find today a disambiguation page that links Teudas to Messias so the latter's lack of references may not be relevant to the question from IP user Blooteuth (talk) 10:54, 24 May 2017 (UTC)

May 24[edit]

Radiation as a direct weapon[edit]

Have radiation emitting pointers ever been considered as a weapon. Perhaps something mounted on an armoured vehicle that could concentrate an extremely intense beam of highly focused gamma rays over a long distance. Something that could directly deliver say 2-4 SV's over 500 meters. Obviously that sort of material would be highly dangerous if it got destroyed, but how would this idea hold up from a purely theoretical stand point?

This could be a terrifying weapon, particularly as a lethal but non destructive crowd control device. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:37, 24 May 2017 (UTC)

I believe somebody was assassinated using such a weapon, but so far I haven't found a ref. The Russians, in particular, seem to like assassinating enemies with radiation, but the method you propose is too dangerous and leaves behind too much evidence for them. See crimes involving radioactive substances. I can see North Korea using it, as they seem totally unconcerned with how they are perceived by the rest of the world [1]. As for battlefield applications, such a system would be less lethal to the enemy and potentially more dangerous to your own troops, than convention weapons. It's only advantage is killing with stealth, from a distance. As for dosage, enough so the person dies days or weeks later of radiation sickness would allow the attackers time to escape (the victim would likely feel tingling during the attack, but would be unlikely to know what was happening). It would take some time for medical authorities to identify it as radiation poisoning and then for police to look for the culprits. A lower dosage could also be used, in the hopes of causing cancer, but then that could take years to kill the victim. Assassins aren't usually that patient.
As for using it to attack protesters, the usual goal is disperse them quickly, before the crowd grows to a size they can't control. So, using a weapon that doesn't show any effects until later wouldn't work for this goal. However, I can see a repressive government using it secretly, to reduce their opponent's numbers over time. They could appear to welcome protesters for the cameras, while secretly poisoning them. StuRat (talk) 21:46, 24 May 2017 (UTC)
You "believe somebody was assassinated using such a weapon"?[citation needed] Even 007 would laugh at such an elaborately expensive means of killing. There are so many much more economical, easier ways of going about it. As for the theoretical possibility, of course you could dispatch someone that way. You could kill someone with talcum powder as well. What's the point? (Mandatory quote from Footfall: "Eat hot gamma rays, foolish Centauran.") Clarityfiend (talk) 22:39, 24 May 2017 (UTC)
For murder, the unusual method can make it difficult to find the culprit. That's the advantage. There need be no contact between victim and perp, and the exact time and location of the attack can also remain unknown, making it very difficult to investigate. StuRat (talk) 22:43, 24 May 2017 (UTC)
Here's a similar device which was built, but not the one I believe was actually used in an attack: [2]. StuRat (talk) 22:47, 24 May 2017 (UTC)
Are you interested only in radioactive-related radiation? If electromagnetic radiation (beyond gamma rays) is in your purview, the answer is yes; see raygun#Real-world development and Active Denial System for a couple of examples. Nyttend (talk) 02:26, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
I was dissing a gamma ray weapon, but upon rereading the OP's original question, I see that that was just an example. Clarityfiend (talk) 04:50, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Anecdatum: My father once told me (and just confirmed by email) that he met a man in the 1950's while he was working in the Philadelphia shipyards who had been standing in front of an active but non-moving radar and received severe burns from a wrench heated by induction in his back pocket. The man later died of cancer at a young age, but my father could give no details on the cancer (which should not be directly induced by non-ionizing radiation) and did not witness the original incident, but says he believes the man was reliable. μηδείς (talk) 03:12, 25 May 2017 (UTC)

See: Directed-energy weapon. -- (talk) 21:49, 25 May 2017 (UTC)

May 25[edit]

Satellite radio business model[edit]

What is the business model for individual channels on Sirius XM's satellite radio service? Do they get a share of the subscription earnings based on the number of subscribers that listen to them, or a flat fee, or are they run by Sirius XM directly, or what? I could find stuff on the company's business model, but not the individual channels. Nyttend (talk) 02:22, 25 May 2017 (UTC)

Most of the stations are owned and operated by Sirius them self. They play music and pay the music creators royalties (at controversially low rates.)
As far as I can tell, the independent stations they partner with each have separately negotiated contracts and none of them have been made public. ApLundell (talk) 14:32, 26 May 2017 (UTC)

website converts audio into paper[edit]

Is there a website that converts an audio file into a paper? I am asking this because I recorded lectures of my professors and save them on my phone. I have hard time writing them and it takes time to do so. So I want a website that analyzes the file and converts into a lecture paper. Donmust90 (talk) 23:23, 25 May 2017 (UTC)Donmust90Donmust90 (talk) 23:23, 25 May 2017 (UTC)

It sounds like you want a site that performs speech recognition and creates a text file with the results. Is that correct? Nyttend (talk) 23:44, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
There are plenty of speech recognition software - this link is a top ten review: Most will produce a document that you will still need to read through and correct, especially as it won't have been linked to your lecturers' voice patterns. However, I would encourage you to continue transcribing the recordings yourself - it may take longer, but you will learn the material much more effectively by doing that. Wymspen (talk) 14:00, 26 May 2017 (UTC)

May 26[edit]

3-axis political compass?[edit]

Many of you are probably familiar with the Political Compass, which measures and classifies political views by 2 parameters; what I want to ask is, are there political compasses which measure 3 parameters -- left vs. right (or, to be more precise, socialist vs. capitalist), libertarian vs. authoritarian, and open vs. closed (or, for those not familiar with this latter terminology, cosmopolitan vs. nationalist)? 2601:646:8E01:7E0B:D59A:538D:811D:EC99 (talk) 05:03, 26 May 2017 (UTC)

The more comprehensive article Political spectrum gives at least one visual diagram with three axes. --Jayron32 10:50, 26 May 2017 (UTC)