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Systemic bias in Wikipedia[edit]

It looks to me as if PART of the following was moves or copied to [[Village Pump (policy). I cannot work out what is going on in order to fix this. If someone understands what is going on, please make it clear what is going on. Feel free to kill this comment once this is fixed. -- Jmabel 18:56, Sep 24, 2004 (UTC)

Wikipedia's own page on Wikipedia states that "Wikipedia is committed to making its articles as unbiased as possible." However, there is still no mechanism for removing the systemic bias present in Wikipedia. I'm talking about the bias caused mainly by Wikipedia's demographic make-up (mainly North American computer literate types). Pages such as Wikipedia:Collaboration_of_the_week, Wikipedia:Requested articles etc don't specifically attack the problem, and often serve to perpetuate it. An example of this problem is that even after 1 million articles have been written, the article on the Congo Civil War, possibly the largest war since World War 2 (and which resulted in over 3 million deaths), have much less information than articles such as Babylon 5, Languages_of_Middle-earth, Slackware etc which appear to fit into the Wikipedia demographic. I suggest a section on the Wikipedia:Community_Portal page to deal with this issue.--Xed 18:57, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)

There's a very easy fix for this: Get more people involved who aren't North Americans. I hereby assign you to the job. - DavidWBrooks 18:51, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)
The above response sadly demonstrates the self-satisfied attitude of many Wikipedians to this problem--Xed 18:57, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Is your "someone else should fix it" attitude an improvement? Regardless, an imbalance in article quantity is not a "bias". --P3d0 03:35, Sep 22, 2004 (UTC)
Replies_to_common_objections#Systemic_bias. While insufficient content in an area is always an issue, an imbalance of contributors isn't necessarily one. Derrick Coetzee 19:07, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)
As mentioned above, I guess the only way to stop this is expanding the Wikipedia user base with more people from different backgrounds. If it bothers you, I'd suggest you specialize in promoting wikipedia to as much people as you can to solve the problem. MGM 19:14, Sep 21, 2004 (UTC)
I'm not Superman. I can only do so much. With 1 million articles, this problem needs to be addressed in a more organized way.--Xed 19:30, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Such as? Theresa Knott (taketh no rest) 19:37, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)
As I said I suggest a section on the Wikipedia:Community_Portal page to deal with this. The section would list articles which, if created/edited/expanded would counter-act the systemic bias.--Xed 19:46, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)
When the Encyclopaedia Britannica, or the World Book, were written, what order did they go in? Did they start with World War II, or did they start alphabetically, perhaps with aardvark? Did they start with countries, or with people? The fact is, Wikipedia is, and will always be, a work in progress. If you want more coverage of the Congo Civil War, by all means, add it, and try to get others to help you. But the fact there is more information on Babylon 5 than the Congo Civil War does not mean there's a bias. If a writer of Britannica got writer's block while drafting the World War II article, should they not let others proceed with articles on other, less important subjects? It may just mean we haven't gotten around to it.
Furthermore, if there IS such a bias (and I will agree with you, en: is mostly computer literate English-speaking North Americans and Britons), ... there's really not much we can do about that, is there. You say, "do something." I say, "like what?" --Golbez 19:41, Sep 21, 2004 (UTC)
As I said I suggest a section on the Wikipedia:Community_Portal page to deal with this. The section would list articles which, if created/edited/expanded would counter-act the systemic bias.--Xed 19:46, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)
What can we do? All I can think of is (1) Spread knowledge of Wikipedia as far as we can, in the hope of attracting as diverse an editor pool as we can; (2) make some effort at identifying areas of poor coverage, to guide editors who might be looking for something to research. —Morven 19:47, Sep 21, 2004 (UTC)

So quit bitching and do something about it already. Make the list of articles that you think would help counteract the systemic bias; start it at User:Xed/Anti-Systemic-bias list and see if you can get consensus for including it on the community portal. Then go work on the articles yourself. —No-One Jones (m) 19:57, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Smugness about this problem, and its size, seems to be common among some people. If there's over 1 million articles I can hardly do it all myself. Furthermore, it's not up to me to make this list. Which is why I suggest a section on the Wikipedia:Community_Portal page to deal with this. The section would list articles which, if created/edited/expanded would counter-act the systemic bias.--Xed 20:05, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)
You may not be able to do it all yourself but you can at least make a start. If you aren't willing to put forth even that minimal effort then I suggest you quit your whinging. —No-One Jones (m) 20:52, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)

You are starting to sound like a troll, Xed. If you want to help, it is up to you to create this list. If you only want to interfere with what other people are working on, go somewhere else. Awolf002 20:28, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)

A troll is someone who wants to improve Wikipedia?--Xed 21:09, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)
  • "You are starting to sound like a troll, Xed" - BWAHAHAHA! RickK 21:02, Sep 21, 2004 (UTC)


Morven's idea is interesting - has there been any serious attempt to map the areas that have the least coverage? Mark Richards 20:31, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Xed, the part of Wikipedia you wan't to be more important, is growing. But it won't outgrow the Slackware+Babylon 5 part for some time, I guess. But IMHO, there is no conflict between these parts. Anyway, you can't transform a good contributor on Slackware into a good contributor on Congo Civil War, most of the time. But the growth of Wikipedia will give more public visibility, which will result in new contributors. Think of the North American computer literate types as the first wave of contributors with more waves rolling in. Perhaps the most important point in making this concept work, is to ensure that Wikipedia is a friendly environment for new contributors. Pjacobi 20:32, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)

The response here isn't too friendly. See No-one's comment above.--Xed 21:09, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)
The response would be a lot friendlier if you'd quit whinging, quit trying to pick fights, and get to work on the problem. Obviously. —No-One Jones (m) 00:26, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)

The bias discussed here is present in the range of existing articles, not in the text of any one article. An important distinction, imho. In the latter case, an active effort would be required to remove the bias from the text. As it is, we can just wait for WP to outgrow the bias. And if there is a decent article on the war in the Congo, it is not degraded by any number of geeky articles that may exist beside it. Yes, we are a long way from WP 1.0. But as long as nobody claims that WP is a valid replacement for the Britannica yet, this is a non-issue. dab 20:46, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)

The 'geeky articles' will continue to grow, so I don't see how 'serious' articles have a chance to catch up without any organized effort--Xed 21:09, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Maybe it would help to add a new template stating something in this direction: "This article needs attention, for a encyclopedia of Wikipedia's size and stature it is highly undeveloped, considering the relative importance of the subject". This allows easy categorization, and allows people interested in filling the gaps in Wikipedia knowledge, that are caused by WP demographics to be, to find these articles easily. -- Solitude 20:59, Sep 21, 2004 (UTC)

That is a possibility.--Xed 21:09, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)
  • Ugh, NO! RickK 21:02, Sep 21, 2004 (UTC)

Also, while en: is the largest wikipedia, it is not the only one. IIRC, it makes up only 1/3 of the articles on Wikipedia. es:, de: and jp: are all much more likely to have articles on Spanish/Latin American, German and Japanese interests, just as en: is more likely to have articles on Anglo-Australian interests. These will outgrow with time, but we only have a million articles. ;) --Golbez 21:05, Sep 21, 2004 (UTC)

I'm something of a newbie, but wouldn't the Congo Civil War article (for example) be appropriate for Wikipedia:Requests_for_expansion? Jpgordon 21:10, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)

For a few articles which you most care about expanding, why not nominate them for Collaboration of the Week, at WP:COTW?-gadfium 22:22, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)

If you can find, say, half a dozen others who want to work with you on this, you could start a project group. They don't all have to be on subject matter areas. Xed, there isn't a someone else who needs to start this, you have to decide what is important and start building, or find a group of people who want to work with you on it. It's unlikely that you will get consensus to go straight to the Community Portal without demonstrating some smaller-scale success first, and it may turn out that Community Portal is irrelevant (but do start making nominations for Wikipedia:Collaboration_of_the_week: in my experience, a cluster of related articles tend to get written. -- Jmabel 23:19, Sep 21, 2004 (UTC)

I cannot help but feel that the premise of Xed's argument is a little shaky. A pejoritive accusation of systematic bias is at best a value judgement. What underpins it? Why is a war in the Congo worth more wiki-inches than Babylon 5? Who decides these things, and who is able to make apple versus orang-utan comparisons? Whereas I tend to share what I assume is Xed's opinion, that it would be more worthy to read about or even write about the Congolese civil war than Bablylon 5, I note that we already have a number of Wikipedia:Requested articles pages which go some way to address/answer Xed's call for action; and also have Wikipedia:List of encyclopedia topics. In what way do these differ from Xed's section on the Wikipedia:Community_Portal suggestion? Beyond that, his/her argument seems to be a good example of the best driving out the good. --Tagishsimon
'Why is a war in the Congo worth more wiki-inches than Babylon 5?' - because the Congo Civil War resulted in 3 million deaths and is possibly the largest war since WW2. Surely it can't be difficult to see why it needs more coverage. Look how much coverage 9/11 has on Wikipedia, and that was only 3 thousand deaths. The Wikipedia:Requested articles page does not deal specifically with the issue of systemic bias.--Xed 00:15, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)
You should also complain to EB then. Their article on it is even shorter than ours. -- Wapcaplet 02:08, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)
If it is "not difficult to see", then why are you unable to explain why it is more important? If you are unable to explain why, then perhaps it is just a value judgement on your part. Waving the magnitude of the death toll does not amount to an argument. --Tagishsimon
I have explained. Your arguments would only make sense coming from a robot or a lawyer--Xed 00:58, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)
There I must beg to differ: you have not explained. You have articulated a value judgement with no explanation whatsoever, and you do not eecognise your judgement for what it is. Your premise is indeed flawed, and I submit that any resolution based on a flawed premise will itself be flawed. Neither have you explained by what mechanism will be determined the actions that must be taken to correct the supposed systematic bias. All in all, much heat but not very much light. --Tagishsimon
It should be exceedingly obvious that a war affecting the lives of millions of real people and having a profound impact on the politics of several nations is far more important than a television program which cannot reasonably be said to have significantly affected the lives of anyone. See abstraction, problem of universals, phenomenology, abstract structure, and reification. --[[User:Eequor|η♀υωρ]] 01:08, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Doubtless it should be but it isn't. It depends upon your frame of reference, and of necessity is a value judgement. That is the way of these things; all else is little more than hysteria. But you made a slightly better stab at it than did Xed. --Tagishsimon
01010110100100110111010100011 beep beep. Would you regard the Holocaust article more or less important than Babylon 5? Or would that be a value judgement?--Xed 01:24, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)
It seems to me that you consider the comparitive quality of, say, Holocaust and Babylon 5 to be an issue. I think this is the sticking point in this disagreement.
In other words, you say "It's a disgrace that we have an excellent article on X but a bad one on Y." But why does the quality of article X matter? It's like you feel it's an insult to "worthy topics" to have so many good articles on "trivial topics". —Morven 01:30, Sep 22, 2004 (UTC)
The quality of X certainly doesn't matter. Your straw man is getting taller and taller--Xed 01:51, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)
If I'm an editor who knows more about Babylon 5 than the Holocaust, should I be encouraged to contribute to the article that I know, or the one that is deemed more important? (To forestall any baseless accusations right away, I am not trying to diminish the significance of the Holocaust. But this question is important to me, and I'd like to read your answer.) --Ardonik.talk()* 01:40, Sep 22, 2004 (UTC)
I'm not talking about what you know, or indeed edit. Edit what you want. I'm talking about the character of Wikipedia, and how people who WANT to counter-act the systemic bias can be given more oppurtunities to do so - hence a list on the Community Portal page.--Xed 01:55, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)

It should be noted that most of the above discussion only strengthens Xed's position. From the crude sample here, it would appear that most Wikipedians hold a blind faith in the infallibility of community editing, minds closed to any suggestion otherwise. The community does have a systemic bias, supported by sheeplike herd behavior when anything appears that threatens the status quo. Musk oxen may be more apt: Wikipedian protectionism is generally predictably odious, mindlessly guarding of its central beliefs, and too stubborn and dense to usefully argue with. At least sheep are polite. --[[User:Eequor|η♀υωρ]] 00:19, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Community editing isn't infallible, but it is all we have. You'll note that some people are A) acknowledging that the problem exists and B) making suggestions on how to fix it. You could too, instead of flinging insults. —No-One Jones (m) 00:26, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)
It's not blind faith, for most of us. Community editing has its problems, but it also has its strengths. Most of us consider the latter to very much outweigh the former. Suggestions of how to mitigate the weaknesses are always appreciated, at least by me. —Morven 00:51, Sep 22, 2004 (UTC)

Note: User 'Neutrality' vandalised this page, before it was fixed by User Eequor.--Xed 00:29, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Stop lying. [[User:Neutrality|Neutrality (talk)]] 00:41, Sep 22, 2004 (UTC)
Check the history. [1]--Xed 00:51, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Xed, I don't think that's vandalism. I think you're trolling, too. --Ardonik.talk()* 01:21, Sep 22, 2004 (UTC)

Xed, there are two possible routes to choose when you notice something wrong with Wikipedia. They are:

  1. Say "Wikipedia's broken. You guys should fix it."
  2. Say "Wikipedia's broken. Here's my proposal for fixing it. Anyone want to help?"

Oddly enough, option 2 is appreciated much more than option 1. If a problem is not important enough for you to wish to be part of the solution to it, of course everyone will conclude you're whining -- or just intent on arguing. —Morven 01:02, Sep 22, 2004 (UTC)

That's why I chose option 2, suggesting a section on the Community Portal page, which of course I would be willing to help with.--Xed 01:14, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Why not knock together a page inside the Wikipedia namespace, as a few people have suggested, and let people see what they think of the idea, then? —Morven 01:23, Sep 22, 2004 (UTC)

Systemic bias in Wikipedia[edit]

It looks to me as if PART of the following was moved or copied to Village Pump (policy). I cannot work out what is going on in order to fix this. If someone understands what is going on, please make it clear what is going on. Feel free to kill this comment once this is fixed. -- Jmabel 18:56, Sep 24, 2004 (UTC)

Wikipedia's own page on Wikipedia states that "Wikipedia is committed to making its articles as unbiased as possible." However, there is still no mechanism for removing the systemic bias present in Wikipedia. I'm talking about the bias caused mainly by Wikipedia's demographic make-up (mainly North American computer literate types). Pages such as Wikipedia:Collaboration_of_the_week, Wikipedia:Requested articles etc don't specifically attack the problem, and often serve to perpetuate it. An example of this problem is that even after 1 million articles have been written, the article on the Congo Civil War, possibly the largest war since World War 2 (and which resulted in over 3 million deaths), have much less information than articles such as Babylon 5, Languages_of_Middle-earth, Slackware etc which appear to fit into the Wikipedia demographic. I suggest a section on the Wikipedia:Community_Portal page to deal with this issue.--Xed 18:57, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)

There's a very easy fix for this: Get more people involved who aren't North Americans. I hereby assign you to the job. - DavidWBrooks 18:51, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)
The above response sadly demonstrates the self-satisfied attitude of many Wikipedians to this problem--Xed 18:57, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Is your "someone else should fix it" attitude an improvement? Regardless, an imbalance in article quantity is not a "bias". --P3d0 03:35, Sep 22, 2004 (UTC)
Replies_to_common_objections#Systemic_bias. While insufficient content in an area is always an issue, an imbalance of contributors isn't necessarily one. Derrick Coetzee 19:07, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)
As mentioned above, I guess the only way to stop this is expanding the Wikipedia user base with more people from different backgrounds. If it bothers you, I'd suggest you specialize in promoting wikipedia to as much people as you can to solve the problem. MGM 19:14, Sep 21, 2004 (UTC)
I'm not Superman. I can only do so much. With 1 million articles, this problem needs to be addressed in a more organized way.--Xed 19:30, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Such as? Theresa Knott (taketh no rest) 19:37, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)
As I said I suggest a section on the Wikipedia:Community_Portal page to deal with this. The section would list articles which, if created/edited/expanded would counter-act the systemic bias.--Xed 19:46, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)
When the Encyclopaedia Britannica, or the World Book, were written, what order did they go in? Did they start with World War II, or did they start alphabetically, perhaps with aardvark? Did they start with countries, or with people? The fact is, Wikipedia is, and will always be, a work in progress. If you want more coverage of the Congo Civil War, by all means, add it, and try to get others to help you. But the fact there is more information on Babylon 5 than the Congo Civil War does not mean there's a bias. If a writer of Britannica got writer's block while drafting the World War II article, should they not let others proceed with articles on other, less important subjects? It may just mean we haven't gotten around to it.
Furthermore, if there IS such a bias (and I will agree with you, en: is mostly computer literate English-speaking North Americans and Britons), ... there's really not much we can do about that, is there. You say, "do something." I say, "like what?" --Golbez 19:41, Sep 21, 2004 (UTC)
As I said I suggest a section on the Wikipedia:Community_Portal page to deal with this. The section would list articles which, if created/edited/expanded would counter-act the systemic bias.--Xed 19:46, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)
What can we do? All I can think of is (1) Spread knowledge of Wikipedia as far as we can, in the hope of attracting as diverse an editor pool as we can; (2) make some effort at identifying areas of poor coverage, to guide editors who might be looking for something to research. —Morven 19:47, Sep 21, 2004 (UTC)

So quit bitching and do something about it already. Make the list of articles that you think would help counteract the systemic bias; start it at User:Xed/Anti-Systemic-bias list and see if you can get consensus for including it on the community portal. Then go work on the articles yourself. —No-One Jones (m) 19:57, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Smugness about this problem, and its size, seems to be common among some people. If there's over 1 million articles I can hardly do it all myself. Furthermore, it's not up to me to make this list. Which is why I suggest a section on the Wikipedia:Community_Portal page to deal with this. The section would list articles which, if created/edited/expanded would counter-act the systemic bias.--Xed 20:05, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)
You may not be able to do it all yourself but you can at least make a start. If you aren't willing to put forth even that minimal effort then I suggest you quit your whinging. —No-One Jones (m) 20:52, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)

You are starting to sound like a troll, Xed. If you want to help, it is up to you to create this list. If you only want to interfere with what other people are working on, go somewhere else. Awolf002 20:28, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)

A troll is someone who wants to improve Wikipedia?--Xed 21:09, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)
  • "You are starting to sound like a troll, Xed" - BWAHAHAHA! RickK 21:02, Sep 21, 2004 (UTC)


Morven's idea is interesting - has there been any serious attempt to map the areas that have the least coverage? Mark Richards 20:31, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Xed, the part of Wikipedia you wan't to be more important, is growing. But it won't outgrow the Slackware+Babylon 5 part for some time, I guess. But IMHO, there is no conflict between these parts. Anyway, you can't transform a good contributor on Slackware into a good contributor on Congo Civil War, most of the time. But the growth of Wikipedia will give more public visibility, which will result in new contributors. Think of the North American computer literate types as the first wave of contributors with more waves rolling in. Perhaps the most important point in making this concept work, is to ensure that Wikipedia is a friendly environment for new contributors. Pjacobi 20:32, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)

The response here isn't too friendly. See No-one's comment above.--Xed 21:09, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)
The response would be a lot friendlier if you'd quit whinging, quit trying to pick fights, and get to work on the problem. Obviously. —No-One Jones (m) 00:26, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)

The bias discussed here is present in the range of existing articles, not in the text of any one article. An important distinction, imho. In the latter case, an active effort would be required to remove the bias from the text. As it is, we can just wait for WP to outgrow the bias. And if there is a decent article on the war in the Congo, it is not degraded by any number of geeky articles that may exist beside it. Yes, we are a long way from WP 1.0. But as long as nobody claims that WP is a valid replacement for the Britannica yet, this is a non-issue. dab 20:46, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)

The 'geeky articles' will continue to grow, so I don't see how 'serious' articles have a chance to catch up without any organized effort--Xed 21:09, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Maybe it would help to add a new template stating something in this direction: "This article needs attention, for a encyclopedia of Wikipedia's size and stature it is highly undeveloped, considering the relative importance of the subject". This allows easy categorization, and allows people interested in filling the gaps in Wikipedia knowledge, that are caused by WP demographics to be, to find these articles easily. -- Solitude 20:59, Sep 21, 2004 (UTC)

That is a possibility.--Xed 21:09, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)
  • Ugh, NO! RickK 21:02, Sep 21, 2004 (UTC)

Also, while en: is the largest wikipedia, it is not the only one. IIRC, it makes up only 1/3 of the articles on Wikipedia. es:, de: and jp: are all much more likely to have articles on Spanish/Latin American, German and Japanese interests, just as en: is more likely to have articles on Anglo-Australian interests. These will outgrow with time, but we only have a million articles. ;) --Golbez 21:05, Sep 21, 2004 (UTC)

I'm something of a newbie, but wouldn't the Congo Civil War article (for example) be appropriate for Wikipedia:Requests_for_expansion? Jpgordon 21:10, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)

For a few articles which you most care about expanding, why not nominate them for Collaboration of the Week, at WP:COTW?-gadfium 22:22, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)

If you can find, say, half a dozen others who want to work with you on this, you could start a project group. They don't all have to be on subject matter areas. Xed, there isn't a someone else who needs to start this, you have to decide what is important and start building, or find a group of people who want to work with you on it. It's unlikely that you will get consensus to go straight to the Community Portal without demonstrating some smaller-scale success first, and it may turn out that Community Portal is irrelevant (but do start making nominations for Wikipedia:Collaboration_of_the_week: in my experience, a cluster of related articles tend to get written. -- Jmabel 23:19, Sep 21, 2004 (UTC)

I cannot help but feel that the premise of Xed's argument is a little shaky. A pejoritive accusation of systematic bias is at best a value judgement. What underpins it? Why is a war in the Congo worth more wiki-inches than Babylon 5? Who decides these things, and who is able to make apple versus orang-utan comparisons? Whereas I tend to share what I assume is Xed's opinion, that it would be more worthy to read about or even write about the Congolese civil war than Bablylon 5, I note that we already have a number of Wikipedia:Requested articles pages which go some way to address/answer Xed's call for action; and also have Wikipedia:List of encyclopedia topics. In what way do these differ from Xed's section on the Wikipedia:Community_Portal suggestion? Beyond that, his/her argument seems to be a good example of the best driving out the good. --Tagishsimon
'Why is a war in the Congo worth more wiki-inches than Babylon 5?' - because the Congo Civil War resulted in 3 million deaths and is possibly the largest war since WW2. Surely it can't be difficult to see why it needs more coverage. Look how much coverage 9/11 has on Wikipedia, and that was only 3 thousand deaths. The Wikipedia:Requested articles page does not deal specifically with the issue of systemic bias.--Xed 00:15, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)
You should also complain to EB then. Their article on it is even shorter than ours. -- Wapcaplet 02:08, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)
If it is "not difficult to see", then why are you unable to explain why it is more important? If you are unable to explain why, then perhaps it is just a value judgement on your part. Waving the magnitude of the death toll does not amount to an argument. --Tagishsimon
I have explained. Your arguments would only make sense coming from a robot or a lawyer--Xed 00:58, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)
There I must beg to differ: you have not explained. You have articulated a value judgement with no explanation whatsoever, and you do not eecognise your judgement for what it is. Your premise is indeed flawed, and I submit that any resolution based on a flawed premise will itself be flawed. Neither have you explained by what mechanism will be determined the actions that must be taken to correct the supposed systematic bias. All in all, much heat but not very much light. --Tagishsimon
It should be exceedingly obvious that a war affecting the lives of millions of real people and having a profound impact on the politics of several nations is far more important than a television program which cannot reasonably be said to have significantly affected the lives of anyone. See abstraction, problem of universals, phenomenology, abstract structure, and reification. --[[User:Eequor|η♀υωρ]] 01:08, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Doubtless it should be but it isn't. It depends upon your frame of reference, and of necessity is a value judgement. That is the way of these things; all else is little more than hysteria. But you made a slightly better stab at it than did Xed. --Tagishsimon
01010110100100110111010100011 beep beep. Would you regard the Holocaust article more or less important than Babylon 5? Or would that be a value judgement?--Xed 01:24, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)
It seems to me that you consider the comparitive quality of, say, Holocaust and Babylon 5 to be an issue. I think this is the sticking point in this disagreement.
In other words, you say "It's a disgrace that we have an excellent article on X but a bad one on Y." But why does the quality of article X matter? It's like you feel it's an insult to "worthy topics" to have so many good articles on "trivial topics". —Morven 01:30, Sep 22, 2004 (UTC)
The quality of X certainly doesn't matter. Your straw man is getting taller and taller--Xed 01:51, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)
If I'm an editor who knows more about Babylon 5 than the Holocaust, should I be encouraged to contribute to the article that I know, or the one that is deemed more important? (To forestall any baseless accusations right away, I am not trying to diminish the significance of the Holocaust. But this question is important to me, and I'd like to read your answer.) --Ardonik.talk()* 01:40, Sep 22, 2004 (UTC)
I'm not talking about what you know, or indeed edit. Edit what you want. I'm talking about the character of Wikipedia, and how people who WANT to counter-act the systemic bias can be given more oppurtunities to do so - hence a list on the Community Portal page.--Xed 01:55, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)

It should be noted that most of the above discussion only strengthens Xed's position. From the crude sample here, it would appear that most Wikipedians hold a blind faith in the infallibility of community editing, minds closed to any suggestion otherwise. The community does have a systemic bias, supported by sheeplike herd behavior when anything appears that threatens the status quo. Musk oxen may be more apt: Wikipedian protectionism is generally predictably odious, mindlessly guarding of its central beliefs, and too stubborn and dense to usefully argue with. At least sheep are polite. --[[User:Eequor|η♀υωρ]] 00:19, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Community editing isn't infallible, but it is all we have. You'll note that some people are A) acknowledging that the problem exists and B) making suggestions on how to fix it. You could too, instead of flinging insults. —No-One Jones (m) 00:26, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)
It's not blind faith, for most of us. Community editing has its problems, but it also has its strengths. Most of us consider the latter to very much outweigh the former. Suggestions of how to mitigate the weaknesses are always appreciated, at least by me. —Morven 00:51, Sep 22, 2004 (UTC)

Note: User 'Neutrality' vandalised this page, before it was fixed by User Eequor.--Xed 00:29, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Stop lying. [[User:Neutrality|Neutrality (talk)]] 00:41, Sep 22, 2004 (UTC)
Check the history. [2]--Xed 00:51, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Xed, I don't think that's vandalism. I think you're trolling, too. --Ardonik.talk()* 01:21, Sep 22, 2004 (UTC)

Xed, there are two possible routes to choose when you notice something wrong with Wikipedia. They are:

  1. Say "Wikipedia's broken. You guys should fix it."
  2. Say "Wikipedia's broken. Here's my proposal for fixing it. Anyone want to help?"

Oddly enough, option 2 is appreciated much more than option 1. If a problem is not important enough for you to wish to be part of the solution to it, of course everyone will conclude you're whining -- or just intent on arguing. —Morven 01:02, Sep 22, 2004 (UTC)

That's why I chose option 2, suggesting a section on the Community Portal page, which of course I would be willing to help with.--Xed 01:14, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Why not knock together a page inside the Wikipedia namespace, as a few people have suggested, and let people see what they think of the idea, then? —Morven 01:23, Sep 22, 2004 (UTC)

BBC World Service: Interviewee required[edit]

BBC's Go Digital radio programme have contacted me about doing an interview for them. They would also like to speak to someone outside of Europe or the US. The interview will be focusing on the fact Wikipedia has just reached one million articles, and will have a global slant since the World Service program goes out worldwide. The interview could be by phone, or, preferably, in a studio if someone who lives near a BBC studio could be found. They are particularly looking for someone who is able to talk about the use of Wikipedia in their country, not only the editing of it.

The exact date this will happen is not known, but they are phoning me tomorrow (24 September) hoping for a contact for the other part of the report.

If anyone would be interested in being interviewed for this, please contact me as soon as possible. Thanks. Angela. 17:56, Sep 23, 2004 (UTC)

Image versions[edit]

I have recently created a map Image:Melbourne map.png and then done some requested additions. Eventually there were five versions uploaded. Whenever I accessed it, an older version was displayed. I tried clearing my internet cache but I think the problem is in Wikipedia. Help! What is happening here? In the article I changed the reference from 250px to 251px and we got the correnct map but I am still getting the wrong map when I go to the page.--CloudSurfer 19:15, 24 Sep 2004 (UTC)

It might be the Wikipedia cache. The easiest way to purge it is to visit the page history and change action=history to action=purge and hit 'go' (or your browser's equivalent). I have a script on my user page that adds a 'purge cache' button to the toolbar along with history, move, watch etc. Rory 20:31, Sep 24, 2004 (UTC)
I deleted the two redundant revisions of the map. -- Cyrius| 00:26, 25 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Thanks for that. Please feel free to delete all but the latest version with my username. Rory, sadly the purge didn't fix the problem. The correct version is displayed on the Melbourne page and I got that by changing the display pixels from 250 to 251. Prior to that it was accessing some stored version at 250 pixels. Whether it was stored on my computer or Wikipedia's I don't know. The problem remains with the Image:Melbourne map.png page in that I keep seeing the original version on my computer. If you see the same version as is displayed on the Melbourne page then I guess it is my computer where the problem is. Whichever way, this is a problem that needs to be fixed as it means that people are not necessarily getting the latest version of the graphic. --CloudSurfer 01:44, 25 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Whoops! After saving the above I then pressed the refresh button on my browser and - bingo - I now have the correct version displaying. Thanks Rory!! --CloudSurfer 01:49, 25 Sep 2004 (UTC)
On internet explorer, did you try reload while pressing the CTRL key? This often helps -- Chris 73 Talk 03:13, Sep 25, 2004 (UTC)
Thanks for all your help. As stated, the problem is resolved by purging and refreshing. --CloudSurfer 03:35, 25 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Unnecessary designation of place names[edit]

Example: Estes Park, Colorado Why do articles like this have to be suffixed with the State in the title? Insofar as I am aware, there are no other Estes Parks in the world, so is such designation necessary? It is especially unhelpful when trying to link via "Go". If there are more than one of a place, if there is an obviously well known one it can take the title and others can have a place designation (such as Paris and Paris, Texas) and if there is no consensus a disambiguation page would solve this. Dainamo 18:54, 24 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I'm confused; Estes Park is a redirect to Estes Park, Colorado. What's the problem? I'm sure that when Rambot made the page, it didn't know that there was likely no other Estes Park, but it doesn't seem that big an issue. --Golbez 19:17, Sep 24, 2004 (UTC)
It was a conscious decision that all US and Candian cities would be city, state or city, province. That's US standard naming. RickK 19:47, Sep 24, 2004 (UTC)

User:Danny was kind enough to put the redirect in recently, and thus this example is solved, but the issue isn't confined to this example. When originally looking for Estes Park, I thought there wasn't and article. Ok searching solved that, but I think that we should be consitent in naming conventions and most place names that have no other namesake seem to do this. I must admit though, I didn't realise it was created by a Rambot, but surely such pages should be changed for the sake of convention in title names rather than making Redirects? It's not a problem I'm going to devote myself to if others don't agree, it's just my desire for logical uniformity in a single reference source. Dainamo 19:49, 24 Sep 2004 (UTC)

It's a matter of context. In the cases of locations, it has been decided that the context is contained in the article. Redirects should be made from the noncontextualized version to the contextualized, and not all those have been done yet. It's just the way it is here. It's also for uniformity; 99.5% of American cities are in the form "city, state". It would be jarring to have a large portion of those without the state, while others did. Using context in the title is not always for disambiguation, but sometimes for uniformity, as it is in this case. --Golbez 19:53, Sep 24, 2004 (UTC)
(via edit conflict) Same reason we have San Francisco, California or Chicago, Illinois. Not the greatest examples, since there are other meanings for each of those, but really, I agree with Golbez - it's not a big issue. Any search for or link to Estes Park will go to Estes Park, Colorado. As RickK points out, it's consistent with our other US city article names. -- Wapcaplet 19:51, 24 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I acknowledge that North American convention does this, but this does not happen in other Encyclopedias where "Los Angeles" would be listed without California on the end and if wiki decides to be different in adopting the practice, fair enough, nut it should then apply to other place names such as London, England; Rome, Italy etc. but I think this is as unnecessary as applying the convention to US and Canadian places where not needed. Dainamo 19:59, 24 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Wikipedia isn't other encyclopedias. And I agree - Certain large cities in the USA and Canada should probably be at non-contextualized names. Worth a vote on each city page individually. (i.e. Chicago and LA and SF might be worthy, but others might disagree on Dallas or Denver) But either way... that doesn't include Estes Park. And it's not a *huge* issue, though I really need to move Osaka, Osaka when I get the chance. :-P --Golbez 21:52, Sep 24, 2004 (UTC)
http://clix.to/dallas-scotland Dallas is the famous metropolis in Scotland, Boston is of course in Lincolnshire, England, as is New York, while Denver is in Norfolk. -- Arwel 23:27, 24 Sep 2004 (UTC)
And London is in Ontario and Paris is in Wisconsin ... twice. Your point? ;) --Golbez 23:54, Sep 24, 2004 (UTC)
Part of the reason we adopted this (beside the fact that it is standard usage) is to prevent having to argue which city is most important on hundreds or thousands of pages. Instead we nd up arguing over and over again why we adopted the procedure. Rmhermen 00:06, Sep 25, 2004 (UTC)
Except some cities (London, Paris) ARE being declared more important than London, Ontario and Paris, Wisconsin. And yeah, ain't it fun? :) --Golbez 00:18, Sep 25, 2004 (UTC)

Golbez, I repect anyone's point of view but saying "wikipedia isn't other encyclopedias" is a non argument. Wikipedia's content has always strove to "encyclopedic" (if that can be a word!) and if we are to make things easy for using this grand bod y of work a place name should either:

  1. take us to the only article by that name
  2. take us to a diambiguation page; or
  3. take us to the most obviously used one (and incidentally I would include both Dallas and Denver in this!) where a disamibiguation is also seen - example Birmingham is a page that allready does this Dainamo 00:30, 25 Sep 2004 (UTC)

This has also been discussed at Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (city names). See in particular "American cities inconsistent with every other country". Angela. 04:30, Sep 25, 2004 (UTC)

Indeed. Nothing was ever resolved, however. There seemed to be somewhat of a majority in favor of revising the naming standards to some extent, but nothing was ever done about it, except moving the article on New York City to New York City (eventually). john k 04:37, 25 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Formatting, particularly verse, drama, etc.[edit]

It is somewhat difficult to get material such as verse or drama quotations formatted pleasantly, particularly when there is a pattern of indenting to preserve. There seems to be no Wiki-markup intended for this purpose. I've had the best luck inserting appropriate numbers of HTML nbsp's at the start of lines, or, for evenly indented material, preceeding each line with a single wiki-colon.

But I find that my well-meaning efforts only survive for a month or so before some editor changes it, typically either by invoking an HTML "pre" tag, or by replacing my leading HTML nbsp's with ordinary spaces.

Thus,

BATTERED SOUL: I'm a pacifist.
GOD: A what?
BATTERED SOUL: A pacifist. I believe in Jesus and peace.
GOD: So you are a Christian?
BATTERED SOUL: O, no. I really do believe in peace.

becomes

:BATTERED SOUL: I'm a pacifist.
:GOD: A what?
:BATTERED SOUL: A pacifist. I believe in Jesus and peace.
:GOD: So you are a Christian?
:BATTERED SOUL: O, no. I really do believe in peace.

and

  He reads but he cannot speak Spanish,
    He cannot abide ginger-beer;
  Ere the days of his pilgrimage vanish,
    How pleasant to know Mr. Lear!

becomes

He reads but he cannot speak Spanish,
  He cannot abide ginger-beer;
Ere the days of his pilgrimage vanish,
  How pleasant to know Mr. Lear!

In my browsers (IE and Safari for Mac OS X) the former look reasonably OK, while the latter are displayed in a not-very-readable monospaced font within a distracting tinted box.

Why do editors make these changes?

  1. Some people prefer the look of not-very-readable monospaced text within a distracting tinted box?
  2. In some browsers, the latter actually look better than the former?
  3. Some people feel that the use of any HTML entities is an indication of newbie or un-Wiki-professionalism and should be changed to something more Wiki-idiomatic on general appearance?
  4. Some other excellent reason that I don't understand?

[[User:Dpbsmith|Dpbsmith (talk)]] 15:29, 24 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Pre blocks look extremely awful here: monospaced fonts, a tinted box, no wrapping, etc.. I don't see why they would use it. On the other hand, nbsps are not intended for spacing either: can't that be done with two levels of colons? You could of course put in a HTML comment like <!-- please leave the following markup intact -->. {Ανάριον} 15:55, 24 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I suppose the variation in editor preference when it comes to formatting these stems from a lack of any reliable, semantically correct markup for creating such indentation. The use of leading colons for indentation, as is ubiquitious on talk pages, is currently the best way of achieving the right appearance, but is in my opinion about the worst way in terms of semantic meaning, since it is converted to a (nested) definition list (dl) with no terms (dt) - a totally wrong semantic approach in almost all situations where it's currently used. One can imagine an ideal world in which XML allows us to create a "poetry" element, displayed as blocks of text with just the right indentation, but we don't yet live in that world. The use of concurrent &nbsp; entities works, but is ugly; I can understand why many editors would use the pre syntax, since it leads to prettier code (but often to uglier articles). The issue has been briefly mentioned on Wikipedia talk:WikiProject_Poetry, I brought it up a long time ago on m:Talk:Wikipedia accessibility, and several others have no doubt raised concerns about it. Maybe the best we can do for now is agree upon which is the lesser of evils, and try to standardize on it. -- Wapcaplet 16:21, 24 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I'm with you, Dpbsmith, I think using <pre> for verse looks terrible. I think the reason most people change your formatting is reason #3. They think they're simplifying it (which they are, in a somewhat less-than-helpful way). What we really need is a standard <verse> wiki markup tag that would work like <pre> without the fugly formatting. Feature request, then, I guess. • Benc • 17:59, 24 Sep 2004 (UTC)
I actually don't like anything but monospaced fonts on computer screens... but I know I'm in the minority there, (doesn't it bother you people that 'w' is like, fifty times wider than 'i'? ;-) ). However, the box around the monospaced text is really annoying. I don't understand it's purpose. For the purposes of showing programing syntax, the fact that it's indented and in a different font should be more than enough to visually offset code from regular text. func(talk) 20:27, 24 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I really like the border-and-box surrounding pre text. Most of the time it's used for showing code samples or similar things, and it seems like a perfect way to separate that from the rest of the text. It's almost like a little miniature blackboard, where the WikiProfessor writes out examples. Only when used for arbitrary indentation or text alignment does it look strange to me. I guess if you don't like it, you could disable it with your user stylesheet (and by the same token, if it's ever disabled by default, I can turn it back on in my stylesheet, cuz I think it's cool). -- Wapcaplet 01:06, 25 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Edits I've Made... How many?[edit]

I have seen people post that they have x edits, and their nth edit was y.

I would like to figure out how many edits I have without setting the thing to a large number (or small number) and trying to get to the last page, figure out the offset (which isnt too incredibly difficult), then figure out if i'm supposed to start on 200 or 201 when i count, and count up and know it's either one or two things. I've looked in statistics and other possible places and I have no real idea, whatsoever. I did actually try the method once but wasn't sure if I was starting count on edit xx0 or xx1. --TIB (talk) 04:07, Sep 24, 2004 (UTC)

As you say, use your contributions page, then hit (next 50), and edit the URL with a likely number in the "offset" part until you find the end. I make your edit count just over 440. If you're in the top 1000 contributors, you can get a recent count from List of Wikipedians by number of edits. You'll need more than 690 edits before you get on this list, and that number is rising all the time.-gadfium 04:24, 24 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Perhaps this is obvious, but considering how often people want to know this, it'd be great if it were more easily available. That said, our tendancy to judge contributors by their edit count is a bad idea — a contributor that writes 100 articles from scratch and uses preview might have only 100 edits but have made a stronger contribution than many of us. Perhaps we should be supplied a whole list of statistics judging the total value of our contributions. This would be especially useful in Wikipedia: Requests for adminship. Derrick Coetzee 04:33, 24 Sep 2004 (UTC)
A developer or anyone with sql access can run a query to find your edit count on request. There is no feature to automatically do this in the current MediaWiki and I don't think there will be due to database strain. There is, however, the csv, a raw-data list of all users' edits from all wikis. See here for instructions on how to interpret the csv. It's updated weekly. Ðåñηÿßôý | Talk 05:27, 24 Sep 2004 (UTC)
I would think such a feature would be relatively easy to implement if the user's edit count is stored (redundantly) in the user table, incremented whenever the user makes an edit. Then again, I haven't really looked at the code in much detail. And redundancy is generally bad within a single database copy. And we don't need to encourage edit counting. • Benc • 06:11, 24 Sep 2004 (UTC)
The exact edit count _can_ be returned very quickly using a SQL query. User:Kate has created a script on the server, which developers can use to get at the edit count very quickly. You should ask her about it.. — David Remahl 15:44, 24 Sep 2004 (UTC)
On a tangential note, edit counting is generally a bad thing. No one (ideally) should judge you by your number of edits, so don't worry about what and when your nth edit was unless you're simply curious. :-) • Benc • 06:06, 24 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Apparently the data for all users is available <a href="http://www.wikipedia.org/wikistats/csv/StatisticsUsers.csv">here</a>. anthony (see warning) 11:19, 24 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Donation[edit]

I seriously would make a donation to Wikipedia, it is such a good project -- but I am only 13 :(. Ilγαηερ (Tαlκ) 03:26, 24 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I assume your problem is that you are not able to make a credit card payment. You could either pursuade someone with a credit card to pay for you, or possibly pay via money order, wikimedia foundation probably accept them. Or, you could get a debit card, since you don't have to be over 18 to get one. Darksun 10:01, 24 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I would assume the problem is that, you know, he's 13! No job, should be saving up for college, and all that. Ilyanep: stay in school, don't do drugs, and don't worry about Wikipedia's finances. (What the... Ilyanep is only 13???). Today happens to be my payday. I will contribute for both of us, (um... symbolically, still the same amount of money I was going to use in the first place ;-) ). func(talk) 14:03, 24 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Bah. When I was 13 I was working 26 hours a day down the mines, and paying the owner to work there! :P But money isn't the only way to contribute to wikipedia, it's no good if wikipedia has money and noone to contribute articles :) Darksun 20:33, 24 Sep 2004 (UTC)


Only 13!?! How do you get all your homework done? You seem to be a very active participant! In any case, it can be argued with a bit of truth that donating time is more (at least, just as) important than donating money. -Vina 23:35, 24 Sep 2004 (UTC)

If Wikipedia had been around when I was 13, I would probably have vandalized it, (sad but true). I am convinced that most of the nefarious and infamous vandals around here are no older than about 16, (I consider it a near certainty that Mr. Treason is in high school). func(talk) 23:50, 24 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Best format for succession tables[edit]

Ahh, the things one obsesses himself with. Anyway, here's a few things I want community approval on:

  1. In the successor tables (best example: Bill Clinton), should it say "Succeeded by" or "Followed by"?
    • How about Next and Previous? --Phil | Talk 08:19, Sep 24, 2004 (UTC)
  2. Looking at Slick Willy's article again, should the multi-term offices be split into a single line for each office, or be combined like they are in Clinton's page? It can seem to give some offices that someone held multiple times more weight than a more major office (as easily seen in Clinton's case).
  3. Should such things be in chronological order, or in order of office importance? Both have advantages... with more than two or so offices, I'd say stick with chronological, but then you run into some being chrono and some being importance (Like, again, Clinton's - it's in order of importance.) And if you stick with importance, you run into the problem of figuring out just which offices are more important than others.

I'd like some opinions on this before I proceed further with these. Thanks! --Golbez 01:05, Sep 24, 2004 (UTC)

I suggest using Template:Sequence for succession tables. Some lists like the Roman Emperors have their own versions. It's a shame the Wikipedia does not support <link> tags... <link rel="next">/<link rel="prev"> would be great here! {Ανάριον} 08:33, 24 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Except that has no mechanism for multi-office people. It will end up just crowding the bottom of pages of people who had multiple offices (or, just ignore it altogether for those). I'd have appreciated more discussion on this topic before people started switching the presidents to it. I'll look at the template code and see if I can play with it. Also, while useful, question #3 above remains unanswered. I don't understand how link would work, either. :) --Golbez 18:19, Sep 24, 2004 (UTC)

Lists of terms related to color psychology[edit]

There has been a growing collection of articles containing common color associations, related to color psychology. Input concerning the proper course of these articles is welcomed at Wikipedia:Votes for deletion/List of terms associated with the color.... --[[User:Eequor|η♀υωρ]] 00:21, 24 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Possible?[edit]

Is it possible to see all User talk: pages that haven't been edited for over 6 months? Specifically anon IP's? I want to do a little janitorial work there... Ilγαηερ (Tαlκ) 23:56, 23 Sep 2004 (UTC)

If you have the cur table you could use a query like SELECT cur_title FROM cur WHERE cur_namespace = 3 AND cur_timestamp < 20040323000000 . You could also add cur_title LIKE '%.%.%.%' to filter out most non-IPs. Goplat 01:14, 24 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Thanks...but I bet SQL queries are currently blocked on the live database (and I'm sure as heck not downloading 1.6 GB of sheer database power). Ilγαηερ (Tαlκ) 03:17, 24 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Or at least, it doesn't work for me (see This page at the bottom). Ilγαηερ (Tαlκ) 03:22, 24 Sep 2004 (UTC)

The live db is blocked to SQL analysis at present, or was the last time I looked. This actually makes trawling for vandalism quite difficult; time was when you could pick up trends of vandalism from studying the db. NOw there is no smart method rather than constant vigilance :( Sjc 04:17, 24 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Download a dump and perform local SQL queries on it. It's not up-to-date, but you don't really think all vandalism from the last dump has already been erased, do you? Derrick Coetzee 06:00, 24 Sep 2004 (UTC)

"It should be noted..."[edit]

Do phrases like "It should be noted that..." or "An interesting note is..." have a place in encyclopedia articles? I see them all over the place. Taco Deposit | Talk-o Deposit 17:41, Sep 23, 2004 (UTC)

This reminds me of Wikipedia:Avoid peacock terms. If "it should be noted that...something", or "something" is an "interesting note" then that's why it's been included in an encyclopedia, and the reader doesn't need to have this fact spelled out. — Trilobite (Talk)
I kill them on sight, with the comment "POV phrase removed". -- Jmabel 17:53, Sep 23, 2004 (UTC)
  • Agreed. I try to reword these wherever I see them. The same goes for any "As you can see..." or "We now have..." -- Wapcaplet 19:20, 23 Sep 2004 (UTC)
I would also suggest only cautious use of the phrase "of course", and a virtual ban on the obscene adverb "obviously". — Jeff Q 04:10, 24 Sep 2004 (UTC)
When a good writer inserts "clearly," it serves as a marker to the reader, to look again at what might in fact not have been perfectly obvious at the first skim, but at second look is an utterly logical and natural consequence. Don't remove expressions simply because you don't like them. A good general rule: Avoid unnecessary interference. Wetman 06:22, 24 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I find that, in practice, "It should be noted, however..." is often the introduction to unsourced POV material. -- Jmabel 06:49, Sep 24, 2004 (UTC)

In which case, the problem is not the phrase, it's what follows. Remove POV material, but none of these phrases is POV in itself. Filiocht 07:55, 24 Sep 2004 (UTC)
I disagree (and agree with the other comments here). Saying that something is "interesting", "clear" or "obvious" is very POV in many cases. Rory 18:01, Sep 24, 2004 (UTC)
  • Thank goodness this is not just me! I find these phrases pretty irritating, and they rarely add informational content. "It is important to remember that.." is another pet peeve. To express this type of information, it's much better to present facts that clearly indicate the importance or interest; it's just bad form to push your own evaluation of interesting on the reader, or to tell him what he ought to think. — Matt 08:06, 24 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Special:Unusedimages[edit]

I've just finished scanning through titles and descriptions of almost 19,000 unused images at Wikipedia, working forward from 20 July 2002 to date, and I found dozens and dozens of fine to excellent images without obvious copyright issues, which I was able to identify, with the aid of some Googling (set at "Images" sometimes), and work into entries. Other Wikipedians with other interests and expertise would find more unused images suited to other entries. But how often is this huge file refreshed? Wetman 04:39, 23 Sep 2004 (UTC)

At the last server crash the link table to images was lost, thus all images became "unused". All articles edited since then will get the images "used" again. And just last weekend a bug with images in templates was fixed, earlier images only used via a template parameter were "unused" as well. So probably a lot of those images are used somewhere already, it's only difficult to find as google seem to have left out indexing of many articles. andy 11:44, 23 Sep 2004 (UTC)
I'm wondering how worried we have to be about server crashes wiping more than just a link table? -- Solitude 13:46, Sep 23, 2004 (UTC)
It wasn't a server crash that caused all images to be unused, it was the upgrade to 1.3.

Hmm. I did notice that some images, when I went to the most obvious entry, were in fact being used, but I attributed this to the section not having been recently refreshed. Many images did prove to be unused, though. Often an image can be reused effectively in an entry that is secondary to its original purpose. See Romanticism for a nice example. Wetman 19:57, 23 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I also thought it was the 1.3 update, but Tim Starling corrected me last time I told it that way :-) But it's a moot point, we just need to remember that currently the Unused Image list has lots of false positives. But yes, there are probably many images not used now, maybe superceeded by a new image, maybe removed accidentally, maybe uploaded but failed to include it into an article. Or it's thumbnails not used anymore since MediaWiki can resize images by itself now. If you want to weed the list you'll have a lot of work to do - but someone must do it someday anyway. BTW: If you find good pictures which are clearly OK by copyright, but don't have any article in which they can be included, you can also upload them to Commons]. andy 08:07, 24 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Project Gutenberg Template[edit]

Would it make sense to provide a template for Project Gutenberg books, so as to provide a common means of linking in the public domain digital literature from that source? (So as to make it easy to identify, as well as globally modify the links as needed.) Or perhaps a meta-template for digital literature sources that includes Project Gutenberg? Thanks. RJH

Do you need a template or just a special word like is done with ISBN's? Rmhermen 23:02, Sep 22, 2004 (UTC)
You want a template for making a single external link? Why? Seems a bit unnecessary, and wouldn't work very well anyway because you'd have to go to their site to figure out what to link to in the first place. -- Cyrius| 06:31, 23 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Maybe you mean something like Template:imdb name and Template:imdb title which provide a method of standardising the format of links to the IMDb. If links to PG can be formulated in a dependable way, this woud likely be a good idea. --Phil | Talk 10:48, Sep 23, 2004 (UTC)
Yes something like that would be good for starters. I'm not sure if you can convert the book #ID into a URL, as is used in Gutenberg. But if Gutenberg revised their URL scheme in the future, I think it would make a mass transition easier. That way we can reliably include a Gutenberg link on all pages for the appropriate books. Thanks! — RJH 19:51, 23 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Moving FDMA to Frequency division multiple access[edit]

I noticed that Frequency division multiple access redirects to Frequency-division multiplexing; I do not think they are the same thing. As mentioned in the article anyway (And from my understanding), I believe that Frequency division multiple access is an example of Frequency-division multiplexing. The real definition of Frequency division multiple access is available at FDMA.

I know I could redirect Frequency division multiple access to FDMA, but judging by CDMA and TDMA (The other technologies in the same class as FDMA), the full title is the original name of the article, and the abberviation is a redirect; so for the sake of consistency, I believe FDMA should be moved to Frequency division multiple access, and it should redirect to it.

Can someone with the power to do so change that? Thanks! --Khalid 21:49, Sep 22, 2004 (UTC)

Done. Mostly for the sake of consistency. zoney talk 00:04, 23 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Point system idea[edit]

Seeing the number of proposals begin thrown around to combat vandalism and such, I'll just throw in something I wrote a couple of days ago concerning contributors giving ratings to other users. See User:Alerante/Point system. Discussion should go to the talk page. [ alerante | “” 18:07, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC) ]

Category creation[edit]

In keeping with the category creation for other notable families, I inserted "Category:The Delanos". However, I have no idea how to create the file. Could someone who knows what to do, create this. Thanks. JillandJack 17:32, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)

The category is just as much there as any other red link. It's only red because you haven't added any text to it, or included it in any other categories. --Golbez 17:39, Sep 22, 2004 (UTC)

Proper book list?[edit]

At baseball, there is a list of books at the end. I want to move this list to its own page. What page should I use? Baseball bibliography? Baseball books? List of baseball books? Something else? --Locarno 14:12, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)

If you are talking about the "references" section, better leave it where it is. Wikipedia:Cite_your_sources suggests that you give details about sources of information, and the references section is there for that purpose. Kosebamse 15:22, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Categorization[edit]

Is there any reason against making and using a template like the one created at Template:Cat? It's convenient for me anyway, but I don't know if there will be any unforeseen problems. - [[User:Cohesion|cohesion ]] 09:04, Sep 22, 2004 (UTC)

One problem (Bug 31) is that you cannot provide sorting that way. I am not sure if the other problem still exists as several template bugs were fixed last weekend - but earlier any change on the category in the template only led to update the article in the category after the article was editing again next time. If it's just to save typing egory, I don't think the obfuscation is worth the saving of 4 keyboard hits (5 letters less, but you have to type one | for the template). Yet categories are used in templates, especially the navigational ones, thus all articles having the navigational box are member of the category. andy 09:23, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Ok, thanks for the fast reply, won't be using it based on those reasons. - [[User:Cohesion|cohesion ]] 09:42, Sep 22, 2004 (UTC)

Wikipedia is addictive. I should have gone to sleep 3 hours ago.[edit]

I must wake up early tomorrow morning. This is a bad omen.

Welcome to the club, son. →Raul654 05:25, Sep 22, 2004 (UTC)

Oh my gosh , seek help before it s too late..!!
1.We admitted we were powerless over alcohol wikipedia -- that our lives had become unmanageable.
2.Came to believe that a Power greater ......  :)--Jondel 06:12, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Well, just do an all nighter, no problem. I do it all the ti.... zzzzzzzzzz -- Chris 73 Talk 06:13, Sep 22, 2004 (UTC)
Geee, another one who didn't read Wikipedia:Wikipediholic early enough. The next meeting of the Wikipediholic Anonymous is next Monday :-) andy 08:09, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)

... I'm still here. No point in going to sleep now; I must wake up in 2 hours. EDGE 08:11, Sep 22, 2004 (UTC)

Here in Tokyo, I'm going home. (Yes I've been drinking editing wikipedia at work.-- Help I can't stop --)I have a badminton game. I wish I could attend the Wikiholics Anonymous meeting but its a bit far and probably expensive (coming from Tokyo) . Need to read that 12 step program for wikipediolics.(finally a program for us!)--Jondel 08:43, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)
has it occurred to anyone else that, while reading an online newspaper, when I come across a typo or a badly written bit, I instinctively want to reach for the "edit" link, before realising I can't? I spent far oo much time here, recently... dab 12:25, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Yeah, that happens to me too. I think sites like this one and some other forums I visit spoil me, now I am confused when I cannot change a (paper) magazine for everyone to see, or even provide feedback. I firmly believe that this is a new paradigm, for once using that word in a meaningful way. The Internet allows people to collaborate and interact in a two-way medium, instead of the traditional one-way of television and print publications. That is its greatest strength and one of its weaknesses, witness the rise of trolls, spam, and flamebait. Anyway, I am happy to be a part of the community and contribute in ways impossible even ten years ago. John Gaughan 16:18, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)
I've definitely had moments of slight frustration when I've noticed unfortunate typos (one in an AP article, no less!) and was unable to make the necessary corrections. Wikipedia has spoiled me rotten though I'm not complaining. Spatch 16:55, 24 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I once dreamed about editing an article. My dream was the screen. It scared the hell out of me, and I went on a brief wikivacation shortly afterwards. Gwalla | Talk 17:52, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Licensing[edit]

Is there a way to find out which licenses an image on the internet has been released under? I would also like to know if using an image that has been licensed to me by permission inhibits the rights of others to use the article it is linked to as a free document? Thanks. Justin Foote 23:02, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Though question. About licensed to you: This depends on the exact type of license. Often this is licensed only for a certain use, i.e. only your personal website. Ask the original owner again. About pictures on the internet: This is usually tough to find out. Most pages have a copyright notice somewhere. However, an absence does not mean no copyright. You basically have to search the page for a statement. If there is none, then assume it is copyrighted. Government sites often say Information presented on this website, unless otherwise indicated , is considered in the public domain. It may be distributed or copied as is permitted by the law. or similar in their disclaimer/privacy statement, then you can use it unless there is a special notice. Old 2D images or scans/photos thereof may have expired copyrights. See also Wikipedia:Finding images tutorial, Category:Wikipedia:Copyright -- Chris 73 Talk 06:11, Sep 22, 2004 (UTC)

The "new, improved" Votes for deletion page[edit]

See also: Wikipedia talk:Votes for deletion#New process for easier listing and editing.

What the hell is going on on the VfD page? Without discussion, SOMEBODY has changed the page to change the way it's to be edited, and now I can't add new entries. Is this a not-so-subtle way of sabotaging VfD? RickK 22:13, Sep 21, 2004 (UTC)

No. Theresa Knott (taketh no rest) 22:29, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)
While I certainly don't think it's sabotage, if you make a major change to how an important project page works, you should (a) tell people and (b) document it. —Morven 22:44, Sep 21, 2004 (UTC)
Evidently someone's removing the "add to this discussion" links? I can't tell who it is from the history, but whoever you are, it's disrupting things, so a revert of your VfD mods would be appreciated. Wikipedia:Votes for deletion/Maintenance is a better proposal for managing the size of VfD. --Ardonik.talk()* 22:49, Sep 21, 2004 (UTC)
Okay, now I understand the system (basically, the "add to this discussion" links are being replaced with section edit links), but I don't see what makes it better than the old way of doing things. The same number of templates are still being expanded, and the change isn't going to reduce the size of the VfD page down noticeably.
I guess I'm not opposed to it, but I don't understand what benefits we're supposed to reap by following it. --Ardonik.talk()* 22:55, Sep 21, 2004 (UTC)
Well, from my understanding, the new procedure places a link to the article on the subpage automatically, so that's one benefit. - RedWordSmith 23:28, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Section edit links now work on sections in transcluded pages ({{these things}}). This allows us to just use the regular section editing feature (the [edit] links attached to each section header) in order to edit the individual VfD subsections -- the [edit] link automatically "knows" that it has to load the content from the transcluded page.

This has various benefits:

  • the VfD page no longer has to use a nonstandard format to achieve the desired effect
  • adding pages is easier - no need to create the "Add to this discussion" link on your own
  • the [edit] link goes directly to the edit view for the desired subpage
  • the actual VfD wikisource gets a lot cleaner and easier to refactor
  • you can enable right-click editing in your preference (then you just have to right-click a section title to edit that section)
  • you get auto-summaries (which is useful here, because the auto-summary will include a link to the page that is supposed to be deleted, so that you can directly jump to it from RecentChanges)
  • you can edit individual subsections.

Not all the old-style entries have been switched to the new format yet, so please help in doing that.--Eloquence*

I should add:

  • no more need for the "you are about to edit the main VfD page" comment.

Gwalla | Talk 04:00, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Lol, Rick made almost exactly the same {comment,paranoid rant about sabotage} the last time VfD structure was improved. Pcb21| Pete 08:39, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)

There's nothing wrong with being paranoid. Are you accusing me of being paranoid?! Curse you and the rest of your co-conspirators!
Seriously, RickK is just making sure that VfD is, in fact, being improved rather than vandalized. He's looking out to make sure the whole thing runs as smoothly as possible, so please avoid calling anyone's concerns a "paranoid rant". I'm sure you meant no offense, but remember WikiLove, and all that. :-) • Benc • 21:34, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Since the change, my browser (Safari) loads the last-viewed cached page of VFD, rather than the current one. Is anyone else experiencing this? Joyous 23:55, Sep 22, 2004 (UTC)

I've experienced it using MSIE and Firefox, both before and after the change. It's a caching issue... see Wikipedia:Clear your cache. • Benc • 00:23, 23 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Talk page with no history except nonsense[edit]

Talk:Wombat contains nonsense as its only contribution. With nothing to revert to, what is the best action? dramatic 20:42, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Blank it. Mark Richards 20:45, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Speedy deletion. [x] done. andy 20:46, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Either of these will work, of course, although blanking it can be done by anyone, does not need an extra step, and does not make that high pitched screeaaching noise that those whose ears are atuned to the spirtual way of the wiki hate to hear ;) Mark Richards 20:50, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Copyright and Commercial usage[edit]

I am having a frustrating time explaining why commercial rights are important for material used in Wikipedia and licensed under the GFDL. Two weeks ago I started a discussion with a user who was copying copyrighted text into Wikipedia relying on a non-commercial-use-only license. After a discussion we agreed that the text would have to be rewritten. But last week the user was again copying non-commercial-use-only material (images this time) into Wikipedia. I brought up the issue again but the user still does not see why the non-commercial use license is a problem (the user blanked the original discussion [3] on the talk page). Any thoughts or good explanations on the subject would be appreciated either here or in the discussion. Al guy 20:41, Sep 21, 2004 (UTC)

"Because it's illegal" wasn't a good enough explanation, eh? Gwalla | Talk 21:31, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)
The response in both discussions I had with this user is that since this user is not doing anything commercial and Wikipedia is non-profit, the non-commercial license is sufficient. The added complication is that this user is a sysop. Al guy 22:02, Sep 21, 2004 (UTC)

Jimbo is keen for wikipedia to reach the third world. He hopes that publishers will eventually produce book versions of the wikimedia projects. Now since Wikipedia is free, they will not have exclusive rights. So competition between rivals should bring the cost down to barely above the actual cost of printing. This is good becasue many people are very poor and do not have the access to knowledge that we all take for granted. Non commercial licences are not free. Therefore they are damaging to the long term goals of wikimedia. Theresa Knott (taketh no rest) 22:08, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Not to mention that all text in the Wikipedia is and must be GFDL, and the submitter did not have the right to relicense the material he had a license to use non-commercialy, under GFDL. — David Remahl 22:16, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)

ndash and mdash[edit]

I think it's around here somewhere but I can't find it.. is there a guide to usage of &ndash and &mdash entities? When should each of these be used as opposed to a hyphen? Double-hyphen? Thanks. Rhobite 19:10, Sep 21, 2004 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Manual of Style (dashes)David Remahl 19:32, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Quick reference, in addition to the link above: endash between dates for date ranges (unspaced; i.e. no space between the dates and the dash), emdash for open ranges (i.e. "2002—). I never use dashes in the text of an article, so that's as far as I can help. :) --Golbez 19:43, Sep 21, 2004 (UTC) (and yes, i use two hyphens for my signature. :P)
I thought we were supposed to refrain from using &ndash and &mdash in articles as they made articles harder to edit? I got yelled at a while back from using them and was told to stick to using the ugly double dashes. The yeller said there is some s/w feature that will convert all --'s to — someday. I haven't seen this feature yet, but I've been using double dashes since to avoid getting yelled at again. :-S
I'll yell at you if you use hyphens as dashes. Some people get too caught up in the wiki thing, forgetting it is purely a means to an end. Chameleon 20:17, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Frecklefoot | Talk 20:03, Sep 21, 2004 (UTC)

That might have been me. :/ I used to swear by the --, but then I learned that – looks better. And if and when this vaporware ever appears, we can then change all the endashes back to regular dashes. But til then, endashes are prettier. :) --Golbez 20:10, Sep 21, 2004 (UTC)
Thanks, everyone. Rhobite 20:23, Sep 21, 2004 (UTC)

I would like to point out that Xed is referring to "systemic bias" and a lot of you are responding as if he had referred to "systematic bias". The latter basically just means thoroughgoing bias. That's not what he is saying. Although he's not being terribly articulate about the matter, and I think he is being unnecessarily abrasive, "systemic bias" means that there are structural issues in Wikipedia that tend strongly towards certain topics getting much better coverage than others. I think that is clearly true. I also think there is a lot of reason for us, if we are trying to produce a quality work, to consider seriously what biases are built into the system and which of these can be addressed. I'm not sure if Xed's approach here is constructive, but I am sure he is describing a real problem.

Examples of systemic bias:

  1. Because so many Wikipedians do their research on line, topics not already well covered on the Internet tend to be under-covered in Wikipedia.
  2. Because so many English-language Wikipedians live in a very small number of countries, topics pertaining strongly to those countries are disproportionately covered.
  3. Because so many Wikipedians are interested in technology, technological topics are disproportionately well covered. Ditto science fiction. Ditto libertarianism. Conversely, and presumably for parallel reasons, there is very little on (as Xed points out) contemporary events in Africa or (as I'd point out) even on African-American history or Native American history: most of our articles on Native Americans are written from an anthropoligist's point of view, whereas our articles on (for example) punk rock or grunge rock or the science fiction fandom are consistently written with insider's knowledge.

This list is, at best, illustrative. I do think we would do well to look at the systematic biases in the Wikipedia. I think some of them can be covered by adding to the efforts at translation from other languages. Others really would require recruitment to correct, and that recruitment may depend in part on a positive community decision that the recruitment is importans, accompanied by a long, hard look at what aspects of our internal culture are not seen as welcoming by certain groups. Wikipedia is disproportionately white and male, and I don't think that is good. There are probably other similar issues that don't leap out at me as readily.

Systemic biases are not easily addressed. One of the biggest factors here is a (generally commendable) tendency to write about what one already knows about. Frankly, it's a lot easier for me to write a decent encyclopedia article on a subject where, in examining sources (or looking at other people's edits), I can look at some of them and just go "this person doesn't know his/her stuff, useless." For example, I simply don't have the knowledge to know whom to believe when two well-read Slavs are arguing over the history of Carpathian Ruthenia, but I have plenty of ability to judge whether someone is talking sense about Jorge Luis Borges. Therefore, I am a lot more likely to focus on writing about the latter. And would you really want me writing extensively about the former? In other words, some of this can only be adddressed either by recruitment and/or a serious self-educational undertaking by some of our participants.

So, Xed, sign me on to participate somewhat in your project, probably more in terms of helping strategize this than in further stretching myself as to which topics I write about.

Any other takers? Because I, for one, won't do this with less than five people involved. -- Jmabel 05:37, Sep 22, 2004 (UTC)

It's something that I personally recognise as a problem and something that I'd be willing, within my personal limitations, to work on and help with.
Note that, in my opinion, every time you go to an off-line source for Wikipedia articles you are helping with Wikipedia's systemic bias -- at least, the bias to write about only the stuff the Web already has information on. Every time you refer to a book, magazine, journal, or whatever, you are adding a dash of another viewpoint to the online store of knowledge. I think we should all try a little to stretch ourselves beyond our comfort zones of what we already know; and that doesn't mean one can't have fun. Find some topic you wish you knew about, go to the library or somewhere and research it, and write what you learned. Even if it's not perfect, it's better than we had. —Morven 05:59, Sep 22, 2004 (UTC)
I think some of the things Jmabel talking about are already happening - for instance, as WP gets more complete in certain areas, there is simply no online source to raid for additional material. Most of my content additions these days are from books, and I see a bunch of other people doing the same. (A visit to a university library really makes clear just how much is not on the net anywhere.) Likewise, we see that now that every imaginable Tolkien-related topic has an article :-), interest drops off and the action moves elsewhere. I think the most important thing to do is recruitment - everybody should try their hand at WPing, but only a subset will enjoy it enough to keep at it. Stan 06:12, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)
I'm in. The more I think about it, the more enthousiastic I become about it. One is easily tempted to write only about topics that you're already familiar with, as long as your contributing, thats marvelous. But I think a section for discussion and categorising articles that really need work for Wikipedia to be taken seriously would motivate people to expand their horizon and learn about those topics, I think it could work, but giving it a proper place with current categories like cleanup, attention, expand, collaboration article, etc. could be a challenge. -- Solitude 07:48, Sep 22, 2004 (UTC)
Me too. How it would differ from existing pages like cleanup, attention, expand, collaboration article, etc. is that those pages exemplify the bias to some degree or another. As I read it, this proposal entails looking at all the things an encyclopaedia needs that nothing here is addressing. @Thinking outside the Wikibox', so to speak. Filiocht 09:14, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)
I have to say I'm not particularly enthused about writing stuff which is likely to engender responses along the lines of "what do you know about XYZ, you don't even live there" which I have seen elsewhere in Wikipedia. I tend to dabble in areas where I do have knowledge, and ask impertinent questions where I don't (in the hope of obtaining a pertinent answer, obviously :-) --Phil | Talk 11:01, Sep 22, 2004 (UTC)
Count me in. I have just had this discussion brought to my attention, read through it all, and was a little taken aback by the way Xed, who I genuinely believe to have good intentions for Wikipedia, was immediately denounced as a troll. The fact is that Wikipedia is massively biased towards certain countries and certain subcultures, and while some of us are able to see that and realise that we are a part of it (I know far more about what goes on in Birmingham than what goes on in Kinshasa), there seem to be a worrying number of people who are blind to Wikipedia's bias and are unwilling to do anything about it. I agree though with much of what's been said here, specifically that in the long term only recruitment will solve our problems. Personally I don't mind that we have lengthy articles on obscure Tolkein and Star Trek characters, but I do mind that we have next to nothing on the Congo Civil War. We can only cure Wikipedia of its systemic bias if people appreciate the problem. Why the hell does www.wikipedia.org redirect to en.wikipedia.org as if English takes precedence over all other languages? Why the hell is the article on Georgia located at Georgia (country) so as to avoid confusion with an administrative subdivision of the USA? I could go on but I'll spare you the moralising. I hope we can all see that Wikipedia is undoubtedly biased — embarrassingly so — and we should be doing our best to make it as international and as neutral as possible. Please don't be complacent about this wonderful thing we are creating for the world. It is currently full of flaws. — Trilobite (Talk) 12:09, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)
If you care to take a look at Georgia there are at least 10 articles which a user might expect to find under that name: it therefore makes sense for the disambiguation page to live there and the different pages to be distinguished with suffices of appropriate type. I would be a lot more impressed with the arguments being presented if one single complainer said anything like "hey, I know an awful lot about the Congo Civil War, I'll write it up", rather than expecting everybody else to go away and find out about it. If one is so damn interested in a subject, one is behoven to write an article on it oneself. --Phil | Talk 14:33, Sep 22, 2004 (UTC)
(note: reinserted comment in order to reply to it--Xed 14:05, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC))(1. Georgia is not an administrative subdivision of the U.S. 2. When multiple articles with significant numbers of hits (i.e., 75%/25%) have the same name, it makes sense to have a dab page, though it would also make sense to put the country at "Georgia" and have a link to the state at the top. 3. But there's no compelling reason to change the status quo. Wikipedia articles aren't an honor, they're a means of disseminating information. 4. The horse is dead. Please stop beating it.) --dreish 13:35, 2004 Sep 22 (UTC)
Jiang's comments on Talk:Georgia are hilarious. What strange company you keep.--Xed 14:05, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)
This is the perfect illustraton, Xed, of why people are having a problem with you. If you disagree with what someone said, respond to their argument. Instead, you have a tendency to ridicule or otherwise not address the issue. Here, you're casting aspersions on Driesh's arguments based not on their own merit, but rather on who else agrees with them. Yes, Jiang said some pretty outlandish things on that page (though I suspect they were not said with a straight face), but that fact doesn't alter the truth/falsehood of the argument, does it? —Morven 15:45, Sep 22, 2004 (UTC)
I'm not sure there was an argument to respond to, which is probably Dreish originally deleted his post. Hope to see you on CROSSBOW. Love, Xed 16:08, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I also wanted to congratulate Xed on making a stand. One area where systemic bias is particularly worrying are borderline inclusion debates. Borderline techie/geeky topics are routinely kept as there is sufficient critical mass saying keep, whereas borderline articles in other areas get deleted. This systematic problem is not easy to resolve by just saying "so fix it then". It would require forcing people to think more deeply before editing vfd - a near impossible task. Pcb21| Pete 12:22, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Perhaps we can see a new law emerge here: 'The quantity of systemic bias in a system is directly proportional to the amount of bile raised in denying its existence.' Filiocht 13:27, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I wouldn't object to the creation of Wikipedia:Articles that can do with a non-OECD perspective. There are a lot out there such as publicly funded medicine, primary education, newspaper, and history of Africa. - SimonP 16:05, Sep 22, 2004 (UTC)


A few thoughts...

  1. Actually eliminating systemic bias in Wikipedia is impossible. There will always be considerable systemic bias in any compendium.
  2. Attempting to alleviate such bias is a meritorious task.
  3. Broadening the demographic involved in editing Wikipedia is an ideal approach.
  4. Actually achieving such a broadening is extremely difficult; it requires some sort of affirmative action program -- perhaps ambassadors to online or off-line systems with different demographics might be helpful.
  5. Determing which articles (or which absent articles) reflect a system bias in itself carries a systemic bias.
  6. Words are critical. As mentioned above, at least some of the argumentation in this discussion stems from the confusion between "systemic" and "systematic"; the latter implies deliberate or negligent action or inaction, while the former is a general statement of the shortcomings of the system per se. This reminds me of heated discussions in another venue (The Well, where I was a conference host for many years) where a fellow with a particular hobby horse would every couple of years come out with a strong declaration of opposition to "bastardy", one meaning of which -- the meaning intended by the author -- is "begetting of illegitimate children"; but most readers reacted strongly to his proposals, conflating "bastardy" with "bastardry", "being an illegitimate child". One little letter. Now, the author knew full well such a confusion would ensue, and he was a bit of a troll at heart (as well as being CEO of Network Solutions), so presented the argument with language that he knew would cause excessive annoyance. I don't think Xed was deliberately trying to agitate with his choice of words, but it worked. I guess the message is "pay careful attention to the words being used" for the reader, and "pay attention to how people might incorrectly perceive your words" for the writer.
  7. Some people are just too good at annoying other people. I'm reminded of the old Fidonet rule: "Don't be excessively annoying. Don't be too easily annoyed."

--Jpgordon 18:41, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)

A few thoughts from a very new visitor to wikipedia.

  1. I agree that there will always be some bias in this or any other encyclopedia.
  2. This is a self-organising system: as it grows it will become more and more difficult to shift it in any particular direction. It'll go where it goes.
  3. Having said that, as a frequent visitor to Africa I think there's a lot to be said for taking steps to increase coverage from that continent - and from developing/emerging nations in general.
  4. I like the idea of on-line and off-line ambassadors - is there anything like this now?
  5. I suggest approaching people like librarians at the major universities in each 'under represented' country and that they be asked to recruit undegrads (or anyone else who can find the time) to help augment the coverage for their country.
  6. other government organisations - like tourism authorities - could also be approached but may be more biased.
  7. I'm happy to try to get the ball running in Tanzania - a country I visit from time to time.
  8. I'd also be happy to attempt to write an outline, and informal job description for the 'ambassador' role - generally speaking their job would be to raise the profile of Wiki in their country and to encourage people to contribute. (I'd add that I'm from the UK, am not a 'techie' and have only just heard about the wikipedia - likewise most of the colleagues, relatives and friends I've just told about it!)
  9. Comments anyone?

Jerry cornelius 11:54, 23 Sep 2004 (UTC)


As a sidelight on this, I found the following on User:Jimbo Wales/Pushing To 1.0:

Britannica exists to support a particular canon, that being, the British and now American concept of "what history is." It is, for instance, light on the History of India, China, Africa, Latin America and figures of those cultures - one way Wikipedia can differentiate itself is to say that it is less Anglo-centric than Britannica. Build up an audience in developing nations who can really benefit from having a neutral encyclopedia — like in China where Wikipedia.org is banned, but they won't be able to keep all the CD-ROMs out. It may thus make sense to *focus on Chinese figures and history* deliberately. How can they keep out the only encyclopedia that does their history justice?

Filiocht 12:42, 24 Sep 2004 (UTC)


As a relatively new contributor to Wikipedia, I soon noticed the systemic bias referred to by Xed and more eloquently described and explained by Jmabel. Although you certainly could argue that such a bias will be more or less unavoidable in an English language Internet-based open project, that's not really a valid argument for not discussing what could possibly be done about it. I fully agree with Jmabel that this is something that ought to be adressed in order to improve the scope and usefulness of Wikipedia. However, as many have already pointed out, this cannot and should not be solved by forcing people to contribute in areas they have no interest in contributing to. There are a number of constructive proposals that could be made, and although none of these might come anywhere close to being the complete remedy for this problem, they will most likely all be beneficial to a larger or smaller extent. In the following list, I'll try to summarise the proposals that I've been able to distinguish in the discussion above, adding my thoughts on them.

  1. A section on the Wikipedia:Community_Portal page that deals with the issue, as proposed by Xed. Closely related to this idea are other suggestions proposing different types of lists of suitable articles for expansion, such as the creation of Wikipedia:Articles that can do with a non-OECD perspective, as proposed by SimonP.
  2. Using the existing Wikipedia:Collaboration_of_the_week, Requests for expansion and Wikipedia:Requested articles, adding suitable articles for expansion to these pages, possibly including a comment on the "encyclopedia that Slashdot built" problem. To some extent this is already happening, which is something I find uplifting. This strategy might be used as an alternative to 1. in order to avoid partially overlapping pages, or together with 1. as a complement. I think I'd actually prefer the former, considering the number of "to do" pages already existing.
  3. Intensifying the efforts to translate articles from other Wikipedias, as proposed by Jmabel. I think that in order to actually increase the number of translations made, something concrete must be done to encourage and facilitate the process, opening participation to people lacking the courage or language skills to complete this task on their own. One approach could be forming "translation teams" consisting of one person with fluency in the foreign language in question and a reasonable but not necessarily perfect grasp of English, and one person with fluency in English, working together on the translation of an article.
  4. Trying to widen the contributor base by reaching out to people representing Wikipedia minorities, encouraging them to contribute. Jerry cornelius' idea, to approach university staff in under-represented countries is one way of doing this. I think this is an excellent proposal. This kind of outreach could be extended to under-represented groups in general, for instance by asking for a mention of Wikipedia, or even some free ad space, on community and organisational web sites and paper publications catering to such groups.
  5. Forming a group of Wikipedians working with some or all of these tasks. I think this is a good idea, and I would be willing to participate.

There must surely be possible to come up with other strategies, and I'd like to encourage further creative thinking on this subject. Alarm 17:40, 24 Sep 2004 (UTC)

(moved from policy section)

What's there to deal with. Fanboys write long and detailed articles; we deal with that all the time on VfD. The Congo Civil War is very important, so the solution is to work on expanding it. Or do you suggest that we enforce caps on the size of articles according to their relative importance? --Ardonik.talk()* 19:15, Sep 21, 2004 (UTC)
No, as I said I suggest a section on the Wikipedia:Community_Portal page to deal with this. The section would list articles which, if created/edited/expanded would counter-act the systemic bias.--Xed 19:25, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Who decides? :ChrisG 19:36, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Like what? Sure, Congo Civil War, but any other ideas? And what about the non-North American bias that would start to show? At what point should we begin refocusing on stuff we know more about? --Golbez 19:42, Sep 21, 2004 (UTC)
This is a very valid concern. Please note, however, that we can't (and shouldn't) twist editors' arms to force them to write about topics that don't particularly interest them. Certain subjects will always get more interested editors than others. For the time being, this is a fact of life. The long-term, general solution is to expand our userbase until we have experts (or at least interested amateurs) in all revelant fields and topics.
Also: there are several mechanisms in place to address this problem now. Formally, Wikipedia:List of encyclopedia topics and (to a lesser extent) Wikipedia:Requested articles are the primary mechanisms to fill holes. Informally, User:Mark Richards periodically posts The "Encyclopedia that Slashdot Built" Awards to the Village Pump as a method of constructive criticism to help solve blatant imbalances. I'd suggest talking to him if you want to make the process more formal. Also, Wikipedia:Collaboration of the week attempts to expand an article per week. The vast majority of COTW articles have been globally relevant. • Benc • 02:39, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)
I have no connection to the Congo Civil War, I don't know anything about the Congo Civil War, and I don't even know where to find information about the Congo Civil War. I suspect this is true of many or even most people. Don't berate us for not writing about a topic they don't know anything about. -- Cyrius| 03:29, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)
"geeky" articles are not competing with "serious" articles. because the encyclopedia is not published on paper. I still think the notion of this kind of bias is misguided. Every article should be taken at face value, without going to check if someone may have written a longer article about Babylon 5 somewhere. WP should try to attract people of other fields of expertise, but it's certainly not a solution to make people write about subjects they know nothing about. dab 11:25, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)

May require multiple projects[edit]

It's become pretty clear to me that, despite some confluence, Xed and I have very different visions of the nature of the systemic bias. I'm taking the liberty of copying the key exchange:

An excellent map of media bias can be seem here, courtesy of Ethan Zuckerman. He has also written an essay which deals with many relevant issues. --Xed 02:04, 24 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I suggest countries not on the Bottom 100 lists below should be ignored when choosing CROSSBOW subjects: (Xed, though unsigned; his list can be seen at [4]. It's interesting.)

  • Do I understand the previous comment to mean that you feel this project should not be looking at neglected aspects of women's history, African-American history, etc.? -- Jmabel 03:21, Sep 24, 2004 (UTC)
Women exist in the countries below. And they certainly are very neglected aspects of women's history. And American history seems well within the bias zone. For focus, the crossbow should aim at the bulls-eye. --Xed 04:08, 24 Sep 2004 (UTC)
OK, since you are doing this in your personal pages rather than as a WikiProject, I guess you get to call the shots. Sounds like you will not be focused on areas where I have expertise, either in the subject matter or in whom we might recruit. I'll just duck out of this. Best of luck. -- Jmabel 18:40, Sep 24, 2004 (UTC)

I do strongly encourage people who have expertise or interest in, for example, Central Africa and Central Asia to work with Xed on this. Meanwhile, if anyone is interested in starting a WikiProject on African-American topics, or addressing the under-coverage of women's history in the Western world, plese get hold of me, I'd love to participate and might even have ideas about recruiting people. -- Jmabel 19:17, Sep 24, 2004 (UTC)


I'm going to bed. If anyone is willing to help me produce a beta version of section I sketched out above, please sign your name below. For Popperian reasons, I would prefer to have people critical of the idea as well as supporters.--Xed 03:15, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)


Right, hang on, let me summarise this discussion so far:

  1. Xed "There is systemic bias in Wikipedia (and nobody appears to mind)"
  2. Everyone else (with varying amounts of civility): "What is your proposed remedy / action?"
  3. Xed "We could have a list of articles that need creating or expanding for this reason"
  4. (Nearly) everyone else: "Can we have a demonstration?"
  5. Repeat
More like:
    1. Xed "There is systemic bias in Wikipedia, here is my suggestion - put a section on the Community portal page"
    2. Others - we agree.
    3. Wikiclique - do it yourself and stop being lazy.
    4. User:Neutrality - 3 million dead is funny, I will vandalise the page
    5. Wikiclique - You are a troll
    6. Tagishsimon - beep beep I am a robot.
    7. Wikiclique - But you haven't made a suggestion
    8. and repeat

--Xed 01:36, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Xed, grow the hell up and stop calling us names like "wikiclique." I don't think you even want to be taken seriously. --Ardonik.talk()* 02:18, Sep 22, 2004 (UTC)
Stop lying. I never "vandalized this page," nor did I say 3 million dead is funny. [[User:Neutrality|Neutrality (talk)]] 02:47, Sep 22, 2004 (UTC)

So, instead of trading insults, let's look at the deatils and feasibility of this suggestion:

  • what would be the criteria for listing?
  • how would it differ from other "to-do" type lists, such as Cleanup, Requests for expansion, Requested articles, and the List of encyclopedia topics that someone mentioned?
    • relatedly, how can we ensure that each of these pages retains its usefulness as others spring up with overlapping roles; or have we got too many and need to rethink how we organise them?
  • do existing pages address the issue of systemic bias simply through "the community process"?
    • if not, why not, and is there a way we can change this? (e.g. some kind of rules for Requested articles that tend towards correcting rather than increasing the "lean"?)

Discuss. - IMSoP 01:25, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC) [Typed simultaneous to Morven's comment above; perhaps these questions could form the basis of such a page.]

There's an option 2a, and that is "Wikipedia could be improved, and there are several ways of doing it. Here's the one I'll work on".

I can't see any prospect of eliminating systemic bias from Wikipedia, but I can see several ways of trying to reduce it.

The one that is most likely to succeed IMO is simple Wikiquette. We are I hope all aware of the policy of not biting newbies, and also the more general policy of not biting anybody.

Sticking to these policies will reduce systemic bias by broadening our contributor base. Or, to put it another way, every time we condone violations we are increasing the bias, because the presence of rudeness, aggro and even rhetoric in our discussion pages is a far greater obstacle to the participation of minority-view editors than to others. Andrewa 01:49, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)

This is the one long-term solution to the problem that will work. Committing a group of interested people to go and help is laudable, but in the long term, expanding the contributor base will have a far more powerful effect. Tempshill 17:23, 23 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Surely the Congo War is an extreme case. By the argument of deaths alone, articles on Starvation, Old age, Heart Disease should be far far longer and more detailed than everything else. Surely importance is something decided by the reader - in the end, wikipedia has a target audience, and the expansion of articles is almost directly based on the level of interest this audience has for the various subjects. If no one searches wikipedia for the Congo War (possibly because despite the death toll, the war has very little global impact, unlike 9/11, and because little information is available for it from base sources), then harsh as it may be, it is not important to the average reader. So, your ire is misdirected. I wouldn't call it bias. Rather, its reflecting western culture.

On the contrary, the Congo War has had massive global impact – nine different countries ahve been involved. Just because they don't happen to be in your part of the globe shows your own bias. Secondly, I didn't make the argument by deaths alone. Thirdly, a subjet shouldn't be avoided simply because it is a difficult one to comprehend or far away--Xed 02:18, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)

So basically, what you are really proposing is to deploy WP as a tool to change the minds of the populace, to open their eyes. To become much less an encyclopedia, but more a source of investigative journalism. The argument then is whether wikipedia can, and should fulfill that aim.

Again, someone is putting words into my mouth. I'm talking about the character of Wikipedia, and how people who WANT to counter-act the systemic bias can be given more oppurtunities to do so.--Xed 02:18, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)
So do something already. Every second you spend picking fights here is one second less for counteracting the systemic bias of Wikipedia—and yet you continue trolling rather than making a single constructive edit. —No-One Jones (m) 02:24, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)
This is disappointing. Did you even read the comments by IMSoP and Andrewa? No biting. --[[User:Eequor|η♀υωρ]]

(I hence wouldn't term it 'removing systematic bias', since bias is pretty vague and subjective. Its more coverage of events outside the public awareness. If this is to work at all, we need to construct a highly visible way of showcasing such content.)--Fangz 02:04, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Comments like Xed's come along from time to time, but the underlying message I always get is "you should stop working on you want to work on, and work on what I want you to work on instead, because I think it's more important". Browbeating people with charges of "systemic bias" or whatever is just a technique to try to make us feel guilty, but you know what? This is a hobby, not a job, and no one is going to push me into doing anything that I don't want to do. Stan 02:27, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Good for you. No one is pushing you to do anything. You have misread what I have said. Again and again I have said - edit what you want. DON'T STOP WORKING ON WHAT YOU WANT TO. I'm talking about people who WANT to counter-act the systemic bias and how they can be given more oppurtunities to do so.--Xed 02:35, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Raul's law of Wikipedia #3 - "You cannot motivate people on a large scale to write about something they don't want to write about". →Raul654 02:42, Sep 22, 2004 (UTC)
Well Xed, there's already nothing to stop random people from working energetically to "counter-act the systemic bias" that they perceive. Ergo, I conclude that you're wanting people to do something different than what they're doing now. If you don't want anybody to do anything different, then what's the point of telling us that we're not working on the right subjects? It doesn't make any sense. Stan 04:34, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Community_Portal is not locked. Xed can go there and start eliminating bias, as he has suggested here seven times without bothering to do so. Does he expect ... what? acclaim for his suggestion? Actions speak louder, you know, than those other things. Ortolan88 02:54, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Systemic bias in Wikipedia[edit]

Wikipedia's own page on Wikipedia states that "Wikipedia is committed to making its articles as unbiased as possible." However, there is still no mechanism for removing the systemic bias present in Wikipedia. I'm talking about the bias caused mainly by Wikipedia's demographic make-up (mainly North American computer literate types). Pages such as Wikipedia:Collaboration_of_the_week, Wikipedia:Requested articles etc don't specifically attack the problem, and often serve to perpetuate it. An example of this problem is that even after 1 million articles have been written, the article on the Congo Civil War, possibly the largest war since World War 2 (and which resulted in over 3 million deaths), have much less information than articles such as Babylon 5, Languages_of_Middle-earth, Slackware etc which appear to fit into the Wikipedia demographic. I suggest a section on the Wikipedia:Community_Portal page to deal with this issue.--Xed 18:57, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)

There's a very easy fix for this: Get more people involved who aren't North Americans. I hereby assign you to the job. - DavidWBrooks 18:51, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)
The above response sadly demonstrates the self-satisfied attitude of many Wikipedians to this problem--Xed 18:57, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Is your "someone else should fix it" attitude an improvement? Regardless, an imbalance in article quantity is not a "bias". --P3d0 03:35, Sep 22, 2004 (UTC)
Replies_to_common_objections#Systemic_bias. While insufficient content in an area is always an issue, an imbalance of contributors isn't necessarily one. Derrick Coetzee 19:07, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)
As mentioned above, I guess the only way to stop this is expanding the Wikipedia user base with more people from different backgrounds. If it bothers you, I'd suggest you specialize in promoting wikipedia to as much people as you can to solve the problem. MGM 19:14, Sep 21, 2004 (UTC)
I'm not Superman. I can only do so much. With 1 million articles, this problem needs to be addressed in a more organized way.--Xed 19:30, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Such as? Theresa Knott (taketh no rest) 19:37, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)
As I said I suggest a section on the Wikipedia:Community_Portal page to deal with this. The section would list articles which, if created/edited/expanded would counter-act the systemic bias.--Xed 19:46, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)
When the Encyclopaedia Britannica, or the World Book, were written, what order did they go in? Did they start with World War II, or did they start alphabetically, perhaps with aardvark? Did they start with countries, or with people? The fact is, Wikipedia is, and will always be, a work in progress. If you want more coverage of the Congo Civil War, by all means, add it, and try to get others to help you. But the fact there is more information on Babylon 5 than the Congo Civil War does not mean there's a bias. If a writer of Britannica got writer's block while drafting the World War II article, should they not let others proceed with articles on other, less important subjects? It may just mean we haven't gotten around to it.
Furthermore, if there IS such a bias (and I will agree with you, en: is mostly computer literate English-speaking North Americans and Britons), ... there's really not much we can do about that, is there. You say, "do something." I say, "like what?" --Golbez 19:41, Sep 21, 2004 (UTC)
As I said I suggest a section on the Wikipedia:Community_Portal page to deal with this. The section would list articles which, if created/edited/expanded would counter-act the systemic bias.--Xed 19:46, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)
What can we do? All I can think of is (1) Spread knowledge of Wikipedia as far as we can, in the hope of attracting as diverse an editor pool as we can; (2) make some effort at identifying areas of poor coverage, to guide editors who might be looking for something to research. —Morven 19:47, Sep 21, 2004 (UTC)

So quit bitching and do something about it already. Make the list of articles that you think would help counteract the systemic bias; start it at User:Xed/Anti-Systemic-bias list and see if you can get consensus for including it on the community portal. Then go work on the articles yourself. —No-One Jones (m) 19:57, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Smugness about this problem, and its size, seems to be common among some people. If there's over 1 million articles I can hardly do it all myself. Furthermore, it's not up to me to make this list. Which is why I suggest a section on the Wikipedia:Community_Portal page to deal with this. The section would list articles which, if created/edited/expanded would counter-act the systemic bias.--Xed 20:05, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)
You may not be able to do it all yourself but you can at least make a start. If you aren't willing to put forth even that minimal effort then I suggest you quit your whinging. —No-One Jones (m) 20:52, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)

You are starting to sound like a troll, Xed. If you want to help, it is up to you to create this list. If you only want to interfere with what other people are working on, go somewhere else. Awolf002 20:28, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)

A troll is someone who wants to improve Wikipedia?--Xed 21:09, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)
  • "You are starting to sound like a troll, Xed" - BWAHAHAHA! RickK 21:02, Sep 21, 2004 (UTC)


Morven's idea is interesting - has there been any serious attempt to map the areas that have the least coverage? Mark Richards 20:31, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Xed, the part of Wikipedia you wan't to be more important, is growing. But it won't outgrow the Slackware+Babylon 5 part for some time, I guess. But IMHO, there is no conflict between these parts. Anyway, you can't transform a good contributor on Slackware into a good contributor on Congo Civil War, most of the time. But the growth of Wikipedia will give more public visibility, which will result in new contributors. Think of the North American computer literate types as the first wave of contributors with more waves rolling in. Perhaps the most important point in making this concept work, is to ensure that Wikipedia is a friendly environment for new contributors. Pjacobi 20:32, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)

The response here isn't too friendly. See No-one's comment above.--Xed 21:09, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)
The response would be a lot friendlier if you'd quit whinging, quit trying to pick fights, and get to work on the problem. Obviously. —No-One Jones (m) 00:26, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)

The bias discussed here is present in the range of existing articles, not in the text of any one article. An important distinction, imho. In the latter case, an active effort would be required to remove the bias from the text. As it is, we can just wait for WP to outgrow the bias. And if there is a decent article on the war in the Congo, it is not degraded by any number of geeky articles that may exist beside it. Yes, we are a long way from WP 1.0. But as long as nobody claims that WP is a valid replacement for the Britannica yet, this is a non-issue. dab 20:46, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)

The 'geeky articles' will continue to grow, so I don't see how 'serious' articles have a chance to catch up without any organized effort--Xed 21:09, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Maybe it would help to add a new template stating something in this direction: "This article needs attention, for a encyclopedia of Wikipedia's size and stature it is highly undeveloped, considering the relative importance of the subject". This allows easy categorization, and allows people interested in filling the gaps in Wikipedia knowledge, that are caused by WP demographics to be, to find these articles easily. -- Solitude 20:59, Sep 21, 2004 (UTC)

That is a possibility.--Xed 21:09, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)
  • Ugh, NO! RickK 21:02, Sep 21, 2004 (UTC)

Also, while en: is the largest wikipedia, it is not the only one. IIRC, it makes up only 1/3 of the articles on Wikipedia. es:, de: and jp: are all much more likely to have articles on Spanish/Latin American, German and Japanese interests, just as en: is more likely to have articles on Anglo-Australian interests. These will outgrow with time, but we only have a million articles. ;) --Golbez 21:05, Sep 21, 2004 (UTC)

I'm something of a newbie, but wouldn't the Congo Civil War article (for example) be appropriate for Wikipedia:Requests_for_expansion? Jpgordon 21:10, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)

For a few articles which you most care about expanding, why not nominate them for Collaboration of the Week, at WP:COTW?-gadfium 22:22, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)

If you can find, say, half a dozen others who want to work with you on this, you could start a project group. They don't all have to be on subject matter areas. Xed, there isn't a someone else who needs to start this, you have to decide what is important and start building, or find a group of people who want to work with you on it. It's unlikely that you will get consensus to go straight to the Community Portal without demonstrating some smaller-scale success first, and it may turn out that Community Portal is irrelevant (but do start making nominations for Wikipedia:Collaboration_of_the_week: in my experience, a cluster of related articles tend to get written. -- Jmabel 23:19, Sep 21, 2004 (UTC)

I cannot help but feel that the premise of Xed's argument is a little shaky. A pejoritive accusation of systematic bias is at best a value judgement. What underpins it? Why is a war in the Congo worth more wiki-inches than Babylon 5? Who decides these things, and who is able to make apple versus orang-utan comparisons? Whereas I tend to share what I assume is Xed's opinion, that it would be more worthy to read about or even write about the Congolese civil war than Bablylon 5, I note that we already have a number of Wikipedia:Requested articles pages which go some way to address/answer Xed's call for action; and also have Wikipedia:List of encyclopedia topics. In what way do these differ from Xed's section on the Wikipedia:Community_Portal suggestion? Beyond that, his/her argument seems to be a good example of the best driving out the good. --Tagishsimon
'Why is a war in the Congo worth more wiki-inches than Babylon 5?' - because the Congo Civil War resulted in 3 million deaths and is possibly the largest war since WW2. Surely it can't be difficult to see why it needs more coverage. Look how much coverage 9/11 has on Wikipedia, and that was only 3 thousand deaths. The Wikipedia:Requested articles page does not deal specifically with the issue of systemic bias.--Xed 00:15, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)
You should also complain to EB then. Their article on it is even shorter than ours. -- Wapcaplet 02:08, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)
If it is "not difficult to see", then why are you unable to explain why it is more important? If you are unable to explain why, then perhaps it is just a value judgement on your part. Waving the magnitude of the death toll does not amount to an argument. --Tagishsimon
I have explained. Your arguments would only make sense coming from a robot or a lawyer--Xed 00:58, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)
There I must beg to differ: you have not explained. You have articulated a value judgement with no explanation whatsoever, and you do not eecognise your judgement for what it is. Your premise is indeed flawed, and I submit that any resolution based on a flawed premise will itself be flawed. Neither have you explained by what mechanism will be determined the actions that must be taken to correct the supposed systematic bias. All in all, much heat but not very much light. --Tagishsimon
It should be exceedingly obvious that a war affecting the lives of millions of real people and having a profound impact on the politics of several nations is far more important than a television program which cannot reasonably be said to have significantly affected the lives of anyone. See abstraction, problem of universals, phenomenology, abstract structure, and reification. --[[User:Eequor|η♀υωρ]] 01:08, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Doubtless it should be but it isn't. It depends upon your frame of reference, and of necessity is a value judgement. That is the way of these things; all else is little more than hysteria. But you made a slightly better stab at it than did Xed. --Tagishsimon
01010110100100110111010100011 beep beep. Would you regard the Holocaust article more or less important than Babylon 5? Or would that be a value judgement?--Xed 01:24, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)
It seems to me that you consider the comparitive quality of, say, Holocaust and Babylon 5 to be an issue. I think this is the sticking point in this disagreement.
In other words, you say "It's a disgrace that we have an excellent article on X but a bad one on Y." But why does the quality of article X matter? It's like you feel it's an insult to "worthy topics" to have so many good articles on "trivial topics". —Morven 01:30, Sep 22, 2004 (UTC)
The quality of X certainly doesn't matter. Your straw man is getting taller and taller--Xed 01:51, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)
If I'm an editor who knows more about Babylon 5 than the Holocaust, should I be encouraged to contribute to the article that I know, or the one that is deemed more important? (To forestall any baseless accusations right away, I am not trying to diminish the significance of the Holocaust. But this question is important to me, and I'd like to read your answer.) --Ardonik.talk()* 01:40, Sep 22, 2004 (UTC)
I'm not talking about what you know, or indeed edit. Edit what you want. I'm talking about the character of Wikipedia, and how people who WANT to counter-act the systemic bias can be given more oppurtunities to do so - hence a list on the Community Portal page.--Xed 01:55, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)

It should be noted that most of the above discussion only strengthens Xed's position. From the crude sample here, it would appear that most Wikipedians hold a blind faith in the infallibility of community editing, minds closed to any suggestion otherwise. The community does have a systemic bias, supported by sheeplike herd behavior when anything appears that threatens the status quo. Musk oxen may be more apt: Wikipedian protectionism is generally predictably odious, mindlessly guarding of its central beliefs, and too stubborn and dense to usefully argue with. At least sheep are polite. --[[User:Eequor|η♀υωρ]] 00:19, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Community editing isn't infallible, but it is all we have. You'll note that some people are A) acknowledging that the problem exists and B) making suggestions on how to fix it. You could too, instead of flinging insults. —No-One Jones (m) 00:26, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)
It's not blind faith, for most of us. Community editing has its problems, but it also has its strengths. Most of us consider the latter to very much outweigh the former. Suggestions of how to mitigate the weaknesses are always appreciated, at least by me. —Morven 00:51, Sep 22, 2004 (UTC)

Note: User 'Neutrality' vandalised this page, before it was fixed by User Eequor.--Xed 00:29, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Stop lying. [[User:Neutrality|Neutrality (talk)]] 00:41, Sep 22, 2004 (UTC)
Check the history. [5]--Xed 00:51, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Xed, I don't think that's vandalism. I think you're trolling, too. --Ardonik.talk()* 01:21, Sep 22, 2004 (UTC)

Xed, there are two possible routes to choose when you notice something wrong with Wikipedia. They are:

  1. Say "Wikipedia's broken. You guys should fix it."
  2. Say "Wikipedia's broken. Here's my proposal for fixing it. Anyone want to help?"

Oddly enough, option 2 is appreciated much more than option 1. If a problem is not important enough for you to wish to be part of the solution to it, of course everyone will conclude you're whining -- or just intent on arguing. —Morven 01:02, Sep 22, 2004 (UTC)

That's why I chose option 2, suggesting a section on the Community Portal page, which of course I would be willing to help with.--Xed 01:14, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Why not knock together a page inside the Wikipedia namespace, as a few people have suggested, and let people see what they think of the idea, then? —Morven 01:23, Sep 22, 2004 (UTC)

Image upload problem[edit]

I'm have a spot of bother uploading a revised version of a Jpeg image. I'm trying to upload it onto the same name as the original file. I get the file overwrite warning, but when I proceed anyway with the 'Save File' button, I get the error message

The file you uploaded seems to be empty. This might be due to a typo in the file name. Please check whether you really want to upload this file.

Is there a problem today, or am I doing something wrong? -- Solipsist 16:33, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Must be a problem of some sort. I now see that if I force a refresh, the file has actually changed to the new image, despite the error message. However the 'File History' section remains unchanged. -- Solipsist 16:52, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)

CD-ROM version of Wikipedia[edit]

I will not donate money to the Wikipedia project because I am waiting for the CD-ROM version of the database. I will almost certainly buy it. Stop begging for money. Wikipedia has a great product (database) that many people will gladly buy. Failure to pounce on this opportunity is one of the shortfalls of Wikipedia and open source projects in general: a horde of talented people will sooner spend hours arguying about some minutae on some dusty old article before doing something practical that will ensure a long-term source of funding for Wikipedia. Get to it. EDGE 15:21, Sep 21, 2004 (UTC)

Actually plans are afoot to produce a cd rom. There are also discussions about a printed version. The foundation can't stop begging for money. It needs it! You don't have to donate any money if you don't want to though, although many people do. Theresa Knott (taketh no rest) 19:45, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Interesting. You say we have a great product, and you then order us to abandon the very principles that have produced it.
The GFDL greatly limits our ability to make a lot of money out of the CD-ROM, as you seem to suppose we could. I hope you do buy a copy, I hope many will. But we will buy it partly as a donation, that is to say, we'll buy it from the Wikimedia Foundation rather than a third party (who is equally entitled to produce one under the GFDL) because we want to support Wikipedia and copyleft.
That raises a good point. I think we are both assuming here that there will be a first-world edition of the CD-ROM. I don't know whether that has even been discussed (Wikipedia is a big place). I think that there should be, but my suggestion is that the only difference should be the price, and that if first-world users decide to buy a third-world edition, there's no point in trying to stop them. Buying the first-world edition would be a moral decision, or if you like a thinly disguised donation.
I encourage you to remain radical. Lateral thinking is precious, and I think you are good at it. But I recommend you also respect those of us who are a little more conservative. We have a valid filtering role. We should challenge and inspire each other. Somewhere in between is a direction that is both idealistic and workable, which I will call good.
One of Wikipedia's principles has been to encourage Wikilove. Some of our regular contributors have yet to get the idea, and that's fine, respect for another person is a decision, not a contract. I encourage you to turn your idealism and lateral thinking to this sometime. What characterises good discussion? Some stress is good. Is some conflict good? Andrewa 18:06, 23 Sep 2004 (UTC)
The idea of a CD-ROM version, with the attendant problem of what to include in such a static "snapshot" of the Wikipedia content, is discussed at User:Jimbo Wales/Pushing To 1.0. JamesMLane 12:32, 24 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Popular Random Articles[edit]

I've hacked up a script to select random articles with probability proportional to their popularity, measured by raw hit counts. The difference in quality between a 100 articles selected using the "Random Page" link, and 100 articles selected using the script is striking — and, I guess, obvious. In particular, I would emphasise caution with "Random Page" surveys — they don't accurately represent the Wikipedia that our readers are encountering. — Matt 15:13, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Excellent work! That is striking, indeed. Fredrik | talk 15:38, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Wow look how many hits Zoophilia has. Theresa Knott (taketh no rest) 19:50, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)
I often use random page and I frequently notice that when I do some minor edit on a long unedited page, it frequently gets several additional edits or expansions after it appears on recent changes. So I am not sure that ranking random choices by popularity is necessarily a good choice. Rmhermen 18:20, Sep 22, 2004 (UTC)
The weighting was done based on number of hits, not number of edits. Remember that only a very, very small fraction of all Wikipedia readers are Wikipedians and engage in editing. And out of those, only a fraction have made a habit of checking recent changes. I think that the exposure created by RC virtually disappears in the noise of regular Wikipedia readers' activities. — David Remahl 18:51, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)
I've noticed exactly the same thing. But that's really a separate issue - if anyone wants to work on some random pages, looking for things to improve, but also wants to have a reasonable chance that their improvements will end up being seen by a reasonable number of viewers, Matt's script is an excellent starting point. —Stormie 06:11, Sep 23, 2004 (UTC)

Article Titles[edit]

There's obviously a great deal of emphasis placed on ensuring similar articles follow a template; wickifying. However, what about article titles? This seems to be a problem widespread across Wikipedia, usually on lists of... articles, for example, the following all exist for the National Park articles:

  • List of National Parks in country
  • List of National Parks of country
  • National Parks of country
  • Country's National Parks

The same is true for football teams, rivers, and many more. This means for that many people assume a page doesnt exist because nothing appears when they type in the title that is used on other similar articles.

At the very least we should be activly encouraging users to insert redirects, but should be looking to wickify article titles.

Sorry to go on! rant over :P Grunners 14:17, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)

See also Wikipedia:WikiProject Rivers, Wikipedia:WikiProject Protected Areas. Rmhermen 16:58, Sep 22, 2004 (UTC)

Shawn Mikula[edit]

For those who care, Shawn Mikula has posted babelfished stubs to non-english wikipedias (de, es, fr, it).

Added a note on de:. andy 16:26, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Oddly named Wikipedia mirrors[edit]

Literary Expert ?[edit]

List of years in literature shows two dates, 1838 and 1828, for publication of The Birds of America by John James Audubon. I can't find the proper date. Maybe someone here knows. Thanks. JillandJack 13:36, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)

The problem is there is no single date. The first (Havell) edition was published in sets of 5 followed by a four volume complete betewwn 1826 and 1838. Hope this helps. Filiocht 14:14, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)

WikiProject namespace[edit]

Discussion is now live on whether or not to establish a separate WikiProject namespace! Let your opinions be known at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject! Let the Spirit of Consensus-Based Decision Making move you to form a few coherent thoughts! Doing so will make you popular, and more attractive to one or more sexes! Act now! Tuf-Kat 07:23, Sep 21, 2004 (UTC)

ERROR ON FRONT PAGE[edit]

The link to the community portal points to the edit link, not the page link.--Etaonish 02:51, Sep 21, 2004 (UTC)

Note to admins: You may consider using plain HTML instead of wiki markup to fix the link temporarily, if there isn't any faster solution. Etz Haim 03:27, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)
I couldn't figure out what exactly was wrong, but for now i replaced the link with a HTML link as you suggested. Thanks for picking that up. -- Chris 73 Talk 04:35, Sep 21, 2004 (UTC)
Red links where there should be blue ones instead; This has happened before and I've posted something on the pump too. I'm not a wiki, database, or CMS expert, but this might have to do something with not updating cached content on the server. Etz Haim 04:44, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)

1 mil! Break out the champaigne![edit]

Nuff said. Ilγαηερ (Tαlκ) 00:47, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Caw! I beat you to it, mate. Better luck at two million (at this rate, that'll be around Saturday or so.) --Ardonik.talk()* 07:30, Sep 21, 2004 (UTC)
Wow! Hey... if we got rid of WP:VFD, we could probably hit 3 mil by, oh, let's say 7 pm. ;-) func(talk) 15:28, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Ways of determining article size[edit]

From what I can gather, from both alternative and normal methods, the average Wikipedia article is around 340 words in length and 2.25kb in size. Since I am committed to the quality of the articles I create and modify over the long term, I am aiming for a personal goal of at least three times the average. ie around 1100 words and about 7Kb of readable text.

So far, the only method of finding out this information is to place the article name in the search box and press "search". That has given me the kb size of the article - but I am wondering how much of that size is text and how much are images. Lately, whenever I have tried to find the size of an article I get Wikipedia search is disabled for performance reasons. You can search via Google or Yahoo! in the meantime. which is really quite annoying. Since Google haven't yet discovered the pages I have updated, any Google search ends up with no article.

Is it possible to create a special webpage (not a Wiki) where you can type in the Wikipedia article location (eg: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._Electoral_College), and then get the following statistics:

  • Total size of article (in kb)
  • Total size of text (in kb)
  • Total size of readable text (in kb)
  • Total size of all images in article (in kb)
  • Readable Word Count (excluding headings etc as per definitions of article count - alternative)
  • Amount of internal links
  • Amount of external links

As well as up-to-date information on the page which shows what the average Wikipedia article is like in comparison to the article, plus additional information on the language version. (eg Average Wikipedia article size is 2078 bytes, compared to English language article size of 2315 bytes)

I realise that quantity is not always the best indicator - however I have no doubt about my own personal skills in writing over 1000 words of decent quality prose.

I don't know a great deal about programming and web pages - but I am assuming that the actual software that is required for this sort of activity can be embedded into the actual webpage itself. This means that when the person hits "go", all the processing power to work out the information is done by his own PC rather than the Wiki CPUs.

This sort of thing would really help me to create nice big articles. I am of the opinion that Wikipedia is excellent in quantity but is growing in quality. This sort of thing should help us all make better articles. What do you think?

One Salient Oversight 23:45, 20 Sep 2004 (UTC)

You say you're not a programmer, so this might not help you too much, but are you aware that the entire Wikipedia database can be downloaded and that individual pages can be exported? anthony (see warning) 13:46, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)
However, Special:Export returns raw Wiki code, which must be parsed somehow. Downloading every image to determine their sizes is awkward, and downloading the entire database is either impractical or infeasible. --[[User:Eequor|η♀υωρ]] 14:18, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I've posted this to MediaZilla as feature request 547. --[[User:Eequor|η♀υωρ]] 14:35, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Merging/deleting an article[edit]

I noticed something odd: There is the article electronic counter-measures and electronic countermeasures. Can they be merged and then have one deleted? Cap'n Refsmmat 22:29, Sep 20, 2004 (UTC)

Generally the process is to merge and turn one into a redirect. No admin support needed, but definitely talk about it with the editors of those pages. There should be some relevant Wikipedia namespace page on merging. Derrick Coetzee 22:41, 20 Sep 2004 (UTC)
You are looking for Wikipedia:Duplicate articles -- Chris 73 Talk 00:33, Sep 21, 2004 (UTC)

HELP! URGENT! High-speed page creation/page move vandal![edit]

User:Willy on wheels! Please help! [[User:Neutrality|Neutrality (talk)]] 22:22, Sep 20, 2004 (UTC)

Contribs:

  • 03:19, Sep 21, 2004 (hist) Wikipedia:Votes for deletion (Wikipedia:Votes for deletion moved to Votes for Willys) (New)
  • 03:19, Sep 21, 2004 (hist) User talk:Francs2000 (User talk:Francs2000 moved to Talk:Willys 2000) (New)
  • 03:19, Sep 21, 2004 (hist) Wikipedia:Vandalism in progress (Wikipedia:Vandalism in progress moved to Wikipedia:Willys in progress) (New)
  • 03:18, Sep 21, 2004 (hist) User:Francs2000 (User:Francs2000 moved to Willys 2000) (New)
  • 03:18, Sep 21, 2004 (hist) Willy on Wheels on Wheels on Wheels on Wheels on Wheels on Wheels on Wheels (New)
  • 03:18, Sep 21, 2004 (hist) Willy on Wheels on Wheels on Wheels on Wheels on Wheels on Wheels (New)
  • 03:18, Sep 21, 2004 (hist) Willy on Wheels on Wheels on Wheels on Wheels on Wheels (New)
  • 03:18, Sep 21, 2004 (hist) User talk:Raul654 (User talk:Raul654 moved to Talk:654 Willys on 654 Wheels) (New)
  • 03:18, Sep 21, 2004 (hist) User:Raul654 (User:Raul654 moved to 654 Willys on 654 Wheels) (New)
  • 03:18, Sep 21, 2004 (hist) Willy on Wheels
  • 03:18, Sep 21, 2004 (hist) Willy on Wheels on Wheels on Wheels (New)
  • 03:17, Sep 21, 2004 (hist) User talk:Grunt (User talk:Grunt moved to Talk:Willy on Wheels on Wheels.) (New)
  • 03:17, Sep 21, 2004 (hist) User:Grunt (User:Grunt moved to Willy on Wheels on Wheels.) (New)
  • 03:17, Sep 21, 2004 (hist) User:Willy on wheels! (New)
I've left a message at User talk:Guanaco. Guanaco seems to be active now.
Acegikmo1 22:24, 20 Sep 2004 (UTC)
I've blocked him for 24 days, modify his sentence if you like. -- user:zanimum
Please ban his IP so he can't come back under a different name. --Ardonik.talk()* 22:45, Sep 20, 2004 (UTC)
How does one do that? (find an IP/range) -- user:zanimum

For discussion of Willy's ban: Wikipedia:Vandalism_in_progress#Willy_on_wheels.21_.28URGENT:_returning_high-speed_page-move_vandal.29

One million articles - add to September 20?[edit]

Would it be appropriate to mention the one-million-article milestone on the date page September 20? —Etaoin 20:50, 20 Sep 2004 (UTC)

No.
I thought it violated Wikipedia:Avoid self-references, but then I checked Wikipedia Day -- it is linked to from January 15. Not that such a link is definitive, but it suggests we may have decided in the past that it was acceptable. Important question -- would we note the date that Brittanica hit its millionth article? If so, I think we can add it. If not, however, I think we leave it alone. Jwrosenzweig 20:53, 20 Sep 2004 (UTC)
There is no definitive date for that. Unless they keep detailed records of when articles are paid for, you'd have only the option of mentioning when the first edition of Britannica with 1m went to print. Does anyone else think Wikipedia:September 20, etc. would be advisable. Essentially an alternative archive to Wikipedia:Announcements. -- user:zanimum
It doesn't really violation Wikipedia:Avoid self-references, which says that "Wikipedia can, of course, write about Wikipedia, but context is important." In this case I think it's in bad taste, though, as Wikipedia hitting one million articles has too low an impact on the world to be chosen as one of the fewer than 100 events in the last 2000 years which gets put on that page. anthony (see warning) 21:16, 20 Sep 2004 (UTC)
That puts things into the appropriate perspective. --Ardonik.talk()* 21:20, Sep 20, 2004 (UTC)
Good point. Are articles like Wikipedia:September 20 appropriate? The way announcements are now aren't that timeless. -- user:zanimum

I agree with Anthony about the big picture. The appropriate place to put this is generally on Meta (remember, this milestone is all Wikipedias, not just the English one). Pages there include Wikipedia timeline and Milestones. I find that better than Wikipedia:September 20. --Michael Snow 21:33, 20 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I agree with Anthony also, though I will note that some events make it onto dates without meeting quite so strict a criterion. And I want to note also for anyone's benefit that a fairly decent list of important Wikipedia dates is at History of Wikipedia -- since the days are wikified, a what links here from a given day (say, September 20) will note it's linked to from History of Wikipedia. I don't know how useful that is, given the number of articles linking to days. But I thought it worth mentioning. Jwrosenzweig 21:50, 20 Sep 2004 (UTC)

1 million wikipedia articles[edit]

Everyone give yourself a big pat on the back for making wikipedia what it is! :) Darksun 18:49, 20 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Congrats to all the fellow wikipedians! BACbKA 19:16, 20 Sep 2004 (UTC)
And there was much rejoicing! :) -- [[User:Bobdoe|BobDoe]] 19:55, 20 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Sorry, guys, but I already beat you to it. (This really does belong in the news section, though.) --Ardonik.talk()* 19:59, Sep 20, 2004 (UTC)
(news)? When did this happen? -- Cyrius| 20:28, 20 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Does that include redirects? [[User:Dpbsmith|Dpbsmith (talk)]] 20:43, 20 Sep 2004 (UTC)
AFAIK, no redirects, no Wikipedia:, no talk:, no user:, no user_talk:, no category:, no templates, or thing like that. Old article counts also excluded stubs, then defined as an article without a comma (unless there is no comma equivilent in the language). -- user:zanimum

Dealing with trolls[edit]

Wikipedia:Dealing with disruptive or antisocial editors/poll2 received 75% votes in favor, however it is unclear how to deal with the dissent. Where do we go from here? anthony (see warning) 16:08, 20 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I suspect that, if there were a clear method of desysopping, we'd get ortho's vote to change, maybe even one more. The problem is, until we have a clear policy for dealing with disruptive editors, there's a lot of guesswork for sysops concerning how they're supposed to behave, which makes most of them resist a clear desysopping policy, IMO. So we may be at an impasse. Can we somehow roll them both together and try and pass a double barreled policy? Jwrosenzweig 20:48, 20 Sep 2004 (UTC)
My objection was mainly based on the fact that we were been asked to give people powers to deal with a problem without any real idea of how big the problem is. Answer that question and then a sensible debate on what needs to be done can begin. Meanwhile, how can anyone judge what the best course of action might be? Filiocht 07:49, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)
If you want 'real' facts, look no further than user:Raul654/Plautus to see the timeline of the most disruptive user ever. →Raul654 07:52, Sep 21, 2004 (UTC)
Yes, this is one kind of fact, but what I really mean is how many users like this are there as a % of the total community. I suspect it is a tiny number, but have no way of knowing just now. If we legislate on the basis of hard cases, we'll make bad laws. Filiocht 08:11, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)
If I had to guess, at any given time, there are probably no more than 4-6 users who are so disruptive that they are ban-worthy. The problem is, new ones appear as fast as we get rid of the older ones. →Raul654 08:15, Sep 21, 2004 (UTC)
There are many more who are disruptive in a small way, often restricting their activities to particular small parts of Wikipedia which they hold on to viciously. I've encountered users who have wasted days of my time. Their only interest in Wikipedia may be to sustain a particular point of view in one or two articles. Eventually, I walked away. They won. There's so many other articles in Wikipedia that need work that one might as well let them have their say when their are worse articles around. Current dispute resolution process seems almost purposely clumsy, designed only for those who like nagivating legal procedures and are good at it. Meanwhile, the supposed Wikipedia policies are lies. They aren't enforced, and if you look closely at may of them, they seem to disappear. No personal attacks? They happen all the time. No POV supposedly. Supposedly a rule of only three reverts in 24 hours, but that's now vanished, maybe, sort of. Try to to cite supposed Wikipedia policy to stop someone who is stubborn and where it is in a minor article of little interest to most, but of great interest to two users to whose only regard for Wikipedia is as a platform for a particular, unnotable, fringe theory in one article. Filiocht's concern with numbers seems to me moot. If only a few people are being raped, then rape doesn't matter? What harm does anyone but a troll find in this proposed quick-alarm system that at least gives some substance to supposed policies that increasingly don't guide Wikipedia. No. I can't measure this. But either can Filiocht. With a two month trial we could perhaps measure it. What other way? Jallan 18:39, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I think comparing this to rape is a little hysterical. You seem to be making the case that anyone who holds an opinion that is different to yours and whom you are unable to persuade is automatically 'disruptive'. Perhaps the cases that you are thinking of are, but you can perhaps see why some people are worried about where this kind of logic leads. However, I do totally agree that we need to strengthen sanctions against personal attacks, they are perhaps the single most damaging type of anti-social behavior we have, along with witch-hunting. Mark Richards 02:05, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Comparison to rape hysterical? No. I am pointing out that numbers should not be an issue. We supposedly have a policy of personal attacks being totally forbidden. It is not enforced. You know this. Currently, the de facto practice is that personal attacks are quite acceptable here, as long as someone doesn't make too many personal attacks, and doen't make them against the wrong people, or both. The case I "seem to be making" is your strawman argument not mine. I am talking about obvious breaking of supposed rules. Yes, in some cases, I or someone else might be in error, the person in the wrong, or there may be no wrong. Fine. Under the proposed policy I would be quickly disabused. Case closed! I can't see why "some people are worried about where this kind of logic leads". Jallan 14:28, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)

The comparison to rape is frankly insulting to rape victims. I still say that hard cases make bad laws and Jallan's intervention has reinforced my opinion. And yes, Mark Richards, there is probably more witch-hunting here than most would allow. Filiocht 11:12, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)

The comparison was intended to be overstrong to indicate how bogus it is to be concerned only with numbers. Can you quantify your contention that "there is probably more witch-hunting here than most would allow"? The policy as proposed would seem to me to be equally effective against fuggheadedness of a witch-hunter type where that exists. Do you not want witch-hunting to be cut down if you believe it is a problem? Jallan 14:28, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Yes, which is why I voted against the proposal. Let's just imagine its Chriatmas and very few people are working here. Just me and three admins, in fact. They're all working on an article together and I stumble in. I find their version horribly POV and try to edit it, they label me disruptive and ultimately ban me before the holiday is over. Overstated, too, I admit, but if you can overstate, so can I. This is part of why this person is "worried about where this kind of logic leads". My concern with numbers is because they bring some objectivity and reduce the likelyhood of a bad knee-jerk reaction or the pushing through of something that serves the interests of a minority only. We have quite a good article on Internet trolls. It contains this sentence, which I think is worth pondering: However, since trollhunters (like trolls) are often conflict-seekers themselves, the loss usually is not on the part of the trollhunter; rather, the losers are the other forum-users who would have preferred that the conflict not emerge at all. My view is simple; don't feed them. Maybe there is no quick-hit solution. Filiocht 14:43, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)
You provided no numbers for your somewhat weasel-worded claim that "there is probably more witch-hunting here than most would allow". A concern with objectivity isn't apparent.
As to the horrid case you postulate, it is impossible. Even three rogue sysops at a time when no-one else is around would not be able to ban you. Please read the proposal that you have voted against. The most rogue admins could do would be a short term block of 24-hours, no worse than many users suffer now though no wrong-doing when a range-block is in effect or through the occasional wrongful blocking that occurs now for claimed vandalism which is later determined to be unjustified. But the reasons for this block would appear openly on the appropriate page, providing documentation for you or anyone to use to show that the sysops were acting against policy. You don't have such full protection now if a single sysop now blocks you for sneaky vandalism.
Not feeding trolls has some success on open web forums, but the usenet is a now a shadow of what it once was. On managed forums trolls are more often simply banned. If not feeding trolls is good, starving trolls is better. But if ignoring disruptors and pushers of crank POV is an option in web forum, it is not an option in Wikipedia where we are trying to build an encyclopedia and trying to maintain and improve the information here. Ignoring the content placed in articles by people intent only on pushing their own POV is not a valid long-term option. Ignoring those interested in sneaky vandalism for the fun of it is not an option. Making it easier to oppose such activities should better Wikipedia.
Jallan 18:33, 23 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Here is a classic case of the ground shifting under you in a discussion like this. We go from the ill defined 'troll', to 'pushers of crank POVs', to people 'intent on pushing their own POV' to 'sneaky vandals', as if these were the same thing. Not feeding the trolls does not mean not reverting vandalism. To try to characterise it in this way is just muddying the waters and making discussion more difficult. Mark Richards 23:15, 23 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Let's just imagine its Chriatmas and very few people are working here. Just me and three admins, in fact. They're all working on an article together and I stumble in. I find their version horribly POV and try to edit it, they label me disruptive and ultimately ban me before the holiday is over. You don't seem to have read the policy. Under this policy you'd get formally warned first. When you get the formal warning, then you simply leave those pages in their "horribly POV" state for a day or two while you get support for your position. Under current policy those 3 admins could get together and protect the pages on their horribly POV version anyway, and that'd likely last more than just a day or two. anthony (see warning) 20:48, 24 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Benzite / Benzites[edit]

The article Benzites should really be moved to the singular noun, Benzite, but the latter has an edit history and so the former can't be moved. Can anyone help? --Arteitle 06:40, Sep 20, 2004 (UTC)

You could list it at Wikipedia:Duplicate articles. T.P.K. 10:09, 20 Sep 2004 (UTC)
I've cleared it up. -- user:zanimum

Box problem[edit]

Can someone clue me in on why the boxes templated in at Wikipedia:WikiProject World music aren't displaying right? (I use Mozilla on a Mac) They work fine in the articles they're in, individually, but not there. Tuf-Kat 04:18, Sep 20, 2004 (UTC)

I think it's a bug. Adding returns instead of spaces causes the boxes to appear (In Firefox 1.0PR on W2K). Take a look at it now. --Rossumcapek 04:27, 20 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Looks good, thanks. Tuf-Kat 04:51, Sep 20, 2004 (UTC)

Tested in Mozilla PC, works there too, terrible black lines in the boxes, though. I like the clean, borderless look of rendered by IE. -- user:zanimum

Article dumping[edit]

User:Password keeps dumping into wikipedia verbose articles from everywhere. Typical examples are Snake teeth and Flora and fauna of Guantanamo Bay. Praise to him, he gives proper references. Many of them are .gov texts; public domain, but way too verbose for encyclopedia IMO. Not to say that many articles are orphans. Also, I stumbled upon him when detecting a possible copyvio of Butterfly odor. Please, some of vikipedia veterans, talk to this guy. Mikkalai 21:46, 19 Sep 2004 (UTC)

He doesn't seem to be stopping... contributions by Password - [[User:Cohesion|cohesion ]] 00:49, 20 Sep 2004 (UTC)
The dance articles such as Castle walk, Minuet step, and Walking Boston are all possible copyvios: http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/dihtml/dires.html Rhobite 01:14, Sep 20, 2004 (UTC)
Snake teeth and Flora and fauna of Guantanamo Bay don't look too verbose to me. They need a bit of work in formatting and writing style, especially snake teeth, but I'm not sure why you would want to remove them. -- Tim Starling 03:57, Sep 20, 2004 (UTC)
These will make fine articles after the usual adaptation process. Copyvio is a definite concern though — not even all .gov sources are public domain. Derrick Coetzee 16:29, 20 Sep 2004 (UTC)
"dumping" is a good term because the articles are raw dumps basically. There are procedures and methods for example on how to deal with 1911 articles. He has not even corrected the scanning errors in them (probably copyvio from an online source).Stbalbach 08:15, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Snake teeth contains text found in The Snakes of Europe. From the first page of the web edition:

This electronic edition is ©2000 by Arment Biological Press

The original text is in the public domain, however all changes, formatting and presentation of thisPublication are copyrighted by the current publisher.

ISBN 1-930585-09-08

If the text is being scanned from an actual old copy of the work than there should be no copyright problem. Otherwise Arment may have included purposeful changes, that is rephrasing, changes in punctuation, spelling, and so forth as a method of detection of coyright violation of their text. It is dubious that such things actually do provide copyright protection. Personally, I have no problem with such content being included. I'd much, much rather see this than a short stub that explains that snakes have teeth that are called snake teeth, even if it perhaps better belongs in Wikisource. This excerpt is almost like a genuine encyclopedia article. But the source should be given, especially when it is an excellent and authoritative source. Put lots and lots of old material into Wikipedia when it is in public domain and still excellent material. But sources so used should be cited. And external links should be given to full web editions if they exist.
Flora and fauna of Guantanamo Bay is from Appendix B of a work appearing at Life in Guantanamo Bay. This might be public domain. As far as I can tell, it seems to have been originally something like an unofficial publication of the US navy or maybe a vanity publication by an officer (though an excellent one). But source again is not listed in the article. That's not right when you are taking it word for word.
Jallan 19:30, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Yellow mustard rabbit[edit]

A now-blocked vandal, User:EDGE, moved User:Jongarrettuk to Yellow mustard rabbit, which he then proceeded to blank. I didn't realize that this was a move, and I deleted it as patent nonsense and blanked patent nonsense at that. When I discovered what EDGE had done, I restored Yellow mustard rabbit so I could move it back to User:Jongarrettuk, but the unblanked version is, for some reason, not available to restore to its proper place. Can somebody help me? RickK 20:27, Sep 19, 2004 (UTC)

Thanks to you and the others dealing with EDGE. I didn't have a userpage to begin with though - am a new wikipedian and haven't gotten round to writing it yet - so there's nothing to restore. Jongarrettuk 21:58, 19 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Oh, good, thanks.  :) RickK 22:18, Sep 19, 2004 (UTC)

The purpose and uses of the Current events page[edit]

Please see Talk:Current events#too much analysis. A discussion has cropped up as to how much information is being included in Current events listings. RickK 18:24, Sep 19, 2004 (UTC)

Possible Michael sighting[edit]

User:69.111.161.32 may be Michael editing anonymously. I already reverted a few dates that he incorrectly changed on album pages. These are articles that Michael has touched in the past. Rhobite 15:05, Sep 19, 2004 (UTC)

Oh, not again. After everyone went through hell and high water to give this guy a second chance. I don't know anything about albums, but I'll be watching Special:Contributions/User:69.111.161.32 more closely today (assuming that's the only IP.) --Ardonik.talk() 15:12, Sep 19, 2004 (UTC)
See also User:205.188.117.7, an apparently run-of-the-mill vandal who blanked Iron Curtain, but a brief look at their contributions revealed this: [6] [7]. I have no idea whether these edits were correct or not, but a change of date by one year made by someone who has vandalised elsewhere makes me suspicious. I reverted these, but someone may wish to check for similar edits by this user. The IP is in AOL's range, making me even more suspicious. — Trilobite (Talk) 20:35, 19 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Note that Michael has not edited with his probationary User:Mike Garcia account since early September. --Michael Snow 20:57, 19 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Wikipedia as a link farm ?[edit]

Before writing this message, I have browsed through a few Wikipedia: series page to see what was already written on this topic ; I found nothing. More surprisingly, I found very little on the general theme of Wikipedia pollution by unfair use of its articles for Google ranking promotion. This does not seem a "hot" issue, but I fear it could become in a near future as long as Wikipedia gets better known and gets higher (together with its clones) on Google.

Indeed I became aware of the problem when googling http://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Aen.wikipedia.org+asinah&sourceid=mozilla-search&start=0&start=0&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8 to see what was already written about a (non GFDL compliant) Singapurese clone of WP. Look : they have linked about twenty of their pages from WP articles ; in each case, the page is not blatantly irrelevant, simply it is a poor page and indeed in reality a link farm.

Then I have kept looking for similar abuse. Watch out this interesting one (I link to a diff page, since I removed it) : http://en.wikipedia.org/w/wiki.phtml?title=Tourism&diff=5861245&oldid=5802398 An anonymous user adds two links ; the first one is irrelevant but not shocking ; the second one is blatant self-promotion. Probably naive from a good-faith editor (he also wrote a "real" sentence on a talk page), and not too dangerous (though the links remained more than one week with nobody noticing the problem).

Now, browse through the various links in the "Commercial travel sites" of Tourism. Some are indeed relevant, like http://www.letsgo.com/ . A few others are self-promotion of sites which are in no way nasty, but not remarkable enough to justify a link from a very general encyclopedy page, e.g. http://www.luggage-life.com/. Lastly and more annoyingly, some are simply there to help link farms sucking Google ranking, see http://www.asinah.net/ (the WP clone which made me conscious of the problem) or http://www.insidetraveltips.com/, still more blatant.

What should be done ? Nothing, hoping that I overestimate the danger and that this kind of parasiting can be contained by the editors as teenager vandalism is effectively contained ? Listing offender domaine names and forbidding external links towards them ? Adding a "nofollow" tag in WK pages, finding another way to have our articles archived ? Something else ? --French Tourist 12:48, 19 Sep 2004 (UTC)

We already, controversially, ban links to a number of locations where active link-farmers were hitting us. It's controversial because it causes problems when editing some real pages and because it's easy to work around it. Wikipedia is an effective device for artifically raising page rank, but is also an important source for Google of authoritative links. At this point, we pretty much hope that the usual wiki process will take care of such links (often, once such a user is noticed once, their other contributions will be checked and all their changes are then easy to revert.) Derrick Coetzee 23:13, 19 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Random page experiment[edit]

Following on from Jallan's idea in Random page meanderings above, as well as earlier, simpler random page surveys, I have created a quick proposal/mockup/brainstorm of a large-scale random page experiment at User:TPK/Drafts/RPE. The gist of the proposal is that x randomly-selected articles (where x was proposed at 100, but that may be too many – or too few) are copied into (presumably my) User: space, or into some Wikipedia: space, and left in situ for a month or so. On the "clone" article's talk pages, there are a number of topics, such as Formatting, Length, Content, Spelling and Grammer, POV, et cetera, and users are invited to look at the clone article, then give it a score from 0 to 10 for each topic. During all this, the original pages will remain untouched, and can be edited as usual (although a link would be left on the talk page to the scoring page of the clone). Given enough time (and ratings), each article would be given a final "Wikiscore" from 0 to 10, which would rate how "perfect" the community perceives that article to be. This would give us some ideas about paradigm articles – the best and the worst – as well as giving us an idea of the state of WP's "average article". I don't know what else could be gained from the experience, or if it's really that useful at all. It's only a vague idea at this stage (and again I give credit to Jallan). Have a look at the draft, suggest what topics you would use for scoring, how the results might be used or collated, whether this is all a waste of time, how the articles might be selected other than randomly (prehaps some previous featured articles should be randomly selected and included to see how they score), and anything else, including whether this is all a waste of time. Thankyou for your time. T.P.K. 07:44, 19 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I believe that's the use of the 'validate' function in 1.4 (see Testwiki) Ilγαηερ (Tαlκ) 14:16, 19 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Skald[edit]

At the moment Skald leads to a disambiguation page, and the main meaning of skald is at Skald (poet). Since the other article in question is about a Norwegian publishing firm which is only a secondary meaning, I'd like to move Skald (poet) to Skald and have a note on the top of the article that there is a publishing firm using the name as well. This move should very uncontroversial since the basic and prestigious name for a viking poet is the reason why the firm has chosen the name. Keeping the meanings equal is publicity.--Wiglaf 07:30, 19 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I agree completely. I guess an admin would have to move them... --Golbez 07:33, Sep 19, 2004 (UTC)
Moved it, you might want to solve the double redirects -- Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason 07:46, 2004 Sep 19 (UTC)
Done and done. :D --Golbez 07:56, Sep 19, 2004 (UTC)
Great! You're fast! :D --Wiglaf 09:50, 19 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Image touchup[edit]

The image to the right needs a bit of touchup, since i do not have any image manipulation program ( or am able to install one, student machine ) would somebody mind:

  1. y=|x| <- making this red where it currently is black.
  2. put that where the x = |x| text is now ( the current one is too raugh and un-anti-alised)

Thanks in advance. -- Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason 07:24, 2004 Sep 19 (UTC)

Done :) porge 10:59, Sep 20, 2004 (UTC)

Gmail Invites[edit]

I currently have 6 Gmail invites, and I want to give 3 away to some Wikipedia members (mostly because half my friends have no clue what gmail is ;). Anyways, if you would like one...please post on my User talk page. Ilγαηερ (Tαlκ) 20:57, 18 Sep 2004 (UTC)

You might want to think about the gmail invite spooler just send your invites to gmail@isnoop.net and they will be made available to people that want them. [[User:Cohesion|cohesion ]] 21:40, 18 Sep 2004 (UTC)

70.64.104.100 00:17, 19 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Any reason why it has 0 invites currently available? Ilγαηερ (Tαlκ) 02:07, 19 Sep 2004 (UTC)
the number fluctuates as people add new invites and people request them, that big graph shows the in/outs over time, if you want an invite you put your email in that box and it will send you one, when it gets some if it doesn't have any right away. [[User:Cohesion|cohesion ]] 05:39, 19 Sep 2004 (UTC)
I have three to give out, leave a note on my talk if you want one. -- Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason 06:25, 2004 Sep 19 (UTC)
I have six; send me an email if you want one. Thue | talk 08:33, 19 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Has this gmail invite spooler worked for anyone else? I've made two requests already—one yesterday, and one a few minutes ago when about a dozen invites were supposedly available—and I still haven't received anything. Are we sure it isn't just an elaborate email harvester? --dreish 13:10, 2004 Sep 22 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Trivia quiz[edit]

At User_talk:Eequor, a Wikipedia:Trivia quiz was brought up. Any comments about having one?? 66.245.80.45 18:44, 18 Sep 2004 (UTC)

You're too late. It's been done twice at the meet ups- 1, 2. →Raul654 18:51, Sep 18, 2004 (UTC)
That doesn't necessarily exclude a more public quiz for the entire community. Also, many of the questions on those pages are very dated or very difficult. Perhaps a more organized quiz could have varying levels of difficulty. --[[User:Eequor|η♀υωρ]] 19:13, 18 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Would a good choice be to start with easy ones and put difficult ones later?? 66.245.80.45 19:15, 18 Sep 2004 (UTC)
I think User:Quadell had one once. Ðåñηÿßôý | Talk 21:22, 18 Sep 2004 (UTC)
It was at User:Quadell/Trivia Challenge. Angela. 22:34, Sep 18, 2004 (UTC)
Hm... maybe some limits are needed to prevent a few people from dominating the quiz? Would "one answer per person per day" work better? --[[User:Eequor|η♀υωρ]] 23:40, 18 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Fundraising drive[edit]

This is advance notice that a Fundraising drive will begin on Monday and the following message will be displayed across all wikis (it can be translated in MediaWiki:Sitenotice on non-English wikis).

Wikimedia Fundraising Drive. Help us raise $50,000. See our fundraising page for details.

If you would rather not see the message, please set #fundraising {display:none;} in your User:yourname/monobook.css page. Further details can be found at m:Fundraising site notice and m:Fundraising meeting, September 2004. The target is $50,000. Angela. 16:32, Sep 18, 2004 (UTC)

If deductions were tax-deductible this would probably help a lot. How goes the progress on achieving this legal status? Derrick Coetzee 17:42, 18 Sep 2004 (UTC)
The forms have been filed for this, but the IRS can take up to six months to decide. However, it should be retroactive, so you may be able to reclaim tax later on donations you make now, assuming the status will be granted. See Deductibility of donations on the new Foundation site for details. Angela. 22:32, Sep 18, 2004 (UTC)

I recommend the http://www.cafepress.com/wikipedia Cafe Press stuff. I got myself a T-shirt and got some positive remarks in public. Double bonus! ;-) Awolf002 18:06, 18 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Ugly Klingon InterWiki[edit]

Does anyone know what caused Klingon to be forced to polute the article text with their Interwiki on other Wikipediae? Aliter 13:11, 18 Sep 2004 (UTC)

They're not forced to do any such thing. The idea was that Klingon articles would not be linked to from en. -- Tim Starling 14:10, Sep 18, 2004 (UTC)

Then why does this link tlh:Sol Hovtay' show up in-text in all Wikipedia? Not linking from a specific Wikipedia I can understand. It would mean informing the programmers of most Interwiki-bots, but it would be that specific Wikipedia's choice. But that's not what happens.
What happens is that there is InterWiki for Klingon, but accross all Wikipediae it's not regarded as an other-language version of the article. That I don't understand, and I would like to know what's causing it. Aliter 14:29, 18 Sep 2004 (UTC)

See [8] and associated posts. -- Tim Starling 14:53, Sep 18, 2004 (UTC)
See also Wikipedia:Village pump (technical)#Klingon interwiki? Andrewa 03:40, 20 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Can we fix this now? It seems stupid, and messes up pages to have the links at the bottom. Even Deutche Velle has a Klingon Language edition now anyway. Flapflap 16:30, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Yes, is there any way to open up this discussion? It seems pretty ridiculous not to allow proper language linking. Intrigue 23:16, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Contributions into the public domain[edit]

How can I best release all my contributions to Wikipedia from any kind of copyright control or licensing restrictions? As I understand it, articles that I've started can be released into the public domain, even though subsequent versions after editing on Wikipedia will be (presumably) licensed under the GFDL. What about individual edits to GFDL articles — can the edit itself be released into the public domain, even though the resultant article is GFDL? Also, I've heard rumours that the idea of the public domain doesn't exist in Japan — is this true? (Public domain doesn't mention it). If this is the case, what can I do to make sure that my contributions are available for use with as few a restrictions as possible in Japan? — Matt 10:17, 18 Sep 2004 (UTC)

You definitely can commit your individual edits to the public domain, and other Wikipedians have done this (see User:Eloquence for example). To commit to the public domain, I believe all you have to do is make an "overt act of relinquishment". Putting a notice on your user page would most likely qualify, at least for works which were already created in the past. http://creativecommons.org/license/publicdomain-2 provides a somewhat more formal way to do this. I've never used it so I can't really tell you what to expect. You may also want to look at http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Guide_to_the_CC_dual-license and/or talk to some of the users in that last category (public domain). anthony (see warning) 12:10, 18 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Thanks for the links! — Matt 18:29, 18 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Article about saving documents in computing?[edit]

After looking around for an appropriate link for the word save in a computing-related article (thus, save as in save my document), I'm wondering whether there's any Wikipedia article about the entire phenomenon of saving and loading documents (and auto-saving, etc.) in computing and how there has been a shift away from that model in user interface design. Seems like it could be an interesting article if someone could start it (I couldn't say much more about it than I have here). - dcljr 05:41, 18 Sep 2004 (UTC)

There's been a shift away from that? --Golbez 08:15, Sep 18, 2004 (UTC)
Yes, with applications like Microsoft OneNote, the user never has to save, they simply make a change, and it "saves as they go": they can close the program, not be prompted, start it again later, and it will return to where they were with everything still in place. Argument goes that the user wouldn't go and make a document, then not want to save it (at least most of the time), and that the undo function means you don't have to worry about making a change you regret, and wanting to discard the changes and open the old version of the file. Programs already auto-save changes every few minutes, why not save the main file? I agree that things like saving/loading a file are concepts independent from any one program, and as such deserve an article. TPK 09:10, 18 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Like, with database applications and data-bindings? These aren't anything really new, (if that's what you're referring to). However, an article on the act of opening a file, editing it, and saving it, as well as discussing bindings, sounds like a good idea to me. Er, to use an example of someone who would find this useful: my mother is often confused about such things. She will open a document, inadvertantly make a change, and then she will try to close the document. When she does, she gets a dialog asking if she wants to save... which worries her, because she believes that if she doesn't save, the document might somehow get deleted. ;-) func(talk) 08:52, 18 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I forgot to mention this when I wrote it, but after reading this comment previously and checking Save, I was surprised that it wasn't a disambiguation page. See my comments at Talk:Save. -- Chuq 08:57, 18 Sep 2004 (UTC)
So what about an article called File management (computer)? How a user works with files with regard to opening and closing them could be handled in such an article, along with other things, like creating directories/folders, etc. func(talk) 14:19, 18 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Or better, computer file management. Derrick Coetzee 21:47, 18 Sep 2004 (UTC)
I've created a stub at Computer file management and moved the content of this discussion to its Talk page. Thanks, everyone, for your input. - dcljr 01:25, 25 Sep 2004 (UTC)

13th century theologians list[edit]

If anyone feels so inclined and wants to create lots of new pages, here is an available database of 13th century theologians that is available in the PD:

http://home.sandiego.edu/~macy/index.html

Each theologian contains brief bio, works and bibliography. Nice resource that would fill out a lot of names for European Middle Ages history. I did not write it but the author just requests "Please give a reference to the Guide in any published work just as you would to any other source." .. which would go under the ==Sources== header.

That's ==References==, actually. The reference looks excellent, although info on each person is rather limited. It'll help fill out some stubs at least, in a lacking area. Derrick Coetzee 17:36, 18 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Sir Frank Williams[edit]

Would an admin be so kind as to move Frank Williams (Formula One) to Frank Williams, which was lately a disambig page of dubious value and is now a redirect to the F1 Frank Williams? (The other people on the disambig page were Frank Abagnale, the guy in Catch Me If You Can whose alias was Frank Williams, and a redlink to Frank Williams (actor), an actor in a British sitcom. I mentioned them at the top of the article.) Ðåñηÿßôý | Talk 05:09, 18 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Managed Delete[edit]

A new policy proposal is in the tweaking stages. Please take a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Managed_Deletion for the details. Note that this is a modification of the Speedy Delete process only. If you disagree with the policy entirely, please wait for voting to cast your vote. If you can think of ways to improve the policy, please contribute constructive criticism on the Discussion page. The proposal is aimed primarily at administrators who perform speedy deletes, but all will no doubt have some interest in it. I anticipate voting beginning one week from today. Geogre 00:41, 18 Sep 2004 (UTC) I posted this in the Policy link off Village Pump, but I figured, since that's new, I'd post it here, too. Geogre 00:41, 18 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Litigious society[edit]

I don't have anything like the knowledge of law to create it, but I was thinking that a Litigious society article would be an interesting addition. It is mentioned briefly in lawsuit (Some countries, especially the USA suffer from a very large number of lawsuits per capita per year, while people in many other cultures (most notably Japan) tend to avoid bringing their disputes to the courthouse) but I'm sure there must be more to be said. Perhaps mentioning landmark cases (some about people suing tobacco and fast food companies, perhaps) and the constant "accident claim" adverts. Apologies if this is covered elsewhere - I've not come across anything yet. violet/riga (t) 21:41, 17 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Requested articles. Derrick Coetzee 23:03, 17 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Thanks for trying to be helpful but there was a reason I posted here. I was trying to ascertain if there was already an article with similar content and if people thought that it would be a worthwhile addition with enough potential to become a decent article. I also wanted to write some sort of description rather than just post a link. violet/riga (t) 07:52, 18 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Personally, I think such an article would be needlessly POV. [[User:Neutrality|Neutrality (talk)]] 19:23, Sep 18, 2004 (UTC)

Dates[edit]

I went through the list of 200 articles shown at Wikipedia:Offline reports/This page links many times to the same article and removed the repeated links that causing the article to be noted. Now Rmhermen has drawn my attention to something that I was not aware of, i.e. that Wikipedia looks at two different links to construct a date. Thus a link can have an effect beyond the link itself. I am no longer able to maintain my concept of links as individual entities. It may be that this is an exception for handling dates but it may also be a precedent.

I am asking for two things:

  • A bot that would sort out multiple links to the same page. Having several 100 links to the same article is silly. I made a request at Wikipedia:Bot requests. Feel free to make your views known there.
  • A debate about the concept of links as individual entities rather than parts of pairs, triplets etc and how that is made explicit to editors. I was quite surprised that I am no longer able to look at the text in the edit window and predict what will happen to each link bounded by [[ and ]].

Bobblewik  (talk) 20:58, 17 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I don't know if a bot would be a good idea - in prose, certainly, something shouldn't be linked more than once per section. However in some article layouts, such as table/list formats, not having every instance of a name linked is annoying. For example, in Swimming at the 2004 Summer Olympics - Men's 50 metre Freestyle you can see the final eight, but their names are not linked. You have to look through the whole page to find the first heat that the swimmer competed in, in order to find a link to the article about the individual swimmer.
I don't know if it would be useful, or worthwhile, to have a tag/template in an article that causes any link in that article to be replicated to all other instances of the same word in that article, and/or another tag/template that autmoatically removes the second and all further instances of a linked word. -- Chuq 00:20, 25 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I edited a page before I logged in[edit]

Is there some way to put that edit under my userId? Gold Dragon 19:12, 17 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Changing attribution for an edit. HTH —No-One Jones (m) 19:14, 17 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Thanks :) Gold Dragon 19:16, 17 Sep 2004 (UTC)