Wikipedia:Village pump/August 2003 archive 4

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See Wikipedia:Village dump for just-removed items. (quick removal due to size issues)

Page title controversy[edit]

Please take a look at Talk:Roman Catholic Church sex abuse allegations and comment on the page title.—Eloquence 22:53, Aug 9, 2003 (UTC)

Cryptic NPOV Disputes[edit]

moved to Wikipedia talk:NPOV dispute

Ogg uploads.. any guidelines for size, length, quality?[edit]

move to wikipedia:sound help

Copyright problem[edit]

A contributor added the text of a Ted Rall column to the article on Bush regime. It doesn't appear that the contributor obtained permission to copy the Rall column (which is syndicated) here. Should I go ahead and delete the copied portion myself, or should I contact the contributor first? I don't want to step on anyone's toes. Thanks, Clipdude 02:59, 10 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Go ahead and clip it.  ;) Remember, be bold. (Meanwhile I'll look around and see if I can find an external link to add.) - Hephaestos 03:06, 10 Aug 2003 (UTC)
Thanks for the answer. I won't be so worried about fixing things in the future.--Clipdude 04:24, 10 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Miscount in Vfd[edit]

Moved to WP:VFD

Renaming a Page[edit]

Moved to Wikipedia:Village dump (prune for salvage)'

Common Format for University/College Articles[edit]

Moved to Wikipedia:Village dump (prune for salvage)'

Wikipedia namespace contents[edit]

They're at Wikipedia:List of articles in the Wikipedia namespace

Unprotect Ariel Sharon[edit]


Linking to original image from description page[edit]

Moved to Wikipedia:Village dump (prune for salvage)'

Wikipedia Mascot[edit]

Moved to meta:Wikipedia mascot (talk page)

The weakest link[edit]

Moved to WP:VD prune for salvage

"Divided by a common language"[edit]

Wikipedia isn't the only community project that wrestles with American vs. British spelling ... as this debate about Linux shows ("flavour" vs. "flavor") -- DavidWBrooks 13:03, 11 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Surely you mean "USian vs British" :-7 -- AndrewKepert 06:41, 12 Aug 2003 (UTC)

History of the Pump[edit]

Has anyone noticed that the entire history of the village pump now resides at Wikipedia talk:Village pump? Are there any plans to move it back? -- Tim Starling 13:51, Aug 11, 2003 (UTC)

Moving pages with over five thousand entries in their edit histories is a somewhat less reliable process than one might like. :P For the meantime, let's all just leave it alone. --Brion 07:22, 12 Aug 2003 (UTC)
How bout finally getting a logged system like at

Two Russian WPs[edit]

Moved to m:Two Russian WPs

Copyright Violation Images[edit]

Moved to WP:VD prune for salvage

Mona Lisa copyright ok?[edit]

Moved to WP:VD prune for salvage

Gender Pronouns In Articles?[edit]

How should Wikipedians deal with gender pronowns in articles? I am for gender pronowns, but I don't want to force gender pronouns were they aren't wanted. --hoshie

I go with Strunk & White, except that I usually use "they" as a singular gender-neutral pronoun instead of "he". This is much debated by grammarians and pedants, but I think sentences such as "If someone needs to use the bathroom during class, they can just excuse themselves." are increasingly well-accepted. I find some of the other "gender-neutral" formulations such as using "she" or "s/he" instead of "he" as the "unknown gender" pronoun to be very distracting since almost everything I've ever read is not written that way. Switching between "he" and "she" for the same person is even worse. Imagine reading Jane Austen or Shakespeare with such contortions. Using the plural "they" instead works better, in my opinion, because it's almost always clear from context whether or not "they" is really plural or not (and it has also received far greater usage than the other formulations). Daniel Quinlan 04:36, Aug 12, 2003 (UTC)
I think the author of this page nails it on the head (reading up to the "followup" section). Daniel Quinlan 04:43, Aug 12, 2003 (UTC)

See also: gender-neutral pronoun, singular they, gender-specific pronoun, non-sexist language, sie and hir, Spivak pronoun, it (pronoun).

Choose whatever is clearest in the particular example - sometimes it will be singular they, sometimes it will be rephrasing, and sometimes it will be a construction like "him or her". Generic male should probably be avoided - studies seem to show that it's particularly prone to misinterpretation. Neologisms like (my personal preference) sie and hir aren't widespread enough to be used, except for a few transgenders who specifically desire to be so pronouned. Martin

Now sie hir, I strongly caution against sie and hir and Spivak pronouns in favor of singular they even in the case of transgendered people except for direct quotations, of course, or discussion of these virtually unused neologisms. sie and hir are understood by very few people and I care more about Wikipedia being easy to read. Case in point: I just had to look it up "sie and hir" which point I vaguely remembered reading about them before. Yes, I've read about them, but I never see them used so I forgot (and I have to wrack my brain to figure out how to use them whereas "they" comes naturally since it has been used well over a century in literature). Spivak has similar problems and also suffers from pronounciation problems ("he" and "e" is very similar in many regional dialects). Anyway, see this page also Singular "their" in Jane Austen and elsewhere: Anti-pedantry page. — Daniel Quinlan 02:09, Aug 14, 2003 (UTC)

Watchlist "cutoff"[edit]

(687 pages watched not counting talk pages; 244 total pages edited since cutoff...) What does this "244 since cutoff" mean? Fantasy 08:58, 12 Aug 2003 (UTC)

I think it means 244 of your pages were edited (once or more) since the developers truncated the watchlist to its present state last week. My interpretation may be wrong.
Mine is about 2000 watched, but only about 100 edited! I mostly work on historical stuff and cities. I guess those aren't very popular!
--Menchi 09:07, Aug 12, 2003 (UTC)
No, if you ask for watched pages edited during the last n hours (n=1 by default) it tells you also (I think) the total number of pages edited in that time. - Patrick 10:00, 12 Aug 2003 (UTC)
Yes, Patrick is right, as one can see by looking at various watchlist-periods. The number of pages edited since cutoff grows with longer times. Andre Engels 15:50, 13 Aug 2003 (UTC)
This feature doesn't seem to work all that well. If I click the 1 day limit I still see edits from other days. Anyone else experience this? Dori 12:17, 16 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Donations Article[edit]

As this questions come up again and again, I just startet this page: Wikipedia:Donations. Please help in adding the relevant informations, Fantasy 09:41, 12 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Picture caption text[edit]

Just a minor question but I'm keen on getting the detail right on Wikipedia pictures. Look at Air France for an example .......
I've begun changing all my Larger version messages below picture captions to Larger picture but have realised this may cause a little confusion because I've noticed that many people seem to have copied me (or came up with it independently) and are using Larger version as well.
Firstly, does Larger picture conveys the message clearer than Larger version?
Secondly, is it too late to change because Larger version is so common now?
Thirdly, I wonder how much annoyance I would cause if I changed other peoples pics to the Larger picture message?
The more replies to this, the better I'll know what to do!
Thanks Adrian Pingstone 09:45, 12 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Larger picture may be a different picture, larger version I understand as the same, just larger. - Patrick 09:50, 12 Aug 2003 (UTC)
I think either one is fine; hopefully someday we can establish some guidelines for captions (such as font size and emphasis, how to link to larger versions, whether to parenthesize link phrases within captions, etc.) As far as I'm concerned, Adrian, you've added pics to so many articles that the rest of us may as well follow whatever guidelines you make up :-) -- Wapcaplet 14:51, 12 Aug 2003 (UTC)
Thanks for the replies. I've decided I'll stick with Larger version. Now I'll revert the 50 or so pics I've converted to Larger picture. At least that's a lot less work than the other way round!
Adrian Pingstone 15:31, 12 Aug 2003 (UTC)

"Larger version" is what someone (maybe me?) put at wikipedia:image use policy#Markup, but I can't remember if there was any really convincing reason for that... Martin

"Larger picture" and "Larger version" both look peculiar to me. After all, I already know it's a picture, and what is a "version" anyway? I think "Enlarge" would be a lot better. It's more succinct, and it's what I usually see at sites that have a link to enlarge a picture. Michael Geary 07:38, 14 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Redirects after moving[edit]

move to wikipedia talk:redirect

Often after moving a page from one name form to another there are inbound links from other pages that point to the redirect(s) created during the move. Should one

  1. Modify the links to point to the new form of the name, even if it means aliasing the link (e.g. Bockscar|Bock's Car)?
  2. Change the form of the name in the pointing article (e.g. Bockscar, assuming this does no violence to the sense of the article)?
  3. Just leave the pointing article alone and let the the redirect do its work (e.g. Bock's Car)?

For a real-world case-in-point, visit: -- Bill 11:29, 12 Aug 2003 (UTC)

This is one of those things that must be judged case-by-case. In the case of Bockscar, the correct action would be your second: change all references to the "Bockscar" spelling (if you're sure that spelling is the correct one?). —Paul A 14:03, 12 Aug 2003 (UTC)
The U.S. Air Force thinks the name is Bockscar. I guess they're in a better position to know than I am (I hope so anyway). But, OK, decisions must be made on a case-by-case basis; all well and good, but what factors need to be considered when making the decision? This is something that comes up all the time. I've normally been fixing the redirects, but if that's not the right thing to do, I'd like to know. -- Bill 15:18, 12 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Answer depends on the many reasons we use redirects on Wikipedia:

  • abbreviations - use a piped link, in case abbreviation needs to be disambiguated due to the TLA shortage.
  • redirects where the redirect is wrong (eg Philisophy redirects to Philosophy) - edit the article to make it right. This is a neat way of fixing bad spelling.
  • redirects where the redirect represents an alternate option (eg dates, US/UK spelling, different names for the same thing, etc) - let the redirect do its work.
  • sub-topic redirects - use your judgement, but avoid surprising the reader by making them think we have a specific article on the subject, when we don't.
  • self-links via redirects - remove the link
  • duplicate links via redirects - remove all but one of the duplicate links

Hope this helps (and is non-controversial!) :) Martin

Undoing a page move[edit]

I just want to ask the other admins, what you usually do in the following case: A page was moved to another location, and you want to undo the change, because the new title of the article is worse than the old one. Now the old title has become a redirect, and just moving the page back does not work, because the old (and desired new) page has to be deleted first. Do you a) delete the redirect page (which has no history) and perform the page move, or b) list the redirect page on Votes for deletion and do the page move a week later. I ask as a precaution, since I don't want to break Wikipedia policies. (I am talking about numerous page moves by Ruhrjung, for example from Brunswick, Germany to Brunswick (Lower Saxony).) -- Cordyph 14:27, 12 Aug 2003 (UTC)

If the title you want to move a page to has no history apart from a redirect to the title you are moving from (as is the case with Brunswick (Lower Saxony)), then the software should allow you to make the move without doing any deletion. So first off, you should try just moving the page back - it will probably work. In general, I think it's fair to say that Votes for Deletion doesn't need to be used when there's no content to a page. --Camembert
Thanks a lot. Stupid me, I just assumed, that it would not be possible. -- Cordyph 15:46, 12 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Automaticly link talk pages to main pages[edit]

deleted - feature already implemented


I have been encountering articles that appear suspicious in their style. These are submitted by anonymous Wikipedians, and the writing style is very good, although not contemporary English. In some cases, events are described which required a presence, although the submitter was very likely not there at the time of the event. Aside from the good article on Plagiarism, there is not much in the material provided newcomers like myself as to what to do wit these. If I have knowledge, I just replace the suspicious material. It seems that the problem is not one of adding copyrighted material, but submitting without due credit, material that is no longer protected by copyright (although this would be difficult to determine without finding the original source). Any words of wisdom? Can someone expand on this problem in the introductory instructional material? Should I? - Marshman 19:38, 12 Aug 2003 (UTC)

A heinous copyright crime too. --Menchi 19:48, Aug 12, 2003 (UTC)
See Wikipedia:Copyrights#If you find a copyright infringement. DanKeshet 19:52, Aug 12, 2003 (UTC)
Here is an example from the article Hekla:
It took a long rest, however, of more than sixty years' duration, prior to the year 1845, when it again burst forth. After a violent storm on the night of the 2nd of September in that year, the surface of the ground in the Orkney Islands was found strown with volcanic dust. There was thus conveyed to the inhabitants of Great Britain an intimation that Hecla had been again at work. Accordingly, tidings soon after arrived of a great eruption of the mountain.
presented with no hint of credit to source. -- Marshman 20:33, 12 Aug 2003 (UTC)

It's part of an Project Gutenberg text which has gone out of coypright and into the public domain, see [1], the source is:
"The mountains quake at Him and the hills melt and the earth is burned at His presence"--NAHUM 1:5

So there should be no problem with copyright, but maybe with accuracy. -- till we *) 20:39, Aug 12, 2003 (UTC)

ARGH - I just wanted to post exactly the same, you were one editing conflict faster. andy 20:42, 12 Aug 2003 (UTC)

My problem is not with copyright - these texts mostly appear to be turn-of-the-century works. My problem is with lack of attribution. If it is known where this mateerial comes from, why is it submitted anonymously and no credit given in the article (and a statement added to the article TALK page)? Without due credit, is it not plagiarism? -- Marshman

Better now? I added a short section in that article describing the source. andy 20:53, 12 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Thanks. I do see a (minor?) problem here, that may have been faced somewhere already. In the text I submitted above there are two "typos" A copyedit would fix those. But if text is presented as a quote, it should not be altered (expect perhaps sic added). We cannot extend this do not change to parts of articles that are cited sources, yet word-smithing a sourced statement carries the danger of altering the meaning away from that in the original source. Maybe this is not really a problem -- I'm just grousing or rambling. Bottom line: should one just modernize these old texts? I still say credit MUST be part of the original article submittal. - Marshman

Of course you are right, it is always necessary to quote the sources, see Wikipedia:Cite your sources. In this case we should copyedit the text to current language - that's why I wrote "is based upon". I don't think that text deserves to stay as a citation - for citation it is of course not possible to change them, but that'd be for historic sentences or something like that, not for public-domain article sources. andy 21:18, 12 Aug 2003 (UTC)

I think this old text (particularly historical first-hand descriptions or observations) can have great value if preserved. As an example, I have edited paragraphs 3 through 6 of the Hekla article. Not sure how much of the "old" text got changed before I isolated it as a quote, but this approach should be considred (with proper credit citation) for these kinds of submittals. -- Marshman

Bolding bug[edit]

How came we fix this (caused by ''book title'''s by markup instead of by rephrasing? I've encountered such a bug several times already in the past few weeks and always need to rephrase it by remove the possessive suffix from the word, and thereby change the style when it's not necessary (sometimes worsening the case, as may be in this TIME). --Menchi 19:48, Aug 12, 2003 (UTC)

It's not a bug... you need to use html tags in that case... Evercat 19:53, 12 Aug 2003 (UTC)

re my typo: nokiwi! :-D --Menchi 20:03, Aug 12, 2003 (UTC)

<i>TIME</i>'s or ''TIME''<nowiki>'s</nowiki> would work. Angela 20:21, 12 Aug 2003 (UTC)

A simple solution not involving HTML or pseudo HTML tags is to put a space between the markup and the apostrophe: ''book title'' 's -> book title 's. This may annoy punctuation purists, but it does work. —Paul A 01:51, 13 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Image Name Obfuscation[edit]

I know this is the obsolutely wrong place to ask this, but where can I find information on how Wikipedia obfuscates the location of images? For example, in the article on Bob Hope, the image is referred to like this in Wiki Markup:
[[Image:BobHopegettingOsca.jpg|Bob Hope receiving Oscar]]

But the rendered HTML src tag refers to the image like this:

which resolves to:

Now my question is, how does the Wiki software generate that /b/be portion of the URL? The /b part is easy enough (it looks like it based on the first letter of the filename), but what about the /be portion? It looks like a hash code of some sort. Does anyone know the algorithm that the Wiki software uses to determine this? Or is it stored in a database somewhere? If it is the latter, is there some API for querying the database for locations of such images? Thanks! —Frecklefoot 20:49, 12 Aug 2003 (UTC)

See m:MediaWiki_file_usage#Uploaded_media_files. --Brion 01:23, 13 Aug 2003 (UTC)
Great! This looks like just what I needed for WikiEdit. Thanks! —Frecklefoot 14:31, 13 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Section edit bug[edit]

Just try to edit section "Plagiatarism" by [edit] link, got the next section "Bolding bug". (Maybe it is because the Plag-section was edited at that time by someone else?) -- till we *) 20:55, Aug 12, 2003 (UTC)

Little Orphan Annie's Plea To You[edit]

Orphaned pages has not been updated since 09:05, 13 May 2003. It's useless as it stands now. Even as an admin, I can't do a thing about it. Can anyone here hear my plee? - Little Orphan Annie

Could orphaned pages found using a bot? If an admin can't do a thing about it, I can't neither. wshun 05:40, 13 Aug 2003 (UTC)
There is an automatic system for updating the Orphaned Pages list; it used to run itself at regular intervals, until it was disabled to reduce server load. Now it can only be run at the command of a Developer; the trouble is finding a Developer who has the time to run it. —Paul A 07:17, 13 Aug 2003 (UTC)
There is a lot of discussion on Wikitech about upgrading the hardware. I suggested there to produce daily SQL dumps once the capacity problems have been solved. This would be for disaster recovery in the first place, but it would then also be easy to extract special pages lists from these files. I volunteer to write a Perl job for it. But new hardware is a prerequisite. Erik Zachte 09:34, 13 Aug 2003 (UTC)
I have SQL dumps downloaded and installed on my machine. I guess all I need is a script to make the orphaned page list, no? -- Ram-Man 11:03, Aug 13, 2003 (UTC)
I will work on a Perl script. Most of the logic is already in my TomeRaider/Stats scripts. Give me a few days. Erik Zachte 12:17, 13 Aug 2003 (UTC)
Yeah! Progress. Thank you, all you Daddy Warbuckian Wikipedians, you! - Little Orphan Annie
Thx Annie, and congratulations with your 25th birthday! Erik Zachte 00:54, 14 Aug 2003 (UTC)
I sent Ram-Man a Perl script (β) to test. It produces 5 sets of files: Shortest/Longest/Most wanted/Orphaned/Most referenced articles, each as html file and also as text file in wiki format for copy/paste. So progress has been made. Erik Zachte 21:57, 13 Aug 2003 (UTC)
The files are done at or specialpages.tar.gz. I did not check the files for accuracy, but the perl script did not give any errors. -- Ram-Man 00:09, Aug 14, 2003 (UTC)

Name of Wikipedia[edit]

Discussion moved to meta: m:Name_of_Wikipedia

Disabled special pages[edit]

Most wanted, orphaned pages, popular pages, short pages, long pages are disabled. Could these at least be regenerated weekly by a cron job? Jrincayc 13:16, 13 Aug 2003 (UTC)
All of these except popular pages could be generated from the SQL dump files, thus not affecting database availability. Popular pages needs info that is not in the dump files. See also section Little Orphan Annie's Plea To You just above. Erik Zachte 13:50, 13 Aug 2003 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Short articles and Wikipedia:Long articles are now updated. There are alternative versions at Wikipedia:Longpages and Wikipedia:Shortpages which can be edited to show additional information, such as which pages have been deleted etc. (Rest of discussion archived to Wikipedia_talk:Shortpages). Angela 23:30, 14 Aug 2003 (UTC)
It seems two people have done the same job (again). I have written a Perl script that can be run on the server in a matter of minutes and extract Shortest/Longest/Most wanted/Most reference/Orphaned articles from the dump files, thus not affecting the online database. For now I have added and Wikipedia:Orphaned Articles and Wikipedia:Most Referenced Articles. I will add Wikipedia:Most Wanted Articles soon (needs some more testing first). Erik Zachte 23:46, 14 Aug 2003 (UTC)
As far as I know it was not done using the online database. I just used the data provided by Docu to update the page. Angela
I did not mean to say that! I expect Docu has processed a local copy of the database, thus in fact using the same dump file. Erik Zachte 00:19, 15 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Where is Here.. and What is local for Wikipedia[edit]

As a new person I wonder if this question has been asked, but what counts as "Here" or "local" for a wikipedian article? I know it should be clear, but some articles (for example the holden article) that talk of a locally produced something or other. Well I live in Australia so I assume it is Australian Built, but an American may assume it is American Built. can anyone suggest a way to fix this - Torien 23:29, 13 Aug 2003 (AUS EST)

I think the Holden article makes it sufficiently clear that "locally", in this case, means "in Australia". (But then, I'm Australian too, so I may not be a useful judge.)
On the wider issue, I think "local" should be determined by the subject of the article: Holden is an Australian company, so "local" means Australia, but in an article about a USian company "local" would mean the US. —Paul A 14:11, 13 Aug 2003 (UTC)
Being that US is an abriviation of United States, USian is not proper usage (maybe you can get away with it in Australia, but not elsewhere [I know all about you australians and your abreviations, and slang ;)]). It should read "but in an article about a US company." マイカル (MB) 15:25, Aug 13, 2003 (UTC)
I only used USian because it got stuck in my head while I was reading the #US vs. American discussion; it's not a particularly Australian expression. The usual Australian term for the inhabitants of the USA is "bloody Yanks".  ;) —Paul A 03:18, 14 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Need Some Redirection[edit]

Put together an article on Donald Davidson the poet/essayist. It appears that the stub article for Donald Davidson was a stub for a philosopher of the same name. Would someone with more experience mind replacing the stub and disambiguating the two Donald Davidson's? I'm not quite sure how to accomplish that properly at this time. Thanks User:Ark30inf Ark30inf 18:34, 13 Aug 2003 (UTC)

I created the disambiguation page. But if you create an article on a person with he same name please do not wipe over teh other person even if it is a short stub. If you don't have time to create a disambiguation (or your just lazy(like me sometimes)), use a Horizonatal rule by typing ---- , and seperating them that way. :-) - fonzy

Thanks. To be honest, I thought it was some sort of nonsense article since it had something about a swamp monster being struck by lightning or some such. I realized the error when I looked at the pages that linked to it and realized it was actually philosophy, which only appeared to be nonsense to the uninformed. Like myself. Thanks again.Ark30inf 04:30, 14 Aug 2003 (UTC)


Certain articles have disclaimers in them, indicating Wikipedia does not give medical, legal, financial etc advice. Would not a general link to a disclaimer page in the bottom or top link bar be more useful and more uniform? ²¹² 15:18, 13 Aug 2003 (UTC)

There's a disclaimer on wikipedia:about. Legal articles say Wikipedia:Wikipedia does not give legal advice. There are other proposed disclaimers on wikipedia:boilerplate text. However, they are not universally approved of. Martin

Lost page history?[edit]

The edit history for Back_to_the_land seems to be gone. What happened? The page is a couple months old, I thought. Kat 19:46, 13 Aug 2003 (UTC)

User contributions - New pages[edit]

Hi, is there a way to perform a cross between "My Contributions" and "Newly Created Articles" - i.e. list all articles created by a given user? Maybe there's another argument to "Special:Contributions", other than "&target=<username>", one which isn't documented (yet)? I found Wikipedia:User_contributions but it makes no mention of such, so I'm guess the answer is "no". Anyway, it would be a lot less hassle than maintaining a manual list of which articles you initiated. If this is something that doesn't exist and has to be added, how about also adding a flag to avoid listing minor edits, if that doesn't exist already... (And yes, I know this might be more appropriate in a feature request, but I need to make sure it doesn't exist first :-).

Also, FWIW, in trying to find this, I noted that Special pages doesn't list "My Contributions", although it does list "My Watchlist".

Noel 22:44, 13 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Hmm, that wouldn't be easily possible with our current database setup, but a future change could make it easy. Basically the problem is that the table of _current_ article revisions, and the _recent changes_ table both keep track of which revisions are new creations, but the _old_ revision table doesn't. To tell who's the first person to have edited an article we'd have to take the earliest recorded edit for the page, which doesn't mesh well with a check through the entire database for a single user. (That is, it would run reeeeeal slow.) It's also not reliable, as many older (pre-January 2002) pages are missing their first few edits due to a misconfiguration in the original software. Now, we could limit the 'new articles' page to showing just those by a certain user, but since it uses the recentchanges table it only goes back a few days. It could not show a complete list. --Brion 02:17, 14 Aug 2003 (UTC)
Let me see if I understand this. I am gathering, although you don't say so explicitly, that the "User contributions" page is currently derived from poring over the "old revision" table, which doesn't include info on which pages are new/minor, etc. (I gather the "old revision" table is basically just an time-ordered audit trail of all changes made to the entire database?)
So one way, with the current database, to provide a list of all articles started by user X would be to look down the list of all articles, and for each article, look at who did the first edit (and some of those are missing anyway) and see if it was X. Or, alternatively, as you're working down the "old revision" list looking for user X, every time you came to an article (there's no point looking at Talk:, User: etc pages) they had touched, which was one you hadn't seen before, you'd have to check its revision history to see if X was the first entry. And either would be slow.
Is that accurate? Noel 19:19, 14 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Status of Nupedia's "articles-in-progress"?[edit]

Originally posted at Wikipedia talk:Nupedia and Wikipedia, but reposted here, question probably deserves a wide exposure'

I see from Wikipedia:Nupedia and Wikipedia that we shouldn't add articles from the Nupedia Chalkboard, but what about Nupedia's articles in progress?. There are articles that are languishing there, with no visible movement, since late 2001. Do these have the same status as chalkboard articles, or can they be assumed to be released under the GFDL? It would be a pity to not use them as many of them would make excellent stubs and it would be a pity if they disappeared down into /dev/null simply through inactivity at Nupedia. -- Lexor 23:47, 13 Aug 2003 (UTC)

"2 edits merged into one" bug[edit]

I discovered a bug here. My edit and an unknown person got merged within 10 minutes (judging fr. history).

My edit was simple: I changed ==Name of Wikipedia== to a Wikipedia-like definition, with a bolded subject and a complete sentence. The rest is not mine. Although I could've deleted that big chunk ("I don't think that a name change is ......" 3 messages) by accident, even though I don't remember messing around with the bottom. However, I definitely did not change 'transliterated' to 'translitterated'. The farthest I go in modifiying other people's messages in Talk is Wiki markup, such as, divider (----) and indentation (:) that may cause reader's reading difficulty without them. But I never changed other people's typo or grammar or whatnot. I don't care to, not in the informal Talk pages anyway.

So, that's definitely somebody else's work. How could this happen? It is disturbing that somebody can "cooperate" with me from another computer in 10 min (I was home that time). --Menchi 23:55, Aug 13, 2003 (UTC)

I believe it's referred to as the "rare but deadly Simultaneous Edit Bug" (to quote Brion). I can see it would be annoying if you're getting the blame for something you didn't do. Angela 00:11, 14 Aug 2003 (UTC)
I'm just happy it wasn't a Lir-incarnate who "cooperated" with me! Well, it was posisble, but from my personal experience, Lir tends to be more ... annoying than that, much more. --Menchi 00:15, Aug 14, 2003 (UTC)
The good news is that if it was a simultaneous edit problem, it will be fixed soon because I've got some code almost ready to submit. But it may have been something more exotic. It sounds like anon's update went successfully, and then Menchi edited it, but his edit failed quietly on inserting into old and then continued on to update cur, leaving anon's edit unattributed. -- Tim Starling 00:47, Aug 14, 2003 (UTC)

I am having dns problems, but I have a method of finding the ip address of a site (don't ask). Anyhow, I got the ip address of meta as, so I typed it in IE, and I ended up on the english wiki, except with a whole lot of php errors (the page was down there though, and everything seemed to work). But I wanted to look at meta. Is my ip wrong? Is it using a port other than 80? Is there just something wrong with it? マイカル (MB) 01:40, Aug 14, 2003 (UTC)

Wow, that's not supposed to happen! (tweak tweak) Okay, the broken English wikipedia should now be replaced again with a message telling you you're in the wrong place. That doesn't help you, I guess, but... :)
The Wikipedia servers use name-based virtual hosts. We've only got two IP addresses for the two machines, and unless your browser has a hostname to send along with the connection we don't know which wiki to serve you. It should be possible to adjust your computer to hardcode the Wikipedia addresses as belonging to their IPs, so that temporary DNS errors don't slow you down. (On Unix-like systems, add them to /etc/hosts. On Windows or Mac I'm not sure what the current method is offhand.) However be warned that if you do this, you'll have to update manually when at some future time we throw new servers into the mix. --Brion 02:17, 14 Aug 2003 (UTC)
Darn, that sucks. Thanks anyhow. マイカル (MB) 02:44, Aug 14, 2003 (UTC)

NPOV question[edit]

A user whose name I can't type added POV comments to the Current events page which can only be viewed when one is editing the page:

* Disgraced <!-- That is a word universally applied to him. His reputation is such that he was booed by mourners at a funeral he attended, and even when he announced he has terminal cancer, many people still called for him to be jailed and "preferably die in jail"!!!--> Irish former [[Taoiseach]] [[Charles J. Haughey]] sells his historic home and estate, ''Kinsealy'', in north [[Dublin]] to a property developer for 30 million euro. The former taoiseach, whose financial dealings and [[tax-evasion]] is the subject of a judicial inquiry and which have largely destroyed his reputation, bought the palatial mansion, which was once the summer residence of the [[United Kingdom|British]] [[Lord Lieutenant of Ireland]], for £200,000 in the [[1960s]]. Haughey, who is suffering from terminal [[prostate cancer]], will not be allowed to remain in the house as a sitting tenant for the rest of his life<!--Don't remove. Haughey having to move out of Kinsealy is like Washington having to move out of Mount Vernon. Irish people worldwide will be shocked (many delighted) to hear he is being forced to move, given his terminal cancer -->, a demand of his which scuppered past attempts to sell.<wiki> Surely adding POV material, even if it can't be seen when reading the article, is unacceptable. ~~~~
Actually in principle what has been done here is a good way to add controversial material (another would be to add an explanation on the talk page). What the facts in contention are, that I have no opinion on. -- Cimon Avaro on a pogostick


This guy was supposed to be on hard ban as I recall. --戴&#30505sv

Note: This User:Stevertigo is making a grand assumption. Nobody banned me and now he has blanked and "protected" my page. From what I have seen, User:Michael has been hard banned a bunch of times. Nobody ever banned me just reverted some humourous things I wrote in response to User:JoeM, who was screwing up the Islamofascism page and making a lot of NegativePOV about controversial political issues to incite violence and I was just messing with him. I realize that I was out of line, no matter what JoeM did. I haven't even bothered to see what was the result of JoeM's actions, whether a ban or not. I moved on and recognised the stupidity wasn't worth it, but other users kept on harassing me when I decided to erase my mistakes and the commentary about it. I just wanted to forget I I ever was a pat of he silliness. P.S. Somebody please stop reformatting my work! I am not interested in fighting anymore. Besides, that was my first day using Wikipedia. I am only interested in learning and contributing positive and neutral things. What happened before was an abberation.

Wow. Death threats as humor. Color me not laughing. RickK 00:59, 15 Aug 2003 (UTC)
This almost sounds like an apology. Correct me if Im wrong. -戴&#30505sv 05:50, Aug 14, 2003 (UTC)

of course it is. my word is good as gold

GNU FDL Considered Non-Free[edit]

The GNU Free Documentation License is enough important foundation of the Wikipedia project. However, mny claim that it contains major flaws that makes it to be non apropriate for our project.

Namely, one who forked into, argues that GFDL in considered non-free and refers to the Debian project and R.Stallman.

However, as far as I know, GFDL is mostly criticised for its special Invariant sections. But this problem is solved by specifying under the GNU Free Documentation License with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts instead of simple under the GNU Free Documentation License - it is partially done at Wikipedia, but I propose to insert this in Language.PHP too.

Another point for criticism is that it can't be seamlessly combined with GNU GPL and other free licenses. But,from my point of view, we don't have this problem here, because it is single solid rock encyclopedy, not software collection!

I guess that these question are not new for the community, and I appreciate any answers and comments. It will help us to merge back both Russian Wikipedia projects. Drbug 11:47, 14 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Stallman amazes me. The GPL restricts freedoms, because you can't distribute a binary only version of software under it, and the FDL restricts freedoms because you have this invariant sections. Then he has the cheek to have a go at the BSD license for not being free enough. He really is a wanker. I would prefer an alternative to the FDL just because it smells of Stallman. CGS 16:46, 14 Aug 2003 (UTC).
Please look from another side: If you don't fight for your freedom, you lose it. It seems that "Invariant sections problem" is not a problem for Wikipedia because there are no such sections in it and it is explicitly expressed. Nobody needs emotions, we'd like to receive information instead. Drbug 18:44, 14 Aug 2003 (UTC)
Your freedom ends the same point, where my freedom starts... ;) So GPL is about the freedom to modify, inspect and so on, the freedoms that the person that distributes binaries had... As about - please consider 'two russian WP' section of Village pump. -- vovkav 07:02, 15 Aug 2003 (UTC)

We have discussed this before. The summary position (IANAL) is:

  1. The GFDL is not ideal, for a wide variety of reasons. However, it suffices. Its downsides are not deal-breaking for most Wikipedians.
  2. We (and the Russian Wikipedia too) are stuck with the GFDL, because we don't have any other license to modify and redistribute content on Wikipedia. Ditching the GFDL would mean ditching most of our existing content. Martin 19:01, 14 Aug 2003 (UTC)
Thanks! Could you please provide me with link to these older discussions? Drbug 19:22, 14 Aug 2003 (UTC)
Follow links around Wikipedia:copyrights, and search the mailing list archives with google. Martin 19:31, 14 Aug 2003 (UTC)


I'm not sure whether Know-Nothing movement is a copyvio or not. The original version of the article is largely copied from or the same source. Every other phrase or sentence is exactly the same, so there is definitely a common base document for both. However, it's possible that the Wikipedia origin was an earlier version that had fallen into the public domain. However, the page lacks any attribution, so I think copyvio. If I do a word-diff, it's clearly from the same source, but it could have been a 1911 encyclopedia entry for all I know. Anyone care to weigh in? Daniel Quinlan 13:19, Aug 14, 2003 (UTC)

I think the first paragraph is close but ok, while the second and third are direct c'n'p from bartleby. The first para has been moved a little closer to bartleby, I rather like "racist Anglo-Saxon Protestant" over "American". ²¹² 14:47, 14 Aug 2003 (UTC)
A copyvio is a copyvio. If the original version was a direct copy, we need to delete the article and start from scratch. We don't make it legally okay by editing it over time until you can't tell there is a violation. Even the first paragraph is an obvious rephrase. Unless it definitely came from a public domain source, it needs to be deleted and restarted. (The "racist" from "racist Anglo-Saxon Protestant" does not really seem accurate, more like "religionist" and the other parts of that phrase were redundant (read the sentence). The slavery stuff was later on and caused most of the members to flee to the new Republican party.) Daniel Quinlan 17:29, Aug 14, 2003 (UTC)
Rephrasing a copyrighted text is perfectly OK. Copyright protects the exact wording of a text, not its content. Mkweise 00:39, 15 Aug 2003 (UTC)
Striking false statement to avoid misleading other Wikipedians with this complete misunderstanding of copyright law.
No, you are completely and entirely wrong. It is true that copyright does not protect information, facts, etc. However, it does not permit rephrasing or paraphrasing. Those are "derived works". How do you think translations or abridged versions, for example, of the latest Harry Potter book are deemed illegal? Or why I can't just produce a free version of Time magazine by rephrasing every article. No wonder Wikipedia has so many copyright violations! Daniel Quinlan 00:55, Aug 15, 2003 (UTC)
You are comparing apples and oranges. The concept of derivative works applies to works of art, not journalism. If you learn facts from someone else's writing and then rephrase those facts in your own words, you have not created a derivative work but own the copyright to your words. Your words are your words, regardless of where you learned the facts expressed therein. Now in fiction, the situation is a whole lot more complicated; see, for example, The Wind Done Gone - a case in which the courts spent years deciding whether they were looking at a parody (permited under fair use) or an unauthorized derivative work. Mkweise 04:04, 15 Aug 2003 (UTC)
No, derivative works also applies to journalism and other works of fact. Digesting facts and writing them in your own words is entirely different from paraphrasing and rewording. Otherwise, all it would take is a thesaurus and a sentence reconstruction engine to copy any work of journalism and Reuters would have gone out of business a long time ago. Daniel Quinlan 05:24, Aug 15, 2003 (UTC)
Also, in the case of The Wind Done Gone, the suit was over the basic storyline and the telling of the story from an entirely different perspective. It was not just a copy of the original work paraphased. Daniel Quinlan 05:27, Aug 15, 2003 (UTC)

See "paraphrasing" on — it's a good explanation of why this article, if copied without permission or from a non-public domain source is a copyright violation. I just wanted to make sure that it wasn't actually copied without permission or from a non-public domain source before putting it up for deletion. I'll post to VfD now and also put a note on the page itself to give the originator a chance to correct any mistaken assumptions on my part of the origin. Daniel Quinlan 01:03, Aug 15, 2003 (UTC)

Your link essentially says what I've been saying all along. Assuming fair use, I quote:
The court stated that it was not an infringement because, "Copyright protection does not extend to historical or contemporary facts, material traceable to common sources or in public domains, and scenes a faire."
Mkweise 04:15, 15 Aug 2003 (UTC)
Ark30inf 05:34, 15 Aug 2003 (UTC) I think this is the section that applies. Factual works differ. Subsequent authors wishing to express an idea contained in a factual work such as a history, mathematical book, scientific text, and films of historical events like "Titanic" and "Amistad" often can choose from only a narrow range of expression. For example, Landsberg's work states that "[t]he poor player simply attempts to make as many points as possible each turn." The idea contained in that statement cannot be expressed in a wide variety of ways. Just about any subsequent expression of that idea is likely to appear to be a substantially similar paraphrase of the words with which Landsberg expressed the idea. Therefore, similarity of expression may have to amount to verbatim reproduction or very close paraphrasing before a factual work will be deemed infringed. The Amistad film raised a similar issue, whether the author of the book "Echo of Lions" could prove an infringement. The court stated that it was not an infringement because, "Copyright protection does not extend to historical or contemporary facts, material traceable to common sources or in public domains, and scenes a faire." (Barbara CHASE-RIBOUD vs. DREAMWORKS, INC 45 U.S.P.Q.2d 1259, (9th Cir. Ct. App. 1997).

Hello? Facts? Nope. Fair use. Nope. The article is not a presentation of facts. It is paraphrased copyright material. Is it not fair use. It's 100% of the original article. Not even close under fair use. Daniel Quinlan 05:24, Aug 15, 2003 (UTC)

I posted proof the article in Talk:Know-Nothing movement that it was copied from the same base document, probably a 100% copy at some point before the conversion script (the oldest entry in the history). I also checked the 1911 encyclopedia and it's not the source, so I'm pretty confident this should be deleted. We can begin the article anew from the 1911 version as nothing really happened after the mid 1800s anyway. I'm still hoping there was a public domain source so the copying will be a moot point (aside from the lack of attribution which is at least not a classy thing to do). Daniel Quinlan 05:50, Aug 15, 2003 (UTC)

Workaround for Mozilla Bug no longer necessary[edit]

I noticed that in Mozilla Firebird 0.6.1, there are serious problems with the handling of <hr> in general, and in an especially obvious way on the Postal Service. Apparently this is due to a workaround for a bug older versions of Mozilla had in displaying <hr>, there's a temporary hack that reverts to quirks mode for Mozilla browsers. So the people on the Mozilla Forums ( told me to tell you guys that the bug is fixed. --Nelson 00:02, 18 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Ye olde Wikipedia[edit]

Regarding automated conversion: do we have a backup of Wikipedia from the Phase-II days? Maybe we could run a copy, in read-only mode, for historical purposes. I know we still have all the old software, so it should just be a case of dusting it off and switching it on. -- Tim Starling 04:35, Aug 12, 2003 (UTC)

(dig, dig) I've got one dated May 20, 2002. That's a few weeks before the conversion. I haven't checked to see how complete it is. --Brion 04:41, 12 Aug 2003 (UTC)
Cool. Now all we need is a sepia-tone colour scheme and a script to prepend "Ye Olde" to every instance of "Wikipedia" :) -- Tim Starling 05:05, Aug 12, 2003 (UTC)