Wikipedia:Village pump (idea lab)/Archive 11

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What New Editors Get Away With[edit]

(I'm not a native English speaker, please bear with me.) Hi all, in my opinion it's too easy for new editors (anonymous or not) to get away with vandalistic edits. I would like to start by giving you four examples.

  1. Special:Contributions/ made nothing but vandalistic edits. The two edits from March 2011‎ were reverted by me in December 2012. One of those is text added to the External links section, clearly suspicious. The text remained there for over 1.5 years. This would not have happened if we had kept an eye on this new IP editor.
  2. Special:Contributions/ has made only 1 edit. This edit in 9 March 2013 broke a link for no reason. The link was broken for 1.5 months until I fixed it on 26 April 2013. Again, no way this would have happened if we kept an eye on that new IP editor.
  3. Special:Contributions/Getdownwithspencer made just 3 edits. Clearly vandalism on 26 March 2013 here and here, and both were fixed by me 5 April 2013 here and here. The spam was on Wikipedia for 'just' over 1 week, but how can a brand new user make nothing but vandalistic edits and get away with it for over 1 week.
  4. Special:Contributions/ got away with a section blanking (it was tagged!) from 13 January 2013 until 19 January 2013; until I noticed it after over 6 days. It was that IP editor's 11th edit. Clever troll, by the way, because it mixes nonsense/vandalistic edits with proper stuff/(made up) references/internal links, to make the edits seem legit.

Similar to Special:Contributions/, who has made it a sport to remove as much as possible from Wikipedia, which works pretty well (again, normal edits combined with vandalism; started October 2012).
Another funny one is commons:User:Glasshouse who makes up Royal Monograms that other users add to Wikipedia articles as official monograms. See my comments about one of them here.
Anyways, back to the new editors. Wikipedia may not be dealing with them properly. This causes me to feel like I need to constantly patrol articles I've worked on.
For example, the only edit by Special:Contributions/, made in April 2013, reverted the article back to December 2010! I had just put a lot of work into that article. If I hadn't noticed the edit that IP editor made, would anyone else have undone the revision? Ever? Within a month, a week?
This needs to change. How exactly, I don't know, but here is a suggestion. After an editor hits "Save page", ask: "Do you want to help verify that another edit was legit?" For a single edit by a new editor, ask two random editors to verify that edit. It could take at least n edits and at least x time before the new editor is being removed from this verification system. -- (talk) 21:11, 4 May 2013 (UTC)

  • Revert hack edits but fix grammar and add omitted details: It can be frustrating when noting problems caused by hack edits, and reverting them is a valuable contribution to Wikipedia; however, remember to balance the impacts against the effects of simple grammar errors or the omission of major details. For example, an article with several incorrect grammar phrases or misspelled words can be more irritating to readers, than an extra bottom external link to facebook. For that reason, it can be more beneficial, when reverting a wp:Linkspam line, to meanwhile check the wording of the text, to also fix some grammar errors or even re-phrase the wording for better clarity. On balance, an even worse problem might be the omission of major details about a topic. For example, a common problem in film/actor articles is to omit the major films or actors from the wp:lede paragraphs or omit them totally. Perhaps a person who wrote an article did not realize which actors were major players in a film, or which films had the "big roles" for a actor, as perhaps some roles which involved singing a major song. One valuable addition, to actor articles, would be to count their films, or TV roles, and then note, they "appeared in over 40 films" or 15 TV series, or such, rather than just simply understate their work as, "actor in films and television". Anyway, the overall concept is to balance (prioritize) the reverts of hack edits with fixes of grammar errors or additions of formerly omitted (major) details. But thanks for fixing those earlier problems. -Wikid77 (talk) 11:40, 5 May 2013 (UTC)
    • In my opinion, you're mostly ignoring the core of my post and mention 'reverting hack edits' to bring up your own points about fixing grammar and adding details. My post was not about what I do when I revert vandalistic edits, but about what new editors can get away with. That needs to change and I gave a suggestion how it could be changed. Linkspam was just one example I gave, the scope was about what new editors can get away with. -- (talk) 16:49, 5 May 2013 (UTC)
      • Please learn to use paragraph breaks. Praemonitus (talk) 21:57, 5 May 2013 (UTC)
  • I think you bring up a good point, should we have some sort of holding pen for new users who have a vandalistic history were there edits and only theres has to be approved rather than a block? JayJayWhat did I do? 16:05, 6 May 2013 (UTC)
    That's not technically possible (at this time). However, all of the changes, regardless of previous actions, can be reviewed at Special:RecentChanges. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:05, 6 May 2013 (UTC)

These aren't necessarily "vandals": anyone could accidentally delete a bit of text without even noticing (what the second IP did). The fourth IP blanked allegations of criminal activity against the BLP. Notice the important difference between "being accused of a crime" and "being convicted of a crime": blanking that section might be appropriate per WP:BLPCRIME.

As for why "we" are not reviewing every single IP edit, the answer is this: because you haven't done it. We're all volunteers here, not just you. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:05, 6 May 2013 (UTC)

What I wrote was about what new editors get away with, anonymous or not. I didn't suggest reviewing every single IP edit. Also, the tone of your comment seems needlessly accusatory and polemical. -- (talk) 18:29, 6 May 2013 (UTC)
Are you familiar with Wikipedia:Pending changes? It would do exactly what you suggest, except edits by new editors would need to be reviewed by one other editor, not two. I think we would be better off with Pending changes broadly implemented, but the community thinks otherwise, so it is used in a more limited fashion. If you agree this would accomplish what you want to accomplish, feel free to support its use.--SPhilbrick(Talk) 18:52, 6 May 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for mentioning Wikipedia:Pending changes. You're right that it is similar to what I suggested/have in mind. I agree that a broader implementation of Pending changes might be preferable to the current situation. Some differences between my suggestion and Pending changes are that anyone could be a 'Reviewer'. Assuming that the majority of the editors have the best of intentions, if every single edit by a new user (and those who get added after vandalistic edits) would be checked by two random editors, it would be difficult to abuse (unlike, for example, the Google Image Labeler). If it would be a system wide implementation, maybe it'd be better if the changes would go live immediately and be checked soon afterwards. Oh well... -- (talk) 19:13, 6 May 2013 (UTC)

I think Snuggle basically does what you're looking for, but it doesn't work with IP editors. Revent (talk) 21:13, 16 May 2013 (UTC)

Here's another example that I ran into recently. This is the first and only edit by Special:Contributions/2602:306:CFC8:9F70:A40D:A9E4:55FB:3252: 18 February 2013[1]. It takes more than three months before I reverted it on 25 May 2013[2]. Why does Wikipedia allow new editors to get away with this? Why not let all new users go through Wikipedia:Pending changes until they've made at least n edits and have been around at least t time? Then at least vandals are forced to help Wikipedia for a while before they can start trolling. And if someone makes a vandalistic edit, just reset the n edits and t time counters back to 0. This seems so logical to me. The four examples I gave in my first post in this section and the one I just mentioned are just examples; I run into stuff like this all the time. It's not like it's not a problem because we notice all these edits. We do not, a lot of them slip through. I was thinking that Carmack had recently - because the troll changed "2010-03" to "2010-13", I was thinking he won 2010 through 2013 - been awarded some kind of new "Sagar&Aki" award, given to him at the Game Developers Conference. I kid you not. And then after I've searched Google for several minutes, I once again come to the conclusion that it would've been so simple to prevent this from happening. Wasting minutes of my time on a new editor's first and only edit that probably took only seconds to make. -- (talk) 22:05, 25 May 2013 (UTC)

Letting all new users go through pending changes is a really good idea! Lova Falk talk 17:40, 26 May 2013 (UTC)
Should I add the idea to use WP:PC for all new users during their first n edits (and at least t time) to WP:VPR? -- (talk) 11:38, 27 May 2013 (UTC)
As far as I can tell, there's really no point in discussing this proposal, because WP:Pending changes (which is configured per page, not per user) doesn't work that way. What you want appears to be full WP:Flagged revisions, configured so that autoconfirmed users have reviewer rights. FR is used on some projects but was rejected here. I suggest that you go read the many discussion about FR before deciding whether you want to pursue this idea. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:26, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
I'm not sure what you mean by "full WP:Flagged revisions", but this would be only for new editors. What I'm suggesting is a WP:FLR implementation that requires the first, let's say 500, edits by new users to be reviewed and flagged before these revisions are shown to readers. I understand that WP:PC cannot (currently) do what I want, but I don't think that means it would be pointless to discuss my proposal any further. You write that "FR is used on some projects but was rejected here", but, unless I don't understand you correctly, isn't the (or a) WP:FLR implementation on the English Wikipedia WP:PC (not system-wide doesn't make it rejected)? I think that implementing the idea I've outlined in this section would make vandalism on Wikipedia a rare occurrence, and if it occurs it's almost never visible to visitors. Pending changes and semi-protection would no longer be necessary. I would like more editors' feedback, please. User:Lova Falk seems to agree the idea may be worth further consideration. -- (talk) 22:21, 28 May 2013 (UTC)

"Share this article" share bar with buttons[edit]

I know this has been discussed before, but I haven't seen a final decision. What's happened on this front? It would be great if each article had a discrete share bar with links to various popular services like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, StumbleUpon, Pinterest, Reddit, Digg, etc.. -- Brangifer (talk) 04:22, 9 May 2013 (UTC)

So you want a few hundred buttons so Wikipedia would be able to stay neutral? ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 06:09, 9 May 2013 (UTC)
WP:PEREN#Share pages on Facebook, Twitter etc. Anomie 10:38, 9 May 2013 (UTC)
Thanks Anomie. Sharebox is exactly what I'm looking for. -- Brangifer (talk) 15:03, 9 May 2013 (UTC)
I strongly believe that adding a sharing button button would help a lot to "disseminate" Wikipedia's content. There's ways to create buttons that prevent tracking. --NaBUru38 (talk) 15:31, 15 May 2013 (UTC)
Privacy is only one of a handful of reasons, listed at that PEREN entry. "Which sites to list by default" is possibly the main objection/problem. There are further problems not listed there, such as "should we autoshorten the url (eg version/etc)?".
Personally, I believe web-users should be less reliant upon "embedded share buttons", and instead learn to use bookmarklets, or just copy&paste. Having 3-20 tiny icons (one for each community/service) next to every single damn blog post/video/newsarticle/etc, is so very wrong. We ought not encourage it. –Quiddity (talk) 20:00, 15 May 2013 (UTC)
There is one venue where share buttons are immensely helpful - on mobile devices. Copying and pasting a link on a mobile device is tedious at the best of times. I often find myself cursing sites or apps that don't have a built in 'Share' button. Could this functionality be added only to the mobile site, if no consensus is reached for it's inclusion globally? CurlyLoop (talk) 20:14, 28 May 2013 (UTC)

Huge handy guide for Web research released by the NSA[edit]

There's 35 MB of stuff at [3] released under a FOIA request [4] with ideas about how to find various content on the Internet. Unfortunately it is from 2007, so now badly out of date.

Normally Wikipedia doesn't house how-to guides, but in this instance I think an extended help file for our researchers would be very highly desirable. (Possibly this could be a Wikiversity item instead, depending on how you approach it, but I'll start off here) I think we should try to get the original text into Wikisource, then create a Wikipedia copy that we update to match our localization and perspective and the changes that have happened since. It would be a pretty large undertaking but I think it would improve not only Wikipedia, but conceivably, if enough people start to make use of it, the search engine marketplace and the Internet as a whole. Wnt (talk) 06:42, 12 May 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for posting this. I'm only on page 21 of 651, but it seems pretty interesting. --MZMcBride (talk) 20:06, 28 May 2013 (UTC)


This may have been suggested before - it may even be pôssible, but I'm not aware of it. I have over 12,000 pages on my watchlist and pruning it from time to time is a real bind:

Suggestion: Create a link in each entry to remove an entry from one's watchlist.

Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 10:18, 27 May 2013 (UTC)

Not needed. Using your preferences, you can view your watchlist in "raw mode." Every few months, I do this and copy-and-paste it into a text editor, trim away what I don't want, then paste what's left back. There is also a way to view it with check-boxes so you can just tick off the ones you want to remove. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 22:27, 27 May 2013 (UTC)
I've been looking for this feature for a long time. I found user:js/watchlist after reading this thread, it can do what you're looking for. jonkerz ♠talk 23:21, 27 May 2013 (UTC)
This is bugzilla:424. --MZMcBride (talk) 19:33, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
Thanks MZ. I've read through all Bugzilla you linked to. Seems to be a reasonable request that shouldn't need to be a js gadget in a user's vector page - especially where all those Wikipedia js scripts no longer work in Firefox or Safari on Mac. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 23:45, 28 May 2013 (UTC)

'Fixing' what isn't broke or a problem[edit]

Whose idea was it to move the 'Edit' link for the sections over next to the section title? Was this discussed first? Isn't this link better left to where it has been after all these years? As it is, it clutters and crowds the section title. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 16:54, 7 May 2013 (UTC)

See meta:Change to section edit links. It apparently improves the likelihood of the link being used and reduces the likelihood of someone clicking the wrong section-edit link (probably a bigger issue with wide screens and short sections). The page includes information on how to re-style it if you personally can't live with the change. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:09, 7 May 2013 (UTC)
I see it as an improvement, although I agree the communication could have been better.--SPhilbrick(Talk) 12:37, 8 May 2013 (UTC)
This seems to be another Wikimedia top-down fiat-like change resulting from the usability Initiative. I echo Sphilbrick's sentiment that it could have been better handled. I see no reason why this couldn't have been handled as a normal proposal right here in Village Pump. Instead right before the change it's briefly quipped in VP:Misc. Thumbs down again for Wikimedia's way of doing change. :-( On the other hand, like Sphilbrick, I agree the change this time is a good one, mainly because despite being largely lateral change, it does create a tangible encouragement for readers to become editors over the old design. Although I too experienced a minor "crowded" feel to the section title, I quickly got used to it and think that was simply a temporary reaction to change. Jason Quinn (talk) 03:09, 10 May 2013 (UTC)
To my knowledge the change was made by members of the volunteer developer community, actually. Ironholds (talk) 16:04, 1 June 2013 (UTC)
  • Shifted edit-buttons harder to reach, clutter some browsers, or ruin separation: It does not take much thought to realize the original edit-buttons were easier, at right-side margin, as near the vertical-scroll bar where they could be clicked in a slight motion along the scroll-bar. Instead, the floating edit-buttons, now, follow a zig-zag pattern of hide-and-seek where the user must hunt, back-and-forth, across the screen to reach the edit-buttons formerly directly along the scroll-bar. Also, some old browsers show the new edit-buttons as the last word of each header, not separated as a smaller, offset button, but cluttering every header title as a bizarre linked end-word "edit". Then, the overall view of the page has just become a mass of wikilinked text, without the former visual separation of end-button headers, where 5 end-buttons along the vertical scroll-bar had clearly indicated 5 separate sections for 5 section-edit buttons. Plus, the idea of moving the "brake pedal depending on which street" is ill-conceived and ignores stable traditions, as noted by the OP: the edit-button was "better left to where it has been after all these years". After years of stability, do not re-slide the steering wheel depending on how many trees line the side of the road. This is a clear rule of user-interface design to have stable navigational controls, such as do not re-slide the buttons on the remote control, to shift them depending on which TV show is being viewed. However, this is an excellent topic to remind people how to design the user-interface buttons, with a context-free language. -Wikid77 (talk) 16:46, 22 May 2013 (UTC)
  • I moved the edit buttons when it was an option. The year articles, for example, frequently had 3 edit buttons at the end of a line, because they moved differently than the text when images were present on the right. If the edit buttons were forced to be on the same line as the heading, regardless of other HTML element adjustments, that wouldn't be as much of a problem, but it might sometimes be impossible. If unregistered users were allowed options, we could discuss what the default option should be.... — Arthur Rubin (talk) 17:01, 22 May 2013 (UTC)

POLL: Quality of the writing on our policy pages[edit]

This poll is not about the content of our policies, nor is it about the way policy is enforced. Rather, I would like to know whether the community - especially beginner and intermediate editors - find our policy pages easy to read and effective at clear communication?

  • this is not about policy content...
  • this is not about policy enforcement...

It is only about how we currently present policy.


  • Q1 Would you call yourself a beginner, intermediate, or established editor?
  • Q2 Were the policy pages you have read easy to grasp at first reading?
  • Q3 Have you ever been involved in a wikipedia dispute that, in your opinion, might have been avoided if policy had been better explained?
  • Q4 On a scale of 1-10, please rate the quality of writing on policy pages
  • Q5 Open question - any particular policy pages you wish to call out as well written (or not), or general comments on this subject?

To those who answer, thanks for your participation NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 12:09, 19 May 2013 (UTC) ────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────

  • Q1: I consider myself to be an established editor, but the answers below were true on my first day of editing.
Q2: Most if not all policy pages I have read were easy to grasp at the first reading.
Q3: I have been involved in multiple disputes as a dispute resolution volunteer and as an uninvolved editor commenting at ANI. I don't think that I have never seen a wikipedia dispute that might have been avoided if the policy pages had better explanations. Almost invariably, editors either get it when you point them to the policy page or they can't (or won't) understand it despite multiple people explaining it to them.
Q4: On a scale of 1-10 I rate the quality of writing on policy pages at 9.5.
Q5: The pages that are refered to the most such as WP:CON, WP:EW, WP:NPA, WP:NPOV, WP:OR, WP:POV, WP:RS, and WP:V are all very well written. How can they not be with so many editors reading them and so many Wikilawyers scrutinizing them for ambiguities?
On the other hand, obscure or seldom-invoked policies are more likely to need improvement (but any flaws they contain have a limited impact). To pick one example, consider the last paragraph of WP:TSC (BTW, does anyone reading this know what the TSC means without looking?) I challenge you to read that policy and tell me which of the following is and is not allowed:
The answer is that you can't.
So the quality of seldom-used policy pages is variable, and the answer to that is to crawl through the list and work on them, starting with the least-used. The quality of often-used pages is just fine -- if it isn't broken, don't fix it -- and the answer if you think there is a problem with one is to try to get a consensus on the article talk page or with an RfC. --Guy Macon (talk) 03:12, 20 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Q1=established, Q2=about 50/50, Q3=no, Q4=the {{nutshell}}s are 10 and the actual polices are a 4, Q5=our policies need to be clear and concise. They are not, but the {{nutshell}}s help a great deal. (talk) 05:28, 20 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Answers: Q1=established user; Q2=no, the policies read as rambling confusion; Q3=Yes over wp:OR and copyrights to show house diagrams (which can be shown as rough concept diagrams, but not copy floorplans); Q4=generally a 6 due to no overview of policies, poor examples and need separate rationale pages to explain reasoning; Q5=Especially confusing is wp:IAR to use common sense but states, "There is no common sense" (!) and then weasels and rambles to de-nonsense the nonsense (reads as if saying intelligent people are the stupidest, or such). While the policy pages might seem elegantly "Socratic" to the intelligentsia, I think they need to be reduced to rule sets which cover the most-common cases, and leave rare cases for debate, as perhaps each policy having a list of 20 typical cases. In essense, a cleverly-written philosophical expose is just not as easy to use as reading a list of 20 common examples to choose among. The lofty wording should be reduced, to give more space to specify typical scenarios of the "rules in action". For example, with copyrights, just state, "Seeing a copyrighted image/video and redrawing from memory is still a copyvio". In general, just explain policy points by lists of the common actual examples, rather than weasel-speaking, "Use common sense but there is no common sense" (wp:IAR) as trying to back-peddle to unwarp that twisted vocal-trainwreck. Yet, thank you for survey. -Wikid77 (talk) 13:53, 22 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Q1=Established; Q2=For the most part, but then again, I enjoy reading Supreme Court opinions. Some of the policy pages get convoluted, and there is no clear answer (or relative importance) when two or more policies conflict with one another. Q3=Yes, Autopsy images of Ngatikaura Ngati, a frustrating case where WP:NOTCENSORED (and other policies, backed by substantial weighty arguments) lost out to more zero-weight votes of WP:IDONTLIKEIT, supported solely by WP:CONSENSUS. I guess when it comes to consensus, a bunch of zeros is a good thing, because all the zeros get strung together to form a reeeeaaallllyyy big weight that trumps all... amazing. Q4=7 Grollτech (talk) 02:20, 5 June 2013 (UTC)
  • Note: See Wikipedia:Help Project/page statistics and other pages in the "News" sidebar at Wikipedia:Help Project for related recent research. –Quiddity (talk) 04:00, 5 June 2013 (UTC)

Talk Page highlighting[edit]

Long talk page discussions can often become difficult to follow, especially if you only visit them intermittently. Highlighting "changes since last visit" in the talk page would make it much easier. François Robere (talk) 12:33, 6 June 2013 (UTC)

See WP:Flow, which is coming at some point soon, and aims to solve many related problems, including this one.
In the meantime, I use the User:Ais523/highlightmyname2 script, which you may find useful.
Doing a "ctrl-f" for certain dates, eg "5 June", can also aid in this problem. –Quiddity (talk) 04:32, 7 June 2013 (UTC)
Thanks! François Robere (talk) 06:28, 12 June 2013 (UTC)

New useful coordinates service[edit]

Useful service to add to Wikipedia coordinates page with Google and OSM maps and to help to Wikiers to add coordinates to articles. What do you think? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:11, 12 June 2013 (UTC)

Source Credibility Engine[edit]

Are their any administrators who specialize in computer software? Maybe you can help. One way we can make Wikipedia more reliable is by creating an engine that processes reference sources to check their credibility. That way, misleading websites cannot lead to misleading information on Wikipedia.

The Engine should be able to:

  • Check the given source
  • Evaluate its credibility
  • Prevent users from using an invalid source for their citations.

Can anyone help develop this? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Jeremysipe (talkcontribs) 13:49, 2 June 2013 (UTC)

There's a conceptual problem here; with the exception of some unarguably problematic sites, there is no easy definition of "valid" or "invalid" (see "the reliablity delusion" for a length discussion of this), and it's not very clear how you could reduce it to something a script could easily check.
Even in the simplest of cases - say, medical articles, where we have a clear and well-written guideline on what constitutes a medically authoritative source - there will be parts of the article (history/etymology/etc) where it is reasonable to cite things that don't qualify, and a per-article rule would break down. Andrew Gray (talk) 14:26, 2 June 2013 (UTC)
Quite. Step 2 of the proposal is way beyond any current research into artificial intelligence, and how would such a bot even be able to perform step 1? Many, if not most, of the best sources are not available online without payment, so we would need a bot that travels to a library and checks out a book or journal. Phil Bridger (talk) 19:09, 2 June 2013 (UTC)
There's also the critical problem of comparing the source to the content you're trying to support. Even the most stellar source isn't good for supporting a fact that it doesn't mention, but sources that we'd normally consider lousy are perfectly fine for certain limited uses, like direct quotations. WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:41, 8 June 2013 (UTC)

I think an engine that verifies with a high degree of accuracy that a reference is or isn't valid would be too hard given current AI technology. But that doesn't mean a source engine isn't feasible. You could, I would think, develop something that flagged sources that didn't seem credible. If its a publication verify that such an article at such a date with such a headline, etc. actually exist. If its online check the URL automatically and also check the site against known sources of malware. You might even be able to get a bit more sophisticated and have some domain specific rules, a reference to The Enquirer on an article on game theory is probably suspect. Such a system could flag references for the attention of editors to clean up or remove. Of course you wouldn't find all or maybe not even most bad references but even if you could find a serious number it might be worth the effort. Mdebellis (talk) 00:09, 23 June 2013 (UTC)

One more thought, what I'm proposing is a common approach in AI. When you have a problem that is too hard to completely automate you can still provide significant benefit by helping to automate some part. So not the whole process of checking references to be sure but a first pass to identify references that might need a review could be very useful. Two similar examples are from the IRS and SEC. You can't automate the total review of tax returns or corporate balance sheets but you can have enough AI to flag the ones that most likely need human attention. Both organizations use AI technology to do just that. Mdebellis (talk) 03:58, 23 June 2013 (UTC)

PDFs with links to other articles and footnotes?[edit]

Is there a way to retain hot links in PDF files created from articles? I've seen many PDF files that contain hot links, so I know that it's theoretically possible. LibeOffice supports that, but I don't know how to get it from from Wikipedia. Including hot links in PDF versions of articles and books could increase their value.

Has this been discussed? I didn't find anything relevant with my search attempts.

Thanks, DavidMCEddy (talk) 17:00, 17 June 2013 (UTC)

Help:Books/Feedback would be the best place to ask, I think. –Quiddity (talk) 06:19, 18 June 2013 (UTC)


Maybe {{note|...}} should display a warning if the note is not being used in the article? -- (talk) 23:49, 22 June 2013 (UTC)

User:Ucucha/HarvErrors will do that for you. --  Gadget850 talk 20:51, 27 June 2013 (UTC)

Fourth "Get started" option - Translate[edit]

Hello, yesterday I became a member of Wikipedia. As soon as I had logged in a welcoming "Get Started-guide" greeted me with some ways I could improve Wikipedia. They were: Fix Spelling and Grammar, Add Links, and Improve Clarity. I think there should be a fourth option, I was thinking a "Translate" option would be good to have there. Maybe with some way of seeing two articles, one from each language, at the same time, to ease translating them. I was on Wikimedia just now and was asked to translate a page, with one section of the page in English and the other section with the other language, I think it worked very well. The way I understand it, articles with the spelling issues template are automatically added to the articles that appear in that guide. The same could be easily done with another template. What do you think? --Jokygabble (talk) 09:47, 25 June 2013 (UTC)

Hi, thanks for the good suggestion. I've left a note at the Editor engagement experiments project (which is organizing the WP:GettingStarted feature) pointing to your suggestion here, so that they can potentially give more accurate feedback.
As far as I know, the current design is kept minimal in order to avoid overwhelming new users, who come from a large variety of demographics and backgrounds. There is a more complex version of the same idea, at WP:Community portal/Opentask, with translating suggestions in the bottom-right corner. I believe new users used to be directed there (?), but the concerns of overwhelming the newcomers resulted in the new small page, with linear progression rather than an abundance of possibilities. Hope that helps. –Quiddity (talk) 16:08, 25 June 2013 (UTC)

Parental permission for under 18's to use Wikipedia[edit]

User blocked by a checkuser. Don't feed the troll. PrimeHunter (talk) 22:28, 27 June 2013 (UTC)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Parental permission for under 18's to use Wikipedia refers to my idea proposal. As we all know, Wikipedia has naughty pages such as Sex, Penis and other touchy subjects that may be harmfull to the eyes of under 18's. There should be an option under the log in section, where if you tick the under 18 box, you must get the under 18's parents to sign a form and fax it to WikiMedia, to verify the reation of a kiddy account. --Alv Ko Koöp (talk) 19:36, 27 June 2013 (UTC)

Parents should be monitoring their children's internet habits. The internet can't do it for them. Resolute 19:42, 27 June 2013 (UTC)
The internet can't do it for them, that is correct, but as Wikipedians, we must be responsible. Do YOU want to be involved in the next law suit involving Wikipedia? Do YOU want your child to type 'boobs and view it on Wikipedia? NO --Alv Ko Koöp (talk) 19:53, 27 June 2013 (UTC)
Appeal to emotion is a logical fallacy. On your first point, I invite you to show me the statue by which anyone could sue. To your second, I don't care. There are a million places where kids searching for boobs will find better content. At least here, there is a chance they might actually learn something about human anatomy. Resolute 20:38, 27 June 2013 (UTC)

How would this be enforced? --  Gadget850 talk 20:48, 27 June 2013 (UTC)

So basically the proposal is to deprive a significant portion of the human population - namely those in their prime learning stages of life - of this great and nearly endless learning resource, out of the fear that they might read up and see boobs and penises (penii?)... and that somehow that harms them? You do know that censorship is what places such a heavy amount of emphasis on those body parts? Also, what stops a kid from faxing it? And what lawsuit can come of seeing an image on the internet? Gah! I'm responsible for everybody's actions except my own. - Floydian τ ¢ 22:19, 27 June 2013 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Grassroots campaign for Wikipedia Zero to schools, teachers, administrators and communities...oh and a short film too.[edit]

Ntsika talks about what free Wikipedia means to him.

Hello everyone on English Wikipedia,

I wrote a blog post a week ago about a short film I'm making for the Wikimedia Foundation 2013 fundraiser about a class of High Schoolers in a slum in South Africa who wrote an open letter and started a Facebook page for free access to Wikipedia on their cellphones so that they can do their homework:

I had started a discussion on Meta (Meta being the most appropriate place) that resulted in the following page being created for idea collaboration in the effort of the high school students (for anyone who is interested in collaborating):

I am posting here because I think that there are users of English Wikipedia who would (in all likelihood) want to be part of this effort and do not use Meta very much.

I am doing this as part of my role at the Wikimedia Foundation, please do inform me if my effort here is in any way a violation or an abuse of rules, procedures or etiquette. In such a case, I would very much appreciate it if I could be pointed in the right direction. Thank you!

Vgrigas (talk) 20:36, 28 June 2013 (UTC)

Expansion to social media[edit]

Hi! After a year of being a member I became an admin of a Facebook group Cool stuff that's on wikipedia when it had only two members. I became motivated to unite it with the real thing because it's mutually beneficial. I'm sure you'll see the obvious benefits and its overall potential without a list.

The group needs publicity and contributions in the form of interesting subjects. In the optimal situation Wikipedia would invite all its members to join the group, maybe just by copying this message their user page, and maybe even advertizing the group for a while.

When I joined the group, "wikipedia" was not capitalized and I'll keep it "uncapitalized" for its double meaning. However, I'm already thinking about using the group also as a source of funds for open source projects.

I guarantee that the group will always remain mutualistic with Wikipedia and as objective, informative and interesting as possible.

Probios (talk) 23:41, 28 June 2013 (UTC)

Edit: FB groups seem to be of very poor quality, I cannot even change the group's pic! It's better to create a new community page for this endeavor and post everything from the group in to it. So now I have a possibility to rename the page. What would be the best name in your opinion? Here's some possibilities: 1. Cool stuff that's on Wikipedia (CSTOW) 2. Objective & interesting information (OII) 3. IOI 4. IOITOW 5. IITOW 6. Cool wiki (CW) 7. Interesting stuff on Wikipedia (ISOW) 8. Interesting & intelligent information (III) 9. Intellectually intriguing information — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:48, 29 June 2013 (UTC)

    • It now has all of 15 members, and the content seems to consist of pretty much random links to various Wikipedia pages. I don't really see the point, and I certainly don't recommend using talk pages to advertise a Facebook group. That would be spam. Andrew Lenahan - Starblind 04:47, 2 July 2013 (UTC)

Time for a complete overhaul of Wikipedia's appearance[edit]

Wikipedia is the 7th largest site on the Internet[1], but it has one of the worst designs and user experiences out of the top. Isn't it time to completely revamp Wikipedia's user interface? Not only do we need to focus more on the article itself, the interface also has to be organized, clean, and modern. The editing interface needs to be cleaned up as well.

To get an idea of what I'm getting at, I did a quick sketch:

Sketch of redesigned Wikipedia

Of course, this would be a centralized MediaWiki design used across all Wikimedia projects.

Alfred Xing (talk) 03:33, 12 June 2013 (UTC)

  1. ^ "Alexa Top 500 Global Sites". Alexa. Alex Internet. Retrieved 12 June 2013. 
Can you add a textual description of what we're looking at and what the various icons would do; basically how you believe everything would function and what are the key differences between your mock-up and the status quo. Is that a drawing of a main page? It includes the edit history? Regarding heavy use of icons and usability, see, for example, this. Also, citation missing for "one of the worst designs and user experiences". -- (talk) 13:06, 13 June 2013 (UTC)
Great post,! Exactly my idea! Wherein lies the benefit of ditching a working, stable design, replacing it with fuzzy icons and bulky designishness for its own sake?--Paracel63 (talk) 02:14, 16 June 2013 (UTC)
Have you seen Project Athena? I think this is the redesign we are supposed to be going with. Marcus Qwertyus (talk) 13:37, 13 June 2013 (UTC)
Thanks! Is this section supposed to be deleted then? Alfred Xing (talk) 16:40, 13 June 2013 (UTC)
Hi Alfred Xing, have you read Wikipedia:Unsolicited redesigns? Lots of people have had the idea of redesigning Wikipedia, but their proposals are almost never accepted. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:39, 13 June 2013 (UTC)
I've been editing for a few months and I just want to say I disagree with this statement that Wikipedia "has one of the worst designs and user experiences out of the top." The OP states that as if its something we will all accept. I would think someone must have done some analysis of usability testing comparing Wikipedia's usability to other top sites. Has this been done and if so what are some of the metrics? And if we don't have that information IMO a much better use of resources before starting a complete redesign is to collect them and find out what really works and doesn't based on empirical evidence rather than our intuitions. Personally I like the UI a lot as is its clean, simple, and consistent and my first rule of engineering is "if it ain't broke don't fix it". Mdebellis (talk) 20:03, 22 June 2013 (UTC)
there's been some good work done on usability, and as a result, there will be major changes very soon, with WP:VisualEditor and later WP:Flow. But the changes are really about function rather than general appearance. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:00, 23 June 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for sharing those, they look great. I knew a bit about the visual editor but not the flow tool, that is a good idea. On the visual editor it seems just my luck now that I'm starting to feel competent in the Wiki language I won't need to use it anymore :) Mdebellis (talk) 23:23, 23 June 2013 (UTC)
It's going to be at least several months before VisualEditor is capable of doing everything, and the old system is going to be kept around for years, so your skills won't be obsolete for a long time. WhatamIdoing (talk) 06:49, 26 June 2013 (UTC)
This is a pretty awful design that would take Wikipedia back to where web design was about 1996. One of the positive things to come from the growth of SEO in the late 90s was that designers and webmasters started to get used to the idea that text links were nearly always preferable to icons. Using this design would be like taking a two-decade step backward. Andrew Lenahan - Starblind 12:16, 3 July 2013 (UTC)
  • The idea is interesting and I was wondering if we could have a single good design used across all Wikimedia Projects. Some changes which will make a lot more sense will be to increase the search bar's prominence, and consider revamping the left sidebar to include tools that can be used intuitively, rather than relying on knowledge of those tools to be able to use them...
I wonder what editors from the WMF, like Okeyes (WMF) or Steven (WMF), will have to say to such a redesign? TheOriginalSoni (talk) 10:19, 6 July 2013 (UTC)

Wikipedia and Agile Software Development[edit]

I've been editing seriously for a couple months now and recently something occurred to me and i'm wondering if its occurred to anyone else and if anyone has written a paper on it. If there is such a paper I would like to read it and if there isn't I might try to write it at some point. It seems to me that editing Wikipedia is Agile software development for content rather than code. This occurred to me when someone asked me if I had any guidelines for writing a Wikipedia article and the first thing I thought of was "start with your references". And I realized that is similar to an agile programming technique, start with the test cases and then write the code. Also, the incremental way Wikipedia evolves. Rather than start with some grand design and then start farming things out with a project plan things grow organically from the ground up. And the constant evolution that an article goes through and the stereotypical kinds of changes are very similar to refactoring. I could give more examples... Anyway, interested to know what people think and if anyone has written on this topic. Mdebellis (talk) 20:13, 22 June 2013 (UTC)

The Wikipedia process isn't agile, it's chaotic! In a typical process, you set goals and rush to achieve them, then you set new goals. In Wikipedia this is much less clear, because each editor typically does whatever they wish, rather than coordinate a common task with other editors. --NaBUru38 (talk) 15:23, 24 June 2013 (UTC)
  • More like ageing bureaucracy ignoring customers: When using typical Agile Software Development, the goal is to meet customer requests quickly, or at least provide rapid feedback to change course, then allow customers to follow some other path. Instead, with Wikipedia, the whole system has evolved to be more self-serving for editors, with little or no mention of the readership as being "customers" to be satisfied. In fact, when I have mentioned that articles did not display clearly for thousands of users with Internet Explorer browsers (IE7 or IE8, the world's most-popular browser in 2012), the response has often been, "Who cares?" or, "They should buy a more expensive computer browser" or such. Hence, the bureaucracy has been expanded to meet thousands of style-centric rules of the wp:MOS guidelines (over 70 pages just to name articles per wp:TITLE), and the concept of "wp:Featured Article" (FA) promotes a large mega-page format with a set of internal criteria dictated by committees of editors, rather than to answer requests by a committee (or other group) of interested readers. The wp:Articles for Creation (AfC) is an attempt to respond to reader requests, but there has been little measurement to see which articles are really wanted, or by how many anticipated readers. With the common templates controlled to deter updates, many attempts at "spike solutions" for better performance (or new features) have been resisted as so-called "fork templates" to be quickly deleted. Admins with rough attitudes, rather than burnout from continual wp:BATTLEground mentality against other editors, have remained in power for years, as part of the "imperial admin" core, ageing with the wiki-bureaucracy, rather than resigning to try other hobbies. In fact, repeated calls for "term limitations" such as the one-year admins of the Swedish Wikipedia from 2006, have been rejected by many empowered admins. Instead, WP needs to switch to a reader-focused agenda, with smaller articles to meet reader requests, and promote an agile-ruleset format which is easier to write and proofread. The admins need to be removed from power, even if for only 2 years at a time, to allow room for new admins to control the site. Otherwise, Wikipedia has expanded as guild socialism with the same entrenched groups for many years, in an ageing bureaucracy of slow improvements and general stagnation for multi-year periods. Most large changes to Wikipedia are not new features but merely reflect a reorg of the bureaucracy (such as moving interwiki links into the wp:Wikidata bureau). Overall, WP is the exact opposite of Agile, but typical of long-term, self-controlled committees who define their own meaning of "consensus" as being what they themselves dictate, rather than a broad agreement among all participants. Others can give more examples. -Wikid77 (talk) 14:28, 6 July 2013 (UTC)

Tagging wanted images and providing list to editors to fulfill requests for them[edit]

There are many articles that would be enhanced significantly with a good picture. Often the place, person, or thing that needs a good image is readily available to some editor somewhere. For example, I was recently editing an article about a hospital in Kansas. I'm sure there is an editor in Kansas that can drive down the road, snap a picture, and add it to the article. Amateur photographers would love to work on getting great images on topics that relate to their interest or to their location. The challenge is getting the ask to the people able and willing to fulfill it. I recommend that the Special pages have a link to a list or images that are wanted (similar to the Wanted files page). In addition, there should be a way to tag the request that that editors can filter for requests that can be fulfilled by them.War (talk) 23:27, 3 July 2013 (UTC)

Maybe the template could be called {{Image requested}}! ;) Seriously though, it would be interesting if someone somehow combined Category:Wikipedia requested photographs (and subcats) with Special:Nearby. Or maybe they have and I don't know it yet? Anomie 02:47, 4 July 2013 (UTC)
Ya know...every time I turn around Wikipedia has another feature I didn't know existed even after I tried looking for it. The {{Image requested}} template combined with Category:Wikipedia requested photographs is half way there. Combining this with some information on where the item can be found is exactly what I'm hoping for.War (talk) 04:14, 4 July 2013 (UTC)
Turns out what I want already exists. See the {{Image requested}} template description page. It says, in=: specifies where the photograph may best be taken, and adds the article to the appropriate location subcategory if there is also a "Wikipedians" category for the location...War (talk) 04:20, 4 July 2013 (UTC)

Enable two-factor authentication[edit]

Hello, Wikipedians. I'm suggesting enabling support of two-factor authentication on Wikipedia (since there is already a MediaWiki extension for this).

Although complex passwords can protect accounts from being compromised, it's still possible for the passwords be leaked. Here is a possible scenario: User:Example uses the same password for his account on Wikipedia and Site A, but Site A stores users' passwords in clear text. When Site A is compromised, User:Example's passwords leaked from its user databases can be used to log into his/her account on Wikipedia.

Two-factor authentication can be used as an additional safeguard. One of the implementations is when a user (the legitimate owner of the account or a cracker) attempts to log into an account with two-factor authencation enabled, they not only require to input their password, but also need to input a constantly-changing token generated by a token generator (e.g. their phones and array cards).[figure]

This system makes it harder for a cracker to log in to someone else's account - he/she not only needs to know the password, but also needs to get a hold of the legitimate owner's token generator. Zhaofeng Li [talk... contribs...] 12:00, 3 July 2013 (UTC)

Is it your idea that this would be something each user could choose to do, or something that would be required, and therefore that anyone who can't afford the additional equipment isn't allowed to edit? WhatamIdoing (talk) 11:26, 4 July 2013 (UTC)
It would most definitely need to be optional. Theopolisme (talk) 13:42, 4 July 2013 (UTC)
Yes, it will be optional. Editors can choose to enable or disable this feature freely. Zhaofeng Li [talk... contribs...] 00:00, 5 July 2013 (UTC)
  • I would suggest it's probably not worth putting a lot of effort into arguing for this right now. The mere fact that an extension exists does not mean that there is the infrastructure to support that extension, for example, or that it is likely to scale - the Wikimedia MediaWiki instances are a complex beastie and I've seen great proposals with strong consensus fall afoul of the difficulties that come from juggling N hundred machines with N hundred databases. According to the extension page, it's version 0.2; according to the git summary, it's receiving pretty infrequent contributions (although that could just indicate stability). I'd suggest getting a feel from the Platform developers (@Greg (WMF):) as to whether it's something the devs are interested in supporting, and whether it's even workable. Ironholds (talk) 10:51, 8 July 2013 (UTC)

Education-based versions for Wikipedia articles[edit]

Wikipedia is a great tool for many levels of education, but some articles can be too "complex" for high schooler or too "simple" for university students, depending on the page itself. Wikipedia could offer multiple versions of a single article


Wikikid: A version of the article for pre school to elementary, with lots of simplified text, examples and images to help kids having a rough idea of the subject. (similar to the magic schoolbus level of information)

Wikipedia for everyone: A version for average-educated people (High schoolers to working class people), with simplified text and vulgarised concepts on an fairly accurate level (similar to a documentary)

Wikipedia plus: A version for people with a higher level of knowledge (college to Ph.D) of the subject, with accurate concepts and veracious information. To modify or create those articles, some restrictions may be required though.

In this way, Wikipedia would become a much more powerful tool than before, because it would be used on almost any levels of the society.

Note #1: The names for the versions are not suggestions, only examples.

Note #2: In this text, The term "education" refers to knowledge of the subject of the page itself, (a Ph.D biologist should normally not modify an article on a quantum physics article)

Thank you for your attention!

Have you seen simple:Main Page for the Simple English Wikipedia? WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:44, 8 July 2013 (UTC)
There are some such articles, such as Introduction to quantum mechanics which supplements the quantum mechanics article. -- LukeSurl (talk) 22:58, 8 July 2013 (UTC)
Simple only exists in english, we've been working recently on the m:Wikikids proposal. Come and join, help, we need you ! Astirmays (talk) 09:00, 3 August 2013 (UTC)

Can we get some good news?[edit]

It seems the only things people seem to notice going on in the world is bad news. I'm boycotting main stream media because of it but that doesn't mean I don't want to be informed.
I still want to know what's going on even if it's bad but I know there's just as much good going on in the world and I would like to see that too.
I don't know who contributes or decides which articles are on the Wikipedia Main Page in the Section 'In the News' but I wish more uplifting articles were contributed as well. I would do it myself but i'm new to editing so I'll leave it to someone who knows what they're doing.
If you can edit it but don't know where to find good news articles, I can find plenty of good news daily, just let me know.Beaedyson (talk) 11:58, 10 July 2013 (UTC)

News items on the main page are selected at Wikipedia:In the news/Candidates. That is also the place to suggest new news items. I would encourage you to join the discussion there as sometimes there's only a handful of people joining in the discussion and your support could help. (talk) 05:21, 11 July 2013 (UTC)

simple improvement[edit]

Could you guys make it any harder to let people voice their ideas? Anyway, my idea is an option to toggle references on and off. I like to listen to wikipedia articles via TTS but it becomes unbearable because there is no way to remove [1] from a body of text. So could they simply implement a little toggle button "show/hide source references"? Let the people decide what they want to see. It would help people read the articles better also, those bracketed numbers are very annoying. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:53, 12 July 2013 (UTC)

  • Hi, if you're logged in it's already possible to hide inline cites: here's how. Andrew Lenahan - Starblind 23:30, 12 July 2013 (UTC)

Community unblock decisions[edit]

I'm looking to draft a proposal to make unblocking more of a community driven process, rather than a single admin action. The idea is that while the button to perform the action is enabled for administrators, the community should make such calls. I believe it is important for the community to make such calls to prevent an accumulation of power with administrators. Some unblocks are rather straight forward, and an admin can just grant or deny the unblock. In cases of disagreement or doubt, this becomes more difficult. I'm looking to bring the outcome of a block request more in to the communities hands. For that, I'd like to create some sort of 'unblock requests for discussion'. As a rough first idea I would like to propose that when a user requests an unblock, any uninvolved Wikipedian in good standing, basically anyone who sees merit in the request could open a centralised unblock discussion, where if consensus is found to either block, or unblock, an admin will close the discussion and perform the outcome. Possible problems are trolls that abuse community resources on the one hand, and lynchmobs and general powertrippin' Wikipedians on the other. Other thinking and talking points are how we would determine consensus, and what to do in the case of no consensus. I could also see the possibility for this devolve into a 'votes to ban', which is to put it mildly not a stellar outcome, and any implementation should take care to avoid this.

If such a proposal is well received, it could also help in making sure that an indefinite block is really an indefinite block, and not a de-facto ban disguised as an indefinite block. I have always found time based blocks to be punitive in nature almost by definition - when not taking IP blocks in to account obviously. I would like some feedback on the validity of the general idea, the relation to AN(/I), additional things to watch out for, and possible ideas for implementation we could draft in to a proposal. Martijn Hoekstra (talk) 09:48, 6 July 2013 (UTC)

I don't see the problems this is supposed to resolve. We vet admins so thoroughly because we want to be able to trust their judgement, and if there is concern about an admin's decison on an unblock request there's already the possibility to debate that decision at AN and AN/I. What's the purpose of holding the discussion before the admin's decision instead of afterwards, except creating more (unnecessary) discussions? Huon (talk) 20:18, 6 July 2013 (UTC)
I perceive a (fairly large) problem with making discussing handling unblock requests an admin affair. It should be a community task, not an admin task. Right now, it is treated like an admin task, with every once in a while a massive shitstorm on AN/I that may override the block, and/or lead to emergency desysoping in the largest such storms. It is up to the community to decide if someone should be unblocked, and barring special cases, it is the communities onus to work that out. Admins are thoroughly vetted, because we need to trust they will get the power to do very much, but the mandate to do relatively little. Handling unblock requests unilaterally should not be part of that mandate. Closing community discussions and enacting the outcome should be. Martijn Hoekstra (talk) 21:47, 6 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Contact neutral balanced admins instead: With more editors becoming admins, then there is a better chance, these days, to contact a level-headed, neutral admin with a balanced viewpoint. Please note that block-happy admins are a peculiar problem of the "imperial admin" concept of "lifer" admins who are not re-elected, as compared to the one-year admin term limits of the Swedish Wikipedia adopted since 2006. Normal people do not issue "indef" million-year-plus blocks (or topic-bans) and not think "how ruthlessly fascist" and vicious. Normal people would block a person for a few days and ask for reform, then perhaps a few weeks to negotiate a mutual understanding, but the whole concept of 1-month blocks, or the stuck-on-stupid indef or one-year blocks just emphasize an imperial admin class entirely out-of-touch with how to talk to normal people. I do not see the point of trying to develop a rational procedure for reforming ruthless admin behaviour, but instead, seek a level-headed admin with normal judgement. As a graduate of a prestigious university, I want to assure people how there are many astoundingly brilliant and kind people in the world, and so expect better reasoning with a wider range of educated admins. However, I would keep promoting the need for term limits of admins (perhaps 2-year reapproval), with at least a two-year desysop option, to allow other admins to gain control of WP and encourage former admins to seek an alternate hobby. There is indeed "safety in numbers" once the power structure has been defused. -Wikid77 (talk) 21:08, 6 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Two things. RfA has been thoroughly hijacked to reward favorite editors instead of actually vetting potential admins to see if they are capable of using the tools correctly. Secondly, anyone can request that someone else be unblocked now, either at AN or ARB, depending on who did the block, but is very true that long term blocks are pretty counter productive. I would guess that the majority of those receiving long term blocks (present company excepted) simply resort to creating and using a different username, further angering the community. The solution is to eliminate the punitive blocks, such as the one I recently received (they are prohibited, but are quite common), and be less eager to dish out long term blocks. One thing though that is little understood is that an indef block could actually be simply a block of undetermined length, although it is commonly misinterpreted as an infinite block, especially to the recipient. It might be better if that was clarified by specifying a length, but that too would create the wrong information. The only real solution is clear blocking messages, as well as clear information on the user talk page, for example using the words "this is a block of undermined length, it is not an infinite block, and was applied so that..." Apteva (talk) 00:50, 7 July 2013 (UTC)
  • I'm not sure there's a problem to be fixed here. Generally, when an unblock request is pretty obvious (either to accept or deny), another admin is more that capable of making the call - these are cases where the community is unlikely to make a different decision. When an unblocked request is more contentious, a community discussion usually does take place. I don't think there are many cases in which an admin answers an unblock request that should have been discussed by the community. As a side note, sometimes blocked editors (often blocked for edit warring or similar) make numerous unblock requests - often these fail to address the reason for the block (the "but he was edit warring too" rationale). I think flooding a noticeboard with this kind of unblock request will create far too much drama and be no improvement to the current system. ItsZippy (talkcontributions) 18:52, 11 July 2013 (UTC)
  • I think this would be true... if not only there is no threat of admins wheel warring, which there obviously is, and if admins don't wheelwar... which they do, which is why it's admin policy that the blocking admin has de-facto veto over unblocking to prevent the unseemly wheelwarring that would take place if there wasn't.TeeTylerToe (talk) 19:13, 11 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Solution in search of a problem. Controversial blocks or unblocks already are discussed by the community, normally at ANI. Having a formal, rigid process would just attract drama & trolling with no real benefit. See also WP:NOTBURO. Andrew Lenahan - Starblind 23:43, 12 July 2013 (UTC)
    • I wansn't actually looking for a formal, rigid process. Martijn Hoekstra (talk) 10:11, 13 July 2013 (UTC)
  • I think that: Two things. RfA has been thoroughly hijacked to reward favorite editors instead of actually vetting potential admins to see if they are capable of using the tools correctly is a very sweeping and totally unfounded contention. If that were the case, than by virtue of that very fact, any unblocking by the community would equqlly be 'hijacked'. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 08:10, 13 July 2013 (UTC)

Currency Converter[edit]

This may be a long shot but I was thinking wouldn't it be a good idea to have some sort of template for when people put currency so that if registered users select it as a preference it will convert the currency displayed from the template into their local currency. I think this could be useful as my local currency is Sterling but most of Wikipedia is in US Dollars. C. 22468 Talk to me 18:11, 13 July 2013 (UTC)

We make static currency conversion, as the figures need to match with historical accuracy. The value of $1US in ₤/₭/€/etc today, will be different from tomorrow, or from ten (or 100) years ago. See WP:Currency for details and guidelines.
We don't usually (ever?) do live-conversions (ie. a number that changes every few seconds) because that would break the m:Cache strategy setup, and make the hardware strain. HTH. –Quiddity (talk) 03:50, 15 July 2013 (UTC)

We need to provide our readers easier access to other Wikimedia projects[edit]

As of right now, if one goes to an article about a place, there might be a small box that links to Wikivoyage. For copyright free plays, they rarely have links to Wikisource. For animals, it sometimes has a template linking to Wikispecies. The templates used are firstly not uniform, and they are in the article so they clutter the text. There is also no consensus about where in the article it should be placed. Often articles don't have these templates despite the other projects having information about it. I propose that there should be a tab in the menu on the left linking to that subject in other Wikimedia projects- that is, Wikispecies, Wiktionary, Wikivoyage, Wikinews, etc.. Much like the current languages tab, it can be editable- potentially using Wikidata. Would this be technically possible? Ross Hill 00:41, 15 July 2013 (UTC)

You should either file a bug or post this at d:Wikidata:Contact the development team. – Allen4names (contributions) 02:41, 15 July 2013 (UTC)
See this mailing list notice, particularly the "Some things to keep in mind" section. Good things are coming (slowly but steadily), and all of the above suggestions are being considered. :) –Quiddity (talk) 03:33, 15 July 2013 (UTC)
Oh, very cool! I actually didn't know about that plan yet :) That will be very helpful once rolled out. Cheers, Ross Hill 21:14, 15 July 2013 (UTC)

Give an Admin a Cookie day?[edit]

Generally an idea at the start of its steam. The idea I have here is that one day a year we all give a cookie to someone with Sysop Tools to show them how much we care. It can be a Sysop that maybe you've never got along with and want to make amends with, or it could be your favourite Admin (I know who I'd choose) who you want to show your utmost respect for. Not only is it a nice way to cheer up a Sysop, but it could also be used by some party or other to get an idea of which Administrators are the most popular. (This could also be used partially to flush out the Admins that are inactive?)

Alternatively we could make this idea 'Give a Crat a Cookie' which would be a much smaller event. I just thought that maybe the Sysops feel that they don't get enough credit and wanted to make them a day where they get the respect they deserve. Begin debate, thank you. MM (Report findings) (Past espionage) 23:54, 16 July 2013 (UTC)

Watch out, who knows what they'll ask for after...! MChesterMC (talk) 10:24, 17 July 2013 (UTC)
Adminship is really just a tool. I think it's very important to recognize the hard work of editors, regardless of whether they possess that tool. How about "Give an editor a cookie day"? Ross Hill 20:25, 17 July 2013 (UTC)
We had a proposal for Admin of the Day a ways back, and it was quickly closed, mostly due to the idea that being an admin is no big deal, and there is some opposition to the idea of openly celebrating admins for various reasons. I think one way to express thanks since there is obvious division on public celebrations of admins is to express thanks to them directly through other means: Barnstars, a message on their talk page, using the new "thanks" option on page histories, or even sending them an e-mail directly. I, Jethrobot drop me a line (note: not a bot!) 20:32, 17 July 2013 (UTC)

ethnic/racial demographics of US cities/counties/states[edit]

My apologies if this is the wrong place to raise this question, but this is the first time I've tried to get involved with Wikipedia other than on an individual article basis.

Yesterday, someone pointed out a news article about three voting rights lawsuits in Santa Clarita, California, in which the city and two school districts (the Santa Clarita Community College District and the Sulphur Springs School District) are accused of using at-large election methods in a way that prevents Latinos from being adequately represented. In following up on this, I looked at the Wikipedia article on Santa Clarita, and I noted that its demographics section presents information on the ethnic composition in a way that makes it impossible to compare the Latino population of the city to the white non-Hispanic population of the city (the groups alleged to be underrepresented and overrepresented in the lawsuits).

The US Census has separate questions about what race a person is and whether a person is or is not Hispanic/Latino. Thus the first-level data in census information has things divided into racial groups (White, Black, Asian, Native American, Pacific Islander, other, two or more races) in one place and into Hispanic/Latino and non-Hispanic/Latino in another place, and this is what is provided in the Santa Clarita article, instead of going into some of the second level data to give the White non-Hispanic population (and Black non-Hispanic, Asian non-Hispanic, etc.) to group the population in a way that adds up to 100% (except for small discrepancies due to rounding).

This seems to be typical of the demographics sections of articles on cities in California (I also checked Hayward and Santa Clara) and other US states with substantial Latino populations. However, some articles do include statistics on White non-Hispanic population that can be compared with Latino population (all races), for example those on Demographics of California and on Denver, Colorado.

It seems to me that it would be much more useful, at least in areas with significant Latino population, for the racial/ethnic breakdown in articles to be White non-Hispanic, Black non-Hispanic, Asian non-Hispanic, etc. non-Hispanic, and Latino/Hispanic (all races), with racial categories that include both non-Hispanic and Hispanic given only parenthetically or in a footnote. This would correspond more to how people in these places perceive race and ethnicity, and to the racial and ethnic classifications used in public policy discussions.

If there is agreement on this (or some other way of presenting racial/ethnic breakdowns of population), is it something that could or should be a guideline for demographic sections of articles on US cities, counties and states? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Dave Alfa (talkcontribs) 17:55, 11 July 2013 (UTC)

Ultimately, I think the demographics breakdown should reflect how the demographics are broken-down by the sources. This will keep things from deviating too far from the reliable sources, and will also be more neutral (especially since the edge points of ethnicities are often controversial.) Just my two cents. Jztinfinity (talk) 12:46, 22 July 2013 (UTC)

Accessing Wiki Content from 3rd Party Website using API[edit]

Hello There, Greetings ! We are developing a professional development tool which will map user's skills & knowledge and in-turn suggest additional good articles links etc which the user can read to grow their skills & knowledge further. The USP of the tool is that it recommends an extremely "Personalized" content to the user which can help them grow further. Currently our tool is under development. Our schedule private beta launch in on 15th Aug 2013. In this regard, We feel our tool can add huge value in taking the Wiki Content to the right audience in a very "Personalized" manner and in turn help the user grow their skills. 'We wanted to understand how we can access the Wiki content in our website using API or some other means.'Bold text Looking forward for your comments ! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:31, 18 July 2013 (UTC)

Documentation for the API can be found at . Is that what you're looking for? --Yair rand (talk) 12:06, 18 July 2013 (UTC)

A language forum?[edit]

Something I miss on Wikipedia is a language forum (or Wikiproject) where we could ask questions about and discuss correct language. I don't mean a specific language guide for Wikipedia (which is currently at least partly covered by WP:MOS, but a more general discussions about correct terminology in specific areas and more generally. Now, for instance we have a general election coming up in Norway, and it could have been useful for me to have a forum to ask for some advices about terminology related to elections (for instance related to the election list system which is different from the system in most English-speaking countries, but similar to the system in many other countries, so there probably is an English terminology for it, but I haven't quite figured it out). I guess I could ask at WP:Politics or WP:Elections, but I somehow feel it might be easier to get comprehensive answers and discussions on linguistic issues in a forum particularly dedicated to it, where users with specific interest and skills in that area would hopefully turn up. In general, when I write about Norwegian issues, there are many concepts that don't have an exact equivalent in English-speaking countries, so it might be useful to have a place to discuss the best way to name and describe those issues in English. I imagine this may be similar for people from many other language areas and also that users with English as their first language might have some use of a forum to raise questions about terminology, grammar etc. Thoughts? Regards, Iselilja (talk) 16:26, 21 July 2013 (UTC)

This forum already exists: WP:Reference desk/Language, but I think it should be divided by languages or language families. For example, I’d willingly read all East Slavic-related topics, but I am reluctant to read the language reference desk entirely: I’m not a linguist. Incnis Mrsi (talk) 18:03, 21 July 2013 (UTC)
Thank you, I wasn't aware of that forum. Seems pretty much what I was looking for I guess the problem with splitting it into different language families might be the risk that each forum will get little activity, so one would have to consider pros and cons there. Regards, Iselilja (talk) 18:29, 22 July 2013 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Reference desk has an interlanguage link to no:Wikipedia:Orakelet. See also Biblioteksvar and Bank of Happiness.
Wavelength (talk) 19:02, 22 July 2013 (UTC)

Fun ways for WP development[edit]

1) 'Main page bingo'

Similar to 'political bingo' - a list of topics that could appear on the main page (possibly by theme/Category) and 'the participant' has to see how soon they appear on the MP ('cheating by developing relevant articles' encouraged). (Discussion now 'somewhere on the MP Talk page archives.)

2) 'Top 50'

'User contributions' show which changes to articles have not been superceded by subsequent amendments.

The aim is to get all 50 most recent changes to be 'current entries' (and primarily useful changes). Jackiespeel (talk) 22:05, 23 July 2013 (UTC)

I guess you should explain why do you think such "games" would be beneficial... At the moment I do not see why someone who likes editing Wikipedia could be expected to find them significantly more fun than, well, just editing Wikipedia... And I don't see why we should try to attract someone who does not like editing Wikipedia by such "games"... --Martynas Patasius (talk) 23:59, 23 July 2013 (UTC)

Developing WP (or the Wikiverse in general) can be an entertainment/a way of recording information not of immediate use but of interest generally/serve a range of other functions. However 'some people' are likely to enjoy the challenge (especially as there can be a strategy component - which may lead to a number of obscure articles being developed) - as with 'getting to all metro stations in the shortest time'. Connect Four and similar amusements. Jackiespeel (talk) 16:32, 25 July 2013 (UTC)

Permanent link to individual reference desk questions[edit]

Currently in the reference desk, when a user asks a question, it appears as a contribution in their 'contributions' page, however the link placed in the contributions page is a link to the reference desk page in which the question was asked and not to the specific days' particular question. After a few days question will get archived and following the link from the 'contributions' the user can no longer reach their question. Finding the question once it has fallen into the archive involves searching, which may be tricky and time consuming.

The root cause of the problem is that there is no way to get a unique permanent link to a particular question asked on a particular day on a particular reference desk page. A lot many interesting questions are asked in the reference desks and there should be a mechanism to unambiguously link to particular question with a permanent link.

see the discussion on this topic here:

cheers, Gulielmus estavius (talk) 14:13, 31 July 2013 (UTC)

This will be solved, possibly next year, by WP:Flow. Flow will give you a permanent link to all discussions (at least, all the ones in Flow) and make it possible to watch a single discussion instead of (for example) the entire Help Desk. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:40, 31 July 2013 (UTC)
  • I'm not sure this would at all be desirable. People may not understand that whatever they ask (including potentially embarassing stuff) is preserved eternally. I wouldn't want, say, a permanent public searchable online archive of every question I asked my teachers/professors in my school days. Andrew Lenahan - Starblind 04:14, 1 August 2013 (UTC)

Please restructure Wikipedia navigation![edit]

I've been editing on and off since 2007 and more intensely (with an unregistered account) for the past few months. And my primary frustrating is locating reference pages on Wikipedia itself. You can't use search for "Wikipedia Templates" because it will just give you a list of Wikipedia articles that happen to mention templates.

Another example: I wanted to know how to create a new category page. I searched for Categories but, of course, that doesn't give results from Wikipedia policy or help pages (and there are no links to internal Wiki pages either on the left menu or bottom menu of the page frame). I finally found myself among pages about Categories and they were assigned to many other parent categories...that's right, some of the pages ON categories and categorization aren't assigned to the category "Categories". They are all over the place.

There are lots of pages on the nuances of assigning categories to articles, proposing a category for deletion, special considerations for WP:EGRS, pages (several) with big boxes listing links to different aspects of categories. But I never found the information I needed, how to create a new category page. It led me to post this query on several Talk Pages on articles about, yes, categories. I would have spent more days looking for that information but a friendly user provided a direct link, otherwise, I might never have found it.

My point? It's extremely difficult to find information on articles or forums about Wikipedia itself. The first place a user who is unfamiliar with Wikipedia to go to should be the Help page. But someone who has edited for years should be able to do a simple search and get a search result that provides a page that is related to the query.

One of the worst areas is conflict resolutions. There must be over a dozen (two dozen?) different Wikipedia forums to go to if you need to report bad behavior, a editing conflict, propose a deletion or merger, object to an Admin decision, whatever question you have that needs feedback. Finding your way through the noticeboard morass is bewildering, there are different rules for each forum, different ways of formatting. There even duplicates of forums where you can go to a variety of places to resolve a particular problem.

Only the most die-hard editors will persist in figuring out how to make a proposal in the acceptable way. It is confusing to find the right place to seek a solution and it's confusing to have such a wide variety of ways of formatting proposals (from straight text to technical listings of "diffs" and such). This is intimidating and is not user-friendly. What you get is a small group of experts who know how to work the system...this is not bad in itself but it means you are hearing from a very tiny subset of editors which represent a small group of opinions on what is appropriate on Wikipedia.

I have obviously brought up a number of different issues (which is why this is in the Idea Lab and not Proposals). But the thread that holds them all together is that it is very hard to get into the section of Wikipedia which has information on how it works and very hard to find what you are looking for once you stumble into that area. Often, for instance, I create to a random link (like WP:NOTHERE) on my Talk Page just as a way to get into the back door and then I can search for the right policy page, noticeboard, essay or WikiProject page from that page.

While a lot of effort is spent getting Wikipedia articles correctly edited and organized, the "back office" portion of the Wikipedia site is just a mess and needs an overhaul based on simple organizational principles. The way it exists right now, it seems like the whole area has built up by accretion...people keep adding pages (which try to include some interlinking) on top of each other, throwing more bricks on top of the pile and the underlying structure is never adapted to accommodate through expansion.

I realize that this could be a huge undertaking but I just wanted to share my frustration after spending weeks wandering noticeboard debates, policy articles and help pages. I found some very useful information but it was completely by accident. One big improvement would be if Wikipedia policy pages and such appeared in Search Results.

Well, this is much longer than I expected. I'm sure people will find reasons for why things are the confusing way things are, offer suggestions on how I could have found things more quickly, in general, address my own situation rather than considering the bigger issue - how navigation around the Wikipedia "back office" could be made simpler for nonexpert users. Please, this is not a posting asking for help and for solutions to my problems. It's suggesting that Wikipedia internal navigation is confusing and unclear and could stand to be improved. Newjerseyliz (talk) 18:44, 28 July 2013 (UTC)

P.S. Another quick example: I need to find a way to archive comments on an article Talk Page. Do you know how many hours I spent trying to find a solution to that common problem? Even when I found the right "bot" that would take care of it and located the right template, I'm still not sure I did it correctly. Argh! — Preceding unsigned comment added by Newjerseyliz (talkcontribs) 18:53, 28 July 2013 (UTC)

Hey Liz. I am not responding to your post entire, just one quick tip. The gateway to finding the most prominent page of just about any process, thing in the interface, feature, etc. you know the name of is to simply type Wikipedia:Name of the thing (WP, is interpreted the same by the software as Wikipedia so you can also type WP:Name of the thing). For example, categories? WP:Categories. That page, of course, does describe how to create them. Archiving? WP:Archiving. Redirects? red links? notability? deletion? wikiprojects? templates? tables?: WP:Redirects, WP:red links, WP:notability, WP:deletion, WP:wikiprojects, WP:templates, WP:tables and so on. Usually that "parent" page will either tell you what other pages are also relevant in its text or in a see also section. By the way, I think you might find this page useful the next time you are looking for something: Wikipedia:Editor's index to Wikipedia. Cheers.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 03:26, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
Thanks, Fuhghettaboutit, I appreciate the help! Newjerseyliz (talk) 19:50, 1 August 2013 (UTC)
Hallo. Yup, we've got a confusing plethora of pages. A few quick answers:
  • Go to Special:Preferences#mw-prefsection-searchoptions to change the default namespaces that your searches go through. (I check off: Article, Wikipedia, Template, Help. I frequently have to remove the Article namespace, in order to find something I'm looking for. Or add various Talkpage namespaces, in order to find old discussion threads.) No set-up is perfect for everyone, hence it's customizable, and the default is a minimal "Article namespace only".
  • You can do the same "try a random shortcut" trick in the searchbox, rather than having to edit your own talkpage. Eg, put "WP:OMGWTFBBQ" into the searchbox, or "WP:CAT", or "WP:GROW". (hmmm, that last one didn't work as I expected it to. But the 1st search result is what I wanted, so close enough. :)
  • The Wikipedia:Help Project is trying to organize the indexes to the (policy/guideline/styleguide/project/etc) pages, as well as improve the content of the pages themselves. It's an uphill struggle! As you say, it's all accumulated thru accretion over the years. Lots of duplication and redundancy, but also, a lot of pages that are targeted at different demographics... There are hundreds of edge-cases, and it takes years just to get an idea of the scope of the problem. It is being thought about though.
  • It looks like Redrose64 already helped you get the archivebot working. So that's good :)
Hope that helps. (Edit conflict with Fuhghettaboutit. But I'm amused by how much our replies overlap, so leaving mine as is!) –Quiddity (talk) 03:40, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
Well, Quiddity, the archive bot has been a trial and error. Whenever I see an archive box on a User Talk Page, I've cut and pasted the code to my own. I must have redone it 5 or 6 times and I still don't know when or if archiving will happen. This is a pretty new account and my Talk Page isn't very active.
Thanks for your tips, though. Newjerseyliz (talk) 19:50, 1 August 2013 (UTC)
In the Sidebar, we have a link called "Help". When you go there, there is a searchbox to specifically search all those types of pages. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 09:29, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
This did give me an idea btw. I have filed feature request bugzilla:52213. Making help pages searchable from the dropdown of the search box seems like a sensible and unobtrusive idea. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 09:38, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
I just realized, talk, that the left menu does have a "Help" link. But in the case of someone actively editing, I think of the Help Question area as a place for new users to ask basic questions, not as front door into Wikipedia Policy World. Maybe I should feel less reluctant and take my more technical questions there. Most of what I've learned, I've just picked up by seeing what wiki code was used on a similar page to the one I'm working on. Newjerseyliz (talk) 19:50, 1 August 2013 (UTC)
The overarching source of confusion for me is the lack of any sort of coherent organization to anything. It seems like everywhere you turn when trying to get answers, you run into another portal or template or whossit or whatssit. There seem to be scores of layers of bureaucracy each with its own logos and chat boards and stuff. There is nothing intuitive about the structure of Wikipedia or its background machinery at all.ProfReader (talk) 03:11, 31 July 2013 (UTC)
I know exactly what you mean, ProfReader. There are different places to go to suggest articles for deletion, categories for deletion, different noticeboards on specific topics, then there are ANIs, RfCs, Dispute Resolution and ArbCom plus some disputes are settled on Talk Pages (both Article Talk Pages and User Talk Pages). If you're having a disagreement with another editor or admin, it's not clear where to go. I saw one problem I thought was really bad with an article, posted a query on a noticeboard that seemed appropriate and one the responders said it was better addressed on a different noticeboard. So, I posted it all over again there but I can now see someone saying that I'm "forum shopping".
Really, I would like to make Wikipedia a dare to draw up an organizational chart that was so complete, I could pose a question ("What should I do if an article needs more up-to-date references?" or "This editor acts like he owns this article") and they could point at one place on the chart and say, "Here's where you'll find an answer." And, of course, that page would have an appropriate title and be cross-linked and cross-categorized. Do you think this already exists, somewhere? Newjerseyliz (talk) 19:50, 1 August 2013 (UTC)
12 years of organic growth from thousands of volunteers, with occasional attempts to impose order on a segment of the most important pages = "lack of any sort of coherent organization" and "layers of bureaucracy" and "everywhere [...] another portal or template or whossit or whatssit". Yup! Indeed. So it goes. –Quiddity (talk) 05:12, 31 July 2013 (UTC)
Yes, Quiddity, I'm sure I am not saying anything new or revolutionary. And I'm sure that whomever works at Wikipedia or has a long-term view is aware of this problem. I just think it can't hurt for another lowly editor to come to the Village Pump and say, "Why can't I ever find anything on the Wikipedia policy pages?" Newjerseyliz (talk) 19:50, 1 August 2013 (UTC)
Well, there is a basically coherent structure of organization. It's just not one that's ideally useful. So, for example, Category: pages are 100% pages that are categories, and it's strictly enforced. This is coherent organization, but it's not useful, if what you need is something about categories. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:39, 31 July 2013 (UTC)
Well, I could have sworn that I found "Category" pages that were not linked to the major Category category, WhatamIdoing. It's a surprise to me that there are organizational category/link enforcers. Is this an actual team of users or just ad-hoc members who have set about this as a task? Newjerseyliz (talk) 19:50, 1 August 2013 (UTC)
No, there are no groups of enforcers. In this case, the difference between a category and an article is enforced in software: pages that begin with the WP:Namespace of Category: are not the same kinds of pages. Look at Category:Unassessed medicine articles to see what I mean (that's a category for a behind-the-scenes organizational project). WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:23, 1 August 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for the feedback, everyone. I was afraid to post this because I thought I'd get a lot of comments like, "Everything fine, it's YOU who don't know where to find things."....can you tell I've been spending a lot of time on dispute forums where everyone insults each other? You quickly find out who the squeaky wheels are but it's more of a sign of what doesn't work that what does.

So, here I am, being very active on Wikipedia for a couple months and if I needed to find a article template (for NPOV or need more references tag) I'd have to open up advanced search (which you don't know is there unless you CAN'T find something), uncheck "Articles", check "Wikipedia" and search for "article page templates" and look through the search results. But if I didn't know the right words to search for or that there was an Advanced Search, I'd never find that page. By the way, I still have to do this every single time because I don't have all of the tags memorized.

This long, long post just comes from hours and hours searching for the right Help/Policy/Noticeboard/Forum/Project page. I have probably spent as much time looking for the right information or the right place to post as I have actually editing Wikipedia. There must be an easier way. Right? I guess the next step is to have an actual proposal? Newjerseyliz (talk) 19:26, 1 August 2013 (UTC)

@Newjerseyliz: I'm sorry to post a second time just about one thing you said, but about article templates, and templates in general, the parent page of how they work / what they are is WP:Template, but the page you want to launch from to find ones to use is WP:Template Messages (WP:TM). Best regards--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 22:45, 1 August 2013 (UTC)

Proposal to merge Idea Lab to Proposals[edit]

There is currently a proposal at WP:VPR to merge the Idea Lab to Proposals, in case anyone wants to weigh in. Equazcion (talk) 21:13, 1 Aug 2013 (UTC)

Dispute resolution noticeboard—a pointless bureaucracy[edit]

A quick survey of that page indicates that it's nothing more than a bureaucratic form of continuing talk page discussions; I see most of the threads are closed as "unresolved". Someone not using his real name (talk) 21:36, 1 August 2013 (UTC)

There's no way I could possibly agree more. The most amusing part about it is the long-held stance that DRN is "informal", when it's actually quite formal. What they mean to convey is that no one has authority there to draw authoritative conclusions, any more than people on a talk page do. In other words, the word they're looking for is "impotent". One of the reasons I'm officially retired is that there really is no way to resolve disputes on Wikipedia. Equazcion (talk) 21:51, 1 Aug 2013 (UTC)

Suggestion for Automatic sum of elements in table[edit]

It would be great if the Wikitable class could be extended to power statistical analysis (SUM, MAX, MIN, etc). How do we go about making that happen?--Graham Proud (talk) 12:39, 2 August 2013 (UTC)

I think you would need a new table "type" (like "sortable"). If people are interested in this, then we could file a 'bug' report at Bugzilla to request it. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 18:35, 2 August 2013 (UTC)

Newer or improved page watch system[edit]

Hello. So when I started using wikipedia I was surprised that the watch page button was the only option I had to essentially bookmark pages with.

Honestly it's not effective in allowing a wikipedia user to bookmark items. It's an un-arrangable list of pages that are stacked at a maximum of one columns. In essence, without using the browser's in-built bookmarking system, it's rather impossible to save pages or anything. Even on android phones one can bookmark pages, however the website version only allows for watchlisting.

I think it's imperative that the watchlist function should at least be improved, replaced, or just to make a separate favorite or bookmark option with a reasonably usable gui. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Cowgoesmoo2 (talkcontribs) 07:52, 4 August 2013 (UTC)

I think you need elaborate your suggestion in detail:
  • Are you regarding to the Wikipedia App or WP in general?
  • Which feature do you miss the most? I suggest that the abilitiy to categorize watch pages would help a little. Mateng (talk) 09:35, 4 August 2013 (UTC)
What's stopping you from bookmarking Wikipedia pages in your browser, just as you can do for any other web page? Phil Bridger (talk) 21:54, 4 August 2013 (UTC)
The reason that the watchlist feature doesn't work well as a bookmarking system is because that's not what it's designed for. It's designed for showing you changes to pages that you're interested in seeing changes to. Anomie 23:46, 4 August 2013 (UTC)
WP:Flow (next year) is supposed to provide a way to 'tag' pages, and that might do what you want. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:47, 5 August 2013 (UTC)

Yes, I was discussing, non mobile. I'm not sure I miss any features, I don't think I know about any feature that used to allow bookmarking. Bookmarking in the browser creates extreme clutter. I already have a few hundred bookmarks that aren't ever touched, and also these bookmarks don't transfer, obviously. To put it into perspective, I created a bookmark for this exact post, and I didn't even notice it. I just went to the village pump and tried to find this. That tag feature seems very intriguing. Thanks for telling me. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Cowgoesmoo2 (talkcontribs) 20:37, 5 August 2013 (UTC)

Code for COI[edit]

Hello! I was wondering about this: Have everyone ever though about developing a code that help us to avoid COI with usernames? I mean... e.g: Some guy in real life, He didn't know about Wikipedia and one day he finds it, I want to create an account and help (good faith) to axpand the wiki... Let's say he is a fan of Simple Plan, as he doesn't know anything about Wikipedia policies and those tricky stuffs, he chooses the username Pierre Bouvier and start editing. Nowadays, some use notices that and the whole template for COI starts... really a big deal! then the paperwork for a username change... and finally, the user desists and moves on... What about a code that when the user introduces the name Pierre Bouvier or any other in the scope of WikiProject:Biography (e.g Bono, Meryl Streep, Gary Sinise or Lou Reed) the page shows a messages that says:

Wikipedia has a policy against creating a username that is the same as that of a specific identifiable person. Please, choose another username. Thanks. (or something like that).

Thoughts?? I might be wrong, but it sure will avoid so many things!! :) Miss Bono [zootalk] 13:54, 5 August 2013 (UTC)

A complication; I am a specific identifiable person writing under my own name, and don't see why others should be discouraged from doing the same. Jim.henderson (talk) 14:00, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
Yeah Jim.henderson, but... do you have an article on wikipedia? Miss Bono [zootalk] 14:13, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
No, I am not in the illustrious company of WP:Notable Wikipedians. I am merely a specific identifiable person and think my kind ought to be encouraged, not discouraged. Jim.henderson (talk) 14:30, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
Jim.henderson, I am not saying a no-no to identifiable persons usernames, just pointing out that some people comes here using a name of a celebrity or something and that is not allowed. I say that we can save the trouble of posting templates on those users just to say that wikipedia doesn't allow that and save them the trouble of changing their usernames. Do you understand my point? Miss Bono [zootalk] 14:40, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
And what would you do for him? Jim Henderson is his own name. It's also a lot of other people's name, too. Would you prohibit him from using his own name just because some celebrity happens to also have the same name? WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:51, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
  • (edit conflict) I don't think that it is technically feasible for the MediaWiki software to do this. I think that the current set-up of users that monitor the User creation log and report UN violations accordingly to UAA is the best that we can do. There would be no reasonable way to properly maintain the database that would be needed to have the system do it on its own. You could create (or have created for you) a userscript that will help you determine if you've stumbled across a potential violation and help you tag it as such, but incorporating it into the system wouldn't be the needed 100% accurate. Technical 13 (talk) 14:54, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
How can I do that? Technical 13? Miss Bono [zootalk] 14:55, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
  • I would suggest checking WikiProject User scripts and see if something like that already exists Miss Bono. I personally do not have the time right now to create that for you (I have a list of script requests I have no time for already), but if there isn't one that already exists, there is a place on that wikiproject to request scripts written for you. Good luck! Technical 13 (talk) 15:47, 5 August 2013 (UTC)

Message to all cambridge graduates about JSTOR access[edit]

Cambridge University (my alma-mater) recently announced that it would offer JSTOR access to all graduates. There seem to be a substantial number of self-identified cambridge graduates active on wikipedia (identified by userboxes). Would someone be interested in writing a script that let these users know they can gain JSTOR access to aid them in their article writing efforts? AlasdairEdits (talk) 15:39, 5 August 2013 (UTC)

That's great news. Thanks, AlasdairEdits. I've left a note at Wikipedia talk:The Wikipedia Library which is our central hub for access to source providers like JSTOR. (talk) 03:53, 6 August 2013 (UTC)

Tag articles as needs work and save to my user page[edit]

As I browse through articles I'd like to tag articles that I found that need work. I want to be able to log in at some point in the future, see the articles I've tagged, and go to work. Currently I have to go through an awkward process: grab the title, go to my user page, edit the page, add text and link to the article, save. This should be a 'one click' process. Countless times I've found errors or other problems with an article but I'm not in a position to do anything about it at the time. If I'd had a way to quickly tag the article for future review, I could have done something about it.War (talk) 17:33, 7 August 2013 (UTC)

Screw the IANA -- use Wikipedia like a nameserver[edit]

Sometimes DNS servers have been used for censorship, more often they go down... always they are a money-grubbing monopoly over the most trivial sort of dictionary lookup. Why not enable a feature for Wikipedia to facilitate IP lookups?

The way this would work:

  • The main Wikipedia script would contain a JSONP callback function. For convenience I think it might have the same name on every page rather than being set as a url parameter.
  • The Wikipedia script would look up an IP address record that we have shoved somewhere - perhaps in a Wikidata property, if that project can be used for anything useful.
  • It then returns it to some simple Javascript that calls the callback, placed either on a particular Wikipedia page or on any off-site page or in your skin as an extra tab, or in your browser as a plugin, etc., which actually creates the link to the IP address using the information returned from the callback.
  • I am picturing essentially manual, crowdsourced updating of the IP address property as the default "gold standard", but of course a bot could raid DNS records to populate many article pages at the beginning. In this rare instance COI edits from companies should actually be encouraged, to facilitate up-to-date access with their servers.
  • Some IP addresses change so rapidly they couldn't be served, etc.; others are simply not in the database; this is not a perfect scheme. Some address should be returned that signifies an error in those cases.
  • It would also be nice to have the JSONP results potentially include a list of IPs so that you can fall back from one to the next.

Thoughts? Wnt (talk) 00:58, 8 August 2013 (UTC)

Vandalism and edit wars would be a problem. How is the "correct" IP address verifiable? How would the database be remotely reliable without the same constant automated propagation of regular DNS servers? I could maybe see this being useful in countries where DNS censorship is rampant, but I would think they use other blocking methods as well. I'm not sure if pure DNS censorship occurs enough to warrant the kind of upkeep something like this would entail (I could be wrong), and I'm not sure what other use this would have.
Food for thought, if you were going to make an independent DNS server, I think it might make more sense to implement an ordinary DNS server, rather than build something that plugs into MediaWiki. It could populate once from a propagation. Then website/web service owners could install an automated updater client, the way some "dynamic dns" services work. Equazcion (talk) 01:56, 8 Aug 2013 (UTC)
Well, you can do that, not via Wikipedia; the point is though, an ordinary DNS server still relies on ordinary for-fee domain registrations. Wikipedia has its own namespace, the names of the articles, which are already defined as entities independently of IANA's mechanism. It is the existence of this independent directory that is especially appealing. Of course, vandalism is possible, but it is possible with ordinary external links right now. Wnt (talk) 04:06, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
An organization that has a Wikipedia article, for example, will likely still need a registered domain name in order to provide service reliably. If you just want one official link at each topic to bypass DNS, I'm not sure what the benefit would be. The vandalism/edit warring aspect is a problem because the IP address that a name belongs to isn't verifiable information. Multiple people can claim multiple sites correspond best to the name in question.
Wikipedia also isn't a very comprehensive directory. Just one site per notable topic would be possible. We could easily start a separate DNS service where anyone could register a free name, and that would build a comprehensive namespace (a separate DNS server that doesn't take propagation from standard IANA databases); maybe along with an app to switch between that namespace and the standard IANA. I could be misunderstanding your proposal though. Equazcion (talk) 04:36, 8 Aug 2013 (UTC)
Well, I was picturing that instead of typing a domain name, you type the name of an entity - i.e. Xerox gets you an IP for that company. You could have a gadget with a direct link to the site, not DNS dependent, etc.
Also, making a non standard DNS might cause trouble if some particular user's system caches the nonstandard lookups and they somehow conflict with the normal ones.
But mostly... I didn't want a whole new weird little WMF service, just a data property (IP address, perhaps with multiple records) that a page could reasonably have anyway, and some small scripting extensions. Wnt (talk) 06:23, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
I can see one large problem with this... It would be easy for vandals to insert links to malware. It's pretty obvious when the external link to the Xerox website is something other than, but a lot harder to tell between two different IP addresses. MChesterMC (talk) 09:07, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
I'm no fan of IANA/ICANN's management of the top-level domains (.xxx and .mobi etc. are quite, quite stupid) but it isn't Wikipedia's job to fix their failure. Alternic and Namecoin exist to try and build an alternative to the existing DNS. It's not really Wikipedia's job to try and do it. What happens when we delete an article? Bye bye DNS entry. Not ideal. —Tom Morris (talk) 09:42, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
Not ideal, but neither are the others. Alternic apparently doesn't exist any more, and namecoin has somehow managed to extract $2.9 million from the aether by existing. Which confirms that there is a potential niche, and one which in other hands would be worth money; but to us it is simply a free way to make WP more useful. My feeling is that starting with a smaller set of addresses, just one principal one per entity, is actually more viable than trying to make a full mirror of DNS and failing. (Also as I suggested above, we could have the JSONP return multiple terms per article, i.e. we could have "Wikimedia" return IPreturn({"Wikimedia": "xx.xx.xx.xx", "Wikipedia": "yy.yy.yy.yy", "Wikimedia Commons": "zz.zz.zz.zz"}) and it would be up to the client to figure out if it wants to choose from one of the terms or just go to the first. I'm thinking though most would just go to the first), The article deletions are problematic of course (I wish they would occur much less often) but (a) most of the people want access to something well known most of the time, (b) we could make the script look up these properties even for deleted articles (I don't think Wikidata deletes properties of a deleted article, for example) and (c) we ought to allow this property to exist for User: pages as well, so that anyone with a WP presence can have a resolvable lookup. Wnt (talk) 14:34, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
Just wait until the vandals rewrite the data entries so "" points to an IP hosting a plethora of browser exploits and bank websites point to phishing IPs. Reaper Eternal (talk) 14:37, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
Hmmm, my feeling was that they could do that with the existing external links, but it is true that registration gives some extra verification that we'd rely on users to do. Maybe (I can't believe I'm saying this) the link targets would actually be a place where Pending Changes could be useful. Alternatively, the client might be designed to verify and display the target site's HTTPS certificate, or warn if one is not provided. (or use some other public key database that is more open) Wnt (talk) 15:22, 8 August 2013 (UTC)

Location of Wikipedia servers in the United States a problem? (NSA)[edit]

With encrypted access and editing the privacy of readers and editors is improved to a significant degree. However, Wikipedia itself will remain in possession of access data of individual users, including edit histories with IP address information. It has recently become public knowledge that the United States government may require US-based entities to share this kind of information in bulk which may lead to significant thought police issues. The situation may in fact lead to editors stopping work on the project. Wikipedia on the other hand is a widely used resource and a useful component of the internet, so it's continued existence is clearly desirable.

One solution to this problem would be to remove Wikipedia's servers and legal attachment to a country with a clearer legal framework, such as Switzerland. Another would be to leave the servers where they are but allow editing via anonymizing proxies, such as Tor. Ideas, thoughts? --Dailycare (talk) 09:37, 12 August 2013 (UTC)

See Onyx (interception system), Signals_intelligence_by_alliances,_nations_and_industries#Switzerland, [5]. We should be very skeptical about countries without very solid evidence. Wnt (talk) 18:37, 12 August 2013 (UTC)
Why not change the logs to only store a cryptographic hash of the IP or say the first 75% of the bits in the address? Hcobb (talk) 19:04, 12 August 2013 (UTC)
You could do a dictionary hack on all the IPv4s on a PC, if you had the password salt - and the NSA has been reported to be seeking those.[6] Wnt (talk) 21:38, 12 August 2013 (UTC)
Swiss signals intelligence wouldn't be much of a problem if TLS is used by users to access the project. Rather, if Swiss law doesn't allow the authorities to request mass data surrender without individualized warrants, that could do the trick. I do admit that I picked Switzerland off the top of my head, obviously legal advice could be sought to select the actual country. Enabling proxies, for example for established editors, on the other hand would be easy. --Dailycare (talk) 21:25, 12 August 2013 (UTC)
Yes, lets move the servers to a country with Criminal Libel laws, where editors could face 3 years in Prison if convicted of the Swiss version of Libel. Do the Swiss recognize fair use? That would only be the tip of the iceberg when it came to legal questions that may have different answers, and we need to obey the copyright laws of the country where the server is located at the very least. Monty845 21:41, 12 August 2013 (UTC)
As I write above, Switzerland is just one example and we should take legal advice when selecting a good country, if the moving-servers option is considered. Alternatively allowing editing from anonymizing proxies would help solve the issue. I'd be surprised however if Switzerland, while not necessarily the most preferable country, wouldn't turn out to be more preferable than the Unites States from a legal perspective. --Dailycare (talk) 20:05, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
Switzerland does intuitively seem like a good 'neutral' location to store something without authority interference. And it does seem like a place where rights of the individual are well respected by authorities. Other countries, for instance the Nordic countries, may still have their own appeal for basing servers at. It is true that AAmerica's Fair Use provision is a real asset, yet all the same basing servers in several countries at once does seem a way to keep all options open. Imagine if this was already the case - noone would have this feeling of being in a corner because of the NSA. Is it easy to distribute the servers around several places?
The anonymizing editing would be a great help in this direction, then however blocking certain IPs would become less practical and the onus would shift towards recent changes patrollers to catch vandals and industry interests (and scientologists, har har)

Citation map[edit]

I'm wondering if anyone in the wikipedia community would be interested in talking about developing or adding to wikipedia a crowd-sourced citation map tool. Thomson Reuters has a citation map (check it out here for a visual demonstration) for their Web of Science service. It's a wonderful tool for visualizing the relationships between different works. In the case of Reuters, it relates the different papers available through Reuters' (pay-walled) service. But it could work for any written work with citations.

Why would this matter? I'm convinced that the relationship between ideas is important. It's not enough to see where one work got its information, it's great to then trace that information and those ideas through the flow of inquiry back to the seminal works in the field. If a community of users gathered around a simple web framework for relating written works we could create something elegant that could be mined for visualizations demonstrating the sweep and progression of written inquiry. That kind of analysis possibility shouldn't just be behind Thomson Reuters' pay-wall. It could be a tool for open science advocates, educators and researchers everywhere.

Thoughts? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Sethhenrymorgan (talkcontribs) 20:03, 13 August 2013 (UTC)

Could you clarify if you're proposing a tool to map citations from Wikipedia to external sites, or an external-to-external map to compete directly with ISI? (The former might be interesting but within one article it seems pointless and from multiple articles... difficult to decide how to do. The latter is their whole business so I don't think it would be easy) Wnt (talk) 04:12, 16 August 2013 (UTC)

I am proposing an external-to-external system. It would be a database of citations, allowing people to track academic discourse. On a technical level it would be an object-relational database with a visual interface of books/papers as nodes in a web of interconnections, with overlays for most-cited and most-read. I think it's pretty possible from a technical point of view, but wouldn't at all be useful without a strong community willing to upload references and connect citations. But the end product would be cool! Just thought I'd see if I could elicit some thoughts or criticism, since the idea seems to jive with the wikipedia philosophy. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Sethhenrymorgan (talkcontribs) 19:40, 16 August 2013 (UTC)

I don't think Wikipedia has a sufficient scientific community to do this manually. Doing it in an automated way could be done with access to NCBI/PMC, though I remember reading considerable criticism of their restrictions on who can do data mining there. They have something of that database to start with though in their own records - it would be a matter of getting some good programmers and some good diplomats to get them to let WP editors in. In general, the notion of setting up some kind of continuum between WM and PMC seems highly desirable. Wnt (talk) 20:28, 16 August 2013 (UTC)

Question regarding the proposition of a new post[edit]

My husband 'Ryan Bolton' has qualified for the Utah State Amateur Golf Tournament three times and is a current and lifetime mortgage broker out of St. George, UT. The question that I have is anytime he advertises, the Wiki page for another Ryan Bolton - a triathlete shows up and a lot of people get him confused with this other person. Would it go against the rules to create a page for him? I saw the bottom of the help section where it says no advertising for yourself or your company, but this wouldn't be for myself - it would be basically clarifying a common mix-up. Your thoughts? — Preceding unsigned comment added by The Tifferzzz (talkcontribs) 18:03, 16 August 2013 (UTC)

I'm afraid it probably wouldn't be appropriate - it doesn't sound like your husband would qualify for an article under Wikipedia's inclusion guidelines. Andrew Gray (talk) 18:12, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
Welcome to Wikipedia, The Tifferzzz.
You might look at articles about similar athletes, so you can get an idea of what's normal. Usually, for an athlete, you want to have multiple newspaper or magazine articles that really talk about the person (not just a sentence here or there, and not just about how he scored in a particular tournament), and it's not usually a good idea for all of them to be from the same newspaper. This section of the main notability page explains a little bit about why these requirements have been set. You and your husband probably know more than anyone here about how much media attention he has received over the years. Keep in mind that it's not necessary for any of it to be online. Wikipedia can be pretty complicated when you try to do something like this. Good luck, WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:30, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
See specifically WP:NGOLF. Based on those criteria, qualifying for the state amateur championship isn't sufficient.--ukexpat (talk) 20:54, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
I don't think it is entirely impossible to accomplish what you are asking, but I would absolutely recommend that you work closely with a mentor. It involves finding an article where mentioning the amateur champion would be appropriate content. The threshold of notability for content is lower than the threshold of notability for an article. Then add the golf champion to a disambiguation page per MOS:DABMENTION and place a hatnote atop the main article such as {{otherpeople}}. Currently however there is no Ryan Bolton (disambiguation) and one isn't needed unless there are at least three distinct subjects requiring disambiguation. Research may show a third subject and if not it may only be possible to add the subject to Bolton (surname). Cheers. :) John Cline (talk) 03:14, 20 August 2013 (UTC)

I'm building a tool visualize the edits in an article[edit]

The live demo of the tool ,now the user cannot control the speed of the animation etc. I'll be adding a lot more features to it soon. Please add your feedback and features you would like to see here --jeph (talk) 18:05, 20 August 2013 (UTC)

Professionalization of conduct disputes?[edit]

I recently became interested in conduct disputes. Namely, I have been following the arbitration case on the tea party. To me the problem is that the Arbitration committee is an all volunteer effort, so life gets in the way of really understanding the dispute.. Of course that is true of Wikipedia in general, but from my understanding, a non-profit foundation manages all of this. As such, hiring a group to at least help in quickly researching these cases would help. I don't have a ton of experience with conduct disputes, but my impression from this case is that it is broken and needs fixing.Casprings (talk) 03:14, 26 August 2013 (UTC)

Hello Casprings. That's an interesting idea. My guess is that the WMF would think this puts responsiblity on them for managing how content is presented. I'm not sure. I created WP:Wikimedia Foundation recently to try and help people understand what things the WMF does and doesn't do, and why, but I don't have it quite all figured out myself yet! Biosthmors (talk) 10:39, 5 September 2013 (UTC)

A community pardon[edit]

I believe our community needs a bonafide ability to issue a pardon or grant clemency through a community process (needs developed), effectively retaining the final appeal, in all situations where a sanction has been levied. We are a unique community of volunteers, doing an hypothetically impossible thing; we are not well served relinquishing our consensus voice at any level (particularly regarding sanctions). Is this at all practical. :) John Cline (talk) 17:11, 2 September 2013 (UTC)

The community already has the authority to either over turn, or grant clemency on the vast majority of blocks. The only blocks the community doesn't get the final say on are blocks by the Arbitration committee itself, and WP:OFFICE action blocks. Obviously we can't overturn office blocks, and Arbcom is appointed by the community, so even that is sort of a community process. Can you provide an example of where this would be useful but isn't already available? Monty845 17:20, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
Yes, thank you. Particularly I see it useful for setting aside a contentious Arbcom sanction, like the Δ ban (my opinion); but any is intended to be all encompassing; granting deference to an office action. Many things happen at the discretion of the smallest community sample (in the community's name), and egregious handling of matters, simply does not have what I would deem as: effective recourse. Taking an appeal on Jimbo Wales talk page at face value; where Collect suggest a user being banned for using slang metaphors like "bosh and twaddle"; this is what made me certain that we need a better final solution than what is in place. :) John Cline (talk) 18:10, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
One of the points of Arbcom is the finality it provides, wont this end up with an endless deluge of requests, often repeated ones? Whats to stop most editors who get sanctioned at Arbcom from seeking a pardon? Monty845 18:17, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
In developing the protocol, these and as many other foreseeable distractions as can be anticipated, would have to be inclusively addressed. One manner of practical mitigation could be, for example, that pardons/clemency are only granted annually, or perhaps semi-annually. Development will not be an elementary exercise for sure. :) John Cline (talk) 18:30, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
Just so you know what your in for if you want to move forward with your idea, even if you can arrive at a consensus on the idea itself, you would need to amend the Arbitration Policy 1.1, which either requires the support of the committee, or an amendment petition supported by 100 editors to trigger a ratification vote. Monty845 18:45, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
(edit conflict) You could make it contingent on a petition along the lines of voluntary recall for admins, ie. some number of users with x edits and x years in good standing need to back up a request for pardon, and at least some number of arbs need to agree that the case warrants a review. I'd make the amount of time between requests longer than a year though -- because the only reason I think this suggestion has merit is because site policy and general feelings about sanctions can change over time; but not over merely one year. Two or three years perhaps. Equazcion (talk) 18:53, 2 Sep 2013 (UTC)
I agree that these are valid points for inclusion. I wouldn't want to preclude the element of forgiveness however, that can have its place without necessitating a consensus of acceptable norms must change. These requests would weigh heavily on one's taking responsibility and giving effective assurances. Additionally, I would hope it contained measures allowing a third party's request, to be eligible for consideration. :) John Cline (talk) 19:12, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
Betacommand is an interesting example. I agree it was a contentious ban, but given his history, there is no reasonable process that would have resulted in a community vote gaining consensus to overturn. He simply burned far too many bridges. With regards to Collect, looking only at the diffs in that proposed finding of fact (which has not yet passed), I think the six arbs that have currently supported it, as well as the topic ban, are completely out to lunch. That is a stronger example, but I would caution you against undermining your own position by taking someone else's disingenuous argument at face value. Collect is facing that topic ban for an alleged pattern of behaviour, not for uttering three words. Resolute 19:42, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
I'm not familiar with Betacommand's case but was just reading through it out of curiosity -- it looks like an explicit decision was made to allow him to appeal the ban after one year, which would've been about 6 months ago. Was that tried and failed? And if so, does this proposal hope to supersede the arbitration committee's rejection of such appeals? Equazcion (talk) 20:35, 2 Sep 2013 (UTC)
I need to clarify my mentioning Betacommand. To me, it is reminiscent of his case, when there was the same recourse as today (practically none), and I would have been glad for an appeal like what is being suggested here. I am not suggesting that it is needed for him now, as he is eligible under the sanctions to appeal; choosing not to. The other example, compelling at face value, motivated me more for seeing Jimbo's comments, which seem identical to what I remember receiving in email exchanges from him, after I had initiated a direct appeal for BC; ultimately being denied process for the lack of Third-party standing. In short; I am not satisfied with the final say being delegated; as it is and think we need the extra final layer, and that it should be directly controlled by the community. I also know how unlikely this is to actually happen.—John Cline (talk) 23:16, 2 September 2013 (UTC)

A proposed tool for reducing backlogs[edit]

A mockup of the tool is currently available here.

I would like to propose a tool for reducing backlogs. It would have a login page, followed by a window that would allow the user to pick a backlog from Category:Wikipedia backlog, followed by a window that would allow the user to classify items in the backlog. For backlogs that require classification, such as Category:AfC submissions with missing AfC template or Category:G13 eligible AfC submissions, a row of buttons representing the different ways the item could be classified would go at the top. For backlogs that require edits to be made to the article, such as Category:Articles with album ratings that need to be turned into prose or Category:Articles with trivia sections, an edit window would be shown like that in AutoWikiBrowser. The defining features of this tool would be:

  • A queue of asynchronous edits to be made, with the edit rate restricted to 10 per minute and only one edit happening at any given time, like the one in WP:STiki except the queue is shown, and
  • The ability to select multiple backlogs.

The tool would start out with Category:AfC submissions with missing AfC template and Category:G13 eligible AfC submissions and the ability to work more backlogs would be added over time. Thank you! APerson (talk!) 17:27, 28 August 2013 (UTC)

I would support such a tool, and would be happy to help develop it. Are you thinking this tool would be a website kind of like what Snuggle is? Are you thinking it would be a stand-alone application like AutoWikiBrowser? Technical 13 (talk) 18:19, 28 August 2013 (UTC)
I originally envisioned it as a stand-alone tool (written in Java, hopefully) for the reason that it seems easier to perform many tasks that I think will be needed in the program, i.e. the ability to create multiple windows easily and use various APIs that aren't available with a website. APerson (talk!) 00:23, 29 August 2013 (UTC)
Hrmmm. I'm not aware of any APIs not available with a website, and editors that work from public locations often would be excluded by it being a stand-alone application. Perhaps I could be persuaded, please give me a more substantial reason why you think this is the better option, as I think that the platform that supports the most editors is the way to go with the size of some of these backlogs. Technical 13 (talk) 00:46, 29 August 2013 (UTC)
Alright; that's a good reason why to put it on a website. (I didn't really care either way.) However, how would such a tool be hosted? I was thinking that Google App Engine (appspot) would work well. APerson (talk!) 01:09, 29 August 2013 (UTC)
Ping to Technical 13 in case they were planning on replying. Biosthmors (talk) 14:35, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
Thanks Biosthmors! APerson, why not on Toolslabs? Technical 13 (talk) 15:20, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
Sounds good. I'm currently creating a HTML mockup of the tool (coming soon). Can we move this to the Proposals page now? APerson (talk!) 19:09, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
@Technical 13: I'm not completely sure if the Toolslabs supports dynamic Ajax tools like the one I have in mind. (Really bad mockup now available here. APerson (talk!) 01:28, 8 September 2013 (UTC)

Socks and CU[edit]

Why is that we can't set up an automated tool that checks every new account as it registers and compares it to non-stale CU data? Then, if an editor popped up who matched a previous blocked editor, a CU would be alerted to look more carefully at the situation. We wouldn't be breaching privacy with random searches, because any automatic search which found nothing would never be seen by a human. I must be missing something here or this would have been implemented long ago. Qwyrxian (talk) 00:36, 1 September 2013 (UTC)

What do you mean by CU data? Do you mean comparing the requesting IP address to blocked IP ranges? Praemonitus (talk) 14:39, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
CU data contains much more information than IP addresses; it also records info about the device used to access WP to make the edits (while I have an idea of some of the things it uses, I won't list them per WP:BEANS). In many cases, once a checkuser runs a report, they can see with a high degree of certainty that someone is a sockpuppet based on the CU data. It's not foolproof, but it works quite often. However, our privacy policies say that Checkusers are not supposed to just randomly look at this information; rather, they wait until a user presents information that suggests a likely link between accounts. What I'm suggesting is that we have a system in place that automatically looks for these similar profiles and alerts checkusers when the similarity is over a certain threshold. That way, we don't have to wait for in some cases months or longer with up to hundreds of disruptive edits before we block a sockpuppet. Qwyrxian (talk) 00:47, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
Qwyrxian, I heard a rumor that the NSA has programs like you describe, I suspect if we had one here, it would be equally well liked by the people.  ;-) --Versageek 01:30, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
Actually, it seems a reasonable idea. I don't know what data is gathered, but this system wouldn't present to CUs unless there was evidence of bypassing a block. (The analogy would be if the NSA only presented the data for review if there was evidence of a specific crime.) — Arthur Rubin (talk) 01:03, 8 September 2013 (UTC)
See, the thing is, we already have the system: by definition, all of the data is already collected. And while I don't know much about internet security, I believe that most of the information is already collected by most websites. While I am not a checkuser, I believe that one of the things that they look at is the type of computer user to access the site, when the info is available. Well, I know that other sites already collect that, because as soon as I switched over from using a Windows machine to using a Mac, I suddenly started seeing adds for "Mac checkup" "Is your Mac too slow"? Alternatively, I'm sure that when you or anyone else goes to a website to update Flash, Adobe, or some other browser add-on, the site already knows what browser you're using.
So, it's not like this is new info being collected. All I'm saying is that for each new editor (I don't think this would work for IPs), the system would automatically compare it to either all of the profiles of other users, or, if that's too invasive or "presuming guilt" or too technically difficult, just to the profiles of all users ever blocked for sockpuppetry. Or, heck, compare it just to Long term abusers, or banned editors, or whatever. When a close match is found, a CU is alerted and then asked to manually look at the data. Then, rather than wait for the person to make a dozen or a hundred or more edits (sometimes on the fringes of the problem area, sometimes just to make themselves look like a legitimate account), and then finally return to the problem area, and then some user has to go through the very laborious process of pulling together an SPI, only to get back a "technical match" or "confirmed match" or "technically indistinguishable", and then someone has to block all of the socks, and then someone else has to go back through and revert all of the edits (I recently had to go back through more than 1000 edits, and hand reverting a whole bunch because they were no longer the last edit on the page)...
Yes, I understand that this feels invasive on first look, but I think that since nothing new is actually being collected, I don't think there's any harm. Qwyrxian (talk) 08:26, 8 September 2013 (UTC)
To do this, I think you'd have to amend the WP:NOTFISHING policy. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:01, 8 September 2013 (UTC)
Quite simply, we assume that new contributors are not banned trolls coming back to annoy us. Legoktm (talk) 23:06, 8 September 2013 (UTC)
I agree - AGF is the principle that should control here. No reason to look for problems where none may exist. – Philosopher Let us reason together. 02:48, 9 September 2013 (UTC)


It would be possible to change the encryption system of this site for the Perfect Forward Secrecy? João bonomo (talk) 13:41, 10 September 2013 (UTC)

Note: Also asked at Wikipedia:Village_pump_(technical)#Better_SSL_suggestions. See meta:Talk:HTTPS#Perfect_forward_secrecy for the best answer, afaik. –Quiddity (talk) 19:27, 11 September 2013 (UTC)
If you have any news in this regard, you want to upgrade to something like quantum cryptography? João bonomo (talk) 20:01, 11 September 2013 (UTC)

"As of" use of Wikipedia[edit]

I noticed that if I'm looking at a very old version of the article on Roses and click on the link for Goddesses that it takes me to the *current* version of the article on Goddesses. My idea is to be able to set "as of" use of Wikipedia perhaps to have links like or something similar. Any link from a page would have that as_of attached so links would take the user to what the linked pages looked like at the same time. Decisions would have to be made on whether links off of the mainspace would also be as_of. I imagine links to things like page history would show the same as the normal situation. All pages would be read-only if the as_of value is set. Ideas? Naraht (talk) 15:45, 12 September 2013 (UTC)

Attractive "inventory" pages for all WikiProjects, showing the backlogs, similar to a wikiHow feature[edit]

At about minute 54 of this Wikimania talk from 2012, the founder of wikiHow talks about , which he credits with boosting their community participation. I think he is on to something, because I think it is a remarkable feature that would help Wikipedia editors engage with the already identified quality issues. I would love to see WikiProject-specific information like that for all WikiProjects on Wikipedia. That's why I wrote up m:Grants:IEG/Backlog pages for all WikiProjects several months ago.

Currently, if one wants to see what needs to be done for WikiProject Medicine, for example, the best place I know of to go is here. While that's fantastic information and I am glad it is there, it is hardly inspiring as a mechanism to motivate edits. The wikiHow version updates in real time instead of monthly, and it has symbols for progress, and it notes the last time someone fixed an issue.

Thankfully, the founder of wikiHow told me in an email (also several months ago) that he's crazy busy but that: "We can show you where the code is in the SVN so you can fork it to WIkipedia. Great idea! Hope it gets approved!" I do not have coding abilities but I would like to see this idea develop into tangible benefit for Wikipedia editors. First of all, does anyone know if someone at WP:the Foundation is already working on something along these lines? If not, then does anyone with programming skills want to help out? Thanks! Biosthmors (talk) 18:28, 3 September 2013 (UTC)

From an email I received from a Wikipedian interested in WP:Flow, I don't think this has become a focus for the WMF, so I struck that portion. Biosthmors (talk) 10:24, 6 September 2013 (UTC)

Actually, the GettingStarted feature built recently by the Foundation's editor engagement experiment includes a very similar task recommender, feeding from three different backlogs including articles needing copy edit. It has so far been promoted to new users only (as the name indicates - although anyone can try it out at Special:GettingStarted) and does not differentiate tasks by topic area or WikiProject yet, but it is planned to expand it into these directions, to make it more interesting for more experienced editors. In fact, the team had a meeting just yesterday (notes to be published here early next week) where Steven demonstrated the very Wikihow dashboard that you mentioned, as an example motivating future work on this project.
You may also be interested in Erik Möller's talk from the same Wikimania, titled "The purpose-driven social network: Supporting WikiProjects with technology" (abstract, slides, video).
By the way, if you want to find out if someone in the community of MediaWiki developers (both Foundation staff and volunteers) is working on a particular kind of software feature for Wikipedia, or is interested in supporting its implementation, it may be more effecting contacting them directly, or asking in the communication spaces that they tend to frequent - for example, a posting on the Wikitech-l mailing list might have gotten you a reply sooner.
Regards, Tbayer (WMF) (talk) 00:38, 8 September 2013 (UTC)
Tbayer (WMF), thank you for this helpful information. Biosthmors (talk) 10:49, 11 September 2013 (UTC)
Any thoughts on where this might go or how the wikiHow offer for code might help accelerate the project Steven? Also ping User:Jtmorgan just to keep the ball rolling. Best. Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) when u sign ur reply, thx 09:44, 16 September 2013 (UTC)


If we, like a student, come here to study we come across information that becomes a bit difficult to relate it to one another; Wikipedia may give us information but it makes it harder for learning things, and so I wanted to propose that a new site be made where it can become much easier especially for students to come here and learn and not to just gather information. This is just an idea, criticism is welcome. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Shimazu (talkcontribs) 07:32, 16 September 2013 (UTC)

Shimazu, your wish has been fulfilled! I've never contributed, but Wikipedia:Wikiversity does exist. Best regards. Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) when u sign ur reply, thx 11:00, 16 September 2013 (UTC)

Automatic closure?[edit]

We have pages like here and the helpdesk that are automatically checked for Interlanguage links and automatically signed. Would it be possible to add something that did a similar check to see if an edit has all of the wikimarkup entries closed and if it doesn't, to close them? So that if (as I just did on a previous edit) I make an edit on this page and have a < nowiki> on it without a < /nowiki>, it will automatically add the wikimedia markup close entries? (a warning on save would also be a possibility as a tool)Naraht (talk) 15:50, 12 September 2013 (UTC)

Naraht I'm sorry no one has responded to your ideas for the last 5 days! Don't be discouraged. Thanks for sharing! I'm busy working on my own ideas at the moment to help Wikipedia. Sorry I don't feel I have the time to engage with your ideas, but keep up the good work! Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 20:33, 17 September 2013 (UTC)

Adding Twitter Handles And facebook Pages Just Like Official Websites[edit]

  • In Biographies, of politicians, celebrities and others, how about we add Twitter handles and facebook pages to their respective Infoboxs in their articles, just like we add an official website to official entities, institutions, magazines and everything else, just so long as these social media pages are "official" either by obvious verification, like the light-blue tick mark in Twitter and facebook, or it is being referenced in- an undisputed - official website.

This would greatly serve as more info to Wikipedia readers, as almost all things relating to the article are in one place. I don't think this counters any of Wikipedia's policies or philosophies.--In Allah We Trust (talk) 06:04, 14 September 2013 (UTC)

Consensus against it does exist: WP:ELPEREN and WP:ELNO#EL10. Although the former is an essay, and the latter a guideline. Keφr 15:22, 14 September 2013 (UTC)
Actually, you want to see WP:ELMINOFFICIAL. These are official links, so ELNO #10 is less relevant (official links are mostly exempt from ELNO). But the effect is the same: it is very strongly advised against. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:29, 14 September 2013 (UTC)
  • Official links are generally on a one-per basis, so assuming the content is similar between all of them, pick whichever website they seem to use primarily. Could be twitter, could be facebook, could be their own domain, just pick one. --erachima talk 23:40, 14 September 2013 (UTC)
If there are multiple options, I'd go with the official site since (a) it probably links to the others, and (b) it probably contains more useful information about the person, and less day-to-day trivia MChesterMC (talk) 15:42, 17 September 2013 (UTC)

Hover notes[edit]


I got this idea ever since footnotes on en:Wiki were made to hover above the mouse pointer when the pointer hovers above the footnote number, [1].

I was thinking if it's possible to make a type of "invisible" footnote which would not be listed at the bottom of an article, but that would only exist as a hovering note. (Therefore it wouldn't even technically be a "footnote" any more!)


This would be especially useful in linguistics articles. Often, when a language is written in another alphabet, any examples have to be given in three parts – i.e. 1) the original word/sentence 2) its English transliteration, and 3) the English translation. e.g.

Russian has four third-person pronouns – он, она, оно, они (on, ona, ono, oni – he, she, it, they).

This is an oversimplified example, but I hope you get the point.

The major problem arises due to the fact that, in language articles, such triple-script examples are avoided for clarity, and so stage 2, the transliteration, is necessarily sacrificed entirely. Which is all well and good for people that can read Cyrillic, but not for anyone else that may be interested in Russian. Therefore the article a priori excludes a whole cross-section of readers.

Because of this, language articles are currently extremely exclusive of whole swathes of readers who are not already partly fluent in a given language, for precisely this reason. But many linguistically-minded people are interested in different languages precisely because they appreciate the intricacies and beauty of different languages.

And Cyrillic is comparatively easy for speakers of Roman-script languages. What do we do when the article uses Arabic, Devanagari, Chinese, or whatever (especially for people who don't have East Asian fonts installed, that can't even see the letters, let alone attempt to understand them...)

This I feel would be improved if the stage 2 was therefore written by using this "invisible note" that I'm proposing, which will allow inclusion of all Wikipedia users. It would therefore look something like this -

Russian has four third-person pronouns – он, она, оно, они [2] (he, she, it, they).

Such examples would be in the dozens for larger articles, so having them as proper footnotes would be impractical. Hence the use of zero/hovering notes that I'm proposing.

And this would not just work for linguistics, but maths, the sciences, and so many other subjects could find use for them.

What do you all think?

Thanks for your attention!

  1. ^ thus
  2. ^ on, ona, ono, oni

BigSteve (talk) 10:55, 16 September 2013 (UTC)

BigSteve, thanks for sharing your idea. I have to admit, I scanned it and I saw the word Russian so I didn't read it all. Maybe you could look for language-specific editors and ask them? =) Best. Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 19:43, 17 September 2013 (UTC)

Entertainment ratings[edit]

I propose that a detailed rating description to be added on all articles that pertain to video games or movies. That way, consumers will only have to visit one site to see why a product was given its rating, instead of searching Google for the information. For example, EA's Battlefield 3:

ESRB rating: (link to ESRB page of Battlefield 3) Content Descriptors:(collapsible) Blood, Violence, Strong Language

Information would also be given for the PEGI rating system and the MPAA film rating system. All information could be submitted by the creators or customers. Mikeyar (talk) 03:02, 17 September 2013 (UTC)

That's an interesting idea Mikeyar. This concept must have a history behind it because it appears {{Video game ratings}} was removed from {{Infobox video game}} in September 2012. There are a couple potential leads for you. Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 07:40, 17 September 2013 (UTC)
Films and video games used to contain ratings, but it was decided to get rid of them because there are so many different rating agencies all over the world and including all of them--to be comprehensive--was deemed too burdensome. I like the idea of ratings myself. Maybe the idea can be raised again if the ratings exist in something like a collapsible table. — Frεcklεfσσt | Talk 01:50, 18 September 2013 (UTC)

citing info[edit]


i wanted to know how to cite information from a government source. i mean that an information from a government source, how can it be cited in wikipedia's article. Is it legal to cite such information ? thank you Ntu129 (talk) 15:52, 17 September 2013 (UTC)

Ntu129, we can cite anything as long as it is reliable and verifiable. See the WP:Teahouse if that doesn't answer your question. Best regards. Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 15:56, 17 September 2013 (UTC)

Editors Begging for Money[edit]

Do you think editors should be allowed to beg for donations like the wikimedia foundation it's self so frequently does using their user pages? A lot of the pages on wikipedia pages are better sourced than professional news stories written by paid professionals; those professionals are also always credited; and not with usernames. Do our contributions honestly have no value to society, not even a single penny? CensoredScribe (talk) 19:15, 17 September 2013 (UTC)

Who's prohibiting begging!? I'd be offended if anyone tried to prohibit it CensoredScribe. =) Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 19:41, 17 September 2013 (UTC)

Help Noobs Cite Properly.[edit]

The idea is not to standardize citations on Wikipedia, but to help people cite better when using the "Edit beta" citation dialogue box. Currently citing in "edit beta" opens a dialogue box with space to enter a citation in a text box. However, many individuals create rather sloppy citations (or none at all) because they cannot be bothered to look up the proper way to cite their source. While it is lazy on their part to not put forth the second mile of effort, it is equally lazy to not supply our volunteer contributors with ready access to citation templates. It would be courteous to at least supply example references in the edit-beta-citation-dialogue-box. This would look like a column of buttons below the current text box. The buttons could be: Book, Article, Website, Other. Clicking one of those buttons would display a template citation that users could model their citations after. This would be exceptionally helpful to countless editors who lack the necessary training to effortlessly compile a reasonable citation.

This proposal is similar to the Perennial Question: Establish a House Citation Style," but dodges the issues that plagued that idea: No-one has to agree on a comprehensive house style because the available templates are merely suggestions for noobs. Also, no-one is forced to implement a template since participation is voluntary. Finally the benefit the community greatly through improved citation with minimal effort. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Freesodas (talkcontribs) 06:05, 27 August 2013 (UTC)

There is a gadget that does this - ProveIt - which can be enabled in the gadgets section of your Preferences. That does pretty much what you suggest, though it is turned off by default. I guess you could see if there is consensus to have it switched on by default, though I don't know how popular that would be. ItsZippy (talkcontributions) 17:57, 28 August 2013 (UTC)
I believe that ProveIt only works in the "Edit source" editor, not in VisualEditor.
VisualEditor's support for sourcing is currently weak. The devs are working on it but it's going to be a while before the tools that are available in the old window (here at the English Wikipedia only, in most cases) are available in VisualEditor (to everyone at all of the Wikipedias). Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 00:13, 29 August 2013 (UTC)
An easy fix would be to link to one of the may citation generators freely available online (which I use). — Preceding unsigned comment added by Freesodas (talkcontribs) 10:23, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
I think we should encourage users to use citation templates by adding a shortcut to include them (most of them already have TemplateData included, so it should be easy for users to use them on VE), instead of adding raw citations which are hard to maintain and introduce inconsistency to references. Zhaofeng Li [talk... contribs...] 00:57, 20 September 2013 (UTC)

Donations: Better Solution?[edit]

Asking for donations takes a lot of courage. It's impressive, seeing a large organization do this. However, YOU ARE ON THE INTERNET, WIKIPEDIA. That's right. The internet, where 99% of webpages have advertisements that support them. Donations won't get you very far, unfortunately, unless your goal is to annoy your readers and contributors.

It will not ruin Wikipedia if you host advertisements. Rather, if you keep to side-bar ads (and not interrupting video ads), you will do just fine at making money AND AT THE SAME TIME NOT BEING IRRITATING. I understand that this is supposed to be a non-profit deal, but it won't carry you much further.

Here's a nice little expression for you guys:

A = Child-friendly Ads, B = Wikipedia, C = Happy People

A + B = C

We did it! Wikipedia finally gets supported and the community is still safe!

So please, let some MONITORED advertisements slowly debut. One child-friendly TEXT AD, ON THE SIDE OF THE SCREEN. Make everyone's lives easier. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Bolizen (talkcontribs) 22:04, 15 September 2013 (UTC)

@Bolizen: thanks for you suggestion, but I think you'l find that the people that volunteer here at Wikipedia would be against advertising. Also, Wikipedia has been very sucessful in it's fundraising without having to resort to advertisements. Please see m:Fundraising#History for the various reports showing this. Best. (talk) 01:49, 16 September 2013 (UTC)
Advertising is against Wikipedia's non-profit nature. Displaying ads has a serious toll on Wikipedia's neutrality, and contextual advertising violates the privacy policy. Please read the FAQ page of the foundation to see why WMF is against the idea. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Zhaofeng Li (talkcontribs) 01:37, 20 September 2013 (UTC)

Let me edit that for you[edit]

Proposal: We could use a new feature in wikipedia which will allow anonymous users who are behind vpn,proxies and tor network who do not want their ip to be known nor they want to register request a edit in a certain wikipedia article,and then after discussing the edit if it is not a vandalism attempt to the article a bot will edit it for him. and the edit will belong to the bot.

Background: It is that certain countries has very strict access to internet and after the NSA prism incident it is very likely that people will fear about their privacy even if wikipedia is reliable.So edits in a controversial article [to input a edit that is viable but may be about opposite thinking or might be in negative interest of a particular party] can be dangerous as they might think they will fall in a watch-list of some sort for that behavior. So if he could publish that by suggesting that edit anonymously allowing him anonymous access to a special page and wikipedia users might discuss and vote about that and then if it gets approved a bot will edit it, so it will be published and his privacy will be saved too. Two things that is need to be done to implement the proposal

1.Create a bot that will do the edit. [ i propose a bot because if a user had to make an edit then there is a chance of his safety, in case of bot that is not an option] 2.Creation of a wikimedia project or something that will involve some brave wiki-medians to get the suggestions and then evaluate them.

I think we will be needing this feature here sooner or later. Nowadays IP address tells a lot of things, specially in developing Asian countries.

--Nibir2011 (talk) 09:02, 18 September 2013 (UTC)

I sympathize with your concerns. People who edit Wikipedia, in my mind, are more likely to be tech-savvy and using a VPN to begin with. I tried using a VPN recently to edit Wikipedia only to discover that IP was blocked for being an "open proxy" or whatever it was! User:Jimbo Wales has spoken out about the NSA. I wonder if he support some pathway to open contributions editing from open proxies (I can't say I have a great definition in my mind for what an open proxy is, though.) Thanks for sharing your idea. I hope it turns into something good. =) Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 19:26, 19 September 2013 (UTC)
This sounds like a great idea to me, Nibir2011! I wonder if it would make more sense to use an approval system like WP:WHITELOCK. Ross Hill 01:02, 20 September 2013 (UTC)
Thank you for your responses.Biosthmors Ross Hill. Should i put it in the proposals tab? @ross hill i like your idea. I think the submissions[for requesting edit] should be as much pain free as possible.The white-listing is a great method to identify possible edits to be approved. I think if open proxies could be used then it would have been the best, but there is too much attempt to vandalize rather than contribution. I also tried to access wiki just like you and voila i cant edit. thats why the idea came in my head. --Nibir2011 (talk) 18:55, 20 September 2013 (UTC)

I have a draft proposal in my sandbox Ross Hill 20:59, 23 September 2013 (UTC)

Embryological Information Absent from Most Animal Articles[edit]

Shouldn't the time periods for the various developmental stages of embryos be listed for on the pages of every animal species for which it is known; or is that information not "relevant"? This combined with the fact 90% of Wikipedia editors are men promotes a sexist image for Wikipedia where pregnancy is unimportant to education. Hopefully there is a Clarence Darrow type out there arguing for the inclusion of detailed embryonic stem cell information in schools; that person would deserve an article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by CensoredScribe (talkcontribs) 13:20, 18 September 2013 (UTC)

Thank you for your suggestion. When you believe an article needs improvement, please feel free to make those changes. Wikipedia is a wiki, so anyone can edit almost any article by simply following the edit this page link at the top.
The Wikipedia community encourages you to be bold in updating pages. Don't worry too much about making honest mistakes—they're likely to be found and corrected quickly. If you're not sure how editing works, check out how to edit a page, or use the sandbox to try out your editing skills. New contributors are always welcome. You don't even need to log in (although there are many reasons why you might want to). WhatamIdoing (talk) 15:00, 18 September 2013 (UTC)
Do you have examples of articles missing embryological information that you have found in reliable sources? I would be glad to help you add such information, even to research and add it, but examples of where it is missing would help. And, as the other editors said, when you find missing information, add it! --(AfadsBad (talk) 18:00, 20 September 2013 (UTC)) This is from the University of New South Wales Australia; their website has a number of decent sources for the embryological timelines of a dozen popular animals. Most of this information is missing from Wikipedia; although the medical references are older than 5 years and I doubt these are from review articles. There is however no mention of when the primitive streak forms which would be important to mention. CensoredScribe (talk) 21:13, 20 September 2013 (UTC)

Is there some reason you are not adding the information? What articles? This probably belongs at higher level taxa. --(AfadsBad (talk) 21:41, 20 September 2013 (UTC))

Converting imdb urls to the appropriate template[edit]

I have worked out a script which runs in AWB to do what the title says, and I want to run it on my bot. I have started a BRfA on the subject but it was recommended that the wider community discusses this idea and gives suggestions for things to do with what it does. Rcsprinter (state) @ 21:43, 19 September 2013 (UTC)

Just went through a few of them. This edits change the link from Rick Baptist to Village pump (idea lab)/Archive 11 at the Internet Movie Database ← wrong title here, and wrong title in the article, but before your edit it was correct. Probably a lot of theese. Christian75 (talk) 21:07, 22 September 2013 (UTC)
  • Rcs, have you worked out the title stripping issue? Also, I'm not sure that I like the idea of a bot that is suppose to be doing conversion work for raw links to templates to also be doing cosmetic bot work as well. I'd say disable that and just to the one task. Technical 13 (talk) 21:20, 22 September 2013 (UTC)

Charge people for vandalism/sockpuppetry[edit]

Here's the idea: Wikipedia has endured numerous acts of vandalism, and perhaps it is time for a preventative measure to be taken. Therefore I am proposing that we require anyone creating a new account to enter a credit card number. Then, if they commit an act of vandalism, we could charge them for it. Likewise sockpuppet accounts. This would help raise money, meaning we do not have to deal with donation banners as much. I await people pointing out the flaws in this idea that I am not yet aware of. Jinkinson (talk) 22:00, 19 September 2013 (UTC)

Wikipedia never asks for any personal information about anyone; the most we can tell is IP address and that's only unregistered people. Editors creating accounts will be put off by being asked to provide payment details and may be put under the impression that they will get charged for some things more than once. No doubt it would be picked up by the press somewhere and we'd have to explain that we are asking for card numbers in case they abuse multiple accounts. And this wouldn't work because you'd have to convince the foundation donations people to take money from sockpuppets - much better just blocked and forgotten about than made to pay. Those are the flaws, sorry if its downputting. Rcsprinter (orate) @ 22:13, 19 September 2013 (UTC)

Nah, it's not really that big of a deal. I'm just glad I took it here first rather than at the actual proposals page. Jinkinson (talk) 22:32, 19 September 2013 (UTC)

Talk:Bradley Manning/October 2013 move request[edit]

move request started on sep 30.

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Discussion won't open until September 30. But the goal is making a very good consensus, and I would fear accusations or prejudicial comments from editors. Is there a factor that would interfere with the upcoming discussion? --George Ho (talk) 03:25, 20 September 2013 (UTC)

The smart thing to do would be to wait until the Arbitration case closes, but as the odds of that happening are pretty low, I guess it makes sense to look for ways to reduce the chaos that RM is likely to stir up. Monty845 03:33, 20 September 2013 (UTC)
But delay was already proposed, and many opposed delay. Shall I propose it again? --George Ho (talk) 03:43, 20 September 2013 (UTC)
Doubt it would get sufficient consensus. I suspect the case wont end up settling things for at least another month, if not longer. There are too many impatient for round 2 for that to happen. Monty845 04:04, 20 September 2013 (UTC)
As I see, they are preparing the evidence. And guidelines are set up in subpage. And I don't know whether disputes on MOS:IDENTITY and other rules, like WP:COMMONNAMES, are standing in the way. --George Ho (talk) 04:25, 20 September 2013 (UTC)
hi george, I'd encourage you to add more evidence to the evidence page - we can always use help. Honestly I think the move will happen on Sep 30 no matter what we say or do, it's like a tug of war - one side wants no earlier, the other side wants no later, so best not argue the date further. Many sources have switched so we may see a strong push for Chelsea by a broad group.-Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 12:26, 20 September 2013 (UTC)
While I understand the sentiment that there should be no requested move discussion before the date of the 30th, I do believe that leads us to the odd situation where discussion on the move itself is verboten. If it is not, then how does a discussion about moving the article differ from a requested move discussion? By a requested move template? That's bureaucratic nonsense obviously (nobody is going to argue that you are not allowed to have some discussion when it has a requested move template over it, but it's fine to have the same discussion without the template on top). Or is it that we're not to have a vote about the proper location for the article, which a requested move discussion is emphatically not? I have had these doubts about this since I learned of the moratorium on a new discussion, but it seems to work out for now and reduce drama, so I'm going with it for now, even if it doesn't really mean anything. Martijn Hoekstra (talk) 12:34, 20 September 2013 (UTC)
There is PLENTY of discussion about the move, the policies behind the move, the behaviors of editors behind the move, the general issue of trans* names, all over the wiki. I think the one thing we don't need, however, is an free-ranging discussion on Talk:Bradley Manning about the location of the page at this point. WP:NOTAFORUM, and many of the threads which have cropped up are basically people complaining about the result, which is not useful. Much more useful is contributing to the evidence gathering and discussion of relevant policies. Overall, the main point is to reduce drama, and contain the actual final !votes and arguments about the ideal page location to be put forth within the context of the formal move request.--Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 13:21, 20 September 2013 (UTC)
What I mean to say is that any discussion about a move is by definition a move discussion. Regarding it as anything other is bureaucratic nonsense. A requested move template people prefixing their opinions with support or oppose might make a discussion more formal, but not more valid or a more "real" move discussion. We're basically tricking people into believing it is to reduce drama. Which i think is in this case a good thing - we've had plenty of drama already. But you shouldn't think that a discussion that is listed somewhere or has a header over it, or has people who type support is any more of a real or more valid move discussion than one without any or all those things. Martijn Hoekstra (talk) 14:57, 20 September 2013 (UTC)
I think we agree - which is why new move discussions that have cropped up on the Manning page specifically have usually been shut down, and people have not re-opened them - because there is rough consensus to wait. Meanwhile, meta-conversations continue, of course. But I can have a long discussion on my talk page about the move, but no action will be taken as a result - we do have a formal process for moves, which is RM, and which requires the template, an uninvolved closer, and registration on the list of move discussions, and running for at least 7 days - so while "in general", yes people are "discussing" the move in various places, the actual decision making process of the move will only start on Sep 30.--Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 15:26, 20 September 2013 (UTC)
Any other suggestions besides discussion or proposing delay? --George Ho (talk) 18:47, 20 September 2013 (UTC)
Nothing in particular. Is there a problem you're worried about? I actually think it will go pretty smoothly, but maybe that's wishful thinking.--Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 19:03, 20 September 2013 (UTC)
──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── What about upcoming comments before ArbCom decisions? Are you sure that some editors will be topic-banned before September 30? --George Ho (talk) 19:12, 20 September 2013 (UTC)
I recommend waiting for the Arbitration case to conclude. It's too soon to have this discussion again anyway. A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 17:27, 20 September 2013 (UTC)
Does the Arb case affect the process of the consensus? --George Ho (talk) 17:35, 20 September 2013 (UTC)
Yes, I would expect the most disruptive editors to be topic banned. A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 18:38, 20 September 2013 (UTC)
Arbcom has in the past launched community RFCs that it tailored to try to come to a resolution on complex issues. There was some indication that the committee *may* be interested in doing that here. Having a structured RFC to try to sort out the underlying conflict between policies, outside the context of a fact specific move discussion, may allow the community to come to consensus on how to handle this type of issue, and then apply it in a RM discussion with much less controversy. Now Arbcom may decide not to do that. Or the RFC could fail to reach a consensus. And in anycase, the RFC wouldn't rap up for a month after the Arbcom case does, so your talking the beginning of November, at the earliest, for a move discussion. As mentioned before, waiting would be a good idea, but I would be shocked if we really did end up waiting. Monty845 19:12, 20 September 2013 (UTC)
We have already held a poll here to see if there would be room to push the opening of the RM to await the arbcom. The clear decision was "no". Those who want the article moved will not wait, so the best thing to do is just accept that, we will not be able to convince them otherwise. When and if topic bans are handed out, it won't matter for this move, as I'm quite sure it will start on schedule barring something really dramatic, like a quick decision from arbcom or a ruling to hold off on the discussion.--Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 21:59, 20 September 2013 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Public relations noticeboard?[edit]

Should there be a place where English Wikipedians use a noticeboard about how to interact with the press? If a news publication published what editors thought was unfair criticism (or unfair praise), we could suggest the wording of emails or letters to authors/editors of those publications to request corrections. We could build consensus for the WMF to issue a press release, perhaps. The Jesus article recently reached WP:Featured article status and I think that is worthy of a press release. I'm also thinking back to an old discussion thread, Proposed response to BMJ letter, from the archives of WT:MED. It just didn't go anywhere. Maybe if we had a centralized place to organize the way we interact with press/other publications, we could create more effective communication methods (and in so doing, perhaps recruit more volunteers). Biosthmors (talk) 10:18, 5 September 2013 (UTC)

This noticeboard could also serve as an outlet for those who wanted to discuss certain press mentions about Wikipedia. Here's a recent one: [7]. Thanks for your contributions User:Dthomsen8! Biosthmors (talk) 10:14, 6 September 2013 (UTC)

And if an article is singled out in the press as poor-quality, it could be used as a central place to collaborate to help fix it. Biosthmors (talk) 10:18, 6 September 2013 (UTC)

There are other reasons to have a public relations board also. Sometimes the community has wanted to have public interactions with groups and to send open letters, and there could be a central forum for posting open letters and hosting responses. I have wanted to make open letter requests to institutions for media donations, for example, and template the talk page of the institution while also documenting the correspondence with them in a more appropriate place. When institutions want to edit Wikipedia I also would like to track the WP:COI discussions in a more productive way so that they get proper notice about best practices. Some other people have complained at different times about organizations using Commons or other media without proper attribution, and would like support in sending out letters about that. I would join an effort like this because I have already drafted some of this work. Blue Rasberry (talk) 11:06, 10 September 2013 (UTC)
Agreed. And here's another example of what could be collaboratively discussed: per my rationale at Talk:Jesus, User:Biosthmors/Jesus is a draft I've shared with some WMF staff about getting a blog post/press release on featured stuff. Anyone, please feel free to make edits or discuss the draft at the user talk page for it. Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) when u sign ur reply, thx 09:37, 16 September 2013 (UTC)
The feedback I received on the draft (with big props to User:Ldavis (WMF) for volunteering to help me out) was that the story needed enrichment from active participants who helped the Jesus article, similar to a WikiProject interview in the Signpost. =) Goodness I'm going to ping you again User:SandyGeorgia. I like this new feature. I hope it's not too much. Props to WMF to developing it but I do have a major problem with it. Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 17:13, 27 September 2013 (UTC)
I am out of time for today, but will revisit the Jesus topic. We used to do such things routinely at FAC (back in the days when FAC was a vibrant and active place and milestones were noticed and publicized) ... I will add what I can after a weekend commitment (and want to edit that draft, too :) Please ping me if I forget to revisit this. Best, SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:26, 27 September 2013 (UTC)

Notifications for mentions should always be on (there shouldn't be an opt-out)[edit]

To me, this option destroys the integrity of the system. When I ping someone who I suspect cares about a relevant discussion, why should I doubt whether or not they will see it? This creates unnecessary doubt, in my mind. If users incessantly use the mention function at Wikipedia:Notifications#Features to harass other users then that's a behavioral thing they should be warned about, and admins should deal with. But we shouldn't preemptively destroy the integrity of a communication system to deal with that issue before it arises. Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 12:41, 27 September 2013 (UTC)

  • I don't like people linking me to conversations, I see it as rather annoying, especially when I have multiple conversations at once. I have it enabled but I prefer to stalk my watch list to receive notifications of talking regarding me. Konveyor Belt express your horror at my edits 15:08, 27 September 2013 (UTC)
I understand it might be annoying at times, but I'm thinking it's such a crucial tool that makes organizing topics and generating conversation so much easier, people who use it shouldn't wonder if it's working (as I did there, so I did the old burdensome thing—I went to the user talk page). The annoyance cost is minor compared to the benefit of the project as a whole, in my opinion. It think it boosts efficiency for the project. Thank you WMF. Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 17:50, 27 September 2013 (UTC)
  • I don't really understand the initial statement. Are you proposing disabling the ability for users to not be notified? If so, you'll need wider participation (an RfC, say) and I'd advise rewording the proposal. Ironholds (talk) 01:52, 28 September 2013 (UTC)
  • I too am confused by the wording of the proposal, particularly the thread title. I assume you're referring to the item about "What happens if someone turns off their Mention Notifications?" in the list at Wikipedia talk:Notifications#Other items. I'd agree that this [removing the option to "disable" web notifications for mentions, just as we do with "Talk page message" web notifications (greyed out checkbox in Special:Preferences#mw-prefsection-echo)] might be a good idea, but there is the technical problems described by WhatamIdoing (talk · contribs) as "What if Notifications works perfectly, but I'm using an old web browser that is unable to see what Notifications tries to display for me?" - I'm not sure which web browsers (or other factors) might be involved in this problem, but it needs to be investigated before any RfC could proceed. –Quiddity (talk) 21:03, 28 September 2013 (UTC)
I apologize for the ambiguity. Ironholds yes that's what I meant. I changed the subject heading. I should have chosen my words more carefully. Thanks for the point about web-browsers Quiddity. I'd like for it to be a 100% kind of thing. Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 21:49, 28 September 2013 (UTC)

I would like for Wikimania presentations and slides to be freely licensed (or at least visible on YouTube)[edit]

Could we make a statement on WP:VPPR to that effect? See my concerns here: Thanks. Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 17:14, 23 September 2013 (UTC)

And I see related discussion at Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 17:17, 23 September 2013 (UTC)

Is this something I should talk to Wikimedia UK about? Which funding body funds Wikimanias? Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 07:39, 24 September 2013 (UTC)

Cross-posted at m:Forum. Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 09:03, 24 September 2013 (UTC)

A problem that you are going to hit is that the requirements to upload stuff to youtube mean that you can't use third party CC stuff in your uploads (the problem is that the things you license youtube to do are broader than CC allows).Geni (talk) 13:58, 30 September 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for responding Geni. But my focus here isn't on YouTube. We could just encourage uploading over here: commons:Main page. (I don't know how video uploading works there. Is there a good instructional video on that?) But that's surmountable as well. The problem, in my opinion, something that should be sorted out before the money flows to parties who organize Wikimania 2014. In this case I think it would be Wikimedia UK. I've mentioned this issue to RexxS via email. And I've asked for Asaf Bartov, who is Head of WMF Grants and Global South Partnerships, to give some feedback at m:Forum#Wikimania_2014. A reminder notification to our three elected wmf:Board of Trustees#Current membersSJ, Phoebe, and Raystorm – as well, along with User:Jimbo Wales. I can't fix the problem of the community not having access to community presentations at Wikimania by myself, so I am asking for help. And while I'm at it, User:Mdennis (WMF). Thank you. Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 10:14, 2 October 2013 (UTC)
They are all meant to be uploaded to commons. For slides, see wm2013:FAQ#Miscellaneous ("I'm a presenter; how should I bring my presentation?"). For videos, see the WMHK Videos? mailing-list thread (near bottom) - tl;dr they're coming at some point in the next month or two (and wm2014 hopes to solve the delay - See the other related discussion on the same page as "Decentralize...", wm2014:Brainstorming#Live broadcasting). –Quiddity (talk) 20:21, 6 October 2013 (UTC)

History logs of articles "pending changes"[edit]

Articles, like Red Hot Chili Peppers (edit | talk | history | protect | delete | links | watch | logs | views), are pending changes by anonymous and new editors. We have blue highlights and "automatically accepted" / "accepted by <whom>". Also, registered users can see blue banners of pending changes by such editors. I intend to propose defuncting the blue highlight because they can slow down browsers and computers. Also, I can already know that there are prior attempted changes in history log. However, if that's not a good idea, how else can we minimize technical impact of pending changes on computers? --George Ho (talk) 23:09, 23 September 2013 (UTC)

I suppose next you'll suggest that we remove all images from Wikipedia, as they also slow down computers? If you look at the HTML source for that history page, the blue color is simply indicated by a different span class, "flaggedrevs-color-1", which is actually shorter than the usual class "mw-history-histlinks". Any modern rendering engine shouldn't have trouble with something as simple as coloring a span. Your problem appears entirely anecdotal. Maybe you should look for other factors slowing down your computer, like setting the number of revisions to 500 instead of the default 50. - HectorAE (talk) 01:43, 29 September 2013 (UTC)
I'm not sure what "technical impact" there is in colouring some text blue. —Tom Morris (talk) 08:58, 6 October 2013 (UTC)

Suspected Sockpuppetry[edit]

I would like to first say that I don't understand sockpuppetry that well. However, I have seen a number of users get permanently blocked for suspected sockpuppetry, and I don't think this is fair, nor do I think it complies with WP:AGF, as it is a "guilty-until-proven-innocent" policy. Therefore, I propose that we prevent blocks of anyone just for suspected sockpuppetry and reserve them for people whose sockpuppetry has been confirmed by Checkuser. Jinkinson (talk) 17:39, 29 September 2013 (UTC)

The problem with that is that a checkuser is expensive in time, effort, and paperwork, and fails to identify sockpuppets editing from a new place or through changed IPs. A so-called "suspected" sockpuppet is really just a banned user who has been positively identified by their actions. While "suspected" sounds wishy-washy, it's often more accurate than an actual checkuser. They are both tools that can be used to bolster each other, but often, you're just dealing with a WP:Duck.
Except duck only works if you actually look at the user's edit history. I was blocked permanently for being a sock based on a single edit, and the accusation "quacks, beans." The blocker and accusers didn't bother to look at my other edits, which would have clearly shown I was not a sock puppet. A check user wasn't done, either; and that also would have clearly shown I was not that particular sock puppet. My unblock request was ignored, while other users' requests were handled. So, I agree, an Assumption of Good Faith would go a long way, in light of blocks being done without looking at users' contributions, without doing check users, with, in fact, nothing but eagerness to block, the ultimate assumption of bad faith against new users trying to get their footing. --(AfadsBad (talk) 17:56, 29 September 2013 (UTC))
So something that relies on human judgement can fail because of a lack of due dilligence? I challenge you to find an exception. If you read in my previous statement anything that suggested that any of the sock-blocking policies are foolproof, I am here to disabuse you of that notion right now. I would, however, disagree with your attempt to equate DUCK blocks as being an assumption of bad faith. They are, in fact, a means of protecting this project from a highly destructive force in block-evading SOCKs. If they get misused by certain admins and editors, those things need to be brought up at a review, but don't malign one of the few tools we have to protect ourselves because someone somewhere may have not been as thorough as they need to be in those situations. VanIsaacWS Vexcontribs 18:38, 29 September 2013 (UTC)
Just the type of response that shows the problem with these tools. One can't raise the issue in review because someone will simply not allow a microounce of criticism on the issue, discussion, or anything negative to ever in a zillion billion years be so much as suggested by a faint whisper on a wind that has yet to rise. --(AfadsBad (talk) 22:31, 29 September 2013 (UTC))
The important question isn't, "Does this system sometimes fail?" It does. We know that. It frequently misses banned users, with resulting damage to the encyclopedia, and it sometimes hurts innocent people, with resulting damage to the community.
The important question is, "Do you have a practical way to improve it?" I don't. If I did, I'd have already suggested it. WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:48, 30 September 2013 (UTC)
I have one, look at the user's contributions instead of saying, oh, that person made one edit that looks like one edit by another editor, therefore quacks like a duck, you know, I saw a yellow flash on the lake, must be a duck since chicks have yellow pellage, everything yellow in the universe is a rubber ducky. The "spend 10 seconds" practical way. In my case, it would have only taken 2 seconds to see that, unlike the sock puppet, I actually edited articles in addition to the single edit that was supposedly the same as the sock puppet's. Then, if you do ban someone forever for being a sock puppet based on one edit, without looking at their contributions at all, don't put them on a "beans" unblock request ban in addition, because, if you are permanently blocking someone forever based on one edit, the chance you made an error might be greater than zero.
That is a practical way to improve it. All I do here is add references, but, by doing so, today, I found a seven year old error in a plant article, the name of a family was spelled wrong as the article title and picked up by wikipedia mirrors so that now that bad spelling gets thousands of google hits. I corrected it as best I could in other languages, also. What I was doing when blocked was adding references to a very technical article. Two seconds to look at my edits was not too much to ask to have an editor capable of locating the types of errors I find (a GAC claiming that stomata open at night in C4 desert plants, article titles, father for son scientific name authority errors, etc.), that stay on Wikipedia a long time because the atmosphere is hostile towards experts.
Yes, I think Wikipedia is hostile to expert editors. The editing environment is frustrating. Two seconds to act civil to another human being is a practical way to improve this process and to show that Wikipedia is a civil place for editing, and that the primary purpose of people here is creating an encyclopedia. But I don't think it is for sock puppet hunters. I bet I am not the first researcher permanently blocked for getting frustrated and trying to ask a question. A little civility could go a long way.
So, look at the editor's contributions, don't permanently ban an editor based on a single edit, if you do, don't block their unblock requests simply because you are on a sock puppet hunt. --(AfadsBad (talk) 04:19, 30 September 2013 (UTC))

Preview function should allow someone to preview references/citations, when editing a single section.[edit]

Currently when editing just one section of an article, it can be difficult to do references properly because the preview of just one section doesn't have {{reflist}} at the end of the previewed wiki source. This behaviour should be changed, as it is an annoying limitation, even with the workaround of putting {{reflist}} in your preview source and removing it before you publish. Given that the {{reflist}} template should be invisible if there are no references in a section, altering the preview function to automatically place it at the end of previewed source (if it's not already present) would probably be a transparent change to users it didn't affect. Xmoogle (talk) 19:12, 29 September 2013 (UTC)

It's not quite that simple, when you consider that the section you're previewing might have named references that are defined in some other section. This script makes an attempt. Anomie 21:27, 29 September 2013 (UTC)


There is concern whether some categories are causing "over-categorisation" and some have been nominated for deletion on the basis of not being defining features (particular cases are "Recipients of" awards). On the other hand, categories are a quick and easy (& dirty?) way of linking articles with like characteristics, eg "People from ..."; this is a much easier method than list articles which require setup and maintenance and policing. One also needs to know about the existance of a list for it to be useful, whereas categories are clearly listed and accessible. Is it possible to create "list categories" whereby a type of category could create a simple list article and add to it; or a type of category which is only visible when an editor requests? Folks at 137 (talk) 10:01, 2 October 2013 (UTC)

Make citations more trustworthy[edit]

The idea: everytime you go to references, click on a link, and stay on that site for longer than 30 seconds, you are prompted with a question: "was this cite accurate? "

It would be really helpful, if you saw how accurate the article is without going through all the references. And the Wikipedia editors would know what sources they need to remove. — Preceding unsigned comment added by PeeterK (talkcontribs) 06:22, 6 October 2013 (UTC)

The only way this could work is if you accessed a cached page. Konveyor Belt express your horror at my edits 16:33, 8 October 2013 (UTC)

A definition for CSD[edit]

I propose that someone amend the Criteria for Speedy Deletion so that any page shorter than a certain number of bytes (150, perhaps), which contains no references, or both, be eligible for speedy deletion under CSD A1. However, as someone who has had a few of his articles speedy deleted, I would include a caveat that you have to wait at least an hour after the article is created to tag it for CSD. I would like to know if other people think this is a good idea. Jinkinson (talk) 20:48, 8 October 2013 (UTC)

Maybe you should first explain why you think this is a good idea. It's difficult to respond to a suggestion if you don't present your reasoning. Phil Bridger (talk) 22:53, 8 October 2013 (UTC)
Okay then, I think this is a good idea because:

1. the current criteria are too subjective. A few times I have tagged a page for speedy deletion and then another person comes along and declines it. In proposing this rule, I wish to minimize this type of confusion. 2. there isn't currently a criterion based on exact length definitions, but I think there should be, as I have learned from creating a number of very short articles which then have gotten speedy deleted. So since it's already a de facto rule that an article must be a certain length and have at least one reference, I propose we make it official. Jinkinson (talk) 01:49, 9 October 2013 (UTC)

Which articles of yours were deleted for being small? I have restored some of your work that was written on again later, But I did not see any real tiny articles. If you name them I will check it out and restore things tht should not have been deleted. I am not in favour of this rule, as article have to start somewhere and it usually is with one character typed from a keyboard. If the topic is truly useless then we have other criteria, but just for being small, it can be perfectly informative as a tiny stub. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 09:45, 9 October 2013 (UTC)
I agree with Graeme. There is nothing inherently wrong with a tiny stub. "City name is a city in the District Region of Country. It has a population of 1,000 and is a frequent stop for tourists along the main highway." has enough context to identify the subject and provides several details beyond the title, but is only 143 bytes. It would be nice to have some references, but since there's no controversial content and cities are generally considered inherently notable, it's not a hard requirement. And on the other hand, it is possible to use more than 150 characters but still not provide any context for the article. Subjectivity is not a major problem. All of the common CSD are subjective (G11, A7, A9). Admins are not robots. They are chosen for their judgment on things like this. Mr.Z-man 16:52, 9 October 2013 (UTC)


I suggest that users should be able to view deleted articles. There are probably deleted trivial articles out there on Wikipedia that could be moved to Speedy Deletion Wiki or Deletionpedia. (talk) 02:19, 2 October 2013 (UTC)

This is a perennial proposal. I really wish this were possible, but I'm afraid it's just not gonna happen. Jinkinson (talk) 02:22, 2 October 2013 (UTC)

Category:Wikipedia administrators willing to provide copies of deleted articles and Wikipedia:Requests for undeletion can be used for specific requests. Many deleted articles could be moved to those sites or to other wikis, but there are also many that shouldn't be, such as deletions for copyright infringement, or where there are concerns about privacy. I've noticed the declined request for Donkey Kong's animal buddies; other administrators may accept such a request, so maybe a Wikipedia:List of administrators who will provide copies of deleted articles (currently a redirect to Wikipedia:Article Rescue Squadron, which links to the category) would allow further information about what an administrator is likely to provide. Peter James (talk) 17:57, 2 October 2013 (UTC)
  • I would like to see deleted articles on Wikipedia, but people would have to screen them first for profanity, etc.,and the staff required would be too much to justify the benefit. Also,it would make deletion trivial and redundant because you could still see deleted articles after deletion making deletion pointless.Konveyor Belt express your horror at my edits 18:36, 2 October 2013 (UTC)
    • Most articles deleted via PROD or AFD are deleted not to remove them from public view, but to remove them from the encyclopedia, so maybe screening could be done as part of the deletion process. As re-use on other sites is permitted, and they may link to Wikipedia, that could weighed against the potential risks arising from keeping the revision history available. Some topics (such as fictional characters or bus routes) would usually be acceptable for public viewing, others (such as living people) would not. Peter James (talk) 18:56, 2 October 2013 (UTC)


So that certain inclusionist and exclusionists find some middle ground, we should add the option to move an article to some form of "incubator" namespace. Now none of the content is deleted but wont be directly visible to the general reader until is notable. i proposed this incubator idea a while back and seemed to be well accepted but no one really did anything about it.Lucia Black (talk) 19:41, 2 October 2013 (UTC)

It isn't just a question of whether a topic is notable, some will probably never be (or fail WP:NOT) but would be suitable for (and maybe have already been exported to) other sites. Peter James (talk) 19:58, 2 October 2013 (UTC)
This is indeed in the pipeline and some script to go on the draft namespace's talk page is under discussion that would ensure that AfC reviews are equitable and that all reviewers are singing from the same page of the hymn book. The new script would probably make the existing system that so many have worked hard on redundant, but that is the cost of progress. We already have an incubator space, but it's rarely used and there is talk of scrapping it altogether - it's bad enough having a backlog of over 60,000 abandoned drafts at AfC that are now being procedurally deleted at WP:G13 after final cursory examination by admins. Of the 20,000 or so that have been deleted so far under that criterion, fewer than a couple of dozen have been retained. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 06:46, 3 October 2013 (UTC)
There already is Wikipedia:Article Incubator and Category:Articles in the Article Incubator, not quite a namespace, but a prefix anyway. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 09:59, 9 October 2013 (UTC)

Difference between revisions bubbles[edit]

Can the "Difference between revisions" change edit bubbles have links to the edit (or at least the nearest heading)? Please forward to who can change this. — Preceding unsigned comment added by ‎Reddwarf2956 (talkcontribs)

If I'm understanding you correctly (though it isn't very clear to me), in this example diff, does the "Revision as of 14:26, October 9, 2013" link get what you want? If not, can you explain a bit more clearly what you are looking for? Chris857 (talk) 19:17, 9 October 2013 (UTC)
No, not really (but, I think you are near). Using the link that you gave just puts me at the top of the page of what I am thinking about. However, being at that link, there is no link in the bubbles which have - and + next to them and colored (orange or brown) and blue to the place edited (or at least the nearest heading). Might also need a 'current edits' at this location button also with these bubbles. If there was a link at in this bubble, I should be reading this and not wondering how to getting here to review an edit and change it. --John W. Nicholson (talk) 02:05, 13 October 2013 (UTC)
I'm also not clear about the meaning, but two possible interpretations (both of which could be useful in various ways) come to mind. First is having the side-by-side panes be the full articles (rather than just the lines with changes and a line of two of context). Second would be having the == Section header == always included as part of the context (even if it weren't the line immediately preceding the line that was changed). DMacks (talk) 08:08, 14 October 2013 (UTC)

Hover over Bulletpoint shows Ordinal Number[edit]

Did a quick search and couldn't find anything like this suggested before. I think it would benefit all of Wikipedia if, while hovering your mouse over a bulletpoint in a list, it would display the number of the item on the list. Far too often I am left counting how many items are on a bulleted list (for a variety of reasons). When it is important, I have to copy and paste the list into Excel, and even then the numbering can be imperfect. I strongly believe that this would be a non-intrusive way to provide more information for the UI. Numbers would be shown only when the mouse hovers over the bulletpoint and would revert back to the bulletpoint when the mouse pointer is moved. The coding for this would be relatively simple to implement, in comparison so some of the other suggestions I've seen here. Ideas are welcomed. Thanks! (talk) 07:50, 14 October 2013 (UTC)

That's unnecessary. It's much simpler to instead make it so that when ever the mouse goes over a bullet, a box appears right beside the mouse indicating the number of the bullet rather than the whole bullet in the article turning into a number, just like when the mouse is hovering over a link to one Wikipedia article while you're reading another one. I don't think everybody would be happy with that change anyway. Blackbombchu (talk) 03:21, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
  • I really hate answering duplicate posts, and you really should only ask on one page. You could always create an account and use my script which will give you a link at the top of many pages with bulleted lists that will allow you to toggle them to numbered lists. Technical 13 (talk) 13:39, 14 October 2013 (UTC)

Radians and Tau[edit]

Could we replace all instances of 2π with τ? Seeing as the unit exists, why not use it for the sake of variety? (P.S. I am not preaching τ not preaching just wondering here) Shroobtimetraveller (talk) 08:51, 16 October 2013 (UTC)

Let's not, because then we have to explain what tau means on every second mathematics page. Your suggestion would take scores of man-hours of work while giving zero additional clarity. --erachima talk 10:32, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
Quite. We follow what mainstream reliable sources use, and all except a negligible number of such sources use good old π. Phil Bridger (talk) 10:43, 16 October 2013 (UTC)

Hiding contents[edit]

I clicked hide the contents in Wikipedia and it's stored in my computer's memory to keep them hidden in all Wikipedia articles, but when ever I go to a Wikipedia article, it shows the contents for a split second then hides them. I think Wikipedia should change in such a way that if I hide the contents, then the next article loads with the contents hidden in the first place instead of first loading it with the contents then hiding them. The same happens with links at the top of a Wikipedia article when Wikipedia is in trouble. If I close it, the next time I go to a Wikipedia article, it first loads the article with that link then gets rid of it. Blackbombchu (talk) 04:03, 17 October 2013 (UTC)

Blackbombchu, are you referring to the watchlist notices at the top of the page? I'm kind of confused here. Technical 13 (talk) 04:13, 17 October 2013 (UTC)
Are you referring to the Table of Contents? (Is is in fact labeled just 'contents'). Chris857 (talk) 13:54, 17 October 2013 (UTC)
I was actually talking about both, one in one part of my message and the other in another part of it. Blackbombchu (talk) 17:45, 17 October 2013 (UTC)
This behaviour affects lots of preferences and cookies that suppress display, and the technical reason that it happens is, I think, that they are implemented in Javascript that executes on the reader's computer after the page is loaded rather then on the Wikipedia servers before it is loaded. My guess is that changing this would cause too much of a performance impact on the servers, but you will probably get a more authoratitive answer at the technical section of the village pump. Phil Bridger (talk) 19:18, 17 October 2013 (UTC)
  • Phil is correct; Wikipedia sends you a standard page, and then javascript (css?) kicks in to hide bits of it or add new bits depending on the preferences of the reader. This brief flash results from the time it takes to fully load the page - and if Wikipedia is having technical problems, the javascript delays can produce the same sort of issue. We have an article at "flash of unstyled content" which describes the phenomenon.
Doing it this way is much more efficient than generating a static version of each page ayout for each combination of user preferences - there are potentially thousands of permutations of these. Andrew Gray (talk) 22:02, 17 October 2013 (UTC)
Could it be addressed by varying the usage of onready versus onload in jQuery, or even (when Javascript is detected to be enabled) serve a version of the document with all collapsible sections stripped out, then use AJAX to get each section on demand? Wnt (talk) 19:22, 21 October 2013 (UTC)

Transform all non-free use rationales to templated ones[edit]

I suggest we start a project to replace all non-template non-free use rationales with templated ones. I think this could take the form of a WikiProject or task force. I don't think it is possible for a bot to reliably do this, so this would need to be done manually. The goal is to have only template rationales. The long term goal is to eventually enable a bot to reliably detect WP:NFCC#10c violations where a file that is valid under NFCC is being reused without a rationale and remove those violating uses automatically. After the completion of this task, WP:NFURG would be adjusted to make the use of a non-free use rationale template mandatory. -- Toshio Yamaguchi 12:10, 22 October 2013 (UTC)

It's not necessary for a bot to have a templated version, when it was working BCBot would look to where the file was used, collected any redirects to that file, and then scanned the text of the file page for any version (ignore case, and managing special characters like accents) before making a #10c call, templated-rationale or not. Since all we need in #10c is just the name of the article, there's no need to force a template on previously untemplated-versions (we've never required them) to quickly scan the short text that these pages are to find that name if present or not. (Heck, we don't even require the page to be linked in the file). Sure, we encourage editors to use the template form but its far from required, and this doesn't make sense to push it for a check that is easily done without the template. --MASEM (t) 13:55, 22 October 2013 (UTC)
  • Sounds like a waste of time. A file information page is not guaranteed to have a FUR for an article only because the article title appears on the file information page, but if the article title does appear there, then there is usually a FUR for the article. --Stefan2 (talk) 13:59, 22 October 2013 (UTC)
As Masem notes, it's not critical that it be a template. Spending large amounts of manual human effort to make things easier for computer programs is kind of the opposite of how the human/bot dynamic is supposed to work. Mr.Z-man 14:36, 22 October 2013 (UTC)

Donations: Show photos of Wikimedia servers[edit]

I saw pictures of the Wikimedia Foundation servers and it made me want to donate way more than any of the messages or personal appeals to donation I've seen. Of course I realize there must be a server for there to be a website, but the concept didn't connect with me all the way until I saw the server pics. Then the fact that there are actual, tangible servers that need to be paid for sank in all the way. I think I'm not alone in this; a lot of people see just the final product - the website - and the inner workings are out of the picture. So what better way to make people realize the reality of the situation than showing them outright? Next time there's a fundraiser, give people a tour of the server room and see how it turns out. That's my idea. Burstroc (talk) 09:47, 19 October 2013 (UTC)

Interesting idea; I don't know if we've done a "hardware-oriented" fundraiser in the past. @The wub: - could you pass this suggestion on to someone in the department? Andrew Gray (talk) 12:38, 19 October 2013 (UTC)
Thanks both. It's a nice idea, and I don't think we've done anything like that before. I'll add it to our list of ideas to test (which is already quite long, so we might not get to it for a while). the wub "?!" 16:58, 21 October 2013 (UTC)
I like it. --SPhilbrick(Talk) 17:28, 22 October 2013 (UTC)

Data vetting and data protection[edit]

Heya! I do a lot of editing to television-related articles, which often contain large tables of episode data, primarily airdates and sometimes production codes. Much of the time I "invest" during my typical rounds, is going through all the articles in my watchlist, correcting vandalism to these values; June is inexplicably changed to May, or 2011 to 2001. There are many articles in my watchlist that are so heavily vandalized as to be completely useless. I know that pages can be locked to prevent vandalism, I wonder if the same could be done to protect tables or sections. Perhaps after all the dates/countries/statistics in a table are verified, a trusted user slaps a "verified" lock on the section, with a clear reference to the source material. Obviously there would be technical dealies to work out, but according to my made-up calculations, it would save volunteers one million person-hours each week. And frankly, it's getting really tiresome going to Zap2It to figure out whether or not a particular episode of Scaredy Squirrel aired on the 28th or 29th of May. "Oh that IP editor is being a rascal!" Anyhow, that's my idea! Hope you all love it and give me a trophy full of grapes. Cyphoidbomb (talk) 21:20, 21 October 2013 (UTC)

Has anyone figured out where these IP editors come from? I understand proper juvenile vandalism - when someone figures out a way to replace the Main Page with a high-resolution image of a vagina, etc. But why do we keep seeing that kind of unglamorous edit to foul up the data? I'm thinking there must be some competing online statistics company behind it, and I'd like to see them outed.
Meanwhile... it might be almost as useful to have a bot tool that takes a verified history version and merely compares the section to the present version, which wouldn't be contingent on a software revision. Wnt (talk) 22:26, 21 October 2013 (UTC)
Ooh, interesting! (The bot idea.) I have no idea where the IP editors come from. My uneducated guess is that they are all botnets run by legions of disgruntled former editors who don't like rules. Ah, but I could speculate all day. Cyphoidbomb (talk) 02:21, 22 October 2013 (UTC)
  • Hide data in templates containing tables: In a manner similar to the bottom navboxes, move the entire episode tables into special templates, transcluded into an article page and harder to click-on for access by vandals. Try it for a few pages, and compare how well the templates deter vandalism. Also note, the most important key data in an article often gets corrected the fastest after vandalism, but the viewership numbers can be staggering: perhaps a page would be viewed 27,000 times before being corrected. Way back in Feb. 2009, I wrote essay "wp:Vandalism won by 2009" and the page was, of course, vandalized later, lasting for a period of 2 years (while I worked other issues). However, the trashed data was only viewed about 800 times during those 2 years. Meanwhile, the hope of wp:PC protected pages has been dashed by talk of wp:Pending_Changes being approved as "vetted" by newcomers with just 10 edits allowed to approve any edit to those pages. There was talk about a user who kept re-trying vandalism 10x times, and then "hey" it got in. German WP has switched to require approval of *ALL* changes, but I have not read what level of trust is needed to approve an update. We could switch to a system of locked-section pages, but if newcomers are allowed to approve changes then it becomes a padlock with a public combination. My advice is to let the vandalism pile-up monthly, and meanwhile write new articles, then revert the hack edits at end of month. By that strategy then the new articles written would tend to show enough new reliable text to offset the misinformation in the vandalized pages. Also, a top banner on an episode table could warn of vandalism. However, after my car was smashed to steal items at the Uffington White Horse (England), then I asked local people why there was not a warning sign posted in the parking lot to beware thieves, and they replied, "A sign was posted as warning, but the thieves sold it" and dragged the sign by horse down the hillside. I thought about that as I drove the car with the broken window in the freezing night air to have it repaired. Anyway, I suggest moving entire tables into subtemplates, in the worst cases, and compare the rate of vandalism versus warnings written above the tables. -Wikid77 (talk) 05:49, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
I'm an opponent of Pending Changes, and in this case I think it would fail also. As I said above, we don't know why this vandalism is occurring, but I can take a guess: there may be some company that keeps similar statistics tables which sees us as a direct competitor destroying their business. They might even operate in a country afflicted by database copyright, and view us with moral condemnation as "pirates". If we're going up against some sophisticated foe like that, changing a few tables to templates might spare those particular templates, but a system-wide transition will likely be matched with an increase in sophistication on the part of our opponents. For example, if we changed to all templates they could rewrite their script to change templates, and if we switch to Pending Changes, they might work up a bunch of accounts to whatever level is needed to approve their own changes. So I think we're better off focusing on what tools we can write to improve our proofreading ability, because they can't counter us just being better at what we do. Wnt (talk) 16:14, 23 October 2013 (UTC)

Userpage editing restriction[edit]

I propose we make it so that the only person who can edit your userpage is you--I think this is logical because, well, why would you want someone else to edit your userpage? I feel this is a good idea because it will completely stop vandalism to userpages. Jinkinson talk to me 23:50, 21 October 2013 (UTC)

Some thoughts: the first thing that ran across my head is, what if you need to edit your userpage, and you have a 2nd account for using in public places. That would be a second account (same person) with a reason to edit the first account's page. In support, I would also suggest including creation and editing of userpage subpages. However, admins (at least) should be able to edit the userpage in the event of copyvio or the like. Chris857 (talk) 02:13, 22 October 2013 (UTC)
That is a good point. I suppose if you have a legitimate alternative account then that account would be granted permission. And the thing about admins makes sense as well. But, in my view, normal people who aren't admins shouldn't be able to edit that page as they have no good reason to do so. Jinkinson talk to me 02:41, 22 October 2013 (UTC)
  • There is no justifiable reason to lock down everyone's userpage (and it may even violate WP:OWN). If you are having difficulties with vandals or people unreasonably making edits on your userpage, you may request WP:Protection or you may wish to put the content of your userpage on a page that ends in .css or .js (like content.css or content.js) and then just transclude that content on your main userpage like a template. Technical 13 (talk) 02:54, 22 October 2013 (UTC)
  • Wouldn't this cause a lot of unnecessary "{{editprotected}} Please add {{db-g12}}" edit requests, if users can't add that tag themselves? Also, don't some people make AfC candidates in userspace? Would an edit restriction make things harder for AfC people? --Stefan2 (talk) 13:51, 22 October 2013 (UTC)
It seems like this is a reasonable idea. However, it will doubtless draw some opposition from a certain faction that doesn't want people to use userpages to write resumes or articles about themselves, etc. Frankly though, I think that officious third parties butting into other people's userpages generally does more harm than good. Wnt (talk) 16:04, 23 October 2013 (UTC)

en.Wikipedia Scholar[edit]

Should we have a separate domain that hosts consensus versions of our articles that have passed rigorous independent scholarly review - akin to the review process of authoritative peer-reviewed journals - with a link at the top of each editable article to its reviewed version/s? --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 06:04, 4 October 2013 (UTC)

en.Wikipedia Scholar: In principle[edit]

For clarity, in this section, please discuss whether the proposal is good or bad in principle. How we achieve this rigorous independent review and any other operational questions should be discussed in other sections. For the purposes of this section, let's assume we can attract the participation of scholars, and that the same or better review quality can be achieved as is found in the best journals we rely on for our content. --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 06:18, 4 October 2013 (UTC)

Seems like a waste of resources given Citizendium tries, and pretty much fails, to be the same thing. Moreover, I don't think that creating a privileged class of editors or articles fits Wikipedia's mission. Resolute 14:03, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
I think a separate domain may be unfeasible, but I like the idea of asking experts to opine on a specific version of an article, and if it meets some criteria, one could have a link to the permalink of that version. This would mean that readers could see a vetted version, free of vandalism, but not have to go to another location.--SPhilbrick(Talk) 14:15, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
As a researcher, this makes a lot of sense to me. Having peer reviewed version(s) with a DOI, like an academic publication, linked to a specific revision would make WP formally citable. I would not create any privileged class of editors, but I would create a process of review where editors can look for academic editors, propose an article for review, take peer review into account and then generate the reviewed version, a bit like GA or FA. The displayed version would still be the up-to-date one but links to reviewed versions can be given. --cyclopiaspeak! 14:28, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
Rather than duplicate current review processes (albeit using academicians), why not have a button that lets the reader go to the version of the article used when it received its highest rating? Also, give readers the option to see the difference between that version and the current version. In addition to giving the reader the most reliable version of the article, it might also encourage more frequent reviews for high profile articles. Rklawton (talk) 15:58, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
A link to the version of any article as it stood when it passed GAN or FAC exists on the talk page, though that obviously is not prominent. Also, I don't think we have the resources to re-review articles repeatedly, unfortunately. Resolute 16:02, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
This is basically how Wikipedia was designed to work from the beginning. Articles would be developed on Wikipedia, then get posted on Nupedia after peer review. And as Resolute mentioned, this is similar to the model used by Citizendium. Both projects essentially failed. Nupedia shut down in 2003 with only a couple dozen articles (by which time Wikipedia had over 100,000). CZ has only around 160 "approved" articles and only a handful of active users. I just don't think there's sufficient demand for static, "approved" versions of Wikipedia articles. Given that we're the #6 website on the internet, the vast majority of internet users seem pretty content with our current model. Just in terms of cost (infrastructure, recruiting, risk) vs benefit, I don't know that it would be worth it. Mr.Z-man 16:17, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
Mr.Z-man, both projects failed, in my opinion, because they put the review as a barrier to publication. This slows down publication and incentive to editors so much that it becomes doomed. But giving a reviewers-approved stamp on a *revision* in the history of a page would simply add, without putting blocks. We could start to do it just now and the flow of WP editing wouldn't change a bit. --cyclopiaspeak! 11:56, 5 October 2013 (UTC)
That's not really what the original proposal proposed. He suggests a separate domain, which is effectively Nupedia. Linking to a static revision would be less work in terms of infrastructure (in practice this doesn't always work well if templates and images change and we would still need to verify identities). But I'm still not sure how useful it would really be. I don't think being a citable source in academic publications has ever really been our goal, nor do I think many academics would cite us even if we were. The main thing I like about this proposal is that it does attempt to get experts more involved. But as Obiwankenobi suggests below, getting them involved in the existing review processes would serve much the same purpose. Mr.Z-man 13:45, 5 October 2013 (UTC)
While it is not OP proposal, I feel it is a worthwile one. I don't think being a citable source in academic publications has ever really been our goal, nor do I think many academics would cite us even if we were. - Academics already cite Wikipedia. Giving selected revisions a peer-reviewed status and DOI would (1)manage to have reliable,sanctioned versions of articles while keeping the up-to-date, freely editable version shown to the public (2)would uncouple reliability and fluidity of WP: for example vandalism, POV-wars and alike would be mitigated, in impact for scholarly reliability, when readers can also access a reviewed version (3)if properly acknowledged, it would make working in WP a more acceptable usage of an academics' time, thus potentially increasing their participation: collaborating to the peer review of WP articles could well enter CV's of academics, just like for any other journal. --cyclopiaspeak! 15:35, 5 October 2013 (UTC)
Really? I don't think I've ever seen a WP article cited in a scholarly work. Maybe occasionally in a textbook. When it comes to peer review in traditional academic settings, there generally is little acknowledgement. The only people who know who reviewed a particular article are the reviewers and the editor. The way I see it, the only way this is going to work is if we can get enough academics involved on a fairly large number of articles, relatively quickly. We weould need to spread mostly by word of mouth that we're trying to do this, so that, hopefully, academics come to us to volunteer rather than us having to work like journal editors and contact people all the time. One other issue that I just now thought of is standards. We would need to give some sort of guidance for reviewers. Are we shooting for "better-than-FA" to get the top of the top articles on WP, or are they just looking to ensure an article is generally complete and factually correct? Also, would this be limited just to traditional academic fields, or would we also invite non-academic experts (to be defined later) in fields like anime and pop music? Would doing that potentially hurt your benefit #3 (would academics want to be associated with a review system that also reviews articles on Justin Bieber songs)? But would it be fair to the rest of the site to say that only certain categories are eligible for this? Mr.Z-man 02:48, 6 October 2013 (UTC)
Encyclopedia articles not getting cited in scholarly works is hardly surprising. Britannica doesn't get cited in scholarly work much either, precisely because if you are writing for a scholarly audience, you don't really need to use or cite generalist encyclopedias. —Tom Morris (talk) 08:42, 6 October 2013 (UTC)
Mr.Z-man: It gets cited regularly instead (even if not very often). See this study here, for example. I understand there is usually little acknowledgment for run-of-the-mill peer review, but given the popularity of WP, I'd say that having reviewed the WP article on, say, Human genome could be a neat little thing on the CV. In any case, it would help give it respectability, which in turn could drive more experts to become editors. About the standards, I am unsure -I'd say a "complete, clear and factually correct" is enough. And I would start with clearly defined academic fields: if the experiment works, then we could discuss how to extend to different parts of the encyclopedia. Even if only part of the 'pedia manages to have that, it is better than none. I would start a small-scale testing with a relatively small, clearly defined topic (e.g. inorganic chemistry, Dutch history, whatever), and see how it goes. --cyclopiaspeak! 10:17, 8 October 2013 (UTC)
The study doesn't mention how many articles there were total, only the number that cite WP. Using their average for articles published per year per journal and the number of journals they checked, they surveyed slightly over 400,000 articles (268 articles/journal * 312 journals * 5 years) and found only 378 references, and of those, only 190 were for scientific information beyond numerical values, equations, or links to further reading. So that's something like 0.05% of articles using WP for significant content. And as they note in the conclusion, it's unclear whether the usage is due to an endorsement of WP and support of open information, or because WP was the first Google result for what they were looking for. I think some of the issues that CZ had that Tom Morris mentioned are also a concern, namely that processes like this tend to attract cranks and POV pushers more than real experts. Say during a review, an "expert" recommends that the article give more weight to one of several competing theories. But community members claim that would be undue weight. Now what? Do we tell the expert "Sorry, a group of amateurs thinks you're wrong here" or do we allow their opinion to override consensus? In traditional peer review, the final decision would be up to the editor, who is also an expert to some degree. But that isn't a role that exists here. As Rationalwiki notes, attracting experts isn't actually a major problem for WP, retaining them is. Mr.Z-man 17:56, 8 October 2013 (UTC)
That's not how Citizendium worked (I say, having been a former Citizendium editor and elected member of the Editorial Council, which I guess has some parallels to ArbCom). Citizendium didn't put approval ahead of publication. Here's how you published on Citizendium: you register an account, you click edit and you type things. Just like the FA process, when you reach a certain stage, then you submit it for review. Then if the review is successful, that becomes the stable version and gets locked in place. Editing then goes on a draft page. Eventually, the editors ask the reviewer to review the changes between the approved version and the draft version and copy the draft version over. The problem with the Citizendium model isn't the implementation detail of how that worked: it's that finding academic reviewers who want to review wiki articles is hard work. What you get aren't world experts in their fields—they are usually busy actually doing research and haven't got time to play around on Citizendium. No, you get cranks and nutters (some of whom are banned from Wikipedia) who use the review process to push their opinions and biases by being a gatekeeper. Combine that with the fact that Citizendium is essentially now an elaborate Sim Bureaucracy game: there are more people now involved with Citizendium governance than there are people actually editing the wiki. That's why Citizendium failed. See the RationalWiki article for full details. —Tom Morris (talk) 08:42, 6 October 2013 (UTC)
Wikipedia is a work in progress. There is no "static" Wikipedia because new and important things are always happening and being added.Konveyor Belt express your horror at my edits 17:01, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
  • add article space header I would support a header template of some sort that would bring people to the last version of the article that had attained good or FA status, similar to the talk page one, but more discrete. how would you verify identities of "scholars" anyway? I think that gets in Citizendium mode. We should find a way to get scholars/experts - at least those who self-identify as such - involved in the FA/GA processes.--Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 23:33, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
  • Try it out off-wiki. This kind of proposal comes up every so often on the Village Pump, and is a frequent source of criticism of Wikipedia both on and off-wiki. I've thought about this myself. Here's how I'd do it if I thought the idea were feasible. Make a site that provides a mirror of Wikipedia. Then recruit a couple of experts and have them sign in with their real names (using Facebook login, perhaps). The mirror wouldn't use MediaWiki: all it would do is let the experts specify their area of expertise. Let's imagine Professor Smith, an expert on paleontology. He logs into ExpertWiki (or whatever you wish to call it) and marks specific revisions of specific articles on paleontology as 'stable'. Now, if you visit ExpertWiki and log in, you can "follow" Professor Smith. You can read Wikipedia at ExpertWiki, and if you hit an article where Professor Smith has specified certain versions, it'd let you see the "live" version or the "expert-approved" version. Visitors could login (again, using Facebook or whatever) and choose which experts they think are good (or just follow a default set run by the site). On the articles the experts they follow have marked, they see the expert-approved version. But if they visit, oh, the article on Lady Gaga's new single or whatever, where there (presumably) isn't an expert who has been bothered to go through and mark it—then they see the live version. You avoid the problem of "forking", you avoid the problem of having a separate expert-controlled wiki and the risk of it failing like Citizendium.

    I hate to go all free market libertarian, but if you think there's a market for it, build it. —Tom Morris (talk) 08:53, 6 October 2013 (UTC)

I agree with Obi-Wan Kenobi and others that there should be a (very obvious) link at the top of each GA and FA to the version of the article when it achieved those badges. (I also think we should link to a version that has had credible independently-published scholarly review - but will bring that up again when we have even one such article.) If you'd like to take that forward Obi - or anyone - please let me know and I'll add my support to any formal proposal. --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 05:48, 11 October 2013 (UTC)

You could always just make the Good article or Featured article itself serve as the link. However, I am not sure if there is any great need or purpose for that. I can think of many examples that have been improved subsequent to their review (or the passage of time has changed key information), meaning you are as likely to be providing a prominent link to an obsolete or inferior article to the present as anything else. Also, Wikipedia is not meant to be static. The live version is the one we should always want presented. Resolute 13:25, 11 October 2013 (UTC)
I can think of many examoles that have been vandalised or badly degraded subsequent to their review. Simply turning the Good article or Featured article into a link would be worthless as most readers wouldn't know what they're looking at. --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 20:51, 11 October 2013 (UTC)
Would it make sense to set up some public noticeboard to note when a change is made to a good or featured article? Something like recent changes, but limited to those articles? Maybe even an option to limit recent changes to good and featured articles? - WPGA2345 - 01:56, 22 October 2013 (UTC)
Strong Support; This is the mirror image of the "Fringe Wikipedia" proposal a few threads below. Our established editors don't play well with newcomers-- we need to create a new project, so that one project can be "defended" and one project can "be bold". This would be big step forward. --08:32, 25 October 2013 (UTC)

Generation Wikipedia: Wikimeda Youth Conference Proposal[edit]

Hi folks! For the next round of Individual Engagement Grants from the WMF, Keilana and myself have proposed Generation Wikipedia, a pilot, week-long summer conference for young Wikipedians and Wikimedians from around the globe, to develop skills, leadership, and community in a safe environment. Please come and check it out: Generaton Wikipedia Cheers, Ocaasi t | c 02:44, 24 October 2013 (UTC)

Dealing with complaints on external websites: Wikipedians should answer complaints and ask for article names[edit]

I found a Reddit thread here that discusses a decline in the # of administrators. Some users are complaining about disputes in certain articles:

We need to be proactive and answer these complaints. Find what articles are involved, and research the problem. Then...

  • A. The problem in fact was solved correctly, so explain why
  • B. The problem was not resolved correctly, so fix it or start a new discussion

Kindly link to the relevant disputed articles and the policies and guidelines.

WhisperToMe (talk) 17:09, 24 October 2013 (UTC)

Proposal with the goal of reducing edit conflicts[edit]

My proposal is that we create an editnotice programmed to pop up when someone else is editing the same page as you at the same time, to avoid edit conflicts. Either this, or we could prevent everyone from editing the page while someone else is doing so. Jinkinson talk to me 04:02, 18 October 2013 (UTC)

  • Several methods to reduce edit-conflicts and bugzilla filed: For users who intend to rewrite a page, or move several paragraphs, the template {{inuse}} has been very effective to warn other users to beware of multiple active editors. I wrote essay "wp:Avoiding edit-conflicts" to suggest some other tactics to use. Also, users who add new paragraphs and invite others to, meanwhile, update the same areas can separate lines by HTML comments "<!-- -->" as follows:
This is new line 1.
<!--edit above here to avoid edit-conflict-->
This is new line 2.
<!-- -->
This is new line 3.
<!-- -->
This is new line 4.
By placing warning comments, between lines or sections, then multiple people can continue to edit the same page, by keeping a one-line separator between edited lines. When adding a whole new section, then warn other users, with the comment: "<!--edit above this new section to avoid edit-conflict-->". The tactic is to quickly insert the "{inuse}" or comment lines, then soon Save‑page, and re-edit with those warnings in place. It can be amazing to see multiple people all editing the same page, with fewer edit-conflicts. Meanwhile, there have been bug reports filed in Bugzilla to have the developers adjust the utility program diff3.c to allow people to edit adjacent lines without collisions, but some developers do not think edit-conflicts need to be fixed. -Wikid77 (talk) 06:04, 20 October 2013 (UTC)
This is interesting, but can you point us closer to the original data? Specifically, why does having a line break in a comment separate sections in terms of edit conflict, but not having a line break before another response with a :: in front of it? If true, is there a way to get this changed in software rather than disfiguring talk sections with this code? Wnt (talk) 19:19, 21 October 2013 (UTC)
  • Diff3.c is open-source file and allows blank-line separator: In a talk-page (or article), an edit-conflict can be avoided by putting a blank line between responses, except at the end of a page because upper "==xx==" sections are all ended by an implict blank line, and so starting a reply with a top-blank line appends after the end of a talk-page section, avoiding edit-conflict. There has been resistance to auto-merging edit-conflicts because some people think it is good to be reminded other editors are active, but when editing "Top story this week" then every knows there are "20 other editors" so putting a blank line above a talk-page reply acts like "<!-- -->" was already there. Most of these techniques come from Sherlock Holmes-deduction (I am a computer scientist aware of differencing algorithms), so all I can do is say, "recreate the experiment" and try it. The C-language source code, for the merge utility diff3.c is:
That might not be the exact version which MediaWiki uses, but it can be studied to see how to reduce the mandatory separation, from the current 1-line gap, to a zero-line gap allowed between sections when diff3 merges revisions by different users. Even if the WMF developers do not fix edit-conflicts, it is exciting to realize the technology is already known, and in fact a "weave merge" algorithm would allow a second editor to change the words in paragraphs moved erstwhile by the prior editor. There are many brilliant minds in the world, and the future will be amazing when progress is made. Imagine telling a classroom of 20 students to all expand the same article at random sections, repeatedly in 15 minutes, and have almost no edit-conflicts, awesome! -Wikid77 (talk) 21:10, 21 October 2013 (UTC)
  • It's great to have Sherlock Holmes on the job, but... if you don't explain clearly what you have observed (where's the source code? Where are diffs for your experimental edits? Or, especially, a clear general summary of your results) then it really accomplishes very little to do it. I agree diff3 can be pretty useful! Wnt (talk) 14:14, 22 October 2013 (UTC)
The main goal is to keep improving tactics, which can be described, for long-term use, in essay "wp:Avoiding edit-conflicts". The various experimental edits can be explained along the way, and the diffs in page "edit conflict" are actually updates which triggered some of the edit-conflicts, to confirm the tactics to use. But nobody would remember that, just put blank lines between separate parts to edit with fewer edit-conflicts. -Wikid77 14:50, 25 October 2013 (UTC)

COI template[edit]

Template:COI editnotice was an idea that started in Idea Lab, that obtained consensus at Wikipedia:Proposals for a trial implementation. The idea was to create a two-sentence summary of WP:COI in a template and place that template directly onto article Talk pages about extant organizations, where editors with a COI are more likely to see it.

As the trial rolled out it became apparent that there are a few issues that require further discussion and brainstorming:

  1. What is its current tone of the template (stern, polite, etc.), what tone should it have and what should the exact text be?
  2. Should the template be placed on all articles about extant organizations automatically or manually added to those that show signs of COI editing?

Pinging editors that have previously commented on this template:


User:Justlettersandnumbers, User:OrangeMike, User:MilborneOne, user:AndrewDressel, user:User:Hellknowz, user:Rybec, user:Stalwart111, User:Andrewman327, User:Ironholds, User:Sphilbrick, User:Rklawton, user:Ocaasi, user:OlYeller21, User:Cullen328, user:GenQuest, user:Kilopi, user:Silverseren, user:Andrew Gray, user:EdJohnston, user:Ken Arromdee, user:Mangoe, user:Philgomes, user:Fallentomato, User:Geremy.Hebert, user:Beagel, user:Keithbob, user:Feedback, User:Matticusmadness, user:Pigsonthewing

CorporateM (Talk) 20:44, 26 September 2013 (UTC)

  • Comment: I believe the tone should be tools, instructions and process, not warnings and threats, however, ultimately it can only copy WP:COI exactly. Adding the template to articles that already have COI problems defeats the purpose, because the template's intended goal should be to prevent them from happening in the first place. CorporateM (Talk) 20:44, 26 September 2013 (UTC)
    • Although I recommended trial usage, I did not like the text. As CM implies above we need to assume good faith and create text that is instructive to people looking for a way to work with a resource that they are not familiar with. The current text is adversarial and only serves to alienate newcomers rather than welcoming them as part of the WP Team and saying in a helpful tone: 'here is the appropriate action to take'. My suggested text would be: Individuals acting on behalf of a person or organization should click [here] to request corrections or suggest content, rather than editing the article directly. If an issue is urgent please contact us [here]. Thank you! -- KeithbobTalk 21:11, 26 September 2013 (UTC)
      • I support the word "should" which is strong, but polite, without being quite as wishy washy as "advised". CorporateM (Talk) 21:15, 26 September 2013 (UTC)
  • Please keep in mind that there are (at least) two kinds of COI, and the template entirely omits the all too common adversarial COI. I don't want to see Some-Green-Group (SGG) editing the Monsanto article any more than I want to see Monsanto's PR people's handiwork. Rklawton (talk) 22:08, 26 September 2013 (UTC)
    • I concur with Rklawton. The text as written implies that activists (who are often quite incorrectly perceived as not having a COI) have special advantages in the encyclopedia. --Philgomes (talk) 18:48, 28 October 2013 (UTC)
  • I support the tone and language as it exists now and do not believe it should be automatically added to every company page. Ironholds (talk) 17:33, 27 September 2013 (UTC)
  • Looks good in situations where there is corporate meatpuppetry in talk page debates. But, being a talkpage notice, many editors won't ever see it at all. Although there is nothing wrong with its appearance or wording, it definitely does not replace the articlespace COI notice. I don't think we should use the template to "go fishing" and combat COI preemptively. ThemFromSpace 17:42, 27 September 2013 (UTC)
  • I'm interested in helping but I would like to see a few examples of where the issues or concerns came up. That would help me rephrase or modify the language. On face I would call it polite, too polite but that is a bias strictly on me. I would use much harsher wording as BLP and slandering are not to be taken lightly. How many vandals get suspended within an hour of us noticing them? They don't care so we are trying to reach those that DO care but are so tainted in one way or another that they will risk alot to effect a desired outcome on the article. Again I would ask for an example or two of where someone said that it needed to be changed in a real life setting (i.e. article it was used on).Geremy Hebert (talk | contribs) 09:26, 29 September 2013 (UTC)
  • This is my favorite idea so far to address paid editing. A couple of comments:
  1. As has been mentioned before, I think this will be much more useful in the edit page than the on talk page.
  2. For the actual text, I like User:Keithbob's suggestion, but I'd like it to appear somewhat prominently on the edit page - similar to the BLP notices.
  3. I don't have great ideas for which articles to have it on: maybe we could give all autoconfirmed editors the ability to add/remove the template as required on individual articles?
Also, what's a good way to keep up-to-date with what's going on on this issue? I really hope we are able to take some action to address paid editing. SPat talk 20:45, 19 October 2013 (UTC)

Protecting pages from specific editors[edit]

Sometimes I see that a page is protected because of edit warring. Is there an option for admins to protect the page just from the specific edit warriors? --Bob K31416 (talk) 17:15, 28 October 2013 (UTC)

  • Nothing practical and nothing that is both per user per page. It's either protecting the page from all users (WP:REDLOCK) or protecting all pages from one user (WP:Block). Technical 13 (talk) 17:32, 28 October 2013 (UTC)
  • The procedure is called a WP:Topic ban, but it isn't implemented in software. One reason is that the admins for some reason seem to insist on "broadly construed" lists of banned articles when they impose one, rather than creating a straightforward enumerated list. Wnt (talk) 21:24, 29 October 2013 (UTC)
  • If someone is enough of a problem on one page, they need to either be banned from the topic altogether, or just blocked. A single-editor page protection is wholly inadequate to meet essentially any actual behaviour problem on Wikipedia. VanIsaacWS Vexcontribs 23:58, 29 October 2013 (UTC)
Well, but bear in mind it doesn't have to be limited to one single page - provided the list of pages in a topic ban is finite and enumerated in advance, you could mechanically block an editor from editing hundreds of pages but then they wouldn't have to worry about whether they're breaking the topic ban. Or for the broader topic bans, you could even offer that as a "service" to help topic banned editors adhere to their restrictions so they don't get in doo-doo. Screwing around a few months back, I actually worked out a way that, on a voluntary basis, an editor could block himself from editing talk pages on a list ([8]) - basically, his signature tries to insert a blacklisted link if and only if he is editing a page he shouldn't. But that doesn't work on article pages. Wnt (talk) 20:05, 31 October 2013 (UTC)
Except topic bans aren't enumerated by page in advance, and they aren't about editing specific pages, they are about editing on specific topics. In theory, though not in any actuality that I can imagine, a person could edit the main article page on the topic they are banned from, if their edit doesn't actually deal with their topic ban. It is technically a violation of a topic ban to put something in your own user space on that topic, although an editor will generally only face sanctions for public-space contributions - talk pages, WP pages, cats, and articles. Pages don't matter, the content of edits is the only thing that matters in a topic ban. You can't page block that restriction without instituting a full block, including revoking talk page access. VanIsaacWS Vexcontribs 21:41, 31 October 2013 (UTC)

Random article exclusions[edit]

I have been clicking on the 'Random article' button in the sidebar, and find myself frequently being sent to disambiguation pages. This annoys me because I feel that the purpose ought to be to land on articles potentially of interest or where the ordinary editor can be inspired to bring about improvements. Falling on a dab page therefore seems to me like a wasted click. Is there something we can do to bypass these from the search results? -- Ohc ¡digame!¿que pasa? 02:50, 31 October 2013 (UTC)

See bugzilla:7937, filed in 2006 :) Legoktm (talk) 03:22, 31 October 2013 (UTC)

Change visibility of LTAs[edit]

Problem: Many dedicated vandals have Long-term abuse pages, but this has the side effect of increasing publicity and visibility for those vandals, in violation of WP:DENY. In fact, one user requested an LTA page on himself: [9] I therefore propose that we create a new user right of people who can view LTA pages, and make it impossible for anyone without this right to view such pages. Jinkinson talk to me 13:00, 31 October 2013 (UTC)

You may want to review mw:Manual:Preventing access#Restrict viewing of certain specific pages. Anomie 13:36, 31 October 2013 (UTC)
It's a pretty sad sort of notoriety. Many of the vandals aren't even given this "fame" under their chosen pseudonym, but under a descriptive term. So it seems like you're saying that we shouldn't have a page saying there's somebody who posts false information about Broadway shows, etc. I don't understand what you gain from that. The benefits of being able to see what the worst vandals are, what their pattern of activity is, those seem much clearer. Wnt (talk) 19:50, 31 October 2013 (UTC)
Would it satisfy you at all to simply move/rename the pages to use case numbers instead of usernames? (Though I think we should still index by name in the main table so people can look up someone they recognize) Wnt (talk) 19:59, 31 October 2013 (UTC)

Meta-idea - a suggestion on how to use this page and the proposal page more effectively[edit]

Many editors have what they think is a bright idea (myself included ) and write up a crude version of the idea, and pitch it at Wikipedia:Village_pump_(proposals). I'd like to see us adopt a different convention. With the rare exception of those editors who can write up a fully formed proposal in one draft, all proposal should start at the Idea Lab, to get some feedback and work on improving it, if only the wording. This page should follow basic brainstorm guidelines - no neither oppose nor support votes (although clearly, eliminating oppose is more critical). If there is an aspect of the proposal you don't like, express it in the form of an improvement. There will be plenty of time for the naysayers to get their opinions heard, start by seeing if the idea can be improved. Have a period of time when only constructive contributions are allowed, then permit challenges. Then if the idea still survives, take it to the Proposal page for an up or down votes. (I intend to flesh this concept out in more details, but this is a rough start. Maybe editors can even apply the proposed rules, and tell me how this idea can be improved. Save the obvious observation that it flies ant he face of some Wikipedia conventions until later)--SPhilbrick(Talk) 17:24, 22 October 2013 (UTC)

I disagree with disallowing "oppose" opinions. Many ideas that get floated here are obvious non-starters that we shouldn't encourage proposers to waste their time discussing. We're here to write an encyclopedia, not to tell each other how wonderful our ideas are. Phil Bridger (talk) 06:46, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
I think the existing guidance is sufficient on opposes. This isn't a place for consensus polling, but statements of why people do not support the idea are relevant to improving its chances of success by revision. Wnt (talk) 16:01, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
Many ideas, as originally expressed, are non-starters if implemented without change. In some cases, exploring to find the essence of the idea, and then modifying, can turn it into a workable idea. That process, by definition, won't happen if the original idea is quashed immediately. Can you identify harm that might arise if there were an initial period without opposes? Yes, there may be some wastage of time, if nothing useful ever come of it, but if we start prohibited time-wasters, we have a lot of things to stop.--SPhilbrick(Talk) 16:31, 23 October 2013 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Is anyone familiar with the anecdote about solving the power line icing problem in Alaska (as told by Michael Michalko, no link due to blacklist) ?

In short, power lines were icing up, and linemen sent to de-ice the lines were harassed by bears. They had a brainstorming session to solve the problem. One of the early suggestions was to enlist the help of the bears. Had that been presented here, it would have been greeted with Oppose and Strong Oppose, and labeled a non-starter. Yet that silly suggestion led to a solution. Can someone give me a good reason why we would wish to prohibit this type of discussion? Because it is prohibited and I am suggesting that we rethink that prohibition.--SPhilbrick(Talk) 16:51, 23 October 2013 (UTC)

Hmmm, whether we're saying yes or no here, I think we may all be agreeing to the following sentence: "If there is an aspect of the proposal you don't like, express it in the form of an improvement." Maybe we can break that bit out right now and put that as part of our top of the page instructions. Wnt (talk) 17:15, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
It is implied, in the edit notice:

This Village Pump is for developing ideas, not for consensus polling. Rather than merely stating support or opposition to an idea, try to be creative and positive. If possible, suggest a better variation of the idea, or a better solution to the problem identified.

Two problems:
  1. Edit noticed are often not read.
  2. Even when read, they are often ignored.
I am suggesting that it should be enforceable, which I recognize would be a departure from the usual paradigm, but which I think would be a useful experiment. If there is some reason it could not be permitted on this page, perhaps I could create a community page where it is permitted.--SPhilbrick(Talk) 17:55, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
What if the part we disagree with is the entire underlying principle of the idea? Or what if we disagree that there's even a problem that needs solving? That's probably the main reason most proposals fail - not because people disagree with their approach to solving the problem, but because they disagree that the stated problem exists (or the proposer never actually stated what the problem was in the first place). If we're going to limit the types of discussions allowed on proposals, we should limit the types of proposals as well to things attempting to fix a reasonably well-acknowledged problem. Otherwise this is just going to fill up with navel-gazing and pet projects. Mr.Z-man 18:47, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
Let me pick up on your third point first, and then circle back to the first two points. I fully agree that an issue with many proposals is that they lack a clear problem statement. While in some cases, the problem is implied and unambiguous, in some cases, the problem isn't well-defined (or worse multiple readers think it is clear, but have differing views on the exact problem.) In many cases, spending some time working out a well-worded problem statement helps identify potential solutions. I'm guilty of that myself. I've proposed a solution, without clearly articulating the problem. So let me take a stab at it:
Despite the fact that Wikipedia is home to many rambling discourses, many of which accomplish nothing other than the wastage of time, there are situations where potentially promising discussion are prematurely shut down by opposers, without fully giving the proposer or proposers a chance to modify a proposal to reflect legitimate concerns. For example, it is quite awkward to reword a proposal once editor have weighed in with a support or oppose position. It is also human nature (the anchor effect) for opposers to stick to an initial position, even when a proposal is modified slightly. I recently saw a proposal that I think had merit, but it was shut down less than two hours after it stared because of initial opposition. Which means very few had a chance to even consider it before it was deep-sixed.
While it might seem crazy to encourage even more navel gazing, and I wouldn't dream of suggesting it should become the new paradigm everywhere, is it really so harmful to have one location in Wikipedia where brainstorming could take place? Is brainstorming really so dangerous that trying it as a limited experiment in one small place will grind this place to a halt? --SPhilbrick(Talk) 22:00, 23 October 2013 (UTC)

I agree with SPhilbrick that there should be a better process for proposals. My reason is that lots of good ideas get lost because of little discussion. People should be encouraged to discuss ideas, and then vote on them. --NaBUru38 (talk) 22:29, 4 November 2013 (UTC)

Create a Wikipedia "Fringe"[edit]

Much has been said of the need to keep the Wikipedia community vibrant, and avoiding it slowly shrinking to a small core of bureaucratically minded delete artists. At the same time, quality needs to be maintained. But the best way to ensure a new potential editor never returns is to just delete their work.

Could we create a "Fringe" Wikipedia, analogous to Fringe art festivals. Articles considered insufficiently noteworthy for Wikipedia could go there. Individual articles could also have fringe pages that contain material that is not up to Wikipedia's high standards.

The fringe could have its own URL such as, as well as a distinctive banner. Search engines like Google would know not to rank fringe articles highly.

Certainly the fringe will end up containing a lot of junk, but disk space is cheap. And several hot edit arguments will be less hot if dubious content can live on but not be blessed.

More importantly, rather then just destroying somebody's work, the work would live on, and maybe some people will still read it. Popular fringe articles can be moved back to the main. Certainly on controversial articles I would be inclined to have a look at the Fringe, as I now have a look at Talk to see what has been going on. Tuntable (talk) 03:34, 24 October 2013 (UTC)

I have been convinced for some time that the solution to "The Decline of Wikipedia" is the creation of a new project space where newcomers can have more latitude to create donate content. This idea keeps coming up, over and over-- create a space where newcomers can create any (legal & relevant) content that they want and see what happens.
Good luck getting the WMF to agree. We can't even get them to agree to allow us to store genealogical data, so I'm starting to think the next step will have to be made by a "more functional" institution than WMF. --HectorMoffet (talk) 08:17, 25 October 2013 (UTC)
  • Beware fringe copyright vios, libel, gibberish or falsehoods: Along with the freedom to explain new, or fringe concepts, there is the tedious, massive work to remove copyright violations, derogatory remarks (libel), patent nonsense, or falsehoods. At times, it might seem as though admins and other users are actively suppressing valuable data, but often the text contains questionable claims or accusations, plagiarized content, false conspiracy theories, or whatever: "Elvis and Hitler seen dancing in a UFO". Forking the project, to permit similar text, would likely draw numerous pranksters and overwhelm the system with crap. -Wikid77 (talk) 12:58, 26 October 2013 (UTC)
Honestly, I feel Wikipedia should be that place, and we should resist those who try to set unreasonable standards for keeping articles. There's actually no event too famous for certain people to vote to delete if its coverage somehow offends them, so there's no real possibility for that kind of compromise. Our bare minimum text for an article to be kept should simply be: [1][2]. Two references, to reliable sources, should be sufficient to justify keeping an article under WP:GNG, and if they come with an explanatory sentence, so much the better. But if we don't have those two sources, then there's nothing useful we can do, no matter what logo you put on the front page. Wnt (talk) 19:57, 31 October 2013 (UTC)
I'm not sure if this proposal is suited for Wikimedia. I'm sure that there's a Wikia project that could welcome that content (or a dozen). --NaBUru38 (talk) 22:31, 4 November 2013 (UTC)

give users money for editing wikipedia[edit]

this will stop The Decline of Wikipedia if we give users 1 dollar per edit Jacob Steven Smith (talk) 10:27, 25 October 2013 (UTC)

When you say we, does that include you? I'm not giving anybody a dollar for a spelling correction. Viva entropy! - Floydian τ ¢ 13:44, 25 October 2013 (UTC)
If I were to submit each word of this post in individual edits, I could make $36 dollars! Writing a FA in individual edits could make me more than my regular job. I like this idea! Resolute 13:51, 25 October 2013 (UTC)
I like the idea of experimenting with the core idea, User:Jacob Steven Smith, but I would toy with it. I'd want to tie the one dollar to something more substantive. Like fixing one of the 965 items in Category:Articles lacking sources from October 2006 by adding 5 inline citations in an article. 10 inline citations gets you $2, perhaps. How do you think we should transfer the money? Who would put up the money to do this? Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 14:16, 25 October 2013 (UTC)
FYI, User:Floydian and User:Resolute, this page says "try to be creative and positive" when you open it to edit. Do you disagree with that? Or do you think being unwelcoming and unappreciative of Jacob taking the time to share his idea is a better way to help improve the encyclopedia? Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 14:20, 25 October 2013 (UTC)
I don't disagree, but sometimes you just have to say no to silliness. I'm not sure that "pay us a dollar for each edit" qualifies as a unique or creative idea. Your mileage may vary. - Floydian τ ¢ 17:33, 25 October 2013 (UTC)
We might be able to do this on a more wholesale basis. For example, we might get more input from underserved communities if we could arrange with states that have a work requirement for welfare benefits to give credit to people making extensive Wikipedia contributions. Wnt (talk) 22:05, 25 October 2013 (UTC)
This would radically change the dynamics of Wikipedia. The last thing we want is lots of people making bad edits just to get paid. So how do we decide what edits should get paid, who gets paid etc.

You could say that editors that have support from other editors get paid, but then do not be surprised if 1000s of sock puppets appear. Actually raising the money is actually the easy part, possibly with advertising, but managing it could be very difficult. We have enough problem with editors paid by marketing organizations. Tuntable (talk) 08:42, 26 October 2013 (UTC)

  • We already have this. We have several projects that pay people to edit Wikipedia, but these are not for individual edits. They are for significantly improving the quality of our articles, which is the main focus of our project. Please see Wikipedia:The Core Contest and also Wikipedia:Reward board as two of the most popular examples. (talk) 01:19, 27 October 2013 (UTC)
  • @Jacob Steven Smith:I think the opposite would happen if the editors were given monetary support for what they do. Yes, that's the real beauty. All of these hardworking wikipedians edit for building up an encyclopedia, and not for any personal benefits. And if they were given rewards, they might even fork off :) (Also, the editors' primary motivation may shift to making maximum number edits and earn money.) It appears that Sue Gardner, the Executive Director of WMF, also shares your thoughts; as she says "...and I wonder whether it might make more sense for the movement to focus a larger amount of spending on direct financial support for individuals working in the projects." You might also be interested in knowing about WP:Merchandise giveaways···Vanischenu (mc/talk) 03:06, 28 October 2013 (UTC)
  • I would like my $1 per edit retroactively, please, so that I can retire (from my paying job, not from Wikipedia, which I would then edit full time). I'll settle for 10¢ per edit, even. Cheers! bd2412 T 16:18, 1 November 2013 (UTC)
How about voluntary microtransactions? Each user could link their Wikimedia account with a payment account. The user pages could have a link "donate to user", that lets the reader to send the user any amount of money. That link could be added to edit pages as well. --NaBUru38 (talk) 22:34, 4 November 2013 (UTC)
@bd2412: Great idea! I've been editing on and off since August 2004, and I've amassed 9,851 edits (including this one). The Foundation owes me $9,851. ;-) szyslak (t) 22:48, 4 November 2013 (UTC)

Split English Wikipedia in two[edit]

It seems that a lot of people sometimes get involved in disputes over whether an article should be written in British or American English. In order to address this problem, I propose the splitting of the English Wikipedia into a British English and an American English Wikipedia. Note: I am not the only one who treats the two dialects as separate: Facebook's account settings allow you to choose between both American English and British English. There must be some reason this hasn't been done yet, and I await someone telling me what it is. Jinkinson talk to me 00:46, 30 October 2013 (UTC)

Because then we would have American, British, Australian, Canadian, and Indian English encyclopedias (and calls for more), and they all would mostly be the same except for minor differences that really can't be effectively converted between automatically.</somewhat sarcastic> Re: Facebook, does that change the interface, or content from users? Because, I'm pretty sure en-wiki has a (poorly maintained) set of British-style interfaces. Which leads to the point of: splitting Wikipedia to granularity finer than language spreads effort too thin for minimal benefit. Chris857 (talk) 02:15, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
Can't we just import the language variant selector from Chinese Wikipedia to provide automatic translation between English variants? Check for example how the Chinese article about Michael Jackson changes title depending on which language variant you choose. The language variant is selected in the dropdown list to the right of the "talk" link. --Stefan2 (talk) 22:32, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
Honestly, I think we're too split already. As far as I'm concerned, there's a language I speak called English, not two or five or a hundred. If I find out that somebody in California says "gnarly" for "nifty" or someone in South Africa says "robot" for "traffic light", what of it? It's part of my language and I reserve the right to use it if I want, not start a separate Valley Girl English Wikipedia. I think we should stop letting some companies like Microsoft push us around and try to claim we should speak this region's English and not that with their low-grade spell checkers. If a term isn't clear in all areas, fine, either change it to something universal or offer a hint of explanation. Wnt (talk) 22:37, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
  • I'd argue that such a move, ostensibly to solve what are basically ego issues, would violate WP:ACCESS. A fractioning of en.wp into separate ones would create dilemmas for readers and contributors alike, and detract from the comprehensiveness of our global offering. Readers would have to search through "n" English-language Wikipedias to find the article they want; they may find different forks in for example between British Wikipedia and American Wikipedia, or between Australian Wikipedia and New Zealand Wikipedia. Editors, who I believe would usually want their articles to gain the most readers, will either gravitate towards the "biggest", or be forced to arbitrage between the splintered ones.

    I believe we ought to aim to preserve a large body of articles that the all English-speaker can tap into. If we are honest, we need to admit most readers can parse the differences between any of the supposedly different varieties, provided that the most overt colloquialisms are avoided (or properly glossed, in the case where related cultural issues are discussed). It's already bad enough that our WP:ENGVAR rules allow for slightly different spelling, and that editors still fight over it. Pathetic battles over whether we should use "kilometer" or "kilometre" for any given article are just, well, lame. It's all about egos getting in the way, obscuring the wood from the trees. -- Ohc ¡digame!¿que pasa? 03:11, 31 October 2013 (UTC)

  • Alternative idea Can javascript be set up to go through the DOM and do a search and replace based on the user's IP geographical location?--v/r - TP 20:22, 1 November 2013 (UTC)
I would argue that that is a bad idea. It would be one thing to have the software make changes based on a user preference for English spelling convention, quite another to automatically switch based on geoIP. Usually it is expats who are most stubborn about having their "native" spellings, and they would get bombarded with the opposite of their preference. There is nothing stopping any user from writing up a nice .js to change color to colour, and -ize to -ise, or vice-versa, and then offering it as an add-on to people's common.js. It may work to such an extent that it could be incorporated into whatever the site-wide .js system is, so that it reads a user's English spelling preference and then makes the alterations based on that. But that's a long way off until someone actually dedicates the effort to making that tool. VanIsaacWS Vexcontribs 05:46, 2 November 2013 (UTC)
British, Americans and people around the world understand both spellings. Splitting efforts would hurt the project. --NaBUru38 (talk) 22:36, 4 November 2013 (UTC)

Well there is a form of proper english yet vary between American and British (for example:colour-color) and some kind of American/British switch button. Many claim this is impossible, but to me, it seems quite possible. the problem is getting it as accurate as possible.Lucia Black (talk) 22:41, 4 November 2013 (UTC)