Wikipedia:Village pump (idea lab)/Archive 3

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Template autoloader

  • Hi! I have made a small bit of JS, which you can find at User:Inductiveload/Template autoloader.js. This grabs the blank template off the documentation page and pastes it into the edit box, so when you need, say, a blank {{Infobox book}}, you just enter the name into the autoloader, and it retrieves and pastes the blank template. This, I think, is very useful for templates like infoboxes and citations which have a lot of parameters which I (and I assume many others) have trouble remembering. You could go to the template doc page and copy-paste, but that's a bit of a hassle when you could just write the name in a box!
  • At the moment, it only works for {{Infobox book}} and it requires the blank template on the template page be wrapped in <pre id="autoload">...</pre>.
  • Thoughts and comments? Inductiveload (talk) 15:31, 12 December 2010 (UTC)

This is pretty much what I wanted for my OmniGadget idea. I basically want something that allows you to quickly and easily add maintenance and infobox templates to pages. Do you think you can make more? --vgmddg (look | talk | do) 23:04, 14 December 2010 (UTC)

  • It is easy to add more. I just added it to {{infobox river}}, and you can see the very simple adjustment needed to do this here. Cheers, Inductiveload (talk) 23:21, 14 December 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia Filter on search engines

If a topic has not been covered by Wikipedia it would be neat if a box would appear above or below the ads that normally appear in Google. That box would say something like "This topic has not been covered in Wikipedia. Would you like to contribute information for a new page on the topic?" and another option could be "Would you like to suggest this topic for a new page?"

If someone clicks on the second option, the ideas will go to a page where someone can click on a blue link of that new word that will take them to an editing page for the new word. It would be a interesting way to get people to create new pages, put more information into Wikipedia and can eliminate repeat pages. People like to share information and would love to see a list of ideas of things they could write about.

ex: I type "fishing" into Google and Wiki doesn't have a page for it. It gives me the two options of writing about it or suggesting it. I suggest it and it goes into a list of topics that have not been covered. Someone else wants to write about a new topic, but can't think of one. They go to the page of listed suggestions and find "fishing."

That is how it works. I hope you like it and I hope someone can improve the idea. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:04, 16 December 2010 (UTC)

What would Google gain from implementing that idea?—RJH (talk) 15:53, 16 December 2010 (UTC)
We actually have several mechanism for wanted articles (by type):
So what we actually need are people writing :-). Then we need reviewers (you can help) to give feedback for the Featured and Good articles candidates. — Dispenser 23:36, 16 December 2010 (UTC)

additional filtering in the "find sources" template

Not sure if this is the right place or not, but with googles expansion into selling e-books I have noticed a lot more self published work appearing in the searches I do there. In the "find sources" template (used in AfD nomination pages and elsewhere) that links to the google books search it already takes out "-inpublisher:icon". I think it would be a good idea to add filters "-inpublisher:Lulu" and other major self publishing houses. Active Banana (bananaphone 16:57, 22 December 2010 (UTC)

Yes! Do it. plugs User:Fences and windows/Unreliable sources Fences&Windows 20:43, 22 December 2010 (UTC)
Where and who would we contact to implement that? I am clueless about the inner workings of templates. Active Banana (bananaphone 19:06, 23 December 2010 (UTC) You can easily find the bit that says "&as_pub=-icon". Just add text at that point. Fences&Windows 21:59, 23 December 2010 (UTC)

Spelling variations should adjust for each user based on what country they are located

If you are in the U.S., you see U.S. spelling variations If you are located in the U.K., you see U.K. spelling variations Etc., Etc.

I think this could be used to end thousands of edit wars in process and thousands of others yet to occur.— Preceding unsigned comment added by TravisMunson1993 (talkcontribs)

It has been proposed before, see Wikipedia:Village_pump_(proposals)/Archive_31#Wikipedia:Perennial_proposals.23Enforce_American_or_British_spelling, Wikipedia:Village_pump_(proposals)/Archive_41#User_preference_for_US_or_UK_english_spellings, Wikipedia:Village_pump_(proposals)/Archive_65#Proposal_for_Wikipedia_in_American_English. Fences&Windows 20:37, 22 December 2010 (UTC)
What evidence you have for these "thousands of edit wars in process"? From what I have seen our current practice seems to work remarkably well in preventing edit wars over such trivial issues. Phil Bridger (talk) 23:05, 22 December 2010 (UTC)
Wikipedia is doing a wonderful job of educating (mostly American) editors that other forms of English exist. Don't protect them from that shocking reality. HiLo48 (talk) 23:23, 22 December 2010 (UTC)
Agreed with HiLo48. Wikipedia is about reaching across bounds.--ForgottenHistory (talk) 19:06, 23 December 2010 (UTC)

Template:No text

I have seen articles recently on the Mexico City Metro, if you can call them articles, where there no info other than images and templates. I was just wondering whether this would be the right place to propose a template asking people to add text or info, or will {{expand}} suffice? Simply south (talk) and their tree 21:00, 22 December 2010 (UTC)

I would content that such articles are reason for speedy deletion on occasion.--ForgottenHistory (talk) 19:08, 23 December 2010 (UTC)

anonymous posting

This discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

hello all,

i've been anonymously editing wikipedia for many years now, but i am getting really worried about its future. i am finding myself more and more often disabled to edit articles, and i am not talking just about controversial topics, but topics in general. i have an impression that the semi-protected tag is being misused.

do other editors have similar experience and impression? what can be done about it? (please do not suggest to create an account as i will not do that). (talk) 18:15, 23 December 2010 (UTC)

I just made a very rough calculation using info from Category:Wikipedia_semi-protected_pages:

almost 2000 pages listing about 200 articles each with semiprotection = about 400,000 articles which are semi-protected. that is 10% of all articles in english wikipedia! this to me seems like a clear abuse of this tag. (talk) 18:26, 23 December 2010 (UTC)

ups, my bad, there are 1,939 pages total. that's not that big number. i guess all might be o.k. (talk) 18:32, 23 December 2010 (UTC)
it would be an "abuse of the tag" only if you can show that the majority of those articles are not currently or perpetually subject of vandalism edits. I am worried about the future of the project based on the countless countless countless hours that sooooooo many editors need to spend undoing vandalism from IP editors just to keep the quality from sinking rather than being able to that time and energy actually improving the quality of Wikipedia's content. Active Banana (bananaphone 19:05, 23 December 2010 (UTC)
Amen to that! It's a huge waste of time. I have never yet (and I've been in many discussions) heard a good reason for allowing IP edits. Registering an account is easy and has many advantages. -- Brangifer (talk) 19:17, 23 December 2010 (UTC)
"IF" you were an unproblematic IP editor your concerns would be understandable, since you would be the victim of inconvenience caused by the actions of other IP editors who are disruptive. You see, while not all IP editors vandalize, make unconstructive edits, or are incompetent, the vast majority of such edits are made by IPs. Just ask any new page patroller or vandal fighter. It's a huge problem, so innocent and constructive IP editors pay the price for the actions of idiots, children, conspiracy theorists and mentally ill individuals. NOTE that I am not identifying you as such or saying that none of your edits aren't constructive. I'm just describing the general problem and why we need semi-protection. There are actually many editors who desire that all editors be registered users, and also that controversial and featured articles be permanently semiprotected. So far that's not happening.
OTOH, since you are a problematic IP hopping editor who has caused problems before,[1] [2] your complaints are rather ironic, since this situation is caused by the actions of yourself and others like you. What goes around comes around. If you would register ONE account (thus collecting your widely spread contribution history of disruption in one place as required) and act responsibly, you wouldn't have any problem.
Some of the Serbian IPs used by this editor:
Let me know when you have registered a username and I'll be very willing to help you to success here. You need allies. -- Brangifer (talk) 19:15, 23 December 2010 (UTC)
funny how you complain about huge waste of time, and yet you wasted all these words above. my reply to your silly accusation was given before on my talk page, i am sure you read it, just seems you didn't comprehend it. (talk) 23:26, 23 December 2010 (UTC)

Reader feedback feature

Many websites let users rate content and add comments. Perhaps Wikipedia should do so too. The idea would be to display a button or link beside each article, or a tab at the top, that would open a form showing current user ratings and comments, and let readers add their own ratings and comments. For example:

Ratings: (some sort of visual representation of current ratings)
What do you think?
Article size
O Too short
O About right
O Too long
O Very easy to follow
O Clear enough
O Hard to understand
O All I want to know
O Some gaps
O Big gaps
Your comments ___________________________________________________
Other readers said
(Log of recent comments)

The great majority of readers are not comfortable with editing an article, but would have no problem giving opinions. The feature would open a direct channel of communication from readers to editors. Editor tools would of course be needed to display lists of articles with negative ratings. Articles change, so ratings would have to be aged, counting for less and less as edits accumulate. There is potential for abuse, as with standard editing, so controls would be needed to stop double-voting, ignore voting during surges and so on. But on the whole, listening to the audience seems the right thing to do. Aymatth2 (talk) 21:27, 23 December 2010 (UTC)

I like the basic idea. There are some things we would need to avoid, such as it turning into a comments section like on a blog, FaceBook or newspaper article comment section.
Ideally the content should not be visible to other readers, only to registered editors. If it's visible to other readers, it will be used as a bulletin board for POV promotion or attacks. We want true, individual responses, unflavored by other's opinions and not part of an ongoing discussion or argument among other readers who have left comments. Therefore I'd make the "Other readers said" part and the "Log of recent comments" invisible. Those parts would still be visible to registered users, but not to IPs or the general public. Organized campaigns against articles will come and we need to minimize their impact. -- Brangifer (talk) 21:33, 23 December 2010 (UTC)
An explanation at the bottom would thank the reader for their help and assure them that their comments will be treated discretely and viewed only by registered editors. -- Brangifer (talk) 21:38, 23 December 2010 (UTC)
I suppose that makes sense. Blog sites, newspapers etc. must have ways to handle the problem, but we have the problem of a huge audience and a very limited "staff" to handle issues. Aymatth2 (talk) 21:41, 23 December 2010 (UTC)
I seem to remember reading (and seeing) recently that something like this already exists in a test phase on a limited number of articles. Anyone know more? ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 23:02, 23 December 2010 (UTC)
Yes, see Category:Article Feedback Additional Articles. I accidently removed it one time. It was one of those really undiscussed (except on Meta) ideas. Garion96 (talk) 23:38, 23 December 2010 (UTC)
Here's the link: -- Brangifer (talk) 00:39, 24 December 2010 (UTC)
  • Since there is work in progress at mediawiki, it could be counter-productive to raise the subject at en:Wikipedia . Forget it, Aymatth2 (talk) 01:49, 24 December 2010 (UTC)

Every language but English?

I started the sine article recently, and found there were already 20+ other versions on other language Wikipedias. This got me wondering what other articles exist in multiple other languages but don't appear in English. Has anyone tried to make a list of topics which have not been translated into English, sorted by the number of other language Wikipedias it appears in? Or is anyone willing to try making such a list? Thanks in advance. —Pengo 04:05, 22 December 2010 (UTC)

So you didn't see sine wave? Ntsimp (talk) 18:25, 22 December 2010 (UTC)
It's not the same. Read the articles for more. —Pengo 20:14, 22 December 2010 (UTC)
You're looking for a new Wikipedia:Database reports. A multi-language page counter may be expensive (CPU-wise) as the databases ares spread out many servers. Finally, as I pointed out above we already have enough to write about. PS: An efficient way might be to look at pages with 20+ interlang, excluding English filter out (somehow) stuff covered in subsections on enwp. — Dispenser 02:20, 23 December 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for the pointer, I've added a request there. It would also be interesting to know which articles are only subsections on enwp but have whole articles on many other wikis (such as my example of Sine). And more than point out what needs to be written about, it would also give a starting point to begin articles (e.g. you could start with a machine translation, which you're not likely to do if you don't realise there's already a bunch of articles) —Pengo 01:56, 25 December 2010 (UTC)
SELECT page_title, page_len AS "Bytes", COUNT(*) AS "Languages"
FROM page
JOIN langlinks ON ll_from=page_id
LEFT JOIN redirect ON rd_from=page_id
LEFT JOIN langlinks AS enwp ON enwp.ll_from=page_id AND enwp.ll_lang="en"

WHERE enwp.ll_from IS NULL
AND rd_from IS NULL
AND page_namespace=0
AND page_len>5000 /* atleast 5 KB */

GROUP BY page_id
I had hope this would turn up some interesting articles to translate, but it only lists differences between article setup or missing interwikis. If we get the interwiki bots are fully working, we'd then need to deal with the article structure issue (en: single page article, de: multiple articles). — Dispenser 04:36, 25 December 2010 (UTC)

New pages/redirects

It occurred to me as I was creating an article from a redirect that we have no way (AFAIK) to keep track of new articles created from redirects. They don't show up on Special:NewPages, and I don't know of any other place to look. I think there's a filter or something that highlights a redirect becoming an article, but that's the extent of my knowledge. So what I'm wondering is whether there's a way to keep track of articles created from redirects, a list kinda like new pages or recent changes. The easiest way I can think of is just incorporating that into new pages, but a separate special page would work as well. Now I have no idea whether this is even technically possible, or feasible or anything, it's just a thought that occurred to me. But anyhow, just wondering what other people think (or have thought in previous discussions) about that. C628 (talk) 00:24, 24 December 2010 (UTC)

See and Just follow the filter log to check for cases. Fences&Windows 23:23, 27 December 2010 (UTC)

View dif In-Article

Often when viewing "dif" pages it can be hard to exactly find where the changes took place in-article, so I'd generally suggest a change around this, although not replacing the current dif.--ForgottenHistory (talk) 23:02, 20 December 2010 (UTC)

Try WikiBlame to find when a change occurred. —Pengo 04:19, 22 December 2010 (UTC)
I don't think that's what FH is asking about. I noticed this problem some time ago. If someone makes a single change to a long article, the diff gives the surrounding text and a line number. This may still make it quite hard to find where in the article the chnaged text is. Peter jackson (talk) 12:20, 5 January 2011 (UTC)

users with lots of edits / artciles should be able to opt out of fundraising

look its getting a little old. Jimmy begging me for money.

i give hundreds of hours of labor. i think that's enough.

if someone has >1000 edits for the year or whatever, they should be able to opt out of the fundraising drive.

Decora (talk) 06:06, 24 December 2010 (UTC)

The banners were taken down for all logged-in users four days ago. --Yair rand (talk) 08:26, 24 December 2010 (UTC)
My Preferences → Gadgets → Suppress display of the fundraiser banner. Problem solved permanently. --Morn (talk) 13:28, 24 December 2010 (UTC)
I'd like an opt-out from the endless whining about the fundraising banners. Can someone develop a script to do this, please? Fences&Windows 23:13, 27 December 2010 (UTC)
You might like to read User:WhatamIdoing/Fundraising. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:42, 1 January 2011 (UTC)
Nice FAQ. Fences&Windows 18:29, 2 January 2011 (UTC)

"Come back to" watchlist

I would like to have Wikipedia track a watchlist of sorts of articles that I am waiting on to come back to at some point in the future. For example, in an inactive article, I want to make a change, but I want first to give a week to see if anyone discusses my proposed change. It could be a simple list of articles with or without related dates. Drrll (talk) 12:01, 1 January 2011 (UTC)

List them at User:Drrll/To do. Or have another declared account (User:Drrll-todo?) and use the watchlist of that account to watch these articles. Fences&Windows 18:28, 2 January 2011 (UTC)
I would prefer that the list display alongside my regular watchlist, but I like the idea of using my userspace to host the list (I think I would keep the list at my main user page to simplify access to it by just clicking my user name). Drrll (talk) 22:35, 8 January 2011 (UTC)

ArbCom reform

I've written an essay called WP:ArbCom reform. I originally posted on the Village Pump proposals page, however I think here is probably more appropriate. Anyway, comments or suggestions are most welcome. PhilKnight (talk) 13:47, 7 January 2011 (UTC)

  • What, specifically, are the problems that this would address? Herostratus (talk) 19:54, 7 January 2011 (UTC)
    • Yes, it does rather jump straight into what PhilKnight wants done, without explaining why. Fences&Windows 03:52, 8 January 2011 (UTC)
      • Hopefully, it would make serving on arbcom less time consuming, which could encourage more candidates to step forward. PhilKnight (talk) 15:38, 8 January 2011 (UTC)

MOS: prose vs bulleted lists (notable residents)

A discussion is currently taking place about the MOS recommendation that bulleted lists should be rewritten as prose. It specifically concerns making a possible exception for sections on 'Notable residents' in articles about towns and cities. Your comments are welcome at: Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (embedded lists). Thanks. --Kudpung (talk) 02:38, 8 January 2011 (UTC)

"minor edit" flag

There is an option to default all edits to minor within each user's profile.

Some considerable time ago, as I was doing a lot of minor edits, I set this on. I got out of the habit of checking, so even when making major edits (or creating new pages), I was flagging them as minor, until another editor pointed this out to me today.

What would help me is to amend the profile option to offer three possible selections:

  1. Mark all as minor by default
  2. Mark none as minor by default
  3. Prompt me to before saving every edit

Is this feature something that could be developed, and would it be beneficial to other editors? Regards, Lynbarn (talk) 19:46, 9 January 2011 (UTC)

In theory, the preference to mark edits as minor will be going away any day now - see bug 24313. That would fix the problem if actually was done. Unfortunately, the bug has been stuck in limbo for a while. Gavia immer (talk) 19:59, 9 January 2011 (UTC)
There is a javascript snippet that prompt for an edit summary. Should be reasonably easy to hack to give you option 3. Rich Farmbrough, 18:07, 28th day of January in the year 2011 (UTC).
My edits are flagged "minor" by default, but I cannot see where the option to default all edits to minor can be set or unset. Where is it, can anybody say?— Philogos (talk) 05:28, 7 June 2011 (UTC)
This is a bit of a strange case. When I first noticed that every edit by Philogos was marked as a minor edit, my main concern was that many editors have their configuration set to not see minor edits. Talking with him on his talk page, it became clear that not only wasn't he doing it on purpose, but he never made a choice to turn on the "mark all edits as minor by default" option. It looks like a glitch in his configuration settings. I can't find the place in my preferences to turn that option on or off. How does he fix his configuration? Guy Macon (talk) 13:37, 7 June 2011 (UTC)
Minor correction: I MAY have chosen to "mark my edits minor by default" when I set up my preferences years ago, I really do not remember. I expect I accepted whatever was the default. I don't think I have changed my prefereces since then, accept to tweek my signature. How have others (eg Guy Macon) managed to have it in off mode, and hence on the side of the angels? How can I change the "preference" to enable a quiet life?— Philogos (talk) 20:40, 9 June 2011 (UTC)
I reported this as a bug on bugzilla. See ( ).
The latest response was: "Sorry, I think I forgot about this bug :( Although the configuration setting is hidden, I still have to update enwiki database to disable it for user that had it before the change. Will try to get it done this week." Guy Macon (talk) 01:01, 10 June 2011 (UTC) I will do a followup if it doesn't get fixed in the next seven days. Guy Macon (talk) 01:01, 10 June 2011 (UTC)

User Page Design

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
We generally don't edit others' userpages without their request, except for reverting vandalism, fixing unambiguously broken things (especially templates or categories) or applying certain templates (eg relating to socking). Users who are attempting to design their pages and may benefit from help may be pointed to Wikipedia:User page design center, and that help location may also be promoted in other ways (eg, on people's userpages...). Rd232 talk 15:26, 18 January 2011 (UTC)

Many Users have quite dull User Pages. This is because many users don't know how, or don't want to learn how to use wikipedia's code. I think it would be great if we could have a team of willing users who would edit peoples user pages and make them look striking and interesting. I would be willing to join such a team as I believe I am relatively good at editing User Pages (See My User Page). Thanks, Thomas888b (talk) 21:00, 16 January 2011 (UTC)

How would this suggestion help the building of an encyclopedia? And is creating a user page that admits that it doesn't display properly in the world's most widely used web browser really a sign that you are "relatively good at editing User Pages"? Phil Bridger (talk) 00:09, 17 January 2011 (UTC)
There is already a sort of "team" at Wikipedia:User page design center. That page helped a lot in creating my userpage. Rehman 09:06, 17 January 2011 (UTC)
Note for Phil, It's not my fault Internet explorer doesn't allow rounded corneres on the user page is it?
Thanks Rehman, That's very useful information. Thomas888b (talk) 13:25, 17 January 2011 (UTC)
No problem, glad to help :) Rehman 15:03, 17 January 2011 (UTC)
Sorry, I have no interest in making my user page look "striking and interesting": I'm too busy with more important things like researching & writing articles. And if I find someone is "helping" me by fixing up my user page, I will revert the changes, & treat the incident as vandalism. HTH, HAND. -- llywrch (talk) 16:37, 17 January 2011 (UTC)
Not everybody want's a good user page, But it really annoys some people that their user page doesn't look great. Thomas888b (talk) 18:00, 17 January 2011 (UTC)
I would have to oppose this idea. Generally, editing other editors' user pages should be limited to fixing grammar/spelling mistakes, fixing broken markup and templates, and other minor edits. Editing a user page because you think it looks "dull" is simply not acceptable. —Farix (t | c) 14:50, 18 January 2011 (UTC)


The other discussion is now archived. It said to start a new one. I must clarify my ideas. I did not mean just going around editing peoples userpage, you would be a team there to design a user page if somebody asked you to design it. Thomas888b (talk) 18:51, 18 January 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia:User page design center was already pointed out to you, so I'm not sure what you're getting at. See in particular Wikipedia:User page design center/Help and collaboration. Rd232 talk 20:38, 18 January 2011 (UTC)
Yes, I understand that, I was simply pointing out that some people had been misunderstanding me. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Thomas888b (talkcontribs) 20:46, 18 January 2011 (UTC)
Archived both, to keep it from splitting away in the archive. Everything is cleared so lets not pile up ;) Rehman 00:12, 20 January 2011 (UTC)

The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

Flow Chart for Wikipedia

The sheer size and number of policy pages in Wikipedia overwhelms me. Is there a flow chart with yes/no gates anywhere and if not do you think it would be possible or a good idea? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Tumadoireacht (talkcontribs) 15:06, 16 January 2011 (UTC)

Probably not. I think it would be pretty hard to make something like that because in many cases there is not a simple yes-or-no answer. And even then there are an infinite number of types of issues and it would be pretty much impossible to cover them all. However, it might be possible to make a weblike diagram that connects related policies together. That way you can find a collection of policies that might fall under what you need. For now though, Category:Wikipedia policies and guidelines would be your best bet for finding information. --vgmddg (look | talk | do) 00:52, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
This is more or less what the "Upload" cartoon does. But policy bloat is a problem. Rich Farmbrough, 04:55, 28th day of January in the year 2011 (UTC).

Difference between revisions for long pages

I notice that long pages (like two that I keep up with, Cold War and Lima) take a very long time to load. When I'm only looking a diffs between revisions, I typically don't need to have the diffs and the whole page load. I just want to see the edited part at the top. There should be a button or something that will load the "current" page under the diff, if you need it to load for some reason. Otherwise, the rest of the page doesn't need to load. There would be less server load if that happened, and looking through a group of diffs one after the other would be a lot faster. Hires an editor (talk) 11:12, 21 January 2011 (UTC)

I agree. I wanted to bring this issue up too... If this does get implemented, I think the "option" has to be globally available... Rehman 13:14, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
Do you mean something like: My preferences => Misc => Do not show page content below diffs? If after looking at the diff you want to see the whole page you can simply click on the "Revision as of ..." link. Phil Bridger (talk) 14:16, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
Something like that. By default, I think that the whole page should NOT load; only the diff should load. I think if a page is of a certain length, a button would appear that says, "show me the page" as of this version, and the page would load as it does now. Hires an editor (talk) 15:52, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
@Phil: That's exactly what I meant. Now how could I miss that? ;) Rehman 16:10, 21 January 2011 (UTC)

Idea: Formatting an article into 2 or more columns

When textual information is displayed in a Wikipedia article, it is displayed as one column (except for tables). But this text is difficult to read because each line is too long. I read somewhere that the optimal length of a line should be about 66 characters, which is why many articles and books are formatted as two or even three columns. I recommend that Wikipedia developers add an option to increase the number of columns displayed for an article. This would make it easier for readers. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:07, 14 January 2011 (UTC)

  • Agree, this would make reading much easier... Using columns is very much easy, but not accepted in MOS. So perhaps a poll to change it? Rehman 01:36, 15 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Disagreeing because it would leave no space for pictures to the right, and also it would make Wikipedia articles a lot less consistent article from article if not all articles used the multiple columns. Maybe for Wikinews though?--AerobicFox (talk) 03:49, 15 January 2011 (UTC)
This isn't the place to approve or reject. With that in mind copy javascript:void(appendCSS(".ns-0 #bodyContent{text-align:justify; -moz-column-width:20em; -moz-column-rule: 1px solid #666; -webkit-column-width:20em; -webkit-column-rule: 1px solid #666;}")); into your address bar on any Wikipedia page. One big problem, AFAIK the floats (infoboxes, thumbnail, quote boxes, etc.) can't knock out parts of a column even with a script rewriting the page. — Dispenser 04:48, 15 January 2011 (UTC)
Just tried and it seems to my tastes aesthetically abominable. However I see nothing wrong in offering this in user preferences. --Cyclopiatalk 19:18, 15 January 2011 (UTC)
No need for that, just stick it in a bookmark. Arlen22 (talk) 19:00, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
Or add it to your user.css / user.js if you want it for all pages (might not be a good idea tho) CS Miller (talk) 22:25, 24 January 2011 (UTC)
Look at the top right hand corner of your screen - there are three little boxes (if it's Windoze), click the middle one and you will find that you can adjust the size of your browser window to give you the column width you desire. Rich Farmbrough, 18:11, 28th day of January in the year 2011 (UTC).


It has occurred to me that having the ability to interrupt Autoconfirmed status could be a useful instrument. In particular it seems a user who has been blocked should perhaps not be allowed to resume editing with full privileges when the block expires or is otherwise lifted. I am interested if others would consider this a productive recourse. My76Strat 04:41, 20 January 2011 (UTC)

Since it is only 4 days and 10 edits to get it back, what would the advantage be? Surely if someone just got off a block and does something bad with the autoconfirmed powers, they'll just be blocked again for longer.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 10:52, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
What about the ability to remove Autoconfirm if the user is known to do stuff to templates that just doesn't work right, but he is a very useful editor otherwise? That would be a use case. This wouldn't be related to a block in anyway, but it is just something I thought of. Arlen22 (talk) 13:26, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
Overall I think this could be a good idea when dealing with very new users. If they were blocked, that might mean that they don't yet deserve to be auto confirmed yet. As for Jimbo's point, when the confirmed status is removed, it'll take longer before the user can be re-autoconfirmed, like what happens for people editing through a Tor network. (See WP:AUTOCONFIRM.) Also, I think that If a user who is not yet autoconfirmed is blocked, then the timer for getting confirmed should stop and possibly be lengthened.--vgmddg (look | talk | do) 22:03, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
While I don't think this is a bad idea, I also don't think that the problem and the proposed solution really line up. If we have an editor who (to take the good example above) screws up templates, we don't want him or her to be able to edit non-protected templates, but to be unable to revert vandalism in a semi-protected article. In these instances, we're probably better off issuing a "manual" topic ban, i.e., the admin says "No more screwing up templates, or I'll block you."
Also, we occasionally see highly experienced editors get blocked. People lose their tempers, accounts get hacked, and mistakes get made by blocking admins. If your account got blocked tomorrow because an admin clicked on the wrong page, would you want to be automatically stuck with limited account privileges, when you'd done nothing at all to deserve the block? WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:01, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
I am actually not suggesting an automatic implementation but rather having the ability. And if it were an automatic effect, I presume and hope an admin could manually confirm just as they now can. It just seems odd that there is no provision making it possible to unautoconfirm, either manually or automatically. To my understanding, confirmed can be withdrawn but not autoconfirmed. Thanks for considering this as well. Best regards. My76Strat 00:55, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
@Jimbo Wales - Thank you for commenting here. While autoconfirmed does encompass 4 days and 10 edits, having it reinstated perhaps should require a higher threshold or at least the ability for the unblocking admin to set a higher bar. Nevertheless, even 4 days can serve as a reminder that actions have consequences and editing privileges are just that, a privilege. I am glad Arlen22 mentioned that suspending autoconfirmed has uses beyond block reinstatement. The template example is good and you could as easily imagine someone who may need to discontinue file uploads for some reason which may not rise to necessitating a block. It may be an action that occurs before a block, and it may have a preemptive benefit of modifying blockable actions short of actually blocking. I would also suggest that being scrutinized by a wider array of edit filters can have benefits as well. I am grateful that others have offered their thoughts and even more thankful that I am afforded the privileged of participating. Cheers My76Strat 02:51, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
It may be a better idea to have a semi-block. The user would not have to use the CAPTCHA mechanism but could not edit semi-protected pages. – Allen4names 05:50, 23 January 2011 (UTC)
I don't think this would really be worth it. Not being able to upload files would really be the only useful tool, but even that would be of limited utility for only occasional cases. I think its pretty rare for someone to be blocked for reasons to do with semiprotected pages or pagemoves other than vandalism. In general, its easier to just say "We'll unblock you if you agree to not do X." Mr.Z-man 06:04, 23 January 2011 (UTC)

Edit Suggestion

I have an idea that often users want to suggest rather than actually put a live edit to a page, so I would propose that some system, whether it be an actual action with a log or a page devoted to this purpose be established. Possibly a system similar to that of pending revisions on certain pages, but this time voluntary and with users endorsing them? This is a raw idea.--ForgottenHistory (talk) 22:57, 20 December 2010 (UTC)

Similarly, see Wikipedia:Village_pump_(proposals)/Archive_64#"Report_an_error"_feature. Fences&Windows 20:

56, 22 December 2010 (UTC)

Can't that be done on the Talk page? - J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:39, 31 December 2010 (UTC)
Of course. But not all talk pages are watched and not all editors know how to use talk pages, and this would provide another venue for improving articles. Fences&Windows 21:27, 7 January 2011 (UTC)
I agree with J. Johnson. This is pretty much the entire purpose of the talk page. And the pending revisions feature was only put in place because of vandalism. Users can endorse or oppose ideas with regular comments. Creating what I'm guessing you want is a points system will only take the human aspect out of it. --vgmddg (look | talk | do) 21:14, 11 January 2011 (UTC)

Copyright/Plagiarism and non-Western editors

I've been following along on the WP:ANI discussion of User:Arilang1234 in this section. In short, for those who don't ANI-watch, Arilang is a Chinese editor who has recently been accused of extensive copyright violations. Today, it occurred to me that the problem here may be more cultural than it is editor specific.

It is well known in the field of teaching writing, particularly teaching ESL writing (my professions), that the very concepts of plagiarism and copyright infringement to students of Chinese origin is exceptionally difficult. Please understand that I don't mean this as a slight, but that there is a fundamental difference in the way that (and I generalize here) Westerners focus on the "rights" (intellectual and monetary) associated with "ownership" of a particular text, and Chinese (and others from the region) focus on the importance of preserving accurate knowledge (which, by definition, comes from officially approved, usually traditional, sources). When U.S. writing teachers confront such students with evidence of plagiarism, the students are often proud that they were able to demonstrate that they correctly knew and passed on the "right" information, rather than being shocked the way their teachers think they are supposed to be. In the ANI discussion, some people have mentioned that Arilang doesn't seem to understand what we mean by copyright violations or why its a problem. This seems to me to be exactly like what I've read about in my field.

My question is, assuming that Wikipedia wants to reach out to more editors outside of our traditional Western (especially US) base, what can we/should we do to help them understand what is likely a very difficult issue? As I have few answers, I come here to the lab first, looking for others' thoughts. Qwyrxian (talk) 05:04, 20 January 2011 (UTC)

This is a real problem, Baidu seems to practically encourage plagiarism. There seems quite enough of a problem elsewhere also though even without the Chinese. The point needs to be emphasised in the third pillar of WP:5P and the welcome messages for starters I think. Dmcq (talk) 10:31, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
In Southeast Asia, plagiarism is as illegal as it is anywhere, however, it is blatantly tolerated and that's how many students get their degrees. It has recently been suggested by a user that Wikipedians have plagiarised a Thai web site. The irony is, that the Thai oeuvre has been lifted verbatim from the Wikipedia article, complete with my own typos plus a few more added by the student from Rajaphat University! Yes, I think the problems of copyvio and plagiarism need to be emphasised where new users will see them.Kudpung (talk) 11:02, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
Maybe this all folds into the fact that we really don't have a good system for teaching new users all of the numerous things that go into writing here. Only a very small number of people are willing or able to go searching through all of our various help pages, policies, guidelines, etc., especially given that at times they don't even seem to be self-consistent. Those that don't end up just stumbling along, sometimes learning via warnings and block threats rather than a good faith teaching atmosphere. I've seen the idea raised in a number of places that we need a set of teaching modules, possibly even video modules, that talk people through how to do what we do here well. Copyright and plagiarism would be an important part of that. Qwyrxian (talk) 02:57, 22 January 2011 (UTC)
We don't expect everybody to be wonderful at editing, some at good at getting the facts, others at organising and others at polishing the language. The problem with copyright problems is that they cause an enormous amount of trouble trying to go round and fix up afterwards, you don't have to immediately go round and do that with the other problems. I don't think it is useful to mix up simple and expensive problems it removes effort from fixing the expensive problems. It's better to concentrate on where it really matters. Dmcq (talk) 18:40, 22 January 2011 (UTC)
It might be worth writing a culture-specific (sort of) essay about the issue. the main points might be something like, copyvios are illegal, plagiarism is unethical, and—possibly unlike some lazy teachers you've encountered previously—we enforce it, with a subplot of 'anyone can figure out copy-and-paste, but intelligent people who truly understand the material can re-write it in their own words'. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:33, 23 January 2011 (UTC)
WhatamIdoing, pardon, but I take offense (on behalf of my profession) to the notion that this is something about laziness. I quote from Ilona Leki, who is one of the top researchers (or was, a dozen years ago), in ESL writing researh, "In some places in the world, students are encouraged to learn/memorize the writings of the learned of antiquity and to use those, not their own thoughts, in their writing." For these students, originality in the sense that we use the term may seem immodest and presumptuous." (Understanding ESL Writers'. 1992) Where I teach, in Japan, the best students are taught (incorrectly, but this is the way it goes in Japan) that to succeed in learning English, they should memorize—not learn, not study, but memorize—at least a substantial portion of the English readings they encounter along with the Japanese translations. This is my whole point. You (and I'm sure many editors without experience in teaching ESL writing to people from Asia) simply assume that these students are lazy or their teachers were lazy or their just thieves. But this is absolutely not true, and is based in a fundamentally different perception of knowledge, authority, and language. I'm not saying that non-native speakers can't learn our rules, but that if we're holding them accountable for something that has never been explained to them, it's not surprising when they make mistakes. Qwyrxian (talk) 00:39, 24 January 2011 (UTC)
In some cases, it may simply be laziness: no profession that large can make any credible claim to including solely industrious members.
More importantly, the students frequently perceive this as the case. If you tell people that the rules are X, and they do not-X, and nobody calls them on it, then the student tries to reconcile the stated rules with the experienced reality. Stripped of pleasanter language, the explanations for the mismatch between theory and data amount to these three:
  1. The teacher lied about the rules (=plagiarism is okay).
  2. The teacher is stupider than me (=plagiarism may be bad, but I successfully deceived the teacher).
  3. The teacher is lazy (=plagiarism may be bad, but not bad enough to motivate any action from the teacher).
Part of the problem that we need to address (in some cases) is this mismatch between what other people have told these students ("plagiarism is illegal") and how other people have reacted to these students' plagiarism ("but I'll reward you for doing it"). WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:46, 24 January 2011 (UTC)
I also take exception to the broad and sweeping statement made by WhatamIdoing. I taught linguistics and language teaching methodology in southeast Asian universities for ten years. As Qwyrxian states, the problems are due to the tradition of teaching by rote in countries where the culture almost forbids students to think for themselves. As the results of IELTS and TOEFL tests demonstrate, the majority of Asian SS fail miserably on the parts of the test that require creative writing on a set topic. They can't do this for school either, so they simply plagiarise their homework assignments and degree dissertations. However, I most strongly emphasise that a teacher who teaches by rote rather than student centred methodology, is no lazier than a teacher who uses any other method.
Where the number of new articles containing blatant copyvio and plagiarism from Asian editors is on he rise, we have to live with this, but we must be exceptionally vigilant, and that's one of the reasons why Wikipedia has a New Page Patrol project , which WhatamIdoing apparently fails to see the importance of. Kudpung (talk) 05:14, 24 January 2011 (UTC)
And how do you think the students understand this situation? If I tell the students on Monday that plagiarism is illegal and they absolutely must not ever do it, and then I strongly reward the students on Tuesday for plagiarizing material, what do you say that the students think? Do you think that perhaps not one of the students will notice that my words on Monday did not match my actions on Tuesday? WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:03, 25 January 2011 (UTC)
Is that wikipedia's problem? Imagine there was a school of thought which called vandalism an honorable past-time. If it is indeed true that in certain parts of the world plagiarism is encouraged, then I doubt you will be able to re-educate anyone. Only solution is delete, warn, delete again, block, move on. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 18:28, 25 January 2011 (UTC)
This is exactly what I want us to stop doing. If you delete something and "warn" the person, I'll lay you good odds that the person simply won't understand why they are being warned. My whole point is that it's not that these people don't know that plagiarism is bad, it's that they actually don't understand what we mean when we say "plagiarism." This is the same point to WhatamIdoing--the situation you prospose about Monday and Tuesday is not at all what happens, because in these many of these countries, in many schools never say plagiarism is bad. They say Monday through Saturday (and sometimes on Sundays) that not only is what we in the west call "plagiarism" good, but the opposite (critical/creative/original thinking) is bad and improper. One does not, for instance, "discuss" and consider a variety of reasons why, say, Country X invaded Country Y; instead, one learns the one and only reason, commits that to memory, and, at some later point, regurgitates that information on a test. So what I'm saying is that if we just delete, warn, and block, all we end up doing is driving away those who could become good editors if they were given the proper education. As above, though, I recognize that this is just one part of the bigger problem that we don't always do a good job in "educating" editors on a wide variety of problems. But, that's probably because I tend to look at problems from a teaching perspective rather than a management perspective. Qwyrxian (talk) 01:21, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
There seems to be some misunderstanding; certainly, I am not for blocking on first offense; however, if there really is something deeply ingrained (by school-system, by upbringing, whatever) to the extend that the individuals in question really don't "get it," then they should be driven away, eventually. There must be a recognition that some people simply cannot be educated, no matter how, and that's neither their moral flaw nor our fault. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 01:28, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Agree absolutely with Qwyrxian. Also I'd notice that in some parts of Europe (I'm Italian) the notion of plagiarism is (and especially was in the past) more nuanced than what happens to be in the US, where it is absolute anathema. More than a university professor in Italy encourages his students to copy introductory sentences when writing papers, simply because "if someone said it best, it is senseless to rewrite it worse". And I myself can't see what is the problem in copying public domain text verbatim -I thought this was one of the advantages of a free encyclopedia, taking advantage of public domain text- but it seems WP:PLAGIARISM thinks otherwise, so ok. --Cyclopiatalk 01:32, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

(ec)(By the way, I don't see anything particularly "Asian" in your last description; most High Schools in North America "teach" in the same manner: regurgitate facts...)Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 01:34, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
No, they don't. Really. It's more like this (excerpt from a Richard Feynman book):
Later I attended a lecture at the engineering school. The lecture went like this, translated into English: “Two bodies… are considered equivalent… if equal torques… will produce… equal acceleration. Two bodies, are considered equivalent, if equal torques, will produce equal acceleration.” The students were all sitting there taking dictation, and when the professor repeated the sentence, they checked it to make sure they wrote it down all right. Then they wrote down the next sentence, and on and on. I was the only one who knew the professor was talking about objects with the same moment of inertia, and it was hard to figure out.
I didn’t see how they were going to learn anything from that. Here he was talking about moments of inertia, but there was no discussion about how hard it is to push a door open when you put heavy weights on the outside, compared to when you put them near the hinge – nothing!
After the lecture, I talked to a student: “You take all those notes – what do you do with them?”
“Oh, we study them,” he says. “We’ll have an exam.”
“What will the exam be like?”
“Very easy. I can tell you now one of the questions.” He looks at his notebook and says, ” ‘When are two bodies equivalent?’ And the answer is, ‘Two bodies are considered equivalent if equal torques will produce equal acceleration.’ ” So, you see, they could pass the examinations, and “learn” all this stuff, and not know anything at all, except what they had memorized.
American schools don't do that, and haven't for half a century, even the worst of them. (The worst American schools don't really teach anything, not even how to recite sentences.) When Americans whinge about rote memorization, they're thinking multiplication tables (something that benefits from brute force memorization) and dates for historical events. That's not what the rest of the world is talking about. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:20, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
Nonetheless even the somewhat progressive English university I attended had questions that started with "state and prove Bloggs' theorem" - this would typically provide a passing grade, the second part would be a routine application of the theorem, which could take a student to a good grade, and could be done (although I don't expect it was) by extensive drilling, only the third part (the interesting bit) would really ask for something outside proof that the text had been studied and examples worked, i.e. ability, imagination or what-have-you. The deeper problem is, of course, that what at one level is seen as "creative", at another is seen as mechanistic, and this dual facet is exemplified in things like NLP n-gram models, Searle's Chinese Room and so forth. Rich Farmbrough, 17:56, 28th day of January in the year 2011 (UTC).

Finding the Sandbox

Wikipedia has a great main page- if I'm not sure what to look for I can check here for interesting stuff. However, first time viewers, and even people, like me, who have used it for a couple years, have a hard time finding certain things. Specifically, the Sandbox and the Editing Tutorial. It's a great place, but until I did a research report on Wikipedia I had no idea it existed! Perhaps someone could make it easier to find. I suggest this:

On the main page, scroll down to Other areas of Wikipedia (it links to the Village Pump and Help Desk). In this area there could be a link to the Sandbox, as well as the Editing Tutorial. Knowing about these made Wikipedia easier to navigate around and understand. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:44, 24 January 2011 (UTC)

I like the idea of linking to either the WP:Tutorial or WP:Introduction, but I don't care one way or the other about the WP:Sandbox.
I've left at note about this discussion at Talk:Main Page. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:37, 25 January 2011 (UTC)
I suggested some time ago adding a whole extra Box about Getting Started Editing to the Main Page. That didn't go anywhere, and whilst it would be much more effective at drawing people into editing than the current proposal, this small step is still much better than nothing. Rd232 talk 21:01, 25 January 2011 (UTC)
We definately need something on the main page to draw people into editing. I know there was some discussion about running a banner after the end of the fund-raising campaign to invite people to edit. Does not seem to have happened though.Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 03:23, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
Actually, I'm pretty sure it did happen. --Yair rand (talk) 03:59, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

Perhaps a bot or something could automatically leave a message on your talk page with a list of commonly used links when you make a new account. --vgmddg (look | talk | do) 22:56, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

The usual objections to bot-based welcomes are listed at WP:PEREN#Use_a_bot_to_welcome_new_users. Several other Wikipedias and WMF projects do that. I think, though, the bigger question here is how to get people to make that first edit. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:26, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
However we should really test a welcome bot. Welcome a thousand editors with the bot, a thousand by human and a thousand not at all. See who is still here in a year. Rich Farmbrough, 18:25, 28th day of January in the year 2011 (UTC).
Maybe instead of just the sand box and tutorial link, or maybe plus them, the main page needs a link to the Help:Contents page. That page seems to cover everything Wikipedia related. This is the link to that page: [[3]] —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:55, 31 January 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia in 5 years?

I'm wondering what people around think what Wikipedia might be like at its 15th birthday? I don't want to pose any particular questions, any thoughts and comments welcome. Obviously, we will all come back to this post in 5 years time and see who was right! Jakob.scholbach (talk) 21:48, 25 January 2011 (UTC)

  1. There will be some form of database functionality available to editors.
  2. Smart prompting for citations
  3. (More) automated formatting on save, many regular maintenance or clean up tasks will be taken care of by the servers
  4. NLP suggestions and hints to editors, and beginnings of full translation into all languages.
  5. COI and POV removed by algorithmically rebalancing statements, based on a model of the editors prejudices derived from the editor's previous history, and other available information
  6. New distributed model of WikiMedia projects being discussed which will run the entire service on a cloud operating on peoples' phones, PDAs and netbooks, removing the need for significant central servers, and provide distributed caching in every country, town, village and even device.
  7. Big discussion taking place on whether we should accept adverts.
Off the top of my head... Rich Farmbrough, 17:07, 28th day of January in the year 2011 (UTC).
  1. More and more intuitive search options for readers. Think google-style.
  2. Database functionalities (RF mentioned) available for readers (like crossing catagories). -DePiep (talk) 18:04, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
  3. Next to "Read" and "Discuss", a third page with massive internationalisation functionalities (trans-language for sure).
  4. All remaining string functions are forbidden and switched off. -DePiep (talk) 18:04, 28 January 2011 (UTC)+str -DePiep (talk) 12:16, 31 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Only 5 years? Check out Wikipedia:Pools where some are looking way past that.. ;p -- œ 09:50, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
  • I predict the following by early 2016:
  1. The total enwiki article count will be 7,120,000.
  2. Templates will have a parser function {{setval|x|value}} to reset each parameter value to act as a local variable.
  3. The "expansion depth limit" will be higher than 40! (hopefully).
  4. The Convert template's "3,500" subtemplates will have been reduced to a few hundred templates, with the core as just 100 subtemplates for porting to other-language wikipedias.
  5. Templates {Cite_web} and {Cite_book} will have streamlined forms to no longer be 95% of an article's markup text.
  6. There will be a guideline for improving template performance (rather than "WP:Don't worry about performance").
     I'll add more later. -Wikid77 10:52, 31 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Actually, I predict that Wikipedia:LiquidThreads will be enabled by then. Oh, and we will have the ability watchlist only individual sections of articles instead of the entire article. -- œ 22:37, 31 January 2011 (UTC)

Cross-link articles of related perspectives

Suggestion: Cross-linking information: Allowing users to create pages that use the same "title", but which exist from different perspectives. Such articles would be "Cross-linked."
Consider Cross-Linking Information. Did you know that one of the "revolutionary" benefits of using a computer is that you can cross-link information (related articles...that are similar, but present information from different perspectives).
For Example.
Consider two colors (black and white).
I am using my Dictionary as my primary source.
"Colors" Information about colors based upon the "Scientific" study of Light.
The definition from this perspective would look like:
Colors Black - 1) The achromatic object color of least lightness characteristically perceived to belong to objects that neither reflect nor transmit light. 2). Total or nearly total absence of light.
White: 1) The achomatic object colors of greatest lightness characteristically perceived to belong to objects that reflect diffusely nearly all incident energy throughout the visible spectrum.
This page would be "Cross-Linked" with another (similar) page, aslo called "Colors"
Information about Colors from an Industral or "Everyday" Perspective.
Black - 1). A black pigment or dye. 2) Of or relating to a group or race characterized by dark pigmentation.
White - 1) A white colored product (as flour, sugar or [My insert: white paint, or white pigment] 2) Being a member of a group o race characterized by reduced pigmentation.
"Cross-Linked" with
Colors as defined, or used "symbolically" in Western Literature.
For example:
Black - 1) Soiled, dirty 2) Thourghly evil, wicked. 3) Gloomy, Calamitious.
White: 1) Marked by upright fairness, free from spot or blemish. 2) Innocent 3) Not intended to cause harm (such as a white lie or white magic).
"Cross-Linked" with a similar "Colors" pages such as:
"Colors" as defined or used "Symbolically" in Eastern Literature

"Colors" as defined or used "symbolically" in African Culture and Literature

"Colors" as defined or used "symbolically" in Latin Literature....
My point: I don't think articles with similar (or the same) title is (necessarily) the problem.
I think an electronic (factual) encyclopedia may find that by supporting "electronic-links," they may"cross-link" information and create effective, and unique information layouts.

...can you believe they said (on the Wikipedia site) under Technical Problems: Editing articles of such length that you can't edit them. —C-ritah (talkcontribs) 23:00, 25 January 2011 (UTC)

Um, that functionality is already essentially incorporated through the use of wikilinks, see also sections, categories, hatnotes, and other navigational information. I don't see what you're suggesting be added. Qwyrxian (talk) 01:08, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Use Outline-pages or crosslink pages or dab-pages: Similar concepts have been implemented in numerous pages, such as Outline-pages ("Outline of Egypt" or "Outline of Italy"), plus crosslink-pages ("Map of Earth"), and the 191,000+ disambiguation pages. An outline-page contains a terse outline which links the major articles and "fun facts" about the outline's subject. A crosslink page links similar (or synonym) articles plus images about a subject (cross-linking by related concept), as more open than disambiguation pages (which just link articles with nearly identical titles). -Wikid77 09:15, 8 February 2011 (UTC)

Auto-refresh of watchlist

I have no idea if this has been discussed before, but would it be possible to implement an auto-refresh of the watchlist page (as it's really tedious to have to click "My watchlist" all the time)? I'm thinking that the default would be to have the current situation, but an option on "My preferences" would permit the auto-refresh to occur. Not sure about the refresh interval, but every ten or fifteen minutes would probably be okay. Cheers.  GFHandel.   06:59, 6 January 2011 (UTC)

Is it really so tedious to perform one mouse click every ten or fiteen minutes? If so, and you're using Firefox, you could try the ReloadEvery extension, which gives you this functionality for any web page. Phil Bridger (talk) 16:28, 6 January 2011 (UTC)
I'm not sure the solution to the request should be to switch browsers. Auto-refresh is something that other products (e.g. GMail and Facebook) have found it useful to include. How difficult would it be for a preference setting to cause the following to be included in the HTML stream returned to the browser: <meta http-equiv="refresh" content="300">? That 300 is seconds and would mean a five minute refresh, however even nicer would be a UI element that allows the user to alter that value to suit.  GFHandel.   19:15, 6 January 2011 (UTC)
I wasn't suggesting that you switch browsers, but simply that if you were already using Firefox then this would be a potential solution. There may well be similar features or extensions available in other browsers. If you want a Wikipedia-specific solution then I'm sure that someone with a little more technical knowledge than I have (maybe you?) could knock up a piece of Javascript to insert the HTML that you want, and that that could be implemented much more quickly than any change to the Mediawiki software (i.e. in minutes or hours rather than months or years). If there is significant demand this could then be packaged as a gadget available in the user preferences. You would probably be more likely to get some help with this by posting at the technical village pump. Phil Bridger (talk) 19:39, 6 January 2011 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Gmail and Facebook do not have auto-refresh/auto-reload, they have auto-update. Our API includes wlstart and wlend and realtime recent changes is possible using the API. However, if you're looking for a quick hack, add the following code to your /vector.js page:
addOnloadHook(function(){ if(wgPageName=="Special:Watchlist") setInterval("window.reload()", 5*60*1000); });
That'll reload your watchlist every 5 minutes. [Not tested] — Dispenser 19:43, 6 January 2011 (UTC)

Thanks. It works with one minor change (had to add "location."):

// Code to reload the Watchlist page automatically (every 5 minutes)
    if (wgPageName == "Special:Watchlist")
       setInterval("window.location.reload()", 5*60*1000);

 GFHandel.   20:17, 6 January 2011 (UTC)

Could this possibly be put in a gadget? We should also be able to specify the number of seconds. Note that if you are using Chrome, there is an extension called Page Refresh that will automatically refresh every so many seconds (or minutes). Arlen22 (talk) 18:44, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
Hey, if this is made into a gadget, it would be good if by default links opened in a new tab. I'm assuming that people that want this are people that keep their watchpage open all the time. Actually, it'd be great as a separate page too. This would be great to use with Firefox App Tabs (a new built-in feature of Firefox 4). ▫ JohnnyMrNinja 12:11, 3 February 2011 (UTC)

Time out message

I just came up with this idea about telling/reminding Wikipedians to take a break after a long time of non-stop editting. If a Wikipedian edits solidly for more then 45 minutes/one hour, a small message – just like those that appear asking for donations – will appear for a maximum of five minutes, asking them to take a break. The person doesn't have to respond to it – it is there to purely remind them. The idea is to prevent the eyes from prolonged exposure to the screens and allow these people to rest. The person will be given the choice of whether to allow this message to appear, on their My preferences page. Sp33dyphil (Talk) (Contributions)(Feed back needed @ Talk page) 06:39, 14 January 2011 (UTC)

  • Shall we remind them to take a pee break too? How about when it's lunch time? ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 07:02, 14 January 2011 (UTC)
Haha :D Sp33dyphil (Talk) (Contributions)(Feed back needed @ Talk page) 07:41, 14 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Concur with Melodia ;) A good thing, but not worth to actually create banners and stuff. We could always mention such stuff at WP:INTRODUCTION, WP:FIRSTARTICLE, or wherever the place where we could inform new editors, as older people already know the consequences, by experience ;). Rehman 07:09, 14 January 2011 (UTC)
Some people may know it, but they won't actually take a break; it may take some nudging. Plus, it won't be a bigi banner or something like it, just a small popup reminding them to take a break. When a person is really involved in editting, they won't have any idea what the time is. Sp33dyphil (Talk) (Contributions)(Feed back needed @ Talk page) 07:41, 14 January 2011 (UTC)
AFAIK, such a thing would most probably be a gadget, which I am sure, would definitely be opposed by almost everyone. To really be a Wikimedia "integrated health feature", which would (and should) be available on all wikis, IMO this should be proposed at Meta or Bugzilla... Rehman 07:49, 14 January 2011 (UTC)

We're not our editors' nannies. If someone wants to edit for 48 hours straight it's their own problem, not ours. --Cyclopiatalk 19:19, 15 January 2011 (UTC)

Hehe... I really need one of these! Is it feasible? It would have to be someting you actively opt-in to, otherwise it would annoy a lot of people.--Physics is all gnomes (talk) 14:17, 17 January 2011 (UTC)
I think this is a good idea. I agree with Physics is all gnomes. This would do best as either a gadget or user script. Maybe you can find a way to track the amount of time the user is on, and then if they pass that time limit it'll use the Wikibreak Enforcer user script to block you for a short period of time. You will also need to find a way to set preferences for it, like how long to wait before it says something, whether to just display a message or to outright block you, how long to block you, etc. --vgmddg (look | talk | do) 21:53, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
There are many products available to do this. See List of Repetitive Strain Injury software, and ask your favorite web search engine about "break reminder software".
Integrating this into Wikipedia is infeasible (the software can't "see" whether that was one hour of nonstop work in the edit box, or one minute of editing followed by a 59-minute break) and a poor match for the real problem (which is time at the computer, no matter what you're doing, not just time on Wikipedia). WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:07, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
Yes, I do agree that the original reason for the idea could be solved better with general-purpose software. However, this might still be a useful program for recovering Wikipediholics, who are people that are obsessed specifically with Wikipedia. As for the problem of how it works though, I'm still not sure how to do that. --vgmddg (look | talk | do) 01:05, 21 January 2011 (UTC)

Time out from POV-pushing

As related to the above "#Time out message", I am trying to think of technical "time-out" limits which would deter POV-pushing without having to resort to debating a user's mindset at WP:AN/I, such as keeping per-article edit-counters on controversial articles. There seems to be a strong connection between POV-pushing and high edit-counts to an article. If a person edits one article excessively, say more than 250 times, then issue a pre-edit warning:

  • WARNING: You have edited this article more than 250 times, if the issue is really important, other editors will probably update the text as needed.
  • SEVERE WARNING: You have edited this article more than 350 times, despite earlier warnings, and an admin might be contacted to review your edit-access.
  • FINAL WARNING: You have edited this article more than 600 times, despite earlier warnings, and your use of Wikipedia will be reviewed to block all edit-access.

Perhaps the counting could be kept limited, to a relative handful of cases, by anyone setting an "opt-in" for suspicious users, rather than count all users who edit a controversial article. When a person changes usernames, then request an admin to update the new username's article-edit counter to be based from 240 edits (or such), rather than counting from zero.
I don't think admin's repeated reverts would be a problem, since, typically, different admins each take turns fixing one article. However, it might be good to also allow counting admin edits, in case a rogue admin was suspected of POV-pushing, as well. By allowing for per-article edit-counters, then POV-pushing could be deterred without such harsh feelings against the admins. Any thoughts about how many edits to allow, or should the various warning-level counts be set for each article? -Wikid77 15:29, 1 February 2011 (UTC)

Am I misunderstanding, or are you saying that anyone who makes a lot of edits to a controversial article should be automatically warned for POV pushing? Seems like a terrible idea. They're just as likely be a good faith editor who's put in a lot of work on a single article. --Physics is all gnomes (talk) 16:50, 4 February 2011 (UTC)
Well, the line of thinking is that, if the information is really needed, then other users would add (or change) it. -Wikid77 09:15, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
RationalWiki have a system, presumably software-based, where "undesirable" editors can be rationed to 1 edit every 20 minutes. Peter jackson (talk) 10:29, 5 February 2011 (UTC)
That does seem like a good idea, to limit both multi-article POV-pushing & frivilous edits. Some people POV-push by going into multiple articles, typically trying to slant the intro paragraphs. Other people are disorganized and should collect and edit-preview all their numerous edits into 1 SAVE operation (see essay: "WP:Pruning article revisions". However, a restriction of 3-edits-per-hour would need to be set by an admin. I was hoping the any-user nomination to set the 250-edit limit of another user would allow general users to police the POV-pushers without involving admins. At some point, there is the need to totally block specific POV-pushers from editing an article; and even if not 100% effective, it might deter the people who "camp out" on a article and re-edit the text "every 15 minutes of the year" (spinning the text towards their bias, every few days or hours). -Wikid77 09:15, 8 February 2011 (UTC)

hit counter

I've been to other Wikis (not part of Wikimedia) and saw hit counters, such as one which displays on the bottom of the page in small text "This page has been accessed [#] times." Those webpages appear much more open than Wikipedia, in the sense you can see which pages were accessed how many times. This can be useful for letting users see which pages need more links, and the effects of how they're written to how often they're read. This is also helpful for detecting orphan articles, so I don't see why not add this feature. Users can also see how often their userpages were accessed, so they wont be wasting their time if no one reads their pages. Negative effects can be removed with an option allowing users to hide the counter from their screen. Unless this causes massive server lag, it should be added. (talk) 23:00, 23 January 2011 (UTC)

MediaWiki, the software which runs Wikipedia and other wikis, does indeed include this functionality by default. However, the traffic volume through wikipedia is so great that the 'standard' system is completely unusable: storing and using the resulting data has been compared to trying to water your garden using Niagra Falls... :D Hit counts are collected and stored separately, at, it's just that these are not so prominently linked from the corresponding article (there's a link on the history page, but not on the article itself). I'm open to the idea that we should try and inject, probably using JavaScript, a hitcount number drawn from those stats, if that's possible. Happymelon 23:28, 23 January 2011 (UTC)
I'm not sure that it's worth it. You can look up the numbers if you want them (e.g., the stats for this page. Since I suspect that our readers and editors don't care about the stats for at least 99% of the pages they load (for myself, I'd guess 99.9% of the time), I don't think that we should dedicate any resources to providing the information by default.
Also, writing userpages isn't the point of Wikipedia. Wikipedia is WP:NOTMYSPACE: attracting traffic to the account's userpage isn't the point. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:06, 24 January 2011 (UTC)
Do you have any reason to "suspect" that, other than as an extension of your own beliefs? What might be interesting would be to put a hitcounter link on some articles, and look at's own pageview stats to see how many people check it out.
Your argument about "resources" is not valid in a volunteer community. Volunteers can devote their time and 'resources' to whatever the hell they want as long as it is not damaging to the project, and no one has any right to tell them otherwise. No one has the right to dictate where a volunteer should spend their time; so if someone wants to spend some time implementing this, we should be grateful for that donation, whether or not you think it's immediately useful. Happymelon 10:28, 24 January 2011 (UTC)
The hit-counter is turned of because the front-end squid caches don't cause a database hit if the page has been accessed recently and not modified (not quite true - a quick last-modified check is needed, but that's read-only). Anyway, the hit-counter need to be generated and updated for each access, which will slow the database down. Regulars here will probably understand these matters more that I do. CS Miller (talk) 22:13, 24 January 2011 (UTC)
The servers aren't volunteers, Happy. My reference to limited resources referred to the infrastructure required to collect and send that data between a third and a half a billion times each day. The feature already exists, so no volunteer time is required. Turning it on requires two minutes of developer time, and users being happy with the resulting slower page loads. (See Wikipedia:FAQ/Technical#Can_I_add_a_page_hit_counter_to_a_Wikipedia_page.3F.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:28, 25 January 2011 (UTC)
Turning on the standard hitcount infrastructure for WMF wikis would crash the site pretty much instantly; the WMF cluster gets an average of 5,500 pageviews every second. You seem to be arguing against yourself by correctly noting that no developer time is required, although that's because an alternative system has already been built. All that would be needed is a few lines of javascript to somehow extract hitcount data from and inject it into the footer where the hitcount would normally go. That's a nice little project that a volunteer could work on if it interests them. Happymelon 20:28, 25 January 2011 (UTC)
and for every single reader to be happy about having every single page load slightly slower and for to be happy about providing this information half a billion times a day (or a quarter billion times, if we're talking about the English Wikipedia only). Extracting and injecting this extra information is not resource-free. A couple of screenfuls of code is by far the most trivial aspect of the resources required. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:39, 25 January 2011 (UTC)
Ahhh, I see what you're talking about. Yes, while page load times would not be affected since the javascript would run after document.ready, I do agree that triggering an API call to for every enwiki pageview could add a lot of load to that server. But again, you're talking about freely-donated resources: the server time has been given as a contribution towards the Wikimedia movement, and its volunteer work is to host hitrate statistics. If the server owner is willing to donate enough resources to support a direct link to enwiki articles, we should accept that generous donation with thanks. Happymelon 21:07, 25 January 2011 (UTC) is not up-to-the-minute, so a cached count (as of midnight last night) would have to be used. (See the top of my talk pages which has a count I cached there some weeks ago.) While providing the data .5 bn times a day could be done from a fairly modest resource (say a discarded lap-top and some string) providing the protocol overhead that wraps the data would be prohibitive for most. However all is not lost, since this would be opt-in, one could perhaps expect the actual hits to be a tiny fraction of that. Should someone want to provide the resource to host this I would be willing to have a look at developing a blisteringly fast mini-cache server. But only if I get to keep the discarded lap top and string used for the prototype. Rich Farmbrough, 17:45, 28th day of January in the year 2011 (UTC).
  • We should keep a test-first, performance-first mindset about adding hitcounters. I am afraid how an "opt-in" setting would be spammed by fanatics going to 900 articles per day to set "yes". I had thought navboxes would evolve in a common-sense fashion, but they seem fanatical: over 1.1 million pages have 1 (or more) navboxes, so perhaps there are 3 million(?) navboxes being displayed, when most are never clicked (even the modest see-also links are rarely clicked). The internet has favored "information overload" because, technically, each webpage can be spammed to show "19,000" trivia items due to high-speed webservers. However, psychologists, for decades, have warned that an average person's attention span cannot process that much and remain focused. Hence, we know "Why Johnny can't wiki-read" - too much cruft-cruft distracts from the main text on webpages. I have recommended linking most navboxes remotely, as external navpages, not as thousands of embedded database-tabulated wikilinks, but many people imagine all the unclicked links are, somehow, helpful. Meanwhile, I have left poor article "Morocco" be the poster child for navboxaholics, just to see how many bottom navboxes would get added: 13 so far tagged onto "Morocco". It is typical proof that navboxes double the size of Wikipedia's average article size (in bytes), but much higher in expensive unused wikilinks, as being cross-indexed in wiki-databases (see essay: WP:Overlink crisis). At the most, allow a view-hitcounter button, but not allow users to activate live hitcounter spam. -Wikid77 11:57, 31 January 2011 (UTC)
    • We're not talking aout per article opt in , but per user - and an opt-in, gadget button would be even more do-able than that. Rich Farmbrough, 10:29, 8 February 2011 (UTC).

Other patrols

Ok here's an idea: We have a Recent Changes Patrol.. We have New Page Patrol... We even have Random Page Patrol, plus a few others.. Well how about organizing and starting a project page for Wikipedia:Pending changes patrol? (Special:PendingChanges) .. or why not a Wikipedia:New files patrol? (Special:NewFiles) .. Just throwin' out ideas here, feel free to implement it yourself if interested. -- œ 12:00, 2 February 2011 (UTC)

Advise to patrol older changes

A related topic, for Recent Changes Patrol (or Special:NewPages), is to remind users to click "earliest" in the list of changes, to focus more users on fixing the older changes which are about to expire from the recent-changes list. Naturally, most people would, instinctively, focus on the new news of changes, so advising people to focus on older changes would help shift the balance to catch the earlier changes before they leave the lists. -Wikid77 09:15, 8 February 2011 (UTC)

Documenting utility templates: Performance impact

01-Feb-2011: After finding many unusual performance problems in templates, I am documenting the performance issues in some utility templates, by adding a section "Performance impact" or similar. The unfortunate essay title "WP:Don't worry about performance" might be causing people to stop ensuring templates work ("perform"), or work without hogging resources ("perform efficiently"). For example, explaining performance in doc subpage Template:Valid/doc:

Performance impact
Template:Valid returns "true" for a valid, single number (2+2 gives "false"), and allows scientific notation (such as: -3.45E-07). The precision limit is determined live, for whichever server is formatting the page, typically allowing 14-digit precision (plus trailing zeroes), but it does not detect extreme precision problems dropping minor end-digits:
      cannot reject: -10020030040050000000.70, treated as -1.002003004005E+19
The template has been written with minimal markup text, and could be used 50,000-13,000 times per page, or less when all 30-digit numbers. Template:Valid is typically used at upper levels of other templates, so it is unlikely to trigger expansion-depth problems. However, it has an expansion-depth of 8 levels, and returns "false" if used when nested too deep inside other templates, such as at level 33 when the expansion depth limit is 40.

Many people might, understandably, expect {Valid} to actually reject ALL numbers having excess precision, so I think the doc page needs to say that it fails to reject some extreme numbers. Later, perhaps the template could be improved. Also, the expansion-depth usage of 8 levels seems high (an if-else is 1 level), so that is why revealing "8 levels" is good to know. Although {Valid} seems relatively efficient, other templates have seemed shocking (to me): Template:Str_find has used expansion-depth 18(!) of 40 to find a left parenthesis "(" in an article title (for Template:Italic title), so I have written {{strfind_short}} to find a string using 5 levels instead of 18, and run 3x times faster.
Anyway, the basic idea, for the idea lab, is to start actively documenting performance for those 2 main reasons: reveal if the utility template fails to perform in some cases, and estimate the resource usage (thereby revealing a potential performance problem or "hog"). What I've learned about WP:PERF, over the past 3 years, is:  many people imagine nothing matters, or for others, just saying, "Don't worry" does not stop people from worrying, in superstitious ways, where they won't use the complex measurement converter Template:Convert because they "fear" it is too big, rather than 8 times smaller than using a single {{Cite_web}}. By documenting performance, we can overcome the superstitions and help to find better ways to allow larger templates to fit. -Wikid77 (talk) 14:37, 1 February 2011 (UTC)

Perhaps the way to start with this is to write an essay/list that documents performance issues for templates. WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:34, 10 February 2011 (UTC)

Less is more regarding Antiques

Delma —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:11, 7 February 2011 (UTC)


As if any new Wikimedia projects or for that matter anything outside of the Wikimedia projects could ever be created. Besides Ebay and the other on-line auction sites, it could be interesting to set up a wiki or some other community resource in terms of exchanging or buying/selling antiques. If you don't really care to make money off of your older stuff but merely want to see it get to a "good home", there is also something I don't think most people involved with Wikipedia would complain about. Otherwise, if you are interested in a wiki I'd suggest Wikia as a place to check out. --Robert Horning (talk) 21:36, 7 February 2011 (UTC)
That was a spam post. Fences&Windows 03:05, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
WP:AGF.... I thought that was a policy I read somewhere, even if this question belonged on the new user question page. --Robert Horning (talk) 08:54, 11 February 2011 (UTC)

web-cite (or even any external links) trigger archiving api

Now I imagine this would need to be worked out with or some other internet archive out there, but I think there's a real issue of link-rot among cited/referenced external links. Recently I discovered that a UN Document database changed it's url structure, leading to at least a half-dozen broken links in Wikipedia. My idea is that either when someone includes an external link, or more conservatively, whenever someone puts a link in web-cite, an api-call is triggered which causes that page to be archived, thus if someone notices an external link is broken, well, knowing that I know the mechanism is in place I'll go to the archive site. A special bonus in combo with the citation or cite web template could be the auto-filling of the "archive link" field. Now something like this may have been proposed before/might be in place without me knowing, but I simply think this would be an immensely cool way to make sure that information, especially when used to support assertions and arguments is not lost. Jztinfinity (talk) 05:34, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

User:WebCiteBOT, but it is not running. Fences&Windows 21:39, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
I rather think that the archive site was overloaded when such a system was introduced - or so I read. Rich Farmbrough, 05:06, 28th day of January in the year 2011 (UTC).
As best as I recall, the bot-op was in talks with the WebCite people asking them if their servers would be able to handle the load, they replied saying they were in the middle of upgrading the servers, not sure what happened after that. But don't quote me on this, you're better off reading the discussions, I'm sure they're still archived in various places. BTW, there's a great free add-on for Firefox that automatically brings you to the Wayback Machine's archived page if you come across a dead link, I find it really handy. You can dl it here. -- œ 09:01, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

See also Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_External_links/Webcitebot2#Proposal. Rd232 talk 02:19, 13 February 2011 (UTC)

BBC imminent deletion of 170 of its websites - Wikipedia plan?

If this has already been addressed, my apologies. My cursory search produced no existing pump article. I'm posting this here to develop/refine it before proposal.

According to Erase and rewind (Jeremy Keith) and BBC online website closures (Guardian UK), the BBC is planning on deleting 170 of its in depth programming-related websites. This isn't 170 pages, but an indeterminate number, possibly approaching thousands of pages.

Idea for development: It would be VERY helpful if some skilled Wikipedia API/Python coder could:

1. Using the Guardian list of 170 sites (above), search WP article space for <ref> references containing full or partial links to those doomed BBC websites (which are not already linked to or WebCitation)

2. Save the results as two lists in an article, a Talk/subpage (or other appropriate venue) for individual editors to repair/update:

2a. Wikipedia:List of articles with doomed BBC links

2b. Wikipedia:List of doomed but actively referenced BBC links - the fully-qualified URL, possibly redirected by the BBC servers. This list exists to aid manual or semiautomatic archiving at WebCitation.

3. Pipe the resulting Wikipedia:List of doomed but actively referenced BBC links to WebCitation's "list of links to archive" API, so that they are pre-archived for future use by editors. Be nice and don't hammer their server.

Of utmost urgency, in my opinion is, (1) and (3). Then repairs can commence at leisure.

  • Why? Of what value are BBC program and topic webpages? Well, they are reliable sources - primary sources - about the related broadcasts themselves. They also reference other reliable sources such as scholarly and book works. In addition, the deeper archive pages contain copies of pages or sections of copyrighted works for which permission has been granted for publication on the website. These pages are often the only online copies available of reference content.
  • How deep should the archiving of BBC's pages go? This depends on how much the Wikipedia article citing it depends upon its content, and the specificity of the citation URL. Manual effort may be required to fine tune and archive the page of interest, its parent, and a few sibling pages to assist future Wikipedia editors who may wish to expand the referencing WP article.

--Lexein (talk) 04:16, 8 February 2011 (UTC)

You can submit your list as an HTML file at WebCite page combing form. Good luck. – Allen4names 05:55, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
First hack at Wikipedia:List of articles with doomed BBC links. Currently limited to 50per site and does all pages, not just articles. Rich Farmbrough, 11:42, 8 February 2011 (UTC).
Version 3/4, two sites exceed 500 articles, cult and ww2peoplesewar. List of urls coming in a second. Rich Farmbrough, 12:17, 8 February 2011 (UTC).
Wikipedia:List of doomed but actively referenced BBC links completed.
I got the combing form up, but ticking several thousand boxes, didn't appeal. I'll look at html. Rich Farmbrough, 12:27, 8 February 2011 (UTC).
Hm, I guess that's as far as I can take it for now. Rich Farmbrough, 12:54, 8 February 2011 (UTC).
Maybe someone can use Greasemonkey to tick the boxen? Rich Farmbrough, 12:57, 8 February 2011 (UTC).
Wow, Rich, that's awesome. Thanks. What I've gleaned from your results is that fewer WP articles are subject to loss of reliable secondary sources than I thought, which is a relief. But if The ~200 domains/subsites do go away, then lots of articles will lose their primary sources. --Lexein (talk) 08:52, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
Are the two lists in the appropriate space (mainspace, mea culpa)? --Lexein (talk) 09:06, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
  • Are you sure they are going to delete those pages? BBC policy on "mothballing" is to archive and generally not delete pages:[4]. Fences&Windows 02:37, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
Closing is not the same as deletion necessarily, although this comment is not encouraging: "Roly Keating, the BBC's director of archive content, said the website had "grown like Topsy", adding "we just don't need" the sites that are to be closed."[5] Fences&Windows 02:43, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
No, I'm not sure, but the Guardian's pretty clear (BBC Online Proposed Cuts Jan 24, 2011. Guardian.) that cut means shutdown. My concerns are: linkrot in general, the stopping of the Web Archive Wayback Machine in 2008, editors not usually Webcite-archiving their sources, and the English WP not auto-WebCite-archiving sources (the way the French WP apparently does). --Lexein (talk) 08:52, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
Someone has downloaded all the sites and made them available on Torrent:[6]. Fences&Windows 21:11, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
Well there's a copyvio if ever there was one. – ukexpat (talk) 21:19, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
Interesting BBC blog post and thread:[7]. Seems to confirm plan to deliberately delete rather than archive content. Fences&Windows 21:17, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
It's amusing/annoying that the BBC refers to its web server /directories as "domains", clinging to a distorted interpretation of the OED's "area or region", rather than the Internet/Web/DNS definition. Classic. Edit: I was unaware of the consolidation history. --Lexein (talk) 02:07, 11 February 2011 (UTC)
Sadly, many of them really are properly network domains just one step from the TLD identifier and properly are "domains" in the same sense. The BBC a couple of years ago "reorganized" many of these separate websites on completely separate domains into a more unified "BBC" identity which included moving most of the content to the domain name. An example is (properly a full fledged domain in its own right) redirect to a mere directory as . Several media companies have done this elsewhere, so this isn't unique to the BBC. In this sense, the terminology likely is a carry-over from when it was completely separate websites before that make-over.
I'll add that the closure of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (network edition) is something that I never expected to see and is to me almost like seeing the closure of Wikipedia. Other than the conflicting licensing between the two sites, there is much that could be gleaned from that site for Wikipedia, and I sure hope somebody finds a way to preserve that unique repository of human knowledge. Some of the articles on that site are better than Wikipedia and certainly offers a different perspective on those topics. --Robert Horning (talk) 09:11, 11 February 2011 (UTC)
I was unaware of that past refactoring - seems like the BBC just picked a word ("domain") and stuck with it, though "site" might have been more generic and sensible. Maintenance of redirects is a good thing if done to avoid breaking legacy links to content. The "disposal of h2g2" as reported in the Guardian seems less ominous than "deletion", but I wonder what's really going to happen. There seems to be no mention or discussion at h2g2 that I could find (cue theme from Jaws). --Lexein (talk) 22:44, 12 February 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────There does seem to be a basic misunderstanding of... well everything. If the sites are in aspic, there's no significant maintenance cost - heck I'll host them for free, for the Google hits! Rich Farmbrough, 02:59, 13 February 2011 (UTC).

Wish there were more transparency about the BBC's traffic, costs, their shutdown logic, the vintage of their servers, whether they're outsourced, or in the cloud, in order to properly estimate replacement serving costs. --Lexein (talk) 05:56, 13 February 2011 (UTC)


maybe wikipedia should have a fully editable blog to post on. it should be called something that people can remember, so that they can go and post whenever they want to, knowing that nothing of theirs will be deleted from the blogging area. here is my idea for an art blog:

                                                 Art blog 

Info of the week: Caitlin Fox is an artist who specializes in streetart (grafitti) and classical art. She has kept an art diary ever since she was 10 and fills it with amazing sketches and drafts. an example of her work shall be saved shortly. i shall blog again later after I find some of Caitlin's work in digital format on the internet. stay tuned for more on the art blog, new to the blogging area.


Jo348- hey wikipeeps! Love Caitlins work, i've seen it before wit my own eyes, her art skills are awesome!

Annabelle689- where did u get that - wikipeeps? - sounds cool. i'm setting up a vote for if you want an art blog in wikipedia, it may get more viewers:

so far, 163 people like this

Like   Dislike

Anza64- i'm definately voting for the art blog, might be interesting. see ya wikipeeps! ya, that is cool, maybe it'll catch on!

Bennyboy6- hey wikipeeps, it totally caught on! i'm all heads up for the blog thing, maybe if wikipedia doesnt let you do it, you could make a seperate website!

Annabelle689- yeah, i'm working on it right now, i'll post the adress in the sandbox, temperary art blog for now, anyway.

(this is an example)

Desn't fit into my image of an online encyclopaedia. There are plenty of other places for blogs. HiLo48 (talk) 11:09, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
Please see WP:Perennial proposals#Allow discussion about the topic of the article; the same objections apply even if the "forum"/"blog" were a separate namespace. Qwyrxian (talk) 06:54, 23 February 2011 (UTC)

Politics show -short transcription, methodology advice and help needed.

I contribute to articles on UK East Midland MPs. The area is a keen marginal battleground and the Politics Show is one of the best ways of seeing a new MP in action. The most recent is Nicky Morgan (politician) as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Universities minister supporting very large increases in tuition fees. I simply don't have another source comparable in quality or importance but transcripts aren't available except to contributors apparantly due to cost though the souce meets wp:verifiable requirements.
Betty Logan on WP:RSN came up with the excellent idea that I could include a transcript on the talk page which I've done. I also have a 1.6Mb MP3 recording which I could email or whatever.
Betty suggested I should ask a couple of volunteers to verify it -and to test people's reaction, yet to be achieved but I am strongly in favour of sources being easily checkable, particularly for WP:BLP.
FormerIP also suggested putting it forward here. Any comments welcome. JRPG (talk) 17:41, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

Hmm. Sounds suspiciously like a copyright issue to me. —Tom Morris (talk) 01:36, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
Maybe. I'd like a legal opinion but this is only 6 minutes out of a 1 hour program. It would be even less if in-line corrections -which normally accompany live speech are removed. JRPG (talk) 17:09, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

Delete/blank Old IP talk pages?

I just stumbled up on Wikipedia:Database reports/Old IP talk pages. That database report contains "Old IP talk pages where the IP has never been blocked and has not edited in the past year and where the IP's talk page has not had any activity in the past year, has no incoming links, and contains no unsubstituted templates"

In short these are mainly IP's who made a few edits, received a warning and then never edited again. I propose we get a bot to delete or blank these pages, for their continued existence serves absolutely no purpose that I can see. Yoenit (talk) 13:42, 2 March 2011 (UTC)

It seems that these pages where originally eligible for deletion under wp:CSD#U2, but that was later changed to blanking (Wikipedia_talk:Criteria_for_speedy_deletion/Archive_9#IP_talk_pages). This seems to have been done with AWB for a while, but not recently as far as I can find. Yoenit (talk) 14:12, 2 March 2011 (UTC)

Template to request comment from a user

Sometimes I will make a change and be reverted, so I start a discussion on the article talk page as per the BRD cycle. Obviously I want to make sure the user who reverted me is aware of this discussion and hopefully they contribute to it. Is there a template available to request a comment on the topic that I can post on the user's talk page? The {{talkback}} template is close, but I'm not sure it is appropriate in these cases since it implies the discussion is only for that user. –CWenger (talk) 04:12, 5 March 2011 (UTC)

Well, how about just writing a note on the user's talk page? One sentence shouldn't take much longer than using a template, especially since you'd have to write the article's title in the template anyway. It probably doesn't happen that often (I mean, it happens a lot on Wikipedia, but any given editor is probably not doing this several times a day). Herostratus (talk) 04:44, 5 March 2011 (UTC)
Of course it is not a lot of work to write a comment, but I still think it would be nice to have a template, very similar to {{talkback}} but not quite the same. –CWenger (talk) 15:22, 5 March 2011 (UTC)
Just write a message, But {{talkback}} can be used for discussions on non-user talk pages too. Fences&Windows 02:25, 6 March 2011 (UTC)
I agree with the above replies to just write them a customized note, but check out this see also section for various templates. I think Template:Please see might be what you're looking for. -- œ 05:30, 6 March 2011 (UTC)

Sticky Notes for Easier Editing

From Wikipedia:Sticky notes One thing that Wikipedia could definitely use is Sticky notes

What are sticky notes? On every header, next to 'edit', there would be a button that says 'sticky highlight'. Just Click, Highlight some text, and leave a Comment. Then a sticky note (a TINY little yellow square) will appear on the right margins. Other readers can click it, it will open and reveal its comment, and the text it relates to will highlight.
Why? For one, it's good salesmanship. How do you take someone who reads wikipedia sometimes and turn them into a frequent editor? The answer will normally be one little step at a time. And if you're reading some random page that says something suspicious, who could resist highlighting it and saying "is that true?? What about this website..." Hell, we could even give people collour options; 'blue for tiny suggestions', 'yellow for most comments', 'red for potentially serious issues'. Right now, however, the first little step to make a direct contribution is STILL to be STUCK trying to figure out Wikipedia's editing system. That's insane. Many readers will hit edit, see some benign code for an image or header, and say "screw that". Which is exactly what I hear; "Yeah it was false, but I couldn't be bothered to figure out how to change it". Wikipedia desperately needs to involve, and gain access to the minds of, people who care about topics (even if not wikipedia's cause, yet).
But what about...Vandalism? Same rules and precautions as the page (bots are welcome to help). And it's another chance to say "thanks for the comment! Here are some reasons you might want an account..."

This is the right place to get thoughts/suggestions on this, right? -Tesseract2 (talk) 20:27, 19 February 2011 (UTC)

That's potentially interesting, but stickies would probably need to be linked to the talkpage somehow. I have a feeling someone clever might figure out a way to do this without requiring a software change - anyone got any thoughts on whether that's possible? Rd232 talk 20:38, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
How do you imagine the highlighting would work? Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 21:00, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
Confusing programming shouldn't be our goal - I want us to be thinking "the absolute EASIEST and FASTEST way someone can leave input on what they just read". I think sticky notes are it.
That having been said, I'm not decided on how the highlighting would work and I do not think it is as vital. What I do know is that I don't want them to have to copy and paste text into a sticky note box because that might be too slow. It would be great if readers could drag a sticky note cursor over some text, then Wikipedia generates a sticky note near the right margins.
The sticky note itself could have very BASIC options. Like colour coded for type of note (blue for idea, yellow for warning, red for vital problem). Maybe the sticky note could be devided into 3 textboxes too: text from wiki page (autogenerated based on highlight??), your comment, any sources.
Dunno what you guys think of any of that...-Tesseract2 (talk) 18:39, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
One concern I have is that, however tiny the little highlights may be, I'd find them distracting if there are more than the odd one, like I also do now with articles[57] that have too many[58] in-line citations.[59] However, this idea seems to have a similar intention as Part 1 of a proposal I threw up in the air on the strategy wiki: strategy:Proposal:Raising and resolving article quality issues – where it seems to have fallen with a thump on the floor: only one anonymous positive reaction.  --Lambiam 13:23, 6 March 2011 (UTC)

Solution against misclicking

Many times when I want to click on "Show preview," I keep on forgetting and click "Save page." There could be a confirmation popup that prevents this something like:

Are you sure you want to make this edit?
☑ Don't show this message again (talk) 01:39, 26 February 2011 (UTC)

Unregistered users use the site's default user preferences, and I believe many would object to this as the default setting – yet another hurdle to editing a page for the sake of preventing a minor annoyance. However, your idea would work as a Wikipedia user script (for logged in users only) or as a Greasemonkey script (have to set it up on every computer you edit Wikipedia from). PleaseStand (talk) 03:53, 26 February 2011 (UTC)
But we could have different default settings for registered and unregistered users. When unregistered users start editing a page, they also see a message box that registered users don't see.  --Lambiam 12:30, 6 March 2011 (UTC)

Date autoformatting without linking

The advantage of date linking was the autoformatting for people with a strong preference for a specific date format – or a strong aversion to some other format. The main disadvantage (IMO) is lots of pointless links. Another stated disadvantage is that autoformatting may conceal date-format inconsistencies if some dates on a page are autoformatted while others are not – but on the other hand, date-format inconsistencies arise anyway, and could actually be reduced by consistent use of autoformatting.

The idea is simple (even if its implementation may not be): use template markup, like {{15 January 1900}}, for dates to be autoformatted according to a user's preferences, like {{#formatdate:15 January 1900}} does now – without creating a link. So {{15 January 1900}} and {{January 15, 1900}} would display the same for a given user, and differently for another user with a different date-format preference.

This would then mean that "normal" templates, living in template namespace, cannot have a name that is a date (currently only the redirect page {{September 11}}, I think, which is linked to from only a few pages, but I haven't checked all names of the form YYYY-MM-DD). This is, I feel, a minor issue; we can also have no template {{PAGENAME}} etcetera.

I don't want to raise a discussion here on whether this is a good idea or not, but rather on whether this is something worth discussing – perhaps it has been proposed elsewhere before and beaten to death with a frozen trout, or there is an obvious showstopper that I've overlooked – and if so, what is the appropriate forum, Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (dates and numbers)/Date autoformatting, Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals), or someplace else?  --Lambiam 12:00, 6 March 2011 (UTC)

Translating Articles into Multiple languages' Wikipedias

see topic moved to from its origin at the Village Pump, as suggested by Vgmddg, including subsections:

  • "Same topic, different languages"
  • "Translating Articles: Methods of Transfer"

which includes subsubsections:

  • (1) Create a separate wiki for translation
  • (2) Reenable Article Subpages
  • (3) Design the infoboxes for easy translation
  • (4) Teamwork of translation groups

Notice to discuss it here also given at:

Attention: Before we continue building on this idea I ask that we move this topic to Meta-Wiki or another location where we can get input from other language wikis. This idea will not work otherwise. Thank you. --vgmddg (look | talk | do) 22:31, 15 February 2011 (UTC)

Pandelver (talk) 21:36, 7 March 2011 (UTC)


Has anyone proposed having planning conferences for projects dedicated to specific (say) category of articles?

The idea would be to produce a plan for editing a range of articles in a category so they would all be consitent in presentation.

Such a conference would offer a way to resolve, or at least mitigate many conflicts that arise when no prior discussion had taken place.

In technical terms it would require halting all editing on all articles until conclusion of the conference.

The conference would be conducted (say) over a period of a month, allowing even the busiest of editors to attend.

In a rather bold suggestion I would say that even indefinitely blocked editors that had contributed to the subject area in a positive way could be allowed to attend under certain provisions KoakhtzvigadMobile (talk) 02:58, 10 March 2011 (UTC)

Are you proposing a real life conference like wikimania or an online one? If it is the latter, please see the relevant wp:wikiprojects would should already handle this stuff. Yoenit (talk) 06:57, 10 March 2011 (UTC)
It's unreasonable to expect all editing to stop for a month, especially since most editors won't realize that the 'conference' is happening. Many larger projects designate a specific article for collaboration, e.g., WP:MCOTM. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:55, 15 March 2011 (UTC)

Census Data

Would it be possible to automatically format articles so that census data is automatically updated? Example:

"Bigfoot is a census-designated place (CDP) in Frio County, Texas, United States. The population was 304 at the 2000 census. "

Obviously, that information is 11 years old and could be updated. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:47, 10 March 2011 (UTC)

We're working on it. See Wikipedia:2010 US Census. Feel free to join in; they need lots of extra hands for that huge task. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:56, 15 March 2011 (UTC)

Sourcing of image files

The last few years Wikipedia has gone through major improvements in making the articles more reliably sourced. However, at this frequently start to appear with images, in particular maps. For example here the reliability of a map is discussed. At the moment there does not appear to be a structure in place to allow referencing for pictures, making it in this case problematic to keep the map (although if appropriately sourced the map would illustrate the point perfectly).

My suggestion would be to start working for a way to, and guidelines emphasising the importance of sourcing pictures, preferably at the picture (file or wikimedia page) to allow usage across wikipedia. Arnoutf (talk) 12:09, 13 March 2011 (UTC)

Problem you hit rather quickly is there is no sane way of sourcing any of the following pics:
File:Rolle canal lock.JPG-The sea lock on the rolle canal at high tide
File:Tipner lake from portsdown2.JPG-Tipner lake
File:Sails of the South.jpg
File:Cartesian diver.ogg
File:Titchfield Canallock.jpg site of an old flash lock on the Titchfield Canal
©Geni 00:33, 14 March 2011 (UTC)
The illustrations mainly complement the text rather than providing extra information. The problem with a map is that it may be saying more than the text, it is that which needs referencing. There is plenty of room in an article for referencing so fixing that problem. I think trying to find out who made up a map and what sources they used is a wrong approach. It should be checkable by citations in the article. You can always ask for an image to be deleted and point to some talk in an article where the editors have come to a conclusion it is rubbish best removed. Dmcq (talk) 01:03, 14 March 2011 (UTC)
See Wikipedia:Images#Pertinence_and_encyclopedic_nature for the official guideline. What matters most is that an image appear to be accurate, not that someone has jumped through bureaucratic hoops.
Ideally, especially for 'technical drawings' like this, the person who created the map would have left a note on the image's description page to indicate the source of the data (which might, after all, change over time). In this case, it appears that some sources are listed at this precursor image, and many of those sources name additional sources, so the accuracy of the map should not be difficult to verify (although, as it names more than a dozen sources, it will require you to go to some trouble). WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:07, 15 March 2011 (UTC)

Slidey pictures

The idea shown here (NYT) of two pictures with an adjustable slidey-thing... would allow all kinds of fascinating encyclopaedic images - especially historic pictures, showing how a view had changed over the years.

I know it'd be hard to line up two images, find two that 'matched', and all that stuff... but still... I think there is potential.

Ariel views of geo places, in particular, are one of the few types of pic that actually are often CC or PD.

I realise it can sort-of be done with an animated GIF oscillating between two, but that's not the same; ti's the interactive aspect which is nice. And I wouldn't have thought it'd be that hard to implement, really; it's just showing 2 pics and allowing a scroll. Chzz  ►  15:21, 15 March 2011 (UTC)

It doesn't really sound like something usable in an article, considering the gallery tag is looked upon as if it were a disease by the Manual of Style. Still, I reckon it might be a good addition for Portals (even if they're not as well-used as some might like). Or we could get MOS changed, but it's more likely the world will stop turning.  狐 FOX  11:17, 16 March 2011 (UTC)

Talk page banner or Article History template parameter displaying page view peak

Currently, to view page view statistics for an article one must click on the "History" tab, then the "Page view statistics" tab. This allows viewers to see page views for the current month, with the option of viewing previous months using the search feature along the bottom. I am doing this constantly, mostly out of curiosity. Pages can receive page view spikes due to Main Page appearances, current events, social media, etc. I have no idea if this is something that could be programmed or implemented, but I think it would be so helpful if talk pages had a way of displaying the date in which that article received the highest number of page views (along with the number of page views, obviously).

This could be done with a banner, or an added parameter to the ArticleHistory template. Something along the lines of: "This article received the greatest number of page views, with XXX (the # of views), on XMonth XDay, XYear." This detail could be displayed below the "Article milestones" section of the ArticleHistory template. The page view number could link to the appropriate "Page view statistics" month so that viewers could see the spike in viewership.

Again, I have no idea if this idea is feasible or not. Can a bot determine the greatest number of page views an article has received, and when? Would a bot be able to add this information to the ArticleHistory template? Would editors have to update the talk pages manually much like the DYK Statistics page is maintained? If so, readers would have no way of knowing whether the statistic was accurate or not.

I bring this idea to the lab for other contributors to process and provide feedback. Thanks for any insight! (Also, please let me know if more detail or explanation is required--sometimes I speak type before thinking!) --Another Believer (Talk) 22:45, 15 March 2011 (UTC)

If applied, this should take into account that the typical peak, an article on the Main page, is frequently split on two days because of the different time zones. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 09:05, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
Why do you think the peak value would be the most useful? Would an average number of views per month be a more meaningful value? That would also have the advantage that an out-of-date figure would probably not be too inaccurate. — Martin (MSGJ · talk) 10:45, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
Average page view statistics could also be helpful. If that figure is being displayed, why not include the peak number as well? --Another Believer (Talk) 17:03, 16 March 2011 (UTC)

"I am doing this constantly, mostly out of curiosity" - this is exactly why I wouldn't be in support of such an addition; it adds nothing to the encyclopedia other than a YouTube-esque 'what's popular' stat. The only people I can see being interested in this are regular editors (who'll therefore know about or the press when reporting on something. And they can find it themselves, the lazy sods.  狐 FOX  11:12, 16 March 2011 (UTC)

I figured the statistic served as an additional "article milestone" and might aid contributors/readers with "real life" historical context. For example, the "Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant" article was created in June 2007. Due to recent events, there has been a recent spike in page views. Five years from now it might be more difficult to find this chart. Knowing when spikes in page views occurred could aid contributors in determining when a subject was being pursued and provide a time frame for research if one is hoping to gain more information. I acknowledge your concern that this information may not be encyclopedic, but the same argument could be made for tracking the number of watchers of a given article. Wikipedia tracks DYK statistics (based on page views) and already incorporates the feature into the site, so why not display statistics from this feature that can be easily accessed and potentially helpful to contributors?
Perhaps instead of displaying page view statistics on the talk pages of articles, the average number of views per month and the peak number of views (and corresponding date) could be displayed on the first page accessed after clicking the "Page view statistics" link on Revision history pages. --Another Believer (Talk) 17:03, 16 March 2011 (UTC)

Portals: is there any point?

I'm struggling to work out if there is any point in portals. I looked at some page view statistics and compiled this little table:

Page Page views Portal views
Philosophy 7,099,200 341,407
Christianity 8,488,131 302,499
Java (software platform) 497,101 33,120
Linux 7,822,309 88,783

Does anyone actually use portals? It would seem that the article is the portal. WP:P says they are "useful entry-points to Wikipedia content". Compared to 'see also' sections and the category system, are they actually doing that job effectively? Do portals need to be rethought?

I looked at the source of a portal as I was thinking about making one for a topic I'm interested in and it was... pretty intimidating to edit. —Tom Morris (talk) 01:46, 23 February 2011 (UTC)

I can't speak to whether portals (in general) are doing the job to their fullest extent, but I do see them as helpful for the person(s) who want to feel more like part of a community—instead of an individual editor going at it alone—and for focusing several smaller ideas into a wider perspective. In essence, they can help to create a "game plan" on what could be done next to be helpful to the general subjects' articles. Unfortunately, it's all a matter of having enough interest going into the general subject matter in the first place. I joined a U.S. State portal once because the individual topics that it were connected to it were being spammed in more than effectively edited and thought others' views would help to fix that, but I was alone in there as well. I would assume the same case for other portals where the individual topics have little interest, the portal isn't going to fix that. — CobraWiki ( jabber | stuff ) 20:25, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
Portals can serve as an introduction to a given subject that's a little more hands-on and random, e.g. a music portal will probably not dwell much on music theory but link to artist or composer biographies or sample audio. Like the WP main page, portals serve as an entry point, so they are allowed to e.g. feature fun trivia ("Did you know?") which is otherwise discouraged on WP. Most readers probably simply overlook those portal links at the bottom of WP articles, presumably that's why access numbers are relatively low compared to articles. The other issue is that when portals were first introduced, content had to be changed manually from time to time. That proved largely infeasible and many portals were updated only rarely after Wikipedia's 2007/2008 activity peak passed. It might take people a while to figure out that rotating content is now the norm and that the staleness problem has thus been largely solved (unless you've seen every available bit of random content of course). --Morn (talk) 21:06, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
CobraWiki, are you talking about portals, like Portal:Philosophy or WikiProjects, like Wikipedia:WikiProject Philosophy? I don't think I've ever seen a portal that had anything that could be considered a community. Portal talk:Philosophy has not had a single comment on it since last June.
I think portals are essentially a failed concept. At best, it was a good idea poorly executed. They require significant amounts of time to set up and they're very lightly used. They don't serve as an effective entry point since, except for the handful linked directly from the main page, you have to go to an article first to get a link to the portal and often the link is at the end of the article.
Editing portals is much more difficult than articles. The portal pages themselves are typically giant messes of HTML, wikitables, and parser functions. With many it's not at all clear how to go about adding new content to the selected article/image features. Mr.Z-man 04:54, 26 February 2011 (UTC)
Graph by Guoguo12.
New graph on right showing portal views (blue) and their related articles' views (red). Guoguo12--Talk--  21:39, 26 February 2011 (UTC)
I see no point in them --Guerillero | My Talk 17:14, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
If you are counting page views, you should also look at categories. They often have less page views than the corresponding portal. But nobody is suggesting this as a reason for not using categories. --LA2 (talk) 00:42, 18 March 2011 (UTC)
RfC under way at Wikipedia_talk:Portal#Are_portals_achieving_their_purpose.3F. Guoguo12--Talk--  01:21, 23 March 2011 (UTC)

breaking news issues and brainstorming solutions

It's no secret that we sometimes misreport information badly during disasters and other breaking news events, and a few recent examples led me to put together a userspace draft of an essay about my thoughts on it. But backing up for a moment, I'm not sure that this is the right direction for communicating this information, the right venue, etc. So, just to kick around the bigger questions--do I make a case there that there is actually a problem? If so, is an separate essay the right direction to head to it? Is this better left as an essay that can be referred to, or is woud it make sense to pursue a guideline or such? Are there alternative ways of looking at making the situation better that I haven't concerned? What is staring me in the face that I'm missing? --joe deckertalk to me 19:59, 12 March 2011 (UTC)

We tend to atracted new users to such articles. Thowing a bunch of bureaucracy in their face is not a good idea.©Geni 00:36, 14 March 2011 (UTC)
Although coverage of 2011 Sendai earthquake and tsunami did, of course, contain many errors as the story developed - did they contain any more errors than BBC , CNN or other coverage? I actually think that the rapid creation and development of that article can be counted as a success. Although it would be nice to learn from it, for future events.
The quake occured at 05:46 UTC on 11 March, and the first article creation was at 06:11 [8]. It has been edited over 3,000 times since.
The coverage of the quake is mentioned in this weeks signpost - briefly, so I will just copy it here;
These articles definitely attract new editors - and their first experience makes a huge difference to the odds of them staying to edit more. Looking at the talk page of that one is illuminating.
There are many ways we could improve such 'breaking news' events; some of the more obvious being;
  • Edit-conflicts (Horrible things. I had 14 in a row, just trying to fix a reference. Section editing helps, but when there are >10 edits per minute, it gets crazy)
  • People creating it under other names, e.g. [13]
  • Dealing with contradictory sources. Particularly, in this case, with the 'confirmed death count' which was crazy; people were seriously arguing (in the early hours) whether we should report "3 dead" or "5 dead". Then it was "1200 or 1800". All along, it has been blindingly obvious that the number exceeds 10,000 - but what is 'official' in these cases. Are we better just saying "we don't know"?
  • Vandalism - unbelievably, that was a serious problem on that article - e.g. [14] - and the article had to be protected.
I think some guidelines and consideration of the issues might be good. We should learn from that recent experience. Chzz  ►  16:22, 15 March 2011 (UTC)

Interesting thoughts and it's good to read an essay on it. But much of it is common sense, or already included in current guidelines so I don't think another guideline is needed. Some thoughts of my own:

  • Edit conflicts are a huge problem on current events articles. It seems the software handles them badly, and at times I have found my edit has gone through but reverted someone else's contribution without me knowing about it. It makes collaborative working extremely fraught! Can this be studied and improved?
  • This notice was posted to the top of the talk page of the egyptian protests article when they were breaking news. It's friendly, readable and excellent advice. A similar thing, personalisable to the specific issues of the article, could be used more widely.--Physics is all gnomes (talk) 17:50, 15 March 2011 (UTC)

Several excellent points here, I'm going to just do a consolidated reply.

  • Geni: I agree with you 100% about bureaucracy, but I *do* think finding a way to avoid truly problematic edits in breaking news has some value. I don't think I've found that yet, which is part of why I came here.
  • Gnomes: ECs were a significant problem, and ENWIKI bogging down during the first day probably raised people's frustration levels in general. But other than "faster servers" I don't have a good solution for edit conflicts. But I'd sure love to know what we could do to reduce them.
  • Gnomes/Egyptian Notice: That's nicely done, really nicely done.

One final note, on the whole, I have been very impressed with our average results on breaking news articles. We get an enormous amount of information into articles quickly and with a lot of sensible discussion. My concern relates to a disproportionately small fraction of edits that are harmful, not through vandalism but through lack of common sense, and was in no way meant to impune the excellent work that's been done. --joe deckertalk to me 01:06, 18 March 2011 (UTC)

Idea: Make it possible to upload a photo taken with a smartphone straight onto Wikipedia

So far, with all the smartphones I have had, it has not been possible to upload a photo taken onto Wikipedia straight from the phone.

Does anyone support making this somehow possible? Does anyone think it can be done? Sebwite (talk) 05:26, 13 March 2011 (UTC)

I would but for this, you should put it in proposals. ~~Awsome EBE123 talkContribs 20:10, 18 March 2011 (UTC)
See specifically point two, "Experiment with mobile contribution mechanisms. This could include minor edits, image uploads, and article ratings." The ongoing research into what needs to be done in the Mobile space is being coordinate here: Please contribute if you're interested. Witty Lama 06:04, 23 March 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── There is an iPhone app for uploading photos straight to Commons; see mw:WikiSnaps. Regards, Rock drum Ba-dumCrash (Driving well?) 19:52, 25 March 2011 (UTC)

Census 2010 Information

How can we get all cities' info to update to the latest Census 2010 data?

Is this left up to the respective cities?

Thank you. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:21, 25 March 2011 (UTC)

Please see Wikipedia:2010 US Census and the talk page.  Chzz  ►  15:27, 29 March 2011 (UTC)

Town Sheriff / Page Watchdog (again)

See here for previous discussion and here for latest talk on evolution.

This could be ready to be looked at again; some more input and insight might very well be all that's needed to get it, if not off the ground, then at least flapping its wings with a view to taking off. Pesky (talk) 17:24, 28 March 2011 (UTC)

Source Integration Pages

Many great sources have had their materiel incorporated into Wikipedia only haphazardly. If we could create project page's for important sources we can make sure their materiel is incorporated consistently into relevant articles. (talk) 18:48, 29 March 2011 (UTC)

If you create an account you are free to start a wikiproject if you want. Wikipedia:WikiProject Missing encyclopedic articles and Wikipedia:WikiProject Citizendium Porting are projects of this type that come to mind. Yoenit (talk) 22:18, 29 March 2011 (UTC)

Searchable rather than sortable tables?

On some pages there are some really large tables. And they need to be of that size to be useful. But it would be beneficial to be able to search the table without having to resort to keeping track of rows, columns and repeated sorting to find the right data. I hope extracting and sorting continue to be the only option to get efficient use of large tables? Electron9 (talk) 12:59, 21 March 2011 (UTC)

Most browsers support a search option, press ctrl+F on ones on Windows and you should get a box to find a word on a page. Dmcq (talk) 21:27, 27 March 2011 (UTC)
That point is to be able to search with a query like computer=8-bit year=1982-1988 etc.. similar to SQL. On a page like Comparison of file systems one could query "timestamp=yes size=8TB support=FreeBSD". Instead of tedious repeated searches with the "Ctrl-F". Electron9 (talk) 00:14, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
I believe the sorts are stable so you can do sorts on the three fields then look down the last field you sorted then go down the second last and then the first for that line. That doesn't help with ranges or conjunctions but for straightforward equalities it's fine. Dmcq (talk) 11:38, 1 April 2011 (UTC)

History of a page showing a specific user

In page histories - like this one - how about, if the "Browse history" box allowed us to filter edits for a specific user name? "Only show edits by user: < box >"?

It would make it much easier to find ones own contribs - or those of others - to specific forums; I think it would be especially handy on noticeboards such as WP:AN, WP:RSN and suchlike - and on user talk pages, to see what we'd added historically.

Alternatively / as well, Special:Contributions could allow filtering for a specified page.

I wouldn't think such an option would be terribly difficult to implement.  Chzz  ►  15:24, 29 March 2011 (UTC)

It like this idea. It has many reasonable uses and shouldn't be a tremendous technical challenge. It would be great to see its use sooner, rather than later. My76Strat (talk) 01:55, 4 April 2011 (UTC)

Using SecurePoll for opinion polling

It occurred to me that SecurePoll could be used for anonymous opinion polling, and I think that could be useful to do in some situations. I would exclude policy questions or anything related to content, rather it should be to gauge the community's view on a particular situation, such as dispute resolution, arbitration, BLP enforcement, NPOV enforcement, deletion, RFA, etc. This would give us a measure of the satisfaction of the community on particular areas and could guide us in determining which need adjustments. Cenarium (talk) 23:51, 3 April 2011 (UTC)

When did that sentence get inserted into a page, I find myself asking from time to time.

It'd be great if there was a way to find that out easily. Imagine Reason (talk) 04:27, 1 April 2011 (UTC)

In theory, you can use "Wikiblame" to find out the answer. It's linked as "Revision history search" in every page's history.
In practice, I've never once gotten useful results out of it.
For text that is known to exist, I recommend that you do a manual binary search. (Go halfway back through the history and see if it's there. That tells you which half (older half or newer half of revisions) contains the sentence. Go halfway through that half, and check again. Now you've narrowed it down to one-quarter of all revisions. Repeat until you find the diff you're seeking.) Also, the binary search guarantees that you'll get results. WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:42, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
Though if the sentence was the subject of a slow revert war the results may be misleading. Peter jackson (talk) 11:15, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
X!'s article blamer is handy. I've found it useful when trying to pinpoint copyvio problems &c. bobrayner (talk) 11:26, 6 April 2011 (UTC)

"Wikideas" (ideas as articles)

Good daytime to any person reading this letter.

From Russia with respect.

I have an idea.

The name for it is "Wikideas". 'Pedia-based thing, made for posting invention projects/blueprints as articles. In my mind, it doesn't requires any special changes and differenses from Wikipedia and "serial Wiki-source": projects are same as articles, in fact - same "changes", same "history", same "discussion".

This idea came into my head, when I found by experience, that a lot of sci-fi\encyclopedias readers have a lot of things and ideas to say and post - but there is no right place to post an idea to let anybody else use it....

Sincerely, James D. Gloodun

P.S. I am one of those mentioned "sci-fi readers." Also, very often such people have a lot of scientific knowledge - but it is very fragmented, through deep.

Anyway, answer this letter, please. I has sum moar sots.

P.P.S. Anyway, if I will make it "by my own", how can I send it to you for your putting it into Wikimedia Projects page?

P.P.P.S. I would like to put some "karma" or even "levels" features... but it's not necessary. Well, will I be able to put it by my own later? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:09, 3 April 2011 (UTC)

You can already do this sort of thing on Wikinfo. Peter jackson (talk) 11:09, 4 April 2011 (UTC)

Binomial name

Binomial name - this phrase means 'two-name name' and is commonly used in natural history taxoboxes. Does anyone else think it absurd and contradictory? Perhaps "binomial tag", "binomial label" or "binomial reference"? Androstachys (talk) 14:36, 29 March 2011 (UTC)

The correct term is apparently Binomen. Yoenit (talk) 14:46, 29 March 2011 (UTC)
Well I looked it up on the web and the American Heritage Dictionary says "Biology A taxonomic name in binomial nomenclature". Who are we to argue with them? The word is English now not Latin whatever about where it came from. Dmcq (talk) 14:59, 29 March 2011 (UTC)
If we don't argue we'll still be sleeping in trees and eating raw meat...... and the nub is in the meaning which is where the etymology comes in. I've just looked it up in Wiktionary and it says -

"* Some people deprecate use of binomial and advocate use only of binominal in this context. Synonyms

  • (biology, taxonomy) binomen
  • (biology, taxonomy) binomial
  • (biology, taxonomy) binominal
  • (biology, taxonomy) binominal name
  • (biology, taxonomy) species name" Androstachys (talk) 18:41, 29 March 2011 (UTC)

If has been accepted by the scientific world, why is WP still using the deprecated form? Androstachys (talk) 19:03, 29 March 2011 (UTC)

I think that wikipedia should be aimed at lay readers as well as professional ones. Which form is most readable for the average browser who is not a biologist? bobrayner (talk) 12:21, 7 April 2011 (UTC)


What do people think of this proposal, available here? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:46, 8 April 2011 (UTC)

I think it is a       idea - especially        , and        .
But more seriously - sure; if anyone chooses to use Wikipedia material for such interactive processes, that is of course fine - but I don't think there is a compelling reason to add the functionality on Wikipedia. This notion belongs elsewhere.  Chzz  ►  05:51, 9 April 2011 (UTC)

Confidential sub page

I would like to consider viability, and development options for creating a page where a user can edit information confidentially. I think it could serve for developing content that you don't want considered until fully refined, and if you decide not to move forward, no one would be wiser for knowing you had considered developing an ANI or RFC, or were considering RfA because they noticed you preparing a nomination statement, or many other reasons. Of course there needs to be some element who can access it as a check and balance, but the entire admin corp may be larger than necessary. I would support the checkuser group as sufficient to maintain the institutional goals in balance with confidentiality. My76Strat (talk) 01:33, 4 April 2011 (UTC)

Well, there's always your own computer. I've seen one editor who simply blanks a subpage after adding material like that; for many purposes (but not all, e.g., if you're being wikistalked), that's probably adequate. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:06, 6 April 2011 (UTC)
I agree with you and beyond that there is probably no need for such a user space. thanks for considering it. My76Strat (talk) 00:43, 9 April 2011 (UTC)
If you want it confidential, don't put it on the net. Save it in notepad, or whatever.  Chzz  ►  07:00, 9 April 2011 (UTC)

Colonial governors

Hello people of Village pump!

I am interested, for a long time, the history of the Americas and I've worked a lot on wikipedia articles related to that topic. I realized that, since a long time, all governors of states like Texas, New Mexico and Florida have articles on wikipedia since those states joined the United States, while only a few colonial governors of those states had them, so I thought it would be nice to all colonial governors of those states also have articles on wikipedia, because they are a bit forgotten in this encyclopedia. I've already looked for information and I've edited articles the some of these governors and I ask that, if interested, you also collaborate on editing articles from other governors of those states. The names of the governors of Texas, New Mexico and Florida are on the lists Royal Governor of La Florida, Spanish governors of New Mexico, List of Texas Governors and Presidents.

That is my proposal!

--Isinbill (talk) 19:52, 10 April 2011 (UTC)

You may want to go start a task force of Wikipedia:WikiProject United States History. Try posting at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject United States History and see if there are any other interested editors! Calliopejen1 (talk) 18:11, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for your advice, friend. I already asked for the collaboration in the Discussion of the wikiproject page.--Isinbill (talk) 00:56, 13 April 2011 (UTC)

Don't bite for common oversights

I uploaded a logo using the upload link then the logo template, meticulously (though less meticulously than was necessary some years ago) filled out the fair use rationale, and forgot to add the {{Non-free logo}} template because it's easy to forget and the logo upload page doesn't enforce some copyright tag or even go so far as to include it for you. All well and good until three minutes later, I get a smack on my talk page. If that upload had been my first action, I would probably be pretty put out by now and just go back to not contributing. I suggested we ought to have a friendler way of resolving this particular licensing issue on the editor's talk page, and he's agreed there should be a better way and suggested bringing the issue to the Village Pump.

Can we change the upload form to make it require a license or make the logo upload include {{Non-free logo}} by default since it already includes the fair use rationale, or otherwise address the problem without a brash template for a little oversight? -- ke4roh (talk) 01:53, 21 April 2011 (UTC)

Hmm. What I'd say, is that that particular template is actually not too negative. Getting enough humans together to do anything is nigh-on impossible. As you say, you'd done everything else right; a human wouldn't delete at aa later stage. Doing something like filling out almost all of it correctly is likely to be the mistake of an experienced user. (You can just delete the notices when you're done with them.) If we can get a more exact template, though, that would be very useful. Grandiose (me, talk, contribs) 16:07, 22 April 2011 (UTC)

Quick way to update links after domain-name change / page relocation

I came across a wiki page for a NZ swimmer (, but the 'reference' link was pointing to a dead domain. I figured out that the '' domain has since been relocated to ''. Their website has also been upgraded, so the original URL format no longer works.

I fixed the reference link for "Lyall Barry", but there are still 361 other wiki pages that have a reference link pointing to '********'.

Here are the search results:

So my question is: Is there a conventional way to update dead links in bulk?

If not, I would like to write a script to do this. The script would edit each of the 361 pages, and replace the old link with the fixed one. The URL replacement would be done with a regular expression, as follows:

wiki_title_as_url = wiki_title.downcase.gsub(" ", "-").(/[^a-zA-Z0-9 ]/, '-').gsub(/\([^)]*\)/, "").strip wiki_content.gsub(/((http:\/\/)?\/Athletes\/AthleteProfile\/[^ ]*)/, "" << wiki_title_as_url)

Does this sound reasonable, and will I have to get this approved by a moderator first? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Nathan.f77 (talkcontribs) 04:46, 21 April 2011 (UTC)

You can request a user who has WP:AWB to perform it (see WP:AWB/Tasks), or you can request a bot (or create your own). But yes, it sounds reasonable. --Izno (talk) 04:54, 21 April 2011 (UTC)

A new "Dark / Night" skin for Wikipedia!

As a fellow Wikipedian, I'm always on here browsing and editing but after a while, all that endless White on Wikipedia can really make your eyes burn. So, I purpose we create a new Dark/Night skin for Wikipedia, (similar to the one on which can be turned On/Off via a link next to the (Read / Edit / View history) section at the top. AnimatedZebra (talk) 13:34, 26 April 2011 (UTC)

A number of skins are available in your user preferences already, which if this was developed would be the place to add this. There are some problematic parts to this - e.g. in the logo, the words "Wikipedia the free encyclopedia" won't show up very well against a really dark skin. I think you'd have to use Javascript to substitute a logo to make it as pretty as possible. Dcoetzee 01:37, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
I have seen the skins in the User Preferences and I guess it would be best to put it in there. As for the logo, perhaps Wikipedia could design a dark version of their logo for it, where the whole thing would be darkened, with the words "Wikipedia the free Encyclopedia" and the symbols on the sphere all slightly glowing. AnimatedZebra (talk) 11:59, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
Similar to some websites where when watching a video, you can click a "Lights Off" button and the area around the video goes dark but in this case the whole page would. AnimatedZebra (talk) 08:42, 20 September 2011 (UTC)

Campaign Finance Data for Legislators and Legislation, a Bot Idea

There's a lot of public data about campaign finance for both legislators and legislation. There are a few organizations who are also developing better tools to access this information. One group is that provides an API.

This idea concerns the feasibility and appropriateness of running a bot to regularly insert this campaign finance data into legislator and legislation articles already on Wikipedia. I think it could fit quite nicely as a new set of entries or a single entry in article infoboxes.

As a newer Wikipedian, I'd love any thoughts or questions! If you know of any similar projects, I was not able to locate them so please tell me. Mattsenate (talk) 01:26, 27 April 2011 (UTC)

In some ways, it seems that Campaign Finance Information might not be encyclopedic content. On the other, if it is decided that is information is valid content, then I can't think of a better place to disperse the information. Maximilianklein (talk) 01:48, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
It might be a good idea, but maplight isn't usable for this purpose, their terms of service are far too restrictive. Mr.Z-man 01:52, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
Mr.Z-man, do you mind pointing out some more details you think are particularly restrictive? There is a possibility groups like maplight could change their policies if it can make their data more accessible. Mattsenate (talk) 22:01, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
For starters "Each web page, data set, or publication that in any way uses data from the API must give clear attribution to by doing ALL of the following: Displaying the logo ... Displaying one of these text phrases ..." would basically mean we have to give them free advertising in any page we use it. That pretty much kills it there. The most attribution we'd be able to provide is a footnote at the bottom of the article. There's also "User will, upon's request, provide with monthly traffic statistics (visitors and pageviews)" which might be a violation of the privacy policy depending on how much data they need and at the very least would require foundation approval. Given that these are the restrictions for "free public websites owned by nonprofit organizations", I don't really see them loosening their restrictions very much. Mr.Z-man 22:11, 27 April 2011 (UTC)


Dear people at Wikipedia,

I use Wikipedia frequently. I have the following comments:

  1. The Wikipedia page looks very cluttered. Can you do something about it? Can you make it more readable?
  2. Are 'options' available to hide the list of languages, etc? so that we are able to read the article more easily.

Thanks. A user from India. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:54, 28 April 2011 (UTC)

First of all, Welcome to Wikipedia! About your question: We can't make it more readable - because we are simple Wikipedia Users like you. What you can do to "unclutter" Wikipedia for yourself, is restricted the following: Create an account and then edit your Preferences. There, you can choose a skin that suits you best and hide some options. But apart from that, we can't do anything, because all those things that may be cluttering to you are very useful for other users. I suggest you learn what you can do with them, this will help your understanding of Wikipedia. Take a look at the Introduction. Also, this page (the Village Pump) is for improvements to be made that reflect a popular perspective on an issue - if you have questions how to use Wikipedia, look for help in the various help pages or write on my talk page. I hope that solves your problems. -- Richardofoakshire [talk] 13:56, 28 April 2011 (UTC)
I think a good thing to ask here is "what" do you think makes the page cluttered? --Izno (talk) 16:14, 28 April 2011 (UTC)

Polling Templates

Correct me if I'm mistaken, but I've noticed that templates to Support, Oppose, Agree, say Yes, No, Maybe do not exist on English Wikipedia. On Wikiversity, this serves to clarify Proposals/Dsicussions a great load, where there are things like: Symbol support vote.svg Support . Or are we just not using them? - Richardofoakshire [talk] 10:48, 28 April 2011 (UTC)

We had them, but they were deleted in as annoying and increasing page load. This appears to be the last time they were discussed Deletion review June 2008. Yoenit (talk) 11:08, 28 April 2011 (UTC)
That poses a problem, but Wikiversity seems to be doing fine; though admittedly, they have fewer users and with that less "cluttering". Plus, it was three years ago, should it be reconsidered? - Richardofoakshire [talk] 11:15, 28 April 2011 (UTC)
You could start another DRV, but I don't think it will go anywhere. Yoenit (talk) 11:29, 28 April 2011 (UTC)
I don't see any great advantage of "Symbol support vote.svg Support" over just "Support", and it's one more template to learn and remember, and if its only used by some and not others it actually adds to visual clutter in my opinion. Herostratus (talk) 15:54, 28 April 2011 (UTC)
Additionally, there is some opposition to the practice of prefacing with plain "Support" and "Oppose" text at all. WP:NOT#DEMOCRACY and WP:VOTE, and all.
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 14:36, 1 May 2011 (UTC)

Romanization of Arabic

For years, when I had visited Wikipedia pages about locations and people with Arabic names, I had seen the names written in Arabic script in the lead sentences, followed by a Romanization of the Arabic text. The Romanization was formatted in a specific style, which has been used elsewhere online and in print, and which has few diacritics and modified letters (I think only the ayin symbol, the apostrophe to represent hamza, a few consonants with dots under them, and the macron over long vowels were used apart from the basic Latin alphabet). Recently, however, I have seen a different Romanization style appearing on Wikipedia pages about Arab-related subjects here and there. For example, the pages on Hassan Nasrallah and Abbas al-Musawi. This style is markedly different and uses obscure, strange characters (sometimes even underlined, or with diacritics such as breves and accents) that are sometimes never used to represent the sound that they are used to Romanize and are not typically used in Arabic name transliteration. For example, Hassan Nasrallah's name is often spelled "Hasan Nasrallah" but never, outside of Wikipedia, as "Hɑsɑn Nɑƨrʋăllªe" (ditto for "Oɑbbás alMúsɑuí" being used to mean Abbas al-Musawi - why need an "O" to spell Abbas?). There is no need for a superscript, underlined "a" followed by an "e" to Romanize one vowel sound, and this isn't followed in common practice with names that include that sound, either (including Nasrallah's). Meanwhile, on pages such as Hamas and Mecca, the simpler Romanization is used, leading to confusion over what format is considered standard on Wikipedia. If it isn't obvious, I oppose the strange and unnecessary Romanization of Arabic with backwards letters and alpha symbols (I know, that isn't what it is encoded as in the Unicode set, but that's still what it's modeled after), because those aren't typically used and there is no reason to utilize a nearly unused Romanization standard that contains some characters that won't appear on all Latin charsets. But, for clarification, what is the standard on Wikipedia, and if there is none still existing, shouldn't there be? (talk) 08:28, 1 May 2011 (UTC)

Good question. What you found appears to be the "New Way" transliteration, see the ALFB entry in this old version of our Romanization article. It may violate our guideline Wikipedia:Manual of Style (Arabic) to use it, although I am unsure about the status of consensus on that. I will invite editors of the WikiProject Arab world to this discussion, and hope they know more. —Кузьма討論 17:49, 1 May 2011 (UTC)

Blocks noticeboard?

I was wondering if there would be any interest in a "Block noticeboard"?

I know that, currently, some blocks are discussed on AN/I, but... that's an awfully "political" method of dealing with things, isn't it?
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 14:19, 1 May 2011 (UTC)

I don't see why an alternate noticeboard would be any less "political." The amount of drama in a discussion is more a factor of the topic than the location. Any time you're dealing with behavior issues of individual users and blocking, it tends to attract strong opinions. Mr.Z-man 15:32, 1 May 2011 (UTC)
it seems to me that AN/I itself tends to induce some drama, though. Also, a more purpose driven forum should create more constructive discussion, generally speaking.
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 16:11, 1 May 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps you could be more explicit about what you mean? What kind of drama are you talking about or what type of discussion would involve less drama elsewhere? Dmcq (talk) 16:44, 1 May 2011 (UTC)
ANI appears to induce drama because its a high traffic location. Moving block discussions elsewhere might only reduce the drama because fewer people get involved, which isn't necessarily a good thing, and even if it was, would likely be only temporary. I would point out that discussions of community bans were once split out of ANI, but it was merged back in after the replacement was found to be even worse. Mr.Z-man 19:11, 1 May 2011 (UTC)
Maybe you're correct... I don't agree with the "simple voting" point, nor even the "split up"/"less involvement" issue (at least, not completely) that were made for the CSN MFD that you linked to, but... I can see that there were problems perceived with that noticeboard, and this would essentially be the same thing. So... I mean, I still think that AN/I is too dramatic, and good archiving is still a problem there, but... "The devil you know..." applies here, I guess.
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 20:03, 1 May 2011 (UTC)
Do you want Wikipedia:Quickpolls back? (It died before my time, but I still remember hearing it mentioned as a bad idea). —Кузьма討論 18:04, 1 May 2011 (UTC)
No, definitely not. Didn't even enter my mind.
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 20:06, 1 May 2011 (UTC)


I find IPA too complicated. When seeing an article with a pronunciation guide the symbols make no sense to me whatsoever. Take the article on Jules Verne for example. The pronunciation guide is French pronunciation: ​[ʒyl vɛʁn]. To get the pronunciation, I had to go to the IPA-French link and bounce back and forth to find the symbols. A simple (J(Je)ool Vehrn) would have done for me and I'd guess quite a good deal more people who really don't want to bounce from page to page to find out a simple pronunciation. In fact, I only did the tedious process because I needed to put down a simplified pronunciation. Could we not start putting simplified pronunciations like these on pages? —Calisthenis(Talk) 22:26, 29 April 2011 (UTC)

Although a simplified pronunciation would help users, there are problems with it. For instance, British and American speakers pronounce things differently, so there can't be an absolutely distinguishing alternative pronunciation guide. Further, the English alphabet is limited to a - z, but there are far more sounds used in IPA, so transcription into a simplified pronunciation would mean great loss of information, which (for people who need the exact pronunciation) would be very unfortunate. What could be done, however, is using both at the same time in the articles, so everyone gets his/her preference, or, we could embed a "speaker" that, upon entering IPA code, speaks the correct pronunciation. -- Richardofoakshire [talk] 08:11, 30 April 2011 (UTC)
{{IPA}} has an option to add a sound file, but that requires that someone has uploaded said file, and that they are pronouncing the word per the IPA. --Izno (talk) 05:33, 2 May 2011 (UTC)
See also Wikipedia:Pronunciation respelling key. Note the limitations of this system discussed there. Ntsimp (talk) 17:27, 2 May 2011 (UTC)

Feature suggestion: Wiki comments on a book

The Wiki engine is used by lots of sites, and I'd like to suggest a variation that some sites might find useful.

Take a nonfiction book in electronic form. I'm thinking about something where marginalia and other comments would be important—think any of the “annotated” books like Martin Gardner's "The Annotated Alice," for example. It could be an important literary work by Mark Twain, Shakespeare, or James Joyce. Or maybe an ancient work like the Bible, the Iliad, or the epic of Gilgamesh.

This is clumsily doable today. You could chop the work into chapters and anyone could respond like they do to a blog. There could be different threads on different topics. But a long thread with several people bickering back and forth endlessly is not at all like a paragraph or two neatly summarizing the facts and any controversy like you’d have in a Wikipedia article.

Some ideas: - You’d want to be able to read just the book text without any commentary. - Comments could be in categories that might vary by the book (“Chess” might be one for "Through the Looking Glass," for example). Readers could select which kinds of annotations to be visible. - There might be short notes to the side (I’m thinking of how Microsoft Word shows additions with Track Changes) or long ones, perhaps added at the end of a section. - The “annotated” books themselves might give ideas for how this might look on the screen. Here's a list: —Preceding unsigned comment added by Seidensticker (talkcontribs) 17:52, 4 May 2011 (UTC)

Feature suggestion: Text to speech button

If I'm travelling I use my Eee PC. It has a tiny screen which makes reading Wiki articles with lots of "Improve the references" type tags hard to see. Reading the J. Robert Oppenheimer article recently, I noticed the clickable "Audio version" button and spent the next few minutes happily cleaning house while I learned something. But the button came with a caution that it was out of date. Would it be possible to have for every article a button which fires the text off to some speech engine like Festival, and returns a spoken version?

Preferably one which doesn't spend the first five minutes telling you to improve the article! --Sdoradus (talk) 10:26, 13 May 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia in Versailles : 24 hours for an article

During the partnership between Wikimedia projects and the château de Versailles, some actions are set in order to facilitate wikipedians work. Today, I'm offering you a new challenge.

This challenge is global and fairly simple : one defined day, I propose to indicate to the volunteers one article related to the palace. Then, they have to take pleasure in improving the selected article as well as possible during 24 hours. Of course, in order to make the participation easy for everyone, from everywhere in the world, the article will also be selected for its available on-line resources or books that can be easily found in a majority of well-stocked libraries, in French and/or English (we are lucky for this : the palace of Versailles has a great bibliography in English language !).

The challenge will be shared by the several people in the castle were formed to contribute to Wikipedia. These specialists currently contribute (when they have time), and of course they will be notified to participate in the adventure. During this challenge, I'll also be there as a resource person. This 24 hours challenge is a good way to promote the collaborative work and the characteristic ability to synthesize which defines the wikipedians.

I hope this project will inspire you ! I you are interested, or have ideas, I have opened a special page about it.

Thanks, Trizek here or on wpfr 10:12, 19 May 2011 (UTC)

Nudity in Wikipedia images (Posting here before I bring to proposal)

I understand that Wikipedia is not censored so I would like to create this proposal:

All images containing nudity should be covered using the "hidden" template. The section header for the hidden template would be a warning label of some sort. This would hide them from users who want to do the research without the images, but would still keep them on the site. I have included an example of how this would work on this sandbox page. The version without the hidden file is here. Ryan Vesey (talk) 18:15, 18 May 2011 (UTC)

Sorry, that's still censorship. – ukexpat (talk) 18:50, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
Not just no, but hell no. There is nothing wrong with nudity. We are all nude under our clothes. This is a perennial suggestion that is consistently and correctly shot down. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia that is not censored. Period. If photographs of the natural human body disturb your delicate sensibilities, seek life elsewhere. Do not seek to impose your outdated conservative 'morals' on the rest of the world.
Besides, what your proposal actually says is: I understand that Wikipedia is not censored so I would like to create this proposal but I don't like that so let's censor it anyway.
Feh. → ROUX  19:03, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
"outdated conservative 'morals'"? Is that necessary? The Idea Lab is supposed to be a friendly and welcoming place, and that is neither. There are good reasons to hide content from immediate view (not the same as hiding it full stop - let's not make a mockery of the term censorship) which don't involve conservatism (principally, kids, but also users accessing WP at work and the like). Rd232 talk 19:23, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
It's entirely accurate. If your workplace frowns on 'questionable' images, find a new workplace or be smarter in your browsing habits; it is not our responsibility, period. → ROUX  22:17, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
The only article where I think such a proposal may possibly be useful is for Virgin Killer, but it would set a dangerous precedent and go against one of the core wikipedia policies, and as such you would be unlikely to find much support. If someone types in Vulva or Clitoris it's pretty obvious that they may see explicit images. Not that I can honestly see the problem some people have with nudity, but there you go. doomgaze (talk) 19:13, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
The problem with the idea of "don't show the images immediately, get the user to click specifically to view" has never been the technical how, but (a) whether to do it at all (WP:NOTCENSORED features heavily here) and (b) if you did, how you'd classify images and where you'd draw the line. Most opposition rests on (a), but (b) is also an enormous problem. Rd232 talk 19:23, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
I would like to remind people that this is the idea lab. No consensus is being sought yet. Saying hell no does not seem like discussion of the proposal and variations of the proposal. The reason for this proposal is that a) children may be using the website and b) I often find some of these pages while fighting vandalism. I am also not promoting "outdated conservative morals." Instead, I believe this proposal respects the concerns of users who do not wish to see the nudity, while keeping the images on the website. I would also like to say that I do not believe this is censorship due to the fact that the images remain on the site. Ryan Vesey (talk) 19:59, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
The thing is, this has been discussed many many times as nausum. Often times with your exact proposal. It's simply very unlikely to happen because it hasn't happened after numerous previous attempts. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 20:07, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
(edit conflict) While there is no reason to shoot something down harsly, there is also no reason to let an idea which is never going to happen linger here. So in short: no, not going to happen. Proposed a gazillion times, shot down every time. However, you may be [interested in this]. Yoenit (talk) 20:13, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
Plenty of reason to shoot it down harshly. It's yet another attempt to impose conservative views on Wikipedia. If these ridiculous ideas are not shot down hard, they end up wasting a whole lot of time before they are eventually shot down. Look at the nonsense that was started with the mindbogglingly stupid Wikipedia:Sexual content thing. Admittedly, part of the problem there was a well-known user who is exceedingly well-known for being impervious to things like 'reason' and 'other peoples' opinions,' but still. Of course you don't believe this is censorship, Vesey, censors never do; they're doing it 'for the children' or some such BS. :::::Saying 'hell no' is entirely appropriate here; you are wasting everyone's time with an idea that is 100% guaranteed to fail. Besides the censorship concern, the major issue is where to draw the line. An image of a breast, is that a problem? A flaccid penis? A woman's face? An image of Mohammed? A swastika? A dead body? A nude child on a bearskin rug? (For some reason every parent takes photos of their child nude. Well, used to. The insane pedophiles are everywhere nonsense promulgated by the same people who try to censor and hide images of nude human beings has pretty much guaranteed that any photo of a naked child = kiddie porn, and people get locked up). Images of the Ku Klux Klan burning a cross? Photos of Ayers Rock in Australia? There is nowhere to draw the line that does not privilege some groups' sense of moral outrage and PLEEZ TINK UFF DA CHILLLUNS over someone else. All of the examples I just gave could be considered gravely offensive to many.
Moreover, it is not the place of Wikipedia to act in loco parentis for children. What children (and I'm curious as to how you define that term, and how many are really reading Wikipedia) see online is a matter for their parents to monitor. It is quite simply neither our responsibility nor our concern. → ROUX  22:17, 18 May 2011 (UTC)

I think some of the rejection of the suggestion has been phrased a little more aggressively than it might have been, but my guess is that Ryan's not too delicate to cope with that OK. I do actually think that there is a good point behind Ryan's suggestion. It is a fact that some people are disturbed by seeing unexpected nudity. I am not, but even I have recently seen an image on Wikipedia that frankly I would rather not have seen: it was not just nudity, but an extreme sexual act. Like Ryan, I accidentally came across it in the course of anti-vandalism work. In fact if I thought there were any reasonable way of implementing this I would be in favour. It is not censorship, as the images would still be there, and anyone who wanted to see them would be free to do so. However, unfortunately I think there would be too many problems. There would be arguments about what to exclude, the "where do we draw the line " problem that has already been mentioned. There would be editors who simply didn't use the hiding mechanism. Ryan mentions coming across such images in the course of antivandalism work (as I have), but unfortunately I can't see a vandal using the hiding mechanism, so that reason is irrelevant. Also "children may be using the website" is not convincing, because most children I have ever known would immediately click the link as soon as they knew there was something hidden there. In fact in my opinion as far as simple nudity is concerned, children using Wikipedia is a reason for not doing this, as I think it is far better for children to learn that nudity is OK, and nothing to hide, rather than the "hee hee, look at this dirty picture that's hidden here! Hee hee" view which would be encouraged by hiding the images in the suggested way. As for photographs of extreme sexual activities, I do feel uncomfortable about children coming here and seeing them (call that "outdated conservative morals" if you like), but as long as the policy is that Wikipedia is not censored I don't see anything we can do to prevent it happening: certainly this proposal would not stop children from seeing them. So, in summary: I am more sympathetic to this idea than anyone else who has commented so far (apart of course from Ryan Vesey who proposed it) but unfortunately I think there are too many practical problems. JamesBWatson (talk) 20:51, 18 May 2011 (UTC)

Personally I think there's something funny going on where adults want to stop children seeing anything to do with private bits or sex - whilst children are just curious about it and don't have adult drives or hangups. It would be much more sensible to stop children seeing scenes of violence if one thinks along these lines. Anyway this sort of idea sounds like the idea of giving children those books with flaps covering pictures and expecting them not to lift the flaps. Dmcq (talk) 21:18, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
It's not just kids. A major argument actually, is that some images are so attention-grabbing that it makes it difficult to calmly read the text. Worse, you might be trying to read the article at home and worry about others seeing you look at the image, when you're just trying to read the article. Hiding these images in this way can certainly be in readers' interests. I bet if it were done, the average time spent on these sorts of pages would increase, because some people wouldn't go "OMG! I can't have those images in my face/on my screen!" and click away. Rd232 talk 22:37, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
While my personal opinions on the subject have not changed, I see where people are coming from here. Ryan Vesey (talk) 22:23, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
"I am more sympathetic to this idea than anyone else who has commented so far" - my comments were neutral, but I very much agree with you. And a while back I was quite actively supporting the same idea on a specific article - see archives at Talk:Autofellatio. That we couldn't get agreement even on that makes me doubt we'll see anything like this in the foreseeable future. Rd232 talk 22:37, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
This would really only be useful for hiding images with a high "shock value" from everyone. The idea that a child will not click to open a hidden image where there's a little thing that says "If you're a child, don't click this" is nonsense. If anything, they'll be more likely to click it. The only way to prevent children from seeing the images is to prevent them from seeing the article itself (which would have to be done with client-side parental control software) or by removing the images, and links to them, from the articles (which would be blatant censorship and will never happen). Mr.Z-man 22:41, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
Yes, absolutely - preventing readers from seeing images is not going to work, or be acceptable. I would see proposals of this type as rather giving readers control (over what they see and when they see it). Rd232 talk 23:47, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
And what is 'high shock value'? We'd (probably) all agree on goatse. What about images of Mohammed? Car accidents? Hangings? Dead bodies? Womens' uncovered faces? Ayers Rock? Childbirth? A penis with symptoms of syphilis? There is simply no way to draw the line without elevating certain cultural concerns (and, let's be honest given the makeup of Wikipedia editorship: that culture will be Western, white, and nominally Christian) over others. Clearly that is unacceptable. → ROUX  00:05, 19 May 2011 (UTC)
That's not a good argument. I mean, we reach decisions by consensus all the time. In principle, by classifying images in ways that readers want control over, we can leave it up to readers what classes of images are hidden-by-default and which aren't. The fact some readers might well be unserved or underserved by this does not mean we shouldn't serve some. Nor - to pick up one possible strawman - does the obvious fact that classification will be incomplete and at times wrong, defeat the basic idea (we can hammer home when people activate the thing in preferences that errors may occur; such errors will be handled as any other errors on Wikipedia). Rd232 talk 00:41, 19 May 2011 (UTC)
Oh, so it's okay to make the delicate sensibilities of some cultures more important than others? Huh. Plus ça change, plus ça le même chose. How exactly would you go about doing that? Does an image of Venus de Milo come under art or pornography? Is Ayers Rock a geographical feature or religious imagery? What about all images of women? Extremely Orthodox Jews don't even look at images of women (see the recent brouhaha with Der Tzeitung airbrushing Hillary Clinton out of the famous Situation Room photo). This is a terrible principle, a terrible idea, and a really awful slippery slope towards censorship of Wikipedia. To say nothing of the inevitable acrimonious debates about whether a picture of Pamela Anderson in a bikini is pornography or whatever. You may wish to read, again, WP:NOTCENSORED. We show images without fear or favour, the exact same way a paper encyclopedia does. It is up to the reader to take their own precautions about what they want to to see. It is not our responsibility to act as their minders, nor is it our responsibility--or, indeed, desire--to go through unending horrible debate about which images count as what just so that people who are terrified of nipples/surfing at work when they shouldn't be/unwilling to deal with their children in a rational manner can hide themselves from the real world. → ROUX  01:00, 19 May 2011 (UTC)
First, I don't appreciate being told that this was a terrible idea. It seems that there are some people here who seem to support this "terrible" idea. You need to remember, Roux, that you are also speaking with bias when you are expressing your own opinion. You also asked us to read WP:NOTCENSORED. I would like to point you to the specific sentence that states "'being objectionable' is generally not sufficient grounds for removal of content." My idea did not involve any removal of content. Still, I don't think I will be bringing this to WP:PROPS unless I see any amount of clear support after this post. Ryan Vesey (talk) 01:12, 19 May 2011 (UTC)
(edit conflict) I don't like your tone - or the way you've ignored my argument. Once again, to describe giving readers control over whether they see images immediately or after clicking as "censorship" is an absolute abuse of the term and insult to those who have the misfortune to have lived under actual censorship (as I have, incidentally). Thought experiment: in articles on human sexuality, we could perfectly well have relevant auto-playing sounds or videos. Would giving readers the option to not auto-play them constitute OMG! censorship!? If reader control over audio and video content would be acceptable, then why not image content? As to classification - there were many many people who didn't believe a community-edited encyclopedia could remotely work. I find it hard to believe that the same principles cannot be applied to classifying image content in a way good enough to make the approach useful. I mean, we manage all the time classifying articles, despite at times heated debates. Why on earth should we not be able to manage it for images? For Commons images, a lot of the classification is already there anyway. Rd232 talk 01:18, 19 May 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I'm sorry if you don't appreciate being told honestly what your idea is. That's not really my problem, and I'm not going to sugarcoat it. The idea is terrible. If I were to say anything else, I would be lying. As for removal of content, Wikipedia is also dead-set against hiding content--see also spoilers, and the endless perennial arguments that plot details (e.g.) should be hidden. That always gets shot down too.

Rd232, I don't really care if you don't like my tone. I don't like yours either, nor do I like your insistence that hiding images is somehow beneficial to readers. But note that only one of us made a personal comment about it...

Auto-playing sound/video are very different things, as you well know; sound and video take up more bandwidth than images. Auto-playing either would slow page renders, which is an objective problem for people on slower connections. The classification of images into 'this is a nude body part' or 'this is a dead body' is not difficult, I agree; it is the value judgements applied to them that is a problem. Well, for the most part; you ignored the Venus de Milo example given above. Is that pornography or art? If it's art, then how about Mapplethorpe's photos? Or the paintings of Joanne whatsername, starts with a Y I think, paints explicit male nudes. Art or porn? Ayers Rock? You ignored that too. You know full well exactly how horrific the wars over this sort of image classification would be; you've been here far too long to pretend otherwise.

The irony of you complaining that I ignored your argument is... well.. sad. Anyway, this idea won't be succeeding, thankfully, so I don't really see any point in continuing this discussion. Hiding 'offensive' images (and again, you've really blatantly ignored several categories I've put forth that many would consider offensive) is just a leap down the slippery slope to removing them entirely. Once again: it is not Wikipedia's responsibility to police what hits your retinas. That is your responsibility, or that of your parent/legal guardian. Not ours. → ROUX  01:40, 19 May 2011 (UTC)

This is all moot anyway, since the clearly stellar brains at the WMF have decided to impose such a 'solution' on us. Terribly funny, given Jimbo's pre-Wiki career. → ROUX  01:45, 19 May 2011 (UTC)
I didn't ignore anything; I made a general argument that issues like your examples would be decided by consensus in the usual way; your complaint that I've not given my personal opinion about those examples is bizarre. Bandwith is a red herring, as you surely must know. The issue is whether giving readers control over how they access non-textual content is intrinsically unacceptable; the comparison with audio and video content was an argumentum ad absurdum. Anyway, I'm not enjoying this discussion, and it turns out to be moot, so let's leave it there. Rd232 talk 01:56, 19 May 2011 (UTC)
Ah, I see. Me making general arguments is ignoring you, but you making general arguments is responding to my points? Righto, I'll try to remember that in the future. → ROUX  02:12, 19 May 2011 (UTC)
Do you have some particular reason for being so grumpy and unhelpful right now? It's quite unnecessary, and for an Idea Lab discussion is a bit bizarre. This place is supposed to be a friendly location to chew over early-stage ideas; intrinsically many of them will be bad (or at least need a lot of work). The aim is that even when you come across an idea you initially disagree with, you look at it seriously from all angles and look to it improve it, without prejudicing whether you'll support the final proposal. If you can't do this, wait til the ideas get to WP:VPR before commenting. Rd232 talk 02:24, 19 May 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps I'm sick of the conservative tide that is trying to return the world to a 1950's USA that never actually existed. Perhaps I'm sick and tired of people using Wikipedia to push their POV instead of recognising that this is a global resource devoted to sharing information, and not a pulpit for fulminating against the terror that is a naked human body. And attempting to 'improve' this awful idea would be putting lipstick on a pig. Cosmetic changes to a fundamentally flawed premise don't really do anything to address the flaw. And if you're going to talk about bizarre... how bizarre and anti-wiki is it to say "you're only allowed to participate here if you're going to improve this idea"? I have looked at this idea, and all the similar/identical ones before it from many angles. None of them are even remotely enough to convince me that deliberately hiding information somehow benefits the project. → ROUX  02:31, 19 May 2011 (UTC)
LOL, there are corners of Wikipedia where you could cause heart attacks by suggesting I'm part of the "conservative tide". :) For me, this is all about reader control. As for Idea Lab: it was created because at VPR it's all too common for half-baked ideas to get stomped on with not inconsiderable violence. Please refrain from doing the same here - if you cannot see any possible improvements, at least be nice about it. Rd232 talk 03:16, 19 May 2011 (UTC)
Related to your talk about Mohammed, I would like to point you to the Muhammed page. Notice that the section usually devoted to a picture or portrait of the person is instead Mohammed's name in calligraphy. Although very small images of Mohammed in crowds are shown further down the page, I believe this directly opposes your argument.
My knowledge of Ayers Rock comes solely from the Wikipedia page on the subject and it may not include all views of Ayers Rock. That being said, I cannot find any images that specifically state that they come from one of the areas where photo-taking is forbidden.
Venus de Milo is a statue clearly there should have been a distinction drawn between my proposal banning "nudity" and a statue or painting.
Rd232 pointed out the idea of audio files. Why don't you answer the theoretical question as if it was a possibility instead of dancing around it by saying that it was improbable?
I also disagree that the point is moot because this is directed towards readers as well as editors. Readers do not have accounts and cannot choose this option. Remember, everything is written for the reader. Ryan Vesey (talk) 01:59, 19 May 2011 (UTC)
Auto-playing audio or video files is generally considered a bad thing on the net as a whole. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 02:06, 19 May 2011 (UTC)
To be honest, I think that the WMF proposition is great. It hides nothing for the typical user--none of the typical people editing here will ever have to do deal with it (or, possibly have to opt-out once, I'm a little confused if the final decision was opt-in or opt-out). On the other hand, anyone can set it on their own computer to do what they want. I see no loss, and definite gain. Does it stop kids from looking at explicit images? No. Does it stop a parent and a child doing homework together from accidently pulling up nekkid pictures? Yes. Does it let a computer at a Muslim community center have easy access to Wikipedia? Yes. Does it help those of us who edit Wikipedia from work? Yes. To me, it's just like the "Safe Search" settings on Google image search--I can set them differently at home or at work or as I change purposes. Qwyrxian (talk) 02:08, 19 May 2011 (UTC)
The imposition of this by WMF is terrible. Again: Wikipedia is not responsible for your eyeballs. You are. → ROUX  02:12, 19 May 2011 (UTC)
And I think the dreadful capitulation to minority interests set an extremely bad precedent for Wikipedia. Bringing up the Muhammad page bolsters my argument.
Historically, any images of Ayers Rock were considered forbidden by the Aboriginal peoples of Australia.
And you may draw a distinction, but trust me, there are plenty of conservatives who would not draw such a distinction; the news is filled with such stories.
What, seriously, are you talking about w/r/t 'dancing around the issue'? I specifically addressed the exact issue of autoplaying files. You may wish to actually read what I say; it may prove enlightening. Quote: "Auto-playing sound/video are very different things, as you well know; sound and video take up more bandwidth than images. Auto-playing either would slow page renders, which is an objective problem for people on slower connections."
You may also wish to actually read the link provided, which explains why this is all moot. Quote: "Users (both anonymous and registered) can select which categories they want to filter via an annotation next to filterable images that lists the filter categories the image belongs to, or from a general display setting (accessible via a registered user's preferences, or for anonymous users via a new link next to "Log in/Create account")."
A hint: it's generally considered good form to actually read what people say. Doing so prevents you from looking like the sort of person who doesn't care what others have to say, choosing instead to harp on what you think in brief skimming they have said. → ROUX  02:12, 19 May 2011 (UTC)
I just read that anons can use this option, my mistake, I actually started this edit before I read yours. Ryan Vesey (talk) 02:14, 19 May 2011 (UTC)
Doesn't really explain your failure to read what I wrote, but whatever. → ROUX  02:31, 19 May 2011 (UTC)
Again, I would like to remind you to keep your comments civil. I admit that I did not initially read every word of the link, but later followed up and read it. In regards to the topic of audio files, you skirted around the issue, failed to admit that you skirted around the issue and failed to address the issue in your follow up edit. Instead of addressing the theoretical question of audio files, you answered it in a way that was clearly out of context. If you would like to answer that question I will propose it this way. In a world with unlimited bandwidth and unlimited server speed, should Wikipedia play audio or video files of sexual acts upon opening a page related to that act? Ryan Vesey (talk) 02:39, 19 May 2011 (UTC)
I skirted around nothing. Retract your ridiculous accusation and I'll address the specific question that you have asked--and it's worth noting it is not the question that Rd232 asked, which I did respond to, pointing out that there is a difference between images (low bandwidth) and autoplay audio/video (much higher bandwidth). Your choice. → ROUX  02:48, 19 May 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Well it is the question I thought I was asking, since bandwidth wasn't on the table as an issue, and the context was a discussion about the acceptability of giving users control over content display. Rd232 talk 03:19, 19 May 2011 (UTC)

Nevertheless, it is not in fact the question you asked. → ROUX  03:27, 19 May 2011 (UTC)
I strongly support user-controlled, content-class-based, pre-display image filtering. I think that Roux's apparent determination to force me to choose between "see no images" and "see all images"—with no middle ground, set by me personally—seems both unfriendly and extreme. Roux doubtless believes that Google is also evilly censoring the world by even offering a "safe search" mode.
(It may interest some of you to know that the only image I've encountered that I'd very likely block is one showing a slice of a human brain with macroscopic damage from parasites.)
Additionally, for those who haven't been through this debate a dozen times already, it may interest you to know that WMF gets a lot of complaints from everywhere except (1) the USA, (2) Canada, and (3) parts of northern Europe about unnecessary and non-encyclopedic nudity on Wikipedia. The "we must force readers to see naked bodies" stance is seen as cultural imperialism, in which the rest of the world has to put up with what single, childless, white males, aged 18–24, choose to export to their computer screens (even when the user doesn't deliberately click on articles about sex acts or human anatomy). So if you thought that it was puritanical, sex-negative Americans driving this, you need to think again. WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:22, 19 May 2011 (UTC)
I support your freedom to control what you see. What I do not support is Wikipedia arrogating to itself the responsibility to do that for you. Google's option for safesearch isn't even in the same ballpark; they are a private corporation and may choose to do as they wish. Nor do they have the concept of WP:NOTCENSORED enshrined in how they do business. Nice false equivalence, though. → ROUX  03:27, 19 May 2011 (UTC)
Your support for me to be able to do this doubtless explains why you've been pounding on the table for months now about how evil they are for planning to add a button to my preferences to let me filter images myself. They're not arrogating the responsibility (or privilege) for doing it; they're providing the software feature that would permit me to do it. WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:36, 19 May 2011 (UTC)
If you had bothered to read anything I've written, you'd know why I disagree and why your... statement... is just so much hot air. → ROUX  21:52, 19 May 2011 (UTC)
Is there some reason I'm unaware of that Wikipedia can't do something like this? If so, you should really hurry and tell the WMF. Let's not forget this discussion is moot - it ought to take some of the heat out of it, don't you think? PS For hopefully the final time: censorship removes control from the reader, and proposals of this type give control to the reader. It is the opposite of censorship (and if that sounds silly, it perhaps sounds less silly when you think that that control may lead to more readers comfortably able to read the text, because of being able to choose to view accompanying images if/when they wish). Rd232 talk 03:40, 19 May 2011 (UTC)
I never said Wikipedia can't. I said we shouldn't. WMF can do any damn fool thing that comes into their heads, and we have no choice but to suck it up or walk away. This is a terribly misguided idea that is going to have serious, severe, and unintended consequences down the road. Slippery slopes do exist, and with this move WMF is taking a great big step down it--with its other foot on a banana peel. Conservative types are not capable of saying "okay, we got what we want," they always move the goalposts. (cf USA-Mexico border controls, armed guards, fence, now someone's talking about a moat, just to name one example. Birthers would be another one; Obama released his birth certificate, now they want college records. It goes on and on and on). The next step, I guarantee, will be the attempted removal of anything considered 'offensive,' with the justification "well they're hidden now anyway, nobody's going to miss them." And WMF will go along, or the Wikipedia so-called community will go along; see the parable about boiling a frog for why. → ROUX  03:45, 19 May 2011 (UTC)
The next step, I guarantee, will be the attempted removal of anything considered 'offensive,' with the justification "well they're hidden now anyway, nobody's going to miss them." <facepalm> Really? Giving readers the choice of if/when to view certain images (when previously they forced to view them to read the article) is a slippery slope to removing readers' ability to see those images? That's not a slope, it's a boomerang. Rd232 talk 04:03, 19 May 2011 (UTC)
Interesting, thanks. Rd232 talk 03:40, 19 May 2011 (UTC)
Roux, maybe I'm not understanding. You say the WMF shouldn't assist editors in controlling what images they see, and that they should be responsible about it for themselves. How do you recommend that they do that? For example, let's say I'm at work, and Nudity pops up on my watchlist. With pop-ups, I can tell that somebody added to the text the line "Look at the booooooobiiiiiesss!!!" Without the ability to pre-censor the pictures, do I have any ability to fix that (yes, I can do it with pop-up rollover, but some like myself never use it because it doesn't leave edit summaries)? Or, alternatively, let's say I want to do research with my (non-existent) child about some biology topic, but, for some reason, I don't want to see the naughty bits. How can I go about that work without turning off all of the images on Wikipedia (which I know I can do)? You say it's up to me, but there are no tools at my disposal to do selective image blocking. What harm is there in the WMF providing me with a button to check that says, "None for us, thanks, but you keep serving that out to everyone who wants it"? I completely agree with being non-censored, but I don't understand why the need to be non-censored means that a set of options for interested users somehow interacts with that policy. Is there some tool, Roux, that should be available to me to do what it is you seem to think I should be able to do? Or are you actually saying that I have to just learn to suck it up in every situation? Qwyrxian (talk) 04:40, 19 May 2011 (UTC)
This is a response to both you and Rd232. What I am saying is that the development of third-party options to do this is a good thing; look at (and please let's leave aside any digressions down that particular garden path) Huggle for example. Third-party app, functions using the Wikipedia API, everybody wins. The problem here is WMF bowing to external pressure. This is an encyclopedia and it is not censored. Period. If people want to develop third-party apps which query the API and filter out images based on categories, more power to 'em. But Wikipedia should not be putting that functionality in, because as I said it is a slippery slope to getting the images out entirely. Yes, Rd232, you think I'm being ridiculous, fine, I hardly care what you think. I'll try and be mature enough not to say I told you so when it happens. → ROUX  05:47, 19 May 2011 (UTC)
I am in favour of Wikipedia allowing self censorship using filters as in the proposal from the foundation and I think it is better to build in such support. External tools could do most of the work but at extra cost in overheads and not so well and would not help to sell Wikipedia to people who currently avoid it. If someone sets the redneck filter saying they want to avoid seeing anything about evolution and global warming and sex and atheism and gun control then let them have a message saying they have filtered out the content whenever they might see anything like that. At the moment they go off and read things like Conservapedia instead which says that Special relativity is evil because it encourages relativism. Do we want Muslim parents to stop their children reading Wikipedia because they may see the Danish cartoons of Mahomet? Or Scientologists because it has some of their stuff? Or stop people looking up things at work because they might show something inadvertently that would not like their colleagues seeing them looking at? We should be supporting this sort of thing. On the other hand I am firmly against the idea that Wikipedia should be censored by some group of editors so others don't straightforwardly and easily see all relevant information about something they want to look up when they don't have a filter excluding such things. And I believe it should always be obvious when the filter is applied. Dmcq (talk) 09:10, 19 May 2011 (UTC)
I think the main argument against self censorship here has been a form of the Domino theory which seems to be more an act of faith on one side or the other and I don't suppose arguments will change that much. For myself I can see some bits in that theory but I think the inflexible adherence to it led to some lasting hate because of the support for corrupt regimes. I think just trying to help people rather than thinking about the politics would work out better. Dmcq (talk) 09:45, 19 May 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────It seems to me like my proposal is moot like Roux said, unless the new system does not turn out how we expect it to. I have also been looking at Roux's argument for a third party application. Not everybody can use Huggle, so I am proposing this:

The Wikimedia Foundation should give millions of dollars to 3m. 3M would then agree to send every single Wikipedia user Post-it notes. The users can then use the post-it notes to cover inappropriate images on their screen while at work or studying with their children. This would be especially conforming with Roux's argument because it is, expensive, it is inconvenient, and it involves no system that is conveniently placed on Wikipedia for people to use to set their own content filter. Ryan Vesey (talk) 13:39, 19 May 2011 (UTC)

Putting a barrier in between the reader and content, no matter how small of a barrier, constitutes censorship. Many people would never bother to click each individual image on a page with several images in order to see them, and would therefore be denied that content due to the increased effort needed to get to it. It is the purpose of Wikipedia to make information easier to access, making its viewers actively affirm with a button click that they want to see "potentially offensive" imagery could make viewers uncomfortable in the way that this proposal is attempting to avoid. AerobicFox (talk) 23:16, 19 May 2011 (UTC)
And what name do you give to a refusal to provide a feature that thousands of users have demanded, i.e., a method to actively affirm that they don't want to see a particular kind of imagery? WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:17, 20 May 2011 (UTC)
Is anybody being refused permission to create a gadget for self-censorship? You can make a gadget to do whatever you like and if "thousands of users have demanded" such an ability then they should be able to provide it themselves. Demanding the community to create this preference for them which would further divide the community, or asking the community to "give millions of dollars" to some group to to make their preference for them should be refused.AerobicFox (talk) 20:55, 20 May 2011 (UTC)

Anatomy pictures - highlight word/topic of interest?

The pictures in anatomy related articles all have pictures that appear to be from one source. Would it be possible to highlight the actual anatomy part that the wiki article is about? The font of the labels are difficult to read, so highlighting (or somehow showing the actual anatomy-part-of-interest) would be very helpful. Thanks.Eve 06:13, 19 May 2011 (UTC)

Most of them are taken from a public-domain (old) edition of Gray's Anatomy, a highly respected, standard work. You may modify the images in any way that you think is useful.
Also, if you haven't found them yet, editors interested in human anatomy and related topics are welcome to join similarly interested editors at WP:WikiProject Anatomy and WP:WikiProject Medicine. Feel free to stop by and introduce yourself on the groups' "talk" ("discussion") pages. WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:31, 19 May 2011 (UTC)
Possible modifications could include making a blinking animation, where the part in question is loosely highlighted and then de-highlighted. You could also make it highlight when you move the cursor over it.AerobicFox (talk) 00:15, 20 May 2011 (UTC)
Definitely not - blinking animations are bad, bad, bad. – ukexpat (talk) 14:03, 20 May 2011 (UTC)
I haven't tried this facility myself but you might be interested in this commons:Help:Gadget-ImageAnnotator, which as you might guess is a way of adding pop up annotations to parts of images. Dmcq (talk) 15:40, 20 May 2011 (UTC)

review button

Hello, one small suggestion, the size of the pages are based only in the preferences of some users. What about making a button where you can decide if this page is good/bad, too small/OK, partial/impartial and even important/irrelevant. One way is only make able to use this button the registered users. Or, for be more impartial and receive information from the majority of the users (not only the registered), give all the viewers that right.

In any case, is this a good idea??? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Miguelinileugim (talkcontribs) 14:30, 20 May 2011 (UTC)

Yes that is a good idea. In fact it is already being tested on 100.000 articles, for example Grassroots lobbying and United States Constitution. All the way at the bottom of the articles you will find the review box. Yoenit (talk) 14:44, 20 May 2011 (UTC)

Idea for new user right: something similar to "autopatrolled" for recent changes?

Hello all,

This idea occurred to me a few days ago. I just looked through the perennial proposals and this area's archives and didn't see anything like it, sorry if I've missed it even so.

The autopatrolled user right helps reduce the workload for new page patrollers. I was wondering whether a similar user right that prevents recent changes from appearing in Special:RecentChanges would similarly benefit recent change patrollers? Editors in good standing might be granted this right and thus be trusted to edit articles without burdening the recent change patrol team.

Possible disadvantages I can see include:

  • added burden to administrators to review the history of an editor requesting the right (or however the right might be granted)
  • vandalism stemming from the compromised account of a user with the right
  • disgruntlement of an editor who requested the right and was denied

However, I assume similar questions arose during the debut of the autopatrolled, rollback, and reviewer user rights, so we might have an ideal how to address them.

Criteria to grant the right might be similar to those for the existing autopatrolled, rollback, and reviewer user rights.

Changes would of course still show up in the other usual places like the edit history and watch lists.

Would welcome comment to see whether this is worth looking into further.

Cheers, Northumbrian (talk) 16:19, 20 May 2011 (UTC)

The recent changes is no longer practical. Some wikis do use the page patrol for the recent changes as well, but there are so many edits here that using the RC at all isn't a good thing to do, since so much is missed. Ajraddatz (Talk) 17:01, 20 May 2011 (UTC)
We would need to enable the patrolling system for recent changes first and there seems to be quite a bit of resistance against that. Yoenit (talk) 17:06, 20 May 2011 (UTC)
Ahhhh...thanks folks, I wasn't aware of those issues. It certainly seems quite a bit less feasible given those obstacles. Northumbrian (talk) 17:35, 20 May 2011 (UTC)
Yoenit, are you sure about that?
It seems to me that the request is "When <highly experienced editor> changes a page, don't list the change at Special:RecentChanges, but when <total newbie> makes a change, then do list it." I don't see any reason why that should be dependent on the existence of WP:Pending changes.
Another way to go about this might be to expand the existing options (e.g., "Hide bots" and "Hide logged-in users") to include "Hide admins" or "Hide autoconfirmed editors" or some such.
In the meantime, there are enough edits by unregistered users than anyone can stay busy checking only those. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:23, 20 May 2011 (UTC)
I agree with WhatamIdoing, when I used to patrol new changes I restricted it to only IPs or new editors and was still overwhelmed with the level of edits happening per second. Do many people actually look at the full log when patrolling? Such a feature is already included to a certain extent as Special:Tags takes into account an editors experience before tagging an edit. doomgaze (talk) 19:28, 20 May 2011 (UTC)
Huh, where did pending changes come in? Anyway, don't forget a several bots follow the recent changes feed and even highly experienced editors will be corrected by them occasionally. If you really wanna help out on recent changes patrol you should use wp:Huggle anyway. Yoenit (talk) 19:37, 20 May 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Thanks for the more detailed explanation of why this isn't feasible Yoenit. I admit my knowledge of how the WMF software works approaches zero so I learned something. Northumbrian (talk) 20:02, 20 May 2011 (UTC)

I thought it a bit patronizing, so I rewrote my comment prior to this post (in case anybody gets confused, I know I am). Yoenit (talk) 20:08, 20 May 2011 (UTC)

Cleanup templates -- almost as bad as ads; reduction ideas?

As we all know, Wikimedia takes pride in not covering the site in advertisements. Ads take up screen space, are obstructive to readers, and are generally just annoying to see. As more and more time passes, this is exactly how I feel about the cleanup templates. I am not saying at all that we should get rid of them, but I think we need to find a way to greatly reduce them in space used — closer to what is used for {{Expand section}} with the ability to place them side by side rather than only each below the next.

Think of it this way: we don't want ads on the site because then every page would begin with something like this...


...but many pages needing more than the most basic cleanup already start with something like this... {{Multiple issues}}

How is this visually any more acceptable, particularly for non-editors who only visit to find a bit of information? — CobraWiki ( jabber | stuff ) 23:01, 15 February 2011 (UTC)

Annoying on purpose. Visually they distract, and redirect attention to themselves. This serves three purposes: a) warn the reader that there may be factual or other problems with the article; b) alert readers who are potential editors that there's something they could fix, if only they clicked the 'edit' link for the first time...; c) alert current editors who come across an article (or indeed search by categories of tagged articles) what the specific problems and concerns are. Net benefit to the project. → ROUX  02:04, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
Our rejection of advertisements is not based primarily on visual appeal, but editorial independence. Rich Farmbrough, 14:15, 16 February 2011 (UTC).
However we can if we wish do this:
Rich Farmbrough, 14:17, 16 February 2011 (UTC).
It's technologically possible to create expandable templates - a smallish floating template that would have the icon and a key phrase like 'Content dispute', 'Help needed', or etc, but could be clicked to give more details. Don't know if we'd want to do that, and it would be a fairly major undertaking, if only because we'd have to make sure that changes to the current templates didn't muck up any of the possibly thousands of pages these banners are currently on, but it is possible. --Ludwigs2 14:54, 16 February 2011 (UTC)

I'm with Roux. Essentially, the ugliness is functional. Rd232 talk 19:12, 16 February 2011 (UTC)

Usually, those templates only state the obvious anyway ("This article needs more references, blah, blah.") and I have rarely seen cases where an article was improved as a direct reaction to them. In most cases, somebody puts them on a page and then they stay there for years, because even if proper references have been introduced nobody dares remove the banners. It's really a social problem rather than a technical one: Some editors, instead of simply fixing/improving an article, prefer to tag it with a mostly useless cleanup template because that's less work for them than actually doing something about an article's deficiencies. These templates are also a cheap way to rack up a high edit count, which might explain why some editors are so fond of them. To which I say: WP:SOFIXIT. --Morn (talk) 20:07, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
I've solved problems in response to a template, but usually because the article was already on my watchlist for some other reason, and I saw the addition. On the other hand, tags that aren't addressed promptly are probably pretty worthless, if not permanent fixtures. (Exercise for the reader: Go open 100 articles in, say, Category:Articles lacking sources from December 2006 and see how many are incorrectly tagged as containing zero sources.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:54, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
"I have rarely seen cases where an article was improved as a direct reaction to them." - how can you tell? This sort of anecdotal handwaving is worthless, unless for some reason you think it valid to only count cases where someone immediately fixes the entire problem and has sufficient confidence in the resolution to remove the template. Of course there's nothing to stop you doing a statistically valid study to determine the impact of cleanup templates over different periods (1 day, 1 week, 1 month, 1 year...) if you want... These things take time, and without attention-getting templates, they take even longer. Rd232 talk 01:37, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
They say the obvious... to a human viewer. But the point of a cleanup template is that it enables an editor in the future to find it (through categories and backlinks from WP:TC etc.). And I think the suggestion that the only reason editors tag with cleanup templates is because they are lazy edit count whores is flexing WP:AGF! I've tagged a few articles with WP:TC templates, and the reason I do so is because I'm not necessarily knowledgable about what makes a reliable source for that topic. If I'm watching TV and doing some anti-vandal work while the advert break is on and run across an article that needs obvious cleanup, being able to notify other editors that it has some set of problems is quite useful. Similarly, if I run across a stack of new and unreferenced articles on, say, French politics: I don't know what counts as a reliable source in that topic, but it would be nice if the people who do know could find the article and fix problems with it. —Tom Morris (talk) 01:25, 23 February 2011 (UTC)

(First, on a side note, reading my posts I know that the tone of my typically-long ones can sound a bit snobbish; I assure you that is not the intent. My apologies in advance, though, just in case.) I can see Roux's point, but I think the only reason for validity is because it is what we are used to seeing. On the "Feature Articles" is a little icon in the upper right hand corner. Typically the same is true for admins' pages. We also receive those administrative notices in or watch lists that we can dismiss when we choose. None of them are large, yet I doubt they go unnoticed by the majority. It's not about size; it's about effectiveness. The two aren't always the same. Mentioning again the two examples shown here already:

Can we not see those? Do we think that others cannot see them? What do the larger templates give except for an extended explanation of the template's purpose which is essentially the same as what the link always found in each template provides? If the person doesn't know what "Needs references" means, they can click the link and find out. They don't need it mentioned in the template along with a link visible in the same template for them to click to tell them the exact same thing in more detail. — CobraWiki ( jabber | stuff ) 22:03, 16 February 2011 (UTC)

A significant part of the purpose is to turn readers into editors. The "please help" bits are not optional extras. Rd232 talk 01:37, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
That's a good point (in the way that you stated the first sentence.) I admit I had never thought about it in full from that direct angle — CobraWiki ( jabber | stuff ) 07:44, 17 February 2011 (UTC)

I liked that point that banners end up sitting for months or years, even after the problems are gone, or of decidedly little interest even to the person who made the banner. Maybe these are good reasons that banners should evolve over time to get smaller?-Tesseract2 (talk) 20:36, 19 February 2011 (UTC)

Some (not I) could argue the opposite. If the banners are what grab attention to what needs editing and something hasn't been edited after a long time, then maybe the banners just need to be bigger (ha!) But seriously, I do still feel something could be done. This all sparked from a post a ran across recently by User:MuZemike proposing more uniform templates that (or based on what) he had created (all found here). I agree with his concept, but by chance they are also smaller than current:
... but my view leads to even smaller:
Edit-clear.svg This article may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards. Please help us improve it if you can. The talk page may contain suggestions.
Acap.svg This article may require copy editing for grammar, style, cohesion, tone, or spelling. You can assist by editing it.
Ambox content.png This article is written like an advertisement. Please help rewrite it from a neutral point of view. Blatant advertising that would require a fundamental rewrite to become encyclopedic, should be marked for speedy deletion. using {{db-spam}}.
Wiki letter w.svg Please expand this article using the suggested source(s) below. More information might be found in a section of the talk page.
A bit crude in my coding making it easier for me to create these, but you get the idea. I still feel they are easily noticeable. — CobraWiki ( jabber | stuff ) 06:21, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
Edit-clear.svg This article may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards. It's need: copy editing for grammar, style, cohesion, tone, or spelling • rewriting from a neutral point of view. (Blatant advertising that would require a fundamental rewrite to become encyclopedic, should be marked for speedy deletion. using {{db-spam}}) • expanding by using the suggested source(s) below. Please help us improve it if you can. The talk page may contain suggestions.

Hmm? Przykuta (talk) 17:21, 28 February 2011 (UTC)

haha... erm... no. :D — CobraWiki ( jabber | stuff ) 06:50, 4 March 2011 (UTC)

Finally, sombody said what I've been feeling for more than a year now. All these "missing citations", "disputed", "should be merged" and similar notices are ugly, distracting, and gives Wikipedia a really unprofessional appearance. I did a short test: I clicked the "Random Article" 10 times. Out of these 10 random pages, 6 (!) had these large warning messages on them, 3 were stubs (very short articles), and only 1 a normal warning-less article... What is most annoying is that in many cases, several people worked hard and wrote a nice article, and then comes along one person who decides that this article needs citations, or whatever, and just tags it - and then this ugly banner stays around for years... If you want to add citations, do it. If you think there's an error, correct it - or remove the erronous statement. Or write about in the talk page. But what good do these banners do???? I say, ban these banners! Nyh (talk) 10:03, 12 May 2011 (UTC)

Please read my comment above. These banners are ugly and distracting on purpose. Readers must know when there are problems with a given article, as it allows them to make a judgement about whether to trust the information contained therein. Such banners also serve to recruit new editors because people think, for example, "Hey, I can fix the writing here!" → ROUX  18:08, 12 May 2011 (UTC)


Perhaps the various tags could be replaced with icons located to the immediate right of the article title.

What I envisage is icons of the same font size as the article title, and in the form of a relevant image covered by a red crossed circle. The nature of each icon may be stated as alternative text (e.g. "This article needs...").

To avoid too many such icons, the current tags could be simplified down to a handful. For example, the orphan and dead end tags could be subsumed into a insufficient links icon. And all the references, refimprove, unreferenced, references-blp tags, some of which duplicate each other, could be subsumed into a insufficient references icon.

When adding an icon, an editor could be forced to enter a concern parameter indicating what is wrong. The concern, (in either WP:USETEMP or tag form) could then be automatically entered into the talk page. Once saved, each icon may then act as a link to the relevant section in the talk page. After all, shouldn't these sorts of tags be on the talk page. Isn't that what the talk page is for. How many times have we come across a tagged article and found that the talk page hasn't yet been created or if it has, it was only to add it to a WikiProject.

The obvious criticism I can see of this idea is that icons may be less noticeable than tags. However, considering how dominating tags can be, almost anything would be less noticeable. Nonetheless, I think readers would soon notice these icons as they wouldn't appear identically on every page if at all. And, of course, serving the same function as tags, they'd still add articles to hidden categories.

LordVetinari (talk) 03:22, 1 March 2011 (UTC)

I just re-read User:Shanes/Why tags are evil and it seems he already mentioned icons there. Must have been at the back of my mind when I thought of the idea described above. Thought I'd add this in case I get accused of stealing ideas. LordVetinari (talk) 05:08, 1 March 2011 (UTC)

Thank you for pointing me to that essay. I had never read it before. Do we really know that the size of the tags (or the tags at all) draw in new people to edit? More specifically, do we know that the tags draw in new people to make edits specifically focused around hoping to get that tag removed? How can we possibly know if we only stick with "how it's always been done" instead of taking a chance? My personal opinion is that smaller tags would not change a thing for better or worse relative to the already-declining number of new editors. — CobraWiki ( jabber | stuff ) 06:50, 4 March 2011 (UTC)
I can't speak for others, of course, but tags didn't motivate me to edit. I read articles on Wikipedia for years before I started editing. Back then, I usually ignored the tags as nothing more than meaningless maintenance stuff. As a reader, it meant nothing to me. When I did eventually edit, it was in response to my own opinion of the article content, not others' opinions as presented through tags. More so as a reader, tags were to me little different to the ads that clog up the website: the reader has to search through the page just to find the text. That's as annoying as google search results that don't lead to pages relevant to the requested search.
My view is that maintenance tags have three purposes:
  • To 'tag' an article for maintenance (i.e. add it to a hidden category)
    • Icons will do this as well as anything
  • To advertise to the reader that an article has been recognised as being below standard
    • Icons, in the form I've described, may fulfil the same purpose. This is especially likely as readers will come to notice that not all pages have icons and those that do don't necessarily have the same ones.
  • To encourage readers to become editors.
    • As mentioned above, tags had no effect in my case. I also don't think people need to be told that a crap article is a crap article in order to motivate them to edit it. People join because it fulfils their needs. That their actions also usually serve Wikipedia's is, in my namesake's words, "a happy bonus". I don't believe people join in because we've just presented them with an article that needs references or needs a copyedit. If they are going to join in, they'll likely start in an area that is of interest to them and then, they'll probably begin by correcting a typo or rephrasing a sentence in an otherwise passable article. To put it in perspective, maintenance is difficult work. For example, I occasionally go on de-orphaning patrols but, despite it seeming like a simple task, different orphaned articles can present different problems requiring different solutions. Just like wikification, refimproving and the others, it is not an easy task likely to motivate the casual reader. Let's entice them with the easy stuff. Once they're seduced, then they'll feel inclined to do the hard yards.
One last thought: I think an editable encyclopedia appeals to that part in many of us that feels compelled to correct spelling mistakes in the newspaper (e.g. see Eats, Shoots & Leaves.
One last question: How many editor's (IP or otherwise) began by dealing with an issue mentioned in a maintenance tag?
LordVetinari (talk) 13:24, 4 March 2011 (UTC)

I was asked by CobraWiki to give my views on this. I believe strongly that turning tags meant for editors into small icons would be an improvement. Tags that warn readers about factual controversy or bias are ok, I think. But all those "fix-me" tags nagging about whatever someone felt like nagging about is not worth the distraction and article ugliness the big boxes bring. The style manual states that articles should begin with defining or explaining the topic. These tags goes against that. In general I'd like article space to be for the readers, and complaints or suggestions to editors on how to improve an article should be made on the talk page, not with big flashy boxes on top of the article. --Shanes (talk) 20:41, 5 March 2011 (UTC)

Thank you for your feedback but thank you especially for "loaning" your idea (see my second edit, above). LordVetinari (talk) 13:36, 6 March 2011 (UTC)
Thanks Shanes. That's an interesting point you bring up about two types of tags being used in different ways. I certainly agree about the use of the talk page over the article space being more logical for the boxes (particularly since the talk page is where you have to discuss the issues if needed anyway. If the point of view remains that the templates are there to grab attention and too many members keep believing that those tags have more worth in encourage enough people enough to edit and then join and edit than obstruction by being there (which I believe is flawed reasoning as mentioned above), then not even that sort of change would be placed in effect. I'd at least like to at least see a trail period, but that would only happen if some details could be hashed out here otherwise I have no idea if many others agree with the idea (prior to starting a poll). — CobraWiki ( jabber | stuff ) 02:32, 9 March 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps the idea would be more successful if the end result could be rolled out in stages. The concept, as described earlier, actually consists of several ideas. Consider,
  • Icon/tag design and layout → Don't know what mechanics are involved but changing from one to the other should be a simple case of altering some template pages.
  • Icon/tag simplification (eg. subsuming {{references}} & {{refimprove}} into a new {{Insufficent references}} icon) → Technically, this is a separate issue, and could be rolled out anytime.
  • Icons/tags automatically linking to talk page → As above, some tinkering with the template code should enable this. It would also require a major rewrite of relevant tutorials, WP namespace pages etc. Perhaps it could be made easier with the appearance of a messagebox whenever someone tries to add an old-style tag. I expect this aspect of the concept will provoke most discussion.
All in all, justifying the replacement of tags with icons should be the easy part. LordVetinari (talk) 03:18, 9 March 2011 (UTC)

So, umm, I'm not very familiar with this whole Village Pump process. What usually happens next? I'm thinking of moving this discussion to its own page in my userspace so that we can find it more easily. It looks a little lost on this page. LordVetinari (talk) 07:06, 10 March 2011 (UTC)

Another step is to create a poll, but that doesn't do much good without hashing out details here. Otherwise the poll isn't helpful. — CobraWiki ( jabber | stuff ) 18:56, 13 March 2011 (UTC)
I agree with Shanes: "Tags that warn readers about factual controversy or bias are ok, I think. But all those "fix-me" tags nagging about whatever someone felt like nagging about is not worth the distraction and article ugliness the big boxes bring."
Tags indicating unreliability and bias are useful to the reader and should stay in some form. The rest are aimed at the editors so shouldn't take up so much space - either make them smaller or put them at the bottom of the article rather than the top. What reader ever read a tag saying "This article needs to be wikified to meet wikipedia's quality standards" and thought, ooh, I'll join wikipedia so I can learn how to wikify this article?--Physics is all gnomes (talk) 18:12, 15 March 2011 (UTC)
Yes! In article space we should think about and only include information that is useful to those who looked up the article to learn about the topic. If the article is disputed in any way, this is important for the reader to know. But if the article needs wikifying or spell checking or better grammar or what ever, this is not something that give the reader any better understanding of the topic. It is just something that give them information about the article about the topic on the encyclopedia called Wikipedia, but this is just meta-information the reader wasn't asking for.
I find it interesting that the very first, and really the ultimate "fix-me-tag", the stub tag, was introduced and always meant to be included very discretely at the bottom of the article. Since then the tagging has become a screaming contest where every minor flaw that an article might have now has its own tag that is put up on top before any information about the real topic. It's rather rude, I think. If my 85-year old mother wanted to learn more about some subject and looked up the article on wikipedia about it and had to read about wikifying first, she would be confused. I don't think she knows what it means, and, really, why should she? We are here for the readers. --Shanes (talk) 01:20, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
I totally agree with Shanes. If it's about neutrality or such, then at the top is important, but otherwise, stick it at the bottom. Anna Frodesiak (talk) 02:19, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
Fix-me tags that tell the reader that this page is unsourced or needs more sources is beneficial. It screams that you shouldn't believe a word of this --Guerillero | My Talk 17:19, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
So, if Shanes' view is the way to go, another stage would be locating all of these templates in order to separate them into two groups. . . I believe I will safe that task for a latter point if it seems this idea might go through. Fix-it templates on the talk page critical ones on the project page, but I'm still holding on to my original reasoning that each template itself should be made smaller. — CobraWiki ( jabber | stuff ) 21:48, 20 March 2011 (UTC)
Already started at User:LordVetinari/Template messages LordVetinari (talk) 02:39, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
Thanks LordVetinari. I have been busy the past few days (and I can't devote a tone of time to WP anyway). I'll add to it as a I can. — CobraWiki ( jabber | stuff ) 19:24, 26 March 2011 (UTC)
Sorry for no updates on this issue. I never relized just how many cleanup tags that there are (or sub-tags to cover tiny variations). I've been trying to work on this offline but have caused myself a few headaches just by looking through all of them. — CobraWiki ( jabber | stuff ) 06:30, 14 April 2011 (UTC)

The Answer to those who complain about tags

I agree with this idea by User: CobraWiki: Starting off with small tags--maybe at the bottom, even, might be okay. But there should be a defined period after which they become more conspicuous, not less. First they should jump to the top, then at the next stage, grow (perhaps to the current size) and then after a longer period, perhaps double in size. Ideally, if an article's tag problems are not addressed for a period of, say 12 or 18 months, the tag would grow large enough that it would fill the average user's monitor. This would address the only truly annoying aspect of tags--the fact that sometimes they sit literally for years without being addressed. I mean, really, how many more articles do we need to write, people? It's time to fix the problems--especially bias--in the articles we already have. And in this way, those who for some reason say that they don't like tags can help get rid of them. (And first in line to start fixing things maybe should be User:Shanes, who appears to be trying to have it both ways--he writes this essay complaining about tags and then he says right here that the ones he likes are okay. Well, which is it? All tags are evil, I guess, except when they're not.) HuskyHuskie (talk) 00:26, 12 March 2011 (UTC)
Hmmmmmm "It's not about size; it's about effectiveness. The two aren't always the same." .... ;oP LOL! Sorry, had to do that! I have to say, I personally would be far more likely to respond to the dinky-size boxes. Maybe I'm just perverse, or something. A page with huge big banners all over it really just makes me want to go somewhere else (like maybe looking for random typo's beginning with 'm' .....). SuggestBot? I'm sure more use could be made of it. I think. How about use of SuggestBot for people who actually identify themselves as Elves, Gnomes, Fairies, and so on? If they already like doing that stuff, seems an obvious way to target people who are more likely to respond. Pesky (talk) 12:10, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
I think this is a bad idea. Let's let the encyclopedia evolve at its natural pace. Don't hinder access to information by growing annoying signs even larger. More obscure topics simply take longer for their articles to grow. Jason Quinn (talk) 17:16, 27 March 2011 (UTC)

My cleanup proposal

I'll plug this here again, as I have in the past whenever the old cleanup tag discussion happens, designed to "lessen" the footprint of tags but still keep some degree of relevancy: User:MuZemike/Cleanup proposal. –MuZemike 20:24, 18 April 2011 (UTC)

Yes that's an improvement, but I wouldn't mind seeing an even tighter layout. How about a template that is a tab-bar with a single named tab for each concern. Click on a tab and the appropriate template appears below. When you don't want to see it, the template is rolled away exposing only a single line bar. Alternatively, a roll-up button could be used.—RJH (talk) 22:25, 19 April 2011 (UTC)
Nice to see you adding to the discussion MuZemike since, as I said previously, it was running across your proposal that sparked this topic. It also reminds me how the icons need to be better-standardized. Another alternative I considered (after reading a post by LordVetinari much further up) could be placed in the upper left corner:
Article issues:

Needs general cleanup Needs copy-editing Reads like a review Neutrality is disputed

Each of the images links to a descriptive article with a mouseover description of the needed cleanup. Critical ones could have an extra red box around them. Again, I use the reasoning that if a change is made, people will learn or adjust if they actually care about the existence of tags. (It would be interesting in the next independent review questionnaire about WP to ask about tag issues: a scale of how often people add them, clean up to remove them, scan and remove them without any work themselves, use categories to adjust these issue in mass instead of the tags themselves per article, etc.) Tags have very rarely influenced me to do anything, but with or without them I still had to learn things. Change the method around learning (a small box in the corner or smaller templates as in the start of this discussion instead of a huge one in the center) and people would still learn. The only difference being less clutter. Where is the tag for "tag cleanup needed?" — CobraWiki ( jabber | stuff ) 20:39, 23 April 2011 (UTC)
I generally support this idea, but what we do about tags perhaps depends on what the tags are for. If they're meant as a stark warning to readers we probably want to leave them prominently in place. Unreferenced BLPs or neutrality disputes might be an example. On the other hand Orphan tags don't effect the article itself so could simply appear as an icon, category or on the talk page - that tag is only really for people interested in "building the web" of Wikipedia, not the average reader. I'd also support ditching "Cleanup" as a tag, which is far too vague to be of any use. Fences&Windows 19:15, 1 May 2011 (UTC)
I've never involved myself in Village pump issues. Can someone tell me what other steps aside from trying to work on this issue myself can/should be taken if I hope to get others involved in this? — CobraWiki ( jabber | stuff ) 21:35, 22 May 2011 (UTC)