Wikipedia:Village pump (idea lab)/Archive 5

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This editor is very old and may stop editing suddenly.

Editors come and go of course and there is nothing wrong with that but what about long-standing editors that suddenly and unexpectedly stop editing? There does not seem to be anyway of finding out what has happened to them. It is possible that some of these editors are getting on a bit and might have passed away, and no-one here will ever know, which seems a bit of a shame. Would it be possible/feasible/desirable to have some sort of voluntary scheme whereby editors can leave contact details (perhaps a next of kin) and instructions to contact after 1/3/6 months. I understand that some people work away for extended periods or go on long holidays but explanations/templates can be added to user pages to avoid confusion. I am not entirely sure where I'm going with this so feel free to chip in.--Ykraps (talk) 10:23, 25 August 2011 (UTC)

Doing it the other way round might be better. We could offer a PDF form that people can print, which would say something like: "I am a Wikipedia editor under the name ___. In case of my death, please send an email to ___ / leave a message at . Please disclose / do not disclose my real life identity." If this becomes popular, we could even combine it with an automatically generated public/private key authentication. Editors would post the public key to their user page, and the PDF form would contain the private key, to be presented by the "executor" of this "Wikipedia will". Hans Adler 11:08, 25 August 2011 (UTC)
I have no very strong view on the idea in general, but I do have a very strong view that public/private key authentication of such things is absurd and of no value whatsoever.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 11:15, 25 August 2011 (UTC)
Maybe I was thinking too far ahead, mostly because a relatively prominent Wikipedian may have died recently. It's tantalising not to know if an anonyous editor has died or has disappeared for a different reason such as stress reduction or sock puppetry. It can be stressful for part of the community not to get closure on this. On the other hand, we don't want jokers going around claiming the deaths of editors who are inactive for other reasons. While not a BLP concern in the usual sense, similar considerations w.r.t. editors apply here. Hans Adler 11:24, 25 August 2011 (UTC)
Personally, I'd love to have a userbox that says "This editor is very old and may stop editing suddenly." LOL (as I believe you young things say). Ghmyrtle (talk) 11:28, 25 August 2011 (UTC) (aged 59½)

Okay. Just to expand my thoughts a bit, this is how I saw it working: 1. The scheme is completely voluntary. 2. An editor would enter details on a database such as; My next of kin's name is ....., His/her contact details (or simply an email address) are.........., Please contact after (time) if there has been an unexplained stop in my editing. 3. The editor gets a userbox for his/her page that explains they are part of the scheme. 4. Only admins have access to the database and only admins can make contact once an enquiry has been made by an editor. 5. An explanation is posted on the 'missing' editors user page. (would it be appropriate for other editors to leave messages of condolence here, do you think?) Hans' idea is good and would mean less work for the community but as statistics show that as (in the UK, anyway) most people can't be bothered to even make a will; it probably aint going happen!--Ykraps (talk) 12:06, 25 August 2011 (UTC)

That sounds like a good idea for a web service by some trustworthy provider, final sign offs for things like Facebook and suchlike. It's not something that I care about personally but I do know lots of people seem to worry about their persona on the web. Perhaps it is something that is already being done somewhere? I'm not sure how one would achieve the necessary trust but judging from how little some social sites seem to care for security perhaps that doesn't matter ;-) Dmcq (talk) 21:19, 26 August 2011 (UTC)
It's easy enough for individuals to do this individually, using the same processes that their friends and family will need to use to deal with their real life accounts. Most people should have a list of usernames and passwords for their most significant accounts, written on paper and stored with a copy of their wills. Adding "and please post a note to Wikipedia" after the "The retirement account number is _____, and if you want to see it online, the username and password are..." or "Please phone this e-mail outfit and tell them that I died and want the account deleted" is not very difficult. WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:21, 26 August 2011 (UTC)
I wouldn't oppose anything like this but I agree with WhatamIdoing. See User:Bobamnertiopsis/userboxes/isdead. It might be possible for the person who places the userbox on the page to supply the code for the committed identity. Ryan Vesey Review me! 21:30, 26 August 2011 (UTC)
Or we could get some editors to act as precogs and tell the older editors they are going to die next week, so they could set their affairs in order... just kidding. But more seriously, I do not see this as much of a problem, as really good editors leaving so unhappily. I did not know User:RickK, but came across his name by chance and saw that after 30,000 edits he left very unhappily. And there was a really good editor User:Radagast3 who left so unhappily he even deleted his own user page after he was blocked for one month by an "involved admin" and the community did very little abut it. So we can not stop people from dying, but there should be much better policies to avoid the loss of really good editors like Radagast3. History2007 (talk) 20:02, 27 August 2011 (UTC)

FWIW -- and it's probably not worth much -- there is Wikipedia:Missing Wikipedians, and if you post someone's name there maybe someone who knows what happened will fill in the details. But probably not. Herostratus (talk) 17:04, 28 August 2011 (UTC)

I agree with Hans and WhatamIdoing that a system whereby people put something in there will makes sense. I also think a public key system where the private key is in the users's will makes sense. Why do you think it absurd Jimbo? Too hard to implement? We are only talking about recording two numbers and having someone verify that one is a factor or the other. Very easy. Yaris678 (talk) 18:07, 30 August 2011 (UTC)

I really don't see the point to this. I have had at least one Wikimedia account where I forgot the password and have no other means to edit on that account. What did I do? Simply move on and create a new account. My "old" account looks like I suddenly stopped editing.
There may be a legitimate reason why some people stop editing. They could have a personality conflict with other editors/admins. They may not like a policy change. They may simply have stuff happen in their life which pulls them away from regular contributions. None of these reasons are death, but perhaps it would be useful to find out why they left.
I did know of one particular regular contributor whose widow e-mailed Foundation-l after his death as a means to let some of those who worked with him on some projects that he passed on. I don't want to make light of this (especially as I just buried two good friends of mine this past couple of weeks... sheer coincidence but it is something I'm thinking about). Then again, if somebody wants to leave "bread crumbs" behind so they can be found or that others can find their fate, I'm not against that either. I would not like to see foundation resources devoted to this effort beyond simply letting user pages of these "departed" editors remain where they are at with perhaps some sort of semi-protection or other safeguard to keep those pages from being edited. --Robert Horning (talk) 19:36, 30 August 2011 (UTC)
It's one thing if a user just stops editing and nobody has any idea why. (Although the user themselves may not be happy with this. People want to get their things in order before they die, and for some this may include notifying Wikipedia why they stopped editing.) But some editors have a lot of Wikipedia-friends who may be worrying about the user's condition and may be waiting for closure. Or think of Wikipedians suddenly stopping to edit on the day a disaster strikes their region.
Closure also helps to prevent inappropriate messages from accumulating. E.g., Orangemarlin, a difficult but very popular editor, took leave on 8th July to undergo difficult heart surgery and has not edited since, but initially continued to get talk page messages related to editing disputes. Maybe he will be back in a month to leave a short message that he has decided no longer to waste lifetime on Wikipedia. Maybe not. Maybe we all just have to get used to the fact that this, including the lack of closure, is what cyber-tombstones look like. Or we could do something about it and transfer conventional ideas of propriety into Wikipedia (while making sure to prevent abuse by pranksters). In any case I don't think foundation sources should be wasted. Hans Adler 09:52, 1 September 2011 (UTC)
I am afraid that I don't have the slightest idea of what resources are required and I have no desire to consume large amounts of power/memory (?) meant for storing articles. However, I receive an email everytime someone edits my talk page and I don't see why something similar can't be done when there has been an unexplained lapse in editing.
Personally I'm not too bothered about people who stop editing because they got bored or disallusioned because that is their choice and if they feel so inclined, they can leave an explanation on their talk page. Dying is quite different. I am not a very active Wikipedian and if I was hit by a bus tomorrow very few people here would notice and I doubt very much if any would care but I would not want them to think I left without saying goodbye (I was brought up to believe that was rude). Other editors are much more active and interact with a great many other editors on a daily basis. In these situations it's likely that some sort of bond is formed and therefore, like Hans, I believe some sort of closure is required.--Ykraps (talk) 07:57, 2 September 2011 (UTC)

I agree that this is an overlooked problem, which will only become more serious with time. There's a similar problem in the Open Source world: I know of one project that came to an abrupt end when its maintainer fell off the Internet, & only after a determined user tracked down the real-life identity of the person did anyone learn he had died. His family knew nothing of his software project, & so they never thought to let anyone online know about his death. A simple way to address this problem would be for Wikipedians to ask their family, in the event of their deaths, to contact someone in the community with the news. One way would be to open an OTRS ticket with a message along the lines of "Joe Blow, username Such-n-such, died on this date. His obituary appeared in this newspaper." OTRS is set up as a contact point for non-Wikipedians to communicate with us, so that wouldn't be an unusual request. Yes, this solution isn't fool-proof, & some veteran Wikipedians who have become very alienated from community might refuse to do this just to spite us -- but it would be a start & would be better than nothing. (And had Orangemarlin made arrangements like this, then people like Hans wouldn't be as worried about his silence; no news would simply mean he's on an extended WikiBreak.) -- llywrch (talk) 06:42, 10 September 2011 (UTC)

Smart phone editing

There are a few iPhone and other smart phone apps that allow Wikipedia to be read on a smart phone. I was wondering if it would be possible to create an app which allows people to edit Wikipedia with their smart phone. ItsZippy (talk) 14:31, 31 August 2011 (UTC)

I've never used a smart phone, but it's my understanding that they have web browsers. Ntsimp (talk) 14:47, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
Yes, you can edit Wikipedia using mobile Safari. But if there was an app that made it a whole lot easier (easier to select blocks of text, easier to scroll in the edit window, ability to use the edit toolbar), then I would be a happy person indeed. –xenotalk 21:39, 2 September 2011 (UTC)
Just to follow up on these ideas (which I agree with), there is a Meta portal for the mobile projects being done at the Foundation. I was thinking of adding a single idea log to it as well where we can catalog and describe these ideas, but in general I just wanted to point out that place. :) Steven Walling (WMF) • talk 18:30, 9 September 2011 (UTC)

Time and Date code

Is it currently possible to have a time & date code written into an article? For example, the 2011 Rugby World Cup page has dates and times of matches to be played, but doesn't show the time zone (which is obvious, but that's beside the point). What would be neat is if there were a universal way of writing the time & date unambiguously such that the system would show you the local time. For example, I'm in Singapore, and the time that the match is playing would be shown in Singapore time. Has that already been implemented and is just not being used? Is it worth doing? What do people think? Grj23 (talk) 02:06, 6 September 2011 (UTC)

Why does the time of the match matter in the first place? ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 02:10, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
So that they know when to tune in, presumably. --Cybercobra (talk) 06:59, 12 September 2011 (UTC)
Which falls pretty clearly under WP:NOTDIR. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 13:54, 12 September 2011 (UTC)

Abusive overlinking in edit summaries

Please imagine if your watchlist was full of [this type of disruption]. That's a small sample from a sock at just one Michigan IP. They use many. The edits are often nothing more than wikilinking existing text, yet the edit summary is a barrage of stuff.

If your watched pages don't suffer this behavior, naturally and correctly it will seem a minor problem to you. But I am cursed with the same primary interest as the IP - climate articles - and so my watchlist and editing session is often hashed up being lost in this stuff and checking their edits for damage to articles.

HELP! I've warned 'em, but they don't care. ANI and sock investigation won't work... they use a bunch of IPs, too many to block effectively. I suggested [a new policy] but it was defeated.

Anyone have any other ideas besides "just deal with it"?

I particularly wonder what their motive is..... is there some sort of search engine optimization or other motive to do this, even if the hand of the wikigods took their edits summary text away after it was posted? Or would the deletion of that text rob them of the motivation to do this disruptive behavior, and so reform them ?

If ya'll think they'd go away if their edit summaries were taken out, or made invisible, then what's the best way to go about accomplishing that goal? Is Template:RevDel the answer, or is this something for which a new tool might be created? What should it do exactly? I can research for some more example edits on request. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 01:04, 13 September 2011 (UTC)

Honestly, who cares? How is it abusive? How do you know this person is not just linking a bunch of things which would provide more insight into what they have just written? Seriously, there are more worrisome things on Wikipedia than seeing some links in edit summaries. → ROUX  02:01, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
That's a nice demonstration of consensus agenda-setting, for someone whose most recent 500 different pages do not contain "climate" in the title. If that were your main edit subject area, I bet money you'd at least understand my complaint, even if you still didn't think it merited complaining.NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 05:13, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
Your 'complaint' is links in edit summaries. What you have failed to demonstrate is what the actual problem here is, and how it is--your word, not mine--abusive. Because all I see is "this irks me! I do not wish to be irked! Make it stop!"
To use your penchant for analogies, you're complaining about which flowers the owners of the house down the street choose to grow, based solely on the fact that you prefer daisies over carnations. → ROUX  05:25, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
Alternatively, you can just template the IP using {{uw-wrongsummary}}. --Σ talkcontribs 05:27, 13 September 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── (1) IP user doesn't care so templating is no different than a personal note on their talk page (which was tried).

(2) It's abusive because, borrowing the flower analogy, the IP can have whatever flowers they like up by their house, but local ordinances generally prohibit them from growing thorny blackberry brambles overhanging the public sidewalk. More precisely:

(a) It directly abuses the watchlist function, which is supposed to provide editors with a tool for efficiency and organization but instead becomes a cluttered debris field of spam, thus forcing other editors to sort through the visual screen clutter to find new interesting edits, or refer back to relocate ones of interest once again. It wastes time, energy, and seriously degrades editing enjoyment if you happen to watch the impacted pages, especially if the sock machine has been busy that weekend.

(b) The way sock gains access to multiple edit summaries to fill with this soapboxing spam is also directly abusive of editor time, energy, and enjoyment - specifically, they make a bunch of non-edits to articles, which editors then have to take their time to check for damage to the article. [Here's an example of such a non-edit.] If they always used the same IP and always made non-edits, they could be ignored, but instead their edits have to be checked because they're often substantial such as this one. Note the edit summaries on those diffs, as well as the edit content itself.

Blackberry bramble covered sidewalks tend to make people go elsewhere, and they ruin my trousers. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 06:52, 13 September 2011 (UTC)

I'm not seeing the problem. The edit summaries are related to the edits. They are far more informative than many of mine. This is a good thing—and even if the person used no edit summaries at all, you'd still want to check all of the contributions. "Please use your edit summaries to tell me which of your changes I can safely ignore" is not a realistic request. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:08, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
If its that big of a problem from that series of Ip's just block the IP group. --Kumioko (talk) 19:10, 13 September 2011 (UTC)

confused - please help! map request


If you have worked with world maps before, please help! I want to make one. I am so confused and helpless in this part of wikipedia. I have been editing Muammar Gaddafi, and I want to put up a map of nations he's visited, warred with, tried to merge with. I have a list of nations, sourced, ready-to-go, but i don't know how to make the map. If you can help, I'm offering you a barnstar for your hard work. And please understand, Gaddafi's 40+ yrs in power have created an interesting list of nations. I think you'll find it exciting and intriguing when I share the list with you. Anyway, send me a message to my talk page and I'll send you the list of countries. I like the map of Nations visited by Pope John Paul II and I think it's a great example of what we can do. Again, thank you so much for your help!


Screwball23 talk 19:48, 14 September 2011 (UTC)

article not found

I was looking for an article on Lucite Acrylic GOLD Fleck Candles. I don't really know much about them except my great grandmother had a set on her dining table. A seller of them on e bay said: "The Crystal Clear, Gold Fleck Lucite Candles are about 10" long, plus the metallic silver cord wick, and about 5/8" diameter at the base. We believe these candles were in production from 1979 to 1988, as we have (or had) four like these in gold, in the original box which we were able to precisely date." Mabe you can forward this to someone who is into research and writing articles. Thank-you Brett Baker — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:49, 15 September 2011 (UTC)

  • Wikipedia does not yet have articles about those types of collectibles, so you will need to try a Google Search request, such as:
Then look through those other webpages to see how the candles are described. Currently, most articles in Wikipedia are about generalized types of furniture and household items, rather than specific styles and models of items. Hence, an item such as "beach towel" has only a small section of text within the article "Towel" rather than a set of 100 common styles of beach towels. Even the crown jewels of major nations do not yet have articles showing the famous crowns of each monarch during the past 300 years (see: Crown Jewels of Sweden, as example of minimal details). Wikipedia's coverage of antiques and collectibles is still at a very basic level. Try searching in Google or, for specific styles of collectibles. -Wikid77 (talk) 09:38, 16 September 2011 (UTC)

Encouraging school teachers to get their pupils to contribute

This is probably not a new idea. Please forgive me if so, and also please forgive me (and not bite me too hard) if I have misunderstood how this page is supposed to be used. However, I have long pondered (decades even before the days of Wikipedia) how much valuable human effort is expended, and later discarded, by pupils and students in examination halls and coursework exercises. Could school teachers (and university lecturers) be encouraged to get their best pupils and students to upload their work to Wikipedia, as and where appropriate. As a starting point, a class might be asked to research and write a biography of a little-known but notable person. To the teacher, the subject of the biography is just a vehicle, and irrelevent to the exercise. To the pupil, the subject of the biography is what sparks their interest (writing a biography of a little-known but notable chemist might be what is needed to get a chemistry-orientated pupil involved in writing an essay for the English teacher). To both, the fact that the subject is little-known (and a stub on Wikipedia) means that the student cannot just copy-paste from the internet, but has to put in some scholarly effort.

OK, there would have to be checks and safeguards in place. But this is true of all articles on Wikipedia anyway. A teacher who persistently allows substandard articles to be submitted could be warned, and eventually blocked, in the usual way.

There are just so many biography stubs, to stay with this example, that surely any effort to get the article started is to be welcomed. Having been started, it is then easier for later editors to improve on it. That's just my thoughts. TheAMmollusc (talk) 11:30, 8 August 2011 (UTC)

Recommend reading Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2008-05-09/Dispatches. The general consensus is that writing for Wikipedia is much harder than any essay assignment or research report and the skill set don't overlap with anything learned up to that point. However, a better focus may be adding illustrations and photography to existing articles. This lower hanging fruit can be quickly explained and understood by newcomers. — Dispenser 13:44, 8 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Wikipedia avoids former Britannica essays: As a major part of Internet culture, Wikipedia can be studied and taught in schools, by focusing on various aspects of the Wikipedia project. For example, the heavy reliance on third-party sources, with less coverage from primary sources, is an important concept in objective journalism. Also, the avoidance of expert essays, using sourced text instead, differs from the manner in which Encyclopedia Britannica had allowed leading experts, in various fields, to write essay-style articles with no sources. Hence, there are some major aspects of Wikipedia, which can be used to focus teaching of journalism concepts. -Wikid77 (talk) 05:38, 13 August 2011 (UTC)
I'm not sure I trust an army of students 6 to 12 to write an encyclopedia, under one IP address, which helps corrupt the students' better will with the mask of anonymity, thus causing them to vandalise articles en masse. I think I wrote a ton of stuff on that, but I forgot what happened to it. --Σ talkcontribs 22:51, 23 August 2011 (UTC)
The teacher could be asked to guard against vandalism as part of the program. Robert 00:46, 7 September 2011 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Robert the Devil (talkcontribs) 00:45, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
It looks like I'm showing my age :-) I had been thinking of it happening the other way round: the teacher would set the assigment to be done on paper (handwritten or word processed), and would only, then, invite the best ones to ready them further for publication on Wikipedia. Thanks, though, everyone, for your responses to my suggestion... all duly noted, and taken on board. TheAMmollusc (talk) 08:06, 16 September 2011 (UTC)

I think we already do this, actually - great minds think alike! See "Wikipedia Ambassador Program" Social tamarisk (talk) 20:57, 25 August 2011 (UTC)

Yes, this is exactly what we do, and the program is measuring as a success for both the student participants, and Wikipedia goals. So yes it's a good idea, and the program can use community support and involvement. -- My76Strat (talk) 08:23, 16 September 2011 (UTC)

The program is now known as the Global Education Program, and many thousands of students are participating this fall. Inside the US it's known as the United States Education Program. It has indeed been shown to effectively motivate students, as you suggest. We could certainly use your help in recruiting more professors and more volunteers to contribute as Campus Ambassadors and Online Ambassadors! Dcoetzee 23:02, 20 September 2011 (UTC)

A high school teacher in Australia here, advising that I've already had a couple of my best students do some constructive editing on some articles. But I do have to pedantically point out that, this being a global program, we don't have fall here (we do autumn) and it's spring now anyway.  ;-) HiLo48 (talk) 23:54, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
Oops :-) That's exciting, we don't have any official projects sponsored by the program in Australia yet, I have to wonder if anyone there would be interested. We're also just starting to branch into high schools. Lots of potential. Dcoetzee 03:12, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

Simple English ruleset

The recent ANI thread about the Nanjing Normal University class project has got me thinking. A lot of the problems in the ANI thread were about these new users creating inappropriate articles and using inappropriate references - the sort of thing that new users from anywhere might do. Adding to this problem was the fact that they weren't native speakers of English, so there was a language barrier too. Nevertheless, most contributors at the ANI thread thought that these students could be good contributors, and also that having more editors from non-English-speaking countries could help counter systemic bias. Note that these editors do speak English, just that it might not be all that advanced. I think that a lot of these contributors have problems understanding the complex English used in Wikipedia policy pages (and this is in addition to the already-steep learning curve).

Hence my idea: Could we have a ruleset written in Simple English? I am thinking of something like the simplified ruleset, but even shorter, more to the point, and most importantly, using words that the vast majority of international speakers of English would understand. I also thought of making a Simple English page for every major policy/guideline, but this might be harder to maintain. (It would have the advantage, though, that we could use some of the policies from Simple English Wikipedia, though some of their rules are different.) What do you all think? — Mr. Stradivarius 09:14, 19 September 2011 (UTC)

based on what I see there, they can read English well enough. What they didn't understand well enough was the concept of notability, and the instructor had not anticipated there would be difficulties with this. From my own experience, beginners in a class find it very difficult to select appropriate topics, they need guidance, and I think the instructor now realizes the guidance that is needed. DGG ( talk ) 16:40, 19 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Simplified explanations of policies sounds like a good idea, not just for simple-English but for everyone, because once editors understand the basic policies, then they can edit hundreds of articles which follow a basic, repeated pattern, without having to know an advanced level of policies or English vocabulary. Such simplified pages could also benefit the help-desk editors, who could suggest the shorter policy-pages to new users. For example, we have numerous editors from India who should learn to avoid "ALL CAPITAL LETTERS" in writing articles. However, note that some of the policy-page simplification has been done in various "intro" pages, already, so in effect, the job of simplifying is almost done. The task remains to ensure that all the basics are covered, and then let more people know how to list the simple-versions of policies and guidelines. Meanwhile, the WP:MOS restrictions need to be reduced, because many issues are just unneeded complexity (such as telling people to put lead-zero on "0.25" while ".40" is an allowed exception, is just a totally unneeded restriction: all calculators handle ".xx"). Anyway, check: WP:Welcome for the current simple overview pages. -Wikid77 (talk) 17:01, 19 September 2011 (UTC)

Old Style calendar pages

After working on many of the yearly articles, "1054", "1620", "1776", "1789" (etc.), I realize that Wikipedia had no articles to show the full Old Style calendars, which begin on 25 March each year. So, I am creating those Old-Style calendar pages, starting with:

There is a note inside article "Benjamin Franklin" to explain his literal birthyear was "1705" because Old-Style year 1706 began on 25 March, and Franklin was born in January, still considered the tail-end of the prior year, 1705. The calendar for England and the American colonies only changed to start new years on 1 January after 1752, so there are over 150 years of Old-Style calendar years which affect the dating of British/colonial events in January, February, and early March of those years. By having full-calendar pages, then it will be easier to show how January was the end of the prior year. -Wikid77 (talk) 17:01, 19 September 2011 (UTC)

As I understand it, the movement of the start of the year from March to January was not necessarily one of Gregorian reform; just in Great Britain at least they coincided. I don't think we can have all possible years, there are simply too many. It just seems horribly complicated to figure out and get right. Grandiose (me, talk, contribs) 08:54, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Focusing on major calendars: I agree that there are many different, confusing calendar changes which the various nations each adopted along the way. However, the specific calendar styles for England (and related regions) have affected many notable events, so I think the extra articles are needed. For example, the move of the new-year from March to January did not exactly "coincide" with Gregorian reform, but affected two separate years (1751/1752), as described in the new articles:
England could have dropped the 11 days in 1751, while also ending the year on 31 December, but Old Style 1751 remained a totally Julian calendar which ended at January 1752, and then 1752 became the transition year (dropping 11 days). By having separate calendar articles for each year, it is easier to describe the distinctions. Anyway, the calendar in England began on 25 March for over 500 years, as clearly a notable issue, and yet Wikipedia had very little to show for that massive time period of calendars. However, I agree that having separate historical calendars for every nation could become very confusing (see: Gregorian calendar#Adoption), so I am focusing, now, on those 500 years of England and related regions (Wales, Ireland, the American colonies, etc.). Meanwhile, we have Template:Year_in_other_calendars to track many of the cultural calendars. There are a lot of issues, but we can focus on the major aspects. -Wikid77 (talk) 16:55, 20 September 2011 (UTC)

Noticeboard archiving

Could the archiving for the general admin noticeboards be changed from MiszaBot to ClueBot III? ClueBot III archival is preferable, as many links to ANI and AN grow linkrot, which CBIII cures by intelligently changing the link-to-be-rotted to the archives of material (here for instance), whereas MiszaBot just cuts and pastes while the link rots, grows mold, crumbles to dust, gets absorbed into the ground, and gets reincarnated as an apple tree. Thoughts? →Στc. 01:31, 20 September 2011 (UTC)

Does the bot do that for all links, no matter where they are on wikipedia? That would be awesome. Yoenit (talk) 07:32, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
CBIII has edits in article space. I never knew why, until Anomie politely enlightened me. To answer your question, I believe so, yes. →Στc. 07:34, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
Well, you have my full fledged support then, I encounter rotted links regularly. Yoenit (talk) 07:41, 20 September 2011 (UTC)

The cybernetics of Wikipedia

This is my first time posting on the Wikipedia forums, so hello everyone!

I would like to propose the construction of a social memory platform, augmented by a cyberneticly linked social network, working to resolve a single, cohesive memory from the minds of an entire population. My social reasoning machine model (SRM) attempts to extrapolate the long-term/short-term memory processes shared by the mind and computer chip onto a social network. It manifests as a self-organizing encyclopedia of public opinion capable of generating and presenting the most relevant information to a user for any subject, as dictated by the previously recorded bias of the population.

The SRM’s long-term memory is the ’journal’. This is a social encyclopedia collaboratively assembled from input by the entire population with links between related articles. It looks a lot like the current state of Wikipedia. The key difference is that while any anonymous individual can update or vandalize content on Wikipedia, the SRM requires all content stored in long-term memory to first be processed through open debate in its short-term memory, the ‘forum’.

When a user submits a piece of content to the forum, the idea is debated by the population for a period of time before a simple, majority-rule vote. The proposed edit either makes it in or it doesn’t. The process of deciding relevancy by a yes/no majority-rule vote defines a pattern of individual bits, providing us with an observable social bias. The short-term process looks a lot like Reddit. Pieces of content are organized by votes/activity on the front page, and debate is organized into a ranked, expanding comment tree. Sub-communities can hold their own votes to define their own patterns. In addition to new content, users can post corrections and updates to the journal, a self-refining process conforming the SRM to better reflect the population’s bias. Any level of resolution is possible down to voting on individual word choice or punctuation.

While a bit is being debated, users cite other bits of information already stored in the journal to reinforce their viewpoints. The links created by this citation process, combined with the results and data from the voting systems, create a network of relational relevance throughout the contents of the journal: a measurable network of popular relevance. This system does not attempt to predict or model the “truth”. The SRM maps the pattern of bias held by the entire population of what they believe the truth might be. When contrasted against a body of verified research and reportage, this shows us what fields of study need the most attention by an educational institution such as today’s Wikipedia

The whole model also includes a profile system, much akin to Facebook, which I hope is the next step that Google+ had hoped to be. The social reasoning machine allows every networked individual equal access to having their unique opinion heard across both space and time.

This is the first time my ideas have had any peer feedback, and I would really like to hear what the Wikipedia community has to say. I know that putting these ideas out here opens them up for other people to take advantage of (“haven’t you seen 'Social Network?! a friend asks), but these ideas belong to the community.

Primary fields of citation:

Google Docs:

TL;DR: [Wikipedia + Reddit = Artificial Intelligence?] — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ucsrm (talkcontribs) 13:48, 20 September 2011 (UTC)

I see you have moved your post from the policy village pump to here, but Roux original reply is still highly relevant, so I will repost it below. Yoenit (talk) 17:43, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
Um, this is kind of not at all what Wikipedia is for or what this specific page is for. There are no 'forums' as such on Wikipedia; all pages that aren't articles are, broadly speaking, supposed to only be used for improving articles or behind-the-scenes processes. This post does neither. You may wish to click here for an overview of what Wikipedia is for, or here. → ROUX  07:00, 20 September 2011 (UTC)

Linking to Wikias as a replacement of excessive fictional information

Earlier today I was interested in some information about the comic character Iron Man. I ended up on Alternative versions of Iron Man, which is a rather poor quality article. I would also consider the material intricate detail only of interest to a select group of fans and thus outside the scope of wikipedia. I know some people agree with me, while other editors strongly disagree. In this case I am actually a fan, but the article was so poor it did not give me the information I wanted. Instead I decided to head over to the Marvel Wikia and behold: A full list of alternate appearances with yummy images and subarticles for every single one of them. With the limitations we set ourselfs (e.g. wp:V, wp:PLOT, wp:NFC) we can never compete with something like that, even if a significant fraction of our editors wasn't actively trying to delete such articles as wp:CRUFT. Why do we try? Why don't we just add prominent external links to such Wikias? We would of course be losing traffic too them, but by handing it to the Wikias we are still sticking to our core goal of spreading freely licensed information. What are your thoughts? Yoenit (talk) 21:51, 14 September 2011 (UTC)

The link between Wikipedia and Wikia has been almost as big of rift as the whole issue of fancruft, where Wikia was originally treated as if it was a sister project (originally Wikicities at the time) to where it now is merely another external link, one that is as often as not quickly removed even when the Wikia pages are pretty decent.
For myself, I think purging this content from Wikipedia and the related sister projects was a huge mistake, and is part of the reason why Wikipedia is losing editors. I also know this is an uphill battle, where some editors would love to remove even mere external links to Wikia in a "see also" section (or "External Links" section). Just looking through the history of Template:Wikia I think should tell you more than you would expect to learn about this history, together with the deletion discussions (there have been three). I suppose it is time to hold another deletion discussion on this template? --Robert Horning (talk) 22:25, 14 September 2011 (UTC)
For all but the largest fan wikis, it's often a violation of WP:ELNO#EL12, which discourages links to small open wikis. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:08, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
Yeah, but the areas which attract most of the "cruft" (for lack of a better word) also tend to have large wikis. For example, Transformers wiki (15.000 articles), Marvel wikia (88.000 articles), Star Wars wikia (86.000 articles)Yoenit (talk) 17:35, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
"Small" in ELNO terms is measured by the number of users, not the number of articles. It's mostly about the likelihood of vandalism being caught. WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:19, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
We should treat links to Wikia the same as any other external links. If the Wikia wiki is the dominant fan wiki for the topic and a good source of info, and editors of the article agree to link it, then link it. The only issue is possible contributory copyright infringement, since Wikia wikis frequently include far more non-free images than could possibly could be justified by fair use. Dcoetzee 22:59, 20 September 2011 (UTC)

Most linked rating?

Is there any way to find out which articles has most wiki-links? just as will tell how many people viewed a specific article.Electron9 (talk) 14:27, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Most referenced articles. Sole Soul (talk) 15:31, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

Inappropriate usernames

Every admin will be aware that a significantly high number of potentially productive and constructive users choose, as their username, their initial or main editing topic. This results very often both in their being blocked under UAA policy and quite frequently in their article being flagged for deletion. And we lose thereby a number of potentially good editors.

I am not a software expert. Is there any way in which first time editors creating accounts could receive an automatic warning telling them to avoid choosing usernames that relate directly to their editorial interest? This would obviously alleviate to a small extent the work of the admins but, more importantly, would possibly retain new editors who might well otherwise be discouraged when their first article and their chosen username relate, causing the rejection of one or both. --Anthony Bradbury"talk" 19:06, 13 September 2011 (UTC)

its possible that a swich could be done that would say something like if Username is an IP or contains zero edits then display X message telling them this. I don't know if thats something that the programmers would do though. But I don't think it would be very hard. --Kumioko (talk) 19:14, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
I don't think that solves the problem. You'd want to give the warning at the point of account creation, at which point you have no idea what subject the person is going to work on.
I think it would be better if more admins followed the policy about not instantly blocking apparently constructive editors, and if more tag-happy editors would actually read the WP:COI guideline, especially the bits about a close connection not resulting in a complete prohibition on editing. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:01, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
Pretty much this. Bag and tag is certainly a lot less effort, but I really wish more administrators would first try education and warnings. And don't get me started on blocking folks who already have name changes requests filed! –xenotalk 20:05, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
Yes. My basic point was to avoid having to block new editors, by in some way (I don't know how) letting them know as they create accounts that they should not demonstrate a relationship between their username and their editing interest. --Anthony Bradbury"talk" 19:12, 14 September 2011 (UTC)
I am slightly confused by your opening claim that editor's get blocked for choosing their main editing topic as a username. This, in itself, is not against WP:User name. Names such as User:Football79, User:Geologyguy, User:Tennis expert and User:Physicsjock are all acceptable names and should not be blocked (one of them is, but for entirely unrelated reasons). It is promotional usernames which are against policy. I guess you really mean user names named after an organisation are problematic but may well be good faith editors. It would not be practical to determine if a submitted user name was an organisation name - too many local businesses to expect any database to cover them all. A warning would need to go to all new users and the appropriate place to place that would be on the account creation screen. SpinningSpark 11:49, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
I think that you're forgetting that WP:Nobody reads the directions. Newbies get blocked fairly often for a username that is technically approved by the policy, mostly because people remember what someone told them the policy said a couple of years ago rather than reading it for themselves.
BTW, if you're interested in this issue, you might like to join the discussion at Wikipedia talk:Username policy#Recent_revert. I'm trying to expand the WP:CORPNAME to rein in some of this application creep, so that it's more obvious that Mark at Alcoa (talk · contribs) (a name discussed extensively and approved as both non-promotional and a very convenient COI disclosure/warning to other editors to keep an eye on company-related edits) is not a violation of this section. WhatamIdoing (talk) 14:55, 22 September 2011 (UTC)

Site wide notice

A thing has occurred to me, I'd like to hear additional thoughts! When an editor is about to be completely banned from Wikipedia, (an ultimate sanction) that a site notice should invite full community involvement. Right now there is a terrible policy in place that falls far short of attracting the opinions of interested users. This applies to many discussions, but in particular, the ultimate sanction should have community assent! IMO -- My76Strat (talk) 06:01, 16 September 2011 (UTC)

Why would an IP who does not want to edit care about the inner workings of Wikipedia, or would the notice be enabled for registered users only? →Σ talkcontribs 06:21, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
I would primarily want it for established users. To my understand a few IP's fall into that consideration, so I suppose they should have some ability to request it. Lord help that if it should ever be me, I would hope those who cared would know, without need for canvassing, or other technical ability, ie a block.--My76Strat (talk) 07:18, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
A major problem in large discussions on Wikipedia is the uninformed showing up to throw their two cents in without any real understanding of the issues at play. I'm not sure a listing on {{cent}} would affect the signal:noise ratio in the right direction. Not to mention the fact that there are such discussions how many times per week? People will simply stop paying attention to them rather quickly. → ROUX  07:46, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
I understand your reservation. I agree this is a valid consideration. It may well be that we have the most practical process in place. And I appreciate your response so the other things can also be considered.--My76Strat (talk) 07:58, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
I agree with Roux. I'm unsure what type of situations you have in mind, where someone was completely banned from Wikipedia where wider involvement would be beneficial. Do you have examples? Certainly a site notice inviting random people who have no knowledge of the situation seems pretty harmful.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 10:34, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
I would like to think that a total ban was a punishment for a very serious offence and that the decision to impose it was not taken lightly. Are you saying this isn't the case or do you suspect some sort of abuse is going on?--Ykraps (talk) 17:00, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
No I don't have a particular concern, nor any doubt that due weight is given. I apologize if that impression was given. I only wondered aloud if it was a thing we should do. I understand the reasons given that this may not be productive and I appreciate that comments were given.--My76Strat (talk) 17:19, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
Okay, thanks for clarifying. My initial feeling is that it would be impractical and unnecessary. Sorry.--Ykraps (talk) 17:56, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
I agree. Perhaps there is or should be an email notification which a user can sign up for. If they were specifically interested in knowing when such a sanction is being discussed. I may be totally off track, but I presumed and hope this is a sanction that is relatively rare.--My76Strat (talk) 18:22, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
I think this is neither wise nor necessary. Trust me, users interested in such discussions already have AN and AN/I watchlisted. → ROUX  18:34, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
I think that Roux is right: We have a central forum for such discussions, and it's not difficult to find. WP:CBAN even tells you that AN is the normal place to discuss such things. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:37, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
Would the WP:Feedback request service be of interest? —Akrabbimtalk 15:00, 22 September 2011 (UTC)

New Ways to Explore Content History

Right now Wikipedia's past contributions are separated from a page's current state within the history tab. But what if we could bring content history into the present page, showing the history of individual paragraphs or sentences? What could this do, both for newbies and experienced editors?

I recently completed a prototype tool called ‘Pivot’ that brings edit history to the sentence level of the article's text rather than line-by-line, edit-by-edit in the history tab as the current interface does. As I continue development, I’d really like some feedback from active Wikipedians as to what works, what doesn’t, and how it might be used. Would you be willing to give it a quick look and give me some comments?

To use the prototype, you can visit one of the following external links that layer the tool on top of different articles: Kiev article tool, Liancourt_Rocks article tool, Death_Star article tool

When you load the page, on the right hand side you’ll see four colored bars that match up with the scroll bar. These become more saturated if sentences in the region of the page have more edits (red), more contributors (yellow), a greater percentage of reverts (green), or were edited more recently (blue). Clicking on those bars will highlight the text, darkening sentences that have more edits, etc. so you can identify interesting areas to explore. Once you’ve picked out an interesting sentence, click on it to open up the history for that sentence. A new frame will pull open (some scrolling may be required thanks to a pernicious bug, sorry). In that frame you can see the most recent edit at the top of the list, and then previous edits going down into the past, along with editor names and comments. Words that have been added in an edit are highlighted in green. In turn, you can highlight the sentences that a contributor has made edits to in that window.

Would you be willing to give me some comments? You can also use this anonymous survey. I’m particularly interested in whether you think the tool helped you uncover the sorts of information I mentioned earlier, if you see any use for it in your daily editing tasks, and what you think could be improved. Are there particular situations that this tool would really help you out? Knowing where and when this tool can be used will help me tailor it for future users and maybe even apply it to all of Wikipedia.

If you know of any other Wikipedians who might also be willing to help, I'd appreciate you linking them in. You can find out more about me on my user page and personal home page. I'm more than happy to talk more about this research on my talk page or by email, and thank you for your time. JeffRz (talk) 14:26, 22 September 2011 (UTC)

I think that is a fantastic tool. It could be used for the same purposes as wikiblame but would seem to be far superior on the basis of that demo. It also seems to be able to semantically identify sentences as opposed to what you get with the diff service which often makes a simple one line edit look like the entire article has been rewritten. I would suggest that time and date stamps would be a useful addition. Also, on more mature articles it may be sensible to give the user the ability to request a limited date range. Having found a particular edit I am interested in, would it be possible to generate a URL to a diff so I can post a link to it?
Thanks for the feedback! We're definitely going to continue work on this, so I'll add your suggestions to the big list.JeffRz (talk) 02:56, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
I am concerned what this will do to page load times. It sounds like the tool will have to read an awful lot of page history first to be able to generate the data. Do you have any take on what this is going to do to page load times and server load? SpinningSpark 19:23, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for the feedback. Yes, the tool does have to parse through a ton of history, but this isn't done at page load. We can preprocess and store the data, since it isn't that big once you factor in compression (one to two orders of magnitude smaller than the database store for a page's entire history). The tool as you see is feeding preprocessed out of a database after the page loads. In the future, if implemented broad scale, then whenever an edit is made we can have a background task on the server add that edit to the page's traces rather than recomputing all of them. The only way to really determine how loaded the servers will end up being is to try it, so we're looking to deploy it on a live mirror of Wikipedia to see how it works. Of course, that means we have to precompute thousands of pages first! JeffRz (talk) 02:56, 23 September 2011 (UTC)

Linkrot - What to do?

I would like to gather some input on what can be done to eliminate Wikipedias problems with linkrot. I already made a number of proposals none of which actually led anywhere. The following is a collection of links to previous discussions regarding this topic:

I still come across a lot of articles with dead reference links, so I think the linkrot problem is still far from being solved. I encourage all editors to comment on this topic. Thanks. Toshio Yamaguchi (talk) 22:10, 10 September 2011 (UTC)

I think they are separate issues. To repair link rot, we have people who monitor the category, and add information to the bare URL. Once the link has gone dead, it involves a different process to recover the source. While it might make sense to repair both aspects simultaneously, I will admit that I clean a lot of link rot by adding the information, while leaving the dead links for another. (partially because I have yet to learn the means). My76Strat (talk) 22:32, 10 September 2011 (UTC)
I am mainly concerned with the dead links. The problem is that once a link has died it is in many cases impossible to restore it. We need to do something before the links go dead, at least that's my opinion. The coverage of services like the Internet Archive doing link archiving on a regular basis are not satisfactory for our purposes in my opinion. And the majority of our editors does (for various reasons) not do anything to ensure the reference links they introduce will remain stable in the future. Also I know that Wikiwix already archives Wikipedias links and I appreciate that. However I think that alone is not sufficient to preserve the verifiability of our entire content (if that is possible after all, I doubt it). And I would like to highlight again that we are all volunteers here. If online only sources go dead, the information supported by that source is in question and the work put into researching and putting together that information can be regarded as wasted completely. Toshio Yamaguchi (talk) 22:50, 10 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Create our own archive service (much like WebCite, except hopefully it won't crash). But I doubt the WMF will support hosting such a site. /ƒETCHCOMMS/ 00:32, 11 September 2011 (UTC)
My GSoC project was on this and through it I created the ArchiveLinks extension. The route we decided to go was to partner with They will be archiving all new links on demand from a feed that the extension produces and making them available shortly thereafter (i.e. within a matter of hours/days ). The extension then hooks into the parser to add links to the cached version after every external link on the wiki. Feel free to ask away if you have any questions. --Kevin Brown (talk) 01:26, 11 September 2011 (UTC)
To my initial understanding, WP:WAYBACK is supposed to provide another possibility. My76Strat (talk) 02:09, 11 September 2011 (UTC)
I think the WMF should seriously consider doing this. If some way could be included to choose whether to archive images or not, that would be helpful, too. I find that I generally don't need images in any archive of a source as I tend to cite text, not images. The only part which would be difficult is citing text contained within flash. My opinion is that a source not in flash should be sought instead. That said, a text archiving service would definitely benefit the WMF as it would allow the various Wikipedia sites to become better due to cited sources not disappearing. I like the idea of the extension, above, though that would need to be implemented by a developer (as would any other citation service operated by the WMF). ···日本穣? · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe · Join WikiProject Japan! 04:07, 11 September 2011 (UTC)

This is a major issue for our project and one that really needs to be solved for our long-term success. Here's a bit of an update:

  • Kevin's ArchiveLinks extension has made substantial progress in addressing the issue. I believe it still requires a bot to crawl the pages to get those citations archived.
  • A few of the WMF staff have recently been working on m:Wikicite as a long term solution, but this is a major undertaking and will require a lot more work.
  • WebCite ( went down a few weeks ago, so all those archive links are currently non-functional.
  • Wikiwix is no longer functioning (at least for me), so those links are not working either.

Personally, I would like to see ArchiveLinks get deployed here at enwp as Kevin has worked with the WMF and got them partnered with the Wayback Machine ( to come up with a workable solution to this problem.
@Kevin, could you please let us know what still needs to be done to get this deployed as our solution? Thanks. - Hydroxonium (TCV) 04:43, 11 September 2011 (UTC)

The only way we're going to be able to deal with this, long term, is to take over responsibility for archiving these links ourselves, by whatever method(s) we can. The ArchiveLinks extension sounds like an excellent idea, combined with a bot consistently crawling pages. Pesky (talkstalk!) 05:13, 11 September 2011 (UTC)
Yes, this is a very good idea, and timely. My76Strat (talk) 05:38, 11 September 2011 (UTC)
The extension actually has a mode that it can operate in to crawl pages itself. Though though that part of the extension still needs a lot of work. Basically I was using wget with a ton of flags to download all the pages from a given. wanted a feed, so I had to create one and make it available to operate in that fashion. At the current time you must choose one mode or the other, you can't not operate with both local archival and feed generation mode, this could be fixed but would require another database table. I also disagree with the idea that the Internet Archive isn't able to handle archival. The entire organization is setup with the long term in mind, to give you an idea of what I mean they make statues of all their employees after they've been around for a few years so they can be remembered thousands of years from now. Regarding progress is now parsing the sample feed and archiving everything on demand. What they need now is a copy of the feed for the english wikipedia which I am in the process of producing. --Kevin Brown (talk) 16:37, 11 September 2011 (UTC)
How would the ArchiveLinks extension deal with robots.txt? I occasionally find reporting that a page cannot be crawled or displayed because of robots.txt. I know we can ignore any request in the robots.txt file, but do we want to? -- Donald Albury 11:29, 12 September 2011 (UTC)
We shouldn't ignore robots.txt. It's bad practice and will make us look bad. But that also means major sites like the NYT can't be archived by us or any other service. /ƒETCHCOMMS/ 14:27, 12 September 2011 (UTC)
Robots.txt is followed. It can be disabled with the wget flag -e robot=off. I didn't include an option to disable it as that goes against good practices on the internet and there is really no need to. One of the main reasons robots.txt was designed was to prevent spiders from going into infinite loops or loading pages that consumed a large amount of resources. This is something you don't want a spider doing. In addition there may be additional legal stuff with ignoring robots.txt (I have no clue and am totally guessing), but yeah anyhow I don't think anyone should disable robots for archival without seeking a qualified opinion first. --Kevin Brown (talk) 16:26, 12 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Wikiwix is no longer functioning (at least for me), so those links are not working either. Could it s possible to have more information ? thank you Pmartin (talk) 21:57, 12 September 2011 (UTC)
My Apologies. Wikiwix is now working for me. At the time I wrote that statement, the archive links at Wikiwix would start loading but never complete. I clicked about 10 links to Wikiwix and waited 10 to 15 minutes, but the pages never loaded. I just checked again and all those links are working. It's possible that the problem was with my ISP. - Hydroxonium (TCV) 04:29, 14 September 2011 (UTC)

I made a request once, and it resulted in webcitebot. It wasn't well maintained, and didn't amount to much. I always wished that it had had a feature for articles that passed FA to archive all their online refs. I think that would create the kind of community who cares enough to make it work for all refs. That's what I recommend working on. - Peregrine Fisher (talk) 03:13, 15 September 2011 (UTC)

Ok, how should we go about that? I am not sure if the "consensus" at Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)/Archive 76#Automatically archive all reference links when an article gets FA nominated is sufficient to approach the foundation on that basis. Perhaps we should drop Maggie a note to hear what she thinks? Toshio Yamaguchi (talk) 10:36, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
Another bot request, maybe? It takes someone willing to stay on top of the request for quite a while to get it done. It can languish, and you may need to do some "anyone here" type comments to keep it active. - Peregrine Fisher (talk) 15:00, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
I'm willing to try anything/everything. Any type of progress is better than stagnating, which is what we have been doing. Any other input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks. - Hydroxonium (TCV) 03:24, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
I don't see any need to request our hard-pressed developers to create an archiving service when WebCite is perfectly adequate. It is stable and mature and seems to be in it for the long haul - it is widely used by scholars so the service is unlikely ot be withdrawn. I don't know if it is correct that the site crashed a few weeks ago but it is up now and all the links I checked at random are working. All sites are down occassionally for maintenance - even Wikipedia. It seems to me the problem is that there is currently no working WebCite bot. Creating a new archiving service will still require a bot to do the archiving and just has to be a heap more work. SpinningSpark 09:57, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
I know that one user actually maintains a (functioning?) WebCite tool on the toolserver. However a number of requests I submitted have still not been processed and I guess the global usage of this tool is probably very limited due to its location on the toolserver. I would prefer (and already proposed in the past) to have a quick link to such a tool (maybe in the toolbox). The questions are:
1.) who could make the necessary change to the skin/interface for the tool to appear?
2.) would the user maintaining the tool be willing to have his tool used that way?
3.) would the community be willing to accept a tool from that particular user?
4.) could the user be convinced to release the source code of the tool and thus enable other developers to maintain it?
5.) is WebCite capable of handling the large number of requests which could result from the tool?
If all of these questions could be answered, linkrot could be actively combatted by practically any user on a large scale. Toshio Yamaguchi (talk) 12:28, 27 September 2011 (UTC)

Gender and sports - trying to formulate a proposal

So we want to increase participation by women, right? It seems to me that one way to do this is by avoiding the use of phrases that assume a male gender.

This is particularly problematic in the sports world, to the point where I scarcely know where to begin enumerating the difficulties. We have the situation where soccer World Cup is assumed to refer to the men's tournament (see recent discussion). Australia national basketball team is about the men's team, without even so much as a hatnote for the women's team. We have Category:Sportswomen by sport but no corresponding category for the men; the women's category has 39 sports listed as subcats, while the men have 10. (Why is that a problem, you ask? Because the men are in categories like Category:Canadian soccer players while the women are relegated to Category:Canadian women's soccer players.)

I and others have attempted to raise these concerns elsewhere and elsewhen but have to date not gotten much response, even after a fair bit of cajoling. See, for instance, Wikipedia:Village pump (miscellaneous)/Archive 34#Gender and sports and PRIMARYTOPIC and Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)/Archive 70#Sportsperson categories and gender. Piecemeal approaches—hoping that a local consensus can be built into a stronger, broader consensus—have fallen under the weight of editors proclaiming that "This would affect all countries and require a much wider discussion." (See, for instance, Talk:Australia national basketball team#Requested move.)

Well, consider this the wider discussion. I hope it gets more attention.

What I would like to see is an acknowledgement that we have a responsibility to treat the two genders equitably. A good example is United States national soccer team, which is a disambiguation page that refrains from assuming that the men's team ought to be our "default" choice. Certainly in some cases, the difference in popularity would be too overwhelming for this to be a reasonable approach, but our current threshold is far too high. Doesn't a dedication to gender equality suggest that we ought to make some accommodations in this realm, so that maybe women don't see us assuming masculinity every time they put in a search term?

I would welcome any help refining this into a concrete proposal that might get a better response on WP:VPP. Thank you. Powers T 17:17, 15 September 2011 (UTC)

  • I don't understand what you're looking for. What are you trying to accomplish, in a single sentence? /ƒETCHCOMMS/ 19:09, 18 September 2011 (UTC)
    • If I may be so bold to interpret, I think the goal here is to not automatically assume that a link to a national sports team, where there may be teams of both genders using essentially the same name, be automatically assumed to be the men's team and not necessarily the women's team. Broadly interpreting WP:NPOV, I would have to agree that is wrong and certainly pushing a POV after a fashion. I do think this falls more into the realm of WP:SOFIXIT rather than anything really needing discussion, especially as precedence can be found in some other articles. If anything, the questions that should be raised here is now to do that without creating an edit war in the process. --Robert Horning (talk) 01:52, 19 September 2011 (UTC)
  • I agree with you entirely on the categories problem: there's no need to split things by gender right at the top. All footballers, for example, should be in one category, perhaps with male and female subdivisions thereafter. Regarding the articlespace, I think that generally the more prominent team should be the focus of the "national team" article. As I see it, two options exist:
  1. Merge the male and female team articles into a new "country national sport team" article.
  2. More prominent (generally male) team takes primacy, with a hatnote applied to link to the less prominent team right at the top of the article. This would involve less work, be less contentious, and also (imho) look neater, but still wave a banner right at the top of the article saying "look, we cover women's sport too!".
As an editor almost wholly uninvolved in sports articles, I think your idea is a good one. Can I be cheeky and ask that if you decide to do wholesale article creation, you ask for the autopatrolled bit? Special:Newpages always seems to have be clogged with sports articles that people don't want to touch because it's outside their field of expertise. Good luck with moving the idea forwards. Brammers (talk/c) 07:51, 19 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Well No.1 isn't going to work - the first thing that would happen with "England national football team" is someone will propose it get split into two articles as it has become unwieldy. Also, generally speaking, one wouldn't want to filter out half the content of an article
No.2 more or less happens now, except the hatnote isn't a hatnote currently, but sometimes a "see also" in the "see also" section, or linked via "sport-code in country" type templates.
Generally speaking these are the primary subjects notability wise, based on coverage, audience and fiscal considerations. I don't see a need to go changing it on some PC appeasement campaign - personally I'd think it a bit patronising. Much as I would like to see women's football on par with men's, it isn't happening any time soon. --ClubOranjeT 10:25, 19 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Incidentally - for the World Cup example cited, the reason it is assumed that it refers to the men's tournament is sources all do the same: Fifa refer to the Men's premier tournament as the Fifa World Cup, while the age based and women's tournaments are disambiguated. --ClubOranjeT 10:34, 19 September 2011 (UTC)

Here's another example of this problem: Wikipedia:Categories for discussion/Log/2011 September 12#Category:Women's association football players. Apparently, according to the participants in this discussion, women don't play soccer. They play "Women's soccer", which is a totally different sport. This isn't an issue of primary subjects or official names -- it's outright sexism, plain and simple. And it's rife throughout the sporting topics in this encyclopedia, and I'd like to fix it. But I don't know where to start. Powers T 12:28, 19 September 2011 (UTC)

  • I don't think sexism on Wikipedia is the main issue. If [sports team name] is most commonly associated with the men's team, then the article should (generally) be about that one. We can't change the popularity of female sports teams. Of course, sexism on Wikipedia is a problem, but not one solved by renaming articles. Now, I agree with the categories stuff mentioned in the proposal—make subcategories for men and women, rather than sticking the men in the non-gender-specific category and the women in the gender-specific one. This just seems like common sense to me. /ƒETCHCOMMS/ 23:05, 19 September 2011 (UTC)
  • I know that where I live, coverage of women's sport is treated as a postscript to the main sporting stories -- see here for an example -- only one article of 20 on the front page deals with women's sport. To that extent, the bias in Wikipedia reflects real life. MER-C 10:43, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
    • But it's not really the same thing. Publications with limited space (or time) devote more space (or time) to the more popular sports. That's to be expected. But we don't. Wikipedia is not paper. We aim to provide commensurate coverage no matter what sport or gender is involved. All I'm asking for is that when someone -- possibly a woman, whose participation we're trying to increase -- comes to us looking for information on women's sports, that we can present a more welcoming face by treating both genders equitably in article and category naming. Powers T 12:18, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Thanks for all of your ideas -- what's the next step? How do I go about formulating an actual proposal or plan of action? Powers T 12:18, 20 September 2011 (UTC)

I'm inclined to believe that at least part -- if not all -- of these systemic language issues are to do with the way these sports are referred to outside of Wikipedia, and less that Wikipedia in itself suffers from any specific problem. It's reasonable to assume that Soccer World Cup does indeed refer to the "World Cup" that most readers of Wikipedia would expect to find when browsing the encyclopaedia: it strikes me as political correctness gone mad to imagine that Wikipedia has some special mission to redefine common-use topic nouns for the sake of increasing editor participation. Indeed Wikipedia cannot shape its content based on its own views no matter how noble; we cannot rename things in the outside world for the sake of our own internal issues with recruiting female editors and I believe this is better accomplished through other means. The day we rename articles and categories in the name of gender equality, at odds with the language used in the world we describe, is the day that Wikipedia has become a social networking site. --Tristessa (talk) 16:00, 20 September 2011 (UTC) Corrected --Tristessa (talk) 16:01, 20 September 2011 (UTC)

I think it's reasonable for sports categories to recognize gender, because the sports themselves do. Here are my thoughts:
  • Parallel cats, e.g., Category:Canadian sportsmen and Category:Canadian sportswomen, are clearer to less experienced editors. Using the gender-neutral label for what you intend to be a male-only category will result in some people thinking that women being listed in both "Canadian sportspeople" and "Canadian sportswomen". With parallel cats, you don't have to magically know what belongs in the cat.
  • For all the talk about the 'dominant' gender getting the neutral category, we have a poor track record for respecting the idea. For example, we have a Category:Female gymnasts, but no male-oriented category, even though gymnastics is a female-dominated sport. We have no reason to think this trend will change.
I think that our best option is this:
  1. When separation by gender is desirable, to cleanly split the cats so that both resulting cats are explicitly labeled "male" and "female" (or "men" and "women") in the name of the cat, and both are placed at the same level in every parent category.
  2. When separation is not desirable (e.g., too few articles to bother), to not split the cats at all (e.g., Category:Croquet players) and describe the inclusive nature on the cat's page.
  3. To never have one category that is "Athletes", used by the dominant gender, with another category (or worse, a sub-cat) that is "<insert gender here> athletes".
NB that this doesn't affect article names, which need to comply with WP:Article titles. This is solely a proposal for rationalizing the category naming. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:33, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
That looks like a good start. Do you think WT:AT would be a good place to discuss issues of article title inequity? Powers T 12:19, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
WT:AT would be the appropriate forum, but I would put that conversation off until another time. My recommendation is to fix all the cats (which will take some work) before even starting the discussion on names. BTW, I believe that the next step in addressing the cats will be expanding WP:Cat gender to deal with the situation of both genders of athletes being (usually) topics of special encyclopedic interest (whereas only the female gender is of interest for politicians). WhatamIdoing (talk) 14:45, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
I have started that discussion here, though there has been no response yet. Powers T 13:41, 27 September 2011 (UTC)

More population templates - now Austria

We need to keep creating nation-population templates (for lists of towns), to get current counts for each town, as done for towns in Germany (on enwiki and dewiki). Now, I have adapted the Austria-population templates to later "automatically" set the current population of 2,475 Austrian towns and districts, as interwiki templates from German Wikipedia:

Those 9 Austria-population templates need to be connected to the Austria town infoboxes, to set the current population from inside those template lists of population counts. As you may know, in April 2010, the Germany-population templates were likewise adapted from German Wikipedia, and connected to Germany-town infoboxes, so each year, the town populations can be copied from German WP (in 16 Germany population templates) and update thousands of town articles for Germany. The template-format for Austria is the same as for Germany, but allows the word "date" to get the statistics as-of date. For example, for Vienna:

  • Population of Vienna: {{Metadata population AT-9|9}} = 1840573
  • Population of Favoriten: {{Metadata population AT-9|910}} = 194820

Each year, the current population counts can be copied exactly from the 9 Austria interwiki templates on German Wikipedia (or updated from website Statistik Austria), and then those counts would "instantly" appear in the ~2,475 Austria town/district articles. The inhabitant counts can also be extracted to appear in population bargraphs, such as used in the 23 Districts of Vienna. The counts could be used later in live calculations, such as relative size of the Margareten-District population divided by Vienna, as a whole:

  • Relative size of Margareten in Vienna: {{#expr: 54940 / 1840573 * 100}}% = 3%
  • Relative size of Favoriten in Vienna: {{#expr: 194820 / 1840573 * 100}}% = 10.6%

Such population-data templates are extremely fast, designed as MediaWiki markup #switch statements, to quickly extract each town's population count as needed. --Wikid77 09:10, 26 September 2011 (UTC)

I want to chew the fat re: medical photos

I'm interested in hearing opposing views, the "con" side, of some ideas that I have dancing around my head, concerning the use of images in articles on medical topics, and the ongoing image filter discussions/research. No, I'm not trying to do a consensus poll, I just want to see opinions on a couple of things: 1. I would like to see a moratorium on images in medical articles until a decision is reached based on the image filter referendum/options. Impossible to enforce? I don't know. 2. If a filter is designed and implemented, I'd prefer to see one that teachers can use to filter what students can view while in class. Well, parents would have the same option at home.

What prompted this: First, I read an editorial by a guy who says his six-year-old is a Wikipedia fan: "My six-year-old can’t even fathom picking up a physical encyclopedia instead of visiting Wikipedia." They're starting really young now... Secondly, I came across a historical photo online, copyright expired, of a man hospitalized with smallpox. Pretty gruesome. I don't need to link to it, because there's already another vivid photo included the Wikipedia article. For me, the image is more than I want to see, I guess we all have personal limits. And I guess I'm just having visions of Wikipedia turning into rotten dot com when more copyright-free images start getting loaded onto Commons.

And before the chorus starts for "Not another save the childrunnn argument", let me just say, that sometimes, yes, it is about sparing kids from unnecessary imagery and trauma (hence suggestion #2 up there). I'm remembering back to when I was about 13 years old, back in the Jurassic age before the Interwebs... I had scoliosis and was put in a brace, and was asking questions about what could happen with treatment and so on. The well-meaning doctor loaned me a medical textbook, with the last 100 or so pages taped shut, and he warned me, "don't read that section". Well, that was where the photos were. So what do you think I did when I got home? Opened those pages and had a good look at them. So the photos were of extreme untreated cases, spines bent at 90 degree angles, etc. That was not a pleasant experience at all.

Is a temporary moratorium a good idea? Is it already too late? Is it censorship? Is giving schools/parents filtering power still contentious? I'm not looking for a flamewar here, just some honest opinions. OttawaAC (talk) 02:55, 27 September 2011 (UTC)

  • Strongest Possible Oppose Your idea of giving teachers/schools the ability to forcibly apply the image filter for those who don't want to use it is the reason the whole Image Filter idea should be scrapped before it is too late. The image filter is defended with the claim that it will always be entirely voluntary, so it can't be used for censorship, as a person choosing not to view images they find offensive cannot be considered censoring themselves. But now here we are, the image filter isn't even implemented, and already we are charging at breakneck speed down the slippery slope. (The slippery slope argument can be a logical fallacy, but it is not a fallacy when there are those who wish to achieve, and will continue to push for, the result at the bottom of the slope, as here) If we facilitate a teacher forcing the image filter on students, will a librarian be able to enforce filtering on the library's public computers? What about the library's wifi? How far is it to a country, for the sake of argument, Saudi Arabia, enforcing the Muhammad image filter on the entire country. Even if we have the abomination of the image filter forced upon us, we must make a clear stand against anything beyond voluntary filtering, as the moment it isn't voluntary, we are helping to facilitate censorship. As for your first idea, I really don't see a justification for it. Monty845 03:44, 27 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose, obviously there have already been many more conservative ideas proposed and the reasons opposed to it are fairly well documented at Wikipedia:Perennial_proposals#Censor_offensive_images,Help:Options to not see an image, Wikipedia talk:Censorship (2006 proposal), Wikipedia:Graphic and potentially disturbing images, Wikipedia:Image censorship, and even more failed proposals, explanation pages, and talk page archives. Having been part of multiple attempts at censorship I don't see why you would believe something will arise here that has not been discussed before, or that a sudden onset of level-headed discussion will occur instead of back and forth bickering and infighting between two well defined sides. But if you like train wrecks...AerobicFox (talk) 04:19, 27 September 2011 (UTC)

Please do not vote, the mandate of the Idea Lab forum does not include consensus polling (at least that's how I read the blurb at the top of the page). I read some of the past discussions over contentious images, including the perennial proposals, but since the Commons referendum regarding filtering, much of the past discussion is dated now. 2006? I think rational discussion is warranted, desirable, and possible. If people would rather derail every discussion of a controversial topic with acid and venom and accusations etc., that would be more than unfortunate, it would be missing out on an opportunity. So is censorship a valid criticism, when schools, schoolboards and teachers already exercise their discretion in establishing curriculum? Re: libraries: when I was a teen, the naughty books like Lady Chatterleys Lover were kept in a locked glass cabinet behind the librarian's desk, and you needed an adult to meet with the librarian and check the book out for you (late 1980s, don't know if that's still done). OttawaAC (talk) 14:34, 27 September 2011 (UTC)

The mandate of Wikipedia is to share knowledge, not to shelter people from unpleasant knowledge. The old saw that "a picture is worth a thousand words" is apt here. Its one thing to understand something on a purely hypothetical level, and, as you found out, quite something else to actually see what it looks like. The educational value of such images is beyond question, disturbing though they may be. (for the record, I don't like them any more than you do, which I deal with by simply not looking at such articles) In a completely separate recent conversation I floated a alternate plan, but nobody seemed particularly interested in it. The idea was to use the Wikipedia CD Selection as the basis for selecting stable versions of general interest articles and making an online "Wikipedia for schools." The articles would be static, no open editing. No pop culture or porn articles, and no offensive images. With no open editing administrative needs would be minimal, all we need is for the Foundation to give up some server space, which I understand they have plenty of. Beeblebrox (talk) 02:18, 29 September 2011 (UTC)

"The mandate of Wikipedia is to share knowledge, not to shelter people from unpleasant knowledge." I can agree with that statement, but here's where I get confused: Do readers not have a right to decide for themselves that they want to protect themselves from unpleasant (or even genuinely traumatic) information? Why eliminate the possibility that an educator or librarian could use filters at their own discretion to protect children's emotional health? Especially since they already do this with written material etc. and are expected to, in their role in loco parentis (acting as guardians of children's interests in the absence of the actual guardians, I think I'm using the phrase correctly)? Doesn't free speech have limits when it causes harm to other people?
Wikipedia already does have an image filter, that an individual user can choose to switch on (I'd wager not many people know it even exists, it took me over a month to stumble across it). I'm a bit curious, did you know that this option is available? And if you have heard of it, why haven't you used it? I wonder how many people do use it?
I mentioned rotten dot com way up above, and there are a lot of shock Websites that have been around since the mid-1990s, posting gory photos of car accident victims, decomposing corpses, extreme medical disfigurement, and so on. Those Websites started, as they claim, as anti-censorship statements in reaction to people who complained about controversial content being published on the Web, and who wanted to have limits or laws about Web content created. The shock Websites remain online due to U.S. free speech laws, and by claiming that they share informational content that at least some people are interested in seeing for whatever purpose. I think enforcing an absolute status quo here will produce the same content, because the definitions of informative or educational isn't clear, and any effort by editors to remove such material would fail on the grounds of free speech.
The pro- and anti-censorship arguments I've seen so far on the Wikipedia forums (and archives) seem to take it as a given that everyone agrees on what "censorship" is, and yet I also see contradictions that show that there are many different perceptions among users of what "censorship" means. I think if users are going to try to form consensus on pro- or anti-censorship polling, they'll have to first agree on a definition of censorship. No one can determine how to prevent "censorship" from happening unless they define what "censorship" is. (And what it isn't.)
I've done enough bloviating for one evening...(-;

OttawaAC (talk) 23:49, 29 September 2011 (UTC)

What is and is not censorship is probably not something we are going to be able to resolve anytime soon, I wouldn't want to get hung up on that point. I am aware of the image filter, but I don't actually shock to easily, I just find certain medical images kind of gross. I don't think it is valid to argue that WP will gradually turn into a "shock site," those types of images have been repeatedly rejected by the community as inappropriate. For example, obviously our article on Goatse would be more explicit if it had an image, but thankfully it does not. (if you don't know what that is, don't Google it, trust me you don't want to know) The community is smart enough to generally be able to draw the line between illustrating a valid topic and showing something that is simply gratuitous. Beeblebrox (talk) 01:31, 30 September 2011 (UTC)
Censorship is editorial control by an external entity with coercive powers -- typically a government. If a United States federal court or Florida State court served us with a cease-and-desist order regarding publishing certain material, that would be censorship. If Florida state troopers or FBI agents entered the server building and shut down the servers, that would be censorship. If agents of the United States government threatened to arrest or assassinate Foundation board members if we publish certain material, that would be censorship. Everything else is our internal editorial judgement. If we could retire the word "censorship" for matters of editorial judgment, that would be a good thing. Herostratus (talk) 01:58, 30 September 2011 (UTC)
wikt:censorship If a person wants to use the group power (by forming a consensus to do so, which is how the group exercises power on Wikipedia) to control freedom of expression it seems to fit with the definition of censorship. While in the United States the first amendment applies only to government censorship, it does not cease to be censorship when it is someone other then the government enforcing it. Monty845 02:18, 30 September 2011 (UTC)
..and I'm back...I think what's interesting is to consider where the limits of free speech may be set, beginning with the editorial decisions which are already practised at Wikipedia, and also going beyond that. I surfed through some stuff on the Web this evening to read up on First Amendment rulings by the Supreme Court where they've addressed limitations for constitutional rights in the U.S. Now, there are First Amendment absolutists out there, who maintain the view that there should not be any limits whatsoever on free speech, and they disagree with the various Supreme Court rulings. Personally, I think that the Supreme Court rulings I've perused make sense. I think free speech can be abused and cause harm and injury. (Free speech including images.)
The main bone of contention may be the possibility of third parties gaining control of filtering tools. I haven't seen too much concern being voiced over parents or educators acting as information gatekeepers for kids (I've seen some, but that appears to be a fringe view); so, how to address the potential for governments to abuse such a tool? I would think there are a couple of options: their citizens can object to the government's censoring activity, and push for changes; or, Wikipedia and the rest of Wikimedia could pull out of countries where governments refuse to stop the censoring activities. Governments worldwide already have the means to impose censorship and abuse other types of media. They do the same with the Web. I wish there was more focus on figuring out ways of responding to that reality, rather than fighting to maintain the status quo, and prevent the introduction of new Wikipedia tools that could help educators, and libraries, and parents, and probably other institutions as well.
Monty: Censorship in the broadest possible definition, perhaps could be used to refer to any attempt to squash dialogue, impose groupthink, silence dissent and minority opinions, you are right.

OttawaAC (talk) 02:29, 30 September 2011 (UTC)

The question here is do we want schools censoring our content, and the answer is no. If Wikipedia wanted to censor its content from children then it would do so itself. If schools or other editors wish to censor Wikipedia's content from themselves, then they are free to develop their own software to do this, but other editors on Wikipedia and the foundation are not obliged to develop software or a mirror server for what would ultimately be harmful to the project(forking content, splitting editors, lowering accessibility of our content + discouraging editing from those schools, etc). If such software did exist then it would be open for all to use(and misuse), including workplaces banning content, colleges banning content, different nations removing culturally insensitive info, etc. You can discuss what you want, but there won't be much incentive for others to discuss it if neither you or anybody else are actually planning to create it.AerobicFox (talk) 03:36, 30 September 2011 (UTC)
Regarding shocking medical photos, there's an occasional problem where pages on medical issues sometimes use a photo of a very serious case of a condition, rather than a milder but more typical one. This isn't about censorship but about giving a false impression of the severity of a condition, both to sufferers and people who encounter sufferers. Some articles are good - e.g. eczema has a mild case at the top with more serious ones later - but occasionally editors seem to select the most horrific or impressive photo, rather than one that reflects most people's experience of a disease. This might be included in a policy statement somewhere, but shouldn't require censorship: after all, if you go to a page on a medical condition you should have some idea what you will see (i.e. accurate information and images of the disease). --Colapeninsula (talk) 11:00, 30 September 2011 (UTC)
It's arguable whether photos are necessary or even useful or helpful in Wikipedia articles. Wikipedia is self-described as a general encyclopedia, and not a textbook. Medical textbooks will have photos of extreme cases, like the worst-case scenarios. I browsed through a couple of the more popular medical Websites directed at general audiences, and notice that there are very few images included in the articles. The Mayo Clinic Website only appears to have photos to illustrate skin conditions, and these are relatively non-gory close-up images, whereas other medical conditions may have professional diagram illustrations, but usually have no images at all. The WebMD Website has very few photos, and most of the images it does use are posed photos with professional models (although there were some photos of eye conditions, again close-ups and relatively non-gory). So is Wikipedia's editorial direction going to be towards a general audience, or towards anyone wanting advanced specialist knowledge of what extreme medical cases look like? Are there other alternatives, like giving users a filter they can use with categories (like being able to shutter medical images only, etc.)?
AerobicFox: So how is a workplace banning content inappropriate or a "misuse"? No one's employer is obligated to supply them with unfettered Web access to look at material that's irrelevant to doing their job. My office has network security firewalls and filters screening out material according to categories like "arts and culture", "gambling", "nudity", "shopping", "tasteless", and some other ones; we also cannot access streaming media like video clips; if I'm reading a news Website, and I click on a headline that has a keyword blocked by the filter, I can't read the article. So what?? That's well within the employer's legal rights to do that. Web access on the job is a perk not a right.
In addition to free speech, people have other civil rights that need to be weighed against that, like the right of parents, schools and schoolboards to educate their kids as they see fit (kids don't have automatic rights to unfettered information in a school environment, or anywhere; the U.S. Constitution mentions that minors' rights are not the same as adults' rights). And what about freedom of religion? See, the argument that people that practise certain religions might filter content for their own use is fine by me (as long as their government isn't doing it, in violation of their own freedom of religion laws); if looking at pictures depicting the Prophet Mohammed is blasphemy to someone, I don't think the views of non-believers should be forced upon believers.
I'm against government censorship of free speech and free flow of ideas, and I would want steps to be taken to anticipate and prevent that from happening. But, I'm not supportive of efforts to force every scrap of information on people who aren't inclined to choose to look at it, I like giving people choices and options.

OttawaAC (talk) 23:09, 30 September 2011 (UTC)

No matter how you phrase, the net result of your actions is decreasing people's options. If you give a few the option to censor then you deny many the option to view. You seem to be arguing that children do not have equal rights under the first Amendment as adults, but apart from the obscenity clause this is not the case. An adult can prohibit their children from viewing whatever they want, but there is no legal obligation for a child to obey. For example, an adult may not want a 15 year old from looking up information on homosexuality; it is however that 15 year old's complete legal right to be able look up that info. Schools, workplaces, etc may have the legal right to choose what's on their servers, but there is no reason to aide them if use of such a filter would be harmful. Parents in certain areas could demand of a school for example that they want homosexuality/evolution/creationism/etc to be banned from their schools Wikipedia articles; the result of such an action being the censoring of potentially valuable information to a demographic with less opportunities to become informed. Minors should be able to look up info on birth control, stds, homosexuality, minor's rights, religion, etc. In short, there is no legal obligation to limit minors access to content to what their parents want, nor is there a moral one. AerobicFox (talk) 01:03, 1 October 2011 (UTC)
Yea, I've noticed as this conversation has gone on, Ottawa's remarks seem to actually be moving further away from the rest of us. "It's arguable whether photos are necessary or even useful or helpful in Wikipedia articles. " is a complete non-starter for me. I don't know how to continue discussing this issue with someone who would even consider the possibility of simply being rid of useful, informative images. Sure, it's arguable, you can argue any point you want, but you are going to lose that argument before you even state your case and I would think that would have already been quite obvious. Beeblebrox (talk) 03:59, 1 October 2011 (UTC)

Beeblebrox: I've noticed as this conversation has gone on that a regular parade of posters have added comments to say there's no point in having a discussion. (Like I've said repeatedly, this discussion is to explore ideas -- hence "Idea Lab" -- and not to build consensus here about anything or to do consensus polling. So much for free speech eh? Let's silence any opinions that might differ from our own? If anyone wants to play Devil's Advocate in order to generate ideas that may break a stalemate, drive them off the forum? And who is the "us" you presume to speak on behalf of? Have you been elected the representative of the community? There has been no consensus polling here, and no desire to build a consensus around anything. I haven't made my mind up about much of anything, I was postulating (that's just a rhetorical move) that photos may not be necessary in the medical articles, and what kinds, based on the fact that notable general-audience medical Websites tend to not use them at all (I think that's npteworthy enough for discussion), versus specialist medical school textbooks, so you've missed the point. And I think it's worth discussing why not -- and also discussing other alternatives, like giving users the ability to shutter or turn off images by categories or some other option, when the only option now is to turn off all images. If you don't want to participate in the thread, I am not forcing you to; I didn't ask for anyone's permission to start the thread, I do not need yours (I don't appreciate the insinuation from users here that I do need their permission to even contemplate mentioning disagreement with the status quo), and you don't need my permission to not post comments either. I'm not engaged in a flamewar, not trolling, not calling anyone names, just trying to speak freely and discuss ideas. If you don't like the concept of "Idea Lab" and you think it's a waste of time, then float a proposal to remove it. (Use consensus voting and all that, if you like.) Please don't keep asking me to stop considering alternatives to the status quo. OttawaAC (talk) 21:50, 1 October 2011 (UTC)

Please keep to the subject. That was a waste of my time reading. Dmcq (talk) 23:37, 1 October 2011 (UTC)

The subject was in fact discussed in the post, but it was largely regurgitation. So, if I discuss the topic, people post to say it isn't worth discussing. If I respond the thread drift provocation, I get told I'm still wasting time. OK, it was a fun experiment. Maybe I'll give it a try again some other time. OttawaAC (talk) 01:00, 2 October 2011 (UTC)

I'm for allowing self filtering and even enabling schools to filter images and articles provided it is made plain when an image or article has been filtered out and why. I have no use for such filters myself and am quite happy for children to see things like that smallpox picture or sex acts. And having grown up with tropical medicine books with pictures of the life cycles of parasites and worms being dragged out of people and various other rather nasties I can't see what the problem with it all is. Children are a not fragile pieces of glass. However I would like Wikipedia to extend its reach as far as possible and if the only way to reach people is to allow them to exercise their freedom about what they do or do not want to view or read I'm all for it. I really don't see it is helping anybody to have Bible belt children for instance denied any access at all to Wikipedia and pushed to Conservapedia instead. Dmcq (talk) 10:33, 1 October 2011 (UTC)

Multi language cross referencing....‏

Linking to articles on the same subject in other languages...

I have often noticed that in many cases some of the subjects of my searches in English come up with a small article, when compared to articles that are much larger in other languages. I have many areas of interest and can translate many European languages, but it sometimes really stymies me when I look for something, that is non-existent or sparse in the English wikipedia, only to find there is a huge article in another language. It would be massively useful if the search could link across the languages and report – “no nothing found in English, but a page exists in {insert wiki language here} as such things can be easily translated via google /alta vista etc. by those not fluent in that tongue. Also letting me know that another version of wikipedia has a an article or indeed a more extensive article than the UK version may spur me to translate and edit/update the UK entry to include the expanded knowledge in the other languages, something I am easily able to do for myself, and would love to be able to do for others who do not share such linguistic ability.

My major gripe is that having come up with a blank or a stub in English , I do not know which language to try next and have to start with my favourites and expand outwards. It would make life so much easier if wikipedia could say “French article is 1,000 words long, followed by German at 800 and spanish at 600 and ...” etc. etc. then I could read them all and re-write a full English version expanding on the new info gained from the other entries! And also such an index would allow other people fluent in their home tongues amongst others to expand on articles in other languages. Feel free to add to this if you have more precise ideas on this. This to me is one of the only shortcomings to making wikipedia a global, cross referenced encyclopedia. Feel free to shout me down !

Archangel9769 (talk) 10:49, 30 September 2011 (UTC)

If you run into a situation such as you describe, I'd suggest adding an appropriate template to the article's talk page from the following category: Category:Expand by language Wikipedia templates. That way other editors may have some idea how to proceed.
I suppose another alternative is to allow the 'class' rating labels to be visible under the article's Languages list. Regards, RJH (talk) 17:34, 30 September 2011 (UTC)

Table template safesubst?

(Honestly, I have no idea whether to put this here or at the proposals page) There are a lot of table and column templates on Wikipedia, and I was thinking of this after seeing what code would show after trying to subst the {{table}} template. Perhaps we could try making the table templates subst-able? If a user wishes to use one on his/her page, using subst: or safesubst:, this could likely help them, as it would make it much easier for a user to use that template as a literal template. An example of the code changes that could be done to make a template work like this would be this edit I did at Template:Table. (Yes, I did revert it right after so it would be there as simply the code changes) LikeLakers2 (talk | Sign my guestbook!) 18:04, 24 September 2011 (UTC)

Yes, this idea would add flexibility to the templates. But it will be hard to recode the templates to make the subst-ed version look "natural", matching the standard wikitext for tables. I extracted your suggested template definition into User:John of Reading/X1 so that I could try it out, and used it with and without "subst" at User:John of Reading/Sandbox - you'll see that the subst-ed wikitext has 100 blank lines, some HTML comments, and some instances of the {{!!}} template. -- John of Reading (talk) 09:00, 26 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Basically sounds like a great idea, to get more people to start using the specific wikitable markup, which is much more flexible, for typesetting, then most of the table-column templates. For years, I had no idea that tables could be "smart-formatted" once those limited templates were avoided. Also, some table-templates fail to work with browser IE7 in Windows Vista, so that is another reason to subst those table-templates out of the articles. In the past, I have expanded Help:Table to explain more ways to adjust tables. Plus, we need to start explaining the need for tables to auto-widen for sight-impaired readers (to still fit tables when browser TextSize is "larger"), and those options are coded in the markup, not in most table-column templates. People need to know more about table markup settings and issues (see essay "WP:98 percent table width anomaly") and remember Help:Wikitable. For years, the CD-album tables of Template:Track_listing have caused wide gaps in IE7 browsers, and on wide screens, the table expands like "Elasticman" with columns spaced a mile apart because the template is based on width=xx% which expands to "fill the universe" when a reader widens the screen. Hence, many people just hard-code lists of musical album tracks, and abandon the hokey {Track_listing} tables. Instead, tables need to auto-widen within the size of their data, not morph by width=xx% into over-wide elastic balloons on wide screens. Most table-templates are future trouble. -Wikid77 (talk) 09:10, 26 September 2011 (UTC)
    • I honestly think this would make perfect sense for {{table}}, hence why I posted this. It would allow noobs, and I'm not naming anybody, to make tables using the table template, and then subst it to make it as if they knew the table wikicode. LikeLakers2 (talk | Sign my guestbook!) 10:50, 26 September 2011 (UTC)

Unneeded timestamp, but making sure it wont archive. LikeLakers2 (talk | Sign my guestbook!) 00:18, 3 October 2011 (UTC)

some suggestion to improve user experience while surfing wikipedia

i have some suggestion to improve user experience while surfing wikipedia when i was searching some content in wikipedia i found that for technical data there is no such facility by which i can understand some technical specification very easily.i mean to say i am a programmer and i was searching some programming technical content i found everything there but i want to suggest that if there is a facility of providing animated specifacation of particular technical topic then people can understand that thing by viewing that animation of technical topic like flash animation etc.

means if people get graphical and multimidia presentation of that info that will attract user and will be helpful for all. using flash animation,video,images will add some bizzare in wikipedia.

i hope i will get that facility in wikipedia very soon. hope to hear from you.

thankyou — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:46, 3 October 2011 (UTC)

The possibility of adding illustrations and animations to articles already exists. What specific topics were you looking at? Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 05:28, 3 October 2011 (UTC)

A peer review thank you template to incentivize, reward, and quantify helpful peer reviews

I was lucky enough to have an article I worked on peer reviewed by the amazing User:Finetooth, who has contributed to 830 peer reviews. Currently, there's a bit of a backlog, and I was thinking peer reviews are something we could use more of on Wikipedia. Right now, people can use their numbers of DYKs, GAs, FAs, barnstars, etc. to quantity their productivity. I'm thinking a peer review thank you template (similar to a DYK recognition) could be another way to log progress and to reward editors. An editor who receives a review would have the option to give the reviewer the award if they found the review particularly helpful. Jesanj (talk) 17:47, 30 September 2011 (UTC)

That sounds like a good idea to me, perhaps the kind of thing that you might just boldly create and bestow. :) If it is well received, you may find consensus to add mention of it to project pages that will spread the word of its availability. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 16:46, 3 October 2011 (UTC)
Can I get some direction on how I might go about creating such a thing? Thanks! Jesanj (talk) 18:09, 4 October 2011 (UTC)
Well, I'm not the best designer in the world, but as it happens I just designed something similar to the DYK update for CCIs: Template:CCI update. The way I do it is simply to take what I want to emulate as a base. I'll usually start in my own user sandbox space if I'm not sure I can make it work or if I'm unsure if others will like the idea. :)
To do that, the DYK update template is far more complicated than you probably need. To recognize peer reviews, you'd probably need to be able to include a link to the review given, to the article title and perhaps a signature for the person giving recognition. What you might want to do, then, is start by copying over the code at Template:CCI update somewhere like User:Jesanj/Review award (or a less laudatory name if you like) and start playing with it. Help:Template can give you some ideas about coding, although I myself find it hard to follow. If you need help with the syntax, feel free to drop by my talk page. Depending on my work schedule, it may take me a day or two to help out, but I'll get there. :) I work my trial and error, but I generally find a way to get templates to do what I want with them, although sometimes I run for help to somebody who knows what they're doing. :D Alternatively, I bet you'd get quick assistance from the Wikipedia:Help desk.
Once you get it coded in a way that looks good, you can move it into template space and just start handing it out. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 12:38, 6 October 2011 (UTC)

Annual Survey?

Perhaps it is time, if hasn't been mentioned already, to suggest the idea of an annual survey of dedicated editors? (As defined by some minimum number of edits; say 100+.) The idea being to try and evaluate long-term editing trends, both positive and negative, regarding Wikipedia content, processes, discussions, and administrative practices among the core population of editors. Perhaps a set of questions can be proposed by the general editing population, which can then be trimmed down to a limited set of high value topics (so as not to overwhelm the target audience)? Results can then be reported in the Signpost. Regards, RJH (talk) 17:52, 30 September 2011 (UTC)

I'm in a mischievous mood this morning, so here's what I would find interesting to see. An annual survey to guage the length, breadth and depth of editor bias. Seriously. Ask questions like, on a scale of 1 to 10, how superior are men to women? How superior are Anglos to other language or cultural groups? How much more intelligent are people who can afford Ivy-league university versus the other 6.5 billion earthlings? How resistant are you to seeing editors of other backgrounds, worldviews, faiths, creeds, etc. posting comments to forums or creating/voting on proposals? To what degree to you support turning Wikipedia into an activist tool to represent fringe values? IMO (which doesn't count for much, but which I am still entitled...) Wikipedia is experiencing a momentum problem akin to a boat with a bent propeller... doomed to keep going around and around (and around...) in circles and never advancing anywhere. The results of a bias survey could lead to some interesting discussions on how to deal with the bias status quo, or if the status quo is something the community would rather see stay in place.

OttawaAC (talk) 12:41, 2 October 2011 (UTC)

Loaded questions much?
I like the idea of the survey. I don't think there should be a minimum requirement to vote, but there should be statistics tracking users time and number of edits so that more info can be gathered, and so more distinct trends can be seen within different editor demographics. We should avoid leading and loaded questions, but basic questions of demographic(gender, age, race, etc) and motivation for Wikipedia, how users defined their editing (wikignome, anti-vandalism, etc), would be really interesting to find out.AerobicFox (talk) 12:50, 2 October 2011 (UTC)
Yes, it makes sense to stick to fundamental, neutral questions that most editors would be willing to answer. We could probably deduce quite a bit about the editing population that way, and the responses can be used to factor the questions in succeeding surveys. Regards, RJH (talk) 22:11, 4 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Support - This sounds like a great idea. - Hydroxonium (TCV) 06:03, 3 October 2011 (UTC)

Google's N-gram machine

There must be something we can do with this kind of data, surely? More on the facility here. --bodnotbod (talk) 21:43, 30 September 2011 (UTC)

What would you suggest doing with those data that would help us in the task of building an encyclopedia? Phil Bridger (talk) 21:50, 30 September 2011 (UTC)
Well, that's just it, I really don't know. Anyone? --bodnotbod (talk) 16:49, 2 October 2011 (UTC)
At least you could give us a clue as to the general area that you think this could be applicable to. I certainly can't think of any way that this could be used to generate any article content without involving original research. Did you have article content in mind, or something else? Phil Bridger (talk) 17:12, 2 October 2011 (UTC)
"Original research"... hmmm. That's an interesting point. Would it still count as original research if all that is done is that one notes one term first overtook another at such a point in history? Could it be claimed that to do so is no more controversial than reporting a song's position in a sales chart? --bodnotbod (talk) 13:39, 3 October 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Original research isn't the only concern. I also can't think of any circumstances under which such content could be relevant to an article. I don't mean to be negative, per the remit of this noticeboard, but I'm just trying to tease out what is behind your thinking. Search engines find words or phrases, but encyclopedias are about things or concepts, so any such link between the two is very tenuous. Phil Bridger (talk) 20:20, 4 October 2011 (UTC)

One case for using the Ngram data would be for gathering info on which of two variants of a word was more common (talk) 04:33, 7 October 2011 (UTC)

Make watchlist more customizable

I would like to propose to expand the watchlist with two additional features in order to make it more customizable:

  • it would be helpful to have an ability to maintain multiple watchlists (for example one for articles, another one for help desks and refrence desks and the village pumps), this would be very useful if you have a large, cluttered watchlist in order to "unclutter" it without removing pages relevant for me
  • it would be cool if it were possible to change the number of edits displayed for a page, such that not only the most recent edit appears in the watchlist, but that I can set it to say display last 4 changes to the page

I personally would find these two additions very useful and I think this would be beneficial for a great number of other users too, although I am completely unsure about this ideas feasibility. Toshio Yamaguchi (talk) 14:41, 5 October 2011 (UTC)

I'd add the ability to watchlist things for a short period only, and to be able to watchlist particular users. If I'm dealing with a vandal, I'd like to be able to watchlist that user for a few days on a 'user watchlist' to see what they get up to. Yes, it means potentially more stalking. As for the ability to watchlist things for a short period: if an article is under contention, I'd like to be able to watchlist it so I an keep an eye on it for a set period. Or watchlist it to see what happens after it comes off of semi-protection. Basically, watchlists are currently great if you are a content-focused editor keeping track of a small number of articles, but if you are an anti-vandalism or admin-focused editor, the watchlist could be a bit more flexible to help track vandals and others. —Tom Morris (talk) 07:19, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
All of the above sound very useful. I can see that the user watchlist feature could be controversial. That's not a reason to not do it, it's just that we'd need to consult the community more widely. In terms of the other stuff... I think it's mostly a question of persuading a developer to implement it.
In terms of GUI... I think it would be good if the different watch lists were different tabs at the top of the page. But links on the page would be almost as good... or... how about a list of checkboxes? That way if I want to show several lists together I can check several boxes.
Yaris678 (talk) 12:04, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
You can already have multiple customizeable watchlists - I link to two on my user page - by creating a page with a list of the links you want to watch (created usually in a user subpage or WikiProject subpage) and then using Special:Whatlinkshere. For example, creates this watchlist from a page of links (Wikipedia:WikiProject Iowa/Iowa recent changes). --Philosopher Let us reason together. 12:11, 10 October 2011 (UTC)


In order for Wikipedia to gain & maintain credibility, all input/output (edits) MUST comply with a basic data management protocol. This protocol will be designed to function with all fundamentally crucial information & its application in any/all levels of the wikipedia system.

  1. all pages must meet a basic organization requirement. This would require the creator to place the topic within a defined scope of subject characteristics maintained by the wikipedia community.
  2. all reference material undergoes a similar processing method.
  3. all content is divided into three categories; Context sensitive, out-of-context & undefined. This content is then considered by the whole & only upon majority consensus (51%) will this data be made part of a final Wikipedia article.
  • so called 'debatable' view-points should be encouraged to better define & apply this knowledge to the creation of separate articles.

Vertex Shaders

Map all input/outputs in 3D. Subject, Predicate, & DELTA. This way, wiki displays 3D data in 3D. Currently, wiki is 2D. Those dimensions being fact & opinion. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Lawstubes (talkcontribs) 19:26, 5 October 2011 (UTC)

  • subjects are individual singularities that don't make ascertions & therefore don't even belong in an encyclopedia. IT may frighten you, but 'Tree' doesn't mean a darn thing. It needs a predicate.
  • predicates are paired subjects & form Articles. Following suite, all wikipedia articles fall into the predicate category.
  • DELTA (symbolically) represents 'change' in something. Therefore, the third final & most useful axis consists of relative subjects, which may then form other predicates.Lawstubes (talk) 02:53, 6 October 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia is feral

This has gone on for too long. A truly 'Free Encyclopedia' requires law enforcement. However, under no circumstance should any one person judge wikipedia law! There is no good excuse for the statuesque. Teachers everywhere are cursing the name of wikipedia!

Wiki requires only one modification in order for it to maintain political (See:Etymology) validity. This system, if rightly understood, replaces the need for any additional human oversight...

(surely this is not a complete program & you are welcome to suggest any idea you have. Just keep in mind, this is about removing the need for people to 'fact check' wikipedia (& possible grammar checks & rewrites). Its about keeping the most important info on top & hiding the dodgy stuff.) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Lawstubes (talkcontribs) 18:11, 5 October 2011 (UTC)

I am not even sure if what is written above is even in English. Seriously, I am completely lost at what is being suggested here, if it even means anything at all, or if it needs to be seriously considered. New ideas and concepts for Wikipedia are welcome, but coming in and suggesting that everything that has been developed over the past decade needs to be thrown out for some new idea is bad enough. That I can't even decipher what that new idea even is makes it even harder to understand where you are coming from. Must is a pretty harsh word.
Being a software engineer myself, I'm quite familiar with data protocols. So far I don't see anything which can even be implemented in code, much less be applied to Wikipedia in general. "Not a complete program" hardly does justice to even describe the concept right now. It isn't even a concept but rather a spark of an idea that hasn't even been expressed yet, if it is anything at all. Then again, I've likely spent far too much time even analyzing this "proposal". --Robert Horning (talk) 02:22, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
I just finished some new edits, but I'm not even close to software, this whole section is about assigning variables to constants. Once that is understood, the direction I'm going with this is a GUI for the organization of core information on wikipedia. Traditional articles are given their own factor within the database. The ultimate result of this idea is a Graphical Citation/dynamic table of contents/search as well as tying up any loose ends before publication. I suppose a more advance 'talk' function would be needed, heck, lots of things are needed, I just want to make sure the concept can get across & I'm so lazy about my talk posts... sorry about any bad grammar...Lawstubes (talk) 02:45, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
I only speak Anglish.Lawstubes (talk) 03:24, 6 October 2011 (UTC)

The Criminal

If you still aren't getting it, I understand, its a bit confusing. Most of this stuff is already in wikipedi. Currently, 'the man' is in control of the application of data that should be integrated into 'the system'. thats bad... — Preceding unsigned comment added by Lawstubes (talkcontribs) 18:55, 5 October 2011 (UTC)

One common example of the greatest harm associated with the current interface is easy enough to relate to. A wiki article expresses a known bias in opinion, an editor attempts to neutralize the article. However, this article is being protected by a member of the 'known bias' wikipedia editorial squad (aka: dbag). The editors honest attempts to improve wikipedia have been thwarted by Satan & one more hero feels a touch of hatred for those whom it intended to protect... bummer. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Lawstubes (talkcontribs) 19:05, 5 October 2011 (UTC)

Yeah, I have no clue what you are suggesting. Yoenit (talk) 19:19, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
Google: Garbage in Garbage out Lawstubes (talk) 19:23, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
& read 'new' vertex shader section. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Lawstubes (talkcontribs) 19:26, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
Yeah, that really did not make it any clearer. Your elevator pitch really needs some work. Could you give an example how such a 3d wikipedia would look or name an existing system which uses a similar mechanism? Yoenit (talk) 19:46, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
I'll try...Lawstubes (talk) 01:42, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
Wait... Elevator Pitch? What? I didn't even know what that meant. Huh..? See, this is what I'm talking about. You call it one thing & communicate assuming a 1:1 interpretation & that isn't ever going to be good enough. This is why Novels work. At least every sentence is a coin-toss. Problem is: same idea permeates the rationale, wreaking slobbers everywhere. IT isn't fun to communicate in a consistent tone on a single topic.

Solution Overview

The core concept is simple, consolidation. We MUST build Wikipedia upon a secure foundation! The security of that foundation is the ELIMINATION of MODERATORS & MODERATOR PRIVILEGES in exchange for Democratic Moderation in MODERATION. The only way to do that will change the way wikipedia articles are created.

Priority: References & Citations

ALL wikipedia articles MUST meet these requirements PRIOR to acceptance by Failure to meet this requirements will result in an error.

ALL wikipedia articles MUST reference a published subjective assertion PRIOR to acceptance by Failure to meet this requirements will result in an error. ALL wikipedia assertions MUST contain no fewer than two subjects PRIOR to acceptance by Failure to meet this requirements will result in an error. ALL subjects MUST be confirmed by way of common editorial citation prior to being published on Failure to meet this requirement will result in possible reaffirmation regarding the initial proposed subject(s) as well as further clarification & the mass extinction of fraudulence. Example: Stone > Is (redirected from Exists), publication @ so and so writes "this rocks' (a good bad example for the sake of science), keep in mind I'm just trying to get this up onto the page for your review.... can it has troubleshooting..?

The MetaData-Blob


Looks human enough... see? The head & arms? (I'm having fun now... ok, done.) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Lawstubes (talkcontribs) 02:25, 6 October 2011 (UTC)

The idea revolves around data management for an integrated contextual database in three dimensions:Subject, Predicate & DELTA. ALL information published on wikipedia MUST utilize this database. The database will be the new foundation for a new wikipedia portal. Using the database, all who access wikipedia can easily view any relevant info pertaining to an article. & is going to be a sort of info blob.Lawstubes (talk) 02:13, 6 October 2011 (UTC)

A Better Interface

If you have understood, you should understand this. This will give wikipedia users the ability to 'personalize' the context of the data that wikipedia gives them. IF you wanted to only read about the absolute literal truth behind something, you will be able to tell wikipedia to focus on only the most valid information available. If you wanted to know the most 'out-there' info on a topic, there is a slider for that. Three sliders, XY&Z. There really is no limit to how in depth the content can get.

The Universe is Three Dimensional! Why stop Knowledge at two?Lawstubes (talk) 02:32, 6 October 2011 (UTC) seriously, it's not as crazy as I make it look. Its just a greater emphasis on an efficient URL generation process. Just add a digital card catalog & we're all set from there... The whole thing about renaming every wikipedia page in existence... Just forget you ever heard about it. Totally improbable. & all that work everyone is doing on lists and portals... would sort of dissolves after this kind of thing. Just stop caring about those projects now. sorry, metadata requires reduction in order to meet meta requirementLawstubes (talk) 05:32, 6 October 2011 (UTC)

I suggest you take a week off, and really think about how you can present your idea in a way that the average person can comprehend. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 06:42, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
I think he should take at least a month off to do the needed brainstorming. No sense in rushing matters, if this is truly a ground-breaking idea. -- llywrch (talk) 22:06, 7 October 2011 (UTC)
Basic volunteer economics suggests this poorly communicated "proposal" is unrealistic. Enforcement of all of this mass of constrictions and prohibitions would make for a project that only a handful of people would want to contribute their time. Ergo, I have to oppose. Regards, RJH (talk) 18:52, 7 October 2011 (UTC)
I want a slider for Village Pump (idea lab) threads that lets me choose between "interesting, possibly a good idea" to "full David Icke-level mental". —Tom Morris (talk) 06:59, 6 October 2011 (UTC)

Image Tagging

Has Wikipedia considered creating a tool enabling users to tag certain areas of images? It would help users find images with certain objects, as many items in an image aren't worthy of a categorization. It would also help in understanding certain items in an image. AMWJ (talk) 02:26, 6 October 2011 (UTC)

See the example at Image map#Image maps use. Regards, RJH (talk) 14:53, 10 October 2011 (UTC)


It would be great to be able to bookmark or favorite articles within your wikipedia account. Doing so would allow me to customize my own wikipedia books. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Mariuspauling (talkcontribs) 17:54, 7 October 2011 (UTC)

You can, of course, just create a linked list of your favorite articles within your user space. Or you could just bookmark them in your browser. Regards, RJH (talk) 14:50, 10 October 2011 (UTC)

Using cookies to fight block evasion

Has the community ever considered using cookies and super cookies (of various types) as a means to fight block evasion in a way akin to autoblock? The idea would be that when an editor connects to Wikipedia on an IP blocked with autoblock on, or blocked by autoblock, a cookie and various super cookies would be set. For the 24 hours following the last time the browser contacted Wikipedia on that IP, the cookies would cause any other IP connecting from the same same browser/computer to be autoblocked as soon as the cookie was detected. Thus a dynamic IP block evader would be autoblocked just as a logged in editor who connects on a new IP would be. While it is possible for a sufficiently sophisticated evader to remove even the best super cookies, few people have the technical understanding necessary to do so, and it would at least be one more hurdle an evader needs to jump through. Obviously there is a risk of collateral damage, so the duration of such a cookie based block should limited. Some people have negative views of supercookies as well, but in light of this being used only to detect editors who are already blocked, it may be less of a concern. Thoughts? Also, if this idea has previously been discussed/rejected, I haven't found where, so any links to that would be helpful. Monty845 02:16, 5 October 2011 (UTC)

Why has this received no comments. At the very least I think this would be a good way to piss off and slow down known dynamic IP users. My only question about removing these cookies, is it not possible to simply uninstall a browser and then reinstall it to remove all cookies?AerobicFox (talk) 19:06, 7 October 2011 (UTC)
I believe that supercookies rely on helper apps, such as Flash. Replacing the browser wouldn't necessarily remove those cookies. I personally find supercoockies to be an invasion of privacy, so I turn them off when I can find them. There's way too much surveillance in this society already. Regards, RJH (talk) 21:59, 9 October 2011 (UTC)
The first super cookies relied on the helper apps, more recent ones have found other hiding places.(I'm being intentionally vague) I respect the privacy concern, and I think they are the strongest argument against this; I would only ever advocate using them to fight block evasion. Monty845 22:11, 9 October 2011 (UTC)
One of the most persistent socks I've personally dealt with solves this problem by simply going to different public computers (libraries, schools, etc.). I'm not even sure that she has a computer at home. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:38, 13 October 2011 (UTC)

Subscribing to Weekly Emails

I love wikipedia.  I would really love if Wikipedia sent weekly or daily email newsletters of a featured search.  Sure, I can go on to the website and search my interests at anytime, but if a random selection was  presented to me through my email, I would be most grateful!!! — Preceding unsigned comment added by Melissaann4 (talkcontribs) 16:31, 6 October 2011 (UTC)

What would you want to use as a selection criteria? Presumably you'd want to base it on something that changes with time, or random selections. RJH (talk) 21:56, 9 October 2011 (UTC)
First, are you aware of Special:Random? Second, perhaps you should propose this to the folks at the Wikipedia Signpost? I don't know if they'd accept it, of course, but a column looking at or linking to a selected article might be something they'd be interested in. --Philosopher Let us reason together. 12:20, 10 October 2011 (UTC)
There is the daily-article-l mailing list. – Luna Santin (talk) 23:19, 11 October 2011 (UTC)
That's cool, didn't know we had it! --Philosopher Let us reason together. 02:14, 14 October 2011 (UTC)

Alternative name for jargon inline template

{{Technical-statement}}, the inline of {{Jargon}}, would be easier to recall as {{Define}}. I foresee no other uses given WP:Dictionary. Do you see other uses or other problems? ᛭ LokiClock (talk) 03:47, 12 October 2011 (UTC)

I'd personally hesitate to create a template named {{define}}, but that's probably more because it's a reserved word in so many programming languages. ;) If you're looking for other ideas, {{jargon-inline}} might also be fairly easy to remember, and would be a pretty suggestive naming scheme in general. – Luna Santin (talk) 18:02, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
Agree with Luna Santin, noting that {{jargon-statement}} is already a redirect to {{technical-statement}}. *goes off and creates {{jargon-inline}} as a redirect.* --Philosopher Let us reason together. 22:18, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
Good enough for me! ᛭ LokiClock (talk) 17:20, 13 October 2011 (UTC)

Invisible Redirects

Country X calls something Bloodstain Rock and Country Y calls the exact same thing Lovely Island. Why do we have to choose which claim gets the page title and which one is a lowly redirect? Why not change the redirect code so that it does a search and replace on the target page to change all usages of the page title to the redirect title. Do this for edits too so that even people who are editing the page have to look closely to see what the real name is. We'd have a seldom used escape code to prevent this, but each occurrence would have to be specifically marked to keep from being rewritten.

The constant arguments between countries here would just go away. At the very least this could be applied to the page title at the top of the page. Hcobb (talk) 04:30, 11 October 2011 (UTC)

Without getting into the policy issues, I don't think this could work mechanically. An article on a topic with such a naming dispute would be remiss if it did not at least discuss it, but using the substitution approach, the text that should read "Country X calls it Bloodstain Rock, and Country Y calls it Lovely Island." would be transformed into "Country X calls it Bloodstain Rock, and Country Y calls it Bloodstain Rock." That is perhaps the most obvious problem, but there are plenty of other places where such a substitution would represent a substantive change, rather then merely a stylistic one. Monty845 04:39, 11 October 2011 (UTC)

My proposal above includes a code to prevent this, but we could easily do the reverse where a special macro expands to whatever the current name of the page is and the page is otherwise left alone. Then editors would carefully choose where to use the redirect name. Hcobb (talk) 05:19, 11 October 2011 (UTC)

We have a lot of redirects from misspelled words, too. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:45, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
Are there any objections to having a system where both the redirect and the name in the article both must be specially marked to do the magic? Hcobb (talk) 20:59, 14 October 2011 (UTC)
As long as the tech wizards can make it work on that level, I have no objection to this. In fact, it seems like a rather elegant and clever way of solving the problem. One minor quibble, however: What if a page with such redirects was in DYK, or worse, it was TFA? How would it display? Thoughts? ☻☻☻Sithman VIII !!☻☻☻ 17:31, 16 October 2011 (UTC)

Tools for whistle-blowers

One of the most obnoxious anti-Wikipedia actions that I frequently observe off-wiki is when a social media site, image-board, or other forum is used as an incubator for massive flash-mob-style vandalism. Although not all users of these fora are anti-Wikipedia, enough of them are childish or malicious enough that this can cause major problems. As Wikipedia has become more of an institution during the last 5 years I have observed an increasing number of instances where the initiators of anti-Wikipedia threads give detailed instructions on how to avoid anti-vandalism bots and how to go about inserting surreptitious "sneaky" vandalism. Since the best anti-vandal tools rely on detection of the vandalism, this kind of large-scale sneaky vandalism poses a very real threat to Wikipedia's integrity.

What I am proposing is that there should be some system put in place to allow anonymous whistle-blowers a chance to report these kinds of vandalism.

From what I have observed in these off-wiki forum-threads there are often members/posters that disapprove of the vandalism and that try unsuccessfully to dissuade the others from their actions. These people are uniformly ignored by the vandals. The disapproving members/posters sometimes attempt to undo the vandalism themselves but this allows their fellow forum-members to see their IP addresses and this can lead to a loss of anonymity that many of these people value highly. There is the option that they could create a user account at Wikipedia, of course, but many of these people can't be bothered creating such an account. A similar problem arises for editors such as I - who have been the target of concentrated harassment by such groups after fighting their vandalism. Although my anonymity isn't endangered, the stress induced by such harassment gives me pause when I even consider repairing such vandalism as it is occurring. I believe it would be much more convenient for established Wikipedians to have an anonymous forum provided by Wikipedia to report vandalism without fear of reprisal by such a large number of foiled vandals.

This idea is presented only in vague terms that need fleshing out. Any help for how to handle anonymous tips like this would be much appreciated. Cheers, -Thibbs (talk) 16:05, 14 October 2011 (UTC)

One possible solution I just thought of is to create a dummy username account like User:Whistleblower that is restricted to editing only its talk page. There would be no password or it would be provided for any user who wished to edit using that account. Then we could make a page at Wikipedia:Whistleblowing (shortcut WP:WHISTLEBLOWER, WP:WHISTLE, or WP:TIP perhaps?) that would give instructions for how to make a report. Is that feasible? Any better ideas out there? -Thibbs (talk) 17:00, 14 October 2011 (UTC)
A shared account like that would not be a good idea, better options would be to report it on IRC (#wikipedia-en connect) or email the Wikipedia:Volunteer Response Team. I suppose it wouldn't hurt to make a page with instructions for this though. Yoenit (talk) 20:17, 14 October 2011 (UTC)
The most obvious solution to me is for them to leave a notice at WP:AIV. If they're concerned about exposing their IP, they can take a few minutes to register an account. The problem is not that there's no convenient way to do this, but more that newbie whistleblowers don't know how and it's not clear how to reach out to them with instructions. Dcoetzee 05:35, 18 October 2011 (UTC)

Watch list features, automatically watch/and unwatch Today's Featured Article

I like many others am concerned with vandalism to the featured article of the day each day, but am opposed to protecting it. I wonder if there would be a way to make it so that somebody can get the featured article of the day automatically watchlisted for them, and then unwatchlisted the next day. I know suggestions have come up time and again for greater watchlist customization, things like watchlisting a page and having it automatically delist after a week or so, and generally I think these types of customizable options would be a boon to editors. Is there some way to develop an option like this? Perhaps a special page entitled Special:Featured Main which if watchlisted would show you edits to whatever article is being featured on the front page at the time. Thoughts?AerobicFox (talk) 04:24, 18 October 2011 (UTC)

I like this idea. Vandal hunters would find this a useful tool. And it would help protect the reputation of the project on a high traffic page. --Dweller (talk) 12:04, 18 October 2011 (UTC)
I like it too per Dweller. Also, I'd probably read the article if showed up on my watchlist if I hadn't already.--Wehwalt (talk) 19:51, 18 October 2011 (UTC)

See also the thread "Make watchlist more customizable" 8 threads above this one. Toshio Yamaguchi (talk) 20:01, 18 October 2011 (UTC)

Seems like a fine idea to me. Go file a feature request at (the place where ideas like this go to die) Raul654 (talk) 20:08, 18 October 2011 (UTC)

Report button - for BLPs or for all articles?

The IP that reported the issue on Martin Kemp here (permanent link to page section) has a half-decent idea. Especially on BLPs, we get a lot of vandalism we'd like to act swiftly on and is presumably often noticed by causal readers long before a regular editor gets to spot it/report it/deal with it. Thoughts welcome --Dweller (talk) 12:03, 18 October 2011 (UTC)

It would be convenient, for a revert of an IP editor, to have the additional option to do the revert plus add a warning notice to the editor's talk page. The latter could bring up a page with a list of warnings, along with a summary of past warnings. Select one of the warnings to add, choose the corresponding options (like adding the article name), then have it automatically deployed to the talk page. I'd also like to see a list of the editor's other recent changes so I can quickly check those as well. The whole purpose would be for the steps to be easier than performing the actual vandalism. Regards, RJH (talk) 18:38, 18 October 2011 (UTC)
Twinkle does a lot of what you're describing. As for a "report" button, I'm on the fence. I can see some obvious value, but I also wonder if the number of false positives such a system would produce would lead to a prohibitively high workload in investigating the reports.--Fyre2387 (talkcontribs) 20:39, 18 October 2011 (UTC)
Like Fyre2387 I have my doubts about the number of false positives such a button would give, but a small scale test on some articles with a history of vandalism could show whether that is really a problem. That being said, we have become incredibly efficient at fighting vandalism in recent years, developing some amazing tools like wp:STiki or User:ClueBot NG. How long until vandalism stops being an issue all together? Yoenit (talk) 21:01, 18 October 2011 (UTC)

code of practice

I'm surprised we don't have an article for this. Can anyone help? Tooironic (talk) 03:26, 19 October 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Etiquette. Regards, RJH (talk) 15:01, 20 October 2011 (UTC)

File move log (or namespace filter for Special:Logs)

I've noted that sometimes people don't fix up the usages of moved/re-titled images.

Would it be possible to have a version of Special:Logs (or related) that only shows file moves? This would make it much faster for someone to check (and if appropriate cleanup) the results of a file move/re-title.

Sfan00 IMG (talk) 10:44, 24 October 2011 (UTC)

Category:Foreign character warning boxes

Now @ Wikipedia:Village_pump_(proposals)#Category:Foreign_character_warning_boxes
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

All these take up quite some space, esp. when placed at the top of the page; it's distracting, and pushes down infoboxes. I'd like to get some ideas how to make them more effective and less space-consuming. My thought would be to have them as a line, like a header, or some top-icon, or whatever else. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 04:55, 23 October 2011 (UTC)

I agree they just deface articles, if we were to add these to any article containing foreign languages scripts before infoboxes, the damage to the layout is far greater than the trivial information they bring. It's unfortunate that the MOS doesn't regulate this. The first thing you see in an article about something as important as China is that trivial information box...Some other warning boxes are even longer than the Chinese one.
And what about articles containing more than one script? Using the same logic can a user add 2 or 3 different warning boxes to the top? that would be absurd. On top of that we have the other tags (refimprove, POV, linkrot etc), just picture an article with all of this on top. Definitely their use needs to be regulated. --Tachfin (talk) 07:02, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
So how about the top-icon idea? That would be as un-intrusive as a featured-article star or padlock-icon... Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 08:01, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
Great idea, it should be implemented Tachfin (talk) 05:23, 26 October 2011 (UTC)
Support—Yes I agree. Anything we can do to reduce the informational distractions from the main topic is likely to be beneficial (in terms of the ergonomic principle of reducing mental work-load). Displaying the foreign character message via an icon mouse-over is a good proposal. Regards, RJH (talk) 17:14, 27 October 2011 (UTC)

Preventing link rot by automatic archival:

I've seen something interesting on the French wiki, when you use the citeweb template it automatically archives the URL at, this seems to be an efficient way to prevent link rot. Has this been ever tested on the English wiki? Tachfin (talk) 03:02, 27 October 2011 (UTC)

Main problem is copyright - see Internet_Archive#Controversies_and_legal_disputes. The Internet Archive's Wayback Machine is quite likely illegal, making and distributing copies without the permission of the copyright holder, as is virtually any web archival service. Linking to a third party service that does this could be contributory infringement. Without a change in the law, there is no simply way to implement such a service. So far, Wikipedia has overlooked the legal issues of linking to the Internet Archive, so they might also overlook a similar archiving service specific to Wikipedia, but I still think to limit our legal risk it should be operated entirely by an independent third party, who downloads the external link database dump (see e.g. enwiki-20111007-externallinks.sql.gz at [2], 1.1 GB) and uses it to mirror pages.. Dcoetzee 05:53, 27 October 2011 (UTC)

@Tachfin, a handful of us have been tying to solve the problem.

  • The Wikiwix idea was rejected by the community in this RfC.
  • We had the original WebCiteBot, but it went down and the bot operator was unable to get it running again. We also tried to get a replacement but were unsuccessful.

Our best shot right now is the ArchiveLinks extension for MediaWiki. But it's still in development. - Hydroxonium (TCV) 05:16, 28 October 2011 (UTC)

Thanks for clarifying, very interesting discussion. I hope this gets solved someday. Tachfin (talk) 06:17, 28 October 2011 (UTC)

View statistics tool

As in Wikipedia:Help_desk#Broken_tool.3F this tool which I think is useful, seems to be broken. I do not know the right person at WMF but if anyone does, can you please suggest that they should take over it. Thanks. History2007 (talk) 22:21, 30 October 2011 (UTC)

Wikignome - User script to support contextual talk for an article

Wikignome user interface.

I'm looking for feedback, ideas, concerns on a user script I have been working on to allow discussion, collaboration within the context of the article. The user-script is called Wikignome. Through a series of calls to the API and some content parsing, it allows an article viewer to make sentence level edits (fixing spelling and wording) as well as inserting, editing and removing notes from an article. I've designed the system so that users who do not have Wikignome installed will still be able to interact with note content via the talk page of the article.

I'm hoping to find some volunteers to give the gadget a try and let me know they think. I'd also like to engage in some discussion about how the interface works and whether it is appropriate for Wikipedia. --EpochFail(talk|work) 18:11, 3 November 2011 (UTC)

Block notice

We have an editnotice that gets shown when someone edits a certain page. Would a block notice be of any use that is displayed when the block interface is called. For example bots running on toolserver should all be blocked with autoblock off and not every admin will be either aware of this 'rule' or quickly realise that the bot is on the toolserver. Agathoclea (talk) 20:28, 21 October 2011 (UTC)

We can't put an edit notice on a special page, however Special:Block already displays the text on MediaWiki:Blockiptext - so it already says When blocking legitimate bot accounts, please ensure that you disable autoblocks. You could of course change that notice, to e.g. add specific mention of toolserv, but I don't know if that's really necessary.
The problem, really, is that admins will block using java/popup things, so they won't see it anyway. We can't do much about that, except maybe modify the java/popup to show a similar page, but as the popup is supposed to be quick and easy, it'd probably interfere.
Admins ought to know blocking policies already.  Chzz  ►  00:43, 5 November 2011 (UTC)

Link advisor

I am wondering how useful a tool would be that would gather some data to perform useful inference on the Wikilinks in an article? For example:

  • Is a link used twice within a major section? (Possible overlinking.)
  • Is a link used more than three times in an article? (Possible overlinking.)
  • Does a section have an abnormally high proportion of links? (Some data gathering would be needed here.)
  • Is there an earlier instance of a word that is linked later in the article?
  • What "common" words are linked in the article? (Perhaps a basic dictionary check.)
  • What common units are linked in an article?
  • Are there more applicable redirects available? (I.e. ones that more closely match the link names, while satisfying WP:NOTBROKEN.)
  • What linked words are not contained within the link name? (I.e. potentially misleading links.)
  • How many links point to the linked article in the article space? (I.e. likelihood to be a common word)
  • How many links point to redirects? (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)

Any others? Regards, RJH (talk) 15:35, 29 October 2011 (UTC)

I was just driving by here, so will comment that useful is one thing, "finished" is another. Who is going to implement this? They are struggling with other broken things now, as below.
Personally I would redirect every ounce of clever software development energy towards ant-vandal bots rather than these types of tools anyway. History2007 (talk) 22:21, 30 October 2011 (UTC)
Build the wall before you build the city? I'm not sure that spending all of your time keeping out the vandals would be a very enjoyable coding activity. At least the above tool could be usable by anybody bringing an article up to GA or FA. Regards, RJH (talk) 01:55, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
A city with 3 million articles/inhabitants is there. Most articles have 10 different ailments. History2007 (talk) 01:59, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
Err, fixing "ailments" (in terms of alignment with Wikipedia linking policy) is partly what this is intended to help address. But no matter. Regards, RJH (talk) 02:31, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
It might be very useful. AWB indicates multiple links, and several people (to my knowledge, possibly more) spent significant amounts of time removing common linking - indeed there used to be an award for the most overlinked article/section found by a gnome. Rich Farmbrough, 10:52, 31 October 2011 (UTC).
Yes, pruning and refining links from a long article can be a tedious and time-consuming exercise. Regards, RJH (talk) 20:10, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
It seems like a useful tool and would be relatively straightforward to implement. I'd suggest starting building it as a userscript, deploying it, advertising it, and then seeing if editors found it useful.Benjamin Good (talk) 18:06, 7 November 2011 (UTC)

Talk Page Rights

If IPs can't write articles, then why can they create talk pages? All they have to do is type in Talk:ArticleName and create, even though there is no article called "ArticleName". This allows anybody to put anything: spam, vandalism, attack pages, etc. These pages are not checked! This alllows them to bypass the system! They go undiscovered for long periods of time.
(See, created in 2007 deleted in 2011). The good thing is there are little to no page views for these pages.
Maybe have a talk page requests instead, where it would say "request talk page to be created" instead of "create talk page", and it would bring admin attention like, {{Edit protected}} does. I looked at Special:NewPages and looked under the talk namespace, and there has to be about 50-100 articles that are talk pages without articles. Thoughts? Bar Code Symmetry (Talk) 16:48, 6 November 2011 (UTC)

Interesting point, though I think we should explore alternative solutions. If there is not already one, there should be a report generated of article talk pages without corresponding articles, as it is rare for that to be a proper outcome. Also, I'm not sure if it is withing the capability of the edit filter, but maybe it could flag for review the creation of a talk page in the article talk space when there is not a corresponding article. Outside article talk space, I'm not sure if anything will work, the ability of new and IP editors to create other talk pages is relied upon by a variety of processes. Monty845 17:04, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
I'm going to try to find a couple admins who appear to be finding and deleting such pages, and ask them for insight regarding the current methods for finding them. (Requests: [3], [4]) Monty845 17:10, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
I'm one of those admins. However, I'm finding them very easily - they pop up on the dashboard. I've no idea how the patrollers find them, unless it's because they suspect things aren't right when they come up on New Edits. (I used to read all sorts of odd things when patrolling edits by new accounts. I was working up to 12 hours behind the Huggle brigade, but finding the things they didn't.) There does seem to be a great increase recently of article creation by IPs on talk pages of never created articles. Previously, it used to be the occasional leftover from the deletion of an article (I've done that too...), or someone belatedly contesting or protesting deletion. As to what to do about it, is it possible to build into the software a check on the existence of a page before a talk page can be created? There's no need that I can see for anyone, be they IP or bureaucrat, to create a floating talkpage outside userspace. Don't allow one and flag it - just block the option off completely. With regard to the increase, I've been comparing IPs at times, but haven't found any sign of mass production by a sock - unless they change IP each time. I can't see any pattern in the subjects, either. I'll start making notes. Possibly the increase is down to some patrollers using a new method - I'll check out dates/times too. Peridon (talk) 19:31, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
You can look yourself at Special:NewPages, just change the namespace to talk instead of article. Anyway, maybe there could be a bot that looks for talk pages without articles, it would enter {{db-talk}} and put (G8: Talk page without article) as an edit summary. Then it would notify the user to use WP:AFC (even though there is a massive backlog there) instead of a talk page. However I don't know programming languages like python or javascript, so I would need someone else to do it. Bar Code Symmetry (Talk) 20:24, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
Hmmm. Beat you to one.... I still think blocking all free floating talkpages outside userspace would be easiest. Is there any call for them to be creatable by anyone at all? Possibly a bot could be used to see if there are any that have escaped the patrollers up to now, though. I couldn't do it. I wrote the COBOL programs that enabled Noah to keep track of the Ark, but js is a total mystery to me. Peridon (talk) 20:59, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
WP:AFC relies on the ability of IP editors to create talk pages in the Wikipedia talk space. Also, creating talk page archives could be a problem. Monty845 22:15, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
What would you say, Monty? Which should I bring to WP:VPP: the bot, a new log, a new tag, admin attention to create, or something else? I say bot, Peridon says
finding talk pages and deleting them manually (I think?), and (your third option) will be brought to WP:VPP as early as possible. (And by that I mean as early that I can, tomorrow is a work day) Bar Code Symmetry (Talk) 22:53, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
I would propose a 2 part solution: 1) An edit filter that would warn that talk pages should not be created unless the article exists, and would tag the edit in the recent changes log. As most such edits will be mistakes, the reviewer can try to fix the mistake and or tag for deletion, depending on the circumstances. 2) A report (probably bot generated) that would identify all existing such talk pages; we would then go through the report, manually reviewing talk pages, and tagging for deletion those that do not meet an exception to Speedy Deletion criteria G8. As the edit filter would cause new talk pages to be reviewed, there should be no need to run the report regularly. Monty845 23:07, 6 November 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I like it, but I have one question. Would the tag tag every new talk page or just the ones with no article? Bar Code Symmetry (Talk) 00:17, 7 November 2011 (UTC)

Presuming it is technically possible to do so with an edit filter, only those new talk pages without an article. Monty845 00:27, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
Oh, OK. Are we all ready for the move to WP:VPP? Bar Code Symmetry (Talk) 00:47, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
Also don't forget about the database report, where the pages that slip by the patrollers are found. — Train2104 (talk • contribs • count) 04:34, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
I thought a report like that might exist, but I was unable to locate it. That report makes the proposal here a lot less important. Bar Code Symmetry provided the example of as a page that had existed for years as an orphaned talk page, to someone with viewdeleted, any idea why it was not picked up in the database report? Monty845 04:40, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
Not a clue why. — Train2104 (talk • contribs • count) 11:45, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
How does the report work? I think there has to be hundreds more than just those 70... and the report isn't updated as much as I want it too... How about I change my proposal to improving the database reports, maybe changing when it finds a talk page with no article, it puts a tag on it instead like: (Tag: Talk page without article)? Bar Code Symmetry (Talk) 20:56, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
Comment On looking at a few of these talkpages, they seem to come from anywhere - an Italian IP posting about a Cameroon Professor, a Uruguay IP about an (obscure) American actor, a UK IP about an Indian engineer/poet and so on. I think most of them (barring the Romanian repost of a deleted article) are genuinely trying to post articles. There doesn't seem to be anything of value in this sample, so we've not lost anything on them. However, I'm not sure what to do if I come across one that looks to be of value. I'm more involved with deletions than creations (well, someone has to take the rubbish out...). Peridon (talk) 15:14, 7 November 2011 (UTC)

There's about 150 such pages; please see here. Big thx to The Earwig (talk · contribs) and Shirik (talk · contribs) for helping me quickly glean that data.  Chzz  ►  03:12, 11 November 2011 (UTC)

Disclosing whether a user has checked their talk page

Moved from WP:VPT

This is just a casual inquiry, not any kind of expression of intent to do something: How private do you feel the fact that you've checked / not checked your talk page for new messages is?

We're currently recording that in the database (the flag is used to determine whether the "You have new messages" bar is shown), but it's private to the user.

Disclosing this to other users could help especially for patrollers, because right now it's impossible to know whether a message you're sending to a new user is actually being received. Knowing this for a fact could help avoid unproductive communications. It could also generally reduce frustrations around "I've left a note for this user who was active weeks ago, but I have no idea if they've looked at it yet."

This would be less valuable as an opt-in feature because then it wouldn't work for new users. It would be easy to make it opt-out, though.

Thoughts? Would this be helpful, or invasive?--Eloquence* 17:56, 9 November 2011 (UTC)

Seems pretty invasive. It's similar to an email receipt for emails. I recall the days when I had to use those, it became a very stressful situation to reading emails because then you'd be pressured to respond ASAP in most cases, otherwise the other person would often bug you and ask why you have yet to reply even though you read their message 30 minutes ago. Pretty frustrating. I'd especially hate to badger new users. You have to remember that in today's web, receipts like these are rare to find. There were rumors, at one point for instance, that whenever you saw someone's Facebook photo, they would be notified. People freaked out. People expect their online activities to be, for the most part, private. That includes reading messages meant for them, even though they can be read by anyone (the user talk messages). Gary King (talk · scripts) 18:08, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
Invasive. --Tagishsimon (talk) 18:51, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
Very invasive. Bielle (talk) 18:55, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
Extremely invasive. --SarekOfVulcan (talk) 18:56, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
Absolutely invasive. HurricaneFan25 19:01, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
Agree with the above. I treat talk page postings in the same regard as snail mail. It is up to the recipients whether they respond or not. We don't need to reinvent Outlook here. Regards, RJH (talk) 16:46, 11 November 2011 (UTC)
Absolutely terrible idea; besides, visiting a page != reading what's on it; nor would you know if an editor has visited their talk page while logged out, or logged in under another account. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Andy's talk; Andy's edits 18:59, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
I agree that this is very invasive - though it might be implemented as something that could be put behind a special userright. I would say then at least oversight, but it is also useful in some other cases (sometimes blocks are now needed to stop someone who is not listening to remarks, where the editor may just simply not understand that there are messages for them) - maybe that Admins could choose to use (like AbuseFilter). When then put as a userright, then abuse of it as described above by Gary should result in immediate removal. But even then I still think that it may be invasive. --Dirk Beetstra T C 19:00, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
(ec-addition) - Pigsonthewing, you are right, visiting != reading. Still, if someone refuses to read warnings, even after visiting the page) at least that is more than that they maybe totally did not get that there were warnings. --Dirk Beetstra T C 19:00, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
Got it, from the responses I think it's pretty clear that any user-level disclosure would be seen as highly problematic. Thanks for the quick feedback. :-)--Eloquence* 19:27, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
Moved from WP:VPT

SVG rendering problems and font licensing issues

I previously brought up the idea of changes to SVG policy here at SVG Help at the end of a discussion about improper rendering of SVGs used in an article. We definitely need a solution to the problem caused by SVG rendering and font licensing. My simple proposal was listed there are SVG Help, but has not been responded to, since that is not the place for policy issues anyway. I've copied my final statement at SVG Help below:

If an SVG image is using non-free fonts and the thumbnailing by MediaWiki causes the fonts to be skewed or cut off or the image to otherwise look crappy, horrible, and unencyclopedic (as it does) it either:

  • shouldn't be used in an article, in which case it shouldn't be on wikipedia (but perhaps on commons),
  • should be converted to PNG and uploaded (in which case the vector nature of the image is lost),
  • or should, ideally, be edited to work with a free font, which would require (potentially lots of) extra work.
This only seems logical to me: we want non-crappy images in our encyclopedia articles don't we? Following the same logical thought process, SVG images that look crappy as explained above should just be deleted. It's better to have no image in an article than to have images that look like crap to readers who won't understand that it's because of Wikipedia's licensing policy. If a standard wait time is applied (7 days or something reasonable) it will give the uploader and other editors time to fix the image, but images that nobody cares enough to update will still be deleted instead of making articles look bad.

Trlkly was kind enough to fix the mentioned SVG's, but the root of the problem still needs to be fixed. Any thoughts? —danhash (talk) 15:47, 11 November 2011 (UTC)

There is no such thing as "non-free fonts". Use of fonts is not restricted by copyright. The only things that are copyrighted are the binary font files, and only their distribution is restricted by the license. Edokter (talk) — 16:35, 11 November 2011 (UTC)
The script Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Chemistry/Structure drawing workgroup/Mysid's script works reasonably well with chemical structures - I've not used it personally User:Slashme fixed a lot of bad svg for us.  Ronhjones  (Talk) 20:10, 11 November 2011 (UTC)


I'm concerned about the confusion caused by the notation used for foreign language pronunciation. Here is a case in point:

Domenico Ghirlandaio (Italian pronunciation: [doˈmeniko ɡirlanˈdajo]; 1449 – 11 January 1494) was an Italian Renaissance painter

The reader (with no prior knowledge of Italian) has the option to click on the name and intelligently work through all the confusion of sounds which are different in English and Italian. Thus they can eventually come to an understanding. But if they do not do this and simply rely on their knowledge of English, then:

  • "Domenico Ghirlandaio", pronounced "doˈmeniko ɡirlanˈdajo" becomes "Doh (a-deer-a-female-deer) men (that's easy) Nike (as in joggers) ko (as in Yoko Ono)" "Girl (as in young female person) an (easy) dar (pronounced long) Joe (because it's got a "j" in it, hasn't it?)
so we have Doh-me'-nike-oh (or Doh-men'-eye-ko) Girl-and'-dar-joe but we do not have Dom-men'-ee-co Gear-larn'-die-oh (gear as in mechanics, die as in kick the bucket) Note that the "men" is a little longer than "men" in English but not quite "main".

Putting in this Italian pronunciation is a facility that Wiki provides, but it's more trouble than it's worth, because of the effort that it takes an English speaker to interpret it.

Any suggestions? Amandajm (talk) 01:39, 5 November 2011 (UTC)

I'm not sure what you think would be preferable. No pronunciation guide at all? Something non-standard, which will work for speakers of American English but not, say, speakers of Indian English? WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:35, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
IPA is standard, if cumbersome. We already have Pronunciation respelling for English in some articles. It might be worth it to roll that out to more articles, but it should be alongside IPA, so that there's always a totally unambiguous pronunciation available. Also, some articles have sound files attached to their pronunciations. --NYKevin @101, i.e. 01:25, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps some form of automation could be developed to provide only the necessary information and for the correct native language to English conversion? I.e. pass each of the syllables as a field to an HTML form-style link, along with an originating language field, then have the data processed at the link to produce a simplified pronunciation report in English. Is that feasible? Regards, RJH (talk) 22:33, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
I'm afraid that IPA, while perhaps globally workable in theory is next to completely valueless in practice. It simply has no meaning to the average reader and takes a fair amount of effort to puzzle out. Precision is great, but ease-of-use is something to be considered as well. One possible solution, though it may be technically difficult, would be to have a way of generating sounds based on the IPA pronunciations? The way I'd envision this would be to have a sound file associated with each IPA symbol and a template to play the sounds used in the article? --Philosopher Let us reason together. 12:06, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
I agree that IPA can be confusing. It certainly is to me. But I feel it reflects the confusing nature of language. For example, "Nike" is used in the version above. This can be pronounced a few ways; like the first bit of "nickel" or the first bit of "night". I would strive to find an alternative to IPA, but almost by definition you run into problems of different pronunciation of the little bits; after all, it was the aim of IPA to get rid of them. Grandiose (me, talk, contribs) 12:27, 14 November 2011 (UTC)

File Namespace Noticeboard

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

I'd like some people to help me flush out User:Sven_Manguard/File_namespace_noticeboard before I formally propose that it's created. Sven Manguard Wha? 07:34, 11 November 2011 (UTC)

Wouldn't the function of this be covered by a number of existing noticeboards ( with respect to the licensing issues) at least?
I don't have a problem with collation of function in a single noticeboard though, the concern is duplication of effort.Sfan00 IMG (talk) 12:03, 11 November 2011 (UTC)
No. In theory these things would move over, gradually until the FNN becomes known. This would reduce effort for the file workers, because we'd have one primary center for all the threads that concern file issues, instead of having them spread out over AN, VP:P, VP:M, CENT, etc.. Sven Manguard Wha? 12:16, 11 November 2011 (UTC)
  • I have made a new subpage for the header at User:Sven_Manguard/File_namespace_noticeboard/Header. I also made it more complicated and added the New section link. ~~Ebe123~~ → reportContribs 13:01, 11 November 2011 (UTC)
  • This would make file work so much easier --Guerillero | My Talk 13:08, 11 November 2011 (UTC)
  • How does this relate to Wikipedia:WikiProject Images and Media ? MilborneOne (talk) 13:56, 11 November 2011 (UTC)
    • Maybe add an extra tab at the top of Wikipedia:WikiProject Images and Media to show the new noticeboard?  Ronhjones  (Talk) 20:04, 11 November 2011 (UTC)
      • It's a great project that suffers, unfortunately, from poor publicity. I spent a year working in files before finding out that the project existed. Also, it's great for planning projects and has an excellent cache of resources, but it really isn't the place to hold major RfCs, for that a noticeboard that's linked to the directory, and isn't attached to any specific body (such as a WikiProject). Sven Manguard Wha? 09:23, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
  • I think this could go on WP:VPR now. ~~Ebe123~~ → reportContribs 15:43, 11 November 2011 (UTC)
  • I think the general idea makes sense (viz. centralizing general file issues that are not about a specific file), and the exact header can be tweaked and refined later / through discussion.  Chzz  ►  00:00, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
  • Per our brief discussion the other day on your talk, I think this is a great idea. Alpha_Quadrant (talk) 03:30, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
  • I also think this is a good idea as it will centralize debates and permit longer, less structured discussions then at IFD. MBisanz talk 03:49, 12 November 2011 (UTC)

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

"Signed" userspace essays

Lately I have seen this essay being quoted in AFDs. It's an interesting view but it's written from a first person perspective so I didn't feel comfortable editing it as it was essentially the view of the editor who wrote it explaining how he !votes the way he does in some AFDs. Compare it to an essay I wrote. Yes it's my personal opinion too but I invite others to edit it and if it turns out to represent the views of other editors, I might move it to WP space.

Therefore I propose that we allow users to create "signed essays". The main difference between a "signed" essay and a "normal" essay (in user or project space) is that a signed essay would be intended to represent the views of one user and one user only. It would essentially be an extended talk page post and would be signed. Here are my proposed rules for a "signed essay"

  • It should be restricted to the userspace of the user who wrote it.
  • The essay should be signed with 2 3 tildes instead of 3 4.
  • The rules for editing the essay (or at least the signed part, see below) should be the same as that for talk page posts. Aside from reverting vandalism, only the user who created it should edit it.
  • Any comments or suggested changes should be made either on the essay's talk page or in a section below labeled == Comments == if the user invites it.
  • The essay should not have a "WP" shortcut. If it's felt that shortcuts are needed then perhaps we should consider a new "pseudo namespace" such as "USR" for them.

I'm inviting opinions and suggestions here first before I propose it at WP:PROPS because I suspect if I did so, I would get a lot of opposes quoting WP:OWN. I understand this but I think this would be a good way to separate userspace pages from ones intended to be edited by anybody such as article and project space essay drafts and ones intended to represent the views of one user such as "My RFA voting criteria". --Ron Ritzman (talk) 22:27, 30 October 2011 (UTC)

I'm supportive of the idea but I dont think there is a need to put it in concrete. I also dislike that WP shortcuts cannot be used. I think we should allow WP shortcuts, but community essays, guidelines, and policies should be given preference.--v/r - TP 22:44, 30 October 2011 (UTC)
Well, that's an idea, just be BOLD and do it but at least putting it in "concrete" might prevent some stickassery over editors signing stuff outside of talk pages. As for the shortcut provision, I'm not married to it as there really is no guideline stating what can and can't get a WP shortcut. It's just that in my view, a WP shortcut suggests that what it links to is a policy, guideline, or at least something that represents the views of more then one editor. However, that's another discussion (and I feel like a hypocrite for creating WP:B2B). --Ron Ritzman (talk) 02:15, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
I don't have time to look it up right now, but I believe that "cross namespace" redirects like that are already prohibited. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:33, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
  • If a user has a page in their userspace that is signed, and is essentially just one long comment that looks like an essay, then it would already be protected under WP:TPO. I don't see a need for any additional policy or guideline on this.
    FYI Two tildes doesn't do anything: ~~ . –xenotalk 18:22, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
    • Oops, I meant 3 tildes instead of 4. --Ron Ritzman (talk) 13:33, 18 November 2011 (UTC)

"Citation needed" Yes, but ....

I am a newcomer to Wikipedia so if this specific problem has been dealt with and the answer is hidden in past files which I have failed to find, please forgive me.

While trying to improve articles in fields where I have some professional knowledge, I have come across unreferenced statements which I know to be true (and, so far as the particular subject is concerned, are often commonplaces of "The moon orbits round the Sun" type), but cannot supply a satisfactory reference. I don't want to insert {{citation needed}} in case this leads to another editor removing the information. At the other end of the scale, I have found unreferenced (or inadequately-referenced statements) which are possible candidates for immediate deletion but I hesitate to do so out of respect for the previous editor who may know something that I don't.

To ease these pressures, I should like to be able to use any of three in-line tags in place of one:

  • {{ok but citation?}}
  • {{citation missing}}
  • {{citation urgent}}

In the first case, the information should then be left UNLESS someone comes up with evidence to the contrary. In the third, it should be taken as a warning that the article will be edited shortly IF NO positive support is supplied. In BOTH cases, appropriate detailed comments should be left on the talk page

Some people may feel that all this should be taken to talk. I have two concerns. First many readers may not check out the talk-page and therefore not benefit. Second, some talk-pages have very little recent movement and former editors are no longer active so no dialogue takes place even when the matter is urgent. A more specific tag in the article should be more efficient.--Jpacobb (talk) 18:35, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

Sounds like a good idea to me. I don't see why "citation needed" can't have levels indicating the liklihood that the material is wrong and/or the urgency. Herostratus (talk) 19:37, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
I think that the converse of Wikipedia:Verifiability may apply to your example; citations aren't needed for material that is unlikely to be challenged. Regards, RJH (talk) 22:19, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for your response. It points to an alternative solution. The difficulty is that there seems to be no agreed criteria as to what type of material is likely to be challenged. Some articles (or sections within them) reference almost everything (as in detailed academic writing), others don't. On the other hand, I have even come across one or two longish stubs marked "citations needed" where all the contents would pass unquestioned for anyone who had a reasonable knowledge of the particular subject. If your comment points the way forward, people need to be far more sparing in the use of "citation needed". There might be a problem with this approach in that editors come and go, and the editor who provided the material may not be around to supply the reference if it is questioned at a later date.--Jpacobb (talk) 13:47, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
Yes, providing a reasonable level of citation can sometimes prove a challenge, particularly for seemingly common knowledge within a field. The oddly weakened role of textbooks as "tertiary sources" makes that doubly difficult—they're hardly equivalent to Wikipedia's perceived level of reliability. Articles seem to be viewed as "well cited" when they have at least one citation per paragraph. Beyond that, it can be difficult to find a good balance or an acceptable compromise. Many times I see 'citation needed' tags being well used in situations where the statement is either controversial, or a possible misconception or OR. In other cases, however, I've seen them used for PoV-pushing by questioning any statement that conflicts with the poster's viewpoint. (A clue to this can be WP:TAGBOMB situations.) Hence, I've come to view those tags with some skepticism, but don't immediately dismiss them. It might be interesting, though, to get a regular posting of articles that have the highest density of inline tags, so we can review them. Regards, RJH (talk) 20:01, 10 November 2011 (UTC)

[A request from Dezire321 about the article Indigo Children has been transfered to Talk:Indigo_children#Request_from_Dezire321 as it does not relate to this section.--Jpacobb (talk) 21:23, 9 November 2011 (UTC)]

If it's "urgent", then you should just remove the information. Be bold. If you want (and if concerned about respect for the previous editors), you could explain why on the associated talk page, and you could of course tell the person who added it, and discuss it with them.
If it's common knowledge, then no reference is needed.  Chzz  ►  19:38, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
I would add that citations are a tool that we use to accomplish our goals, not an end unto themselves. The primry purpose for a citation is to make it possible for some future editor/vandal fighter to figure out whether the information is accurate. So if you're reporting statistics ("Five percent of women die from breast cancer"), then you need a citation, so that it's easy for the next person to see whether that's (still) correct, or if someone has improperly changed the numbers. On the flip side, if anyone will easily recognize something as accurate, then there normally shouldn't be an inline citation after the statement. For example, someone fact-tagged a statement about the number of fingers are normally present on the human hand, and it was considered silly vandalism: the typical three year old could tell you the answer.
You might like to read WP:LIKELY, WP:BLUE, and WP:MINREF. WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:21, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
The moon does not orbit around the Sun. --Gerrit CUTEDH 15:10, 17 November 2011 (UTC)
For getting the attention of invested passers by you can use {{Discuss}} linking to the talk page. Since the displayed text can be changed to suit the application it can act as a True but proof? or Surely wrong? or whatever else may seem appropriate. I have deployed it a few times and it has proven useful in starting debate about contentious material. Also good for putting the brakes on before burgeoning edit wars get out of hand. fg 21:03, 17 November 2011 (UTC)

Editing from mobile devices

It should be possible to invite more editors to Wikipedia if editing from mobile devices would be easier. I propose a new approach:

Users can send suggestions for improving an article or small facts in form of a short message. This happens when clicking a new friendly button that is featured on the article page. This message is then sent to a group of users that have "adopted" the article and are willing to receive and work those messages. (Invitations to adopt an article could be sent automatically to recent/frequent contributors.) Only if enough users have adopted the article, the option for submission of short messages appears. Example:

  1. Mobile user sends message about article "Dresden": "Population statistics are old, there are new ones out (2010)."
  2. User that has adopted the article sees the message pop up in his list, marks it as read and finds new data and includes it in the article.
  3. Bonus: the original mobile user gets a message saying: "Thank you for your contribution. The article has been changed in the following way..."

(I did use the search function and found a rather old discussion about adopting an article but in a different way: Michbich (talk) 10:33, 16 November 2011 (UTC)

The idea seems ideal for mobile users, but I would prefer to have such a feature incorporated into the official Wikipedia Applicaiton for (say) iPhones. That way we could send the messages directly to the user (via the Mobile OS's notifications feature) and the experience will be more engaging. Also, does a large enough number of "Wikipedians" edit articles via mobile devices to make such a feature effective? Best Regards, ScientistMohamed. There's real poetry in the real world. Science is the poetry of reality -- Richard Dawkins 15:40, 16 November 2011 (UTC)
This could already be done if current users "adopted" article Discussion pages by checking "Watch this page", then they'd see comments added to the Discussion page come up on their Watch list. So I guess mobile users could just enter their suggestions on article Discussion pages. There'd be no need to create a new type of Watch list if it would work the way I'm suggesting. It's a great idea to work on as an initiative -- more mobile users will be coming online in the next few years, millions more worldwide. They'll use mobile devices to access the Web, not standard computers...
Aside: Does the new iPhone allow for uploading to the Web (like image files)? OttawaAC (talk) 02:43, 18 November 2011 (UTC)
If you haven't seen it, you all should check out the brainstorm and feature corral for mobile projects. People who make decisions about what mobile features get coded watch those. Steven Walling (WMF) • talk 02:26, 19 November 2011 (UTC)

Warning about {{DEFAULTSORT:}} when moving a page?

If I move a page, perhaps one I've found while stub-sorting, I don't always remember to check whether it has a {{DEFAULTSORT:}}, which will usually need to be updated if present.

I wonder whether WP could alert me to this? A few thoughts:

  • A red alert, similar to the ones where there's a <ref> but no {{reflist}}, to say something like "Page has been moved but DEFAULTSORT not updated" Might be technically difficult: need to compare the before and after copies of DEFAULTSORT, and an editor might have made multiple edits around the time of the move. And the sort key might have been wrong in the first place, and correct now, without being changed.
  • or: A note on my talk page to say "You moved THISPAGE to THATPAGE. It currently has sortkey THISPAGE. Is that still right? If I'd remembered to update the sortkey it would display the current one, so I would look, see it was OK, and move on; if I'd forgotten, I would go and take action, using the link provided in the message to make it easier. Perhaps the link would even take me right to the occurrence of "{{DEFAULTSORT:}}" in the article, to make life easier?
There could be an opt-out of this, for people who move a lot of pages and never forget to check the DEFAULTSORT so would find these messages irritating!

I suppose while we're at it, WP might be able also to check for non-free images where the information justifying their use needs an update when the page is moved, and flag those up too? Just doing a bit of brainstorming there.

Any ideas? PamD 17:57, 16 November 2011 (UTC)

This would be useful; sounds like a good bot task to me. —danhash (talk) 21:27, 16 November 2011 (UTC)
Yes, I agree. It's a good idea to check for this. Regards, RJH (talk) 17:07, 18 November 2011 (UTC)
SELECT log_title, page_title, pp_value AS DefaultSort
FROM logging_ts_alternative
JOIN redirect   ON rd_from=log_page
JOIN page       ON page_namespace=rd_namespace AND page_title=rd_title
JOIN page_props ON pp_page=page_id AND pp_propname="defaultsort"
WHERE log_type="move" AND log_action="move" 
AND rd_namespace=0 AND log_namespace=0
AND CONVERT(pp_value USING utf8) != CONVERT(REPLACE(page_title,"_"," ") USING utf8) COLLATE utf8_general_ci
ORDER BY log_timestamp DESC
The DEFAULTSORT value is available from the database as in the above example. — Dispenser 23:19, 25 November 2011 (UTC)

500,000,000 edits

We're rapidly approaching this landmark; Is anyone planning any kind of Frontpage notice or banner? Maybe it could be tied in to the "Jimmy wants your dough" banner? (talk) 22:47, 21 November 2011 (UTC)

In addition, does anyone know how to find out which contribution, in particular, is the "n"th edit? (talk) 22:53, 21 November 2011 (UTC)
Been and gone I'm afraid. {{NUMBEROFEDITS}} reads as → 910,603,874 fredgandt 19:16, 25 November 2011 (UTC)

Suggestion for a Wikipedia sister project

Wikipedia articles are quite wordy sometimes, and often that's a good thing. Nevertheless, we live in a world encumbered by information overload, and sometimes we need to quickly grasp the essence of a topic, or just see and understand if further exploration of the topic would be worth our while.

I was thinking if it wouldn't be helpful towards wikipedia readers if there were a sister project for every topic with a focus on brevity and the big picture.

I imagine that every site could have this sort of a "short version" that would concentrate on the most essential concepts of every topic, graphical representation of the topic ( formulas, diagrams, etc.) and how the topic relates to the other topics. Sort of like the "very best" of each article without additional information, or sort of like a cheat sheet on the topic if you will. Should the reader become more interested in the topic, they'd be free to switch back to the full wikipedia article.

What do you think? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Pskocik (talkcontribs) 22:24, 23 November 2011 (UTC)

Is that not the purpose of the lead part of the article?--Ykraps (talk) 23:11, 23 November 2011 (UTC)
simple:Wikipedia kinda fits the bill. fredgandt 19:14, 25 November 2011 (UTC)
Not really. From the simple:Main Page, "Simple does not mean short." The Simple English Wikipedia is about using words that are easy to understand, not about using simple concepts. Granted, many of the articles tend that way, but that's more a function of the fact they have a small community than of intention. --Philosopher Let us reason together. 21:06, 25 November 2011 (UTC)
Mhmm so I see. My bad. Perhaps then if a honing or focusing is warranted, it could be best accomplished by a combination of server side scripting and semantic data embedded in all normal pages here. A click of a button and viola! Nutshellipedia! fredgandt 22:05, 25 November 2011 (UTC)

new type of RFC for policy pages

Nutshell: "Rather then periodic wide scale RFC's allow policy pages to evolve organically through continuous review"

Located here please direct comments to the talk page to keep things centralized. Although I still have the page in userspace, changes made directly to the proposal are welcome. Crazynas t 23:08, 24 November 2011 (UTC)

Clumsy classes

End of 2010 WikiProject Geology had UT Austin - Mineralogy course (User talk:Vsmith/Archive17#Stillwaterite 2) and SUNY Potsdam (Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Geology/Archive 2#Students editing Geology articles).
2011 we had an Indian Education Programm (Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/Archives/2011-11-07), and have an Wikipedia:WikiProject China/NNU Class Project from Nanjing University. Apparently, Asians don't regard as copyvio what North-americans do (Discussion on Signpost).
Could we not get a noticeboard for these classes ??? I think that it'd better to know beforehand were copyvios by clumsy students are most likely to happen ... --Chris.urs-o (talk) 15:38, 25 November 2011 (UTC)

Make the mainpage reflect both sides of Wikipedia

I think it's clear that the first thing people see on the Wikipedia main page is the top frame containing the "Welcome to Wikipedia" message on the left and the links to a number of content portals on the right. But Wikipedia isn't just a content website, it's also a collaborative project which ideally gives people a convenient outlet for productive contribution to the world.
For this reason I think that the "Welcome to Wikipedia" message should be moved to the center, and the left side of the frame should be filled with links to community related pages resembling the links to content portals on the right.
These links would bring people to pages like I want to help!, Introduction, Help, Wikipedia news, Village pump and Community portal. The fact is that as Wikipedia has matured, it has become less easy to become/remain an active wikipedian. If we do the above or something similar, it will be easier to come to the site, find a prominently placed link to a set of helpful tools for aspiring editors, find an interesting and fun activity, and begin contributing in a productive way.
There are so many great, helpful resources for newbies and experienced editors alike hidden all over Wikipedia. We just need to put them in plain sight.
--U5K0'sTalkMake WikiLove not WikiWar 17:04, 20 November 2011 (UTC)

The approach to reorganizing Wikipedia's main page sounds good. I see that some newbies have welcome tags on their talk pages. Unlucky newbie users have to browse and do a quick search on Wikipedia to find the information they need on how to edit the encyclopedia. Since this Wikipedia is very well-developed, I rarely need to edit it. Most of the time, I consume the articles, not produce it, unless there is a typo or some factual error. I would have just edited Wikipedia anonymously, but apparently, some of the pages that I wanted to edit before became semi-protected or protected, discouraging anonymous users to fix an occasional typo.

I would like to suggest my own proposal, in addition to yours. And the proposal is to ask administrators to quit semi-protecting pages so quickly. Unless the article is repeatedly vandalized with falsehoods and illegible writing, don't semi-protect it. Debate on the talk page first before going through semi-protection. SuperSuperSmarty (talk) 18:45, 20 November 2011 (UTC)

The genesis of this idea was really getting a more prominent place to put a link to a page like this one which would give experienced editors as well as newbies a Wiki Craig's list of thing that need to be done. It's no longer as easy to find usefull and fun things to contribute to wikipedia... a prominently placed I want to help! link on the main page could make this easy again. --U5K0'sTalkMake WikiLove not WikiWar 19:58, 20 November 2011 (UTC)
Long story short; to play matchmaker between open tasks and willing volunteers who don't have the ability/time/energy/willingness to find these tasks on their/our own.
I wonder what the percentage of visits that include a view of the main page there actually is? I'd imagine that most visitors (who are not already aware of or involved with editing) are directed to articles from a search engine results selection, and other than maybe hopping around a few wikilinked pages they're then off and away without ever visiting help pages or main pages. Statistics would show the truth there of course (I'm just guessing). The thing is that the quite obvious "edit" tab (in whichever skin) is present on almost all article pages, so it would be very hard for people who are just popping by to not notice. I honestly think that if they don't notice the edit tab, they are very unlikely to notice anything less than a 1/2 page flashing neon banner. In this case the "main page" link will hardly grab their interest, thus no need for further info about contributing on the main page. fredgandt 20:09, 20 November 2011 (UTC)
The statistics here say the daily traffic on the main page is between 3 and 4 million hits. Also, the point isn't to inform people of the fact that they can edit, it's to inform people of how to edit and guide them to those tasks which best suit them as well as give them easy and obvious access to essential information about wikipedia policies, wiki markup, help pages etc. Also it wouldn't hurt to have these links appear on newly registered user talk pages automatically. We need to take care of the newbies. --U5K0'sTalkMake WikiLove not WikiWar 20:47, 20 November 2011 (UTC)
The last point I agree with unreservedly. Automatically welcoming new account holders with an informative and friendly message on their talk page is a great idea. As for encouraging account creation and involvement by typical visitors: How about each article having an informative editnotice (banner above the edit window) suggesting that "if you don't know what you're doing..."? This would direct would-be editors to help pages and guidelines etc. at the point of sale (as it were). fredgandt 21:18, 20 November 2011 (UTC)
I really like that approach. I still can't seem to get rid of the idea regarding a simple, universally understandable, central "I want to help!" entry point for people to get acquainted with the ins and outs of how things work. For some reason the fragmentation and underutilisation of existing resources in this area really bugs me. I appreciate that there may be inconveniences and disadvantages associated with this. Still it seems to me that it deserves to be discussed. --U5K0'sTalkMake WikiLove not WikiWar 22:38, 20 November 2011 (UTC)

← The issue then is how to grab the casual readers' attention to tell them "Wikipedia is a collaborative effort. You're invited to improve it!". If most visitors are simply reading an article and maybe following one or two wikilinks before going away, we have a short time to pass on this message. Slamming it in their face at the off is extremely counter-productive and I will shout from the rooftops that we don't do that. However, keeping quiet and all mousy about it won't make any difference and is thus pointless. The happy medium could be to employ session id's to track non logged in users and/or users who although are logged in have not yet made any edits and have a subtle but unmissable popup pop up on the first page visited via an internal link. We know that if the visitor has landed here and followed an internal link that they have more than a passing interest in at least the subject if not the site so, we can assume they may be interested in knowing more. If the popup then shrunk back to the top corner but stayed visible, we have passed on the message and it's up to the reader to follow it or not. As long as the popup was not bloated or ugly and did not stop normal use; as long as it's a one time deal that doesn't keep bugging anyone, job done? fredgandt 23:07, 20 November 2011 (UTC)

I agree with the principle but the idea of popups on Wikipedia makes me break out in a cold sweat. Also it isn't permanent. If you don't have time or just don't want to deal with it the first time, you can't really change your mind later. I don't know if I have a better idea here... Maybe just a central entry point link in the left sidebar and have it pulsate (or something) under the conditions you describe above. No idea if this is possible software-wise. --U5K0'sTalkMake WikiLove not WikiWar 23:26, 20 November 2011 (UTC)
Pulsate?!? Eww. The idea of a quickly retracting popup was that it would expand from the corner and retract back to it. Just one time and not big or stalling. Then for ever more the link to "Collaborate" would remain (perhaps until followed, perhaps indefinitely). But, pulsing "click me! click me!" links are an absolute no no as far as I am concerned. fredgandt 23:51, 20 November 2011 (UTC)
Oh, I see. So something the size of a standard wikipedia |thumb| picture saying "if you are interested ... there's a link here" and then the thing goes away on its own (fade in, wait 5 seconds or so, fade out). Great! I think we have winner here. --U5K0'sTalkMake WikiLove not WikiWar 00:07, 21 November 2011 (UTC)
I'll make a super simple mock up that demonstrates the visual idea but the real version would need to be embedded in the Wikimedia software. "I'll be back" fredgandt 00:13, 21 November 2011 (UTC)

← I'll be a while cus I'm going to sleep. --U5K0'sTalkMake WikiLove not WikiWar 00:30, 21 November 2011 (UTC)

Super basic bodge job:
importScript("User:Fred Gandt/test.js");

- works with Vector skin (at least). Really basic demo but gives the basic idea. fredgandt 00:45, 21 November 2011 (UTC)

Should we summarise this into a list of bulletpoints and move it into proposals so that others get a whack at it? --U5K0'sTalkMake WikiLove not WikiWar 22:55, 21 November 2011 (UTC)
BTW, I don't know how to work with .js but would it be possible to make something which softly transitions between frames as is shown in the gallery below? --U5K0'sTalkMake WikiLove not WikiWar 23:50, 21 November 2011 (UTC)
A final draft would use css to make transitions. The demo I made should be viewed as no more than a hint. Like "go cart" is to "formula 1". I would say it's a worthy proposal but be prepared for it to get hammered. The ideal is sweet but the method may not be considered even close to appropriatefredgandt 00:16, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
I like proposed frame 2. This would really help old and new users alike Oddbodz (talk) 19:02, 29 November 2011 (UTC)

Question - Mass Updates of Climate Data

I started this thread in the meteorology section, but would like feedback. It involves feeding Wikipedia climate data for city pages that do not already have this information. Thank you


Frisch1 (talk) 23:44, 27 November 2011 (UTC)Frisch1

Gilbert Gottfried

Hello! I am a new editor who is determined to help Wikipedia. My special intrests are Comedy. I noticed that the page Gilbert Gottfried has multiple issues, but I am not sure where to start. I think getting rid of the weasally words would be good, but I have no idea how to find them. Could someone help, Please? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Wizard on the rock (talkcontribs) 17:04, 1 December 2011 (UTC)

For weasel words, you could look at WP:WEASEL, which contains some useful examples. Regards, RJH (talk) 20:54, 2 December 2011 (UTC)

Storing static meta-information alongside BLP article's.

Vandalism comes in many shapes and forms, from blanking entire pages to adding swears or other clear nonsense to a page. While these are easy to revert sometimes changes are more subtle, such as slightly changing a birth date, a name, removing a reference and so on. When patrolling for vandalism this type of vandalism often takes some time to revert - it is not straight vandalism, so the article has to be checked manually to determine if the change is correct or bogus. The problem here is that not all article's are that practically sourced. Sometimes the nearest reference to a claim doesn't provide any information on things such a birth date, which either requires checking all other references to see if it is mentioned, or a google check to see if there is a reference to support it (Someone might have added it without any sourcing in the first place).

To counter this i was wondering if it might be feasible to store a meta page with each (BLP) article that lists basic facts such as names, birth dates, birth places and any other "static" information that would not or would at least be extremely unlikely to change overtime. To add data to this meta page one would need to supply a source that verifies the static information after which it can be entered for future reference. An idea might be to limit editing meta data to users who have the (currently unused) Reviewer permission to mae sure that the page doesn't degrade over time. As a result these meta pages could be used as a quick reference if one is checking for vandalism by simply calling up the page in Huggle or similar tools, making (BLP) patrol more effective for subtle changes.

I can definitely think of a few issues with this idea, but i was wondering what other people's thoughts were about the above suggestion. So in other words, any feedback is welcome. Excirial (Contact me,Contribs) 21:31, 1 December 2011 (UTC)

I think this is an excellent idea, however fully protecting the sub page would have basically the same effect without requiring us to bring back a currently inactive user group(and once the page is set up how often are you going to need to change it, I think {{editprotected}} would more than cover it). I'm not sure if you're suggesting a different type of page for the data, but a talk sub-page seems like it would be sufficient. Crazynas t 22:48, 1 December 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedias in different languages vs. Google Translator?

I am using Google Chrome. When I browse the Spanish wiki, I can either read it in Spanish or translate it to English using the Google translator. The translator does a fine job at making the work comprehensible, and I can always check on the original to confirm the article's coherency. Now that Google products are being so useful in society, I am wondering whether it would be useful at all to have these wikis in all these languages. Is it possible to merge them together in one colossal wiki? SuperSuperSmarty (talk) 01:33, 20 November 2011 (UTC)

Well, my take on Google Translator is that it's not yet good enough, at least for the languages I use. Maybe for Spanish it's better. Give it a few more years, maybe. Herostratus (talk) 02:00, 20 November 2011 (UTC)
The statistical machine translation used by Google Translate is pretty good (but still not good enough) for language pairs such as English/Spanish for which many bilingual corpora exist and which have fairly similar syntax, but it is much less effective for less common language pairings with widely differing syntax. Phil Bridger (talk) 12:58, 20 November 2011 (UTC)
Google translate is pretty useless for most East Asian languages, and covers less than a fifth of the languages for which there is a Wikipedia. Not to mention that each Wikipedia has its own policies, areas of strength and weakness, applicable laws, etc. which would make the measure impossible. Sven Manguard Wha? 13:04, 20 November 2011 (UTC)
Not to mention POV issues. A neutral sounding statement in English Wikipedia on say Chinese policy on currency manipulation would be POV in others. They all claim to be NPOV, but the V is often from different angles. So it just would not work beyond basic facts like geography, or scientific topics, etc. History2007 (talk) 09:23, 2 December 2011 (UTC)
I think machine translation has its place, and I've used non-English sources sent through such machine translation to identify information to help draft English-language Wikipedia articles. It also helps to read through the non-English language versions of Wikipedia with such a tool to at least discover concerns and complaints on the article discussion pages, and I used it extensively when trying to follow the more recent debate on it.wikipedia when that language edition of Wikipedia was shut down for a couple of days. It isn't a perfect option, but in situations like this it can be incredibly useful. As a replacement to articles written in another language by a native speaker, it shouldn't ever be considered, but it can be useful in terms of having something you can comprehend rather than simply looking at a language you don't have a clue about understanding. Asian languages in particular are that way for me, where the alphabet alone is enough to get lost in looking at any content.
Certainly machine translation ought to be something you should have in your "quiver" of tools available to you as a Wikipedia editor, and it shouldn't be completely dismissed. It just shouldn't be seen as a replacement to a well written article in a given language. --Robert Horning (talk) 14:38, 20 November 2011 (UTC)
RE: "Is it possible to merge them together in one colossal wiki?" Not as a practical matter for well over a decade or more, at the current rate of progress in translation technologies. Google Translate works in some cases, and not others, and still has a long way to go in many languages. I think a feature called "preview other Wikis" may eventually be useful, given that they often have useful information on more obscure topics, e.g. lesser known artists, etc. As is, I have noted that people are taking English Wikimaterial and moving it to Tamil, etc. and the structure of the pages suggest a translation in that some images are placed the same way, etc. So it is already being done. And of course reading is one thing, modifying is another. The giant Wiki would be very hard to modify. History2007 (talk) 09:17, 2 December 2011 (UTC)
What exactly do you mean by "very hard to modify"? I would imagine that one colossal wiki would still be a wiki and still have the "Edit" button somewhere on the page, and because of Google, one can easily press button to auto-translate the page into the desirable language. On second thought, this dream may not happen for some years. SuperSuperSmarty (talk) 15:03, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
Yes, and calling it "a dream" is appropriate at this point. The problem with modifying it is that when modifications in the Turkish, Tamil or Tagalog version of the page on the Louvre are translated back into French the end result will be so low quality that it will make the French readers scream. Think of it this way, that type of "clean translation" is even hard between formally defined computer languages such as Java, Lisp and APL if it is to keep the program readable.
But AI has been a dream all along, and gradually, gradually it is happening. Look at the history of the early days in Natural language understanding (that article is actually in good shape and can be relied on) and you will see a list of dreamers who gradually shaped teh field. Years ago the chairman of NEC announced that his engineers were "working on" a telephone which would allow a user to speak in English and the voice would be translated into Japanese on that fly. That has not happened yet and is a long long way away, but simple phrases may happen in a while as you travel around the world and want to buy something. But a readable article on a serious topic, is a long way away. And Wikipedia has much larger problems to contend with. May I mention reliability again? History2007 (talk) 16:17, 3 December 2011 (UTC)

Insert-able edit points for long threads.

On very long threads that have no or few subsections, it can be quite awkward to find the place in the thread you wanted to insert your comment or fix your typo etc. Without adding arbitrary subsection headings every n lines there is no way around this without user scripting. I'd like to propose we have a simple wiki-mark-up for inserting an edit-section that has no effect on the toc or any impact on the thread, other than the insertion of an [edit] link to the right. When followed, we would find ourselves editing the section the edit link is in, but only from that point onward. The edit summary should then show that we edited the section the edit link was in. Before taking this to proposals, I'd like input from other editors. fredgandt 21:45, 1 December 2011 (UTC)

So basically you're proposing an {{anchor}} with an edit option? Crazynas t 22:54, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
Not really. More like an edit option without the anchor. A section heading without the section heading if you will. Just a way to break up long threads into easier to edit sections without altering the flow of the thread in any way. An invisible section heading that even the toc doesn't see. Anchors are really only useful for linking to points in a thread otherwise not distinguishable. fredgandt 23:15, 1 December 2011 (UTC)

Example: =!= (not exactly that but something like it) could be parsed to produce the [edit] link as if we created a section/subsection.but without breaking up the thread. Then as we read the thread and want to insert an edit, we can use the closest of these edit links to get into the thread nearer to the line we need. fredgandt 23:20, 1 December 2011 (UTC)

  • __EDITPOINT__ would make sense for the mark-up. fredgandt 22:36, 2 December 2011 (UTC)

Moved to Wikipedia:Village_pump_(proposals)#Insert-able_edit_points_without_creating_a_new_section fredgandt 20:15, 4 December 2011 (UTC)

Rate "proposed projects" by status

When reading a page like Rail_transport_in_Russia about links with adjecent countries, I read things like Alaska, but proposed via Bering Strait crossing then onwards the main part of the United States via a proposed link through Canada. The page Bering Strait crossing does not page immediately clear that this is very unlikely to happen. It also links to Sakhalin–Hokkaidō Tunnel, and it's not really clear to me if that is similarly unlikely to the Bering Strait crossing, something that might possibly happen but probably not, or something already actively planned. Maybe we could develop a set of objective and verifiable criteria to rate proposed projects based on status, an infobox informing weather it's been investigated, discussed on governmental level, active research in the area has been done, etc. Just some idea...

I'm not sure this would be useful. Unless construction is well underway it's often difficult to tell if something's really going to be built - the Bering Strait crossing was approved by the Tzar of Russia over 100 years ago; while after planning, surveys, official approval, etc, around 2 miles of the UK-France Channel Tunnel were actually dug in the 1880s, 100 years before it was finished. The article lede should give the status of the project near the start, which isn't much harder than reading an infobox and is much more flexible. --Colapeninsula (talk) 15:40, 6 December 2011 (UTC)

Discussion ban

What about, in the case of users with incurably gross incivility, we ban them from editing all Talk: and Project: namespaces, with the exception of their own talk page? That way, they could still contribute, but no longer hurt the community. --JaGatalk 19:53, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

No. Discussion is essential for editing articles. If they are unable to discuss, they are unable to edit. → ROUX  20:35, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
That isn't true; it's not like you have to post to the talk page of an article first to say "OK, I'm gonna edit now!" Actually, the more I think about the idea, the more I like it. It would put a valuable tool in the admin's belt. So many times we don't do anything about troublesome experienced editors due to much hand-wringing about their contributions. The problem editors know this, and make use of their above-the-law status to use harsh language and bullying like a club. This would make it easier to take action against bad behavior. (Also, please remember this is idea lab: "Rather than merely stating support or opposition to an idea, try to be creative and positive.") --JaGatalk 22:34, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
Just another civility proposal here. Banning a user from all talk/projectspace areas will simply discourage constructive discussion, especially on other users' talk pages. HurricaneFan25 01:20, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
I can possibally get behind kicking people from the Wikipedia namespace if they're just trolls, but I can't get behind banning people from the Talk namespace. If you can't work in the Talk namespace properly, we might as well boot you from the project, because it just could lead to too many issues to ban people from the talk space. What would happen to BRD? Sven Manguard Wha? 02:11, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
Wikipedia namespace-only ban capability sounds good too. The bottom line is, we are way too tolerant of disruptive behavior, and we need more tools to deal with it. --JaGatalk 17:07, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
So you'd let the disruptive editor screw up the main namespace, but not respond to complaints on the article's talk page, no matter how many people are screaming at him? I can imagine people angling to get such get-out-of-discussion-free talk-page bans. Imagine the edit summaries: "Sorry, I'm not allowed to explain myself. I'm just allowed to improve the article".
We do issue topic bans to disruptive editors, but they cover either just the articles or both articles and their talk pages. We don't let people edit articles if they're not allowed to discuss their changes at the article's talk page. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:03, 6 December 2011 (UTC)

Switching Editing to HTML

If the editing system of Wikipedia were to be switched to native HTML from the current system, the number of users who would know how to edit articles would be exponentially greater. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Denting5 (talkcontribs) 00:40, 29 November 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia can accept HTML. See, like this?Στc. 00:53, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
...although it's deprecated. HurricaneFan25 01:27, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
They're taking their sweet time, but the WMF is apparently, allegedly, maybe, working on the What-you-see-is-what-you-get editor interface that's been asked for by the community for several years. Sven Manguard Wha? 01:58, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
With all due respect, from what I have seen of recent software from WFM, it will probably take 21 years to debug. Even simple items such as the article evaluation/rating toolkit have had so many bugs that it does not inspire confidence. The best of Wikipedia seems to be coming from the unpaid workers, such as the bot-writers, e.g. Clue-bot, etc. History2007 (talk) 01:18, 2 December 2011 (UTC)
They're targeting "late 2012". See mw:Visual editor. --Yair rand (talk) 01:55, 2 December 2011 (UTC)
Late 2012? It is not a listed 2012 phenomenon, is it? Kidding... But the word "target" in software development means "moving target" as we all know. History2007 (talk) 02:26, 2 December 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps, but they seem to be making significant progress. They've already got a working demo up. --Yair rand (talk) 03:45, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
Not stating a side one way or another but, there is an obvious continuity issue. Wiki-mark-up is standardised to a great degree so pages follow reasonable suit. If editors felt free(er) to chop and change things using html, pages would/could quickly become less uniform and more personalised (by adoptive editors). Without uniformity, Wikipedia could quickly become quite shambolic. fredgandt 02:50, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
We should be trying to attract a more balanced demographic spread of editors, not making changes that might bring in more technogeeks but would be a barrier to the vast majority of the population. Wiki markup is far from ideal, but it's easier to learn than HTML for editors who know neither. Phil Bridger (talk) 19:00, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
In my opinion, Wikimarkup is fairly easy to learn and I picked up the basics within 24 hours. However, I have no clue about HTML. Oddbodz (talk) 19:04, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
Yes, going down the HTML path will be a huge mistake. Even if someone who knows it types it, others who do not know it will find it hard to modify. And Heaven forbid they start to use fancy multi-level HTML tables that no one can read or modify, or use HTML generators that they paste in. The issue is not to just enter it, but for others to modify it. As is some of those macro-genrated references are hard to modify. The current markup is simple, and as they say in software development: "it works, don't touch it". History2007 (talk) 01:13, 2 December 2011 (UTC)
I'm just going to note that I learned HTML because I learned wiki markup. I can probably say that I would not have begun contributing were it necessary to use HTML to do so. --Izno (talk) 06:42, 2 December 2011 (UTC)
I learnt most of the wikimarkup that I know by looking at the source code other editors used. If wikipedia used HTML instead, I'd have learnt most of my HTML by looking at the source code. Either - and other systems like BBcode -can be learnt the same way. I'm guessing I'm not the only editor who learnt to do by copying what others did. Having said the above, I find wikimarkup more intuitive and easier to type on a standard keyboard than HTML. Colonel Tom 08:51, 6 December 2011 (UTC)
Part of the reason users can learn it is that wikimarkup does not allow "monsterous HTML" code that others could not read. Try reading some of the HTML that involves nested tables, etc. It is a mess to read and modify without a generator. And the ability to use multiple bold and font in header formats would mean Hello HTML, Good bye WP:MOS. HTML will be huge mistake. History2007 (talk) 16:18, 6 December 2011 (UTC)
This comment looks like trolling to me. I have actually written a Mediawiki-like parser for a website. All people maintaining the website know HTML very well and previously edited it directly, but by using Mediawiki-like code which we must translate instead of writing directly in much more verbose HTML, we have significantly increased our productivity when working on the site. Hans Adler 07:19, 14 December 2011 (UTC)

Award for students who help clean up articles

I have, for long, noticed that there are just too many unkempt articles that need help. As I was asking for ideas (Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Computer_science#Class_projects_to_clean_up_articles) I thought perhaps an award that could be put on a resume may be an incentive. Has this been tried? There are just too many articles that need clean up and not enough editors, and in a Wiki-project like Computer Science they seem to be just siting there collecting dust. History2007 (talk) 01:09, 2 December 2011 (UTC)

There's a probably a direct relationship between the experience of a Wikipedia editor and their ability to perform useful cleanup activities. I'm not sure that recruiting a group of new editors to the task would be the optimal approach. You might need to use some type of specialization tactics with each student performing a specific type of cleanup, and/or focus on a specific type of generic article. Regards, RJH (talk) 20:52, 2 December 2011 (UTC)
In some cases, yes. And interestingly enough, at the other end of the spectrum, in the case of some some highly notable users we have seen interesting other effects, let us say. But the situation regarding the Computer Science articles is so desperate that almost any grad student would do better than what there is, if they are taking a course on that topic. I would discourage the editing of complicated items, but on straightforward topics such as the two on that link, I could have easily done those when I was a student. And if there is a committee of some type watching and judging to give the award, that may well encourage them to be careful.
As is, the disparity between very high quality articles which might amount to 5% and the rummage sale that amounts to well over 50% of that project is intolerable. Of course, as I have said elsewhere, the details of most celebrity visits to rehab clinics are pretty accurate across the board in Wikipedia. But that fact may well be a liability rather than an asset.
And another key issue is my axiom that: "junk inhibits donations". Many readers may say: "We are donating all this money and they are putting up this type of junk?" So as quality increases, so will donations to Wikipedia. Something needs to be done here. History2007 (talk) 21:40, 2 December 2011 (UTC)
Certainly some subjects receive a good deal more attention than others, so your assessment regarding Computer Science may be true. Indeed, the article statistics section on Wikipedia:WikiProject Computer science suggests that not much has been done thus far to bring top importance CS articles up to the highest standards (for example). Regards, RJH (talk) 06:04, 4 December 2011 (UTC)
Since it does not cost much, I am going to suggest another angle below. History2007 (talk) 09:41, 4 December 2011 (UTC)

Professor, can you spare an article?

Wikipedia has a student contact program, etc. What if professors were proactively contacted to donate one article per year. Wikipedia lives on money donations anyway, so how about asking for article donations. If 200 professors are convinced to fix "one article per year" over 5 years that is 1,000 articles in a project. Over 10 projects 10,000 high quality articles over the next five years. That will show Britannica supporters and make Wikipedia a really serious knowledge source. Not a laughing matter any more. And that will almost guarantee the long term survival of Wikipedia, once it is a seriously high value item.

The effort for each professor will be minimal, because they already have the material on their computer. It will be very easy to fix an article for them. Most articles already exist, but are just low quality. And 200 professor per project is not a huge number because larger schools have 40 or so people on the faculty in a department. And in any case, there are over 100 universities that can be reached and 2 professors per university would be a reasonable goal.

This will take some effort, but given the volume of keystrokes that we see on talk pages, Wikipedia does not seem to be short of key-stroke power. It will be a question of part of the the Wiki-community deciding they want to talk less, do more and organize to get the "one article a year" campaign started through the existing university contact program. History2007 (talk) 09:41, 4 December 2011 (UTC)

Certainly a good idea to ask those who know to pass it on. Who are you proposing does the canvassing? Wikimedia or us? If us, how would the drive be driven? A banner linked to a project? fredgandt 10:40, 4 December 2011 (UTC)
I think in the early stages of any idea, we should not get attached to a "specific strategy" too quickly, so I am not sure who will do it first or best - time will tell. My guess is that both may do it, but let that be figured out as we go along. As content quality goes up, so do the chances of the survival of the encyclopedia in the long term and that is probably a motivating factor at WMF - they get to keep their jobs. My first guess is to start with the Wikipedia Campus Ambassador contacts, then selectively put banners on various pages asking for "article donations" etc. But hypertext and email contacts have a way of spreading, so I think we should explore the readily available options first, let them e-spread and some may just work out well. History2007 (talk) 10:55, 4 December 2011 (UTC)
I wasn't suggesting carving a policy out of stone, but "Someone should do something!" isn't going to go anywhere. So, banners on selective pages is a fair idea. Expecting it to go viral is perhaps a little flimsy though. If the idea (a good one) is to amount to anything, some details will have to be established at some point. Is it hoped that Wikimedia will support or drive this project or is this to be purely a community effort? Hoping that enough people will respond to reading this by contacting their local University is a nice idea, but not likely to drum up the numbers of new quality articles you suggest. The idea of the idea lab is (as I see it) to work out how to build and present a fully fledged proposal. So, what do you propose? Yes it's a good idea to get Professors to contribute, but how?
If I were to propose a drive, it would be that Wikimedia make a banner request for experienced editors to contact local Professors (at their geographically local Universities) and adopt them. We have to assume that if they need to be asked to contribute, it must be something they are not already doing. Thus they will probably need some guidance. Without advertising, how would the word get out? Not from this post; not in any notable waves anyway. fredgandt 11:24, 4 December 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────The banner request is a good idea, after a specific page has been written that explains how the system works, and once assistants have been recruited. The banner needs to link to a "Wikipedia Professor" page - yet to be written. And I think it would be essential to have someone help the professors. But I would use the word "assist", not "adopt". It would work better. I think the prototype project should get 3-4 people who already know the Campus Ambassador program. I do not know anyone there, but 3-4 people need to be found. They would be able to provide better guidance about that program.

So my guess is that what needs to be done is:

  • More input is needed from at least 5-7 other users before anything is done. The idea appeared less than 24 hours ago, in response to RJH, so we need more input.
  • A page that describes the Wikipedia Professor program needs to be written. The content should be guided by those familiar with how the Campus Ambassador program has worked in the past.
  • Some method of having "professor assistants" needs to be found. If there are no assistants ready to help, there is no point in telling the professors they will have help.
  • I think before banner ads, I would try emailing the professors. Their emails are readily available on the web. So this would start with "target contact" method before a banner ad approach.

The key I think is not to rush into it without preparation, else it may go wrong and once these things backfire, they are hard to resurrect. So it should start slowly, then grow over a 6-9 month period. The key will be to find 3-4 assistants who already know the Campus contact situation.

I can start the WP:Wikipedia professor program page, but I am not familiar with the protocols of how these pages get developed in semi-public spaces then get placed in visible locations and what approvals are needed. How do these things work? History2007 (talk) 14:03, 4 December 2011 (UTC)

That relates to the 1st idea, about students. And raises brings serious questions about its chances of success. It seems that there were multiple students working on that article, so I wonder if the idea of restricting an article per student would help. Yet, I am having doubts if that approach will work unless they are graduate students - even then I worry that it will create more low quality content, so I would pass on that based on the information you pointed to.
But the professor idea is a separate issue. The key element there is still finding enough assistants for the professors. My driving factor is that some of the highest quality content in Wikipedia is developed that way, e.g. see the contributions by User:CBM, User:David Eppstein, or User:Jorge Stolfi. Their articles are always high quality. If more professors can be found that would do a fraction of what they have done, that will make a serious difference overall.
But one should note that professors are not always in the asset column of the Wikipedia balance sheet and some such as Carl Hewitt were blocked indef for editing their own pages, etc. But that is unusual, and the goal should be to find more contributors like CBM, Eppstein and Stolfi. History2007 (talk) 11:43, 6 December 2011 (UTC)

Author, can you contribute an article?

Let me try another idea, given that I came across distributed operating system today and was pleasantly surprised. As I said on the talk page there, it is a really well written article on an advanced topic, by a user who wrote it, then "just disappeared". The author used his real world name for his account, and I saw that he has written a book on the subject. So perhaps the outreach or Ambassador program can contact authors and get them to contribute an article or two from books they have written. Should Wikipedia_Ambassador_Program get an "Author Ambassador" system as well? History2007 (talk) 01:28, 11 December 2011 (UTC)

" Like " button

Next to every edit on your watchlist, a "Like edit" button. No dislike button.

On Facebook this feature brings people together. Here, it could do the same (a small improvement towards increasing WP:LOVE). I wish I could easily let people know they made an edit I think was really important. Or, when others make a massive edit, instead of feeling like I have to go through it all myself, I could relax when others have "Liked" the edit a lot.

Input?-Tesseract2(talk) 17:51, 6 December 2011 (UTC)

There was a parody about Star Trek on Saturday Night Live many years ago in which the Marriott Corporation acquired Starship Enterprise, made it a revolving restaurant above the earth and Captain Kirk became a waiter who served sandwiches. On that note, one definition of Wiki-endtimes would be when Wikipedia becomes so much like Facebook that they would somehow merge, or Facebook somehow acquires it and all that is done is social-interaction instead of encyclopedic content.
And there will be unexpected side-effects here, the lack of a "like" maybe interpreted as lack of support for an edit. And "likes" may start to get exchanged as a sign of friendship. And users who "like each other" will eventually form groups that in the end affect consensus: "when love begins, logic takes a back seat". Logic is always, always inferior to emotions when decisions are made. The formation of "we like each other" groups will eventually affect the encyclopedic logic of Wiki-content as the group members form inevitable friendships. I think this is a Pandora's box full of unexpected consequences. I would not open it at all. History2007 (talk) 18:19, 6 December 2011 (UTC)
In a word, "no". In more words, the idea of "like" buttons, anywhere and in any form on Wikipedia have been shot down so many times that it astounds me that people still bring it up. It's not going to happen. Sven Manguard Wha? 18:49, 6 December 2011 (UTC)
The nearest we're going to come any time soon is described at Wikipedia:Article Feedback Tool/Version 5. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:58, 6 December 2011 (UTC)
If you like an edit then simply leave a message on the editor's talk page. Or, if you are one of the many people (probably a majority on Wikipedia) who prefer to communicate by template, give them a barn star. And, if this system was introduced, I certainly wouldn't relax about any edit with lots of "likes": that would more likely be an indication that the editor was trying to avoid scrutiny by using multiple accounts or recruiting friends. Phil Bridger (talk) 21:27, 7 December 2011 (UTC)

Thanks for the mostly thoughtful responses.
WhatAmIDoing - I am aware of the new article feedback tool, and I look forward to seeing it in action.

History2007 and Phil Bridger - To me, there seems to be an inconsistency here. The argument against a "Like" button, so far, seems to be an overly bleak future. It seems far-fetched to imagine that my proposed change would mean Wikipedia forsaking all its other checks and balances in favor of emulating social media. A pandora's box of destruction because of the dangers of love... Perhaps the ability to show appreciation is being conflated with a slippery slope of unprofessionalism? I think the other side of the hill is the more slippery slope, the professional side of the hill - which motivated the implementation of those template barnstars in the first place. With the barnstars, we recognized the pros outweighing the cons, and opted for the ability to give convenient, quick praise. I am saying we should do it again.

I do not want to overplay how much I would relax after an edit has received many likes, although I do think it would be a mistake to assume bad faith right off the bat... Instead, my main motivations are the same reasons that every user page now has a heart among the main tabs:

I am trying to humbly suggest that the specific idea of a like button on our watchlists deserves proper consideration here. -Tesseract2(talk) 18:18, 8 December 2011 (UTC)

I think Sven Manguard's point was: "been there, done that". History2007 (talk) 18:31, 8 December 2011 (UTC)

No. (I don't like Like buttons) HiLo48 (talk) 19:41, 8 December 2011 (UTC)

Yeah I gathered the idea had come up. I could use closure on my question still, and I do not yet see why this idea - which I increasingly believe might as well have been a second phase of the barnstar improvements - has not been generally well received, it seems. Can you guys point me to the place where the arguments against a like button on our watchlists were strongest?
I know it takes patience to re-explain why things are done a certain way to a curious mind (for what it's worth, I checked the "perennial suggestions"), so I am thankful for the time taken so far.-Tesseract2(talk) 04:40, 9 December 2011 (UTC)
No. See Wikipedia:Village_pump_(proposals)/Archive_81#Does Wikipedia need a “share” button?.  Chzz  ►  01:10, 11 December 2011 (UTC)

I am sorry, but that last link is unsatisfactory. I am not sure that you see where I am coming from. I spent some time skimming through the archive just mentioned, but it hardly justifies the sort of dismissal - a quick "no"- that some editors seem comfortable making. Is there another archive I am missing? A more key ruling? Because the archive I am seeing shows nothing of the sort; it shows a "lack of consensus", a much more narrow defeat that I might have expected. This does not seem to justify declaring an issue dead (some versions may be agreeable to the community still). It currently appears that the fair way to represent this issue to newcomers is "Ideas superficially similar keep coming up, and there is no consensus either way yet, which causes us to stick with the status quo." That is, unless I would change my tune at the sight of another discussion in particular??

To be clear, I am suggesting a like button on our watchlists - nothing more or less. This means my idea is not directly amenable to just any argument that involves anything like facebook or youtube. I do not find relevant any links to discussions about a "share" button, or a page-like feature, or some kind of service connecting wikipedia to facebook. That is not what I was talking about. I am talking about a "Hey, nice editing work" button for wikipedians. I am trying to make more salient the worry that this is something perfectly in line with Wikipedia's goals lately (as we have seen by their implementation barnstar template systems for the same goal I am pursuing: increasing the sense of community among Wikipedians). It is a less radical suggestion that I have seen elsewhere here. Still, I need a little more meaningful engagement here.-Tesseract2(talk) 20:16, 12 December 2011 (UTC)

Oh, I see; I misunderstood. Thanks for clarifying. Well... we already have WP:WIKILOVE - that puts a little "Heart" icon in your menu's, letting you say a quick 'thanks'. I believe it may only display for new editors, or something - but can be enabled in preferences (at the end of that page, under "Labs features", "Enable showing appreciation for other users with the WikiLove tab (experimental)". Is that pretty much what you mean?
Personally, I don't like that, either - a lot of similar recent changes (especially Special:FeedbackDashboard) make Wikipedia look more like a social networking site, and I see an increasing number of new users who are apparently here to socialise, rather than adding any useful Encyclopaedic content - that's why suggestions of things that sound like "social networking features" often get short responses. I'm also dismayed that buggy new 'features' like this are imposed on the community without consensus - but that's another story. We've just accepted another proposal (non-WMF) to allow users to automatically display their "online/offline" status. Again, it itself, it's not so bad (it'll be "opt in only") but, it's the bigger picture that concerns me.
It's far better to write a little, personal note of appreciation on a user-talk page, than to use a templated response; it means a great deal more.  Chzz  ►  07:53, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
Please see Wikipedia:Village_pump_(proposals)#.22Liking_.22_others.27_edits. The Mark of the Beast (talk) 20:41, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

Ok so the argument seems to be that we really can show wikilove, with barnstars or on just messages directly. There is real fear that votes on an edit will either be misused, especially among newcomers, for whom policy may not yet be a priority. It would also add an element of "shouldn't we consider the number of votes?" to every debate, even though those votes are irrelevant if the issue is being contested and their are actual arguments being made.

I am satisfied. It was a good idea in theory, but we're in a good place already - one that balances a professional focus on the encyclopedia and equally professional options to tell people to keep up the good work (when it is appropriate). I feel like I am sufficiently convinced I was a little wrong. Thanks for the time, everyone :) -Tesseract2(talk) 14:54, 14 December 2011 (UTC)

We should 'like' every edit. If we don't like an edit, we should revert or improve it, Therefore every edit is liked by implication. To show appreciation for the work of others, barnstars and wikilove seem good and sufficient. Happy editing! --Greenmaven (talk) 22:49, 14 December 2011 (UTC)

Are statistics available for "Time spent on article" for Wikipedia?

Have there been any studies done on how long people stay on Wikipedia pages, on average?

I'm trying to figure this out so that I can understand the implications of the page traffic statistics (i.e. when it says that 10,000 people visit an article per month, how many of them actually stayed and read a significant portion of the page vs. just leaving right away?

If there isn't something like this available currently, who would be the best people to talk to as far as getting this type of information?

Thanks! -- Jrtayloriv (talk) 01:47, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

I strongly suggest reposting this at Wikipedia:Village pump (technical) for a more appropriate response. fredgandt 01:51, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
To make along story short, regardless of whether this is posted here or there, it will be an unreliable measure that will not say much, given the nature of the website, and it will also be a total waste of money given the high volume of data that will need to be processed. A page view in that statistic is not necessarily a different person, and the same person may view a page 3 times in one day, in any case, and they may open "other tabs" and read both and it seems they were on that page for long, making it pretty hard to do data analysis. I would not even attempt this project for several years. There are more serious issues at Wikipedia. May I mention content reliability? History2007 (talk) 16:36, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
  • How could this possibly be measured? I often leave browser tabs open for days or weeks at a time before reading them or closing them without reading. Phil Bridger (talk) 19:24, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps a futuristic browser could report on the amount of eye movement upon exiting the page! LadyJosie (talk) 09:20, 18 December 2011 (UTC)

Background color for references in the edit window

It is very hard to distinguish the 'text' from the references in an edit window. The < ref>....</ref > segments could be highlighted by a pastel background color, to make editing easier. --Greenmaven (talk) 21:49, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

It already exists (although "gray" seems to be the definition of "pastel"). Go to My Preferences:Gadgets and under the "Editing" section, turn on WikEd. One of the many features of this gadget is that all syntactical elements will be highlighted. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:26, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for that. But it does not seem to find out whether articles already exist to be linked to, the way the standard editor does (using the chain-link icon). Am I missing something? --Greenmaven (talk) 23:59, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
Ok. Got it sorted! --Greenmaven (talk) 08:03, 21 December 2011 (UTC)

Restructuring WikiProject History

Below are some ideas on restructuring and revitalizing WikiProject History, which is currently quite dormant. I have left messages on the talk pages of related projects and of editors who may be interested in this idea, but I would like to hear input from the general Wikipedia community on this matter. I believe that WikiProject History should be a useful coordination tool that, as mentioned below, is active and a focal point of collaboration on history-related articles. DCItalk 16:37, 11 December 2011 (UTC)

General Points

  • Restructure the front page so that it more closely resembles that of WikiProject Military History. This design is easy to navigate, and getting to specific areas of the WikiProject is made quicker and less difficult.
  • Forge closer ties with some of its "daughter" projects. WikiProject History should serve as a focal point for history-related article improvement drives and discussions, and should be a community of editors supportive of smaller, fairly inactive region-specific history projects.
  • Expand the A-Class review process. This should be a major function of WikiProject History (conducting A-Class reviews for smaller, "daughter" projects).
    • A-Class reviews can be closed only by the Assessment and Review Coordinator or one of his/her delegates. The coordinator/delegate must follow reviewer consensus when determining whether or not to close a review. Any member of any History WikiProject is eligible to be a reviewer.
    • The Assessment and Review Departments should work on developing articles to GA and FA status.
  • Host task forces devoted to improving recently-created articles. Some editors should work with WikiProject Deletion Sorting to save as many quality history-related AfDs as reasonably possible. WikiProject History shall create a fairly inclusive New Article Task Force, the members of which will devote part of their time on Wikipedia to improving and expanding new articles. The Contest Department of the website (see below) should institute a "DYK Contest" for members of this task force.
  • WikiProject History should be less of a "front-line" WikiProject, unlike the Military History WikiProject in this regard, and more of a coordinating effort. An enhanced A-Class review process and forging relations with "daughter" projects would help to achieve this goal.

Membership and Leadership

  • All current WikiProject History members would be members of the new, revitalized project. WikiProject Military History members, as well as members of all region-specific history projects, would be automatically inducted into the project, although these users could opt out at any time.
  • All members of the WikiProject should have an equal say in WikiProject affairs .
    • However, a group of five coordinators should be elected by all editors that are part of the abovementioned categories to make the WikiProject "flow" smoothly. These coordinators must have been members of the WikiProject or an affiliate for at least six months. They would serve for twelve months each, and would be elected in February of each year. The candidate with the highest percentage of the vote will be appointed chief coordinator, and will appoint the other four coordinators to head the departments that'll be listed below.
    • Each coordinator would have a specific task, or "department".
      • Chief Coordinator. This coordinator would serve as a guide to other coordinators and members of the project.
        • The chief coordinator would have authority to appoint members to Project Review Panels, which would assess the functionality of different parts and "daughter projects" of WikiProject History.
      • Assessment and Review Coordinator. This coordinator would sort and (close A-class) reviews, with the help of two delegates that s/he could appoint. He or she would coordinate the Assessment Department and the Review Department. The A+R Coordinator would work with Project Review Panels to improve the quality of articles coming within the project's scope.
      • Membership Coordinator. This coordinator would deal with membership issues, and would direct and judge "contests" on the project. He or she would coordinate the Contest Department.
      • Resources and Assistance Coordinator. This coordinator would assist members in need. He or she would coordinate the Resources Department, and would provide assistance to members who need guidance or support with articles. This is in contrast to the Membership Coordinator, who would deal with issues and run contests.
      • Content Coordinator. This coordinator would work on improving articles in need, and would direct efforts and drives related to this. This person would coordinate the Content Matters Department.

Coordinators should defer to member consensus when encountering major issues or when making important decisions while carrying out the duties of coordination.

Front Page

As I am no expert at page designing, I will list some ideas I have on how a front page ought to look, at least from my perspective:

  • The front page should feature an A-class article weekly, changing with Wikipedia's featured article on Saturdays/Sundays.
  • The front page should be topped by tabs leading to each Department. Some departments, including the Assessment, Review, and Content Departments, along with some news bits, etc. that deserve a piece of the page, should be given "boxes" that fill the page.
  • Membership information should be provided down a ways on the page, along with a list of members where one can sign up as a project member.
  • Collaboration between "daughter" projects should be stressed on this front page.

Role on the Encyclopedia

The three pillars of this project should be:

  • Activity.
  • Coordination.
  • Increasing Knowledge.

WikiProject History should be active, helping to coordinate its "daughter" projects on a daily basis and conducting A-class reviews at a reasonable speed. It should be constantly working to increase knowledge by improving articles and assessing them appropriately. It should be an integral part of the encyclopedia, and an example of editor collaboration on improving the coverage of a subject area they are interested in. Let's make WikiProject History a part of Wikipedia's future.

Thank you for reading this, and for commenting, if you are interested. DCItalk 23:17, 10 December 2011 (UTC)

I wish we could do that for project Computing too. It is good to see enthusiasm on your part, but there does seem to be an uneasy feeling of apathy recently in scholarly projects that do not involve details of celebrity rehab visits... But if Charlie Sheen or Paris Hilton do something crazy next week, you can be sure that those precious facts will show up in Wikipedia in 3 minutes flat... sigh... History2007 (talk) 16:51, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
What makes a WikiProject work is collecting a group of people who like each other and want to communicate with each other about what they're doing. There is no amount of top-down structure that will help you find and retain these people. If you want to WP:REVIVE this group, you need to collect your ten best wiki-friends and beg them to keep you company on the project's talk page. WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:06, 24 December 2011 (UTC)

Fundraising: Wikipedia-Loaded_Hard_Drives is on a page that is virtually dead. So, I found this page. Am I in the right spot? Here is a copy and paste of an idea for fundraising:

(I am new and I hope this is the right place for an idea. Please move me if this is the wrong place. I signed up specifically to help with fundraising.) OK, here is the idea: Sell hard drives with all of Wikipedia loaded on it. The "2012 Model" would be loaded at the end of the year, boxed up, and delivered to buyers. The survivalists will love it! "Show-offs" could show it off with some neat logo and a Jimbo signature. How big would the drive be? What would it cost? Can the files be made compatible with Windows and Apples or is it Unix? I think nonprofits are allowed to make some money. We would have a profitable product and the dreaded ads could be avoided.LadyJosie 17:01, 15 December 2011 (UTC) LadyJosie (talk) 00:33, 16 December 2011 (UTC)
Jimbo and friends: My investment buddy's phone number Douglas_Youvan is in your donation comment email, sent a few minutes ago. He would be willing to fund this idea under certain conditions that are relatively easy to meet if this idea is feasible. LadyJosie (talk) 15:08, 17 December 2011 (UTC)
I don't think there is any "added value" here to make a hard drive attractive. Wikipedia is free and free items do not add value to physical items. And Wikipedia changes, so the material would be dated by the time it ships. And most computers are web connected now anyway. The logistics of this would probably distract WMF from what they are doing - so this would show up in their liabilities column at the end of the year. History2007 (talk) 16:44, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps the added value is circumventing the bandwidth and jack-hammering it would take to download the encyclopedia to a local drive. Just copying the current articles (no discussion, past versions, etc.) might be impractical over the internet. And there are people disconnected from the web, including some who might be in a natural disaster or off in the middle of nowhere! LadyJosie (talk) 22:44, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
Wikipedia content is available on CD ROM for any disk manufacturer to use. WMF has no advantage there. WMF does not own the content it displays. You can ask Seagate or Fujitsu if they want to do that anyway. This will be a waste of time, for all involved. History2007 (talk) 00:27, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
Very good. Thank you. Where does one obtain these WMF CD ROMs? I keep doing calculations (in my head) that this is a thousand hours of download time and 10x what a typical person could afford in terms of a drive just for the current articles. Amazing ... I'll try to move on to another idea. LadyJosie (talk) 02:46, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
WP:Helpdesk probably knows. History2007 (talk) 09:54, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
Thanks History2007; I will check with them. LadyJosie (talk) 15:19, 20 December 2011 (UTC)

I remember many moons ago we discussed something similar as a joke on IRC, but it's actually not a bad idea. The idea was roughly a "free culture workstation". Basically, a current popular Linux distro (some flavour of Ubuntu, say) with Kiwix/Okawix and the offline versions of Wikipedia, plus all the relevant software for doing image editing and video editing, maybe with plugins to help automatically upload to Commons. I we could get volunteers to package a Wikipedia distribution of Linux (Ubuntu Wikimedia Edition? Face-smile.svg), then I'd suggest the economics of it work out like this: a 1TB hard drive is about £79.99 at the moment. You whack £20 on top for the convenience of having the OS setup for you and then you put delivery and so on on top. Individuals (and chapters?) start producing and distributing them in accordance with some community agreement, and those who are giving 90% or more of the profit to the Foundation get to use Foundation logos or something like that. It's probably not that useful in the English speaking world, but for a lot of places where Internet access isn't cheap, fast and stable like it mostly is in USA, Canada and western Europe, it might be worth trying. Letting individuals and chapters work out the economics of it in their particular countries would probably be best. —Tom Morris (talk) 10:32, 20 December 2011 (UTC)

Tom, Thank You. I do remember hearing something about WP being packaged into LUNIX (PC lingo). I think if Youvan is presented with a financial plan, he would foot the bill with the idea that there would be pay back of a "loan" from sales profit, but the loan would not be enforced if the project failed. Sell on Amazon and similar retailers, world-wide. How can direct contact and discussions be started? LadyJosie (talk) 15:19, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
So English speaking countries excluding USA, Canada, Australia and UK. Right? I guess you just meant India. The non-English Wikipedia (except German) is not worthy of distribution anyway. History2007 (talk) 15:41, 20 December 2011 (UTC) is the place. Does anyone know where the "done" check mark is? Perhaps we should discuss more of this over there with the already assembeled team. LadyJosie (talk) 16:41, 20 December 2011 (UTC) didn't work out. I think I know why: Having a set of CD-ROMs, Blue-Rays, terabyte hard drive, etc. is insufficient because of the file structure and management. I've done website work with MS Expression Web. You use an import wizard to bring in a website via FTP. It requires and admin password to that site. I'll bet it blows up as it brings in 4 million articles, and I don't think it can be told to go for articles and their necessary hyperlinks only. So, I have a new idea, a product for the WMF to sell for profit: Clone and sell a stand-alone, loaded WMF server. Questions: What is the cost of the minimal hardware and software? How much labor is involved in the setup from a new computer in a box to a loaded computer in a box with a buyer's address on it? Would an external company be used for the work? With the answers to these questions, we could come up with a proposal. For the "nay-sayers", please consider that there are people who will buy just about anything for its novelty. I also contend that this product is useful in remote places or after a disaster. And I contend that the rather paranoid survivalist who expect Nuke EMP and the net going down will love it! Someone else can sell them the Faraday cage ... Oh, that suggests military buyers. LadyJosie (talk) 15:43, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
I am sorry but this is moving beyond ridiculous. WMF is not a "storefront". The Wikipedia chapters are not sales offices. I suggest this thread be discontinued or deleted, since it is a clear attempt at using Wikipedia as a "commercial enterprise", beyond its stated mission. WMF was not formed to be a storefront and can not be used as such per its charter. History2007 (talk) 16:55, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
I am here because I saw the banner ads to raise money. Rather than give a man a fish, is it not better to teach him how to fish? In association with a good company and some access and legal agreements between the WMF and that company, some income might be generated. WMF would not be a store front. In good faith, should you not assume I am here to help, and that I have found a donor interested in this idea? The word "ridiculous" reflects on my character. Why not use softer words and facts, rather than emotions? Above, you said: "Wikipedia content is available on CD ROM for any disk manufacturer to use." I would agree that if you can find those CDs and a computer capable of running them to obtain the main articles as of some date, this discussion is over. LadyJosie (talk) 19:46, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
In my view, it is the case that this discussion is over. You can just ask the donor to click on the banner ad, contribute (not give a loan) and be done with it. End of my conversation here. History2007 (talk) 19:51, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
I would like to cleanly retire off Wikipedia. The reason for the % decrease in editors is obvious. LadyJosie (talk) 20:27, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
The Wiki 1.0 project has always been (in my opinion) needlessly complex. You can download the 0.8 release here: Wikipedia:Version 0.8/downloads. You can download the schools project cd here: [5]. You can download the whole wikipedia here: Wikipedia:Database_download. The school project used to be distributed on DVDs but I don't know if that is still available. Rmhermen (talk) 17:49, 22 December 2011 (UTC)
Given that this sort of thing has actually been done - foundation:Press releases/One Laptop Per Child Includes Wikipedia on $100 Laptops - I'm not sure why you are all tearing this new user apart over it. Prodego talk 20:07, 23 December 2011 (UTC)