Wikipedia:Village pump (idea lab)/Archive 6

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WYSIWYG Editor[edit]

I Think That to encourage new editors we should add a graphic wysiwyg editor although still let those who want use wikitext --Willdude 132 (talk) 17:38, 20 December 2011 (UTC)Willdude 132

We're working on it. Edokter (talk) — 18:20, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
I can switch on my edits page with colors. It is not WYSIWYG, but it helps separating for code elements (comments, templates, images have different colors). It helps. Do I recall yuo know this thing, Edokter, and how to invoke it? But it is buggy, e.g. for search&replace, so I sometimes have to switch it off (now you've forgotten too, Edok ;-) . -DePiep (talk) 23:26, 22 December 2011 (UTC)

Unmute Wikipedia's personal appeals by offering them in appealers actual voice[edit]


I wanted to connect and see if Wikipedia would like to have your donation requests on the homepage to be in the Wikipedia employee's actual voice? Hearing the request in yoru founder's voice versus reading the text certainly makes for a more compelling plea as it can be infused with emotion, passion versus static text. Please advise as we woudl love to help make that a reality. See example below:

I may be reached at (Redacted) to discuss further.

Best, Joanna — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:38, 20 December 2011 (UTC)

I think that's an interesting idea, Joanna. It may be too late for this year's fundraiser, but I am passing the idea along to the fundraising team for future consideration. I will let them know how to contact you in case they would like assistance with this. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 19:09, 23 December 2011 (UTC)
In the history of banner advertising, increased "emotion delivery" has been the trend. The earliest banner ads were static, if you look back to the very early days. Overtime almost all banner ads have added some movement and animation to convey more emotion. In time, video will become the norm, so WMF might as well just plan ahead for the year after next. And even the Wiki-users could make their own appeal videos, which can be invoked from within the animated ad by clicking a button. Some people such as myself turn off the sound on their computers anyway, not to get distracted by the banner sounds, but it is hard to avoid animated banners. So animated banners will be a good step for sure. History2007 (talk) 19:46, 23 December 2011 (UTC)
I'd suggest having audio/video as an option when they get to the appeal letters, and test that to see if it increases conversion, but doing it in the banners will just cause people to shout, scream and throw things at us. —Tom Morris (talk) 19:47, 23 December 2011 (UTC)
The fact that there are so many banners may be offset by having more effective banners and more controls on shutting them off. But most banner designers these days use some animation, however gentle, and static banners have been fading out from the web. Just surf and see. History2007 (talk) 19:51, 23 December 2011 (UTC)
The difference is: it doesn't work here. When we try that sort of thing, it invariably doesn't perform as well. We've tried some of the more "slick" banner designs, and the static ones work far better in this environment. Test results are all at meta. Philippe Beaudette, Wikimedia Foundation (talk) 20:04, 23 December 2011 (UTC)
Very professional, well executed campaign analysis. But I have never seen animated one on my screen somehow. Have the banners been placed regardless of context or have they been varied by context, e.g. the ER doctor showing up on pages that have to do with medicine? History2007 (talk) 20:13, 23 December 2011 (UTC)
We unfortunately don't have the technical ability to vary the banner placement by category. It's per project/per language. We'd like to try that at some point though.  :) Philippe Beaudette, Wikimedia Foundation (talk) 20:23, 23 December 2011 (UTC)
(PPS - somewhere on the meta pages are the results of banner testing by the German chapter, in which they tested video... I'm sorry, I don't have a link handy, but if I can find one, I'll add it.) Philippe Beaudette, Wikimedia Foundation (talk) 20:25, 23 December 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I bet you that if you just put a request at WP:BAG someone will write a bot for you in less than a month. There are a number of pretty clever bot programmers there and they do not even have to write it anew, they will just have to modify their existing code. There is actually a good pool of talent there that can be used at no cost just for the asking. So the bot would just read the categories on some pages (not necessarily all) and select the "most appropriate" ad for it based on some initial criteria that can get fine tuned in time. If you suggest it at WP:BAG please let me know and I can get involved in the design if you like. And this experiment will not cost WMF anything, so it is worth trying.

Eventually, the most suitable ads can be selected by the bot "on the fly" in that bot can self-adjust the suitability parameters as it figure out that Ad "A" works best on page type "B" and will slef-optimize as it goes along. This is not hard to do. And this can be tried on 10% of the banners. If it works can get extended to another 10% etc. In my experience, variation by gradual adjustment usually outperforms random selection. History2007 (talk) 20:31, 23 December 2011 (UTC)

I just remembered that I actually wrote a simple Perl language program some time ago that read Wikipages and figured out some of the content, extracted images, etc. It is only a small program and if you ask someone to leave me a message I will look for the support libraries etc. and give it to them. It is pretty straightforward to get the context, then select the banner etc. So the technical barrier is not there in fact. History2007 (talk) 22:01, 23 December 2011 (UTC)

Fictional Lists taskforce[edit]

A fellow wikipedian and I have been talking about setting up a taskforce (possibly a wikiproject) to cover lists of fictional things. Why? Because the vast majority of them are crufty, and serve as repositories of indiscriminate information. I'd like to have help setting up the taskforce, or being pointed in the right direction, and help doing this, if anyone would be interested. I believe that it would best be as either a separate wikiproject or a taskforce of wikiproject lists. If anyone has any constructive ideas or advice please let me know. Thanks! Ncboy2010 (talk) 01:26, 23 December 2011 (UTC)

Please clarify "fictional things" and provide a few examples. Thanks. History2007 (talk) 01:59, 23 December 2011 (UTC)
Now I see. Maybe you meant something like List of fictional kangaroos and wallabies? That would not be on my path, but I would be interested in a list of "fictional entries" in Wikipedia. I have seen a few and fixed them. But there are probably more, and I think we could learn from them and avoid more in the future. There are even low quality books published based on the "invented pages" that used to exist in Wikipedia. An example is this. The Wiki-page on Discourse on ostentation was an invention and was redirecteed as WP:OR, but the low quality books based on it are still available on Amazon, mostly from the same semi-fake publishers. I guess those books may be a form of fictional kangaroo of some type now and you could list them in your project. History2007 (talk) 02:33, 23 December 2011 (UTC)
I think that you two should join a related, existing group like WP:WikiProject Novels or WP:WikiProject Lists. You could help both of them out by working on fiction-related lists. All you have to do to get started is show up and say hello. If someday it turns out that there are so many of you working on these lists, then you could create a WP:TASKFORCE, but right now, I'd bet that it'd be more fun just to get started on improving the lists than to figure out how to set up a page that would probably only be used by the two of you. Besides, being connected to the larger subject areas usually gives you useful information about what's going on (e.g., items that need to be added to the lists you're working on). WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:15, 24 December 2011 (UTC)

Upcoming holidays[edit]

Can we make a template that tells us like the next 10 upcoming holidays? (Maybe based on this) --My Sistemx (talk) 17:24, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

I'm not sure how this would work, simply because we'd have difficulty deciding which holidays would be included, and including everything would be impractical; for example, most people in Australia probably don't care about holidays in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Perhaps you could create one in your own userspace? That is rather easy to do; if you're not familiar with doing that, just say so and we can help. Nyttend (talk) 00:45, 30 December 2011 (UTC)

CSD criteria[edit]

I was wondering if we could add objects of transportation that don't show importance to A7. Lately I've seen many very short articles on ship, cars and airplanes that would definitely be CSD'd if it was a company or club. Does this sound reasonable? --Kangaroopowah 17:02, 28 December 2011 (UTC)

They probably do not appear often enough to merit a change of A7; also, I think it's really hard to define those strictly enough. For the record, the correct place for this suggestion would be WT:CSD. Regards SoWhy 17:18, 28 December 2011 (UTC)

Notes and References[edit]

Dear Wikipedians, what about moving the Notes and References section to a separate tab? Those sections are growing and growing, and not so rarely are simply skipped by the reader.
The tab could be placed between the Article and Discussion ones. IMHO, it will improve readability and perhaps editability as well. Have you already consider such a change?
If there is a better place to discuss this idea, please guide me there. Thanks! --(GD) (talk) 21:51, 29 December 2011 (UTC)

Beyond the fact that it'd likely require some sort of heavy software rewrite, it'd be a really really bad idea. As it stands now, you click the number and it jumps to the ref. With your idea you'd have to reload a new page each time, and then hit the back button, etc. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 23:07, 29 December 2011 (UTC)
Indeed, as it stands now it would be difficult. Modification would definitely need to be made to Cite.php. The reference could probably be javascript loaded if you clicked on it, with graceful failure of course. This would probably decrease the size of pages loaded. Not that I support the idea, of course; just pointing things out. --Izno (talk) 01:20, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
Having further reading on a separate tab isn't a bad idea. It's something Citizendium has which I rather liked. The idea being that having a comprehensive annotated bibliography with each entry expands the value that students can get from the encyclopedia. To some extent, it is possible to use Wikiversity for this too. —Tom Morris (talk) 23:38, 30 December 2011 (UTC)

Mirror deletion nomination from commons[edit]

What about using bot to

  • insert something like this on description pages of files nominated for deletion on commons
  • notify enwiki uploaders.

It may rescue part of files (as more people interested in keeping useful files will know about deletion notification) and reduce need for things like Template:Keep local (it is impossible to use enwiki watchlist to watch file on the commons but it is possible to watchlist local page). Bulwersator (talk) 01:33, 30 December 2011 (UTC)

Good general idea! Ramaksoud2000 (talk) 06:04, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
Yes, this is the general idea you get. Thank you for the help! --Katarighe (Talk · Contributions · E-mail) 14:02, 30 December 2011 (UTC)

Accept Bitcoin donations[edit]

Bitcoin is a new currency created by netizens. It is already accepted by the NYC chapter of Wikimedia, the Internet Archive and many others. Accepting this currency without having to deal with currency conversion could probably be handled easily and for free via bitpay's arrangement for Non-Profits. Wcoenen (talk) 23:51, 29 December 2011 (UTC)

While there is certainly some support for Bitcoins among donors and the community, currently the Wikimedia Foundation does not intend to accept it or any other form of currency that is not backed by the full faith and credit of an issuing government. See the Foundation website. This decision may be revisited in the future, but there are no plans to reconsider the matter at this time.
And I can't believe you've been editing since 2005 and your talk page is still a red link. I didn't know that was possible! I'm about to fix that. :D --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 18:30, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
The policy of not accepting artificial currencies seems a reasonable one. After all, nobody can predict Bitcoin's future and your options for spending Bitcoin are still very limited. However, that's why I mentioned bitpay: they make it possible to use Bitcoin as a payment mechanism to accept dollars. They handle the currency conversion on exchanges for you (unless you chose otherwise) so that you never have to deal with bitcoins. When used this way, Bitcoins become just another way to accept dollar payments, like credit cards or paypal. The bitcoin aspect of the transaction only concerns the donator. Wcoenen (talk) 02:18, 1 January 2012 (UTC)
It might be an idea to ask some other chapters. WM NYC accepting BitCoin is an interesting start, but it'd be worth seeing if a national chapter would be interested. That said, you can't pay Foundation employee salaries, server hosting and/or office rent with BitCoins, so I'm not totally sure what the benefit is in Wikimedia chapters or the WMF accumulating BitCoin if they are just going to convert it back into USD or Euros or GBP etc. —Tom Morris (talk) 23:42, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
Let us see if Charlie Schumer will donate that way to the NY chapter... kidding. History2007 (talk) 13:22, 31 December 2011 (UTC)
Then I don't see why you would use a payment system that accepts payments in, say the Vietnamese Dong, only to have them converted automatically to USDs either. Incidentally, this "odd" policy got called out by Jon Matonis on Forbes. - Gorndog (talk) 16:50, 29 June 2012 (UTC)

Emergency lockdown proposal[edit]

Unencyclopedia has had a Vandalize-Wikipedia day before when it had very few users. If it had one now, the results would be catastrophic. This also applies to any other massive event that it could be applied to. The proposal is this: on the day in question, all Wikipedia would be semi, or full protected, depending on how organized and how much they planned in advance for this. Account creation would be limited to one per ip instead of ten per ip two weeks before said date. The right to implement this lockdown plan would only be given to WMF staff and Jimmy Wales. This is needed because vandalism severely threatens credibility an is the reason teachers reject Wikipedia as a valid source. Wikipedia would lose most of its reader base if it was found to be subject to heavy vandalism. NOTE: THIS PLAN HAS MANY POSSIBLE VARIATIONS. I AM JUST TRYING TO SEE IF THIS IS A GENERALLY GOOD IDEA. NOT IF THIS VARIATION WOULD WORK. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ramaksoud2000 (talkcontribs) 05:41, 30 December 2011 (UTC)

I know, I'm very famaliar with those, but this would be a once-in-a-lifetime thing. Ramaksoud2000 (talk) 15:21, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
I would prefer to see page protection rules loosened somewhat to allow swift protection of articles as an when they are attacked. Protecting every page is a huge task. I suppose IP's ability to edit could just be switched off, but this I think would be a "success" from the attacker's POV. Grandiose (me, talk, contribs) 15:40, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
I oppose such a plan. If there's a need, our devs know how to lock the database, and do it occasionally for maintenance. I don't see a need to formalize any more than that. I'm big on contingency planning - but this is such an unlikely contingency that any such plan would likely be unhelpful. Philippe Beaudette, Wikimedia Foundation (talk) 21:23, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
  • There really is no formal procedure needed for this; in case of a catastrophic attack, the database will be locked anyways. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 21:46, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Didn't we work out from the server logs a couple of years ago that some site had tried something like this? We currently handle over a thousand vandal edits per hour, you'd need to recruit a lot of vandals to make a difference to that, and as long as cluebot is up you'd need to make a big difference before someone had to put a help note at ANI. ϢereSpielChequers 01:25, 1 January 2012 (UTC)

Having a default talk page notice on pages instead of manually using {{Talk header}}[edit]

Instead of having the {{Talk header}} template on most every talk page as it currently stands, wouldn't it make sense to have the MediaWiki software automatically include a talk page header by default instead? Something like that would save on the amount of wiki-code and template transclusions on talk pages, and it could be hidden (i.e. opt-out) if they're not needed on select talk pages. Thoughts? –MuZemike 01:38, 6 December 2011 (UTC)

I think this would be fine for the main talk space, but for specific (user, template, wikipedia) talks it could be problematic, as there are a variety of templates used for the other namespaces. Of course the question then is, it worth the developers time to do alter something any bot can do, with no stress? Crazynas t 03:18, 6 December 2011 (UTC)
Better task for a bot. Can just put a request at WP:BAG. Bots cost nothing Media Wiki costs salary. History2007 (talk) 04:28, 6 December 2011 (UTC)
I think it makes more sense to remove most of these headers. I'd like to see a bot remove them from talk pages that contain zero text, and to warn registered users who add them at the time of page creation. If we actually needed these space-consuming warnings on every page, then we should have already added them defaultly to every single talk page. We don't need them (and the more warnings you add, the less effective they are), so we shouldn't have so many of them. They should be added to pages that have demonstrable problems, not to all possible pages. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:02, 6 December 2011 (UTC)
I could not disagree more. Warning users for moving towards discussions? Never, never, never. We do not have 'space problems'. We could fit over 10 billion such talk pages on a $50 hard disk. In addition, deleting pages saves no space whatsoever; deleted revisions take up just as much space (plus a bit more, for the logs). Sometimes, a header can aid new users, showing them how the talk page is laid out, to get discussions started. Often, new users will not comment on a non-existent page, but if the page exists with a header, they will. I do agree that the header should be short, simple, and clear. If edit notice were not so hackish, I'd suggest using that; but Crazynas is right to consider the practicalities; Bots are cheap indeed. Chzz  ►  01:07, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
For what it's worth, every edit made likewise takes up more space. In any case, my presumption has been that talk page headers are on most articles, so (going back to my proposal) instead of manually placing them as templates on talk pages, why can't the MediaWiki software automatically display the same thing on the top of all article talk pages? It would reduce the amount of code on the talk pages themselves as well as unneeded template transclusions. –MuZemike 06:35, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
Chzz, it's not about the disk space. It's about the screen real estate.
So we have a guy at the moment who believes it his duty to the world to create talk pages for articles. He spams in a talk header on every single one of these newly created pages, plus one or more WikiProject banners. Do you know what a talk header plus three WikiProject banners is? It's a full screen—a screen that has so many cofeeroll-colored templates on it that the reader can't even see whether there are any comments or even any place to comment. Worse than that, it's a full screen whose very first action is to discourage discussion!
IMO the guy who's indiscriminately spamming in the talk headers needs to be warned to stop discouraging discussion by adding these warnings to pages that have never encountered a problem. Sure: create the page. Sure: add WikiProject banners. Sure: add your own comments. But don't start the page off with the bold-face warning that "This is not a forum for general discussion of the article's subject" unless you're actually having a problem with people chatting. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:24, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
What about putting {{Talk header}} into an {{editnotice}}? ClaretAsh 10:28, 2 January 2012 (UTC)

User ratings[edit]

(If there's a past discussion of this I should be aware of (I couldn't find any), please share.) I feel that Wikipedia would benefit tremendously from a system in which users could get some sort of easily visible indication of how much/well they have contributed or progressed, something to get people to feel "gee what a great editor I am". The most effective way I see that this can happen is some sort of user rating system. And right here I can already anticipate furious opposition (learning from the uniformly negative reaction to Tesseract2's like button idea above, which surprised me), and I fully understand that, so I guess I'm just looking for feedback at this point. I will appreciate all of it. =) Please consider the following:

  • "Where has this succeeded before?" The first that come to my mind are Reddit and Stack Exchange. Now, Wikipedia already has "Rate this page", but on Reddit and Stack Exchange it goes beyond just content rating: based on content rating, users are rated too. The single most important motivation to produce quality content on those websites is to increase one's rating.
  • "How would the rating be computed?" There are certainly many options I can imagine. You might earn points just for making an edit. This number might be increased if people have liked that edit. "Liking" can be avoided perhaps, if you get points for having edited an article that gets positive reviews. The number of points could be proportional to how much you contributed to that article, etc.
  • "We should be editing out of the goodness of our hearts; you can check your contribs any time, and we even have barnstars." But we're human too. I don't think anyone should feel ashamed to edit for the sake of praise, or even status. Currently the encouragement and praise editors get for their work is paltry, mostly because it all comes from other people, who justifiably don't spend too much of their time giving out barnstars, which are hard to qualify for in the first place. A rating system is a cheap sort of automated praise that can be given in unlimited amounts and is still demonstrably effective. They provide a more instant gratification for one's work.
  • "This will discourage new users." On the contrary. The immediate reward of jumping from a zero to a positive rating is very encouraging. On StackExchange, your first answers, questions, comments, and even upvotes earn you special awards too, causing new users to be flooded with notices like "Congratulations! You've just earned the Teacher badge". In retrospect, this had a very positive impact on my experience with Stack Exchange. Also, instead of feeling spite or frustration with more experienced users, people on Reddit and Stack Exchange, I notice, show respect.
  • "We don't want a hierarchy of users. Wikipedia is not a contest. Rating users is fundamentally against the idea of open access for everyone." It doesn't have to be that way. We already "rank" registered users higher than IP addresses, and confirmed users higher than newly registered ones. Then there are admins. On Stack Exchange, no attempt is made at hiding how privileges are earned (by accumulating reputation), and yet no one seems to have qualms about some users having more privileges, including those that could potentially cause mean behavior, like privileges to close a question, downvote a post, etc. I would also like to stress that there is a very wide range of ways a user rating system could be implemented. On Stack Exchange, one's rating appears everywhere next to your username; on Reddit, you have to go to the user's page. A possible system for Wikipedia might not even display one's rating to other users, or perhaps just to certain other users. (Heck, even just displaying one's own edit count privately somewhere easy to find would do some good, I think.) The rating also does not have to be a number, but maybe one of several levels, like at Slashdot. The rating may be somewhat fuzzy. The rating may be multidimensional. (As you can see, if it's users comparing themselves to each other that bothers you, there's many ways to avoid that.) Or maybe there wouldn't be one rating at all, but badges or trophies that you earn for doing certain things. (I'm aware that things similar to these exist. Can we have more of them? This is most easily done using an automated system.)
  • "Won't this lead to edits made for the wrong reasons?" In a well-designed system, there shouldn't be any behavior that increases one's rating without benefiting the encyclopedia. I don't think we can rule out the entire concept of user ratings based on fears of say, rings of users who move up on each other's support. First, this is already possible in Wikipedia's current system of voting. Second, before a mechanism has been decided on, I don't think anyone can say for certain that users will be able to devise strategies to beat the system.

Again, thanks. Leonxlin (talk) 05:34, 29 December 2011 (UTC)

I foresee serious opposition from the makers of Sertraline. If Wikipedia can act as an antidepressant, that would cut into corporate profits and chaos will ensue. But seriously, how about judging the "reliability of content" (which will last and make Wikipedia valuable) instead of the anti-depressant effect which will wear off next week.
Now, let me talk about the extremes. How about a larger scale "The best of Wikipedia, the he worst of Wikipedia" analysis. I just came across the four color theorem. I see that in the "best of Wikipedia" category. It is accurate, concise, well written and informative - what an encyclopedia article should be. The worst may be characterized by load balancing: inaccurate and inactive. If those types of lists are made per project, we may yet be able to achieve encyclopedic value by learning how these types of articles come about. History2007 (talk) 22:08, 29 December 2011 (UTC)
Well, I'm not entirely sure what you're getting at. But I'm all for publicizing article evaluations. And how will people get the motivation to move articles out of the worsts list, or into the bests list? There are long lists of crappy articles piling up everywhere, especially in semi-active task force and project pages. I think earning points, karma, rating, or just some sort of recognition (which is not likely to be given by a real human being, especially if you're checking off items on a to-do list that no one reads anymore. Therefore some sort of automatic recognition should be created) would boost activity significantly. Thanks Leonxlin (talk) 01:00, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
"This number might be increased if people have liked that edit. "Liking" can be avoided perhaps, if you get points for having edited an article that gets positive reviews."
I already made a number of edits which a lot of users would probably dislike because they don't see them as an improvement, but these edits are improvements in the sense of Wikipedia policies. So would I be a bad editor because I make a large number of edits which a lot of other people do not like? One problem I see is that people who are unfamiliar with Wikipedias rules could dislike me as an editor because they for example don't like my edits enforcing WP:NFCC. I don't think this would be a good thing. Toshio Yamaguchi (talk) 00:08, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
I don't think it has to turn out that way. The very existence of Wikipedia is a testament to the fact that leaving decisions up to people who don't know the rules doesn't necessarily lead to anarchy. To take an example that specifically has user ratings, look at Stack Exchange. They have some pretty strict rules about what you should and shouldn't post. One example of what they discourage is forum-style discussion questions. As a newish-average user, I've seen many such interesting open questions that were closed. I've probably upvoted many of them myself. But they still get closed for not conforming to policy. Somehow the rules still stand.
I'm glad your objection isn't a fundamental criticism of the idea but just a concern about what might happen under a bad implementation. Just off the top of my head, here are a few possible defenses to the problem you've highlighted:
  • User ratings can be set to only increase.
  • Don't allow down-voting.
  • Make the votes of established users count more.
  • Create a system in which enforcing rules specifically gets you points.
I'm sure a more thorough system can be worked out if enough people agree with the general idea. Thanks! Leonxlin (talk) 01:00, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
I do agree with Toshio, and do see this as less than productive. The long and short of my view is that this is a step towards making Wikipedia morph into a variant of Facebook instead of making it morph into a superior version of Encyclopædia Britannica. The key focus should be better content quality, not becoming yet another social interaction website. History2007 (talk) 04:20, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
The spirit of this is wrong. If you're here to become liked or rise on some sort of (any kind of) "ratings"-scale, you can go elsewhere. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 05:13, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
Right. History2007 (talk) 05:21, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
I do agree with Toshio, and do see this as less than productive. The long and short of my view is that this is a step towards making Wikipedia morph into a variant of Facebook instead of making it morph into a superior version of Encyclopædia Britannica. The key focus should be better content quality, not becoming yet another social interaction website.
I'm sorry, I don't understand this at all. Facebook does not rate users. Facebook users therefore post a lot of crap and have little incentive to post better content. Britannica's incentives to create good content are 1) to make money and 2) writers have to get past the reviewers or else they won't get any money. A user rating system would be a super-easy automated way use the evaluations of content to give users rating points. I don't see how this has anything to do with becoming a "social interaction website". A user rating system uses computers to give people rating automatically. Again, I would like to bring up Stack Exchange. The content of Stack Exchange is very much focused on the objects of discussion rather than interaction between users, as you insist Wikipedia must be. Stack Exchange accomplishes this very well, not in spite of but because of its user rating system.
The spirit of this is wrong. If you're here to become liked or rise on some sort of (any kind of) "ratings"-scale, you can go elsewhere.
We're all here to make Wikipedia better. =) I sincerely believe that a rating system would bring in so much more help from users who just need that little push to start editing. Thanks for your responses. Leonxlin (talk) 22:56, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
Are you familiar with WP:Editor review? WhatamIdoing (talk) 06:38, 2 January 2012 (UTC)

fundraising: friend/patron icon for givers[edit]

People who make donation would get opportunity to place an icon/widget "Friend of Wikipedia" on facebook/linkedin or any web page. It might be different ("bronze”, “silver"...) levels of "friendship”. Technically, donor can choose to get unique ID when they make first donation. This ID can be provided to count consecutive donations. The web icon/widget incorporates ID into a link that shows donor name and donation sum. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Vmorozov (talkcontribs) 16:34, 2 January 2012 (UTC)

Hi Vmorozov, on Facebook we already have a Wikipedia page that any Facebook user who is a Wikipedia an can "like" and over 800,000 have already done so. I'm not sure LinkedIn is really appropriate as that is more about your work career. As for amounts and so forth I suspect some might think that undermines the altruistic nature of giving. But there is a userbox that you can add to your Wikipedia userpage, just paste {{User:UBX/Donate}} on your userpage. ϢereSpielChequers 18:17, 2 January 2012 (UTC)

NFCC enforcement[edit]

We now have over 400000 non-free files on Wikipedia, and many of these files have problems. I would like to formulate a proposal for WP:VPR here so that after the community discussion at VPR a request can be filed at WP:BOTREQ, should there be consensus for this proposal. I would like to have a bot that does the following:

  1. scan all files in File: namespace not having a free license tag
  2. check for the file, whether it is tagged with a template from Category:Non-free Wikipedia file copyright tags
    1. if it is not, place a notice on Wikipedia:Media copyright questions
    2. if it is, check the file transclusions
      1. for transclusions in main namespace, check whether it has a rationale (must be made bot identifiable)
        1. if it does, go to next transclusion
        2. if it doesn't, remove that transclusion from the article per WP:NFCC#Enforcement for violating WP:NFCC Policy 10c
          1. check, whether the file is still used in other articles
            1. if it is, proceed with next file.
            2. if it is not, in accordance with WP:NFCC Enforcement 2nd bullet point, notify the uploader.
              1. after 7 days, check whether the file is used in other articles
                1. if it is, do nothing
                2. if it is not, delete the file
      2. for transclusions not in main namespace, remove the file per WP:NFCC#Enforcement for violating WP:NFCC Policy 9 and add {{GLNF|Name of removed file|Caption of removed file}}

Feedback welcome. Toshio Yamaguchi (talk) 15:37, 8 December 2011 (UTC)

I restructured (but did not re-order) the numbered list. This was done in good faith, for clarity. If my edit is considered a bad thing, please feel free to undo it and throw rotten fruit at me. fredgandt 07:05, 9 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Hell no! This needs to die now, and quickly. The idea of letting bots anywhere near NFCC enforcement, except in the limited case its already in, is bad. Bots currently remove non-free files from non-mainspace pages, and place up for deletion files that are non-free and unused, however that's all that they can be trusted to do, and even then, there are problems, especially with the second task. Here are a few things that would go wrong with this:
    • A large number, upwards of 25% of the non-free files we have, use the old, non-template based, FURs. They are considered to be still acceptable, although changing them is recommended. This would mean that the proposed bot would have 100,000 false positives.
    • There are several thousand images that are in the categories for all free files and for all non-free files at the same time. Those are being manually fixed (it is on my personal hit list of tasks). There is no reason to flood the already understaffed MCQ with this.
  • Please let the file workers deal with this, a bot will only cause a massive firestorm. Sven Manguard Wha? 09:47, 9 December 2011 (UTC)
  • "Please let the file workers deal with this" Exactly whom are you referring to with this?
  • "A large number, upwards of 25% of the non-free files we have, use the old, non-template based, FURs." Then we should come up with a bot readable FUR template that should replace the current templates.
The problem is, there should not be even 1 file violating NFCC. See Resolution:Licensing policy (in particular points 1. and 4.). Toshio Yamaguchi (talk) 10:32, 9 December 2011 (UTC)
You misunderstand. The current templates are machine readable to the extent that they can be, but not all images use a template. Whether an image uses a template or not is irrelevant to the NFCC, it's the text of the rationale that matters. Also, it is impossible for the validity of a rationale to be determined by a machine. Thryduulf (talk) 12:10, 9 December 2011 (UTC)
I do understand. Yes, a rationale is not required to use a template, a rationale can just be plain text. I am aware of WP:FUR#Necessary components as well as WP:FURG#Non-template. However, there are many non-free files not having ANY rationale. The problem is, a bot cannot distinguish between a file having a non-templated rationale and a file having no rationale at all. That would need to be adjusted in WP:FUR. Toshio Yamaguchi (talk) 12:28, 9 December 2011 (UTC)
While in future it may be desirable to run a bot to check for missing rationales in that way, Sven's point is that currently there will be too many false positives to make it at all useful. Thryduulf (talk) 13:16, 9 December 2011 (UTC)
Toshio Yamaguchi, I agree with you that the NFCC needs to be enforced, the problem is this: NFCC enforcement has caused more drama and editor burnout than any other file namespace topic ever has, and it's been causing drama and burnout for years. We still haven't settled on how the community defines NFCC criteria #8, and there's a dichotomy of "we agree that files that don't meet the NFCC need to go" and "semi or fully automatic enforcement of most criteria is a bad thing". As a result, the only thing that dosen't cause massive drama is when people carefully, and on a file by file basis, chipping away at the problems. That's what I mean by "file workers", people who work with files. Sven Manguard Wha? 17:42, 9 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Yeah, this won't help. Figuring out when, where, and how to properly use NF images is a matter that demands significant editorial judgment, and all mass-tagging does is force a bunch of thoughtless, cursory justifications that don't help support our legal standing or principles. As for the policy causing editor burnout... well, it was called WP:FU for a reason. --erachima talk 17:01, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
Anyone fancy a sausage?  Chzz  ►  10:34, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
What was the exact restriction on Betacommand again? Sfan00 IMG (talk) 19:57, 23 December 2011 (UTC)
I'm pretty sure it includes "Don't touch NFCC with a ten-foot pole". The rest is a matter of some contention. --NYKevin @950, i.e. 21:48, 4 January 2012 (UTC)

Option to these "Personal appeals".[edit]

Sell ads. They are less annoying than these "Personal appeals". You could give the user an option to hide the advertisement. That way anyone can easily support Wikipedia by allowing few ads on the pages. At least give us an option to hide these appeals. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:22, 23 December 2011 (UTC)

Well, there are a couple of options for hiding the appeals. At this point, the easiest option for you may be to click the x in the top corner of the ads. They will go away, I'm told, until the cookie placed on your computer is removed or expires. Alternatively, if you create an account and log in, they will go away automatically. At this point, they are not being shown to registered users. In future years, before they are disabled for registered users, they can be manually turned off by a gadget. See Wikipedia:Suppress display of the fundraising banner. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 19:07, 23 December 2011 (UTC)
Selling ads will never work, as a large number of contributors will leave Wikipedia en masse if that is every implemented. This is a regular proposal. The Mark of the Beast (talk) 02:12, 24 December 2011 (UTC)
Separate question for Maggie/MRG: Does the fundraising only work once a year? After I read that I just started a page for Right-time marketing because there was none - but have not had time to finish it. However the idea is widely used, and I am sure WMF marketing people are familiar with it. So could someone help us understand why selective marketing campaigns are not performed "at the right time" on selected pages throughout the year? Or can they be performed yet? Those types of campaigns/banners, say on US related pages at Thanksgiving, on Chinese related pages during the Mooncake Festival or on Irish related pages on Saint Patrick's Day may just work through their emotional appeal, if positioned right with the right message. And they would not be as repetitive as the IP above was complaining, but would generate donations for sure. Have they been tried before? History2007 (talk) 04:53, 24 December 2011 (UTC)
Yes, the fundraising banners are annual, usually starting in November. —Tom Morris (talk) 17:26, 24 December 2011 (UTC)
Thanks. So the next question is, does it make sense to perform a small experiment to see if a seasonal, non-irritating, focused fundraising that uses a special occasion can generate revenue? It may be performed for 2 weeks or so on say 50 pages that relate to the special occasion. It would be a classic application of Right-time marketing which will probably generate revenue without affecting the entire encyclopedia. History2007 (talk) 17:33, 24 December 2011 (UTC)
By the way, the occasions do not need to be just festivals, and during October, the birthday of Picasso may be an occasion for art pages, while in March the birthday of Einstein for physics pages etc. And these pages get 300,000 to 500,000 views a month each, so with the other 49 pages around them, there may be 1million banner displays for each of those occasions. And of course most of the "art viewers" will be unaware of the banners the "physics viewers" are seeing even if the birthdays zones of Van Gogh and Einstein overlap a little during March. However, these would have to do much better than the "0.000110" type of value for donations per impression to make an impact, although that number may be low due to the repetitive nature of the impressions per reader. But then the whole idea of Right-time marketing is to improve both the click-through rate and the revenue rate of blanket message delivery. The test needs to determine that ratio to see if it will work. History2007 (talk) 18:40, 24 December 2011 (UTC)
Just a comment, I just saw another discussion about the fundraising banners and It prompted me to find the project page at META:Fundraising 2011. They have a discussion board for questions and comments. Richard-of-Earth (talk) 19:39, 24 December 2011 (UTC)
Right. That is were I found the "0.000110" type ratios etc. But that is for 2011, this is probably more general. Anyway, I can not type in two places, and have probably typed more than enough on this. The idea is out there now, let people think about it. But I do hope we can do better than "0.000110" by selecting categories as discussed above and selecting the right occasions, etc. History2007 (talk) 19:52, 24 December 2011 (UTC)
I'll pass your thoughts along to the fundraising team. :) --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 18:00, 30 December 2011 (UTC)

How about ethical advertising? For example, if you deny advertisement space to companies that already have too large market shares, and favor smaller players instead, then Wikipedia advertisements can work against monopolization and help balance markets. The challenge, then, would be to establish viable systems for transparency and community-based control of the advertisement policies which will make and keep the system as fair and beneficial as it can be. Since ethical marketing probably brings in somewhat less money than profit-driven marketing, a good objective would be to make the ad system as ethical as it can be so that it yet brings enough money to keep Wikipedia running. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Vesaaeo (talkcontribs) 14:16, 25 December 2011 (UTC)

1. Doesn't solve the "contributors would all leave en masse" problem.
2. Who would decide what counts as "ethical"? What if we were to advertise a company based in Israel? That'd only pour flames on the Israel/Palestine edit warriors. What if we advertised handguns or gambling or pornography? How would we decide whether to allow them? It'd cause huge problems with contributors not wanting to participate. —Tom Morris (talk) 15:50, 25 December 2011 (UTC)
I agree with Tom. That may open its own Pandora's box. And the whole issue of "external manipulation" will come in and taint the image of Wikipedia. Even running ads for medications may be a problem, given the interest of pharmaceutical companies in Wiki-content. Last May I started a page on an "academic tool" called Wiki-Watch which I thought was interesting, only to find out a few months later that the professors who managed it were paid consultants to some pharmaceutical firms and subject of newspaper investigations for Wiki-manipulation, etc. I no longer even watch that page, it turned out to be a debate among a few Germans who seem to know each other. So those types of commercial ventures will just attract the external influence problems and unexpected headaches. The best way for Wikipedia is to ask for a large number of "small but sincere donations" from the general public and continue that way. But the banners need to become less repetitive, more focused and more innovative. History2007 (talk) 16:03, 25 December 2011 (UTC)

I have enjoyed the personal appeals. I read all those I saw because I found the first one moving. I was prompted into making a donation and when I started feeling bugged by them I used the X button. Is there a problem? What I want to know is:

  • how effective have they been in raising funds
  • how close to desperation is WM that advertising is under consideration
  • Or is this just a topic that gets brought up by people with no idea of the financial facts
Greenmaven (talk) 16:32, 25 December 2011 (UTC)
The personal appeals have evidently been very effective! You can see the fundraiser for this and previous year here. The WMF has no plans at this point to revisit its stance on advertisement (see the Foundation wiki), but it is something that some would prefer we do. I get several letters a week from people who would prefer an advertisement model to the current fundraiser appeals. That said, we also get letters from donors who specifically mention that they donate because we do not advertise. Unsurprisingly, there's no universal agreement. :) --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 18:06, 30 December 2011 (UTC)

I don't (well, didn't (clicked the "x" icon after reading several)) find the fundraising banners irritating or annoying at all. Just thought I'd mention it. fredgandt 16:47, 25 December 2011 (UTC)

Irritating or not is one issue. I am sure different people have different feelings on that. Another issue is, "can additional revenue come from donations outside of these once a year banners?" That is the question. I guess the answer is yes, but only a a few tests will determine that for sure. History2007 (talk) 17:25, 25 December 2011 (UTC)

I think someone mentioned a 'Donate Button' earlier. It would be tacky on every downloaded page, but how about only on every 100th article page? It could be very unobtrusive, and a little intriguing: sometimes you see it and sometimes you don't... A little bit shy and embarrassed to ask...? --Greenmaven (talk) 17:42, 25 December 2011 (UTC)

There is a donate button in the left side navigation panel. fredgandt 17:57, 25 December 2011 (UTC)
How embarrassing! I forgot about it. That reinforces my point — we become habituated to what we see regularly. Something more eye catching, that occurs at unpredictable intervals, is what gets noticed. It would need a little color and a very brief message e.g. "Wikipedia is financed entirely by donations from people like you". I hope someone picks up on my idea of something that goes out on every 100th page served. To the receiver that would deliver the pages pseudo-randomly at an average rate of 1:100 --Greenmaven (talk) 22:04, 25 December 2011 (UTC)
One idea would be to use a DYK+request in a banner that may even come up once every 1,000 views or whatever. I would call that an "infodonational" banner, just as there are infomercials, etc. And they could even be selected from past DYK items, etc. or by help from Wiki-people in the Arts project. The idea would be like the "tip of the day" feature that exists within many products such as word processors, etc. But these would have to tie into specific categories again, so on art pages, there may be an infodonational "... did you know that Van Gogh was at times inspired by Japanese wood block prints?" followed by "Wikipedia has over 100 pages on Van Gogh, donate too help us keep the tradition alive... " or some message crafted like that, etc. That would come up on the 111 pages that relate to Van Gogh, etc. or even pages about post-impressionism, etc. And of course, using the Right-time marketing approach also on Vincent's birthday. History2007 (talk) 00:32, 26 December 2011 (UTC)

I wonder if merchandising has ever been seriously considered? Jigsaw Puzzles and home quiz games (Trivial pursuits'esque) are an obvious couple of money spinners. "Citation needed" T.Shirts and caps. Puzzle globe key-rings. Paper weights, "Did you know?" calendars, Pen and mechanical pencil sets... The list is as long as the mind is open. Since the foundation is allowed to trade (pretty sure non-profits can still trade) and the Wikipedia logos are copyrighted, it seems an obvious possibility. Wikipedia Monopoly! (pun intended). fredgandt 18:14, 25 December 2011 (UTC)

The Foundation have had a job advert up for a while for a Merchandise Manager, which might suggest that there are plans afoot for sorting out the merchandise side of things. —Tom Morris (talk) 18:20, 25 December 2011 (UTC)
Yeah, I just found this Wikipedia:Merchandise and slumped. Very shoddy. fredgandt 18:22, 25 December 2011 (UTC)
Historically speaking, mendicant organizations have not done well with merchandise. Somehow (but I know of no axiom) these activities seem to have required different organizational cultures: either a merchant or a mendicant. History2007 (talk) 18:48, 25 December 2011 (UTC)
Here the UK lots of charities get a significant part of their revenue from merchandising. Wikimedia has some obvious opportunities here especially in calenders - we could be the provider of that most difficult of things the "dad gift" - apologies for stereotyping the sort of people who'd appreciate a Battleships calender. ϢereSpielChequers 10:37, 1 January 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I am glad you said calendars and not books - I noticed that they sell them. That would have been another story. But on that note let me say that their very existence in printed form seemed really surreal to me. I do not know why no one wants to talk about this. Is there some sort of unwritten "code of silence" about quality and reliability that should not be breached? Should the subject not be mentioned? The reason I said it was surreal was that I thought of the following scenario, which would make a sketch for SNL.

Suppose, I wanted to encourage a teenager who is interested in chemistry. So I to help Wikipedia I order the Wikibook on chemistry and give it to him. Here is the sketch:

Hey kid, here is a book on chemistry for you.
  • Thanks.
But don' let your teacher see you read it?
  • (Perplexed look) Why?
Teacher may take it away from you.
  • (Perplexed look) Why?
Because the book may be banned in your school.
  • (Perplexed look) Why?
Because the schools in the US think Wikipedia has too many errors.
  • (Perplexed look) So why don't you give me a book that does not have errors.
(Perplexed look) ... Silence...

In fact, many years ago when books used to be typeset a publisher told me that they specifically checked their chemistry books twice for typing errors because once someone misplaced a period, caused an incident in a lab and the publisher had to pay damages. Frankly I have "no idea" how error free the Wiki-books on chemistry may be and would never give one as a gift.

I think a much better thing to talk about is "Get back in the schools campaign" where WMF along with various groups of users sets the goal of being allowed back in schools. An encyclopedia should not be banned in schools if it is to be taken seriously, and should not be selling banned merchandise. All we need now is Bitcoin banned donations to buy banned books... way not to go....

But seriously, I wish more people would talk about increasing accuracy and reducing embarrassment. Too much work has gone into Wikipedia to let it turn into a constant topic of jokes. Now that about $30 million in funds were obtained this year, how about spending just 10% of that on "getting back into school"? History2007 (talk) 14:49, 4 January 2012 (UTC)

Noindex unpatrolled new pages[edit]

The idea was brought up by WereSpielChequers during a discussion about CfD criteria. This is to prevent unpatrolled pages to be indexed immediately after creation. This will lower the incentive for films/books (and others) of questionable notability. These cannot be speedied since they're not in the speedy-scope, and if it goes to AfD the publicity will last 7 days. Noindexing them will prevent this. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 00:58, 1 January 2012 (UTC)

Agree with the idea, would like to see unpatrolled pages have Noindex for upto 24 hrs and any page nominated for either PORD or AFD that is less than 14 days old also noindex, the latter to stop gaming of the system. Mtking (edits) 01:14, 1 January 2012 (UTC)
To avoid the usual objections to allowing anyone to add noindex in mainspace this would be combined with the unpatrolled status, marking an article as patrolled would remove the "noIndex" tag and {{Noindex}} would remain an invalid tag for unpatrolled articles in mainspace. The main advantage is actually for attack pages and the really nasty stuff. The idea is fairly simple. Currently you can't mark any pages in mainspace as noindex. Under this proposal all pages that have not yet been patrolled would be marked as noindex, patrolling them would remove that. Because we currently only have two colours at special:Newpages we would now need a third - articles tagged for some form of deletion. Under the new system if you spot an attack page you blank it and tag it for deletion, it doesn't need to be marked as patrolled and if it gets deleted without being patrolled it probably won't ever get picked up by search engines. So attack pages which currently get mirrored and repeated in Google caches will hopefully not do so. (For those unfamiliar with the process Noindex is an instruction to search engines not to include a particular page). ϢereSpielChequers 01:17, 1 January 2012 (UTC)
If it's technically feasible, I'd be for it. Malicious users seem to realize that their work will be splayed across the Internet even if it gets deleted here, and noindexing would nip that at the bud. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 03:32, 1 January 2012 (UTC)
By the way, whatever happened to the flagged revisions story? That would have solved these problems, and then some. Right? History2007 (talk) 21:41, 1 January 2012 (UTC)
Yes it would, but unfortunately we didn't get consensus for that change here - though it seems to work well on DE and some other languages where I've encountered it. However this proposal is at newpages rather than recent changes and it avoids the contentious bit of flagged revisions, just as most newbies never know their edit hasn't been patrolled they won't know that it took an hour or two to be picked up by Google. I suppose I should have said that the NoIndex part of being unpatrolled might as well be as unseen as the unpatrolled bit. ϢereSpielChequers 23:12, 1 January 2012 (UTC)
And there isn't really any urgency to have google and others list something within 10 milliseconds. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 23:46, 1 January 2012 (UTC)
Just one problem I thought of; as soon as someone tags something for speedy deletion, if they use automated tools it will mark the page as patrolled. For G10s this isn't such a problem, but for some other kinds of pages this would kinda defeat the purpose, because as soon as they're tagged they'll be marked patrolled and indexed. It'd be ideal to find a way to work around that. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 00:00, 2 January 2012 (UTC)
Yes that's why we'd need to shift from our current two colour system to a three colour system with tagged for deletion as the third group. This would have a couple of advantages though, for manual taggers you'd be able to skip the process of marking as patrolled articles that you are tagging for deletion, and when someone removes a speedy tag the article would revert to unpatrolled. ϢereSpielChequers 00:06, 2 January 2012 (UTC)
I agree with the basic idea, but maybe it should be for a limited time after creation, to allow the new page patrollers to catch the obvious abusive articles without them being indexed, and prevent genuine articles from having to wait 30 days to be indexed. Are articles that fall off the back of the unpatrolled backlog (i.e., have not been patrolled in over 30 days since creation) automatically marked as patrolled? I'm not sure about noindexing for articles for deletion. There is nothing preventing a user nominating a featured key article for deletion (indeed, I remeber this happening once, I can't remember the article now), this would be noindexed for whatever period it takes for someone to speedy keep it. Quasihuman | Talk 12:56, 2 January 2012 (UTC)
If I'm understanding it correctly, what's being proposed is that an article is noindexed until it's marked as patrolled. If something is tagged for deletion while unpatrolled, it would then be shifted to another color on Special:NewPages until it's deleted/declined. That would prevent the scenario you're talking about. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 17:21, 2 January 2012 (UTC)
Yes. Currently all unpatrolled articles that survive 30 days are automatically marked as patrolled. As for patrolled and older articles that are marked for deletion the NoIndex tag would not apply to them, this proposal is purely for articles not yet marked as patrolled and part of the thinking behind that is to prevent vandals applying NoIndex to articles in mainspace. So the only articles tagged for deletion that would be noIndexed would be those that have not yet been patrolled. ϢereSpielChequers 17:55, 2 January 2012 (UTC)
My AfD comment was in reply to Mtking's comment above, which I misread as refering to all AfDs, I agree with what TBotNL and WSC have said above, except that I'm not sure about the noindexing period being as long as 30 days. Quasihuman | Talk 18:17, 2 January 2012 (UTC)
30 days is the maximum at newpages before articles become patrolled anyway, much of the time the queue is somewhat shorter, sometimes much shorter and it only includes a minority of new articles as the vast majority of patrolling happens at the front of the queue. My concern about having the noindexing expire at a different time than the unpatrolled feature is that it would make the system more complex, and of course there is the occasional "badfaith" article that slips through to the back of the queue. Is there a particular reason why you'd want 5 day old unpatrolled articles to be picked up by Google? ϢereSpielChequers 20:18, 2 January 2012 (UTC)
Well I didn't say I was opposed to a 30 day period, I just said I wasn't sure about it. It's in all of our interest to have all of our quite good articles indexed, and all of our very bad articles noindexed. Maybe an alternative would be to have the maximum noindexing period at 30 days, and to lower the bar for the autopatrolled user right, so that users with a record of creating good articles would get it, without the requirement of creating 50 articles. We could also have a situation that articles featuring on the main page as a did you know might be noindexed, if this goes ahead, marking the articles as patrolled should be a requirement of the DYK process. Also, articles that have gone through a process like articles for creation should be marked as patrolled, as they have already gone through a quality control procedure. Quasihuman | Talk 10:57, 3 January 2012 (UTC)
I would be surprised if many unpatrolled article were on the mainpage as DYK, though some will be unpatrolled at the time they are nominated at DYK because they are created by editors who aren't yet Autopatrolled. But it is a valid concern as some OK articles do sit unpatrolled for a while. However rather than automatically mark any overlooked DYK candidates as Index or patrolled I suggest that we fix that problem by making the "mark as patrolled" button visible to any admin or experienced editor who looks at a page rather than just NPP patrollers (this is a longstanding request at Bugzilla). The large majority of new unpatrolled articles are patrolled or deleted in their first 24 hours. In my experience the couple of hundred articles per day that get to the back of the queue are mostly borderline having been heavily picked over by patrollers, though occasionally you get batches of articles that came in when no-one was on patrol. Reducing the requirements for Autopatroller would help, but we've only recently reduced it from 75 to 50, IMHO it would be more useful to do some trawls for overlooked candidates for Autopatroller - I recently appointed on who'd done 75 articles and I reckon he'd have been given the right at 50 if he'd been spotted. No comment about the articles for creation suggestion as I'm not active in that area. But I don't see those points as reasons to oppose the noIndex idea, or sufficient justification to make it more complex. ϢereSpielChequers 15:50, 6 January 2012 (UTC)

New user integration[edit]

This is another proposal intended to encourage editor retention. I've been on WP for about a year now and I've found that what has helped me to feel part of the WP community is being aware of the history and culture of this project. I refer to Willy on Wheels, the Cruse-Cohen hoax, the annual April Fool's AfDs, WikiMeetups, the ongoing Cabal joke etc. Even though some (or many) of these were before my time, my awareness of them has made it clear to me that there is more to WP than editing, tags and warnings, which is what greets most users. One of the things that has helped me become aware of WP culture is by reading WP Signpost. I don't think it can be denied that the Signpost plays a significant role in building awareness of WP culture among its users. Accordingly, I'd like to suggest that new users are automatically subscribed to Signpost, albeit with an opt-out option. What are others' thoughts? ClaretAsh 04:09, 2 January 2012 (UTC)

I think you'll gain more support by suggesting they be given the option, perhaps via a convenient button ... "See this week's issue in a different window", and "subscribe". Tony (talk) 05:03, 2 January 2012 (UTC)
I saw Tony's comment pop up in my watchlist and thought this idea was titled "New user interrogation". O.o  fredgandt 05:07, 2 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Give them the opportunity, don't force it on them. Some just don't want to read about it. Crisco 1492 (talk) 05:13, 2 January 2012 (UTC)
I don't think that Signpost is going to be relevant to most newbies, and it isn't written with a newbie audience in mind, there is too much jargon for a start. You could try including a mention of it in welcome templates, but I think this raise a broader issue of integrating newbies; My instinct is that this needs to be a progressive process, Maybe linked to the birthday process or some sort of suggest bot. For example we occasionally run trawls for Autopatroller candidates and appoint bunches of them. We could set up similar proactive processes for other wiki related things such as a bot message when you first add a category thanking you for that and telling you about Hotcat. I'm not sure what trigger point would predict that someone was ready to learn about signpost, maybe 1,000 edits? Up to now we have integrated new editors in an almost osmosis way, people spot things in others userpages or by hunting around. That's fine for me and people with my learning style, but maybe we need to make it easier for people with different learning styles to become part of the community? ϢereSpielChequers 10:42, 2 January 2012 (UTC)
Good points. Regarding welcome templates, what do you think of them being automatic upon creation of a new account? I've noticed when visiting another project for the first time while logged in that, in some cases, my talk page at that project is automatically created with a welcome template. Would love to see that implemented here. ClaretAsh 11:08, 2 January 2012 (UTC)
I'm a longterm supporter of automatically welcoming newbies, and I think we might finally get consensus if we made it something like "autoconfirmed editors who have not yet been manually welcomed, blocked or warned for vandalism or other badfaith editing". I think that would counter all the arguments that usually sink that proposal. The other thing, and it is a deal breaker, is to find out whether welcomed users persist longer than unwelcomed ones. I think the research on that indicated that they did, but it was complicated by the proportion of "welcome warnings". ϢereSpielChequers 12:13, 2 January 2012 (UTC)
Welcome warnings; now there's a bad joke. "Welcome to Wikipedia. We hope you like the place and stay. New section: Please don't fuck up like you did at article X or you'll be kicked out." and all with one click of Twinkle!
Seriously, though, your arguments make sense. But do you think autoconfirmed might be too late. I mean, waiting four days before informing a user of our guidelines? How about "editors who have made 10 edits (to pick a figure at random) and who have not yet been manually welcomed, blocked or warned for vandalism or other badfaith editing". Those first few days are the make or break period and we don't want newbies who have met only the 10 edit criterion to lose interest and disappear (e.g. 3 edits on Saturday, 8 on Sunday, back to work Monday to Friday, Wikipedia forgotten by the following weekend).
As for editor persistence, I suspect some of it would come down to attitude. I can only reflect on my own experience but I've been here a year, have received the occasional criticism and the occasional praise and I expect to be here for the forseeable future. And I was never greeted with a welcome template. In fact, I may be wrong but I can't recall being greeted with any information about any of WP's guidelines. I learnt it on the go. ClaretAsh 13:39, 2 January 2012 (UTC)
Sorry to hear you never got a proper welcome. I did, but I think my first collaboration was just as important - I started by adding links and moved on to fixing vandalism and typos, but fairly early in my editing I created an article and someone promptly categorised it. As I remember it that was my first interaction with another editor. The funny thing is that nowadays I have HotCat and if you include what I do with Catalot on Commons most of my 2011 edits were categorisations. As for the right point to welcome someone, I agree that the point you notice that they've done a good faith edit is the best time to welcome them. The problem with an auto-welcome is that to get consensus to do that you need to allow sufficient time for them to receive a manual welcome, an autowelcome should be a backstop for those who've been overlooked. When people have suggested autowelcomes in the past a key objection is that manual welcoming is better as there is a person who has signed it and they can go and talk to. While I'm not sure I buy that argument I accept that to get consensus for an auto welcome we need to leave room not just to not welcome the badfaith editors but to give the manual welcomers the opportunity to welcome newbies. So an autowelcome will come a little later than is ideal, but as the circa 70% who give us an email will get an email telling them they have a talkpage message, I think that it would be a worthwhile backstop. ϢereSpielChequers 17:56, 2 January 2012 (UTC)
Oh, I'm not fussed I didn't get an offical welcome. Come to think of it, I'm not sure it would have made much difference. I may have even ignored it like I do with other websites' welcome messages. Anyway, I think it a point of pride that I've done fairly ok on WP without being given an intial leg-up... or so I tell myself.
Anyway, thanks for your helpful comments. I think I'll leave auto-welcomes and auto-subscriptions to Signpost on the back burner for the time being. ClaretAsh 12:18, 5 January 2012 (UTC)
The Signpost is mostly read by old-timers. The Dispatches section would be most helpful to a new editor. Especially the old dispatches. ResMar 13:37, 2 January 2012 (UTC)
Thank you but where can I find this Dispatches section. There's nothing mentioned here or here. ClaretAsh 14:28, 2 January 2012 (UTC)
Sandy insisted that Dispatches be a separate entity from the Signpost; for a running list see the FCDW page and template. To her credit it worked brilliantly for a (long) while, but woe is me to suggest it be integrated into the paper it's published in! Signed, ResMar 22:03, 2 January 2012 (UTC)

Integrating the wider Wikipedia community[edit]

This idea is related to the thread above but I'm starting a new section to avoid two separate discussions from choking each other. Outside of WP, I'm a member of a private non-profit foundation. There's member fees, annual meetings, online forums, the works. Importantly, though, there's a regular newsletter. As it happens, I've only ever attended the one meeting, I haven't looked at the forums in years and I have little to do with the organisation. Nonetheless, I still receive the newsletter. Through that newsletter, I am aware of recent news and current activities. Consequently, I feel a part of the foundation and am both ready and able to help out whenever I choose to do so, whether it be by participation or, significantly, by donation. I am a non-participating member of the organisation, but I still have all the voting rights of any other member.

Accordingly, what do other WP users think of somehow involving our own non-participating members? I refer to our readers, our inactive and retired editors and, importantly, our donors. The obvious suggestion is to allow them to opt in to receiving or otherwise having access to the Signpost. I'm sure there's more ways, though.

The advantages of such involvement include:

  • Encourages new users to join
  • Encourages more editing
  • Involves the wider community in "our" encyclopedia, raising awareness of what we do and, importantly, what we stand for (always a good thing when schools and colleges still ban our work)
  • Encourages more people to donate.

What are other thoughts? ClaretAsh 14:22, 2 January 2012 (UTC)

Last year, someone suggested sending a "we miss you" sort of e-mail to people who had previously edited, but hadn't edited/logged in for a while (at least 30 days). This was partly triggered by an unexpected discovery: when the Wikimedia Foundation ran a "why did you leave us" survey, a substantial fraction of previous editors replied that they still considered themselves to be active editors, despite not having edited for some months. Sending a link to the Signpost in such a message would not be unreasonable. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:02, 2 January 2012 (UTC)
What would messaging inactive users solve, exactly? I find myself dropping off a lot now and again, and I would only be annoyed by these weak guilt traps. ResMar 22:07, 2 January 2012 (UTC)
ClaretAsh is interested in finding ways to involve "our own non-participating members", and names "inactive and retired editors" as one group. I doubt that very many people would be irritated by a couple of messages a year that say, "We noticed that you haven't edited for a couple of months, and here's some information about what's been going on" (with suitable opt-out procedures, of course). WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:02, 4 January 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for clarifying, WhatamIdoing. Work has temporarily pushed WP further down my list of priorities and, although I've been able to view WP on my mobile, I can't even log in let alone edit. But moving on...
To add more detail to my earlier suggestion, I'm not just referring to former editors. What interests me more is the idea that so many people don't seem to known much about what we do. Of course, this is where I point at schools and colleges which ban WP as a source etc etc. There's my own case, too: I had no idea I could edit WP until I first did (which, a year later, makes me feel profoundly silly). And if Special:NewPages is any indication, too many people are just clueless about our policies and guidelines, indeed our entire encyclopedic point of view. We know we're here to build an encyclopedia, but that detail seems to elude many people.
At the moment, the term "Wikipedia community" seems to refer solely to established editors. What I'm trying to point out, though, is that the real Wikipedia community is far larger. There isn't just us; there's also those who use WP as a study resource, those who use WP to find more info about a topic (whch I've been doing for years, long before I started editing), those who read but do not edit (either by choice or just not yet) as well as those who support us and even donate to WMF.
My suggestion is that by involving this wider WP community in what we do, to the point of encouraging their feedback, we will not just raise their consciousness about what we do but also raise the general public's consciousness as well. I mentioned there about encouraging feedback: I think that inviting non-editors to comment in a forum such as, for example, the "Discuss this story" sections in Signpost will bring those same non-editors one step closer to becoming editors.
One last point: Is anyone else concerned that people who've obviously heard of WP and can figure out how to create an article are still surprised or even shocked to be pointed at WP:V, WP:N and WP:NPOV? After 11 years, why doesn't the general non-Wikipedian, non-internet junkie public know that yes, although you can edit, we do have actual standards? Why are people surprised? It appears the entire encyclopedia fails the Principle of least astonishment There's a dissonance between "us" and "them" and one way to bridge it is to invite the wider Wikipedia community into this little world of ours. Signpost is just one example. There's probably more. ClaretAsh 12:02, 5 January 2012 (UTC)
I agree that some people use "the community" to mean "experienced editors who think just like I do". There was, for example, much fussing last summer because people who had "only" managed to become WP:AUTOCONFIRMED were allowed to express an opinion on a program that was intended primarily for the benefit of non-editor readers.
The Wikimedia Foundation includes readers in their estimate of community size, and I too believe that readers "belong".
As for the astonishment... I suspect that it's a basic WP:OTHERSTUFFEXISTS problem. If you see that a junky article for your competitor has existed unchallenged for a long time, you have no reason to believe anything except that it represents an acceptable level of quality. WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:34, 7 January 2012 (UTC)

Thank You[edit]

Somebody in there needs to create a "Thank You!!!" page because I've been trying for 1/2 hour to figure out a way to thank the people who put together the BPD information. It's life saver info. - really! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:36, 5 January 2012 (UTC)

Hi, glad to here you find that useful. Any editor can award any other editor Wikipedia:Barnstars if they want to thank them. The history tab should show you who the editors were who created the thing you found useful. ϢereSpielChequers 15:55, 6 January 2012 (UTC)

Native language transliterations in lead[edit]

Hi all, those of you who attended the Wikiconference India might have heard me speak there on this issue, but for the majority of the world community who didn't hear me, here goes:

Non-english Language transliterations are commonly found in the lead of articles with strong non-English connections (like Indian). For example, see the lead in Rajinikanth. These transliterations cause a lot of problems for the community. Why? Because:

  1. In many articles, it is clearly disruptive because it takes up a lot of space (for example:Karol Bagh (Delhi Metro))
  2. It leads to many edit wars and blocks (see the edit history of Hosur for instance)
  3. It is a sheer waste of editors' time (see the RfC on Talk:Katrina Kaif)

Why do we have these transliterations in the first place? WP:LEAD seems to say precious little about that, and only scratches the surface of the topic. We have no clear indication on the need of these transliterations, since this is clearly the English Wikipedia, and people come here to read only in English.

This is the first time I'm proposing a new policy/guideline, so I'd be grateful for any feedback I could get. Thanks! Lynch7 17:31, 30 November 2011 (UTC)

PS: I've a couple more points in mind, but I'll see how this goes, and then speak on them. Lynch7 17:34, 30 November 2011 (UTC)

Also, if anyone is interested, this is the presentation I gave at the Wikconference. Lynch7 17:51, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
This practice arose because of the frequent use of altered names in English: Vienna for Wien, Munich for München, John Cabot for Giovanni Caboto, Christopher Columbus for Cristoforo Colombo. Although in the last case we don't find that out in the lead but in the first paragraph of the body (fifth total paragraph). Is that preferable? Some people only read the lead, of course. Is there another way to do this? Rmhermen (talk) 04:16, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
That is OK (to some extent) for names which are in latin script, because users can at least read them. There is no sense in mentioning names which are in Cyrillic or Devanagari or any other script, simply because the average reader cannot understand it. For such cases that you mentioned, like Vienna or something like Delhi, we can simply can write the local pronunciation in English. Lynch7 11:02, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
I disagree totally. I think these are often useful. I'm mainly familiar with European languages, but it's often interesting or useful to have the original name if you want to check out a source in another language. This applies in many areas where translations/transliterations can vary: philosophical terms, geographical names, titles of books and films, personal names.
They don't take up much space (generally less than a line), but if it really is necessary to give it in 10 different languages, then I agree it could be placed elsewhere. Use common sense.
As to edit wars, are you proposing that transliterations not be included at all? No matter where you put them, there will still be arguments over them. It's useful information, so it's wrong to exclude them. And as long as the edit warrers are only changing the transliteration it's not going to damage the rest of the article.
Having any kind of policy against them would be creating a rule that isn't necessary. It's not a serious problem, so why go to all the trouble of legislating against it - would it make you happy for people to be banned for including useful information in article ledes? Wikipedia already has too many rules, which is fun for the amateur lawyers out there, but scares off prospective editors. --Colapeninsula (talk) 15:16, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
Thank you for your opinion. I think it causes more nuisance rather than any genuine help. I know there are many places where translations/pronunciations vary, but that can be overcome by providing the name in Latin script. For instance, We can write: "Bangalore (locally known as Bengalūru) is the capital.... ". We could also provide IPA. Our goal in the English Wikipedia should be to provide information in the English language as efficiently as possible. We should, of course, make all efforts to clear ambiguities in pronunciation, but I don't think that it is our mandate to help others find sources in other languages.
I understand your sentiment about too many rules. Indeed, I don't intend to add negatively to the rules and policies already existing; My logic is simple: In many cases, we waste too much time on deciding which language translation should go up there; and in the end, the translation serves no purpose. Take for instance: Katrina Kaif. We had a long RfC, wherein it was decided that the Kashmiri translation should go up there. How is the name pronounced in Kashmiri? Its exactly the same as the normal English pronunciation. If it is absolutely needed to aid pronunciation or clear an ambiguity, then it is probably worth having a translation there. In most cases, it is not. Lynch7 17:55, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
"Our goal in the English Wikipedia should be to provide information in the English language as efficiently as possible." I don't think it is clear that that is our purpose. Rmhermen (talk) 21:40, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
Well, nowhere is that explicitly stated; but that's why we have other language Wikipedias. If we wanted to mention other languages, we put interwikis. I don't think we have to go out of our way to mention translations in clear cases where they are not needed. Lynch7 02:34, 2 December 2011 (UTC)
I would consider an article to be defective that failed to tell me that the locals don't use the term Vienna for their city, for example. Rmhermen (talk) 05:05, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
I think I was misunderstood :) Let me articulate that properly: I think its fine to have the native name in Latin script. That is, Moskva for Moscow and Dilli for Delhi. But not Москва́ for Moscow or दिल्लि for Delhi; simply because the average user cannot read Cyrillic or Devanagari. Lynch7 07:37, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
The policy WP:AT#Treatment_of_alternative_names specifically permits "significant names in other languages", which would presumably include names in other languages that are written in their proper script. You might also like to look at WP:DIACRITICS. Some editors believe that "á" is not "really" Latin script because it doesn't have a separate button on their keyboards.
(I'm surprised to see someone who isn't a monoglot propose that non-English names be excised.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:58, 6 December 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Thanks for your comment, I agree with you when the other names are "significant". But what we should not encourage is the rampant addition of native scripts just to show some connection to the native language/land (i.e. the native name is not significant on its own). When WP:AT say "which would presumably include names in other languages that are written in their proper script" , I disagree with the use of any particular script, because the script is not really important, but its the way its pronounced in the native language that is important. Lynch7 13:25, 20 December 2011 (UTC)

I don't believe that your opinion that the sound of the word is all that matters is generally shared.
I have once or twice found the native script to be useful, but normally I don't care much one way or the other. Realistically, even if I fully agreed with you, the two of us would not make a consensus. It appears that most editors feel that the native script could be important. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:38, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
I disagree with the proposal: when you're learning about something that's primarily known in a non-English language, it helps to be able to see the way that its most common name is written. When you see "MOCKBA" in print and think that they made a spelling error, it's helpful to go to our article and find that it's really "Москва́". If it helps to know how the locals pronounce it, why doesn't it help to know how the locals write it, especially since many of us would see foreign languages more often than we'd hear them? Nyttend (talk) 00:54, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
I also disagree. I know just enough Russian, Greek, and Hebrew to be able to pronounce something if I see native script. (In the case of Hebrew, niqqud should be included.) On the other hand, I find reading and especially writing IPA difficult. Without native script, it is difficult to look up a term in a dictionary. It is hard for me to believe that those who are not interested in native script are very inconvenienced by skipping over a few words of it. Peter Chastain (talk) 18:02, 8 January 2012 (UTC)

Really long lists[edit]

Having long lists like this split up as you might see in a print source just seems ridiculous on today's internet. Surely some script could be put together to make a nice little table that only shows a few rows at a time? Maybe incorporate something like this? Leonxlin (talk) 04:39, 7 January 2012 (UTC)

That would indeed be great, but the current backbone of the wikipedia system really is not suited for such longs lists, as it is designed for 'relatively short' blurbs of static revisioned blobs of text. The (also slightly higher up mentioned) meta:WikiData_WMDE might be more suited in that regard for your idea. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 20:32, 8 January 2012 (UTC)

Adding a media/clip section[edit]

I have an idea and i think it can help Wikipedia to be improve. Now we are in age of multimedia and human resource show must of people like to watch more than read. We can see more shows, TV programs, Channels and even Internet change to a big media class. So I think if Wikipedia invest in media it can be more popular and visits only by add a section for uploading or linking a media for the article. Watching a five minutes clip can be more interested than reading it unless they looking for something specific in the article, In other hand watching a short video can make better image of the article. The clip can be very simple by few pictures and a nice lines of speeches up to a professional video. Refer to youtube we can see a lots of people trying to make a video but most no idea for they clips, here Wikipedia ask them to make a clip for they interested article. And hope my idea be useful. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Edanny101 (talkcontribs) 05:16, 8 January 2012 (UTC)

There have been various initiatives on this front, including and the Video Sequencer tool. Most of that is still requires humongous advances in site technology before it really can mature. This dedicated software work has seen some progress over the past 4 years, but it's mostly experimental and beta at this time. Also there are of course some nuances with how to produce videos that are suitable for inclusion on Wikipedia that are rather hard to master perhaps. the Lights Camera Wiki project has tried to put some of that in words, but more work can be done there. Most of all though, I think it mostly lacks people who 'just do it'. Leading by example in this area (as the GLAM folks have always done), might be the most effective in getting such a thing off the ground.

Immediate expansion of "subst:" templates[edit]

I like to personalize messages that I leave on user talk pages, but I often don't bother, because it is clumsy to do that while using templates. Workarounds include saving and re-editing the talk page (problematic, because the user might read it while I am editing), or doing an edit-save-reedit in my sandbox (less problematic, but still a hassle). It would be ever so much easier if the edit window had a button to expand templates (that have "subst:") in the edit window. (The ones in the preview are already expanded.) Peter Chastain (talk) 20:42, 8 January 2012 (UTC)

Another workaround is inputing the template (without the "subst:") into Special:ExpandTemplates, and clicking "OK" will return the expanded text. Goodvac (talk) 00:29, 9 January 2012 (UTC)
Write subst and click Show changes to see the expanded code for copy-pasting. PrimeHunter (talk) 00:34, 9 January 2012 (UTC)

Activation of debit card payment / net banking Donations[edit]

Dear Recipient, I was trying to donate but could not do so, as the website does not accept net banking payment / debit card payment. Please activate net banking / debit card payment for donations. You all are doing great job and people like to support such organisations but not all have credit cards. Regards Mandeep [email removed from here, to avoid excess spam] — Preceding unsigned comment added by Mandeep1662 (talkcontribs) 04:56, 9 December 2011 (UTC)

I have moved this comment over to Meta:Talk:Fundraising 2011#Activation of debit card payment / net banking Donations. Please look out there for responses.  Chzz  ►  01:26, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
When I looked on there I was surprised to see several other complaints. Someone said: "Do you want the money or not?" People are having problems sending money and the money processing system seems to be pretty shaky. For every person who complains, there are many who do not and just walk away without donating when the system fails to accept the donation.
As you recall, one of the complaints about the Wikipedia:Flagged revisions system was that it had bugs and was not stable. And in my experience a simple system such as the Wikipedia:Article Feedback Tool had so many bugs it was just embarrassing. I stopped making suggestions on that one because I saw no hope it was going to be bug free any time soon. And it is a really simple system to implement.
I am sorry, but someone has to have to courage to say the obvious in the open: "Enduser software development at Media Wiki is in sad shape". People have problem donating money and the money is then used to implement systems that break too easily. But in fairness, that is in contrast to the "system level" staff at WMF who maintain the servers for data access and are doing a pretty good job handling a very large number of requests per second.
There are clear problems with end-user software at WMF. Ideas, now that this is the idea lab? History2007 (talk) 10:48, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
The problem with the WMF is that they're an organization full of dreamers, with neither a great wealth of practicalism nor a great wealth of involvement in the Wikipedia community. They say 'let's get Wikipedia into college classrooms' and 'let's get Wikipedia into third world countries', (apparently without considering the possibility that both of these initiatives would cause a number of problems for the existing editors) and have not spent nearly enough time saying 'let's get Wikipedia to work properly or be editor friendly.
How long has the community been asking for WYSIWYG? Where is it? How many features have been rolled out that either didn't function correctly or got panned by the community?
The solution is simple: Don't donate to Wikipedia. I don't, despite being able to, as a vote of no confidence to the WMF. As long as the WMF continues to meet its fundrasing goals, I have zero confidence that the systemic problems that it has the ability and responsibility to fix will ever actually get fixed. (Since I don't see enough people not donating, I'm resigned to having to work around the burden that is the WMF indefinately. The one good thing I can say about them is that unlike the Conservapedia ownership, I won't get banned from Wikipedia for expressing disagreement with the WMF). Sven Manguard Wha? 15:40, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
I do not believe in starving them until they change. I think if enough people comment they may just wake up. But in fairness we must remember that in their attempt at hiring the best developers they face competition from Google, Apple, Facebook and others who offer much higher salaries and stock options. The best way is for them to keep their limitations in mind and also to get more experienced managers rather than hiring dreamers as you call them. The systems are up and running. They are not perfect, but they run. Yet they can be improved based on user feedback. So where do we post feedback? History2007 (talk) 15:48, 11 December 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── All kinds of places. :) Right here isn't a bad start; I read through the village pumps weekly to try to find everything that might be of interest to the Foundation. They want to know what's concerning the community. But possibly the best forum for reaching out to staff directly is That goes to the community liaison (currently me), and I put it into the inbox of whomever needs to see it. There are various public mailing lists, of course, that you can contact, but staff may or may not read notes sent there. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 21:04, 12 December 2011 (UTC)

So is "Mdennis = MRG"? In that case, Hi.
If posting here is not a bad start, I will post here because more non-WMF people may read it and comment further. Thanks. History2007 (talk) 23:08, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
Mdennis = MRG, yes.  :) (And for the record, Maggie does an awesome job of making sure that stuff from answers@ gets to us, and in making sure that we're aware of threads like this one. I also trawl through the wikis at least weekly looking for things like this.) Philippe Beaudette, Wikimedia Foundation (talk) 23:22, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
And at last count she was editing Wikipedia 27 hours a day and doing great. Now if you can find 20 more people like her many problems will be solved... but that would be a dream... History2007 (talk) 23:43, 12 December 2011 (UTC)

I don't think that you all understand the massive complexity of receiving electronic donations from outside the US. There are almost 200 countries in the world. That means there are almost 200 banking systems in the world and almost 200 sets of banking laws in the world. We have users who believe that "their" banking system is the one True™ system that obviously everyone should support, even if (in the case of India, Mandeep's likely country of origin) their home banking system is notoriously complex and widely shunned by the e-commerce community.

Even places that do nothing at all except process donations don't support every method of fund transfer. See, for example: your choice of four credit cards, and if you don't have a credit card, then you can't give. Consider PayPal, surely a leader in processing money online: four credit cards, a US (only) bank, Green Dot MoneyPak (also US only), and... that's it. Oh, and PayPal has suspended a lot of transactions to and from India again because of fraud problems. So that's what the full-time professionals do: a few options, very heavily dependent on major US credit card issuers, and if you don't like it, too bad.

By contrast, the WMF is accepting multiple credit cards, PayPal, eWallet, bank transfer, direct debit, internet banking, and Moneybookers, depending on your location. They're offering far more options than the average processor. We need to give them credit for doing far more than normal. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:19, 20 December 2011 (UTC)

Continuing the dream, keeping it alive[edit]

I should comment on the statement above by Sven Manguard. I thought about that further, and I think there are two separate issues:

  • Sven said that: "Wikimedia people are dreamers". I had not thought about it that way, but now I think he is right in characterizing the initial basis of Wikipedia. Only dreamers would have dared start this type of project. But then only dreamers would have dared talk about building mechanical devices that compute (remember him or her?) or putting satellites around the earth. But those systems are "real" now, just as Wikipedia is. So when Jim Wales first started it, Wikipedia was nothing but a dream and yet a group dreamers have kept it going for a decade. And the results are pretty impressive overall. It is an impressive reality now.
  • But as the man said The Times They Are a-Changin'. Just as the dream of a computing device is no longer a dream, neither is Wikipedia. What usually happens is that dreamers start things, succeed in some cases, and then reality takes over. The computer industry that started as a dream is now a cold-hearted, intensely competitive reality. Wikipedia can not remain a dream for ever, and must at some point meet reality. A decade may be a good milestone.

My concerns are threefold:

  • Rising discontent with WMF. The staff at WMF always seem so happy and cheerful. That seems to be their culture. That does not apply to the community any more. Where ever I look, I see more and more "discontent" among Wikipedians. Comments like "do you want the money or not" on that page are typical. Personally, I was so unhappy with the Wikipedia:Article Feedback Tool's lack of quality that I just walked away and stopped making suggestions. They were all so nice about it, and yet it was pointless in the end. I doubted that they could get it working, although it was a really simple piece of code if done right. The the bugs in the Wikipedia:Flagged revisions deprived Wikipedia of an essential system and in my view has wasted a lot of time in dealing with vandals.
  • Rising dismay within the community. I have been surprised by the number of "messages of dismay" that I see. The comment below by user:DCI is an example. Here is a bright young dreamer who wants to help, but is mostly talking to an empty room. But why is the ProjectHistory room empty? And that is not the only project. Look at this comment: Is this group dormant? That was on Oct 29. Then 3 days later someone else asked: "is anyone working on this project?" I had to joke back that it was time to "occupy Wikipedia". The community is dismayed by rising apathy.
  • Rising editor attrition rates I have seen a number of good editors just give up and walk away. They are tired of vandals, tired of edit wars and tired of spending energy "building sand castles". There are just too many IPs now and there was a study that predicted that as IPs increase established editors will be overwhelmed. Has anyone thought about that? Not that I know of. The Flagged revisions system would have helped, yet hapless development made it die. What a disaster, I told myself when that happened.

My general feeling is that unless the reality that The Times They Are a-Changin is accepted, there will be user dismay, increasing dominance by vandals and loss of good editors. And worse, the failure to "attract scholarly content". I posted just above about "outreach to authors" whereby authors are emailed to contribute an article. I see no other way to get improvements. How many responses did I get? Zero. There we go. Something needs to be done to keep the dream alive. History2007 (talk) 23:08, 12 December 2011 (UTC)

I see you've been here for a bit less than five years. Doesn't that put you right on schedule for burnout?
Seriously, people were saying the same things back when you made your first edit. We hadn't seen the decline in editor number quite yet (nor in editor need: vandalism reversion and copyvio detection was 100% manual back then, and we really needed a lot more humans to deal with basic maintenance), but there was much fussing about how the WMF was awful and the admins were all corrupt and how all those newbies were all doing low quality work and would never amount to anything and were proof of the decline of civilization and the end of the wiki way and besides all my friends have moved on in their lives and Wikipedia just isn't much fun with my friends gone and all of these new hopeless, clueless newbies screwing up all the time.
You know, all those worthless newbies like you and me: our first registered edits were just six days apart.
So I realize that you're feeling discouraged and you're realizing how much the English Wikipedia has changed over time, but I don't think that the discouragement is any more warranted than it was back when we got our start. Somebody's doubtless starting today who—especially if s/he gets a little encouragement—. Turnover is the natural order of things. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:56, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
No, I do not agree. There is more junk now than before, as low quality material gets added and it is hardly even edited at all. It just sits there as junk, gets read and repackaged as incorrect books (really!) to the detriment of science.
And what does "will turn out to be one of us" mean? Is "one of us" someone who sees low quality, shrugs their shoulders and moves on? Or is "one of us" someone who does not like low quality? You tell me.... The real definition you have in mind may be that "one of us" is someone who is in fact in the first category, but tells themselves they are in the second category, shrugs their shoulders and moves on.
But seriously the linearity assumption you make about there will always be new people, and the "churn out mentality" of "get them in, burn them out. Next!" is fundamentally flawed because of the ratio of experts to novices. There is always another novice who can come in to type incorrect material into an advanced article, but the supply of experts is limited. Does that not bother those who are "one of us"?
And the links I pointed to with questions such as "Is this project dormant" are manifestations of the fact that several projects are in effect dormant. I did not invent those questions, I just observed them. And a survey of the project activities on those 3 projects confirms that trend. Times are changing. Key articles are being neglected. Yet, there are always new people who come in to add an article about the 3 person music group they formed in their garage last week now that Wikipedia is becoming the new Craigslist. You can always "get in new people" but are they going to fix the key encyclopedic articles? It does not look that way at all.
The last thing Wikipedia wants is to be "viewed as a joke". And the way to avoid that is insisting on reliability, not promoting "churn them and burn them". Word travels fast on the internet and even Jay Leno has been joking about the low quality of Wikipedia content and people wonder if Wikipedia should sue him. It does not help when some of the responders there supported Leno and went further than him. It is time to improve reliability, not continue the "churn and burn mentality".
Now that there is all this talk of donations, would you like to make a personal appeal: "Welcome to Wikipedia, we have plenty of quantity... Let us not talk about reliability... But send a donation anyway." No, the word is out that there are problems. The Times They Are a-Changin' for sure as the nature of user access changes. This is a dynamic world in which organizations "come and go" pretty rapidly, it is not the Middle Ages. History2007 (talk) 23:05, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
By the way, based on the above, I did a quick search and came across this. Are some schools still banning Wikipedia? It would be interesting to know if that is still continuing, or not. History2007 00:40, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
History2007, the same complaints were made even before you started editing. The oldest WikiProjects were created in 2002, and the problem of inactive groups was sufficiently widespread that the template for marking them as inactive was created in 2004. This is not a new problem!
There are far more articles now than there used to be, and many of them are trivial stubs about pop music or geographical locations. The tension between deletionists and inclusionists, and whether permitting articles on unimportant or ephemeral subjects would turn Wikipedia into a joke, goes back to the very first days. The essay describing deletionism as a philosophy was written in 2003. This is not a new problem!
You worry that key articles are being neglected because so many teenagers waste their time on trivial subjects. There is no reason to believe that if we delete the pop culture junk that the teenagers who write them will magically be capable of, much less interested in, working on articles about more serious subjects. The complaints about key articles being neglected were made years ago. Why was WP:VITAL created in 2004? Because editors felt that key articles were being neglected. This is not a new problem!
It's true that Wikipedia has trouble retaining experts among its editors. It's equally true that Wikipedia has trouble retaining parents and full-time employees among its core editors. We have less trouble retaining teenagers, childless adults, people with disabilities, and unemployed people. Why? Experts, parents, and workers have other things to do with their time. But this has been the case from the very beginning: those with time on their hands have long been overrepresented in Wikipedia's editor base. We hope to retain editors, but we are aware that people move on in their lives, and that it is normal for other activities, like earning a paycheck or getting some sleep, to eventually become more important to adults. This is just as true for Wikipedia as it is true for World of Warcraft. This is neither a new problem nor a unique problem for Wikipedia!
Despite the occasional outbreaks of pessimism by editors, Wikipedia survived the last ten years despite worries about these same problems, and we are likely to survive the next ten years despite them, too. WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:03, 24 December 2011 (UTC)
Wow, that was so very well said. I wish every editor on WP could read it. I always find it baffling when people talk about "editors who waste their time editing x type articles" as if a Pokemon lover would suddenly edit articles about major rivers or something were there less Pokemon articles. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 03:12, 24 December 2011 (UTC)
Well written is one thing, agreed to is another. I do not agree. As to survive, I think Wikipedia will probably survive, but "survive as what?" The risk is that of morphing into a subsidiary of Facebook or with more focus on social issues and what Charlie Sheen has done than scholarly content. will probably "survive" too, but as a gossip news site not an encyclopedia. Wikipedia is a unique website - whose stated goal is to be an encyclopedia, not a gossip website. Or maybe I have misunderstood the goal? As for predictions, the web is a fast moving medium. Do you remember a company called Netscape? They used to be pretty confident too. One of the people who asked for donations on the banner ad was an engineer who said: "I can confidently say that over 50% of the knowledge I have gained in the last 5 years has come from Wikipedia." I said to myself: "I really hope you have not read any of the pages on digital signal processing". Let me leave it at that. And I must say that I find this attempt at "criticizing criticism" to be unreal. As the number of articles increases, the ability to patrol them decreases. That is the problem. And as the number of experts dwindles, the process of morphing into may just become real. Do any of the banner ads for fundraising say: "donate so we can write about Charlie's latest rehab visit or Lindsay's necklace"? No, they appeal to knowledge. So if your idea is that: "Wikipedia is primarily oriented towards Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan rather than scholarly content" then let us type that as a policy somewhere and see if it survives. That will help all experts pack up and go, if that is what you like. But that is not the stated goal of Wikipedia. History2007 (talk) 04:31, 24 December 2011 (UTC)
While I do not agree with everything History2007 says, I would have to echo the note of despair. It does feel like it's all downhill from here. It feels like Yahoo. (By the way, I'm a pretty new user.) While several have rightly pointed out that the same complaints we make today were made five years ago, I wouldn't say that's a good thing. It shows that the problems weren't solved. Just because we've survived five or ten years with the same thorns in our side doesn't mean we should just accept those thorns. And sooner or later it will get to be too much, and all the junk will build up like the water accumulating in the Titanic and the massive Wikipedia will be sunk. Of course Wikipedia won't just disappear; by "sunk" I mean what History2007 said, Wikipedia will lose its respect and class.
It's almost 2011, and we are having an internet discussion by adding to the end of a text file. While I don't mind it too much, I think it's a sign that the WMF has some catching up to do.
I do believe that Wikipedia could do much better. Leonxlin (talk) 18:21, 31 December 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I think the uniformity assumption that "it will always be the same" just does not hold in the internet world, or even in the less staid segments of any industry. I just do not see an overall plan to manage Wikipedia as a "reputable encyclopedia". I see a path to it existing as a large website with many pages, but reliable and reputable do not seem to be along that path. One of the items that I read and seemed like it was taken right out of an episode of The Twilight Zone was a statement in the WMF strategic plan to have something like 50 million articles in Wikipedia - but I can not find that page now. These numbers just do not add up. Who is going to apply WP:V to these to ensure their quality? The strategic plan has a lip-service statement that says WMF intends to:

  • Systematically collect input from readers and subject-matter experts to perform both surface and depth reviews of the largest possible number of articles.

So I said "which subject matter experts"? And how can these experts ever, ever look at half a million pages, let alone 50 million. As is there is a serious shortage of experts who even bother to edit 3 lines in Wikipedia. Unless dramatic advances in the cloning of grown human beings appear within the next couple of years and make a Multiplicity-type scenario possible there are not going to be enough experts, or even semi-experts to double check information.

I have no idea how reliable the Cutting Edge website is, but I came across this article a few minutes ago as I did a search for Wikipedia on Google. The criticism of the Wiki-apathy towards reliability seems to be out there, and growing. There is talk on Yahoo answers if Wikipedia should sue Jay Leno for saying that Wikipedia is the place to go for "phony, inaccurate information". I think if that ever goes to court Leno will have nothing to worry about. His people will probably find 10,000 errors in Wikipedia after two weeks of research and the jury will laughing to no end as evidence gets presented in court.

Let me put it this way: Wikipedia is now like a restaurant with 500 items on its menu. Some are great, some are practically toxic. Now they want to have a menu with 50,000 items. The question one would ask is: of the items on this menu, "how many are any good?" How many are toxic? The answer: "We have no idea". As far as I can tell, WMF has no idea what percentage of the information in Wikipedia is accurate. If they do, will someone please let us know. Does anyone have any idea what percentage of the information in Wikipedia is accurate? History2007 (talk) 05:24, 4 January 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia ≠ English Wikipedia. Fifty million articles divided between the 282 different language editions is an average of less than 200,000 articles per language. We currently have more than 20 million articles on Wikipedia. Less than 20% of those are at the English Wikipedia, and the WMF's focus is on growing the other editions, not this one. The English Wikipedia could get smaller (and perhaps it should) without affecting the 50M goal.
As for our accuracy rate, the studies tend to be field-specific, but it generally appears to rival professionally edited encyclopedias. Many of the studies are described at Reliability of Wikipedia. The editors of some psychiatry-related articles recently got some very positive press here, describing their work as "generally as good as, or better than, that provided by centrally controlled websites, Encyclopaedia Britannica and a psychiatry textbook". WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:59, 4 January 2012 (UTC)
Yes, the ancient Britannica study on 50 or so articles and the recent psych report. Great. Just great. Is Britannica banned in US schools? Is Wikipedia? Are they of the same quality? Go figure.
There is "no" and I mean "no" current formal assessment of the overall accuracy of Wikipedia as of 2011, 2010 or even 2009. Do you have one? Let us see it. And from what I have seen the reliability of the non-English Wikipedias is far below that of teh English Wiki. Just use Google translate to read some of those - and also compare their completeness. They are mostly low-stub quality items. I did comment on the reliability page regarding English Wikipedia a few months ago, of course. The psych report is a good report, as I said there, but the overall assessments (which were then renamed as "opinions" after their shortcomings were pointed out, and one was deleted) are pretty out of date and some (e.g. Gillmor's comment) are laughable at best. As I said there, some patches of Wikipedia (e.g. art history and mathematical logic) have pretty high quality, while other patches such as computer science can have very low quality. And just to provide specifics, have you seen: Search engine technology? Is that not a "key topic" in today's world? Is that quality? No, it is an embarrassment. Flag waving is ok, up to a point, but we must also face reality and take steps to improve quality, not just recite the ancient Britannica item the way Björn Borg sits back and looks at his past trophies. The focus should be to get Wikipedia to a point where it can be re-admitted to schools. That would be good goal. More focus should be placed on improving accuracy now, not just reciting out of date comments. History2007 (talk) 10:30, 5 January 2012 (UTC)
The English Wikipedia is banned (as blocked by the school's firewall) from most schools below university level due to its sexual content, not due to its reliability. Getting it re-admitted means censoring the content.
Schools (mostly universities) that "ban" Wikipedia (by which we mean prohibit students from citing it as a reliable source in their essays) do the same for all encyclopedias. University-level students should not be citing any encyclopedia. WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:28, 7 January 2012 (UTC)
Do you have a source that says the ban was "only" because of moral judgements on content and not due to factual errors? I originally read about that here. It starts by saying: "Although some schools considered the 2007 quality of articles to be a problem in misleading students, other school boards worried that Wikipedia was making student research too easy compared to traditional paper research". I then clicked on a couple of links of that now, and this one says: ""History professors at Middlebury College are tired of having all their students submit the same bad information on term papers. The culprit: Wikipedia — the user-created encyclopedia that's full of great stuff, and also full of inaccuracies." I actually agree with that assessment: Some good content, some bad. Anyone's guess where the good or bad may be. And this one says: "Often, information on the online editable encyclopedia is found to be inaccurate and misguiding, leading to several schools promulgating a total ban on using the site as a reference point." And this one quotes the librarian about Wikipedia: ""We don't see it as an authoritative source," said Nancy Madasci, Centenary's library director." Do you have your facts right, or what? History2007 (talk) 15:41, 7 January 2012 (UTC)
That universities have banned Wikipedia as a reference point doesn't bother me in the least. It is typical for them to ban citation of all general encyclopedias:
Oh, and since you cite Middlebury College as an example, you might like to think about what they actually say for themselves: "We don't allow our students to cite printed general encyclopedias, much less open-source ones." That's any and all general encyclopedias, not a Wikipedia-specific ban. He goes on to say that no general encyclopedia, regardless of its quality, will ever be acceptable as a source: "If [the goal] is to make Wikipedia a truly authoritative source, suitable for citation, it cannot be done for any general tertiary source, including the Encyclopaedia Britannica." If your goal is to make Wikipedia acceptable as a source—well, the historians at Middlebury say that it cannot be done at all, no matter how perfect the reliability becomes.
It's clear to me that universities (which I did not say were blocking the site because of sexual content) are banning the citation of all general encyclopedias, not just this particular one.
As for what's happening at schools for young children (am I being clear enough that this statement does not apply to adults attending universities?), I doubt that you'll find many sources in which government agencies admit to censorship of sexual content in public—but the people who run the firewalls certainly give complaints about sexual content as the explanation to anyone who inquires privately and to the tech support staff when they're trying to figure out how to configure their firewalls and web proxies. By the way, Wikipedia isn't the only site restricted because of policies about sexual content; for example, many schools force children to use Google's most restrictive "safe search" mode no matter what. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:38, 10 January 2012 (UTC)
I do not buy it at all. Are you "for one moment", just for one moment, even suggesting that Britannica has the type of totally egregious error that Wikipedia often includes? One can make a cherry-picked "citation soup" of course, but that does not convince people - it certainly does not convince me. You have searched for some citations, and I had some above and can add more. But did not produce what I asked for, a source that said the ban was purely n moral grounds. But your citations add zero to the clarification of the error rate in Wikipedia. And frankly, I just chuckled when I read those arguments. And I think Jay Leno's audience probably chuckled when he cracked that joke.
Every day, I come across so many totally egregious errors (without even searching for errors) in Wikipedia that I could not possibly correct them myself this decade. And now I am hearing that Wikipedia has the same reliability as Britannica and that the schools are not uncomfortable about the errors in Wikipedia? Time to wake up. Time to wake up. Just take a look at my experience yesterday, below here. Just read below. I was having a discussion with FredGandt and mentioned the term Question answering to him. I checked the link o see there was a Wiki-article on that. What did I find? an alphabet soup. I had to tag that for a rewrite and advised people not to even read 3 lines of that article - it is toxic. It has so many errors, it can not be salvaged. And believe me the list of egregious errors goes on and on and on. And you don't even have to understand the topic to know that article has problems: The lede says: "leading to two benefits: (1) ..." And it never mentions item (2). And guess what? If you know the topic, you will see that the entire sentence is incorrect anyway. But just seeing that type of sloppiness in the lede tells you it is not a serious article. I would advise students not to read even 3 lines of that.
But in fairness, I should say that there are also many very high quality articles in Wikipedia that are "virtually error free". E.g. I would recommend Gödel's incompleteness theorems to any student, in any university. It is virtually error free, and a 1st class representation of scholarship in Wikipedia.
But I never follow the "ostrich approach" to fact finding. I will not accept the totally unbelievable statement that "all is great". I can not even for a second endorse a statement that Wikipedia and Britannica have the same type of factual accuracy. Britannica may have errors, but it certainly does not have the type of toxic information one gets on many pages I have seen in Wikipedia.
Anyway, this discussion is getting so "detached from reality" that I will not even bother to respond further unless you have hard data. What I read in these arguments runs so counter to my own observations that I have to ask myself again: "this is not the The Twilight Zone, is it?" The long and short of it is this: "there are no formal overall assessments of the accuracy rate in Wikipedia as of 2011, 2010 or even 2009". If you have some let me see it, else the discussion is pointless. No one has any idea (repeat no one has any idea) about the current 2010-2011 overall error rate in Wikipedia. Until you have that data, there is no point in this discussion, given what has been said so far. Yet the lack of said data does not produce confidence in the content. Flag waving does not help increase accuracy, it just leads us to complacence. It is one thing to wave the Wiki-flag, it is another thing to stop chuckling as one waves it.
So let me say it once more: "there are no formal overall assessments of the accuracy of Wikipedia as of 2011, 2010 or even 2009". If you have some let me see them. End of story. History2007 (talk) 21:55, 10 January 2012 (UTC)

Automatic edit summaries for section editing[edit]

Currently, when only a section is edited, the title of the section is pre-filled into the edit summary. As a RCP'er, I find those summaries useless, but they are probably worse than useless, because they let editors think they actually are leaving an edit summary. I would like to propose that these automatic summaries not be provided, at least in the article namespace. Peter Chastain (talk) 19:56, 8 January 2012 (UTC)

I find them very useful on watchlists, particularly with regard to the village pumps and AN boards, so we know what thread is being replied to. In this, I don't find many people leaving their summary at only the automatic; accordingly, I think people who just leave the default section edit summary probably wouldn't leave anything at all if it were switched off. "Useless" seems neutral, whereas it's useful in other contexts. Grandiose (me, talk, contribs) 20:04, 8 January 2012 (UTC)
I agree that having section titles in edit summaries for discussion pages is quite useful. As for article pages, I have not used watchlists much, so I would like to know whether you find section-title summaries useful there. My use of the term "useless" refers to the fact that when I am doing RCP, they don't give me any useful information. It is my opinion (I'm not sure how to test this, absent a research grant and a pool of naive volunteers) that most editors are less likely to leave a summary if one has already been provided, and as a RCPer I find that detrimental. Bear in mind that people who contribute to pages in the Wikipedia Talk namespace are both more experienced and more committed to WP policy than the average editor. Peter Chastain (talk) 23:58, 8 January 2012 (UTC)
I find them very useful in both watchlists, page histories and sometimes user contributions. This also applies to articles. Somebody could probably make a script to not display them for users who don't want them. PrimeHunter (talk) 00:21, 9 January 2012 (UTC)
I find them useful on all types of pages. For example, some sections of some articles are far more prone to vandalism or POV pushing. A change to Cancer#History is usually fine; a change to Cancer#Causes usually needs to be checked. Changes to an ==External links== section attract the attention of spam fighters. A series of changes to the same section by two editors suggests an edit war.
I agree that the section headings are not useful to RCPers, but the fact is that RCPers shouldn't be trusting any edit summary at all, because some vandals use false edit summaries in the hope of discouraging RCPers from looking at the diffs. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:36, 9 January 2012 (UTC)
If I'm only following certain debates on a page I would much rather know what section someone has written in than anything else they could put in an edit summary. ϢereSpielChequers 23:30, 9 January 2012 (UTC)
That is, the problem is that such edit summaries count as edit summaries for option "Prompt me when entering a blank edit summary" (m:Help:Preferences#Advanced_options_2, [1])? In such case, maybe we should just change how it works..? That is, automatically generated edit summaries shouldn't prevent the message box from showing..? --Martynas Patasius (talk) 23:06, 10 January 2012 (UTC)

Enable Intelligent Chemistry/Biology Capabilities in Wikipedia[edit]


My name is Tony Yuan, working at Scilligence. Here I have some idea we think it will make Wikipedia even more useful to scientists.

Scientists would like an easier way to input and seach chemical and biological structures:

1. Directly draw and insert chemical/biological structure between lines 2. Enabling chemical/biological search on those inserted chemical/biological structures.

We are chem/bio-informatics company, and especially goot at this area. We would like to work to Wikipedia to create these features. Our following two products will make this much easier:

1. JSDraw - Javascript chemical/biological structure editor ( ) 2. Chrawler - Chemical structure search solution for enterprises ( )

Many Thanks,

Tony Yuan — Preceding unsigned comment added by Scilligence (talkcontribs) 18:17, 9 January 2012 (UTC)

Will you do all of this for free? Will WMF own the tools? History2007 (talk) 18:19, 9 January 2012 (UTC)
Our chemistry article writers have never had a problem creating diagrams with free programs that did not require a relationship with an outside, for-profit corporation. Therefore I would Oppose this. Sven Manguard Wha? 21:52, 9 January 2012 (UTC)

Expungement of stale block logs[edit]

Just like many jurisdictions allow expungement of criminal records, wouldn't it be a good idea to expunge stale block logs of registered users who have since stuck to good (or at least acceptable) behaviour? The parameters are easily adjustable, but what I have in mind is something like:

  • the last serious block was issued more than five years ago (where "serious" means we disregard blocks-by-mistake, frivolous blocks, and blocks that the community declared unjustified); and
  • the user's activity is evidenced by having more than 500 mainspace edits since that last block.

At the moment this would affect only a few users, but as time progresses we can expect more and more cases of editors with a stale block log.  --Lambiam 14:00, 11 January 2012 (UTC)

Do you mean either or both conditions? 500 edits is nothing basically, but 5 years may be ok. But I am not sure what it will buy. However, if it is too lax will just encourage more problems. The way it will become a problem will be if it starts with 5 years as a policy, then gets reduced to 2 and then to 6 months, etc. Overall I hope for more controls, not less. History2007 (talk) 15:01, 11 January 2012 (UTC)
I mean that both conditions should be met – obviously an editor should not be able to have a long block list expunged just by chalking up another 500 edits while managing not to get blocked again. For clarity I have added the word "and".  --Lambiam 18:18, 11 January 2012 (UTC)
What problem is this intended to solve, exactly? Anomie 17:25, 11 January 2012 (UTC)
I would think some users may feel troubled by their "criminal records" not only being visible to all, but also staying with them indefinitely, regardless of how constructively and exemplarily they behave. We have editors who were last blocked in 2005 and since then had more than 100,000 mainspace edits. Imagining myself in that position, I believe the permanent blot on my escutcheon would keep bothering me.  --Lambiam 18:18, 11 January 2012 (UTC)
I'm not convinced that this would serve any real purpose. If the user does edit constructively following the block, then there is little reason (or likelihood) for the past records to be scrutinised. Except for WP:RFA or other applications...-Cntras (talk) 05:32, 12 January 2012 (UTC)

A suggestion for the banner in the future[edit]

I just donated to Wikipedia, and found you are collecting suggestions for the banner in the future.

My suggestion for the banner image is
  • A world map with color highlight the countries that their people have donated Wiki in the last year.
    • For the color scheme, two options can be applied
      1. A range from blue to read, indicating the total amount of donations from the country
      2. Only a single red circle is placed on the countries that their people had donated last year.

I would like to see this, because I want to have a sense about how our Chinese people have contributed to the open wealth of the human knowledge. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Zhentg (talkcontribs) 08:54, 13 January 2012 (UTC)

Off topic: See WP:NOTWIKI.
Multi Trixes! (Talk - Me on Wikia) 21:12, 14 January 2012 (UTC)

Idea for of Increase in Donations[edit]

Hello, Hello! I have an idea for of Increase in Donations.

There is a category of people who donate money, but there is a category of people who donate money for that would show it to others. You can create a bracelet made of silicone with the logo "wikipedia" (it can be ordered in China. Price if you order a large quantity will be 1 cent) and send it to everyone who donates a minima 10-20 dollar ... (it's you decide, it depends on how much will cost to send the bracelet).

This idea can be improved. So you will attract a lot of people who donate money in order to indicate that they have donated money.

If you implement my idea. just tell me as the author of the idea. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 7SkyFree (talkcontribs) 21:33, 5 January 2012 (UTC)

Hey I have another idea on fund raising. Sell bound copies of wikipedia. It's kind of like an encyclopedia only more modern. And in 100 years I'm sure it will have historical significance. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:07, 13 January 2012 (UTC)

Do you realize how big Wikipedia is? Face-wink.svg Anomie 03:52, 13 January 2012 (UTC)
Well we could sell bound volumes containing all the Vital articles and maybe also all Featured articles (which aren't Vital articles). That wouldn't be too big for a Britannica sized encyclopedia. SpeakFree (talk)(contribs) 21:28, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

Proposing link to get article translated in multiple languages[edit]

Hi, I am a Hindi translator and want to translate English articles into Hindi. I know a good number of people would like to translate the English articles into their languages that too for free.

I suggest, there can be a link in left column/pan which may read "translate the article in your language". I think this can prompt the wikipedia users to provide the same article in multiple languages. A link may lead to page where the target language and other details may be asked, and then the user can provide translation in respective language. Would like to hear from you if this can work...

Regards, Yashwant — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ygehlot08 (talkcontribs) 16:28, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

I think this is an excellent idea. I would place such a link below any existing language links. (Your favorite language not listed? Click here to translate it yourself). I would not directly benefit English wikipedia, but it could be a big help for other languages. Once people start translating stuff one way they might also do it the other way around. Yoenit (talk) 10:15, 19 January 2012 (UTC)

Ensuring that the SOPA/PIPA actions do not lead to a slippery slope[edit]

Before anyone gets the wrong end of the stick here, I supported the SOPA/PIPA blackout. A quote from me was even used by the administrators that made the formal decision to take action. But I think it is important that we formalise the common consensus that we only even consider such action in response to direct threats to our existence, which I and evidently others believed SOPA and PIPA did.

Of course, there would be little practical value to it, because we all know that the Wikipedia community will never agree to action for any reason other than a threat to Wikipedia. But I feel we need to do this in part as a result of the characterisation of Jimbo's comments in recent days. Whether he was taken out of context or said words to the effect of Wikipedia's content is neutral, Wikipedia itself doesn't need to be is a moot point.

The perception of some contributors (a few of who may or may not have retired), and among others some in the media, political and business spheres, is that Wikipedia is now non-neutral and politically active. Whether there is truth in that or not, I think we as a community need to make clear that the threshold for action was and remains consensus that the project's existence faces an imminent, credible threat. If that flies in the face of neutrality, so be it, but if so we should be open about the exception, and clear that it is that far and no further. —WFC— 11:48, 19 January 2012 (UTC)

WP:SOPA ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 14:45, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
You might also want to look at and perhaps take part in Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)#Future "consensus" access blackouts. :) --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 16:20, 20 January 2012 (UTC)

Create a category for CORRELATIVE CONCEPTS[edit]

To my limited experience and knowledge, I found there are quite a lot of correlated concepts among different stream of knowledge. Like “ nothing comes from nothing” is correlated to some ideas from “Modern physics”. Another example is - matter is merely a vacuum fluctuation (seems not updated in wikipedia yet, assume it is part of the content under Matter), it correlated with the Buddha’s concept – form is void, void is form (it means anything with a physical state is void). Add a “correlative concepts”(hyper link) next to the paragraph or the name of those concepts with the correlated idea.(now we have similar things like "see also") What’s more to do is to provide a category to collect all the "correlative concepts" (or the“see also”) and arrange them according to the alphabet headings of the titles of the correlative articles/paragraphs/sentences/key words. I think there is still room to improve the arrangement / design of the category part, would like to hear all sort of opinion from you! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:37, 22 January 2012 (UTC)

A System for DRY Technical Definitions[edit]

I am new to editing (but old to Wikipedia). I started editing some mathematics articles and have a strong desire for a systematic way to handle definitions. Definitions of technical terms pose several problems:

  1. People use terms inconsistently. This happens in the literature generally as well as on Wikipedia. But it creates internal inconsistency when articles link to each other and seem to contradict each other because they are using slightly or significantly different definitions.
  2. Defining terms well takes a lot of careful work, attention to detail, and unraveling of varied usage.
  3. Terms being defined anew in different articles is wasteful repetition, which creates tension with an article's being self-contained.
  4. Technical terms expose a large knowledge gap between a newcomer and an expert, which is difficult to write for effectively.

It seems that a system similar to that used for free links or templates could help. How a system of definitions might work:

  1. The free links language could be extended or a new template could be added (not familiar with how these work yet) to include the automatic insertion of a definition from a (perhaps automatically) specified database.
  2. The tagged term could be visually or aurally marked as such and have a collapsible definition attached to it. The default behavior (collapsed/expanded) could be set by the editor and perhaps overridden globally by the user. The markup might look something like ... is a {{define|normal subgroup}} generated by... and be rendered as a normal subgroup, a subgroup that is invariant under conjugation, generated by....
  3. The database of definitions could be curated by editors associated with the associated WikiProject (e.g., WikiProject Mathematics) or such. The definitions for a field could be managed and updated more easily in one place.
  4. Free links are already used in lieu of definitions to some extent but not in the best way possible. The idea is to improve the handling of technical definitions both within and across articles, making them easier to edit, more complete and globally coherent when needed, and invisible otherwise.

Possible problems:

  1. These wouldn't take the place of the main or more detailed definitions in an article. Finding the right length or level of detail might be tricky.
  2. They might not read well when in place. They might be less coherent than definitions edited as part of a single article. Coordinating nonstandard symbols (ad-hoc variables, constants, etc.) might be especially difficult. (This might be handled by having parameters to definitions, which maybe sounds complicated, but I can see a simple system working as a nice compromise.)
  3. If there are multiple options for definitions, an editor might want to select one over the others. This could get complicated. (Options needn't be necessary since an editor can simply write their own if they find the supplied one unsatisfactory.)
  4. People might be tempted to string articles together with just the definition links, which could hurt the overall quality of articles.
  5. Reusing content of course means that one edit can break lots of things. :^\

I'm not sure that these are insurmountable problems, but I am trying to get the ball rolling.

Cheers, Honestrosewater (talk) 09:32, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

Are aware of Wikipedia:Make technical articles understandable? I think the corresponding talkpage to that guideline is the best way to discuss this. Yoenit (talk) 10:19, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
I have read it but didn't think of that. Good idea. Thanks, Honestrosewater (talk) 15:29, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
A more active talk page to consider would be Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Mathematics. I understand that you're interested in technical articles in general, but you have to start somewhere. Also, the guys over there will probably "get" more what you're trying to do. Good luck! Leonxlin (talk) 03:43, 23 January 2012 (UTC)

DRYing Out History sections[edit]

I've recently been using Wikipedia to gain a grasp of how a computer functions: from ALUs all the way through the Internet. In doing so I realized that there is a lot of information overlap in the History sections in the many articles I was reading.

I was wondering if there has ever been talk of writing a 'background' section for articles, instead of a 'history' section. The background section would cover the topics that need to be understood before the full meaning of the current article could be absorbed. Slightly more in-depth than the summary. Also acts as a way of organizing all the articles into some sort of hierarchy.

As a complete noob to Wikipedia posting/editing, I thought this idea lab would be a good place to start, because I'm not even sure what to search for in the proposals to find similar ideas.

Looking for contribution at any level. thanks

Matthew.bowles.CO (talk) 08:28, 19 January 2012 (UTC)

I'm not sure exactly what you're getting at. Could you provide some examples? I'm sure there are articles that have background sections. I can't seem to find any right now, but the Pi article has a "Fundamentals" section. If you feel that an article ought to have a background section, feel free to add one (I'm not aware of any policy against them, but if I'm wrong, do correct me), preferably with the relevant hatnote. The Arithmetic_logic_unit page doesn't even have a background or history section. Perhaps you're concerned that the "Numerical systems" section on that page is repeating too much of what already appears on other articles? If so, what is your idea to fix that? Leonxlin (talk) 03:57, 23 January 2012 (UTC)

Free full text book content[edit]

The thread posted is a conversation I have been having on the Randi Rhodes Message Board. Over the past year I have wanted to get more involved and I believe now the time is ripe for my idea.

When I look at the cost of books I see a huge cost-prohibitive barrier to the spread of intelligence. This Christmas came a special opportunity when millions of people got Amazon's $79 kindle from Santa. The cost-prohibitive nature of intelligence is rapidly decreasing, and wiki is leading the charge. Our goals are the same. However when I look at e-books and print books they are similarly priced.

Please, oh wise fellow wiki'ers correct me where I am mistaken. It is my understanding that many old classics and old books in general do not have a maintained copyright. For these works, with adequate volunteer time, they could be internet published.

Imagine a wiki where punching in "catcher in the rye" and an encylopedia entry pops up. Directly followed (and linked to by the encyclopedia entry) is a full text version of catcher in the rye readable on e-readers.

I'm bookmarking the page and I'd love to have a brainstorm session with people who may have already been thinking about these things as I have.

Vinny — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:23, 20 January 2012 (UTC)

To obtain texts of books which are in the public domain, you can use Project Gutenberg, which has thousands of well-known, published works which are now out of copyright. Many of our articles on older books already have external links to the full texts; see, for example, Northanger Abbey. As for Catcher in the Rye, I suspect it may still be protected by copyright. Unfortunately, I don't think Wikipedia could link directly from a novel's article to websites where you can buy the ebook, but if you click on the ISBN in any article, it will take you to the Book sources page where you can find a list of places to buy the book and libraries that have it available for borrowing. --Kateshortforbob talk 11:03, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
Wikisource is doing precisely this, but they don't seem to have any proper tools for downloading stuff directly to ereaders. Yoenit (talk) 14:12, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
What does "downloading stuff directly to ereaders" mean? When I download a file, nobody knows whether it's being saved on my hard drive or my ereader. What kind of "proper tools" are missing? Ntsimp (talk) 15:29, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
take Northanger_Abbey as an example. If I want to download this book to my ereader I need to use book creator and tag each chapter individually. A direct link to get the entire book would be a big improvement. Support for common ereader formats (such as Epub and Mobi) would be nice as well. Yoenit (talk) 19:23, 22 January 2012 (UTC)

About Wikipedia/What's Wikipedia? portal creation[edit]

I have an idea for a new about portal,because Wikipedia will reach soonly 4 million articles.

What's this all about?[edit]

It's all about Wikipedia (About the Wikipedia policy,Non-Encyclopedic abouts and normal articles about the Wikipedia's content,like Knowledge,Encyclopedia,freedom,community and etc...).

How it will look?[edit]

Like a normal portal,but the Featured article section will be divided into 2 sections:Featured policy (Wikkpedia policies) and Featured content (Encyclopedic arcticles).The "Featured picture of month" section will be replaced with the "Featured Wikimedia logo of the month" (Showing a Wikimedia project logo,like the Wikipedia,Wiktionary or Wikisource logo,but in big size).


This portal will replace the Community portal (It will still feature news,events and other things about the Wikipedia/Wikimedia community),and the Community portal will turn into a Redirect,that will automatically redirect to the new portal.

Please make it!

try suggesting this at Wikipedia talk:Community portal. Yoenit (talk) 19:27, 22 January 2012 (UTC)

Goodbye Beaver Lake[edit]

May I suggest you add "Goodbye Beaver Lake," a novel, to the category "Novels, Quebec Separatism."

For information on Goodbye Beaver Lake, please go to: — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:08, 22 January 2012 (UTC)

Only articles can be added to categories, so you would have to write one about the book first. Be sure to check whether it meets the inclusion guidelines for novels first. If it does, use the Wikipedia:Article wizard to create an article. Yoenit (talk) 23:36, 22 January 2012 (UTC)

Automatically updated cited information[edit]

It strikes me that there is a type of info on Wikipedia that is in constant need of updating. It is well referenced data. Such as, League tables, numbers of things in the place, amounts of stuff where it is etc. Statistics if you will.

Technology exists to grab such info direct from the sources that are cited on each page load. Either cURL or Ajax are obvious solutions (salivating over the idea of Web Sockets and constantly updated pages), that could be simply implemented, if only there were some way to embed the scripting in the page. Well, we have templates, and they can accept parameters. So all we then need is for certain types of template to be parsed differently with the result that wherever that template is, the source that cites the data contained in it, is checked, and the up-to-date data returned. All that can happen easily and quickly while the other scores of calls to scripts and stylesheets are being made. The result would be far fewer pointless edits to state that some minor detail has changed, when we know full well that detail will change again in a week, and again the week after (ad infinitum). Also, all the data that can be updated in this fashion, will always be up-to-date, making Wikipedia a more reliable source.

Remember this is the idea lab. fredgandt 21:43, 5 January 2012 (UTC)

I would fully support this, and would go much further. Bottom line: the day will come (say 7-10 years at the current rate) when some of Wikipedia will be a smaller form of Wolfram Alpha. Updating text files is old technology. And that will solve some of the consistency issues. E.g. consider Tokyo Narita airport and Paris de Gaulle Airport vs World's busiest airports by passenger traffic. I have not checked now, but they are usually inconsistent. The same idea applies to "list of rivers in England", etc. For further elaboration, please see some ideas I typed a while ago but have not worked on recently. History2007 (talk) 22:17, 5 January 2012 (UTC)
Yup! Face-smile.svg Although since I had to look up "Wolfram Alpha", it's fair to say that tech is less than likely to be adopted in the time-frame you propose. I'm fairly sure Wikia is already using Node.js and Web Sockets. But lets face it, not many sites are fully exploiting JavaScript yet. The web has so many treasures but seemingly little direction. "Internet Explorer" (need I say more?) (maybe). If Microsoft can't make a standards compatible browser, there is little hope for the web at large to adopt cutting edge tech en-mass. We need to stick with the simple, explored, entrenched, understood, and widely used tech, if we are going to push for new features. fredgandt 22:36, 5 January 2012 (UTC)
Actually "Wolfram Alpha" is not a new idea at all. Question answering systems are much older than that. But please do not take the Question answering Wiki-article too seriously - I just looked it up and it is full of errors (sigh.... I tagged it for a rewrite). But what technology is used be it one script or another is beside the point. First there needs to be a decision to do this right. History2007 (talk) 23:01, 5 January 2012 (UTC)
Is that deja vu I'm experiencing? I think it is. Anyway, with this sort of change (massive; taking the reigns away from editors and handing some responsibility over to scripts), I think a slow progression through from "Is this possible?" to "do we like it?" to "where will we use it?" back to "do we like it?" etc., is better than rushing at a vote. It's so heavily dependant on finding a solid technical way of implementing it, there would be no point asking for support yet. It may simply be too shaky to roll out. I think on a small scale it could be done, and probably with few to no errors.Lets say we have a small private site, developed by a small team of computer geeks. They know exactly how to write the pages, so that the templates work, the scripting is stable and the sources, reliable. But here, we have an untrained army of editors, even the templates can be edited (sure they can be protected but lets not get ahead of ourselves), sources come and go, editors can change the sources in the templates, so rendering the results (if any) useless. The potential technical difficulties are enormous. the benefits are too, but you see why trying for support at this stage is pointless? I am very doubtful, that this would be implemented within a few years, even if the support was unanimous and vast, and the technicalities were fine tuned. It's going to be a long slow process, if it takes off at all. fredgandt 23:23, 5 January 2012 (UTC)
Or Wolfram, or a Wolfram-wannabe will grab the content from Wikipedia, set up a competing site and the game will open up. The web moves fast. And technically speaking it is totally feasible. Or Microsoft may see it as the "last hope for Bing" in staying relevant now that they have played with Wolfram's ideas. So under that scenario, Bing would grab the highest quality data from Wikipedia, and present it with a Wolfram-type engine.... It is a free economy in the end. History2007 (talk) 10:34, 6 January 2012 (UTC)

this is exactly the sort of edit that could be simply avoided. The information in the article would always be correct. Fewer DB calls made for what could be viewed as silly little edits. The edits clearly need to made, or the article data would be wrong, but if the most up to date data was presented (from the reliable source that backs it up), every time the page was loaded... So much better. fredgandt 02:32, 7 January 2012 (UTC)

But how do you get the up to date info? By screen scraping? Those approaches work for a while but eventually become impossible to manage if too many sites are involved because the screen formats change. If only a few sites are used, then that may be possible at first, but you should know that those sites will then notice a large number of "freebee calls" from Wikipedia that costs them money, and in an hour can change their format and end the game. History2007 (talk) 16:53, 7 January 2012 (UTC)
Screen scraping is usually the only way, very few sites provide an API. Some major ones do, but it's really more hassle to use that unless they offer batch requests, which most don't AFAIK. The request volume shouldn't be a problem if done sensibly, besides these sites would be well-visited reliable sources, and as such are more then likely to be capable of handling high traffic. The real problem with screen scraping is obviously that every site gets changes every few years. What this bot would need is an on-wiki page that keep track of all the syntax it uses, so that editors can update it manually. —  HELLKNOWZ  ▎TALK 14:26, 8 January 2012 (UTC)
A few users can manage their own screen scrapers, but in the long term uncontrolled screen scraping will result in chaos. I have seen that happen even internally at Fortune 100 companies. Data shows up wrong and panic buttons get pressed. If screen scraping populate a Wolfram-type system that can be checked for consistency that will make more sense. History2007 (talk) 17:07, 9 January 2012 (UTC)
A related idea is increased use of template/data subpages such that articles reference a single point for their data. That takes away the inconsistency, but doesn't take away the need to keep certain data up to date. Rjwilmsi 18:13, 8 January 2012 (UTC)
I use that at {{Scoutstat BSA}}, but it only needs updating once a year for most numbers. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 19:06, 8 January 2012 (UTC)
{{Extrasolar planet counts}} is frequently updated but apparently by hand. Perhaps a subpage of Wikipedia:Bot requests with a standardized request procedure is a more realistic solution currently. PrimeHunter (talk) 19:43, 8 January 2012 (UTC)
See meta:WikiData_WMDE, currently being funded by the German Wikimedia association if I'm not mistaken. It's one of many wikidata attempts that have been made since Erik Möllers original 2004 proposal. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 20:29, 8 January 2012 (UTC)
I looked at the WMDE document. I have "no idea" what they are really trying to do. I could read 20 different scopes to that project. The document needs a few clear examples. It could be interpreted as a simple "super scraper" or (given that they use the term "knowledge base about the world") as a variant of Cyc (which I hope it is not, for it will not fly). This sounds like R&D, not just an implementation. History2007 (talk) 17:02, 9 January 2012 (UTC)
As far as I understand it, the idea is a cross between: DBpedia (service provided to end user), Interlanguage links (method to include and interlink data in Wikipedia) and Semantic MediaWiki (Storage and querying of data). And no, it won't be easy, probably part of the reason the idea has been floating around since 2004. :D At what state the German initiative currently is, I have no idea, you can probably ask them, in my experience WMDE is quite responsive. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 22:23, 9 January 2012 (UTC)
Ok, thanks, now I have a rough idea. It will be another one of those interdisciplinary, "we will merge multiple concepts together" type "fusion projects". I will pass on interacting with them - I have my doubts that they will get anything working within that type of scope any time soon. I guess they could at least start by cleaning up articles like this which are within their scope and need help. When Cyc was first proposed as the solution to the world's semantic problems, there was a joke in the valley: "what has just been declared as the news international standard for exaggeration?" Answer: a micro-lenat. So those systems have generally been "exaggeration driven". I have seen too many and know the inherent problems - there are fundamental barriers therein. The key question: How much money will they throw at it before they understand the complexity of the barriers? Time will tell. History2007 (talk) 23:26, 9 January 2012 (UTC)
Well we already have all the other things (perhaps not always under a WM Foundation umbrella). You see, the problem with Wikipedia has never been that you could not 'bolt stuff on top of it'. That's easy. The problem is making stuff perform on en.wikipedia, communicate with all parts of the software and integrating it in such a way that it becomes a future proof implementation that doesn't break when the bot author drops of the face of the planet. Almost by definition the bolting stuff on top will be faster, but you can also argue that bolting an phone on top of an iPod on top of an Internet communicator, although in theory as useful as an iPhone will never be any sort of success. (talkcontribs) 08:47, 10 January 2012 (UTC)
Sorry, I do not see it that way. The analogies from hardware to ambitious software do not often apply. The phone technologies, etc. have no semantic content as such. History2007 (talk) 16:32, 10 January 2012 (UTC)
Well putting AI and semantic databases aside for a minute (or a few years), the idea that a bot could be helpful is practicable. The thing is, a bot is just a bunch of scripts called to run. If we could plug the bot directly into the pages so it was called to run on each page load, we have a winner. It is fair to assume that few if any of the sources cited will use either an API or semantics, so we have to therefore assume that the scripting would need to be very robust, able to tackle whatever was thrown at it and return either something useful, or a message to someone that it has problems (best place would be the article talk page). fredgandt 00:35, 10 January 2012 (UTC)
A bot to somehow run on each page load is not going to happen. Never mind how closely it would have to be integrated into MediaWiki or how much it would slow down each page load, just consider the "Slashdot effect" that would be produced.
If the problem you're trying to solve is something along the lines of the "Tokyo Narita airport and Paris de Gaulle Airport vs World's busiest airports by passenger traffic" problem mentioned above, a solution is to store the figures in a template and transclude that template where needed.
If the problem you're trying to solve is updating information from an external service, and the external service both provides the information in a manner that is amenable to automated access and the service allows automated access, it would be easy enough for a bot to run periodically (daily, weekly, monthly) to update it; with some work, it might even be possible for the bot to take configuration settings on-wiki so the bot author need not edit the source to add new sources. As mentioned above, though, it would work best if the data were available in a structured format so screen-scraping is not necessary.
HTH. Anomie 00:59, 10 January 2012 (UTC)
I think Anomie's analysis is both sensible and practical. The challenge is some method of "super transcluding" from what may be called a "repository template" for the lack of a better term. The long and short of it is that:
  • A repository is needed, be it a template, a XML-based-gadget, a new type of item, or heaven forbid a fast access (most probably non-relational) database - the best technical solution.
  • The repository gets updates once a week, once a month, etc. E.g. consider the list of the companies that make up the Dow Jones Industrial Average. That can be looked up pretty easily daily at a not-so-busy- time of nigh. It does not need to be hand coded. Same for number of passengers to Narita, etc.
  • Some piece of software accesses said repository, reformats, transcludes, presents (pick your word) the info and includes it in a page. The key is giving this software good enough formatting capabilities.
  • With suitable logic the repository will also include the List of rivers of Europe, and the list of rivers in Germany can be obtained from that so they are always consistent.
I think I just described a simple version of mini-Wolfram. History2007 (talk) 16:32, 10 January 2012 (UTC)
Example: At the moment the article "Google Chrome" is using {{LSR}} in the infobox, but the data is not referenced (so it seems). The best I could find as a potential reference is this linked to from Google's support pages such as it is here. If the source is considered reliable, and could be included in {{LSR}} or some other linked way, the bot running in the background could check the data in that source, and update the article or template whenever it was found to be out of date. Super.
Since we cannot control or govern the way sources present their data, but we rely on that data for our sources, we would have to employ a method less efficient than semantics etc. Thus a bot to do this would probably be the only practical method available at present. Although templates containing the data could indeed be transcluded on article pages, we would still have the issue that that data would need to be constantly and manually checked and updated. If the sources are truly reliable, I see no good reason to not have a bot do the grunt work.
Although a bot seems to be the best immediate solution, the idea of a fully semantic web with websocketed AIs running about fixing everything is of course preferable. It is also not likely to happen on a large, reliable scale any time soon. With that in mind, is there any more to discuss? Or should this simply be shut and a bot request opened in its stead? fredgandt 01:57, 10 January 2012 (UTC)
We already have a few bots that do menial content updating tasks. This should happen on the Wikimedia Labs or Toolserver as bots; ask at WP:BOTREQ to get started with some task you think is doable now, and as the bot experts implement it, you can follow along and take over so that you can add more capabilities as time goes on. Selery (talk) 16:04, 13 January 2012 (UTC)
That can be attempted but would be an ad hoc approach much like most Wiki-bots. In terms of long term planning, a good design "usually" wins over ad hoc solutions, and stop-gap measures. But then, as they say, the IBM 370 was a stop-gap measure that lasted three decades, so maybe one of those stop-gaps will lead to an overall design. History2007 (talk) 16:51, 13 January 2012 (UTC)
Although this was a good chat, I think the (queue sarcasm) torrent of comments and the flood of ideas is just too much to handle, so I think it's fair to say "nobody is that interested". And if anyone is, it looks as if it will be a job for a bot. fredgandt 04:41, 24 January 2012 (UTC)

sort articles by " NUMBER OF WORDS"[edit]

I would like to give a suggestion to your website. Could we sort the articles by " NUMBER OF WORDS"? For example, by 100 words, 300 words, 1000 words, 1500 words, etc. Most of the time for some user, they just want to know the general information or the subject of an article only. There isn't necessary to read the whole article to get the little information. Sorting by number of words is classified articles into different categories, for lesser words - e.g. 100 words of an article which is talking about Taoism, so readers may know what they need are just some main / key ideas ( without redundant history backgrounds). for more words, it could include more evident or findings for the subject. For even more words, it could include origins, history etc. So , all in all, just sort by different ways of summarization of knowledge. What do u guys think? I also posted this on the village pump (proposals), i'm first time to give a proposal, so a bit confuse where should it be put. Anyway, welcome your opinion! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:34, 22 January 2012 (UTC)

Since the lead of the article (that's the stuff before the table of contents) is already supposed to be a summary of the article, if you just want a broad overview, the best thing is probably just to look at only the lead. Now, we don't always do a good job with the lead, but we try. Does that seem like it would solve your concern? Qwyrxian (talk) 02:28, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
Yea, the lead seems almost solved my problem, thanks. "For example, English law merely mentions murder; homicide in English law would provide (once complete) a few hundred words; Murder in English law a whole article, but whose lead might be about the summary in the previously named article. Grandiose (me, talk, contribs) 13:54, 20 January 2012 (UTC)" The example showed another thing need to be added into sorting, not only numbers of words should be sort, it should also include key words searching option next to / under numbers of words searching option. when we type "murder english law" in wikipedia, different length of complete articles comes out, just like what Grandiose posted. Is such situation rarely happened in wikipedia? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

3di "Parent"/"Sibling" Link Sections[edit]

(On an off-topic note, this is my first Village Pump edit.) Three-digit Interstates (3dis) have rules on what they connect to. I think articles about 3dis should have sections on whether or not they follow these rules. Here's a guide on written by Scott "Kurumi" Oglesby (another roadgeek) about 3di numbering rules.

Multi Trixes! (Talk - Me on Wikia) 21:09, 14 January 2012 (UTC)

This sounds like something that should be discussed on WP:HWY. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 23:01, 14 January 2012 (UTC)
Okay. Moved!
Multi Trixes! (Talk - Me on Wikia) 19:38, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
Actually, this should be discussed at WT:USRD because it's US-specific. Imzadi 1979  19:48, 25 January 2012 (UTC)

The next level of online education[edit]

Some of you may know that professor Sebastian Thrun recently left his job at Stanford to create a new, free virtual "university": Udacity. If you don't know what it is, it's a place where they offer courses (so far only two) available to anyone who has internet access (read their about page here). These are real courses that start at a specific date and have tests and quizzes and completion certificates.

While some people might view this as an interesting idea, I think if done right, it could be world changing, just like Wikipedia. I figured if any place would like this idea, it would be here, a website dedicated to free knowledge.

I want to suggest that Wikipedia get behind this project. Maybe we could even get one of those cool banner ads at the top for it (complete with some Wikipedia founder staring into your soul). This could end up being some professor's side project, or it could end up being the next level of public knowledge, changing the world for the better just like Wikipedia has done. And I think it needs all the help it can to get to the latter. G man yo (talk) 04:17, 24 January 2012 (UTC)

There is already wikiversity: (not that I have really explored it much), the Open University (in the UK at least), and Second Life plays host to many Universities from around the world. In other words, online education (including virtual) is an ongoing and pre-existing phenomenon. Lets keep our excitement in perspective. fredgandt 04:34, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
I realize that online education has already existed for years, but Udacity is, in my opinion, nothing like any of these (except maybe Second Life, actually). The Open University is somewhat misleading, mainly because it isn't actually "open": it's just an online university. It costs money, so I wouldn't even consider it as comparable to Udacity. Wikipedia's university is more about teaching resources, I think. They don't really have classrooms or anything. Second Life is interesting, but the problem is that, since it's mainly a video game, is not particularly accessible and will always be viewed as a game above a classroom. Also, you can't actually see the people giving lectures really.
I'd say that out of these Udacity is the most promising. It has real classes taught by real professors with real assignments and it's completely free. And I don't think that the lessons are limited to watching a teacher in a classroom. Here is an interesting article about it.
I think we as the Wikipedia community should, at the very least, watch this closely. I thought the same thing as you did when I saw the site, that somebody has probably done this before. I was actually surprised that nobody really had. I think this is the first free online education program to really get it right.
As a side note, Udacity is a terrible name, in my opinion.G man yo (talk) 05:42, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
Second Life is not a game! Grrr. fredgandt
How would you suggest Wikipedia gets behind this project and does the project even want us? If any affiliation is being suggested, I reckon the suggestion would be better aimed at the Wikimedia Foundation. First off should probably be the creation of an article about Udacity (agreed, that name sucks), but then if it is too new, it might not be notable enough to warrant one. In that case, it might be better to wait and see if it takes off before getting heavily involved. fredgandt 06:25, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
Oh yeah, Wikimedia. Forgot about that one.
Yeah, at the moment, it might be too young (I always get excited about things and then act too quickly on it). Anyway, I'll keep an eye on it. I might try to make an article about it. G man yo (talk) 06:40, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
Are they going to pay for the banner ad as advertising, or do they expect free advertising? History2007 (talk) 21:55, 25 January 2012 (UTC)

Suggestion: MediaWiki software tool to flag revisions for oversight/revdel[edit]

— Preceding unsigned comment added by Causa sui (talkcontribs) 21:08, 11 January 2012 (UTC)

Accounting Bodies pages[edit]

I have got a suggestion regarding the following pages:

ICAEW (Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Whales)
ICAS (Institute_of_Chartered_Accountants_of_Scotland)
SAICA (South_African_Institute_of_Chartered_Accountants)
ICAP (Institute_of_Chartered_Accountants_of_Pakistan)
NZICA (New_Zealand_Institute_of_Chartered_Accountants)
ICAI (Institute_of_Chartered_Accountants_in_Ireland)
ICAI (Institute_of_Chartered_Accountants_of_India)
HKICPA (Hong_Kong_Institute_of_Certified_Public_Accountants)
CICA (Canadian_Institute_of_Chartered_Accountants)
ICAA (Institute_of_Chartered_Accountants_of_Australia)
and all the similar accounting body pages that are under this category.

I am a student of accountancy profession. I would like to suggest that all these pages should be categorized under same headings. I have seen all the pages, there is no symmetry in them. The facts of all these pages will definitely differ from each other but to make it a bit more presentable, I would suggest that all of them should have similar headings. If any page among them has some additional information with supporting references that the real author or anyone wants to present, it can be included after the headings which have been created earlier.
Inlandmamba (talk) 07:55, 26 January 2012 (UTC)

Posted this suggestion 3 months ago and seems like no one is willing to say some thing. Any suggestions Wikipedia community?
--Inlandmamba (talk to me) 20:09, 27 April 2012 (UTC)

Good Article Nominee Reviewing Process[edit]

My idea is to have the good article nominees reviewed in order. I bring this up because some articles may go largely ignored by reviewers if the article is very dense or is a subject that reviewers might consider unappealing or boring. — Preceding unsigned comment added by DoctorK88 (talkcontribs) 03:07, 28 January 2012 (UTC)

This is a good idea. I am currently working on two good article reviews, and generally review according to my interest areas, but I find it rather disheartening to see articles lying around at the GAN page for months, in some cases. I have also noticed that some lesser-known topics, including obscure history-related articles of low importance but high quality, can remain unnoticed for long periods of time. Perhaps a group of editors could be found who would make their main goal in regard to GA to review nominations more than three or four weeks old. What do you think of this, and would you participate in a project like that? DCItalk 19:26, 28 January 2012 (UTC)
I oppose this. It's not that simple. I, for example, skip over any GANs that are on biographies, avoid the digital popular culture oriented sections (movies, music, television shows), most of the physical sciences sections, and GANs on subjects that are controversial (including anything touching on religion). I also avoid GANs started by certain users, either because I've worked with them too much recently, or because I don't feel comfortable working with them because of past interactions. Now that does leave me with a lot of things that I do cover, and I've done over a dozen roughly a month, but I'd wind up doing significantly less if I was forced to choose only from the oldest nominations. Sven Manguard Wha? 19:46, 28 January 2012 (UTC)
Your feelings are probably shared by many editors who review according to interests/personal choices (including me). However, wouldn't a group, however small, of editors who wouldn't be deterred by some of these things be useful? Members of this group could declare on the group page what they will probably review, and, based on this, they could be given nominations to look over. Obviously, this is a highly imperfect idea, but couldn't some parts of it be adapted to the GA process? DCItalk 20:06, 28 January 2012 (UTC)
That's not what the proposal was. I'd be more keen on the idea of generating a page where users could sign up for for specific sections, and when a GAN hit, say, the month, two month, three month mark, etc, a bot will send x persons on that list (where x is the number of months old the nomination is) a message poking them. I'm not, however, keen on the original proposal. Sven Manguard Wha? 22:14, 28 January 2012 (UTC)
Just putting out there, the process as it stands now seems inefficient to me since as mentioned before some articles just sit and sit and are not reviewed for a long time when all articles should be reviewed in a reasonable amount of time. Months and months (in my opinion) does not qualify as a reasonable amount of time. I hear your point about possibly doing less if articles come up that you're not interested in or if they are done by authors with whom you have worked with but at the same time those oldest nominations do need to be taken care of. You always have the choice of not reviewing the "next" article because it's controversial or for whatever reason. So, it's not like your choices are gone here. I am still relatively unfamiliar with the ins and outs of wikipedia but I think that my suggestion could be modified into a better system for reviewing good article nominees. Also, keep in mind that you are one reviewer and that other reviewers may have very different policies but again I understand that you oppose this because it might impede your ability to review articles. Perhaps reviewers should express a category of article (e.g. natural sciences) that they would typically be interested in reviewing and they should work on those regardless of which one comes next. Idk. Play with the idea, like I said I think the current system for good article nominee review is lacking. DoctorK88 (talk) 22:56, 28 January 2012 (UTC)
We also have the report, in case you didn't know. Sven Manguard Wha? 04:16, 29 January 2012 (UTC)
I think topic-based sorting is probably better: I've done GA reviews in the past, but they take time and effort. Probably about an hour for each one to do them properly. I'm not interested in wasting an hour reviewing an article on a pop culture topic: however much I love The X-Files, there is a limit to the amount of time I can spend reviewing articles about it. I think Sven Manguard's suggestion of having notifications by category is very useful. I get notified about RFCs on topics related to religion and philosophy, and I watchlist the relevant WP:DELSORT page on philosophy, it'd be nice to be notified about GA reviews on philosophy, and maybe PR/FACs too. —Tom Morris (talk) 12:46, 29 January 2012 (UTC)

A new user right/group[edit]

I want to develop the idea for a user right that would allow a trusted user to manually mark their own created pages as patrolled. This is less drastic than autopatrolled which marks all pages automatically but reasonable to presume a trusted editor could manually mark some. For me, I created this page and think I reasonably should have been able to reduce the workload by marking this page as patrolled. My76Strat (talk) 19:23, 28 January 2012 (UTC)

I don't think that the community is going to go for a 1/2 autopatrolled right. That being said, it might go for reducing the number from 50 to 25 or 30. Barring that, if my memory serves the patrolling interface is being redesigned. Perhaps some sort of greenlist could be built into that, where admins could add users to a list and articles started by those users would be highlighted in a different color? That might speed things up. Sven Manguard Wha? 22:49, 28 January 2012 (UTC)
I agree and want to avoid any hard sales approach. The spirit is that at some level a user should be trusted enough to designate a page as patrolled by some method of self-patrolling in particular when a claim of unambiguous propriety is a core. I am not sure however that there is any problems with backlogs that this would significantly improve, but this one example seemed to add a page that a good faith editor could have precluded. My76Strat (talk) 23:00, 28 January 2012 (UTC)
I really am not sure what the point of this suggestion is. We already have Autopatrolled which does exactly what you seek but without the intervening click on 'mark as patrolled'. —Tom Morris (talk) 11:42, 29 January 2012 (UTC)
I think autopatrolled is above my general qualifications. For respect of editors who are qualified, I wouldn't ask. But a lessor right that would allow an editor to selfpatrol talkpages, and perhaps redirects, could reduce an important workload. My76Strat (talk) 12:11, 29 January 2012 (UTC)
I'm not sure that this will work, to be honest. The designation of user rights is generally based on trust and competence - you need a certain amount of trust and to demonstrate a certain amount of competence to be granted the auto-patrolled userright. I believe that a half-autopatrolled userright will need at least as much trust & competence as the current autopatrolled right. We would need to be sure that those we give the new right will be able to execute good judgement regarding new articles they create: anyone who is able to do this is probably deserving of the autopatrolled right. The only way something like this might work is if we alter the autopatrolled group to allow them to bypass autopatrolling certain new pages that they think need patrolling. However, I'm not sure that this is really what you're after, nor will it be of much use. ItsZippy (talkcontributions) 17:25, 29 January 2012 (UTC)

Welcome to Wikipedia: Now read WP:V and WP:RS[edit]

The current, standard welcome message says:

  • The five pillars of Wikipedia, How to edit a page, Help pages, Tutorial, How to write a great article, Manual of Style

Now, I can not remember how many times I have had to tell new users to read WP:V (or WP:Truth) as well as WP:RS and not use low quality self-published web sites, etc.

I think it would be a good idea to change that message to have WP:V and WP:RS in flashing neon colors the moment someone registers... Well maybe not flashing, but certainly in a prominent manner. History2007 (talk) 09:00, 30 January 2012 (UTC)

But how would that be relevant to those who come here to fix typos or splat vandalism? ϢereSpielChequers 14:33, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
By the way, it would be good to add to that notice that self-publishers such as Lulu (company), AuthorHouse, Xulon Press and iUniverse are not usable in Wikipedia. There are a few more and many users are unaware of this, and one needs to explain it to them again and again. Just takes up time, and should be a message upfront. History2007 (talk) 18:48, 31 January 2012 (UTC)
Most people have the commonsense not to use such sites. For those who do we should have a specific and relevant message explaining why that site is deprecated, perhaps it could be part of the editfilter. ϢereSpielChequers 14:33, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
I admire the intention, but I am not convinced that people will read them. Generally, if you give people a list of things to read before they start editing, they won't read them. I know that, when I started, I didn't read much and got stuck in. I made some silly mistakes, people helped me and then I read what I needed to, which is how I learnt (and still learn). The best thing we can do with helping new editors in this way is to allow them to make mistakes and then explain things to them and help them to fix it. Just throwing links to often very long policies and guidelines will put people off. ItsZippy (talkcontributions) 16:29, 5 February 2012 (UTC)

Free, globally distributed backup of all Wikipedia on Charity Engine grid[edit]

Charity Engine is a volunteer computing grid with a storage feature, based on advanced multi-level coding, in testing now. It uses the BOINC software suite.

The grid will maintain a constantly distributed backup of Wikipedia (as well as other large datasets) on thousands of volunteered home PCs. As the data is constantly replicated and replaced as various PCs join and leave the grid, it is almost impossible to destroy.

Charity Engine usually charges for distributed storage and processing on its grid, but strongly supports the goals of the Wikimedia Foundation and will be providing the backup for free. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:36, 1 February 2012 (UTC)

Biographical metadata[edit]

Originally posted at a template for discussion thread, but was off-topic there so posted here.

I'm making a plea here for help in improving the organisation of the listings of biographical articles. Several years ago now, I said it would be nice to be able to generate a single master database of all biographical articles on Wikipedia. That would help tremendously in updating both human name disambiguation pages (e.g. {{hndis}}) and human surname set index pages such as Fisher (surname) (see {{surname}}). For an example of the former, see the update I made here at Paul Fischer. I had been looking for information on that Paul Henri Fischer (without knowing his middle name) and though I knew his birth and death years and found his article that way, I had to add him to the human name disambiguation page myself. The point here is that I'm not aware of any systematic effort to keep such pages updated. It is not a trivial proposition (those with long memories will remember the massive lists of people by name that got deleted), but could be automated or semi-automated if the following was done:

  • (1) Identify all existing biographical articles (i.e. ones about a single person's life story) and tag them accordingly. This would involve separating out the 'biographical' articles tagged by WikiProject Biography that are in fact group biographies (such as articles about music groups, families, siblings, saint pairs, and so on). Those group biographies will still contain biographical metadata, but need to include a 'group biography' tag. Not sure how to handle cases where a person's name is a redirect (these are not common, but are not rare either).
  • (2) Ensure all such articles are accurately tagged with DEFAULTSORT or some other 'surname' parameter (with the usual caveats about needing to be aware of guidelines in this area and correctly identifying what is the 'surname', which is not always easy and varies around the world, and how to treat people with only one name, and so on).
  • (3) Generate the masterlist/database to list all biographical metadata, including all data present in the infobox, in the categories, in the DEFAULTSORT tag, and in the Persondata template. This is the point where the data can be compared and cleaned up if necessary. But for now, the data of interest is the name.
  • (4) Generate a similar database for set index and human name disambiguation pages such as Fisher (surname) and Paul Fisher (different spelling to the one above, which brings up a slight problem in that some alternative spellings are rightly bundled together on one page, and some are not - this may make machine-identification of the right set index pages harder, but not impossible). Also, some are of the form "name (disambiguaton)" or "surname (surname)" or "surname (name)", and that can change over time as people move pages around, but there should be a non-trivial way to address this.
  • (5) From the alphabetical listing of all the biographical articles, identify lists of those with the same name and ensure the corresponding surname set index pages and human disambiguation name pages (if they exist) are updated at regular intervals, possibly by bot talk page notification with a list provided by the bot. The bot could generate suggested lists using a combination of the article title (for linking purpose), and the Persondata name, birth year, death year, and short description fields. I think a project took place at one time to keep set index name pages updated, and that might have used bots to generate lists, but I can't remember where that project was, how successful it was, and if it is still going (update: I was thinking of this from 2008: "22,743 suggested surname disambiguation pages, created [...] from the May 24, 2008 database dump").
  • (6) Ideally, such a biographical listing of all biographical articles (now approaching 1 million) would be done dynamically by a category listing. But there is no single category for this as yet. The closest ones are the category for articles on living people (555,778 articles at present) and the listing of articles tagged by WikiProject Biography (which is a listing of the talk pages only). It is possible to generate partial set index names pages using the 'living people' category (e.g. surname Rabe (currently 14 people) can be compared with Rabe which only lists 12 people, of whom three are dead and one is a redirect), but this only puts those querying the category at the start of any dynamic 'list' of people by name and doesn't take into account biographies of historical (dead) people.

Would those reading this be able to say how feasible the above is, what work has already been done or is being done, and what would need to be done to get to the stage where we can be confident that our set index pages and human name disambiguation pages are accurate and updated at regular intervals to stay accurate? Or suggest which places I should go to to see who else might be interested in helping with this sort of thing? Carcharoth (talk) 23:52, 4 February 2012 (UTC)

(paraphrased from my comment elsewhere) I do have a lot of experience with dab pages and the uses and limits of what can be done on an automated basis. In brief, I'll note some facts.
(1) Nearly all bio articles will be listed at a subcategory of Category:Births by year. Ones that aren't, should be. I see no need to introduce a new criterion; instead, all bio articles should be added to a subcategory of it. (2) Articles which are sort-of biographies, but sort-of not, are not dealt with in a consistent way, i.e., they may or may not have birth categories, persondata, hatnotes to dab pages, etc. Articles of this sort include Leopold and Loeb, Abraham, Murder of Stephen Lawrence, Lucy (Australopithecus), etc. (3) Dab pages are notoriously non-standard, and are often ignored by editors. I'd say 80% of dab pages are either not following the MoS in some way, usually minor, or are missing some clearly-needed entry. (4) My previous bot looked for all bolded terms in the first paragraph of biographical articles, plus the title itself, looking for possibly missing dab entries, and listed them for manual inspection and repair. People really enjoyed working on this. Similar initiatives will likely get high participation, especially if done with a monthly drive or something similar. (5) It is not always clear what dab entries are appropriate. If a man is named "Jeffrey Smith", but was never ever referred to as "Jeff Smith", should he be listed at a Jeff Smith dabpage? How about similar spellings, such as "Geoffrey Smith", or "Jeff Smyth" or "Geoffrey Schmidt"?
(added for this venue) I don't think it would hurt to have a hidden supercategory of "people", say. But what would be the benefit, over and above the current system wherein all people are given subcategories of Category:Births by year? – Quadell (talk) 15:07, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
The benefit of a single category is outlined in the 'Rabe' example I gave above. Click on that link and scroll down, and you will see how it is possible to query a category providing DEFAULTSORTs are used correctly. It is entirely possible that database reports and/or bot-generated reports will be more comprehensive, but I would like to see such lists compiled and refreshed permanently, not just as one-off projects. There will always be articles about people added to Wikipedia, and they represent around a fifth of the articles on Wikipedia. I accept that it can be debatable which spelling of the human name disambiguation page or surname set index page to use, but what I want is to aim for every biography article to be present on a human name disambiguation page or surname set index page where they exist, and for a separate list to exist of those biographies that are 'orphaned' (so to speak). There is a valid argument that many of the biography articles (especially the ones in the BLP category) are non-notable, but that should be addressed through AfD, not by leaving them off the set index and disambiguation pages. As a side note, it is possible to have a permanent record with periodic updates of the number of articles that are in the subcategories of Category:Births by year? It would be nice to track that over time. I would ask for a complete list of the articles in the subcategories of Category:Births by year, but I fear that is a bit too large. Should I just accept that Wikipedia is not set up to handle manipulation of large amounts of data and the generation of large indexes and lists (or is restricted to those with the technical ability)? Other data that it would be nice to know: how many human name disambiguation pages are there ({{hndis}}) and how many surname set index pages are there ({{surname}})? There may be an easy way to find out - the number of pages those templates are transcluded on, the number of pages in categories placed by those templates (Category:Human name disambiguation pages contains 35,268 pages and Category:Surnames contains 28,988 pages)? But I'd like there to be a page where that sort of information is documented at regular intervals. Either at Wikipedia:WikiProject Biography, or at Wikipedia:Biographical metadata or at Wikipedia:WikiProject Anthroponymy. Carcharoth (talk) 16:07, 5 February 2012 (UTC)

Cross checking categories[edit]

I find myself often wanting to check for things which fall into multiple categories, for instance I recently wanted to look for RPG's on the Sega Master System; the List of Sega Master System games article doesn't show genres however. What I would like to be able to do is check for games which are in both Category:Sega Master System games and Category:Role-playing video games at once. Or let's say I was looking for painters born in 1897 in Britain, then I'd like to be able to bring up a list somehow of people who are simultaneously in the Painters category, the people born in 1897 category, and people born in Britain category.

What I'd like to now is: is there currently a way to do this?(a feature or gadget that I'm unaware of), would anybody else be interested in a feature like this? what would be required to implement something like this?AerobicFox (talk) 21:53, 22 January 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia:CatScan is what you want. Yoenit (talk) 23:38, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
Thank you :) AerobicFox (talk) 00:32, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
Soapbox time: Time for me to get on my virtual soapbox and once again say that the entire category mentality needs to be rethought. As is, the categories are assigned "at will" by editors, just like content. That is done with total disregard for a rich base of research on ontology based systems. While content is subject to WP:V and WP:RS there seem to be no requirements for category assignment apart from an "it looks good to me" assessment by users. Some of the early success of Yahoo came from their ontology design, all carefully hand crafted with much effort. I have for long wished that Wikipedia would use some formal, carefully thought-out basis such as Wordnet's ontology, given that it was a serious Princeton project, and not a random design. As is, the Wikipedia category structure is the wild, wild west of scholarship... I do not expect it to change soon, but given enough soapboxing, it may eventually edge that way. History2007 (talk) 17:26, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
Consider DBpedia. --User:Ceyockey (talk to me) 20:06, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
In addition, some categories would not need to exist if intersection was integrated more tightly. Why have a separate Category:American actors‎ or another intersection if you have Category:American people and Category:Actors. To make this work, it would be important to provide an easy way to query. This would probably need to include both intersection categories that just query the underlying ones, and an ability to do ad hoc queries. This has been discussed before, but I don't have a link. Superm401 - Talk 05:23, 9 February 2012 (UTC)

Redirect procedure for non-notable articles[edit]

At the moment, often when New Page Patrolling, if one comes across an article which is not notable, is can be tagged for speedy deletion, PRODed, or nominated at AfD. There are, however, a number of cases where deletion is not the best option. A recurring example is articles on songs which are themselves not notable but should instead be redirected to the artist's article (when one exists). The problem is that these non-notable articles are often created by inexperienced users who are not familiar with our policies on notability (and, when appropriate, on songs). With all other articles, a deletion discussion can be initiated, which will result in a more permanent solution. However, with redirects, such discussions are much harder to have (and attracting attention to them is very difficult), so the article creator can often just revert the redirect. This can lead to a variety of problems, including edit wars, the retention of non-notable articles, and the use of AfD to settle these disputes. I therefore think that some kind of process in which an editor can nominate an article for redirection, in a central place (similar to how AfDs work) would be beneficial. This is because it would allow wider participation in these issues and deliver a more decisive result.

I am proposing this here because I can foresee potential problems. Firstly, the procedure which is used would need to be rigid enough to deliver decisive decisions, but flexible enough to perhaps allow speedy redirects, or something similar. In additions (and perhaps more importantly), this would need to be done in a way which does not bite new users; the majority of the users who create these non-notable articles are inexperienced, but good-faith editors who want to improve the encylcopedia. I'm hoping to get feedback and suggestions here, before I put the proposal to the community. Thank you. ItsZippy (talkcontributions) 17:49, 29 January 2012 (UTC)

This already exists. Your desired noticeboard for these discussions is located at WP:Proposed mergers. Your speedy redirect is called boldly WP:MERGEing the pages.
It is relatively rare for a new user to revert a redirect, especially if the merge is done in a way that WP:PRESERVEs the information they wanted to add. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:06, 9 February 2012 (UTC)

Alert1! - Single line articles[edit]

Issue - Many editors are creating single line pages on people which though meeting the notability requirements for their field are still too short to be encyclopedic (e.g. Herve Ebanda, Al-Arabi (Saudi Arabia, basketball club), Ohud Medina (basketball), Suo Ma, Jayson Rego etc.)
Why - This is showing a disturbing trend in Wikipedia where many editors are dumping pages with skeleton of data without putting any content. The assumption here is that Wikipedia readers are editors, so they will do the actual work. It also creates potential copyright issues as discussed below.

  1. Notabilty - granted that all individuals are notable as per speific notability guidelines in their fields but all of them fall into the "single event notability" category. Ten years down the line or even twenty, their might not be anything substantial to add to their profiles, which means that they can pottentially always lie around as low quality articles. Considering the number of such people the overall quality of Wikipedia will surely take a hit. Sports authors (editors) are highly allergic to developing team or club pages with short profiles of all players. please read the other issues before commenting on this.
  1. Copyright - Granted, the referenced sources have not been copied and pasted, but the page has little else. If the sources choose to do something (like change the wording of their page or worse, hire some good lawyers) then this will certainly become a copyright issue. And Finally...
  1. Fairness - My biggest concern is that this rewards the "smart workers" and not the "hard workers". Think of this as incentives. Its easy to create 20 skelleton pages and take credit for them, than write one good quality article. After all the smart workers will take credit for all articles that get marked as good later on, no matter which hard worker worked on them. How many users on Wikipedia are perfectly OK with that? Do we have any idea?

Arguments so far

  1. The pages are new and are being worked on - Actually all of these pages are almost a month old. Go check the history.
  2. You don't know much about the field - Granted, that's why I am on Wikipedia. Are you suggesting that i should use Google instead?
  3. This person is notable - I am not questioning the notability. I am questioning the content of the article. All notable people can be found on Google. You don't have to have an article in Wikipedia. If the entire significance of this person can be summarized in one line then Google is a better option
  4. I checked the copyrights section of the source page - Good for you, but if your article has 20 words and your referenced article has 20 words then any good lawyer can turn this into copyrights violation.

Suggested Action - create a seperate category and possibly even a BOT to track such pages and put them in this category. I think the community should decide what to do with these articles but for now lets start by measuring this problem — Preceding unsigned comment added by Wikishagnik (talkcontribs) 10:25, 5 February 2012 (UTC)

Creating a single line entry that is properly sourced and introduces a valid, notable topic is a common way to "get the ball rolling". WikiShagnik's concerns about these pages are confusing.
  1. He claims on the one hand that the individuals are properly notable, but on the other hand that their notability might be fleeting. Notability is not temporary. If an individual or topic is properly notable now, it will remain so.
  2. He is concerned about copyright violations. Not that the text is currently a copyright, but rather that the text is so brief that it is likely that someone will publish the same text in a copyrighted medium at some future time. This indicates a basic misunderstanding of the copyright laws. If the text was first published on Wikipedia, and someone uses the same text later someplace else, they cannot then claim copyright on the text because they didn't create it.
  3. He is concerned about "fairness" -- why is it fair for an author to claim authorship of lots of little articles when other authors work hard on creating larger, more detailed articles. As far as I know, there is no contest going on here. No one really cares how many big or little articles anyone creates here. If WikiShagnik is worried about this, he may need to take a break. WikiDan61ChatMe!ReadMe!! 12:32, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
I don't understand how wikidan can totally misunderstand me but let me try and explain again.
  1. I did not state temp notability. I stated single event notability which means that a person is notable for one event in their life. I did not state that their notability will go away, what i stated was that this will result in a lot of poor quality articles which lack biographical and other details considered to be a part of a good article, because people believe simply adding two sentences about a persons "notable achievement" is enough for an article
  2. I don't know of the concept of ball rolling. Normally before you create a new article you are advised to create a Draft, get it previewed and then if you need help you ask for it. All of these articles are more than a month old and nothing is going on with them. So where is the ball rolling to?
  3. No wikidan, to explain the issue I am quoting directly from Wikipedia:Copyright violations page Even inserting text copied with some changes can be a copyright violation if there's substantial linguistic similarity in creative language or structure (this can also raise problems of plagiarism). Such a situation should be treated seriously, as copyright violations not only harm Wikipedia's redistributability, but also create legal issues. I cant prove if pages are being copied but if the word count is not going up then something is not right. Check the pages. You will understand better
  4. Let me inverse this argument. If what you say is right then articles like this should not be a problem right. We all believe whats going on is fair and on later dates people should have contributed to these articles "from the goodness of their hearts" right? Go through the articles again. You don't find any substantial improvements for a month. My concept of fairness is not what I plan to teach here. This is a matter of common sense. Now lets visit argument No.1 again. Because of it I believe that these articles will stay of poor quality for quite some time. Wikishagnik (talk) 14:20, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
  • A start is a start. There is no deadline and we should not be worried if some articles aren't expanded in a month. As for the idea of getting "credit". We have FA, GA and DYK for editors who get articles to a certain standard. There is no comparable bling for those who simply create lots of stubs ϢereSpielChequers 14:28, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
  • The proposed solution does not solve the stated issues. Categorizing a huge number of articles doesn't somehow create more editors who will work on them. More to the point, WP:NODEADLINE and a month is hardly a lot of time. Wikipedia has had one-liner stubs for as far as it existed, and it hasn't collapsed since. In fact, quite the opposite, we get less new articles now; so I doubt the problem is as prominent as it is made out to be. Finally, nothing editors do should reflect on the actual article. If we start changing articles because editors cannot get along and claim "credit" or whatnot, then we have essentially failed the WMF Wikipedia mission. —  HELLKNOWZ  ▎TALK 14:48, 5 February 2012 (UTC)

Putting all of these articles into a category (ignoring any potential technical difficulties) would just create another unnecessary backlog. None of the issues that you raised are valid. Firstly, all of the articles you provided are notable. I understand your concern with one-event notability, but this is not the case here. WP:BLP1E exists to prevent articles on people who were in the news from something once, and then never again. That is not the case here - someone who is a professional sports player meets our guidelines for athletes' notability, often simply by being a professional sports player. They are not notable for just one event, but for who they are and what they do.

Secondly, there is no more of a problem with copyright than any other article. I see no reason why a single-line article is any more likely to be a copyright violation that any other article. You are correct that text which is only slightly different from the source is still problematic; however, that has no relationship with the size of the article. Big articles can be copyright violations and small articles may not be - I don't see the point here.

Finally, as others have said, there is no fairness issue. To be honest, if someone creates 400 stubs and writes about that on their user page, I'm happy - that's what they've done to help the encyclopedia. I have contributed to 4 Good Articles; some people have contributed to 40 Good Articles. This is not a competition and we should support people in their work here. If people get some kind of satisfaction from creating hundreds of articles, then that's great and they can do that. It means that the people who don't really like creating articles but get satisfaction from improving small/poor articles have hundreds of articles that they can improve.

If you want to improve some of our shortest articles, that is a great thing - take a look at our stub category. ItsZippy (talkcontributions) 16:27, 5 February 2012 (UTC)

Six or seven years ago, IIRC, this was far more common than it is now. And at least BLP stubs created these days get referenced or deleted very quickly. Furthermore, copyvio tends to be more of a problem with long new articles than very short ones. I don't see there's much of a problem here. --Dweller (talk) 20:23, 6 February 2012 (UTC)

A long time ago, in ancient Wikipedia history, some people thought stubs were bad. In fact they're vital to help start the editing process. However there is the problem of the so-called "permastub", a stub that cannot be expanded. These should usually be merged into other articles. Dcoetzee 00:44, 9 February 2012 (UTC)

What type of Wikipedian are you?[edit]

I was wondering. There is a test to show how addicted people are to Wikipedia. Could a quiz be created to decide best whether you fall into inclusionist, deletionist, eventualist etc or even indeterminatalist? Just for fun.Simply south...... having large explosions for 5 years 14:20, 6 February 2012 (UTC)

I hope not. Breaking people up into conflicting groups/wikiphilosophies is an unhelpful and destructive tendency, in my opinion. --Yair rand (talk) 14:34, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
There's Wikipedia:Wikipediholism test. But that doesn't really tell you whether you are a deletionist or inclusionist or whatever. Feel free to add some goofy questions about editing philosophy to it. —Tom Morris (talk) 15:55, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
I agree with Yair rand. Creating and taking tests that people up into groups like this is an exercise best left for social networks. People are, of course, allowed to self identify with a group, however that comes from self-reflection over a long period of time. Sven Manguard Wha? 16:20, 6 February 2012 (UTC) (Exclusionism leaning Precisionist, Immediatist, Mesopedian)
I also think this is unwise. I have no problem with people making this on separate sites, but I don't think it's good to publicize it on Wikipedia, since it will tend to encourage factionalism. Superm401 - Talk 05:29, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
I don't really think that is necessary. Deletionism, inclusionism, etc exist to allow users to identify with a certain mindset, but it is a free identification according to what a user believes at the time. A quiz like this would add more weight to the different positions; as this is not a political venture but a collaborative effort, there is no need for different viewpoints to be entrenched in this way. ItsZippy (talkcontributions) 20:08, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
Some users prefer not to broadcast their editing philosophy, while others describe it via userboxes on their userpage. Personally, I'm an exclusionist, with some inclusionist tendencies, and I use an exclusionist userbox. Not all users' definitions of their editing philosophies are going to be what's written on the Meta descriptive pages, and I think that, though a quiz would be fine, it would be potentially prone to inaccuracies when it comes to personal views. It seems to me that the userboxes and Meta pages are sufficient for now. dci | TALK 20:31, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
I think some people would enjoy a test like this, since people enjoy taking tests that supposedly characterise their position on issues. I'd say if you want to make it, just write it up on a user subpage, using a simple point system. If people like it I can convert it to an HTML form for you. Dcoetzee 00:41, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
True, and not a bad idea. My problem is this – by applying a point-system that makes a loose yet very intricate and non-exclusive set of criteria a very rigid thing, could a quiz mislead some editors? I'm not saying it wouldn't be fun, just that we'd be turning a complex thing into a "this equals this, no matter what" type of game. dci | TALK 03:07, 9 February 2012 (UTC)

engineering celebration[edit]

This is about a Fan. That is what I suggest we request from the celebrities (we, the engineers).

As for "fans" of GeorgeClooney, or just people concerned about his WikiPedia presence: it seems that award is not even mentioned, what to speak of what he said?

I'm not going to Push my identity here. Thanks for the pump, village.

I am not sure how else OperationChickenHawk could continue much longer... — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:26, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

More granular anchor links[edit]

When linking to a page it's hard to point out the specific portion of the article you intend to. The content links get you to a specific section, but that's as far as they go. I was wondering on the feasibility of having it so each paragraph inside could be tagged with an id so each could be linked directly with something like would link to section one, paragraph two (in this case: section one is "Anticline terminology" and paragraph two starts with "An anticline or antiform has a crest"). A completely autonomous implementation would be the goal so nothing would need to changed inside the articles.

Note: I don't really know if this is the right place for this suggestion. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:02, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

But what would happen when the order of sections changes, or one paragraph is split into two? Franamax (talk) 22:49, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
Yes, this would be very unstable. If you must link to a part of section for some reason then place a named anchor. PrimeHunter (talk) 22:54, 9 February 2012 (UTC)

A noticeboard about rude and abusive admins[edit]

Moved to Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)#A noticeboard about rude, abusive, or policy-abusing admins since it is a proposal. --Timeshifter (talk) 02:23, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
Improved the link. Quite a low quality move thing you did here, Ts. Any history avaiable for people? -DePiep (talk) 21:59, 10 February 2012 (UTC)

Create different categories of article deletion[edit]

I don't know if this was discussed before or not, but I was thinking that maybe deleted articles could be categorized according to the reason of their deletion. Articles deleted because of strict legal issues could be in one category where it's edit history never be seen again, articles deleted because of unquestionably inappropriate content could be in another category where only admins can even view its edit history, articles deleted simply because they don't belong to Wikipedia, with no dirty secrets about it could still have its history visible to people who just want to see (why not). I think this won't take up much more storage space because deleted histories are saved anyways. Without discriminating between deleted articles, Wikipedia does not appear as "open" as it claims to be since any article that merely lacks notability would have its edit history hidden like some kinda dark secret. When I look at really horrible articles that would be deleted, I would think the edit history of deleted articles must be kept hidden, and when I look at other articles that would be deleted, I don't see why that article's edit history should be hidden, but I used to tell myself that there has to be general solid rules, and that article's history must be deleted according to the rules. I never thought of the alternative of categorizing deleted articles so that there could be both general solid rules and separating really terrible writings from stuff that simply doesn't belong to Wikipedia, but does not have any dark secrets to hide in its edit history. I don't know why I never thought of this before, but I guess it's the same reason this categorizing isn't already in place. (talk) 03:10, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

See Wikipedia:Perennial proposals#Deleted pages should be visible. PrimeHunter (talk) 03:14, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
I'm rather sure that thing was probably decided upon the same reasoning I had before I thought of categorizing. I quote myself: When I look at really horrible articles that would be deleted, I would think the edit history of deleted articles must be kept hidden, and when I look at other articles that would be deleted, I don't see why that article's edit history should be hidden, but I used to tell myself that there has to be general solid rules, and that article's history must be deleted according to the rules. I never thought of the alternative of categorizing deleted articles so that there could be both general solid rules and separating really terrible writings from stuff that simply doesn't belong to Wikipedia, but does not have any dark secrets to hide in its edit history. I don't know why I never thought of this before, but I guess it's the same reason this categorizing isn't already in place. (talk) 03:52, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
And categorizing never implied making all deleted articles visible. I'm guessing that debaters of whether deleted articles should be visible were too involved to get the idea that it doesn't have to be a yes or not debate. (talk) 03:45, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
The links at Wikipedia:Perennial proposals#Deleted pages should be visible include suggestions to make some pages visible and not others. PrimeHunter (talk) 04:05, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
What links? The see also's? They don't seem to have any categorization, although there are unrelated suggestions of moving certain articles before deleting, and proposals of completely removing the concept of deletion to replace with page blanking, also obviously unrelated to making categories because the reason page blanking wont work is unrelated to making categories. (talk) 04:23, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
Look again. 3 of the 5 see also links have suggestions to make some deleted articles visible and not others: Wikipedia:Trash namespace, Wikipedia:Soft deletion, Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)/Persistent proposals/Straw poll for view-deleted#Part 2:What types of deletions should be viewable? Do I also have to point to specific sentences? PrimeHunter (talk) 14:47, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
You could have gave the dam link in your first reply, cause the article on the other suggestion was deep under an article with
I've been asked to step in and give the Foundation's legal view on this question. My view as the Foundation's general counsel is essentially the same as that outlined by Swatjester [below]. Allowing non-administrator users to have access to deleted pages would vastly increase the frequency and volume of legal complaints. (It could have even worse consequences than that in the long term, up to and including corrective legislation by Congress, which would be a disaster.) It is difficult to overstate how much legal and practical difficulty this would cause the Foundation. To be frank, community adoption of such a disastrous policy would create an actual emergency that would likely require Board intervention. I normally favor and support community-driven initiatives, so please believe me when I say I am not raising this set of concerns lightly. The current system is not broken -- so the best advice is 'don't fix it.'
on top which obviously implied no such suggestion of categories, and still the other two, Wikipedia:Trash namespace, and Wikipedia:Soft deletion only talks of moving articles to new categories instead of deleting: "Soft deletion" isn't what it sounds like, just another proposal to move to soft "deleted" material another category.
Lol, didn't Wikipedia accidentally, inadvertently, set up an excellent system for fooling users to thinking no such suggestion ever existed, and showing them it hidden deep in a maze of text so they'd think they're stupid and forget the whole thing instead of questioning nything... (talk) 03:43, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
nd I thought I was so creative too... You know when you walk into some room and 2 ppl are arguing over something and you think of a solution to satisfy both you get very disappointed when they say no. (talk) 03:44, 13 February 2012 (UTC)

Enforcement of "Please do not modify it" archival tags[edit]

Once a section has been marked as an archive, it is displayed with a "Please do not modify it" notice. My suggestion is to enforce this by disabling editing of sections (and pages) so marked, except by admins. — Loadmaster (talk) 20:08, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

I'm not sure this is necessary. Most editors are sensible enough not to edit a section that they've been told not to; those that do are often quickly reverted. I don't really see the need for a technical limitation on something that is not already a problem. ItsZippy (talkcontributions) 21:09, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
I don't know. We've had problems in the past with things like project namespace redirects getting vandalised, and because nobody watches the redirects, nobody spots it for months. In the project namespace, it seems slightly absurd not to semi/fully protect more. Lots of people have ANI on their watchlist, say, but how many have Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/IncidentArchive406? "The encyclopedia anyone can edit" is hardly undermined by not being able to edit archived talk pages from 2008. —Tom Morris (talk) 16:07, 13 February 2012 (UTC)

Admin Portal[edit]

Hello fellow Wikipedians. As a bit of background to introduce myself, I am a current student of Michigan State University and a participant in the Wikipedia Education Program under Teaching Fellow and MSU professor Dr. Obar. An overview of the course I am taking can be seen here: Wiki-Project Management. I have come here to discuss and gather ideas for a class project to design and produce a prototype framework of resources, tools, and communication for current Wikipedia administrators, and editors aspiring to become administrators. The framework will hopefully come to serve as a front page and one-stop shop for current and aspiring Wiki admins. If the project turns out to be a failure or if it is not something the community is looking for, we assume that the prototype will be scrapped. Currently, our project groups have come up with several ideas for what we might include in our designs, but with what little idea we have of Wikipedia's inner workings, it makes more sense to me to ask the involved community for input. Please discuss what thoughts you might have, and I will do my best to answer any questions that might come up. Vert3x (talk) 23:45, 9 February 2012 (UTC)

Hi, could you provide an example how such a framework would look? We already have some guides for administrators: Wikipedia:New admin school and Administrators Handbook. However, those are only useful for already appointed administrators, as normal users do not have the tools to block people or delete/protect pages. If I remember correctly your course is actually not about the administrative tasks, but about maintenance tasks (like reverting vandalism, new page patrol, participating in deletion discussions, etc). The only page which I know that tries to provide an overview of that is wp:Maintenance. Depending on how you define a framework you could see the whole wp:Project namespace as the framework for maintenance tasks. Finally, this particular page is poorly watched, you might get more response if you post a notice on the other village pumps asking people to comment here. Yoenit (talk)
Oh, we also have Wikipedia:Community portal, although I personally never use that. Yoenit (talk) 01:23, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
Thank you for your responses Yoenit. Unfortunately, my only clue to what the framework should be like is that it will probably be a Wikipedia page which contains some sort of bookshelf. From the assignment, we are not given much of a clue about what the end product should be like; we only have an idea of what we are trying to accomplish. I'm sorry if my previous description was a bit confusing, but I believe the assignment wants us to focus more on the "tutorial" aspect. After taking a look at the links you provided, I would say we are looking to create something like the Wikipedia:Community portal, but focused more for aspiring admins. Our class will not actually be doing any administrative or maintenance tasks from what I understand; our only assignment is this project. Thanks again for your input; if I missed any of your points, please remind me, as I am afraid I was a bit vague. Also, I am still a bit new to Wikipedia; might I inquire how I would go about posting a notice on the other village pumps (and where/which village pumps)? Vert3x (talk) 06:25, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
Ah oke. You might have already guessed that the village pumps are the closest thing to a regular forum Wikipedia has. Because of size it is split in five separate pages. If you go to the top of this page ("home" key) you can see links to the other ones: Technical, Proposals, Policy, Miscellaneous. I suggest leaving messages on Proposals & Policy pages pointing people here (start a new section, "Hi, I started a discussion about [...] at wp:VPI#Admin Resource Page, please comment."). Yoenit (talk) 07:44, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
There is also {{Admin_dashboard}} and WP:Dashboard.--v/r - TP 14:10, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
I keep a log of things to do or review at User:Reaper Eternal/Console. Reaper Eternal (talk) 14:30, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
I see that there are obviously many Admin tools already in place. In this case, I suggest that my team will attempt to gather these different pages and explain their usage as part of an Admin Tutorial Portal instead. Vert3x (talk) 14:36, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
Another idea worth considering. Admins generally have their area of interest. For example, I partake mostly in deletion discussions: either at WP:CSD, WP:AFD, or WP:DRV. What you might try doing is tailoring several different tools that target specific admin interests. So your research project could be to discuss what areas interest specific admins and what tools they use. Then you go out and create a portal that contains subpages with specific dashboards to specific areas of interest. Also include a "General Dashboard" with general areas of interest. What do you think about that?--v/r - TP 18:22, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
I think that is a great idea. I will communicate this immediately with my team. And before I forget, do any of you think that the current set of tutorials for Admins is not enough or needs to be revised? My professor has communicated to the class that he believes Wikipedians are looking to expand the amount of admins on the site with the correct mentality, attitude, and training, so I am hoping that the project might be able to address that in some way. Vert3x (talk) 18:40, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Idea Lab discussion: Admin Portal Sounds like a great idea. Jeepday (talk) 11:39, 11 February 2012 (UTC)
  • We have a bunch of admin resources already, I'm sure that a fresh pair of eyes on them would spot some worthwhile updates, especially jargon busting. But the wiki way is for editors to collaborate in improving that which has gone before and only create new things where there are perceived gaps. If you start from the assumption that we don't already have such resources, or that a bunch of non-wikipedians could create something so much better than the wikipedians have already created, then you are setting yourself up to fail. As for having a group of students collaborate off wiki to change things here, I'd suggest you read wp:canvass. Students are very welcome to edit here, this is afterall the encyclopaedia that anyone can edit. But I'd suggest that you spread yourselves amongst different articles and projects and learn to collaborate with other wikipedians rather than just classmates. Great to ask each other how to fix things you are stumped with such as syntax and jargon. But try to avoid having multiple students from the same course edit the same page, otherwise you risk wikipedians on that page feeling ganged up on and in worst case scenarios getting students getting blocked as meatpuppets. ϢereSpielChequers 12:41, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
I agree, and posted a similar critique at Wikipedia:Village_pump_(proposals)#Idea_Lab_discussion:_Admin_Portal, where this has now moved. Sven Manguard Wha? 14:36, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
I am sorry if it sounded like we are trying to fix something that doesn't need to be fixed, but that is not why I am here. The "Admin Portal" title might be misleading, but it is only there because I needed something to call the section. All that I am asking is for ideas that I might revise my project into something that might be useful in some way to Wikipedia. If there is already a page for something that I mentioned, I welcome links and criticism. By all means, please tell me what admins already have so that I will not create something unncessary. But if we simply cannot find something that Wikipedians will endorse, I am afraid that our project will have to be useless. On the other hand, if you think that Admins do not need any more resources, perhaps you could suggest something else our class could attempt. This has all been very informative, and I am glad I came to ask you all before starting the project. Thank you. Vert3x (talk) 18:40, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
Hi Vert3x, helping out with admin tools would be difficult for a group of people who don't have admin rights on their accounts. There are various training modules and instruction pages that could do with review, but really they need review by people who have experience of using the tools concerned. I suspect there is also a flaw in the approach, yes there are circa 750 active editors with admin rights, but many of us rarely use the admin tools or are actively editing something we care about and occasionally help out in one or more specific admin queues. Of those who are active as admins I suspect that many have a personalised dashboard such as User:WereSpielChequers/dashboard, the idea being that this contains some stuff that is relevant to the aspects of adminship that each admin gets involved in. An admin portal sounds more like something for those who concentrate on being admins, getting involved in every aspect of adminship and doing little else here. I rather hope that such a portal is unneeded. Where I think that a clueful external input would be invaluable is in looking at our processes from the perspective of a newbie, pointing out the jargon so that it can be explained and generally trying to make this site more understandable for new editors. If you and your colleagues were to help out in that I would hope that great things would come of the process - but please try to spread yourselves so that existing editors on various pages don't feel outnumbered. If you can do that and make sure that your discussion about changes is always done on wiki in the appropriate talkpages then I'm sure you'll find yourselves involved in some very interesting collaborations. ϢereSpielChequers 15:58, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
Thanks WSC for your post. We will be interviewing many Wikipedia Admins around the end of the month in order to address our lack of experience with using tools. As for personalized dashboards, would it be helpful to create tutorials or templates in order to encourage newer admins to be more engaged in adminship? Vert3x (talk) 16:41, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
We have very few new admins. Last year we had 52 successful RFAs and this year I predict 30-36, as the number of new admins per year has been falling by a third each year for some years. The few new admins that we do get tend to include a number who then become our more active admins, I'm not convinced that our problem is a lack of engagement from the precious few new admins that we do still get, I suspect that burnout is a bigger risk there than lack of engagement. There is a much larger group of admins who actively edit but rarely use the tools, another large group who are not very active but are admins, and some hundreds of former admins who no longer edit but could readily resume adminship if they were to return. Encouraging those three groups and particularly the latter two to re-engage with their adminship strikes me as potentially more productive.
As for tutorials, I've long believed that there is a substantial need for training, ideally Computer Based Training for the various admin tools. Many, perhaps most, admins specialise in particular subsets of the tools. Improved training modules would make it easier for existing admins to shift focus, and just as importantly for inactive and former admins to return. The wiki is barely eleven years old, we have circa 750 active admins and nearly twice that number semiactive, inactive or retired; In total over two thousand individuals who have admin rights or could readily resume them if they restarted editing. If we can re-energise a proportion of them each year and also minimise the loss of those that we have, then we have a realistic chance of having at least the minimum amount of admin actions to keep this site running for decades. By contrast the RFA process is broken beyond reasonable expectation of repair and there seems little prospect of it contributing significantly to either renewing or maintaining admin numbers; So rather than focus on our newer admins and those few new admins we hope to get in future, I'd suggest that we concentrate on admin retention. The editors who became admins during the four years from March 2004 to March 2008 are likely to remain the bulk of our admin community for the foreseeable future, increasing the quality of their refresher training and the efficiency of their tools is in my view a more practical and realistic task than further attempts to reform RFA. ϢereSpielChequers 00:28, 16 February 2012 (UTC)

Civility Squad - an idea for improving the culture at wikipedia[edit]

Hello, I am pondering the creation of a civility squad with the sole power to tag talk page comments with "Remember to Play Nice" (RTPN), or some sexier something with the same meaning. The only two goals are to provide

  • (1) educational self-reflection for all editors somewhat akin to a request for user conduct, and
  • (2) a way for editors to easily navigate to conversations where an extra effort at civility and consensus on their part could help get things back on track.

Members of the civility squad would need to be nominated, and confirmed, and all they would do is make RTPN tags where they think

  • (A) tone and word choice work against a collaborative atmosphere, and
  • (B) a good question was asked but no answer was given after a reasonable period of time.

Regarding the latter, IMO silences are often indicative of some sort of not-nice behavior. Sure there are levers one can pull to deal with someone else's not-nice behaviors, but this idea is about preventing difficulties in the first place. Ideally, the possibility of being tagged for silence in the face of a really good question would reduce the number of editors who got involved in the thread on a whim or for battle etc but not because they have a genuine commitment to improving the article. Also, tagging for silence in face of good questions might provide impetus to work towards consensus even with people we do not especially like, personally.

Individual editors should be able to see a iist of DIFFS where that editor received an RPTN, sort of like a watchlist. This serves two goals: (A) Educational, so the editor in question can get feedback on their own civility and diligence in collaborating until a consensus is reached; and (B) easy navigation to conversations that need some improved attention. Admins and members of the Civility Squad should be able to see an editors RTPN list also, but it should be invisible to 3rd party editors (just like watchlists) because making them all public opens the door to stalking tactics by 3rd parties.

Ideally when reading talk pages any given RTPN tag would be invisible except to the logged-in editor that received it, members of the civility squad, and admins. Otherwise they become ammunition for not-nice tactics by 3rd parties.

Breaking with privacy and discretion, we could also attempt to reform (thru shame) any editor who receives some pre-defined threshold of RTPN tags, for example, they receive more than X tags in the last Y months. If that happens, maybe their own talk page gets a big REMEMBER TO PLAY NICE banner, or they might automatically go to request for review of user conduct. Lots of other ideas come to mind also.

I have not given any thought to questions about whether to allow appealing tags, how to prevent abuse by members of the Civility squad, or whether to allow editors to request tagging of someone else's remarks.

Thoughts? Is this worth developing further? NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 07:39, 13 February 2012 (UTC)

No. Malleus Fatuorum 08:04, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
Shop management compel shop assistants to "play nice" with the customers (there's several threads on Something Awful on this theme). We're not shop assistants, and a blanket imposition of some kind of managerial civility code is going to be deleterious. Ning-ning (talk) 08:21, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
Whilst I agree that incivility is a problem, I'm not convinced that such a squad would be a worthwhile solution. I prefer the idea that we are, or should be, a self policing community. On that basis our policies on civility and indeed personal attacks are the responsibility of us all and not a particular squad of civility police. As for the idea of tagging such comments, please remember not to template the regulars as it is considered incivil. If an editor writes something that you consider to be incivil the appropriate thing to do is either to ignore it, or to comment on their talkpage requesting that they reword their comment and explaining which words you'd rather they not use and why. Slapping a template on that highlights the phrase without explaining what your concern is would IMHO be incivil. ϢereSpielChequers 10:08, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
  • This would make Wikipedia more entertaining for persons unable to write articles or uninterested in writing articles and more painful for writers. We have enough Barney Fifes and Gomer Pyles here already.  Kiefer.Wolfowitz 14:04, 13 February 2012 (UTC)

If such positions were nominated and confirmed by the general community then their mandate (re: enforcing civility) would be not much different from that of admins and if the current administrators are unable and/or unwilling to persuade certain individuals to maintain civility then a dedicated team (elected in the same manner, by the same core of regular editors) is unlikely to have much more success. I also think that the proposal would rely overly-much on uncivil editors having a constructive attitude, i.e. wanting to improve their behaviour. And I've seen little evidence of such individuals having the potential for such mature attitudes. As for reforming through shame, there are sadly quite a few self-righteous pricks who take inordinate pride in rants and userpage displays relating to how they've been "persecuted" for "trying to make Wikipedia a better place" (etc. etc. etc.) and no doubt they'd delight in the attention they'd receive through attempts to publicly shame them. I appreciate the idea though ŞůṜīΣĻ¹98¹Speak 10:50, 13 February 2012 (UTC)

Maybe it could be just another tool in the regular admins toolbox? NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 13:32, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
I'd suggest that Wikipedia's fundamental problem isn't incivility, it's incompetence. Malleus Fatuorum 12:20, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
I've got to say, I'm a no on this too. This isn't the way to deal with incivility, the best way is talking to the "culprit" and discussing things. Templates will only serve to antagonise. What's more, since we don't have a clearly defined civility policy, and elected individuals will lead to either a cabal (in elected from within), or groupthink (if without). Either way, I don't see an enforcement group as the way to fix things.WormTT · (talk) 14:27, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
I agree, to an extent, with Worm, however I think that he puts far too much stock in 'talking to "culprits"', and I tend to be more skeptical than he is about the ability to convert habitually misbehaving users to ones that can work with the rest of us. I'm not sure what the answer is, but I know it's not a civility police force. Sven Manguard Wha? 14:34, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
It wouldn't work. An emotionally sound, mentally mature editor would be too wise to join the Wikipedia Civility Squad. Actually it would draw emotionally immature editors with control issues. Slap a badge on them and this place would get even more irritating than it sometimes is already. Gandydancer (talk) 14:37, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
Perhaps ARBCOM's forthcoming conclusion of their civility enforcement case will set a clear precedent on how the issue should be approached by administrators. ŞůṜīΣĻ¹98¹Speak 14:41, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
And probably it won't. Malleus Fatuorum 15:53, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
Though it is great to see people enthusiastic about improving civility at Wikipedia, I don't think that this is the right way to go about it. On the whole, people are uncivil either because of their personality, because they are in a stressful situation, or (most commonly) a combination of the two. People with an uncivil personality are unlikely to reacts well to being templated as uncivil - these are the people who tend not to like discussions on civility at all. If they are naturally uncivil, they probably don't want to improve what they don't see as a problem. On the other hand, people who are in stressful situations and acting with poor judgement generally don't respond well to being told as much. If someone is upset, an impersonal tag on their posts won't make things better. A gentle, personal note on an individual basis can work, as it allows people to take into account the situation and the person involved; a catch-all tag will just antagonise. As I said, it cheers me to see proposals for improving civility; however, I believe that a cultural shift is needed more than any policy change (don't ask me exactly how - it's one of Wikipedia's greatest enigmas). ItsZippy (talkcontributions) 16:25, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
  • I have to agree that a civility patrol probably wouldn't have the intended consequence. As you point out, some people are just unpleasant by nature and there's not really a short-term fix for that condition. I do manage to keep my own talk page at least somewhat civil by the simple expedience of warning visitors that any negativity will be flushed, then proceeding to do so. It seems to cut down on unpleasant exchanges. (Plus I've tried to work on improving my own digital diplomacy. Face-smile.svg) Regards, RJH (talk) 17:52, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
  • So, in short, this would be a function by which individual members of a yet another elected/chosen bureaucracy could basically slap a "neener neener neener" tag on someone who failed to make a comment that didn't meet the squad member's thresh hold. And then what? Yeah, no. I can't see any result from this but needless antagonization, and likely the ironic result of driving people away. Resolute 16:34, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
There are several possible causes of perceived incivility; sometimes it's that the person fully intended to be uncivil, sometimes it arises from a misunderstanding, sometimes it's a reaction to what the other person has said, either person can have misunderstood something about where the other one was coming from (or they both can!). Also, it's worth reading this thread on Jimbo's talk. Wikipedia is an attractive place to a lot of highly intelligent people who would rather stay in and edit than go out and party. So quite a few of us in here have some glitches on the autism spectrum, and it's always worth bearing in mind either that the person one's talking to is having trouble getting a handle on what one's saying in the way one's saying it, or (possibly) that one is somewhere on that spectrum oneself, and not aware of it! That can be a major cause of communication breakdown - and one you're more likely to come across in Wikipedia than among the general population. A Civility Squad isn;t the answer; the answer is a really clearly defined and totally impossible to misunderstand civility policy, applied equally to all. Pesky (talk) 18:51, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
  • No sir/ma'am. Drmies (talk) 23:28, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
This is a great idea, and it's nice to see someone working on developing positive initiatives, but this might rub some people the wrong way. Seasoned editors might be a bit embarrased, newer ones might be offended and deterred from editing. This isn't something to throw under the bus, but I don't think we're ready as a community for it now. dci | TALK 23:48, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
  • To hell with this idea. People should concern themselves with writing articles, rather than making it their duty to become sanctimonious pricks. Parrot of Doom 10:54, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Every single editor is, in theory, a member of the civility squad already. WQA deals with "problem communication", and admins block for egregious violations. ArbCom is (in theory) discussing civility overall right now. Heck, I even created a special Civility Welcome Template ages ago (talk→ BWilkins ←track) 13:08, 14 February 2012 (UTC)

Make all pages edit forms when visual editor is complete[edit]

mw:Extension:VisualEditor When this is complete, how about make every editable page this visual editor, so everyone has a chance to edit? This would be disabled on blocks/protection/etc. . This would be a great way to attract new users.Jasper Deng (talk) 07:00, 14 February 2012 (UTC)

I believe that that is the intention. --Yair rand (talk) 10:49, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
Yuck! I hope that can be disabled! Reaper Eternal (talk) 13:48, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
I would not mind it as a default, but I certainly want the ability to disable it. Novice editors will benefit from the ability to edit without needing to learn markup. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 14:52, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
Same here. I also hope it doesn't manage to break things in actual use, either by screwing up the wikitext (or making massive amounts of minor formatting changes) or by "crashing" in some manner when fed hand-edited wikitext. Anomie 15:03, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
They are definitely making it so that it can be disabled, and so that it doesn't break anything, and so that it doesn't make "massive amounts of minor formatting changes" (aka "dirty diffs"). --Yair rand (talk) 15:18, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
Definitely, we should also have visual diffs as well in addition to our current text diffs. @Reaper Eternal: It can be disabled, with the intention being that it would be the normal read-only version if something like a block or page protection is stopping the editing.Jasper Deng (talk) 20:17, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
I seriously doubt that it'll be enabled for every page at once. Phased rollout is very much the WMF's style. Minimizes the damage minimal if something goes wrong. Of course if it works fine, it'll get implemented project-wide. Sven Manguard Wha? 14:35, 16 February 2012 (UTC)

Creating articles from redirects for new users[edit]

Recently, while working at the Help Desk, I've noticed a few users struggling to create an article on a subject which already exists, but as a redirect. When they type the name of their desired article into the search box, it redirects them to a different article (and the small text telling them about the redirect is often missed). I think something bigger which notified users when they are redirected, which a much clearer message regarding how to get to the redirect page and how to turn that into an article would be useful to new editors. What do people think? ItsZippy (talkcontributions) 21:29, 14 February 2012 (UTC)

At first glance, this situation seems to be a corner case for a small number of inexperienced editors. I'd expect most visitors to a page are there to read the article, so they should really be the priority here. At present the redirect message is small and out of the say, rather than cluttering up the header. (I wish the same were true of the hatnotes.) Maybe we need a wizard mode to make helpful suggestions to new editors who have registered with Wikipedia? Or maybe this can be an account-based configuration option? Regards, RJH (talk) 22:31, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
I don't deny that this will effect a minority of people visit a page. However, those in the minority are the most likely to become good content editors in the future. They are inexperienced, but they are only inexperienced because they've not been around for long; we can't expect them to stay around much longer if it is seemingly very complex to create the article they want to (and, with no prior knowledge of redirects, it is). I don't think a massive banner would be appropriate; perhaps just an extra link near the top which says 'Create an article on [title].' I'm not entirely sure what might work (which is why I'm in the idea lab), but it would be useful to have something which says this is how to create the article you want. ItsZippy (talkcontributions) 13:59, 15 February 2012 (UTC)
Well I can't really argue with your statements about inexperienced editors because we're making assessments based on supposition rather than data. I guess if they arrived at the article via the redirect, then mayhap it would be okay to modify the message since it only affects others who follow the same route. Perhaps a tab could be inserted at the top saying Edit redirect, when appropriate. That may serve the purpose but not get in the way of the article header. Regards, RJH (talk) 19:58, 15 February 2012 (UTC)
That's what I was thinking, yes. Perhaps only a small change, but a change to the redirect message which clearly states both how to get to the redirect, and how to 'create' an article out of a redirect. ItsZippy (talkcontributions) 11:24, 16 February 2012 (UTC)
I can only re-iterate my dislike of adding low-priority clutter at the top of an article. Using an extra edit tab at the top and/or a mouse-over message on the redirect link would be okay though. Thanks. Regards, RJH (talk) 23:42, 16 February 2012 (UTC)

Option to *not* view Wikipedia in widescreen format?[edit]

Is there no way that we can have an option to have Wikipedia NOT use the full width of a wide screen. It makes it particularly hard to read if the lines are 30-40 cm long! — Preceding unsigned comment added by Per.stefansson (talkcontribs) 22:09, 18 February 2012 (UTC)

Have you tried resizing your browser? →Στc. 22:10, 18 February 2012 (UTC)
You are not alone in finding Wikipedia pages in widescreen annoying, I agree it's harder to read. What I usually do is when my browser window comes up in widescreen, I click "Shrink" (or whatever it is called in English, I am not using an English language system), the button to the left of the close (X) button. If that doesn't yield the desired result, I just drag the browser window with my mouse cursor in order to make it smaller. Toshio Yamaguchi (talk) 01:15, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
Go to your .css (User:YOU/common.css‎):
#content {
width: 800px !important;

something like that. choose whatever width you want. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 09:34, 19 February 2012 (UTC)

Page cloning[edit]

I just had a suggestion about a translation facility to create a new page from an existing English-written page into different languages so the contributors can easily use it create the same information in their own language. However, I received a reply from Wikipedia that this is not applicable due to problems that translator tools have and they usually garble the text. So I think that makes sense.

But what I'm trying to suggest now is actually a facility that I call it page-cloning. With this, a contributor can clone an existing English page (or in any language) by selecting a target language, and the result is a new page that looks exactly the same but the contributor should now translating the text while he/she can keep the structure as the same. So they don't need to do a lot of work to define citation or building the appearance of the page, all they need to do is translating the text inline. This reduces almost 40 percent of the effort to create a page. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:32, 21 February 2012 (UTC)

It's possible that what you're talking about already exists on Wikipedia. Take a look at Help:Import — is this what you'd like to see? Nyttend (talk) 00:04, 24 February 2012 (UTC)

Persondata backlog done by bot[edit]

Category:Persondata templates without short description parameter has 600,000+ articles. I have two ideas of how to knock the number down. Both involve bots.

Thoughts? BCS (Talk) 02:28, 21 February 2012 (UTC)

Bear in mind that the category is actually going down rather than up, by about several thousand a week - and that's just with semi-automatic editing. I actually rather like a combination of both ideas - a bot to automatically describe articles by WikiProject, and to guess at the rest of the templates for human editors to confirm/deny.
For idea 2, you could also proceed by infobox as well as category/project - articles using {{infobox football biography}} are probably footballers, {{infobox musical artist}} is probably a musician, and so on. 1ForTheMoney (talk) 11:53, 21 February 2012 (UTC)
Whoops, I just assumed the number was going up. I like your hybrid concept, Infoboxes would be better than WikiProjects because WikiProject football people could be either {{Infobox football player}} or {{Infobox football official}}, and the football player infobox can be for either players or coaches, so a multi-step checking system is needed. However, some projects could work in one step like WP Reggae would be all Reggae musicians. Also, do you think this is ready for Village Pump proposals? BCS (Talk) 03:14, 22 February 2012 (UTC)
There have been similar discussions about this problem before - this is one, but searching discussions from Archive 4 onwards will reveal plenty more. The hybrid concept was designed for people who are notable for more than one thing (actors who are also musicians, people in more than one sport, etc.), but while infoboxes are normally chosen for a person's primary role some multi-level checking is definitely required. 1ForTheMoney (talk) 12:32, 22 February 2012 (UTC)
The discussion does not mention infoboxes, so I'm guessing this is the first of that kind. I was agreeing with you, by the way. I think this is ready to go to WP:VPP, right? BCS (Talk) 21:22, 22 February 2012 (UTC)
Probably because I'm the one who suggested it in the first place. And yes, I guess you can submit this as a proposal (and hopefully get more editors to comment!) 1ForTheMoney (talk) 21:50, 22 February 2012 (UTC)
I just thought of this but maybe stubs as well as infoboxes? That should be specific enough thanks to the work of WikiProject Stub Sorting. I planned to move this to VPP because I want more editors to comment! What a brilliant idea. Thank you for your input. BCS (Talk) 22:03, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

Search box at bottom of page[edit]

I was just wondering if there was anyway Wikipedia could add a search box to the very bottom of the page just like the one at the top of the page. A lot of times, I will be looking at long articles and be in the bottom of the pages looking at references and it would be nice that if something struck my mind to look at I wouldn't have to scroll all of the way to the top. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:09, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

Try Help:Searching from a web browser. You can set your browser to use the Wiki search engine.
⋙–Berean–Hunter—► 20:50, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

Positions of trust[edit]

I have recently been notified that I must identify to WMF or be removed from a position of trust I hold. It is reasonable to me and I will shortly accede the demand. It occurs to me that administrators should be no less required, for the same reasons expressed to me. In fact it is remiss to require me, an account creator to identify while exempting the larger group of admins who have the same right bundled. My76Strat (talk) 05:00, 9 February 2012 (UTC)

Note for clarification from WMF
The identification was required of those with access to the account creation tool, not the right. That tool gave access to data that was covered under the access to non-public data policy, which is a Foundation-wiki Board codified policy. Administrators do not have access to the same private information, and are not, therefore, required to identify to the Foundation. Philippe Beaudette, Wikimedia Foundation (talk) 01:20, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
Personally I have no problem identifying to the WMF, but the obvious concern is whether a significant number of the admins doing the heavy lifting at AIV and elsewhere might just say "no thanks" and we'd be out some valuable volunteers for no appreciable benefit. 28bytes (talk) 05:25, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
May I ask why you believe it is needed? What problems would it solve? jonkerz ♠talk 05:27, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
Notified by whom? Someone with an official WMF account? Nyttend (talk) 06:52, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
I first saw the message when I logged on to toolserve and there was a red message stating that after 1 week if I hadn't identified I would lose the permission. I asked in the irc channel for ACC when the week expired and was told Monday. As I stated I have no problem meeting the request. It does however strike me as odd that administrators who are more exposed to personal information than me would be exempt. Additionally the mandate requires that I be at least 18 years old. Fine, that is reasonable, but again, perhaps our admins should also be at least 18, though I would propose 25. I understand this concept wouldn't be well received, but hey, I can see some benefits too. So I proposed the idea here. I suspect it will be shot down and that is also fine, I'm use to that. Meanwhile I'll simply do what I am being required to do while consensus forms to explain how wrong a notion it is. Cheers - My76Strat (talk) 08:22, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
That would exclude me from the admin corps for a long time, and so far I'd like to think I've done a decent job.... Reaper Eternal (talk) 14:36, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Aside from deleting two of my articles, of course. Drmies (talk) 23:36, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
I think you are a good administrator and see your character as rather strong. Your example serves a persuasive argument against. I have stricken the portion where I suggested 25 years old because it is stretching reason. I truly do however believe 18 is a reasonable threshold, but consensus may be clearly against this. My76Strat (talk) 14:48, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
I personally have no problem identifying to the Foundation – I actually already have. However, as members of the account creation team, we have access to non-public information about editors (e-mail and IP addresses), to which we, as admins, have no access whatsoever. We can discuss whether or not having access to articles deleted per G10 is more sensitive than seeing an IP, but under the current Privacy Policy, admins have no access to data that would require them to identify to the Foundation. Salvio Let's talk about it! 12:38, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
Thank you Salvio, that is a very good point. In fact I better understand the situation myself as it was explained to me after my last post that in fact it is the toolserver access I would lose not the AC permission. Consequently an admin who does have the AC flag, does not inherently have with it, toolserver access. So I am glad to see this point corrected for perspective. Nevertheless, as it did occur to me that it seemed reasonable for admins to identify for similar reasons of trust. I hope conversation will continue regarding this idea, in case it does emerge as a supported notion. And thanks to those offering comments thus far. My76Strat (talk) 13:29, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
@My76Strat - My understanding is that the requirement to identify for ACC was due to the nature of the ACC tool rather than the nature of MediaWiki accountcreator right. Users of the tool itself have to identify. Can you clarify?--v/r - TP 14:25, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
Yes, this is the case. This isn't because it is a position of trust, but rather because they have access to non-public data under the WMF's policy. They want to make sure that only people over 18 and who have known identity are able to see people's IP addresses, which is what ACC on TS can do. Admins can't see non-public information (by definition of what the right includes) and therefore don't need to be identified. MBisanz talk 14:27, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
FWIW they check your identity and age, then delete that data. Being "identified" makes no comment about your age, and your name is not stored. I suppose with permission the foundation could pass on this age detail to the ACC admins. But really identification is a "meh" thing, security theatre. --Errant (chat!) 00:52, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
  • I see no reason why we should institutionalize age discrimination, already a problem at RfA, by making identification mandatory for adminship. As for upping the age to 25, that's a terrible idea, it cuts off a large group of users (college students), and offers no benefit to the project. Sven Manguard Wha? 14:47, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
    • Honestly, I don't believe that to require all admins to be at least 18 is age discrimination... Actually, I would consider it a very sensible idea, as admins have access to material which was deleted and can block other editors: maturity should be mandatory. Salvio Let's talk about it! 15:01, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
Well, one could argue that maturity is not always proportional to age, but requiring admins to be above 18 isn't a very bad idea after all. Admins frequently have to view offensive and sometimes sexually explicit material; something which may not be legal in their country of residence. Lynch7 15:05, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
It's not our job to hold viewers hands and coddle them and prevent them from seeing "bad things". This should apply even less for users. Sven Manguard Wha? 15:12, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
I agree, but I consider it our job to make sure that admins are mature and professional. And a 14-year-old generally is not; he's just a kid and should not have access to the admin toolset. Salvio Let's talk about it! 15:16, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
I agree with that, but a 14-year-old wouldn't possibly have the maturity or "capability" (that isn't the correct word, but for my life I can't think of the correct one to use!) to pass RFA anyway. You can tell just by reading the requests at WP:RFPERM the approximate age of each user. Reaper Eternal (talk) 15:28, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
I agree it is unlikely a 14 year old could pass RfA, but not impossible. One positive thing that would automatically ensue involves the allegations that "kids are in charge" which I have seen levied. A requirement to identify would allow that kind of innuendo to be dismissed out of hand. My76Strat (talk) 15:54, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
Actually we do have quite a few young admins, even young 'crats. You just don't know because they're highly professional, or as some people like to say "mature". Sven Manguard Wha? 16:14, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
I would strongly oppose placing an age requirement for administrators. There are many teenagers out there who are incredibly responsible, and are highly-trusted by families, schools, and communities. I see no reason why we cannot extend this same amount of trust to responsible editors on Wikipedia who would like to receive additional abilities so that they can help keep Wikipedia moving along efficiently. Some say that teenagers aren't mature and may be faced with inappropriate material that they cannot handle. This may be true in some instances, but it is equally likely that a disruptive adult editor could have a less-than-desired reaction or post an inappropriate item on this website. Wikipedia should be proud that young people would like to help keep it clean and moving along, and should not be trying to restrict them from doing good work. dci | TALK 17:52, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
What we should be proud of and how we should build infrastructure are two different things. My76Strat (talk) 06:31, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
What I do as an admin really has no requirement for me to identify to the Foundation; period. (talk→ BWilkins ←track) 10:37, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Although admins are a position of trust, we don't really have any secret special access that requires identification. We're way closer to users with additional privileges than traditional network or system administrators. We're closer to "moderators" in that sense on a traditional forum software. The traditional administrator would be closer to someone who wore all hats (checkuser, sysop, steward, crat and oversight) and even then that falls short of the traditional administrator role on a website.--v/r - TP 14:15, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
  • I believe that the current criteria for admins should remain in place for some time, with no new additions like age requirements. For admins who act terribly immature or in bad faith, I'd go with the plan linked below, in the next section. I think it's on the Proposals page now. dci | TALK 21:23, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Out of curiosity, how would this affect an admin under the age of 18 now who has already passed RFA? Would he be required to step down? And if so, would he be required to re-run through RFA after reaching 18 and identifying? Reaper Eternal (talk) 22:23, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
  • While particulars would require development, I believe there would be strong support to not require a second RfA. More than likely, once a deadline was set, any who remain unidentified on the deadline would be suspended, and the tool reinstated when they did identify. Honestly I don't anticipate it happening but then again, last week I had no idea it would be required of me. So it is worth considering. My76Strat (talk) 22:45, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
    • If we must have an age requirement, I would be fine with it being for bureaucrats, as their userright involves even more abilities. I will still strongly oppose any age requirement for administrators that advances to a further stage. dci | TALK 02:30, 11 February 2012 (UTC)