Wikipedia:Village pump (idea lab)/Archive 7

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Wikipedia needs a training ground

One of the most pressing problems facing Wikipedia at the moment is declining editorship. This is largely due to the fact that Wikipedia has become an unwelcoming place for new editors unfamiliar with the rules and mores we've developed over the years. The "Article feedback tool" was one method tried to remedy this, but it has proven largely a joke, at least for the articles I edit. A better idea, I think, would simply be to make Wikipedia more welcoming to visitors. Right now, the "how to" sections on Wikipedia are faceless, intimidating blocks of text, hidden behind tiny search icons on the side of the page. What is needed is a user-friendly interactive website, complete with audio, video and its own cadre of dedicated users who will handhold new editors through their first attempts. I would also suggest a "training ground" be set up consisting of ~1000 duplicate articles on which new editors can be politely led through the dos and don'ts without getting their heads bitten off by irate editors. Serendipodous 08:23, 19 February 2012 (UTC)

I agree - Wikipedia has become quite old-fashioned in how it runs - it is not obvious how it works. Many successful website now make it incredibly easy to do something (consider Facebook's removal of the send button in favour or just pressing Enter, or Google Instant). I think large steps will be taken to the effect with the development of the visual editor, and I am really hoping that it will be intuitive and obvious to use. I believe that, if Wikipedia wants to attract people beyond those who would edit Wikipedia anyway, it needs to become simple to use and move away from the culture of expecting people to read pages of instructions. We seem to expect new editors to read and understand out 5 pillars, our policies on notability, reliable sources, copyright, and original research and to read all the guidance on editing.
Creating a new page is now very difficult. There is no button which says "CREATE A NEW PAGE BY CLICKING THIS", and there should be. We have the Article Wizard and Articles for Creation but, for a new user, they are almost impossible to find. Unless you somehow know to type "Article Wizard" into the search bar, you'll never get there. We use Wikimarkup because it is much simpler than HTML; despite this, unless you've had prior experience with wikis, clicking the edit buttons can present a page full of complex coding at the top, which can be difficult to navigate if you don't know what is happening.
There needs to be something where new users immediately go to when the register, which they can find again without having to type something into the search box. Our problem is that some of the very useful pages we have cannot be found unless you know to search for them (and, if you don't understand the Wikipedia namespace, even that is confusing). I certainly agree that there needs to be an overhaul of Wikipedia's editing guidance, especially for new users, placing big unmissable buttons to the important guides and not relying on a user's ability to navigate our complex web of policy. This needs to be built into the existing systems we have for editing, as well as used as a principle for writing guides for new users. ItsZippy (talkcontributions) 16:07, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
I have no objection in principle to a "training ground"; indeed, it would be nice to have a way to identify and get in touch with newbies who are interested in good faith article creation, and help them learn to do it right. Not to be a hidebound reactionary, but I oppose the call to "move away from the culture of expecting people to read pages of instructions." This is an encyclopedia, not Twitter. In order to write articles correctly you have to read, and read a lot. How can someone who is unable/unwilling to read a volume of material ever get through the reliable sources required to create their article? There is no royal road. Ntsimp (talk) 23:07, 21 February 2012 (UTC)
The notion that new editors should have to digest reams of wikispeak and acronyms before they can share their knowledge and expertise seems somewhat distant from the original conception of Wikipedia. There's a lot to be said for intuitive beginners' guides which are quick and easy to consult. — MistyMorn (talk) 00:07, 22 February 2012 (UTC)
There is no way that I can disagree with this: as a newish editor myself, Wikipedia was at first an intimidating place to navigate. While it is much simpler now, Wikipedia is well behind the bell curve in terms of how many prospective editors stay and contribute to the community got a long period of time. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Wer900 (talkcontribs) 02:41, 2 March 2012 (UTC)

If you think that Wikipedia has become an unwelcoming place for new editors, please read Wikipedia: Please do not bite the newcomers, and try to get more people to read the article there. ACEOREVIVED (talk) 20:25, 1 March 2012 (UTC)

Automatically updating "As Of (date)" template

Hi, I've always thought that instead of using Template:as of, there should be an "as of" template that properly updates the date of an item when required (Example: "As of 2011, Jimmy Hoffa's body has not been found." would change to "As of 2012, Jimmy..." automatically). What the current As Of template is intended to do is to categorize an article as "will be outdated eventually" after inserting a date manually. Wouldn't it be more convenient if there was a date template that updated itself instead of simply tagging the article as "soon outdated"?

I've been told that one of the reasons for forcing manual update is that in some cases there is a need for manual checking, as in "As of 2012, Obama is president". Obviously you wouldn't want the template to continue updating indefinitely "As of 2020, ..." but for those cases one would simply remove the template when it's no longer applicable. Are there any other reasons to not consider this type of template that anyone can think of? -Kreachure (talk) 20:35, 20 February 2012 (UTC)

The main argument against such a template would be that (one hopes) the "As of 2011" is sourced. If the source says "as of 2011", it should stay that way until a new source comes along with updated information. An unsolved math problem, for example, might be unsolved as of 2008, but more investigation is needed to determine if it's still unsolved in 2012. 28bytes (talk) 20:40, 20 February 2012 (UTC)
I see your point. I am talking, though, about instances where only a "precedent" is required to confirm it to the future, and until a new precedent is established. Jimmy Hoffa's body is not the best example, but it illustrates my point. You wouldn't need new sources every year to keep establishing that Hoffa's body hasn't been found yet, right? You would simply need the proper sources to tell you that Jimmy Hoffa's body wasn't found, an is "still" missing. Maybe I need more examples to illustrate: as of 2012, there are 8 planets in the solar system and five objects considered dwarf planets. Until a new planet is discovered (if at all), this will be a fact as of 2013, 2014 etc. You don't need new sources every year to tell you this, you would only need a new source when and if the fact changes (i.e. a new planet is discovered). Last example: As of 2012, Emma Thompson is the only person who has won an Oscar as both a writer and an actor. This fact will be true for all future time except if and when someone else accomplishes this (and only then would you need a new source). Do you agree? -Kreachure (talk) 21:15, 20 February 2012 (UTC)
But how would the automatic process know that the fact now needs an update? It would just continue refreshing the date until a human comes by and fixed it. Given Wikipedia is on a WP:NODEADLINE, that might be a long time during which the article will be wrong. —  HELLKNOWZ  ▎TALK 21:19, 20 February 2012 (UTC)
Yes, many articles are wrong and outdated until an editor fixes it. That's how Wikipedia works. But there are many articles right now that are wrong because they still say "as of 2011", "as of 2009", etc. The template would at least fix those errors. Of course it wouldn't know when it "starts" being wrong, the same way an article about a person can't "know" it is now wrong because the person died and it still says he's alive. Of course the template would manually need to be removed when it is time, even if it becomes "wrong" for some time. IMO it would help articles stay "right" for longer than they would begin to be "wrong". The idea is that articles remain "right" as time passes instead of remaining outdated. -Kreachure (talk) 21:44, 20 February 2012 (UTC)
I disagree that "as of 2009" is "wrong" in an article; outdated, yes, but until someone checks to see if what was true in 2009 is still true in 2012 (many things will be, but some things will not be), having it automatically increment as the years go by is a violation of WP:V. It would essentially be telling the reader "yes, we checked, and this is still accurate" when we haven't checked. 28bytes (talk) 21:51, 20 February 2012 (UTC)
Kreachure, to do this automatically will cause too many problems, but what do you think about using "Obama is president{{Please update me|date=20 January 2013}}" for statements that we know needs to be updated at a specific date? jonkerz ♠talk 22:02, 20 February 2012 (UTC)
We have {{Update after}} for that (and we don't know your example). PrimeHunter (talk) 00:20, 21 February 2012 (UTC)
(edit conflict) If the date updates itself then that means it will always stay the most current, in which case you can just use a template with current date. If it will at some point expire, then you cannot have it update automatically, because eventually it will make an error. So unless I'm missing something here, I don't see what this would achieve. —  HELLKNOWZ  ▎TALK 21:16, 20 February 2012 (UTC)
(ec)I guess my point is that there are instances where the fact remains year after year, and that's when this template would be most useful. For cases with a time limit, it would also be useful, and you would simply remove it when it no longer is. If the Obama article has the phrase "as of 20XX" referring to his presidential term, you need to change it manually every year. It's easier to have a template that does this automatically, and then simply remove it by the end of his term. You would have to edit out the "as of 20XX" manually at the end anyway, template or no template. So at least it prevents edits concerning dates, which I often find on obscure articles, and hence the proposal. -Kreachure (talk) 21:31, 20 February 2012 (UTC)
Exactly. WP:BOTPOL does not allow any automated processes to make errors when we are aware that those errors will happen. Be it 10 years or 100 years in the future, eventually it will make the article wrong. —  HELLKNOWZ  ▎TALK 22:07, 20 February 2012 (UTC)
But what if there are only 8 planets? My76Strat (talk) 21:22, 20 February 2012 (UTC)
That's funny. Not helpful, but funny. Error fixed. -Kreachure (talk) 21:36, 20 February 2012 (UTC)
First off, you should propose to create a new template, because {{As of}} is already used for something else, namely to mark potentially dated statements. Adding your suggestion to the template would defeat its purpose. Also, there are a few magic words to insert the current year and so on, but using these in articles could cause trouble.
  • "As of 2011, Jimmy Hoffa's body has not been found." This should be used when there is a source for the statement, it also gives a hint that it may be found later.
  • "As of {{CURRENTYEAR}}, Jimmy..." should not be used, because it could be false, and we never need to point out to our readers what year it is. Instead, just write "Jimmy Hoffa's body has not been found". jonkerz ♠talk 21:40, 20 February 2012 (UTC)
(edit conflict) This goes against the whole idea of Template:as of which is exactly to say when it was known to be true. Some articles are not edited for years, and even then they may not be updated with current information. Barack Obama will presumably be updated quickly when he is no longer president, but his presidency is mentioned in many articles which receive less attention. And articles likely to be updated can still cause problems. Wikipedia has many legitimate reusers. Some of them copy articles and never update their copy. If we say as of {{CURRENTYEAR}} and a reuser has software to display {{CURRENTYEAR}} correctly then in 10 years their version of Barack Obama may say "As of 2022, Obama is president". PrimeHunter (talk) 21:42, 20 February 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── {{ec}} ever since my last comment, and here is the follow-on:

The proposal has merit, you proposed it well, and I'm sure it seemed a no-brainier. Just remember, sometimes you have to deal with people who have no brains; like me. Don't be discouraged, extract the good parts, and "soldier on". Now here's the irony; I proposed the same idea over a year ago, right here. (although my idea was not nearly as well presented as yours) In the end there were to many reasons to not do it.

I apologize if my comment about 8 planets seemed callous. I actually got a chuckle out of the deal, and I thank you for that measure of good cheer. Because it so perfectly illustrates a down side. We absolutely wouldn't want it said; "in 2012 there were 9 planets", because no one had updated the information.

In my proposal we discussed things like live feeds, automatically updating statistics like population, holders of public office and so on. We even discussed reverse updating, that would be perpetually accurate, when relating prose to the event. For example: "10 years ago the towers fell" would become "11 years ago" on 09/11/2012.

Since I've set time for the above; I'll share some insight I've gleaned along the way: There is an institutional nemesis; that prevails at stifling every automated form of editing ever tried! The few that are used, (begrudgingly tolerated) are to be "used at your own risk". And the mere prospect; that Δ lays bare; is at minimum, cautionary! Wiki-love to all - My76Strat (talk) 23:05, 20 February 2012 (UTC)

Thanks for taking the time to write this. It seems you considered ideas I wouldn't have thought of, they all sound intriguing. I guess that talking about ideas like these every now and again, even if they're shot down or not, is a in the end good thing in the collective struggle to improve WP. Soldiering on indeed! Cheers! -Kreachure (talk) 23:38, 20 February 2012 (UTC)
I think that most of the objections stem from the (quite possible) future problem of presenting inaccurate (or just plain wrong) information, thus making Wikipedia look something like a fool, for instance: "George Washington was U.S. president as of 27 Jun 2012", a statement which couldn't possibly be true. So, let's flat out say that the information may be incorrect and invite users to edit the page to fix the statement, so that the veracity of the information presented is always in question (after all, it may have been true at the time of the last edit, but is it still true now?). So, I've gone and created an {{as of currently}} template that does just this. For instance: [[Jimmy Hoffa]] disappeared at, or sometime after, 2:45 pm on July 30, 1975. His body has not been discovered {{as of currently}}. would give: Jimmy Hoffa disappeared at, or sometime after, 2:45 pm on July 30, 1975. His body has not been discovered as of 7 September 2017[still correct?]. Banaticus (talk) 04:38, 28 February 2012 (UTC)


I'm afraid that this might get shot down as soon as I post it, but I'd like to say a few things about the role of polling and voting in our online community.

First, I'll make it clear that I strongly support the use of polling and voting on Wikipedia, and I believe that it is a useful way to establish a recognized consensus. Polling and voting may not be ideal substitutes for general consensus, but they are far more efficient and representative than certain ways currently in place on our community when it comes to selecting editors to serve as administrators, bureaucrats, and when determining the course we should take in the future.

There are often complaints about administrative overreaching or inappropriate behavior that flouts the guidelines we as a community expect of our highly-trusted delegates to these positions. An administrator is a person selected by fellow editors to perform highly important and occassionally sensitive maintenance tasks on the website. As such, the process of delegating editors to serve in this role can be rather tricky. Currently, administrators are appointed by bureaucrats, who take into consideration a quasi-election/discussion that hopes to establish consensus. However, a bureaucrat is not bound by the discussion; if the minority viewpoints are seen to be valid, the bureaucrat may support the editors falling into that category.

I believe that we must reform the administrative selection process to include a pure voting system, a smaller-scaled version of our Wikimedia Steward Elections that could take place in lieu of an RfA for a given candidate. This, I believe, would be a more efficient way of selecting these highly-trusted delegates because an editor supported by a great deal of the community, despite valid opposition, is more representative and likely to be trusted by larger amounts of editors. Some will say that voters might not be of an appropriate caliber to choose administrators, and they might be inclined to say that editors who oppose RfA candidates because of their lack of experience in certain fields are correct in their views. Sometimes, the current system shoots down editors who could be outstanding administrators just because they haven't been active in certain battlegrounds of our website. On a website that devotes pages to information for "wannabe" administrators, it seems unnecessary to voice objections to candidacies because of the respective candidate's record in a particular area. Yes, an editor needs some experience to become an administrator, but I believe that editors voting in election-RfAs would be experienced enough themselves to select a qualified and worthy candidate. Let's not judge a high-quality vehicle by the tire-marks it makes.

Secondly, I think that polling when it comes to community decisions would be a good substitute for the often heated discussions that often arise about controversial issues and then get mired down in the muck of angry, misled vitriol. Take for example the once-never-abating proposals to rename our article on the Libyan Civil War. This led to high amounts of tension on that article's talk page, tension that is unhealthy in any encyclopedic community or in any community, for that matter. When it comes to debates like this, largely content-inspired, voting could show how the majority of community members feel on the subject, and then bureaucrats or trusted administrators thought of as representatives of the community could make a decision as to how this result compares with the depiction of the debated item in reputable sources.

Finally, voting would be a good substitute for some policy-making decisions. Policies should not be in place if a majority of editors involved in discussing the said policy do not agree on the status quo or the issue in question. A good argument should not be the basis for a policy, for a policy change, or for a proposal, no matter how our administrative and bureaucratic elements feel about those arguments. Instead, a majority of editors involved in discussing the topic should make the final call when it comes to determining policy on Wikipedia. Yes, this is an encyclopedia, and we don't want to get too far from our main goal, but no online effort like this can survive without an active and heard commmunity. We must rely on knowledgeable and diligent majorities, and not always eloquent minorities. dci | TALK 02:08, 23 February 2012 (UTC)

My understanding is that voter participation in RfA tends to be low and/or insular, so I'd be wary of making it a pure vote. "knowledgeable and diligent majorities, and not always eloquent minorities" — False dilemma. --Cybercobra (talk) 19:23, 23 February 2012 (UTC)
I see that my statement about "eloquent minorities" was probably distracting; what I really meant is that decision-making should be made by the majority or by the delegates of the majority of interested/active editors. dci | TALK 20:38, 23 February 2012 (UTC)
Take it from someone who has the same problem, your block of text is massive and almost no one is going to read it. Let me try and break down your argument:
1. You want to do pure voting instead of discussions for RfA.
2. You want to do pure voting instead of discussions for contentions RfCs.
3. You want to do pure voting instead of discussions for policy decisions.
I'm pretty sure that you're going to get very little support for any of those tings. For one thing, the consensus model does work, except in a small minority of particularly dramatic cases, and let's be honest here, no system is going to solve the truly dramatic cases. Secondly, often enough discussion leads to new options not originally put on the table, pure voting would deprive us of those options. Sven Manguard Wha? 20:28, 23 February 2012 (UTC)
I doubt that any support will be forthcoming, actually, but I wanted to voice these opinions here, to see what others thought of them and to see if anyone thought voting/polling could be adapted successfully anywhere on the website. Out of the three summaries you created, I'd have to say I feel that the third is most important. Policy discussions like these aren't very common, from what I've seen, and I think that our policies need to reflect the views of the majority of interested/active editors. My striking above should show this more clearly. dci | TALK 20:38, 23 February 2012 (UTC)
I'm not going to revert it, but striking out other people's comments, even if they're comments on your comments, is considered grossly inappropriate. Since you're clearly acting in good faith, I'm not going to make deal of it. In the future though, avoid what you just did. Sven Manguard Wha? 21:07, 23 February 2012 (UTC)
I was only doing it to emphasize a point, not to contradict or oppose anything you posted (all of which was true). I am extremely sorry. dci | TALK 21:28, 23 February 2012 (UTC)
I think you should change this proposal into an essay and tag it with {{essay}} because this reflects mainly your ideas and opinions. However, I'd like to say kudos to writing this out. Regards, Whenaxis talk · contribs | DR goes to Wikimania! 00:25, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
Okay, I'll try that. I have one copy in my userspace; I can copy the content into a new article into a WP-namespace essay. dci | TALK 15:07, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
Generally, consensus is established by an administrator or bureaucrat determining which side has the strongest arguments, with the best interpretation of Wikipedia's policy and guidelines. The reason that this works so well is that a strong argument based in policy does not just have the support of the people involved in the discussion, but the support of the community as a whole. Policies are determined by community consensus, with a much larger discussion, which is why consensus rather that voting usually works. If you replace consensus with voting, everyone's vote is equal, regardless of whether it is based in solid understanding of policy or just made on a whim. Once voting replaces consensus, each decision really is only made by the small group of people involved in the discussion at that time, rather than the wider community who have lain down our policies and guidelines. ItsZippy (talkcontributions) 13:57, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
Having myself run a contentious RfC, I can say that the discussion was very fruitful in refining the ideas. The final version was much closer to something the community as a whole might have endorsed. Likewise, although RfA is a bit of a battleground, there are good oppose votes at RfA that give the candidate constructive criticism on what to do before reapplying - not something we want to eliminate! Dcoetzee 17:44, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
I prefer to say "effective opposes" rather than "good opposes". I've seen several RFAs where the whole debate turned and the RFA tanked because of something that came up in the discussion, in a straight vote such RFAs would conclude with a success followed by high drama. I doubt if any RFA !voters check everything that a candidate has done, some I suspect check very little. But a large proportion of the Supporters will switch if they see a civil, diff supported oppose that gives good reason why a particular candidate should not become an admin (I've also seen spectacularly incivil opposes be ignored by the community despite them hiding a solid oppose reason beneath the rhetoric). ϢereSpielChequers 14:29, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

"Endorsed edit" flag

To me a nice feature to have would be a way for one or more registered editors to flag a history-page edit as "endorsed". That way, when I look at the history of a page, I can see what edits have already been examined, rather than having 20 different people all checking the same edits. If the endorsement is from an editor whom I have already developed a respect for, then I can simply assume the change was okay.

Does this seem like it would be useful as a productivity gain? Regards, RJH (talk) 20:54, 23 February 2012 (UTC)

We currently have no real consensus on pending changes, which is what you appear to be suggesting. Cheers! Reaper Eternal (talk) 20:56, 23 February 2012 (UTC)
Well no, I wasn't referring to that. I mean a qualified editor could go to the history page for an article and find that beside each edit entry there would be, say, a check box with a message that says something like "Endorse edit". Once that is checked by one or more editors, anybody else viewing the history page would see a statement next to the edit entry saying something like "(Edit currently endorsed by ABC, DEF, GHI)".
Does that make it clearer? It would mean tracking which editors endorse what edits, of course, so there would be a greater load on the database to track endorsements as an active control. But hopefully the editor's work load would be reduced as a consequence. Regards, RJH (talk) 18:17, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
This seems to be something of the like of flagged revisions, or maybe I'm just slow to understand this. →Στc. 18:31, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
Yes it seems like it. I wasn't aware of that. Thanks. Regards, RJH (talk) 22:42, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
This proposal relies on trust towards the editors. Thus, unless the ability to endorse edits is somehow limited to a small community of "trusted" users, it want work. But even if we create a gruop of endorsers, it will be either too small to have noticeable effect or too large to maintain mutual trust. — Dmitrij D. Czarkoff (talk) 20:35, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
I'm not suggesting a need to create such a constrained group, other than to limit it to experienced editors. The number of editors who regularly watch a particular page is almost always limited, and the aliases of the editors are often familiar to others watching the page. Each edit requires all of said watchers to perform a check. I'm proposing to shortcut that cycle a little. Regards, RJH (talk) 22:42, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
Seems to be a good idea, I think that there should be a minimum requirement for endorsement by two (auto)confirmed editors in order for an edit to be endorsed. This eliminates many problems. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Wer900 (talkcontribs) 15:56, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
  • The flagged revisions plan had two more-or-less independent parts. The first was trialled (to much acrimony, as we all remember) as pending changes. The second part - patrolled revisions - is pretty much exactly what you're describing here, except slightly simpler - it's just a flag saying, in effect, "checked and clean". It should be substantially less controversial to implement, especially since it doesn't impact in any way on what any reader actually sees (the main criticism of PC), but I fear the memories of last time might make it a hard sell! Shimgray | talk | 13:42, 29 February 2012 (UTC)

Articles for Improvement

Currently, there is no active location where one can simply search and find all articles which need improvement in some way or another. Yes, the Article Improvement Drive did exist at one time, but it is now deprecated and no longer serves any useful function. Furthermore, that was merely a one-off "shock drive" to improve a large volume of articles in a short period of time, not a sustained effort which would give Wikipedia a permanent way to correct itself and improve in areas of style, clarity, and its width and depth of knowledge. It is to these ends that I propose a new Wikipedia system of identifying Articles for Improvement.

This system should be organized based on subject matter (Astronomy, Religion, etc.) and should also be divided into subsections which identify the specific improvements which need to be made to the page:

  • Format and Conventions - this section will identify pages where the formatting of the page is bad, where data on the page can be better presented through such a change, the quality of the use of English on the page, et cetera.
  • Clarity - this section will contain articles which require an improvement in their style of writing, their verbosity/brevity, the way they are split into sections and subsections, et cetera.
  • Width of Knowledge - just that. This section will deal with all areas where articles have not given much information on the topic at hand.
  • Depth of Knowledge - this page will have all articles where a large amount of information is presented, but not explained well
  • Completeness of Lists - this section will deal with whether lists have all of the data which they intend to cover
  • Facts and Sources - this section will identify articles without inline citations, where facts appear dubious, where facts are outdated, and all pages with over two (or whatever number is most appropriate) [citation needed] tags.

In order to better integrate with the existing Wikipedia interface - the widespead tags such as the cleanup tag and others - all such templates could be modified in order to make a listing, on a remote Wikipedia page, of links to all articles that hold them. Each tag's output will be placed in a subsection of the Articles for Improvement page most relevant to its contents. While this would doubtless be an arduous task, it would be much simpler than creating an entirely new infrastructure of tags, which would have to be placed on all pages with the same tags, a task which could never be done.

It is my hope that this brings to the attention of the broader community the massive number of pages which have these problems but go unnoticed. Currently, there are several hotspots of editing with excess activity resulting in edit wars, separated by netherworld articles which have little and transient activity outside of that of a few dedicated users. As time wears on, these articles are seen as increasingly irrelevant and obsolete, and indeed, in all of the errors which they accumulate and keep, unfixed, as time goes on, this becomes increasingly true. If we had a mechanism - easily noticable, easily accessed, and centralized - then article improvements could go where they are needed most, improving the quality of Wikipedia as a whole and ensuring that some subjects are not ignored entirely.

Wer900 (talk) 02:44, 2 March 2012 (UTC)

You may find the subcategories of Category:Wikipedia maintenance helpful, particularly the subcategories of Category:Wikipedia maintenance categories sorted by month. Anomie 03:56, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
Doubtless that page has many resources, however, it does not seem to be terribly inviting and it would be easier to navigate if it were broken up into some broad categories. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Wer900 (talkcontribs) 04:19, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
Would something like this be what you are looking for? It is sorted by Wikiproject, so you could focus on topics that interest you most. The complete list of enrolled projects is here. Resolute 04:34, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
While it is an excellent tool, make no mistake, the listings there are a bit too specific. Listing by WikiProject is a good idea, but many of them are extremely specific and need to be established as sub-groups under a larger umbrella. As for the specific errors in the articles, their identification seems to be good but the sheer number and complexity of all of the ways in which the page could be improved would be extremely intimidating to new users. New users are the lifeline of this community, and anything we can do to obtain and keep them would be an improvement.
This has come pretty far. All that remains to be done, now, is to group the many categories of errors as subcategories under larger umbrella areas, and to link up the template messages with placement in these categories. This will make it more accessible to all users beyond a few specialist, experienced and inexperienced. Wer900 (talk) 05:45, 2 March 2012 (UTC)

Just a thought

I was just thinking that, as great as the English Wikipedia is and as successful as it's been, it could be far more efficient if a greater system of coordination between various branches could be created. For example, an admin who hangs out around AfD, an inexperienced but knowledgeable content editor working here or there, and someone who works a lot at the Mediation Cabal might not share a lot of collaborative ideas. Instead, how about this?

  • The Wiki could be divided into ten very loose sectors:
    • Materials for deletion, discussion, and creation
    • Content disputes
    • Inter-user disputes
    • Anti-vandalism tasks
    • Multilingual coordination
    • Technical areas
    • Societal encyclopedic content
    • Mathematical and scientific encyclopedic content
    • Popular culture encyclopedic content
    • Religious and philosophical encyclopedic content.
  • Each one of these groups would be assigned something of a "noticeboard." Editors who found themselves frequently at one of these encyclopedia areas could participate in a polling that would take place on each noticeboard. The polling would select two representatives. In the end, the twenty representatives could form an editorial collaboration council (click for more details).
  • The members of this editorial collaboration council would meet in a conference once every two months, and would discuss new, problematic, and positive things occurring in their respective necks of the wikiwoods. They would discuss the state of Wikipedia, especially regarding new editors, IP editors, and noticed trends occurring on the webpage.
  • I'm not sure if it's possible, but, to make council meetings more efficient, could a userright be given to councilors, allowing only them to access the conference page? A discussion page could be set up on which other editors could voice their opinions or make statements.

Just a thought ... dci | TALK 03:53, 9 February 2012 (UTC)

I think this is too much bureaucracy. We already have mostly working processes for these. The people interested in the meta-stuff (e.g. deletion or anti-vandalism) already know where to go for each issue. For the actual encyclopedia, WikiProjects in general do a great job of coordinating topic-specific issues; improvements can be made, but I don't think organizational categories as broad as "Popular culture encyclopedic content" are needed. I also disagree with the idea of creating a new private group or council. I support transparency, except for issues that really need to be private (e.g. CheckUser). Superm401 - Talk 05:37, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
Yes, people know where to go, but do different groups with different interests always coordinate with one another and share information? I feel that this would be a way to have representatives from different interest groups come together and discuss exactly where we're at and where we're going, and I think it might be worth a try someday. As for transparency, the conference would be visible to everyone – the only thing that non-representatives couldn't do was edit the page. dci | TALK 05:53, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
I agree that this is not a good idea. Specialists already know where they can go to discuss matters with people from the same specialty. There's no reason to artificially break up the project like this. Sven Manguard Wha? 15:17, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
Well, maybe this is indeed a bad idea. However, do you think it might be possible to have a temporary, one-week discussion forum sometime where any number of users could post a reply to a fairly standard question, or one that could help to gauge where Wikipedia is at or heading? dci | TALK 17:44, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
You might be interested in WP:COUNCIL, where cross-discipline issues are occasionally posted. (Most of them are listed at the WP:RFC pages, of course.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:33, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
Okay, I'll check that out. dci | TALK 19:46, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
I think that the current WikiProject system is a good way to organise this kind of thing. I do agree that some WikiProjects are co-ordinated better than others, but that seems to be based on who is willing to take part in it. Also, I agree that cross-project collaboration may be lacking, and could be improved. DCI, I think that a decent idea could be worked out to solve these issues; however, I think it needs to be within our current WikiProject system. Perhaps you could look at ideas for improving and helping the less active WikiProject, improving the co-ordination of active but disorganised projects, and improving cross-project collaboration. I would be interested in supporting and working with something which attempted to solve these problems with the current system. ItsZippy (talkcontributions) 20:38, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
We could go that way. WikiProject Council could potentially start up an initiative to coordinate far-flung WikiProjects and could perhaps have a forum on its talk page where editors could post concerns and the other things I proposed could be mentioned in a conference (the link is above). dci | TALK 22:12, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
WikiProject Council should establish the areas listed in this suggestion as broader areas under which WikiProjects can be grouped, and create relatively autonomous "working groups" for each area which will be able to act on the Council's auspices. The working groups will focus more on the specific subject matter of the areas they are assigned as well as low-level coordination, while the Council can focus on higher-level co-ordination between more prominent groups on WikiProjects and areas of general concern for the encyclopedia, such as dispute arbitration, compilation of statistics, scrutiny of the working groups, and some interpretation of policy. Although I am observant of the fact that Wikipedia is not to be a bureaucratic system, it is also my understanding that the encyclopedia needs some sort of overall co-ordination if it is to survive, rather than fall apart into a thousand tiny pieces. By the way, I think that now that we have developed the topic this far, it seems more like a policy than a specific feature for implementation, and therefore should be moved to the policy section of the Village Pump with an appropriate link to this discussion. Wer900 (talk) 23:00, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
  • Remind everyone about WP:BACKLOG and WP:Dashboard: Users who like joining long discussions can pick-a-topic from WP:Dashboard. However, perhaps the single greatest cross-subject "dose of reality" which can wake-up editors to the broad spectrum of Wikipedia concerns is, of course: WP:BACKLOG, with over 70 lists of problem areas which have needed help for months (or rather, years). For example, WP:BACKLOG notes "5,620" pages need editing by subject-matter experts, another "7,728" articles seem slanted (need NPOV), or "14,297" pages have promotional wording to remove (might be adverts or sound like it), and "9,751" images/files should be moved to Wikimedia Commons for cross-linking in German, Italian or any other-language Wikipedias. From working last year with WP:GOCE (Guild of Copy Editors), I can estimate the "4,078" articles which need copy-editing have from 50-450 grammar, awkward wording, or spelling errors, plus need hyphens/commas, and those 4,078 pages require an average of 1-hour sessions of intense editing, often adding 1-3 sources each. Remind more people about the need to meditate and absorb the impact of WP:BACKLOG, to really gain a wider perspective on some of those 70 major aspects of English Wikipedia. Meanwhile, remember to scan some of the major WP:Dashboard areas, especially for questions at WP:Help_desk, WP:RfC and WP:PUMPTECH to gain more perspective on issues discussed there, as well. -Wikid77 (talk) 01:51, 16 February 2012 (UTC)
There has to be some large-scale collaboration on issues, and with the declining editorship on Wikipedia WikiProjects are too small and constrained to do much for the wiki as a whole. I wholeheartedly support this idea.

There are, though, some additions I would like to make - the council should be expanded to forty, maybe fifty members. I will discuss more later. Wer900 (talk) 02:50, 2 March 2012 (UTC)

Properly speaking, the council does not have members. Anyone who wants to participate is welcome. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:41, 4 March 2012 (UTC)

Suggestion to Add Editorial/Opinion Section to Current Events Pages... to Get Well Defined Arguments from Various Sides


I would like to suggest that an editorial/opinion section be added to Wikipedia for current events. It is always a struggle to fully understand all sides of an argument through the popular media or through Wikipedia. Most often, the user comments sections of current events articles are most enlightening.

As Wikipedia is viewed as a trusted hub of information, delineating an editorial/opinion section, or a way for various sides of an argument to be understood more clearly would be a helpful addition to the site.

Regards — Preceding unsigned comment added by Pko1219 (talkcontribs) 17:27, 21 February 2012 (UTC)

  • Oppose - this is the exact opposite of what Wikipedia is for. Personal opinion has absolutely zero place in any article here. → ROUX  17:34, 21 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose - per Roux. Sven Manguard Wha? 14:33, 22 February 2012 (UTC)
    • Okay, yes, idea lab isn't a place where support and oppose votes are usually placed, however for this, an exception is more than warranted. Sven Manguard Wha? 14:37, 22 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Alas, Wikipedia is not a social media site, nor is it a place for personal opinion. This proposal flies in the face of WP:POV, WP:OR and several parts of WP:NOT. Resolute 15:15, 22 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Sides of an argument that are mentioned in reputable sources should be mentioned anyway in a Wikipedia article, in a neutral fashion. dci | TALK 21:33, 22 February 2012 (UTC)
  • I believe the reason that the creator of this idea wishes for such an editorial section is in order to better cover all of the major points of view on a subject and therefore ensure that they are covered on Wikipedia. This does advance neutrality on the encyclopedia, in my opinion. The editor only wants a place where these opinions can be presented for later incorporation into articles. This is indeed a legitimate suggestion and does not fall into the category of what Wikipedia is not. Wer900 (talk) 22:49, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
    • So, for example, an article on the Syrian insurrection might discuss the viewpoints of several rebel groups, that of the government, and that of specific world governments? Or, an article on same-sex marriage would discuss pro, anti, and more intermediate viewpoints? If that's what is being suggested, this might be something worth considering. dci | TALK 19:13, 3 March 2012 (UTC)

Separate definitions from counterarguments

One thing that would help on Wikipedia (given it's goal of providing a neutral point of view) would be a policy to separate description/definition from counterarguments. If neutral descriptions on any subject came first and counterarguments / refutations were segregated into their own separate non-defining sections, that would help. But what actually happens is Wikipedia editors trip over each other to break up sentences describing ideas they don't like with contradictory sources so that the actual meaning of what is being refuted is almost completely if not totally obscured.

What Wikipedia says now is something like this:

"Controversial -ism A means X [source] but X is not true [source][source][source] and Y [source] but Y is not true [source][source][source][source] and Z [source] although Z is not true. [source][source][source][source][source]"

That's no way to write an encyclopedia. A readable format would be something like this:

"Controversial -ism A means X, [source] Y [source] and Z. [source] It has been promoted by so-and-so [source] and such-and-such. [source]
According to [source] and [source], X is not true.
According to [source] and [source], Y is not true.
According to [source] and [source], Z is not true."

This has long been a problem on all the articles dealing with the controversy over evolution, Creationism, intelligent design and various concepts in psuedoscience, politics, religion and philosophy. If Wikipedia is meant to say what academia thinks is true that's fine, but not inserted into the middle of sentences meant to provide definitions of alternative views! --BenMcLean (talk) 18:02, 2 March 2012 (UTC)

There are already interesting Wikipedia policies on fringe theories but nothing which protects definitions so that they remain grammatically intact such as I propose as far as I know. The practical upshot of my suggestion would probably be either a new policy that would be something like "Wikipedia:Keep definitions intact" or a new section in Wikipedia:Be neutral in form which states something like, "All definitions should remain grammatically intact and not be broken up with contrary information for the sake of neutrality and readability." --BenMcLean (talk) 18:20, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
Have you presented your thought to the people who might be chief culprits of what you disapprove of, i.e. Wikipedians who zealously police WP:FRINGE? Wikipedia:SKEPTICISM would be another venue to get some unsentimental feedback on your proposal. Alternatively you could notify them of the present section. __meco (talk) 12:03, 5 March 2012 (UTC)

Allow any logged in editor to delete their own U1 and G7 cases

Some of our least contentious speedy deletions could be "unbundled" so that the any user can delete their own U1 and G7 pages. This would take a bit of work off our admins, and more importantly it would empower all editors to get rid of their own mistakes and clutter. For G7 I'd suggest that any logged in editor be enabled to delete any page where they are the sole author, you could also broaden that to pages where the only other edits are from bots or were marked as minor. For U1 I'd suggest that we In either case we need to exclude pages that have moved, otherwise we risk vandals moving articles into their userspace and then deleting them. Otherwise per U1 editors should be free to delete pages in their userspace - though not their usertalk space. This would still leave a proportion of U1 and G7 tags for admins to deal with, but hopefully only ones where something needs checking. I haven't fully quantified the number of articles involved, but from my experience it would be many articles per day so thousands of articles per year. ϢereSpielChequers 15:34, 19 February 2012 (UTC)

Update per Nyttend's comment, I'm adding the restriction - "Other than in userspace, this would only apply to pages created in the previous 7 days". ϢereSpielChequers 20:49, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
I like the idea, and the qualifications you've added would solve any potential problems. It would have to be limited, but I think you've covered that. ItsZippy (talkcontributions) 15:46, 19 February 2012 (UTC)`
Wikipedia:Perennial proposals#Grant non-admins admin functions within their user space touches on this. Is there some huge backlog of U1 or G7 deletions that there is any actual need for this? Also, BTW, you'd have to exclude moved pages from your G7 deletion deal too, or a vandal could move a page to a random title and then delete the redirect left behind. Anomie 19:59, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
There is not a large backlog, but I don't think that should prevent the implementation of such an idea unless there is reason not to implement the idea. The page you linked to mentioned possible security issues; I would be interested to hear more regarding that. Restricting moved pages for G7 sounds like a good idea. ItsZippy (talkcontributions) 20:20, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
Would this be given out as a user flag to prevent abuse? If so, perhaps -suppressredirect could also be added to the flag. Such a flag would definitely allow more non-admins to help out with non-controversial requested moves i.e. deleting the redirect left behind to do a multi requested move. Alpha_Quadrant (talk) 20:24, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
I wasn't suggesting this as a separate userright - more that all logged in editors could be allowed to do such uncontentious deletions. ϢereSpielChequers 15:19, 20 February 2012 (UTC)
I like the spirit of this proposal. My singular concern is that I prefer a system which incorporates adequate checks and balances. Because every saved edit is an "irrevocable release" of that contribution, I am generally opposed to abilities that could contravene the spirit of that intent. I would rather support a flag that allowed non administrators to accomplish these non controversial deletions, but not where the contributions are their own. I cringe at the prevailing practice where administrators routinely delete their own pages. I just believe deletions should have the endorsement of an additional editor to ensure propriety. — Preceding unsigned comment added by My76Strat (talkcontribs) 20:37 19 February 2012
As it has already been mentioned, there is one more potentially dangerous way to use such abilities: when a page is moved, the user who performed the move is the only author of the resulting redirect... But it doesn't feel right to let the same user delete such redirects - there is a separate user right for that...
And there might be some other potential dangers. Furthermore, unless we are going to allow the same users to undo such deletions (and I don't think we can, since that would require to let them view the deleted versions), it might lead to some, er, embarrassing situations (when user deletes something after, er, getting carried away with testing the interface). Thus no, I don't think it is a good idea. It is not very hard to add the template and that lets an administrator to check if the tagged page really should be deleted (there might be some reason not to). There is nothing wrong with such deletions taking some time - that just gives some time for the user to think it over. --Martynas Patasius (talk) 01:46, 20 February 2012 (UTC)
Good point about moves and redirects - I've tweaked the proposal to exclude any page that has moved. Not just the G7s. I appreciate that it will lead to the occasional request for a restore. But they won't be as much work for the admins as the deletes currently are. As for checks and balances, this is for a very restricted group of pages where checks and balances are not needed due to their being in one users userspace or the sole work of one author. ϢereSpielChequers 15:19, 20 February 2012 (UTC)
"I appreciate that it will lead to the occasional request for a restore. But they won't be as much work for the admins as the deletes currently are." - I'm afraid you misunderstood me. The problem is not the work for administrators, but the embarrassment for non-administrators. Will all of them really get to asking "Um, could you please restore the page that I have deleted, er, by accident..?"? Or will many decide "It isn't worth it..."? --Martynas Patasius (talk) 21:40, 23 February 2012 (UTC)
I think WSC has summed up what I would have said in response to the above post, bar one thing. Perhaps with restoring deleted pages, a user would be able to see deleted versions of pages that they have themselves deleted. This would have none of the problems that allowing users to see deleted contributions usually entails. ItsZippy (talkcontributions) 21:40, 20 February 2012 (UTC)
Well, I guess it might be so. Still, it doesn't mean that no other problems are possible. For example, what about the pages that would otherwise be deleted for some other reason? Maybe in worst cases (when, let's say, the user creates an attack page, deletes it and publishes his password so that everyone would be able to see that page) the page could be simply undeleted and redeleted by some administrator. But still, in such case deletion might end up deterring creation of undesirable pages less effectively.
Also, all that slowly starts to look somewhat technically difficult: we need to check if the page has been moved, or if it is the result of a move, and for deleted revisions - if the user is the one who deleted the versions (by the way, would "desysopped" administrators be able to view all versions they deleted too?)... Are all those checks really worth it?
Finally, there is a "philosophical" problem. The need to go to an administrator for any deletion slightly emphasises the fact that nothing we write in Wikipedia really belongs to us and we cannot take our contributions back without some sort of permission of Community (or Foundation). And that does seem worth emphasising (as noted in "Perennial proposals")...
In short, this proposal is in "Perennial proposals" for a reason (like many others)... --Martynas Patasius (talk) 21:34, 23 February 2012 (UTC)
  • I have no objection at all to the spirit of this proposal, but I can't say I see any real gain from implementing it either. I am generally opposed to unbundling the tools, but this would just apply to pages a user created in their own userspace so it just shortcuts the process we already have. The thing is, that process is already very simple and almost never controversial, and does not experience significant backlogs, so the benefits seem rather minimal. If the fix were simpler than the problem, I would be all for it, but at the moment it appears this would add a bunch of new rules that users would have to understand before using it. At present all they have to understand is how to slap {{db-user}} on it. So, the current approach seems more practical to me. Beeblebrox (talk)
    • Hi Beeblebrox, the editors wouldn't need to understand the rules as the idea is to get the devs to code this into the system. If you are entitled to delete a page you would be able to do so. If you aren't entitled to delete it you won't be able to. So for editors the fix would be simple, and it would to some extent empower non-admins. As for backlogs, well my guestimate is that this would automate many thousands of uncontentious and routine admin actions per year. I don't know how long the typical admin spends on each of those deletes, but it would clearly save many hours of time and leave people time to focus on more contentious deletions. With RFA broken we have to start thinking how we function with fewer admins, and this would make a contribution to that. ϢereSpielChequers 22:48, 23 February 2012 (UTC)
      • Good idea, but I have to oppose it for licensing reasons. Like Beeblebrox, I agree with the spirit of the proposal, but I'm afraid that this could be used by people who are attempting to revoke irrevokable licenses — especially on images, since people more often try to revoke those and they're far less commonly edited by people other than the uploader. Nyttend (talk) 23:58, 23 February 2012 (UTC)
        • I'm assuming that you are just opposing the G7 bit not the U1 part? If so you've made a good point about revoking licenses that are being used. As my intention was only to unbundle the uncontentious deletions, would your concerns be resolved if we narrowed the G7 part to "pages created in the last 7 days"? In my view that would enable people to resolve typos in image names and similar but require admins to rule on other stuff. ϢereSpielChequers 20:49, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Our license is irrevocable, and there is great benefit to the encyclopedia in maintaining that part of it. People want to withdraw what they have written for all sort of reasons--if,for example, they find an article more difficult than they intended, yet someone may want to work on it in the future. I interpret the current criterion as discretionary, and if it does not seem reasonable to me, I decline the speedy. Letting people delete at pleasure is OWNership. We need the criterion to allow for rapid action when it is clear there will never be a usable article, , but I do not think it extends beyond that. It's for mistakes, not second thoughts. DGG ( talk ) 02:21, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
  • See Wikipedia:Bots/Requests for approval/7SeriesBOT and Wikipedia:Bots/Requests for approval/7SeriesBOT 2 Josh Parris 21:57, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
    • I remembered there'd been a bot discussion and I thought that we'd got consensus but never found a bot writer. Yes that bot has so far done 6,327 uncontentious deletions and would be redundant if this went ahead - but I think it would be more empowering for our editors if they could do these directly rather than use an admin even if that admin was a bot. Also this includes some instances that the bot doesn't yet cover. ϢereSpielChequers 11:44, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
  • Sorry if I missed it, but with the proper restrictions, aren't G7s for pagemoves over redirects something that could ease up on admin workload? Aslbsl (talk) 14:16, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
  • G7 and U1 deletions are amongst the easiest to do, so there is seldom a backlog, unlike for copyvios and A7's. I think this is a solution looking for a problem. It makes the interface more complicated for those that would never use the feature. The G6's for page moves can be delayed, but that can be because the move is contentious or unclear or wrong. The undo move seems to be the only addition that might have some benefit, but the extra complexity would negate that. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 10:41, 6 March 2012 (UTC)

Any admins live near East Lansing, MI?


Some of you may be familiar with THIS CLASS at MSU this semester where we're exploring and studying the concept of the Wikipedia administrator. One of the class projects is to create a model of an admin portal that organizes admin tools, discussions, etc. These portal proposals are being developed in student sandboxes. Many admins have generously agreed to volunteer their time to speak with our students as noted HERE. These conversations will help students to complete their assignments and better understand what Wikipedia admins do (and why they do what they do). Anyhow, one group would like to add some video to their admin portal project and were wondering if any admins live near East Lansing, MI. Of course, you would have to be willing to be interviewed, and to have video of your answers put up online. If you're interested, please leave a note on my talk page. Thanks so much. Best, --Jaobar (talk) 16:34, 21 February 2012 (UTC)

Hey Jaobar. CatScan says there are two admins in Michigan, though a) that list might not be complete or up-to-date and b) that doesn't specify where in Michigan. You might also try using a geonotice, as not everyone checks this page. Nikkimaria (talk) 03:55, 7 March 2012 (UTC)

Copyvio test in the editfilter

A large proportion of newbies are from the copypaste generation and need to be taught that writing your own words is not the same as copying from other websites. Currently we do this laboriously and painfully by bots checking after the event, and people sweeping up after the bots. But that is a design from a different internet era. What we should have today is an edit filter that incorporates the search that corensearchbot does, so if someone clicks save on a paragraph of new text the system can spot that this is a straight copy of and explain to them why we don't do that. I think that would be less bitey for the newbies who need to be taught about Copyvio, and less work for the rest of us. If there is a serious processing overhead then you could leave certain edits unchecked, rollback for example. ϢereSpielChequers 17:57, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

No idea if it's possible, but it seems like a good idea. We could start with new articles, and with a high certainty bar. That way we can see to any problems and easily expand it. Grandiose (me, talk, contribs) 18:40, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
I don't think it's possible, since MediaWiki and specifically the filter system can't "search" the general Internet, which is why a bot does it. Further, I suspect that would be a massive overhead. --Izno (talk) 18:42, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
It is impossible with the currently available MediaWiki software. Reaper Eternal (talk) 18:45, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
One of the wonderful things about Moore's Law is that a massive overhead one year is pretty serious number crunching a couple of years later and relatively trivial on a slightly longer timescale. One of the cool things about this idea is that it would still be useful even if we first had to throttle it to a random paragraph from a random subset of new articles. Even better target a few high risk ones such as those by newbies or by students in the Academic outreach program. As the cost of processing falls so the proportion screened can be stepped up. As for Reaper's comment, OK so this requires a change to the mediawiki software, that isn't impossible, I suspect we even have the source-code. ϢereSpielChequers 23:37, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
I think you can try suggesting this at: Wikipedia:Edit filter/Requested. Whenaxis talk · contribs | DR goes to Wikimania! 21:52, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
I've raised it there, but they would need changes made to the mediawiki software before they could do this. So I'd like to see if we can get consensus here that it would be a good idea if it were possible to implement, and if people like the idea I'll file a bugzilla request to change the mediawiki software to allow this to be done. ϢereSpielChequers 13:23, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
At this point in time it should not be in the edit filter as it should have a bit of human intelligence behind it to weed out wikipedia mirrors and copying of free material. However I do support the idea of an automatic bot run or toolserver util that would detect this soon after the material is added. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 10:47, 6 March 2012 (UTC)

In A Nutshell

I am Robert a college student offering Wikipedia a business proposition. Although it may seem odd to accept an offer from such a young mind, I think some of the best ideas often come from the unlikeliest of places. This email may be ignored, and deleted but hopefully someone out there will read it through.

First of all, I think that Wikipedia is a great source for people and I hope that the website never stops running. I do, however, feel as though it could be enhanced to obtain more success. My idea is to develop an App (on the IPhone etc.) called "Nutshell" that is based off the old saying "in a nutshell." People could enter what they are looking for into the search bar (a nut) and it would crack open with their brief results (that could be drawn from Wikipedia sites). They could then possibly send their "nut" to friends, have it put directly into their bibliography, and more. This would be a simple and, I think, catchy way of people gaining and sharing information. It could revitalize Wikipedia and also make research a little more enjoyable.

I think it would work really well with Wikipedia though, as it has always been my first choice when it comes to research!

Thank you for your time,

Robert Peterpaul — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:28, 29 February 2012 (UTC)

  • This is an interesting idea. However, wouldn't this have to be done through the Wikimedia Foundation, not through the English Wikipedia? dci | TALK 04:57, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
    Depending on the method used, it could be something that Robert could do entirely on his own. Wikipedia's text is available under a free license, after all. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:26, 6 March 2012 (UTC)

A clearing house for information mining of external media

I would like to see Wikipedians organize a clearing house for bits of information harvested from various types of media, indexing the finds by topic and where possible by names of articles for which the discovered information could possibly be of interest. This effort could be organized under the auspices of a dedicated WikiProject that would devise and set up the various mechanisms and protocols by which this enterprise would operate. __meco (talk) 11:45, 5 March 2012 (UTC)

See Wikipedia:WikiProject Resource Exchange. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 13:18, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
I have notified that project and suggested the discussion (hopefully there will be one) should take place primarily here. Eventually, Wikipedia:WikiProject Council may also be a venue for inclusion in this proposal. __meco (talk) 14:14, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
See Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Council#Indications of relevant reference books, specifically encyclopedias and dictionaries, to individual projects (permanent link here).
Wavelength (talk) 17:51, 9 March 2012 (UTC)

Surprising redirections

I've often had the experience of using Wikipedia's search box, say typing in "apple sauce" and finding myself deposited on an article entitled "lubricating agents." This leaves me wondering, "What's going on? Am I to conclude that some people use apple sauce as a lubricant? Or maybe the relationship between the two concepts is that machinery used in fabricating apple sauce requires lubrication? Or, of course, maybe the redirect was just a mistake?"

It's my sense that if people are going to create redirects, then it's their responsibility to have pity on those poor surfers who may find themselves confronted with a very startling article and having to perform a combination of detective work and guess work to figure out just why they've been dumped where they have. Here's an explicit example of the problem and what I think ought to be required of editors.

I've not been able to find any existing policies that address this. But I do believe it poses a serious problem for Wikipedia's quality. Anybody have any ideas about good ways to tackle this in the community?—PaulTanenbaum (talk) 17:02, 7 March 2012 (UTC)

Often, as I think might be the case here, poor redirects are just vandalism - someone probably thought it would be funny. If you ever see something like this, please revert it. Sometimes it is not vandalism and the redirects are unclear, which is a problem. Sometimes it is the quality of the article - the redirect may make perfect sense but the article may not be up to the standard. In these cases, it is best to get the article improved. Sometimes the redirect could be improved - either pointing to a different page or pointing to a specific part of the page. I think this encompasses any possible redirect trouble; it is usually just a case of something that just needs to be fixed, which people will get round to doing. If you notice anything, you can do it yourself or let another editor know. ItsZippy (talkcontributions) 21:32, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
See, now my view is that it'd be good to have a policy along the lines of "If you're going to create a redirect, then you need to ensure that it's reasonably easy for those who find themselves redirected to understand why. Yes, of course, doing it myself is in the nature of Wikipedia; what exasperates me is those disorienting redirects I encounter when I'd been trying to use Wikipedia as a reference from which to learn something. In those cases—on those subjects—I'm too inexpert to fix it myself. So is there any better way to "let another editor know" than to plant a grouse on the talk page?—PaulTanenbaum (talk) 21:43, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
Check out, for instance, WP:Redirect's citation of the principle of least astonishment. Maybe that's about the best I can hope for.—PaulTanenbaum (talk) 22:03, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
I think that WP:REDIRECT is pretty comprehensive in terms of policy. I do understand your position with articles that you are unsure about, though - of course, not everyone has sufficient knowledge to accurately fix every redirect. I think that this could be better done on a case by case basis. Any centralised place (a noticeboard, for example) would have the same problems: the regulars at the noticeboard would not necessarily have the right expertise. Instead, I would suggest that editors leave a note on the talk page of the redirect's target, asking for someone to make the link clearer or, failing that, to ask people at the most relevant WikiProject. That way, those who are most likely to know how best to fix the problem will be the ones who see it. ItsZippy (talkcontributions) 19:37, 9 March 2012 (UTC)

"Passive" links

I had an idea about links that I'd like to gauge interest in. WP:Overlinking gives the guidance that common/major nations, religions, etc. shouldn't be linked unless they're particularly relevant to the article's topic. But if a reader happens to see the name of a country and want to read our article on it, it seems silly to make them type it in the search bar instead of just click the word.

My idea is a new style of link that only appears to be a link if you mouse over it.

For example, in the Mustard seed article, there is this sentence: "Major producers of mustard seeds include Canada (90%), Hungary, Great Britain, India, Pakistan and the United States."

None of the countries are linked. Making them all into normal [[links]] would be too distracting, and against the guidance of WP:overlinking. But what if we were to make them into passive links, that only appear to be a link if the reader mouses over them? This way, it would be easier to navigate to other articles, without the visual clutter of overlinking.

The wiki syntax for passive links could be quite simple: perhaps three brackets instead of two, [[[like this]]]. Regular links would continue to be displayed normally.

I'd love to hear some feedback on this. 28bytes (talk) 17:16, 29 February 2012 (UTC)

I like this idea, though I found that if I have Firefox's search bar set to enwiki, then when I right click on a highlighted section, there is an option to "Search Wikipedia (en) for '[selection]'". Adding new markup to wikicode may be prohibitively complicated, considering there are already little things like this in the browser. —Akrabbimtalk 19:01, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
Firefox might do this, but do other browsers? Sven Manguard Wha? 22:02, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
I don't hate the idea, but the addition of so much markup may make text nearly uneditable. It may become viable when we switch to a WYSIWYG editor. Josh Parris 22:04, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
Having hidden links like this might be confusing to the reader. Do they drag their mouse over every term that they want to look up? If this was implemented, maybe it should be done in a standard manner on every page based on a list of key words that are commonly used and have a rich context. Regards, RJH (talk) 23:12, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
I think this is a dreadful idea. If I'm interested in mustard seeds what does following a link to Great Britain or India add to my understanding? A link to mustard seed production in India yes, but not the country. Malleus Fatuorum 00:57, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
Depends on whether you're looking for specific information or just browsing; back in the "olden days" when overlinking was more prevalent I'd often click over to India or shrub or hectare or what have you. 28bytes (talk) 01:13, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
I support the desire, but agree that the additional markup is a major negative. I'd prefer the following: double-click on any word to select it, then right-click and the menu (which currently, for me, includes the ability to look up the word in Yahoo or a dictionary) would include an option to go to a Wikipedia article, if one exists. I don't know how to build such functionality, but obviously, it can be done, and it would not add additional markup to the article.--SPhilbrick(Talk) 20:23, 10 March 2012 (UTC)

New users discouraged by loss of work

Moved to WP:VPR#Keep drafts of edited pages by NYKevin @829, i.e. 18:53, 13 March 2012 (UTC)

One thing I've noticed after clerking WP:HD for a few weeks is that about once a week we get a post like this: "I made an article and can't find it. Where is it?" Inevitably, the asker's only contribution is the question. This is disturbing to me because I think it is discouraging users from contributing ("Well, I tried to make an article, but it vanished!"). Obviously some portion of these users are actually making their contributions while logged out; I don't see much we can do about those. But we can deal with people failing to click "Save page". The average user does not read modal dialog boxes saying things like "This page is asking you to confirm that you want to leave...". If a dialog appears, the average user will just click through it [1]. The problem is that the average user doesn't realize which button is "cancel" so half the time, they miss! And the rest of the time, they correctly pick "stay on page" only to find themselves staring at the edit box, wondering how to save their stuff without committing to it. Eventually, they give up. I think Wikipedia ought to automatically back up entered text if the user leaves without saving, much like Gmail's drafts feature [2]. Basically, it would create yet another "My whatever" link along the top of the screen ("My drafts") which would store the wikitext and (original) oldid for drafts (so that an edit conflict would be correctly generated if necessary). Thoughts? --NYKevin @170, i.e. 03:04, 7 March 2012 (UTC)

+1 like Josh Parris 05:32, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
  • Support. Wonderful idea, and not useful just for them! I frequently make large edits to low-edit-traffic articles and find myself periodically having to save the work-in-progress in a file. I could create a sandbox for the purpose, but that's such a hassle, as it requires either a disruptive move or a history merge later. Saving draft edits on-wiki would be immensely useful. However, on any high-edit-traffic article they would rapidly go "stale" as new edits come in, but at least the new content could be merged into the latest revision manually. The draft saves can be done in the background by Javascript so they don't disrupt editing. Frankly, I can't see any downside to this idea. Dcoetzee 08:40, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
  • Comment - At the risk of coming over as a cold-hearted bastard, competence is required and I do not believe that a new editor incapable of figuring out how to save a page would be likely to read and understand our (numerous) policies and guidelines. Therefore, I'm content for them to be discouraged and for them to not contribute material that will probably need deleting. The link given above ([3]) gives some prime examples of people I would hate to see ruining our hard work. [/cynicism] ŞůṜīΣĻ¹98¹Speak 09:00, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
    • All users are new at one time. They learn by participating. Users who cannot save edits cannot receive feedback from other editors on their edits and learn to be productive contributors. Also, as I noted above, the proposed feature is also useful for experienced editors. Dcoetzee 17:00, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
      • Also, experts may be highly competent in their own field but have little time "to read and understand our (numerous) policies and guidelines"—I guess that tends to happen quite a lot. Although no expert, as a new user I remember worrying about the possibility of losing my work (before realising that it could often be recovered by using the back button). As a Gmail user, I find the autosave feature very helpful. I know nothing about feasibility considerations here though. —MistyMorn (talk) 18:27, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
  • Comment IMO, this would be better done as a gadget using Web storage, rather than storing random potential edits on Wikipedia's servers. Either way, it would also need some logic to avoid making bad changes if the page has changed between when the draft was stored and when it was reloaded (i.e. either throw away the draft, try to do some sort of diff-and-merge if wgCurRevisionId has changed, or reset the hidden fields in the edit form such that an edit conflict will be thrown if necessary when submitted). Anomie 12:09, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
    • I could implement a prototype of something like this myself using database storage on Toolserver and a Javascript extension. I think the last option you suggested, forcing an edit conflict, is the ideal way to deal with the case where there are intervening changes, since it already gives them all the info they need to do a manual merge, although I'm not entirely sure the best way to actually do this. Dcoetzee 17:04, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
  • Comment It already exists as mw:Extension:Drafts and writing by foundation a employee. — Dispenser 21:27, 9 March 2012 (UTC)
By the way, there is a Firefox add-on called "Lazarus" ([4]) that is supposed to do just that... --Martynas Patasius (talk) 18:40, 7 March 2012 (UTC)

Commonly, however, when users are saying, "I made an article and now I can't find it," the article has usually just been deleted so only admins can see their real first contribution. Reaper Eternal (talk) 20:54, 7 March 2012 (UTC)

Don't admins usually notify the author when they do that? --NYKevin @036, i.e. 23:51, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
Sadly, many just zap it and never say a word. (Many also commonly assume the tagger has alerted the author.) Reaper Eternal (talk) 22:38, 8 March 2012 (UTC)

Guidelines for Listing Endorsements for Government Office

I would like to get a discussion going on the subject laid out below. I've tried at Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Elections_and_Referendums, but there doesn't seem to be much traffic there currently.

Wikipedia articles describing election campaigns could use some general guidelines for deciding which political endorsements are appropriate for inclusion in the articles.

First, there is the issue of what constitutes a political endorsement.

There are some statements that nearly everyone, if not everyone, would accept as clear endorsements. An example would be when the editorial board of a newspaper publishes an article shortly before an election stating that of the candidates seeking office, the board prefers Candidate X and urges readers to vote for Candidate X; or when a retiring elected official holds a press conference together with his chosen successor and urges voters to cast their votes for that person.

There are many other situations in which it is not so clear that a formal endorsement is being made. These are the sorts of cases that can be problematic for WP editors. Current guidelines do not adequately address these situations.

  • Is casually saying "I agree with a lot of what Candidate X says" an endorsement for office?
  • Is it an endorsement if the person only makes the statement in question with reluctance (for example, during an interview that is not primarily about the interviewed subject's opinion of the candidates and in which the interviewer must ask repeatedly to extricate that specific information)?
  • Is saying "I support Candidate X" while simultaneously saying "I support Candidate Y" and "I support Candidate Z" — all of whom are competing for the same seat — an endorsement suitable for inclusion among the endorsements listed in a WP article about a campaign? Or should exclusivity be a requirement for inclusion?

Second, there is the issue of whether a person who has some formal connection to the campaign (eg, someone who is described as a "senior adviser" to the campaign) should be listed among individuals making an endorsement for a candidate — or whether the connection is exclusionary due to the conflict of interest. (see, for example,, which is cited at Ron_Paul_presidential_campaign,_2012#cite_ref-BruceFein_203-0) And what are the boundaries, if any, for deciding to exclude an endorser on the basis of being connected to the campaign? Would major financial contributors be acceptable for inclusion, or should they be excluded? Or will it vary case by case?

Third, what are the guidelines for deciding whether a particular endorsement is noteworthy enough (or whether the endorser is notable enough) for inclusion? For example, in the United States, the endorsement that a local schoolboard member or city council member makes for a candidate seeking to be the nation's president would not seem to be noteworthy enough for inclusion in a WP article, even though local newspapers might report on the endorsement. (and yet see, for example, "Frederick County Board of Education Student Membar Neha Kapoor," "Kent County Commissioner William Pickrum," "Bardstown City Council Member Bill Sheckles (D-Nelson)," and "Hamtramck City Councilmember Catrina Stackpoole" all listed at List_of_Barack_Obama_presidential_campaign_endorsements_from_state,_local_and_territory_officials)

Fourth, what should the convention be for handling endorsements made by individuals or groups with whom the candidate or party does not wish to be associated?

Fifth, it may be helpful to spell out what specific rules apply to choosing citations for endorsements, given that they often are made nowadays on blogs, social media sites (eg Facebook), or personal websites. WP:SELFPUB requires that the material involved does not involve claims about a third party, yet political endorsements almost always involve claims about third parties (usually the preferred candidate, and often the rival candidates). For a couple of examples see the citations for Barbara Ehrenreich's and Garrison Keillor's endorsements at List of Barack Obama presidential campaign endorsements, 2008. And is it sufficient for the WP citation to be to the name of an endorser that is included in a list on a candidate's campaign website?Dezastru (talk) 21:54, 13 March 2012 (UTC)


Special:Unwatchedpages is currently available only to admins. My understanding is that this is to prevent vandals from targeting these pages and getting away with large-scale vandalism that would go unnoticed. However, I can imagine the benefits of established users being able to access this page, such as those who enjoy NPP, those heavily involved in Wikiprojects (to find pages that would fit within a project scope) and those who like to do cleanup, among others.

I'm thinking that some kind of a user right, similar to rollback but with perhaps more stringent requirements would take care of the vandal issue.

Are there any other problems that could arise from allowing established users access to this page? Good idea? Boring idea? Terrible idea :)? Noformation Talk 00:58, 5 March 2012 (UTC)

I like it. Good idea.AerobicFox (talk) 02:47, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
IMO "boring idea" since the special page is basically useless. The list contains only 1000 pages, and currently it consists entirely of articles beginning with certain punctuation characters and the numbers 0 and 1; it doesn't even get into the A's. Yes, we apparently really do have that many unwatched articles. And even were that to be somehow fixed, how much good would it really do when a page watched only by a user who hasn't logged in since 2007 would still not be included in the list? Anomie 02:50, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
I like the idea, but considering the information which Anomie provides, it may not be as good as it looks at first glance. __meco (talk) 11:49, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
In principle, it's an interesting idea, perhaps if the unwatched pages list was improved. It might be worth extending the scope of the list to include pages not watched by an active editor (we can define that later). If that were to happen, I think that the idea has merit and could be potentially useful. I'm sure more improvements could be made, but I like it in principle. ItsZippy (talkcontributions) 20:49, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for the detailed feedback, Anomie. Itzippy, I like your thinking. I was going to propose something similar, maybe a list of pages watched by less than one or two editors. Is it possible there are a decent amount of pages that were created earlier on in WP's history that only ended up being watched by the creator? Kind of like a deep web version of WP. Noformation Talk 21:01, 5 March 2012 (UTC)

Back in the days of the great unsourced BLP madness, the issue of unwatched BLPs came up. I suggested then to have a bot track changes at Special:Unwatchedpages and produce a list so that the people of the mindset it takes to monitor NPP and recent changes could check on these articles. It still strikes me as a potentially good idea. Resolute 01:21, 6 March 2012 (UTC)

well if any established editor here wants to add the first 1000 pages on Special:Unwatched they can ask me or an an adminstrator get them emailed. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 10:56, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
And to add to the possibilities apparently the toolserver can give this information. This would be the way to procede beyond the first 1000. But currently releasing this information is not permitted. Just think how pages get on watch lists and you will get the idea of how many are unwatched or watched by only the creator. Prolific gnomes probably do not add every page they touch to a watchlist. So a report on pages that have been substantially edited by only one person will likely show those with only have one watcher. And if the report goes on to show those pages where the creator is no longer active then you have a list of pages at risk. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 11:23, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
General topics aside, at a more detailed level, does it matter if a technical page is not watched? I am sorry, but there are so many pages out there full of incorrect information, and "vendor planted items" that getting watched by those not familiar with the topic does not make much difference. I see them every day, say Dynamic programming language, tagged as confusing since 2009. What difference does it make if anyone watches it? It is 70% incorrect information and a list of links, some being promo oriented (I saw that someone managed to get a link to just one person's work: Erik Meijer - so unrepresentative of the field). So I think the entire mentality of "page watching" is no longer working. A few, closely watched Wikipedia technical pages have very high quality, and then there is the other 80%... History2007 (talk) 16:32, 14 March 2012 (UTC)


I have translated an essay from Lithuanian Wikipedia (translation is Wikipedia:Wikiheresy)... Would anyone, by any chance, have some suggestions on how to improve it, or criticism..? It does seem to have some support in Lithuanian Wikipedia, perhaps in some way it would be useful here too (at least it is my pretext for writing about it here)..? --Martynas Patasius (talk) 20:52, 10 March 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia needs more of what you label as Wiki heretics, not less. As George Bernard Shaw once said, "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man." Malleus Fatuorum 21:38, 10 March 2012 (UTC)
That is definitely a criticism, but, unfortunately, it looks a little too similar to something answered in the essay's section "Groupthink"...
Still, it seems to be fitting that Shaw is discussed in Chesterton's book that is called "Heretics" (s:Heretics/4)... I guess this part might be worth citing: "Having come to doubt whether humanity can be combined with progress, most people, easily pleased, would have elected to abandon progress and remain with humanity. Mr. Shaw, not being easily pleased, decides to throw over humanity with all its limitations and go in for progress for its own sake."... --Martynas Patasius (talk) 00:00, 11 March 2012 (UTC)
Looks nothing like it all. Malleus Fatuorum 01:07, 11 March 2012 (UTC)
I find the use of the term heretic in this context abhorrent. Even with the objectionable message of the essay overall I find that applying the heretic label to the phenomenon described is a misnomer, at best. Heretics are doctrinaire dissidents, not riotous seditionists, basically a mere subdivision of the vandal typology, also a much used and abused meme in the Wikimedia community. But apart from the misapplied heretic label I find the essay stupefying and in spirit encouraging quelching of principled critical discourse although on the face of it only clearly disruptive behavior is targeted directly by the author.
I also resolutely condemn the initiative to establish a practice of asserting group pressure to ostracize editors that are considered less than "team players". __meco (talk) 10:06, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
"Heretics are doctrinaire dissidents, not riotous seditionists, basically a mere subdivision of the vandal typology"? Sure. Is the essay so unclear that it is possible to read it and think that it describes some type of vandals and not the type of users who sincerely wish the best to Wikipedia? In that sense the essay was meant to be somewhat similar to Wikipedia:Competence is required... And if it is so easy to misunderstand, perhaps it's a good thing that I wrote here - maybe Lithuanian version can also be misunderstood... --Martynas Patasius (talk) 00:24, 13 March 2012 (UTC)

Wikiheresy? Wikitics? Well, contorting to think positive at least it stops short of an Auto da fé. But then again, no...!MistyMorn (talk) 01:00, 11 March 2012 (UTC)

Disclaimer: no offence intended. —MistyMorn (talk) 01:08, 11 March 2012 (UTC)

Well, among other reasons, I did choose such name for the essay to encourage such jokes... I wonder if anyone will think of a way to mention Warhammer 40,000 here... --Martynas Patasius (talk) 14:27, 11 March 2012 (UTC)

I understand where you're coming from but I don't know... Might it be unnecessarily divisive? ItsZippy (talkcontributions) 20:42, 11 March 2012 (UTC)

Also, I feel the doctrinaire perception of WP to which many, whether consciously or not, probably subscribe is more a hindrance than a help at a community level (inevitably, think groupthink...). Imo, pillars and policies etc are better perceived as aids and tools rather than doctrine or writ. My 2c —MistyMorn (talk) 21:30, 11 March 2012 (UTC)
Thank you. I guess it means that, in your opinion, groupthink hasn't been addressed satisfactorily in the essay..? Good, but could you be a little more specific..?
Also, concerning "pillars and policies etc are better perceived as aids and tools rather than doctrine or writ"... That sure is completely true for many of them, yet there are some principles, which are more important... Not exactly in the sense that those policies are "true" or "best", but in the sense that if we change them, we will get a completely different project. Not necessarily worse, but definitely completely different. For example, if we change WP:NPOV, we can get, let's say, Conservapedia. Or if we change "Wikipedia is an encyclopedia." we can get Wikibooks or Wikinews. And we change the policies concerning the language, we can get Lithuanian, Russian or German Wikipedia. Now, it is rather pointless to try to change Wikipedia into a completely different project, however good that project might be. Thus any user must eventually either adapt to work in Wikipedia (accept its main policies etc.), or go away and look for another project. And if it just so happens that the user simply cannot make a decision (although it doesn't happen often), then, perhaps, the community should make it for him? And maybe in some cases we should actually say so..? --Martynas Patasius (talk) 00:11, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
Agree totally with Meco. This kind of page makes Wikipedia look like a bloody cult. the wub "?!" 16:51, 12 March 2012 (UTC)

Using dogmatic religious terms like that in an essay to describe editors on Wikipedia seems like a very bad idea to me. Something that I fear would only serve to encourage some to engage in battleground behaviour. --Saddhiyama (talk) 00:48, 13 March 2012 (UTC)

Yes, certainly besides being a hobby and an encyclopedia we're a bloody cult with fanatical insistance on dogma and disdain for Conservapedia, Citizendium, Wikihow and any other deviationists that may arise. At least, I am and if politeness, tolerance, NPOV, and working and playing well with others were not among our major dogmatic doctrines we would be much worse off. Jim.henderson (talk) 01:28, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
As long as these fundamental policies (copyvio, notability, neutrality, etc) are not violated or questioned, I think it is better to allow and encourage people to speak that do they think. The good member of the community can also yield to consensus or result of vote still openly saying he disagrees and stays not convinced. I think there is no need for additional rules or policies to force accepting the views of majority. Audriusa (talk) 09:10, 13 March 2012 (UTC)

And contributors who are happy to feel part of an open community encyclopaedia project, freely abide by NPOV and other principles and policies, but maybe loathe dogma and want no part in anything doctrinal or any sort of church? —MistyMorn (talk) 09:59, 13 March 2012 (UTC)

Well, I guess it is safe to say that the word "wikiheresy", er, does not have a universal approval... So, could there be a different way to name this "phenomenon", when some contributor openly rejects the main policies of Wikipedia (let's say, NPOV)? After all, the problem in such case is different from, let's say, "normal" POV pushing, when the contributor "pays lip service" to NPOV, so, it should probably be approached somewhat differently and perhaps also named differently..? --Martynas Patasius (talk) 20:07, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
Please mind also Wikipedia:Ignore all rules - not only talks but probably even some actions are allowed if the heretic is sincerely sure this will improve Wikipedia. We cannot have an essay that directly contradicts the English Wikipedia policy. Audriusa (talk) 11:52, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I know WP:IAR. After all, I did write its Lithuanian version ([5]). And you should know that, for you did argue against one part of it ([6])...
And, of course, there is a difference between thinking that some policy doesn't apply in some specific case and rejecting it outright (see essay Wikipedia:Exceptions should leave the rule intact for some views about that)...
On an unrelated note I'd like to repeat the "new" question: if "wikiheresy" is not a suitable name, what would be a more suitable one? --Martynas Patasius (talk) 21:31, 14 March 2012 (UTC)

Just a note... Most people on Wikipedia agree to the general policies and guidelines - are not 'heretical', so to speak. To these people, the essay doesn't do a great deal: they know that they fall inside the norm and have probably come across people who think differently. There are also a few people - the 'heretics' - who do disagree with some fundamental policies and guidelines. These people are a problem, but reading an essay which calls them heretics (or being singled out at all) will probably not be helpful - they are the ones who will get offended at this. So I'm not quite sure what the purpose of the essay is; I can only see the potential for divisiveness, I'm afraid. ItsZippy (talkcontributions) 21:43, 14 March 2012 (UTC)

Well, it was meant to say that if discussion with such user ends up with him leaving Wikipedia, it's still a relatively good result (not as good as him understanding the policies and accepting them, but good nonetheless). For example, there was one discussion on one talk page ([7], later [8]), in which simply pointing out to the user, that it is pointless to edit Wikipedia while rejecting its main policies, did seem to work (after a couple of tries). And that is exactly the approach this essay was meant to recommend... Although it doesn't look like I did a very good job... --Martynas Patasius (talk) 01:04, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

Multi-page rollback tool

I am seeing a growing number of spammers on technical pages. And it is just logical, it costs nothing for them to spam, and appealing to their sense of civic duty does not go very far. Examples just today were this and this on just one of the pages I watch. I try to revert what I can, but there too many of them out there, many of their spam edits still persist and will just get mixed with valid content. There are just not enough experienced editors to revert these on the more technical pages one by one, and Wikipedia is gradually turning into a version of Craigslist. I think once an account has been identified as a WP:SPA spammer, there should be a facility to roll back its edits in the past 3, 5 or 10 days just by pressing one button. History2007 (talk) 05:26, 13 March 2012 (UTC)

See User:John254/mass rollback.js. Goodvac (talk) 06:02, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
Not a bad idea in fact. I can take that and make my own I guess. And is it certain that it does not run against WP:3RR, I think it does not. Thanks. History2007 (talk) 09:11, 14 March 2012 (UTC)

Implement an incentive mechanism for prolific editors

I think Wikipedia should implement an incentive mechanism for prolific editors. Human nature is selfish, and human beings invest labor for the purpose of getting incentives. A lot of Wikipedians invest a large amount of time to build world's largest encyclopedia. But there are never remembered, they don't get any recognition outside the Wikipedia administration pages.

Wikipedia has a tremendous impact on popular culture, on the education system of the entire world. Wikipedia is in news everyday throughout the world. It is time to acknowledge the contributions of the largest encyclopedia's architects. How? Implement an incentive mechanism. I'm not sure how this can be implemented, but off-wiki recognition (we already have on-wiki rewards like barnstars etc) such as a certificate will give justice to those who have worked hard here.

Benefits of issuing certificates to prolific editors: This will encourage more people to register and contribute, particularly students who can use those certificate to increase their CV value by showing their extra-curricular activity in associated with world's largest encyclopedia. By issuing certificates to prolific editors, given that they meet a specific set of criteria, will encourage them to contribute more and constructively, and they will not view their contributions in Wikipedia as a waste of time. Thoughts? Contributing to Wikipedia will be a status symbol. Editors will proudly describe themselves as Wikipedia Editor. --SupernovaExplosion Talk 12:41, 29 February 2012 (UTC)

I think incentives would be very counter productive. Less hassle with trolls vandals POV pushers and eejits in general would help most. A bit of automated appreciation could help but anything too official or prominent is I think liable to the law of unintended consequences and will turn many good contributors off. Your basic premise is wrong and totally inappropriate for the editors here. Dmcq (talk) 13:03, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
Why will giving certificates to prolific editors turn other prolific contributors away? --SupernovaExplosion Talk 13:10, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
Why are you on Wikipedia in the first place? To get certificates which are an equivalent to money in helping you get a job? If you give a person money they are far less likely to work cooperatively and only do what is directly in their own self interest. Dmcq (talk) 13:22, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
Why are you turning the discussion about an idea to personal level? When a person gets incentive only when their activities benefits the project, the person's self-interest will not be in conflict with the interest of the project. For example, if a person gets a certificate for helping to promote 20 articles to FA status, then the person's self-interest (i.e. developing the articles and getting certificates) will ultimately benefit the project. I don't see any conflict of interest here. Or take another example, if a person gets a certificate for taking and uploading a specific number of Featured Picture-quality photographs, will that harm the project or benefit the project? --SupernovaExplosion Talk 13:32, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
I was hoping you might be able to look inside yourself and examine why you are here to get an insight into why money or money equivalents are not in general a good idea for something like this. We don't want to get into the situation with doctors where they are paid the full amount if 50% iof their patients hav some test - and later on find practically all doctors have almost precisely 50% and no more tested. Unintended consequences Dmcq (talk) 13:41, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
Your counter-argument is argumentum ad consequentiam fallacy. What you are saying may happen in the current system also. --SupernovaExplosion Talk 14:17, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
Are you saying we should do something despite the probable consequences being bad for Wikipedia? Dmcq (talk) 14:42, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
This discussion is getting tiresome, let other editors input their thoughts. --SupernovaExplosion Talk 14:45, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
It would be likely to increase the number of poor submissions to WP:GAN and WP:FAC by editors looking for the next shiny badge, without increasing the number of quality contributions from the real content writers. Reaper Eternal (talk) 18:26, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
  • There's a first draft of a proposal for something quite similar at meta:Badges, drawing on a system Mozilla are working on. Shimgray | talk | 13:36, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
There is a good "selfish" reason to edit Wikipedia: "I want to have access to an encyclopedia that is as good, as it can be.". That reason should be sufficient. And even if it is not, there is another good "selfish" reason: "I want to learn something, thus I will write an article about it, for I know that the best way to learn anything is teaching others (and maybe someone will criticise the article and thus point out the things I have misunderstood).".
Also, the "incentive mechanisms" can encourage things that we shouldn't encourage and attract the editors we should actually discourage from editing. For example, making 20 featured articles for "certificates" can be achieved both by making 20 good articles and by somehow trying to promote articles that are, well, less good...
Thus, adding additional incentives doesn't seem to be a very good idea... --Martynas Patasius (talk) 00:44, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
I'm not sure we ought to be rewarding people for pissing away their lives in cyberspace but that aside, it should be the quality, not quantity of edits that is recognised.--Ykraps (talk) 18:45, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
I just wanted to post here to say that I agree with OP that there need to be more incentives for editors. This opinion seems to be quite unpopular unfortunately. A few weeks ago, I proposed User ratings. But you may be interested in the following currently-existing "selfish" incentives (a little in my opinion):

Leonxlin (talk) 03:24, 11 March 2012 (UTC)

I think we need a serious essay to explain and ground the attitude not to give back for serious contributors also when this is appears easily possible. Instead of calling the opponent selfish, it may be more important to explain why project implementing the "no reward" attitude remains moral and worth contributing to. It may not be a wrong approach but it would be great to have some calm and deep explanation of it. Audriusa (talk) 12:51, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
I have tried to write and essay along these lines. Improvements welcome. I have seen frequently turning the discussion of this kind to a personal level and do not think this is a best way to help people to understand. Audriusa (talk) 15:20, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

Edit summary suggestion

A simple suggestion: in the text above the "Edit summary" box, the addition of a friendly reminder would be appreciated:

Please be civil.

Regards, RJH (talk) 20:42, 9 March 2012 (UTC)

I do like the idea; I wonder how effective it really would be, though. Perhaps it would, I'm not sure, but I get the feeling that people will not be swayed to change an uncivil post just be reading that. Still, I wouldn't object to it; I'm all for civility. ItsZippy (talkcontributions) 20:57, 9 March 2012 (UTC)
I'd support that. I too doubt its effectiveness, but it shouldn't do any harm. It's likely to be ignored for the most part, but if even a handful of summaries are more civil because of it, it's worth it. - Jorgath (talk) (contribs) 21:42, 9 March 2012 (UTC)
I couldn't support this, just because the Edit summary box is already preceded by a bunch of text (Content that violates any copyrights will be deleted. Encyclopedic content must be verifiable. By clicking the "Save Page" button, you agree to the Terms of Use, and you irrevocably agree to release your contribution under the CC-BY-SA 3.0 License and the GFDL. You agree that a hyperlink or URL is sufficient attribution under the Creative Commons license.) Adding more text will make it less likely that they will read any of the text, and a reminder to be nice is not going to have any effect on people leaving angry comments in the heat of the moment (or trolling). Dcoetzee 22:49, 9 March 2012 (UTC)
As Dcoetzee says, nobody reads that stuff anyway. Malleus Fatuorum 21:39, 10 March 2012 (UTC)
And some users just use custom css to hide the text above the edit summary box altogether. I doubt it would have any affect on uncivil comments. Alpha_Quadrant (talk) 22:00, 10 March 2012 (UTC)

Why that particular policy? It could also say "Please keep a neutral point of view" or one of the countless other "rules" that one should be mindful of when editing. If it were up to me it would say "don't be a dick" but I know that would never fly :) --Ron Ritzman (talk) 22:08, 10 March 2012 (UTC)

Well, because it's directed specifically at the edit message, rather than at the edit content. Regards, RJH (talk) 03:02, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
Things like this tend to suggest the opposite to me. But then again I've always felt that peace treaties and friendship alliances were undeclared declarations of war. Why would one do it if one were really a friend? Dmcq (talk) 00:29, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
Aye, well I just thought some sort of gentle reminder may tone down some of the unnecessary negative rhetoric. I suppose I'll just keep resorting to tagging the posters talk pages with warning messages. Regards, RJH (talk) 21:23, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

TFA to become TFAs

There seems a substantial backlog of FAs waiting to be listed on TFA. What if two were listed each day, alternating odd-and-even hours? Josh Parris 03:09, 12 March 2012 (UTC)

Why? What backlog? Malleus Fatuorum 03:12, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
I randomly suspect he is referring to Category:Featured articles that have not appeared on the main page. MBisanz talk 03:29, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
That's not a backlog, it's simply a list of articles that haven't been featured on the main page. Malleus Fatuorum 03:47, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
Josh's statement appears predicated on the assumptions that the current rate of FA creation is greater than one/day, that all FAs should be featured on the main page, and that the rate of FA creation will not decline to one/day. Under those assumptions, there is backlog in that mathematically, some articles that should appear on the main page as TFA, never will. MBisanz talk 04:23, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
Everything in one; wasn't aware of the cat, but that's four years supply in case FA writing dries up. Our best work, not poking anyone in the eye. Josh Parris 13:16, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
There's a tension between FA's two traditional roles as "the top rung of the quality ladder" and "an article to be featured on the front page" - the general practice seems to be to say that FA status is primarily the former, and that it does not guarantee (or demand) the second part - so there is a large pool of eligible articles for the daily slot, but not a backlog as such. A subtle distinction...
You might be interested to see Wikipedia:Featured article statistics; since October 2010, 75% of months have had a net increase of less than the magic one FA per day, and through 2011, we had a net gain of only 308 FAs. (In practice, many demoted FAs have already appeared on the main page and so this doesn't directly translate to a change in backlog, but it's indicative.) Shimgray | talk | 15:30, 12 March 2012 (UTC)

Some of the principle authors of FAs have expressed a desire that their work not appear on Main Page, due to the impact it can have on the article. It's not a view I share, but I do understand it. As does Raul, as I believe he's said he won't schedule such articles. I'm not sure how much this reduces the "backlog". --Dweller (talk) 14:12, 12 March 2012 (UTC)

That's... odd. Understandable, but odd. Just close your eyes for a day, let someone else fight off the vandals, then review the good-faith additions once the crowd of visitors has died away.
I learned of the 975 page backlog from Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2008-08-18/Dispatches. 4.5 years later it's at 1320.
We've got 3m articles. If they all get to featured status, even if there are no new articles... need I say more? This is a pressing problem, action must be taken. If necessary, I will take this to Jimbo. We need more FAs on the front page, FAs such as Doug Ring with the Australian cricket team in England in 1948 (Doug scored 9 runs in his one Test match appearance), Meteorological history of Hurricane Gordon (1994) (Gordon never made landfall as a hurricane) and Interstate 80 Business (West Wendover, Nevada–Wendover, Utah), a 2.26 mile long road that had a light bulb installed after they built it. Think of the children! Josh Parris 15:16, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
The level of detail in that last article makes me want to cry. MBisanz talk 16:52, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
Pressing problem? We need more FAs on the front page?
These are just opinions. They happen to be opinions that I don't share. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:47, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
Yes, well, I've expressed that desire for some articles I'd brought up to FA, but they showed up on the front page anyway. Shrug. I've just learned to hold my nose, wait for the sh*t storm to pass, then go back and fix the mess. (I will add though that the editor(s) who go in and perform the preparation work prior to the front page appearance do a really nice job of tidying things up.) If somebody has a burning desire to have a particular article appear on the front page, they can make a request at WP:TFAR. Regards, RJH (talk) 21:28, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

Is there a fundamental issue on some mathematics pages?

On a great portion of the wikipedia mathematics pages it involves terms and jargons for users above the level of someone who needs to know whats actually on the page. And if one follows the links on these jargons, one gets a page full of more jargons(with links), one then follows one of those links, to a page full of complex jargon, and so on, and sometimes you go full circle back to the first article you where on none the wiser. It seems to be a network of complex texts and to explain each complex text, it refers to another complex text which refers to another and another and so on. Even one who knows their math, might be mystified at the large role some math articles place on complex terms, that they may have forgoten by now. Plus, its very unfriendly to one new to the subject matter. Editor0000001 (talk) 00:07, 5 March 2012 (UTC)editor0000001

Being specific about the particular articles that worry you on the talk page or the maths project page would help more. I get the feeling you are looking for elementary maths from the point of view of teaching people, is this correct? Wikipedia is an encyclopaedia and doesn't provide a learning package for subjects, it is supposed to be more for looking up and reading about particular topics. So for addition it doesn't teach people how to add, it describes the history etc and methods used and how it can be applied to objects and lengths and these were considered differently, that sort of thing. Dmcq (talk) 08:59, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
Perhaps you find some tags for your predicament at Wikipedia:WikiProject Countering systemic bias/Mathematics or User:Gregbard/Mathematosis which are two pages I recently visited... __meco (talk) 11:53, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
Grehgbard's mathematosis has bee deleted where he tried sticking it round the project as being offensive and silly. Please don't go pointing new editors at it. I see that other thing you referred to was also written initially by Gregbard. Just avoid that sort of thing. Dmcq (talk) 12:57, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
There is an essay about making technical articles more accessible at WP:TECHNICAL. WP:LEAD also has a bit about it and WP:MOSMATH some specifically about maths. Dmcq (talk) 13:04, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
We do have a problem with editors showing off their knowledge by using the most obscure terms rather than explaining material in plain English, but that problem exists in basically all subject areas that have any technical component, not just maths. Additionally, some editors honestly find it easier to write in their field's jargon. Explaining things well is a rare talent. That's why there are more good mathematicians than there are good teachers of mathematics. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:32, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
Improving accessibility of math articles is important. That said, there are always going to be highly technical topics that require substantial background to understand, and we don't want to give all necessary background in the article. Perhaps a solution is to clearly indicate which articles to consult for more background, emphasising the ones that are more accessible. Dcoetzee 22:27, 8 March 2012 (UTC)

Though, it seems to me their are some very good mathematicians(or whatever subject), out their that need to look up something in an encyclopedia as a refresher. But, it seems to me that all the jargon spirals into confusion to one who has a very good knowledge of math, but has not been to college/highschool in the last decade. Is there any wikipedia project devoted to making articles more comprehensible(please)? Editor0000001 (talk) 01:02, 9 March 2012 (UTC)editor0000001

See Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)/Archive 35#Easy as pi? (subsectioned and sub-subsectioned).
Wavelength (talk) 01:43, 9 March 2012 (UTC)
I completely agree with Editor0000001. A large number of those articles rely too much on background knowledge in the area it is trying to address. I.e. they seem to be written for people who already know the subject, almost as if they were refresher summaries rather than introductions. An example of this is Measure (mathematics). Regards, RJH (talk) 03:12, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
Actually I think the measure article has one of the better leads and is aimed at about the right level, those who just about know enough already to be able to grasp the bare basics. I agree though there are quite a few though where the lead assumes knowledge that one would only have if one already knew quite a bit about the topic, things like talking about Minkowski space in the lead of Lorentz transformation for instance. It is a pity that Easy as pi discussion has got so messed up it is a waste of time. I think the various technical type projects are very aware of the problem but even for those editors who really try and do something about it there is a huge amount which is jut so bread and butter to someone who is any good at the topics that it is hard to figure out exactly how little people might know who might reasonably be expected to be able to get the gist of it. Dmcq (talk) 09:33, 12 March 2012 (UTC)

I agree with Dcoetzee that after a certain point a topic may naturally become complex enough that it may not be immediately understandable by the general public. And that applies to advanced biochemistry as much as it does to mathematics. As for users "showing off their knowledge" that is not always the case, and a separate reason may be that some users do not write pages from scratch, but use class notes, etc. they have developed for teaching the topic, and just use the notes they have on their computer as the basis for the article. And class notes on a graduate level class almost always assume prior knowledge. The fundamental problem, as always, is the need for more editors with infinite time to spend on Wiikipedia. Yet, overall, I would say that the Wikipedia mathematical articles are far superior to those in computer science. So available energies should probably be directed towards current needs. History2007 (talk) 05:47, 13 March 2012 (UTC)

Again, though, is their a wikiproject devoted to improving accessibility. Even if its not just for math, is their any "group" of editors trying to improve the accessibility of articles(like the computer science articles) Editor0000001 (talk) 19:58, 18 March 2012 (UTC)editor0000001
No, there is no project for that. And why would one try to increase access to "incorrect content" in the computer science articles? There is really a serious perception problem here, as though there were hundreds of computer science experts lining up to help. There are not. Look at it this way, I would never even consider working on an article on basic computing - say operating systems or even computer itself. Everyone and his brother who has ever clicked on MS-Windows has an opinion and can argue about that for ever. But I do write articles on advanced computing topics, because it adds scholarship, but the risk of wasting time on endless arguments is low, and even if arguments arise (they usually do not) I can rely on specific references and sources to make my point. So let me get on my soap box and say it again: "unless policy changes, quality will not improve". I have said that about 1,000 times now, I will probably need to say it 10,000 times more before it happens. There is a shortage of experts, and no policy in place to attract them. History2007 (talk) 20:31, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

is there a place where disillusioned and tired editors can "hang out" - like the waste bucket of WP ?

Procedural note: Thread moved here from Village pump (policy) as more appropriate venue for further discussion. - OhioStandard (talk) 17:14, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

When an editor is totally frustrated, where can he go ?

normally many editors will just leave the project.

can we create a waste bucket, sanatorium, wellness refuge for those editors ?

--POVbrigand (talk) 15:15, 1 March 2012 (UTC)

They usually just take a short break from editing. IRWolfie- (talk) 15:41, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
If you're feeling that way, the best answer is to blank your watchlist, at least of the troublespots, and go to "random article". As far as possible avoid talkpages, as such feelings usually result from too much time debating. Be a wp:wikignome for a while. It is very theraputic. LeadSongDog come howl! 16:28, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
The question was more a general one, not specifically concerning me. Actually, I am feeling GREAT, you know, I just survived a Arbcom case and more and more RS supportive of the minority view are appearing daily. Really, I can't complain. :-) btw, being a SPA, I don't need to use a watchlist. Thanks for the wikignome hint anyway. --POVbrigand (talk) 16:40, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
The discussion forum website Wikipedia Review might be of interest to you. Although it is not intended as a "sanatorium, wellness refuge", it does have many "disillusioned and tired editors" as well as those who are "totally frustrated". Obviously, many views will be expressed accordingly. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 12:21, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
  • If you're frustrated with something, try taking a break for a few days or use mediation of some form to settle a major content dispute. If you feel that someone is behaving in ways to you that violate Wikipedia policies and guidelines, you can report the editor to the admins. dci | TALK 05:02, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for the advice. Don't worry about me, I am an SPA and the article I work on is in fairly good shape, so I'm not frustrated myself. Is there an essay or some other page where this "self-help" information can also be found ? I was thinking that Wikipedia should improve the offered help to "almost burned out" editors who would otherwise be lost to the project. Instead of standing by when good editors leave, I have several ideas how WP could "make good use" of valuable editors who are tired of fighting over some silly content. --POVbrigand (talk) 08:07, 4 March 2012 (UTC)

There's considerable merit to the idea of creating a venue of the kind wished for above. So-called "burnout" is a serious problem for both the encyclopedia and more so for those who experience it, as almost all contributors to contentious articles and topic areas periodically do. A venue of the sort being proposed here could help

  1. Retain experienced editors, an emphatic need for the project, given current stats,
  2. Diminish edit-warring and other forms of disruption we see in article-space from very-frustrated veteran editors,
  3. Give editors who need to "vent" an alternative to cluttering up the drama boards or posting to a perceived adversary's talk,
  4. Decrease the frequency of off-topic rants on article talk pages coming from editors who are basically just seeking a little recognition for the validity of their frustration.

Similarly, exasperated editors who feel inclined to leave, but who don't leave because they're somewhat addicted to Wikipedia, would have a place they could go to get their editing "fix" more productively. A place, that is, where such previously-productive but still-addicted contributors could both "get their editing fix" and "blow off steam"; a place where doing so wouldn't be met with the indignant, dismissive, or otherwise counterproductive replies that are so typical on other project pages, and that result in the regrettable escalating cycles of aggression we see so often, suspending and disrupting the collaborative process by which we produce our highest-quality work.

If it were implemented well, I think this idea could significantly reduce drama and disruption to project pages, and would simultaneously be of considerable individual value to editors who've reached their frustration tolerance.  – OhioStandard (talk) 20:46, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

Ugh, I'm not sure a forum full of Wikipedia burnouts would help get anybody recharged. Maybe we need a WP:Advice for dealing with Wikipedia burnout syndrome article? (With tongue firmly planted in cheek, of course. Face-smile.svg) Regards, RJH (talk) 21:43, 15 March 2012 (UTC)
Ugh, yourself, RJ. ;-) The hope would be that we'd see some not-yet-crispy folks volunteer there. People like to volunteer at the help desks, after all, and evidently at the newly launched "teahouse" for new editors, too. Besides, what's the alternative? The current situation, in which people whose patience has run out, the "burnouts" or incipient "burnouts", as you call them, seek recognition disruptively for the validity of their frustration on pages that are intended for encyclopedic work, or on the drama boards? Yeah, that's working out real well. ;-) And besides, again, every soul we can save from falling into the abyss is all to the good, imo. Cheers,  – OhioStandard (talk) 22:23, 15 March 2012 (UTC)
Relatedly, the community recently established the Teahouse for new editors, partly for the numbered reasons I listed above. Now, it seems to me that a corresponding venue is equally necessary for veteran editors. Exasperated veterans can't really use the new-editor teahouse to address these needs, that is: Their venting and their probable use of "wikispeak" wouldn't play well before the new editors visiting there, before the editors for whom it was designed.
I'm not sure any variation on "teahouse" would be the best name to attract frustrated veterans, though. The association with the phrase, "Have a cup of tea" could be off-putting since it's so often used as "put down" or dismissal of others' legitimate concerns by certain smart ass editors trying to bait or deride a perceived opponent. Something similarly collegial, but that implies a meaning akin to "the teahouse on steroids", or "the teahouse for grownups" (i.e. veteran editors) perhaps? "The taprooom" maybe?
Or if we don't want the association with alcohol, perhaps we could expand on the military association that's already present in the phrase "veteran editor" by employing another martial word. Don't most branches of the military usually have some venue that fulfills the functions we'd be looking for here, at least for officers? Naval officers have their "wardroom" or "ready room" aboard ship, for example: Perhaps a similar term could be adopted for our own "veteran editors" who need some interaction of the sort that they can't get "on duty", ie can't get via our currently existing project pages.  – OhioStandard (talk) 22:23, 15 March 2012 (UTC)
I know that there are mentor programs on Wikipedia, generally for inexperienced users, but they could be of use, I suppose, to anyone needing some guidance through a dark spot on the encyclopedia. dci | TALK 22:26, 16 March 2012 (UTC)

I was thinking of two things, first an essay on what editors can do other than content editing. I don't know if that exists yet. And second, a page where editors can discuss about there feelings and experience about wikipedia, venting as you like. I remember that some companies kindly ask you for "a reason" when you decide to leave their service. They do that because it leaves a nice "caring" feeling to the customers and because they hope to improve by that feedback. Wikipedia doesn't have that. --POVbrigand (talk) 18:23, 20 March 2012 (UTC)

Your first suggestion is a good one. The second is not. We really don't need a place for "venting" here. Really, Jimbo's talk page fills that bill more often than not. "Venting" doesn't really do anything to improve the encyclopedia, and likely will just be a place for flame wars to rekindle. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 20:11, 20 March 2012 (UTC)
Maybe "venting" is not the right word, it might misunderstood as "complaining". But assume good faith here, getting "a feedback" from editors who feel that their wiki-efforts have become pointless and are no longer appreciated _will_ do something to improve the encyclopedia eventually. I agree with you that there is a risk that such a discussion page can get "misused", but that is true for any other discussion as well and maybe it would not even be so bad idea to have "flame wars rekindle" on a neutral page where other editors who have been in similar situations will be able to comment, maybe the flame war will die out faster over there than on the article's talk page.
If Jimbo's talk page fills the bill, as you say, then obviously there is a need for such a venue. We just have to channel it to get something useful out of it. --POVbrigand (talk) 08:37, 22 March 2012 (UTC)
Tired and disillusioned editors, autism-spectrum editors, having-trouble editors, and all their kin regularly hang out at my talk page! It's headed "Granny Pesky's animal sanctuary and Mandatory Truce Zone". It's a chill zone, a sanctuary, and definitely not somewhere to rant and vent; more a place where there are an awful lot of experienced and kind and helpful stalkers; a place where we have odd bit of humour, general chitchat, the occasional non-wiki subject turns up, and so on. If you just want a warm and friendly place to lurk, and occasionally join in, you're welcome over there at Granny's Madhouse! But it really is strictly no fighting etc., over there, otherwise it loses its sanctuary-like feeling for all the shy woodland creatures who lurk in the bracken ... Pesky (talk) 09:32, 22 March 2012 (UTC)
Meh, if Jimbo's as annoyed as you would imagine him to be, we can't explain why he never came here with any type of suggestion like that. He prob gotten used to it. (talk) 22:13, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
I didn't say he was annoyed with it. He really doesn't seem to mind at all. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 05:01, 24 March 2012 (UTC)

A place to collect what rocks and what sucks about the 'pedia

I believe it would be beneficial to have a place where we collect statements of editors regarding what they like about Wikipedia and what sucks about Wikipedia. The goal is to create a long list of good things and bad things about Wikipedia. This could be used as a guide on how to improve Wikipedia. This should perhaps be ordered by users, so that there are sections like

==Statements by Toshio Yamaguchi==











A section should not be edited by any editor other than the original creator so that anybody can freely state what he or she feels and thinks about Wikipedia. -- Toshio Yamaguchi (tlkctb) 09:49, 18 March 2012 (UTC)

We all know the pros and cons already:


  • 1. allows people from different places share information
  • 2. it is efficient and doesn't require a lot of money
  • 3. it helps people find out about things they would have never known exist otherwise


  • 1. people here don't like to be judged and will never make a page for this regardless of how many flying pigs are hit by snowballs in hell. (talk) 00:56, 19 March 2012 (UTC)

Statements by Jasper Deng


  1. Updating is usually very consistent.
  2. The amount of information we cover is greater than any other encyclopedia.
  3. It's free.
  4. We're formal and neutral.


  1. Steep learning curve for new users, especially our policies and wikitext syntax, not to mention our common vocabulary.
  2. We have consistent problems with biographies of living persons
  3. Not everything is cited like it ideally would
  4. Our community is a one of niche highly educated people, it seems.

Jasper Deng (talk) 01:01, 19 March 2012 (UTC)

Statements by History2007


  1. Large number of dedicated, unpaid editors maintaining it
  2. Many high quality articles on basic topics such as cities, rivers, etc.
  3. Good collection of images
  4. Can not beat the price
  5. Hope for the future - it may just work in the end


  1. Highly inconsistent quality and reliability: Gems are often mixed with very questionable content
  2. Many low quality technical articles on scientific topics
  3. Serious shortage of scientific and technical experts
  4. No serious defense mechanism against paid advocates and self-promoters
  5. Images are hard to search

The good news is that it is beginning to work. The bad news is that unless policy changes, it will become the new Craig's list for self-promoters, specially on technical topics that few editors can watch and discuss. History2007 (talk) 22:22, 23 March 2012 (UTC)


Oh sorry, I made this look like the suggestion itself instead of the discussion for the suggestion. But @ least now we can have a good idea of how well it works... (talk) 09:34, 19 March 2012 (UTC)

Reminds me of the now-moribund Wikipedia:Areas for Reform. Fences&Windows 20:15, 21 March 2012 (UTC)
What about revitalizing that one? -- Toshio Yamaguchi (tlkctb) 20:36, 21 March 2012 (UTC)

Can't we already do this on our userpages? Indeed, I have put what I like and dislike about Wikipedia on my userpage! ACEOREVIVED (talk) 00:34, 22 March 2012 (UTC)

You could resurrect Areas for Reform, sure. Fences&Windows 22:36, 22 March 2012 (UTC)
How? (talk) 22:09, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
Basically the same way you would WP:REVIVE a WikiProject. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:38, 24 March 2012 (UTC)

Visually Impaired Options in Appearance

If this is in the wrong place sorry. I've just read 6 different 'proposal' boards and this one seems like the right one to start in.

I am visually impaired. I have Keratoconus and Cataracts. For me, reading a white page is like reading text on a transparency with a car headlight behind it. This is easily fixed by making the background of a page dark and the text light. There are several ways to fix this but they all have problems. Most notably, Firefox Add Ons that change or invert the colours of a web page. Unfortunately, Firefox updates often break compatibility and these will not consistently work. The easiest (most consistent) way I've found (for Wikipedia and the whole web) is to simply go into:

set background to BLACK
set text to WHITE
UNCHECK "allow web pages to select their own colors"

This works reasonably well for wikipedia and about 95% of the internet. On Wikipedia there are two huge problems though.

  1. Pictures with clear backgrounds (png,gif) show the black background and are often unviewable.
  2. Mathematical formulas are rendered with transparent png and are illegible.

My suggestions are simple, Have options in the Appearance tab of My Preferences for:

  1. "Render mathematical formulas with white background"
  2. "Render mathematical formulas inverse (white writing clear background"
  3. Render mathematical formulas inverse opaque (white writing black background)
  4. "display clear as USER_DEFINED_COLOR in png,gif... in pictures"
  5. "put a placeholder image of USER_DEFINED_COLOR behind clear images"

I'm sure that dozens of other visually impaired people (eg. colorblind) might have similar suggestions. Also, as long as I'm talking about visual aids it would be nice to change the font for Wikipedia. Quite a few fonts are terrible for people with impaired vision namely trying to distinguish EF, iIjJlLt,Oo0@,qd,sS5$. Right now I have to do this to get a decent font:

body { font-family : "lucida console";}

It would be nice to have a simple (accessible) way to override the default Wikipedia font. I normally don't override fonts in Firefox, because too many websites are designed so poorly that they are completely unreadable in a different font. GlowBee (talk) 22:31, 21 March 2012 (UTC)

When I said "I'm sure that dozens of other visually impaired people (eg. colorblind) might have similar suggestions", I MEANT dozens of other TYPES of visually impaired people, probably amounting to hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of actual people. I also tried looking into making (or downloading) a custom skin to put in User:Username/common.css to no avail. This would also be an option as long as it was easily accessible to non-technophiles. I also forgot to add seven and one to my example of unreadable fonts (EF, IJL71ijlt,Oo0@,qd,sS5$) GlowBee (talk) 08:44, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
GlowBee, they sound like great ideas to me, but it may be that the people who read this board won't be able to consider how plausible they are. Personally, I have no idea how such changes would or could be implemented. :) Maybe you should run it by WP:VPT, where more techy-Wikimedians tend to hang out? --Moonriddengirl (talk) 19:48, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
The folks at WT:ACCESS might be able to help you more than I can, but as a first step, have you looked at the nine options for skins at Special:Preferences#mw-prefsection-rendering? (It might be nice to have a reversed-out option there; it seems to me that someone had created one back in the day.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:42, 24 March 2012 (UTC)

Removing stale warning templates from dynamic IPs

As a Huggle/Twinkle user, I've posted my share of warning templates on user talk pages. A great deal of those have been on those of IP editors. My concern is that, in a matter of days or weeks, those users that needed to be warned off have long since moved on to another IP address while a potential new user to Wikipedia is now being welcomed with a templated message that tells them (very politely mind you) to stop being such a dick. I don't think that's useful. Even if the vandal comes back, no admin is going to issue a block based on month old warnings anyway, so they serve no purpose at all.
What I'm suggesting is that, unless the IP received a block, the templated messages on IP talk pages should be automagically wiped clean thirty days after the last warning. Maybe even replace it with a welcome template. If a block was issued, maybe wipe it after sixty days or something, depending on the block duration. I'm bringing this here rather than to proposals because I'm 1) not sure how feasible this would be and 2) not sure I've thought out all the angles. What are your thoughts? Matt Deres (talk) 01:18, 22 March 2012 (UTC)

It might happen, depending on the statistical analysis. See Wikipedia:Bots/Requests for approval/SharedIPArchiveBot 2 Josh Parris 11:14, 22 March 2012 (UTC)

To further develop macropedic knowledge.

Good day,

I write to you not as a past contributor who left in a tift over ungrateful moderators, but an autodidact that would like to tap the collective knowledge of Wikipedia as a macropedia. I wish to ask the authors, which books should I buy, loan at the library or otherwise find to know what the people who defined the subject know. But I cannot, because while references can be found for the specific article, the frame of the article excludes a wide swath of knowledge that can give context and expertise.

This problem has kept me from truly learning on my own topics that I desire to excel at. To say what I mean accurately and to be concise, Wikipedia is not sufficient for me to become as knowledgeable or more so than degreed people for the lack of suggested reading material that would provide the textbook knowledge required and absence of macropedic guides to micropedic material.

Wikipedia represents the acknowledgement of the power of the individual to seek out information in contrast to education paradigms where the most important property is the date of manufacture. In a monomethodic system that punishes deviation from the teacher’s textbook and doesn’t reward creativity for more answers than what is at the back of the book, Wikipedia is an alternative, not dictating exercises or assigning course work. It is the passive actor while the student is the active audience, again in contrast to the classroom. Contribution again leaves the paradigms of an assigned author, instead opting to be the teacher who listens to what the students know, passively registering what is said.

To take the step from where Wikipedia is right now, a collection of articles about specific and exact subjects, to a Pedia that can be used to educate oneself on par with university graduates, a new mission statement must be introduced to what we aim to achieve with each article. Please allow me to suggest a few mission statements.

   * To organize complete micropedic knowledge in a macropedic frame.
   * To provide a frame and guide towards knowledge that represents expertise.
   * To suggest literary and media material representing the full academic spectrum of a subject, from grade school to university.

I hope you find these suggestions at least mildly inspiring. But a mission statement is nothing without a strategy to fulfill these goals. Wikipedia is a complex system where mediation and negotiation is bread and butter. I cannot give you any more than that. But I do hope you will take my words to heart and help Wikipedia grow again.

--OO(talk)(useless text here) 17:18, 22 March 2012 (UTC)

You know about Wikiversity, right? Not sure you're going to inspire anyone by talking about "micropedic knowledge in a macropedic frame", to be blunt. Fences&Windows 22:31, 22 March 2012 (UTC)
Wikiversity is seeking to be a reference material by it self. It also is lacking a serious amount of material. For example, POL 100 and POL 101 has a section for text books, but it is devoid of any books. I am not suggestion Wikipedia become the class room like Wikiversity wants to be. I can phrase Wikiversities mission statement as: To operate virtual class rooms with original content. I can also phrase it as: To write textbooks and produce media suitable for the full spectrum of education. It is worthy of praise. People come from many fields to create content specific for full educations. What I want to know is what is out there right now, worth reading and can give me the knowledge the represents the contemporary state of our art. While Wikiversity is a wonderful project, it hasn't fulfilled what it set out to do, yet.
What I am asking, is for Wikipedia and the community to start collecting and catagorizing texts associated with the topic. We do wonderful work referencing web articles and specific passages in books, but we aren't providing significant suggestions for further reading....
Let me show you what I mean. I speak a little Faroese. I learned it by reading books and listening to media. The Further Reading section on the page Faroese language was disordered and it is difficult to pick out the books suited for one's goals, as seen here.
What I am suggesting is it becomes a mission statement, that we provide clear guides for further reading by employing any of the above mission statements and develop a strategy that allows us to write clear policies on how we present this information.
Yeah, I am being self serving, but isn't the point of wikipedia to help educate its customers?
--OO(talk)(useless text here) 11:39, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
I'm not sure how you intend to set up a "mission statement" surrounding this one feature of the encyclopedia. The closest things we have to mission statements are the five pillars, which are intentionally very broad. Perhaps a better course of action would be to set up something like WikiProject Further Reading, where you and other users that share your goals could coordinate work to improve the "Further reading" sections of articles across many topics. —Akrabbimtalk 15:41, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

Civility, Editor Retention, Hostility, and Burnout-- summed up

  • Some people think Wikipedia is all the same team. A newbie passes the ball towards the goal and counts on more experienced teammates to keep it going.
  • A minority see Wikipedia is as a battleground of two teams-- Visitors vs the Home Team. They don't want to help "keep the ball going", they want to "spike the ball back towards the opponents".

This is an unending source of frustration for all parties and we all know it. "Anyone Can Edit" is a mockery right now. We need ideas. --HectorMoffet (talk) 07:59, 8 March 2012 (UTC)

There are more sources of frustration on Wikipedia than the two you describe. I'll give a couple of other perspectives: Some newbies are generators of mass quantities of rubbish and need to be, well, redirected (or retired). Some experienced editors are tired of plebish or ignorant edits constantly being made to articles that have undergone months or years of intensive development.
It all depends on your perspective. I think it's important to maintain a good balance here. Regards, RJH (talk) 20:53, 9 March 2012 (UTC)
What I see as a major problem is the increase in the deliberate and pervasive addition of semi-marketing material to articles. There is no doubt that there are large numbers of people doing that, both as organized PR efforts by marketing firms, and as personal promotions by people who have written a book and plug it for ever, authors who have published some obscure algorithms, then edit Wikipages to position their own work as a highly respected item, etc. If nothing is done on that front, we will get content that has been so pervasively mixed with self-promotion that there will be no recovery from it, for there are not enough editors with "knowledge of the field" to defend content. So while the damage done by the inexperienced newbie may be easy to detect and fix, the longer term issue of technical pages having content that is getting mixed with self-promotion does not even seem addressed anywhere. Has it been addressed? History2007 (talk) 13:18, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
I haven't checked it out yet, but the just-launched WP:TEAHOUSE for new editors seems promising.  – OhioStandard (talk) 22:38, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

Please note that there's a related discussion on this topic (link/permalink) also taking place on this board at present.  – OhioStandard (talk) 22:38, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

Not a bad idea actually. I think I am going to explore joining that for a while to see if I can encourage a few non-self-promoting experts to work on articles, fix them, etc. The shortage in that category is serious, so we will see if that helps. Thanks. History2007 (talk) 20:02, 24 March 2012 (UTC)
Anyway, the Teahouse told me to look for other employment... I will try the Ambassadors program next. History2007 (talk) 20:17, 25 March 2012 (UTC)

New ways to edit pages

I know that Wikipedia is already too complicated, but these methods could be made be only available for people who want them. One new way to edit could work like this:

Instead of making a new edit on each section, or editing the whole article at once, in this editing mode, the non-editing mode display of the article will be at the left side, while editing boxes for each section will be on the right. The editor can expand and collapse the editing box for each section, and it'll look like this:

.-------------------------.                |Save all|
| SECTION================ |-------------------------.
| ======================  |  =====================  |
| ===========|show preview|  =====================  |(-)
| ========   |show changes|  ====      |Save section|
| SECTION================ |-------------------------.
| ======================  |  =====================  |
| ===========|show preview|  =====================  |(-)
| ========   |show changes|  ====      |Save section|
| SECTION================ |\
| ======================  ||(+)
| ======================  ||
| SECTION================ |-------------------------.
| ===========|show preview|  =====================  |(-)            idk why, but this
| ========   |show changes|  ====      |Save section|               reminds me of my
`-------------------------|-------------------------`               bedroom drawers

Another method would be to simply press some button, and go to a text only editing mode, where pictures, fonts, and new sections can not be touched. The article will not become a pile of code in an editing box the way you edit now, but remain perfectly the same, except the text(and only the text) can be edited. This method would be useful in 80% of what I edit because I rarely change the pictures and font, but I am annoyed of needing to press [Show preview] many times and waiting for the whole article to load each time.

Also, an unrelated suggestion, is about how I always get paranoid I accidentally changed something in the editing box I didn't mean to edit, and end up pressing ctrl-z and ctrl-y a thousand times. There could be an option to show all new text in green text, and replace all deleted old text with a red dotted line in the shape of a | (it should actually be more like a stationary version of the typing cruiser, you know, the flashing line on front of the letter you just typed). Of course, this should work differently than the show changes option, because the show changes option is meant to describe the edit to others, while this option is just to show the edit to the editor, eg. if the editor cuts a large piece of text and pastes it underneath a small piece of text, the editor wants to see that the piece of text he/she moved as the text that changed, not seeing the text he/she moved it past as moving the other way(that will be confusing), while someone else looking at the changes would like to see the smaller piece of text as moving past the larger piece. (I can't even explain this, but imagine how if I slowed down a big boat in order to be behind a small boat, It would be confusing for me to hear that "the small boat went ahead of the big boat," but others only interested in the result would want to hear it that way.) Sorry I am terrible at explaining concepts... ...used all this text just to clarify a tiny detail of one of my suggestions... (talk) 22:04, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

I am not entirely sure if that is what you have in mind, but couldn't you just copy the text to some sufficiently advanced text editor and use something like "Track changes" in Word..? And when you want to see how the article itself would look, just copy the text back and then press "Show preview". --Martynas Patasius (talk) 00:34, 24 March 2012 (UTC)
Well, you know how Wikipedia is not supposed to be designed for a team of dedicated members, but meant to be built by the accumulated contributions of all editors, and most are not the type of people who're willing to download something solely for editing Wikipedia, and are also very distrustful of downloads and other such tools. I know that in theory, if everyone knew about all the possible tools and how each of them work without needing to testing them out, everyone who would prefer to use a tool would use it, but unfortunately that is far from the case, in fact I don't know of any editor who uses some program just to make editing more convenient, so adding this to Wikipedia can still be a good idea. (talk) 05:17, 24 March 2012 (UTC)
"[...] all editors, and most are not the type of people who're willing to download something solely for editing Wikipedia, and are also very distrustful of downloads and other such tools."? But the tool in question is just Microsoft Word (or some its equivalent)! I seriously doubt that majority of users would use it "solely for editing Wikipedia"...
"[I]n fact I don't know of any editor who uses some program just to make editing more convenient" - well, how would you know if someone is doing that? Also, any bot probably counts as a counterexample (see Wikipedia:Bots). --Martynas Patasius (talk) 07:41, 24 March 2012 (UTC)
Microsoft Word doesn't allow me paste an Wikipedia article on to it that remains in the same format, and what I write in it can't be translated into code the wiki formatting understands. It also cannot display a Wikipedia article so that each section has a expandable and collapsible editing box, so, like I mean, to say the least, it doesn't really render this suggestion obsolete. Also, I know I was wrong bout that sentence with "[I]n fact I don't know of any editor who uses some program just to make editing more convenient", cause I wasn't thinking about bots. Good point, yep, but, bots are meant for large-scale repetitive changes, while my suggestion was more, you know, for making ordinary edits easier. (Bots also take even more time than downloads to make and get approved & I also don't know how to make them.) So at least you can't say this suggestion is useless... not claiming that you are. (talk) 08:23, 24 March 2012 (UTC)
Ah, you want to preview the article as well? Yes, in such case Word isn't going to be sufficient (although you can take source code, edit it in the Word, copy it back to browser, preview - and edit further)... But, er, it is hard to make a program that does all that (either server-side or client-side) and does it well. It might take years. And you can use this "workaround" - however flawed - now... --Martynas Patasius (talk) 18:13, 24 March 2012 (UTC)
  • Correcting a few things... 1) Microsoft Word does, in fact, retain all formatting copied from an edit box. I have written and edited articles extensively in Word and never had a problem, while being able to take advantage of more advanced editing tools than those provided by the Wikipedia interface. 2) Live Preview is not a new technology; it exists all over the web and would be largely trivial to implement here, though large amounts of text usually make the parsers lag, which might be a problem. → ROUX  19:08, 24 March 2012 (UTC)
Oops, I meant to say that Microsoft Word does not allow you to edit text without looking at the wiki code, I didn't want to say that it changes the format. My second suggestion was about a text editing mode without loading the wiki code. And sorry, I know nothing about those web terms, so what exactly is live preview? (The article on it was about cameras), can you explain please? (talk) 01:44, 25 March 2012 (UTC)
Live preview (I'm sure there's a technical term for it) shows you what your post will look like as you type. Metafilter uses it, for example, and so do many forum sites--I believe it may actually be a native option in phpBB these days. So you may type in the code for bolding your text in the entry box, but the live preview will parse the code and display only the result. → ROUX  07:36, 25 March 2012 (UTC)
Oh, so my second suggestion is kind of like that... Is there a chance that perhaps if the text is edited without showing the wiki code, parsing wouldn't be necessary until saving the edit? (talk) 19:56, 25 March 2012 (UTC)

Revert protection

I, ChromaNebula, have come up with a new idea to stop edit wars without preventing normal (i.e. good faith) editing on the page. I call it revert protection. Revert protection would prevent use of the undo function on the revert-protected page except by administrators and, in some cases, bots (such as anti-vandal bots) flagged as exempt from revert protection. Edit wars are disruptive. I'm not going to deny that. But fully protecting pages subject to edit warring prevents normal editing of the page, which is also disruptive. Your thoughts? --ChromaNebula (talk) 01:19, 25 March 2012 (UTC)

Very good idea, I know that many full page protection cases are due to edit warring, and this can reduce the number. (talk) 01:44, 25 March 2012 (UTC)
What's to stop the editors to click "edit" and remove/add the text manually? "Undo" is nothing more than a convenient feature and doesn't differ from a normal edit in the end. —  HELLKNOWZ  ▎TALK 09:15, 25 March 2012 (UTC)
Undo is just a shortcut that saves a couple clicks and page loads. Without it you just edit the previous version from history and save. Undo is also relatively recent (ie. a year or two old, something like that) and before it was introduced people still edit warred with about as much frequency, near as I can tell.
That having been said, the ability to disable it on certain articles might be a good feature to have as something in-between no protection and full protection, as at least it would make reverts less "quick". The thing is, it can also be implemented via javascript -- WP:Twinkle is what everyone used for that before undo and rollback came along. Access to both of those can be revoked, and is, if it's used to undo good-faith edits. But I don't think there's anything stopping someone from writing their own script and handing it out freely, unless admins retain the right to revoke access to custom scripts too (I'm not sure whether or not that's currently an accepted practice, but the question could come up if your suggestion were implemented).
Still, removing the blatant undo function that everyone has access to by default could still be useful. I'm not sure if this was any help but I thought I'd share. Equazcion (talk) 09:48, 25 Mar 2012 (UTC)

I'm not denying that edit wars can still happen manually. But if undo can't be used on a page, the edit war will be slower (giving admins time to step in) and some editors will stop edit warring if they have to do it manually. If the edit war keeps up, the edit warriors can always be blocked. ChromaNebula (talk) 15:09, 25 March 2012 (UTC)

reverting without the undo button can still be done within 5 seconds, so I really don't see the point. Yoenit (talk) 15:59, 25 March 2012 (UTC)
That sounds like a good idea, but I don't know if people would just be able to get around it with Twinkle. If so, that issue would also need to be addressed. ItsZippy (talkcontributions) 20:08, 25 March 2012 (UTC)
You can get around it manually. And trying to prevent that, for example by requiring that the new revision not be identical to a previous revision, is easy enough to get around that I'm not sure there is any real solution here. Anomie 21:11, 25 March 2012 (UTC)

A bot that marks dead links and solicits help from editors

I suggest a bot to help combat link rot. This bot is different from previous bots because—in addition to marking broken links with {{Dead link}}—it would send a User_talk: message to wikipedia authors, politely asking for help in repairing the link. I've written up a wordy description about the bot, and I have a working prototype, released as open source.

The major risk is the annoyance factor—I don't really know whether Wikipedians will find the bot helpful or just be annoyed by it. So, before I request approval for the bot, I'd like to get community feedback.

Some details about contacting authors:

  • Who? it contacts the users who first added that link to the article. These users are are people who are knowledgeable about the subject, and who have demonstrated interest in the article.
  • How much? There will be a strict limit on the number of User_talk: messages that the bot sends to any one user during one calendar day. Right now, that limit is 3, but it could change.
  • How? Here are some examples of the proposed edits and user messages: Case Study: 'Johnny Unitas Stadium', Case Study: 'Mohammed Ali Hammadi', and Case Study: 'Sean Kennard'.
  • Which? Articles are selected randomly. Links are tested at least 3 times over five days before we call them dead. This helps reduce the risk of false-positives.

If the bot goes live, it will periodically examine its previous edits and messages to measure signs of annoyance. If these results suggest that the bot is annoying, I'll reconsider the bot and try to find a better way.

So, is this a terrible idea?

Blevintron (talk) 16:55, 25 March 2012 (UTC)

Good idea! But it should send messages to a linkrot or tecnical noticeboard so the dead links will be fixed by editors who actually have interest in fixing them (and to avoid cluttering up people's talk pages). Unlike a human editor, a bot can't tell when it's being annoying. ChromaNebula (talk) 18:15, 25 March 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for the reply. Two thoughts (1) do we already have linkrot/technical noticeboards? If so, I worry they might be a bottleneck — too few volunteers, too many broken links. The bot's method of contacting the author who added a link will distribute the work over very many people and avoid the bottleneck. Blevintron (talk) 18:31, 25 March 2012 (UTC)
(2) If the bot advertises an user-talk opt-out method at the end of every message (e.g. "add {{bots |deny=BotName}} to your user page to opt out"), the bot can certainly measure that. Is an opt-out acceptable, or is an opt-in required? Blevintron (talk) 18:31, 25 March 2012 (UTC)
Sounds like a nice idea. I think there would need to be an apt-out feature for those who don't want it (like the disambiguation bot has). Perhaps it would also be possible for the bot to log the deadlinks it finds somewhere - that would allow other users to try and fix any dead links which are missed when people ignore the bot. Also, do you think it would be possible for the bot to to also identify bare URLs in references - that would help with prevention. I guess that might take extra time and be a new feature to add later. ItsZippy (talkcontributions) 20:04, 25 March 2012 (UTC)
Not just a nice idea, but a necessity. Regarding notification, should look up the 3 most active recent contributors and notify those in order, one at a time, in 72 hour intervals, if no one acts after that period, then goes to the notice board. History2007 (talk) 20:24, 25 March 2012 (UTC)
I'm not sure that every article has 'active recent contributors'. My experience is that very active articles have fewer problems with broken links, but inactive articles have the biggest problems. For a lot of articles in the long tail, there really isn't anyone who qualifies as active on that article. Blevintron (talk) 13:37, 26 March 2012 (UTC)
If no active editors exist, then the default will be the noticeboard. But on some articles I had written dead links had appeared after 2 years and I did not know about them. So it costs nothing to leave 3 messages anyway, then the board. That will reduce the load on the board, and the active editors (if any) could do better with links anyway, since they know the topic. Apply a heuristic to editors with more than 10 edits in the last 12 months. Try the heuristic that scores an editor based on number of edits in 12 months, spread in 4 quarters, weights being 40, 30, 20, 10%. A quick test on about 15-20 random pages should help optimize that heuristic. History2007 (talk) 16:41, 26 March 2012 (UTC)

Thanks everyone for your comments. I've submitted a Request for approval. Blevintron (talk) 19:02, 26 March 2012 (UTC)

Antique maps

I've been involved in a little back-and-forth-ing regarding the inclusion of an antique (1759 if I recall) map on the article on Palestine. there's been a discussion on the merits of the map with some people objecting to it because it is based on "mythology" (i.e. biblical in this case) and not accurate according to modern scholarship. Others, myself included, have argued for including the map. I have done so on the grounds that it is a beautiful piece of cartography and that antique maps aren't supposed to be accurate according to modern scholarship but that that in and of itself does not make them inappropriate for inclusion in this encyclopaedia. As long as the caption is accurate in describing what is shown on the map, such images have great value for our readers in understanding the topic at hand. Modern maps lack aesthetic quality even if they may be more scientifically accurate and besides, we can't and shouldn't pretend that antique maps don't exist or have value.

I don't want to go into article specifics here (and boy, does anything to do with the Middle East ever not end up in a major conflict!) but I would love to hear opinions about the issue of antique maps in general. I don't spend enough time on Wikipedia to know where and how to initiate a more generalized discussion about such a topic so any input would be great. --Kalsermar (talk) 21:59, 27 March 2012 (UTC)

The more generalized the discussion, the less likely you'll get useful feedback. All I can say is, "it depends." Each situation is going to need its own solution, there's no blanket "antique maps are ok/not ok" for this. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 13:41, 28 March 2012 (UTC)
The map seems apropos for the usage I see now - in the ancient history section, since the map attempts to depict things as they were long ago. Is it inaccurate? Sure. Is it biased towards users of the "Holy Scriptures"? Sure. The alternative would be something like File:Bia-map-indian-reservations-usa.png which doesn't, in fact, accurately portray the checkerboard pattern in southern California. -- ke4roh (talk) 15:16, 28 March 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for the feedback!--Kalsermar (talk) 22:20, 29 March 2012 (UTC)


Don't know where to make this proposal, so making it here. I will suggest Wikimedia Foundation should create a new project where users will be able to submit original fiction writings such as stories, poems etc. We have an encyclopedia (Wikipedia), a news site (Wikinews), dictionary (Wiktionary), now there will be a new site for publishing stories (Wikistory or something like that). Thoughts? --SupernovaExplosion Talk 14:19, 29 March 2012 (UTC)

That would be m:Proposals for new projects. However, I don't think this proposal would fit the WMF's mission, really. --Yair rand (talk) 14:59, 29 March 2012 (UTC)
May be it is time for expanding the scope of WMF's mission. --SupernovaExplosion Talk 15:46, 29 March 2012 (UTC)
I am interested in this. I enjoy writing fiction, and would like to be able to post it anonymously in a forum like the one mentioned. It would be like an online library of new writings, a wiki based not on hard fact but on one's imagination and creative abilities. Why not move it to the proposal page mentioned by Yair rand? dci | TALK 21:24, 29 March 2012 (UTC)
In such case you should probably prepare to explain why other projects that let you publish stories (let's say, DeviantArt) are not sufficient. Also, you should prepare to explain why, in your opinion, collaborative editing would be suitable for stories. Furthermore, you should try to come up with some policies for the new project. For example, WP:NPOV or WP:NOR would have to be changed significantly (we want the articles of encyclopedia to be "boring"; we do not want stories to be boring). Perhaps we would be able to come up with something here, but I'd say you should start with a slightly more developed proposal... --Martynas Patasius (talk) 21:29, 29 March 2012 (UTC) —chaos5023 (talk) 21:31, 29 March 2012 (UTC)

Unaltered revision histories could have a tiny green mark at the bottom

I heard that a high privilege Wikipedia admin or crat or something idk, is allowed to change revision histories with consensus. However, possibly in super rare cases, individuals might want to know if a revision history was changed, so adding a tiny marker at the bottom of unaltered revision histories saying "this revision history was never altered" could potentially be useful. Why not? Just a thought. (talk) 00:18, 14 March 2012 (UTC)

I guess you refer to Wikipedia:Oversight. It can remove revisions and certain information about the edits but it cannot add false information about who did what. Oversight should usually be done quickly and non-publicly to protect people or Wikipedia. It does not require a discussion first so consensus is not required. I don't see a good reason to mention whether there has been oversight in a page history. It would just cause pointless speculation about what was removed. If you are not an oversighter then you cannot see what was removed, and you shouldn't ask an oversighter about it since the whole point of removal is to make it non-public. PrimeHunter (talk) 01:54, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, true, but as boy will be boys, people who have pointless speculation will have pointless speculation, and this'll at least spare them from having pointless speculation towards page histories that don't even have an oversight alteration, unless they're paranoid n don't believe "this revision history was never altered"... either way how could this hurt? Thanks for the info bout oversight and all, (talk) 02:15, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
Realistically, oversighters never use mw:Extension:Oversight anymore. Instead, they use the more flexible suppression feature, and suppressed page revisions appear in gray and struck out. Reaper Eternal (talk) 13:15, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
What exactly do you mean? Sorry I'm not quite the computer expert... (talk) 18:32, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
What I mean is that if an admin or oversighter hides a revision in the page history, you will be able to see the revisions in gray. However, you may not be able to view the contents, edit summary, or username. See this for an example of a large number of hidden revisions. Reaper Eternal (talk) 19:48, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
Oh, I see that, thnx, so does deleting revision still exist as an option? If it does there is a reason for it, mayb this identifier to mark unaltered revision histories would still have some use, for its 0 cost. (talk) 21:16, 14 March 2012 (UTC)

Any1else think this could be a good idea? (talk) 19:40, 17 March 2012 (UTC)

Why is it no one ever agree/disagree with me here? (talk) 07:41, 1 April 2012 (UTC)

Converting spreadsheets' content into Wiki-tables

I would hope there is a way to convert automatically all the Excel spreadsheet rows into Wiki-table rows.. May be a genius roaming Wikipedia will pick up on this idea and develop a bot that will do just that :) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:03, 30 March 2012 (UTC)

Following up on my previous (genius) idea, may be he/she could also develop a way to update each of the cell's content (in Wiki-tables) from the online Excel spreadsheet (automatically). Very useful for economic data that updates once in a while (e.g. World factbook). — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:07, 30 March 2012 (UTC)
Oh, one last requirement if I may: make it USER-FRIENDLY. Thank you.— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:08, 30 March 2012 (UTC)
If you have wikiEd installed, you can paste cells from excel and then automatically re-format them to wiki markup. Automatic updating is very unlikely to be implemented though. —  HELLKNOWZ  ▎TALK 18:15, 30 March 2012 (UTC)
Thank you. Correct me if I am wrong but Excel has built-in function that allows the updating of cells from web pages. So making the process automatic should not be hard i think. (talk) 19:09, 30 March 2012 (UTC)
Automating anything on Wikipedia would currently require bots/tools as registered accounts. Currently, bot requests is the closest venue if you have specific requests. But MediaWiki is not likely to implement this outside custom extensions, which would need a lot of work and support to be deployed on WMF wikis. Automating certain Excel data to certain articles for certain data is a very specific task and a specific bot would be best suited. There are at least several doing semi-similar things to this. —  HELLKNOWZ  ▎TALK 21:58, 30 March 2012 (UTC)
I did not mean it is easy (I would have done it myself long ago otherwise). But on the other side, I think there are so many edits accross Wikipedia that relate to this repetitious task that it might be worth it (may be) for Wikimedia to hire one or two programmers to do it. My 2 cents. (talk) 00:27, 31 March 2012 (UTC)
In the meantime, you can also use excel2wiki. I've found it useful. :) --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 22:05, 30 March 2012 (UTC)
Thanks to both of you for your feedback. At least there should be a link to excel2wiki (or wikiEd) displayed on the table's creation toolbar. My 2 cents. I have another idea but it has many practical and commerical applications. I'm thinking may be i should patent the idea FIRST (assuming the idea CAN be patented). (talk) 00:20, 31 March 2012 (UTC)


Hi, I am working on a project that aims to showcase our content in the areas that are underrepresented due to systemic bias. I am doing it by relating current events to bring together wikipedia articles that might otherwise have been unlikely to receive attention. I have also included a section on obituaries for important cultural personalities worldwide that are too outside of the mainstream to be likely to receive attention in WP:ITN. Comments, suggestions and collaboration will be appreciated.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 02:54, 31 March 2012 (UTC)

Economy of Iran can be a good start (news + Wiki article). According to the Library of Congress in 2008, there is no encyclopedic source of information on the economy of Iran in any language, (including Persian). Now ther is one :) (Thanks to 5 years of continious research/work by yours truly.) This article is one of several related GA articles (including Petroleum industry in Iran, Tehran Stock Exchange and Iranian targeted subsidy plan). In total, around 10-20 "core articles" + 50 more relating to this topic. My 2 cents. (talk) 15:08, 31 March 2012 (UTC)
If you can tie those article to a news event I think that would be an excellent idea.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 15:40, 31 March 2012 (UTC)
Talks between Iran and P5+1 will resume in Turkey on April 13-14. The idea is to lift economic & oil sanctions against Iran in exchange for a nuclear truce. Internally, Iran is undertaking its "largest economic reform in 50 years" in order to shift subsidies directly to its people. SSZ (talk) 11:12, 1 April 2012 (UTC)

April Fool's pranking policy

Editors should be able to have fun once a year. However, some pranks are disruptive. I seek to strike a balance between those two aspects. I propose the following:

  1. There should be one April Fool's prank in article space. This should be clever, well-designed and funny, like Google's pranks. It should not be immediately obvious as a joke, but neither should it be so plausible that it lasts until after April 1 is over.
  2. Other pranks are OK so long as they stay within the community namespaces (project, user, and talk namespaces) and do not affect article space. For example, joke AfDs would be fine, as long as the joke-nominated articles didn't have deletion templates on them.
  3. Ruining of (legitimate) jokes by exposing them can result in a block after a warning.
  4. The best April Fool's pranks should be commemorated in an April Fool's Hall of Fame, the worst in an April Fool's Hall of Infamy.
  5. Editors should try to come up with original pranks, rather than repeating the same ones year after year.
  6. Standard vandalism remedies will be applied to violators of this policy.

What do you think? ChromaNebula (talk) 22:14, 1 April 2012 (UTC)

I regard all April Fools Day pranks as disruptive. To penalise those who expose such content would be ridiculous. Your "fun" does not amuse me in the slightest, nor would it amuse those from areas where the day is not part of local culture. HiLo48 (talk) 22:29, 1 April 2012 (UTC)
I believe that April Fools Day pranks on articles are disruptive for our general audience, the readers. Wikipedia already gets ridiculed for its unreliability, and putting an unfunny joke on the articles just makes it worse. Punishing the volunteers who give up time and resources to build an encyclopedia is preposterous, and accusing them of "deliberate[ly] attempt[ing] to compromise the integrity of Wikipedia" is worse. In fact, it should be those who put pranks on articles who are accused of vandalism. →Στc. 22:51, 1 April 2012 (UTC)
I have no prejudice against April Fools Day pranks in project space, though. →Στc. 22:53, 1 April 2012 (UTC)
We've had this discussion before. The result is Wikipedia:Rules_for_Fools. And from there, you can find a link to Wikipedia:April_fools which catalogues the silly goings on. -- ke4roh (talk) 23:08, 1 April 2012 (UTC)


  1. There should be one April Fool's prank in article space. This should be clever, well-designed and funny, like Google's pranks. It should not be immediately obvious as a joke, but neither should it be so plausible that it lasts until after April 1 is over.
  2. Other pranks are OK so long as they stay within the community namespaces (project, user, and talk namespaces) and do not affect article space. For example, joke AfDs would be fine, as long as the joke-nominated articles didn't have deletion templates on them.
  3. Ruining of (legitimate) jokes by exposing them can result in a block after a warning (but only until April 1 is over, as blocks are not supposed to be punitive).
  4. The best April Fool's pranks should be commemorated in an April Fool's Hall of Fame, the worst in an April Fool's Hall of Infamy.
  5. Editors should try to come up with original pranks, rather than repeating the same ones year after year.
  6. Standard vandalism remedies will be applied to violators of item 1.

Is this better? ChromaNebula (talk) 23:54, 1 April 2012 (UTC)

I reserve my right to instantly revert on sight any inaccurate, incorrectly sourced addition to any article. HiLo48 (talk) 01:52, 2 April 2012 (UTC)
Who gets to write the one April Fool joke? Collaborative editing doesn't lend itself to that. Is there a competition before? Do we vote on our favourite?
Constructing a hall of infamy would encourage pranksters, as would a hall of fame.
Most of the elements of your revised policy are very vague - so I should try to come up with an original prank, but if I can't it's ok to blank the main page? And who judges originality? Do we have a policy page on that?
AfDing a page without the proper template is worse in my opinion than AfDing it for a joke.
If you explicitly allow jokes, you'll get more jokes.
I'd rather let people take their chances, and be judged on their actions. Doing a practical joke shouldn't be consequence-free, it should have an element of risk like starting a business or high-diving into a bucket of beans. --Colapeninsula (talk) 16:05, 2 April 2012 (UTC)
  • I do enjoy April Fool's Day, but Wikipedia really isn't the place for it. The purpose of Wikipedia is to build an encyclopedia, not to entertain its editors. I'm willing to put up with jokes out of mainspace (the RfAs, for example), though it should not really be encouraged. Also, April Fool's Day is all about not taking things too seriously. I would define blocking editors for revealing jokes as taking things too seriously. ItsZippy (talkcontributions) 19:24, 2 April 2012 (UTC)

If an April Fools Day joke deceives any person who chooses to use Wikipedia as a reliable encyclopaedia and source of information, then it's vandalism. HiLo48 (talk) 22:16, 2 April 2012 (UTC)


Wikipedia is already very complex, and some of it's best features are very hard to find. IF this has already been implemented then delete this post, and just send me a mail telling me how to access it

Anyway, my idea is to provide some sort of a annotation function for the normal, non-editorial users of this website. As you know, a lot of the users are students (myself included) and I thought "You know, a highlighting function would be pretty nice." Of course, they would have to create a account and whatnot, but other than that, I think this would attract a much bigger crowd(not that i'm really aiming for that).

Basically, each user gets their own "copy" of a page I guess. It's hard to be precise because I don't know whether it would be more efficient to just create very small copies of pages for each account, or just make a xml file with the length and location for each line in a article. That's a lot of files either way.

Comments and criticism are, as always, appreciated and encouraged.

Lazy784 (talk) 06:36, 3 April 2012 (UTC)Lazy784 (i'm not really lazy, it's just a really old handle)

You're probably better off using a note-taking application for this. Evernote or OneNote are well-regarded for that. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 14:31, 3 April 2012 (UTC)


Is there a guideline for creating project newsletters? Simply south...... going on editing sprees for just 6 years (as of 28/03/2006) 13:53, 29 March 2012 (UTC)

No. If you have specific questions or need help finding a bot for delivery, try WT:WikiProject Council. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:37, 1 April 2012 (UTC)
I'll be fine without a bot and am now wondering if there should be one created on it. Hence, here and not the Council Simply south...... going on editing sprees for just 6 years (as of 28/03/2006) 18:56, 5 April 2012 (UTC)
You could expand the WikiProject Guide to cover that. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:01, 7 April 2012 (UTC)

...and something for key subjects that are so extensive they just tend to get lost?

The other side of the coin perhaps from the "small news" initiative above is that some key subjects are so wide-ranging that they tend to receive relatively little editorial attention.

For instance, the field Hematology is currently a rather short article lacking inline citations, even though it attracts many hits (see Wikipedia:Short popular vital articles and this conversation).

Last week a prominent news item on the BBC regarded the burden of liver disease, and its emerging status as one of the big killers behind heart disease and cancer. Reckoning I was probably not the only reader who elected to go to the Wikipedia page on Liver disease, I tried to start a small clean up of the opening section (though I should say I pulled out before addressing the unorthodoxly entitled Diagnostic / Symptoms of liver disease and I'm really not the right person for the job). Although the term 'alcoholic liver disease' does now at least get a mention on the page (with its wikilink) anyone coming from the BBC to find out a little bit more about the epidemiology of liver disease as a whole would have been disappointed.

I feel it would be helpful to find a way of addressing this 'unfocused' aspect of systemic bias on Wikipedia. Though I really wouldn't know how. Which is why I'm posting here in the hope that somebody may come up with something... —MistyMorn (talk) 19:26, 31 March 2012 (UTC)

The difficulty is that the medical literature does not typically address topics of the breadth of "liver disease" over 10 or 20 pages but rather over 500-1000 pages. We need to improve the individual conditions (such as has been done at hepatitis C) before combining them together into an overview of liver disease. Hematology is just the study of blood disorders and not that important from a public health perspective IMO. Diseases such as leukemia and malaria are of greater importance. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 20:07, 31 March 2012 (UTC)
Yes, many of the hits for Hematology may actually be in search of a dictionary-type definition. The online edition of the Britannica dedicates just 392 words to the subject, and it gives even less space to liver disease! —MistyMorn (talk) 10:14, 1 April 2012 (UTC)

There are a lot of "top level" articles, if I can call them that, that are only start-class at best (Holy Roman Empire was missing a few centuries last time I checked, a few months ago; recently, Fashion was looking underdeveloped...Ballet requires expansion... and so on). It's an odd problem, I don't know why editors don't jump at the chance to expand them, but maybe its intimidation at tackling the scope of an article that would have to be a sweeping summary of a broad topic. I would rather give it a try, though, then leave them languishing... I wish it was easier to organize a few editors together to do an edit push on a selected article, perhaps the WP project pages are the best place to propose such initiatives. Some great articles materialize in a few days when you can get a handful of editors all contributing at the same time, each adding their bit of research to the article. I find it really enjoyable when it happens that way. I think it takes the intimidation factor out of facing a major general article that deserves expansion. OttawaAC (talk) 02:15, 5 April 2012 (UTC)

Working on these kinds of articles seems to be the purpose of Wikipedia:WikiProject Vital Articles. Interested editors might want to join and WP:REVIVE that group. WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:29, 5 April 2012 (UTC)

Humble suggestion

Is it anyway possible to have Wikipedia undergo any kind of systematic deletion of the clutter it has accumulated? By "clutter" I mean: 1) 5-10 year old entry discussion archives, 2) 5-10 year old user pages (and user talk pages) belonging to editors who have permanently left the community, voluntarily or involuntarily, 3) 5-10 year old IP discussion pages. The reason I'm asking this is because I've noticed a growing quantity of content that, as a humble inspector, can only be defined as unencyclopedic. I can understand archived entry discussion pages serving as tools for resolving rehashed content disputes, but what do inactive user pages or old IP discussion pages have to do with improving the quality of entries and images? It would be disappointing to have Wikipedia, a project with great potential, become an overbloated repository of every ancient "flame war" waged. And if you think about it, what further credibility can the project hope to establish if its unencyclopedic content were to somehow outweigh its encyclopedic content in the future? Any feedback would be immensely appreciated. Have a blessed day. :-) No. 108 (talk) 01:30, 30 March 2012 (UTC)

How exactly are these pages interfering with your use of Wikipedia? If there are specific problems maybe these could be dealt with. Otherwise, if WMF doesn't mind paying for the disk space, I don't see any problem in storing these things (and the necessity of storing every change to every main-space page means the active main-space pages only form a small proportion of the total database). --Colapeninsula (talk) 15:46, 2 April 2012 (UTC)
Hello Colapeninsula and thank you very much for taking the time to respond to my humble suggestion/question. Now bear in mind that this is not a short-term interference issue, but rather a long-term quality issue that, despite your valid skepticism, may become a potential problem for the project in the future. Is it ultimately feasible for the project, given its focus on providing free encyclopedic content, to remove old unencyclopedic content in the form of a system-wide cleanup once every 5 or 10 years? If not, then does the project have any real way of preventing the general accumulation of "junk data"? I could be mistaken, but I think that nipping a problem in the bud can help the project in the long-term regardless of disk space availability/funding. Feel free to leave a response at your best convenience and have a splendid day. :-) No. 108 (talk) 20:41, 3 April 2012 (UTC)
Old unused user pages and IP talk pages can be quite useful, actually. One might notice a suspicious fact and look at the user and user talk page of the user who added it to determine how likely it is that the user is a reputable editor. These pages are excluded from article-only dumps, which are the ones used by most content reusers, and they don't interfere with ordinary interaction of readers and editors with articles. It is true that every page has a cost, which is why WP:MFD exists, but it is a very low cost - basically dealing with occasional vandalism on the abandoned page. Dcoetzee 21:38, 3 April 2012 (UTC)
Hello Dcoetzee and thank you very much for taking the time to add your input. Although your points appear to be valid, including your mention of WP:MFD, I think that WP:MFD alone may not be enough to deal with the long-term and general accumulation of the aforementioned "clutter" I described (though I could be mistaken as WP:MFD may undergo changes in the future). Furthermore, whatever importance can be found in old user pages and old IP talk pages would be absolutely moot, say, 50 years after the users behind these pages have long left the project or 100 years after the users have long left this mortal realm (assuming that the project survives the next "X" number of years). After a certain point, the usefulness of the talk pages in question cease being useful and over a long period of time become more of a liability than an asset (at least in terms of presenting a quality online encyclopedia). Again, the issue here is "quality" not "interference", because the end purpose of the project is to collect the sum knowledge of mankind and not the oletum en summa of humanity. I really don't think the project should wait a century to take out the proverbial "garbage". Have a glorious day. :-) No. 108 (talk) 23:02, 3 April 2012 (UTC)
I doubt you'll have much luck convincing anyone to delete various bits of project "history" based only on a hypothetical concern that it might cause unspecified problems at some point in the distant future. If it turns out this old content actually does cause some specific real problems at some point, the community will deal with it then. Anomie 19:05, 4 April 2012 (UTC)
With all due respect Anomie, but my concern is hardly hypothetical if you consider the fact that users generate plenty of unencyclopedic content most (not all) of which is not very good. And why wait until the "clutter" in question becomes a problem before the project does anything? I think that nipping a problem in the bud would pay big dividends for the project in the long run. In any case, your input is much appreciated. :-) No. 108 (talk) 14:23, 5 April 2012 (UTC)
A short look at your contributions shows that you are interested in history of Byzantine Empire. So, try to imagine some Byzantine official asking for old archives to be destroyed. After all, they only contain information that is "unimperial" (no longer useful for administration of the Empire) - "an overbloated repository of every ancient "flame war" waged" - or "Greek fire war", if you wish. Would you consider that a good proposal? --Martynas Patasius (talk) 21:42, 4 April 2012 (UTC)
Hello Martynas Patasius and thank you for taking the time to add your input. I think a much better example would be to tell the Byzantine βασιλεύς to keep and preserve in Constantinople every conceivable piece of refuse (i.e. oletum, rotten food, etc.) produced by all of his imperial subjects. Even if everyone built a tolerance to the smell and were not particularly bothered by the trash, I think that any self-respecting βασιλεύς of Ῥωμανία/Γραικία would demand for κάθαρση at some point (perhaps by converting the ἐξκουβίτορες into imperial janitors). ;-) No. 108 (talk) 14:23, 5 April 2012 (UTC)
OK, that sounds interesting. But I doubt that your analogy is closer. What exactly corresponds to "rotting" or "smell" in your example?
Now in my example, the archives of discussions, old records of user talk pages etc. correspond to, well, archives (for example, old court records would look rather similar to old user talk pages with warnings and block notices). Let's look at the reasons to destroy the archives that I could think of:
  1. There is no space left to store everything.
  2. It becomes hard to find what we look for.
  3. Some information is secret and must not fall into enemy's hands.
  4. Something in them makes "us" look bad.
Now is there any reason to delete old archives of discussions that does not correspond to some reason to destroy archives? I'm afraid that if you actually listed it somewhere, I must have missed it. "Clutter" will probably correspond to the second reason (maybe first or fourth)... Still, in our case space is relatively cheap, search function seems to be working well enough, the "secret" things (attack pages and the like) are deleted anyway and we shouldn't care about Wikipedia's reputation - especially in such ways. Looks like everything is covered, right?
Also, there are some good reasons to leave old discussion archives. Even the old user talk pages that only include warnings and block notices might be useful for future historians, who, for example, might want to find out how the vandalism fighting changed and evolved... --Martynas Patasius (talk) 17:48, 6 April 2012 (UTC)
In other words, "a solution in search of a problem"; a phrase I take great pains to stay away from since it's obscenely mis- and over-used on Wikipedia whenever someone wants to shoot down a proposal, but it seems apt here. There are lots of things that sound good in principle alone (like "taking out the garbage") but that don't actually present a practical improvement to a specified aspect. Martynas Patasius lists some possibilities above but like he says, they still don't fit since technically Wikipedia isn't bogged down by "clutter" in any demonstrable way (so far as we can see). There needs to be some practical reason for thinking a proposal will improve something, and so far none have been presented. Equazcion (talk) 18:23, 6 Apr 2012 (UTC)
You make very valid points Equazcion, but I humbly disagree that the issue is a "solution in search of a problem". If anything, it's probably "a solution for a [currently] negligible problem" since nonencyclopedic/unencyclopedic content is produced consistently. Why not have the project create, under strict supervision, deletion bots geared specifically towards removing old IP talk pages or old user talk pages? Would such a suggestion satisfy the practical requirement that you've mentioned? And thanks again for the input. :-) No. 108 (talk) 19:20, 6 April 2012 (UTC)
Such a bot would again be a solution, rather than describing a problem it's meant to address, so no, I don't think that qualifies. Again, merely saying non-quality material is regularly produced and needs to be cleared out sounds good in principle, but you aren't showing how that content actually affects anything practically. Equazcion (talk) 19:24, 6 Apr 2012 (UTC)
I definitely see your point Equazcion, but wouldn't removing outdated nonencyclopedic/unencyclopedic content help to prevent its insertion (or replication) into encyclopedic content by dubious users? If not, then how would you go about "practicalizing" all this? No. 108 (talk) 19:33, 6 April 2012 (UTC)
There's no reason to think something will get inserted into an article just because it's there. There's as much of a chance of an IP's talk page making it into an article as any other web page. That hasn't been a problem, and until it is there doesn't seem to be a reason to worry about it. The only way to "practicalize" it would be to find that reason, but that leads back to my point that the need to search for a problem that this proposal would fix is the reason it probably wouldn't get implemented. Equazcion (talk) 19:51, 6 Apr 2012 (UTC)
True, but that doesn't necessarily stop dubious users from utilizing nonencyclopedic/unencyclopedic content as "ammunition" for promoting their peculiar and counterproductive agendas. Even if the chances of said content being used is currently low, why risk having the "ammunition" lying around if dubious users, given their erratic behavior, are willing to use anything to either get attention or even spite the project in order to prove a point? And though you may have a point that I'm worrying too much (occupational hazard), I'm not 100% sure that the issues raised are being seen from a truly long-term perspective. Now I may just be a humble quality management inspector, but my vision of Wikipedia in 2050 or 2100 is to see it become " academically acclaimed bastion of stable, reliable, and accurate knowledge" (assuming I live long enough to see this vision realized). And in order for such a humble vision to become reality, I humbly recommend that the project take the matters of quality I've raised a bit more seriously rather than wait for the (currently negligible) problems discussed to get bigger before any actions are taken. Nevertheless, the points you've made Equazcion were very valid and I thank you for your time and patience. Have a blessed day. :-) No. 108 (talk) 22:14, 6 April 2012 (UTC)
With all due respect Martynas Patasius, but I must humbly disagree with your assessment. Although the four (4) reasons you listed appear to be valid, they seem to operate under the false assumption that the aforementioned "clutter" (perhaps excluding old entry talk page archives) should be preserved by virtue of it being archived. Simply pushing around "junk data" does little in terms of diminishing its long-term accumulation, which is the underlying logic of the, by no means perfect, analogy I submitted. Furthermore, your reasons, despite their potential validity, use language that ultimately misses the point of my humble suggestion/question.
  • The issue is not about storage itself (or how "relatively cheap" it is), but the quality of the things being stored.
  • The issue is not about the difficulty of accessibility, but the quality of the things being accessed.
  • The issue is not about "cloak and dagger" cyberwars, it's about the quality of the final product and the system that produces it.
  • The issue is not about reputation, it's about the quality of the project's overall content which serves as the basis of its reputation and not vice-versa.
Also, your argument regarding what future historians will or will not do appears to have no bearing on the issue at hand, which is to augment the quality of the project via the system-wide removal of old nonencyclopedic content on a 5-10 year basis (or even on a 15-20 year basis). Although the deletion of attack pages is a definite step in the right direction, it may not be enough to curtail the growing number of old unencylopedic content (regardless if they're attack pages or not) produced by users that have either left the project long ago or, after 100 years time, would have long passed to actually care about what they have written decades ago. Nevertheless, your rebuttal is much appreciated and I thank you. :-) No. 108 (talk) 19:07, 6 April 2012 (UTC)
P.S. I seriously doubt that professional scholars and historians would actually care about writing dubious papers with titles such as the "Evolutionary History of Online Flame Wars in Wikipedia" or the "Dialectics of 'Lameness' in Editor-Vandal Relations and the Socio-Electronic Construction of Online Lame Wars in Wikipedia". I humbly request that you grant me the proverbial "break". Have a splendid day. :-) No. 108 (talk) 19:07, 6 April 2012 (UTC)
Let's see... [9], [10] - Fernanda B. Viegas, Martin Wattenberg, Jesse Kriss, Frank van Ham "Talk Before You Type: Coordination in Wikipedia", 40th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, 2007... You can look for more examples if you wish. Anything else..? --Martynas Patasius (talk) 22:04, 6 April 2012 (UTC)
So I stand corrected on a technicality. :-) No. 108 (talk) 22:24, 6 April 2012 (UTC)
Yes, a "technicality" (and it is a "technical" conference). But it is a "technicality" that, as it looks, destroys all your arguments. You said that the "clutter" is useless - it appears that it is not. You also said that it causes some harm, that it decreases "quality", but didn't explain, how exactly is the "quality" decreased. You assert that old archives of discussions decrease "quality", I assert that they do not. Now, can you prove me wrong, or at least support your position with a strong argument? --Martynas Patasius (talk) 09:46, 7 April 2012 (UTC)
With all due respect Martynas Patasius, but the technicality that you are using to supposedly "destroy" the logic behind the quality issues I've raised is clearly a case of staring at the proverbial "tree" [scholarly usefulness] while ignoring the proverbial "forest" [quality of Wikipedia]. The aforementioned "clutter", perhaps excluding entry discussion page archives, is useless (or at least will reach a state of uselessness in 50 to 100 years time) regardless if scholars find a use for it or not. And whether you assert that "junk data" is useful or not fails to negate the basic fact that users produce a lot of nonencyclopedic/unencyclopedic content that over a long period of time shall accumulate since the production of nonencyclopedic/unencyclopedic content by users goes on, more or less, unabated. So what do you think will happen to the project 50 or 100 years from now if none of the aforementioned "clutter" were to be removed? The final result would be the outweighing of encyclopedic content by nonencyclopedic content (unencyclopedic content > encyclopedic content). That is how the quality of the entire project can be jeopardized regardless if the nonencyclopedic content does not interfere with the encyclopedic content and regardless if scholars analyze the aforementioned "clutter". So by focusing on a technicality to potentially derail a rather important discussion on how to further improve the quality of the project is rather counterproductive. Furthermore, I humbly recommend finding support that concretely justifies spending project resources on maintaining, for example, 100 year old IP talk pages riddled with flame wars without relying on scholars who view Wikipedia merely as a "specimen of study". :-) No. 108 (talk) 12:11, 7 April 2012 (UTC)
You said it couldn't possibly be of use to people writing scholarly papers, and Martynas brought examples to negate that claim. That's not a technicality, it rather refuted your point overall. "The final result would be the outweighing of encyclopedic content by nonencyclopedic content." -- Again this just describes an empty ideal. The standard of encyclopedic content only applies to articles. The rest is logistical support, and in 10 years the possibility of mistaking of that for encyclopedia content hasn't been an issue. Equazcion (talk) 12:28, 7 Apr 2012 (UTC)
With all due respect Equazcion, but I humbly disagree with your assessment. If anything, the technicality raised only proves that Wikipedia commands attention in scholarly circles regardless if scholars praise or condemn the project in their studying the project's inner workings. But that has nothing to do with improving the quality of Wikipedia itself or the logic behind what to do with the long term accumulation of "junk data". Should editors here constantly ask permission from scholars worldwide if keeping 50 year old "junk data" would make the project more encyclopedic? Furthermore, by assuming that this is all an "empty ideal" doesn't really address the issues raised and it doesn't negate the facts on the ground. :-) No. 108 (talk) 13:03, 7 April 2012 (UTC)
P.S. If we were to apply Martynas's technicality project-wide, then we should have "Old warnings" preserved ad infinitum because it might be useful for scholars. But how is it that there is a solution (or quasi-solution) for dealing with "Old warnings" but not for "Old user pages" and "Old IP talk pages"? No. 108 (talk) 13:03, 7 April 2012 (UTC)
You haven't raised any issues, hence the "empty ideals". No we shouldn't ask scholars if anything in particular is worth keeping, should we have a reason to remove it -- but you haven't brought a reason to do so; you just said we shouldn't need to ask before doing so, which is circular logic. The quality argument doesn't work because quality is only a concern for articles, they're the reason we're all here, not to produce clean logistical areas. Those are just in furtherance of the goal of making articles. You're telling a clothing retailer to make sure its manufacturers keep their factories looking nice on basic principle. Equazcion (talk) 13:22, 7 Apr 2012 (UTC)
If it's true that I haven't raised any issues (apologies if I haven't Equazcion), then how is it that the mention of removing "Old warnings" is permitted to be seen as an issue, but not any mention of removing "Old IP talk pages", "Old user pages", or "Old user talk pages"? And shouldn't the reasons for removing "Old warnings" be just as valid for removing the aforementioned "clutter" (perhaps excluding old entry talk page archives)? Also, the clothing retailer analogy seems inadequate in terms of what is being discussed here. A better, though by no means perfect, analogy would be a barber who does great haircuts, but fails to clean up the cut hair on the floor of his barber shop and even allows for other barbers to throw their piles of cut hair into the same barber shop. What do you think will happen to the barber shop if the barber failed to clean up, say, 10 years worth of cut hair or even 50 years worth of cut hair? And though I'm more of a humble inspector than a debater, I sincerely doubt that I'm engaging in "circular logic" when there is clearly eleven (11) years worth of "cut hair" in the encyclopedic "barber shop". :-) No. 108 (talk) 13:56, 7 April 2012 (UTC)
A buildup of barber hair would prevent people from easily getting to the product, their haircut. You haven't shown how our product, the articles, are hindered thusly by the clutter you've defined. The proposal to clean up old warnings at the other Village Pump page is just that -- a proposal that's being discussed, just as your proposal is. Neither is any more or less permitted than the other. Equazcion (talk) 14:02, 7 Apr 2012 (UTC)
Alright, so in your view it's a matter of direct hindrance (quality of accessibility) whereas in my view it's a matter of indirect hindrance (quality of content). So let's assume that the barber kept the cut hair in a storage closet so that his customers would not be directly hindered by it. Wouldn't the barber's customers want to know what is kept in the storage closet given that the barber's sign outside says "the 'barber shop' is a part of the public sphere"? Furthermore, wouldn't the customers, seeing the quality of work done by the barber, expect the quality of the barber shop to be, more or less, the same? And wouldn't the barber at some point make it a habit to at least clean out the storage closet once in a while rather than not at all? I think that despite our differences, our views appear to represent two sides of the same coin. :-) No. 108 (talk) 14:45, 7 April 2012 (UTC)
P.S. You're absolutely right in your assessment that my humble suggestion/question is merely a proposal like any other submitted here. But I'm betting that the proposal for removing "Old warnings" will be more or less accepted whereas the proposal for removing the aforementioned "clutter" will ultimately be rejected after a long and tiring discussion. ;-) No. 108 (talk) 14:45, 7 April 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── You're right that the other proposal probably has more chance of gaining traction, because it's more specific than "we should clean out old stuff simply because it's old". Old IP warnings, specifically, present a practical issue, ie they make finding currently-relevant warnings more difficult. As far as cleaning out old stuff in general, you haven't shown a hindrance at all, whether direct or indirect. The barber shop has an interest in keeping it clean to stay presentable, but the factory that makes the razor doesn't, so long as they're able to make razors. Equazcion (talk) 15:20, 7 Apr 2012 (UTC)

100 years? 50 years? You do understand that Wikipedia itself might be closed down by then (for unrelated reasons)?
"Be not therefore solicitous for to morrow; for the morrow will be solicitous for itself. Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof." (Matthew 6:34)... And in case you do not like this source (hint: would you like to make a user page and declare your religious views, so that such questions wouldn't arise?), feel free to use My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, episode "It's About Time", which has the same moral...
Anyway, it looks like you haven't persuaded anyone else, and it doesn't look like that will change soon... Maybe you should drop the issue for now, think about it, and try again after several months (if you won't change your mind)..? Or just write a user essay? --Martynas Patasius (talk) 14:23, 7 April 2012 (UTC)
Your response, with all due respect, appears to be odd and somewhat...insulting. (What do my religious views have to do with improving the quality of the project?) In any case, I'll try again later when the aforementioned "clutter" becomes bigger and a bit more noticeable. :-) No. 108 (talk) 14:45, 7 April 2012 (UTC)
OK, sorry if that felt insulting - it wasn't meant that way... "What do my religious views have to do with improving the quality of the project?" - well, in this case knowledge of your religious views would have helped me to decide if giving you a quote from the Bible is a good idea... It might not be much, but still...
Oh, and thank you for deciding to try again later - it's a wise choice. --Martynas Patasius (talk) 14:54, 7 April 2012 (UTC)
Wikipedia doesn't strive for quality across all pages; rather just articles. If you count user pages and discussions, there's some pretty low-quality stuff out there (whether old or new). This poses no particular problem. The only people who see that stuff are the ones who intentionally go look at it. In very general terms, cleaning out old garbage sounds good, but on Wikipedia there doesn't seem to be any reason to, IMO. Equazcion (talk) 19:26, 4 Apr 2012 (UTC)
Just because Wikipedia doesn't strive for quality across all pages, shouldn't necessarily stop the project from "cleaning out old garbage", as you aptly put it. This is why such an endeavor, if it were to be executed, should be done once every 5 to 10 years (as opposed to every single day). And regardless if the "clutter" is intentionally looked at or not doesn't change the fact that the "trash pile" will continue to grow if left unchecked. Thanks for the input Equazcion. :-) No. 108 (talk) 14:23, 5 April 2012 (UTC)
  • I occasionally trawl userspace for various badwords and invariably find a few attack pages to delete. So you might think I would be supportive of this proposal for the pruning of userspace. But I'm not, partly for the reasons already listed, judicious thoughtful pruning can be useful but a blanket deletion of old userpages would in the process lose some of the discussions that lead to certain edits. Obviously it is preferable that articles start in and stay in mainspace, but we allow drafts to be worked up in userspace and then moved or even copied into mainspace. Moving them of course moves the earlier edits and thus maintains attribution. But some are copied, and that means we need to keep the userspace edits for attribution purposes (this is a legal requirement as well as an ethical one). That said we do delete a lot of rubbish from userspace, copyvio, unsourced attacks etc. I do think we should delete old IP talkpages that are just covered in ancient abuse and warnings as this must be disconcerting for new editors at such IPs. I'm fairly sure that some people have been doing this, but I'm not sure if current policy allows for it so I've started a thread at Wikipedia_talk:Criteria_for_speedy_deletion#Old_IP_talkpages. However I should emphasis that I'm talking a very different sort of proposal - judicious pruning not wholesale deletion. ϢereSpielChequers 17:00, 7 April 2012 (UTC)

A suggestion

I've got an idea to improve Wikipedia. Wouldn't it be better if we could change the type size of the article while reading, making it bigger or smaller however we'd like? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:18, 2 April 2012 (UTC)

You can do this already with any web page: hold Ctrl and move the scroll wheel. Firefox has a "Text zoom only" option and remember your settings for every website. — Dispenser 07:12, 2 April 2012 (UTC)
Your browser can probably also understand Ctrl++ (larger), Ctrl+- (smaller) and Ctrl+0 (normal). PrimeHunter (talk) 23:32, 2 April 2012 (UTC)
Google Chrome tends to add an unwanted blue background to pages when you zoom beyond a point. Don't know if that will happen by default if the settings are changed. --Wikishagnik (talk) 19:58, 7 April 2012 (UTC)
It's a Chrome bug when Wikipedia is viewed with Zoom below 100%. It shouldn't happen if Wikipedia changes its own text size, but I don't think we should cater to the bug. reports a recent patch at I guess the bug will be fixed. PrimeHunter (talk) 20:18, 7 April 2012 (UTC)

Wikifying Bina Agarwal - a dilemna

I am facing a real tough time with the article Bina Agarwal and its driving me crazy. She is mentioned in a lot of places on the web but all for no use. There is no reliable source that can tell about her life. Yes some pages say that she is a developmental economist but that's it. Most pages on the web are about her views, or blogs that mention her. Almost all books on Google books reproduce her articles, and say little else about her. Their is no reliable mention about what's her significance, what awards she has won etc. My opinion is that her articles and opinions might be notable but she isn't as an economist. Any idea (Gasp!)--Wikishagnik (talk) 19:45, 7 April 2012 (UTC)

She is well published on socio economics and totally notable. This may not be the place to ask the question however. As for where she went to high school, it may not matter that much after all. History2007 (talk) 12:05, 8 April 2012 (UTC)
I agree that a lot has been written about her articles, but unfortunately not about her. My question still stands, how can I wikify an article that cannot be referenced adequately? --Wikishagnik (talk) 19:35, 8 April 2012 (UTC)
Basically: "no refs, no go". It will just remain about her work until new items appear somewhere in a new book in the future. And as is, the article is ok, but the unsourced items need to be marked and if no sources are added after some more time, then deleted. But that will not be the end of the world. Her work is totally notable, so that should take priority. The unsourced items will eventually have to be deleted, or left on the talk page for future sources. There is much more to fix in Wikipedia. History2007 (talk) 08:23, 9 April 2012 (UTC)
Thanks History2007 for your POV. I guess, I will leave the article for now and ignore it in the Wikify campaing unless something more reliable comes up.--Wikishagnik (talk) 12:42, 9 April 2012 (UTC)
But I think the unsourced parts need to be commented out. Then the tag can be removed. There are many articles on professors who just talk about their work. Whether a professor had 2 brothers, or 4 brothers makes no difference to their encyclopedia entry - what matters is their work. So I think you shuld just comment out the unsourced items and use the sourced ones, and call it wikified. History2007 (talk) 02:05, 10 April 2012 (UTC)

Graphs of editor behavior

I was reminded of this item only because I saw MZMcBride's signature above. I have for longed wanted to see better graphs of editor behavior. There are a couple of graphs at Wikipedia:List of Wikipedians by number of edits and also on the X's edit counter for each user, but they have no temporal information and are not detailed enough.

What I would hope to see would be the type of graph that corporations use in customer relationship management. Banks do analyze the ATM behavior of customers, and types of purchases by credit card analyzed etc. That is well known. A Wikipedia version would be:

  • Graphs that show article edits vs talk page edits etc. by editor activity level
  • Graphs that show simple reverts (defined as the revert of an IP or new user revert within a day) by various editor classes
  • Graphs that show the decline or increase (and eventually a change) in long term editor behavior. These could eventually be used for premptive action to avoid attrition - companies do that all the time, all the time. Wikipedia should do it too.

Implementation should not be too hard, for a set of queries to the base tables used by X!s counter etc. can just write a new set of tables every month, and they can be graphed. A few link buttons can later simulate the usual zoom-in action of business analytics.

As is, I have no idea about the overall trends in editor behavior. Does anyone else? Does WMF have an inhouse project for this? If not, it would be best to do it as a user driven design, for best Wiki-results have been generally obtained that way.

Suggestions? History2007 (talk) 13:15, 8 April 2012 (UTC)

There are a couple of privacy concerns that should be kept in mind if this is implemented. But the idea is interesting and can certainly be taken further in my opinion. —  HELLKNOWZ  ▎TALK 14:39, 8 April 2012 (UTC)
The graphs should only provide aggregated and summary data and never mention a user name. In fact mentioning any user name will be against the desired functionality for these are intended to show the trends, and any item that applies to less than N (say N = 20) users should be ignored. In terms of user attrition however, names are needed, but will not be displayed in the graphs. A design will be needed there for having a message generated that "user A seems to be fading out". This is, however, information that is clearly visible in their edit history anyway, and does not unearth anything new. History2007 (talk) 16:16, 8 April 2012 (UTC)
By the way, is the schema of the access tables used by X's counter etc. public? If so I will think of it for fun one day. Thanks. History2007 (talk) 16:19, 8 April 2012 (UTC)

Award bot

We need to bot to automatically award users for certain things example:

  • An award when X edit is reached, an award for X reverts, an award for X cititations
  • An award for Being in Wikipedia for X years — Preceding unsigned comment added by Deathlaser (talkcontribs) 14:19, 8 April 2012 (UTC)
Awards are supposed to be personal, not machine-delivered. It is quality that matters, not quantity. A bot could make a list suggesting users that have done good work, but definitely not automate award giving. In addition, bots like this (such as, welcoming bot) are commonly denied. —  HELLKNOWZ  ▎TALK 14:35, 8 April 2012 (UTC)
Anyone can give themselves awards, especially since most are CC. I do not see any rules on wiki restriciting you from self-rewarding! — Preceding unsigned comment added by Deathlaser (talkcontribs) 14:56, 8 April 2012 (UTC)
See Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)/Archive 83#Awarding new users for trivial behavior for a similar proposal that has already been discussed (and not implemented). --Martynas Patasius (talk) 16:02, 8 April 2012 (UTC)
  • A "kick in the nuts" award for being reverted X times. Face-smile.svg Regards, RJH (talk) 19:05, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

Something to make everyday users, a bit more sure of what they're seeing

I don't know if this idea is even worthy of the "idea" lab, but here it goes. So, everybody knows that "WIKIPEDIA MAKES NO GUARANTEE OF VALIDITY", and that not all articles have gone through a information "checking" process. As a result, a user seeking information, may not know how much he should trust an article. Is it one of those high-quality articles, one of those corrupt articles, or a mixture of both? The experts and people who really know, and who could fix or flag the bad articles, are then scared away at the thought of mobs of non-scholars endlessly reverting their flags and edits, due to their the non-scholar's misconceptions. To solve this problem, what about a new WikiMedia project, one that only users with certified academic knowledge could edit. This new project, could as a basis, have all the articles of the current wikipedia, and then the experts could fix it all right up, without having nightmares of it all being for nothing (they may not come, but it may seem more appetizing then Wikipedia, to them). This would then solve Wikipedia's lack of expert problem too, their could be a new patrol, one that checks for disparities between the two different projects. These users don't even have to have that great of knowledge to do this, they just have to read two articles and look for differences. If they don't find any differences they can flag it as patrolled, and that it seems to coincide with the another WikiMedia project, one powered by experts. If it does not then they can flag it as patrolled and that "This article does not seem to agree with another WikiMedia project, one powered by experts, therefore this article might not be that reliable". Then, if consensus is reached (on the talk page), that most everybody wants this article to be identical (or pretty similar), to the expert article, they can just copy/paste (or paraphrase) from one article to another. This does not violate Wikipedia's philosophy either, because everyone decided that they would edit the article to look like the expert one, the experts did not force their will upon everybody else (what would happen if Wikipedia made some articles only edit-able by experts). So, everybody would be happy, experts, and non-experts alike, with everyday viewers a bit more certain how much they can trust an article. The question is, is it plausible, is it do-able, will it even work? Editor0000001 (talk) 14:45, 9 April 2012 (UTC)editor0000001

So, in short, you want something like an option to import articles from Citizendium, right..? That can be done, but it doesn't seem to be worth the effort.
And there seem to be some, er, misconceptions about the experts. First of all, you seem to assume that the text written by "experts" will be better than the one written by "mere mortals". That might be true if the expert is Einstein writing about Theory of Relativity, but it is not the only possible case. To take an extreme example of the other kind, would you like the article about Third Reich written by Joseph Goebbels? No? But are you going to assert that Goebbels was not an expert on Third Reich? And even if you are - would you persuade him of that?
In case you think this example is too extreme, consider homeopathy. Won't the practitioners of it be the "experts"? But is it a good idea to let them write the article without any supervision?
Another problem is that, in general, we do not know who are the "experts" editing Wikipedia. Sometimes we get a user who says he's an expert, but, by itself, it only makes him a "self-proclaimed expert"... --Martynas Patasius (talk) 16:24, 9 April 2012 (UTC)

I see what you're saying, but this would be different, in that my idea is that, you don't have to directly copy/paste from a collaborative, expert powered project like Citizendium (but actually a bit more strict that it, I think, in my idea, you would have to be an expert to do anything), if consensus to import from this project is reached. Its more of, a thought to help users who don't have enough knowledge to write an article, or improve it. With this idea they can go to an expert powered project and us it as their information source (and "un-bias" any bias, or any such opinionated text), or just copy/paste. Also the expert-powered wiki, just if you weren't clear, would be a totally new project, like a more strict Citizendium. To address one of your other problems, the system would be more thorough than that, like you would upload a picture of an image of a Diploma, per say, and it would be checked, and if it were found to be authentic, you would be admitted as an editor into this project . Then their would be a patrol group, just going around checking for extreme differences between articles in the two groups, and alerting the user to any differences found, so they can know to be a bit more cautious about trusting this article. For actual editors, again, it can be used to alert them that this article needs attention, and that if they need knowledge on the subject they can go to an open-source "expert" project like Citizendium (if its strict enough), to base their writings off of (or they could copy/paste, but thats only if they want to). But, if this "expert" project already exists, my idea is lowered to having the new patrol I mentioned, one where they check for differences between a wikipedia article and its corresponding other-project article (if applicable) (for Citizendium I would think the patrol would have to contrast Wikipedia articles only with Approved Citizendium articles), and if they find any of differences to flag the article as potentially inaccurate, just as a heads up for any users. Editor0000001 (talk) 20:02, 9 April 2012 (UTC)editor0000001

Citizendium and Wikipedia certainly have their contrasts. The smaller project concentrates on developing experts, who produce, with exceptions of course, superior quality. Problem is, few people apply or are certified as knowing their stuff, and they produce few articles. Wikipedia articles indeed ought to link to Citizendium articles, especially the very few "approved" ones. No need to paste, since we wouldn't want to be the site that automatically preserves old Citizendium text when new becomes available. However, if Wikipedia tries to create a similar second en encyclopedia, but more strict, we can expect to have the same problems, but more severe. Perhaps I am exaggerating the difficulties, and an effort to assess or certify such a number will succeed, preparing for the next stage of protecting many thousands of Wikipedia articles from changes by the unanointed, but I'd first like to see how how good a job a panel of volunteer judges can do in choosing this elite. Jim.henderson (talk) 21:10, 9 April 2012 (UTC)

Unfortunately, I do not think this approach will work in its current form. But Editor0000001 remember what the man said: "ask an impertinent question, and you are on the way to the pertinent answer". So have no hesitation to ask.. you never know. Anyway, I had thought about this issue as well and my views are:

  • There is no guaranty "whatsoever" about Wikipedia content. That must change.
  • The Citizendium autocratic model has clearly failed compared to the "free market" Wikipedia model.
  • Although experts can be used in Wikipedia, a single expert should not have total control over an article. I know experts who are far too eccentric to accept that they are not the ultimate gift to humanity and their technical views are not inherently superior.

But all is not lost. What can be done is:

  • Librarians, and other trusted individuals can be used to check articles using sources. And checks by 3 people will be needed. Articles whose sources have been checked get a special stamp of some type. This may need funds and a special funding drive for it may help. They will not do it all for free. Someone should ask user:DGG about how librarians may be approached for this - he would know the environment/culture there.
  • Experts can be used in a different way: to give expert 3rd opinions, or set some students to help. I have suggested further expert involvement to the Wikipedia Ambassadors project.

And there are several other things that can be done. As is, many basic Wiki-articles on cities, towns etc. are high quality because people who live there check them. But many science articles are just disaster stricken. Something needs to be done. History2007 (talk) 01:47, 10 April 2012 (UTC)

Why must there be a guarantee about Wikipedia content? There's never been a guarantee about the content of any other reference work. But what other work could ever match our scope, or our ability to grow, correct errors, and otherwise improve? It's clear that Wikipedia works only in practice, not in theory. Ntsimp (talk) 14:04, 10 April 2012 (UTC)
When I read an entry in a refereed journal such as Nature or in Encyclopædia Britannica I have a reasonable guarantee/assurance that the person who wrote those words was not a deranged manic, or an alcoholic who had had one drink too many, or a 12 year old making a joke, etc. I have absolutely no assurance of that for any Wikipedia entry. What I read on a page could have just been entered by a deranged person, a drunk person or a prankster. That is the difference. And with almost 4 million pages, many pages are totally (I mean totally) neglected. Personally I trust something I read about Chicago because I know people who live there check that routinely, but do I trust a Wikipedia article on biochemisty? No way. No way. Never. I have seen too many computing articles that are pure junk to trust biology content I am not familiar with. That is the difference. History2007 (talk) 16:25, 10 April 2012 (UTC)
There can be no 100% guarantees: however an encyclopedia which is frequently misleading is a liability rather than an asset. In the case of 'old-style' printed work, the publisher had a strong incentive to get it right, a bad reputation would quickly hit sales! Wikipedia has a wider scope and the ability to grow, it is possible to correct obvious errors (provided a knowledgeable person spots them); but the quality in general and balance in particular of articles (at least in the Christianity category) is often questionable and achieving it can involve prolonged and wearing POV type arguments, as does the removal of extraneous material which someone felt might be relevant. I could provide examples to substantiate these statements; but will keep it short and simply say that as I see it Wikipedia works like a car which is firing on about two and a half rather than four cylinders, and so we need to look for ways to make it work better.Jpacobb (talk) 16:01, 10 April 2012 (UTC)
I agree. Wikipedia content is partially working now, but huge gaps exist, with glaring errors. As your 2.5 cylinder example stated. But there is a difference here: there are a number of passengers here who keep insisting: "what rough ride? Misfire? I did not hear anything...", etc. It will certainly take effort to convince the Wiki standard-bearers that reliability of content leaves a lot to be desired, but that may also be a rough ride. History2007 (talk) 16:32, 10 April 2012 (UTC)
Already been done: it was called Nupedia. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 16:10, 10 April 2012 (UTC)
No. Nupedia was an autocracy. This discussion is still about a "free market" system as a wiki, but as in other free market systems there may be organizations that attach labels to some products, e.g. "organic" attached to some products, and not others to suggest they are more toxin free than others. The discussion here is a label that provides some indication of the likelihood of being less incorrect than the average article. History2007 (talk) 16:37, 10 April 2012 (UTC)
There's plenty of room for improvement, but Guarantee is not at all the right word, as it would imply someone paying off in case of failure. Better to think closer to the line of Quality assurance or Quality control or product labelling. A few articles have on the top a little symbol for WP:Good article or Fine article, but only a few, and some of our best minds work steadily at the task of upgrading articles to deserve those grades. When anyone proposes such a grade for an article I'm watching, I drop it as using time that could better go to uprading a few of our great mass of poor articles to a point of humble mediocrity.
Many more articles indeed have a quality rating, applied on behalf of various Projects. However, few editors put time into such ratings, so they aren't very thorough or up to date, and being on the Talk Page they are only for us insiders, not for consumers. Perhaps that's what should be fixed, regardless of whether there be standard-bearers who ought to be convinced of something. Jim.henderson (talk) 18:13, 10 April 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Yes, guarantee is probably too strong a word, and quality assurance may be a better term. The situation, as you said, is that there is a grading system already in place, e.g. WP:GA. But in my view it is still somewhat haphazrad. What could happen is a level above WP:GA, so there would be:

  • WP:GA: i.e. reviewed by "some editor".
  • WP:QA: i.e. reviewed by 3 editors with known identities, e.g. librarians
  • WP:FA: i.e. a major review by many people.

Again, the label "organic food" does not "guarantee" that there are no toxins on an apple, it just provides a higher likelihood of less toxins being present. Similarly the label WP:QA makes no guarantee that the article is error free, but reduces the likelihood for the presence of errors. History2007 (talk) 18:24, 10 April 2012 (UTC)

Yes, a quality label, like Quality Label for Swiss Tourism or Grade A milk or timber grading. However, further subdividing the ratings above the current GA can only help those few consumers who find their way to those few articles. The more urgent need is labels for the undifferntiated gobs of gunk they get from Wikipedia, some of which is quite good but little of which is labelled except for hatnote warnings, haphazardly applied and far less likely useful to innocent readers as to us insiders . Jim.henderson (talk) 19:01, 10 April 2012 (UTC)
I agree that any more subdivisions of WP:QA will not be optimal. The real problem I see is that a large percentage of Wikipedia editors are unaware of the disastrous situation that persists with the more technical articles. There are articles that have been tagged as low quality since 2007 and unless something changes, I see no hope for them - none. The average Wikipedia editor looks up a fact about Chicago or London and in most cases gets correct answers. But they do not look at Dynamic programming language that often - just look at the talk page there: chaos. So Wikipedia is like an island, on some corners, there are great beaches, on others, large alligators. History2007 (talk) 19:11, 10 April 2012 (UTC)


The fatal flaw to this idea is: how are you going to vet these "experts?" With "known identities," are we going to require proof of ID sent to the WMF? And, even if we did, how do we narrow down their expert topic? (Librarians do not necessarily know anything about string theory, for instance.) Finally, do we treat them just like any other editor if they violate the rules, or do they get special leeway?
What this is really proposing is creating a new kind of userlevel on Wikipedia. And that tends to not go over well. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 21:46, 10 April 2012 (UTC)
I will just note that I do not respond to your comments, due to your use of improper language before. Leave it at that. History2007 (talk) 02:42, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

Actually, if you're referring to the original idea, that's not really correct. The original idea had a separate encyclopedia, with a different philosophy (an encyclopedia edited only edited by experts), so as not to violate Wikipedia's current values. But, it seems to me the discussion has evolved to be more about developing notices for users as to how much they can trust any one article. Editor0000001 (talk) 01:29, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

If the new encyclopedia is just edited by experts, it will be an autocracy like Citizendum, and will have very few articles. It will remain a small boutique with very few clients. History2007 (talk) 02:46, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

Would it make any difference if it started with the whole of Wikipedia, letting eperts fix articles, so they don't have to start totally anew with 0 articles? They could then go through the articles, experts with many different specialties, and approve the reliable articles, and fix the unreliable articles (which will eventually be approved). — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:17, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

Yes, that would be a good way to start. But one must remember the constraints, fears and motivations of experts.
  • Time constraints: If they are a professor without tenure, they have to publish or perish, so they do not necessarily have a lot of time. Those with tenure are hence more likely candidates. Those working in research will also be good candidates. There is plenty of slack there.
  • Fear: That their work will be lost in 2 weeks when a 14 year old decides to change it. They do not want to make an investment to watch pages for ever.
  • Motivation: The key motivations are love of the subject, and indignation at errors. Those can be motivating factors... look a the time I waste here....
So there are multiple ways to use experts. What I would also like to see is an "expert third opinion" when the expert just comes in and gives an opinion and it takes them 20 minutes at most. I really wish that feature existed. I walked away from High-availability cluster without fixing it, because a user "cautioned me", yes cautioned me, not to add academic references. I wish I could have had an expert come and settle it. But as is that article is multi-tagged as unreliable - and rightly so. As is, it is going remain low quality for long. That must change. History2007 (talk)
Interesting. Still, what is the data behind this explanation of fears? Is it anecdotal, or is there some survey?
Anyway, all such proposals should explain:
  1. Who are going to be the "experts"?
    • That is, who would we count as the "experts" (for some article? for some group of articles? for the whole Wikipedia?) if we had complete information?
  2. How will we decide if someone is an "expert"?
    • What information are we going to get? From where? Who will make the decision?
  3. How many "experts" are we going to have?
  4. Why would they "jump through the hoops" to be considered "experts"?
Unfortunately, I doubt we have much to discuss here unless we get the answers to those questions... --Martynas Patasius (talk) 18:48, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
Ok, good, now specific answers:
  • There is no data behind the explanation of fears. How often is data used in Wikipedia anyway? I said that as my perception of experts - nothing more. But trust me, I know the experts, e.g. see: "I do not want to invest the time mainly because i have to invest much more time to protect my edits from others" on here. Now, the difference between myself and user:tagremover is that I am foolish enough to know that my edits will probably survive on that page because they are well sourced. And after several weeks there, not one byte, and I mean not one byte, of my edits there were changed, because they were well sourced and logical. What the experts need is some assurance and guidance on how to do it. I was not even going to fix that page, I only did it because tagremover shook the boat. Or look at the page on supercomputer, I fixed that some time ago and again not one of my edits was reverted. So progress can happen if one overcomes fear.
  • The designation by a community can have several forms. Admins are designated through a process. Experts may need to be designated. There are several ways, past edit history, or self identification, etc. Wikipedia Ambassadors is a good venue where student editors vouch for their professor.
  • How many experts? As many as WMF budgets allow... But they are not paid anything.
  • The only reasons experts do it is love of the subject and indignation for errors.
Anyway, unless something changes all the content disasters in the science articles will never get cleaned up. History2007 (talk) 21:17, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
Sorry, but I am not sure that the answers are specific enough... I understand that you think that those details are not essential, but, you see, I suspect that the idea you proposed is unimplementable... That is, if we will try to answer those questions, we will see that each try ends up in dead end...
For example, you said that there are several ways to designate the experts and compared the problem with administrator selection process. But doesn't the administrator selection process have a reputation of torture (deserved or undeserved)? That's why I ask what will motivate the experts to pass something like that. You didn't really make the "expert's" job sound that exciting for anyone who is not a POV pusher...
"How many experts? As many as WMF budgets allow... But they are not paid anything." - sorry, but if we will get an infinite number of "experts", are they going to be more reliable than random vandals? After all, we have a finite number of humans. Only some of them will be considered "experts" (let's say, have a doctorate). Only some of them are interested in Wikipedia. And only some of them are going to try to be selected as "experts". Now, how many of those are we going to have? I have a strong suspicion that the answer is going to be "Not nearly enough to make any difference."... Or otherwise, almost every active wikipedian will be an "expert"... --Martynas Patasius (talk) 18:00, 12 April 2012 (UTC)

I'm just gong to apologize here, on my comment after user handthatfeeds, I did not know you're supposed to indent to reply to a comment. But anyway, that comment was in reply to what user handthatfeeds said, not stating objection to history2007's comparison of Wikipedia to an island. Editor0000001 (talk) 20:27, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

That's OK, it happens; "Wikipedia:Ignore all rules" does say that perfect understanding of all policies and guidelines definitely isn't required for new users (well, technically, 'Wikipedia:What "Ignore all rules" means' says that). But maybe it would be a good idea to postpone all proposals about changing Wikipedia's internal order until you will understand the existing order a little better..? For now, I'd recommend reading some additional policies, guidelines, essays, discussions here in the Village pump, various noticeboards, article talk pages and, well, articles... --Martynas Patasius (talk) 21:05, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
Yes, no need for apologies Editor0000001. All of this started because you asked an impertinent question, and as the man said, it may well lead to a pertinent answer, as above. History2007 (talk) 21:23, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

Auto <references /> for preview

The title should be Auto <references /> for preview

Maybe I have not found the right preference setting but when I preview a section edit Wiki is not generating the references and I am tired of having to make corrections after saving the page when the errors finally show up. Could the technical people include in the software which displays the preview an automatic <references />? If I put it in manually, I'll have to remember to take it out before saving! As I am not sure whether this is an ideas' lab or a technical page concern I am posting in both.Jpacobb (talk) 14:38, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

Cross-posting is a bad idea as it leads to answers in different places. Please discuss this at WP:VPT only.--ukexpat (talk) 15:47, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
WP:WikEd does this in its much faster "on page" preview feature. — Dispenser 15:53, 12 April 2012 (UTC)

Album Artwork

Hi. I have this suggestion:

In the standard template for entries re musical albums, how about including info on who did the cover art: design, photo, painting, etc? I consistently see very nice album art and get frustrated when I can't find in the Wikipedia entry (or anywhere else) who deserves the credit.

PS - This is my first posting here, so go easy on me. — Preceding unsigned comment added by BpozII (talkcontribs) 22:51, 17 April 2012 (UTC)

Welcome :) That stuff is generally included in the article body, if at all, I'd guess because it's a little too tangential/trivial, when infoboxes are for essential info. Equazcion (talk) 23:18, 17 Apr 2012 (UTC)

Funds Dissemination Committee: Input requested


As many of you may know, the Wikimedia Foundation is working with The Bridgespan Group to develop a process for allocating movement funds to programs and other projects. As a part of this, the Board of Trustees resolved to create a Funds Dissemination Committee to make recommendations around how funds should be divided and allocated. Over the next months, we will be developing the FDC’s charter and clear processes around funds dissemination. As we do this, we invite you to share your thoughts on how this process can best support the movement’s mission in a fair and transparent way.

We are hosting a forum for input on the Community Engagement page. Please visit this page or the FDC main page to provide your thoughts and to find more information on how to get involved.

Thanks! The Bridgespan Team — Preceding unsigned comment added by Meerachary TBG (talkcontribs) 15:28, 18 April 2012 (UTC)

Ideas to help Wikipedia retain new editors

It is well documented that Wikipedia is having problems retaining new editors. It is my opinion, backed up by a lot of evidence, that main causes of this are the hostility shown to new users and other editors in general and how difficult Wikipedia policies are to understand for new users, creating a situation where many arguments are won by people who simply know the system better and can bury people under a mountain of WP:THIS and WP:THAT or simply know the proper noticeboard to take something to or which administrator will have a sympathetic viewpoint.

My suggested improvements can be summed up simply as -Optional Facebook Login Integration and -Extreme simplification of Policy articles and noticeboards, with will be housed in an aesthetically pleasing user interface. See Quora as a site that has proven the tremendous value of each of these.
Regarding Facebook logins, using real names forces people to be civil. Anonymity leads to them saying things they would not say in person which leads to hostility - which drives users away. If peoples real names were attached to everything they said on Wikipedia they would be a lot more polite and new users would not have so many reasons to leave for being treated poorly. It is as simple as that. An anonymous comment or editing feature can be added for when people are doing things they don't want associated with their real names, like editing controversial articles. If people still don't want to share their real names, the solution is simple. They don't have to. They can keep hiding behind anonymous handles and over time be viewed with the same kind of skepticism that IP's are now - for good reason. If they were making good faith edits, they would have no reason to hide.
The second idea about simplifying policy and noticeboard pages would serve to make it far easier for new users to understand the guidelines for participation and engage in discussions about content instead of Wiki policies. New users hare are more important than on any other type of website as they are the ones who provide the bulk of actual new content. Editors for the most part simply correctly format what the new users bring in. The system should be setup to accommodate them, even if it inconveniences longtime editors. Things like be bold and ignore all rules should be front and center telling them it is encouraged that they just jump in immediately and swim if they are acting in good faith. The rest can be neatly and clearly summarized in one page or less with links for them to dig deeper. A clean and attractive user interface is crucial to this. Currently everything is presented as overwhelming walls of text and is thus difficult to make sense of. Regarding the noticeboards, these should all be displayed one one page or less, with links to everything else for people who want more detailed information. Likewise this should be highly visible to new users on key pages not broken up at various parts of the website and really hard to find and navigate.
I would be willing to volunteer my time to implementing these features, however I presume if enough attention is brought to this issue and enough people agree that actual changes are made, some far more talented people than myself will be involved and could thus do a much better job.
We literally owe it to the World to get this right. Wikipedia will suffer if the negative attitudes and confusing, cluttered method of explaining policies persists. Laowai88 (talk) 12:26, 30 March 2012 (UTC)
"If peoples real names were attached to everything they said on Wikipedia they would be a lot more polite and new users would not have so many reasons to leave for being treated poorly."
This would effectively prohibit anonymous users (IPs) from making edits, which I believe is the main reason why I think this would never get the support of the WMF. Furthermore, I would definitely stop contributing if I were forced to reveal my true identity.
This would not prohibit IP's nor would you be forced to reveal your identity. Both 'username' and 'IP' users would be allowed to make edits. There would simply be an option for revealing your identity by connecting with Facebook. However if other websites are any guide, the people who were editing using their true identity would be seen as more credible and those unwilling to do so would be looked on with skepticism. Much like IP's are now. What are they hiding from? However as I said, how you choose to edit would be completely up to you - IP, username or real identity. Laowai88 (talk) 02:07, 31 March 2012 (UTC)
"If they were making good faith edits, they would have no reason to hide."
To be frank, I strongly disagree with this. -- Toshio Yamaguchi (tlkctb) 12:46, 30 March 2012 (UTC)
I also strongly disagree with this. For example, many threats of physical harm are made over edits which are not only good faith but also polite, sensible and correct. And many editors are in authoritarian countries with censorship. We shouldn't force editors to reveal their identity or tell them that they may be treated as second-class editors if they choose not to. PrimeHunter (talk) 01:53, 31 March 2012 (UTC)
Again there would be no requirement, it would be an option. People could continue using a username or an IP account if they had reasons for doing so. As for telling users they will be second class citizens, nobody tells that to IP's now. It just is. The community treats them that way, even though the policies strictly say not to. This would similarly be the way the community at large views people who hide behind an anonymous username. The policies for treating every user the same, whether IP, username or real identity, would not change. Laowai88 (talk) 02:09, 31 March 2012 (UTC)
You do realize that Facebook doesn't do any confirmation of its users "real" identities either, right? So the pseudonymous "Joe Smith" could create a "Joe Smith" Facebook account, set all the privacy settings to maximum privacy, and no one would be any the wiser. Anomie 02:27, 1 April 2012 (UTC)
So if we required people to use an unreliable system of identification, you might end up with a situation where you, with your real name, are in a flame war with some malicious troll under a pseudonym. That is going to place you in more danger than if you were anonymous. Wikipedia actually cautions users to think before using their real name as their username.
If you want to reveal your identity you can already post personal information on your User page. Some people do that (I have no user page, as you can see). But Wikipedia runs (more or less, in theory) on the principle that it's not who you are, it's what you can contribute. --Colapeninsula (talk) 15:57, 2 April 2012 (UTC)

Comment - There is a lot is being made out about uncivil admins and editors etc. I believe that we deal with un-civility on Wikipedia the same way we deal it in real life. We either ignore the intended jibe and address the issue or if the editor is being persistent we leave the editor for some time to cool off. I have been asked to take a break after what I realized now was disruptive behavior but after spending some time with other projects and drives I understood the point of the admin. Yes, Wikipedia is being used for personal promotion both by editors for personal gain and also by marketing firms but we deal with that at a technical level of the article. And yes, I do believe there is some level of sock-puppetry going around but again their are technical solutions for those. Getting people to login with Facebook or Google accounts will only benefit Facebook / Google and will not benefit Wikipedia in any way. --Wikishagnik (talk) 20:11, 7 April 2012 (UTC)

Okay let's take these in turn.

Optional Facebook Login Integration

Not going to happen. Firstly, because Wikipedia shouldn't be putting eggs in anybody's commercial basket, not Facebook, not Twitter... not MySpace, not Friendster, not Orkut... these social sites change like the wind.

Extreme simplification of Policy articles and noticeboards, with will be housed in an aesthetically pleasing user interface.

Yeah, a lot of those policies exist for a reason. The reason we have policies is precisely because Wikipedia has had a whole stack of problems in the past that led to the creation of policies to deal with them. As for the aesthetically-pleasing user interface, that's kind of up to the MediaWiki developers and the Foundation.

See Quora as a site that has proven the tremendous value of each of these.

I'm not sure Quora has proven the tremendous value of these things. Quora isn't immune to trolling or personal attacks, and often the moderation is as arbitrary and problematic as Wikipedia's is.

Regarding Facebook logins, using real names forces people to be civil.

A few years ago, I would have agreed with you. But the reality of working with Citizendium forced me to change my mind. There are people at Citizendium who use their real name, and have their full academic credibility supposedly on the line. And they are just as annoying and uncivil as the worst bits of Wikipedia. Real names doesn't actually help with civility much at all, despite the widely-cited Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory.

It also forces people to be out about their editing. All sorts of people are disempowered by real names policies: see Who is harmed by a "Real Names" policy? on the Geek Feminism wiki. As a user who uses his real name, there are certain tradeoffs I make by doing so. I don't edit articles on, say, pornography lest a future employer decide to check through my contributions on-wiki. (I have no actual interest in editing pornography articles on-wiki, so that's no big deal.)

Having seen the tremendous harm that's caused to members of minority groups including women and LGBT users by outing and harassment, I can honestly say: the cure of real-name policy is so much worse than the disease. —Tom Morris (talk) 09:35, 19 April 2012 (UTC)

Candidates for adminstratorship should confidentially establish their real world ID through OTRS

Many sites require contributors to establish their identity prior to contributing. The wikipedia both allows individuals to contribute without establishing a wiki-ID; and does not employ any technical means to prevent individuals from covertly establishing multiple identities.

The problem I want to address is individuals so hungry for the power inherent in being an administrator that they are prepared to spend hundreds of hours cultivating a persona that has always been civil and has only made unquestionable, vanilla edits, solely in order to get that sockpuppet entrusted with administrator authority.

Some of our administrators are highly admirable people, wise, patient, well-informed, tactful, able to consider the possibility they made a mistake, and capable of firmness, when necessary. Most of our administrators are able to bring some of those qualities to bear, most of the time. But our corps of administrators has always included a limited number of individuals whose exercise of administrator authority has been problematic. Sadly, some of the problematic administrators have later turned out to have acquired the communities trust through the cultivation of a bogus persona, a sockpuppet with a clean record.

I suggest that since we extend to our administrators an extra measure of trust we ask of them an extra measure of trust. Specifically, I suggest we ask of them that they establish their real world identity through OTRS. Their real world identity wouldn't be revealed to the general wikipedia community. It would be available to those entrusted on the OTRS team.

I don't follow the candidacy of administrators that closely -- probably not as closely as I should. But I know that some individuals have been so hungry for power that they have quietly devoted hundreds of hours to the covert cultivation of sockpuppets with unblemished records, so that they can acquire administrator status. The very first candidacy I voiced an opinion in turned out to be a sockpuppet of a defrocked adminstrator. All the known socks of that contributor -- including the sockpuppetmaster believed to be the original, were indefinitely blocked. That was in 2007. I recently encountered another individual who employed sockpuppetry to stand for, and be entrusted with, administrator authority, after the ID through which they were first entrusted was de-sys-opped. This individual had the sock indefinitely blocked, but they were allowed to continue to participate using the ID we believed to be their original ID.

At the time of the de-sys-opping of the sockpuppet several people suggested we look at the discussion through which they acquired their administrator bits a second time, to see if there were any lessons to be learned that could help prevent this happening again. I looked, and didn't see anything out of the ordinary in their request for administratorship.

But, if the real world identities of all past and present administrators were on file that would help prevent power-mongers who have the patience to cultivate a vanilla persona from acquiring administrator status, as, the previous time they were entrusted with the bits would be on file.

If access to their identities by all the members of the OTRS team is unnecessarily broad perhaps a subcommittee of the team could deal with this. Geo Swan (talk) 19:28, 3 April 2012 (UTC)

Just as an FYI, nobody identifies to the OTRS—checkusers and oversighters identify to the WMF. Additionally, I'm not even certain the OTRS team is identified, so sending my real-world identity to a group of anonymous individuals is not high on my list. Are you sure you didn't mean identification to the WMF? Reaper Eternal (talk) 20:26, 3 April 2012 (UTC)
  • Okay. It doesn't matter to me who does the real world identity check, merely I would prefer one be done for everyone who is entrusted with bits. A smaller group, known to public, charged only with this responsibility, would work for me. Geo Swan (talk) 21:44, 3 April 2012 (UTC)
I don't believe this would be effective. First of all, disclosing identity, even confidentially, would intimidate aspiring admins who have e.g. been victims of stalking or who live under oppressive regimes and edit via proxies. Second, virtually any identity confirmation that could be done via OTRS could be circumvented. Government IDs can be easily digitally faked - people can ask their friends to use their phone numbers and addresses - and so on. This may seem like a lot of work, but sockmasters are very dedicated people. Dcoetzee 21:28, 3 April 2012 (UTC)
  • Yes, digital photos can be faked. I know some sockpuppetmasters have shown they were willing to devote hundreds of hours to vanilla edits to cultivate a new persona with an uncontroversial past and enough edits to seem experienced enough to be entrusted with administrator authority. Compared with those hundreds of hours forging a picture ID might seem to be trivial. But not everyone would know how to do so. So this measure while it wouldn't keep out sockpuppetmasters capable of forging picture ID would keep out those who can't forge picture IDs.
  • Those who have to use proxies due to living under oppressive regimes could choose to trust the admins who were able to identify themselves because they did not live under an oppressive regime. This might be a more important question for, let's say, the Chinese language wikipedia than it is for the English language wikipedia. Geo Swan (talk) 21:44, 3 April 2012 (UTC)
This has come up a few times before. Have you read Wikipedia:Administrator accountability and related pages? --MZMcBride (talk) 05:11, 4 April 2012 (UTC)
  • No, I was not aware of Wikipedia:Administrator accountability. Thanks for drawing it to my attention. It is several years old, and if individuals who became administrators through the use of sockpuppetry is more of a problem now than it was then I suggest the idea should be reconsidered. Geo Swan (talk) 18:51, 8 April 2012 (UTC)
As MZMcBride points out, this has been proposed and shot down numerous times. It's not going to happen. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 13:03, 4 April 2012 (UTC)
The problem you have identified seems to be very small - this will only apply to users who are "prepared to spend hundreds of hours cultivating a persona that has always been civil and has only made unquestionable, vanilla edits, solely in order to get that sockpuppet entrusted with administrator authority." I believe that, if someone is this dedicated, they won't be deterred from giving some form of false identity as well. As Dcoetzee, this is more likely to discourage many potential administrators who do not wish to identify themselves, for whatever reason; I believe that the loss of not having these users as administrators far outweighs the small fraction of admin candidates who are not acting in good faith. ItsZippy (talkcontributions) 19:16, 4 April 2012 (UTC)
  • ID verification via the internet is an inherently flawed concept, and I say that as someone who has identified to the office. Those organisations that are seeking to do it are either limited in the countries they cover or in the people they cover (for example only those with credit cards). In practice the only problematic users who would be screened out by this are those badfaith accounts who are coming back for a second admin bit and don't know how to access a fake ID. The goodfaith accounts we would lose would be a much larger group, including those who don't trust the WMF to keep their data secure, and those who don't fancy being identifiable to those who sue the WMF. There is also a globalisation issue here, editors in some countries will find it easier/safer to ID verify than others. I'm in the UK where we don't have ID cards, and not all of us have passports. In other countries where in some cases it is illegal to edit Wikipedia, we really don't want to take risks with people's ID. ID verification makes some sense when there is an agreed information item that you are seeking to verify. So pubs might use it to check that someone is 18 and old enough to drink alcohol. But there is no external information item that is relevant to whether someone is suitable to become an admin, so all that you could possibly gain would be that a year or two down the road it would be a little more difficult to gain multiple admin accounts. By contrast a quick skype chat would not need to compromise someone's ID, but it would be harder to pass the test twice. ϢereSpielChequers 10:36, 7 April 2012 (UTC)
I agree that the internet ID process would have been inherently flawed. Challenge me and I will prove to you that I am Mick Jagger... History2007 (talk) 12:09, 8 April 2012 (UTC)
  • Given this would further chill potential RFA candidates from running in the first place, this appears to be a case where the solution would do more damage than the problem it means to solve. Moreover, admin actions are completely reversible. There is little actual power associated with the mop. The power comes from the reputation of the editor and that exists independent of user rights. Resolute 19:08, 8 April 2012 (UTC)
  • If requiring IDs would weed out power-seeking individuals, I might be for it, but I don't see how it would. It might prevent sock-admin issues, but that happens too rarely to create a new blanket requirement. I'd actually rather make both RfA and the de-opping process far less stringent, that way we'd have a less political process at work where people prove themselves through their work. Equazcion (talk) 19:22, 8 Apr 2012 (UTC)
  • I agree with the above. On Wikipedia, I think it's usually best to judge editors on their pattern of behavior. We get solid contributions from those who choose to remain entirely anonymous. Regards, RJH (talk) 19:16, 9 April 2012 (UTC)
  • I'm actually okay with this, but that's partly because I have identified to the Foundation under the non-public data access policy. And it wasn't that big of a deal. The above criticisms of ID requirements surely apply to the people we require to agree to the non-public data access policy: checkusers, oversighters, ArbCommers, participants in ACC and so on. —Tom Morris (talk) 09:41, 19 April 2012 (UTC)