Wikipedia:Village pump (miscellaneous)/Archive 23

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Table converting tool?[edit]

I'm looking to convert the table at machine press from an html format to the Wikipedia format because it's current layout is clumsy/ugly and the code for it is monstrous. Is there any tool for this? Thanks! Wizard191 (talk) 19:56, 24 November 2009 (UTC)

HTML to Wiki Converter - tables —Preceding unsigned comment added by Gadget850 (talkcontribs)
Thanks! Unfortunately it didn't work in this case. At lease I know it exists for future references. Wizard191 (talk) 20:54, 24 November 2009 (UTC)

Donation message[edit]

So I happened to see the 5 things about Wikipedia most people don't know about. And did anyone else get the opinion for number 3 ("We support more than 100,000 volunteers who have contributed 14.3 million articles in 270 languages.") that the word "support" implied financial support, especially being on a donation page and with one of the donation messages "Please support Wikipedia!" If this is something I've missed, however, how do I get my money? SpencerT♦Nominate! 16:43, 25 November 2009 (UTC)

Support → procedural support. For example, the Usability Initiative has put a lot of money into developing new interface options and tools to make it easier to edit; I'm already using the new Vector skin. Most of the support is through technology and organizational representation: users don't buy or maintain servers, nor do they appear credible to third-party organizations. The Foundation supports the volunteers by handling that sort of thing.
There's been occasional speculation into supporting individual volunteers, but that usually runs into the problem of selection (i.e. if some editors were supported but not others, how could the selection process be maximally fair, efficient, and cost-effective? Further, how might it also avoid the appearance of favouritism in certain senses, beyond the actual situation? ("Look, [random group of admins/established users] are getting [example assistance]: this is totally unfair, [new user X] just started doing some good work but hasn't gotten anything") It's generally taken as one of those things that would be awesome to do in theory but not feasible in practice. {{Nihiltres|talk|edits}} 17:20, 25 November 2009 (UTC)
Is the point here that it's manipulative of Foundation to imply that they support us financially, in an attempt to receive higher donations? SpitfireTally-ho! 17:36, 25 November 2009 (UTC)
So who's paying for the server(s!) you posted this message on? ;-) And who pays the core mediawiki team that provides the software and other tools? And who pays for translations (now, finally :-P ?). And... etc --Kim Bruning (talk) 19:49, 25 November 2009 (UTC)
heh, if the comment was in Re. to mine, I was only asking for clarification on Spencer's comment. Face-tongue.svg SpitfireTally-ho! 20:03, 25 November 2009 (UTC)
They do support us: they support our addiction to Wikipedia =) –xenotalk 19:54, 25 November 2009 (UTC)
I think the word "volunteer" successfully discharges the message of the suggestion that they financially support contributors. Dcoetzee 23:26, 25 November 2009 (UTC)

I've been called a vandal because of an accurate correction; please start punishing such accusers[edit]

This is utterly rude and disheartening. I know better since I use wikipedia since forever but I'm sure it would have drove away countless people:

"The recent edit you made to Martial arts constitutes vandalism,"

and what's the "vandalism"?

"kratos, meaning "nation""

if you are a 7 year old greek and don't know kratos means nation you're an idiot. This is obviously a correct edit at first glance. If it's not a correct edit ultimately it's not a good reason to call people vandals-- (talk) 22:46, 25 November 2009 (UTC)

You mean 7-year-old Greeks think κράτος is a synonym for έθνος? I would be surprised. [1] Hans Adler 22:59, 25 November 2009 (UTC)
I note that the Greek Wikipedia derives Pankration from παν + κρατείν, the latter being a modern Greek verb. [2] Hans Adler 23:07, 25 November 2009 (UTC)
It's an old edit from January, so it doesn't make sense to highlight this now. Without a source it was indistinguishable from the general drive-by vandalism often seen by IP editors. In future, always use reliable sources when editing Wikipedia, instead of original research. Fences&Windows 02:10, 26 November 2009 (UTC)
See also Kratos. I don't know Greek but I guess the editors of the Greek Wikipedia do. The Google translation [3] of el:Κράτος says: "State in ancient Greek meant power" (where state is Google's translation of the Greek Κράτος). Your edit [4] was about ancient Greek. The second post to User talk: probably mentioned vandalism because you repeated the edit after it was reverted the first time where the first post was made, and you didn't give an edit summary or source to your apparently incorrect edit. Deliberate vandalism by unregistered users is unfortunately very common in Wikipedia and good faith but inappropriate edits like yours are sometimes mistaken for vandalism. PrimeHunter (talk) 02:41, 26 November 2009 (UTC)

I agree with the OP that the message left on his or her talk page was inappropriate. Simply saying that an edit such as that constitutes vandalism is quite presumptuous. It's much better to say that an edit appears to be incorrect or unconstructive, and allow that the person might be working in good faith, that to simply declare them guilty of base motives.

We define vandalism very narrowly here, and for good reason. I never find it necessary to even use that word when reverting and leaving warnings for bad edits. -GTBacchus(talk) 17:31, 26 November 2009 (UTC)

How many Wiki editors are there?[edit]

I was just kind of curious how many editors are actually on Wikipedia. Wikipedia says that at one point it was about 524. Is there any place to find detailed, current information on the number of editors/accounts and the distribution of edits among them? IE, how many total accounts, how many accounts that make more than one edit a month or week, etc. AzureFury (talk | contribs) 05:37, 26 November 2009 (UTC)

Have a look at Special:Statistics for a couple of metrics. — This, that, and the other (talk) 09:45, 26 November 2009 (UTC)
Awesome! Thanks. AzureFury (talk | contribs) 11:01, 26 November 2009 (UTC)

Vandalism/content dispute with an IP user[edit]

Hello! I have cleaned up Dmitri Bulykin (a footballer) page (moving quotes to WikiQuotes etc) and later came across an IP user who reverted my edits without any proper explanation, just calling them "deletions". I gave them a couple of warnings but failed to stop these reverts. Now, assuming that IP user thinks he's not vandalizing a page but rather participating in a content dispute, I request an uninvolved user to take a look at article's history[5] and comment. Thank you.  Barocci  12:58, 26 November 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for coming here to ask for input. Your edit is a good one. I suggest first that you stop reverting. There's no deadline, and making the article arguably better now rather than tomorrow is not worth adding any back-and-forth reverts to the article's history. This is a content dispute, and that's why the talk page is there.

The first time you're reverted, it's a very good idea to go to the talk page and state the case for your edit. If they don't reply there, revert, notify, and wait. If they revert again, don't revert them until you get outside input. We're not in a hurry, and what that IP is doing is not close to vandalism. "Vandalism" means intentionally making the Wikipedia worse, by one's own standards. That IP is trying to make it better. -GTBacchus(talk) 17:47, 26 November 2009 (UTC)

Rotten Tomatoes?[edit]

Why is Rotten Tomatoes cited on nearly every movie page on Wikipedia? I can't find any policy on this, and WP:Films doesn't have much about this, either. I understand Rotten Tomatoes are a for-profit part of IGN Entertainment. Thanks! FFLaguna (talk) 10:11, 26 November 2009 (UTC)

No great mystery there; it gives a good overview of the critical reception of films.  Skomorokh, barbarian  10:14, 26 November 2009 (UTC)
I was hoping so. I found it interesting that it was on so many pages, however, without any seeming consensus. There was a small discussion a while back about it at Talk:Rotten_Tomatoes#Why_is_rotten_tomatoes_always_cited.3F.21 that I found before posting this VP post. FFLaguna (talk) 10:20, 26 November 2009 (UTC)
The use of particular sources is not something that gets centrally-planned; such trends are simply distributed individual decisions coalesced. There are discussions and consensus over having links to such sites by default in infoboxes, or as external links templates, but nothing that I've seen about use as sources.  Skomorokh, barbarian  10:33, 26 November 2009 (UTC)
Smart mob strikes again! ;-) . Wikipedia is still as self-organizing as ever. :-) --Kim Bruning (talk) 12:44, 26 November 2009 (UTC) Quick quiz: Identify all the successful wikipedia systems that utilize smart mobs. Now identify systems where no mobbing occurs?
Digging deeper... it might be a good idea to (double)check exactly who has been adding the rotten tomatoes links. --Kim Bruning (talk) 12:46, 26 November 2009 (UTC)
Looking an an unscientifically selected random sample of a dozen or so articles that link to Rotten Tomatoes I see that they just have external links to the site, without any actual discussion of the reviews in the articles. I think that such links should be discouraged. If Rotten Tomatoes is used as a source for article content, such as a respected critic's opinion of a film, then it's fine to cite the site, but I can't see any justification for having an external link when it is not used as a source. Phil Bridger (talk) 20:15, 26 November 2009 (UTC)
The template {{rotten-tomatoes}} should not be used in any citations - {{cite web}} should be used instead for that - it is purely for EL sections.
All of the templates in Category:External link templates (and its many subcategories) are disliked by various individual editors. See point #2 at that category page, for why we continue to link them ("[...] covering the subject in greater detail than Wikipedia does (e.g. IMDb)").
The templates should only be added when they really do provide additional information though, not automatically for every film article. -- Quiddity (talk) 20:50, 26 November 2009 (UTC)
It's use is explained at Wikipedia:WikiProject Films/Style guidelines#External links.
Most of the reviews it links to are 'for-profit', as is imdb, amg, tcmg, metacritic, etc, so that is a non-issue.
Search google scholar for more info on its method and impact.
Discuss with Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Films, if you feel the urge for more. -- Quiddity (talk) 20:50, 26 November 2009 (UTC)

Ideally the review of a movie should be described and atributed in the article rather than simply placed as external link, right, but I don't see a problem in linking such reviews as external links in articles at their starting level of development. MBelgrano (talk) 14:19, 27 November 2009 (UTC)

Treat newbies differently?[edit]

Wikimedia Foundation counts only people who make five edits or more as an editor

Really? What should we call those who are not yet editors? Suomi Finland 2009 (talk) 16:57, 27 November 2009 (UTC)

“People who are invited to help make Wikipedia's content better by contributing about things that they know about.” Simple! Donal Fellows (talk) 17:38, 27 November 2009 (UTC)

DYK fixation with Louisiana?[edit]

I find it curious that almost every DYK has some obscure factoid about Louisiana. Is there someone who is pushing these articles for inclusion in the DYK section, or has Wikipedia taken on the state's trivia as a special project? —Preceding unsigned comment added by JascalX (talkcontribs) 17:18, 27 November 2009 (UTC)

There is one user who writes many articles related to Louisiana. If more people were like him, except for a different subject, Wikipedia would have 50 million articles, not 3. Let's not be too critical about our contributors.Suomi Finland 2009 (talk) 19:22, 27 November 2009 (UTC)

Comments sought on community de-adminship[edit]

Comments from all interested editors are invited and welcome at Wikipedia talk:Community de-adminship/Draft RfC, where a proposal for community de-adminship is being discussed. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:59, 27 November 2009 (UTC)

RfC on WP:RS[edit]

Wikipedia_talk:Reliable_sources#RfC_on_page_move. Should Wikipedia:Reliable sources be moved to Wikipedia:Verifiability/reliable sources to become a subpage of the sourcing policy, WP:V? There would be no change in either page's status: the policy would remain policy, and RS would retain its status as a guideline. 23:43, 27 November 2009 (UTC)

Retrieving the today's featured article's name[edit]

Does anyone know how to retrieve the current today's featured article's name, I mean, automatically ? Is there some template returning it ? Cenarium (talk) 01:34, 28 November 2009 (UTC)


Hello, I just had a little quarry for your orginization.

Wikipedia has a fundraiser going on to raise seven and a half million dollars, and after reading the FAQ's it left me a little bewildered because of conflicting points made in the question and answers section. It says that Wikipedia and it sister projects are a charity and yet, the first question and answer [Where does the money go?] one of the answers was to the people working and helping Wikipedia be up and running they are being paid. And, in a charity, the employee's do not get paid. Or at least that is what the definition states it being.

My question; So, what is Wikipedia? Because saying it's a charity is the incorrect use. I could be reading it wrong though. And if I am, then I do apologize.

--Turnoquiet (talk) 03:53, 28 November 2009 (UTC)

Actually, most large non-profit organizations have paid staff members. Wikimedia needs to have professionals to run the backend, staff the office, etc. Tony Fox (arf!) 04:23, 28 November 2009 (UTC)
This may be helpful reading. - Jarry1250 [Humorous? Discuss.] 11:16, 28 November 2009 (UTC)

Red links as a reason for banning users[edit]

David Beals (talk · contribs) has built a bunch of UW warning templates to warn-off editors who include redlinks into their edits, see the TfD discussion where they are being considered for deletion. Wikipedia:Templates for discussion/Log/2009 November 27

I don't remember seeing a policy that says users who add redlinks should be banned.

Can someone point me to the policy page that says users should not add redlinks? (talk) 07:50, 28 November 2009 (UTC)

The relevant policy is Wikipedia:Red link. Some red links are useful, others aren't. I'd be surprised to see a block just over red linking. Fences&Windows 19:20, 28 November 2009 (UTC)

interpret this for me please I believe it may be[edit]

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit, sed diam nonummy nibh euismod tincidunt ut laoreet dolore magna aliquam erat volutpat. Ut wisi enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exerci tation ullamcorper suscipit lobortis nisl ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis autem vel eum iriure dolor in hendrerit in vulputate velit esse molestie consequat, vel illum dolore eu feugiat nulla facilisis at vero eros et accumsan et iusto odio dignissim qui blandit praesent luptatum zzril delenit augue duis dolore te feugait nulla facilisi. Vero eros et accumsan et iusto odio dignissim qui blandit praesent luptatum zzril delenit augue duis dolore te feugait nulla facilisi.

Ut wisi enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exerci tation ullamcorper suscipit lobortis nisl ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis autem vel eum iriure dolor in hendrerit in vulputate velit esse molestie consequat, vel illum dolore eu feugiat nulla facilisis at vero eros et accumsan et iusto odio dignissim qui blandit praesent luptatum zzril delenit augue duis dolore te feugait nulla facilisi. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit, sed diam nonummy nibh euismod tincidunt ut laoreet dolore magna aliquam erat volutpat.

Duis autem vel eum iriure dolor in hendrerit in vulputate velit esse molestie consequat, vel illum dolore eu feugiat nulla facilisis at vero eros et accumsan et iusto odio dignissim qui blandit praesent luptatum zzril delenit augue duis dolore te feugait nulla facilisi.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit, sed diam nonummy nibh euismod tincidunt ut laoreet dolore magna aliquam erat volutpat. Ut wisi enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exerci tation ullamcorper suscipit lobortis nisl ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:01, 28 November 2009 (UTC)

Lorem ipsum. Offliner (talk) 16:19, 28 November 2009 (UTC)

Charts for city/areas[edit]

Worldenc (talk · contribs) has created thousands of charts that they added to thousands of articles, only to have their work rolledback in a massive rollback by Hu12 (talk · contribs). I've started a thread here since it primarily deals with articles within the scope of WP:CITIES, but I also wanted to leave a note at the village pump to get more input. If anyone could take a look, and maybe comment, that'd be great. Killiondude (talk) 20:58, 28 November 2009 (UTC)

This is a returning spammer(Current discussion) from a previous spam case. Also see *previous Commons spam case. Commons discussion can be found on Commons:Administrators' noticeboard.--Hu12 (talk) 21:11, 28 November 2009 (UTC)

Arbitration Committee Elections: voting now open[edit]

Voting is now open in the December 2009 elections to elect new members to the Arbitration Committee. In accordance with the recent Request for Comment on the election process, voting will be done by secret ballot using the SecurePoll extension. Voting will close on 14 December 2009 at 23:59 UTC.

In order to be eligible to vote, an account must have at least 150 mainspace edits on or before 1 November 2009 (check your account). Blocked editors may not vote, and voting with multiple accounts or bot accounts is expressly forbidden. Note that due to technical restrictions, editors who have made more than 150 mainspace edits on or before 1 November 2009 but no longer have access to the account(s) used will not be able to vote. If you have any questions about this, please ask.

For each candidate, voters may choose to Support or Oppose the candidacy, or to remain Neutral (this option has no effect on the outcome). Voting should be done in a single sitting. After your entire vote has been accepted, you may make changes at any time before the close of voting. However, a fresh default ballot page will be displayed and you will need to complete the process again from scratch (for this reason, you are welcome to keep a private record of your vote). Your new ballot page will erase the previous one. You may verify the time of acceptance of your votes at the real-time voting log. Although this election will use secret ballots, and only votes submitted in this way will be counted, you may leave brief comments on the candidates' comment pages and discuss candidates at length on the attached talkpages. For live discussion, join #wikipedia-en-ace on Freenode.

To cast your vote, please proceed here.

For the coordinators,  Skomorokh  00:01, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

Dynesepp & critical theory[edit]

User:Dynesepp, who was blocked for sock puppetry, made a zillion edits to add references to "critical theory" to various articles. One was reverted as vandalism (which it isn't), but probably someone should look at the whole corpus and see if additional action is needed.

Apologies if this is not the right place to post this, please let me now on my talk page if I should have done something different. I considered RFC, that seemed too big a production than I was ready for. Matchups 03:48, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

how much of the money donated goes to the salaries of the employees of wikimedia?[edit]

I looked at the information of the past few years' financials but I'm no tax attorney. I was wondering if someone could give me a breakdown of the costs of operation (technology, advertising, etc.,) vs the salaries of the employees. I'm not interested in debates of whether salary is a cost of operation, just want to know what's being spent on people vs. things. It's sort of similar in my mind to overhead of charities. If this is in the wrong section please feel free to move it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:09, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

According to the 2009-10 plan for expenditure:
All amounts in USD, in thousands.
Salaries and wages....$2,156
Travel expenditure.....$857
All else........................$6,073
Hope this helps SpitfireTally-ho! 21:23, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
I'm not sure if this is what you're looking for, but an interesting write-up here:[6] - Wikidemon (talk) 23:04, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
Remember that the things would be of little use without the people, many of whom work directly on deliverables. It is hard to argue that, for example, the salary the CTO/chief developer is "overhead". Things like volunteer coordination are also worthwhile, even if they do not lead directly to articles. (As an aside, I know Wikimedia can be appropriately stingy with its funds - I found Bastique in the same six-to-a-room youth hostel I picked for myself at the NYC Wiki-Conference. ;-). GreenReaper (talk) 18:34, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

Any guidelines for school projects aimed at contribution to wikipedia?[edit]

I stumbled upon a school project where a bunch of people (re)write wikipedia articles (and it seems they are doing a good job, too). I gave some off-the-head advice immediately related to the issues I noticed. However it occurs to me that it must be not the first case. Is there a wikipedia guideline targeting such school "microWikiProjects"? If not, I'd suggest to write one. - Altenmann >t 17:47, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

There are a couple of existing pages related to class project-type activities at Wikipedia:School and_university projects and Wikipedia:WikiProject Classroom coordination. -- PiperNigrum (hail|scan) 20:42, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

Nobody watching Pure Land Buddhism?[edit]

It would seem fantastic that Amidism, the #1 synonym of Pure Land Buddhism in English, could be scrubbed from the article with all its sources and nobody noticed for six months, and yet, and yet... I have tried to restore it, but I think some regulars keeping an eye on Pure Land Buddhism would be useful. (talk) 19:44, 27 November 2009 (UTC)

I don't know what the number was on Nov 27, but according to this, there are 48 watchers. As always, if you want something done on WP - do it yourself. So add it to your watchlist. Matt Deres (talk) 11:31, 4 December 2009 (UTC)

Sneaky vandalism[edit]

Most likely, this issue was discussed more than once, but I'd like to get to know how to deal with vandal edits such as this one. When I'm engaged in massive vandalism reversion, I usually miss disputable edits, and other productive rollbackers probably too. Sometimes (now I don't remember specific instances) I used to notice several hard-to-detect disruptive edits which remained in the entries for weeks. So, do we have any effective ways to prevent this harm?--Microcell (talk) 17:21, 5 December 2009 (UTC)

Yeh, Huggle. If people didn't treat RCP like a race, and instead took the time to look at edits such as you did with that example, then this wouldn't be a problem. In my opinion ^^. Maybe something to that effect should be added to Wikipedia:Huggle/Message? Kind regards, SpitfireTally-ho! 17:45, 5 December 2009 (UTC)
Well, I'm not very familiar with Huggle (soon will try to use it a bit more), but every minute we have nearly hundred anonymous edits and many of them need to be checked. To do this we need to adjust essentially their watching, I think. Although in Wikipedia there are thousands of users, it doesn't guarantee that any crafty "user" won't do something disruptive and unnoticed.--Microcell (talk) 18:24, 5 December 2009 (UTC)

How do you know the edit was vandalism? You might have rolled back a perfectly sincere attempt to improve the article. At least you should have used "undo" rather than "rollback", so you could have left a proper edit summary. The message you left at the user's talk page is too aggressive for an unproven first offense, anyway. Use {{uw-vandal1}} where there is any possibility that the edit may be in good faith, even if erroneous. Please stop using rollback until you have learned more about editing here. - Pointillist (talk) 18:12, 5 December 2009 (UTC)

"Roy Phillips was born on the fifth of May 1943" — Although I agree that the warning was far too agressive, SpitfireTally-ho! 18:22, 5 December 2009 (UTC)
Yes, I also took a look at his site and earlier versions of the page and I didn't find any sources confirming he was born in 1941. I know about the levels of warnings, but then I was really annoyed by that editor, in particular it caused creation of this topic. Perhaps you have a point about the first level but such vandalism can create real menace for Wikipedia. Thanks anyway, in future I'll be more careful--Microcell (talk) 18:24, 5 December 2009 (UTC)
Yes, but the editor might have genuinely believed that he was born in 1943, albeit unlikely, given their other edits. However, there's no harm to be had in assuming good faith. Kind regards, SpitfireTally-ho! 18:29, 5 December 2009 (UTC)
I'll comment on your talk page, Microcell. - Pointillist (talk) 18:48, 5 December 2009 (UTC)

I don't understand what "annoyed" you about that editor. The birth year 1941 was used on the article for 14 months until July 2008, and then it was changed to 1943. That editor hasn't done bad things elsewhere. - Pointillist (talk) 18:50, 5 December 2009 (UTC)

How? It was added in May 2008 and so was used for 2 months until it was changed in accordance with the official site.--Microcell (talk) 18:57, 5 December 2009 (UTC)
By the way, the anonymous user who added that info in May 2008 has an IP belonging to the same provider as that one who's added it today ( (talk) 18:59, 5 December 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for replying. Sorry about 14 months: I was wrong about that. Your IP address research is not objectively a strong argument ( – = 983,040 IP addresses, which is 5.4% of all UK households with broadband access). I agree the patterns of edits by those two IPs do match slightly, but the May 2008 edits by aren't obvious vandalism anyway. For example, the middle names of Roy Phillips (musician) and Mike d'Abo, which were added in May 2008 by that IP address, are still recorded in the current articles today. Most of the articles have no references, except sometimes the websites of the artistes who don't have any incentive to say how old they are. I think we need to turn sloppy good faith editors into great editors rather than embittered enemies. This means that our anti-vandalism efforts need to reward good faith effort, even if it is badly executed, while deterring bad faith contributions. It isn't easy, but it is better to assume good faith where you can, because really bad people will do more vandalism whatever you say, but some of the others will draw back and turn into good editors if we treat them professionally. - Pointillist (talk) 23:41, 5 December 2009 (UTC)

Watchlist churn[edit]

Back when I had 1,138 pages on my watchlist, I collated these stats:

       All users   Exclude me
 1 day  27  2.4%    20  1.7%
 7 day 153 13.4%   111  9.7%
28 day 457 40.1%   352 30.9%

because I'd noticed that I was fairly reliably getting about 3% of my watchlist turning up, day in, day out. This is everything on, bots, minors, the lot. I wanted to ask: what about you, is your watchlist getting ~3%/day activity? If not, why are you different to me? Josh Parris 10:44, 4 December 2009 (UTC)

I have a lot less than 3% (about 0.9%) and it's a damn good thing because as of this writing I have 14,141 pages watchlisted. The reason I have a far lower percentage than you is that of that quite large number of wathlisted pages, thousands are made up of pages I've deleted, redirects I've created moving pages, and other pages that are only infrequently going to have activity.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 18:33, 5 December 2009 (UTC)
Ditto. And it's far, far less when I watchlist things like ANI or the recent ARBCOM hullabaloo. Through the World Cup drawings and an RFC in there and my watchlist is pretty useless. ~ Amory (utc) 20:50, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

How to tell how many hits a website gets?[edit]

I should know the answer to this, but don't, so I'm hoping someone can help. I'm working on the bio of David Icke, where a reliable source says his website gets 600,000 hits a week, which sounds a lot, and I wonder if there has been a mistake. What is the best way to check how many hits a particular website gets? I have found this, but it apparently gives only U.S. stats. SlimVirgin 12:47, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

Alas -- since the very first days, there has been no accurate measure. AOL used to cache pages -- so a million hits from AOL might have been only viewed as 1 hit, and other sites use "auto-refresh" to increase their hits (a person looking for a hour on a site might be counted up to a dozen times or more). All one can do is report that a particular source makes a claim as to hits (vide Alexa) etc. Collect (talk) 12:52, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
Okay, thank you, that's good to know. SlimVirgin 14:59, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
Say you count visitors using a unique cookie for each computer. But some computers have cookies turned off. So, if your counter is sophisticated enough, it throws them out of the tally. If it's not, it keeps counting them as a new visitor each time they visit the site. Say you track them using IP addresses. But some of your visitors have dynamic IPs. Their IP changes each time they open the site, and they look like a new user.--Drknkn (talk) 15:03, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
I see. So it's basically impossible to have a reliable idea? Looking at Alexa, I don't think I can even work out what it means. [7] Can you see how to get the actual monthly figures (the hits)? SlimVirgin 15:04, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

So difficult to report 3RR[edit]

I found a vandal who has been aggressively adding a libellous BLP statement to an article on a high school. In the process of trying to figure out how to get an admin's attention (the user had been blocked previously), I was shown an automated message accusing me of being in an edit war -- which is true, except I believed myself to be exempt from 3RR because I was reverting clearly libellous BLP matter. Of course, that made me throw up my hands and give up. The BLP violation is surely back up again now, but hey, I tried and failed. There should be an easier way to just get an admin's attention -- any admin -- when a user's behavior is so obviously in violation. -PorkHeart (talk) 06:07, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

You could (/have) tried Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Edit warring or Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons/Noticeboard. Generally these things do take a while to get processed, but its probably the best way to get attention drawn to the page. Kind regards, SpitfireTally-ho! 12:19, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
Why didn't you give the high scool article in question name here? - Altenmann >t 17:42, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
Yes, please provide the link to the school article here. Remember that with enough effort, it can be discovered in your contributions list. --DThomsen8 (talk) 03:40, 5 December 2009 (UTC)
The article is easily found in PorkHeart's contribution and his BLP reversions were correct. PorkHeart: WP:AIV would be another place to report vandals behaving in this manner, where intervention would probably be most rapid. Christopher Parham (talk) 04:14, 5 December 2009 (UTC)
To support the last point: any time you're dealing with an editor who has been blocked for vandalism, BLP violations, etc., a good place to report another violation is WP:AIV. The admin response there is very quick - typically a couple of minutes. (If for some reason they don't want to handle a BLP problem, you could also post at WP:BLPN.) What you don't want to do is just revert the editor - that's only a short-term fix to the problem. Get the editor blocked again. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 18:08, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

XfD logs[edit]

While working on a unified {{xfdl}} in the sandbox, I noticed some discrepancies in the nameing scheme used to store the deletion logs.

XfD Log name
Articles for deletion Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/{article name}
Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Log/2009 December 1#{section header} (index)
Miscellany for deletion Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/{page name}
Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Archived debates/December 2009 (index/summary)
Categories for discussion Wikipedia:Categories for deletion/{cat name} (pre April 2006)
Wikipedia:Categories for deletion/Log/2009 December 1#{section header} (April 2006 – December 2006)
Wikipedia:Categories for discussion/Log/2009 December 1#{section header} (current)
Redirects for discussion Wikipedia:Redirects for discussion/Log/2009 December 1#{section header}
Templates for discussion Wikipedia:Templates for deletion/Log/December 2004#{section header} (pre 2005)
Wikipedia:Templates for deletion/Log/Not deleted/January 2006#{section header}
Wikipedia:Templates for deletion/Log/Deleted/January 2006#{section header} (pre January 4, 2006)
Wikipedia:Templates for deletion/Log/2009 December 1#{section header} (old)
Wikipedia:Templates for discussion/Log/2009 December 1#{section header} (current)
Deletion review Wikipedia:Deletion review/Log/2009 December 1#{section header}
Stub types for deletion Wikipedia:Stub types for deletion/Log/2009/December/1#{section header}
Files for deletion Wikipedia:Files for deletion/2009 December 1#{section header}
User categories for discussion Wikipedia:User categories for discussion/Archive/2009 December#{section header} (old)
Wikipedia:Categories for discussion/User/Archive/2009 December#{section header} (current)
  • AfD index log added
  • Refine past CfD naming schemes

Notice that SfD uses a different date format from the other, FfD does not use /Log, and User categories use /Archive instead of /Log and only includes the year and month, while the others use year, month, and day. I'm proposing that we have some consistency with the log names for CfD, RfD, TfD, DRV, SfD, FfD, and UCfD. —Farix (t | c) 12:38, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

A note about archived UCfD discussions: all pages of the type "Wikipedia:User categories for discussion/Archive/YEAR MONTH" are redirects to pages of the type "Wikipedia:Categories for discussion/User/Archive/YEAR MONTH". Also, UCfD was merged back into CfD in April 2009, so starting from May 2009 UCfD discussions no longer have their unique log or archive pages and instead can be found in the standard CfD logs. Cheers, –BLACK FALCON (TALK) 16:52, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
That slightly simplifies things. Though there still need for a consistent naming scheme. —Farix (t | c) 18:22, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
I think I'll be bold and create redirects for the CfDs from April 2006 – December 2006 if they don't already exist. —Farix (t | c) 18:28, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
Seems someone has already beaten me. —Farix (t | c) 18:33, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

I think that all XfDs should be in the format of "Wikipedia:XXX for deletion/{page name}", so that watchlisting is useful for individual discussions. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 21:03, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

It would make keeping track of TfDs, CfDs, and FfDs on deletion sorting pages much easier. —Farix (t | c) 23:14, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

It might make keeping track of them slightly easier, but it would make archiving some of them much harder. There are good reasons why different XfD pages use different archiving systems. The system you suggest as a uniform one works perfectly for AfD, where there are 100+ nominations per day - it would work very badly on the likes of SfD where there are two or three nominations per week and where archives are stored as month-long pages (e.g., Wikipedia:Stub types for deletion/Log/2009/October). It is rare that an SfD day-page has more than one nomination, and several of the other process pages only have a handful of items per day (e.g., TfD). It's far easier for the maintenance of those pages to have them archived with daily transclusions rather than a by-case basis. Grutness...wha? 23:41, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

MfD is the exception to the general rule; even though it only gets a few nominations per day, each page has its own MfD subpage. As a kind of hybrid, we do have Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Archived debates, done by month. (I've added that to your table). @harej 23:48, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

This choice to prioritise convenience for the current method of maintenance ahead of functionality for the users is inward looking and sad. If archiving backwater XfDs would be difficult (I really don't understand why), then merge them into MfD. Why have a separate XfD if traffic is slow so low? --SmokeyJoe (talk) 04:40, 5 December 2009 (UTC)

Because they have different reasons for deletion, because they aren't always low -some months have very large numbers, because there is a regular group of editors who monitor such pages, and because the method off dealing with the results of the nomination is different. As to it being "sad", the prioritising of a substantial amount less work for archivers ahead of a slight amount more work for those same archivers and problems one or two other users is not sad, it's practical. Very few editors are likely to be working behind the scenes in such a way as to make this a concern for them - unless you think that a large number of editors are likely to be working on such things as creating a unified {{xfdl}}. Grutness...wha? 22:43, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
As someone who does regularly archive discussions, I agree that having consistency across XfDs is better. I have had this discussion with others before, but I still do not understand why the amount of traffic matters when it comes to the way discussions are logged. What is the difference for archiving whether the discussion is actually on a log page, or transluded from its own page? Grutness made a comment that "on the likes of SfD...where archives are stored as month-long pages", but each day there is a SfD, an individual page is created for it, so even if the way is changed, the "monthly overviews" can still exist. This could even make it easier, as the discussions could be transluded directly on the monthly pages, eliminating the need for individual day pages. Grutness also stated that they have different ways of deletion, because they have different ways of dealing with the results. Why? This should also be consistent across all XfDs. IMO, the difference between all XfDs should only be the name. MrKIA11 (talk) 21:46, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
Why? For the same reason that IFD/FFD has different reasons and methods of deletion from CFD, and CFD has different methods and reasons than AFD, and all three have different reasons from TFD. That's one of the reasons SFD was split out as a separate page from both CFD and TFD. If there were identical reasons, protocols and methods across all xFD pages, we'd only need one such process page - combine CFD, TFD, SFD, FFD, MFD, RFD and AFD together into WP:Pages for discussion. But that would simply be an unworkable mess. And it would be unworkable because each type of page requires different treatment when its deletion has been proposed. BTW, I too regularly do archiving, hence my comments above - the different forms of archiving make far more sense to me as an archiver than trying to shoehorn the different types of archive into some form of lowest-common-denominator consistency which is adequate for all process pages but optimal for none. Grutness...wha? 22:23, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

New Happy Holidays template[edit]

I created a Happy Holiday Template.

{{User:Zink Dawg/Happy Holidays}}

Copy and past it to your user page.--Zink Dawg -- 00:21, 4 December 2009 (UTC)

What it makes

Happy New Year
"Bah, Humbug!" :) --A Knight Who Says Ni (talk) 04:35, 4 December 2009 (UTC)
Where's the Festivus pole?--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 18:36, 5 December 2009 (UTC)
I'll go ahead and play the role of Scrooge and point out that there's no encyclopedic value in the template. Userfied to {{User:Zink Dawg/Happy Holidays}}. EVula // talk // // 22:43, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

Category Loop[edit]

Category:LGBT is under Category:Same-sex_sexuality which is under Category:LGBT. Can anyone fix the illogical category relation? --Quest for Truth (talk) 02:00, 5 December 2009 (UTC)

I made Category:Same-sex sexuality a sub-category of Category:LGBT. I think that makes the most sense, though I'm almost certain someone will disagree with that assessment. :) EVula // talk // // 03:56, 10 December 2009 (UTC)

Someone to look after Wikipedia:Article Collaboration and Improvement Drive...[edit]

Hi all, I think the Article Collaboration and Improvement Drive can still serve a useful purpose in improving core/encyclopedic articles which will be too big for a single editor to tackle. However. it has had a very stop/start existence. I did try and give it a kick start earlier in the year but I have been sidetracked on other endeavours. I think this approach exemplifies the idea of collaborative editing and hopefully boosts camaraderie. I also see this as a good way of balancing bias of Good and Featured content, much of which is concentrated in a few wikiprojects (eg. Birds, Mil-history). I am not suggesting an official coordinator as such, but at least a few editors prepared to do the housekeeping. Or shall we just let it lapse for the time being? Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 03:38, 8 December 2009 (UTC)

I'll endorse it, I have the time to become an coordinator if interested. But we need to get users back active with it. Secret account 22:11, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
Great! Thanks for getting stuck into the housekeeping. I think a participants list (and a signpost discussion) might be a good idea. Casliber (talk · contribs) 02:57, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

Arbitration Committee Elections reminder: last week of voting[edit]

This is a short note to remind all interested editors that the December 2009 elections to elect new members to the Arbitration Committee is still open for voting. The voting period opened on 1 December and will close on 14 December 2009 (next Monday) at 23:59 UTC.

The voting this year is by secret ballot using the SecurePoll extension. All unblocked editors who had at least 150 mainspace edits on or before 1 November 2009 are eligible to vote (check your account). A list of votes is kept at the real-time voting log, and a separate list of voters is maintained on an on-wiki log. If you have any questions or difficulties with the voting setup, please ask at the election talkpage.

There are twenty-candidates standing in the election, from whom nine arbitrators are expected to be chosen. Prospective voters are invited to review the candidate statements and the candidates' individual questions pages. Although voting is by secret ballots, and only votes submitted in this way will be counted, you are invited to leave brief comments on the candidates' comment pages and discuss candidates at length on the attached talkpages. For live discussion, join #wikipedia-en-ace on freenode.

Follow this link to cast your vote

For the coordinators,  Skomorokh  08:57, 8 December 2009 (UTC)

Animal, mineral, vegetable[edit]

Can someone point me in the right direction of the humour page that said that actually despite common belief, admins were not human but that in tthe title as well as food, drink and other sorts? Simply south (talk) 19:04, 8 December 2009 (UTC)

You're probably looking for User:Radiant!/Classification of admins. {{Nihiltres|talk|edits}} 02:42, 9 December 2009 (UTC)


See this discussion if you have any opinion on the "smiley" template. Thanks! Plastikspork ―Œ(talk) 00:26, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

Please help brainstorm projects to study scale-up of educational projects[edit]

The Wikimedia Foundation could really use descriptions of projects "that study scale-up of STEM education innovations" involved with Wikimedia projects, with durations up to five years. So, if you had up to five million US dollars, and you could spend it on that, please answer the following using less than 15 printed pages of text (less is better; less is far, far better!)

  1. Goals and purpose:
    1. What parts of science, technology, engineering, or math education (STEM) could be improved by Wikimedia projects? Please hypothesize.
    2. Why should we study that? (Hint: to learn whether and how they actually do)
  2. Research and Development Design: begin with a hypothesis about how some aspect of STEM education education can be improved. Then write a plan for developing an innovative resource, model, or technology and studying the innovation's impact on STEM learning and teaching. Does your plan involve...
    1. ...Development and Study of New Resources, Models, and Technologies? If so, or for any of the other items below, follow the specific instructions here;
    2. ...Studies of Existing Resources, Models, and/or Technologies? (e.g., documenting the development of a Wikimedia project);
      Proposals to conduct studies of existing innovative resources, models, or technologies must provide a rationale for why the particular innovation was selected for study. Such studies are not limited to resources, models and technologies developed with NSF funding. Evidence should be presented that previous efficacy studies have shown a positive impact on teacher or student learning, preferably with a discussion of how different sub-groups are affected by the resources, models or technologies. The proposal should explain how the findings of the research will contribute to the improvement of the design and implementation of resources, models, or technologies and result in better preK-12 STEM education for students and/or teachers. Well-designed studies comparing different approaches are welcome.
    3. ...Synthesis? Identify areas of importance to education research, evaluation or practice; identify areas where the knowledge base is sufficiently robust to support strong scientific claims; and propose rigorous methods for meta-analysis and/or synthesis of findings, drawing conclusions from a range of relevant literatures, explicitly specifying which literature you are including and excluding; and/or
    4. ...Exploration? Include a research and/or development design appropriate to the questions and knowledge goals to be explored, justifying how the proposed design will yield information useful in assessing the reasonableness of the ideas and the feasibility of future projects.
  3. Evaluation
    1. How will you make sure your research is of the highest quality? For example, will you submit it to a peer-reviewed scientific publication when it is complete? If so, which?
    2. Are your evaluation questions your hypothesis, related hypotheses, and a description of the designs and methods to be used, the data to be gathered, and the data analysis plans? Is this part highly redundant with "Research and Development Design" and thus easy to do right? Why yes, it is! Just rephrase with the goal of helping anyone who didn't understand the first way you put it to understand better.
  4. Dissemination
    1. You said you were going to try to get published in the peer-reviewed literature, right? What if they reject it? Will you still put it on the web for everyone to see? Even if you couldn't prove your hypothesis?
    2. Which education policy makers, officials, and authorities will you tell your research about?
  5. Expertise
    1. Is there any organization on the entire planet more qualified to study scale-up of STEM education innovations?
    2. Include a copy of your c.v. or resume if you want to do the work yourself. If you want the Foundation to do it, leave this part blank.
  6. Results from prior NSF support: Have you worked with the NSF before? If so, when, what did you do? Be sure to include the title and identification numbers of that work if appropriate.

Thanks! This is due in only a few weeks.

My initial impulse is simply to propose spending $5,000,000 to document existing Foundation practice for each of the major projects, with the understanding that studying the practice is likely to affect it, so we should spend as much as possible to make sure that the interaction is as successful as possible, because of the Foundation's track record of success in these areas. (talk) 19:39, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

Articles listing exonyms[edit]

An exonym is a name for a geographical place not used in that place, such as 'Germany', as the Germans would say 'Deutschland'. We have a lot of articles at Category:Exonyms that list exonyms in various languages. This is the kind of thing you might find in the appendix to a dictionary. There have been quite a few deletion nominations of these articles over the years,[8] but there is no consistency in how they are dealt with. Some are deleted: Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Hebrew exonyms, and some are kept: Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Arabic exonyms. There was no consensus the last time this was discussed in general: Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/List of European exonyms. This is among the most indiscriminate: List of Czech exonyms for places in the Polish part of Cieszyn Silesia. There's various other similar lists, such as Names of European cities in different languages and its subpages, and several at Category:Toponymy. Do we want articles that list translations of words and names in various languages? Wikipedia isn't a usage guide, a dictionary, or a directory, so this material doesn't seem to me to be a good fit. Fences&Windows 00:32, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

I don't think they should exist. The exonyms of various places should be in the articles about that specific place. Otherwise they should be on Wiktionary or if there were such a thing, WikiAtlas (actually, that might be a worthwhile project for Wikimedia Foundation) or on a WikiBooks book. (talk) 12:21, 4 December 2009 (UTC)
I strongly support articles on exonyms, as seen from both sides, but lists of the exonyms that are used by a culture don't seem very encyclopedic to me. That would be akin to List of Italian verbs. Hans Adler 11:10, 10 December 2009 (UTC)

Days of the year RSS feed[edit]

How can I get an RSS feed for the individual 'Days of the year'? I have been looking for a good online almanac. Your format is ideal:

  * 1 Events
  * 2 Births
  * 3 Deaths
  * 4 Holidays and observances
  * 5 External links

¡Gracias! GBH

You can set up an RSS feed for any page by clicking the "history" tab and using the "RSS" toolbox link (on the left) to subscribe. (Why this isn't in the toolbox for the article page itself is unclear; maybe to avoid clutter.) -- John Broughton (♫♫) 18:14, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for the tip. What I want is an RSS feed (or email or facebook) of the contents of the December 9 page today and December 10 page tomorrow etc. without making a link 366 times. The wiki-sync thingies would be perfect, but there's only a few and none for this. The Days of the year on Wikipedia are about the best almanac type data I have if I could only get it in an almanac form without either logging on every day or making a link to each day's individual page. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Genesee.gbh (talkcontribs) 03:10, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
Interesting. The only similar thing I know of is the picture of the day at Commons, which has the option of being emailed to you if you want. I think a similar service for Wikipedia Day-of-the-Year could be set up fairly easily. You might want to post at WP:VPPR, making a proposal that someone set this up. Personally, I think it would be a good way to publicize Wikipedia, and there could even be an occasional internal "advert", like "Did you know that anyone can edit Wikipedia?". -- John Broughton (♫♫) 19:58, 10 December 2009 (UTC)

New Type of Wikifauna?[edit]

I'm going on a non-stop 24-hour editing binge, and would like to think up a new type of Wikifauna to associate with someone who has done this. I know that WikiOgres go on editing binges, but I think a 24 hour binge is something special and deserves its own fauna. We could keep it related, and call it a WikiOgre Chieftain, or something new, like WikiTitan. I've already heard and discarded WikiSpeedfreak. Anyone have any other ideas? ɳoɍɑfʈ Talk! 16:38, 10 December 2009 (UTC)

WikiResident? I hope you've had some sleep by now.LadyofShalott 15:56, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
Wikiholic?—RJH (talk) 23:20, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
Argus Panoptes. Fences&Windows 23:37, 11 December 2009 (UTC)

I Am Locking the Wikipedia Article On Our Sex Life[edit]

Sillyness from McSweeney's: I Am Locking the Wikipedia Article On Our Sex Life. I'm sorry if this is the wrong place to post it, or if everybody on the whole internet already sent it to you in long, private e-mails. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Cheezycrust (talkcontribs) 08:49, 11 December 2009 (UTC)

Reminder: Comments sought on community de-adminship[edit]

Reminder: comments from all interested editors are invited and welcome at Wikipedia talk:Community de-adminship/Draft RfC, where a proposal for community de-adminship is being discussed. --Tryptofish (talk) 18:17, 11 December 2009 (UTC)

alright, alright, already! I'll go and slog through what everyone has said and drop a comment already, sheesh! Face-smile.svg
V = I * R (talk to Ω) 18:31, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
...or not...Face-smile.svg --Tryptofish (talk) 19:05, 11 December 2009 (UTC)


What on Earth is this? It sounds rather awesome. Pressumably to send a nuclear missile to ED? But seriously, does anybody know what this sysop-tool does? Jolly Ω Janner 00:05, 12 December 2009 (UTC)

mw:Nuke. Essentially a mass-delete tool built into MediaWiki. Killiondude (talk) 00:07, 12 December 2009 (UTC)
Note quite as awesome as I'd hoped... Thanks for the link. Jolly Ω Janner 00:09, 12 December 2009 (UTC)

Throwing a party to celebrate my 200,000th edit[edit]

Okay, I know Wikipedia is not a social networking site and all that, but seriously, 200,000 edits! Relax (or, better, ignore) the rules for a bit and swing by my 200,000th edit party. Cheers! bd2412 T 03:38, 12 December 2009 (UTC)

County teachers instructing students not to use Wikipedia as it is unreliable[edit]

Not sure if you are aware of this but my two children (13, 18) have been instructed not to use wikipedia as a source as it is unreliable. This is what the Montgomery County teachers in Maryland are instructing their students. I know that wikipedia is but one source to use. But to say wikipedia is totally unreliable baffles me. Their main premise is that anyone can edit material on wikipedia changing correct information to something else. I use wikipedia to learn but I verify this against another source always when I need to reference something.

My main point in writing this is if teachers are instructing their students nationwide/worldwide you will have less users in the future. Do you reach out to the educational communities to provide them confidence in your product.

Robert Bravo15:22, 6 December 2009 (UTC)~ —Preceding unsigned comment added by Beto1619 (talkcontribs)

We are aware that many teachers don't allow citations of Wikipedia, and we also advise caution about it. See Wikipedia:Citing Wikipedia and Wikipedia:Researching with Wikipedia. PrimeHunter (talk) 15:41, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
To summarise the academic consensus on Wikipedia... Cites are not normally accepted from Wikipedia for the same reason Cites are not normally accepted from Encyclopaedia Britannica. Because they are both tertiary sources, and summary edited collections of information that may have significant inaccuracy due to being edited by non-specialists, or omit details that are not important to the layperson. --Barberio (talk) 15:54, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
Barberio sums it up well. It seems fair enough to me that 13 year olds are told not to go looking for answers to their homework on Wikipedia. The problem is not that Wikipedia is unreliable, it is that it is often too reliable. It offers kids pretty good preresearched answers to questions that they are supposed to be researching and thinking about for themselves. It is a bit more worrying if 18 year olds are being told simply to shun sources like Wikipedia. At that age they should be able to distinguish between reliable and unreliable sources and make use of them all in an appropriate way. The world is full of unreliable sources. It is impossible to shun them all. Besides, even the reliable ones mess up from time to time. Having a blacklist of unreliable sources or a whitelist of reliable ones is no substitute for critical thinking. Some time between 13 and 18 kids should be making the move to thinking critically about sources. Wikipedia is actually a good way for them to learn about this stuff and see that the collation of knowledge is very much a work in progress (which is the symbolism behind the Wikipedia logo with its incomplete jigsaw globe). --DanielRigal (talk) 16:18, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
I feel that this is sometimes not precisely ideal: teachers don't necessarily promote the best practices! There's one academic, David Parry, who's posted some good points that I wish were more widely read. First, one is immediately relevant: some teachers/librarians are promoting the use of Britannica over Wikipedia as the solution (ignoring the problem of Britannica as tertiary source) and others just dismiss Wikipedia completely, which is, he argues, academically irresponsible. {{Nihiltres|talk|edits}} 19:13, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
What teachers and educators should be doing is to encourage proper research utilizing primary and secondary sources. Encourage students to start with Wikipedia or whatever and them delve deeper into the topics after searching for other books, journals. Stress that Wikipedia is not to be used as a source in a research paper; students should be using scholarly sources in their research. MuZemike 21:20, 7 December 2009 (UTC)
Wikipedia is actually as reliable as many commonly used sources. However, it is just an encyclopedia, based on other -- and hopefully -- better sources. No source is totally reliable, and students should be taught to evaluate sources. Wikipedia makes it particularly easy to do this, because you can see the discussion and the page history. This is unique in the world, and is perhaps our greatest contribution. Pupils at the age of 13 and 18 are quite old enough to be taught the basics of this, and most schools do so. Many of them,and many librarians, also teach the appropriate things for which one can use Wikipedia. Most notably, as a way to find other sources on the subject, for we usually provide at least a few easily accessible references. Certainly for this we are much more suitable than of what many people use, which is the Googles and other search engines. Additional, in selected fields, we are probably the most convenient source for facts and definitions, and are increasingly cited as such by professional scholarly papers. (The current issue of PMLA, Proceedings of the Modern Language Association, the best known academic journal in the humanities, and one of the most stringently peer-reviewed of any academic journal in the world, has two citations from us for such a purpose.) I first came here (as an academic librarian) after one of my most demanding and critical colleagues used Wikipedia for a definition in computer technology in one of his papers. Upon seeing that, I thought, maybe I've been making assumptions too readily, and it's worth at least a careful look. DGG ( talk ) 21:34, 7 December 2009 (UTC)
Out of curiosity, which 2 articles in PMLA? --Cybercobra (talk) 01:38, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
  • I wish I could find an online news article link, but at the beginning of the school year, one of the local high schools here in the Seattle area published a very fair and somewhat novel approach to using Wikipedia. Students were encouraged to start with Wikipedia for their research, making careful notes of exactly what particular info they got from Wikipedia, and then continue to more traditional scholarly sources. They were to then note where or if they found a conflict or inaccuracy with Wikipedia and the other scholarly sources. If there was a conflict, the students were then giving bonus credit if they actually edited and improved the Wikipedia entry on the subject with the correct information from the other sources. The thinking was that the student was being proactive and putting in place good information for the next student who came along to research the topic. They were doing more then just using Wikipedia but actually leaving something positive behind and along the way being introduced to critical thinking about sources. I don't know if there has been much fruit to this exercise or what articles may have been improved, but I thought that premise itself was one of the most educational and beneficial ways for a school to use Wikipedia. I was really impressed with the idea. AgneCheese/Wine 21:40, 7 December 2009 (UTC)
Thanks, Agne27, I think it would be very helpful if someone could find the source for that. Can you remember anything else about where you saw it? - Pointillist (talk) 22:01, 7 December 2009 (UTC)
It was an news story from the school's newspaper that was published back in September that I saw on Topix (website). I wish I could remember what school it was-but not having children, those are details that I tend not to pay much attention too. I tried to do a Google and Topix search before I posted here, but I came up empty. My gut tells me it was a Seattle public school (rather than a suburb of Seattle) but I can't be 100% certain. The title was something like "Faculty board approves new policy on students' use of Wikipedia". AgneCheese/Wine 22:13, 7 December 2009 (UTC)
Aarggghh... too many search results for all the combinations I tried. Many thanks anyway - Pointillist (talk) 22:24, 7 December 2009 (UTC)
(probably superceded by edit conflict) We can be totally relaxed about it. I am sure that someone out there is going even further and blocking the ip on the school network. Most 13yr just cut and paste the whole article and claim it is OR. Savvy teachers always read up the wikipedia article before they mark the kids work so they can recognise the source of the C&P- and in doing so often learn something new that will inspire a new project. Good news. Wikipedia is a massive problem for any student trying to do OR as we always top the Google list. How many times have you posted an edit, and Googled to check the reference- and just got back to your own work. You have to ask why the kid has been set the task in the first place. Is it just Busy Work (ref John Holt How Children Fail), and if not what is the purpose of it? Is it to just regurgitate facts? Reinforce by intense use of the keyboard or to learn to reference/ or to check references in a critical manner- and sure Wikipedia GA and FA are excellent examples of good practice- and some of the dross on start class articles is an example of how not to do it. In my dreams I see every teenager being set the homework of taking an unreferenced article, copy editing it, and providing it with inline Harvard references- then their edits would become subject to peer review by the entire 156,000 strong Wiki community totally eliminating the need for the teacher to do any formative marking. I have every confidence that User:Robert Bravo kids are up for it. --ClemRutter (talk) 21:57, 7 December 2009 (UTC)

Sounds like Agne47 has come across the correct way[citation needed] ;-) to use wikipedia. It's definitely how I started. :-) --Kim Bruning (talk) 02:59, 8 December 2009 (UTC)

A lot of university professors assign Wikipedia articles to students instead of papers. If you can't beat them, join them. I suppose it depends on how open a teacher or professor is to new media. Copana2002 (talk) 19:45, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
Wikipedia is a tertiary source. Editors aren't allowed to cite primary sources, so all the citations here are from secondary or tertiary sources. Further, it is permissable to add uncited content without proofreading. Published sources, on the other hand, are usually proofread by at least one other editor who is knowledgeable of the subject. So, those sources are not only more accurate, but usually much easier (and entertaining) to read. The only reason I look at any entries in Wikipedia is to check for reliable sources that I can read. In other words, I use Wikipedia as a bibliography for other, more reliable sources. One of my professors in college actually recommended Wikipedia as a source for reasearch. This upset me so much that I approached him after class and told him that I objected to his recommendation.--Drknkn (talk) 20:04, 8 December 2009 (UTC)

(responding to the original issue) By that logic students shouldn't rely on book because just about anyone could write a book. User-submitted content, reviews, blogs, personal websites, and feeds are and a major information channel and a significant force in society. Wikipedia is probably the most important of these and requires some familiarity and training to get right. That's the kind of thing schools can be teaching if they want to prepare kids for the future. I think students should nearly always consult Wikipedia, but go beyond the article to its sources, and not cite Wikipedia as a rule. That goes for newspapers as well, and press releases, and most magazines. You wouldn't write a serious article about most subjects with a Time Magazine article as a source. - Wikidemon (talk) 23:04, 8 December 2009 (UTC)

Books are reliable only when meeting certain standards - WP has no actual control over edit-to-edit status of any article, meaning that any given article may not even be worthy of WP. Further, no school I know of suggests using any encyclopedia for research on any topic at all. Collect (talk) 20:40, 12 December 2009 (UTC)
Encyclopedia should not be used as cited sources, but can be good starting points as basic bibliographies (if the encyclopedias has sources listed, as not all do) leading to further bibliographies. That said, university students of course should know how to find sources by other means, but on high school level I see no problem in the students using encyclopedias as starting points. --Saddhiyama (talk) 21:58, 12 December 2009 (UTC)

Disappearing source: Editor & Publisher[edit]

Wikipedia has over 600 links to the legendary publishing periodical Editor & Publisher, which is now ceasing publication. I suspect that the website will soon be shuttered as well. We need a massive effort to 1) preemptively archive (via WP:WebCite?) many of these articles as possible and 2) repair already dead links (via WP:WAYBACK?). The list is here. Please see Wikipedia talk:Linkrot to help coordinate. --Blargh29 (talk) 03:27, 11 December 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for the notice. I'll have WebCiteBOT take care of it. --ThaddeusB (talk) 20:22, 12 December 2009 (UTC)

Article maintained by vandals (?)[edit]

I am having trouble figuring out what to do with the article Amal Jyothi College. It is poorly referenced and regularly vandalized (by students of the college?). I've cleaned it up a couple of times, but get reverted/overwritten by vandals rather quickly. Maybe protection is called for, but I don't really know what should be protected... I haven't found many references about the institution, and don't really know what the article should actually say. Perhaps it should just be deleted? It is essentially an orphan. Anyone want to take a stab at it? — Epastore (talk) 02:23, 12 December 2009 (UTC)

It is a genuine college affiliated to a genuine University. There doesn't seem to be a lot to say about it but it meets the inclusion criteria so we can't delete it. I have slimmed it down and tidied it up. If there is IP vandalism then I will request semi-protection but I am hoping that just seeing it restructured and cleaned up will be enough let the vandals know that they are not in charge any more. It is no longer a complete orphan but I will leave the tag on as it is only linked from one other article. --DanielRigal (talk) 16:40, 12 December 2009 (UTC)
Nice work. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 17:37, 12 December 2009 (UTC)

the Google bias for Wikipedia is ridiculous[edit]

The article David Newbury, which I started less than an hour ago, is already on the second page of Google search , out of over 29,000 results. Does anyone know how Google ranks this? It's not that I don't think it shouldn't be on the first page of results, but I don't know how Google knows that. - BanyanTree 14:49, 11 December 2009 (UTC)

I think they get real-time updates per RSS or something. Hans Adler 15:00, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
This is something to blame Google on, not WP, yes? ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 15:18, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
Yes, compain to Google about that; it's not WP's fault. LadyofShalott 15:50, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
I'm not looking to put blame. But considering that half of new articles end up in a deletion process (last I heard), it's astonishing that a brand new wiki article goes right to the top of rankings. - BanyanTree 22:45, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
Yes, I know how they rank pages, but it's a secret MBelgrano (talk) 15:43, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
Yes, wonderful isn´t it? I have had no academic experience, no formal qualifications and no formal recognition as an expert. I´ve only been actively editing Wikipedia for a few days yet a English language Google search of the subject puts my sole WP article right at the top. Isn´t this what the internet was created for; information for the people, from the people without prejudice or favour? Though I´m not sure how many folks are actual searching Google in English for my chosen subject :/GrahamTM (talk) 16:50, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
Google searches are based on relevance and cross-linking, rather than quality and reliability. For the later I go searching on Google scholar.—RJH (talk) 23:17, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
The cross-linking doesn't make any sense as it was linked to one other article and my user page when I came across it on Google, and I'm assuming no external sites found it and linked in that time. It looks like there's no single really notable "David Newbury", so maybe Google was looking for some hints for relevance, but it's almost certain it was pulled straight out of the new articles log, so I'm still thinking there's some very large number weighted towards Wikipedia in Google searches. - BanyanTree 23:52, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
Well I'm speculating here, but possibly Google views Wikipedia as a single, frequently-linked body of work, rather than a set of separate articles. Thus it gets weighted accordingly. I know that I often see wikipedia cited by Google as the primary source for many constants, which is a little troubling.—RJH (talk) 18:35, 13 December 2009 (UTC)
I think how recently the page has changed is also a factor in ranking - recent substantial chances boost your pagerank. But I'm just guessing. Josh Parris 03:47, 12 December 2009 (UTC)
It's the 15th Google hit for "David Newbury" when I search. Remember that Google searches can be customised, so different people see different rankings depending on their prior searching and location. Fences&Windows 23:29, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
I should clarify that it was on the second page of results at #20 an hour after I created it and went to #15 in 8 hours. It's now at #25 for me, largely because a bunch of academic resources for Newbury entered the results within the past few hours. Google really is as cryptic as an oracle. - 23:52, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
wikipedia has a very high level of domain authority. Throw in wikipedia articles generaly haveing a good keyword mix and the impat of internal linking and even very new articles will tend to rank highly in the search results.©Geni 13:12, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

Strange edits that break and sometimes translate articles[edit]

I've recently found some edits that break pages because they replace braces ({}) with parentheses (()). Quite often they also translate the page. After I reverted one of those edits to David Napier (marine engineer), the anonymous editor contacted me, why I reverted his addition. (The first comment there is in Czech, my native language, but grammatically incorrect, it translates roughly to “I'd like to know why my new information about David Napier's Aglaia cannot be accepted.”) I tried to explain him, that he broke the page, but I don't think he understood me. Most of these edits are from anonymous users, but the only edit User:Igor melo did follows the same pattern. I don't know whether this is only one person, or not, but they are too similar to be unrelated. Is there something that can be done about this? Or can someone at least provide an explanation, why or how (the breaking of pages may be unintentional) are they doing it? Some examples:[9][10][11][12][13][14]. Svick (talk) 14:48, 12 December 2009 (UTC)

Not to answer your question directly, but while it's correct to try to explain to an editor what he/she is doing wrong, you should still be posting escalating user warnings, and, if the editor doesn't change his/her behavior after a level 4 warning, requesting a block at WP:AIV. Among other reasons for doing this is that it's almost impossible to distinguish ineptness from deliberate trolling, and there are people (like Sacha Baron Cohen) who deliberately misbehave while taking advantage of the tendency of people to give more leeway to the obviously inept. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 16:56, 12 December 2009 (UTC)
There are IP's in different countries so it probably involves different users. Their browsers appear to be machine translating and/or autoformatting to or from their language. I see at least 3 languages in your examples. It's possible some of them view all pages including edit boxes in a machine translated state and don't realize this is an English site. If this type of edits is a recent phenomenon then maybe they are using the same recent translation software but I don't know which. PrimeHunter (talk) 17:03, 12 December 2009 (UTC)
Hmm, I didn't think of that, you're probably right. Thanks for the clarification. Svick (talk) 17:44, 12 December 2009 (UTC)
Couldn't we ask a checkuser for User-Agent of those edits, so that we could potentially block that browser from editing? Svick (talk) 12:37, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
I don't know whether checkusers can see that info and I doubt it is a certain browser which always does this, especially since it happens with different languages in your examples. It may be a setting or add-on. It could also be a common browser editing through a service similar to Google Translate (I tested Google Translate before my first post and it didn't look like the culprit). PrimeHunter (talk) 12:32, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
According to meta:Help:CheckUser#Information returned, they can see this. You may be right that the information won't be useful, but we won't know that until we see it. I requested a CheckUser to look into this, let's see what the response is. Svick (talk) 13:05, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

Last chance to vote in the Arbitration Committee Elections[edit]

This is a brief reminder to all interested editors that today is the final day to vote in the December 2009 elections to elect new members to the Arbitration Committee. The voting period opened at 00:01 on UTC 1 December 2009 and will close at 23:59 UTC on 14 December 2009 as initially planned. Updated 20:54, 13 December 2009 (UTC).

The voting this year is by secret ballot using the SecurePoll extension. All unblocked editors who had at least 150 mainspace edits on or before 1 November 2009 are eligible to vote (check your account). Prospective voters are invited to review the candidate statements and the candidates' individual questions pages. Although voting is by secret ballot, and only votes submitted in this way will be counted, you are invited to leave brief comments on the candidates' comment pages and discuss candidates at length on the attached talkpages. If you have any questions or difficulties with the voting setup, please ask at the election talkpage. For live discussion, join #wikipedia-en-ace on freenode.

Follow this link to cast your vote

For the coordinators,  Skomorokh  12:54, 13 December 2009 (UTC)

2nd Great Wikipedia Dramaout scheduled for January 18th–22nd[edit]

See the link in my signature. ― A. di M. — 2nd Great Wikipedia Dramaout 23:07, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

Obama speech after recieving the Nobel Peace Prize[edit]

Can anyone explain in simpler words what he ment with this sentence: "I know that engagement with repressive regimes lacks the satisfying purity of indignation."
Indignation is the feeling of being worried about something. I don´t understand how this relates to engangements in repressive regimes. Worried about how the regime could create problems for the people if a foreign force tries to get rid of the regime, or what? Lidingo SWE (talk) 10:37, 13 December 2009 (UTC) Sweden.

Merriam-Webster: Indignation - "anger aroused by something unjust, unworthy, or mean". Engagement implies you're willing to talk with them despite your anger towards them. Though your posting somewhat violates WP:NOTFORUM. --Cybercobra (talk) 11:07, 13 December 2009 (UTC) Ok, thanks. Lidingo SWE (talk) 14:03, 13 December 2009 (UTC)
Obama is contrasting those who express indignation with those who attempt engagement. To put his sentence into plain language he is saying "I know that talking to bad governments isn't as satisfying as complaining about them". -- Derek Ross | Talk 04:38, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
The best place for question unrelated to wikipedia and of the type "what does this word mean" is Wikipedia:Reference desk/Language MBelgrano (talk) 12:56, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

Ads for money are very irritating[edit]

I wish Jimbo would just allow one google text ad at the bottom of pages instead. Daniel.Cardenas (talk) 21:43, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

Special:Preferences → Gadgets → Suppress display of fundraising bannerxenotalk 22:36, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
Unfortunately, you can't suppress its display while you are in special:preferences. DuncanHill (talk) 22:42, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
A mild, but tolerable, annoyance. –xenotalk 13:55, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
Thanks! :-)   Daniel.Cardenas (talk) 03:05, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

Beta test of new WP 1.0 bot[edit]

The new version of the WP 1.0 bot is ready for some initial beta testing. More information is at User_talk:WP_1.0_bot/Second_generation#Beta_testing_2009-12-16, where any comments and suggestions will be deeply appreciated. — Carl (CBM · talk) 01:51, 17 December 2009 (UTC)

Dispute resolution assistance[edit]

  • Wikipedia:Mediation Cabal has a lot of open requests. Things will probably be picking up even more over the next few weeks as many editors will have additional free time during the winter break season. No membership in any group is necessary to help out. Anyone can adopt a case. Please give them a hand with informal mediation if you can help.
  • All of the content noticeboards, including but not limited to Wikipedia:Content noticeboard, Wikipedia:Reliable sources/Noticeboard, and Wikipedia:Neutral point of view/Noticeboard, need a few more regular outside editors to comment on requests. Even a small handful of additional regulars at each of those noticeboards would drastically increase their effectiveness. Volunteers only need to have a good familiarity with the ins and outs of the relevant content policies and guidelines.
  • Wikipedia:Requests for comment has a spotty and generally poor response rate across all of the topic areas. Several more editors are needed to regularly respond to the various content RfC requests. No specialist knowledge is usually required for most requests, but a general knowledge within the broad topic categories is suggested.

I would be very grateful to anyone willing to pitch in and regularly help out in these understaffed areas of dispute resolution. They are essential for resolving disputes before they reach a point of entrenchment with its accompanying disruption to the project in the affected topic areas. Thanks for considering this request for assistance. Vassyana (talk) 06:30, 17 December 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Flagged revisions petition[edit]

^ --MZMcBride (talk) 15:43, 17 December 2009 (UTC)

using a template[edit]

about {{1911}}

I added to this article here

and tried to copy the way that the curly bracket reference template tells you about Britannica. I couldn't fathom out how to do this, so I put the text in verbatim. Would appreciate some help. I have a copy of Watkins that I scanned and would be useful to have a template to do this. I tried 'help templates' but couldn't get very far. Thanks. John.

There doesn't appear to be a template for Watkins, so you did exactly the right thing. I fixed up the formatting a bit for ya. Thanks for contributing to Wikipedia! --Cybercobra (talk) 01:59, 18 December 2009 (UTC)
I created the template per your indication that it would be useful in the future. It is at {{Watkins}}. Cheers.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 02:29, 18 December 2009 (UTC)


Just a thought: Are we to see just about every article linked to External links to it only occurs on 33 articles so far but who knows... --Aspro (talk) 13:43, 13 December 2009 (UTC)

Are you one of those people who are paid to generate marketing buzz?—RJH (talk) 23:34, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
No; just the opposite . I am just pointing out these links (which are being used by about just two editors). Considering the nature of the site, I did not want to ask any ‘leading questions’ but let others use their own noddles to ask if this is the early start of a spamming campaign, that has (one can imagine) the potential to appear on a large percentage of WP articles . Or is it going to be no more benign than having the odd external link to Flikr. If I was going to generate buzz, why would I do it this ineffective way?--Aspro (talk) 10:07, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
Would someone please explain what fotopedia is? TIA Ottawahitech (talk) 12:10, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
It’s like a Wikipedia/Wikimedia Commons wraped into one, that companies can pay to put their adverts on, and generally use to promote their brand – for a fee of course. See: to see how to integrate Wikipedia articles into it.--Aspro (talk) 12:29, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
Nope. Certianly no more than we link to flickr. For the most part photos are something we can do in house and thus we generaly should not be linking to external sites for them.©Geni 12:42, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
Just in case I am too far ahead of the curve for others to see what might be coming round the corner:
To any sales and marketing executive about to employ this type of marketing route, the temptation to massage the original WP article away from NPOV and towards favouring its own business before transfer to fotopedia would be a temptation too great to resist. There appears to be too much of this sort editing going on already on WP. External links to the fotopedia article would also be an obvious way to try to get around WP’s no spamming policy. --Aspro (talk) 13:13, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

Fotopedia seems to have some attractive gallery navigation features. I wonder whether something like that is feasible as an alternative way of browsing Commons, perhaps combined with Wikipedia taxonomies and article links. Thoughts? - Pointillist (talk) 12:04, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

I had to only press one link at Fotopedia to be presented with several copyright violating photographs of modern artwork. But clicking through several pages of guidelines found no information discussing copyright issues. I think they are headed for trouble. Rmhermen (talk) 15:14, 18 December 2009 (UTC)

Viewing Contributions anonymously[edit]

I sometimes get the feeling I'm recently being followed around by a rather immature editor, that coupled with seing this got me thinking. Obviously the "view contributions" function can be misused, but since it is very useful it can not be removed.

How about improving it instead by adding more transparency? Whenever you view someones contributions you are (in an acceptable way) violating their privacy, but in return the person you have investigated should have the right to know that you did so, e.g. be able to see who reviewed their contributions, and when.

As an example; In Sweden you can check the financial status of anyone, it is publicly available info. However, as a check against frivolous checking, the person that was investigated receives a letter home informing them that such and such received their financial information.

Comments? --Stor stark7 Speak 15:20, 17 December 2009 (UTC)

Who ever said you had any right to expect that your contributions are private? Your contributions are public, and anybody has the right and responsibility to review them. (talk) 16:48, 17 December 2009 (UTC)
No-one here said anything about keeping contributions private, and if you read what I wrote you will see that that is not what I'm even in any way implying.
Anyone can and should review be able to review edits, but I - and everyone else - should have the option to turn around and be able to see who it is that is peeking over my shoulder. Why should the one doing the reviewing have the right to expect that the fact that he/she is doing so is private. --Stor stark7 Speak 17:07, 17 December 2009 (UTC)
Yeah but consider how often some of the more active editors probably get those checked. Not to mention if someone has a discussion on ANI or somewhere, a LOT of people may look at it....get a notification every time, well that may equal quite a lot of unneeded spam. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 17:10, 17 December 2009 (UTC)
Ok, that is a valid point, but implies a technical solution that includes an automatic notification. This it not necessary. Why not just provide an extra button so that you - or someone else for that matter - at their own discression can call up the log file listing the names and times of who has been accessing your contributions log. Could be very useful if you suspect that someone is stalking you for harassment purposes, and could work preventative. --Stor stark7 Speak 17:34, 17 December 2009 (UTC)
I don't see the need for this, it's just a recipe for drama. But technically, could Wikipedia even log this information? Fences&Windows 22:24, 17 December 2009 (UTC)
If it goes over the tubes it can be logged andyzweb (talk) 05:31, 18 December 2009 (UTC)
Not what you are asking for, but you can at least see how often your contributions are being viewed, at For example User:SmackBot's contribution November traffic. -84user (talk) 07:05, 18 December 2009 (UTC)

if this website ever had to close, could the encyclopedia continue?[edit]

I imagine this question has been asked many times before, and I'm sure there's a good answer to it - though I wouldn't know where to find it.

What procedures are place so that if some time in future the worst happened and Wikimedia Foundation suddenly folded for currently unforeseen reasons, everybody's contributions up to (very nearly) the time would still be available for use in other projects?

In principle it is straightforward: you just fork from a recent mirror and carry on. The trouble of course is that most mirrors are inadequate for this purpose - they provide a single snapshot, whereas what is needed is full page histories, for lots of reasons but most importantly attribution for license compliance.

What mirrors currently exist which satisfy all of the following?

  • technically and organisationally independent from the Wikimedia Foundation
  • include full page histories (for at least the whole of mainspace)
  • include all Wikimedia projects, not just English Wikipedia
  • updated regularly
  • free to access, and committed to remain so


Weedier Mickey (talk) 11:25, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

This doesn't answer your question directly, but there are database dumps available of all Wikimedia projects. Unfortunately, all pages of English Wikipedia with full histories is too big for the current process, so it isn't available. But you can get almost current versions of all pages and also information about all revisions, but not the revisions themselves. Svick (talk) 13:19, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
Oh please don't tell me Wikipedia may fold too! It seems everywhere I go there is talk of removing content from the web. From "… TREMENDOUS CHALLENGES presented by a world in which INFORMATION CAN be both GENERATED and ANNIHILATED IN A HEARTBEAT." Ottawahitech (talk) 14:04, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
Relax and take a deep breath - this is a "what if" question - nobody is saying anything like this actually is/will be happening. Roger (talk) 14:14, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

A related question: Does Wikimedia have multiple copies of everything at multiple physical locations - to prevent a single disaster (hurricane, fire, flood, bomb, war, whatever) from wiping the whole lot out? Roger (talk) 13:42, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

That's standard risk-prevention procedure, so I would bet they do. MBelgrano (talk) 14:58, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
Besides database replication and RAID hard disk redundancy within the main datacenter in Florida, there's also replication of everything in the database to the Amsterdam datacenter (where its used for the Toolserver). The full history XML dumps for the English Wikipedia aren't available (yet), but dumps with all the revision data (except text) are, and there are also non-public dumps including things like watchlist and user account information. I don't know if these dumps are stored offsite somewhere. There are also efforts to make reliable offsite backups of images. Mr.Z-man 19:22, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for the replies. Following up to Z-man's reply: all of these are great technical measures, but if these backup copies are all still under the control of the Wikimedia Foundation then it doesn't fully answer the question. I am also interested in what measures there are to guard against the organizational risk that the WMF suddenly has to cease operation for some reason - are there independently controlled copies of the full dumps? Weedier Mickey (talk) 21:19, 18 December 2009 (UTC)

Well I have full revision dumps form a few years back, probably. If not certainly someone else does. We have the revison metadata, which may be enough (this article was created by the following 56 editors...) Rich Farmbrough, 07:56, 20 December 2009 (UTC).

Incidentally a full dump is running now, ETA 6 January, will it make it? Rich Farmbrough, 08:14, 20 December 2009 (UTC).

purge bombing?[edit]

Has wikipedia ever been purge-bombed. When you purge a page it causes more load on the servers right? So if someone purge spammed wikipedia pages that were heavily traffic'd what would be the repercussions? andyzweb (talk) 05:19, 18 December 2009 (UTC)

I think there is probably a cap on the rate of purging that can be attained. On the other hand, de facto purging (via editing a page) did bring down the site after the Death of Michael Jackson. - Jarry1250 [Humorous? Discuss.] 09:55, 18 December 2009 (UTC)
WP:BEANS OrangeDog (τ • ε) 20:06, 18 December 2009 (UTC)

Well BEANS aside, I watched the server load as some serious purge events occurred and were handled by the servers with nary a blip. The load from purging a given page will be unlikely to show across the several hundred servers - basically one re-render per purge then the page is cached. Other more subtle potential problems are dealt with by the wikitechs and sit mainly behind the user-effect field. Rich Farmbrough, 00:39, 21 December 2009 (UTC).

Citation Needed - why?[edit]

So as a reader of Wikipedia (and irregular contributor) I've always wondered:

What's the purpose of the [citation needed] tag?

It seems to me that if a fact is placed on wikipedia that is uncited, it should be removed (/moved to talk page) and not appear again until it is cited.

Unlike notability, it's not like there are degrees of "citedness": either something is cited or it is not. Similarly, either it is Wikipedia's policy to have uncited content on the encyclopaedia, or it is not.

Given that it is plainly against policy to have uncited text in the wiki, why does this tag even exist?

Don't mean to sound impertinent, just hoping to hear from one of the more experienced editors :-) Andy (or, -- (talk) 00:46, 19 December 2009 (UTC) )

Well, from a maintenance perspective, if a reference does actually exist it's much easier to replace a {{Citation needed}} with the reference then it is to dig through the page history and resurrect the whole sentence/paragraph. One important item to keep in mind when it comes to Wikipedia is that it's never done. All of that being said, anything tagged with {{cn}} is vulnerable to immediate removal, and it's perfectly acceptable for anyone to do so (although, it's also perfectly acceptable for others to revert such removals. Caveat emptor).
V = I * R (talk to Ω) 00:57, 19 December 2009 (UTC)
Most of the time, stuff that requires a citation often are nothing controversial, they just still need to be sourced due to it not being common knowledge. There's no reason to remove info like that, and it's FAR more likely that someone will go and find a cite for that than if it were stuck on the talk page. There's also cases where there needs to be SOMETHING (like, say, a birth year), so removing it is far worse than leaving it there. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 01:21, 19 December 2009 (UTC)
As far as tagging goes, I make a distinction between the {{cn}} tag and the {{fact}} tag. I use the first when I think unsourced information is likely to be correct but would be better if sourced, and the second when I think the unsourced information is questionable. Unfortunately they both appear on the page as [citation needed] (which means that my distinction is often lost on other editors). Perhaps we need to differentiate how these different tags appear on screen? Blueboar (talk) 02:44, 19 December 2009 (UTC)
'cn' and 'fact' redirect to the same template, so there isn't a distinction between them. -- SGBailey (talk) 07:20, 19 December 2009 (UTC)
That's what I am suggesting... that we create a distinction between them. Yes, the solution to both would still be "cite a source for this"... but the reason why would be clearer.
As far as my own usage goes, another distinction is whether I intend to remove the information should no source be provided within a reasonable time... when I place a {{cn}} tag it means I am willing to leave the unsourced information in the article, even if no source is provided... but when I place a {{fact}} tag, if no source is provided, I will eventually remove the information per WP:V (how long I wait depends on the nature of the information I am questioning). Blueboar (talk) 16:26, 19 December 2009 (UTC)
Interesting idea Blueboar on having a distinction between the two. I could see a lot of benefit if the distinction came across in how the "citation needed" tag appears to the reader. Something like a color difference. For general run of the mill "this eventually needs a source", it could stay blue but for the more urgent, questionable materials (such as what you would distinguish with the {tl|fact}} tag) it could come across the screen as "citation needed" in red. That would create visual distinction for the reader and highlight material that needs to be more critically evaluated or potentially removed. AgneCheese/Wine 16:33, 19 December 2009 (UTC)
I agree that the idea is interesting (although I'm not entirely sold on it), but it is worth pointing out that currently these are both just redirects to {{Citation needed}}, so there is no way to distinguish them without splitting up the templates first. Also, there are bots that actually replace instances of "cn" and "fact" with "citation needed", so those would also need to be modified. Given how heavily used these tags are, any change to them would have a very wide impact and should be pursued with great caution. --RL0919 (talk) 17:23, 19 December 2009 (UTC)
Sounds like you'd like an I Doubt It - Prove it! tag. - DavidWBrooks (talk) 17:38, 19 December 2009 (UTC)
{{dubious}} does this: [dubious ] Fences&Windows 01:32, 20 December 2009 (UTC)

Fact was moved to Citation needed because it was thought that it was clearer. Certainly if you look at some of the redirects to Citation needed they imply disbelief (Lies! Proveit [15] in the same way Lol wut, Huh? and Eh? redirect to Clarify) and might be better pointed to Dubious (or deleted). Rich Farmbrough, 00:45, 21 December 2009 (UTC).

Scalable Vector Graphics which can be scaled[edit]


For (Scalable Vector Graphics files which can be scaled. This is the best thing since OGGs which can be played and fried bread. Hands together for whoever fixed that one thankyou.), I hereby award Village pump (miscellaneous) with the “Cool Award.” ~ R.T.G 09:14, 20 December 2009 (UTC)


In Great Pacific Garbage Patch, could someone with an SVG editor fix File:Currents.svg The words "current" in the bottom right key have been truncated. I put this message on the talk page a month ago and noone has done it, so I thought I'd ask here. Thanks -- SGBailey (talk) 22:57, 18 December 2009 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done Image was not centred in the frame, causing the exd of the text to be outside the frame. Used Inkscape to centre object.  Ronhjones  (Talk) 21:59, 20 December 2009 (UTC)
Thanks -- SGBailey (talk) 11:51, 21 December 2009 (UTC)

Legal q: Derivatives of pd works[edit]

A quick legal question. Extremely frequently I see 'works' like File:GJ1214b size comparison.png licensed as cc, despite the fact there is absolutely no new copyrightable information within them, and all the pre-existing information is in the public domain. The same happens with collages, animations of pd maps, hell, even cropped photos. It crops up with almost ALL derivatives of WP:MAPS as well. The original is in the public domain, someone slaps a circle on it, or colours in France, and suddenly they are able to claim copyright and re-license? I don't know whether this is allowed, seems like it shouldn't be, but then again pd is a unique legal status for information and hence why I'm asking here. PS: I get the nagging feeling there's a Legal discussion page, but I can't find one. —what a crazy random happenstance 04:33, 21 December 2009 (UTC)

WP:Media copyright questions? Anyhow, the question is whether or not the adaptations made by users themselves pass the (US) threshold of originality. Here, it is easier to say what doesn't: the expression of obvious methods of compilation, for example (which presumably would cover most collages). Cropping is also unlikely to attract a new copyright (unless it was done in a particularly arty way). When something new has been added, that portion of the image attracts a new copyright, and it will only be those portions which are licensed under the new licenses. - Jarry1250 [Humorous? Discuss.] 08:32, 21 December 2009 (UTC)
Ah, yes, that's the page, sorry! But you've answered my question, thank you. —what a crazy random happenstance 02:54, 22 December 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia's bad press[edit]

There is a new article on the Wall Street Journal: Volunteers Log Off as Wikipedia Ages (under their new payment model, you can only read the intro for free). Yes, another Wikipedia is DOOMED!!! article. But what surprised me most is the comments which are also almost universally negative as well. Several repeating the old saws of "Well, it can never work because...(insert human nature, no advertising, lack of experts, etc." which I would have thought we had well refuted after existed about nine years. But many complaining of deletionists, unfair blocks, excessive beaurocracy and some of just misconceptions ("I couldn't read the talk page until I registered, what a dumb design.) What happened to all the Wikipedia boosters and have we really gotten this bad? (talk) 16:48, 23 November 2009 (UTC)

Nothing really new in the comments. I think the main problem with the attitude that most anti-wikipedia people have in general (at least, that type as opposed to "WO sucks because it's unreliable" or whatever) is that they just don't understand what an encyclopedia actually IS. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 17:12, 23 November 2009 (UTC)
ZOMG the deleshunists are destroying teh Wikipedias!!!! The wiki-sky is falling, the wiki-sky is falling, the wiki-sky is falling! Hates to see what those (already) feel about the German Wikipedia... MuZemike 19:30, 23 November 2009 (UTC)

Without having read the article (like I'm going to give the WSJ money), I would presume from your description of it that the article illuminates more about the WSJ than it does about Wikipedia. postdlf (talk) 20:29, 23 November 2009 (UTC)

Search Google News for "Volunteers Log Off as Wikipedia Ages" to see a free version. -- SWTPC6800 (talk) 03:19, 24 November 2009 (UTC)

The bit that worries me is the number of wackos around who devote their life to twisting things to their point of view. Someone who hates a singer, people with crank maths, religious nuts, legalist deletionists, people who amuse themselves going around being abusive, vandals of all types, all of them with too much time and passion for their calling. It is the changing proportion of not so committed people who help the project and all those just daubing the walls and making everything smell that worries me. Dmcq (talk) 21:22, 25 November 2009 (UTC)

I am sort of new here. Even though I started editing at Wikipedia in 2007, my initial reaction was not favorable and I stopped coming to Wikipedia for a while. I only became more active recently, mostly because of a lull in my other activities. Since I was not intimately invloved here I did not know that what the WSJ said (I have not read it yet) is a persistent complaint about Wikipedia, and that many have forecast its doom. I myself am quite in awe of how far it has come in such a short time, and am still trying to figure out how things work here. I find it amazing that so much information has been collected, most of it of high quality, despite running into a lot of evidence of discontented Wikipedians, people who have left in a huff, cynical people, etc. Ottawahitech (talk) 23:35, 22 December 2009 (UTC)

Toronto Star Article about Wikipedia[edit]

Hi just wanted to let you guys know there is a article about editor exodus in one of Canada's largest newspapers, Mike (T C) Star of life2.png 01:38, 24 November 2009 (UTC)

Would you say it's time for our editors to crack each other's heads open and feast on the goo inside?xenotalk 01:50, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
It seems to me the atmosphere has changed around here. My recent interactions on site have been much more negative than what I used to run into, and that's compared to when I was involved in much more contentious editing, of both article and policy. These days, I hardly want to join a discussion, because I'll just get my head bitten off by someone who is too socially maladjusted to know any better, and the community seems unwilling to do anything about it. The "right to be an asshole" has been championed to the point that it smells like an asshole around here, just about non-stop.

We have created an environment where fewer people want to contribute. RfAs have been drying up for a while now, and now some study has noticed that the number of active contributors is dropping off. I'm not surprised.

Part of my inactivity is due to graduate school, but I can do grad school + wikipedia: I got an MS in 2006 while at my peak level of activity. A big part of my reason to stay away are the poisonous interactions I've had here lately.

My favorite thing to blame is the rampant legalism, where we allow rule-lawyers to define all the terms. We used to know how to Ignore All Rules, but nobody cares about that anymore. Too bad, seeing as it was what made the whole thing work, with civil interactions providing the social lubrication. To rules-lawyers, though, civility is not a lubricant; it's a cudgel. We let them win. Damn. -GTBacchus(talk) 02:25, 24 November 2009 (UTC)

Personally, after almost seven years (egad) on WP, I run into far fewer nasty, venomous arguments than I once did. (An opponent in an article dispute once hunted down my boss' name and called him to complain about me - much to my boss' bewilderment, since that was 2005 or so). Nothing like that has happened to me in years. Perhaps you get into more arguments because you've become self-righteous, or perhaps I get into less of them because I've become lazy and timid. Who knows?
There certainly are vastly more rules, and therefore rule-enforcers, but there are also vastly more accomplishments. Without "legalism" in its irritating forms we wouldn't have consistent references and infoboxes and lots of other good stuff.
If we pine for the good old days, pull up some articles from 2003/4/5 and see what they were like - sure, we could play around and create new articles without breaking a sweat then, but WP was much, much, much less valuable. Making it valuable, not creating a wonderful toy for us to enjoy playing with, is supposed to be the idea. - DavidWBrooks (talk) 02:45, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
As I had said before (besides the Chicken Little reference in the above section), this is no longer 2003 or 2004 - this is almost 2010, and Wikipedia – along with the rest of the Internet – has greatly changed since then. Pretending to live back in 2003 and to think that 2003 solutions will work six or seven years later will not work.
Just as P.Diddy said in a famous song of his, the more pages we come upon, the more problems we see. The bigger a website gets in both popularity and size, of course the more issues and the need for control also gets bigger. Just like I'm sure there are fewer issues and complicated rules in quiet, peaceful Aledo, Illinois than there is in busy, rough Los Angeles, California. But maybe I was a different breed of Wikipedian when I came onboard in June 2008. I didn't create a new article until early 2009; I just went to improving and expanding on what has already been created.
Perhaps one problem is this thing that we expect new users to create new pages instead of pointing them towards improving articles that need to be cleaned up or expanding a few of the hundreds of thousands of stubs out there (or perhaps we don't focus on that aspect, or perhaps we don't pay attention to that).
Another problem I also believe is that we get a lot more users who are, for lack of a better non-offensive term to use, computer illiterate. That's something that I think we're just finding out and are already starting to find some solutions on the technical side of things – which I personally think is just a viable problem as the community/behavioral side of things.
That's just a few of my observations, though. MuZemike 03:38, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
I can see how you'd see it as living in the past (2003 solutions and all), but simply because something worked then, doesn't mean it won't still work. A priori, we don't know which solutions work when, so I might not be pretending to live in 2003 so much as suggesting that we lost something valuable. Maybe there was a baby in that bathwater.

Responding to DavidWBrooks: Without "legalism" in its irritating forms we wouldn't have consistent references and infoboxes and lots of other good stuff. I don't believe that for one second. I was working for years in Requested Moves, and we developed new technologies, set up necessary structures, and dealt with thousands of move requests without getting so legalistic. Wikipedia had infoboxes before the lawyers took over.

I don't see it as so obvious that we have to become more legalistic as we grow, nor that we have to coddle antisocial users quite as much as we do. I do see the two as connected, because the more legalistic it gets, the more antisocial it gets. We coddle wikilawyers, and let them define all the terms of discourse. That's an outright abdication of good sense.

I might as well be talking to a wall, though, because we've institutionalized some bad, bad habits by now. If I were the king of Wikipedia... huh. I have no idea what I would do. I'd try to convince people that we need to treat each other better, worry less about rules, and write more. -GTBacchus(talk) 13:28, 24 November 2009 (UTC)

"we need to treat each other better, worry less about rules, and write more" Can't argue with that! - DavidWBrooks (talk) 20:05, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
I think it's a bit of Eternal September syndrome, mixed with many of the old hands hitting the 3yearhump mark (or their 2nd 3yearhump...).
With the higher number of contributors, there are significantly more people who hold "minority" viewpoints, and discussions/arguments having to be repeated.
With the proliferation of help/guideline pages, and more edge-case articles, there are more forked/duplicated discussions resulting in conflicting instances of 'consensus'.
With WP's increasing respectability, there are more conservative mindsets around, who dispute aspects of IAR and Incrementalism and Eventualism and ... and ... (all the other philosophies that got us to where we are).
We definitely coddle wikilawyers and uncivil editors more, because the processes for dealing with them (WP:RFC/USER etc) are timeconsuming and generally ineffective. Tendentious editors learn how to bend-not-break the rules, and become defensively-stubborn and self-assured, and hence less-likely to ever obtain 'clue'. There seem to be fewer admins (or even editors) who are willing to chastise others for breaches of basic civility.
Ramble ramble coffee. -- Quiddity (talk) 20:25, 24 November 2009 (UTC)

The thing about the methods applied in 2003 is that at least they were invented in or around 2003 ;-) . Not -say- in 1776, or some centuries BCE. If you want to improve wikipedia, start thinking about what makes a wiki work ideally, and what makes a wiki work ideally in 2009 (or 2010), then see how you can apply those.

A big problem, however, is that there is no good way to educate large numbers of people on how to use the wiki most effectively. Acculturating people to our new internet societies is the current largest challenge both inside and outside wikimedia.

In fact, setting up lectures is easy. Convincing people to come is harder. Everyone thinks they know everything, until you show them what's really possible with just a little more effort and understanding. ;)

I wonder if what (other) methods we might have at our disposal to get people up to speed? Any ideas?

--Kim Bruning (talk) 19:59, 25 November 2009 (UTC) And no, the sky is not necessarily falling. A community just needs some folks to invest time to keep it alive. Apparently, currently too few people are doing that, relative to the size of the community.

The acculturation is tricky when you've got influential community members working actively against it. There are too many veterans who are all too willing to throw out all we know about wikis, and start running this place according to some outdated offline model. When I try to promote what seem to be more progressive ideas, I'm drowned out by those who are very, very good at saying, "NOOO!"

We used to say Wikipedia doesn't work in theory, only in practice. That keeps working as long as we keep believing it. Those who believe it are now a vanishing minority. Arbcom won't help us; Jimbo won't help us. Most admins won't help. Most editors won't help. I have absolutely no idea what to do, except start issuing permanent bans for wiki-lawyering, being rude, and making any kind of negative claim about any other editor. We know these are terrible things to do (in a purely pragmatic sense - no normative moral claim here), but we coddle them. How to stop? -GTBacchus(talk) 21:13, 25 November 2009 (UTC)

This is being discussed on BBC Newsnight right now. (talk) 23:16, 25 November 2009 (UTC)

One moron guest said it's because "people have woken up to the fact that they're giving away their labour for free". He said he couldn't imagine why people wold give away their time and labour for free and wouldn't do so himself. Apparently this guy does not have the concepts of "altruism" (people edit to help their fellow man) or "enjoyment" (people edit same as people collect stamps or own a dog). He then went on to attack the other guest for being a "tenured academic" because he supported the Wiki concept. (talk) 23:22, 25 November 2009 (UTC)

It's not clear to me that anyone edits Wikipedia out of "altruism", but there's obviously some kind of non-monetary reward, or people wouldn't keep working on it. A lot of Wikipedians I've interacted with have made it quite clear that altruism is not a motive.

People work on Wikipedia because they feel empowered here, in a way that they perhaps don't feel in other endeavors in their lives. Wikipedia is a place where you can be someone who matters, if you have some kind of specialized knowledge, coding ability, or talent for research and writing. If people are leaving the project, it must be that the empowerment they used to derive from working here has somehow gone away, or become less alluring. I'm not sure why that would be. Does it have anything to do with, for example User:Raymond arritt/Expert withdrawal? Who knows? -GTBacchus(talk) 17:05, 26 November 2009 (UTC)

With all due respect to Simon Pulsifer (Toronto Star article):

  • there is still a lot of un-wikified content to add here
  • who says one needs knowledge of computer programming to contribute to Wikipedia?

I do agree with his sentiments expressed at the end of the article: the percentage of edits that get rejected at Wikipedia is way too high, at least from my perspective. It seems to me that there are more Wikipedians who get their jollies from deleting material added by others, than those who take the time to encourage and incubate newbies. I am also curious about the statistics cited at the beginning of the article: what exactly is the definition of current editors:

  • the number who are registered at Wikipedia
  • those who are active (what is active), etc. Ottawahitech (talk) 00:37, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

"Wikipedia loses thousands of Editors" Journalism fiasco[edit]

Look at these news

They portray wikipedia as going ultimately to hell in their frontlines. It appears whenever Wikipedia is putting up a donation plea and people see the amount of dollars it raises it also raises a lot of haters. I've noticed this trend very distinctly: whenever a donation plea comes up, there come the popular press denouncing it with some new doomsday scenario.

Keep hitting. The more you squeeze, the more it comes from the sides. --Leladax (talk) 00:18, 26 November 2009 (UTC)

By the way look how down wikipedia is going I mean we're closing shop tomorrow with that pace. --Leladax (talk) 00:24, 26 November 2009 (UTC)

We raise our profile, but people think our profile is ugly? --Kim Bruning (talk) 03:15, 26 November 2009 (UTC)

Of course, with the level of pessimism the media focuses on (i.e. focus on covering murders, scandals, how war, swine flu, and the global recession is going to burn the entire world down), are we much surprised that the media only focuses on the negatives from Wikipedia and not the positives? MuZemike 04:30, 26 November 2009 (UTC)
If I recall the media coverage correctly, Wikipedia has been failing for at least five years now.   Will Beback  talk  05:31, 26 November 2009 (UTC)
While actual numbers say we've only been (net) losing editors for 3? :-P --Kim Bruning (talk) 12:39, 26 November 2009 (UTC) Don't ever simply dismiss news because you don't like it. Check to see if something is actually wrong, and try to figure out what to do about it. Don't be overly alarmed either of course, but don't dismiss out of hand!
En.Wikipedia is only one part of the project. Has anyone checked how other languages are doing?   Will Beback  talk  11:07, 27 November 2009 (UTC) Relatively few editors are active on Wikipedia for more than a year. There is constant turnover. If folks edit a topic of interest and then leave their contributions remain (in the history, if not in the articles). En.Wikipedia doesn't not need to continue to grow indefinitely. While some folks may be needed to maintain it, the project doesn't require a million editors to survive.

aye; the point here is not that they focus on negatives; but on lies.- --Leladax (talk) 16:21, 26 November 2009 (UTC)

I don't see that the stories are entirely fiction. Requests for Adminship has dried up, for example. What's up with that? Is anyone permitted to ask whether there's a negative trend, without being dismissed as a paranoid Chicken Little? Thank you Kim, for making that point as well.

I find that my observations line up with what I'm reading in these stories. I'm not saying they're certainly right. I'm saying that they're maybe-right, and that it's silly to simply dismiss them. This is actually an issue, on which reasonable people may take different positions, like it or not. -GTBacchus(talk) 17:15, 26 November 2009 (UTC)

I found the comments quoted by the BBC here to be very resonant: • Anakin 21:10, 26 November 2009 (UTC)

Anyone who is in any way unconvinced about the argument should look at the comments section of a Telegraph article on the subject. I no longer edit in article-space for exactly these reasons. Wikipedia has become increasingly legalistic, deletionist and bitey in the 4.5 years I've been here. The insistence on unintelligible reference formats has to be one of the worst things to have happened. Mostlyharmless (talk) 10:56, 27 November 2009 (UTC)

The news coverage and "stats" appear to give the impression that Wiki is slowly become a dead site, floating around the Interweb with no crew. I am a long time Wiki editor who cannot accept the bleak view from either the news stories or editors like Mostlyharmless above. Yes, there are far more rules and regulations on Wiki these days, but better some structure in the process than the way I recall things happening when I first started. Wiki was ripped to shreads in the press for being "lawless" and a "free for all". Now these accusations are replaced with others. Doubtlesssly the stroeis will continue for as long as Wiki continues to exist. I'm nowhere near as pessimistic as some! doktorb wordsdeeds 12:22, 27 November 2009 (UTC)
Good point. As the old saying goes, "people throw stones at the trees with fruit on them". If Wikipedia were becoming irrelevant then they would simply stop writing about it. --DanielRigal (talk) 13:27, 27 November 2009 (UTC)
I think the coverage points to a significant issue which needs to be taken seriously. All too often we are the "encyclopedia anyone can vandalize." There is a huge amount of blatant vandalism and there is a great deal of more subtle vandalism and POV-shifting which goes unnoticed. We can't deny that Wikipedia has a poor reputation, and we need to confront it as a community. Perhaps doing something about IP edits and new editors. That is where much of the trouble originates. Our vandal-fighting software singles out such edits as having a higher probability of troubles. I'm less concerned about the decreasing number of new editors than I am by the higher noise-to-signal ratio.--JohnnyB256 (talk) 18:25, 27 November 2009 (UTC)
I didn't know wikipedia had even 5000 regular contributors, let alone it losing 49000 of them in 3 months. What are they measuring? The number of inbound and outbound requests by IPs, or the number of registered users who haven't shown any activity since January? - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 18:36, 27 November 2009 (UTC)
I think the current news reports are pointing out that new users are being treated with suspicion, that the community has become too closed to outside influence, and that vicious templates by vandal-hunting computer programs have taken the place of a gentle guiding human hand. (In other words, we've already done what you suggest, and -the journalists are reporting- we've actually taken it too far.) --Kim Bruning (talk) 09:58, 2 December 2009 (UTC) does anyone disagree that this is an accurate (NPOV-ish) representation of what journalists are currently saying?
Mostlyharmless, are you referring to the “don’t feel the spirit of the first years. The articles are very tightly controlled by others now, and that makes it hard to jump in and contribute” quote in the Telegraph story? If so, are you complaining about referencing or about a tendency for editors to try to "own" articles? - Pointillist (talk) 01:07, 28 November 2009 (UTC)
While its a few things, I think that the most important thing has been a very significant cultural shift from assuming that the contribution contribution being made is correct, and assuming good faith, to requiring citations before accepting good faith contributions. Some of this is a good thing, coming from a desire to make Wikipedia more accurate (and Wikipedia's had plenty of criticism here too!). But a lot of it is less willingness to assume good faith on any contribution made without lots of properly formatted citations. And this is a major problem. As standards have gone up, articles have got longer, and use of the citation formats has increased, it has become harder for new users to contribute. Assume you've never edited before: go to the mainpage, and open the FA. You're confronted with a pile of mediawiki markup. You've come to one of the most difficult articles to edit in the entire project. You're also likely to have your edit deleted - this article has been crafted careful and most edits will just make it worse. Editors are also much more likely to revert statements that would be accepted by anybody with basic knowledge of a given subject unless they come with these citations.
This isn't the only problem - zealous deletionists are a significant one - but is I think the most important. The Usability Initiative promises to improve Wikipedia: they need to make improving the citation markup experience a top priority. Mostlyharmless (talk) 08:45, 28 November 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for that, Mostlyharmless. Personally, I'm in favour of citations being the hub of the editing process: when a fact is well known, it should be easy to find a source; if it's a bit surprising then it's essential to source it properly. One problem is that a lot of editors weren't educated that way, at least not in a general sense outside their major specialisation. Another is that we don't applaud good referencing sufficiently. It can take hours to put together a set of references that collectively count as one edit (e.g. working offline in Notepad), while in the same period another editor may have clocked up tens or even hundreds of minor edits. I agree about citation markup, so initiatives like Mr.Z-man's toolbar are very welcome (I've not tried it myself yet), and I wish there was a way that finding references could be made more effective and even fun. If the next generation of Wikipedia editing is about maintenance and improvement, we must find a way to make that the glamorous and intellectually fascinating heart of the project. - Pointillist (talk) 20:03, 28 November 2009 (UTC)

To summarise most of the contributions this discussion: "They're criticising us because we're AWESOME" Mostlyharmless (talk) 00:28, 28 November 2009 (UTC)

Of course, after all, no one ever gets tired of the wikilaywers, vandals, less well informed editors wiping out well considered text in favour of fundamental misconceptions, or any of the other annoying aspects of Wikipedia.
Those that wish portray this project as some kind of panacea would do well to consider what is actually in the project's best interests. Pretending that problems do not exist or asking why people are leaving the project and what can be done to alleviate the situation? CrispMuncher (talk) 19:27, 28 November 2009 (UTC)
Wikiproject Editing Trends would be a great place to produce quantifiable evidence showing that article is wrong or accurate. MBisanz talk 19:31, 28 November 2009 (UTC)
And how many of those people who are leaving are doing so because WP:AGF is driving away the good contributors while letting the trolls thrive? (talk) 17:31, 30 November 2009 (UTC)
AGF, properly understood, does not let the trolls thrive. The fact that so many people think it does, is problematic. I've banned trolls' accounts while maintaining 100% AGF. Anyone who thinks you have to drop AGF to block and ban hasn't thought it through. -GTBacchus(talk) 14:40, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
I'm surprised you haven't been raked over the coals and had your admin bit taken away after a lengthy, dramahz filled RfA for banning the poor misguided people who think vandalism and POV pushing is the Right Way. (talk) 16:21, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
That shouldn't be surprising. You must have some strange ideas about how Wikipedia works. Most instances of vandal-blocking and removing bias from articles happen uncontroversially and quietly. The ones that make the vast majority of the noise are a tiny minority of cases. I know how to avoid "dramahz"; it involves not acting stupidly and in ways that are likely to create drama. -GTBacchus(talk) 16:26, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
I`m a contributor who is actually thinking to leave. Why? I like to write new articles, but I realized that 50% or more of my time is needed to patrol articles from trolls or similar. Wiki is getting bigger and bigger and the cost to maintain it is becoming too expensive. It is needed to find some way to reduce the cost of maintaining vs the cost of contributing. I`m not asking to prohibit anonymous users from editing, but at least to review the policies for (semi)protection of articles. (example: semiprotection for this article has been refused cause according to the Adm there were not enough vandalisms.) What means ``not enough vandalism``? Even a vandalism for day requires a boring work by contributors who have to check their watchlist and act. More time-cost for patrolling means less contributors. The cost to maintain Wiki is becoming too high. Solutions are needed. A ntv (talk) 02:55, 8 December 2009 (UTC)

Demise of Wikipedia[edit]

Those who haven't already seen it may be interested in the article at: —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:15, 28 November 2009 (UTC)

Join the club. MuZemike 09:25, 28 November 2009 (UTC)
Maybe it's all the spammers, vandals, and graffitists jumping ship?—RJH (talk) 17:44, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

I give up[edit]

I was actually going to start a topic about a similar topic just prior to this story blowing up. There are always a bunch of inaccuracies in these stories, so it's certainly easy enough for us to pick these commentaries apart and therefore ignore them. I think that's a huge mistake in this case, largely for the same reasons that GTBaccus has talked about above. The sky is not falling, and Wikipedia itself is fine; there's absolutely no reason for us to give in to the hyperbolic rhetoric that the mass media touts as headlines. However, there's clearly some sort of a problem here right now. Personally I've just given up. I'm decided that the only way to be a contributor here is to simply ignore the Wikipedia space, and probably more importantly to ignore those of you who edit and cite the Wikipedia namespace. You people are, as a group, assholes. Most importantly though, it generally doesn't matter what is said or done here. The back end of Wikipedia is slowly turning into Usenet, and personally I've given up on it. I do hope though, that those of you with more interest and experience in the community here are able to fix things.
V = I * R (talk to Ω) 19:20, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

Somewhat ironically, there's really just one thing that really helps, and that is to never give up, no matter what. :-) --Kim Bruning (talk) 23:24, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
As Kim says: you must give up giving up if you want to achieve anything. Especially on Wikipedia. -- Derek Ross | Talk 02:03, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
The thing is... I don't want to sound like I'm going on a screed here or anything; especially since I've reached the point where I simply don't care enough to be even remotely emotional about this any longer; but, when the vast majority of "face-to-face" interaction with others here includes some form of negative interaction, eventually most moderately well adjusted people just say "fuck it". I actually lay the vast majority of the blame for this at the feet of the software. The failings in community here are primarily driven by the massively underdeveloped social aspects to the wiki software, which is engineered, seemingly on purpose, to be anti-social. None of the well developed community building knowledge and expertise that the rest of the internet relies on can work here, simply because the whole organization of Wikipedia is set up to discourage even moderate discussion volumes. For a top 5 website, the amount of discussion which occurs on this site is absolutely pitiful. What's worse is the fact that the size of the community here consistently hovers around a pitiful ~10,000 people. There are rinky-dink forums on obscure topics who have more active members then Wikipedia does. I'm (rather obviously) not leaving like most do, but my frustration level has gone so off the charts that doing anything other then saying "I give up" would be silly.
V = I * R (talk to Ω) 10:51, 5 December 2009 (UTC)
Interesting? I thought one of the key strengths of wikipedia is that it ensures that we remain below dunbar's number in almost any debate, and this ensures our survival. I'm very curious to hear which web forums have lasted longer than en.wikipedia? ;-)
Would you care to go into more depth, or link to essays or surveys to that effect? --Kim Bruning (talk) 21:53, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
*blink* ...seriously? Assuming "Good Faith" here, I guess I should go into more depth. It'll take some time to address the question here however, since they display a rather alarming er... ignorance, is the most polite term I can think of off the top of my head. Regardless, exposure to some of our own articles could be very helpful here. Virtual community is likely a good place to start.
V = I * R (talk to Ω) 15:28, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
I'd like to see your reply to Kim, Ohm's Law, and I don't mind that I'm alarmingly ignorant. :) I've participated in a small handful of web communities, but I've never treated web communities (qua web communities) as objects of study. I'm glad someone has... -GTBacchus(talk) 15:38, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
OK, that's cool... I have to admit that I'm a bit stumped on where to start, is all. I probably shouldn't be so surprised, but for whatever reason I thought that there was a bit more exposure to online communities then there seems to be here. I'll gladly admit that simple awareness of this "ignorance" (that Wikipedia seems to be filled with "noobs") explains a lot to me personally, and I've already noticed that it's changed my attitude and approach slightly. If I view the commentary of even veteran editors with the possibility that this is their only online experience, then the community here immediately seems much less overtly hostile.
It's really surprising to me that such an academically oriented site seemingly chose to ignore the body of work which already existed long before even was Nupedia started. There have been online communities in existence since at least the early 70's, after all. A large portion of them are rooted in, and hosted on systems located at, academic institutions as well. Maybe I should just put together a bibliography, and post that? There really are volumes of material on the subject.
V = I * R (talk to Ω) 16:33, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
I've been online and in diverse communities since the '90s, and I've learnt from systems that are older than that. I certainly have, can and will try to read anything and everything I can get my mitts on. I hunger for more information. Provide a source and I shall read it. The thing that suprises me -afaict based on things I *have* read- is that en.wikipedia should really already be dead or dying, and instead it's still alive (though it ain't pretty). We're definitely suffering from acculturation issues, and the community is mismanaging the tools to some extent atm, but despite that, we're still here. (aka. "wikipedia only works in practice, not in theory").
And of course a lot of advice out there has led to sites that eventually fail. So I have a healthy dose of skepticism, but I am desperate to learn; and can, have, and will do my best to apply any lessons that can be learned. I can't speak for others, but that's my attitude, and I hope other people have a similar attitude. --Kim Bruning (talk) 10:24, 10 December 2009 (UTC) And yes, I do see a larger number of negative interactions these days, but I try to make sure I'm setting a good example. :-)
← There seems to be two distinct area's of Wikipedia, though. In terms of the Wikipedia community, it seems to me that it actually died years ago (and based on outside commentary I hardly think that view is extraordinary). Using the term "died" is probably a bit much, though; characterizing it as being "chronically dysfunctional" is likely more accurate. The problems that I see aren't really structural (although there are structural issues, their relatively minor), but social. The manner in which people seem to approach the community on Wikipedia is generally negative, and the real problem is that viewpoint seems to have become ingrained into the institutional memory here. There are actually good technical reasons to limit discussions somewhat (which is a slightly different subject, but one which thankfully seems to be garnering some attention right now), and attempting to prevent article talk pages from becoming and ad hoc "forum" on the subject of the article is generally speaking a good thing. The problem is that those technical issues seem to have been conflated into a more over-arching "we need to limit discussions" attitude.
That doesn't really affect the mainspace directly, however. The project itself is obviously valued by millions regardless of what occurs within the community here. Wikipedia itself is far from dead or dying, but it seems obvious that the community could be much more... approachable. If the community were healthier here then there would likely be quite a bit more participation in building the articles, since belonging to a community tends to reinforce and encourage participation in the event that the community is built around. Anyway, it's interesting to hear the opinion that "a lot of advice out there has led to sites that eventually fail". I think that it depends on the definition of failure. I mean, most communities don't fail so mush as they simply fade away. The real failures tend to happen quickly.
V = I * R (talk to Ω) 10:50, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
Your statement about the community issues being social, as opposed to technological, resonates with my observations and thoughts. I don't know how to address social disfunction in a community of this size. It doesn't help that nobody is in a position of authority that they're willing or able to exercise in a way that could actually make a difference.

Sometimes I think that if we just started issuing automatic 48 hour blocks for each ad hominem remark, we'd attract users who are not inclined to make those remarks in the first place. Unfortunately, a lot of people who are technologically proficient are not socially proficient, and vice versa. There's no way I can see to shift the power towards people who are willing to get good - to even try to improve - at social interactions.

Wikipedia may not be dead, but I think WP:CIVIL and WP:AGF are. Too many people used them sociopathically, forgetting to ignore "rules". Now it's pretty much taboo in some parts of the wiki to suggest that we treat each other with dignity. It's when I propose that we try to hold a high standard of respect and collegiality that I'm attacked the most viciously and bitterly, and the community stands idly by. We're letting the dicks win. -GTBacchus(talk) 18:34, 11 December 2009 (UTC)

I've been involved in fewer online communities than either GTBacchus or Kim, but one thing I've noticed that is applicable here is that once an online community gets established, it attracts full-time members. By "full-time members", I mean people who are present most of a day, looking for posts to respond to, edits to review, & so forth. (A few months ago I was very surprised to read one Wikipedian assert that "everyone" has done at least one all-nighter on Wikipedia -- something that I, who have been here over 7 years, has never even contemplated doing.) Who has the time to be a "full-time member"? The unemployed, the retired, the independently wealthy -- but predominantly, they are young people who are teenagers or college age. They have few demands on their time, & are often supported by someone else, so they can spend entire days online. Someone clearly older -- say in her/his mid-30s -- has many more demands on her/his time: work, family, friends, social, etc. It's hard to set aside a Saturday afternoon to put together an article for Wikipedia when one's spouse wants you to clean the garage or your child wants to go to the park. (And then there is the time required for researching content, which is something I'm constantly surprised almost no one discusses here.) And due to the maturity of Wikipedia's culture, with its numerous customs & practices, it is much harder for part-time members to contribute in a meaningful way. Since part-time members are where full-time members come from, we are seeing a decline in total editors. Hopefully something can be done to address this before the active membership is reduced to trolls, POV-pushers, PR flacks, numerous bots reverting them & a couple of overwhelmed editors who are trying to keep some of the articles up to date. -- llywrch (talk) 16:49, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

On a positive note...[edit]

...I make more edits anonymously than I do logged in these days. I'm pleased to report that I have yet to be attacked for any reasonable edit made from an IP address. Not all newbies are bitten, it would seem. Of course, when I edit from an IP, I apply clue and make good edits. Not all newbies can do that... -GTBacchus(talk) 18:37, 11 December 2009 (UTC)

The above reminds me of an expression we used occasionally in the Navy: "Shit floats". I'm not being gratuitously vulgar though, there's actually a point to be made here. One thing that most studies with regard to online communities has shown is that there is real benefit to having a "benevolent despot" in control. The theory is that, since people communicating online do so in a generally impersonal manner (no facial expressions, no audio cues) that people's behavior tends to significantly differ from what happens face to face or on the phone. It's really very similar to "the mob mentality", in that with some anonymity come the comfort to misbehave. Without someone to step in with the ability to drop the hammer on folks, you get... well, pretty much what's going on here (or on Usenet, or some other un-moderated forums). A good online moderator/community coordinator tends to let the vast majority of stuff slide, which is important in order to allow essentially free speech to occur (no one should ever be prevented from saying things that the majority don't like). However, there are certain key things that earn essentially instant retribution.
I would tend to endorse the idea of automatic blocks for certain behavioral issues. Essentially, we should have some sort of "speedy deletion" criteria for behavioral issues (substituting "block" for "delete", obviously). The only thing is, I wouldn't give a group as large as administrators cart blanch to enforce such a system. I'd rather see a "moderator" group developed, with a separate approval process. Honestly, I don't think that this sort of thing (either the "speedy block" or the "moderator" group) would be that radical of a proposal, since I've noticed what appears to be some pent up demand for it. Something along these lines is more what people are accustomed to seeing in online communities anyway.
One other sort of side issue here: I find it interesting to continue to hear the "a community this large" refrain. Wikipedia itself is certainly huge, and the number of content editors is definitely large. The number of actual community members, on the other hand, is really minuscule. I can't remember where I saw the stats exactly, but there's a page on Wikipedia somewhere that shows recently active members. There are less then 10000 individuals who have more then something like 100 edits, and that includes mainspace edits. If someone were to analyze recent participation in talk pages (say, prior 30 days) my guess is that the Wikipedia community numbers less then 1000 people at any one time. To me, that is a (really serious) symptom of the dysfunctional nature of the Wikipedia community.
Anyway, my apologies for nearing or exceeding the TL;DR point.
V = I * R (talk to Ω) 19:18, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
A 1000 member community is waaaay larger than I know how to socially manage/modify. That's all I meant by "a community this large". It's big, not relative to other communities, but relative to me. -GTBacchus(talk) 19:25, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
Oh, and no worries re: length. I am myself rather verbose, and I don't mind reading points that actually take multiple paragraphs to make. -GTBacchus(talk) 19:27, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
Well, 1000 people would be too much for anyone to actively manage. That's the thing though, no one should really seek that sort of management. You're not supposed to manage a community, what you're supposed to manage is misbehavior. Now that you mention it though, that might be (at least one) nub of the problem, is that many seem to hold the view that the community itself lacks management. If you feel that the community needs active management then obviously the problem is going to be too large to deal with. The thing is, there are numerous communities around the 'Net that number in the 100's of thousands, and their successful (while interest remains in the subject) due in large part because people manage misbehavior. If deliberate miscreants are quickly and effectively dealt with, then the community itself will tend to grow organically. People learn quickly that they can disagree, but that they can't misbehave, and the misbehavior tends to self regulate itself. The whole key to that is, essentially, automatic responses, which is why I talked about a CSD-like process for civility. The "drama" factor really kills good community spirit, and clear bright line rules go a long way towards reducing drama-fests. If a committee is needed to decide that someone is misbehaving then... well, that's a failure. Even if some people disagree with certain uses of a block, that's much better then holding moot courts over individual issues (as long as the "punishments" are temporary. The suggested 48-hour blocks sound about right).
Anyway, beyond this, there are essentially technical issues that could/should be addressed as well. The stone age talk page interface is the most obvious issue, but luckily LiquidThreads seems to be coming along to help that out. The sprawling, disjointed nature of the discussion space is another, probably more serious, problem. The simple fact that talk pages are separate for each article is a fundamental problem. It would be really nice if we could do something about that...
V = I * R (talk to Ω) 21:03, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
Hmmm. 48-hour blocks for comments that are about contributors rather than content... I agree that it's a bright line, and I agree that it would be foolish to empower all admins to do it. However, I'm tempted to just start doing it. Proposing policies here is one of the best ways to make sure they're not accepted; it's way too easy for people to say "no" to new ideas. (As if Wikipedia would exist if we had first polled everyone about whether it was a good idea.)

If I started doing that, how long do you think it would take me to be de-sysopped? ;) -GTBacchus(talk) 22:39, 11 December 2009 (UTC)

Bright line automatic blocks ... like conservapedia? ;-) I'm not sure that works so well.
How about going the other way; I know it's a lot more work, but helping people and showing human compassion is a method that has a proven track record. if you treat people with kindness, they'll often act the same way back to you, and to others! --Kim Bruning (talk) 22:27, 15 December 2009 (UTC) TL;DR: If it can be done automatically, let it be done by code. If it can't be done by code, let a human do it -and- let the human do it in a human way!
I don't know anything about conservapedia, but I think you're knocking something you haven't tried. Neither of us knows whether an untried idea will work. As for going the other way, I have been doing that, for years, and I've been seeing things get worse. If you think you need to tell me that lots of people react well to kindness, then you're telling me something I've been saying for years. Being a teacher, I know a little bit about the proven track record of compassion, but I'm seeing a different dynamic play out here. I didn't get here yesterday, Kim. There are technical - and worse, cultural - impediments to the ordinary workings of compassion in this community, and ignoring those impediments is not helpful. You're not even addressing the problems I've been observing. -GTBacchus(talk) 18:56, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
I start by bringing up a real life experience. You then state:
  • You don't know the example
  • The example doesn't exist. "I think you're knocking something you haven't tried".
  • My statement therefore does not address your concerns.
I think conservapedia and its rules can be used as a recent example of how bright-line/automatic rules can go horribly wrong. I think that the example directly covers what you are saying. I can talk you though it, if you like?
On the other hand, if you're unwilling to look into conservapedia, its rules, or its reputation; then I am willing to find other examples for you?
How can I best be of service on this count?
At the same time, I am sincerely happy to hear that you are one of those who believe in compassion and kindness. :-) Can you point out why they appear to be insufficient, from your perspective? --Kim Bruning (talk) 01:01, 18 December 2009 (UTC)
Last question first: Compassion and kindness appear to be insufficient in this context because, after a few years of myself and others working that angle, the atmosphere here has consistently been getting worse, not better. When a given strategy has resulted in net loss as far as I can remember, I have a hard time seeing why we would just keep following the losing strategy. Some people define insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Why pursue a strategy that has consistently resulted in net loss? Isn't that just asking for more loss?

I'm willing to look at the Conservapedia example. What are their automatic blocks for? A priori, I don't see that all automatic blocks are created equal. If they have automatic blocks for behavior X, and we try it for behavior Y, then the comparison is not necessarily a helpful one, eh?

What I'm suggesting you haven't tried - because no one has tried it here - is a strict enforcement of "comment on the content, not the contributor". If we were to actually create an atmosphere where people knew that any ad hominem remark would get them blocked for 48 hours, then people would be forced to stop making such remarks, or leave. Is that what Conservapedia does?

I don't see how you can be certain enough to dismiss a suggestion out of hand, when it's something we haven't tried. I know it's inconsistent with the usual wiki-philosophy, but we're in completely uncharted waters here, and I'm willing to try stuff. -GTBacchus(talk) 14:26, 20 December 2009 (UTC)

Addendum, because I don't think I was clear: The situation that I feel you've not addressed is the context where simply trying to lead by example is sitting on a track record of repeated and increasing failure. That seems to me to call for creative solutions. -GTBacchus(talk) 21:42, 21 December 2009 (UTC)

RFA drying up?[edit]

I saw that mentioned above. So is that surprising? Look at what people have to go through, "Admin is no big deal" has gone out of the window. Also the research suggests that contrary to what is suggested those involved in admin-like activity are less likely to "pass" rfa. Maybe rfa should be two phase - RFA - only "Hell no!" objections allowed, otherwise automatic adminship after 3 days. And then if there is a "Hell no!" objection a discussion could take place. Serial unjustified "Hell no"ing would be considered a Bad Thing. Rich Farmbrough, 22:50, 19 December 2009 (UTC).

FWIW, I stopped participating in RfA years ago, with a couple of exceptions, for a couple of reasons: (1) there were increasing numbers of people whom I did not know, & so could not offer a useful "support" or "oppose" for their nomination; & (2) it seemed that everyone who was granted the bit was qualified for it -- that is, they weren't troublemakers who would immediately abuse the extra powers & cause us all to regret the promotion. I'm not happy to see that Adminship has since become a symbol of special status. Sad to say, being an Admin isn't a big deal; the additional powers, in the larger scheme of things, aren't that powerful. Even the ability to block someone won't stop a determined troublemaker from returning to Wikipedia (there are many, many ways), & any other Admin can immediately revert the block. -- llywrch (talk) 16:58, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

Radio broadcast[edit]

Just in case anyone's interested, today's edition of BBC Radio 4's Start the Week includes a discussion about Wikipedia with Andrew Dalby and Evgeny Morozov. It's available for the next seven days here. Phil Bridger (talk) 18:21, 14 December 2009 (UTC)

Thank you, very interesting. Just wondering what will happen to this radio broadcast after seven days? Ottawahitech (talk) 12:22, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
It will presumably disappear into the depths of the BBC archives. BBC broadcasts are only made available on the Internet for seven days after transmission. Phil Bridger (talk) 13:06, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
Too bad! I wonder whether can archive it so it is available to those who miss the boat (and those like me who will undoubtably want to listen to it again, and again)Ottawahitech (talk) 13:35, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
That would almost certainly be a copyright violation, even if technically possible. Phil Bridger (talk) 16:16, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
I thought the internet archive was immune from copyright claims? Ottawahitech (talk) 15:52, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

Their should be a podcast if you have the technology. Rich Farmbrough, 07:54, 20 December 2009 (UTC).

Is there a way to "refresh" archived discussion in Village Pump?[edit]

I happened to see this: which has already been archived even though it started sometime in Decemeber 2009. I believe the topic is very important and wonder if there is a way to continue it? Ottawahitech (talk) 15:12, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

You can start a new discussion and link to the old one. I think other option is to “dearchive” it (copy&paste it to the live discussion page and delete from archive). But I think you should do that only when you have something to add. Threads in WP:Village pump (policy) are automatically archived when no comment is made in them for five days. Svick (talk) 20:02, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
So, in order to keep this particular "thread" (is this the right term) alive all I have to do is add something here before the five days are up? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Ottawahitech (talkcontribs) 08:14, 20 December 2009 (UTC)
Yes, the bot checks the newest signature for each thread and if that is older than some predefined time (five days on VPP, 7 here), it archives the thread. But just changing the signature or adding comment like: “I have nothing to add, this is just to keep this thread from archiving. ~~~~” isn't probably the right thing to do. Changing the time before a thread is archived would be a better option. Svick (talk) 20:04, 20 December 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for answering (how do you keep track of this thread btw - I have given up on trying to use My Watchlist since it has grown way too large :-). Back to the "how to de-archive": but I know how to copy&paste the text from the archive, I don't how to to delete a section from the archive.Ottawahitech (talk) 23:16, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
The archive is Wikipedia page like any other so you can just delete the thread from there. It's made a little harder by the fact that the archive doesn't have (intentionally) links to edit each section. I think that as long as you move the text to the talk page, it should be okay.
Ad watchlist: I guess the key is to keep the watchlist reasonably short. Also, when LiquidThreads are deployed, it will be easier to watch talk pages. You could also start using my Desktop Watchlist if you use Windows. Svick (talk) 00:02, 24 December 2009 (UTC)

Wikiquote needs some eyes![edit]

I'm still a bit of a noob, but I've been over at Wikiquote looking for a while and I see that all the regular users aren't available; both the reference desk and the village pump are completely neglected (and thus the whole project, for the most part). I'm asking for as many eyes as possible from over here (who have the time) to read the Wikiquote policies and take a quick glance over there; give a hand! It needs some more help...!

Thanks for your time and consideration, Peace and Passion   ("I'm listening....") 03:43, 24 December 2009 (UTC)

Wiki articles on Google Maps/Google Earth[edit]

I've added coordinates templates to some articles at Wikipedia. In some cases, I can see those articles in Google Maps/Google Earth, but in other cases the articles never show up. Is there any manual checking done by Google that filters which wikipedia articles get included there. --Soman (talk) 12:29, 24 December 2009 (UTC)

Macedonian goverment seems to want to promote wikipedia editing[edit]

Not entirely sure what to make of this:

©Geni 03:09, 25 December 2009 (UTC)


I've been told to not fix double-redirects, is that right? Double-redirects should no longer be fixed? See User talk:Collectonian#Future predator that. (talk) 05:02, 25 December 2009 (UTC)

See for the old discussion I had with user:Collectonian, since he deleted the conversation from his talk page. (talk) 05:25, 25 December 2009 (UTC)
No one told you that. Learn to read and go spend the holiday with your family or something. -- Collectonian (talk · contribs) 05:19, 25 December 2009 (UTC)
You reverted my fixing of double-redirects, to make them continue to be double-redirects, and then responded that I should not link to those pages (ie. the single redirects). So it seems clear to me that you don't think double-redirects should be fixed. It does not lead to another conclusion, since you reimplemented the double redirects. (talk) 05:28, 25 December 2009 (UTC)
I reverted all of your edits because you were creating links to non-existent articles and clearing talk pages. I never said don't fix double redirects. I didn't see you fixing any double redirects, only making new links. There are bots that will fix any double redirects anyway. -- Collectonian (talk · contribs) 05:32, 25 December 2009 (UTC)
I was archiving one talk page, and that should be in the section above, not this section. (talk) 06:11, 25 December 2009 (UTC)
[16] is a correction from a double redirect to a single redirect that you reverted [17] . So, yeah, it did appear to me as if you did not want double-redirects fixed. (talk) 06:11, 25 December 2009 (UTC)
Also, every link I did was a blue link so they went somewhere valid, and redirects point to articles (unless they are double redirects, which were things I was going about fixing) and I don't remember seeing anything about it being wrong to use a redirect as a link. Care to point on that policy? (talk) 06:15, 25 December 2009 (UTC)

Would anyone want SMS alerts on watch list or a mobile app?[edit]

Sometimes it is helpful to take notes during dead time when all you have is a phone. You may not be able to post well formed prose, but you can post notes on a talk page or revert vandalism etc. Nerdseeksblonde (talk) 15:19, 25 December 2009 (UTC)

Biblical disambiguators[edit]

If you have a moment, please see Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Religion#Biblical disambiguators. Thank you!
V = I * R (talk to Ω) 07:02, 27 December 2009 (UTC)

Public access to U.S. federally funded science[edit]

If you're in the U.S., or are a U.S. citizen, please read and respond to this Request for Public Comment from the Office of Science and Technology Policy regarding enhancing public access to archived publications resulting from research funded by Federal science and technology agencies. All are urged to respond to this pivotal opportunity, as individuals and on behalf of institutions and organizations. Your input will be critical in helping the administration form a deep and balanced view of stakeholders' interest in ensuring public access to publicly funded research.

Please email or post comments to this blog no later than January 21, 2010 (the deadline was extended two weeks) answering these questions:

1. How do authors, primary and secondary publishers, libraries, universities, and the federal government contribute to the development and dissemination of peer reviewed papers arising from federal funds now, and how might this change under a public access policy?

2. What characteristics of a public access policy would best accommodate the needs and interests of authors, primary and secondary publishers, libraries, universities, the federal government, users of scientific literature, and the public?

3. Who are the users of peer-reviewed publications arising from federal research? How do they access and use these papers now, and how might they if these papers were more accessible? Would others use these papers if they were more accessible, and for what purpose?

4. How best could federal agencies enhance public access to the peer-reviewed papers that arise from their research funds? What measures could agencies use to gauge whether there is increased return on federal investment gained by expanded access?

5. What features does a public access policy need to have to ensure compliance?

6. What version of the paper should be made public under a public access policy (e.g., the author's peer reviewed manuscript or the final published version)? What are the relative advantages and disadvantages to different versions of a scientific paper?

7. At what point in time should peer-reviewed papers be made public via a public access policy relative to the date a publisher releases the final version? Are there empirical data to support an optimal length of time? Should the delay period be the same or vary for levels of access (e.g., final peer reviewed manuscript or final published article, access under fair use versus alternative license), for federal agencies and scientific disciplines?

8. How should peer-reviewed papers arising from federal investment be made publicly available? In what format should the data be submitted in order to make it easy to search, find, and retrieve and to make it easy for others to link to it? Are there existing digital standards for archiving and interoperability to maximize public benefit? How are these anticipated to change?

9. Access demands not only availability, but also meaningful usability. How can the federal government make its collections of peer-reviewed papers more useful to the American public? By what metrics (e.g., number of articles or visitors) should the Federal government measure success of its public access collections? What are the best examples of usability in the private sector (both domestic and international)? And, what makes them exceptional? Should those who access papers be given the opportunity to comment or provide feedback?

Please be sure to include your name, title and affiliation if applicable, city, and state. Thank you for making these important comments! (talk) 03:53, 25 December 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedi mention in one comment fwiw,

Nerdseeksblonde (talk) 12:07, 29 December 2009 (UTC)

talk page archival[edit]

I've been told to not archive a talk page Talk:Primeverse/Archive 1 because the editor said the actual talk page was an archive Talk:Primeverse but at the time I did it, it was active [18]. See User talk:Collectonian#Future predator. I don't see why a talk page to an page Primeverse should be turned into an archive, since the page is still live. Where would you discuss the redirect? I have seen discussions on the redirects themselves occur on redirect talkpages.

Are redirect talk pages live? Shouldn't they be live? (talk) 05:02, 25 December 2009 (UTC)

See for the old discussion I had with user:Collectonian, since he deleted the conversation from his talk page. (talk) 05:25, 25 December 2009 (UTC)
The article was redirected. It has properly been marked as a talk archive with the header noting the new talk page is the full article. This is done with every such redirect/merge talk page, versus deletion of the talk page. IP pointlessly "archived" the page to another page when it was beyond unnecessary. -- Collectonian (talk · contribs) 05:18, 25 December 2009 (UTC)
The redirect is a live page, and discussion on the redirect should occur on the redirect's talk page, which means it should be live. If it were an archive, talk concerning the redirect would be dumped into an archive while a live discussion is going on, and that shouldn't happen. (talk) 05:24, 25 December 2009 (UTC)
Redirects are not articles. There is nothing to discuss on them anymore. The talk page was for an article that was redirect. It is properly archived as is, without your silly moving of it to another page. -- Collectonian (talk · contribs) 05:27, 25 December 2009 (UTC)
Redirects are not articles, but they are still pages, and still live, and I have seen discussions dealing with the redirects themselves on redirect talk pages, which would seem to be the appropriate page to place the discussion. (talk) 05:49, 25 December 2009 (UTC)
I agree with the IP here. Redirects may not be articles right now but they may have been articles in the past and they may well be articles again in the future. -- Derek Ross | Talk 17:49, 29 December 2009 (UTC)
At which point they can be unmarked as an archive, versus the IP's preferences which actually do a defacto hide that there was every any discussion, and may make it harder for anyone curious about the redirect to know if it was redirected/merged for a reason. -- Collectonian (talk · contribs) 18:04, 29 December 2009 (UTC)

Harej running for BAG[edit]

This is due notification that I have been nominated to become a member of the Bot Approvals Group. My nomination is here. @harej 05:46, 29 December 2009 (UTC)


Here's something I don't recall running across before: an article (Titus Canyon) that repeats, word for word, the content of a section within another article (Places_of_interest_in_the_Death_Valley_area#Titus_Canyon. The content was added in both places by the same editor on the same date. It has issues—including how-to, travelogue, sourcing, and probably OR—but before cleaning or tagging I'd like to know what to do about the redundancy and don't know of a relevant policy or guideline. Rivertorch (talk) 06:53, 29 December 2009 (UTC)

  • I don't quite follow. What do you need advice/opinion about, exactly?
    V = I * R (talk to Ohms law) 07:12, 29 December 2009 (UTC)
  • Standard practice is for Places_of_interest_in_the_Death_Valley_area#Titus_Canyon to summarize the Titus Canyon article. This might be a simple matter of replicating the entire lead. Josh Parris 08:32, 29 December 2009 (UTC)
Thanks, Josh. That makes sense. Rivertorch (talk) 19:05, 29 December 2009 (UTC)

Article in national post mentions Wikipedia[edit]

See: national post.

--Kim Bruning (talk) 13:40, 24 December 2009 (UTC)

That's actually a blog posting by one of the columnists hosted by the newspaper; it doesn't appear in the newspaper as an article. Mindmatrix 14:25, 24 December 2009 (UTC)
Any comments on the posting? --Kim Bruning (talk) 09:59, 31 December 2009 (UTC)

How do I cite a catalog reference on the web[edit]

I added a reference to Wen Tianxiang by David Burgess.I have the following link to the library source for the Maters Thesis. I would like to know what is the best way to add it to the reference. I have reviewed the template information and I have not been able to find anything.

Thank You

Geminni —Preceding unsigned comment added by Geminni (talkcontribs) 17:40, 30 December 2009 (UTC)

See page source. Using {{cite}}:
Burgess, David J. (1985), Wen Tianxiang: a preliminary study of his life and poetry 
OrangeDog (τ • ε) 18:09, 30 December 2009 (UTC)

I had already gone to that page, but none of the categories seem to fit. url = is for references to copies of the book or parts of the book exist. doi = is for a digital object identifier. There are several other link references, but none seem to fit. The reference I have noted above will only give you information on were to find the source in the George Washington University. Do you have any other suggestions? Originally, I made a note after the entry, but it became surrounded by a dotted box. I was not sure what the dotted box indicated, so I took it out. Thank You--Geminni (talk) 21:28, 30 December 2009 (UTC)

Dotted boxes happen
when you start lines with superflous whitespace
because MediaWiki thinks you are trying to use <code> tags.
URL links aren't necessary unless the source is only available online. See WP:Offline sources for details. As the paper doesn't appear to have any other internet presence, the GWU link seems as good as any. OrangeDog (τ • ε) 10:24, 31 December 2009 (UTC)

Backlog at Special:NewPages completely cleared[edit]

[19], thanks to this perfectly sane editor. –MuZemike 04:24, 31 December 2009 (UTC)

Here's the proof, by the way. –MuZemike 04:27, 31 December 2009 (UTC)
WOW! Though I don't know that I'd call him sane ;-) -- Collectonian (talk · contribs) 04:35, 31 December 2009 (UTC)
So how many new pages did we have this month? OrangeDog (τ • ε) 13:02, 31 December 2009 (UTC)
Nice work. - Rjd0060 (talk) 19:53, 31 December 2009 (UTC)

"Fixing" English[edit]

I just read this article on Ars Technica that I figured many of you would appreciate: Purging the Queen's English of "tweet," "app," and "sexting". Enjoy, and Happy New (Decade)!
V = I * R (talk to Ohms law) 00:19, 1 January 2010 (UTC)

One More Question About Criticism Sections[edit]

Why do so few of the pages have a criticism section anymore? This makes all the article seem like a one sided discussion. You will lose many readers and have fewer visitors to this web site because there are so few open minded articles in it anymore. I liked wiki how it was before.


from wiki user J Jensen seatle wa —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:57, 25 December 2009 (UTC)

See Wikipedia:Criticism sections. Their not forbidden, but their decidedly discouraged. From personal experience, integrating most of the content in criticism sections usually (not always) makes for a better, easier to read, article.
V = I * R (talk to Ω) 02:31, 26 December 2009 (UTC)

Based on my experience with them, I think Jimbo gets to the heart of it most pithily: "And I agree with the view expressed by others that often, they are a symptom of bad writing. That is, it isn't that we should not include the criticisms, but that the information should be properly incorporated throughout the article rather than having a troll magnet section of random criticisms." There are times when they're appropriate, but they should be used sparingly. Askari Mark (Talk) 20:22, 1 January 2010 (UTC)

Bot: New pages with ambiguous links[edit]

I'm currently requesting approval for a bot that will place a message on the talk page of any new namespace 0, 6, 10 or 14 article with ambiguous links. See Wikipedia:Bots/Requests_for_approval/WildBot. Josh Parris 03:00, 3 January 2010 (UTC)

Site with perverted version of Wikipedia articles[edit]

It seems that the site is a "distorted mirror" of Wikipedia. It serves WP articles after arbitrarily replacing a percentage of the words by other words, so that the articles look right but are actually nonsense. See e.g their Iron article. Since they are offering advertising space, I suppose that the motivation is to fool the Google filters that supress duplicate hits. Should we be concerned? Is there someting we can do? All the best, --Jorge Stolfi (talk) 04:45, 4 January 2010 (UTC)

It doesn't seem that WP is being attributed on that page (which is blatant SEO spam), and there's no mention of the license (only a link to the GFDL), which would make this a copyright violation (as it's violating the terms of the licences under which WP content is available). The process for dealing with that is detailed at Wikipedia:Mirrors and forks#Non-compliance process. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 11:17, 4 January 2010 (UTC)

New template[edit]

{{Progress meter}}

I've been working on this for about three days, and it is now done. Please note that I did most of the initial work on test-wiki. That aside, when I was creating this template, I was not aware of others such as Template:Progress bar or Template:Progress, or others. However, looking at the code, they are not a nearly customizable as the one I have created. I just hope that it can be useful.— dαlus Contribs 03:29, 5 January 2010 (UTC)

Why can't we view deleted edits?[edit]

From my understanding, administrators have the privilege of viewing any user's deleted edits (as in edits that occurred in an article that was later deleted). What is the rationale behind this? We're completely restricted from viewing any record whatsoever of deleted edits; we can only find out the number. If the means are available to admins, why are they not at least partially available to regular users?--Stinging Swarm talk 09:45, 5 January 2010 (UTC)

Presumably the same reason that deleted pages are not visible to ordinary users. People aren't supposed to see deleted things, that is why they were deleted. OrangeDog (τε) 11:17, 5 January 2010 (UTC)
Deleted material is still occasionally useful for a number of administrative purposes. Non-administrators don't need access to them because they're not carrying out administrative actions. What is the use case here? Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 11:44, 5 January 2010 (UTC)
...oversight? *shrug* (not "oversight" in the bureaucrat/steward sense, but the ability of regular users to see that "admins" aren't actually abusing their privileges)
V = I * R (talk to Ohms law) 12:26, 5 January 2010 (UTC)
I believe the answer to the question is a legal one, Stinging Swarm. See discussion here.  Skomorokh  12:35, 5 January 2010 (UTC)
I've seen this mentioned before, and it always surprises me somewhat. The fact that Mike and the Foundation have indicated that it might somehow be safer to specifically allow a handpicked group (we know that the WMF doesn't directly control admin status, but the courts don't.) of personnel access to "hidden" materiel on Wikipedia would seem to make the Foundation especially vulnerable. That nothing has happened yet to test that is likely more of a testament to the general goodwill accorded to Wikipedia then a lack of opportunity.
Not that I really care that much. The implementation of any such system/feature could easily address any actual legal concerns, I would think. I could easily imagine a system which does not require the use of user rights at all, where deleted materiel would be moved to a visible holding pen and deleted on a timed queue (unless there was a real need to actually delete something immediately of course). Anyway, I just wish that we would quit talking about legal issues here. As editors, even if you're a lawyer in real life, you're not a lawyer as an editor. Isn't there an essay/guideline about exactly that, someplace?
V = I * R (talk to Ohms law) 13:03, 5 January 2010 (UTC)
But the thing is as mentioned in the linked discussion, we as a community aren't talking about legal issues. Our lawyer did (albeit concuring with another editor) and basically killed the earlier proposal. [20] As your yourself say, you're not a lawyer as an editor, so even if you disagree with our lawyer, sorry but we don't care. You could of course take it up with Mike Godwin directly or the Foundation, but that's not something that needs discussing here. In any case, until and unless our lawyer or the foundation changes their mind, this proposal, the same as the earlier one, is basically dead in the water regardless of your disagreement with our lawyer's opinion... (Technically, we could still take a proposal as a community to the foundation but it's clear few want to do that, and they are entitled to believe that we should just accept their advice of our lawyer even if you don't wish to. Note that accepting the advice of our lawyer doesn't mean we are discussing legal issues. In fact those who wish to ignore the advice of our lawyer are usually the ones that are going to have to discuss legal issues since they need to explain why they're ignoring our lawyer's advice, as this discussions illustrates and there's little chance the foundation is going to ignore their lawyer's advice.) Nil Einne (talk) 00:48, 6 January 2010 (UTC)
Your assumptions are showing...
V = I * R (talk to Ohms law) 06:57, 6 January 2010 (UTC)
Personally I've always thought that auto confirmed users should be able to view deleted edits, not quite sure what you're basing the statement that very few people are interested in taking a proposal to the foundation on? SpitfireTally-ho! 07:26, 6 January 2010 (UTC)

Fantastic FAC video spoof on YouTube[edit]

It's hilarious! :-) See the video here and the discussion at Wikipedia_talk:Featured_article_candidates#Video_spoof. Enjoy! Colds7ream (talk) 11:56, 5 January 2010 (UTC)


All is there a MOS that applies to linking to categories in the article text or infobox such as Template:Nationfilmlist if not can can users offer there opinions Gnevin (talk) 17:31, 6 January 2010 (UTC)

I need an opinion on an idea as it related to policy[edit]

I borrowed (and credited, before anyone asks) the userpage design I current have from Phaedriel. She has a system to cycle her today's wikipedian section so that every 24-hours it auto-rotates, and I was considering doing something like that for quotes and thoughts and observation that I like to make occasionally. Before I went forward with the idea I wanted to know if that was frowned on in any respects. TomStar81 (Talk) 06:58, 2 January 2010 (UTC)

I don't know what part would be objectionable really. Templates like {{QOTD}} are quite popular in fact, so I dare say on-topic stuff would be fine as well (civil, of course). - Jarry1250 [Humorous? Discuss.] 18:08, 2 January 2010 (UTC)
Thanks. I will see about putting my idea into effect then. TomStar81 (Talk) 13:32, 8 January 2010 (UTC)


Will somebody please help me merging these 3 images to Wikimedia Commons? I can not do it myself.

[[File:Rotunda interior steinway hall nyc mia laberge art case piano.jpg]]
[[File:Artist mia laberge at kennedy center unveil of art case steinway.jpg]]
[[File:Artist mia laberge with henzy z steinway.jpg]]

At Commons there is a category named Steinway & Sons. The 3 images can be added to this category.

Thank you. Fanoftheworld (talk) 09:46, 8 January 2010 (UTC)

Chair of the Mediation Committee[edit]

This notice is to formally announce that I will be retiring from the role as chair of the Mediation Committee, effective from 10 January 2010. After discussion on the committee's mailing list, it has been decided that the position of chair will be divided between two users; Seddon (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · logs · edit filter log · block user · block log) and Xavexgoem (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · logs · edit filter log · block user · block log).

May I take this opportunity to thank members of the committee for their hard work and cooperation this year. May I also thank all members of the community who have used the mediation process over the last year - without your good faith in entrusting us to help solve your disputes there would be no Mediation Committee and I've enjoyed interacting with each and every one of you. It's been an absolute pleasure to serve as the chair of the committee over the last year and in many ways I'm sad that I'm leaving the role. That said, I'm looking forward to the new found enthusiasm that Seddom and Xavexgoem will no doubt bring. I wish them both the best of luck.


Ryan PostlethwaiteSee the mess I've created or let's have banter 01:45, 9 January 2010 (UTC)

Okay, hands up anyone who wants to discuss.....[edit]

Moved from Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents. --MZMcBride (talk) 07:29, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

  • Clarification: BLP means Biography of Living Persons. See wp:BLP. --DThomsen8 (talk) 12:16, 9 January 2010 (UTC)

[Link removed see below]. In October while I was told about this website as a place where concerned editors were discussing what to do about BLPs, and that the board was private and pseudonyms were being used, and that there were a number of people using it (24?). Rather than detail all the rumours I was told, I thought I'd throw it up here and see what folks thought. At the time, I told the arbitration committee and left it with them. However, upon thinking about it, I am not comfortable with the idea that there is another secret board which I have on idea about whether it is wound up or...what? How do folks feel? Discussing this may highlight to WMF how frustrated some folks are with the BLP issue. I was tempted to make an RfC but there was no dispute as such other editors want the board made not-secret? or what? Casliber (talk · contribs) 05:15, 22 December 2009 (UTC)

Who's in charge? Can we trust them? I've heard of certain external forums where the IP addresses of participants were used in less-than-admirable ways, so I'm loath to buy a pig in a poke as my people would put it. The BLP mess needs fixing but let's be sure what the nature of this forum really is. Short Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 05:21, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
Empty forum ... I registered, and still nothing there. Still no permission to view anything. Perhaps they're just looking for people who will stupidly give them their wikipedia account name and password. oops. :-) Proofreader77 (talk) 05:26, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
Is it possible that some kind soul "in the know" could tell the rest of us what this is about? What website, who is private, what pseudomymns, what is the other "secret board", and what has any of this to do with WP:SOFIXIT transforming itself by some untraceable magic into goatse? Oh yes, and what does this have to do with the usually quite coherent Casliber?
Err, nearly all decent forum software will salt your password so that it's impossible for even those with database access to retrieve it. (Obviously it could be recorded on submit, but my God what a waste of time. Why would I want your password? Mine is far more useful!) --MZMcBride (talk) 05:53, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
If you ever read my password, you'd understand why it's the top selling password on Amazon. ;-) Proofreader77 (talk) 06:25, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
Err. What. Why would arbcom or anyone on wikipedia need to know about a site like that? And what's wrong with the current "forum to talk about wikipedia's BLP problem". The EEML thing aside, we don't live in a vacuum. Like minded folks are going to coordinate outside the confines of the project. Frankly the less intertwined wikipedia and the "BADSITE" are, the healthier each is. Protonk (talk) 05:59, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps it is just me, but Casliber's link sends me to goatse. ÷seresin 06:05, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
WTF, me too. Something I never wantred to see. Heironymous Rowe (talk)
Me three. I have an odd suspicion the board admins have seen this discussion. Tony Fox (arf!) 06:14, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
Haha. It now redirects to the pic. No I probably do not want 'them' to decide what to do with BLPs. Unomi (talk) 06:18, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
Could one of the "in" crowd tell those of us who haven't a clue just what this thread is about, and how it all relates to secret boards whose board admins have now "seen this discussion", and all explained in plain (or even fancy) English? How did sofixit become goatse and what has all this to do with external forums, BLPs and Casliber's usually quite coherent proposals? It would be a very kind gesture to enlighten the rest of us. Bielle (talk) 07:23, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
why is this an incident requiring admin attention. Personally I've discussed BLPs and associated problems off-line (you know not using the internet) and there is no problem with this. If there is such a forum, how is that different from a phone conference, meeting over coffee, or any other way that Wikipedian's meet to discuss things? Unless there is some evildoing to point to, what is the problem ? - Peripitus (Talk) 08:13, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
  • Do you have any proof that what you say is indeed happening on that site? If not then why are you bringing this up here? --Coffee // have a cup // ark // 08:36, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
  • Ok, there seems to be a fundamental problem with this thread. Wikipedia does not have any control over other websites. They can close their doors and discuss Wikipedia all they want, and there's not a damn thing admins, ArbCom, or even Jimbo can do about it. Also, I am personally a strong believer that any off-wiki activity except outing someone is irrelevant as far as on-wiki activity is concerned. So, I don't see any need to continue this conversation. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Beeblebrox (talkcontribs)

I have seen it again and again, when veteran editors don't support an initiative, they will use procedural grounds, such as "wrong forum" to close the topic.

Casliber, a former arbcom, has a link showing possible evidence of a new secret mailing list. I suspect there is probably more evidence too?

Beeblebrox, ARK, Peripitus are you members of secret mailing list?

Casliber, if you don't start a RFC, I will. Will supporters of the flagged revision attempt to procedurally close the RFC too? Ikip 12:21, 22 December 2009 (UTC)

The link is: [link removed] I suggest the community decide for themselves. Per talk page rules, please not delete this link again. Ikip 12:25, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
Is this some kind of crude joke Casliber? The link goes to a really crude picture now. If the site existed, I hope you scrapped it, before you made this public. Ikip 12:30, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
The most likely explanation, as per above, is that the site admins redirected upon learning of this thread. Throwaway85 (talk) 12:34, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Ikip, did you read the thread before posting? For future ref don't click on any links where "goatse" is mentioned.   pablohablo. 12:37, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
Which image did it link to? That may tell us something about the admin's level of creativity and knowledge of shock sites. Jehochman Make my day 22:17, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
Or Wikipedia. It was linked directly to the Wikipedia file that is used on the Wikipedia article for Goatse. Please note that article and the file in its infobox are NOT SAFE FOR WORK. Risker (talk) 22:40, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
I dug through the contribution lists to find the site Casliber linked to above, & used that nice utility known as whois to shed a little light on the matter. The domain in question is owned by another domain, "", which is based in Chesterbrook, Pennsylvania; I don't know of any Wikipedians/Wikimedians associated with that town. There is a name attached to the domain, but the person is not familiar to me either. (I'm off to bed, & leave further conspiratorial speculations to the rest of you.) -- llywrch (talk) 06:54, 23 December 2009 (UTC)
This may be of interest. NW (Talk) 11:21, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

Unresolving. The word on the street is that this was a forum that was dedicated to tightening up BLP practices and that its members were coordinating to affect the outcomes of AFD discussions. There was nothing visible there because threads were deleted as soon as a discussion was closed. I'm hearing things about who was a member there, but am not repeating any names without independent confirmation. It appears possible to test the veracity of this by writing a script to test for unusual clusters of recent participation at AFDs of BLP subjects. Would one of our coders look into that avenue, please? At the very least it would help to settle the concerns if this is untrue. And if it is true (or nearly so) I would for my own part suggest amnesty for anyone who steps forward and explains this to the community within the next 24 hours. Durova386 04:06, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

I registered an account there, as "Earl Gray". I also have not looked at the website since making the account, much less make any edits. I also don't even remember my password. I think monsters are being seen here. Keegan (talk) 05:35, 23 December 2009 (UTC)
While you may have a point about clustering of votes, I am afraid it is much, much more likely to show clusters of voters coming in to "save" articles from deletion. The philosophical divide between the so-called "inclusionists vs deletionists" has been present for longer than almost everybody editing today has been registered on this site, and any study will show that certain editors fairly consistently vote in certain ways. Therefore, any such exercise will serve only to demonise those who have a common philosophy; witch-hunts to point fingers at people as possibly being a member of such a forum, when the same philosophy or voting pattern may be shared by hundreds of others who are completely uninvolved, is precisely what Wikipedia is not. Shall we also equally suspect that inclusionists are using secret, yet undiscovered forums to force loosening of the GNG, or ganging up to keep articles of little worth? I am rather certain that my own votes weigh heavily on the deletionist side, not because I am a true deletionist, but because there's little motivation to comment in favour of keeping articles when the overwhelming majority are kept, and when the threshold for deletion is constantly being raised. I can quite assure everyone that I do not participate in any external Wikipedia-related forums for any purpose. Risker (talk) 04:30, 23 December 2009 (UTC)
Actually, analysis of clustered AFD participations was one of the things that exposed the Poetlister sockfarm. An arbitration case has just come to completion about offsite coordination. The only fair thing to do is to look into all such matters evenhandedly when they arise. Durova386 04:39, 23 December 2009 (UTC)
In the EEML case, you voted for this principle, and described it as the heart of the case. If this is, in fact, a site where a long list of administrators coordinated activity on deletions and other BLP related work, and where multiple steps were taken to obscure the Wikipedia usernames of those involved... I find it hard to square your vote in the EEML case with your comment here, which seems to suggest we let it go. Nathan T 04:40, 23 December 2009 (UTC)
Hundreds of editors comment on AfDs every week; it's not the same two dozen or so, as was the case in the EEML. AfD is a highly public forum, as opposed to individual articles; activity at AfD is regularly scrutinised on an ongoing basis by many editors and administrators. As to such patterns meaning anything, all one has to do is run the same scripts looking for onwiki statements to find the editors most likely to vote keep or delete of BLPs onwiki, in case nobody has already noticed the same names in discussions (on both sides of the spectrum) for a long time. Some editors spend a great deal of time notifying all sorts of onwiki projects about ongoing deletion discussions (and more credit to them, as their work draws the interest of our diverse editor base), which means that there is no reasonable manner in which to differentiate people who have come to a discussion because they're watching onwiki pages or offwiki pages. Risker (talk) 05:39, 23 December 2009 (UTC)
Let's just not look into collusion this time, shall we? Disclaimer: irony
You're really not listening, Durova. This is a topic in which a few hundred Wikipedians are involved in on a near-daily basis, posting throughout the encyclopedia on public pages that anyone can see. Many people have openly declared their positions on this topic, in multiple onwiki pages. We have onwiki resources that specifically seek to draw interested editors to these public and widely read discussions. That the same names keep coming up is going to tell us that the same names keep coming up; there's no way to tell the source of their interest unless someone sends their archives in, as happened in the EEML case, and there is obvious collusion and canvassing as became apparent in the EEML case. Telling us that something exists doesn't mean that there is anything we can do about it. Risker (talk) 06:04, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

I skimmed this thread and was left with two questions:

  1. Did Durova get all of her information in a Skype conversation (off-wiki activity by Wikipedians, oh my!)?
  2. Where in the hell did Durova get the idea that she has the power to grant people amnesty?

I'd suggest re-archiving this thread. I don't see any good coming of it. Though, as always, sense will be tossed aside in favor of wiki-sleuthing over a lazy holiday. *shrugs* --MZMcBride (talk) 07:20, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

This is way ahead of that discussion, Risker. People didn't think there was much to be done about Mantanmoreland either, and someone had even been using malware to try to figure out whether he was socking. That dragged on for two years until the community finally rolled up its sleeves and looked at edit histories. That was when we finally got consensus that he was gaming the system. Durova386 18:42, 23 December 2009 (UTC)
MZMcBride, from what I can tell, you were involved in this forum in some capacity. Therefore, your requests to archive the discussion tend to inflame suspicions. I, for one, don't really understand what this group was up to. If you or someone else could explain it to us publicly (or even to arbcom-l), I think it would do a lot for promoting transparency. Among the reasonable questions one might have: (1) Does the group still operate? (2) Did vote-stacking occur? Cool Hand Luke 10:16, 25 December 2009 (UTC)
It looks like a forum to discuss biographies of living people. Forums have a number of benefits over using Wikipedia (far less visibility, no database dumps, greater anonymity, better software, etc.). I didn't vote-stack and I don't believe anyone else did, though all of the discussions seem to have been deleted by the person running the site, so I can't really say for sure (it had been months since I last logged in before I did so a few days ago). For all I know, there could have been a massive cabal, but I doubt it. --MZMcBride (talk) 06:42, 26 December 2009 (UTC)
this suggests that it set off a raw nerve with you, so I find this hard to believe. Casliber (talk · contribs) 06:51, 26 December 2009 (UTC)
Well, people are quick to look for an agenda behind my posts, so I don't think it's unreasonable to look for one behind yours. I realize it's the holidays, but an incredibly stupid deletion nomination followed by a wholly inappropriate post at a noticeboard for incidents needing administrator attention? I was taking the good faith approach and simply assuming you were burned out and needed a break. Though, if that isn't the case, I'm back left wondering why you're making the moves you're making (and doing it in such a haphazard, amateurish fashion). --MZMcBride (talk) 07:07, 26 December 2009 (UTC)
Come off it MZM, you are doing your best to bury this thread, and moving it was one way. I had placed it there as it was a flag of user conduct for review - agreed there was nothing much to do while no-one admitted, but your behaviour ever since suggest you know very well what the site is and are intimately involved. And now the I-don't-know-what-the-site-is-oh-yes-I-do-but-not-much come over as lame. Hence the AN/I board seems entirely appropriate to me. So I made a delete call which sank? Who cares Happens all the time. I'd like you to quit hurling negative adjectives in my direction and admit you were/are annoyed by the thread's presence. Casliber (talk · contribs) 20:25, 26 December 2009 (UTC)
Err, I think it was rather obvious I was annoyed by the thread's presence, though I don't think it's the same type of annoyance you think it is. I wasn't really annoyed that you wanted to discuss the site. I realized long ago that anything involving Wikipedians will never stay secret or internal or private for long, and the nature of this particular endeavor made that ten times truer. My annoyance came from where you placed the thread, and it annoyed me enough that I decided to move the thread myself. Cas, you're not new here. You know that AN/I isn't the place you go to just "have a conversation" with the community about something. That's what the village pumps are for. AN/I is a filthy cesspool of drama—it's a place where you post if you're after some sort of administrator action or review, not somewhere you post if you're after a calm and rational discussion of the serious issues facing biographies of living people and what steps (if any) people are taking to address these issues, on-site or off. And even if you'd managed to spend the last three-and-a-half years here and still have not figured out where to post, there are giant boxes at the top of the pages explaining this. (And I say this as someone who has posted in the wrong place before with some regularity.)

I'm still curious (perhaps concerned is a better word) about your motivations, which didn't look particularly pure from the start and you've certainly done nothing over the past few days to make them look any purer (though undoubtedly you'd say the same of me). You say you're after some type of "user conduct" review, but you know that trying to regulate off-site behavior is a powder keg. When you're posting to AN/I about the erotic fiction that some users administer or the other off-site activities that Wikipedians are involved in, it'll make your quest for "review" here seem a bit more legitimate. But you know that it's patently none of your damn business what people choose to do (or discuss) elsewhere. You're truly in no position to judge what others do with their free time, you can only judge what people do on-site. If you find a pattern of impropriety on Wikipedia by specific users, by all means, feel free to post to AN/I and ask for review. But that's not what you did. You didn't do your homework and then ask for help when you got stuck, did you? (And, as Risker notes, the irony here is that if you did a large-scale analysis of voting behavior in deletion discussions, the odds heavily favor finding collusion among inclusionists, not deletionists.)

You've known about this site since October and only decided to discuss this now. Why? I don't know. Perhaps you've just been busy, but when I look at the broader pattern of your behavior lately, it looks like you're hitting some stage of burnout. This could be an isolated week for you, but I doubt it. Simply put, for all intents and purposes, it looks like you're trolling. Nobody goes to post at AN/I unless they're looking for drama. Nobody goes to file a deletion discussion for a page involved in a weeks-long nasty dispute unless they're looking for drama. I'm not saying I agree or disagree with your actions, but they're pretty transparent trolling (to me, at least, "it takes one to know one," as they say). And trolling is usually one of the stages of burnout (Cremepuff222 just re-demonstrated this lesson pretty spectacularly). If we go back a bit further, I think there are some pretty clear indicators you're (slowly) burning out. The best example of this would probably be your quick drop out from the Arbitration Committee when presented with the opportunity. This is why I politely suggested you take a break, though you blew off the suggestion. Oh well. I've watched this burnout pattern happen a lot (to myself and a lot of others). I'm fairly confident you'll be able to recover, though. So it's not all bleak. :-)

You didn't ask for my analysis or opinion, but I provided it anyway, with the caveat that I could be completely wrong. Though, after a couple of years here, I'm fairly good at spotting these kinds of things. If you want to have a calm and rational discussion about biographies of living people, the benefits and detriments of off-site discussions about biographies, or something similar, here is a pretty good place to start (or on my talk page). I'm more than happy to have a conversation with you if you stop the bullshit and the antics. I hope you're enjoying the holidays. --MZMcBride (talk) 01:32, 27 December 2009 (UTC)

I must say I can't agree with the statement "Nobody goes to post at AN/I unless they're looking for drama." Were that true, we wouldn't need an AN/I board. We could close it down and reduce drama. I'm also confused by the "It looks like a forum to discuss biographies of living people." comment, which was apparently posted after the link changed. Firsfron of Ronchester 05:43, 27 December 2009 (UTC)
If you can't fathom why I wouldn't remain an arb unless dragged kicking and screaming after a few people I respect suggested it was time to leave then that says more about you than me. But I will leave this discussion now and you can explain to the community at large rather than continually deflecting.Casliber (talk · contribs) 20:54, 27 December 2009 (UTC)
MZMcBride, it has been suggested that you were the "person running the site." Do you know why people would say that? If it was not you, could you tell us who it was? Feel free to email I, for one, would appreciate candor. Cool Hand Luke 11:06, 27 December 2009 (UTC)
Agreed, some straight answers would be nice. So far MZMcBride has responded by trying to close down the discussion, moving it from ANI, throwing in tl;dr distractions like turning on Casliber and complaining about inclusionists, and claiming that Wikipedia wants to control all off-site activities of its editors. This is all smoke and mirrors. MZMcBride appears to have been running a forum at which admins and others coordinated their activities in getting BLPs deleted (a la the Eastern European mailing list, which just ended in lengthy bans), and once this forum was revealed at ANI someone redirected it to goatse, which really makes me respect those involved </sarc>. Then MZMcBride joined the thread about it, like a criminal returning to the scene of the crime. So, who else has been playing silly buggers in the Biography Euthanasia Squadron? Fences&Windows 00:57, 29 December 2009 (UTC)

Well from poking around on the site I can confirm it existed and that the forum was named Sisyphus. Not much else.©Geni 03:56, 25 December 2009 (UTC)

I have reason to believe that it was Professor Plum ... in the library ... with the candlestick. Hurry now, there's not much time before these people take over the world, one free Encyclopedia that anyone can edit at a time. - Rjd0060 (talk) 19:51, 31 December 2009 (UTC)

Did anything come out of this? --Apoc2400 (talk) 16:36, 5 January 2010 (UTC)
See User_talk:MZMcBride#From_the_VP_thread.2C_perhaps_you_didn.27t_see for continuing discussion (or this and following edits if archived. Casliber (talk · contribs) 20:18, 9 January 2010 (UTC)

A copyvio query: the same man puts the same text in Wikipedia and in a web page.[edit]

  • If John writes a web page, and later Peter copies it into a Wikipedia article, then Peter would commit a copyvio. But what if the same man puts the same text in a web page and in a Wikipedia page? Does he commit a "copyvio against himself?" The Wikipedia version is public use; the version in his web page is his copyright. The two contradict. I suspect that we need a ruling here. (In such situations, usually the Wikipedia page is also liable to be deleted as db-spam, but that is incidental.) Anthony Appleyard (talk) 14:21, 9 January 2010 (UTC)
  • No, it's not a copyvio. :) However, he needs to verify his identity in accordance with WP:IOWN. Contributors to Wikipedia do not relinquish copyright in their works, but merely liberally license them for reuse. (In accordance with WP:C: "You retain copyright to materials you contribute to Wikipedia, text and media. Copyright is never transferred to Wikipedia. You can later republish and relicense them in any way you like. However, you can never retract or alter the license for copies of materials that you place here; these copies will remain so licensed until they enter the public domain when your copyright expires (currently some decades after an author's death)." --Moonriddengirl (talk) 14:28, 9 January 2010 (UTC)

(British) New year's honours list[edit]

Just a reminder that honours are only officially conferred when they are conferred (now there's an oxymoron!). Until such time it is incorrect to refer to the subject of any honour by their post-honorific title. I see the obvious showbiz one (Mr Patrick Stewart) had already been knighted which I have corrected but everyone needs to be sharp about this. CrispMuncher (talk) 08:06, 31 December 2009 (UTC)

Just to save some headscratching, our British friend CrispMuncher is talking about this edit to tthe Patrick Stewart article. I'm guessing that our friends across the pond have some tradition about using New Years in order to grant Knighthoods, which is what's bringing this up now...
Comment: I wanted to take the opportunity to comment about this in general. Please keep in mind that I'm not criticizing CrispMuncher specifically here. I personally find it terrible that, as a community, we've taken it upon ourselves to police things like this. Generally speaking it goes something like this: someone with authority to do so puts out a (essentially) press release regarding an upcoming event → news publications publish said press release → readers who are Wikipedia editors read press release → same readers edit related Wikipedia article(s) → other editors revert/edit war over inclusion of content based on "it hasn't happened yet!" (essentially relying on WP:CRYSTAL). As with the vast majority of Wikipedia policy and guidelines, applying the underlying principles of our practices requires a judicious dose of reasoning (often erroniously referred to as "common sense"). To use this as an example, I'm fairly confidant that both the British Aristocracy knows what their doing, and that there is enough attention to this issue that any "outlier" mistakes would be quickly corrected after the fact. If it's reasonably certain that Patrick Stewart is going to be knighted Real Soon Now™, then just leave the edits adding "Sir" to his article alone. Reverting those edits just makes us editors, as a group, look like dicks.
ps.: just to let you all know, I'm on vacation right now and I'm drunk, so if this post makes me look like a dick, please just ignore it!Face-grin.svg
V = I * R (talk to Ohms law) 08:32, 31 December 2009 (UTC)
No, what makes us look like dicks is to be so obsessed with being bang-up-to-date that we are willing to jump the gun, and sacrifice correctness in favour of currency. Stewart is only an example. Has Rick Parfitt got his OBE yet? Has anyone on the list been to see the Queen (or authorised official) and receive their honour? Today's announcements are official ones rather than mere speculation, but it does not change the fact they mere announcements rather than actual conferral. CrispMuncher (talk) 09:12, 31 December 2009 (UTC)
Maybe there's something about the nature of titles that makes this level of "accuracy" worth it, I don't know (although, if you'll allow this upstart American to set aside "good faith" for a moment, I have to say that this looks like some sort of pride issue. I likely just don't have enough respect for the Aristocracy to see the Impending Doom inherent in stating that someone is a "knight" a couple of days before they're "knighted". C'est la vie). I just want to reiterate that my comment really isn't directed at you in particular, nor with the alien social customs of you Brits. Face-wink.svg This (updating articles at the first hint that something has changed) is hardly a new phenomenon, after all. I apologize for making you feel embattled at all, this was merely a convenient post for me to spout off about my unimportant personal views. Just trying to provide a little perspective, is all.
V = I * R (talk to Ohms law) 09:29, 31 December 2009 (UTC)
No offence taken - I fully recognise the difference between robust discussion and personal slight. I do find it slightly objectionable on procedural grounds - would you describe a US President Elect as President simply because he will be President? You may not care for the British honours system or its quirks but that does not affect the validity of those quirks. The difference between announcement and conferment can amount to far more than a few days though - from memory Rudy Guiliani waited several years before receiving his (honourary) knighthood. In fact looking him up I notice another mistake in that honorary knights are not entitled "Sir" as the infobox states.
If Stewart got hit by a bus today, after the announcement but before the Queen's ceremony, would he be "Sir" in his obituary? Would it matter if the bus were powered by dilithium crystals? (The first question is serious ... the second shows that there's something about typing comments online that brings out the 13-year-old.) - DavidWBrooks (talk) 20:27, 31 December 2009 (UTC)
However, I'm smarter than that - that just shows how endemic it is. If the tide can't be turned I'll save my breath since it seems like a lost cause. CrispMuncher (talk) 10:07, 31 December 2009 (UTC)
FWIW, I agree with CrispMucher in the main. Just commenting to point out the honorary knights by convention shouldn't be Sir in the infoboxes (don't know whether you were suggesting they should or shouldn't), IIRC. - Jarry1250 [Humorous? Discuss.] 10:14, 31 December 2009 (UTC)
To be fair (and sensitive), I would say the same if we were talking about swearing someone in to political office (President vs. President Elect). Keeping in mind here several very important qualifiers: The election having been complete, and there being little if any notable controversy about the result, and that the ceremony is within days.
I personally am an ex-military person myself, so the specific honorifics concept that we're discussing here isn't completely foreign to me. Quite a bit of this has to do with context, after all. Taking the POTUS title, as an example: if I were in uniform or serving in some other official capacity at the time, using the term "President" vs. "President Elect" would be extremely important. As a "journalist"/editor, writing a relatively informal ("unofficial" may be more appropriate word choice here) article covering the subject... not so important, as long as the specific context of the writing is considered (ie, saying "The US President Barack Obama, on December 31, 2008, stated..." would absolutely be wrong).
In terms of factual accuracy however, it's important to go in the complete opposite direction! For example, assuming that what you're mentioning above about Rudi is correct (and you would know better then I), then you should absolutely make an edit to his article.
V = I * R (talk to Ohms law) 10:30, 31 December 2009 (UTC)
(ec)Further clarification: It's not like they will become xBE's tomorrow, it could take upwards of a year for their honours to be awarded. Furthermore, if any of them receive criminal sentences or decline their honours then they're not going to receive them at all. Let's avoid rushing ahead to introduce inaccuracies and remember that this is a work in progress. OrangeDog (τε) 10:37, 31 December 2009 (UTC)
They have already indicated they will accept the honours, or the announcement would not have been made. Johnbod (talk) 11:50, 31 December 2009 (UTC)
No doubt, but there's many a slip twixt cup and lip as the saying goes. It's all speculative until after they receive the award. -- Derek Ross | Talk 01:34, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
Just for clarification, Mr. Stewart has been named to the Order of the British Empire (OBE)- OBE's are NOT entitled to the honorific "Sir" or "Dame". Only Knight Commanders of the British Emprire (KCBO) and above are entitled to be addressed as "Sir" or "Dame", so using "Sir" in the Stewart article is inaccurate either way. Thought that fact might be pertinent here. DaysOfFuturePassed 01:49, 5 January 2010 (UTC)
Stewart was already an Officer of the Order of the British Empire; he will be knighted as a Knight Bachelor, hence the slightly confusing combination of "Sir" and "OBE". Waltham, The Duke of 02:34, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
What about Tony Blair, who AFAIK has not collected his Congressional Medal (is it?) after what, 3 years now? Johnbod (talk) 10:46, 31 December 2009 (UTC)
Being awarded a Congressional Medal does not involve a change of name or style, and AFAIK though he has not collected it Tony Blair has still been awarded it, whereas Patrick Stewart will not be a knight until the monarch dubs him with a sword, not when it is announced. OrangeDog (τε) 11:32, 31 December 2009 (UTC)
well yea, I did (heavily) qualify my comment above with the fact that I know next to nothing about the specific subject (British honorary titles, or whatever they are). Maybe there's something about this particular subject that makes it especially important, and based on the above three comments that seems to be likely... I was just trying to generally comment about how we tend to be "bitey" when it comes to this area of behavior, is all. Part of the problem is the interface; since these sorts of issues are rather black and white, the info can either be in the article or not be there. I think that it's probably a good idea for "patrollers" to make a real effort to explain themselves in these cases, is all. Do the revert, but post on the talk page and on the users talk page, explaining the deal. Which, incidentally, kudos to CrispMuncher for starting this discussion!
V = I * R (talk to Ohms law) 11:43, 31 December 2009 (UTC)
I may need to revise my opinion[21]. The BBC could always be wrong of course. OrangeDog (τε) 13:56, 31 December 2009 (UTC)
"Has received a knighthood in the honours list" still does not automatically imply "is a knight". If my numbers came up on Saturday then I'd have "won the Lottery", but that wouldn't "make me rich" until I'd actually cashed the cheque. FWIW this comes up on a daily basis on football-related articles (where a player's move to another club may have been agreed in principle but not actually finalised for some time) and the general consensus is that while edit warring over something which appears to be a virtual certainty is a waste of time it is better to be slightly cautious than to be seen to encourage people to post "0-day" material, especially on BLPs. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 11:27, 4 January 2010 (UTC)
In case no-one clicked the link above, it demonstrates that the BBC is currently reporting the names of those in question as "Sir/Dame X". As we're supposed to follow reliable sources I would have to say we should follow the BBC, unless most other major news agencies are not already using the honorifics. OrangeDog (τε) 10:59, 5 January 2010 (UTC)
That's a matter of style, not a factual contradiction. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 11:41, 5 January 2010 (UTC)