Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)/Archive 35

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Change the way speedy, proposed and AfD deletion-tags work

Disclaimer: This is just an idea that's been floating in my mind. I do not have a full-scale proposal nor have I thought about major flaws very much.

I have been wondering, if it wasn't better to code the deletion-process into the software somehow. Currently when you notice a page that either meets WP:CSD or WP:PROD or warrants a AfD for other reasons, you use {{db}}, {{prod}} or {{afd}} to notify people of it. Problem is, as I have noticed, that those editor's, whose articles are tagged as such, may remove those templates and sometimes this allows them to stall or even avoid deletion because when a speedy-tag is removed, it needs to be re-added for an admin to notice about the speedy-worthiness of this article. So I wondered, if that could be changed. The de-wiki uses a process to mark revisions as stable. While I do not think that process will be much use here, a similar idea could solve the deletion problem:

Instead of marking versions as stable, we could use such marking to mark pages as deletable. Like this: An established user (autoconfirmed) can tick the box "mark this article for deletion" and is then able to select the process, i.e. Speedy (with criteria), Prod (with reason) or AfD. The marking can only be removed by this user or an admin. Admins could also set articles to never be marked as deletable (like a deletable=sysop flag). That way no especially created accounts could try and stall deletion of their pages and we could avoid edit wars about such tags because an admin will decide if the tag is to stay in place and that's it.

Okay, that's roughly my idea. I now accept all insults as to why this is a bad idea and all flaws pointed out to me. Please be gentle ;-) SoWhy 08:01, 4 September 2008 (UTC)

I have a prototype implementation of deletion process in software. In a few months, I will have more time available to work on Wikimedia stuff, and it will be tested, and hopefully taken live. — Werdna • talk 12:14, 4 September 2008 (UTC)
Why it's a bad idea? Some admins do not bother to review a page before speedy, some editors maliciously or incompetently add speedy tags, some editors don't bother to inform anyone about tags they have added. Preventing the removal of speedy tags by other editors would make an already heated process even more fraught. Sorry. DuncanHill (talk) 12:20, 4 September 2008 (UTC)
Well, let's see:
  • Admins should do so and if they don't, it's not the processes' fault
  • Yes, some do but usually only newbies (that's why I'd restrict it to autoconfirmed)
  • how exactly is not informing others a problem of my proposal and not rather one of those users?
  • How so? Wouldn't it prevent an edit war over it and allow admins to prevent people from tagging pages for deletion?
Have you got more reasons? ;-) SoWhy 12:38, 4 September 2008 (UTC)
Making it harder for editors to remove improperly added speedy tags will increase the problems associated with the speedy process - the ability of any editor (other than the creator) to remove speedy tags is fundamental to the process. Most of the incorrectly added speedy tags I have seen have been added by autoconfirmed users. Not informing others is a problem of the speedy process as a whole, and your process would exacerbate the problems caused by this. DuncanHill (talk) 12:57, 4 September 2008 (UTC)
I would add (similar point to that below) that the {{speedy}} includes the phrase "If this page does not meet the criteria for speedy deletion, or you intend to fix it, please remove this notice" - your proposal would require that to be replaced with "If this page does not meet the criteria for speedy deletion, or you intend to fix it, there is nothing you can do unless you are an admin or the person who added this notice". DuncanHill (talk) 12:59, 4 September 2008 (UTC)
The nature of {{prod}} specifically provides for de-prodding and subsequent AFD discussion. I don't see this in your proposal. Please elaborate, how {{prod}} can be contested in your scheme. NVO (talk) 12:52, 4 September 2008 (UTC)
Well, it's just an idea. Of course you could set removal rights to "autoconfirmed"-users as well. As I said at the top, I just proposed a basic idea for changing template-usage to built-in processes. The specifics are open to change of course :-) SoWhy 13:02, 4 September 2008 (UTC)

As implemented, speedy tags can be reviewed by anyone with the appropriate rights (not necessarily the right to delete pages), but can be objected to and endorsed by regular users, which advise the decision of whoever reviews speedy deletion. For prod, any objection automatically turns it into a deletion discussion. The nifty part is that we can separate the review rights for speedies, AfDs and prods, so we can let anybody half-trusted with decent judgement delete expired prods, and we can restrict closure of discussions to more experienced users. It's up for testing at my test wiki, if anybody's interested. — Werdna • talk 13:26, 4 September 2008 (UTC)

Uuuh, I like that. That is what I thought it to be, almost at least. Well, nothing unique, but I do not think that above opposes apply to that implementation. I think it looks great - it just should have an option to remove deletion requests and it should show that someone objected to the deletion request :-) But great work Werdna! SoWhy 13:37, 4 September 2008 (UTC)
I'm extremely hesitant about this. It opens up the deletion system to a lot of gaming and further erodes the power of the community. If it was set to autoconfirmed, I wouldn't have much of a problem with it, but if implemented that way, there should be a noticeboard or something that users who haven't reached the heightened autoconfirmation requirements yet so that they can bring abusive deletion tagging to the attention of a wider audience.
The ability of anyone to de-speedy or de-prod an article is an integral part of the deletion process. It allows things that go uncontested to get deleted (i.e, the "Greg is an awesome guy" pages and other valid speedy candidates), but encourages people to discuss anything contentious first at AfD. I don't see how this improves that process; all I see is an easier to game system where its harder for the community to object to a deletion before it happens, and increased traffic at DRV. Celarnor Talk to me 13:47, 4 September 2008 (UTC)

Well, how would you have the system I've developed modified? I'm very open to ideas. — Werdna • talk 08:14, 6 September 2008 (UTC)

I'd have to say that's great. A system like that would easily erase users, removing the CSD/PROD/AFD tags. RedThunder 01:16, 7 September 2008 (UTC)
If any user could change the prod status to contested, including users who haven't yet reached autoconfirmed status, then I wouldn't be as worried; speedy especially. If you're going to implement a software solutions to problems that currently use a substituted template solution, you should aim to keep the process as similar as possible.
I think that the current system is fine as it is; if you want something deleted, you're going to watch it anyway, and can go through the speedy -> prod -> afd cycle without much effort. What you claim is "stalling deletion" is really our system of consensus at work. The system is designed so that if anyone contests your prod, then you go to AfD. If someone disagrees with a speedy, they can add a hangon tag, whether they've passed autoconfirm or not. This proposal favors deletion over retention to an extreme by not allowing anyone but an administrator to make any comments regarding the potential deletion of whatever article. Celarnor Talk to me 00:48, 11 September 2008 (UTC)

Change to watchlist

I think the watchlist would be a lot more useful if it had options: 1. to show only edits since the user's last edit to an article 2. to show only edits since the last time the user viewed the article That would save a lot of time for people who have several articles on their watchlist. Bubba73 (talk), 02:03, 7 September 2008 (UTC)

The second one is actually doable currently, however it is currently turned off on Wikipedia due to load issues. There is some javascript if you would like to use that for personal reasons.
No comment on #1, though I doubt that it would also be turned on, for the same reason as the other. --Izno (talk) 02:54, 7 September 2008 (UTC)
The load issue cuts both ways, it seems to me. With one of these, millions of users wouldn't have to be checking dozens of articles every day to see if they have been vandalized or had a bad edit since the last time they looked at it. Bubba73 (talk), 03:26, 7 September 2008 (UTC)
An alternative: have a whitelist and don't show edits by editors on the whitelist. That would help some. Bubba73 (talk), 03:28, 7 September 2008 (UTC)
I've got a program that will do #2 for me. Trust me, you don't want to let an article go more than a few edits without looking at it -- it becomes impossible to see a bad edit in among the good ones. Where it comes in handy is tracking noticeboards and talk pages, where it will show all the comments made since the last time you looked at it. --Carnildo (talk) 04:35, 7 September 2008 (UTC)
What program? Celarnor Talk to me 06:19, 7 September 2008 (UTC)
Something I wrote. If you've got a webserver, a copy of MySQL, and Perl installed on your computer, I can send you a copy. --Carnildo (talk) 08:41, 7 September 2008 (UTC)
I do; If you'd send it my email, I'd be very much obliged. ^_^ Celarnor Talk to me 21:13, 7 September 2008 (UTC)
I agreew with Bubba73, at least the first option should be implemented as it will actually reduce load in any case. I understand that #2 will be more complicated, because it would first need coding in place that tracks what the user has been looking at, which is both very server load intensive as it is a privacy issue if you accidentally log in on a shared computer for example and everyone knows what you looked at. SoWhy 08:46, 7 September 2008 (UTC)
The first one already exists, set watchlist to only show the most recent edit (the default setting IIRC) and to hide your edits, and it will only show changes if you aren't the last editor to the page. As was said before, the second part mostly already exists, but isn't enabled here. Its just a field in the watchlist table that indicates when you last viewed the page. If you leave yourself logged into a shared computer, people seeing what you were looking at (which they could do anyway with the browser history) is probably the least of your worries. Mr.Z-man 16:19, 10 September 2008 (UTC)

On Notable Alumni sections

Many Wikipedia pages on educational institutions routinely include a Notable Alumni section. This section is in general a list of the names of persons who were supposedly alumni of the institution about which the article deals with. Brief indications of the achievements of the individuals are also sometimes provided. Such scanty information does not help one to place the individuals in the spacio-temporal evolution of the institution. Moreover, immediate nonavailability of further facts makes verifiability difficult. To make the Notable Alumni section an authentic historical document I suggest that the following particulars about the claimed alumni should necessarily be provided in the section (the data may be given in the form of a table with appropriate headings):

  • Full official name with aliases if any
  • Citizenship particulars
  • Life period (years of birth and death)
  • Details of the course/programme of study the individual underwent in the institution
  • Details of the period in which the individual studied in the institution
  • Notable achievements as a student in the institution
  • Details of the highest achievement that makes the individual notable (awards/prizes/positions/others with specific details of when/where/what etc)
  • An image of the individual

It is also suggested that when judging the quality of a Wikipedia article on an educational institution due weightage be given for preparing the Notable Alumni section conforming to the above guidelines. Krishnachandranvn (talk) 01:44, 9 September 2008 (UTC)

The information that you are seeking is much better suited to a List of Texas A&M University people rather than a section Texas A&M University#Notable people. That level of detail should not be provided in a prose section. I would advocate that the person's name and information about what makes that person notable is essential to the section, and that notable achievements as a student would be nice where applicable. The rest I think belongs either in the person's article or the list. Karanacs (talk) 02:19, 9 September 2008 (UTC)
Thank you Karanacs for your comments. I was thinking of institutions much smaller than Texas A&M University, institutions that cannot claim a long list of notable people. I still believe that for such institutions a list of Notable Alumni with some of the details indicated above would be helpful.Krishnachandranvn (talk) 03:59, 9 September 2008 (UTC)
  • If it's a universal proposal, not just A&M, then strong oppose. The list can be trimmed to name, life period, year of graduation (no need for a table).
  1. Citizenship of a person may be a complex and controversial story that should be dealt with only on that person's bio.
  2. Photography here looks like an unnecessary decoration. And usually such photo tables are quite sloppy looking - it takes effort to make them look good.
  3. Details of the course/program. Too many cases when these are simply not available without digging into archives. Besides, it makes little sense for specialized colleges, i.e. Drama Centre. NVO (talk) 13:52, 9 September 2008 (UTC)
  4. Notability of a person is evidenced in his bio. Do you really want Einstein's works listed in ETH Zurich? NVO (talk) 13:52, 9 September 2008 (UTC)
  5. Achievement as a student? If it exists, it's usually irrelevant: notabillity is achieved in real life, not classroom. NVO (talk) 13:52, 9 September 2008 (UTC)
Most of these types of list are of people who become notable after they were a student or whatever. If these people are truly notable, then they should have an article, and the list should have a one or two sentences with a thumbnail of their notability. I think the first list is way too much detail; the years that the person attended the school is enough. As to separate articles- depends on the length of the article and the list. --—— Gadget850 (Ed) talk - 14:01, 9 September 2008 (UTC)
The key point is, as you say, if their notable, they'll have their own article. All the detailed information can go in their article, there is no need to duplicate it. --Tango (talk) 14:36, 9 September 2008 (UTC)
Pick 10 random U's and alumni, check whether their article actually states which university they attended and sources that claim. Franamax (talk) 14:54, 9 September 2008 (UTC)
Better yet, pick 10 random U's and alumni and go through their articles adding their universities. Just because something hasn't been done yet isn't a reason for not doing it. --Tango (talk) 22:39, 10 September 2008 (UTC)
  • Vehemently oppose - excessive detail and in most cases impossible to obtain lawfully. --Orange Mike | Talk 14:22, 9 September 2008 (UTC)
  • This subject has disturbed me for a while now. Alumni sections tend to be totally unverifiable, they are lists of names thrown in (undoubtedly in good faith) by typically anonymous editors, without backing information. They tend to just grow and be accepted as true on their face.
I usually look at these sections as requiring either a blue-link for the persons name or a reliable reference to indicate their notability (CEO of a major corporation for example). I would support in addition a source where the reader can verify the individual actually did graduate from the institution (unless it's previously sourced in their linked article) and I very much like the idea of requiring that the attendance years, or at least year of graduation, be directly shown in the listing. Franamax (talk) 14:48, 9 September 2008 (UTC)
You don't have to graduate to be an alumnus. You just have to be a former student. I think reliable sources should be provided in such lists that say the person was a former student at said institution. --Pwnage8 (talk) 23:12, 9 September 2008 (UTC)
I always delete all redlinks in such lists when I encounter them, and stick unsourced tags on the sections, since very few of these lists actually provide proof that the listed person attended the institution. Corvus cornixtalk 20:00, 10 September 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia intelligent App Button

Wikipedia should have an intelligent App Button.

Basically how it works is it allows people to display wikipedia articles on their website. But instead of just displaying a url, it will display the first few sentences of the article, along with the main photo on the wikipedia article and a 'click here to read more' link.

This feature would be useful for musicians,actors etc, who have websites and they would be able to put this intelligent App Button on there.

So every wikipedia article should have a button saying "add this to your website" and when users click on it some html code will be displayed. Users then copy and paste this code into their website.

The intelligent App Button should be the size of about 410x530 pixels. The first few sentences could be displayed at the top, followed by the main photo, then a wikipedia logo, then the 'click here to read more', then a wikipedia logo. The main photo would have to be scaled down so it doesn't take up too much space and the text size may have to be a smaller font size too.

The intelligent App Button should automatically update the first few sentences of an article and main photo if it changes.

Wikipedia should work with record companies so people can see what the intelligent App Button would look like on a musician's website.Danielspencer2 (talk) 04:28, 9 September 2008 (UTC)

No way! Such a thing would encourage publicity agents, managers, self-promoters and obsessive fans; we've got way too much of a problem with these folks as it is. --Orange Mike | Talk 14:26, 9 September 2008 (UTC)
It's an interesting idea. I think it would have to be more complicated than just producing some HTML, though - it needs to update when the article is updated, otherwise we'll end up with the Wikipedia logo next to whatever happened to be in the article when the button was clicked, which would be open to abuse. --Tango (talk) 14:34, 9 September 2008 (UTC)

Alot of musician's websites already list their wikipedia url's anyway. Soulja boy's official website lists his wikipedia article url there. As for this being open to abuse, well it could be solved by instead of automatically updating the button when an article changes, the button could be automatically updated every 15 minutes which is more than enough time for someone to repair an article and ban the user who used the article for promotion. As for this not being easy to develop, myspace and youtube already offer a simple copy and paste html code feature for their videos to be embedded on external websites.Danielspencer2 (talk) 02:40, 10 September 2008 (UTC)

Then every copyright-violator would link their copyvios into Wikipedia, making us complicit in their crime. --Orange Mike | Talk 03:03, 10 September 2008 (UTC)

Doesn't copyright law say that as long as the copyright infringed thing is removed when a host is notified it's fine? So if a copyright infringement has occured i am sure the wikipedia editors will correct it within 24 hours.Danielspencer2 (talk) 07:39, 10 September 2008 (UTC)

Agreed that this would promote abuse, and really if one wants to scrape WP for content an even mildly intelligent web developer should be able to. If one is interested in this though, an account on the toolserver should be able to produce an rss backend for article "exerpts" I would think. then pull the data server side w/ something like magpie rss or similar, or if you want it REALLY live, a simple Flash (yuk) or JS could pull the data. And why call it an "intelligent app button" ???./zro (⠠⠵) 09:49, 10 September 2008 (UTC)

Prompt for signature

We have an option that can prompt us for an edit summary in preferences. Is it possible to make something like this to prompt for the signature in talk pages? I guess it is hard (maybe impossible) since it should be checked from the edit box itself and not from a different box as for the edit summary and more work should be done to check for this, but it would be really helpful if there was something like that. Sorry if this has been discussed before, but I didn't find anything like this. Chamal Talk ± 13:04, 9 September 2008 (UTC)

This is a truly good idea. The software would just have to check for four tildes in a row (not preceded by a nowiki tag, if you want to get technical). I would sign up for this in a flash. However, it would need a tick-box for "don't-sign", like when I go back to fix the typos I made in my original post. :) Franamax (talk) 15:05, 9 September 2008 (UTC)
That just introduces a new problem: Now you have to remember to check the box every time you don't want your signature to appear. — Twas Now ( talkcontribse-mail ) 15:41, 9 September 2008 (UTC)
I dunno - is that a problem? I've never tried to go past the "fill in the edit summary" re-screen, does it keep looping? Anyway, for the number of times I actually don't want to sign my talk-posts, I'd gladly make the trade. And if it's a preference, it's just my problem to have to tick the box! Franamax (talk) 15:47, 9 September 2008 (UTC)
I like this idea too. It would just have to check that the page is in a talk namespace, and if so, as Franamax said, check for ~~~~ as long as it isn't <nowiki>~~~~</nowiki>. Then there would need to be the "don't sign" check box. It seems like it should be simple to implement. -- Imperator3733 (talk) 15:58, 9 September 2008 (UTC)
How will the software know which pages to include in the system and which to exclude? Obviously exclusions are articles/Portal/Help; some inclusions are the various Talk pages (and User talk/Category talk/etc.), although the pages listed at Category:Pending Afc requests are a problem, since they are technically "Wikipedia talk" pages. The biggest issue may be Wikipedia: space? For instance, this page takes signatures, but pages like Wikipedia:Notability should not. Pages will probably have to be manually tagged for inclusion under the proposed system—a large and tedious task, but one unsuitable for a bot, since they are likely to be poor judges in deciding what is good and what is not. — Twas Now ( talkcontribse-mail ) 16:52, 9 September 2008 (UTC)
That tagging has already been done, as part of our current autosigning system: Category:Non-talk pages that are automatically signed, Category:Non-talk pages with subpages that are automatically signed. Algebraist 18:22, 9 September 2008 (UTC)
In the long-term, this is yet another issue that ought to go away when we have a proper forum system for discussion pages. Ref my usual rant. Dcoetzee 18:23, 9 September 2008 (UTC)
Until then :), this is still a good idea. Something along the lines of the existing "Prompt me if I don't provide an edit summary" would be great (except that it should be enabled by default of course). And please make the category names configurable so that the non-English wikis can implement it too. -- Fullstop (talk) 02:22, 11 September 2008 (UTC)

Active admins on Special:statistics?

Congratulations to the devs on adding the "active users" count to special:statistics. The very large ratio of user accounts to admins is often used to argue that (i) adminship is a Very Big Deal and (ii) we are hopelessly under-manned on the admin front, but the ratio of active users to admins (about 7:1) gives exactly the opposite impression. To make the comparison really fair we need to list "active" admins as well as "active" users, so here are my two proposals:

  1. special:statistics to list the number of active admins using exactly the same definition of "activity" as for active users
  2. special:statistics to specify the definition used for "active" (or at least link to a page giving that definition).

The last point is crucial as with different definitions you can get estimates varying by many orders of magnitude: active = has edited at least once gives about 3 million users; active = has edited within the last minute gives about 200 users. (FWIW, the current estimate about 11,000 active users seems reasonably in line with, for instance, the WMF board election eligibility requirements). PaddyLeahy (talk) 14:55, 11 September 2008 (UTC)

This sounds like a good idea; it is definitely desirable to know the definition of an "active user" and it would be nice to know the number of active administrators if that can be easily found. Depending on the method used to find active users, however, it may be impractical to check. {{Nihiltres|talk|log}} 16:49, 11 September 2008 (UTC)
For admins, there is WP:LA already, bot-created. It serves every need to find out which admins are active and more information. Also, regarding your point about under-manned-claims, you have to take into account that admins have to deal with tens of thousands of IP users as well as registered users. 200,000 edits/day it was if I remember correctly). So I think 1000 active admins are nothing in comparison. SoWhy 17:22, 11 September 2008 (UTC)
Active users is defined as non-anonymous, non-bot users with at least 1 edit or log entry in recentchanges (the last 30 days for Wikipedia), not counting the new user log. Mr.Z-man 17:30, 11 September 2008 (UTC)
OK, that's good. Unfortunately this definition doesn't match the one on WP:LA, which uses a 3-month window, >=30 edits for active and >=1 for "semi-active". I'd still like to see a total derived using a common definition on the statistics page. But we can get a pretty good estimate: I suppose the vast majority of the WP:LA active admins would be >1 edit in the last month, as will a fair number of the semi-active, so on an equal footing there would be about 1300 active admins, or about one per 8.5 active users.
SoWhy: special:RecentChanges shows that many fewer than half of all edits are made by IPs these days; there may be tens of thousands of them but they each edit much less that active registered users. I doubt that they add much to admin workload (as opposed to RC patrol workload etc since they do including most vandals of course). PaddyLeahy (talk) 21:32, 11 September 2008 (UTC)
Last time I checked (a few months ago at least), it was about 240,000 total en:wiki edits per day, about 45,000 of them IP's. Don't know the number for non-autoconfirmed named users. IP's do however add to the admin workload - especially now that school is back in in the Western world, the vandalism rate has gone up, IP warnings are up - and some admin or other has to make an individual judgement on whether to block an IP or a range, when to sprot an article, etc. Franamax (talk) 22:04, 11 September 2008 (UTC)

Watchlist for "What links here"

I do a lot of cleaning up links to disambiguation pages, and Wikipedia Cleaner has a nifty feature called "Local Watch List". For those not familiar with it, it allows you to maintain a list of pages and store a numerical record of how many other pages are linking to each of them, differentiating between articles, templates, and all pages in total (User, Talk, User Talk, Image, Portal, etc.). Then, when you next update that list, it'll indicate where the number of incoming links has increased or decreased from the figure you stored before. If it's decreased, that's great; if it's increased, then you know there's work to be done.

For dab clean-up, this is a great tool, because you can then go in and address new incoming links immediately. However, it's limited in that it doesn't indicate which links are the new ones — if there are a few pages with links that you haven't been able to fix before, new pages will blend in among them. It also requires launching Wikipedia Cleaner (which isn't working well at the moment) and running the update, when some disambiguations are simple enough that I wouldn't want to bother using this external tool.

What I'm wondering is whether it would be possible to create a different spin on this feature within Wikipedia itself? It would be more like the existing Watchlist, but instead of showing you edits to the pages you're watching, it would show you new incoming links to the pages you're watching. Beyond disambiguation pages, I could also see this as being useful for users working within various projects — a new incoming link to a page that you follow within your project might indicate another article that could also fall under the project.

Mlaffs (talk) 20:08, 12 September 2008 (UTC)

Not quite what you want, but have you seen Special:RecentChangesLinked? Algebraist 22:10, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
I have, but that's the wrong direction. It shows the changes to pages that are linked from the page you're at, rather than to. It's a cool feature though. Mlaffs (talk) 23:07, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
Have you seen the checkbox labelled 'Show changes to pages linked to the given page instead'? Algebraist 23:08, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
Hmm, I hadn't. Interesting ... you're right, not quite what I want, but it's a start. Thanks! Mlaffs (talk) 23:41, 12 September 2008 (UTC)

Defcon for new page patrol?

Does this exist? (If so, sorry for posting). If not, I think it would be nice to know when a lot of new pages are falling under CSD and such. Lәo(βǃʘʘɱ) 17:28, 13 September 2008 (UTC)

New page patrol is pretty much perpetually backlogged, if a template is made, it would only have to have one option. Mr.Z-man 05:04, 14 September 2008 (UTC)

3: Proposals: Medical Wikipedia for Doctors & Everyone Else!

The Body of Knowledge of Medical Science has become so large that no one physician can be familiar with all the diseases, symptoms and treatments. Even dividing up the information into specialties and specialists there are often cases that slip through the cracks when problem is obscure enough that the supervising physician is not familiar with it, or the diagnosis is missed through human error.

In addition, the general public's access to affordable medical care, both in the USA and other advanced countries, as well as developing and poorer countries are major longstanding social problems.

I propose a Medical-Wikipedia project to organize and distribute the known body of medical science regarding medical disease, symptoms and treatments in a form available to all. This could be used by medical professionals to organize the diagnosis process; for research and instruction, and a certain level of supervision.

Tis could eventually be used as a substitute for professional medical care where it is unavailable and/or unaffordable. It would help break the stranglehold on medical care that keeps many people from accessing medical care even in countries with advanced medical care industries. It would help ordinary people keep abreast of the medical professionals in learning enough to be able to manage their own care, instead of just agreeing with what the doctor ordered.

Doctors are not perfect, they are human just like everyone else. They need the help, the patients and their loved ones need the help, and this has been technologically feasible for at least a decade. I actually had heard of a pilot system like this around 15 years ago to help train interns; but it was never fully developed, and seems to have disappeared.

This is a project that could have major benefits for the entire human race. Obviously the information would need to be absolutely accurate, so input would need to be carefully managed, not quite the 'anyone can contribute' aspect of Wikipedia. But the organization and distribution of the information, and the benefit to all are very much in the Wikipedia sphere of influence, and I think the Wikipedia Foundation should take up this project.

Jim Baranski, Superior Technologies, Shalom Orchard Winery & B&B, Franklin ME

This proposal currently exists on Metawiki at meta:Wikimed, which is probably a more effective place to discuss it. Wikipedia sister projects have to be approved by the guys up top, not just us editors. --erachima talk 04:26, 16 September 2008 (UTC)
I don't think its wise to substitute a wiki for professional medical care in any circumstances. There actually are one or two "pedia" style medical references on the web, although they are not generally editable. The "anyone can edit" style of building a project of the Wikimedia Foundation doesn't lend itself to creating a reliable medical reference for medical professionals. No physician or other clinician would use Wikipedia (and especially not a less active variant) as a serious reference for making clinical decisions.
On the other hand, we do have a medicine project on Wikipedia, where a number of editors (many of them physicians) collaborate to improve and expand the current body of scientific and medical knowledge we have here. You might consider speaking to a member of that project, some off the top of my head are: Casliber, MastCell and OrangeMarlin. I believe all three are physicians, and they are certainly very active and superb editors. Avruch T 00:59, 17 September 2008 (UTC)
I'm not 100% sure, but I think one of the issues he's raising is when a new article is created but not picked up or detected by the WikiProject. A dedicated wiki would guarantee that all articles would (or at least there would be the intention to) fit within the scope of the project. SharkD (talk) 01:44, 17 September 2008 (UTC)

Color identification of null net changes on the page history.

Would it be possible to modify the page history so that it will color the block of entries from the top downward that resulted in no net change to the page content? That is, if the edits consisted of a series of changes that were each reverted, I would like to be able to see that at a glance (via the background color) rather than having to perform a compare. (I don't always trust the history message to let me know the revert was done properly.) Instead, I would like to just look at the last retained change(s) on downward. In fact, shading any edit/revert sets that result in no net change would be helpful. Thanks.—RJH (talk) 19:43, 10 September 2008 (UTC)

It's theoretically possible, though I imagine such a feature would want article-text hashes to work, which is a technical issue of its own. It would be nice, assuming the developers are willing. {{Nihiltres|talk|log}} 21:31, 10 September 2008 (UTC)
Good idea. Randomblue (talk) 20:40, 13 September 2008 (UTC)
I agree. Storing a text hash for every page change would make it relatively easy to implement. Thanks.—RJH (talk) 16:19, 15 September 2008 (UTC)
I would also like this to be implemented. As RJHall says, storing the hash should make it easy to do. -- Imperator3733 (talk) 18:57, 15 September 2008 (UTC)
I tried to enter it in bugzilla, but I can't get a password update for some reason. Ack.—RJH (talk) 22:36, 17 September 2008 (UTC)

Need for sweeping change to settlements-related categories

There are currently several discussions underway to rename various category hierarchies for various kinds of settlements or communities. There are three umbrella nominations for renaming at Wikipedia:Categories for discussion/Log/2008 September 14 and there is also Wikipedia:Categories_for_discussion/Log/2008_September_13#Categories for 'place' in the UK are slowly getting into a mess. There really needs to be a community-wide debate on this issue, and I hope that some with a bit experience in such largescale consensus processes can get involved to help organize this debate and, if possible, guide it through to an encompassing consensus-based decision. __meco (talk) 12:30, 17 September 2008 (UTC)


Do you know what pisses me off? When somebody moves a page to "Hagger!?!?!?!" and that nonsense gets added to my watchlist. I have to remove pages like that from my watchlist all the time.

I have a solution for this, make an option in "my preferences" that says "Add pages to your watchlist that somebody moves" and uncheck that box. Not only is this annoying me when somebody is vandalism-moving pages, also I want to MANUALLY add pages to my watchlist. I don't want it to be done automaticlly, because like I said, Hagger is bad, and is the main reason why I want to manually add moved pages to my watch list. TheBlazikenMaster (talk) 14:20, 16 September 2008 (UTC)

I agree, a number of the pages on my watchlist have been targeted recently, and it is a pain to have to wade through a mass of

on your watchlist. I imagine it is possible to do so, when you move a page, you get the option to watch it, why not just make that option more universal--Jac16888 (talk) 14:43, 16 September 2008 (UTC)

Question: What happens if a page you watch gets moved to something legitimate and you miss it in your watchlist? Then, effectively, you will no longer be watching that page. I think it is much better to have nonsense moves added to the watchlist by default, in case the move is legitimate. You'll only see that nonsense page appear twice in the watchlist (once for the move, once for the reversion). Also, moves and deletions are indented in the watchlist, making them easy to identify (or skip over, if necessary). — Twas Now ( talkcontribse-mail ) 22:06, 16 September 2008 (UTC)
Well, I want to add those manually too. I will notice if a page move, the watchlist would still tell me. In my opinion it would work better if I could stop the system from automaticlly adding stuff to my watchlist. I'm suggesting a box since those that oppose can just use it. TheBlazikenMaster (talk) 00:26, 17 September 2008 (UTC)
The page would still be watched after the move; it simply wouldn't report the move itself. SharkD (talk) 01:40, 17 September 2008 (UTC)
Believe me I know that "(Move log) Page moved to a different location" would appear if you don't watch the page it's been moved to. That way I could do it manually. And it's not only vandalism moves that are bothering me, I also have to delete the previous article location from my watchlist, which is also bothering me, since I have other things to do. TheBlazikenMaster (talk) 16:37, 17 September 2008 (UTC)
A feature to allow admins (or oversighters or whomever) to remove a specific title from all watchlists might be nice. There's likely a Bugzilla entry for it somewhere.... --MZMcBride (talk) 21:51, 17 September 2008 (UTC)
That would be interesting. - Rjd0060 (talk) 16:54, 18 September 2008 (UTC)

Proposal to rename the Notability guideline

There is a discussion going on here about whether to change the name of the notability guideline. —Elipongo (Talk contribs) 10:28, 18 September 2008 (UTC)

Current suggestions for the new title include "Wikipedia:Inclusion", "Wikipedia:Viability", and several suggestions for more descriptive titles along the lines of "Minimum source requirements". --erachima talk 12:04, 18 September 2008 (UTC)
I do not think that should be discussed here. A link is sufficient and we should keep the discussion at Wikipedia talk:Notability. SoWhy 12:13, 18 September 2008 (UTC)
I know, I was just listing them here so people would see the options. --erachima talk 12:58, 18 September 2008 (UTC)

Easy as pi?

Subsection 0

I have recently been browsing a lot of mathematical and scientific articles, and have noticed a problem with them. A great number of them make no sense whatsoever to the lay person. In what seems to be something of a Catch-22, the only people who might be able to understand some of these articles would be people who know all about the subject matter anyway and so wouldn't need to read them. As for the curious public who just want to learn a bit more about maths or physics, say, these articles will probably make no sense at all. For instance, of those of you reading my comment, how many can understand what the formulae in Lorentz transformation or Special relativity mean just by reading the articles?

You might argue that some knowledge of the subject matter is expected of those reading such articles, just like people who want to read Wikipedia articles in general need to know the alphabet, but I would say that some of these formulae are too complex not to warrant some sort of explanation.

Proposals: formula analysis, template

I propose, then, that one of two things happen:

  • Either all of these articles be rewritten with clear steps breaking the formulae down and showing the logic involved (as happens with articles such as Monty Hall problem, which I think is very well written, incidentally).
  • Or we make a new template similar to {{ChineseText}} or {{Contains Ethiopic text}} which explains that an article contains formulae and gives a list of other articles to read to familiarise oneself with the layout of the formulae contained within the original article. Thus, if for the purposes of this proposal we name the template "Formula", then...

{{formula|[[Derivative|Differentiation]]|[[Matrix (mathematics)|Matrices]]}}

...would produce something along the lines of the box that is below in the article.

E-to-the-i-pi.svg This article contains formulae concerning:

You might find it useful to read the articles on those types of formulae in order to fully understand this article.

WP:MTAA seems to favour the first option wherever possible, but where it suggests that simplification is impossible and the article be left alone, could my second idea be used?

It Is Me Here (talk) 16:47, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

Discussion of template(s)

Why would you put a template saying there's a mathematical expression on a page about a mathematical expression? The fact that Wikipedia contains formulae in full without dumbing it down into three paragraphs worth of explanation where you have to rederive what's being discussed has always been one of my favorite things about it. I don't see why we can't do both; have the nice, concise version integrated with a more simple, longwinded explanation for those who don't grasp the higher mathematics involved; Integral seems to do this pretty well. Celarnor Talk to me 17:07, 22 July 2008 (UTC)
I agree; the ideal is that both are present. I think if we're going to have a template, I'd prefer a cleanup-type template saying that the article should have an more accessible explanation added. Pseudomonas(talk) 17:12, 22 July 2008 (UTC)
{{Too specialized}} kind of does that already; I suppose a derivative of that template specifically for math/science articles could be made up pretty easily. Shereth 17:17, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

Proposal: sidebox with link(s)

(wacky ec) I think the problem with explaining formulae while writing them in full is that we're used to explaining terms by wikilinking to their articles as they occur, and we can't really do that in the middle of a differential equation! :-) I think User:It Is Me Here's proposed template would give a handy box to collect those wikilinks we'd like to put on the equation if it were possible (for instance, an equation with could have a sidebox for Limit (mathematics) and Infinity, since we can't wikilink the "lim" and "infty" themselves. --tiny plastic Grey Knight 17:16, 22 July 2008 (UTC)
That's a good point - so you would like to see one of these templates next to every formula, rather than at the top of the page? For instance:
E-to-the-i-pi.svg For more information about this formula, see:
...except all on the same line (not sure how to do that).
It Is Me Here (talk) 17:43, 22 July 2008 (UTC)
This proposal assumes that our article on differentiation, say, will give someone a sufficient understanding of differentiation to follow the use of it in other articles. I'm not sure that assumption is valid. Wikipedia is not a textbook, we don't aim to teach basic mathematical techniques. If people want to understand articles about advanced mathematics they need to learn the basics properly, not just read about them in an encyclopaedia. Where possible and worthwhile, we should make articles accessible to the layman, but with advanced mathematics articles it often isn't possible or worthwhile and attempting to do so will just make the article harder to read for those with the understanding required. --Tango (talk) 17:55, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

Discussion of template(s)

I support the idea of a derivitive of the {{Too specialized}} template for maths and science articles. Obviously these articles have to be encyclopedic, but it's almost too encyclopedic, to the point where it barely makes sense if you know what I mean. Look at this quote from Special relativity:

"Special relativity reveals that c is not just the velocity of a certain phenomenon, namely the propagation of electromagnetic radiation (light)—but rather a fundamental feature of the way space and time are unified as spacetime. A consequence of this is that it is impossible for any particle that has mass to be accelerated to the speed of light."

This is one of those paragraphs that just makes you go "What?!" and makes you need to read it several times to actually form an understanding of it in your mind. I assume a lot of these articles are written by "experts", to the point where only said experts can actually understand them. I'm not saying to dumb things down. Don't dumb things down, as advanced things have to be explained in advanced ways, just clarify them and make things clearer. Sometimes it's just all in the language, and there is such a thing as a "language rich sentence". I support such a proposal mainly because I personally find these articles difficult to read, simply because it's just a little too much. Wikipedia needs to be accessible to everyone, including these articles. Obviously most readers should know basic maths in the same way they are expected to know basic English, but to expect them to learn all about advanced maths before reading about these articles is ridiculous and defeats the purpose of an encyclopedia. I'm not saying that articles need to teach things, just make things easier to understand. --.:Alex:. 18:07, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

{{Technical}} was more along the lines of what I was looking for above. Not sure if versions more specific to math/science should be made up. Shereth 18:17, 22 July 2008 (UTC)
It may be because I do have a significant understanding of relativity, but I can't see a problem with that paragraph. If you mean that it doesn't explain why the speed limit is a consequence, then that's simply because that's beyond the scope of the article - I doubt it can be explained in layman's terms. To understand the technical details of a lot of these articles requires advanced mathematics. We have two choices, either don't explain the details at all, or explain them in a way laymen won't be able to understand. Explaining them to laymen is extremely difficult, bordering on impossible - if we attempt to do so, the article will probably just end up being misleading (see lies to children). --Tango (talk) 20:19, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

Some articles already link to indices and glossaries, such as Table of mathematical symbols and Glossary of group theory. Perhaps you could ask the various wikiprojects to create templates to make such linking easier. It is somewhat unlikely that all of the science and mathematics projects will want to use exactly the same text. JackSchmidt (talk) 18:26, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

Proposal: transwiki link(s)

Re. Tango, if other Wikipedia articles are insufficient to understanding an article, then we could just change the links in the template to transwiki links to Wikibooks (e.g. - quite appropriately, I must say - Special Relativity is a featured book at the moment and so might help people understand Special Relativity over at Wikipedia)? Also, NB the Prerequisite template used in the article over there - I'm looking for something very similar to be used in Wikipedia. In fact, I'd be quite happy with you guys just plugging en:Template:Prerequisite into WP, although we might need a WP prereq. and WB prereq. template. It Is Me Here (talk) 19:59, 22 July 2008 (UTC)
If there is an appropriate wikibook, then we should certainly link to it. --Tango (talk) 20:19, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

Proposal: page ratings & prequisitenesses

The following text is copied from User talk:Wavelength#Subject (difficulty) level.
Each page on Wikipedia can be given a rating for difficulty of subject matter (distinct from difficulty of language, although simpler language would be less able to be used for expressing more complex subject matter). Most pages would have the simplest rating (possibly indicated by the number 1), and higher levels of difficulty might be indicated by 2, 3, 4, and so forth. This rating can appear as the last part of the page title (possibly in square brackets: [1], [2], and so forth).
Each page can begin with a row of levels for any page(s) which otherwise have the same title (apart from disambiguation differences). All levels except the current page can be shown as links. Each page indicated in such a row can be a prerequisite of any following page(s) indicated in that row. An additional wikicode can be devised in order to save editors the time used in repeatedly typing the same title in these instances.
A typical row might appear as follows:
level 1 level 2 level 3 level 4 level 5
Each page can next show a list of links to any other page(s) considered to be prerequisite to understanding the page in question. If Simple English Wikipedia has a page corresponding to the current page, this fact can be highlighted here (in addition to there being a link in the language list in the left column).
If the context of the article contains any link which is considered to be such a prerequisite, it can have a notation to indicate this fact.
Likewise, each page can have a separate section (like the sections for "See also" and for "Internal links" and for "External links" and for "References") for pages on other topics to which the current page is considered to be prerequisite.
These matters of rating and prequisiteness would have some degree of analogy with book chapters and with school grade levels. Someone would decide the ratings and the prerequisitenesses.
Wavelength 02:06, 9 August 2005 (UTC)
Some ideas similar to these have been expressed at Talk:Mathematics road map Wavelength 22:20, 22 August 2005 (UTC)
[end of copied text]
-- Wavelength (talk) 20:23, 22 July 2008 (UTC)
This seems unnecessarily complex. Really I don't see why this ought to be a big deal - it's been stated above that there are tags that can be put on an article to suggest some additional clarity for technical subjects. Anything beyond that strikes me as a bit creepy. Shereth 21:35, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

Discussion of templates

Re. Tango, come to think of it, it might also be appropriate to link to any Wikiversity topic that is appropriate (e.g. wikiversity:en:Linear algebra#Matrices - and, if you will allow me to go out on a limb here, I would say that it was better than the current article at Wikibooks).
Re. Shereth, would you be OK with using the Wikibooks Prerequesite template in Wikipedia articles?
It Is Me Here (talk) 07:56, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
In order to fully understand this article, you may find it useful to first read the page at Wikibooks Calculus on the topic of
I don't think the wording on wikibooks:en:Template:Prerequisite was quite what we want here, I made {{suggested wikibooks}} as a possible one. Maybe the wording isn't great, feel free to change it! :-) --tiny plastic Grey Knight 10:13, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

{{formula links|Derivative|Limit (mathematics)|Matrix (mathematics)}}

I also made a {{formula links}} to play around with.
Nice - I like it! How do we make them official, though? It Is Me Here (talk) 14:25, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

Easy as pi? - continued

Discussion of template(s)

(outdent because my : key was getting tired) Same way you make anything "official" around here; ask if anyone has any concerns (this thread should provide that), then start using them once that's settled, then see if anyone brings up any other concerns (an ongoing process). Here's a concern to start you off; can you improve the wording on these any? If the template syntax is too arcane please go ahead and simplify it or ask me to explain. :-) --tiny plastic Grey Knight 14:35, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

I added notes to both their documentations specifying that {{technical}} or {{too specialized}} might be more appropriate if in the cases where it's feasible to do it that way. --tiny plastic Grey Knight 14:49, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
Oh, I'm going to have a field day w/ {{technical}} and {{too specialized}}! (Oh marvelous templates, where have you been all my life?) Kevin Baastalk 15:10, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
I know! I don't know how I never came across these before. --.:Alex:. 15:21, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
OK, tiny plastic Grey Knight, I edited your two templates slightly and created my own - {{Suggested Wikiversity}}, and because I have no idea what the markup means, I just copied the code from {{suggested wikibooks}} and, well, changed the words a bit. Is there a page explaining how to do them anywhere, by the way? Anyway, here goes:
In order to fully understand this article, you may find it useful to first read the page at Wikiversity Making sense of quantum mechanics on the topic of
OK, it doesn't really work that well from where I'm standing, but, y'know, it's a start.
It Is Me Here (talk) 19:53, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

I don't support the idea that we would add a special template just to say that a formula in an article includes a derivative. That's the sort of thing that can be handled in prose. We already link to wikibooks and wikiversity, when appropriate, in the "see also" sections of articles, so no additional templates are needed for them. — Carl (CBM · talk) 20:38, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

Discussion of transwiki link(s)

More me the suggestion to include a link to wikibooks in backwards. Wikibooks is the full topic covered in a detailed way, wiki is about imparting understanding of the concept .Limit_(mathematics) , intro starts well but then i get totally lost with symbols and Consider ... Gnevin (talk) 21:18, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
According to Wikipedia:LAYOUT#External_links, links to sister projects go in the last appendix section of the article. — Carl (CBM · talk) 23:07, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
But if putting links to sister projects at the start of an article improves it, we can ignore that rule, right? It Is Me Here (talk) 08:18, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
It would take a quite strong argument, more than just that the sister link is related to the article topic. Users who want to learn more background can be expected to look at the see also section and the links in the article itself; we don't need to go out of our way to rub their face in the prerequisites. — Carl (CBM · talk) 13:32, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
Well, for instance, the article Minkowski space contains only articles directly relevant to it in its See also section, and does not, for example, contain links to Matrix (Mathematics) or Wikibooks / Wikiversity articles about them although one must understand how they work in order to understand the article. Thus, surely we should point out to readers where they can go before reading Minkowski space in order to understand the subject matter of the article? It Is Me Here (talk) 18:21, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
Eugh, no, that's so ugly. First, someone reading Minkowski space is probably already familiar with matrices. If not, then they can go to matrices; a link in its see also is already more than we really need. Like CBM said; we don't need to rub the prerequisites in everyone's faces, especially not every time some math shows up. Do we put links for people to go to the basics of logic every time speculation is made a page? Do we put templates to the wikibook on Latin in legal pages? Do we put templates to the basic classical studies pages every time we see a mention of Homer? Do we put templates to basic physics every time we see a mention of velocity, acceleration, or jerk? If the user doesn't understand the basics, then they can either go to Simple Wikipedia or check the "see also"; although I've no idea why anyone who doesn't understand basic concepts of matrices is reading an article on the mathematical underpinnings of special relativity. Celarnor Talk to me 18:46, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

Proposal: prerequisite categories

(Outdent)As a compromise, how about adding categories (preferably hidden) like "Physics concepts dependent on an understanding of Matrices"? That gets the point across that you need to understand basic elements of algebra and precalculus without cluttering up the mainspace with unnecessary "gb2algebra" templates every time there's an equals sign in an article. Celarnor Talk to me 18:50, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

It's not really a case of rubbing it in people's faces, and we do link to matrices and Homer usually - indeed, you just did it there. But the problem, as tiny plastic Grey Knight said, is that we cannot put links in equations which means that we should let people easily access the pages linked to those equations in some other way. It Is Me Here (talk) 08:47, 25 July 2008 (UTC)

Proposal: caption(s) with link(s)

An equation might be compared somewhat to a picture. We can put links in the caption of a picture. An equation can be given a caption (perhaps below it, or perhaps beside it), and that caption can have one or more links. -- Wavelength (talk) 13:41, 25 July 2008 (UTC)
But surely it would be more economical and discreet to just add links to topics relevant to an equation, rather than writing a lengthy description of it? It Is Me Here (talk) 15:20, 25 July 2008 (UTC)
A caption can be short: "This equation uses natural logarithms."
From my Google search for "equation annotation", the first result (of 943,000) is MathType: Tips & Tricks: Drawing attention to your equations with comments and annotations. -- Wavelength (talk) 16:56, 30 July 2008 (UTC)

Discussion of transwiki link(s), clarity, etc.

Actually, the implicit point sidestepped with far too little dissent above to me is this: for a long time now, I've felt we should put sister projects links up high, if not at the tip top of the article. Treating our sister projects as if second class citizens isn't cool, for starters and much resented, from what I can perceive. On the technical articles heavy in math, such as this began with, we don't have much in the way of infoboxes generally getting in the way, so why not link to the sisters in that quarterpage we're so used to not having available!
   I'm not referring to {{Commons}} or {{commonscat}} (since they essentially link to media—though on a few topics that might be a good idea as well— some galleries on the commons are "onto" with an articles subject matter, and that's preferable to cramming umptine pictures of ruins of Greek temples on the same page, for example), but Wiktionary, Wikiversity and Wikibooks topics coverages certainly ought be trumpeted, not buried down in a section someone may never see. Wikisource and Wikiquote if appropriate too, though I figure those are far less common "hits".
    By the same token there is a tension between adequately explaining a topic in words that convey the meaning (without links) per WP:NOT PAPERS and putting in too much per WP:NOT TEXTBOOK. There is however a happy medium that should be written into any good technical-topic page that educates (introduces material) walking the tightrope between too much and the too over-the-top. We've seen a number of complaints of that lately, and I agree daily in one edit or another when I find such pages.
    • Thanks to whomever started this topic... btw. These guidelines needs revisited periodically and as someone who spends a lot of edit time cleaning up intros that are too short, too obtuse, etc. this is a good topic to refocus us all a bit on the problem... a page written to read well to others educated in the field is rarely one that is a good article... quite the opposite from what I've seen in 3+ years here. In short, if an article can't be read and comprehended without links by someone without a great deal of specialized education in its first 3-5 sections... which should be building enough generalities for the reader, its not a good article from my point of view.
    • Wikipedia:LAYOUT#External_links needs revised anyway... External links AFTER footnotes is upside down. Footnotes ought be just that... last on the page, including navigation templates above. (Seems the current layout is for the convenience of editors, not readers, most of whom die of heart attacks seeing footnotes at all in an encyclopedia! How many other encyclopedias have footnotes in profusion? Ideally, they should be on a separate subpage or something. The current "standard" is sub-optimum for the user, and for some reason I've even run across pages wher the references (Books, journals list) are after the footnotes... another upside down thing.) // FrankB 19:55, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

Discussion of problem

I myself have noticed this problem too. I am hoping to study Physics at University from October, so I would consider my "expertise" (if you can call it that!) to be in physics and maths topics, yet these are usually incredibly difficult to follow on Wikipedia, compared to other topics I like to read like Philosophy, Politics and History, on which I don't have a great deal of knowledge but can still follow. Deamon138 (talk) 17:30, 4 August 2008 (UTC)

Large chunks of math articles in wikipedia *are* highly specialized. They cannot help but be -- it is not only the language and the notation, but the very concepts themselves that require mathematical maturity and repeated practice with the definitions and styles of a particular subfield, to understand. We cannot do otherwise - these concepts took hundreds of years to develop into their present form, and sadly their fundaments are often not in the culture, the way the fundamentals of things like laws and social norms are. It would be like trying to make an article on accounting understandable to somebody who can't add, or trying to make an article on civil procedure understandable to somebody from a tribal, pre-law society. To expect to understand a concept like special relativity on a quick, non-intensive readthrough for the first time is unreasonable. We do make efforts to make the articles accessible to technically literate laypeople (say, engineers with a mathematical bent), and goodness knows mathematicians are too frequently guilty of being more complicated than they need to be, but if you're going to create tags that essentially say "serious and arduous intellectual effort required to understand the full meaning of this article if you've never seen anything like it before," you might as well tag every non-biographical article in the math section, for all the good it will do. RayAYang (talk) 06:30, 5 August 2008 (UTC)

Proposal: link(s) to Simple English Wikipedia

posted by Arydberg Much of the above would go away if there was a link on the title page to the "simple english wikipedia" and a explanation that it was for beginners. Arydberg (talk) 14:08, 28 August 2008 (UTC)


Link to archived discussion

We've had this discussion at the math WikiProject already. Before anyone starts editing based on the discussion above, please read Wikipedia talk:WikiProject_Mathematics/Archive 38#article difficulty level. Ozob (talk) 18:28, 5 August 2008 (UTC)

Discussion: templates not helpful

This a very old debate. So I'm going to go with Euclid on this one. I think adding templates and other flying widget spam to pages doesn't help anything. We try very hard to make our articles accessible. If, like King Ptolemy, you refuse to make the effort, I suggest you just tune the TV to the animal channel. Loisel (talk) 19:19, 5 August 2008 (UTC)

Adequacy: editing with common sense

RayAYang, while "the very concepts themselves that require mathematical maturity and repeated practice with the definitions and styles of a particular subfield, to understand" as I said above, this problem only seems to exist with maths, physics and maybe a few other science articles. When reading articles on philosophy for instance, a subject I wouldn't be expected to understand like maths/physics, the articles are readily accessible, but do go in depth. So if other subjects can do it, then maths and physics can to. Now, I haven't read all the above discussion, but I reckon we don't need any new tags or anything. I think it just needs every now and again an editor to look over the complex articles and using WP:COMMON SENSE, make them understandable to the layman. The thing is, this is already happening, and will continue to happen, it's frustrating for me and other users that it's taking so long. Unfortunately, we just have to let the nature of wikis run it's course and eventually the articles will be fine.
Loisel, looking over my copy of Elements, I would say that if the majority of maths and physics articles are written in the style of Elements, then that would be fantastic (so long as they are correct :P)! Deamon138 (talk) 22:03, 5 August 2008 (UTC)

Unsurprisingly, mathematics has become more difficult since Euclid... Also, The Elements is a masterpiece of mathematical writing that was unsurpassed for about two thousand years. Loisel (talk) 22:13, 5 August 2008 (UTC)

Well yeah it has got a lot harder since then, but I still think it is possible to make the maths/physics articles as easy to understand as the holy little geometry book. Deamon138 (talk) 22:32, 5 August 2008 (UTC)

Request for examples of Catch-22 (part 1)

The initial poster wrote:

In what seems to be something of a Catch-22, the only people who might be able to understand some of these articles would be people who know all about the subject matter anyway and so wouldn't need to read them.

Can someone PLEASE cite some examples of this? I have seen and edited FAR more math articles on Wikipedia than all but very few people. I've seen this particular complain stated repeatedly. I don't know any examples. I don't know of any ATTEMPTS to cite any. The initial poster above mentions only Lorentz transformation and special relativity. Those don't appear to be attempts to cite examples of the "catch-22" complained of. Is there some other that is? Michael Hardy (talk) 15:51, 7 August 2008 (UTC)

Well I took a look at your user page and it seems you do edit a lot of maths articles. One article you created is estimation of covariance matrices, where it starts with:

Given a sample consisting of independent observations X1,..., Xn of a random vector XRp×1 (a p×1 column), an unbiased estimator of the covariance matrix

is the sample covariance matrix


is the sample mean.

NOTICE: I DID NOT WRITE THE OPENING PARAGRAPH ABOVE, and I disapprove of it. Michael Hardy (talk) 13:05, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

Request for examples of Catch-22 (part 2)

That is not something the layperson would grasp in that form. Personally I've seen some of the symbols before in statistics, but I can't follow that. Bear in mind that is just one example I found with a quick look, there are hundreds more. No offence, but since you are a huge editor of maths articles you are likely to say "I don't know any examples" since I'm guessing you understand the maths already? Deamon138 (talk) 16:07, 7 August 2008 (UTC)

That is not an example of the catch-22 claimed. The article can be understood by anyone (myself, for example) who has taken a first course in statistics. Many of these people (again like myself) would have no knowledge of how to estimate covariance matrices, and could learn a lot from the article. I too would like to see examples of this alleged phenomenon. Algebraist 16:26, 7 August 2008 (UTC)
There are plenty more examples, that was just one really quick one I found just by frequently someone's userpage. Imagine how many I'd find in a longer period of time. And btw, if you've taken a first course in statistics, then you are not a layman. The fact is that it shouldn't require people to take a course in anything before they can understand an article. This problem only exists with maths and physics articles. The most complicated parts of philosophical articles or other subject areas are still readily understandable for the most part. Deamon138 (talk) 16:34, 7 August 2008 (UTC)
I'm not asking for an article incomprehensible to laymen; I know there are many. I'm asking for an article which can only be understood by people who know the material already. For example, list of single-game baseball records is incomprehensible to those with no knowledge of baseball, but can be understood by people who do not already know lots of baseball records. Algebraist 16:46, 7 August 2008 (UTC)
If you can find plenty more examples, then do it. Find ten, list them here, and point out a specific paragraph or sentence in each. Otherwise this discussion is useless and finished. Ozob (talk) 20:25, 7 August 2008 (UTC)

How one editor understood original post

I was merely responding to Michael Hardy's accusation that this problem doesn't exist, when it does. I would say that "I" can't possibly know how complicated article "X" has to be before it could only be understood by someone who had already studied X in great detail. I wouldn't know that to understand X you would only have to do a small course on X and then be able to comprehend X using your own deductive powers. How is a layman meant to know if estimation of covariance matrices is understandable to someone of some mathematical experience (like you), or to someone of great mathematical experience?
The original poster was merely expressing the point that the maths articles are very hard to understand and some might not even be understandable to anyone but someone who has studied that in great depth. It is just a (possible exaggeration) point about the fact that maths article are bloody hard to understand. Does it matter if there are only articles too hard to be understood by layman? Or is it because you are a "mid level" mathematician, and therefore YOU would get outraged at this only if there were articles that only experts could understand, but not if all articles were understandable to you but not to a layman? Basically I'm trying to get the point across to you about this poem: it doesn't matter if the problem affects you or not. It affects someone.
Also, if you read my original comments before Michael Hardy's comment, you will see that I said that nothing in particular needs to be done to solve this problem, it's just going to take a lot longer to make the maths and physics articles easier than for other topics' articles. Okay? Deamon138 (talk) 22:24, 7 August 2008 (UTC)

Original poster re-states problem

Hello again everyone, I'm the original poster of this proposal. I've read through all the new posts and Deamon138 has indeed understood my point perfectly. My point that only people with extensive knowledge of an article can understand the said article was indeed something of an exaggeration - I just thought it sounded more elegant - but my point is indeed that many articles on mathematics and physics are entirely inacessible to people without a relatively vast understanding of mathematics or physics (such as a degree in mathematics or statistics, if not a PhD on the specific subject matter of a particular mathematical article). Let me again flag up the Monty Hall Problem article and how it, in my opinion, is a perfect example of how to make maths-related articles easy to follow and accessible to the layman. Its explanations are clear throughout without being excessive or patronising, and the very low level of mathematical knowledge required to understand that article can, I would say, reasonably be expected of anyone who wants to read it. Moreover, it does include formulae towards the bottom of the article, but the explanation for the layman which preceeds them means that people can understand the article's subject matter even without that section which includes formulae. After this issue was raised on my talk page, I used this article as another example of a mathematics-related article which simply launches into obscure formulae with only a sentence or so for an introduction. Needless to say, I was lost as soon as the formulae started, which will be, I daresay, the case for most lay readers of that article. Hence, if we were to at least point people in the direction of appropriate Wikibooks or Wikiversity pages which would explain the concepts behind the formulae on that article and thus let people understand it (as long as they read through all the required material) then that would be a positive step towards making mathematics- and physics-related articles more accessible to the layman in general. It Is Me Here (talk) 07:25, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

A similar discussion

There is a similar discussion (currently) on this page at Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)#Wikipedia:Obscure topics. -- Wavelength (talk) 19:36, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
That topic is effectively the antithesis of this one lol. Deamon138 (talk) 22:03, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

Limits to improving accessibility; request for example articles

I don't see anything that you could do to improve the accessibility of that article that isn't a simple change to the lead. You might want to link number theory or prime number and maybe even modular arithmetic. Number theory should have a link to an appropriate Wikibook. But what more can you reasonably do? The article is about a primality test; the lead says so; and the first section of the article, "The test", describes the test. It would be nice if there were a history section in front of it, I guess. But you seem to want a layman's explanation, an explanation without formulas, and it doesn't exist. I'm not exaggerating in the slightest, I really mean it: It doesn't exist. The article is not obscure, not intentionally nor accidentally.
Let me give you the same challenge I gave Deamon138: Find ten articles where your proposal would help. Otherwise we're getting nowhere. Ozob (talk) 23:47, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

Example articles

Well, pages such as Wikipedia:Pages_needing_attention/Mathematics#Articles_that_are_too_technical are a good place to look, and here are ten examples of overly technical articles and where one should be directed in order to understand them (the article name comes first, followed by a semicolon and then any prerequesite material, with separate articles being themselves separated by commas):
  1. Equidistribution theorem; wikibooks:Calculus/Limits, wikiversity:Calculus/Limits, wikibooks:Calculus/Summation notation
  2. Error function; wikibooks:A-level Mathematics/C2/Integration
  3. MV-algebra; wikiversity:Introduction to boolean logic
  4. Martingale representation theorem; wikibooks:A-level Mathematics/C2/Integration
  5. Tricubic interpolation; wikibooks:Calculus/Summation notation
  6. Reciprocal rule; wikibooks:Calculus/Differentiation
  7. Hypercomplex number; wikibooks:Set Theory
  8. Size function; wikibooks:Set Theory
  9. Stokes' theorem; wikibooks:A-level Mathematics/C2/Integration
  10. Infinitesimal transformation; wikibooks:Calculus/Summation notation
Please note that in some cases I did not even understand the notation contained within some of those articles, and so even more prerequesite reading than I suggested might be required in order to understand the formulae contained within them.
It Is Me Here (talk) 17:05, 9 August 2008 (UTC)

Discussion: templates not helpful to example articles

I don't believe that your proposed templates will help for any of these articles. The problem is that your templates are for notation. Notation is just shorthand. For instance, the reciprocal rule article includes the expression (d/dx)(1/g(x)). This means, "Take the derivative with respect to the variable x of the quotient of the constant function 1 by the function g(x). Without knowing what "derivative" means it is impossible to understand the article. A reader who desperately wants to understand the reciprocal rule but doesn't know anything to start with can still click on calculus, the second word in the article (after "In"). After reading calculus they will either be able to read about the reciprocal rule or they will know enough to click on one of the next few words in the article, derivative. Before they reach the end of the derivative article, they will understand what the derivative is and what the notation means. At that point—and only at that point—will the reciprocal rule article will make sense.
You say that you don't understand all the notation in these articles; this is because you don't have enough prerequisite education for the articles to be comprehensible. If you did, then the notation would not be so mysterious.
You might say, "Then we should use templates to indicate prerequisite subject material!" In that case you would end up with a list like this one:
  1. Equidistribution theorem is about analytic number theory. A prerequisite for analytic number theory is mathematical analysis, which is a more rigorous approach to calculus.
  2. Error function is a special function which turns up most notably in statistics. The statistics needed to explain the error function requires a knowledge of calculus.
  3. MV-algebra is about logics which have more possible values for truth than "true" or "false". It requires mathematical logic and abstract algebra.
  4. Martingale representation theorem is about probability. Again, it requires mathematical analysis.
  5. Tricubic interpolation is, as the article tells you, a topic in numerical analysis, which usually assumes that the reader knows mathematical analysis.
  6. Reciprocal rule tells you at the start of the article that it's a topic in calculus.
  7. Hypercomplex number is a topic in abstract algebra.
  8. Size function is about pattern recognition. Some parts of the article require mathematical analysis and algebraic topology.
  9. Stokes' theorem tells you that it's a topic in differential geometry (and, in its more elementary versions, vector calculus). Actually, it looks (upon a quick skimming) to be a very clear article.
  10. Infinitesimal transformation is a topic in Lie theory.
But all of this can be written into the lead; in fact I took a lot of these descriptions from the article leads. Adding subject prerequisite templates makes these articles worse: It disrupts the flow of the text and it is prone to rot as the article changes (and either becomes more advanced or has the more advanced material split off into a separate article).
If you still disagree with me, you should ask at Wikipedia:WikiProject Mathematics, where you will get a more forceful rejection. Ozob (talk) 21:06, 10 August 2008 (UTC)

Adequacy: clear writing & Wikipedia process

"After reading calculus they will either be able to read about the reciprocal rule or they will know enough to click on one of the next few words in the article, derivative." Please read WP:NOT PAPERS where it says, "While wikilinks should be provided for advanced terms and concepts in that field, articles should be written on the assumption that the reader will not follow these links, instead attempting to infer their meaning from the text." Deamon138 (talk) 00:57, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
The guiding principle of WP:NOT PAPERS is that articles should be comprehensible. Are you arguing that reciprocal rule would be more comprehensible if the lead recapitulated a large part of derivative? If so, do you also admit that your proposed templates would then be unnecessary? Ozob (talk) 18:00, 12 August 2008 (UTC)
Sorry what? My proposed templates? They aren't mine. I haven't even argued for them, in fact I explicitly argued against anything new being done. I reckon any problems with these articles (which I do say exist) can be solved by the natural course of Wikipedia. Eventually, the articles will be understandable, given enough time. That is my gripe: that the articles aren't all amazingly comprehensible now, rather than sometime in the future. But the articles will be fixed, given enough time. Deamon138 (talk) 18:11, 12 August 2008 (UTC)
You're right. I stand corrected. Ozob (talk) 21:52, 12 August 2008 (UTC)
That's all right. No problem. Sorry for the confusion. Deamon138 (talk) 22:10, 12 August 2008 (UTC)

WHICH problem???

Different problems

It was complained initially that articles were written in such a way that only those who already knew the material could understand them.

I don't believe that.

Then it was complained that articles are written in such a way that lay readers could not understand them.

That is true. But it's not a problem.

Then it was complained that articles are written in such a way that lay readers couldn't tell what you had to know to read them and what the general subject matter area was.

That is too often true, and I am the foremost complainer about that problem on Wikipedia. I have probably also done more to remedy that problem than anyone else. Fortunately, however, it is a problem that does not afflict most articles. I'm talking about articles whose opening sentence is something like "Consider a sequence {Tn} of bounded linear operators on a separable Banach space B." The lay reader can't tell whether that's about theology or chemistry or psychoanalysis or international trade negotiations. I am foremost among those who have been objecting to that way of starting articles.

Someone blamed me for the abrupt opening sentence in estimation of covariance matrices, which said:

Given a sample consisting of independent observations x1,..., xn of a random vector XRp×1 (a p×1 column), an unbiased estimator of the (p×p) covariance matrix[.....]
etc.... I did not write that and I disapprove of it. I have now replaced that with the opening paragraph I wrote when I first started the article:
In multivariate statistics, the importance of the Wishart distribution stems in part from the fact that it is the probability distribution of the maximum likelihood estimator of the covariance matrix of a multivariate normal distribution.

Michael Hardy (talk) 13:43, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

Accessibility for lay readers

"Then it was complained that articles are written in such a way that lay readers could not understand them.
"That is true. But it's not a problem."
How is this not a problem? There is even an official guideline which states that technical articles should be made accessible to as wide an audience as possible. It Is Me Here (talk) 16:00, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

Indeed. Writing them to be accessible to as wide an audience as possible often leaves them in a state where lay readers cannot understand them. Not always, and indeed sometimes articles can be improved in this regard, but still there are lots of cases where an article written to be accesssible to as wide an audience as possible is one that lay readers won't understand. Michael Hardy (talk) 17:17, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

Examples requested; one proposed; discussion

Again, as was requested of me before, could you give some examples, please? I am finding it difficult to follow your logic at the moment. It Is Me Here (talk) 15:20, 12 August 2008 (UTC)
May I propose as an example the article on fibred categories? While I would be very pleased to find a way to make it more accessible, I have to admit that I cannot see how the level of accessibility could be significantly improved (other improvements should certainly be possible!). I think the topic demonstrates two essential difficulties associated to most (not all) "advanced" mathematics articles:
  1. All examples that can illustrate the meaning of the concept are already fairly advanced mathematical concepts themselves, ones which non-mathematicians (perhaps with the exception of theoretical physicists) are very unlikely to have heard of (such as vector bundles, sheaves). Moreover, this same difficulty (as well as the next one) applies in turn to these basic examples themselves, thus further expanding the background needed to appreciate the basic applications of the concept being discussed.
  2. While by no means impossible to understand with suitable investment of time, the definition of the concept relies on in fundamental manner on other technical mathematical concepts (here concepts from category theory). (There would be much more extreme examples than fibred categories from the point of view of multilayered dependence of definitions on previously defined concepts and theories — an example, building partially on fibred categories, could be algebraic stacks). Moreover, a working knowledge of the basic examples is often of significant help to mathematicians learning a new concept such as this: it makes the technical definitions understandable, even natural. The flipside is that for a person without this background the definitions remain essential formal and much more mental effort is needed to digest them.
It needs to be pointed out that the accumulation of concepts and theories in modern mathematica makes these more involved definitions and whole theories often very difficult to understand for professional mathematicians working in another topic (even in a neighbouring field). Therefore often the ambition of explaining mathematics to general mathematical audience is already difficult: writing good survey articles is difficult!
As for the maths articles presented as easily accessible (e.g., Monty Hall problem mentioned above), they do not suffer from the difficulty 1 above but instead relate more closely to familiar and concrete environment that a lay person can relate to. Moreover, the amount of multilayered theory needed for their resolution is often low, thus making the explanation in lay terms possible. But, as said, most topics in "advanced" mathematics do not share these characteristics.
As this topic seems to surface regularly, I'm very much in favour of the proposals to prepare a FAQ to address this. Stca74 (talk) 08:43, 13 August 2008 (UTC)

Assorted points and links

Here is an assortment of points which may be helpful. Their juxtaposition with each other is not intended to indicate any particular interconnection beyond their common relationship to the problem under discussion.

-- Wavelength (talk) 17:42, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

Question about what is proposed

Thanks for your input, but I am still somewhat confused as to what you propose should be done - do you want every mathematics- and physics-related Wikipedia article to be linked in a giant flowchart so that people could figure out what they need to cover before reading a specific article by using that chart? It Is Me Here (talk) 17:17, 17 August 2008 (UTC)

Five proposals; links; example equation edited

At this stage of the discussion, I do not have a preference from among the various options, which include the following.

  • linking to articles in Wikibooks
  • linking to articles in Wikiversity
  • linking to other articles in Wikipedia
  • linking to a very large prerequisite chart of articles (and/or to one of a number of smaller prerequisite charts of articles)
  • having a feature similar to the one currently used with articles about cities (where a mouse over a globe icon, in the upper right corner of the page, displays the expression "show location on an interactive map"), but with an interactive prerequisite chart instead of an interactive geographical map

Any one or combination of those options is acceptable to me. Also, the following may be helpful.

Category:Glossaries on mathematics
Category:Mathematical notation
Areas of mathematics
Mathematics Subject Classification

Earlier on this page, you gave an example of an annotated equation with links to other articles in Wikipedia. I have copied and edited it to appear as shown below, although the spacing still needs improvement. I have removed the first monomial of Euler's identity from the annotation. It is used in mathematics stubs. I removed it for two reasons: (1) in order to simplify the editing, and (2) because it seemed both inappropriate and unnecessary that an equation annotation have a stub symbol (either for a general mathematics stub or for any of the more specific mathematics stubs listed at Wikipedia:WikiProject Stub sorting/Stub types).

For more information about this formula, see:
*Limit (mathematics)

For more information on how I did this, you can see HTML element and b:HTML Programming/Tables.

-- Wavelength (talk) 16:57, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

More links (most of them external)

Here are some more links (a few of them internal, most of them external), some of them listed under headings composed of Google search terms. I am listing them here because I believe they have a possibility (even if small) of helping Wikipedia editors to make mathematics articles more accessible to readers. (Even if they do not help in that way, then their presence here could still be of interest in other ways to mathematics editors reading this section.)

"explaining difficult mathematics"

"gender differences mathematics"

-- Wavelength (talk) 00:38, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

Still more links (most of them external)

Here are some more links which may help Wikipedia editors to make mathematics articles more accessible.

(Google search: "mathematics proof human computer")

-- Wavelength (talk) 02:52, 24 August 2008 (UTC)

Message to educational communicator

I have sent a message to a famous educational communicator, requesting advice from that person to be given here to help us in reaching a consensus.

-- Wavelength (talk) 20:29, 26 August 2008 (UTC)
Interesting - keep us posted! It Is Me Here (talk) 11:12, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
The communicator has a website with a program for visitors to send messages, and by means of that program I sent a message, identifying myself as "(Wikipedia username) Wavelength" and providing a fictitious e-mail address. Except for the two long blank areas, the message which I sent is as follows.

For a long time, editors of mathematics articles on Wikipedia have been having difficulty in reaching consensus on how to make those articles more accessible to the general public. Some of us have been presenting various ideas, and recently I presented some of my own ideas, but still the issue seems to be unresolved. Knowing of your interest in promoting intellectual abilities in the general population, I am guessing that you would be glad to assist Wikipedia in this matter. If you have the time and interest, please visit (section "Easy as pi?") and offer whatever advice you can. If I understand procedures correctly, the discussion will be archived after a week of not receiving comments, but I expect to be making more comments, so then you will have more time to analyze the comments (or as many of them as you choose to analyze) and to add any comments of your own. If you choose to identify yourself by your real name, then your advice would probably be accepted more readily than otherwise; however, if you choose to be anonymous or pseudonymous, but if you choose to identify yourself to me in your comments, you can do so by ________________. You can find background information about Wikipedia at Thank you in advance for any help you can provide. If I send you another message here about the same matter, I will identify myself to you as "________________". (The e-mail address is fictitious; I do not know how to configure my e-mail service not to show my real name.)
-- Wavelength (talk) 00:42, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

Subsection 4

Links to related pages (17)

The following 17 pages are selected from the top 300 search results from my Google Advanced Search for all the words "wikipedia mathematics articles village pump" within the site "", or, in a few cases, are pages linked from those results. I have left them in the order of the search results, because the first results seem to be the most relevant and most useful to this discussion.

-- Wavelength (talk) 16:27, 1 September 2008 (UTC)
(If you are reading this discussion after it has been archived, please note that some of the pages in the foregoing list may also have been archived, in addition to the ones which are already archived at the time of this message being posted. You can probably find the information by following the link[s] to the associated archives.)
-- Wavelength (talk) 16:31, 5 September 2008 (UTC)

Internal links (48)

From my Wikipedia search for "mathematics articles" by using the Search button, I selected 48 pages. In the left column, they are listed in the order in which I found them. In the right column, they are loosely sorted for convenience.

Although I found many articles about individual mathematicians among the search results, I singled out Paul Erdős because of his prolific collaboration with other mathematicians in writing articles about mathematics. If his collaboration was in many diverse fields of mathematics, then his work might provide some clues to making Wikipedia mathematics articles more accessible, not only to non-mathematicians, but also to mathematicians specializing in fields outside those of the articles.

A related challenge in explaining mathematics was met in one-room schools. In a one-room school, a teacher taught academic basics to five to eight grade levels of elementary-age boys and girls. Maybe an understanding of the skills used by the teacher in shifting attention from one level to another, while maintaining appropriate instructions for each intended audience, can assist writers and editors of mathematics articles for Wikipedia.

Because my search found the list of paradoxes, it seems fitting to include these other articles, which are closely related to that one and to this discussion.

-- Wavelength (talk) 22:04, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

Internal & external links (mathematics websites)

Here are some more mathematics websites, which might help Wikipedia editors to make mathematics articles more accessible to a general readership.

(Incidentally, these together with others in the previous subsection of this section are probably sufficient
for a list of mathematics websites or a list of mathematical websites.)

-- Wavelength (talk) 20:53, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
The list can be added to the lists of websites. -- Wavelength (talk) 18:45, 13 September 2008 (UTC)

Subsection 5

Links to archived discussions (29)

From column 4 ("Proposals") of Wikipedia:Village pump archive#October 2004 - October 2007, I visited each page linked, searched for the character string "math", and selected the following 29 sections as having some relevance to the challenge of making mathematics articles more accessible to a general readership. The dates are from the discussions themselves, and do not necessarily agree with the corresponding wikified dates on the index page.

-- Wavelength (talk) 23:06, 15 September 2008 (UTC)


Proposal; Adding Wikiatlas to Wikipedia's array of reference materials. Lack of an atlas is a glaring omission. Any basic personal library's reference section starts with an encyclopedia, a dictionary and an atlas. Slightly better ones add a thesaurus and a book of quotations and possibly a general world history, then other reference books tailored to the individuals interests. Wiki has moved on to the thesaurus and quotes before covering the basics. Wikibooks is even beginning to fill in the the individual interests niche. Done properly this is a big project, hence a daunting one. As atlas's are graphic by nature few of wikipedia's current resources can be applied to the project, although wikipedia does have some good maps available to it. Wikipedia itself was, and is, a daunting project, yet was deemed worthwhile enough to do. Another argument against taking up this project is that the resource is available elsewhere on the internet. This is simply not true. Google maps, mapquest and the like are great for finding an address or getting directions, the CIA site has very nice current political maps, and looking at satellite photos of your neighborhood or where the latest typhoon has struck is way cool. However these are only the smallest part of what a good electronic atlas could be. Try finding a elevation map of Europe and the Mediteranian basin without cities or political boundaries. Aside from being a good thing in and of itself wikiatlas would be a terrific support tool for wikipedia. For example there is a very nice map in wikipedia of ancient Greek and Pheonician colonies. The creator must have gone to a great deal of trouble to create it so he could include it in his article. If he could summon up a map of the area involved that was copyright free his task would have been much easier. The difficulty in finding appropriate maps has certainly caused some editors to skip adding a map altogether, or reduce the quantity of maps included in a given article. I am surprised I could not find a reference to the addition of an atlas in the wiki pages. I would be even more surprised if I was the first to suggest it. If there is a discussion of the idea somewhere in wikiworld a pointer to the area would be appreciated. For those interested in the idea this is how I think it should work, ideally. Opening page is a globe, that can be manipulated with the pointer to show any face. A button would allow the view to be toggled back and forth between a flat projection or globe view. A slider would allow zooming in or out. Another slider would be used to go back and forth in time. A series of buttons would turn on or off a number of filters for borders, roads, rails, cities, elevation, climate, population, language, satellite image etc. The borders of the map could be adjusted to show exactly the area of interest. A couple of buttons would allow printing or saving to an image file, at screen size or any scale multiplier the user selects. An area and time period could have specialty maps attached, and if browsing the right area a specialty map available button would appear. when pushed the specialty map pop up. For example; if browsing Asia in the 1250-1270 period a a button would appear that lead to a map of Marco Polo's travels. One more button would lead to the index page. A place could be searched for through all history or the search could be narrowed to a certain era, continent, or nation. An option to show the resulting place or it's location would be available. For example a search for Toronto would show a map of Toronto, or a map of southern Ontario and north eastern USA centered on Toronto. Links to articles in Wikipedia could be added, so clicking on a nation's name would link to the article about the nation. And naturally Wikipedia articles could link to Wikipedia.

--JoSo (talk) 07:19, 15 September 2008 (UTC)

Wall of text, tl;dr. Celarnor Talk to me 07:24, 15 September 2008 (UTC)
Seriously, though; I'm not sure how this works, to be honest. Is there a source of freely available GIS data so someone can produce public-domain topographical maps? Celarnor Talk to me 07:26, 15 September 2008 (UTC)

I think I've seen this idea suggested a half-dozen or so times over the years, but nothing has ever come of it to my knowledge. I know there is a project request someplace venue on meta:, perhaps you could find other supporters of the idea there? As for why there is no Wikiatlas, if I had to guess I would assume it's due to software issues. Programmer hours are the rarest of all volunteer resources, I recall reading that we write a dozen FAs for every fulfilled bug request (and most bug requests are quite minor). --erachima talk 10:09, 15 September 2008 (UTC)

Ah, here we are: meta:Wikiatlas. --erachima talk 10:21, 15 September 2008 (UTC)
Yes, the problem is that this would require tons of development time to get something that's near as functional as Google Maps, and then what does the community do? Presumably map and aerial image layers would be added automatically from public domain sources, as that would be extremely time consuming and tedious to do manually. It seems very difficult to collaborate on something like this. Mr.Z-man 02:37, 16 September 2008 (UTC)
Actualy not to bad. It helps of course that it has been done (or at least been given a solid start see openstreetmap OpenStreetMap. Elivation is more of a problem although for the UK it can mostly be pulled from new popular edition OS maps.Geni 03:43, 16 September 2008 (UTC)
See also commons:Atlas and commons:Category:WikiAtlas. --Groggy Dice T | C 16:38, 17 September 2008 (UTC)
Some other possible features are:
  • The use of a button to choose a map projection, and
  • The option of overlaying one map over another,
for example, a weather map over a topographical map, or
a multi-modal transportation map over a population map.
(Some people may remember seeing transparencies of the human body,
with skeletal, muscular, digestive, respiratory, circulatory, and other diagrams.)
-- Wavelength (talk) 23:40, 17 September 2008 (UTC)
(I corrected my spelling: ---> "respiratory") -- Wavelength (talk) 03:54, 20 September 2008 (UTC)

(in re: to the "more FAs than bugs" comment): Did enwiki churn out 1056 FAs last week? Because 88 bugs were marked as FIXED. :) ^demon[omg plz] 20:14, 18 September 2008 (UTC)

Enable extension for cleanup

I'd like to have this extension enabled on our wiki. It has proven to be an effective tool for cleaning up vandalism and quickly reversing disruption on other Wikimedia wikis such as Meta and Commons. Basically, the extension allows an administrator to delete in bulk, the pages created by a vandal. - Rjd0060 (talk) 21:38, 17 September 2008 (UTC)

See bugzilla:11069 Prodego talk 21:51, 17 September 2008 (UTC)
That bug is almost irrelevant here. I'm proposing it here, to reach consensus within out community to enable it.  :-) — Rjd0060 (talk) 16:53, 18 September 2008 (UTC)
I'm hesitant to give the kind of power given by nuke to anyone, especially considering the abuse filter is under consideration. Other than massive potential for abuse and rapid-scale deployment, what does this provide that that the abuse filter doesn't? Celarnor Talk to me 18:25, 18 September 2008 (UTC)
How is this related to the AbuseFilter? This extension just makes vandalism cleanup easier. --MZMcBride (talk) 22:55, 18 September 2008 (UTC)
I don't see any benefit in it. I'll leave it at that. Angus McLellan (Talk) 16:40, 20 September 2008 (UTC)

WP:YFA & Category:CSD warning templates

I'd like to suggest that some mention of WP:YFA (hopefully avoiding being too patronizing, in case it hits experienced editors making a stupid mistake) should be added to most (not all) of the CSD warning templates. Any thoughts on which or inclinations against doing so? Seems like it might be more productive than just slapping users down without making any productive suggestions. MrZaiustalk 12:03, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

Oy. I was about to say several of them do include that link, but realized you're talking about the notifications. Your suggestion seems reasonable (maybe something to the effect of "if you are a new user, consider taking a moment to read..."). An alternative link, either in general or for non-article nominations, might be Wikipedia:Introduction. We could also encourage users on new page patrol to welcome newcomers in earnest, even when delivering bad news. – Luna Santin (talk) 19:24, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

Disallow users from deleting warnings from their talk pages

Currently, users are able to remove warnings that they receive from their talk pages. However, if they continue to do this, they could conceivably vandalize forever and nobody would know unless they were continually caught by the same user or the person reverting the vandalism checked the edit history of every user (which would be time consuming). I'd like to propose that users not be able to remove warnings from their talk page. It just makes it easier to keep track of how much vandalism a person has done without having to go through a contribution history.

(Note: I was told that they are allowed to do this by another user. If they aren't, then ignore this.) KJS77 Join the Revolution 00:08, 22 September 2008 (UTC)

See Wikipedia:Perennial proposals#Prohibit removal of warnings. Anomie 00:17, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
Acknowledged. KJS77 Join the Revolution 01:03, 22 September 2008 (UTC)

Banning proposal

After seeing ban discussions like Koh's, Kurt's Scetpre's, Steve Crossin's, and Prom3th3n's, I've written up User:MBisanz/RfBan as a proposed way to better handle such discussions in the future. Please comment at the talk page. MBisanz talk 00:20, 22 September 2008 (UTC)

Length limit for section headings

Recently, I posted a message at Wikipedia:Reference desk/Language and, because of the length of the section heading, I did not have any space to provide an edit summary--there was not even enough space for one character. Should there be a length limit for section headings? What is the best formula for deciding what that length limit should be?

Here is a temporary link: Wikipedia:Reference desk/Language#I am looking for a term that is used to describe the time wasting practice of pronouncing an acronym that takes longer to pronounce than if one simply pronounced the words that were initialized? {sic}.

Here is a perpetual link: Wikipedia:Reference desk/Language (September 17) "I am looking for a term that is used to describe the time wasting practice of pronouncing an acronym that takes longer to pronounce than if one simply pronounced the words that were initialized?" {sic}.

-- Wavelength (talk) 01:11, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
You can just delete some or all of the section heading in the automatically created edit summary. PrimeHunter (talk) 01:20, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
Though this will break the edit-summary link. Algebraist 11:06, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
It appears that the extreme length of this section header was done on purpose, as a witticism. If that were not the case, you could justify replacing the header with a shorter one to aid navigation. Continuing to crack this walnut with a sledgehammer, one could add a 'span id' to the page, which is a way of making section aliases. (This would allow making a short alias for the full section name). An example is at WP:EIW#Backlog. (Look at the wiki text to see how it's done). EdJohnston (talk) 13:42, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
See also Help:Link#Section linking (anchors). PrimeHunter (talk) 14:03, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
Thank you all for your answers.
-- Wavelength (talk) 15:47, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

An update on the proposal to move Main Page

I would like to remind people that the proposal to move Main Page is still ongoing. It is currently proposed that Main Page be moved to a new namespace. For more information, please see WP:VPR/PP#New namespace?. It would be good if more people are involved in this decision. -- Imperator3733 (talk) 14:29, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

Listing the key signature of songs

It would be very informative (and benificial for musicians) if under the song details infobox the ability to list the key signature of a song was added for singles or individual song pages.

  • You should mention this on the talk page of the appropriate template. -- Imperator3733 (talk) 01:50, 24 September 2008 (UTC)

Comic book issue pages

As it currently stands, articles on individual issues of a comic book series are not allowed on wikipedia. I propose that this be changed. My principal reason is this: the current policies do not allow for adequate coverage of comics-related material.

There's only so much plot detail you can cover in a character or series page without that page veering off topic and becoming filled with extraneous detail. Additionally, if one wants to find information about a certain event in a comic book, they will have to spend time poring over multiple pages covering the series and characters in question; maybe they'll find what they're looking for, maybe they won't. A neat and tidy solution is to simply allow these pages. I think they would prove to be a valuable addition to this encyclopedia. In some cases, graphic novel pages fill this need, but this is an inadequate compromise because many fine comics have never been collected into a graphic novel and, in addition, graphic novel pages are routinely deleted on grounds of notability.

Further support: television episodes are widely featured throughout wikipedia, and in many cases have become featured articles. This is comparable to the issue of individual comic book issues. Yes, there are low-quality TV episode articles, but there are many more high-quality ones. I think most people would agree that these articles add to wikipedia quite a bit, and I think that, given the chance, comic book issue pages will do the same. Cerebellum (talk) 23:31, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia is not a place for plot summaries. Individual comics issues would rarely contain more than a plot summary and would be impossible to feature because of their limited scope. It makes much more sense to address story arcs or series. Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 00:03, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
Well, point of fact, there's actually no policy or guideline prohibiting an article about a notable individual comic book issue. See, for example, Action_Comics_1. -Chunky Rice (talk) 00:25, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
David Fuchs: Could you explain how your logic applies to comic books, but not to TV episodes? The storyline suggestion isn't bad, I'm just wondering about this.Cerebellum (talk) 12:05, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
Because due to sources such as episode commentaries, et al, there are many more sources available to write a TV episode FA. That's not to say all episodes should or can be stand-alone; the Stargate SG-1 crew has struck a good balance. As you can see in List of Stargate SG-1 episodes, only articles where enough sources exist (say, 200 (Stargate SG-1), are kept, while the rest are folded into the list, because as a whole the episodes are notable. Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 12:08, 24 September 2008 (UTC)

Why not inform wiki editors of important news via administrator messages?

I use to contribute to a smaller wiki and think spreading new policies or agreed upon guidelines would be quite easy if administrators could simply type them (or a link to them) into an editor and then send them to registered users, who would see the news message appear on top of the wiki page they are watching in the same way they are notified of a new message on their talk pages. Just adding new policies or guidelines to the help section or wherever they belong might make them go unnoticed. I'm not sure if this made sense for the main wiki though.--Emaster82 (talk) 01:31, 24 September 2008 (UTC)

That's what MediaWiki:Watchlist-details is for. We also have MediaWiki:Sitenotice, but that's used less often. Algebraist 13:28, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
Okay, I haven't experienced any kind of such notifications yet but going by what is explained on the talk pages of the MediaWiki pages you linked to they seem to be what I meant.--Emaster82 (talk) 16:17, 24 September 2008 (UTC)

Special:Statistics (again)

Yes check.svg Resolved. {{Nihiltres|talk|log}} 15:36, 24 September 2008 (UTC)

A week or two ago I proposed that the definition of "active user" on special:statistics was made clear, and some kind user did so: viz the template was edited to state that active means "has edited in the last 30 days". Just about as soon as that thread was archived from here, special:statistics was radically re-designed and the information was lost again. Can someone put it back? E.g. by defining the term in Wikipedia:statistics and linking to it from the special:statistics template (I have no idea where the latter is located or I'd do it myself). PaddyLeahy (talk) 15:02, 24 September 2008 (UTC)

I added a description to the relevant statistics message. In the future, you can find particular interface messages by searching Special:Allmessages (warning: large page). {{Nihiltres|talk|log}} 15:36, 24 September 2008 (UTC)

Namespaces in Robot.txt

I'd like to propose adding the following namespaces to MediaWiki:Robots.txt to prevent their indexing by search engines

  • Image talk:
  • Help talk:
  • MediaWiki talk:
  • Category talk:
  • Template talk:
  • Portal talk:

There is no encyclopedic content on any of these pages and all but a tiny fraction are unwatched. Frequently drive-by vandals leave attack pages in these namespaces, knowing that it is unlikely anyone will see them. Since they are not used much for legitimate purposes (other than a few template and mediawiki talk pages), there will not be much collateral damage from adding them to the robots.txt file. MBisanz talk 01:50, 15 September 2008 (UTC)

Should this be desired, a better way to implement it would be to get a dev to add them to $wgNamespaceRobotPolicies, as was recently done with the "User talk" namespace. The difference being that robot policies set via $wgNamespaceRobotPolicies can be overridden on a page-specific basis if needed. —Ilmari Karonen (talk) 02:39, 15 September 2008 (UTC)
Ok, I think we should do to those namespaces whaat Ilmari said we did to the User talk namespace. MBisanz talk 02:52, 15 September 2008 (UTC)
Mediawiki talk is kinda hand since it saves haveing to remeber all those codes. Template talk is usefull when you can't remeber which of the various inforbox templates you saw a discussion on. Image talk is sometimes needed due to copyright issues.Geni 02:48, 16 September 2008 (UTC)
I don't see a problem with this. - Rjd0060 (talk) 21:38, 17 September 2008 (UTC)
MediaWiki's internal search is improving, though Google is very helpful at times.... I'll leave my comment on this proposal as a resounding meh.

As a technical note, though, Ilmari is correct. This would be implemented in the configuration files, not on a local page. --MZMcBride (talk) 21:46, 17 September 2008 (UTC)

Huh? I can't recall ever having seen "attack pages" left in any of the talk spaces you mention (though I have seen them in User talk). I don't spend much time with Help talk or Portal talk, but I've seen all of the rest used for legitimate encyclopedia-fostering purposes. By extension that implies it is potentially useful for editors to search them. Before we put an end to major search engines being used for that purpose, I'd like to see some evidence that there is a problem here. Could you provide evidence of actual harm (rather than speculation) and some idea of how frequent the problem is? In general I don't think the "free encyclopedia" should be hiding our back rooms without concrete evidence of need. Dragons flight (talk) 21:52, 17 September 2008 (UTC)
From today in the image talk: space alone: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. Is the 'pedia actually improved by any of those pages showing up on google? MBisanz talk 22:03, 17 September 2008 (UTC)
That is indeed a problem, but I don't see how we can solve it through no-indexing. People will still add nonsense to such talk pages, after all, and none of the examples listed are BLP problems, so I don't see why it matters whether google should index those talk pages or not. Additionally, some talk pages in some namespaces (Especially template and mediawiki) are pretty active, and it would be a bad thing to no-index those. --Conti| 22:20, 17 September 2008 (UTC)
Most of those are "test" type edits of no consequence. A little messy maybe, but not harmful in the way an "attack page" is. Comment 8 is actually discussing the image, and hence using the page for it's nominal intent. Comment 2 contained a link to a different image in a similar style (probably not a good source, but still on topic).
But in general I don't think the harm of little talk pages like those (that Google would mostly ignore anyway since they have no content) is comparable to the utility associated with things like Image talk:Instrumental Temperature Record.png, Image talk:2000 Year Temperature Comparison.png, Image_talk:Replace_this_image_male.svg, Image_talk:Colonisation2.gif, etc. The problem with blocking the entire space is that you cast out both the good and the bad, and so you have to make a balancing test on whether we are better with them or better without them. Personally, my experience and the evidence so far, suggests to me that we are better off keeping search enabled. Dragons flight (talk) 22:33, 17 September 2008 (UTC)
Absolutely oppose. Having a full and complete searchable index of wikipedia should be the norm, and only in a few cases where demonstrated and repeated harm has come to the project or individuals, and we're unable to contain it with normal editing, should we use sweeping technical measures like this rather than the usual revert and ignore. So, in absence of evidence of concrete harm google indexing of these namespaces has caused, I don't see any reason for a blanket prohibition on indexing. henriktalk 22:03, 17 September 2008 (UTC)
You are aware that the User talk: namespace and over 55,000 other pages are already de-indexed, including all RFAR, RFAs, and RFCUs? MBisanz talk 22:04, 17 September 2008 (UTC)
Yes, and I don't necessarily think those de-indexings were a generally good idea either. They're a poor technical solution to a social problem. I'm not blindly opposed to de-indexing pages - there are some cases where it can be a practical solution, but I don't think we should do it on a whim and in the absence of demonstrated harm. Wikipedia should be open, warts and all. henriktalk 22:14, 17 September 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose The rationale for deindexing deletion discussions, BLP noticiboards and user talk pages (along with a host of other user-related pages) is valid. The rationale for doing so here is not. I don't use google to look for encyclopedic content on the template talk pages. I use it to look for discussions about templates (and usually, alternate names for those templates that aren't redirects for one reason or another). The same goes for the other namespace talk pages. We shouldn't use robots.txt to control what is and isn't a "customer facing" portion of wikipedia (encyclopedic). It is a blunt tool for a subtle problem. Protonk (talk) 00:52, 18 September 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose any further no-indexing. –xeno (talk) 03:19, 18 September 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose no-index should IMHO only be used on places where there is frequent discussion of things that are better kept hidden from the public eye. Google was meant to search the entire internet, so let it. - Icewedge (talk) 03:38, 18 September 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose any further no-indexing. Google works much faster and better than the internal search.--Patrick (talk) 10:06, 18 September 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose per above. Search engines search, it isn't our job to choose what is or isn't good enough for them. There is no reason to hide these pages from them. Prodego talk 21:11, 18 September 2008 (UTC)
  • Strongly support indexing all talk pages, including article talk. Search engines are a reality, and their policies and uses are not under our control. But they are very important in many contexts, and the usual way of finding topics in the web. The talk pages of any articles tend to contain material rejected from the article, personal abuse, and wild speculations. These pages are important in the making of Wikipedia, and also in their use in aiding interpretation of the material, but they are not the encyclopedia. For the same reason previous versions are not indexed, so should these. If there is important subject information there--it should be in the article. Fortunately, the major search engines do respect the noindex tag. A complete and searchable index of Wikipedia should indeed be the norm, and we should do it. We're responsible for it. Reliance on Google for indexing is like relying of Google for content.
  • Oppose pretty much any no-indexing — no-indexing doesn't actually hide anything from the Internet. Anyone who really wants to find this stuff will find it — everyone else is just inconvenienced. I know I'm not the only one who uses Google to search for old Wikipedia discussions (often to cite in current Wikipedia discussions), and anything getting in the way of this is bad. --Cyde Weys 15:31, 19 September 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose more no-indexing, especially considering the sorry state of Wikipedia's internal search, and I'm not enthusiastic about some of the exclusions that have already been made, like the XFDs. --Groggy Dice T | C 17:47, 20 September 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose And I'm very pissed to hear that user and user talk has been excluded as well. -- Ned Scott 02:44, 26 September 2008 (UTC)

Admin bot proposal

There is a proposal to amend the bot policy regarding whether or not administrators need approval to run bots under their account. All are invited to comment. Prodego talk 14:51, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

zomg adminbots. :-) --MZMcBride (talk) 18:42, 25 September 2008 (UTC)
August 29, 1997 was a long time ago. Skynet's running late (probably got snagged by the Y2k bug). EVula // talk // // 18:49, 25 September 2008 (UTC)


why dosnt wiki cover the lesser religions like i'm the Alimbic religion theres only a little on it and i added that bit.--Mindoshawn (talk) 18:20, 24 September 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia covers topics people have written an article about. If you want your religion covered, continue what you've been doing. I don't know where we draw the line between "religion" and "cult", probably at WP:NOTE, but how to determine that, I dunno. - Denimadept (talk) 18:45, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
Including a link to your article here, so we know what you're talking about, might help too. - Denimadept (talk) 18:47, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
Mindoshawn created the since deleted The alimbic faith. It was unsourced and the only content was:
"The alimbic faith is a christian faith that consists of 8 elders who are the faiths leaders and 8 clans . maranshawn, tarin kamc, doranc kien mindo ,laitran kilraec,karack n tan lanak, sarkierin manakan, garic matax, and the navin kamical."
A bunch of terms with zero Google hits (including on "Alimbic faith" or "Alimbic religion") doesn't look good for Wikipedia:Notability, Wikipedia:Notability (organizations and companies) or Wikipedia:Verifiability. See Wikipedia:Wikipedia is not for things made up one day. PrimeHunter (talk) 23:34, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
That explains why I couldn't find the article he failed to link with. Now he's posted an unpleasant comment to my talk page. (shrug) - Denimadept (talk) 18:29, 25 September 2008 (UTC)

An alternative to continually relisting AFD nominations with little or no discussion.

Originally proposed and discussed here (WT:AFD).

If an article is listed on AFD for 5 days and...

1. Has never been nominated for deletion before.
2. Has few or no comments/!votes.
3. Has no "good faith" "keep" !votes or neutral comments leaning toward "keep".

Then it may, at the closing admin's discretion, be treated like an expired prod. The admin deletes it with no prejudice against recreation and the article is undeleted upon request, noting this in his closing statement and in the deletion log. I think this would be a better alternative to constantly relisting nominations over and over again until there are enough !votes to make a call. Note that this should only be one option available to the closing admin. He could still relist or close "no consensus" etc. if he feels that's best.

Of those who objected, the main concern was the short window available to someone who would wish the article be kept to participate in the deletion discussion. Other business might keep him away from Wikipedia while "his" article is silently deleted. I am assuming the same objection was raised when the proposed deletion system was first being discussed. The answer was to make such deletions very easy to undo. Such an article would be restored upon request or could be recreated without being subject to CSD G4. I'm proposing the same thing here. --Ron Ritzman (talk) 02:19, 16 September 2008 (UTC)

  • I think that this is a good idea. I've seen hundreds of AfDs get relisted as many as four times before someone even bothers to comment. I've seen other XfD's closed as "delete" with nobody commenting. Furthermore, it's easy enough to re-create or undelete an article anyway, I can't imagine this causing anymore headache than DRV does. Ten Pound Hammer and his otters • (Broken clamshellsOtter chirpsHELP) 02:39, 16 September 2008 (UTC)
    • The 'undelete' option may not be apparent to novice users. SharkD (talk) 01:48, 17 September 2008 (UTC)
  • Support From my comments at WT:AFD. This is a good idea that reduces bureaucracy and doesn't add any more burden on the user creating content than an expired prod would. Protonk (talk) 03:08, 16 September 2008 (UTC)
  • Support that makes a lot of sense, if no one shows up after five days to defend the article then it probably deserves to be deleted. - Icewedge (talk) 03:23, 16 September 2008 (UTC)

Isn't it possible that this AfD was already prodded, and was taken to AfD because someone objected? It doesn't strike me as impossible that someone contested a prod, and then didn't follow up on the AfD discussion. Personally, I think if something doesn't meet speedy deletion criteria and there isn't a discussion leading to a delete decision, then it should default to keep and not delete. Avruch T 00:53, 17 September 2008 (UTC)

  • Oppose per above, I agree with Avruch. Why delete something that nobody can find anything wrong with besides the nominator? The article can be relisted easily enough, and your suggestion seems like it'd make it a bit too easy to delete someones work without even discussing it. --Banime (talk) 18:46, 18 September 2008 (UTC)
  • I would oppose doing this in place of the first relist, but after that, support it. If after 10+ days no one comes to try to refute the nomination statement or at the least give some possible reason for keeping the page, it can probably be assumed that either nobody but the nominator cares, or they agree with the nomination. Mr.Z-man 18:52, 18 September 2008 (UTC)
    • That was one of my first thoughts, too -- would people be more comfortable with this if we waited and/or relisted before treating a non-commented discussion this way? I'm a bit dismayed to see so many of the comments here treating AfD as a war zone, with people "backing up" others and a general assumption that lack of comments indicates nobody could "find fault," as if that's the only reason for their being there or commenting. I take a lack of comments to mean "nobody much cares," which I believe is more or less the philosophy behind prod's time-saving system: save the discussion for when somebody does care. – Luna Santin (talk) 20:37, 20 September 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose per what Avruch said, as well as being too bitey to new users; it will require administrative intervention to undelete, and we should err in favor of keeping information anyway. This doesn't seem to be in line with that. If no one other than that nominator shows up after five days to come up with some more reasons to delete something, or even to just support the nominator, then it probably doesn't deserve to be deleted. Celarnor Talk to me 20:00, 18 September 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose, if no one has shown up to back the nominator, the article isn't obviously non-notable either. A proposal that will reinforce systemic biases towards what is current and popular and online. --Groggy Dice T | C 17:52, 20 September 2008 (UTC)
  • Support - I agree it reduces beaucratic relisting which solves little. If no one shows up at an AfD it doesn't prove the nominator's argument is weak any more than it proves the opposite. Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 20:09, 20 September 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose I'm late to the party here, but since this concept defaults to delete in the absence of discussion, it strikes me as a non-starter of an idea and a rather stunning and newcomer-unfriendly change in policy. Why can't we presume the very creation of an article in the first place represents the first "keep" argument? If it's in AFD to begin with, that implies it's not an obvious (CSD) elimination candidate. Townlake (talk) 18:20, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose An admin cannot make a decision on behalf of the community. -- Taku (talk) 00:58, 26 September 2008 (UTC)
    • Why not? If nobody cares one way or the other, let the admin use his or her best judgment. We're treating it like a prod so if anyone ever objects to the deletion, it can be undeleted on demand. --B (talk) 13:01, 26 September 2008 (UTC)
  • support We currently have two forms of uncontested deletion. If it's filed as a prod, and nobody comments, it's deleted; if it's filed as AFD and uncontested, it's kept. Just one of the weird issues with deletion that the same opinion results in opposite actions depending on how it was filed; I think uncontested deletions should be consistent. If we don't require a prod2, why require support for AFD? -Steve Sanbeg (talk) 18:54, 26 September 2008 (UTC)

Number of views for a page

I think it might be nice if there was a count of the number of views for a given page so as to see the popularity of one topic over another.

Just a suggestion... —Preceding unsigned comment added by Crsteinb (talkcontribs)

There is a tool, but it is not always complete: You can enter any page name and see the hits per month. Karanacs (talk) 18:02, 26 September 2008 (UTC)

New favicon

I know we've talked about getting a new favicon before mainly because the current one is in use by Wiktionary and is not the most appealing, especially the white background. We didn't do anything before because of out lack of participation and good ideas. I took some of the criticism from last time and worked out a new one, how does it look?-- penubag  (talk) 00:58, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

Wiktionary-favicon.pngNewFavicon icon.svg
Personally I definitely like it much more (cannot overstate how enthusiastically). Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 01:50, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
While I like it from an aesthetic point of view, I'm not sure it's as clear as our current favicon: the classic "W" is both reduced in size and rotated in three dimensions and I imagine that greatly hurts its legibility from certain points of view. In addition, it takes away from the elegant simplicity of our current icon. My essential thought is this: how could such a change be justified by more than mere personal preference? {{Nihiltres|talk|log}} 04:18, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
I appreciate your efforts, but to me the puzzle piece looks a bit like an amoeba unless I squint pretty hard or put my nose close to the screen. I think the plain "W" is beautiful in its simplicity- kind of like Google's plain interface. I don't care Wiktionary uses it too; they're a sister project and I don't mind sharing. Also the current icon is well known and associated with the project (looked at Google Maps lately?). I think it would take a lot of time to re-buld that recognition with a new logo since we don't have big marketing pockets to dip into like when big corporations change their logos. I don't like to see your effort go to waste, maybe there's another part of the project we could use it? —Ashanda (talk) 06:10, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
I think it looks nice, I'd change it but it's just that. WP:ILIKEIT if you so will. But I think it is a good point that Wikipedia and Wiktionary use the same icon, I think one of them should be changed so that people can identify different pages in tabs easily. SoWhy 10:14, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

Another favicon proposal

I've been thinking about the issue myself, and I myself dislike the traditional W because the white block background looks like someone who designed it has never heard of transparency. My proposal is that we keep basically the same logo, but utilise transparency and a bit of rounding. Like this:


Thoughts? — ^.^ [citation needed] 09:43, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

It makes me think of a television screen. :-) To be honest, it makes the W look cramped. Waltham, The Duke of 09:51, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
I prefer it to the current block we have. I've always hated it, as I too think it looks horribly amateurish. As for this, I suggest making the W just a tad bit smaller. --.:Alex:. 10:07, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

How about these versions?


^.^ [citation needed] 11:54, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

Now the W doesn't look as clear; the right-hand lines of the "V"s are ready to disappear. My personal opinion is that having a special shape for the white part essentially makes it an element of the symbol, which is untrue and potentially misleading. I like the current icon, which makes it clear that the black W is the symbol, set on a simple white background. Besides, I think that if we adopted the proposed icon and Wiktionary kept the current one, the contrast would be too small for quick differentiation but still produce a strange image when viewed closely. Waltham, The Duke of 14:06, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
As someone who has a white address bar, the only difference between the old and new favicons is that the new ones are of lower quality. --Carnildo (talk) 20:27, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

Here is a nice improved favicon that I had made a while ago:

Wikipedia new favicon on browser tab.png      Wikipedia new favicon on address bar.png

Cacycle (talk) 01:39, 25 September 2008 (UTC)

How about 718smiley.svg? --NE2 06:28, 25 September 2008 (UTC)

Take this away, take it away! I'm suffering from arhinophobia, didn't you know? Mortally afraid of faces without a nose.
Cacycle, I like your idea. It will give the icon some volume and make it a bit more interesting, but will only take a line of pixels of each of two sides (right?), and thus minimise the reduction of the W. Waltham, The Duke of 22:50, 26 September 2008 (UTC)
Please see also my bugzilla feature request. Cacycle (talk) 04:26, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

List of featured articles by date

Apparently, most of the former featured articles got demoted because the featured article criteria get stricter, rather than because articles deteriorate. I think we should add a list in which all featured articles are sorted by the date when they were promoted, or when their last featured article review was closed. For example:

(This could be broken across several pages, one per year, if the resulting page were too big.) When an article is demoted, the corresponding item would be simply removed, and when it successfully passes a FAR, the entry would be moved to the current date. This way, people could easily look for the articles which haven't undergone a FAR for the longest time, and consider nominating them for FAR. --A r m y 1 9 8 7 ! ! ! 08:49, 24 September 2008 (UTC)

Such a list could be useful. The problem is that when you say I think we should add a list, you're not being specific about how you envision such a list being created, and how it would be maintained. And that matters - a lot.
To be more helpful: there seem to be three possibilities: (a) do this manually; (b) have the MediaWiki software do this; or (c) have a bot do this. If (a), you probably should make this proposal at Wikipedia talk:Featured articles; regarding (b), you'd need to post a bug/feature request (I'm not going to even bother providing a link; I guarantee that no software developer would think this worth the time); regarding (c), the proper venue is WP:BOTREQ. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 00:54, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
After the list is created, to maintain it one simply needs to add new articles as they get featured, and either move or delete them when they undergo a FAR. As for creating the list in the first place... BTW, I think I'll make this proposal at Wikipedia talk:Featured articles. -- A r m y 1 9 8 7 ! ! !  16:54, 28 September 2008 (UTC)

Intern for Wikipedia

Hello everyone!

I am a new intern at the Wikimedia Foundation and I have started a blog to keep everyone up-to-date with what is going on at the office. Let me know what you want to hear about and leave me feedback! is the blog. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

Your blog is on with a email address. It has no link to a Wikimedia Foundation page mentioning you. You made an unsigned IP post to an irrelevant page. I have not found information about you at wikimedia:Staff or elsewhere. Can you or somebody else confirm you are an intern? In an article such a claim would require a reliable source and a selfpublished blog would not be accepted. PrimeHunter (talk) 14:31, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
Hi "intern"! I haven't met you and don't remember your name, but perhaps we crossed paths on a day I was working from home. Can you tell me which staff member you are interning for so I can help provide some legitimacy to your blog? (Cary Bass) Bastique demandez 14:45, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
So was this all a sham? KnightLago (talk) 01:08, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
It looks like it. Bastique hasn't heard from the alleged intern at User talk:Bastique#Alleged intern. PrimeHunter (talk) 17:59, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

Meta Level Proposal - These pages are rather hard to watch

Related to: Wikipedia:PEREN#Allow_watchlisting_individual_sections_of_a_page

Any chance that we can get the Village Pump, AFI, etc opened up to AfD/RfA/FA style subpages? It would make opening a discussion a touch harder, but greatly simplify closing one on AFI and allow for per-section watchlists of both pages. Would require a bit of a redesign, but it shouldn't be that hard - The templates are largely already written for the aforementioned processees. Don't really need a way to "close" a pump discussion, so that one can be greatly simplified.

On a related note, is MediaWiki capable of expanding the functionality of the "New Section" link to automatically create these new sub-pages (on AfD/RfA/whatever) and auto-populate it with any necessary template text? That would make all of these processes and a broken up VP & AFI much more newbie accessible. MrZaiustalk 03:13, 26 September 2008 (UTC)

If they were created with log-like subpages like /March 2008/Proposal to do X, I could see that actually working out pretty good. At first I was thinking it would be a bad idea, because one wouldn't be able to see on their watchlist all the discussion changes. However, there still would be an edit to add the discussion, and having one edit per thread like that might actually be a cleaner way (and make it easier) to watch for new discussions. The idea is growing on me. -- Ned Scott 03:26, 26 September 2008 (UTC)
As a regular at WP:CFD (which uses the daily log system), I would strongly support this for the various WP:VP and WP:AN boards. - jc37 09:23, 26 September 2008 (UTC)
Another bonus: Currently, every time I click on a link to ANI I have to go digging through the archives to find the actual discussion because that page is archived so quickly. This would (probably) fix that. OTOH, is it really appropriate to raise the bar for inexperienced editors who have need to post here? Anomie 11:36, 26 September 2008 (UTC)
  • Support whoever thinks that they can keep track of a discussion on a page like WP:AN by watchlisting it is clearly dreaming. I also support the implementation of a "new section to subpage" mod. — ^.^ [citation needed] 12:21, 26 September 2008 (UTC)

Per Anomie's comment, I'd definitely like to not have to bite the newbies. Anyone familiar with Mediawiki enough to know if an admin or bureaucrat can extend the functionality of the "New Section" button to automagically create the new page and prefill it with a tracking template? Doesn't seem like it'd be hard, but does seem like it might require dev intervention. Definitely warranted, one way or the other though - It'd be incredibly nice to have, and would lower the bar at AfD and FA far more than it would raise it here. MrZaiustalk 13:00, 26 September 2008 (UTC)

  • Support This would make it much easier to keep track of everything. In reply to MrZaius, I think I've seen text boxes in several places where you can type in a name and then it creates a new page in an appropriate location. We could just put one of those near the top of all the Village pumps to create the pages. I think the pages should be created in a consistent standard. For example, this proposal could be located at Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)/September 2008/Meta Level Proposal - These pages are rather hard to watch. -- Imperator3733 (talk) 17:57, 26 September 2008 (UTC)
  • Weak Oppose If those discussion pages all become subpages, the edits to new discussions would be totally hidden on the watchlist. I don't know about everyone else, but it's been more than once that I've seen a topic, not because I've checked ANI or the Pump, but because I've seen the section heading on my watchlist. EVula // talk // // 18:02, 26 September 2008 (UTC)
  • Support All of these heavy traffic discussion boards should be made into sub-pages. It makes watching discussions and referencing archives much, much easier. Protonk (talk) 18:15, 26 September 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. This is an ad hoc partial solution to a much bigger problem - talk pages should be full-featured forums. User:Dcoetzee/Why wikithreads are bad. Workarounds like this are not the right long-term answer. Dcoetzee 18:26, 26 September 2008 (UTC)
Actually, the extensions to the "New section" button described above (if we could sell the devs et al on it) would be more than a workaround and could be extended to all pages, solving the majority of the issues you describe in your essay, leaving only the potentially controversial and heavy-on-the-overhead features that you describe for future generations. This would also prevent the full-on hierarchical mess that most forums become, where a response to your Oppose might appear ten, twenty messages down in the thread. Btw, when did this turn into a vote? This is just the pump, and this might actually require an RfD or, at the very least, a dev or mediawiki.css guru's interaction. MrZaiustalk 05:37, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
I'm assuming you mean RfC, not "RfD", right? -- Imperator3733 (talk) 22:17, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
Quite right. MrZaiustalk 07:08, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
  • Support I try to follow one or two of the boards and long policy talk pages in general, and for those I do not need it--but in most cases I am there only for a particular discussion DGG (talk) 00:25, 30 September 2008 (UTC)

Proposal for a new usergroup

There are several automated programs that allow users to make mass edits to Wikipedia, such as Huggle, Autowikibrowser, Vandalproof, and others. These programs can allow vandals and inexperienced editors to do quite a bit of damage so the maintainers of these programs usually have an authorization system in place where editors request access, moderators/maintainers review the request and the editor's history, approve/decline the application and add approved users to an "access list".

The problem is that these approval mechanisms are time consuming and the lists of requests often get backlogged. The Vandalproof maintainers have suspended applications because of this (and because they think Huggle is better). Huggle avoids this problem by checking to see if the user is a member of the Rollbacker user group. This is a good solution and makes sense for Huggle since it is a "rollbacking" tool but it wouldn't make sense for some of the others such as AWB and it risks making rollback rights a bigger deal then it was designed to be.

I think the solution is a new usergroup, a suggested name might be "tools". This would basically be a dummy group and wouldn't provide any additional privileges on Wikipedia but programs like AWB could check to see if a user is a member of this group before it functions for them. The maintainers of these tools wouldn't have to have a complicated constantly backlogged approval mechanism and users wouldn't have to seek approval for every tool they wish to use. They would only have to apply for the "tools" bit once on "request for permissions". --Ron Ritzman (talk) 20:59, 27 September 2008 (UTC)

You've listed three automated programs - one isn't accepting new applications, one uses rollback (yes/no), and the third (AWB) presumably has their own criteria. Are there (m)any others? (I ask because if there are not, granting user rights of "tools" is equivalent to what AWB owner(s) do now, and thus there are no savings in time.) And do those others use criteria similar to AWB?-- John Broughton (♫♫) 00:16, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
NPWatcher is another. Also, one of the reasons Vandalproof isn't accepting applications is the hassle of maintaining the approval mechanism. My point is that it may be more convenient for both users and the maintainers of such programs if users only had to get approval once and we still keep potentially dangerous tools out of the hands of vandals and inexperienced users. --Ron Ritzman (talk) 00:46, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
Forgot to answer the second part of the question. They all use some variant of Editcount plus "no recent blocks or editwars". Somewhat similar to the criteria used to grant rollback. --Ron Ritzman (talk) 00:50, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
Actually, they don't. NPWatcher and VandalProof, the only one I can speak for [as a retired moderator for both] use the edit/block as *guidelines*. Back when I was approving, I was doing some rather extensive checks, like scrolling thru the last couple of thousand edits summaries, checking the least 30-40 new page segnatations, block history, talk page history and content, user page, bans on CVN, and generally the history of the applicant. That's why applications were [and I guess are] processed so slow. As a note, while every admin can approve users for AWB and NPWatchers, VandalProof users can approved only by its moderators, and I doubt AmiDaniel would like to change it. Still, not my call to speak for him. Snowolf How can I help? 01:45, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
With all of the user rights and tool approvals on one page now, I don't think creating a group that's functionally useless is really necessary. Mr.Z-man 22:59, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

I agree with Z-man that creating a new usergroup for this is not such a great ideal but why don't you instead merge the approved user pages, that would be basicaly the same, instead of having the list of users approved for each tool read off different pages for each one why not just a single master page, that is a much easier solution. - Icewedge (talk) 23:57, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

Improve Cap-and-trade please

The articles Cap and trade with and without hyphens are currently redirects to Emissions trading. But the cap-and-trade system is also used for things like hunting and fishing licenses, radio spectrum broadcast licenses, and are the natural way to limit automated stock trading volume on stock exchanges.[1][2][3]

How does one go about rescuing a redirect like this? Can you please help show by example? Thank you. Orange Knight of Passion (talk) 05:03, 30 September 2008 (UTC)

Change the redirect to an article, of course! :) At the top, you should include something like
Were you looking for the system used for carbon emissions? See emissions trading.
If somebody doesn't like what you're doing, they'll probably tell you about it. --Izno (talk) 05:19, 30 September 2008 (UTC)