Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)/Archive Y

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Temporary protection of Featured Articles

I've noticed that whichever article is the 'Featured Article' of the day immediately sees an increase in vandalism. In contrast the 'Featured Picture' of the day gets temporary protection from editing on it's featured day. This would be a good policy for the 'Featured Article' of the day as well.

Members vote these articles to Featured status based on the content and quality of the article at the time of voting. That's what readers should see, or at least something comparable. Thanks! --Bridgecross 16:42, 2 November 2006 (UTC)

Well, this is one of the most frequently proposed suggestions on Wikipedia. You can see Raul654 (the featured article director)'s explanation of why the FA isn't protected here. I can attest from times a FA I wrote was on the main page that an amazing ammount of improvement can occur (a lot of it from anons) on that day the article is on the main page, improvements that otherwise might never happen. The FA is sometimes protected, even by Raul, during really severe attacks. But for the usual 5-10 vandals an hour, we just revert. --W.marsh 16:49, 2 November 2006 (UTC)

Never mind. Dug deeper. I see WP's rationale for not protecting the day's FA. Although I don't agree with it (since the FA could be unprotected immediately at the end of the day, letting collaborators in with their changes, while vandals would not be so patient), the policy is probably too well established to change. Thanks for your time! --Bridgecross 16:53, 2 November 2006 (UTC)

If I may just add to a closed discussion: One of the advantages of wikipedia is that an anonymous passer-by doesn't have to be patient to be able to add good content to an article. --Slashme 14:30, 7 November 2006 (UTC)

CSS Class for Mini-talk-page templates

Please check MediaWiki_talk:Common.css and comment. Thanks, Ganeshk (talk) 23:55, 5 November 2006 (UTC)

Trying to spread another Wiki -

I'm also not sure this belongs in this section. But a team of Georgetown students and I are trying to spread the idea of - a debate wiki. We've tried to tap into meatball wiki, but found it not very useful yet. Does anyone have any suggestions for us?Loudsirens 20:33, 1 November 2006 (UTC)

Have you looked at Xaxafrad 01:24, 5 November 2006 (UTC)
"How can I find bigger and better ways to advertise my new wiki site? I know! I'll put it right near the top at the village pump at wikipedia, under the premise that I'm looking for help!" Don't spam wikipedia: it's not your billboard. -Monk of the highest order 01:14, 6 November 2006 (UTC)

Adding a link to the Cheatsheet in editing-mode helpnotes?

I'd like to propose we add a link to Wikipedia:Cheatsheet, in the editing-mode layout, next to the "Cancel | Editing help (opens in new window)" links. eg:

Cancel | Editing help & Cheatsheet (opens in new window)

Friends of mine who only edit very occasionally, have expressed frustration concerning finding reminders for basic wikicode easily (eg piping links); and are either daunted-by or disdainful-of the size/complexity of the Help:Editing page.

Thoughts? --Quiddity 06:25, 29 October 2006 (UTC)

That sounds like a great could save a newbie hours of frustration! I don't know what would be involved from a technical standpoint, but it doesn't seem like it would be too difficult. You might want to cross-post this to the Technical forum to get some feedback there as well. --Doc Tropics Message in a bottle 07:28, 29 October 2006 (UTC)
I support this proposal. I used to have great difficulties with wiki markup when I was new here. This should be suggested at the Technical section of the Village Pump. --J.L.W.S. The Special One 08:00, 29 October 2006 (UTC)
Crossposted, though it should be technically simple. --Quiddity 18:52, 30 October 2006 (UTC)
Strong support. I'd actually rather see Cheatsheet replace "Editing help," with a link on editing help to advanced help, but this'll do as well ;) --Wolf530 18:49, 4 November 2006 (UTC)

That's 5 supports (incl DLL at VP(technical)); Anyone/anything else? --Quiddity 19:20, 4 November 2006 (UTC)

I agree (6th support) with changing it for the Editing help page in the sense that people come here to edit, not to read prose or read a how-to manual but basic WYSIWYG info. Lincher 21:31, 4 November 2006 (UTC)

Comments Box hide-ability

Whenever I look at a Wikipedia article, I often close the contents box.

But this often messes up the layout of the page, with some pictures covering text or horizontal lines in the wrong places.

If the comments box can be hidden, then some thought has to be put into how the page will look if the panel is closed; otherwise, perhaps the box shouldn't be hidable.

Sometimes you have to refresh the page or does some other thing with your browser to fix it (but other times, sadly, it does turn out that way). Cbrown1023 03:34, 11 November 2006 (UTC)
Yes, it would be a good idea to make sure the page still displays proprly when the contents box is closed, although sometimes, especially when there are lots of pictures and little text in an article, it can be tricky to arrange the layout neatly. It would probably be a good idea to, if you can, fix any pages you come across that don't display correctly with the contents box closed. Tra (Talk) 03:44, 11 November 2006 (UTC)
But why is it that we should go out of our way to make it so the page displays correctly with contents box closed (not default) when it is hard enough to do so with it open? What's the big deal? It's like a few extra lines? Cbrown1023 03:50, 11 November 2006 (UTC)
Yeah, it's one of those things where fixing it helps but it's not the most important thing in the world. Tra (Talk) 04:15, 11 November 2006 (UTC)

What to do with a list of copyvios>

I was a bit inspired by the recent copyvio hunts, and after finding a few through dumb luck and the random article button I had the following observations:

  1. School articles seem to consist of copy-pasted material from other websites quite often
  2. It's often quite easy to identify this material just by the speech's tone/tense.

So I put those together and performed this Google search: [1]

And what do you know... Just by searching school articles for "we are", I already see quite a few articles that are almost certainly copyright violations.

The innocent articles tend to be

  1. School songs (which I'm not so sure should stay, actually)
  2. Quotes (though these are sometimes just a copy-paste job with "[so-and-so] was quoted as saying" stuck before them.)

I reverted two articles, but looking through them all seems like a big job. Where might I post this list so that they get attention? Quarma 18:02, 10 November 2006 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Copyright violations gives you an summary of how to deal with this. - Tutmosis 18:10, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
All lyrics should be removed unless they are in the public domain, and it's up to the person who put them into the article to prove they're PD. User:Zoe|(talk) 03:34, 11 November 2006 (UTC)

Hatnotes inactive?

Radient placed inactive tags at Wikipedia:Hatnotes, and his comment on my user talk page reveals that he feels the page is an inactive proposal. I disagree (I thought it was an active guideline), but the page hasn't been updated in a while; should this page be rejuvinated and/or perhaps integrated into the MoS? —AySz88\^-^ 15:28, 10 November 2006 (UTC)

  • Note that the page was never marked "guideline". I would have no objection to it becoming part of the MOS, but must point out that the last serious discussion was in July. (Radiant) 15:46, 10 November 2006 (UTC)

Tag namespace

With the proliferation of WikiProjects and article ratings systems that add tags to talk pages, plus the continuing use of tags for FA, GA, peer review, former AfD, etc, some talk pages are getting horribly crowded up with tags and categories. And a lot of talk pages edits are coming up on people's watchlists not because people are talking but because some bot is rolling out some WikiProject's ratings tags.

A talk page is supposed to be a place for discussion aimed at improving the corresponding article, and a lot of these tags are only obliquely related to that. Really they are about providing an internal structure for coordinating and recording work on articles.

I know that some editors really dislike these tags. But they do serve an important purpose. How would people feel about rolling out a new namespace (e.g. "Tag:") specifically for these tags? This would get the tags off the talk pages, freeing up space for discussion. And it would help people to distinguish between edits that represent tagging, and edits that represent discussion.

Hesperian 11:42, 6 November 2006 (UTC)

Tags are templates, and are in the Template namespace. Are you suggesting a button on talk pages which we can click to show/hide tags? --J.L.W.S. The Special One 12:04, 6 November 2006 (UTC)
No. I'm suggesting that article Britney Spears should have a talk page at Talk:Britney Spears and a tag page at Tag:Britney Spears. Tags like {{WPBritney}} ("This article is a part of WikiProject Britney and is rated Start-Class, Top-Importance, etc"), {{WPBiography}}, {{oldpeerreview}}, {{oldafdfull}}, {{fac}}, {{reqphoto}}, and heaven knows how many more, would go on the Tag page instead of cluttering up the Talk page. Hesperian 12:28, 6 November 2006 (UTC)
i'm personally not in support of more namespaces. Tags are a subset of templates, no need to have two namespaces for the same thing.
May i suggest you simply select the option that allows you to hide minor edits from your watchlist? If it's bots doing the tagging, then just select the options which hides bot edits from your watchlist. On actual talk pages, there's a template that can be added to the top of a talk page which lets you click something to skip down to the TOC (so skipping all the tags).
If it becomes such a problem in future, we could change it so most tags (like the FA ones) are placed on the bottom of talk pages, or below the TOC in a topic named "tags". --`/aksha 12:39, 6 November 2006 (UTC)
You probably misunderstood what namespaces are for. Introducing a Tag namespace would also introduce a Tag talk namespace (and more feature/instruction creep). I prefer my suggestion of a Show/Hide tags button. --J.L.W.S. The Special One 12:44, 6 November 2006 (UTC)
Well, Talk: is a namespace, and there's no Talk talk: namespace, is there? The misunderstanding is yours. Wikipedia: and Wikipedia talk: are entirely different namespaces. It just so happens that Wikipedia:Example page and Wikipedia talk:Example page are presented together by the interface. Hesperian 00:09, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
What that means is that a namespace represents a group of pages which are fundamentally different in some way from other namespaces. Template and tag are basically the same thing, used in the same way...etc. --`/aksha 12:55, 6 November 2006 (UTC)
I wasn't proposing a namespace for tags to be defined; the Template: namespace is just fine for that. I was proposing a namespace for tags to be applied. i.e. instead of applying these tags to an article's Talk: page, apply them to the Tag: page. Hesperian 00:09, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
Hesperian, please see Wikipedia:Mini Talkpage Template. This is the solution that seems to be going through. Nihiltres 14:52, 6 November 2006 (UTC)
I see what you're saying; but am not sure how useful it'd be. Besides, everytime I saw Tag:Britney Spears (to use your example) I'd think "Tag! You're it!" and want to run from her... or something. ~ ONUnicorn (Talk / Contribs) 16:11, 10 November 2006 (UTC)

Web form for requesting article, and asking for help

I think Wikipedia should have article request form. and form for seeking help. This would help new users and the user who have no idea about wiki formatting. They have also right to request article.

We have. Wikipedia:Requested articles, Wikipedia:Drawing board and Wikipedia:Articles for creation. NCurse work 12:39, 5 November 2006 (UTC)
And how easy is it for a genuine newbie to find those? ~ ONUnicorn (Talk / Contribs) 16:13, 10 November 2006 (UTC)

better use of div's

I've noticed that tables are used an awful lot everywhere on Wikipedia, even when using <div> tags would work just as well. I looked up Wikipedia:When to use tables, and I thought it would make sense to have a WikiProject with a bot finding unnecessary tables, i.e. single-cell tables, and turn them into an equivalent <div> + CSS combination. So does something like that already exist, or does it need to be created? Slightly related: we have a shorthand for tables that uses {|; it wouldn't save as much space, but would a parallel system for <div> using <| be appropriate? Phoenix-forgotten 18:14, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

Although I have no idea whether this does exist or how to implement it, this sounds like a good idea - it's definitely bot work, though. Nihiltres 19:01, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
  • You would have to ask the Developers to implement this. It doesn't exist yet and requires a modification to the software. >Radiant< 11:51, 10 November 2006 (UTC)

Daily thing

Hi Pumpers, I was wondering where I could find info on the wikimedia daily email thing - isn't there some mailing list, and every day you receive an email with the Wikipedia Article of the Day, a Wikiquote quote of the day, and other stuff? I've been looking on meta for such a thing, but can't find it. The last time I asked I recommended that Wiktionary's Word of the day (WOTD) be included in the newsletter, but at that time the WOTD project wasn't yet fully-running. It is, however, now working very well, and there are months worth of future WOTDs in an archive. Where should I re-recommend that the WOTD be included in the aforementioned daily bulletin/newsletter/email thing? --Dangherous 09:46, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

You can probably find more information here - Tutmosis 15:52, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

Verification system

Just been working on a verification system for the Neuroscience project which may be of interest to the entire wikipedia, or at least particular topics within it. At the moment, i'm working on a bot in PHP which will go over articles and look for references within sections or within paragraphs, and rank sections/paragraphs by their likelihood of accuracy.

Obviously, while this wont be 100% accurate as articles can still be POV but referenced by things, but at least it will be able to rank articles based upon the probability of their accuracy, and then list actions, which may be neccesary to ensure the facts are verified. At the moment, i've fashioned a working bot in PHP, but can't quite release it publically due to roadworks inhibiting my internet access.

However, the bot works quite well so far. I'll give a rundown of how it works;

  1. Bot looks over an article through each section, looks at the position of the references, and the reference itself.
  2. Judges how many referenced paragraphs or sections there are within the article; using an algorythm for checking <ref> or {{ref|blahblah}}
  3. Judges the probability of the accuracy of the info based upon the type of site (low for xanga/blogging, and higher for .edu (non student-domain) sites)
  4. Adds a link to a page to the report.


  • Looks through a list of signed deployment editors; looks at their stated availability and correlates it with the last time of the edit of a particular user.
  • Messages the user and leaves them a summary of the task to be performed.

Currently in ALPHA; will release when roadworks finish, and will hopefully stem the tide of accuracy problems in wikipedia articles. Personally, i think drone bots which make reports like these could be used for spelling, translation and illustration purposes :-)

Comments, suggestions, problems? JCraw 13:36, 8 November 2006 (UTC)

Merely counting references in an article is not a reliable way to tell how accurate the article is. Moreover, how would this bot deal with Harvard referencing? I wouldn't want to have this bot running over articles unless the articles belong to a project that "opts in" to the bot. I think the watchlist system is generally successful at keeping things accurate. CMummert 13:50, 8 November 2006 (UTC)
When I read the first paragraph I didn't get it but reading your run-through points, it sounds like a wonderful idea. Personally though I would recommend it not being a bot but but work like the edit counters. Anyone can come use the code to rate any article they wish just by entering exact article name. I'm not too fond of request bots, since you have to wait for it to be run by the user and this looks like it will catch on quite quick. What you think? - Tutmosis 13:52, 8 November 2006 (UTC)
To above comment, if I understood correctly it just counts how many references there are per section. Yes the rating of the references looks problematic but it can be worked out. Like "" is a bad reference off the bat. - Tutmosis 13:53, 8 November 2006 (UTC)
CMummert; i agree with you, but what i am referring to is the fact that to make a computer program which is able to cognitively verify facts itself would be extremely difficult. The thing itself simply reports on the pages; it does not edit them nor does it intrude on an article.
I know that the amount of references and article has doesnt reflect it's accuracy in some cases, but it's fair to say that there is a great deal of information which has no citation specifically, which if we want to combat accuracy is a big concern.
All the bot does is report pages based upon the information they have in them; if there isn't a single reference within a section or paragraph, it's fair to say that even if an entire article is wrote off of a single book, it's difficult without reading the whole book or site to know which info came from where. With this system, you get a ROUGH outline of the areas which are lacking; the entirity of the verification is done by people, guided by this tool. JCraw 15:12, 8 November 2006 (UTC)
As a quick follow up, i based the idea that all new information should at least be referenced; paragraphs which contain info should at least be pointed to a reference point where the info came from -- just referencing "a book" or "a site" is not enough, in my opinion, to make content verifiable due to the fact you can make completely POV points, and just reference "x book", making verification a task where you have to read the entire book to disprove such claims.
If you have references to material and exactly where a paragraph came from, then it's much easier to see if someone is adding accurate and correct information. [[2]] JCraw 15:18, 8 November 2006 (UTC)
The problem, as I see it, is that the bot is likely to report articles are poorly sourced because it is so difficult to parse the article to find references, or to tell which sentences a particular reference applies to. For example, how would your bot find Harvard references, or references given in natural language? As a test, maybe you could run the bot against Aldol reaction and Recursion theory, which use very different schemes for citation. What results does the bot give for them? CMummert 15:31, 8 November 2006 (UTC)
Ha ha, this reminds me of the old cynical rule from college days: Be sure to include at least one column inch of references per page of paper submitted. Pad out the real good references with ones to second-tier journals that somebody will have to go back to the stacks to find. Don't be afraid to go back a few years; better chance that the issue will be lost or damaged, or the fiche so badly scratched noobdy can tell if it backs you up. Pad those with references to anybody who vaguely discusses your subject without actually calling you a fool. Pad all of these with purely fictional references to obscure journals in foreign languages with intimidating, long names and impressive-sounding authors, like "Gebblestein, Veruch, Hilf". Don't stop 'til you hit the bottom of the page. Reviewers will check the easy references and one or two hard-to-find ones and give up on the rest. Readers will scan the abstract, flip to the back, run their fingers down the references to see if there's any names there that they recognize, assume the journal has done a through check, and buy your shit.
Run a bot if you like but oppose any action taken that you, as a human person, cannot justify to me or another human person. John Reid ° 07:32, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
I want to just clarify a few points to make sure you're getting me. If you have an editor who isn't doing anything -- articles he doesnt know about he can't edit.. ones an editor visits during his wikipedian life are ones which he can then verify. However, when creating a wikiproject, or wanting to look objectively at a topid, it's difficult to get an idea of how progressed some articles are.
What the bot does is gives a ROUGH idea of how referenced an article is. I am certainly not saying it's a super great algorithm which can verify things -- not in any sense. What i am saying is it will report (if neccesary, outside of the WP) a rough status of an article so, then an editor armed with these reports can then look over, check if the article is okay, and reference anything which has no references and therefore may be dodgy. However, just because something is referenced, it certainly does not mean that it is true.
The point of this bot is that it's a SIMPLE bot which gives concise, simple information which can be used as a deployment tool for editors which are dedicated to looking at verifiability. I'm not saying that it will go over articles and delete things, it doesnt even edit the page -- it looks at the wiki-code and parses it.. that's it. Certainly, i believe the bot/system will make it easier for people to prioritise their work, but also give a rough outline of the quality of articles (roughly) in a topic. I think it's fair to say that even if there's an article with NO references, but it is 100% true, it's better to have the references there so it is falsifiable and verifiable... right?
Again, if there's anyone who wants to expand perhaps, the criteria for verification reports, then just submit an idea or posit a question. I'm not experienced with algorithms, so i can't create anything super-intelligent. Whatever the decision is here, i will adhere to. If the concensus is not to have it, i wont run it -- even if it doesnt actually alter anything. Regards. JCraw 15:42, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

I've got a test page for this bot. Run it through cattle mutilation and post its valuation here. Then read the article. DurovaCharge! 04:19, 10 November 2006 (UTC)

Article Protection / Trust rating system

It is really great that Wikipedia and all its sister projects are open to the public - but with all the people who are trying to hack into and abuse Wikipedia, there needs to be some kind of security to prevent users from abusing and vandalizing this great service.

I propose that there be a User Ranking System. Which works as follows:

Editing Rights

All users start out at the rank of 0. Every rank has certain rights and limitations.

User Rights
Editing Rights # of Edits* Description
-10 to -50 Banned from Wikipedia 0 Banned
-3 to -9 Cannot edit articles - only able to discuss articles. Cannot edit. Probationary; Users who have abused Wikipedia and are unable to edit articles.
-2 to 2 Can only edit sections of articles - only correct minor errors. 5 max edits per day. New User; Given a 'mercy' as the user is learning the rules and such, new users are allowed to make minor changes. Any person in the 'new user' category must read a certain number of articles and make a certain number of changes to 'graduate' from this rank (maybe make 10 changes, and read 20 articles in 1 week), the rank increase will be automated. This is to test new users and see how well they do. New users cannot have their rank increased by 'vote'.
3 to 5 Can make major 'structural' changes to articles changing whole lines. 10 max edits per day. Inexperienced User; Users at this stage have proven that to a certain degree, they are trustworthy. Now we see what they do with their new 'power'. Similar to the prior rank, an inexperience user must make a certain # of changes and read a certain # of articles, (maybe 10 changes, 20 articles in 2 weeks) the rank increase will be automated. Inexperienced users rank cannot be increased through vote.
5 to 10 Can change entire articles. Can create articles (cannot set security rating). Can vote. 10 max edits per day. 2 articles max in a month. Regular User; This is where regular users end up, as their power grows - we see how they handle it. And like the prior 2 ranks, the rank change depends on their activity on Wikipedia (30 changes, read 20 articles in 1 month)
10 to 20 Can change entire articles. Can create articles. Can set security rating on OWN article. Can vote. 25 max edits per day. 5 articles max in a month. Experienced User; These users are the 'power' users of Wikipedia that visit regularly, fix errors, read articles, etc. These users have certainly earned their rank. In order for these users to increase, they must receive 'votes'.
21 to 45 Full rights as well as access to higher security articles and rights. Can set/vote security ratings on any articles. 50 max edits per day. 10 articles max in a month. Pro User; These users have been cited for their trustworthiness, accuracy, and activity - they can
46 to 50 Full rights. Unlimited Administrator/Moderator?; These users have proven their integrity many times over, they may even have administrator/mod powers - as well as access to the highest security area of Wikipedia.

(*) The # of edits are measured by the differences between before the person edited it and after. The system would automatically reject edit attempts that are greater than that person's rights.


In order to cite the accuracy and integrity of articles, there needs to be a system of voting. Whenever a user recognizes an article that has been vandalized or has inaccurate information, that user will vote on it.

The same concept applies to articles which are accurate and well written.

This voting labels the article based on its accuracy and integrity.

The rank of the user helps determine how seriously that user's vote is taken, for example, if 15 new user voted that a user has vandalized an article and 5 admins/mods voted that it is not actually a vandalism, (based on whatever algorithm is used) it could be possible that the 15 votes by the new users could be voided by the 5 of the admins/mods.

However, whenever one verdict is found - all other votes are declared false - and the users who voted to that point receive a demerit according to their vote. For example, those 15 users that voted it was vandalism, would receive a rank demerit of 3.

This would prevent a bunch of users from taking advantage of the system in order to gain merit or demerit other people.

Merit/Demerit Table
Rank ± Purpose Description
-5 Extreme Vandalism Vandalizing multiple articles by placing inaccurate/inappropriate information a/o deleting large sections of the article.
-4 Major Vandalism Vandalizing an entire article by placing inaccurate/inappropriate information a/or deleting large sections of the article.
-3 Vandalism Vandalizing part of an article by placing very inaccurate/inappropriate information a/or deleting large sections of the article.
-2 Minor Vandalism Vandalizing part of an article by placing inaccurate/inappropriate information a/or deleting large sections of the article.
-1 Misconduct Inaccurate writing a/o deletion of part of an article.
+1 Minor Merit Given to author of an article (or a user who has made a major rewrite) that is very accurate and acceptably written.
+2 Major Merit Given to author of an article (or a user who has made a major rewrite) that is very accurate and very well written.

A certain number of users must vote in order for a rank merit/demerit to take place (maybe 20 users, but not limited to that many votes).

Article Security

Articles can have security labels attached to them, especially important for sensitive subjects, which prevents users of certain ranks from editing them. NOTE: Users whose edits are being voted on for vandalism are on temporary probation; locking them from all editing and discussion with exception to their own page.

Security Levels
Unrestricted Any user can edit these articles, even anonymous users.
Users only Any user can edit these articles.
Minimum Security New users cannot edit these articles.
Low Security New and Inexperienced users cannot edit these articles. Should only be used on important articles or those prone to vandalism.
Medium Security Regular, new, and inexperienced users cannot edit these articles. Should only be used on articles of medium importance or prone to vandalism.
High Security Only Pro and Admin/Mod users can edit these articles. Should only be used on articles that are of high importance or highly prone to vandalism.
Top Security Only Mods and Admins can edit these articles. This should only be used on articles that are of top importance (such as Wikipedia help articles or articles about countries, etc.) and highly prone to vandalism.

Trial System

If a vote of vandalism is too controversial then the voting is stopped and a 'trial' system takes over, 20 admin/mod level users are left to vote and discuss that user - this action could take place on that user's talk page.

This may require a major software rewrite, but it would protect the integrity of Wikipedia's articles and make it more reliable.— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Some interesting ideas here. Limiting users to a number of edits in a given time period is an idea that has been discussed before. The main problem is that there are some users who have a lot of time to contribute information, or who use up a lot of edits reverting vandalism. It would not be a good idea to restrict them from doing this.
As for restricting how much of a page can be edited based on the user's experience, you are right in saying that there will be a lot of development required. Also, a lot of the more sneaky vandalism, such as changing a digit in a year is not reverted immediately, like page blanking so it is actually worse in the long run than the more obvious vandalism. Unfortunately, allowing only a sentence to be edited at a time will still allow this sneaky vandalism.
Your idea of discrediting people who vote against the consensus is interesting. It might be good to see if there are any statistics available as to what the opinions and actions of people who regularly vote against consensus are. A disadvantage of your idea, however, is that it might prevent people from expressing their opinion if it goes against the opinions of the majority. It is also important to note that when discussing, the ideas are more important than who says them, so giving more weight to experienced users may not always be appropriate.
In your table about security levels, there is already a similar system at Wikipedia called semi protection but it's not as complex as your suggestion. This is probably a good thing, because it reduces confusion from new editors. Tra (Talk) 01:00, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
Limits based on numbers/types of edits aren't a great idea. Even relatively inexperienced users can make great contributions fixing style/spelling errors or disambiguating links by making minor edits to a very large numbers of articles. The annoying thing is that I can't fathom any technological measure that could distinguish this type of editing from minorly editing a large number of articles to insert sneaky vandalism. We either need human intelligence in the equation, or else to have any benefit we would have to severely limit the contributions of legitimate contributors. Deco 02:14, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
See also Wikipedia:Trust network. I think there should be some system to indicate more trusted users, but the specifics of this proposal are problematic. Edit limits jump out as totally unworkable. Some users have hundreds of edits a day across numerous articles, and Wikipedia has worked quite well with that, etc., etc., etc. —Centrxtalk • 02:27, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
It's also worth mentioning that the voting system in place here would be hugely open to potential abuse and gaming. All edits would become political, and perhaps more importantly all edits would have to be voted upon. Considering how many edits Wikipedia gets, getting even just a few votes for each would require a lot of effort that might better be spent on editing the encyclopedia. Fagstein 03:43, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
I think this is unworkable and fairly contrary to the whole idea of a wiki. It is the new or infrequent users who seem to write most of the stuff [3]. In order to make them go through hoop-jumping to gain the ability to start or seriously change an article will discourage a large number of them. Aside from that, it is impossible to have a way of reliably judging editors without taking a very large number of people away from the project itself. Vandalism is a constant problem but I think this idea would be far more harmful in the long run. Trebor 17:21, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
Sorry, but this is about the worst example of Instruction creep I have ever seen. I oppose it in any form – Gurch 17:39, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
Wow, I'm pretty hardcore about wishing for semiprotection of pages and limited anon editing, but this is ... Wiki-Gestapo attack. And your numbers are ... well, 5 edits a day? You'd basically be destroying the CVG's non-admin members, who go through dozens or even hundreds of edits a day fighting the endless hordes of vandals. --Shrieking Harpy Gay flag.svgTalk|Count 16:58, 8 November 2006 (UTC)
See this. John Reid ° 07:47, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
This idea defeats Wikipedia's purpose as a encyclopedia that anyone can edit, and a user-rating system in any form deters people from joining the Wikipedia community. I oppose this proposal in any form. Gronkmeister | Talk/ Contrib 16:08, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
Wow is right. What kind of beuracracy are you creating with this kind of system? And from what i've seen in my few weeks actively learning the system, the admins/etc are already overwhelmed w/ work... Marcsin 03:22, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
Gah! Wikipedia is not Everything2. Caknuck 07:32, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
I realize the way I presented it was a bit hardcore and stringent. But I believe the main idea presented here is very important and possibly workable: Have some degree of security on certain articles, and discredit vandals.

Admin school

Should there be a help desk where editors can go to ask questions and receive guidance about how to prepare themselves to become admins?

Such a page was created, and is now the subject of an MfD (deletion discussion).

See Wikipedia:Admin school.

 The Transhumanist   09:57, 5 November 2006 (UTC)

And what about the admin coaching? NCurse work 12:36, 5 November 2006 (UTC)
Admin coaching is one-on-one, has a consistent problem with bottlenecking -- it has a long waiting list with long waiting times (weeks to months). An open forum-style like page similar to the Help desk would provide answers much faster (in minutes or hours). It would also allow as many people who wanted to respond to the questions. Another plus is that the answers would also be right out in the open so that if mistakes in guidance are made, others could respond and provide further opinions. In contrast, the admin coaching program takes place on user page subpages, which aren't generally visited by anyone but the coach and the coachee. This is fine, since some people prefer and need one-on-one attention, and there's no reason why it couldn't nor shouldn't be supplemented with a help desk. But the page will be deleted in a few days if enough people don't go to the deletion discussion page and express their desire to keep it. --  The Transhumanist   12:59, 5 November 2006 (UTC)
And Admin school is a one-person "how to pass an Rfa" course, with, as noted in the ongoing Afd, "this project treats adminship like a trophy to get for its own sake, going so far as to provide advice on gaming RfA and not even mentioning such principles (you might have heard of them) as assuming good faith, verifiability, NPOV and god knows what else that are a lot more important for admins and all of us to know about than edit summaries and using AWB to inflate your edit count, the topics this project seems to emphasize" - and I concur with the editor who made this statment. Also, "Admin school" is being run by someone who is not an admin, and is giving out Wrong information. Finally, what is wrong with the Wikipedia:Editor review and Wikipedia:Administrators' reading list? Nothing. The "Admin school" gives bad info which contradicts those sources, as well as other sources on the Help:Contents pages. One puppy's opinion. KillerChihuahua?!? 13:31, 5 November 2006 (UTC)
Four people have posted advice there (though one mistakenly on the talk page). And hopefully more will join in. I was only alone because the page is brand new. There's nothing stopping you or anyone else from posting there (please do), and by all means emphasize WP:FAITH, WP:VERIFY, WP:NPOV. Being an admin is not a prerequisite for giving out advice on the subject of Wikipedia, nor is it a prerequisite for being a coach in the Esperanza Admin coaching program. Indeed, one of the main objections in the deletion discussion was that the page had prerequisites listed, which have since been removed. So your insistance on prerequisites seems somewhat out of place. Admin tools aren't much different than the tools the rest of us have, and with 16,000+ (non-AWB) edits, I'm pretty knowledgeable about how Wikipedia works. Admin tools and responsibilities are well documented, as are the actions of admins, so it doesn't take having them to be able to learn about them -- and you are expected to learn about them prior to going for an RfA. Teaching is a great way to learn, and providing a place for Wikipedians to do this is a good thing. This page helps point the way, with links and with advice. By the way, AutoWikiBrowser is for getting things done, and what it does to edit counts is entirely of secondary importance. Building the encyclopedia and maintaining it are much more important than quantifying edits. Besides, good edit counters distinguish between regular and minor edits, so I don't understand why you have such a strong objection to the use of AWB. The folks at RfA generally take details like this into account so I don't think you have much to worry about.  The Transhumanist   14:33, 5 November 2006 (UTC)
And yet this is still duplication, instruction creep, and inadvisable. One puppy's opinion. KillerChihuahua?!? 14:58, 5 November 2006 (UTC)
Oh and FYI, I was not the one with the objection to AWb - please note that was a quote from another editor. KillerChihuahua?!? 14:59, 5 November 2006 (UTC)
A bunch of things:
1) Adminship is not something to strive for at all. It's janitorial work. For trusted, reliable editors, who need the extra functionality and know how to handle the responsibility. And anyone who doesn't have the intelligence and self-motivation to research for themselves what is needed, frankly wouldn't make a good admin. This is school is teaching how to "game the system" and is hand-holding feelgoodery. Wikipedia:Admin school#The difference explains it pretty well, as do many of the MfD comments.
2) Until you successfully figure out what is needed to become an admin, your advice is all supposition and hypothesis. And from your shouting bold text and your distracting signature, to your edit-warring and your tendency to think you know better than everyone, you really don't seem to understand why you're not suitable as an admin. (Relatedly, the 'complicated' signature, and slew of advice you've handed out, gives the impression that you know what you're talking about, and could insinuate that you are an admin already...)
3) Pointless duplication. Wikipedia:Admin school/Curriculum transcludes Wikipedia:Administrators' reading list, which makes it seem more official, and confuses or overwhelms readers who don't understand the duplication.
4) Bureaucracy. Instead of creating 3 new pages, it would've been much better if you'd improved the "Admin coaching" and "reading list" and "Guide to RfA" pages themselves. The more pages of summaries and advice there are, the more dilute the original message gets, and the more pages there are to maintain for the existing editors and admins. There are too many historic/inactive project pages in Wiki-space already.
There's (always) more, but I need coffee.... --Quiddity 20:00, 5 November 2006 (UTC)

Most adminstrator tasks are janitorial therefore straightforward. There are already pages in the Wikipedia: namespace that help you understand how to perform this tasks. Other tasks like closing afds, if the administrator is unsure he can ask a fellow administrator or go to the Administrators' noticeboard. So personally, I'm not really sure what guidance you refering to. Thats my two cents. - Tutmosis 21:02, 5 November 2006 (UTC)

Some of it, I suspect, can't be taught: how does a person handle new and stressful situations? They emerge in the oddest ways. DurovaCharge! 05:06, 6 November 2006 (UTC)
The military teaches their people how to deal with new and stressful situations before they are even in combat. Here, you can learn a lot by example. If these admin prep programs were to gather diff archives showing admin action which caused dispute, people would be able to see how a situation erupts and how it can be avoided. --Wolf530 (talk) 16:22, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

Image licensing on upload

I just uploaded an image to wikipedia that was a modified by myself, where the original was on a website supplying images that are publicdomain and free for any use, and listed at WP:PDIMG. Having modified the image, I used what's probably an incorrect tag - PD-SELF, even though I didn't strictly create it. The reason for this is that the drop-down box for licensing doesn't seem to have a tag that says "I am not the author, but the original author has released the image to the public domain", or some such, just PD-SELF, copyright expired, or US government. With OrphanBot deleting or marking images uploaded with no copyright tag, it's imperitive that images are properly tagged. SUrely there should be a tag for public domain image repositories in the licensing dropdown? Is this an oversight? Crimsone 18:38, 7 November 2006 (UTC)

Just tag it as Template:GFDL and write a description of what you have done and where it came from. Thats what most users do when they modify a free image created by another wikipedian, which is pretty similar to your case. - Tutmosis 23:56, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
If it's public domain, you don't have to worry - it's free for any use. Since you've modified it, the pd-self template is probably appropriate, and you can detail your source(s) for the original images out of respect for the original creator(s). :) Nihiltres 01:11, 8 November 2006 (UTC)
Many acceptable licenses are not available through the drop-down, which is fairly new. See Wikipedia:Image copyright tags. John Reid ° 07:35, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

Main Page Themes?

I'm not sure if this has ever been brought up, but the main page lacks themes when it really needs them most. For example, on holidays, or birthdays of celebrated people, or special days of the year, like election day. On these days, (except for April Fools Day, of course), the main page doesn't change to anything special. The featured picture is still random, just like the article, and the "Did you know...". I guess what I'm trying to say is, why doesn't Wikipedia, like Google, get all dressed up on special days to celebrate with articles/pictures relating to the special day it is. It seems reasonable, just that no one has done it.

Today/Tomorrow, for instance, we could have fixed up the main page for US election day, which is very important. But instead we have an article about some medal and a sea horse on the main page. Just my thoughts...would anyone care to respond? JARED(t)  02:56, 7 November 2006 (UTC)

I don't think this would work, since Wikipedia serves a global audience. Most holidays are either religious or specific to certain countries. It's only election day for 300 million people (though, smaller number considering some segments of the population are not eligible). There's already been way too much debate over what sports events to mention on the main page (e.g. World Series, Stanley Cup, World Cup scores...) I know that Google can detect what country you are in and serve you a certain version of Google based on that. --Aude (talk) 03:05, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
Any given non-global theme will be inherently POV and systematically biased. This doesn't fit with Wikipedia's ethos. In addition, the effort required to bring the appropriate article(s) to FA status - assuming they were not close already - would be enormous. Neat idea, but I don't think we can use it in practice. Nihiltres 14:58, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
The only truly international holiday I can think of, off the top of my head, is May 1. Some people might object. John Reid ° 07:38, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Manual of Style (lists of works)

I've overhauled Wikipedia:Manual of Style (lists of works) based on a 2nd round of feedback. Possibly it's complete and ready? Feedback (at it's talkpage) or improvements welcome :) --Quiddity 05:45, 1 November 2006 (UTC)

Please! It's awfully quiet... --Quiddity 20:01, 8 November 2006 (UTC)

Educate Academia about Wikipedia

After reading an article about why Academics don't participate in Wikipedia, I wrote up a proposal for how we could change this. I'd love to hear some thoughts on the proposal and also hear from anyone who'd like to participate. --Wolf530 18:40, 28 October 2006 (UTC)

Whilst I agree in principle with the need to bring in expertise I'd suggest that some of what you've written is aiming at forcing experts to conform with Wikipedia, rather than reflecting the need to work out why they might want to contribute. It becomes a question of marketing, find out how to make your offer attractive, rather than forcing the offering on people.
There is also an assumption that Wikipedia is the only Wiki. Wiki is a technology, Wikipedia is one instance of that technology with a particular culture driven by the policies applied to its use.
There are already experts in various topics, but it's extremely frustrating to bump up against the anarchic, quasi-democratic and personality based qualification of content which is prevalent within Wikipedia. A number of areas need to be addressed to become attractive.
I'd agree that it is a workstrand worth pursuing, but you need to be realistic about the likelihood of it being implemented, given the fundamental change needed in certain policy approaches.
ALR 11:56, 31 October 2006 (UTC)
I'm sorry... I'm completely confused by your response. Would you mind elaborating on what you mean by "forcing experts to conform with Wikipedia"? If that's an issue, I'd like to fix it. But the suggestions is first to bring Wikipedia to the attention of academics, and second to teach them how to use the wiki and the basics of editing. Cut down on the time-cost of joining, basically. --Wolf530 (talk) 01:43, 5 November 2006 (UTC)
Academia knows about Wikipedia, and doesn't trust it. The issues are related to wikipedia policies and practices, which do not and cannot assure the reader that the page they read is valid, without some additional research within wikipedia itself before even looking at the references and sources.
Its only humanities area where there can be conflict not in science area. In humanities area also I think neutral academia will join Wikipedia sooner than the non-neutral ones (and after wikipedia acquires a critical mass in academic circles as well, non-neutral experts will also join wikipedia, its only a matter of time) and from that point onward we will see the (positive) change in quality of humanities articles (I am waiting for this to happen as there is good degree of scope for improvement in quality of articles esp the ones related to History/Religion/Political science/Politics/ etc). Vjdchauhan 06:33, 6 November 2006 (UTC)
The time cost of joining isn't an issue, those in academia are well used to writing this type of material and the process is very quick. But whilst a contribution can be quite quick it can quickly be undone by someone with little knowledge or understanding of the subject, so one gets embroiled in wikipolitics rather than actually contributing content.
The reliability to the casual reader is fundamentally flawed, so there is little attraction for the serious and knowledgeable to be involved. Wikipedia needs to change the process, then it'll become attractive.
ALR 09:04, 5 November 2006 (UTC)
Again, I think you're missing the point. If you read my actual proposal, my hypothesis is that there are many academics who are simply not savvy enough to break in to Wikipedia. I can remember a dozen of my own professors who used their computers a lot, but were fairly clueless about the internet. I believe if we present the humanitarian, and world-benefiting aspect of Wikipedia (including stuff like the $100 laptop, etc.), and make it easy for them to understand, we will find that there are many who are willing to participate.
By cost of joining, I mean this: someone who "always has a paper to grade" is not going to sit at their desk and say "Hmm... maybe today is a good day to learn how to use Wikipedia?" We all forget that actually learning to use the wiki -- learning the syntax, the edit flow, the history tab -- these are things which are easy for us because either A) we have used Wikipedia for a long time, or B) we've grown up on the internet and are used to the way it works. People in Academia are older, and do not understand the design architecture of the internet, it's as simple as that. We need to give them the opportunity to make it easy by saying: "Take two hours of your time to come sit down with us. We'll walk you through the process -- you'll leave being an editor of Wikipedia." That breaks down the cost of joining, because then there's no reason not to do it. Whereas before, if you're a 55 year old English teacher who probably would get into WP if you knew more about it, you're not going to try because it's too frustrating. There is too much to try and learn on your own, without someone there answering your questions and guiding you. A seminar, like I am proposing, is a language that Academics understand. It's a classroom setting where the foundation is laid in an efficient manner, and where questions can be answered quickly.
Please understand what I am proposing. This is a project that can work. And it does not have to wait for Wikipedia to change. We need to create the change we want to see. Helping usher in intelligent, knowledgeable editors who will only help our environment by bringing level-headed people into the discussion. I can't imagine why anyone would have a problem with this. --Wolf530 (talk) 16:21, 5 November 2006 (UTC)
I have read your proposal, and I do appreciate what you're suggesting, I just think you're not appreciating why the academic community sees little value in participating. I don't know if you've looked at my profile, I'm a communications engineer by profession and a change management and knowledge management consultant by employment. That professional situation is why I see WP as flawed in terms of it's underlying processes and policy.ALR 22:14, 5 November 2006 (UTC)
More specifically, what are the problems with process and policy? Only hot-button issues have the problem of editors fighting rather than working together to create a good article. There is a vast sea of articles on philosophy, mathematics, economics, chemistry, etc. with no problems of this type whatsoever. The editors there are largely intellectuals themselves and do work together productively. For some there is no one concerned with an article; a professor could re-write the entire thing and as long as it were sensible no one would make a peep. These articles remain substantially identical for months or over a year until the next intellectual comes along and improves it. As long as someone stays away from articles on Abortion, God, Ayn Rand, and Pokemon, there is no problem. —Centrxtalk • 09:22, 6 November 2006 (UTC)
I wish this were true, but it's not. Pete.Hurd 19:14, 6 November 2006 (UTC)
Very broadly, the pseudo-democratic approach, which itself suffers the flaws of democracy. If everyone has a view, regardless of their expertise or knowledge and understanding of a topic, or indeed their understanding of the policies and processes themselves. take a look at this for a demonstration of an AfD which appears to have been kept because the article was interesting to people rather than the subject being notable. Equally there are discussions where reasonably arcane topics are deleted because people haven't heard of them or only use Google to establish notability. Google is a useful tool, but for many more academic subjects FAME, EBSCO, MINTEL reports etc are more appropriate.
Much of the enforcement of policy is also done by people who, in the main, lack tact or people skills, hence alienating people, and who may not have an understanding of the subject themselves. Given the characteristics of domain experts, who frequently need careful handling themselves, that can quickly lead to frustration.
Consensus is a fallacy where large groups are concerned. As a facilitator I would never expect to achieve true consensus within a group of more than about 12. What the WP refers to as consensus is actually bludgeoning editors with a majority view until they give up and bugger off. Discussion is frequently polarised and results in a failure to compromise and achieve a balanced and agreed outcome. Arbitration procedures don't support that being themselves adversarial. The two mediation processes are useful but are conducted by people who don't appear to have effective facilitation skills, or whilst they may do in the face to face context fail to translate that to the online context.
I could go on.
ALR 20:45, 6 November 2006 (UTC)
Centrx - Pete is right. As an editor who works on reasonably esoteric things, I am constantly spending time explaining to people why the choices made by me or others (which would NEVER be questioned by any expert in the field) are justified. As an example, see Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/DotSix. --best, kevin [kzollman][talk] 04:25, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
From my experience, you're incorrect about the causes of the absence of academics in wikipedia. Every faculty member and graduate student in my department is perfectly capable of editing wikipedia, but only a few do. Wikipedia is frustrating to academics for just the reasons ALR says. Those of us that are experts have to constantly argue with people who are not about content decisions that would never be an issue if only experts could edit. Given how easily academics get frustrated with each other about these things, it doesn't surprise me that this would turn some of them off. If wikipedia wants more expert editors, it needs to be willing to make some (cultural) changes about how decisions are made. I think editors should be encouraged to defer to the decisions of experts instead of feeling entitled to question any decision they don't immediately understand. Regarding your proposal, academics are busy people. Those of us who are at (or plan to be at) research universities have very high demands on our time. Using phrases like "they are going to need to learn the "Wiki way"" will just turn them off. If academics are going to participate they should be made to feel as welcome as possible. Keep in mind, most of academics are already doing a lot of good for the world, and so the philanthropic possibilities of wikipedia may not be sufficiently attractive. --best, kevin [kzollman][talk] 06:52, 6 November 2006 (UTC)
Arbitration only by Experts is an Elitist point of view, wikipedians will understand if the change conforms to NPOV and No Original-Research policy. Discussion page of the topic/article is good place to put the info/viewpoint on which consensus in needed between Experts and Lay Man and for sure rich content will win but the content has to be neutral else Lay Man will win in the democratic space :-) Vjdchauhan 08:53, 6 November 2006 (UTC)

If Wikipedia lasts another 10 years or so this issue may become elementary, as new academics who have been using Wikipedia for years will have emerged. --tjstrf Now on editor review! 09:43, 6 November 2006 (UTC)

A cynic of me suggests that if it was appropriate to include wiki-works into CV there would be much more academics around us. Just now even very good contributions (e.g. series of FAs and GAs on related themes) are snubbed upon. Maybe we should encourage professors to give their students assignments that include improvement in Wikipedia articles? A couple of weeks ago I saw a huge influx of new editors (~15) who were inclined to expand the Viscoelasticity article. It required a lot of efforts to channel their energy into a few related articles. Each have written a few of paragraphs and then disappeared. I bet it was a class in a some University who got Wikipedia-related assignments. If only their instructor put a notice for us somewhere. They all were doing the same mistakes and it was cumbersome to copy the same staff into 15 talk pages. If I had time to set up a wiki-school page or some Viscoelasticity project... Alex Bakharev 10:05, 6 November 2006 (UTC)
Maybe we should encourage professors to give their students assignments that include improvement in Wikipedia articles? It has/is being done, see Wikipedia:School and University projects. --best, kevin [kzollman][talk] 04:25, 7 November 2006 (UTC)

I think what's needed is some more communication. We need some kind of project/group thing set up with people who can help negotiate and acommodate for academia who are experts in certain fields and wish to contribute content.

What i mean is not to give people special authority or more of a say on articles just because they're experts; but just to provide a platform for people who are genuinely knowledgable and able to contribute valuble content, but at the same time...really don't want to have to deal with all the beaurcracy, wikipolitics, and so on.

The bigger wikipedia gets, this place seems to develope its own language and its own culture. A lot of content contributions from new ppl get removed straight away, majority of times, it's for good reason, but i'd say often...content that would be good gets removed just for trivial reasons. Some academics would probably want to contribute, and are fine with our style and content guildlines (things like NPOV and NOR), but really can't be stuffed argueing with other editors who are probably using wikijargon that they don't even understand over removed content.

The whole "experts don't get more of a say than anyone else" IMO does a lot more good for this place than harm. But encouraging experts and academics to help us would probably be beneficial, especially now that we're trying to improve the quality of our articles. What i'm suggesting is something like a mediation/advocacy/mentorship system whereby academics could contact wikipedia about wanting to help, then get 'partnered' to a volunteer wikipedian who will help them and i guess...keep an eye on their contributions and step in on talk pages on their behalf and so on; i think would do us a lot of good. I guess just acting as the middleman between them and the rest of the wikipedian community, who the academic in question probably doesn't really want to bother dealing with. --`/aksha 11:29, 6 November 2006 (UTC)

Kevin Zollman has hit the nail on the head, Alex Bakharev's suggestion about assigning wikiwork in upper level undergrad, or graduate is a good idea. I know of some examples of it being done, I've planned to do it myself, and have some ideas about how to make it work. I've been planning to write a WP essay on the idea, but havn't had the spare time to do it. WP needs more authors who have real world experience consulting and using encyclopedic sources. Too many articles on WP have been written by people who clearly have no experience using the product they are trying to create. Pete.Hurd 15:24, 6 November 2006 (UTC)
WP needs more authors who have real world experience consulting and using encyclopedic sources. And yet, when I suggest a way to help bring these people into the fold, everyone tells me I've got the wrong emphasis. God forbid we try an idea before it's snubbed with criticisms about hypothetical bias and an unwillingness to learn ... --Wolf530 (talk) 19:40, 6 November 2006 (UTC)
I think that having identified the symptom, lack of academic involvement, you've then identified a possible solution. However I think you just need to do more analysis on why that symptom occurs before putting effort into finding a solution. Something I frequently use when I'm facilitating process improvement workshops is a Japanese technique of Ask why five times which is a useful discipline for shedding our preconceptions about solutions, it forces us down the cause and effect path quite far before allowing us to establish where to apply pressure to resolve the issues.
It's a useful discussion to have, it just needs more work.
Where is your evidence that academics don't participate in WP because it's too time consuming to work out how to use it?
ALR 20:54, 6 November 2006 (UTC)
Pete, where do you see these kind of assignments sitting? I can see value in knowledge or information management courses, since one would gain an appreciation for how wikis in general work and infer from the experience the social and cultural issues which need to be designed into broader KM system. I'm speaking from the 'knowledge as a social entity' school of thought within the discipline in that sense. I see less value in incorporating it into other courses since it then becomes an exercise in information presentation, which are more meaningfully assessed in other ways, and become more auditable using other methods since there is little persistence in WP.
Notwithstanding that I do see the issue disappearing over time as there is an increase in the volume of people familiar with the resource and how to play the game, having used it as undergrads and then moving further up the food chain.ALR 21:07, 6 November 2006 (UTC)
I have limited Academia experience. I only lectured one year in a mediocre Russian Uni and then worked as a postdoc in UIUC then went into industry. But I would love to give my students an assignment like this:
  • Look into the Wikipedia article on the theme of the course (subject of my lecture, assigned subject)
  • identify five mistakes/important missing information
  • write a new article/significantly expand an old article (discuss the topic with your instructor)
  • link your article to the relevant articles
  • explain your edits to wikipedians
  • write the report
Benefits for the students: review of the course, using your knowledge with slightly different notation/terminology, in depth knowledge of a particulr subject, training in literature research, training in Wikipedia usage - understanding its limitations, training in arguing your position, etc.
Benefits for the professor: free material for his notes, books, reference for his students
Benefits for the humankind: free reference
Everybody is a winner. I would actually love to gave this assignment to my students (but for the last ten years I have not been given ones. :( Alex Bakharev 13:42, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
I think it's an interesting suggestion, but I'm also aware that it is a diversion from the subject so probably best not discussed here. What subjects do you see it being applied to and what do you see as the learning outcomes which one would expect for students, beynd that which could be gained using another media channel? I think a lot of what you suggest as benefit is pretty generic.
I think there is a case for an output to be an essay on the issues with Wiki technology in general and how it can be used to encode tacit knowledge in an effort to move it around the knowledge cycle and make it available for the organisation to then exploit it by socialising it and then building on it. Although I see that applying to wiki technology in general rather than just wikipedia in particular.ALR 18:03, 8 November 2006 (UTC)

View Changes Preview, Shouldn't There Be?

Shouldn't there be a View Changes Preview?100110100 05:10, 12 November 2006 (UTC)

I'm not sure I understand what you're asking. The "Show preview" button gives you a ... preview. User:Zoe|(talk) 06:00, 12 November 2006 (UTC)
There is such a thing. It's the third button from the left, "Show changes". Displays a diff between the current revision and the one you have in the edit box. John Reid ° 06:18, 12 November 2006 (UTC)
For several months, I have wanted to suggest this feature, not knowing it already exists. Thanks for letting me know. --J.L.W.S. The Special One 06:24, 12 November 2006 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Editor integrity

A proposed guideline is in development to address some gaps in the Wikipedia namespace. Currently Wikipedia:Plagiarism redirects to Wikipedia:Citing sources, which contains only one sentence about plagiarism. Related content at Wikipedia:Copyrights presumes that the reader already knows how to recognize copyright violations. Due to Wikipedia's lack of some clear statement on the subject, a good number of editors proceed in ignorance and leave problems for the rest of us to clean up. Wikipedia:Editor integrity is intended to be a straightforward practical guideline: the equivalent of a university academic honesty policy. The current draft proposal is very rough and could use input from administrators and experienced editors. DurovaCharge! 00:28, 12 November 2006 (UTC)

About random pages

I have a feeling people will tell me this has been beaten to death already but I have a question/proposal on the "Random page" feature. Every now and then I click a few of these just to keep my personal statistics on the fraction of articles that are actually valuable (in fact it's not that bad) but I notice that every now and then I come up with one of these "salt the earth" pages. Can't we exclude those? My memory may be failing me but doesn't the random feature already avoid redirects and disambiguation pages? Pascal.Tesson 21:39, 11 November 2006 (UTC)

This has been beaten to death already :-) Tra (Talk) 21:52, 11 November 2006 (UTC)
Well at least I know now. How silly of me to assume I would be the first to ask that! Cheers, Pascal.Tesson 22:22, 11 November 2006 (UTC)


Can I make a plea that Wikipedia reference lists follow the American Psychological Association reference guidelines? At present, Wikipedia does not, as does the American Psychological Association, have a fixed set of rules for referencing, which makes it a little confusing if people are writing references in different ways at the end of different arguments. This is just one possibility - workers in other disciplines than psychology may wish to propose an alternative scheme, but I do hope that we can settle on an agreed reference format for all Wikipedia editors. ACEO 21:09, 8 November 2006 (UTC)

I don't see the likelyhood of that happening. The type of references used depends on the editor's preference. I don't think anyone is going to want a strict policy for something that hasn't really became a problem. - Tutmosis 21:22, 8 November 2006 (UTC)
I doubt that would be helpful. We have enough trouble making people include references at all without forcing them to use a the system chosen by an academic journal. Let's just focus on making people reference things in general. --tjstrf Now on editor review! 21:52, 8 November 2006 (UTC)
I'm already having difficulty finding and formatting references - this proposal would make it even harder for me. I'm sure many other editors are in my shoes. --J.L.W.S. The Special One 06:38, 12 November 2006 (UTC)
And if a standard were to be chosen, it would not be the cruft-filled brain-dead APA style. —Centrxtalk • 07:39, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
Personally, I feel that the cite style is sufficient. Apart from that, stylistically we have WP:FOOTNOTES. With the majority of citations being online ones, {{cite web}} should be perfectly sufficient with title, author, publisher, date, url and accessdate (as possible). Beyond that, it's going to be a nightmare to get anybody to add sources at all. That said, I can't say I really care as long as they are inline and referenced well enough for people to find the source - that's all they are really for after all. Crimsone 20:08, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

Wikipedia complaints department?

I have seen the sentence "This is not the Wikipedia complaints department" on several pages in the Wikipedia namespace, most notably WP:AN/I. Repeatedly seeing this sentence has made me wonder: does Wikipedia have a complaints department?

Perhaps we should have a complaints department, possibly as a section of the village pump. The complaints department would be the place to constructively raise and discuss legimate issues and problems with Wikipedia. Of course, the complaints department should not be a place for personal attacks and trolling, and conduct policies should still apply (this includes AGF).

Here are examples of complaints suitable for the complaints department:

1. Wikipedia seems to think that Singapore does not exist. There are insufficient articles on Singapore-related topics, and most of them are mediocre or stubs.

2. I constantly find myself blocked for the actions of some anonymous vandal who happens to share my IP! (This issue has since been resolved)

3. I suspect that a group of admins are stalking me and abusing their powers, but I don't know where I can raise this issue without being regarded as a troll.

4. The RFA process is broken! It has turned into a popularity contest which hinges on whether anybody spots a mistake you have made (if so, prepare to fail).

P.S. The above complaints are just examples. If a group of admins are stalking me, I am unaware of it.

P.P.S. If Wikipedia already has a complaints department, or there is a better place to raise such issues, please point me to it.

--J.L.W.S. The Special One 12:00, 6 November 2006 (UTC)

Well...i think we do sort of already have (many) places for that. "not a complaints department" i think refers more to complaining about things which can't be fixed, whining and trolling. For example, getting blocked for an non sharing your ip is a legitimate "complaint" that can be handled in many places. You could report to the administrator's notice board, and get admins to select only block anon editing when they block the ip (so you won't be blocked). The IRC channels if you need to be unblocked (or just use the unblock talk page tag). If it's the result of auto block, i'm quite sure there is a appropriate place to report it. If you want to suggest general solution to the problem of people being blocked for shared ips, here is a possible place to do it.
Admins stalking you should probably be raised also at the admin's notice board. Not enough singapore articles...there should be a project for singapore related articles right? There are also places to request article and a project to fight systematic bias. The RFA problem should be raised on the talk pages of the RFA related pages. Or if you think RFA policies need to be changed, than village pump policies would be a possible place to complain?
With complaints from external parties...well, they can just click on the "contact wikipedia" link on the nav panal, the page explains it pretty well. --`/aksha 12:37, 6 November 2006 (UTC)
There are numerous wikipedia pages for all kinds of issues. The rule of thumb is to read the page introduction and see if the page is right for your comment. WP:DR for example will advise or direct you to a way to solve a user conflict. Things like lack of quality Singapore articles, there isn't really a place for it because it an understood problem. It's best to try to improve such articles yourself and/or collaborate with users at places like WP:SG!, rather than complaining. - Tutmosis 15:03, 6 November 2006 (UTC)
  • To answer your questions specifically - (1) we have WikiProject Countering Systemic Bias that attempts to diversify by adding more articles that are not about the European/American area. You're welcome to join them, or simply write the missing articles yourself. (2) try WP:ANI. (3) the best place to start is finding an admin that you do trust and asking him privately to look into it; alternatively, try WP:ANI or WP:RFC for more publicity. Be prepared to accept the possibility that you are mistaken. (4) try the talk page for RFA; this is a perennial debate. >Radiant< 13:28, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
  • Dear Special One,
  1. - If a user isnt't happy with the state of (insert subject) articles, why aren't they expanding the stubs or making new ones?
  2. - If the issue is resolved, why bring it up? More to the point, if people insist on editing with an IP rather than an account, then they must accept the cost of that. WHY people want to edit with their IP hanging out in the wind is beyond me.
  3. - I suspect that most people the admins 'stalk' are vandals, trolls, people who push POV edits, and other undesirables. The reason there is no 'complaints' department, so to speak, is that lots of people think they have a right to spam, vandalize, advtertise, harass or insult other users, push racist/sexist/anti-LGBT/hate speech or whatever else. Admins do a lot to stop this. A complaints department would be a smoking hole of garbage due to these kind of ... people.
  4. - The RFA process is ... problematic for some. But for all its faults, it usually does produce a good product. If you want the mop you SHOULD be very near perfect.

To me, while I understand what you're saying, the complaint examples you give really aren't worth the drawback of a complaints department. The 'real' things to complain about -- vandals, linkspam, trolls, and lunatics from Wikitruth -- have avenues to work with. --Shrieking Harpy Gay flag.svgTalk|Count 16:55, 8 November 2006 (UTC)

Despite notices to the contrary, all projectspace and talkspace pages are complaint departments. And we all work for them. The hard part is figuring which department for your complaint. And you thought the DMV was a bureaucracy... John Reid ° 07:53, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
Based on the responses, this seems to be a bad idea. Discussion closed, and proposal rejected.
P.S. I have read several complains that the Wikipedia interface is difficult for new editors to understand. Which department should I complain to? In addition, which department should I complain to about backlogs, such as WP:RFF and WP:RFP?
--J.L.W.S. The Special One 06:46, 12 November 2006 (UTC)
Can you be a bit more specific with regards to "difficult for new editors to understand"? I guess, if you find a specific bit of the interface that's hard, village pump would be a good place. see this for example. If it's more of a technical issue, than the technical section of the pump, or submit it as a bug report.
As for backlogs, i have no idea. I suppose the talk pages for RFF and RFP would be a good idea. Otherwise, help fix it. It's called a 'backlog' because it's waiting for more people to help fix. --`/aksha 07:12, 12 November 2006 (UTC)

Avoiding unnecessary blocking

Much as I have enjoyed editing Wikipedia, there is a reason why I am thinking of using it as a "read-only" encyclopaedia. It is this: I continue to have problems, where, because people are registered from a computer with numbers shared by other users, I get wrongly accused of vandalism and get the blocking message. Do not get me wrong, most Wikipedians have been very nice to me, but it is so irritating to get told things, even after one has logged under one's AUTHENTIC name. Any advice, please? ACEO 20:04, 12 November 2006 (UTC)

Err, your block log has no blocks in it.....Homestarmy 03:58, 13 November 2006 (UTC)
You've obviously never encountered Wikipedia:Autoblock before. --  Netsnipe  ►  06:39, 13 November 2006 (UTC)
When I joined Wikipedia, I was regularly blocked for the actions of vandals sharing my IP. With the implementation of the new blocking options, this seldom happens to me. You were probably collateral damage of an autoblock. Perhaps you should ask your ISP for a static IP, or use Wikimedia's secure server? --J.L.W.S. The Special One 10:02, 13 November 2006 (UTC)

Is There A Way To Search The Code? And Is There A Way To Search What You Deleted From An Article?

Thanks.100110100 09:35, 12 November 2006 (UTC)

Could you clarify please? You can look through the page history to see previous edits. You can also just use your browser's find function to search the edit box of a page for the code, if that's what you mean. —Mets501 (talk) 15:47, 12 November 2006 (UTC)

Title template

I think it would be a good idea to create a template for articles similar to the one at {{User:1ne/Title|INSERT TITLE HERE}}. It would be especially useful on pages like IPod and EBay which must have the first letter capitalized for technical reasons. Thoughts? - Mike | Talk 03:24, 10 November 2006 (UTC)

If it's technically feasible to do it reliably, I'd love to see this go through - it would mean that Wikipedia would have one less annoying technical limitation. Nihiltres 03:37, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
I guess that technically speaking the title of the page would remain the same, but this would still make for better formatting and will make that restriction less annoying. - Mike | Talk 03:40, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
Yes. I was talking about the reason that the title template isn't already standard use, which is that it doesn't display the same way for all users all the time. That took a bit of digging to find ... frustrating, eh? - Nihiltres 04:29, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
I noticed on a user talk page which used something like that, the new title covered up the line under the title an observant person would notice something odd was going on. But i'd assume that would be easy to fix.
I'm with Nihiltres. If someone can find a way to do it reliably, so that it works for everyone, and won't cause any technical problems, then i think it would be a very elegant fix to a very old problem. --`/aksha 08:21, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
  • Be careful about different browsers, in particular text-based ones as Lynx. This has caused problems with templates before. It would arguably be better to ask the devs for help. >Radiant< 11:46, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
  • No kidding - an easy CSS override isn't entirely reliable. I think we may need something made up by the devs that overrides the page-rendering at a different level, something like the __TOC__ code that moves where the table of contents renders. Nihiltres 15:36, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
  • I'm going to post a link to this at the technical village pump, if nobody has already. Nihiltres 21:23, 12 November 2006 (UTC)
Fantastic! I'll add it to my watchlist. - Mike | Talk 21:26, 12 November 2006 (UTC)
O.K., it's now posted at the technical pump. Nihiltres 02:23, 13 November 2006 (UTC)

WikiDark - Darker Theme for Wikipedia

I'd like to propose a dark theme for Wikipedia as an option for those who do not want to read dark text on a white background, but rather light text on a dark background. Since Wikipedia's pages are mainly comprised of text, this would seem a welcome addition to the site's functionality. I offer you a quote from Maddox ( as support:

"I've chosen a black background for most of my text because it's easier on the eyes than staring at a white screen. Think about it: your monitor is not a piece of paper, no matter how hard you try to make it one. Staring at a white background while you read is like staring at a light bulb (don't believe me? Try turning off the lights next time you use a word processor). Would you stare at a light bulb for hours at a time? Not if you want to keep your vision."

This quote is also referenced in the wiki article about Maddox's site:

In addition, I proposed a similar idea on a forum I used to frequent about one year ago and it worked quite well: At the bottom of the page you will find a drop-down menu with two different styles available (L2Blah Default and L2Blah Dark).

Thanks for your consideration and thank you for taking the time to read this.

Lucid dre4m 22:30, 9 November 2006 (UTC)Lucid

If you know CSS (I don't) it should be very simple to change the color values for various elements of Wikipedia. By modifying your personal monobook.css page, you can have your own personal skin. I don't think a dark version of Wikipedia would be entirely functional, given that custom elements are generally designed with the generic dark-on-light monobook skin in mind and may use black elements, so I wouldn't favor it being used as a publicly available skin. Nihiltres 23:31, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
There is a meta page devoted to various modifications you can make to your CSS page.Dylan Lake (t·c·ε) 22:43, 13 November 2006 (UTC)
Thanks guys found it! Lucid dre4m 23:20, 13 November 2006 (UTC)

New Wiki Project for Data or Results?

I think I have read here a policy that Wikipedia should not be the archive or database. However, quite a lot of articles here - like sports or elections - now become used more often for full lists of results (I did it sometimes, too, as it looks like the usage now). Would anyone be interested in idea of starting some new WikiResults or WikiData project, which could include sport results, elections results, artistic awards nominees and winners, demographic statistics etc., which could change Wikipedia itself really into an encyclopedia, that would concentrate on writing well-balanced articles instead of cumulating of data? Okino 20:57, 16 November 2006 (UTC)

It's being worked on, see m:Wikidata. --Quiddity 21:29, 16 November 2006 (UTC)
Well, as I read the linked page m:Wikidataand its Talk page, I found it really useful, but different to what I was talking before. Maybe the name of the project was the thing that made the confusion. Wikidata look like an engine-project used under the surface of current or other Wiki-projects. My proposal is for project made on the current (or any more modern) basis of Wiki-projects, but with different (or better more specialized) content - like Wikitravel is for travelling information and Wikispecies is for biological species, this one could be for statistics (so maybe some WikiStats is another possible name besides WikiResults?). Anyone interested? Okino 23:57, 16 November 2006 (UTC)

"Search" Button on the left-hand side of the page

We have two buttons (Go and Search) on the left hand side of the page. This "Search" button can be removed, because, if you have the exact page you are going to show the page otherwise, you can show the available search results.

I am not sure with this. "Disambiguation" button can be more useful (?!) and it can be considered here. When one knows there can be more than one document for sure, then he may want to the disambiguation page directly. V4vijayakumar 16:08, 16 November 2006 (UTC)

Disagree. The Search button can be the only way to find pages referring to a phrase that haven't linked to it. AnonEMouse (squeak) 16:38, 16 November 2006 (UTC)
If you want to find all articles that contain a given word or words then the distinction is important. For example, if you type Quasimodo and click "Go" (or hit Enter) then you get taken to the article of that name. If you type Quasimodo and click "Search" then you get a list of all articles that contain the word, which may sometimes be useful. (Of course, you could just use Google's site-specific search facility...) Matt 20:52, 16 November 2006 (UTC).


Click for a larger image...

Hello! , I am faelomx and I have much style. Already in serious, Is not taxobox something sober with that color plain? … Because something does not have life that is “on the life”? … then it can here have a visual improvement and dynamic in taxobox… and… improving what there is it can be taxobox but beautiful of all wikis! :) OK? …. what seems to them? You hope that you like,… will like…

Faelomx 09:59, 16 November 2006 (UTC) - [talk me]

  • This is probably best discussed on the talk page of the template you wish to improve. Also, if you want, you can add color definitions to your personal style sheet, and the template will appear colorful to you. (Radiant) 11:49, 16 November 2006 (UTC)
I wiki in spanish do not understand that webpages has evolved and that they have remained in the past with respect to the style, english-wiki, is much colorful and much style, it is for that reason that my style in spanish-wiki seems that they do not like… that it suffers! :)
Faelomx 13:06, 16 November 2006 (UTC) - [talk me]
There has been some discussion of redesigning taxoboxes on Template talk:Taxobox recently; not as radical as this proposal, though. I'll copy this discussion there, and will comment there as well. -- Eugène van der Pijll 17:15, 16 November 2006 (UTC)

template:unreferenced should be a deletion template

I've added a suggestion to the talk page there that unreferenced articles should be classified by month, like {{wikify}}-tagged articles, and should be deleted after three months if no sources are added. It'd light a fire under editors to add sources the way {{nsd}} does for images. Night Gyr (talk/Oy) 17:24, 15 November 2006 (UTC)

Not sure if you're already there, but see Wikipedia:Speedy deletion criterion for unsourced articles for a very similar idea, albeit with a shorter time frame. I do think unreferenced could use some timetabling, but trying to add that to {{citation needed}} is probably an uphill fight. I don't agree with timed deletion for reasons given elsewhere; images are a special case due to copyvio concerns. -- nae'blis 17:37, 15 November 2006 (UTC)
I wouldn't support it for {{cite needed}} because that's usually an individual item within an otherwise acceptable article, but {{unreferenced}} is only supposed to be used on articles that totally lack sources. Anyone writing an article needs to get their information from somewhere, so they should be able to cite at least one source, leaving no good reason for articles eligible for {{unreferenced}} to exist. Night Gyr (talk/Oy) 17:39, 15 November 2006 (UTC)
Hmm. I wouldn't support this - it's too likely to eventually delete a good article that just needs sources. Nihiltres 18:49, 15 November 2006 (UTC)
You can't tell if an article is good or not unless you have sources to check the information against. Night Gyr (talk/Oy) 19:00, 15 November 2006 (UTC)
That depends on who "you" is and what the article is. The eventual goal is to get good references in every article, but except for disputed facts or biographical information there is no reason to rush it. CMummert 19:20, 15 November 2006 (UTC)
Keep in mind {{unreferenced}} is also for sections that lack sources, as the template itself clearly says. We should probably wait and see how this new CSD works out before dealing with the templates. Fagstein 05:19, 16 November 2006 (UTC)

Just WP:PRODding things for lack of sources should work equally well, no need for more process creep. --tjstrf talk 05:44, 16 November 2006 (UTC)

Deleting articles just because they have no references is IMO a daft idea. They may be very good articles. References are definitely a Good Thing, especially very specific references for contentious or surprising claims, but they are not the panacea that some people seem to think they are. If articles were written, referenced, checked and then set in stone then it would be a different story. What happens in practice is that references are initially added - either general references, or references to specific facts - and then the article goes through numerous edits over a long period of time, such that it's then impossible to know which statements the references support, or whether the statements they once supported have been altered, without painstakingly checking all of them again. This is not an option for the ordinary reader. The only person who would do this would be the serious researcher, who is likely to use Wikipedia only peripherally, if at all, and is likely to look at numerous sources anyway, in which case Wikipedia references have only limited use in alerting them to relevant published material that they may not already know about (sort of like a "further reading" list). Matt 11:37, 16 November 2006 (UTC).
  • For certain templates such as "unreferenced", it's quite useful to prod any articles that have had that template for, say, a month and were not improved. (Radiant) 11:47, 16 November 2006 (UTC)
Good lord. This would result in the deletion of well over half our articles, I think. I don't think that's a good idea, although maybe such Urk, this is a pretty drastic proposal. Unreferenced doesn't mean the same as unreferanceable. Articles that cannot be referenced violate WP:V and should be put up for deletion as soon as one finds them. But articles that just happen to lack references do not violate WP:V. If a user comes across an unreferenced article, he's free to take it at face value, take it with a grain of salt, ignore it, or go down the library and look up the references himself, whatever suits him. Herostratus 23:57, 16 November 2006 (UTC)
  • Nobody's advocating indiscriminate deletion of articles that are presently unreferenced. (Radiant) 12:01, 17 November 2006 (UTC)
I, for one, think that this goes against WP's idea at the moment for the sole fact that most of the current articles are a beginning place to look up information and later to take a better book on said subject and perfect your knowledge. Also, people who come to WP normally want facts that don'T really need to be conforted with citations and thus removing these articles means letting these people look up the internet for articles that will for sure be POV, unreferenced and written by the layman (not many laymen like WP).
On another point, there are people like me, that go through articles and references them which is a painstaking thing to do but in any case needs to be done with any article on WP. Since I have access to top nutch information (online magazine archives, online encyclopedia, PD-stuff from old libraries) it is less tough than using the internet by itself. Anyway, removing these articles that are unreferenced will render my job on WP less enjoyable as I like to peruse the encyclopedia and reference it with great references or just plainly render unverified material, verified. Lincher 04:40, 17 November 2006 (UTC)

What links here

Regarding the namespace drop-down on "Watchlist".

I was wondering if the same thing could be done with the "What links here" page. It would make searching through the links MUCH more bearable.

I'd also like two additional options to the Watchlist (and hopefully elsewhere) drop-down box:

  • 1.) all - no talk
    This would list from all non-talk namespaces.
  • 2.) all talk
    This would list only from all the talk namespaces.

As an aside, I just want to say thank you to whomever implemented the new changes to the edit summary. It's great : ) - jc37 14:41, 15 November 2006 (UTC)

  • Quite possibly. But you'd have to ask the Devs on Bugzilla, since it requires a modification of the software. (Radiant) 14:57, 15 November 2006 (UTC)
  • The first one is Bug #4624. --Interiot 17:34, 15 November 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for the link Interiot : )
In order to not duplicate requests, what would be the next step? (I've often read bugzilla, but I don't believe I've ever actually interacted there.) - jc37 04:22, 16 November 2006 (UTC)

Informal Arbitration

I am proposing to create something similar to small claims court. This will eliminate the arbcom load. Geo. 20:48, 13 November 2006 (UTC)

Sounds like a good idea but what you kind of "small claim" disputes will this court deal with? - Tutmosis 21:05, 13 November 2006 (UTC)
And what powers would this court have? Trebor 22:56, 13 November 2006 (UTC)
Avoid Instruction Creep. User:Zoe|(talk) 03:33, 14 November 2006 (UTC)
We have several of these minor courts. See Dispute resolution. John Reid ° 09:46, 15 November 2006 (UTC)

There is Wikipedia:Third opinion. I just used it for the first time, and it was extremely quick and easy. It's only good for disputes that can be easily summarized in a few sentences, understood fairly easily, and where both parties can generate a neutral description of the issue that they both agree on (and of course both parties have to agree to abide by the third party's decision). There's no back-and-forth; the third party basically looks at the description, looks at the issue, and decides, game over. (I guess it can get a litle more involved than that, but it's supposed to stay really simple.) It's also supposed to be only for disputes where there only two individuals in disagreement, though. Herostratus 00:04, 17 November 2006 (UTC)

Unsuitable content

Since wikipedia is an encyclopedia, it contains things such as Sex, Penis etc. Now I agree that it can be allowed onto wikipedia, and suitable pictures are aloud. But still, I have seen on it's talk pages that some people find it offensive, rude etc. And since wikipedia is open to everyone, including young children, do you think there should be some sort of notice at the top of the page saying something like

!Warning, this page contains content that some users may find offensive!

or some sort of stub similar to that?Samaster1991 20:30, 13 November 2006 (UTC)

WP:NDT lays out the reasons this is a bad idea, but let me inform you that I am terribly offended by the TV show "Lost," and must insist that every article about that show be the first tagged. JBKramer 20:34, 13 November 2006 (UTC)
I am offended that you are offended by "Lost", and I demand that you be blocked for your unwarranted attacks on Jimbo's favorite series! --Doc Tropics Message in a bottle 21:09, 13 November 2006 (UTC)
No. John Reid ° 09:43, 15 November 2006 (UTC)

There's some merit to your idea - albeit Sex and Penis are not the problem, it's the twisted porno stuff - but don't waste your time, it will never happen, ever. Actually I think prominent a one-time disclaimer when you enter the site would be better (although per WP:BEANS would probably do more harm than good), but that's never ever going to happen, either. So don't worry about it. Herostratus 00:14, 17 November 2006 (UTC)

Geographical Coordinates

Why do geographical coordinates have to be provided in a decimal format with only degrees? The common usage is in degrees, minutes, and seconds (see, e.g., the German wikipedia). Currently, one has to click on the coordinates to get this information. I don't see why that should be necessary. Unless other reasons speak against it, I'd suggest to change the format... --Ibn Battuta 03:14, 13 November 2006 (UTC)

"Provided" in what sense? In articles you can write them whichever way you want. The handy "coor" template supports degrees-minutes-seconds (e.g. 56°28′58″N 16°34′31″E / 56.48278°N 16.57528°E / 56.48278; 16.57528). (The rendition of the minutes and seconds symbols is buggy on my PC, and spurious white space is inserted, but that's another matter!) Matt 23:06, 13 November 2006 (UTC).

Errr... I'm not sure if we're getting different outputs? Well, at least *I* get the coordinates in a decimal format (e.g., 45.5315° N 11.5600° E of the Villa Capra "La Rotonda" - instead of 45° 31′ 53" N 11° 33′ 36" E, which I only get when I click on the coordinates). If you get a different output, I'd love to find out how to get that myself! --Ibn Battuta 03:52, 14 November 2006 (UTC)

There is more than one template: {{coor d}} renders as 56°07′24″N 16°34′04″E / 56.1234°N 16.5678°E / 56.1234; 16.5678, and {{coor dms}} as 56°28′58″N 16°34′31″E / 56.48278°N 16.57528°E / 56.48278; 16.57528. There is also a {{coor dm}}. I prefer the dms version myself (where appropriate). See also Wikipedia:WikiProject Geographical coordinates. -- Eugène van der Pijll 12:39, 14 November 2006 (UTC)
The format in which coordinates are displayed in an article is the choice of the editor who adds them to the article. Everyone reading the article then sees the same thing - different people shouldn't see different "outputs". For example, at Villa Capra "La Rotonda" the coordinates are in degrees, and at Alby, Sweden they are in degrees-minutes-seconds. This is just because the respective editors chose to do it that way. As an editor you can, if you want, enter coordinates in plain text format, and then you can obviously type whatever characters you like - Wikipedia doesn't know or care that they are coordinates. However, I guess you're probably talking about the handy "coor" template which gives you the auto-formatting and the auto-link to map lookups. In this case you choose whether you want degrees, degrees-minutes or degrees-minutes-seconds with the second parameter. For example:
{{Coor d|45.5315|N|11.5600|E}}     produces     45°31′53″N 11°33′36″E / 45.5315°N 11.5600°E / 45.5315; 11.5600
{{coor dm|56|28|N|16|34|E}}     produces     56°28′N 16°34′E / 56.467°N 16.567°E / 56.467; 16.567
{{coor dms|56|28|58|N|16|34|31|E}}     produces     56°28′58″N 16°34′31″E / 56.48278°N 16.57528°E / 56.48278; 16.57528
If you want the coordinates at Villa Capra "La Rotonda" to appear as degrees-minutes-seconds then you will have to do the conversion yourself and edit the article appropriately. Matt 13:06, 14 November 2006 (UTC).
    • Incidentally, in the above examples, does everyone else see spurious white space after the seconds and minutes symbols, or is it just me? Matt 13:28, 14 November 2006 (UTC)
It's just you. At least; I don't see it. ~ ONUnicorn(Talk|Contribs) 16:27, 14 November 2006 (UTC)

Here's an idea. Could we not extend the "date preferences" type of setting to things like co-ordinates as well? I remember a few weeks ago someone asked about unit conversions (SI, metric, etc.) and at the time I thought this would be a great idea to incorporate as well. Wehere should i request this? Zunaid©Please rate me at Editor Review! 07:26, 16 November 2006 (UTC)

Hmmm... automatic unit conversions? So, for instance, the article on Three Mile Island would be displayed, under some user preferences, as 4.828032 Kilometer Island? *Dan T.* 14:21, 15 November 2006 (UTC)
LoL! Obviously not! But seriously, I think auto unit conversion would be great. I edit a lot of car articles so there's plenty of kW, hp, PS figures going around etc etc. A user preference that would display the desired units (and optionally, other units in brackets) would make life much easier for editors (by removing the need for manually populating different unit values) and for readers (by removing potentially annoying units that they may choose not to see). It would also standardise the way units are presented, by always showing the same unit first, second, third etc. e.g. if i set my preferences to kW, then hp, units will ALWAYS be displayed as "100 kW (134 hp)" no matter how they've been entered into the article. There could also be a specific way to bypass these choices for specific cases e.g. for an article on unit conversion itself, or where a certain unit (e.g. light years, parsecs, "miles" in 3 mile island) should not be replaced by the user's default. Zunaid©Please rate me at Editor Review! 07:26, 16 November 2006 (UTC)
I can envisage all sorts of problems trying to make automatic conversion work reliably with pre-existing text. That sounds like a non-starter. Probably it would be better to provide some new syntax, template or whatever - something like {{units|100 kW}} (except not that because the "units" template already exists!) Matt 10:27, 16 November 2006 (UTC).

WikiProject Kansas City?

I want to start this, but I need help and support. --Geobeedude 02:30, 14 November 2006 (UTC)Geobeedude

You can propose it here to see if anyone is willing to take part in it, and you can get help operating it from WikiProject Council. Good luck! - Tutmosis 15:28, 14 November 2006 (UTC)

Curious about date links

Can anyone explain why so many people feel it's worthwhile to link from dates? One of trillions of examples: "On 1 January 2006 at 10:00 Gazprom ended the delivery of gas for the Ukrainian market..." Clicking on 1 January takes you to a disparate list of hundreds of events that happened on January 1 in all different years, and clicking on 2006 takes you to an equally disparate list of hundreds of events in 2006. What possible relevance does this have to the Gazprom article? This is not something that bothers me one way or another, you understand ... I just don't get why anyone bothers to create the links. Am I missing something? Matt 02:10, 17 November 2006 (UTC).

  • Please see WP:MOSDATE (manual of style). This is a perennial issue, some people feel that all dates must always be linked, others feel this is irrelevant. (Radiant) 11:57, 17 November 2006 (UTC)
I believe that the disagreement is over related, but slightly different, matters. The Manual of Style states that only relevant or notable dates should be linked, & that multiple links to the same article are usually unnecessary and should be avoided. What the words "relevant" & "notable" mean in this instance, & if there are instances where multiple links are justified -- these are perennial issues, & I don't know if a consensus will ever be reached about them. -- llywrch 22:01, 17 November 2006 (UTC)
  • Probably what you're missing is that dates are linked for the dual purpose of wikilinking, but it also allows the software to format dates according to your user preferences. There's been discussion in the past of making the UP section work differently, but it's never gotten anywhere. -- nae'blis 15:36, 17 November 2006 (UTC)
  • See (old) Wikipedia:Date debate, (more recent) WP:MOSDATE archives 42-46, and many many shorter threads both before and after, and the technical end at Mediawiki Bug #4582. -Quiddity 01:06, 18 November 2006 (UTC)

WikiPedia is secular, right?

Im not an agnostic (or secular myself), but i will not express my belief here. But what really annoys me is when browsing WikiPedia, it seems that anything other than Christianity, Judaism or Islam is considered "mythology" here at WikiPedia, to a non-religious website, i think that WikiPedia should not label any religions as mythology, because its not the right way for a secularly written encyclopedia to go, to a non-religious person, Christianity is just as believeable as Paganism of any kind (including for example, Ancient Egyptian Religion). I hope my proposal and opinion is not taken lightly. Brenton.eccles 08:54, 16 November 2006 (UTC)

Wikipedia isn't secular, it's neutral. In my experience we give a relatively full coverage of the opinions of dead religions, and other non-Western religions such as Buddhism get fair treatment as well. --tjstrf talk 09:07, 16 November 2006 (UTC)
It's not up to Wikipedia to decide if a particular religion is "mythology" or not; we merely report on what others say, and if a large weight of information from reliable sources generally agree that something is considered "mythology", then that's how we present the information. Our policies really don't give us much leeway on the matter. Remember: we are monks, not philosophers... -/- Warren 10:45, 16 November 2006 (UTC)

If a Wipedia is really going to operate with NPOV, I would endorse referring policies against referring to any religions as "mythological" as this term could be taken in the pejorative sense. On a related theme, I do think it helpful if editors of articles on religious subjects can express their religion on the usserpage, so that we can check reasons for a particular bias a particular editor might have had. ACEO 19:47, 16 November 2006 (UTC)

As noted above "we" (as editors) shouldn't be saying anything about any religion because that would be original research. Rather, we should be reporting what reliable sources have said about said religion. It is possible for current scholarship to be split on whether to categorize a faith as a "mythology" or something else and both views should be included. If you have a particular article in mind that provoked this post, my recommendation would be to find some reliable sources that categorizes the faith apart from "mythology" and include comments about that scholarship view in the article. Be Bold. Agne 19:53, 16 November 2006 (UTC)
(1) "Mythology" is not necessarily a pejorative term; myths can be true. Betsy Ross is part of the American mythology that isn't true; Paul Revere is part of the American mythology that is true (basically), and so on. Same with religions, the Battle of Jericho is a mythology that is (probably) more or less true, the parting of the Red Sea is part of the mythology that isn't true. (2) It isn't true that all religions are the same; there's been a tremendous advance in religious thought over the last three millenia or so. Beliefs like (say) that God (or the gods) lives in a particular geographical place on the earth have pretty much been superseded by more subtle thinking, and there's no point in pretending otherwise. (3) Most every religion has a crust of arrant nonsense along with the cool stuff, but we live in a political world, and Wikipedia is part of that world. So if your religion has lots of adherents, you can expect to get the kid-gloves treatment else the Great Screaming will begin; but if you let your religion die out, well, it's pretty much fair game. Don't worry about it, that's just how people are. (4) I think Wikipedia is secular, or at any rate should be; an encyclopedia is hella more part of the world of science than of religion. Diderot's original enycyclopedia was specifically written partly to combat superstition and parasitic priestly class who fed off it, and all proper encyclopedia's are basically in that vein. Herostratus 23:42, 16 November 2006 (UTC)
I just think that in general, the word should be antiquity rather than mythology, eg: "a religion of antiquity. Because a lot of the antique religions are not dead.Brenton.eccles 00:53, 18 November 2006 (UTC)
Ressurected Wiccan traditions based on ancient mythology can be treated seperately in those cases where they make a significant enough minority to be included, which is to say those articles which are actually about neo-paganism. There's no reason to go messing about with the Egyptology articles when "mythology" is the proper academic term used by the fields of cultural and archaelogical study. --tjstrf talk 01:00, 18 November 2006 (UTC)

Number of people "watching" a page

Could a counter displaying the number of people watching articles be included on each page. This would be to see how many people are interested in a particular page. --Mutley 11:07, 13 November 2006 (UTC)

This is available to admins, problems with vandles using it to find pages which are not watched mean its not availiable to regular users. A pereneal proposal, see the archive for more. --Salix alba (talk) 12:19, 13 November 2006 (UTC)
Technically, admins can only see a list of the first 1000 pages that are unwatched (watched by 0 people). The number of people having a page in their watchlist could be retrived via action=info, but this is disabled for performance reasons. Tizio 13:10, 13 November 2006 (UTC)
How about a rule that stops anonymous users from editing pages that no one is watching?
Wouldn't that be too restrictive? Putting together neglected pages and new users should be a goal, rather than something to be avoided, IMHO. – Little Miss Might Be Wrong 00:13, 18 November 2006 (UTC)

Edit summary usage improvement

I think that new editors that are just starting out here at Wikipedia could be confused about what to put in the edit summary field. I am proposing that we change the text next to the edit summary box to say

instead of just

What do you think? —Mets501 (talk) 04:07, 12 November 2006 (UTC)

I agree. -Quiddity 06:10, 12 November 2006 (UTC)
I don't want to see anything more on an edit page. Indeed, I want to see less. Valuable screen real estate is thrown away saying the same things over and over. Don't submit it. Use the sandbox. See policies. Foo. If I haven't read that by now, I won't.
Agree that proper use of edit sums is critical to just about everything here. Do not agree that more boilerplate nagging will help.
Give me a setting in my prefs to remove all the verbiage, leaving only the buttons themselves, and I'll be content no matter what else you do. John Reid ° 06:15, 12 November 2006 (UTC)
I agree with John Reid's idea of a setting, so experienced users won't read the instruction creep, but newcomers will. --J.L.W.S. The Special One 06:36, 12 November 2006 (UTC)
As for changing a setting, here's some code that you could put in your monobook.css to trim down the editing page. You can pick and choose which elements you want to hide:
#editpage-copywarn, #editpage-copywarn2, #editpage-copywarn3, .previewnote, #newarticletext {display:none} /* remove the warnings */

#editpage-specialchars {display:none} /* remove special characters list */

#toolbar {display:none} /* remove toolbar */

#wpSummaryLabel, #minoredit_helplink, .editHelp {display:none} /* remove helpful links */

.templatesUsed {display:none} /* remove list of templates */
Unfortunatly, #editpage-copywarn2\.3B doesn't seem to work properly, I think because of the '.' in its id. Tra (Talk) 15:09, 12 November 2006 (UTC)
It's working now. I think the element's id was changed temporarily as I was writing the code. Tra (Talk) 15:38, 12 November 2006 (UTC)
There was a misplaced semicolon (which was transformed into ".3B"). Since removed. :)
And yeah, I hide most of those, and the copyright footers, with User:Quiddity/monobook.css. Makes everything a lot cleaner. --Quiddity 19:27, 12 November 2006 (UTC)
Mets501's idea is good. "Edit summary" may be confusing to some, while "description of your changes" should be clear to anybody. Given how large the edit form currently is, I do not see adding 20 bytes to it as a big problem, if that leads to more valid edit summaries from newcomers (and perhaps less valid edits being reverted). Tizio 13:32, 12 November 2006 (UTC)
I'm slightly confused. What exactly is confusing about the phrase "edit summary"? If people are getting confused about what to put in it, then this idea seems good, but I can't see what else "edit summary" could mean, except "summary of your edit". Trebor 14:05, 12 November 2006 (UTC)
I'll admit: it actually confused me when I first edited Wikipedia last February. I took it to mean "edit the summary of the article" or the like, so I never filled it it at first :-) —Mets501 (talk) 15:37, 12 November 2006 (UTC)
Oh okay, I just wanted to see evidence that some people did get confused by it before changing anything. It sounds good then, so long as there's an option to turn it off. Trebor 20:13, 12 November 2006 (UTC)
To turn it off, put #wpSummaryLabel label small {display:none} in your monobook.css. Tra (Talk) 22:51, 13 November 2006 (UTC)

If edit summaries are so important, why are people complaining about long edit summaries? --J.L.W.S. The Special One 04:09, 13 November 2006 (UTC)

Coming from a developer's perspective in terms of SVN/CVS, you get reverted and publically humiliated if you leave a blank or unsatisfactory log entry (the source code equivalent of edit summary). I'd really like to see more people making use of this function, perhaps even encouraging multi-line edit summaries and the ability to edit the edit summaries. — Edward Z. Yang(Talk) 04:33, 13 November 2006 (UTC)


Has anyone else noticed how "Edit summary (Briefly describe the changes you have made)" is now being fully justified and is now filled with large gaps instead of flush left like it used to be? I tried removing the span tags from MediaWiki:Summary but that didn't fix it. I'm currently see this layout problem in Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv: Gecko/20060830 Firefox/ (Debian-1.5.dfsg+ --  Netsnipe  ►  06:38, 13 November 2006 (UTC)

Yes, I get the same (with the same browser). It's extremely ugly; if it can't be fixed I think it should be changed back. -- Jitse Niesen (talk) 06:54, 13 November 2006 (UTC)

See also Wikipedia:Village pump (technical)#Edit summary box

A comment, Help:Edit summary is a pretty dense page to direct people to. If the top half of that page were shorter and clearer (perhaps as concise as the introduction?) perhaps more people would read it? As for the change, I don't really mind it (and the alignment is fine in firefox2/opera9/win98 at least ;) though I have many of the warnings and items in MediaWiki:Edittools hidden via my monobook.css, so it's not quite as overwhelming altogether. -Quiddity 07:37, 13 November 2006 (UTC)

I think that the alignment issues that I am having, are caused by the setting "Justify text" in the user preferences that I have set. I guess the same is true for Netsnipe. I added a span to MediaWiki:Summary to counteract this, hopefully without causing any other problems. -- Jitse Niesen (talk) 12:26, 14 November 2006 (UTC)
I use a fairly small browser window and find that the edit summary box is now incredibly small now. Anyone else with that problem? JYolkowski // talk 23:47, 14 November 2006 (UTC)

I have aligned it to the left. It looks ugly justified. =Nichalp «Talk»= 09:14, 18 November 2006 (UTC)

Nowrap for links in navboxes

I would like to propose the usage of white-space: nowrap; on the links in navboxes; as many navboxes use &nbsp; or link-breaks to keep title together. I was thinking of something like (which should work on Firefox, IE5.5+, Opera):

table.toccolours a, .NavContent a {
  white-space: nowrap;

-Dispenser 23:56, 18 November 2006 (UTC)

Creating redirect from RIC codes to company articles

Basically, redirects of the form, e.g. redirecting HSBA.L and 0005.HK to HSBC. Any comments on this -- good idea, bad idea, been discussed before? Thanks. cab 06:50, 20 November 2006 (UTC)

  • I don't see the harm, go for it. (Radiant) 10:47, 20 November 2006 (UTC)

Ideas for new Wikiprojects

I have several ideas for new Wikiprojects. One of my ideas is Wikiproject Australian Television Schedules, Which could create schedules for older years in australian TV. Another is Wikiproject Episode status, Which could improve articles by mentioning how many episodes still exist (with older shows). Another idea is wikiproject Daytime United States Television Schedules. The problem is that I dont have the knowledge to do them myself.What do you think?DesignForDreamingFan 07:58, 13 November 2006 (UTC)

I'm not sure about this, but i have a feeling TV schedules are not going to go well with copyright laws. I mean, there's not much to write in a TV schedule except to literally type up a schedule - which is copyrighted. Plus, i don't think TV schedules really count as being "encyclopedic" articles.
As for TV episodes, they are covered by two existing wikiproject - Wikipedia:WikiProject Television episodes and Wikipedia:WikiProject List of Television Episodes. Most "list of [tv series] episodes" articles already cover information about future episodes. If you're interested in TV episodes, you're welcome to drop by either of those projects and help out, or make any more specific suggestions about improving our articles to do with TV episodes. --`/aksha 08:21, 13 November 2006 (UTC)
I'm not talking about episodes, I'm talking about improving articles On late 40's early 50's Television by mentioning how many episodes still exist.DesignForDreamingFan 08:25, 13 November 2006 (UTC)
I don't quite understand what you mean by "how many episodes still exist". Shouldn't...all episodes still 'exist'? It's not like episodes for old shows are destroyed. Can you clarify? --`/aksha 08:35, 13 November 2006 (UTC)
WTF! almost the entire Du Mont archive was destoyed, as were hundreds of shows in the 50's. Read this: —The preceding unsigned comment was added by DesignForDreamingFan (talkcontribs) .
It may be obvious to you, but keep in mind what is 'common knowledge' to you is most certainly not nessasarily common knowledge to everyone else. I for one, had no idea what you're talking about. Information regarding something like that would be worth putting into articles. These articles, however, are television articles and are in the domain of Wikipedia:WikiProject Television. Creating a project specifically for this purpose is fine, but it would be a child project of the Television WikiProject. So the best place to ask, especially if you're asking other people to do it, would be at the talk page for Wikipedia:WikiProject Television. The people there would be more knowledgable regarding this area, and would probably be able to help you more. --`/aksha 12:01, 13 November 2006 (UTC)
Seems like this falls on the wrong side of WP:NOT Wikia might be a more appropriate palce for this sort of info. --Salix alba (talk) 12:17, 13 November 2006 (UTC)
Just to mention it, TV schedules are routinely deleted over at AfD so a Wikiproject to create them would be futile and quickly get deleted itself. --The Way 10:35, 20 November 2006 (UTC)

Replace "Editing help" with "Cheatsheet" link

I propose we change the link to Help:Editing to point to Wikipedia:Cheatsheet, in the editing-mode layout. eg:

Cancel | Editing help (opens in new window)

It's technically difficult to add an additional link (as previously proposed and supported), and a few editors suggested it would actually be preferable to simply replace the "Editing help" link (at MediaWiki:Edithelppage), for clarity and simplicity. I agree, but this is a major change and will require strong consensus. Please comment/show support. Thanks :) --Quiddity 21:58, 2 December 2006 (UTC) - Updated per 2nd comment at 02:14, 4 December 2006 (UTC)

  • Strong Support - The Cheatsheet is significantly more helpful to most users, and the Edit Help link is already standard fare on most welcome mats. Vote Cheatsheet for ArbCom! oh wait, I got my forums confused... Doc Tropics 21:12, 3 December 2006 (UTC)
  • Conditional Support - I strongly support this change, however I don't support the verbiage change. I think it still needs to remain "Editing help" linking to the Cheatsheet. Simply putting "Cheatsheet" isn't explicit enough and new users will ignore the link out of confusion for what "Cheatsheet" refers to. --Wolf530 (talk) 00:27, 4 December 2006 (UTC)
I hadn't considered the wording, only the utility of the change itself. I agree with Wolf that the term "Cheatsheet" lacks the clarity of "Editing Help", which should probably be retained. Doc Tropics 01:49, 4 December 2006 (UTC)
Agreed. Proposal above updated accordingly. -Quiddity 02:14, 4 December 2006 (UTC)
  • Support but the cheatsheet would need to be given a prominant link to Help:Editing so that the more detailed information can be obtained easily. Tra (Talk) 02:09, 4 December 2006 (UTC)
    Thanks, that link looks great! Tra (Talk) 02:37, 4 December 2006 (UTC)
    np, you beat me to the reply! I've tweaked the See also section too. -Quiddity 02:49, 4 December 2006 (UTC)
Looks good, nice job : ) Doc Tropics 03:21, 4 December 2006 (UTC)
Sorry for asking a question rather than voting (unfortunately I don't have a strong opinion): is the term cheatsheet adequate in tone for an encyclopedia? My non-native speaker "feeling" would go for quick reference or quick reference card. Just bad feeling? —Gennaro Prota•Talk 05:04, 4 December 2006 (UTC)
If enough editors feel strongly about it, "Cheatsheet" could be renamed as you suggest; however, there is probably a general understanding that the term has no negative connotations in this context. Doc Tropics 05:09, 4 December 2006 (UTC)
I (months ago) moved it from "Wikipedia:Quick guide" to "Wikipedia:Cheatsheet" in order to match with the existing meta page m:Cheatsheet. Wikipedia:Reference card is already an incoming redirect, so it could be moved there; I'm happy with either.(Also it's not a "vote", people often just add bolded initial words to give an "at a glance" summary of the state of a thread. You could add comment before yours for example :) -Quiddity 05:39, 4 December 2006 (UTC)
  • Comment - I like the change though, as I said above, I don't feel strongly about it (the main reason is: while it may help getting started earlier, which is good, it may also induce skipping a thorough read of the complete manual, which is harmful in the long run). What I would suggest anyway is eliminating the link redundancy at Wikipedia:Cheatsheet: off-hand it isn't obvious to me what's the difference between Help:Editing, at the top of the page, and More editing help (last table row), for instance. —Gennaro Prota•Talk 06:02, 4 December 2006 (UTC)
    Done, it was redundant to the arrow/link back to help:contents too. (Anyone can edit it, it's not locked ;) --Quiddity 06:42, 4 December 2006 (UTC)
  • Support. Much more readable and accessible to newbies. Lincher 14:37, 4 December 2006 (UTC)
  • Absolute Support, the "Cheatsheet" is more newb friendly. It's much easier to glance at that the edit help, and I think it will help Wikipedia.++aviper2k7++ 01:35, 6 December 2006 (UTC)
  • Another Conditional Support: The cheatsheet is much better for syntax, but I think the "Editing basics" bullet points at Help:Editing should be somewhere on whatever page "Editing help" links to. I wouldn't want new users to miss these points, as they are very important. Could we summarize them on the Cheatsheet? Also, I think "Sign comments on talk pages" should be added to the Editing Basics list and the cheatsheet. -- Renesis (talk) 17:34, 6 December 2006 (UTC)
    Signing talkpage posts is already heavily reminded at the top's of those pages via MediaWiki:Talkpagetext and at the bottom via MediaWiki:Edittools. I won't revert your addition at Cheatsheet, but I don't think it's necessary.
    Adding the "Editing basics" bullet points would greatly increase the size of the page, and I think its brevity is one of its strong points. I'd suggest that the mentions elsewhere (intro/tutorial/help:editing/How to edit a page/etc) are sufficient; We want to get people started editing, more than we need them to start off perfectly. (imho, and all that :) -Quiddity 21:11, 6 December 2006 (UTC)
    Wow, I had never noticed the MediaWiki:Talkpagetext template text. Anyway, I still do think it is useful on the cheatsheet. As for the bullet points... I don't mean we need to move the entire text to the cheatsheet but listing a few of those points would be helpful, I think. -- Renesis (talk) 22:16, 6 December 2006 (UTC)
    It's new, in the last few weeks - top of talkpages. As for the Cheatsheet - it's a normal wikipage, edit at will; discuss if drastic or reverted. :) --Quiddity 01:16, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

Is that enough support (with zero objections)? I can announce it at WP:CBB if not; otherwise, I'll put the editprotected tag/request at MediaWiki:Edithelppage tomorrow. -Quiddity 03:32, 13 December 2006 (UTC)

  • Support; this would reduce confusion for new users (who are most in need of the link). --ais523 14:23, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

I went ahead and made the change. the wub "?!" 21:13, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

Etymology and disambiguation

I wish to propose Etymology at the top of the page of disambiguation of each word, or such so you can know the very first version and root of the word. As it is now, it is sometimes very difficult to find the root and first meaning of the word. /Minoya 08:33, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

  • That's properly addressed at our dictionary, Wiktionary. Encyclopedias generally do not address lexicographical matters or etymology -- both of which are core concerns of dictionaries. Geogre 11:32, 14 December 2006 (UTC)
    • Depends on the topic doesn't it? I've recently become interested in the origins of the term 'Ripper', which seems to have become the UK vernacular for a serial killer of prostitutes, presumably from Jack the Ripper. However it would be interesting to know where Jack the Ripper got the name from - does it refer to his mutilation of the women (ripping their faces), or because its similar to the term rape, or what?
    • Anyway, my point is that the term Ripper is unlikley to have (or deserve?) a page on wiktionary, so having the etymology of the term on the Jack the Ripper, or Ripper disambiguation page would be approprite in this case. Similaly for the etymology of names of animals, etc. --Neo 11:44, 14 December 2006 (UTC)
  • I think you'll find that Ripper does have a page on Wiktionary. At any rate, it comes from the fact that he ripped the women's bodies open. He did not merely slash faces. The current use is, in fact, just an analogy for "man who kills prostitutes." "Rip" has an origin in Old English for our purposes, but, if you want to go back farther, you'd go to Old West Germanic, then to a Sanskrit, then to the fabled proto-Indo-European, but it, like "reap/rape" comes from a root meaning "to seize," unless it comes from /ras/ roots, when it would mean "rough/abrasive/abrade." It's still a lexical matter, though. Geogre 12:31, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

printer freindly/ spellcheck on serch

it really queit simple we need to have printer freindly versions and spell check on serch. many i've tryed to print out a artical and goten a usless page of ink. then i have trouble find articals i need because i have trouble spelling. Comeback2009 00:18, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

For a printable version of an article, click 'Printable version' in the toolbox on the left hand side. Spell check in search is disabled for performance reasons, use Google Sitesearch instead. Tra (Talk) 00:30, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

anti-lowercase blasting

Ok, something has really nagged me. First people fixed the lowercase problem, but now we can't change "Asdfexamplething" to "asdfexamplething". However, an easy way to do this would be to create an admin bot that would search for the {{lowercase}} tag, then turn "Asdfexamplething" to "thisisapageusedbyanadminbot" to "asdfexamplething". It should then delete "Asdfexamplething" and "thisisapageusedbyanadminbot". Anyone like my suggestion? -Slash- 04:58, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

  • You can make bot requests at WP:BOT. However, note that the community tends to disapprove of bots with admin rights. (Radiant) 17:23, 11 December 2006 (UTC)
  • I don't see the use of this. The template is working fine. And it doesn't matter what you type. Why bother? - Mgm|(talk) 13:38, 14 December 2006 (UTC)
Besides, it won't work. It is used on Wiktionary, but we still need the template as Wikipedia still puts in capital letters. Also, there'd be no point in deleting the old entry after moving. We need redirects to remain so outside links don't die. - Mgm|(talk) 13:39, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

equation writer

The way that wikipedia writes equations is absurd. Example:


— Preceding unsigned comment added by Invisible site (talkcontribs) 03:10, 7 December 2006

You must be looking for Help:Displaying a formula. In any case, that example has more braces than it needs, some of which are an indication that it's being typeset incorrectly to begin with. It should be:
Z_{vib} = \prod_j \sum_i e^{-E_{j,i}/kT}
which produces:
See how much less absurd that is? Melchoir 05:30, 7 December 2006 (UTC)
For comparison, the originally posted math typesets like this:
Honestly, I understand neither Invisible site's question, nor Melchoirs reply. Of course, removing the extra braces improves the readability of the source, and changing "\frac" into "/" may (or may not) be a good idea here.--Niels Ø 10:55, 7 December 2006 (UTC)
It is based on TeX, which is used by scientists (in particular mathematicians) to write documents and books (often using LaTeX). S Sepp 16:50, 7 December 2006 (UTC)
My point is that the braces are a helpful feature: they alert you when you're attempting to nest too many styles. It isn't a good idea to have a variable with multiple subscripts within a fraction within an exponential, and that's independent of the language used to generate it. TeX forces the issue by requiring you to type out all the code. Melchoir 22:43, 8 December 2006 (UTC)
Sorry, I though Invisible was commenting on the apperance of formulae at the article page; I now realise (s)he referred to their appearance at the edit page (i.e. to the source). The relevant help page for Invisible is WP:FORMULA.--Niels Ø 19:25, 7 December 2006 (UTC)
Ok, so sometimes people will use a bit too many braces. That's not a tragedy. But having equations written using TeX is a must: most editors of equations are familiar with TeX as S Sepp just pointed out. Sure it's a bit complicated but then again, typesetting equations properly requires some amount of sophistication. Pascal.Tesson 19:28, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

LaTeX can be ugly, but it's at least human writable -- count your lucky stars we don't use MathML... — Matt Crypto 11:02, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

offensive material

every now and then ther's a fuss about material that is regarded as offensive by some.Why not implement in the preferences for the viewer a filter/filters that filters out what he might regard as offensive.I presumed that the images would have an exstra template to categorize them.That whay if you live in saoudy arabia or in a naturist island,you can be confortable in reading wikipedia--Zigzag8 01:03, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

(Naturists are easily offended?!) Slippery slope - We can't distinguish zealotry from conservatism, and shouldn't be required to. See Wikipedia:Content disclaimer. Also, stopping the close-minded folks from seeing other people's perspectives doesn't help the spread of knowledge... -Quiddity 01:29, 7 December 2006 (UTC)
It's not like you'll find a random image of a dick in the middle of the Teletubbies article. (Oh wait, I guess that does happen...) The bottom line is: if you're offended by sexually explicit content, the best filter is yourself. Just stop typing penis, clitoris, history of erotic depictions, naturist or Cleveland steamer as search terms. That way, the easily-offended can stop being offended while the rest of us write a thorough encyclopedia with relevant images to support the content. Pascal.Tesson 05:40, 7 December 2006 (UTC)
  • Avoiding and battling the use of potentially offensive images on irrelevant pages (aka vandalism) goes a long way. For everything else, people can get their own blocking software without getting us a whole lot of extra work. - Mgm|(talk) 13:32, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

I guess it was inevitable but school filters blocked wikipedia (a while ago actually), its not that they think its unreliable its just that they know that there is offensive content and they can't block those single pages,so they must block the site. This is a bit of a problem for schoolchildren because the school decides what software filters are used, I believe that Wikipedia should implement a password based filter option that the school can control, therefore, eliminating the need to block it -Charlie 34

Change of autoconfirmed suffrage from 4 days to 100 edits

Although semi-protection is an effective deterrent for all but the most determined vandals, the current suffrage of 4 days allows determined vandals to create sock farms.

I propose that the suffrage be changed from 4 days to 100 edits.

With the change in suffrage, a sock puppet would have to make 100 edits without getting blocked, before they can vandalise a semi-protected article. This should deter even the most determined vandals. If they make 100 edits that are beneficial to the encyclopedia, before making several vandal edits and getting blocked, Wikipedia will have a net improvement. Of course, sock puppets could make many edits in user space and sandboxes, and this is something RC patrollers will have to be wary of.

Do note that 100 is an arbitrary number.

--J.L.W.S. The Special One 15:29, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

I disagree. Given a decent broadband connection I can make 100 edits in under an hour (probably much faster if I just sat there and reverted vandalism using pop-ups). It's a lot faster to make 100 edits than wait 4 days. --tjstrf talk 19:15, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
Consider the time taken to create a sock puppet, and the time taken to make 100 edits. This proposal will increase the net effort needed to vandalise (very little effort is needed to spend five minutes creating ten socks, and four days later, using them to vandalise). In addition, consider the quality of their 100 edits. If these 100 edits are vandalism, they will be blocked before they can reach the 100-edit mark. If these 100 edits are beneficial (e.g. vandalism reverts, spelling corrections), they will compensate for the vandalism. Of course, RC patrollers will have to be wary of users who make many edits in their user space or in the sandbox, or use other methods to artificially inflate their edit count. --J.L.W.S. The Special One 15:07, 28 November 2006 (UTC)
Account creation is tracked in the user table, but number of edits is not. Hence calculating the age of an account is a simple (low impact) database operation, whereas calculating the number of edits currently requires a full query of all page histories. Given that autoconfirmed status is looked up before every edit, keeping the overhead low is a major reason for using age rather than number of edits. Dragons flight 19:27, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
That is a valid concern. Instead of constantly parsing contribution/page histories, perhaps there could be an editcount variable, which increases by 1 when a user makes an edit, and autoconfirmed status could be granted once the variable reaches 100. --J.L.W.S. The Special One 15:07, 28 November 2006 (UTC)
Look at it the other way around ... wouldn't it be better to multiply by two the autoconfirmed suffrage everytime one vandilizes a page. This could be done automatically, for example everytime that person has a vandal tag on his/her user talk page, hence, the established users have 0 days of suffrage and thus multiplying this value by two gives 0 again which means this could be implemented.
We could do it in another way, everytime one creates an account, he/she has to make an edit to, say, the mainspace, talkpagespace, userspace, userspace, wikipediaspace, wikipediatalkspace in order to be granted this status. This would also assure such users are participating in the general discussions and not just disrupting the system. Lincher 21:39, 28 November 2006 (UTC)
They could just write a script that would make and revert a single insignificant change to many articles until the limit is reached. No one would think twice. There are plenty of ways to circumvent this automatically. I'm not saying it's not a good idea - making things harder for vandals but not so much for legit contributors is good - but it's not foolproof. Deco 01:29, 29 November 2006 (UTC)
Heck, why not just change the suffrage period from 4 days to two weeks? or a month? there are always talk pages if new editors really want to edit semi-protected articles, and there is still AfC and Requested moves. I would support an edit count combined with a minimum time period. This covers both aspects. Zunaid©Please rate me at Editor Review! 07:55, 7 December 2006 (UTC)
I agree that an an edit count is too vulnreable to fraud to work. Only if combined with the existing 4-day time limit would it work. Also, I cannot supprt the suggestion of extending the time period without some study showing that it would have a significane amount of added beneficial effect. --EMS | Talk 17:43, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

Section for "Articles Linking To"

Has it already been proposed to automatically include in articles a section listing "Articles Linking To This Article"? It seems to me that it would automatically add a lot of information about a topic.

If this has already been discussed, I wasn't able to find it.

It already exists in the toolbox I think - the link: "What links here" Lethaniol 16:08, 11 December 2006 (UTC)
  • Indeed, that's what that button does. (Radiant) 17:21, 11 December 2006 (UTC)

Slidey Uppey Downey Idea

I think it would be a brilliant idea to have the navigation, search and toolbox things sliding up and down, like the 'overview' on this page: [4]. That would be handy on really long articles like United States of America. If someone could do that? Please ?? Jake95(Is it a good idea? Tell me!) 16:29, 10 December 2006 (UTC)

What would happen to all of the interwiki links. If it slides up and down as the page scrolls the bottom of the language links will not be visible unless you have a massive screen or there are only a few interwiki links. Why not just have a link at the bottom of each page (near to the Privacy Policy and About Wikipedia links) that links back the to top of the page. Chris_huhtalk 16:52, 10 December 2006 (UTC)
I agree - the box is too big to scroll up and down (would lose toobox and interwiki) - unless we put a scroll bar inside the sidebar. The idea of putting a go to top link at the bottom of every page is good whatever. Cheers Lethaniol 17:12, 10 December 2006 (UTC)
Whoa - what about having a (hide) option on each bit, like the Contents at the top. Or just automatically have each part hidden? I don't know. It's just an idea.

(I like the massive screen idea too. Mu-ha-ha-ha-ha. Bye, bye, any chance of paying off the mortagage ...) Jake95 17:22, 10 December 2006 (UTC)

You can get the links to move up and down by putting the following text in your monobook.css:
#column-one {position: fixed}
#p-personal {position: fixed; right:0}
#f-copyrightico {display:none}
body {background-attachment:fixed}
But it does have the associated problms mentioned above and additionally, the WMF link messes it up so it removes that as well. Tra (Talk) 17:24, 10 December 2006 (UTC)
Yuck, no offence to whoever wrote it. Also I have a very slow connection - and this makes it struggle. Not ideal solution Lethaniol 17:33, 10 December 2006 (UTC)
Your internet connection should have no affect on how the CSS script works. falsedef 21:17, 11 December 2006 (UTC)

Featured Pictures to Featured Media

There is a discussion going on here on if Featured Pictures should be changed to Featured Media. -Ravedave (help name my baby) 05:25, 11 December 2006 (UTC)

Citation for categories

Would it be good if categories could have suppporting citations? I'm imagining some that would look roughly like Category:foo[1]. JoshuaZ 21:59, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

It may be a good idea for certain controversial categories, although I think the software allows something like that. —Mets501 (talk) 22:25, 7 December 2006 (UTC)
Really? How would it do it? I was playing around with my sandbox earlier to try to get something like that and was unable to figure out a way to do it. JoshuaZ 03:41, 8 December 2006 (UTC)
  • I think you can do it with a CSS hack. I'm not so sure if it'd help, though; the cat list is plenty long already in many articles, and I'd estimate superscripted numbers are unlikely to be noticed. (Radiant) 16:49, 8 December 2006 (UTC)
Likely to be noticed wouldn't be as relevant as having a way to source cats which would make the controversial ones much less controversial. Also, controversial cats seem to be more common on articles with only a few categories. JoshuaZ 19:02, 10 December 2006 (UTC)

I suggest just commenting out the citation and putting it right after the category in the article's code. That should work... not optimal but I think it would look pretty ugly even if we could figure out how to put an inline citation after the categories in the displayed actual page. --W.marsh 19:07, 10 December 2006 (UTC)


People recently commented that this would make a decent guideline to remind people of the hazards of making personal details available on-line. Please copyedit and comment on its talk page. (Radiant) 12:57, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

That looks like one question that might be up to the lawyers at wikimedia. i kan reed 00:24, 11 December 2006 (UTC)

==Unsorted recent additions to my watchlist==" at the bottom!) - it will not affect the functionality, but may still be useful. Does it sound like a good idea?--Niels Ø 10:47, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

It's an interesting idea but I think there's already far too much data in the unstructured free wiki text format. Like this discussion for one. Once it's wikitext it can contain syntax errors, it can't be easily resorted based on time of most recent modification (a feature many people find helpful), and so on. Deco 11:43, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

Alternate idea

Instead of having a wikitext watchlist page, how about simply allowing users to filter their watchlist using either standard or custom tags. This could be accomplished by having an additional option on the "Added to watchlist" page that lets the user select a tag for the page in their watchlist. (This page would probably need to no longer redirect back to the watched article as it does now after a short timeout.) On the watchlist page, in addition to the "Namespace" filter there would be a second selectable criteria to select which tags to view. No interface for changing filter tags is needed—simply "unwatch" and then "watch" and set the new filter tag.

Now having proposed this (which I think is technically a much better proposal than an editable watchlist), I'm not sure I see the need for it. But if this type of functionality is desired, I think my proposal is a much better mechanism. —Doug Bell talk 22:26, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

I am not sure if you already know, so pardon me if you do, but your watchlist is easily editable at Special:Watchlist/edit. Prodego talk 22:30, 7 December 2006 (UTC)
Yes, that is simply how a user can edit what it on their watch list. The proposal here is for changes to how changes are viewed on the Special:Watchlist page. However, your point is good in that an addition to my above proposal would be to list the filter flags for each page in the watchlist on the Special:Watchlist/edit page. Perhaps even list them in the form of a selector widget so that the filter preferences can be changed directly from that page. —Doug Bell talk 22:38, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

A potential use for this

A watchlist document would be handy. Wikiprojects could really make a great deal of use out of that. So that someone who was part of a project(and considered themselves knowledgable about the subject) could watch for vandalism in all of the related pages.(especially helpful with new pags being added to a project, users wouldn't have to manually add everything related to a subject to their watchlist.) Otherwise unwatched topics might become very well watched indeed with this sort of structure. It sounds like a great idea to me. i kan reed 00:23, 11 December 2006 (UTC)

Make the page with a list of links to the pages that need watching, then to use it as a watchlist, people can come to the page and click Related changes. Tra (Talk) 00:29, 11 December 2006 (UTC)

Editable watchlist

Imagine your watchlist was an ordinary document called [[user:<user name>/watchlist]]. Whenever something is to be added to the watchlist, the system should append a line in this format:

[[<link to article or whatever>]], [[<link to associated talk page>]]

The "my whatchlist" button should simply show "Related changes" for your /watchlist page.

I think this would make it easier to manage your watchlist (especialy if it is long) - pruning, adding articles to watch that do not currently exist, etc. Also, you can organize the items under various headings, if you want to (remember to put a heading like

Questions and Answers Page

I would like to propose the idea of a new top tab - A Q&A tab. This page would allow people to ask common questions about the subject that could be answered by people that know the subject. This is a place where common misconceptions about a subject could be brought up that would be appropriate for the content page. By creating a seperate section it allows the talk page to focus on issues regarding the presentation of the main content. The Q/A page would rather be a compliment to the main content page, dealing with things like Urban Myths, misconceptions, etc. -- Themepark

What about expanding Wikipedia:Reference desk Wikipedia:Help desk to accomodate this? --User:Ceyockey (talk to me) 16:30, 9 December 2006 (UTC)
I think Themepark means that this tab would be present at every article, like how every article has a discussion page. I think a problem of this idea is that questions might often go unanswered for long. The reference desk works well for questions people have, and it seems to work well because question-answerers are concentrated there. S Sepp 18:33, 9 December 2006 (UTC)
Here's the page where I got the idea of seperating the Q/A from the content and discussion pages: [Talk - Particle Accelerators] - see Q/A. Sure some questions go unanswered for a long time, but that's no different then an article taking time to be expanded - we see those all the time. This isn't about getting quick answers, but more about helping explain common questions about a subject. Clearly some of that can make it's way into the main article. -- Themepark
This could be accomplished by transclusion of a topical subpage located within the Reference Desk domain as a subpage. The subpage might be something like Wikipedia:Reference desk/Science/Particle accelerator or Wikipedia:Reference_desk/Science/Physics/Particle accelerator. --User:Ceyockey (talk to me) 15:16, 10 December 2006 (UTC)

A Graphic Lab to improve Images

A Graphic Lab have Started on Wikipedia-en. You can help by reading its Main page, and helping to its improvement.
The Graphic Lab need some active users and graphists to start and improve it, raise graphic request,and make images improvement.
To request graphic improvement, please see the newly open Graphic Lab/Images to improve (copied from Deutsch and Français).
Please, talk about this to other users who can be interesting by graphism, requesting images improvement or creation, and people interesting by photographs. Yug (talk) 10:53, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

  • At first blush, this seems like a really good addition. --User:Ceyockey (talk to me) 16:31, 9 December 2006 (UTC)
I agree that this is a very useful and needed project, but it should definitely be on Commons. It would be best to have people from all the Wikimedia sites working on the same pool of improvement requests, and since most images are language independent, it's possible. Commons as a multilingual image repository is made for this. --Para 18:39, 9 December 2006 (UTC)
It is first need to make request. From now, when you see an improvable image : keep the name and submit it to the Wikipedia:Graphic Lab/Images to improve Yug (talk) 23:39, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

Dealing with "edit creep"

I'm sure I'll get crushed by tons of comments about how this is a horrible idea, but why not add a feature to the watchlist which allows those watching a particular article to rate each edit with a + (this edit is the best yet) or - (this edit is not the best yet). Only one article could be selected as the "best yet" at a time. A total could be calculated and this number could be visible in the edit history to everyone, allowing for easier location a good edits after vandalism streaks.

An alternative (and probably more realistic) measure could be to notify the user after they click the Save page button on a revert of any significant gaps in content from previous versions. For example: Vandal A comes along and removes a paragraph from the page. The removal goes unnoticed and Vandal B comes along and blanks the whole page. This is noticed and the page is reverted to Vandal A's version. The user doing the revert could have his version automatically compared with the last couple older versions and warned if something is still missing (exactly like an edit conflict notice). Noclip 22:06, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

MOS for tutorials, primers etc

In some articles, particularly science articles, the material is so dense that it is a bit difficult for nonspecialists to approach the article. One article where this debate has resurfaced a few times is evolution. The article's introduction is becoming inaccessible. Of course, one could simplify it, but a lot of editors are afraid of losing the technical precision if they do that. It has been suggested to link to Simple Wikipedia might be useful as a primer or starting place. Some have suggested an evolution (basic) page, possibly with a link, or a blue box with basic information in it. However, it is not clear what style a link to a simpler version should be. It would be nice to have a uniform link to basic articles as part of an MOS. For example, at the top of the article, a note, possibly in another color just below the disambiguation links to a basic version of the article or a tutorial version of the article. Comments?--Filll 20:41, 6 December 2006 (UTC)

Not sure what the best solution here would be, but creating evolution (basic) would probably be a violation of Wikipedia:Content forking. Koweja 21:50, 6 December 2006 (UTC)
I think the MOS page you want is Wikipedia:Lead section. -- nae'blis 23:49, 6 December 2006 (UTC)
Right now it's at Introduction to evolution. I think the introduction should be clear and simple and not too scientific, and explain in more jargon-detail later on in the article. Either way one article I think is preferable. Fagstein 05:17, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

Boilerplate Text

Nobody's been posting on the talk page for it, and I'm wondering why. I mean, I don't think they're obsolete (or are they and I just don't know?), so is it just a subject that nobody wants to talk about? P.S.: I left a similar message on the boilerplate text talk page. Nineteenninetyfour 22:02, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

Deletion may support vandalism

This is copied from my comment on the pump policy page:

I have an article on my watch list with an incorrect name and is now deleted. It appears a vandal had edited the article and then moved it to a nonsensical name -- therefore the article was probably speedily deleted without proper checking. I don't know know what the page was originally about, since the history is now gone, and my watchlist is too large to remember every article individually. This is a loophole in the system, and allows vandals to get legitimate articles deleted without editors of those articles noticing until it's too late (deleted articles don't appear on my watchlist changes, so I never noticed the deletion).

We need a way to keep track of what articles are being deleted on our watch lists, and edits that we have made on deleted articles. The discussion on the policy page also details how vandals' histories of creating articles are deleted from view, preventing accurate targeting of such users. There needs to be more accountability for speedy deletion.falsedef 13:19, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

I agree that it would be nice to have deletions, etc. appear on the watchlist. This is an amazing loophole, one in which a vandal can actually get an article deleted by turning an unwitting admin into his accomplice. --Chris Griswold () 16:14, 7 December 2006 (UTC)
No loophole here. Admins are supposed to look at both the history and What links here before deleting. Looking at either would reveal this simple deceit. Rmhermen 21:03, 7 December 2006 (UTC)
They ideally should. Sometimes admins aren't careful enough. See Confused deputy problem for a more general description of this elevation-of-privilege phenomenon. Deco 21:39, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

Popular culture and law reference desks

It seems to me that popular culture questions are being split among WP:RD/H, WP:RD/M and, in the case of CVG, WP:RD/C. Although I think they belong on the humanities desk under the current system, the people who answer popular culture questions don't seem to me to be the same ones knowledgeable about history, geography, philosophy, anthropology, sociology, psychology or artistic or literary classics. Therefore, I suggest that we create Wikipedia:Reference desk/Popular culture, so that (a) it's clear where these questions go, and (b) they can be answered by "specialists" without bothering the humanitists (is that the right word?) or computer scientists.

I further suggest Wikipedia:Reference desk/Law, just because law is a very distinct topic from the other humanities and is more specialized. I think law experts will be more likely to participate in the reference desk if they don't have to wade through the history and arts questions all the time. NeonMerlin 03:10, 6 December 2006 (UTC)

However, it would encourage people to ask questions about Law (not a bad thing), law experts to answer questions (not nessasarily a bad thing), and people to follow the advice (a bad thing). We're not supposed to give out legal advice, it's one of Wikipedia's main disclaimers. That's probably the reason we don't have a medicine/health desk, even though a lot of questions on the science desk are questions to do with health/medicine/people. --Yu-Tian Fang 13:06, 6 December 2006 (UTC)
Most of the law questions that I've seen seem to be questions of curiosity or about things like legal history, not people asking for advice to help themselves (which is what they'd go to a lawyer for). Similarly, when they ask about medicine, it seems usually to be something to be curious about, not concerned about. Thus, I would say people are already using their doctors and lawyers when they should, and as long as we put extra disclaimers on the law desk, I think we'll be fine. (I'd also be in favour of a health desk, but let's not do too much at once.) Besides, there is plenty of health advice that people don't go to doctors on, like how to get in shape, how to lose weight and what over-the-counter pain-killer works best. NeonMerlin 13:41, 6 December 2006 (UTC)
I would work a pop culture ref desk.--Chris Griswold () 19:33, 6 December 2006 (UTC)
I agree that the Law Desk is probably not a good idea, but the Pop Culture desk sounds like a good one to me. I could finally find out what this Naruto thing is without having to read all the articles. ;)Dina 14:39, 8 December 2006 (UTC)

Anti-vandalism idea: "viewed" flag for all diffs

This has been entered as Bugzilla:8108. Vote for it if you like it.

When you look at watchlists, recent changes, or contrib lists, there are indicators like "minor" "new" and "top". There should also be an indicator for "unviewed". If a particular diff has been viewed by someone besides the person who made that diff's change, the "unviewed" flag will be taken off.

Currently we tend to focus on edits by anons or redlink user names in our watchlists when checking for vandalism, but a lot get missed that way, and the vandalisms (or erroneous additions) stick around unnoticed for days. This way we can change our focus to diffs that haven't been viewed by anyone else yet, making every diff much more likely to be viewed by at least one real, well-intentioned person.

We could expand the idea a little to make it more robust, so that the "unviewed" flag only gets turned off once viewed by two or three different "editors in good standing" (same people who can move articles or edit semi-protected articles), for instance, to prevent hiding of vandalism, though I think even the basic "viewed by one other person" flag would be a tremendous addition.

The flag should also be shown in article histories. Anything that shows a list of diffs.

This is like the perennial proposal for a "this page is watched by x editors", but without the problems (that I can see). It would help in vetting of all edits, too, not just vandalism.

What do you think? — Omegatron 22:09, 30 November 2006 (UTC)

  • We tried it. It didn't work. amount of stuff not being viewed or people beinf confused and the like.Geni 23:31, 30 November 2006 (UTC)
  • When? Why didn't it work? I've never heard of it being done before. — Omegatron 00:10, 1 December 2006 (UTC)
Late June 2005 I think.Geni 00:31, 1 December 2006 (UTC)
I was here in late June 2005, and I don't remember anything like this happening. Can you provide any documentation that it did? — Omegatron 01:25, 1 December 2006 (UTC)
I think what you're looking for is meta:Help:Patrolled edit, the feature was added in MediaWiki 1.4 and discussion on that talk page dates to April 2005. -- nae'blis 19:13, 1 December 2006 (UTC)
That's not the same thing. That extension requires users to specifically say "I have approved this edit". My proposal is for an extension that says "no one has viewed this diff at all yet". It would prevent edits like this from surviving for three hours before being reverted.
You can't say my proposal won't work just because the patroller extension didn't work. They're different things. — Omegatron 20:52, 5 December 2006 (UTC)
  • Isn't this a bit too easy to circumvent? The very person vandalizing would have just to click for the diff while using another account :-( —Gennaro Prota•Talk 00:18, 1 December 2006 (UTC)
So? Any anti-vandalism measure can be circumvented by a determined vandal, but very few of them are determined. They can currently "hide" their vandalism by making a good edit afterwards, for instance. This is even detailed online. But how often does this happen? Rarely. This would be beneficial for every type of edit, too, not just vandalism. — Omegatron 00:39, 1 December 2006 (UTC)
It's true most vandals don't have a good deal of knowledge of the wikipedia system of checks. The majority of them are not going to take drastic measures to circumvent reverts. I personally like the idea, but I find myself agreeing to most proposals here. Would love to hear some comments from some more experienced editors on this one. RichMac (Talk) 03:12, 1 December 2006 (UTC)
Oh, as long as it helps I'm all for it, of course (just to clarify; I was under the impression that Omega got me wrong :-)). —Gennaro Prota•Talk 23:02, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

Another idea: "good user" flag

I know this idea in the crude form I'm going to present here will probably be put through the bit shredder, but what about putting the bits on the users. After 100 trouble-free edits, the bit is set on the user. It can be cleared by administrators for vandalism, blocks, bans, etc. Having the bit set would indicate a user without a history (or recent history as people do reform) of vandalism, spamming, edit warring or inappropiate posts that require review. This would allow the RC patrol to be much more focused on problem users. Again, address the idea, not my clumsy description of the mechanism. —Doug Bell talk 23:39, 30 November 2006 (UTC)

Assume good faith implies the opposite. All users are good users until proven otherwise. "Setting the bit", in this case, would be the same thing as banning a particularly troublesome user. — Omegatron 00:10, 1 December 2006 (UTC)

Well I think you mistake the purpose of the bit. The purpose of not having it set is not to identify a bad user, but simply not a known good user. There is no assumption of bad faith in not having the bit set, having it set simply is used to indicate which user's contributions have a track record of not requiring any review or reverting. —Doug Bell talk 00:16, 1 December 2006 (UTC)

We already kind of have that. Only editors that have had accounts for a certain number of days can edit semi-protected articles, for instance. See Wikipedia:Semi-protection. — Omegatron 00:39, 1 December 2006 (UTC)

Again I think you miss the point (probably my fault for not explaining it better). The purpose of the bit would not be to give users any more or less freedom than they have now. It would simply be to increase the efficiency of RC patrol. Much the same as your proposal above. —Doug Bell talk 00:57, 1 December 2006 (UTC)

I think this is a fundamentally good idea, however I can't see it being implemented in wikipedia itself. Perhaps some of the anti-vandal tools could implement a similar concept.RichMac (Talk) 03:21, 1 December 2006 (UTC)
  • The MediaWiki software actually has this feature and the one above (page patrol and autoconfirmed). There is probably a good reason that they're disabled on enwiki; I believe this has to do with our sheer size, making the patrol and autoconfirm impractical. However, some Java-based vandalfighting tools have whitelists and such. (Radiant) 10:08, 1 December 2006 (UTC)
Would this proposal be effective if someone views the diffs using popups? I use popups to check Recent Changes, but I don't actually view the diff page.--Ed ¿Cómo estás? 17:02, 1 December 2006 (UTC)

The MediaWiki software actually has this feature and the one above (page patrol and autoconfirmed).

The Patroller extension (which I now see was written by Rob Church. No wonder he doesn't like my proposal...) is fundamentally different, in that it requires action on the behalf of the editor to say "I have endorsed this edit". Mine is meant more to say "This edit hasn't been viewed or endorsed by anyone. Put it at the top of your list." The Patroller extension was apparently turned on for a while, but later turned off. This might be what Geni is talking about.
Anon said it well: "Any validation approach which needs extra work by the users won't bring a significant improvement compared to simply trusting people to improve bad articles through editing."
On a wiki, in the vast majority of cases, there's no difference between "viewing" and "reviewing" and edit.
People "review" diffs by viewing them, and then deciding whether to leave them as they are (good review) or counteract them (bad review). Anything that requires additional active effort to say the same thing won't be used enough to make a difference.

Would this proposal be effective if someone views the diffs using popups?

Any viewing of the diff page, through pop-ups or otherwise, should mark the diff as "viewed". — Omegatron 18:02, 1 December 2006 (UTC)

Or this one that lasted two days. — Omegatron 16:41, 7 December 2006 (UTC)


I would like to see our cleaning department revived. I think that the backlog on some of the maintenance categories is enough for this to be useful again. Shin'ou's TTV (Futaba|Masago|Kotobuki) 00:29, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

  • While that is an excellent idea, how would you propose to revive them? (Radiant) 12:32, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

"Most edited articles this month/this day

Being a statistics freak I think a list like that would be pretty interesting. Downsides? --Winterus 16:15, 6 December 2006 (UTC)

Downside is people making a lot of crap edits just to get the count up.Koweja 16:34, 6 December 2006 (UTC)
Hardly. It's not like the list would be on the front page, it's basically just a minor modification of --Winterus 17:12, 6 December 2006 (UTC)

Random link suggestion

As there are "a large number" of articles that have some sort of tag on them (of whatever kind) a "Random article needing updating" link on the navigation bar. This might get some more articles tidied up/developed (and leave the Random article to cover all articles, "presently considered reasonable" and otherwise. Jackiespeel 22:59, 5 December 2006 (UTC)

Question Re:McDonald's

I don't know how to use this site so I am just wondering ?? I was looking for a list of Places where McDonalds is and the differences in the menu of the Big MAc from one country to the next.. I know in New Zealand they add a slice of Beetroot to the Big MAc.. In India , its different.

I was just having a hard time finding it?? Can you help me?? My email is vikisnow(at)yahoo(dot)com.


PS. They have 120?? countries and I'm sure that many differences...

Checked the article McDonald's yet? --tjstrf talk 22:30, 5 December 2006 (UTC)
See also: Big Mac index. -- BrianSmithson 01:35, 6 December 2006 (UTC)
And also, WP:TRIV. (Radiant) 12:35, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

Discussion on whether to place a Featured Article count on the main page

Please see the discusion that is ongoing at Main page talk Main page talk.

The gist of it is, in the light of recent article count milestones, comments by Jimbo to focus on quality over quantity, discussion on Wikipedia Weekly, etc., that we should place a count of how many FAs we have on the main page to compliment (rather than replace) the existing total article counter. The current suggestions are to either place it alongside the total-article counter or to place it inside the FA box - replacing "all FAs" with "all xxxx FAs".

Please make your views heard. Witty lama 01:39, 6 December 2006 (UTC)

Not a bad idea. Perhaps also good article count could be listed too? This could inspire people to raise these counts. I also thought that the "Randomizer" should also include the option to provide a Random "featured" or Random "good" article as well. It would be nice if I could get a Random article to read that others thought was "high quality" and not just random cruft. There could be 2-3 options like "Random Article"; "Random Good Article"; and "Random Featured Article". --Jayron32 02:52, 6 December 2006 (UTC)
I kinda think no, because a) you need to then explain what "featured" and "good" articles are—it's not like a generally understood term; b) when compared to the total number of articles here it kinda points out a negative more than strength. —Doug Bell talk 02:58, 6 December 2006 (UTC)
In response to your points Doug, 1) It's a wiki! People can simply click on the link to find out what FA means, and besides, the most prominent thing on the main page is the "todays featured article", so there is already significant FA presence. 2) Isn't that an argument to promote the FA project rather than to hide it away? Witty lama 11:26, 6 December 2006 (UTC)
Point of pedantry. Witty, you say: "It's a wiki! People can simply click on the link..." - this misses the point. The defining aspect of a wiki is not that you can click on a link (you can do that on any old webpage), but that anyone can edit the site. I agree that people can simply click on the link, but please understand what you are saying when you exclaim "It's a wiki!". Carcharoth 12:30, 6 December 2006 (UTC)
I think the featured article count is fine where it is, and where it belongs, which is on the featured article page. The definition of a featured article: "The featured articles are what Wikipedia editors believe are the best articles in Wikipedia." is rather subjective—it imparts little useful information for judging what it mean that there are 1185 of them. There isn't any independent notable organization confering featured article status. I'm sure other may differ, but putting the feature article count on the main page is something meaningful only to people that spend a lot of time here. I don't see where it has any relevance or meaning to the greater population of people that visit Wikipedia to find stuff out, and I think putting the count on the main page just adds confusion. I'm sure others will differ with this opinion, but I just don't see the point in it. It doesn't meet WP:V. —Doug Bell talk 12:12, 6 December 2006 (UTC)

Possibly FA count, but preferably not. This has been discussed before when it was debated whether to keep the article count on the front page at all!! My preference at the time was to not have an article count, as that is the best way to de-emphasise quantity, as opposed to quality. And most definitely not a Good Article count - last time I checked, these were still of rather lower standard than Featured Articles, though GAs do seem to be improving. Carcharoth 12:30, 6 December 2006 (UTC)

Ah, here we go. It all got archived in one place for clarity and ease of referring back to it. Please see Talk:Main Page/Archive 79. Prepare for a long read... That should tell you that changing the article count could stir up a hornet's nest. :-) Carcharoth 12:36, 6 December 2006 (UTC)

Ignore that. I went to the discussion at Talk:Main Page and people there, including the OP of this thread, were already aware of Archive 79, and the proposed "FA-count inside the FA-box" is a brilliant idea. Carcharoth 12:42, 6 December 2006 (UTC)
    • ^ ref