Wikipedia talk:Help desk/Archive 10

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Archive 9 Archive 10 Archive 11



I suggest, maybe, we archive things just a little bit more often. I'm not quite sure of the remit of Scsbot (talk · contribs) - which seems to do the archiving; but, do people generally agree that it ought to be a little bit shorter?  Chzz  ►  01:04, 8 August 2011 (UTC)

The latest discussion was in 2008 at Wikipedia talk:Help desk/Archive 6#Archiving of the Help Desk. I like the current system: 3 days are displayed right after archiving, and then it grows to 4 before the next archiving. As I said in 2008: "I think displaying 48 hours right after archiving is too little." Scsbot is run manually and sometimes an archiving is delayed. Scsbot would normally remove August 4 from display around this time. PrimeHunter (talk) 01:50, 8 August 2011 (UTC)
I also don't think this is necessary. In my opinion, the current average length of the page is ok. It also leaves room to add to some questions a bit later on and the person asking a question here might not always check back for an answer immediately, especially if the answer is delayed. Additionally I don't believe many people asking question here would look into the archives for an answer to their question. Toshio Yamaguchi (talk) 07:23, 8 August 2011 (UTC)
I actually wonder how many people ever look back and see answers. So many times, we say e.g. "which article did you mean?" and never get any further response.  Chzz  ►  20:19, 15 August 2011 (UTC)
I wish, and wonder if it could be created, there was a template you could post directly behind the signature which would cause a bot to leave a talkback message on the questioners talk page. Are there any technical geniuses out there who can create {{talkbackbot}} and code a bot to do it. Ryan Vesey Review me! 20:30, 15 August 2011 (UTC)
I (almost) always leave some kind of message on the user talk page, when I respond to a request that isn't trivial; still, in many cases, they never edit again.  Chzz  ►  01:24, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
If this is technically possible, it sounds like a very good idea to me and should perhaps be brought reinstated at WP:BOTREQ. I am not too much into the technical aspects of Wikipedia however and thus cannot comment on this ideas feasibility, but if it were possible, I would support such a bot. Toshio Yamaguchi (talk) 20:48, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
It is technically possible, yes; a bot could monitor for responses in a section other than by the person creating it. I can envisage potential problems, including;
  • The bot would need to somehow record it had already issued a 'talkback' (recently) for a specific query; it could put a commented 'stamp' within its TB message, but the user might remove the tb message - in which case, it might keep repeating it. It's possible it could somehow remember who it had tb'd for a specific topic - there might, in that case, be problems when a section changed name.
  • The bot wouldn't know whether it was appropriate to issue a message when e.g. the only edit was to say "I removed your email address", or something of that kind
  • It might cause duplication if the person answering the message had also contacted the user
  • It could annoy some users - I know several more experienced folks who hate getting such messages. It could perhaps issue messages just to new-ish users? But then, it'd be hard for helpers to know if a tb would be auto-sent or not.
So - technically, yes, it could be done. Whether it should be done is another question - personally, I'm not sure; it'd need more discussion, and thought about potential problems.  Chzz  ►  16:45, 20 August 2011 (UTC)

Requests for feedback messages

Before the Help Desk is inundated by requests for feedback being reposted from WP:FEED, please can we reach a consensus that such reposts are necessary and desirable? Thanks. – ukexpat (talk) 18:18, 15 August 2011 (UTC)

Discussion very welcome! Apologies if my posting of those twelve from Aug 8 was excessive; it was bold. However, it might help resolve things, or at least provoke some discussion.
Almost every day, there are lots of requests from new users ignored on WP:FEED. There's 27 more unanswered from 9th *, 15 more on the 10th *, and so forth. Whereas, on helpdesk, users get good answers - usually within an hour.
I'm not quite sure why that is, other than helpdesk being higher-visibility - but I've tried begging people to look at FEED on HD before, a few times - and not much has changed. FEED is, really, failing. Maybe we should give up on it - and just forward it to helpdesk - what do others think?
There might be a bigger concern here, though; WP:AFC often suffers from massive backlogs too - so, is it that few editors want to provide help to people creating articles? Is it too much work? That does worry me because, soon, we plan to prevent new users from creating live articles (WP:ACTRIAL) which is going to generate a lot more of these types of request for help.
Again, apologies if my posting of those was considered inappropriate or excessive; I don't plan on flooding the HD with all the unanswered ones, right now, I assure you. But, I would like opinions on how to resolve the matter.  Chzz  ►  20:17, 15 August 2011 (UTC)
I don't know if this would be technically possible or even a good idea at all, but what about adding another tab here at the help desk where all these requests for feedback could go? This would help to centralize things and would be more likely to get the attention of those volunteering here. Toshio Yamaguchi (talk) 20:27, 15 August 2011 (UTC)
I notice that User:Sphilbrick has just protected the WP:FEED page - making pretty much useless for its intended purpose anyway... Yunshui (talk) 07:24, 24 August 2011 (UTC)
|Yunshui, please go to WP:FEED, click view source, and then you will read about how no one edits that page directly; all feedback request are made by editing the day's log page. The protection stops no one from adding new request for feedback.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 07:34, 24 August 2011 (UTC)
Whoops - yes, I just managed to work that out for myself. More coffee needed this morning, I think. Yunshui (talk) 07:45, 24 August 2011 (UTC)

Automatically move unanswered questions to the bottom of the help desk

Sometimes there are questions like WP:HD#Creating pages with preloaded content, which remain unanswered for some time or might even get archived without an answer or the answer is delayed and the person asking the question might not see it. Thus wouldn't it be helpful (and I guess this should be technically possible) to have a bot running on the help desk that automatically moves questions with no replies back to the bottom of the help desk (that means the same question gets reposted by a bot)? Toshio Yamaguchi (talk) 10:58, 6 September 2011 (UTC)

Without going into the merits or otherwise of this suggestion, from a purely practical point of view one would have to ensure that there was a limit on doing this repeatedly - otherwise the help desk would fill up with questions that are never going to be answered. AndyTheGrump (talk) 11:10, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
I don't understand this reply. Why should the help desk "fill up with questions that are never going to be answered"? If the question does not belong on the help desk, then there should be a pointer to the right place (thus question has received a reply). If the question is totally inappropriate (such as spam or personal attacks) it should be deleted. And from my experience, most questions do not remain unanswered for long anyway, so I apologize if I am missing something about your reply, but I simply don't see that this would happen. Toshio Yamaguchi (talk) 11:20, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
The problem isn't with 'most questions', but with the ones that are currently archived unanswered. Some are probably inappropriate, but some may seem perfectly reasonable but nevertheless never going to get an answer because nobody knows one. Incidentally, a bot is only going to be able to distinguish between questions that have been replied to and questions that haven't - and a reply may not be an answer. If there is a problem with the way the help desk works, I don't think that a bot is likely to be a solution. AndyTheGrump (talk) 11:38, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
I understand that a bot cannot determine whether a reply answers a question or not. If nobody at the help desk knows an answer for the question, it still should receive a pointer to a better place to bring up the question. Toshio Yamaguchi (talk) 11:48, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
Sounds like a lot of effort and potential for confusion for very little benefit. Including your example, I can only see three posts on the desk at the moment that have no replies at all (whether these replies are answers is, as pointed out above, subjective) - and one of those is a rant rather than a question. Gandalf61 (talk) 12:34, 6 September 2011 (UTC)

Overuse of {{Astray}}

The Astray template is for response to a post where, from something revealed in the question, there's a real indication the person thinks we are affiliated with the subject of an article they've seen, thinks we are the official site of the topic they read about or similar misunderstandings. Classic examples: 123456. I see a large number of questions (well more than half of Astray's uses) where there's no reason whatever to think this is the case and either a tailored message or one of the RD templates probably belongs ({{RD1}} {{RD2}} {{RD3}}). I think a good way to think about whether to use astray is to ask yourself whether it's possible from the person's question that they think they are at a general help forum. Any time the answer is yes, one of the RD templates or a tailored message is favored. I do not wish to point to any examples to single out anyone. I just was just hoping people would see this here and keep it in mind.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 16:44, 14 August 2011 (UTC)

I agree! Often a RD (or a link to an article) is the best response - albeit with a note saying "this page is for … however …" -- PhantomSteve.alt/talk\[alternative account of Phantomsteve] 17:11, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
Unfortunately, it's still being misused all the time. I have nominated for deletion. Please see Wikipedia:Templates for discussion/Log/2011 August 28#Template:Astray.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 03:03, 28 August 2011 (UTC)

Just a quick notice: the TfD was closed as Keep. Toshio Yamaguchi (talk) 19:17, 8 September 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedians looking for help

Would it be possible to add some kind of convenient link to CAT:HELP somewhere here at the help desk? This link would be intended for those answering these requests. Also I have watchlisted that category, but changes there do not show up and thus I often forget to check it. Also there are some active requests there, where some of the volunteers here might want to assist. Toshio Yamaguchi (talk) 20:48, 8 September 2011 (UTC)

Just an fyi, User:Ais523/catwatch.js is a fantastic script which causes new additions to cats to show up on your watchlist--Jac16888 Talk 21:07, 8 September 2011 (UTC)
Thanks. I was not aware of that script. Toshio Yamaguchi (talk) 21:22, 8 September 2011 (UTC)

Help desk template

At WP:HD#trigonometry I used Template:HD/dyoh, but somehow it does not indent correctly. Could someone more confident in coding templates take a look at this and perhaps fix it? Toshio Yamaguchi (talk) 01:28, 9 September 2011 (UTC)

Fixed. Goodvac (talk) 21:09, 9 September 2011 (UTC)


I have a picture of what is supposed to be the Tomb of the Bogd Khan in Ulaan Baatar, but I do not see an reference to it in your articles on Mongolia, Ulaaan Baatar or the Winter Palace. I would appreciate any info. I would send the picture if I new how.

[removed] — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:30, 14 September 2011 (UTC)

Removed email address. —Jeremy v^_^v Components:V S M 18:17, 14 September 2011 (UTC)
Hi, the article on this person can be found at Bogd Khan. You can contribute images via commons:Special:UploadWizard. Please make sure to read the information on that page before uploading. Thank you, Taketa (talk) 19:51, 15 September 2011 (UTC)

isaia suriel — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:21, 24 September 2011 (UTC)

Safe Families for Children

i AM SO SORRY - i PUSHED THE WRONG BUTTON.... Is there a way to delete Safe Families For Children - it's live on Wikipedia! . I still need editing etc on this. This was never suppose to Happen. Please Help!!!!!!! Tackies (talk) 20:36, 26 September 2011 (UTC)

Don't worry, it has already been nominated for speedy deletion. —Akrabbimtalk 20:40, 26 September 2011 (UTC)

Make Cat Help a subpage of the help desk

Is it possible to transform a category into a subpage of a page? If that were possible I would like to propose to make CAT:HELP a subpage of the help desk, thus locating it at Wikipedia:Help desk/Wikipedians looking for help and in addition to it being a category giving it the property of a page, so that changes to it will show up on your watchlist. I don't know if this would be technically possible but if it were, it would help to centralize things. Now earlier at this talk page I was pointed to a script (User:Ais523/catwatch.js) which lets changes to categories appear on your watchlist. However I think changes to that category should be visible to all help desk volunteers without the need to install any additional scripts first. This would help in centralizing help requests. Furthermore I assume (and somebody might correct me) that many volunteers do not have that script installed, so I guess this would increase the efficiency of our help processes.

I apologize if this proposal may be complete nonsense or technically impossible and some might argue that anyone who wants to help should simply just add that script but i simply think we should make things as easy for our volunteer helpers as possible, as this in the end will benefit those seeking help. And everything that removes a barrier from the communication between those seeking help and the helpers would be beneficial (and yes, installing the script might not be a difficult thing, but still one has to do it in the first place). Toshio Yamaguchi (talk) 12:56, 28 September 2011 (UTC)

Questions in Georgian

Now here's a funny thing. From the Help Desk page there is a Georgian interwiki that lands you here. According to Google translate, the dotted box at the bottom of that page is labelled in Georgian as "Click here to leave your question on the use of Wikipedia". All good so far. But if you click it, you are sent back to add a new section to this Help desk. So that's why we sometimes get questions in Georgian! -- John of Reading (talk) 16:23, 8 October 2011 (UTC)

Well spotted! I have posted to an active Georgian administrator who knows English at ka:მომხმარებლის განხილვა:Nodar Kherkheulidze (it seems they need a lot characters to say User talk in Georgian). PrimeHunter (talk) 23:58, 8 October 2011 (UTC)
Yes check.svg Done. Now it links to Georgian. See also this talk page for additional information. Cheers, --George Talk 05:43, 9 October 2011 (UTC)
Thanks! PrimeHunter (talk) 15:11, 9 October 2011 (UTC)


I replied to Wikipedia:Help desk/Archives/2011 October 6#Wikipedia Mobile Beta while it was still on the Help desk, but when I saved it reappeared in the archive. Toshio Yamaguchi (talk) 14:53, 9 October 2011 (UTC)

The "October 6" section currently visible at Wikipedia:Help desk is a transcluded copy of the archive page. I don't know why it is designed this way, but this is managed by Scsbot (talk · contribs) with edits like this one. -- John of Reading (talk) 15:08, 9 October 2011 (UTC)
Interesting. I didn't realize there exists an intermedia period of time where a section is located both at the help desk and in the archive. I haven't really looked at the edits of Scsbot very closely so far, but I wonder why it not simply moves a section to the archive and removes it from the help desk at merely the same time. Toshio Yamaguchi (talk) 15:14, 9 October 2011 (UTC)
Seems to be discussed here - before my time. There's a tradeoff between having the page too long, and removing the answers before they are seen. -- John of Reading (talk) 15:39, 9 October 2011 (UTC)

Black list of external links

What should one do if one tries to save what appears to be an innnocuous external link, and finds out it is on Wikipedia's blacklist? ACEOREVIVED (talk) 09:59, 12 October 2011 (UTC)

That depends, if it is a reliable source (which is unlikely if it's on the blacklist) or passes WP:EL and there are no alternative sources you could a) just not use/remove it or b) request the specific link be whitelisted at MediaWiki talk:Spam-whitelist. Яehevkor 10:12, 12 October 2011 (UTC)


Can someone add the shortcut WP:HD Answers to the template page? CTJF83 19:48, 28 October 2011 (UTC)

X mark.svg Not done Why is that at all useful? It's not even a shortcut, "Template:HD" is 11 characters while "WP:HD Answers" is 13. Anomie 20:01, 28 October 2011 (UTC)
Easier to remember?...well then delete it then. CTJF83 23:28, 28 October 2011 (UTC)

We need templates for directing questions to Refdesks

A significant proportion of posts here actually belong on the various Refdesks. Typing out a long sentence just to explain to the OP "this is not the right place for your question, please post it to Refdesk/xxx." is a PITA (or wrist). We could really use a set of templates such as {{Refdsci}}, {{Refdmis}} etc to do the necessary explaining. Roger (talk) 08:37, 15 November 2011 (UTC)

We do actually. :) Check out WP:HDT. -- Obsidin Soul 08:42, 15 November 2011 (UTC)
Thanks! Roger (talk) 08:50, 15 November 2011 (UTC)

Remove rambling complaint

I just removed a long rambling complaint about a user (likely a vandal) complaining about being banned from some store for shoplifting. Please revert if there is a need to keep the complaint on the help desk. -- kainaw 21:14, 16 November 2011 (UTC)

I don't think there is a need to revert your action (other than that it will confuse an already confused user), but for future reference, we have templates to deal with inappropriate and off-topic messages. I can't see how the message you reverted qualifies as 'likely vandalism' either. CharlieEchoTango (talk) 21:18, 16 November 2011 (UTC)
It is written in the txt language of a teenager, not an old woman. Also, it posts a phone number and asks anonymous strangers to call it night or day. It is less likely that this is a real ordeal and more likely that this is a prank by some teenager to try and annoy someone with a lot phone calls. -- kainaw 18:31, 17 November 2011 (UTC)
I'd say it was correct to remove it. If for some reason it was a serious cry for help I'm sure they'll try to follow up, but until then, ignore it. Яehevkor 18:52, 17 November 2011 (UTC)

Connecting character name with actor.....

Moved to Wikipedia:Help desk#Connecting character name with actor/actress to also make list at bottom of article & to link actor actress to other accomplishments in their life. Яehevkor 12:34, 26 November 2011 (UTC)

can a picure be uploaded if?

If a website has a picture of a singer, can the picture be used on wikipedia if it says on that website that we csn't download any portion of it without permission — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:33, 29 November 2011 (UTC)

No -- John of Reading (talk) 08:50, 29 November 2011 (UTC)

Strange appearance of documentation for help desk templates

The transcluded table at Template:HD containing the markup to substitute and showing the result of the substitution looks strange for me. It goes off the right side of my screen and I think this was not the case in the past. Any way this can be fixed? Toshio Yamaguchi (talk) 14:21, 12 December 2011 (UTC)

Fixed {{HD/not-saved}} included an overly large image. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 14:39, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
Actually it's still the same for me. I cleared my cache and purged the page to no effect. The table somehow does not adjust its size with regards to my browser window. For example, when I go to the page for Template:Sony Corp, when I drag the right side of my browser window, the template will automatically adjust its size relative to the browser window. This is not the case with this table for some reason. Toshio Yamaguchi (talk) 14:55, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
I set the image to 800px, so dragging the browser narrower than that might be the issue. I am working on replacing the image with markup. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 12:56, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
Try it now. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 15:22, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
Much better. Thanks. Now I no longer need to scroll to the right when I want to copy the markup. Toshio Yamaguchi (talk) 15:51, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
I created {{EditOptions}} to replace the image. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 13:54, 17 December 2011 (UTC)

'Please don't use all caps' template?

Do we have a template that asks people to not post in all caps? RJFJR (talk) 15:00, 12 December 2011 (UTC)

You could start it at template:HD/shout. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 12:54, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
I wrote a draft at template:HD/shout. How does it look? (I didn't put an icon in front of it because I couldn't think of an appropriate one.) RJFJR (talk) 16:19, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
Add: If you must shout, use {{caps}}. --GraemeL (talk) 16:24, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
I can't think of a way to add that without making the message very complicated, more complicated than I would like for a simple 'don't use all caps' message. Do you think this addition is that important? RJFJR (talk) 14:15, 16 December 2011 (UTC)
I think it looks fine just as it is. Hohenloh + 17:07, 17 December 2011 (UTC)

Contact all users in a category

Is there a way to quickly/automatically contact all the users that are in a certain category (e.g. Category:Wikipedians by alma mater: Yale University)? Either by email or leaving a message on their talk page? bamse (talk) 06:59, 18 December 2011 (UTC)

Did you mean to post on the actual help desk? This is its talk page. But in any case, AutoWikiBrowser would probably do the trick. There is no on-wiki method to mass-post or mass-email, thankfully. CharlieEchoTango (contact) 07:07, 18 December 2011 (UTC)
Thanks. Yes it was meant for the actual help desk. Will check out AWB which I only used for improving articles so far. bamse (talk) 07:56, 18 December 2011 (UTC)
I went with the manual method. Didn't figure out how to edit the talk page of users with AWB. bamse (talk) 11:46, 18 December 2011 (UTC)

Template list

Is Template:HD the documentation for list of templates useful for replying to help desk questions? It doesn't have {{astray}} listed. RJFJR (talk) 15:53, 19 December 2011 (UTC)

There is a second template listing other HD templates, see {{Help desk templates}}. – ukexpat (talk) 16:05, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
I added {{Help desk templates}} to the {{HD}} documentation See also. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 16:43, 19 December 2011 (UTC)


the article Arniquet was edited by user: to include in german the words amounting to currently many animals die of diarreah, please ensure that action is taken against the vandal many thanks, Kyle25157 (talk) 11:29, 20 December 2011 (UTC)

Arniquet (edit | talk | history | protect | delete | links | watch | logs | views)
Yes check.svg Done Article repaired; no point warning the IP since the edit was months ago. -- John of Reading (talk) 12:01, 20 December 2011 (UTC)

time trevel

<moved to front page>

Adding comment to make sure this gets archived. A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 19:47, 29 December 2011 (UTC)

Use of shortcuts to policy and guideline pages

I've noticed a few uses of shortcuts such as WP:COI and WP:RS etc. in the responses to requests for help. I think it would be more helpful to editors if the full names for these pages were used instead (i.e. Wikipedia:Conflict of interest or conflict of interest). It is fair to assume, most editors coming to this page for help, will not be familiar with Wikipedia guidelines and/or policies, therefore unlikely they will understand the relevance of these strange blobs of letters. fredgandt 23:13, 28 December 2011 (UTC)

Agree: helpdesk should keep jargon to a minimum. Tigerboy1966 (talk) 23:59, 28 December 2011 (UTC)
According to Wikipedia:Help_desk/How_to_answer, a "pro" of/to/for/with (shrug) using shorcuts is that it conditions new users. I wonder if it might be worth putting this to the test? I believe new users who have reached a point where their only option is to ask for help, are unlikely to be in the mood for conditioning. What they need is clear and simple advice without (as Tigerboy rightly says) "jargon". Since all Wikilinks have inbuilt (html) titles, the nature of a link is revealed to most users (if not all) on hovering over the link. However, with shortcuts, the title tells one nothing. Perhaps if conditioning users to get used to abbreviations is truly a "pro", we should consider using the full title of pages we are linking, then use the abbreviation/shortcut as the name for the link (at least)?
I'd like to see this issue tested/examined. I am not a new user, but am not exactly a veteran either. I still see abbreviations I have no clue to the meaning of. I find I have to follow links quite often just to find out what the intended meaning of a sentence is. I cannot imagine anyone can provide a good argument in favour of making/keeping it difficult for users to understand the help they are given. Having to follow several links, just to establish the meaning of a sentence, is unnecessarily difficult. What's more, it is far from accessibility friendly. fredgandt 07:25, 29 December 2011 (UTC)

no page

below the “Welcome to the Wikipedia Help desk” there is in red writing (which means no page) how to use or edit on the wikipedia:help desk. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Oscar45596524 (talkcontribs) 12:38, 29 December 2011 (UTC)

That writing is in red for emphasis; but I see what you mean, that it could be misread as a "redlink"! Excellent point; I'll change the color to something else and reference this discussion. --Orange Mike | Talk 14:13, 29 December 2011 (UTC)
Change made; also added italics for additional emphasis. --Orange Mike | Talk 14:38, 29 December 2011 (UTC)

Ask posters to link pages

A large part of posters fail to link or name the pages they refer to or have a problem with. I spend a lot of time trying to figure out the pages since it usually enables a much more precise answer, and many questions are just hopeless without knowing the page. The recent contribs of the poster sometimes give a hint but many times we are lost and can give no answer, or we give answers which turn out to be irrelevant if the page is revealed. I suggest a brief instruction at Template:Editnotices/Page/Wikipedia:Help desk:

  • Please link pages you refer to or want help with.

It could also be "Please link ..." but a piped link may just distract posters. A bare url is OK for help desk purposes. I ask specifically for a link and not a name because many posters give vague or inaccurate names, like "the guideline", or "list" about a category. PrimeHunter (talk) 00:36, 15 November 2011 (UTC)

How about "Please give the exact name or URL of pages you want help with"? Experienced posters will know to link or to use {{la}}, beginners may at least know what a URL is. -- John of Reading (talk) 07:52, 15 November 2011 (UTC)
I've also noticed the problem PrimeHunter mentions, and have been thinking for ages something like this would be helpful. I don't think we should ask new users who may be struggling with wiki syntax to provide a link, though, and it's not like HD regulars need links anyway. I'd suggest the following tweak to John's suggestion, given that not every question concerns a page:
  • Please give the exact title or URL of any page you want help with.
Adrian J. Hunter(talkcontribs) 07:52, 18 December 2011 (UTC)
I have added your suggestion.[1] Sorry for the slow followup. PrimeHunter (talk) 23:09, 30 December 2011 (UTC)

What happened to my question?

What happened to my question here and why? It's no longer there, but I can't seem to find the diff that removed it. Toshio Yamaguchi (talk) 22:35, 29 December 2011 (UTC)

Weird. It's present in this diff[2] but not in the very next diff.[3] And yours isn't the only one that's missing. It looks like 12 sections are now missing. Software bug? A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 22:49, 29 December 2011 (UTC)
(e/c) What the? It disappeared between these two edits without a trace and yours is not the only section that disappeared. I see no revdeletions. The only thing I know that can account for this is oversighting but this does not present like that. Maybe a stray gamma ray?--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 22:53, 29 December 2011 (UTC)
Hold on. Your question is still there. (View the whole page in edit mode.) What probably happened is someone added some formatting code and it screwed up the way the page gets rendered. A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 23:03, 29 December 2011 (UTC)
Code and no wiki tags were added in this diff.[4] Are you allowed to have opening curly brackets inside nowiki tags? Do you need closing curly brackets? Anyway, I deleted the post that caused the problem.[5] The page is now rendering correctly. A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 23:10, 29 December 2011 (UTC)
I notified the editor[6] since their post is now gone. Hopefully, they or someone can fix the post and restore it. A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 23:14, 29 December 2011 (UTC)
Okay. At least I can be sure now it doesn't spook in this house. Toshio Yamaguchi (talk) 23:25, 29 December 2011 (UTC)
I've restored it now. It was missing a no wiki tag for the closing braces — Frankie (talk) 23:27, 29 December 2011 (UTC)
Sorry, didn't see this on my talk page right away. Thanks for the fix! — Bility (talk) 00:37, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
I think the problem actually was with this edit. It created an open {{ lying in wait for an unbalanced }}. Without the {{ the }} would have been harmless. —teb728 t c 06:31, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
For future reference: &#123; and &#125; are extremely useful splodges of text, producing { & } without any fuss at all. fredgandt 07:40, 30 December 2011 (UTC)

using scanned article as reference


i have some scanned articles in the 90's wishing to use them as reference, how would I go about doing so? the online link is no longer avaliable and only my scanned materials are available. please suggest a way.


Boowhy (talk) 03:44, 3 January 2012 (UTC)

Already answered on the Help Desk, see Wikipedia:Help desk#how to reference. Dismas|(talk) 03:48, 3 January 2012 (UTC)

Fed up with misplaced questions

5 years ago, misplaced questions were the rare exception. As of now, it appears that they have become the majority. What can we do about that?

I have always been a strong advocate of not biting newbies, but the situation on this page is different. The purpose of this page is an internal one: To help our volunteer editors improve Wikipedia. Misplaced posts are usually by people who either are not willing to read the (amazingly short!) note on top of this page, or are clueless. Either way, they are unlikely to be good contributors. Conversely, the more we allow this page to be clogged up, the more it will get clogged up. (There's been research on that; people are more likely to dump their trash the more trash there's are already on the ground.)

I come here to help, but, to be blunt, I feel I'm being taken advantage of. It particularly irks me to think that many volunteers like me all have to read all the same crap every day, wasting many man-or-woman-hours collectively. How about if we agree that, whoever sees such a carelessly misplaced message first, just deletes it to spare all later helpers the time of re-reading it? — Sebastian 17:53, 5 January 2012 (UTC)

Brave. Even though seemingly born of a little too much frustration (make yourself a nice cup of tea), I have to agree. The number of email address posted is extraordinary. As is the number of angry morons complaining about stuff they could either fix themselves, or shouldn't even be talking to us about (donation banners and clown faces ring any bells?). I'm not sure brutal deletion is the way to go, but certainly more aggressive redirection. Perhaps, sending the clearly out of place messages back to the talk page of the OP and slapping a {{Help me}} on it, would be less bitey. Simple and almost as quick as deletion. Then if anyone cares to follow it up, they can. fredgandt 18:10, 5 January 2012 (UTC)
Done. In honor of your sig, I made it a green tea with blueberries. See you later! — Sebastian 18:31, 5 January 2012 (UTC)
Prefer a nice cup of Tetley my self. Each to their own.
I've knocked together a possible template for simplifying moving out-of-place questions to the user's talk page. My development version is at {{User:Fred Gandt/sandbox/templates/Orig}}. The basic instructions are: Add the original heading as param 1 (without the equal signs), the original message as param 2, and (if not moving the message from Wikipedia:Help desk (the default value) the name of the page the message was originally posted at as param 3. The heading and message must not contain any raw equals signs or raw pipes. So they need to be watched for, and replaced by {{=}} or {{{|=}}} and {{!}} respectively. If the idea has any value I can move it to the template namespace and create docs etc. It uses some parts of {{Help me}}, but having looked at the template (it suggests coming here for help), it seems it would be less than helpful to use the whole thing. So, I ripped the useful bits out and added them to this. Thoughts? fredgandt 20:28, 5 January 2012 (UTC)
I'm not convinced by this. The questions have to be answered somewhere, so why not at the Help desk? If the questions are completely misplaced then we have the {{Astray}} template. If we can see that the question belongs at RD, MCQ, VPT, etc then we can deal with it quickly by telling them so. I don't see the point in creating a new backlog at Category:Wikipedians looking for help. -- John of Reading (talk) 09:44, 6 January 2012 (UTC)
John, I disagree with your premise: "The questions have to be answered somewhere". I don't think so. Just look at the question "HONDA MOTORCYCLES" below (you may think I planted this, since it fits so well.) I'd prefer if we could just delete such eyesores. If you (or TEB728) want to answer that, it's nice. But your desire to help people might be better spent like this or this. — Sebastian 20:18, 6 January 2012 (UTC)


I have been trying to contact Honda motorcycles concerning an idea I have for them but am unable to. I need your assistance. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:45, 6 January 2012 (UTC)

It says at the top of this page, "DO NOT ASK QUESTIONS HERE, unless they are about the Help Desk itself." What changes do you want to make to the Help desk itself? —teb728 t c 09:29, 6 January 2012 (UTC)

Header message about not posting personal details

Might be an idea to make the text "do not provide your email address or other contact details" bigger and pinker (to match "how to use or edit"). Seemingly very few people actually notice the notice. Amazing considering the bold red editnotice too. fredgandt 17:02, 9 January 2012 (UTC)

Could do, but the notice you suggest modelling it on seems to be ignored no less frequently - I would guess that there are at least as many questions unrelated to Wikipedia as there are those containing personal data. I doubt your proposal would make much of a difference. However obvious you make the notice there will always be people who manage to miss it, or think that theirs is a special case. AJCham 17:12, 9 January 2012 (UTC)
If making the message more obvious only helped in 1 out of 10 cases, the minor change would be worth the effort. Lets face it, the edit isn't difficult to make, and it wouldn't do any harm. fredgandt 17:24, 9 January 2012 (UTC)
I added the monster text on passwords to try to stop people from making questions like: "My Facebook login John Doe with password abcdefghi is no longer working. Plz help me!" Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be working. I have thought about adding a warning message about the potential issues of posting email addresses, passwords, or other sensitive information, but I am concerned it might just scare other editors off. Reaper Eternal (talk) 17:30, 9 January 2012 (UTC)
An alternative is an automatic warning like the double take we get if our preference to be reminded about not leaving a summary is checked and we forget. If the post in includes anything that is read by a script as being a phone number, email, address etc. while the submission is being parsed, the page is stalled with a big bold warning about those inclusions. So we could still post examples and specific addresses (like WMF addresses etc) but if any of those details were being added, the poster would be forced to read a warning about it, before clicking save again. This however is an alternative that would require development and consensus and all kinds of faffing about. Simply making the advice more obvious is potentially a step in the right direction, with little fuss. fredgandt 17:39, 9 January 2012 (UTC)
We already have this edit filter to catch email addresses being added to articles, so I guess it would be fairly easy to implement a warning for this. -- John of Reading (talk) 18:04, 9 January 2012 (UTC)
That's the tag that gets added to the end of the summary right? So the parsing is in place. We just need the result to be different. An alert that adding email addresses (best to also filter for phone numbers and addresses if possible (and it is possible)) is a really bad idea, would be ideal, since the alert would have to be manually closed in order to do anything else. If the OK button's function was to save the page, at least we could be certain that people have read the notice. I really don't think people realise how high the traffic is. fredgandt 19:55, 9 January 2012 (UTC)
Requested at Wikipedia:Edit filter/Requested#Yet another warning before email addresses are posted at the help desks. -- John of Reading (talk) 08:24, 10 January 2012 (UTC)
Awesome. At least then we can be certain they have definitely seen the damn warning, since they will have to manually switch it off (click the alert button) to continue saving. fredgandt 09:12, 10 January 2012 (UTC)

There is no translation to Hebrow in QA issue

like "test case" and "test plan" — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:44, 11 January 2012 (UTC)

If an article has no Hebrew link in the left sidebar, this is usually because there is no corresponding article in the Hebrew Wikipedia. A machine translation using Google Translate may be good enough for you to understand the English-language article. -- John of Reading (talk) 13:38, 11 January 2012 (UTC)

Editing title of work once it is posted

Hi, My article has just been posted to wikipedia and is a bio. I just noticed the person last name which is the title of the work is not capitalized. Hoe do I make that change?

Thank you! Jweston007 (talk) 20:58, 14 January 2012 (UTC)

I've moved the page to Erin Bowmanfredgandt 21:08, 14 January 2012 (UTC)

Watch list activation message

Hello everyone. I am here to make a simply suggestion. First the background - I recently replied to a help request from someone who had posted the same message on 3 different days on 3 different help pages. I ask (all this by email by the way) why the person did not reply (get the answer needed) from the first 2 post that were both replied to. The response I got was "After I posted my requested I could no longer find the pages were I had posted the requests in the first place."
This has led me to believe we need a note for editors to add this page to the watch list and link it so they can read up more on how it works. I guess the "My contributions" link does not click with everyone (not all get its meaning). Should we hold there hand more with a little note and link?Moxy (talk) 08:51, 15 January 2012 (UTC)

Since this happens with IPs (and probably more than it does with those with accounts), wouldn't any note be better directed at explaining how to find the my contributions link for accounts and how to access contributions for IPs than how to watchlist? Of course, those with dynamic IPs might run into trouble with this if the IP address change in the interim between posting and looking for the post, but they wouldn't be helped by the watchlist explanation anyway. This is a competence issue and I don't know that there are enough of these incidents to warrant taking action. But if we do, I think this would be better placed in the editnotice, than directly in the help desk header.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 13:57, 15 January 2012 (UTC)



I have copied this to Talk:Military of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where it will be seen by the editors most interested in the article. -- John of Reading (talk) 13:22, 20 January 2012 (UTC)

Referring questions to refdesks but they never get there

I have noticed a problem here. When questions are replied to by telling the poster that their question should be taken to a Refdesk, the question often doesn't turn up on the Refdesk within a reasonable time. It seems that many posters simply give up instead of following the instruction/advice. Is there anything we can do to improve this? Roger (talk) 19:07, 21 January 2012 (UTC)

It would be cool to have some kind of tool to automatically copy such a question to the appropriate reference desk and provide a direct link to the reference desk section. I think many people asking ref desk questions here are not very familiar with how Wikipedia works (wikilinks and stuff) and I think those people simply give up after reading the "This page is for questions about using Wikipedia. Please consider asking this question at the Wikipedia:Reference desk." Toshio Yamaguchi (talk) 19:19, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
That could possibly spin the user's head a little. Any tool used would need to notify them on their talk page too (at least). The issue there would be shared and dynamic IPs never getting the message that their question was moved. fredgandt 19:24, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
IP users would see a "This topic has been moved here" link when they come back to see if their question has been answered. Roger (talk) 19:33, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
Perhaps no more useful than the suggestion to ask at the ref desk (as we do now). fredgandt 19:36, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
Well their question would actually already be posted to the correct refdesk, they wouldn't have to do anything more than follow a simple link. The problem is they are simply chased away by the present "You're in the wrong place, please go away" tone of the current template. Roger (talk) 19:45, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
Fair point. You see a few sections up from here, there was a short discussion about shifting astray questions. I created a basic template idea in {{User:Fred Gandt/sandbox/templates/Orig}} to aid moving out of place questions back to the user's talk page. Something along those lines could be employed for sure. I still think that my suggestion below (to draw users from the ref desk in question to the help desk) would be the most efficient and least confusing step in the right direction. It would bring the correct answers to the help desk whilst not spinning the user around (at all). We must also consider (when moving, copy-pasting questions) that attribution must be clear at the destination. fredgandt 20:05, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
Im opposed to allowing the misplaced question to be answered where they are incorrectly posted. That would blur the walls between the various desks - we might as well merge the various help and reference desks/pages into a single "any and all questions answered here" page. Roger (talk) 20:19, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
If transcluding sections were more reliable and less complicated, that would be a nice solution, but... transcluding sections is a pain in the arse. How about a template placed at the ref desk or other help page that acted as a RfC, calling folk from there to respond at the help desk? fredgandt 19:27, 21 January 2012 (UTC)


(edit conflict) What about creating a bot and a template that bot acts on. We could have two tags like {{Copy to Ref desk top}} and {{Copy to Ref desk bottom}}. When placed on a page, everything between the two templates will automatically be copied to a reference desk and a message be dropped on the posters talk page. Toshio Yamaguchi (talk) 19:31, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
Again, the issue would be that the user could get more confused by their question being moved than if it were just left in place. And also again; if the user has a shared or dynamic IP (as I do) they may never get the message telling them where their question went. fredgandt 20:09, 21 January 2012 (UTC)

I posted a note about this topic at Talk:Refdesk. Roger (talk) 19:59, 21 January 2012 (UTC)

What is so difficult about manually moving the Q and leaving a link here? I don't see that as confusing for the novice editor at all, surely they at least know how to click on a bluelink? I disagree with asking RefDeskers to come here to answer RD questions, as it will prevent the normal workflow of RD regulars scanning for new questions/answers as they appear (and contravenes the purpose of the Wikipedia help desk). Franamax (talk) 20:24, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
In response to both Roger and Franamax: At present we suggest that users ask their questions somewhere else, whilst providing them with a link to the other place (not the house of Lords). If they're not following it, why would moving the question and giving them exactly the same link help? Surely if these people can't be bothered to effectively move the question themselves (bear in mind that we know they already know how to edit a help page), then it's no great loss to the project if they never get an answer. Doubling the presence of a question and providing a link to its doppelgänger, seems to me to be no better than the system we already have. In fact, it's worse (more clutter and confusion). Then there is a mild attribution issue that must be taken care of, and the extra work for any volunteer doing the moving. fredgandt 20:33, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
Can Help Desk and Ref Desk regulars refer to each other as "the other place" from now on? That would be great! I do feel like I should be petitioning you from the bar of the Help Desk, though... --Tango (talk) 21:46, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
We get a lot of questions over at the Ref Desks that ought to be here, too, so I suggest whatever solution we come up with is two-way. We often do answer those questions ourselves, since obviously we're all quite familiar with Wikipedia so usually know the answer, but we do tell people to come here quite often too and, although I've never checked, I guess they don't get here any more often than questions asked here get to us. --Tango (talk) 21:43, 21 January 2012 (UTC)

IPs and cached pages

A discussion the tech pump has highlighted an interesting possible source of confusion.

Since we often pass people seeking help on to relevant discussions elsewhere, it might be worth noting that when they arrive, they may not see the discussion we sent them to look at (I think this may tie in closely with the section above). Perhaps it would be good to always provide links to other talk pages (or indeed all pages) by using the {{Purge}} template. Thus providing the IP user with a fresh and up to date version of the page. fredgandt 19:21, 21 January 2012 (UTC)

Note that is only a problem when using the redirects (WP:C, WP:S, etc.), if you use the full page name the up-to-date page will always display. Franamax (talk) 20:27, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
Oops, hadn't caught up on that thread... Franamax (talk) 20:30, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
It's not just that thread. IPs always get cached pages and (I believe) always have. The shortcut caching issue is a compound of this and another problem. fredgandt 20:36, 21 January 2012 (UTC)

Adding a new page

I want to know that can I add some pages that are not on wikipedia like some recipes pages. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Faheemvenom (talkcontribs) 06:45, 1 February 2012 (UTC)

If you want to make pages of instruction for preparing food, that is not something you should do. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia not a cook book. —teb728 t c 07:06, 1 February 2012 (UTC)
As TEB said, if you just want to add recipes, I suggest you don't - Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, so articles need to be notable (which usually mentioned by enough reliable sources). If you do have an article you'd like to add the Wikipedia, the Your first article page gives information about determining whether an article is suitable for the encyclopedia, and then advice on how to go about writing it. If you need any more help, drop me a note at my talk page. ItsZippy (talkcontributions) 16:17, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
For miscellaneous information like recipes, you can look at Wikibooks where they accept recipes.Curb Chain (talk) 03:06, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
Better yet, WikiHow [7] Jim.henderson (talk) 23:05, 6 February 2012 (UTC)

Cancellation of any future or outstanding Orders

I have bee requested by Mr D Raffertys wife to contact you regarding any future or outstanding orders. Mr Rafferty is no longer able to accept any future orders as heis in a poor state of health and is no longer able to purchase any of your products.

The address is - [details removed]

The reference on their most recent correspondance is [details removed].

Please acknowledge receipt of this email. Should you require any further information, please cantact Mrs Rafferty direct.

Thank you — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:49, 20 February 2012 (UTC)

I suspect, based on your question, that you found one of our over 3.8 million articles and thought we were affiliated in some way with that subject. Please note that you are at Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit. We do not supply goods or services in return for payment. -- John of Reading (talk) 12:03, 20 February 2012 (UTC)

Unable to enter site directly.

Moved to Wikipedia:Help desk#Unable to enter site directly. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 11:32, 23 February 2012 (UTC)

Praise for this item in Wikipedia

Can I just say that I think that having Wikipedia: Help desk is a marvellous idea? I remember Wikipedia: Please do not bite the newcomers, but I am willing to bet that many people (myself included) who have edited Wikipedia for years go this article on Wikipedia! So, a big round of applause to all who contribute to this aspect of Wikipedia. Keep up your tremendous work, ACEOREVIVED (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 22:08, 23 February 2012


Any idea what's up with the bot responsible for adding the date headers? It seems to have missed the header for February 22, so I manually inserted it. Toshio Yamaguchi (talk) 09:12, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

Seems the header was again added manually here instead of being added by Scsbot. Toshio Yamaguchi (talk) 08:19, 23 February 2012 (UTC)

If you have a question about the Scsbot behavior, you should report it on that bot's talk page. User_talk:Scsbot RudolfRed (talk) 19:15, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
I posted at the bot talkpage at User talk:Scsbot#Date header missed? already. Somehow I posted here first before thinking about the bot talk page. Thanks for the pointer, I appreciate it anyway Face-smile.svg. Toshio Yamaguchi (talk) 19:38, 1 March 2012 (UTC)


Question for Help Desk regulars: is anyone aware of WP:TEAHOUSE? Yet another place to seek help... – ukexpat (talk) 18:50, 24 February 2012 (UTC)

First I've heard of it. I'll be curious to see how much attention it attracts. TNXMan 18:59, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I'm a host at the teahouse. From the experience I've had there, it looks like a good project which should be very good for helping new & confused users. I'm hoping that it can work in conjunction with the help desk (though, at present, I'm not totally sure what that relationship will be). ItsZippy (talkcontributions) 20:55, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
The teahouse seems to be going well, so far, but we're only getting 1-2 questions per day. We'll see how it goes. From my perspective, its designed to be a "friendlier" place than here or WP:NCHP, in the sense that people who respond to questions are supposed to be more conversational and use less wikispeak. Still to young to tell if it is going to survive, but I am liking it so far. --Jayron32 19:38, 1 March 2012 (UTC)

hi guys

one question about google translation if try to link a by google translated article as source or reference it doesnt work, is it because its too long or something??--Shokioto22 (talk) 00:07, 7 March 2012 (UTC)

Help:Help desk

There's a new page Help:Help desk. I'm not sure what Alan Liefting (talk · contribs) has in mind for it, but I encourage the Help desk regulars to watchlist the page because I am sure that questions will start arriving there. -- John of Reading (talk) 07:32, 12 March 2012 (UTC)

(More) OK, I've seen his explanation at Help talk:Template#Am out of depth with setting up a reader help service. The new help page is intended for readers, leaving the present help desk as a resource for editors. I'm not convinced - I think there are too many help venues already. -- John of Reading (talk) 07:38, 12 March 2012 (UTC)

I agree with John. Wikipedia is already confusing enough for new or inexperienced editors and readers unfamiliar with the working of Wikipedia. Lets keep things in one place. I don't think increasing the complexity of the current system is helpful. -- Toshio Yamaguchi (tlkctb) 07:45, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
The confusion because of a lack of experience is the very reason for the proposed change that I am going to suggest. I am in the process of having the page set up at present so any doubts about its effectiveness are premature and smacks of WP:IDONTLIKEIT. Please give me chance to finish the draft and supply a rationale for the proposal before making assumptions about its utility. -- Alan Liefting (talk - contribs) 08:00, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
Fair enough. Perhaps I simply don't get what your intentions are. It wasn't my intention to imply (and it is not the case) that I don't like what you want to do. I am of the opinion that it is the easiest thing to have one place (like the help desk) where people can throw in all kinds of questions but that is, well, just that, my personal opinion. By all means feel free to prepare it and don't let my comments stop you. Perhaps you might want to first propose it at WP:VPR (or perhaps at WP:VPI if you don't want a poll but some general input from the community). I fully agree with you that it is unhelpful to judge an unlaid egg, to speak a bit metaphorically. -- Toshio Yamaguchi (tlkctb) 21:14, 12 March 2012 (UTC)

Leo Burnett

Hey, just putting a feeler out on engagement on wikipedia, i am on here for a university module, studying the psychology of internet behaviour. For one of the assessment criteria, it is engagement and interacting with other users, i have tried pretty much every community portal going but cant get an answer from anyone! Has anyone else had this problem? is there anything i can do differently to provoke engagement via wikipedia about my chosen topic which is on Leo Burnett. Thanks! -- JackMayhew (talk) 12:18, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

Well, this is the page for discussing and improving the Wikipedia:Help desk, so this isn't a good page. The "official" place for discussing the improvement of the Leo Burnett article is Talk:Leo Burnett. If your posts there don't get a reply, you could try the talk pages of the projects mentioned at the top of that page, such as Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Illinois. -- John of Reading (talk) 16:32, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

Scsbot? (2)

I hate it when this happens. -- Toshio Yamaguchi (tlkctb) 12:56, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

Fixed by pasting the section back onto the help desk from the archive with this edit. -- Toshio Yamaguchi (tlkctb) 13:18, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

Cut & paste

I reverted this edit which cut and pasted a question and its replies from a few days ago. I don't understand why anyone would want to do that when they can just go back to WP:HD#Attention parameter? and add more info if they wish. Astronaut (talk) 16:44, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

I now see this is related to the thing immediately above (so I've merged the sections). All the same, it just isn't necessary. Astronaut (talk) 16:47, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

I am confused about what happened. I tried to reply to a question that was on the help desk, but my reply somehow appeared in the archive. I remember that the same thing already happened to me in the past (see Wikipedia talk:Help desk/Archive 10#Funny). This is really kind of annoying. -- Toshio Yamaguchi (tlkctb) 17:36, 15 March 2012 (UTC)
The oldest day displayed on the help desk is a transclusion of an archived page. This is how Scsbot operates. See [8]. If you click "edit" at a transcluded section then you edit the transcluded page. This is standard MediaWiki behaviour. It's OK to edit an archived page like this when it's still transcluded on a "live" discussion page. PrimeHunter (talk) 17:47, 15 March 2012 (UTC)
Okay, I didn't know that the oldest section is being transcluded onto the help desk from the archive as that's not apparent when clicking the 'Edit section' link. Thanks for explaining. -- Toshio Yamaguchi (tlkctb) 17:56, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

help please (public problem)

Your post has been moved to the help desk, here. This page is not the help desk but its talk page, where we discuss the help desk itself.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 03:31, 16 March 2012 (UTC)

Change in format

I would like to amend the table of contents (or the page itself) so that section 4.2 is a subsection of 4.1 — Preceding unsigned comment added by AnkhMorpork (talkcontribs) 23:17, 17 March 2012 (UTC)

See Help:Section#Creation and numbering of sections. PrimeHunter (talk) 23:48, 17 March 2012 (UTC)

My friend just dies, i create a page about a rock band he was in , then it is deleted

My friend played in a band called Electric Airlines with members of urge overkill, I wrote an article/description of it, checked all the facts, then it was deleted?? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:23, 21 March 2012 (UTC)

The article Electric Airlines has never existed. Without knowing any specifics, all I can recommend is that you look at the reason given for the deletion and discuss it with the editor listed as the one who deleted it. Also see WP:BAND, some important guidelines for articles about bands--and especially whether a band even merits having a page. DMacks (talk) 16:33, 21 March 2012 (UTC)
The article Electric airlines (note lowercase 'a') was deleted under WP:CSD#A7 as having no assertion of notability, and not meeting the WP:BAND criteria. Also WP:NOTMEMORIAL may apply here; Wikipedia doesn't host pages for the purpose of memorializing someone.
The band was apparently formed from the members of Urge Overkill, which is a band notable enough for inclusion in Wikipedia, and the Urge Overkill article does mention Electric Airlines. Even so, it still doesn't seem to meet WP:BAND criteria. The deleted article also contained an incomplete reference to Chicago Tribune — the way the article was written, it could be a copyvio quotation.
Thanks for catching the capitalization and looking deeper! The bulk of the article was indeed copyvio. DMacks (talk) 17:15, 21 March 2012 (UTC)
The non-promotional text is already stated in the Urge Overkill article. ~Amatulić (talk) 17:03, 21 March 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia:FAQ/Readers#Why do I see commercial ads at Wikipedia?

There have been many questions about seeing ads lately so I made Wikipedia:FAQ/Readers#Why do I see commercial ads at Wikipedia? with shortcut WP:RFAQ#ADS. Feel free to edit it if you have relevant information. PrimeHunter (talk) 00:38, 22 March 2012 (UTC)


Why isn't there a direct link to the archives at the top of the page? Unless I'm badly inobservant, the only part of the page pointing us to the archives is the search box; there's no link to the archives as a whole or to any specific pages. Let's go with something similar to the top portion of {{Administrators' noticeboard navbox}} — it has a link to the entire WP:AN archive and separate links to the last several archives pages. Nyttend (talk) 00:58, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

There is a link saying "Archived discussions" to Wikipedia:Help desk/Archives. PrimeHunter (talk) 01:06, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
That's why I included the "unless I'm badly inobservant" caveat. I still think that my proposal would make it easier, since we'd be able to go directly into the last few archives rather than having to search through all of them. Nyttend (talk) 01:14, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
Maybe the link shouldn't be small. The archive pages at {{Administrators' noticeboard navbox}} are for around 2 weeks. The help desk has a daily archive page like Wikipedia:Help desk/Archives/2012 February 28 and a monthly index with section links but no posts like Wikipedia:Help desk/Archives/February 2012. Our question-answer format and archive structure is similar to Wikipedia:Reference desk but none of the reference desks have more than the general archive link. Are you suggesting links to archive days and/or monthly archive indexes? By the way, it was me who added [9] direct links to the last 7 days to Wikipedia:Help desk/Archives. I'm not sure we need more stuff at the top of Wikipedia:Help desk. There are already many posters who clearly don't read the instructions. PrimeHunter (talk) 01:49, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
I'm suggesting that we add a small box on the right side (under the box listing the shortcuts) with links to the last few archives pages. This isn't an attempt to add instructions to the top of the page; rather, it's for the purposes of us regulars that I'd like to see links to recent archives in an easily-reachable place. Nyttend (talk) 15:59, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
When you know the "Archived discussions" link it's only one extra click. That's not much for the regulars compared to the time they spend answering questions. PrimeHunter (talk) 16:20, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

Torture by criminals under authority

a unit of the US government has been targetting me and my wife with a laser beam for more than two years. this is a criminal program that they have and they do it secretly. where can we denounce this evil aspect and inhumane program of our government? I have been trying to denounce it for almost two years but they monitor my phone calls and my emails and they manipulate and even block my communication. <blanked> — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:57, 4 April 2012 (UTC)

Please seek professional psychiatric help. We are not allowed to give medical advice here. Roger (talk) 21:11, 4 April 2012 (UTC)

Addition to {{HD}} template to deal with advertisements.

In view of the increasing number of questions here about the appearance of advertisements on Wikipedia pages, I have created {{HD/Ads}}, and added it to the documentation page of {{HD}}.--ukexpat (talk) 15:34, 12 April 2012 (UTC)

Question below TOC

There is a question between the table of contents and the April 12 heading about deleting an account which I am unable to find inside the markup in edit mode. Where is that question located? -- Toshio Yamaguchi (tlkctb) 04:51, 17 April 2012 (UTC)

It was added to the transcluded archive, Wikipedia:Help desk/Archives/2012 April 12 I removed it from there and added it to in a new section under 17 April GB fan 05:01, 17 April 2012 (UTC)
Thanks. -- Toshio Yamaguchi (tlkctb) 05:12, 17 April 2012 (UTC)

Regarding notices sent to wrong edits based on ip address.

Wikipedia, why don't you let only signed in account holders to edit your pages, instead of identifying them by their ip address. This way you won't be sending so many stern notices to irrelevant addresses. Lots of people who access your site (which I praise and support wholeheartedly) are from educational institutions, where lots of them are bound to use the same ip. Hope, you'll work a way out. (talk) 15:06, 20 April 2012 (UTC)

Requiring editors to log in (which is supported by some), would mean those readers, seeing a page needing a change, would not be able to make the change without registering and logging in. Many potential editors would not bother, and many helpful edits would not occur.--SPhilbrick(Talk) 15:31, 20 April 2012 (UTC)

Dates need changing

Why is there not a subtitle "April 25"? The last few entries here were all made on April 25, and yet they say "April 24". Can some one rectify this, please? Many thanks, ACEOREVIVED (talk) 18:39, 25 April 2012 (UTC)

The dates are added by a bot (User:Scsbot), which appears not to be working at the moment. I have added it manually.--ukexpat (talk) 18:51, 25 April 2012 (UTC)
Ukexpat fixed it with this edit. The date header is normally added by a bot and for some reason that bot didn't do that in this case. -- Toshio Yamaguchi (tlkctb) 18:51, 25 April 2012 (UTC)

Good to see that the dates are now accurate as from today - (April 26 2012) - perhaps the bot is working again! ACEOREVIVED (talk) 20:10, 26 April 2012 (UTC)

Perhaps this needs a section "What the Wikipedia Help Desk is not"

There is an article Wikipedia: What Wikipedia is not. I do wonder whether we need a similar entry here about what the help desk is not. Twice now I have seen questions which have had the comment that Wikipedia does not give medical advice (this happened in the past when some one asked question about treatment of diabetes mellitus). So, to clarify that this is only for asking quetions about editing Wikipedia, do you think we need a subheading here - What the Wikipedia Help Desk is not? This could clarify to people (especially Wikipedia newcomers) that this entry on Wikipedia is not a forum for asking medical, legal, financial or psycho-therapeutic advice, but a place to ask questions about editing Wikipedia. ACEOREVIVED (talk) 18:45, 25 April 2012 (UTC)

The "Welcome to the Wikipedia Help desk" box contains advice and links to a subpage explaining the purpose of the HD. We could have guidance aplenty but it's no use if no one reads it.--ukexpat (talk) 18:54, 25 April 2012 (UTC)


I copy a comment from WT:Y:

How does a Y represent "help desk"? — Waterfox ~talk~ 22:33, 8 December 2010 (UTC)

I found this question while attempting to ask the same question myself. Nyttend (talk) 22:13, 25 April 2012 (UTC)

"Y" is pronounced "why", and so is a handy shortcut for the help desk - at least, that's what I've always assumed the reason for the abbreviation is! BencherliteTalk 22:29, 25 April 2012 (UTC)

Yes. See [10]. But it's potentially confusing that WP:WHY redirects elsewhere. PrimeHunter (talk) 01:44, 26 April 2012 (UTC)

Templates for no medical or legal advice

I think we could really do with templates that explain the "no medical advice" and "no legal advice" policies. Roger (talk) 18:03, 14 May 2012 (UTC)

How about {{HD/med}} and {{HD/leg}}? TNXMan 18:30, 14 May 2012 (UTC)
Thanks! Roger (talk) 18:33, 14 May 2012 (UTC)

Have the bot purge this page every X minutes?

Every time I open this page while not logged in I need to purge the page's cache to see the latest entries. It's quite consistent and across four different devices each from a different IP, with each having no cache for this page so it's definitely Wikipedia's cache and not on my end. Anyone else think it would be a good idea to contact User:Ummit and have User:Scsbot do a page purge every 15 minutes (or some other time frame), to the extent the page has been edited since the last purge?-- (talk) 18:41, 1 June 2012 (UTC)

User:Scsbot says it is "semiautomated (i.e., manually invoked, with oversight)". There are other bots but automated purging is controversial. Pages are cached for server performance reasons and usually not for registered users but I haven't heard it's this bad for unregistered users. Are you accessing the page with the real url and not via a redirect? Is it also from different ISP's? PrimeHunter (talk) 20:26, 1 June 2012 (UTC)

Noindex archives

Would anyone be opposed to noindexing our archives? I am asking this per Wikipedia:Help desk#Robert S. Prattico. I see no reason that the archives shouldn't be noindexed, and it is fairly common for people to ask questions about BLP's at the help desk. Ryan Vesey Review me! 12:50, 25 June 2012 (UTC)

The archives shouldn't be noindexed as people should be able to search them using their preferred search engine, which might be an external search engine. Posts with BLP problems can be redacted or otherwise dealt with as we come to them per WP:BLPTALK. Adrian J. Hunter(talkcontribs) 13:43, 25 June 2012 (UTC)

Help desk talkback script

I recently contacted some editors and User:Chicocvenancio just created an incredibly useful script for the help desk. It adds a small button to everybody's signature on the help desk. Clicking the button will automatically leave the user a talkback with an option to type in the name of the section. This is an easy solution to make sure editors (especially new ones) don't miss our reply and is also useful if you reply to a post after the first day or two.

To add this add the following to your common.js file. Ryan Vesey Review me! 14:14, 15 May 2012 (UTC)

Hey! Thanks for that! Dismas|(talk) 19:56, 15 May 2012 (UTC)
After actually using the script, I found that it doesn't do what is intended. I left a TB notice for a user and it created User talk:Dee128floyd (page does not exist) and NOT a notice on their actual talk page. Where does the (page does not exist) part come from? And if an admin is reading this, can I get that page deleted? Thanks! Dismas|(talk) 20:10, 15 May 2012 (UTC)
Hmm give me a second to look into it. I was under the impression that everything had been worked out. Ryan Vesey Review me! 20:21, 15 May 2012 (UTC)
That page didn't exist before you used the tb template correct? The error must be due to that. I'll contact the person who created it to see if he can't fix that issue. Ryan Vesey Review me! 20:23, 15 May 2012 (UTC)
Had not run into to that one. I'll try to debug that as soon as I can. Chico Venancio (talk) 21:31, 15 May 2012 (UTC)
Yes check.svg Done, sorry about that. Strangely I had yet to use the script on a nonexistent talkpage, so I missed the change in the title... Should be ok for now. Do clean your caches twice for good measure. Chico Venancio (talk) 22:04, 15 May 2012 (UTC)
Thank you much! Ryan Vesey Review me! 22:13, 15 May 2012 (UTC)
Thanks again for this. I've used it many times since! Dismas|(talk) 21:21, 1 June 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Folks, Chico Venancio has kindly coded the script so that it now also works at WP:NCHPQ, WP:EAR and WP:MCQ. Thanks.--ukexpat (talk) 13:21, 11 June 2012 (UTC)

I've finally ran the code through JSLint and made a few corresponding changes. Nothing that anyone should notice, but please warn me immediately if it starts to do something funny. Chico Venancio (talk) 21:48, 17 June 2012 (UTC)

Today I have changed the script to have a nicer prompt box, you can now copy the section name from the page and the input field has an autocomplete function with the section names. Please warn me about any problems. Chico Venancio (talk) 15:58, 9 July 2012 (UTC)

Hrm. I don't like that it marks the edit as minor. Adding a new section to a talk page shouldn't be minor IMO. BigNate37(T) 08:52, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

link to Archives

It seems to me that a link to recent discussions would be useful. Currently when you click the "Search Archives" it lists oldest first, i.e. April 2007. Perhaps an additional link to most recent archive would be helpful (Wikipedia:Help desk/Archives/July 2012) for those users who want to refer to a relatively recent discussion they were involved in? Thanks! 78.26 (talk) 03:59, 18 July 2012 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done I added a link to Wikipedia:Help desk/Archives, where there is a navbox containing links to the most recent archives. (There actually already was a link in the row directly beneath the "Click here to ask a new question." text, though admittedly not that visible. This should solve that problem.) -- œ 07:50, 23 July 2012 (UTC)


Many of the questions on the Help Desk are from editors trying to establish notability for new articles. Their article has received something like this

and they have, naturally enough, interpreted it as meaning

  • Your article is ok, but you need to add a few more references

whereas the true meaning is closer to

  • Your article is about someone who is not notable, and will therefore be deleted. (But you might be able to surprise us by establishing somehow that its subject is in fact notable).

This misunderstanding is unfortunate for everyone. It wastes the time of the editor of the article, and of the editors who will have to reject it again, and it generates ill feeling. Could the template be rewritten to make its true meaning clearer? Maproom (talk) 17:44, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

For an example of what I mean, see Wikipedia_talk:Articles_for_creation/John_Gledden. This editor has put a lot of effort into adding a long list of what he thinks are "references", in the belief that this will make his article acceptable. Maproom (talk) 20:03, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for pointing that out. I've thought about it a decent amount. I like the way it is written, because it doesn't discourage editors who have written an article that hasn't established notability but could be notable. At the same time, there isn't an equivalent for not-notable and never going to be notable. Perhaps you should suggest this at WT:AFCRyan Vesey Review me! 20:06, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
The thing is, that if an editor reads that, and does add actually independent and reliable sources, its quite possible the submission is notable. The problem is that they don't follow the instruction and instead add unreliable sources or reliable sources that are not independent. New contributors have a hard time understanding the concept, and maybe it could be made clearer, but that is the core of the problem. Monty845 20:33, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

A reminder for those answering questions

{{WP:HDT}} Just wanted to remind those of you who have the HD watched and like answering questions here, we have tips for answering questions at Wikipedia:Help desk/How to answer, and a large number of canned responses in template form. For example {{HD}} alone has many different forms—take a look! The full help desk template listing is at WP:HDT, as pictured. BigNate37(T) 04:33, 3 August 2012 (UTC)

WP:Help desk#Brief announcement: More opportunities for you to access free research databases

I have no idea whether or not the resources mentioned in this entry are useful; but I am repelled by the tone of the posting, which seems to me to be pure advertising and thus antithetical to Wikipedia's aims. --ColinFine (talk) 23:10, 11 August 2012 (UTC)

Astray Template

Can we do anything to reduce the number of Astray templates applied to questions that should instead be referred to the Reference Desk? The notes on the template explicitly state that it should not be used for this purpose, but I see it done almost every day. The current question about personnel in Viet Nam is only the latest example. Rojomoke (talk) 16:31, 14 August 2012 (UTC)

Well that's just typical! After I've been thinking about bringing this point up for a while, I finally do so just two days after Fuhghettaboutit creates Template:Astray astray Rojomoke (talk) 21:22, 14 August 2012 (UTC)

'Click here'

Given the substantial numbers of questions submitted to the help desk that are misdirected, I wonder if the 'Click here to ask a new question' link might be better if it read 'Click her to ask a new question about how to use or edit Wikipedia'? I doubt that it would solve the problem entirely, but it might at least reduce it. AndyTheGrump (talk) 17:32, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

Seems that the wording was last changed as a part of the better use of space edit made by Equazcion in May 2012. Doesn't look like there's been any significant discussion about the matter going back to that time. BigNate37(T) 17:57, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
Well, since nobody else has commented one way or another on my proposal, I'm tempted to just 'be bold' and go ahead with it - one last call for comments... AndyTheGrump (talk) 16:08, 16 August 2012 (UTC)
...and throwing caution to the wind, I've made the change (at Wikipedia:Help desk/Header). If I fouled it up entirely, I plead incompetence in technical matters ;-) AndyTheGrump (talk) 20:01, 25 August 2012 (UTC)

Second articles

This post was moved to Wikipedia:Help desk#Second articles. PrimeHunter (talk) 13:19, 11 September 2012 (UTC)

A thought

Could we be a bit more aggressive about removing completely irrelevant posts here? I know sometimes blatant spam and really bizarre requests (c.f this) can get taken down, but looking over the help desk now I see a lot of questions that have nothing to do with the stated purpose of this board and don't really have any place to go. It'd be good to keep the tubes as clear as possible here. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 03:57, 15 September 2012 (UTC)

I'm of the opinion that for good faith posts, it is much better that there be a response, even if that response is that the question is beyond the scope of the helpdesk and wont be answered. (If possible referred someplace else) The problem is that for less experienced users, whom I think make up a large portion of the help queries, just removing the question is likely to lead to confusion, as they wont necessarily understand where the question went. You could leave the requester a message informing them of the removal and hope they get it, but at that point it is probably more work then just templating a we can't help response. I'm not sure if we already have one, but if not, a template saying: "I'm sorry, but your request is beyond the scope of the wikipedia help desk. The help desk is only for questions about editing Wikipedia." With some parameters for various [You may find asking at x more helpful] type additions, would be a good idea. Monty845 05:13, 15 September 2012 (UTC)
What he said ^^^^^ --Jayron32 05:37, 15 September 2012 (UTC)
Template:HD contains templates for redirecting users to ask their question elsewhere. - Purplewowies (talk) 05:52, 15 September 2012 (UTC)
See, I get that to a point (I understand new users need direction and all), but is there any reason to keep stuff like WP:HD#i need help here in cameroon floating around? The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 10:30, 15 September 2012 (UTC)
I don't see a question in that post at all, so I would have no problem if it had been removed. I just want to make sure we err strongly on the side of not just deleting anything that could reasonably be construed as a good faith question. Monty845 14:55, 15 September 2012 (UTC)
That makes sense; I suppose a better way to word it would be "removing posts completely irrelevant to Wikipedia in any capacity". That would prevent removal of anything that could be reasonably asked in good faith while allowing us to clear out the periodic job/friend/relative seeking posts. Hall of Jade (お話しになります) 15:08, 15 September 2012 (UTC)
I would focus more on whether the post is seeking a response. If it is, and not in bad faith, I think it should get one. (Again, even if it is the beyond scope response) So either Wikipedia related, OR a question/statement seeking a response. Monty845 15:22, 15 September 2012 (UTC)
Sounds reasonable to me. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 17:05, 15 September 2012 (UTC)

Removed response

I have removed a response in this edit. The OP had already been told "we can't help you". Telling them "and we certainly can't help with your inability to understand the instructions" is, IMO, unnecessary, disparaging and against the spirit of the guidelines, which stress courtesy at all times. I will leave a message on the IP's talk page. - Karenjc 08:47, 25 September 2012 (UTC)

Thank you! Lova Falk talk 19:00, 25 September 2012 (UTC)

Please add Number of views for each article

Its just an idea that, number of views can be added to each wikipedia article. What you think ? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2001:638:208:D700:F05D:30F0:7EF7:B525 (talk) 19:59, 13 October 2012 (UTC)

Does Wikipedia:Pageview statistics help? -- John of Reading (talk) 20:09, 13 October 2012 (UTC)

Why keep article titles a secret?

Fairly often people will come to the Help Desk and ask various questions about specific articles or a range of articles without telling us which article they're referring to. A recent example is the question titled Biased P.O.V. If the OP had specified which article they were referring to, we might be able to give a better or more applicable answer. As it is, we can only throw out some suggestions. In this case, maybe the statement is referenced although the reference is not quite as obvious as it needs to be (e.g. at the end of the paragraph instead of at the end of the sentence). But we don't know because the OP hasn't told us what article they're referring to.

Maybe this isn't quite the right place for this but does anyone know or have any educated guesses as to why people find it necessary to be so vague? Dismas|(talk) 07:42, 24 August 2012 (UTC)

It's a common form of human behaviour. If someone is concerned about something, they can fail to realise that others do not share their concern, and start talking about it without making it clear what it is that they're on about. Maproom (talk) 10:08, 24 August 2012 (UTC)

Yes. A friend of a friend spotted a little hoax, and sked our mutual friend if she knew anyone who might know about Wikipedia, so she Emailed me asking how to contact the author of an article. This pretty much can't be done, said I, since the number of authors is usually two-digits at least. After days of vague back and forth, I was able to tease out the name, not of the article but of the alleged movie, search for it, and make the correction seen here. And to search out another item from the same hoaxer but yes, people are often dreadfully vague. Nowadays when I confess my membership in this looney cult I also push the idea, "Wikipedia is one of those iceberg things, 99% underwater. Use those tabs across the top to see below the waterline. Especially use the Discussion tab to see where someone thinks the article is lying and to make your own complaints." Whether saying this does much good, I don't know since with such people I don't go into more subtle ideas like, "Wikipedia has many faults but outright lies are not always the worst ones." Jim.henderson (talk) 14:59, 27 August 2012 (UTC)

Depending on the thing they're being vague about, I sometimes think I detect two other things happening. New-ish OPs may be shy of a bunch of us showing up to look at what they've been struggling with, so they post their query as a general one, not specific. We also get users who would like the credit for creating/fixing something, or at least want to learn by doing not watching, so they are vague in order to prevent helpful Wiki-elves popping over from WP:HD and doing the deed. - Karenjc 19:49, 2 September 2012 (UTC)
One thing you can try is to look at their editing history. They might have tried to edit the article, or editing in related subject areas (for example, if a questionner mentions city hall without saying which city they are talking about, one might speculate they mean Buffalo City Hall if their editing history shows they are clearly a fan of the Buffalo Bills NFL team). You can certainly ask for more information to help you come to a relevant answer. Astronaut (talk) 18:35, 14 October 2012 (UTC)


Could we maybe increase the regularity at which the help desk is archived? We've currently got week-old posts...which wouldn't be a problem on its own, except I'm using a 24 inch monitor, and it takes me 3 screens to get through the table of contents. The page is also sitting at nearly 200kb of text - a lot of people do not have super whizbang fast internet connections. More frequent archiving would make the page a lot more useable. Ironholds (talk) 16:04, 11 October 2012 (UTC)

Doing... - We want three days of "live" questions plus one more transcluded from the archive, I believe. -- John of Reading (talk) 16:29, 11 October 2012 (UTC)
The archiving bot has been inactive lately. See User talk:Ummit#Bot inactive? Thanks for your manual archiving. PrimeHunter (talk) 16:30, 11 October 2012 (UTC)
OK, we're down to 3-and-a-half live days plus one transcluded day. To be continued tomorrow morning... -- John of Reading (talk) 16:35, 11 October 2012 (UTC)
Grand :). Do we want to switch over to another bot, then? Ironholds (talk) 16:39, 11 October 2012 (UTC)
The bot seems to be working again now that the MediaWiki bug that broke it has been fixed. PleaseStand (talk) 00:35, 15 October 2012 (UTC)
It is great that John of Reading has been doing some archiving while SCSbot is broken. However, I noticed that the individual archive pages didn't have the usual archive header (the archive header can simply be added with <noinclude>{{subst:HD Archive header|DAY|MONTH|YEAR}}</noinclude>), and on Wikipedia:Help desk/Archives/October 2012 there were no links to the archive pages John had created. I have now added these things up to Oct 10. That said, I am unsure if the simple links I provided on October's archive list will break the "search the archives" function. maybe somone who knows how the search works can check it for me. Astronaut (talk) 13:15, 14 October 2012 (UTC)
Thank you for adding those headers. The search box looks in all pages "Wikipedia:Help desk/Archives/*", so should continue to work even though parts of Wikipedia:Help desk/Archives/October 2012 are not filled in. But let's hope the bot is repaired soon. -- John of Reading (talk) 13:35, 14 October 2012 (UTC)
See above. PleaseStand (talk) 00:35, 15 October 2012 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Archive search still works. The only difference is that if a search matches a section heading then you will only get the daily archive page now, where you previously also got (but didn't need) the monthly archive index where the section heading is displayed. Archive searches only care about page names (anything starting with "Wikipedia:Help desk/Archives" in this case) and don't need any links to work. PrimeHunter (talk) 13:37, 14 October 2012 (UTC)

Automatic archiving should be back to normal. Thanks for your patience, especially those who've been taking care of archiving the help desk manually. —Steve Summit (talk) 02:38, 5 November 2012 (UTC).

Reliable Source for CD Recordings

Moved to WP:Help desk#Reliable Source for CD Recordings Roger (talk) 21:17, 3 November 2012 (UTC)

Stiff person syndrome

I have hatted a large portion of a question in this edit. It appears to be good faith but is full of original research, opinion and medical advice, which I believe should no more appear here than at the RefDesk. - Karenjc 19:28, 9 November 2012 (UTC)


Hello friends! Can I please volunteer at the Wikipedia help desk?? I've really wanted to reply to help other users – I can help. Thank you and regards —CURTAINTOAD! TALK! 09:20, 17 December 2012 (UTC)

Yes, that's how all the help desk regulars started - by diving in and trying to answer questions. There's lots of good advice at Wikipedia:Help desk/How to answer. -- John of Reading (talk) 09:37, 17 December 2012 (UTC)
Great! Face-wink.svg Thanks! CURTAINTOAD! TALK! 09:42, 17 December 2012 (UTC)

Archiving - December

Automatic archiving has stopped again. I can do this reasonably efficiently by hand, and have archived December 18 and 19, but any moment now the children will wake up.

Note to self: <noinclude>{{subst:HD Archive header|DAY|MONTH|YEAR}}</noinclude> -- John of Reading (talk) 07:38, 25 December 2012 (UTC)

Looks like the bot just started archiving... The Anonymouse (talk • contribs[Merry Christmas!] 07:46, 25 December 2012 (UTC)
I assume that this is connected with the recent lack of automated dating. I have been adding the daily date section headers myself. I realise that the appropriate place for a date section header depends on timezone, and have been using my own, which is GMT+0. Maproom (talk) 09:42, 26 December 2012 (UTC)

Old Lefever shot gun

I just googled my Dad's old shot gun, it's a Lefever nitro special 16 gage bouble barrel, and my search came back as this gun does not exist. That's odd because I have one sitting right here beside me now. can you help me out on this one. What I'm interested in is when was it built. Thank you, Russtter — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:40, 26 December 2012 (UTC)

Symbol move vote.svg Please consider asking this question at the Reference desk. They specialize in knowledge questions and will try to answer any question in the universe (except how to use Wikipedia, since that is what this Help Desk is for). Just follow the link, select the relevant section, and ask away. You could always try searching Wikipedia for an article related to the topic you want to know more about. I hope this helps. -- John of Reading (talk) 21:37, 26 December 2012 (UTC)

Compiling FAQs from mostly repeated items

Is there an FAQ somewhere?--Kozuch (talk) 12:18, 5 January 2013 (UTC)

The top of Wikipedia:Help desk has a box linking to Wikipedia FAQ. PrimeHunter (talk) 12:50, 5 January 2013 (UTC)

Suggestion for improvement

I'm occasionally active at the Help desk, but if I'm away for a bit, I sometimes forget the standard templates, such as {{astray}}.

I notice at WP:CP, if you edit an entry, a collapsed list of standard responses is available, but unobtrusive. I think it would be helpful, not so much for John of Reading or Primehunter, who have them memorized, but for occasional helpers, such as me. What do you think?--SPhilbrick(Talk) 15:51, 26 January 2013 (UTC)

Seems like a good idea to me, at least for the cases where a generic response template should definitely be used. On the other hand, I think this might encourage to use them maybe more often then really necessary. Maybe only a handful of the most commonly used (and actually useful ones) should be added. -- Toshio Yamaguchi 16:05, 26 January 2013 (UTC)
This was suggested in 2011; see Wikipedia talk:Help desk/Archive 9#Edit notice. The proposal ran into technical problems - we can't assume that people asking for help have JavaScript turned on, and with JS turned off any "collapsed list" defaults to "not collapsed". I got part way towards implementing a workaround using CSS, so that some content in the edit notice could be hidden for everyone by default, yet could be made visible for the help desk regulars by adding something to their own CSS configuration. Someone like Gadget850 (talk · contribs) would know what is possible. -- John of Reading (talk) 21:08, 26 January 2013 (UTC)
Not really a JS guy, although I can usually pick at bit. I am pretty HTML/CSS savvy at times. At WP:CP I am not seeing this list of responses. Do you see "Common edit summaries"?
Perhaps custom tags could be added to Twinkle? --— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 21:24, 26 January 2013 (UTC)
The list of responses at WP:CP is hiding in the edit notice. -- John of Reading (talk) 22:03, 26 January 2013 (UTC)

Skip To Bottom

Where can I make a recommendation for a new 'Skip To Top' button at the bottom of the RefDesk pages? I never use the PageUP button on my computer because it's too small. KägeTorä - (影虎) (TALK) 03:08, 3 February 2013 (UTC)

WMF grant proposal

I have submitted a proposal for one of WMF's new Individual Engagement Grants. It is a pilot project to determine whether coaching new editors on their writing for the English Wikipedia improves editor retention, focusing on women and Global Southerners. If you would like to endorse this project, you can do so here. I would also appreciate any other feedback, pro or con, which can be posted here. Thanks! Libcub (talk) 03:29, 7 February 2013 (UTC)

Template:Help navigation

I have taken the time to consolidate our "Help pages" on one template - We were getting complaints that the help system was all distorted and unorganized. Could we add Template:Help navigation to this pages headers as seen below - so our help pages are seen here on the most active help page?Moxy (talk) 17:48, 30 January 2013 (UTC)

There seemed to be unmatched brackets in the last line of what you added below, so it was displaying strangely. I've tried to match the brackets, but I'm not sure of the syntax and what it's trying to do, so probably should be checked. - David Biddulph (talk) 19:03, 30 January 2013 (UTC)
I have edited the page in-question - lets see what others have to say.Moxy (talk) 21:34, 30 January 2013 (UTC)
I feel like there's something awkward about its postion in the myriad of things in the header, but I'm not sure where in the header would be a better location. - Purplewowies (talk) 21:50, 30 January 2013 (UTC)
See next section bellow for its new placement .Moxy (talk) 08:31, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
Wikipedia Help Desk
  • This page is only for questions about how to use or edit Wikipedia. For other types of questions, use the search box or the Reference desk.
  • Do not provide your email address or any other contact information. Answers will be provided on this page only.
  • We are all volunteers, so sometimes replies can take some time. Please be patient.

  • New users: While this is a good place to ask questions, you may also ask your questions at the Teahouse, an area specifically for new users to get help with editing, article creation, and general Wikipedia use, in a friendly environment. There is also a new contributors' help page.
Are you in the right place?
Search Frequently Asked Questions
Search the help desk archives

Help desk header

Maybe its just me, but I think we should try to make Wikipedia:Help desk/Header less complex. With less complex I mean, less content, fewer links and fewer boxes. Perhaps all this content should be combined into one template to be transcluded at the top of the help desk. I can try to draft something in my userapace later if desired. -- Toshio Yamaguchi 13:09, 1 February 2013 (UTC)

Ok after the edit to Template:Help pages header the shortcut was causing some format problems - I fixed this and at the same time did some tweaking - no content change - just some simple font size] change (make more pronounced) and template placement. (compare above vs below ... Moxy (talk) 07:25, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
Wikipedia Help Desk
  • This page is only for questions about how to use or edit Wikipedia. For other types of questions, use the search box or the Reference desk.
  • Do not provide your email address or any other contact information. Answers will be provided on this page only.
  • We are all volunteers, so sometimes replies can take some time. Please be patient. Check back on this page to see if your question has been answered.

  • New users: While this is a good place to ask questions, new users may prefer to ask for help at the Teahouse, an area specifically for new users to get help with editing, article creation, and general Wikipedia use, in a friendly environment.
Are you in the right place?
Search Frequently Asked Questions
Search the help desk archives and other help pages

New descriptive help index

We have a new descriptive help index that may be of interest to new editors and those that assist editors here. The shortcuts are WP:HINDEX - H:INDEX. Pls add Wikipedia:Help index to your watchlist. Moxy (talk) 02:56, 17 February 2013 (UTC)

Very useful script for those answering questions

Hey everyone, I left this note a long time ago, but I'll leave it again as we have new helpers here at the help desk and there are a number of editors who might not have seen it in the past. I'll start with the fact that there's no requirement that editors leave a talkback notice when they answer help desk questions; however, it can be helpful and some editors like to do so. If you add the following script to Special:MyPage/common.js, you'll be able to easily add talkback links. Every editor's signature will contain a link (saying TB). If you click on that link, a form will appear allowing you to fill in the section header. Once you begin typing, it can autofill. This makes talkback notices quick and easy, and in my experience is especially useful for ip's and new editors. Ryan Vesey 18:03, 1 March 2013 (UTC)


ACC needs help!

Hello everyone, I'm DeltaQuad (also known as DQ), an account creation interface administrator and developer. Recently, our project has had an increased backlog in getting accounts for new users. Our numbers are currently above 250 people waiting for accounts on the English Wikipedia. If you could even spare a moment to do a few requests a day to help us clear this backlog. If this interests you and your willing to help, and you match the following description, then please do apply! Ideal users are:

We have a very friendly team to help you get started and we also have an IRC channel. If you have any questions for us or about the process, feel free to ask at the talkpage. If you can help out, we would greatly appreciate it. For the ACC Administration and Development Team, -- DQ (ʞlɐʇ) 23:20, 18 March 2013 (UTC)


<-- promotional material removed -->

My French is not great, and my understanding of dialect French ("vrrle rrtre") with all the accented characters (and characters following accented characters) replaced by Chinese is even worse. Even so, I am confident that the above paragraphs have nothing to do with the Wikipedia helpdesk. I think they are promoting a pyramid selling scheme for alternative medicine products. Maproom (talk) 23:34, 26 March 2013 (UTC)

Lang templates

Hi. I have been using language templates in references. They were appearing really great some weeks ago. However, currently, they appear really in a bad shape. Formerly, language categories don't appear when I add the lang templates in reference titles (I think they were hidden categories). Now, they are included in the links.

For examples, see Ref # 8 in Earthquakes in 2013#References, and Ref # 4 in The Voice of the Philippines#References.--AR E N Z O Y 1 6At a l k 07:13, 1 April 2013 (UTC)

This is the talk page for the help desk, not the help desk itself. But rather than copying the question to the help desk, I've copied it to Help talk:Citation Style 1#Lang templates since that's where the citation experts live. -- John of Reading (talk) 10:20, 1 April 2013 (UTC)
Replied there. --  Gadget850 (Ed) talk 12:58, 1 April 2013 (UTC)


Have you all been looking at the VisualEditor? The WP:VisualEditor is designed to let people edit without needing to learn wikitext syntax. The articles will look the same (or nearly the same) in the new edit "window" as when you read them (aka WYSIWYG), and changes will show up as you type them, very much like writing a document in a modern word processor. This new editing system is intended especially to help new editors, so anyone who works with new editors will benefit from spending some time with the upcoming WP:VisualEditor now, so you'll be able to answer questions when it's deployed this summer (current target is 01 July 2013 for the English Wikipedia). More than 1,500 editors have tried this out so far, and feedback overall has been positive.

Right now, the early test version is available only to registered users who opt-in, and it's a bit slow and limited in features. You can do all the basic things like writing or changing sentences, creating or changing section headings, and editing simple bulleted lists. It currently can't either add or remove templates (like fact tags), ref tags, images, categories, or tables (and it will not be turned on for new users until common reference styles and citation templates are supported). These more complex features are being worked on, and the code will be updated as things are worked out, but this is where we are with the development and testing so far. Also, right now you can only use it for articles and user pages.

What the developers need from people like you—people who deal with basic questions from inexperienced editors—is for you to take it out for a spin and tell them how it worked. Please go to Special:Preferences#mw-prefsection-editing and tick the box at the end of the page, where it says "Enable VisualEditor (only in the main namespace and the User namespace)". Save the preferences, and then try fixing a few typos or copyediting a few articles by using the new "VisualEditor" tab instead of the section [Edit] buttons or the old "Edit" tab (which will still be present and still work for you). Fix a typo or make some changes, and then click the 'save and review' button (at the top of the page). We really need people who will try this out on 10 or 15 pages and then leave a note Wikipedia:VisualEditor/Feedback about their experiences: Did it work for you? Did it screw up something simple? (Give a diff, please!) Did you try something complicated and it worked unexpectedly? Did something not work, but you think it should be a high-priority item because new editors are likely to encounter it? This is going to be a big change to the new-user experience, and they'd like to get it right. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:50, 11 April 2013 (UTC)

You have asked us to write reports at Wikipedia:VisualEditor/Feedback. That page states that a better place for reports is here. And the Visual Editor is a long way from ready. From what I have read there, it does not even support the insertion of references. I consider that while it lacks such an important feature, it is not even ready for testing. Maproom (talk) 10:34, 14 April 2013 (UTC)
According to the posted notice, it's going to be turned on in less than three months, even if you believe that it's "a long way from ready". The plan is to solve the citation problem in between now and then (they acknowledge that this is necessary), but we can test the other features now. WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:41, 26 April 2013 (UTC)


How do I use the help desk — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:37, 17 April 2013 (UTC)

Go to the Help Desk page and click on 'Click here to ask a new question about how to use or edit Wikipedia'. Note that this talk page is about discussing the help desk itself, any further questions you may have should be addressed in the ACTUAL help desk and not here. Kinkreet~♥moshi moshi♥~ 12:09, 26 April 2013 (UTC)

Eyes wanted at Help:Searching

I'm trying to improve Help:Searching, but another user who has added an excess of disorganized geek detail (written in not-so-good English) seems to think that he owns the page. I told him that he can "own" the geek detail, but I want to fix the overview summary (intro.) at the top of the page. I'd appreciate 3rd opinions from Help desk people. LittleBen (talk) 03:27, 27 April 2013 (UTC)

Users accidentally adding their questions to the top instead of the bottom of the list

Hi. There are two questions from March 22 that are at the top of the list on the Help Desk page that have been sitting there unanswered for a few days. Wikipedia policy (or whatever you call it) is to add recent information at the bottom of the page, but these are new users and probably didn't know that.

Could someone please:
1. Move the questions to the bottom so they can be seen and answered.
2. Figure out how the questions got there in the first place.
3. Change things to make the system more idiot-proof. (This might involve editing WP:HelpDesk/Header)

I don't understand templates well enough to do this myself. Thanks! Mattj2 (talk) 04:48, 24 March 2013 (UTC)

This might be something to do with WP:TEAHOUSE, which has everything upside down, and is widely recommended to new editors these days. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 04:50, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
I see the two questions from March 22 that used to be at the top of the list have been removed entirely. Does anyone know what happened and why? Mattj2 (talk) 21:18, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
The questions were probably archived to Wikipedia:Help desk/Archives/March 2013. Teahouse uses a javascript to create questions on the top of the page. If the user presses on the Ask a question button, then the script will work so that the question is on the top. But some users prefer manually adding their question to the page and sometimes they add it to the bottom of the page. Wikipedia:Help desk/Header does not use anything like that. It is just a URL to WP:HD with &section=new. My only guess is that they used Edit tab instead of New section and added their questions to the top. --Ushau97 talk 09:29, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
The Teahouse's top-posting habit is evil, IMHO. It teaches newbies a method that is not used anywhere else on WP. Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 16:52, 3 May 2013 (UTC)
I agree. I am seeing a few inexperienced editors top-posting. I suppose that they must be doing that by editing the whole text and top-posting a section, because New Section always correctly bottom-posts. If questions or comments are top-posted by an edit of the whole page, and there is a maintenance bot, they are likely to be archived. Robert McClenon (talk) 18:21, 3 May 2013 (UTC)
They won't be archived just because they're at the top of the page, archive bots look at the date of the latest signature in sections. Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 18:25, 3 May 2013 (UTC)
@Dodger67: The help desk archiving is a special case. The bot looks for the level 1 headings for each date, and archives these big sections one day at a time without looking at the timestamps. -- John of Reading (talk) 20:51, 3 May 2013 (UTC)
@John of Reading: Facepalm3.svg Facepalm of course! I plead brainfade... Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 06:20, 4 May 2013 (UTC)

Google Knowledge Graph

As Google's Knowledge Graph appears to be resulting in a lot of questions at the Help Desk I have just created a new standard response template, based on a response by User:PrimeHunter. You can find it at {{HD/GKG}}. As with all HD response templates, it should be substituted.--ukexpat (talk) 15:20, 6 May 2013 (UTC)

Frequent Requests about COI Articles

A common topic of posts to the Help Desk recently has been requests about articles about a person or company, from the person or company. Would it be appropriate to put a template or banner at the top of the Help Desk to remind users inquiring about an article about himself/herself or their company to first check WP:COI? Robert McClenon (talk) 18:23, 7 May 2013 (UTC)

We could but I think the general consensus is that people probably don't read the rubric at the top of the page anyway.--ukexpat (talk) 18:26, 7 May 2013 (UTC)
Then we just have to cite WP:COI each time. Okay. Robert McClenon (talk) 18:59, 7 May 2013 (UTC)

Duplicate sections

Any idea why we're now getting a large number of duplicate sections? RJFJR (talk) 17:40, 13 May 2013 (UTC)

Yes. Slow performance on adding the section, so that the user then clicks the Save button a second time, being not sure whether the first Save registered. If the user is editing a section, or editing the entire page, and clicks Save twice, it results in an edit conflict (with himself or herself), and the user will probably realize that his or her edit was already made. However, on adding a new section, the second Save adds the section again. Robert McClenon (talk) 17:45, 13 May 2013 (UTC)

whats the meaning of this phrase..??

miracle of vermeil cypher — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:23, 20 May 2013 (UTC)

It's quite a stretch – but I wonder if this could be a misremembering of "the mystery of the Voynich cipher"? Maproom (talk) 19:25, 30 May 2013 (UTC)
What was the context of where you read it? If we knew where you read this, we could help you work out what it means. --Jayron32 19:35, 30 May 2013 (UTC)
Interestingly, a Google on the phrase, in quotes, gets exactly one hit, which is to this page. That's a fast web spider. It raises a concern because Google should not be indexing Wikipedia pages other than in article space (main space). Googling on the phrase without the quotes, it appears to be a reference to either of two obscure books. Vermeil is vermillion, a shade of bright red or a Renaissance pigment in that shade of red. Robert McClenon (talk) 23:29, 30 May 2013 (UTC)
I thought Google had always indexed non-article space pages. - Purplewowies (talk) 23:52, 30 May 2013 (UTC)
Yeah, it's a common misconception that Google only indexes article pages. By default, everything at Wikipedia is indexed by Google. There is a NOINDEX Magic word that can be applied on a page-by-page basis, but by default everything at Wikipedia is indexed. --Jayron32 00:45, 31 May 2013 (UTC)
Can we please have more information, perhaps where "miracle of vermeil cypher" or something like that might be found? Thanks. Bus stop (talk) 00:54, 31 May 2013 (UTC)
The indexing of non-article pages is, in my opinion, a serious error on the part of Google, and not fair to Wikipedia. Wikipedia articles are the work of the user community and reflect consensus and the Wikipedia process. Talk pages, for instance, are where the Wikipedia community hangs its dirty laundry. Robert McClenon (talk) 01:07, 31 May 2013 (UTC)
Well then, how would you use google to deliberately search Wikipedia: or Talk: prefixed pages for vaguely remembered discussions and things like that? Wikipedia's search function has its shortcomings, and many people use Google to directly search the Wikipedia: and Talk: namespace for very legitimate reasons. Google doesn't make that decision on what to index and what not to from Wikipedia; Wikipedia does and the community has broached this topic repeatedly over the past decade or so, and the community has been very divided on the issue. Wikipedia is littered with dead proposals in this area; you're free to start your own such proposal, and while past performance is no indication of future results, yada yada, don't hold your breath. See this section here and you'll note the number of times that "dead proposal" or "no consensus" appears. Some stuff IS noindexed by default (for example the User talk: namespace), but the Wikipedia: and Talk: namespace is searchable by the search engines, and discussions to change the status quo in either direction have never gotten much traction. --Jayron32 01:32, 31 May 2013 (UTC)
To get back to the original question, what was the context in which the phrase was used? A Google search without the quotes retrieves a reference to either of two obscure books. Robert McClenon (talk) 23:36, 31 May 2013 (UTC)