Wikipedia talk:Reference desk

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search


To ask a question, use the relevant Reference Desk
The guidelines for the Reference desk are at Wikipedia:Reference desk/Guidelines.
For help using Wikipedia, please see Wikipedia:Help desk.
This page is for discussion of the Reference Desks only. Please don't post comments here that don't relate to the Reference Desks. Other material may be moved.

For native English speakers only: Would a native English speaker talk like this?[edit]

  • It does not matter whether a native would say something in a particular way or not. Of importance is only whether it can be understood. (talk) 01:46, 25 July 2016 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 2 March 2016[edit]

Semi-protected edit request on 14 April 2016[edit]

Admin attention needed[edit]

User disguising identity?[edit]

There is a user with posts on the ref desks who signs as: [[|Apostle]] ([[User|talk]]), which renders as Apostle (talk). I recall a troll from awhile ago with a moniker similar to "Russell", but don't recall specifically. ~Cheers, [dynamic IP]:2606:A000:4C0C:E200:9559:2AAF:B103:4945 (talk) 22:03, 17 July 2016 (UTC)

Such a signature is permissible per Wikipedia:Signatures#Customizing how everyone sees your signature. An extensive discussion of this user's signature ("Space Ghost" at the time -- other monikers have included "Angelos|Angelus", "SuperGirlsVibrator", "Mr. Prophet", & "Mr. Zoot Cig Bunner") is at Wikipedia talk:Reference desk/Archive 117#Signature discussion. -- ToE 14:01, 18 July 2016 (UTC)
Okay; thanks for clarifying. —-[OP]:2606:A000:4C0C:E200:476:A710:819B:7961 (talk) 18:03, 21 July 2016 (UTC)
2606:A000:4C0C:E200:476:A710:819B:7961: Just to let you know,
1) I did not receive your notification at the time.
2) Wiki-laides hated SuperGirlsVibrator, and a Wikipedian made me look like a flop when I was learning with the name Mr. Prophet Sad.png - He probably thought I was the Oone... Smile-tpvgames.gif
3) is not me either.
Apostle (talk) 09:41, 22 July 2016 (UTC)

Help sought[edit]

NAC:Original Poster has accepted admonition and is dropping the issue. Robert McClenon (talk) 14:03, 20 July 2016 (UTC)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.


Can you all view this link please. This two are behaving like "idiots" and calling me disruptive. And Guy is threatening me on top - link. Note: I posted to Guy twice before out of annoyance. I thought I'd be nice the third time, but he's an idiot. There is another idiot who's trying to support Guy Macon's baseless argument, named ClanPan...

Can you guys shed some light to this so that I can take them to ANI for disrespecting me, using force. - If they understand their wrong doings I won't take them to ANI.

Apostle (talk) 18:40, 19 July 2016 (UTC)

Why do you keep calling your fellow editors marshmallows? ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 20:38, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
It's short for "people". Slang for friends, close pals, etc. See Urban Dictionary, my link attempt broke the Small template for some reason. ―Mandruss  20:45, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
I know nothing of this dispute, care even less. But you might refrain from calling people idiots while complaining that they are disrespecting you. ―Mandruss  20:53, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
I think Saint Russell should definitely take this to ANI and get some useful feedback. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 21:40, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
I agree 100%. Nobody at talk:Reference desk has the power to shut idiots up, but at WP:ANI they have the ability to completely block idiots from editing Wikipedia. Now that / Apostle has determined that "he [Guy] Is an idiot" he should definitely "take me to ANI for disrespecting him, using force." Regarding the "If they understand their wrong doings I won't take them to ANI" comment, nothing / Apostle has said has in any way caused my to understand my wrong doings, so ANI is clearly the only way to force me into submission to / Apostle's will. --Guy Macon (talk) 23:38, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
I have to say I didn't understand the "force" part. Maybe he's going to use The Force? ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 23:47, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
I just assumed that he was talking about the Forth (programming language) with a speech impediment. You know, like how he says "idiot" when he obviously means "all around nice fellow who everybody loves". It's a common error... --Guy Macon (talk) 01:59, 20 July 2016 (UTC)
Clearly enough for me, Bugs' comment was a thinly-veiled jab at the user's imperfect conversational English, with full knowledge that English is his second language. It's treating ESL users as second-class "others", not unlike similar treatment of IP users, and equally inappropriate. ―Mandruss  02:10, 20 July 2016 (UTC)
User:Mandruss - Can you explain to me what the Original Poster is trying to say? I understand that English may be his second language, but if one edits the English Wikipedia, one should know enough English so that, if one makes threats to go to ANI, someone can figure out what the ANI issue is. Otherwise linguistic competence becomes an issue. Robert McClenon (talk) 02:14, 20 July 2016 (UTC)
No, I can't make any more sense of it than you can. And I don't disagree about linguistic competence. My only point was that neither justifies ridicule. ―Mandruss  02:17, 20 July 2016 (UTC)
Agreed. The Original Poster is creating a better case against himself than is created by linguistic ridicule. Robert McClenon (talk) 02:38, 20 July 2016 (UTC)
The Original Poster is very strongly cautioned to read the boomerang essay before going to ANI. I have no idea what wrongdoing the Original Poster is alleging was committed against them. I do see that they have engaged in personal attacks themselves. However, their complaint is incomprehensible; ANI is a problematical forum, but I do not recall when I have seen them block an editor with a more-than-ten-year clean block log based solely on an incomprehensible post that doesn't even allege a wrongdoing that I can understand. Robert McClenon (talk) 02:07, 20 July 2016 (UTC)

Hello ClanPan, I might have misjudged you, regardless, please forgive me if so. My internet kbs ran out as I was re-correcting myself on the RD Talkpage – if you don’t believe me than please check on the RD Computing page, that I re-wrote the message, deleting your name but not “you guys” carelessly… It takes time for me to write a passage/message, and I do make [careless] mistakes if I rush it… I’m also ESL. Plus, it was late night, I couldn’t top-up

Everyone has bad days sometimes; mine’s explained above. I don’t deal with ANI; you guys are enough… My brain malfunctioned because I couldn’t “undo” it…

Hello Everyone else (except Guy Macon), sorry about this post; my mistake. Let’s conclude the matter as “Guy Macon is right…” I don’t want/need to win this rubbish argument – I behaved like a little kid...

Let’s disclose this matter. Of course, you are more than welcome to take it to the ANI. Your free will, what I careless of...


Apostle (talk) 05:47, 20 July 2016 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Limits on frequent questioners?[edit]

This is just an idea that I have decided to run up the flagpole and see if anyone salutes it. I may turn this into a proper RfC if enough people like it.

There are certain individuals who use the refdesks a lot. They ask question after question, seldom responding to followups. In many cases asking refdesk questions is pretty much all they do. These tend to be especially low-quality questions.

I propose that we set the following limits on frequent questioners:

No more than 20 question in any 60-day period, or productive edits must exceed refdesk questions, whichever limit is larger.

Comments? --Guy Macon (talk) 13:59, 20 July 2016 (UTC)

I agree in principle but have real doubts in practice. The first problem is that it is difficult to define "productive edits". The second is that, if an editor really wants to waste the time of the Reference Desk regulars, they can do so by sockpuppetry, which is more disruptive than just asking too many vague or weird questions. Also, how does the OP plan to enforce it? Presumably by topic-banning posters who violate it. In this case, I think that there is one targeted editor, and the real question perhaps is whether to topic-ban a particular editor who changes their signature confusingly and recently backed off on a very strange threat. I suggest to GM that this idea be put on hold for a while and see if the need for it fades away. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Robert McClenon (talkcontribs) 14:13, 20 July 2016 (UTC)
Contrary to some opinions, I don't think the editor in question wishes to waste the time of the Reference Desk regulars. He is not a troll. Rather, RD is his social outlet, where he likes to hang out. He repeatedly refers to us as his friends (peeps), which is not what WP is for, not even RD (WP:NOTSOCIALNETWORK). This has been ongoing for close to two years and I don't think it's going to "fade away" by itself. I'm not aware of a significant problem aside from this user, and I don't think one problem user justifies a new bureaucracy. In my opinion the user should be encouraged to become a contributing Wikipedia editor (even the English-challenged can make a significant contriibution) and, failing that, to find another place to hang out. Unless I'm completely off base in my perception of him, he is the kind of person who, seeing a clear consensus on this, would not need an indef block. ―Mandruss  14:49, 20 July 2016 (UTC)
I would argue for a more straightforward approach: No new questions until acknowledging the answers to previous questions. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 16:06, 20 July 2016 (UTC)
Requiring him to add a "thank you" at the end of each thread would hardly address the problem. ―Mandruss  16:10, 20 July 2016 (UTC)
Actually, it would address the "problem" posed by the OP here. Trying to impose a "question limit" will do nothing to improve Wikipedia. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 16:13, 20 July 2016 (UTC)
The Ref Desk looks more like a science forum where regulars contribute to but where most regulars pretend that it is a real Ref Desk. This cause this whole issue where most questions are asked by the same few people while that kicks off a discussion by the others, to them it's like a new discussion thread. Then if we're then not satisfied with the quality of the questions asked, we should just start new discussion threads ourselves. That may then attract the attention of other people who are just lurking and not participating. It may transform the Ref Desk from the science discussion forum it is now, to a real Ref Desk. Count Iblis (talk) 00:28, 21 July 2016 (UTC)
I suspect that the cost in acrimony of trying to craft and enforce such a limit would far outweigh any possible benefit, especially since the downside of "too many" questions is so small, especially since they are so easily ignored by anyone so inclined. —Steve Summit (talk) 04:52, 21 July 2016 (UTC)
  • The unnamed gorilla here is, who changes his signature on a monthly basis (so that his trolling can not easily be searched for), who erases his own edits, and who blanks his own talk page, and who asks utterly ridiculous (yes, I said ridiculous) questions to see if he can get anyone to answer, then "apologizes" with a surfeit of irritating emoji gifs that my adblocker would stop anywhere else on the interweb.
This thread should be about warning our supposedly Mongolian and Midwestern troll to cut his shit the fuck out. Other than him, I am not sure whom @Guy Macon: could be accusing. μηδείς (talk) 03:45, 22 July 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for the belated link. I made my comment above without quite a bit of important context. User's motive/intent aside, we clearly have a competence issue here. ―Mandruss  12:28, 22 July 2016 (UTC)
In my opinion, is exactly as much of a troll as you are ;) SemanticMantis (talk) 16:36, 22 July 2016 (UTC)
I'm not entirely sure how to take that. ;) ―Mandruss  16:37, 22 July 2016 (UTC)
That's the fun part. You could interpret it as me calling both of them trolls. But for anyone who hasn't been following along, I have a pretty strong record of AGF and not calling people trolls, even if they have at times engaged in behavior that is not entirely suitable for the reference desk. So the much more reasonable interpretation is that I'm implying that neither of them are trolls. Or if the are trolls, it is only to a rather similar and small extent, in my opinion. SemanticMantis (talk) 18:43, 22 July 2016 (UTC)
Ah, I misread that as a reply to me. Me, the WP:THREAD fanatic. ―Mandruss  19:37, 22 July 2016 (UTC)

This states: Reference desk – Serving as virtual librarians, Wikipedia volunteers tackle your questions on a wide range of subjects. – this I believe is applicable to ‘’registered’’ and ‘’unregistered users’’, a problem (thread fanatics/trolls) what some of us tried to solve a while back rather than moaning about it like some do here, who amazingly done the 20 voting thing too… It did not work out, and I couldn’t support it back (couldn’t guide the ones who supported me, the wrong way) because (a) they are the doers (who can make good things happen), (b) I weighed everything and realised that, the creator of WP done his/her job beautifully, it’s some from within the community are creating issue(s) about certain things because it’s not adjusting with their boring lifestyle/emotions. Further information below stated by SemanticMantis-- Apostle (talk) 04:07, 24 July 2016 (UTC)
Strongly oppose limits on questions. Even if you could get consensus, enforcement would be untenable as far as I can tell. I have never seen any user ask too many questions, in my opinion. If anyone thinks a user is asking too many questions, or does not like a question, they are free to skip it and move on. SemanticMantis (talk) 16:33, 22 July 2016 (UTC)
That's it in a nutshell. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 07:58, 24 July 2016 (UTC)
What about a limit on too frequent responders also: like BB for example? (talk) 23:57, 26 July 2016 (UTC)
What about a limit on drive-by trolls, like you for example? ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 02:08, 27 July 2016 (UTC)

collectivist trolling[edit]

I have hatted two threads, one on rape in Sweden, and one one I am not sure what about blacks in Alabama, since they are both accusations based on unsupported collective guilt premises, not requests for references. If the OP's want to post their questions again in actually neutral, non-baiting language, looking for sources, instead of provocation, they should feel free to do so. μηδείς (talk) 03:38, 22 July 2016 (UTC)

I suspect both of those questions came from the Nazi troll, trying to work his way toward a political point of some kind. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 04:07, 22 July 2016 (UTC)

'Word etymology' preferable to 'word origins'[edit]

According to some editor, the term 'word etymology' 'has been stable' (an effing non-argument) and 'needs discussion' (according to them). So I'm discussing.

Except there's nothing to discuss, it's redundant and really undermines the r. d.'s very linguistic credibility if we apparently can't even tell a redundancy. Either make it 'word origin' as I did or, preferably, just 'etymology'. Or just keep it reverting it for backward reasons, I don't care. I knew you would revert it from the start either way. ~~~~— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:02, 28 July 2016

"Word etymology" means "Word study of the history of words." Hard to tell why Jack would be defending that. Does he know you're talking about him? ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 21:39, 28 July 2016 (UTC)
Is there a level three {{uw-tilde}} template? I recall problems with a user who refused to sign their posts a few months ago... Tevildo (talk) 22:06, 28 July 2016 (UTC)
Likewise, but I don't recall the IP range. In any case, the complaint about the redundant description is valid, albeit somewhat trivial. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 22:12, 28 July 2016 (UTC)
For the record, (1) "has been stable" refers to de facto consensus and is not an effing non-argument, (2) any disputed edit needs discussion, and that one was disputed, and (3) thank you for discussing. With that out of the way...
1. I would have no problem with using the less formal, more accessible term. Our readers are not all high school grads, and many who graduated didn't pay attention.
2. If we use the more formal term, we should use it correctly. There is only one kind of etymology, and "word etymology" is not very different from "language linguistics".
3. If we use the more formal term, at least wikilink it. For that matter, it wouldn't bother me if we linked every term in those lists. ―Mandruss  22:29, 28 July 2016 (UTC)
(Duh! Penny drops.) I assumed we were allowed to discuss the word "etymology", but not just any old word.  :) And if you believe that, you'll believe anything.
But seriously, now that we're discussing: the choices are "etymology" or "word origins". It's not clear to me that either is better than the other. There would be some users who'd be mystified by "etymology", but it is a fairly standard word for native speakers (if only because it's commonly misspelt "entomology", and vice-versa). Professionals use it all the time; lay people less often. I mean, two blokes are having a yarn in a pub, and one uses an odd word, The other says "That's a weird word. Where does it come from?", not "That's a weird word, What's its etymology?".
On balance, I'd prefer "word origins". That's what the OP originally changed it to, but that doesn't mean this discussion has been a pointless waste of time. Far from it.
Oh, and congratulations to the OP for his precognitive powers. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 22:43, 28 July 2016 (UTC)
I would support "word origins", as well. Obligatory reference is obligatory. Tevildo (talk) 23:28, 28 July 2016 (UTC)
I suggest "word origins" here, with an underlying link to "etymology". Especially since "word origin" redirects to "etymology". ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 03:24, 29 July 2016 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Yes check.svg Done - Changed "word etymology" to "word origins", per that rare unanimous consensus. Only Bugs has suggested linking "word origins" to Etymology, and I feel that would look strange being the only link in the whole mess. ―Mandruss  17:12, 29 July 2016 (UTC)

Where's the July 29 section on the Science desk?[edit]

Here's the latest edit I can get to, from the starting point of my edit that started the laser eye section (there's no next edit option) -

If you go to the Science desk page now there's no July 29 section and those edits aren't there. Also if I click revision history of the page there's no history of my or anybody else's edits to the two sections under July 29 -

Anybody know what's happening? (talk) 15:37, 29 July 2016 (UTC)

Must be a problem on your end (browser issue? Page did not load completely?) I can see July 29 just fine. --Jayron32 15:41, 29 July 2016 (UTC)
Try clearing browser cache, maybe WP:PURGE. SemanticMantis (talk) 16:52, 29 July 2016 (UTC)