Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Military history/Coordinators/Archive 40

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Archive 39 | Archive 40 | Archive 41

FAC update, Jan 22

No promotions, no new FACs this week. One name change, to President Truman's relief of General Douglas MacArthur. User:Raul654 appears to be on the road to reconfirmation as the FA Director at Wikipedia:Featured articles/2012 RfC on FA leadership. - Dank (push to talk) 00:42, 22 January 2012 (UTC)

"you folks at MilHist could significantly speed up your FAC turnaround time if you'd train someone over there to do image reviews and to spotcheck sources for close paraphrasing (hint :). Sandy gives a couple of helpful links. Also see Nikki's and Ian's replies. - Dank (push to talk) 04:49, 24 January 2012 (UTC)

And if anyone is interested in doing spotchecks but isn't sure how, both Tony1 and I have guides on the topic. Nikkimaria (talk) 05:07, 24 January 2012 (UTC)

I'm not on a wikibreak, but I'm unwatching a bunch of pages. This will be my last FAC update for a while, and I won't be copyediting or reviewing for a while. I've been studying the copyediting and prose reviewing at FAC, and this stuff is really hard ... and what makes it worse is, surprisingly, no one's written a suitable usage guide that covers collaborative writing as it's done in Wikipedia in 2012. I'm not sure if I can write or co-author that book, but I'm going to give it a shot, and I need some time and some mental distance from Wikipedia to do it. Still, if there's something I can help with, don't hesitate to ask on my talk page. I hope these FAC updates have been helpful. I'll provide an outline of what I want to cover in the book soon, in case anyone wants to collaborate. - Dank (push to talk) 13:30, 25 January 2012 (UTC)

Thanks for putting these updates together so far, Dan. If more than a couple of people would like to see them continue, I'd be happy take it on -- let me know here, guys... Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 23:30, 26 January 2012 (UTC)

Vilyam Genrikhovich Fisher: GAN Review


--Sp33dyphil ©hatontributions 03:49, 22 January 2012 (UTC)

I don't want to sound like I am complaining here. I feel as if other articles in the same section of "Vilyam Genrikhovich Fisher" (which is the article I overhauled and nominated for GAN), has been overlooked by other articles in the same section of GAN. Two of those articles are around a third of the size ... compared to what my article is. Could someone please when they have time GAN review it please? Adamdaley (talk) 02:31, 22 January 2012 (UTC)

I've decided to re-tract my above comment due to the notinations of the "Military historian of the year 2011". Although I have not done much to be nominated, tried my best to keep things flowing and do the best I can. Adamdaley (talk) 02:58, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
I'll take care of it. --Sp33dyphil ©hatontributions 03:47, 22 January 2012 (UTC)

Academy article

I started this academy article from the Open Task list up top, but then fell a bit flat on things to say. I decided to save what I wrote so far, however, If anyone cares to pick up where I left off, feel free. Otherwise, I may return to add more over time. It isn't my best writing to date, I admit, but it's a start. My experience with OOBs is limited to early-modern/Napoleonic army structures, so it is lacking somewhat with regards more modern units. Anyone with knowledge of modern OOB structures is welcome to throw in extra details. Cheers, Ma®©usBritish [chat] 05:59, 23 January 2012 (UTC)

Nice work. I'll add contributing to it to my to-do list. Nick-D (talk) 10:10, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
Alright, cheers. There are a couple of those wanted Academy titles that I'd like to do, in due course, but they'll need copy-editing just a little, afterwards, I think. As much as I can write, I don't find giving "how to" instruction a strong-point of my writing skills. I'll list any here as and when I do create them. Not sure if many people read the Academy pages these days, but what the hell.. as long as they're short and sweet, little time is lost if no one does. There are a couple of titles I'd also like to see written, so I'm not sure, should I just add them to the Open Tasks list, and see if someone picks them up, one day? Not sure who made up the current list, but to be honest, some of the titles there exist already on other Wiki help pages, in some for or other, and don't really need to be rewritten in a military history tone, imo. Ma®©usBritish [chat] 12:03, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
Please do chip in with anything you think might be useful. Although I've been saying this for years, getting to grips with the Academy is something I'm determined to do in the very near future: sorting, collating, copy editing, courseifying (is that a word?) etc. The more content the merrier! EyeSerenetalk 12:14, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
Well, if you're happy to oversee some kind of organisation of Academy "classes", I'm happy to write a few either from scratch or based on existing ones, and maybe update a couple of older ones. Sounds like a good co-ordinator role, to sort them into some sort of course structure, rather than a list of random titles, and may give attention to them a boost. I think MilHist interest has grown, just a little, but noticeably over the last 6 months or so and more questions are asked on how to do this or that for MilHist which need a prominently positioned set of responses, that perhaps Academy could provide. Cheers, Ma®©usBritish [chat] 12:35, 23 January 2012 (UTC)

Another done. May need correcting in any spots where I've got the details inaccurate. Cheers, Ma®©usBritish [chat] 05:29, 24 January 2012 (UTC)

Good stuff :) EyeSerenetalk 08:29, 25 January 2012 (UTC)

This one already existed but was a little tricky to follow, and seemed incomplete, so I have rewritten it with an example that anyone anywhere should understand; it is less related to an aspect of military history, but the US Navy example was a bit too specific to follow, as we wouldn't all know the hierarchy of the US fleet to make sense of the categorisation example given. The purpose of the Academy is to give a general idea, rather than confuse further, so I went for a broader topic. Cheers, Ma®©usBritish [chat] 14:50, 25 January 2012 (UTC)

Project FAQs need attention

Several of the wikilinks on the Wikipedia:WikiProject Military history/Assessment page are non-existent. They are all anchors so don't show as redlinks. They are: all three links in Q6, "peer review" link in Q9, "assessment scale" link in Q10, "coordinators" link in Q14. I may have missed one or two. Thought it best to point these out, rather than just remove them myself, so that someone can update the page if necessary. Redundant anchors seems a bit pointless to me, but I know Kirill usually updates the project pages, mostly, so he, or someone else, may simply have forgotten about these FAQs when tweaking the layout over time, rather than them being left there intentionally. Cheers, Ma®©usBritish [chat] 04:57, 24 January 2012 (UTC)

All of the links are now fixed; thanks for catching this! Kirill [talk] [prof] 01:29, 26 January 2012 (UTC)

Members' list (Kirill's revamp)

I was wondering if anything is to become of the new project Members' list that Kirill was developing last year which looked promising? I have just gone through the current Active members list, where there were about 1,200 names. I checked them all down to the last of the "B" names, moving those who have not contributed for ~6 months to the Inactive list. Of the 177 I checked, 64 were definitely inactive, only about 3 indef blocks, and many not having contributed since 2009/2010, with a few inactive since early 2011. It would take a looong time to check all 1,200, but if we assume about one-third of the list are inactive, we will lose 400 names.

It might be worth removing those names from the Bugle, to free up bot resources – one member I saw as inactive actually never contributed to wiki after adding their name to the members' list, but has dozens of the Bugle posts on their talk page. Seems wasteful. If Kirill is able to revisit the format he was developing, and if we had a bot that could routinely check everyone's activity, say once a week, to render those who have not contributed for 6 months "inactive" and also pause their Bugle subscription until they possibly return to editing, I think it would be worthwhile and a big step forward for the administration of the project. MilHist is very in touch with its articles, sharing knowledge, and "inner members" but I feel it is a little out of touch with its less involved members, and they soon tend to drift away into other things either out of boredom of due to feeling there is a lack of interest in editors. The list Kirill was developing has the potential to allow various things to be gained from it, whereas at the moment we have separate clumsy member active/inactive member lists, separate Bugle lists, etc.

By knowing who is active, there may be long-term benefits, in terms of knowing who is active, the areas they work on, etc. If we could see some new progress towards getting the member list up to standards with improved functionality that the wiki-technology allows for, rather than a plain ol' list, we might learn what benefits it offers, and possibly be able to improve or boost project interest.

Ma®©usBritish [chat] 18:32, 25 January 2012 (UTC)

The main factors holding up the implementation of a new format for the member list are technical ones. In addition to the need for a bot or script to do periodic activity updates—while obviously highly desirable, this isn't really critical for the initial transition—we need to put together a script that will translate the existing membership list into the new format, ideally with minimal need for manual intervention. In principle, I could write this script myself; but I have any number of higher-priority things to work on (the implementation of the new list assessments being foremost on the list at this point), so I'm unlikely to get to this before late February. Alternatively, I suppose we could find someone else to write the script, but I can't imagine many of our script writers would be particularly enthusiastic about a tedious one-off task of this sort. Kirill [talk] [prof] 01:24, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
Okay, I have posted some draft criteria for the new CL/BL/AL classes on the main project talkpage, for further discussion. Cheers, Ma®©usBritish [chat] 03:18, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
I might be able to help out and put something together to translate the existing membership list into the new format — either a simple program or javascript or perhaps just a regex. What do you want it to look like — just the "user=" and "interests=" parameters (plus "inactive=yes/no")? Or were you thinking additional parameter values like the "location=" or "languages=" could be harvested from userboxes or something? Also, should the inactive members be separated or intermingled? — Mojoworker (talk) 04:46, 26 January 2012‎ (UTC)
For the initial conversion, filling out the user= and interests= parameters should be sufficient; trying to collect all of the other information automatically would probably be more effort than it's worth, especially considering that we were planning to ask members to update their entries themselves in any case. As far as activity is concerned, the list should include both active and inactive members in alphabetical order; the only distinction between the two is going to be the value of the inactive= parameter, but that will be reflected in the master table rather than by moving the entries to a separate list. Kirill [talk] [prof] 13:17, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
OK, I'll see what I can do. Mojoworker (talk) 19:22, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
Here's my first attempt from the users lists accurate as of 20:10 UTC. I haven't had a chance to proof it very much, so let me know if you notice any problems. I'll look at it in more depth later. Thanks. Mojoworker (talk) 21:43, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
I fixed a few that had spurious "(" left in them. That's the only thing I noticed. I do have one question: does user=Товарищ in the Cyrillic code page sort before user=בינה_תפארת in the Hebrew code page? Currently those are both at the end of the list (and that's where the Hebrew user, alias AdamDavid was in the old list — and from his comment, it appears he self assign himself to the end of the list. The Cyrillic user was previously somewhere in the middle however. I don't know much about Unicode sorting and [1] didn't really help… Mojoworker (talk) 02:36, 27 January 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Overall, this looks excellent; thank you very much for putting it together!

If it's possible, there are a couple of minor changes I'd like to see made before we finalize the table. First, it would be nice to pre-add blank no_notices= and no_news= parameters to every entry; this will allow us to use the master table to generate the distribution lists for the project newsletter and other mass-distribution notices rather than maintaining a separate subscription list.

Second, the raw wiki-syntax currently places each entry on a single line; while this is a more efficient use of space, it will make it somewhat more difficult for people to update their entries. I think it might be better to format each parameter on a separate line, to match normal template documentation syntax:

  | user= 489thCorsica 
  | location= 
  | languages= 
  | help_adm= 
  | help_cpe= 
  | help_map= 
  | help_img= 
  | help_pho= 
  | help_src= 
  | no_news= 
  | no_notices= 
  | interests= WWII Aviation History

As far as the unicode sorting is concerned, the Cyrillic name is the equivalent of the English "Tovarisch", but I have no idea how the Hebrew one is transliterated. In the interests of simplicity, I'd suggest simply leaving both at the bottom and letting the users move the entries manually if they're so inclined.

On a different note, do you think the overall size of the page is still reasonable? It would probably be worthwhile to create alphabetical sections to make editing easier, at the very least; but I'm wondering if we'd also need to split up the page itself. Kirill [talk] [prof] 04:21, 27 January 2012 (UTC)

OK, I made the changes, but the formatting seems to be messed up compared to the first version — User David Frommer is combined with user David Underdown for some reason. I don't see anything obviously wrong at that spot in the markup. As for the overall size of the page, it seems reasonable to me. Is it possible to have an option to inhibit display of the inactive members? Mojoworker (talk) 05:41, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
David Underdown has missed a closing "]" in one of his interests; ODNB. Adding it renders the table properly. Ma®©usBritish[chat] 05:53, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
Yes. I went back and looked at it, commented out that record and it worked, so I looked at it more closely and found the problem you mentioned and fixed it — so we must've found it at about the same time. Mojoworker (talk) 06:02, 27 January 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Kirill: To reduce the table size, why don't we just remove names that have been inactive for a hellish long time. Many of these editors have not edited on Wiki since 2009, a lot since 2010.. I don't see why we need to "hoard" names that old. I think we should drop anyone who hasn't edited since 1 Jan 2011. Not sure if keeping them on the list serves any practical purposes. If they return to the project, it should be up to them to readd their names. Don't want to be negative here.. but for all we know some of those people from 3 years ago could be deceased, and we've never been informed. Some may have just quit editing altogether. Either way, I think a year is a long time for someone to not return to their account, and a members list of ~30% defunc accounts is a lot to sift through if you're looking for someone for a specific purpose. It would also flush out anyone who has been indef blocked/banned since pre-2011 and shown no interest in returning. Administratively, it would be a good move to reorganise and only import those who have been "Wiki active" since 1/1/11 and routinely mark anyone who has not edited for 3+ months of what remains as "inactive". A bot should be configured to update inactives and purge anyone after a year of zero-edits, to help maintain efficiency and reduce the appearance of artificial members. Ma®©usBritish[chat] 06:09, 27 January 2012 (UTC)

The principle seems reasonable enough. I'm not sure, however, whether the threshold for total removal should be one year or something longer; we have had people returning after a year of inactivity, and it's nice to still have their names on the list when they do. On the other hand, perhaps the number of such cases is so small that it doesn't make sense to adapt the general rule to it? Kirill [talk] [prof] 20:19, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
Well, as I noted in the OP, I checked 177 names, and moved 64 to inactive. I would estimate that about 50 of those had not edited since 2009/10. Assuming the whole member list follows a similar one-third inactive average, that's going to reduce the actives by ~400. Even if we were fortunate enough to have 20 of those, or 5%, return one day, is it worth keeping all their names, and all that superfluous data on the list, when they could easily readd themselves in a few seconds? I think 12 months inactivity suggests loss of interest, on the most part. In the odd rare case where someone does return, after a year they are going to find that many areas of Wiki have developed and moved on.. can't expect us to hang on to them forever nice or not; it's not like we're abandoning them, simply reducing overheads, especially if we tie in the Bugle delivery with the new list. Also, that might be a parameter worth adding. |bugle = yes/no, for delivery. That way, at least all the member data is central. Not sure if having an extra list on Ed17's sandbox is practical, as many editors still try to remove themselves from delivery by editing the member page, as past edit summaries will confirm. We need to identify the advantages the new format offers, and utilise them. Ma®©usBritish[chat] 21:48, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
Fair enough; if people think that removing people after a year of inactivity is the best approach, then I won't object.
As far as the Bugle delivery is concerned, that's already taken care of; see my request to add a no_news= parameter earlier in this section. Members will be able to unsubscribe from the newsletter by setting that parameter to "yes". Kirill [talk] [prof] 23:48, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
Ah, must have missed that post. I think the double negative parameter might be a bit confusing, i.e. |no_news=no it's similar to the way people write "not unlike" when they could just put "like", it's a bit verbose. Wouldn't just using |news=no |notices=yes be clearer (and less Kb as the table [hopefully] becomes more populated), in the long run, with a note in the template comments that they are "opt-in" parameters? Ma®©usBritish[chat] 00:03, 28 January 2012 (UTC)
I would prefer to have the parameters be unambiguously opt-out rather than opt-in as regards the actual subscription; the general convention for project newsletters is that all project members receive them unless they specifically request otherwise, while having a plain news= parameter would imply—at least in my mind—that one must specifically request delivery in order to be subscribed.
As far as page size is concerned, that's not a factor at all; the page rendering mechanism doesn't include the raw names of the template parameters from the wiki markup into the final result, so the longer parameter names don't actually affect the size of the page seen by readers. Kirill [talk] [prof] 00:14, 28 January 2012 (UTC)
I know the browser output won't be affected. I've always been a fussy git whenever I've written any form of xhtml/css/PHP/SQL, sort of a minimalist coder.. the less bytes sent to the parser, the quicker the execution and return, less bytes shaves execution time, slightly. Of course, that goes back to the days hosting offered X-Gb of bandwidth per month, though now most offer unlimited, the habit remains. In terms of Wiki and the vast amount of data it processes per second, I can't help but feel the more optimised the code we create, the better the site will perform overall, quicker parsing, less "database lag" delays, etc.. overheads are easy to avoid. Anyway, if the need is to work from an "out-out" perspective, that is understandable, I am still concerned that the no_param wording is going to cause some confusion for a minority, and should be clearer. People may [rarely] say "yes, I want no news", but never "no, I want no news". The double "no" just doesn't make sense, to me.. so I don't know what sense it would make to those who don't speak English as a first language. Perhaps |news_opt-out or |cancel_news would make more sense? Ma®©usBritish[chat] 01:11, 28 January 2012 (UTC)
If the idea is to avoid a double negative, news_opt_out= (and notices_opt_out=) would probably work. Kirill [talk] [prof] 02:58, 28 January 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, I think it would be a safer option, though I'm just throwing my thoughts out here as the new member list format develops so it can move forward, not insisting on anything that would be unreasonable, I hope. Ma®©usBritish[chat] 03:08, 28 January 2012 (UTC)
Are we sure new_opt_out= would work with EdwardsBot? Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 03:16, 28 January 2012 (UTC)
EdwardsBot expects a raw list of usernames, so the new directory format wouldn't be directly usable in any case. We'll need to put together a script that parses the directory and generates the bot list based on the opt-out tags. Kirill [talk] [prof] 03:19, 28 January 2012 (UTC)
Alright, fair enough – just checking. Allanon [talk] [master] 08:55, 28 January 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I've modified Mojoworker's sandbox version to include alphanumeric headings and a TOC. How does the new format look, in particular with regard to the ease of adding a new entry? Kirill [talk] [prof] 03:19, 28 January 2012 (UTC)

Whilst adding a new entry would be easier.. i.e. not having to load 1,200 rows worth of data (which takes ages with WikEd active and stalls the browser several times) just to add one, I wonder how this will affect searching. For example, if I wanted to find someone who can take on-site photos, I'd normally click that column's sort arrow until they all clump at the top then compare who is active and their locations, perhaps, to find suitable names. With headings, that would mean going through as many as 28 tables, looking for results. So there are pros and cons to having and not having headers. Is there no method available that will allow a user to complete a template on an otherwise blank section and on submit it merges itself to the table, or has that ability not yet been conceived? Ma®©usBritish[chat] 03:36, 28 January 2012 (UTC)
That capability doesn't exist, unfortunately. The closest that we could come to that would be to let people leave new entries on some other page and have the coordinators manually insert them into the main table; but that obviously adds quite a bit of overhead to the process. Kirill [talk] [prof] 08:41, 28 January 2012 (UTC)
Can you tell me, please, where can I find out how we create pre-filled "add section" pages with top info boxes such as this [2]. Been looking through help pages, but seem to be at a loss, and I often see user talk pages with a top info box when I add a message but can't figure out how it's done. Have an idea, but don't want to jump the gun, just yet. Cheers, Ma®©usBritish[chat] 11:27, 28 January 2012 (UTC)
I'm not aware of any particularly good documentation on the topic; the construction preload templates seem to be something of an arcane art passed along from master to apprentice rather than a standardized science at this point. In practical terms, the new structure for the Bugle newsroom includes both preload templates and explicitly invoked editnotice templates, so it's probably a good place to look for examples.
I assume your idea is to use a preload template to generate the blank user entry boilerplate? While that's a good idea, the fundamental limitation is that preloads only work for creating a new page or new section; there's no way to have preload syntax appear at the bottom of an existing section, for example. Kirill [talk] [prof] 12:19, 28 January 2012 (UTC)
My idea is that a pre-loaded template which creates a row from |- to the bottom of the template could be created, i.e.:
  | user=
  | location= 
  | languages= 
  | help_adm= 
  | help_cpe= 
  | help_map= 
  | help_img= 
  | help_pho= 
  | help_src= 
  | news_out_out= 
  | notices_out_out= 
  | interests=

thus creating:


strongly warning members not to add a subject/headline. That would then save into a page, which may not render properly when viewed per se, but if transcluded to a page between the {| and |}, i.e.:

! header !! header !! header !! header...
{{MilHist memberslist}}

may create a table, and save editors having to load 1,200+ rows to add themselves, and would make "full" sorting available, rather than split tables, which negates the point of the sorting facility. To be honest, I don't know if that would work.. but if Wiki can render the {|--data--|} into one table, flawlessly, it should, in theory, work. The preloaded page could also be permanently semi-protected so only registered members can use it, to reduce chances of IP vandalism, and fewer opportunities for mistakes to happen. I doubt coords would ever have to remove more than 1 or 2 accidental subject lines, every so often, thus very low overhead. Ma®©usBritish[chat] 12:43, 28 January 2012 (UTC)

Clever, very clever. (And, yes, the result will render correctly, assuming that the headers aren't entered; the new section form responds to a missing header by omitting the entire header line from the result.)
The main problem I see is that the list won't be in any particular order; while this isn't a big deal from a display standpoint (since we can always sort the table by username), it does mean that anyone trying to modify their entry will need to search for it through the entire list. In essence, this format will be optimized for new entries and viewing, but will introduce overhead for in-place modification. Kirill [talk] [prof] 13:10, 28 January 2012 (UTC)
I see you tested it out.. nice to see it would work as I anticipated. Not really clever, just that I'm an old school procedural PHP'er, never could stand OOP, so I sometimes think linearly to devise solutions. I think the code will look the same in edit either way, if a member wishes to remove themselves or opt-out of something, they just won't be able to Preview it properly. I don't think it would be a frequent problem, but if we can include an info box on the edit page, such as ANI and other pages use, to give clear instructions on how to edit an entry, I don't foresee many problems. So far all the alternatives have had pros and cons, this one included. We really need to determine what has the best balance, which is most flexible, and most usable. A simple "if you have any problems, please contact a project coord" also makes a big difference, someone asking a coord to opt-out Bugle, so they don't balls up the table, isn't a big concern, 2 min job to edit vs a 5 min fix if they do make a mess. I think, regardless of what format the table takes, it needs monitoring. The current bog-standard list states that members will be moved from active to inactive after 3 months of inactivity. I don't think anyone has done that for a very long time.. so this new table, if we can employ a bot to do that, as well as one to handle Bugle delivery, is going to reduce far more overhead than it gains, in the long run. Sorting by username, as default, seems the best. Although if it could be sorted by "active" as default I think it would put them in DESC order of username secondary, so actives would be listed above the inactives. Ma®©usBritish[chat] 13:26, 28 January 2012 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Editnotice is all I can find for top edit notices, but I'm not finding anything that explains how to preload a template into the input box for a user to complete and submit. Ma®©usBritish[chat] 14:27, 28 January 2012 (UTC)
Preloads are implemented at the link level rather than the page level; to use a preload template, you need to have an edit link similar to this. Kirill [talk] [prof] 14:37, 28 January 2012 (UTC)
So the template pre-exists on a page somewhere, and the link takes you there.. but how does it get saved to where it needs to be, as a completed copy, rather than over-writing the page? I'm not sure I follow the working process here. Ma®©usBritish[chat] 14:44, 28 January 2012 (UTC)
The preload only provides the blank, boilerplate syntax; the user making the edit will still need to fill in the actual fields in the template. Kirill [talk] [prof] 14:55, 28 January 2012 (UTC)
Ah, so if I understand correctly, the {{WPMILHIST User ...}} template is created somewhere, unlinked, like WP:MILHIST/members/adduser and it is the "preload=" argument in the url GETS that template, loads the members page in Add Section mode, with the template put into the input box, so it can be completed and saved, whilst the adduser page itself is never opened. Ma®©usBritish[chat] 15:17, 28 January 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Any update on this? I've been manually keeping the version in my sandbox synchronized with the live version, but there have been 6 changes in the last couple of days. Looking through recent history, that seems a little higher volume than usual. It's not a whole lot of effort, and I'm sure you have a lot of things on your plate, so I'm happy to continue keeping them in synch, but if it's going to be a while, it may be easier to just run through the recreation process again. Mojoworker (talk) 17:55, 31 January 2012 (UTC)

I apologize for the delay. At this point, it looks like it will take us a little while to work through the options for preload templates and determine how the list will need to be structured, so it probably makes sense to hold off on further synchronization and simply regenerate the list once we've decided on the final structure. Thanks again for all your help with this! Kirill [talk] [prof] 23:07, 31 January 2012 (UTC)

List format in project showcase

Quick question: what do people think about switching the list format in the project showcase from the current vertical one to a horizontal one (as in WP:FA)? This would get rid of some of the currently wasted space and eliminate the need to worry about column alignment. Thoughts? Kirill [talk] [prof] 01:31, 26 January 2012 (UTC)

I'd like to keep them labeled/alphabetized, but if that's possible, I see no problem with it. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 05:10, 26 January 2012 (UTC)

I was thinking of something along the following lines:


I don't know whether that's sufficiently organized for our use, or whether it looks more like an "unreadable wall of text", as Nick mentions below. Kirill [talk] [prof] 13:25, 26 January 2012 (UTC)

I'd prefer to stick to the current format. The approach used for WP:FA and WP:GA produces an ugly and almost unreadable wall of text. I don't think that space is being wasted in the showcase as it goes a long way towards making the list easily readable. Nick-D (talk) 05:23, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
I agree with Nick. The current format is easily readable and quickly searchable, and I don't have any problem with whitespace at the end of the columns. EyeSerenetalk 08:23, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
I was thinking more of the whitespace in the columns themselves—the article titles don't take up the full column width, so about half of the available screen space is empty—rather than the space at the end of each column. Kirill [talk] [prof] 13:28, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
One other option, incidentally, would be to have the showcase available in both formats, and allow viewers to switch between the two. The new "hlist" mechanism works based off the class parameter to a tag enclosing the list rather than the list itself, so the same underlying FA/FL/A/etc. lists could be rendered in either horizontal or vertical format based on a parameter passed off the main showcase page. Kirill [talk] [prof] 13:42, 26 January 2012 (UTC)

Two more questions regarding the showcase format:

  1. Given the number of images involved, might it be better to change the FP listing from a gallery to a list of links, as we have for FAs, etc.?
  2. Now that the featured sounds process has been deprecated, do we want to retain our listing of featured sounds, or should that be removed as well?

Comments would be appreciated! Kirill [talk] [prof] 13:39, 26 January 2012 (UTC)

Ah, I misunderstood. Wouldn't the amount of whitespace then depend on monitor width and screen resolution? On my 1920x1080 desktop monitor there is rather a lot; on my 1280x800 laptop much less so. I'm not sure we can really budget for that, though I guess we could try four columns instead of three. Perhaps it comes down to what the purpose of the showcase is: if it's to enable readers to easily find a particular article I think I prefer the vertical lists to the block format under pretty much all circumstances. If not, it probably doesn't really matter and a block format is certainly more compact.
Re images, I like the gallery listing simply because we can see the image, but I accept there's a lot of data there that impacts on page load times etc. Listing them as links... that's coming back to my question about the purpose of our showcase :) Re sounds, I see no point in continuing to list external assessments that are now deprecated. EyeSerenetalk 10:44, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
You're right about the resolution issue; the amount whitespace is really driven by the relationship between the width of the text in each column and the overall width of the column, so wider resolutions will have more whitespace while narrower resolutions will have less. Unfortunately, I don't know of any good way to change the number of columns based on screen resolution.
As far as the purpose of the showcase, I've always viewed it as a combination of a project-level "brag list" and a pool of examples for people interested in seeing a high-quality article. Neither of these, in my view, revolves around finding any individual article in the list; the first is more concerned with the overall list than with the individual entries, and the second can be satisfied with any article rather than only with a specific one. Having said that, perhaps other people view the showcase differently? Kirill [talk] [prof] 20:16, 27 January 2012 (UTC)

Academy development

Over the next few weeks/months I'm planning to make an effort get to grips with organising our Academy. I envisage this involving an initial stocktaking of the existing content, followed by collation and rationalisation to group related information together and remove repetition. Finally the content will need to be organised and some sort of overall structure put in place.

The end point I'd like to achieve is a hierarchical set of courses/lessons on each topic, linked in some way (possibly by template), any of which can be dipped into at will or all of which can be completed as a coherent course, with a mixture of technical 'how to' stuff (like our closing an ACR page) and advice from experienced editors, and all following a common style. I'd also like to include some means of obtaining feedback from users and possibly a directory of 'tutors' (ie editors willing to assist Academy users with personal advice etc on each topic).

Obviously this isn't going to be a trivial task and it will involve substantial editing of the content others have already contributed. With this in mind...

  1. (and most importantly) Does anyone have any objections or concerns?
  2. To facilitate the work, can we temporarily reactivate the Academy talkpage? (it currently redirects here)
  3. Can anyone see any technical issues? One that occurred to me is that the work will probably involve lots of copy/paste moves of existing content - does this give us a problem with copyright?

Thoughts welcome :) EyeSerenetalk 09:11, 26 January 2012 (UTC)

1) No, and I think that there's a lot of scope to be bold 2) Yes that would be sensible (though a note about this should probably also be left at WT:MILHIST) 3) My understanding is that if you say where you got it from in the edit summary it should be fine. It's basically the same as splitting and combining articles. Nick-D (talk) 10:12, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Will try and chip in how and where I can. What with helping apply list classes, wanting to revamp the memberlist, and working on articles across 2 WikiProjects, I have a nice full plate, but nothing is considered urgent or priority, so I'm good whether it takes the weeks or months, though I guess it all depends on how many other members offer a hand. I think some of the open task "wanted" Acadademy titles given are specialised (graphics; photographs; how to FAC, coord, review, etc), and worth waiting for, I think some of the titles are too broad and already covered enough in Wikipedia Help pages for the average editor not to need another. And, finally, I think a few more, specifically MILHIST related titles are required: Who to write a battle account? How to determine primary/secondary sources? Those kind of things. We not only need Academy courses that explain how to do trivial things, but ones that inspire editors to want to out try new ideas that lead to great articles. Ma®©usBritish[chat] 10:41, 26 January 2012 (UTC)

I'm not sure that reactivating a separate talk page is going to be particularly useful—if the idea is to get more people participating in the discussion, it would probably be easier to hold it on a higher-traffic page (such as here or on WT:MILHIST) rather than on a new one—but it's not a big deal either way. Kirill [talk] [prof] 13:33, 26 January 2012 (UTC)

I'd like to say, though slightly off-topic, that I find a lot of discussions on WT:MILHIST can become problematic, because the Archive time of 7 days is sometimes too short. For all those ACR/FAR notifications, it's fine. For long-term issues, such as the list assessment which had to be reopened 3(?) times to maintain dialogue, the Archiving is a hindrance and issued get dropped before they have a real chance to develop, mainly because everyone is so busy. It is a shame there is no template to make the bot ignore/bypass a thread that needs to be kept open to allow gradual fruition. In relation to Academy: I expect discussions will also extend over long-term by a small dedicated number of editors, and that Archiving could prove awkward if we use the main talkpage. If practical, I support EyeSerene's idea to use a separate talkpage, with manual or 30 day plus archiving, and simply use the main talk to notify editors of any major discussions. If EyeSerene's is as it sounds, then the Academy could seen as a sort of administrative task force, with its own team working towards developing a sub-section of MILHIST for the benefit of the project. If that is the case, its own talkpages would facilitate its ability to rebuild, develop and function from a central point, rather than messages being mingled amongst everyday discussions and too quickly archived, or individual user talk pages. Ma®©usBritish[chat] 18:17, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
The automated archiving is timestamp-driven; the bot simply looks for the last UTC timestamp in a section and archives it if the current time is later than that timestamp plus X days. To prevent a section from being archived prematurely, you can put a future timestamp (e.g. current time + 1 month) into an HTML comment in the section; this will delay the archiving until the specified time has passed. Kirill [talk] [prof] 20:18, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
Thanks, didn't think it'd be that simple; I expected it to be database driven, using microtime, etc. But I suppose user-created bots wouldn't be given database access, to prevent abuse and attacks, so it makes sense. Ma®©usBritish[chat] 20:35, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
Kirill, I put <!-- 08:00, 12 February 2012 (UTC) --> in the List-class discussion on WT:MILHIST, but retardobot, or whatever it is, has still gone and archived the bloody thread, which annoys me because we haven't progressed since I wrote some criteria, and the discussion has been dug up three or four times already.. should that timestamp have been ignored, because it is exactly as you said to do, and we're not even at 12 Feb yet..? Ma®©usBritish[chat] 04:55, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
I'm not quite sure why the bot archived the section regardless; the format of your comment seems to match the one generated by {{do not archive until}}. The only theory I have at the moment is that the bot only looks at "signature-like" timestamps; in other words, it expects to see pairs of the form {link to user page, timestamp}, and ignores timestamps that can't be matched up with user signatures. In this case, your signature was followed by a real timestamp and then a fake one, so the latter may not have been recognized as something the bot should pay attention to. This is, however, pure speculation, although I suppose we could test it by unarchiving the section and adding a copy of your signature to the comment block.
Having said that, I'm not sure that keeping the discussion open gains us much, given the apparent lack of interest among the membership. I would suggest, instead, that we work on a more detailed draft of list assessment criteria among the coordinators, and reopen the general discussion once we have a more-or-less finalized proposal to make. The discussion can then be reopened on the basis of a concrete proposal, which will allow editors who recognize the need for the criteria—but have no personal interest in writing them—an opportunity to simply approve an already-prepared draft. Kirill [talk] [prof] 21:40, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

This might be a stupid question, but do all of these topics need to be Milhist-specific/targeted? Obviously some are by their very nature, but there are non-Milhist guides on working with free images, for example, or reviewing at FAC. Nikkimaria (talk) 02:31, 27 January 2012 (UTC)

I don't think they necessarily need to be specific to the project so long as they're broadly relevant to our work. To give some concrete examples, guides about FAC have been universally viewed as acceptable because our project works closely with FAC, and much of our article assessment and review infrastructure is oriented towards bringing articles there; conversely, a guide about gaining adminship was generally viewed as too far outside our range of interest to be retained. Kirill [talk] [prof] 04:05, 27 January 2012 (UTC)

To address some of the points above:

  • Per Marcus, I think a separate talkpage would be useful to assist with coordinating work and keeping clutter off the main project talkpages (it might well get very lengthy if we also use it as a holding area for content during the reorg). I don't think we'd want it auto-archived, but Kirill's point about directing potential participants there is important. Perhaps we could do this via a hatnote or one of the existing templates we use on higher-traffic pages? I'd also add that, at least in the initial stages, a smaller team might be better than a larger one until we've settled on a structure and layout. Perhaps part of the problem is that we really have no idea how long this will take and what level of interest it will generate. Based on past experience though I expect the latter to be fairly limited.
  • Per Nikki, although the emphasis should obviously be on milhist I see no reason why we wouldn't cover related topics. It would make sense to avoid reinventing the wheel because there are guides elsewhere to much of the basic stuff, but I agree with Kirill that courses on for example svg map creation, or writing good prose, are generally applicable anywhere. Ultimately it would be nice to create a resource that can be used by any Wikipedian, milhistorian or not.

EyeSerenetalk 10:24, 27 January 2012 (UTC)

In terms of getting traffic to a separate talk page, I've found that periodic "announcements" of discussions there tend to be more effective than permanent hat notes and the like; many people tend to ignore anything at the top of a talk page.
Another possibility to consider if we're reviving a separate academy talk page, incidentally, would be to direct comments regarding the individual courses to it, rather than having them on each course's own talk page; that would get you more traffic and more viewers with no real downsides. Kirill [talk] [prof] 20:25, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
In that case, here are some possibilities: WP:CT for reference templates (although that could be expanded); WP:Graphic Lab, Wikipedia:Graphics_tutorials, this, this, this, this and this for various aspects of images; this for PR, though we probably would want a more specialized version; Wikipedia:Featured_article_advice or this for "handling FAC"; this or this for reviewing at FAC. Nikkimaria (talk) 21:57, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
I think we should also include Tony1's self-help tutorials. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 10:29, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
Looking at the current MilHist Academy, it is fairly uninteresting in terms of appearance, just a few lists under 5 headings, but nothing really welcoming or explanatory. I think if the Academy were designed with a more captivating portal-like appearance, i.e. more modular, it may gain more interest in the long run. Nothing really suggests "academy" at the moment. Ma®©usBritish[chat] 22:41, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
I'm not sure that "portal-like" is the best design paradigm to use; portals are generally designed to showcase a rotating set of selected content, while the academy is going to have a relatively static content pool.
Having said that, I do agree that the current appearance is rather plain. Perhaps something flowchart-like would be a good way of presenting things, especially once we've organized the courses into a more hierarchical structure? Kirill [talk] [prof] 23:53, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
That's certainly something to consider, though perhaps in the latter stages. I agree that a modular/flowchart type structure would be more logical and more accessible.
Re Nikki's suggestions, we've used something along those lines where Wikipedia:WikiProject Military history/Academy/Reviewing good articles is transcluded in from the GA WikiProject. The major advantage of transcluding as I see it is that content like my link and some of those you've linked (especially specialist advice like copyright and FA reviewing) has been developed by the experts in those areas and is presumably maintained by them too, so our courses would be automatically kept current and correct without much effort on our part. My only reservation is that as we develop a house style and course structure the existing pages may not be amenable to being hammered into that style/structure. In the short term transcluding gives us a relatively painless way of padding out course content, but it may be that over time we decide to develop our own content anyway (possibly by adapting the existing stuff). Alternatively we could do that from the start and link existing similar pages under a "See also" section. I don't know... we might well end up with not only a set of Milhist courses but also what amounts to a directory of "how to" content stored elsewhere on Wikipedia. EyeSerenetalk 08:59, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
I suppose this would be a good time to decide what the Academy's scope is going to be. Are we going for a 'how to edit' to advanced courses? Are we just trying for Milhist-specific courses that assume basic knowledge of wikiing? Are we trying for both? We seem to be trying for both right now, but I don't know if we've ever explicitly defined the scope, and that could be helpful. Our decision there may give us the answer to EyeSerene's question. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 09:31, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
Good point, you're right that the scope is quite wide at the moment. My personal feeling is that I'd like to avoid anything too basic (essentially anything covered in Help:TMM) because we might assume that if an editor can find the Academy and has reason to need it they can already edit at a basic level. We could link to that sort of stuff, but I don't see a need to write it ourselves. I'd also like to concentrate at first on stuff that's directly relevant to milhist. However I think that no matter how we define it, scope is inevitably going to wander :) EyeSerenetalk 10:16, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
I agree with that, but <veering off my original topic here> if we're going to assume that the most basic user here needs help writing an article, he/she's going to have a terrible time looking for what's going to help him/her. I think we need to reorganize the academy to make it easier to navigate, probably by category. We should also brainstorm more topics that we want – It's always easier to write for designated red link than trying to come up with something on your own. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 10:29, 30 January 2012 (UTC)

Project discussion proposal: The use of pictograms in articles

I'm proposing that we attempt to develop a project consensus on the above issue. This is the sort of thing that would formerly have been discussed at the STT but I feel here might be a good venue to chew over how we should frame what we put to our members.

To refresh memories, we get regular posts at WT:MILHIST about articles (usually biographical) that include a 'salad bar' of medal ribbons and/or icons or images of medals. Examples are here, here, here and here. There has also been a recent discussion at WikiProject Australia about the issue. We've had debates on WT:MILHIST a few times but I feel that the number of queries we get indicates that this remains an ongoing concern for our members. Developing some clear guidance backed by project consensus would, I think, be a useful exercise.

My questions then:

  1. Do we only ask about medals or do we widen the scope to include all icons/pictograms of this nature (ie flags, unit symbols etc)?
  2. I think given the inconclusive nature of former discussions, a support/oppose/neutral type poll would be useful. However should we go straight for this, or have discussion first, or mix the two? Normally I'd say "discuss first" but my fear is that some members may already be discussed out on this issue.

Your thoughts? EyeSerenetalk 15:48, 27 January 2012 (UTC)

I would suggest limiting the scope to medals and similar pictograms. The flag icon issue is currently in a relatively stable state, and I'd much prefer to avoid unnecessarily stirring it up again.
As far as the format is concerned, I think we'll need to go through several iterations to get to a consensus in either case, so I don't think it matters a great deal. Perhaps some sort of preliminary poll to help identify the major positions in the debate would be more useful than something focused on a particular proposal? Kirill [talk] [prof] 20:22, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
I think that this should be limited to medals and the like for the same reasons as those suggested by Kirill. Given that debates over this topic tend to get surprisingly heated, I'd suggest developing a draft guideline and then asking for comments on it. One approach might be to include different options for the key parts of the guideline. Based on the discussion at WT:AUSTRALIA, I'd suggest asking for input from editors outside this project as well, as I suspect that the views of the editors who're deeply interested in this topic might not be representative of those of the broader community. Nick-D (talk) 00:51, 28 January 2012 (UTC)

I suspected the answer would be "medals only", but I've noticed unit insignia being mentioned on occasion so thought it might be as well to ask! Since Nick's advised getting as wide an input as possible, might it be worth (as Shimgray has suggested here) configuring the discussion as an RfC? As noted we need to identify positions before we can formulate a guideline, so can I suggest the following?:

Proposed RfC wording
The presence of medal ribbon pictograms in articles has been frequently discussed here and elsewhere on Wikipedia. Because of the re-occurrence of this topic, and the inconclusive nature of the discussions, the coordinators are requesting your assistance in developing a guideline that can be added to our project's manual of style.

Examples of medal pictograms in articles can be found here, here, here and here. Previous discussions have taken place in varying degrees of detail here, here, here, here, here and most recently here.

As the first stage of this process there are two questions we would like to put to editors:

  • Should medal ribbon pictograms be used in articles?
  • If so, where and under what circumstances?

At this early stage these questions are intended to prompt discussion rather than support/oppose type comments. However, please feel free to respond in whatever way and with as much detail as you wish. The responses will be used to formulate a guideline to be put before the project for consensus at a later date.

Obviously there are some links and background information needed (eg links to examples like those above), but would this be along the right lines? Please feel free to amend etc! EyeSerenetalk 10:08, 30 January 2012 (UTC)

A RfC sounds like an excellent way of handling this. I've very slightly tweaked that wording. Nick-D (talk) 10:20, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
Added a selection of links and mentioned this on WT:MILHIST (where yet another discussion about the issue is ongoing). EyeSerenetalk 11:05, 31 January 2012 (UTC)
See Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Military history#A possible solution -- PBS (talk) 00:16, 1 February 2012 (UTC)
Discussion there seems to have died down for now. I don't want to pre-empt anything by jumping to a proposed solution before we've decided as a project whether we want medal pictograms in articles at all, but I trust you won't mind if your ideas (along with those suggested elsewhere) are incorporated into the debate at an appropriate juncture?
Does anyone have anything else to add? Any improvements to the proposed wording above? If not, perhaps we can go ahead and set up the RfC? One point to consider is where we want to advertise it - I'm assuming the Australia WikiProject and probably the Biography WikiProject, but other suggestions would be welcome :) EyeSerenetalk 08:54, 3 February 2012 (UTC)
Anyone? I'm a wee bit reluctant to post anything one behalf of "the coords" based on the opinions of only two of my estimable colleagues :) EyeSerenetalk 08:43, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
I have been reluctant to comment because I don't feel too knowledgeable about this topic. I personally like the use of flag icons to help visualize affiliation and branch of service. Regarding the use of ribbons I believe a case by case decision is needed. An example for my reasoning is the use of ribbons for high awards in the German post WW2 Bundeswehr. WW2 recipients of high awards, such as German Cross and Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross were allowed to wear ribbons indicating that they had received such an award. However during WW2 such ribbons did not exist in the Wehrmacht. Net-net I would not recommend a flat out use of ribbons however I do believe in some cases they help visualize. As a rule of thumb I would suggest something along the lines of "did the individual ever physically wear such a ribbon". If this question can be answered with "yes" than it is probably okay to have this in the article. MisterBee1966 (talk) 09:03, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
I agree, I don't think it's going to be a black and white issue. However, do you think that it would be useful to put the question to our members as proposed in the boxout section above? EyeSerenetalk 09:30, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I would support asking the greater community. MisterBee1966 (talk) 10:40, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
Eye, I think your wording is as transparent and neutral as could be wished. As to interested parties, obviously MilHist and Bio spring first to mind. Australia has held a discussion on it too but if we ping one country's project then perhaps we should be pinging every one whose compatriots have offered opinions in the past... Cheers Ian Rose (talk) 11:50, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
Thanks Ian and Mr Bee. If there are no further comments I'll wait until the current discussion on WT:MILHIST gets archived then get this started. EyeSerenetalk 12:30, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

Is WT:MILHIST too busy?

I think that WT:MILHIST is in danger of becoming a victim of its own success. While it's excellent that the project's main talk page is busy, there have been over 30 new threads started in the last week (including review notifications) and I'm finding it hard to follow what's going on, and I'm sure that others are in the same boat. The most obvious way to better manage the discussions seems to be to reactivate the most-relevant task force talk pages (eg, those for the German, Australian and New Zealand and British TFs) and encourage non-general discussions to take place there. Alternately, and I'm not sure if this is technically possible, I've always liked the idea of setting up some thematic talk pages (eg, one for general business, one for discussions of MOS-type issues, one for discussions of notability and so on). Do other coordinators think that this is something which is worth addressing though? Nick-D (talk) 07:44, 30 January 2012 (UTC)

Incidently, this graph of page views over the last 90 days seems to illustrate the surge in traffic, though it does suggest that this might be an unusual surge. This historical page view data shows that nothing like this took place during the same period last year ( [3] and [4]), and it's encouraging that the average number of page views at present (about 200 per day) is about double that of the average this time last year. Nick-D (talk) 07:50, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
If we went with your second option, we could organize it like Wikipedia:Village pump, where no posts would be put on the main project page. I'm worried that dividing the pages will result in less discussion participation, though. A less-drastic could be placing review notices and moving long substantive discussions to separate subpages (while keeping the section headers on the main page). We could give that a month-long trial and assess if we need stronger or weaker changes. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 08:00, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
I object to the idea of "thematic" talk pages, since that will create a lot of confusion. I think we should rid the ACR, FAC, and PR notifications because they're repetitive and "in your face" (if you know what I mean), and over time, I have to say, I don't pay attention to them anymore. --Sp33dyphil ©hatontributions 09:52, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
(Non-Coord opinion) If we stopped the ACR/FAC/PR notices, perhaps the answer would be to make the summary of open tasks at the top always open (whether it should be hideable even if the default was "open" is another matter). Grandiose (me, talk, contribs) 09:58, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
And maybe to colour-code the FACs and ACRs according to the age of the nomination and/or the amount of attention a particular page is receiving. A bot may be relied on for carrying out the latter, as it may take up some valuable time from other editors that may be better used in other tasks. --Sp33dyphil ©hatontributions 10:10, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
I too find it difficult to keep up; with active discussions moving up WT:MILHIST with great rapidity it's easy to lose track of which ones I'm following (when's Liquid threads happening again?). I prefer the idea of thematic talk pages to reactivating the TF talk pages, though I believe the impetus behind closing down those we've tried (like the STT) was the lack of participation. I'm not sure if we'd just be opening ourselves up to the same problem again. However, I do think it would be a good idea to stop posting review notifications as a matter of course. We list them all in the announcements template anyway, and the occasional notice where a review needs particular attention is more likely to stand out from the crowd that way. EyeSerenetalk 10:46, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
I like the idea of separating the administrative housekeeping announcements from the discussion topics. Keeping an abbreviated version of the open tasks at the top of the talk page is a very good suggestion. I could envision some type of FIFO type of ticker that shows the last 7 (subject to debate) events/days only. For the full list we already have the page Wikipedia:WikiProject Military history/Open tasks. MisterBee1966 (talk) 11:09, 30 January 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I tend to agree with Sp33dyphil that trying to create "thematic" talk pages will be confusing for most participants; to take the example of the Village Pump, the scope of the technical subpage is fairly well-defined, but the scopes of the other four are not, and any particular discussion may wind up taking place on any of them, almost at random. Beyond that, I'm generally wary of pushing discussions off to subpages as a matter of principle. In my experience, every additional level of subpaging reduces readership and participation by an order of magnitude; recall, for example, the failure of the strategy talk page (which was, in some ways, an attempt to split off a particular "type" of discussion).

If we're going to end regular review notices, I would suggest replacing {{WPMILHIST Announcements}} (at the top of the talk page) with {{WPMILHIST Review alerts}}; the former is quite dense (and quite large), and its presence in a fully expanded state would likely turn people off reading the page. As MisterBee1966 says, the dedicated open task page is always available for anyone that wants to see more detail or items not listed in the smaller templates.

One other option we might consider would be to start more regular use of the various templates like {{resolved}} or {{discussion top}}/{{discussion bottom}}, although I'm not entirely sure how much that will improve readability. Kirill [talk] [prof] 13:53, 30 January 2012 (UTC)

Your suggestion regarding replacing {{WPMILHIST Announcements}} with {{WPMILHIST Review alerts}} makes sense to me. I also see no problem in principle with using administrative templates on the page, though I suspect one reason we've never done so before is that it requires someone to take a command decision and traditionally we all adopt a rather hands-off approach. I'd be wary of us being accused of closing discussions prematurely, for example, and being perceived to be 'managing' the talk page in the same way as happens at venues like WP:ANI. I doubt that using {{resolved}} would be controversial though, at least for obvious questions; in fact we could always ask the editor posting the question to add the template themselves when they're happy with the response. EyeSerenetalk 17:41, 31 January 2012 (UTC)
As a non-coord who views the main talk page virtually daily, I note too that there are days when a lot of things get added in a short period of time, some become lengthy and it becomes too much to get through them all. I don't think people pay much attention to the PR/ACR/FAR notices, and we should stop those, as after a while they become clutter, except in the cases when perhaps a nomination has been open for a while an gotten no reviews. I support use of {{resolved}} but also think if people mark tasks as  Done or Not done it helps people scan through the discussions faster. Although wiki is generally "not a forum", some of the conos can become chatty, which I don't see as an issue, to maintain rapport. But in terms of tasks, article discussions, etc, the use of templates to help administrate the discussions cannot be anything less than professional, in only to maintain the work flow. When there are quiet days on the talk page, it gives us time to work on things without as many distractions. Some of the more trivial comments being left on the main talk page.. pushy IPs.. you know who I mean.. are starting to become bothersome, I feel. We need to make sure they don't start affecting the morale of the project with their opinions, also. I have voiced my concerns to them directly, however, and hope their attitude changes. Ma®©usBritish[chat] 17:59, 31 January 2012 (UTC)
I have no prob ceasing the PR/ACR/FAC announcements -- is there anyone actually opposed to that idea, since a couple of ACRs at least have just been added (one of them mine) for which I'd usually make an announcement at this point, but my impression is that we all feel they can stop. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 14:04, 2 February 2012 (UTC)
There seems to be a consensus that we should stop the PR/ACR/FAC announcements, and use a different template at the top of the page to highlight reviews. I'm not sure about using {{WPMILHIST Review alerts}} though - it's easy to miss, and leaves out the peer reviews and FA reviews. Nick-D (talk) 09:22, 3 February 2012 (UTC)
I find {{WPMILHIST Announcements|simple=yes}} this easiest option: it shows you every review, plus announcements and news, and it doesn't take up too much space. I have it on my user page and practically live in it. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 09:47, 3 February 2012 (UTC)
That's my preference as well. Nick-D (talk) 09:57, 3 February 2012 (UTC)
That's actually more or less what we currently have; the |simple=yes parameter doesn't actually alter the appearance of the standard {{WPMILHIST Announcements}} (it's a holdover from when we had task force announcements integrated into the master template). The only difference between WT:MILHIST and Ian's user page is that the template is forced into a collapsed state on the former; I'm assuming that the idea is to turn that feature off, and have the box appear expanded by default? Kirill [talk] [prof] 03:08, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
Yes, that's what I was thinking. Nick-D (talk) 03:28, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
Ditto -- I think we can afford that much space at the top of a page being taken up with this info. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 07:02, 4 February 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I've taken a stab at rearranging the header on WT:MILHIST. The new layout eliminates the standalone news/announcements box (in favor of the corresponding fields in {{WPMILHIST Announcements}}) and shows the open task summary box in a fully expanded form. Comments would be appreciated; in particular, should we perhaps have the open task box omit the category listings at the bottom to save space? Kirill [talk] [prof] 01:00, 5 February 2012 (UTC)

Thanks Kirill, that looks great to me. I think that the open tasks should remain there - they don't take up much extra screen real estate. Nick-D (talk) 02:01, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
I agree with Nick. It occupies between 1/3 and 1/2 of the screen space depending on which monitor I'm using, which doesn't seem excessive. Making it collapsible might lead to it being completely overlooked; we do want it to be noticed after all :) EyeSerenetalk 08:40, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
A trivial point, but the "Military history Wikiproject" (lowercasing is really out of control on WP btw) sidebar at the top of WT:MIL and this page wouldn't look cramped at all if it were 1/3 to 1/4 narrower ... that never bothered me before, but the announcement template at the top of WT:MIL could use all the space we can give it. - Dank (push to talk) 05:17, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
I see a couple of issues with reducing the width of the template:
  1. While the entries which are visible by default are indeed relatively short, a lot of the other ones (e.g. some of the task force names) are quite a bit longer. Reducing the width of the template would require either having the template expand when those sections are displayed (which is obviously not an ideal approach, and very visually jarring) or having the longer entries broken onto 3–4 lines (which, in my opinion, looks rather unsightly).
  2. Over the past few years, there's been a lot of effort to standardize the width of various templates (including project navigation templates, small-form project banners, and so forth) to a common value. Changing the width of our template will break its alignment with those other templates on pages where they are present.
Beyond that, I'm not sure that a minor reduction in the width of the navigation box will have any profound effect on the announcement box, which already takes up 3/4 of the total available space. With the way the announcement box is constructed, the height will remain relatively stable regardless of small changes to the width; and the box isn't going to extend below the first screen in any case. Kirill [talk] [prof] 23:20, 9 February 2012 (UTC)

More input required

Hi can this discussion Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Military history#What should be in Campaign Box templates be added to the Template:WPMILHIST Announcements to generate more input. Jim Sweeney (talk) 20:13, 9 February 2012 (UTC)

Done. Kirill [talk] [prof] 23:24, 9 February 2012 (UTC)


It is with great regret that I am compelled to resign as a MilHist coordinator as a result of a recent ArbCom case. Hawkeye7 (talk) 21:18, 15 February 2012 (UTC)

Hi mate, I only had time to skim the case -- okay, crap result (can it be appealed?) but do you really need to cease acting as coord? Hope you'll reconsider... Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 23:46, 15 February 2012 (UTC)
It's sad that another Coordinator has thought about leaving WikiProject Military History as a Coordinator. I was going to post something else on here, until I read that Hawkeye7 was going to resign. Adamdaley (talk) 05:26, 16 February 2012 (UTC)
Hi Hawkeye, I also hope that you'll reconsider. That ArbCom case doesn't relate to your role as an coordinator, and I think that you've been doing a great job. The likely result of the case is pretty dumb in my view - ArbCom usually does a good job, but they've totally messed up every stage of this case. Nick-D (talk) 06:50, 16 February 2012 (UTC)
You're a milhist member in good standing and an effective coordinator. I don't see much in that Arbcom case that would change that, so I also hope you'll reconsider stepping down. EyeSerenetalk 09:19, 16 February 2012 (UTC)
I'll second that. Nobody has called into question your effectiveness as a coordinator, and it seems that, as far as your fellow coords are concerned, there's nothing to call into question. It's a shame you're losing your mop, but it would be an even greater shame if we were to lose you as a coordinator over it. HJ Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 09:34, 16 February 2012 (UTC)
I don't keep up with Arbcom much. I'm aware that Kirill and Roger, our two emeritus coords, have had a strong influence on that institution, and I'm sure you could learn a lot more from their opinions than from mine. But if it were me in the crosshairs, I would accept Arbcom's authority to make the call without ceding them any moral authority to declare me a bad or unwise admin or editor. There's not a word in the proposed opinion acknowledging their own role in letting things get as bad as they got, even though they acknowledge repeatedly that the baiting was getting out of hand; in fact, they turned away the opportunity to deal with a case covering much of the same material in November. Apparently, they preferred letting things get a little worse to clarify the issue before they stepped in. It's behavior that's typical of courts, and I've given up hope that legal systems will ever be any better than this. I think it's a mistake to consider any judge a decider of what's right and wrong, even if they couch their opinions in that language. - Dank (push to talk) 13:34, 16 February 2012 (UTC)
Personally I wouldn't wish an Arbcom job on my worst enemy. I think it's a thankless task and I'm grateful we have editors of the calibre of our emeritii who are public-spirited enough to put up with all the crap the role seems to bring with it. I firmly believe we also expect far too much of Arbcom—Solomnic wisdom plus an ability to read minds for a start. I can't help but recall what I was told once by a lawyer during an tribunal I was involved with: "What you'll get won't be justice, it'll be the Law". Thus it comes as no surprise that it looks like we are indeed getting 'the law', but I can only reiterate that in my opinion Hawkeye has brought neither himself nor Milhist into disrepute and I would be very sad to see him step down from the coord team. EyeSerenetalk 16:18, 16 February 2012 (UTC)
I will stay on for now then. This was my second trip to ArbCom in as many weeks, and I did not want anything to spill over to here. Hawkeye7 (talk) 21:04, 16 February 2012 (UTC)
I'm very glad to hear that you will stay. I think we've traditionally been pretty tolerant here, and something like this, which hasn't brought you into disrepute (to borrow words from ES) and is far outside a Milhist topic, won't worry many people here. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 01:46, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
I'm glad to hear that you've decided to stick with us; I've never had a problem with your edits or behavior and would have regretted your departure.--Sturmvogel 66 (talk) 02:02, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
Similarly, very glad you're able to stay with us. Hchc2009 (talk) 07:03, 17 February 2012 (UTC)

As Bugle co-editor, I just want to thank everyone who's been adding complete blurbs for promoted articles in the upcoming issue, rather than simply placeholders -- that saves Ed and me a fair bit of work. One thing though, on a few occasions fair-use images have been incorporated, presumably because they were in the article's infobox and no-one checked that the licence for that particular image was free. Not singling anyone out at all, I've done it myself when I wrongly assumed a WWII-era shot just had to have been PD, but in fact it wasn't. I realise checking the licence adds a bit more time to the process but we need to be on the safe side -- it's the same rule as for TFA on the front page. Remember that while the infobox image might be the most representative of the subject, it may not be the only picture in the article, and if the infobox shot is copyrighted, others aren't necessarily. Thanks/cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 23:16, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

Makes sense. I have to admit I've never even thought to check that, but I will in future. EyeSerenetalk 09:04, 23 February 2012 (UTC)

ACRs being missed

I just noticed that five articles listed for ACRs at Wikipedia:WikiProject Military history/Assessment/A-Class review hadn't been added to Template:WPMILHIST Announcements. Not surprisingly, these articles had received very few reviews. Could I suggest that everyone watchlist Wikipedia:WikiProject Military history/Assessment/A-Class review? Cheers, Nick-D (talk) 04:29, 25 February 2012 (UTC)


I'm not bringing this up at WT:FAC yet because Raul and others have asked us to put off general discussions there for a bit, but I want to offer my opinion here (and maybe this will turn into a discussion that can jump-start the impending discussion at WT:FAC) that our articles aren't going to get sufficient FAC-level copyediting unless and until we find a way to pull in more people to do it. What I've done for the last couple of years isn't sustainable if I'm going to get some serious writing done. There are two problems: articles need copyediting to pass FAC, but they also need a consistent minimal level of copyediting just to survive a week at FAC ... the new delegates haven't been too brutal yet about this, but I think that's the direction we're headed. The WP:Checklist has always been conceived as a list of uncontroversial style points that anyone can follow and apply ... if we need to lengthen or shrink or tweak that list, please comment here or at WT:Checklist. I think there's a chance that the upcoming discussion at FAC will result in "FAC clerks" who may be able to handle some of the workload, which would be a good thing ... but whether we have clerks or not, we need black-and-white criteria to follow, and WP:Checklist is the closest thing we've got. - Dank (push to talk) 15:45, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

GA:W split

Hello. Per this discussion, I've split the Warfare GAs into a separate page of their own, Wikipedia:Good articles/Warfare. I've prodded for an update on Template:GA/Topic and informed User:GimmeBot and User:GA bot about the change. I don't know all of the places our good articles are linked to on this project, but the links should be updated to reflect this. I'll be continuing to update the page to optimize its display, and any suggestions/assistance are appreciated. Thanks! —Ed!(talk) 17:42, 3 March 2012 (UTC)

Feb contest

I've tallied the points, updated the table and awarded the barnstars to Sp33dyphil (1st place) and Djmaschek (2nd place).--Sturmvogel 66 (talk) 05:21, 7 March 2012 (UTC)

Great, tks mate -- been in the middle of GANs, ACRs, and FACs so appreciate the help! Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 05:25, 7 March 2012 (UTC)

What A Find!

I ordered a book from Amazon which came from England. Inside this book between pages 32–33, was a newspaper clipping about "Sensational British Invention! STOPS GARDEN DAMAGE FOR GOOD" from The Sunday times April 29, 1973. Is the owner of this clipping looking for this for almost 39 years? Adamdaley (talk) 08:26, 7 March 2012 (UTC)

I once found what appears to be a note from one Australian senator to another in a first edition copy of Defeat into Victory I bought for $10 at a second hand book fair! (a good buy all round). Nick-D (talk) 09:37, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
It is a great find from Senators! First time, I've ever got a little extra what I paid for a book! Adamdaley (talk) 10:28, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
I'm intrigued to know what the invention was... EyeSerenetalk 12:45, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
Imagine a cartoon the left side is a messy lawn with birds, dogs clutter etc. Next a nice lawn-mowed yard neat and tidy. The article says: "A British Chemist has now discovered a treatment for all types of plants, trees, lawns, etc., that protect them against most bird or animal damage. Tests have proved so successful that this sensational new product has been granted world wide patents. At the 7th INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS OF PLANT PROTECTION in Paris it was confirmed that CURB would not only protect most growing plant life but also protect animals and birds from one another. Tests have confirmed its effectiveness and a Major British Society for Prevention of Cruetly to Animals said that it did its intended job without endangering the animals.
Read what Plant Breaders and Seed Specialists said, 3rd December, 1971: Wheat seed was treated with CURB before planting to stop lose from birds — THEIR CONCLUSION; Apart from some cultivation damage all plots have suffered no damage whatsoever. This original test and many, many more are available for inspection at our offices. YOUR MONEY REFUNDED IN FULL ON RECEIPT OF THE USED CONTAINER IF NOT COMPLETELY SATISFIED.
Aerosol spray, state indoor or outdoor use ₤1.00 + 10p p/p. Garden Pack (for use in garden sprays) covers approx. 200 yards (180 m) ₤1.25 + 25p. Pack for Shrubs and Fruit trees £1.50 + 25p (no extra for V.A.T.) TRY NOW – ON NO–RISH TRIAL ... What follows is to fill out the form below. Adamdaley (talk) 13:17, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
Heh, thanks Adam. You know what the strange thing about that is? I had to get hold of some manufacturer's safety data sheets about a week ago (my job involves Health & Safety) for an animal repellent called 'Scoot'. It's apparently also sold under the name 'Curb Garden Powder'... weird coincidence eh? Looks like the company is still trading. I guess they didn't have to refund too much :) EyeSerenetalk 14:13, 7 March 2012 (UTC)

Werner Hartenstein

Could someone point me to an article in any printed English encyclopedia on any subject that has as high a proportion of German as this article? Also see WT:FAC#Copyediting_question. - Dank (push to talk) 13:11, 10 March 2012 (UTC)

Some Osprey books written by Gordon Williamson include that much German terminology, but this is highly unusual (and Williamson doesn't have good reputation). Many of the terms translated in that article appear to have direct English-language equivalents, so the translations are unnecessary. Bear in mind though that other editors are more comfortable with foreign-language translations in articles than I am. Nick-D (talk) 00:58, 11 March 2012 (UTC)
If I can whine a little, it puts me in a difficult position when FAC standards are so far off from A-class standards ... but I can understand it here. Personally, I'm in favor of multiculturalism and the you're-not-the-boss-of-me culture of Wikipedia. But when the language in an article at FAC doesn't follow the usual style guides and looks very different from articles I've seen in English-language encyclopedias, I have to oppose, because that's what FAC is about. - Dank (push to talk) 12:09, 11 March 2012 (UTC)
It's a matter for consensus article by article, but personally I think this article overdoes the German. I'm all for translations where the English version could mislead the reader in some way, but I'm not convinced that phrases like "German Cross in Gold" need to be explained in German as "Deutsches Kreuz in Gold", for example; a footnote could do the job just as well and maintain the flow of the article better. Hchc2009 (talk) 13:14, 11 March 2012 (UTC)
I was at a conference where military historians were asked what they would change in their education if they could do it over again, and all of them agreed that they wished they had studied more foreign languages, because knowing English only limits them to writing about English-speaking armies. Taking a language in high school was not compulsory then, although it was at mine. (The FAC reviewers who complain about foreign words seem to have little hesitation about demanding that I read whole books in German or Italian!) MOS:FOREIGN is reasonably clear: Foreign words should be used sparingly. In MILHIST, we have certain German words that are in common use in military history books, although not actually loanwords in the generals sense, like panzer, Afrika Korps, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine (but not Heer!), U-boat, flak etc. (I have a strong personal preference for German ranks too.) Perhaps we should compile a list of them. There has also been an argument that putting phrases in German makes them sound more special, like in the way that chefs think that the menu sounds tastier in French. I don't think that the use of German in Werner Hartenstein (which I looked at when it was promoted to A class) is excessive, nor that it sets the record. In fact, I still think that there are a couple of bits that could stand more explanation. Hawkeye7 (talk) 21:48, 11 March 2012 (UTC)
Yes, a list as a guide would be very helpful. When writing a German military biography one comes in contact with all elements of German society, education, etc. not just the military. The German education system, as an example, has been a three tier system for almost 200 years. What is the English equivalent of a Gymnasium which leads to the Abitur? The American highschool with its diploma is not comparable. MisterBee1966 (talk) 05:58, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
I usually put in enough time copyediting so that I can avoid opposing at FAC, but I've made many suggestions in your articles in the past, MisterBee, and I don't think the point is getting through that articles in copyedited English-language encyclopedias don't (ever, as far as I know) contain this high a proportion of foreign words. Not every reader who wants to know something about a naval officer wants to learn enough German to understand what it means that he got his Abitur from a humanistische Staatsgymnasium. I agree that you want to avoid "high school diploma" since those words are inaccurate; just say that he graduated. Readers who want to know more are generally happy reading footnotes or following links. - Dank (push to talk) 12:50, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
Sorry but I am not sure this works. You can graduate from a Gymnasium with at least three different types of degrees, they are Mittlere Reife, Fachhochschulreife and Hochschulreife (Abitur). I am not reluctant to change but it is not that simple. MisterBee1966 (talk) 13:17, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
A little context: the cultural divisions in the US have grown stronger and, well, more divisive, over the last 40 years (contrary to what I and all my peers expected, I think); one consequence is that, in polite discourse, most people try really hard to avoid sounding like they think Fox News cable news sounds, that is, rigid and heavy-handed. (Others try to sound exactly like that, but I wouldn't call that polite discourse :) So, apologies for sounding retrograde, and I have no problem with this article outside of FAC, but unless someone can point to an article in any encyclopedia (let's say printed, but what I'm really getting at is "professionally copyedited") with this high a proportion of foreign words not in English dictionaries, or show me that this is an issue people haven't cared about at FAC in the past, I'm going to oppose the article at FAC. You're right, there are a lot of difficult judgment calls here, and I'm hoping you'll get some help with that. I've made a fair number of suggestions in your articles in the past at A-class and FAC; I don't remember the specifics, and those suggestions may or may not help with this article. - Dank (push to talk) 13:50, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
Sorry, am I sensing a level of frustration at dealing with me? It is not my intention here to come across as stubborn or not willing to understand, not to say stupid, because that is the feeling you give me! I don’t even know what Fox news is. So what you are trying to tell me, honestly I don't understand. Sorry about that. MisterBee1966 (talk) 14:01, 12 March 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────No, I'm not frustrated with you and you certainly aren't slow-witted (as you know!), I'm just saying that I've put in some time on this issue already. A couple of points:

  • The New York Times Magazine from August 8, 2011, has an excellent article called "To Choose Is To Lose" that gives evidence that "the very act of making decisions depletes our ability to make them well". (Here's a link, but it may not work for everyone.] That is, anyone who has to make a lot of decisions during the day does a worse job of it the longer they go without a break. I'm not asking for sympathy here, just some understanding that there's isn't a more "depleting" job than copyediting, in the sense that it requires a high rate of decision-making, drawing on mental data sets gathered over a lifetime from different and usually contradictory sources. The article I'm citing says that people vastly underestimate the difficulty of sustained, rapid decision-making. I can't simply fix everything that looks like a problem to me, particularly when the issues are cloudy and there's a lot of disagreement.
  • Personally, I'm a huge supporter of multiculturalism. Non-native speakers of English routinely encounter difficulties on Wikipedia, and it's not likely that Wikipedia will ever have the articles we want to have about Russians or Brazilians or Germans unless we collectively put more energy into being nicer to Russians and Brazilians and Germans and learning more about other languages and cultures. So, in some ways, what I'm saying here goes in the opposite direction from my personal preferences. OTOH, the easier you make it for non-German-speakers, the more you translate German words and concepts into English, the more likely it is that English-speakers will keep reading, and that promotes multiculturalism. But I don't think my personal preferences are relevant here; I'm simply following MOS, Chicago, Garner's, a bunch of other style guides, and my own reading experience when I say that foreign words should be minimized in a professionally copyedited English encyclopedia. - Dank (push to talk) 14:43, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
I understand, I think. The Heisenberg uncertainty principle seems to be everywhere. MisterBee1966 (talk) 15:01, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
In answer to the actual question question, Albert Kesselring is a featured article with more German, but is longer. I remember an debate about putting English equivalent ranks in brackets after the German; this was chosen as a compromise. (You'll notice that the English and German do not link to the same English Wikipedia articles.) It seems to me a similar case to the scientific articles, where the conflict is between explaining things properly, and providing for the general reader. I suggest that we should adopt the same position. Since the article is not going to be read by a general reader, it seems appropriate to pitch it at the people who will be seeking information about a U-Boat captain. Hawkeye7 (talk) 20:06, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
MisterBee let me know that he's taken out a lot of German, I'll get to this later today and I may be able to support, but Hawkeye, it seems to me that readers of the Main Page are "general readers". - Dank (push to talk) 20:18, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
So a technical article cannot be featured, because it will be pitched at a specialist audience? Hawkeye7 (talk) 01:35, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
Copyediting and other issues are stressing me. I'm starting a copyediting-free semi-break. I'm picturing cool breezes and fruity drinks with little umbrellas. - Dank (push to talk) 19:56, 14 March 2012 (UTC)

Gunner Albert Cleary

There has been an article in the Sydney Morning Herald (possibly March 12th, 2012?) and in the Newcastle Herald newspaper which I've typed out on so I can refer to it when I am out of hospital located at Gunner Albert Cleary - Newcastle Herald Article. Thought it might be of interest for his wikipedia article? Adamdaley (talk) 02:47, 13 March 2012 (UTC)

Bad news keeps marching on....

Exactly a month ago Tom penned a letter of good-bye. Now I'm here. As some of you might know, I am still in the mangled remnant of what some people call an "Education System". Due to two bad grades (Science and Pre-Calc), I'm moving schools, which will take a long time and will leave me off-wiki for at least half a year as I re-adapt. It's been nice as a coord, but I won't be able to keep up my duties any longer. Thank you, everybody, and I hope I can put my name forth here once more when everything returns to normal. Buggie111 (talk) 22:42, 13 March 2012 (UTC)

Thanks for all your work, Buggie, you're welcome back any time. - Dank (push to talk) 00:06, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
Good luck! MisterBee1966 (talk) 05:52, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Good luck Buggie, get your grades up and we'll see you again sometime. :-) Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 05:53, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
Per nom I mean, what ^they've said. I hope you quickly settle in to your new school and look forward to seeing you back here when you're ready. EyeSerenetalk 08:58, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
You've done good things as both editor and coord, mate -- look forward to seeing you again soon, take care. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 10:04, 14 March 2012 (UTC)

Current state of copyediting at FAC

I'm on a copyediting break. At Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Battle of Radzymin (1920)/archive2, I haven't checked the edits so far or copyedited the second half. I'm going to do a little more on Werner Hartenstein. I haven't looked at Iraq War in Anbar Province and I only got the first 40% of Thomas Blamey. Other than that, the current crop of FACs looks good. - Dank (push to talk) 23:28, 14 March 2012 (UTC)

Copyediting at FAC

I'm a big believer in just doing (or not doing) things on Wikipedia rather than making a big announcement about it, but this one needs a heads-up: from now on, instead of copyediting and supporting most of the Milhist FACs myself, I will oppose the few Milhist FACs that are in bad shape, and offer copyediting comments on the FAC page that cover two-thirds of the text for most of the rest, and leave it for someone else to cover the rest of the text and decide whether to support after evaluating the FAC comments. In the short run, this might be bad news for Milhist's FAC output, unless people get busy copyediting. (The bit about not supporting is going to be the hardest to swallow ... feel free to email me if you want my reasoning for why it won't work for me to support some and not others.) This is the only approach that seems to me to have a chance of long-run success that I haven't already tried over the last two years. It wouldn't work for me to make notes on the entire text and not support; FAC reviewers wouldn't like it, and those of you who remember the bad old days at FAC know that none of us would be happy arguing the copyediting issues with people who were only relying on other people's notes and not actually doing any copyediting. And it's best if copyeditors feel some kind of personal stake in the work if they're going to be judging it; otherwise, "no" is just too easy.

I have no regrets about my work and Milhist's work at FAC so far; I think we've done what the project needed, and I've learned a lot and had a hand in supporting some truly great writers. And of course, it's the high rankings in search results for most of Milhist's pages, not our comparatively few FACs, that make the biggest impression on our readers. Still, FAC has had and will have a role to play in raising our visibility, especially among Wikipedians, and I hope this new plan will draw in new copyeditors who will learn the ropes and share the load. - Dank (push to talk) 18:00, 20 March 2012 (UTC)

FACs that need copyediting attention

Task force "re-founder" issue

I suspect this has gone mostly unnoticed, given the low traffic on that page, but pbl1998 has listed himself as the "re-founder" of the Napoleonic era task force, complete with his own section on the task force page and so forth.

Given that we've traditionally avoided displays of this sort—aside from the practical difficulties in identifying a distinct "founder" when a task forces idea emerges from a project-wide discussion, the idea of giving such a degree of prominence to a single arbitrary individual seems a bit counter to the overall collaborative ethos of the project—I would assume that this is undesirable?

(Even if we did desire to identify task force founders, incidentally, the idea that anyone at all can simply come along to an inactive task force and declare themselves the "re-founder" strikes me as quite odd.)

My attempt to move pbl1998's name back to the participant list was reverted, so perhaps someone might have a quiet word with him and explain why what he's trying to do isn't a good idea? Kirill [talk] [prof] 03:59, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

Done, as best I can. Cheers, Ma®©usBritish[chat] 04:32, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
Looks good to me, thanks Marcus. I agree with Kirill that while the TF is under the auspices of Milhist we can't really have it operating as an independent fiefdom :) EyeSerenetalk 08:48, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

I suspect but do not know that contains a mistranslation from Japanese "He was also promoted to captain at the end of 1911". If we look at other men in the same class, Furuichi Tatsuo, Kawahara Hiroshi or Ujiie Nagaaki at Nishida's site, we find that they were all promoted to Navy Lieutenant (海軍大尉 Kaigun Daii) at the end of 1911. This rank is equivalent to army captain. Thus I am willing to bet that Nakajima Chikuhei was also promoted to navy lieutenant rather than to navy captain. Mostlyharmless1 (talk) 21:11, 24 March 2012 (UTC)

Robert Williams

I'm trying to improve an article about the American Civil War titled: Battery A, 3rd Rhode Island Heavy Artillery. One of the Commanders was a Col. Robert Williams (April 1862 – July 1862). I seem to not find Wikipedia pages of this person. It is in the Frederick H. Dyer Compendiums (1908 and 1959 versions, p. 363). Can anyone help? If there is no page that's fine. It would be appreciated. Adamdaley (talk) 06:19, 1 April 2012 (UTC)

Suggestion for a change to the ACR closure procedure: let's always congratulate nominators

The final step of Wikipedia:WikiProject Military history/Academy/Closing an A-Class review#Successful nominations states that "Optionally you may wish to leave a personal note on the article nominator's talk page congratulating them on their successful nomination, although this is not necessary as the nominator will be aware via their watchlist of the review's closure and their article's new status". Similarly, the last step for closing unsuccessful nominations states "Optionally you may wish to leave a personal note on the article nominator's talk page thanking them for their nomination and encouraging them to renominate the article when the issues identified during the review have been addressed."

I'd like to change this to "You should leave a personal note on the article nominator(s) talk page congratulating them on their successful nomination." and "You should leave a personal note on the article nominator's talk page thanking them for their nomination and encouraging them to renominate the article when the issues identified during the review have been addressed". Given the amount of work which goes into A class articles (including most of those which do not pass), I think that nominators should always receive a personal congraulation or commiseration from the closing coordinator. Thoughts? Nick-D (talk) 00:34, 8 April 2012 (UTC)

This seems like a good approach. Having said that, I typically don't close ACRs myself, so I'm not really in a position to say whether the extra work involved would be reasonable; I think this really boils down to whether our regular ACR closers would be willing to do this additional step (if they don't already do so). Kirill [talk] [prof] 01:14, 8 April 2012 (UTC)
I suppose a template could be scratched together that might make writing these sorts of things simpler. I personally wouldn't see too much added work for each nom. Buggie111 (talk) 04:36, 8 April 2012 (UTC)
Face-smile.svg The process was so complicated, with so many steps, that I wrote a script to do most of it for me. (I still have to update the newsletter by hand.) I have not been leaving notes, but I will add a personal note to the end. If you create a template for the purpose I will use it. I was thinking of something like the one below. Hawkeye7 (talk) 05:52, 8 April 2012 (UTC)
A Class Symbol.svg Congratulations
On the promotion of your article on World War II to A-Class. On behalf of the Military history WikiProject coordinators, Hawkeye7 (talk) 05:52, 8 April 2012 (UTC)
That looks pretty good, Hawkeye, but as far as the general discussion goes I've always felt that passing an ACR and getting the ACM after three of them was enough kudos. If you legislate a standard congratulatory note on passing ACR I don't know that it really carries much value. What's special for me is when someone pops out the blue to say well done, in their own way. On the other hand, a note to nominators whose articles fail to pass either through problems or simply lack of interest, may well carry benefit -- especially if it addresses just why the article didn't pass, as well as encouraging another try. When I've archived (i.e. failed) FACs lately I've generally left some sort of note along those lines in the review. The upshot is that I'd prefer to see us leave as optional the congratulations on passing an ACR, but require the note (perhaps in a standard template, but with a place to put the closing coord's own thoughts) when a review doesn't succeed. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 06:37, 8 April 2012 (UTC)
I like the idea – it encourages people to keep writing and going, whether it's to FAC or another ACR. Think back to the days when you got your first A-Class article... getting three looked like a really difficult task. :-) Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 18:55, 8 April 2012 (UTC)
You make a fair point about the first one, Ed, but after that I think it becomes pretty well self-perpetuating. I'm all for encouraging people new to the system to carry on either to FAC or to more ACRs, but I don't think a "one size fits all" barnstar-type thingy is the best way to do it. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 23:10, 8 April 2012 (UTC)
Well, that's also true. Maybe we should try to make it a point (whether formal or informal) to congratulate first- and second-time nominators? Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 00:40, 9 April 2012 (UTC)
Heh, it's a beautiful autumn (I mean fall) morning here in Sydney, just got back from taking our labrador for a walk and was thinking exactly the same thing...! Yes, by all means let's do this for the first- or second-time nominators, and we can use Hawkeye's template above, I'd just suggest adding something along the lines of "keep it up, it only takes three for an ACM" and maybe "consider going for FAC" as well (though don't hit that too hard as it's far from a fait accompli). Then for the unsuccessful ones, perhaps a similar template with a broken "A" (not a cross through it, that'd mean "off limits") and a spot where you can say why it didn't make it, as well as a standard encouragement to try again (an alternative to writing in the template why it didn't succeed is to require closing coords to note the reason(s) in the ACR itself). So, okay, let's do this thing for newbies, I just reckon it's a bit of an unnecessary extra step for the old hands. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 01:15, 9 April 2012 (UTC)
You southerners, it was a fine spring day here, but night and cold has fallen on us. 44 and rain is forecast for tomorrow too. >< I like the idea, but perhaps were should keep the same symbol? No sense rubbing it in that they've just failed an ACR. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 01:19, 9 April 2012 (UTC)
I agree! Reaching out to those that for the first few times have taken the hurdle is a great idea. Personally I would think that we keep it personal, handcrafting ever note individually. Using a template makes it more anonymous. But that is a question of taste. MisterBee1966 (talk) 11:12, 9 April 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I personally favour personal notes rather than templates, though if some coordinators would prefer templates that's OK by me. Always notifying 'new' A class nominators is a good compromise, though I'm going to keep notifying veterans as well. On the topic of the weather Ed and Ian, it's going to be 1 degree Celsius here tonight and tomorrow night. Nick-D (talk) 11:16, 9 April 2012 (UTC)
Nick, you come and visit me in eight to nine months and I'll show you a real winter. ;-) Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 02:50, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────OK, thanks for your views everyone. I've just had a go at working them into the guidance in these edits. Feel free to edit them further, of course. I didn't attempt to specify a suggested messages to nominators as, based on the above, it seems that there are different approaches to this - which I think is a good thing given that these should be personal notes. Nick-D (talk) 11:20, 18 April 2012 (UTC)

A class medal needs to be awarded

The A class medal nomination for Cplakidas/Constantine received the thumbs up from five coordinators (including myself) over two weeks ago, but is yet to be awarded: Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Military history/Awards#Cplakidas/Constantine (3). Could an uninvolved coordinator please do the honours? Nick-D (talk) 12:17, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

Done. Nikkimaria (talk) 13:29, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
Thanks Nikki Nick-D (talk) 11:11, 12 April 2012 (UTC)

Quarterly reviewing totals

Username PR
Jan–Mar 2012
Jan–Mar 2012
Jan–Mar 2012
Jan–Mar 2012
User:Anotherclown 0 11 0 11
User:AustralianRupert 3 33 3 39
User:Binksternet 1 0 1 2
User:Bomzibar 0 1 0 1
User:Brianboulton 5 0 10 15
User:Cambalachero 0 4 0 4
User:Cla68 0 1 0 1
User:Dank 0 0 30 30
User:Ealdgyth 1 0 5 6
User:Ed! 0 5 1 6
User:Eisfbnore 1 0 3 4
User:EyeSerene 0 7 0 7
User:Farawayman 0 1 0 1
User:Fifelfoo 0 3 2 5
User:Finetooth 1 0 0 1
User:Grandiose 0 11 3 14
User:Halibutt 0 1 0 1
User:Hawkeye7 1 12 3 16
User:Hchc2009 1 18 0 19
User:Ian Rose 0 8 6 14
User:IxK85 0 1 0 1
User:Jim101 0 1 1 2
User:Jim Sweeney 0 2 0 2
User:Kevin Myers 0 2 0 2
User:Kirk 0 2 3 5
User:Magicpiano 0 2 0 2
User:MarcusBritish 0 2 0 2
User:MisterBee1966 0 3 2 5
User:Nick-D 2 10 5 17
User:Nikkimaria 1 4 35 40
User:Nimbus227 1 0 0 1
User:Parsecboy 0 2 2 4
User:Piotrus 0 3 0 3
User:Saberwyn 0 1 0 1
User:Shimgray 0 1 1 2
User:Σ 0 1 0 1
User:Sp33dyphil 0 2 1 3
User:Sturmvogel 66 0 4 5 9
User:ThatPeskyCommoner 0 1 0 1
User:The_ed17 0 1 1 2
User:Truthkeeper88 1 0 0 1
User:Wehwalt 0 1 4 5
User:XavierGreen 0 1 0 1
User:Zawed 0 1 0 1

A few notes on this. Traditionally, we have omitted those who commented on FACs but not ACRs or PRs; I have made one exception to this tradition above. As Ian is now an FAC delegate, I have included only FACs where he has commented as a reviewer. Given what we learned last quarter about my inability to do basic math, I would appreciate it if someone double-checked the totals. Finally, we need some sucker noble coord to distribute the awards. Nikkimaria (talk) 17:28, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

Gratz to you and Rupert on those totals! - Dank (push to talk) 18:33, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
Thanks Dan. Anybody willing to distribute the reviewing awards? Nikkimaria (talk) 21:56, 14 April 2012 (UTC)
Doing. - Dank (push to talk) 02:17, 17 April 2012 (UTC)
Done, for everyone showing 3 or more reviews. - Dank (push to talk) 03:48, 17 April 2012 (UTC)
Thanks. Did this highly important award that must've been overlooked ;-). Nikkimaria (talk) 03:57, 17 April 2012 (UTC)

March contest results

Thanks to the Bushranger who validated the entries in the monthly contest. I've updated the scoreboard and awarded the Wikichevrons to Djmaschek, but I thought it a bit awkward to award myself the 1st place prize.--Sturmvogel 66 (talk) 01:34, 14 April 2012 (UTC)

Tks for taking care of that while I enjoyed an internet-free weekend in the mountains, Storm -- will get yours to you shortly... ;-) Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 08:31, 15 April 2012 (UTC)


I've recently tried doing some spotchecks at FAC. Please let me know if I've got this wrong ... I'm supposed to be making a note of it if the text between one ref and the next ref(s) is not covered by the following ref(s), right? There are judgment calls to be made, of course, but my understanding of "spotchecking" is that I'm not making judgment calls, just reporting on what I (don't) see. - Dank (push to talk) 14:16, 19 April 2012 (UTC)

Another question ... is it acceptable for the ref(s) at the end of the paragraph to cover everything in the paragraph, even if there are other refs within the paragraph? Some say no and some say yes. Personally, I hear a lot of complaints from non-Wikipedians that repeated mentions of a source sentence after sentence doesn't look right, and that having everything in each sentence come from one or two refs isn't a good approach to scholarly writing, that a ref should be able to cover a paragraph. But I understand that there are valid reasons for more refs in a collaborative effort. - Dank (push to talk) 14:36, 19 April 2012 (UTC)
Sounds mostly right. Spotchecks are meant to cover both verifiability (which is what I think you're describing) and plagiarism/close paraphrasing. As to your second post, if there are other refs within the paragraph, then no, the end-para ref does not cover everything. It's fine to have "Sentence 1. S2. S3.<ref(s) for all three>", but not "S1. S2.<ref for S2> S3.<ref for S1 and S3>" - in that case the ref would need to be repeated after sentence 1. If anyone else is interesting in getting involved in spotchecking, I've written a guide on the subject that you might find at least somewhat helpful. Nikkimaria (talk) 14:43, 19 April 2012 (UTC)
(ec) First point... I'm kind of self-taught as a spotchecker, but Nikki can point you to some guidelines, I think. Essentially one is looking to see that selected passages in the article are fully supported by the sources cited by those passages, but without copying or close paraphrasing of the source. Some checkers copy out the passage from the article and the relevant material from the source, one under the other, in the review. Others (like me) just make a comment in the review on what they've gathered from such a comparison. It's good to see more people making a habit of it. Nikki and Laser brain are two of the best, but since I've been doing it I've noticed that Hawkeye, Nick, Rupert and others have also been having a go. It all helps... ;-)
Second point... I believe a citation, or bunch of citations one after the other, should be covering everything preceding them up to the previous citation or bunch of citations. To suggest that one citation covers a whole paragraph, and others in the body of it cover smaller parts, seems very confusing... Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 14:50, 19 April 2012 (UTC)
Actually, thinking about it, there is one exception to that guideline - it's okay for a ref to cover only something in parentheses, and then an end-para ref for all unparenthesized (if that's a word) material - so "S1. S2 (but side-note<ref for side-note>). S3.<ref for S1-3> Basically, though, if you have to ask which ref covers a particular sentence, the ref should be repeated there. Nikkimaria (talk) 14:54, 19 April 2012 (UTC)
Everything sounds good, and I'd like to offer one observation that doesn't IMO contradict any of the above. When many refs are supporting many sentences, I don't think, say, S1[2][3], S2[1][3], S3[1][2] is a good idea, even if it's perfectly accurate; I prefer: S1 S2 S3[1][2][3]. There's no part of the human brain devoted to logic ... brains are mostly pattern-matching machines. For most readers, if something "looks wrong", it "is wrong", and the "S1[2][3], S2[1][3], S3[1][2]" style looks wrong to most of our readers ... it doesn't match what they're used to seeing, even in the fussiest academic journals. But I have no objection if it's not that cluttered ... S1[1][3] S2[2][4] S3 S4 S5 [1][4] seems fine. - Dank (push to talk) 18:13, 19 April 2012 (UTC)
In a case like that, I'd actually suggest going one step further and wrapping all three refs inside a single ref tag:
S1 S2 S31
1. [1] [2] [3]
This has the benefit of reducing the "cluttered" effect of long strings of superscripts in the article text, as well as allowing additional information about the content of each reference to be provided in the footnote. Kirill [talk] 00:39, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
That is hard to use because it requires two clicks to see the reference. The ref markup is also fiddly to work with. And you haven't edited an article in months. Hawkeye7 (talk) 12:39, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
I probably wasn't very clear about what I had in mind. I wasn't suggesting a system where multiple ref tags are wrapped inside a ref tag; as you point out, that would add an extra click to get to the actual reference, and would require unnecessarily complex markup. Rather, I was talking about a system where the content of several ref tags is placed inside a single ref tag; see, for example, this. Obviously, this works better for some types of sources than for others; referencing into reasonably long book sections (where the content of each individual ref tag is distinct anyways, and there is little need to consolidate repeated references) is more amenable to this approach than referencing websites or short journal articles, where a particular ref tag might be repeated a number of times. Kirill [talk] 20:33, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
Well ... for people who don't know Kirill, he's an officer in Wikimedia DC, which is shouldering most of the load preparing for July's Wikimania, and he's the deputy coord at Arbcom (they do much more work behind the scenes than they're given credit for), and he's constantly doing maintenance work on Milhist ... so, I doubt Hawkeye is saying he needs to pull his weight ... are you? I take it you're saying that's not the most popular ref format these days. - Dank (push to talk) 13:04, 20 April 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Come on Hawkeye, that comment was a bit unnecessary... Kirill's method is the one I used for South American dreadnought race. I like it even though it makes ref names a bit tricky – so some refs may be repeated, but that's better than four citations after every other sentence (IMHO). Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 07:20, 22 April 2012 (UTC)