Wikipedia:Village pump/March 2004 archive 3

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Google (et al) caching and associated problems[edit]

Although indexing is bound to be a problem on sites as dynamic as 'pedia, for the most part, it seems to be working very well. However, there are various anomalies. Most notably, tonight on IRC someone noticed that google has indexed (and cached) several non-existant articles, such as this: [1] ((Malapropos: is anyone seeing render problems w/overlaping google disclaimer and wikilogo? Mozilla Firefox)) One solution which came to mind, was to add <meta name="robots" content="NOARCHIVE"> or similar tags to the template for non-existant articles. However, a much more elagant solution was proposed by another person on IRC: Enact an Apache Mod_Rewrite rule similar to "RewriteRule ^/edit/(.*)$ /wiki/wiki.phtml?title=$1&action=edit [L]" and instruct spiders to avoid /edit/....... in the robots.txt file. This has the addition effect of making a direct link to an edit page easier to type and considerably more sightly (to non perl-programers :-).

Also, I have wondered increasingly since my recent arrival in the community why Talk: pages are allowed to be indexed/cached, and to a slightly lesser extent, User pages. Most of the preceding could apply equally to those.

Thanks for reading. nsh 20:49, Mar 2, 2004 (UTC) talk

For searching Wikipedia with Google, I find it useful that all namespaces are indexed and cached. --Patrick 23:36, 2 Mar 2004 (UTC)
Indexing edit windows can be annoying, but it shouldn't do that anymore. --mav 00:28, 3 Mar 2004 (UTC)

nsh: edit pages have long been forbidden by our robots.txt along with other dynamic pages (it wouldn't do for spiders to go through every possible combination of diffs in the history!), and further contain <meta name="robots" content="noindex,nofollow">. However if Google catches a live link to a page that is later deleted, or follows an interwiki or otherwise manually constructed link to a page that may not have existed, it does end up at the "(There is currently no text in this page)". This is fairly rare but is a little annoying, yes. Perhaps we'll change it to return a 404 code (with the same output) for nonexitent pages; this would help with automated tools in general.

And yes, the Google header overlaps with the Wikipedia header. CSS absolute positioning doesn't agree with somebody else slipping text into your page. :) --Brion 18:20, 4 Mar 2004 (UTC)

State copyright[edit]

Can the state of new york hold copyright? I want to copy [2] to wikipedia, but I am not sure if it is in the public domain. Perl 23:11, 2 Mar 2004 (UTC)

I suggest emailing them and asking if their writing is in the public domain. If not, asking if they are willing to release it under the GFDL would be step 2, I think. I've never done this, though -- perhaps someone here who has should offer further guidance? Jwrosenzweig 23:23, 2 Mar 2004 (UTC)

(→Raul654) Just look here: -

Copyright, Disclaimer & Privacy
© 2000-2003 New York State Division of Military & Naval Affairs
and NY National Guard. All rights reserved.

Permission to use, copy and distribute the materials contained in these Web pages without fee is hereby granted, provided that the above copyright notice appears in all copies and that the name or any trademark of The New York State Division of Military & Naval Affairs and the New York National Guard not be used in advertising or publicity pertaining to distribution of the information without the National Guard's specific, written permission.

So the talk page just has to include the copyright disclaimer. Thats sounds good to me. I will now copy the nystate text to the wikipoedia article. Thanks Raul!! Perl 00:01, 3 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Sorry, you can't use it. It would be an invariant section and we don't allow those. --mav 00:24, 3 Mar 2004 (UTC)
Actually, it would be a copyright notice, not an invariant section. Under the GFDL, copyright notices are viral.
The real concern is that they have not granted permission to modify. This makes their content incompatible with the GFDL. Best ask them for permission, eh? Martin 23:15, 9 Mar 2004 (UTC)

School Project[edit]

Apparently a German business school is using our site for a massive project. The main article page is here: Customer Experience Management (CEM) but there are myriads of these articles. Users are not logged in, and I can't tell whether they have any idea about NPOV or anything else here. I've tried leaving messages on their talk pages, at first confused and concerned they were a business, but then simply asking them for details of their project to go to Wikipedia:School and university projects. Of course, if they're not getting usernames, I don't know that they know about talk pages or will have the same IP address next time. Anyone know anything about this? Anyone have an idea of how to communicate with them? I feel very lost. Jwrosenzweig 00:02, 3 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Get their attention the same way you get anyone's attention: severe refactoring, reverting, VFD listings, etc. The pages which have been created look like they could use some of that. Make lots of references to the questions you asked at User talk: University lecturers have no more right to mess up the wiki than anyone else. -- Tim Starling 00:11, Mar 3, 2004 (UTC)
Whoa... is that how we treat newbies here? Severe refactoring, reverting, VFD listings? I'm glad no one treated me that way when I first showed up. moink 19:41, 3 Mar 2004 (UTC)
Well, when newbies refuse to respond to any talk page messages and don't get an account, and add dozens and dozens of articles in what looks like near-trolling fashion....I guess you have to say "go with what works". :) It worked in this instance, because the VfD notice took them to a posting at VfD that explained exactly what the problem was and how it needed to be corrected. We can leave messages on IP talk pages forever and never get a response. You're right that this isn't how to deal with newbies in general, but in an extreme case like this, I think Tim is right that something drastically noticeable is called for. Jwrosenzweig 19:44, 3 Mar 2004 (UTC)
You may well be right in this case. In fact, I don't disagree with anything you've said. I do disagree with Tim's statement that this is the "way you get anyone's attention." Maybe he meant as a last resort, which I can understand. I just don't want anyone to read Tim's statement and think that's how we start when we need someone's attention. moink 17:36, 4 Mar 2004 (UTC)

I am using the Wikipedia for a project, though more to introduce the students to collaborative software - and I do keep track of what they are doing. About 40 students, Master level TechStrat course, details at Wikipedia:School and university projects, at User:Espen/gra6821, and at the course home page. Assignment handin on March 15, 2004, hopefully some of these people will continue contributing (the Norwegian version sure could do with a few more articles.) Espen 11:52, 8 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Question from Anonymous User[edit]

T think that this aticle is incroect and i want to ask you if you may change it to the right stuff pleses because i need the right information.

Can you explain what article you mean? You yourself can change it, though! That's how it works here. Jwrosenzweig 00:06, 3 Mar 2004 (UTC)


Where can i find who wrote this page??? for parenthetical sitations......

Well, everything on Wikipedia is written by a lot of different people. If you are interested in who contributed various parts, you can follow the "page history" link; however, for the purposes of citations it is sufficient to just mention that it came from Wikipedia, since all content is licensed under the GNU FDL. -- Wapcaplet 05:28, 3 Mar 2004 (UTC)
See Wikipedia:Citing Wikipedia -- Tim Starling 05:34, Mar 3, 2004 (UTC)

User concerns over IP address showing?[edit]

This probably isn't the best place to ask, but I've recently installed MediaWiki on a site of my own. A few people have expressed concern to me about the software keeping and publicly displaying their IP addresses (either fear of being cracked, or privacy concerns, or what, I don't know). Blatant nonsense, but I don't have the technological smarts to shoot them down. I imagine potential Wikipedia contributors must ask the same question from time to time, but I can't find a FAQ on it or similar, nor on Meta. Any thoughts? Calum 12:42, 3 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Just tell them to log in.—Eloquence
We touch on the issue at Wikipedia:Why_create_an_account?#More_privacy,_not_less. Unlogged-in edits have to be tracked (roughly) by user somehow, else vandalism would be impossible to track and prevent. IP addresses are the only option for this. Thus users should be encouraged to log in to mitigate the issue. Pete/Pcb21 (talk) 12:55, 3 Mar 2004 (UTC)
Is there any reason anonymous users couldn't be given a unique reference number, and leave the IP accessible only to sysops? Seeing as usually the IP is only used as unique tag anyway, I don't see that this would be a serious change. -- Calum

Link to article edit page[edit]

Can anyone explain why on Random walk the link to Drunkard's Walk is red (for page doesn't exist) and yet it takes you to the artciles edit page where text exists. From there you can cancel and read the article. -- SGBailey 15:18, 2004 Mar 3 (UTC)

Weird....I tried a minor edit where I changed nothing -- the preview showed that the link wasn't red anymore.....but then I saved and it's still red. This must be database trouble above my ability to understand. :-) Well, I tried. Jwrosenzweig 17:50, 3 Mar 2004 (UTC)
Okay, fixed now, all I had to do was make an edit in which any actual change happened. It should work for you. Jwrosenzweig 19:47, 3 Mar 2004 (UTC)
Agreed, fixed. -- SGBailey 10:12, 2004 Mar 4 (UTC)

Weird Middle Ages Year Page Anomaly[edit]

As near as I can tell, the years 1154 to 1275 are the only years in our series with a section called "Heads of State" or "Monarchs/Presidents". These lists are ridiculously hard to construct (as a monarch who reigned from 1213 to 1255 would only link to those two years, and not those intervening), and are currently woefully incomplete. May I go through and delete that section, or are they there for a reason? Anyone know? Jwrosenzweig 20:23, 3 Mar 2004 (UTC)

It seems to me that the fact that they're ridiculously hard to construct would be a reason not to delete them. Anthony DiPierro 20:27, 3 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Deleting things is hardly ever a good option. On the other hand, the fact that Henry II of England and the corresponding French guy seem to be mentioned on more than thirty year pages is ridiculous.
Also, lots of things seem to have happened ("Events") in 1180, hardly anything in 1181. Could the reason for that be that it is sometimes difficult to tell when exactly something happened and 1180 really stands for c.1180?
Summing up, some of these pages are really weird, but still I wouldn't do anything about them. If we're talking about Wikipedia being work in progress, they are a case in point. <KF> 20:33, 3 Mar 2004 (UTC)

I like the idea because it gives context for what was happening around the world at that time (and gives context for what was happening for ongoing events between nations, e.g. wars). About a week ago, I was working on a replacement for this section that looked a little nicer and made more sense visually here but back-burnered it until I could think about it some more. But this is just as good a time as any to solicit feedback on it. If anyone has any feedback on that, please use that discussion page. RadicalBender 20:53, 3 Mar 2004 (UTC)

All right, I'm out shouted. I guess my experience has mostly been with working on pages in the 1270s (why am I working on them? No idea -- completely random), where the only listing is the king of Aragon. He looks kind of silly there, and I had no idea how to go about listing leaders (and which leaders to list?), so I left it, but in my opinion it looked (and looks) pretty bad. If all the people above who are dead set on the idea would put in a little time to flesh it out, I think that would be great. Frankly, though, I think the desire to list world leaders demonstrates a very top-down biased view of history. If a monarch does something of note, it will be listed in events (new rulers are noted there also). Just the fact that a particular person was king, though, doesn't have that great an effect on history--we could try to assemble a list of "influential people of the time" that would be far more meaningful, but ultimately disastrous and edit-warred. This is why I prefer sticking to talking about actual events, and not lists of people who may or may not have been "important" at the time. Jwrosenzweig 21:11, 3 Mar 2004 (UTC)
The medieval years mostly lack people to fill them out. Just using backlinks alone I can fill out a page in 20 minutes, don't even need to hit the library. I would like to see it expanded to non-monarchs, then the rule could be very mechanical; one could have a bit of software that constructs a list of people when you click on "People alive during this year". (Of course, monarch's rule is different from lifespan!) Stan 21:58, 3 Mar 2004 (UTC)
Do not delete the lists. Optim·.· 21:52, 3 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Perhaps what is needed is a software-supported way to link to a range of dates rather than to specific dates. This wouldn't be a link you could follow, just one that would show up on some sort of search, similar to what links here. The obvious uses are in biographies and reigns, but there would be others... the period of long voyages and other expeditions, for example. It might also be useful for numeric ranges other than dates. Lots to consider. Food for thought? Andrewa 22:59, 5 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Village Pump -> Agora[edit]

See Wikipedia talk:Village pump/Agora for a proposal to rename the Village Pump and name it Agora. Don't vote here. Any comments you make here will be ignored. Use only the talk page. Optim·.· 21:35, 3 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Now withdrawn. Optim 23:15, 3 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Naming conventions (common names)[edit]

On Wikipedia:Naming conventions (common names), the following addition was suggested:

"Use the name the group calls itself People should be called what they say their name is, and groups should be called what they call themselves. This should only not be the case if there is a conflict between groups over who has the rights to a name (such as Taiwan and the mainland PRC both claiming that they represented China). When there is a refusal to call a group what it asks to be called, and instead an outside dominant group claims the right to assign it a pejorative, or propaganda name that it be called, this seems to be the end of any kind of NPOV. Some examples of this would be the Vietnamese National Liberation Front being called "Viet Cong" (as if anyone in South Vietnam opposed to the government was a de facto communist), the Communist Party of Kampuchea being called "Khmer Rouge", the Communist Party of Peru being called "Shining Path" and so forth. These names would usually be created and propagated by a small elite group, from government leaders to the corporate media, in an attempt to make the use of the name widespread."

Then reasoning for this was spelled out on the discussion page. More names spring to mind as I think about it "(American) Indian", "anti-globalization movement", and so on and so forth. -- Richardchilton 21:49, 3 Mar 2004 (UTC)

I would agree to this (ie the actual requirement to 'use the name the group calls itself unless ambigous') as long as you tone down the rationale significantly. Policy pages aren't the place to denounce "small elite groups". Morwen 21:54, Mar 3, 2004 (UTC)
Does this proposal mean Wikipedia is going to call Americans "Americans"? - Tweak 22:03, 3 Mar 2004 (UTC)
As opposed to "Yankee Imperialists?" ;-) -- WormRunner 22:11, 3 Mar 2004 (UTC)
I clarify this in the second sentence. Americans call themselves Americans, so that is outside the range of what I am talking about. I am not talking about two groups fighting for the same name, I am talking about two names being applied to the same group, one the name the group gives itself, one the pejorative/propaganda name given to the group by its enemies. Richardchilton 22:13, 3 Mar 2004 (UTC)
Of course, I should have realized that you would not consent to calling Americans Americans. Wikipedia should continue to pretend it's avoiding "ambiguity" rather than making political points. :) -- Tweak 22:21, 3 Mar 2004 (UTC)
For a policy aimed at de-PoVing, that paragraph is extremely PoV. But more interestingly, it brings to a mind a discussion I barely dare dredge up - Burma versus Myanmar. Arguably, both the government and "the People" are they with respect to a country, but they are asking for the same thing to be called by different names. See, amongst others, Talk:Myanmar and Talk:History of Myanmar. - IMSoP 22:15, 3 Mar 2004 (UTC)
I was not part of the Burma/Myanmar discussion, but I'm surprised it was such an issue. The UN has recognized Burma as Myanmar for a long time now. - DropDeadGorgias (talk) 22:18, Mar 3, 2004 (UTC)Ugh, never mind- I read through some of the thread. Being of partial burmese descent myself, I'm surprised that people are still so up-in-arms about it. Other countries that requested to be called their original name rather than their Anglicized name (Thailand, for example) are now commonly known as such - DropDeadGorgias (talk) 22:33, Mar 3, 2004 (UTC)
Importantly, we are deferring to the UN as a higher authority, rather than "what they call themselves" - higher than "the People" or a particular foreign government, such as the US. To clarify, I completely agree that this is the best thing to do, but it bears mentioning in this discussion. - IMSoP 22:36, 3 Mar 2004 (UTC) [Note:this post was a reply to DropDeadGorgias' first, now struck out, comment, so is now rather redundant]

A lot of these arguments remind me of the novel 1984, where the government puts out a new Newspeak dictionary every year, and everyone complies right away, rewriting all the old words so they comply with the new ones. Then they are all "common usage" and all of the arguments presented here, after all, the government called them that, the corporate media complied, and tried to propagate that. Thus words like freedom would become thoughtcrime in the common usage. I think one thing that is instructive is to note how there are only a small number of groups where the US government (and corporate media) refuses to call them by their names, whether anglicized or not (Partido Comunista del Peru = Communist Party of Peru). You can't find many instances where a political group is refused even to name itself. The ones where this is done are just total propaganda from what I've read. This just seems like the kind of totalitarian white collar American arrogance that exists - most white, white-collar Americans call a group a certain name, thus, that will be its name. Richardchilton 23:03, 3 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Richard, you have at the core a very good point. Why are you making it with rhetoric which will alienate many people who would otherwise agree with it? Morwen 23:07, Mar 3, 2004 (UTC)
Richardchilton/Lancemurdoch was telling us on IRC yesterday that we should also call African-Americans "niggers" because that's what they call themselves. Do you think that's also a good point? For the full conversation, see User:Tim Starling/Richardchilton IRC log -- Tim Starling 23:42, Mar 3, 2004 (UTC)
Let's see, your log says that if the white Americans get to name everything should apply everywhere that "We should change the African-American entry to niggers since that name was commonly usage (by white Americans, the only group on the planet whose opinion matters) to refer to a certain group of people." It says in the log that whites called blacks this, yet here you say that it was said that blacks called themselves this. In other words, you are misrepresenting what was said, and are in fact, saying the exact opposite of what was said. -- Richardchilton 00:11, 4 Mar 2004 (UTC)
Oops, sorry. -- Tim Starling 01:57, Mar 4, 2004 (UTC)

The issue of "two groups fighting for the same name" seems to me to apply to what we have to date calling the "Shining Path". They call themselves the "Partido Comunista de Peru", but, in fact, references to the "Partido Comunista de Peru" nearly always mean the party that used to be part of the Comintern. "Shining Path" is a literal translation of "Sendero Luminoso", a name that to the best of my knowledge is -- at least in part for just this reason -- used both in Peru and elsewhere, by friend and foe alike. (E.g. it is used by the RCP, who claim the Senderistas as an affiliated party.) It seems to me that it would be OK to list what a group calls itself as a very important factor in what to call an article, but not to make this an absolute and immutable rule. And in any case, I hope we can all agree that all of the relevant forwards and disambiguations should always be in place, and all commonly used names should be mentioned in the first paragraph, making this all more of an issue for partisans (of either side) than for end users of our site. -- Jmabel 00:43, 4 Mar 2004 (UTC)

But speakers of English are a "small elite group." And, without intending anything whatsoever, certain names for things have just come into being, mostly by common usage, since we have no Royal Academy directing usage here in the English-speaking minority. In Wikipedia, any local name can be set in parentheses once— italicized, since it's a foreign language&mdash and then the article can continue blithely on, in English. (Now what's that Egyptian name for "Egypt" again?)Wetman 15:52, 7 Mar 2004 (UTC)
Nicely put! --mav 05:07, 8 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Script to convert to new table syntax[edit]

Please where can I find the script to convert to the new table sysntax ? Kpjas 22:29, 3 Mar 2004 (UTC)

I'm not aware of a script. The new markup is described in MediaWiki User's Guide: Using tables. Elf 23:40, 3 Mar 2004 (UTC)
It is in the Python Wikipedia Robot Framework, The bot itself is, but to have it work you also need, and and a reasonably recent version of Python. Also download and read CONTENTS, and create as described there. Subscribing to the pywikipediabot mailing list (see ) would also be useful, as would getting permission to use a bot first. Andre Engels 02:08, 4 Mar 2004 (UTC)
There is a robot used on de: to convert the tables - but it must be human-monitored as HTML-tables can contain many mistakes but still get rendered by the browsers correctly - for example a missing </tr> is just ignored. However if the robot misses it it can destroy the table. You might ask User:Head, as he is one of those who used to run that robot on de:. andy 09:28, 4 Mar 2004 (UTC)
I agree - you can use the bot to do the conversion for you, but you should still check the page afterward to see whether it has not made any errors. Still, it's a nifty bit of programming. Andre Engels 19:29, 4 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Is it really usefull to convert all tables. The new syntax may be suitable for some of the tables, but for many tables, the simple five tags <table>, <tr>, <th> or <td>, and </table> are much easier to use. Given that the software supports both, Wikipedians should have the choice. -- User:Docu

Yet another site using Wikipedia material[edit]

[3] is using Wikipedia stuff. Seems to comply with GNU-FDL, anyone want to confirm? --Dante Alighieri | Talk 01:30, 4 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Seems to have already been categorized as a "high compliance" site. See [4]. --Minesweeper 02:33, Mar 4, 2004 (UTC)

Article naming strategy on the Mozilla Knowledge Base[edit]

Hey folks, sorry this isn't directly about Wikipedia, but I have a meta question over at the Mozilla Knowledge Base, which is a brand new wiki instruction manual for Mozilla software that runs on the MediaWiki software. I wrote up an article about why limited use of categories is actually useful for the Mozilla KB, and why the current article naming scheme there should be changed. I basically got the go-ahead to implement my suggested changes, because there doesn't seem to be anyone else there who is experienced with the Wikipedia software and culture who could/would agree or disagree with me. I'm pretty sure that my suggested changes are a good idea, but I thought I'd post to the Wikipedia community to get feedback before I follow through. What do you folks think? -- Skyfaller 03:33, 2004 Mar 4 (UTC)

Actually, Mozillazine is down for planned maintenance, guess I have bad timing... I'll try to post again when it comes back up. -- Skyfaller 04:42, 2004 Mar 4 (UTC)
It's back up. -- Skyfaller 06:22, 2004 Mar 4 (UTC)

short note on installation of a computer[edit]

B-flat hemidemisemiquaver. HTH HAND --Phil 11:03, Mar 4, 2004 (UTC)

"For me a simple chord of Beethoven is enough. This is happiness." ... [Ernest, with] his mind's ear seemed to hear Miss Skinner saying, as though it were an epitaph:—
I may presently take
A simple chord of Beethoven,
Or a small semiquaver
From one of Mendelssohn's Songs without Words."
—Samuel Butler, The Way of All Flesh

Why have people started explaining their edits in e-mails, instead of on the appropriate talk page?[edit]

Suddenly I've started receiving all sorts of e-mails discussing article edits. Has there been a recent change that encourages e-mailing? I think this is a major change for the worse; such discussions should be preserved for all to see on the appropriate talk page. Mkweise 12:47, 4 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Emails from lots of different people? Or just one? The former would surprise me. Pete/Pcb21 (talk) 13:40, 4 Mar 2004 (UTC)
To be specific, I've received e-mail from 3 different users concerning 3 completely unrelated articles in less than a week—compared to zero over the previous two years. Mkweise 13:57, 4 Mar 2004 (UTC)
I would just tell them that it's better to discuss Wikipedia matters on Wikipedia, unless it's a personal matter that you would rather not divulge to the world. Dori | Talk 14:11, Mar 4, 2004 (UTC)

Actually I have also started receiving many emails from Wikipedians. I also prefer to communicate with others using e-mail, and not the talk pages. I don't know why everyone started using e-mail suddenly, but probably it has something to do with mirrors who copy the talk pages. (that's also my reason I use email). My advice is not to use the talkpages unless the discussed topic needs to be public. Optim 14:16, 4 Mar 2004 (UTC)

IMHO, discussions about articles should be in the talk pages. I've recently recieved a couple emails about other wikipedians, in which case I think those should be handeled privately. →Raul654 14:21, Mar 4, 2004 (UTC)
I'd strongly disagree with that advice. Openness is a good thing. Is Fred Bauder's site (Wikinfo) the only site to copy user pages? We can surely work with him to alleviate that concern, if needs be. Pete/Pcb21 (talk) 14:42, 4 Mar 2004 (UTC)
There are many. The worst thing is that most of them don't let you edit the contents. Optim 15:50, 4 Mar 2004 (UTC)
The way to fix this is to provide mirrors with pre-prepared HTML tarballs. That way we can include GFDL notices and links back, and exclude non-article pages. Some recent code refactoring means this isn't as hard as it used to be. Any volunteers? -- Tim Starling 23:17, Mar 4, 2004 (UTC)
See also User:Optim/Userpages. Optim·.· 16:22, 5 Mar 2004 (UTC)

I agree that it is very important to have openness on Wikipedia, and that things related to Wikipedia should be discussed on publicly visible Talk pages. Any Wikipedia-related issues that need to be discussed in realtime should be taken to the Wikipedia IRC channel. IMs and e-mails should be reserved for private, non-Wikipedia-related contact. -- Skyfaller 02:49, 2004 Mar 6 (UTC)

Sound power & Sound intensity level[edit]

Should Sound power & Sound intensity level be merged into one article? -- SGBailey 2004-03-04

Not the same thing. I've fixed some confusing wording that may have made it appear so. Mkweise 16:10, 4 Mar 2004 (UTC)
It might be worth someone who knows about this adding a sentance at the bottom of each explaining who they are different, or at least linking as somewhat related concepts. Mark Richards 00:18, 5 Mar 2004 (UTC)

GandhiServe Extlink spam[edit] has added 3 Gandhi extlinks not only to Mohandas Gandhi (where they belong), but continues to add the same links to over a dozen loosly related articles. I think it's enough to have them in the article where they're most relevant...comments? Mkweise 21:18, 4 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Yeah, I mentioned hir at Wikipedia:Clueless newbies. Has created a number of articles which now solely contain that external link. It seems to be a commercial site. moink 21:21, 4 Mar 2004 (UTC)
In fact the user/users seem to have registered as User:Gandhiserve. I don't think they have commercial interests. Jay 15:03, 5 Mar 2004 (UTC)
After extensive spam-like edits yesterday, I blocked him for two hours with the instruction to read our policies. He has emailed me since apologizing, and stating that he now understands our policies. He offered to clean up the damage done (i.e., the unnecessary links) but I told him I was sure we'd handled it....I also said he was welcome to add the link to Gandhi's article, and to add factual information to Gandhi-related articles. I think we're fine now -- he seems very pleasant and understanding about the whole thing. Jwrosenzweig 16:51, 5 Mar 2004 (UTC)


Why do the links at The Dils (to roots rock and Los Angeles, California) not work? Tuf-Kat 21:53, Mar 4, 2004 (UTC)

I find a page for roots rock reggae (redirect), but I don't see one for roots rock; the los angeles links work fine for me here & there. Elf 22:17, 4 Mar 2004 (UTC)

They weren't working because there were line breaks in the middle of the links: [[Los<br>Angeles]]. That won't parse as a link. Hajor 17:29, 5 Mar 2004 (UTC)


Knowledge requires definitions. There are two roads that wikipedia can go down.

  1. It can become a database of usless unimportant articles that have novelty appeal.
  2. It can become a compendium of human knowledge which not only gathers vast amounts of information but presents this information in the most comprehensive organized way.

When I first came to the site I saw its potential for the latter. Now I am beginning to have doubts. What good is a compendium of human knowledge that can't tell you what a compendium is? If you want a list of three letter abbreviations however...

Think about it. Bensaccount 23:38, 4 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Wikipedia is not a compendium of human knowledge, and it doesn't aim to be one. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia. Perl 23:37, 4 Mar 2004 (UTC)
I added the hyperlink to encyclopedia. Bensaccount 23:39, 4 Mar 2004 (UTC)
That was rash, I dont want a hurried response...I want this to follow the second road. Bensaccount 23:45, 4 Mar 2004 (UTC)
What you should consult when you want to know the meaning of a word, is a dictionary. Mkweise 23:49, 4 Mar 2004 (UTC)
I agree with Mkweise -- If Wikipedia tried to be both a dictionary for every conceivable word in the English language and the world's most comprehensive encyclopedia, it would be twice as hard to maintain at the very least. Ben, I suggest looking at encyclopedias in print -- you'll see that they do not attempt word definitions (except in cases where the aim of the definition is encyclopedic -- we should define "nation" because there is something to say about varying perspectives, change over time, meaning in political and social contexts, etc., but not "numb" because defining an adjective like that is a dictionary's task). Jwrosenzweig 23:54, 4 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Nation vs. numb: there is something to say about varying perspectives, change over time, meaning in political and social contexts, etc. for each. The real difference is that for numb these are well defined whereas for nation they remain less clear.

If everything defined was taken out, where would we be? Bensaccount 00:06, 5 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Ben, all I can say is this. For centuries, educated people have used a dictionary and an encyclopedia for different purposes -- we expect and need different information from each work. Wikimedia supports an encyclopedia and a dictionary. You are (we all are) welcome to work on them both. I don't see any compelling need to combine the two, and plenty of reasons why not to combine them (involving logistics, aims, scope, etc.). Jwrosenzweig 00:14, 5 Mar 2004 (UTC)
The best explanation of the difference is probably this quotation from Wikipedia talk:Wikipedia is not a dictionary (a good talk page to peruse, Ben, if this is important to you) -- "A dictionary entry will describe the meaning of a word and perhaps its pronunciation and its origin. An encyclopaedia entry should describe not only these things (in the case of words) but go further and discuss significance, history, effects, related concepts and so on. There is much more meat in an encyclopaedia article than in a dictionary article." If you can make an encyclopedia article about a word, I say make one. If you can't, we don't. Jwrosenzweig 00:21, 5 Mar 2004 (UTC)
"An encyclopaedia entry should describe ... these things." Then everything in a dictionary should be in an encyclopedia? These things, of course, being all the things described in a dictionary.
That last sentence in Jwrosenzweig's statement has some mixed stance that reveals conflict with the Wikipedia instructions. The welcome pages say in essence if you can't make an encyclopedic article of a dicitionary entry, go ahead and post it and we will.
The problem comes when readers find statements describing how Wikipedia articles start as stubs that others improve, then they see all these stubs, then they write one and find themself or another hazed as a "clueless newbie" by those who say "we don't" help make encyclopedic articles of dictionary style entries. Rainchild 07:07, 12 Mar 2004 (UTC)

I'm in the process of losing all hope in wikipedia here. You say "significance, history, effects, related concepts and so on" but what I want to hear is "shorter more precice, more organized information about".

I dont think you understand. I will not return to this page again today but I will continue to add and organize info at least until tomorrow, no longer in hope that it will help present the worlds info in a more organized way but because it helps me study for the test tommorow. Bensaccount 00:32, 5 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Care to give us an example of an encyclopedic article on compendium? How about User:Bensaccount/compendium. I eagerly await your addition. --Dante Alighieri | Talk 08:03, 5 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Ben---as for articles being "shorter and more precise"---obviously there's merit to being concise and to the point, but that doesn't necessarily mean being shorter. If there is a lot to say about a subject, there is no reason not to say it, since length is not a restriction. Please feel free to improve any article you find that has problems with conciseness, provided that does not mean effectively turning a thorough discussion into bullet points. And of course there are some issues with lack of organization here; when thousands of relative strangers randomly contribute to any article they like, quite a bit of messiness can result. We always welcome those who would like to put their time into making Wikipedia more organized and coherent; I think if you spend a little more time here, you'll be impressed with how well the system works, and with how most problems tend to be self-correcting. -- Wapcaplet 23:03, 5 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Yes, shorter isnt better. But when an article is too long it should be subdivided. Bensaccount 18:14, 6 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Wikipedia and novelty appeal[edit]

Wikipedia will become a database of usless unimportant articles that have novelty appeal. Bensaccount 17:37, 5 Mar 2004 (UTC)

There are more than two roads. Web implementation, hyperlinking, and open collaboration give it interesting characteristics. One of the more curious ones is that garbage damages Wikipedia less than it would damage a print encyclopedia. If you look up on LISP and find a well-written article that answers your question, you don't really care whether there's a questionable List of [insert favorite junk list here] in the same "volume." As for organization, the article on Programming languages is a very good organization of the overall topic. It doesn't matter much if there are junk articles on programming if you don't find them when you're searching, or looking up something, or if the articles you find don't link to them. Wikipedia is proceeding down a road of its own. It is encyclopedic, but it combines elements of traditional, scholarly encyclopedias and "encyclopedias" of popular-culture topics. Dpbsmith 14:03, 5 Mar 2004 (UTC)
In retrospect, I agree theres nothing wrong with wikipedias inculsion of pop-culture and any topic at all for that matter (I dont really even have a problem with lists of two letter words, but in comparison with definitions there is a definite level of priority). Bensaccount 17:35, 5 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Borderline Vandal: posting in bad faith; POV material largely off-topic[edit]

I'm about to call it a session, but perhaps others will be able to pay attention to the following users and articles:

Note that those are the entire contribution histories of the 3 users.

I reverted Governments' pre-war ...

04:27, 2004 Mar 5 . . Jerzy (rv to last of : POV, off topic, at least one absurd assertion about polling public in every country)

for the reasons stated, especially in light of "masking" of the IP's edits with the 2-character Minor edit. That is, i believe User:Mobz's edit was pre-planned, and intended to keep the use of the IP and the extent of the edit from being noticed by Watchlist users who look at "(cur" rather than "hist)"; i describe this as editing in bad faith.

The counter-revert by a third brand-new user reinforces my impression of the attempt (initially) at stealth.

I don't contest that there may be some verifiable and useful material in what i reverted, and other edits that may be similar. But at this point in time, i don't edit for the enemy when they are using stealth, doing sloppy work, and showing no regard for staying on topic. As i suggest in my heading, i consider these 3 users represent a single person, who is entitled only to be treated like a vandal.

I'm going to do another revert, on the one article, before logging off.

Whether the contributed material deserves harsh treatment is of course another matter; i leave it to others, as i do the other, i think similarly edited, articles. --Jerzy(t) 08:14, 2004 Mar 5 (UTC)

I don't know about get-back-world-respect and the IP address, but my edit was just a fix that I noticed while browsing the article, the change I made is pretty obvious when it's not right Mobz 01:33, 17 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

wikipedia mirror[edit]


Is it possible to get the complete sources of all articles compressed into a single file like a .tar.gz file? or is it possible to get a copy of the MySQL database directory?

Cheers, Vincent

Yes, see Please also see Wikipedia:Copyrights if you are going to set up a mirror. Dori | Talk 14:04, Mar 5, 2004 (UTC)

Scientific name redirects[edit]

Should it be made possible for people to look up organism species via their latin names, via redirects? Or is there already something fulfilling this need? I first wanted to start doing this off my own bat, but then I decided to ask first; then I can also ask whether it should be put on the open tasks list if it needs to be done. I have a suspicion that it may be a very large task; maybe it would be a good idea to ask page authors if they would make scientific-name links for their own pages? Thanks, Sietse

Ask at Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject Tree of Life for specific ( :-) ) advice. Pete/Pcb21 (talk) 14:51, 5 Mar 2004 (UTC)
As that discussion is a bit lengthy - the short answer is: current policy is to have any lifeform at its common english name (if it has one), and make the scientific name a redirect. E.g. Salamandra salamandra is a redirect to Fire Salamander. However by far not all species have that redirect. In the Wikipedia:WikiProject Tree of Life you'll find the full answer with a lot of discussion around it... andy 15:09, 5 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Project Gutenberg[edit]

Would it be useful to go through and post links to full text versions of literature as found on PG? I am a newcomer here, so let me know. kmac 20:52, Mar 5, 2004 (UTC)

Links to PG works are fine (actually welcomed not just fine). Dori | Talk 20:56, Mar 5, 2004 (UTC)
Wikisource is a sister project of Wikipedia and is the proper repository for the full texts themselves. --Dante Alighieri | Talk 22:49, 5 Mar 2004 (UTC)


First, I'd just like to say that it sucks that VP is now no longer linked from the main page.

Secondly, what the heck is going on with the "What Links Here" page for Fortran? (scroll down) --Dante Alighieri | Talk 23:10, 5 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Seems like the link table updating bug gets more and more serious. The way it happens there is a minor problem, much more annoying is that sometime a links stays red even though the target page exists. andy 23:22, 5 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Fun new page suggestion - Monsters![edit]

I was thinking about a page for monsters with human heads/torsos. We could put sphinx, harpy, mermaid, shedu, Lamia, centaur and many more there. Can anyone think of a good title for the page, and/or a good way to organize it? Perhaps a table listing the component body parts of the beasties? Lion's body with human head as compared to horse's body with human torso for example.

Furthermore, what about monsters with different human body parts? For example, the Minotaur is all human... except for his head. While we're at it, what about werewolves who are human most of the time? Darn it, this is getting complicated... --Dante Alighieri | Talk 01:19, 6 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Chimera is both the name of one such monster and a term for a living creature combining attributes from several different sources, so it might be one possible title... By the way, I think that the existence of mermaids and mermen were deductions from a medieval theory that every land creature had a corresponding sea creature (hence all the sea-urchins and sea-lions and sea-whatevers...) Which comedian had a bit about a "maid-mer" ("on her, the top half was a fish?") Dpbsmith 01:37, 6 Mar 2004 (UTC)
The Chimera had no human parts. --Dante Alighieri | Talk 01:52, 6 Mar 2004 (UTC)
Although Chimeric creature might work... but it wouldn't limit it to beasts with human components. --Dante Alighieri | Talk 01:54, 6 Mar 2004 (UTC)
It might belong as a sublist on some existing pages. Browse around List of species in folklore and mythology and List of species in folklore and mythology by type and see what you think. (Main entry seems to be Legendary creatures, but I don't think Legendary means at all the same as Mythical, which is what I really see these things as. But I didn't title the pages. :-) ) Elf 02:28, 6 Mar 2004 (UTC)~

Meta Question[edit]

For reasons we shall leave to a defenseless posterity to ponder, I have composed a lengthy ill-contrived article over in m:User:Itai/Gnutella (if you want to comment on this article, please do so in the article's Talk page. It should be noted that despite several ill-conceived declaration on my behalf, the idea thereby presented is doable. Worse still, I could do it). I was wondering where in the Meta - if such a place exists - I should place a link to this article (although I should probably move it out of the User: namespace first), the concept therein discussed not quite fitting the title of a Project? Furthermore, if I have future questions regarding the Meta, where should I place them? (Somehow, I'm not sure Wikipedia's own Village Pump is the best place for questions such as this. Possibly a mailing list would have been better, for a given definition of the term.) -- Itai 01:54, 6 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Mainly m:Current issues and m:MediaWiki_development#Proposed. As you're saying we could do away with the Squid proxies, you might want to link from m:Cache strategy. If you think it will make things faster, you can link from m:Why Wikipedia runs slow. And if you're desperate for more links, claim it will reduce stress and link from m:wikistress. :) Angela. 10:43, Mar 6, 2004 (UTC)
Reduce stress... I wouldn't know. Is there a page for reducing Wikipedia? :) Anyway, I am much obliged. -- Itai 23:51, 7 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Pancreatitis in the headlines[edit]

Attorney General John Ashcroft has been hospitalized (intensive care) with acute gallstone pancreatitis. Looking at our article on pancreatitis, it sure could use some spiffing up -- including articles for the many red links.

Could someone with a medical background take a look and see what can be done? Thanks. -Rholton 02:47, 6 Mar 2004 (UTC)[edit] was just featured on Slashdot. A nice enough project, but they need help. Many of the contributions would make a seasoned Wikipedia editor cringe for abuse of Wiki syntax, their manual of style is blank, Article Titles have Mixed Case Too Often, and I can't find a single community page.

BUT STILL! It shows promise, and I thought you (plural) would. be interested. They could use some help.

-- Fennec 03:33, 6 Mar 2004 (UTC) (User:Fennec)

Hey Fennec, I just saw you over there a few minutes ago :-) Fennec is right though, the project is just starting up and has a lot of gaping holes to fill, so any Wikipedians who know stuff about Linux would certainly be welcomed there. They use our Wiki code, so there is zero learning curve for anyone who's spent time here. -- Wapcaplet 04:09, 6 Mar 2004 (UTC)
I see an upside and a downside to this. We don't need to lose seasoned wikipedians to another wiki project, but if their project adds even one or two more developers to the project, it would be a great windfall. →Raul654 04:11, Mar 6, 2004 (UTC)
Indeed? :) I should try to become a developer-type... I've considered running my own wiki as well. As for this site... Right now I think that they suffer from a lack of infrastructure for guidelines and community. A village pump? Naming conventions? Editable help pages? You wish. - Fennec 06:27, 6 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Weird bug on VFD or stupidity on my part?[edit]

I went to Wikipedia:Votes for deletion and tried to vote on Symbiotic algorithm. I clicked on the section "edit" and it took me to an editing page. The edit box, instead of the list of votes, had the following:

=== The 6th ===
Take an old day's section off by moving by removing its last listings, and moving    
its heading to be the line before this sentence.
(However, headings containing the word "March" may be discarded instead of being     

Does anybody know what this means? Why can't I vote? moink 04:12, 6 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Tried it with no problems... might just be you, may have been temporary... Fennec 07:32, 6 Mar 2004 (UTC)
I think it was temporary. I suspect that User:Jerzy was in the middle of something odd he was doing with the date headers. Thanks for checking for me. moink 08:19, 6 Mar 2004 (UTC)
The --> is a clue that a comment was created, and is probably a guideline to editors who want to maintain the page. Anything you put in between a <!-- and a --> doesn't show up Dysprosia 08:25, 6 Mar 2004 (UTC)
I think it is a known bug that headings inside comment tags break section editing. Angela. 10:43, Mar 6, 2004 (UTC)

Tutorial on 'how to write a well-sourced article': Hapiru example[edit]

I just ran across Habiru/Sources, and was pleasantly amazed at the quality of the source-referencing and research that has gone into what was once a likely deletion candidate. I think every Wikipedian should run across this page in their first day of community-page browsing, so that somewhere in the back of their minds they have an idea of what high-detail citations can look like.

Could someone who knows where all the WP-intro documents are include this as a standard for excellent research, so that people who would otherwise be inclined to engage in POV or factual finger-pointing can see how else their efforts might be directed?

While I agree that's a good article, I'm not sure it's desirable to have that level of source detail. That looks a lot like extensive original research into primary sources, which Wikipedia is not. --Delirium 00:46, Mar 9, 2004 (UTC)
Delerium seems to be asserting that Wikipedians should not consult historical documents in an effort to amend errors in popular texts of our time.Bad faith
That's correct, in general. We're an encyclopedia, not a historical research organization. We can consult original documents to make sure things like quotes and dates are accurate, of course, but interpretation and context ought to be left up to original research outside Wikipedia. If you feel there are major errors in popular texts of our time, you're free to publish an article in a history journal with a novel interpretation, and then we'll report on it. --Delirium 06:12, Mar 10, 2004 (UTC)

Maps, etc...[edit]

It is despairing finding an article on a region/river/place... which is not illustrated with a map. I am sure this has been already discussed, but it might be worthwhile keeping a record of those articles somewhere so that someone having the time and willing may "fix" them. Any ideas? I am going to start this list at user:Pfortuny/Unmapped_places. Pfortuny 12:32, 6 Mar 2004 (UTC)

I agree, maps are so important to these articles. I know that User:Morwen has been uploading loads of maps recently, so I don't know if she already has a list that she's working off of? fabiform | talk 13:06, 6 Mar 2004 (UTC)
I am making a list of things as I do them at User:Morwen/maps. Morwen 13:27, Mar 6, 2004 (UTC)
You're doing some commendable work.MK 22:37, 6 Mar 2004 (UTC)
I am not sure if you are aware of the Wikipedia:WikiProject Maps - maybe your requested maps list can become a subpage in that project. And it would be more likely that any wikimapmaker would look there than your userpage. andy 20:26, 6 Mar 2004 (UTC)
I knew there was something of the sort. I'll refer to that page. Thanks to all. Pfortuny 08:42, 7 Mar 2004 (UTC)

FWIW, the unmapped places page is now Wikipedia:WikiProject Maps/Requested and orphan maps thanks to ... well, I do not remember. If you find an article on a place without a map, you can list it there.

What are these?[edit]

What's the use of this page: List of stations of the Paris Métro? Most of the links there are stubs! Like Pont de Levallois - Bécon, Anatole France, Louise Michel, Porte de Champerret etc. Are they necessary? --Yacht 14:33, Mar 6, 2004 (UTC)

Yes, they are. Optim·.· 15:03, 6 Mar 2004 (UTC)
I would agree with Optim if those articles have more then the basic stub info they have now. There is probably more info than the subway line which goes there. When was the station opened? Where did the name come from? Any special events there (e.g. a bomb, a serious accident)? See the London subway stations as a positive example what this stub can grow into. But there is equal chance they will stay these ugly stubs for a long time. andy 20:20, 6 Mar 2004 (UTC)
Errr... what i cay say is: they are really ugly...--Yacht 08:40, Mar 7, 2004 (UTC)
Some suggestions, best first:
1. Fix them. It's a lot more work to fix them than to just criticise them, but it does directly improve the Encyclopedia.
2. Add stub warnings, if appropriate and not already there. This is really a minor fix, but it is progress and it's surprising how often it's overlooked, so I thought it deserved its own line.
3. Discuss them on the article talk pages, making the best suggestions you can to help others fix them.
4. List them on cleanup. This at least alerts others to the fact that they need fixing.
But, please don't list them on VfD unless you've read Wikipedia:Deletion policy and there are sound reasons for deleting them in terms of this policy. Oh you may laugh, but doing just this seems to be an increasingly common hobby and is IMO an enormous waste of the time of those of us who would like to improve the articles. Sorry if that's blunt. Andrewa 19:49, 7 Mar 2004 (UTC)
And why is that wasting your time? You can still improve the article, or start a new one. Is it really that much easier to improve "Anatole France (Paris Metro) is served by line 3" than to improve "Anatole France (Paris Metro)"? Really, I don't think so. Andre Engels 12:10, 10 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Is a subway article really necessary? There's something like 500 subway stations in NYC... should we have an article on every single one? Many are nothing more than a 200-sq-ft empty platform with a ticket-vending machine. --Delirium 00:51, Mar 9, 2004 (UTC)

Michael Hayden[edit]

Michael Hayden's name should have been included in the list of "classical period composers".

I see Michael Haydn in List of classical music composers# Classical era. Maybe you missed him because you misspelled his lastname? Or do you mean another list? andy 20:12, 6 Mar 2004 (UTC)