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Adding categoriesEdit

Hi, I've been working through some articles in Category:Welsh expatriate footballers and noticed you seem to have added a number of players to this category at the start of the year using AWB who seemingly shouldn't be there. I've already removed Danny Allsopp and Peter Barnes (footballer) and a quick look finds others such as Giorgio Chinaglia, Chris Blackburn, Aurélien Collin and Terry Cooke. Category:Welsh expatriate sportspeople in the United States also seems to be affected as they were added simultaneously. Thought I'd check if there was a reason for the additions before going ahead and removing en masse, I'm guessing it's got something to do with the fact that these players all played for a Welsh club at some point, cheers. Kosack (talk) 21:09, 6 November 2019 (UTC)

Hi Kosack
V sorry for the slow reply. Started writing one promptly, then it was lost in a browser crash, and before I got back to this, some other stuff hit the fan.
Briefly, I populated Category:Welsh expatriate sportspeople in the United States, Category:Welsh expatriate footballers etc categories by building intersections off Category:Welsh footballers, which should not include footballers who merely played for a Welsh club.
I did many such runs like that, and usually checked carefully that the categories were unpolluted ... but in this case I clearly screwed up. A quick check now shows that Danny Allsopp is correctly in Category:Wrexham A.F.C. players, but that Category:Wrexham A.F.C. players was wrongly in Category:Footballers from Wrexham, due to this good faith mistake by Grutness.
I see that you have kindly done some cleanup already, @Kosack. I will now do some checks and see if there are more. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 05:29, 20 November 2019 (UTC)
Whoops - apologies! Grutness...wha? 05:30, 20 November 2019 (UTC)
No worries, everyone makes mistakes. Kosack (talk) 07:17, 20 November 2019 (UTC)

@Kosack: I have now cleaned up the last of this, in these 5 edits:[1]

I started by cleaning up Category:Footballers by city or town in Wales. After the good work done by you (and maybe some others),the remaining problem was Category:Merthyr Tydfil F.C. players, which I removed[2] from Category:Footballers by city or town in Wales.

I then used this Petscan query to check for miscategorised welsh expatriate footballers, and fixed the remaining 5 errors.[3]

Thanks again for spotting this, and for helping clean up. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 05:17, 27 November 2019 (UTC)

Question re WikiProjectsEdit

Hi BHG - I asked a question on NA1K's TP about whether we should have links to WikiProject pages on the front Main Space pages of the Main Articles, instead of the Talk Page. My thought was that ultimately Portals are caught between Main Articles (+NavBoxes) and WikiProject Directories, and can compete with neither. Maybe if we had WikiProject links on the Mainspace articles, it would solve a lot of these issues? NA1K gave this a slim chance of being accepted by the community, however. What do you think? Britishfinance (talk) 13:58, 7 November 2019 (UTC)

  • FYI, I would agree with this, if the WikiProjects were generally more active. Some are as moribund as the portals. Perhaps some formula can be derived for more closely tying together the operation of these spaces, so that the portals serve as an entree to the projects. I would also be agreeable, under these circumstances, to linking the relevant WikiProjects on the Main page rather than linking the portals that are there now. bd2412 T 01:12, 8 November 2019 (UTC)
    • Ultimately, merging Portals into WikiProjects, and putting a WikiProject link on the Main Article page could solve a lot of issues simultaneously:
1. It would avoid some of the portal content issues of pov+forking (e.g. bigger audience), and avoid portals having to compete with Main Articles (which they are mostly failing at).
2. It would encourage the WikiProjct to take some responsibility for the portal (even if still ignored, can't worsen the situation); many WikiPrjects have quasi-portal pages as their front page.
3. If a non-editor topic expert clicks on a portal, in 9/10 cases they will get the impression that WP is a failing project which could lead them no to bother contributing. However, if they click on a WP Project, they will see a much larger scale of activity (e.g. compare the Portal:Alaska with WikiProject Alaska and its structured directory of over 10,000 topic articles); this could drive them to engage.
4. While a high % of portals have become functionally obsolete (due to Main Article+NavBoxes and WikiProject Directories), we will always need a WP Project space in some form.
5. Even where the WikiProject is dormant, it can't be a worse situation as the portal is likely to be in even worse shape; per 3. we should be trying to promote the WikiProject in such cases.
Perhaps WP should also have an MOS for the front-page of WikiProject pages if such a link was created to help things along? Britishfinance (talk) 13:56, 8 November 2019 (UTC)
Briefly, I would oppose anything like this as a breach of the fourth wall which separates reader-facing pages from the under-the-hood stuff.
The WikiProject links are already there on the talk page for anyone who wants them. I can't see any way in which it helps the reader to put that stuff on the face of the article. Instead, this seems to be about helping portals to survive, and that seems to me to be a back-to-front approach (pages should help readers, not readers helping pages). --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 05:57, 20 November 2019 (UTC)
No problem BHG. Normally I would agree with you, but I wonder if it is different for WP. Unlike a normal media outlet, we want people to read and contribute. For example, in Portal:Alaska, we have a portal with bits of information on Alaska which I feel would not compel someone with a passion for Alaska to contribute to WP on Alaska. They can view the edit history of Alaska and see random entries from all types (i.e. "the Encylopedia that anybody can edit" thing). However, if they find their way to WikiProject Alaska, they will see there are over 10,000 articles on the subject, with a list of topic specialists and other material that shows WP Alaska is a more substantial undertaking?
A core issue here is that portals are not really "portals" in the sense that a reader would expect (e.g. deep dive into the subject or project area). They are really galleria or emporia of FA/GA content (with all the associated issues that the is a weak correlation between FA/GA and important articles in a topic area). In a way portals, are kind of "screening-out" the WikiProject from the reader? I see several examples where the portal front page, and the WikiProject front page, are very similar? Britishfinance (talk) 09:24, 20 November 2019 (UTC)
@Britishfinance, I'm sure you know that you are preaching to the choir when talking to me about the failures of portals! As far as I can see, they have always been a page in search of a purpose.
As to readers contributing, I'd have thought that the paths are already simple. If you want to edit the page, press the edit button. If you want to talk about it, go to the talk page.
The only way that I can see in which portals might be diverting people from WikiProjects is that the portal link is on the WikiProject banner. There's a case for removing that, or at least making it less prominent.
But if I do go to Wikipedia:WikiProject Alaska, I don't see anything that shouts "10,000 articles here's how to help". I see an appallingly designed page, semi-active for five years. I find a moribund list of tasks, lots of stuff which means nothing to a newbie, and if I scroll scroll scroll down I see a section labelled #Assessment" with a table which shows that about half the 10,000 pages are not articles.
If I was a newbie I wouldn't have scrolled that far. I'd have most likely given up, or I'd have gone to the talk page and posted a message.
But basically, I think I'd just have stuck with articles. The portal and the project just look like broken dreams. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 09:57, 20 November 2019 (UTC)
So what if the WikiProject has a link on the Main Article (instead of the Portal), AND, a job was undertaken to create a proper standardized engaging MOS-type front pages for WikiProjects (which would really be the portals)? I think some of the public feels WP is like youtube - lots of "stuff", good and band. However, when you get into the projects, it shows a larger and more structured process is (or was, in some cases) underway?
I have a feeling that WikiProjects will go through phases of development as Wikipedia develops. Phase I, which was about getting articles created is now over. The next Phase II will be about getting more expert/higher-grade editors to improve articles and increase standardisation etc. I see many Projects that finished Phase I and are now themselves waning/abandoned. However, perhaps (and I could be wrong here), a better "front page" for the WikiProject and access via the Main Page, could entice Phase II-generation editors to join? Britishfinance (talk) 10:05, 20 November 2019 (UTC)
@BF, with respect it seems to me that you are asking the wrong questions.
WikiProjects are a tool for editors to collaborate. No more than that and no less than that.
There's also a million other ways for editors to collaborate. I have always spent way way more time at XFD, article talk pages, the Village Pump etc than at WikiProjects. The only WikiProject I know of where I can genuinely say "that project works well" is WP:MILHIST. The rest are in various states between mediocrity, death and outright fossilisation. Plus, a few have some unintended role, e.g. appears to have become a social club.
So the question I reckon you should be asking is: How are editors collaborating nowadays? And what collaboration tools do they lack?
I don't want to prejudge the answers to that. But I am entirely open to the idea that maybe we don't need anything remotely like the current WikiProjects at all. Or maybe we need far fewer of them. Or maybe they need a technology tweak, or to take to twitter, or to be dynamited or whatever.
I am open to any of those possibilities. But the one thing I absolutely definitely oppose is promoting a failed or failing type of page just because we've had it for a while. That's what's happened with portals: readers haven't used them for years, and we know why readers don't want them (because they add no value). All these efforts to redesign and promote portals are like a bunch of people trying to revive teletext. There are reasons portals failed.
In my view, we should remember that basically Wikipedia is very simple: people collaborating online to write a free, verifiable NPOV encyclopedia. The rest is transitory detail.
Suppose someone came along and deleted everything except actual articles. We'd still have the same encyclopedia. Same very fine writing on many topics, same mediocrity on many more pages, same piles of permastubs on minor sportspeople, same dodgy school articles, etc etc.
We'd have to develop new tools to help us collaborate to build and maintain it. But now we are 15 years on from the era when most of our structures were built in 2003–07. Most of the rest of the technology world has shifted radically, and social media has redefined how we interact.
I doubt what we'd come up with now would look at all like the essentially 1990s model we use now. WikiProjects, with their formal structures and hard edges and linear discussions, look to me like fossils in the world of Uber and contactless payment and the fluid, informal, overlapping groupings we use on Twitter or elsewhere.
So I say leave the Projects be. Those that still deliver value to editors will survive without lots of promotion. Those that die have served their purpose.
Which in hindsight, is maybe part of how I should have viewed portals. After killing the surge of automated junk, then just try to put a lid on the rest to stop it spreading. Wikipedia is certainly a better place for clearing the thickets of rotted portals, but I am not so sure that it was worth enduring all the hassle from the fans of outmoded pointlessness. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 11:17, 20 November 2019 (UTC)
Very interesting BHG, and you have a much longer and deeper experience with these platforms that I. The only thing that gave me pause at WikiProjects is that in big accountancy and legal professional service firms, they often internally organise into "functional/topic" groups, which is a bit like WikiProjects. It made me think that maybe in some way, WikiProjects (in some form) should have a future (if WP has a future). However, maybe I am just too attracted to the mental model of the comparison with these firms and WikiProjects, and ultimately, the most dominant decision criteria is to ignore what is not working/waning and amplify what is working (the Creative destruction philosophy). thanks again for your consideration and comments. Britishfinance (talk) 11:26, 20 November 2019 (UTC)
Glad that was of some help, @Britishfinance.
It seems to me that those law and accountancy firms are a poor comparator. They can exert very strong pressure on their employees to organise in a particular way, through the coercion of the paycheque: obey orders, or the pay stops.
In contrast, Wikipedia editors get no tangible reward, and suffer no financial hazard for working as they want, rather than how a boss might want. So basically editors self-organise as they see fit. The only real sanction is making them stop work (through a block), and the only rewards are intangibles like barnstars or A DYK tick.
Imagine a few conversations transferred from the world of those big firms to en.wp:
  • "Hey sweetheart, good news! I got 5 DYKs plus 2 barnstars this month! So we can pay off the mortgage and buy a car."
  • "I'm sorry, honey. My RFA failed. So we can't afford that holiday in the sun."
  • "Yeah, I loathe writing about South America, but it pays the bills."
Can you imagine, for example telling a bunch of editors that they were being redeployed from American sport and British politics and Antipodean porn, and until further notice were being reassigned to work on the urban geography of Africa? Or that the thoroughly well-organised MILHIST crew were being redeployed to beauty pageants? The swear filters would explode.
If you want an organisational model to compare with, then look to civil society, not to commerce or govt. Consider mostly-voluntary groups like European political parties, and esp look at less formal models like Extinction Rebellion, or even looser groupings like Twitter hashtags. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs)
Very (very) interesting, as always, BHG :) A lot to digest there! Britishfinance (talk) 14:35, 20 November 2019 (UTC)

Selective Application of ConsensusEdit

Hello. I noticed on WP:ANI, you wrote: "I did was very clear that POG is a former guideline, and I cited it to explicitly stress the folly of that guideline. NA!K is trying to conflate this with their efforts to cite POG as guidance on how to act, which is the exact opposite of what I did. NA1K actually claimed that POG has current value, which I explicitly did not." Could I ask how this reconciles with your reference to WP:POG as "policy" in Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Portal:Vermont? I'm sure you've also referred to it as policy elsewhere, although I don't have much time to go digging. Regards, Vermont (talk) 03:52, 11 November 2019 (UTC)

I may not have been clear. You also wrote about "NA1K's disgraceful attempt to claim currency for POG as a device to justify creation of a POV portal". If it is a "disgraceful attempt" to claim POG as a reason to justify creation of a portal, is it not the same to use POG as a reason to justify deletion of a portal? To me, at least, it seems like you're pushing your view that all portals should be deleted regardless of what consensus and guidelines, whether current or past, actually say. Regards, Vermont (talk) 03:57, 11 November 2019 (UTC)

Sure, Vermont. That first question is very simple.

WP:POG was delisted as a guideline on 27 Set 2019[4]. That followed the closure on 26 Sept of WP:Village pump (policy)/Archive 153#RFC:_Formalize_Standing_of_Portal_Guidelines_as_a_Guideline_(18_July_2019)

My last edit at Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Portal:Vermont was on 26 July 2019‎. At that point, POG was tagged as a guideline, as it had been for years. I accepted the status quo, and worked within the guideline, even though I had grave reservations about much of it. I used at as guideline while it was still a guideline, and whe it was delisted per RFC I stopped citing it as a guideline ... though I frequently noted how absurd it had been to recommend only 20 articles.

That is how WP:Consensus works: accept a guideline unless and until it is changed. The status of POG changed two months later, but I work within policy and guideline as they are now, not how they might be in the future.

My wording there are MFD was sloppy in one respect. In reply to you, I referred to two fundamental policy issues, but I should of course have used the word "guideline". I am sorry for that error, but I don't think it was a major issue in the context. I think that our disagreement would have been the same whichever word was used.

As your comments that I am pushing [my] view that all portals should be deleted regardless of what consensus and guidelines, that is very far from the truth. Of the last 30 portals I assessed for possible MFD noms, I nominated only about 5.

I think that you miss some very important distinctions. Editors are all entitled to their views and to express them. They are also required to respect the current consensus.

In this case, some editors would like to have thousands of portals, and some would like to have zero. I would like few or none, and if we got down to say 100 portals I'd say good enough for now: the 100 would still be pretty useless, but at least at that number they would probably have enough traffic to be maintained, and maybe even restructured to add a little more value than the failed model of pseudo-magazine with a Rube Goldberg machine. But for now there are two points of consensus: a) that there should not be a deletion of all portals, per WP:ENDPORTALS, and b) that individual portals may be deleted at MFD.

So that is my personal view, and I hold it while also respecting the current consensus. I support the deletion of failed portals, and those on excessively narrow topics. I would oppose the deletion of a broad-topic portal if it is in good shape, and if it is a high-level topic portal in terrible shape then I would support a WP:TNT deletion pending a rebuild, as I did e.g. at MFD:Portal:Asia. If P:Asia had been in good shape, I'd have said keep it.

I regard the stream of MFDs as being a process of removal of failed portals, like P:Vermont. I thought that process would have ended months ago, but sadly MFD nominators are still finding lots of failed portals. In hindsight, I realise that I had radically overestimated the degree to which portals were being maintained, and now realise that the rot extends much further than I had thought.

I hope that clarifies my views.

Best wishes, --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 04:54, 11 November 2019 (UTC)

Thank you for your clarification. I was unaware of the timing of the delisting, which is surprisingly recent. Vermont (talk) 10:51, 11 November 2019 (UTC)
@Vermont: it's a pity that you chose not to check the dates before accusing me of regardless of what consensus and guidelines. The information is available on the 8th line of the revision history of WP:POG, or you could simply have asked me the question. Instead you chose to make a pejorative judgement on me without having the key fact. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 16:55, 11 November 2019 (UTC)
I was unaware of the timing. I stated that, and thanked you for the clarification. I apologize. However, that does not negate the fact you misrepresented POG as policy on multiple occasions, and as our disagreement then remains unchanged, our disagreement now remains unchanged. On a related note, do you believe these statements fall within our community's standards for civility? I hope to understand how you believe these to acceptable, where I regard them as abhorrent conduct unbecoming of an administrator. Regards, Vermont (talk) 17:38, 11 November 2019 (UTC)
@Vermont: I twice used the word "policy" when I should have used the word "guideline", and I have apologised for that. However, you miss the point I cited POG in support when it was still a guide, and ceased to rely on it as soon as it was delisted. In complete contrast, NA1K has WP:GAMEd the system by asking successfully for POG to be delisted as a guideline, but the cited as justification for problematic edits. That's trying to have your cake and eat it.
As to my comments about NA1K, I stand by my view that NA1K's substantive conduct has been unacceptable. They have repeatedly misrepresented both fact and and guideline, and have repeatedly demonstrated the very poor judgement which was noted by multiple editors at both their RFAs. Their latest escapade has been shocking. In 13 years as an admin, I have never before seen any editor, let alone an admin, cite in their support a page which was deprecated on their own insistence that it never received actual formal discussion to be enacted as a real English Wikipedia guideline page. I could never have imagined a situation where an actual admin would repeat that deception in a discussion where the error had already been noted in the post to which they were replying ... and I am shocked that it has all been done in support of sneaky edits which amount to massive breach of the core policy WP:NPOV.
Yes, I have used strong and direct words to point this out. And I am very deeply saddened that some editors are massively more concerned about my language than about the substantive and persistent problems which I have described. It's nearly 14 years since I joined Wikipedia to help build a verifiable, NPOV encyclopedia ... and the conduct which I have seen and described here appals me because me it runs counter to that goal. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 19:10, 11 November 2019 (UTC)
Thank you for your reply. I believe it has formulated the fundamental disagreement between us: the value of civility. I have not looked into NA1k's edits regarding portals, nor do I intend to. My only involvement is with your incivility towards editors who disagree with you. I hope you recognize that your behavior would not be in question, at least from me, if your responses conformed to WP:5P4. I cite you referring to people in the current ANI discussion as "incompetent", "mendacious", "habitual lying", "idiot", "poster-child for the Dunning–Kruger effect", "incapable of conducting rational discussions", "a liar or incompetent, or both", a "mix of stupidity and mendacity", "anti-truth", "bad faith", "low-skill group", "very low-competence editors" (which you went on to name specifics), and various other phrases. Your constant incivility towards other editors is a problem. I have no interest what consensus is with regard what to do with portals, whether NA1k is gaming the system, or anything other than your conduct, as that is not why I am here. I have no interest in portals; only the one for my home state, which was deleted. My sole motive in this is to promote an atmosphere where people are free to disagree with other editors without incivility. Even when you believe other editors are acting out of line, you can't start spouting insults and personal attacks. You're an administrator; you should know better than to say things like that. And if you weren't an admin, I can nearly guarantee that you would have been blocked by now for your conduct. Please, please, please try to focus on wording your comments to be respectful of editors you disagree with, avoiding personal attacks, and ensuring that your comments promote a constructive environment, regardless of opinion. Regards, Vermont (talk) 23:37, 11 November 2019 (UTC)
I understand where you are coming from, Vermont.
But with respect, I think that you are taking a dangerously incomplete view of civility. It seems to me that you overlook (or at least massively underestimate) the deep incivility of the passive aggression and WP:GAMEing techniques used by NA1K. The repeated selective quotations; the misrepresentation of statistics; the attempts to depopulate tracking categories because "they are used by deletionists"; the use of pompous synonyms to describe as a guideline a page which was de-guidelined at their request; the stonewalling in response to civil questions, such as NA!K's assertion "I assessed these articles relative to their suitability for this portal" (word soup which conveys nothing); the brushing off of complaints about the poor quality of a selection with variants of "add more stuff if you like"; the complete failure to accept any responsibility for creating a huge POV breach at Portal:Transport; and much much more.
This all highly aggressive and uncivil conduct, which wastes the time and energy of other editors, and sets them up for NA1K to make allegations of badgering, harassment etc when challenged on their evasions and deceit. This manipulative conduct is a form of systematic goading of those trying to have reasoned debate. And all these issue were note years ago, in NA1K's RFAs.
Other editors have noted it in the portal MFDs, but have not directly challenged it. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 23:59, 11 November 2019 (UTC)
You complain about stonewalling and your responses here are stonewalling, feeding me word soup which conveys nothing. Could you explain to me how your slew of insults and personal attacks conforms with WP:5P4, without mentioning NA1k? Someone else being uncivil is not a reason to be similarly or more uncivil. Your argument is a basic strawman argument. I will again reiterate: you are being extremely uncivil, and it does not matter what it is in response to. You're an administrator, and are expected to act with a degree of control that you are not showing. You need to stop your blatant and callous incivility, which you seem to recognize as being nonconforming with policy by your intentional attempts to walk around it. Vermont (talk) 00:22, 12 November 2019 (UTC)
So sustained incivility directed at me is fine, but my incivility in response is unacceptable? Wow.
Also, I spent ten minutes writing that reply, honestly listing and describing a number of problems I encountered, and you have just dismissed it as "stonewalling" and "word soup". That is spectacular rudeness, and since you came here let me me about incivility, it's pure hypocrisy. I assume that you were here I good faith to discuss, but it seems that I was mistaken, Now I regret wasting my time replying. Unless you retract that, just stay off my talk. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 01:42, 12 November 2019 (UTC)
Sorry BrownHairedGirl, but I agree with Vermont here: discribing your fellow Wikipedians as "incompetent", "mendacious", "habitual lying", "idiot", "poster-child for the Dunning–Kruger effect", "incapable of conducting rational discussions", "a liar or incompetent, or both", a "mix of stupidity and mendacity", "anti-truth", "bad faith", "low-skill group", "very low-competence editors" is unacceptable, no matter what the provocation. You wouldn't treat your co-workers that way in the workplace, and it's not acceptable on Wikipedia either. Basic Wikipedia 101: Comment on the content, not the contributors. You might consider having a look at Wikipedia:Old-fashioned Wikipedian values which gives a set of four simple rules for interacting with your fellow editors. — Diannaa 🍁 (talk) 15:09, 12 November 2019 (UTC)
User:BrownHairedGirl - I think that nearly all of your analysis is technically correct about portals. However, it isn't useful to say that NA1k is being stupid or mendacious or acting in bad faith -- even if they are being either stupid or mendacious and are acting in bad faith. So I agree with User:Diannaa that those of us who think that there are too many failed portals need to be civil in explaining that there are too many failed portals. Robert McClenon (talk) 03:59, 13 November 2019 (UTC)
with respect, I agree with and appreciate the last comment above. Sm8900 (talk) 20:33, 20 November 2019 (UTC)

Help me understandEdit

I've been reading through the discussions at Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Portal:Transport (which I found via the ongoing ANI discussion), and there is one accusation that you're making of NA1k that I can't figure out. You're saying that NA1k made edits to the portal that added a number of articles to the rotation, but these additional articles were obscured from view in some way. Specifically, you say that NA1k's new version of the portal does not display a list of linked articles that are part of the rotation in the portal. I have tried comparing the before and after versions of the portal (via this diff), but I don't see a list of linked articles that appears in one version and doesn't appear in the other. Can you help me understand where this list resides, and specifically how you believe NA1k's change to the article made this list more difficult to access? Thanks. ‑Scottywong| [talk] || 22:40, 11 November 2019 (UTC)

@Scottywong, writing up my reply. Sorry it's taken longer than I thought it would. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 00:00, 12 November 2019 (UTC)
Hi Scottywong, sorry this was slow.
The Rube Goldberg machine structures of portals makes this a bit complex. I'll try to explain from the ground up as if you knew none of it; please forgive me if this ends up over-detailed, but I don't want misunderstandings from misplaced assumptions.
The usual structure for portals using the content-forked sub-page model was to have a set of numbered sub-pages for each section: /article1, /artcle2, /biog1, /biog2 etc. For each set, a template on the main portal takes one random page from each set to build the portal. So at any given time, the portal might display e.g. /article7 + /biog3 + /image17, or whatever ... and after a purge, it would display a new random selection, e.g. /article2 + /biog39 + /image13.
For maintenance and scrutiny purposes, each set of sub- is usually grouped in an index page which transcludes all the sub-pages, displaying redlinks for non-existent sub-pages. That provides a handy overview, because the set can be checked just by scanning one page, to see if the topics are well-chosen (in scope, balanced set, etc). It also allows the forked summaries to be easily scanned for vandalism, outdatedness etc ... and there are links to the actual articles, which makes it easy to check on their quality.
For an example of this on a live portal, I think that Portal:South Australia (permalink to current version)is a good example. Note:
  1. Each box has a bolded link at the bottom "More selected articles", "More did you know" etc, which link to the index page for that set
  2. e.g. "More selected articles" links to Portal:South Australia/Selected article, which lists all 17 article sub-pages plus three redlinks at the bottom.
  3. Note also that at the bottom of Portal:South Australia, there is a link titled "Sub-pages of Portal:South Australia", which links to Special:PrefixIndex/Portal:South_Australia/. That allows a quick glance overview of which portals exist.
Now look at Portal:Transport, in its reverted (i.e. pre-NA1K) version.
  1. The "Selected image" section has a "More selected images", which links to Portal:Transport/Selected picture
  2. The "Selected article" section oddly does not have a "More selected articles" link (Which is the omission you noted).
  3. However, the bottom of the pages does have a link titled "Sub-pages of Portal:Transport", which links to Special:PrefixIndex/Portal:Transport/ ... where you'll find the list of selected articles at Portal:Transport/Selected article.
The omission of the link in the "Selected article" section is inconvenient, but for those used to scrutinising portals it is only a very minor inconvenience, requiring one or two more clicks to get to Portal:Transport/Selected article.
Now look at the 8 October version by NA1K, the result of their last edit to the portal.
As before, there is no list on the face of the portal, but this time there's also no list in the sub-pages, because NA1K's version doesn't use sub-pages. Without using the edit button, the only way to see the set is to repeatedly purge the page and hope that you purge enough times to see the full set. That will take at least 64 purges; due to the randomness, it may take many more.
So try editing the page. You'll see a list of entries, beginning:
|1=Mass Rapid Transit (Singapore)
|2=London congestion charge


In some cases the nature of the topic will be evident from the title. In others (e.g. MTR) it won't be.
But if you are doing a thorough check, you need to see the article page and its talk page and its history. Most questions cannot be answered without visiting the page: :# Is the topic significant, and how is its importance rated? (a portal shouldn't be laden with trivia)
  1. What geographical area does it relate to, and what time period? (to avoid systemic bias)
  2. What quality is it rated as? Does that rating seem reasonable?
  3. Plus lots of subsidiary questions: Is it stable? NPOV? Free of cleanup tags? Unvandalised? Are there current disputes on its talk page? Has it been moved to a new title, or is there a merge proposal? etc etc
NA1K's "black box" format provides no links, so visiting each of 64 pages is a lot of work. The techniques I tried for MFD:Portal:Ghana (which turned out to be an abymsal selection) were:
  • Open a new browser tab, and copy-paste in each link one at a time, do scrutiny ... then alt-tab back. Gets tedious very quickly
  • Paste the list into a sandbox, add brackets to each entry, then view the result. Linking lots of items is tedious.
  • So the solution I used was to copy-paste to a text editor, use a regex to add the links in one replace operation, copy-paste to a sandbox, preview and proceed
That was tedious for me, so after MFD:Portal:Ghana I didn't do it again. For most editors, who aren't handy with regex, it's enough of a barrier to make scrutiny just too much hassle.
That is why I just reverted Portal:Transport. I didn't get to scrutinise the list until a month later, when NA1K posted it at the MFD ... and then it took me only a spot check to see that it looked biased, and just a few minutes to analyse it and document the scale of the bias.
I don't know whether NA1K was consciously creating a biased list, or simply maximising numbers without regard to balance and without looking at the assessments of the many other transport-projects. But what's very clear from the MFD is that NA1K is even now unconcerned about the huge bias in the list, and just focuses on the number of articles listed. And very sadly, so do most other editors commenting at the MFD. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 01:32, 12 November 2019 (UTC)
Thanks very much for that detailed explanation, I think I understand it much better now. To test my understanding, I'll try to briefly summarize: Your main objection to NA1k's edits on Portal:Transport was that he replaced {{Transclude random subpage}} with {{Transclude random excerpt}}, and hard-coded the list of articles into that template's parameters within the main portal page, rather than the (presumably) more popular method of organizing the list of articles on a series of subpages, with an index page that conveniently lists the articles with links and excerpts. This had the effect of making it much more difficult for editors to scrutinize the set of articles being used in the portal, to ensure that all articles have a sufficient quality assessment, that the list of selected articles doesn't show signs of systemic bias, and that the articles chosen are otherwise fit for use in a portal. A few follow-up questions:
  1. Is that an accurate summary?
  2. Is it your opinion that {{Transclude random excerpt}} should never be used directly to construct portals the way NA1k used it? I understand that it might be used within other templates, or it might be used on portal subpages, but I'm talking about specifically using it on a main portal page with hard-coded articles as template parameters. Interestingly enough, it seems that there are at least a couple dozen instances of it being used in this way currently. A (very small) sampling of these portals seems to show that a number of them were switched over to this method recently by NA1k, and others were switched over by other editors (sometimes as long as a year or two ago) such as The Transhumanist or SportingFlyer. While I understand that the subpage method offers more visibility and easier scrutiny for those that are familiar with it, it seems that the subpage method is more of the "Rube Goldberg machine" that you often talk about, while the {{Transclude random excerpt}} method cuts down on the Rube Goldberg aspect considerably.
  3. In your comments at the MFD, you repeatedly refer to NA1k's edits as being "sneaky". Does the use of this word imply that you believe NA1k deliberately changed the structure of this portal (and others) with the intention of obfuscating his changes to the list of articles that are being displayed in these portals? If so, what evidence are you basing this on?
It's clear to me that the lack of a solid portal guideline is causing a lot of problems. If there could be agreement on how all portals should be constructed, and criteria for which topics can have portals, it would really save everyone a lot of time and headaches. It's also clear to me that finding consensus on any of these things is going to be extremely difficult. I'm not sure I know the best way to proceed. Thanks again for the explanation. ‑Scottywong| [prattle] || 06:35, 12 November 2019 (UTC)
I finally understand what your objection is to the way that NA1k is implementing transclusion by black box. At least I think I understand. The problem is that you or I can't successively click on the 11 or 23 or whatever subpages in succession to view their content or view their maintenance dates or whatever. Now I understand. However, I think that you are defeating your own purpose. It has taken you two months or so to explain to me why what NA1k is doing is problematic, and I don't see the value in general of portals. For a reader who thinks that there is value to portals, all that they are going to see is that you are being shrill and uncivil. You aren't going to persuade anyone by saying that other editors are being dishonest, even if other editors are being dishonest. So lower your voice. You might not be heard, but it is better than just being heard yelling, in which case other editors aren't looking at the fact that you are right, only that you are loud. So listen to the editors who are telling you to be civil. It might actually be more persuasive also. Robert McClenon (talk) 04:14, 13 November 2019 (UTC)
Robert, while I understand where you're coming from and acknowledge that others share your views on this subject, please consider that you have just interrupted a civil conversation about technical details to wag your finger at BHG and say "be nice". Probably not the right venue for that comment. ‑Scottywong| [chat] || 06:35, 13 November 2019 (UTC)
@Robert McClenon, a few points:
  1. I The reverts which I made were exactly one months ago (on 12 October), not two months ago.
  2. I tried many times to explain the issue at the October AMI thread, but it was a pile-on by portal fans in which nobody was interested in the detail
  3. At that ANI tread I repeatedly proposed to NA1K that we have an RFC to discuss the issues, but got no response. I have repeatedly asked NA1K since then to work on an RFC, but NA1K has refused all discussion.
  4. At Portal talk:Australia#Comments_and_analysis_by_BHG, I posted a lengthy analysis of the laws of NA1K's edits to that portal.[5] NA1K chose not to even reply directly.
  5. Note that Portal talk:Australia#Comments_and_analysis_by_BHG was linked directly (I think several times), from the October ANI discussion. It's not surprising that you missed it, since that thread became a pile-on where my replies were drowned out in a sea of accusation; but that's why I repeatedly tried to get out of the pile on, and into RFC.
The repeated problem here has been that most of the portal fans have been unwilling to engage with such analysis even when it has been set out in detail, as with Australia. In the 32 days since those reverts, Scottywong is the first editor who has actually tried to do so, which I deeply value, and that's why I have provided such a detailed explanation. With respect, Robert, you too could have asked such questions, but didn't. I am disappointed by that.
Scotty, thanmks again for trying to understand. I really appreciate that. There are some outstanding issues from your post of 06:35 12 November[6], where I need to clarify things a bit. I will try to do so later tonight. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 23:22, 13 November 2019 (UTC)

I hope you don't mind me butting in, but your explanation to Scotty was enlightening and now I have a couple questions:

  1. Is your objection solely that it's hard to monitor? Do you agree/disagree that transcluding pages is better than the static subpages because (a) there's only one page you have to update (the underlying article) rather than having to update the subpages, and (b) the underlying article gets patrolled so the subpages don't have to be? (That's obviously my understanding of the benefit of direct transclusion but please correct me if I'm misunderstanding.)
  2. Could the hard-to-monitor problem be solved by creating another template, which creates a monitor page (an index page) from the {{transclude random excerpt}} on any given portal? So, for example, using the Portal:Transport (permalink) example from your explanation, you'd have a page, Portal:Transport/Index that would have {{transclude random excerpt index}} (or whatever), and that template would pull the arguments from the {{transclude random excerpt}} template at Portal:Transport, and then list those pages (1=Mass Rapid Transit (Sigapore), 2=London congestion charge, etc.) with wiki-links and, e.g., the lead transcluded (or display the pictures, or whatever). Essentially, a template that automatically creates an index page like Portal:Transport/Selected articles, and populate it from the transclusion templates on the main portal page. And then that index page would allow you to see everything that was transcluded in one place. Is this a workable solution? Has it been discussed before?

Thanks, Levivich 06:56, 14 November 2019 (UTC)

@Levivich: not butting in at all; you are very welcome, and as ever you ask important questions.
However, it's now silly o'clock here, and I need sleep. I will reply in more detail tomorrow, but for now I will just say you and to Scottywong that I strongly urge everyone to focus less on the how and more on the objectives.
I see two important objectives here:
  1. to eliminating the abominable content forking which created mad forests of subpages and left portals rotting for years, and whose complexity created too big a barrier to adding articles
  2. to enable scrutiny by retaining a visible, linked display of the actual live list of selected articles (under whatever heading; same applies to e.g. a "selected biographies" section or a "selected widgets" section)
NA1K's mass WP:FAITACCOMPLI achieved my objective #1, but at the price of creating a failure of my objective #2.
The choice how to achieve those objectives is a secondary matter to actually agreeing that they are both important, which has not happened. Even after a month of controversy as I asserted objective #2, NA1K yesterday tried to game the system by opening an RFC which considers only objective #1: see Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)#Use of direct transclusion in portals and the newer portal transclusion templates.
I can think of many possible means by which those two objectives can be achieved simultaneously. I like some aspects of Portal:Wind power, because its markup is so simple. (Its display feels a a bit crude, but that's not hard to fix). It uses a kindof a reverse approach to what you suggest in your question #2. Your idea is that an index template grabs the params of the transclusion template; but the Portal:Wind power approach is that the transclusion template grabs its list from the links in a named section. AFAICS, both approaches are viable, and I am sure there are more possibilities.
Unfortunately, as usual with portal discussions, the portal fans are busy focusing on the how, not on the end goals. (Even the former featured portals process was like that; its reviews were almost entirely about the process of templates and formatting, rather than about whether the result was actually a useful overview of key aspects of the topic). If we are ever going to the point of having proper broad scrutiny of the actual contents of portals, we really need to focus on outputs rather than inputs ... and in this case, the needed output is an easily-amended, easily-scrutinised list of articles. It doesn't really matter much whether we achieve that by template:XYZ63 or by praying to the Spaghetti monster to divinely spay magic pixie dust to make it happen. (No offence intended to Pastafarians).
I had hoped that this discussion could take as part of a wider discussion about how the list of selected articles should be presented. I see at least 5 options: a) as bare list ("mega-navbox") style; b) as a bare list with random preview (e.g. Portal:Wind power); c) as a random preview with a link to a list to list on another page (as with many of the content-forked portals); d) as a random preview with no list (i.e the "black box" model which NA1K sneakily imposed on many dozens of portals); e) as an annotated list with a short description to accompany each entry. There may be more possibilities.
Then get in to what general goals should be set for the selection? e.g. what quality threshold? what importance threshold? what NPOV criteria (e.g. recentism, systemic bias)? How to handle the systemic bias which skews the eligible set of articles? etc
Instead we have a month of the portal fans being outraged at the idea of even having a visible list to allow scrutiny.
Hope that helps. But now I need my beauty sleep, or else the tourists will mistake my wrinkles for the Grand Canyon. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 07:55, 14 November 2019 (UTC)
Thanks for all of this explanation, BHG. I agree that the current RFC is far too narrow to have any real impact in the world of portals. And, I absolutely agree with your assertion that we need to focus on the outputs rather than the inputs: start with defining the goals of portals and what they're good for, and then proceed to tweaking their design to maximize those goals. This is precisely what I'm attempting to do in my userspace at User:Scottywong/Portal guideline workspace. I know you have a ton of other stuff going on, but I hope you'll join us there. And, anyone else reading this who has a sustained interest and knowledge of portals should feel welcome to join too, even if you weren't explicitly invited. ‑Scottywong| [express] || 14:54, 14 November 2019 (UTC)
BHG, do you think your concern with {{Transclude random excerpt}} can be assuaged by an edit request for that template, to propose adding a collapsed list of all listed articles? I think there is an advantage in having all titles in the base page of the portal: you can see all updates with a diff, and you can see all updates (and vandalism!) for (potentially) transcluded articles with Special:RecentChangesLinked. Nemo 17:36, 14 November 2019 (UTC)

Black box gone rogue?Edit

I think I found a good example of "black box" gone rogue. Can you confirm this kind of unexpected or unpredictable result is the kind of "feature" that makes those templates a dangerous "black box" in your eyes? I agree that a minimum we should document better how content is selected. Nemo 12:46, 17 November 2019 (UTC)

Hi Nemo
Thank for your note, and sorry for the slow reply. I had a bit of an interruption.
Portal:Painting is not a "black box" portal. It's almost the opposite, because it builds has a visible, linked list of articles.
The display of that list seems a little bulky for my tastes, but the technique used is actually the best solution I have seen for combining transclusion with a visible list of the articles in rotation. It's the same technique as is used in Portal:Wind power: plain wikilinks in a defined section, which are then used by the template to build the rotation. The use of the plain wikilinks as the source makes it very easy to use, and easy to check for errors.
The problem in this portal is the way that the list was built. You rightly spotted some of the problems, but I see many more. I have been writing up my analysis, and hope I will finish it tonight. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 23:36, 17 November 2019 (UTC)

Stray catsEdit

Can you please delete these empty categories: Category:This day in horror, Category:Lighthouses portal, Category:Minnesota portal pages, Category:Minnesota portal, Category:Basketball portal, Category:Basketball portals, and Category:National Basketball Association portal. Thanks! I'll do a check of all the portals deleted during my absence to make sure there aren't any stray categories remaining and report back here with my findings. Newshunter12 (talk) 07:37, 12 November 2019 (UTC)

Category:Indian classical music portal, Category:Commonwealth Games Portal. The merge of Category:Motorsports portals to Category:Sports and games portals is not yet complete as the former category still exists. The delete result of Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Portal:Social sciences (2nd nomination) from over a month ago was never fully carried out. Will continue looking for more. Newshunter12 (talk) 08:30, 12 November 2019 (UTC)
Obsolete template Template:Globalization selected pages is the only entry in Category:Globalization portal. The delete result of Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Portal:Atheism from September was never fully carried out, and likewise with the should be empty but isn't Category:Atheism portal. This one page is still in portal space, when the MfD result for Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Portal:Elbe–Weser triangle was a move to project space. Now that Portal:Zoos is gone, does the redirect Portal:Zoos/Wikimedia need to go to? I have now gone through the last of the portals deleted while I was on a break, so we're all caught up now. Newshunter12 (talk) 09:13, 12 November 2019 (UTC)

Great work, @Newshunter12. I have done the first two batches, and will clean up the rest later.

And I'm sorry for not thanking you sooner for all your kindness. You have been right about a lot of things. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 09:18, 12 November 2019 (UTC)

Empty:Category:Colonialism portal and Category:Star Wars portal. This cat, Category:Berlin portal, ought to be empty per Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Portal:Berlin, but it isn't. I didn't give this one last time because I wasn't entirely sure what to do with it, but since the portal no longer exists, that stuff should not be linked to portal space anymore. You also passed over Category:This day in horror up above, although perhaps that category could serve as an aptly named journal or book title to document your time in portal-land.  
Glad to hear you appreciate my work and statements, and that your great mind finds them worthwhile. You are very welcome. As you wade through the Wikipedia swamp, don't forget in the world about you: the sun's shining, birds are chirping across Ireland, there are books to be read, and loughs to visit. The sun will still rise tomorrow if you decide to remove your coat from the hook in Wikipedia's entry hall for the last time and move into your future without it. Newshunter12 (talk) 01:41, 16 November 2019 (UTC)
Thanks again for the checks, @Newshunter12.
I think that I have cleared everything on your helpful list, but please let me know if I have missed anything. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 00:11, 18 November 2019 (UTC)
You're welcome, BHG. You have now dealt with everything on my list. Given how many of these Easter Eggs I was able to find now and a few months ago, I think I ought to look over the MfD history to crosscheck the fate of the portals and categories deleted or not from just before my involvement began to the start of the cleanup effort in April(?). I know the overtly empty categories will very likely have been deleted, but as we have learned, a small but steady stream of stuff survived that shouldn't have. Wish me luck. Newshunter12 (talk) 01:02, 18 November 2019 (UTC)
Empty:Category:Handball/Countdowns portal. Has normal articles listed as pages and should be empty (I will empty it for you since I can): Category:Machine learning portal, Category:New Spain portal. These redirects of random portal pages should not exist per Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Portal:North American railways. Is that not someone circumventing the MfD result? And the only railroad anything I could find on Portal:North America were two pictures. Same here - I found no trace of "Mughal" on Portal:History. Those redirects appear to be circumventing the outcome of Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Portal:Mughal Empire without any justification. I will see what else I can dig up. Newshunter12 (talk) 04:02, 18 November 2019 (UTC)
Empty: Category:Middle-earth portal. I did everything after April 14 (the day of your second mass batch), and only skipped Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/83 more navbox-based portals along the way. I think that's as far as is worth going. Goodness, just doing what I did was plain foul for the mind - I want to give you a hug of the greatest empathy for all your selfless work these many long months after just glimpsing first hand the slop you worked through before I got here. Out of curiosity, is it possible to delete as you have been defunct maintenance categories (I don't know anything about that type of cat) like this Category:Portal-Class Christmas articles? It was related to Portal:Christmas and there are many like it once tied to now deleted portals like Category:Portal-Class Bacon articles. If yes, I would be happy to supply you with the rest. Or does that stuff need to stay while portal space stays? Newshunter12 (talk) 08:19, 19 November 2019 (UTC)
Thanks, @Newshunter12. There was a huge lot of wading through swamp. I personally opened ~500 portal MFDs, and posted long analyses in many hundreds more.
The likes of Category:Portal-Class Christmas articles are part of a huge set of tracking categories for WP 1.0 assessments. Many of them fluctuate between empty and not-empty, on timescales which may be long or short, so to avoid pointless cycles of deletion/re-creation I usually tag them {{Possibly empty category}}, as I have done here.[7] I think that User:Liz is more inclined than me to delete such empty assessment categories and maybe she has thoughts to share.
In this case there is a huge set of ~1,490 such cats at Category:Portal-Class articles, of which (at a glance) >80% are empty. I am inclined to leave them as is, unless and until there is some stable consensus on the future of portals. They are a cleanup issue which doesn't need to be resolved now. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 04:53, 21 November 2019 (UTC)
Thank you for the info. Now that I understand them, I agree they should be dealt with later only if the time is right regarding portals at large. Wishing you all the best with your stressful personal situation.   Newshunter12 (talk) 09:04, 22 November 2019 (UTC)

Empty:Category:Narnia portal. Newshunter12 (talk) 15:26, 20 November 2019 (UTC)

Hello, BHG. Could you please put together a CfD nom to merge Category:Design portal (sole contents Category:Gardening portal) to Category:Arts portals and Category:Biology portals; Category:Science fiction portals (sole contents Portal:Doctor Who) to Category:Entertainment portals and Category:Literature portals; Category:Speculative fiction portals (sole contents Category:Speculative fiction portal and Category:Science fiction portals) to Category:Literature portals.

Not sure how it would be best to do it, but we presently have four cats for Korea, which should be condensed: Category:Korea portal, Category:Korea-related portals, Category:South Korea portal, and Category:North Korea portal. Perhaps the two country cats could be sent to Category:Asian portals and Category:Portals by country, the other two deleted? Category:Caribbean Community portal still exists with a few contents, but the result of Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Portal:Caribbean Community was redirect to Portal:Caribbean. Can any of this be reduced? Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Portal:Agriculture closed as delete and redirect to Portal:Agriculture and agronomy, which was later itself renamed to Portal:Agriculture. So Category:Agriculture and Agronomy portal and the still used Category:Agriculture and agronomy portal should logically be renamed into a Category:Agriculture portal. Thank you for any help you can provide. I have never put together a CfD before (or any multiple page nom), so I think it is best to leave it in your experienced and talented hands. Newshunter12 (talk) 05:45, 27 November 2019 (UTC)

November 2019Edit

enough already. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 15:42, 18 November 2019 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

  Hello again BrownHairedGirl. You're still saying a lot of attack-y and negative things about Northamerica1000 ("sly, cunning and deceitfully selective"; "deceitful, manipulative conduct"; "manipulative scheming") in this post. And here, "I have never seen such sustained gaming of the system as that which NA1K indulges in". While these are not as egregiously bad as some of your other recent comments, it's still not appropriate and it needs to stop. Thank you, — Diannaa 🍁 (talk) 00:58, 15 November 2019 (UTC)

@Diannaa: I am both fascinated and saddened that you object to me saying "I have never seen such sustained gaming of the system as that which NA1K indulges in" ... but that you don't object to the gaming of the system.
I joined Wikipedia to join in the building by consensus of a NPOV encyclopedia, which is verifiable from reliable secondary sources. If you don't see a problem with an editor who games the system and stealthily breaches NPOV, then we are here for very different purposes. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 01:45, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
I, and others, think you can pursue your worthwhile goals without the personal attacks on other editors or admins. You have contributed SO much to improve the project that it is unfortunate that you are unable to appreciate the negative effect of the words you use.
People are sympathetic to your work on portals and your point of view but are calling for action against you because of these attacks. They say, "We'd get blocked if we called another editor an idiot & liar, why isn't BHG getting a block?" If you cannot temper your language and make your points without all the insults, you will find you have fewer defenders at ANI and arbitration which is a shame because you are one of the admins I most admire. Truly admire. And I don't want to see action against you so I hope you can rein in your contempt for editors you clash with so the harsh words don't distract people from the merits of your valid arguments. That's all I wanted to say after reading the entire discussion on ANI yesterday. Liz Read! Talk! 02:06, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
Thanks, Liz.
I was repeatedly goaded and baited into losing my temper by severe misconduct and manipulation at points when I was under a lot of stress in real life, but have steeled myself to be less WP:SPADEy. However, NA1K's repeated gaming of the system is deeply corrosive conduct, and I make no apology for challenging it. The way I have done so may not in hindsight have been the most effective, but the problem is real.
So we'll see were this lands. If sustained manipulation of Wikipedia consensus-building is going to be treated as a secondary issue, then I will have to reconsider whether I want to be part of Wikipedia any more. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 02:17, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
Like I tried to explain to you here and here, I don't believe he *is* gaming the system. It is your opinion, your interpretation. Perhaps you believe you were goaded and baited by other people's activities, but what you describe here is not goading or baiting. People are doing things you don't agree with; that happens sometimes.
Yesterday I added some articles at Portal:Military history of Germany/Quality Content and then checked the page views for that portal. Guess what? That portal gets only 30 views per day. Even our best portals get less that a hundred views per day. My top edited article (Adolf Hitler) gets 22,330 views per day. Portals are not visible on the main page in mobile view. Mobile view is 58% of our traffic, as of March 2019, and is growing all the time, which will probably mean that portals will become even more lightly visited, because they will become invisible to even more of our readers. I offer this as some perspective on the importance of portals compared to other more productive ways you could be spending your time. Perhaps it's time to find another way to contribute. If there's a hill a person wants to die on, this ain't it. — Diannaa 🍁 (talk) 03:52, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
@Diannaa: you are looking at this episode in isolation. Sadly, it's part of a long, long series of efforts by NA1K to game the system.
I agree with you that portals are poorly used. I have been making that very point repeatedly for nearly a year.
What's been happening is that the portal fans first opposed the deletion of even abandoned junk portals back in Feb/March, and went into battle mode at the first hint of that, which most of them sustained right through that prolonged process. Then the scrutiny process which led to deletion of the spam led to the nomination of abandoned and neglected portals, and they continued in battle mode. Those of us supporting cleanup have been the subject of sustained abuse from a variety of portal enthusiasts.
And throughout that NA1K has been engaged in a long long series of gaming tactics. I won't go into the details all the gaming tactics used along the way, but they include misrepresenting guidelines, playing games with statistics, depopulating tracking categories, etc etc; but I will explain just one of them. At some point in the summer, NA1K began a project which some editors have now called "The Portal Rescue Crew" (TPRC), but it is mostly NA1K. The tactic used by TPRC is a variant of the gameplan of the Article Rescue Squadron (of which NA1K was a leading light until it became an issue during their RFA, when they quit mid-RFA), to take an abandoned portal with rotted content forks, convert it to use transclusions rather than sub-pages, chuck in a list of articles, and move on. I haven't got a precise tally of how many portals NA1K did this to, but from memory it was at least 70 drive-by "updates".
The problem was that TPRC used transclusions in a way which impedes scrutiny, and made no attempt to consult or even notify the relevant WikiProjects, and despite being a vocal participant in the portal project they didn't declare their activities there. Working alone, NA1K rebuilt the article lists on a huge range of portals in which they could not possibly have enough expertise to make good selections alone. And indeed, when I put the time in to work behind NA1K's barriers, and analysed the results, the quality of their work was utterly abysmal. But when such portals were brought to MFD, NA1K parroted phrases to the effect of "but the portal is maintained, and lots of new articles have been added". The gaming tactic was and is transparent: chuck lots of stuff into the cupboard and pretend it's being maintained, when the reality was akin to cinematic street set: all facade and no depth. It was very cunning and effective gaming, because it shifted the burden on those seeking deletion to scrutinise and document the hastily thrown-together lists (in the case of Ghana it took me about two hours).
The RFC trickery is just the latest episode.
But anyway, AFAICS you and a bunch of others regard this long saga of the manipulative trickery as absolutely fine, so long and as it is done without using harsh words. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 09:56, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
I have focused on one concern: your ongoing lack of civility and repeated verbal attacks directed at your fellow editors. The fact that I have done that does not mean that I condone someone else's behaviour. What it does mean is that your behaviour has been extremely uncivil, which is something for which you can be blocked. I will be monitoring your contribs for the next while and I will block you if I see any further extreme incivility such as verbal abuse or insulting epithets directed at a fellow editor. — Diannaa 🍁 (talk) 12:43, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
Indeed, Diannaa. You have chosen to focus on the response to the problem, rather than the source of it. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 19:07, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
Pardon the driveby and you may remove this if you desire but responding to a problem by making another problem is not solving said problem. It's just making two problems. Perhaps if you stopped the incivility people would more easily focus on the other editor. 2001:4898:80E8:8:B913:4918:A13B:839C (talk) 22:52, 15 November 2019 (UTC)

A Comment, Gaming the System, etc.Edit

I will try to reply to User:BrownHairedGirl and to comment on the admonitions by User:Diannaa and User:Liz. As BHG knows, I agree with BHG about portals far more often than I disagree. I think that we have too many disused stupid cruddy portals that need to be deleted, and I can now finally understand why BHG says that NA1k is gaming the system. It has been very hard for me to understand how their work on portals is gaming the system, and I still am not sure that I agree. I am inclined instead still to think that it is a deeply misguided devotion to the cause of maximizing the number of portals in the English Wikipedia. I don't know why NA1k wants so many portals. I have asked, and I haven't understood the answers, so I have concluded that their belief in portals is mystical. But a mystic deeply believes in what they believe, and they aren't gaming the system, at least not intentionally, and intention does matter.

It has taken me weeks to understand why BHG keeps reverting NA1k's edits to portals, and I still am not sure that I agree. The purpose clearly is to improve the portals, either in advance of a deletion discussion, or during a deletion discussion. So why should improvements be reverted? BHG will say that they aren't improvements. I kept seeing that the edits were black boxes. I didn't know what that meant, and I think I am a knowledgeable editor, and one who isn't afraid to look inside the black box.

The problem is that the intensity with which you, BHG, are alleging conduct violations by NA1k is distracting from your efforts to explain what they are doing wrong. If I have been having a hard time understanding what the issue is, and I am mostly looking for portals to delete, how do you expect other editors to see what you are saying? If NA1k were trying to game the system, then they might do it by first provoking a few portal critics into irrational anger to distract. Well, what I see is irrational anger. The cause of deleting portals is rational. The amount of anger isn't. One portal critic has already been indefinitely blocked for irrational anger about portals toward someone on their own side. We don't need another.

User:BrownHairedGirl - You aren't making the case effectively about gaming the system, because all that can be seen is your anger, and not a technical explanation of the issues. Robert McClenon (talk) 20:27, 16 November 2019 (UTC)

I have written about the problems so many dozens of times that I am by now sick of repeating myself. If editors choose not to read those explanations, or not to seek clarification if they are unclear, then there is little more that I can do. The failure of others to have reasoned discussion on issues raised is not my failing.
If is also untrue that BHG keeps reverting NA1k's edits to portals. I did a series of reverts on 12 October, and then stopped when an ANI thread discussion took off. Since then, the only reverts I have done have been to restore the status quo ante when NA1K's version was restored while the matter was still being actively discussed.
The substantive reasons are simple, and I will try to summarise them briefly:
  1. NA1K converted the portals to a "black box" format which does not include a linked list of the articles. That significantly impedes scrutiny, for the reasons I explained ain a step-by-step account elsewhere on this page at #Help_me_understand
  2. In every case that I checked, NA1K had significantly expanded the list of articles without any notification to the associated WikiProject or any other possible locus of expertise.
  3. NA1K did this to dozens of portals, on a such a wide range of topics that they could not possibly have sufficient expertise to make a unilateral assessment of a set of suitable topics
  4. NA1K is a vocal participant at WT:WPPORT, but made no indication in any part of that WikiProject that they were engaged in a solo massive rewrite of a large chink of portalspace
  5. Analysing NA1K's list-making is time-consuming work, because NA1K has given no explanation anywhere of any selection criteria other than a fuzzy quality threshold. Attempts to engage NA1K in discussion about their selection process produced only meaningless replies, such as at MFD:Portal:Ghana, where NA1K said only I assessed these articles relative to their suitability for this portal which says precisely nothing about the criteria. That sort of response indicates either evasion or inability to comprehend the concept of selection criteria.
  6. In the two cases that I have analysed, at MFD:Portal:Ghana|Ghana and MFD:Portal:Transport|Transport, the quality of NA1K's list-making has been utterly abysmal. The Ghana list former included lots of low-quality articles, the Transport list was a massive breach of NPOV.
Even now, 6 weeks after my first reverts, NA1K has accepted no responsibility for their actions, nor ever explicitly accepted that transparency of the list is essential to allow the peer evaluation on which Wikipedia relies.
Robert writes that purpose clearly is to improve the portals, either in advance of a deletion discussion, or during a deletion discussion. So why should improvements be reverted?. Simple because: because a) NA1K has made those purported "improvements" in a way which it unnecessarily hard to evaluate whether they actually are improvements; b) because those which have been checked are abysmal.
Note that my first summary explanation of the reverts was provided at ANI at 18:25 12 October 2019‎,[8] only 14 minutes after Moxy opened the ANI thread.[9]. That thread became a pile on with buckets of rage from the usual crew of portal fans ... yet you accuse me of irrational anger. I had buckets of shit poured all over my head by a lynch mob, but the same crew are now telling me that yes, portals lists do need to be transparent and easily scrutinised, and even NA1K has themself radically revised the list they made at P:Transport, acknowledging that it was indeed massively biased. So basically, thjere is now no dispute at all that I was right in substance.
The latest drama arose out of MFD:Portal:Transport|MFD:P:Transport, where NA1K created that massively biased list, and gamed the system by claiming that their choice was dictated by WP:POG. That is absurd; POG did not recommend that editors ignore NPOV, and in any case it is no longer a guideline because NA1K asked that it be no longer a guideline. You may choose to regard my anger at that as excessive, but I remain appalled at such trickery, and describing hat anger as irrational is perverse. What on earth is the point of the community having guidelines if an editor says in scrap this guideline 'cos it's junk ... and then says in effect "I broke a core policy because I was following that crap former guideline"? And NA1K's choice to describe the former guideline as a schema for advisement was just plain devious and manipulative: the plain English meaning of that pompous phrase is "guideline", so NA1K statement amounted to "it's not a guideline but it is a guideline". If you choose to describe my anger at this as irraional, then that's not a choice I admire. Not by a long way. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 23:14, 16 November 2019 (UTC)

Hi BrownHairedGirl. Most of the above post is okay from a civility point of view but there's a couple of spots where improvements can be made. Please have a look at my analysis below for reasons why a couple of the things you said are not acceptable. I would appreciate it if you could accept my critique as a good faith attempt on my part to help you work towards further improvements in your discussions on other people's conduct.

  • That sort of response indicates either evasion or inability to comprehend the concept of selection criteria. Saying this is not okay, because you're stating that the editor's intention was to evade, and questioning their level of intelligence.
  • I remain appalled at such trickery: Again not okay, because you're stating that the editor's intention was to trick people. It's not okay to say that.
  • just plain devious and manipulative Again not okay, because you're again making negative assumptions about the other editor's motives. Don't do that please.

Now here's a couple where you use strong language, but since you're speaking about the editor's actions rather than dissing him personally, these are acceptable things to say:

  • the quality of NA1K's list-making has been utterly abysmal
  • those which have been checked are abysmalDiannaa 🍁 (talk) 16:50, 17 November 2019 (UTC)
    • @Diannaa, I note yet again that you focus entirely on the forms of words used, and not on the substance of the problems which I have described. I appreciate that you genuinely believe that you are trying to help, but I have had enough of your focus on form rather than substance.
The crucial point for me is where you write that I am making negative assumptions about the other editor's motives. Not so; I am making negative judgements based on assessments of the evidence. In the first your bullet points, you don't even have the courtesy to acknowledge that I noted two possible explanations, and you offer no alternative possible explanation.
Sorry, but you have found the limit of my patience. Please do not post about this again on my talk. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 18:38, 17 November 2019 (UTC)
I very nearly blocked you this morning when I saw that edit, but instead created the above post as a last-chance alternative. Since your response to my post is to fail to see that making judgements about other people's motives and questioning their intelligence is a personal attack, and instead doubling down on your perceived right to make these attacks, I am blocking you 31 hours for same. — Diannaa 🍁 (talk) 18:53, 17 November 2019 (UTC)
@Diannaa, as you may have seen, your bad block was promptly overturned.
I believe that you are fundamentally wrong in your understanding of policy when you write making judgements about other people's motives. WP:VAND (policy) and WP:GAME (guideline) are both conduct issues issues in which a finding of fault hinges entirely on a judgement of intent. By extension, the alternative explanation of bad behaviour is that the editor has acted in good faith but has failed to understand why their conduct is wrong ... and however that is phrased, it is unavoidably a judgement on their comprehension skills.
If your were correct in your assertion that making an evidenced judgement about intent vs understanding is unacceptable, then both those pages are completely unworkable and should be deleted or radically rewritten. If you genuinely believe that making judgements about other people's motives is unacceptable, then you would not have blocked editors for vandalism unless they had expressly stated such an intent to do harm.
I accepted dialogue with you because I believed that you were genuinely seeking to uphold policy. However, the effect of your efforts here clearly amounts to using your admin powers to prevent me from discussing conduct problems for which I do have evidence, and which you are unwilling to consider in substance. I cannot judge why you are doing this, and do not presume to know whether it is a conscious choice on your part, or a misunderstanding by you of policy. But your actions are not upholding policy, and you are not acting impartially.
If this does go to ArbCom, then I will ask that you be included as a party, because your use of admin powers should be reviewed. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 12:00, 18 November 2019 (UTC)
Diannaa, one can say many things about these expressions, but they were not personal attacks. They follow the principle "attack the issue, not the person". Nemo 13:26, 18 November 2019 (UTC)
  • Point of order. I understand that BHG asked Diannaa not to post here further. In this thread I see a ping and a discussion of Diannaa's actions. You cannot expect somebody to avoid posting to a page after you proceed to talk about them on that page. Have your cake or eat it. As a result, Diannaa is now free to post responses on this thread. I have not formed an opinion about this disputed block beyond this narrow issue. Jehochman Talk 14:03, 18 November 2019 (UTC)
    • On the contrary, Jehochman. After I ended the conversation here, Diannaa responded to me, despite my request not to do so. They also misused their admin powers to block me. And they did not leave the customary block notice.
I made one reply to that, and me a ping to notify Diannaa, not to invite them back. It's my talk page, and I am entitled to have the last word in a conversation. Which I have done. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 14:16, 18 November 2019 (UTC)
I am sorry to contradict you on your own talk page, but I'm asking you to de-escalate this conflict by not insisting on having the last word. You can criticize another editor as part of dispute resolution; however, dispute resolution means the other editor has a right to respond. Please remove the last comments you made about Diannaa, or allow them to respond. I agree with your idea to take the matter to arbitration if the two of you can't come to an agreement, or at least a détente. We are all colleagues and we should try very hard to get along. Jehochman Talk 14:49, 18 November 2019 (UTC)
Jehochman, my attempts to have a civil conversation with Diannaa failed, so I ended the conversation. Without any warning that they had been acting in an admin capacity or considering a block, they abused their powers to block me. I have said my say on that, and see absolutely no further benefit to anyone in a resumption of that conversation. The best way to de-escalate is to leave it be. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 15:05, 18 November 2019 (UTC)
Okay. Please don't mention them again. I won't let perfect by the enemy of good. I will ask them to de-escalate by letting you have the last word. I find it very unusual when one administrator blocks another administrator. This is something I have never done (on purpose, sorry again Panyd) and never would do. If behavior of an admin is so egregious as to warrant a block, there are bigger concerns that should be addressed, possibly via arbitration. Jehochman Talk 15:19, 18 November 2019 (UTC)

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

Unblock request 17 Nov 2019Edit

This user's unblock request has been reviewed by an administrator, who accepted the request.

BrownHairedGirl (block logactive blocksglobal blocksautoblockscontribsdeleted contribsfilter logcreation logchange block settingsunblockcheckuser (log))

Request reason:

Diannaa blocked me for 31 hours, leaving only this message.[10] but no block notice. Blocks are supposed to be preventive, not punitive. This block is not only punitive, it is based on a misrepresentation of comments I wrote as personal attack, whereas they were not personal attacks according to the definitions in policy; they were in fact a reasoned comment on problematic conduct. The post to which Diannaa objects is this reply[11] by me to @Robert McClenon. Dianaa and I discussed it at User talk:BrownHairedGirl#A_Comment,_Gaming_the_System,_etc.. Diannaa objects to three of my comments in that reply to Robert: * my comment: That sort of response indicates either evasion or inability to comprehend the concept of selection criteria.
That was my comment on a post by NA1K in which NA1K had responded to my question about selection to which NA1K replied with the tautologous I assessed these articles relative to their suitability for this portal. For goodness sake, how can anyone describe the uncollaborative nature of that reply without noting that it's either evasion or a failure to grasp the concept? * my comments: I remain appalled at such trickery and just plain devious and manipulative.
That was about NA1K's choice to describe a former guideline which was deguidelined with NA1K's vocal support as a a schema for advisement, which is a verbose form of words that means exactly the same thing as "guideline". It is reminiscent of early 1980s Haigspeak, which was described in the 1941–1991 Dictionary Of Neologisms as "Language characterized by pompous obscurity resulting from redundancy, the semantically strained use of words, and verbosity".[12]
NA1K was trying to justify their controversial actions by reliance on a guideline which they themself had sought to deprecate in toto because it contained elements they believed were wrong. NA1K didn't ask for amendments to that guideline; they wanted it scrapped, made null and void. But having achieved that, NA1K was now claiming that the null-and-void document legitimated their actions. That is an attempt having their cake and eating it. What on earth is the point of delisting a guideline if the editor who sought its delisting then relies on it as if it was still a guideline? The only part of Wikipedia:No_personal_attacks#What_is_considered_to_be_a_personal_attack? which seems to me to be relevant is "Accusations about personal behavior that lack evidence". I have made a conscious effort to avoid the comments on character which I made several times in the heat of the moment. My post to which Dianaa objects is a strictly a comment on conduct, and it did supply evidence. This block is contrary to policy. It amounts to an attempt to prevent me from even describing problematic conduct, and as I noted in my last reply to Dianaa,[13] Dianaa focused entirely on the forms of words used, and not on the substance of the problems which I have described. I wrote I appreciate that you genuinely believe that you are trying to help, but I have had enough of your focus on form rather than substance. WP:ADMINACCT says that "editors are free to question or to criticize administrator actions", and it seems that I have been blocked for challenging Dianaa's focus on the details of my phrasing rather than n the substance of the problematic actions which I was describing. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 20:41, 17 November 2019 (UTC)

Accept reason:

Well, this is certainly a first for me, in my nine years plus as an administrator, reviewing a block imposed by (in my opinion) one of the best administrators we have on (in my opinion) another one of the best administrators we have. It is also if not a first, at least a very rare experience for me, lifting a block without consulting the blocking administrator. Before I give my reasons for doing so, I will mention, BrownHairedGirl, that your unblock request came nowhere near to being compliant with the guide to appealing blocks, and I have seen many an unblock request declined for that reason alone, irrespective of the merits of the block. OK, so now my comments on the block. In the edit which Diannaa gave as the reason for the block, BrownHairedGirl certainly showed her irritation, and she expressed herself in a less temperate way than would have been ideal. However, none of us always lives up to ideal standards, and her comments really did not amount to a "personal attack". However, had that been all, although I would have disagreed with the block, I would have merely expressed that opinion and invited Dianaa to comment, to give her a chance to justify her decision. However, that is not all. The block came over 19 hours after the comment which was given as the reason. That is not preventive. It would require a most extreme and exceptional kind of unacceptable edit for one edit to pose such a risk of continuation that in order to prevent such continuation the editor in question had to be blocked nineteen hours later, and this is not such a case. The block was therefore completely out of line with policy, and has to be regarded as a mistake. JBW (talk) Formerly JamesBWatson 21:16, 17 November 2019 (UTC)

Being no admin I don't know whether it's OK for me to post here, and express my support for BrownHairedGirl's unblock request. Their comments in the cited conversation with Robert seemed to me (after having read the entire discussion) strictly comments on content, nothing near to ad hominems. It's an evaluation of what is going on with the edits on which BrownHairedGirl was commenting, nothing more nothing less: it is perfectly normal on a user talk page to compare the content of edits with Wikipedia's behavioural guidance, if, like it seems here, the edits seemed, to BrownHairedGirl, problematic w.r.t. that guidance. --Francis Schonken (talk) 20:58, 17 November 2019 (UTC)

@Francis Schonken: It's perfectly OK for you to post here: while only an administrator can decide the outcome of an unblock request, anyone can express an opinion. Your comment made no difference to the outcome, as I had already written my unblock acceptance message before I saw your message, but it is nevertheless of value to see another person's view of the matter. JBW (talk) Formerly JamesBWatson 21:22, 17 November 2019 (UTC)
Thanks, JBW and Francis Schonken. Now I can get back to work. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 23:06, 17 November 2019 (UTC)

An overdue barnstarEdit

  The Barnstar of Integrity
For your upstanding character and devotion to cooperatively improving human knowledge in the face of unrelenting opposition steeped in ignorance while in a fundamentally broken system beholden to the lowest common-denominator, and ability to forgive my past shortcomings and reach for the stars of progress together. --Newshunter12 (talk) 21:23, 17 November 2019 (UTC)
Many thanks, Newshunter12. That's very very kind of you.
I have really valued the fact that we had an intense and prolonged disagreement, from which we both learned a lot ... because even when we at loggerheads, we both strived to understand and learn. If a similar striving was evident in the current mess, it would have been resolved long ago.
However, I do have slightly disagree with your comment about this being a fundamentally broken system. My own take on it is that is a fundamentally wonderful system, whose essential wisdom is proven by the fact that we have managed to create and sustain what any reasonable person would have said was impossible: making a wide-open collaboration to build a free enyclopedia. (Yes, it's a work in progress, but so is all human knowledge, even the most hallowed towers of science and academia create only provisional knowledge). As George Bernard Shaw, wrote, “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” Thank God that Larry & Jimbo were so unreasonable back in 2001 when they decided to try this bonkers notion of a crowd-sourced encyclopedia.
Yes, the path is far from easy. For all the fine ideals, Wikipedia is built by humans, who are all deeply flawed. As Burns wrote “O, wad some Power the giftie gie us//To see oursels as others see us!//It wad frae monie a blunder free us,//An' foolish notion.” (I apply that to myself too. Ouch).
As with any human endeavour, along the way we have much tedium and folly, and far too many episodes worthy of much stronger terms. After one such episode in August 2014, I gave up editing for months, and didn't think I'd ever have the stomach to return ... but that too passed, and when I came back 6 months later the situation had changed. The phenomenon of entrenched folly happens in all human collaborations, and while Wikipedia has had more than its fair share of such episodes, the thing that keeps me coming back after nearly 14 years is that in time they are usually at least partly resolved, even if they appeared intractable. The rampaging POV wars over Northern Ireland were resolved; the long-standing silliness over WP:PRIMARYTOPIC were eventually resolved by massively raising the threshold; much of the fancruft around fiction was eventually trimmed significantly; even the onslaught of GRG warriors on longevity topics was eventually largely resolved (tho, as is to often the case, the battle took a huge toll on many editors like you who worked to push back the tide).
In the past few months I have tried to counter some of those entrenched follies at a time when I have been under a lot of stress offline, and along the way allowed my frustration to prompt me to speak too plainly. So we'll see where this all lands --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 23:05, 17 November 2019 (UTC)
Thank you for your very thoughtful response. We have both come a long way since that prolonged disagreement. Perhaps fundamentally broken system says a bit more about my mindset of the present situation then the fundamentals of Wikipedia, as you have made many great points about the triumphs and pitfalls of this grand experiment. It's been a long slog in portal space, but we should remember the tale of Fruits Basket on Wikipedia. It was a den of fan cruft from 2005-08 and two long gone editors eliminated many of the fan character articles etc. I came along nearly a decade later and cleaned up most of the remaining mess. I successfully AfD'd the four remaining abandoned fan articles, removed reams of duplicate information like above, condensed links, and carefully corrected reams of information. A big mess became a much smaller mess, and I left it to others to someday finish polishing the small set of remaining articles or not.
About 1,000 junk portals have been deleted and roughly 500 portals remain. Bit by bit, the set of issues are getting resolved. You are right that like the other bitter episodes you have encountered over nearly 14 years on Wikipedia, this one is likely to at least be partially resolved one day. And like with Fruits Basket, it might not be by us that the capstone is placed, and that's ok. It's been very helpful to me having a place to vent my frustrations (your talk page) where I don't have to worry about going to far at a particular person. I'm a master at avoiding punishment, so feel free to come any time to my much less watched talk page if you need to do some venting of your own.   Newshunter12 (talk) 00:45, 18 November 2019 (UTC)
Thanks, Newshunter12. However, I seem to have the joy of being followed by an admin who adamantly refuses to consider the substance of the misconduct I describe, but who appears to be scrutinising my descriptions for anything which might be critical of the miscreant. So it's probably best that I keep my counsel online, and express myself only with the sort of clinical care needed when I can assume that whatever I say will be ruthlessly taken out of context. That is all very like the caution with which I prepare for radio and TV interviews, roadtesting each phrase to try to make it twistproof .. and not much like the open and informal discussion which I am used to on Wikipedia. But if that's where it's at, then I had better adapt to the climate and be less open. (The alternative would be to game the system myself by making scrupulously politely veneered bogus assertions which might support my view, and then accept zero responsibility when challenged, since that seems to be entirely acceptable conduct. But I'd much prefer to leave Wikipedia than to sink to that level.)
Happy days, eh? --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 01:39, 18 November 2019 (UTC)
As the song goes: Joyful! Joyful! I did figure as much, but thought it right to offer and thought you'd at least find it a tad amusing. I expected nothing less then the highest quality of professionalism from you going forward, BHG. Radio and TV interviews? My my, I had no idea you had such an impressive personal life. You're not just a cherub, but a woman of some influence. The queen of Ballyporeen, perhaps? Newshunter12 (talk) 02:06, 18 November 2019 (UTC)
Haha! I am a semi-retired minor example of what a former colleague (English, very grand, so imagine this said in the cut-glass accent of an English Gentleman of The Establishment whose suit probably cost more than my car) described as a "pimple on the arse of the political process".
But that vantage point has given me a grand view of how manipulative politics is conducted by those who choose to conduct themselves that way. I have seen how poisonous it is, and that's why I get very annoyed if I see it on Wikipedia. Sadly, my checklist contains a lot of ticks. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 02:41, 18 November 2019 (UTC)
So a bit less glamourous then I had guessed, it would seem. Neat to be sure, and always good to be wiser even if the learning and reviewing process speaks to an unfortunate reality in more then one area of life. Hopefully the ArbCom proposition brings some resolution to the portal mess. I won't say anything more here about that, due to comment stalkers. Newshunter12 (talk) 08:34, 19 November 2019 (UTC)
  • I love that this happened. Guy (help!) 23:43, 17 November 2019 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Portal:Painting deletion discussionEdit

Hi BrownHairedGirl,

Would it be appropriate for me to procedurally relist the Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Portal:Painting following my re-opening the discussion or, alternatively, per WP:INVOLVED, are you permitted to relist a discussion even while having !voted?

It doesn't matter who does it to me, but just wondering if a relisting would be appropriate in this case.

Alternatively, if you think past practice would suggest another editor or administrator would relist it, I might just leave it for you or another administrator/editor to relist.

--Doug Mehus T·C 09:36, 18 November 2019 (UTC)

Hi Doug
I have a made a substantial contrib to the debate, so I am clearly WP:INVOLVED. So there's no way I would even consider making a decision myself on relisting.
As you have been involved only as a closer (i.e. in a quasi-admin capacity), there is no bar to you making a decision.
However, in this case there is an editor who is unhappy about your decision to accept a request to re-open. You may want to consider whether it would be less drama for everyone if you leave any relisting to someone else. In that sort of situation I sometime say to myself "sod it, this if fine so I'l take the heat and I'll know I'll be backed", and sometimes I think "best to de-dramatise this by not giving anyone any grounds for complaint, valid or otherwise".
As to whether I think relisting is appropriate in this particular case, I think it's better for everyone if I don't give a view, and just point you towards WP:RELIST. Sorry if that seems unhelpful, but I want to avoid any suggestion that either of us acted improperly.
Hope this helps at least a wee bit. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 10:05, 18 November 2019 (UTC)
BrownHairedGirl, Thanks for your reply. Yeah, ordinarily, I don't think it'd be a problem for me to relist it, but have been really reticent to since I re-opened it. Doug Mehus T·C 15:09, 18 November 2019 (UTC)
Reticence can be a good instinct. Sometimes the best thing to do is step back. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 15:16, 18 November 2019 (UTC)
@Dmehus: If it is all the same to you, I just relisted the discussion as someone uninvolved. New info came to light, so it needs fresh discussion. (talk page stalker)MJLTalk 15:20, 18 November 2019 (UTC)
MJL, Thank you for doing this. As I re-opened my closure, I thought I shouldn't be the relister. So, I appreciate you doing this. :) Doug Mehus T·C 16:44, 18 November 2019 (UTC)

ArbCom noticeEdit

You are involved in a recently filed request for arbitration. Please review the request at Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case#Conduct in portal space and portal deletion discussions and, if you wish to do so, enter your statement and any other material you wish to submit to the Arbitration Committee. As threaded discussion is not permitted on most arbitration pages, please ensure that you make all comments in your own section only. Additionally, the guide to arbitration and the Arbitration Committee's procedures may be of use.

Thanks, ToThAc (talk) 16:55, 18 November 2019 (UTC)

  • Strictly as an FYI and courtesy note: the above-noted case request is the subject of a question asked to me in the context of ACE2019 and I have remarked that it would be good for you to pause to submit a statement at the case request before continuing with further portal space discussion edits. Just my personal opinion. Feel free to remove this note. –xenotalk 03:03, 21 November 2019 (UTC)
Thanks, Xeno.
This has been a very difficult week for me offline. A major legal/financial issue which should have been resolved last Friday has dragged on, and is a massively critical worry until resolved. There is little I can do to resolve it except gently nudge other parties, but the consequences for me of their failure would be rapidly catastrophic.
So I was trying to postpone a statement at ArbCom until I have more headspace and am in a better place to summarise a long and complex situation in less than 500 words. That's why I have been using my wiki-time this week just to make shorter contribs to less critical issues. I am not trying to evade my need to make a statement at ArbCom, and esp to reply at to User:AGK's question. But I simply can' find the headspace until the offline crisis is over. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 03:51, 21 November 2019 (UTC)
I'm sorry to hear about the stressful situation, I know how such things can interfere with project activity. Thank you for the response. –xenotalk 01:58, 22 November 2019 (UTC)

Hi BrownHairedGirl. I am sorry to hear about these troubles and have proposed to my colleagues that we afford you extra time to submit a statement. And I am prepared to take your report of real-life troubles at face value. However, it is difficult to keep the request virtually in abeyance while you continue contributing at a fairly high rate to pages that appear directly connected to the dispute actually being considered. I think you need to use any available wiki time addressing the arbitration request. I appreciate that you may simultaneously feel up to simple editing and unable to pull off the more complex task of writing an arbitration statement. However, the word limit at arbitration is short and writing a statement should be accomplishable. In my view you are obliged to submit a statement now. After your next batch of edits to portals, I will be reviewing your statement (currently empty) at the arbitration request and I may cast a vote immediately if you have not explained at that time why your statement remains missing. AGK ■ 19:41, 22 November 2019 (UTC)

I am v sorry about the delay. There have been two factors:
  1. The horrible crisis went down to the wire, and I was powerless in it, relying on other people to take their steps before I could to resolve things to take me out of the legal firing line. I think that developments on Friday have resolved things for now (though I won't get final conformation until next week whether others will actually stand down), but I think the back of it has been broken. The stress has been intense, and my sleep pattern was completely wrecked. So yes, I did just do smaller tasks as a way of doing something with my time which diverted me from the stress by occupying my mind more effectively than the other things I had tried.
  2. I do understand the urgency of making a statement, and am very sorry for the delay. I can see why it looks bad, and as requested I will refrain from other substantive edits until I have written my statement.
  3. I will get to work on it in the morning, but it is a big task to summarise a 9-month saga in 500 words without omitting key issues. It would actually be a lot easier to do it in many more words, but the limit is at is, so I will approach this in my usual way for such tasks: write the long form and then condense. This saga involves long patterns of unresolved problems involving a set of editors, which ebbed and escalated at various points, so there is a lot to do.
Thanks again for your help. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 03:43, 23 November 2019 (UTC)

BHG, I would like to make this easier for you since you seem to be having more than enough stress in real life. At this point you don’t need to summarize what happened. All you need to do is say whether you think arbitration would be helpful or not, and possibly what the scope of the case should be. Keep in mind that arbitration is just a fancy negotiation. If you can work things out with the other parties, that’s always best. Another option is to say that you don’t feel the dispute is worth it and that you want to just walk away from the area of dispute. (You May or may not feel like doing that of course — just an example of how a case might be obviated if you wish to avoid it.) Jehochman Talk 03:52, 23 November 2019 (UTC)

Thank you, Jehochman. That is a very helpful observation, which goes to core of the dilemmas which have made writing a statement seem such a daunting task.
In this case, I don't see any possibility of working things out by negotiation. The two main parties on the other side have both demonstrated a sustained unwillingness or inability to resolve things. Three examples from dozens: a) repeatedly Selectively "cherry-picking" a two words from a guideline without citing the rest of te sentence, and continuing to do so even when challenged; b) in pursuit of a claim that a set of major edits had been done transparently, repeatedly posting diffs of notifications made only after the edits had been reverted; c) when asked to explain the criteria used for a selection they had made, replying with the meaningless "relative to their suitability". Whatever the cause of that sort of communication, negotiation with that sort of communication is as futile as carrying water in a sieve.
My understanding had been that ArbCom proceedings are more akin to a court, in that both side produce evidence, can discuss and/or challenge it and the arbitrators evaluate the evidence. If this is more of a negotiation, then process cannot resolve the problem.
I have considered walking away from all of this whole area, and also considered walking away from Wikipedia entirely. Either path would be easier than a prolonged ArbCom case, with weeks of diff-farming, and after the last two weeks in real life I could do without a lot less stress.
But on the other hand, doing so would effectively be conceding to those who have repeatedly gamed the system in order to sustain abysmally low-quality work. (See e.g. what had been done at MFD:Portal:Ghana, MFD:Portal:Transport, MFD:Portal:Djibouti). That would make my on-Wiki life a lot easier
I have been thinking a lot about the very thoughtful and helpful comment below[14] by @Francis Schonken, who suggested that that I consider just accepting that the ancillary namespaces can be of poor quality, and are basically someone's playground. I agree with Francis that for many years, portals have basically just been a playground. As far as I can see, in their first five to eight years (up to about 2010, or maybe 2013 a stretch) they had some useful degree of engagement from topical WikiProjects, but since then the portals have largely been abandoned by WikiProjects and by content creators in general, and been mismanaged by a set of editors who haven't shown much skill. (In addition to the examples above, note: a) the systemic failure to even assess portals (even after 1000 of the worst have been deleted, 331 of the remaining 501 are in Category:Unassessed Portal pages); b) I have examined dozens of WP:Featured portals reviews, and I have not found even one which even tried to make any sort of structured evaluation of whether the selection of articles amounted to a balanced sample of the topic area).
The community decided not actually delete all portals, but has been less keen to support quality improvement. The process of culling the abandoned junk has largely continued, but there seems to be less interest in the abysmally poor quality of many of the portals which are kept, or are "upgraded" by editors who don't even evaluate basic issues like balancing the set of topics, and who make widespread poor quality changes without even trying to notify the related WikiProjects.
So I dunno. I will finish my ArbCom statement tomorrow (sorry again for the delay AGK), and we'll see where it all goes. But the undeleting issue is that so far community has chosen to neither kill portalspace, nor to assert the need for less abysmal quality ... and given that mess, it remains to be seen where arbitration will lead.
Thanks again for your help. Best wishes,--BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 22:36, 23 November 2019 (UTC)
I've never used a portal. Lists are helpful. Categories are helpful. I use those all the time, but never a portal. (My profession involves writing very long and detailed reports full of citations. I am a heavy Wikipedia user.) Why don't we just MfD the entire portal namespace. We have enough to do to keep our articles, lists and categories in good condition. If somebody wants to write a guide to a topic in Wikipedia they can go to WikiBooks or Wikia, no? Why do we even need portals? Maybe you should step back, disengage from the one by one attempts to clean this mess, and go for a systematic solution. This might take a lot of time and effort, but in the end it would be worth it. Jehochman Talk 03:14, 24 November 2019 (UTC)
Additionally, I left you a writing prompt [15] that might make it easier to form a statement. You should limit it to 500 words, which is very short. Jehochman Talk 03:31, 24 November 2019 (UTC)
@Jehochman, thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you for that guidance note.[16] It's pure gold. Despite being an admin for over 13 years, I have avoided ArbCom as much as possible, so I have had no substantive part in it since WP:TROUBLES back in 2007. Your short para gives me the framework I need.
I agree entirely with your observations about the lack of utility of portals. They are basically an article list without clear and objective selection criteria, displayed in an absurd one-excerpt-at-a-time format, and padded out with various forms of trivia. They are basically a very low-grade form of magazine, unwanted by readers. Like web portals after the arrival of Google and deep cross-linking thanks to WCMSes, they are redundant to other tools.
At some point, maybe someone will try a mass MFD, but it'd probably be not much different to WP:ENDPORTALS, where portal fans piled on to repeat generalised assertions of value which weren't supported by any analysis of the actual quality or utility of portals. The reality of vague goals, poor implementation, lack of scrutiny and expertise, long-term neglect, etc couldn't be addressed without massive research which hadn't happened ... so the dreamy claims of value couldn't be effectively challenged.
Instead, what happened was the TTH portalspam fracas, where the portal defenders made a massive strategic blunder. Instead of supporting speedy deletion of the spam, they demanded individual scrutiny, and they got it. That led to editors from outside the walled garden doing detailed analysis of the Rube Goldberg machine structures, and a number of us got fairly adept at that. This meant that as the spam was cleared, we found that many pre-spam portals were in a terrible state, so we began MFDing them too. That long series of individual discussions bust past the generalisations, and looked at the empirical state of the one portal in front of us: usually some combination of stale content forks, unscrutinised trivia, risibly small and often bizarre selections of articles, no maintainers, no WikiProject interest etc. That evidence has produced results very different to the airy waves of "it's information". I thought months ago that there could be only a few hundred such failed portals, but ongoing scrutiny has revealed that the rot is much much deeper than I had imagined. At some point, the rot will be removed, and the remaining active portals can be evaluated. But I think that systematic solution will be hard to find, because the portals project is very short on critical thinking, and the more skilled editors mostly stay away from discussions on how to polish a redundant idea. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 13:15, 24 November 2019 (UTC)

A thought (up to you whether you think this relevant or not)Edit

Since its early existence Wikipedia had to defuse phenomenons that were only marginally relevant to its mainspace articles. E.g. Wikia (whether that was among its explicitly stated goals or not) was initiated, at least in part, to defuse fancruft compilations from Wikipedia's mainspace. Category namespace was (in part) created to avoid excessive lists in Wikipedia's mainspace, etc. Of course, similarly for Portal namespace.

Something in that genre that is not (yet) defused from mainspace are WP:OUTLINE articles, to some extent comparable to Portal pages. Whether excised from mainspace (like Portals) or not (like Outlines), I tend to ignore these phenomenons in the margin. I tend to see them as a playground for those interested in them, without judging them as either overzealous enthusiasts, trolls, incompetents, or, more positively, as servants of greater goals. So, this is the thought: my attitude is to ignore these phenomenons, that is, insofar as they don't intrude too blatantly in Wikipedia's core business, which I consider to be the writing of high quality encyclopedia articles. I'd rather eliminate a conspicuous banner with a Portal link from mainspace, than clean the Portal page up. Other than that, occasionally some of these marginal phenomenons can come in surprisingly handy.

Having said that, I do, of course, enormously respect those who try to keep the marginal phenomenons manageable. Them not, ultimately, pervading mainspace depends on those with a sound judgement to define the ins and outs in these realms, best served without losing their cool in the face of hordes of zealots (or whatever they may be called in these circumstances). This is the objective of writing here about my thought: contributing to the management of these marginal phenomenons requires some sort of an off-hand manner – they are not essential to the encyclopedia, and, basically, someone else's playground. Left to their own devices in their respective realms, the in-crowd of these realms are often, for large stretches of time, not much of a threat to the integrity of Wikipedia's mainspace, and in some cases the side-phenomenon may even fizzle out if less and less people give attention to it. I've done categories intensively, many years ago, even wrote a guideline to keep occurrence of categories in Wikipedia's mainspace manageable. But then, for most of the time, left it to other editors: my main objective is to write mainspace articles, not manage marginal phenomenons. Here is me celebrating a fun victory in the Category department: look at the reply of the co-author of that little de-dramatisation (no pun intended) in category namespace... she'd left the arena of the marginal phenomenon when it became too much of a swamp in which one could easily drown. --Francis Schonken (talk) 11:48, 21 November 2019h (UTC)

ArbCom 2019 election voter messageEdit

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A couple of scripts you may like to useEdit

On my talk page you said that you hadn't realised that Diannaa was an administrator. There is a script which highlights any administrator's name on talk pages etc, which I find very helpful at times. (I probably would have found it even more helpful if I had known about it in the days before I was an administrator, but never mind.)

If you would like to try the script, copy the following text and add it to User:BrownHairedGirl/monobook.js

/*** Begin adminhighlighter (From User:Theopolisme/Scripts/adminhighlighter.js) ***/ /*** See User:Theopolisme/Scripts/adminhighlighter ***/ mw.loader.load('//'); // [[User:Theopolisme/Scripts/adminhighlighter.js]] /*** End adminhighlighter ***/

There are four lines of text there, three of them comments, but the Wikimedia software runs them all together in displaying them here, so copy from the edit area, not from how they are displayed.

A related script, perhaps less useful but still helpful at times, highlights your own user name, in a different colour than used by the script above. That can make it easy to quickly find mentions of yourself in long discussion pages. Here it is:

/*** Begin highlightmyname2 ***/ //This script ([[User:ais523/highlightmyname2.js]]) highlights all instances of the //logged-in user's username on pages by giving them a bright red background. importScript('User:Ais523/highlightmyname2.js'); /*** End highlightmyname2 ***/

You may like to try them, or not, but I find them helpful. JBW (talk) Formerly JamesBWatson 12:46, 19 November 2019 (UTC)

Thanks for those tips, @JBW. I have some old CSS hack of my own which highlights my own username in a way I am now familiar with.
Another hack I use is to strike out the usernames of blocked users. And one which turns dablinks orange.
I had seen some mention somewhere over the years of an admin highlighter, and had decided against using it. In general, I think it's better to view all editors as editors, and to make differentiation a conscious choice rather than the default presentation. I would like that distinction to be displayed at AN and ANI, but not at XFD or the village pump. And I'd prefer it not to be on my user talk either.
Now that I have faced a situation I had never considered: an admin coming to my talk without a visible admin hat, making a block threat which had so little prominence I didn't notice it, and then several steps later making a multiply-bad block. I hope that unpleasant episode will turn out to be a one-off, so I won't install the script for now ... but I will use popups more rigorously for a while. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 05:15, 20 November 2019 (UTC)
OK, if you have considered the admin highlighter and deliberately decided against it, that's fine. I just thought you might like to know about it if you didn't already. I too use the script that strikes out the usernames of blocked users, which I find very useful, and certainly more useful than admin highlighting, which most of the time is irrelevant, and just occasionally useful. For a long time now dablinks have been orange for me, and I thought they were for everyone, but from what you say I guess I must have installed that script some time and then forgotten about it. That explains why I quite often find editors not realising that a link is a dablink, if to them it looks just like any other link. I had found that puzzling. JBW (talk) Formerly JamesBWatson 09:48, 20 November 2019 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Portal:Weather Deletion DiscussionEdit

Hi again BrownHairedGirl,

I thought for sure I'd see you participating in the Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Portal:Weather deletion discussion, but, indeed, neither as nominator or as a participant, you weren't there. The discussion has been open for quite awhile now and there seems to be a significant consensus forming to have formed in favour of delete. It's got something like 2,100 subpages, so one of your bots might be able to be engaged in some way. At any rate, seeing as how you haven't participated in this discussion, I was wondering if you might be able to assess the consensus and close the discussion?


--Doug Mehus T·C 01:32, 21 November 2019 (UTC)

Hi Doug I am a bit troubled by the number of misunderstandings in this post.
  • the MFD has been open for only 2½ days, out a minimum of 7
  • that's far too early to talk of a consensus forming
  • I have long since recused myself from closing portal-related XFDs, to avoid any question of impropriety. I can (and often do) close discussions where the consensus is not what I would want; but since I am closely associated with one position on portals, there is a significant chance that any close by me of any portal MFD would be taken as biased. So there is just no way I would close it; even if every other admin agreed that my close was 100% right, there would be no benefit to anyone from the inevitable drama. So I have close portal MFDs only when no discretion is required, such as when the portal is a WP:G7 deletion.
  • I have only one bot: BHGbot. Its only task is BHGbot 4, which does not include deleting sub-pages (or deleting any pages at all).
  • The XFD closers mostly use very cunning scripts to assist closes, so they can delete all the sub-pages in just one easy click. No bot is needed.
I love your enthusiasm and friendlinesss, Doug, but I think you are getting way ahead of yourself here. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 05:19, 21 November 2019 (UTC)
BrownHairedGirl, Oops, well, that's embarrassing. I'm not sure what was thinking. I guess I was getting Portal:Weather confused with another MfD. And yes, the more I thought about it, you're right, it doesn't make sense for you to close portal MfDs as you're heavily involved in that space, which makes sense. You do good research on under-utilized and low-maintained portals, and I hope you'll keep that up.
Please disregard this post entirely. Doug Mehus T·C 06:18, 21 November 2019 (UTC)

Portals in navboxesEdit

Hi, I see you are removing deleted portals from navboxes, but unfortunately you seem to be replacing them with general, non-specific portals. I do not believe this to be correct. Portals in navboxes should only be included if they correlate directly to the topic of the navbox, and navboxes should not be used to populate tangential non-specific portals in this way. (talk) 10:44, 21 November 2019 (UTC)

I have been doing a blanket replace for all deleted portals, including navboxes.
At the MFD discussion, I have for months been leaving a note about backlinks, proposing one or more portals to replace links to the portal being deleted (e.g. [17]). Most times that produces no response, but even in the minority of cases where there is a bit of discussion (e.g. MFD:Portal:Infrastructure]) nobody before has suggested treating navboxes differently.
However, now that you mention it, I can see a reasonable case for selectivity. I'm not sure whether I agree with you, but I can see merit in your idea, and I think that a discussion is needed.
WP:NAVBOX provides a 5-point checklist for links to articles, but I see no mention anywhere of categories or portals. That 5-point checklist has 4 relevant items:
1/ All articles within a template relate to a single, coherent subject.
2/ The subject of the template should be mentioned in every article.
3/ The articles should refer to each other, to a reasonable extent.
5/ If not for the navigation template, an editor would be inclined to link many of these articles in the See also sections of the articles.
It seems to me that in most cases, the portal link replacements have diluted the close ties but without breaking them. It would be helpful to have some guidance on where to draw the lines.
So I looked at WT:NAVBOX and searched its archvies for "Portal", but didn't find any discussion of this.
So I think that a discussion at WT:NAVBOX would be helpful. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 21:36, 21 November 2019 (UTC)
Well, it's quite clear that these general portal links fail points 1, 2 and 3 mentioned above. (talk) 08:57, 22 November 2019 (UTC)

A puppy for you!Edit

  A Maltese puppy.
Sorry real life is stressful right now. Please take this puppy! –MJLTalk 03:01, 22 November 2019 (UTC)


It is unwise to continue advancing a partisan position in a dispute, as you did here [18], while a request for arbitration is pending and have not taken the time to respond to the request. I urge you to stop all activity related to portals and respond to the case request first. Thank you. Jehochman Talk 13:19, 22 November 2019 (UTC)

Your opinion matters!Edit

Hi BHG...long time etc. Could you take a look at Round Tower Stakes? There is a large number of such articles that you've tagged to IrlProj. Is the article Round Tower Stakes an article or a list? Regards Sarah777 (talk) 18:44, 22 November 2019 (UTC)

Sarah777!!! Great to hear from you.
It has indeed been a very long time. I miss the glory days of WT:IE, when it was a bustling hub to which you brought a sparky passion that's in short supply these days.
My view is that Round Tower Stakes is primarily an article, in which there is at present too little text, so the embedded list dominates. Horse racing is not my territory at all, but as laywomen I would think that if the page was better-developed not much would be added to the list ... but that I would hope that if sources were available, a lot could be said about the history of the race, its sponsorhsip and its significance in the horse racing calendar. If that happened, then the list would be less dominant.
As you can, I auto-assessed it as start-class,[19] i.e. simply copied the assessment from another project, without making any actual assessment myself. Looking at it now, it seems that start-class is the appropriate rating on the quality scale: it is basically a stub with an added list which gives enough extra value to make it start-class ... but that the lack of inline citations would be a barrier to making it C-class. You may judge it differently from your huge experience, but that's my tuppenceworth in case it helps. And if it doesn't help, pls ignore.
Best wishes, --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 05:27, 23 November 2019 (UTC)
Certainly does help - as I'm about to rate dozens of these for IrlProj! Agree with your rationalisation - makes perfect sense. Articles they are - I may have to revise a few.
Yes, the Project is a bit of a grey zone at the moment, reminds me of the airport in the Langoliers - and I'd reckon a lot of Admins are happy with that :) - but there are a few stalwarts like Ww and Seo have never stopped improving things. Rating and a bit of rollbacking is all I really do here now. It's safe! Sarah777 (talk) 20:56, 23 November 2019 (UTC)

Google Code-In 2019 is coming - please mentor some documentation tasks!Edit


Google Code-In, Google-organized contest in which the Wikimedia Foundation participates, starts in a few weeks. This contest is about taking high school students into the world of opensource. I'm sending you this message because you recently edited a documentation page at the English Wikipedia.

I would like to ask you to take part in Google Code-In as a mentor. That would mean to prepare at least one task (it can be documentation related, or something else - the other categories are Code, Design, Quality Assurance and Outreach) for the participants, and help the student to complete it. Please sign up at the contest page and send us your Google account address to, so we can invite you in!

From my own experience, Google Code-In can be fun, you can make several new friends, attract new people to your wiki and make them part of your community.

If you have any questions, please let us know at

Thank you!

--User:Martin Urbanec (talk) 21:58, 23 November 2019 (UTC)

Thanks, but no thanks. Not my thing. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 07:38, 25 November 2019 (UTC)


Heh, BHG. I thought you gave a powerful, thorough, and well reasoned statement to the arbitration committee. I also am unfamiliar with ArbCom and was wondering if you (or a friendly talk-page stalker) could please tell me if the case is now going forward if the present votes stay in place for the next 24-hours? If I'm understanding this and the eight-strong list of arbitrators at Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee correctly, the brief time wait is the last obstacle to case acceptance. Right? Thank you.

On a related note, portal fans have been coming hard of late after using page views at MfD. Allowing portals on any topic desired and not using page views to measure the value of a content-less navigation device having either high-editor-time overhead or a litany of serious prolonged issues is like having a bus for each street in a country without monitoring ridership or bringing the Tube to every hamlet in Britain. The only problem with this analogy, besides fairly clunky wording, is that I've just insulted the incredibly useful Bus and the Tube by comparing them to a decrepit collage of playgrounds that have never had an actual purpose or factual basis. Goodness, a personal attack (steel is just as human as the bot readership of portals, or so the United States Supreme Court said) of this magnitude surely deserves an indef block. Your... not going to turn me in, are you? Or block me yourself?

And speaking of America, since we found out in this delightfully cognizant conversation you are a proponent of the American Empire, Made in Ireland At BHG's house For reasons no one was really quite sure, you should celebrate Thanksgiving in a few days. If you're going to partake in some of the worst of America, you might as well enjoy some of the best: a turkey feast. Of course, since Benjamin Franklin supported making the turkey America's national bird, to eat one is an act of penance for your nationalist sins. I read so in the DYK section of Portal:Meanie BrownHairedGirl Exposed!, so it must be true. And the red link tells me you must have stabbed this portal in its sleep. Your bloodlust just knows no bounds...

I hope my attempt at humor brought a little smiling and light heartedness to your stressful days. Remember to take it easy! Newshunter12 (talk) 07:26, 25 November 2019 (UTC)

Your comment at WP:ARCEdit

Arbitration norms confuse me so maybe someone already let you know. But if not, I think you made a mistake in your comment at ARC. [20] You said "RFA1 and RFA2" but as you can see: [[WP:Requests for adminship/Northamerica1000_2#Oppose|RFA1]] and [[WP:Requests for adminship/Northamerica1000_2#Oppose|RFA2]] both of these link to the same thing, the second RfA. Nil Einne (talk) 17:07, 25 November 2019 (UTC)

Thanks, Nil Einne. Now fixed.[21] --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 17:17, 25 November 2019 (UTC)

December events with WIREdit

December 2019, Volume 5, Issue 12, Numbers 107, 108, 144, 145, 146, 147

Check out what's happening in December at Women in Red...

Online events:

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Stay in touch: Join WikiProject Women in Red / Opt-out of notifications

--Megalibrarygirl (talk) 18:42, 25 November 2019 (UTC) via MassMessaging

Arbitration Case OpenedEdit

You were recently listed as a party to a request for arbitration. The Arbitration Committee has accepted that request for arbitration and an arbitration case has been opened at Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case/Portals. Evidence that you wish the arbitrators to consider should be added to the evidence subpage, at Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case/Portals/Evidence. Please add your evidence by December 20, 2019, which is when the evidence phase closes. You can also contribute to the case workshop subpage, Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case/Portals/Workshop. For a guide to the arbitration process, see Wikipedia:Arbitration/Guide to arbitration. For the Arbitration Committee, SQLQuery me! 20:26, 26 November 2019 (UTC)

  • Hi BrownHairedGirl. You've probably already seen, but since it looks like we didn't notify you already, a temporary injunction involving you has been proposed in the Portals case here. Best, Kevin (aka L235 · t · c) 01:29, 28 November 2019 (UTC)
Thanks, Kevin. I have left a comment[22] at WT:Arbitration/Requests/Case/Portals/Proposed_decision#Injunction. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 06:32, 28 November 2019 (UTC)

Speedy deletion nomination of Category:All Wikipedia vital articles in People/Politicians and leadersEdit


A tag has been placed on Category:All Wikipedia vital articles in People/Politicians and leaders requesting that it be speedily deleted from Wikipedia. This has been done under section C1 of the criteria for speedy deletion, because the category has been empty for seven days or more and is not a disambiguation category, a category redirect, a featured topics category, under discussion at Categories for discussion, or a project category that by its nature may become empty on occasion.

If you think this page should not be deleted for this reason, you may contest the nomination by visiting the page and clicking the button labelled "Contest this speedy deletion". This will give you the opportunity to explain why you believe the page should not be deleted. However, be aware that once a page is tagged for speedy deletion, it may be deleted without delay. Please do not remove the speedy deletion tag from the page yourself, but do not hesitate to add information in line with Wikipedia's policies and guidelines. UnitedStatesian (talk) 15:12, 28 November 2019 (UTC)

Speedy deletion nomination of Category:Wikipedia level-5 vital articles in People/Politicians and leadersEdit


A tag has been placed on Category:Wikipedia level-5 vital articles in People/Politicians and leaders requesting that it be speedily deleted from Wikipedia. This has been done under section C1 of the criteria for speedy deletion, because the category has been empty for seven days or more and is not a disambiguation category, a category redirect, a featured topics category, under discussion at Categories for discussion, or a project category that by its nature may become empty on occasion.

If you think this page should not be deleted for this reason, you may contest the nomination by visiting the page and clicking the button labelled "Contest this speedy deletion". This will give you the opportunity to explain why you believe the page should not be deleted. However, be aware that once a page is tagged for speedy deletion, it may be deleted without delay. Please do not remove the speedy deletion tag from the page yourself, but do not hesitate to add information in line with Wikipedia's policies and guidelines. UnitedStatesian (talk) 15:13, 28 November 2019 (UTC)

@UnitedStatesian: there were many dozens of these categories which appeared as redlinks in Special:WantedCategories. I created them to fill those redlinks. The whole categorisation of VAs is a mess, and i made some efforts to sort it out, but it's really just too complex to be sustainable without a huge lot of work. If you have time, it needs a big overhaul. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 15:18, 28 November 2019 (UTC)

The Signpost: 29 November 2019Edit

The RockEdit

Hi, Much Love as a friend, Can you tell those guys that it's all true that in 2019, The Rock did appear on The Kelly Clarkson show, because of how the day Kevin Hart was involved in a car crash, Kevin Hart Texted The Rock and The Rock texted Kevin Hart, and offered to fill in for Kevin Hart to promote their movie, please? [[Telley~~]] (talk) 01:59, 30 November 2019 (UTC)

Hi TelleyTell
Sorry, but I have no idea at all what you are talking about, or why it should concern me. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 08:00, 30 November 2019 (UTC)

Hey, Do you have an Instagram account? I ask so I can show you in the morning a few pictures of proof WWE Wrestler The Rock did appear on The Kelly Clarkson show that day, so I can tell you everything on that true story how he and Kevin Hart Texted each other and Rock ended up Appearing on The Kelly Clarkson show. [[Telley~~]] (talk) 11:36, 30 November 2019 (UTC)

Hey Do you have an Instagram account so I can show you something reguarding The Rock? [[Telley~~]] (talk) 11:38, 30 November 2019 (UTC)

  • @TelleyTell: a) I keep discussion about Wikipedia on Wikipedia; b) Instagram is not a reliable source; c) I have zero interest in wrestling.
So I have no idea why you are telling me about this. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 11:54, 30 November 2019 (UTC)

Arbitration motion regarding Portals (temporary injunction)Edit

The Arbitration Committee has resolved by motion that:

BrownHairedGirl (talk · contribs) and Northamerica1000 (talk · contribs) are prohibited from editing in the Portal: namespace or engaging in discussions about portals, with the exception of arbitration case pages, until this case is concluded.

For the Arbitration Committee, CodeLyokotalk 03:50, 1 December 2019 (UTC)

Discuss this at: Wikipedia talk:Arbitration Committee/Noticeboard#Arbitration motion regarding Portals (temporary injunction)

Administrators' newsletter – December 2019Edit

News and updates for administrators from the past month (November 2019).

  Administrator changes

  AkhilleusAthaenaraJohn VandenbergMelchoirMichaelQSchmidtNeilNYoungamerican😂

  CheckUser changes


  Interface administrator changes


  Guideline and policy news

  Technical news



Sent by MediaWiki message delivery (talk) 02:47, 2 December 2019 (UTC)

Hi there BrownHairedGirl, Thank you for creating an entry for my great uncle Peter Murney. You have him dow as Peter Murnoy though - I corrected what I could within the text of the article, but the article heading is still Murnoy - can't change it - can you?

Many thanks Oisin Plunkett — Preceding unsigned comment added by O Plunkett (talkcontribs) 21:41, 3 December 2019 (UTC)

Hi Oisin
The reliable sources all list him as "Murnoy", including on page 61 of the scholarly work Walker, Brian M., ed. (1978). Parliamentary election results in Ireland, 1801–1922. Dublin: Royal Irish Academy. ISBN 0-901714-12-7.
Wikipedia's standard is verifiability in reliable sources: See WP:Verifiability, so I have reverted[23] your edit, and added Walker as a source.[24]
I assume that you are writing in good faith, i.e. that you are who you say you are, and that you are genuinely stating what you know of your family. However, that counts as original research, which Wikipedia has no way of verifying.
I can't find other uses of the surname "Murnoy", and there are no Murnoys in the Eircom phonebook, I am personally persuaded that you are right. However, that's just my original research, which also carries no weight.
To change this, we would need reliable sources showing his name spelt as "Murney". Contemporaneous newspaper reports would be one such reliable source, if you can get access to them. I used to have access through the British Newspaper Archive, but sadly they discontinued their collaboration with Wikipedia. I do have access to the archive of The Times newspaper in London, but I can't find any coverage there of the Northern Ireland election. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 22:30, 3 December 2019 (UTC)

Speedy deletion nomination of Category:Dermatologists from Northern IrelandEdit


A tag has been placed on Category:Dermatologists from Northern Ireland requesting that it be speedily deleted from Wikipedia. This has been done under section C1 of the criteria for speedy deletion, because the category has been empty for seven days or more and is not a disambiguation category, a category redirect, a featured topics category, under discussion at Categories for discussion, or a project category that by its nature may become empty on occasion.

If you think this page should not be deleted for this reason, you may contest the nomination by visiting the page and clicking the button labelled "Contest this speedy deletion". This will give you the opportunity to explain why you believe the page should not be deleted. However, be aware that once a page is tagged for speedy deletion, it may be deleted without delay. Please do not remove the speedy deletion tag from the page yourself, but do not hesitate to add information in line with Wikipedia's policies and guidelines. UnitedStatesian (talk) 15:27, 4 December 2019 (UTC)

Category:Computer science in Bangladesh has been nominated for discussionEdit


Category:Computer science in Bangladesh, which you created, has been nominated for possible deletion, merging, or renaming. A discussion is taking place to decide whether this proposal complies with the categorization guidelines. If you would like to participate in the discussion, you are invited to add your comments at the category's entry on the categories for discussion page. Thank you. Rathfelder (talk) 15:32, 4 December 2019 (UTC)

Speedy deletion nomination of Category:Fictional Australian people of American descentEdit


A tag has been placed on Category:Fictional Australian people of American descent requesting that it be speedily deleted from Wikipedia. This has been done under section C1 of the criteria for speedy deletion, because the category has been empty for seven days or more and is not a disambiguation category, a category redirect, a featured topics category, under discussion at Categories for discussion, or a project category that by its nature may become empty on occasion.

If you think this page should not be deleted for this reason, you may contest the nomination by visiting the page and clicking the button labelled "Contest this speedy deletion". This will give you the opportunity to explain why you believe the page should not be deleted. However, be aware that once a page is tagged for speedy deletion, it may be deleted without delay. Please do not remove the speedy deletion tag from the page yourself, but do not hesitate to add information in line with Wikipedia's policies and guidelines. UnitedStatesian (talk) 03:50, 6 December 2019 (UTC)

"Wikipedia:RFD/2018 November 18" listed at Redirects for discussionEdit

An editor has asked for a discussion to address the redirect Wikipedia:RFD/2018 November 18. Since you had some involvement with the Wikipedia:RFD/2018 November 18 redirect, you might want to participate in the redirect discussion if you wish to do so. ComplexRational (talk) 22:09, 8 December 2019 (UTC)

Speedy deletion nomination of Category:Franklin Pierce Ravens men's soccer playersEdit


A tag has been placed on Category:Franklin Pierce Ravens men's soccer players requesting that it be speedily deleted from Wikipedia. This has been done under section C1 of the criteria for speedy deletion, because the category has been empty for seven days or more and is not a disambiguation category, a category redirect, a featured topics category, under discussion at Categories for discussion, or a project category that by its nature may become empty on occasion.

If you think this page should not be deleted for this reason, you may contest the nomination by visiting the page and clicking the button labelled "Contest this speedy deletion". This will give you the opportunity to explain why you believe the page should not be deleted. However, be aware that once a page is tagged for speedy deletion, it may be deleted without delay. Please do not remove the speedy deletion tag from the page yourself, but do not hesitate to add information in line with Wikipedia's policies and guidelines. UnitedStatesian (talk) 19:27, 11 December 2019 (UTC)

Speedy deletion nomination of Category:Franklin Pierce Ravens men's soccer coachesEdit


A tag has been placed on Category:Franklin Pierce Ravens men's soccer coaches requesting that it be speedily deleted from Wikipedia. This has been done under section C1 of the criteria for speedy deletion, because the category has been empty for seven days or more and is not a disambiguation category, a category redirect, a featured topics category, under discussion at Categories for discussion, or a project category that by its nature may become empty on occasion.

If you think this page should not be deleted for this reason, you may contest the nomination by visiting the page and clicking the button labelled "Contest this speedy deletion". This will give you the opportunity to explain why you believe the page should not be deleted. However, be aware that once a page is tagged for speedy deletion, it may be deleted without delay. Please do not remove the speedy deletion tag from the page yourself, but do not hesitate to add information in line with Wikipedia's policies and guidelines. UnitedStatesian (talk) 19:31, 11 December 2019 (UTC)

Discussion at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject U.S. Congress#Lists of living former membersEdit

  You are invited to join the discussion at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject U.S. Congress#Lists of living former members. —GoldRingChip 15:01, 13 December 2019 (UTC)

Thought of you while watching UK general election television coverageEdit

Hi @BrownHairedGirl:,

I thought of you a couple times while watching BBC's and Bloomberg's (I switched back and forth) coverage of the UK general election results. I assume you probably voted, but was curious which electoral district you were in (you don't have to say if you don't want to).

Northern Ireland fascinates me, particularly how the Sinn Fein party now holds 7 seats that they won't take up because, I guess, they don't want to have pledge allegiance to the Queen. But it made me wonder, the whole frakas over the Irish border vis-à-vis Brexit, why didn't the UK just offer to have the Republic of Ireland absorb Northern Ireland? Northern Ireland is most likely a net cost to the UK anyway and, with relative peace in Northern Ireland for nearly twenty years now, I wonder if even the unionists might support that to be able to stay in the EU?

--Doug Mehus T·C 03:07, 15 December 2019 (UTC)

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