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This, this, and/or this. In the last one I had proposed your enforced break idea, but it was shot down in flames--largely by admins, isn't that interesting? → ROUX  16:55, 18 July 2009 (UTC)

Broadly support pretty much everything you've said in all three, but I'm not going to weigh into any of the discussions; one voice isn't going to change anything, and I'm fed up with being part of this round of endless arguments that aren't going anywhere. If it looks like something actually has the potential to cause genuine change (by which I certainly don't mean Arbcom's window-dressing Advisory Council) I'll come back into the discussions, but at the moment the grass-roots support for change is still swamped by those with a vested interest in the status quo.
Regarding enforced breaks,* turkeys aren't going to vote for Christmas and too many people here have an inflated idea of their own importance; those with the clout to get such a change enacted are by and large exactly those people who have a "the wiki will fall apart without my eternal vigilance" mentality.
Cynically, the easiest way to get such a change through is to somehow dress it up as another opportunity to 'level up' in the Wikipedia MMORPG. Create a "This user has been an admin/crat/checkuser for so long they've gone through x reconfirmations" userbox, invent some kind of token privilege for those who've been reconfirmed at least once (or just treat users who've been through it voluntarily with exaggerated respect). – iridescent 14:01, 20 July 2009 (UTC)
* For those TPSs who haven't followed this rather arcane debate across assorted sites and are wondering what I'm talking about, my proposal is that all users in "authority" positions – from admins right up to Jimbo – be periodically stripped of their powers, for perhaps three months out of every year. This would break up the "us and them" mentality, as well as reminding the "power users" of what it's like as an ordinary editor. Personally, I'd actually go further and make reconfirmation RFAs compulsory (possibly with a reduced "pass" threshold, to counterbalance the horde of "you deleted my band's article!" enemies every admin accumulates); admins becoming increasingly detached from the userbase over time is a genuine problem on Wikipedia, and this would force people to at least keep up appearances. (As I've often said, people doing the right thing just to keep up appearances can actually do a better job than people doing the right thing out of heartfelt beliefs, as the net result is the same but they're less likely to become emotionally involved in arguments and end up being distracted or losing their temper. This attitude has kept political parties around the world functional for centuries.) It would also provide a mechanism for weeding out those admins etc who've made themselves genuinely unpopular – and by providing a mechanism for removing problem admins painlessly (those who think they'd fail would just choose not to run in the reconfirmation), would end the whole "adminship is for life" problem, thus making RFA itself less of a trial-by-ordeal. – iridescent 14:01, 20 July 2009 (UTC)
I quite like the 'Turkeys wouldn't vote for Christmas' line. I may have to steal it. And yeah, depressingly, as I said at the RfC: nowhere have I seen the status quo defended more vociferously than at Wikipedia. Unfortunately, the rug is now so lumpy one simply cannot walk on it, to say nothing of the mountains of elephant dung that are magically appearing, and not actually created by enormous pachyderms taking up most of the room. Sigh. → ROUX  00:07, 21 July 2009 (UTC)

If you haven't seen it before, I'll wheel out my "in defense of the status quo" line, which is usually hauled out as a reply to "why did you oppose my RFA / vote to keep that obviously crappy article / oppose my policy proposal (delete as appropriate)?":
  1. In any work with 10,131,637 registered users plus assorted anonymous contributors, working on 2,965,639 discrete articles, there are going to be problem pages and clashes of personalities, especially with an article/active admin ratio of 3,200:1;
  2. Wikipedia's model means problems are discussed openly, unlike most other reference works (online or otherwise) where problems are discussed by in-house committees, making our problems more visible than the problems faced by (for example) Britannica and giving a false impression that Wikipedia – and wikis in general – are uniquely problematic;
  3. Because our critics (understandably) focus on problems, it's very easy to overstate the problems facing Wikipedia, particularly if you frequent ANI, Wikipedia Review, BLP Noticeboard or other places focusing on problems;
  4. Despite the permanent arguments on the fuzzy borderlines of the huge Venn diagram of Wikipedia's mainspace, where notability and libel come into play, most of Wikipedia works remarkably well for an organization comprising 15,000 unpaid workers with wildly differing expectations, interests, experience and competencies (go back and look at the 2004 version of any given article – a time when this was a Featured Article – to see just how far we've come in the last five years;
  5. The balance between the assorted groups on Wikipedia, and the policies which directly or indirectly govern that balance, have evolved over almost a decade;
  6. Any change to anything (not just on Wikipedia), no matter how well intended, is likely to have negative consequences of some kind, whether directly or indirectly;
  7. Since Wikipedia is staffed and run entirely by volunteers, most if not all of whom are here because they're attracted by the current model, any substantive change to that model is likely to alienate at least some users;
  8. Therefore, if one accepts that Wikipedia is broadly functioning well, the default position should be to maintain the status quo. That is, to:
    • oppose any proposed change to policy, unless the proposers of the policy can demonstrate that there's a clear advantage to the policy, that they've anticipated any potential downside, and that the advantages of the proposal clearly outweigh the potential downside;
    • keep any article, page etc that's proposed for deletion, unless the person nominating it for deletion can demonstrate that keeping it would have a negative effect in some way (deleting articles always has a negative effect, in that it annoys whoever wrote them, so the downside of keeping it has to outweigh the downside of an editor potentially leaving in disgust in order for an article to warrant deletion);
    • oppose all candidates at RFA, RFB, etc unless it can be shown that there would be a clear advantage to their having the position for which they're proposed. (Arbcom elections are slightly different, because there you're electing a set number of candidates – in these circumstances, it's a case of choosing the fifteen least-worst from the pool of candidates).
This attitude may have got me a reputation as a "serial opposer", but there is a line of thinking behind it. It's very easy to court popularity and agree with everyone's suggestions, but unless there's a clear advantage to any change, I don't think it should be supported. Despite the "Wikipedia is broken" line being parroted everywhere by the same noisy minority, those claiming it seem to find it hard to point out any examples of this, unless you take as credible arguments things like "things are so fundamentally screwed at this point in time that something has to give or else the whole ship will collapse over time", or Rootology's essay – which seems to me to be yet more "only a strong leader can solve the problems facing us, and I am willing to selflessly volunteer to be that leader" Sulla-of-the-Internet posturing (read what you will into his "if we can't use my ball I don't wanna play" resignation). Wikipedia is a remarkable success story, and every time we make substantive changes in order to "fix" a possibly non-existent problem we potentially jeopardise that. – iridescent 18:04, 21 July 2009 (UTC)

Break: On turkeys and flesh-eating robots

Sometimes turkeys do vote for Christmas, Thanksgiving, and anti-Turkey day.

I think your idea that admins should be periodically de-sysopped is an interesting one. I'm starting to think anyone who spends more time in project space arguing about infinitesimal crap should be blocked only to get their privileges back if they write a damn article or two. I just want to write articles, and I think it would be great if people who actually wielded mops could support that. But they don't really. So is the answer to get more article writers to wield mops? I hate doing admin duties. I just want to write. And I find most article writers would rather stick a fork in their eye than participate in the non-stop bitchfest that is behind the scenes.

Some people are attracted to writing and improving articles. Some are (dunno why) attracted to creating the mind-boggling ephemera associated with Wikipedia like templates, categories, and programming. And some are sucked into and most comfortable agitating behind the scenes. I don't understand how some folks can criticize ad nauseum without proposing an ideal. Ideally, the people who should be commenting on the functions of Wikipedia are the ones who have the most experience in constructing articles, but they're not. I don't understand that.

I just got sidetracked by visiting all the blogs associated with That's pretty much the attention span I have when I deal with unproductive huffing and puffing about All The Problems And The People Who Should Not Fix Them. So I leave you with this rambling and pointless message. Had I any forethought, I would have backed out of this post and gone tripping through my mental daisies. --Moni3 (talk) 19:00, 21 July 2009 (UTC)

Many of the noisier critics of the current setup have more than served their time in the article trenches, in fairness. Malleus is a veritable assembly line, Giano has churned out a huge number of long well-written articles (he's been boycotting FAC for the last year, although I can't actually remember why, so his profile there is lower than it ought to be), Lara wrote, and has spent the last two years keeping stable, the sprawling Maynard James Keenan article (as lifted verbatim borrowed by the BBC website), Cla68 wrote huge chunks of our coverage of the Japanese military, Everyking wrote Penda of Mercia which IIRC set the whole Anglo-Saxon nobility ball rolling on Wikipedia, Durova practically runs the Graphics Lab single-handed… At least one Pillar of the Wikipedia Establishment doesn't exactly measure up to the critics when it comes to having a decent "quality contribution":"dramamongering" ratio.
BTW, on trying to find a (mis)remembered instance I thought I remembered where a turkey actually ran for public office and won (it was actually H'Angus the monkey, elected Mayor of Hartlepool in 2002), I came across this stunning piece of writing (permalink to the current version in case some spoilsport copyedits it). Hello, and welcome to a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge… – iridescent 19:27, 21 July 2009 (UTC)
I would clarify my statement to explain exactly what I mean re Malleus, Durova et al, but I moved on to texts from last night, following the updates to be found at stfu marrieds. --Moni3 (talk) 19:31, 21 July 2009 (UTC)
While you're surfing, have a quick skim of this (genuine) press release. When a company has to issue a formal denial that they're planning to unleash an army of killer robots that feast on human flesh, something tells me there's a public relations problem somewhere. (Someone who understands what this product actually does, please turn Cyclone Power blue!) – iridescent 20:23, 21 July 2009 (UTC)
(reply to Moni3). "I just want to write articles, and I think it would be great if people who actually wielded mops could support that. But they don't really." That's exactly the problem, and why I'm so "noisy" in my criticism of the way that wikipedia is presently run. I'm sick to death of having some spotty Herbert who's appointed himself Chief of Civility Police self-righteously slapping civility warnings on my talk page, and the daft administrators who block when I use such outrageous terms as "sycophantic". I'm just not the kind of person who sits quietly with my head down trying not to attract attention when I feel that injustice is being done. --Malleus Fatuorum 20:31, 21 July 2009 (UTC)
No doubt that some injustice is being done, and that it takes courage to stand up and scream your head off when people are calling you annoying crazy and wrong for doing it. It's difficult to treat the latest clusterfuck as a unique situation that has not been repeated in every group throughout all of human history. In this view, albeit a dark one, it will always be done, and we all play our roles in an expanding and contracting universe, just like we always have and always will. You will always find injustice, you will always be shouted down, some will always give you support, but in the end, nothing changes. Not here on Wikipedia, not in the United Nations, not in your office, not in your street gang. I admire your tenacity, particularly when it's difficult to find a reason to breathe. --Moni3 (talk) 20:40, 21 July 2009 (UTC)

Break: Qohelet in the open editing environment

Sometimes I think Ecclesiastes (or קֹהֶלֶת if you prefer, given that this originally came up in response to Shalom) could serve as a Wikipedia helpfile. "I hated all the things I had toiled for under the sun, because I must leave them to the one who comes after me. And who knows whether that person will be wise or foolish? Yet they will have control over all the toil into which I have poured my effort and skill under the sun. This too is meaningless." is a state of mind that affects everyone here sooner or later, but it's only true inasmuch as it's true of life in general. (If you haven't already, then see my long gardening analogy for more on the subject.) What happens here does change things, however frustrating it gets arguing with people with more interest in how we travel than in where we're going. – iridescent 20:51, 21 July 2009 (UTC)

Truly a beautiful sentiment that echoes in my head. Should the authors of Ecclesiastes be expressing such views in our modern age, saying such stuff would warrant heavy anti-depressants. I wonder if Bible scribes writing and making such beautiful art sat back and thought to themselves what light they were bringing to such a darkened populace, just as the chemists at Pfizer no doubt do as well. --Moni3 (talk) 21:04, 21 July 2009 (UTC)
Even as a diehard athiest from a family of diehard atheists, I think Ecclesiastes is well worth reading; quite aside from its significance in fusing eastern monotheism with western Epicureanism, strip away the religious references and it's a 2,300-years-ahead-of-its-time guide to coping with depression and mood-swings. It's remarkable how many modern self-help books spend large chunks of their text paraphrasing it, and how many sentences from it have detached themselves "Hamlet"-style from their source text and entered popular culture in their own right. – iridescent 21:17, 21 July 2009 (UTC)
Note, before Peter and/or Ottava descend on me in righteous indignation – yes, I know that it's traditionally attributed to Solomon and the link with Epicurus is disputed. – iridescent 21:17, 21 July 2009 (UTC)
Makes for a nice userpage too. MastCell Talk 23:56, 21 July 2009 (UTC)
Now that's interesting. Wonder how many others have come up with that Qohelet analogy? Incidentally, in belated reply to your 'It does seem to me that the infamous "civility block" is a relatively recent invention' above, that's not entirely true. In the Alleged Golden Age we didn't just have self-appointed Civility Police, we actually had a self-appointing group of goons stomping around "enforcing civility" (the first use of the term "civility police" dates back to early 2006). What happened wasn't so much a general shift in standards, but that in late 2006 the twin impacts of MFD/ESP and the impact to the "we're doing fine" mentality caused by Siegenthaler and Essjay dealt a massive psychological blow to the whole "organised groups to write and enforce the rules" mentality. Now, almost three years on, we have a new generation who don't remember the great ideological battles of 2006, and are preparing to fight the same battles yet again. As has been pointed out already, the distinction between the positions taken at RFC/ACPD by the Wikipedia Alte Kämpfers (who remember just where Esperanza and Concordia led us in the past) and by the relative newcomers, is very striking. – iridescent 07:27, 22 July 2009 (UTC)
Thanks - that's a useful lesson in Wikipedia history. The Esperanza thing happened before my time - or rather, I was highly active as an editor in 2006, but had yet to apprehend the joys of projectspace politics. As to Wikipedia:Concordia... that's fascinating reading. MastCell Talk 16:24, 22 July 2009 (UTC)
The degree of nuttiness in the Concordia talk archives is an eye-opener. Anyone who thinks Peter Damian's Established Editors proposal or Abd's Delegated Proxies were flawed should start foaming at the mouth on seeing otherwise sane people come out with things like "What if we gave tokens to users for actions that warrant praise, and the tokens could be exchanged for stock in Concordia, and each share gave a user a little more decision in the Concordia community?". – iridescent 16:34, 22 July 2009 (UTC)
On the one hand, those talk archives are astounding. But then again, it's actually a reasonable description of Wikipedia's social dynamics - although it bespeaks an obvious lack of sophistication to require concrete rather than abstract "tokens". I mean, every time you notice someone say something sensible, or helpful, or wise, your estimation of them increases. Ultimately, more people listen to them and trust their judgment, and they have more say in How Wikipedia Works. That's why civility "enforcement" is fundamentally misguided - people who do things that are truly uncivil (as opposed to unCIVIL) find that, over time, no one really pays them much attention. They marginalize themselves, no "enforcement" required. MastCell Talk 20:35, 22 July 2009 (UTC)
Civility enforcement is fundamentally misguided for all sorts of reasons, not the least of which is that ... well, I won't bore you with my 100-page essay. :-) --Malleus Fatuorum 20:44, 22 July 2009 (UTC)


Hi Iridescent. I was wondering if it would be ok for me to post to your talk page. I know that I didn't get off to a very good start in communicating with you, but I see a lot of conversations on your page that I'd like to take part in. You know a lot about WP that I'd like to learn, but I don't want to be a bother either. Kind Regards — Ched :  ?  02:23, 22 July 2009 (UTC)

Yes, of course, feel free. You don't need to ask; "anyone can edit" was still a core principle last time I looked. Besides, I've been here long enough to have had at least one shouting match with pretty much everyone of note at some point (the majority of people with this page watchlisted originally added it to their watchlist during an argument of one sort or another). The usual proviso, that I don't believe in WP:CIV and will argue very noisily against any threats or blocks against anyone for things said here (either by or to you) applies, though. – iridescent 07:01, 22 July 2009 (UTC)
Sounds good. Perhaps some day I'll have a go at a longer discussion on CIV, but actually I had something else in mind at the moment. Would you be willing to take a look at Chester Dale? I'm trying to expand it enough to get a DYK out of it, but I really don't know much about the fine arts. I know you do mostly the FA stuff, but I've seen you help out with some of the "smaller" articles at times too. Any ideas on a "hook"? — Ched :  ?  13:55, 22 July 2009 (UTC)
Have given it a quick wash-and-scrub-up; at the moment it's fairly under-referenced. Work to the rule of at least 1 reference for each claim even if it means repeating references through a paragraph, especially if you're planning to send it to DYK (if you try to slip an unreferenced fact through DYK, Ottava and Mattisse will eat you). It should be fairly easily expandable from reliable sources; at the moment you're far too reliant on the National Gallery website, which (given that they're not going to say anything negative about a benefactor) is pushing NPOV to the limit. (I suspect there's a less-than-pretty story hiding behind "Dale earned large sums from working for the New York Stock Exchange".) Calling Corot an "impressionist" is pushing it a bit as well; the term "Impressionism" was only coined in 1874, and Corot died in February 1875.
There's no obvious DYK hook in the article at the moment – '… that in 1931, Maud and Chester Dale owned over 400 works of art' (source) or '… that Henry McBride described banker and art collector Chester Dale as "having a name that is excellent for a banker, good for a writer, good for an art collector, good for anything"?' (source) are a bit "meh" but would be adequate.
What seems extremely clear, though, is that while the donation to the gallery was made in Chester Dale's name, this seems to be more an artefact of early 20th-century social mores than anything else, and that Maud Murray, not Chester Dale, was the driving force behind both the acquisition of and donation of the artworks in question. – iridescent 15:47, 22 July 2009 (UTC)
WOW! I am in complete awe at how quickly you were able to do so much. I'll likely spend hours going through and trying to learn from your help. Thank you Iridescent. I had to chuckle a bit at one of the edit summaries, the one about not assuming people would know who Corot was ... cause I didn't have a clue! I actually stumbled upon the article while I was doing some BLP uncat stuff, and thought I'd try to expand it a bit. Even if I don't submit it at DYK, there's definitely a huge amount of education available to me here - and I greatly appreciate your time and efforts. I will go through the links, and hopefully continue to improve. Thank you again, it's greatly appreciated! — Ched :  ?  16:11, 22 July 2009 (UTC)
In my experience, the easiest way to build up an article is:
  1. Read Giano's essay at least twice;
  2. Rather than do it in mainspace (where your edits have to comply with policy at all times), copy-and-paste the code from the article you plan to expand into a userspace sandbox;
  3. Move every unsourced statement to a separate section (or delete them altogether);
  4. Add every potential image you might consider using at the very end of the article;
  5. Go through your sources one at a time, bringing in any/all potentially relevant material and referencing as you go (because it's not in the mainspace, you can leave stray facts floating around until you've imported enough material from other sources to build a paragraph around them);
  6. Once the text is written, bring an appropriate number of images up from the image section at the bottom, and delete the remaining images;
  7. Go through the text, wikilinking the first occurrence of appropriate terms in the lead and the first appearance in the body text;
  8. Give the article a good reading over, keeping a particular eye out for:
    • reference placement (Wikipedia has no preference as to whether the references go before or after the punctuation, despite the number of people who appear to think otherwise, but you should be consistent);
    • apostrophization;
    • British/American spellings and grammar inconsistencies;
    • image "sandwiching" (where a right and left aligned image are too close together, and squeeze the text between them);
    • unreferenced statements;
    • "comprises of", "in order" and "oftentimes", none of which are grammatically correct but all of which sneak in surprisingly often
  9. Go back to the original article and see if anyone has added anything to it since you made your sandbox copy – if they have, decide whether to incorporate it;
  10. Copy your sandbox article, and paste it over the existing article.
This has the same net result in terms of GFDL (as all the edits to the sandbox are made by you, so your one edit to the actual article is still sufficiently licensed), but means you can add unreferenced claims and stray facts while you're working on the article, and play about with formatting. Once you're done with it, you can then {{db-u1}} the sandbox to avoid clogging your history. It also has the additional advantage of avoiding filling the edit history of the article with hundreds of minor edits. Plus, if you're interested in DYK (someone must be…), the 5-day clock doesn't start ticking until the move into mainspace, so you can do two-weeks-of-work edits like this and still qualify for DYK. The granddaddy of all of these sandboxes is Exploding Houses, which has been sitting in userspace being poked and prodded for well over two years. – iridescent 17:14, 22 July 2009 (UTC)

←Iridescent, I am at a complete loss for words here. I don't know what to say other than "Thank You". That you would spend so much time and volunteer so much effort to help me ... it simply boggles my mind. I'll do my best to make sure that your time and efforts are not wasted, and I'll try to be a better "editor". I simply don't know what else to say ... other than, "Thank you very much!" — Ched :  ?  19:52, 22 July 2009 (UTC)

This is a real suck-eggs one, but it's also always good to watchlist WP:FAC and read it occasionally, paying as much attention to the opposes as to the supports. FAC, for better or worse, is currently the 'soul' of Wikipedia, and the ad hoc policies thrashed out there do all filter down through all the other levels. Look at candidates that are on the borderline, and think "what could I do to help this pass?". – iridescent 20:01, 22 July 2009 (UTC)
I think you're right about FAC, it's the engine that drives quality. I'd say pay more attention to the opposes than the supports, although even the supports often have some critical comment to make. FAC is certainly the way to learn how to write "good" articles, that's for sure. I think it's interesting as well that the reviewers who are active at both FAC and GAN are in general quite a bit more demanding during GA reviews than who aren't, so FAC's effects trickle through the project in all sorts of ways. The other piece of advice I'd give is to collaborate with what SandyG calls a "word nerd", someone who can beat your prose into submission. --Malleus Fatuorum 20:37, 22 July 2009 (UTC)
You folks who cherish FAC above all else are elitist. I scorn you. --Moni3 (talk) 20:43, 22 July 2009 (UTC)
(ec with Moni) And Malleus is one of the best word nerds available. (Speaking of... Chicado V just passed GA, so I'm thinking she's my next FAC since the others I had waiting in the wings are still... waiting in the wings. Urse is waiting on Deacon to add some data, Burnell's waiting on U of I ever getting back an article I think I need and the greek heiresses are awaiting DrPda's additions...)
As a side note, I don't do articles like Iri does. I do my bit by bit in mainspace, generally adding one or two bits with the source at a time. Otherwise, her advice is sound. Of course, I don't have to worry about BLP concerns with bishops and stuff either. Ealdgyth - Talk 20:46, 22 July 2009 (UTC)
I prefer to build articles in full public view as well. I only use my sandbox to get enough material together so that the article won't be immediately flagged for deletion when it hits the mainspace. --Malleus Fatuorum 20:52, 22 July 2009 (UTC)
You know, I have never had an article I've started tagged for deletion. Even right after I start them, it's never happened. And that's after almost 600 non-redirect pages started. Ealdgyth - Talk 21:10, 22 July 2009 (UTC)
You don't write pieces like Biscuits and human sexuality, though. I still maintain that that illustration is the single greatest illustration Wikipedia ever had. – iridescent 21:17, 22 July 2009 (UTC)
I forgive you Moni, for you know not what you say. :-) I don't "cherish" it, I simply accept the influence that it has. Already there are moves (which I have resisted) to alter the GA criteria to make alt text mandatory, just because FA now does. --Malleus Fatuorum 20:47, 22 July 2009 (UTC)
Ched doesn't know probably that I'm full of shit half the time I post, but y'all do. I prefer to construct in my sandbox, as a control freak who has to let it go when it's all ready. I'd rather save my energies for the upcoming battle over what I've constructed rather than split my energies potentially fighting with other editors who can't see my entire vision while building the article. --Moni3 (talk) 20:56, 22 July 2009 (UTC)
My solution to that problem is to only write about things that other people don't remotely care about (Spoo,, or things that are pending deletion anyways (Murder of Robert Eric Wone, Battle of the Line). Jclemens (talk) 20:58, 22 July 2009 (UTC)
Does "Charles James Fèret, founding editor of the Fulham Chronicle and author of the three volume Fulham Old and New" meet those criteria? What really surprises me here is that someone managed to get a full-length biography of the man published. He may undoubtedly meet Wikipedia's standards of notability (besides, anyone who tries to AFD a biography of an architectural historian will likely spend the next three months being re-educated by Giano, Joopers and Peter Damian), but I'm not at all convinced he meets Real Life's notability standards. – iridescent 21:14, 22 July 2009 (UTC)

A bold proposal

In an attempt to turn a divisive RfC into something productive I have created a new page. I hope you will come and do what you can to help make it work: Wikipedia: Areas for Reform Slrubenstein | Talk 16:17, 22 July 2009 (UTC)

Meh. I've said my piece and anyone who wants, feel free to cut-and-paste it across. This whole ACPDAEERFC/CDR three-ring circus is turning into way too much of a time sink; this is a hobby, not a job, and I've better things to do with my spare time than engage in endless circular arguments. Everything I have to say on the merits of change has already been said a couple of threads up. – iridescent 16:22, 22 July 2009 (UTC)

A question about controversy

Would you be the best person to ask when thinking about diving into the controversial issue of MJ? Simply south (talk) 21:56, 25 July 2009 (UTC)

With Realist gone, the best one to talk to would be Pyrrhus16. – iridescent 08:02, 26 July 2009 (UTC)

AN/I on Sfan00_IMG / ShakespeareFan00

Umm... thanks, I guess... for pointing people to the 1st of the three URLs that I pointed everyone to in opening the AN/I thread. Because they might have missed it... the first time? :) Watching. NRN. UPDATE: Oh, I see now, sort of; I further clarified things. --Elvey (talk) 10:38, 28 July 2009 (UTC)


Thank you. Lara 15:56, 29 July 2009 (UTC)

Interesting list of names in that oppose section… I can't understand for the life of me just why anyone would want checkuser/oversight powers – seems to me that all it means is doing endless mindnumbing technical fiddling whilst being accused of abuse by every crank around – but as far as I can see you and J.delanoy were the only ones who actually give any "why I think it would be a net benefit for me to have this" explanation (see my "support the status quo unless someone explains why change would be an improvement" argument) as opposed to reasoning that boils down to "I think it sounds cool" or "it would help me level up". It's a shame they're not running these elections RFA style and making every support and oppose give a reason – watching them try to rationalize "I read on Encyclopedia Dramatica that she's in the Klan", "She once told me to fuck off", and "I think the_undertow is an asshole but he's not running, so opposing her is the closest I can get" would be epic to watch. – iridescent 16:10, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
I know! That's what I've been saying. I don't like this format where they don't give reasons. And I've asked a couple. One hasn't responded to the email yet, and Prodego said "I don't have to say." Regardless, this is no fun. I wanted to see reasons! That said, my reason for requesting it is because I'm burning out of the BLP stuff and wanted a new way to help in that area. However, as it's a boring, thankless, unpaid job and a good half of the community doesn't appreciate it, I think I'll let it go for a while and go back to content work.
No worries, though. Looks like my prize WP possession is going to be on the main page the day my OS fail is announced. My birthday is the next day, and it's looking to be the best birthday I've ever had, considering the day I've got planned. There's really no reason for me to care about what's happening with this election as part of the big picture. Lara 16:39, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
We'll recruit you to the dark side yet… Anyway, don't worry about CU/OS – I don't think it's pushing WP:ABF too far to assume that "we have not yet decided how many candidates will be elected" translated as "the number of candidates elected will be Lara's final position minus one". (Otherwise known as the "Giano's arbcom candidacy" method of running an election.) BTW, if you get MJK on the main page on August 15 you get a bonus point in the MMORPG for annoying Raul, who I assume had the day earmarked for Surrender of Japan. (That can run just as well on September 2, though, so everyone's happy.) – iridescent 16:53, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
ROFL. Ya, well. To your points. I joined the dark side once before. I think I prefer to hold on to the extra bits until they're pried from my cold, dead hands this time. But who knows, I am female and prone to change my mind often. As far as AC's position, I think I'd get oversight if it were still an appointed position and not an elected one. People can question my integrity and my trustworthiness, but they can't evidence that I lack either. My moral and ethical standards may be different than others, but I still hold true to them. And good info on the TFA date. :) Lara 16:59, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
Nah, you'd have less chance if it was still an appointed position – there's one member of Arbcom whom I'm sure would do anything necessary to get you vetoed regardless of which system was being used. Tell me I'm wrong. – iridescent 17:13, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
I think an attempt would be made, but I don't think that attempt would see success. Lara 18:02, 29 July 2009 (UTC)

JP Travel and general notability of smaller bus operators

Hello, there is a discussion at Talk:JP Travel which you may be interested in regarding notability of smaller bus operators. (This is a copy and paste message, I have included you in this as you make bus related contributions in the past) Jeni (talk) 18:42, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

Malleus, Majorly, Nev - over to you. I wouldn't know the relative significance of Manchester's bus operators if one of the things ran me over. – iridescent 18:45, 30 July 2009 (UTC)
What's a "bus"? --Malleus Fatuorum 18:47, 30 July 2009 (UTC)
Big box full of staring-eyed people who smell funny. Imagine this room, only with wheels. – iridescent 18:54, 30 July 2009 (UTC)
What was that about facebook for ugly people? --Closedmouth (talk) 06:03, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
I let you know as I have spotted you on London Transport related articles, and as such your opinion into my proposal would be most welcome (regarding smaller operators in general, not just JP Travel. Thanks :) Jeni (talk) 18:55, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

AWB quirk

I understand why AWB removed the double "the", but it also removed two sources cited at specific sentences (see here). Have you seen this before? Alansohn (talk) 17:16, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

That's not a bug; it's not removed the reference, just put the pair of references in the correct order. (Search for "37%" in the previous version and you'll see - the references in that version are listed as [5][1], not [1][5].) – iridescent 17:20, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
That's what I get for looking at the preview of the diff, not the actual diff. Sorry to bother you for my error. Alansohn (talk) 18:18, 31 July 2009 (UTC)


Looking at my watchlist, I wonder if you are just using AWB on every contrib I've ever made. :) Ottava Rima (talk) 20:14, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

I noticed quite a few on my watchlist as well, but I'm always happy when someone turns up to help. --Malleus Fatuorum 20:32, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
(ec, re Ottava but it applies just as much to Malleus) Temporarily reviving my old habit of setting a spellcheck running on a list of articles running in the background (you'd be surprised how many of even our best articles contain at least one howler of a typo). It takes almost no time - you just leave it running in the background and periodically look to see what it's found, and approve/reject AWB's sugestions as appropriate. (The idea came from, of all people, Kelly Martin.) Because the rather complicated automated process I use to select which articles to check includes everything in these categories, plus inter alia everything ever mentioned on this talkpage, it's going to suck up a lot of Johnson and co. A lot of Ealdgyth's bishops tend to wind up on the list for the same reason. I actually haven't edited many pages of yours (81 shared pages in our entire histories) - compare that with the 249 pages I share with DavidCane, 417 pages with Malleus, 550 pages with SlimVirgin (!), or the eye-watering 11,734 pages with J.delanoy. (If you really want to freak someone out, the AWB software includes an "all pages ever edited by this user" feature - a minor edit to each of them, and you can make most people's watchlists suddenly resemble a stock ticker.) – iridescent 20:35, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
I used to be able to run AWB myself, but last time I tried it refused to load. I expect I've been blacklisted or something. :-) --Malleus Fatuorum 20:58, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
You're on the approved list (I know your opinion of permissions, but there are good reasons for Huggle and AWB to vet their users) so it should work for you. They block the older versions if they're found to be buggy, so you sometimes need to re-download the software. – iridescent 21:50, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
81 of about 200 pages that I edit - that is a lot to me. :) Most of the fixes that AWB is making deal with duplications of words (I probably can't see them because of the edges of a page causing the redundancies to vanish). Ottava Rima (talk) 22:13, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
81 of 503, if you want to be pedantic...
I can throw the whole lot in, if you really want your watchlist to look like a pipe roll. – iridescent 22:21, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
(adding) Youthanasia by Megadeth, Ottava? Really? – iridescent 22:23, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
Some of them were cleaning up vandalism or the such. Hence, why I don't consider them. Looking at this list, there are many that I provided some serious content contribs and never listed them on my user page. I should probably re-evaluate my inclusion methods to make myself seem better. Ottava Rima (talk) 22:55, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
I certainly don't mind someone spell checking for me! I know I spell badly. Thanks, and feel free to include all my articles... Ealdgyth - Talk 21:24, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
I'll add you to the list. I only do this every few months, as you have to be in just the right mind-numbing mood. I'd recommend running AWB over your watchlist to anyone - it's amazing how many glaring typos it spots, even in articles that have been copyedited half a dozen times (case in point). – iridescent 21:50, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
I would love an AWB for dummies book. It's like EMACS, really. It's got too many options for the novice to remain un-overwhelmed. I've managed to do a few things with it, but I know I could do so much more if I knew what I was doing, a la Ralph Hinkley. Jclemens (talk) 22:03, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
Go to the manual, read "Make list", "Options" and "Start". Everything else is irrelevant, unless you're trying to do something fancy like automated article assessment. – iridescent 22:07, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

The Metropolitan - Issue 16

--DavidCane (talk) 00:49, 1 August 2009 (UTC)

22 June 1897

Nuvola apps edu languages.svg
Hello, Iridescent. You have new messages at talk:22_June_1897.
You can remove this notice at any time by removing the {{Talkback}} or {{Tb}} template.
Yogesh Khandke (talk) 19:19, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
Replied there. – iridescent 19:32, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
Nuvola apps edu languages.svg
Hello, Iridescent. You have new messages at talk:22_June_1897.
You can remove this notice at any time by removing the {{Talkback}} or {{Tb}} template.
Yogesh Khandke (talk) 19:40, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
Replied to you (and Malleus) there. Incidentally, you don't need to leave further talkback templates; once I'm involved in a discussion, I'll have the discussion watchlisted until it ends. – iridescent 19:48, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

Docklands Light Railway rolling stock

Do you want to collaborate with me on this article. Please leave a talkback on my talkpage when your reply. --Tyw7  (Talk • Contributions) 04:42, 5 August 2009 (UTC)

I don't really know much about the DLR (other than the building of the North London Line, Blackwall and Millwall railways on whose former trackbeds it runs), or rolling stock in general - my interest in transport relates to the 1850-1950 engineering projects that created the road and rail networks, not to the individual trains. You're better off asking at WP:LT and WP:UKRAIL - there's bound to be someone with an interest. – iridescent 11:16, 5 August 2009 (UTC)

You resigned your adminship? Sweet!

You were always incredibly irrelevant and illogical. I do appreciate you not being an outright jerk to me when I replied to complain about the ridiculous ban that took place against me concerning Michael Jackson's talk page.

However, your comments were (as usual) irrelevant and didn't address the issue about users outright deleting others' content on an article talk page... so I didn't respond. You address whatever you want to and leave the issue at hand dangling. Thanks for resigning. Wikipedia is better for it. Shiggity (talk) 00:48, 6 August 2009 (UTC)

You're entitled to your opinion I suppose, however stupid and vindictive it may be. --Malleus Fatuorum 00:52, 6 August 2009 (UTC)
I like how Iridescent could just mosey over to WP:BN whenever s/he feels like it and get the bit back... J.delanoygabsadds 00:53, 6 August 2009 (UTC)
I like how Iridescent could just ask any of a number of other admin TPS'ers to handle the 'bit work without needing to ask for the bit back. Jclemens (talk) 01:00, 6 August 2009 (UTC)
As are you, however uninformed and biased you are. Shiggity (talk) 00:55, 6 August 2009 (UTC)
I don't know why you're bothering with this. You must surely know how little anyone cares for your opinion. --Malleus Fatuorum 01:06, 6 August 2009 (UTC)
Just because a user talk page is often filled with compliments from someone's friends doesn't mean the user hasn't abused other Wikipedians in the past, and it doesn't mean people shouldn't be aware of dissent people have against a particular user. I expected that I would get attacked by Iridescent's friends, like you, who doesn't even bother to look into the reason I have a complaint to begin with, but it won't stop me from letting this user know how I felt about her abuse of power, the illogical way she handled the situation, and if others look at her talk page history, hopefully they won't feel bad about the abuse they suffered when she was an admin, knowing that others feel the same way. Those reasons are why I'm "bothering with this." I'm not going to refrain from being honest just because it's not what everyone wants to hear. Shiggity (talk) 01:24, 6 August 2009 (UTC)
I can hardly be called one of Iridescent's friends, but I also fail to see the point in this thread, I'm afraid. Juliancolton (talk) 02:50, 6 August 2009 (UTC)
While there are admins prone to abuse who post on this page, the owner of said page is not amongst their number. → ROUX  03:15, 6 August 2009 (UTC)
Found this looking at your contribs - your admin beef is with me, since I was the acting administrator in this case - iridescent was just being an editor. I've invited you to take this up on my talkpage following your comments to my admin review, and I suggest to everybody that this thread can usefully be allowed to die Fritzpoll (talk) 08:55, 6 August 2009 (UTC)

Do you ever copyedit "current events"?

A recent event that is local to me. 2009 Collier Township PA. Shooting. Didn't know if you'd be willing to do another "scrub and clean"? Would it hold any extra weight if I said "Please"? ;-) ... hope all is well with you. — Ched :  ?  11:21, 5 August 2009 (UTC)

There's no point doing any kind of copyediting on something like that at this stage, as it will change beyond recognition very quickly. Personally, I'm very uncomfortable with our having "current event" articles; not only is Wikipedia not a news source, but unless it leads to a change in the law, a national debate etc or involves a significant public figure, I question the notability of any given murder - unfortunately, things like this happen all the time, and there's no way of knowing at present if this is going to be one of those like Columbine or Dunblane which is remembered by the broader public once the initial coverage has died down. While I certainly won't nominate it myself, don't be surprised if it gets AFD'd (or moved to Wikinews) as soon as anyone from New Pages Patrol spots it. The guidelines are at Wikipedia:Notability (criminal acts) (its talkpage is well worth reading). – iridescent 11:34, 5 August 2009 (UTC)
I appreciate you taking the time to respond. If it gets sent up for AfD, it's not even anything I'll moan and groan about. At this point, I figure it was at least an exercise in research, referencing, and writing. The more practice I get, the better writer I'll become. (hopefully). I always wondered about #NOTNEWS and "In the news" section on the main page .. lol. Maybe I'll drop by Fritzpoll's talk page, and see what he/she has to say. I appreciate your time - have a great day/afternoon/evening ... — Ched :  ?  11:41, 5 August 2009 (UTC)
My personal opinion is that In The News and DYK should both be removed from the mainpage and replaced (Good Article of the day? Featured List of the day? Interesting Fact of the day? A box explaining what Wikipedia actually is?) - they both highlight what Wikipedia is worst at (unstable articles prone to edit wars, and newly created stubs, respectively). But getting rid of them would step on too many toes - they're the easiest way to ascend the Wikipedia high-score table. (Oh, there are valid arguments to keep them - they provide a route for people, not confident enough to write a featured article or take a featured picture, to see their work on the main page - but I think their continued presence fuels the "Wikipedia are a bunch of amateurs" perception.) Plus, I don't want to get all "there were giants in those days", but when the current Main Page was designed, there were still significant gaps so the new articles used to feed DYK were generally more interesting. – iridescent 11:55, 5 August 2009 (UTC)
A section of the main page for interesting facts or snippets from articles passing GA and FA sounds like an intriguing idea. I think the DYK hooks are fun, but I see your point. ChildofMidnight (talk) 23:49, 5 August 2009 (UTC)
I think DYK would be a lot more useful if there was a "So what? Who really cares?" test, where at least one other user besides the nom had to approve the worthiness (and not simply compliance to standards) of a hook. Jclemens (talk) 01:02, 6 August 2009 (UTC)
I think it should be limited to "interesting to people other than the author", stripped of any "newly created" requirement and have a "not previously appeared" requirement instead, and kept on the page for the full 24h instead of the brief 4-hour (or whatever it is) time-slices. I can't imagine it's at all unusual for a DYK fact to appear on the front page at precisely the time the people in its hometown - who might be most interested in it - are fast asleep. – iridescent 20:28, 8 August 2009 (UTC)

Quoted you

Just as a heads-up, I quoted you (rather prominently) here. Cheers. --MZMcBride (talk) 06:44, 8 August 2009 (UTC)

Wow, I'm famous! Do you think Karanacs is pleased or insulted that one throwaway bitchy comment is the only thing anyone ever remembers about her RFA? (The only successful RFA nomination I've ever made, incidentally.) – iridescent 15:41, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
That's a wonderful quote. Thank you for providing the original context. Best regards. Plastikspork (talk) 16:25, 8 August 2009 (UTC)


Why did you resign your adminship? If there is a thread where this is already discussed a link would be fine, but I didn't see one. ChildofMidnight (talk) 20:00, 1 August 2009 (UTC)

No interesting story I'm afraid. – iridescent 20:15, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
Is it official? You just resigned the bit? To what end? ChildofMidnight (talk) 20:42, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
Not everything here has to have an "end" - despite what people say (and I've been guilty of it myself as it's such a comfortable analogy), Wikipedia isn't an MMORPG or a zero-sum game. I've spent most of the last year or so arguing for temporary enforced removal of rights (at every level on the pyramid, from admin up to Jimbo) - that is, forcing people to periodically go back to the bottom, at least temporarily. I think this would break up the cliques of "power users" that tend to form, and also alleviate the perception of cabalism and end the detachment between those in control and those who write the bulk of the content, that's threatening the stability of the site. I can hardly refuse to do myself what I'm urging others to do. This isn't an "I can't be tainted with the filth of power" stance; if there's a valid reason why I'd need admin powers for a particular reason (if I accidentally created a lot of articles that needed to be deleted, needed to perform a complicated history merge that it would take too long to explain to someone else, came across a huge pile of problematic pages that all needed speedy-deleting, etc) I'd temporarily have it re-enabled; however, I don't think that's likely. You can read some rather bad-tempered thoughts of mine on the matter here, or running commentary from the BADSITES peanut gallery here. – iridescent 20:28, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

Interesting. You could go the Lessheardvanu (sp?) route and go through a new RfA, but I know some editors thought that process was a bit disruptive. Thanks for the reply and the links. I'm going to have a look. I came across this article Spofforth Castle on new page patrol and thought it might be of interest to you. ChildofMidnight (talk) 21:57, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

FYI, some days I'm tempted to join you, Iridescent. Jclemens (talk) 23:28, 9 August 2009 (UTC)
Haven't missed it yet. Anything I see that needs deleting, I just tag and someone else has to do the hard work; any arguments pass me by unscathed; the volume of cranks and loons turning up on my talkpage has dropped to a fraction of what it used to be. – iridescent 00:03, 10 August 2009 (UTC)
Do you miss the cranks and loons? I'll make an effort to post more here in that case. --Moni3 (talk) 00:06, 10 August 2009 (UTC)
I've been off nearly a year (though my circumstances were unfortunately different). I haven't missed it that much, but of course, adminship is useful. I would definitely prefer to have adminship than not have it - it's simple to just avoid using any tools if that causes trouble. Majorly talk 00:10, 10 August 2009 (UTC)
I could happily live without them. I don't mind when they have something interesting to say - or even when they're shouting at me for something a sane person could consider a valid reason - but things like this guy (I'm pretty confident in that "guy" guess) were more the usual standard. (FWIW, this was - in full - the entire extent of my "abuse" in that particular case; the warning was prompted by his adding this to Talk:Michael Jackson. Eight times.) – iridescent 00:15, 10 August 2009 (UTC)
I declare the Earth is flat, Elvis is still alive and Wikipedia is the hap, hap, happiest place to be! Thought I'd boost the cranks/loons post volume for you. :) Shinerunner (talk) 00:19, 10 August 2009 (UTC)
Not quite right - you forgot the rambling threat, random capitalization and references to the gay/communist/extreme-right-wing cabal who rule Wikipedia. Not to mention the threat to report me to Jimmy Wales and/or the crude attempt to hit on me. – iridescent 00:23, 10 August 2009 (UTC)
Sorry, I'm still a novice at being a loon/crank. I'll check the self help section at the bookstore and practice at RfA and ANI more. Are you busy tonight by the way? (Am I catching on?) :) Shinerunner (talk) 00:29, 10 August 2009 (UTC)

Stealing actors

Well, if the London WP wants to steal Garrick, might I suggest taking the lovely Sarah Siddons too? :) Ottava Rima (talk) 18:49, 10 August 2009 (UTC)

Sure, we'll have her. She must have slipped through the cracks - the bot was set up to tag these as WP:LT and these as WP:LONDON unless they also fell under WPLT. And then we have the joy of manually assessing them all for importance. Because she's not in any London categories, she's escaped the net - if you see any others, please do put {{WPLONDON}} on the appropriate talkpages.
Don't think you can say we stole Garrick - even if his theatre career had never happened, he'd still warrant a mention as one of the bizarre mix of commissioners who oversaw the building of Richmond Bridge. – iridescent 19:00, 10 August 2009 (UTC)
I use the word "steal" affectionately. :) Ottava Rima (talk) 19:10, 10 August 2009 (UTC)
I went ahead and gave Eliot to London. He did serve in the watch during the war, after all. :) Ottava Rima (talk) 19:12, 10 August 2009 (UTC)
Some of the dross that's being dredged up is astounding. I've made a conscious decision not to AFD anything on this run (although I have had a couple of lapses), but the sheer crapness of some of the articles is astounding. Anyone care to explain how the Sum Of All Human Knowledge is enhanced by Stockwell Skatepark or Gecko (theatre company)? – iridescent 19:14, 10 August 2009 (UTC)
Eliot would get nabbed when I finally get round to the article-hell that is London Bridge, anyway - there's a quote-box already being warmed up for that quote from The Waste Land. – iridescent 19:16, 10 August 2009 (UTC)
Don't blame me. I do my part for King and Country by putting up pages on important aspects of the British poetic heritage that are neglected by the skatepark people. :) Ottava Rima (talk) 19:26, 10 August 2009 (UTC)
I'm sure that when Johnson is long-forgotten, Mandela Way T-34 Tank and Serafin (band) will live on. – iridescent 19:31, 10 August 2009 (UTC)
Well, I'm trying to make sure that he is never forgotten. By the way, in terms of authors that are written on in the English canon, it goes - Shakespeare, Joyce, Milton, and Johnson. I should be able to finish Milton soon. Ottava Rima (talk) 20:00, 10 August 2009 (UTC)
I think you forgot J.K. Rowling... (Joyce ahead of Dickens and Defoe? Really?) If you're in a 17th-century mood, you can always take a stab at this embarrassment - we have no excuse there, as its sister article is fairly good (although I'm not convinced it deserves its FA rating). – iridescent 20:05, 10 August 2009 (UTC)
There is literally a new article or work written on Hamlet per day. There is nothing written on Rowling. Dickens has gone out of favor in criticism, but novels as a whole rarely attracted that much attention. For the amount of works he has that are really good, he is practically ignored. However, he is intellectually demanding, so new kids getting into literary criticism ignore him for easy (and mindless) stuff such as speculating on sexism or saying someone is protomarxist. Ottava Rima (talk) 21:46, 10 August 2009 (UTC)
Ottava Rima, you're ever so slightly wrong about "nothing written on Rowling". OTOH I liked "new kids getting into literary criticism ignore him [Dickens] for easy (and mindless) stuff such as speculating on sexism or saying someone is protomarxist". --Philcha (talk) 14:27, 11 August 2009 (UTC)
Indeed - my mention of Rowling wasn't a bit of there-were-giants-in-those-days complaints about the lack of standards. She's probably the single most analysed author currently alive. I suspect a significant part of the current high level of interest in Milton is a direct consequence of His Dark Materials, too - aside from Paradise Lost/Regained and maybe Areopagitica, I'd challenge most people other than experts on the period to name another of his works, let alone actually to have read them. (Oh, and surely Dickens is your archetypal protomarxist?) – iridescent 14:35, 11 August 2009 (UTC)
You forget the sonnets, which I think are pretty familiar. At least, I have never gotten them out of my head. FWIW,I am unable to tolerate Dickens. I hope he stays out of fashion. DGG ( talk ) 23:37, 11 August 2009 (UTC) DGG ( talk ) 23:37, 11 August 2009 (UTC)
You're a librarian, you don't count as "most people" AdiumEmoticonset.png  – iridescent 21:24, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

but I like speaking in multipe thes!

OMG! Evil former admin for taking away my constitutional "the the" right :p In seriousness, where is the order for the bottom bits, i.e. stubs, cats, etc. ? I'd love to do it right in the first place. Thanks! StarM 05:06, 8 August 2009 (UTC)

It's at Wikipedia:Layout#Standard appendices and descriptions. The "official" correct order for the 'end bits' is:
  1. "Works" or "Publications" or "Bibliography" (this means works by the subject of the article, not works about the subject of the article, which are covered by "further reading")
  2. "See also"
  3. "Notes" and "References"
  4. "Further reading"
  5. "External links"
  6. Succession boxes and navigational templates (footer navboxes)
  7. Categories
  8. Stub templates (the first stub template should be preceded by two blank lines)
  9. Interlanguage links
The only bit that's really important is that "external links" should always be the last piece of text (other than navigation boxes etc). – iridescent 15:36, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
Thanks, had a feeling it was hiding somewhere. Not that I'm doing much of anything these days :) StarM 18:13, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
I think you and I are among the generation that's gone from being "hope of the future" to "clapped out and irrelevant". Think of us as the hippies of Wikipedia. FWIW, I just AFD'd an article by Jimbo and Larry. Given what happened last time someone nominated one, if I suddenly vanish, then assume I'm buried in the concrete of the Information Superhighway. – iridescent 18:23, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
There's an interesting comment on notability in that article about Jimbo's Mzoli stub (does he ever write anything except uncited single sentence stubs?); "would the world [encyclopedia] be better off without it [the Mzoli article]?" To turn that on its head, perhaps the only real criterion for any article ought to be "would the encyclopedia be better with it than without it"? Which arguably isn't so much to do with the subject but with what's in the article. Clearly Jimbo's stubs add nothing of value, for instance, so whatever their subject they can "safely" be deleted. --Malleus Fatuorum 20:00, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
That's basically the inclusionist/deletionist argument in a nutshell. Should we keep bad things in the hope that their existence prompts people to improve them, or delete them because they lower the overall average standard? (In the case of Mzoli's, I'd have taken the third route of merging it to List of major restaurants in Cape Town.) – iridescent 20:18, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
Wow, I think the most interesting thing about the Mzoli's debacle is that the LA Times even gave a rats ass. I try to stay involved because there are things I do care about, i.e. the Museums project, but when doing *anything* involves endless back and forth and minutiae nonsense, it loses the fun. I think it's part of why I've always detested AN/ANI etc. Exemplifies the worst of the site and the shit that tends to burn people out. I had a look see at AfD the other day and found my sentiment could be summed up as "who really gives a fuck about any of these?" and closed the tab. You raise a good point about the "hippies", I can see that. StarM 23:25, 9 August 2009 (UTC)
The LA Times was only the tip of the iceberg there. Mzoli's was a Major International Incident - it made the papers in Australia, England, Germany, France, as well as an awesomely pompous "analysis" by Nicholson Baker in the New York Review of Books.

Bizarrely, the BBC recently invited me to appear in a documentary about Wikipedia alongside Jimmy Wales. The mind boggles. 75% of me wants to run a mile, and 25% thinks it could actually be interesting. – iridescent 23:36, 9 August 2009 (UTC)

(outdent for clarity), wow, nice to be asked. I think I'd be similarly divided on what to do. Amazes me why so many people have an interest in what happens here - and then I wonder why we as a whole get hung up on some of this insanity as well. StarM 00:35, 11 August 2009 (UTC)

I was considering suggesting Malleus - I think his thoughts on Wikipedia would actually be far more interesting to the general public than mine, particularly when juxtaposed with Jimbo's. Someone who understands the strengths of Wikipedia but isn't afraid to point out the problems hiding under the rug would be more interesting to the typical non-nerd viewer than the usual "David Gerard/Andrew Lih says Wikipedia's great / Daniel Brandt/Greg Kohs says Wikipedia's evil" standard of media discussion of Wikipedia. (Normally, my first thought for something like this would be Lara, but being the BBC I assume they want someone based in Britain.) – iridescent 10:06, 11 August 2009 (UTC)
I think Malleus' imput would be interesting, while I don't always agree with him, what he says makes sense and he can back it up with examples. I think he has some very good ideas that could improve the site-if anyone else was interested in anything byt creating and stirring drama. Same for Majorly, not sure where he's located. Even some of the total cranks I've run across here, or the ones who have gone utterly mad (Ecoleetage) have helped shape the project, but most wouldn't be great on a panel, I don't think. Always wonder if the well written ones are as well spoken. StarM 01:22, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
Curiously, Majorly lives just a few miles away from me. There must be something in the water "oop north". :-) --Malleus Fatuorum 02:21, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
Wikipedia's coverage of Manchester is notably better than comparable cities like Birmingham or Glasgow. My theory would be that the presence of UMIST gave Manchester a head start in the early days when it came to people with the perfect combination of tech-savvy, articulate, knowledgeable and socially inept enough to have large amounts of time to dedicate to what was a poor-quality experimental website but socially aware enough to play the strange behind-the-scenes backstabbing game that was early Wiki-politics; once these people had built a "hard core" of articles, people looking up their hometown later on weren't put off Wikipedia by the poor quality of what's generally the first Wikipedia article people see. The US has a similar hotspot in Chicago, built up by TonyTheTiger and Kelly Martin. – iridescent 19:09, 13 August 2009 (UTC)

Pre-FAC check..

Can you do me a major favor? Chicado V, which is on a race mare, is my next planned article for FAC, but I'd greatly appreciate someone checking it over for intelligability for non-horsepeople. I'd be very grateful if you could. Thanks! (And of course, any talk-page stalkers out there are welcome also!) Ealdgyth - Talk 00:39, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

You may be better off having a city-boy like Malleus look at it (I can see from the history that he's already poking and prodding it) - I grew up in a racing town so horsey jargon makes more sense to me than to most. Some things I see on a read through are:
  • What were the origins of her name? Was "V" part of her name (i.e. pronounced "Chicado Vee"), or were there Chicados I, II III and IV?
  • My guess (and it's a pretty informed one, but can't be backed by published sources) is that the V is for Vessels. Generally, folks pronounce it "Vee" but again, this is not something published. Ealdgyth - Talk 14:34, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
  • The three-way conversion of "15 hands (60 inches (150 cm))" results in an ugly double-bracket - would "15 hands (60 in/150cm)" work?
  • Yeah, it's ugly, but it's using the convert template, which some folks feel is needed. Ealdgyth - Talk 21:52, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
  • I remember this came up with Banker horse, which was changed to use the {{hands}} template, which works pretty well I think. I've made that change. --Malleus Fatuorum 23:18, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Was she born and raised in Los Alamitos, or was that just where Vessels happened to be from?
  • AQHA records only record where the owner's official residence is. Vessels moved his farm around a lot, so where exactly she was raised is unclear. Ealdgyth - Talk 14:34, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Appreciate there may not be sources for this - but if she had defective legs, didn't run well in training and consistently hung behind the other horses in group training runs, do we know why Vessels persisted with her? Real life doesn't usually imitate Mickey Mouse and His Horse Tanglefoot, and birth defect+bad attitude sounds like it would normally mark a horse for the glue factory;
  • She was a mare, and well bred. The legs issue isn't a biggie, she remained mostly sound. Most mares don't race a lot, if they race at all. She did manage to win, something that not all broodmares do. Ealdgyth - Talk 14:34, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Really obvious point, but given that the only photo is b&w, you really need to describe what she looked like. (The only description is the "brown" in the infobox, which for a horse doesn't really narrow things down.) Did the big ears persist into adulthood? (They don't look particularly unusual in the photo.);
  • Again, we don't know about the ears, the sources don't cover this much. Ealdgyth - Talk 14:34, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
  • I don't have any other sources that describe her other than brown. From the pic, I can see she had a star-stripe-snip on her face and no leg markings, but is that OR to do that by just looking at the photo and giving my expert opinion? Ealdgyth - Talk 21:52, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
  • "Chicado V's first foal was Triple Chick by Three Bars" is confusing - was the foal called "Triple Chick by Three Bars", or was the foal called Triple Chick, sired by Three Bars?
  • Is "War Chic" correct, or should it be "War Chick", given that all the other foals appear to be called "Chick"?
  • Double checked, and yes, indeed it is War Chic. Ealdgyth - Talk 21:52, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Ought "Quarter Horse" to be capitalized throughout?
  • This isn't a fault per se but is there any way to fluff up the legacy section? I appreciate there's probably not much to say - the legacy of a horse is by definition going to be at most "more horses" - but the current two-sentence section looks a little forlorn. Any paintings of her hanging anywhere, heart-warming stories of her descendants winning the race named after her, etc? As you probably know, I'm a great fan of adding tangential facts to articles to anchor them both in history and to non-specialist's experiences.
  • I've basically mined the sources that are published dry. There are probably some unpublished letters in archives and stuff, but this is going to be everything published, most likely. There might be something in some obscure newsletter somewhere, but I've covered the main sources of information. Ealdgyth - Talk 14:34, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
Other than the above, all minor, it looks pretty good in that it says everything that needs to be said. The best people to look over it may be the hurricane people, who are used to the "long series on very similar topics" type of articles. – iridescent 13:51, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
Thanks much! The little bits above I'll get to today. Ealdgyth - Talk 14:34, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
I can't see any real faults. Personally, I can't see anything wrong with using a photograph as a source for what the subject looks like - it's no more OR than writing alt-text, or using a published map as a source for the length of a road (which certainly creeps through all the time at FAC without anyone objecting). If I were being very cynical, I'd suggest using {{cite book}} pointed at the page of the book in which the photo appears, which has the exact same meaning as citing the photo itself but looks less OR-ish. Then again, I don't think my opinions at or about FAC are very welcome at the moment. – iridescent 22:08, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
 ??? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 23:21, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
Oh, don't worry, not you... I took FAC off my watchlist when one of the MOS editwarriors called me a "lazy moron" for daring to disagree with them, as if I got sucked in there's too much risk of saying something I'd regret. I don't believe in WP:CIV, and certainly wouldn't complain about them - but it makes no difference to the quality of an article whether or not it has a star in the corner, and there are more useful things I could be doing with my time than reading 300kb of rants from assorted obsessives ranting back and forth at each other about the technicalities of syntax formatting. When the school holidays are over and they all go away again I might come back. – iridescent 23:35, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
FYI, I mostly ignore that as well :) If anything is important enough to need fi-in' (damn keyboard is stuck), I just fi it myself. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 23:43, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Might as well add my question here. There's a quote saying "was gentle, real gentle—in everything. She was born broke(n)." Is that closing "(n)" actually in the source, or is it added to make sense of what was said? If the latter, then it ought to to "broke[n]". --Malleus Fatuorum 23:25, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
  • I thought if I tried "was gentle, real gentle—in everything. She was born broke[n]" it'd format weird, but apparantly not. Ealdgyth - Talk 23:36, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
  • "Chicado V foaled, or was born, in 1950." That makes it look like "foaling" is an alternative to being born, which obviously isn't what you mean to say. I hesitate to say more, because I know that you've had a to-and-fro with other reviewers about how to introduce technical terms. Personally I'd be inclined to say something like "was born (foaled) ...", or even "foaled (was born) ..." but as Iridescent says, I'm a city boy, so what do I know about horses. --Malleus Fatuorum 23:39, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Here, we run into a pet peeve. I dislike parentheticals like that in formal writing. I'd eliminate the use of ()'s if I could. Ealdgyth - Talk 23:36, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
  • I'm not all that comfortable with it either, but to say "x, or y," implies that they're alternatives. --Malleus Fatuorum 23:39, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
  • (ec) Would you be happier with "was born—foaled—in 1950"? --Malleus Fatuorum 23:42, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
  • I've thrown a reword up in the lead, and since I define it in the lead, have wiped the definition in the body. Check it for clarity/ce? Ealdgyth - Talk 23:41, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Oohh, sorry, I don't like that at all. The lead needs to be accessible to horsey idiots like me, and I don't much care much what "horseman" call being born; I call it being born. --Malleus Fatuorum 23:46, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
  • then switch it to your suggestion (grins). Ealdgyth - Talk 23:50, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Sorry Ealdgyth, you're probably just getting the backlash of what I've had to suffer at this FAC, at which I had the exact same objection. I'll make the alteration as per my suggestion, but only on the proviso that if you really don't like it you'll change it back. :-) --Malleus Fatuorum 23:56, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
  • I saw your edit summary, and I'm fine with it. Anything to avoid the evil ()'s. Ealdgyth - Talk 00:31, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Not sure what this means: "... the fastest measure of how fast she was able to run." --Malleus Fatuorum 00:21, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Speed ratings are a rating system that tries to equalize the varying conditions and lengths of races so you can compare race horse performances between differing tracks/conditions/days/decades. The idea is that two horses with the same speed rating are roughly in the same league. AQHA used to use a D-C-B-A-AAA-AAAT (for Top-AAA) but later on switched to a numerical rating. Read the speed rating article for the gist of it. Any other wordings that are accurate are welcomed, this is where I just *know* what a speed rating is and explaining it is beyond me. Ealdgyth - Talk 00:31, 18 August 2009 (UTC)

A215 road

I've just noticed that this seems to be one of yours. It's come up for a GA Sweeps review (along with A1 road shortly), and I've flagged a few little things that really ought to be done to keep its GA status. Expansion of the lead and a few references is about it. --Malleus Fatuorum 18:14, 20 August 2009 (UTC)

That's more than two years old now and ageing badly - it was only taken to GA to prove a point to the "there's nothing interesting to say about this road, why do we have an article on it?" brigade following this AFD, and I don't really know anything about the area or have any particular interest in it. You might want to prod User:DavidCane about it though, as IIRC he lives somewhere round there and may have something to add to it. A1 road (London) ought to survive, though, unless it gets a particularly vindictive reviewer - it's choppy but that's an artefact of it having to mention so many different relatively unimportant sections. – iridescent 18:25, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
I've dropped a note on DavidCane's talk page. The "particularly vindictive reviewer" of A1 road (London) is likely to be me I'm afraid. --Malleus Fatuorum 18:53, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
All sorted now. I expanded the lead myself. --Malleus Fatuorum 02:30, 21 August 2009 (UTC)
Thank you... If you want one to delist, you can start with Central Communications Command, which probably ought to be deleted altogether - nobody's maintained it since it was written, so it's now patchy, outdated and (presumably) no longer accurate. – iridescent 19:01, 21 August 2009 (UTC)
There's something a bit odd about that article. Although it was listed as a GA on 31 May 2007 it doesn't appear on this list of GAs as at 27 August 2007, the list that's presently being swept. --Malleus Fatuorum 19:12, 21 August 2009 (UTC)
It's listed under Metcall - the Met Police changed the name to CCC after the article was written, when it expanded from its original call-centre role into taking over all the command-and-control functions. – iridescent 19:20, 21 August 2009 (UTC)
That explains it. Tell you what, I'll open the review and you can fill in the blanks. :-) --Malleus Fatuorum 20:04, 21 August 2009 (UTC)
Unless someone else wants to take it on, I'd go as far as to quick-fail it and say it ought to be AFD'd - because it operates in ever-more secrecy (while searching the Met Police's website brings up assorted tangential mentions of it, you'll find no official acknowledgement that the place even exists), the sources literally don't exist for changes since 2007 so it's by definition inaccurate and uncompleteable. – iridescent 20:13, 21 August 2009 (UTC)
AfD has become a symptom of what's wrong with wikipedia; I'm struggling even to get a stub on an inconsequential little primary school deleted, so I can only imagine the inclusionist crap that would accompany an AfD of Central Communications Command. Good article it does not appear to be though, so maybe a delisting is in order. --Malleus Fatuorum 21:29, 21 August 2009 (UTC)
Something I've always found very useful in "borderline AFD" cases like that is to ask User:DGG. While I don't always agree with him - I think he's far too willing to keep awful-quality articles on notable subjects, where the best thing to do would IMO be a scorched-earth deletion allowing someone else to start again at the beginning - but if he's unable to give a good reason for keeping an article, you can generally safely assume that none exists. The admins who close AFD know it too, and will weight "delete" votes from DGG far more heavily than either the "keep, clearly exists" brigade or the "I've never heard of it, delete" drive-by taggers. (Much the same principle applies to opposes by Majorly at RFA, or supports from Tony at FAC.) I agree CCC would probably survive AFD, although I don't think it deserves to. – iridescent 21:38, 21 August 2009 (UTC)
As DGG actually opined on the previous nomination and voted to delete, it may be a good idea to contact him this time round. I wouldn't personally class myself as a deletionist, but there is a certain level and it has been crossed here. St Winifred's Roman Catholic Primary School, a school fairly close by, has a clear claim. Lane End does not. Majorly talk 21:49, 21 August 2009 (UTC)
That seems clear to me as well. My view has altered somewhat over recent months, in that I now think that rubbish stubs can actually deter editors from writing decent articles, and I'd dump the lot of them. Agree with you about St Winifred's too, that's real notability. I hadn't realised the school was so close by though. --Malleus Fatuorum 22:12, 21 August 2009 (UTC)
As requested, I'll have a look at the A215. I don't live close so I'm not sure what I'll be able to add or improve.--DavidCane (talk) 04:33, 22 August 2009 (UTC)

Key to sanity?

I think ignoring user talk's aka drama central. I just looked at my watchlist, went blech and unwatched most. Swear all I need is yours and Keeper's for fun and dicussions. Took me two screens of scrolling to get to an article and that was a bot edit. I look at it and wonder what drew me. StarM 02:11, 21 August 2009 (UTC)

I can't remember who the idea came from originally (it's not original to me) but I keep a "hardcore" watchlist which only consists of:
  1. Articles I've made significant changes to;
  2. Articles on subjects I have a genuine interest in;
  3. Places I've recently (like, in the last week) commented, so it's reasonable to temporarily watch for replies;
  4. A couple of projects;
  5. A very few user talk pages (you, Sandy, Malleus, Lara, Keeper, Majorly, Ealdgyth) which between them cover most of the assorted debates and arguments;
  6. Nothing in dramaspace at all except when I have something actually listed at FAC, FLC, GAC etc.
I then have a bloated-monstrosity 6,000+ text file of "other crap" that once every couple of weeks I paste into "edit raw watchlist" to see if there's anything important going on I ought to be aware of.
It works remarkably well. Saying this will probably bring down the Righteous Indignation of Jon Awbrey upon me, but (as long as you learn to ignore the crazies) the best way to find out "things you ought to know" about big-picture changes isn't to wade through interminable debates yourself, but the "view posts since my last visit" button at Wikipedia Review, where true Wikipedia obsessives will thoughtfully filter out any suggestion that's likely to cause a genuine change, or any issue likely to cause a genuine problem, for discussion. – iridescent 18:53, 21 August 2009 (UTC)
Sounds similar to the theory DGG proposed at the one NYC meet-up I made it to where I met him. We had a discussion of the number of pages people were watching, and some were insane. Can't even imagine keeping up with that number on a regular basis unless the person was on here all the time. I need to let go of some articles and just let them go rather than hawk-eyeing changes. User talhks I watch are down to: you, Keeper, J.Delanoy, Tan and DGG for much of the scope that you mention. Have a couple deletion sortings I watch: museums, australia and transportation though I have to really give a damn to bother commenting at AfD these days. I have an idea for an article I want to work on and really think going back to what drew me in the first place, just article writing, might save what's left of my sanity. Don't watch dramaspace at all and never spent much time at WR, but I may try your idea. Happy Friday! StarM 23:31, 21 August 2009 (UTC)
Surprised anyone watches my talk page, nothing interesting happens there. Majorly talk 12:53, 22 August 2009 (UTC)
StarM - Try activating Article Alerts for the areas you're interested in - it's very handy for keeping track of what's going on in particular areas without having to wade through interminable discussions at AFD, FAC, GAN and all the rest of the alphabet soup. See here for what it looks like in action.
Majorly - Yours is quite interesting for the assorted people trying to canvass you, and what they're saying; kind of the same reason I watch Lara's, but with a totally different set of people. – iridescent 19:00, 22 August 2009 (UTC)
She just watches mine to find out what the horse babies have done recently! Ealdgyth - Talk 19:06, 22 August 2009 (UTC)
We haven't actually had a status update on HorseBook for a while – iridescent 19:23, 22 August 2009 (UTC)

(outdent) they are busy shedding their foal coats so they look like shaggy ragamuffins. In other words, they are growing like weeds and while still cute, are about to hit the "teenage ganglies". Weaning isn't far off... Ealdgyth - Talk 19:27, 22 August 2009 (UTC)

My, I must be in full royal bitch mode this morning/afternoon. Ah, well, it's the dealing with images. Eventually Miss Meyers will get reviewed. After all, only two months on the GAN page... Ealdgyth - Talk 20:37, 22 August 2009 (UTC)

Will have to look into article alerts, thanks for that heads up. StarM 02:28, 23 August 2009 (UTC)

List of tablets on the Memorial to Heroic Self Sacrifice

I go to the featured list candidates page to nominate Timeline of the London Underground and what do I find but your nomination for the Memorial to Heroic Self Sacrifice. A very nice article (bit more than a list really) with excellent photos - lots of dramatic drownings, burnings and runnings-over. I've left a couple of comments and given it my support. --DavidCane (talk) 04:16, 22 August 2009 (UTC)

It's in that weird borderland between "list" and "article", but I think the "list" side dominates. I explicitly don't want it turning into an article, as it would end up content-forking a large chunk of Postman's Park. – iridescent 19:02, 22 August 2009 (UTC)
Note: Replied to your queries there. The parent article is currently at FAC, so any comments made at one are likely going to be applicable to the other as well. – iridescent 22:07, 23 August 2009 (UTC)

Request to any TPS who knows these things

Can any TPS who knows about poetry (Ottava and PoetTaxCorn, that probably means you, unless someone has a hidden depth) advise what the correct name for this style of doggerel poetry (by Hardwicke Rawnsley) is? – iridescent 19:43, 26 August 2009 (UTC)

It is a type of ballad. You can tell by the repetition of sounds and the rhymes that close off the action. I'll see if I can classify what type of ballad shortly. Ottava Rima (talk) 23:07, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
By the way, there are quite a few ballads about Alice Ayers. Ottava Rima (talk) 23:08, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
Okay, I can't think of the type of ballad - it is a Scottish variant that has a term that refers to watching (or guarding). It will come to me later. Ottava Rima (talk) 23:16, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
(re post 1) I know, there are quite a lot of media of all sorts about her (everything from children's stories to pseudo-religious iconography); I'm giving dip-sample mentions to the most significant in the article, but I specifically want a link to Rawnsley as it shows that (a) the Great And Good were writing about her, not just the "she died for the Empire, you can too!" Henty types, and (b) that she was a significant enough figure that people were writing about her - and she was a recognisable enough name that she didn't need explanation - more than ten years after her death. This is going to be quite an interesting article, as it will be more than 95% legacy section; while dying rescuing children is admirable, and I'd love to think I'd have the same lack of panic in the same situation, she wouldn't ordinarily warrant an article - but the way every social movement from the hardline British supremacists to the socialist radicals to the Arts and Crafts Movement hijacked the tabula rasa she left, precisely because she had such a boring life and they could all project onto her, is fascinating. (The authorities were still naming streets after her fifty years after her death.) – iridescent 23:22, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
(re post 2) Don't worry too much; realistically, "poem" is going to serve the 10 readers per day this article will get perfectly well. Most of them will probably be looking for Natalie Portman's character in Closer, anyway. – iridescent 23:22, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
Border ballad. I am an idiot for not remembering this sooner. I was doing work on Walter Scott and it popped into my head. Ottava Rima (talk) 01:47, 27 August 2009 (UTC)
Thanks! – iridescent 15:31, 27 August 2009 (UTC)

Who'd have believed that a bloody witch trial would be contentious?

Remind me never again to get involved in an article on any subject that has the words "Catholic Church" in it. I'd say more, but it wouldn't be pretty.[1] --Malleus Fatuorum 21:43, 29 August 2009 (UTC)

I've been reading that and I'm not sure what the heck the problem is, honestly. I got lost a while ago. I do tend to think that once you say "Catholic Church" anything can happen. Ealdgyth - Talk 21:48, 29 August 2009 (UTC)
The only thing I can do now is to step away from the article, and if the nonsense continues to erode its FA status then take it to FAR. I've used up my reverts anyway, so if I look at it again I'll only get myself blocked for 3RR. Best just to ignore it now and let the religious warriors have at it. --Malleus Fatuorum 22:01, 29 August 2009 (UTC)
Bizarre. Given that the context was fifty years of religious warfare, I can't see the issue. I don't think anyone seriously questions that witchcraft trials – in both Europe and the New World – were a product of the Reformation (and more specifically, the loss of the Inquisition as a means of social control); they appear as the Catholic Church weakens and tail away as the modern concepts of formal sedition law take over from the Star Chambers. – iridescent 22:17, 29 August 2009 (UTC)
Further thought - although it's potentially pouring high-octane fuel on the flames, you might want to ask Ottava to poke his head in. I suspect he's one of the best-qualified people to comment on 17th-century religious trends here. – iridescent 22:20, 29 August 2009 (UTC)
Ottava has already offered his opinion as it happens, entirely unsolicited by me. --Malleus Fatuorum 22:44, 29 August 2009 (UTC)

Fuck 'em. I've put back your original text Mal. It's the wording the source uses and as far as I'm concerned accuracy to the source trumps any other bollocks they may come up with. --WebHamster 22:42, 29 August 2009 (UTC)

I'm staying out of it now, as I know I'll be in for a 3RR block if I look at the article again. --Malleus Fatuorum 22:46, 29 August 2009 (UTC)
Same advice to you I gave to Realist and Slim on the day Wikipedia lost its collective sanity; leave the article alone completely for a few days, then come back and clean up the mess once the edit-warriors have had their say. The end result is still the same, and it avoids all the "I have no opinion and I demand it be heard!" brigade who invariably turn up once an argument like this starts.
Actually, looking at your talkpage it seems you've already decided to do this... – iridescent 22:58, 29 August 2009 (UTC)
Yep. I remembered that good advice and decided to take it before it was offered. :-) --Malleus Fatuorum 22:59, 29 August 2009 (UTC)
If you want to see a real storm-in-a-teacup taken to insane levels, that really does put the serious issues of "were the Scots still Catholic after the Reformation?", "should sentence fragments be followed by a full-stop in alt-text?" or "was Bubbles the chimpanzee 'bought' or 'rescued'?" into perspective, have a look at the insane naming dispute, which has now attracted some of Wikipedia's most hardline edit-warriors, POV-pushers and outright loons, at Talk:Arbuthnot Lake. AKA Talk:Arbuthnet Lake. AKA Talk:Arbuthnot Lake/Arbuthnet Lake. AKA Talk:Arbuthnet Lake/Arbuthnot Lake. – iridescent 23:08, 29 August 2009 (UTC)
On a completely unrelated topic, I have a new candidate for the coveted title of worst ever photo used to illustrate a well-known celebrity who probably gets photographed a hundred times a day. – iridescent 22:53, 29 August 2009 (UTC)


You have done enough editing on WP to be easily made an admin. Why not nominate yourself? You have been reverting vandalism too long to be just a rollbacker. ManishEarthTalkStalk 09:54, 29 August 2009 (UTC)

Been there, done that, no desire to go back.  – iridescent 10:02, 29 August 2009 (UTC)
Just a rollbacker, LOL. Iri, ever think that would be used to describe you? :) StarM 18:04, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
Rollbacker and Autoreviewer I'll have you know, young lady. I'm not one of your Malliesque purists. – iridescent 18:08, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
I think of it more as ascetic rather than purist. I don't want anything that some daft plank can arbitrarily take away in a fit of pique, or threaten to take away as a punishment for some imagined crime. --Malleus Fatuorum 02:59, 31 August 2009 (UTC)

Didn't actually look at your userrights, I was going by what the OP said above. We all know you're such a slacker trying to get by doing just the minimum :p StarM 03:51, 31 August 2009 (UTC)

Serious answer

Serious answer, as I never answered the original question other than with a flippant aside: ManishEarth, I've no doubt you meant it in good faith and thanks for the offer, but I'm not the right person to be asking. While there are some extremely good users among the current active Wikipedia admins, they tend to be the ones you don't generally notice because they don't get involved in admin actions very much. The whole Wikipedia system is currently extremely (some – not me – would say hopelessly) corrupt; I've been a part of it, and seen from the inside how poorly run the current system is, which simultaneously allows cranks, obsessives and outright psychopaths free rein on the grounds of "free speech", while often stifling people with genuine grievances for "disrupting Wikipedia to make a point".

(If you want to see one of the thousands of examples of this, today I happened to notice this editor being threatened with a block for the "vandalism" of saying that '[Quentin Tarantino discussing Inglourious Basterds] has said that the misspelled title is "an artistic flourish. A Basquiat touch, if you will."' – and this little minidrama of "do it my way or you're blocked" is constantly repeated in every area of Wikipedia.)

I strongly believe that adminship should either expire, or at least should have an enforced desysopping periodically to let them see things from the other side; far too many of our problems are caused by an "old guard" who have got so used to bullying people into doing things their way – or at least, their every utterance, no matter how wrong or, worse, irrelevant, being taken more seriously in discussions than it deserves – that they've lost touch with the great mass of content-writers, vandal-reverters, script-programmers, image-creators, article-categorisers* and copy-editors who drive Wikipedia forward. I still have the right to request admin rights back, and if there was a specific task I needed them for I would, but I don't want to turn into one of the people who stomps around Wikipedia hassling people just because I can. – iridescent 22:26, 31 August 2009 (UTC)
*The article-categorisers are too often overlooked in any "important people on Wikipedia" lists, and there aren't enough of them, because it's tedious and difficult work with very little visible result. One of the main reasons Wikipedia works and Google Knol, Citizendium et al, and even the big guns of Encarta and Britannica are failing on the internet, is that Wikipedia has a hierarchical structure that's simultaneously intuitive, rational and unobtrusive, and most people seem to think that's something that happens automatically. – iridescent 22:26, 31 August 2009 (UTC)

"I don't want to turn into one of the people who stomps around Wikipedia hassling people just because I can." That's a serious problem, and one which wikpedia refuses to address. There are no checks and balances, and as a result administrators are very reluctant to reverse the abuses of their fellow administrators, as all that usually results is a childish chant of "wheel war, wheel war". I don't believe that the present system is "hopelessly corrupt", but I do believe that those who fail to recognise its corruption most certainly are. --Malleus Fatuorum 23:08, 31 August 2009 (UTC)
We suffer because we're applying rules devised by a group of a few hundred people, most of whom had a shared background in computing and technical writing, to a semi-coherent (as a whole, not as individuals) rabble of 10,000 plus. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, it still works better than the more "rational" systems proposed elsewhere. (See my reply to Abd below for context.) It seems to be a rule of the internet that the more trivial the issue, the more venomous the argument – I suppose because when there's a serious point at stake, people are more willing to accept that other people will have different views.
Interestingly (well, stretching the boundaries of "interesting"), one of the most spectacular self-destructions of a user-generated site in the history of the internet was the self-immolation of the original user-generated and user-controlled Hot or Not. I was always interested in HoN as an experiment in bulk-user-moderated content that was peculiarly amenable to statistical analysis. Some of my earliest work on Wikipedia was, along with User:Sadi Carnot, a rearguard action to stop the wars on HoN from spilling over into Wikipedia (you may not be surprised to know how that turned out). In a truly bizarre twist, some of the leaders of the old volunteer-led HoN now form a significant chunk of the admin corps at Conservapedia. I'm not sure Schlafly has ever realised. – iridescent 21:45, 1 September 2009 (UTC)

Adding u's and replacing z's with s's

Might I get you to peek through this previously mentioned rewrite to make sure I sufficiently Britishised it? Imagine me with my broad American accent reading this, peppered with Southernisms like "y'all" and Californianisms like "Dude, no way!" I feel like such a fraud. --Moni3 (talk) 20:13, 30 August 2009 (UTC)

Will do - but (aside from a couple of exceptions like "advertize"), most "z" spellings are actually correct in British English (civilization, realize et al) – if anyone tries to tell you different, point them towards the OED. You might want to ask someone like Malleus to have a look as well; because I'm originally from the US I tend to slip into a transatlantic mix quite easily. – iridescent 20:17, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
A couple of thoughts:
  • This one is jumping out at me at present due to this thread: while obviously, go with what the book says, but assuming the book is set in the 1870s, a lot of places that are in London today weren't considered part of London then and wouldn't have been referred to as such. The creation of the County of London in 1889 was the first time any real concept of "Greater London" came into place, and "London" as a single city covering the whole built-up area didn't come into existence until the London Government Act 1899. The most significant aspect likely to affect this article is that nowhere south of the Thames or west of the City – significantly, including Chelsea, mentioned in the article, and the theatre-and-brothel district of Southwark – was a part of London at this point; in American terms, it would be like calling Hoboken a part of New York City, or Oakland part of San Francisco.
  • "Frank depictions of lesbian sexuality have been quieted by censorship that equated lesbian sex with aberrant mental behavior or employed it as an erotic element that is controlled by and for the benefit of men." is very misleading if you're discussing British literature. Sex of any kind is absent in British mainstream literature between the Obscene Publications Act 1857 and the end of the Chatterley ban, and in the early 1960s the floodgates open.
  • "In the history of English literature, the only type of character who was able to enjoy adventures native to the picaresque novel were males who acted as the observer or stroller" just isn't true. Ottava can probably say more about this than me, but off the top of my head (depending on how loosely you use the term "picaresque") you have Fanny Hill, (arguably) The Canterbury Tales, and certainly Vanity Fair (Becky Sharp is practically the archetype of an English-language picaresque hero); if you stretch "English" to include Canadians, you also have Anne of Green Gables, and if you treat it as a novel rather than a thinly-disguised-autobiography, The Bell Jar certainly qualifies.
  • "Hawes' latest role is starring as DI Alex Drake in the BBC TV drama series Ashes to Ashes" and "Jodhi May as Florence, who has since played Anne Boleyn in the BBC dramatisation of Philippa Gregory's historical novel The Other Boleyn Girl" jar quite a bit. What does a role in a 2008 TV series about time-travelling police officers, or a part in a 16th century costume drama (since remade with Natalie Portman – just saying), have to do with TTV? (While Rachel Stirling's career has not exactly gone from strength to strength, it seems particularly odd that relatively minor cast members get a "where are they now?" but not Stirling herself.)
  • If there's any way to quietly get rid of "A persistent rumour claims...", it could probably happily be lost. Besides, I find it hard to think of a less appropriate cast than Beyonce Knowles and Eve Longoria, and assume it started as a joke somewhere. Probably here. – iridescent 21:04, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for the thoughts. Some replies:
  • I haven't yet taken on the adaptation section. I'll do that over the next several days, probably rewriting it. I would agree that a false mention of that horrible idea of Beyonce Knowles and Eva Longoria should go, but it keeps getting added to the article. I've watched it for over three years. Would a blind note be better?
  • What I know of London I have learned in this book, To Sir, With Love and Bedknobs and Broomsticks and a 6-hour layover at Heathrow. Hahaha. Want me to give you a guide? I might be able to sing "Portobello Road" for you. I'm sticking with what the source say on this one, but I'm also open to the discrepancies between historical reality and Waters' portrayal of the city.
  • The source about frank depictions of lesbian sexuality was probably clearer, or I understood it to mean written by and for women as opposed to written as porn for men. I'll check the source and clarify as necessary.
  • All neighbourhoods changed to districts. Appreciate the time and effort. --Moni3 (talk) 21:14, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
  •  Done. Sufficiently Britishised. Although I'd have preferred to say corrected to use proper English. :-) --Malleus Fatuorum 03:03, 31 August 2009 (UTC)
How can you preface a serious statement with one of those nasty and childish green graphics ? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 23:12, 31 August 2009 (UTC)
My Remark: is this: now that she has recycle Reopened this can of worms, some may Agree with Sandy (with comments such as thumbs up Great!), others will no Disagree (saying  Works for me). The resulting discussion eventually be no Closed  as  Inconclusive and no No action will result,  Unlikely though this may sound at the moment. BencherliteTalk 23:26, 31 August 2009 (UTC)
To be honest Bencherlite, I quite like what SandyG calls the "childish"  Done. She and I don't always agree, or indeed even usually agree, :lol: --Malleus Fatuorum 23:33, 31 August 2009 (UTC)
I've always liked {{done-t}} ( Done) and {{not done-t}} ( Not done), which have the same effect but without using images. Two of our less-well-known but useful templates. – iridescent 19:51, 1 September 2009 (UTC)
Thanks Iridescent and Malleus! --Moni3 (talk) 23:15, 31 August 2009 (UTC)
Regarding the adaptation section, I'd probably just mention that it exists, and a link to the article. There are some cases when it's worth going into more detail—on Postman's Park* I go into detail of the plot and cast to illustrate why I'm bothering to mention the movie—but in this case it's almost an "in popular culture" section. If the TV adaptation featured big names, it would be worth mentioning as a demonstration that TTV was being taken seriously by the mainstream and wasn't just a niche, but while Stirling's not a nonentity, I don't think she's significant enough to confer inherited notability. – iridescent 22:39, 1 September 2009 (UTC)
*Eleven days now at FAC and so far 0 supports and 0 opposes, if anyone feels the urge—I can't fix the problems with it if nobody even mentions what the problems are. Just saying. – iridescent 22:39, 1 September 2009 (UTC)
On the adaptation section, I've already rewritten it, making it more about Waters, the plot, and the characters, though Stirling does have a quote, since she does have a notable view on the main character. And it's a kickass quote. It made news as well for being bawdy and true to the novel. Three sources I've found have mentioned the Longoria/Knowles nightmare. Still not sure if I should place that in a blind edit, footnote, or what. At any rate, off to read an FAC about some show about a park... --Moni3 (talk) 22:52, 1 September 2009 (UTC)
Oh, another thought - is the American edition the first edition? The article talks about Waters being rejected by British publishers and thus contacting American publishers, but then says it was picked up by Virago which is a British company. It's not entirely clear where it was actually published first. (If it was first published in Britain, the British cover should probably be the cover-shot.) – iridescent 22:55, 1 September 2009 (UTC)
Another thought (2): Do the British and American versions differ? (I'm always amazed at how different the US and UK versions of books often are. The most spectacular example I've seen is First Among Equals; I remember re-reading the British version years after reading the American one, and trying to figure out why I didn't remember half the characters.) – iridescent 22:59, 1 September 2009 (UTC)
Another thought (3); careful about using the Daily Hate as a source, particularly as a source for a statement like "When news releases told of the BBC featuring swearing and sex toys, viewers began to protest". The Mail isn't really a reliable source on matters like this - it's an ultra-right-wing tabloid which mixes "diseased gay perverts are corrupting a thousand years of British morality" and "foreigners are coming to steal your jobs and women" ranting (the Daily Mail Headline Generator is remarkably accurate) with "are there aliens among us" credulity and an apparent obsession with proving that every substance in the world is either lethal or a cure for cancer. The likelihood that the Mail response to anything relating to homosexuality would be anything other than "decent people protested in their thousands" is zero. – iridescent 23:18, 1 September 2009 (UTC)


  • Yes, the image should be changed to the British edition. I'll do it. Might even be able to keep the American one because I recall a source mentioning it.
  • Good to know about the Daily Mail. Actually, Tipping was not the primary target of that article, but that basically the BBC was going to hell in a handbasket because of all the randy sex on Queer as Folk. Perhaps I should clarify that the huffing and puffing was reported in the Daily Mail. It's worth it to say there were complaints, but perhaps the source might be considered. I don't know if this is significant, but the BBC seemed to reply "Eh, so what. Besides, it's on BBC2"...
  • Feel free to give more tips as they come to you and you peek at the article. I'm still adding info to it as I find tidbits here and there to flesh out the concepts. --Moni3 (talk) 00:27, 2 September 2009 (UTC)

Continuing an old discussion

you wrote:

  • Re the 16 year old, if you mean WW she is still about from time to time – she was even on the main page a couple of weeks ago.

Yes, WW. What I was working on when blocked. It was ultimately successful, apparently. In other words, I'm not so hot with creating articles, but may be better at helping keep editors who have been badly treated.

  • I still think the proxy model is unsuitable for Wikipedia, and I doubt you'll convince me otherwise. With 10,069,032 registered accounts, of which only around 10,000 are active at any given time, it's far too easy to build up unbeatable blocks of semi-active editors. Additionally, we don't have anything akin to parties and people strongly agreeing on one area can vehemently disagree in another – check out the strange bedfellows in the various columns at RFC/ACPD, for example. Besides, it would horribly skew discussions ("don't bother disagreeing with me, I've got 10,000 voters behind me").

You've made assumptions about how it would be used. What I have in mind is much closer to what you think might work.

  • As I understand it, you're proposing something similar to the block votes of shareholders at a corporate meeting, but using the benefits of instantaneous communication technology to allow rapid shifts of individuals between voting blocs.

No. Not what I propose. Something very different and simpler, in fact.

  • [...] The advantage of "cellularising" the project would be that these issues wouldn't arise, as it would create a simple pyramid structure in which each cell is equal, not each member.

In a sense, that's more like it. Think of the delegable proxy structure as a communications hierarchy, not a control structure, formed spontaneously from the bottom if a significant number of editors name a "proxy," -- in Europe they call this an "advisor," which does represent some of the downward or outward flow of information, the proxy represents the upward or inward flow.

However, it could be used to elect a proportional representation assembly. (We currently vote on ArbComm and board positions, and sock arguments would apply there. The fact is that the last thing a puppet master wants to do is to have the sock name him or her! The arguments about sock puppetry are almost certainly false.) Just vote for the editor you most trust, and if every editor does this, a set of loops will be formed, and then editors in small loops can break the loop by naming an editor outside the loop, until the loop is large enough to be represented in the Assembly. That's more or less what Lewis Carroll came up with in 1884, now called Asset voting. But that's a voting application, not the core idea. Nevertheless, if we did elect such an Assembly, it would provide incentive to name a proxy. You'd gain representation.

No change in policy is involved. Outside of a possible election situation, an editor would gain no special privileges by being named a proxy, no "extra votes." In some situations, where a closing decider wants to estimate a general consensus without having a general discussion -- which is usually very impractical to actually do -- the decider might take a look at proxy assignments. It becomes a way of factoring for participation bias. In the other direction, if, say, all those who have !voted for a community ban are in the same "caucus," we'd have a sign of some kind of involvement against that editor. This usage of the proxies is simply information, not control, and the actual usage up to the one who wants to be advised.

The formation of editors into natural caucuses, though (a "natural caucus" is a proxy together with all editors who have chosen that proxy, all editors who have chosen the direct "clients," etc.), creates identifiable channels which can be used to negotiate consensus using small informal discussions, on or off-wiki. It's structure, the kind of structure that is necessary for group intelligence to exceed the intelligence of the individuals comprising it, efficiently.

Non-coercive, voluntary, simple, but what it could build is far from easy to see. While there could be a certain hazard if some special-interest group were to adopt this kind of structure, if everyone does it, there is no hazard.

Regardless, this is all castles-in-the-sky, since as we've seen in the last 24 hours the community won't take a governance structure imposed from the top, and the grassroots won't agree on such a radical change from below. – iridescent 18:26, 12 July 2009 (UT)

We'll see. Delegable proxy can start one editor at a time, from the bottom, and it has such low organizational overhead that it doesn't have to be highly useful to survive. At least in theory. It does create a cellular structure that would be theoretically, again, relatively immune to disruption and corruption. It may start off-wiki (actually, I should say, "is starting off-wiki." It is partially a device to keep retiring editors from completely retiring. Leave behind a proxy who will inform you if certain conditions or needs arise.

If DP were widely implemented, the community would have the ability to rapidly respond to any emergency, it could reconstitute the whole wiki if it were needed, it could raise whatever funding was necessary, and certainly it would be immune, if done properly, to central disruption, because it doesn't depend on on-wiki control or communication and filtering mechanisms. I would never appoint, as my proxy, someone with whom I had no means of direct communication, nor would I accept a proxy from someone I couldn't contact directly. Anyway, I hope this wasn't too much and that you are doing well.... --Abd (talk) 23:56, 31 August 2009 (UTC)

Still don't see it. Either you work on a "one editor one vote and everyone is equal" principle, which is horribly open to gaming, proxies or not (just look at WP:RFA to see how well OMOV works in the Wikipedia context); or, editors are weighted, which just turns the project into a battleground between cliques. See Wikipedia:WikiProject Ireland Collaboration/Poll on Ireland article names and its talkpage (and its many archives) to see what attempting to shoehorn a Wikipedia discussion into a PR format results in.
"Proxies" only work if there are editors who broadly agree on most points (what you describe as "broad caucuses"), and that just doesn't represent the active editors at Wikipedia. If there's one thing the whole ACPD debacle, or the whole toxic mess bubbling out of the discussions about User:Mattisse and User:ChildofMidnight (and many others), do show, it's that even editors who are generally seen as peas-in-a-pod buddies can be diametrically opposed when it comes to 'major' issues (top-down vs bottom-up, central control vs decentralization, right-to-free-speech vs right-not-to-be-pestered-with-vexatious-posts...). A proxy-based model relies on people broadly agreeing; while that works in, for instance, the context of trade-union block votes, where the interests of members of a particular group can be assumed to be broadly similar, it doesn't apply here. (The contributors to the thread currently directly above this are a respectable chunk of arguably the most powerful of all Wikipedia's interest groups, because the FA/GA crowd and their hangers-on have the unique nuclear option of migrating en masse somewhere else and leaving Wikipedia as Facebook for ugly people, attached to a directory of rivers, TV episodes and asteroids. But there's little you'd get any of them to agree on. Head over to WT:FAC and say you'd like to hear everyone's opinion on alt-text, enforcement of the MOS and whether WP:WBFAN should be deleted, if you don't believe me.)
Wikipedia has serious structural problems, but it still works better than any of its rivals despite the time and money Google, Microsoft et al have thrown at driving it under. The we must change – this is change – therefore we must do this" argument (often followed by if we can't use my ball I don't wanna play) doesn't really apply to what is – despite all the critics, problems, and predictions of imminent doom – arguably the most successful information resource of all time. – iridescent 19:36, 1 September 2009 (UTC)
Hey, the Daily Mail rant popped up on my watchlist (which may well have been on target, I have no idea I've never read it) and I noticed I'm mentioned above. I couldn't quite divine what exactly I was an example of or whether I was in a pod with someone (I do hope they're cute!) other than perhaps to note that I'm a focal point for dispute? Or is the suggestion more generally that I'm toxic?
Anyway, I hope all is well in your neck of the woods. I don't particularly care for the Economist (magazine), they seem to rant on and on with the same tirade of more free markets are needed and America is bad/ evil place full of ignorant redneck gobbledy gook. And the Financial Times is very dry. The WSJ is much better written and has great feature stories. Did you know the lefties running Google have the Financial Times on their campus but not the WSJ because they're very PC (meaning they lack patriotism? :)
And y'all have those papers with the nudes on page 6 don't you? How Victorian! Nothing like that here, we keep those hidden away at the truck stops. But we do have the Enquirer and Weekly World News (if it hasn't gone under) which are filled with the most absurd exagerations and fantastic stories. Truly they are the only sources that can be relied upon to capture the high crimes and misdemeanor shenanigans going on at the top of the Democratic party. I guess it's a case where only periodicals that literally make things up all the time can fully capture the craziness accurately?
I'm sure I'll be misunderstood, what with the language barrier and all, but I'm just saying hi and doing some friendly rambling. Have a good one. Cheerios. ChildofMidnight (talk) 00:40, 2 September 2009 (UTC)

DYK for Postman's Park

Updated DYK query On September 1, 2009, Did you know? was updated with a fact from the article Postman's Park, which you created or substantially expanded. You are welcome to check how many hits your article got while on the front page (here's how) and add it to DYKSTATS if it got over 5,000. If you know of another interesting fact from a recently created article, then please suggest it on the Did you know? talk page.
Jake Wartenberg 11:14, 1 September 2009 (UTC)
High enough popularity to qualify for the high score table. Just saying. Malleus, your ferrets qualify too. – iridescent 16:05, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
Not bad for an article that had to be rescued from AfD eh? --Malleus Fatuorum 16:35, 3 September 2009 (UTC)

Wikiproject London Transport

Thought you might be interested in this. Back at the end of July I put in a request for the creation of a favourite pages list for WP:LT. The page itself is not active yet (looks like it will come live at the beginning of October to show September's stats), but the stats themselves are now being compiled and can be seen here. Whilst this is for just a couple of days so far, and the order is likely to change as the month progresses, it is interesting to see what people are looking at that fits within the WP:LT domain.

Unsurprisingly, London Underground is near the top, but, at the moment, there are only four GAs and two FAs/FLs in the top 200. I notice that there are a number of bridges in the list including London Bridge and Tower Bridge in the top 10. Looking at what's currently in the top 10 at B class, Tube Map and Piccadilly Circus could probably be developed to a GA with a bit of work, London Underground will need some graft and 7 July 2005 London bombings will probably never get there due to its ability to attract controversy.

Once it's settled down, the list could be used to to help assess the importance rating for articles.--DavidCane (talk) 22:29, 2 September 2009 (UTC)

That is a very odd mix. Even only taking into account the ones wih +100 views per day, there are some on that list I'd never have expected. Of course, some are going to be the results of people being misdirected by Google (Abbey Road, Little Britain...) , but who would have thought that 200+ people a day read Balham station?
I'm not surprised at the lack of highly-rated articles near the top. Wikipedia's strength is also a weakness; more readers → more editors → more people who want to insert some fact they vaguely remember from school → more instability and editwars → less chance of the article being stable enough to get through any assessment process. It's part of the reason I'm so reluctant to take on the mess of Tower Bridge, which has degenerated into a mixture of half-remembered anecdotes and flickr album.
Incidentally, if that lead image is really "one of the best images on Wikipedia", it says a lot about the way WP:FPC operates, none of it good. Quite aside from the composition issues of the northern chunk of the bridge being cropped off and the bridge-span itself being obscured against a backdrop of similarly-coloured buildings, Tower Bridge is notable for five things:
  • The ability to open;
  • The support towers being designed to blend in with the Tower itself;
  • The narrow roadway, designed for horses and unsuitable for cars, but unable to be widened due to the bascule mechanisms;
  • The contrast between the 1890s stonework and the glass-and-steel skyscrapers on the north bank;
  • The cluster of riverside warehouses surrounding it due to its acting as a choke point for shipping.
Impressively, "one the finest images on the English Wikipedia, adding significantly to its accompanying article" manages to omit every single one of these. – iridescent 16:26, 3 September 2009 (UTC)

September Metro

Simply south (talk) 20:21, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
In fairness to us, it hasn't been a quieter month because David and I have been slacking; David has been labouring on the nailing-sand-to-the-ceiling task of Timeline of the London Underground and I've been squeezing out this three-part monstrosity. – iridescent 23:30, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
I've been working too on the Docklands Light Railway rolling stock article. --Tyw7  (Talk • Contributions) 00:18, 5 September 2009 (UTC)

My pictures

Can you please vote or at least comment on my pictures that I have nominated for the next metropolitan feature article. --Tyw7  (Talk • Contributions) 00:15, 5 September 2009 (UTC)

I will if you want me to, but I suspect you won't like it. I judge potential P:London and P:LT articles and images by my TFA/DYK standards; that is, how I think they'll appeal to general readers who stumble across them (i.e. would people potentially think "that looks interesting, I want to find out more"?). Consequently, I only support either articles/images of significant or iconic people/structures/infrastructure ("So, those big red buses are called Routemasters?", "So that's what a Victoria line train looks like out of the tunnel"), or striking and unusual articles/images ("A reservoir in Ruislip has its own railway system?", "There used to be four different Circle lines?", "I didn't know the trains in Norwood used to be powered by compressed air!").
Part of the problem affecting all WikiProjects—and Wikipedia in general—is that it's very easy to slip into writing for the benefit of fellow editors, and lose touch with the fact that we're actually writing a general reference work for the benefit of Randy in Boise and The Kid In Africa. One of Giano's more sensible pieces of advice is, always work as if you're addressing a bright 14-year-old with no knowledge of the subject but a willingness to learn; it's good advice both in article and in project space. – iridescent 00:41, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
I won't mind. Also, I would like you to comment on my pictures that I took. This can be found in my gallery. I want tips on how to improve my shots. --Tyw7  (Talk • Contributions) 00:47, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
I can answer that without even looking, as the advice is always the same:
  • Take at least five shots of every subject, as at least three won't come out;
  • For anything outdoors, manually override the exposure value and concentrate on making sure the sky isn't washed out, as it's a lot easier to brighten an underexposed subject than to try to add blue to an overexposed sky without looking like you colored it with a crayon;
  • Only upload photos that you can think of a potential use for, and only where a superior photo doesn't already exist;
  • Whatever you're writing, check Commons and Flickr first and only take your own photos if what you want isn't already there;
  • Don't take pictures underground of London Transport trains or stations, because they'll be tagged for deletion as fast as you upload them;
  • Don't take anything the WP:FPC crowd have to say very seriously; with a few honorable exceptions such as Durova, they're concerned with images looking pretty and ignore the fact that we're supposed to be a reference work, not an art installation (see my thoughts on their particularly wretched Tower Bridge Featured Picture);
  • Don't take pictures for the sake of taking a picture and then try to find a use for it, as it's like seeing someone else's holiday snaps; decide what you want to illustrate, and then go out and take the picture you have in mind. – iridescent 01:01, 5 September 2009 (UTC)

Have a scroll through my gallery and tell me if any of my pics make good "metropolitan" feature image. If you reply please leave a "talkback" on my talk page. --Tyw7  (Talk • Contributions) 01:12, 6 September 2009 (UTC)

What would otherwise be a good image is rendered unusable by a garish timestamp, positioned in such a way as to be impossible to crop.
Images like this still illustrate "Transport in London", but in an unusual enough way that people uninvolved with WP:LT may find it interesting, and avoid the routemasters-and-roundels clichés.
Of these, probably none. That's not meant as an insult; they all illustrate particular technical points, but don't IMO have the "general interest" appeal. If you look over the images we've used for the portal in the past, the common thread is that, while they may not be the most informative image we have on the particular topic, they're all selected for composition and visual appeal. I'd strongly recommend losing the timestamps; File:B90pantoodock.jpg, for example, is rendered unusable by the positioning of the unsightly red timestamp, as cropping it off means losing key elements of the image.
Don't get too hung up about providing "Metropolitan" images. It has a very low readership at the moment, which is why I push so heavily for striking images like Nocturne—Blue & Gold or Duck Tour Bus, which might attract other people who notice it on talkpages. P:LT gets a surprising number of readers (compare it to the virtually moribund P:London), but that isn't currently translating into "follow through" onto the article pages. If you want to "make a name" for yourself, you're much better off taking an article to-and-through WP:FAC; it takes more effort, but FA status raises the readership of even the most obscure articles dramatically, as well as bringing you into contact with assorted people who can help spread the load of future projects. – iridescent 09:58, 6 September 2009 (UTC)


As per this, it seems that your comment can be seen as suggesting that the film might be notable. Are you suggesting that it could be? Ottava Rima (talk) 16:32, 4 September 2009 (UTC)

Weak "meh". I don't know what the criteria are for films and don't care enough about the subject to go look. What I was saying was that the film can be proven to exist, which some of the "delete" voters seemed to doubt, as it's listed in Braff. If films follow the same kind of guidelines as music, where "notable people involved in key roles" means an automatic presumption of notability, then yes, it probably technically is, as the director, writer and star are all genuinely significant people. I personally question the "notable, keep" argument for sub-stubs – I think the existence of a poor quality Southborough, Bromley style stub can act as a deterrent to someone else writing a good-quality article – but I recognise that consensus is against me on that one. I do tend to agree with the thinking behind "notable people implies notable product", otherwise we get into a difficult place where we're measuring the comparative importance of something whose value is entirely subjective. – iridescent 23:21, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
Further note on looking at that AFD; you (and others) seem to think that short length makes it non-notable. The short 10-15 minute format was standard for films in this time (think Laurel & Hardy); remember, movies were played on hand-cranked projectors as part of variety shows, not in what we'd recognize as cinemas. Although the Australian The Story of the Kelly Gang (released in 1906) predates this, the concept of feature-length films only began in America with From the Manger to the Cross and Richard III in 1912; this particular film was released in 1914, before The Birth of a Nation took feature-films from being a curiosity (the pre-WW1 equivalent of IMAX or 3-D) to being part of mainstream popular culture. – iridescent 00:10, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
Is the length of the film still being used as an indicator of notability? It takes longer to watch 10 minutes of film than to read 16 lines. It's a complete non-sequitor to relate length to notability. Nev1 (talk) 13:23, 6 September 2009 (UTC)
Unless it's referring to John Holmes of course :P --WebHamster 19:14, 6 September 2009 (UTC)

DYK for Alice Ayres

Updated DYK query On September 5, 2009, Did you know? was updated with a fact from the article Alice Ayres, which you created or substantially expanded. You are welcome to check how many hits your article got while on the front page (here's how) and add it to DYKSTATS if it got over 5,000. If you know of another interesting fact from a recently created article, then please suggest it on the Did you know? talk page.
Wikiproject: Did you know? 05:21, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
This is good. Even better would be for it to attain GA-status! :) – B.hoteptalk• 22:49, 6 September 2009 (UTC)
I may do as I did with Postman's Park, and pull it out of the GA queue and take it to FAC. GAN is getting horrendously backed up at the moment, and I think there's probably enough there to pass FAC. – iridescent 09:40, 7 September 2009 (UTC)

An apology

Dear Iridescent, I would like to apologize to you for making this comment. You have a right to support or oppose anyone you want. You can use any reason. I don't make such comments, but too many people made too many irrelevant comments on that RFB [including me :-)], and I got carried away. This is probably the first time I'm positing something here. I'm an admirer of your contributions, and I think I saw your name when I edited with IPs. Have a nice day! :-) AdjustShift (talk) 18:12, 8 September 2009 (UTC)

No problem... – iridescent 18:18, 8 September 2009 (UTC)
Thank you. AdjustShift (talk) 13:42, 9 September 2009 (UTC)

Alice Ayres

Another great article. I see you're going for a Trifecta with Postman's Park and the memorial wall list. Great use of the source material for three good articles; I don't see any reason why this shouldn't succeed at Good Article nomination. I might do the review myself tomorrow.

It's OR I know, but I've done a bit of research in the 1881 census. The Chandlers were living at 26 Rosoman Street (Clerkenwell) with a David Ayres listed as brother-in-law to Henry. Although Mary Ann's birth place is not listed and Alice wasn't living with them at the time, David's place of birth is given as Isleworth. The 1881 census has an Alice Ayres born in approximately 1859 (the census records age rather than birth year) in Isleworth; she was working as a housemaid for a Doctor in Harley Street. Presumably her origin in Isleworth is why she's buried there.

The first paragraph of the introduction says she "ran into the burning building three times" to rescue the children. The account of the fire in the Times on 25 April 1885 does not indicate that she left the building and returned - what I think is meant is that she left the window to go deeper into the building.

For some reason, the Price references don't "jump" to the bibliography section like the Barrington or Cross ones. They seem to be correctly formatted, but I not familiar with the {{harvnb}} method, so I may have missed something. --DavidCane (talk) 02:05, 28 August 2009 (UTC)

Alice Ayres grave front.JPG
Thanks! I can't find anything listing her birthdate (and given that even authors like Price, who've researched the subject far more thoroughly than me, can't find one, I suspect that there's no record). All Saints Church in Isleworth was destroyed in 1943, so I presume any parish records are lost. Her gravestone itself (right) only gives a death date and an age, which makes me think that even at the time nobody was sure. (Her father was certainly alive at this time – as her next of kin, it was him who was given her award from the Royal Society for the Protection of Life from Fire – but people were less careful about keeping records in those days.)
I'm sure the Chandlers in Clerkenwell are the same Chandlers – for a dealer in oil, paint and gunpowder it would be the obvious place for him in this period. 184 Union Street is more-or-less at the junction of the London, Chatham and Dover Railway and South Eastern Railway (adjacent to the original Blackfriars station, and a short distance from the LCDR's main goods depot at Blackfriars Bridge), so it would have been an ideal place for someone dealing in bulky goods to move. The Alice Ayres shown in Harley Street is presumably the same one, but NOR forbids.
No, she didn't leave the house; after her initial appearance at the window, she went back into the house four times (to get the mattress, Edith Chandler, Ellen Chandler and Elizabeth Chandler respectively). I've reworded the lead to "Ayres rescued three of her nieces from the burning building, before falling from a window and fatally injuring herself" – there's no need to give the full details, as they're given two paragraphs later.
In the context of the Union Street fire section, I think (I hope, anyway) the summary of events is accurate. This is a bit of a funny case when it comes to the whole "verifiability not truth" thing, as a lot of the press reports are inaccurate or contradictory about exactly what happened, but because Ayres survived for two days and gave an account of the fire, and because there are quite a lot of eyewitness reports, it is possible to piece together what actually happened.
Union Street Fire, Borough.jpg
Union Street Fire, Borough (detail).jpg
This is the reason this image is uploaded at a bandwidth-wasting and browser-crashing 54 megapixels – the detail of Ayres at the window (right) and the crowd below with the mattress is the only eyewitness illustration of what actually happened that day, before the whole event started to get mythologised, and I think it's important that people be able to zoom in on the details. It also shows the layout of the front of the house, including the protruding "amphora" sign and the distance at which the crowd were standing from the house, both of which are key to understanding the story, as well as showing that the fire brigade weren't even trying to put up a ladder.
I have absolutely no idea why the Price link isn't working in the references. It doesn't work on the other two articles either – I can't work out why, as there's no difference in formatting between that and any of the other books cited. (The Arnold link on Postman's Park suffers the same problem.) It isn't too much of a problem – I'm sure our readers can scroll down – but it is odd. – iridescent 11:44, 28 August 2009 (UTC)
Well, you learn something every day. – iridescent 01:40, 11 September 2009 (UTC)


A mover or a shaker? --Malleus Fatuorum 22:55, 10 September 2009 (UTC)

Even better. –Juliancolton | Talk 22:57, 10 September 2009 (UTC)
I bet I could name every one of those bastards. :lol: --Malleus Fatuorum 23:01, 10 September 2009 (UTC)
Still lagging behing Majorly and Lara, let alone the big guns (as per Majorly, I'm surprised how few you have). As I say there, I'm astounded how many there are, since there's actually very little happens on this talkpage that would interest most people, unless 19th-century religiously-motivated social improvement projects have more of an audience than I imagined. – iridescent 23:01, 10 September 2009 (UTC)
My gods, someone is doomed to waiting forever for that one! Ealdgyth - Talk 23:04, 10 September 2009 (UTC)
A pound to your penny that it's someone you've upset, who's just longing to be the first in that oppose list. RfA is their best chance to get their own back; there they can tell you what a shit you are, and nobody will bat an eyelid. --Malleus Fatuorum 01:17, 11 September 2009 (UTC)
Well, they can wait in vain. No intention of becoming an admin, I like writing content too much. Ealdgyth - Talk 01:21, 11 September 2009 (UTC)

Since we're doing favours....

Can you check over Barbara L for me? Another horse is up next for FAC. Jargon and anything else that seems wrong or isn't clear. After this small horse break, we'll be looking at Urse d'Abetot, a nice interesting TRW (Tempus Regis Willhelmi) baron! Ealdgyth - Talk 01:11, 11 September 2009 (UTC)

Will do although it may not be until tomorrow - after a day of Mandell & co my eyes are glazing over. – iridescent 01:32, 11 September 2009 (UTC)
take a few days, no great hurry. Ealdgyth - Talk 01:42, 11 September 2009 (UTC)
Some thoughts on the talkpage. Nothing particularly glaring that I can see. – iridescent 13:50, 11 September 2009 (UTC)

What's that thing called?

When all these little clues or forces combine at once to suggest a half-concept? Alice Ayers, your article, The Moors Murders, which I read and went off-wiki to read more about, including that disturbing video posted by Parrot of Doom, leading to the arrival of Sarah Waters' new book The Little Stranger, set in the Midlands. I started reading it the night I saw that video. A family of Ayreses. Stephen King has lost its effect on me; I see his stuff as more gratuitous detail of suffering and bullies, but Waters' book creeped me out. Not so much I had to put it in the freezer or anything, but I did have to throw it aside and read something else to put me to sleep while my house popped and cracked as it usually does... --Moni3 (talk) 17:10, 14 September 2009 (UTC)

I have an odd tendency to be moved by the unlikeliest works of fiction. In real life I've dealt with so many unpleasant situations that the whole sight-sound-smell aspect doesn't affect me at all – and I can (rather notoriously, as those talk page stalkers with long memories may recall) watch particularly unpleasant torture videos with no stronger reaction than "this serves as a reliable source for the contents of the video but, as the identities of those involved aren't confirmed, isn't a reliable source for describing events" – but The Eyes of the Overworld and The Chrysalids still leave me feeling disturbed, decades after I first read them.
I am ashamed to say I've never actually read a Sarah Waters book. I think my impression of her was formed by the mini-wave of hype when TTV appeared in the US and I mentally filed her as a hybrid of Margaret Atwood (who I can't stand) and "gorblimey guvnor" cod-Victoriana. – iridescent 17:57, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
I can't speak about the gorblimey guvnah aspect of Waters' novels. As an American who really appreciates the economy of language and was constantly questioning why Radcliffe Hall had to use such repetition, I found Waters' writing very nice. But I have to say that after seeing Ann Bannon's books in various bookstores for 15 years, those covers released in 1983 were truly ugly and set me resolute not to read any of them. I rolled my eyes when Mrs. Moni brought them home for me to read, but I read them and kicked myself immediately for judging them by their uglyass Naiad Press covers.
I made the mistake of clicking on one of your linked snuff videos once. That stayed with me for days, more out of depression than fear...
I also made the mistake of watching the film adaptation of The Haunting of Hill House from 1963 when I was 10. Holy Jesus did that scare the shit out of me. I still think that's the scariest thing I've ever seen. --Moni3 (talk) 07:18, 15 September 2009 (UTC)

For all you do...

Content Creativity Barnstar.png The Content Creativity Barnstar
Because you always have some new obscure article to work on, and they always turn out wonderful. Ealdgyth - Talk 22:24, 15 September 2009 (UTC)
Since I recall you worked on a similar article, your opinion on this would be appreciated. I already asked Giano, and Skoromokh has left some suggestions on the talk page which I'll work on soon. Majorly talk 22:48, 15 September 2009 (UTC)
(Ealdgyth) Why thank you... Haven't had a star for ages. That's quite a funky one, too,
(Majorly) Will have a look but it probably won't be until tomorrow. If you haven't already, that's the kind of article you ought to rope Malleus and Nev in for, too. – iridescent 22:57, 15 September 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, I asked Malleus, and Nev1 is watching it. Majorly talk 23:09, 15 September 2009 (UTC)
On a very quick skim - a quick and dirty way to make a superficial improvement to a building article is to dig up pictures of some of the more notable inhabitants. You can expand endlessly on variations of the "The house was the owned by Lord Weevilbottom of Ringworm End, and the room above the Great Hall was converted into an apartment for his mistress Hortensia and her twelve cats" pretty much endlessly and all the reader sees is a list of names, but throw in a couple of portraits and suddenly people relate to them. See Bruce Castle, see Palazzo Pitti, see anything Giano's ever touched. If you can find them, old maps are always a good one as well. Also, run a search on Google Books or in the local library and reference some other books for something – even if it's just the location of the gift shop or the year the roof was damp-proofed – to break up the reference list and make it look less like it's only been sourced from two books. (There's nothing actually wrong with sourcing things from just one or two sources, but it tends to get Certain Sometimes Problematic Users hovering around the talkpage complaining about overreliance and violating NPOV by not including alternative views, regardless of whether an alternative view actually exists. As a general rule, try to avoid having the same title appear in the references more than four times in a row.) The Dictionary of National Biography (free if you have a UK-issued library card; enter the full card number under "library card login") is usually a very good way to pad articles from an unimpeachable reliable source. Putting footnotes in on tangentially related subjects is quite a good way to add "local colour" without interrupting the flow of text, as well. If you're planning in taking it through FAC/GAC, it's generally a good idea to get someone who knows nothing about English history to read it for context, too, as there are always things that are obvious to everyone familiar with the area that make no sense to Americans or Australians.
Incidentally one quick thing (I always seem to end up questioning the etymology on Lancashire articles for some reason) – how confident are you on "The earliest reference to Bramhall was recorded in the Domesday Book as "Bramale", a name derived from the Old English words brōm meaning broom, a shrub indigenous to the area, and halh, meaning nook or secret place"? It's currently uncited which makes me think it was possibly inherited from an early version of the article, and without knowing anything of the history of the area but just knowing what the English countryside looks like, I would think it's more likely derived from Saxon bræmel (bramble); why would someone be naming a village "secret place"? – iridescent 00:10, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
I know that halh means nook or secret place in Old English as according to a couple of sources it's the derivation of Hale, Greater Manchester. The Domesday Book didn't have much to say about the North West, but Bramale sounds familiar, I'll take a look. Nev1 (talk) 00:23, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
References added for both the Domesday reference and the derivation. The Dictionary of British Place-Names is a very useful source for anyone who has an Athens log in. You may question the etymology given in Lancashire articles, but you do give plausible alternatives that make me stop and think. Nev1 (talk) 00:43, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
PS. halh has a flexible meaning, not just "hidden place", but "nook" and even "shelter". Some Old English names seem to be based on landmarks (eg: the place by the willow trees, the place near the ash trees, the clearing in the wood, the wood where staves are got) so knowing that there was a place of shelter would have been useful. Nev1 (talk) 00:48, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
(ec) Note that it's not that Brun and Hakun held the land from Hamon (Hamo, actually) but that the Brun and Hakun held it in King Edward The Confessor's time. The exact entry from Domesday is "The same Hamo Holds Bramhall. Brun and Hakun held it as two manors and were free men. There is 1 hide paying geld. There is land for 6 ploughs. There 1 radman and 2 villans and 2 bordars have 1 plough. There is woodland half a league long and as much wide, and half an enclosure and 1 acre of meadow. TRE (Tempus Regis Edwardi, i.e. in the time of King Edward) it was worth 32s. now 5s. He found it waste." That last probably implies that it was wasted during the Harrying of the north. Ealdgyth - Talk 00:51, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
Might also note that at the time of Domesday, it was recorded in the Cheshire returns. Ealdgyth - Talk 00:52, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
Aa bramble tipflowering 00.jpg
Urgh, when I start making mistakes like that it's time for bed. Thanks for that, I didn't pick up on the tense change and assumed it was an example of subinfeudation. I've removed the mention of Brun and Hakun as it was probably too much detail anyway. Nev1 (talk) 01:01, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
(3x ec) Verifiability Not Truth and all that, but I have to say I'm still unconvinced. Bræmel→Bramhall is such a neat match, and if there's one thing the Lancashire countryside's not lacking, it's brambles. (Hell, our current illustration for Bramble is taken in Manchester.) FWIW in the southeast "Hale" derives from "haul" (Tottenham Hale, The Hale etc) and either marks the site of rope-hauled ferries or the places where rafts of logs were hauled out of rivers, depending on who you listen to. – iridescent 00:55, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

Well, the Alecto editors of Domesday make the connection, you look up Bramhall you get this entry. (shrugs) I'm not a DB scholar, it is entirely TOO boring, but I do own it and can access it through the CD ROM version. Ealdgyth - Talk 01:07, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

DYK nomination of Mandell Creighton

Symbol question.svg Hello! Your submission of Mandell Creighton at the Did You Know nominations page has been reviewed, and there still are some issues that may need to be clarified. Please review the comment(s) underneath your nomination's entry and respond there as soon as possible. Thank you for contributing to Did You Know! Materialscientist (talk) 02:31, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

Speedy FACs

Since you seem to be our resident expert on speedy FAC nominations, could you perhaps review the newly-written Hurricane Grace (1991) and let me know if you think it would stand a chance? I hear GANs sometimes run for months now, so I'd like to consider my options. –Juliancolton | Talk 03:20, 14 September 2009 (UTC)

Tony1 would think it was his birthday seeing stuff like this: "A ship known as the Andrea Gail was lost during the storm, along with all its screw members." The whole thing needs a more careful read through even to get through GAN. --Malleus Fatuorum 03:28, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
A few quick-skim thoughts:
  • Neither the lead, nor the conclusion, give any indication as to what's significant about this storm. AFAIK there's no "all weather events are notable" policy, and all the usual arguments that come up regarding individual bus routes, schools, asteroids etc still need to be addressed – the only thing about a hurricane that's of interest to most readers is the effect on land, and "despite some minor beach erosion, no substantial property damage occurred" could describe the weather of most places, most days. "Contributed to the formation of the 1991 Halloween Nor'easter (more commonly known as the "Perfect Storm")" is interesting, but it's still the meteorological equivalent of Children of Michael Jackson;
  • The infobox has "Area affected: Bermuda"; the lead has "The storm had minor effects on the island of Bermuda as it passed to the south"; the lead has "The center passed approximately 50 mi (80 km) south of Bermuda without causing major effects on the island"; the conclusion has "[in Bermuda] no damage or deaths were reported". Was Bermuda affected or wasn't it?;
  • This is a criticism Ealdgyth always makes of me, so I know how easy it is to slip into; you use terms that nobody could reasonably be expected to know, without giving any indication as to what they mean. ("An area of clouds became increasingly convective in nature, and gradually became entrained into the expanding and developing circulation of the subtropical storm".) Wikilinks are all well and good, but being constantly directed out of an article to get the definitions is like reading an article in a half-remembered foreign language and constantly having to look in the dictionary. You don't need to give full definitions, but some kind of brief explanation or footnote is necessary – "the center of circulation lacked deep convection for several days" means nothing to 99% of readers;
  • What's a "Category 1 hurricane"? Is that the highest point on the scale, the lowest, or something completely non-intuitive? Specialist measurement scales are, again, something that you can't assume people will be familiar with, and need to explain; see speed rating on the horses. Again, you don't need to give a full explanation of how these things are worked out, but just a basic explanation along the lines of "it was rated a Category 1 hurricane, the weakest a storm can be to still be considered a hurricane";
  • What on earth does "subsequently lost its tropical identity" mean? Again, I'm sure this has a specific meaning in meteorology, but to anyone else it sounds like it stopped wearing floral shirts and switched from drinking rum to beer;
  • "Total damage from the nor'easter is estimated in the hundreds of millions" – hundreds of millions of what? Bermudan dollars? Canadian dollars? Trees uprooted? Buildings damaged? Assuming it refers to currency, "hundreds of millions" doesn't seem to tally with our 1991 Halloween Nor'easter article, which gives the total damage as US$208 million – yes, "two" is enough to qualify as plural, but "208" isn't what most people would understand by "hundreds";
Unnamed TS storm 02 nov 1991 1305Z borders.jpg
  • It seems to suffer from a dose of "Saving Private Ryan syndrome", in that it covers an event that primarily affected other countries but focuses on the impact on the US (possibly because the US has more meteorological data available). The 1991 storm actually made landfall in Canada (see map) but you'd never have guessed it from "Hurricane-force wind gusts were reported in New England. The storm churned the ocean for several days; a wave 101 ft (31 m) in height was reported by an offshore buoy. Extreme coastal flooding occurred along the coast of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern U.S., with effects as far north as Newfoundland and as far south as Jamaica.";
  • What's with "See also: History of Bermuda"? "The island experienced bands of squally weather in association with the storm. However, no damages or deaths were reported." isn't exactly a significant part of Bermudan history;
  • Agree with Malleus about the need for a proofread, as well. Basic errors like "screw members" or "no damages or deaths" may be easily fixed and obvious-what-you-meant, but they act as a bug-zapper blue light in attracting people to take a closer look at spelling and grammar then they otherwise might. – iridescent 15:48, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
  • All excellent points, thanks; a few responses:
1. Within the meteorological community, at least, the 1991 "Perfect Storm" is considered one of the most historically significant cyclones in history, and I suppose I incorrectly assumed others would be familiar with this. I'll try to think of ways to make this a bit more clear.
2. Generally, the infobox lists all areas that were even slightly impacted by the storm. So, light rainfall would count as minor effects. I've tried to clarify this a bit.
3. Good point, again—I'll look into this.
7. The issue here is that once Hurricane Grace was absorbed into the larger system, the ensuing effects were only indirectly related to Grace. I tried to avoid putting too much weight into the segment of the storm's history that was only marginally relevant to the article, but I've nonetheless done a bit of trimming to make it less US-centric. –Juliancolton | Talk 17:16, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
  • Why oh why wasn't I the one to find "screw members"? Spoiler.:( Tony (talk) 02:40, 27 September 2009 (UTC)


Greetings Iridescent. There's been some concern at the low level of RfAs recently, and one of the outcomes has been the establishment of WP:VETTING. The idea is that experienced editors with knowledge of RfA give realistic feedback to would-be candidates, so that those who would have a rough time at RfA are spared the trauma, and those who would be good candidates but aren't confident that they'd have a chance are encouraged to run. The process needs experienced RfA observers to work, and you are often on the "winning" side of RfAs and tend to come up with rationales that are influential. I realise you have a lot on your plate, but I wonder if you would consider watchlisting the page and contributing feedback from time to time? Regards,  Skomorokh  22:00, 19 September 2009 (UTC)

I'll watchlist the page and see if there's anything I can suggest, but I have to say I'm not madly keen on having everything offline. I understand entirely why you're doing it like that – it's the only way to avoid he-said-she-said arguments and bitching that would demoralize the candidates still further – but there's something that leaves a funny taste in the mouth. I have no problem with the concept of "off-wiki discussion" – WR and the failed Wikback were both valuable safety valves, as well as fora to raise material that can't be raised on-wiki without attracting the Civility Police and the rag-tag and bobtail which follow them around, and a chance to talk to people hostile to Wikipedia who have constructive ideas of what can be done to fix our problems – but that differs from private communication, which should really be a last resort.
I suspect that what you'll find actually happens is, those who would be likely to oppose a candidate won't generally get involved. I, for one, have no desire to increase the volume of "fuck you, I'm going to oppose everything you do from now on" messages that land in my inbox still further, and I doubt the other "regular reasoned opposers" (Majorly, Ironholds, Roux, Ottava etc) will feel any different. All of us are familiar with the motley lynchmobs of people with grudges who have hounded some of our most productive editors off the project and target anyone who deviates from the party line, and much as I respect Giano and Malleus I have no desire for my talkpage to end up looking like theirs. I suspect that the result of this "pre-selection" process will be that those who'll support a candidate will mail them to tell them so – nobody ever suffered on Wikipedia for telling people what they want to hear – while those who'll oppose remain silent, giving candidates a false sense of confidence. The "initial wave of opposes" which characterizes RFA (because those who plan to oppose you have it watchlisted, while those who support trickle in, so the opposes always shoot up faster than the supports to start with) also needs to be explained better – otherwise one ends up with RFAs like IMatthew's last or Malleus's first, where the initial spike causes a candidate to withdraw from something that would probably have passed.
I do think the whole rambling thread(s) on WT:RFA are based on a false premise; that the fall in the number of active admins is a Bad Thing. The combination of semi-automation and increasingly sophisticated software means there's much less need for admins than in the past; the project would be far better served by 500 competent and dedicated admins than by 1,500 of the current "I want adminship because it's a badge of status, and once I've got it I guess I'd better find something to do with it whether or not I really understand what I'm doing with it" squabbling rabble. Wikipedia admins don't equate to system administrators elsewhere; the post is an unholy combination of proofreader, janitor, unpaid social worker, and psychotherapist to a batch of constructed fictional personalities, and there aren't that many people who are good at it. If we had a working desysop process there are at least 20 names I'd immediately put forward, and cleaning up the mess left by one incompetent or over-zealous admin more than negates the net gain of an extra admin. – iridescent 22:36, 19 September 2009 (UTC)
I should have known from talkpage stalking that posting one request would elicit ten different interesting points begging for further analysis and discussion! Timestamping to stave off MiszaBot, hope to get a chance to respond. Thanks sincerely for your thoughts and willingness to keep an eye out. Mahalo,  Skomorokh  07:17, 23 September 2009 (UTC)

DYK for Metropolitan Association for Befriending Young Servants

Updated DYK query On September 15, 2009, Did you know? was updated with a fact from the article Metropolitan Association for Befriending Young Servants, which you created or substantially expanded. You are welcome to check how many hits your article got while on the front page (here's how) and add it to DYKSTATS if it got over 5,000. If you know of another interesting fact from a recently created article, then please suggest it on the Did you know? talk page.
Wikiproject: Did you know? 19:09, 15 September 2009 (UTC)
Jane Senior by George Frederic Watts (him again), 1857-58
Yes, I know it's a crappy hook, but it's such a good title. Besides, I really wanted an excuse to use that Watts painting. Jane Senior's a fascinating figure (pioneer of the Christian Socialists, brother of Thomas Hughes, a leading figure in the Red Cross during the Franco-Prussian War, artists model for the early symbolists, the driving force behind the invention and introduction of modern foster care) – she deserves better than this wretched effort which someone who has clearly never heard of her has created "because it was a redlink", and which may be the single shittiest Wikipedia article I've ever seen. (At least Southborough, Bromley and the like aren't outright misleading.) If any TPS feels the urge to delete it, I certainly won't argue. – iridescent 01:21, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
Synchronicity ... in the 1891 and 1901 census, my house was a MABYs house ... Kbthompson (talk) 10:24, 25 September 2009 (UTC)
If you know what became of MABYS, do add it. At the moment, the article fizzles out rather limply; although they no longer had a role after the National Assistance Act, something must have become of them. – iridescent 16:02, 26 September 2009 (UTC)
I did a little bit on the benighted Jane Senior article. They were very overcrowded. My home was listed as containing 16 girls and women - by 1908, there was a system of licensing in place - and by 1918 they had to be 'board certified'. I would suspect that the organisation didn't continue much beyond the first world war, as the use of domestic servants was dying out. See Lewisham Children for some online details in south London. HTH Kbthompson (talk) 17:28, 26 September 2009 (UTC)
I can find occasional references to them right up until the 1940s, when they just seem to vanish. Given the number of assets they had, they couldn't have just wound themselves up; whatever they did would have required a cy-près ruling and either a rename and change of objects, or merger with someone else. At some point I'll dig more thoroughly; this stub was only created to fill in one of the depressing number of redlinks at the forthcoming Bishop Creighton House. – iridescent 17:38, 26 September 2009 (UTC)
1918 Fisher Education Act increased school leaving age to 14 - The servants were no longer quite so young? - 8^). By 1910, it had 29 branches, 8 training houses and 11 lodging houses; and they found places for 5,500 girls (mainly from workhouses, and previous trainees). [Working class cultures in Britain, 1890-1960: gender, class, and ethnicity - Joanna Bourke pp.115]. It is my feeling - from reading - that it all ran at a loss and cost a considerable amount to operate. The workhouses were charged for the training (5/- a week?). So they were interdependent with the workhouse system, that closed with outdoor relief in 1921 - but was already on the wane. Without refs, though this stinks of OR! HTH Kbthompson (talk) 18:00, 26 September 2009 (UTC)
My guess would be that in the aftermath of WWI they quietly switched to being a more generic "training provider with a residential element", in the style of Toynbee Hall. Pure OR though. – iridescent 18:38, 26 September 2009 (UTC)


Hi, do you have a source for Bedlam being out of use by 1842? [2] The sources use Bedlam, and I tried to find something to say it was out of use, but couldn't. Not that it matters for this article -- I'm fine with Bethlem -- but there were a couple of other articles I needed it for too, where it matters more. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 03:48, 22 September 2009 (UTC)

There's nothing really to prove here, as "Bedlam" has never been in use. "Bedlam" is not like The Clink, Petticoat Lane or The Glasshouse, that was once the correct name of a place and remained in common use after the official use of the name was dropped; it was never more than an informal and never officially recognised nickname like Tommy's, Suicide Bridge or Erotic Gherkin. Simon FitzMary founded it in 1247 as "St Mary of Bethlehem" (shortened in Middle English spelling to "Bethlem"), and it remains Bethlem Royal Hospital today. Look at old maps, rate-books, etc and you'll see that it was never referred to as anything other than "Bethlem" or "Bethlehem" on anything official – see this 1720 map showing it as "Bethlem", or this 1677 map showing it as "New Bethlehem" (it's at the southern edge of Moorfields, the strip of parks jutting into the city from the north). In 1815 the whole hospital was relocated (to the site of the present Imperial War Museum) and a concerted effort was made to shake off the "Bedlam" nickname, which was associated with an outdated perception of mental illness, thanks in large part to A Rake's Progress and King Lear which had (and still do) made 17th and early-18th century "Bedlam" the standard "in popular culture" view of what went on in a psychiatric unit, despite by then being exaggerations and decades out of date.
The best-written history of Bethlem, and London asylums and madhouses in general, is Catharine Arnold's Bedlam: London and its Mad (this book, and its sister volume Necropolis: London and its Dead, are very good sources for "background colour" for London articles, and I'd recommend reading them to anyone writing on southeast England whether or not they plan to write on the topics covered). Jonathan Andrews' 1997 History of Bethlem is the most comprehensive recent history of the institution as a whole. The hospital's own history website is a good brief summary, while the Bethlem Museum will give you as many factsheets and sell you as many books as anyone could possibly want. – iridescent 15:35, 22 September 2009 (UTC)
That's excellent information, thank you, the books particularly, as I've been looking around wondering what best to read. I've found some old maps referring to Bedlam, and quite a few official uses, so I was curious. I've been working on a few London-related articles where the issue kept coming up, so thanks for this help. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 19:00, 22 September 2009 (UTC)
The two Arnold books both have quite a cult following, particularly among gothy-teenager types (I'm a bit surprised Arnold hasn't acquired her own WP article), and will be stocked by any reasonable size bookshop in Britain, and I'd imagine the larger bookstores in North America. I would say that both are worth spending money on if you're planning to do any significant work on London history or archaeology, as they're such good background sources even for seemingly unrelated topics; the history of London is surprisingly bound up (I can't think of anywhere else comparable) with attitudes to death and mental illness. – iridescent 15:35, 23 September 2009 (UTC)

Actually, seeing as you're here

As WP:GM can testify, "what is the etymology of this?" could be my catchphrase, but how certain are you of the "Marshalsea" is historically the same word as "marshalcy"—"the office, rank, or position of a marshal"—deriving from the Anglo-French mareschalcie.? Not saying you're wrong – and yes, I've read the talkpage discussion – but unusual claims need particularly strong evidence, and the Thames Valley is lined with -sey and -sea suffixes derived from the Anglo-Saxon īeg (or eyot, island, referring to the patches of dry land in the marshland). The fact that the Marshalsea is between Bermondsey (Beormund's Island) to the east, and Battersea (Patrick's Island) to the west – and downstream of Molesey, Chertsey, Henley, Osney... – makes it look like part of a pattern. – iridescent 22:16, 23 September 2009 (UTC)

TPSs, for someone feeling welcomewagonish ....

New user at Cnut the Great. I've been trying to correct grammar, etc, but got this for my pains this morning. It got reverted by someone else, but would appreciate someone else who is better at the whole "welcome to Wikipedia" thing helping this user out. Ealdgyth - Talk 17:28, 22 September 2009 (UTC)

Idiot. Who is this King "Cnut the Great Close Up"? --Malleus Fatuorum 17:53, 22 September 2009 (UTC)
I think this is just a case of clueless new user, but I'm spectacularly bad at the whole "welcome wagon" thing, so hoping someone else can simultaneously help them out while keeping me from blowing my gasket at the bad prose usage. (Being called "Miss Know It All" didn't help much either, although I'll admit it probably does apply... ) Ealdgyth - Talk 18:03, 22 September 2009 (UTC)
If I thought of myself as a "calm gentle hand" I probably wouldn't have chosen the username that I did. :-) --Malleus Fatuorum 18:10, 22 September 2009 (UTC)
Everyone who posts anything pretty much assumes the know-it-all status, so that claim is as perplexing as calling us all Wikipedians. --Moni3 (talk) 18:18, 22 September 2009 (UTC)
I've never understood the whole WP:AGF thing, which seems to be a holdover from the early "couple of dozen people who all knew each other" days, flavored with a dash of the taken-to-extremes "equal treatment" mentality which infests some parts of American culture. (Before anyone starts screeching "racism", the whole cult of cultural relativism is very much an American phenomenon which never gained much of a toehold elsewhere, and is artificially kept alive by an unholy alliance of Midwest & Southern Creationists and East/West Coast New Agers.) If I were in a library methodically tearing pages out of books I didn't agree with, or walked into the offices of Britannica and demanded they correct their article on The Moon to give equal treatment to the Green Cheese Hypothesis, I'd be warned once or twice about my behavior and firmly shown the door if I continued. Here, we mollycoddle every passing crank and vandal, and hold up a half-dozen or so reformed vandals and successfully resolved disputes as a reason to ignore the time wasted and damage caused to our reputation by the endless streams of First Flight High School-style editwars and damaging-to-all-concerned timesinks like the cold fusion Arbcom case.* I'm entirely unconcerned by the present "the number of active editors is falling" hysteria; it's better for all concerned if we have 5,000 people doing something useful, than 20,000 people squabbling, bitching, and pulling in opposite directions. – iridescent 15:28, 23 September 2009 (UTC)
* As regular readers of this page will know, I am no fan of Abd; I think his cold fusion crusade was a prime example of someone demanding equal-treatment for a fringe theory based on a selective use of those few sources which support an extreme view while ignoring an overwhelming majority of sources presenting a different view, and that he's far too keen to blame a non-existent conspiracy for the fact that nobody else agrees with him. That said, while I don't disagree with banning him from the cold fusion articles, I think banning him from Wikipedia altogether was very harsh, given the number of people who've been just as disruptive but keep being given second, third, fourth chances. – iridescent 15:28, 23 September 2009 (UTC)

WP Norfolk & Suffolk

I saw the discussion on WT:ENG. I see that there were six interested editors for a WP Norfolk & Suffolk. Suggest that someone invokes WP:BOLD and creates the project anyway. I got WP:MILLS off the ground with 5 members. Mjroots (talk) 07:18, 23 September 2009 (UTC)

I'm not sure there's enough of a critical mass of editors if we just include Norfolk and Suffolk; just looking at what would fall into its remit and knowing who the people likely to be active in it are, I think it would very quickly degenerate into WP:WikiProject Ipswich Town F.C., Norwich City F.C. and the occasional railway station and stately home. If it goes ahead, I'd strongly support making it WP:EASTANGLIA – Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire have far more in common with each other than they do with other parts of England, and by including Cambridgeshire and Essex in the scope, it would unite the two stereotypical "unspoiled mediaeval English market town centres" of Norwich and Cambridge, the closely connected ecclesiastical history of Peterborough Cathedral, Ely Cathedral and Norwich Cathedral and all the "making the modern world" articles attached to Cambridge University and UEA; it would remove the arbitrary line dividing the historic towns and villages of the Fens; and it would bring in the Roman, Anglo-Saxon and mediaeval history of North Essex, the coastal resorts of Tendring, and the for-better-or-worse powerhouse of modern English popular culture that is south Essex and the Thames Gateway (from Ian Dury to Depeche Mode to Iron Maiden to Jade Goody). Mills are a discrete and concrete topic which a small project can serve, but there's no particular point having a geographic project unless it's large enough that there's a good chance those involved will have shared interests – a Norfolk and Suffolk project with six members would be pointless if those six members were respectively interested in Sizewell B nuclear power station, Holkham Hall, John Wark, Mid-Norfolk Railway, Rædwald of East Anglia and Thomas Paine. – iridescent 17:02, 23 September 2009 (UTC)


Thank you!. Now to find your secret page... EyeSerenetalk 08:19, 24 September 2009 (UTC)


...for noticing. We do still need people who understand what Wikipedia is all about, even if not everyone thinks so.  Frank  |  talk  13:32, 24 September 2009 (UTC)

Thanks... I know he doesn't appreciate my saying it – and it may bring the collective wrath of the whole of WP:GM down on me – but that looked like a problem that really needed nipping in the bud. Besides, if I hadn't said anything, he'd have likely got a far less polite version of the same thing from Ottava or Malleus. Although he obviously hasn't noticed it, with all the demands for an apology, I actually carefully worded that so as not to accuse him of lying, to the extent of actually giving a list of potential "good faith mistake" excuses he could use to get out of it ("good faith belief that the author died pre-1939", "I misunderstood what they meant by consent", "no, the website does have the authority to issue clearance", "yes, it's been authorised, here's the OTRS number"). It isn't plagiarism I have an issue with – it's an easy mistake to make, and I wouldn't oppose someone like FlyingToaster who realised the problem once it was pointed out, owned up to it right away and hasn't done it since – but the attempt to claim consent had been given. – iridescent 15:53, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
Yep, I said as much too, although I didn't name names :-) Anyway, thanks again, and cheers!  Frank  |  talk  16:24, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
WP:GM takes that kind of thing very seriously, so I doubt anyone from there will be descending on you. Besides, he's a member of WP:LANCS anyway. :-) --Malleus Fatuorum 19:50, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
All the same. (Going back a couple of threads up, it would seem that WP:GM/WP:LANCS would be an obvious merge candidate. It's not as if crossing from Rochdale to Whitworth is like passing from Brownsville to Matamoros.) – iridescent 20:00, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
Just you try proposing that merger. Then you will see the wrath of WP:GM. :lol: --Malleus Fatuorum 20:04, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
So what county is Manchester in, then? Sutherland? – iridescent 20:54, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
Manchester's in the county of Greater Manchester. --Malleus Fatuorum 21:12, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, and North Ockendon is in London and Gibraltar is in south-west England. Where are Lancashire Dairies and Lancashire CC? (And why is Lancashire Dairies a redlink?) – iridescent 21:19, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
Lancashire County Council is in Preston. The cricket club (Lancashire CCC) is of course still in Stretford, which was in Lancashire until 1974. --Malleus Fatuorum 21:37, 24 September 2009 (UTC)

And now for something completely different...

Interesting news story. Ealdgyth - Talk 22:11, 24 September 2009 (UTC)

I saw that earlier; I'm always a bit sceptical of these finds, as half the time they turn out to be forgeries - generally about a week after someone pays a fortune for them. – iridescent 22:18, 24 September 2009 (UTC) (N.B. to the BLP police; I'm not insinuating that the finder is faking them or out for financial gain - they'll be treasure trove and belong to the government, anyway.) – iridescent 22:18, 24 September 2009 (UTC)

A weird thought

I was rather confused while reading FAC today. All of that whining about nitpicky reviewers and the rest, and you had a lot of great reviews and many supports on Alice Ayres. Most people would love to have that many reviewers as fast as you got them. You are spoiled. :P Ottava Rima (talk) 16:48, 27 September 2009 (UTC)

The FAC is deceptively smooth; the nitpicking was deliberately gotten out of the way pre-FAC. See the article's talkpage. – iridescent 2 23:47, 28 September 2009 (UTC)
Moni3's certainly a tough cookie. :-) --Malleus Fatuorum 00:44, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
Am not. I'm a pussycat. Rowr. --Moni3 (talk) 04:27, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
We don't mention cookies here. Sore topic. – iridescent 22:24, 1 October 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Exploding tree

I suggest revisiting the discussion. Uncle G (talk) 18:25, 27 September 2009 (UTC)

Can't see it. This still reads like someone wanted to have an article titled "Exploding tree", and cherry-picked vaguely related material to try to fit. Describing wood splintering due to freezing sap as "exploding" is stretching the meaning of the word well past breaking point. "Making a bang" doesn't equate to "explosion"; a rapid increase in volume – the defining characteristic of an explosion as opposed to simple breakage – isn't present. Any rigid object subjected to gradually increasing stress will eventually splinter in this same way; it's no more an explosion than the bottom of an over-filled plastic bag ripping open. – iridescent 2 23:58, 28 September 2009 (UTC)
I'm reminded of that Biscuits in sex article that got deleted. I'm too lazy to look for the link, but as it was one that you wrote I guess you may have it to hand. --Malleus Fatuorum 00:37, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
Biscuits and human sexuality, if I recall correctly. Who can avoid talk page-stalking with an edit summary like this?Juliancolton | Talk 00:45, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
I swear, the Brits and their biscuits... I know ya'll like them a lot, but mixing them with sex???? Ealdgyth - Talk 00:57, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
Iridescent isn't a Brit, (s)he's one of you crazy Americans. --Malleus Fatuorum 01:08, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
You're the one who mixed them in the edit summary...Ealdgyth - Talk 01:10, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
Biscuits with gravy? Yuk! Reminds me of the first time I visited the States and visited a Wendy's(?) for breakfast. "How would you like your eggs?", followed by about 15 variations on frying, depending on whether or not the yolk was pierced, and on whether or not the egg was moved during the cooking process. Can you guess how I replied to the hapless waitresss? --Malleus Fatuorum 01:23, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
Would probably have been a Denny's. Wendy's doesn't do fried eggs (grins). Did you get to meet grits while you were here? Ealdgyth - Talk 01:24, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
Thankfully not, but I've seen The Beverly Hillbillies, so I've got a pretty good idea of what grits are. The only thing that struck me about food in the States was the gigantic size of the servings. In several restaurants we were warned not to order a regular American sized meal, which would feed a family of four for a month in Tibet. --Malleus Fatuorum 01:39, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
PS. I did enjoy all those "I just love your accent, can you say that again?" comments. Felt like I was on a different planet sometimes. --Malleus Fatuorum 01:47, 29 September 2009 (UTC)

I like grits. --Moni3 (talk) 04:07, 29 September 2009 (UTC)

I quite like grits too. Then again, I like cornmeal mush. Regarding the biscuits saga, if there's one lesson I learned from that, it's "don't move something to the mainspace until it's complete". Far too many vultures waiting to swoop. (Its spirit still lives on, including That Image, at Food and sexuality.) – iridescent 18:42, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
For either biscuit, or grits lovers (and it would appear we may mean that literally) ... I have only one word ... Hushpuppy - read 'em and weep ... All the best Kbthompson (talk) 22:03, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
I actually like them. Then again, I like Pizza Express Dough Balls, so my palate may be jaded. – iridescent 22:06, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
They look OK, but grits just reminds me too much of the disgusting school dinners I had to endure. Tapioca, cemolina, rice pudding ... I can't remember ever eating a dessert at school now I come to think of it. And even though I'm half Scottish I can't stand porridge. --Malleus Fatuorum 22:12, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
My abiding memory of school meals was the cafeteria occasionally running out of ingredients and substituting them with grated cheese. (Sample dish: lettuce leaf and grated cheese in a bun, as a "burger".) – iridescent 22:19, 29 September 2009 (UTC)

"Bring Back British Rail"

Hi. Thanks for re-reverting the addition at British Rail. A very similar change was added at Privatisation of British Rail, which I have since re-reverted myself. Just alerting you as I've already reverted the change twice and I think we may be seeing it return in the future...

EdJogg (talk) 22:40, 29 September 2009 (UTC)

I have a feeling we'll be seeing it for a while, until whoever it is realises the changes aren't going to stick. Hopefully all the obvious targets for this (BR, NR, the TOCs etc) are all heavily watchlisted so they should get reverted quickly. – iridescent 22:44, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
If you Google the phrase you'll find instances dating right back to the start of privatisation, and all unrelated! The most recent was a YouTube clip of BBC's Newsnight from June/July -- right timeframe but no obvious connection to this campaign. EdJogg (talk) 23:31, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
I have a suspicion this campaign is actually one disgruntled ex-Railtrack shareholder, hoping to use Wikipedia to kick-start a campaign. Given that all three parties are currently opposed to the renationalisation of the railways, it's not going to happen any time soon. – iridescent 23:37, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
I'm one of those disgruntled ex-Railtrack shareholders myself, but despite the government's attempted theft I got most of my money back. --Malleus Fatuorum 01:00, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

A penny for your thoughts

Hi Iridescent. I know that you've been a vocal critic of FAC and its nitpickiness. I'm not sure what prompted you to start nominating again, but now that you've had a few more recent experiences, I'm curious as to how you think the nomination process has changed, and whether it is better or worse. Feedback on improving it is also very welcome. Thanks! Karanacs (talk) 19:36, 24 September 2009 (UTC)

Points as I think of them, in no particular order:
  • The surge in "oppose per obscure subclause of the MOS" which we had over the summer, and drove me away before, seems to have died down somewhat (although, as the author of the article which prompted this doozy of a discussion, and from which I eventually removed some of the images altogether rather then continue edit-warring with the strict-compliance brigade, not died down altogether). There are still a lot of people who treat the MOS as Holy Writ; we're not a print journal, and while some standards are a good thing there's no need for the drive to consistency. Yes, you don't see as many "Oppose, doesn't meet MOS 34.74.29(c)(iv)" opposers as there used to be, but that's not because they've all gone away; it's because more and more people no longer bother jumping through the hoops and coming to FAC/GAC to start with;
Postman's Park comprises three former burial grounds, incorporated into the public park in 1880, 1887 and 1890, and the disputed site transferred to the City Parochial Foundation (CPF) in 1891 and reincorporated into the park in sections in 1898 and 1900.

alt=An irregularly shaped tract of land, approximately 300ft west-to-east and 200ft north-to-south is set in a rectangle formed on three sides by streets. To the west is King Edward Street; to the north is Little Britain; to the east is Aldersgate Street; to the south is a large building occupying the entire southern edge of the park, labelled "General Post Office". The northwestern part of the rectangle is occupied by housing, and the northeast part is occupied by St Botolph's Aldersgate church. The remainder of the land is parkland; the western portion is labelled Christ Church Greyfriars, a small square to the south adjacent to the Post Office but not touching any of the streets is labelled St Leonard, Foster Lane. A triangular shape at the northern edge is labelled CPF, with the western half marked "1898" and the eastern half marked "1900". The remainder of the land is occupied by an irregular shape labelled "St Botolph's Aldersgate". Immediately south of the western half of the CPF triangle, parallel to the eastern end of the section marked "housing", is a wall roughly 50ft long, labelled "Wall of Heroes".
  • Broken-record time again, but the whole alt-text thing was badly botched. Yes, it's potentially useful; yes, it does no harm. But I still maintain that it's an unreasonable requirement; particularly with complicated diagrams, one ends up with ludicrous exercises such as that to the right. Assuming at a high estimate that 5% of readers use screen readers, this means wasting time and space with lengthy explanations, for the benefit of perhaps 3 or 4 readers a day, most of whom could not care less what this image illustrates. Repeat this over all the articles, especially the scientific ones with complex diagrams, or the MILHIST and hurricane ones with detailed maps and charts, and you're looking at a hefty timesink for very little gain. As you know, this change was railroaded through in a who-can-shout-the-loudest contest (I gave up when one of the alt-text supporters called me a "lazy moron") and I still don't see any agreement for it. Far more people would be served by using the time to improve explanations and write sub-articles to fill in redlinks and explain concepts that may not be clear in the parent article (as I wrote Ordish–Lefeuvre Principle to explain the technical background to Albert Bridge, London), then by enforcing a requirement that only benefits a very few users;
  • On a related point, I imagine the "alt text police" have a chilling effect on new users. The first line on almost every FAC currently listed is some variation of "insufficient alt text". Most users don't follow obscure policy discussions, and I'd be pretty certain that were I to list an article I'd dedicated a lot of time to, and the first thing to come back was some variant of "go away and come back when you're complying with this completely arbitrary policy that wasn't in the FA criteria last time you looked", I might see that particular FAC through but I'd not be inclined to come back. It is possible to raise a regular point without coming across like this – witness Ealdgyth and her boilerplate questions – but it doesn't seem to be happening here;
  • People seem to be far to keen to raise issues on the FAC page that should really be discussed on the article's or nominator's talk page. The Marshalsea one is an extreme example – about 75% of the FAC text doesn't really need to be there – but again, it puts people off reviewing. (Marshalsea falls smack into my "Victorian public projects on the River Thames" comfort zone – hell, it's across the street from Ayres Street – but I haven't got round to reviewing it because I don't want to wade through a discussion that resembles ANI on a bad day (89kb at the time of writing); I suspect the other people you'd expect to be reviewing an article like this (DavidCane, Ottava etc) feel the same way;
  • Even though this will likely get me a flood of abuse, I'm starting to agree with Ottava's suggestion of topic-banning F&F, or at the very least putting him on some kind of "valid and concise points only" probation. Yes, the majority of his comments are valid, but more and more of them seem to be vexatious nonsense aimed at derailing the nominations of FACs by people he doesn't like (you presumably remember Featured article candidates/Euclidean algorithm/archive1, where he was posting reams of text despite not having even read the article). I know Sandy says the length of the discussion shouldn't make a difference, but someone skimming the list and seeing something like Featured article candidates/Hurricane Grace (1991)/archive1 isn't going to think "ah, there's a long list of objections but they'll be ignored during pr/ar so I'll just judge the article on its merits"; they're more likely to think "75% of this FAC is taken up by opposes, so there's no point reviewing it as it has no chance", or else "this looks like a really long boring discussion on arcane technical points, I'm not wasting my time reading that";
  • The early closing of FACs that have no chance of passing is A Good Thing; it may piss people off, but racking up a stack of opposes will annoy them more;
  • I think you (plural) are sometimes too quick to archive some of the "one support, no opposes" FACs that lurk near the bottom. I appreciate that they clog the list, but some of them like the aviation and literature articles really do need specialist knowledge, and need to wait until the nominator has fished people out to have a look;
  • This isn't something you can do anything about, but FAC is being impacted by the current problems at GAN. The GA criteria have recently become far more MOS-driven, and they're losing reviewers (I no longer touch them, as I don't feel comfortable enforcing "zOMG a forced image width!" criteria with which I don't agree, and I'm sure I'm not alone). This in turn is spilling over into FAC; my last two FACs were both plucked from the GA queue, cleaned up and taken to FAC because raising them to FA standard and putting them through FAC is quicker than GAC, and that can't be right;
More if I think of them... I dare say some of the other readers of the page will be able to add their own commentary to the above. – iridescent 20:51, 24 September 2009 (UTC)


Sorry to butt in, Iridescent, but someone emailed me that I was being discussed here. Here's my tuppence ha'penny worth. When I said (with humor) that I hadn't read the Euclidean Algorithm, I meant only that I hadn't checked all the details. I had, however, gone through the various sections and satisfied myself that the procedures were indeed correct. Obviously, the authors soon understood that. I also didn't vote "support," only "looking to support." Soon after that, I had to go away from Wikipedia as a result of a family emergency, and never got around to reading the article, nor changing my vote. I agree that reviewers should be sensitive to the feelings of nominators, and that in the past I have shown impatience, something I need to work on. As for reams of text, I'm often not aware of the developing heft since I type fast (>85 wpm) and usually don't have the time, in Marx's words, to be brief. I can blame that directly on my mother who made me take extra typing classes. :) But please be aware that Wikipedia is also not a new age support group where everyone gets an A for effort. Nominators need to develop a thicker skin too. Regards, Fowler&fowler«Talk» 15:41, 26 September 2009 (UTC)

Nobody's saying everybody should get A for effort. The point is that strict compliance with entirely arbitrary policies is actively negative in terms of its effect on quality, because insistence on ridiculously high standards puts people off even trying to bring articles up to standard in the first place; because strict enforcement of arbitrary style guidelines distracts people from doing the genuinely important work of writing and sourcing; and because the abusive tone taken by the "serial nitpickers" at FAC, and the rambling and semi-coherent rants posted there – of which you are possibly the worst offender in both cases – discourages people from participation both as nominators and as reviewers, and creates an illusion of an adversarial situation in cases where no legitimate grounds for opposition exists. – iridescent 14:03, 27 September 2009 (UTC)


Nice to know someone doesn't think I drive folks away from FAC! I do agree with the GA stuff. One of my upcoming FACs was orginally not slated to be a FA, but after a small tussle to get it to GA and then being raked over the coals for stuff I'd normally only see at FA, I decided what the hell, we'll go to FA with it. I've not had time to review many GANs, lately, but the tenor of things over there seems... off to me. When I get done with the fall rush here, I'm hoping to step back into GA more, it is getting a bit too much for just plain GA, and is closely resembling some of the FAs I've shepherded through... (Gregorian mission or Wilfrid come to mind. Of course, Wilfrid's GAN was the one where someone insisted I place commas and periods in all the references before he'd pass it...) Ealdgyth - Talk 21:04, 24 September 2009 (UTC)

Oh, and I agree wholeheartedly on the alt text. It's rapidly becoming my absolute least favorite part of FAC, and I didn't think anything would replace non-breaking spaces. Ealdgyth - Talk 21:05, 24 September 2009 (UTC)

I agree both about the botched alt-text requirement and the problems at GAN. I'm getting rather tired of seeing GA reviewers insist that the lead should/shouldn't include citations, or that there's some mythical rule that every paragraph needs to be cited, no matter what's in it. And too may GA reviewers are demanding the comprehensiveness of FAC, rather than the "covers the major topics" of GAN. The thing I dislike most about FAC though is this recent specialisation of reviewers, which seems to have made everyone afraid to support, in case some "image expert" comes along, for instance, and opposes because the date of death of some unknown photographer can't be reliably established. --Malleus Fatuorum 21:28, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
I won't support or oppose just on the source checks I do, unless it's really egregiously badly sourced. Even when everything is resolved, I won't support just on that, I feel I should at least read the whole article and get a feel for it. Of course, I'm not evaluating sources much past the bar of "barely reliable" either. I have to admit I dread the thought of bringing something like Thomas Becket to FAC, given just how MUCH has been written about the man. I can see spending years arguing about why I didn't include/read some obscure work. As for GA, remember Miss Meyers? I am going to bring her to FAC, I'm betting she has less problems at FAC than she had at GAN... that was... interesting. I wasn't aware that GA had gotten quite so bad lately, but I've been spot checking a few GA review pages and they are getting pretty picky for some. But yet some reviewers at GA won't review at FAC because it's too much about the MOS... (gaze up).
To illustrate the "fun" of alt text. Today I spent a couple of hours sorting through Horse's pictures, writing alt text for them. Most of them were pretty easy, but a couple of the diagrams stumped me. Should I list EACH part of the horse in the alt text? Or all the bones in the skeleton? And that picture of the horse's eye, that one was a bit... skimpy, but what else is there to say... it's a close up of an eye! I'm to the point I resist adding pictures to articles because I don't want to have to write alt-text for them! Ealdgyth - Talk 21:39, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
I don't see something wrong with specialisation in some cases. I actually very rarely support or oppose (if you look, I almost always just make comments); when I do support/oppose I always make it clear (or if I don't, Sandy, Karanacs and Raul know it) that I explicitly ignore MOS considerations unless they really detract from the article (800-pixel images and the like), and judge purely by comprehensive-accurate-interesting (too many people forget that last one), which is why I tend to support TonyTheTiger's articles even though his distant relationship with the MOS drives Sandy to despair; Jappalang is very good as spotting potential problems with copyrights; Tony1 is very good at spotting non-compliance with the MOS without accompanying "you must obey!" shrieking; and so on. The real problems come when you get certain serial-opposers (admittedly, the worst offender hasn't touched FAC since July) opposing on spurious grounds, as there's no reason for most people to know who should and shouldn't be taken seriously. – iridescent 21:46, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
(edit conflict) My blood runs cold when Tony1 comments, but he's usually right. :-) I haven't checked, so I could well be wrong, but I don't think I've opposed that many FACs; if an article engages me I prefer to try and help fix it, and if it doesn't then I probably won't even look at it. There's a current FAC that I helped out with at peer review, something I rarely do, that I'm quite optimistic about. It was written by a non-native English speaker, and for me the buzz is helping to get it over the line. I'd far rather do that than nit-pick over the MoS. --Malleus Fatuorum 22:05, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
I only oppose when the article is obviously unsalvageable. I'll quite often comment without supporting, but I'll quite often make it clear that if whatever I'm commenting on isn't addressed, it's not to be taken as an oppose. I dislike the whole "I'll hold your article to ransom unless you do x, y, and z" mentality unless it's absolutely necessary. – iridescent 22:12, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
I've not spent much time at FAC since Donnchadh, Earl of Carrick's FAC. which revolved almost entirely around demands that his name should should be changed to Duncan. It's not the place of FAC reviewers to make demands like that, but to assess the article on its merits. --Malleus Fatuorum 22:30, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
Obviously, that FAC was not a good one for me, as I lost a good collaborator because of it. Well, because of it and the whole Eastern European thing. While there are times when I would cheerfully have strangled Deacon, there is no question he made me make my articles better... Urse is almost a homage to him. I'm still bothered by the hypocrisy (sp?) of demanding the "most common name" at that FAC but yet demanding that "self-identifying name" be used at Catholic Church. Quite honestly, Donnchadh IS the self-identifying name. Ealdgyth - Talk 22:35, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
Don't get me started on that Catholic Church fiasco. What a pathetic waste of time and effort that was. --Malleus Fatuorum 22:47, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
I've been keeping an eye on the article, and I'm beginning to dread the thought that it might return to FAC... Ealdgyth - Talk 13:33, 25 September 2009 (UTC)

(←) While I'm passing, I'd like to note that I agree about the alt text thing. An example of alt text I wrote recently (right-hand section beginning "Line 59"). I'll leave it to you to decide if I had become slightly exasperated by that point... EyeSerenetalk 22:04, 24 September 2009 (UTC)

That's a very good article, alt text or no alt text. In light of this, I assume Eubulides and Dabomb will be along to defend mandatory alt-text soon. (That isn't meant to be flippant; I'm sure there is a case for it. It's just that I don't think it's yet been made, and don't think the arguments I've heard in favour of it thus far are valid.) – iridescent 22:15, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
(Commenting on the link Iri just posted) Do you ever feel like you're living in a small incestous village here sometimes? I know I do.... I saw that and thought the same thing... Ealdgyth - Talk 22:17, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
Iridescsent, I hope you don't think I'm trying to pit one side against another here. I just noted that the original intent of this discussion was to identify problems with the FAC process and how to improve it. Since Eubulides is the primary user spearheading the alt text requirement, I thought he might have interesting perspective on the issue, and would appreciate feedback on how to improve his own reviewing, with regard to alt text or otherwise. Apologies if I appeared aggressive. I'll back out now. Dabomb87 (talk) 02:56, 25 September 2009 (UTC)
Oh, no problem; as I say (indirectly) above, I'm sure there is a case to be made for alt-text; it's just that I don't think it's yet been made, and I think one only has to look at the "discussion" to see that this wasn't a case of a change being discussed and brought in via consensus, but a handful of supporters hurling abuse at anyone who disagreed with them until enough people withdrew from the conversation in disgust to leave the supporters in a "majority". (If you look at the "summing up" section, you can see that the pro-alt-text supporters were actually in a minority throughout the discussion.) – iridescent 09:29, 25 September 2009 (UTC)
Thanks Iridescent :) I'm lucky enough to be working with some excellent editors on the whole Operation Overlord series - I mostly just copyedit, but it's a pleasure all the same. I have no real objection to the FA criteria requiring alt text if that's what's been decided, but I was slightly put out by the one-sentence way it was requested on the FAC, and then told I'd done it wrong (hence the detailed amendment :). Alterations like that are a minor fix, so the sort of thing (as Mal notes) that a reviewer could as easily have done themself as ask for. It's interesting that you mention GA has become more MOS oriented; I've been out of the loop there for quite a while since getting drafted at milhist, but it was always a concern of mine that while review quality should increase, review strictness should not. It's a real shame if things are trending that way, because I feel GA ideally sets an achievable target with a decent effort/reward ratio that most editors can realistically aspire to. FA is supposed to be difficult. We had this debate at milhist a while ago too, regarding our A_Class standards and whether or not they are too close to FA. EyeSerenetalk 22:31, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
You've just prompted a flashback to a visit to London as a child, and being taken to see the Overlord embroidery* and being absolutely baffled as to why anyone would want to make such a thing, when everyone knew that war memorials were supposed to be big stone pillars or arches. In retrospect I can see exactly why, and I assume Ealdgyth can also see why they chose such a strange thing as a 270-foot tapestry as the memorial to the Normandy campaign. This is probably the first time in 30 years I've even thought of it; I'm quite pleased to see it's still on display, and may even make the trip to Portsmouth to see it at some point. – iridescent 22:47, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
*In the old Whitbread Brewery, next to some concrete monstrosity that was currently being built, IIRC – iridescent 22:49, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
Well, be sure to take your camera :) I've regrettably never seen it, and the article could definitely do with a picture. EyeSerenetalk 22:53, 24 September 2009 (UTC)

Professional standards

(od) To join in this conversation after stumbling over it: I agree with everything here, especially Alt Text requirements. I don't mind Alt some of the times, but I do think it shouldn't have been railroaded through (I looked at that discussion but couldn't be arsed to wade in as I knew I'd get shouted down somehow) and it definitely shouldn't be used for most diagrams; they get ridiculous as EyeSerene and Iridescent's examples show. I've been trying to add Alt Text to Tetrarch (tank) as one of my FAs, but it gets daft: how the hwll do you describe a sodding tank? I've been forced to have something like "a squat, rectangular vehicle" or somesuch, it's daft. And don't get me started on the MoS stuff; that's partially why I don't nominate for FA anymore, although I might make one foray with M22 Locust just to see what it's like now. The requirement for perfect prose is also bloody annoying. Yes, good text is a good thing, but don't start screaming at me if I've left out a comma or those exercises Tony1 has - guess what, I'm not a bloody English language major and don't know these things! If there aren't many things, do them yourselves, reviewers! It's what I do at GAN sometimes, that or I list everything I can find. Don't give me a wretched list and scream 'Oppose' because, guess what, I'm not going to have a clue what to do. Skinny87 (talk) 08:38, 25 September 2009 (UTC)

As I've occasionally pointed out, "of a professional standard" not only doesn't mean "perfect", but is incompatible with "perfect". Professional writing in specialist journals is generally dense, jargon-heavy and assumes that the reader is familiar with a lot of background material, and that's a style that's completely unsuited towards Wikipedia's "provide a basic background for those unfamiliar with the topic" remit. Giano's suggestion, of always writing as if one were addressing a reasonably bright child with no previous knowledge of the topic but a desire to learn, seems to me to make far more sense. (This is a basic and long-standing principle of journalism; The Times under Lord Northcliffe used to have a "They are only 10" signs in the office to remind writers to write as if addressing a child.) – iridescent 09:43, 25 September 2009 (UTC)
I get the impression that's been building up for a while, Skinny :) I agree with Iridescent - sometimes, for prose to be engaging and flow naturally, you just have to throw the rulebook out of the window. However, I have to say that, apart from the alt text which was new to me, I've found the last few FACs I've been involved with reasonably smooth. I do find it annoying when editors suddenly show up with content objections despite having kibbutzed throughout the whole article development process, but that's not FAC's fault. Given Iridescent's comments above re GA though, I do think we need to be aware of criteria creep in all review processes. That, and an entire review getting hung up over some esoteric and essentially minor (even meaningless) objection seems to be at the heart of most criticism. EyeSerenetalk 10:55, 25 September 2009 (UTC)
  • Grumble* Just a few things to get off of my chest. FAC can be stressful at times, and instruction-creep is annoying and seems to add little. But it could be worse, and getting prose fixed is always a good thing. The thing is, good copy-editors are scarce on the ground, and thus having someone ask you to get a copy-editor in is frustrating, as it could take months! Skinny87 (talk) 13:31, 25 September 2009 (UTC)

Rising standards

I'm reading the thread here, and I think it's interesting. I don't agree with all, but it's useful to step back and critique the system every now and then. I don't have issues with the MOS, mostly because its adherents forced me to pay attention to issues I would rather ignore. But at the same time, other editors have forced me to get better sources in the past. Others have forced me to improve my writing, so in the end it makes me a better content editor. Although I think what Iridescent is balking at are editors who oppose solely on MOS issues, which seems to be pretty easy to sofixit. There are many processes on Wikipedia (as life) that force us to adapt or quit. In the Darwinian scope of internet venues, if one does not adapt to the high standards--and the increasing standards--at FAC, and see their inherent value, one will naturally be frustrated. There's a certain level of confidence necessary during FAC which I think I lacked in my first few to respond to reviewers. That confidence should be instilled in the material as well as oneself so when at FAC nominators should be comfortable enough to deal with spurious opposes while not so arrogant to refuse to fix what could be fixed. That said, FAC is considerably more stressful at times than RfA, and I would not want to go through another RfA. Yet I'd like to send almost all the articles I construct through FAC. --Moni3 (talk) 14:14, 25 September 2009 (UTC)

At least at FAC people attack your work rather than attack your character :-) Majorly talk 14:16, 25 September 2009 (UTC)
While that makes sense, I am among the many FAC participants who might disagree at times. The articles I construct take up so much of my time, effort, energy, and sometimes money, that it is difficult to separate the article from myself. Criticism of the article often equates to criticism of all my effort and desire. I get more upset at FAC than I ever did during my RfA, though at the end of that thing, I just wanted it to be over regardless of the outcome. --Moni3 (talk) 14:23, 25 September 2009 (UTC)
Well, investing the best of ourselves in our work is what makes the results worth the blood, sweat, and tears in the first place. Your point about confidence is a good one; you (or any editor of conscience) wouldn't bother nominating an article for FAC if you didn't believe you could justify it's place in our top 0.09%, so some degree of self-belief - perhaps even arrogance - is required by the nature of the process. It's then hardly surprising if a nominator takes reviewer comments personally :) I think it's perhaps in response to this that the petty niggles, like MoS objections, can take on a significance out of all proportion to their actual weight. EyeSerenetalk 16:27, 25 September 2009 (UTC)
Moni – I think the point I'm trying to make with my assorted attacks on the FA process over the years is based on a different reading of the situation to yours. You talk about continuously rising standards at FAC raising the standard of the project as a whole, but I really don't see that as the way things work. The are two issues here:
  1. I don't think one can equate "more standards" with "rising standards". Some of Wikipedia's "standards" are truly arbitrary (look at how much we had to scream and kick to replace the "Footnotes come after punctuation" dogma with the current wording which grudgingly admits that the Chicago Manual of Style doesn't apply to non-American formatting). The whole alt-text fiasco – and I don't think even alt-text's most ardent defenders would deny that it's become a fiasco – is a case in point of "we need standards → this is a standard → therefore we need this" reasoning;
  2. I don't believe that more standards to comply with means more people working to higher standards; I think (and there's plenty of anecdotal evidence for this, the departure of Giano from FAC being the most obvious) that more standards to comply with means more people who are unwilling to jump through an increasing number of arbitrary hoops, and withdraw from FAC altogether. The prevalence of Simpsons episodes, videogames and hurricanes at FAC isn't due to Wikipedia having a disproportionate number of Simpsons, videogame and hurricane articles – we have 688 Simpsons articles, 41,655 videogame articles and 2,106 hurricane articles out of a total of 3,042,151 pages – but is purely an artefact of people with interests in those topics being among those not yet driven off FAC.
For better or worse, Wikipedia is not a professional project, and the type of set-in-stone adherence to style that's appropriate for Britannica doesn't and shouldn't apply here. Featured Articles are supposed to represent "Wikipedia's best work", not "Wikipedia articles which most conform to the house style"; while I wouldn't endorse going back to the old days of Brilliant Prose Candidates, I do think there's a lot to be said for stripping the FA criteria down to "1) Is this article accurate and reliably sourced?, 2) Is this article comprehensive?, 3) Is the formatting of this article internally consistent, and not unusably ugly, confusing or poorly laid out?, 4) If someone with no prior knowledge were to read this article, would they understand it?, and 5) Is the text written in such a way as to make this article interesting?".
As per my reply to EyeSerene above, "Professional standard" is irrelevant here. Not only is much professional material incomprehensible to those outside its core audience, but we're comparing chalk and cheese; the professional writing standards of Ferrets Magazine, Computer and Video Games and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences are so different as to almost be different languages, despite each being among the most respected sources within their fields.
If we set out to recreate a bigger and better version of Encarta, we're going to fail, and we'll deserve to fail. Wikipedia shouldn't be seen as a single work, but as a library; the various works within the library can be on diverse subjects and in diverse styles. By all means, we as librarians highlight the best books and the new acquisitions in which we think our users will be interested, but we shouldn't be trying to rewrite A Faithful Narrative of the Surprising Work of God in the Conversion of Many Hundred Souls in Northampton to conform to the style of A History of the English-Speaking Peoples just because they both happen to be on the "history" shelf. – iridescent 19:14, 25 September 2009 (UTC)
@Majorly – if you really think "at least at FAC people attack your work rather than attack your character", have another look at the alt-text "debate". If Giano or Malleus were coming out with stuff like this, what do you think would have happened? – iridescent 19:14, 25 September 2009 (UTC)
Just a guess. An indefinite block? It was OK though, because administrators are exempt from WP:CIV Just a pity that everyone else isn't as well, and that the whole damn inconsistent mess isn't consigned to the rubbish bin. --Malleus Fatuorum 20:24, 25 September 2009 (UTC)
That's more attacking lack of work than character. I believe David Fuchs knows how low my opinion of him is, and this helps to lower it further. Then again, Malleus called me a "clot" earlier on for having an opinion that differed from his, but I won't cry about it :-) Majorly talk 11:28, 26 September 2009 (UTC)
I'm in favour (argh! Britishism!) of rising standards in a few areas. We need better sourcing, period. (Websites need to be scruntinized hard before being used. We need to watch out for non-reliable use of reliable sources, i.e. cherrypicking. Google snippets need to GO!) We need to be more thorough on making sure thorough research is carried out so that articles acurately reflect the available scholarship and cover the important aspects of a subject. (This will often mean that (gasp) we have to look at other reference works and how they cover the subject. I find the ONDB incredibly useful as a corrective for my articles, when it is available). However, we don't need to be quite so picky on the whole details of the MOS. And I say this as someone who does indeed enforce bits of the MOS at FAC (the citation/cite family thing and the links in all capitals.) I do think expecting newspaper/journal titles in italics is not a picky detail, but just good scholarship, it makes it so much easier to understand the sources used if they are in something approaching normal standards. HOwever, I'm not going to get excited if someone uses/doesn't use periods between titles and authors in a bibliographical entry. As for prose, I expect it to be easy to read and understand. If it does that, then as far as I'm concerned it's brilliant prose and it does what it is supposed to do. When I do review articles at FAC, there are times when the author/authors haven't organized their article the way I would have, or haven't covered some aspect in great detail like I might have, but I try to remember that as long as the article does its job (which is to convey information) it isn't my place to require someone to reorganize/document every detail I'd want just to get the little shiny star. I'm more worried about undue weight, comprehensiveness, and accuracy concerns than MOS and prose concerns. Ealdgyth - Talk 19:27, 25 September 2009 (UTC)
"Better sourcing and better research" would all be covered by (1) of my ideal "FAC lite" process ("1) Is this article accurate and reliably sourced?, 2) Is this article comprehensive?, 3) Is the formatting of this article internally consistent, and not unusably ugly, confusing or poorly laid out?, 4) If someone with no prior knowledge were to read this article, would they understand it?, and 5) Is the text written in such a way as to make this article interesting?"). It's all the MOSDASHes and WP:MOSDATEs that would be dumped in my bonfire-of-the-style-guides, in favour of a requirement that the styles used be consistent within the article. It is, as far as I'm concerned, absolutely ludicrous that the MOS and its assorted subpages are longer than the entire Guardian Style Guide (34,146 words, since you asked; the MOS main page alone comes to over 20,000 words itself). – iridescent 19:58, 25 September 2009 (UTC)
I guess I could have summed up my post as "I agree with Iridescent", huh? Ealdgyth - Talk 20:00, 25 September 2009 (UTC)
Maybe the disconnect is that I think there is much inherent value in demanding a professional level of writing as opposed to particular styles of professional writing. If you (Iridescent) are advocating for relaxing the MOS to the point that we start to see an English language free-for-all where articles present the latest trends in mocking dictionaries on both sides of the Atlantic, then I, like, totally gotta disagree and stuff. The level of writing, formatting, sourcing, and general presentation not only can be, but should be better than what is available by paying for it. --Moni3 (talk) 21:22, 25 September 2009 (UTC)

(od) But that's incredibly unrealistic. How many people can write to that level of perfection? I'm only referring to writing here, of course - formatting, presentation and especially sourcing is something practially anyone can do well. But in terms of writing, there are very few people who can write at the level you advocate for at FAC - just look at all the calls for copy-editors at FAC that rarely get fulfilled, or if they do very slowly. How is that fair on people like, well, me? Someone who's just finished an MA in History and can write quite well, but isn't familiar with things like the exercises Tony1 has on his pages which he subsequently gets penalised for? Skinny87 (talk) 15:06, 28 September 2009 (UTC)

Few, actually, but that is the nature of a community-built encyclopedia. I don't see all the errors in my prose. It takes several reviewers to point out where I could make my points clearer and where I could streamline language. I have also grown somewhat with the expectations of Wikipedia. When an editor begins writing stubs and compares them with other stubs, there's no real model to aspire to, or pressure to improve. But when I attempted to ask for reviews, I was forced to improve quite a bit. I wasn't such a poor writer before, but it was a question of having the standards, however haphazardly and enigmatically they are applied, spelled out. It comes in dribs and drabs, a very inefficient system of relaying information. But in a Zen way, not only must the student be ready for the lesson, s/he must really, really want to learn it and search for it. --Moni3 (talk) 15:29, 28 September 2009 (UTC)

More on "professional level"

← I think where we differ is regarding what, if anything, is a "professional level". The difference may be that you're coming to Wikipedia with a background in teaching, whereas many of the others in this thread whose backgrounds I'm aware of are either coming from a background in training, or from jobs where the importance of conveying information accurately, regardless of how it gets there, is hammered home at every opportunity (which covers everything from the military to architecture to farming). To me, the paramount thing is "did the reader understand what I wrote to mean what I intended it to mean", and I'm entirely relaxed about how that information gets from me into the reader's head. That was what the original Featured Articles were, before the process started to get formalised back in 2004; I do think we've lost sight of the fact that we don't exist to serve other Wikipedia writers, but to serve a vast mass of anonymous readers who couldn't care less about our house style. (This, incidentally, is why I always ignore any complaint starting with the words "it affects my current preference settings", and always format images etc for optimum viewing at the MediaWiki defaults.) – iridescent 12:05, 26 September 2009 (UTC)

I don't write for other editors here, but if they make suggestions as to how to improve articles to facilitate the thoughts in my head getting to a reader more efficiently, then I'm for it. In my advocacy for a professional level of writing, I have in mind Wikipedia's bad reputation. We're easy to beat up on by academia (though I venture the same academics get upset when they don't have articles...), and that's usually because articles look like crap. They're uncited and not aesthetically pleasing. Some are chaotic in thought, organization, consistency, and formatting. They look quite amateurish. Except for the ones that appear on the main page. I have no problem demanding that FAs be written at a college-level of prose, and the style elements is at least consistent in the article. Every once in a while I catch a reference to surprise in a Wikipedia article, where some random blogger or teacher somewhere links to the FA with a caveat that says "Usually I would not link to Wikipedia article, but this one is surprisingly comprehensive". That warrants a Yay! --Moni3 (talk) 13:48, 26 September 2009 (UTC)
I'm not arguing with sourcing, but with the whole prose-style-compliance cult. To me, providing the article is factual, accurate, relevant, readable and verifiable it makes no difference whether dates include a comma between the month and year, or how persons with the same surname are disambiguated within an article. – iridescent 14:14, 26 September 2009 (UTC)
Heh, my background is the forces, then teaching, and now training, so which camp does that put me in? :) In the Potential Officers course I used to run, I illustrated personality types to the recruits with an analogy: there are some people to whom you can say "Fetch me a bucket of water". There are others to whom you have to say "Pick up that bucket in your left hand, take it to the tap, hold it under the tap, turn on the tap with your right hand..." Wikipedia's rules, guidelines and policies (including especially the MoS) are written with the second type in mind, and when we get editors of the first type - who largely know how to produce high-quality work without referring to a rule book - being assessed against that rule book, conflict is inevitable. The end results of both approaches are high-quality articles, but not necessarily identical articles... and I question the usefulness of insisting that they should be. I think Iridescent's nailed it above - as long as an article is comprehensive, balanced, accurate, well-sourced and conveys its contents effectively, do our readers really care about anything else? EyeSerenetalk 15:23, 26 September 2009 (UTC)
I'm with you on that (and from a fairly similar background). What I'd add (because I've only just thought of it) is that those people who are most familiar with how to write articles, are those least in need of the "hand-holding" side of things, and this conversation (by its nature) is attracting mostly the former. The MOS is useful in providing a framework within which we can say "no, your rambling 100+kb essay isn't what we're looking for"* and actually point out reasons better than "I don't like it" – however, by the time articles reach the GA/FA stage, chances are their writers are perfectly aware of what they want to say and how it ought to be said, and this kind of hand-holding becomes Wikipedia's equivalent of backseat driving. (In some ways something went wrong when "Writers are NOT expected or required to follow all or any these rules" ceased to be in bold at the top of the MOS.) It may be useful for you (Karanacs) to ask some of the people who work primarily with new(er) article-writers (the regulars at WP:RFF, the assorted coaching projects etc) how useful they find a strict-compliance approach, and whether they think there should be a cut-off point at which strict compliance is no longer enforced, and if so how high up the pole that cut-off should be. – iridescent 17:22, 26 September 2009 (UTC)
* That example decidedly not picked at random, if anyone wants to lose a day of their life fixing it. – iridescent 17:22, 26 September 2009 (UTC)
Murder of Imette St. Guillen
Already started, Iri, although I suspect a certain user on that article's talkpage will come along soon and complain. But it does desperately need cutting down. Is it even notable? Skinny87 (talk) 15:22, 28 September 2009 (UTC)
The case got nationwide attention for a few weeks, so it probably is notable. Want some help fixing it up? It made my brain say "noooo" which is usually a sign that I must fix something. Karanacs (talk) 15:41, 28 September 2009 (UTC)
Oh have fun with that one... The last good version of that was in 07 (probably, anyway) when I went through and rewrote and sourced the entire thing. Now I wouldn't touch that or any others with a ten foot pole. --ImGz (t/c) 15:57, 28 September 2009 (UTC)
Any and all help appreciated! Skinny87 (talk) 17:02, 28 September 2009 (UTC)
Oh, that's tempting... but I've so very nearly cleared my copyedit backlog (three more FA preps to finish!), and I really want to get to work on stuff for the milhist Academy. I'm seriously impressed with the level of detail though. I think you've made the right start Skinny, and I may yet wander over just to have something different to work on :) EyeSerenetalk 19:12, 28 September 2009 (UTC)
I wouldn't personally touch that one with a bargepole. Not only do I have previous history here, but AGF notwithstanding, as ImGz knows the OWNer of that article is one of the strangest characters on Wikipedia (sample diff)and I've no desire to renew our acquaintance. – iridescent 2 23:43, 28 September 2009 (UTC)
!!! How the hell weren't they blocked for that? EyeSerenetalk 07:44, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
Doing what I can, but frankly I'm way in over my head with something like this. Not my area of expertise, as it goes. Skinny87 (talk) 08:40, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
I did warn you. – iridescent 20:22, 5 October 2009 (UTC)

That is perfect inspiration for me to overhaul an article, top to bottom. Were I only interested in the topic. Bring it on! --Moni3 (talk) 21:12, 5 October 2009 (UTC)

The really ironic thing is that all the ranting, raving and tabloid-ese detracts from the impact of the article. If his goal is to make a memorial (which, WP:NOT not withstanding, is a perfectly valid motivation IMO – most Wikipedia pages exist because someone at some point thought "this subject is important to me and deserves a wider audience") it would be far better served by a shorter, good quality article which people would be more likely to read. If he'd spent the two years (!) he's been working on these making them better, rather than longer, they'd have been on the main page by now and be far more effective in drawing the case to notice. – iridescent 21:22, 5 October 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps that would be a good way to reach him. I'm still working up the energy to start digging through the sources on this one; if it looks like a doable job maybe we can attempt an FA run and see if that will quiet some of the more spurious objections. Karanacs (talk) 21:25, 5 October 2009 (UTC)
Per my previous history here (see link) I won't touch this one directly. The sources surely exist for rewriting it, but it's liable to be a BLP nightmare given all the counter-allegations flying about. – iridescent 21:29, 5 October 2009 (UTC)


Thanks, everyone, this is great feedback! I very much agree that "professional prose" has different connotations in different fields, and I think that is by and large reflected at FAC, too. I know in my own reviewing I expect an article on a literary work to have much more formal prose than one of the South Park articles (which reminds me to go read the South Park article that Awadewit wrote), but I expect to be able to read both articles without finding glaring grammatical errors or prose so clunky that I have to stop reading. Do <collective> you all see this too?

I also agree that MOS issue should never be the sole thing holding up an article from promotion, nor should we have to argue excessively about them on the FAC nomination. (If MOS issues are all that is outstanding, Sandy and I are likely to fix them as we're promoting.) I've seen a few FAC noms degenerate into MOS slugfests, and I'm not sure how to stop that. If those discussions are necessary, they probably ought to take place at WT:FAC (or an MOS page) so that reviewers and nominators aren't scared off. I don't usually see those conversations until too late, so not sure what to do...any ideas from the gallery? Karanacs (talk) 20:09, 25 September 2009 (UTC)

To be honest, I've never noticed a MoS slugfest at FAC, but I have seen too much discussion about trivial details that don't really matter a damn, like whether a 10th-century Scottish noble should be called by his contemporary name of Donnchadh or by his Anglicised name of Duncan. I do very much agree with the comments made by Iridescent above about "professional prose"; there's really no such thing. Or at least there's really no one such thing. I always feel for nominators when I see someone post the all too frequent "This article needs a thourough copyedit by an uninvolved editor". Where are people expected to find competent and willing copyeditors to work on an article they have no interest in? --Malleus Fatuorum 20:35, 25 September 2009 (UTC)
If you're after a current MOS slugfest, see this monstrosity, already mentioned above as a particularly sorry (IMO) example of the current FAC process skidding off the rails. Re "Where are people expected to find competent and willing copyeditors to work on an article they have no interest in?", I believe your talkpage is the traditional place, with myself and Moni trailing some way behind. – iridescent 21:13, 25 September 2009 (UTC)
I don't see an MOS slugfest there, but that entire page is a monstrosity in itself. Dabomb87 (talk) 21:20, 25 September 2009 (UTC)
Let me unburden myself. I've only created about 20 articles or so, so I'm not a real player when it comes to handing out the admin baubles like autoreviwer. It's clear to me that my efforts are not appreciated by that substantial body of administrators who repeatedly attempt to drive me away because I'm not afraid to tell them where they ought to get off, and who couldn't even write a GA to save their lives. There, I feel better now. --Malleus Fatuorum 01:34, 26 September 2009 (UTC)
Malleus, you say the above just about every day, and sometimes twice a day. It would seem like you are addicted to the "feeling better" effects of stating the bloody obvious. :P Ottava Rima (talk) 02:37, 26 September 2009 (UTC)
Ottava, I hardly know where to begin. ;-) --Malleus Fatuorum 02:43, 26 September 2009 (UTC)
In my opinion, nominators should ignore reviewers who get too nitpicky (like the article naming issue) after providing an explanation of why they are ignoring. Not all nominators are comfortable doing that, and not all reviewers are able to disengage on things like that either. I think if we could figure out a good solution to this problem, FAC would not be as stressful for a lot of nominators. Karanacs (talk) 21:16, 25 September 2009 (UTC)
That comes back to my comments about F&F above. You may know and I may know that you and Sandy will ignore the "I have no opinion and I demand it be heard!" drivebys, but not only can we not expect the nominators to know who they should and shouldn't take seriously; it discourages other reviewers. If someone visits FAC looking for something to review, if they see one with "Oppose, includes an image I think is ugly", "Oppose, doesn't include my pet theory", "Oppose, uses Harvard references and I don't like them" chances are they'll see no point spending time reviewing it. – iridescent 21:23, 25 September 2009 (UTC)

"Professional standard"

I've always taken "professional prose" to mean "prose fit for purpose", so I suppose that puts me in Category:Agrees with Iridescent too. Prose that doesn't communicate its message at a level suitable for its intended audience is worthless, hence unprofessional by definition. Having said that, I do believe we have a secondary mission to educate as well as inform, so I don't see anything wrong with stretching readers occasionally :) I also agree that an ever-rising bar is eventually self-defeating; editors make a cost/benefit decision whenever they bring an article to any formal review process, and as soon as they decide the costs outweigh the benefits, the process starts to lose its way. This is nothing new of course; editors have been saying this for years and I do believe we've already gone some way down this road (not just at FA). My real worry is when we reach the tipping-point, where the number of new editors and those returning for repeat business is outweighed by those deciding it's no longer worth the effort. I guess this is the basis of my objection to trivial opposes on things like MoS nitpicks; review processes exist to serve article writers by encouraging them to improve Wikipedia, and as soon as the process becomes an end in itself it loses legitimacy. One (probably unworkable!) solution might be for the FAC directors to take a more active role in managing reviews - for example, by pulling the plug on obviously unproductive opposes. There are some reviewers who really have no business doing reviews, and perhaps they'd eventually get the message and either leave or improve their reviewing style. Another solution might be to divide the criteria into 'must-haves' and 'would be nice'; I'm sure there'd be nominators that would ignore points in the second category, but I bet many wouldn't. EyeSerenetalk 21:20, 25 September 2009 (UTC)
I could name several (in my opinion) great editors who have been so traumatised by the FAC process that they longer submit articles to FAC. The process is basically just too adversarial for some. "Support", "Oppose", sound like judgements from a jury. I remember a similar point coming up about RfA. Why do you have to prefix an oppose with a big black Oppose, or even worse a Strong oppose? Perhaps some kind of tick list for each of the FA criteria that each reviewer could add to, depending on what they've checked? Comments could still be added, but not of the "do it my way or I'll oppose variety". --Malleus Fatuorum 22:58, 25 September 2009 (UTC)
Not a bad idea, but it would possibly make the "driveby nitpick" problem worse; I could easily see someone slapping a in the "1(c)" column because the article (gasp) contains both an em-dash and an en-dash, and swanning off never to be seen again. Look at some of the nuttiness that sometimes goes on at T:TDYK. (I know it's already linked, but this one's so telling it warrants mentioning twice) – iridescent 23:31, 25 September 2009 (UTC)
I am not by any stretch a "great editor" in my own or anyone else's opinion, but I confess to a degree of tiredness with the whole process. It has nothing to do with Support/Oppose in bold or otherwise, but rather with the nature of the procedure itself which all-too-often seems to be 90% MOS and arbitrary opinions about wording and <5% about content. I was psyching myself up for another attempt until I came across the dispiriting Donnchadh business and I decided I had better things to do for a while. Does the existence of this discussion here indicate that my vague assumption that regular FA editors discussed their affairs in some mysterious backwater that I had yet to come across is flawed? If yes, does the excellence of this conversation suggest that such a backwater is worth creating? Ben MacDui 18:03, 26 September 2009 (UTC)
Theoretically, this kind of thing is supposed to take place at WT:FAC, but threads there generally either degenerate into shouting matches, or become boring discussions of technical detail. I guess this is what the Content Noticeboard was meant to become, but it never really made it there. The advantage of discussions on individual user talk pages is that the signal-to-noise ratio is generally higher, as one doesn't get every passing crank weighing in with their opinion. – iridescent 18:42, 26 September 2009 (UTC)
I'll take that as a compliment... :) Ben MacDui 19:56, 26 September 2009 (UTC)

Traumatic process/unreasonably high standards?

  • Malleus, I hate knowing that great editors have been traumatised by the FAC process (there's one happening at the moment): we need to find ways of stopping that, or at least minimising upset. But let's sit back for a minute and feel positive about how FAC standards have risen monumentally over the past few years. I've had lengthy breaks from FAC, and every time I return, I'm delighted by what I see. I know there's pain there (as in life, as in any half-way decent career), but the big black Opposes have had an effect. So has MoS. So has the presence of specialists in verification, copyright, images, plagiarism. It's not a perfect system, and sure we can discuss how it can be improved, but at the same time, I want to congratulate all concerned for contributing to this transformation. en.WP FAC (perhaps FLC too) are something for the other WPs to admire! And no longer can Encyc. Britt. liken WP to a public toilet. How dare they. Tony (talk) 02:57, 27 September 2009 (UTC)
  • Tony, I agree that standards have risen, in large measure because the rules were being enforced, but that has led to the fallacy of supposing that even more rules are needed for even higher quality. We're in serious danger of turning people right off the FA process. I know I can't go through another situation like my last FAC. For my next one, I'm going to make reasonable efforts to ensure it's well-written, well-researched, well-sourced, neutral, and internally consistent, but I can't focus on non-breaking spaces, alt text, conversion tables, ISBN numbers, and whatever else I was asked to add.

    I also don't want all our FAs to look and read the same. I'd like to see some quirkiness, some creativity, but I fear the people most able to deliver that are almost certainly the people we're chasing away, or at least failing to attract. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 08:19, 27 September 2009 (UTC)

The point I'm trying to make is that, while we should certainly be aiming for "ever onward and upward" improvement in the quality of the information we provide, the constant drive towards ever higher standards regarding formatting and presentation is detracting from that. Featured Articles and Good Articles don't exist in a vacuum, but as a relatively tiny cog in a larger machine – 38809 articles (0.659%) of the 5,893,454 total are rated FA, FL or GA – and the current setup is a huge barrier to entry to users unfamiliar with the processes. If authors are put off by having to comply with hundreds of obscure arbitrary standards regarding dash formatting, alt-text, commas in dates and the like – as I've already noted, the Wikipedia Manual of Style is currently longer than the entire Guardian Style Guide – then at best they don't bother taking perfectly good informative, sourced articles through the assessment processes; at worst they get so fed up with constantly seeing their work "corrected" that they abandon Wikipedia altogether. This isn't hyperbole; this is what is actually happening. Wikipedia is a volunteer project, yet we're attempting to enforce a writing standard that is higher than that applied to professional writers in a professional environment. – iridescent 08:26, 27 September 2009 (UTC)
However, the new concise version of the MoS is only 40% as long. Tony (talk) 14:57, 28 September 2009 (UTC)
I know there are different views regarding whether featured articles must comply with the MoS. My own feeling is that they shouldn't have to, because the MoS is a guideline. On the other hand, the FA criteria say FAs should follow it. I'm wondering whether, as a compromise, we should draw up a minimalist version of the MoS that featured articles are expected to adhere to: Wikipedia:Featured article style. Once created, it would be expected to remain stable, with nothing added to it without clear consensus. Reviewers would be expected to become familiar with it, and not request anything that isn't on it. I'm thinking of this as a separate thing from your summary of the MoS, Tony. This one would include only those issues that people agree an FA must have. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 15:10, 28 September 2009 (UTC)
Slim, would you mind posting this message at WT:FAC? I think that is an interesting idea and I'd be curious to see a broader reaction, but I don't want to arbitrarily move your words. Karanacs (talk) 15:21, 28 September 2009 (UTC)
I think that's an excellent idea SV. The MoS's constantly moving goalposts are an ongoing source of frustration to many. --Malleus Fatuorum 07:48, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
Okay, I'll start a section at FAC. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 00:45, 30 September 2009 (UTC)
See Wikipedia_talk:Featured_article_candidates#Proposal_for_a_featured_article_style. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 02:16, 30 September 2009 (UTC)
Commented there – iridescent 09:57, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

Something similar at DYK

This conversation reminded me of some of the points above. By the way, do you (Iridescent) have any comments about my approach to sourcing reviews - no opposes and just directly pointing out problems in a straight forward and objective manner and let others decide. Ottava Rima (talk) 21:27, 25 September 2009 (UTC)

I have no problem at all with that; it's what I do as well. (You could probably count my total FAC opposes on one hand.) As far as I'm concerned, too many people approach FAC/GAN (and even DYK) as if they were prosecution attorneys (I have a fond memory of having DYK noms opposed for "using Harvard referencing" and "having a stub template"). If any of the bot crowd are still watching this page, something that would probably serve as a graphical indicator of Wikipedia's relative malaise—far better than that "relative decline in number of edits" graph that's always being wheeled out—would be a bot to count the number of occurrences of the word "dash" on the FAC page over the years. (current count: 20.) – iridescent 21:50, 25 September 2009 (UTC)
I only ask, because I was accused of bullying others that I disagreed with - "Ottava Rima's confrontational, my-way-or-the-highway approach to editing. He tolerates no disagreement with his point of view: if he encounters any, he threatens, bullies, and behaves noxiously until he gets his way, usually by wearing out the opposition". It would just seem like something that would come out in my FAC reviews if true. Ottava Rima (talk) 23:07, 25 September 2009 (UTC)
I saw that earlier Ottava. What I find curious is that you and I agree about almost nothing, but yet we manage to have a productive and (I think) congenial relationship. Go figure. --Malleus Fatuorum 23:16, 25 September 2009 (UTC)
Because even though you represent everything that is opposite to who I am in real life, you aren't here to destroy things. I am seen as a staunch conservative. I actively promote Catholic values. I am a traditionalist. And yet I have an FA on the LGBT WikiProject, I work with atheists, and I have collaborated with many liberals without a problem. And yet some how I only accept my own view and criticize those who disagree. Ottava Rima (talk) 23:21, 25 September 2009 (UTC)
Am I right in guessing this stems from Persian Empire? If so, while I tilt towards your view (yes, there have been separate entities called "Persian Empire", but they still warrant a single "holding" page as a general history of entities by that name and how they relate to each other), I can see that there's a valid alternative position (the assorted entities called "French Republic" are all sub-pages of History of France rather than a separate "French Republic" page, for example), and - without having followed all the arguments - from what I've seen of them, I'm not sure you give the impression that you're willing to take the "the ancient, Sassanid and modern Persian Empires are so different as to warrant completely separate treatment" argument seriously. I suspect that's what's causing the antagonism - and yes, I do realise that they don't give the "the similarities are more important than the differences and they warrant a single treatment" argument the credit it deserves, but two wrongs etc... – iridescent 23:23, 25 September 2009 (UTC)
Actually, it stems from Christopher Smart when Moreschi first blocked me even though I had 12 sources (every major source dealing with the poet) stating that he was a Free Mason. Two people from that project didn't like it, so they started edit warring it out then complained at a noticeboard and Moreschi decided to indef me for tendentious editing. He received a lot of flak for it. When he had a chance, his group decided to claim that Ludovico Ariosto was no longer a Christian writer writing Christian epics even though multiple sources claim he was simply to disrupt my attempt to fix the poet's page. You can see at the Rfar where they bullied and threatened blocks on both the Fringe noticeboard and talk page. I pointed this out at Itsmejudith's RfA, as she was one of the participants. This led to her failure. Folantin et al went crazy on my own RfA and continued to harass me on various talk pages. The Persian Empire page went out of hand after they edit warred against Wizardman and I pointed out on the 18th century page that they were still called the Persian Empire (she was trying to chance all uses of it to back up that there was no need for the page). She started attacking me, personalising it, and continued to edit war the page out of existence. Then when someone tried to label Oscar Wilde as a pederast, the group jumped on it when it came up to a noticeboard and brought out the harassment, the threats, etc. Gwen Gale's block with Antandrus her friend championing it is part of it. Jehochman's threat of sanctions although he has worked long and closely with one of the parties is also part of it. The nerve they had to think that they could bully an Arbitrator and destroy a 60k page with these tactics only verifies that they think they own Wikipedia. Ottava Rima (talk) 23:35, 25 September 2009 (UTC)
"Special:Contributions/Ottava_Rima has been viewed 3083 times in 200909. See [3]". Am I the only one a little creeped out, especially when it may register my views maybe once or twice a day? It seems obvious how these individuals keep popping up in various places. I almost wish my contribs could be hidden - that way, much of the trouble would vanish. Ottava Rima (talk) 00:22, 26 September 2009 (UTC)
You're in the unfortunate position of being watched from multiple sides, and if it's any consolation others have it worse than you. Those hit figures artificially inflate very quickly by people looking for particular diffs; if I'm looking for something you said two weeks ago, and find it by "your contributions → previous 50 → previous 50 → previous 50 → previous 50 → ah, there it is" that will count as five separate views; if you're at ANI or Arbcom, and people are hunting for particular diffs, the figure can ratchet up very quickly. – iridescent 09:16, 26 September 2009 (UTC)
How many attempts did it take you before you found someone with more? :) By the way, look at my talk page hits. My contribs had 800 more views than my talk page. My talk page gets a lot of hits. That was the creepy part. Ottava Rima (talk) 13:22, 26 September 2009 (UTC)
Only one; I'm familiar enough with Wikipedia and its complex web of stalkers and stalkees to know who it was going to be. – iridescent 13:40, 26 September 2009 (UTC)
I can only assume that Daniel Brandt et al are responsible for a large portion of her hits. ;/ Ottava Rima (talk) 14:12, 26 September 2009 (UTC)

Has DYK lost its way? What was its way to start with?

← Wrenching the thread back on track, I'm inclined to agree with the "There's a malaise at DYK" view in that thread. When DYK started, Wikipedia was still mostly redlinks and there were a lot of significant topics to highlight. Now, while there are still certainly some important topics to be written, what makes it to DYK is generally ultra-marginal topics that nobody's seen the need to write an article on for eight years. Current DYK selection at the time I write this:

Did You Know:
  • ... that the nose and tail sections of the Soviet Ilyushin Il-32 prototype cargo glider (pictured) were hinged to open up to 95° to facilitate the loading of cargo?
  • ... that the Sanni Yakuma is a traditional Sinhalese exorcism and dance ritual that calls various demons believed to be ailing humans and humiliates them through comic and obscene enactments?
  • ... that as of 2009, Liz Shuler is the first woman and youngest person to hold the position of AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer, and the highest-ranking woman in the labor federation's history?
  • ... that "Gossip", the sixth season premiere of The Office, saw an 18 percent Nielsen Ratings drop compared to the fifth season premiere, "Weight Loss"?
  • ... that just behind the Agave Garden on the Plaza Garibaldi, a museum of tequila is being built, complete with a large tasting room?
  • ... that Jesse Sublett was a pioneer of the Austin, Texas, punk rock scene, authored a series of mystery novels, and wrote a history of the Texas Turnpike Authority?
  • ... that with Kerry's victory in the 2009 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final, Tadhg Kennelly became the first person to win medals at the highest level of Australian rules and Gaelic football?
  • ... that frogfish can suck prey into their mouths in just 6 milliseconds, too fast for other animals to see?
  • Yes, they're all interesting to people interested in the specific topic; yes, they work in highlighting what a broad range of topics Wikipedia covers – but to me, they don't work in the "hey, come help us improve these articles" spirit in which DYK was intended, as the number of people with the necessary background knowledge of the topics in question will be so low, or in the "Wikipedia's most interesting articles" spirit, as by and large they probably won't be of interest to most people. As I'm sure I've said before, I've never been comfortable with Did You Know and In The News being on the front page. To me, they highlight to general readers Wikipedia's two weakest spots – stubby, generally poor quality articles in the first case, and unstable articles (often BLPs) prone to edit-warring in the second. I'm convinced they're partly responsible for Wikipedia's poor reputation; if we shove our worst articles under the readers' noses, we can't then get angry when they come away with a poor impression of us. – iridescent 11:37, 27 September 2009 (UTC)

    That last one is interesting, and actually a decent looking article. Majorly talk 16:52, 27 September 2009 (UTC)
    In all fairness, new subjects are created (or achieve notability) every day. I see your point, though. Waltham, The Duke of 05:42, 28 September 2009 (UTC)
    Oh, new subjects are created every day, but we go through interesting subjects faster than they're created - and the "nothing on the main page twice" rule means that generally, any new development that's actually interesting gets cherrypicked by ITN and never even makes it to DYK. When DYK was set up it was explicitly intended as a way to highlight unfinished articles on interesting topics, as a tool for recruiting editors. The majority of submissions to it now are on ultra-obscure topics, that firstly the general reader is vanishingly unlikely to be in a position to expand, and secondly are often so obscure that further expansion wouldn't actually be a worthwhile use of anyone's time.
    The problem really stems from the fact that the main page hasn't changed since 2006, and there are so many vested interests and MMORPG-ers who will fight tooth and nail if there's any attempt to remove their particular pet section. If I had my way I'd:
    • Get rid of DYK and replace it with an "Articles needing help" section, with one article nominated by each of the core portals (Culture, Geography, Health, History, Mathematics, Natural sciences, Philosophy, Religion, Society, Technology, since you asked), and left in place for at least a full day. This would mean a better selection of "important articles needing help" would be displayed (an embarassing number of Vital articles are awful); it would also hopefully draw more of the established Wikipedia writers into the portals, many of which are in a wretched state through lack of maintenance;
    • Get rid of Today's Featured Picture completely. Firstly, I'm fairly certain that almost none of our readers care; secondly, about 99% of these are on Commons, not Wikipedia. Get rid of TFP, and replace it with an expanded directory of the significant sister projects; if readers knew we had a separate picture section, they'd go look there if they're interested;
    • Get rid of ITN. We're not a news service, and the section pretty much invariably highlights our worst articles and ongoing editwars;
    • Do something to knock some sense into On This Day, if it's going to be kept. This is the preserve of those few people who bother to get involved, making it hopelessly biased. (As I write this, there are five anniversaries; two English, two German, one Swiss, none in the rest of the world.);
    • Have two or more TFAs, only one of which needs to actually be FA standard, the other just has to be sourced and reasonably well written. This would make for more variety on the front page, and hopefully have a knock-on effect in lowering the nitpicking standard at FAC, when people see that "not 100% perfect" articles going on the main page and the world not coming to an end.
    Of course, none of the above will happen without an ex cathedra ruling from the WMF; there are far too many "I have 200 DYK credits!"/"I'm responsible for foo percent of all TFP's!" around, and they include people who'll be stubborn enough to argue any proposed redesign into a stalemate. – iridescent 18:40, 29 September 2009 (UTC)


    I know that you've been interested in these issues in the past. Wikipedia:WikiProject AdministratorChed :  ?  04:47, 5 October 2009 (UTC)

    Meh. Everyone likely to get involved in a discussion like that already knows my opinions. No offence, but this just looks to me like a Happy Shopper version of ACPD. – iridescent 19:25, 5 October 2009 (UTC)


    Thanks for your note. I've corrected my post at RfAR, and I apologize for the error. So far as I'm aware, everyone I listed is a good contributor and valued member of the community, regardless of what they wear while editing.   Will Beback  talk  21:16, 5 October 2009 (UTC)

    No problem... You can also safely assume that Pedro, at any rate, won't be a member since he and Lara are not exactly best of friends. – iridescent 21:22, 5 October 2009 (UTC)


    I read a post of yours on Mal's talk page, one you posted yesterday I believe. I have to say that I couldn't agree more! Good Form! — Ched :  ?  16:02, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

    Thanks. (To save TPSs diff-digging, the quote in question is Yes, I knew who Law was at the time of the RFA and voted support anyway. Sue me. Oddly, I probably wouldn't have voted for the_undertow at the time despite them being the same person, due to the drama-magnet factor. However, I'd certainly vote for him now, as I think he's handled the onslaught from the "Ignore All Rules applies to me, not you" lynch-mob in an exemplary fashion.) I'm half tempted to get myself resysopped purely for the honor of having my head added to the "champions for change" Arbcom's current array of sacrifice poles. (If this farce goes the way it looks like it's going, the next passing 'crat probably ought to rename Jayron to Barabbas.) This Arbcom, with a couple of honorable exceptions, seem determined to be even more arbitrary and irrational than the last one; "I'm running because I want the Arbitration Committee to be what it ought to be: a speedy, just, respectful, and respected institution" is right up there with "Read my lips: no new taxes". – iridescent 20:19, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
    Note: the above was posted before I saw this. That the current gap between "I'm running because I want the Arbitration Committee to be what it ought to be: a speedy, just, respectful, and respected institution" and "I'm going to be away until I feel some desire to resolve petty disputes among brittle people with no sense of proportion, only to be rewarded by constant accusations of malfeasance, endless criticism, and potential unindemnified civil liability" is less than ten months speaks volumes about the Δv of the Wikipedia handbasket. – iridescent 20:58, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
    Perhaps it's something that happens when you're on the arbcom? It changes people. Someone please give me a sharp kick if you ever spot me running in an arbcom election. Majorly talk 21:02, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
    I struggle to understand why anyone would want to be on the Arbcom, it's an even more thankless task than administrator.
    Speaking of which, I've been really astonished that nobody seems able to discern what the fundamental problem is with wikipedia's governance—one of the most fundamental anyway. How many powers have administrators taken upon themselves even in the two or three years I've been here? Far too many. Their job ought to be maintenance, not policing, writing "abuse filters", or generally throwing their weight around. Moving pages, deleting content, closing AfD's, that sort of thing. Who in their right mind would be looking up to children as moral exemplars? Let administrators do the administrative work, and debundle the tools so that others can do, for instance, the far more contentious blocking work. Or more to the point, the far more difficult work that leads to not having to block at all. --Malleus Fatuorum 21:13, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
    Perhaps you could try suggesting this idea on WT:RFA? Maybe get consensus there? Majorly talk 21:15, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
    What's WT:RFA but yet another talking shop designed to prevent any change to the status quo? Anyone looking for "good judgement" really ought not to be looking for it in schoolkids. --Malleus Fatuorum 21:24, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
    WT:RFA is Wikipedia's flypaper; it draws the policy-obsessives in, and keeps them in one place annoying each other instead of hassling normal people. It took me a while to realize this but once you do it's obvious. FWIW I think Majorly was being sarcastic. – iridescent 21:27, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
    I'm sure he was, because he knows that I, like him, abandoned that pit of despair months ago. --Malleus Fatuorum 21:33, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
    (Cough cough cough)
    Frequently edited pages: User:Malleus Fatuorum
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    I'm touched to appear above Ferret, mind. – iridescent 21:43, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
    My gods, he's edited Wilfrid 318 times??? Poor guy! Ealdgyth - Talk 21:45, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
    There were probably a lot of commas that needed to be moved around. That's all I'm trusted to do around here. :-) --Malleus Fatuorum 22:06, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
    I found that table hard to believe when I first saw it. I think at least some of that was arguing for debundling of admin tools. I now realise that I was wasting my time. Just like I wasted my time arguing for the GA green dot in mainspace. Nothing will change here. --Malleus Fatuorum 21:58, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
    It doesn't necessarily change people; it just never changes people for the better. Besides, the whole election process favors people who will spout whatever platitudes they think people want to hear, and punishes those who say unpalatable truths. This is not a problem unique to Wikipedia, unless you really think that the three most competent people to lead the free world were really Clinton, Bush and Obama. – iridescent 21:19, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
    Not the best, but almost certainly not the worst either, and elected only for a fixed duration. Not for life, like wikipedia administrators. Compare any of them to Robert Mugabe, for instance. --Malleus Fatuorum 21:28, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
    You (Malleus) can blaim Brion Vibber for this as much as anyone. When new features are added, and there are good reasons not to give them to all users (can you imagine what the abuse filter would be like if every crank could ban use of the word "evolution", for instance), there's no natural group of users to give the right to other than the admins. Wikipedia Review would throttle me for saying this, but what this site needs at the moment is more ex cathedra rulings from Jimbo, not less. It doesn't even matter if they're right or wrong, so long as they break this logjam. – iridescent 21:19, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
    Actually I do blame Brion Vibber, for his lack of vision. There's certainly a logjam though, because almost nothing can be changed here now. Is Jimbo the right person to break it? I'm not so sure. Who is? I don't know. --Malleus Fatuorum 21:40, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

    Iridescent, thank you for speaking up. I just saw this. Lara 21:42, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

    You're welcome. One of the more unpleasant things about this whole episode – whether you think t_u was a complete asshole who should be indefblocked or a great editor who should be welcomed back with open arms, or anything in between – is how many people who undoubtedly knew are either lying, or desperately trying to avoid answering the question and hoping nobody notices in all the heat and light. – iridescent 21:46, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
    I also knew for some time. I was told via email on 12 July, out of the blue. I had no idea who he was when I supported his RfA. As I've mentioned many times, I don't care for political grudges, which is precisely what this is all about. If he was beneficial for the encyclopedia, that's all that matters, and that's why I didn't tell anyone. Majorly talk 21:52, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
    Eh? Eh? No one else could claim such. People should really believe me when I say things appear to be suspicious and bad. ;/ Ottava Rima (talk) 22:00, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
    Suspicious, yes. Bad, I disagree. Majorly talk 22:06, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
    (edit conflict)x3 Well, I did mention on one of those arb pages (not sure which one - there's so many) that I found out. I didn't know at the time he had his RFA, but even when I did find out - I didn't think it was that big a deal (obviously I was wrong on that part of it). To be honest, I don't think "Law" was a bad editor or admin. at all - actually, I think he was a hell of a lot better than a handful I can think of at the moment that seem to be enjoying a bit of a "we won" party. I'll admit, that looking back at some of the old "the undertow" contribs - there were a few things in there that should have been toned down, and I'm not sure I'd have supported that RFA. I don't know how this will all turn out in the end - maybe we could get a-hold of Larry and get him and Jimbo to work out something ... sigh ... prolly not huh? Oh well ... just daydreaming I guess. — Ched :  ?  22:11, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
    I was told back in May, IIRC. What I'm finding distasteful though is that who knew and admit to having know at the time of Law's RfA are being hung ot to dry, well at least one of them is anyway, whereas those who knew and have kept quiet or dissembled are getting away with it. --Malleus Fatuorum 22:14, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
    Without wanting to come across all Wikipedia Review, there's something peculiarly distasteful about some of the names in this particular "he ran a sock account! burn him!" lynch mob. Ched, use your admin buttons to look at the history of User:Sunsplash some time, if the oversighters haven't got to it first. – iridescent 22:17, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
    hmmm .. well the page history is mighty thin, but I think I get the idea. Interesting to say the least. — Ched :  ?  22:29, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
    You have to click the reverted diffs to get the whole picture. See, this is what I'm talking about. We know it happens! If they're not causing problems, it shouldn't matter. We can't expect banned editors to walk away. That particular case may not be an issue, depending on the contribs, which I don't care enough to look into. But this is what I've been saying the whole time. Lara 02:18, 9 October 2009 (UTC)

    November 25 and the Law RfA

    Hi, I note that you state that you knew who Law was on November 25, 2008. I also note that you supported Law in the RfA subsequent to that event. When you supported in the RfA were you aware of the circumstances surrounding Undertow's blocking prior or did you think that this account had vanished and reappeared under a valid, ArbCom supported use of the right to vanish? JoshuaZ (talk) 23:46, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

    Look up. – iridescent 23:49, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
    I'm deeply disappointed. JoshuaZ (talk) 23:51, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
    In what? You and I have never intersected in any way, unless you've suddenly developed an interest in nineteenth century civil engineering; why should you have an opinion on me? For what it's worth, I have never made the slightest secret of the fact that I think Wikipedia's banning policy is – along with its ugly sister WP:COI – completely unenforceable on a project that has anonymity as a basic principle, nor do I believe that blocking of non-disruptive users is ever desirable. While I will noisily oppose people I see as problem users gaining adminship,* I have never lobbied for anyone to be banned nor done anything to enforce a ban, and have been absolutely consistent in this; I've never outed a sockpuppet of a banned or RTV'd user, and lobby fairly loudly for some of Wikipedia's most notorious unpersons, from Kohs to Poetlister, to be allowed clean-break restarts.
    If you want a more appropriate target for your witchhunt, you may want to go hassle those who are studiously avoiding answering the "did you know who he was?" question and hoping their non-answers are lost in the talkpage morasses, rather than trying to whip up false anger against those who've had the courtesy to admit what they knew and when. – iridescent 00:12, 9 October 2009 (UTC)
    * Despite my serial-opposer reputation at RFA, there are very few RFAs I've opposed where the candidate's gone on to pass – that is, where my opinion hasn't reflected that of the community: Penwhale, lustiger seth, Aervanath, Anthony Appleyard, Davemeistermoab, Elonka, FlyingToaster and PastorTheo. Two of those were ultra-controversial "below the discretionary range" RFA passes, two have since been desysopped for abuse, and one is a leading candidate for the heavily contested title of Wikipedia's Least Competent Admin. I'd call that a pretty fair record at picking winners. – iridescent 00:12, 9 October 2009 (UTC)
    You are correct that we haven't had any direct interaction but I've seen you around enough to develop a generally positive opinion. Moreover, I agree that there are fundamental conflicts between our anonymity policy, COI and SOCK, although I disagree with you on what should be done about it. You mention a reputation as a "serial-opposer" on RfA which is interesting because RfAs are one of the past situations that I've paid attention to and did not have that impression. Indeed, your judgment about RfAs has generally seemed good (the nitpicky math person in me wants to point that your above data doesn't show that you are good at picking winners but rather that you've had few false positives for opposing). However, that's not the concern here. The concern is that you knowingly withheld information from the community that you knew could easily alter how people would vote. Essentially, you substituted the community's consensus for your own. We are a project run on consensus, and running around it with our own best judgments is what leads to the worst short of behavior we get such as wheel wars and the like. (Incidentally, if Law had been publicly disclosed as Undertow, I would have likely supported. ) JoshuaZ (talk) 01:05, 9 October 2009 (UTC)
    I agree with you that the refusal of certain admins to discuss what they knew is in some ways far worse. But it at least shows that they understand that the community is upset with these activities. I'm not going to respond to your accusations I or anyone else is engaging in a witchhunt other than to note that your use of the phrase "your witchhunt" is doing an amazing job on the civility front. JoshuaZ (talk) 01:12, 9 October 2009 (UTC)
    The above post encapsulates the divide between the two camps here quite well. For better or worse, this is a project with anonymity as a core principle and that's not going to change; we're not Citizendium or Britannica, nor should we be. In these circumstances, all the elaborate WP:SPI apparatus is just a playground game as you (plural) have no way of knowing which accounts are connected unless they choose to disclose it. Checkuser, the only tool we have, is notoriously inaccurate; two completely unrelated accounts can edit from the same IP (I imagine everyone remembers such highlights in Wikipedia's history as the blocking of AOL, every user of British Telecom, and the entire nation of Qatar), and the same editor can edit from multiple IPs through such complicated procedures as "turning the router off and on" or "logging on from work"; you have no way of proving that any two users aren't the same person.
    In these circumstances, especially given that there's no prohibition on multiple accounts, then unless someone voluntarily discloses the connection between accounts the accounts ought to be treated as separate entities and RFA, RFAR and all the rest of the alphabet soup should apply to the account not the user, and the only concern regarding multiple accounts under the current policy would be votestacking or skewing discussions, neither of which applies here. It's worth pointing out here that on the original block – blocked unilaterally by the original initiator of the thread against him, with the highly dubious block reason of "Per discussion on the mailing list" – the announcement was "The undertow has requested that his sysop privileges be removed temporarily", not "Chip has been banned".
    With the possible exception of the unblock of Childofmidnight – which may have been contentious, but no more so than any instalment in the block/unblock sagas that swirl around Giano, Vintagekits or Malleus, none of which lead to calls for desysopping – can you point to any actions by User:Law – as opposed to Chip the person – that suggest that he's unsuitable for the job?
    Although you (plural) keep bandying the phrase "you substituted the community's consensus for your own" around, I can't see what you mean by it. We have 10,708,559 editors; claiming to speak for "the Wikipedia community" is as arrogant and as ridiculous as the self-appointed community spokesmen (and they always are men) for "the gay community" or "the black community". There is no such thing as "community consensus", and certainly not in a case like this where it's clearly polarized opinion and there's little agreement. It's the height of arrogance for you to claim that your own personal opinions represent "community consensus" while everyone who disagrees with you is some kind of voice-in-the-wilderness. Besides, given that of those 10,708,559 editors, or even of the 500 or so who actively participate in Wikidrama processes, only around 30 have expressed any kind of opinion on the matter, if we do have a "community consensus" it's surely "I don't give a shit" by a pretty damn overwhelming margin.
    I stand entirely by "witchhunt". Looking at the original thread just reinforces it, as it seems to be the exact same names – including you – wielding the pitchforks then and now. – iridescent 11:26, 9 October 2009 (UTC)
    Two issues. First, regarding the issue of anonymity you are making an is v. ought fallacy. Just because something is difficult to enforce doesn't make it acceptable behavior nor does it mean that we should consider it acceptable behavior. Regarding the issue of substituting for community consensus the meaning is quite simple: Discussions occur. No, not every single Wikipedian joins in at every single RfA and every single AfD. That doesn't mean that they don't represent a consensus of the people who care about the issue and thus represent a communal consensus about a candidate. In that regard, deliberately witholding information because you personally have decided it won't impact your own decision is deliberately running around that segment of the community which is trying to have an open and honest discussion about the matter. It puts your personal opinion above the judgment of the community. JoshuaZ (talk) 23:20, 12 October 2009 (UTC)
    We're not going to agree on this, as I think we have fundamentally different attitudes to how this project operates and should operate. While I can certainly respect Jayron's apology, I don't agree with it as I don't see anything to apologise for. The whole "The Arbcom and the People of Wikipedia have spoken" argument only works if you believe that Arbcom has the power to make rulings outside of their intentionally narrowly defined remit ("to impose binding solutions to disputes between editors, determine which editors have access to CheckUser and Oversight permissions, and consider certain matters where exceptional factors such as privacy preclude a public hearing"), and also believe that a hastily coralled lynch-mob constitutes "the community". I believe neither, and I certainly don't see why the personal prejudices of eight people, elected specifically to carry out a dispute resolution function with only the most tangential relevance to this particular incident, should be taken any more seriously than those of any other users in this case. While I disagree with Risker on many things, I entirely agree with her general attitude; Arbcom and the assorted rabble of cranks, obsessives and wannabes who constantly yap at their heels need to quit the pretence that they're the governing body of Wikipedia. They are not, and they should damn well quite trying to take over the running of this project and their self-appointed police force should quit acting like the school prefects of Wikipedia. – iridescent 23:39, 12 October 2009 (UTC)
    Excuse me, but it may be that my memory and eyesight are poor. Did I say anything above about the ArbCom? JoshuaZ (talk) 00:02, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
    (a) yes, and (b) this whole dispute is about the role of the Arbcom. If you don't agree that "Arbcom executive decision" equates to "will of the community", then you and I actually agree, since the issue at case is whether Arbcom have the right to censure and punish people based on their (Arbcom's) personal opinions, given that despite Tony's efforts to write one we do not yet have a community-endorsed policy on the acceptability of alternative accounts. – iridescent 00:11, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
    Not at all. Whether the ArbCom has the ability to respond in certain ways is essentially orthogonal to the issues that we were discussing, namely why I was disappointed by your actions. To use a real life example, one might think that the government has no right to interfere with individuals' religious choices but still make personal judgments about peoples decisions about them. Or to use another slightly different example, I don't think that the government has any right to punish people for telling minor lies. That doesn't mean that I think such behavior is acceptable. In a similar way, whether what you and Jenna et. al. did was proper is separate from whether the ArbCom has a right to respond in this fashion. JoshuaZ (talk) 00:21, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
    OK, enough. I'll say this one final time since it doesn't seem to be sinking in; I don't care what your opinion is. Either you believe Arbcom has the right to dictate community opinion, in which case someone from Arbcom is more than capable of coming here to share their thoughts with me (enough of them watch this page). Or, you're just some random passerby who for no apparent reason has come to say that you're "disappointed in me", despite the fact that we have never had the slightest dealing with each other, likely never will, and there's no earthly reason why I should care what your opinion of me is, nor any reason you should care about my opinion of you. Which is probably just as well, as my opinion of you based on the above discussion is not high. Now, unless you actually have something useful to say, please go annoy someone else; Wikipedia has many users who enjoy wasting their time reading rambling posts from self-appointed Defenders of the Wiki but I am not one of them. In any event, I'm not sure how seriously anyone is going to take a lecture from you on the evils of abusive sockpuppetry. – iridescent 00:39, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
    Fascinating. I would think that intelligent humans would be willing to listen to opinions of others and discuss the reasons for disagreement so that one can reach an understanding or maybe even change an opinion if one or the other is wrong. Apparently you'd rather ignore points you don't like and respond with ad hominem attacks. Of course, a minimal understanding of logic would say that even if someone had a thousand sock puppets the validity of an argument made by the individual would be just as much. Of course, the fact that I repeatedly denied the charges to which you refer makes your logic all the more untenable. But it seems that you are intent on an amazing combination of emotional defense mechanisms and belief overkill so I don't think any further discussion will be productive. This is therefore my last remark on the matter. JoshuaZ (talk) 01:09, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
    Hard to follow, as it seemed to get a bit secretive towards the end. So how many sockpuppet accounts were you operating JoshuaZ? --Malleus Fatuorum 01:04, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
    None. The ArbCom thought otherwise. JoshuaZ (talk) 01:09, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
    Fair enough. --Malleus Fatuorum 01:31, 13 October 2009 (UTC)

    Read this section as one of Iridescent's many, many talkpage stalkers... And I think the characterisation of SPI above as a "playground game" is a bit uncharitable and innacurate. I'll stipulate that sock allegations can cast a wide net that catches good faith accounts or newbies, and that we sometimes block returning banned users without due attention to WP:CLEANSTART or common sense... But checkusers and the admins at SPI do a lot of good work, and the checkuser extension provides enough data that pretty often definitive connections between socks can be established without the guesswork that can lead to mistakes. There are some single individuals, like a professor at University of Haifa pursuing a vendetta who goes by the name Runtshit, that have had thousands of accounts over years and years. It's not even unusual - have a look at WP:LTA. Even apart from prolific sockers, if we were to treat every account as an individual human being (regardless of evidence to the contrary) we'd need to repeat the long troll removal cycle over and over with the folks who stick to their pattern of disruptive editing from account to account. Pretending obvious socks are new and separate people would result in thousands of hours in pointless agita (on top of what we already get!). Nathan T 20:37, 13 October 2009 (UTC)

    Yes, but... There certainly are Moultons and Runtshits about who need to be investigated, but we do far too often veer between the "kill them all and let God sort them out" approach (remember when the entire state of Michigan was blocked to try to stop Jon Awbrey posting?) and AGF taken to a crazy extreme. Checkuser is no more than very vaguely precise and gives dozens of false-positives – my (dynamic) IP is shared by approximately 30% of the population of Britain, for instance – and is very easily circumvented by anyone who cares to. The Poetlisters and John254s aren't caught by Checkuser, they're caught by comparing edit patterns, and comparing edit patterns can very often be wrong; just ask User:!!. – iridescent 00:07, 14 October 2009 (UTC)

    another arbitrary break

    <:This talkpage is absolutely riveting. Better than yours at the moment, Mal :-) Keeper | 76 01:34, 13 October 2009 (UTC)

    I'm about to get blocked again for implying that a person who behaves stupidly is stupid. I probably ought to have kept that to myself until Bonfire Night. --Malleus Fatuorum 01:43, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
    Bearing in mind the page on which the conversation in question took place, you can't be at all surprised. – iridescent 01:45, 13 October 2009 (UTC) Adding - I suspect you're not going to be blocked, unless the Civility Police goons decide to put in an appearance; in my experience John is always fairly reasonable, whether or not you're agreeing with him. – iridescent 01:46, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
    (e/c re to Malleus) LOL. Just when I thought I'd found a more popcorn-friendly userpage, I decided to check to see what was up on yours. I'm going to need some more popcorn, this could get interesting. And, I'll state right here, that your post (on your page in response to John Carter, for those curious minded folks) is not blockable, although probably in looking at it on the surface, it's abrasive for the sake of abrasiveness. Keeper | 76 01:48, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
    If you're after a popcorn-worthy talkpage, mine pales into insignificance in comparison to a certain other page. A rare opportunity to see all the elements of Arbcom's personal Phoenix Program in full bloom. – iridescent 01:53, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
    My goodness, that is something on LL's page. Agree. What a shithole of a mess. GlassCobra too. Here he is posting Baseball stuff on my userpage trying to convince old Keep that the Yankees deserved to win, unbeknownst to me while getting desysopped by Arbcom. What did Webber call it, Arbitrary com? Something like that. Keeper | 76 02:05, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
    To Keeper - it gets better (sniff) Casliber (talk · contribs) 02:11, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
    This whole farce does seem to me to show Wikipedia at its absolute worst. As far as I can see it, the case has been something along the lines of "You haven't broken any rules, but you did something without telling us so you must be punished. Hang on, we were told months ago, but none of us bothered to read the email so we'll still punish you as if we didn't know". All my ranting above about Arbcom ruling by decree and announcing that the opinions of the eight remaining members (now that the only two Arbs who actually admitted that this was a clusterfuck have resigned over it) somehow represent "the will of the community" is for a reason – this is all about as arbitrary as it comes. (Actually, don't you edit under an IP account now? Under the New Dispensation, I presume that qualifies as "an admin editing under an undisclosed account" and you can expect a visit from the lynchmob shortly.) – iridescent 02:14, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
    My editing days, even as an IP, are pretty limited. I would think that only if I nominated one of my IPs for adminship would I face the wrath of Com. Bring on the mob. My talkpage is quiet, I could use some banter. In fact, I could probably be to blame for a lot of this, if I let my ego win the mental battle of wits with my humility. All this shit went down in the months after I stepped away. Had my talkpage been as lively o'er the winter/spring as it were last fall, no one would've had time for all these shenanigans. :-) Keeper | 76 02:25, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
    Oh, you've missed a fine couple of months in Wikipedia's history. We haven't even mentioned Eco yet.
    Further note to Malleus; this post by John Carter is possibly the most thoughtful commentary on that particular long-running sorry saga I've yet seen, regardless of whether you agree. Seriously, I think you ought to cut him some slack here; trying to mediate that particular group of personalities must be like herding rattlesnakes. – iridescent 02:28, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
    Even in my sparse visits lately, I've learned about Pastor Leetage. Agree that John Carter has always struck me as someone particularly non-stupid. But opinions cast are opinions vast. Keeper | 76 02:36, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
    I've got no beef John other than his mindless support of Mattisse. --Malleus Fatuorum 02:37, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
    I thought at one point you got on with Matisse just fine? Is that ancient history? Keeper | 76 02:40, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
    Can open... worms everywhere... – iridescent 02:44, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
    Crap. Running for cover now....or is it too late? Mal's page seems 'bout ready to implode into WIKISPEAK territory of escalating warnings....Keeper | 76 02:46, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
    Keeper, if you still have your bit you may want to block that guy at RFA until the morning before he digs that hole any deeper and gets himself indefblocked. – iridescent 03:17, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
    He's already on my I now considered "involved?" Teh rulz has becum hyper-sensitive, even since '08. Keeper | 76 03:18, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
    What's the worst that could happen - you come join me, Lara and Joshua on WP:FORMER. Somehow, I don't think there's a jury in the land will convict you in this particular case. – iridescent 03:20, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
    Meh. I might not be back for another month. I don't want to have to check my talkpage to see if anyone objects. He'll go quietly into the night (most likely passed out face down) soon enough. He's harmless. Keeper | 76 03:39, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
    I'm guessing someone's waking up in a pool of puke in about four hours. I really hope he's lying about being a Yale student; the professors are going to love him if he turns up to a seminar tomorrow. – iridescent 03:43, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
    I'm doubting he's a Yale student. He does, however, have a personal Wikipedia vanity page. Keeper | 76 03:45, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
    I'm guessing not for long. – iridescent 03:47, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
    I gave him a fair warning shot across the bow. I honestly think he is harmless and don't want to see him flame himself into a site ban. Keeper | 76 03:52, 13 October 2009 (UTC)

    arbitrary break

    Am I the only editor on Wikipedia who had no idea who Law or the_undertow was/is, much less that they were the same person? I swear I trip around here like Mr. Burns after he gets his life-lengthening treatments.... I bring you love ...lala lalala....--Moni3 (talk) 00:18, 9 October 2009 (UTC)

    On this page, probably yes; anyone who had dealings with Lara in 2007 came across the_undertow as well, and Lara was such a fixture of GAC back then that anyone involved in it had dealings with her. – iridescent 00:20, 9 October 2009 (UTC)
    I'd support Lara's desysoping on the basis that she started the GA Sweeps project but only ever swept four articles herself. ;-) --Malleus Fatuorum 00:31, 9 October 2009 (UTC)
    Now I'm curious, who you deem least competent admin? Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 00:41, 9 October 2009 (UTC)
    Are you asking me? Do you really expect me to answer that question? --Malleus Fatuorum 02:23, 9 October 2009 (UTC)
    Nah, our pink'n'orange-signatured mutual chum (see a few posts above) Casliber (talk · contribs) 03:33, 9 October 2009 (UTC)
    Neither of my personal nominations – either for "most actively abusive" or "no one does so much harm as those who go about doing good" – is actually among those listed. The former (now finally desysopped despite much twisting, turning, wikilawyering and fake-RTV shenanigans) shouldn't be at all hard to guess; the latter shifts with the wind, but I'm sure everyone can think of several strong candidates. Anyone who seriously believes that "civility block" is a good way to resolve a content dispute probably qualifies. – iridescent 11:33, 9 October 2009 (UTC)

    Iridescent knew before me!?!?! :O I thought I was the first to know! Well, whatever. Malleus, dude, you're so right, but I had reviewed something like 125 articles that summer for the quality reviews of the GAC drive or GAN or whatever it is. It's been too long, I can't remember the changes we made. I need a vacation. Lara 02:14, 9 October 2009 (UTC)

    ANI and A3RO

    This was unneeded and inappropriate. Prodego talk 04:12, 13 October 2009 (UTC)

    LOL. Keeper | 76 04:12, 13 October 2009 (UTC)

    (and for what it's worth, here was my ANI response to you, caught in an edit conflict with, apparently, Prodego: I think he's fine without a block per the conversation on his talkpage. Unless you are seeing evidence of disruption beyond his (poor) attempt at humor as an RFA self-nom that passed by within 30 minutes, hardly noticed and quickly closed, let him sleep it off. Keeper | 76 04:13, 13 October 2009 (UTC)

    *nods* A discussion on ANI is just apt to set him off, best to let him head off and hopefully come back later in a different state. Prodego talk 04:16, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
    Still. See your talkpage for an additional discussion about what actions, like for example deleting other editors' posts, might also do to contribute to "setting someone off", eh Prodego? Keeper | 76 04:18, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
    I would hope that those editors who are editing normally would not be so easily unset. Prodego talk 04:24, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
    I would hope as well. Keeper | 76 04:28, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
    Irish, you're irish, you should know what it's like to be drunk 24/7; with your automatic allegation of me being drunk, I'm not. Some people need a laugh or two. --A3RO (mailbox) 04:33, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
    Is it Stupid Week on Wikipedia this week? – iridescent 10:33, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
    This dude has really cracked up... —Dark 11:29, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
    Actually, much of the last MONTH has left me scratching my head in wonder. — Ched :  ?  11:48, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
    Hello, Ched Davis, and welcome to Wikipedia! Thank you for your contributions. I hope you like the place and decide to stay. Here are some pages that you might find helpful:
    I hope you enjoy editing here and being subjected to an unceasing barrage of complaints from every passing crank with an opinion! Please sign your messages on discussion pages using four tildes (~~~~); this will automatically insert your username, allowing random nutjobs to find your talkpage more easily, and the date, which assists lunatics with grudges in compiling a list of diffs to use as evidence against you. If you need help, check out Ecoleetage's rant on Wikipedia Review, ask Jimmy Wales on his talk page, or ask your question on this page and then place a rambling post in all caps before the question. Again, welcome! – iridescent 16:22, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
    Thank you Iridescent, the smiles have warmed my heart. Ironically, it's all too accurate. It's greatly appreciated. ;-) — Ched :  ?  04:36, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
    Return to the user page of "Iridescent/Archive 11".