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Thank You

As you know, I value your input greatly. I'm always hesitant to make frivolous deletion requests, and when I considered that (Personal attack removed) may actually be making things worse - I wanted to get some feedback. Thank you. — Ched :  ?  18:08, 12 December 2015 (UTC)

You're welcome, although don't take my views as particularly indicative—my views on the whole Civility Enforcement culture have always been quite hardline anti. If you haven't already, you want to canvass Newyorkbrad's opinion, as if there's a case to be made for keeping it he's probably the one who'll do the best job of articulating the case. (Wikipedia:Templates for discussion/Log/2015 December 12#Template:RPA, if anyone reading this is wondering what this is about.) ‑ Iridescent 19:07, 12 December 2015 (UTC)
I'd certainly be interested in NYB's thoughts. Drmies and DGG also often interesting thoughts on these things. (apologies for the shameless canvassing). The one thing I do value - is the ability to look at a situation, and be able to see all sides of it. It's something I'm trying to get better at, although I'm not sure it comes naturally to me. — Ched :  ?  19:34, 12 December 2015 (UTC)
As a thought, look at people who've used it recently and see what they have to say, since presumably they're the ones who'll consider it a worthwhile template. On a quick dip through the most recent entries on the transclusion list, NE Ent[1], Mdann52[2] and LjL[3] are all people who've used it recently so presumably if there's a case to be made to keep it, they'll know what it is. ‑ Iridescent 19:48, 12 December 2015 (UTC)
I commented at TfD. DGG ( talk ) 20:06, 12 December 2015 (UTC)
Although it's probably not worth the drama of relitigating it at DRV, that closure is decidedly dubious. Aside from anything else, Non-admin closures are meant to be for uncontroversial AFDs only, of which this is certainly neither. ‑ Iridescent 13:28, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
(talk page stalker) We do a lot of NAC'ing at TfD. Otherwise the backlog would go back to June when we implemented the "NAC delete" mechanism there. I haven't looked at this one, though; usually when I point this out to people I mention that I'm the only admin who regularly looks at TfD, but I haven't kept up for the last few weeks. (I'm telling myself it's purely coincidence that the backlog is currently the shortest it's ever been since I started keeping track.) Opabinia regalis (talk) 18:24, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
Sure, but as part of the thorough, excellent and well organised training you'll have just received as part of your entry to the elite, you'll have no doubt learned all Wikipedia's policies and guidelines, and you be sure every time a sitting arb recommends disregarding any one of them someone starts squawking "abuse". "Close calls and controversial decisions are better left to admins" and "In general, XfDs other than AfDs and RfDs are probably not good candidates for non-admin closure, except by those who have extraordinary experience in the XfD venue in question" are both still in there. ‑ Iridescent 23:45, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
So if I tell someone to IAR and they do as they're told, am I still a power-grabbing fascist? ;)
We did have an RfC about NACs awhile back, but the links to it are buried in the footnotes at WP:NAC. In practice the scope has broadened considerably, and Primefac certainly has extensive experience with TfDs. The underlying issue isn't really NACs, I'd guess, but backlog-clearing pressure on too few people; efforts to recruit more admins have mostly failed. Anyway, last time the NAC thing came up I promised to have another RfC about the process as it has evolved since the trial endorsed by the first RfC, but it hasn't hit the top of the to-do list yet. Y'know, I'm busy smiting my enemies reading my email. Also, that template is a "delete with fire" candidate. Opabinia regalis (talk) 05:41, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
If I ruled the world, NACs would be deprecated altogether. This is one area where "hasten the day" is the right attitude whether you want to improve Wikipedia or to kill it; NACs are a bandaid covering the "not enough admins" wound. Wikipedia actually needs a proper constitutional crisis with all the backlogs spiralling out of control, otherwise the "pull up the drawbridge behind us" attitude of the class of 2006 will continue to block every attempt at change and leave Wikipedia run by an aging and shrinking clique. (There were fewer successful RFAs in 2015 than in any other year since Wikipedia was founded, in a couple of weeks we're about to hit the "two years since the last successful RFB" mark, and the number of admins has fallen every year since 2010, and a fair few of those are moribund accounts who avoid desysopping by making one or two minor edits every few months; even with the WMF's very loose definition of "active" as "30 edits in the last 60 days", well under half the current admins are "active"—579 vs 747 if you want the numbers.) ‑ Iridescent 18:11, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
In this particular case, I'm sure asking Primefac to revert and relist would be fine if you or anyone else thinks the close is questionable - I just thought it'd be best to avoid judging on NAC grounds when a broad scope for NACs has been tacitly endorsed at TfD for months.
In the general case, I was thinking the opposite :) The more work gets offloaded to non-admins, the more obvious it is that most admin work is boring and tedious and not glamorous or powerful at all. If I ruled the world I'd rather slough off as many as possible of the non-button-pressing 'social' functions that seem to have accreted around adminship since the last time I was here. I know how bad the numbers look - though 2015 can be described as both 'fewest new admins EVAR' and 'pretty much the same as last year'. I did a little bit of related data-digging awhile back (BARC aftermath, I think?), now loosely aggregated at User:Opabinia regalis/RfA data. But maybe I'm in the drawbridge club despite myself; my opinion on all things RfA is that it should all be reverted to the November 2006 version. Opabinia regalis (talk) 07:37, 16 January 2016 (UTC)
Sure, but sloughing off the routine maintenance drudgery just reinforces the "admins are super-users" idea, since an outside observer seeing that most of the routine tagging-and-maintenance is being done by non-admins would reasonably conclude that admins only exist to handle the really juicy stuff and shouldn't be expected to waste their precious time with paperwork, and thus RFA requires a near-superhuman mix of dispute-resolution, article-curation and technical-markup skills, rather than the ability to open CAT:CSD and mechanically click "delete" or "undo" as appropriate. (This has probably been written more eloquently somewhere by Kudpung.) For the same reason, I've always thought arbcom clerking should be deprecated—I've never cared for the notion that the arbs are special snowflakes who can't be expected to descend from their ivory tower to maintain the dozen-or-so pages in their purview, nor for the idea of arbcom having its own private police force to stop the great unwashed saying things the Great Council of Elders might find objectionable. (Plus, as you've probably discovered by now, the position attracts more than its fair share of oddballs whom I certainly wouldn't want issuing statements or performing actions in my name.) ‑ Iridescent 16:35, 16 January 2016 (UTC)
OK - I do have to save part of this as a classic quote. Pure gold. (And I say this as a former "brown-nosing" "teacher's pet" from the 60s) — Ched :  ?  17:28, 16 January 2016 (UTC)
Thanks, but if you're going to quote me I'm sure I've made more memorable (and certainly more concise) pithy quotes than that ("Without content, Wikipedia is just Facebook for ugly people" is the one which will probably be included in my Wikipedia obituary). If I had to pick one, it would be this lengthy rant from an extremely surreal but worth-reading-in-full 2009 thread, in which a routine "waah you dared to post a warning on my talkpage don't you know how important i am?" complaint descended into a sizeable number of figures from the mid-2000s simultaneously burning out in a supernova of mawkishness. ‑ Iridescent 18:14, 16 January 2016 (UTC)
That post is excellent (though I'm biased, with most of my article contributions way out in the long tail of small, boring, and obscure). But "supernova of mawkishness"? That's pretty quotable in its own right.
As for the clerks, my first reaction was "Oh shit, I don't want to do all that paperwork!" ...which is actually pretty good evidence in favor of your point :) Opabinia regalis (talk) 23:56, 16 January 2016 (UTC)


break: editor numbers

Regarding the drawbridge erected in 2007–08, the following table (courtesy of Dragons flight) showing when each of the current admins first edited on Wikipedia (rather than when they passed RFA) speaks volumes:

Year Registered Number of Current Sysops Percentage Cumulative Percentage
2001 25 1.8% 1.8%
2002 70 5.3% 7.2%
2003 140 10.5% 17.7%
2004 257 19.4% 37.0%
2005 347 26.1% 63.2%
2006 289 21.8% 84.5%
2007 90 6.8% 91.7%
2008 51 3.8% 95.6%
2009 28 2.1% 97.7%
2010 10 0.8% 98.4%
2011 11 0.8% 99.2%
2012 2 0.2% 99.4%
2013 4 0.3% 99.7%
2014 4 0.3% 100%

While the spike in 2006 is partly an artefact—a lot of editors who'd previously edited as IPs created accounts once the post-Siegenthaler anti-IP backlash led to restrictions on what IPs could do—it's nonetheless clear that the Wikipedia admin corps is starting to resemble a post-revolutionary Politburo. Not just a majority, but a supermajority of 99 to one of current admins have been active for over five years, and three-quarters of the current admins have been active for over a decade. To put that in perspective, Newyorkbrad and myself, who started within a few days of each other, are statistically some of the newest blood among the current admins. ‑ Iridescent 18:54, 19 January 2016 (UTC)

Well, 99% of current admins registered over five years ago; by this method even I get credit for a decade. Doesn't take much away from the mind-blowingness of it, though. I don't suppose you know what this distribution looks like for active editors in general? Opabinia regalis (talk) 20:41, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
Account-age profile of en-wiki, 2010
To the best of my knowledge the last attempt to analyse that was the 2010 Editor Trends Study, which found that those editors becoming inactive tended to be the more recent joiners whilst those who joined pre-2007 were there for the long haul, which would match the admin-joining-time figures above. (If you like crunching numbers and scary-looking words like "cubic spline", meta:Research:Editor lifecycle might interest you.) I don't if more recent figures exist but I assume the WMF will have that particular dataset, since the churn rate is so key to assessing all their recruitment-and-retention schemes ("the total decline in the number of editors has halted" means very different things depending on whether the situation is an Oz-like "nobody enters and nobody dies" stasis, or "hundreds of people are leaving every day but the rate of recruitment is strong enough to replace them"). Fluffernutter will probably know in which cupboard the WMF are hiding the figures. ‑ Iridescent 15:48, 21 January 2016 (UTC)
Just saying hi to let you know I saw the ping (though, aim for my work account in the future, since I have that set up to email me when I get pinged, which my volunteer account doesn't). I think we do have access to numbers like this, but I'll need to find out which staffer can find them for me and if they're in a comprehensible format we can release. If you haven't heard back from me by this time next week, feel free to give me another poke to ask if I've made any progress. Kbrown (WMF) (talk) 00:40, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
Thanks to both. Now I don't want to ping back... you get an email for every ping? OMG! I noticed the overrepresentation of 2005-6 registrations in the arbcom election data, but hadn't thought much about what that implies. Of course, now that I've asked, I don't know whatall I'd do with those numbers, but I am a real life number cruncher so I can't resist if someone dangles data in front of me :) Opabinia regalis (talk) 03:05, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
Those numbers are important, IMO. My pet theory (as you probably know) is that Wikipedia and the WMF in general went seriously off-the-rails around 2008–09, and that the activity in the last few years masks the fact that an ever-increasing proportion of work at all levels is done by a hard-core of old timers. If that is the case, it would be useful to pinpoint when it happened, to try to figure out how to fix it. (My guess is that the oft-claimed "edit interface is fiddly" and "people are rude" explanations are red herrings, and that the real change was that referencing quality was drastically ramped up around that time, and we started to get much more aggressive about enforcing citation standards. This led to a divide between an old-guard who understood {{citation/core}}, and newcomers whose edits were regularly reverted for failing to comply with it, got dispirited and wandered off elsewhere. The tendency of some Defenders Of The Wiki to assume any newcomer who does understand referencing must be blocked as a sockpuppet isn't helpful, either.) ‑ Iridescent 20:30, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
"People are rude" certainly can't be right - surely the advocates of that position must have looked at twitter at some point, or any comments section on any news website. (And as it turns out, anonymity is only a minor component in the Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory.) I usually lean toward the "too many competing opportunities to invest cognitive surplus" explanation for Wikipedia's dropoff, but I may be overestimating that effect because of what's most salient to my personal interests. It's just the only thing I can think of to explain why, over the last decade or so, open-source software has hugely taken off, open-access scientific publishing is greatly expanded, political events have given at least some demographics greater interest in information distribution, and yet there's been no detectable influx of people from those backgrounds as Wikipedia editors. NFCC nitpickers and "information wants to be freeeeee!" hardliners don't really count.
Higher referencing standards is an interesting theory. That's definitely one of the sharpest differences between wiki-culture of early 2007 when I stopped paying attention - IIRC the citation flamewars at FAC/FAR had just started - and 2015 when I came back. It used to be a bit of a point of pride to find something you knew that Wikipedia didn't know yet, and now that's exactly the kind of edit that gets newbies reverted, templated, lectured with interminable WP:ALPHABETSOUP, and eventually blocked. And yeah, the people screaming Witch! Sock! at anyone who took the time to lurk, or god forbid edited as an IP, never seem to notice that if they're wrong, they're differentially running off the most productive and competent newbies. Of course, it's annoying that wikitext citations and especially citation templates are a completely non-transferable skill, and they make the already-fiddly edit interface completely unreadable once you put enough of them in one piece of text. (I know just about everyone will hate me for this but I secretly love WP:LDR.) But even if the technical side of things were sorted out, the culture that has grown up around sourcing is a bit of a mess. There's no such thing as "sourcing guidelines" that substitute for knowing something about the topic. But whenever I try to think about "what might put newbies off", I always end up conflating it with "what I personally think is really annoying", and those two things are probably not well correlated. I remember reading somewhere that the growth in automated tools and communication-by-template was responsible for the decline in new blood, but I don't remember where I read it or how convincing the evidence was, only that it seemed like a reasonable explanation considering that established editors have relatively little exposure to the receiving side of those notices and thus there's unlikely to be effective pushback. Opabinia regalis (talk) 02:41, 23 January 2016 (UTC)
Jimmy Wales posturing like the boss in a bad mafia movie clarifying the official position on civility, 2014. Sit out of punching distance of your monitor before pressing "play" on that video.
"People are rude" is the official reason why Wikipedia has an editor recruitment-and-retention problem, so one is obliged to take it seriously despite the fact that anyone who hasn't led a life as surrounded by yes-men as Jimmy Wales, Sue Gardner and the other occupants of the San Francisco bunker knows that by the standards of online communities Wikipedia is remarkably polite and mutually respectful. (If you have access to the arbcom-l archives, do a search for "Giano", "Malleus" and "Greg" to see just how long Jimmy and his cronies have been playing this "who will rid me of this turbulent priest" nudge-and-wink routine.)

I do think there's probably some truth to the low-hanging-fruit theory for the dropoff. Back when we started, there were still big gaps in big topics, and it was relatively easy to make significant additions to significant articles just by adding material from one source that had been missed. Now, although there are still zillions of redlinks and substubs, they tend to be on topics that can't be sourced from standard textbooks or a quick visit to Google.

I'm willing to stick my neck out and pin the primary blame on a combination of the referencing-and-formatting culture as mentioned above, and the boom in automated vandal reversion tools which began with Huggle. Don't get me wrong, I think Huggle (and its imitators) was an astonishingly well-written and useful piece of software, but it made it possible for semi-competent editors with a familiarity with the rules but no understanding of the nuances of IAR to hover over the recent changes feed mass-reverting anything that doesn't look "right" to them while automatically doling out scary-looking warning templates. Couple those two trends with the ongoing WP:BLP and WP:COI crusades, both of which really began at around the time of the drop-off, and it probably explains the collapse. A high proportion of new editors' first edits are likely to be to popular culture articles ("my favourite band", "my favourite TV show" etc), since those are topics which need rapid updating and are relatively easily sourced. However, these are also the topics on which you're most likely to run into the WP:BLP tripwire; if the first-ever post on my talkpage had been something like this, I probably wouldn't have stayed either.

(Dr. Blofeld wrote an essay which touches on this as well which you may be interested in. I disagree with a lot of his arguments, particularly on the value of stubs—I think stubs tend to discourage writing, since not only does WP:CITEVAR lock you into using the existing formatting which may not be a style you're comfortable using, the existence of a stub IMO instils a "we already have an article on this topic, I won't bother writing on it" attitude—but it's certainly worth a read if you're interested in editor retention and want more viewpoints than my embittered ramblings, the WP:WER sunshine-and-kittens fluffiness, and the WMF's Purity Is Strength party line.) ‑ Iridescent 16:59, 23 January 2016 (UTC)

I know the "people are rude" hypothesis has had party-line status, but I've generally read the claim itself as a cynical one: "X is a problem. Also, I want Y. Therefore I claim Y is a solution to X." But, uh... well, thanks for the punchability warning on that video, Jesus Christ. Now, what is this "search" you speak of? You think an organization with a board full of Googlers would do something like provide a search function for text files? That's crazy talk.
Thanks for the link to Blofeld's essay, which I hadn't seen before. Interesting how the relative significance of some of these issues is so different in different topic niches with different local cultures. For example, infoboxes are an absolute non-issue in basic-science articles, semi-automated stubs are generally accepted if they're well-constructed (e.g. all the human gene/protein articles), and I've never seen anyone give one single shit about CITEVAR in an article that wasn't either already well-developed, or about a difficult medical topic where careful source-curation is needed. More common is paranoia about COI/self-citation and overly-aggressive reversion of original-research-flavored edits. (Hmm, yes, my molecular mechanics text would've been either summarily reverted as inadequately sourced, accompanied by sternly worded talkpage template, or covered in {{cn}} and {{according to}} and {{tone}} and {{more footnotes}} tags. I recall way-back-when trying to get all cleanup tags that didn't directly deal with possible serious inaccuracies moved to the talk pages, but obviously that didn't take off.) And even if the gaping holes in many topics have been plugged, there is now a lot more information available to the casual googler through open-access journals that could be used to fill in those substubs and redlinks in the sciences - many of the sources and all of the images in Gemmata obscuriglobus, for example - yet for whatever reason we're not exactly seeing a boom there. Opabinia regalis (talk) 22:34, 24 January 2016 (UTC)
Beaune Altarpiece
Rogier van der Weyden - The Last Judgment Polyptych - WGA25625.jpg
Beaune Altarpiece in {{Infobox painting}} format
For the arts and humanities, infoboxes are far less clear-cut. On arts and architecture articles, sometimes you want a huge lead image since the detail won't be visible at infobox sizes (can you picture Beaune Altarpiece with an enforced 250-pixel image width?), while for abstract concepts or biographies infoboxes can oversimplify information—see Glenda Jackson or Arnold Schwarzenegger for instance, where from the infobox you'd never know they were actually movie stars. Provided you serve out your two-year sentence, I can pretty much guarantee that you'll hear more about infoboxes than you ever cared to know. ‑ Iridescent 22:56, 24 January 2016 (UTC)
Sure, there's an inherent regularity and comparability to "every human protein" that doesn't apply to "every artwork" or "every human". We should be decoupling infobox-as-display-mechanism from infobox-as-data-storage, but Wikidata seems determined to be as useless as possible on that score. People should start getting their bets in now on whether the infobox case will come before or after the next round of "prominent Wikipedian used a naughty word", and how big of a clusterfuck anything related to American politics will be this year. Opabinia regalis (talk) 19:35, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
I think you could have left it at "Wikidata seems determined to be as useless as possible" - any project that has no clue that it needs to make sure its data is correct is a real problem. Ealdgyth - Talk 19:54, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
If you keep "infobox as data storage" but lose "infobox as prominent display medium", all that will happen is that the data ceases to be visible so ceases to be corrected and updated; this isn't such an issue for proteins, but for a sportsperson or musician whose statistics will change every week, it means the articles will steadily drift further and further into inaccuracy given that no new editors—and few experienced editors—are going to wade through the Wikidata swamp. As a concrete example, Chelsea player Diego Costa scored a goal yesterday. See how long it takes you—with a decade of experience—to figure out where that update would go in Wikidata and how you'd update it, and then consider how that would look to a newcomer. (Note also that Wikidata:Diego Costa In fact, Wikidata:Diego Costa is blank; the page in question is, of course, at the much more reasonably-titled Wikidata:Q459707 at no point includes the word "Chelsea" and has the wrong continent of birth let alone town, so the new editor would probably just assume it's about some unrelated person of the same name.) I know Wikidata is supposed to be the future, but I can't see it taking off; its main function seems to have been taking over from Commons—and before that, Wikiversity and Simple English Wikipedia—as the big Wikipedias' dumping ground ("show good work on another project for six months before we'll consider your unblock"). ‑ Iridescent 20:06, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
(adding) "Prominent Wikipedian used a naughty word" is unlikely to occur again soon. Those were never about civility per se, but about a particular editor who'd annoyed Jimmy Wales and whom Jimmy had been giving strong nudges-and-winks to his remaining loyalists that he'd protect anyone taking action to get rid of him, whether out-of-process or not. Since the Prominent Wikipedian in question is now barely active and Jimbo's chief True Believer has just taken a thorough kicking to the ribs from Arbcom, it's not likely anyone else will try their luck any time soon. ‑ Iridescent 20:38, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
Perhaps, we'll see. Eric Corbett 20:48, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
Presumably this outburst has spiked the guns of the Civility Police for a while. For some reason, none of the "fetch the smelling salts, someone swore" contingent are dishing out the template warnings this time around. ‑ Iridescent 21:04, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
(adding to previous comment and in light of Iri's post) - See Wikidata for Stigand. Note the citizenship is given as "United Kingdom" for someone who died in 1070ish. UK only came about in 1707. Amazing! He held citizenship in a country that didn't exist for another 600+ years! Ealdgyth - Talk 21:47, 25 January 2016 (UTC)

Another arbitrary break

As I've said before, I think Iridescent's theory that higher citation standards have contributed to declining editorship numbers is well taken. I know that when I first started editing in 2006, I created a few dozen articles based largely on things that I knew to be true, using one or two primary sources. (Don't get me wrong, I contributed some other articles as well.) I listed my source or sources at the bottom of the article, and substantially everything I wrote could be found in those sources, but I certainly wasn't including a footnote or reference to every statement in the article or even to most of them, or sometimes to any of them. If I'd been expected to do that, I don't say that I wouldn't have created articles, but I certainly wouldn't have created as many. Even though those articles wouldn't meet the standards of En-WP today, all of them are still there, still useful, and the lack of better references doesn't bother anyone. So the trade-off between citation standards and newbie deterrence (or even oldbie deterrence) is a real one.

There is another point of explanation that I don't think has been offered before, which I think also explains some part of the editor trend, though I don't know how much of it. Let's put aside that portion of the actual or potential editor base that were teenagers either in the 2000s or now, and focus on the group that have been adults during the whole period of Wikipedia's existence. People in that age range who are on the Internet have long since seen Wikipedia, and either decided to try editing, or decided not to try editing (or not thought about it, which comes to the same thing). In 2001 or 2002, Wikipedia was little-known and so relatively few people started editing. In 2016, someone who has been an adult for the past 15 years and didn't start editing in 2003 (even though she knew of Wikipedia and sometimes read it), didn't start editing in 2004, didn't start editing in 2005 ... didn't start editing in 2015 ... has 10 or more years of experience in reading Wikipedia but not editing it, so it might take something unusual for him or her to suddenly start editing. Put differently, if someone is going to start editing Wikipedia, it's more likely (isn't it?) to occur in their first couple of years of passively reading the site, rather than after a decade of doing so. When is the period during which the most people were exposed to Wikipedia—and to "you can edit the articles and even write your own, and they will become part of this website that is ubiquitous in the Google results"—but hadn't been reading it so long that they took Wikipedia, and their non-editing of it, both for granted? If you said 2004 or 2005 to 2007 or so, you wouldn't be wrong. Newyorkbrad (talk) 21:50, 26 January 2016 (UTC)

I agree, and that's why I support the principle (if not the actual implementation) of the much-maligned Visual Editor. "Wikipedia has undergone a fundamental change, give it another try" would make a refreshing change from "We have $80 million in assets, give us your money". ‑ Iridescent 21:58, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
Here's another idea I actually haven't seen before. (I'm sure it's been proposed dozens of times, but I personally don't recall seeing it.) I think one of the biggest turn-offs for would-be new editors is writing an article and having it deleted (either rejected as a draft, or speedied or AfD'd from mainspace). Deleted articles often represent an awful lot of time-loss, whether the person winds up staying an editor or not. So how about a page on which someone could ask "Should I write an article about X? I'd use sources Y and Z" and get feedback on whether the article is worth undertaking, before they write it. It wouldn't be a guarantee of keepage, but it sure wouldn't hurt. Responses might be "yes, that's a good topic, go for it," or "no, your garage band article won't be kept no matter what, you should find another topic," or "that's borderline, you might want to start with something different," or "why don't you also use sources A and B?"— all could be useful and get a newbie off to a better start than the blank drafts pages is likely to do. Thoughts? Newyorkbrad (talk) 22:08, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
Not a bad idea at all. Something that would probably work well in addition to it is a subsidiary wiki—not part of Wikipedia, and ideally not Wikia—into which those articles deleted on notability grounds (as opposed to legal reasons) are automatically exported at the time of deletion, so that work isn't lost altogether and people are less inclined to feel their time is being wasted and more inclined to take risks writing about things which potentially might be deleted. (Think MyWikiBiz in reverse.) Speedy Deletion Wiki exists, but is a mess; I'm thinking of something which would act as a true second tier of Wikipedia, where articles can be moved seamlessly between one or the other as they get deleted from Wikipedia or improved on Wikipedia-B.

Getting pissed off for the time wasted writing something that winds up deleted isn't just a new-editor issue; for instance, I still get irritated when I think of Sandstein's WP:IDONTLIKEIT supervote closure at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Biscuits and human sexuality, an article which even in it's one-quarter-written state had taken a good deal of research. I occasionally think of reviving it—anyone familiar with John Harvey Kellogg and Sylvester Graham will be well aware that the relationship between biscuits and sexuality is a well-documented aspect of American history—if only for a chance to give a wider audience to what is possibly the single most bizarre image on the whole of Commons. ‑ Iridescent 22:33, 26 January 2016 (UTC)

That's an interesting idea, NYB; I hadn't thought about it quite that way, though I've made the somewhat similar "Wikipedia used to be cool and now it's just part of the furniture" argument before. On the low-hanging-fruit theme, we also have - I think - fewer minor errors and typos in articles people are likely to actually read, so there are fewer immediately obvious, low-stakes edits for a casual reader to feel confident making. (Iridescent, all those typo fixes are ruining everything! ;) I didn't have to put up with the early days of VE, so I find it mostly inoffensive now; what really stood out on returning earlier last year is how clunky and poorly organized talk pages can get. The entire rest of the internet has figured out threaded discussion and we are still doing the equivalent of passing pieces of paper back and forth scribbling notes to each other, with the only concessions to concurrency being the ability to (usually) edit multiple sections of the same page without edit conflicts. So of those two shit-tier WMF development experiments I'd rather have seen Flow work out, even though it's unusuably horrible next to VE's kinda crappy, and has the dumbest "clueless tech geek" name since the iPad.
I guess deletion is another one of those "experience varies by topic area" issues - it's been a long time since anyone tried to delete a gene or a protein or an organism. A few old articles have been merged, but the only one I've ever had deleted was a stub I wrote in 2006 and prodded myself last year. The definition of "notability" within a topic area seems to have roughly tracked the relative inoffensiveness of a crappy, unmaintained article - a crap stub on an obscure bacterium isn't great, but a crap stub on a real person is a real problem. (OK, that pattern breaks down within the "people" category - NPROF and NFOOTY were written on different planets.) I can imagine NYB's idea working out if people were honest - no stringing people along as AfC sometimes does - but who'd put volunteer time into maintaining "Wikipedia-B", keeping it free of BLP disasters, spam, and scams? It's hard to imagine the MyWikiBiz model working in either direction unless a spot in the spam holding pen is a paid service.
By the way, I was at work when I incautiously clicked on that image, on my ginormous monitor, in my trendy-ten-years-ago open-plan office. Are my coworkers ever going to stop making fun of me now? Opabinia regalis (talk) 05:31, 27 January 2016 (UTC)
Plasticine Red Riding Hood
I'm not totally convinced by the "there are no driveby fixes to make any more" argument; just click on pretty much anything in this week's most-read pages and you'll find something glaring, since the most read pages are also the ones most likely to have had something added that hasn't been checked. (Or if you want really low hanging fruit, just do a search on "and and" and scroll down until you're past the legitimate uses.) It probably is fair to say that "There are no really obvious things to write that haven't had at least something written already", although it's certainly not the case that all the redlinks are full; even in Wikipedia's core areas like popular culture and sports, as soon as you get out of the post-1960 Anglosphere comfort zone there are canyon-size gaps in Wikipedia's coverage—count the redlinks in Louis Armstrong#List of songs recorded, or (current African football champions) TP Mazembe#Current squad. If you count stubs as de facto redlinks, the chasms are gaping; The Ginger Man, is one of the best-selling books of all time (generally ranked somewhere between 20 and 25 depending on whether one includes religious texts) and is two paragraphs; The Gunmaker of Moscow was one of the most successful American works of fiction of the 19th century, and has a Wiki article consisting of 524 bytes of readable prose.

Organisms do get deleted (or at least redirected to a parent article) occasionally, but they tend to be substubs on arcane plants and insects created by overenthusiastic editors with a directory of named species and a desire to inflate their edit count. (If you can explain to me how the Sum Of All Human Knowledge is improved by Halocoryza whiteheadiana or Pedestredorcadion mokrzeckii being blue, I'm all ears.) Biology is responsible for my long-time go-to example of a page which could only ever be considered a reasonable topic on Wikipedia, List of non-marine molluscs of El Hatillo Municipality, Miranda, Venezuela.

Flow wasn't a bad idea, but the implementation of it was quite awesomely bad. Head over to Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Hampshire and try to figure out from the viewpoint of a well-intentioned newcomer how you'd go about commenting. Of the four implemented items from Brandon's Big Book of Ideas, my personal hate is MediaViewer. Echo works reasonably well provided you have the sense to shut off pings, VE and Flow were at least well-intentioned, but MV was an irredeemably stupid idea from start to finish which to the best of my knowledge nobody not involved in its creation actually wanted.

The creator of that biscuit-porn image had an interesting output. My personal favourite is Plasticine Red Riding Hood. ‑ Iridescent 21:34, 27 January 2016 (UTC)

Ha! - my long-standing example Italian Renaissance sculpture is not actually a redlink any more, but it might as well be. WP preference for discrete micro-topics over articles on topics, the core of other encyclopedias, leaves the vast majority of permutations of 2 from subject/period/country red. Johnbod (talk) 22:31, 27 January 2016 (UTC)
I still need to convert Anglo-Norman England from a redirect to a real article, plus we still lack Angevin England and Medieval society (we have Category:Medieval society. For that matter Plantagenet England is just a redirect to England in the Late Middle Ages#House of Plantagenet.... Maybe I'll tackle Anglo-Norman England next month... Ealdgyth - Talk 22:42, 27 January 2016 (UTC)
Oh, if you're going down the arts route it's fish in a barrel. Taking the unofficial "has been selected to appear in at least two exhibitions, and has a catalogue entry for at least one of those exhibitions of at least a full page" criterion I've been using to determine whether an artwork is significant enough to warrant an article and has enough to be said about it to make an article worth writing, I doubt we've even filled in 1% of the redlinks. Even the superstars have gaping holes; look at the red/blue ratio on List of works by Francisco Goya, List of paintings by Dante Gabriel Rossetti or List of paintings by Rembrandt. Even Titian, Van Gogh and Michelangelo have holes in their coverage, and those that are blue are often one-liners like A Wind-Beaten Tree.

I'd think Medieval society would be nigh-on impossible to write. Cnut's England, the Caliphate of Cordoba, the County of Aversa, Tmutarakan, Rhwng Gwy a Hafren and Byzantine Cyprus had nothing in common other than all happening to exist in 1030. I'd would guess that regardless of intent, you'd end up writing "Society of medieval France, England and Germany with a nod towards Italy and Scandinavia". ‑ Iridescent 22:58, 27 January 2016 (UTC)

My point is that we have rather too many (generally not very good) articles on individual works (and thorough if variable biog coverage of their creators), and not enough non-stub articles on the topics the works and artists fall into. Of course, with Victorian painting and others, you've done your bit. Johnbod (talk) 08:12, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
Ah, you know my opinions on the "core topic" argument; IMO Wikipedia shines at covering the margins and falls down on core topics. If Wikipedia (and the mirrors) were to be deleted overnight, readers would have no trouble finding a replacement for Horse or Cricket, be able to find a replacement for Thoroughbred or Lord's Cricket Ground with a little effort, but have great difficulty finding a decent replacement for Let's Elope or Smokers v Non-Smokers. Given that the core articles are not only the ones with less of a public-service benefit but also tend to be the ones most likely to attract whackadoodles* I'd say that devoting resources to improving them isn't the best use of time, given the likelihood that you're committing yourself to an endless edit-war. ‑ Iridescent 16:56, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
*If Medieval society ever turns blue, I give it a week at most before someone's on ANI ranting about "systemic racism" and demanding blocks-all-round because it gives more space to France than to Bulgaria, and a month at most before a gaggle of UKIP types whose entire knowledge of the period comes from The Last English King and Immigrant Song turn up demanding it be turned into an explanation of how the entire period revolved around the perfidious French and their Popish lackeys struggling to impose the Norman Yoke on the free civilisations of the Nordic Race.
*I see you've heard of the kerfluffle on Middle Ages...For all the problems that article has caused me, I'm still rather proud of it. I just don't have the time to tackle another big topic like that anytime soon. Ealdgyth - Talk 17:41, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
As you should be! I don't really think that "big topics" always attract more hassles than small ones, certainly not as a proportion of their views, and they need to be done. I wasn't really thinking of "core" topics above, but I rather disagree that "readers would have no trouble finding a replacement for Horse" - certainly younger ones without good search skills. If anything this has got harder as the internet has filled up. It's often much easier to find reasonable or good accounts of smaller topics, especially individual paintings, or bios of the painters. Johnbod (talk) 18:01, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
Doesn't that make the irreplaceable mollusc list one of Wikipedia's greatest achievements? ;) Well, except that the first random entry I clicked - Lymnaea cubensis - redirects to Galba cubensis, which is apparently endemic to Cuba, which last time I checked is not in El Hatillo Municipality, Miranda, Venezuela. Oops. But I shouldn't talk; I nominate my own flying ice cube as one of the least useful legitimate encyclopedia articles we have. Among its very tiny possible audience, anyone who needs to know about the topic needs more than a clumsy prose description and should just go read the original paper. But the title is funny, so. Opabinia regalis (talk) 07:56, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
Glass Age Development Committee and Ordish-Lefeuvre Principle are my contributions to the list of articles with the highest word-count/prospective reader ratio. ‑ Iridescent 16:17, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
Roger Norreis for me. 190 views in the last 30 days for about 2000 words of FA. Ealdgyth - Talk 17:41, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
Naked woman sitting beside a sleeping man
The Dawn of Love
If we're going by FA-level rather than obscure stubs, The Dawn of Love (not yet FA but completed and waiting its turn) is surely up there, at 123 views a month. I'm determined to get this on the MP at some point, as it's arguably the single most irredeemably ugly artwork I've ever seen. ‑ Iridescent 18:24, 30 January 2016 (UTC)

Semi-arbitrary break for statistics fun

Hi again Opabinia regalis and Iridescent. I grabbed one of our researchers, Jmorgan_(WMF) (aka Jtmorgan in his volunteer time, aka J-Mo for those who like to conserve keystrokes) and asked about the numbers you guys wanted. Luckily for us, it turns out those numbers - or at least, a bunch of numbers related to and leading to those numbers - are pretty much public and logged as it is; you just have to know where (and how) to look. So courtesy of Jonathan, here are some views that touch on editor activity vis-à-vis longevity:

  • Circa 2011, "WikiPride", which put together a bunch of graphs exploring editing trends for different editing cohorts over time. So here, for instance, is a graph showing total contributions to main namespace for groups of editors who started in different time periods ranging from 2001 to 2009. Here is the contributions of various age cohorts as proportions of total contributions to Wikipedia during that time (again, somewhat outdated, though - truncates at 2010).
  • More recent work is being done by Jeph paul through an Individual Engagement Grant about editor behavior analysis. His work has a lot going on related to these questions, so I recommend taking a look at the whole Meta page, but here is a graph that lets you cross-reference activity levels with time-since-joining, and its data runs through mid-2015 (same graph off-wiki, a bit more interactive).
  • If you just want to get some fresh numbers and don't mind poking around a little bit, you (anyone) can also run a query on Quarry, the interface the WMF uses to enable SQL queries on its database (I had no idea this existed until J-Mo told me about it yesterday, so I'm just sort of generally staring at it in awe). Jonathan ran a sample query on this topic for us, cross-referencing the list of admins with admins who have edited within the past 30 days (or something along those lines). He points out that anyone can re-run this query for fresher data, or adapt it and run your own version by clicking on the "New Query" button at the top of Quarry and either copy-and-pasting his SQL (the section in the black box on his query) or writing your own SQL query based on the attributes you want to pull out. I don't know enough SQL to do anything useful for you guys on this front, but Jonathan says he's happy to answer questions and help people learn to grab this data - just Echo-ping his volunteer account (user:Jtmorgan) onwiki, or use the contact info he lists on his staff userpage.

I hope this information helps you guys, and feel free to give me another poke if other stuff comes up (I'm glad I got pinged on this, because I feel like I Learned Things - with capital letters - today!). Kbrown (WMF) (talk) 15:10, 29 January 2016 (UTC)

Thanks so much for that! One of those in particular I'm going to copy here, as it makes it immediately clear at a glance just how persistent the over-a-decade tranche (blue, turquoise and green) has been.
Total contributions by year of joining (2011)
 ‑ Iridescent 16:31, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
Well, it may not necessarily be clear. That chart doesn't include the last five years - a third of the lifespan of the project. I'm surprised you're that excited by data that's so far out of date. Risker (talk) 19:56, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
Old data is better than no data :) That's a great chart (It looks cool, so we can forgive the rainbow color map.) Looks like there's code available to generate an updated version, though some of the setup may itself be out of date. For some reason I hadn't thought of Quarry despite knowing it existed - probably because I fake people out sometimes but don't actually know SQL. Opabinia regalis (talk) 01:41, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
@Risker, as regards the particular point NYB and I are making 2011 data illustrates the point just as well—you can see that the "absolute number of edits made by new editors" (the first few bars of each new colour) drops off very quickly after 2007. That is, new editors don't just contribute a smaller proportion of edits after 2007—that would be expected as the community grows—but a smaller absolute number (e.g. a typical editor joining in 2009 made fewer edits in 2009–10 than an editor joining in 2006 made in 2006–07). Some of that will be down to the fact that since then bots and scripts handle some of the tasks which used to be done manually, but I'd be fairly confident that whatever methodology were used, a survey taken after 2008 will find that while the rate of new editors joining is fairly constant, recent new editors take longer to find their feet and are more likely to give up and drift away than their counterparts a decade ago.
@OR, don't knock rainbow color maps. It's hard to think of any replacement that would be any more non-subjective and not look terrible—cool-to-warm or around-the-wheel rely on your audience having the same knowledge as you, light-to-dark looks awful, whereas the rainbow is intuitive. ‑ Iridescent 16:49, 30 January 2016 (UTC)

Thanks for your support

Peace dove.svg Peacemaker67 RfA Appreciation award
Thank you for participating and supporting at my RfA. It was very much appreciated, and I am humbled that the community saw fit to trust me with the tools. Peacemaker67 (click to talk to me) 06:00, 6 February 2016 (UTC)

Reference for "first displayed at"?

Iridescent, sorry to bother you. I have a question: are you aware of any big fat reference book that lists relatively well-known painters, all/most of their paintings, and (crucially) when and where each painting was first displayed? many thanks Lingzhi ♦ (talk) 04:20, 7 February 2016 (UTC)

I'm unaware of any visual arts equivalent of Books in Print; bear in mind that before the Academy Exhibition ritual became commonplace in Europe, "first exhibited" is something of a nebulous concept as most works were painted on commission either for wealthy individuals or churches. Most major collections will have some kind of detailed catalog (sometimes published, sometimes not), while virtually anything of any significance in a British public collection will be listed at Your Paintings. This section of Johnbod's userpage would be a fairly good place to start. ‑ Iridescent 07:41, 7 February 2016 (UTC)
Thank you. Yes, I had seen/used similar references for books and journal articles back in my college days. Right now, I'm trying to hack my way through licensing issues at FAc. Tks again. I will keep looking.  Lingzhi ♦ (talk) 08:12, 7 February 2016 (UTC)
You might poke around at the Getty Provenance Index too. There must be lists for works displayed at the RA and Paris Salon etc, one would think. If you're worried about copyright though, I suspect few paintings you are likely to be interested were first displayed at such places. Johnbod (talk) 10:40, 7 February 2016 (UTC)
hey thanks, that one looks great!  Lingzhi ♦ (talk) 13:12, 7 February 2016 (UTC)

surprised me

[4] sort of surprised me. :) — Ched :  ?  22:51, 8 February 2016 (UTC)

How so? That there's no apostrophe in "1990s" when used as a plural, that anyone would be dumb enough to get a wrestling crew tattoo, or that I'm editing The Undertaker? (Running WP:AWB over sports categories occasionally with typo detection switched on but all automatic fixes switched off is quite a good exercise; sports articles tend to attract a lot of minor typos.) ‑ Iridescent 22:57, 8 February 2016 (UTC)
(adding) Ah. didn't see it was full-protected. Since the edit is completely non-contentious I won't self-revert; anyone who wants to complain about EVIL ADMIN ABUSE knows where to find WP:HAPPYPLACE. I dare say there will be someone who'll be happy to have a pretext to block me. ‑ Iridescent 23:00, 8 February 2016 (UTC)
The topic. It just surprises me sometimes how broad your interests are. I agree with the sports related topics being more prone to typos and such. Just IMHO - but perhaps it attracts a more "blue-collar" following. — Ched :  ?  23:09, 8 February 2016 (UTC)
Probably more that sports (and in particular pro wrestling) attracts a younger demographic, who have grown up with autocorrect and tend to be a bit sloppier regarding spelling and punctuation. Plus, of course, sports articles tend to be updated far more often than even other pop-culture articles; a big-name band will have two bursts of editing per year, when they release their new album and when they tour, while even a relatively obscure sportsman (and they are disproportionately men) will need to have their article updated once or twice a week during their team's season.

I do like to try to make at least minor efforts in multiple areas; I don't think it's healthy to be "the insert topic guy". On the things I've made significant contributions to there is generally a unifying theme of the Anglo-American faith/delusion (delete according to philosophy) in the principle of improving the world by means of improving the environment, but it's only visible if you look quite hard for it. ‑ Iridescent 23:27, 8 February 2016 (UTC)

TFA again

Cornflower blue Yogo sapphire.jpg

Precious again, your exhibition of a controversial painting: a "technically astonishing work ... it also represents the absolute nadir of 19th-century kitsch ..., and there was a general feeling that Etty had spectacularly misunderstood just what The Bard was actually about".

--Gerda Arendt (talk) 07:00, 9 February 2016 (UTC)

Thanks, although I have to admit this (TFA again, not your award) is an honor I could do without. @WP:TFA coordinators: three in seven weeks (December 20, January 16, February 9) is starting to feel like I'm being singled out for a punishment beating; consider this a notice that if anything further of mine is scheduled in the near future I'll withdraw from FAC and all related processes. (Yes, nobody owns articles, but the flip side of that is that nobody ought to be repeatedly faced with the choice between wasting their time checking huge swathes of minor edits, or unwatching and running the risk of having one's name attached to something that's potentially inaccurate. At 34 articles, it's not as if WP:FANMP#Art, architecture, and archaeology is so bloated in comparison to the other categories that it desperately needs to be burned off.) ‑ Iridescent 17:24, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
I think I should point out that only the 20 December and 9 February dates were for painting articles; 16 January was Westminster Bridge, which is in a different category. That's an interval of 51 days between paintings, or an annual rate of around 7 – about right for the category. I assure you that these selections are not made in order to inconvenience you (and I don't think you really believe that). However, your objection is noted, and we'll try to leave you alone for a few months. Brianboulton (talk) 18:05, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
  • Seconded; if you consider the recent number of TFAs written by you to be too many, we'll try and hold back for a few months.  — Chris Woodrich (talk) 23:30, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
  • As of 11 October 2015 there were 15 articles primarily by me listed on WP:WBFAN (plus Britomart Redeems Faire Amoret promoted shortly afterwards); within a pool of approximately 1200 FAs yet to run and taking into account the constant inflow of new ones, statistically that ought to mean that mine run at a rate of about one per year. In practice you've run four in less than four months since then; WP:TFASTATS hasn't been updated for a while, but it looks like Charles Domery and Youth and Pleasure have been the most-viewed and third-most-viewed TFAs since the counting method was changed, complete with all the stress and hassle that comes of trying to stop a high-traffic page degenerating while it's still on the main page, while still preserving the spirit of "anyone can edit". I don't believe you're singling me out deliberately, but I do believe that in an (understandable) attempt to stop TFA becoming WP:WikiProject Banksias, hurricanes, battleships, coins, mushrooms and Square Enix games the delegates unintentionally turn a shit-hose on those people writing in other fields, particularly in fields with eyecatching or controversial titles, images or subject matter (care to predict what will happen if you ever schedule Pig-faced women?), and this phenomenon is only going to get worse now so many of the former regulars have been either hounded out of FAC or have left Wikipedia altogether. ‑ Iridescent 17:25, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
  • You're not the only one, of course. I've had three articles run in the past two months (Brian scheduled two, and I scheduled one since we apparently didn't have anything else which was "romantic" for Valentine's Day), and I'm sure Wehwalt has had a fair few. I've found it simplest to just let the article run and then pick up the pieces once it's off the main page. That may not work with all articles—some end up with disputes on the talk page that should be followed—but in general Wikipedians revert the vandalism and blatant errors, and there's more time to clean-up the finer points when we're not trying to close the floodgates at the same time. Especially if we end up in an edit war with someone who insists on a certain wording.
And yes, it's difficult to keep the balance on the MP. What's worse, a lot of the older articles are not in the best of shape; before we ran "Interactions" I had to do some clean-up, and we still got complaints. Ostensibly there are quite a few UK towns left to run, but the vast majority are so out of date it's probably simpler to delist them (I cleaned up one last August before running it, and that took a good 3 to 4 hours). So we are more likely to pick articles which were promoted recently; as a result, editors who are still active tend to get articles selected more often than others. I don't think I've ever scheduled anything by YellowMonkey, for example. — Chris Woodrich (talk) 00:45, 11 February 2016 (UTC)
I hate to sound like Sandy .. but dang, FAC has gotten arthritic. I've had an article up there over a month ... and it's just ... sitting. It's not that I haven't put some time in reviewing in the last year either... I'm not reviewing at the rate I once was but I still review much more than I nominate... At this rate, GAN will be faster! Ealdgyth - Talk 17:32, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
I know No Editor Is Irreplaceable is official Wikipedia dogma—and probably correct except in the case of a few specialists—but that doesn't mean the activity levels of just a few active editors can't have a significant impact on backlogs in a given area. With Eric, Giano, Moni and Sandy all more or less MIA, Mattisse banned (there are good reasons for her permanent ban, but it can't be said she didn't pull her weight), and a lot of those who remain demoralised and reluctant to get involved in the walls-o'-text arguments over minutiae that characterise reviews these days, both FAC and GAN are showing the strain.

In the particular case of Monroe Edwards, I suspect a lot of reviewers are put off by him living in a period, and working in a field, with which most people aren't very familiar. (Everyone knows what a slave trader did, but I suspect very few know the practicalities of the job.) I'll try to take a look at it, but I'm not sure if I'll have any useful comments to make as what I know about 19th-century Texan fraud cases could be written on the back of a stamp. You probably ought to chase up Wehwalt (it's not canvassing if I ping him, since I have no current opinion of whether it ought to be promoted or archived), as he understands the political background of the 19th century American West. It's not a name one associates with FAC, but you might want to ask Newyorkbrad to take a look, as this sounds like something in which he might be interested, and he might welcome the chance to experience FAC from the inside on a review which is unlikely to attract those editors who comprise the less welcoming face of reviewing. ‑ Iridescent 18:32, 10 February 2016 (UTC)

Edwards is not much more obscure than some of the other stuff I've brought through FAC - Anglo-Saxon archbishops, Quarter Horse broodmares, and dusty old manuscripts come to mind. I'd welcome anyone's attention - its often good to have people unfamiliar with the period review also. I know I haven't been pushing either - life's been a bit busy - but wow, the change since my last FAC is pretty startling. As for being "gifted" with TFA ... I know the feeling. I sometimes think it runs in spurts though - I managed to go from mid-Dec 2014 to mid-Sept 2015 without a TFA ... which was nice. (Hopefully this doesn't jinx me...) Ealdgyth - Talk 19:16, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
I actually scanned (I can't say read) the article, I will be happy to look at it, but I've got two articles in front of it and I'm traveling until next Tuesday. If you can bear with me, I will be happy to review it. Is Karanacs around? She is the go to person on Texas.--Wehwalt (talk) 20:24, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
She's named on the FAC as one of the authors, which is why I didn't suggest her. Maile66 might be a good bet if you (Ealdgyth) haven't already asked. ‑ Iridescent 20:26, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
Oops. My bad. Well, I'll put it on my list.--Wehwalt (talk) 20:29, 10 February 2016 (UTC)

Your user page

This made me laugh. It made my head spin (not in a good way) when I first read it on Lila's talk page (my immediate reaction was WTF is an 'ideation' - my second reaction was a sinking feeling when seeing TARDIS invoked). I like the way you sometimes use your user page to make political statements. :-) PS. Bit disappointed you only rose to the 'red-link' bait in MZMcBride's invocation of you - you don't have any views on the Great Schism? :-) (or modern ecumenical political matters, come to that?) Carcharoth (talk) 11:54, 13 February 2016 (UTC)

I try to give Lila the benefit of the doubt, given that English isn't her first language and in some Russian contexts jargon can be seen as a sign of learning rather than a sign of pretentiousness. But there comes a limit; the more I see of her, the more I feel that the board has somehow managed the improbable feat of finding someone even more "well, they sounded good on paper" than Sue.
I was raised Presbyterian (albeit now completely lapsed); in that context, both the RCC and ROC are topics on which it's not The Done Thing to have an opinion. (If you want an opinion regardless, I suspect that treating this as a news story will be premature as nothing's likely to come of it. The two churches are vanishingly unlikely to come into full communion, and any more general "end to hostilities" will be meaningless, given that the Pope is hardly likely to preach a crusade against Moscow even if the Patriarch spends the entire meeting screaming abuse at him. "They have both agreed that they are saddened by the destruction of churches and the destruction of Christian communities" is hardly a surprising statement. There is a genuine hot potato between the two churches regarding the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, which both the RCC and ROC feel they ought to be in charge of, but the declaration carefully avoids mentioning it.) ‑ Iridescent 12:16, 13 February 2016 (UTC)
Fair enough. My exposure to (raised wouldn't be quite right) religion is mainly mainstream Anglican. The history of the slow building of closer relations since 1964 is interesting. As are the close ties between the ROC and the Russian state (i.e. Putin). I'm not sure I should ask you what your views are on Putin... (maybe the Syrian Civil War instead?). All much more interesting than talking about the WMF. Or maybe I should decamp to the FAC review thread above? There is a war memorial article at FAC at the moment, which I am hoping will get good reviews (I reviewed it in 2010 and am not sure if my subsequent editing of the article disqualifies me from reviewing it again or not). Carcharoth (talk) 12:30, 13 February 2016 (UTC) The whole religious schisms thing does lead to some strange article titles: Byzantine response to Orthodox Church in America autocephaly. Carcharoth (talk) 12:36, 13 February 2016 (UTC)
I can't make my mind up on Putin. On the one hand, he seems cynical even by the standards of political leaders; on the other, he passes the "is the country a better place now than when you started?" test with flying colours, and when compared to literally every other Russian/Soviet leader in history is something of a saint.
On Syria, I don't know enough to have a real opinion. My instinct is that Assad sounds like a bastard, but no more so than many other world leaders, and that I can't see why the US is so desperate to get rid of him. (Yes, chemical weapons and cluster-bombing of civilians are Bad Things, but if a lunatic death-cult had just seized control of West Virginia and were steadily advancing towards Washington, the US government would probably take an "any means necessary" line as well.) Watching the US, UK and France issue stern pronouncements against other countries using their militaries to interfere in Middle Eastern politics is also somewhat ironic.
On FAC, in the current climate I think they'll take anyone they can get. ‑ Iridescent 12:50, 13 February 2016 (UTC)
Thanks. I have returned to Popes and Patriarchs today. I popped over to the Russian Wikipedia and their 'in the news' section (in the lower right-hand slot - their DYK takes the upper right-hand slot) has this news (with ongoing at the top of the section):

"Hot topics: the protests in Moldova • Fever • Zeke Bandy World Championship for men • UEFA Futsal Championship • Winter Youth Olympic Games: The meeting Patriarch Kirill and Pope Francis For the first time the Pope had a private meeting Rome and the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia (see photo). LIGO Observatory announced the opening of an experimental gravitational waves predicted 100 years ago by Albert Einstein. As a result of collision of trains in Bad Aibling (Germany), killing at least 10 people, more 80 injured. North Korea has placed into orbit an artificial satellite of the Earth "kwangmyŏngsŏng program-4." In Taiwan, not far from Kaohsiung City earthquake of magnitude 6.4. The winners of the Australian Open began Serb Novak Djokovic in the men's singles, and German Angelique Kerber - in women."

Interesting to see how their is no, um, mention of the Superbowl over there, and other signs of different national flavour. I think Google Translate has managed to mix up the Zika fever and some 'Bandy' sports world championships - ah, 2016 Bandy World Championship - the local equivalent of Superbowl! :-) Carcharoth (talk)
I'm not particularly surprised at no mention of the Superbowl; if there were a separate en-gb-wikipedia I wouldn't expect to see it mentioned there, any more than I'd expect to see the Six Nations on a US-only version of ITN. Even French Wikipedia—which one would expect to get some readers interested in US sports, owing to Quebec—doesn't include the Superbowl in ITN. (They do have Débats sur le Brexit though, which is surely a topic that by definition is of more importance to the UK than to anywhere else.) ‑ Iridescent 11:33, 14 February 2016 (UTC)
Brexit on ITN? Never... How well do you know your Saint Cyrils? Which one would the Pope give a reliquary of? I think the first one on the disambiguation list, but what do you think? Carcharoth (talk) 12:12, 14 February 2016 (UTC)

Oh, oops. This source (Catholic newspaper) says Cyril of Alexandria, but this source (Russian) says Saint Cyril the Philosopher (he of alphabet fame). Need to check this, though I know it is not the most important thing to include or get right. Carcharoth (talk) 12:19, 14 February 2016 (UTC)

If you can find an announcement in L'Osservatore Romano, you can take it as, er, gospel, since that's the de facto Vatican press office. I'd be surprised if it's not the alphabet guy, since he's the obvious choice to symbolise links between Moscow and Rome, provided they can find a relic somewhere. ‑ Iridescent 12:59, 14 February 2016 (UTC)
Well, he was buried in Rome, so they managed to find a bit of bone from somewhere. I think you are right. Embarrassingly, lots of Catholic (and other) news sources are reporting it as the 5th-century Alexandria Saint Cyril, and Russian sources reporting it as the 9th-century Saint Cyril (such as here). Saints Cyril and Methodius does say that Cyril died in Rome, and the tomb is mentioned in Basilica of San Clemente al Laterano. Carcharoth (talk) 13:32, 14 February 2016 (UTC)

This thread was never really about your user page, was it? I am knackered. Joint Declaration of Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill. The interesting thing is looking at the other wikis that have articles on the actual meeting/declaration. I think MZMcBride might have been right. I need to do other stuff now. Though inter alia I get the impression that three editing communities at the Pope article, the Patriarch article, and the Great Schism article are about to collide and start arguing - seeing the different ways those articles are edited is, um, interesting. Carcharoth (talk) 23:18, 14 February 2016 (UTC)

Threads on this page (and Malleus's & Drmies's) have always had a tendency to meander, presumably as an artefact of their traditional status as something of a neutral zone between the assorted armed camps, without the Greek chorus of lunatics that characterises Jimbo's talkpage and the Village Pumps. This thread was never really about the deletion of the {{RPA}} template, and this one was only tangentially about Vincent van Gogh.
I can appreciate the arguments against it being ITN, which is why I'm not weighing in on the discussion unless the meeting produces more than "war is a bad thing" platitudes. It sets an unhealthy precedent for "meeting between two leaders" being automatically newsworthy; would we post a meeting between the leaders of India and Nigeria, who respectively represent considerably more people than the Pope and Patriarch?
You wait until the "Chalcedonian Christianity" guy turns up, if you want to see pointless religious arguments. Expect as well to see some angry Bulgarians at some point complaining that this is somehow treating the Russian church as more important than their own; if there's one thing Wikipedia has no shortage of, it's overly sensitive Bulgarians. ‑ Iridescent 00:08, 15 February 2016 (UTC)
Analogy not quite right there (you remind me of the guy who said over there something about 'the first meeting between the Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands and the President of Togo'). The point is more that there had been attempts at meeting before, which had been rebuffed. Maybe a better analogy would be a meeting between US President and Soviet Premier in the days of the Cold War. Except that this 'cold war' is not very cold any more. And I probably shouldn't talk about Cold Wars near anything involving Putin. What I found really interesting was the material about 'an historic Great and Holy Council of the Orthodox Church, scheduled for June 2016'. This is literally something that they (Orthodoxy) have not done for over 1000 years - see First seven Ecumenical Councils - the last recognised one was an eighth one, I think. It all gets a bit confusing after a while. Either there will be a big showdown in Crete in June, or it will be the dampest of damp squibs, and another 1000 years of squabbling. Carcharoth (talk) 00:19, 15 February 2016 (UTC)
Well, first in 344 years if you want to be nit-picky; the last Orthodox ecumenical council was in 1672 (the first seven Ecumenical Councils were those which were considered infallible by both Orthodoxy and the RCC, but both halves of the schism have had a fair few ecumenical councils since then). A better modern-day analogy might be Nixon visiting China. ‑ Iridescent 00:29, 15 February 2016 (UTC)
Yes. I know we have an article on that (1972 Nixon visit to China), so went and read about phyletism and kinism instead. Much more high-brow... (though I managed to end up at a template deletion discussion). In truth, I wasn't even aware of those words until just now. Hmm. That Nixon article is interesting. I am going to ping Wehwalt and ask him if he thinks anyone has ever compared Nixon to a Pope before? *shock* :-) Carcharoth (talk) 01:11, 15 February 2016 (UTC)
Nixon allegedly made the comparison himself, saying "I would have made a good pope". The quote is almost certainly apocryphal; Nixon was a Quaker, and the actual source for the quote seems to be a fictionalised Nixon in the play Nixon's Nixon. ‑ Iridescent 01:26, 15 February 2016 (UTC)
I'll take your word for it. I don't remember anything else in more mainstream stuff myself.--Wehwalt (talk) 05:34, 15 February 2016 (UTC)
On Googling, the original source seems to have been Gloria Steinem, quoting Joe Kraft, allegedly quoting Nixon, in 1968. Since Steinem and Kraft were both hardline anti-Nixon campaigners, I wouldn't give it much credence. ‑ Iridescent 11:58, 15 February 2016 (UTC)
Maybe the shade of Nixon is trying to impersonate the Pope? :-) [am I paranoid to think that this sock posting on my talk page can't be just a coincidence, even though they posted to other talk pages as well?] Carcharoth (talk) 01:30, 16 February 2016 (UTC)

──────────────────── Very odd mix that sock's posted to. Initially I thought it was all editors who'd recently edited religious articles, but that doesn't seem to be the case. (One of the CUs might check if you ask nicely, if the pattern continues. I assume "bored schoolchild" rather than one of the usual suspects, given the lack of subtlety. Every sock worth their salt knows that if you want to troll, you do it at WP:Reference Desk/Humanities, where even the most obvious trolling and stupidity will attract someone earnestly explaining that it's potentially a good faith question and shouldn't be removed or hatted.) ‑ Iridescent 15:30, 16 February 2016 (UTC)

I think, fingers crossed, it was a coincidence. Anyway, on the matter of that article I wrote on Sunday (dumping 20,181 bytes into the mainspace in a single edit after drafting in userspace)... The editing of it since then (after nearly 12 hours of it being ignored) has taught me quite a bit (e.g. I learnt some subtle theological nuances that I had missed in the language used, such as this). The upshot so far is that after nearly two days of fairly prominent exposure at the top (or near the top) of the ITN section on the main page, the difference is this, which is '88 intermediate revisions by 30 users'. I have no idea if that is a lot or not (e.g. compared to the typical editing activity on a TFA?). This sort of editing is, of course, the whole idea of a wiki, but when and how to review the edits is a bit daunting (see also the talk page). Luckily I am a 'weekend' editor (for now)! :-) Carcharoth (talk) 01:07, 17 February 2016 (UTC) Hmm. The article is spreading! Several other wikis now have versions of this article, and the Italian one is a direct translation, correctly credited on the article talk page over there (technically should be credited in the creating edit as well, but I won't quibble). Maybe people at the Vatican are reading it now... Carcharoth (talk) 01:41, 17 February 2016 (UTC)
It looks to be getting about 28,000 views per day, which is more than a typical TFA. I'd say 88 edits in one day is quite a lot, for anything other than a sporting event, battle etc where one would expect it to be constantly updated. That's more edits than those to Youth and Pleasure, the high volume of which made me somewhat snappy. (TFA is slightly different to ITN, in that as the FAC nominator you tend to get personally blamed for any inaccuracies, omissions or perceived biases, so feel under a degree of obligation to personally check every edit made which gets very time-consuming, particular if somebody on Reddit or WO/WR whips up a mob of crazies to rant on the talkpage about what a loathsome specimen of humanity you are and why the article should be deleted immediately. Sure, "anyone can edit" is a key wiki principle, but over time I'm becoming more and more sympathetic to the notion of cascade-protecting everything linked from the main page.) ‑ Iridescent 16:21, 17 February 2016 (UTC)

New articles

Is there a place where I can help others make new articles? At least until I know things a bit better. 400 Lux (talk) 00:45, 15 February 2016 (UTC)

400 Lux, you could try Wikipedia:Articles for creation, but I wouldn't recommend working there unless you're very confident in your knowledge of Wikipedia's policies on notability and sourcing. Paradoxically, the best place to get a feel for what is and isn't acceptable is through following the discussions at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion#Current discussions, but if you plan to participate there rather than just watch, then bear in mind that Wikipedia's standard for inclusion isn't "I consider this important", it's "I can demonstrate that other people consider this important".
Bear in mind that having 5 million articles means that while there are still millions more potential articles to be written, a lot of the articles on well-known subjects already exist in some form and it's a case of correcting and expanding what already exists, rather than creating from scratch. While there are some grumpy people out there, provided you're trying to help and not making mistakes so serious they're actually disruptive, most people will try to help you or point you towards where to find help, provided you explain to them what you're trying to do. If you have basic questions on how Wikipedia works or why we do things a particular way, Wikipedia:Teahouse is a good place to start. ‑ Iridescent 01:06, 15 February 2016 (UTC)
(Adding) If you haven't already, I very strongly recommend reading Wikipedia:Your first article top-to-bottom even though it's long and boring. ‑ Iridescent 01:30, 15 February 2016 (UTC)

Thank you. 400 Lux (talk) 03:37, 18 February 2016 (UTC)

Most important document in Serb/Yugoslav history

Seriously? Prove it.--Zoupan 17:23, 17 February 2016 (UTC)

Feel free to take it to AFD if you disagree, but this is patently not an appropriate WP:PROD candidate, and certainly not with a spurious deletion reason like "fails notability and verifiability"; if I deleted the page with that reason when all it takes to verify it is a ten second search on Serb proclamation 1809, I'd quite rightly be hauled off to ANI or Arbcom for abuse of the admin bit. You could start with Snežana Trifunovska's Yugoslavia Through Documents: From Its Creation to Its Dissolution and note what the very first document listed is. ‑ Iridescent 17:31, 17 February 2016 (UTC)
(adding) I wouldn't object to it being merged into Revolutionary Serbia, but scorching-the-earth to hide pre-merged histories isn't what deletion is for. ‑ Iridescent 17:43, 17 February 2016 (UTC)
Not good enough. That Google search comes up with zilch. Do you have one (1) secondary source that implies its importance? There was an unsigned document issued on 21 September "to the Serbian people" that called for unity. The article is a mash-up of two separate documents, each found once on Gbooks = blown way out of proportion (The Proclamation?). As I properly tagged, it fails notability and verifiability.--Zoupan 18:19, 17 February 2016 (UTC)
WP:Articles for deletion/The Proclamation is thataway. ‑ Iridescent 21:31, 19 February 2016 (UTC)

I think we've jumped the shark...

Wikipedia:Today's featured article/requests/Hitler Diaries Ealdgyth - Talk 21:36, 20 February 2016 (UTC)

My views on the April Fools main page are well known. It serves no useful purpose, confuses the hell out of readers in those countries which don't observe it or where April Fools is only observed until noon, and regularly veers onto the wrong side of tasteless, with anyone complaining about it being subjected to a barrage of abuse for being a killjoy, or accused of stupidity for not getting the joke; just because the Defenders of the Wiki revert every complaint from Talk:Main Page, doesn't mean the complaints aren't genuine. To add an extra layer of tastelessness, April 1 is also the anniversary of the start of the Nazi campaign against the Jews. I've added my opposition, not that it will make the slightest difference. (If you really care strongly and don't mind running to mommy, I imagine the WMF would veto it instantly if Jimbo were made aware, since they have quite enough bad publicity to deal with right now. The downside of involving Lila or Jimmy is that a comet tail of loons would follow, and the discussion would likely turn into contest between JIDF and the information-wants-to-be-free hardliners over who can round up the most users on Reddit.) ‑ Iridescent 15:58, 21 February 2016 (UTC)


Was mentioned above, and its funny you might ask. Myself and Modernist might take this to FAC in the next six months, and I had thought to ask you for a look at PR. I do know where you are coming from, and having seen a blockbuster in the Hague about 6 years ago, I was left cold; too much van Gogh, and not very interesting up close, esp if they are in the dozens. But individual painting still amaze, he is so expressive in intent and with those broad paint strokes. Ceoil (talk) 11:29, 3 January 2016 (UTC)

Ullswater from Gobarrow Park
To be clear, I don't actively dislike him, but (as with Leonardo) I find that most of his supposed innovations had already been done just as well by someone else, and I don't get the whole "groundbreaking visionary of unique genius" narrative. I see him as the Impressionist equivalent of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Andrew Lloyd-Webber or David Beckham (or indeed, William Etty)—undoubtedly greatly technically gifted and a dedicated hard grafter, but whose primary talent was a knack for knowing which elements of other people's work was worth lifting, rather than any great inventiveness in his own right, and who had the (posthumous) good luck to have had a style which meshed well with both pre-WW2 modernism and post-WW2 op-art/pop-art, thus allowing every Warhol-inspired chancer to claim they were part of a Great Artistic Tradition rather than a pack of self-promoting bullshitters. (If you ever want to feel the urge to punch your monitor, follow some of the links here, particularly this guy.)
Pretty much every artist had a ratio of a dozen duff works for every good one; part of the problem with VVG, I suspect, is that thanks to his name galleries feel obliged to put even his most wretched works on prominent display with a gushing caption about what a work of genius they are, even in the case of unsuccessful doodles which the man himself would probably have preferred be destroyed. Picasso and Turner tend to suffer the same problem, in which every throwaway experiment they ever painted is given pride of place in some provincial gallery because they spent so much on it, nobody dares to point out that the Emperor is naked; look me in the eye and tell me that if Farmhouse Among Trees, The Blue Room or Ullswater from Gobarrow Park had any other signature on them, they wouldn't have promptly been shoved in the storeroom. (I think Farmhouse Among Trees has just taken the place of Southborough, Bromley as my go-to example of a useless-but-undeletable Wikipedia article, too.) ‑ Iridescent 14:26, 3 January 2016 (UTC)
(adding) More than happy to do the PR on it—just let me know when you think it's ready. You do realise that taking it to the main page will mean fending off a swarm of nerds angry that more prominence isn't given to the fact that he was a Doctor Who character? ‑ Iridescent 14:29, 3 January 2016 (UTC)
All too true. Kafka Liz (talk) 19:46, 3 January 2016 (UTC)
Tis a shame you are not a reliable source; the above first paragraph would make an amusing fourth lead paragraph. --- While most art historians believe, Iridescent --- This is one of the reasons I tend towards the 15 and 16 th c's - only the major works are attributed. Such a surviving internal consistency can only compare with the Smiths, who have a rubbish/excellent ratio par none. The same is true of precious few; a poor Bacon is a very poor painting indead. Ceoil (talk) 19:54, 3 January 2016 (UTC)
Which Smiths, Morrissey & Marr or Mark E & Brix? The same is equally true of both, although at least the latter had the decency to rigidly alternate good and bad to make it easier for future generations to know what to ignore.
The Premature Burial, Antoine Wiertz, 1854
If you want really bad art, try the Wiertz Museum, next door to the European Parliament in Brussels. A 19th-century agreement has bound the Belgian government to display Antoine Wiertz's entire output in perpetuity on this site, despite it being painfully obvious in hindsight that his work is without exception absolutely awful; thus, there's more prime display space in central Brussels granted to this one Victorian hack than to Rubens, Van Dyck or the Breughels, and one of the most valuable pieces of real estate in the world is occupied by an aircraft-hangar sized building filled with art so bad the Germans didn't even bother to loot it.

As far as really bad work by genuinely gifted artists goes, I'd say the winner is this effort by Cézanne in the Walker, which somehow manages to be the tackiest item in a room containing And When Did You Last See Your Father?. No article for AWDYLSYF? Really? ‑ Iridescent 16:42, 4 January 2016 (UTC)

I meant the other Manc couple, but think Mark E has on and off *decades* rather than albums (you might be thinking of Julian Cope?). Novelty 70s, consistent 80s, dreadful pub rock car park punch up 90s, revitalised 00s, and a spattering of disappointing recent albums. I took a look at the Wiertz commons cat. Christ. For me art now ends at 1599, I think a safe distance from all that later nonsense and rationalisation. Ceoil (talk) 04:53, 16 January 2016 (UTC)
Less of the "dreadful pub rock car park punch up 90s"—Shift-Work was by far the best thing he ever made, and if Edinburgh Man had been written by Morrissey or Bowie or been included on the Trainspotting soundtrack, the chin-strokers would to this day be writing earnest "the song that captured the mood of a nation" essays in the Guardian. Cope's alternation was only when he was on Island, when IIRC he was contractually only allowed to include his sub-Wakeman art-wank meanderings on every other album; after he parted ways with Island, everything he did was 'challenging' (although I'd include Interpreter in my personal top 10 albums of all time, and around 50% of You Gotta Problem with Me and 20 Mothers is excellent). Recent events have reminded me that Bowie himself has possibly the strongest claim to a rubbish/excellent ratio—I'd challenge anyone to sit through Outside or Tin Machine without machine-gunning the fast-forward button. ‑ Iridescent 16:59, 16 January 2016 (UTC)
I married mrs Ceoil in part because her large book case had a first edition of Krautrocksampler. Have been tempted for years to redraft Dave Balfe's bio solely based on "Head on"; that strikes me as unfair but might be a bunch of fun. I really tried with Outside, I mean I really tried, and though it can be pleasant, it's hardly satisfying. Agree re Edinburgh Man, grudgingly; the Fall end for me with Curious Orange, their last spectacular album. Saw them a bunch of times in the 90s; euf. I notice the critical tide is turning against Goya since the NG blockbuster, a consensus gathering that his rubbish/excellent ratio was poor. I'm not convinced, well the weaker paintings (ie early portraits) don't distract from the major work, and attribution might have been giddy at times. But its funny how memes develop. Ceoil (talk) 22:14, 16 January 2016 (UTC)
I have first editions of Krautrocksampler and both Antiquarian books, plus a mint vinyl copy of Love Peace & Fuck (redlink? seriously?) for what that's worth (although the latter is mint mainly because it's totally unlistenable and sounds like Motorhead doing an album of Squeeze covers). I gave up on Bowie relatively early on; IMO virtually everything after Heroes was mediocre at best and only sold because it had his name on it.

I have a pet theory that blockbuster retrospectives always lower the artist's standing when it comes to major names. Because they gather together everything they can get hold of, they tend to include a lot of ropey stuff that doesn't normally get much attention, meaning people who only associate the artist with their most accomplished pieces come away thinking "I never realised how much crap he churned out". (For less-well-known artists, the opposite applies; the 2011 Etty retrospective, for instance, made critics realise that there was more to the man than mawkish sentimentality and gratuitous tits, while the Tate's gift shop is still milking the benefits of their PRB blockbuster decades after the event.) ‑ Iridescent 22:42, 16 January 2016 (UTC)

But also people have to sell Sunday newspapers, still the vehicle of the middlebrow, and contrary views shift copy. But yes, blockbusters can backfire, especially with over-hype, which seems to have happened here. At the same time, this is an intelligent, considered, take down. I happen to not agree, but a lot of of it salient to curators, for the reasons of quality control you mention above. Bty, thanks for setting a longing in me that can never now be satisfied; Motorhead doing an album of Squeeze. Them blazing through Orange Juice might also have been fun. RIP Lemmy. Ceoil (talk) 23:13, 16 January 2016 (UTC)
If it's any substitute, here's William Shatner singing Lemmy. (Shatner's Seeking Major Tom is a surprisingly good album, mainly because he managed to rope every Trekkie in the music business into collaborating on it and ended up with something of a genuine supergroup. Although Shatner's finest musical moment is undoubtedly Common People; the only other recording I can think of which produces quite the same "did that really happen?" reaction is this deeply-ironic-in-hindsight exercise.) ‑ Iridescent 16:06, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
Hmm. Hadnt gotten as far as "Brain Donor", listening through. Cope's singing brings two words to mind; "Well I just got into town about an hour ago". The real hero of the Pulp cover is Mr Rollins whom I would normally distain, although his stand up is wry and lovely. We spoke before about the antiquarian books; when mrs Ceoil first visited I drove here around the Cork/Kerry mountains with that book in the back seat; Knocknakilla, almost on my door step, stood out, Juilian's description annd ridicilious on-site self-portrait brought a smile. Ceoil (talk) 12:26, 23 January 2016 (UTC)
I never really understand the point of Pulp covers. Like Dylan, the material is so clearly written for a particular voice, it generally sounds phony to me for anyone else to perform it. (That's not a hard-and-fast rule. Dolly Parton did a superb version of After the Gold Rush, which is surely the textbook example of a song which only ought to work when performed by the author.) ‑ Iridescent 19:26, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
I doubt I have to explain irony to you, but the ricilousness and needleness of the cover speaks for itself. Shatner is a lot of things, but be has always been in on the joke. Cope also has a lot of self awarness, but something seems missing. Bombast and Doors grooves, however well done are still bombast and Doors grooves (thanks Oliver Stone for ruinng my late 80s in the early 90s). Although I will listen to and read him JC the grave, there is a ironymeter alert ringing in the back of my head (have this reservation too with Goya, an uneasy feeling that someting doesnt add up / is over thought. And both throw a lot at the wall, hoping something might stick). The man formed a band with Dave Balf but on the +ve kept Drummond to advise on philiophical matters. Ceoil (talk) 08:12, 7 February 2016 (UTC)
"IMO virtually everything after Heroes". This came up last night with some old, now former, friends. "Blue Jean" and the base line in Absolute Beginners" is as evil as China Girl; those are a few. I see an indef in your future. Thanks for the all contribs, but still. Ceoil (talk) 10:17, 7 February 2016 (UTC)
So two songs out of what, twelve albums? (And FWIW, since everybody else is too polite to point out the emperor's new clothes, his final single is a blatant note-for-note lift from What God Wants.)
If you haven't discovered it already, can I get in a plug for The Vermilion Border (appropriately, the link is red) by Viv Albertine, which vanished without trace on release and seems a little twee at first listen but after a couple of plays seems to become among the favourite albums of everyone who hears it (and which also has a truly stellar cast-list, with virtually every survivor of the punk scene popping up at some point). This one in particular I find a real grower (although she needs to be slapped on the wrist for forming a line-up comprising the remnants of the Clash and the Slits, and not calling it either The Slash or The Clits), and this one would be on autoplay on my userpage were it possible, just to see Americans' reactions when it reaches the line "Tosser, nutter, wanker, cunt". ‑ Iridescent 18:08, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
2 songs out of 10 Bowie 80s years ain't bad. Listening to Vermilion Border for last hour; drawn in, though Viv never grabbed me before. OTH 'Confessions of a Milf' is a bit hard rock, but Vermilion have that Velves groove I always sought in the 90s, promised by second runners like Death in Vegas, etc. Too Pure 1992 one hit wonders were looking for simlar, and had had one brief wonderful moment. Vivs adronogy reminds me of ghost of; Sally aged well and is still untouchable. Mekons never toured Cork; for us in the late 80s the words "out in the hills above Bradford" were full of mystery and promise (not even joking). For cause, LSD (isn't what it used to be), Walter's Trip, Five Go Down To The Sea? were what kept us going until acid house. Like (we imagined) in places like Bradford! Ceoil (talk) 06:21, 13 February 2016 (UTC)
And to think Palmolive went off and became a born again. Bit of a shame, that. Kafka Liz (talk) 06:58, 13 February 2016 (UTC)
Sure, 2/10 are OK, but 8/10 were self-indulgent artwank. (See also Lou Reed and Iggy Pop in the same period.) After Heroes, he lost the spark—even the songs that worked had no particular originality and may as well have been recorded by Phil Collins.
Any band featuring Jon Langford can do no wrong; I grew up on Great Pop Things. ("Oh Tori, Oh Tori, you're quite like Kate Bush / Kate doesn't gig so you'll do at a push.") The Slits did nothing for me, aside from "Typical Girls"—I know don't speak ill of the dead etc but I found Ari too irritating and pretentious to ever take seriously. Viv solo on the other hand IMO does an excellent job of capturing the original punk spirit of anger without aggressiveness, before the scene became all cartoon violence. I also admire the fact that while she's still angry, she's singing about the things that make a middle-aged woman angry rather than pretending to be a teenager—there's not much sadder* than middle-aged millionaires doing the "Hey kids, smash the state!" routine.
*Except middle-aged millionaires doing the "Hey kids, smash the state!" routine while flogging butter
You might also want to give Got No Shadow by Mary Lou Lord a try. It was a total commercial flop, but had a very interesting mix of grungesters, the indie hardcore and psych/prog survivors, and I suspect will one day be rediscovered—a constant stream of Byrds completists and Elliot Smith fans will mean there will always be at least a trickle of a market for it.
I have a definite soft spot for Palmolive; I thought the Raincoats were hugely underrated (and Looking in the Shadows is a rare example of a comeback album that competes with the originals in terms of quality, although I'm not sure if she appeared on it). I was once introduced to Gina Birch at a party, and was so surprised I just stood there with my mouth open like a 12-year-old girl who'd bumped into One Direction. ‑ Iridescent 11:34, 13 February 2016 (UTC)
Jon Langford. No words. Much love. Favourite Mekon after my beloved Sally. Leaving a tune that I'm sure you know, and publicly taking my hat off. Wow. Kafka Liz (talk) 12:42, 13 February 2016 (UTC)
I did say I would ask splutter. No need to be gentle. I know the ref formatting is a mess; I'm sparing the review the misery of teasing out; will have completed by FAC, if the lord spares me. I would greatly appreciate your view otherwise. Ceoil (talk) 23:00, 13 February 2016 (UTC)
Will do. Will likely be in dribs and drabs, though. ‑ Iridescent 10:10, 14 February 2016 (UTC)
OK, taken a crack at it. These are all minor nitpicks, other than the fact that I think Cultural depictions of Vincent van Gogh needs either to be worked into the legacy text, or linked very prominently. ‑ Iridescent 12:55, 14 February 2016 (UTC)
Got it, and thanks. Disagree with none of what you wrote. Working through....Ceoil (talk) 00:10, 15 February 2016 (UTC)
You might want to see if you can pester Malleus out of retirement for this one. He's still occasionally active, and there's nobody better than him at spotting minor quibbles nobody else noticed. ‑ Iridescent 18:12, 17 February 2016 (UTC)
I think it's highly unlikely that I'll be contributing to WP again in any significant way ... too much disrespect for those who don't buy into the cult of you know who. The gender gap restriction imposed by ArbCom is intolerable, but the straw that finally broke the camel's back was the removal of IPBE yesterday. Eric Corbett 18:46, 19 February 2016 (UTC)

───────────────────────── That won't be any kind of personal snub; all advanced permissions (including admin, bureaucrat, checkuser etc) automatically expire if they're not being used, and you were just one of a big batch of editors who had IPBE removed, presumably because whatever rangeblock you'd been caught by has now expired. IPBE is given out very sparingly; there are only 57 editors at the time of writing who have it, and three of those are WMF engineers and presumably using it for testing. (In practice, unless you always edit from a particular institution with its own fixed IP address, IP blocks in the UK are virtually meaningless anyway, since any rangeblock capable of blocking every possible address BT, Sky, Talk Talk etc could dish up to you would mean blocking a decent-sized chunk of Western Europe.) ‑ Iridescent 21:42, 19 February 2016 (UTC)

I can't remember the last time I used rollback. Will that also be stripped by the same logic? Eric Corbett 23:20, 19 February 2016 (UTC)
(talk page stalker) Almost certainly not. IPBE is designed as a short-term fix for a problem, which is expected to be removed once the problem has gone. There's no suggestion of misuse being a factor in that big batch of IPBE removals. The situation is markedly different with rollback, where (alleged) abuse of the function is the usual reason for removal. I don't actually see the point of rollback, as 99% of the time it's as quick to manually restore the last good version, while Twinkle's rollback functions allow more customisation of the message if you wish to leave one. --RexxS (talk) 00:51, 20 February 2016 (UTC)
What RexxS said. Wikipedia has many abuses, but this isn't one of them, it's just a piece of routine maintenance. If you do need IPBE for some reason—usually if you're editing from a shared IP address where some of the other users are vandals (typically universities or libraries)—then I'm sure they'd give it back without questioning, since even your most dedicated enemies wouldn't claim you're secretly logging out to vandalise Wikipedia. ‑ Iridescent 11:28, 25 February 2016 (UTC)

The Destroying Angel

I was looking for an inline citation on the above article to support the following "Etty had become famous for nude paintings, and acquired a reputation for tastelessness, indecency and a lack of creativity. With The Destroying Angel he hoped to disprove his critics with an openly moral piece." - I can't see one. I know nothing about the artist/article, so I am in no position to judge the accuracy of the above statement - however for such strong wording, I'm pretty sure an inline citation would be best, if this is uncited or based on a citation that is hiding elsewhere in the article, it does not give that statement much credibility. Spacecowboy420 (talk) 06:13, 24 February 2016 (UTC)

Everything you mention is sourced to reliable sources (and could easily be sourced to a dozen more, since Etty is probably the most famous nude painter in history): he became famous for painting nude figures in biblical, literary and mythological settings, many critics condemned his repeated depictions of female nudity as indecent, "[Etty] should not persist, with an unhallowed fancy, to pursue Nature to her holy recesses. He is a laborious draughtsman, and a beautiful colourist; but he has not taste or chastity of mind enough to venture on the naked truth.", Needled by repeated attacks from The Morning Chronicle on his supposed indecency, poor taste and lack of creativity, Etty determined to produce a work that would prove his detractors wrong., The result [of the desire to respond to accusations of indecency and tastelessness] was The Destroying Angel. I'm not sure what the issue is here. If you're complaining that the fact is cited in the body text rather than the lead, then you're misunderstanding how articles at FA level are formatted, as the only statements that should be cited in the lead are direct quotations, and facts which don't appear in the body text. ‑ Iridescent 18:20, 24 February 2016 (UTC)

My only issue was that I was looking for a source, next to the content. And yes, I have zero understanding how articles are formatted. I was viewing it as a reader, not an editor. I don't dispute the accuracy of the statement, I have no knowledge of this artist, or art in general. Spacecowboy420 (talk) 07:12, 25 February 2016 (UTC)

That's not how Wikipedia works; "every statement needs a source next to it" is a misconception. The lead is an executive summary of the article which follows it, and the article is where the material is sourced; the only things which should be sourced in the lead are direct quotations, content which for whatever reason doesn't exist in the article itself, and "statements about living persons that are challenged or likely to be challenged". You shouldn't be removing material from a lead for being "unsourced" unless it falls into one of those three categories; whether you're familiar with the topic or not is irrelevant. ‑ Iridescent 07:50, 25 February 2016 (UTC)
I was under the impression that in the lead, all content that was likely to be challenged required an inline citation, while "statements about living persons that are challenged or likely to be challenged" required inline citations every time they were mentioned. Was I wrong? Spacecowboy420 (talk) 08:20, 25 February 2016 (UTC)
You are indeed quoting from the first paragraph of WP:LEADCITE (although BLP issues are clearly irrelevant here) - but if you read on, you will see that the second paragraph says "Because the lead will usually repeat information that is in the body, editors should balance the desire to avoid redundant citations in the lead with the desire to aid readers in locating sources for challengeable material. Leads are usually written at a greater level of generality than the body, and information in the lead section of non-controversial subjects is less likely to be challenged and less likely to require a source". The sentences in question clearly fall into the category of material not requiring inline citation in the lead. BencherliteTalk 08:30, 25 February 2016 (UTC)
Your comments made a lot of sense...right up to the point where I read "non-controversial" - making statements, that basically ripped apart all credibility of someone's life work, is "non-controversial"? On that point, I think we would have to disagree. This isn't a case of some harmless comment that will never realistically be disputed. Anyway, it needs a solution. Option 1. Put a citation in the lead. Option 2. Remove the disputed content. I'd personally suggest option 2. Spacecowboy420 (talk) 10:58, 25 February 2016 (UTC)
OK, you're starting to cross well over the line separating "good faith misunderstanding of how Wikipedia operates" from "intentional disruption". You do not get to unilaterally make up policies and then demand they be applied, let alone a policy that would affect every article on Wikipedia; if you want the Manual of Style changed, head on over to Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Lead section and start an RFC, having a thorough read of the overwhelming opposition last time someone proposed this, and bear in mind that MOS issues are subject to discretionary sanctions and this kind of posturing is unlikely to go down well.

The material you removed (Etty had become famous for nude paintings, and acquired a reputation for tastelessness, indecency and a lack of creativity. With The Destroying Angel he hoped to disprove his critics with an openly moral piece.) is (a) utterly non-controversial, given that nobody then or now—including Etty himself—disputes that he had this reputation or that TDA was intended to address it, and (b) is already cited. The idea that by explaining that TDA was painted as a response to critics Wikipedia is somehow "causing harm" (just who you think is being harmed, you don't specify) is ludicrous. ‑ Iridescent 11:29, 25 February 2016 (UTC)

Why he painted it, is not controversial. The tone of the lead is unsuitable. "Etty had become famous for nude paintings, and acquired a reputation for indecency. With The Destroying Angel he hoped to disprove his critics with an openly moral piece." would be far more suitable. Spacecowboy420 (talk) 11:37, 25 February 2016 (UTC)
Stop digging. None of "tastelessness, indecency and a lack of creativity" is in any way controversial, since those are the three things for which Etty was famous, and they're directly relevant here since TDA was an explicit attempt to be tasteful, an explicit (albeit questionably successful) attempt to show nudes in a non-indecent manner, and painted from imagination explicitly to address concerns about his lack of creativity. Removing this would remove the context as to why he painted a work which is significantly different from his other work. ‑ Iridescent 11:47, 25 February 2016 (UTC)

I'm sorry that I don't approve of including controversial content that supports your theory. We add content because it is notable, we don't add content just to support a theory. I assume you know that. Spacecowboy420 (talk) 11:54, 25 February 2016 (UTC)

This is not "a theory". Do you even know who William Etty was? (You may want to read his biography on even the staid ODNB and count how many times the word "indecency" appears.) It's not inappropriate to explain that an artist who was notorious for his tastelessness was accused of tastelessness, nor that something he explicitly painted from imagination to address an alleged lack of creativity was painted from imagination to address a perceived lack of creativity. ‑ Iridescent 11:59, 25 February 2016 (UTC)
Then, I'm guessing if his tastelessness was so well known and well documented, a few decent sources wouldn't be hard to find, and most certainly wouldn't destroy the entire article if one was in the lead. In all seriousness, would it hurt to have one (more) citation in the lead? There are already some there, they were deemed suitable, is this situation any different? Spacecowboy420 (talk) 12:05, 25 February 2016 (UTC)
There is no need for that citation in the lede, however. The two citations in the lede currently are there to reference the alternative names (which are not cited elsewhere in the article). At this point, you've had things explained to you several times and been pointed to places where you can change policy. Continuing to beat a dead horse is just that... verging into disruptive territory. Ealdgyth - Talk 13:34, 25 February 2016 (UTC)
No, going on a massive edit war or making personal attacks would be verging into disruptive territory. Just because I do not agree with someone, and voice my opinion, does not equal disruption. Snide implications regarding dead horses are probably more disruptive. Spacecowboy420 (talk) 13:42, 25 February 2016 (UTC)
I"m sorry you thought my comment was snide. It was not meant that way - but nowhere did I say you were disruptive. I said you were verging into disruptive territory. You're certainly welcome to voice your opinion. When that opinion continues to be voiced although many explanations for why that opinion does not apply in a particular case have been given, then that behavior can begin to look like disruption. I'm failing to see personal attacks in this section, nor in the talk page. Ealdgyth - Talk 14:03, 25 February 2016 (UTC)
I guess I've been growing a rather thick hide recently when dealing with content disputes, so perhaps the snideness was in my imagination. Either way, I'm pretty sure I have nothing content related to add to this issue and the article in question has becoming rather tiring, so I have moved on. Spacecowboy420 (talk) 14:12, 25 February 2016 (UTC)

Thank you for being one of Wikipedia's top medical contributors!

please help translate this message into the local language
Wiki Project Med Foundation logo.svg The Cure Award
In 2015 you were one of the top 300 medical editors across any language of Wikipedia. Thank you from Wiki Project Med Foundation for helping bring free, complete, accurate, up-to-date health information to the public. We really appreciate you and the vital work you do! Wiki Project Med Foundation is a user group whose mission is to improve our health content. Consider joining here, there are no associated costs, and we would love to collaborate further.

Thanks again :) -- Doc James along with the rest of the team at Wiki Project Med Foundation 03:59, 29 February 2016 (UTC)

In fairness, that I'm in the top 300 is more an indication of the decline in editor numbers than anything else. My medical articles tend to be obscure 19th-century case studies like Daniel Lambert, and WP:MED would probably happily disown them for bringing the project into disrepute. ‑ Iridescent 19:59, 2 March 2016 (UTC)

London bridges

How many bridges were there across the Thames in London itself in 1813 (ie before Waterloo, Southwark & Vauxhall)? London B, Blackfriars Bridge and Battersea, yes. Anything else? Johnbod (talk) 16:41, 23 February 2016 (UTC)

Depends how you define "London itself"; Kingston Bridge is medieval. Richmond Bridge, Kew Bridge and Putney Bridge were already in place by 1813; sure, people at the time wouldn't have considered them "London", but they wouldn't have considered Battersea as London at that time either. Vauxhall Bridge would have been under construction then, but not yet opened. ‑ Iridescent 19:46, 23 February 2016 (UTC)
I was taking Battersea (or rather the north side of the river) as just about in London then. So just the three then. Thanks. The List of London bridges unfortunately only gives the dates of the current structures. Johnbod (talk) 13:45, 25 February 2016 (UTC)
Richmond Bridge, early 19th c
If this is in relation to artworks, there's a good chance anything labelled as "a bridge in London" is actually Richmond rather than one of the London bridges. The Richmond riverside has always been just as heavily lined with buildings as London, owing to the historic presence of the royal complex, but the geography meant it was a lot easier for an artist to sit and paint without being either pestered by curious onlookers, or splattered with mud and filth.

Other than London Bridge itself, which is really sui generis, London came very late to the bridge party. Lingering concerns about revolting Kentish peasants and French invaders meant the authorities were reluctant to build anything that would lay Westminster open to attack, while traffic congestion and bridge tolls meant the idea never really met with much enthusiasm; well into the 19th century, it was quicker and cheaper to cross the Thames by ferry than to brave the bridges. They only really started to be built on a large scale after the arrival of the railways, which were disgorging too many people into Southwark for the ferries to handle. (Many of the earlier ones, like Battersea and Vauxhall, were built to generate traffic for pleasure-gardens on the Surrey bank, rather than to address any pressing need of commuters.) A surprising number* of London ferries are still operational and yet to be replaced by bridges or tunnels. ‑ Iridescent 22:17, 26 February 2016 (UTC)

Well four, but anything more than one is surprising; Rotherhithe, Woolwich, Hammerton's and Hampton in London, plus Tilbury and Shepperton just outside the boundary on either side.

No, it was for Regency architecture, thanks! They got 3 new ones done in the 10 years after Waterloo. Johnbod (talk) 03:05, 27 February 2016 (UTC)
If you'll forgive a bit of OR, it was probably as much to do with providing work for a horde of demobbed squaddies, as any pressing need to cross the river. (Bear in mind that most of these 19th century bridges were crude contraptions that could barely be dignified with the term "architecture", and which had to be replaced fairly quickly once their limitations became obvious. Old Battersea Bridge and Old Wandsworth Bridge in particular looked less like major infrastructure projects, than like something the Red Army would build to cross the Vistula under shellfire. The only early bridges that really warrant the term "architecture" were Richmond Bridge and Rennie's London Bridge.) ‑ Iridescent 00:13, 28 February 2016 (UTC)
All 3 were private enterprise toll bridges, though I think one at most made a profit. Sir John Summerson thinks all 3 "were first-rate examples of the art and science of the engineer", which is giving with one hand and taking away with the other, perhaps, and is very enthusiastic about Waterloo Bridge - "sheer magnificence". Johnbod (talk) 04:39, 28 February 2016 (UTC)

I once idly wondered if I'd actually crossed all the London bridges, well, the ones that are generally accessible (maybe even all the tunnels under the river as well!). Going by List of bridges in London, it seems I've managed to avoid ever going across Richmond Lock and Footbridge, but everything else from the bottom of the list upwards. From Putney Bridge to Grosvenor Bridge I am less sure. Some of the railway bridges I'll have crossed in a train without ever realising it. From Westminster eastwards, I think I've walked across all the ones that it is possible to walk across. Looking at the view from the bridges (depending on the weather) is nice for a number of them. List of crossings of the River Thames is insane. Carcharoth (talk) 02:59, 28 February 2016 (UTC)

I wouldn't trust List of crossings of the River Thames as just on a quick glance I can see the Twickenham Tunnel missing (closed to the public for decades, but you can still see the entrance buildings at either end between Twickenham Bridge and the railway bridge). I think I've been across all the publicly-open ones in Greater London at some point, other than a couple of the ferries. I did at one point have a plan to get all the river crossings in London up to GA/FA, but was discouraged at the prospect of having to clean up Tower Bridge, which is both so badly written it would need to be wiped and rewritten from scratch, and has accumulated a decade's worth of holiday snaps, the removal of any of which would prompt howls of protest. (Richmond Lock and Footbridge is worth crossing, as it has spectacular views. Walking up from Richmond, over the lock, and along the Thames to Isleworth and Syon Park is something of an undiscovered gem of a walk.) ‑ Iridescent 20:09, 2 March 2016 (UTC)

Some stroopwafels for you!

Gaufre biscuit.jpg for comment at Public Art of Barcelona. the tagspam continues, (he should have used the cleanup-translation tag.)

i'm afraid they are training a new generation of NPP templaters, maybe we should divert the humans toward collaboration, that is if there are any left. cheers Duckduckstop (talk) 18:33, 3 March 2016 (UTC)

I have a particular dislike of tag-bombers who don't explain what they think the issue is and don't even make a token effort to fix it themselves. By all means tag sections you think are problematic if you think there's a genuine issue and don't feel you can fix it yourself, but explain what the issue is and why you're not doing it yourself. Looking at his contributions, it looks to be someone who's just discovered automated tools and is over-enthusiastically machine-gunning them to spray drive-by tags, reverts and messages. In my experience, people like this generally settle down after a couple of weeks of their own accord, and calling them out on their actions just makes them angry or upset as they genuinely think they're being helpful. ‑ Iridescent 15:44, 4 March 2016 (UTC)
it's perpetual september. i see some idea labs projects to notify them to check and clear their old tags, wonder how that will go? it's the same old dictation version of collaboration. doesn't improve the place much. we should be training the spammers to take up teahouse, but it's too far from the first person shooter mentality. Duckduckstop (talk) 20:34, 5 March 2016 (UTC)

William Etty

Congratulations on the bio passing FAC. It's certainly a model for similar articles to follow. Still working up the courage to ask Eric re VvG. Think I'll have to be shameless with this one. Ceoil (talk) 16:49, 20 February 2016 (UTC)

:Thanks—I'm not sure it's actually that useful a model for biographies, as usually the preference is to hive off as much as possible into subpages to keep the main bio at a reasonable size. This is something of a special case, as I thought it made more sense for readers to see his progression from "last of the 18th century English School" to "first of the Pre-Raphaelites" (and arguably "first of the Impressionists" as well; if Mlle Rachel were attributed as a early work by Van Gogh nobody would blink). ‑ Iridescent 15:39, 21 February 2016 (UTC)
a special case in more ways than you might think ;) I was thinking more structurally, but first of the Pre-Raphaelites is interesting, given his bastardisation of the romantic sweep, or one could argue taking it to its logical conclusion while staying within the confines of academic painting. Perhaps. Your on your own though with "first of the Impressionists", and be prepared to fight on the beaches, and in the fields and in the streets... The colours and patterns in the dress of Mlle Rachel are certainly very forward thinking and modern, but the modelling (and pose) is 15th c, ie deliberately trad ar (note i think that's a good thing and believe painting went to hell in a handbag around 1915). Ceoil (talk) 17:17, 21 February 2016 (UTC)
Givendale Church
The Fishponds, Givendale
"First of the Pre-Raphaelites" isn't really all that out-there; there's a brief note about it in the last section of the bio. The original PRB, especially Millais, were huge fans of his idea of combining romanticism and realism, and of using the bright Venetian palette to paint non-Venetian topics. Unfortunately for his reputation, most of his well known stuff in later years was neo-Romantic hackwork to pay the bills, while his experimental proto-impressionist work like the Givendale paintings languished in his flat. Plus, he had the bad luck to die in 1849, just as the whole Magic Realism thing was starting to get off the ground. ‑ Iridescent 19:24, 21 February 2016 (UTC)
  • This is certainly one of the best articles I have read in a long while. You've done a fantastic job, thank you. CassiantoTalk 16:07, 7 March 2016 (UTC)
  • Thanks! The ironic thing is that I don't particularly like much of Etty's work, and find a lot of it absolutely awful, but I do think his is an important story that tends to get left out of the "official" narrative of English art history. ‑ Iridescent 13:36, 8 March 2016 (UTC)
  • I must agree with that. What's even more ironic, I find, is that the more popular the person is in their professional life, the duller they are in their private one. CassiantoTalk 15:55, 8 March 2016 (UTC)
  • Do you mean, popular among their friends, or popular with audiences? If the latter, I'm not sure it necessarily applies to painters (although in my experience it certainly applies to musicians); a lot of the crowd-pulling names like Picasso, Van Gogh, Rossetti and Dali had decidedly unusual personal lives (and that's before we get to Dadd or Caravaggio). The problem in Etty's case is that he was so shy, he rarely socialised so he doesn't appear in other people's memoirs or contemporary gossip columns, and thus we don't know much about his personal life other than what's in his surviving personal correspondence. ‑ Iridescent 11:44, 10 March 2016 (UTC)

Shaking my head

Hi. Someone just pointed out to me that we have a Seedfeeder article. I just skimmed Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Seedfeeder and I'm shaking my head so hard at the whole situation. I honestly can't say I'm very surprised by the outcome, but boy is it disappointing. How can we really have such an awful article that relies primarily on, Gawker, the Huffington Post? Bleh. --MZMcBride (talk) 03:14, 14 March 2016 (UTC)

There's all kind of weird shit in Category:Wikipedia and its subcategories. Getting articles about Wikipeople deleted is virtually impossible since if it's positive, all their hanger-on turn up to demand it be kept, and if it's negative then everyone with whom they've ever argued turns up to demand The Truth Not Be Silenced. I imagine at some point that nutty guy who keeps creating biographies of everyone he bumps into will get around to doing everyone, since Emily Temple-Wood appears to have set the notability bar spectacularly low. I'm mildly astonished Newyorkbrad is still red. ‑ Iridescent 21:40, 14 March 2016 (UTC)
(adding) Regarding the Seedfeeder AFD, don't look at the keep arguments, look at who was making the keep arguments. AGF has a limit; this was an organized exercise in chain-yanking, presumably by whatever remains of WR. ‑ Iridescent 21:43, 14 March 2016 (UTC)
For what it's worth, I only see one WO regular in that AfD (which I missed at the time). As for an article about me, if anyone tries to create Newyorkbrad, I'm going to test everyone's memories by redirecting it straight to clown. Newyorkbrad (talk) 21:49, 14 March 2016 (UTC)
See, I avoided that by picking a name that already had an article... dare I mention Arbitration Committee? Shaking my head too at the 'Seedfeeder' article (I was a bit dopey and thought it was about a birdseed feeder). On the other hand, I did get to Adelir Antônio de Carli (via the Keilana AfD and 'Lawnchair Larry' article) so that is something. I'd forgotten how awful-and-funny-at-the-same-time some of those Darwin Awards were. Carcharoth (talk) 23:52, 14 March 2016 (UTC)
;-) --MZMcBride (talk) 00:01, 15 March 2016 (UTC)
Yes, of course. I learned a number of years ago that getting Wikipedia-related articles deleted is nearly impossible.[*] I just hadn't realized until this week that we now have articles on Seedfeeder and Emily Temple-Wood. I'm not sure we have found the floor of our notability standards yet, but given that someone recently (and somewhat pointedly) started creating Wikidata items about non-notable Wikimedians, I guess we're still in a race to the bottom.
For what it's worth, I'm certainly capable of noticing the cabal when it shows up to drop keep votes on an AFD! :-) I'm not sure this particular group is from WR or WO, I'm more inclined to think this group was homegrown. Though who knows. --MZMcBride (talk) 00:01, 15 March 2016 (UTC)
[*] I also apparently learned how to spell "Gerard" at some point between then and now, heh.
I honestly don't believe from now until the end of time there will be any Wikipedia volunteers that will achieve celebrity in the English-speaking world—those were the days. If anyone fancies taking on the "keep, it exists" brigade, 1Lib1Ref, Justin Knapp and Lsjbot are if anything less notable than Kevin Gorman (Wikipedian), which is actually red once more. (No personal attacks and all that, but what kind of whacko writes a biography of a Wikipedia bot?) ‑ Iridescent 08:48, 15 March 2016 (UTC)
In some ways it's just a matter of titling. If someone were to write an article about how anti-vandalism programs have changed English Wikipedia (a topic that you actually once called my attention to), it wouldn't matter much if the article were called English Wikipedia anti-vandalism software or Cluebot, although calling the latter "a biography of a bot" might sound catchier. Newyorkbrad (talk) 14:54, 15 March 2016 (UTC)
No doubt there would be edit wars regarding the ethnicity and religion of the bot. Shock Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 15:05, 15 March 2016 (UTC)
Carlito syrichta on the shoulder of a human.jpg
Bots are supposedly A Good Thing, as they counter systemic bias by ensuring that a significant portion of Wikipedia edits aren't made by "young, white, male nerds". (A description which, FWIW, I'm not sure applies to a single Wikipedia editor I've ever met; if any group is over-represented among those editors who actually do the heavy lifting, it's people in their 50s and 60s, disproportionately often with beards. In my experience, the younger editors tend not to be particularly nerdy; the nerd contingent are primarily the aging hippies who've bought into the "free in both senses of the word" ideal.)

I attach a photograph of the person responsible for the claim that Wikipedia is overrun by "young, white, male nerds", for the general edification of the readership.

@NYB, I'd find an article on English Wikipedia anti-vandalism software an equally pointless exercise in navel-gazing, although looking at the "keep, it exists" brigade lining up at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Art+Feminism I've no doubt someone will create it at some point. ‑ Iridescent 16:15, 15 March 2016 (UTC)

@MZM, regarding the race to the bottom in terms of notability, looking at WP:AFD I get the distinct impression that the ARSholes have succeeded in their campaign of attrition, and most of those who used to make arguments in support of deletion have given up and moved elsewhere, in much the same way that those who made arguments in opposition at RFA have generally been hounded off. On a skim over the current deletion debates, I can't see a single one where anyone is willing to stand up and argue with the "but it exists" voters. ‑ Iridescent 16:23, 15 March 2016 (UTC)
I've run into this sentiment with my MFD to have the user pages weighing in opinions on Jimmy Wales' beard (whether or not he should have one) deleted. It seemed to strike a sentimental chord and oldtimers came out to argue the pages should be kept. What seemed funny in 2005 I guess is still humorous to some editors. Liz Read! Talk! 00:40, 16 March 2016 (UTC)

(unindent) Yeah... I... we really have an article on 1Lib1Ref? What is wrong with us? Fighting "but it exists"-type arguments on Wikipedia has been too difficult for too long now. I could have sworn we got rid of ARS; I guess I must've just been hoping we had. At some point, we really do need to find a way to tighten the notability standards and delete or merge these articles. --MZMcBride (talk) 23:07, 15 March 2016 (UTC)

After replying here, I realized that Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Emily Temple-Wood had recently been created. The least I can do is support the reasonable editors there. Even if these types of articles are ultimately kept, it's important to stand with those trying to keep Wikipedia free of unencyclopedic content. --MZMcBride (talk) 04:43, 16 March 2016 (UTC)

@MZMcBride I've said my piece there, not that I imagine it will do the slightest good; the "but it exists" posse are out in strength on this one, and while there are a couple of AFD-closing admins with the strength of character to weigh the arguments and do what they feel is right rather than just count heads, one of them is DGG who will presumably have to recuse from this one, and the other hasn't been very active lately. ARS suffered something of a setback when it transpired that a number of their members were the same person, but their spirit still lives on.
@Liz Some (emphasis on some) of those old "joke" pages are important artefacts of Wikipedia's early history. I'm aware you were researching the history of Wikipedia through old Signposts and Arb cases, but that doesn't give a complete picture; back in the Arbitrary Committee days (c. 2004–08) when editors were literally being kicked off Wikipedia for not showing sufficient respect to Jimbo's cronies, it was jokes that helped stop the fragile sense of community spirit collapsing altogether. WP:Wikispeak reads like a historical curiosity now, but when we wrote it a lot of the euphemisms documented were direct from experience. (If you really want a venture into the backwaters of Wiki-history, MZM and I can walk you through the history of WP:BRC.)
@NYB, "Carcharoth, FloNight, Newyorkbrad and Wizardman are like the internet's supreme court, only their robes are bathrobes" was on national television, if that's any help in starting your BLP. Since apparently "has a connection of some kind to Wikipedia and has been mentioned in the press in any context whatsoever" is our new notability criterion, there shouldn't be any trouble getting it kept ‑ Iridescent 08:50, 17 March 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for the perspective, Iridescent. I can read old arbcom cases and Signposts issues but it doesn't fully convey the zeitgeist of the times. Liz Read! Talk! 11:02, 17 March 2016 (UTC)
  • <stares nostalgically at the BRC pics> .. wow - some of them were SOOO young back then. — Ched :  ?  11:59, 17 March 2016 (UTC)

Speaking of an NYB BLP (which I definitely don't believe I am notable enough for) ... My Significant Other and her son once created a very nice little Ira Matetsky article, which they intended as a friendly surprise for me. Instead, the article was construed as harassing me; it was immediately deleted, and her brand-new account was indeffed without warning. This took place just a few months after I was "outed" and there were libelous postings about me, and it's completely understandable that an administrator assumed this was more of the same sort of nonsense, but my GF was not pleased and swore off Wikipedia forever. Every once in awhile I tell her I'm going to unblock her account so she can edit again, and her response is always "don't you dare!"

I wasn't around from 2004 to mid-2006, but by the end of 2006 I was following ArbCom's work very closely (I was a clerk in 2007 and an arbitrator in 2008), and I don't believe I can recall "editors [who] were literally being kicked off Wikipedia for not showing sufficient respect to Jimbo's cronies." I am sure you have specific people in mind and I'm quite curious who that is, although I understand that on-wiki might not (or might) be the best place to talk about it. And I'm doubly curious about bathrobe background; I always thought that was just a silly play page where people went to take a break of sorts, but I now gather there was more to it than that. Regards, Newyorkbrad (talk) 14:52, 17 March 2016 (UTC)

An Illustrated History of the Bathrobe Wars. All these images (plus numerous others which have since been deleted) were at some point the lead image for Bathrobe.
I can think of plenty of examples without trying very hard (remember, I was the arb who originally handled Peter Damian's unblock request); does the phrase "speaks German in a similar way" bring back any memories? When you first joined Arbcom it must have still been sweeping up the messes left by David Gerard and Raul. I imagine one of the old WR hands is probably keeping a scoreboard somewhere. (My memory isn't what it used to be, but I have a vague recollection that someone was once blocked for calling one of Jimbo's hangers-on "sycophantic".)
I think that may have been me. I was certainly blocked for using that word anyway. Eric Corbett 23:19, 18 March 2016 (UTC)
The BRC grew out of a reaction to a spectacular edit war over whether the lead illustration to Bathrobe should feature someone wearing the bathrobe or the bathrobe on a hanger, and if so which image would be appropriate; people started posting photographs of themselves in bathrobes as potential compromises, and it grew out of that. (In true Wikipedia style, the article went through seven different lead images all of which were edit-warred off again, before eventually settling on a photograph of an 1850s Swedish nightdress, of which the only thing it was in common with a present-day bathrobe is both being made of cloth. The original talkpage discussion from the time ought to be the first page if anyone ever writes a proper history of Wikipedia.)
Despite the stupidity, the BRC was arguably the closest thing Wikipedia's ever had to a genuine cabal with the exception of the EEML and GGTF; despite the goofiness, it was remarkably well-organized and at one point had pretty much everyone of any consequence outside the WMF and Arbcom bunkers signed up as members. (What you see on-wiki doesn't do it justice; following this incident most of the history was deleted.) Back in WP:BADSITE days when just being registered at WR was enough to have people calling for a block, it was pretty much the only place where admins, regular editors and blocked nonpersons could meet on equal terms, and because it had Lara acting as gatekeeper it was never overrun by either cranks or enthusiastic newbies in the way these things tend to be. (Before anyone at WR/WO gets all excited, I'm not aware of any abuse or breach of policy that was ever orchestrated on it.) Pinging Lara if she's still around, given that I'm discussing her pet.
@Liz, if it's still up and running the best guide to the zeitgeist of the time would probably be the Wikipedia Review archive, provided you bear in mind that (a) WR had more than its fair share of lunatics, and (b) Selina has been accused of editing other users' archived posts.
And @Ched, yes I agree at how young everyone was. Coffee in particular looked about eight years old. ‑ Iridescent 19:01, 17 March 2016 (UTC)
Iridescent, I've tried looking around WR for years. For a long time, you couldn't look at anything unless you signed in as a member and since the site was inactive, there was no one to okay new members so the content was inaccessible. For some reason now, you can do some searches on the forum but I believe there were also articles and those are not available any more. And there are other Wikipedia-related criticism sites from that era that, somehow, were removed from the Wayback Machine (the notice says This URL has been excluded from the Wayback Machine...I wonder what the story behind that decision was).
I don't go to WO very often but it's interesting that posting there used to be grounds to oppose an admin or arbitration candidate. Now, there are not only blocked editors who post there but also active editors, admins and even arbitrators. I sometimes wonder if the individuals who created the site are happy at how it has become mainstream and no longer automatically considered a bad site. Liz Read! Talk! 20:40, 17 March 2016 (UTC)
I don't know anything about an image battle over the bathrobe article. The BRC started after Nick achieved admin and posted a pic of himself in that brown robe with a thumbs up. The_Undertow thought it was funny, so after he earned adminship, he took a pic of himself in a bathrobe with two thumbs up to mock Nick. Riana soon after called the two of them the Bathrobe Cabal in a humorous talk page thread, if I recall. Later, TU nominated me for adminship, and some time after I was awarded it I posted a pic of myself in a bathrobe. Thus began the official BRC. I created pages and such along with an IRC channel. It was originally for new admins, but then we opened up to everyone. Membership really skyrocketed after we stopped requiring images. We had members of every rank and all major groups. Maybe 50 total. Some significantly more active in our social shenanigans than others. Good times. Indubitably (Lara) 20:48, 17 March 2016 (UTC)
Haha that actually gave me a good chuckle iridescent; if only I had been 8 at the time... Funnily enough, I think there isn't a single other person -including the wondrous founders - who the BRC had as much of a real life impact on as it did for me. Who would have thought that such a random thing could literally save someone's life. Coffee // have a cup // beans // 16:04, 18 March 2016 (UTC)
@Lara Huh, strange; obviously, you know best when and where you set it up, but that was certainly my memory of the sequence. That edit war definitely happened, since one only has to look at the edit history of Bathrobe circa 2007–08 to see the_undertow, Giggy etc duking it out with all-comers.
@Coffee, I know, I was there. Don't underestimate the effect the BRC had in stopping Wikipedia disintegrating back then, either, and the knock-on effect that had on other people's lives, at least indirectly; it did a powerful job in reminding people that there were real people behind those silly usernames. (A lesson certain people have never learned.)
@Liz, don't confuse Wikipediocracy, or WR in its later incarnations under Somey's control, with WR in its early days. Way-back-when, it was more akin to Encyclopedia Dramatica than to present-day Wikipediocracy; while there were some decent people about—IIRC mainly old Usenet sweats who understood how to tell the difference between trolling for effect and genuine crazy—they were considerably outnumbered by semicoherent lunatics, single-issue obsessives, creepy weirdos explaining their theories about who they thought were CIA agents and why, saloon-bar-bore types explaining why Veropedia/MyWikiBiz/Citizendium/Encyc was going to grind Wikipedia into the dust Any Day Now, and Ottava Rima explaining at very great length why whoever he happened to have had an argument with most recently was a sexual deviant. If you do want their old blog archive, I imagine any of Alison, Somey, Selina or Greg would be able to point them out to you if they still exist anywhere, but I can't imagine you're missing anything of value; if you want a feel of what Wikipedia was like during the Wild West days, you're better off reading [ Kelly Martin's blog]. ‑ Iridescent 18:09, 18 March 2016 (UTC)
Much of the old off-wiki content I have come across concern disputes about specific editors/admins, most of whom no longer edit so they are ancient history since old grudges among inactive editors aren't very interesting. I think what interests me most are complaints that seem perennial, that existed 10 years ago, 5 years ago and which you'll find editors starting discussions about this year on the Village Pump.
One of the perennial sources of discontent is the arbitration committee...I've gone through over 4,000 Signpost articles (and I didn't read them all), old cases at AE and ANI as well as archived talk pages and I've never come across a time when arbcom wasn't generally criticized. The committee is either accused of overreaching or of not being active enough in addressing problems that exist. They do too much and they do too little. And it's always the wrong decision. I've come to the conclusion that despite the changing roster of arbitrators, anyone who serves on the committee has to accept that there will always be editors that are unhappy with the committee's performance. Liz Read! Talk! 18:55, 18 March 2016 (UTC)
It stands to reason that a body whose role consists in large part of handing out sanctions is going to be criticised. And WR/WO has served as a debriefing ground for blocked/banned/sanctioned editors time and time again. It is worth knowing, however, the backgrounds of many of the old hands there. It's essential for understanding some of the long term issues and opinions that folks disguise as 'neutral' or 'uninvolved'. I found some of the arbcom decisions and actions questionable at best, which led me to run in 2008. Before that I'd been happy enough content editing for 2 years without giving drama pages much thought. Don't forget, some folks may have new accounts and keep on going too. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 20:56, 18 March 2016 (UTC)
The social aspect can't be underestimated, although the benefit/problem ratio/relationship can be fluid - remember esperanza....Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 20:56, 18 March 2016 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Well, yes and no. The nature of the job means there will always be people who aren't happy, since by definition you're telling large numbers of people things they don't want to hear, but there have certainly been qualitative differences between the various iterations of the committee. In the early days, Arbcom tended to operate as a wiki-extermination squad, was extremely trigger-happy,* and because it was appointed rather than elected had a tendency to act as Jimmy Wales's personal Inquisition; the Arbcom of the late 2000s took itself Very Very Seriously and saw itself as some kind of Wikipedia ruling council (if you haven't already, look at WP:ACPD and the RFC that killed it); 2011 onwards had a committee which saw itself as a supreme court and was extremely reluctant to take on cases or to do anything which might be contentious; the last two iterations have been unusually inept and indecisive, and seen a tendency towards grandstanding by individual committee members which never used to happen.
644 new messages.JPG
So each version has had its problems, but the problems haven't been the same throughout. I believe, although I obviously don't have the current figures, that the volume of incoming emails has dropped hugely in recent years; in my day it wasn't unusual to spend two or three hours just reading the incoming messages. (That "644 new messages" screen capture isn't manipulated in any way.) Assuming that's the case—and with the committee smaller now so there's less time reading fifteen people's opinion on every issue—that's going to have a knock-on effect on how things are dealt with. ‑ Iridescent 21:13, 18 March 2016 (UTC)

*NYB can confirm that "block whoever looks like the biggest bozo, see if the problem stops, and if it doesn't then repeat" is an actual quote from an arb of that time.

Doesn't sound much like "arbitration" as the word is understood in the wider world. Maybe ArbCom ought to be renamed the Star Chamber? Eric Corbett 23:19, 18 March 2016 (UTC)
Depends—there are some real-world examples of "Arbitration Committee" as a synonym for "final court from which there is no appeal"; the Court of Arbitration for Sport is one which springs to mind, and the USA has the legal concept of binding consumer arbitration (which I imagine is where Jimmy got the idea). "Disciplinary Tribunal" would probably be a more apt description for its current function, but I doubt there'd be much desire to change it if only because of the number of policy pages which would have to be rewritten to reflect the new name. Remember that when it was originally set up, Wikipedia was a much smaller place—3775 registered editors, 262 active editors, 176,000 articles of which ​34 were less than 2kb long—so what Jimmy envisaged was a smoke-filled room in which people engaged in disputes could be dragged to thrash out a compromise. FWIW, if you look at the original founding document, it was intended to be "The Wikiquette Committee", and to have a bicameral structure with a "lower house" mediating disputes and encouraging people to calm down and resolve their differences, but without the authority to actually enforce anything, and a separate "upper house" to dish out blocks and bans; the former became WP:MEDCAB and eventually faded away into irrelevance, leaving the latter as a de facto supreme court. ‑ Iridescent 15:14, 19 March 2016 (UTC)
I must be a nerdy arbitration clerk because I find your assessment of generations of arbcom fascinating. I was stunned to look back years ago and see that some committees dealt with 100+ cases/year rather than the 10-20 cases/year that is typical for the past few years. I hope at some point, some intrepid author interviews editors who have been around 10+ years who can offer some perspective on the evolution of the Wikipedia community. It wouldn't be a best-seller but I'd buy a copy! There hasn't been much work done on online communities that have lasted 10 or more years. Liz Read! Talk! 22:40, 19 March 2016 (UTC)
Peter Damian was planning to do something like that at one point but I don't know if anything ever came of it. Andrew Lih wrote a (by all accounts awful) book on the history of Wikipedia, as well, plus there was a movie which was apparently terrible. It would be very hard to write a neutral account of Wikipedia's early years, as so many of the driving factors were personal grudges, often based on allegations which it would be libellous to repeat. (Some of Wikipedia's key schisms originally stemmed from "was a Wikipedia admin an MI5 agent on a mission to frame Libya for terrorist incidents?" and "does one arbcom's members have sex with animals?"; good luck getting people on both sides to cooperate with a neutral summary of those accusations and others like them, but without mentioning them one can't explain some of the apparently erratic turns Wikipedia took circa 2006–10.) ‑ Iridescent 09:13, 20 March 2016 (UTC)
For the last few years, traffic on arbcom-l has indeed been down ~60% from the historical peak (though I didn't look at the various other lists). But 2011 was already down ~40% from max. I don't know how anyone in 2009 could hear themselves think. Opabinia regalis (talk) 06:30, 19 March 2016 (UTC)
Many of the 2009 committee are still with us (Carcharoth, Casliber, Coren, John Vanderberg, NYB, Risker, Roger Davies, Wizardman). You could ask. ‑ Iridescent 15:14, 19 March 2016 (UTC)
Oh dear. I may have been responsible for some of that noise in 2009... I'm really here to ask Iridescent about London-wide visibility of a particular prominent landmark, so I'll do that and not worry about my ears burning here. :-) Carcharoth (talk) 21:53, 19 March 2016 (UTC)
Being in an Australian time zone sucked as much of the traffic in 2009 came when I was asleep. I'd set my alarm for an hour earlier and try to wade though emails before breakfast but (by necessity) after strong coffee....Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 23:27, 19 March 2016 (UTC)
2009 alums can make fun of us newbies who have time to do things like make graphs of email traffic instead of reading it ;) The 18-arb era really does jump out, though. Opabinia regalis (talk) 03:47, 20 March 2016 (UTC)
Rewinding for a moment. I had forgotten about that battle over the bathrobe lead image. So the BRC formed officially in December 2008 and that happened a couple of months later. Indubitably (Lara) 15:13, 20 March 2016 (UTC)

Possible Wikipedia Return

I'm thinking of returning to Wikipedia this summer to work on the Michael Jackson related articles. I hope you've been well. Any major changes at Wikipedia since 2009? — R2 22:46, 20 March 2016 (UTC)

Huh, this page really is a 2007 reunion this week, isn't it? Nice to hear from you again. I'm probably not the best person to ask, as I've been barely active for the past five years. In general, some of the names have changed but most of the issues seem to be the same as when you left; the only major change has been that the obsession with "civility" (in the American, not the rest-of-the-world sense) is stronger than it used to be. With specific regards to Michael Jackson, I keep it watchlisted but haven't seen anything major take place on it, although it obviously gets a lot of minor edits. User:Dr. Blofeld might be the best one to talk to as he recently wrote Frank Sinatra, which is probably the article most comparable to MJ in terms of career and impact. ‑ Iridescent 07:04, 22 March 2016 (UTC)
Welcome back! I thought that Jackson was already an FA! Yes, the "obsession with civility" has grown to ridiculous levels in the last few years...♦ Dr. Blofeld 11:18, 22 March 2016 (UTC)
He is, but the version which passed FAC doesn't have much resemblance to the current article (understandably, given that he died since then), and there are also all the songs and siblings to consider. I thought you're probably better placed than I to advise on what it's like handling high-volume pop culture articles, which have unique challenges in the "anyone can edit" environment. My articles tend to be on more obscure topics, and while some of them come with their own challenges (The Destroying Angel and Daemons of Evil Interrupting the Orgies of the Vicious and Intemperate is a magnet for idiots who get attracted by the title), they don't compare with the issue of keeping well-intentioned fans and people wanting to include potentially libellous criminal allegations that come with someone like Jackson or Sinatra. ‑ Iridescent 01:37, 23 March 2016 (UTC)

What exactly does each citation support?

Hi. About a year ago I mentioned Template:Ref supports2, a little template you can wrap around a citation to tell the reader what text a citation supports. I notice you tried it in the last citation, first paragraph here. The issue of "What exactly does each citation support?" has come up twice in the last few days - User:Magnus Manske mentioned it on Wikimedia-l here and User:LeadSongDog brought it up here on Meta. I seem to recall you're supportive of the idea of making it clear to the reader just what is supported by what, but were unimpressed by the bloat this particular solution added to the edit box.

I'm going to try to get the WMF to take this on as a goal in their next annual plan - a draft of which is to be released on April 1. If you're interested, I'll point you to the discussion when it begins. --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 02:01, 18 March 2016 (UTC)

I support the principle, but I suspect it will only really be workable if and when Wikipedia goes entirely to Visual Editor and direct Wikitext editing is deprecated (or at least discouraged), which given the WMF's track record on major projects will be some time in the 27th century. If I were designing Wikipedia nowadays from scratch, every time a reference was added the user would be prompted to click the start and finish of the section(s) the citation supports, and then the reference would be stored in a separate database and the tags generated automagically at the correct locations. However, this is not going to happen, and as long as we are expecting new users to work in Wikitext—which is daunting at the best of times—it's not fair to present them with huge gobbets of markup in the edit window which will be totally incomprehensible to those not already familiar with the template. (Yes, I know we do this already, as anyone who's ever tried to edit a section within a WP:LDR-format page can testify, but we at least usually try to make the markup vaguely relate to what the reader will see.) ‑ Iridescent 18:15, 18 March 2016 (UTC)
Thanks. Yes, this is for Visual Editor - for the day when editors choose to use it for all editing tasks; when no one but the occasional developer fixing a bug needs to look at wiki markup.
Actually, it might have one place in today's Wikipedia. There are a few articles that have a peer-/expert-reviewed version in their history, like this version of Dengue fever. That version could have massively complex source code because no one's going to be editing the code in that one version. I'm managing the expert review of Parkinson's disease just now. Once we have an agreed version of that, I could include the "ref supports2" feature in just that, reviewed, version - and remove ref supports2 for the subsequent "live", editable versions. Then, the readers of that one expert-endorsed version in the article's history would not only (a) know they can rely on what they're reading (as much as they can rely on a strong WP:RS, and more than they can rely on the current, editable version) but would also (b) know just which citation supports what text. Sorry. Just thinking out loud here. Thanks again for your thoughts. ---Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 07:36, 19 March 2016 (UTC)
It would probably make more sense to have the peer-reviewed versions in a separate namespace rather than just in the history, even though there would be much wailing and gnashing of teeth from those who remember Veropedia and Citizendium, and to whom the idea of a separate non-editable version of a page is anathema. ‑ Iridescent 06:56, 22 March 2016 (UTC)
I agree ... especially with the last bit. So, one thing at a time. --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 15:12, 23 March 2016 (UTC)

Andrew de Burgh

Can you please tell me why you deleted this page? This person has several references and produced, directed, wrote and acted in a film on Rotten Tomatoes with a rare 100% score. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Andysidley (talkcontribs) 21:38, 27 March 2016 (UTC)

Andysidley, it was deleted for the same reason it was deleted last time; because of the unanimous consensus to delete it; while it may be interesting to you that you "live in Los Angeles and support the soccer team Liverpool F.C. and am passionate about the eradication of world poverty and are a 1st Dan Black Belt in Shotokan Karate and enjoy playing videogames and watching soccer", it's not something appropriate for an academic project. Wikipedia isn't LinkedIn or Facebook, and is not an appropriate place to post your autobiography. The "several references" claim is misleading, since virtually none of them were appropriate for Wikipedia; many of the references didn't even mention you (this one for instance), while the others were largely a mix of user-generated sites and adverts, neither of which are usable on Wikipedia except in very specific circumstances which don't apply here. For a topic to warrant coverage on Wikipedia, you don't need to demonstrate that you consider it important, you need to demonstrate that other significant media sources consider it important. If you want to contest the deletion, go to WP:DRV and follow the instructions there, but I'll warn you that an appeal is unlikely to be successful in this case unless you can demonstrate significant coverage of yourself in multiple independent reliable sources. Also pinging Mark Arsten for input, who deleted this the first time around. ‑ Iridescent 23:07, 27 March 2016 (UTC)

The last time I checked, people were allowed to have a 'snippet' about them in their personal life section. How do Starburst Magazine and Dread Central, both of which have Wikipedia pages themselves, not count when they mention me several times in their reviews of my film:

Other significant media sources 'clearly' see me as important. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Andysidley (talkcontribs) 23:29, 27 March 2016 (UTC)

This is an academic project, not Myspace circa 2000; you can have "a snippet about yourself" on your userpage if you so wish, within reason, but Wikipedia articles are not an advertising portal for the article subject to promote themselves. To reiterate what I said above, there was unanimous consensus that your autobiography was inappropriate—and if you know anything about Wikipedia, you'll know a unanimous consensus on anything is virtually unheard of. If Mark had closed that debate any way other than delete, people would quite rightly be complaining that he'd abused his authority. If you do still feel you're an appropriate topic for coverage, I very strongly advise you to read Wikipedia:Autobiography carefully, and to consider drafting the article in a userspace subpage and asking other uninvolved editors to review it before sending it live. ‑ Iridescent 00:06, 28 March 2016 (UTC)

Visibility of The Shard around London

Bit of a strange question, but would you have any ideas on where in London (or outside) you would get the furthest-away or best views of The Shard? I know you can famously see St Paul's from Richmond Park (see protected view), but am not sure how far away you would be able to see The Shard from. I'm asking because I've known for a while that it is possible to see The Shard from Brentford, from the road on the north side of the Thames near Lot's Ait (harking back to the Thames crossings theme, do the footbridges to the Thames aits count - I am now wondering how many of Islands in the River Thames have bridges...). The distance as the crow flies, which I got from Google Maps, is 9.14 miles (14.70 kilometres). I am not sure of the respective elevations above sea level of the base and top of The Shard and the ground I was standing on (it is more visible when you are on the top deck of a bus), but for an observer on flat ground the horizon is about 4.7 kilometres away. I am not sure how much of The Shard should be visible at a distance of 14.7 kilometres (is West London at a higher elevation than further downstream - it must be because the river flows in that direction, but by how much?). I presume I am seeing only the top part of the building peeping up over the horizon. Maybe this would be a suitable mathematics exam question? :-) OK, the horizon from the top of The Shard (310 metres high) is 62.85 kilometres, but from that distance on flat land you would only see the tip on the horizon - turning the question around, from a distance of 14.7 kilometres, the height of the building that would just be visible on the horizon would be 17 metres. So you would be able to see a lot of the building even from 14.7 kilometres away. Now I just need to find the respective elevations above sea level - Wikipedia is letting me down here... [The Shard is 16 metres above sea level - I may need to use an accurate GPS device to measure the elevation in the other location]. The horizon as seen from the top of The Shard would be a fair distance away. But within London, buildings would obscure the view much of the time unless up on a hill or high area (or indeed most of North London, which looks down on South London quite literally). I should maybe take a picture to illustrate the view and how much of The Shard is visible (there being no leaves on the trees also helps, as does the initial view being along the river which flows due east on the bend crossed by Kew Bridge, removing the chance for nearby buildings to obstruct the view). Carcharoth (talk) 22:13, 19 March 2016 (UTC)

The exercise isn't a simple matter of horizons, as it also depends on the geography in between and the height of the observer; to the northwest you won't see it anywhere past Hampstead as the Northern Heights will block the view. Without doing any thing as common as "research", I'd assume the most distant place from which it's visible (on a very clear day) would be Southend (it's definitely visible from parts of Southend) or possibly the top of a hill in the South Downs; looking at it from the west or north your view of it is probably going to be obscured by the City. If you want to cheat, open Google Earth, set your location as London Bridge station and your viewpoint as 280m (the Shard is 309m, but you need enough to be visible to be recognisable), and anything you can see from there will be able to see the top of the Shard. This diagram purports to show the most distant points from which it's visible in each direction given the alignment of the hills, but I don't believe for an instant that it's actually visible from Southampton or Brighton, unless one's on the roof of a tower block. ‑ Iridescent 08:58, 20 March 2016 (UTC)
Thanks. The link to that diagram is particularly useful, even if probably inaccurate (they should show the hills). I knew there had to be something like that out there. Didn't know you could set mid-air elevations with Google Earth, but again I suspected that in this day and age it would be possible (I still remember how exciting it was to be able to zoom over the surface of the Moon and Mars when that all got put online properly). Being high up another tall building definitely helps, but is cheating IMO. I suspect from the right angles I should be able to see the City behind the Shard as well, but by the time I started travelling in the Brentford area, I think The Shard was already obscuring the view. Also, the outline of The Shard is just so much more recognisable and unmistakable when you see it. Would you know of a good online resource showing accurate elevations in a way that can be zoomed around on - does Google Earth do that? Interesting that the view along the valley of the Thames stretches as far as Reading. Carcharoth (talk) 10:14, 20 March 2016 (UTC)
Such things certainly exist; the connection I'm on at the moment is too slow to test on Google Earth, but I'd be surprised if it doesn't. You might also want to ask at the videogame project, since this must be the basic principle by which flight simulators operate. ‑ Iridescent 06:58, 22 March 2016 (UTC)
@Carcharoth OK, this is do-able in Google; you need to install the actual Google Earth program (not just the browser plug-in). Open it up and tick "status bar" in the View menu. Type "The Shard" in the search box, and turn your scroll wheel to zoom in until the "eye alt" figure is 300m. (The view will go kind of weird, as that puts you inside the building which the software doesn't like.) Then, holding down the ctrl key, drag the main display window downwards until the horizon is level. Still holding ctrl, dragging left and right will rotate your viewpoint around this fixed point. It works better if you go into Tools-Options and check "Use high quality terrain". Bear in mind that because you're forcing it to calculate and render the position of every building in one of the world's largest cities, it will drain laptop batteries and hoover up data allowance.
You can also do this in reverse, by going to places on the map, zooming in to ground level, and then ctrl-dragging to pan up to the horizon to see what's visible. In practice, you're limited by the resolution of your monitor as there comes a point when the Shard is less than 1 pixel width so doesn't show up; after a bit of experimentation the most distant point from which it's recognisable seems to be just east of Tilbury. ‑ Iridescent 10:59, 24 March 2016 (UTC)
Google Earth has a viewshed tool which allows you to calucate that kind of thing. Nev1 (talk) 19:03, 24 March 2016 (UTC)
Huh, have they started giving Pro away free now? They used to charge £300 a year to use it. Yes, that's what you're after, although if your computer isn't top-end be prepared for it to slow to a snails pace. ‑ Iridescent 19:41, 24 March 2016 (UTC)
About a year ago they made the Pro version free. Not sure why, and it doesn't seemed to have been widely publicised. It does require a bit of patience if your computer is a getting on (mine has developed a loud whirring sound) and it doesn't *always* take buildings into account depending how good the coverage is but it's a handy tool. Nev1 (talk) 20:24, 24 March 2016 (UTC)
At a guess, they were making minimal profit from it, they needed to conduct the high-detail mapping regardless for the use of the autonomous vehicle division, and making it available for free gets the PR message out that Google actually does useful things and isn't just an organised crime syndicate masquerading as a tech company.

The more I think about it, the more unlikely the idea that's it's visible from Southampton or Cambridge, even with a clear line of sight, becomes; at that kind of distance, making out the outline of even the largest building is going to be impossible through atmospheric haze (consider how difficult it is to make out detals on the ground from an aircraft, which are usually only 7–8 miles above the ground at most). Check out this view from the top of Sca Fell; even things the size of the Welsh mountains look tiny and indistinct at that distance, and while the Shard is tall it's not particularly wide. I strongly suspect that anyone claiming to see the Shard from Brighton, Cambridge etc is actually seeing a distant church spire on the horizon. ‑ Iridescent 11:55, 25 March 2016 (UTC)

  • @Carcharoth: You can see the Shard from the hills at Northala Fields because I've seen it myself when the air is clear. Other high ground in NW London like Harrow Hill would give a good view too. Another way of checking the viewpoint from the Shard itself is to look at the Gigapixel panorama which shows ranges of distant hills forming the horizon. These will be high ground like the Chilterns. Andrew D. (talk) 17:47, 26 March 2016 (UTC)

Thanks for all the replies. It has been interesting finding out what tools are possible to look into this and where to go for possible long-distance views. Will try and get a picture of The Shard from Brentford before the leaves come out on the trees... Carcharoth (talk) 00:08, 30 March 2016 (UTC)

The Shard, seen from Brentford
An update on this. I took the photo, discovering that the glass on the windows of London buses is terrible for taking photos through, but confirming that I wasn't imagining things (if you zoom in, the shape of the top of the building is unmistakeable). I also discovered that there are categories on Commons for 'remote views of...', which is useful in this case: Category:Remote views of the Shard London Bridge. My picture is easily the worse one in there, but browsing through that category, I wonder whether Brentford is the record for the furthest distance photo of The Shard in there? Maybe Andrew should take a photo from Northala Fields? I'll ping him and Nev1 as well in case they are no longer following this page. Carcharoth (talk) 23:03, 5 April 2016 (UTC)
There's a nice shot of the Shard from Guildford on Flickr, but unfortunately it's all-rights-reserved. That's the furthest for which I can find photographic evidence (marginally further than Southend as the crow flies). There ought to be a direct line of sight from the hills around Tring, which I suspect will be the longest distance at which it's anything more than a blur on the horizon, but I suspect the general haze will make it invisible in practice on all but the clearest days. (It would probably be easier at night, as the red beacon on top should be easier to spot than one building among dozens, but I don't propose to go climbing the Chilterns at midnight to test the theory.)
The meridian laser
On reflection, the London landmark visible from furthest away is almost certainly not the Shard, but the meridian laser at Greenwich. Provided you're standing on the meridian line, it's visible from many miles away. They say at least 36 miles with the naked eye and 60 miles with binoculars, which I can easily believe; it's certainly very bright from Waltham Abbey at night. ‑ Iridescent 04:13, 8 April 2016 (UTC)


Hi Iridescent, Thanks for deleting the AFD, Would there be any chance you could kindly delete this, this, this, this, this and this please?,
I'm not sure if my reasons are valid in terms of CSD but either way IMHO these are all now disruptive now that April Fools Day's been & gone,
Thanks (and a belated Happy Fools Day! :) ) , –Davey2010Talk 23:10, 1 April 2016 (UTC)

Done, and an extremely strongly worded warning issued to the user in question. ‑ Iridescent 23:21, 1 April 2016 (UTC)
Brilliant thank you :) –Davey2010Talk 23:49, 1 April 2016 (UTC)
Sorry to bother you yet again - The talkpages will need deleting aswell 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7,
Sorry I didn't realize he was stupid enough to contest them!, Thanks again for your help - It's extremely appreciated, –Davey2010Talk 23:55, 1 April 2016 (UTC)
Done, although preserving this one (admins only) here as a reminder should he be stupid enough to try to contest any of this. It's practically a Wikipedia rule that every year there's always someone who thinks that because it's April 1 it gives them the right to go on a vandalism spree. ‑ Iridescent 00:15, 2 April 2016 (UTC)
It's absolutely ridiculous, I've already had to close some morons MFD_vandalism spree which have been deleted by Floq,There's a difference between having a bit of a laugh/banter and being a total moron!, Anyway ranting on here!, Thanks again for your help & cleanup - much appreciated, Thanks, –Davey2010Talk 01:29, 2 April 2016 (UTC)
Oh Yeah, and screw you too, Davey. editorEهեইдအ😎 21:22, 2 April 2016 (UTC)
Grow up lad. –Davey2010Talk 00:48, 3 April 2016 (UTC)

April Fools

OK. I'll do the right thing next time. it's my fault for not reading that rules for fools page beforehand and I apologize for my disruptive behavior. But one thing, how would you start a April Fools AFD "only in userspace"? editorEهեইдအ😎 23:44, 1 April 2016 (UTC)

You wouldn't start an April Fools AFD, and as per my warning if you pull any more stunts like this I'm blocking you; you're damned lucky you weren't indeffed for replying to a legitimate request to stop with Go fuck yourself, you assholes. Do you realise how much work it is to clean up the trail of crap vandals like you leave behind? As well as deleting the pages, it also means manually fixing the AFD log and reverting your spurious warnings on talkpages (which will still confuse and upset editors, since there's no way to stop them getting the "new message" notification but there won't be a new message on their talkpage), and undoing the deletion notifications on the articles themselves, all of which will have been seen by dozens of readers, the majority of whom are either in countries where April Fools Day isn't observed or where the UTC time difference means it's not April 1 so won't have a clue what's going on. ‑ Iridescent 00:26, 2 April 2016 (UTC)
You know what, on second though, you don't deserve any of my respect. "crap vandals"? Hahahahahahaha yeah right, I'm sure a "crap vandal" would INTEND to ruin an article unlike someone who only intended to make April Fools AFD jokes, and that's it, but, whatever. Let me just say that you are one of the most frustrating users I have ever had to deal with in my near 4-year history of editing Wikipedia, even more frustrating than User:AldezD who tried to remove useful, cited information from the Judith Barsi for bullshit reasonings of WP:NOTMEMORIAL, people wanting to oppose the Talk:Griggs House article because it's too long even though it really isn't if you read it, and idiots who call actual reliable interviews of people "self-published sources". You, as well as a few other users, should have just left all this harmless "crap vandal" things alone. Hope you enjoy yourself, END OF DISCUSSION! editorEهեইдအ😎 00:47, 2 April 2016 (UTC)

───────────────────────── The only reason I found out about this discussion and the editor's recent activity is that I was alerted to this thread when he tagged me in it. I support ANI or indef based upon the above reply and the WP:GRUDGE user has for editing that took place three years ago. (see Talk:Judith Barsi#Recent edits and WP:NOTMEMORIAL) The user engages in WP:DE, gets called out and then backtracks ("OK. I'll do the right thing next time. it's my fault..." above and "Okay, I can get maybe...was dumb to do" from Talk:Judith Barsi). Based upon those comments above, profanity included in the rv to his own talk page and the April Fool's AFD activity, is this editor competent? AldezD (talk) 22:04, 2 April 2016 (UTC)

@AldezD, I haven't looked into the history in any depth, but this looks to me more less like someone being intentionally disruptive/tendentious, and more like a very young editor who doesn't understand Wikipedia's internal culture, and getting frustrated and lashing out when it's pointed out that "ignore all rules" isn't synonymous with "you can do whatever you feel like without consequences". That pattern of behavior can still eventually lead to the boot, of course, as this guy just learned, but it's not a clear-cut block-on-sight, since a lot of editors start off with this mindset, and then grow into productive and non-disruptive contributors. Given that he (I think we can safely assume this one is a he) has just posted the ravings in this section and the one above on one of the most watched pages on the wiki, there will presumably be enough extra eyes on him now that he's unlikely to fly off the handle again, and if he does then there will be a number of people considerably more trigger-happy than me watching him.
Regarding the profanity issue, my attitude is that swearing in the heat of the moment just falls under general snappiness and shouldn't be sanctionable, unless it's clearly intended as part of a pattern aimed at intimidating other users (in which case the issue is the attempt at intimidation rather than the language used). (Out of curiosity, and now that this incident and the others mentioned are stale enough that no action is going to be taken regardless, User:HighInBC would you have considered the above outburst actionable, leaving aside "Go fuck yourself, you assholes" which obviously was?) "Offensive language" is a nebulous concept that's proved impossible to define in the context of a global project encompassing editors from multiple cultures, one of our current arbs was recently ranting like a toddler who's just discovered that using naughty words makes mommy and daddy pay attention over at the Signpost, and the world didn't come to an end. To my mind, rather than trying to define "civility" or "offensiveness", the questions to ask are "are you intentionally trying to upset people?" and "once told a particular action is upsetting people, are you continuing to perform that action without being able to justify its necessity?", neither of which I would say apply here. ‑ Iridescent 04:21, 8 April 2016 (UTC)

Proposing a new userright

Hi Iridescent, just want to confirm that, if I propose a new userright here, I would need to do it at Wikipedia:Village pump (policy), is that correct? FYI, a draft of my proposal is currently here. This proposed right came to me after reading the talk page to RFA, responding in the "Please come forward" section, and reverting (because I think my contributions didn't help). Anyway, let me know. — Andy W. (talk · contrib) 23:31, 12 April 2016 (UTC)

Scratch that. I'm starting to think this doesn't really have a chance to go through. Feel free to let me know if you did have other thoughts, but I'm not expecting a reply anymore at this point. Anyway, cheers. — Andy W. (talk · contrib) 00:27, 13 April 2016 (UTC)
I don't think it would have a chance, as it would mean a major revision of Wikipedia policy. Wikipedia policy has always been that blocking is preferable to protection as greatly inconveniencing one user is better than marginally inconveniencing a large number (Wikipedia:Protection policy is explicit that semi-protection is for when blocking individual users is not a feasible option), but creating a group with the ability to protect but not block would inevitably lead to a surge in protections even in cases where it's just one editor causing problems and everyone else editing the page is getting along fine.

If you want to go down the unbundling route, you'd be much better off looking at a "restricted blocker" userright which only has the ability to block newly-registered accounts and only for a few hours maximum. This is the only "limited sysop" proposal I can imagine that has a chance of being accepted, although there are certainly valid arguments to be made against it; the most obvious one that springs to mind is that it would come to be seen as a stepping-stone to "full" adminship, thus discouraging those who want admin rights for non-vandal-fighting reasons and further encouraging the generally-undesirable characters who want to play cop.

Bear in mind that despite the general complaints about the state of RFA, pretty much every hierarchical alternative has at some point been discussed in depth and it's been concluded that the result would be even worse than the existing flat setup. Most of the proposals are linked at Wikipedia:Perennial proposals#Hierarchical structures; Kudpung can point you towards the detailed discussions, if you're interested. ‑ Iridescent 11:08, 13 April 2016 (UTC)

I think it would be a good idea to bring WereSpielChequers into this discussion because IIRC he has been advocating some form of unubundling the blocking right for some specific cases of vandalism. I'm not sure that it would improve our campaign against vandalism and I'm not sure if it would greatly unburden our active admins, particularly those who watch AIV which seems to enjoy a fairly rapid response, but if such a proposal were well crafted, I believe I would support it. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 01:15, 14 April 2016 (UTC)
There are various tests as to what makes a sensible unbundling. The most basic include "Are there a bunch of editors out there who could make good use of this tool but who are currently unlikely to pass RFA?", "Can this be done without creating extra work for our remaining admins?" and "Does it make sense to have this tool and not the other admin ones such as delete?". Protection is rare compared to blocking and deletion and as Iridescent points out if you unbundle it you are liable to have an increase in protection. There is one right that I think we could and should unbundle; Block newbie. There are a number of vandalfighters whose AIV reports show they are ready to block vandals and perhaps spammers, but unless they have some content contributions the community won't trust them with the power to block logged in members of the community. Unbundling a block unblock tool that didn't work on IP ranges or registered accounts with more than say 100 edits would allow our vandalfighters the tool they need and are ready for, but reserve blocking of the regulars to full admins. It has been discussed and rejected more than once, and I suspect it will take a little more debate before we get consensus. Assuming the number of admins continues to fall we will at some stage need to do this in order to keep the site functioning smoothly. Where I disagree with Iridescent is that I wouldn't restrict the lengths of the block, we should only give users this right if we trust them to indef block vandalism only accounts. ϢereSpielChequers 11:27, 14 April 2016 (UTC)

RfC History of South America

Hi Iridescent, you may wish to comment. Kind regards -- Marek.69 talk 04:01, 14 April 2016 (UTC)

I'll have a look, although it might take a bit as the two versions are both long. Also pinging User:RexxS who might be interested in this (or know other people who are), as this isn't really an RFC on the history of South America per se, but on broader issues of accessibility in relation to long articles and topic outlines. ‑ Iridescent 04:20, 15 April 2016 (UTC)


re: "legal status of Ariel" I pretty sure you weren't talking about the font - but I wasn't sure if I should choose from this page, or this page. <smiles> ... hope you are well. — Ched :  ?  00:19, 15 April 2016 (UTC)

Neither; this page which probably causes more hassle than any other page on Wikipedia, as the I-P editwarriors on both sides generally see it as the point on which they won't compromise, and will target anything with even the vaguest connection. Check (for instance) the recent history of Mobile, Alabama, which has a single passing mention of the place. ‑ Iridescent 04:20, 15 April 2016 (UTC)

About my cremation category

I didn't realise that cremation is actually more common when I think. I just assumed all my life that burial was more common because it's traditional in some places and cremation has only been in my home country (Ireland) since 1982.[1] I don't know what the rates of cremation are in Ireland, but I didn't know how common it is in the countries you mention. I only added in the category because it already existed on Simple English Wikipedia and I thought it might put a little more knowledge on the encyclopedia. I can understand why some people think it might be irrelevant or informal, but I think it has a right to be on Wikipedia. Even Find A Grave, which explicitly states burial on a grave profile, now accepts cremation.[2]

Lembowman (talk) 10:18, 10 April 2016 (UTC)


  1. ^ Dempsey, James. "Ashes to ashes - How the Irish took to cremation". External link in |website= (help); Missing or empty |url= (help); |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  2. ^ Fenton, Stephani Major. "Carolyn Lee Kilgore". External link in |website= (help); Missing or empty |url= (help); |access-date= requires |url= (help)

This is not a conversation for my talk page; I have no control over the outcome, and you need to go to the deletion discussion and make any arguments you want to make there. (Your argument that smaller grave plots mean more space for future interments is a misunderstanding of how burials work, by the way; unless the estate of the deceased has paid for a perpetual plot, or the deceased is a public figure or war hero whose grave is serving as their memorial, the grave will typically be reused after a while. Even within strict Christian traditions, once the flesh has decayed the bones become fair game to be dug up and treated in some very peculiar ways.) The cremation rate in (southern) Ireland is about 15%; it's lower than the rest of Europe because the only functioning crematoria are in Dublin and Cork meaning a large swathe of the country is out of range, because the RCC still has some influence and disapproves of the practice, and because a lower population density means little pressure on burial space.
Findagrave isn't something you should be taking as an authority on anything. It's a user-generated website, to which anyone can contribute, and which has considerably less fact-checking even than Wikipedia. To repeat the same point yet again, the reason FAG "accepts cremations" is that the majority of people are cremated and burials are becoming ever-less-common in the Western world; particularly in high-population-density countries like the UK and Japan, you'll be quite hard-pressed to find a non-Muslim public figure from the last few decades who wasn't cremated. ‑ Iridescent 13:31, 10 April 2016 (UTC)
That's a bit extreme - I've watched quite a few coffins go down over "the last few decades", & most major politicians still seem to be, never mind the royals - no cremation for Diana or the Queen Mother. Central London is perhaps different, but then you have to go the suburbs to get cremated anyway. The RCC no longer "disapproves" of cremation, since a few decades ago, but it did before that. I've always found it interesting that early medieval Ireland (and British Celtic areas) noticeably resisted the early medieval craze for body part relics (itself a rather late arrival to ancient Christianity). All the big "Celtic Christianity" relics and reliquaries relate to personal possessions that had regular physical contact - books, bells, staffs, at least one belt (Moylough Belt Shrine, Nat Mus Ireland, 8th Century), anticipating the way modern museums and collectors treat those of historical figures. The Tibetans are rather like that, too. Johnbod (talk) 14:13, 10 April 2016 (UTC)
@Johnbod The above was an addendum to my comment at Category talk:People who were cremated to which this section is a reply, where I explained that the cremation/burial ratio in the UK is about 3:1 (e.g. 75% of the deceased are cremated), which is easy enough to source; the premise for the creation of Category:People who were cremated was that it was necessary to help break the stereotypes that all people are buried after they die and that cremation is uncommon, which is clearly not true in any part of the western world other than a few fundamentalist pockets in the US and a few specialist fields such as Commonwealth War Graves. (I wrote London Necropolis Company; you can safely assume that I know more than I ever wanted to about the changing attitude to cremation in the West, the near-collapse of the burial industry as an unexpected consequence of the Cremation Act 1902, and the post-war salvation of the industry through mass immigration from cultures which disapproved of it.) I disagree about "most major politicians"; of the recent PMs who weren't posh enough to have family graves like Macmillan and Douglas-Hume, only Harold Wilson was buried; Heath, Callaghan and Thatcher, none of whom were exactly free-thinking radicals, were all cremated, while the Kremlin Wall has the ashes of so many dignitaries in it, it's a wonder the thing hasn't collapsed. US Presidents are invariably buried rather than cremated, but that's because their mausolea invariably become secular pilgrimage sites.
Having to trek out to the suburbs in Britain is a matter of custom and practice (and of where the early 20th century funeral railway lines ran), rather than legislation. Provided there's no environmental impact (burning mercury fillings, plutonium-fuelled pacemakers etc) and enough of a surrounding structure that there's no realistic possibility of outraging public decency, there's nothing in law to stop you building a crematorium in your potting shed provided you can persuade the council to grant planning permission (relevant case law).
Is the lack of relics in Celtic Christianity an artifact of their not keeping relics, or just that the RCC and the Reformation between them did a better job between them at destroying the shrines? The existence of barrow mounds implies that there was a tradition of veneration of the body in the British Isles going well back into prehistory. Veneration of objects which were believed to have had contact with holy figures dates back at least to Acts 19:11-12 in Christianity and before that back into prehistory, as all the assorted Swords of Achilles, Aaron's Rods and the like knocking around the Greco-Roman world testify (I've been intending for about a decade to do something about the woeful state of Palladion), and certainly wasn't limited to the Celtic Church. ‑ Iridescent 21:48, 10 April 2016 (UTC)
They don't seem to have kept body-part relics, perhaps because they were out of touch during the period (roughly 450-650) when they came into fashion in the Western church (probably as saints buried outside cities were dug up to keep the remains from barbarian desecration). I split off Palladium (protective image) (after a little tussle on the talk page) some years ago, but these are a rather different thing. Try getting planning permission for a crematorium in the burbs - or rather don't. The traffic implications alone would doom it. Johnbod (talk) 13:19, 11 April 2016 (UTC)
There are a surprising number of urban crematoria in Britain (although you wouldn't know it from Wikipedia's sparse coverage of the topic), generally strung out along railway lines in what was wasteland or existing cemeteries at the time of the 1902 Act; the City of London, Manor Park and East London crematoria in Newham are probably the best known, but you also have Craigton in Glasgow, Warriston and Seafield in Leith, a whole cluster of crematoria in Tyneside, Yardley and Robin Hood in Brum, the Golders Green—Saint Marylebone—Islington & Camden—Hendon—West London string of crematoria along the old Necropolis Railway lines from King's Cross, Hither Green, Honor Oak and Lewisham in south London… The limiting factors are more property values at the time (hence the shortage of crematoria in Manchester which persists to this day), "were the neighbours at the time the things were built important enough to have their complaints heard?" (no peasants spreading their oiky ashes in Bath or Cambridge, thank you very much) and "was there a road or railway nearby to transport the coffins and mourners?" than any particular urban/rural bias; as with everything that generates smoke there's also a bias against building to the west of well-to-do areas. Carcharoth might have more thoughts on the topic. Category:Crematoria in the United Kingdom is embarrassingly empty at present if you disregard its bizarre subcat Category:Golders Green Crematorium, but after the hassle of dealing with LNC I'm not wildly keen to touch cemetery articles again, especially given the general apparent lack of interest in the topic among readers. ‑ Iridescent 15:44, 11 April 2016 (UTC)
Yes, Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Death seems as quiet as .... Johnbod (talk) 17:25, 11 April 2016 (UTC)
I never really got the point of WikiProject Death. A project to deal with funeral customs and monuments sounds reasonable, but their "any article which mentions someone dying" means a hopelessly vague sweep ranging from 1740 Batavia massacre to Tomb of Antipope John XXIII to List of posthumous number ones on the UK Singles Chart, which doesn't seem of any use to anybody. ‑ Iridescent 19:23, 11 April 2016 (UTC)
Not much to say on crematoria. Graveyards and cemeteries (with legible gravestones and people with history) are far more interesting. On the Death WikiProject, I remember that popping up on my watchlist at the time it was populating its scope. A bit wide, yes, but not too bad. Regarding memorials (my real interest), there is Wikipedia:WikiProject Military history/Military memorials and cemeteries task force, but am not sure there is anything on memorials and monuments (and funeral customs) more generally. The closest would be something like Wikipedia:WikiProject Public Art, which does have task forces, but geographical ones rather than thematic ones. On the topic of death, someone has had fun with the Death & Taxes disambiguation page. Carcharoth (talk) 07:42, 12 April 2016 (UTC)
Some crematoria and columbaria are quite interesting, particularly those which were designed in the hope of bringing some awe into proceedings, rather than just being a municipal shed or a mock-Victorian chapel with a chimney attached. Mortonhall in particular is something of a high point of 1960s British architecture (and one of the few places, along with its near twin Coventry Cathedral, where the "the intentional ugliness will force people to contemplate the purpose of the building" strand of brutalism actually works), and the columbarium at City of London does a very good job at condensing the atmosphere of a late-Victorian cemetery into a single building. ‑ Iridescent 13:05, 12 April 2016 (UTC)
Interesting. Well, quite interesting... I got distracted by poking around those categories and finding Template:Cemeteries, crematoria and memorials in Richmond upon Thames. The creator of that template created a lot of the articles there, and I (as someone who knows the area well) am pleased that the articles were created. A small part of me is sad though that some articles I had considered creating (but never did) have now been done, and that some articles I thought it would not be possible to write an article on, have had an article created anyway (proving me wrong). (There is probably a 'law' of Wikipedia in there somewhere, along the lines of 'If you dither about creating an article, someone else will eventually create it instead'). I do like Mausoleum of Sir Richard and Lady Burton. That is a hidden gem I'd never heard of before. Carcharoth (talk) 13:51, 12 April 2016 (UTC)
Liliana Crociati de Szaszak (and her dog Sabu)
I like that—I have a soft spot for anyone whose grave makes an effort to stand out without resorting to bombastic columns or giant angels. As I've mentioned previously on occasion, my personal favourite (albeit not in London) is the Tomb of Liliana Crociati de Szaszak, which (per my comments about Mortonhall Crematorium and Coventry Cathedral above) is so remarkably out-of-place among the usual dignified elegance that it's virtually impossible to walk past without stopping to look, which is surely the primary purpose of a memorial. I also have a soft spot for long-forgotten Victorians whose graves confidently predict that they will live forever through their works ([5], [6], [7]).

The best inscription (as opposed to best monument) in London is surely Susanna Barford in Southwark Cathedral. ‑ Iridescent 05:21, 15 April 2016 (UTC)


Did you get my ping re: this? I never know whether to trust those things. SarahSV (talk) 22:02, 15 April 2016 (UTC)

@SarahSV Yes, but I don't think I've anything useful to add that I haven't already said. Per my comment at the case request, this is essentially an ethical question rather than a policy question, and I don't feel Arbcom is qualified—or, in most cases, has the authority—to be making ethical judgements on behalf of the rest of Wikipedia. (I don't think anyone, except a few True Believers, seriously contends that Gamaliel wasn't in breach of policy, so the question is one of whether Wikipedia has a concept of de minimis, whether good service in one area allows one to bank get-out-of-jail-free cards, and whether "the balance of my mind was disturbed" is a legitimate defense.) By accepting this as a case rather than a motion coupled with a "Gamaliel, resign one of your two positions as trying to do both is inappropriate and clearly burning you out" back-channel nudge, Arbcom has painted itself into a corner where inaction will lead to legitimate complaints that Arbcom are giving special treatment to their buddy (especially coming so soon after the Yngvadottir and Kevin Gorman cases, both of whom were thrown under the bus for less), but if they take any action they not only come across as compassionless (and potentially generate a fresh batch of "Wikipedia is blaming the victim!" headlines from lazy journalists who can't be bothered to look at the full picture*), but are heading into the uncharted waters of a contested impeachment, since I don't see how the committee could function with one of its members under active sanctions imposed by the others. ‑ Iridescent 08:47, 16 April 2016 (UTC)

*You wouldn't know it from some of the commentary, but this is not a case about either harassment or gamergate; this is a case about whether it is appropriate for a "Donald Trump threatens to sue Wikipedia" spoof headline to be preserved in the Signpost archive and about whether Signpost staff have an exemption from the usual rules on editwarring and discussion.

How Wikipedia Works, part 94

Arbcom is currently launching a full case regarding an (admittedly policy-violating) April Fools joke, which was probably seen by less than fifty people. Meanwhile, the Main Page with an average of 16,000,000 views per day, is currently graced by:

For some reason, Britannica has neglected to follow Wikipedia's lead in this instance. ‑ Iridescent 16:42, 15 April 2016 (UTC)

Just gonna leave this here... Opabinia regalis (talk) 21:08, 15 April 2016 (UTC)
I'm more amazed that anything in the Signpost managed to get pageviews in triple figures (although I assume when the figures are updated, the fleecy bleaters will overtake it shortly). Presumably most of that 4000 hits on the case is actually accounted for by 15 arbs and 25 participants each refreshing the page periodically over the day to see if each fresh comment was something they needed to reply to, but still impressive (although just to put that in perspective).

I know you're not allowed to comment on cases etc etc etc but you do realize you've just signed up to make a decision with which nobody involved can possibly come out of with any credit, when you could have just passed a "all of you, stop being idiots" motion and halted it in its tracks, right? ‑ Iridescent 21:36, 15 April 2016 (UTC)

Permanent solution to the Gamergate problem, if you want one: get all those involved to nominate their favourite sources; blank the page and either hire a professional writer or commission a bunch of WP regulars with no interest in the subject to go through the sources and put together a balanced article; lock the article and its talkpage, topic-ban anyone who's ever been involved with it from ever using the word "gamergate" on-wiki, and insist that changes can only be made to it by WMF employees acting in an official capacity and any suggestions need to be submitted privately to the WMF. "The encyclopedia anyone can edit" is not going to fall apart just because it has one page where anyone can't, and this is a topic about which 99.99% of readers could not give a shit—at least other controversies like Israel, Crimea and bathrobes were of actual significance to those not directly involved in them. You're welcome. ‑ Iridescent 21:36, 15 April 2016 (UTC)

And you're right, shagging even beat fucking. That's the only other thing I could think of in the signpost that might have had recent, decent traffic. (Alternate interpretation: we put the words "sheep shaggers" in front of over 16 million people, and only 7k clicked?)
You know it is just no fair taunting one of the people who voted to decline ;)
As for gamergate, I was thinking an edit filter that catches any gamergate-related post by the topic's frequent fliers and replaces the entire content of said post with giant pictures of ants. Opabinia regalis (talk) 06:31, 17 April 2016 (UTC)

Since you were foolish enough to show you're online

Warning or block needed. [9] EEng 20:35, 17 April 2016 (UTC)

The IP has been stupid enough to take you to ANI now, so easier to let the WP:ROPE play out; the more people involved, the less likely he (it's invariably a he) is to complain that due process wasn't followed. ‑ Iridescent 20:38, 17 April 2016 (UTC)

Another edit

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Replied ‑ Iridescent 16:14, 20 April 2016 (UTC)

Nobility question

The issue of using titles and post-nominals keeps coming up at Venkatraman Ramakrishnan‎. The subject had contacted me a few years back saying that he didn't want Sir or FRCS etc to be added to his name as he explicitly avoids that and has also told the appropriate royal office that he will be doing so (this was after some heated discussions he'd had with some editors). I asked him to send in a request to OTRS so that it can be recorded properly -- it was, another OTRS agent handled the request and it was noted on the talk page and within the article body as a hidden comment. However, this doesn't seem to be to the liking of some who hold the view that it should always be "Sir Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, FRCS" or variations thereof and the subject was once told that it's disrespecting the queen and country for refusing to adhere to that. EB's page on him seems to handle it per his request. I have no interest in the this subject matter in particular and have just tried to handle this per the subject's request, as it seems reasonable under BLP. He's not asking us not to mention that he's knighted or what not, just not to use it against his name. How do we handle such requests? There's some basic discussion on the talk page, and I believe the subject had some discussions elsewhere too, including on his user talk page. cheers. —SpacemanSpiff 05:33, 18 April 2016 (UTC)

Technically, the relevant part of the MOS says A person's full title (including both prefix and post-nominals) should be given in the article itself, so the "Sir" at least ought to be included in the lead (although not in the article title itself); looking at other people like Margaret Thatcher and Laurence Olivier who had titles but always used their common name publicly even after acquiring the title, Wikipedia does seem to be fairly consistent in this. However, if the subject has specifically said they don't want to be referred to in this way, I can't see any reason not to defer to their wishes; this isn't a case like Chelsea Manning/Bradley Manning where we have to include something in the lead against the subject's wishes to avoid reader confusion, since nobody is going to come looking for "Sir Venkatraman Ramakrishnan‎", find "Venkatraman Ramakrishnan‎" and not realise that it's the same person.
The FRCS, I'd have thought could happily be disregarded if the subject doesn't want it, since fellowship in a Royal Society is fairly meaningless these days—the Royal Society of Arts in particular will dish out the vanity title of FRSA to pretty much anyone willing to fork out a £3900 lump sum or £14 a month for the privilege. On a dip-sample of Category:Fellows of the Royal College of Surgeons, only one of the first five names I clicked on included "FRCS" as part of the name in the lead, so regardless of what the MOS says it's clearly not custom-and-practice on Wikipedia.
If BrownHairedGirl is about, she's probably better placed than me to advise what the current conventions on these things are. ‑ Iridescent 16:27, 18 April 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for that explanation, I find the royal customs most baffling in real and on here. I'll wait for BHG to chime in (will ping her if I see her active over the next few days). cheers. —SpacemanSpiff 15:22, 20 April 2016 (UTC)
Chiming in here, as there seems to be some slight confusion here. Venkatraman Ramakrishnan is not (as far as I can tell) FRCS. He does not appear ever to have been a doctor or surgeon, but is a research biologist (he originally studied theoretical physics) and is a FRS (Fellow of the Royal Society), which is something different and probably what SpacemanSpiff meant above (does the OTRS ticket say FRS? The hidden comment in the article says FRCS. The talk page OTRS notice says Request to not use titles or post-nominal letters along with the name which sounds more plausible.). When you Google, there is a Venkat Ramakrishnan who is a plastic surgeon and someone different (see also here). Iridescent may want to re-opine given that FRS is clearly not a vanity title. For what it is worth, FRCS is not a vanity title either. It is not an honorary award, rather it is a professional qualification that many senior surgeons attain during their career. Carcharoth (talk) 17:01, 20 April 2016 (UTC)
Right, sorry, I did mean to say FRS (he's the current President of the society). I'm no longer an OTRS agent so I can't read the ticket currently, but if I remember correctly he had asked not to use post-nominals in general, not this one in particular; the ticket was also sent before he became the President, not sure if that changes things. —SpacemanSpiff 17:11, 20 April 2016 (UTC)
On the article talk page, it has been pointed out that the Royal Society website refers to him in at least one place as Sir Venki Ramakrishnan and also as FRS (under the picture). Also here. Who knows, maybe being elected President of the FRS has changed his views on that particular post-nominal? He is also entitled to use the post-nominal PRS (President of the Royal Society) now (see List of post-nominal letters (United_Kingdom)). Maybe he is also too busy being President of the Royal Society to get things changed on their website let alone worry any more about his Wikipedia article? Or maybe he has press or public relations people working for him who can deal with this instead? (I am being half cynical here and half serious.) It would help if the talk page gave a date for the OTRS ticket (page history says October 2012, which is 3.5 years ago). Carcharoth (talk) 17:24, 20 April 2016 (UTC)
The exact date of the ticket should be sometime in the last week of September 2012, a few months after his knighthood I think. I placed the tag there as the request was addressed but not recorded on the talk page. This was an edit by the subject as an IP, and this and that are him too. I don't think he's edited here since the OTRS ticket was addressed -- he was mostly trying to keep out the titles, some crappy ethnic ownership, and copyvios from the Britannica article (which doesn't use titles or post-nominals). —SpacemanSpiff 18:07, 20 April 2016 (UTC)
Thanks. There is more at Special:Contributions/Riboman and User talk:Riboman. The current situation looks OK. I'll add a citation to the article for him not using his title. Carcharoth (talk) 12:56, 21 April 2016 (UTC)
I'm afraid I'm to blame for the FRCS vs FRS confusion on the article too (I know more people attached to their FRCS that it probably just comes to me automatically). Great find, that source; I looked for something like that when I added the note but wasn't able to find any. cheers. —SpacemanSpiff 15:17, 21 April 2016 (UTC)


Edit summaries such as this [11] make it hard to believe any longer that this is just a confused new user. EEng 15:29, 20 April 2016 (UTC)

It is possible; some overly-keen new users do try to wade into administrative areas in the mistaken belief either that they're being helpful or that it will fast-track them for RFA. As I said at the SPI for our hyphen-disliking friend a couple of sections up, there are good reasons for "looks like a sock" not being grounds for blocking without further evidence to back it up. If it's a good-faith user they'll calm down of their own accord after a while, and if it's a sock then enough eyes are on him that any vandalism spree will be stopped within secords. (Socks trying to avoid being spotted can paradoxically be some of Wikipedia's most useful editors, since they do good work to try to fit in, don't get involved in arguments as they don't want to draw attention to themselves, and already know how Wikipedia works so don't have a steep learning curve full of mistakes. Check out the contributions of MathewTownsend (talk · contribs), Pastor Theo (talk · contribs) or Law (talk · contribs) for some good examples of what I mean.) ‑ Iridescent 16:26, 20 April 2016 (UTC)
I was just calling attention to that one edit in particular -- the overall contrib history remains troublingly borderline at least. But time will tell. Your point about paradoxical vandals deserves an essay -- WP:PARAVANDALS? EEng 17:02, 20 April 2016 (UTC)
I'd think an essay would be harder than it sounds; without giving specific examples it would just look like a rather dull philosophical exercise, but giving specific examples would effectively be publicly shaming people who aren't in a position to answer back. It's one thing doing it on my talkpage, but another to do it in a public area, in something presumably written in the hope that other people will link to it. ‑ Iridescent 19:57, 21 April 2016 (UTC)

Tunnels and bridges

Thanks for sorting that out. I hadn't even noticed that the category was on the talk page (and wouldn't be able to work out what effect that would have, but now I understand none). Imaginatorium (talk) 17:20, 24 April 2016 (UTC)

The effect it has on normal readers is non existent (which is why the tags go on the talkpages rather than the actual article, to keep them out of view). Where the tags do have a benefit is that they automatically populate categories, and also are used by the bots to generate the "total number of pages on such-and-such a topic" tables (this is the one for bridges, for instance). These tables/categories are occasionally useful, as they allow you to immediately answer questions like "how many Wikipedia articles are there about hurricanes?" or "does Wikipedia have any current Featured Articles about Buckinghamshire?" (4039 and 11 respectively, at the time of writing), which is useful for spotting potential problems like underrepresented topics or areas with a lot of articles all of which are very low qualiity. ‑ Iridescent 20:56, 24 April 2016 (UTC)
I see -- the "substantive" categories go on the article page, and the "admin" ones on the talk page. Can I ask you another question about categories? I was involved in a discussion about the category(ies) for a musical requiem (here talk, and no-one seemed to understand the idea that a category is defined by a name and a scope to which it applies. Obviously, the name in general should suggest the scope as clearly as possible, but it is open to definition. So in principle there might have been a decision for the "Bridges" project to cover all 3-D route crossings (is that the most general def.??). In the requiem case, there are at least two obvious and reasonable possibilities for the scope, but there does not seem to be anywhere to write, or even discuss this. Then different people interpret the label differently, resulting in gradual chaos. Any thoughts on this? Imaginatorium (talk) 07:30, 25 April 2016 (UTC)
In general, if the definition of a category is open to ambiguity, the category itself should have an explanatory note saying what is and isn't covered; see Category:Politicians or Category:Mythology for some good examples.

In practice, don't get hung up on whether an article is correctly categorized. The number of readers who care about the categories is minimal to the point of approaching zero;the overwhelming majority of readers are unaware that the categories even exist. The main purpose of categories is generally as a heat-sink into which well-intentioned but clueless new editors can be diverted to allow them to learn the ropes of Wikipedia editing and feel they're doing something useful, while preventing them from annoying other editors with clueless attempts to fix things which aren't broken. ‑ Iridescent 19:27, 25 April 2016 (UTC)

Your cynicism about categories approaches my own. Eric Corbett 19:46, 25 April 2016 (UTC)
Possibly, but it doesn't necessarily mean I'm wrong. There are a (very) few circumstances in which categories are genuinely useful (logging all the items in an individual museum which have articles, or everyone who ever played for a particular team, for instance), but for most of the things for which they're supposedly useful, it's generally easier to go to the parent article and click "what links here"; if the entire category namespace were to vanish tomorrow, it would cause minimal inconvenience at worst. The other traditional proving ground for enthusiastic newcomers who want to help in some way but lack the skills to write or fix errors, persondata, is no longer with us following the introduction of Wikidata, and I wouldn't advise my worst enemy to involve themselves with the gaggle of weirdos at Wikidata, let alone a good-faith newcomer. Although this looks promising as a "why don't you go play with this if you want to do something useful?" resource, since by definition it will only direct users to articles which are already in a poor state so well-intentioned meddling is unlikely to make things worse and has a decent chance of making things better. ‑ Iridescent 22:55, 27 April 2016 (UTC)
I don't want to get into this - obviously I mostly disagree - but the widespread use of huge templates has made "what links here" largely unusable for anything. I use categories all the time and find them very useful. I think Commons users, or those used to Commons, are far more used to categories, as it is completely useless without them. Johnbod (talk) 13:18, 28 April 2016 (UTC)
I think my opinion of Commons is fairly well known; if I were to be hired to replace Lila, my first action would be to hire some professional archivists to go through it top-to-bottom deleting the 75% of the content which will never be of any conceivable value to anyone, and if I were being cynical I'd say my second action would be to go through it top-to-bottom deleting the 75% of the editors who will never be of any conceivable value to anyone. (Yes, yes, a few bad apples, don't judge the silent majority by the actions of the few, preserving a culture of tolerance which has been lost on Wikipedia itself, and all that, but Commons has its "nest of psychopaths and narcissists" reputation for a reason.)

Most of those giant navbox templates could safely go as well, since I'm sure nobody ever actually uses them and they cause endless arguments over what should be included and, as you say, clog "what links here". (Most of the cleanup effort directed at Neelix has focused, rightly, on his flooding Wikipedia with nutty redirects, but he was also a dab hand at creating pointless navboxes and plastering them over every conceivable target.) Although some of the links on Template:Molester's Train look intriguing. At some point someone probably ought to go through all the navboxes and work out which of them are actually serving a useful purpose and which are just clutter, but that would lead to arguments that would make the Infobox Wars look tame. ‑ Iridescent 19:45, 29 April 2016 (UTC)

Calling a film "Melody of Wriggling Fingers" shows an amazing combination of eastern poetic prose and porn I have to concede. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 22:49, 29 April 2016 (UTC)

(semi-random divergence on linking) I did once ask if it was technically possible for 'what links here' to be upgraded to distinguish by where the link was coming from (e.g. from a navbox template, from a different sort of template, from an infobox, from a citation parameter, and other things that are distinct from a 'simple' link from article text), but it seems this is too difficult to do and/or not possible. One difficulty seems to be distinguishing between a call from a template that actually exists in the template namespace, and 'other' types of transclusions. We should maybe be thankful for small mercies that it is possible to filter by namespace. More generally, the reasons for linking are varied and it would be nice to distinguish between 'linking to help define a term for a reader rather than explain in the article', and 'linking a topic of direct relevance to the article' and maybe also 'linking to say look we have an article, even though its not really that relevant to this article'. (There is probably also a 'meta data' type of link, such as the not-lamented date linking.) The links kind of sort by the reasons for following them, which can vary depending on whether you are an editor or reader. It would doubtless be possible to come up with a complex spectrum of linking, but maybe the current binary 'link or no link' is simpler and the best we will get. Does anyone know of sites that have different sorts of links (I think there is the possibility here of a 'definition' link, but I can't remember how to do it, you get a pop-up question mark beside the word). Carcharoth (talk) 07:46, 30 April 2016 (UTC)

An obvious "metadata" type of link we do use on en-wiki would be the links to authors within references (example), and of course the ubiquitous "definition" links; I doubt one link in 10,000 on Special:WhatLinksHere/International Standard Book Number is to an actual discussion of ISBN numbering within an article. If references were moved to a separate Reference: namespace as should have been done a decade ago, and the software were reconfigured to distinguish links on transcluded templates from links within the article proper, then "what links here" would make linking genuinely a two-way function. I'm not aware of any wiki which uses author-defined link classification, but the concept certainly exists, since it's fundamental to the business model of the big online retailers (the Amazons, Googles and Apples of this world need to know when you click on Watchmen whether you're trying to buy the book, the film, or the album, without messing around with clunky disambiguation pages). Paging MZMcBride and RexxS, both of whom I trust considerably more than the WMF devs to say whether something is technically possible within the limitations of Mediawiki. It's unlikely ever to happen, given the legendary inertia of the WMF when it comes to implementing any idea they didn't think of themselves, but it's certainly something to add to the wishlist for Wikipedia 2.0. ‑ Iridescent 19:11, 30 April 2016 (UTC)
Since MediaWiki runs on php servers, then pretty much anything you can do with php, could conceivably be done within a wiki. In the case of making different "kinds" of hyperlinks, the precedent is there as you've already noted. Amazon, Google, etc. create wonderfully complex urls to make links - as I'm sure everybody is aware. That scheme allows the server to recognise both "key-value" pairs and "fragments" and process them however you wish. Conceptually, there's nothing to stop a wikipedia page having a wiki-link something like [[Watchmen #type:film]] and processing the fragment (the bit after the '#') server-side or we could create a bit of extra functionality to allow markup resembling [[Watchmen ?type=film]] to create a url with the "type-book" pair passed in the url. In either case it could be decoded by the server into [[Watchmen (book}]]. Those different kinds of links would be very amenable to aggregating by 'type', as well as the potential to be created by bots. A similar scheme could allow "author=JK Rowling" as an added fragment within a link, or any other classification resembling "classname=instance" for that matter.
As for the Reference: namespace, I doubt I'll live to see it. It goes something like this:
  • Ed: "It would be great to collect all references together to aid re-use and single-point maintenance;
  • Dev: "A database would be good to do that job"
  • Ed: "So, can you make a database for us then?"
  • Dev: "We already have put a lot of time and effort into a database. It's called Wikidata"
  • Ed: "Errm, but is it a good fit for the data we have?"
  • Dev: "Don't worry. We'll make your data fit into our database."
As Darth said in Revenge of the Sith' - "Nooooooooooo." --RexxS (talk) 23:24, 30 April 2016 (UTC)
Is the above not pretty much how Wikidata came to exist in the first place, through devs writing what they knew how to write rather than what either the readers or writers of the Wikimedia projects actually wanted? Other than a few commercial outfits who make money through data-mining it (one commercial outfit in particular, which has a deeply unhealthy entanglement with the higher echelons of the WMF), and a few other people who make money teaching people how to navigate its ludicrous structure to extract the rare nuggets of useful information, I have literally never seen a single way in which Wikidata benefits a single reader, and its main purpose these days seems to be as a replacement for Wikiversity and Simple now the latter two have decided they're no longer willing to play the role of en-wiki's penal colony. The thing has been going for almost four years now; there comes a point when the "but we're new, you need to make allowances" card can no longer be played with any credibility. ‑ Iridescent 23:02, 1 May 2016 (UTC)

I suspect ...

... that you've been looking since 2010 for a chance to use the expression "the Shit equivalent of Newyorkbrad". Congratulations on finding it. :) Regards, Newyorkbrad (talk) 00:07, 28 April 2016 (UTC)

Newjerseybrad? ‑ Iridescent 13:05, 28 April 2016 (UTC)
! This last post deserves some sort of immortalisation; or at least a commemorative brick plaque of some sort. Barnstars seem so puny all of a sudden. Ceoil (talk) 22:16, 29 April 2016 (UTC)
"There must be some mistake. I have an aunt in New Brunswick." Newyorkbrad (talk) 22:28, 29 April 2016 (UTC)
"No one approves of such things" :) Ceoil (talk) 00:36, 30 April 2016 (UTC)
I aim to please. Context for NYBs original post, for the benefit of confused talk page watchers. ‑ Iridescent 23:06, 30 April 2016 (UTC)
This was one of your better efforts; perfectly pitched against NYB's admirably dry and restrained wit. Morrissey would have spit out his coffee. Ceoil (talk) 23:04, 1 May 2016 (UTC)

Mark Flood (film director)

Why was my page deleted? It had several reliable sources. — Preceding unsigned comment added by WalkOn75 (talkcontribs) 23:52, 1 May 2016 (UTC)

As you know perfectly well, because whether he's an appropriate article for Wikipedia has been discussed on three separate occasions, each of which has determined that he isn't. Yes, consensus can change, but realistically it's not going to, and you constantly recreating it under slightly different titles is not fooling anyone. ‑ Iridescent 00:00, 2 May 2016 (UTC)
Who is trying to fool anyone?? Possibly things have changed since this person was added before but the page that was created had no reason to be deleted. I will be making a request for undeletion as it's YOU who is not fooling anyone. - WalkOn75 (talk) 08:16, 2 May 2016 (UTC)

Deletion review for Mark Flood (film director)

An editor has asked for a deletion review of Mark Flood (film director). Because you closed the deletion discussion for this page, speedily deleted it, or otherwise were interested in the page, you might want to participate in the deletion review. WalkOn75 (talk) 08:27, 2 May 2016 (UTC)

AnimationWhiz133, I've commented on the DRV, but I'm sure you can guess what the comment will be. ‑ Iridescent 09:32, 2 May 2016 (UTC)

Dancing Monkey

It adds to levity, it's a jolly jape, it isn't vandalism... what's the issue? Where is the love? Please reconsider. (talk) 14:39, 1 May 2016 (UTC)

For the benefit of confused TPWs, the IP is complaining that I've spoiled his fun by preventing him vandalizing Reed–Muller code. 81.98, if you disagree with an admin action ANI is thataway, but I think you and I both know what response a complaint that I'm preventing you performing "jolly japes" in the Wikipedia mainspace is likely to receive. If anything, I'm actually in breach of policy by not blocking you. ‑ Iridescent 22:44, 1 May 2016 (UTC)
Let's not get all hung up on blocks and such like, I'm sure we can come to a mutual agreement and I promise not to make any other edits until we have come to such an agreement, after all you'll be watching me like a hawk ;) I do not disagree with your administrative action if it is vandalism, thing is in my judgement (which is not set in stone) it simply isn't - it's merely a very unusual editorial decision as dancing monkeys have little to do with the subject matter. But if you were to transmit the image of the dancing monkey into space then the fact is you really ought to be using some kind of forward error correction and therefore there is a justification, albeit tenuous, for the monkey. I don't pretend that the monkey has been inserted for any reason other than amusing the readers of the article, but so long as the article remains factual and things don't go overboard, where's the harm from the monkey? Ergo, not vandalism. Can we agree on this? (talk) 19:04, 2 May 2016 (UTC)
Hi 81. You realise that your post can be best described as a lot of babble? I get where you are coming from, sort of, but think your expectations are unreasonable; you probably wont get much joy here. Re: 'Ergo': my foot, but god bless for trying. Carry on :) Ceoil (talk) 19:23, 2 May 2016 (UTC)
Unfortunately, 81.94, the justification you propose is far too tenuous for an encyclopedia. There are simply too many possible images and too many FECs for the intersection of those to justify an image of monkeys in the Reed–Muller code article. Even more unfortunately for you, you've trolled a talk page with a lot of TPWs, so you'll now have humourless bastards like me watching you as well the kind folks like Iridescent, who have been far more tolerant of your japes. My advice is to cut your losses and head back to Reddit and/or Usenet where you'll find an accommodating home for your fantasies. --RexxS (talk) 20:46, 2 May 2016 (UTC)
81.94, if I was you and RexxS was on my case like like this; I'd pack my toys and exit. Hes a hard northern bastard, of the kind GGR could only dream about. You've been telled :) Ceoil (talk) 21:15, 2 May 2016 (UTC)
Well, I do know what they did to a monkey in Hartlepool, and that's so north than it's norther than most northerners. I have no choice but to take the threat seriously and whimper. So perhaps there's a third way, an article where there can be dancing monkeys with no more than muted disgruntlement on t'opposing (see I speak northern) side. I shall work on finding one and report back. Also, quesquecest a TPW? (talk) 21:20, 2 May 2016 (UTC)
This is all getting too silly for words. 81.98. you seem ok basically, but as a word of advice, if you find yourself opening "Dancing Monkey" threads on the internet on Monday nights, where in your quickly debunked - its probably best to back away from the computer. Ceoil (talk) 21:42, 2 May 2016 (UTC)
You're mean but I like you (talk) 21:47, 2 May 2016 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Vigil dispuatationis. Vide TPW --RexxS (talk) 21:44, 2 May 2016 (UTC)
gra.ias (talk) 21:47, 2 May 2016 (UTC)
más sinceras a mi jefe por su apoyo, you contrary tool :) Ceoil (talk) 22:08, 2 May 2016 (UTC)
would you mind dumbing down a little please (especially vis a vis the whole speaking in foreign thing) - otherwise I'll have to just ad lib my responses, and you'll miss out on so much wit (I am full of it) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:02, 2 May 2016 (UTC)
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