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Oops. Thanks!--Bbb23 (talk) 23:59, 9 November 2013 (UTC)

  • No worries. Protonk (talk) 00:14, 10 November 2013 (UTC)

AfC Workflows

I'd like to engage you in a possibly helpful manner, outside the walls of text on the proposal, partly because my question is really only tangentially related to the proposal for a Draft namespace anyway. You have worked on editathons (or at least one). I have not. I see you've done at least soem work at AfC, but it looks like not very much. I've done a fiar amount, but I'm not really a regular there. I've done a fair amount of NPP, but again I'm not a regular on it.

So, what would you consider an ideal or at least a far more productive workflow in dealing with draft articles that are not ready for mainspace but might well become decent articles with some help and work? Should they got to some improved version of AfC? If not, what should happen to them? what changes would be needed to make that happen? No one I have heard thinks the current new editor experience is ideal, nor optimally calculated to help editor retention. What would you do if you were suddenly wiki dictator? Does something like the new Wikipedia:Articles for creation/Academy look useful at all? Any thoughts? DES (talk) 22:35, 11 November 2013 (UTC)

But I digress...

This will be long, so here's a tl;dr: I'll probably change my vote to support, given that a draft namespace has an advantage over Wikipedia_talk (primarily insofar as it isn't entirely perverse to an outsider). But I've got bigger problems

First on the experience dimension. I think I've done some AFC work (or at least I can remember helping a few people sometime in the last 2 years) and I've done a fair bit of NPP/RCP (Though not a huge amount in the last year). I've also done a lot of work with new editors coming in through some very specific pipelines, namely editathons and the Wikipedia education program.

In both of those cases my advice to editors was uniformly to avoid creating new pages until they had made some edits to existing pages (which is the common refrain among editors and basically seems unobjectionable) my reasoning was built around the notion that small changes were easier to review and getting comfortable with editing was a necessary prerequisite to writing a new article from scratch--I also hoped to assiduously avoid the new page creation process entirely as the reasons a new page (contra a new edit) can be rejected (though any process) are considerably more difficult to translate to new editors. It is straightforward to explain why an edit might be reverted, for page creation I had to explain stuff like notability and what-not.

I'm increasingly less sure that approach is correct:

  • The philosophy which treats small, beneficial edits as both easy to undertake and fulfilling to the editor may largely be held by people inclined to be Wikipedia editors in the first place. Meaning that one reason the community's consensus advice is to start small and piecemeal is the editors who comprise the community are disproportionately likely to feel that is the best way to start out. More importantly, new editors may disproportionately feel differently, since we've had people self-selecting to edit WP for a decade or so. If I'm being grumpy, I'll submit editors like piecemeal changes because they're easier to review--a benefit which accrues to us and only incidentally to new editors. That's not bad! We should prefer new edits which are easy to review, but we should be wary as to what the benefits of those types of edits will be to new editors.
  • From a cognitive load standpoint, refactoring extant text may be worse than writing new text. In software development, we treat refactoring code as a difficult task--substantially more difficult than writing something new from scratch. So much so that rewriting complex software is a common trap :). Even with prose, we expect students to be able to construct a paper before editing someone else's work. Writing a new article gives someone a good sense of the expected structure of an encyclopedia article and affords them the tools to analyze an existing article beyond grammar or style issues. This ties into the above because long term Wikipedia editors all know someone who makes only low level edits--we probably know more than one person. As such, that practice is normalized. It's good for an encyclopedia to have many editors trawling through articles making low level changes, but the kinds of people for whom that editing practice is second nature are probably already editors.
  • Perhaps more importantly, people want to write new articles. After 2 years of telling people first thing to avoid writing a new article I'm prepared to ask myself if I should be fighting this tendency. Even without a byline, it's much more fun to show people a single page and say "I made this" rather than point to a collection of edits to a bunch of subjects and say "some percentage of that content I wrote or otherwise approved of."
  • As an aside, the distinction Wikipedia makes between new content on an existing page and new content on a new page is both arbitrary and opaque to new users. There are a lot of good reasons for it: URLs are a pretty commonly accepted mapping of location to a resource so we expect a single URL (in this case a page) to represent some functionally independent content; watchlists and histories are maintained on a per-page basis so that's a natural granularity for attention; and pages are likewise consumed independently--we can balance content within pages but it's a much bigger task to do so across pages. That said, the strength of those reasons doesn't constitute a convincing argument a convincing argument to an outsider and our tragically misnamed notability guideline (which we offer in place of those reasons) smells like bullshit.
  • I'd also add that authoring new content is an odd activity to special-case (socially or technically). We have to, for a lot of cases, because cleanup is more laborious or pages have to be checked for N/V/NPOV more stringently. But we're assuredly telling new users that they're less welcome than established users, even if we're very nice about it.

As such, I'm coming around to the idea that authoring new content should be a central part of onboarding people to the encyclopedia. We can't do that in the mainspace for reasons which have been discussed at length for years. What we absolutely need to do is make sure the non-manspace solution is as frictionless as possible. Why? Another rant.

Wikipedia's slogan, '…anyone can edit' feels like a mission-oriented or aspirational claim now, but when Wikipedia (And the wiki itself) were just getting started it was a technical claim. Content editable didn't exist. Independently, there wasn't a commonly used method to make edits to a web page from just a browser. If you wanted a web page you had to set up a server, learn about apache, etc. By contrast, Wikipedia afforded a way to make a permanent but non-destructive change from inside a web browser. This was paired, fortuitiously enough, with a license that made widespread contribution legally seamless and a community dedicated to improvement by incremental change. But for non-mission oriented readers (anyone who wasn't a FOSS/free culture nerd), a big attraction was simply being able to write something down on the web. All the same if the collaborative nature of the resource meant that it could be improved over time.

  • Since 2001 the world has changed a whole hell of a lot. I can now start a blog from my phone or start a new server and deploy whatever blog software I want in seconds. I can answer technical questions on stackoverflow, experiential questions on quora, or shoot the shit on twitter. Small communities (e.g. Crooked Timber or small subreddits or forums) can provide a shared online community experience where knowledge is valuable. there are other wikis (some with better syntax!) which are general or specific and almost always have a more permissive inclusion and participation structure than Wikipedia.
  • There's a widely circulated essay within the community, Wikipedia:Wikipedia is an MMORPG, which I think misses the point. Wikipedia is an MMO, and MMOs are characterized by wars for subscriber growth. And we're losing. There are now other MMOs with less friction to join and contribute and the types of people who will tolerate higher friction are more likely to already be editors. So we perpetuate our demographics and lose potentially good long-term editors.
  • In the face of it, I think we have two principal tasks to achieve mere survival:
  • Get out in front of mobile. We're enterine a decade of mobile growth such that it's possible countries will get >80% online with <5% of people having traditional PCs. In the mass market, those countries will never have desktop browsers at a first approximation. Countries characterized by that sort of late, rapid growth are already under-represented on wikipedia and among editors. We will simply lose that generation (demographic, not technical) as wikipedia editors, because the formative period of their online experience is with Wikipedia as a read-only resource. The same effect will happen in the West, but at a much smaller scale.
  • Lower barriers to contribution and understanding. Article Feedback was a dismal failure, but that doesn't make the current state of talk pages anywhere near managable. Flow will help and I hope we can simply swap over to autothreaded conversations with mentions quickly. The visual editor was also a mess, but it's the future and can't come soon enough (if it works). From a community standpoint I'm less sure we have a clear path.

Some possible solutions:

  • Make better use of the Filter software to build prescreened blocks of new articles or recent changes to editors. So I could go to WP:Fetch/NewBands and get articles which are likely garage bands. The same with copyvio (tho I forget the status of the copyvio bot). The more easily articles can be efficiently and silently sorted, the better we can handle volume. As with the Wikipedia:STiki queue, editors can check out blocks of edits and complete (by editing, reverting or marking as reviewed) or recycle (by saying 'I can't classify this' or something) each edit. Once they're done with a block, they can check out a new one (which is generated at checkout from new and recycled edits). Then we lose the dreaded edit conflict with another RCP person, which releases a lot of time pressure. Especially if you have a sense that you're not working on a "vandalism" queue but rather a "more innocuous" queue.
  • Likewise, expand use of the edit filter to refuse to allow vandalism edits to land in the first place. Consider this akin to stackoverflow requiring at least 10 characters for a comment and a few more for an answer. When we think about those things we tend to give undue weight to the possibility of avoidance, but that's not the modal case. Just as friction disrupts regular editors it disrupts vandals.
  • Write tools (or update mediawiki) to allow for a deletion notice to be contested on the page by an author. If I make a page, I've got to go to the talk page or write a template inside the deletion template (hah, you can tell I haven't done this in a while) to contest a deletion notice. If it's an AfD, I have to open a whole 'nother page--god forbid I open the AfD index by mistake or the deletion policy, etc. This actually happens. I should be able to write something in a text box write there and have the software deal. I think a good 30% (or much more) of our newbie first impressions are colored by someone appearing to be incompetent because they don't understand the threading or message signing. Sometimes (if it persists), it can be a real problem, but the the steps to say 'hey I'm working' to another human on wikipedia are Byzantine.
  • If a drafts namespace is created, special case the act of moving a draft to mainspace. Make a publish button or something. And make those templates so they maintain themselves. I start a draft and there's a button to ask for review. I press it and it's like pressing the watchlist button (confusingly labeled with a star). The page content doesn't visually change. Later someonce can edit and press publish. Or press decline with a reason. In any case, a new user shouldn't have to interface with the guts of the template syntax and the url/page name relationship. Something to make the experience of making a new and potentially unfavorably reviewed article more reasonable. Though I'm not a fan of protected edits, I could see having pages automatically started in a Drafts namespace (And so not exposed to the internal search) until reviewed or some time passes. But that's a bigger change.
  • The citation helper should be a first class feature in wikipedia. Right now it's a widget which prefills community created citation templates, but there should be a more general tool to handle any citation (new or extant) and import the metadata to wikidata. That way we can correct malformed references (potentially by finding a matching ref!) and more easily accept new edits with poorly formatted references.
  • On the less concrete side, we should be taking a hard look at other collaborative resources and how they handle interaction. We've paid a lot of attention to the strict moderation styles of stackoverflow vs. the weak moderation (really!) of wikipedia. But that may only be because it's interesting to contemplate and it is likewise hard to imagine how wikipedia could adopt other elements. SO isn't particularly great at helping people write blocks of code (which is ironic), but there are other collaborate resources with other UX flows that we should study.

I've got other ideas but they're mainly technical. That's for two reasons. 1. I like technical solutions to wicked problems over social solutions especially given the community's histor with social solutions. 2. In the near term the community will shrink. The number of active editors and admins will fall even in the best case scenarios before it rises. If that is the case, any solution which will work (this is distinct from what gets buy in) must make editors more efficient. More importantly (as Oliver explains in the linked video above), allowing current editors to manage any new users more effectively in a manner that doesn't simply remand those users to isolation will make social changes more palatable. Or at least make reactionary social changes less likely.

Social changes may have to happen, especially if we can more heavily integrate wikidata. We could even write (though this would be insane) mediawiki such that sections (or certain sections) could be modules. If you land on that specific section from a link with a hash, it's a section in a page. With a slash, it's rendered as a separate page, but with the same categories and references and so forth. The community probably also has to change. I don't know if we're positioned to make good change at any angle, though. I don't think the notability guidance will change (and I don't think it will be renamed, though the current name is atrocious). I don't expect our guidance on reliable sources will meet the 21st century anytime soon. Protonk (talk) 15:16, 20 November 2013 (UTC)

This is beautifully written and considered. I'd like to see a list of other platforms / wikis (some with better syntax!) / forums that you've seen or used, in some table others could add to. (I sometimes think the same about wikis that support discussing/sharing/revising images.) – SJ + 23:39, 26 November 2013 (UTC)
Thanks, SJ. It's riddled with typos, of course. :) I'll think about creating a table, but I think the best questions to ask are elided by a tabular format. I mention above that StackOverflow is (ironically), not very good at teaching new users how to write code. It's possible that SO helps people write good questions and answers (in which case, that's a huge success)--these are steps along the way to writing good code, but it's a very narrow path for onboarding new users. github is another great (proprietary) community knowledge base, but it may be best at facilitating a non-apache community management strategy. Like SO, this is a huge success since that's a core goal of github's. But again, very narrow. When asking what github, SO (or reddit, tbh) do to make these specific goals happen, we may have to consider that their strategies are somewhat idiosyncratic. Though perhaps not accidentally, github, SO, and reddit all use a variant of markdown. :)
I talked a bit about this in a podcast a year or so ago, motivated by a different concern; wikipedia's somewhat problematic expectations about sourcing. One other thing to note is that github/SO deal with questions which are a bit more standalone than the average wikipedia article. If I have a question on SO, a satisficing answer needs to work. It has to run without errors and return the value I want (or whatever). We could argue about multiple competing satisficing answers on the basis of style or engineering concerns, but in order to correctly answer a SO question and get an endorphin rush, the code needs to run. There's no real non-trivial problem on wikipedia which is comparable. And specifically, there's no mechanism by which a user's first contribution can be so self-evidently acceptable to the user and the community simultaneously.
Arguably SO's questions (not answers) are more analogous to new WP contributions. In that case we see similar objections and new user churn--there's no shortage of whining about questions closed as being non-constructive or too broad or too narrow. That distinction should cause us to raise an eyebrow when thinking about the one true path to new user engagement. :)
A great deal of github's strength also comes from a mechanism which isn't really compatible with Wikipedia. Github projects are open and anyone can fork a repo, make changes, and submit PR's. But canonical repos exist. jquery/jquery is the repo for jquery. I can contribute to it, but only with the permission of someone with commit rights. As a consequence of that (and of the fact that forking is easy), the github "community" doesn't care about new projects, forked projects or proliferation of "useless" content--we are not our brother's keeper on github. We've tried this model for a community driven encyclopedia (Knol, Citizendium), it doesn't work out so well.
that said, on a technical level, I'd really love to see something like wikipedia implemented in markdown with a git backing store. Imagine being able to fork an article into userspace, make changes, then submit those changes to mainspace as a "pull request." No copy-paste, no worries about munging edit histories. In a way, this is what some proposals for flagged revisions would do. If you look again at the jquery repo, you'll see thousands of commits but only ~100 releases (created with git's tagging functionality). Those releases (or the build output) get served on We could treat every edit as a de novo branch and then either merge it in and tag (==> publish) only on longer intervals or allow for a pull request style interaction for 'protected' pages. Because branches are delineated by where (as in the commit sha) they diverged from a specific repo, changes can't be lost. Even changes which never make it onto the page.
Reddit/HN are sort of on the other end of the scale. They don't aspire to be sources of canonical knowledge. They're just communities which are as toxic/amazing/baffling as any other. But they do represent knowledge bases. People can assert (without permission or credentials) anything they want, and small communities (esp. on reddit) can collect interested experts or amateurs who can bang out a useful post or comment in a few minutes without any expectations for their contributions save it be interesting. The results are kinda fascinating. You get the kind of social efflorescence that comes from allowing immediate contributions from anyone. Whole trends spring up and die daily. Great stories, answers, lies and nonsense all proliferate.
the caveat for all of these is embedded in William Buetler's last graf. Wikipedia's era of unbridled growth is over. It's likely not coming back. The stage of WP characterized by rapid (and nearly unsustainable) growth papered over community and technical problems. Just like the meteoric rise of iOS led Apple (and plenty of apple watchers) to conclude that App stores were the future for software distribution because software sales on the iOS app store were a gold rush, we missed looming problems because they weren't manifesting in absolute terms against mind-boggling y/y growth (i.e. from 2003-2007). The converse of this is also true! Wikipedia isn't 'doomed' (well, maybe not) but we're going to focus on the bad parts unnecessarily not because growth is insufficient to ignore them but because they can be pointed to as causes for stagnation. To load up the analogy food cart, consider how we talk about presidential "communication" as though it were independent and not largely a function of approval ratings or economic health. Presidents with high approval ratings see their decisions micro-scrutinized for signs that their managerial or communication skills drive the bus. Likewise for low approval ratings. But economic performance is pretty uncoupled from day to day presidential decisions and strongly influences public perception of an administration--reverse causality is likely! Even my litany above about specific suggestions or issues might be driven by the anemic growth forecasts for wikipedia. We wouldn't be talking about new users if we grew our userbase 2x every year. :)
There's a host of other community resources (some of them wikis, some not) like TV Tropes or Giant Bomb which rely on entirely different mechanisms for inclusion and editing. I don't bring these up to suggest that wikipedia should ape these resources (and likewise regarding the stuff above about reddit/SO/github) but to note there are other ways to broadly organize knowledge. TV Tropes and Wikipedia have incommensurable epistemes! That's great. There's value to being a slightly stodgy, backward looking resource. We just maybe shouldn't recapitulate that goal for the content in our dealings with users and the community. Protonk (talk) 17:39, 27 November 2013 (UTC)
I don't think we want to be stodgy and backwards-looking, actually. We want that to be one of the available lenses for viewing knowledge, but not the only one. TV tropes is my mental model for an excellently commensurable episteme and pattern-network, in fact. :-) The barely-bridled growth of knowledge coordination and synthesis is only starting - we likely have centuries of it to come. Whether WP and similar broad-namespace collaborations shift to embrace that work, or wait for other focused groups to do so and (for instance) create formal markets out of the resulting social surplus, is an open question. – SJ + 22:01, 27 November 2013 (UTC)
"The barely-bridled growth of knowledge coordination and synthesis is only starting - we likely have centuries of it to come" Yes! I'm bullish about coordination and peer production. I think we'll see a lot more growth in this area. But Wikipedia (the network of sites) will be a small part of that growth. I don't think the forward looking vs. backward looking bit is crucial to my argument, just a comment. :) Protonk (talk) 16:25, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
Oh SJ, as a great example of how 'community' differs between github and wikipedia, check out the github version of a wheel war over gendered pronouns. With bonus Paultag. Protonk (talk) 17:28, 3 December 2013 (UTC)

Flow Newsletter - November 14

Hi. This is a brief note to let you know about an update to the Main FAQ (the addition of a large table of Components of the discussion system), and also to specifically request your feedback on two items: our sandbox release plan, and a draft of the new contributors survey. We look forward to reading your input on these or other topics - Flow can only get better with your ideas! –Quiddity (WMF) (talk) 19:55, 14 November 2013 (UTC)

GAN December 2013 Backlog Drive

Hello! A GAN Backlog Drive will begin in less than 4 days!

In past Backlog Drives, the goal was to reduce the backlog of Good article nominations. In the upcoming drive, another goal will be added - raising as much money as we can for the Wikimedia Foundation. How will this work? Well, its pretty simple. Any user interested in donating can submit a pledge at the Backlog Drive page (linked above). The pledge should mention the amount of money the user is willing to donate per review. For example, if a user pledges 5 cents per review and 100 nominations are reviewed, the total donation amount is $5.00.

At the time this message was sent out, two users have submitted pledges for a total of 8 cents per review. All pledges, no matter how much money, are greatly appreciated. Also, in no way is this saying you must make a pledge.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me or leave a message on the Backlog Drive talk page. And remember, there are less than 4 days before the drive starts!--EdwardsBot (talk) 03:15, 27 November 2013 (UTC)

GAN December 2013 Backlog Drive

Hello! Just a friendly reminder that the GAN Backlog Drive has begun and will end on December 31, 2013!

If you know anyone outside of the WikiProject that may be interested, feel free to invite them to the drive!

If you have any questions or want to comment about something regarding the drive, post them here--EdwardsBot (talk) 00:08, 3 December 2013 (UTC)

New England Wikipedia Day @ MIT: Saturday Jan 18

NE Meetup #4: January 18 at MIT Building 5

Dear Fellow Wikimedian,

You have been invited to the New England Wikimedians's 2014 kick-off party and Wikipedia Day Celebration at Building Five on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus on Saturday, January 18th, from 3-5 PM. Afterwards, we will be holding an informal dinner at a local restaurant. If you are curious to join us, please come, as we are always looking for people to come and give their opinion! Finally, be sure to RSVP here if you're interested.

I hope to see you there! Kevin Rutherford (talk)

(You can unsubscribe from future notifications for Boston-area events by removing your name from this list.)

Your assistance please

You deleted Rob Dyer under WP:CSD#G8. I'd like to read the discussion over the deletion of the parent article, if there was one. Can you help me find it?

Thanks Geo Swan (talk) 22:03, 22 January 2014 (UTC)

  • Sure thing, Geo Swan. The logs are here, under the now restored Skate4Cancer, which I deleted in 2009 as an A7. Protonk (talk) 04:08, 23 January 2014 (UTC)
    • Thanks for the quick response.
So it was always a redirect, and never had any meaningful content of its own?
In that case it might as well point there again.
Cheers! Geo Swan (talk) 13:28, 23 January 2014 (UTC)

March 2014 GAN Backlog Drive

It's that time again! Starting on March 1, there will be another GAN Backlog Drive! There will be several changes compared to previous drives:

  • This drive will introduce a new component to it; a point system. In a nutshell, older nominations are worth more points than newer nominations. The top 3 participants who have the points will be awarded the Golden, Silver, or Bronze Wikipedia Puzzle Piece Trophy, respectively.
  • Unlike the December 2013 Backlog Drive, earning an additional barnstar if you reached your goal has been removed.
  • The allowance to have insufficient reviews has been lowered to 2 before being disqualified.
  • An exception to the rule that all reviews must be completed before the deadline has been created.

Also, something that I thought I would share with all of you is that we raised $20.88 (USD) for the WMF in the December 2013 drive. It may not sound like a lot but considering that that was raised just because we reviewed articles, I would say that's pretty good! With that success, pledges can be made for the upcoming drive if you wish.

More info regarding the drive and full descriptions regarding the changes to this drive can be found on the the drive page. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a message on the drive talk page.

I look forward to your participation and hope that because of it, some day the backlog will be gone!


--MediaWiki message delivery (talk) 00:58, 22 February 2014 (UTC)


Dragon kill points
Thank you, researcher on early aviation history, "visualising spatial data from the age of sail to that flight you took last week", for quality articles and contributions, such as The Autobiography of Malcolm X, for creating tools like Checklink, for rescuing pages (Dragon kill points), for reviews that encourage, hidden treasures humour, peace and diligence, for an efficient user page telling all this at a glance, - repeating: you are an awesome Wikipedian (11 April 2009, 5 August 2009)!

--Gerda Arendt (talk) 08:04, 22 February 2014 (UTC)

You're invited: Women's History Edit-a-thons in Massachusetts this March

Women's History Edit-a-thons in Massachusetts this March - You are invited!
New England Wikimedians is excited to announce a series of Wikipedia edit-a-thons that will be taking place at colleges and universities throughout Massachusetts as part of Wikiwomen's History Month from March 1 - March 31. We encourage you to join in an edit-a-thon near you, or to participate remotely if you are unable to attend in person (for the full list of articles, click here). Events are currently planned for the cities/towns of Boston, Northampton, South Hadley, and Cambridge. Further information on dates and locations can be found on our user group page.
Questions? Contact Girona7 (talk)

GAN March 2014 Backlog Drive

The March 2014 GAN Backlog Drive has begun and will end on April 1, 2014! Sent by Dom497 on behalf of MediaWiki message delivery (talk) 21:01, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

Stationary process plots

Dear Protonk, on the image you created for the Stationary process page.


I get the same value for the first Augmented Dickey–Fuller test. but I get a different value for the second ADF test.

adf.test(y) # -6.128
adf.test(yns) # -1.942

--Rougieux (talk) 09:36, 3 April 2014 (UTC)

  • I'll take a look, Rougieux. It seems like me in 2011 didn't include the actual ADF test in the code on the page, so I can't tell if I passed some parameter to it which might've changed that value. :( Boo, me from the past! Protonk (talk) 11:08, 3 April 2014 (UTC)

You're invited!

NE Meetup #5: April 19th at Clover Food Lab in Kendall Square

Dear Fellow Wikimedian,

New England Wikimedians would like to invite you to the April 2014 meeting, which will be a small-scale meetup of all interested Wikimedians from the New England area. We will socialize, review regional events from the beginning of the year, look ahead to regional events of 2014, and discuss other things of interest to the group. Be sure to RSVP here if you're interested.

Also, if you haven't done so already, please consider signing up for our mailing list and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

We hope to see you there!

Kevin Rutherford (talk) and Maia Weinstock (talk)

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GAR for Warhammer 40k

Warhammer 40,000, an article that you or your project may be interested in, has been nominated for a community good article reassessment. If you are interested in the discussion, please participate by adding your comments to the reassessment page. If concerns are not addressed during the review period, the good article status may be removed from the article. --Odie5533 (talk) 02:58, 18 April 2014 (UTC)

Edit-a-thon invite

Adrianne Wadewitz Memorial edit-a-thons

Adrianne Wadewitz edit-a-thons in Southern New England

As you may have already heard, the Wikipedia community lost an invaluable member of the community last month. Adrianne Wadewitz was a feminist scholar of 18th-Century British literature, and a prolific editor of the site. As part of a worldwide series of tributes, New England Wikimedians, in conjunction with local institutions of higher learning, have created three edit-a-thons that will be occurring in May and June. The events are as follows:

We hope that you will be able to join us, whether you are an experienced editor or are using Wikipedia for the first time.

If you have any questions, please leave a message at Kevin Rutherford's talk page. You can unsubscribe from future notifications for Boston-area events by removing your name from this list.

Survey for editors who mentor newcomer

Dear Wikipedia Ambassador,

I am seeking input on your experience as a mentor to new Wikipedians. This survey is designed to provide insight for the development of a new mentorship support tool on Wikipedia. If you have a moment, please take this survey, it should not take more than 10 minutes of your time to complete.

Also, if you are able to, I would greatly appreciate it if you would send the following survey to the mentee you worked with:

Thank you in advance for your participation, Gabriel Mugar 13:33, 25 May 2014 (UTC)

New England Wikimedians summer events!

Upcoming events hosted by New England Wikimedians!

After many months of doubt, nature has finally warmed up and summer is almost here! The New England Wikimedians user group have planned some upcoming events. This includes some unique and interesting events to those who are interested:

Although we also aren't hosting this year's Wikimania, we would like to let you know that Wikimania this year will be occurring in London in August:

If you have any questions, please leave a message at Kevin Rutherford's talk page. You can unsubscribe from future notifications for Boston-area events by removing your name from this list.

New England Wikimedians summer events!

Upcoming events hosted by New England Wikimedians!

After many months of doubt, nature has finally warmed up and summer is almost here! The New England Wikimedians user group have planned some upcoming events. This includes some unique and interesting events to those who are interested:

Although we also aren't hosting this year's Wikimania, we would like to let you know that Wikimania this year will be occurring in London in August:

If you have any questions, please leave a message at Kevin Rutherford's talk page. You can unsubscribe from future notifications for Boston-area events by removing your name from this list.

Undo considered bad

I know it's very easy to press Undo now, but using Undo to remove an entire multi-para edit because you disagree with one statement within it is all bad. Please, if you have content issues, edit that portion only.

In this specific case, the statements are trivially backed up by video and apple's web pages. For instance, this one.

Maury Markowitz (talk) 14:10, 6 June 2014 (UTC)

  • Please look at my edit again. Could this have been done with the undo button alone. I made the change, then hopped over to your talk page offering some reasoning and pointing out that I'd be OK with you re-inserting the material. Imagine my surprise when I get a fucking lecture about the undo button on my talk page instead. Bravo. Protonk (talk) 14:13, 6 June 2014 (UTC)
Wow, your U must be really boring if this one is a "fucking lecture"! Maury Markowitz (talk) 14:16, 6 June 2014 (UTC)
My, what comment could you be replying to? I can't tell because you took a message off my talk page. But seriously, it's pretty cheeky to revert an edit with the undo button (an edit which couldn't have been made using the undo button, because I moved your content to a new section and removed a single paragraph) and then come by and scold me for using the undo button. Protonk (talk) 14:21, 6 June 2014 (UTC)
Ahhh, I see what you're getting at. And you're correct. I did NOT notice the move. Maury Markowitz (talk) 14:32, 6 June 2014 (UTC)

Actually, this points out a real problem. I always use the "section edit feature", which is why all I saw was the reverted lede. But edits within sections are global in scope. So even if we work on different sections, it's an edit conflict, which is what happened here. I'm not sure there's a way to fix it though, although I suspect a better diff would solve the problem. Maury Markowitz (talk) 14:34, 6 June 2014 (UTC)

  • I should also note here that "undo" is a bit of a cheat. It's a convenience feature that preloads the edit field and the summary but you can change either of those before committing it. We've either gotten used to that (or that knowledge hasn't stuck in the gestalt) so we treat the result (a complete reversion without an informative edit summary) as an "undo". Protonk (talk) 14:48, 6 June 2014 (UTC)
  • At this point I'll apologize for acting intemperately, @Maury Markowitz:. I should've gotten all bent out of shape when you left this note. However (not to diminish my blame for responding how I did), it's pretty likely that you'll piss someone off if you leave a remedial note like this on the talk page of any editor, especially one who probably already knows what the undo button does and when to use it. Protonk (talk) 14:52, 6 June 2014 (UTC)

FWIW, I've been using Edit Section to try to minimize the risk to collisions with other simultaneous edits, but I always step through "View History" on the whole page to see what's changed. Glad to see you two work things out, as I've seen both of you make good edits on the Swift page. CarlRJ (talk) 16:05, 6 June 2014 (UTC)

Thanks, Swift, etc.

Hi Protonk, just wanted to say thanks for welcoming me to the realm of Wikipedia editors - I've been browsing it for ages, but aside from tweaking a comma here or there on old articles, the Swift page is my first experience having a (small) hand in the construction of a new page. And it's been rather eye-opening. I'd heard mention of edit wars, but never seen one before. Thanks for squelching the person(s?) who keep adding that link to a useless page (persistent, aren't they), I had no idea how to do that. I'm quickly learning that Wikipedia is essentially a web-based text editor, and a whole lot of conventions/etiquette for how to use it (i.e. no compiler to syntax-check / enforce rules - just because one can do something doesn't mean one should, etc.)... still have a lot of documentation to read. Anyway, thanks for the welcome, the guidance, and being a good example to follow. I'm glad to find that the behind-the-curtain folk on Wikipedia are so friendly and helpful. CarlRJ (talk) 16:15, 6 June 2014 (UTC)

  • No problem. I hope you like it here! Wikipedia is essentially a text based web editor, and since you appear to be technically minded I'll drop a little nugget of info. Wikipedia pre-dates contentEditable, meaning that a lot of the tooling built around actually making edits result in HTML have vestigial traits--one of those being that the server has to be very conservative when determining edit conflicts (merging changes is hard w/ intermediate parsers/lexers). There's a cool talk about that from the parsoid team up somewhere (parsoid being the tech behind the "visual editor" which will eventually become the default editing mode). Another result is that because they needed a markup language which maps to HTML (and Markdown wasn't invented yet) they invented the mediawiki syntax, which has no invalid state. There is no invalid wikitext!
  • Don't worry too much about reading documentation. That's not to say that you should ignore it, but there's more documentation on the social rules around wikipedia than any reasonable person could read in a month. One helpful way I found out about a few rules is to either review or improve good articles as they're going up for review. You can see the list at WP:GAN, these are generally pretty "fair to good" articles which may need some constructive criticism or some helpful edits to make it over the edge. It's less daunting than starting articles from scratch and (sometimes) more rewarding than editing articles which are either fleshed out completely (e.g. featured articles, for the most part) or just getting started. Protonk (talk) 16:38, 6 June 2014 (UTC)

Protonk, Similar the fellow above. Barely started getting into Wikipedia editing lately. So far I've been a failure :P I tried creating a new page for a popular piece of software and it got rejected and now I tried re-adding a link many people found useful and that also got rejected. What makes a link considered borderline? Where are the lines drawn? The page seemed very genuine, professionally done, and actually quite useful. As a fellow programmer I would direct people to the Wiki page to begin their pursuit about a language and having helpful resources like that only adds to the benefit of the community. I see Wikipedia as a first stop to learn more about any topic and as a diving board to launch myself deeper into each topic. Please advise. Thanks!

Complain about another user

Hello, this user:Goodone121, is puting edit warnings on my talk page with out any vaild reason, as he continue to rewert back vaild edits I have resently made. DoctorHver (talk) 00:31, 7 July 2014 (UTC)

You keep using incorrect grammar and spelling, as above.Bettering the Wiki (talk) 00:39, 7 July 2014 (UTC)

A barnstar for you!

  The Civility Barnstar
Thank you for your support of me during a recent situation regarding another editor. I really appreciate it, Daniellagreen (talk) (cont) 00:10, 12 July 2014 (UTC)

Friendly note...

I don't care too much for pee-pee-slapping, vindication, bad-mouthing my fellow editors or my fellow-admins. You already know I re-implemented the TBAN, and you already know why. You had done a good job implementing a community desire ... it was going to be a shame to see it go to waste, and SM's name was going to be really dragged through the mud if the ANI stayed open any longer the panda ₯’ 23:54, 15 July 2014 (UTC)

  • thanks for closing it. Protonk (talk) 00:02, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

Wikipedia talk:Articles for creation/Ecosocial theory concern

Hi there, I'm HasteurBot. I just wanted to let you know that Wikipedia talk:Articles for creation/Ecosocial theory, a page you created, has not been edited in 6 months. The Articles for Creation space is not an indefinite storage location for content that is not appropriate for articlespace.

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Thank you for your attention. HasteurBot (talk) 01:38, 18 July 2014 (UTC)

Hi protonk!

I have been doing a little bit of historical investigation and I noticed that you are kind of back! I just wanted to say that that is cool. Antrocent (♫♬) 22:17, 28 July 2014 (UTC)

  • @Antrocent: Hi! I'm certainly "kind of back", that's probably the best way to describe it. I'm curious as to what investigation you're doing that unearthed my name, as (apologies for my poor memory!) I don't remember you. Either way, thanks for the welcome. Protonk (talk) 16:21, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
There is no way you could remember me. I was just looking through old pages and looking at old users. Seeing how things used to work, you know. I like history. I discovered many things and many people. I reached out to a few others (e.g. [1]). Just for human connection.   Antrocent (♫♬) 20:46, 6 August 2014 (UTC)

GA mentor

I've almost completed my GA review of Murder of Leigh Leigh, and would appreciate you casting you eye over it. FYI, I actually already asked at User talk:Aircorn, but said editor has been inactive and has not responded to my email request either. Would be grateful if you would comment. Once I am sure I have not overlooked anything important, I'll clear the article. Regards, -- Ohc ¡digame! 01:39, 6 August 2014 (UTC)

  • @Ohconfucius: I'm in London at the moment but I'll try to take a look at it soon. Protonk (talk) 12:42, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
  • I'm looking at it now and it seems like you've done a fine job. I'll take a closer look later today and leave some comments (if warranted), but it's certainly a thorough review and the article looks pretty well within the range of GA quality. Protonk (talk) 14:36, 6 August 2014 (UTC)

Please comment on Template talk:Renewable energy sources

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Respectful monkey business

I read some of your posts when I stumbled on Commons:Deletion requests/File:Macaca nigra self-portrait.jpg after reading about the selfie business in the news. I disagree with your vote to delete since the argument to keep seems to me to have a sound legal basis. But I quite agree with your characterization of the whole affair as "self-serving".

I've been cruising around various Wikipedia versions, exorcising blatantly inappropriate applications like this. Some seem to get the point, others don't. Even when the argument is "use better pics", there are reverts with the non sequitur argument "but it's PD". One admin (with the monkey pic prominently displayed on her/his userpage) chose to forego discussion altogether and simply blocked me without warning.

I believe that the best we can do right now is try to keep editors from using the image in articles for purposes of copyleft activism. I've made a post about this at the Commons Village pump.

sincerely, Peter Isotalo 10:46, 11 August 2014 (UTC)

WikiProject Good articles Future GAN Backlog Drive

Hello everyone! Hope you've all been having a great summer!

TheQ Editor recently proposed the idea of having another Backlog Drive in either September/October or November/December of this year. For those of you who have participated in the past two drives you know I was the one who organized them, however, come September, this will be my most important year in school so I will not be able to coordinate this drive (if it happens). TheQ Editor has volunteered to be a coordinator for the drive. If any of you would like to co-coordinator, please notify TheQ Editor on his talk page.

If you would be interested in participating in a Backlog Drive sometime before the end of this year, please notify TheQ Editor. Also, make sure to specify what month(s) work best for you.

At the time this message was sent out, the backlog was at 520 nominations. Since May, the backlog has been steadily increasing and we are currently near an all time high. Even though the backlog will not disappear over one drive, this drive can lead to several others which will (hopefully) lead to the day where there is no longer a backlog.

As always, the more participants, the better, and everyone is encouraged to participate!

Sent by Dom497--MediaWiki message delivery (talk) 15:52, 16 August 2014 (UTC)

Please comment on Talk:ISO 8601

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Your draft article, Wikipedia talk:Articles for creation/Ecosocial theory


Hello Protonk. It has been over six months since you last edited your WP:AFC draft article submission, entitled "Ecosocial theory".

The page will shortly be deleted. If you plan on editing the page to address the issues raised when it was declined and resubmit it, simply edit the submission and remove the {{db-afc}} or {{db-g13}} code. Please note that Articles for Creation is not for indefinite hosting of material deemed unsuitable for the encyclopedia mainspace.

If your submission has already been deleted by the time you get there, and you want to retrieve it, copy this code: {{subst:Refund/G13|Wikipedia talk:Articles for creation/Ecosocial theory}}, paste it in the edit box at this link, click "Save page", and an administrator will in most cases undelete the submission.

Thanks for your submission to Wikipedia, and happy editing. HasteurBot (talk) 04:00, 20 August 2014 (UTC)

Your submission at Articles for creation: Ecosocial theory has been accepted

Ecosocial theory, which you submitted to Articles for creation, has been created.
The article has been assessed as Start-Class, which is recorded on the article's talk page. You may like to take a look at the grading scheme to see how you can improve the article.

You are more than welcome to continue making quality contributions to Wikipedia. Note that because you are a logged-in user, you can create articles yourself, and don't have to post a request. However, you may continue submitting work to Articles for Creation if you prefer.

Thank you for helping improve Wikipedia!

Fiddle Faddle 18:34, 22 August 2014 (UTC)

Arbitration amendment request closed

Hi Protonk, I've closed and archived the amendment request you submitted regarding Eric. The Committee took no action regarding the request. Regards, Callanecc (talkcontribslogs) 09:37, 26 August 2014 (UTC)

AFD withdrawal request on The Hundred Parishes

Hi Protonk -- Thanks for replying to my question at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/The Hundred Parishes about "procedural nom". I hope you don't mind that I expressed my view that unregistered users should not be allowed to open AFDs, and that I wish you hadn't performed the opening of this one. I do understand that performing "procedural nom"s is an existing practice. I'd like to change the practice, will probably open an RFC towards doing so.

But, in this AFD, could you step in and close it Keep, or state your withdrawal of the nom, as nominator? There is no support for deletion. What you quoted from an unregistered user has been dismissed, roundly. And there are other reasons to Keep stated there. It would seem responsible if you could see you way to withdrawing the nomination. But no problem, either way. cheers, --doncram 02:13, 28 August 2014 (UTC)

  • Hey Doncram. I don't mind that you objected to an IP editor starting a deletion debate. If you wanted to start an RfC to change the practice your best bet to do it is at Wikipedia talk:Articles for deletion (I think the steps to follow are in Wikipedia:Deletion process, but in my experience that talk page is relatively undersubscribed and the AFD talk page may be better suited).
  • In this particular case I could've denied the IP editor's request to complete the nomination but I don't know that course of action is justifiably more fair than completing it. Any editor may nominate an article for deletion, with the technical restriction on creating a page stopping new or unregistered editors from only completing the last step. I think if we get into the habit of approving deletion nominations before completing them we will end up turning a pro forma process into another hurdle for an editor to jump. Specifically, I (or any other autoconfirmed editor who might complete the nom) would be scrutinizing the nomination in a way that we wouldn't be able to, materially, with an editor who can technically create new pages. That restriction on page creation is incidental to the deletion process, not central. It was initially created to restrict creation of pages in article space (for BLP reasons), not to establish or require reputational costs to editors making poor deletion nominations.
  • For this particular AfD I'd rather not withdraw the nomination as it isn't mine to withdraw. You can leave a message at User talk: in the hopes that IP address is still used by the same editor, but it's their nomination, not mine. Protonk (talk) 12:27, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
    • Thanks for your very helpful reply, especially info on how the current situation came to be; i will follow those links. You express it all very well. I do indeed wish to propose that costs be increased upon editors making nominations. In many areas we should wish to lower costs of participating, i.e. in making it easy for an expert to contribute a new article in their area. In AFD, we should wish to increase costs, to cut down on the amount of AFDs done, because AFDs are themselves fundamentally negative and destructive of social fabric and participation. Consider all the new articles, including this one, where the work is the sole contribution so far from a would-be new wikipedian. An AFD is awful, no matter what the final result of the process. And reputation should matter, IMO. sincerely, --doncram 21:29, 28 August 2014 (UTC)

ALS IBC participants

Has anyone userfy-ed it yet? If not I'd be glad to store it on a user subpage at User:AmaryllisGardener/List of Ice Bucket Challenge participants. Even though I didn't agree with the result, thanks for closing the AfD. :) --AmaryllisGardener talk 15:51, 29 August 2014 (UTC)

  • I don't think anyone has userified it yet. Let's wait a bit to see if that's the case. If not, I don't object to moving it to your userspace. Protonk (talk) 15:53, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
  • I think you for got to delete the "List of notable Ice Bucket Challenge participants" page when closing the AFD (page got retitled during AFD). Snuggums (talk / edits) 16:05, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Thanks, SNUGGUMS. I think I got that and another redirect page. Let me know if I missed any of them or broke anything in the process. Protonk (talk) 16:10, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
  • No problem. That seems to take care of it all. Snuggums (talk / edits) 16:12, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
  • @AmaryllisGardener: Done. That page did a number on my browser so please make sure I correctly removed templates/categories as needed. Protonk (talk) 17:12, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
    Looks good. Thanks! --AmaryllisGardener talk 17:16, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
    Now SNUGGUMS put it up for CSD G4. [2] :( Nevermind, CSD declined. --AmaryllisGardener talk 20:38, 29 August 2014 (UTC)

A barnstar for you!

  The Admin's Barnstar
Just wanted to say well done for a brave decision on the Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/List of Ice Bucket Challenge participants. Hope you don't cop too much flak! Number 57 16:12, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
Just adding that thank you for the well explained rationale for the close of this, and the same that hopefully it will not cause you to incur a lot of flak for the decision. --MASEM (t) 16:45, 29 August 2014 (UTC)

A barnstar for you!

  The Special Barnstar
For closing Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/List of Ice Bucket Challenge participants with a very well written explanation,

It looked a tough call but you showed brilliant judgement and despite myself being a Keeper I actually agreed with every word you said! :)
Thanks, Regards, –Davey2010(talk) 16:26, 29 August 2014 (UTC)

Good work taking on such a difficult challenge. Chillum 22:09, 29 August 2014 (UTC)

Please comment on

Greetings! You have been randomly selected to receive an invitation to participate in the request for comment on Should you wish to respond to the invitation, your contribution to this discussion will be very much appreciated! If in doubt, please see suggestions for responding. If you do not wish to receive these types of notices, please remove your name from Wikipedia:Feedback request service. — Legobot (talk) 00:02, 30 August 2014 (UTC)

GA Cup

Hello everyone! We hope you have all been having a great summer!

As we all know, the recent GAN Backlog Drives have not had any big impact on the backlog. Because of that, me (Dom497), Figureskatingfan, and TheQ Editor have worked on an idea that could possibly finally put a dent into the massive backlog. Now, I will admit, the idea isn't entirely ours as we have took the general idea of the WikiCup and brought it over to WikiProject Good Articles. But anyways, here's what we have in mind:

For all of you that do not know what the WikiCup is, it is an annual competition between several editors to see who can get the most Good Articles, Featured Article's, Did You Know's, etc. Based of this, we propose to you the GA Cup. This competition will only focus on reviewing Good articles.

For more info on the proposal, click here. As a FYI, the proposal page is not what the final product will look like (if you do go ahead with this idea). It will look very similar to WikiCup's page(s).

The discussion for the proposal will take place here. Please let us know if you are interested, have any concerns, things to consider, etc.

--Dom497, Figureskatingfan, and TheQ Editor

MediaWiki message delivery (talk) 01:29, 31 August 2014 (UTC)

Continuing the discussion...

How about splitting the site up into 1) people who want to write, and 2) people who want to create software?
Ok. Go get your pencil and paper 'cause I got some bad fuckign news for you.

Lay it on me! I can take it... :) Viriditas (talk) 03:07, 6 September 2014 (UTC)

@Viriditas: So here's the basic deal. It's easy to forget that at one point wikipedia was as much a software innovation as it was an encyclopedia. Back when you couldn't physically build an app like google docs (let alone expect it not to run like a dog on most browsers), creating a site where people could edit content, have it versioned permanently, build their own presentation and not have the whole thing fall down when more than 20 people looked at it was a big software advance. The fact that we're having discussions about flow, VE, and so forth in 2014 is a sign not just that the old system basically works but that the problems it was trying to solve were hard. Now we're at the point where the above requirements can be met (basically) without the artifice of the older system, so we can look at what restrictions mediawiki placed on editors and try to fix some of them. Among those are the frankly arcane markup system we use for content and the fact that we use the same system (highly modified) for discussion (VE and Flow, respectively). We're also no longer living in an era where wikipedia is close to the easiest way for someone to contribute to knowledge generally and it isn't unreasonable to expect the devs to try to claw back some of that difference. It's not just chasing google docs for the sake of it either. I work with a lot of new editors (either through the education program or editathons) and the biggest stumbling block (aside from the difficulties anyone has writing what is essentially a literature review) is the pretty forbidding syntax in the editor. One you see less often at editathons (just because there's less use of the talk page) but all the time working on AfDs and what-not is the literally arbitrary structure of discussion. To make it appear that I'm "replying" to you I've prefaced this paragraph with a colon. I could've used an asterisk--though as you'll note from that AN/I thread I followed your two asterisks with 3 but got caught up in an edit conflict (more on that in a sec) and ended up making my own indentation rather than following yours. Most errors are a bit more prosaic (if that's even possible). People start a newline to reply to comments because there's no indication anywhere (save studying the structure of extant replies, which can mix in a lot of different syntax), don't sign their comments (3 tildes to sign undated, 4 to sign with a date, 5 to date without signing!) or generally mistake rendered text (e.g. @example vs {{ping|example}}) for markup necessary to render it. Those are understandable errors but they make people look like idiots when really they just haven't learned a very specific set of skills which serve them nowhere else. And they aren't necessary.
We can lull ourselves into thinking this is the way it should always be because it's been that way since we've all been here. The edit window and the markup system are (for insiders) synonymous with wikipedia. But they're not. They are solutions for a set of specific technical problems which no longer exist. We couldn't edit and have rendered HTML in the same space because browsers in 2001 didn't support it (minimal support didn't come along until 2004). The system we're all using now is a software product built around the constraints of the time. If Wikipedia were created a few years later we'd be using some flavor of markdown (BTW this is top of my list when I get a time machine). A few years earlier and we would've had to make a hard transition to using the browser as an input device after the groundwork was already laid down.
All of that is nice information, I guess, but it doesn't speak to the heart of the problem you're worried about. For that we need to jump to 2007. Some of this history is (thankfully) reported in VisualEditor (home to one of the more hilarious "expert needed" tags), but the broad idea is that after nearly a decade of year over year growth, Wikipedia's editor growth and retention started to flatten out. We can look at it now and suggest that it was a combination of a few things: wikipedia is basically "done" (that is to say, the low hanging fruit for anglophone articles has been picked already), wikipedia is on the right side of the adoption curve, wikipedia now has to compete with hundreds of different means to contribute things to the world ephemerally (twitter, facebook, easy blogging platforms, etc.). But I think if you worked at the foundation at this time you were scared shitless. We were all (foundation and community alike) congenitally disinclined to believe the first cause: it is still an article of faith that wikipedia isn't close to finished. I don't think it is as clear cut but it's also not a stance that someone responsible for the long term health of the site is likely to adopt. The second cause looks tempting now, but 2007 was an inflection point. It's always very hard to judge what is going to happen to growth of any kind when facing an inflection point. Maybe growth and churn is idiosyncratically important to a project like wikipedia and once that falters all kinds of other mechanisms (like, I dunno, RfA) fall apart. Or maybe everything works out fine and wikipedia just grows slower over time. The last cause is also one that the community and the foundation were less likely to take seriously, though if they did the prognosis is not good. We talk a lot about people being here to write the encyclopedia without interrogating what that actually means or why people do it. To take an analogy, a company like Blockbuster once thought they were in the video rental business. And in that business they had a pretty strong grasp on the market. Most of the competition was local and lacked the market power to keep prices high enough to combat diseconomies of scale. But it turns out they were in the entertainment business. People didn't want to rent videos, they wanted to watch shit. When someone came along and let them watch shit without the video rental artifice, Blockbuster discovered their hold over the video rental part of it wasn't worth much. See also BlackBerry. As far as competing for time, we're in a broader business than writing an encyclopedia.
So we were facing this potentially permanent decline in editors and retention with no "good" explanation. What did the foundation do? They conducted user surveys and discovered that most people who hadn't already bought into the mediawiki model of writing a big, collaborative resource were flummoxed by the user experience. And make no mistake, it's fucking terrible. We (as experienced editors) don't notice it, but it's awful. The big pain points identified were those I mentioned in the first paragraph: poor/no indication of what content would look like while editing, no easy way to discover how to actually write something that doesn't look terrible and a confusing discussion system. Unlike the three causes I suggested above, those are solvable problems. They're not easy to solve, but they're solvable. VE attempts to solve some, Flow attempts to solve others. Because they're not easy, solutions like VE/Flow can cause regressions. Last year's introduction of VE was a huge mistake and was partially driven the notion that complaints were less about functionality and more about the locality of cheese. But that mistake doesn't imperil the whole idea of moving forward. I'd like to still be contributing to Wikipedia in 10 years time. At that time I'd like to not still be correcting indentation in talk page posts, fighting signbot when I reply, conflicting with editors on active pages or explaining to new users the distinction between {{this}} and [[that]] as though it were as fixed as the north star. I'd like to help people write articles by teaching them how to structure a neutral summary of a topic, not how to speak to a parser. VE, when it works, will let me do that.
I said above "Ok. Go get your pencil and paper 'cause I got some bad fuckign [sic] news for you" Believe it or not, I didn't mean that I was planning to spill 2000 words onto the page and you should get to transcribing. I meant that the project itself is fundamentally both. It's a software project which seeks to solve the problem of collaborative resource creation. Hell, even inside the constraints of the encyclopedia we've got templates, which are fundamentally software (in the worst possible way), designed to get around the same constraints we had in 2001. All of the metadata for a page was embedded in the page itself, infoboxes and references rendered alongside structured text and stored in the same input format; plumbing and porcelain mixed in a terrifying melange of curly braces and pipes. We're all writing software to speak to a parser when we should be writing an encyclopedia.
Some of this stuff isn't going to work perfectly until it all works. Until we can lift metadata and presentation out of content (basically the WikiData project) the visual editor will remain a vexed problem. And it feels reasonable to say "well, it works now so just test all of these systems until they work together better than the current system before you deploy it". There's a few problems with this view. First, the current system "just works" for the narrowest definition of "works" possible. It's difficult to learn (and unlearn, every time I go to a forum where markdown is the tool of choice I have to unlearn our patterns and relearn theirs), brittle and mixes content and logic in unpleasant ways. And the longer we wait to solve problems which are actually solvable the more risk we run of being consumed by problems which aren't. Every long term editor is here because they've A: mastered the parser and B: figured out how to contribute to a collaborative resource. To attract new editors we would really like to focus on B because A is an implementation detail. And if we believe the technology adoption curve story, we've already attracted those editors who take the time to master the parser--anyone who meets A and B is either already an editor or has left for other reasons. If we believe the idea that wikipedia is basically "done" cataloguing stuff of interest to anglophone editors it gets even worse. Now we want to attract people willing and able to write more than Elizabeth is the monarch of the commonwealth nations on subjects which have less attention, in a way that doesn't attract scrutiny from editors who no longer really believe that wikipedia is the wild west of internet resources. So they have to master sourcing, presentation and content all while translating that through a parser which exists because contentEditable wasn't deployed to browsers at the time. And if we believe the story that wikipedia is competing for scarce time and attention from other services which allow people to easily present their thoughts to the world--if we're in the business of being an internet vocation not building an encyclopedia--it gets even worse. Then the pool of potential editors shrinks not just as wikipedia covers more things or as more people adopt it but as the web gets better around us.
We can reject some of this stuff (and the community does, often and loudly) by saying "well, we're all here to build an encyclopedia, so the people who just want to update facebook aren't valuable to us", which I think misses the point. Plenty of people don't know they want to write an encyclopedia until they try it. Some people contribute meaningfully to wikipedia for years without "writing an encyclopedia article". Some people want to add sources to things or update current events (I nominate NOTNEWS as the silliest core content policy based on practice vs. proscription). Keeper76 (now basically retired) showed up to add some information to local events and ended up reverting vandalism and stuck around doing stuff that was interesting to them for 4 years. But even if we did want to restrict our outreach to "encyclopedia editors" there's no real reason why making it easier and more sensible to edit conflicts with that. Protonk (talk) 13:37, 6 September 2014 (UTC)
Without picking nits, I'm not seeing anything in the above that I strongly disagree with, and I'm familiar enough with the technology sector in general to look at it in terms of my own experience. However, I'm not sure I put much faith into those so-called user surveys you mention up above, and I'll bet dollars to donuts that there are serious problems with the data. In other words, I dispute the overarching thesis that usability is the core problem with editor retention. I know of at least a dozen editors who have stopped editing, some of whom I have met in RL. When asked why they no longer edit, it always comes down to the same thing: the site stopped being fun and became a tedious task. I've never talked to anyone who said, "the site is too difficult to use", and that's probably because I've selectively surrounded myself with type A and B people you've referred to up above. The problem, as I see it and as I have experienced it, is that content concerns must inevitably separate themselves from the technical concerns. This means, essentially, that writers must be free to write about topics in a supportive, transparent environment that isn't the least bit concerned with how the software works, much like screenwriters on a film project have no involvement with the animators using cloud rendering farms. To even consider mixing the two is absurd, yet this is what happens every day on Wikipedia. And it isn't "fun" when a writer who is only interested in writing has to deal with technical issues or is inundated with technical concerns unrelated to their sole reason for being here. The Wikipedia community itself is responsible for alienating editors, not the interface. I personally believe, based on my experience and my interaction and discussion with many different editors, that focusing on technical issues while placing everything else on the backburner is a huge mistake. Most of us truly have no interest in making talk pages easier to use or creating templates. What we are concerned with, is when tools that allow us to write articles (like those on the Toolserver) are deprecated in favor of...nothing. What concerns us is when we try to send a simple email on the subsystem, and find out that it never reached its intended recipient. Or, when we are blocked for reverting vandals and sockpuppets that do damage to the content. Those are the things that make people leave. Viriditas (talk) 23:20, 6 September 2014 (UTC)
Hopefully I've spaced this well and added enough colons (I'm going with exactly One) to cause you, Protonk, to know without question that my comment is meant for you. :-) You, old friend, are f-ing brilliant and one of the reasons I still like Wikipedia and edit once and a while (almost always logged out except my talkpage). You are welcome to use me as your example of a quirky little "local editor" that never wrote an article and by some fluke still got to admin with the best of them (real editors). :-) Stay classy, stay interested. (4 tildes, keep...4 tildes....) Keeper | 76 04:21, 10 September 2014 (UTC).
Protonk, could I interest you in tweaking that into a Signpost op-ed? Quite frankly, it's brilliant. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 17:39, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
@The ed17: Let me try hacking on it to make it more general. I'll probably get to that monday or tuesday unless I get sidetracked. Thanks for the complement, it was fun to write. :) Protonk (talk) 17:43, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
Sounds good—let me know when you do! It's a full-throated argument for a side that can't seem to find a voice. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 17:52, 20 September 2014 (UTC)

GA Review help request

Hello Protonk -

I am working on a GA review of Einar Jolin with a contributor who has a remarkably cooperative, positive spirit and desire to create articles. It's my second review with the user, W.carter; the GA for John Bauer (illustrator) was passed recently. The person is Swedish, a good writer, with a good, near native command of the English language (really better than a lot of Americans, English-speaking people).

There was a recent conversation that concerned me because of his (maybe? don't know gender) frustration with the questions that I asked for clarification. Just for background: The Jolin article I took a different approach and did less actual editing during the GA process because mid-review for John Bauer I realized that the individual had a great command of the English language.

Do you mind looking at the conversation at Talk:Einar Jolin/GA1 and letting me know what you think I could have / should have done differently? I took my stab at what I thought the issue was and your input would be helpful.

As I mentioned in my post to W.carter: "Obviously, it seems like I could use some coaching on approach, because you are such a rare person to work with that has both a remarkable cooperative, positive approach with others + a true desire to make good articles."

Thanks so much for signing up to be a GA mentor - and your input is much appreciated!--CaroleHenson (talk) 15:41, 9 September 2014 (UTC)

  • Hey @CaroleHenson, it looks to me like this was a pretty good review. Some of the chronology is hard to tell (i.e. it looks like you were updating the rubric over time making it hard to see what happened when), but that doesn't matter so long as both you and the editor behind the article knew what was going on. I'd say that frustration is unavoidable in a lot of GA reviews. In this case it was also "helped" by a translated article and a (very) minor language barrier. ;) I think the comment here "I thought your role was to just point and say: That is not good. Re-do this. What does this mean? Etc. And instead you were helping me?? :)" is a good sign.
  • Setting aside that I prefer your style of GA reviews (lots of comments + suggestions), I think that style can provoke some of these frustrations even if it is useful overall. In some cases (and this really has to be your judgment based on the editor's past interactions or the quality of the article) it can make it seem like the hits keep coming or the challenge is insurmountable. However broad comments like "prose needs to be tightened up" are less helpful and less actionable, even if they're not likely to engender the same frustration or (sometimes!) despondence.
  • The one thing I would've done would be to dispense with the rubric and offer a short prose assessment of the article (or do both). What this lets you do is give an informal assessment of the article for the editor in question. If you feel that the article is basically very good but is hampered by some style choices then a short assessment lets you say so. If you feel that a part of it is particularly interesting or well put together then you can say that too. I've seen some GA reviews where certain parts of the article were phenomenal but the article as a whole needed some tweaks to get up to standards. Saying so makes the communication between you and the editor working to improve the article very clear. It can also ground you while you're working line by line. If your rough assessment is that the article needs a lot of work, then you can probably detail that work in bullet points. If, instead, you feel that the article is basically there then you can refer back to that when choosing which nits to pick. :)
  • Does that help? Protonk (talk) 16:06, 9 September 2014 (UTC)
Yes, that absolutely helps! That approach will be much less tiring for me, too! Love it! Thanks so much for your thoughtful response.--CaroleHenson (talk) 16:22, 9 September 2014 (UTC)
@CaroleHenson: Sounds good. To be clear, I still think line-by-line is great. What I recommend (if you're willing to drop the rubric) is a short assessment giving your broad opinions of the article followed by specific notes on what needs to be fixed. Without the rubric you don't have to fill out comments on a section of the GA criteria where there isn't much to say, but you can still offer actionable comments on individual elements which may have problems (or be especially awesome!). As I mentioned above, the short assessment may lead you to line-by-line less if you realize that the article is basically where it needs to be, but it's possible you might end up writing just as much. :) Protonk (talk) 14:13, 10 September 2014 (UTC)
Hi, thanks for the clarifications! I think I understood the spirit of what you were saying As w.carter said, we've been putting in a lot of intensive work and the going back and forth is tiring, so I took a 24 hour or so break (which I discussed with w.carter and then "thanked" him for his most recent posting on the review page yesterday).
The GAtable is a method I find helpful - but, I processed the points about it (the rubric) to mean: use it to provide a summary, but not to use it for a continually updated running conversation - in which it's difficult to follow the discussion. I was planning on updating the top #1 and #2 sections + removing the comments in 3a and 6b, thinking the others are probably ok.
Picking up the review now, I intend to integrate your comments without having the line-by-line comments for each example. I processed your comments to mean describe the nature of the issue without going into tons of detail and without going into a lot of examples / "nits" to pick. Perhaps one example could be used for illustrative purposes. I didn't understand that I might be "writing just as much"... Do you mind if I "ping" you here or on the GA review page after I finish making edits and summarizing the edits for your feedback? ...maybe that's the best way to see if I'm taking your feedback in a constructive manner. Thanks, great feedback!--CaroleHenson (talk) 16:38, 10 September 2014 (UTC)
@CaroleHenson: If you want to point me to an example that would be great. Using GAtable or not is up to you. I recommended replacing the rubric with a beginning summary purely to cut down on work, because writing a summary plus suggesting changes line by line can be a lot; however, many people like the rubric! :) What I should probably do is review a GAN and send it along to you as my guesstimate of good practice. I can't promise I'll do that in a timely fashion because GA reviews take a considerable amount of time for me to do, but I'll try. Protonk (talk) 16:48, 10 September 2014 (UTC)
Unless you think I'm really off-base in my responses to you, I wouldn't worry about spending the time to find an example. I can look at GA reviews completed for my articles (especially the GA review of Langlois Bridge at Arles (Van Gogh series), in which there were a lot of comments and I learned a lot in the process).--CaroleHenson (talk) 16:58, 10 September 2014 (UTC)
It's more a matter of me realizing I haven't made a GA review in about a year. :| Protonk (talk) 17:09, 10 September 2014 (UTC)
Ah, the Langlois Bridge article actual review didn't have as much content as I expected, which means to mean that conversation also took place on my talk page. I either have few GAs (have 3 on my articles page) than I remember or I haven't tagged them all on that page.
Is Wikipedia:WikiProject Physics/Quality Control/Reviewing Cheatsheet a good example?--CaroleHenson (talk) 17:16, 10 September 2014 (UTC) Which then "begs the question", do you think I should update the table - or create an initial section of the review discussions - which this approach?--CaroleHenson (talk) 17:21, 10 September 2014 (UTC)
I'm not sure I understand the last question. Can you be more clear? Protonk (talk) 17:33, 10 September 2014 (UTC)

───────────────────────── Sorry for putting this in piece-meal, but my brain didn't quite process this all at once. Are you saying, hold off on the review for now until you get an example? Add a section with a review (per my question above), like Talk:Langlois Bridge at Arles (Van Gogh series)/GA1?

As you can tell, I'm a bit confused about whether what I should move forward with the approach I summarized or hold off.

Thanks!--CaroleHenson (talk) 17:35, 10 September 2014 (UTC)

Oh! Ok. So go ahead and finish the review. In fact, I'd say Talk:Einar Jolin/GA1 is pretty close to done and any major change wouldn't be worth the effort (if you really want my opinion I'd say go ahead and pass it). I had internalized the notion that you were looking for some guidance on future reviews, hence the broad comments about how certain review structures may make communication easier or harder. Protonk (talk) 17:41, 10 September 2014 (UTC)
Absolutely, I want your opinion! Sounds good. I'm going to make a final run- through for copy edits and do just that. Stellar suggestion!--CaroleHenson (talk) 17:45, 10 September 2014 (UTC)
Yeah, done! Yep, I was looking at your comments from both perspectives - what I could do differently in the future - and then was stuck on the present. It would be great to see you next review whenever that's done.--CaroleHenson (talk) 19:46, 10 September 2014 (UTC)
@CaroleHenson: Take a look at Talk:FreeBSD/GA1 for a review I completed this afternoon. I'm highly allergic to rubrics, so the comments are broken down into roughly separable categories rather than the GA criteria (I realize that's a habit not everyone would like to pick up), but the basic breakdown of narrative intro followed by line-by-line is one I find to be effective in reviewing articles. Protonk (talk) 19:50, 10 September 2014 (UTC)
Hi, I like it! It's a nice clean way to summarize comments. Thanks!--CaroleHenson (talk) 01:07, 11 September 2014 (UTC)

Please comment on Talk:Zim Integrated Shipping Services

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GA review of Flerovium

Hi. I tried to address your comments. How is it now? Double sharp (talk) 07:11, 12 September 2014 (UTC)

  • @Double sharp: Looks great. I passed it after taking a look at your comments and the updates. Congrats. Protonk (talk) 11:50, 12 September 2014 (UTC)

BTW, if you were wondering about that one, the last article in the series of 7p elements (livermorium) has been fully planned but not rewritten yet. You can probably expect a GAN today or tomorrow after a quick rewrite. :-D Double sharp (talk) 04:30, 13 September 2014 (UTC)

GA input: Beechwood (Vanderlip mansion)

Hi Protonk,

You're input on the GA process was very helpful and I'm converted from using a GATable or GAList format. I like your approach!

I drafted a GA review for Beechwood (Vanderlip mansion) at User:CaroleHenson/Beechwood GA. This is an easy one because the contributor has many GAs under his/her belt. Do you mind taking a look at it and letting me know what you think? If it makes things easier, feel free to strike out / add comments / other if you'd like directly in the draft.

Thanks so much!--CaroleHenson (talk) 02:55, 13 September 2014 (UTC)

  • @CaroleHenson: Looks good! The really important thing here is whether or not you're comfortable with the review style. You want to strike a good balance between convincing yourself that you've covered the GAC and providing a straightforward, tractable review for an editor. Seems to me like you're doing a good job with that.
  • I also tend to strip page numbers from google books links, as sometimes query parameters like that can cease to be meaningful. There's the unlikely event of the URL scheme changing (unlikely for google, but other sites do it a lot) and the much more likely possibility that rights might change for the book in the future. We get a preview of that page now but if it is changed to a snippet view the link will not point to the page. If google does their job--they often do--the url will redirect to the book as a whole, but it's not a pointer that I'd consider permanent.
    • Ok, I'll remove that comment.--CaroleHenson (talk) 15:16, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
  • I'd raise an eyebrow at the use of "[c]ontemporarily" in the lede to describe two 70s films. :P
  • Fun fact: Vanderlip also owned like...all of Rancho Palos Verdes, California (we don't note that in the article there), where I grew up. :)
Fun! I'll add that.--CaroleHenson (talk) 15:16, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
@CaroleHenson: See here, here and here for some sources if you're looking to add something to the RPV article. Protonk (talk) 15:22, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
Thanks, that was nice of you!--CaroleHenson (talk) 15:27, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
I should've noted this, but I think the RPV stuff is actually best situated in the Rancho Palos Verdes, California article. I mentioned it because as I was digging through sources I found that info and thought it was fun enough to mention. I don't know enough about Vanderlip to say one way or the other whether or not this is important enough to be noted elsewhere. Purely an FYI sort of thing. Protonk (talk) 18:38, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
Ok, thanks. I'll make an update. By the way - the work page is gone because I've posted the comments to Talk:Beechwood (Vanderlip mansion)/GA1--CaroleHenson (talk) 18:48, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
  • One other thing I like to do for particularly good articles if I have time or if I'm struggling to find some serious critical deficiency is go hunting for sources which aren't referenced in the article itself. See here for an example. This is 100% optional but if you have an article like this one thing you can do is help them along to FA by finding sources which may help make new claims or expand extant ones. In rare cases you can come across important sources which should be covered in a GA class article, but I think that's only happened once or twice with me. If you have a jstor account (see WP:JSTOR to get one. The process will take a while but it's worth it) you can dig even further, but dogged searching through google scholar is often pretty helpful. Protonk (talk) 13:38, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
Good point. Yes, I have JSTOR (+HighBeam and Questia).--CaroleHenson (talk) 15:16, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
Thanks much! This really helps ensure that I'm not pushing too much and your comments for additions are great!--CaroleHenson (talk) 15:16, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
@CaroleHenson: One last thing. You're using a semi-colon for small headers. (e.g. starting a line with ";this text will get bolded". I'd recommend just using lower level headers (e.g. "=== this text will create a tiny section ===") because that means people can respond w/ section edits in the review and you're less likely to conflict when adding individual comments. This is an implementation detail which will go away at some point but I've found it's handy. Protonk (talk) 14:05, 14 September 2014 (UTC
Good point!--CaroleHenson (talk) 21:29, 14 September 2014 (UTC)

───────────────────────── Do you minding adding any comments, if you thing they're needed to Talk:Beechwood (Vanderlip mansion)/GA1#General comments? Feel free to post any comments there.--CaroleHenson (talk) 17:26, 15 September 2014 (UTC)

  • It's your show. :) One thing I learned a while ago vis a vis mentorship is there's no good reason for a mentor to step in midstream and add their thoughts, as tempting as it may be for both parties. Protonk (talk) 22:28, 15 September 2014 (UTC)

Close paraphrasing

  • [Edit conflict]
    • Since there was an edit conflict and my responses were embedded, I've started this subsection and will look for differences during the conflict.
      • @CaroleHenson: I have, however, been following along. I took a look at the discussion over close paraphrasing. While I think you're in the right, I'd be careful with phrases like "It's not my responsibility to resolve this issue." No matter how you meant that, it can be read the wrong way.
        • Thanks, good point! I'll reword it and post a comment on the user's talk page.--CaroleHenson (talk) 18:55, 16 September 2014 (UTC)
      • Jumping in and editing an article during review can be helpful and we all have our own threshold for which edits (and how many) "invest" us too much in the article. Appealing to that threshold is often a better communication strategy even if we really feel that fixing a certain thing is properly the responsibility of another editor. As an alternative, I'd suggest something like "As a reviewer, I'm comfortable making minor edits or edits where the fix is easier than a comment but for more substantive issues I'm not comfortable editing the article while I am the reviewer. If you'd like, you can grab another editor and ask them to take a look at the prose. Sometimes another perspective can clear up these issues quickly."
      • Remember, cases like this where paraphrasing comes up at the end of a long road for an article are often really frustrating for the principal editor to resolve. In cases of unintentional close paraphrasing, sometimes we get into a mental lock looking at passages like "...three condominiums and built an additional 34 [condominium] units..." and say to ourselves "well I don't know another way of writing that fact!" Familiarity with the text can be an enemy, and it can cause people to miss paraphrasing or mistake it for trivial text matches.
        • Yep, another good point. I'll take the one example that I provided and come up with a suggested rewording - and hopefully that will help move it along!--CaroleHenson (talk) 18:55, 16 September 2014 (UTC)
      • To be clear, I think you're in the right for bringing it up, insisting it be fixed and choosing not to fix it yourself (the latter is a judgment call but it is yours to make). And I think you've done a good job so far explaining the importance of close paraphrasing. If there's a fundamental disagreement over the nature and seriousness of the paraphrasing that's a tough hill to get over. One way is to bring in a third opinion (as I mentioned above, preferably someone who'll just edit the article rather than leave a comment one way or the other). This let's you nudge things away from a conflict over the issue to "hey, maybe we've both been staring at this article too long and maybe someone else can help us out". Instead of being opposed, you're both people working on a problem.
        • Yep, how about if I take the approaches mentioned above, see if that works and if not call in a third party.
      • I will preemptively take my name out of the list of third parties, not because of any connection we have but because I'm turrible at those sorts of copyedits. I recommend finding someone like Dank or someone from the (grandiloquently named) Guild of Copyeditors to swing by and take a look. Protonk (talk) 18:40, 16 September 2014 (UTC)
        • Yep, let me make a stab first, and then if I don't succeed call one of these folks in. Does that work?--CaroleHenson (talk) 18:55, 16 September 2014 (UTC)
          • That works! Protonk (talk) 18:56, 16 September 2014 (UTC)
            • Thanks for providing the input - and you are incredibly gifted and putting across ideas in a very helpful, non-threatening manner (i.e., I could learn a thing-or-three or more from your approach)! I will let time for the info to simmer and see how it goes.--CaroleHenson (talk) 02:38, 17 September 2014 (UTC)

GA review of Ununpentium

I tried to address your comments. Look out for the element 116 (livermorium) rewrite, it's coming within a day or two. :-) Double sharp (talk) 08:01, 13 September 2014 (UTC)

  • @Double sharp: I'll take a look when it comes out. As agonizing as it may be, if livermorium is as good as the other two I'm tempted to let another GA reviewer take a look at it, as a different style of review might give you more helpful/meaningful peer review. However if it doesn't get attention for a while (like ~30 days) ping me and I'll take a look. Protonk (talk) 13:17, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
    • Thank you for all your help! Yup, different review style might be more helpful. (It's just that your points are so very excellent and I don't always have the luxury of getting that kind of review – viz. some of the actinide GANs...but hopefully I will get someone else just as good or better. Thanks again for your help!) Double sharp (talk) 13:32, 13 September 2014 (UTC)

A barnstar for you!

  The Reviewer Barnstar
Hi Protonk. Thank you very much for your kind helps and for reviewing the FreeBSD article. -- Bkouhi (talk) 22:12, 14 September 2014 (UTC)

Mullah Omar ANI

Hi, I just pinged you in ANI but am on a tablet traveling ATM so it's difficult for me to dredge up diffs of this long-term issue. The ANI brought up by User:KrzyHorse22 against User:StanTheMan87 is something I get regularly pinged about from StanTheMan87 as I commented in the original ANI that KrzyHorse22 filed. The issue with the copyright is a non-starter; KrzyHorse22's account appears to have been created specifically to file ANIs against StanTheMan87 (his first three edits were ANI filings). He has engaged in a pattern of extremely unusual behavior (including claiming he had telephoned the director of the CIA to consult about StanTheMan87) and is engaged in persistent nominating of the Mullah Omar image for deletion. Again, I apologize I'm not in a position to get the diffs from the previous incarnations of this ongoing drama right now. I just wanted to give you a quick heads-up that there is a deep history to the interaction between these two users before you took any action. DocumentError (talk) 07:17, 15 September 2014 (UTC)

  • I'll take another look, but my comment there was merely an attempt to remove the image from the page (without barging in and editing someone else's comment). Protonk (talk) 14:40, 15 September 2014 (UTC)
Thanks, I appreciate that and I'm sorry to try to drag you into the wider issue here, however, I have to commiserate a little with StanTheMan87 as he's being absolutely pummeled by the KrzyHorse22 account. StanTheMan87 is a relatively new editor who was - almost from day 1 - forced into essentially permanent defense against a one-person block shopping effort against him. I really think we should avoid these kind of "baptism by fire" welcomes to WP. This has been brought up repeatedly in ANI (here's the most recent case: [[3]]) but the threads - though attracting editor interest - never get admin attention before they're archived. DocumentError (talk) 17:17, 15 September 2014 (UTC)

WikiProject Good Articles - GA Cup

WikiProject Good Articles's 2014-15 GA Cup

WikiProject Good articles is holding a new competition, the GA Cup, from October 1, 2014 - March 28, 2015. The Cup will be based on reviewing Good article nominations; for each review, points will be awarded with bonuses for older nominations, longer articles and comprehensive reviews. All participants will start off in one group and the highest scoring participants will go through to the second round. At the moment six rounds are planned, but this may change based on participant numbers.

Some of you may ask: what is the purpose for a competition of this type? Currently, there is a backlog of about 500 unreviewed Good article nominations, almost an all time high. It is our hope that we can decrease the backlog in a fun way, through friendly competition.

Everyone is welcome to join; new and old editors! Sign-ups will be open until October 15, 2014 so sign-up now!

If you have any questions, take a look at the FAQ page and/or contact one of the four judges.

Cheers from NickGibson3900, Dom497, TheQ Editor and Figureskatingfan.

--MediaWiki message delivery (talk) 19:04, 15 September 2014 (UTC)

To receive future GA Cup newsletter, please add your name to our mailing list.

Talk:Scottish art in the eighteenth century/GA1

Obi-Wan Kenobi of the GA review process,
I started the review of Scottish art in the eighteenth century in which I identified a lot of minor little tweaks / edits. No one has responded to the review yet. Would it be ok if I just removed the ones that I've resolved - or is it better to leave them in with the strike-outs?--CaroleHenson (talk)

  • In this case because no one has started replying inline it's really up to you. One reason to strike them would be so that you can keep a mental record of the "progress" of the article from your first contact with it to now. One reason to edit them out entirely is to reduce the signal-to-noise ratio for the editor(s) responding to the review. A nice compromise might be to remove most of the minor ones but strike comments you feel update things in the text that an editor might be surprised by when re-reading the article.
  • Also since you brought up Obi-Wan, I'll take this moment to point out that there are only three star wars movies. Any suggestion to the contrary is heresy. ;) Protonk (talk) 19:18, 17 September 2014 (UTC)
    • Ok, cool. I'll remove ones for the simplest edits and in the note provide the link to the version information with the full list.
    • lol, re: Star Wars! It's good to have that clarified from the source!--CaroleHenson (talk) 19:54, 17 September 2014 (UTC)

Hello From the Cheshire Cat Academic Project

Thank you for your help so far! My team appreciates the feedback! Abbysonn (talk) 22:41, 17 September 2014 (UTC)

  • @Abbysonn: No problem. It's a fun article and I think it will be improved by your work on it. One thing. I moved this section from the top of my page down to the bottom (as talk pages are generally populated chronologically from top to bottom. Usually if you're adding a notice on someone's talk page you can click the "new section" button (almost all talk pages will have one, for articles, users or the project space) and that will automatically insert your message at the bottom of the page. It's also nicer for you because instead of loading all the stuff I've got on my page into the editor you get a blank section without any competing formatting (and it will set the right headers for the page too). Protonk (talk) 22:53, 17 September 2014 (UTC)

Refs question

Thanks for the review and support at Future/SFS. Thanks also for fixing up the note/footnote ref; I didn't realize one could do that. I have a question, though: can your method be used to nest footnotes? One of the benefits of the #tag approach is that you could put a group note in and then cite that internally. See this example, if you haven't seen this done. You switched it to a ref tag, which is fine because there is no need to cite it, but ref tags don't nest. So is there a way to do nesting as in that example without the #tag approach or something like {{efn}} that uses it internally? Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 01:34, 19 September 2014 (UTC)

  • I don't know off the top of my head. I can investigate. Protonk (talk) 01:44, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
    Well, only if it interests you -- I just asked because you seem much more knowledgable about the technical details of Mediawiki than most editors. And I do have a method that works, so it's just curiosity. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 01:47, 19 September 2014 (UTC)


Thanks for the review and the promotion. I particularly appreciate the sources; the note from Bleiler about the authorship of the stories is a nice touch in an article so sparse on details. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 03:24, 19 September 2014 (UTC)

  • Glad to review it and be of service with the sources. Also best of luck w/ Future. I'll probably review another GA before swinging back to one more of the magazines. Protonk (talk) 03:40, 19 September 2014 (UTC)

Saw your suggestion to rename the Notability page

I personally despise the usage of "Notability" in Wikipedia, and couldn't agree more that the word is a bad choice. While Inclusion is better, I have read through some of the arguments against it and some of them have merit. What do you think about "Independence" standards instead of "Notability" standards? Independence has a clear and precise antonym, dependence, which can be used to compare and contrast to quickly explain to an editor that their data is (probably) welcome in Wikipedia, but not as an independent article. Matthewhburch (talk) 19:17, 20 September 2014 (UTC)

  • I like independence, although WWB makes a strong case for "eligibility" (Which has the same grammatical convenience as "notability"). One of my hopes is that at the end of this RfC or sometime in the future we can make the case that the name needs to be changed to something and then proceed from there. I'm not as sold on "inclusion" as I was when I started the RfC, but I haven't found a term that stands head and shoulders above all the alternatives. :| Protonk (talk) 19:20, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
    • I certainly like "eligibility" better than "notability", but the opposite of eligibility is a strongly negative term. Inelegibility carries with it emotional connotations of null value, which might raise the hackles of an editor new to Wiki and initiate a meaningless side-track argument about the intrinsic value of the data itself. One reason why I like independence and dependence as a matching pair to describe articles which should either stand alone or be included in another article is that dependence is about the least negative way you can describe data that does not pass what we now call "Notability" standards. Dependency is not an automatic "fighting word." If you call something dependent, there might still be an argument, but it is far less likely to be a visceral argument. In other words, a topic can be BOTH dependent AND important, while not qualifying for it's own article. Matthewhburch (talk) 05:34, 21 September 2014 (UTC)


  There is currently a discussion at Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents#Proposal_that_User:Protonk.27s_removal_of_my_.28Flyer22.27s.29_WP:Rollback_rights_be_overturned regarding an issue with which you may have been involved. Thank you. Chillum Need help? Type {{ping|Chillum}} 23:04, 20 September 2014 (UTC)

Hi, just letting you know I've closed this thread and reinstated rollback in this case. Wanted to make clear this is in no way a reflection on your original removal of that right, and was entirely based on a reading of the consensus of the discussion. Closing comment is here, and happy to discuss if required. Euryalus (talk) 05:54, 21 September 2014 (UTC)

I don't think any single admin should have the right to remove a permission like this from an editor in good standing. No editor can remove admin rights, no matter how many times they get involved in articles and use their tools or make bad blocks, so the hypocrisy here is glaring. I see admins misusing rollback on a daily basis, yet you target Flyer22? How about criticizing your fellow admins and removing their rights? Thought not. Viriditas (talk) 00:16, 23 September 2014 (UTC)

Please comment on Talk:Nofel Izz

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Yeah, I directed the user to the wrong place. He emailed me regarding said article, and I looked over it. I told them to demonstrate reliability with reliable outside sources, but I incorrectly referred them to WP:REFUND, so they went and posted on it. That was my fault; I went and gave instruction without double checking. I had concerns about NawlinWiki's A7 deletion without someone tagging it in the first place, so that was why I suggested for the OP to contest, but I directed them to the wrong place to voice those concerns. I sent them a follow-up email telling them to stop the discussion at that page, so hopefully they'll desist. bibliomaniac15 07:50, 21 September 2014 (UTC)

  • Thanks, Bibliomaniac15. Sorry to drag you back into this but figured I'd ask because they mentioned your name but you hadn't edited for a while. Protonk (talk) 14:09, 21 September 2014 (UTC)

SAS Institute

I'm off to bed, but I'll be back to work on it tomorrow. CorporateM (Talk) 04:04, 22 September 2014 (UTC)

Could you give me a ping whenever you've had a chance to take a look at the latest round? I want to make sure I only archive the ones that are closed issues. Regarding the Request Edits, I think it would be fine if you did them yourself if you want. I've seen a Request Edit take 6 months to get answered and it's unlikely anyone clearing out the queue will have the time/interest/expertise to know what is representative of the sources. You are the most qualified editor in all of Wikipedia to answer them.
Regarding the Butts page - funny story - once somebody rejected one of my GANs purely due to my COI disclosure. I bet that is not a quick-fail criteria ;-) He eventually actually read the article and passed it. Thanks for doing such a thorough review! I'm not sure this one was as ready for a GA review as they usually are. CorporateM (Talk) 22:17, 22 September 2014 (UTC)
@CorporateM: Ah. I'll take a look at the request edits then (or more likely harangue another editor to do so). I've noted some comments on a few items. also I added a {{cn}} tag because one of the JMP refs was just a name and was causing reference section errors (I fixed the other one, which appeared to be an errant quotation mark). Protonk (talk) 22:37, 22 September 2014 (UTC)

I think if you wanted to add the updated Lede (with any tweaks), the additional sentence about the IPO (with any tweaks) and the lawsuit, that would just leave us with the education division comment. I would prefer you edit boldly at this point and make any tweaks you feel are best, in order to avoid WP:COIMICRO CorporateM (Talk) 16:53, 23 September 2014 (UTC)

  • I left a message on the GA page about just this issue. I think I've collapsed everything that isn't holding the review up. Do you want me to add in the lawsuit bit? Protonk (talk) 16:56, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
Yup. I don't have any subject-matter expertise or anything and since a disinterested editor already wrote a neutral and well-sourced paragraph, the best thing for a COI editor to do in that case is abstain anyway. My objection about redundancy remains, so I don't know if I want to "approve" it (also bad form in general for a COI to approve the exact wording of sensitive material), but you should go ahead. CorporateM (Talk) 17:15, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
Sorry to put you in a bind over COI for this article so many times! I'm used to the GA reviewer wanting some input from the nominator on major (or at least non-superficial) changes and habits are hard to break. Protonk (talk) 17:46, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
No problem - I should be the one apologizing. Doing GAs while also following COI makes the review a little more of a burden than usual and I should have vetted this article better before nominating. CorporateM (Talk) 18:14, 23 September 2014 (UTC)

Good article mentor barnstar

  "Out of this world" leadershp
OW, Thank you so much for your mentorship though several GA reviews. You've helped me better understand the good articles program and how to be more effective. I still have to realize all the lessons my brain has learned (i.e., process and implement), but I'm on my way. Thanks for being thorough and kind! CaroleHenson (talk) 19:27, 24 September 2014 (UTC)

Comments on Oathkeeper RfC

I find the fact that you care whether the core participants feel respected to be extremely refreshing. It's a POV that's been missing from this discussion. As for your suggestion, it's not that I think it's bad so much as we tried something similar and it didn't stick. If this RfC goes through the way it looks like it's going through, then this whole mess is finally done. Darkfrog24 (talk) 22:57, 25 September 2014 (UTC)

  • Thanks. If this RfC is the last in a long line then that's good (because mediation can be slow and painful). As for the respect thing, I think it's crucial. Too often we get focused on what (or often, who) is right or wrong and that can cloud our ability to talk reasonably about what is basically a content dispute with two sides operating in good faith. I hope it works out well and wish you luck with all the new season 5 articles next year. Protonk (talk) 02:19, 26 September 2014 (UTC)

FA, GA, books

I've been a bit busy the last couple of days but now have I think all the refs I ordered after your reviews. I have to get back to the Livermorium GAN, probably tomorrow or Saturday, and after that I should be able to respond to your review of Ten Story Fantasy (for which thanks), and then I'll go back through your recent reviews and make sure that I check up on any outstanding suggestions to use those refs. The Mark Rich life of Kornbluth arrived today and I think that one is going to be particularly useful. I also saw your last edit to the Future FAC and wanted to let you know that the reason it hasn't been promoted is that Ian Rose, one of the two coordinators, was one of the reviewers, so he's leaving it for Graham Colm to close instead, and Graham isn't as active at FAC as Ian so it could be another week or two. No hurry. Your support was fine as it was -- they look for bolded "support" or "oppose" statements; actually I think they read through every review, so they would see the support regardless. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 01:10, 26 September 2014 (UTC)

  • @Mike Christie: No rush. Thanks for taking on the Livermorium review. I think I added that edit to FAC when I saw someone else strike/update their section heading and forgot (it having been years since I've done a real FAC review) if that was a thing that you were supposed to do. :) Protonk (talk) 01:46, 26 September 2014 (UTC)

Windows Calendar

Hello, Protonk

I hope I am not catching you during a busy day but I was hoping you could explain something to me: What motivated you to undelete Windows Calendar?

Best regards,
Codename Lisa (talk) 10:28, 27 September 2014 (UTC)

  • It was requested here. I wasn't strongly motivated either way, but so long as it stays a redirect i didn't have a huge problem restoring the history. Protonk (talk) 11:46, 27 September 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for digging this up. What I see is there doesn't really amount to a reason for restoring it. In fact, keeping it deleted to prevents edits like this and this. (You reverted one, but not the other, right?) So far, nothing has been merged from the deleted article and there is no compelling copyright reason to keep the history. Redirect alone would do.
Past experience (including three ANI) suggests that the main reason to restore this article's history has more to do with the requesting user himself. I am afraid this certain user takes things personally. Very personally. I feel he wanted victory.
Best regards,
Codename Lisa (talk) 09:24, 28 September 2014 (UTC)

Colton Cosmic

I reblocked him for two weeks, since he continued doing what he was doing after 24h block, and I am afraid 48h will not help. Please let me know if you have problems with my reblock, I can roll it back.--Ymblanter (talk) 12:05, 27 September 2014 (UTC)

  • @Ymblanter: No problems. I don't know if that IP will get re-allocated within two weeks, but I don't know for sure that it will. Protonk (talk) 12:26, 27 September 2014 (UTC)
    Thanks, we will see.--Ymblanter (talk) 12:37, 27 September 2014 (UTC)

Notification: RfC on Game of Thrones and chapter-to-episode statements

The RfC: Is a suitable source for this content? was closed with the result that is reliable but that whether the disputed text was valuable enough to include should be addressed separately. The closing editor recommended that all participants in the RfC and related RSN discussion be informed that such a discussion was under way:

RfC: RfC: Should the article state which chapters appear in the episode?

If any of you wish to make a statement on this matter, you are welcome to do so and your contribution would be greatly appreciated. If any of you would prefer to stay away from this dispute, I think we can all get that too.

PS to Protonk: I know you've already made yourself clear on this twice. You're receiving this message because everyone listed by the closing editor is receiving the exact same notification (except for myself). Not trying to hound you; just trying to avoid any appearance of impropriety. Darkfrog24 (talk) 16:11, 28 September 2014 (UTC)


Hello, Protonk. Please check your email; you've got mail!
It may take a few minutes from the time the email is sent for it to show up in your inbox. You can remove this notice at any time by removing the {{You've got mail}} or {{ygm}} template.

Philippe Beaudette, Wikimedia Foundation (talk) 00:26, 29 September 2014 (UTC)

Please comment on Talk:Boxcar

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Gamergate / Radio Nero

The matter isn't over just because you say so. You can see my response and justification for using the podcasts. SPSs aren't never used: "are largely not acceptable as sources". This is a justifiable exception. Willhesucceed (talk) 22:12, 3 October 2014 (UTC)

  • @Willhesucceed: It's not over because I say so. It's over because "we really, really want to" isn't an exception to SPS. It's especially not one where the nature of the subject means we want the best possible sources, not something on a podcast that happens to have a journalist on it. The exceptions to SPS are pretty narrow and pretty clear. If an expert in a subject area (usually, though not exclusively an academic or noted industry expert) speaks on their own site, we will tend to include it. It's not generally the case that we feel a journalist is an expert in having opinions on an ongoing controversy, so our practice is to wait for a reliable source.
  • More broadly, I plan to keep an eye on the gamergate talk page and I have no compunction about shutting down discussion which is repetitive, pointless or otherwise serves to test the patience of editors working on an already tough subject area. Should I find that the editing environment will be measurably improved by removing certain editors from the equation, I'll do that. Protonk (talk) 22:31, 3 October 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for explaining your reasoning. I appreciate it. If "we want the best possible sources", Leigh Alexander, with or without Time, really shouldn't be considered an RS, and yet there she is. Willhesucceed (talk) 23:00, 3 October 2014 (UTC)
Where and when she's used as a self-published source in the article, this conversation will be relevant. Protonk (talk) 23:03, 3 October 2014 (UTC)
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