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A big chunk of what to do about... (yes of course those)Edit

Look, one of the issues is that portals have taken the top level namespace for the content browsing system. There should be no "Portal:" namespace. The portals should be peripheral to the content browsing system. There should be a "Content:" namespace, and portals should be a tool for that system, not the other way around. Consider the ramifications. They are all positive. I know you don't want to hear this. It doesn't make sense or whatever, but run the situation where the namespace is "Content:", portals are just a tool of that project, and someone wants to complain. Is the first complaint, "I don't understand what is going on here," or, "I don't see why people are allowed to try and do these things?" No, it's not. You know how one of the big complaints were that contents of portals were irrelevant or not quite focused? That is going to change because it is also psychological. Give it a thumbs up TH, "Content:" namespace has got to fly, portals are already in the cargo hold of that scheme... You've spent a long time at the wings. Pull the nose up captain, and get above this turbulence, ~ R.T.G 03:45, 17 October 2019 (UTC)

@RTG: I didn't follow any of that. Can you try explaining it again? What do mean by "portals have taken the top level namespace for the content browsing system"? The content browsing system, as far as I understand it includes the Content pages, Lists, Timelines, Outlines, Indexes, Categories, Navigation Footers, Navigation Sidebars, Glossaries, and Portals. You are the first person I've come across to claim that the portal namespace is the top of that system. Portals are a minor component of the system, and in case you haven't noticed, are being phased out. Right now, what we have is a manually constructed navigation system. Big data and artificial intelligence technologies are advancing rapidly, and will likely provide the tools needed to automate the whole shebang in the next few years. Patience is all that is needed.    — The Transhumanist   10:28, 13 November 2019 (UTC)
The name spaces haven't been reviewed meaningfully in over a decade, have they?
@RTG: Without new content types, there has been no need to.    — The Transhumanist   04:55, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
There have been many new content types. Some of them got namespaces, i.e. "Video:" and some, but it never got discussed in a generalised sense. Like, giving videos a namespace was discussed and approved and one or two others, but namespaces were not discussed coincidental to that. ~ R.T.G 08:10, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
@RTG: A rethink of the set of namespaces? Well if someone, like you, came up with a sensible plan, and then posted it as a proposal at the Village Pump, perhaps it would be approved.    — The Transhumanist   15:27, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
I don't think it is the sort of thing an individual can propose successfully. I think if you want to try it, see if the project wants to get involved, then bring an actual good proposal. ~ R.T.G 21:08, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
In your absence, Portal:Content is now Wikipedia:Content, so maybe it isn't top of the hierarchy now after all. However, the Wikipedia namespace is for administration of the site, not browsing.
@RTG: Well, now that namespace is for both. Getting it out of the portal namespace was a very good idea. I wouldn't be surprised if featured contents and current events got moved out of there too. By the way, Wikipedia:Contents is still at the top of the system, for the same reasons it was before: 1) semantically, it is, as it umbrellas all the navigation subsystems, and 2) physically it is, because the link to it is provided on the sidebar menu on every page of Wikipedia. That's top-level access. 3) It's the table of contents.    — The Transhumanist   04:55, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
The purpose does not hinge on the namespace. It is simply helped or hindered by the namespace. Portals are not a namespace. Portals are an idea, not a style sheet. Changing the namespace for any of them will change the impression, but it won't change the purpose. ~ R.T.G 08:10, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
@RTG: Sounds plausible. How would you test that hypothesis?    — The Transhumanist   15:27, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
It's not a hypothesis. Portal is a theme. ~ R.T.G 21:08, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
You know, you've been working on the content browsing for years. An important part of your mission is to draw readers into the content browsing system. Your main focus, however, has always been the end result. To draw them in by what they get. We live in a capitalist society. This is not how advertising works, not always.
@RTG: "If you build it, they will come." As for "marketing", one can't do much better than a link on every page of the pedia.    — The Transhumanist   04:55, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
Negative. That's what this whole furore is about. You've been building the content systems for years. They only come when they want to knock it down. Face something now. The content browsing system is not for the editors. That's obvious now, isn't it. However, just as changing the namespace does not change the required purpose of the page... ~ R.T.G 08:10, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
You were taking about drawing readers into the content browsing system, then you switched "they" into editors. Please stay in context. If you check the page view stats for the navigation pages and add them together, you will see that they get millions of page views per year. That traffic probably comes predominantly from within Wikipedia, that is, via embedded links.    — The Transhumanist   15:27, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
Regular editors are not interested in the main contents page. You know this. Maybe a really good tree would change that, but the tree is probably a longer scheme. ~ R.T.G 21:08, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
You sell your wares in a wealthy world by attracting people to something else, like fancy wares they cannot afford, beside the main goods, or fancy signage and decor. Part of that signage and decor in this situation, is the namespace.
@RTG: I see your point. But, users only see the namespace once they are there looking at the page itself. The contents link on every WP page just says "Contents". It would look weird as "Content:Contents" or "Contents:Main page".    — The Transhumanist   04:55, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
However, if you built something which was not an automated style sheet... Something solid which could grow... A tree? The complaints really, in my estimation, were magnified the most in the fact that some of the portals didn't make sense. They were sort of random and silly. To smash that difficulty, write yourself a guide. In the old day, this guide was called a tree of knowledge. I promise you, if you write the guide, you will dictate what is silly the next time. It's just a grandiose flow chart. It's just a spell if you will, of reason. It's a philosophical matter. No not Schroedingers cat. The old philosophy. Math, navigation, don't even reply to that. ~ R.T.G 08:10, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
{ping|RTG}} There was a guide, but it got reverted. As for trees of knowledge, Wikipedia has at least three of them, excluding portals -- calling the collection of portals a tree of knowledge is a bit of a stretch. Concerning the silly design, that was still under development. As for a next time, that's not advisable, for a couple reasons: 1) it's a highly manual system, which is not scalable, and 2) AI/big data will make the creation of navigation systems almost automatic within the foreseeable future, likely as early as 5 or 6 years from now. For the time being, an expanded portal system is just not in the cards. Unless you want to roll up your sleeves and build it, that is. But, I think your talents are more needed on the world front. The temperature is rising.    — The Transhumanist   15:27, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
As a tree is built and refined, as part of the same project as the portals, there will be less and less room for experimental or obscure portal genres. The tree will be non administrative, but it will be a mighty guide eventually. It's not my idea. It's traditional for an encyclopaedia. I'm not suggesting an idea here about the tree, I'm pointing out a deficiency. It is elemantal to the whole mission here. It's simply overlooked. That is not actually surprising depending how you look at it. ~ R.T.G 21:08, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
Namespace is a tagging system. Tagging any part of content browsing as "Wikipedia:" confuses content browsing with administration. Nobody buys confusion. Portal has a heavy connection to the paranormal in the contemporary consciousness. Psychology says, even if nobody thinks of it consciously, they are offput by this word.
@RTG: All articles on WP are content. And so, "Content:" has potential for causing confusion too. We've been using "Contents" in the page titles, because it is short for "Table of Contents" (see the table of contents for any article). I assumed the move to project space was done 1) to differentiate it from portals which appear to be on their way out, and 2) for lack of a better place to put it, for now. If you can come up with a better home for it, like a new namespace: excellent! But I don't see how "Contents:Contents" wouldn't be confusing.    — The Transhumanist   04:55, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
Well Contents: it is then. Indeed, Contents:Contents would not suggest any sort of format, refinement. ~ R.T.G 08:10, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
Namespace is literally is a major defining component the site feel. People come here to concentrate and focus. "Portal" is sci-fi and fantasy. The site has been on the back of "Portal" since the start, with no definitive excuse why, like 15 years on and off. Was it Sherlock Holmes who said, remove all of the things which it cannot be, and what is left will be what it is. It's the name, good sir. It's got magic in it. The Wikipedians can smell the magic is there, even if they don't know they can smell it. I know, but it's true. Deny it with a reason.
@RTG: I think you might have lost me. What are you referring to that is magic? Portals? Wikipedia botched its portal program. It's up to 3rd-party providers now. Someone will come along and make a fortune on a re-envisioning of the subject-based web portal concept, to scale. I just don't think it is going to be WP.    — The Transhumanist   04:55, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
The word portal is rarely used to refer to doorways. In fiction, portal is used more often when entering another world, than another room. More specifically: a portal is, contemporaneously, an unusual doorway. As such, portal is a great word for describing what is needed in the organisation of a content browsing system, possibly the best, because it appeals to the receptivity of the mind. However, Portal: space is *taken for granted*, after that fact... ... See, it has always on your back, like you weren't on the same page, as the complainers, and like none of you really knew, what that wrong page really was, right? And the people who complain the hardest, generally, don't seem to have a deeper conviction about whether portals are even used or not except if they are looking for ammo, right? I mean, that's weird, right? So something doesn't sound right, right? And it doesn't sound right to them, not you, right? So it may be something the project is taking for granted. I mean, there has always been a special page for portals by people who don't have that deeper interest in how effective they are. You might not have seen it that way but I've looked. So there may be a psychological element to that. ~ R.T.G 08:10, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
{ping|RTG}} One the web, "portal" is short for "web portal". And since WP is on the web, "portal" will likely be interpreted in that way. The mystical feel just isn't there. Sorry. IMHO.    — The Transhumanist   15:27, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
Every word that defines the internet today is based on long running marketing with broader statistic base than anything which has come before. The fact that portal has been a popular word to describe internet entry points bolsters the fact. ~ R.T.G 21:08, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
Other words available, "Hub:" is one, but "Content:" is part of the language of the site and we should not lost sight that all portals, i.e. Wikipedia:Contents, are not the same, so "Content:" catches what "Hub:" does not.
@RTG: "Content:" means content. "Contents:" implies a summary of content. Again, see how the term "Contents" is used in the table of contents of every article that has one.
To be clear, the contents pages were never portals. They were lists in the main name space, and because of their page graphics, some editors felt that they were more a feature of Wikipedia than being subject pages about "knowledge", and therefore should be moved per MOS:SELFREF. All because of page colors and borders. They didn't have a better place to shove them than the portal namespace, and so, that's where they ended up for over a decade. Fortunately, things change.    — The Transhumanist   04:55, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
Well I had noticed that non plurality is a standard in namespaces. And it was the point at which you started discussing things like icons that you forgot about the tree, or at least it seemed that way. ~ R.T.G 08:10, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
I just searched for the term "icon" in this discussion, and your use of it was the only instance the search turned up. As for "tree", it is not at all clear what your conception of a tree is. See tree structure.    — The Transhumanist   15:27, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
I didn't double check, but it seemed like the contents page was the first main page. Now in my opinion, the last time there was real outlook toward building a tree, Larry Sanger was one of the main contributors to the discussion. The history of the contents page is not so huge that it cannot be looked through. I didn't read the whole thing. Mostly I just scanned through it for the discussion themes related to what we are discussing here and read a lot of that. A lot of discussion has gone on, but just as video got a namespace without discussing namespaces... These discussions have not substantially congealed and ... There's a few hours reading in it but I encourage you to go back and see how the tree was originally proposed on occasion, but the interested parties never really got together at the same time, then when the site got busier, discussions on aesthetics were long and the idea of a tree was washed away with the supposition that categories and portals and stuff were just naturally covering it. Look, I don't know how long I was reading it for so I don't want to say, oh you should read the whole thing over a cup of coffee. But I am sure if you are good at scanning and have a long day, have a look. It's something you've been a main component of for the most part so go and review your input and others collaboration with you some time, maybe. I thought it was accessible, and if we go to a discussion, I'll probably go back through it looking for quotes and external resources. ~ R.T.G 21:08, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
There should be a "Content:" namespace, a "Glossary:" namespace, "Wikiproject:", "Outline:", "Index:", and any significant category of pages outside the main space which include a group word in their title, at very least. WP:NAMESPACE skirts the idea of namespace as a programming issue.
@RTG: "Contents:", maybe. But not "Content". But within that namespace, what would the main contents page be called?    — The Transhumanist   04:55, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
WP:NAMESPACE is neglected. Any category of pages with a prefix should be namespaced. Previous discussion seems to have skirted it as a programming issue and forgotten it. It will be a programming issue if it needs done. ~ R.T.G 08:10, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
{ping|RTG}} Maybe you didn't notice, but, you didn't answer the question.    — The Transhumanist   15:27, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
I don't think it is for me to answer at the moment. I only have obvious answers for that at the moment. I haven't seen any opinions about that yet so. I'm sure that's important tho. ~ R.T.G 21:08, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
You've more or less led the content browsing issues all the way through, Transhumanist, The. Portals have attracted input. However, Wikiproject:Content has been ignored. This means the main focus of activity is in Wikiproject:Portals. That does not necessarily mean, in any way shape or form, that Content should be called Portal. Doing so actually serves to hide Wikiproject:Content from Wikiproject:Portals. (we call this "hidden in plain sight" or "misdirection") In fact, as with the namespace, there should be no problem with making Wikiproject:Portals a subsection of Wikiproject:Content, to produce the opposite effect of hiding in plain sight.
@RTG: It already has its own WikiProject. See Wikipedia:WikiProject Contents.    — The Transhumanist   04:55, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
That's exactly the project I was referring to. I am saying, that "Wikiproject:" should be is already a space, and we could acknowledge these spaces... ~ R.T.G 08:10, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
{ping|RTG}} Huh?    — The Transhumanist   15:27, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
"Wikiproject: should be a namespace. That is probably the first most obvious thing I am aware of relating to this situation. I am pretty sure I have even created a page or two in the past with the namespace "Wikiproject:" until I could remember. I've believed Wikiproject: should be a namespace since before I knew what a namespace was. ~ R.T.G 21:08, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
So, I try to sell the idea to you above, as a way to help deflect the recent emotional magnet. But it's worth more than that.
@RTG: No, not worth much with manual editing. In terms of opportunity cost, the labor costs are far too high. Without automation, it merely pulls valuable editors away from working on the encyclopedia itself. The volunteer labor pool can't afford it. They're spread too thin as it is, with most editors spending their time on subjects that are not urgent in a time of crisis. Fiddling while Rome burns.    — The Transhumanist   04:55, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
What I meant was, in the original posting above, I try to sell the idea as a solution to emotional baggage, but the main theme I am proposing is revamping and implementing WP:NAMESPACE, which is not labour intensive, and outlining a real tree of knowledge, on one page, an overlooked part of the mission. ~ R.T.G 08:10, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
{ping|RTG}} What would the entries in your tree of knowledge link to?    — The Transhumanist   15:27, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
I don't think I am qualified to answer that alone. There are various precedents. We are going to outdo them all, but not before we begin. ~ R.T.G 21:08, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
And I mean, it's uncanny isn't it? Portals have had special reactionary attention since the outset, right? Portals have always had, special potential.
@RTG: The potential with portals is the same with all things now: scalability through automation. We are heading toward an age in which anything could be automated, courtesy of AGI (artificial general intelligence). But, there are far more important things to automate than portal creation. Like fixing the world's atmosphere before the environment collapses. And the political activism it will take to shift civilization's focus. I'm routing for Greta Thunberg.    — The Transhumanist   04:55, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
Technology is not simply a synonym for hardware, nor hardware for function. Odds are, Greta is going to continue with political activism rather than change her hobbies to philosophising about Wikipedia. It takes a lot of work. People are a bunch of assholes. When we accept change for the good we tend to fly off to the opposite extreme. Extended balance is difficult on a linear trajectory without significant momentum, but there's no need to get bogged down is there. ~ R.T.G 08:10, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
I think it is more about maintaining the air we breath. Continued carbon emissions will lead to increased carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, which in turn will be absorbed by the ocean, which in turn will cause ocean acidification, which could in turn lead to the death of the diatoms which produce much of the oxygen we need to breath (about 20% of all oxygen produced). Without that 20% being replenished, we would all be screwed. The point is, that Greta can't fix the problem all by herself. A million helpers won't be enough. Not even a billion. It's the planet's atmosphere, and all the life it supports, including the entire human race, that is at stake. Perhaps the editors of Wikipedia, and everybody else, should turn their attention to the critical world problem. Only full commitment on a world-wide scale will be able to fix the planet's atmosphere.    — The Transhumanist   15:27, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
It's not simply about maintaining it though. It's about allowing it to maintain itself. In the great words, "The planet is not going anywhere... we are..." The planet has many systems which balance out its atmosphere and temperature and stuff. We introduce toxins, but we also shape the environment. Everything comes in waves. Remember that. Greta is great to put a face to the leaders, but the real indomitable change is cultural revolution. That can be sourced through education, so Wikipedia has an important value even in that. ~ R.T.G 21:08, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
  • I've been looking into it, all the way back to the earliest recorded site discussions. Coincidental to this is the main content page itself. Transhumanist, what is going on? That is your main page. Discussion came up occasionally for a few years. Then you got into the appearance of the page, and now it is as dead as a dodo since years. The page itself is practically a guide to researching what it needs to be, a tree of knowledge, that Wikipedia could refine, into one of the most important trees, that ever stood for humans. ~ R. 19:31, 13 November 2019 (UTC)
@RTG: That page is essential, and is very much alive. Wikipedia has more than one tree of knowledge, and so it needs a page to point them out. It ties together all of Wikipedia's competing/complementary navigation subsystems: the list system (including outlines), the category system, the navigation footer system, etc. Unfortunately, their competition often gets political, with proponents resorting to deleting portions of their competitors.
Wikipedia has more than one list of knowledge. There is no specific tree. The main Contents page is deflective of its purpose. It more or less begins by asking the reader if they are sure they are on the right page. Then it lists guides to listing content, but it doesn't implement them. ~ R.T.G 08:10, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
@RTG: You've lost me. What guides does it list? And what do you mean by "implement"?    — The Transhumanist   15:27, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
It lists indexing systems and lauded knowledge trees of the past. i.e. Deweys, Chambers Cyclopaedia etc. ~ R.T.G 21:08, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
Why not one system? Because, each has strengths and weaknesses, and if we were to pick just one, it would be the category system by default, because it is the most extensive. And I'm sure you know how detrimental that would be. What WP needs is someone to come along, and build a navigation system that provides the benefits of all of WP's navigation subsystems. Like a WikiData-powered master tree that can be displayed in various formats as needed.
We are not talking about the key system here. We are talking about the key page to the system. That page is the base of all those systems, and probably should say so. ~ R.T.G 08:10, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
@RTG: The key page to the system points to the rest of the system. The title of the page signifies that it is the key page. "Contents". Contents of what? Wikipedia, of course.    — The Transhumanist   15:27, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
There are various ways to approach the heading of the main content page. It could be a Contents: namespace but still the first page called Wikipedia:Contents for one instance, ~ R.T.G 21:08, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
More likely than not, it'll be accomplished by a bot. My guess is, that by somewhere between 2030 and 2045, Wikipedia, or its successor, will be writing itself. Its nav systems will be automated even before that. See accelerating change.
All attempts at humanising AI have failed. The erroneous view is that the computing power is insufficient. Did you watch Star Trek Voyager? The Doctor filled his program with so much social accessories that it malfunctioned. Without a doctor, one of the crew tried to make a new one. All it was able to do was recite Grays Anatomy. The AI is not going to teach us how to guide it. It will repeat what it is given. In fact, I bet fresh publications are due on that very topic at this very time. ~ R.T.G 08:10, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
@RTG: I said nothing about human-based AI. A Wikipedia that wrote itself would be quite alien (non-human). By the way, when it comes to technology, past failure has no bearing on future future success. All attempts fail, until they succeed. Take flying to the moon for example. It had never been done. Until they did it. The same will apply to developing AGI and all other technologies that don't yet exist. But you said something very disturbing... Humanizing AI? Are you nuts? A humanized AI could throw a temper tantrum.    — The Transhumanist   15:27, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
That's already been precedented. What was the name of that AI who was put on Twitter and decided it was an anti-feminist Nazi? The AIs cannot be strictly alien and suit a human purpose, and beside that, humans are not so amazingly unique as we like to make out. We are part of the nature of this world. Our dominance is not based on being the pinnacle of anything. Instead, we have a composite of slight advantages. If you played MMORPGs you'd be very familiar with the concept of strength based on numerous minor advantages, not that I encourage you to play computer games, but to believe humans are important. I'm not selling it very well in short but, our failings are often situational. That discredits us individually, but we make all the ideals. We aren't totally worthless, just difficult xD. ~ R.T.G 21:08, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
As for me, I ran across some WP articles that point out that the human race is propelling itself toward its own demise, and poked my head up out of this storm in a teacup, to see that the world is on fire. What the fuck! We've been fiddling while the world burns. Grab a bucket! Ciao.    — The Transhumanist   04:55, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
I'll tell you the storm in the teacup that isn't working.. The notification system! Good morning to you, and thanks for your response o/ ~ R.T.G 08:10, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
Transhumanist, though I am happy to debate this with you at length, my goal here is not that you and I form a robust set of opinions. I already could write about this all day. Rather, I am simply seeking agreement with you that discussion is valid. I think I have a hesitating agreement with you about the tree. The namespaces may be unwise to rush into on the back of this year long struggle in the contents projects.
The contents tree is one of the earliest perennial proposals. It was never rejected. Contents trees have been considered an essential part of an encyclopaedia since ancient times. We have whole articles about them individually. I can write you a book here today about why it would be useful for the site, but you are more than capable of forming your own opinions, so the essence of the tree here is obvious. There is something in the idea of a contents tree... Agree? ~ R.T.G 21:50, 18 November 2019 (UTC)
Contents trees have been considered an essential part of Wikipedia since its ancient times. Perhaps that's why we have several of them.    — The Transhumanist   02:08, 19 November 2019 (UTC)
Wikipedia doesn't have ancient times. We have only the present. I see only lists of lists of lists on the contents page. I want to see a scheme which explains its divisions. There is a difference between knowledge and information. I want to see education which is demonstrably neutral. I cannot achieve that on my own. Nor can I lead you. People like to say that trust and respect are earned, but they are, only by degree, unless you are so impolite that trust and respect are irrelevant anyway. Leadership is earned, and thereafter assumed. Assumption of leadership instigates duty. Success is not your duty. But directness is. Surely I can help. I make mistakes, but mistakes are an essential experience. You are the leader here, Transhumanist. Are you going to approve a tree or not. ~ R.T.G 09:12, 19 November 2019 (UTC)
First of all, I don't have the authority to approve or disapprove anything. Whether or not I'm willing to support a plan depends on the plan, and I haven't seen one yet. Here's my answer to your above post, point by point, and then some:
WP's ancient times would be circa 2001-2005, you know, the beginning of the encyclopedia, almost 20 years ago. In world wide web reckoning, that's ancient.
The scheme does explain its divisions, at the divisions, which are context sensitive. And links to those divisions are displayed at the top of each contents page, for easy access.
The listings you mentioned on the main contents page are Wikipedia's content trees, some of which contain hundreds or thousands of pages that took over a decade and a half to build. And you want to replace them with a one-page mystery contents tree that you haven't identified. Plus, you want to know if I would support a plan which you haven't divulged. My answer is: I don't know.    — The Transhumanist   11:32, 19 November 2019 (UTC)
On the contents page, you have listed Deweys together with the Propaedia. WikiData can probably be used to produce something like Deweys. Do you know what Deweys is for? It's not for referencing. It's not for human categorisation. It is for putting numbers on the back of the books. It is a system of numbers. It is literally a machine-like code. What I am asking you to do is see the difference between Deweys numbering system and Propaedias descriptive summary, of the divisions and understanding of knowledge. The page for Propaedia literally suggests the difference between a page numbering system and a descriptive branching is a threshold of knowledge, and I totally support that view.
You plan on building the next generation navigation system.
What I am inviting you to accept is a scheme which is essential to the encyclopaedia, and is not going to be mastered by you or I individually, or alone together.
I am proposing to you is that upon the outline of such a descriptive scheme, all of the obstacles in the trees you suggest are already sufficient, are going to be laid flat, without making irrelevant a single one of them. This is not going to outmode any of them, but is going to put an iron-solid backing through them all. There'll be no confusing portals. No stray categories. No irrelevant outlines because they will have a solid point of reference.
Deweys is not a reference work at all. The reference work in Deweys is completely separate. It's entire purpose is to be a numbering scheme. That's not going to help us with portals and categories at all. Nor is a mighty AI numbering scheme going to make them irrelevant.
This is barely about "display format" at all.
Do I want to replace the contents page with a personal rant on knowledge beat out between you and me by next week? No! I want to beat out a rationale for the lists, between you, me, and everybody who has ever expressed a genuine interest in doing that for Wikipedia.
Am I trying to get you to accept the idea of categorised content by division and listing? That is already an indelible part of Wikipedia.
I am proposing a scheme to refine it through description and rationale. You can list all of the categorical divisions you want, AI driven or anything else, and it will not provide a description of what those divisions mean without a description. It lacks definition. I am telling you definition is not only possible, but it should have been aspired to long ago.
Can you see the difference in value, between what an AI can do with analysis of WikiData, and what we humans can do by assessing what we can understand about why things are categorised the way they are? I mean, it's not even my idea, Transhumanist. It's an ancient idea. It's a key part of an encyclopaedia. 20 years you say, and we still aren't concerned with producing any evidence that we understand anything. In the "ancient days of Wikipedia", the idea of a list of lists of lists was appalled at, and this suggestion is about why. This suggestion is about finally solving that deficiency.
I am telling you, I plan to ask a bunch of people to help build the old generation navigation system. To navigate understanding. Philosophy literally translates to a love of knowledge. As an agnostic, I consider philosophy the key component to my religion. I am asking you to help write a new bible, in my view. Is that significant enough? ~ R.T.G 12:39, 19 November 2019 (UTC)
Please provide a link to the "old generation navigation system". Thank you.    — The Transhumanist   09:07, 20 November 2019 (UTC)
@The Transhumanist:File:Cyclopaedia, Chambers - Volume 1 - 0015.jpg, Propædia. ~ R.T.G 14:28, 20 November 2019 (UTC)
I'm trying my best not to produce a finished product here, Transhumanist. I want you to let go of this last year regarding portals. How many times have you thought there was no fix coming, that the project was sure to end? Hah! And I know you've admitted nothing, but how many times have you considered a preface and decided, we can't have it. All the catchy ideas are copyright long ago. Oh doom, gloom, subsumation in frustrations of infinite proportion? A true cliche is indestructible. Portals (in the grand plural sense), require passageways, corridors, etc. Originally, a massive structure was often like a series of portals with no passageways between them. A lot of pillars. Also, the concept of cliche is so utterly rejected by those who make their way in the world through prose. Adherence to poeticism is often an obstacle to Wikipedia, obscuring the facts and truth in favour of attraction and sensationalism. A true cliche is indestructable, beyond simply, a repetitive saying. A true cliche remoulds itself to various forms of wisdom for endless reprinting (the word is based on an old french word for a printing plate, so it's not my idea, so much as my description of someone elses idea). For portals to constitute anything more than a room of portals which lead only to each other, halls and other corridors are required. Regarding a tree, a tree begins with a seed. Seeds are one of the most enduring forms of life on the planet. A seed may lie dormant for a thousand years. Eventually, however, the kernel becomes moist. It swells and splits the seed. In the air, some of the moisture evaporates and the seed shrinks again. Once it gets moist again, the kernel continues to grow again, now dividing along the edges, absorbing more moisture, it becomes a series of portals, connected by capillaries, which function as valves, ensuring moisture goes in one way and out the other. From this flowing moisture, the tree derives all of its nutrient. A tree is a series of portals, User:The Transhumanist. Don't love me or hate me now, Transhumanist. If I was your leader you would follow me with little enquiry or hesitance. But a tree is a cliche for us here. I can see that it has not yet received sufficient moisture to begin its journey, but ultimately, qualified or not, you are the leader today. I am also a cliche of sorts perhaps, but not one so strong as the concept of respecting the leader if you wish to honour your purpose. Take the tree under your wing today, and do not consume it, for it will grow much larger and more powerful than you can ever be. That's just what a good tree is, among other things, such as being a network of capillaries which connect a series of portals to a flowing valve system. It is confusing here and now, but it is a strictly natural concept. Philosophy can be considered the study of the nature of existence. The reason it flourishes and seems to die away is because it is finite. But it does not die out. It remains. It is also a tree of every portal of knowledge. You are going to accept the tree if you have to be dragged kicking and screaming from the portals project to the contents project, at least to validate the first moisture reaching the kernel. If the tree grows successfully, it will be validatable by anyone with the intelligence and patience to read and understand it, but it will grow extensive beyond our individual reach. First, however, we must get the kernel wet and nurture it. You are the first and present leader of this particular project, even if you contribute nothing, you must assume the role. I am not asking you to say "I am the leader", or anything foolish, but to accept that you are the leader by position, and that a tree being the root and branch of the contents system, is understood by we mortals through description. I cannot assume the role of leader, Transhumanist. I am not the leader. Nor am I going to go off and seek a leader. Jimbo is not going to assume leadership here. Larry won't be accepted off the bat either. I am seeking the leader of the content browsing system to approve the first attempt at describing the tree. (there are others to be contacted if we can get the kernel wet) If the leader insists they WP:IDIDNTHEARTHAT, I will be off. I am just an ant around here. I've got leaves to chew, scurrying to do, and I'm so busy with scent trails and embryo maintenance... The tree has a certain merit though, does it not? I for one, cannot wait to see the tree start to grow and know that nothing has more potential to "fix" the contents browsing systems. All other technology is peripheral. This is the base technology you have been seeking. You said somewhere here, If you build it... Yes. People who envisaged the tree for Wikipedia are starting to get old. Let's get back to them. The tree is a core principle of an encyclopaedia, more than a set of lists, a pile of muds, it needs walls, form through description, to ensure its utility more than simply experimenting with the decor. I constitutes a guide, sourced without objection, to the content browsing system. Correct... ~ R.T.G 19:19, 19 November 2019 (UTC)

One problem is that you are misrepresenting my situation and my interests. Dragged kicking and screaming out of the portals project? See mw:Don't be a jerk. You haven't been paying very close attention. I haven't worked on the portals project in months. Sure, when people come to my talk page and ask me a question I know the answer to, I answer it for them. But that's about the extent of my involvement with portals. So, you don't know what you would be dragging me away from.

But, the main thing that concerns me is that your proposal for replacing the main contents page is too vague to be understood, and hasn't specified where the links in your new classification system will lead. The classifications on the overviews page lead directly to articles. The links in the outline system lead to other outlines which in turn lead to outlines and articles. The category system pages lead to subcategories and articles. And so on. And all of those subsystems have annotated linked entries on the main contents page. Where will the links in your proposed classification scheme lead, and what will happen to the entries that are currently on Wikipedia:Contents?

You wrote: [What] I am proposing to you is that upon the outline of such a descriptive scheme, all of the obstacles in the trees you suggest are already sufficient, are going to be laid flat, without making irrelevant a single one of them. This is not going to outmode any of them, but is going to put an iron-solid backing through them all.

What did you mean by "laid flat"?

Keep in mind, that each link only leads to one destination. Therefore, basically you would either be rewriting one of the subsystems, and/or choosing one of them over the others. For example, if your new scheme linked directly to articles, then you would be rewriting the Wikipedia:Contents/Overviews page. If your scheme linked to articles but became a multipage classification system, you would essentially be rewriting the outline system or the index system.

Again, Wikipedia has several navigation subsystems, which is why we have a centralized main contents page to tie them all together, and it isn't at all clear what you want to replace that page with.    — The Transhumanist   09:07, 20 November 2019 (UTC)

Obstacles laid flat and swept away. See, we are getting somewhere already. Okay I know you'd have something to say but if you wouldn't discuss it then others might so who'd be the jerk now? Beside the point. It's not my idea. The tree is coming. You do more than operate out of your talk page. Hey that bit doesn't matter. ~ R.T.G 10:59, 20 November 2019 (UTC)
The only one who appears unwilling to be specific is you. You keep evading my queries about the specifics of your hypothetical proposal. Please answer the following questions about your latest response:
How will the tree differ from WP's existing trees?    — The Transhumanist   01:11, 21 November 2019 (UTC)
What will the branches of the tree contain? Topics? All the contents trees are topic trees. The main contents page is itself a tree of topic trees.    — The Transhumanist   11:30, 21 November 2019 (UTC)
What will the entries in the proposed tree link to? Articles? Portals? Categories? (We already have trees with these link types, and trees with other link types as well).    — The Transhumanist   11:30, 21 November 2019 (UTC)
What did you mean by "swept away"? What do you propose to change?    — The Transhumanist   11:30, 21 November 2019 (UTC)
How will the page affect the branching of other trees?    — The Transhumanist   12:50, 21 November 2019 (UTC)
The tree which explains itself. This is going to help with certain obstacles, like how or why to define a portal. It is going to be a reference feature. It is going to define why we use trees for this sort of thing. ~ R.T.G 08:44, 21 November 2019 (UTC)
Sounds more like a help page. By the way, I'm still waiting for you to answer the rest of questions I posted above. Cheers.    — The Transhumanist   11:30, 21 November 2019 (UTC)
Of course it is a helpful page. If it is done successfully, this tree will have some part in the branching of the content of the help page areas, and the other trees, and all of these questions and everything.. ~ R.T.G 11:43, 21 November 2019 (UTC)
Still waiting... By the way, I've added another question to the list above. And you apparently overlooked the main concern and question I presented before that. Here they are again, for your convenience:
"But, the main thing that concerns me is that your proposal for replacing the main contents page is too vague to be understood, and hasn't specified where the links in your new classification system will lead. The classifications on the overviews page lead directly to articles. The links in the outline system lead to other outlines which in turn lead to outlines and articles. The category system pages lead to subcategories and articles. And so on. And all of those subsystems have annotated linked entries on the main contents page. Where will the links in your proposed classification scheme lead, and what will happen to the entries that are currently on Wikipedia:Contents?".    — The Transhumanist   13:10, 21 November 2019 (UTC)
Deweys is the attempt to fit as much categorisation as possible into the smallest grid, to maximise the potential of numbers. This tree is going to do the most similar thing for words. At first it is natural to respond, letters and numbers are a different genre. We cannot maximise the condensation of information provided by letters and words, because they do not convey the same category of meaning, however, if you edit Wikipedia, "concise" takes on a whole new world. Something is missing from Wikipedia without the tree, and where you personally, User:The Transhumanist, want to see something at the forefront or artificial automation, where AI has no guide to what it means to be human though we wish it would help us be the guide, this may be the type of thing, or at least is definitely essential to the definition of such a thing, allowing an AI to understand what it means to be human, from a set form of rules which can match up, or at least compare, to a random statistic based experiment, for accuracy and guidance. It's not really going to affect human life like that, but at the very top [center?] of the tree where everything is already strictly defined, the correct description of this tree will make a guide to such strict definition, just like the contents browsing system has been looking for. ~ R.T.G 17:20, 21 November 2019 (UTC)

It's still not clear. I'm curious... Will the link "human geography" be included? The links "psychology" and "sociology" come to mind. Will those links be in the tree too? What about the link "mammals"? About how many article links (rough guess) will be included in the tree?    — The Transhumanist   13:20, 22 November 2019 (UTC)

Proposal specificationsEdit

I cannot produce a perfect proposal. If human knowledge were easily perfected, Wikipedia would be all but irrelevant. ~ R.T.G 19:55, 19 November 2019 (UTC)

A non-vague proposal is all that is needed. One that explains what the system will be comprised of, what kind of links it will contain, what its relationship will be to the other systems, and what will happen to the other systems and their main entries on the Wikipedia:Contents page. Because, at this point, it still isn't clear what you are proposing. Wikipedia has multiple navigation systems that decades of editor-years of labor went into, tied together on a centralized main contents page. The most important thing editors will need to know is, how would you be changing that?    — The Transhumanist   09:07, 20 November 2019 (UTC)
Weighing all on the one is more likely to make a problematic structure. I'm not interested in something which requires a vote. A cultural revolution happens when the people see a change as natural. We must make it a project. It's not going to be even nearly finished by the time it would require a proposal. Something like this would define the site a little more. This could affect the way the site defines itself, so it can't be about a catchy proposal. It has to be a project, doesn't it? A tree? How vague is a tree? Governments still do call themselves a "diet" in some places. Let's call ourselves a "rationale", and have a table of rationale. AIs cannot just be expected to guide the way for us when we have to ask them to guide, anyway. A list of lists of lists? Why not then huh. ~ R.T.G 10:59, 20 November 2019 (UTC)
"Tree" is very vague, since Wikipedia has several of them. So, when you say "tree", there is no way to know what kind of tree you are talking about, or how it compares with WP's existing trees. Wikipedia's trees cover most subject classfication and linkage approaches, and so, it is difficult to imagine how your tree wouldn't be a copy or redundant rebuilding of one of our existing trees.    — The Transhumanist   01:11, 21 November 2019 (UTC)
The sort with roots and branches. This is the Wikipedia tree, so it is going to look like that.? This tree, is going to be like the base for all of the other trees. This will be like, a basis? ~ R.T.G 08:18, 21 November 2019 (UTC)
The main trees already have a common base in the form of a shared classification. And all the contents trees have roots and branches. Your explanation sounds exactly like the system we already have. Do me a favor, would you? Please answer the questions you skipped above. Then I might be able to envision how your proposed system will be different than the one we already have. Thank you.    — The Transhumanist   11:30, 21 November 2019 (UTC)
My answer above has many roots and branches which fit together to answer the questions asked, much in the way does the Wikipedia tree. Indirectly it answers all of them, in my hope. ~ R.T.G 17:47, 21 November 2019 (UTC)
Let's say Wikipedia is the seed. It divides into content and administration? Content and administration divide into? Information and knowledge? I don't mean anything by any questions. What about code? It doesn't really divide from code ever does it. ~ R.T.G 08:51, 22 November 2019 (UTC)

It's still not clear. I'm curious... Will the link "human geography" be included? The links "psychology" and "sociology" come to mind. Will those links be in the tree too? What about the link "mammals"? About how many article links (rough guess) will be included in the tree?    — The Transhumanist   13:20, 22 November 2019 (UTC)

Every scrap of content is going, ultimately, to lead off this tree, just like the other trees. The difference with this tree is, rather than simply categorise, rather than simply fit the available or acceptable space with content listings, this tree is going to provide a limited sort of content. But this content is going to be more similar to the content of an old time encyclopaedia, or Wikidata, short and relevant. The information provided by this content tree will be limited, by discussing only [focusing on] the tree itself.
What we need to define is the starting focus. As I see it there are two ways to look at the first focus. We can approach it as something internal to Wikipedia, and thereby start our divisions similarly to content/administration, or we can look at it as the tree of all knowledge, and make the first division somewhere along a line like, fact, theory, and fiction. A division like fact, theory and fiction is going to come through a content/admin division anyway. It is valid to discuss administration being at the base of the tree because, arguments against that are purely aesthetic while, the worded content of this tree should not [barely] be considered in terms of aesthetic at all.
This tree is not going to fit on a single page, so the idea that some links will not be included will be irrelevant. This tree is going to cover content as widely as the Category Tree. This is a categorisation project, where we describe the nature of [the connection/division between] each information [category]. It's not so radical at all. The site has already been looking for this tree, and creating content relevant to it. We are going to just write it all down, branched out from one place, so that anybody can read it and find content in a guided, understanding way. Not a leading way, suggesting the next relevant content in the story, but as a guide to understanding what information is (<- this is not the goal of the tree, but an unavoidable consequence of a successful tree), with the focus being the nature of understanding, and with the content and links being peripheral to that effort. We explain why each fork and branch in the tree exists, and this explanation will itself become a guide to many things regarding information. We hold focus to the importance of the tree, rather than trying to judge or vote on what is important by regarding content. [We do not define this tree by determining the importance of information, but how it fits with, or diverges from other categories of information. This project will focus on what divides information, and from holding that focus, create a guide to how information fits together. It will be all about how and why information is relevant to other information.]
Refined well, this tree will start to take on 3 or 4 dimensions, not simply binary branching, but links between forms of information. In this way the tree will guide AI more than AI could ever guide it. This tree is going to be an artificial neural network which lacks hardware, based on what it means to be human through information. We can't do better than this in terms of founding an AI. If anything can be a key to turning Wikipedia into a base for AI, this is it. This is going to do for words, exactly what Deweys does for numbers. It is difficult, even to get an AI to beat a human playing chess. This tree would define the difference for the AI between random evolution and starting on first base. As far as an AI is concerned, letters and numbers have no difference of themselves. It is all about the code which the AI is given to evaluate the information. Here we are going to write a kernel for such code.
Let's be really careful as we consider the first division or two, and if we do a good job, we will validate our starting the focused part/the seed of the tree. This is not a new concept. This is an ancient concept. And there is no rush here. This tree is going to be a new point of reference, not simply a pointer to the existing reference. It is going to use the existing reference/content, to point to itself.
An option here is to make the first branch similar to content/administration, or not to have administration on the tree at all. Such division is purely aesthetic. I say include the site so that we can also apply the tree to Wikipedia. The tree cannot really define the Wikipedia/admin content, but it is also a content browsing system. The purpose of this tree is not to pick out the special branches, but to branch out to them all.
Beside that, if we are looking at it as a tree, the first division in a tree is of roots and shoots. Is it fair to consider administrative space the root here? It is easy to. But what of the first content fork? Is there a root to knowledge and information philosophically? Let's say we divided it into "fact, fiction and theory". Is one of those a root to the others? "Fact" is probably the best choice as a root there, as the others can be shown to be based on facts (the creation of fiction and theory relies on regard and manipulation of accepted facts, and such consideration of genre is going to be the main key to this tree, so neutrality and relevance are basic elements here even if that is not obvious at first). Maybe, instead of having the two dimensional representation, where everything is upward or downward hierarchically, [left and right aesthetically], we could follow real plant life. Real plants don't have only two sexes, and one of our goals here is/maybe to provide various dimensions rather than binary. Can we come up with a first division which provides three or more solid branchings in the categorisation of information? This is a point at which we can start to look for reference relevant to this project. ~ R.T.G 13:52, 23 November 2019 (UTC)
Thank you for your thorough description. You've just described the list system, including outlines (which are a type of list). The outline/list system is a multi-page contents tree. It has thousands of pages, which include on them annotations (content), and links to branches (other lists or outlines) and leaves (articles). That system has taken many thousands of editors almost 20 years to build, and it still isn't complete. So, you want to start a new outline/list system from scratch. Someone would no doubt tag it for merging into the existing system. For a more detailed response, see the section below.    — The Transhumanist   12:09, 24 November 2019 (UTC)
This isn't about simply listing and/or describing content. It's about the forks, and what makes them forks. The list system and the outlines are about content. They approach content as afterthoughts. Here is some content, add a list. Here is some content, add an outline.... Here is a tree... where does content fit in the branches? This is different. Time is irrelevant here.
This is more like a category tree than an outline or a list. This is like a category tree explaining not what the subject of each page is, but why it is like the pages linked to it. ~ R.T.G 13:54, 24 November 2019 (UTC)
As you just said, it is like one of the systems we already have. If the category system isn't set up right, then fix it. I'm sure the Wikipedia:WikiProject Categories would welcome you as a new member.    — The Transhumanist   17:10, 24 November 2019 (UTC)


Humans tend to believe unspokenly, that first there was mud, and a world with the value of mud. Then humans decided to be clever, or were gifted this cleverness by the gods, or were gifted by the gods to this world to be clever, or gods, or gifts, or clever... or whatever form of currency you want to pay the authors with.
First there was a world which went on forever and ever as far as humans can perceive. Then suddenly there was life on this world. The life went on forever and ever again, and again, and then... the first humans started appearing as part of that world. In that world, which humans grew from, nothing about humans was truly unique, and those things which make us superior to other animals, delicate and minor improvements indeed. The strength in our intelligence is based entirely on memory and experience.
Without memory and experience, a CPU needs like one circuit to outdo a human in brain power, we are so clever, and even an AI is not guaranteed to spot that error. What we want with AI is not that it passes a convincing test amongst humans, but that we aren't sure what to call it, because we aren't really sure how human it is, whether it is tested or not. This project is not going to answer all of that, but it is going to set a first page. Intelligence? Learning? ... Reason. The ability to rationalise is going to be written into the AIs first search through content, simply by digging up the lowest common denominators as regards the division of information.
AI is not something this tree is about, but is it relevant to automated intelligent process? The encyclopaedia tree is a key to automatic intelligence. Which tree is it? Name the tree? This is "The" Tree. This is The Tree. Where does the tree fit? This tree fits, everywhere. Why does it fit everywhere? That is its purpose. To fit everything together. There are other trees aspiring to do this, and in theory they should have long ago, but they don't do they. This is the tree, that does that. ~ R.T.G 20:32, 23 November 2019 (UTC)
You keep changing the concept. First, it was one page, then it was a multi-page comprehensive system, and now it is ubiquitous as if posted on every page of the encyclopedia. What you have described in your latest iterations is a collosal undertaking. However...
We already have contents trees designed on each of those concepts. Wikipedia:Contents/Overviews is a one-page tree; Wikipedia:Contents/Outlines, Wikipedia:Contents/Indices, Wikipedia:Contents/Lists, Wikipedia:Contents/Glossaries, and Wikipedia:Contents/Categories are multi-page systems with hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands of pages; and the Navigation templates (of which there are also thousands). All of these systems have over a decade and a half of development invested in them, by thousands of editors, with overall actual editing time amounting to many person-years, probably many lifetimes' worth. (Average human lifespan, in the United States, is around 657,000 hours).
The common theme of your proposal ideas is to replace the links and descriptions for these systems (they comprise the contents of the main contents page) with the contents of yet another system, that appears by your description to intend to duplicate one of these systems.
The current community consensus is for the main contents page to present Wikipedia's overall contents system, which is comprised of its subsystems. It is very unlikely, in my humble opinion, that replacing that with just one of those systems, or with a new system that will take decades to build, will be supported by a new community consensus.
That being said, anyone can edit Wikipedia, including creating new systems. To begin a new system, simply create a new page, and start typing away. If that system is a remake of another system, someone will likely come along and tag it for merging or deletion. But, if that system is unique and worthy of replacing any or all of the other systems, then a proposal to that effect would naturally be supported by the community.
I hope this explanation helps. Good luck with your endeavor. Sincerely,    — The Transhumanist   12:09, 24 November 2019 (UTC)
Okay, how much work went into Britannica? We must be moot to that sort of thinking, in any site endeavour.
How can it be aimed at not being comprehensive? How can a tree of everything be non-ubiquitous in theory?
Nobody talked about replacing anything, except possibly the main contents page. If the content browsing systems are inadequate, they are broken, and must be fixed.
This is not a new idea, Transhumanist. This is an ancient idea.
There is no time like the present. There is, in fact, no time but the present. ~ R.T.G 13:54, 24 November 2019 (UTC)
You say the system is broken, and if I am not mistaken, you believe it is broken because the main contents tree (the main contents page) is a listing of subject-based contents trees rather than itself being a subject-based contents tree. This results in the user having to make one extra click to get to a subject-based contents tree. In my mind, that's not broken. It just means that the user gets to choose between contents trees of various function and format. We have one for every occasion based on the purposes and preferences of the user. Face-wink.svg To fret to the degree you have over one click, seems excessive.
Contrary to your claim, you have talked about replacing contents trees, in more ways than one. In the parent thread above, you stated "This tree is not going to fit on a single page", which would make it a multi-page contents tree, of which we already have several. Even Wikipedia:Contents itself is multi-paged (see its subpages). And the various descriptions of your tree match one or more of our existing contents trees. Throughout this entire discussion, you've been insisting that your concept of a tree should replace the contents of the main contents page, meaning it would be replacing an existing similar tree and the entries of all the other trees, at that location.
But, since that is the main point of entry for the contents system as a whole, which is comprised of those very trees, removing the links and descriptions of those trees from that page will receive a great deal of resistance. Because...
Wikipedia's contents system is, after all, a tree of trees (and their developers). Rather than compete for the top spot (the main contents page), they have compromised and agreed to share it (through a combination of discussion and collaborative editing). Sharing is caring (and cooperating). Face-smile.svg
I admire your compassion. At the same time, this discussion has long ago turned redundant, churning the same propositions again and again. You haven't presented anything that is substantially different from the various contents trees that we already have, and you haven't presented any compelling reasons to displace their entries from the main contents page and no longer share the page amongst them. You come across as an editor who is unwilling to share. Face-sad.svg
You've asked for my support in saving the user a single click in the navigation process by forgoing the current compromise between competing trees, to displace those trees off of the main contents page by a "new" competing tree, for which, after over a week of explanations and dodging of questions, its nature remains vague at best. And you proclaimed that you would drag me against my will ("kicking and screaming"), to come work on your pet project. See Wikipedia:Volunteer. I respectfully decline. Sincerely,    — The Transhumanist   17:10, 24 November 2019 (UTC)
There's a lot more than one click wrong with the contents browsing system.
The number of pages the tree fits on is irrelevant. I said it is going to replace a page, but capture of a page is hardly the goal. The lists should be replaced if they are improved upon.
I didn't say blank the page.
I gave you examples.
I didn't ask you anything like that. I've given you examples. Also, I'm human. Thanks anyway for your effort o/ ~ R.T.G 02:01, 25 November 2019 (UTC)


@RTG: Thank you for posting on UnitedStatesian's talk page and the portals arbitration page. I imagine you must feel frustrated. Please, keep your communications civil: no more dragging kicking and screaming, or accusations as to what a person is thinking or feeling. In your latest reply above, you mentioned examples. Examples would be nice. I've reviewed our discussion above, and I don't see any examples of what the proposed tree would look like. External trees of knowledge don't have Wikipedia links in them, and so they don't help as examples of a navigation system. Rather than try to describe what your concept is, it might help if you showed me...

You could either just post the top couple levels or so of the tree you envision below, or create a subpage under your user page: User:RTG/Tree of knowledge. To create the page, just click on the red link.

By the way, your post at the portals arbitration page, included the word "book", which has given me an idea. We have a whole namespace called "Book:". You could create Book:Tree of knowledge.

Most surprising of all, Wikipedia doesn't have an article called "Tree of knowledge", just a redirect to a disambiguation page about works called the "Tree of Knowledge" (with a capital K). It doesn't take too much effort to start a stub article. If you wrote it, that would help you share what you know about the subject.

As for trees, Wikipedia doesn't have its own tree of knowledge that isn't also a contents system for Wikipedia. Wikipedia's contents trees are concerned more about contents issues than tree issues. Though, anything you create with linked subjects will be a navigation system by default.

Depending on the link type you are interested in, I could recommend relevant pages that you could edit. But without the link type, it is hard to visualize what your tree concept is, in essence. What kind of page(s) would the links in the tree link to? Articles?

Like you said above, what is needed is a seed. Anyone can plant a seed. And then something very interesting can happen: wiki magic.

Sincerely,    — The Transhumanist   09:59, 27 November 2019 (UTC)

P.S.: Feel free to post/plant a sampling/seedling of the tree you envision right here:

There are two paragraphs in the WP:Wiki magic article. The second paragraph is a two sentence summary of the topic. It says, "Wiki Magic can be considered an example of collective intelligence..." Now, hover over "collective intelligence"... SEE!? This isn't even my idea. This tree is like a fact of nature.
Well the first valid one I can think of is fact, fiction, and theory. Fact, fiction, and theory, are forms of information which together broadly cover all forms of information. In that, they may be a suitable example of what the first basis of the tree should achieve. It seems valid to describe the difference between those three together, as though they were a unit. Describing the fork between them thus focuses, giving us a node, rather than simply a fork. Even if it isn't described like this anywhere yet:- the nature of a tree of knowledge is discerning the forks. We are used to looking at the tree as consumers, but here on Wikipedia we must approach from the other direction. Let's discern the forks, to produce a model of discernation, rather than simply a framework of forks. ~ R.T.G 14:42, 27 November 2019 (UTC)
@RTG: Above, I asked about examples. To see what part of the tree might look like. Please post an example or two. Thank you.    — The Transhumanist   05:59, 28 November 2019 (UTC)
There are at least 3 problems with the approach you described above. But, let's deal with the first one, before we move onto the others: we can't design or build a contents tree until we know what kind of links it will include. That is, the following question must be answered: "what type of pages will its links lead to?"    — The Transhumanist   05:59, 28 November 2019 (UTC)
Well, if you could divide up a whole tree of nodes that broadly covered everything with minimal text explaining, then you'd have a big blank page under that text to list links or link to things like portals, outlines, main articles, maybe even categories somehow. Now, when I check this term on Wikipedia it describes something I would consider a sort of webring, but the term I would use here is "link farm" and by that I do not mean a group of websites that link together like a webring. What I mean by a link farm is a cultivated field of links. Some sort of collection of links where the discussion of knowledge and the links were complimentary.
Okay TTH, let's get you off the horse here. Look at this image File:Cyclopaedia, Chambers - Volume 1 - 0015.jpg. It concludes the nature of types of information, not in any sort of conclusions that would suit Wikipedia, but if you were an alchemist, it's pretty good. In fact, it's riveting. Just scan through it from the start page File:Cyclopaedia, Chambers - Volume 1 - 0014.jpg to the pages after the flow-chart itself File:Cyclopaedia, Chambers - Volume 1 - 0018.jpg. Broadly speaking it is a discussion of knowledge, with a link farm at the bottom of each page. Now the discussion on each page is not necessarily focused on the farm of links beneath, but ours would be. Ours would be much more concise but infinitely longer. So the "discussion", as even Chambers was calling it if my proto-English is accurate enough, the discussion on each node would relate specifically the forks and categorisation on that page. Now obviously, we can't rely on describing writing as artificial and chemistry as either alchemy or magic, to produce a load of valid categories. Even our own Outline of knowledge would be somewhat outmoded here. Is experience a branch in a tree we are looking for here? Doubtful. But if you look closer, there are concepts like descriptive knowledge and procedural knowledge, metaknowledge, foundational knowledge, traditional knowledge... Which we could nit-pick out of and change around to produce something similar in a way to Chambers except that it would suit Wikipedia and the modern day rather than Chambers world of alchemy and natural magic.
I suppose, the tree might not include every link on Wikipedia directly, but by linking to relevant categories, portals, and outlines, where specific articles are not directly relevant to the node, I think it just might cover them all in the sense it would guide the reader to the places where stuff can be found. The tree may have the potential to replace the main content page or be its main feature, but it would be complimentary to the systems already there. It would rely on them I suppose.
I am proposing, I suppose, and extended outline of knowledge focused on complimenting the content browsing systems and describing knowledge in general, rather than focused limited topics on knowledge as a concept (Outline of knowledge is about focusing the concept of knowledge, rather than the concept of all knowledge). Really, Chambers is the most attractive to me in appearance, and again, this isn't my idea. Someone suggested it to me when I brought up the idea of a tree of knowledge. I don't have a complete tree, TTH, nor am I capable of producing a suitable one. It has to be a project. We research the tree with the bias toward drawing the user who is interested in knowledge itself into the tree. I promise you, a million of the quietest voices on Wikipedia are going to fall off their seats at the idea of a tree of knowledge constructed in the Wikipedia environment to suit the modern age and future. We are all alchemists before this tree. The seedlings for this tree were planted so long ago that talk of an internet computer would have got you in trouble for being crazy or influenced by evil.
Now, I'm not going to produce a tree of knowledge TTH. You either want one or you don't. For some people when they say they are going to "drag you kicking and screaming" what they mean is, they are going to try very hard to get you to join something you belong to, but if they find themselves considering actually dragging you, they are going to run very far away and stay there. I've written you maybe twenty pages on what I keep linking, this, this, this. Not content, knowledge. Not the concept of knowledge, knowledge in its entirety, all knowledge, all knowledge, squeeze, everything.
I'm not saying this. I'm saying this. ~ R.T.G 22:25, 28 November 2019 (UTC)
I took "drag you kicking and screaming" as "whether you want to or not". You seemed a bit frustrated/excited. We've all been there now and again. No worries.
What you've described loosely fits both the outline and index systems, without the graphical formatting (tree lines). Even without the lines, the tree structure is embedded in the contents pages and outlines, represented by heading levels, and bullet list levels and/or indented list levels. If someone had the time and inclination, they could write a script to display contents pages and outlines in the fashion of Chambers.
Outlines, and the outlines contents page, support descriptions in the form of annotations.
I would refrain from using the term link farm for building navigation systems, as it has negative connotations in the Wikipedia community.
By the way, the Outline of knowledge does have a section dedicated to all knowledge: see Outline of knowledge#Knowledge of humanity.
Though incomplete, everything you've described is already in place, including structures (see tree structure), links, descriptions, and guidelines (located on project pages), except for the specific arrangement of topics on the structure which you desire. And of course, the arrangement is subject to refinement through editing and discussion by anyone and everyone.
Unfortunately, the items on a contents tree on Wikipedia cannot be locked in epistimologically. Due to the nature of wikis, they will always be subject to editing and further discussion.
To achieve your objective, you don't have to create or displace anything. "The Tree" is already there, but with a different branch configuration than what you've envisioned. Refinement has and will continue to improve it over time, and is facilitated through editing and discussion.
By the way, it never occurred to me that, while all the Wikipedia:Contents subpages have links on the parent page (the subject-based subpages are listed in the navbar menu at the top of the page), the main subject classifications represented by the subject-based subpages didn't have descriptions included on the page like all the other subpages did. That has been remedied. Your proposal to replace the contents with a subject tree sparked the idea. Thank you.
Sincerely,    — The Transhumanist   08:27, 29 November 2019 (UTC)

Statement by RTGEdit

[Note from TT: The following statement was posted at arbcom and subsequently reverted as off-topic. As the points provided relate to the current subject being discussed here, represent RTG's perception of trees of knowledge on WP, and provide an opportunity to clarify those views, I've rescued the statement by copying it below, and have replied to it as a continuation of this discussion.]

  • I know what the best thing to fix this is. The rationale/guide for each portal. I know what will provide it. A tree of knowledge. It's a traditional part of the finest encyclopaedias. Examples include the Propaedia and File:Cyclopaedia, Chambers - Volume 1 - 0015.jpg. We have many content trees, but none which explain themselves as they go/no visible guide.
  • It could take a long time to build, but with a tree of knowledge as a guide to the key points of knowledge, the essential portals, for instance, would be conceivable.
  • We need a tree that suits Wikipedia and the modern age. We need to build our own tree of knowledge and not wait another twenty years to even propose doing it. Twenty years is a generation.
  • The tree is an indispensable part of the finest encyclopaedias through history.
  • The research for it is mostly done already throughout the site, between deciding things like which portals are essential, vital articles, category, outline, overview trees and many more.
  • It's one of the earliest requested features for the site which was never rejected, only forgotten.
  • It would eventually act as a guide to all content browsing systems, perhaps even replace the main contents page/finally validate it. And it would validate all portals by defining the key points of junction in knowledge.
  • It just needs a group willing to research and discuss it.
  • Can I please have a tree of knowledge in my favourite book please, that I didn't just write myself, and it will solve all this confusion, into the future, thanks. ~ R.T.G 17:39, 26 November 2019 (UTC)
@RTG: Dear RTG,
The current inclusion/deletion criteria conflict over portals pertains to a portal's traffic volume, which is advised against in Wikipedia:NOBODYREADSIT, and to lack of curation which violates the spirit of WP:VOLUNTEER and is advised against in Wikipedia:NEGLECT. Wikipedia has plenty of topic ranking systems which could be prevailed upon as inclusion criteria, but the problem is how the portal guideline is written. And neither side in the conflict will approve the version the other side supports. Therefore, knowledge trees, both existing and potential, are irrelevant, as there is no agreement on scope in the first place.
I don't know what you meant by "We have many content trees, but none which explain themselves as they go/no visible guide."
You wrote "We need to build our own tree of knowledge and not wait another twenty years to even propose doing it." You've presented the concept of a tree of knowledge as if Wikipedia doesn't already have any. A major argument against creating a new tree of knowledge is that Wikipedia already has several, with tens of thousands of pages between them, which over a decade and a half of development has gone into.
Wikipedia's trees are indispensable, and Wikipedia is arguably the finest encyclopedia ever published.
Following your statement "The research for it is mostly done already throughout the site", you refer to some of WP's existing trees. This causes uncertainty as to what the essential nature of the tree you propose will be. The trees on Wikipedia vary by the link types they present, yet you have not indicated what kind of pages the proposed tree would link to, or whether it would have any links at all...
  • For me, this is the biggest point of contention, because you stated it might "perhaps even replace the main contents page". Without links, it wouldn't even qualify as a contents navigation system.
  • And if it were to have links, it would likely duplicate one of our existing trees, as we have one based on each link type. If such a system replaced Wikipedia:Contents which is currently a guide to Wikipedia's many navigation subsystems, that replacement would displace all those subsystems which provide various approaches to navigation to the user.
  • First, replacing the systems based on various link types with one that is based on a single link type is not a good strategy. Due to the diversity of Wikipedia's coverage, having multiple approaches is better.
  • Second, the likelihood of acquiring the support of the developers of the subsystems to remove them from the contents page is slim at best.
You posted "It's one of the earliest requested features for the site which was never rejected, only forgotten." It remains to be seen whether or not the feature requested has been fulfilled. Please provide a link or diff to the feature request. It may shed some light onto what is being proposed. Thank you.
What did you mean by "points of junction in knowledge".
The concept needs more than discussion. It needs clarification, though clarification that I am very excited in reading. The potential of which you speak of is amazing... You stated "It would eventually act as a guide to all content browsing systems" — please clarify how the proposed knowledge tree could be a guide to WP's other knowledge trees. It is not clear what you were referring to. A guide to developing them? A guide to using them? Please provide an example, in the form of a quote, of the type of guidance it would provide.
I hope my comments and questions help you to develop your vision of Wikipedia's navigation system of the future more fully. My curiosity about the potential tool that you've been describing is piqued.
I look forward to your reply. Sincerely,    — The Transhumanist   09:21, 28 November 2019 (UTC)
In fact it wasn't my statement that was deleted but part of someone elses and I was just complaining there was no need to delete the comment.
One of the more interesting portal deletion discussions at the moment is Portal:Painting where lack of uptake is also cited. However, Portal:Painting gets 3,500 hits, while Category:Painting gets only 7,000 over the same period. Compare this to 500,000 a day for Wikipedia and 16M a year for Donald Trump. I think it was 3M or 1.5M for Monty Python.
There is no finished product here to replace anything, TTH, It's just an aspiration. The goal of the tree must be full completion and utility even if it never attains that. If it were significantly effective it would either dominate or affect the contents age significantly, in my opinion. I mean, the ultimate goal of such a tree would be to produce an authority on the categorisations of info, so how could it not affect that page significantly in, as it were, full flourish?
No,no. Remove nothing. Embellish, update and refine. I am just looking at the long term goal where a significant and successful tree would possibly dominate the area of content browsing system. At the end of the day, in my view, the tree couldn't simply replace these systems so much as depend on them in the same way they do not replace each other. However, as this tree would focus on the base level in a way unlike the other trees, in the attempt to define the base of knowledge authoritatively, I believe it would be a top level item as far as contents browsing is concerned. But such fruition is not likely in a hurry. Nobody is running up to say ZOMG this is my tree I must help you do this so it's likely to be a quiet and slow process until it is attracting a lot of good research.
"We have many content trees, but none which explain themselves as they go..." A tree of knowledge is more concerned with the definition of knowledge than categorisation. Categorisation is an essential element of that, but it is consequential. Okay, maybe the outlines sort of explain themselves as they go, but not in their tree. (or at least, I believe their tree was just a list of links last time I looked).
A guide to developing them. Wow, I don't know who to quote on trees of knowledge I really know little about them except that I've read a couple and never really thought to prize them and study them deeply. I've tried a cursory glance at a web search, but although this is an important concept, modern culture totally washes over the phrase in a web search. I suppose I will have to do some research on the Cyclopaedia and others it inspired. We're probably going to have to scratch up the entire content ourselves. That may be why this concept has never apparently been approached in a visible way by the site, I don't know.
Can you still not see this as a natural element for the site? I mean, you've been looking at and making trees in this genre for years now. If you can't envisage this variation you must have been taking them for granted in some sort of respects. I don't think you are the only person to define this tree but even if you don't immediately see it, your experience with this whole section as your hobby makes you a key person to consult. These ten or so items you list at the top of most of the browsing schemes, Reference, Culture, Geography, Health... You can probably recite those without looking them up at this stage. You may not have experience with this specific form of the tree, but you've a broad and focused experience with the genre. Frankly, I'm the one who is surprised that you are surprised, but it is certainly a relevant item to an encyclopaedia. It's the only content browsing form I can think of that hasn't yet been tried. I wish I could be more authoritative and truly define the tree for an easy start.
I believe the core topic here is Epistemology. ~ R.T.G 03:50, 29 November 2019 (UTC)
I mentioned "traffic volume", which is another term for "uptake".
The goal of Wikipedia and its navigation systems is comprehensiveness (completeness) of scope and coverage, even though it will never get there (because the world is always changing, and knowledge is continually growing).
As for an authoritative tree, keep in mind that Wikipedia is subject to change by direct editing and discussion. Due to this, all content, including all trees, morph over time. Locking the contents of a tree in place is unlikely and would require vigilant monitoring and maintenance to counter any drifting. Take Category:Main topic classifications and Category:Main topic articles for example. Even though the classifications are defined at the top of each of these pages, nothing prevents editors from adding new subcategories and article links anyways. You could go in there and cull everything that wasn't included in the category's definition, but it would keep filling up again, and you'd have to cull it again periodically, forever.
Concerning a guide, you implied that it would be included within the tree itself, and I just wanted clarification. Guides for developing the various navigation subsystems are in the Wikipedia namespace, where guides on editing should be.
Note, that outlines are evolving from lists of bare links, to having list entries that include annotated descriptions. The process of adding annotations is time consuming and tedious, and will take a very long time to add them to all the outlines. (Unless a way to automate this is developed). For examples of outline pages with annotations, see:
I haven't been surprised. I was concerned, that you planned on replacing the link system on the main contents page without a clear description of what the replacement link system would be, specifically what kinds of links it would have — since we already have trees based on all the link types...
Now I see that what you want is similar to the outline system, and to a lesser extent the index system. Basically, a new top end in the form of a formal taxonomy, plus filling the gaps in the current systems. The new top end could be built on a new page, or it could be facilitated by refining the current set of main classifications. The latter is unlikely to happen without extensive discussion.
For a really good example of a (specialized) knowledge taxonomy, see David Chalmers' work on classifying philosophical concepts at, which he adapted into the classification system for PhilPapers. Unfortunately, these lack annotations. You should try a linkification experiment, copy and paste the taxonomy draft, and convert it to WP wikilinks and to small case. Then load it in a sandbox, press "Preview", and see what happens. You will be amazed at how many of those topics match WP articles and turn blue.
For search terms on building trees of knowledge, try "knowledge classification", "knowledge taxonomy", "taxonomic classification", "library classification system", and "academic classification system". The field of classifying knowledge in general is moving toward automation, as classifying all of human knowledge, and maintaining the classifications, just are not feasible to do manually anymore — the tasks are not scalable. That field is called automatic taxonomy construction, and is a major component of ontology engineering. Many tools for this type of thing, and online navigation in general, are being developed in the field of big data.
As for me, I don't have time to build another navigation system manually. I'm currently studying other ways to do it, out there in the big wide virtual world. I've spent way too much time on this debate/discussion (I couldn't resist the challenge of figuring out what you were talking about).
It has been fun chatting with you. Now I've got to get back to RL (real life).
Sincerely,    — The Transhumanist   10:48, 29 November 2019 (UTC)
In fact, the rationales are not defined on those categories. As toward the tree providing a guide, rather than simply being a categorisation or classification scheme, the tree is about describing knowledge along series of branches, i.e. making the branches appear to make sense rather than simply taking it for granted that they do because they are. This would at very least reflect on the structure of the category tree.
I am having a hard time impressing on you, the fact that classification in and of itself suits automation imparts little information. It is not the purpose of classification to impart information. It is the purpose of the contents browsing system to impart information. Classification for its sake is a mechanical endeavour. Categorisation is a method of the tree of knowledge system, but it is not the goal, just as it is not the goal of contents browsing. Contents browsing is not about rapid retrieval. Sadly, our article on browsing is badly written() so I can't refer you to it.
Categorisation, taxonomy, is consequential. I am now repeating the same line verbatim. You can go on avoiding the Cyclopaedia, trying to view this as an idea I dreamed up one day, something I am trying to convince you I can create that speeds up mechanical fetching, but to do so at this point, you must believe that I do not understand what I am saying.
Ontology engineering is literally about taking philosophical concepts and turning them into machine code. I am trying to convince you to help turn them into philosophical concepts so that they are more humanly accessible. You are convinced that the more machine-like you can become of this information, the more it is going to suit humans. The portals are being rapidly deleted now. Are you not prepared to accept a change? Do you not see the merit in a machine which can understand human topics over the machine which can process them into categories? Do you really believe you can overcome the current difficulty with an automated process based on rejecting understanding? You must believe the complaints are wholly unfounded, and that belief is a mistake.
It doesn't take a great philosopher to tell you the idea of information without understanding may seem a bit silly. The idea that you are simply going to springboard another hurried automated system without focusing on understanding is going to cement your boots here TTH, and I'm trying to pitch you against that. I may be difficult to understand, but what you are proposing is clear and easy to understand. There is an angry mob outside saying, "This is not cake! This is bullshit!" I'm offering you cake enough to feed them all. You are instead extolling the concept of better woven flour sacks. The sacks are empty, your majesty, no matter how well they are woven. You are going to have to come down off your milk and drink your horse. ~ R.T.G 18:17, 30 November 2019 (UTC)
You seem to assume that I'm going to develop another navigation system on Wikipedia. You are entitled to your beliefs.    — The Transhumanist   07:59, 1 December 2019 (UTC)


Has anybody suggested focusing on portals which either do not share titles with articles, or whose main content takes leave of the article sharing the title, taking a lead of sorts from the highly successful Portal:Current events? Obviously there are few portals with such a broad range as current events, but it's a good example of how a portal which functions as a multiplex is beyond the usual reproach. Portal:Current events has been edited less than ten times in the last 2 years and is receiving 17 million hits currently. ~ R.T.G 00:31, 1 December 2019 (UTC)

Current events isn't a portal. It just happens to be a department that was placed in the portal namespace. Contrary to your page stat check, it is a very active department. Also, it is highly labor intensive. Where is the labor going to come from for these elaborate proposals of yours? By the way, I'm not longer more than peripherally involved with portals. Cheers.    — The Transhumanist   08:02, 1 December 2019 (UTC)
The current events portal, is getting edited on a seasonal basis, and gets 17 million hits. You've been looking for models. If you haven't considered this one, it is one. Whatever is peripheral to that portal is regardless to the fact that it is a working model of a portal getting 17M hits. If you'll forgive me, I think you will tend to say that this portal isn't one of the portal crowd, is unique in its own right, and fail to consider it a model which can be applied across the board. It is a portal of which the contents are not closely defined by the article of the same name, but rather the genre. It is a portal of one entrance but many exits. It has a generalised focus. It is more difficult to complain about its focus and much easier to generate interest in.
Transhumanist, when you say stuff like where is the labour going to come from, I imagine the arguments against the original Wikipedia, so you might as well try to get a duck wet... ~ R.T.G 14:18, 1 December 2019 (UTC)
Like you said, "it is not one of the portal crowd"; because it isn't a portal. They just didn't know where else to put it. Portals are subject-based. We have a subject-based counterpart to Current Events: the Main page. Perhaps that's enough. Note, that both Current Events and the Main page have a link on Wikipedia's sidebar menu which is displayed on every page on Wikipedia. And Current Events has a link on the Main Page itself. If you were wondering where the traffic for Current Events was coming from, now you know. There's your model.
A handful of portals each have a link on the Main page. They also do quite well as far as page traffic is concerned.
Concerning labour, I was merely referring to the trend. Portals haven't gotten much labor applied to them, as a whole, for as long as they've existed (about 15 years). Compared to ducks, portals are parched dry. For this reason, their current model is not scalable. If you have a way of reversing that trend, then go for it.    — The Transhumanist   08:44, 2 December 2019 (UTC)

Trees of knowledge on Wikipedia: an overviewEdit

Dear RTG,

I see that you are not going to let this drop. Good for you. Wikipedia needs visionaries who will keep going against all odds to turn vision into reality.

The main thing about your approach that I disagree with is that you are trying to get other people to do it, rather than start it yourself. You may be waiting a very long time, and writing a lot of messages in your push, when creating a new top end for Wikipedia's rich taxonomic resources may take you just a couple of weeks or so.

You are essentially asking others to feed you fish. But if you were to make your own fishing net, it would feed you for a lifetime. In other words, you won't be able to climb the tree until it gets planted and grows, so you might as well plant the thing now.

By the way, in my presentation below, when I say "tree", I'm referring to tree structure, which can be any format that represents a hierarchy.

Keep in mind that all multi-page contents systems on Wikipedia are technically networks rather than strict hierarchies (trees), because of extensive cross-linking and looping. But, since the presentation format of outlines is hierarchical (even though the outlines themselves don't always link together hierarchically), I'll continue referring to them (singularly and together) as trees.

Here are the basics of what I know about trees of knowledge on Wikipedia, past and present. It may help you in two ways that I can think of. First, you may find them useful for navigation (especially the multi-page trees, and the linkified 3rd-party trees). Second, you may find in them insight (or actual text to rework) for building the next generation tree of knowledge.

All outlines on Wikipedia are knowledge trees. The main lists of outlines are trees of knowledge:

Since outlines, including the topmost outlines, list other outlines and other lists in them, the entire set of outlines (and the lists they link to) is a huge multi-page tree of knowledge, even more extensive than the Propædia (but not as complete in scope - it still has many gaps that the Propædia did not). Of course, Wikipedia's outline system has the advantage of being fully linkified (to Wikipedia content).

By the way, a straight (single-level) list is a branch, while outlines have multiple branches in them (they're lists of embedded lists). It doesn't really matter where the branches are – if you link them together, you have expanded your tree of knowledge.

Each of Wikipedia's contents systems has a top-level contents page that is a tree of knowledge:

This brings us to the 3rd-party trees. They have special value on Wikipedia, as their entries are linked to Wikipedia pages. So, in addition to being a presentation about a famous reference work, they double as navigation trees to Wikipedia content.

The best part of the article on Figurative system of human knowledge is that the tree itself is presented as an outline within the article, linked to Wikipedia content. See The Tree of Diderot and d'Alembert.

But that isn't the best tree of knowledge that Wikipedia has had...

Unfortunately, most of the very best tree of knowledge on Wikipedia was deleted years ago, as a copyvio. Several levels of the Propædia's Outline of Knowledge (maybe even the whole thing) were included in the Wikipedia namespace, and they were entirely linkified. By the time they were deleted, most of the redlinks had turned blue. It was an incredible navigation resource.

I've hunted for copies of those pages a few times over the years, but I cant' remember exactly what they were called. I can't even find them in the MfDs (I'm not sure they were ever listed). My searches for them on the Internet Archive have so far failed (possibly due to the æ in their titles).

Eventually, I will extract copies of them from somewhere. If you get to them first, please let me know.

I hope the above jottings help you in your quest.

Sincerely,    — The Transhumanist   12:55, 2 December 2019 (UTC)

P.S.: @RTG: ping    — The Transhumanist   12:29, 3 December 2019 (UTC)

Wow. There has to be something in it, as it's an idea that's been around. ~ R.T.G 22:55, 3 December 2019 (UTC)
This is like, a tree which contains the forest. ~ R.T.G 15:21, 5 December 2019 (UTC)
@RTG: Wikipedia:Comparison of Wikipedia's and Britannica's outlines of knowledge (By the way, it's referring to Wikipedia:Contents/Outlines). Enjoy.    — The Transhumanist   23:17, 8 December 2019 (UTC)
It's great but we need studies of consilience on categorisation of a list like this. I'm surprised that the only field of science coming up committed to a tree of knowledge is psychology. Odds of me downloading a Wikipedia:Size of Wikipedia is unlikely. However, the larger levels will probably be a lot easier to compose. Here is what I'm looking at that's not been linked here so far:-

Tracking down the linkified PropaediaEdit

@RTG: I tried looking for historical data dumps, and haven't been able to find them. But I did come across this: Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2017-02-06/Technology report#Backing up Wikimedia states:

The backups are stored in the Virginia and Texas datacenters, and are deleted after about 45–50 days for privacy policy compliance, Kosiaris explained.

Perhaps Internet Archive keeps older data dumps. Keep your fingers crossed.    — The Transhumanist   23:28, 8 December 2019 (UTC)

  1. Matter and energy
    1. Atomic nucleus, subatomic particles
    2. Energy, radiation, states of matter
    3. The universe
      1. Cosmos
      2. Galaxies, stars, solar system
  2. Earth
    1. Properties
    2. Atmosphere and hydrosphere
    3. Surface of Earth
    4. History of Earth
  3. Life on earth
    1. Nature of living things
    2. Molecular basis of life
    3. Organisms
    4. Behavior of organisms
    5. Biosphere
  4. Human life
    1. Stages of development of human life on Earth
    2. Human health and diseases
    3. Human behavior and experience
    4. Communication and language
    5. Aspects of man's daily life
  5. Human society
    1. Culture
    2. Social organization and social change
    3. Production, distribution, and utilization of wealth
    4. Politics and government
    5. Law
    6. Education
  6. Art
    1. General
    2. Particular arts
  7. Technology
    1. Nature and development of technology
    2. Elements of technology
    3. Major fields of technology
  8. Religion
    1. General
    2. Particular religions
  9. The history of mankind
    1. Ancient Southwest Asia, North Africa, and Europe
    2. Medieval Southwest Asia, North Africa, and Europe
    3. East, Central, South, and Southeast Asia
    4. Sub-Saharan Africa to 1885
    5. Pre-Columbian America
    6. Modern world to 1920
    7. Since 1920
  10. The branches of knowledge
    1. Logic
    2. Mathematics
    3. Science
    4. History and the humanities
    5. Philosophy
    —Synopsis of Wikipedia's content layout, which is a tree, as inspired by Mortimer Adler's "circle of knowledge" (and thus a cyclic graph). Adler's circle of knowledge was used in the Great Books, and in EB 15th edition forward. From my recollection of my thought processes. Even back then, Wikipedia easily surpassed EB's 65,000 articles, in detail, to the extent of going well beyond Adler's bias for the Western canon. Section 10 was "Knowledge made self-conscious", in Adler's words. Perhaps other editors can improve my reconstruction, for example using history of the world as section 9. It is easy enough to wikilink this contribution. --Ancheta Wis   (talk | contribs) 01:18, 9 December 2019 (UTC)
@Ancheta Wis: Ah, wonderful! A wikigenie, with impeccable timing. Exactly what we need. "I wish..."
Dear Ancheta Wis, there used to be a copy of the Propaedia (on many pages) in the Wikipedia namespace, with its topics linked to Wikipedia articles.
I wish to know the names of those pages, especially the base page, and when they were deleted.
They were (speedy) deleted for copy vio reasons, and so only an admin can look them up.
Will you be so kind as to hunt these down, please?
Thank you,    — The Transhumanist   08:52, 9 December 2019 (UTC)
Try ‎Propaedia history Ancheta Wis (talk | contribs | block) at 01:37, 29 January 2005 (→‎Propaedia) for a start, but you probably know this one. --09:16, 9 December 2019 (UTC)
@Ancheta Wis: Thank you for the timely and thoughtful reply. What I'm looking for was a reconstruction of the Propaedia's Outline of Knowledge, in the Wikipedia namespace. It had many subpages. It was notable, in that its entries were linked to Wikipedia articles. For the life of me, I can't remember what they were titled, or when they were deleted. What tools do admins have for looking up speedy deleted pages?    — The Transhumanist   09:27, 9 December 2019 (UTC)
The path I am following has found The Oxford Calculators, Intellectualism (has two templates at the foot), ... But you are asking for something more.. Template:20th century, Category:20th century in science, .. Solar eclipse of July 16, 2186, .., List of wealthiest animals, ..Animal testing, ..Nonverbal communication, Template:Communication studies, Category:Academic disciplines, .. General reference (see in all page types), or A Syntopicon , or the template at the foot of Outline of knowledge, or How to Read a Book, or the template at the foot of Outline of knowledge (which almost lists the 10 nodes of Adler's circle of knowledge), or ... --Ancheta Wis   (talk | contribs) 11:03, 9 December 2019 (UTC)
@Ancheta Wis: What I'm looking for is a re-creation of the Outline of Knowledge from the Propædia, in the Wikipedia namespace. All of its pages started with "Wikipedia:". It had many subpages, and was a total copyvio. One day, it was just nuked. The only place to find them is among deleted pages, which only admins can look at. Unless they were totally hidden. But then, they'd still show up in a log somewhere. I don't know if they had "Propedia", "Propaedia", or "Propædia" in the title, or "Britannica", or "Outline of Knowledge", or something else. All I know is that they were deleted. Which is why I need the help of an admin to find them. I need to know their titles and the date they were deleted.    — The Transhumanist   12:09, 9 December 2019 (UTC)
I'm sorry, Dave ... --Ancheta Wis   (talk | contribs) 12:59, 9 December 2019 (UTC)
It's great but we need studies of consilience on categorisation of a list like this. I'm surprised that the only field of science coming up committed to a tree of knowledge is psychology. Odds of me downloading a Wikipedia:Size of Wikipedia is unlikely. However, the larger levels will probably be a lot easier to compose. Here is what I'm looking at that's not been linked here so far:-

You need not necessarily download a whole Wikipedia. 1) The old Wikipedia that contains those pages is probably only around 3G in size. 2) If you can find those pages in a mirror or archive somewhere, you can copy just those pages and convert their links if necessary. After all, we're looking for the linkified Propaedia, not necessarily WP with the Propaedia in it. But, either would be fine with me.

Concerning your ontological approach, it sounds like a branch in the tree of knowledge, rather than being the tree itself. However, you should just start a page in your userspace, and see how it develops. It doesn't matter how pedantic the terms are, as it is just an experiment at this point. Who knows what you will learn or discover during the process. Go for it!    — The Transhumanist   00:07, 13 December 2019 (UTC)

Historical archivesEdit

@RTG: Okay, Wikimedia does keep historical archives of enwiki (English Wikipedia). They weren't intuitive to find. I found a link on User:Emijrp/Wikipedia Archive.

For example, see

Once you are in the dump directories, you can edit the url in your browser to navigate between them.

There are copies of Wikipedia as far back as 2005, which is when I started, so the pages we are looking for have to be in there somewhere.

To access those pages, you would need to 1) download the dump. 2) install MediaWiki or Xowa. 3) load the dump into one of those. I did a load in Xowa once, and would recommend that because the instructions were easy enough to follow. The instructions for MediaWiki are like reading Plutonian.

A lesser solution would be to download the dump and scan it with AWB's database scanner. With that you might be able to verify if the desired pages were in there.

Hope that helps.    — The Transhumanist   00:36, 9 December 2019 (UTC)

The first two levels of the Propaedia one are listed on Propaedia. It seems to suggest that is them all. It says each of the base ten was fronted by an essay with titles like, "Knowledge Become Self-conscious" and "Religion as Symbolism". Was there something like that on a previous version of Wikipedia? ~ R.T.G 09:07, 12 December 2019 (UTC)

A Barnstar for youEdit

Original Barnstar Hires.png The Original Barnstar
message Ambuj Shukla 19:16, 2 November 2019 (UTC)

You have made immense contributions to outlines over the years, and have encouraged many more Wikipedians to follow your lead. The impact of your contributions are great. Keep doing the good work! — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ambujshukla2004 (talkcontribs) 19:16, 2 November 2019 (UTC)

@Ambujshukla2004: Thank you. By the way, what do you find useful about outlines?    — The Transhumanist   00:06, 19 November 2019 (UTC)

Documentation for Template:Transclude random subpage?Edit

I am unclear on what the "seed" and "max" parameters do in Template:Transclude random subpage, and can't find documentation for this template. BD2412 T 17:04, 17 November 2019 (UTC)

@BD2412: The documentation was at the module for some reason. I copied it to the template's doc page, but it read like Greek, so I tried to "translate" it as close to plain English as I could. Hopefully, it is more understandable than it was.
As far as I remember, and as far as I can tell, there is no seed parameter. Though the term "seed" is short for random seed. For templates that support a seed, the seed number provided stirs up the randomization process. One method to make a randomizer truly random, or very close to it, is to program it to feed in the current time as the seed, down to the microsecond.
max is the number of numerical sub-subpages. For example, if there are 32 article excerpt subpages, then you'd set max=32 (or less).
By the way, I did not design this template/module. It's ancient; using static excerpts on subpages for transclusions in portals is very inefficient and maintenance heavy (for new portals, it's better to use dynamic section transclusion --> to display text in real time from live articles). For legacy portals that were getting their page layout upgraded, I cloned Module:Random portal component, and stripped out the box formatting so that it would just do a content transclusion (without a box, so you could insert it into an existing box without having boxes embedded within boxes). That way, you could have all the boxes on a portal match, rather than be stuck with the box formatting built-in to Random portal component.
I hope you found my jiberish clear enough to understand. Hopefully, the documentation will be even more helpful. Sincerely,    — The Transhumanist   04:29, 18 November 2019 (UTC)
Thanks, I understand. Cheers! BD2412 T 04:36, 18 November 2019 (UTC)

ArbCom 2019 election voter messageEdit

Scale of justice 2.svgHello! Voting in the 2019 Arbitration Committee elections is now open until 23:59 on Monday, 2 December 2019. All eligible users are allowed to vote. Users with alternate accounts may only vote once.

The Arbitration Committee is the panel of editors responsible for conducting the Wikipedia arbitration process. It has the authority to impose binding solutions to disputes between editors, primarily for serious conduct disputes the community has been unable to resolve. This includes the authority to impose site bans, topic bans, editing restrictions, and other measures needed to maintain our editing environment. The arbitration policy describes the Committee's roles and responsibilities in greater detail.

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Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Portal:PaintingEdit

Although your name has been mentioned (insults included) and you are the creator of the portal I don't know if anyone has yet alerted you that this portal is up for deletion. A spirited discussion has been ongoing, the discussion has been closed as 'keep' then reopened and is now relisted, so please come by and join in if you'd like. Randy Kryn (talk) 12:25, 19 November 2019 (UTC)

So are you totally finished with Portals? Was hoping that if this one is kept that you would assist in bettering it. Thanks for creating it. Randy Kryn (talk) 13:04, 21 November 2019 (UTC)
You are welcome. I don't know (what my time availability or interest in them will be in the foreseeable future).    — The Transhumanist   12:27, 22 November 2019 (UTC)

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


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

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

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

If you have any questions, please let us know at

Thank you!

--User:Martin Urbanec (talk) 21:59, 23 November 2019 (UTC)

Who maintains the main subject classification on Wikipedia:Contents?Edit

I'd been researching things related to knowledge organization for a while now, and have compared Wikipedia's classification system with other schemes. I can see improvement prospects in the categories, but I don't know how to start or whom to contact. (talk) 07:52, 24 November 2019 (UTC)

Thank you for your interest. First things first... Did you intend to post without being logged in? If not, please sign your post with your Wikipedia user account name. I look forward to your reply. Thank you.    — The Transhumanist   12:09, 24 November 2019 (UTC)

Main contents pageEdit

Dear Beland,

I've added a subject classification section to the top of the main contents page.

Since you are the one who revised the page to its current structure, I thought you would like to know.

If you feel the new section doesn't work right or belong, please feel free to remove it or edit it in whatever way you feel fit.

As always, your keen eye and talent for knowledge organization is highly valued and appreciated.

Sincerely,    — The Transhumanist   13:58, 24 November 2019 (UTC)

Oh hey, I'd forgotten all about that. Looks good! -- Beland (talk) 18:45, 25 November 2019 (UTC)

Scripts++ Newsletter – Issue 11Edit

This Month in Education: November 2019Edit

This Month in Education

Volume 8 • Issue 11 • November 2019


In This Issue

About This Month in Education · Subscribe/Unsubscribe · Global message delivery · For the team: Romaine 03:15, 29 November 2019 (UTC)

Speedy deletion nomination of Draft:Outline of the LGBT communityEdit

A tag has been placed on Draft:Outline of the LGBT community, requesting that it be deleted from Wikipedia. This has been done under two or more of the criteria for speedy deletion, by which pages can be deleted at any time, without discussion. If the page meets any of these strictly-defined criteria, then it may soon be deleted by an administrator. The reasons it has been tagged are:

If you think this page should not be deleted for this reason, you may contest the nomination by visiting the page and clicking the button labelled "Contest this speedy deletion". This will give you the opportunity to explain why you believe the page should not be deleted. However, be aware that once a page is tagged for speedy deletion, it may be deleted without delay. Please do not remove the speedy deletion tag from the page yourself, but do not hesitate to add information in line with Wikipedia's policies and guidelines. If the page is deleted, and you wish to retrieve the deleted material for future reference or improvement, then please contact the deleting administrator, or if you have already done so, you can place a request here. -Crossroads- (talk) 15:55, 29 November 2019 (UTC)


Hi! I saw some of your contributions about defending portals. I'm from Catalan Wikipedia, and made some Portal contributions in the past and recently I saw an incremental desire from new users and the indifference from old ones to kill that wiki space, and I'm afraid of massive deletions like the enwiki. They are talking about low pageviews, few contributors and oudated portals/sections. I think we can get rid of the last one, having most of the existing portals polished, Is there anything else I can do to stop this spiral against the portals? Thanks in advance!--Manlleus (talk) 20:09, 1 December 2019 (UTC)

@Manlleus: I assume you are talking about preventing the deletion mania from spreading to the Catalan Wikipedia...
The entire country here is struggling with how to handle bullying behavior. That's also what is behind the portal deletion debacle on en.Wikipeia. As long as your wiki disciplines admins, in a timely fashion, who break the behavioral rules of the wiki, then I believe you have nothing to worry about.
America isn't acting very rationally these days, and perhaps that has affected en.Wikipedia. Once Trump is properly disciplined, hopefully the whole country will settle back down. The rest of the world is highly wary of what is happening in the US, and for the most part has determined not to follow in Trump's footsteps.
I think the same can be said for the many Wikipedias. I imagine that their editing communities are saner and more cordial than ours. So, I doubt they will take en.Wikipedia's madness concerning portals as an example to follow. On the contrary, I think they will view it as a caveat.
Parallel to Congress' impeachment inquiry, the en.Wikipedia community is trying to resolve the problem underlying the portal conflict, with its disciplinary system. See Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case/Portals.
Thanks for your question. I hope I've put your worries at ease.    — The Transhumanist   08:12, 2 December 2019 (UTC)
P.S.: @Manlleus: ping.    — The Transhumanist   00:38, 9 December 2019 (UTC)
thanks for your kind words. I don't think that parallelism can be applied to each Wikipedia, but in my opinion, American people has a huge say on english Wikipedia, and maybe you're right on your thoughts, but there's the reality of nation diversity contributing on it, and that means some type of disorganization and little user/community cohesion. For the moment, my Wiki decided to remove all links to portals from the articles (without the consent of those who edit the portals) except main article and category. Sad but it's definitely better than massive deletions, so we only see fewer pageviews but some interested users keep contribuiting. I'll keep an eye about the related Portals-Wikiproject to share efforts to improve that wiki space, cross-language too. Thanks for the comments--Manlleus (talk) 15:02, 9 December 2019 (UTC)

Your draft article, Draft:Outline of Doctor WhoEdit

Hello, The Transhumanist. It has been over six months since you last edited the Articles for Creation submission or Draft page you started, "Outline of Doctor Who".

In accordance with our policy that Wikipedia is not for the indefinite hosting of material deemed unsuitable for the encyclopedia mainspace, the draft has been nominated for deletion. If you plan on working on it further, or editing it to address the issues raised if it was declined, simply edit the submission and remove the {{db-afc}}, {{db-draft}}, or {{db-g13}} code.

If your submission has already been deleted by the time you get there, and you wish to retrieve it, you can request its undeletion by following the instructions at this link. An administrator will, in most cases, restore the submission so you can continue to work on it.

Thank you for your submission to Wikipedia! UnitedStatesian (talk) 18:00, 2 December 2019 (UTC)

Your draft article, Draft:Outline of George WashingtonEdit

Hello, The Transhumanist. It has been over six months since you last edited the Articles for Creation submission or Draft page you started, "Outline of George Washington".

In accordance with our policy that Wikipedia is not for the indefinite hosting of material deemed unsuitable for the encyclopedia mainspace, the draft has been nominated for deletion. If you plan on working on it further, or editing it to address the issues raised if it was declined, simply edit the submission and remove the {{db-afc}}, {{db-draft}}, or {{db-g13}} code.

If your submission has already been deleted by the time you get there, and you wish to retrieve it, you can request its undeletion by following the instructions at this link. An administrator will, in most cases, restore the submission so you can continue to work on it.

Thank you for your submission to Wikipedia! HasteurBot (talk) 02:00, 9 December 2019 (UTC)

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