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User talk:Larry Sanger/Archive 11

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Definitions: what are they and why do we need them?

Excuse me for being stupid, but nowhere in all these discussions in various Forums and User Pages do I find a *clue* as to *why* we want a "definition" or as to *what* it is. All I can glean is that if an article such as Ray Casey currently has a Def. tab at the top, that means that there is *no* "definiton" and that one should therefore be written on the Def. tab page.

  • Once this is written, apparently, in a truly existential act (or non-act) the Def. tab disappears!
    • If the Def. tab is now invisible, then what good is it?
    • What does the new definition (invisible, remember) accomplish? Something, apparently, or all this discussion about it would not be underway. But for a guy like me, who just wants to write simple-minded articles about Backhand (tennis) and Spareribs (barbecued), what am I missing? Hayford Peirce 12:41, 12 May 2008 (CDT)
Well...we decided to have definitions etc. back when we instituted subpages. Their purpose can be ascertained on CZ:Related Articles: they make those subpages much more usable. They have only recently become visible because Chris had the bright idea of how to move definitions to subpages from their current locations.
Hmm, yes, we know that the def tab disappears. That's its designed behavior (you should talk to User:Chris Day about this). It is interesting that you find this disconcerting. Tell this to Chris! If you find it disconcerting, so do I. --Larry Sanger 15:29, 12 May 2008 (CDT)
Two problems seem to be emerging here. One, the def tab is not liked by all, even as a reminder. Two, the noinclude code at the top of the definition subpage is causing confusion. One solution might be to axe the tab and the code at the top and go with a definition subpage that does not include the subpages template. After all if there is no tab link then readers will not surf onto that page, it will essentially be invisible until someone want to edit the definition. All we would lose would be a category that can show us our definition subpages that are not as part of a cluster.
If we are going with a hidden def subpage then maybe we should just go with it being in the metadata? In the long term i envisage that the user interface with the metadata page will be very user friendly and adding the definition there will be as easy as typing into a text box. If that is likely to be the case it might solve future problems to have the definition there from the start? Do you have a strong reason for having it on its own subpage? Basically, neither place is perfect, so I wonder if we need to think more long term. Maybe a computer expert is the right one to ask for an opinion on this? Chris Day 22:00, 12 May 2008 (CDT)
I agree that if editing the definition in the metadata were just as easy as typing it into its own text box, then I would support that change. isn't as easy. And, it probably won't become as easy anytime soon. I'm not sure what future problems this might solve. And, after all, when we do have a more automated metadata solution, presumably we'll have a lot more programming help and so we'll be able to switch the location then. Sure, consult all relevant experts! I'm just concerned about keeping it maximally simple to use.
I don't mind removing the def tab. As long as it's on the talk page, as it is now, that ought to be enough for our purposes. But--and this is something worth thinking and discussing some more--there is one decided advantage to keeping the def tab there. It is that it is obviously a little "itch" that contributors have been "scratching." And it's an itch that has been needed to be scratched. So, if we were to remove the def tab, there would be both good and bad: on the one hand, we would simplify the subpage templates (for definitionless articles); on the other hand, we would not produce quite as many definitions (how many fewer, it's hard to say). I'd leave this up to you, Chris... --Larry Sanger 12:39, 13 May 2008 (CDT)
What about the removal of the noinclude code and subpages template from the definition subpage? Is there any good reason for keeping it? Without a tab for the definition page in the cluster then no readers will be browsing the definition subpage.
Personally, i think the tab serves a useful role in causing an itch. I wonder whether we should keep that and the To-do list reminder for now.
Another reason for not going the metadata location route is that the pre include size of the R template will increase, potentially by a lot. Chris Day 14:15, 13 May 2008 (CDT)
Good points. Yes, I don't mind removing {{subpages}} from the Definition subpages. No point to having it there if it's not going to be viewed by users.
OK I'm just going to play devil's advocate--I don't care, but maybe users would like to see a Definition page. Want a single simple definition, that's all? There it is. Want more info? Click the tabs. By the way, it wouldn't be a bad idea to have a little graphic (which we can take down after some months?) advertising the existence of more content, when it exists. "Look above --> for more content on this topic." And after all, sometimes people do search for definitions. If we have a page titled "Term > Definition" we'll probably bring in traffic just from that. At least there could be such a graphic/message on the Definition subpage.
If we did have a non-disappearing Definition tab, I'm thinking that writing out "Definition" would be better than "Def" -- the former is clearer and more user-friendly rather than contributor-friendly. But it would make me worried that, as on articles like Life, there would be too many tabs! I'm sure you have worried about wrapping tabs. Remember, I warned this would be a problem with horizontal display of subpage links!!!
I predict that if we don't include {{subpages}} on the Definition subpages, some people will put it there not realizing that those subpages are used as templates, and will proceed to screw up Related Articles pages. I don't know how serious a problem this would be, but it probably would be an annoying little problem at least. --Larry Sanger 14:26, 13 May 2008 (CDT)
Since i developed both I abstained from the horizontal/vertical vote since I didn't want my endorsement to color the debate. :) Often I will push both sides of a debate just to get feedback and make sure i have seen all the possible solutions. Besides we can always switch back to vertical if articles like life becomes a real problem, that is more about aesthetics than function.
I had not thought about people entering from an external search. That is a good a reason to keep tabs on the definition page. Obviously anything on that page, other than the definition, has to be within noinclude tags so if we went with a graphic we might as well go the whole hog with the the subpages template. I think you are also correct that it might be tempting for people to add the subpages template to the definition template if one is not there. And that would really mess up the related articles pages. How about we leave everything as it is for a while and see how people respond after a month. In summary:
  1. I'll make the red tab name read "definition" but keep its disappearing property once the defintion exists.
  2. I'll keep the subpages template between the noinclude tags
  3. I'll keep the to-do list reminder.
  4. I'll tweek the definition pre-load text to try and make it more informative.
Chris Day 14:55, 13 May 2008 (CDT)


I solved that problem there was a template in the wrong place. Not sure how I missed it. Chris Day 22:02, 12 May 2008 (CDT)

disambig strategy

I think this got archived before you got a chance to respond to it, so I'll put a copy here...

Hi, I've finally gotten around to writing a draft proposal. You can see it at CZ:Proposals/Disambiguation mechanics‎; comments appreciated. J. Noel Chiappa 12:02, 13 May 2008 (CDT)

Merciless editing

Hi, maybe it's time to change that "If you don't want your writing to be edited mercilessly and redistributed at will, then don't submit it here" that we inherited from Wikipedia? See Talk:Central Intelligence Agency‎#Huge deletions not justified for what brought this to mind. (The message is MediaWiki:Copyrightwarning if you need the location.) J. Noel Chiappa 10:28, 16 May 2008 (CDT)

yeah, I removed stuff quoting a nonexistent government report that probably was a hoax and certainly fails all reliability tests. (ie quotes from a "document" that archivists have searched for and not found, indeed there is no evidence it existed in the first place.) Only one person claims to have seen this "official government document," and he lost his notes. The section removed had some quotes from the supposed document, but mostly was about its mystery status. A famous historian did make the quotes, but his citation was to the Kennedy papers and the Kennedy archivists say it never was there; the historian (Schlesinger) says he lent out his notes and never got them back and has no copies. If reliability means anything, this scores a 2 on a scale 1 to 100. Richard Jensen 10:37, 16 May 2008 (CDT)

I think I wrote the "edited mercilessly" bit back in 2001--amazing that it is still around. I went ahead and changed it.

Richard, my response is going to be the same as in so many other cases: you might have good reasons for doing what you do. But CZ is a collaborative enterprise, and that means indulging in some discussion before making dramatic edits. If making large deletions without prior discussion upsets other people in the project, as it usually does, it does not matter how well justified the deletions are (and I would agree that, if there is not another legitimate side to this issue, we probably don't want to include the material you deleted). Besides, as you must know as well as anyone, we have a policy that specifically forbids unexplained deletions. In fact, you can be banned for it after a warning. --Larry Sanger 12:06, 16 May 2008 (CDT)

P.S. I don't mean to make any decision or ruling or anything about the particular case in question; perhaps there was adequate discussion in advance in this case. I suspect that this is a case yet again where what is called for is an intelligent compromise with CZ:Neutrality Policy in mind. Without such compromises, we'll always be fighting. Intelligent compromise is the heart and soul of intelligent collaboration. --LMS

Gentle guidance

Maybe it is time to remind long-time editors about the gentle guidance clause, especially when dealing with authors who joined only 3 weeks ago. I hate to see new people driven away, especially prolific ones. David E. Volk 10:46, 16 May 2008 (CDT)

Hi David, could you give me a pointer to what you mean, by e-mail? But such a reminder is probably a good idea on general principles. --Larry Sanger 11:54, 16 May 2008 (CDT)


Larry i just want to alert you to a bug I found. The same problem exists in wikipedia too so this is nothing the new processor will improve. Basically in the current format the definitions cannot be used as a template directly, only as part a more convoluted template such as {{R}} (More here). The problem is that the line break we currently have on the definition page does not appear in the R template but does when the definition subpage is transcluded on its own. Below is an examples.



The science of life — of complex, self-organizing, information-processing systems living in the past, present or future.

This is not a major problem since at present we only use definitions as part of a template. And possibly in the future too? However, if you have plans to use the transcluded form directly from the definition subpage we need to remove the line break so that it is in the form of either:

-->Definition here.

Or go with the following:

<noinc1ude>{{Subpages}}</noinc1ude>Definition here.

Rather than what we currently have:

Definition here.

Two ways forward here. Either change CZ:Definitions so that is does not suggest transcluding the defintion page directly or remove the line break from all definitions and rewrite the preload to reflect this policy. I favor rewriting CZ:Definitions and only using the definitions with a tempalte like {{R}} or similar. Chris Day 11:10, 16 May 2008 (CDT)

As you see I just went ahead with this and wrote the {{Def}} template. Seems like a no brainer in retrospect. So for the /Defintion subpages we can keep the current format. Chris Day 12:45, 16 May 2008 (CDT)
Sounds good. (I knew what you meant.) --Larry Sanger 12:46, 16 May 2008 (CDT)

Regarding Bibliographies

Hi Larry,

Saw your post on the CIA article regarding bibliographies and just thought I should pop my head up (As usual!) Generally the task is to get as much information on the article itself. It is as much psychological as anything else to have the bibliographies on the article page at one time; it is under the principle that when the entire article is finished, then the bibliography can be moved to the subpage. Furthermore, a small 'further reading' section containing parts of the bibliography is useful within an article, and sometimes its just easier to leave the entire bibliography there until the article gets to the stage of polishing up things; such as leaving a 'further reading' section. Just thought I should let you know this is my (And probably Richards, from my observations and dealings with him) method for writing articles and why I don't fill out the subpages straight away. I hope this makes sense. (Beginning to feel like it doesn't) Denis Cavanagh 19:38, 16 May 2008 (CDT)

As long as you don't mind it when others move your bibliographies to bibliography subpages, and don't ask others not to move them, that's fine with me. It would be easier, however, if you just started the bibliographies on the subpages--or, of course, you could propose to make your practice standard practice...since you are defending your behavior, it looks like you want to do that (i.e., change our standard practices).  :-) Anyway, I'd rather not try to force people to change their behavior if they're doing a lot of good work, even if their behavior is against our rules, unless they really make a nuisance of themselves.  :-) --Larry Sanger 13:08, 19 May 2008 (CDT)
I agree with Denis. When we're drafting an article it's much easier to have the bibliog at the botton so we can keep track of what is covered. When the article is mostly done then move to its separate page.Richard Jensen 13:24, 19 May 2008 (CDT)
I was going to suggest the 'Further Reading' thing (i.e. selecting a few of the best things which one would suggest for a novice looking to take their next steps ina field, and sticking that at the bottom of the article) as a policy change, but it's mired in my ToDo list somewhere... :-) J. Noel Chiappa 13:34, 19 May 2008 (CDT)
Well, the articles are written for readers, and if they see bibliographies in two different places, they'll be confused. So I have a suggestion: open another window!  :-)
I'm not opposed to "Further Reading" and making that distinct from the bibliography; I'm not even opposed to having that as part of the main article. But actually, it would be best to keep "further reading" fairly short and include extensive annotations, if its function really is indicated by the description "further reading" (these are a few pointers we'd give to someone who we pretend really intends to read more about the topic now), and is distinct in function from that of bibliography. It would serve the purpose of a brief, beginner's introduction to the literature on the topic. If it were annotated and in prose form, then there is no inconsistency with the idea that other kinds of information can be found on subpages: this is prose general information about the topic, i.e., it's a prose description of the best sources to learn more about the topic. And, that would be a great thing to make a proposal out of, you know... --Larry Sanger 13:57, 19 May 2008 (CDT)
Its too small an issue to get the EC council involved in; Is there a specific article policy that doesn't allow a further reading section? Denis Cavanagh 14:02, 19 May 2008 (CDT)
Denis, about whether the Editorial Council needs to be involved, you are guessing; and you don't need to guess about how a proposal is decided on if you use CZ:Proposals. Nope, there is no policy that doesn't allow such a section. If you want to add such a section, do so. However, I don't believe anyone has been doing so. And, for the sake of uniformity and "least surprise," it would be good to make such a good idea "official policy." --Larry Sanger 19:43, 19 May 2008 (CDT)
Larry, what you propose is pretty much what I'd like to see. You can see one that's starting down that road at Michael Faraday/Draft#Further reading, although some entries aren't deeply annotated yet (I don't have all these works). Can it be an annotated list, as there, or do you really prefer prose? I would think prose really would look ugly if we include things like publisher, ISBN's, etc.
I would like to make it formal policy because I'd like to see all (well, as near as practical) our articles eventually include a really nice Further Reading section like that. J. Noel Chiappa 14:25, 19 May 2008 (CDT)
I stand corrected, then, about whether anyone has added "Further reading" sections yet! But in this case, I agree--this "Further reading" is not really prose, but just looks like an annotated bibliography, and we have an already-established place for those (CZ:Bibliography subpages :-) ).
Let me be clear. What I am trying to prevent from happening is strong-willed editors and authors (you know who you are) from just going off on their own, potentially duplicating effort, or doing things that, when our work is taken all together, prove to be essentially incoherent. I am largely in favor of people doing what they want, when they want, and trying new approaches to formatting. But at some point, for the sake of usability, we should make an effort to articulate a uniform policy.
Basically, as I see it, in the long run, people (both users and contributors) will understand very well what the difference is between an article and what belongs on subpages, but in order for that to happen, we must get clearer on the distinction. Here is how I make the distinction in my own mind: the stuff that goes on an article page is a general prose introduction to the topic, of a general encyclopedic sort, together with any supporting notes. The stuff that goes on subpages is all other types of information. I assume that some reasonably clear distinction can be drawn between prose encyclopedic introductions, on the one hand, and information that is in the form of lists, tables, images, charts, diagrams, other media, raw data, and so forth.
Given this general distinction, which I hope I am not alone in making, it follows that anything that takes the form of a mere list of books really belongs on the Bibliography page. A prose introduction to the literature, as one sometimes finds at the end of chapters of some textbooks, could be reasonably construed as part of "a general prose introduction to the topic." Merely annotated bibliographic entries are exactly what we want completed, well-developed bibliographies to contain, after all. (I see that Chris is saying something like this below.)
If we think that "Further reading" sections are better cast as merely annotated bibliographies, then there is no reason that they cannot be standard first sections in bibliographies. We simply begin all our bibliographies with sections titled "Further Reading" or perhaps "Essential Literature" or something like that. --Larry Sanger 19:43, 19 May 2008 (CDT)
I see no reason why bibliographies cannot be like that too. After all, if editors are taking time to select various sources, rather than the bibliography being a comprehensive list, I think it would be useful to see some reasoning that led to the editorial decision. The best review articles in biology even bullet the articles they cite that have a high impact on the field, along with a brief explanation for the bullet status. While I like the further reading to compliment to the potentially larger bibliography we must be careful that they do not become overlong. Chris Day 14:34, 19 May 2008 (CDT)
Oh, I want to see more info in Bibliographies too! Organized into article/books/original sources, annotations on each entry, yadda-yadda! (That was to be in the proposal too.) But I take your point about 'not too long' - is a fixed limit on the number of entries (say, a half-dozen) the way to go; or what kind of guideline can we give? J. Noel Chiappa 14:48, 19 May 2008 (CDT)
A case by case, but common sense approach might be the best route to go here. But I think three to six is a reasonable limit. Chris Day 14:53, 19 May 2008 (CDT)
I agree with some such limit too. --Larry Sanger 19:43, 19 May 2008 (CDT)
I find limits/quotas to be generally unhelpful. For example, there are hundreds upon hundreds of broad surveys on the French Revolution out there. One or two books as secondary sources should be used in that example. For something like Machiavelli however, there is so much debate and interpretation of the meaning behind the Prince, that ten or twelve books could be useful. As for strong willed authors and editors... Don't like the implication I must say! Nobody 'breaks the rules' just for the craic; its mainly because there is a process when putting together an article, especially for a major topic, that some users find helpful. Denis Cavanagh 20:12, 19 May 2008 (CDT)
As a very general point, of course editorial limits and quotas can be helpful--indeed they are absolutely necessary in some cases. A little reflection should make plain that we have benefitted from them throughout our studies. But whether the proposed quotas are helpful in this particular case is another question. Suppose that we set no limits on "Further Reading" sections, and they become as lengthy as our bibliographies. Isn't it perfectly obvious, then, that we are simply duplicating work? So it seems. If so, wouldn't we be better off by limning the difference between "Further Reading" and "Bibliography"? If this isn't clear (but I'm sure it's obvious), I invite you to think more carefully about how these section headings are actually used in well-edited books you have read. If you can see the limit being more like 10-12 books, then we are just arguing about where the limits should be, not whether there should be any.
If strong-willed, bold people didn't exist, wikis wouldn't work. No offense was intended. I wouldn't accuse anyone of being stubborn just for the craic (article required there, Denis ;-) ). But people who are too strong-willed can cause a lot of really unnecessary conflict, because they take a firm stand and then fail to reason and try to reach a reasonable compromise. Enough said on that. --Larry Sanger 20:30, 19 May 2008 (CDT)
the "further reading" sections that I have added are addressed to the needs of the beginner--say a first or second year university student. I expect the student will print out the page (the main article and further reading) and use the reading as a checklist to compare with the campus library. A major university will have all the titles, but half will be checked out or missing. A small college will have only a few titles but they are more likely to be on the shelves. An article that is online is more likely to be listed, likewise a book that is all or partly online at places like google/amazon/questia/jstor, or one that is widely available in cheap used editions (under $10, say). The goal is to make it much more likely the student (who I assume is not trained in library usage and is unfamiliar with interlibrary loan) will find something of use. (And if the student does not plan to read further, they ca just ignore the fiurther reading section.) Richard Jensen 20:55, 19 May 2008 (CDT)

I agree with Richard on that point; having actually printed out several articles on US History from this site myself, I have made use of bibliographies and further reading sections. We have a big library (The largest in Ireland, as a matter of fact :-)) but the departments bibliography books are always taken out by the time I look for them (Usually the week before the actual essay, which doesn't say much for my work ethos!) and I've found CZ bibliographies and further reading sections to be very useful. To sum up what I've been unsuccessfully trying to say; A further reading section has its place, and a limit doesn't help on this issue. Common sense should prevail here; I am loathe to resort to bringing in Wikipedia style legislation on relatively small matters like this! Denis Cavanagh 21:08, 19 May 2008 (CDT)

I didn't mean to criticize your work on bibliographies and further reading sections, Richard--they're really excellent, as far as I can tell. It seems that we are talking past each other. Here's how I understand how our dialogue has gone: you originally were defending the idea of including some bibliographies or further reading sections at the end of the articles. I replied by eventually explaining why we have bibliographies on subpages and not at the bottoms of articles, and that we could have a prose introduction to the literature at the end of articles, but also that hardly anyone (maybe no one) has written any such things yet. I also said that "further reading" sections that are merely brief annotated lists of the most important or beginner-helpful items in the literature would be best placed at the top of the bibliography section. Then, you replied as if I had attacked the particular bibliographies you had written, which I hadn't (I'm only explaining why we have a rule that says they should go on bibliography subpages).
I don't we're disagreeing about what you should be doing. If you want to keep writing book lists titled either "Further Reading" or "Bibliography" and placing them at the bottom of articles instead of subpages, that's fine with me (even if, to be honest, it is a little annoying). We will move them eventually. And we do not now have any specific rules about how many items may be in any section of the Bibliography subpages. Moreover, if you want to write prose introductions to the literature and put them at the bottom of articles, please do feel free to do so. In fact, the only thing I ask is that you not object when people do move your bibliographies, and that you not make requests that they not be moved: such a request actually is to ask people not to follow our rules. --Larry Sanger 10:22, 20 May 2008 (CDT)
I understand your point about making 'Further Reading' (or 'Further reading', I forget what the capitalization style is) the first section of the Bibliography, the organizational consistency, which is indeed a very solid point - and that location would definitely be the only other reasonable choice for it. The reason I suggest putting it on the main page of the article is a purely practical one, in which I put our readers first: I just wonder if they will bother to click on the 'Bibliography' link, and whether having it on the main page is easier for them (e.g. if they, like Denis, print out the main article, but not any [potentially lengthy] subpages), makes it more likely for them to look at it, etc, etc.
I actually got the whole idea of 'Further reading' (which I tried to introduce on Wikipedia, not sure if it took) from Encarta, where I thought it was a really neat idea. They put it right at the bottom of the article; of course, we don't have to imitate them, and we have much more material than they do, typically.
I'm just trying to work out what would benefit our readers more - either i) the consistency of having all such material on subpages, or ii) finding the most useful material on the main article page. That's my only concern - what will our readers find most useful/educational. J. Noel Chiappa 10:50, 20 May 2008 (CDT)
This problem of unfamiliarity with the location of information can be finessed. I think we need to get a bot (or a tech guy) to put a "footer" template on all main namespace pages, saying (somehow!), "Hey look, there is supplementary info pages on this topic!" I think Chris has talked (or we have talked to Chris) about such a footer. Essentially, at the bottom of articles, we need to clearly and loudly advertise the existence of those other subpages. --Larry Sanger 10:55, 20 May 2008 (CDT)
I don't think it was me who discussed footers. Robert, perhaps? I agree for a print out that a Further reading section is useful and this is the reasoning that persuaded me that a few books/articles at the bottom is desirable in addition to a full bibliography subpage. But brevity is key. I agree it is hard to put an exact limit on such a thing but I'd be very surprised if more than six are required and see no reason why three could not be enough in many cases.
As far as the subpages are concerned i think people are starting to gravitate towards them. I have noticed that the definitions are pouring in, why is this? The tab at the top? Or the ToDo list? The knock-on effect is that related articles pages are starting to fill up and I think people are beginning to see their utility. I too have had an Ah ha moment here too. The definition subpage can exist without metadata or an article. I am going to code the subpages template to allow the Related Articles to exist without a metadata template or article too since their utlity with regard to navigation warrants them existing prior to the article being developed.
Back to the footer. i think this would be a good idea as long as it is temporary. i wonder if such a footer might be better as a header on the talk pages. After all, it's the authors we are targeting with the message, or are we worried about the readers missing the subpages? So much of this seems to be teething pains that will be worked out as people become more familiar with the site.
Finally, I think some versatility is good with regard to the format of subpages but this can go too far. See here for an example of a recent interaction where i think there was a misunderstanding with regard to their role (Related articles in this case). Educating authors and editors is important to keep the subpages from getting off track, even then their true function can be misunderstood for a while. Chris Day 11:20, 20 May 2008 (CDT)

Eduzendium: General Microbiology

The CZ:Biol 201: General Microbiology experiment seems to have been a success. Most of the students have completed excellent posts on microbes. I was pleasantly surprised with the participation. All pages are now open to edits from the broader community (and some pages need cleanup). I'll probably try this again next Spring when Microbiology 201 resumes. --John J. Dennehy 11:14, 19 May 2008 (CDT)

This is excellent! I'm so glad! You have made my day!

You would be doing us a great service by posting something (even as short as what you have above) on Citizendium-L and Citizendium-Editors. A little testimonial on CZ:Eduzendium or another (new? CZ:Eduzendium Testimonials?) page would also be a great service. --Larry Sanger 12:22, 19 May 2008 (CDT)

Eduzendium Testimonials--John J. Dennehy 16:29, 19 May 2008 (CDT)
Thanks, John. --Larry Sanger 19:47, 19 May 2008 (CDT)


Larry, please check Talk page, my questions:


Thanks. --Anthony.Sebastian 10:21, 23 May 2008 (CDT)

Will do! --Larry Sanger 13:59, 23 May 2008 (CDT)


You might want to look at CZ:Code and make sure that's right. J. Noel Chiappa 20:39, 23 May 2008 (CDT)

Hi, I would like to use the CZ logo on my web site, with a link to the CZ homepage on it, to help spread the word on Citizendium. You can see it on - is that OK? If I'm not allowed to use it, I'll take it down asap. Thanks. --Ion Alexandru Morega 09:12, 25 May 2008 (CDT)

No problem at all. We'll have to add a notice that such use is perfectly fine. --Larry Sanger 09:25, 25 May 2008 (CDT)

Thanks :) --Ion Alexandru Morega 09:30, 25 May 2008 (CDT)

Away for a while

All, I'm going to be gone travelling/speaking until Saturday. My Internet access will be limited... --Larry Sanger 09:25, 25 May 2008 (CDT)

R template on disambig pages?

Hi Larry, please take a look here and comment on the large-scale use of {{R}} on disambiguation pages, as already implemented for Energy and Society. Thanks! -- Daniel Mietchen 11:31, 27 May 2008 (CDT)

Re: your message

I've tried to expand these articles somewhat - though my thought was just that they'd be starters, better than nothing. I hope they're acceptable lengths now, but if not, how exactly would I just make them definitions? Just move the text to the definition and leave the content of the main page blank? Thanks. Thomas Ash 08:21, 29 May 2008 (CDT)

Thanks for the reply. That's exactly what you'd do. Well, instead of a blank page, you might place {{speedydelete}} on the page. --Larry Sanger 08:36, 29 May 2008 (CDT)

Off again

...for a few days... --Larry Sanger 08:36, 29 May 2008 (CDT)

Just poking my head in...I'll be "back in the saddle" Monday. Glad to see things are still surviving without me.  ;-) --Larry Sanger 20:28, 30 May 2008 (CDT)

Translation subpage proposal

While it's Write-a-Thon, may I point you again to this proposal which seems ready for decision by the Executive Committee? Thanks for any advice on how to proceed. Jens Mildner 13:38, 4 June 2008 (CDT)

Disambiguation subpage

You might want to look at User talk:Chris Day#Dismabiguation subpage and see if you have any observations. J. Noel Chiappa 06:25, 6 June 2008 (CDT)

This is a fragmented discussion. First, the disambiguation discussion is at CZ:Proposals/Disambiguation_mechanics and disambiguation pages are currently being created with a standard name Article name (disambiguation) and then use a disambiguation template. Second, I was wondering if Article name/Disambiguation might be a better home since rather than using a specific disambiguation template it can just be used with the standard subpages template to keep it simple. It is not possible to use the subpages tempalte with the format of Article name (disambiguation) since it is not possible for the template to figure out the article name that is being disambiguated. Actually, this is a problem for the template being used on the Article name (disambiguation) page too hence we start seeing things like {{disambig|Article name}}. I just thought that using the subpages format would simplify things since all that would be required would be {{subpages}} at the top. as with every other page.
In summary, the major role of the subpages template is to automate as much as possible the placement of templates and categories. Having disambiguation pages live on a subpage of the disambiguated term would maintain that simplicity rather than requiring a different template or the addition of parameters to that template.
For reference, regarding Richard Jensens idea for a new subpage, I had already mentioned on his talk page that he will need to get approval for such a subpage. Chris Day 10:10, 6 June 2008 (CDT)
OK, sorry--I'm just so busy these days that I lack the time to keep track of everything important that's going on! --Larry Sanger 11:30, 6 June 2008 (CDT)
No apologies needed, really. Chris Day 12:37, 6 June 2008 (CDT)
Ah, sorry, I wasn't as clear as I could have been. This was a 'here's a brand-new idea, what do you think of it' query; I was just looking for feedback on if you thought one way or the other had an obvious advantage. I.e. I was trying to figure out if it was good enough to be worth taking the further, formal steps, or whether it should go into the round file without further ado. To make it completely clear, there as (as far as I know) no pages of the form "{Foo}/Disambiguation" anywhere, and nothing has been changed to use that syntax. So you don't have to fret!
Were we to adopt this change, it would have to go into CZ:Proposals/Disambiguation_mechanics, which is soon headed for the EC (or somewhere - I'm still waiting to hear from Jitse what the next step I need to take with it is).
Having said that, do you see any advantages on way or the other as to whether disambiguation pages live at "{Foo} (disambiguation)" or "{Foo}/Disambiguation"? Other than being "CZ-style", I don't see any big advantage on way or the other. Doing the subpage does mean that {{dabbox}} wouldn't have to be fed the basename, but if we install the Strings WikiMedia extension package (which I'd like to do because it would have a number of benefits), we'd get that from that anyway. So it really comes down to whichever we prefer, I guess. J. Noel Chiappa 10:55, 6 June 2008 (CDT)
OK then--when you need me to examine the proposal and offer my opinion more carefully on that, please let me know. I mean, it would be more efficient for me to grappel with the "Disambiguation mechanics" proposal all at once, I suppose, than spread out my comments.
Also, if you need me to help nudge the proposal system along in any way, just give the word. --Larry Sanger 11:30, 6 June 2008 (CDT)

Idea for new subpage

Larry, see Biology's next microscope: Mathematics and its Talk page.

What would you think about a subpage: Citizendium-developed open-access articles?

We could take an open-access article, give ample attrbution to article's originator, open it to group editing, monitored by the main Workgroup (or a select group of its editors).

For the article Biology's next microscope: Mathematics, we could subpage it to Mathematical biology, or subpage it to more than one main article (e.g., Biology, Systems biology, etc.).

Thoughts? --Anthony.Sebastian 23:05, 7 June 2008 (CDT)

That sounds reasonable to me, as long as we clearly distinguish this sort of article from CZ:Signed Articles. But this is the sort of thing that we should get Editorial Council clearance on. Moreover, it will really require some careful thinking about certain policies: just think of future cranks adding articles on their own idiosyncratic theories and inviting others to work with them. --Larry Sanger 08:45, 8 June 2008 (CDT)

Re:Biology Week Mock-ups

Biology Week it is. Thanks for the welcome! Marielle Fields Newsome 22:41, 8 June 2008 (CDT)

Summary of what I'm doing


Thanks for asking...--David Yamakuchi 21:59, 11 June 2008 (CDT)

Thanks for the reply! --Larry Sanger 23:02, 11 June 2008 (CDT)

Hi again Larry,

I noticed on another authors talk page a reference to something that may have happened in March...a "culling" if you will of all articles less than 35 words. It got me would not really be accurate to count these new properties "pages" as articles...after all some are only one digit long! But it would be disappointing (at least for me) to have all of them automatically deleted.

So I guess I should ask: Might there be a way to designate articles that are actually articles as such? The subpages template as an indicator perhaps? Or might it be sufficient to have properties "under" their respective materials page/dircetory...i.e.

My concern here is not only preventing errant deletion, but that if we start counting these pages in our "article count" ("We now have 7,000+ articles and are gathering speed") it might be seen as perhaps deceptive...or at least highly inaccurate.--David Yamakuchi 09:19, 13 June 2008 (CDT)

That 7,000 figure only counts the main articles. Subpages are not included. Chris Day 09:52, 13 June 2008 (CDT)
Ok, then the only other question for me is: Will they be subject at some point to a bot-type deletion?--David Yamakuchi 11:31, 13 June 2008 (CDT)
Not that I know of since they are not articles, they are part of a cluster.Chris Day 11:39, 13 June 2008 (CDT)

2 things

1. Next time you are at a University Library (one that has a medical school affiliated), please check out the article formta at I really like there floating yellow bar at the very bottom of the screen that floats with the article as your scroll down (similar to the firefox cntrl+f or cmd+f find bar). It allows readers to say was this useful? yes / no.

I think it would be very nice to get user feedback. especially if there was a way for users to type an open ended answer. or suggest improvements, etc.

2. Why is CZ often slow and laggy recently? It happens infrequently but almost daily. Tom Kelly 15:15, 12 June 2008 (CDT)

(1) Maybe we'll be able to think about doing things like this as we get more money. Until then, don't talk to me, talk to MediaWiki coders!  :-) Then, when you get one interested in helping, start a proposal. (2) I'm not quite sure, but we're doing a server upgrade and one of the hard disks has been very bad lately. We'll be replacing it in about 12 hours, so hopefully, after that, things will be faster. But don't hold your breath! --Larry Sanger 15:22, 12 June 2008 (CDT)

The Hermit

Hi Larry, thanks. The Hermit is based on the tarot card the Hermit, from the Rider-Waite deck. It's actually appeared on the gatefold sleeve of Led Zeppelin IV drawn by Barrington Colby Mom. An article on Father Time can be found here: [2]. It's also difficult to add more links when there are still plenty of "red links" on Citizendium. I will be adding more links over time when articles are completed, which they will be, but I personally dislike articles which are full of red links! They look untidy. Meg Ireland 19:02, 12 June 2008 (CDT)

Perhaps it's a matter of taste--they look messy, I agree, but the red links invite people to create new articles. --Larry Sanger 21:47, 12 June 2008 (CDT)

Idea: hit eduzendium (sp?) hard with the BigTen schools

Yeah, so I can't spell eduzendium but my idea is to make EDCZ (my own abbreviation) a huge thing at the big ten schools. The idea came to me when I was looking at anatomy articles on wikipedia - they all have U of Michigan references. Someone in the anatomy department, either students or professors must have put a lot of time in for Wikipedia (or someone really likes their publically available anatomy webpages). maybe we can tap that with some focused recruiting at the big ten schools. You are affiliated with Purdue - have you thought of about knocking on some other Big Ten doors on a road trip around the midwest? Just a thought. Tom Kelly 19:09, 12 June 2008 (CDT)

Yes--absolutely. Basically, we could make a bit about Eduzendium an attachment to the e-mails that we send to our academic recruiting targets (this e-mail has already been drafted--linked near the bottom of CZ:Workgroup Weeks). Moreover, we should absolutely be sure to have a large bit about Eduzendium on the workgroup homepage of every workgroup. The latter might be most effective because everyone interested in, e.g., Biology Week will look at the Biology Workgroup homepage (CZ:Biology Workgroup) and if mention of Eduzendium is "above the fold," that would be excellent. Anyway I like your way of thinking, Tom. Please update the relevant Workgroup Weeks pages with this--I will if you don't, but I might forget! Also, notice that User:Daniel Mietchen has volunteered to be the Eduzendium point person for the Workgroup Weeks, while User:Sorin Adam Matei and User:Lee R. Berger are co-directors of Eduzendium. --Larry Sanger 21:46, 12 June 2008 (CDT)

Re: Pending decisions

Hi Larry, please check back here. Thanks. -- Daniel Mietchen 10:47, 17 June 2008 (CDT)

Dazed and Confused

Thank you. I'm absolutely humbled by the experience. I didn't expect anyone to vote for it. Meg Ireland 20:56, 18 June 2008 (CDT)

Well, it's a good article!  ;-) --Larry Sanger 10:13, 22 June 2008 (CDT)

Bug on main page?

When I hit "more" at the end of the phosphorus article on the main page I enter an edit session. Seems a bug to me.--Paul Wormer 10:10, 22 June 2008 (CDT)

Fixed. --Larry Sanger 10:12, 22 June 2008 (CDT)


Oh my gosh is that an improvement over the red links.... Stephen Ewen 20:06, 22 June 2008 (CDT)

Yeah, isn't it? Anthony had a great idea there. --Larry Sanger 20:20, 22 June 2008 (CDT)


Thanks for chipping in Larry - on Magic of course! We can't have too many philosophers on that page Aladin 07:41, 23 June 2008 (CDT)

Content-only workgroup tags?

Did you see this: CZ:Bold_Moves#Recent_changes? Using a "global workgroup category" is the only way that I can find to catch all the edits in a particular workgroup for "recent changes".

In theory the workgroup tag categories would never be used, and ideally the category would not be visible. That was discussed at Talk:Welcome_to_Citizendium#Request_re_Special:Recentchanges.

I did not label the tag category using the format Category:Politics or Category:Politics Content as the "tag cat" includes ALL pages that might be edited, including the talk, metadata and approval pages, so I think such names might be a little confusing. At least with the "tag" name expectations might be lower if someone does decide to click on it. I'd suggest we just leave them all as red green links as the category pages do not need to be created for the Related Changes option to work. The way I have placed the categories the "tag cats" will always be the final categories to appear at the bottom of each page.

With regard to a potential Category:Content Pages, we do have a Category:Subpages and Category:Sub-subpages that can be added to the main article total. Obviously this is not the same, do you want me to add that category as an experiment? Chris Day 13:42, 23 June 2008 (CDT)

Yes, I suppose so. We should see whether we like it.

I think we should track all recent changes related to all subpages in a given subpage (that's right), but we only want to see the content pages when we look at the alphabetical list. --Larry Sanger 10:39, 24 June 2008 (CDT)

I'm not sure I understand this clearly. Currently I have the recent changes link on the work group showing changes to every page associated with a given work group. I assume you think it is important for editors to see recent changes to the metadata pages too? But reading above I think you might want the recent changes to be a bit more restrictive, to just content pages? Could you clarify this a bit more .
As far as the alphabetical list is concerned, I think we need to make these tag categories need to be hidden, they are not that useful for general readership or even editors. I will set up the "All workgroup content" category for those wanting to see the big picture. Chris Day 11:05, 24 June 2008 (CDT)
No, your recent changes page functionality is perfect, as far as I can tell. Also, "All Content" would be useful, but I was saying that we might want to see all the content for a given workgroup listed alphabetically. But if you don't think so, skip it. --Larry Sanger 11:10, 24 June 2008 (CDT)
Now I understand you. Unfortunately, I cannot have one category that is useful for the purpose of both a content category and a recent changes category. As far as the alphabetical list is concerned, I do think the seperate "All workgroup content" category for those wanting to see the big picture is useful. If anyone here is reading this and knows how to hide categories that would be useful since the tag categories really do need to be hidden. I tried this approach but it did not seem to work, or I am using it incorrectly. Chris Day 11:17, 24 June 2008 (CDT)

I set up the all content and workgroup content categories. Chris Day 11:44, 24 June 2008 (CDT)

I'm back again...

I might not be on the wiki immediately, but I am back online! --Larry Sanger 21:01, 29 June 2008 (CDT)