Citizendium - a community developing a quality, comprehensive compendium of knowledge, online and free.
Click here to join and contribute
CZ thanks our previous donors. Donate here. Treasurer's Financial Report

Archive:Weekly Wiki/August 15, 2007

From Citizendium
Jump to: navigation, search

What time is it now where? --Larry Sanger 03:00, 15 August 2007 (CDT)

I'll be back in an hour. --Larry Sanger 03:05, 15 August 2007 (CDT)

I'll be about during the day, hopefully will add one or two articles somewhere. Denis Cavanagh 03:46, 15 August 2007 (CDT)

I'm probably going to spend some time working on philosophy today (harder since I don't have immediate access to my philosophy books)--if you, especially non-philosophers, want to take a look and give me some brief advice about how to make that clearer and more interesting, I would love that. --Larry Sanger 04:04, 15 August 2007 (CDT)

How to motivate people to work on in-demand topics?

One thing I've been trying to think of a way to do is to motivate people to work on the more in-demand topics, essential concepts and basic jargon, and also top-level articles about disciplines and subdisciplines. Can we brainstorm a little about that? --Larry Sanger 04:04, 15 August 2007 (CDT)

We could always do something about the wanted pages list: Denis Cavanagh 04:08, 15 August 2007 (CDT)

Yes, but do what?

I'm thinking something like a game. Here is an example, but only an example. Points are, somehow, assigned to different articles. This could be part of the game: the general public can nominate and vote on topics, and this results in the ranking of different articles. Then, if I write an article that is at least N words long, I can claim the points for that article. Or perhaps the demand for an article becomes a multiplier, with each word in an article that you add--before anyone else adds a word, perhaps?--being multiplied by that amount. For instance, if the most in-demand Philosophy article gets a multiplier of 3.0, the second gets 2.8, and so on, so that if I write 100 words, I get 300 points, 280 points, and so forth. I think maybe the biggest challenge about this particular kind of game is to making winning attractive. How can we make people want to win? Anyway... --Larry Sanger 04:30, 15 August 2007 (CDT)

I support Larry Sanger's game idea as a way to concentrate work on the more important articles. I am concerned that it might be a bit heavy with proces, in particular the voting on the ranking of the articles. I would propose a simpler system.
First, establish a list of recognized encyclopedias (print encyclopedias only).
Second, for each encyclopedia, set up criteria for the articles contained therein. For example, for the Encyclopedia of the Middle Ages (ed. Norman Cohen), an article of at least 1 column length (this is about 1/10 of 1% of the total length of that particular encyclopedia) could be assigned a value of 1 point. The longer the article, the more points.
Essentially, this would automate the point value assignment procedure. It would also automatically delineate a large corps of high priority artilces.
James F. Perry 20:14, 15 August 2007 (CDT)
LOL, writing the article in itself is winning! [1]
Dude, that's geeky! Matthias Röder 06:54, 15 August 2007 (CDT)
I think it's a good idea to motivate people to write. So long as we have a fair way of attributing points we could even offer some kind of monthly prize to the winner—perhaps branded products e.g. Citizendium T-shirts and mugs etc. (so long as it doesn't cost too much). The sale of official products would also be good for raising the project's visibility—I'd be proud to wear the Citizendium T-shirt everywhere (and use the mug) knowing I am promoting the project to others who might not otherwise hear of it. It could also raise a little revenue Mark Jones 09:47, 15 August 2007 (CDT)
I would also use a mug, but I'd rather own a polo shirt with an embroidered logo rather than a T-shirt. Additionally, I can forsee pens and pencils as real word-of-mouth tools since they always end up in the hands of somebody.--Robert W King 09:53, 15 August 2007 (CDT)
Well, to award prizes requires money, which in turn requires some actively implemented business models...we're working on that, but not as diligently as I would have hoped. --Larry Sanger 10:25, 15 August 2007 (CDT)
Of course. This might be a good opportunity to discuss ways of raising money for Citizendium! I will start a new section below . Mark Jones 11:34, 15 August 2007 (CDT)
If we are selling branded products the revenue could possibly cover giving away just a few items each month (and in exchange for increasing the amount and quality of articles). A tangible reward does seem to make a difference in motivating people, even if it is only something small. Mark Jones 13:32, 15 August 2007 (CDT)

Help with articles/requested articles

  • Just added a short bio of Éamon de Valera to the Easter Rising article. Any "filling in" of the redlinks from there would be welcome. Anton Sweeney
    • Anton, I looked at the list of biographies on Easter Rising (nice work), and I would actually have you do one of two things: (1) create a "catalog" subpage--a catalog of the key rebels of the Easter Rising (see CZ:Tables, may be renamed CZ:Catalogs); or (2) simply move each of the mini-bios you have their to the red-linked articles, as I did for Éamon de Valera. (Yes! Created a new article today!) The point is that articles are narratives, not lists. On this latter point, see CZ:Article Mechanics, there is a section exactly about this. --Larry Sanger 07:11, 15 August 2007 (CDT) P.S. One or two n's in "Eamon"? Google recommends two.
      • Actually that's Denis's work, not mine :-) Option 2 (as Denis has now done) would be the way to go, I think, as these people would all merit substantial articles in their own right. Google is wrong. Eamonn can be spelt with one or two "n"s; two is more usual, but de Valera always spelt his name with one. Anton Sweeney 08:47, 15 August 2007 (CDT)
  • Also - do we have anyone willing to start work on Vikings? Just so happens that there's a Viking longship moored about a ten minute walk from me, it having arrived in Dublin yesterday after sailing from Denmark. I aim to take some photos and upload them over the next couple of days. Anton Sweeney 06:02, 15 August 2007 (CDT)

A Vikings article would be very good actually, considering that Longship is in Dublin. Whereabouts exactly is it? I lived very close to Wood Quay last year. Denis Cavanagh 06:16, 15 August 2007 (CDT)

Definitely today and posibly tomorrow, its moored between Butt Bridge and the new pedestrian bridge, just down from the Custom House. After that, I think its being brought up to Collins Barracks. Anton Sweeney 06:38, 15 August 2007 (CDT)
I'm sure if you upload those pix, somebody will make an article for them! --Larry Sanger 07:12, 15 August 2007 (CDT)

In the spirit of the day, I would like to request that someone take a look at the definitions I have been entering on the Civil_society Related_Articles page and advise me on typography, layout and other aspects. The whole thing feels pretty shabby at the moment. Roger Lohmann 20:16, 15 August 2007 (CDT)

My WWishlist

  1. The first order of business is the fact that Business is in such a woeful state on CZ and I am going to add some in there now. Anyone wanna pitch in? My strict speciality is marketing rather than purely business so anyone's own thoughts on talk page there and in the article itself can only help lift it up off the floor where it lies sadly at present.
  2. I have been working on several GLBT articles with a bit of much appreciated input over at Gay (word) and would be very grateful if people wanted to leave their thoughts on the talk pages of any of these articles about how they personally think they can be improved. Even better, leave your thoughts on any of the articles themselves as edits to these articles. Jump right in!
  3. In relation to Gay community - I made the redirect to Gay community/Draft which I thought was the correct thing to do but am now not sure if that is correct, as some other non-approved articles using similar format eg Edward_I have a different draft page, which I find confusing. Grateful to learn what the correct procedure is as I am about to use the subpages2 format on a number of articles and need to make sure I don't stuff it up.
Ian, I haven't messed with the subpages yet, but it's my understanding that the draft page is really only to be used if the article is approved. So, I think what you want to do is remove the redirect and continue having the main article located at Gay community.--Todd Coles 08:33, 15 August 2007 (CDT)
Todd, thanks for the tip - I was confused by it, and am still a little, as I then don't know for sure what the Draft page's practical function is. In any case, I am going to take your advice on it and revert the redirect. --Ian Johnson 10:16, 15 August 2007 (CDT)
When an article gets approved, it becomes locked from editing. A copy moves over to the draft space so it can continue to be updated, reevaluated, and then eventually replace the approved copy. I hope I'm explaining that correctly. :) --Todd Coles 10:20, 15 August 2007 (CDT)
That explains its role. Any idea how I 'erase it' then? I will blank it for now and leave an advice anyone that gets there to use the main article page not the Draft page. --Ian Johnson 10:26, 15 August 2007 (CDT)
Done - requires a constable to delete pages. Anton Sweeney 10:33, 15 August 2007 (CDT)
Brilliant, thanks guys. --Ian Johnson 10:36, 15 August 2007 (CDT)
  1. This is minor but important all at once and has been bugging me for weeks here. How do you all get that little sideway arrow to appear in the edit summary instead of just the text I currently write in. It looks both elegant and useful.
  2. I have little time today as a friend has decided to hit town tonight at short notice, but am going to pop in when I can. Hope to see lots of edits and comments on the bluelinks in my list. If this page can live past today at all somehow I can gladly try in coming days to revisit topics and articles others are looking for help with.

Have a nice WWednesday! --Ian Johnson 06:05, 15 August 2007 (CDT)

Authors writing articles about relatives

Recently there was a discussion about biased writing of encylcopedia articles by relatives. The issue was discussed at TI_Talk:Tale_Ognenovski. The case of this article has been resolved, but still some fundamental questions should be discussed. Some interesting aspects were brought up by User:Hayford Peirce and I would like to quote from his remarks on the above mentioned talk page:

But I don't agree that it's impossible, or a breach of ethics, for a relative to write a bio article -- in many cases they naturally have more information available. True, they will have to keep original, unsourced research of out it ("Few people are aware of it, for it was a closely guarded family secret, but President Smith snored so loudly that...etc.), but they also have a legitmate interest in the subject and, if they can write in an objective, unbiased way, I see no reason why they shouldn't contribute. My own uncle, Waldo Peirce, was once a prominent American painter and well-known character. After his death in 1970 he has more or less vanished from the face of the artistic earth. There's an article in WP that I did about him that I am now entirely rewriting for CZ -- the new one will be longer, will have expert appraisals, sources, references, and far more footnotes, and will be somewhat more scholarly. I think it ought to be allowed to stand here, but, of course, if consensus feels I should, I will put it into a draft page for consideration. You can check out the WP article here -- it's been hacked at, of course, by other WP "editors", sigh, but even as it stands, I think it's an acceptable CZ article, with, perhaps, a little judicious editing of some overly colorful adjectives....


Needless to say, I have no financial interest in anything mentioned in the bio. That, obviously, is a no-no, but, having said that, I think that, overall, there should *not* be a blanket ban on articles written by relatives, or contributed to by them. It should be decided case by case -- I don't think this is an issue that is going to arise very often. Hayford Peirce 11:07, 14 August 2007 (CDT)"

What is our opinion? Matthias Röder 07:34, 15 August 2007 (CDT)

I can see some benefit in a relative knowing what are "true" facts as distinct from possible media misreporting, and can even see where that familial link could actually strengthen the integrity of a resulting CZ article. I would suspect as an open-scrutiny form of endeavour it might be reasonably clear if someone had written a 'fluff' piece unduly supportive of a relative. Given the comparative lack of articles in CZ at this time, any article that is well written and demonstrably objective is a plus. Maybe one approach could be to require disclosure in the talk page, and/or actively approach an editor or fellow author to seek collaborative oversight of the article? --Ian Johnson 10:45, 15 August 2007 (CDT)
I'd agree with that. Clear disclosure on the talk page should be a requirement, I think; and I like the idea of "oversight" where a conflict of interest might arise. Anton Sweeney 10:57, 15 August 2007 (CDT)

It all depends upon the relative. I would most definitely want to offer people the opportunity to write excellent articles on their deceased relatives.  —Stephen Ewen (Talk) 12:01, 15 August 2007 (CDT)

Just to give us a concrete example to talk about, I have just created:
It is very much a work in progress -- I have taken the original WP article, expanded it, brought in a ton of info from other sources (which I have listed), and am now working to reorganize everything into a coherent article. There are 3 or 4 images that even the anti-image zealots at WP haven't deleted, so maybe I can be allowed to use them here also -- Stephen will be the judge, I imagine.... Hayford Peirce 12:21, 15 August 2007 (CDT)

Citizendium IRC channel?

Is the #citizendium IRC channel on the Freenode network an official part of Citizendium? If so (or even if not), does anyone foresee any use for it in an official capacity? It has been more or less empty over the last few weeks (I've hung around in there just to see what, if anything, was going on). I think it could be a useful tool for informal quick discussion and feedback but I also see that many authors/editors might not be familiar enough with the technology/tools to use it or people might be concerned that it might take people away from using the talk pages. Anyway, I thought I'd mention it here in case people do want to make use of it or discourage use of it. Mark Jones 07:44, 15 August 2007 (CDT)

As long as it remains totally informal, and not "required reading," I don't have a problem with it. I even thought of making a "meeting" on the IRC channel, but I think that ultimately it's better to use a wiki page for this sort of discussion, if for no other reason than that it's a lot easier to link to articles--and there's no learning curve. --Larry Sanger 08:01, 15 August 2007 (CDT)

So it sounds like it's not official (as in the owner/operator has Citizendium's authority to run it) but that you are okay with it. I was just wondering whether it might be good to have someone there in some sort of official capacity or perhaps as an operator. Wikipedia's IRC channel gets very busy and a lot of questions about the project are asked/answered there. It does seem like a good place to ask general questions and get quick answers. I suspect we will see more usage of the IRC channel as we sign up more people who like to use that sort of communication tool. I will hang about there to just offer advice and to point people to the relevant help pages on the wiki. I agree with you about using a wiki page for this sort of discussion, though. Mark Jones 09:31, 15 August 2007 (CDT)
In my 10+ years of experience with IRC, I have seen that they can be breeding grounds for mayhem. If there is to be a #Citizendium IRC channel, it should follow the same standards that we set here in terms of identity and attribution.--Robert W King 09:39, 15 August 2007 (CDT)
I agree totally, but the channel exists now (and if #wikipedia is anything to go by it could get quite popular) so we should probably think about how it should be used. I reckon it would be a problem if it is seen by others as an official channel but isn't, or it is an official channel but Citizendium is not exerting any control over it. I have only seen one operator in there a few times when I am not the only one there and nobody is answering my questions. Whenever I've gone into the channel I have made a practice of changing my nick to my real name. I am not sure how we could enforce this on others, though, unless someone official was the channel operator. If we do control it we could either make the channel privately restricted to registered Citizendium members only (and insist on real names) or keep it public to all (in which case we cannot restrict it to real names) but have designated CZ members using real names as official channel operators who can kick/ban offensive users. Mark Jones 10:18, 15 August 2007 (CDT)
Hey, Robert, or Mark, if either (or both) of you want to make a proposal, by all means, be my guest. It does make me a little nervous, yes. When I've been on it's been used mainly by our tech guys. But since they've been lying low lately, I'm not sure anyone is using it. --Larry Sanger 10:28, 15 August 2007 (CDT)
Larry, I could definitely put forward a proposal. What is your preferred means of submission?
I've been in the channel everyday this week and it's been mostly empty (one or two ops come in during US daytime). However, as Citizendium begins to reach the level of popularity of Wikipedia, going by #wikipedia, we could expect in the region of about 100 to 500 users at any one time if it is left public. Some form of policy/management would probably be in order. Mark Jones 11:07, 15 August 2007 (CDT)
I would seriously consider not endorsing or classifying an irc channel as "official", mostly for the reason that it is a part-time job in itself. IRC is hardly the place for serious intellectual discussions (anymore anyway, I'm sure the first year of the establishment of protocol by those DARPA guys were much different times), and the sheer fact that there's no easy way to endorse use of real names or attribute culpability only re-enforces my belief.
Every once in a while I look read the arbcom reports over at WP. The sheer volume of issues that mention IRC discussions makes me believe that even #wikipedia is some kind of chaos festering ground.
If you want to seriously establish an irc channel for CZ, there better be a way to ensure user-name registration; constant channel monitoring; and ensure that whatever is said in the irc channel itself is enforcable within the realm of the project--that is if insults and arguments start to fly there, there better be real reprocussions on the CZ site.
Personally, I think an irc channel is a bad idea. I don't know how #wikipedia is handled or managed, but (and this is my best estimate) I am willing to bet that the magnitude of these problems is very real.--Robert W King 11:32, 15 August 2007 (CDT)

IRC is like a backroom where everything is discussed by those who happen to know about the backroom. It breeds freakin' tribalism at WP and we all know it. If I had my way, there would be no IRC channel for CZ, ever. We have a "proper channel" for discussions: It's called the forums.  —Stephen Ewen (Talk) 12:07, 15 August 2007 (CDT)

Opinions requested

Looks like I'm going to be busier than I thought today, so I'm just popping in to post this between time slots. I should still be on off and on to help out. I would appriciate any comments, edits, copyedits, whatever, to any of the articles that I have created (Nathanael Greene,Joe Louis,Thomas Paine). I'm new to the encyclopedia writing and I haven't written a paper since college, and really just want to make sure I'm on the right track and what, in general, I might need to focus on more. Thanks! --Todd Coles 08:27, 15 August 2007 (CDT)

Also wanted to add, I created an article on Benjamin Rush which would in the long run benefit from some attention of someone in the medical community. --Todd Coles 12:00, 15 August 2007 (CDT)

I'm also looking for thoughts or opinions on my space debris article. I'm still working on it, but I'm curious to see what others think. -- Carl Jantzen 10:01, 15 August 2007 (CDT)

Space debris looks good, and is an improvement over the Wikipedia article in several places, but the WP article appears to have gained a section about "Significant debris impact events" which is very interesting, since that's exactly the sort of thing people are worried about space debris for. --Larry Sanger 10:37, 15 August 2007 (CDT)
See Talk:Space debris for all of this discussion. -- Carl Jantzen 10:43, 15 August 2007 (CDT)
I probably should have waited until after the Weekly Wiki ended to move discussion to the Space Debris talk page. Whoops. Oh well. I did reply to your comment there, Larry. --Carl Jantzen 13:30, 15 August 2007 (CDT)

Definition Templates

What's the deal with definition templates? I've seen some for different articles and I was wondering if there is a policy related to them? Should there be? What is the advantage of using the templates? It seems like it makes it more difficult to edit that part of the article. --Carl Jantzen 10:16, 15 August 2007 (CDT)

Yes, there is: see CZ:Definitions and CZ:Related Articles and then look at New York City/Related Articles for just one example of use. --Larry Sanger 11:00, 15 August 2007 (CDT)
Note though as I discovered when setting up the Gay community article with the wrong subpages last weekend, that the preferred use of subpages is not the one you will find at that NYC article layout, but rather is called subpages2. --Ian Johnson 11:04, 15 August 2007 (CDT)
Thanks Larry, this is exactly what I was looking for. --Carl Jantzen 13:24, 15 August 2007 (CDT)
Larry, do you think you could take a look at Space debris/Related Articles? Instead of defining the word linked to I provide a brief description of the relevance of that article to space debris. It seems to me that this is more useful, at least in this particular situation, than using the "r" template. Is what I'm doing here acceptable or is it best to use the "r" template instead? --Carl Jantzen 13:28, 15 August 2007 (CDT)
I guess the first and third sections probably should use the "r" template, but my question still stands for the middle. Is it ok in its current form? --Carl Jantzen 13:36, 15 August 2007 (CDT)
Good question! Someone else also wrote some annotations of the links that were not definitions so much as explanations of how the topics were relevant to the topic at hand. There's no doubt that interesting and useful information can be conveyed as you've done it. However, what you're constructing there is not so much mere links to related topics, as a table or catalog: I might put it under Space debris/Catalogs (well, eventually I would want to move it there; right now it'd be Space debris/Tables). The function of a "related articles" page is simply to list articles (and planned articles) that are about related topics, and to define the words in the titles of the articles. Tables are used for more elaborate collections and lists of information.
Note also that you're not using the prescribed categories, of which your categories can be subcategories--I mean, Parent topics, Subtopics, and Other related topics. What sort of thing is space debris? If "satellites," more or less, that's one parent topic. If garbage, that's another. I'm not sure "space debris" as a topic has any subtopics that we'll have articles about. Your "sources of space debris" are not subtopics of "space debris" but only related topics--with the possible exception of NaK coolant. Which is just to say that the topic is pretty specialized. --Larry Sanger 13:51, 15 August 2007 (CDT)

Article checklists

The CZ:The Article Checklist, as far as I'm aware, still needs to be added to every new article (and many old articles). Yet we seem to be getting a steady stream of new articles appearing without it being added. Is there anything we can do to remind - or automagically prompt - people to add the checklist to new articles? Anton Sweeney 11:09, 15 August 2007 (CDT)

I don't know if it could be done, but if a button for it could be created up where the Bold, Italics, etc. buttons are, that would be helpful. Other than that, I think leaving a message on the creator's talk page reminding them would help too. --Todd Coles 12:01, 15 August 2007 (CDT)
Yes, but we've got to get a more responsive sysadmin type on board. And, I think, we will soon. One thing I can do is to edit the talk page above-the-textbox message to include a link to the checkbox. I'll do that. --Larry Sanger 13:53, 15 August 2007 (CDT)
Or those who have created an article without a checklist would be detected and invited to go to the Unchecklisted page to do 10 entries ;-) Aleksander Stos 15:47, 15 August 2007 (CDT)

Raising money

I thought we could discuss some ideas for raising money for Citizendium! Mark Jones 11:45, 15 August 2007 (CDT)

Affiliate links

One idea I had (not so sure how practical/useful this would be) is for webmasters with reasonably good traffic sites to add the links that raise money for Citizendium (found on CZ:Donate) to their own sites. Perhaps they could designate a day or two each week/month when they replace some of their own affiliate links with Citizendium's (we would, of course, have to be sure this conforms to the terms and conditions of the retailer providing the affiliate links). Mark Jones 11:45, 15 August 2007 (CDT)

Navigation popups

Do you think it'd be a good idea to install Navigation Popups for all CZ members by default? Aleksander Stos 15:57, 15 August 2007 (CDT)

I think so--if it could be done automatically, and if we told people how to turn them off. Y'know, one general problem we've got to solve is that the whole system is already complicated, and we've got to work first on writing clearer instructions and policy pages before we make it too much more complicated... --Larry Sanger 23:26, 15 August 2007 (CDT)
  1. trying to be as cheesy as possible