User talk:Russell D. Jones/Archive 1

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(In response to this post):

Yep, that's great! Just remember, the pagename is the actual name of the page (should be the same as the URL and in the wiki) and abc is just how it's categorized by. Also, there is no precedence for categories (yet) so whatever order you wish to put them in does not affect which workgroups get priority (if any really). --Robert W King 16:04, 19 November 2007 (CST)

Jefferson & Channing

The debate subpage is a valuable innovation in CZ! Richard Jensen 17:01, 23 February 2008 (CST)

It was already there. It was an unused subpage category. I just don't get where Channing is critical of Jefferson, though. I didn't see it in the couple chapters that I read.--Russell D. Jones 17:34, 23 February 2008 (CST)
Channing ridicules Jefferson's contempt for the navy. pp36-7 Richard Jensen 18:48, 23 February 2008 (CST)
I still don't see it. Channing is matter of fact. He explains Jefferson's attempt to entice Samuel Smith to become Secy of Navy (from which comes the oft-reproduce quote about laying up the fleet in the Potomac River), and then the appointment Robert Smith. He concludes his introductory paragraph, "Jefferson and Gallatin were certainly most desirous to limit naval expenditure in every possible way but they reckoned without the North African pirates. Indeed instead of laying up the ships high and dry on the shore they were obliged to send fleet after fleet to the Mediterranean and to build new vessels better suited for work in those waters" (37). I don't see ridicule unless one reads that paragraph as just dripping with sarcasm. --Russell D. Jones 19:41, 23 February 2008 (CST)
Channing says it reminds one of Queen Elizabeth who objected to letting the fleet sail because it might damage their paint. TJ and Gallatin hated the navy and wanted to put it in storage (and TJ even joking that it would be destroyed by their "plunderers"]Richard Jensen 19:48, 23 February 2008 (CST)
Okay, but that's not exactly what Channing writes. And really, ER has a point. They were nicely painted ships. Jones.

Definitions updates

Russell, I replied with the following on your Forum question:

Russell, the Need Def page will not update for an article with a new definition until the corresponding Talk page has been edited and saved. You might have noticed that I have lots of "blank line for Need Def" updates on every page to which I add a new definition.

So, update the Talk page with a blank line or even just a space, save the edit. Then refresh the Need Def page and you should see the article name now removed from the list. 13:04, 15 December 2008 David E. Volk

David, this is not an elegant solution. There are 784 pages in the history work group that are so tagged. I don't think that this two step process of (1) writing the definition and then (2) editing the talk page just in order to update the tag is efficient. I didn't see anywhere that this was explained, either. And, no, I didn't see your "blank line" anywhere. I'm just inclined to ignore the tag. Thanks. Jones. 18:49, 15 December 2008 (UTC)

Just wondering...

Since the 14th edition (and maybe earlier), the Chicago Style has recommended dropping the use of commas in names ("John Quincy Adams Jr." not "John Quincy Adams, Jr."). I'll look at the forum. Russell D. Jones 00:09, 28 December 2008 (UTC)

Grrr. Another step in the downward path to utter intellectual degeneration. Hayford Peirce 00:23, 28 December 2008 (UTC), Jr.
Cheer up Hayford, we still use commas for nonrestrictive adverbial clauses and introductory participial phrases. Russell D. Jones 00:59, 28 December 2008 (UTC)

Here are the relevant rules.

Contrarily, see Kenneth G. Wilson, The Columbia Guide to Standard American English (Columbia, 1993).

I'm a Fowler's Modern English Usage, Second Edition, guy myself. (I note that my New York Times Manual of Style also omits the comma. No wonder I don't use it....) Hayford Peirce 16:11, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
Well The Times is a newspaper, and newspapers are notorious for poor grammar because proper grammar (as well as proper usage) is expensive in terms of column space and ink. Newspaper publishers always know that what their journalists write doesn't ring the cash register bells as quickly as advertisers do. And if it comes down to a choice between proper English and advertising space, guess which side wins. So, for me, a newspaper style guide is a better doorstop than a style manual. -- Jones.

Vision ... blurring ... sight ... fading

I started poking around regarding models and found CZ:NOT. I don't know. Everything that I've put up here, and at WP, has been original research (I'd never admit that over there, though). Everything I write comes from my own head. Some of it is synthesized, but most of it is me attempting to understand things. I write to understand. I've been thinking about writing a series on railroad history, but too many articles would be really short stubs, definitions mostly. Not allowed here, but necessary for building comprehension and understanding a complex topic. I'm not really sold on the encyclopedia ideal. WP wasn't an encyclopedia; it was more like an "academic simulation;" The editor of the Encyclopedia Britannica called WP the "encyclopedia game." The more I think about this, the blurrier it gets. Russell D. Jones 15:56, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

You need to talk to Howard. We have been discussing the idea of allowing very short articles as opposed to stubs. For some topics only a small amount is needed to be complete. I think he has a good point and we have been thinking how to fold this into the current system. Certainly such articles would be useful for related articles subpages to give context to longer articles. Chris Day 16:15, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
Don't over-intellectualize things to the point where utter paralysis sets in. Just write what you want, in a more or less encyclopediac way, and let, if necessary, other people have at it with axes and knives and forks and screwdrivers and other tools to turn it into something that Larry can be proud of. Hayford Peirce 16:18, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
Also, it depends on what you mean by "short" -- how short is "short". If you wrote: "The Rock Island Line is a mighty good line." as an entire article, that would probably be too short. If you added a couple of more sentences to it, and maybe hummed a couple of bars, that ought to be OK. Hayford Peirce 16:22, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
It's not the stubs I'm worried about; I'm experienced enough here to know to just type. It's more the original research angle. I don't think we're writing an encyclopedia. Russell D. Jones 16:30, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

Hayford's advice is correct. We will not throw out the baby with the bathwater. I'm pretty sure we're saner than that. I'll leave a note for Howard to join here as i cannot find where he outlined his need for short articles, but it sounded similar to yours. With respect to OR are you sure it is not just synthesis? Clearly a writer has to decide the angle and resources that will be included, especially for history. Is that OR? Why don't you write some examples and it will be easier to discuss the content with regard to OR. Chris Day 16:38, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
I wouldn't worry about original research. Most of the more active contributors do it all the time. It just needs to be kept within the bounds of what would be accepted in the discipline, be supported, and be balanced. The Wikipedia original research rules, which were simply grandfathered in here in a lot of ways, are designed to keep me from writing an article about guinea pigs that says their diet consists primarily of their own poop because mine ate his all the time when I was little. --Joe Quick 16:44, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
Yes, Joe, that's my point. "Most of the more active contributors do it all the time." See my Henry Adams. Synthesized, to be sure, but also my original take on H.A. (and unfinished). I prefer what we do here to writing an encyclopedia (I've written "real" encyclopedia articles). Russell D. Jones 18:24, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
If we start *really* worrying about original research, we're gonna end up like WP, in which some articles now, as far as I can tell, either have a footnote on every word or a "citation needed" template. In that way lies total madness. We ought to be able to write: "Winston Churchill was a British statesman" without having 4 footnotes on it to prove that we know what we're talking about. Hayford Peirce 16:52, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
I cannot resist, apropos screwdrivers, mentioning my regret that over the years, I lost my copy of the General Telephone & Electronics Practice, "Screwdriver: theory of operation, use, and maintenance."
The short article discussion started in a wide-ranging discussion at CZ Talk: Usability. At User: Howard C. Berkowitz/Strong Articles, there are notes toward a first proposal for the non-orphaning policy, but it does not include what Chris and I have called the "lemma" problem because we didn't a good handle, and Larry wanted an actionable proposal.
If we can get a handle, great! I'd much rather see the proposal be submitted with it than without it. While at some levels it complicates things, I'm not convinced that the overhead of clusters for everything may not be a deterrent to the main goal of encouraging linking.
It's not just an issue of original research, but also original synthesis. The latter, when it is a neutral guide of how to approach a complex subject, certainly can be peer reviewed here, assuming an adequate number of peers. A CZ...ummm..."how to approach a subject article" really can't be outside-reviewed or depend on external sources, as much of it is specific to navigating CZ, organizing subarticles, etc.
At least in Internet engineering, there are quite standard documents, such as "framework" complementing "architecture", and "applicability statement" complementing detailed specification (think subarticle) that are considered required parts of the process. The set of documents that define the Internet's mechanisms aren't exactly an encyclopedia, but they also differ from some less-implementable but more formal standards. They are, however, the result of an intense collaborative process, although the term "full-contact design review" is sometimes considered apt. Howard C. Berkowitz 17:48, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
I agree with what others have said above--don't worry about original research. Or, if you want, give us (or just me, if you want) an example of an article, or some text, you think is original research, and why you think it's original research. The notion of original research is admittedly vague, especially when it comes to things like historical analysis. It may or may not help to look at this essay-in-development about original research, and the fact that original research policy here is based on the Statement of Fundamental Policies line stating, that our articles are "based on common experience, published, credible research, and expert opinion." This is what CZ:Approval Standards says: "Articles should be aimed to serve as excellent encyclopedia articles, and thus are summations of what is known about a topic. Hence, while articles may sum up their topics in novel ways, they should not do so in ways that imply new theories or analyses that in academic contexts would require peer review for publishing. In other words, they should not contain original research or observations." Well...? --Larry Sanger 17:53, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
On this I would add that CZ is published and it is peer-reviewed by our experts in their fields; so is CZ:Approval Standards circular? Meaning: we can (should?) include O.R. because we vet it? Russell D. Jones 18:24, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
Well, I'll bite...we shouldn't, because we don't vet it, or not properly. We are set up to vet text qua encyclopedia articles. We are not set up to vet text for the original research it contains. There is a difference.
Still, Russell, I again would say: don't worry about it right now, unless you have some specific cases you want to point out. --Larry Sanger 18:49, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

Clerk Maxwell

Could you please have a look at Clerk Maxwell and see if it is "approvable" from the point of view of an historian? Thank you.--Paul Wormer 13:10, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

Russell, I saw your remarks, and I would prefer that you improve the article rather than approve it. It is true that a single editor is not allowed to approve it, after (s)he worked on it, but three editors can. So after you've improved it, you, I, and a third (probably a physicist) can approve it. I'm sure we will find a third person, so please go ahead and change Clerk Maxwell to your liking.
With regard to the formulas at the end: Maxwell's paper gives them, but in a notation that is not easily recognizable to the modern physicist; so I translated Maxwell's math into modern notation. Because I myself find this interesting and as I'm just an ordinary scientist, I thought that perhaps more people may find it interesting.--Paul Wormer 07:06, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
Okay. I wanted to tinker with it. My experience with the approval process is limited. In the past though, articles have been approved with a single editor. So, improve it I will. >>> Jones 08:06, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
I'm done with it. Please take a look. Thanks! --Daniel Mietchen 10:40, 23 February 2009 (UTC)

John Logie Baird

What do you think about approving the article on John Logie Baird? The original author is no longer active, but I would be happy to look into any adjustments to style or scope or whatever if you feel they are needed. --Joe Quick 16:50, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

Okay, the one reservation I have is that some claims are made (e.g., that Baird's son made some comment, etc.) which are not referenced. To run that down will require some research. Other than that, I think it is a well developed article and should be approved. Do you want to move it, or are you asking me to do that? Don't we need three editors for approval?
I also think that we should get moving on Chris's proposal for subcategories as the Baird article clearly belongs in a history of technology subcategory. Maxwell belongs in a history of science subcategory. Jones 17:26, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
I'm not an editor, so you'd need to nominate the article.
Knowing the quality of work that Russell Potter did while he was here, I trust that the claims in this article are well founded, but I agree that it is under-referenced in places. Probably, most of the article is supported by the books listed in the bibliography subpage, but I really don't have time to read all of them. I'll see if I can dig up sources using Google books and Amazon book preview searches or peer reviewed articles. --Joe Quick 15:33, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
I rewrote the "Legacy" section, which was left over from the Wikipedia skeleton that the original CZ authors started with and which struck me as rather amateurish. The section isn't long, but I think it makes the article feel a bit more relevant to the present. Minor adjustments will probably continue right up until the approval deadline, but since this change was more substantial, you might want to update the version in the Toapprove section of the metadata template. --Joe Quick 18:05, 12 February 2009 (UTC)
Done--Jones 19:05, 12 February 2009 (UTC)

Co-nominated James Clerk Maxwell for approval

Russell, now that Joe Quick added the Engineering workgroup as a category in the Metadata template, I have signed the template as a co-nominator. Milton Beychok 04:09, 15 February 2009 (UTC)


It's currently here CZ:Proposals/New. Chris Day 13:48, 23 February 2009 (UTC)

Duh, I've been there before! Jones. 13:57, 23 February 2009 (UTC)
I need an explanation of the proposal process. The Proposal (written by Chris) is now at the top of the 5 proposals in CZ:Proposals/Editorial Council. Does that mean it will be the first of the five to be voted upon? Milton Beychok 16:54, 25 February 2009 (UTC)
No. None of the proposals in the queue are yet official resolutions. None are yet before the Ed Council. To be placed before the ed council, a page named "CZ: Editorial Council Resolution ####" must be created and the resolution announced on the ed-council mailing list. Then "At that point, the Chair and Rules Committee, and the Council as a whole, take "ownership" of the resolution, and it is mostly out of your hands." Russell D. Jones 19:34, 25 February 2009 (UTC)
(Crap! Am I beginning to demonstrate too much knowledge of procedure?)
Where does the CZ:Editorial Council Resolution Subgroups which you wrote fit into the proposal process? Which one does the Editorial Council actually vote on? The Proposal or the Resolution? Please respond here on your Talk page which is now on my watchlist. Milton Beychok 16:54, 25 February 2009 (UTC)
They way I see it is that the resolution asks the council to vote on the policy. CZ:Editorial Council Resolution Subgroups is the draft resolution; when Chris, you, and I reach consensus, one of us will give it a number and put it before the ed council as an official resolution (i.e., move it to a page called "CZ:Editorial Council Resolution ####", see CZ:Editorial Council How to Make a Resolution). CZ:Editorial Council Resolution Subgroups says that the council will vote on the policy as written on the CZ:Proposals/Subgroups page. I did not include the policy in the resolution as no other resolution on which we have voted included a policy; it seemed that the resolution often points to the proposal.
  This resolution does not require much in the way of implementation. Chris already has the templates up and running, so ed council doesn't need to ask anything of him. All we need is for citizens to start using the policy. The problem I saw was "what is the policy?" Some ed council resolutions had delegated the policy-writing portion to a committee or individual (see CZ:Editorial Council Resolution 0010). Some had adopted the proposal page as policy (CZ:Editorial Council Resolution 0009 resolved to make CZ:Proposals/Recipes Subpage and Accompanying Usage Policy accepted policy). The recipe proposal page still talks about what "could" be done, there's still discussion there, etc., all of which, according to the Ed Council resolution, is also accepted policy. The proposal system allows for discussion and debate about what the proposed policy should look like, how it will behave, what the unresolved problems are, etc. All of that stuff should not be voted on by the ed council. The ed council should vote on the policy, no? So, what is the policy? We could also propose that the ed council delegate the policy-writing to a committee or an individual and not vote on a policy; but doesn't that delegate away power that rightly belongs in the ed council?
  This may have been a long-winded answer. Russell D. Jones 19:29, 25 February 2009 (UTC)
Uh, I take that back, CZ:Editorial Council Resolution 0007 included the policy voted upon. Russell D. Jones 20:04, 25 February 2009 (UTC)

(Unindent) Russell, you have now convinced me that you are know the proposal procedure very well ... so I will leave the subgroups proposal in the capable hands of you and Chris. Since I first started to get people interested in the concept back in early 2008, I have been concerned only with getting it before the Council just as soon as possible which I feel sure that you two will do. Milton Beychok 21:40, 25 February 2009 (UTC)

Could you please straighten out my confusion about subgroups and where they now stand? At this point -- without the proposal having yet been approved -- could I, for example, as an author who is under the current rules not qualified to be an Editor of anything, just on my own initiative, create, say, a "Poetry" subgroup, with the intention of having it eventually become part of the "Literature" workgroup, and invite other authors who have written on poets and poetics to join it, and to help establish the necessary subgroup-related pages, etc.? I see other subgroups being created -- e.g., Botany -- but I don't know what steps I'm allowed to take as a mere author. Whose permission do I need to do what, etc.? Thanks. Bruce M.Tindall 02:56, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
It is designed so that authors can start subgroups. But this proposal has not gone before the editorial council, so any subgroup started now has the risk of being deleted in the future. Chris Day 03:10, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
Bruce, I don't see why you couldn't start such a subgroup and I don't think that CZ:Poetry Subgroup (just like CZ:Botany Subgroup) runs the risk of deletion. Seems reasonable enough. Russell D. Jones 12:49, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
Agree, it should get passed. Chris Day 16:00, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
I'm confused on this (as on many things, of course), but we now have a Workgroup called Recreation. Under that is apparently a Workgroup (or subgroup) called Sports. Right now, listed under the Sports category, there seem to be many articles, such as Tennis, Baseball, Pancho Gonzales, Hank Aaron, etc. The people in the discussion above, who are proposing the creation, more or less at will by authors, are they saying that I, for instance, who did a lot of tennis articles when I first came to CZ a couple of years ago, could decide that there should be a CZ:Tennis Subgroup? Or, over in the Literature Workgroup, CZ:Mystery Stories Subgroup? I can see the arguments for making them. I can also see a, oh, let's say, rock 'n' roll enthusiast coming in and creating two dozen Subgroups for various off-shoots of that fine musical branch. (Orchestrated to the loud grinding of geezers' teeth). So what is actually being proposed here (informally, I understand)? Hayford Peirce 16:32, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
It sounds like you understand, although note that recreation is not a workgroup, it is a classification like "humanities" or "natural sciences". Did you read the proposal here? Chris Day 16:40, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
Hayford, yes, lots of subgroups would be a sign of health. Article approval rules still apply. Russell D. Jones 17:07, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
Can't read it 'cause it's a bad link! :( Hayford Peirce 16:47, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
Are you sure? it should be working now. Try again. Chris Day 16:53, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
I think subgroups are an excellent way of organizing, gathering authors and boosting contributions. The only problem (and I am not sure this is one) is that there are not author enough for most of the subgroups to be created for now. Last week Chris suggested that maybe we might have a taxonomy subworkgroup, or orchids subworkgroup. I'd love that but seemed too soon for me because of the few articles I found on CZ. As I saw a comparatively huge list of editors on Biology workgroup I though: Oh well, let's start with something really appealing, a Botany subgroup. For sure there will be many authors and editors interested in joining such a wide subject subgroup. Therefore, after I started this subgroup I went on and checked the user pages of every Biology Editor to look for possible interested ones. I was very surprised to find only two or three editors which surely might enjoy joining this group, and here I am including myself and Chris. What's the conclusion? I don't know. I'm just reporting the experience. Surely I believe this will be an excellent subworkgroup in the future, although I guess some time will pass before a viable subgroup division can come out of Botany. Dalton Holland Baptista 16:59, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
As always it comes back to critical mass. No doubt subgroups are not viable now, we can all work together without them. But what comes first, the community or the subgroup? Possibly we need the subgroups first? Like a nectar for CZ? I view this as a community building tool that will turn into to collaborative havens. Chris Day 17:12, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
I particularly agree with you Chris. I'm a great fan of subgroups and will do as much as I can to help with them. For instance, few days ago when I arrived CZ and found no mention of such a subgroup here, it was a little bit disappointing, furthermore, groups are really important to CZ as its structure seems to be supported by them. It is not like WP where most of the subgroups don't really work. As soon as the groups are created many new articles are needed and it helps us to check what the areas that need more attention are. Dalton Holland Baptista 17:23, 5 March 2009 (UTC)

more approvals?

I hope I'm not annoying you with so many requests/suggestions. Do you think Benjamin Franklin is ready to approve? I believe it is a CZ original developed in-house mainly by User:Todd Coles. It would be nice to have an approval for such a famous figure. --Joe Quick 01:58, 1 March 2009 (UTC)

Not annoyed. Please keep them coming. 02:06, 1 March 2009 (UTC)
Just wanted to touch base on this, since there hasn't been any activity over there in a few days. Where do we stand on this article? Is there more work you think needs to be done to it, or are you preferring to just leave it be for the time being? --Todd Coles 17:46, 25 March 2009 (UTC)
Okay, so nominated. Russell D. Jones 18:14, 25 March 2009 (UTC)

How do you feel about Martin Van Buren? --Joe Quick 15:21, 15 April 2009 (UTC)

Too foxy! Russell D. Jones 01:37, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

Kamehameha I

In my opinion, Kamehameha I is as close to being "complete" as it can be. I think I have covered all major aspects of his life. I am asking you four; Joe Quick (as approvals manager), Roger A. Lohmann (as a history and politics editor), Russell Jones (as a history editor), and Howard Berkowitz (as a military editor), to look over the article and suggest any changes you think necessary. Between the five of us, I don't see why we can't get this article improved. Thanks for your time. Drew R. Smith 09:50, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

new editor

We have a new editor in the history, journalism, and media workgroups. He seems like just the right person to oversee the approval of moving panorama, which was written primarily by another history editor named Russell quite a while ago and seems very good to me. Since he's brand new, I thought maybe you could offer to be a sort of mentor for his first approval. You could also be a co-approver. I haven't said anything to him yet. --Joe Quick 13:27, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

Articles on books...

I'd like to write an article on a book I recently read, The Age of Ra by James Lovegrove, and I wanted to take the time to ask a couple people about the mechanics of articles about books.

  1. Are plot summaries ok?
  2. Are lists of Characters ok, main characters or otherwise?
  3. Is it ok to take a picture of the front cover to use as a picture for the article?
  4. Is it ok to include an average retail price?

and finally

If included, should any of these things be put on a subpage?

Thanks Russell - Drew R. Smith 05:10, 19 August 2009 (UTC)

Is there a Technology subgroup??

Russell, I noted your mention of a Technology subgroup on Howard's Talk page. Is there such a subgroup? What workgroup(s) is/are it affiliated with? Is there a list somewhere of all the subgroups? Milton Beychok 18:15, 21 August 2009 (UTC)

I was proposing to Howard a CZ:History of Technology Subgroup. There is not one to my knowledge, but there should be one. Interested? Russell D. Jones 18:21, 21 August 2009 (UTC)

Perhaps. I'll think about it. Milton Beychok 19:07, 21 August 2009 (UTC)

Image Transparency Problem

(PD) Photo: Courtesy of the Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, NASA Johnson Space Center

Here's the problem: there is a bunch of white space around the image. How do I make the white space go away? In other words, how do I make the image transparent to the background?

Related: how do I make TOC's transparent as well?

To see my problem, look at this page.

Thanks, all. Russell D. Jones 18:46, 22 August 2009 (UTC)

Its a problem with the thumbnail. If you had used a non thumb image the whitespace wouldn't be there.

Example: But where's the caption?

A simple but not very desirable solution

I'm still investigating how to thumbnail it without the whitespace. Be back soon. Drew R. Smith 03:28, 23 August 2009 (UTC)

From our friends at "The Other Place" (personally I hate using that phrase) I found that it is a mediawiki wide problem that mediawiki doesn't seem concerned about. There may be obscure tricks to get rid of it, but I can't find any. Drew R. Smith 03:45, 23 August 2009 (UTC)
But removing the frame or thumb also removes the caption! Russell D. Jones 13:32, 23 August 2009 (UTC)
I have a simple, though probably not a very desirable solution. See above. I still haven't figured out how to remove the whitespace around a thumb. As I said before, it is a mediawiki problem, and they don't seem very concerned about it. I haven't even found any backdoor's or tricks to do it, which I'm usually pretty good at finding. I'll keep looking though. Drew R. Smith 09:19, 24 August 2009 (UTC)

Example: But where's the caption?

A better but still not very desirable solution

Aha! You can box the whole thing (picture and caption) for the same effect as a thumbnail minus whitespace. Still not as easy as a normal thumbnail, but it works. Drew R. Smith 09:22, 24 August 2009 (UTC)

"Related: how do I make TOC's transparent as well?" - Not sure what you mean. If you mean non-existant its pretty simple. If you mean see through I haven't the foggiest, but could probably find out. Drew R. Smith 09:24, 24 August 2009 (UTC)

==>Drew, like an image, a TOC is place in a box with a white background that is opaque to the background. 12:42, 8 September 2009 (UTC)
Thanks, Drew. I've posted the question at MediaWiki help too, but they weren't as speedy or as helpful as you. Thanks. Russell D. Jones 11:39, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
Drew, check out this CSS solution. Russell D. Jones 13:19, 24 August 2009 (UTC)

Okay. Drew, you put me on a path to a work-around. Here:

Spaceship EarthView.jpg

A picture of the Earth and Moon from space. NASA photograph.
Attempts by humans to travel above Earth's surface had been made for hundreds of years. Evidence of mankind's serious study of flight was discovered in 1898 in an Egyptian tomb in the form of a winged wooden model, dated 200 BC, that reportedly was truly a flyable model, curiously designed without birdlike claws and unlike birds, had a vertical tail.

I now have to rewrite the image function as a template to see if that will work, e.g., {{Image|Spaceship EarthView.jpg|alignment|size|caption}}

And if you are using the Pinkwich5 skin (I don't which is why I put the yellow background around the above examples) here it is again:

Spaceship EarthView.jpg

A picture of the Earth and Moon from space. NASA photograph.

Attempts by humans to travel above Earth's surface had been made for hundreds of years. Evidence of mankind's serious study of flight was discovered in 1898 in an Egyptian tomb in the form of a winged wooden model, dated 200 BC, that reportedly was truly a flyable model, curiously designed without birdlike claws and unlike birds, had a vertical tail.

I'm not sure how this looks on your browser, but on Opera and Google chrome it's simply horrendous. Still, if it works for your other-wiki needs, go right ahead.

Well maybe in Opera. This page looks pretty much the same in Chrome. The first flights page, I had to scale up the page until the images looked right. I have to scale up everything on the web anyway because you young people make everything so small here in cyberspace. But I see what you meant. I also found out that Chrome won't load my site's changes to the monobook skin, so I'm stuck with the crappy WP presentation through chrome. And on pages that have a lot of images, they tend to pile up across the screen and push text around. No, it's not the perfect solution, but it's better than these white holes in the page. But, if I can't get my changes to monobook to take, this is all pointless.

Here's what it looks like in Opera

Opera problems.jpg

and Chrome

Chrome problems.jpg

Admittedly, Chrome at least has the text under the pic, but wouldn't it be better with a frame? The text below the pic without a frame makes them seem almost, almost, unconnected. Drew R. Smith 04:55, 25 August 2009 (UTC)

Yes, I know. I'd like a frame too. But my job queue length right now is enormous. Russell D. Jones

Pinkwich5 Skin

For anyone who is in the know: How does the Pinkwich5 skin get the gradient backgrounds? I can get the Gray-to-white background to work fine in the outside (header and menu) space. But my gradient for the white-to-gray background in the text space stops halfway down a page. See this example. Any advice? Thanks. Russell D. Jones 15:02, 24 August 2009 (UTC)

Hmmmm. Where do I get the Pinkwich skin? I guess if I had that, some of my problems would be solved.
Go to "my preferences" at the top of your pages, click on "Skin" and make your selection. Be sure to read the Note at the bottom of the list of skins.
Personally, I use IE6 as my browser and the Monobook skin and there is no visible white space around any photos or other images. Milton Beychok 15:17, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
Yes, that's because the both the whitespace and the monobook text space are both white. But in the Pinkwich skin, the text space is not white; it is a gradient.

Um, that wasn't my question. Where to I acquire the pinkwich skin so that I can install it on my own mediawiki site? That's my question (I think). A google search gives me a lot of discussion about it but no purveyor. Russell D. Jones 15:28, 24 August 2009 (UTC)

The example you showed occurs when there's a problem in the .css file for the skin. I wouldn't be able to tell you exactly what the problem is without looking at the file (and maybe not even then), but I would guess that the gradient is set to go to a certain number of pixels, instead of a certain percent of the page. I've looked at other pages, and on the shorter ones the problem doesn't occur, or if it does, it's much closer to the bottom. Drew R. Smith 04:59, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
One other thing. I've recently learned how to do some digital image restoration, so if you (or anyone else) wants an image "tuned-up" give me a shout. I took the liberty of doing a small restoration of the flying machine blueprints, but I could do a much better job with a svg png or tiff image. The most noticeable difference is the rotation of the pic isn't off anymore. I also did a little patching up around the edges, where the rotation distorted some of the color. Take a look and tell me what you think.
Flying Machine.png
Drew R. Smith 05:32, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
Okay, I found a better source image for the file and did a minor restoration on that one.
Flying Machine2.jpg
Drew R. Smith 06:11, 25 August 2009 (UTC)

Article approvals sought

Hi - I have done as much as I can with two articles, Scarborough Castle and Great Siege of Scarborough Castle (specifically the versions here and here), and am looking to move these articles into 'approved' status. I made sure to use only authoritative sources (published books, English Heritage castle literature, things like that). Can you have a look and see if you feel that there is anything preventing them being approved? Thanks. John Stephenson 06:25, 27 September 2009 (UTC)

another article to consider for approval

First, thanks for getting Scarborough Castle headed for approval. I announced the nomination on the History Workgroup mailing list with the hope that it will draw a little attention. I don't know how many people are actually signed up for that list, but it has to reach at least someone.

One goal of mine as Approvals Manager is to get at least one article in every workgroup approved, but there are several workgroups that don't have any approved articles yet. Linguistics is one of those. I think our best shot is Noah Webster, since it's also listed in History. It was originally a Wikipedia import, so it might need a little work, but I think we could find someone to give it a little attention if necessary. What do you think? --Joe (Approvals Manager) 04:58, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

I've gone over it, cleaned it up a bit, but there are problems. See Talk:Noah Webster. But I have a larger prejudice in that I'm very reluctant to approve something that has been written someplace else. Russell D. Jones 00:10, 1 March 2010 (UTC)

"Britain, history"- dispute over title

I should appreciate your intervention to resolve the dispute that has developed concerning the title of the article on Britain, history. I fear that the recent alteration will strike readers as absurd. Nick Gardner 22:55, 31 December 2009 (UTC)

Thank you Nick Gardner 22:34, 2 January 2010 (UTC)

I hope that it meets with your approval. You've put a lot of effort into the article over the past years or so. Russell D. Jones 23:17, 2 January 2010 (UTC)

I am afraid that it hadn't occurred to me that "Britain" can be taken to exclude Northern Ireland. My fellow - English contacts do not interpret it that way in colloquial conversation, but it seems that Ulstermen do - and, on reflection, I have to admit that strictly speaking they are right. (I believe that the derivation of "Britain" goes back to the Romans - who did not invade Ireland). Anyway, I am sure that you have made the right choice, and I should welcome any other criticisms of the article that you have time to make.Nick Gardner 11:21, 3 January 2010 (UTC)

Is school out for the summer?

Good to see your name poppin up! D. Matt Innis 22:08, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

Thanks. Russell D. Jones

Great Siege of Scarborough Castle

Hi, Russell. I am calling it editor help about this article - there there is some discussion of whether and how to approve it here. Can you find any problems or reasons not to proceed? Thanks. John Stephenson 09:22, 28 May 2010 (UTC)

I've looked it over and sent you my comments. Russell D. Jones 12:56, 29 May 2010 (UTC)

Battle of Britain

(writing here as I'm getting system error messages on my talk page)

To the best of my recollection, I wrote it from scratch after an ... exchange of views ... with Jensen. Actually, I first wrote a BoB section in radar, and also may have written integrated air defense system and suppression of enemy air defense.

These days, I consciously don't even look at the WP article when I start an article; I may not have kept such a "firewall" then.

It would be nice to move toward Approval, and perhaps even some of the Related Articles, both the technical and historical. I do see some new error messages that might be due to the software changes. Howard C. Berkowitz 22:06, 3 June 2010 (UTC)


I.  I'm starting the Approval process for the revision of Richard Hofstadter, and made a bunch of minor editorial revisions. Please read and let me know if you have any problems with them. I tried not to change any content, just concentrate on syntax, except that i made substantial changes to the handling of the first and last sentences. Let me know if you have a problem with this (or better yet, change them back if I've messed up the meaning). I'm waiting to hear from Constable Matt about the procedure, and then, as noted, Howard will join me in recommending it.

II.  I will get Edwin E. Witte started toward Approval also. Would you care to see if you might approve Arthur J. Altmeyer?

We might also ask Howard if he would care to join either or both? Roger A. Lohmann 18:59, 5 June 2010 (UTC)


I just heard from Matt. He interprets my contributions as authorial as well, but recommends a three-editor solution, in which you and I and Howard all join in the Approval this time. Since the article was originated by Richard Jensen, that makes sense to me. I think I will post the permalink to the current version and a note on the Talk Page indicating I recommend it for approval. If you and Howard can add your assent on the Talk Page, we should be home free. (Or, if you have any problems with the latest version, we can revise, update the link and then indicate approval. Roger A. Lohmann 19:10, 5 June 2010 (UTC)

Please check Glass-Steagall Act of 1932

Please check the lede changes I made here. I'm not a professional economist, but I see the repeal of most of Glass-Steagall by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act as the start of a slide to today's chaos.

A credit-default swap is not unreasonable as long as it is adequately collateralized (not quite the word I want) by the participants. The crisis came about partially because new financial instruments were being created in an environment where no regulation applied, and there was no one to ask the question, "are these being designed on an overly optimistic model?" Howard C. Berkowitz 09:33, 5 October 2010 (UTC)

Howard, I'm going to revert your edits on the Glass-Steagall Act of 1932 because I think you confused the 1932 act with the 1933 act of the same name. Please see my lede to the Glass-Steagall Act. Also the changes you made were already covered in the "Later History" section of Glass-Steagall Act and the Banking Act of 1933. Russell D. Jones 13:01, 6 October 2010 (UTC)
From what I understand, only two paragraphs of GSA (the Banking Act) were repealed by GLBA (albeit, those two paragraphs were substantially the main points of GSA); so it would be inappropriate to say "... repeal of most of ...." I have no idea how/why the current fiasco started, but am sure that the gold standard had nothing to do with it (as it did in 1929). Russell D. Jones 12:55, 6 October 2010 (UTC)
OK. Didn't realize there were two acts.
Why did the current fiasco take place? May I suggest confusing the more exotic financial instrument market with a casino, a casino with incompetent bookies who didn't close bets when they could no longer cover the spread? Howard C. Berkowitz 13:25, 6 October 2010 (UTC)


I forgot I wasn't a constable anymore! I deleted your charter page :O D. Matt Innis 02:54, 26 October 2010 (UTC)

That's okay. I'm glad someone did it; I've got a second RFD out there, too. Russell D. Jones 02:57, 26 October 2010 (UTC)

Federal Reserve notes

In order to make your recent "Federal Reserve notes/Definition" work as a lemma article, should the older "Federal Reserve notes" (which says "moolah" etc.) now be speedydeleted so that the new definition will show up where appropriate? Bruce M. Tindall 18:13, 20 November 2010 (UTC)

I'm not partial to it. Do with it as you please. Moolah is a place holder. It would be best, though, if you replaced moolah with some copy about Federal Reserve notes. I'm sure you can add a couple of sentences off the top of your head. Best, Russell D. Jones 18:36, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
Done. Now, when do I get my free samples? Bruce M. Tindall 19:37, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
You're on your own there, fella! Just remember your friends when you get them. Russell D. Jones 18:54, 21 November 2010 (UTC)

No problems

No problems here and thanks for asking. Have a super day!Mary Ash 22:41, 21 November 2010 (UTC)

History editor input needed

If you wish to comment on this content dispute please add your comments to the Mengele content page.

There is a complex controversy over appropriate terminology and neutrality policy starting in the article on Josef Mengele and spilling over to War crime and perhaps other places I am not aware of. Input from history editors might be helpful. Sandy Harris 03:20, 22 November 2010 (UTC)

Okay, I don't see the problem with War crime. Mengele is going to take some time to read and it's time for me to punch the clock, so I'll have to do it tomorrow. Russell D. Jones 03:49, 22 November 2010 (UTC)
To see the problem with war crime, you'd need to look at the history, talk page, & talk page archive. Sandy Harris 04:12, 22 November 2010 (UTC)
Thank you. It seems that War crime has resolved itself. I don't see any issues with the current text. I'd say start from there. Russell D. Jones 13:58, 22 November 2010 (UTC)