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User talk:Tim Westbrook

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Welcome to the Citizendium! We hope you will contribute boldly and well. Here are pointers for a quick start. You'll probably want to know how to get started as an author. Just look at CZ:Getting Started for other helpful "startup" links, and CZ:Home for the top menu of community pages. Be sure to stay abreast of events via the Citizendium-L (broadcast) mailing list (do join!) and the blog. Please also join the workgroup mailing list(s) that concern your particular interests. You can test out editing in the sandbox if you'd like. If you need help to get going, the forums is one option. That's also where we discuss policy and proposals. You can ask any constable for help, too. Me, for instance! Just put a note on their "talk" page. Again, welcome and have fun! D. Matt Innis 04:43, 9 November 2008 (UTC)

your article

Hi Tim,

Glad to see you at work! But please read my comments on the discussion page of the article before you go any further. Thanks! Constable Hayford Peirce 20:12, 15 May 2009 (UTC)

This article

This article is a restoration of several articles largely written by me, but significantly and constantly modified and damaged in WP. It is now not possible to maintain a quality version in WP. Tim Westbrook 00:35, 16 May 2009 (UTC)

So what else is new about WP, hehe? Welcome to Citizendium! Hayford Peirce 01:41, 16 May 2009 (UTC)

Tim, are you listening to me?

I asked you to do some things on the discussion page of this article. Before you do any more editing, would you please address the concerns I raised? Thanks. Constable Hayford Peirce 03:52, 16 May 2009 (UTC)

Formatting your articles, etc.

Hi, Tim, I can understand that too many discussions etc. don't leave time for the true business of creation, but in the long run it will be easier for all of us if you can follow our conventions right from the start -- that way we won't have to have any discussions at all! One problem at the moment is that our various History editors seem to be taking vacations at the moment and I, the lowly Constable, am left to guide you through some of this stuff.

  • Any time you make an edit to an article, at the very bottom of the edit box, under a couple of lines of boilerplate are three boxes: This is a minor edit, Watch this page, and Content is from Wikipedia. If you're bringing the material in from WP please check the WP box and DON'T FORGET TO SAVE.
  • Any time you create a new article with material from WP, even though you've checked the box mentioned above, please click on the Talk tab and then, on the blank screen that you'll find there, put in the WPauthor template that we discussed yesterday. Please take a look at another one that I did myself: You will note that you see my own name and date within that box. You can insert your own name there, which is a favor to readers, by typing four tildes ~~~~ after you've written your own little text.
  • In any articles that you create, please remove any images that are clearly not in the public domain or that don't show up on the page that you have just created.
  • Later, when you've got the hang of this, I'd like to show you how to fill out the "metadata" and subpage stuff, so that the various categories of Workshops and so forth show up at the bottom of the screen. It's easy enough to do and only takes about 30 seconds once you get the hang of it.

All the best, Hayford Peirce 17:03, 16 May 2009 (UTC)


It really isn't very difficult, it just *seems* a little strange at first.

Let's do it the easy way:

The next time you start a new article, on the 23rd Congress, say, I believe that you will be starting from a blank page. At the very top of the page, before you paste in anything or write anything else, write the subpages template, which is like this {{subpages}}.

Once you've done that, you can paste your own material in a line or two below it and click SAVE (and having checked the WP box if necessary).

The article will be saved, more or less, but you may see some screens in which you're asked to do a couple of more things (you may have to scroll down to the bottom of some of these screens to see exactly what they're asking). One, of them, I know, asks you to click HERE and create a metadata template. Another part, I believe, asks you to create a Talk page.

On the talk page all you do is put in exactly the same subpage template at the top and then click SAVE.

Once you're on the metadata page, one way or another, you can fill in some of the info that it asks you to do.

Just off the top of my head, you want to put in the name of the article up top, ie, 27th Congress of the US

Below that is Language Variant -- you put in AE for American English

Below that is ABC with some gibberish -- delete the gibberish and put in the name of the article again, in this case 27th etc. (This is an important bit of data for other articles. If we have a Pancho Gonzales article, for instance, down here at the ABC we type in Gonzales, Pancho, so that on the Workgroup page of articles listed, it's listed under the Gs instead of the Ps.)

For Status, put in 2 for developing or 1 for developed or 3 for a very short one.

Some of the other stuff, if you don't understand it, you can leave blank.

But what you *do* want to do is where it says Cat1 and Cat2 and Cat3 -- this is where the Workgroups are listed and the categories that you see at the bottom of the article pages are generated. In your case, you might put Politics in Cat1 and History in Cat2, or vice versa. If there were a third workgroup that applied, you'd put that in also.

And be sure to SAVE, I'm pretty sure....

I think, off the top of my head, that's enough to get you started. Don't worry if you make any mistakes while doing this -- they can always be corrected! Hayford Peirce 19:53, 16 May 2009 (UTC)

Biographical directory of Congress

I understand some of this material is not from Wikipedia. Nothing wrong with importing from a public document, but, as Hayford mentions, it does need metadata. As I did for George Poindexter, it also needs to be put into the CZ format. That means, for example, that the first sentence contains the article title in bold.

The bibliography and related articles can be created once metadata exist.

You do need to credit the actual source (i.e., the Biographical Directory). Howard C. Berkowitz 21:54, 18 May 2009 (UTC)

Might I ask that if you are going to import more raw articles, you put them in your userspace rather than putting them directly in the main space without metadata and not in CZ format? The metadata is less important than the basic formatting, not having sentence fragments, and a standard introductory sentence (e.g., state the name of the article in bold in the first sentence). Others can clean up the metadata. Howard C. Berkowitz 11:57, 19 May 2009 (UTC)
 OK, And I will clean up the ones I've done ASAP. Tim Westbrook 19:18, 19 May 2009 (UTC)

Biographical Dictionary

Hi Tim,

Are those direct quotes that you're using for the articles such as Bedford Brown?

I see two problems here:

1.) It's not CZ style to simply quote a source such as this and to reproduce it in the article, particularly not at the very top of the page -- we can derive information from other sources, of course, but we have to rewrite to our own standards.

2.) If it is a direct quote, there is a copyright issue -- it is illegal to simply quote a reference source until the copyright has expired and it is in the public domain. In this case, since the source given is 1955, the copyright has almost certainly not expired.

Please review of your articles with these two comments in mind. Thanks! Hayford Peirce 23:03, 21 May 2009 (UTC)

The Congressional Biographical Directory is a U.S. government document not subject to copyright, but the points about rewrite are relevant. Rewrite, if for no other reason, will be needed to link the article to others in CZ. Howard C. Berkowitz 23:11, 21 May 2009 (UTC)
I've done a little more research, and I see that the info at the top of the Bedford Brown page is a 100% reproduction of the article about him at I don't know precisely what the terms of use are at infoplease, but it's quite possibly copyrighted. I don't see any general release there saying that their info can be reproduced at will. In any case, it is quite contrary to CZ to simply copy another Website for our articles. I am, therefore, deleting that material. I'd appreciate if you would do the same with any other information that you have copied from this site in other articles. Constable Hayford Peirce 23:14, 21 May 2009 (UTC)
You are right, of course, I am just testing stuff and can't get it perfect immediately. In addition to my writing I have a full time job and family jobs. So... Tim Westbrook 00:16, 22 May 2009 (UTC)
Ah. If you test stuff, however, you should do it either on your Talk page or create a sandbox page by starting a New Article called User:Tim Westbrook/Sandbox Then just put all of your stuff on that page until you want to copy it onto the article itself. Milton, I think, does *all* of his writing on his sandbox, then creates the final articles. Other people use them from time to time for varying reasons.... Hayford Peirce 00:46, 22 May 2009 (UTC)

Heading sizes

Hi, I notice that you have been changng a lot of section headings in articles to fourth-level headings. However, the standard on CZ is for section headings to be second-level headings (==Heading==), and subsections to use third-level headings, fourth-level headings, etc. Perhaps you could explain the reason for the changes, or change them to second-level headings?
Thanks, Caesar Schinas 14:38, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

Tim, you are still creating fourth-level headings when second-level headings should be used.
Whilst I agree that the second-level headings are bigger than they should be, we do have a standard way of doing things.
Should a consensus somehow be reached in the future about the headings being too big, we can alter the stylesheet and all headings will change size.
Caesar Schinas 16:46, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
Caesar, I have been considered your point and really do feel the print size at 3/4 is most physically attractive and appropriate in these articles. If there is a written rule somewhere that will cause my execution not following this guideline I will conform, but please point it out to me, particularly when it seems like such a minor point, which you agree with. Please also give me specific direction on how to get the required authority to reconsider. Tim Westbrook 17:03, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
The point is that almost every article on CZ uses the second-level heading, and it looks odd for a very few to have smaller headings.
Any change to a different size should take place in the sitewide stylesheet so that it affects all articles. I am not opposed to such a change.
Changing titles in individual articles, however, causes inconsistency. It also means that if/when we do make a sitewide change, the headings on your articles will get even smaller.
It is not a minor point at all, as the inconsistency makes CZ look amateur. And I'm not sure what you're saying I "agree with"...
Now, if you want a written guideline, have a look at the examples at Help:Editing#Wiki_markup - it shows a "New section" with a second level heading, "Subsection" with third-level, and "Sub-subsection" with fourth-level.
I'm afraid I don't understand your last sentence, but if you are asking where to propose a sitewide change to the heading size - I don't know, but I suggest starting on the forums. There is a proposals system, but it's very complex and I'm not sure how it works or if it is still used.
Caesar Schinas 17:22, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
Hi, Tim, let me step in here as a Constable, please. I'm afraid that Caesar is 100% right on this. We do have guidelines for standardization of certain features and they really do have to be followed. There have been some arguments in the past, I believe, *long* before either of you joined, and some of the problems seem to be that different people working on CZ have very different computer systems, and what I see on my screen is sometimes quite different from what you may be seeing on yours (because of different monitors, operating systems, browsers, computer settings, etc. etc.). So something that looks too small to you, may well look too large to me. This is why we insist on standardization of formatting within our articles. So I fear that you really are going to have to change things to what Caesar says they should be.
As he says, the place to bring this up is in the Forums -- but *after* you've made the changes, hehe. (Or while you're doing it.) There *is* a Proposals system, but it's long, complicated, drawn-out, and I frankly don't think that in the two years I've been here it has *ever* actually caused any single thing to have been changed. In spite of millions of words that were put into various Proposals. But you could always try.... Hayford Peirce 17:35, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

(unindent)Here are examples of the four sizes.

====Early life and family====
===Early life and family===
==Early life and family==
=Early life and family= 

Personally, I think that Vincent's use of the three looks better than the two, but then again, I like the smaller one with *four* even better than that. (remove the pre and /pre above, then click on Show Preview to see what they look like.) It ought to be possible to get a definitive ruling from *someone* on this. Hayford Peirce 21:40, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

This may well have been discussed when Derek first designed the default skin. I think quite a few thought the headings were too big. There is no reason why this could not be opened again in the forum. I agree with Caesar that this change needs to be at the global level not by using fourth level instead of second level headers. Tom, another possability is for you to use a different skin such as mono. You can change the skin in you preferences. Chris Day 21:50, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
Another way to change this just for yourself is to create a custom stylesheet for yourself - click here, edit the page, and add something like #content h2 { font-size:1.5em; }.
Hayford, Tim is now using four. I do agree that smaller is better, but as Chris says, even if a decision is made to use smaller headings, the change should take place in the sitewide CSS, not by changing the code on every page. For a start, the use of four headers for sections precludes the use of more than one level of subsection. Worse, the fact that it is semantically wrong can damage our search engine rankings.
Caesar Schinas 05:47, 29 May 2009 (UTC)

I happened to "trip", accidently, over this discussion, so I might add a remark: Though I think that visual appearance is very important, it is -- for a collaborative project like this -- absolutely essential that the basic markup is logical markup (in contrast to visual markup). Thus == A == indicates a section and not a specific choice of font. One would not start a table of contents with a subsection or even a subsubsection, would one? (By the way: Where does =title= fit in?) Only if the markup is logical (indicating content), appearance can be changed uniformly (and individual choices can also be offered.)
Peter Schmitt 15:25, 29 May 2009 (UTC)

My point exactly, Peter, only better expressed - thanks. :-)
=title= creates an <h1>. This is what is used at the top of the article, for the article name, and so must not be used withing the article. A webpage should have only one <h1>.
Caesar Schinas 16:20, 29 May 2009 (UTC)

George Read (senator) header

Hi Tim, I got your message but don't know what you mean. I checked the history of the article and I don't see anything that I contributed. Do you mean the *metadata*? Maybe I added that? Hayford Peirce 15:35, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

Yes, the data at the top of the page. Someone built the framework, I put in most of the data afterwards. Should I be building it on every article and if so a hint to a dummy how to build the framework would be appreciated? Tim Westbrook 15:46, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

Ah. Just scroll up on this very page and look at the section called "Metadata" that I put there a week or so ago -- it really isn't very hard once you get the knack of it. And it *should* be on *every* article, sooner or later, but preferably sooner. If you yourself don't do it, someone else is going to have to come along and do it. So we also appreciate it if whoever starts the article does it at the very beginning, or *near* the beginning. Thanks! Hayford Peirce 15:50, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

Definitions -- how we do them

Hi Tim, definitions are something that the Metadata wants for one reason or another (and that I keep forgetting) and really aren't (and shouldn't be) what you have just created. The first rule is that it should be only one sentence long. Another rule is that we don't mention the article's name again in the "definition". The other rule is that it's just a *brief* description of what the article is. In other words, the "definition" for Lyndon B. Johnson, say, might be: "American politician from Texas who was first a Senator and then the President after John F. Kennedy." Or something a *few* words longer, maybe. But it's not really for the readers -- it's for the metadata engines.... Hayford Peirce 18:44, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

  • Hayford, After changing all the listings as I thought you said, I see it is suppossed to NOT include the person written about. That makes no sense to me, and I will wait to do another change until I get a better explanation.
I'm afraid that there *is* no better explanation. Maybe it has something to do with the way metadata search engines work. I'm just *telling* you, the CZ way is to have a definition for Babe Ruth that reads: "American baseball player of the first part of the 20th century, often considered to be the greatest player of all time." Don't gripe at *me* about it -- it's just the way it's done, whether it makes sense to you or not. Hayford Peirce
  • I also am changing the title sizes somewhat as requested, but reading the specs there is no specific stated when 1 to 5 "=" is used, just their relative existence. Thankfully there is no request for the use of a single "=" and therefore my reading of the spec is that what is appropriate is allowed. The double "==" is huge and unsuitable for anything I write and if all the constable/witnesses agree with that conclusion then it seems like it is your collective responsible to fix the problem, not us unimportant authors. Tim Westbrook 20:29, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
If I may offer a correction, constables are not responsible for basic styles. In general, that would be a matter to be approved by the Editorial Council, which sets styles and conventions. Unfortunately, it hasn't been active, although Chris and I hope to correct that soon. Howard C. Berkowitz 20:36, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
Howard is correct. Constables are happy to correct things, and give tips as much as they can, until newcomers get the hang of things. But constables get *extremely* grouchy (trust me on this) if, after a while, an author continues to do things that are not the CZ conventional way of doing it just because the author feels like doing it his or her way. So please, as much as possible, learn our conventions and then follow them. Thanks. Hayford Peirce 21:25, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
My hoped friends, I hardly know what to say except that let's work together a little better. I'll try. Tim Westbrook 00:38, 29 May 2009 (UTC)

Uses of definitions

Actually, there are more uses than metadata. If you look at Related Articles page (e.g., Taliban/Related Articles), in Edit mode, you'll see article names in R-templates. The R-template is the basic building block of Related Articles. Ideally, it will display the definition of a term, although it's quite common to put in an R-template for an article that does not yet exist, so Related Articles can suggest future work. The R-template will display in red if the article doesn't exist; the definition field is gray if there is no definition. There are some shortcut modes where you'll see the article title in black underline; consider that an advanced technique for now.

Disambiguation pages (e.g., screw (disambiguation)) also use R-templates.

There are a few other administrative mechanisms that use definitions, in other templates. Howard C. Berkowitz 00:47, 29 May 2009 (UTC)

Okay, I'm gonna make an official ruling on this header size business

I am now going to say, flatly, that when you're creating new headers, *TWO* thingees must be used, not three, no matter even if you think it looks better the other way.

Why have I said this so dogmatically? Two reasons:

1.) I just looked at an article called Thought. It is written by our Editor-in-Chief, Larry Sanger, who is, ultimately responsible for this project and all of its little aspects. Please take a look yourself at the Edit function of that article. You will see that Larry uses TWO of them, not three.

2.) On all the discussion pages, when someone wants to start a NEW section, he clicks on the Plus sign in the tab at the top of the page, and that creates a new article with a "Subject/headline" box at the top of the editing box. You then type in the name of the new topic, write your comment, and then save it. Having done that, if you go to the Talk page, click on Edit, and scroll down the page, you will see that the new header has TWO thingees.

Both of these examples led me to believe very, very firmly, that TWO is absolutely the default CZ way of creating headers. Therefore, you are bound to do things this way. Sorry, but that's a convention we all have to follow. Hayford Peirce 21:54, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

In case anyone's still following this, I've found an existing rule at CZ:How_to_edit_an_article. It says:
  • To start a new section, mark the section title like this, using equals signs (on a new line, flush left): == My New Section ==
  • To start a subsection, mark the subsection title like this (flush left): === My New Sub-Section ===
Caesar Schinas 14:24, 30 May 2009 (UTC)
While I agree that the sizing of section heads and subheads needs adjusting, the way to work now is to use the 2 equal signs for main sections and 3 for subsections, because these are operated on by templates or macros of some sort. Soooo, when someone gets around to adjusting the font sizes to something more to my liking (in the template or macro), every page will be magically corrected. David E. Volk 14:42, 30 May 2009 (UTC)
My point exactly. Caesar Schinas 14:43, 30 May 2009 (UTC)