Archive:Monthly Write-a-Thon/December 3, 2008

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Retro writeathon.jpg

What's a Write-a-Thon?

It's a bunch of people getting together on a wiki at a particular time to do a bunch of writing. It's like an online party! Heck no, it is an online party! It's also an excuse for infrequent wikiers to show up and party hardy; to exchange ideas with people we might not "meet" otherwise.

But hey, why not show up in between the write-ins, too!


Write-a-Thons happen the first Wednesday of every month. The next Write-a-Thon is Wednesday, December 3, 2008. Starts on December 2nd, 1200 UTC, when it starts being Wednesday in New Zealand, and ends on December 4th, 1200 UTC, when it finishes being Wednesday in Hawaii. Save The Date! Put it on your calendar! Set yourself a reminder!

Any new article you create, and any edit you make to somebody else's Write-a-Thon article during that time period will count, though to be a bona fide partier, you have to write your new articles when it's that day in your part of the world.

Our first Write-a-Thon took place Wednesday, August 1, 2007 and was considered a roaring good time--we had about 30 partiers creating something like 50 articles, and editing lots.

What are the rules?

Rules? This is a party! There are no rules!

Well, OK, maybe there are a couple rules:

  • We'll have a Write-a-Thon the first Wednesday of every month.
  • To participate, you only have to do two things: (1) start a new article (even just a stub will qualify, if not too short - and please remember to include the subpages template!), and (2) make a substantive edit (not just a copyedit) to somebody else's new article. Then you can list your name here as a partier. Until then, sign in as a porch-sitter, party-crasher, or total party poop.

This month's Party Theme

Wednesday, December 3 2008 --

Retro--The 1980s!
Citizendium Writeathon 1980s.jpg

The Partiers

5,000 extra bonus points! Aleta Curry 03:22, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
10,000 bonus points for the retro casette! Aleta Curry 03:22, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Daniel provided the empty biomechanics page with some initial wording, as he was introduced to this topic in the late 1980s. He also provided some related articles to the Mikhail Gorbachev and Theoretical biology clusters. --Daniel Mietchen 21:04, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Bruce may be tied with Daniel for "new article with the most tenuous connection to the 1980s": Donald Justice, who won the 1980 Pulitzer Prize for poetry. It's pretty thin right now, mostly basic biographical facts, but I'll add more on his poetry soon. (Six Degrees of Topic Informancy factoid: one of Justice's students was one of my creative-writing teachers.) Then I found out what Gorby is doing these days and added it to his article. Seems he's got his own Party, just like us! I also vaguely remembered a news article about Oxford U. Press and the disappearance of the hyphen, looked it up, and added a bit about it to Ro's new hyphen article -- with regret, being a dyed-in-the-wool hyphen-loving guy myself. Bruce M.Tindall 23:57, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
  • User:Pat_Palmer is no longer just a party crasher; she has started Web services, which needs a ton more work.Pat Palmer 01:29, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Hayford, as usual playing his role of scoff-law, disdained to do any 1980s-retro stuff (he was already SO old during that decade), but did what he thought would be a *brief* article about a French military novelist named Jean Lartéguy, but it has now become inordinately long and he will abandon the last editing until tomorrow. In the meantime, to make him the Compleat PartyGoer, he did do some editing on the Mikhail Gorbachev article. Hayford Peirce 03:46, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
Tried to think of a wise crack about Hayford's age, but it's been a hard week and I'm brain dead. Is it possible to go Back to the Future? Aleta Curry 06:22, 5 December 2008 (UTC)
How about a Future of the Outback? Hayford Peirce 16:17, 5 December 2008 (UTC)
Isn't that the working title of Baz Luhrman's sequel? Bruce M.Tindall 19:29, 5 December 2008 (UTC)
Ouch, Bruce! Aleta Curry 21:46, 5 December 2008 (UTC)

Keen-as-mustard and jumped the gun

Bonus points! Aleta Curry 04:21, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Actually, Derek's been thinking about the Patriation of the Canadian constitution, which took place in 1982. Right now, we're up to our necks in constitutional issues as the aforementioned minority government fights it out with the opposition. (I wish they'd get back to dealing with the frikken economy.). I've also started a bibliography for the Challenger disaster.-Derek Hodges 07:30, 3 December 2008 (UTC)

Rather late and missed the boat!

  • This sort of describes me. Sorry, you might have guessed, I've been very busy with WatchKnow stuff, and my only excuse is that that does pay the bills. --Larry Sanger 03:22, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Sorry all - have totally been swamped with work! But I grew up in the 80's, so this calls to mind many, many things ... that I have no idea whether or not they are actually part of the 80's. Degrassi Junior High, My Little Ponies (the original ones, that didn't have the rather creepy large anime eyes) ... hmm, big hair, Kylie Minogue, Pippi Longstockings, Popples toys ... I honestly can't remember many major events from the 80's 'cause I was a young pup, hence all of the pop-culture/recreation references. (Slap bands? Weren't they first around back then before they got banned for the first time?) I don't think I was even born yet when it was Charles and Di's wedding ... spooky. It's Thursday now but I'll get writing post-event. Thanks for the email Aleta! Louise Valmoria 04:44, 4 December 2008 (UTC)

Porch sitters--article creators who didn't edit a new article

Anthony.Sebastian qualifies here. So sue me! My favorite Japanese-Jewish restaurant: Sosumi. No offense intended, and if taken, sincerest apologies. --Anthony.Sebastian 19:02, 5 December 2008 (UTC)

Actually, at a time where American television had three popular categories, Westerns, medicine, and law, there was a proposal for a show called "Sioux, the Doctor." Howard C. Berkowitz 19:06, 5 December 2008 (UTC)
Sosumi--I think that's really funny! Aleta Curry 04:46, 15 December 2008 (UTC)

Party crashers--article contributors who didn't create a new article

Bobby Driscoll and Connie Stevens in The Party Crashers - 1958
  • User:Pat_Palmer is adding to computer articles related to the push to distribute programs across a network, which originated in the 1980's with things such as RPC, EDI and ASN.1. Pat Palmer 22:42, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
  • I'm giving John partial credit for editing Margaret Thatcher, because I'm generous and goshdarnnit he's just such a nice guy! Aleta Curry 05:17, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
(CC) Photo: Etienne Cazin
The donjon and moat at the Chateau de Vincennes
  • Apart from the banner and a photo I uploaded for Chateau de Vincennes (not exactly 80's retro), I did squat. Chris Day 17:31, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
  • I've been continuing to tweak Vietnam War, not just to add details, but as what I hope will be an example of how to build a complex series of articles, which involve truly different viewpoints, as well as things that were later realized to be horrible misunderstandings and "if-only" bad decisions. If the approach works, it gives an idea of when to have subarticles, how to present different sides of a conflict, etc. Both content and flow comments are welcome. Howard C. Berkowitz 17:32, 5 December 2008 (UTC)

The shy ones, absent-minded profs, and other modest creatures

I suppose that would include me: although some of the books I was consulting date from the 1980s, I've just been pottering away creating some stubs ready to be expanded such as

As always, the number of new red links created seems to outweigh the number turned blue. Richard Pinch 21:37, 3 December 2008 (UTC)

Okay, new write-a-thon rule: no-one's allowed to put in more red links than they put in blue links--that is NEW blue links--no cheating!!! Aleta Curry 22:11, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
Soz. I am really late to the party but I'm making my redlinks blue now! Louise Valmoria 01:52, 5 December 2008 (UTC)
What a good sport you are, Louise! WTGG! Aleta Curry 02:01, 5 December 2008 (UTC)

The total party poops

I had really meant to be here for this one, but couldn't make it :-( On tuesday I wrote my first article in a long time so I suppose that counts... Kinda? Denis Cavanagh 22:38, 3 December 2008 (UTC)

I'll count it if you tell me what the article was! :) Aleta Curry 03:42, 4 December 2008 (UTC)

David E. Volk was a total party poop, missing the whole thing, but if I could have made it, I would have started War on drugs, officially started sometime in the 1980s by President Reagen due to the Clear and present danger.

1980s Nobel Prize Winners

In case anyone's interested, here, list:

Prize Recipient/s
Chemistry Sidney Altman, Thomas R. Cech
Economics Trygve Haavelmo
Literature Camilo José Cela
Medicine J. Michael Bishop, Harold E. Varmus
Peace The 14th Dalai Lama
Physics Hans G. Dehmelt, Wolfgang Paul, Norman F. Ramsey
Chemistry Johann Deisenhofer, Robert Huber, Hartmut Michel
Economics Maurice Allais
Literature Naguib Mahfouz
Medicine Sir James W. Black, Gertrude B. Elion, George H. Hitchings
Peace United Nations Peacekeeping Forces
Physics Leon M. Lederman, Melvin Schwartz, Jack Steinberger
Chemistry Donald J. Cram, Jean-Marie Lehn, Charles J. Pedersen
Economics Robert M. Solow
Literature Joseph Brodsky
Medicine Susumu Tonegawa
Peace Oscar Arias Sánchez
Physics J. Georg Bednorz, K. Alex Müller
Chemistry Dudley R. Herschbach, Yuan T. Lee, John C. Polanyi
Economics James M. Buchanan Jr.
Literature Wole Soyinka
Medicine Stanley Cohen, Rita Levi-Montalcini
Peace Elie Wiesel
Physics Gerd Binnig, Heinrich Rohrer, Ernst Ruska
Chemistry Herbert A. Hauptman, Jerome Karle
Economics Franco Modigliani
Literature Claude Simon
Medicine Michael S. Brown, Joseph L. Goldstein
Peace International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War
Physics Klaus von Klitzing
Chemistry Bruce Merrifield
Economics Richard Stone
Literature Jaroslav Seifert
Medicine Niels K. Jerne, Georges J.F. Köhler, César Milstein
Peace Desmond Tutu
Physics Carlo Rubbia, Simon van der Meer
Chemistry Henry Taube
Economics Gerard Debreu
Literature William Golding
Medicine Barbara McClintock
Peace Lech Walesa
Physics Subramanyan Chandrasekhar, William A. Fowler
Chemistry Aaron Klug
Economics George J. Stigler
Literature Gabriel García Márquez
Medicine Sune K. Bergström, Bengt I. Samuelsson, John R. Vane
Peace Alfonso García Robles, Alva Myrdal
Physics Kenneth G. Wilson
Chemistry Kenichi Fukui, Roald Hoffmann
Economics James Tobin
Literature Elias Canetti
Medicine David H. Hubel, Roger W. Sperry, Torsten N. Wiesel
Peace Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
Physics Nicolaas Bloembergen, Arthur L. Schawlow, Kai M. Siegbahn
Chemistry Paul Berg, Walter Gilbert, Frederick Sanger
Economics Lawrence R. Klein
Literature Czeslaw Milosz
Medicine Baruj Benacerraf, Jean Dausset, George D. Snell
Peace Adolfo Pérez Esquivel
Physics James Cronin, Val Fitch

Let's do bios on those folks. Perhaps can get permission from Nobel Org to use theirs. --Anthony.Sebastian 19:16, 5 December 2008 (UTC)

Special Requests

Anybody with an interest in biology, please take a look at Theoretical biology and add some points to it. Thanks! --Daniel Mietchen 09:20, 3 December 2008 (UTC)

See Talk page for discussion re that. 10-Q. --Anthony.Sebastian 19:16, 5 December 2008 (UTC)


  • I've been mostly out of touch with CZ for awhile and am delighted to see the colorful Write-A-Thon banner. To whom should I send its praises?Pat Palmer 01:52, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
    • I cobbled it together. I'm glad you like it. Chris Day 02:37, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
50,000 bonus points! Aleta Curry 05:12, 4 December 2008 (UTC)

It's a wrap!

empty form

Official libations


  • Inaugural - beer!
  • September - champagne
  • October - we were refurbishing the bar and only had coffee!
  • November - made up for last month with more vodka than was good for us and plenty of rum.
  • December - eggnog and wine


  • January - Whisky and the Cocktail of the Month, a pharisee
  • February - schnapps and the Cocktail of the Month, the caipirinha (considered the national drink of Brazil)
  • March - port wine (which should probably live at port (wine), no? (Someone put that on their list, please....Oh, *someone* did--thanks, Ro) and the Cocktail of the Month, a Dead Aunt
  • April - Akpeteshie hot and fresh from Ghana. And cool shandies and spritzers if that took your fancy. Lotsa staggering around the bar after this party!
  • May - Was it champagne? No, we were dry, I think.
  • June - Were we abstaining yet again?
  • July - Sherry
  • August - pineapple juice Well, that's all right, I guess!
  • September - Given the music theme, i assume it was pop?
  • October - Cranberry juice. Some nut who shall remain nameless but whose initials are HP suggested Drano, (i.e. what cleans better than Drano?) but....
  • November - Spring water (Now Bruce just has to write it! Aleta Curry 04:00, 3 December 2008 (UTC))
  • December - Piña colada - get some light rum, mix it with pineapple and coconut cream. Instantly warp back to the eighties.

Bonus point winners

Write-a-Thon Theme Suggestions

New Suggestions and Discussion

  • How about another Spring cleaning in March 2009? Daniel Mietchen 08:20, 6 October 2008 (CDT)
Not a bad idea at all, unless I get swamped with new, untried requests in the mean time. Aleta Curry 18:47, 6 October 2008 (CDT)
Possibly the theme could be subpages. Some of them need a lot of housekeeping. Or getting some decent images for the articles we do have. Chris Day 19:17, 6 October 2008 (CDT)
  • I've picked "Controversies". Not just because it's an opportunity to show how we handle current ones, though that's an idea, too. No, I was musing over how things can be controversial in one era, and not even raise an eyebrow in another. Or how one can think a controversy is over, and then the social cycle changes, and all of a sudden it's controversial again. In olden days a glimpse of stocking was looked on as something shocking, but now God knows, anything goes!. Aleta Curry 19:06, 6 October 2008 (CDT)
  • "Hometown Heroes" - write about someone famous from your part of the world (either where you're from, or where you are now).
  • "Poles Apart" - find the spot directly on the other side of Earth from you, and write about someone or something in the vicinity. (Contributors on other planets, follow a similar procedure for whatever planet you're on. Contributors not on planetary bodies permitted to write about whatever they feel like.)
  • Fill in an item from this interesting list of natural objects. Or this interesting list of people.
  • All articles must start with the same letter of the alphabet, allowing for diacritics and transliteration (so Å, Á, and あ would all count if A were the letter, for instance).
  • Photo stubs - no minimum word length, no theme requirement, but must contain an image.
  • Choose a random number from 1 to 500, then go to Special:WantedPages and start an article on the topic currently at that rank.
  • How about an alternate weekend date, say the Sunday after the official Write-a-Thon, for those of us who spend our Wednesdays working at places that frown on extensive personal use of company computers? --Petréa Mitchell 19:15, 1 January 2009 (UTC)
There's a current forum thread on this-the proposal was to move the WaT to the weekend. Your suggestion might pose a good compromise. Aleta Curry 21:33, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

Future Theme Schedule

  • December - Retro! - I have to pick a decade The 1980s!
  • January - Controversies

See also

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