Archive:Monthly Write-a-Thon/March 4, 2009

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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, March 4, 2009. Starts on March 3rd, 1200 UTC, when it starts being Wednesday in New Zealand, and ends on March 5th, 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.

Read all about it!! Let's try this again

By popular request, we'll be trialling Write-a-Thon II, a Sunday session of the Write-a-Thon to accommodate those who work all week and have trouble making it in to the party room on Wednesdays.

Soooo--if you worked Wednesday, if you had a bad day Wednesday and didn't get to come to the party or didn't get to do as much as you would have liked, or if you would just like another opportunity to join in the fun, come on along. Starts on March 8th, 1200 UTC, when it starts being Sunday in New Zealand, and ends on March 10th, 1200 UTC, when it finishes being Sunday in Hawaii.

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

Spring Cleaning

Some spring cleaning tips (No, this won't help you with your house, you're on your own there!(

  • Here's one idea, Move lists to Catalogs.
  • Another list Uncategorized.
  • Turn some red links to blue in Random pages
  • Find images for existing articles.
  • Complete subpages for existing articles.
  • Choose a random number from 1 to 500, then go to Special:WantedPages and start an article on the topic currently at that rank. (Or, just go to the wanted pages and cruise till you find something that strikes your fancy, if a random choice is too hard).
  • A list of other suggestions can be found at CZ:Cleanup.

The Partiers

  • Aleta stumbles into the party room with a headache (don't ask). It's empty. Loud groan, wonders where to start cleaning up this mess? Early bird Dalton pops in with a suggestion, so Aleta heads over to orchid. Back again, decided to get cracking with spring cleaning and then some columns toppled onto me when I attempted a grammatical cleanup. Ah, well. Aleta Curry 04:36, 4 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Supten thought of starting at the beginning viz., Spring to find at 04:51, 4 March 2009 (UTC) that the disambiguation page doesn't even have any definition or article for the designated domains!
Hurrah! I'm not alone! Aleta Curry 04:55, 4 March 2009 (UTC)
Then Supten decided to redirect Bob's Vitamin k page to the Vitamin K page.
  • Todd has started picking up the pieces of some lost subpages.
  • Gareth Leng doing a bit of cleaning up of his own messes on Dugald Stewart and a few random bits - it's a busy day for him though. But he couldn't resist making a bit of a mess too with James Tytler, just because he brought a smile.
  • Roger says 'Aleta, Supten, Gareth; nice to see you all again. I haven't been able to make it to the monthly party for a while. It's a long story (They always are!) Todd, I don't believe we've met. I've done part of my spring cleaning initiating three or four new articles, and editing a few others. I won't bore you with the details, which are listed on my page anyway. I'm just going to work the room and see who else is here before I get back to some more spring cleaning.'
Roger's back! So good to see you! Aleta Curry 00:33, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Bruce Tindall isn't sure how the scoring system works this month; presumably one could be a "partier" by cleaning out messed-up things as well as writing new ones. So far I've done neither, but have eliminated a few dozen red links by making "British" point to either GB or UK, as appropriate, and making "Al Qaeda" and "Vice President of the United States" point to existing articles with slightly different titles. These items were relatively high on the "wanted articles" list.
Popped by to say yes, one will score points for cleaning up, with or without writing new articles, because...I said so! Aleta Curry 00:33, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Tom Morris edited Earl Warren, started an article on Antonin Scalia and wrote some definitions and related articles pages.
  • Howard, seeing Roger's comment on Al Qaeda and the many transliterations, wonders if we have anyone literate in Arabic and/or Farsi, or more specifically, transliteration. I'm trying to decide if a main article should be Hezballah (my preference), Hizbollah, Hezbollah, Hizballah, Hezb'Allah, etc., etc., etc. Redirects everywhere, of course. Howard C. Berkowitz 22:17, 4 March 2009 (UTC)
    • 18k people agree with you on Hezballah. 6m or so prefer Hezbollah - including the BBC. I've never seen it referred to other than as Hezbollah. --Tom Morris 22:38, 4 March 2009 (UTC)
      • I've seen Hizbollah/Hizballah but the usual/common name in English is, as anybody who has read the news very much knows, Hezbollah. That's the name we're going to use unless Howard manages to pull out some fantastic argument on Talk:Hezbollah. --Larry Sanger 21:49, 8 March 2009 (UTC)

The Partiers, Part Deux

(CC) Photo: Martin Burns
Sunday crew begin work

Write-s-Thon II guests enter and sign in, please

  • Rubbing eyes and swilling coffee, David E. Volk , signs in for W-a-T II. Edits to follow breakfast!
Product operator (NMR) is being spiffed up for spring cleaning. Feeling lonely, Dave creates a new article on Vector rotation as might be used in computer programming. David E. Volk 17:59, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
Some of us are not as fast to finish breakfast. Can you do me a favor and let me know if the navigation tool of the English spelling catalog subsubpages is working for you or not. For some reason it does not work for Ro (see here and here for background discussion) but it seems fine to me. I'm not sure what is wrong. Chris Day 18:08, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
The navigation tool does not work for me either. David E. Volk 20:07, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
Does it look anything like the picture on Ro's talk page? Chris Day 20:11, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
No, mine has the letters in bold and no color at all. Just a blank 3 x 26 table with borders on each cell. David E. Volk 20:25, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
But the equivalent periodic table navigation tool looks OK? (see calcium) I need to find out why the colour is not registering. Chris Day 20:30, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
Calcium period table looks just fine. David E. Volk 20:34, 8 March 2009 (UTC)

Larry Sanger has finally (!) arrived...sitting down to figure out what most needs cleaning up! CZ:Cleanup is a good place to start I guess! First, I'm going to handle a couple of outstanding account requests. OK, I decided to do a few of the thousands of missing definitions! This is pretty mindless work, I recommend it.  :-) Put on some music. Correcting some of Howard's typos along the way.  ;-) Started Why Johnny Can't Read (Rudoph Flesch) on a topic of interest to me, and I guess my edits of Hezbollah qualify me for a compleat partier!
Welcome Larry! I was going to tackle the editor apps, but now I'll let you take care of that. David E. Volk 19:03, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
Thanks David! Already done. Larry Sanger 19:25, 8 March 2009 (UTC)

Before there can be superstructure, there must be infrastructure — or is it the other way round? In my sandbox, not quite ready for prime time, are drafts that show my direction in Spring Cleaning of extrajudicial detention:
  • User: Howard C. Berkowitz/EJ, about the top-level view of extrajudicial detention -- in many times and countries, including things done at a local or national basis; the term did not spring into being on 9/11/2001. I'd really like feedback on when and if this can replace extrajudicial detention as a rewrite, all material in that article having been moved to the talk page. I'd like to archive the talk page and start afresh.
  • User: Howard C. Berkowitz/EJUS, about the historic and current use of extrajudicial detention by the United States, sometimes with allies
  • User: Howard C. Berkowitz/EJUSGWB, regarding the specific legal theories and actions of the George W. Bush Administration in what it terms the war on terror. This is absolutely, positively intended to be neutral, but it will pose some controversies where the Administration assumed authorities not explicit in national or international law.
Just because extrajudicial detention is not as narrowly focused on terrorism as some would like, I have been creating articles that add to the context. For example, it is not uncommon, and not limited to the U.S., to have extrajudicial detention of persons judged to be sexual predators. Kansas v. Crane deals with the Supreme Court of the United States opinion in one case of this terribly complex problem. I intend to create several articles about extrajudicial detention for both national security and other reasons. This also gets very tricky with the international concept of universal jurisdiction, when some of the countries involved do not accept the jurisdiction of even a court that ruled — is detention, or proposed detention, extrajudicial when a judge rules, but some party can make an argument the judge has no authority over them? That's a problem right now in Sudan (e.g., Hassan al-Bashir), which, with many other countries, does not accept jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court.
Previously, I wrote International Military Tribunal (Nuremberg) and Nuremberg Military Tribunals, and am filling in lots of details (e.g., most recently Night and Fog Decree). Anyone want to collaborate in writing International Court of Justice and International Criminal Court, and explain their relationships? It was Sunday somewhere when I started Convention against Torture, which also gets into this complex area, also where nations may restrict their acceptance of jurisdiction. Howard C. Berkowitz 19:28, 8 March 2009 (UTC)

Eric Clevinger has arrived, and will be working on uploading images to existing articles. Hello All! --Eric Clevinger 19:54, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
Welcome Eric. How would feel about making vector rotation images?
I wouldn't even know where to begin. --Eric Clevinger 21:14, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
I've only been here a short while today and have already Uploaded several images. These can be seen by going to my user page.--Eric Clevinger 21:14, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
Nice images Erik. David E. Volk 21:27, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
Welcome, Erik, fellow Ohioan (I'm in the Columbus area)! --Larry Sanger 21:51, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
Firstly, the name is Eric, not Erik. :-) and second: Yes Larry, Great to be here! And I think I heard from somewhere that you went to tOSU. --Eric Clevinger 22:30, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
Boy the Category:Need_def category just keeps growing. I guess that is a good thing in some ways! David E. Volk 20:10, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
It might not be as long as it seems. The needs def category is on the talk page. If a definition is added but the talk page is not edited then it could remain in the category for a while, even though it does have a definition. I just did a quick survey of the first 400 and about 10% are done, despite being in the category. In summary, we still have a lot to do. Chris Day 20:14, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
Yes I know. I try to update the talk page by adding a single space or carriage return, and then the list is updated imediately. Note my "dummy edit" comments to save authors from going to look for no reason.

Time to sign out guys. It was nice to get back onto CZ for awhile and get a little cleanup down. Enjoy the rest of your Write-a-Thon-Part II. David E. Volk 21:32, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
Daniel cleaned up the Provisional reference namespace. --Daniel Mietchen 01:46, 9 March 2009 (UTC)

Keen-as-mustard and jumped the gun

Well, I've been trying to put my money where my mouth (fingers) are, and write a number of the contextual and background articles for some articles I'm complaining about. In the last little while, I've put up Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, and will have more coming (Authorization for the Use of Military Force and War Powers Resolution; in the last few days I did Ex parte Quirin, Third Geneva Convention, Geneva Conventions, interrogation, eduction, debriefing and elicitation. Also, I'm trying to disabuse the notion that concern about non-national combatants (I'm deliberately avoiding the word "terrorist" for a legal reason) didn't start on 9/11/2001, I have started 1983 Beirut barracks bombings, and have 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in my sandbox, as well as a very big thing that will split, User: Howard C. Berkowitz/Interrogation. For more context on extrajudicial detention, war crimes, etc, added Adolf Eichmann; I've been working on Nuremberg Military Tribunals and International Military Tribunal (Nuremberg) for a week or so.

(CC) Photo: Stephen Pougas
False starts welcome here :)

As one accused of talking a lot, you've got to have things to talk with: PRC-25, PRC-117, PRC-119, squad tactical radio, and more military communications stuff, as well as their users, such as squad (land forces).

With the vampire discussion, beverages come to mind. Garlic broth made in holy water? Or, "Mommy, mommy, what's a vampire?" "Shut up and eat your soup before it clots." Howard C. Berkowitz 05:41, 4 March 2009 (UTC)

Added some things above. Question I can ask here as well as on an undetermined Forum; I have some Sandbox material directed toward getting a more coherent structure for some of the GWOT/Bush/and ongoing material. What is the best discussion area, preferably Wikispace rather than forum so there can be tables, links, etc., for a less-than-workgroup exploration of the best way to organize a broad topic? Howard C. Berkowitz 21:19, 4 March 2009 (UTC)
Wearing other hats, I'll try to find a little time tonight to do a few more computer things. Firewall is really complex; I may start with pieces and the broader context of a network security perimeter. Does anyone feel up to writing Donald Rumsfeld and Douglas Macarthur? Howard C. Berkowitz 00:24, 5 March 2009 (UTC)

Rather late and missed the boat!

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

John only got the party invite in Chinese characters, and ended up in the Caribbean. John Stephenson 05:09, 4 March 2009 (UTC)

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

Bobby Driscoll and Connie Stevens in The Party Crashers - 1958

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

  • Dalton, willing to pass unnoticed, cowardly enters through the back door. He was in the subgroups party, got distracted, and ended arriving rather late with his new stubs and contributions.
Bwah ha, ha--you can't sneak in here; my spies are everywhere! Welcome to Dalton! For those who haven't yet met him, he's into architecture and botany; check out his lovely work on orchids. Aleta Curry 00:09, 7 March 2009 (UTC)
(Shhh) Not that much into architecture anymore I fear, Aleta, despite having constructed a number nice buildings (and still being struck by some unexpected recurrences now and then), I can't write a sound article about architecture. That's too much like work. Let's stick to plants, plezz, lol. Dalton Holland Baptista 04:18, 7 March 2009 (UTC)

The total party poops

Dare I point out that it is not yet spring? Russell D. Jones 18:44, 3 March 2009 (UTC)

And what about this technicality? It's not spring in the Southern Hemisphere! Sounds like we need a policy on Naming Conventions. Russell D. Jones 19:14, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
For meteorologists, spring has already started. Besides, wouldn't it be nice to enter spring (however defined) with a cleaned-up CZ? --Daniel Mietchen 19:20, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
You could always get a head start on events! :) Chris Day 21:02, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
Russell, if you start us on naming conventions again, I'm coming over and striking you with a wet noodle! I think we actually said something about this at the first spring clean, if I can find which WaT that was.... Aleta Curry 22:24, 3 March 2009 (UTC)

Special Requests


  • I've got a question: how come nobody brought any drinks (so far)? Aleta Curry 23:12, 4 March 2009 (UTC)
    • I've been drinking lots of energy drinks recently to keep me awake despite my long and rather tiresome commute. So I'll share some electronic energy drinks with y'all. Mix 'em with some alcohol for some nice buzz. –Tom Morris 23:14, 4 March 2009 (UTC)
    • Drinking plenty of Coca-cola here. --Eric Clevinger 10:44, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
Good! I could use some. I'm pooping out due to overwork and not enough sleep. Aleta Curry 00:02, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
The March 4th NY Times food section had an article on aperitif-based cocktails that look and taste very glitzy but won't knock you out on a night before a school day. The theme was coping with the economy. The drinks had names like "Stock Market Crash." Bruce M.Tindall 17:19, 5 March 2009 (UTC)

It's a wrap!

  • 6,824 bonus points to whoever redid the graphic for the Write-a-Thon II! Hilarious! Aleta Curry 21:52, 9 March 2009 (UTC)

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.


  • January - Bloody Mary - because, as Nietzsche said, we should only love that which is written with blood. Controversial enough?
  • February - Absinthe - updates last month, but doesn't it make one forget? (No. Urban legend, except that 50-percent-plus alcohol does do its mite)
  • March - Energy Drink - pump that caffeine into your system so you can burn through all those pesky definition subpages!

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)
  • "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)
I would be a lot more able to participate on weekends. My weekday workdays are 11+ hours.Pat Palmer 02:51, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
  • What will people most enjoy writing that could lead many different contributors to a short, but complete and interesting article that links to larger articles? Maybe "Events" could be a theme - pen-portraits of memorable sporting moments (see try, or notable historical events - including tsunamis, eruption of Krakatoa, comet collision with Jupiter, the birth of Dolly the sheep, freeing of Nelson Mandela, the sinking of the Titanic, assassination of Martin Luther King, the Mutiny on the Bounty, the discovery of the Americas? Can I suggest asking that every new article should have at least one external link and links to other articles here?Gareth Leng 12:31, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
  • I like this idea. Further, definitions and other subpages are preferable, even for stubs. Chris Day 17:01, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
Dare I suggest that even stubs can and should be non-orphans? Basic criteria: Howard C. Berkowitz 18:00, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Reachable from the front page or a core article/workgroup page
  • Link to at least three other articles, even if they are redlinks in a Related Articles subpages
  • Have at least three other articles link to them
  • Well, next Wednesday is rapidly approaching. Anyone got any firm opinions on what the theme ought to be? My suggestion is "Thoughts and Books", which is broad enough for us to cover a wide variety of different things: authors, famous books, revolutionary ideas and theories, and all the meta stuff that can be layered on top of it. I'm also going to suggest that whatever the theme is, if we could try and decide it before the weekend, then we could set up a page off of the Write-a-Thon page to list pages we'd like to see existing that are covered by the theme. --Tom Morris 15:26, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

Thoughts and books is a great idea, would fit in nicely with what I'm working with at the moment. How about a biography day for the month after? They wouldn't have to be particularly long but we could fill a lot of red links with a few well written and brief bios of important folks... Denis Cavanagh 17:07, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

That actually fits really well with something I'm working on right now too. I'm all for it! --Joe Quick 19:42, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
While it's current work of mine, is there a good place to discuss some issues of writing biography articles in general? Choices in flow? And, as is fairly nightmarish with Ho Chi Minh, when the subject changed names or had simultaneous aliases? Howard C. Berkowitz 21:11, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

Future Theme Schedule

  • February - Thoughts and Books
  • March - Spring Clean II!
  • April - Events
  • May -

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