Archive:Monthly Write-a-Thon/October 1, 2008

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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, October 1, 2008. Starts on September 30th, 1200 UTC, when it starts being Wednesday in New Zealand, and ends on October 2nd, 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, October 1, 2008 --

Spring Cleaning!

Or “housekeeping”, for those of you for whom it’s not Spring.

Let’s mass-attack some of our outstanding chores, particularly “lists”, such as:

Done with Primary till Spring. Daniel Mietchen 10:43, 1 October 2008 (CDT)
Done with Cycle till Equation. Some move-associated problems (see Special Requests below). Daniel Mietchen 07:35, 2 October 2008 (CDT)

(You can also be inspired by some of the theme suggestions, below. Or propose one yourself--just scroll down. Or write about something that takes your fancy--or the first thing that comes into your head--JUST DO IT!)

The Partiers

  • Aleta could not believe the length of the cleanup lists, above. Started with fantasy on the requested articles page and edited liver, which she hopes will help make up for missing the Biology Workgroup week (I was travelling). Aleta Curry 18:09, 30 September 2008 (CDT) Decided that even relatively poor starts to food and Tanzania were better than nothing at all. Need medicine. Will be back to tackle poodle and other stuff on the list. Aleta Curry 18:55, 30 September 2008 (CDT) Okay, I got carried away with this cleanup bizzo and now I'm achy and regretting it. Did some definitions and a few requested articles, which led to a few more, so ended up with coat, animal coat, dog grooming (thanks to a nudge from Howard) and of course infection, given my present level of misery and discomfort. That's all folks, need antibiotics and a lie down. Party hearty, see you all tomorrow, I hope! Aleta Curry 02:17, 1 October 2008 (CDT)
  • Supten was busy with Biology Week for the preceding week and did write in quite a few definitions. Then he found that the page Definitions was not up-to-date. Nevertheless, he decided to continue his defining spell. Finally, to earn the mantle of a true partier, he started Calcium and edited liver.
    That bug is a pain. The categories are very slow to updated. Sometimes I wonder if they ever update. But note once you create one it will disappear very quickly from the list. Chris Day 00:48, 1 October 2008 (CDT)
  • Chris Day wrote a "Move Cluster" template to help everyone move their favourite article with a not so favourite name to a better home. I guess some homes just cannot be cleaned up. Find link on talk page top left, called, wait for it......, Move Cluster. :) And i added some subpages to liver; but its related articles page still needs some help.
A 'move cluster' function? Cool!
  • Jitse made a start on recurrence relation because he taught this yesterday. And he also uploaded a map for Tanzania, courtesy of some country which likes its soldiers to go places. … And to get the house in order, Jitse decided to do a spring clean of the Proposals system. He's already written to some people to take care of their proposals, and more spam will follow! Jitse says: "There is no better way to clean up than telling other people to clean up."
  • Daniel started a few disambiguation pages (including one for Spring) to help structure the list of words with multiple uses in Core Articles. I also started {{Years}} to help getting rid of the years on the most wanted list and edited Tanzania as well as the Food cluster.
  • Gareth added a few definitions and contributed a whimsical list (Black week).
  • Bruce Tindall, who did some work related to East Africa for Amnesty International ... uh ... many years ago, did a little bit of editing on Aleta's Tanzania article and hopes to do some more tomorrow. But it's not Wednesday in California yet? It is by Coordinated Universal Time, one of the "wanted" articles that he hopes to begin when it really is Wednesday in his home town (which is infested by invasive Aussie eucalyptus trees, who probably also think it's Wednesday already). By the way, I hope the capitalization on Coordinated Universal Time is OK; if not, somebody tell me! Bruce M.Tindall 20:16, 30 September 2008 (CDT)
Yeah, sure that's okay; creativity counts at CZ! But to be a bona fide partier, you have to start an article when it's Wednesday your time--or get amnesty from ye olde M.C. Aleta Curry 23:13, 30 September 2008 (CDT)
OK, been there, did that, on Pacific Daylight Time! Bruce M.Tindall 13:17, 1 October 2008 (CDT)
  • Hayford decided not to drink his can of Drano after all, or at least not before dinner, and, after a little searching, found an old WP article he had originated and wrote the first couple of edits for about a fabulous British spy-thriller author of the 1960s named Desmond Skirrow—his tough-guy hero, who narrates his three novels in a witty, Raymond Chandler-like tone, is probably the most unlike protagonist in the field: a London advertising executive-secret agent for The Fat Man. After expanding and rewriting the original article, he then did the same for Aleta's article about Fantasy, thereby fulfilling his Partier's citeria. Now for that can of Drano -- or how about a nice cold Sam Adams instead? Hayford Peirce 18:25, 1 October 2008 (CDT)
  • Pat has managed to dash off a few edits for this month's party; nothing to write home about, in between commutes and phone calls. Mostly working on assigning to categories and disambiguations; gives me a sense that there could possibly be order in the universe, a sense I could very much use about now.Pat Palmer 19:58, 1 October 2008 (CDT)
  • Larry Sanger finally arrived--made many edits to Black week (and I moved it...) as well as homeopathy, an article that definitely needed some "cleaning up." For my own new article, let's about...Columbus, Ohio.
  • Anthony.Sebastian noted that CZ had a page on 'Theoretical biology' that, without content, redirected to Mathematical biology, a stub. Thinking that 'theoretical biology' encompassed much more than 'mathematical biology', he removed the redirect and started an independent article, Theoretical biology. It needs upgrading to 'subpages', as the original page had none, only the redirect. Will the bot start that, or does Anthony have to figure out how to do it? Interested members, please help develop the article. --Anthony.Sebastian 23:01, 1 October 2008 (CDT)
  • Tom Morris was a bit tired last night after two philosophy lectures and a whole lot of rushing around town. So he wrote a few definitions, put up a stub for Judith Butler and edited Anonymity. He has a more relaxed day today, so may go to the library, hook up to some wi-fi and write some articles. –Tom Morris 01:26, 2 October 2008 (CDT)

Keen-as-mustard and jumped the gun

While we might not be speaking of the same sort of gun to jump, some of the conditions described in Safety and survivability of naval vessels call for a great deal of cleaning-up. (See also the existing Safety of Life at Sea) Howard C. Berkowitz 00:02, 1 October 2008 (CDT)

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

  • Porch-sittin' until someone joins her for the party, Louise starts off the party by fulfilling a criteria of Wanted Pages--the Liver--which ironically, also fulfils the criteria of spring cleaning, in a way ;) Good morning and happy Write-A-Thon, everyone! Let's make this a big one for our Mistress of Ceremonies, Aleta! Louise Valmoria 16:00, 30 September 2008 (CDT)
Still porch-sitting as she's as work, Louise chips away at another wanted page by (re)starting Potassium. Looking up the biochemical functions is distracting her--she ought to have been around more (or at all) during Biology Week ...Louise Valmoria
  • Saddened to realize he missed band month last time around, Ian stopped by and created Crowded House. Spring cleaning would likely make it less crowded he surmised...
  • Marcelo came by, did some definitions (it's quite easy, but sometimes I forget to do it in one sentence) and Puntland. These days he noticed that CZ doesn't have a lot of countries... if CZ were an atlas, it would be full of terra incognita (oh no... another red link). Marcelo B. Barata Ribeiro 19:05, 1 October 2008 (CDT)

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

  • Aleta's here, sort of. Contributed to liver and started metadata page cleanup while thinking of something to start. Aleta Curry 17:37, 30 September 2008 (CDT)

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

The total party poops

Special Requests

I've been testing a new semi automated "Cluster Move" template. In theory it should walk you through the process. You can test it out on that cluster you always wanted to move but were to afraid to try. The link (called Move Cluster) is top left of the talk subpage navigation bar. It hyperlinks you to a page to move the metadata page. Replace the old article name with the new article name in the entry box and create the new metadata page. Then follow the instructions at the top of the page. There may be some surprises, if so let me know :) Chris Day 00:31, 1 October 2008 (CDT)

I had some surprises with Snake but will test more and report then. Daniel Mietchen 06:03, 1 October 2008 (CDT)
I note you moved the snake talk page before the snake approval page. That is a surprise to me given the order those moves should have been offered to you. Chris Day 09:20, 1 October 2008 (CDT)
Well, somewhere you said "move the approval page last", and so I did. I was mainly confused about the permanent mentioning of "green links" which were not there. I just gave it another try and moved Set to Set (mathematics), starting with the article page, as is probably intuitive. It was confusing, then, to see the option "Move Article and Talk Page" not disappear even after the two pages had been moved. Daniel Mietchen 10:09, 1 October 2008 (CDT)
Thanks for the feedback. I see how snake would have no green links. One problem is I am trying to write a catch all for every scenario and unfortunately I can't have a separate template for each case. Actually, I might be able to have a separate tempalte, but I have not thought about it right now. I'll think about trying to have it less ambiguous. I can see how moving the article and then not seeing the link disappear might be a problem. I'll work on customising it for each scenario. Chris Day 10:15, 1 October 2008 (CDT)
Re: Starting with the article move. While I agree it is intuitive, and I tried to accomodate that action, it is impossible to know where that page cam from and so any automation requires the user moves the template too. This explains the "whats link". Can you think of a better way to determine the location of old article name, it would certainly help. This is the reason why the "Move Cluster" link starts with the metadata template. In that scenario, from the moved metadata template, the new location (BASEPAGENAME) and the old location (pagename field) are both available. Any move should be less complicated doing it that way. Chris Day 14:14, 1 October 2008 (CDT)
Yet some other surprises with Data and Equation. Perhaps confusion could be channeled by some hints in MediaWiki:Movepagetext? Daniel Mietchen 07:34, 2 October 2008 (CDT)
If its a simple page it works fine. Problem are there are quite a few non simple example. One problem is for pages with brackets or apsotrophe's. I'm trying to refine it now. Chris Day 07:38, 2 October 2008 (CDT)
  • Another surprise: I thought Rosh Hashanah should stand alone and didn't need to be qualified Rosh Hashanah (Judaism) -- because I couldn't think what else Rosh Hashanah would related to. Well, I redirected Yuval's link--and look! Cluster move--why??? Aleta Curry 17:20, 1 October 2008 (CDT)
  • Aleta, the reason is because you started a new article with subpages but did not create the metadata. Any time there is a page with the subpages template but no metadata the cluster move box will appear. The problem is that the computer cannot identify your intent based on limited information. You have four choices for your path after that template appears. If you're making a new cluster, which you were, then scroll down and click the new metadata link. If you are moving the article from a previous home then you need to find the old metadata page and move it too. Two other less likely reasons for the template being on a page are either it was lost in a move (orphaned) or the metadata is incorrect and needs to be corrected. Another possible scenario is that someone started moving the cluster but could not complete the procedure since a oage deletion was required. In this case the template can alert a constable that there is a problem. You need to proceed according to the most likely scenario. In this case you are starting a new cluster (not moving one) and must create a metadata template page. Make sense? Chris Day 20:52, 1 October 2008 (CDT)
Oy, so I guess that's why people who are sleep deprived shouldn't drive... I sincerely apologize. Yuval Langer 23:17, 1 October 2008 (CDT)
Joe went to the library to start an article on Little Golden Books only to learn that his library privileges have been disabled for no apparent reason. This was the third major frustration of the day so he gave up and fumed for a while.
Oh, gosh! Do you want me to beat someone up? I will, I will, I'm just in the mood.
Little Golden Books is that the children's set, like, The Pokey Little Puppy? Oh, yes, we *should* have an entry on those!
Aleta Curry 18:05, 1 October 2008 (CDT)
Yup. I loved them when I wuz a kid, both pre-reader and post. Hayford Peirce 18:28, 1 October 2008 (CDT)
Yep, them's the ones. Check out my start on Richard Scarry from a few days ago. Joe Quick 20:45, 1 October 2008 (CDT)


You ask, we answer. Ask anything. isn't a bad topic in some of the technology groups. For Computers, defragmentation (separate for disk and memory), garbage collection (computers). For Health Sciences, Hemodialysis, Peritoneal lavage. For Engineering, Clean room, Laminar flow, Electrostatic precipitator, High Efficiency Particulate Air filter.

I've been meaning to write about biosafety containment labs (should this be under Biosafety Level or something else?) Is this biology or health sciences? Howard C. Berkowitz 11:41, 30 September 2008 (CDT)

Any things come to mind? Aleta, when she recovers, might take on Dog grooming or the subset Dog bathing, to say nothing of Cat grooming. The dog of my boyhood, when told he was to receive a bath, would look up (most intelligent dog I ever met), and Terry would clearly communicate "It is a good day to die." Howard C. Berkowitz 11:43, 30 September 2008 (CDT)

A great deal of Wanted Pages appear to be chemical elements. I know there must be a template somewhere for this, but could someone who regularly writes for the chemistry section please point me in that direction so any willing Write-A-Thon participants can help out? Or is this to be saved for a future Chemistry Week? Louise Valmoria 17:12, 30 September 2008 (CDT)

Well, that's a good question that I don't know the answer to....Aleta Curry 18:47, 30 September 2008 (CDT)
There is a good reason for there being many elements on the wanted articles list. There is one template that exists on every element pages that depicts the periodic table. Each cell in the table links to the element at that location, consequently every element page we have links to every element in the periodic table. Does that make sense? Chris Day 20:25, 30 September 2008 (CDT)
Yes, makes sense. I think part of Louise's question though is whether or not she should go ahead and start filling these in, or will it be part of another initiative? Aleta Curry 00:56, 1 October 2008 (CDT)
Louise, don't let a hypothetical chemistry week stop you writing some element pages. In fact, you should write as should write as many of those articles as she can! <evil grin> Are we having a chemistry week soon? I have not heard. And David Volk broke his hand so he will be out of action for a while. Chris Day 01:03, 1 October 2008 (CDT)
Excellent. Thanks, Chris (and Aleta for knowing what I was trying to ask!). I feel like getting a lot of element pages out of the way but I need to build a reference list--cheers for the link to the periodic table! Louise Valmoria 17:39, 1 October 2008 (CDT)
  • Could Hayford please make me a martini? Please? I'm so miserable! Would that interfere with the antibiotics? Supten? Robert? Anybody? HELP!!! Aleta Curry 02:23, 1 October 2008 (CDT)
  • I made some great martinis last night, 5 parts chilled Plymouth Gin to 1 part Noilly-Prat, no olives (ugh!), no pickled onion, no twist of lemon zest. Just straight to the old circulatory system, along with some great Kettle-brand potato chips (crisps).... Here, wait a sec, [runs down to the kitchen], hands Aleta a frosty glass -- yes, the glass has to be kept in the freezer, also, right beside the gin. Hope it makes you feel better! As fer me, I drink them along with any occasional antibiotic, pain-killer, or other pill that the bonesetters are telling me to take -- it's never killed me so far, nor prevented me from getting pregnant or operating heavy machinery or doing any of the other stuff I'm not supposed to while combining these activities.... Hayford Peirce 18:35, 1 October 2008 (CDT)
Hayford, are you saying that you have been pregnant?? Louise Valmoria 19:07, 1 October 2008 (CDT)
After enough martinis, who knows? Who could tell the difference? Hayford Peirce 21:38, 1 October 2008 (CDT)

It's a wrap!

Oh, that was fun! I daresay our official count won't have gone up much, since we did more cleanup than new articles, but I think that's all right, we needed to get this done and I notice it has inspired some other work, such as Jitse getting caught up with the proposals list, and I think we've all become a little more aware of cleaning up the Metadata and our definitions. Excellent! Aleta Curry 00:25, 6 October 2008 (CDT)

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....

Bonus point winners

  • Louise for a) getting the party started (10 pts) b) combining housekeeping with Biology. (100 pts) (Current total; 110)
    I'll throw in another 20 pts for noticing that we need a lot of elements ;) Chris Day 00:39, 1 October 2008 (CDT) (Now 130)

Write-a-Thon Theme Suggestions

New Suggestions and Discussion

Go ahead and propose one!

  • National Parks - most countries have them but Citizendium doesn't...yet.
  • I had a thought the other day - why don't we have a Subpages day - either separate or as a Write-A-Thon theme? There's tons of them Bibliographies, Related Articles and Definitions that need writing. --Tom Morris 11:48, 4 July 2008 (CDT)
It's a good thought, Tom, and I can see where the subpages need doing. Trouble is, whenever the Write-a-Thon has been too narrowly restricted, particularly when the suggested 'theme' is really a codename for 'work', it doesn't go over well. The WaT's great success is the fun, write-what-you-want atmosphere.
Maybe a separate subpages initiative?
Aleta Curry 18:25, 4 July 2008 (CDT)
Edited to add: Actually, why don't I add this in to October's spring clean? The more options, the more likely people will find something they like doing. Aleta Curry 18:33, 4 July 2008 (CDT)
  • Could fall under the category of 'Attractions', and 'National Parks' also covers some of these too. Most countries also have at least one UNESCO Heritage Listed location--could well be worth a shot, as these locations would have a rich history as well as artistic/cultural significance. Louise Valmoria 20:16, 6 August 2008 (CDT)
  • May I suggest a separate theme for each workgroup, and a campaign to obtain a commitment from each member of each workgroup to start a new article, however stubby, but thoughtfully and excellently stubby. A rhetorical question. Incidentally, CZ has no article on Rhetoric, a fascinating subject with roots in antiquity and above-ground branches and fruit in the 21st century. --Anthony.Sebastian 19:31, 19 August 2008 (CDT)
I really like this one. Does anyone have an idea how to make it work? Does anyone think it would conflict with workgroup weeks? Speak now! Aleta Curry 19:06, 6 October 2008 (CDT)
Should be pretty easy - we get Larry to send an e-mail out to everyone asking someone from each workgroup - an editor or author - to submit the name of an article to collaborate on, and then we put the list up on the Write-a-Thon page, and go to work. --Tom Morris 19:08, 6 October 2008 (CDT)
It has been suggested that if you were old enough to remember the sixties, the drugs made you forget. Alas, I seemed to be allergic or immune to everything...Howard C. Berkowitz 19:10, 6 October 2008 (CDT)
I think a retro theme is a great idea, but I also think most CZers would expect that to be a little more than 10 years, Tom, at least for our first one! I'll allow the 90s later, if you promise not to refer to that lady as "Princess Diana". Aleta Curry 18:47, 6 October 2008 (CDT)
My original suggestion was going to be the 1860s, or perhaps the 1780s, but we could go for the 1980s. I'm surprised we haven't had a naming policy thread yet about royalty and names - technically, post-divorce she was "Diana Windsor, Princess of Wales", although what the Royals have done since, I couldn't say (or, as a republican, care). --Tom Morris 19:04, 6 October 2008 (CDT)
AAARRRRGH!!!! (Tom said, 'I'm surprised we haven't had a naming policy thread yet about royalty and names....' [gasps for breath] You kidding???
We have a whole proposal about that floating around here someplace. Hmmm...didn't it make it into policy? Guys? Better ask The Other Anthony.
Aleta Curry 19:12, 6 October 2008 (CDT)
  • 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)

Future Theme Schedule

  • November - National Parks - most countries have them but Citizendium doesn't...yet.
  • December - Retro! - I have to pick a decade....
  • January - Controversies

See also

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