User talk:D. Matt Innis/Archive 8

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Hourglass drawing.svg Where Matt lives it is approximately: 20:41

Creating an atmosphere that attracts knowledge and encourages it to flourish.

Article on TSCF revised

Hi Matt, wish you a Happy New Year. After a number of gropings I revised some outdated links in the article on The Social Capital Foundation. Could you please check the draft and publish. Best wishes Koen Demol 15:26, 4 January 2010 (UTC).

Done. And Happy New Year to you, too! D. Matt Innis 14:26, 5 January 2010 (UTC)

Why has CZ lost so many authors?

This is an intriguing question that, when you originally asked it, kept nagging me at the back of my mind. Of course, the definitive way of discovering the answer is to ask those who have left what were their reasons. However, here is what I believe may be a contributing factor.

One of the differentiators between WP and CZ is the latter is supposed to be expert friendly. We require experts to identify themselves and the whole scribble culture of WP is deprecated. However, there is one characteristic of experts that seems to have been missed when CZ was first designed - experts tend to work alone or in groups that fundamentally agree with one another. What I mean by that is even when there is a team working on a problem, members of the team share a common viewpoint. Experts have a very low tolerance of the committee approach to the production of explanatory text in their areas of specialization. Generally, experts in the same field with different points of view do not like each other.

People attracted to committee work generally are not experts. They are bureaucrats. They are much more interested in the exercise of power through the use of some legal or quasi-legal procedural machinery than in producing works of excellence. That is not to say there is no place for them in society. Compromise is the lubricant of democracy. Without it, societies (or in the case of CZ, communities) degenerate into chaotic mean-streets, exemplified by WP and Somalia. However, for an expert compromise on a point of knowledge is anathema. The expert deeply understands (or believes he/she deeply understands) a subject and the whole idea of using compromise as a tool for articulating that understanding is abhorrent.

So, when an expert comes to CZ and begins working on an encyclopedia article, he/she expects to develop it according to a particular understanding of the subject it covers. The idea of compromising on that understanding is intolerable. If forced to do so, the expert leaves.

This seems to me to suggest that CZ's governance must accommodate both experts and the democratic machinery that ensures the fair and neutral point-of-view presentation required for its health. As I have suggested elsewhere, one way to accomplish this is to host encyclopedia articles that are the result of compromise and which present all points of view fairly. It is unlikely that experts will spend much time on these, that time most likely being given to ensure their point-of-view is accurately represented in those articles. Experts are much more interested in presenting their own hard won understanding of a subject. These works, I think, are also necessary for the health of CZ and fit well into its article hierarchy as signed subpages associated with neutral point-of-view encyclopedia articles. Setting up this kind of structure would, in my view, attract more authors with significant expertise, who would enhance CZ's ability to attract those who are good at writing encyclopedia articles. Dan Nessett 19:54, 23 September 2009 (UTC)

Oh, see now, why don't you just put that in your nomination/statement and see if you get voted in. That way you'll know that you have others that agree and they want you to work in that direction. If you don't get elected, then that says something, too. D. Matt Innis 20:57, 23 September 2009 (UTC)
All good arguments, but they fail to address my major concern - getting sucked into a time sink with little prospect of a useful result. :-D Dan Nessett 21:18, 23 September 2009 (UTC)
Definition of life: "time sink with little prospect of useful result, see: drain suck"
D. Matt Innis 21:32, 23 September 2009 (UTC)
:-D Funny. And closer to the truth than I care to admit. Dan Nessett 21:46, 23 September 2009 (UTC)
Dan, your essay at the start of this thread is extremely well written and articulates your opinions quite thoroughly. Those of us who are Editors were given that role because we were considered to be experts. Since I am an Editor, I will readily admit that I may be biased ... with that said, your essay came across to me as saying you believe CZ would lose less people if we had less Editors (i.e., experts) because all experts are unwilling to be "team players" and compromize. Have I got that right? If that is correct, then isn't that exactly the same as Wikipedia's dislike of experts? Milton Beychok 22:55, 23 September 2009 (UTC)
Milt. No, I am not saying that. There are experts, of which you are probably one, who have altruistic motives and contribute to enterprises such as CZ from a spirit of community service. I also have expertise in areas that I have not mentioned, since I find statements like "Wow, look at my credentials" to be very distasteful. So, I will modify my comments and say most experts are not interested in writing or editing collaboratively with people they don't know or trust.
I certainly don't think we need less editors. We need more. And we need them to edit, which I think you are doing. That is, editors should be working with authors to move articles to approved status. Editors should also write, but if their writing takes up so much of their time that they can't edit, then they really are not doing their job.
I decided to exit the Wikimadness after some very bad experiences with various self-appointed "guardians of consensus", who offered their opinions as established fact and generally demonstrated their ignorance. I do not want CZ to become anything close to that. I want it to attract more experts and more encyclopedia article writers. My comments were written under the assumption that everyone at CZ wants that. However, it is never useful to live in a fantasy land. CZ is not doing well. WP has more than 2 orders of magnitude more articles than CZ. Even if only 1% of those are of high quality, they are soundly beating us.
My number one goal is to attract all kinds of experts to CZ, those with altruistic motives and those who are not so motivated. It is my view that the number in the first set is so much less than the number in the second set that we simply do not have the luxury to focus on recruiting only them. Dan Nessett 23:17, 23 September 2009 (UTC)
My own feeling is that CZ would have more Authors if we had *more* Editors. Potential Authors would see that there were competent Editors in the fields that interest them and that they were actually *doing* things. I think you'd have a bunch of people writing articles about, oh, individual baseball players, say, if you had two or three highly expert Editors who were clearly knowledgeable about baseball, were doing articles of their own, *and* were encouraging Authors in various ways. Maybe not, but I don't think that anyone could argue that our current *lack* of Editors is encouraging the creation of more articles.... Hayford Peirce 23:20, 23 September 2009 (UTC)
I can't speak for Wikipedians (of whom I too am a former member) but if *all* members of CZ aren't altruists, then I don't know how to qualify them. (Well, OK, some of the Eduzendium students.) Is it the lordly salaries that we command that keep us here? The high pay-per-word that we receive? The universal glory and esteem we enjoy in the outside world as being world-famous Citizens? Perhaps. Or perhaps there are other motives.... Hayford Peirce 23:25, 23 September 2009 (UTC)
I'm here for the free booze. Jones


"My own feeling is that CZ would have more Authors if we had *more* Editors". Yes, I agree. In fact let me state that more emphatically. A strategy of attracting experts to write encyclopedia articles is much less likely to succeed that one that attracts encyclopedists to summarize the work done by experts. And to say this once more, an expert does not have to have an advanced degree or any degree for that matter. An expert is someone who knows a subject in depth, whether that is formally recognized by an academic institution or not.

"if *all* members of CZ aren't altruists, then I don't know how to qualify them." My point is: that currently is a significant problem. If we hope to succeed by only attracting altruists, we are planning to fail. Perhaps since we all are contributing out of a sense of community service, we think most people will do that if we can just let them know we are here. Unfortunately, it is a well demonstrated characteristic of the human condition that people generally look out after their own interests. There are very few people in the world like Mother Teresa. Dan Nessett 00:02, 24 September 2009 (UTC)

What we need is more active people and it doesn't matter if they are authors, editors, experts, non-experts, or whatever! Instead of discussing why people have left, we should be discussing how to get more new active people. Look at the list of nominees for the charter drafting committee ... a list of about 30 names, about 5 of whom are no longer active (including one or two who left under unhappy circumstances). The remaining 25 comprise about all of our really active prolific contributors ... that just is not enough! Most people in the real world are busy earning a living and/or raising a family. In my mind, we need to find a way to reach retired people who, like myself, have a lot of time on their hands and could easily devote at least 4-5 hours a day to CZ. How to do that, I don't know ... but I am convinced that is where we should concentrate our efforts to recruit now members. Does anyone know how to get an article published in the newsletter of the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) or any similar organization? Milton Beychok 03:25, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
Good point, Milton. Let's concentrate on the positive side of the equation and the problems will solve themselves. D. Matt Innis 03:29, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
Surely, there has to be many many ways to access these people. I've brought it up to several of my patients (thinking they would like something to do), but they seem to be less computer savvy. I'm sure, though, that there is a class of retired people that this woul dbe the perfect way for them to "sink some time" :) D. Matt Innis 03:31, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
"...we need to find a way to reach retired people who, like myself, have a lot of time on their hands." I couldn't agree more. I am a retired person and I spend about 4-5 hours a day working on CZ. When I said attract experts, I didn't necessarily mean people who are working for a living. Howerver, there is something of a hole in your proposal. You say we need to recruit retired people and then suggest we put a letter in the AARP newsletter. Good so far. What do you intend to say? I have given up a lot of activities I was involved in to spend time working on CZ. Initially I did it because I wanted to do some work on orthogonal functions that I ran into while studying quantum mechanics. I then saw an opportunity to help CZ in other ways and put my study of QM aside in order to do that. I also put my music composition work aside and some fiction writing aside. You can bet most retired people have other things to do as well.
So, the question is why would a retired expert want to get involved in CZ? I am not being negative on this. In order to attract people, you have to have something attractive. A couple of retired experts I tried to recruit said no thanks. They simply couldn't see why the time on their hands should be spent writing articles for CZ when those articles were going to be changed around by someone else. Retired experts aren't any different in that regard than active experts. Dan Nessett 03:47, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
I'm in a community that has an odd mix of retirees, tourists in summer, and fishermen. Personally, I'm underemployed rather than retired, and indeed am timesharing CZ and a consulting project on cloud computing at the moment -- my client let me put some of the basic work into an article, but now we are doing the proprietary part.
It's a bit frightening, but I'm a youngster at some of the political and related groups. Part of the challenge is that the computer-literate retirees also tend to be activists, so neutrality may be an issue. I will, however, be giving some lectures, starting with (a title picked by the publicity people) "Torture in Perspective". If I can, I'll be doing an objective series on intelligence and national security, and will be appealing to people that the best case can be an objective one.
Sometimes, the computer literacy is used to hang out at Fellow True Believer blogs. How does one convert that? Howard C. Berkowitz 03:50, 24 September 2009 (UTC)

(unindent) Dan, in a way, you have made my point. You are retired and despite having a number of other interests, you chose to devote 4-5 hours a day to CZ. I don't understand the viewpoint about "CZ articles were going to be changed around by others". In the almost two years I've contributed to CZ, I have written over 100 articles ... so far none of them have been significantly changed unilaterally by any others. Of course, there have been many revisions which were made after discussion and mutual agreement, but that's all. And along the way, I have had intercourse (non-sexual, of course) with a number of very interesting and very talented people. I'm a couple of decades older than you and somewhat physically limited ... and I would have gone quite bonkers by now had it not been for CZ. I am quite certain there are many other retirees out there who would join CZ if we can find a way to reach out to them. As for AARP, I am not a member and it is difficult for a non-member to have a voice there ... but I do plan to try. If you ever get down from Fremont to Newport Beach, I sure would like to get together. Milton Beychok 06:02, 24 September 2009 (UTC)

This is an interesting discussion in an unexpected place. I stumbled on it by accident. Why don't you move it to the forum, Matt? --Paul Wormer 07:14, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
shhh, we were hiding. ;-) D. Matt Innis 15:16, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
We have a current possibility to get in contact with them, since American Association of Retired Persons happens to be part of Shamira's Eduzendium course on interest groups, the initial draft being due somewhere around next week. There is certainly nothing wrong with asking them for additional materials (images, multimedia, history, vision etc.) and to post these materials at the article's talk page. Once the contact is established, it can of course lead to further interaction. --Daniel Mietchen 08:49, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
Now that is clever, like a fox.. haha, go for it Daniel (but gotta wait till the class is over). D. Matt Innis 15:16, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
Milt. When you said you were 2 decades older than I, you intrigued me, since I am no spring chicken. So, I went to your user page and quite frankly, I am impressed. You have written 2 books, have 25 published articles and are a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. You have made significant contributions to CZ, writing over 100 articles. You are CZ's Mother Teresa.
I am sure age and experience have taught you that just hoping something happens won't make it so. You don't just hope you can build a Petroleum Refinery. It takes planning, understanding and a lot of perseverance (because as you indicate on your user page, nothing goes according to plan). What I am suggesting is we need to apply those same principles here. And the first thing to do is take stock of the state of CZ. I have stated some of this before, but it is useful to restate these things for emphasis.
Go to Special:Statistics. There you will see that "[w]e have 12,152 live articles, of which 114 are approved and 979 are developed." I don't know how many editors we have, but I would say that it is more than 25. CZ was founded in the fall of 2006, which means it is approaching its 3rd birthday. So in the course of 3 years, (using the lower bound of 25 editors) each editor has on average moved about 4 1/2 articles into the approved state. That is around 1 per year. Now I am sure you have moved more than that and there are other editors who have moved none. But, any objective view of these numbers can come to no other conclusions than CZ's approval process is completely broken. And I think I know why.
By and large the editors of CZ have a certain amount of expertise, some more than others. When you look at what editors are doing, however, they are writing. They spend much of their time acting as authors. (This is not directed at you Milt, since it looks like you have been doing Herculean work and contributed significantly as both a writer and editor). What does that tell you about the editors that have been attracted to CZ? They want to write. In fact, from some of the comments I have read, most are refugees from WP who got tired of ignorant people stepping all over their work. So, my informal conclusion is experts come to CZ to write, not edit. When they become editors some feel at least a partial obligation to edit, but many don't, which is why we have so few approved articles. The bottom line to this very informal analysis is if you want to attract experts to CZ, you have to give them the opportunity to write without being bugged by those who lack their expertise or by people who are trying to game the system to gain control over their writing. Dan Nessett 16:14, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
Very true, Dan. I regard editing as professional "paying it forward" in my fields, but also to ensure that the things I write are in a credible context. I was attracted here from WP to be able to write both with appropriate synthesis, and not having to fight constantly. I'm perfectly willing to edit, but, if I wanted to be principally an Editor, I'd do it in a different forum such as a journal or even the IETF (I've published RFCs, but I've edited a lot more).
If you think there were arguments here about Internet, try WP with intelligence and security issues, as well as military affairs. Ironically, here, they aren't terribly noticed in the Approval process as there are no appropriate Editors. I was able to get one article nominated by Milt because we agreed it was Military Engineering and mostly a documentation convention, but I certainly have at least high tens of articles that are stuck because there is no relevant Editor and I can't do it myself.
Indeed, I wish I could just get nonspecialist readers to check readability. It's one thing to get radical rewrites, and, when there was another Military editor, I found him to inject quite a bit of ideological bias. Yes, I did rewrite a number of his articles after he left, but I think most readers have felt I moved them to neutrality. I'm perfectly willing to listen to proposed revisions, but I am not willing to work with being told an article has problems -- especially one that I didn't originate -- and be given a total replacement. That isn't the practice in the IETF either, with experts generally in agreement; the mailing list discussion is very detailed, and then new drafts are written by the authors. Howard C. Berkowitz 16:30, 24 September 2009 (UTC)

[Unindent] Personally I don't care much about the approval process (although I did approve a few articles and a few of mine are approved). The main disadvantage is that an approved article is locked. Even to correct a minor typo you must bother a constable. And what exactly is the advantage? I don't know whether we have outside readers, but if we do, I'm pretty sure that they don't notice the difference.--Paul Wormer 16:53, 24 September 2009 (UTC)

The main advantage is that it can't be subject to endless and unceasing revert wars. Suppose the Homeopathy article weren't locked and we permitted people like Adam Cuerden and a couple of others I can think of to come in and fight their wars on a daily or even hourly basis. Maybe this isn't enough justification in itself, but from *some* points of view it's pretty important. Hayford Peirce 17:08, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
The homeopathy war is bad anyway. Moreover, the approved article didn't quite boost our reputation.--Paul Wormer 17:16, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
This is a very critical point in my view. Getting an article approved gives some assurance that it will not be subject to arbitrary changes. One of the major problems at WP is anyone can come in and scribble over anything they choose. This means an author has to remain eternally vigilant in regards to the articles he has written or made major contributions to. He cannot simply go on to something else. At CZ he knows that any changes made in the future will at least go through editorial review. It is that kind of guarantee that gives CZ an edge over WP (although by itself it is not probably enough to ensure CZ survives). Dan Nessett 17:23, 24 September 2009 (UTC)

[outdent]I'll save my ideas on involving external reviewers for another discussion, though I think it might draw people in if we give them a taste of what they can expect with no (even perceived) commitment to do anything more than what we specifically ask. More pertinent to this conversation, I've been thinking off and on about submitting an open letter/op. ed. piece to student newspapers around the country and maybe throughout the English speaking world. I think they are more likely to publish such items than other news outlets and I think students might be a good source of potential authors. A couple of weeks ago, I was inspired to write a first draft of a letter that might work: --Joe Quick 19:42, 24 September 2009 (UTC)

Joe, I'm glad you have involved yourself in this conversation. As the Approvals Manager I assume you are interested in getting more articles approved. I have an idea about that. How about setting up an Editathon (a merge between Edit and athon, which I took from an event Sun Microsystems sponsored back in the 90s called Connectathon). This would be a CZ official event that would last for some time period (1 week? 2 weeks?) with the objective of getting as many developed articles approved as possible. We could set a stretch goal of getting all articles currently in the developed state into the approved state. We probably couldn't reach that goal, but setting high goals is the mark of a community interested in excellence. Dan Nessett 19:54, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
Anyone have some ideas for the workgroups where there either is no active Editor, or the single Editor is also the author of developed articles? Howard C. Berkowitz 20:17, 24 September 2009 (UTC)

[outdent]May I share a few thoughts about the article approval process [rhetorical question mark].

  • We might think about approving articles that provide reliable information about the topic even though much more information needed to give the reader a more complete treatment of the topic. Perhaps the approval banner could include text that states the editors judge the article reliable but hope authors/editors will further develop the accompanying draft version of the article to cover more aspects of the topic and/or elaborate on those aspcts already covered.
    • In that regard, perhaps the draft versions should be evaluated on a frequent regular basis for replacement of the approved version, even if only few, but significant, improvements have been made, assuming no damage has been done.
  • We might consider changing the name of approved versions to something like "Provisionally Approved", indicating further development occuring in the draft version. Anthony.Sebastian 20:40, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
In case anyone is interested, I just looked at the Editors list. There are 50 editors at CZ (of course, not all are active). That means on average each editor has approved slightly over 2 articles in the 3 years of CZ's existence. And that means on average editors are approving less than 1 article a year. I wrote this while Anthony was adding his comment, so it is a bit out of order. Dan Nessett 20:44, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
If you take into account the inactive ones, we have or had a total of around 400 editors, which certainly does not make the stats better. Re Editathon: We had a "Biology Week" exactly one year ago, with the meager results documented at CZ:Biology Workgroup/Biology Week Sep 22-28, 2008. "Provisionally Approved" goes into the direction of my proposal (yes, on the forums) to use a combination of Flagged Revisions and WikiTrust for approval, which has basically gone unnoticed. --Daniel Mietchen 00:01, 25 September 2009 (UTC)
It seems to me "editathon" will work to get articles approved only in areas where three editors overlap. We could change the approval process to allow for some sort of gang-of-editors to approve outside their workgroups but that leads us to the broken proposals system. I agree with what Dan has written here above. One thing that is implicit in the WP method is that the churning at WP ("experts" guarding their pages against everyone) leads to a lot of people doing a lot of editing. I think our approval idea is what makes CZ different. But I agree again with Dan, experts are not prone to consensus (except on really narrow issues) and expecting collaboration and agreement on big topics (homeopathy) is (I think) unrealistic and not conducive to our growth. Russell D. Jones 02:20, 25 September 2009 (UTC)
I am trying to understand Russell's point that editathon "will work to get articles approved only in areas where three editors overlap." I thought it only took one editor to approve an article, unless that editor was also an author. Even if an editor is an author, can't he/she bow out and let another editor do the approval? Or is the problem that there really is only one active editor per workgroup? Dan Nessett 03:27, 25 September 2009 (UTC)
I'm immediately aware of no other active Editor in Military, but I believe that is true of several groups. As Drew observes, Hobbies are a special case; Aleta Curry is a Specialist Editor for Dogs but there's no one to approve her articles; there's no one to do his fish articles unless a Biology editor takes it on. I don't think we have active Editors for Food (Sciences); for Visual Arts, the last active Editor did only art history, not things like pastel. Almost certainly, there are other author/editors in the same position, with no one to approve. Howard C. Berkowitz 03:41, 25 September 2009 (UTC)
We haven't had an active Music Editor since 2007. Certainly there has been none willing to answer emails or do any editor workgroup duties since I started writing articles for CZ, and that was a long time ago. I've never seen anyone post to the music mailing list, and I've had to do most of the cleaning up myself. Meg Ireland 07:05, 25 September 2009 (UTC)

[unindent] I'm reading this discussion about the importance of approval with some astonishment. Indeed, for WP the system would be a tremendous improvement—I would probably still work for them had they had it. But, CZ is not WP. I wrote a few hundred articles and only very, very, rarely has somebody changed something in one of them and in (almost) all cases it was an improvement that I also recognized as such. The great disadvantage of approval is that people will not bother to make minor changes. Probably Daniel is reading this, let me ask him a question. Yesterday you changed the title of a section in Intermolecular forces and I agree that your title is better than my old title. Would you have made the change in a draft had the article been approved? --Paul Wormer 07:08, 25 September 2009 (UTC)

Direct reply: I agree that the barrier to make that edit in the draft is higher than to make it in the actual document, that's why I am advocating a streamlining of the approval process that keeps approved versions editable - with some properly configured Flagged Revisions system, editors of the concerned workgroups would have been allowed to change that, but if authors had done the change, it would have to be "sighted" by an editor. No unnecessary delays, and formal procedures or the Kops are only called in when editors disagree about certain edits and cannot resolve their dispute on their own. --Daniel Mietchen 11:58, 25 September 2009 (UTC)

"Why has CZ lost so many authors?" Brief answer from one of them: because there aren't enough editors, as some people have already suggested above (but I'm answering as an insider).

Detailed answer. I withdrew from direct participation in Wikipedia (restricting myself to commnting from the sidelines) when I discovered it had no effective procedure for enforcing neutrality. Administrators and arbitrators aren't authorized to enforce it, and the community often, or usually, chooses not to. That leaves articles to war/politics/haggling among various factions (I'm talking about controversial articles on religion, politics etc.; straightforward scientific factual matters should work). The end result to be expected from this process is that points of view will be represented in proportion to their prominence among editors of the article concerned, rather than among reliable sources.

So what do I find when I come here? Editors are supposed to deal with that sort of problem. Fine where there is one. But often there isn't. Back in December (just 2 months after coming here from Wikipedia) I posted a request for editor assistance to solve just such a problem on the personal talk pages of all 15 editors in the workgroup. Not a single response, then or since.

In summary, the CZ system should work in areas where an editor is available, but elsewhere it's as bad as Wikipedia, so people who've left there for here are liable to end up leaving for the same reason.

So I hope you get more editors. My main interest is in Buddhism. If you get one authorized and willing to exercise editorial authority there then I can do some work here. Meanwhile I'm working at Wikinfo, where they have a completely different way of dealing with such problems: POV forking with hatlinks. Peter Jackson 11:00, 25 September 2009 (UTC)

Well, it certainly seems that getting editors (or actually not getting them) is a fundamental problem that needs to be solved. The title of this section is "Why has CZ lost so many authors?" At least preliminarily, its because there is no one who wants to do the editing. So, again preliminarily, if we get more editors, we can get more authors.
Of course, that just replaces one question with another. How do we get more editors? When I was in research, editing was never something anyone wanted to do. However, it was expected that you would do a certain amount in order to remain a respected member of your profession. Generally, getting yourself on a program committee was something that enhanced your reputation. The main responsibility of someone on a program committee is reading paper submissions and writing a review. But, there is nothing similar to this tradition in the open source writing community. So, we need to think of other ways to create a similar "sense of responsibility". I think that requires some reward, even if indirect, for editing. One possibility is to more prominently display editors names when a reader comes to CZ. We could put them at the top of the Welcome page. Another is when an article is approved, we could affix the names of the editors responsible to the top of the article. Any other suggestions? Dan Nessett 14:20, 25 September 2009 (UTC)
Sorry for posting twice in a row, but I think we need to address Paul's question. It was my understanding that when an article is approved, the next draft is started and people can edit it freely. The approved article is the one that the public sees, but any CZ citizen has access to both the approved version and the draft. Is this the way things work? For routine grammar and typo problems, I think an editor should be able to rule that a change is non-substantive and allow the approved version to change.
If this is the procedure, then Daniel's suggestion has merit. The Flagged Revision system allows a version to be frozen and presented as approved. Work continues on the document, but that work is on the next revision. Dan Nessett 14:49, 25 September 2009 (UTC)
Yes, that is the procedure. In terms of rewarding editors, a relatively minor change we could put into effect quickly would be to use names to link to the approving editors in the template at the top of approved pages instead of simply stating how many there are. The links already point to the editors' user pages, they just don't show the editors' names. See Grand Trunk Railway, for example. --Joe Quick 15:14, 25 September 2009 (UTC)
Great idea, Joe. This is a quick fix that I think significantly improves things. Whose approval do we need to make the change? Dan Nessett 15:25, 25 September 2009 (UTC)
Thank you, Peter. You make a good point: there are a substantial number of inactive editors, and, I'm not especially thinking of those that were active for a time and then had time or policy conflicts.
No, I'm thinking of the basic criteria for Editor status: credentials on Day 1. Given the number of Editors that never made an actual Edit to other than their user page, what is wrong with this picture? Also, we have a few horrible examples of a credentialed editor who immediately created havoc, such as Martin Cohen; not the only such.
Conversely, we have people that are productive authors and lower-case editors, but have not met the criteria of the credentialing people. Speaking personally, I find it frustrating that I've worked in several substantive areas where I am not academically credentialed, but have substantial real-world experience, and, most importantly, a body of work here that can be judged.
To break some of the Approval logjam, I'd propose, perhaps with some sort of Interim status, finding a way to agree that certain people do know what they are doing in various areas, based on their base of work here. Perhaps they could Approve (to be defined) noncontroversial articles.
Food articles are an excellent example. Does one really need a home economics or nutrition degree to approve bread, understanding that it can always be improved? Yes, barbecue would be both Religion and Controversial. I'm a pretty good baker and am confident Hayford knows how to be kneaded.
Top-level articles might well be judged by a consensus of experienced Citizens for readability and reasonability. Howard C. Berkowitz 20:50, 25 September 2009 (UTC)
Following up on Howard's suggestion — why not define editor status for an article once it is nearing approval? As far as I can tell, Flagged Revisions can be set up on an article-by-article basis, though I do not know whether the right to "sight" can currently be handled on a user-by-user basis for individual articles (if not, that would be a case where a CZ variant of a MediaWiki extension would make sense). Even in the current system, it would be easy to signal one's willingness to act as an editor by simply posting it to the talk page or perhaps a new section of the metadata. Ideally, though, I would like to see this coupled with a karma system as in WikiTrust, such that previous activities in articles related to the one in question can be weighted stronger than previous activities in articles not related to it. --Daniel Mietchen 21:08, 25 September 2009 (UTC)
On the American Association of Retired Persons again: "The AARP Bulletin’s What I Really Know column comes from our readers. Each month we solicit personal essays on a selected topic and post some of our favorites in print and online." Perhaps we can keep an eye on this column and possibly even brush up our respective articles a bit (or enrich them with some signed articles), such that we would have something to be posted to the bulletin? The "October theme" is television, and submissions are probably due by October 1. --Daniel Mietchen 21:35, 25 September 2009 (UTC)


I think we need to add some other criteria for being an editor. For example, Peter mentions the following. "Back in December (just 2 months after coming here from Wikipedia) I posted a request for editor assistance to solve just such a problem on the personal talk pages of all 15 editors in the workgroup. Not a single response, then or since." This suggests, at least in Peter's case, that editors are not editing. We seem to have concentrated on editor credentials (either formal or informal) and have completely missed editor performance. I don't think being an editor should be an honorary position. It should come with some minimum performance requirements. For example, if an editor doesn't approve, say, 5 articles in any 12 month period or if he/she constantly fails to respond to author requests for help, then the editorship should be withdrawn. Also, I think we should avoid granting editorship to someone in more than say 2 or 3 workgroups. They may have the qualifications for more, but I question whether they have the time to do a good job in more than 2 or 3 areas. In addition, granting editorship in more than 2 or 3 workgroups risks granting one person too much overall authority.

Also, while I think Peter's input is very valuable, we need to find out from some other authors why they left. There may be other reasons authors have left and we need to fix these as well. Dan Nessett 22:38, 25 September 2009 (UTC)

I only responded here because I happened to check the recent changes list at the right time. That is, it's sheer luck you got even 1 response. If you want useful information you'll have to email everyone.
A point that might be relevant in some way. I got the impression that which editors have what authority ovr which articles is pretty much a state secret. Peter Jackson 10:45, 26 September 2009 (UTC)
Peter, your comment of "I got the impression that which editors have what authority over which articles is pretty much a state secret", surprises me. I don't understand how you got that impression. Everyone's user page (author and/or editor) very clearly delineates the workgroups in which each of us is an author or an editor (see bottom line of each user page). I don't see how that can be thought of as a "state secret".
As for the role of an editor and his/her authority, that is openly available in CZ:Editor Policy and CZ:The Editor Role ... so where is the secret?
I have been an author and an editor since January, 2008 and, other than nominating articles for approval, I can only recall perhaps 1 or 2 occasions where I exercised my authority as an editor in editing or commenting about an article. Milton Beychok 15:09, 26 September 2009 (UTC)
Pursuing the problems that you had getting editor help, Peter, what kind of assistance did you request? Did you ask an editor for help with some technical issue? Did you ask for their help with a procedural issue. Did you ask for some other kind of help?
In response to your comment Milt, I think it is unreasonable to expect citizens to know about policy documents that do not concern them. An author probably doesn't look around for documents about editors because his/her interest is writing, not editing. I think it is unrealistic for us to expect authors to read the many different definitional documents that exist at CZ, especially those that are on topics that do not interest him/her. This is suppose to be a fun place to work, not a training exercise for lawyers.
Finally, I think we should take Peter's advice and ask some other authors who are no longer active why they left. Dan Nessett 16:31, 26 September 2009 (UTC)

(undent) May I suggest this would be more appropriate, and seen by more people, on the Forum?

A few comments though: as to number of workgroups per Editor, if, variously, a workgroup isn't being covered for Approval, either because there are no Editors (e.g., Food), one Editor who is a substantial author (e.g., Military), or Editors that won't work on certain topics (e.g., Visual Arts, with Editors that did Art History, but not technique--might not be active).

The power of an Editor can always be reevaluated, and there might be reductions in scope if we get more Editors -- but if the lack of approving, or even commenting, Editors is a bottleneck, what is most important? I suggest the critical elements are the things that limit growth. As far as power, we've been operating under a situation where the E-I-C really has the only official power, although, recently, some Constables and Editors have filled vacuums. (deferring, of course, to Milt about vacuum pumps). Howard C. Berkowitz 19:21, 26 September 2009 (UTC)

It's not entirely a lack of Editors -- it's a lack of *active* Editors. There are *frequent* new Editors joining the project. Then they entirely vanish. They don't make a single contribution, ever. Not one. Why do they bother to join and then not do a flippin' thing? That, to me, is a more noteworthy question. I could run through the Approvals Log for the last couple of months and probably tell you that maybe 14 new Editors joined -- and that maybe only *one* of them has contributed anything. This is a question that I've already brought up a couple of times in various Forum discussions and there's never been a satisfactory answer, just, "Well, that's the way it is on wikis." Great. Why bother.... Hayford Peirce 19:39, 26 September 2009 (UTC)
Hey, Matt!! Please move this to the forums ... it looks as if it will go on forever. Milton Beychok 19:47, 26 September 2009 (UTC)
Only speculation here, but I wonder if the situation would be helped if one had to be an author, and produce/collaborate on content, before being considered as an Editor. Learn how to CZ edit before trying to CZ Edit. It was very promising when we were joined by a Visual Arts Editor, but that person neither was willing to listen to pure style guidance on the person's own articles in Art History, but was not willing, when asked, to Edit (or even Approve in early form) some core technique articles, such as charcoal (art) or pastel. What's wrong with this picture? Would it help had the person been designated a Specialist Editor in Art History? I tend to believe one has to earn Editorship; there can be case-by-case decisions to start someone if they are known contributors to other electronic collaborative fora (not necessarily Wikis). Howard C. Berkowitz 19:52, 26 September 2009 (UTC)
I just tried to do a cut and paste into a new Forum thread but got a red message saying that it had two many characters. (And I don't mean the contributors, hehe.) So why don't you try it yourselves, maybe some other way? Hayford Peirce 20:04, 26 September 2009 (UTC)
Yes, I remember that particular Art Editor and I still grit my teeth at the thought. She was everything that an Editor should NOT be. Hayford Peirce 20:06, 26 September 2009 (UTC)
I'm wary of placing more requirements on people in order to become editors. I just don't see the logic in how restricting the number of people who are allowed to be editors will result in more people being editors. --Joe Quick 20:07, 26 September 2009 (UTC)
Hayford makes a good point. In fact, it is a point left unaddressed by some of the proposals presented here to solve the problem. We do not have a problem recruiting editors or authors. We have a problem retaining them. You first have to solve the second problem and then the first one. If you try to solve the first problem before solving the second one, you are trying to fill a bathtub with a big hole in the bottom. So, here is the flow of analysis as I see it. We can't retain authors. Why? The editors are not doing their job. Why? Because we can't retain editors. Why? That is were things get controversial. So, I will simply say that we need to address the editor retention problem and then work our way backwards toward the author retention problem.
However, I will state again that we need to ask some other authors who have left why they did that. Right now our analysis is driven from a sample of one (for which I heartily thank Peter Jackson for taking the time to supply). Dan Nessett 20:18, 26 September 2009 (UTC)
Everyone is using the wrong words here: it is not a question of "retaining" Editors -- it is a question of them *doing anything.* Very, very of them have ever really *left*. Some, but few. They just don't contribute. Hayford Peirce 20:35, 26 September 2009 (UTC)

Editor Forum start:,2898.0.html Howard C. Berkowitz 20:41, 26 September 2009 (UTC)

Thanks all (and Howard for moving this) All very interesting, I'll make one comment on the forum. D. Matt Innis 21:11, 26 September 2009 (UTC)
He hasn't *moved* it, Matt, just started a thread with a *link* to this discussion. So don't delete this.... Hayford Peirce 21:29, 26 September 2009 (UTC)
Peter. If you have come here and wondered what has happened, the discussion has moved to a forum (given above). I have asked a question of you in that forum that I hope you decide to answer. Dan Nessett 21:47, 26 September 2009 (UTC)

Is there a way to bulk mail all editors, including inactive ones and all citizens, including those who have left?

Hi Matt,

In order to get some input from authors and editors who have left CZ, it would be really useful to email them and ask. Is there any way for constables to bulk mail all editors or all citizens (I assume this is not something that CZ would want non-privileged citizens to do). Dan Nessett 01:53, 27 September 2009 (UTC)

Well, your right in noting that this is not something that we want to abuse. There are several lists that essentially would get in touch with everyone who still uses their same email address. D. Matt Innis 02:01, 27 September 2009 (UTC)
We need to proceed with caution on bulk emails, but I think getting feedback from those who have left us is critical to fixing the retention problem. How would you suggest we proceed on this idea. Should I bring it up in the editorial retention thread? Dan Nessett 02:23, 27 September 2009 (UTC)
That's proabably as good a place to start as any. D. Matt Innis 02:49, 27 September 2009 (UTC)
Matt, I raised the issue of bulk emails many months ago in the forums and, as I recall, Larry said he could do it. Whether he did or not, I don't know. Don't ask me to tell you what forum and when ... because I don't recall that. Milton Beychok 03:28, 27 September 2009 (UTC)
Larry has told me privately that he *can* do it, but I get the impression that he is extremely reluctant to do so, fearing that it might get out of hand. My suggestion: email him privately, tell him what you would like to do, and see if he will either do it himself or set up a facility for a Constable to do so. Hayford Peirce 03:59, 27 September 2009 (UTC)
I doubt that you asked Larry if you could use the email list to ask people what they thought. It is more likely you asked to use it to make an announcement such as the Charter nominations... big difference. Every use should require it's own approval process. I doubt one approval is a blanket approval. D. Matt Innis 04:03, 27 September 2009 (UTC)
That's why you're the Assistant Chief of the Greater London Metropolitan Constabulary Service and I'm just a lowly Cop on the Beat in Kensington Gardens: yes, I asked him about mass announcements, not about whether we could poll Citizens as to whether they preferred Burger King to McD. On the other hand, if you don't get the " ' " out of your "it's", it's off to the Tower for you for about seven years.... Hayford Peirce 04:09, 27 September 2009 (UTC)
Its nothing personal, but its because I have to give you something to do :D D. Matt Innis 04:15, 27 September 2009 (UTC)
Sigh. I'll have to get you to come here and measure out the vermouth vs. gin that goes into making martinis -- a very difficult operation, especially after three or four of them, hehe....


Bulk emails should be very rare and used only when there is no other way to accomplish a goal that the community finds compelling and the EIC supports. I think this may be one of those rare cases. Tomorrow is bad for me, so I will bring this issue up on the Editor retention thread on Monday, unless someone else thinks it is urgent and decides to bring it up themselves sooner. Dan Nessett 04:34, 27 September 2009 (UTC)

Moving a page with its subpages without leaving behind a redirect

Matt. I feel somewhat guilty that the regrettable Internet subgroup incident imposed a lot of work on Peter Schmitt. The biggest problem seemed to be that when he moved a set of pages, a bunch of redirects were left behind that then Hayford had to delete.

However, I asked a MW software developer about this problem and he said there is a 'suppressredirect' permission that allows users to move pages without leaving redirects behind. I actually tried this on my personal wiki (I run 1.14, but this permission is supposed to exist in 1.13 as well) and it works. When I clicked the move link at the top of a test page, the displayed query page had check boxes for both "leave a redirect behind" and "move subpages". If you uncheck the "leave a redirect behind" and check the "move subpages" boxes, you can move a cluster without leaving anything behind. While I expect Peter does not have the required permission, I assume you and Hayford do. So, it seems to me Hayford could have moved the pages much more easily than Peter. Since I don't have this permission on CZ, maybe you can see if the check boxes show up when you attempt to move a page with subpages. If so, then in the future you may wish to use this feature, which saves a lot of work. Dan Nessett 22:47, 28 September 2009 (UTC)

When someone Moves a page, there's already a "Move all subpages, if applicable" checkbox at the bottom. If you check it, then all the subpages are supposed to be moved. I don't see a "leave a redirect behind" but maybe I'm not looking at a page that *has* any redirects to it. Hayford Peirce 23:02, 28 September 2009 (UTC)
Ah, now I'm looking at, which has a redirect from Pancho Gonzalez to Pancho Gonzales, and, as you say, there are various checkboxes. But I don't see what the problem is if someone doing the Move simply checks off that "Move all subpages if applicable". Aren't people doing this when they Move stuff? Hayford Peirce 23:06, 28 September 2009 (UTC)
There are two possible explanations. The first is 1.13 doesn't support the 'suppressredirect' permission. However, according to the user rights permissions matrix (look under Technical), this permission is available in all releases from 1.12 on. So, I think that possibility is remote. The other possibility is you have not been given the 'suppressredirect' permission. I'm not sure how to determine this, since I have "bureaucrat" status on my personal wiki, which gives me all permissions. If you have the 'suppressredirect' permission you should see a box (checked by default) that says "leave a redirect behind" Dan Nessett 23:14, 28 September 2009 (UTC)
Hayford, you misunderstood. Dan is not talking about "redirects to be left behind", but about moving pages (or clusters) without creating redirects to the new title. This would be useful for moves where these redirects are not wanted and therefore have to be deleted after the move. Peter Schmitt 23:26, 28 September 2009 (UTC)
Okie, so I misunderstood what the precise problem was/is, but I *still* don't understand *where* the problem is. Anyone can make a Move, can't they, not just Constables? Is Dan saying that some people are/are not checking/unchecking the right boxes? And this creates messes (big or small) that have to be fixed? Hayford Peirce 23:41, 28 September 2009 (UTC)
He says that this check box is missing (at least for normal users), but could be provided. He reacts to my remark in the forum that he "left a mess" with his actions on the Internet article. Such an option would have made possible to avoid some of the speedydeletes I had to ask you to do. Peter Schmitt 23:51, 28 September 2009 (UTC)
Ah. "I see," said the blind man, as he picked up his hammer and saw. Thanks. So the problem is that not ALL people see the appropriate checkboxes when they're needed? Or maybe even that they don't know how to fill them out correctly? Hayford Peirce 00:03, 29 September 2009 (UTC)


Following on from Peter's comments. As a constable you have more privileges than a normal user. For example, you can delete pages. The way you gain these privileges is by having a system administrator give them to you. One of the privileges you could have is the 'suppressredirect' permission, which would allow you to move pages without creating a redirect. If when you move a page, a box that says "leave a redirect behind" does not appear, then you do not have the 'suppressredirect' permission. It is extremely unlikely that regular users such as Peter and I would be given this privilege, but I would imagine it is possible that a constable might have this permission. Probably the best thing to do now is wait for Matt to respond. Dan Nessett 00:02, 29 September 2009 (UTC)

See my comment above about the Pancho Gonzales page. It indicates that I *can* see them -- WHEN they're there. But not every page has them. Hayford Peirce 00:06, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
(EC)See this screenshot Suppressredirect.png. It appears that our version of ability to suppress redirects is to update redirects that redirect to the OLD TITLE. Bots and Sysops and above do have this feature. D. Matt Innis 00:04, 29 September 2009 (UTC)

(Update) The description of the feature under the 'group rights' is:

  • Not create a redirect from the old name when moving a page (suppressredirect)

This seems to be the defintion that you are looking for, but it is not the way it works for us. Maybe it has to be turned on? D. Matt Innis 00:16, 29 September 2009 (UTC)

Also note that, as Hayford is telling you, the checkbox "Update any redirects that point to the original article" does not show unless the article had redirects to it previously. D. Matt Innis 00:19, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
The checkbox "Update any redirects that point to the original article" is not associated with this permission. Give me some time to research how an administrator grants rights. At present I am the only user on my personal wiki and I have the bureaucrat privilege, which gives me all possible permissions. I will create a test user on my wiki and figure out how to give (him? her? it?) the 'suppressredirect' permission. When I understand how to do that, I will get back to you and explain the procedure. Dan Nessett 00:34, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
I am still researching the 'suppressredirect' permission. However, I went to Special:ListUsers/bureaucrat and selected the sysops display. The CZ citizens that are bureacrats/sysops are: Aaron Schulz ‎(Sysop, Bureaucrat), Aleksander Stos ‎(Sysop), Anthony.Sebastian ‎(editor, Sysop), Anton Sweeney ‎(Sysop), Bernard Haisch ‎(editor, Bureaucrat, Sysop), Caesar Schinas ‎(Sysop), Chris Day ‎(Sysop), D. Matt Innis ‎(Sysop, Bureaucrat), David Hume ‎(Sysop), Fred Salsbury ‎(Sysop), Gareth Leng ‎(Sysop), Greg Sabino Mullane ‎(Bureaucrat, Sysop, editor, Dark Knight), Hayford Peirce ‎(Sysop), Howard C. Berkowitz ‎(Sysop, editor), Jason Potkanski ‎(Sysop, Bureaucrat, Dark Knight), Larry Sanger ‎(Sysop, Bureaucrat, Dark Knight), Louise Valmoria ‎(Sysop), Peter Hitchmough ‎(Sysop, Bureaucrat, editor), Ruth Ifcher ‎(Sysop, Bureaucrat, Dark Knight), Sarah Tuttle ‎(Sysop), Sorin Adam Matei ‎(editor, Sysop), Supten Sarbadhikari ‎(editor, Sysop), Thomas Simmons ‎(Sysop), Tommy Ciszek ‎(Sysop), ZachPruckowski ‎(editor, Sysop).
Matt is a bureaucrat and Hayford is a sysop. Matt has the ability to put users in groups with special privileges, so once we figure out which group has the 'suppressredirect' permission, he should be able to put both himself and Hayford in that group. However, I don't quite understand why Matt, as a bureaucrat doesn't see the "leave a redirect behind" box. Maybe there is something else we have to do to get it displayed.
Just out of curiosity, which of the bureaucrats/sysops listed above are active? Greg seems only marginally involved, unless he is doing things behind the scenes and simply doesn't want to respond to technical questions. Dan Nessett 16:39, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
I am able to change user rights, but I don't infer that I have the authority.
"leave redirect behind"... I agree that we are missing something -- either in our software version or we haven't gotten something activated.
As for activity of sysops, etc., I think the only way to know for sure is to leave messages for them on their talk pages.
According to Special:ListGroupRights sysops have the 'suppressredirect' permission. So, the problem isn't that you don't have the right to suppress redirects. It is that for some reason this permission has no effect. I will continue researching. Dan Nessett 17:09, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
To clarify my response above; as a bureaucrat, I am able to change other user's rights, but I don't infer that I, single-handedly, have the authority to change other user's rights. D. Matt Innis 17:29, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
In other words, as we learned back in school a million years ago, "I CAN do that, but I MAY NOT do it." Ie, "I have the ability to do that, but I do not have the permission to do that." Hayford Peirce 18:05, 29 September 2009 (UTC)


The "authority to change other user's rights" is a CZ governance issue. You probably want to understand the governance procedures used to determine when to change a user's rights, since you have the ability to do so. But, that is getting somewhat off-topic.

There is one possibility why the "leave redirect behind" box doesn't show, but I sure hope it isn't the case. The version of the MW software that CZ runs is modified. It is possible that the modified PHP code prevents use of the 'suppressredirect' permission. If so, I would have to get my local CZ MW installation up and running to analyze the problem. I almost have it working, but I need some information from Greg about the postgres schema and he isn't responding. Anyway, right now that is the option of last resort, since it would take a great deal of work to find any such modification. Dan Nessett 17:43, 29 September 2009 (UTC)

I do understand the CZ governeance issue. D. Matt Innis 18:37, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
This is a real shot in the dark, but would one of you (Matt or Hayford) attempt to move a page and then uncheck the "Update any redirects that point to the original title" box. Then see if anything on the move page changes (like the "leave redirect behind" box suddenly appears). I would do this myself, but the "Update..." box only shows up for those in the sysop group. Dan Nessett 18:40, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
Update: This request makes no sense at all. It simply reflects the frustration I am experiencing. So, if you haven't tried this, don't bother. Dan Nessett 19:33, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
If you click "move", the first paragraph mentions the option to "update". I also believe that I have seen it somewhere during a move. Probably it is shown after the move, but I do not want to perform a test move. Peter Schmitt 18:58, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
Neither you nor I, Peter, are in the sysop group, so we can't perform the necessary experiments. When I click "move" the first paragraph has a sentence that states, "You can update redirects that point to the original title automatically." This seems odd, since the move page has no option to update redirects automatically. Curiouser and curiouser. Dan Nessett 19:13, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
I did that yesterday and that's when I left you the first message that said that I didn't have that option. D. Matt Innis 19:46, 29 September 2009 (UTC)


OK, here is something odd. I run 1.14 on my personal wiki. I am in every group in view on it. When I move a page, I get no option that states, "Update any redirects that point to the original title". So, there must be some MW option that controls this. So far, I haven't been able to find it. If I did, I could see what happens on 1.14 and compare it to our experience on 1.13.2. Still working on this. Dan Nessett 19:53, 29 September 2009 (UTC)

Matt. I am still trying to figure out why my 1.14 installation isn't showing the "Update any redirects that point to the original title" checkbox (so I can figure out if it is colliding in some way with the 'suppressredirect' permission). After searching around for what seems like forever, it appears that the fixing redirect feature requires a script (in addition to setting a global variable to "true"). This script is run under the maintenance user account "User:Redirect fixer". All of this appears to require configuration in DefaultSettings.php. Is there any way to get a copy of CZ's DefaultSettings.php? Greg is probably the person to ask for this, but he is non-responsive. The file would exist in the mediawiki source tree under .../phase3/include/. I realize this may be over your head, but I thought I would ask. Dan Nessett 23:00, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
Corection. I need LocalSettings.php, not DefaultSettings.php. It is located at /phase3/LocalSettings.php. Dan Nessett 23:11, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
Second Correction: Aghgh. Don't send me LocalSettings.php. It has sensitive information in it. Dan Nessett 23:16, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
FINALLY! I have finally managed to get both the "You can update redirects that point to the original title automatically." and "leave redirect behind" checkboxes showing on my personal wiki. I had to use a fresh download of 1.14. I don't know why the installed version didn't work, but that is no interest to anyone but me. Sorry for the over-chatty blow-by-blow account of my hair-pulling. Now I can move on to trying to figure out why CZ doesn't show both checkboxes. It can't be because there is an incompatibility between the two. Whew! I am going to take a break. :-D Dan Nessett 00:07, 30 September 2009 (UTC)
Hehe, 'bout time. :) D. Matt Innis 00:36, 30 September 2009 (UTC)
You can say that again :-D. That problem was driving me bonkers. Tomorrow I will set up a standard 1.13.2 install and see if I can get it to show both checkboxes. No more MW tonight. Dan Nessett 01:16, 30 September 2009 (UTC)


Status update: After beating my head against a wall all day yesterday trying to get MW1.13.2 to work with PHP 5.3 on my Macintosh (CZ uses PHP 5.1.6 and PHP 5.3 seems incompatible with 1.13.2), I finally gave up and this moring installed 1.13.2 on my Ubuntu machine. I now have it running. When I move a page with redirects to it, I get three checkboxes: 1) Update any redirects that point to the original file, 2) Move all subpages, if applicable, and 3) Watch this page. Comparing this with the window capture that Hayford left, I am missing the "Move associated talk page" check box. Even though I am in the Sysop group on the Ubuntu 1.13.2 installation and that group has the 'suppressredirects' permission, the "Leave a redirect behind" check box does not appear (as it does on my personal wiki). So, perhaps if I can figure out how to get it to appear on the Ubuntu 1.13.2 installation, we can get it to appear on CZ. However, since the "Move associated talk page" checkbox appears on CZ and not on my 1.13.2 installation, there is the possibility that some of the modifications made to the 1.13.2 distro for CZ affect the move function. We'll see. Dan Nessett 20:21, 1 October 2009 (UTC)

Well, I actually had to run a debugger (using the Netbeans IDE) in order to figure it out. It appears to me that 1.13.2 does not support a checkbox for suppressing redirects. It seems to be a site-wide option. In other words, you can globally decide to always skip fixing redirects or never fix redirects. I may have it wrong, but it appears to me the code generates no HTML for the checkbox. So, if we want to support this feature, I think we need to upgrade from 1.13.2 to at least I will double check this with someone with who has more experience with the code base. Dan Nessett 23:34, 1 October 2009 (UTC)
P.S. I figured out why the "Move associated talk page" check box wasn't showing. That requires the article to actually have a defined talk page (DUH!). When I created one for the article I was moving, the check box appeared. Dan Nessett 23:57, 1 October 2009 (UTC)
The MW expert just replied. It looks like the checkbox exists in 1.14, not 1.13.2. So, if we want the capability to move without redirects we have to upgrade. Dan Nessett 16:33, 2 October 2009 (UTC)

The template {{BotTable}}

Matt, when I go to your template {{BotTable}} and see this:

{{{BotName}}} [[Purpose/{{{BotName}}}|Purpose]] [[Documentation/{{{BotName}}}|Documentation]] [[Script/{{{BotName}}}|Script]] [[Bot test results/{{{BotName}}}|Bot test results]] [[Approval history/{{{BotName}}}|Approval history]] [[Community input/{{{BotName}}}|Community input]]

It is completely Greek to me. Could you explain it for computer illiterates such as me by:

  1. Adding an example of how to use it (enclosed in <nowiki> </nowiki>
  2. Then showing us the result

Daniel asked me to add a name and description of a robot I asked him to implement to your bot table on the Talk page of CZ:Bot Policy ... but I couldn't figure out how to do it.

P.S. There are a number of other templates like this that are incomprehensible to people like me. We could really could use a style guide of some sort to be used by template writers and requesting them to use that guidance for explaining their templates.

Thanks in advance, Milton Beychok 15:52, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

Sure, Milt, I'll see if I can make it clear! I'm not real keen on this template stuff, either. It woul dbe nice if someone knew how to make it user friendly, too.D. Matt Innis 17:25, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

Contacting those who are listed as sysops/bureaucrats

Matt. I would like to contact those listed as sysops/bureaucrats and ask them if they are still interested in contributing technically. Since I have no official standing at CZ (other than being a citizen), I wanted to run this past someone who is more connected than I. In addition, receiving an email out of the blue by a stranger may not motivate many responses. So, here is a draft of an email I would like to send those on the sysop/bureaucrat list. The mention of CZ's technical lead being swamped is based on an email I received from him. I have forwarded it to you.

Subject Line: Any interest helping Citizendium revitalize its technical work?


I am writing you since you are listed as having either sysop or bureaucrat privileges at Citizendium. At present we are a bit thin on technical help and I wonder if you are interested in helping us alleviate that problem. CZ's technical lead is swamped and has trouble keeping up with questions. So, I thought we could help him out.

Right now we are looking both for people with system administration experience and for people who have done some software development. If you have experience in either of these and are willing to apply that experience to CZ's technical needs, please let me know. Also, if you no longer have an interest in doing sysop work at CZ, we would like to know that as well.



I have not specified a signature. I am happy to send this message myself, but it may be sufficiently sensitive that you or someone else at CZ prefers to send it. Of course, the governance staff may decide that such an email should not be sent, in which case I will drop the idea.

Let me know. Dan Nessett 16:27, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

Hi Dan, that's not something that I would do, but that doesn't mean that you shouldn't. If I were Greg, and I didn't ask for help, but someone suggested that I needed it, I'd probably take offense. However, if it is your sense that Greg would appreciate some help, but can't get any, then maybe he would appreciate it. All I'm saying is that, since I don't know the situation, I can't comment. D. Matt Innis 17:30, 30 September 2009 (UTC)
After two weeks, Greg just emailed me again. I will try to work with him via email in order to make some progress. However, if the response rate from him is once every 2 weeks, then I really think we need to figure out how to beef up the technical staff. I realize Greg and all of the technical staff are volunteers and I don't want to irritate them. But, I can't see how we can fix bugs unless we have better communications. Dan Nessett 17:52, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

Approval of Joule-Thomson effect

Matt, when Daniel Meitchen and then Karl D. Schubert joined David Volk in nominating this artcle for approval, they did not update the permanent url link for the approved version. Since I am the author and made some changes to implement suggestions by Karl D. Schubert, am I allowed to update the permanent url link? Or is this something that you or Hayford do when you perform the final approval on October 3rd? Milton Beychok 05:11, 1 October 2009 (UTC)

Let me take a look at the page and I'll answer there. D. Matt Innis 12:44, 1 October 2009 (UTC)

Re:CZ:BotPolicy Table

Sure, I think I can handle that. I need a bit more to go on though, in terms of what we want it to accomplish, and how we want it to look though. Here are a few of my preliminary ideas for the template/table

  1. Automatically append a header, consisting of "Request for BOTNAMEHERE"
  2. Have preloaded text already on each of the red-links, to give bot requesters a starting point
  3. Make the overall appearance samller
  4. Remove the "Script" link, at least eventually. We don't want people able to see the script of the bots, because this would allow people to modify the script to vandalize the wiki. It may not be a problem now, but when we have more citizens, we may need to look into that.
  5. Change the redlinks to direct to a subpage of CZ:BotPolicy. The way the tables are written now, a mainspace article is created every time someone follows the links. Or rather, a subpage of a non-existant mainspace article.
  6. Automatically append the four tildes, so we know who requested the bot.

I also think community input could be removed in favor of having the community discussion on that page.

Let me know if this is what you had in mind. Drew R. Smith 00:41, 2 October 2009 (UTC)

Great, Drew! OK, here's the idea. We need to control how bots get used and approved, especially because they can so quickly damage the wiki, whether by vandals intentionally or by poorly designed or monitored bots. I'm thinking that we should require that bots have their own accounts, but in order to get one, the bot must pass some sort of tests. In the testing process, we need to be able to allow people to give us feedback, because we don't want to force even minor changes on the community without getting a feel for if it is wanted or needed. So I need you to think about how you would stop a person who was trying to create something that is going to damge the wiki or upset users before they would even get a chance to use it. I think I understand most of what you are saying above, do you think the changes you are suggesting will accomplich this? If not, what would you do? D. Matt Innis 02:11, 2 October 2009 (UTC)
Ok, I was under the impression you just wanted my help with the tables, so all of the above is mostly only useful in that regard. Below are my thoughts in regards to improving the bot policy.
1. According to Daniel, the biggest plus side of giving bots separate accounts is that their edits will not clutter the recent changes view. This is a plus, but it isn't the most important plus. Giving bots separate accounts allows constables to block a broken bot without blocking the bot operator. However bot accounts should only be given out after the bot has been approved. If the bot is blocked, for any reason, it should be immediately deflagged, and the flag only returned after a constable and a bot policy administrator (heretofore reffered to as admins) agree that giving the flag back won't cause any problems.
2. As I said before, publicly displaying the script of the bot is a Bad IdeaTM. Many people don't know enough about programming to write their own bots, but do know enough to be able to adapt the script to their vandalous intents. I believe we should head this off early by having the botop send the script to a few admins, instead of publicly posting them.
3. As Daniel has mentioned elsewhere, we need to set up a to test bots. Articles can regularly be imported to simulate the actual effects of the bots. As it stands now, the testing is set within the script to only affect a certain area. I'd like to know what the bot will do when we turn off those restrictions without letting it loose in our wiki.
4. Daniel has done a fairly good job of testing his bots, and providing diffs to the results. However, from now on test results should be compiled on the "test results" page, or whatever it's titled. This should not only display a few relevant edits, but also comprehensively address every worry that has been raised by the community or admins. Any quirks that the bot has displayed should be noted on the results page as well, and in what situations these quirks could become harmless.
5. Other than the scripts that are already running, no script will be run without the express permission of community, through whatever mechanism CZ:BotPolicy decides is sufficient. A first time breach of this rule should result in a block of the botop, that can be appealed and lifted subject to constable discretion. A second time breach should result in a lengthy block, regardless of the merit of the bots edits. This block shouldn't be appealable, as it should be fairly cut and dried as to whether the user had permission to run the bot.
By the way, I have this page watchlisted, but only check the watchlist when I log on and before I log off. So if you reply again, drop a note on my talk page like you did last time in order to get my attention. Sorry if this is a burden. Drew R. Smith 03:00, 2 October 2009 (UTC)
Absolutely perfect! I agree absolutely. You're probably right about the script - if I were going to design one, that is exactly what I would do :) Next, do you think the template can be modified to keep track of this information? Or do you think you can design something better? D. Matt Innis 03:08, 2 October 2009 (UTC)
Depends on what you mean by "modified to keep track of this information". The Template you have now is more of a "Header", "Footer", or "Sidebar" type of template. That is, it only displays links to the information, not the information itself.
With a bit of work I could probably design something that looks similar, but instead of taking you to a different page, it would open up a "show/hide" or "dropdown" box below the template. IMO that would be easier for admins and the community in general to view all the pertinent info, without having to navigate away.
I don't mind discussing it right now, but I'm in the middle of another project ATM, so I won't actually be able to start work on it until thats finished. Shouldn't be more than an hour. Just adding the images to The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion/Catalogs/Birthsigns. Drew R. Smith 03:31, 2 October 2009 (UTC)
The drop down sounds good. I'm in no hurry. I'm pretty much done for tonight anyway, so we can take it up again tomorrow. It always helps to sleep on new ideas! Thanks again, Drew! D. Matt Innis 03:43, 2 October 2009 (UTC)

Ok, I have a "rough draft" for the template. I'll drop an example usage below, so you can see how it handles things. I have copied the contents of you entire talk page into the last tab, so we can see how it handles extremely long content.

Well... If you've opened up the community input tab, you can see why its still just a "rough draft". I never imagined it would go that far out to the right... I'm going to sleep on it, and see if I can figure out a way around it.

I think we should definitely remove community input and have the community input below the template for two reasons. One, so we can avoid the mess above, and Two, because it would be a simple matter for someone to break the template by accidentaly deleting something, or typing out of place. I'd rather avoid confusion like that. A simple solution would be to add ===Community Input=== to the bottom of the template... I'll leave that up to you though. Drew R. Smith 12:19, 2 October 2009 (UTC)

BTW, I'd remove the template from your page once you're done looking at it, since I copied the content of your talk page into one of the tabs, your talk page is now 86kilobytes long... Drew R. Smith 12:26, 2 October 2009 (UTC)
I'm liking it so far. Can the columns be set to a certain width? And is each bot just going to have a page, or can they all be on the same page? I imagine if we put the 'community input' underneath the page would get long. Maybe the last column can link to a page? D. Matt Innis 14:15, 2 October 2009 (UTC)
Well, we have several options for the community input section. As I said before, we could make a section below, but like you said the page could get quite long. A second option would be to put an overflow box around it, some users find editing within an overflow box confusing. A third option would be to link to a separate page, as you said.
If we set the columns to a certain width, some problems would arise. First, they would always be that width. If we set them wide, to accommodate for large amounts of text, they will always be wide, with the template reaching about four feet off the right side of your screen, regardless of whether the columns are open or not. If we set them short, to keep things together, it would make reading the longer text sections somewhat difficult.
Collapsible tables are still fairly new to me, so as I learn more, I can upgrade the template to be more functional. I'd eventually like to have it automatically close a box when you open a new one, and have the hidden content stretch beneath the other show/hide boxes. As soon as I find out how to do things like that I will. Drew R. Smith 22:25, 2 October 2009 (UTC)
Okay, that all makes sense and we can always make changes to the template later, like you say. Now we need to set up a page that is self-explanatory that a bot programmer can fill in, a constable can understand an evaluate the request and either approve or deny the request, and a citizen can easily give feedback one way or the other. I'll think about that for a bit. If you have an idea, let me in on it! D. Matt Innis 01:59, 4 October 2009 (UTC)

Establishing the motivation for upgrading CZ's software to a newer version

Matt. I'm not sure if you have continued to follow the posts in the "Moving a page with its subpages without leaving behind a redirect" section on your talk page, but it is now confirmed that MW 1.13.2 (which CZ uses with modifications) does not support a suppress redirect checkbox on moves. This is supported in 1.14. In correspondence with Greg he mentioned a desire to upgrade from 1.13.2, perhaps by first factoring the CZ mods into an extension, so future upgrades would be easier. We are currently exploring ways to modernize CZ's technical support infrastructure to make future technical work easier to carry out and maintain.

However, upgrading software should be driven by user as well as technical requirements. So, may I relay to Greg that you and Hayford would find a suppress redirect checkbox on moves to be useful? That would be one additional motivation for upgrading. Dan Nessett 20:01, 2 October 2009 (UTC)

Yes, Dan, I do believe having redirects suppressed when moving pages would be helpful. Please let Greg know I support its implementation. D. Matt Innis 21:28, 2 October 2009 (UTC)
For what it's worth, I'm in favor of that too. Let's just be sure we don't end up with a bunch of bugs to fix like we did the last time the software was upgraded. --Joe Quick 02:16, 3 October 2009 (UTC)
Absolutely. That is why I am trying to convince Greg to set up a technical support infrastructure that will allow us to test any changes before going live with them. I think Greg is sympathetic, but the technical staff is small and pretty stretched. I hope to help out with that. Dan Nessett 03:54, 3 October 2009 (UTC)

CZ:Bot Status

Just giving you the heads up, I did some behind the scenes work on CZ:Bot Status, {{BotReq}}, and the preloader for the click here link (located at {{BotReq/Preloader}}. Mostly just stuff to keep it running smoothly, I can elaborate if you'd like. I also added an edit link to the community input section.

Since we have multiple people working on that page and template, I think we should alert the key players of any changes from now on. For instance, moving community input back into the main table. I have no problem with it, but it threw me off, because I thought I had changed it to be under the table, saw that it was in the table today, and thought I was insane. While we're on the subject, it'll work fine for now, but when we have 256k discussions for each and every bot (like our neighboors) we may need to find a better place for the discussions. Drew R. Smith 05:08, 11 October 2009 (UTC)

I'm sorry, that was poor etiquette! My bad... I actually was just trying out different things to see if I could make the row shorter and be able to put them under separate headers. I expected to be putting things back, but got distracted. I couldn't make them shorter, so I moved the community input back to the template. I wasn't aware of the 256k limit! You're probably right, that will likely be a problem later, huh. Can we make the template narrower and then put the 'community input' on the bottom and see what it looks like?
Hehe, now you know what it feels like to have Altzheimers! Scary isn't it :) D. Matt Innis 15:08, 11 October 2009 (UTC)
No worries. As far as the width, I added a short line of code to the template that controls the width. I have it set to 75% of the page width (better for multibrowser/screen resolution support), but it can be changed to a specific number of pixels if we want.Drew R. Smith 07:37, 13 October 2009 (UTC)


Hi Matt, thanks for the welcome. I feel I know you as well, I heard about you lots from Gareth! Nancy Sabatier 19:04, 19 October 2009 (UTC)

Uh, oh. As long as you haven't heard from my wife, I should be okay! :)


Thanks Matt. No just the talkpage please. The main page looked great until the moment I created the Talkpage. David E. Volk 15:50, 20 October 2009 (UTC)

Sounds like you're on to it! Go get that bug!!! D. Matt Innis 15:53, 20 October 2009 (UTC)

Documentation on file upload page is incorrect

Matt. I have been chasing down the problem that Arne reported in the forum thread you referenced. It appears that the documentation on the file upload page is incorrect (see: Special:Upload). It states that the maximum file upload size is 50MB and that we support the following file extensions: png, gif, jpg, jpeg, ogg, svg, mp3. We do not have the extensions installed to handle either mp3 or ogg files. So, at the very least the documentation for that page needs to be changed. Right now, the image upload page (CZ:Images) stipulates that the maximum file size is 2MB. Hopefully, Greg will tell us what is the correct value so we can correct the documentation. However, we probably should delete mention of mp3 and ogg until/unless we get the extensions that handle them installed. Dan Nessett 17:58, 21 October 2009 (UTC)

New cz bugs email list

Matt. The old bugs email list, was virtually unusable because it received 10-20 spam emails a day (mostly in Russian). So, Greg has created a new bug reporting email list that is moderated. This will mean that email will not go to the list unless a moderator allows it through. Both Greg and I are moderators.

We need to change all the places on the wiki where is referenced and change it to I can look around and see if I can change some, but I imagine some references will be on pages that are protected. With your permission I will change those I can and if I find some I can't change I will let you know so you can change them. Let me know. Thanks Dan Nessett 16:45, 22 October 2009 (UTC)

Sounds good! You can leave me links here and I'll change them one at a time. Thanks Dan! D. Matt Innis 17:01, 22 October 2009 (UTC)
Surprisingly, the 4 places I found referenced, I was able to edit the page and make the change. The pages I modified are: CZ:Contact, CZ:Communication, CZ:Buglist, and CZ:Proposals > Policy. Of course, there are a boatload of talk pages where is referenced, but obviously these shouldn't be touched.
I think the next step is to announce the new list. How would you suggest doing that? Dan Nessett 17:17, 22 October 2009 (UTC)
Good. I'd say put it on the technical forum. D. Matt Innis 17:23, 22 October 2009 (UTC)
Done. Dan Nessett 17:54, 22 October 2009 (UTC)


Matt. I would like to place a reference to CZ bugzilla on each of the pages that reference cz-bugs. May I have permission to do that? Dan Nessett 15:27, 27 October 2009 (UTC)

I'm not sure what you mean, but you're allowed to do whatever you think will help. If someone has a problem, I'm sure they will let you know! :) If there is somethng that you think is controversial, make sure and leave a message on the talk page to explain why you did it, otherwise, no need to ask anyone. D. Matt Innis 15:40, 27 October 2009 (UTC)
This is probably a mistake, since whenever I make some observation about how CZ is currently operating (or not effectively operating, actually), a lot of people jump all over me for being negative. Nevertheless, I think it is pretty obvious that the decision making apparatus at CZ is pretty disfunctional. The EIC is working on something else. There is no effective Editorial Council. Even the most optimistic observer can see that the charter drafting committee is going to take much more than 4 weeks to complete its work. So, that leaves the constabulary as the only really functional governance body at CZ. I understand that cops are not supposed to make policy decisions, but when there is no one to make policy decisions, then the cops become kings (even if they don't want to be). My experience so far with CZ governance is Hayford jumping all over me for things I never suspected might cause problems.
So, to avoid the aggravation of receiving communications containing all kinds of veiled threats, I have decided to ask permission in even the most minor cases. While the suggestion to leave a comment on a talk page might seem appropriate, how long do I wait for responses? An hour? A day? Two days? Longer? Dan Nessett 18:37, 27 October 2009 (UTC)

Well, I do admit that some people see the glass half empty while others see it half full. It would be different if there were actually things going wrong here, but I don't see that as the case. The idea of the project was always to have only as much government as was needed to keep the content flowing. Yes, the EIC is gone, but we're in the process of getting a new one. You know that, but you concentrate on the fact that Larry is out making a living rather than the fact that the charter process is trying to get us a new EIC - as Larry has planned for from the beginning. And do you really want a charter that was put together in 4 weeks if it needs 8? It seems to me that there will always be issues to work on, hopefully. I think we all listened hard to what you've had to say, and agreed sometimes. That's the best that you can hope for in any community. Now it's time for us to get back to work on making sure your predictions don't come true. We hope that everyone will join in that endeavor.
I don't see any pre-requisite that anyone has to ask for permission for anything here, and am even aware if statements to the contrary as this is a wiki. However, if you want to make sure that you don't upset the dinosaurs, maybe giving them some heads up is a good idea. There are no rules for waiting any specific time before you make a change, that is a restriction you are placing on yourself. I always make the changes that I see are needed, leave a message on the talk page, and move on. If someone has a problem with it, they can change it back and respond to my discussion on the talk page. Ninety percent of the time I agree with them, though sometimes not and we have to work it out. Ultimately, if its not my cup of tea, I let those with the expertise make the choice. D. Matt Innis 20:16, 27 October 2009 (UTC)
Just explaining why I am asking for permission. I am doing a lot of things behind the scenes that are not apparent to people because I have chosen not to write anymore (at least for now). For example, I have installed on one of my home systems a copy of the software that runs CZ. When I get that going (right now I am waiting for Greg to tell me how to get the first user registered), we will be able to look at suggested technical changes to CZ without actually modifying the production system. I can also start to work on solving the section edit bug and looking at more long range improvements, such as factoring out most of the CZ specific code changes into one or more extensions, so we can upgrade to newer versions of the MW software (which fix a lot of bugs). I have also been working with Greg to get the bug reporting mechanisms at CZ back into working condition. Previously, if you sent an email to there was a high likelihood it would be ignored. So, I see my role at CZ to be part of the technical support staff until the new charter is in place. When that happens I will reassess whether I wish to return to authoring. Dan Nessett 22:00, 27 October 2009 (UTC)
We do need the technical help! D. Matt Innis 00:01, 28 October 2009 (UTC)

How would you recommend I cite this reference?

Matt, Fenske equation cited a url of the U.S. Naval Academy chemistry department website page as a key reference. Since that url is no longer working, I emailed the Naval Academy chemistry and they sent me a copy of the material that used to be on their website but is no longer available online. What they sent me is in the form of a Microsoft Word document.

I have spent hours searching and have been unable to find similar material anywhere else. Is there any way I can cite that Word document (perhaps as a Personal Communication?) to replace the url that no longer works. Milton Beychok 20:16, 22 October 2009 (UTC)

Hmm. I can think of all kinds of questions that cross my mind about the type of document. How about attaching the document to an email and send it to me at We might be able to convert it to something that we can use. Also send me the url that it came from. We might ask Howard, too. I would think he has referenced some material that is no longer readily available. D. Matt Innis 21:03, 22 October 2009 (UTC)
I just sent you an email with all of the details ... as well as how I would like to reference the equation in question. Milton Beychok 17:29, 23 October 2009 (UTC)
Got it and replied to you. D. Matt Innis 17:48, 23 October 2009 (UTC)


Mait, I do not want to complain -- rather to defend myself. I think that

"no evidence to support this claim other than"

already implies that there is "his own evidence". Peter Schmitt 10:08, 25 October 2009 (UTC)

I agree, I was going to take out the take out the "his and friends part", but was trying to think of a way to keep it in. Then I fell asleep. D. Matt Innis 13:25, 25 October 2009 (UTC)

Can you fix my boo-boo

Somehow or other, some time ago, I created a redirect named Clausius-Clapeyron relation at here to the article named Clausius–Clapeyron relation at here.

Can you please delete the redirect without deleting the main article? Milton Beychok 21:54, 26 October 2009 (UTC)

You did what I asked correctly, but the problem still remains. The title of the article Clausius–Clapeyron relation is written with an ndash rather than a regular keyboard dash. Thus, it shows up as a red link in articles because of having been entered with an ordinary dash. Also if entered with a regular dash in the article search box, the article cannot be found. That is the situation at this time. Most Citizens would not think to use the ndash when linking to the article.
For that reason, I had created that redirect using a regular keyboard dash and pointing to the article with an ndash. However, then links to the article showed up as black links (redirects) in the Related Links sections of other articles. So I asked you to delete the redirect I had created.
The only good solution appears to be renaming the article using a regular keyboard dash. Can you please do that? Milton Beychok 23:34, 26 October 2009 (UTC)

Please look at this thread

Matt, this thread might be worth bringing to the attention of the charter drafting committee. See here Milton Beychok 02:18, 4 November 2009 (UTC)

Hi Milt, I have been watching that thread to see if anyone came up with anything new (not being a computer guru myself), but so far I think that Dan is right from a technically difficult perspective. From a community perspective, I would get behind something like that if we could get those users to use a real name. I think we are much less likely to get nasty remarks when they use their real names.
I would also consider having a link for them to send their concern along with their name and email address to someone(constables?) and let them decide whether to send it on to the appropriate editors. Maybe a contact form? D. Matt Innis 02:40, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
"I would also consider having a link for them to send their concern along with their name and email address to someone(constables?)" I think that's a terrific idea! And I suggest that they send it directly to Milton, who will, of course, be happy to spend two or three hours a day passing things along to "the appropriate editors", who will *also* be happy to spend a couple of hours a day sorting through things. Hayford Peirce 03:27, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
Hehe, okay: "I would also consider having a link for them to send their concern along with their name and email address to someone(constables?) Somebody else." D. Matt Innis 03:39, 4 November 2009 (UTC)

Any decision on enabling polls in the forum software?

Hi Matt. I was looking through the list of tickets in CZ Bugzilla and noticed that the enhancement request for enabling polls in the forum software is still open (at the highest priority of all currently open issues). Is there a decision whether to do this? Greg went ahead and changed the TeX rendering default to "always use png", so the dependency of that issue on polls in the forum software no longer exists. So, I can do one of two things: 1) drop the priority of this issue to P5 until something comes along that needs a poll, or 2) close the issue with "won't fix", if the decision is not to enable polls in the forum software. Let me know. Thanks. Dan Nessett 18:24, 9 November 2009 (UTC)

Hi Dan! Yes, I followed up on that question on the forum back on the 1st of November. D. Matt Innis 21:20, 9 November 2009 (UTC)
OK. I will close the ticket with "won't fix". Dan Nessett 21:51, 9 November 2009 (UTC)


Thank you, Matt. Peter Schmitt 00:47, 19 November 2009 (UTC)

Your welcome, and Thank YOU. D. Matt Innis 00:48, 19 November 2009 (UTC)

charter comment

Matt, I shall have to think about it. I do not want to rush an opinion. Peter Schmitt 01:18, 28 November 2009 (UTC)

That's actually what I was hoping to hear. Thanks, Peter. D. Matt Innis 01:53, 28 November 2009 (UTC)


Thanks for helping with the update of Complex number. Sorry I wasn't aware of the ongoing discussion at the time. I've admitted to Peter Schmitt that it could be seen as a clarification rather than a correction.

I would appreciate it if you would create redirects from User talk:D.Matt Innis and User:D.Matt Innis. This keeps happening to me: for a few seconds I get a blank page and wonder if you've left Citizendium or something. Or maybe I should just start calling you "D. Matt" (with a space).

All the best. After doing all your constable work, don't forget to look after yourself, too. Catherine Woodgold 00:36, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

And how about one from just plain Matt Innis? Not to mention Innes with an E. Many's the time I've been baffled about not being able to find you, dumb Kop that I am.... Hayford Peirce 00:42, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
Oh, you're a Kop, too. Neither of you are dumb, though, as evidenced by your extensive work here.
However, what if the real Matt Innes tried to join Citizendium? Or the real D.Matt Innis (with no space)? Catherine Woodgold 01:06, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
I think I've got them all!! I'm probably going to be sorry that people will be able to find me now :)
Catherine!!!!!! How the Heck are you??!!! I hope things worked out okay on Complex Number. We still need to re-approve Contraception (medical methods)! And I bet you could give us a really good article on Circumcision by now!! We do need a good copyeditor here!!!
D. Matt Innis 01:17, 29 November 2009 (UTC)/Dematt
Actually, that's a good point, Matt. Suppose another Hayford Peirce tried to join? Would he get an automated message saying that that name was already in use? Or would that happen only if he were actually approved by one of us? This must happen occasionally with names like George Jones or William Smith.... Hayford Peirce 01:30, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
It used to happen early on, but hasn't since we started the automated system. I'm pretty sure we (you and I) will get a message that says that that name is already in use and we wil have to change the name accordingly. I use to try to figure out a middle initial, but otherwise, email the person and ask if there is a name that they prefer. I wonder if the automated system already tells the user that that name is in use. D. Matt Innis 02:35, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
Hmmm, as far as I can recall I've never encountered an instance of this since Janaury. So maybe there's an automated system telling them to choose another name. Hayford Peirce 03:22, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
I just tried it. I tried applying for an account under the same name I already have. It said, "Username entered already in use. Please choose a different name." So that's OK, I guess. (Would probably be better, though, if it suggested using middle initials or other variations, or appending "A" or "II" or something to the end of the name.) Catherine Woodgold 20:44, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
Haha! And you said Kops weren't dumb :) Why didn't we try that, Hayford?! Catherine, don't you think it s better if they come up with their own version of their real name? D. Matt Innis 20:56, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
Not so dumb! I wuz *gonna* try that after I finished with some other Koply business, but Catherine beat me to it. But I agree, I think they should come up with some other version of their name, one of their own choosing. Hayford Peirce 21:15, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
"Choose another name" -- how about real name policy ... ? ;-) Peter Schmitt 22:10, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
No, no, Peter. We mean that if "Peter Schmitt" applies and is told that that name already exists, he reapplies as "Peter A. Schmitt", or "Pete Schmitt", or "Peter Schmitt, Jr." or some such. Hayford Peirce 22:16, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
Haha, yeah, but Catherine said that the system told her to "choose another name"! :0 D. Matt Innis 22:18, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

Okay, I changed it to:

Username entered already in use. Please choose a different version of your name. Perhaps add a middle initial or use "Tom" instead of "Thomas" for example.

Alternatives welcomed! D. Matt Innis 22:31, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

Okay, I just logged out, then applied to be an author as "Hayford Peirce". Filled out the forms and sent it in. Got the above message newly written by Matt. Changed the application to "Hayford Peirce, Jr.", my actual legal name at birth, and it went right through. Just checked the application page and there it was. So the amended system works fine. Hayford Peirce 22:44, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
There we go - one step ahead this time! :-) D. Matt Innis 23:06, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
I would have had problems -- no middle name, and there is no German short form for "Peter". Peter Schmitt 23:35, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
hmmm, but I would have made it Pete Schmitt... it's still probably better that you pick one than me :) D. Matt Innis 23:39, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
How about "Peter the Great"? Short, simple, and classy. Hayford Peirce 00:56, 30 November 2009 (UTC)
Hehe, okay. maybe we shouldn't let them pick their own names :) D. Matt Innis 00:59, 30 November 2009 (UTC)
Well done, D.Matt. I like your wording just fine. It gives suggestions and also leaves it open to endless possibilities. (It's that openness to endless possibilities in various contexts that makes life exciting.) I think users will feel more welcome with that new wording. Some may still be a little miffed: but maybe they'll just think that they ought to have applied sooner, so that that other chap would have been the one stuck having to use a middle initial or whatever.
Do you actually let people get away with "Tom" if their legal name is "Thomas"? Or only if they swear they got that "username already taken" message? Anyway, it's OK, I'm used to being called "Catherine". Catherine Woodgold 00:37, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
Hi, Catherine, that's a good question. But the answer is, "Yes", as long as it 1.) approximates their real name, and 2.) we can verify the identity of the applicant. In other words, I hope that Matt would not refuse my application because I am "Hayford Peirce, Jr." on my birth certificate but "Hayford Peirce" in the rest of my life. We *do* have a certain amount of discretion for things like this. And particularly for duplicate names. Hayford Peirce 02:03, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
I can vouch for the discretion. The person who was allowed to change his name. 02:51, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
For the local bridge club computer I'm Peter2 Jackson. Peter Jackson 10:25, 5 January 2010 (UTC)


Danke! I *thought* about trying that, but for some reason I finally didn't. I *studied* it, however. But all of these damn templates have always *baffled* me. Thanks again! Hayford Peirce 03:30, 4 December 2009 (UTC)

I absolutely agree. It has gotten really complicated and does not seem to follow any common sense pattern... not to mention there are no instructions anywhere. I just thought I would try it and got lucky. D. Matt Innis 04:22, 4 December 2009 (UTC)
Well, sigh, as far as I can tell, *no one* is uploading any images these days because of copyright fears. I've got a ton of pix I'd like to use, but I'm not going to upload them. I went through that at WP about 5 years ago -- I tracked down, edited, etc., hundreds of pix that were *acceptable* at the time. Then, as the years went by, one by one by one some nitwitted bot would delete them. Or some officious administrator. The hell with it! Hayford Peirce 04:35, 4 December 2009 (UTC)
Yep, exact same thing here. Some of them were even created by ME! BUt, they were slowly deleted. Once getting here and having the same thing starting to happen... I saw the writing on the wall :) D. Matt Innis 04:38, 4 December 2009 (UTC)

See my comment at Talk:Art Fraud at Tamara Bane Gallery ...Important !!!

Matt, please read my comment and respond on that Talk page. Milton Beychok 18:57, 26 December 2009 (UTC)

Can you get Applied statistics to display in its designated workgroups (categories)?

Despite my making a null edit to the article's Talk page (twice, in fact), the article is not being listed in its designated workgroups. Can you find the problem? Thanks, Milton Beychok 09:47, 30 December 2009 (UTC)

Applied statistics has "abc = Statistics, applied". You find it listed under "S" not "A". Peter Schmitt 10:12, 30 December 2009 (UTC)

test edit

I'm just test editing while the bot is running to see if there is any change in wiki speed. D. Matt Innis 16:51, 11 January 2010 (UTC)


Are you sure you have the copyright permission from whichever movie actor you stole this image from?! Hayford Peirce 04:57, 14 January 2010 (UTC)

I'm jealous. You still have hair! Milton Beychok 15:56, 14 January 2010 (UTC)
Haha, you guys are good for my ego, lol! Milt, you can't see the back of my head, and thankfully neither can I :D D. Matt Innis 17:49, 14 January 2010 (UTC)
You guys should do what I did 35 years ago: just glue all your hair in place, then spray it with varnish once a year.... Hayford Peirce 18:30, 14 January 2010 (UTC)

Bond (financial)

Matt, did you see this? --Peter Schmitt 20:26, 21 January 2010 (UTC)

How did we end up with new user(s) Matt Tester and Matt Tester2 ???

What gives, Matt? Milton Beychok 07:06, 31 January 2010 (UTC)

Or is that just you running some tests? Milton Beychok 07:09, 31 January 2010 (UTC)
Hi Milt, yes, it was me running some test to see how long it took for the system to send me the emails for confirmation of my account then the password. I also wanted to review the verbiage used and see if that might be a reason that people were applying but we weren't editing. The good news is that Matt Tester2 emails were instantaneous. The bad news is that I didn't see anything that I would say causes any confusion, so it looks like everything is still status quo. D. Matt Innis 14:41, 31 January 2010 (UTC)
Matt. Have we decided to keep the existing account confirmation text? If so, I would like to close bug ticket 33 ( Dan Nessett 17:43, 5 February 2010 (UTC)

Bond (finance)

Matt, this has all been mixed up. The Bond (financial) you merged with Bond (finance) was recreated by Nick (out of a misunderstanding, I suppose). What I suggested to do (and what Hayford meant) was to undelete the talk page Talk:Bond (financial) and to archive it at Bond (finance) (and perhaps even merge or archive the deleted Bond (financial), too?). --Peter Schmitt 01:10, 2 February 2010 (UTC)

Definitely agree about being mixed up ;). I've restored Talk:Bond (financial) and moved it to Bond (finance) (which had nothing there so no need to merge). Feel free to archive it if you want. D. Matt Innis 13:29, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
That's why I didn't create a talk page there. Thanks. --Peter Schmitt 13:00, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
Sure. I'm not sure we should delete the redirects, although in this case it probably doesn't matter. D. Matt Innis 13:36, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
I checked "what links here". It only were our talk pages. (If I remember correctly, I fixed a few links earlier.) But in general, I think that redirects of Talk pages are not needed (even if a few links are broken by that). And redirects from misnamed pages should also be avoided, I think. Double pagenames like "Bond (financial)" and "Bond (finance)" "confuse" the structure of the main space. A red link can be repaired, a link to a redirect may more easily be overlooked. (Well, Hayford has already deleted them. And got confused by not-marked main pages.) --Peter Schmitt 00:20, 4 February 2010 (UTC)

Re-approval of Amine gas treating/Draft

Matt: Meg Ireland yesterday revised the spelling of one word in Amine gas treating. So I asked Paul Wormer (a Chemistry editor) who did not do any work on the article, to nominate it for a single editor re-approval ... so that the spelling would be corrected in the Approved version of the article. Paul has done so, but did not fill in the date for the re-approval to take place.

Would you take a look and fix whatever needs to be done? Thanks, Milton Beychok 15:58, 5 February 2010 (UTC)

Direct 8

Matt, could you look at Talk:Direct 8 en français --Peter Schmitt 09:51, 8 February 2010 (UTC)

Another merge

Matt, I suggest another merge, see List of programming languages. --Peter Schmitt 12:26, 10 February 2010 (UTC)

Change a spelling error in Chemical engineering/Draft

Matt, a spelling error was corrected by Meg Ireland in Chemical engineering/Draft. Would you please correct the spelling in the Approved version as well? Thanks, Milton Beychok 22:25, 14 February 2010 (UTC)

Matt's probably having a quiet (or noisy) Sunday with his family, so I did it. Hayford Peirce 22:49, 14 February 2010 (UTC)
Actually, it was just ME!! A definite first, and I was loving every minute of it :) Thanks for getting that one, Hayford. D. Matt Innis 00:31, 16 February 2010 (UTC)

Eight more Approved articles need copy edits for spelling correction

When you have the time, I posted the details about 8 more Approved articles which have had spelling corrections that need to be copy edited by you into the Approved versions ... in the Re: SYSOP needed for copyedits to Approved articles forum. Milton Beychok 19:38, 18 February 2010 (UTC)

Thanks Milt! Stay on me, I tend to fall asleep occasionally :) D. Matt Innis 01:32, 19 February 2010 (UTC)
It has now grown to 10 articles needing your magic touch. See CZ:Request Approved Article Copyedit. Milton Beychok 21:51, 20 February 2010 (UTC)

Thank you for welcoming me

You welcomed me in 2007. In 2008 and 2009, I only made 3 edits. Too few. I shall try to change that in 2010. Where are there discussions, for example a noticeboard? Before editing too much, I would like to get a feel of the culture of editors, what conflicts exists, what issues are discussed. Larry Yount 06:00, 5 March 2010 (UTC)

Long time no see, especially in Citizendium!!!

Hi Matt! :-) We meet again! I am one of the numerous users whom you have welcomed and registered me into the Citizendium, with my first ever reply here in return. My apologies for not being able to be available on this project for slightly more than three years, which is precisely ± one-thousand-one-hundred-and-eleven or 1,111 days to be specific! 8-) However, I have decided to let you and others know that I am now more towards editing and contributing to the Malay Wiktionary whilst I am kind of feeling extremely hectic and very busy studying in the University majoring a Graphic Design degree course, which explains a lot just in case or suppose anyone has been figuring out why I am not around here in this Sanger's online encyclopaedia anymore for such a long time. Thus I hope that by mentioning this, you or anyone else who is reading this would somewhat understand and to really appreciate with what I am doing. Never the less, keep up with the good work of building up the Citizendium! Moreover, I am unsure whether I could be able to return here again after for another considerably long epoch of absence once I am finishing off with this message, who knows? :-b Yet, thank you so much once more for being so open up to me in the first place! :-) I will possibly try to come back into this site whenever I am free. All the best to you and L'Hitraot! My TRUE user page. Peter Loo ZW 19:25, 24 April 2010 (UTC)

I need your help

Matt, I have just been appointed as an Editorial Personnel Administrator by Larry Sanger (see bottom of my user page as well as the history of my user page).

In reading CZ:Editor Application Review Procedure, I find the following in the "Step-by-step application review procedure":

Before you review any applications, please go to this page and bookmark it. (The editor-in-chief has it in his "quick links" at the top of his browser.) Please get in the habit of checking that page every time you log on to the wiki.

It's not that difficult. Think of it this way:

  1. Look over the application. Make sure the person's identity is confirmed and that the person is a bona fide expert in the fields he or she has checked off.
  2. Write a little welcome message in the "Comment" field.
  3. Press "Confirm."

When I click to go to the indicated this page, I get a message that says:

The action you have requested is limited to users in one of the groups Sysops, Bureaucrats, EPAs.

It is my understanding that, as a Bureaucrat, you can do whatever is necessary so that I have the right to access that page. If so, would you please do so?

Also, are there any other similar rights that I need in order to perform my new job as an EPA? Thanks in advance, Milton Beychok 05:11, 5 May 2010 (UTC)

Please join with me in urging Hayford not to resign

Matt, see my plea to Hayford not to resign as Constable (on his Talk page). Please join me! Milton Beychok 20:16, 12 May 2010 (UTC)

Please read my response to you (about Jonathan Gray's application) on Hayford's Talk page

Matt, please read my response and request for your guidance on Hayford's Talk page. Milton Beychok 17:06, 28 May 2010 (UTC)

Another worry about Jonathan Gray

Matt, as I asked on Hayford's Talk page, is that fact that Johnathan's application is still in the application queue going to create problems when he tries to re-apply? I never approved his application, nor did I put it "on hold" nor did I "reject" it ... it is still pending in the queue. Milton Beychok 21:04, 28 May 2010 (UTC)

Hi Milt, we're passing each other in virtual space. You must have walked by me while I was going to your talkpage :) I deleted the account request when I saw it: D. Matt Innis 21:10, 28 May 2010 (UTC)

Making you working harder

Matt, my approval of Set theory is stalled. As for me, it should be frozen on May 25. However, Hayford has a very different opinion. I do not know whether it is ethical or not to ask your intervention, but I do. If you can freeze it now, please do. Otherwise I'll be forced to withdraw my approval. Boris Tsirelson 18:54, 29 May 2010 (UTC)

Social capital

Matt, I've been corresponding with Roger on the specific references I found on urban and military policy with respect to social capital, and he thought we might want to extend the approval while I develop text on them. Incidentally, this is turning into a fantastic article, with people of different backgrounds bringing more and more information to the table. Howard C. Berkowitz 16:35, 31 May 2010 (UTC)

Good to have good news! Keep me informed. D. Matt Innis 16:47, 31 May 2010 (UTC)

Chiropractic, physical therapy, manipulative techniques

Would you look at physical therapy, a work in progress, and give me your thoughts about what I've said about the relationship/future betweeen PT and chiropractic? I don't have a dog in this fight; I have gone to a couple of dual DC/PT's and found they were excellent. The article actually spawned from my current experience with an OT for lymphedema. Should there be a separate article about manipulative techniques and multiple disciplines? Howard C. Berkowitz 17:39, 1 June 2010 (UTC)

That's no easy task :) I'll take a look! D. Matt Innis 19:08, 1 June 2010 (UTC)

e-mail notice stuff

Hi Matt,

Could you tell me please who is now handling/how I handle myself changes to one's e-mail notification?

I am obviously not getting my CZ committee email, even though I thought I updated my new e-mail address ages ago.

Louise Valmoria used to deal with such things, I believe, but I haven't seen her around for awhile.


Aleta Curry 00:00, 10 June 2010 (UTC)

Speedy Delete request

Matt, would you please delete Template:The International Bureau of Weights and Measures/Metadata? The last two or three times that I moved an article to a new name, there appears to be no way to move the old Metadata template ... one must create a new one and ask for deletion of the old one. Milton Beychok 16:59, 10 June 2010 (UTC)

Babinski sign

I just took Babinski sign to a brief article rather than lemma, although I want to add some neuro references. Your input on spinal reflexes is always of interest. Howard C. Berkowitz 17:03, 15 June 2010 (UTC)


Can you please take a look at this one at CZ:Bot_status#New_bot_request? Thanks! --Daniel Mietchen 17:30, 15 June 2010 (UTC)

Roger Redirect

Matt, You deleted the "User:Roger Lohman" page, but there're now about 170 red-links to that page. Roger started correcting them but I'm sure that's more than he wants to do. Do we have the replace text extension installed and could someone replace those links with "[[User:Roger A. Lohman]]"? Another option is to recreate the page you deleted and place a redirect there. Russell D. Jones 11:54, 18 June 2010 (UTC)

The replace text extension is not installed. --Chris Key 12:17, 18 June 2010 (UTC)
The real conundrum is when the real Roger Lohmann joins the project ;-)
It's one of the reasons we don't want to make name changes if we can help it. D. Matt Innis 20:19, 18 June 2010 (UTC)


Thank you. Revo Arka Giri Soekatno 13:42, 13 July 2010 (UTC)

Approval process

I just updated the approval process slightly, see [1].

The change is to make sure that the "Update any redirects that point to the original title" box is NOT checked when performing the move from XXX to XXX/Draft. If this is not done then any redirects that pointed to the article will change to point to the draft copy, instead of the new approved copy.

I noticed this when I typed Doom into the search box and was sent to Doom (video game)/Draft instead of just Doom (video game). I have fixed this also: [2]. --Chris Key 13:59, 14 July 2010 (UTC)

Approval process

I just updated the approval process slightly, see [3].

The change is to make sure that the "Update any redirects that point to the original title" box is NOT checked when performing the move from XXX to XXX/Draft. If this is not done then any redirects that pointed to the article will change to point to the draft copy, instead of the new approved copy.

I noticed this when I typed Doom into the search box and was sent to Doom (video game)/Draft instead of just Doom (video game). I have fixed this also: [4]. --Chris Key 13:59, 14 July 2010 (UTC)

Excellent Chris! You are well worth your weight in Gold ;-) D. Matt Innis 17:35, 14 July 2010 (UTC)
Or truffles. At least you can *eat* them! Hayford Peirce 17:50, 14 July 2010 (UTC)
Fungal or chocolate? Howard C. Berkowitz 18:04, 14 July 2010 (UTC)
I'll take the gold. Alternatively, how about pizza? --Chris Key 18:21, 14 July 2010 (UTC)
If Escoffier had ever heard of pizza, I'm sure he would have concocted a Truffle Pizza with a pound or so of truffles on it, in those days probably about $2 worth. Today's price would be 4 or 5 thousand bucks....
In any case, Matt, I have updated the "10-minute" instructions on the Kops' page with Chris's latest improvement. Thanks! Hayford Peirce 19:06, 14 July 2010 (UTC)
Natalie Dupree can make any recipe more expensive. Now, is there a CZ policy on anchovies and hot peppers on the pizza? I like the Habaneros that come with little safety rings to be pulled. Howard C. Berkowitz 19:18, 14 July 2010 (UTC)
If there isn't, there should be. Pepperoni, jalapenos, spicy beef and salami is all good. Anchovies would put me right off... it's almost as bad as putting pineapple on a pizza. --Chris Key 19:27, 14 July 2010 (UTC)

(unindent) something weird happened with the link I just put in at the Talk page of the newly approved article. Did it just as I have before, but, as you can see, there is an extraneous 5 and 6 showing up. Whassup? Hayford Peirce 19:56, 14 July 2010 (UTC)

It is just the position of the closing bracket: [http://link Version] instead of [http://link] Version. The first is an external link with replacement text, while the second is an external link without a replacement text. The number [5] supplied says that it is the fifth such link. --Peter Schmitt 20:27, 14 July 2010 (UTC)
Thanks! I didn't look at the example in my Instructions closely enough, I *thought* I knew what I was doing, couillon que je suis! Hayford Peirce 20:38, 14 July 2010 (UTC)

Four heads are better than one ;) D. Matt Innis 02:13, 15 July 2010 (UTC)


You probably don't have the time, Matt, and I do not want to hurry you. Thus this is only a reminder in case it is indeed overlooked. --Peter Schmitt 00:51, 16 July 2010 (UTC)

I have the time, but doesn't the last word on the Talk page by Matt say flatly that another Editor is needed? Hayford Peirce 01:12, 16 July 2010 (UTC)
As I read it, Matt said that he was satisfied by Boris' explanations. The change he mentions ("mathbb{A}-->mathbf{Q}") is the third item in Boris' list. --Peter Schmitt 01:35, 16 July 2010 (UTC)
No Peter, I was considering that a content and style edit. I was waiting for the third editor. D. Matt Innis 01:54, 16 July 2010 (UTC)
Boris wrote "no change of meaning" and you (I thought) accepted this ("Thanks"). I am sure that Boris thought the same. Otherwise, we both would have reacted. --Peter Schmitt 02:04, 16 July 2010 (UTC)
Sorry for the confusion, I probably could have been more clear. I think what editors need to keep in mind is that constables are not mathmeticians or even wiki markup experts. I had no idea that 𝔸 --> Q was ("mathbb{A}-->mathbf{Q}"). I can't even tell you if they mean the same thing. They sure don't look the same. If someone made a change from "=" to "≈" is that a content edit? A style edit? If someone changes x2, = q2 to y2 = q2 is a constable supposed to read the article and understand that it doesn't change meaning? Considering what happened on Complex number, I think it is better to err on the side of not approving until sure. But, now we've created a dilemma where, unless it is a copyedit, then it means we need another editor to make. I think of copyedits as spelling. Even commas can change meaning, or can even be style edits for some editors. D. Matt Innis 02:37, 16 July 2010 (UTC)
Matt, now I do not understand, what for did you write "I would appreciate some more expert input to help me make that determination" (and indeed "Thanks, Boris" at the end). It seems my work on that matter was on no purpose; really? Boris Tsirelson 06:19, 16 July 2010 (UTC)
About "𝔸 --> Q was ("mathbb{A}-->mathbf{Q}")" I am sorry, I really did not guess that you did not guess; the next time I'll try to be more careful. Boris Tsirelson 06:26, 16 July 2010 (UTC)
"If someone made a change from "=" to "≈" is that a content edit?" — Yes, it is a good idea in such a case to ask an expert (since sometimes it is a content edit and sometimes it is not). But then, it is a good idea to follow the expert opinion... Boris Tsirelson 06:34, 16 July 2010 (UTC)
Okay, here's another Constable weighing in just out of curiosity. Yes, or no, is Boris saying that what looks to Matt (and to me) to be a significant change is NOT a change? That even though (to the non-mathematician) the physical characters displayed on the screen SEEM different, the meaning has absolutely not changed by one iota? Okay, that leads to the question: if there is NO change in the meaning, then why was the change made in the first place? Hayford Peirce 21:33, 18 July 2010 (UTC)
I'll try to explain. Essentially, it is a change to improve readability, and use more common notation ("words").
In mathematics, letters may be chosen freely as long as there meaning is "defined". is a letter from the Blackboard Bold font that usually is used for special sets of numbers (A usually for algebraic numbers) while -- in this article naturally bold characters are used for vectors and matrices. Thus the change to . Moreover, the letter "A" is also an entry of the matrix (though not in bold) it makes the formula clearer and easier to read if the letter "Q" is used instead. In all these cases the letter is used as an abbreviation for the matrix defined.
It may be a daring comparison, but it is similar to replace "which" by "that", or "W. Shakespeare" by "William Shakespeare". --Peter Schmitt 22:08, 18 July 2010 (UTC)
Very daring indeed, hehe! Hayford Peirce 22:10, 18 July 2010 (UTC)

I would say that this was a mutual misunderstanding. Probably the main reason was that the unicode version of mathbb A fails to display (as it did on the mainpage). --Peter Schmitt 09:32, 16 July 2010 (UTC)

What has to be done? If indeed necessary the only edit by Boris could be undone so that he can approve the article. --Peter Schmitt 21:11, 18 July 2010 (UTC)

With two Editors saying that there is no change in meaning and it is just a copyedit, and no-one saying otherwise, can we not trust them and approve it? --Chris Key 22:40, 18 July 2010 (UTC)
Indeed. After all this discussion is public, and will last "forever", thus do not expect me to cheat :-) . About "the meaning has absolutely not changed by one iota?" I try to explain by example. Consider two phrases
  • the equality u+v=v+u holds for all integers u, v
  • the equality a+b=b+a holds for all integers a, b
Yes, "(to the non-mathematician) the physical characters displayed on the screen SEEM different", and nevertheless the meaning is exactly the same. Just like a plain (non-math) English phrase rewritten in a different handwriting. Now, "if there is NO change in the meaning, then why was the change made in the first place?" — well, imagine that the second handwriting is more clear, nicer to read. Boris Tsirelson 06:15, 19 July 2010 (UTC)
About "absolutely not changed by one iota" let me quote theory: 'Mathematical truth is sharp, not fuzzy. Every mathematical statement is assumed to be either true or false (even if no one is able to decide) rather than "basically true", "true for all practical purposes" etc.' Likewise, the meaning is either different or identical. Boris Tsirelson 06:41, 19 July 2010 (UTC)
Okay, thanks, Boris, that seems clear enough even to a dimwit like me! I will approve the article unless Matt gets to it before I do. Hayford Peirce 16:27, 19 July 2010 (UTC)
Hi All, thanks for keeping me abreast. Obviously I've been utilizing every single online moment on the charter recently, but I have been following this conversation. It comes down to exactly what Boris quotes above for mathematical statements: "Likewise, the meaning is either different or identical." For we constables, our approval rules are mathematical: "they are either followed or they aren't." The fuzziness is in the edit. We wouldn't have to bend any rules if we had a third editor, or someone removed an edit and created a single editor approval. Any other decision requires us to introduce fuzzy rationalization into the approval process for no really good reason. Had you two considered either of those alternatives? D. Matt Innis 16:47, 19 July 2010 (UTC)

(unindent) I have (partially) rewritten the section with Boris' edit. There are now two possibilities: Either the explanations above are accepted, considered as sufficient, and the previous version of the page is approved, or Boris updates the link to the new version, joins as Editor and the new version is approved.

(Again I see the necessity to make approval less bureaucratic and more logical: If two Editors may each approve the work of the other, there is no reason why they need a third Editor for collaborative work -- they control each other. Moreover, for a single Editor approval "copyedits" should include minor corrections and improvements.)

--Peter Schmitt 17:54, 19 July 2010 (UTC)

There will always be someone that wants to change the rules to serve their purpose. The integrity of Citizendium's approval process directly impacts the way the outside world will value our articles. Once we have a couple of two editor homeopathy approvals, everyone will be screaming for four editor approvals :) We have to weigh the pros and cons in an environment wher no-one has anything at stake before we should consider anything seriously. A committee discussion is a good place for that. D. Matt Innis 18:39, 19 July 2010 (UTC)
Matt, my remark was not directed against you, and the intention was not to ask you to break the rules (though Hayford seems to accept the explanation). It was a comment "for the record" only.
(It would be possible for Boris to approve the version with my (copy)edits, and then for me to reapprove it with his change, wouldn't it? With the same result in two steps instead of one.)
Your example does not fit: Currently one homeopathy editor can approve another homeopathy editor's article -- unless they are contested by other editors. CZ has to trust it's editors. It is very reasonable that one may not approve one's own work -- a check by a critical reader is needed. (One easily overlooks one's own mistakes.) But this check is there, too, when two work together. In particular, when the article is by a third author and both editors make only local corrections (as in this case). (What would help against three editors conspiring to write and approve an inacceptable article?) --Peter Schmitt 20:20, 19 July 2010 (UTC)
Of course, Peter. Mine was just a continuation of your thought.
If I understand your post, you can't single editor re-approve the article once you've edited it (ever). Boris can suggest to you what to change and you can decide whether to do it or not (so long as he doesn't edit the article).
Currently one mathematician can approve another's article so long as they didn't edit. Neither a homeopath nor a mathmetician can single editor approve once they have edited the article.
D. Matt Innis 00:21, 20 July 2010 (UTC)

(unindent) There may be some misunderstanding thus to make it clear:

  • Currently I have nominated a version for approval that (my view) I have only copyedited and could be approved if this view (supported by Boris) is accepted.
  • I have edited a new version in which Boris change has been completely overwritten. Thus Boris could update the nomination to this version to allow approval.

So far the issue of approving "ellipse". --Peter Schmitt 09:40, 20 July 2010 (UTC)

I agree with your assessment. Boris could now nominate this version as a single editor. The complication came when he edited the article, but your overwriting it essentially removed that edit. It would be a good idea for the editors to document that change so that constables can clearly see that that is what happened. Providing diffs in the toward approval section would be the best way to do that. That is why I added the 'Toward Approval' sections once they get nominated. When we get busy, constables don't have to read through the talk page; you can discuss it elsewhere, but pertinent information should be added to that section once the decision is made.
So, now we're just waiting to see if Boris will still nominate the article with your changes. That would indicate that he agrees that the article is still accurate enough to put his name on it.
D. Matt Innis 11:30, 20 July 2010 (UTC)
Just for the record: That you cannot accept the first version implies that you distrust the statement ("no change of meaning") of a trusted expert. Is this justified? --Peter Schmitt 12:17, 20 July 2010 (UTC)

General remarks

Matt, do you claim that current rules forbid the following?

  • Editor Alice writes (or contributes to) an article. Editor Bob approves it. Citizen Celia (or Bob?) works on the draft and improves it. Alice reapproves the draft. (More precisely: Alice approves the new material or the changes made by Celia -- a single Editor approval.)

If so, this makes no sense to me, none at all. If so, it may be a reason not to approve an article because it may prevent approval of an improved version.

Consider the following situation: Celia has written an article. Alice likes it and wants to approve it, but there are some minor issues to resolve. Consider the following two actions:

  • Alice demands changes on the talk page. Celia obediently performs them on the page.
  • Alice makes the few changes herself.

The first one is allowed by the current rules. The second one is forbidden. But what is the difference? The first case is more complicated and needs more time. If Alice is not willing to invest the additional energy then the article will stay unapproved (and possibly unimproved as well).
In both cases Celia (or other Citizens) may edit Alice's changes or challenge them on the talk page. In practice, both versions are the same. The differences are only formal ones. The second version is more honest.

In both cases described above I do not see any gain in restrictive rules. They do not add any additional level of security. Remember that Editors are trusted to initiate single Editor approvals (this includes judging themselves that they are competent enough for the topic under review!) where no other Editor is around. On the other hand any such rule can fail if the Editors involved do not act responsibly, or if they intentionally cooperate to misuse them. --Peter Schmitt 11:38, 20 July 2010 (UTC)

Yes, once a content edit is made, it requires a third editor. There is no reason for this if both editors agree. But, the reasoning becomes necessary when both editors are diametrically opposed, then the dynamic changes. Now we have two editors that keep changing the material to fit their interest. It would then be possible for one editor to make a change and approve his own version. Not only is there no integrity in that scenerio, there is nothing that would keep the other editor from doing the same thing; essentially undermining the whole idea of locking a version. We might as well be wikipedia.
We could add another level to the rules and try to differentiate the two scenerios (when editors agree and when they don't), but it would add a whole new complexity that none of us want. D. Matt Innis 11:53, 20 July 2010 (UTC)
You do not see my point, Matt. In the first example no Editor approves his own contributions. In the second example, in both cases the Editor approves his own changes, but one method is accepted while the other is not. In the accepted case the changes (demanded) by the Editor himself can even be much more substantial than minor edits applied directly to the page. --Peter Schmitt 12:13, 20 July 2010 (UTC)
Make sure we are thinking the same:
I'm pretty sure I see your point, but your first premise is wrong in my view. You state: "In the first example no Editor approves his own contributions." - However, in the first example, Alice cannot re-approve the draft. She has already made contributions in the first approval.
Therefore, neither situation allows an approval. Therefore, the end result is exactly the same.
Does that make sense? D. Matt Innis 12:29, 20 July 2010 (UTC)
But the contributions by Alice have been (officially) approved. Thus only the changes need to be approved. And these changes are completely independent of Alice: they are either additions (independent of Alice), or change something Alice has written (even a reason more to trust her judgement if she accepts this!) In a sense reapproval by another Editor is more problematic because it could accept changes Alice does not agree with and thus cause a quarrel. (Only demanding that reapproval is always performed by the initial approving Editor could prevent this. But this is not realistic.) --Peter Schmitt 12:48, 20 July 2010 (UTC)
Yes, I see what you are saying; that all that need approving are the changes. But, what about when Alice and Bob disagree, but Alice compromises with Bob by creating a neutral statement to get the article approved. Once approved, Alice convinces Celia, a fellow sorority sister, to make a change that advocates her position and then Alice approves the change. Alice has locked the article and now Bob will have to find someone else to change it to something else.
If we hold to the rule that the editor cannot make content changes (ever) and use the single editor process, this can't happen. You have to ask yourself if you want that to happen. I don't want to go there. I edit controversial articles and I would hate for homeopath Ramanand to make a change and let friend Dana Ullman re-approve the Homeopathy article.
D. Matt Innis 13:25, 20 July 2010 (UTC)
Of course, controversial topics are a problem (and a challenge), but they are with any set of rules. Any rules can be cheated. Alice may never touch the page but ask Celia to do all the work ... cheating will (only) work if Bob (and no other Editor) keeps an eye on the article ... just as in your example. The possibility you fear (Alice convinces Celia) is officially accepted if it is done before a single Editor approval by Alice (my second example). What is the difference?
All work on CZ, including approvals, will need to be observed (by the community, by fellow Editors, and by the EC in particular) and Editors (or Citizens) that prove to be not trustworthy have to be identified. The three-Editor rule works for homeopathy only because other Editors are around watching it.
Moreover, in most cases one does not need to be an expert to judge if explanations (like that of Boris) are honest and to recognize manipulations. It will be clear where controversials are.
--Peter Schmitt 14:02, 20 July 2010 (UTC)
But why add a whole new level of watchdogs? We don't need to identify untrustworthy editors because we have the rule that they cannot approve their own content - it is self cleaning. The last thing we want is to have a bunch of witchunters going around deciding who is trustworthy or not. And Homeopathy was extremely difficult to get to approval. D. Matt Innis 16:48, 20 July 2010 (UTC)

(unindent) Peter, let me say, both as a Citizen and a Constable, that we have rules that are in place and that *everyone* must be guided by. Not only be guided by, they must *follow* them. Constables are here to enforce the rules. Sometimes there can be questions about the *interpretation* of some of the rules and there may well be certain gray areas. In this particular case, however, Matt, who has followed this whole discussion *very* carefully, has decided *as a Constable* that certain edits you have made in the past qualify as "edits" and not as "copy edits" and that therefore you can not Approve this article as a single Editor. You, and Boris, apparently, feel that this falls in a "gray area". Matt doesn't. So, unless Matt's suggestions are followed (and I believe that he has suggested at least *two* possible solutions), then this article is not going to be Approved. I, and Matt, I'm sure, do understand all of the points that you are raising. BUT I think that these are points that are going to have to be considered, and possibly rewritten, by the new people on the EC. Hayford Peirce 17:00, 20 July 2010 (UTC)

(edit conflict: this was written independently of Boris comment below)
Hayford, I have started a subsection in order to separate this discussion from the special case. I appreciate and accept that you have to do your job, have prepared "ellipse", and we are only waiting for Boris to react. (He is slightly less patient than I and may be a little angry that he was first asked for his expert opinion, and then this opinion was discarded.)
In this section I just argue that the rules are not consistent, and should -- in my opinion -- be reformed (without loss in safety). I know, of course, that this -- if it happens at all -- will need much time. But I have also observed that I am not the only one who thinks so, and that the too bureaucratic approval rules may hinder CZ, and it is quite likely that Editors simply are not prepared to all this effort and prefer to leave pages unapproved. (I also know that this should not be discussed on Matt's talk page. It only evolved to this by replies to replies to replies ...) --Peter Schmitt 17:52, 20 July 2010 (UTC)
I most certainly agree, Peter, that it must be highly frustrating (and annoying) for Editors to have to go through any process such as the present one. It is a bureaucratic tangle that probably should never have happened. But just because a *number*, even a *large* number of Citizens think that a process is wrong, doesn't mean that they can simply change it AND expect the Constabulary to acquiesce in the changes. If the process is changed for one set of circumstances, then why shouldn't it be changed for another one? And then another? Matt, and I, and many of us, feel scarred (and scared, maybe also, two different words) and unhappy by the homeopathic experience and don't want to repeat it. Every now and then I read in the paper about a judge (almost always a long-serving Federal judge, not a local or state judge) who, in handing down a sentence, says something like, "I think this law is ridiculous, I think it is unfair, I have tried everything in my power to find a way around it and the constraints that it puts on me, but I can do no more: I must now sentence this person to five, ten, twenty years in prison, even though I think it is grossly disproportionate. Unfortunately, only the people who make the laws can change this." Given our experience as Constables, mine for 18 months now, Matt's for many years, we simply feel that we cannot, under any circumstances, make exceptions to certain rules. Hayford Peirce 18:20, 20 July 2010 (UTC)
Have I to emphasize once more that I do not try to persuade you to bend the rules?
Matt: the "watchdogs" are needed anyway. An "untrustworthy" Editor may approve nonsense, or approve material he has smuggled in via a spy (another untrustworthy Citizen). --Peter Schmitt 20:53, 20 July 2010 (UTC)
I'd say, CZ can be reliable only if many active editors are present. Then a wrong statement will raise a protest (of at least one editor) with high probability. Otherwise, nothing helps: if say only two editors work then there is a chance that they are a mafia. Boris Tsirelson 20:59, 20 July 2010 (UTC)
The same in other words: a clever design can give a reliable system of many non-reliable elements. But they must be many; otherwise no design can help. Boris Tsirelson 21:10, 20 July 2010 (UTC)

Not quite easy for me

It may seem that it is very easy for me to (co-)sign the approval; but this is not quite so. I trust colleagues in everyday life matters, but in math, I check their proofs as if they were liars. This is the usual attitude of a mathematical mind.

In order to approve I need to: (1) read the article more carefully than before; (2) go to a library and find a book containing these "eccentricity", "periapsis" etc; there is no such book on my shelf, and I never bothered to remember these; (3) (probably most hard) the same about the role of Apollonius and Euclid; I have very slight idea where to look.

This is in fact an instance of a general problem: an encyclopedic article is wide in scope, while an editor is not. Maybe some day we should think about section-wide approval. Then, as a by-product, it will be possible that editor A writes/edits Section 1, editor B writes/edits Section 2, and then editor B approves Section 1 while editor A approves Section 2. Boris Tsirelson 17:44, 20 July 2010 (UTC)

Boris, now I understand why (some weeks ago) you asked as if we be willing to approve Ellipse.
Perhaps these two links help you to check the unknown terms: [5] and [6]. I cannot read it for you, but one additional check would not harm. But be careful if you edit the page ;-)
--Peter Schmitt 20:38, 20 July 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for the links. Do not worry, I'll nevermore edit it. But then you'll have to; I have already a question.
"Now I understand why you asked..." — really? And I just cease understanding it. :-) Boris Tsirelson 20:48, 20 July 2010 (UTC)

Hows that?

DONE! [7] --Chris Key 15:25, 16 July 2010 (UTC)

Hi Matt

I hope all is well. I'm curious for an update about things with the project. BTW, have a look at my recent side-project at Stephen Ewen 09:49, 20 July 2010 (UTC)

Hey Stephen! Your site looks awesome! Not only a great idea, but it looks sharp, too. I am already envisioning how I would love to do an online continuing education course there :) You are definitely moving in the right direction. D. Matt Innis 11:19, 20 July 2010 (UTC)

Mary Ash deserves to be banned immediately

Mary Ash has returned and has evidently decided to be a trouble-maker:

(1) She has placed a notice at the top of the Main article as follows: This is a work in progress and what I valiantly tried to write yesterday. Yes, this is a collaborative effort but part of collaboration is allowing the original author to finish writing the article. Please allow me to write what I started. I will remove this message when I am finished and will gladly accept any editing needed. Thanks! (the bold font is hers ... not mine)

(2) She has refused to learn any thing from all of the advice she received in the last few days. Even trivial stuff like again indenting her Talk comments incorrectly despite having been told a number of times about doing it correctly.

(3) In the one and a half hours or so since she returned, she has deleted so much of the article that it has been reduced in length from about 36,598 bytes to 26,060 bytes which is a deletion of 30% of the article ... almost one-third of the article. (See article History between the times of 12:55 and 14:36)

(4) She has revised and completely messed up 8 of the references including 3 new ones she entered. She simply refuses to learn how to do simple formatting correctly.

(5) Her listing of the investigation methods listed in the so-called MUFON Handbook is ridiculously long! It contains over 50 items including such things as tweezers, shovels, and insect repellant. The physical appearance of the article is now laughable.

I am going to undo all of her edits since she returned and if she again reverts to her version, I formally request that you ban her immediately.

In my 2 years as an editor, I have never before issued an editorial ruling. Now, I had to do so yesterday and will do so again when I undo all of her revisions. This is becoming an untenable situation.

Milton Beychok 22:08, 23 July 2010 (UTC)

Correction, Item 3 above should read: She first increased the size of the article by about 30% (from 26,000 to 36,600 bytes) by reverting it to her so-called WIP (work in progress?) and then cut it back down by about the same 30%. But now it was essentially a complete redo of what it was at 12:55.Milton Beychok 23:08, 23 July 2010 (UTC)

Adding Photos

I just finished a brief about Betty Crocker. I would like to take a photo of her portrait from one of my ::older cookbooks (1956 at a good guess) and use it in the article. Would this be considered fair use? ::Also, how do I upload and ::insert the photo into the article. Finally, I could use some help on setting ::up the meta tags. Thanks!

Mary Ash 20:06, 25 July 2010 (UTC)Mary Ash

Oh, oh. I'm not much of an expert on copyright, but I'm thinking that if you "upload file" button in the bottom left hand toolbox there are instructions there that give you choices and even instructions on how to insert them. Try it an let me know. D. Matt Innis 20:13, 25 July 2010 (UTC)