User talk:Larry Sanger/Archive 10

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Please have a look at: CZ:Proposals/Ad_hoc (CZ:Proposals/How_should_we_classify_and_index_recipes?) and please give your comments. Today is supposed to be the last day before it goes to the next step. However, there hasn't been any discussions on it. What do I do next? Supten Sarbadhikari 02:43, 19 February 2008 (CST)

Good question...I'll have a look. --Larry Sanger 06:42, 19 February 2008 (CST)
I have added my comments at CZ:Proposals/Recipes_Subpage_and_Accompanying_Usage_Policy#The_Driving_issue. Supten Sarbadhikari 21:03, 19 February 2008 (CST)

Boston Red Sox

Sorry Larry, i'll expand it more right now. Andrew Sylvia 08:43, 22 February 2008 (CST)


Hi Larry, just making sure I was interpreting the approval process appropriately. Fossilization hit a roadblock before approval as Nereo took down the ToApprove template before the approval date. Since then, he made changes and seems to be satisfied, but no-one has retuned the template. I identified this to the CZ:Anthropology Workgroup this morning and Lee asked me a good question. I responded. D. Matt Innis 12:40, 23 February 2008 (CST)

First article

Yes, the Hokusai article was posted on Textop - on about 5 October, 2006. (See Talk:Hokusai - I don't have access to the 'deleted articles' on Textop to get the exact date, but the comment on the Talk page indicates it had already been posted as of that date.) If you have any indication that the priority claim is incorrect, I will of course cheerfully remove it, but it is, AFAIK, correct! :-) J. Noel Chiappa 15:28, 25 February 2008 (CST)

No, no problem. Anyway, thanks again for returning! --Larry Sanger 15:29, 25 February 2008 (CST)

Sure. I'm really excited about the prospects here; there's so much scope to write really quality content (and so many articles unwritten where I can contribute :-). It reminds me of the early days of Wikipedia (although I didn't arrive that early - I arrived in the summer of '03, a while after you left, I guess). I'm not sure how much time I'll have to devote here (although I blew the whole day yesterday here, which is a sign of some kind :-), but I'll do what I can. I'm kind of involved in an effort to rework some of the underlying piping of the Internet, but other than that, I suspect Citizendium will be my chief intellectual interest for some years to come.

If it keeps going, of course - fingers crossed! But I know there are a lot of dissatisfied Wikipedians who got sick of the conditions over there, and so I suspect there's a really big pool of talent to recruit from. (We might want to try and start an organized effort to contact them, and turn them on to Citizendium.) I have to laugh at the columnists who say 'Why would a serious professional waste time on writing for Citizendium?' The question ought to be 'Why would a serious professional waste time on writing at Wikipedia, when they can do it at Citizendium?' Don't get me wrong, I'm sure there are things we need to improve (from my first glance, it seems like our Approval process could really be easier/smoother, although coded support might make it considerably less onerous), but the committment to reliable content (which I am going to hammer on as the selling point we need to focus on) makes it worth it. J. Noel Chiappa 10:39, 26 February 2008 (CST)

"I suspect Citizendium will be my chief intellectual interest for some years to come"--that's amazing. It really makes my day! We really need to collect a bunch of quotes like this from CZ editors and "high-ranking" authors (e.g., professional writers and assorted big wigs). I started this, a long time ago, here: There are other quotes/testimonials I have collected somewhere else, in some e-mail folder...
Hammering on reliability is an excellent idea. We are due to change the top-of-the-wiki text... --Larry Sanger 13:06, 26 February 2008 (CST)
Well, don't get too amazed; the full quotation is "I'm kind of involved in an effort to rework some of the underlying piping of the Internet, but other than that, I suspect Citizendium will be my chief intellectual interest for some years to come." So y'all are second on the list (sorry, but I think I have my priorities right, there :-). J. Noel Chiappa 16:25, 27 February 2008 (CST)

Deleting non-wiki policy pages

As discussed in the forums, there are some out of date help pages, such as [1] still on the webserver. This could confuse newbies since are inevitable stale links to these pages both in CZ and elsewhere. How about replacing those pages with redirects to either the wiki equivalents or CZ:Home? The fancy technique would be to use an Apache .htaccess file to do the redirect (see Apache documention on that), but a html meta refresh may be easier to implement and is good enough. Wikipedia has a nice summary of the possibilities. Warren Schudy 17:39, 29 February 2008 (CST)

Warren, I think we simply shouldn't be linking to those outdated pages at all anymore. If you see any such outdated links, I hope you will change them. Meanwhile, leave it to me to deal with the pages themselves. --Larry Sanger 18:10, 29 February 2008 (CST)

Yep, I fix links to outdated pages when I notice them. I see you recently made cfa.html a redirect - thanks! :) Warren Schudy 19:27, 29 February 2008 (CST)
We aims to please. --Larry Sanger 21:24, 29 February 2008 (CST)

Importing existing texts, and the goal of a 'reliable' Encyclopaedia

Hi, I put a comment here about the existing policy against bringing in texts unchanged, but so far no comments. Your reactions, if you have time? Thanks! J. Noel Chiappa 10:56, 2 March 2008 (CST)


Hi, Larry. What about a page called CZ:Romanization or some-such to deal with issues of how to romanize foreign words, placenames etc. that normally appear in another script? I would suggest subpages for individual languages, e.g. CZ:Romanization/Japanese. I foresee a series of rows about this in the future because, for example, Japanese words can be rendered in the Latin alphabet in several different ways even within the same system, and there is more than one romanization system in use anyway. I have also caught myself romanizing words differently from how I've done so in the past... would be nice to have a set of proposals up (e.g. 'are we going to use diacritics?'). I suggest putting some pages under CZ:, and inviting people to thrash out an agreement on the Talk pages that lead to a balance between linguistic accuracy and ease of use for those who don't read the languages. John Stephenson 01:28, 3 March 2008 (CST)

Hi John. I agree, there is a need for guidelines like this--why not get it started via CZ:Proposals? --Larry Sanger 09:05, 3 March 2008 (CST)

naming conventions proposals and the editorial council

Larry - I've asked a question of Jitse Niesen regarding naming conventions proposals, here. Since it involves Editorial Council issues, could you please weigh in? Anthony Argyriou 12:24, 3 March 2008 (CST)

Can you create the approvals and feedback group?

There are two proposals in the Approval and feedback queue that are ready to go before the approvals and feedback group. As far as I know, that group only gained decision-making authority when the proposals system was introduced, so I don't think there's a procedure yet for that group to decide matters. Can you clarify? Should we submit proposals to the editorial council until the approvals and feedback group is prepared to make decisions? Warren Schudy 10:20, 6 March 2008 (CST)

It's being created. For now, drivers of proposals that land in that group should send them to me when they're ready. --Larry Sanger 10:30, 6 March 2008 (CST)

OK. As driver of CZ:Proposals/Enable external feedback, I hereby request permission from the approvals and feedback group to advertise for an implementor, for example by posting to the MediaWiki Extension Request Page. See the implementation details section of the proposal for the specification. Warren Schudy 21:13, 6 March 2008 (CST)

Very good! The ball is now in our court. --Larry Sanger 21:34, 6 March 2008 (CST)

Any progress? Warren Schudy 19:45, 29 March 2008 (CDT)


I am a new citizendium editor-author and I am French. My articles are in French and I'm not good in translation. Can I propose my articles in French ? Does it exist a french Citizendium ? Could you send me your answer by email also (I am not used to navigate in these pages)? Thank you. Jean-Philippe de Lespinay 05:37, 7 March 2008 (CST)

A French Citizendium does not exist yet, but we hope to create one when resources permit. We are discussing a proposal that would allow us to accept French language articles--and this should be decided on soon--but right now, our articles are in English. --Larry Sanger 08:14, 7 March 2008 (CST)

CZ:Editorial_Council_Resolution_0008 - worthy of a blog post?

I would recommend posting a blog post on this - it may prove good for recruiting. Thoughts? Tom Kelly 18:01, 9 March 2008 (CDT)

on a side note, I wish we could attract some of these writers: . It would be very cool to have images like that here and an extensive set of articles. I also really like the wikipedia templates that expand at the bottom of that article. Tom Kelly 18:01, 9 March 2008 (CDT)

Good idea. You're right. --Larry Sanger 19:12, 9 March 2008 (CDT)

Larry, could you please update the proposal record on CZ:Proposals/Editorial Council? Cheers, Jitse Niesen 09:25, 10 March 2008 (CDT)

Technical Help

Thanks for the tip about that one - didn't know about it. I was planning to link other pages to it as re-work some of the documentation, but that template's good too.

BTW, what do you think of the {{Contribs}} stuff? J. Noel Chiappa 17:01, 10 March 2008 (CDT)

subpage category

Larry, i figured out the problem. Dumb edit on my behalf. I'll change it tonight when there are less people editing, undoubtedly it will slow the site down too much if I make the change now. Chris Day (talk) 12:39, 11 March 2008 (CDT)

Good thinking. --Larry Sanger 13:26, 11 March 2008 (CDT)

Proposal on translations of approved articles

I think - and hope - that this proposal is ready for decision by the Executive Committee. Please advise if it's not. Jens Mildner 16:17, 18 March 2008 (CDT)

Very good--will do. --Larry Sanger 11:06, 20 March 2008 (CDT)

Sorry to bother, but is there any progress on this proposal? If so, where can I watch it? If there's anything I can do to speed up things, please let me know. Jens Mildner 14:34, 24 April 2008 (CDT)

Definitions of cooking terms

If you take a look at the bottom of CZ:Recipes you'll find what I hope is a practical suggestion. Hayford Peirce 20:10, 18 March 2008 (CDT)

Expect some changes

The new subpages works the same as the old one with some additional features. For example, error catching, so that small problems such as incorrect pagenames in the metadata list do not go unnoticed. I think this version should be more user friendly for those starting new articles. The best news is that it is ten times smaller than the old subpages template even with the new features. Hopefully this will speed things up a bit.

As with all changes like this there is almost certainly something I have overlooked. Just let me know if you see something strange. Chris Day (talk) 17:15, 19 March 2008 (CDT)

Thanks, Chris--it's great to see you back. I've liked the changes I've seen so far. --Larry Sanger 19:34, 22 March 2008 (CDT)


Idea: make are approved articles spoken. Anyone with a nice accent? Similar to:

Thoughts? Tom Kelly 16:38, 22 March 2008 (CDT)

It's a fine idea: develop on CZ:Proposals.  :-) --Larry Sanger 19:33, 22 March 2008 (CDT)

idea for a subpage - food web/food chain

I'm throwing around this idea on the forum. I don't know what category it should go in so I put it in chat. Is there a forum page for subpage ideas?,1643.0.html

If you rub shoulders with any fish experts, try to get their input! Thanks for everything. I now love subpages. Tom Kelly 18:03, 22 March 2008 (CDT)

At some point (perhaps now) you should take this to CZ:Proposals. It's a proposal you have in mind...that's the place to make proposals. --Larry Sanger 19:32, 22 March 2008 (CDT)


The Chief Editor might want to take a look at Telescope and related Talk: pages... J. Noel Chiappa 12:42, 23 March 2008 (CDT)

I'm watching it. --D. Matt Innis 15:54, 23 March 2008 (CDT)

If the issues can be resolved by having constables apply the requirements of CZ:Professionalism, I'll be happy to stay uninvolved. If there are more purely editorial/content questions, I should intervene only if an astronomy editor (or historian of technology/science) cannot weigh in. As usual I certainly don't like to see any unpleasantness, but I'd like to experiment with the notion that the heat can be kept lower (and my own time spent more wisely) if the "big guns" are not pulled out immediately. --Larry Sanger 22:39, 23 March 2008 (CDT)

I take your point, but what's worrying is that one of the participants is himself a Constable, and after the whole thing had been running for quite a while (when one would have thought everyone had had a chance to take a deep breath), he felt moved to post a comment that another Constable felt was worthy of removal. That's rather troubling. But I do understand your reasoning in wanting to stand back at the moment. J. Noel Chiappa 14:26, 24 March 2008 (CDT)

Authors template

Sure, I can do it right now, should only take me a couple of minutes. J. Noel Chiappa 20:51, 27 March 2008 (CDT)

Thanks! --Larry Sanger 20:59, 27 March 2008 (CDT)
Sure, no problem, glad to help. It's done (well, not the Editors part - that's pretty straightforward to code, but I'm going to wait until we need it, i.e. the proposal is OK'd), and I've also updated CZ:Proposals/Pilot to allow Citizens to take credit for pages to reflect that. J. Noel Chiappa 21:31, 27 March 2008 (CDT)

Joyful words

Does anyone know what &#*^( means? I thinks you must have had your caps lock on. By the way, it looks like the edit took :-)--D. Matt Innis 19:15, 31 March 2008 (CDT)

Well, those are nonsense characters that are typewritten over curse words, to hide them, of course...I used my typewriter to write those. It was very hard to get my old typewriter to interface with my computer, but I am a SuperUser! --Larry Sanger 19:51, 31 March 2008 (CDT)

Core Articles Proposal

Larry - I think I'd be willing to take on driving the Core Articles proposal, but I have a couple of questions:

  1. It appears that you'd like to radically simplify the Core Articles presentation, which will have the effect of undoing some of the work that has been done by the more active workgroups. Is this undoing a significant concern?
  2. Would you be amenable to allowing those workgroups which have reached a high stage of completion to retain features which will no longer be required?
  3. Are we willing to allow workgroups to have more or fewer than 99 articles in their completed list?

Anthony Argyriou 13:33, 2 April 2008 (CDT)

Hi Anthony,

Re 1: I honestly hadn't thought of that. Obviously, we should ask them.

Re 2: Sure!

Re 3: I think this is the sort of requirement that it would be good to stretch, although not too much. Maybe it can be left usefully vague. --Larry Sanger 21:56, 5 April 2008 (CDT)

Did you know

That Category:CZ_Live Page lists both articles and redirects to those articles, thereby possibly produce a false number? Look for AQMG and Air Quality Modeling Group under As on the first page. One's a redirect, the other the article, but both are technically "live articles". --Robert W King 13:13, 12 April 2008 (CDT)

That might be a MediaWiki 'bug' - although given the way Redirects are done in MediaWiki, it might be hard to fix. (You can, BTW, put Redirects in categories without having the target show up in that category - no idea why it works the other way.) J. Noel Chiappa 13:27, 12 April 2008 (CDT)
It could also be that some redirects were given that category. I have no idea how many this affects. --Robert W King 13:28, 12 April 2008 (CDT)
Good catch! AQMG did indeed have a Category: tag on it, which I just removed (I see no reason to cat Redirects). I too have no idea how many there are.. wonder if there's some way to list the members of a cat by size? J. Noel Chiappa 13:35, 12 April 2008 (CDT)
Well you can do a search on #REDIRECT but you'll be there all day. I wonder if we should have redirect category. --Robert W King 13:38, 12 April 2008 (CDT)
Well, if we decide to do that, I can probably fairly easily find the (many :-) ones I created by looking through my contributions. Let me know... J. Noel Chiappa 14:57, 12 April 2008 (CDT)

Well, be on the look out for any redirects with any categories on them; we shouldn't need to add any categories to them (including a "redirect" category--this can be generated automatically--look at Special:Specialpages). I very much doubt there are more than a handful of redirects with Category:CZ Live on them, because most people who create redirects know not to do that, and the Move utility does not leave any categories behind... --Larry Sanger 12:51, 13 April 2008 (CDT)

French (bis)

I've removed a note from this page and from the page history (something we virtually never do--except in cases like this), because it contained private e-mail addresses. I've noted the person's message and will reply privately. --Larry Sanger 12:19, 14 April 2008 (CDT)

Out of date?

This: "I am also currently, and temporarily, serving as Chair of the Editorial Council." is out of date, no? (Or certainly about to be so very shortly! :-) J. Noel Chiappa 09:11, 20 April 2008 (CDT)

Yes, it is! --Larry Sanger 09:58, 20 April 2008 (CDT)

Fixing broken/outdated links

If I had noticed it was broken, I would have fixed it! The link didn't show up red, I didn't happen to click on it (when I would have noticed the problem), and I didn't remember that CZ:Policy Outline had gotten chopped up and dispersed (it's not a page I'm too familiar with). Maybe it should be removed, so that links to it show up as red links? J. Noel Chiappa 22:13, 20 April 2008 (CDT)

Yes--maybe--or better, find backward links ("What links here"). I'm not issuing orders, I'm just making suggestions.  :-) --Larry Sanger 12:59, 21 April 2008 (CDT)
<Smacks forehead!> Now why didn't I think of that. Sigh, too much editing documentation pages - turns the brain to mush! On the ever-lenghtening to-do list it goes.... J. Noel Chiappa 15:58, 21 April 2008 (CDT)

Calling the EiC

Any chance you could take a quick look at this thread on the forums and let us know if the various subpage tweaks we're discussing just need i) agreement on the forums, ii) approval from the EiC (and if so, are you OK with them), or iii) to go to the EC? Thanks! J. Noel Chiappa 15:18, 22 April 2008 (CDT)

OK-dokey. --Larry Sanger 15:21, 22 April 2008 (CDT)

Our earliest contributor

Check out Special:Contributions/Indra Adhikari. I guess Eastern mystics do know something about time Western science hasn't gotten to yet. :-) J. Noel Chiappa 21:45, 22 April 2008 (CDT)


Hello. There are two proposals that you are driving which haven't seen much action lately. They are CZ:Proposals/Self-Correction Policy and CZ:Proposals/Pilot to allow Citizens to take credit for pages (in the latter case, you're probably just waiting for the new Editorial Council to be formed). Could you please update the proposal records on CZ:Proposals/Editorial Council? Thanks, Jitse Niesen 11:11, 23 April 2008 (CDT)

Yes, I'll do that right away... --Larry Sanger 18:56, 24 April 2008 (CDT)

User plan fixed

For reference see this edit. See this edit. Now only the workgroup plans that exist are included in the pre expand size (otherwise the blank template, {{x0}}, is selected), rather than every workgroup plan whether it existed or not. The page I mentioned before, that had a post expand size of over 4Mbytes, is now down to 10kbytes. Chris Day 12:52, 25 April 2008 (CDT)

Yay! I am so glad I was wrong! It did have to do with template size, but it was also a (fairly?) easy fix! --Larry Sanger 13:04, 25 April 2008 (CDT)

Once I figured out how the templates worked it was easy to fix. Same fix as I used to reduce the size for the subpages template. Thank Zach and Noel, they were the ones that brought my attention to the trick and helped me understand it. Chris Day 13:06, 25 April 2008 (CDT)


Hi. Recently you pointed out to me that a criticism/controversy section that is the longest part of the page may be an inappropriate start for an article. Following on from that, would you also take a look at Google? Thanks. John Stephenson 00:51, 26 April 2008 (CDT)

Scratch that - Richard Jensen's done something about it. John Stephenson 02:28, 26 April 2008 (CDT)

Metadata links

Hi, I was on my way to Chris' talk: page to answer a question and I noticed your question about metadata. There is a direct link - and a direct edit link - to the Metadata in the header on the article's talk: page. (The "M" button goes there, and there's an edit link in the text.) My guess at the thinking as to why (since I wasn't there for the discussion, but it's a design call which I agree with) was not to burden our ordinary users with the internal CZ mechanisms. It's only one extra click away - do we need to make it more accessible? J. Noel Chiappa 20:23, 26 April 2008 (CDT)

Well...I'll have to respond on Chris' page so the discussion doesn't get fractured. --Larry Sanger 10:05, 28 April 2008 (CDT)

idea for blog post

It's been a while since the blog was updated. I have a suggestion. Make a post along the lines of :

"What frustrates you at wikipedia? We aren't trying to critisize, but we'd like an open ended poll so we can try and foresee frustrations before they arise."

Now your power of the phd, life-learned tact, and innate ability will be able to say something along those lines much clearer than I can. Maybe you can even spin it so it doesn't sound anti-wikipedia. Tom Kelly 20:28, 27 April 2008 (CDT)

The only way to make that topic not sound anti-Wikipedia would be to change it: "Here's a question for Wikipedians and Citizens alike: Wikipedians, why are you sticking with Wikipedia? Citizens, why have you left Wikipedia (if you have--most of us have)? All, what frustrates you about Wikipedia, that the Citizendium can learn from?"

I'm saving up a whole bunch of links for a blog post...I'll have to do that soon... --Larry Sanger 10:05, 28 April 2008 (CDT)

French words in English -- catalog created

Hi Larry, I fiddled around with things (with help from Chris), and it looks as if I have moved that really long list of words out of the main article into a catalog,, just as you suggested (ordered, hehe). Hope this is what you meant.... Hayford Peirce 12:11, 2 May 2008 (CDT)

I suggested it exactly as a French bureaucrat would.

Merci! --Larry Sanger 12:22, 2 May 2008 (CDT)


Yes, I agree. Somewhere, maybe in a Forum discussion of not too long ago, I mentioned that I was doing this article -- probably in the context of our Subpages discussion. At the time I said that probably it should be titled The Headmaster (short story) with appropriate redirects. And, eventually, I said, a disambig. page. I'll move the article right now, and create a redirect or two. But for the moment I don't see the need for a disamb. page. Best, Hayford Peirce 11:41, 5 May 2008 (CDT)

Subpage for def?

Hi Larry, please take a look here and comment. Thanks! -- Daniel Mietchen 12:27, 6 May 2008 (CDT)

Check out that discussion again Larry. Definitions can live on a subpage. Not sure why I didn't notice this problem earlier. Chris Day 12:38, 7 May 2008 (CDT)

Check out the subpages tab that is at the top of each page right now; just playing around at the moment. I compromised with Def for the tab name but the full name for the subpage. Look at Biology/Definition.

I have hacked the {{rpl}} template so it works whether definition is at Template:Def Article name or Article name/Definition. I can do the same for the {{r}} template. Try starting a def from an article that does not already have one (click on red link in tab). I have used a pre-load template that has the subpages template included between <noinclude></noinclude> tags that seems to work. Chris Day 15:30, 7 May 2008 (CDT)

Update: R template now works fine whether definition is on a Name/Definition page or a Template:Def Name page. The tab in the subpages header will direct users to the Template:Def Name if it exists. Otherwise it will link to the Name/Definition subpage or be a red link. I will try and clean up a few things as well as the documentation. Chris Day 15:53, 7 May 2008 (CDT)

Excellent--thanks, Chris! --Larry Sanger 18:21, 7 May 2008 (CDT)

Prose so chaste....

Hi, Larry, I *thought* I had a reference in mind for this usage. In an essay that Gore Vidal wrote about Evelyn Waugh around 1960, he calls him "our time's first satirist... all set down in prose so chaste that at times one longs for a violation of syntax to suggest that its creator is fallible, or at least part American." So he, and I, by extension, are using it to say "very pure prose". I suppose that by using "chaste", however, "spare" is redundant. In any case, neither Michael Gilbert, nor Waugh (except in "Brideshead Revisited"), are writing baroque or even very ornamented prose. Hayford Peirce 18:45, 7 May 2008 (CDT)

Oh, I see--prose is chaste if it has not been violated by bad syntax. --Larry Sanger 18:59, 7 May 2008 (CDT)

Well, that's Gore Vidal's take on it but he has, of course, established a reputation for occasional perversity, shall we say. I'll get rid of the word so that we won't sully any of our own prose any longer.... Hayford Peirce 19:03, 7 May 2008 (CDT)

disambig strategy

Larry, I noticed you created a disambig start page for reel. I've recently been converted to Noel Chiappa's policy on how to disambig, the core of which I captured at User:Pat_Palmer/redirects. Basically, if you were to move reel to reel (disambiguation), that would leave a redirect behind at reel itself, which will then show up as incorrect if people point directly to reel itself. By the way, do you play an instrument (fiddle perhaps)? It seems we love the same music, though I play mando and not fiddle.Pat Palmer 21:09, 7 May 2008 (CDT)

I guess I have to agree. This should be made into an Editorial Council proposal. I would support it.
Yep, I play Irish traditional fiddle, Donegal style. It's great music! Do you play in sessions? --Larry Sanger 21:15, 7 May 2008 (CDT)
Yeppers, I jam when I get the chance (not often enough) and even get up a band from time to time to play for the local contra dance. I'm not a purist stylistically; my favorite styles probably are Swedish tunes, English country dance tunes, and irish or old-timey. Don't do bluegrass (though I listen to some). I just play whatever people around me start playing for the most part. If you're even in Princeton, NJ, we should host a tune-exchange.Pat Palmer 23:05, 7 May 2008 (CDT)
OK! --Larry Sanger 10:27, 8 May 2008 (CDT)
I have a page at Wikipedia which basically has all the requisite text on it. Turning it into a Proposal is on my (lengthy :-( ToDo list. I'll try and do it tomorrow. J. Noel Chiappa 22:11, 7 May 2008 (CDT)
OK thanks! --Larry Sanger 10:27, 8 May 2008 (CDT)
Hi, I've finally gotten around to writing a draft proposal. You can see it at User:J. Noel Chiappa/Disambiguation; comments appreciated. J. Noel Chiappa 12:02, 13 May 2008 (CDT)

R template

I've been messing around with this template. Now there is a preload link that says "Add definition" rather than the old red link. The names are color coded too such that a redirect (or article with no metadata;rare these days) will show up as purple rather than blue. Definitions for redirects are possible too and can live as subpages without an article or metadata page. This is good if you want a definition for a red link or a redirect. You can see all these variations on the Biology/Related Articles page. Chris Day 15:00, 8 May 2008 (CDT)

Nice! Exactly what we needed! The pink links are especially handy. --Larry Sanger 15:14, 8 May 2008 (CDT)

Metadata or subpage location for def?

Hi Larry, not sure if you caught the following two discussion points:,1713.msg15545.html#new

I'm interested to hear your input on this. One thing not mentioned that pushes me a bit towards the metadata location is that eventually we will have a nice interface for adding data into the metadata template. The issue then revolves around where the def should be for the red links or redirects that we would like to see with a unique definition. At present it is set up that the definition subpage exists as the founding member of such a cluster. If the definition was to be in the metadata template then that page would be the founding member of the cluster.

Another less important issue is whether to have a link to the definition at the top of each page or maybe only have it in the talk page checklist only (this is not dependent on the location of the actual def)? Chris Day 15:55, 8 May 2008 (CDT)

I'm leaning back to subpage location again. See the forum link above for more discussion on the recent tweeks i have made. Chris Day 01:07, 9 May 2008 (CDT)
OK good! --Larry Sanger 15:21, 9 May 2008 (CDT)
Yes, I reversed myself back to a definition subpage (see below: is it a definition or a description?). On Noel's page is "thinking aloud" type stuff. Chris Day 15:31, 9 May 2008 (CDT)

Your input

Hello Dr. Sanger, could I have your input on a very sensitive issue at CZ Talk:Naming Conventions#naming is separate from neutrality, only based on common use?? It's about Dokdo/Liancourt Rocks/Takeshima article - the name & the presentation of it. A few people have made productive comments already. I let one of my friends borrow my book on the Imjin War, so I can't work on that article right now -I'll just start working on the Liancourt Rocks article. As I've said at the talk page, it's an issue that could bring a lot of negative publicity for Citizendium, but no one should be afraid to make the right decision. I suspect that you're very busy, so just a comment be great. Thank you very much. (Chunbum Park 23:52, 8 May 2008 (CDT))

OK --Larry Sanger 09:59, 9 May 2008 (CDT)

Transfer of content from and to EoE and other scholarly wikis

Hi Larry, as Encyclopedia of Earth have recently won a 2008 best website award (by GeoScience Information Society) for Earth science-based websites, I was wondering whether and how articles from there can be imported to CZ (the same question arises for the opposite direction, though perhaps more so in the future). I know they use a Creative Commons CC-by-sa 2.5 license and CZ's one is Creative Commons CC-by-sa 3.0 but this does not tell me exactly how to treat, citationwise, an EoE article that has been substantially remodeled after import to CZ. Related to that is a broader issue (which might have been discussed here before, but I haven't seen it), namely whether some kind of semi-automated synchronization between EoE, [2] and other scholarly wikis is planned and what obstacles are in the way. Thanks. -- Daniel Mietchen 05:12, 9 May 2008 (CDT)

Hi Daniel--I helped do the initial planning and policy-writing for EoE, as you might know, and I know its Editor-in-Chief (Cutler Cleveland) pretty well. In the early months of CZ's existence I discussed the relationship between CZ and EoE with him and others involved. We were not able to come to any clear result. In short, EoE's leadership, like that of every reasonably successful resource, is proud of their accomplishments and policies and whatnot. Creating any program in which content is systematically shared turns out to have virtually insurmountable political problems (taking "political" in a broad sense). In the software world, we say that when a fork happens, it's difficult to re-merge, because there are sometimes so many changes in the core code that merging would be more trouble than its worth. In short, the programs are incompatible. In the content world, it is not content that is incompatible, but editorial systems. At least, that's the conclusion I have come to. Actually, not long ago I was still thinking that I might spearhead an effort to bring together various online scholarly encyclopedias. It sounds great, doesn't it? Why "duplicate" effort? Why not build strength through numbers? Then I started thinking through how that could be done.

There's another whole reason not to get too excited about such mergers, and also not to get too excited about sharing content, even though our licenses permit it. Ultimately, it's not as good for the end user. The end user wants the largest variety of top-quality resources available. One of the profound advantages of CZ is precisely that it isn't Wikipedia--it's an alternative. So if we use too many Wikipedia articles, we greatly lower our usefulness to the end user. Similarly if anyone else uses a lot of our content. This would be why EoE wouldn't be too interested in using our stuff: why do so when it's already available on But EoE does do a very useful public service in that they centralize a lot of widely scattered information. But they did so from a lot of relatively small and obscure resources, not from general resources like Wikipedia and CZ.

Finally, unless I am very much confused and mistaken, one specific problem about EoE is that many of its articles are not, in fact, licensed under CC-by-sa; if they claim that they are, I think they are mistaken and are misusing the license. That's because a large number of EoE articles (a majority? I'd like to know) have been systematically collected from various copyrighted sources and republished by EoE. example It's the same way with EoLife. They'd like to be consistently CC, but they can't be, because their content suppliers aren't on board with that. --Larry Sanger 10:49, 9 May 2008 (CDT)

P.S. if you want to conclude that somebody ought to centralize all these resources by simply reproducing all the content in one place, you're way behind the curve. has been trying to do that for a long time...and they aren't profitable, and I for one never use 'em...go figure... --Larry Sanger 10:53, 9 May 2008 (CDT)

Thanks for signaling around the curve ;-) -- the motivation behind my inquiry was that, if I am to engage in duplicating efforts, I want to be conscious about it and have a good reason why to do it, which will help me to decide how far to go with that. I am not yet too familiar with licensing but now that you pointed it out, I saw that only part of EoE is licensed cc-by-sa, and I see that this creates compatibility problems with projects using this license consistently. -- Daniel Mietchen 11:52, 9 May 2008 (CDT)

from D. Matt Innis talk page

What is the policy on porting a CZ article to Wikipedia?

Matt, I just created a new article on Fluid catalytic cracking and am thinking of also posting it in Wikipedia. Is there a policy against doing that? - Milton Beychok 03:47, 9 May 2008 (CDT)

Hmm, Milton, I am not that familiar with copyright issues, but that is a very good question and I need to know the answer, too. I'll ask Larry. --D. Matt Innis 07:44, 9 May 2008 (CDT)

How could there be? If you are the sole author of some content, you still retain copyright over it. You need not ask anybody's permission for doing whatever you want with your own work. What we might have a problem with is if you use a version of your work that has been edited by anybody else. In that case, it can be reused only under CC-by-sa.

That said--er, why contribute to Wikipedia at all?  :-) If it's already on CZ, why does the world need another copy of the same thing on WP? --Larry Sanger 11:00, 9 May 2008 (CDT)

Exactly. It might get vandalized a sec after you port it. (Chunbum Park 11:07, 9 May 2008 (CDT))
Answer is obvious: to be found by Google. --Paul Wormer 14:12, 9 May 2008 (CDT)
Yeah, there's that. But if you thought that was a good reason, why are you here at all? --Larry Sanger 15:02, 9 May 2008 (CDT)
Larry, as I said in my original query of Matt, I am at this moment only considering contributing a copy to Wikipedia of the CZ article I wrote on Fluid catalytic cracking. Paul, my motivation is not to have it found by Google. It is simply that the current article on Wikipedia on that subject is so poorly done that it offends me ... and I am willing to take the time to keep it from getting badly vandalized. I am here in CZ because it is a much better environment in which to create good engineering articles for an online encyclopedia ... but it really bothers me to see a bad article in my field of expertise published anywhere, especially when I can easily replace it with a better written one. - Milton Beychok 22:18, 9 May 2008 (CDT)
I was just provoking and teasing a little, I don't really care so much if Google will find us right now. I trust that that time will come. I don't understand Milton's motivation too well (nevertheless I will read his article carefully). Milton takes a big chance to get into a terrible edit war, because, although he might find the WP article poorly done, its contributors surely don't and will defend their work. But Milton is an old WP hand and surely knows this.--Paul Wormer 00:28, 10 May 2008 (CDT)
I told myself I was staying out of this--major struggle...! Aleta Curry 03:54, 11 May 2008 (CDT)
Okay, something that just happened yesterday changed my mind about butting in. I got e-mail from a woman at WP asking for help (though I didn't recognise it as such in the beginning, she wrote as a CZ contributor--she isn't, but she *did* sign up for an account way back when). Long story short (her version of it, anyway) she and other authors are being plagued by a vandal at WP and have petitioned the administration to no avail. She wrote to several CZers asking if any of us could go straight to the top and get this taken care of (my words, not hers).
Now, just this morning, while looking up something online, I happened to notice a stupid bit of vandalism over at WP. An article was unilaterally redirected by a person whose native tongue is not English, to a title that simply does not exist in the dog world. I *could* have stopped in to the TALK page and asked why, put forth a case for having it moved back. My experience tells me that despite my better impulses and my absolute "rightness", this will be a complete waste of time. Chances are that a person who would do something so deliberate and idiotic has a complete set of rational/arguments just waiting for a hapless somebody like me, and even if I win this, it will be at SUCH A COST in terms of time and effort as to make it valueless, considering that I could get it changed, and someone else could come along and redirect it again five minutes later.
Let me make an analogy: when I was much younger, I would have expended mucho energy agonising with a friend over her dysfunctional family. Today, I would say listen: your family is dysfunctional. I'll listen sympathetically once, but that's it. Leave your sick family, get a competent professional to help you figure out why you *won't* leave your sick family, or stay there and suffer. Your choice, but don't expect me to stay and help you wallow; I got places to go and things to do and I ain't gettin' any younger.
I understand completely Milton's argument: "It is simply that the current article on Wikipedia on that subject is so poorly done that it offends me ... and I am willing to take the time to keep it from getting badly vandalized. I am here in CZ because it is a much better environment in which to create good engineering articles for an online encyclopedia ... but it really bothers me to see a bad article in my field of expertise published anywhere, especially when I can easily replace it with a better written one." Yeah, look, I could say the same thing about many articles over at WP.
As a rational human, there're only so many hours I'm willing to waste at this stage of the game. I consider rehashing old territory a waste of time, and redoing work I've already done a foolish and abysmal waste of time, so I refuse to do it.
Of course, anyone else is free to spend his time as he pleases; I do respect that. But, if CZ were a paying company and I were the boss, I would ask myself and my employees this: if you're going to export an article you wrote here somewhere else and leave it, que sera sera, that's one thing. If you're going to spend the time and energy that's needed to maintain and protect it over there, is that the best use of your time, and from the point of view of self-interest, how good is that for CZ?
Aleta Curry 18:28, 11 May 2008 (CDT)
I gotta say that I agree 100% with Aleta on this. I probably started a hundred or so articles at Wikipedia, maybe more, and contributed major portions of many others. Now I still check into WP once or twice a day to glance at my Watchlist and to see what the cretins and vandals are up to in a general way. Once in a great while I'll actually go to an article on my Watchlist to see *specifically* what the cretins have done. Then I leave. As Aleta says, life is too short to continue getting involved in this stuff. Let some one else make the corrections. It hurts me to leave some of the idiocies the way they are, but if I start getting reinvolved with them, in that way lies madness. When we lived in Tahiti, for a couple of years my wife and I were friends with a beautiful, intelligent, capable, sophisticated Chinese lady with an excellent job who was like that old-time Al Capp character who used to walk around with a black raincloud over his head as he stumbled innocently from one disaster to the next. This lady was like that: with boyfriends, with her family, with her finances, with *everything*. Finally we stopped inviting her to dinner; my wife, however, who was really big-hearted, would continue to have the occasional lunch with her. When my wife returned, I would say, "*Please* don't tell me about her latest catastrophe." She would smile, and sigh, and say, "You don't want to know about it." That's the way I feel about Wikipedia. Sigh.... Hayford Peirce 19:17, 11 May 2008 (CDT)
Milton added this to WP. Now WP has two articles on the same subject, a good one (by Milton) and a poorly done one, this. Up to the 3 000 000! --Paul Wormer 04:28, 12 May 2008 (CDT)

thanks for help on Shannon

Larry, thanks for moving the list of Claude Shannon works to a separate tab. Good idea!Pat Palmer 12:36, 9 May 2008 (CDT)

No prob! --Larry Sanger 12:47, 9 May 2008 (CDT)

Definition update

Just to keep you updated with my actions and thoughts.

  1. Definition now appears a the top of each talk page. Do we want to call it description instead of definition since definition is not appropriate for biographies, for one. Description seems a bit more general.
  2. If we do change it to description do we really want the subpage named definition?
  3. The def tab will appear at the top of the page if there is no definition with a preload link. This has the benefit of acting as a visual reminder to create the definition as well as a convenient link to make sure the content and location of the definition subpage are correct. Once the definition has been created there will be no tab.
  4. For now I have put a definition category on the talk page too, so we can catch most definitions this way, certainly all articles with a definition whether on the Template Def:Article name or Article name/Definition subpage (with or without the {{subpages}} template). Note though, that this list will not include ALL definitions since some definitions at Template Def:Article name will be not be associated with an article talk page yet. Likewise, any Article name/Definition without the subpages template and with no associated talk page will be missed. This latter group will be rarer and likely the result of moving a page from a Template Def:Article name location. Once we have all the definitions at the correct subpage location with a subpages template we will have a definitive list of ALL definitions.

Chris Day 13:52, 9 May 2008 (CDT)


  1. "Description" is more general and therefore precise, but it is also much less clear than "definition" when it comes to concepts. If I ask you to give me a definition of "cell membrane," you'll know what to say much better than if I ask you to give me a description of cell membranes. I think we can stand a little sloppy imprecision for the sake of simplicity.
  2. I'd rather not change it.
  3. Looks great to me. I see no problem with it. I do wonder if there shouldn't be some more prefill there...don't know.
  4. I absolutely love the fact that this allows us to list all the checklisted articles without definitions. How cool is that? With this, we can organize a Big Define, or a Define-a-Thon :-) . Anyway, as you just saw because you were cc'd, I just asked the tech crew to mass rename the def templates to subpages. Let's see if they actually do this (and it works...I don't see why they can't and it won't...).

--Larry Sanger 15:32, 9 May 2008 (CDT)