User talk:Larry Sanger/Archive 7

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Thoughts on approval

Hi Larry, on the Template talk:Subpages4 page I gave you a very brief comment with respect to subpage approval. Even before subpages were official we were wrestling with this concept with respect to the gallery pages (see the old discussion here). Obviously the comments there do not take into account the more complex subpage grouping we are currently attempting simulate into the approval process, nevertheless, it is probably a good starting point. Also note in that discussion the idea of an Approval area was being discussed in more detail. I still consider this an important tool for approval and it will be easier to implement with the new subpage environment. I will try and reformulate these ideas taking into account the new CZ environment. Chris Day (talk) 10:50, 26 July 2007 (CDT)

Please do. See the bottom of CZ:Subpage Pilot. --Larry Sanger 14:11, 26 July 2007 (CDT)

Curious: subpage name

If Constellation and Compendium are too long ( See CZ:Name of subpage set?), why not collection? Chris Day (talk) 10:53, 26 July 2007 (CDT)

I was writing too fast. "Compendium" is an unusual word and not instantly recognizable (even for people visiting "the Citizens' Compendium"), and has four syllables. "Collection" has the same number of letters but is simpler and has one less syllable. FWIW. --Larry Sanger 14:10, 26 July 2007 (CDT)

small change

New bug? [1] I'm not sure what your exact issue is but one of the reason i noticed the clock problem was due to problems with seeing text and having to refresh pages. Here is an example of the problem. I replied to one of your posts, probably almost immediately. For some reason the server clocked my edit as being prior to yours, which was clearly not the case. Consequently, my reply to your edit did not show up since your post was 'technically' the last from a chronological perspective. Interestingly my text could be viewed in edit mode but not in browse mode (not sure of the technical terms here). i think if you get the clock fixed many of these problem will disappear. Chris Day (talk) 23:05, 26 July 2007 (CDT)

Here is the diff. Note that now the CZ server has them in the correct chronological order but the time stamp is still incorrect. Mine is 17:38 where as the post of yours i was replying to is timestamped as 17:39. ??? Chris Day (talk) 23:13, 26 July 2007 (CDT)
Screen capture of page history
Another example. My minor change to the title 'controversy --> controversey two' was the last edit but the time stamp indicates differently. If you look at the page history my edit appears to have been before Ben's. In reality this was not the case. When edits are fast and furious this small time lag in time stamping creates a very confusing history of the edits. My conclusion is that not only is the clock wrong but by different amounts for each user. I know for me it is ten minutes off. For Robert King it is six minutes off (see discussion here for proof). Chris Day (talk) 10:07, 27 July 2007 (CDT)
Same issue yesterday here [2] with this at Stonewall riots. Todd's edit was before mine but system has it round the other way. --Ian Johnson 10:17, 27 July 2007 (CDT)

FYI, I reported this to and cited this talk page section. Chris Day (talk) 10:24, 27 July 2007 (CDT)

Thanks, Chris--I reported it twice earlier, too. Now let's see if anything happens... ;-) --Larry Sanger 10:31, 27 July 2007 (CDT)

Something getting done is dependent on someone with server access (Jason or Greg, both of whom have full time jobs and other committments) fixing the problem. I've already partially identified the issue, and I'll reproduce my explanation here:

I think that what's happening is that locke and reid (the two HTTP servers) have a time gap. I already recommended using NTP (Network Time Protocol) to fix the clocks on the two. That should get them within a second of each other, if anyone (Greg or Jason) can do install it and set it up.
The way Citizendium works, we have two servers which handle HTTP requests. This means that when you visit Citizendium, you get sent to one server or the other either randomly or based on whichever one is least busy. That server then essentially acts as an intermediary between you and the database, grabbing what you need out of the database and presenting it as a web page, and taking what you submit and sticking it in the database. When it sticks something in the database, the timestamp is set by the server's time. So since the server times differ, it's possible for someone to submit something on the "behind/slower" server after someone on the "ahead/faster" server and have it show up as an earlier change.
The servers should have a method of checking their clocks against a master clock, but that functionality appears to be missing/broken. That functionality is NTPd (Network Time Protocol daemon). If you have a Mac, you may have used it before without noticing. Basically, it asks another server what time it is, accounts for network delay, and off it goes. The servers it queries would use something like the Atomic Clock to get the time.
I haven't done enough checking to figure out which one (locke or reid) is ahead of the other (because I have far too much to do and I am on dial-up internet over the summer) or how they got out of sync, but setting up NTP against either a Steadfast NTP server (if they have one) or should give us good enough (+/- 0.5 seconds) precision for our purposes. --ZachPruckowski (Speak to me) 14:59, 27 July 2007 (CDT)
We could probably live with something as bad as 15 seconds but the current 4 minutes (or what ever it is) is a real problem. So a manual fix might be sufficient for now, rather than making sure they are synchronized all the time (which is obviously preferable). Chris Day (talk) 15:04, 27 July 2007 (CDT)

Week 1

Larry, just a note to say that at the end of week 1 on CZ, my experience here has been most constructive and very satisfying. The tone and level of both content and discourse at CZ is very impressive, and for me it is a case of 'so far, so good'. Just wanted to let you know too that I have some ideas about the PR for CZ that we were discussing last week. Will spend time getting the articles I have been working on into improving shape first then will send you some thoughts on that. Thanks again for a nice first week as a "Citizen". I left a comment for you too over at Gay [3].  ;-) --Ian Johnson 03:08, 28 July 2007 (CDT)

Excellent, glad to hear it! --Larry Sanger 03:31, 28 July 2007 (CDT)

redirect to drafts

I think it was first floated here.,904.0.html

I saw the problem on the biology related. Very strange. I'll try and figure it out. I'll need to think it over its not an obvious problem. This will be a good chance to review, clean up and document what we have so far. Chris Day (talk) 09:26, 28 July 2007 (CDT)

Very good, thanks! --Larry Sanger 12:19, 28 July 2007 (CDT)

Alphabet Soup

Hi Larry - just a thought. As CZ grows, can there be at the top and bottom of each of the contents 'Live articles' index pages a hyperlinked "A-B-C-D-E...W-X-Y-Z" that would allow people to use it as a quick way to jump around quickly within that list to reach more quickly that part of the list for the subject they are wanting to search for? --Ian Johnson 07:53, 29 July 2007 (CDT)

I am pretty sure such a thing could be made into a template. Seems like a good idea. --Larry Sanger 08:46, 29 July 2007 (CDT)

You can probably copy the template from Wikipedia. Michael Hardy 18:00, 29 July 2007 (CDT)

OK, let's try one:

Contents: Top - 0–9 A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Right, but that isn't usable on, for example, Category:CZ Live, where you can link to specific places in a list, like this: {{alpha cat}} --Larry Sanger 23:12, 30 July 2007 (CDT)

CZ Write-a-Thon

Larry, I have emailed you with an important message on this: this is just to encourage you to read the email! --Martin Baldwin-Edwards 05:46, 31 July 2007 (CDT)

Very good, thanks. --Larry Sanger 06:02, 31 July 2007 (CDT)

On stubs

I would like to ask if the policy on stubs have changed, since I remember someone on the forum mentioned it but forgot where it was exactly. Thanks! Yi Zhe Wu 21:36, 31 July 2007 (CDT)

No, not really. We didn't come to any conclusions. So, stubs under 50 words are still deletable, and we encourage any new articles to be considerably over that. But it has always been all right to create 150 word stubs. The question we were considering was whether we should officially encourage stubs that are at least between, say, 150 and 250 words. We never came to a conclusion about that. --Larry Sanger 00:27, 1 August 2007 (CDT)

"Make mine a gay bacon lettuce and tomato thanks"  ;-)

GBLT--also a tasty sandwich!

(Larry, I have been using that joke in meetings for some years and believing I invented it. Either I talk too much - quite possible - and my thinking is now received wisdom, or, inspired (and amused) minds think alike. --Ian Johnson 04:38, 1 August 2007 (CDT))
Note for you over at GLBT Talk --Ian Johnson 05:04, 1 August 2007 (CDT)

Gee, I thought I just came up with it myself. --Larry Sanger 05:08, 1 August 2007 (CDT)

I think it is probably a 'great minds think alike' thing ;-) and it is pretty funny. Thanks for those links to the 'related pages' examples - they should help to keep things improving in the CZ GLBT world.--Ian Johnson 05:35, 1 August 2007 (CDT)

Good one, L-rry S-ng-r! Thanks. David Hoffman 12:48, 1 August 2007 (CDT)

Global warming and edit wars

Hi Larry,

I just read in the forum you are going to test new rules about avoiding edit wars on Global warming. Great, we need it. But please note I'll be unavailable 5-17 of august, won't be able to access the wiki.

Editor Raymond Arritt, who worked hard on the article, may take care of this process, and is certainly more qualified than me on this particular topic. I fear, however, he'll be the only editor at play for the days to come.

Ciao, --Nereo Preto 03:46, 3 August 2007 (CDT)

Samantha Smith

Well, there is not much more to really add to her story. And I *did* click the "article is from Wikipedia?" box. Paul Austin 07:54, 3 August 2007 (CDT)

Aha. Probably what happened is that the only edit you made to the article, one time, was to check the box. But the change won't "take" if it's the only change you make. You need to add or subtract some whitespace, or make some other edit, in order for the checkbox change to register.

The question isn't whether there's more to add to her story, it's whether we can possibly do a better job. Surely a better job can be done. --Larry Sanger 09:42, 3 August 2007 (CDT)

What would you suggest? I'm new to CZ so any advice would be appreciated. I admire you a lot Larry. Paul Austin 10:08, 3 August 2007 (CDT)

Thanks, Paul. Well, Article Mechanics was written as a way of introduce people to our standards, so I'd recommend that. Also, CZ:WP2CZ and CZ:Introduction to CZ for Wikipedians. I assume you've already seen How to get started as an author. What I saw of the S Smith article looked pretty good, to be honest. I'm just making a general point about that. We do make an exception for classes of articles composed primarily (if not only) by a person who has come to CZ to maintain those articles here. --Larry Sanger 10:46, 3 August 2007 (CDT)

Another one for Dispute Watch

Race. In particular, note the bias in the heading added recently. Anthony Argyriou 10:55, 3 August 2007 (CDT)

Right you are. Forgot about that one. --Larry Sanger 10:56, 3 August 2007 (CDT)

A comment here was deleted by The Constabulary on grounds of making complaints about fellow Citizens. If you have a complaint about the behavior of another Citizen, e-mail It is contrary to Citizendium policy to air your complaints on the wiki. See also CZ:Professionalism.

An editor involved has complained, and essentially doesn't want to be in the test. I'm respecting his wishes, and so I'm removing the dispute watch. --Larry Sanger 12:03, 3 August 2007 (CDT)

What to put into each national Catalog of cuisine

Hi, Larry! When you have a moment, could you please take a look at the "What to put into each national Catalog of cuisine" section of Talk:Catalog of Chinese cuisine. There are now at least a dozen of these Catalogs, with the Italian and Chinese ones particularly expanding rapidly. But there are important questions to be resolved, I think, before we go much further, and your thoughts on them would be very welcomed. Thanks! Hayford Peirce 12:16, 4 August 2007 (CDT)


Larry before i start changing all the templates here is what I propose (see Template:Metadata/Anthropology). So not only getting rid of the info part in the template name but switching the order too. This make it more clear that this is a metadata template with anthopology data. As opposed to Template:Anthropology/Metadata that some would confuse as a subpage of anthropology, which it is definitely not. Chris Day (talk) 13:48, 4 August 2007 (CDT)

I don't think it is possible to use Template:Metadata/Anthropology, we'll have to use Template:Anthropology/Metadata. The trick i used for the sub-subpages does not work unless anthropology (or article name) goes first in the template name. Chris Day (talk) 02:32, 6 August 2007 (CDT)

OK, very good. Not surprisingly, you didn't need my input to make progress.  :-) Sorry for the delayed reply--I've been away from the Internet entirely for the last 2.5 days. So, have the info pages been renamed then? --Larry Sanger 04:19, 6 August 2007 (CDT)

I was waiting for your thoughts before forging ahead with actually renaming them. I'll go ahead and do it. Chris Day (talk) 08:03, 6 August 2007 (CDT)

Talk pages

Larry, I see that yet another of my replies [to inaccurate and time-wasting comments] on the Talk page of Race has been removed on the grounds of civility. There is really very little point in having experts on CZ if we have to pretend that our opinions are no better than anyone else's. My personal solution to this problem will be not to discuss on Talk pages, as this is a waste of time and effort which would be better spent on writing the article. --Martin Baldwin-Edwards 06:25, 6 August 2007 (CDT)

streamlining categories

I have turned my mind to the category placement. Is there any real difference between Category:Philosophy_Checklisted_Articles and Category:Philosophy Workgroup. I understand that is not the case now but it should be in the future. In the ideal world (all fossil categories removed from the articles, subpage template placed automatically on all new mainspace pages and all categories automatically placed by that template) they will represent the same set of articles in CZ. How do we currently generate the list of unchecklisted articles. Would it get messed up if i removed the check list categories and replaced them with workgroup categories? Chris Day (talk) 10:03, 6 August 2007 (CDT)

Yes, in the future, they should be the same, because all articles assigned to the Philosophy Workgroup should be checklisted. I agree with your reasoning.

But remove the checklist categories now? Let's see. If you were to remove the checklisted articles categories, those categories would become effectively useless. Now, the reason we had them was so that people could track our progress in compiling checklisted articles. But, strictly speaking, it seems pointless--except for the overarching category Category:Checklisted Articles, since that represents all article statuses. Of course, after this category is automatically generated by the template and placed on all articles, then it can be renamed Category:Articles. Anyway, since Aleks has been compiling a list of unchecklisted articles, and I think (??) his script doesn't make use of any "checklisted" categories of ours, I don't think any "checklisted x" categories serve any purpose...of course, I could be wrong, especially since I'm worn out...

I'm having to take a rest from my vacation. I should be back in action tomorrow. --Larry Sanger 11:59, 6 August 2007 (CDT)

I'll talk with Aleks but we can leave it as is for now. The beauty of this system is that all these changes can be made at a later date without having to change any of the articles or the placement of the templates. Chris Day (talk) 12:17, 6 August 2007 (CDT)
Roughly, unchecklisted articles are compiled by subtracting Checklisted_Articles from Special:Allpages, no "checklisted x" is used. Anyway, the script can be adjusted to the system when it changes (placement of categories etc). I'm trying to follow -- so I'm here ;-) -- but please let me know if there are innovations. Aleksander Stos 12:41, 6 August 2007 (CDT)
Always innovations ;) here is a brief synopsis of wht i'm thinking. Place all categories on the article page. Get rid of checklist and replace with workgroup aritcles and articles category (these were formerly placed manually). One option I'm mulling is a watchlist category. This is placed on all subpages, the article and draft as well as the article talk page and the Draft talk page. The watch list categories can then be used as workgroup watchlists. I'm sure these ideas will change as we progress. Chris Day (talk) 13:14, 6 August 2007 (CDT)

Gublist page

See CZ:Buglist for the primary setup.--Robert W King 13:21, 7 August 2007 (CDT)

Great! Thanks! --Larry Sanger 14:15, 7 August 2007 (CDT)

Timelines vs Tables

Hey Larry, I noticed you moved the article International Space Station/Timelines to International Space Station/Tables. The reason I had this information under Timelines is because it is arranged chronologically, giving a "timeline" of the construction and the crews to the space station. As far as I can tell from CZ:Supbage Pilot the Timelines subpage is still standard. Are you sure this data belongs better in "Tables" rather than "Timelines"? Carl Jantzen 14:25, 7 August 2007 (CDT)

Yes, for the simple reason that it's not just a timeline. --Larry Sanger 23:37, 7 August 2007 (CDT)

Content is from Wikipedia?

Also, one thing that I've noticed about CZ that concerns me somewhat is the apparent lax attitude toward GFDL compliance. I regularly run across articles that clearly have elements from Wikipedia in them, yet the WP box is not checked. When you moved the Timeline page mentioned above I noticed one possible cause for this: when a WP-checked page is moved, the new page doesn't have the WP-box checked. I feel strongly that however you decide to license CZ-original articles, it is very, very important that all WP-derived articles are released under the GFDL, respecting the wishes of the original contributers. It seems to me, then, that it is equally important that we enforce using the WP box for all articles. Maybe as a first step the software should be updated to keep the WP box checked when moving pages? Carl Jantzen 14:25, 7 August 2007 (CDT)

Carl, first, for the latter feature, you can put in a feature request at CZ:Bug reports (actually, we need a separate page for feature requests); but don't hold your breath, as this is a volunteer organization, as you know.
You are simply incorrect that we have a "lax attitude toward GFDL compliance." I don't recall encountering a single person on CZ who actually knew of the requirement of checking the box who evinced a "lax attitude." --Larry Sanger 23:35, 7 August 2007 (CDT)
P.S. Please do continue this on the forums, if you like. --Larry Sanger 23:36, 7 August 2007 (CDT)
Carl, there is certainly no lax attitude about the matter among the constabulary and, as best I can tell, frequent contributors and Wikipedians. Please, as you see the problem, fix it and place a brief note on the talk page to that effect. That'd be great.
Larry, as an important redundancy, we should extend the article checklist to have a Y or N on whether there is content from WP.
 —Stephen Ewen (Talk) 14:49, 7 August 2007 (CDT)
On a slightly related note, I think there should be something done to discourage the importing of WP articles anyway. That would solve this problem all together.--Robert W King 14:51, 7 August 2007 (CDT)
These suggestions would be good to take to the Forums--and I'd like to see actual arguments for what you propose, Steve and Robert. Neither of these suggestions is just obviously a good idea... --Larry Sanger 23:35, 7 August 2007 (CDT)


Thanks for the notes. What I'm doing is going back and getting my original contributions prior to wikipedia editors etc. getting hold of them so they should be ok. I understood that if they are my original work then I do not have to check the wikipedia box? The hominin article is original - I wrote it today. I will strive to maintain them to the best of my ability. I was kind of horrified to see how much is missing in the Anthropology/Paleontology area when I created internal links, but what I will try to do is get these missing spaces going by filling in the red links wiht articles as time permits.

Lee R. Berger 07:07, 10 August 2007 (CDT)

Excellent, thanks! Sounds like you understand very well. I just added this as your case is very far from being unique. And thanks very much for hominini. See CZ:New Article of the Week. --Larry Sanger 07:19, 10 August 2007 (CDT)

Hominini or Hominin

  • Morning Larry - I actually agree it should be Hominin, but when I typed that in it redirected me to Hominini and I was new at the time.... I have planned to write a short hominid article that would review the use of the term - for completeness I would think -unless you think an article that simply redirected to this one would be more efficient? I beleive that there certainly should be an article for Homo and each genus and species eventually e.g. Homo sapiens, Homo erectus etc. I guess one of the things that attracts me to a web-based encyclopedia of this nature is that eventually one could review all of human knowledge in one place and that really is something. Is that the basic philosophy you are going for? I'm busy working up the Primate article now and by bracketing every genus and species was hoping that some clever primatologist would pick one or two and fill these in. Is that the way to go?

Lee R. Berger 07:18, 11 August 2007 (CDT)

I was just asking questions, I don't presume to have opinions about them. I would say redirect hominini to hominin. You can do this yourself using the "move" tab. Definitely the idea is that one can review or sum up all of human knowledge; that's what an encyclopedia does, after all, right? But with CZ:Subpage Pilot we aim to have more information than what is contained in a traditional encyclopedia--it will be, instead, a collection of all sorts of reference information. --Larry Sanger 08:08, 11 August 2007 (CDT)

I thought a hominini was like a panini, only with more cheese.--Robert W King 08:13, 11 August 2007 (CDT)


Hi Larry--Left a comment over at Write-a-Thon talk page and want to let you know I am going to send you an email about that PR stuff we started talking about last month.--Ian Johnson 08:06, 11 August 2007 (CDT)

Ok dokey --Larry Sanger 08:08, 11 August 2007 (CDT)

Email sent to sanger -at -citizendium dot org

Comparison graph

I know that the statistics page is updated every month or so. What is your opinion that we might be better measured against ?--Robert W King 10:40, 12 August 2007 (CDT)

I don't understand the question...? --Larry Sanger 10:50, 12 August 2007 (CDT)

Just checking

Just wanted to check that I havn't weighed in too early without enough experience (re: forum discussion on accreditation) - this is your baby and I am a very big (but new) admirer of the freedom of info. principle - please tell me if I've gone to far and I'll stick to adding articles and pics!

Lee R. Berger 12:35, 12 August 2007 (CDT)

Well, I don't think there are any real experts on this stuff; we are still learning, and many things have never been tried. I am doctrinaire about only a few things, and as you'll discover, I like to try out a lot of things, and they don't always work. Also, please don't be offended if I don't always reply instantly. I have many things going at once and sometimes this means that some things slip... --Larry Sanger 12:49, 12 August 2007 (CDT)


I must have missed the change - was using the New York City example you sent me previously. Oh well, once more we go...--Ian Johnson 13:45, 12 August 2007 (CDT)


Thanks for your comments on my "essentials" subpage. BTW, I moved it to my userspace and finally put some thoughts in answer, you may see it here. Shall work on it further towards a more concrete proposition of a subpage (now I'm pretty convinced it'd be really needed). Aleksander Stos 15:31, 13 August 2007 (CDT)

Let me know, please, when you've got it in a subpage proposal form. It seems like a very useful feature. --Larry Sanger 15:39, 27 August 2007 (CDT)

Workgroup for kilt atricle

As promised, I have posted some thoughts on this topic on the Talk page of the article in question. It includes a proposal for expanding the scope of the Topic Informants WG to handle this and other similar WG conundrums.

James F. Perry 16:25, 14 August 2007 (CDT)

OK, thanks --Larry Sanger 22:21, 14 August 2007 (CDT)

Caves in Geography workgroup

I am thinking of adding all of these fossil localities into the Geography workgroup. Your thoughts? Also, at what stage will we add a paleontology work group if ever?

Lee R. Berger 12:07, 15 August 2007 (CDT)

I don't know when the workgroup might be formed. I'll definitely be giving more thought to that soon, though. I don't know if geographers know or care much about caves. Speleologists are geologists, i.e., Earth Scientists --Larry Sanger 15:42, 27 August 2007 (CDT)

Well, you would know better than me, perhaps, but if the caves are geologically interesting, they would be studied by speleologists, who are geologists, and hence in the Earth Science Workgroup. There are a lot of more specialized workgroups we've got to set up. --Larry Sanger 13:28, 15 August 2007 (CDT)

  • ok - I'll look at Earth Sciences. I guess I was thinking about them as "places". Palaeontology is almost certainly going to need its own workgroup as "we" love taxonomy and encyclopedic entries on obscure forms.... Another one that seems to pop up here is a subcategory workgroup on "animals" aka the dog discussion of a few days ago. Right now every species of animal is going to fall under the general workgroup of biology but just wait until the mountain of zoologists descend upon this website!

Lee R. Berger

    • I should have used the term "herd" of zoologists....

Lee R. Berger 13:46, 15 August 2007 (CDT)

Right--actually, I think we could potentially increase the number of specialists here if we had more specialized workgroups. But we don't want to create a "ghost town" effect by creating zillions of groups that have no one in them. --Larry Sanger 15:42, 27 August 2007 (CDT)

Priority list in Anthropology Workgroup

I have added a Priority List to the the CZ:Anthropology Workgroup - with the hope of getting some of the major headings in our field at least at the developed state. Is this ok? I'm off to Madagascar for two weeks so if this is not in line just delete what I added (or move it) and I'll discuss it in further detail with you and the anthro editors when I get back on-line.

Lee R. Berger 01:04, 21 August 2007 (CDT)

I think it's exactly the sort of thing we need on those workgroup homepages. Thanks! --Larry Sanger 15:43, 27 August 2007 (CDT)


Good luck with that! Are you speaking in a University or does the institute have its own convention center? I go to Trinity so I might actually go along if its near the city center (The college is right in the heart of the city). Whats the topic? Denis Cavanagh 08:58, 23 August 2007 (CDT)

I don't know the answers to either question. My impression was that the Institute of European Affairs was an independent entity with its own offices, but I don't know. While I'm not sure of the topic, it is almost certain to have something to do with the politics of online communities, which is also the topic of my new book. --Larry Sanger 09:02, 23 August 2007 (CDT)

Larry, when are you speaking there? The organisation I work for has membership of the IEA, so I can try to go along. Anton Sweeney 04:40, 3 September 2007 (CDT)

It's Sept. 28. I don't know any other details... --Larry Sanger 07:28, 3 September 2007 (CDT)

Scarborough Castle

Thanks for nominating this for the new draft of the week. Work still in progress, but done from scratch mostly by a Scarborian in Scarborough (until I go back to Japan). I think this (new) article of the week thing has been a great success. John Stephenson 12:12, 24 August 2007 (CDT)

You're very welcome. Yes, I think it's been a success, too! --Larry Sanger 15:43, 27 August 2007 (CDT)

Space Debris

Hey Larry, you commented a couple of weeks ago that the "significant debris impact events" section was missing from our space debris article. I just wanted to let you know that I've re-incorporated information on two verifiable impact events (the CERISE satellite and the woman in Oklahoma) and added a couple of more from my own research. The information is in the Dangers section. Let me know what you think. --Carl Jantzen 22:43, 25 August 2007 (CDT)

Cool, thanks! Well done--seems more professional than what I remember from the WP article. --Larry Sanger 15:45, 27 August 2007 (CDT)

Thanks Larry. I think the article is almost ready for approval, but as far as I can tell there aren't any active astronomy editors. Do you have a suggestion for how I could go about getting it approved? --Carl Jantzen 15:51, 27 August 2007 (CDT)

Try "e-mail this user" to some of the editors. They may not be active now, but this is a way to get them active. --Larry Sanger 16:07, 27 August 2007 (CDT)


Is there any way to have Template:R elegantly handle article redirects or plurals of words? at User:Carl_Jantzen/Sandbox I'm using the template for both "rocket" and "rockets". The way I got the definition to display properly for rockets was by making Def Rockets a redirect to Def Rocket. The only problem with this solution is that whenever a page is redirected a second redirect must be created by hand for the definition template. Is there a way to make the template check to see if the article is being redirected, and if it is to also re-direct the template? --Carl Jantzen 10:24, 27 August 2007 (CDT)

Why do you want "rockets" to display at all? Why not just rocket? That's the name of the article, isn't it? (Are there two articles?) --Larry Sanger 10:27, 27 August 2007 (CDT)

Space Debris/Related Articles looks and sounds better if the term is "rockets" rather than "rocket", because there are more than one of them in orbit. So yes, the article should be named "rocket", but the link should be "rockets". It's like how MediaWiki lets you write [[rocket]]s but the link will still display as rockets so you can use whichever form sounds better in text without having to worry about the clicker ending up on the wrong page. --Carl Jantzen 10:31, 27 August 2007 (CDT)

I see. Well, I disagree. The topic name is "rocket." In the same way that we can speak of the properties of the whale, or the lion, without implying there is only one, we can list topics in the singular form without implying that there's only one of each thing. --Larry Sanger 10:34, 27 August 2007 (CDT)

Ok, well even if it's not necessary for this particular case, I can still see this feature being useful on the wiki as a whole. As one possible example say a dozen different RA pages include {{r|Pittsburgh, History from 1800}} and we finally decide to rename all history pages so the actual article would be History of Pittsburgh from 1800. If the template was redirect-aware this wouldn't cause any problems, but as it stands this would mean manual edits to 12 different RA pages. That doesn't even take into account the edits that would need to be made to RA pages linking to New York, History from 1800, and all the other cities, states, and countries that might have history articles. This also doesn't apply just to large policy shifts in namespacing, but to changing article titles in general. It's probably something that isn't too urgent right now, but would probably be helpful in the long run. Certainly easier than changing all the links by hand or writing a bot to do it. --Carl Jantzen 10:42, 27 August 2007 (CDT)

Well, if I understand you correctly, I agree. I definitely agree that redirection is going to be an ongoing maintenance problem for Related Articles pages. It would be nice if the software were to forward not just the page, but all its subpages and the definition template. I'm not even sure if, when I redirect X, the software knows to redirect the subpage X/Y... --Larry Sanger 15:47, 27 August 2007 (CDT)


Larry, I'm a bit confused by your comment. On CZ:Related Articles it states "x is a subtopic of y =df. discussion of x itself is necessarily also discussion of y". I'm not sure how you discuss the Declaration of Independence, Treaty of Paris, or the Albany Plan without discussing Franklin, who was a primary contributer to all three (The Albany Plan was all his). Are you suggesting that subtopics such as Second Continental Congress, the Pennsylvania Assembly, or Constitutional Convention are more appropriate because those were the legislative bodies he was a part of when creating these documents?

Is there a related articles page created for a person that is considered a good model to go off of?--Todd Coles 13:13, 27 August 2007 (CDT)

I'm not sure about an example...maybe not yet. Anyway you raise a good point, but the key word is "necessarily." You don't necessarily have to talk about Franklin in order to describe the Declaration of Independence. But you do necessarily have to talk about Franklin in order to describe Franklin's diplomatic mission to France. Maybe a more helpful formulation, not necessarily perfectly equivalent to the one you quote, is that if you can imagine the article being a section of the main article, then it's a subtopic. Well, in the Franklin article, you would not describe the D of I, you would describe his role in the D of I, and that could be a subtopic of Benjamin Franklin: BF's role in the D of I. --Larry Sanger 15:33, 27 August 2007 (CDT)


Over at Wikipedia one "Cryptographic hash" at [4] has been adding links to CZ with favorable comments. Richard Jensen 03:38, 2 September 2007 (CDT)

Nice! --Larry Sanger 07:30, 2 September 2007 (CDT)

Another wikipedia heads up. They are talking nice. I responded, but thought you might want to keep informed [5]. --Matt Innis (Talk) 21:14, 2 September 2007 (CDT)


I just moved the "?" so that felinity is not questioned. i also added extra padding to the buttons to try and avoid the bottom being cut off. Do these changes make an difference for the better? By the way, if PUMA is out, it seems people don't like to letters to be ordered in a pronouncable way, what is the best order? P needs to come first since it is not present on some pages. This leaves U,M and A, do you have any preference for a new order? Chris Day (talk) 02:50, 7 September 2007 (CDT)

You know, I actually liked the little icons that you had before, more than the letters. It's not like the letters are more accessible, you know. But anyway, the metadata page really should go first, so if P must go first, I'd say PMAU. As to fixing the IE7 problem, why don't you force a set column width? --Larry Sanger 07:18, 7 September 2007 (CDT)

The heignt is the problem, but now you mention it that can probably be fixed too. What about the button location? They seemed to be jumping right out of the template before; I tried to fix that using a <div>. Minamalist icons were my first choice but in the forums people seemed to think the letters were more intuitive. We can change that later. I will reorder them now. Chris Day (talk) 08:36, 7 September 2007 (CDT)

I'm using IE7 and can't really speak about that IE6 bug... --Larry Sanger 08:43, 7 September 2007 (CDT)

Suggest additions to 'Unused subpages' button

Larry: I had this conversation with Chris Day:

Life/Draft has appendixes, which I would like to move to one or more subpages. On 'Unused Subpages', could we have Additional Content Excluded From Article Text, or something like that?

--Anthony.Sebastian (Talk) 13:02, 6 September 2007 (CDT)

We can definitely have a subpage for such material but we probably want to be a bit more specific than Appendix or Excluded text. All additional subpage names need to go through the editorial council or rubber stamped by Larry. Chris Day (talk) 13:07, 6 September 2007 (CDT)
Suggest then additional entries on 'Unused subpages' button (no need for separate tab for these):
  • "Supplementary text" (for appendixes; excluded sections or sub-sections; extended notes on main/draft article points, etc.);
  • "Brief biosketches of selected individuals referenced in main/draft article" (include links to their websites or websites focusing on them (e.g.,
That would allow me, for example, to move from Life/Draft the Appendixes and the Section on Exobiology, which seems anti-climactic.
Will pass this on to Larry as well.


Larry: Do those two additions seem ok to you, and if so, would you approve?

--Anthony.Sebastian (Talk) 12:16, 7 September 2007 (CDT)

Thanks very much for asking. This is very puzzling, actually. I know what you're trying to do, but I'm not quite sure how to approach it. So I'm inclined to take each appendix individually and think of how to include the material. Appendix A strikes me as a sort of extended footnote. Its context is the article itself, as it is titled, "Other characteristics shared by all living things." If we were to put it on a subpage, it would lose this context, because subpages are not so closely connected to the parent article. So I would frankly leave it where it is. Appendix B is different, however. "Selected definitions of life" strikes me as a "catalog" and so would go on a Tables subpage (or, if we'll be switching them soon, as I think we will, a Catalogs subpage). "The gray zone" is interesting, and I don't know why you wouldn't want to include it in the article itself, but if not, I'm comfortable leaving it at the bottom of the article as Appendix B. Another option, however, is to make it a separate article altogether. I'm not sure how you would title it or identify the topic, though.

There is good sense, I think, to leaving appendixes at the bottom of the article. Again, just as with references (endnotes), they are not contextualized properly if they aren't very closely connected with the article itself. But if you're very enamored of the idea of making them into subpages, I would actually be inclined simply to use "Appendixes" as the subpage type. We just have to be very careful to define appendixes as (1) prose text, which (2) specifically supplements the material in the encyclopedia article. If you want to do that, I could get behind it. --Larry Sanger 12:39, 7 September 2007 (CDT)

One solution is to treat each appendix as a signed article and have the appendixes subpage as a contents page. However, part of the problem here is that the subpage materials really do represent apeendix-like material so I think this might be a bit confusing. I do agree that the first appendix seems to be a good fit in the article itself. Chris Day (talk) 14:24, 7 September 2007 (CDT)

But you don't mean that appendixes would be signed, right? But that they would live on sub-sub-pages, like signed articles? Yes, that's what I would say too, if so--I mean, if we had appendixes in subpages. I agree, the other material is apt to be like so many appendixes, so the word "Appendix" is apt to be confusing.

I just noticed that Anthony had two other proposals above. Brief biosketches seem like they would be best placed on a catalogs page. A section on exobiology should, I imagine, go in exobiology, no? I may not have all the relevant facts.  :-) --Larry Sanger 15:54, 7 September 2007 (CDT)

Yes, you interpreted my comment correctly, they would live on the sub-sub-page. But i do think it might be better to fit them on a more specific subpage, start a new article or leave them in the main article. Sub-subpages are already two clicks away. Chris Day (talk) 16:23, 7 September 2007 (CDT)

I'd like to get Anthony's take. --Larry Sanger 16:33, 7 September 2007 (CDT)

Without referring to the Life/Draft article specifically, I think we improve the cluster by having, on the 'Unused subpages' button page, two additional items (subpage types):
  • "Supplementary text" (for text that elaborates on topics in the main article);
  • "Brief biosketches of selected individuals referenced in main/draft article" (include links to their websites or websites focusing on them (e.g.,; when CZ develops main articles on such persons, the biosketches could be even briefer and link to the CZ article).
In reference to Life/Draft, I can see many topics needing elaboration that would otherwise render the main article text too long and unwieldy. I would like to have a "Supplementary Text" subpage for those kinds of additions.
I would also like to do brief biosketches of selected individuals referenced in the article, for whom no main article yet exists. Especially mentioning their contributions to the subject of the article. Those biosketches might stimulate authors/editors to use them as stub-stubs for prparing a main article biography. It would stimulate me, I know.
I do not think we need an "Appendixes" subpage. "Supplementary text" would take the place of most material authors might put in appendixes, but main articles could still have appendixes. I would convert most of Life/Draft's appendixes to supplementary text, with the groups input.
I have already revised Life/Draft's appendixes. Only one point needed preserving in old Appendix A, which I made as a footnote. The "Definitions of life" appendix I think should go as supplementary text; I have found many, many more definitions by modern biologists that should be added. Likewise, I'd put the exobiology appendix in supplentary text, until a main article gets written.
The principles of Life is to big a subject to try to contain in the main article, and not many of the elaborations needed would serve as a separate article. --Anthony.Sebastian (Talk) 18:48, 7 September 2007 (CDT)

I'm sorry for the slow reply, but I've been thinking about this. It is hard for me to say "no" to an insistent editor, but when policy/precedent is established thereby, I like to be careful. I'd like to understand a few more things.

First, I don't really understand why you want to put biosketches on a subpage of the life page. Why isn't it better to place them on separate articles? It's all right to have relatively brief articles; they don't all have to be as long as life itself! (We should all live so long!)

Second, supposing you say, for example, that it is particularly useful to have the various biosketches all collected in one spot, I am inclined to agree with you. But then I don't understand why we wouldn't use a "catalog" for this purpose. That is what catalogs are supposed to be: collections of summary information, typically (but perhaps not necessarily) in table form, which information might be findable in other articles, but which is greatly instructive to have gathered together in one spot. For more consideration of the concept, see this forum discussion if you haven't already.

Finally, you say: "The principles of Life is to big a subject to try to contain in the main article, and not many of the elaborations needed would serve as a separate article." In my experience on ever-growing wikis, this is a somewhat "dangerous" sort of thing to say, because you can be proven wrong so easily. Suppose experts show up who are precisely responsible for those elaborations that you say don't need a separate article, and they can explain how they need several separate articles. They might not need a separate article in an ordinary desk reference, or even a specialist reference, but CZ is not like such references. There are no restrictions, apart from maintainability, accuracy, internal coherence, and things like that, on what topics we choose.

Anyway, I hope you'll be patient with me here. --Larry Sanger 00:04, 9 September 2007 (CDT)


I have long thought that Wikipedia's article titled "purpose" seems deficient in ways that could be rectified only by the attention of one schooled in philosophy. Am I right? Do you think that is a topic worthy of such attention? Would you be capable of creating something better here? Michael Hardy 15:22, 7 September 2007 (CDT)

I imagine if anyone has anything special to say about purpose it is philosophers; maybe psychologists, too. Purposes (or, as ethicists like to say, "projects") are what, on a popular answer, give life meaning. "Purpose" is roughly equivalent to "end" as in "end and means," which is a philosophical topic, but I'm not sure it would be discussed in that sense under the title "purpose." Anyway, beyond these platitudes I don't have anything encyclopedic to say about it; I would have to do research myself. --Larry Sanger 15:50, 7 September 2007 (CDT)

So is there someone who could do that and should they be actively recruited? Michael Hardy 17:39, 7 September 2007 (CDT)

Don't know if there are any ethicists here, actually. Even if they were, they'd still have to be recruited! --Larry Sanger 17:49, 7 September 2007 (CDT)

If they're not here, they could be recruited to come here (just as is done by Scholarpedia). Michael Hardy 19:16, 8 September 2007 (CDT)

Yes. Are you suggesting that I do so? No time, right now. Or are you making an overture to a recruitment plan? See my big to do list on my user page; the short answer is that we are going to do some major recruitment, but I want to get our semi-automated application approval system in place...I am twisting coder arms on a regular basis (with some but not total success). --Larry Sanger 23:47, 8 September 2007 (CDT)

Anniversary, PR etc

Hi Larry, am checking in when I can--and Wednesday Writeathon was a hoot. A couple quartet of quickies:

  1. This article about (Thomas) Robert Malthus seems to be causing a problem in the "T" section of CZLive index and I had no idea how to fix it. Is it to do with leading off the article name with "(" that the system seems to detest?
  2. I thought from a PR standpoint it would be worth pushing all authors to write at least two new articles this coming week to break 3,000 CZLive articles in time for the anniversary.
  3. I am keen to see a framework set-up to coordinate PR activities for CZ in consultation with the Editor-in-chief (and/or other admin structures that exist now and in the future). The anniversary seems a perfect opportunity to start that. How do you suggest that be done?
  4. Great article in The Times.

--Ian Johnson 06:23, 8 September 2007 (CDT)

In connection with No. 1 above, I piped the category names for you. the format looks something like [[Category:CZ Live|Malthus, (Thomas) Robert]] so you'll find him under 'M'. Derek Harkness 06:46, 8 September 2007 (CDT)
Thanks Derek. --Ian Johnson 06:48, 8 September 2007 (CDT)

Hey, thanks Ian and thanks for your e-mail too. I've just done your #2. Yes, the Times article is great. Any idea what page it appeared on in the print version? As to #3, let's work out a little plan by e-mail and then present it to the community. --Larry Sanger 07:56, 8 September 2007 (CDT)

Page 29 international edition, with a front page flash. Maybe see if one of the UK-based people can check there - we tend to receive different versions on the continent. --Ian Johnson 08:47, 8 September 2007 (CDT)


So is that 10px increase enough to solve the button height issues in IE? Chris Day (talk) 15:42, 8 September 2007 (CDT)

Yep! But now a new bug is evident...more pixels might fix it. --Larry Sanger 15:47, 8 September 2007 (CDT)

No, didn't fix it. The new bug is that two buttons (e.g., on Biology) have text that is just one pixel (maybe two) below the other text. It doesn't line up perfectly, in other words. The text that is lower is "External Links" and "Signed Articles". Widening didn't fix it. --Larry Sanger 15:50, 8 September 2007 (CDT)

How should we name this

Help with naming. --Matt Innis (Talk) 09:41, 10 September 2007 (CDT)

Answered --Larry Sanger 09:46, 10 September 2007 (CDT)

Hi Larry, sorry to labour the point, but your answer seemed non-commital and having said I had no firm view, immediately after writing it, my view seemed to coalesce. I think for most things, disambiguating with () seems the right way to go - so we can have Functionalism (architecture), Functionalism (psychology) etc. But for places - and particularly buildings, most print sources will write St. Paul's Cathedral, London or St. Paul's, Covent Garden, which seems more natural. At this early stage I'm wary of making a mess and setting precedents, so I'll leave The Grange where it is until you get a mo, please forgive the pedantry. --Russ McGinn 18:04, 10 September 2007 (CDT)

The way you put it makes sense to me. I am inclined to agree. Sorry I don't sound more committal (is that a word?) but I feel pretty non-committal. Anyway, it's useful pedantry. I actually think we should write this rule into CZ:Naming Conventions. --Larry Sanger 18:41, 10 September 2007 (CDT)

Ok, I've had a stab here as suggested. --Russ McGinn 16:09, 11 September 2007 (CDT)

Thanks--we should add some such to the policy text itself sometime soon. --Larry Sanger 17:26, 11 September 2007 (CDT)

Donating content from a textbook

Quick question - or not - A couple of years ago I wrote this textbook - Berger, L.R. (2005) Working and Guiding in the Cradle of Humankind. Prime Origins Publishing. ISBN 0-620-31866-x - for a paleoanthropology course for the Field Guides Association of South Africa. Its still in print, but this fine example of writing only sells about 40 copies a year (its a small course......). Because it was a textbook it was written from a neutral point of view and by design was broken up into little sections e.g. magnetic compass, using a compass, Homo erectus, etc. For example, it has a brief original entry on almost every large mammal in South Africa etc. Now these bite sized pieces are perfect for CZ and with just a little cutting and pasting and some reference changes I can do one about every thirty minutes or so. I am very happy to donate this content to CZ in this way and was going to just start doing this but two things came to mind as I was working on an article on "Magnetic Compass". The first is - how do I cite this? If I don't change the wording very much or paste word for word I should - in the normal course of events - cite this textbook after every sentence. Such an excercise is tedious in the first instance and smacks of self-promotion in the second. Secondly, citing this book in the bibliography really doesn't help either as its not really the primary reference for "Magnetic Compass", its just where I'm stealing the text from - the sources are referenced in the article already. I am the sole author and sole copyright holder (I'm a director of Prime Origins publishing - we do nature and science publications). So how do I give you all of this content, and cite it appropriatly, so that no one comes back in a few years when "Working and Guiding in the Cradle of Humankind" becomes an international besteller and says that a bunch of original articles on CZ were plagarized from this work?

Lee R. Berger 05:40, 11 September 2007 (CDT)

Lee, it would be fantastic if you could donate all that content. I'm sure we'd all greatly appreciate it.

There's a standard way to handle your question, as others have done this sort of thing in the past. Basically, in a "Sources" section--or, if you prefer, just a line of text without a header--at the bottom of the page, we write, "An early version of this article was taken from [bibiographical info]." That should be adequate.

Of course, you should make sure that you actually have legal permission, if needed, to use the book in this way. If legal permission is both necessary and obtained, you should also post a permission notice. I'm sure Steve Ewen could find a relevant template for this, although I suspect we might want to edit those permissions templates--they might be bigger and noisier than really necessary. --Larry Sanger 08:53, 11 September 2007 (CDT)

Thanks for the editorship

Larry, I posted the message below previously in the discussion page of your CZ entry, which wasn't quite the appropriate place for it. So I had it cut out and pasted here:

Dear Larry,

Thanks very much for your message. I'm pleased to accept the role as an Engineering editor and will contribute as best as I can to make Citizendium a success. I've been an author at Citizendium for the last two weeks or so, and I have already started a number of articles in the Engineering and Mathematics categories (the list can be found here). I will try to add more articles this weekend. Hope you won't mind that I've put my reply on your talk page, I thought you would probably check this more often than email.--Hendra I. Nurdin 15:48, 11 September 2007 (CDT)

You're very welcome of course. No need to thank me. --Larry Sanger 20:47, 11 September 2007 (CDT)

Workgroup welcome

Can we move towards a neutral welcome note? Edit mine as you see fit please.

Lee R. Berger 10:57, 14 September 2007 (CDT)

Seems fine to me, if you mean what is on CZ:Anthropology Workgroup. I'm impressed with the work being done on that page generally! --Larry Sanger 11:02, 14 September 2007 (CDT)

Did you mean something else by "welcome note" by chance? --Larry Sanger 11:03, 14 September 2007 (CDT)

Sorry! Yes - I wanted to change the welcome to a neutral "welcome" on CZ:Anthropology Workgroup so that we remove any issues of "correcting and expert" - excuse the confusion please!

Lee R. Berger 11:14, 14 September 2007 (CDT)

Sure, why not? --Larry Sanger 11:16, 14 September 2007 (CDT)

Getting Started


I first would like to know if you intend to start a website Citizendium in French? If you don't, can I draft articles in French anyway on the CZ general website, or draft bilingual articles (English and French)?

Then, could you please tell me if there are official CZ criteria before writing an article? Because there is no CZ in French yet, I would like to draft articles in English about things or people who are notorious in the French speaking world, but mostly not in the rest of the world.


Nicolas Tollet 15:12, 15 September 2007 (CDT)

Definitely the plan now is to start Citizendium in French and other languages. But we don't want to do that until CZ as a project and as an organization is a little more mature. I think we could be ready by early next year, but I really don't know.

We could draft articles in languages other than English and put them on a subpage--if you really felt that it were important to get started.

There are some official criteria for articles. See CZ:Content Policy and follow the links in the first section. English language articles about things and people "notorious" mostly in the Francophone world would be perfectly suitable, on the assumption that eventually we would be able to maintain a full set of such articles: see CZ:Maintainability.

Welcome! --Larry Sanger 16:14, 15 September 2007 (CDT)

Do you think it's worth starting a page to find out what languages other than English are present in the heads of current CZ contributors? i.e. We ask people to sign a page stating what other languages they feel able to edit in to the same or greater level than English, and whether they're native speakers or not. I have written a draft under my userspace here. John Stephenson 07:49, 17 September 2007 (CDT)

John--if the purpose it to gauge the level of interest in CZ in other languages, it's probably not necessary, because I already know that there is tremendous interest in several languages. I've heard from multiple people asking for each of German, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Japanese--and that's just all that I can think of. There's a demand.

What I'm inclined to do in this case, as we have taken perhaps longer than expected to set up CZ in other languages, is to set up something like CZ:En francais, with M. Tollet's article as a subpage of that. I'd like to consult with the Executive Committee on the advisability of this, but that shouldn't take long. --Larry Sanger 09:19, 17 September 2007 (CDT)

OK, good idea, and I realise the page I made is just a back-of-an-envelope idea; but I think what languages we already have ought to be out in the open. I'd suggest starting whichever one(s) have plenty of users already on the English wiki. But great, as long as we get something up and running... John Stephenson 10:46, 17 September 2007 (CDT)

John, sorry, I didn't mean to nix the idea. Basically, if anybody wants to try to use CZ to organize people for purposes in line with our mission, I'm all for it. Please proceed according to your plans! --Larry Sanger 10:50, 17 September 2007 (CDT)

Oh, okay! I'm not sure where to put it or what to call it. CZ:Citizens' languages? John Stephenson 10:54, 17 September 2007 (CDT)

How about CZ:International? --Larry Sanger 11:26, 17 September 2007 (CDT)

On controversial systems theory article

Hi Larry,

I came across a rather controversial article by Tom Mandel on systems theory which is currently in the process of being rewritten (in the notes section of the systems theory entry). This "systems theory" is related to but not the same as the systems theory known in the engineering and mathematics disciplines (for example, see [6]). It is philosophical in nature rather than scientific. Since a few engineering articles currently link to a systems theory article, may I suggest that Tom's "Systems theory" article be renamed/moved to something like "systems theory (philosophy)" if and when it sees the light of CZ day? That way someone else may be able to start writing another entry on a systems theory as it is understood in engineering. Thanks. Hendra I. Nurdin 00:53, 16 September 2007 (CDT)

Hendra, if I may, you as an editor may make this decision and it will be enforced by the constabulary.  —Stephen Ewen (Talk) 01:49, 16 September 2007 (CDT)
Okay, Stephen, thanks for the advice. I'll try to figure out how I'm going to do this from the CZ Editor's policy/guide :) Hendra I. Nurdin 02:56, 16 September 2007 (CDT)
Well, speaking for myself--I actually agree with Steve.  ;-) As an Engineering Editor, Hendra, you do have the authority to start and manage the engineering article about systems theory; and you also certainly have the authority to demand that the articles be titled so that the engineering topic isn't confused with this other "philosophical" topic. Since there aren't any other editors who are experts about that other sense of "systems theory," we can leave the renaming up to you. "General systems theory" (or "General Systems Theory") might work. Another possibility is "Systems theory (interdisciplinary)." You might also get Tom Mandel's opinion about this, since it's his work that is affected. I notice that the Wikipedia article "systems theory" is about "General Systems Theory." Cf. Naming Conventions.
Once you've decided, it will involve either creating a "disambiguation page" or else you'll be pressing the "move" button (or both). That's the technical means... --Larry Sanger 08:07, 16 September 2007 (CDT)
Thanks, Larry. I've left a message on Tom Mandel's user page to ask for his opinion on the matter and a "move" request on the Systems Theory talkpage. Let's see what Tom's response will be (if any). Hendra I. Nurdin 16:46, 16 September 2007 (CDT)
OK. If you are up to it, Hendra, I hope you will indeed find a fair resolution of the problem. It is true, bear in mind, that for very many people, "systems theory" means General Systems Theory. --Larry Sanger 09:13, 17 September 2007 (CDT)

sunday times

By the way Larry, you made the sunday times of south africa yesterday (CZ intends to overtake wikipedia)- and jim Wales just happens to be in Cape Town this week.....

Lee R. Berger 11:04, 17 September 2007 (CDT)

How fun! --Larry Sanger 11:25, 17 September 2007 (CDT)


Hi, Larry, and thank you for the welcome. My first impressions are good and I believe the site has enormous potential.

You are of course quite right that cricket is also an insect and you have reminded me of the never-ending disambiguation arguments about this very topic on WP. One of the main reasons I left WP was that it allowed what I might call "consensus bias" and hence had separate articles called "cricket" and "cricket (insect)". In the spirit of starting afresh, I think I should eliminate any bias at the outset and move Cricket to Cricket (sport).

Unfortunately, I'm not an entomologist and so I don't feel qualified to introduce Cricket (insect)! Best regards, --John Leach 01:05, 18 September 2007 (CDT)

Thanks, John, and we appreciate your vote of confidence. I agree, Cricket (sport) sounds right. --Larry Sanger 09:59, 18 September 2007 (CDT)

Diambiguation page for Systems theory

Hi Larry,

I have not put up a disambiguation page for systems theory in the former page for that topic. The talk page however still contains the discussion around Tom's original article and I have left it there for the time being. I am not sure what would be the appropriate action to be taken for that page. Thanks. Hendra I. Nurdin 18:17, 18 September 2007 (CDT)

Hendra, thanks for asking. While Tom is still at least potentially at work on the article, I'd like to keep the talk pages intact. But I would leave it to you, if you're willing, to decide how to design the disambiguation page. --Larry Sanger 20:16, 18 September 2007 (CDT)

Tom does seem to still be working on the article, I have no problem with that. He has created a new name "Systems theory (general)" for the article and is working on the notes directory. It still needs a lot of work to remain neutral and coherent, and I think should be monitored. I have already setup a disambiguation page for systems theory, but instead of General Systems Theory Tom has named his article with the name I stated before. I have now written up a stub for Systems theory (engineering). Thanks. Hendra I. Nurdin 01:31, 19 September 2007 (CDT)

All right--thanks! --Larry Sanger 07:39, 19 September 2007 (CDT)

Re Supplementary text ---> Addendum

Anthony, Chris and I are concerned that "Supplementary Text" is just too long for the tabs. That (template) real estate is very valuable. How would "Addendum" do for a name? --Larry Sanger 19:36, 20 September 2007 (CDT)

Hi Anthony, I set up a test run for you to check out. See Life/Addendum. Chris Day (talk) 19:54, 20 September 2007 (CDT)

Thanks. Like it very much. Would it task greatly to change to "Addenda", or do you think not necessary? Thinking we might have distinctly different topics covered there as separate sections in a TOC. --Anthony.Sebastian (Talk) 20:11, 20 September 2007 (CDT)

Retrieved from ""

I thought you were going to say that! The problem (at the risk of sounding like a broken record...) is that we are already running a risk of confusing people by speaking of any sort of generic text addition. If we speak of addenda, plural, then we invite people to build out potentially unlimited amounts of text all associated with one topic--instead of, what we would prefer, breaking topics apart "at the joints," so to speak. We don't really want to hide huge amounts of text on subpages. It would be better, I think, if we think creatively of sensible, self-contained subtopics, that we can use to remove some of the flab from one overbloated topic. It's just that the plural, "Addenda," does seem to invite an unlimited amount of random material that should be filed away under a more specific topic. --Larry Sanger 20:29, 20 September 2007 (CDT)

Subpagination bot

Hello. I'd like to get the subpagination bot started in a couple of days. Chris Day agrees. Is that okay with you or is there something that needs to be done first? I can announce it, but I'm also happy to leave this to you. If you could find time to create an account for it (suggested name: subpagination bot, though I don't care) and flag it as a bot, that would be great. This needs bureaucrat privileges so I can't just ask the constabulary to do it. -- Jitse Niesen 07:10, 22 September 2007 (CDT)

I'll create the account, but now there's a bit of a problem: Greg is going to switch us to MediaWiki Sunday morning, he says. Maybe we should wait until after the switch. --Larry Sanger 07:44, 22 September 2007 (CDT)

Makes sense, I'll wait till after the switch. -- Jitse Niesen 23:07, 22 September 2007 (CDT)

"This article uses content that originally appeared on Wikipedia."

Not a great line, IMHO. Much that is on Wikipedia is not original with that site. Better would be "Some content from this article previously appeared on Wikipedia," or "This article uses content that previously appeared on Wikipedia."

Even THAT doesn't cover cases where the old WP content has been edited out. Those cases are probably few at this point, but they are possible. Better MIGHT be "Some content from this article may previously have appeared on Wikipedia." Louis F. Sander 18:09, 26 September 2007 (CDT)

I have written stuff for WP a couple of years ago that, due to the antics of the trained monkeys, er, I mean editors, in the succeeding months, gradually faded away, edit by edit. In a couple of cases, I have gone back to the WP version that I wrote maybe 2 years ago, copied it, and used it to start a new CZ article. Probably 95% of the CZ article was originally written by me for WP; and now probably 95% of that particular part of WP has disappeared. So, in a sense, what I've put in CZ is just about 100% new material, but, of course, has that WP background, like the Mad Aunt who is locked away in the attic and that we occasionally hear scurrying across the floor. Maybe we could say: "Some content in this article may have appeared in somewhat different form in earlier versions of a Wikipedia article." And, by the way, why are we saying "on" Wikipedia and not "in"? Because it's "on" a Website? I prefer to think of it as being "in" an encyclopedia.... Hayford Peirce 19:09, 26 September 2007 (CDT)

OK, I've put in a request to change the text to: Some content on this page may previously have appeared on Wikipedia. --Larry Sanger 01:25, 27 September 2007 (CDT)

"...that WP background, like the Mad Aunt who is locked away in the attic and that we occasionally hear scurrying across the floor." You gotta enjoy reading this stuff. :-)  —Stephen Ewen (Talk) 02:21, 27 September 2007 (CDT)
My own Mad Aunt spends her time vandalizing articles on Wikipedia. We discourage it, but it keeps her sedentary, which minimizes the scurrying. Louis F. Sander 05:10, 27 September 2007 (CDT)

Wikipedia links?

Hi Larry, I had once or twice stumbled onto pages with the following type of link: "[insert article name] at Wikipedia" that points the visitor to the corresponding Wikipedia article. Is this a CZ policy? Surely, referring any visitor to Wikipedia is the last thing we want to do. Thanks. Hendra I. Nurdin 16:54, 28 September 2007 (CDT)

Do you mean articles blank pages, like this? That would be an artifact of the early days when we were encouraging people to develop WP articles. I'm pretty sure I can fix it myself. --Larry Sanger 17:12, 28 September 2007 (CDT)

Wait! No! Don't do it! I actually think those links are a great service to our endusers. It's not like we can offer someone an alternative topic for whatever they were searching for so it doesn't make any sense to suppress information about where they might be able to find something that we can't currently provide. --Joe Quick (Talk) 17:28, 28 September 2007 (CDT)

I agree with Hendra, Joe. It says something false about our own standards when we direct people to Wikipedia. They can do better. This isn't "suppressing" information--that's a complete fallacy--it is merely a failure to link to some particular information. Besides, the purpose of the links in question was to give contributors a starting place for a new article. Few end users people will follow red links and see that text, at least, not more than once. Contributors, however, will.

Joe, if visitors can't find something here then they can try to search the web for another source, such as Wikipedia, and decide for themselves if they want to accept the information that they find. On the other hand, if we redirect them to Wikipedia then we would be indirectly endorsing Wikipedia to the visitors as some sort legitimate or reliable source of information. Yet, Wikipedia is very the reason why Citizendium is here in the first place -- we aim to be a more reliable source of information.

Turns out I can't fix it myself... --Larry Sanger 17:48, 28 September 2007 (CDT)

I think some Sysops should try to fix this as soon as possible, I'm sure we don't want to be endorsers of Wikipedia for much longer :-) Thanks. Hendra I. Nurdin 18:21, 28 September 2007 (CDT)

Yeah, okay, "suppress" is a strong word. I don't personally think that the link "indirectly endorses" anything, but if that's others' interpretation, then it should probably go...--Joe Quick (Talk) 18:32, 28 September 2007 (CDT)


Hi Larry. I've given CZ a fair shot over the last fortnight to see how it shapes up and I've now formed some opinions.

Although there is merit in allowing "experts only" it will exclude the majority of useful contributors. Those WP contributors who have registered a username (i.e., not the hit and run IP address types) may not actually be experts but they do generally make useful contributions and in considerable volumes. I believe that by effectively excluding these people, CZ is going to stunt its own growth.

WP is at one extreme with its "anyone can edit" philosophy and CZ has gone to the other. What is needed is a middle ground whereby "anyone using a registered username that has been obtained via e-mail confirmation can edit". This gets rid of the IP address vandal and allows the casual contributor to take part.

I think the CZ category system is a mess that needs to be sorted out and I don't think the subpage idea will work. These comments are made from a reader perspective.

The golden rule of publishing is to put the reader first and make sure that everything he sees on the page is useful to him. The CZ categories are based on article status or on a particular workgroup when they should be subject-based and relational (I don't agree with hierarchical category systems).

The subpage menu bar is unsightly and unnecessary. I do not understand why the reader should see a button that links him to an incomprehensible metapage. The "related articles", "bibliography" and "external sources" information should be in the body of the article and placed at the end with the citation references. Okay, an article might use a massive bibliography and so that should be in a subpage but with a link from a bibliography heading in the main article. The menubar includes a talk tab and that duplicates the discussion tab at the top of the page.

I will continue to keep an eye on progress and see how the site develops but I do not have time to contribute frequently. I certainly think the issues I've raised need to be addressed and especially those that concern the benefit of the site to the reader.

Regards. --John Leach 01:52, 29 September 2007 (CDT)

You're not the only one who has the dismayingly mistaken impression that only experts are allowed on CZ. I wonder if there is a simple way we can prevent this impression in the future. But, FYI, consider the ~2000 accounts at Category:CZ Authors. We are in fact precisely as you describe the middle way. I'm sorry we don't yet have a way of making this clear--although we can't be held responsible for irresponsible misrepresentations in the press.

I also think that you probably fail to understand what subpages are for, and we also need to build some tools to ease the user into this innovation. In short it is much more than just the bibliography, external links, and related articles; those are only the default selections.

I doubt anyone would disagree with you about the substandard appearance of the subpage menu bar. The hope, as yet unfulfilled, is that one of our members will create a MediaWiki "skin" that will actually rearrange the position of various sets of links.

In short: it's not called "beta" for nothing! --Larry Sanger 02:06, 29 September 2007 (CDT)

I just want to add that the talk bar does not duplicate the function of the discussion tab at the top of the page. The subpages menu talk tab links to the articles talk page from every subpage and from the metadata template. In approved articles it always links to the drafts talk page. I understand this is a subtle difference but it is an important distinction that reflects the idea that each cluster of subpages are one entity.
I am surprised you (John) think this site is for experts only. What gave you this impression?
I do agree that the metadata page can be more hidden. That is a trivial change to make and it could be possible to have them only appear on the talk page for each article.
With regard to the categories, these are a tool for authors and editors, not readers (Larry, most have already migrated back to the talk page. Maybe we should move them all there?). The readers need to use the related articles subpage. If well written, that subpage will be the source of the subject-based and relational links. Chris Day (talk) 15:05, 29 September 2007 (CDT)

I share John's perspective if not his point of view. First of all, I never got the impression that Citizendium is for experts only. I am also new, "your retired history buff," and after my own fortnight still remain intimidated by the technical challenge of Citizendium. Eventually, I will work through it, I suppose, albeit reluctantly. John, self described as "a business / systems analyst with a considerable IT background," seems to be typical of your most active participants. All but a few (I may be wrong here) seem to have arrived at Citizendium from the IT world. As a not quite technically challenged participant, it is interesting to me to read what IT professionals have to say about non-technical topics. Quite impressive. I am not saying this is bad, but I can say that anything that makes the creative/editorial processes more user friendly will facilitate greatly expanding and diversifying your author base to others like myself who can only wish for the skills demonstrated by some in this community. Bill Falter 15:39, 29 September 2007 (CDT)

So have you edited at wikipedia too? If so, what makes things more complicated here? If not, what could make editing easier. Clearly these are issues that need to be acted on. Chris Day (talk) 15:43, 29 September 2007 (CDT)

First of all, Chris, I appreciate your interest. Inserting this page break is a really basic issue. How do I make sure the paragraphing is as I want it. Editing article, editing discussion, and adding new topit with (+) may seem obvious to you, but took me awhile to get straight. Why do some edits appear in text of article? Are they inserted directly into the article edit or in Talk? Actually, big issue is writing an article, not editing. Editing straight forward once you remember to hit correct edit box. Ability to preview is a big help, especially to avoid dumb mistakes. Have been through intro and sand box; so it is doable. Still confused about what sub pages mean. I understand that a lot of this has to do with standardization. Last small point, it took me a long time to find an obscure reference that says Table of Contents automatically created in new article with 4 sections. Searching on TofC got me no where. A good search functionality would help since that is one thing all technically challenged use now that we are in the world of Google and my favorite, What if you could type in search "Table of Contents","discussion" or "edit +" (a glossary of sorts if you will) and get explanation of what it is and how to do it in addition link to basic instruction page. People would use as they wrote. Hope this helps. Thanks for asking. Bill Falter 16:53, 29 September 2007 (CDT)

I see what you mean, and certainly these are issues I had when I started using a wiki. Mostly I learned by watching what others did. Somethings i never knew, like that +, i usually just start a topic using the edit function and create a new header. However, some sort of document for users with no experience in a wiki environment would be useful. A wiki for dummies -like document. We do have a few help pages but they are more to do with the markup (or code). I think a geography of citizendium might be useful, with the function of each tab etc. explained, similar to cars user manual. Would that be helpful to get you up and running faster? Chris Day (talk) 17:33, 29 September 2007 (CDT)

Precisely - "Citizendium for Dummies." Understand car user manual idea. Would it function as alternative to expanded search function? Just don't want to let that search function go. I think it would complement the quite good introduction series for new authors. Key is that so much information has been placed in introductory material that it is hard to remember where you ran across when time comes to use it. Committing the entire Citizendium new article and editing process to memory before starting is a significant hurdle to getting started. Me, I'm doing research on an article; so issue still in future. > Note > Still using break button above to keep my comments in separate paragraph. How many other ways to accomplish this and which is preferred? See, the devil is in the detail. Bill Falter 18:00, 29 September 2007 (CDT)

Two hits of the return bar works as well as the <br/> notation, but only one return means no new paragraph. I never did work out the logic for that. Anyway, thinking about the big picture, you make good points and I'll think more about how to implement a solution. There is nothing worse than seeing enthusiatic people being prevented from writing because of hurdles with the interface. Chris Day (talk) 18:10, 29 September 2007 (CDT)

I just had a thought while reading this discussion. One of the ways that I learned to edit on wikipedia was to "copy" the text from an article that I liked the look of and then paste this into word and add my content - thus, it gave me a template to work in - had all of the codes already written in and all I had to do was change the source file in the case of a picture etc. What if we created a CZ article template that a new user or regular user could just copy and paste into their sandbox, word document or live into the article they are writing. This would facilitate having to write and learn code - they could delete what they didn't like and it would mean that most new articles would follow a standard format.Lee R. Berger 04:44, 30 September 2007 (CDT)
Something like this, maybe - or something more basic? (You'll need to click 'Edit' to see what I'm talking about, otherwise you'll just see a bad copy of the Biology article). Regards, Anton Sweeney 09:34, 30 September 2007 (CDT)


It will now appear on all article pages that are unapproved but not on their repective subpages. The following edit shows the current text you may want to tweek that a bit. What about the location, is that what you had in mind? Alternatives include above or below the tabs. What about other pages? That is possible too. Chris Day (talk) 12:18, 30 September 2007 (CDT)

Approval process

Larry, I just nominated an article for approval, but it has been a small nightmare to do so. First, the Help page for Editors on the approval process is well-nigh impossible to find; secondly, the Help instructions are wrong. They were not written for subpages. They also have mistakes, I think, relating to format of information. Please, can someone write proper Help instructions and put them in an accessible place? They should be for Editors to read, and detail clearly all of the technicalrequirements of the process. Many thanks, --Martin Baldwin-Edwards 15:49, 30 September 2007 (CDT)

A further issue: having nominated 3 articles for approval, none appears in the relevant workgroup listing. Is there a lag? or a bigger problem?--Martin Baldwin-Edwards 16:12, 30 September 2007 (CDT)
Are you sure about this? In the Category:Articles_to_Approve I can see Demographic transition/Approval, Demography, fertility/Approval and Garmisch-Partenkirchen/Approval. Are these the ones you were trying to get approved? You're right about the instructions. The whole lot are wrng due to incremental changes I have made during the subpage tempalte design. Hopefully it will be a lot easier once the instructions fit the process. Chris Day (talk) 17:23, 30 September 2007 (CDT)
OK the Garmisch-Partenkirchen one is clearly a old page since the article does not have subpages, I just deleted the approval page. Chris Day (talk) 17:30, 30 September 2007 (CDT)

Theodor_Lohmann did not show up becuase there was no approval page. I set one up at Theodor_Lohmann/Approval, this article should now show up in the Category:Articles_to_Approve. Chris Day (talk) 17:34, 30 September 2007 (CDT)

Ah, thanks for your rapid response! I realise that the wiki changes make it hard for the Help pages to be accurate. --Martin Baldwin-Edwards 17:38, 30 September 2007 (CDT)


I found it fast earlier tonight but as soon as I made some edits to update the ToApprove template (actually called checklist6 at present, don't ask) it slowed down immediately. I wonder if changes to the template require a lot of computer power since it is so prevalent (being part of the subpages template)? I'm not pretending to know the answer here but possibly that info will be useful to whomever is trouble shooting this problem. Chris Day (talk) 22:09, 30 September 2007 (CDT)

It's been slow and fast, on and off, the last 12 hours at least. So it could easily be a coincidence. I suspect it is...MediaWiki usually takes tweaks before it runs smoothly. Jason & Greg know about it, but they're probably asleep now so don't expect improvement until the morning at earliest.  :-) --Larry Sanger 00:32, 1 October 2007 (CDT)

The speed issue had resolved itself again. I then made a test edit to the subpages template and sure enough it slowed down again. As you say I may well be imagining this but there you have it. Chris Day (talk) 05:21, 1 October 2007 (CDT)
Making an edit on a popular template is going to add a lot of work to the server (because it basically empties the cache). Especially the subpages template, as it's used in all of our articles. If we can correlate slow-downs to template changes, that'll give us a clue as to where the problem is. --ZachPruckowski (Speak to me) 09:10, 1 October 2007 (CDT)
The jobqueue should alleviate that. On Wikipedia, and edit to a template with tens of thousands of uses is fine. How is the jobqueue ran? Triggered on page view and/or via job runner daemonds? Aaron Schulz 13:08, 6 October 2007 (CDT)
I think without doing any more research, we can say that it is a Best Practice(tm) to test all changes to {{subpages}} first to an identical development template. Then, when you've got enough interesting and tested changes to commit, you simply copy from the development template to the live ({{subpages}}) template. You might also wait to commit until just before bed.  ;-) That's my recommendation. --Larry Sanger 09:44, 1 October 2007 (CDT)
Just emailed Chris Day to that effect. I have to go to class. Please lock the major templates (especially subpages). --ZachPruckowski (Speak to me) 09:53, 1 October 2007 (CDT)

I think your plan to make changes before bed is a good one. Then only our Australian and European friends have to suffer the slow server :) Chris Day (talk) 10:34, 1 October 2007 (CDT)

:-pPppPPp--Martin Baldwin-Edwards 10:47, 1 October 2007 (CDT)


Can you fix the typo there. "submitted" is misspelled as "submited". Aaron Schulz 12:59, 6 October 2007 (CDT)

MediaWiki:requestaccount-agree is broken too, because it escapes the HTML tags someone added. It should be done in wikitext. Aaron Schulz 13:02, 6 October 2007 (CDT)

Very good, thanks for the heads up, Aaron. --Larry Sanger 13:15, 6 October 2007 (CDT)

Also, it seems that confirmaccount is not making the userpages automatically. Is $wgMakeUserPageFromBio set to false ? Aaron Schulz 13:16, 6 October 2007 (CDT)

Hey, MediaWiki:requestacount-acc-text is blank... --Larry Sanger 13:18, 6 October 2007 (CDT)

Typos appear in the defaults - the pages would only exist if we override the defaults (which we want to). Given sufficient motivation (maybe if I have Tuesday off), I may try to see if that's a bug in MediaWiki's defaults or what. Anyways, looks like you got one and I got the other. --ZachPruckowski (Speak to me) 13:23, 6 October 2007 (CDT)
I fixed a typo in the default and mentioned it. SVN up solves that, as well as changing the local message. I'm fixing the "acount" typo, so when it is updated, don't be surprised if the local messages are ignored (since they would still have the old typo name). Aaron Schulz 17:31, 6 October 2007 (CDT)
Oh, duh. Those are our messages from the extension, not from MediaWiki. We use "acount" in the message names where we should use "account".

Now I'm really confused. Some of the pages seem to accept wikitext, but MediaWiki:Requestaccount-tos doesn't! It shows as HTML all markup. --Larry Sanger 13:25, 6 October 2007 (CDT)

It may be that there's an error in the extension, specifically, the input's being translated to character entities in the PHP somehow. This is somehow happening after the wikicode is expanded to HTML, which makes little sense. Since it's an official Mediawiki extension, I'd suggest asking the Mediawiki guys upstream, and/or seeing if this can be duplicated on a normal install of 1.10. --ZachPruckowski (Speak to me) 13:51, 6 October 2007 (CDT)
Fixed on SVN, wikitext should no longer be escaped after parsing there. Aaron Schulz 17:47, 6 October 2007 (CDT)

Success! I just rejected "Tester P. Tester"--first account rejected, if I'm not mistaken, on CZ! I love the notice I get then: "Account request rejected successfully." Successful for me, unsuccessful for Mr. Tester. --Larry Sanger 13:32, 6 October 2007 (CDT)

Rejected users are not logged. Or if they are, they are not logged the way everything else is.--ZachPruckowski (Speak to me) 13:51, 6 October 2007 (CDT)

It's not really useful to publicly log that and may lead to the rejector getting trolled. Aaron Schulz 17:34, 6 October 2007 (CDT)

Ah, but they are logged. [7] --Larry Sanger 13:54, 6 October 2007 (CDT)

my status on CZ

I have sent you an email regarding my status on CZ and the usage of my photographic material. I have also posted the required note on the Mari Holden photo. James F. Perry 16:36, 6 October 2007 (CDT)