Note: if you write a message to me on this page, I will usually write my reply on this page. Also note, if you are following up on a discussion that began on the Help desk, often a better place to ask for detailed advice on a specific subject area is on the relevant WikiProject's talk page. I give general answers to many questions on the Help desk that are about articles in subjects where I have no particular expertise. There are many questions on Wikipedia that probably have answers, but finding the person who knows the answer may be difficult. I know some things about the editing process on Wikipedia that applies to articles in many topic areas, but I do not know everything about every topic area. I will, however, be glad to try to help you find where to look.

Men's tennis templates

I did try at the tennis wikiproject but received no responses. 03md 22:32, 3 July 2009 (UTC)[]

Another Thanks

I was scared to add to this page because there's already so much text. But that makes it fun. Thanks for the Help Desk reply! Jessica D (talk) 16:44, 7 July 2009 (UTC)[]

It's time to archive again. In any case, welcome to Wikipedia, and I should take my own advice and create an account on Appropedia. --Teratornis (talk) 19:15, 7 July 2009 (UTC)[]

I'm a Dolt

Please visit the article I wrote on Planeta Verde. There seems to be far too many quirks for me to figure out on it and I desperately need help.The Ent —Preceding undated comment added 22:03, 8 July 2009 (UTC).[]

Question on help desk regarding ethnicity

Hello, I asked a question at the help desk (which I think I've used once before). I assumed that this being wikipedia that my question would be taken in good faith. Instead, it seems to have become a referendum on ethnicity. That was not my intent. I was simply attempting to use a category which still exists, to my knowledge. I'm sorry now that I attempted to use the help desk for that function. Regards, MarmadukePercy (talk) 01:35, 28 July 2009 (UTC)[]

Broken Coord

Hi. In order to clean up Category:Coord template needing repair, would you mind if I changed an instance of ((coord)) in User:Teratornis/Energy#Windpark_Klettwitz? "((Coord|51.5302|13.8741|type=landmark))" should be "...|type:landmark))".
—WWoods (talk) 19:25, 4 August 2009 (UTC)[]

I corrected this instance. Thanks for pointing it out. I have used ((Coord)) in other places. I'll have to check to see if I have been systematically using the wrong syntax. --Teratornis (talk) 20:33, 4 August 2009 (UTC)[]
Thanks. Coord is a bit of a pain, with its use of both [parameter]=[value] and [parameter]:[value].
You can tell if a page you're looking at has a problem of this sort if you check "Show hidden categories" in '[Your] preferences > Appearance > Advanced options'.
—WWoods (talk) 21:03, 4 August 2009 (UTC)[]

Help, reference the same reference more than once, need an abbreviated code for it

OK, my question is this my friend..........on the page John Quinlan (wrestler), look in the profile box. Next to the name John Bagwell there is a [1] How do I get that same [1] next to another sentence in the body of the article. What abbreviated code should be used for this reference? Tried several times and kept getting an [8] which was signifying a mistake making it look like it was separate reference when it is supposed to reference the same thing just another time. I looked at the help page but there is no way alone it can be done. If you type out a quick abbreviated code for this reference it would be very much appreciated.

Thank You Very Much,

Jaderocker (talk) 00:00, 13 August 2009 (UTC)[]

This problem has just been resolved and is no longer an issue. Thank You Anyway!

Jaderocker (talk) 00:55, 13 August 2009 (UTC)[]

Infoboxes and Images

I'm done with the infobox, come take a look at it. Again, thanks!! Bismarck43/sandbox --Bismarck43 (talk) 20:15, 13 August 2009 (UTC)[]

Presumably you mean User:Bismarck43/Sandbox. (Page names are case-sensitive, and you must include the namespace prefix User:.) Yes, it looks as if you figured out how to edit the infobox template and include an image. --Teratornis (talk) 20:19, 13 August 2009 (UTC)[]

Simple English Wikipedia

Thanks for the link - it inspired me to help out there a bit. (Or is it "help a bit out there", or "help out a bit there"? Ahh, English is too complicated!) simple:User:SebastianHelm 20:28, 26 September 2009 (UTC)[]

Either way would be understandable to this native English speaker. Local preference might vary "a bit" depending on the English-speaking community. (When I read British English, I note some idiomatic differences from my brand of American English, but these are rarely difficult to resolve.) You could remove the word "out" and then you still have a choice but the two choices are nearly the same: "help a bit there" or "help there a bit". You could further remove "a bit" and have no choice: "help there". The words "out" and "a bit" are both modifiers of the verb "help", so the order of modifiers is not too important, although the third modifier "there" can get in the way. This is a problem with English and all other natural languages: the relation between words and their modifiers in a sentence can be ambiguous, and lead to parsing errors. When three verb modifiers follow a verb, confusion may result if one modifier appears to modify another modifier rather than the verb. To write unambiguously we would have to draw semantic graphs rather than force words into a linear order which is artificially too simple.
The Simple English Wikipedia is less far along than the (complex) English Wikipedia, so I'm sure you can help (out) there (a bit) if not more than a bit. I'm sure your German is astronomically better than mine - which is almost nonexistent apart from a few cognates. --Teratornis (talk) 22:44, 10 October 2009 (UTC)[]
Thanks for the nice reply! I'm not paid by word count here, so like the idea to just cut (out) a few words.
I just noticed the discussion pyramid on your user page, and I love the caption! It expresses very well what I was trying to say at User:SebastianHelm/PINOT. Maybe I'll steal it from your page. — Sebastian 03:13, 1 December 2009 (UTC)[]
I stole it from somewhere else. Seeing the phrase "ass hat" there clinched it for me. --Teratornis (talk) 06:23, 1 December 2009 (UTC)[]

Reply about Evopod coordinates

Yes these coordinates are correct for the location.

--Mindelssworker (talk) 10:47, 3 October 2009 (UTC)[]
Thank you. That location shows up in Google Maps as being on land adjacent to water, but it's close enough to be better than no coordinates at all on the image. --Teratornis (talk) 22:31, 10 October 2009 (UTC)[]

It's flattering

I'm glad to see somebody finds WP:UPANDCOMING of value. I got tired of certain phrases recurring, y'know wattimean? --Orange Mike | Talk 21:59, 3 December 2009 (UTC)[]

It's never fun to disappoint (potential) new users, but that's life in the big Wikipedia city. --Teratornis (talk) 23:40, 3 December 2009 (UTC)[]


I have sent you an e-mail. -- Tenmei (talk) 19:54, 2 January 2010 (UTC)[]

My general advice is to find another wiki you like better, and edit on that for a while. Wikipedia cannot be all things to all people. There are thousands of other wikis that need work. Editing on another wiki will give you a safe outlet for your POV tendencies. Everybody has them. --Teratornis (talk) 06:55, 3 January 2010 (UTC)[]

Australian wind farms

FAs at RFA?

Just saw your response at the help desk to "Readiness for Requesting Adminship", where you spoke of not writing FAs being a negative factor in the minds of voters at RFA. Is this very common now? Nobody mentioned FA writing at my RFA in 2007, which is good, since I've never contributed significantly to a featured article. Please leave me a talkback. Nyttend (talk) 15:20, 1 February 2010 (UTC)[]

I saw it mentioned. I have no idea how common it is. It might be important when voters are having doubts about an applicant, and are looking for other things to needle on. Certainly having a few featured articles on one's resume couldn't hurt. --Teratornis (talk) 19:21, 1 February 2010 (UTC)[]
Also, RFAs may have tightened up since 2007. John Broughton did some analysis which finds the number of successful RFAs has declined. --Teratornis (talk) 00:03, 2 February 2010 (UTC)[]

tks for all you do!!

This editor is a Veteran Editor IIand is entitled to display thisBronze Editor Star.
This editor is a
Veteran Editor II
and is entitled to display this
Bronze Editor Star.

...Thank you for all that you do here on Wikipedia ....Buzzzsherman (talk) 07:28, 7 February 2010 (UTC)[]

Better late than never?

See Template talk:Google translation/doc#I cannot get the old example to work, in case this is still bedeviling you. TJRC (talk) 01:08, 9 February 2010 (UTC)[]

Thanks for that! --Teratornis (talk) 01:10, 9 February 2010 (UTC)[]

You were quoted

Hi Teratornis. You were recently quoted in a BusinessWeek news article as saying that Wikipedia "sucks less than most of the Web." Good job. Gobonobo T C 22:35, 21 February 2010 (UTC)[]

Thanks for that, I would not have seen it otherwise. It's nice to see the writer searched far enough to see a discussion on the Help desk. I was, however, paraphrasing someone else I read. It might even have been Jimbo. The idea of Wikipedia being important for Google's business model is definitely not original with me, but I do find the argument compelling. If Google is ranking Wikipedia articles high in its results, presumably Google believes this is giving Google's visitors a satisfying search experience. --Teratornis (talk) 02:24, 22 February 2010 (UTC)[]

Talk:Climate change denial

Thank you for your contributions to the encyclopedia! In case you are not already aware, an article to which you have recently contributed, Climate change denial, is on article probation. A detailed description of the terms of article probation may be found at Wikipedia:General sanctions/Climate change probation. Also note that the terms of some article probations extend to related articles and their associated talk pages.

The above is a templated message. Please accept it as a routine friendly notice, not as a claim that there is any problem with your edits. Thank you. -- TS 22:44, 23 February 2010 (UTC)[]

Explanation on Help Desk

I thought your explanation of why we insist on RS was just right in tone and content. Would you consider making a HD template out of it? --ColinFine (talk) 23:32, 8 March 2010 (UTC)[]

Thanks, but I'm not immediately seeing how. If you can think of a way to reword what I wrote so it works generally in a template, be my guest. Even though I was one of the early advocates of Help desk templates, I haven't used them much myself. It troubles me somewhat that we never found a way to make them self-documenting. That is, our templates do not clearly disclose themselves as such. (The difficulty, I think I recall, is that nobody knew at the time how to draw a standard messagebox so it would work with indentation.) I think it is important for a questioner to know when an answer is a template, not least because the new user will have many more questions about Wikipedia and needs to know that most questions are already answered somewhere. The fact that an answer is in template form says the question appears frequently, and we have handled it efficiently. That understanding provides a value on top of the answer to the immediate question. --Teratornis (talk) 20:40, 9 March 2010 (UTC)[]

Question regarding files on Wikipedia vs. Commons

Hello. I got your message regarding uploading files on Wikipedia vs. Commons ( So it's better to upload files to commons and then link to them from Wikipedia as opposed to uploading them directly to Wikipedia? Is there ever a situation when I should upload files directly to Wikipedia or is this true for all types of files/circumstances? If that's the case, then what is the point of even being able to upload files to Wikipedia? Sorry for the basic questions, I'm new to editing and I still don't quite understand everything. Thanks. —Preceding unsigned comment added by TimeClock871 (talkcontribs) 10:55, 15 March 2010 (UTC)[]

  1. Yes, if the files are free content. See WP:MITC and Commons:Commons:Project scope.
  2. Yes, if the files are not free content. See WP:NFCC. Also, sometimes someone wants to preserve a different file on a Wikipedia with the same name as a file on Commons. I have never done that and I don't understand why anyone would want to, but some people do. In that case the file on the Wikipedia displays rather than the file on Commons, on that Wikipedia. Confused yet?
  3. Wikipedia (specifically the English Wikipedia) is older than Wikimedia Commons. The ability to upload files to Wikipedia came first, then came multiple language Wikipedias, then came the common file repository to serve them all. The result is a redundant capability that confuses new users. I don't know whether keeping the overlapping capability is accidental or deliberate. I could speculate about the reasons, but you would have to ask the people who make those decisions. Wikipedia must be usable by users at all levels of experience; uploading images to Commons might be just a bit harder for new users who are struggling to make sense of Wikipedia, so Wikipedia doesn't expect new users to master everything at once. We have a group of users who specialize in moving images to Commons from the Wikipedias, and there are tools to help with this. I have some notes about my adventures with those tools at User:Teratornis/Notes#Move some images to Commons.
Image uploading is one of the more technically difficult areas of Wikipedia. I didn't even attempt it until I had already been editing text here for a couple of years. For example, check out the links under Commons:COM:EIC#Copyright. --Teratornis (talk) 18:29, 15 March 2010 (UTC)[]
Oh wow, I didn't realize all that. It makes much more sense now with all the background information (and reading the articles you linked). Thanks for the explanation. Also, one more small question: should I delete the redundant file ( I uploaded on the English Wikipedia? TimeClock871 (talk) 05:42, 16 March 2010 (UTC)[]
Unless you are an administrator, you cannot delete it. I cannot delete it either, so I:
  • Changed all usages of it on the English Wikipedia to use the file on Commons instead.
  • Marked the file with the ((NowCommons)) template, so an administrator should be along to delete it eventually.
--Teratornis (talk) 05:58, 16 March 2010 (UTC)[]
Oh I see. I'm not an administrator so I can't. I understand. Thanks for all the help. TimeClock871 (talk) 08:45, 16 March 2010 (UTC)[]

RE: Adding an Artist @ HD

Thank you for the quick Help Desk reply and taking the time to look into the article I am working on. I was hoping to find someone like yourself to come and help me with the proper format for the article. I know i still have a lot to work on and do not expect to apply for submission until it is ready and approved by the Wiki community. --Pursuitknowledge (talk) 20:26, 21 March 2010 (UTC)[]


Whats the easiest way to install mediawiki and thus set-up a wiki, as I'd like to set one up. I've already downloaded the software but have not yet unpacked it from the zip archive. The instructions on the mediawiki site are complicated for me and I am having trouble understanding them. So if you could help that would be great. Thanks Paul2387 21:19, 26 March 2010 (UTC)[]

Do you want to run a public wiki (that everyone can see), or a Personal wiki that only you can see? For the latter, follow the steps in mw:Manual:Wiki on a stick. For the former, you will need a Web server running the necessary LAMP (software bundle). Setting up a public wiki can be harder. You will need help from the system administrator who runs your Web server. I suggest you start with the personal wiki as it is easier, and you can experiment with MediaWiki with less risk. You can also use your personal wiki to back up your public wiki. MediaWiki administration is extremely complicated and I can't explain it all here. I run some personal wikis with XAMPP as my LAMP/WAMP software bundle. XAMPP powers the local Apache, PHP, and MySQL servers that you can then install MediaWiki under, and then you can browse to MediaWiki running on your computer as localhost. I don't know that XAMPP is the best choice, but that's what I figured out first so I go with it. mw:Project:Support desk purports to answer questions about administering MediaWiki, but answers are slow and many questions get no answers. Ideally you should read the MediaWiki Handbook and take notes about everything you are doing. Create a single-signon with Special:MergeAccount if you don't already have one, so you can participate on the MediaWiki-specific project wikis: mw: and m:. Everything you need to know is probably somewhere on those sites, but finding what you need can be difficult. I might be able to help you with specific questions but you must be very specific. Vague open-ended questions mean you need to read the manuals enough to formulate a specific question. Most problems are specific to your particular platform, so the approach I took may not be much use to you if your computers are different than mine. Also get your terminology straight: Wikimedia is not the same as MediaWiki. Don't expect everything to work or make sense on the first attempt. You will have to spend many hours over many months to become a skilled MediaWiki administrator. Why do you want to run MediaWiki? --Teratornis (talk) 22:42, 26 March 2010 (UTC)[]
And note the distinction between an administrator on Wikipedia and administering your own wiki. Anybody is free to do the latter if they can figure out the instructions. To become an administrator on Wikipedia you must pass WP:RFA. Be sure to read every page I linked to if you haven't already. Also see the links under WP:EIW#MediaWiki. Good luck, and remember: you will figure it out eventually if you keep trying. --Teratornis (talk) 22:51, 26 March 2010 (UTC)[]

Using Talk

Thank you for replying to my query. On that note, I have more than 30 years editing experience, but zero experinece with Wikipedia. Also, the newsletters I was using for research are on display in our offices, so anyone can come find them, though they would have to come to Maryland to do so. On another topice, you replied to my talk, so I wanted to reply to yours, but I could see no way to do so. I tried clicking your "talk," but I didn't see anyway to reply on your talk page either (though the page says that's where to do it). Wikipedia is certainly complex!!! Compubs (talk) 13:11, 30 March 2010 (UTC)[]

You seem to have figured it out, since you have just replied on Teratornis' talk page! Welcome. --ColinFine (talk) 17:52, 30 March 2010 (UTC)[]
I should have specified "Wikipedia editing experience" in my Help desk reply rather than just "editing experience" which is ambiguous. (I was getting a little too inside baseball there.) Prior non-Wikipedia editing experience gives a new Wikipedia editor an advantage over someone who has never edited anything before, but Wikipedia is very different than anything else most people have experienced, so there is much more to learn here. On Wikipedia you can edit without registering an account, so I could not assume your contributions under your user account represent your entire Wikipedia editing history.
Wikipedia is extremely complex - it might be the most complex system which is completely open for the general public to study and contribute to. If you like to read information in book form, you could read Wikipedia - The Missing Manual in addition to all the pages we linked in our replies to your question on the Help desk.
Also, I did not reply to your user talk page; that was User:Ukexpat.
If you are willing to release your newsletters under a free content license such as ((cc-by-sa-3.0)) then you could upload copies of them to Wikisource. That would simplify verification by other Wikipedia editors.
Welcome to Wikipedia. --Teratornis (talk) 20:11, 30 March 2010 (UTC)[]


Thank you for your message regarding energy articles! Just so you know, I am interested more about the companies than the oil itself, so I'll be concentrating on the history of integrated energy companies. --LastLived 23:32, 5 April 2010 (UTC)[]

I can not figure out how to communicate with anyone involved

I went to the page that you suggested, but still can not to figure out how to communicate with anyone involved. You note was thoughtful, but when I clicked on the site you suggested, there was still no way to get help or communicate with anyone. Elkmilok (talk) 20:43, 6 April 2010 (UTC)[]

Can not find my earlier message to you, My Message on not being able to contact reviewer

6 April 2010 7:20 pm. I tried your suggestion in today's note to me. It was that I click on AVS5221. I did. I found his site. However, there about me, or my article, nor did there seem to be any place to write any message anyone. Am I a complete dolt? I certainly am completely lost. Elkmilok (talk) 00:27, 7 April 2010 (UTC)[]

You found my user talk page, so that's a start. You may want to be adopted by an experienced Wikipedia user. See Wikipedia:Adopt-a-User. Wikipedia seems designed to make new users feel stupid. You just have to read lots of manuals, over and over, try stuff, and learn from your mistakes which will be many in the early going. If you like to read paper books, buy and read Wikipedia - The Missing Manual. You can also read the book online for free. The amount you have to learn to master Wikipedia editing is far too much to justify if all you want to do is post one new article. Wikipedia is really set up for people who want to spend a lot of time here and edit lots of articles, i.e. make a serious commitment. Wikipedia is not friendly to casual "drive by" contributors who have a one-time interest in posting something quickly. That's partly why the vast majority of user accounts have very few edits. Only a tiny minority of dabblers get through the torture test and go on to become substantial contributors. --Teratornis (talk) 03:17, 7 April 2010 (UTC)[]


I tried to the tabbing as you told but I got muddled how to do the links. Please help. (Portal:Star) --Extra999 (Contact me + contribs) 15:16, 27 April 2010 (UTC)[]

Wikipedia has no original research

It was an archive page so I couldn't edit.

So, what did Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny bring you?

Yes, I'm as guilty as the next person.Vchimpanzee · talk · contributions · 18:55, 11 May 2010 (UTC)[]

I have no idea what you refer to. --Teratornis (talk) 19:52, 11 May 2010 (UTC)[]
On a Help Desk page you claimed Wikipedia has no orignal research. What you mean is the rules state it should not. We almost never strictly follow the rules.Vchimpanzee · talk · contributions · 14:45, 12 May 2010 (UTC)[]
Link to what you claim I wrote. --Teratornis (talk) 17:19, 12 May 2010 (UTC)[]
[1] I'm just a little behind schedule reading the Help Desk archives. But it's entertaining and I learn a lot.Vchimpanzee · talk · contributions · 18:39, 12 May 2010 (UTC)[]
OK, I got careless. I should have written "Wikipedia is not supposed to contain any original research." Thanks for catching my error. The average residence time of original research on Wikipedia will probably be some number of page views. That is, if someone adds original research to Wikipedia, it will eventually get removed or properly sourced after a sufficient number of people read it. In articles that get lots of page views and are heavily watched, the clock time duration of original research will probably be brief. In obscure articles, original research might persist for years, because that's how long it would take for a sufficient number of people to look at the article to produce the one editor who will fix the problem. I believe the relevant unit of time on Wikipedia is the page view. --Teratornis (talk) 19:45, 12 May 2010 (UTC)[]

U.S. and Public Domain (re: WP:Help desk)

That's crazy talk. Just because tax payers pay for this data to be collected and for this research to be done doesn't mean we should be allowed to benefit from it. ;-) TFOWRpropaganda 17:25, 14 May 2010 (UTC)[]

Unfortunately you are correct. It is crazy talk to suggest that governments exist to maximize the value to the public of information they create at public expense. Even in the US, many state and local governments claim copyright over the works they create on our dime. --Teratornis (talk) 18:18, 14 May 2010 (UTC)[]


Thanks for posting the links, Commons:Category:Recycling by country and Commons:Category:Sorted waste containers on my question at the Help desk. These links you gave me are very useful, I appreciate your help. Have a terrific day!:) SwisterTwister (talk) 20:44, 2 June 2010 (UTC)[]

Grab some glory, and a barnstar

Hi, I'd like to invite you to participate in the Guild of Copy Editors July 2010 Backlog Elimination Drive. In May, about 30 editors helped remove the ((copyedit)) tag from 1175 articles. The backlog is still over 7500 articles, and extends back to the beginning of 2008! We really need your help to reduce it. Copyediting just a couple articles can qualify you for a barnstar. Serious copyeditors can win prestigious and exclusive rewards. See the event page for more information. And thanks for your consideration. monosock 03:37, 12 June 2010 (UTC)[]

Why am I getting this message? Mono's delivery method is random, so you probably showed up somewhere Mono went. :)

You are now a Reviewer

Hello. Your account has been granted the "reviewer" userright, allowing you to review other users' edits on certain flagged pages. Pending changes, also known as flagged protection, is currently undergoing a two-month trial scheduled to end 15 August 2010.

Reviewers can review edits made by users who are not autoconfirmed to articles placed under pending changes. Pending changes is applied to only a small number of articles, similarly to how semi-protection is applied but in a more controlled way for the trial. The list of articles with pending changes awaiting review is located at Special:OldReviewedPages.

When reviewing, edits should be accepted if they are not obvious vandalism or BLP violations, and not clearly problematic in light of the reason given for protection (see Wikipedia:Reviewing process). More detailed documentation and guidelines can be found here.

If you do not want this userright, you may ask any administrator to remove it for you at any time. Courcelles (talk) 18:04, 18 June 2010 (UTC)[]


You asked what the category was. It was Celebrities sentenced to jail though I suggested a change to Entertainers sentenced to jail Suomi Finland 2009 (talk) 15:08, 8 July 2010 (UTC)[]


I also want to make a template how you do it, please ?  Jon Ascton  (talk) 17:59, 8 July 2010 (UTC)[]


Hi, Teratornis. I took your advice and used your method of finding a free licence photo, you can see it on my userpage. this is just one of the photos I would like upload to commons but using your method it appears there is no licence to upload it. Would that be right? Jack 1314 (talk) 18:39, 30 July 2010 (UTC)[]

The photo page says: "Additional Information ... All rights reserved" which means it is not free and you cannot upload it to Commons. Unless you can persuade the uploader to change the photo to one of the acceptable free licenses. This is why it is better to search Flickr only with ((Flickr free)). There are many times more non-free photos on Flickr, so if you use the general Flickr search, you will waste a lot of time looking at photos you can't upload to Commons. Which gets to be annoying fast. --Teratornis (talk) 18:46, 30 July 2010 (UTC)[]
Probably most Flickr users don't know anything about free content licensing. A lot of the photos might be copyrighted more or less as the default choice on Flickr, with the users not really having thought it through. If someone is not a professional photographer, they might not have any real reason to reserve all rights to their work. They might never have heard of the free content movement. Thus they don't understand that they are destroying value by copyrighting their photos. --Teratornis (talk) 18:50, 30 July 2010 (UTC)[]
See Commons:COM:EIC#Permreq for links that tell how to request permission from copyright holders. --Teratornis (talk) 18:51, 30 July 2010 (UTC)[]
Thanks for giving me your time to explaining all that. Much appreciated. Jack 1314 (talk) 18:55, 30 July 2010 (UTC)[]
Thanks for contributing. --Teratornis (talk) 21:15, 30 July 2010 (UTC)[]

Template:Infobox wind farm

Hi. I found some links links from your userpage linking to the above template; found out that you once intended to create such a template. Well, it now exists. ;) Your comments on the new template is highly appreciated. Kind regards. Rehman(+) 10:34, 4 September 2010 (UTC)[]

Thanks for notifying me. --Teratornis (talk) 16:43, 4 September 2010 (UTC)[]


Thanks for your help with my question about the "talk place" for my script that finds people in need of help! I said thank you there too, but to make sure you receive it, I write here as well, as my question is now archived. Iceblock (talk) 22:21, 22 September 2010 (UTC)[]

You're welcome. Good luck with your script. --Teratornis (talk) 00:31, 23 September 2010 (UTC)[]

WikiSpeedia question

Did I misunderstand your comment or are you looking for a WikiSpeedia like site? From your comments I thought you were saying that there needs to be a place for moderators to interact. --Robinson Weijman (talk) 07:05, 6 November 2010 (UTC)[]

Replied on Help desk. --Teratornis (talk) 19:57, 6 November 2010 (UTC)[]

new discussion on WP:FN

Hi, I want to alert you to my new discussion

You once commented on the issue here:

- Verapar (talk) 22:20, 30 December 2010 (UTC)[]

US Bank Arena Concerts

Thank you for your helpful information.TV1981HS (talk) 20:12, 3 January 2011 (UTC)[]

Glad to be of service. Good luck with your navbox. --Teratornis (talk) 05:28, 4 January 2011 (UTC)[]

Barnstar award

I would like to award you this barnstar for your recent very well-thought-out comments on the Help Desk regarding why Wikipedia is really not complex to use.

Civility Award
For taking the time to explain a key aspect of editing Wikipedia to a newcomer on the Help Desk RadioBroadcast (talk) 21:16, 7 January 2011 (UTC)[]
Thanks. --Teratornis (talk) 22:25, 7 January 2011 (UTC)[]

Wikipedia Ambassador Program is looking for new Online Ambassadors

Hi! Since you've been identified as an Awesome Wikipedian, I wanted to let you know about the Wikipedia Ambassador Program, and specifically the role of Online Ambassador. We're looking for friendly Wikipedians who are good at reviewing articles and giving feedback to serve as mentors for students who are assigned to write for Wikipedia in their classes.

If that sounds like you and you're interested, I encourage you to take a look at the Online Ambassador guidelines; the "mentorship process" describes roughly what will be expected of mentors during the current term, which started in January and goes through early May. If that's something you want to do, please apply!

You can find instructions for applying at WP:ONLINE. The main things we're looking for in Online Ambassadors are friendliness, regular activity (since mentorship is a commitment that spans several months), and the ability to give detailed, substantive feedback on articles (both short new articles, and longer, more mature ones).

I hope to hear from you soon.--Sage Ross - Online Facilitator, Wikimedia Foundation (talk) 20:42, 26 January 2011 (UTC)[]



WADR,1 IMHO, on HD, TMTLD's can be a bit confusing :-)

I hope this mild poke is accepted in spirit intended, and I sincerely hope you/someone will poke me, when I fall into the same trap :-) Best,  Chzz  ►  02:41, 27 February 2011 (UTC)[]

Shortcuts are only confusing if unlinked. In the example you gave above, you stripped out my links, and only show the shortcut text. This suggests that you either do not understand that I linked the shortcuts, or you want to imply that I did not. I'm always open to advice, but not to being misquoted. If the questioner does not want to follow the links I gave and read the friendly manuals, he or she is unlikely to have a positive experience on Wikipedia. Therefore I prefer to answer questions with shortcut links, to force the questioners to read the manuals. And also to alert them to the presence of shortcuts, so they may be able to decode them when they are unlinked. As you know, many Wikipedia editors are too lazy to link their cryptic abbreviations in edit summaries and elsewhere. Perhaps you can poke them. --Teratornis (talk) 06:00, 27 February 2011 (UTC)[]
No; of course I knew you linked them, and of course I did not wish to imply you didn't. That'd be a bit silly, given the diff. I simply copy/pasted from the page, as a brief quote of the statement to give context to my comment. I'm sorry if that was misleading.
I appreciate you linked them, but I'm not convinced that we can hope new users will read multiple complicated shortcut links and understand them. I think that;

See Wikipedia:Your first article, Wikipedia:Notability (people) and Wikipedia:Autobiography. considerably clearer than,


...but, I am hypocritical, because I have done the same often enough, myself.
You're quite right, about people not linking at all - I see that a lot in AfD, where people frequently post "No RS, fails PROF, BLP1E' and all that, absolutely.
So yes, I should indeed poke them; you're right. I just happened to see your post on HD, was all, and thought it worth a mention. Sorry if it was a bother. Chzz  ►  08:48, 27 February 2011 (UTC)[]
I appreciate your concern for the new user. It might be useful to have a bot that would expand shortcut links to their full page titles. Shortcuts are easier to remember than exact page titles, and therefore easier to retrieve, which means the new user benefits from learning them. I don't want to mislead the new user to suppose reading the page title is enough - they really need to read the whole manual page because it contains a lot of information which is important and often unintuitive. I have no "hope" that any particular new user will do any particular thing. They will either do what works (read the friendly manuals) or they will likely fail. If new users do not want to read manuals, their editing experience on Wikipedia is likely to be unpleasant and unproductive (this particular questioner seems headed for WP:AFD (or Wikipedia:Articles for deletion if you prefer)). They will also create problems and extra work for users who do read manuals. I had no unusual difficulty understanding Wikipedia's manuals when I was new here; reading them was tedious, but straightforward. Before I got to Wikipedia I had already learned several previous systems by reading their manuals, so I understood the folly of not reading manuals. Wikipedia's manuals are the best I have ever seen for any system, so I hardly think it is unreasonable to expect other new users to do what I did. This is about as good as it gets. If that's not good enough for someone, they should stick to Facebook. --Teratornis (talk) 20:28, 27 February 2011 (UTC)[]
Also, the question on the Help desk that led to our exchange was a variant of "How do I create a new article?" This is a frequently asked question. It is also the wrong question - the right question is "Should I create the new article I have in mind?" Anyone who asks how to create a new article probably ignored the top of the Help desk page which tells the questioner to search the FAQ before asking, and probably has not looked at the manuals much. I suspect that anyone who needs to ask this question is at risk for a bumpy ride on Wikipedia. Creating a new article on Wikipedia, and making it stick, requires knowing a lot about how to edit on Wikipedia. If a user can't find our FAQ, how will that user navigate our minefield of gotchas and avoid WP:AFD? The Help desk will not be there at every moment to look over the user's shoulder and tell him or her what to do at every step. The function of the Help desk is to tell users what manual pages to read. We won't persuade everyone to do that, obviously. Of Wikipedia's 42,262,140 registered user accounts, only a small fraction have a significant number of edits. That's probably because we get a lot of people who dabble, but they get overwhelmed by Wikipedia's complexity and give up. Only a few people have what it takes to learn Wikipedia - an inclination to read the friendly manuals. --Teratornis (talk) 20:48, 27 February 2011 (UTC)[]
So, sometimes the role of helpdesk can be to explain things in a more 'custom' way - instead of all the complex 'what if' that the manual pages have to cover. We can use different words, and communicate on a personal level, instead of just spouting policy and guidelines.

The editing community is the lifeblood of the Wikimedia projects, and its continued health, diversity and growth is critical to the movement’s future. It is a core principle of Wikimedia that “anyone can edit,” and we want to have a huge and diverse set of contributors. WMF Strategic Plan 2011

Wikipedia is extremely complicated, and the complexity raises a tall barrier against the new editor. Unlinked shortcuts raise the barrier further, and unnecessarily. One possibility would be to design a skin for newbies. I don't know how much we could pack into the thin client of the Web browser, but it would be nice to give the new user the ability to click on anything that doesn't make sense, and get an explanation in something resembling English. That might work for things like unlinked shortcuts, and other machine-recognizable standard features of the user interface and wikitext (such as templates). I'm not in a position to attempt to create such a thing. It would require several person-years of programmer time, probably.
The newbie skin might also discourage direct attempts at article creation until the new user has accumulated some editing experience. Users who don't want to wait or read the manuals should stick to Wikipedia:Articles for creation.
"It should be easy, for everyone to just edit." I am agnostic on that claim. For every problem that exists, there is some minimum complexity to it. As Albert Einstein said, "Everything should be as simple as possible, and no simpler." We don't want Wikipedia editing to be harder than necessary, but nobody knows precisely how hard that is. I don't think Wikipedia's complexity is an accident. Complexity is essential for power. It is also an inherent feature of large human cultures, and Wikipedia is one. Wikipedia is a top ten Web site. Consider what you have to do if you want to edit any of the others. The procedure for editing the Google or Microsoft sites is far more complex than getting started here. You have to get hired, you have to relocate, you have to learn all their relevant internal procedures and corporate culture, etc. There is no free lunch to building a top ten site.
  • Should it be easy to play a violin? Maybe, but it is not. It is possible to build musical instruments that anyone can "play", but only by severely restricting what the user can do. As Robert Moog said, "What you can control, you must control." Systems with more power and flexibility almost always require more skill from the user. Making it easy means you lower the quality. Most people should not be writing on Wikipedia. They don't have the ability, or they don't have the desire to invest the effort to develop the ability.
  • Most people cannot effectively self-educate. They need formal classroom training. If we really want to increase the number of Wikipedia editors beyond the small percentage of people who are do it yourselfers, we need to run Wikipedia training courses in every sizable human settlement.
"Imagine if you wanted to give blood, but before you could, you had to read through 50 pages of legal-stuff." Giving blood is analogous to donating money to Wikipedia, which anyone can do. Editing on Wikipedia is analogous to performing surgery. Before people can do that, they have to read more than 50 pages, and demonstrate that they learned something.
"The falling number of contributors, and the more 'entrenched' community, are very topical issues." In contrast, the number of monetary contributors appears to be rising. Each annual fundraising drive has been more successful than the last. Wikipedia readers outnumber editors by 100 to 1 or more, from what I understand. Wikipedia's readers seem increasingly pleased by the product.
Wikipedia is an encyclopedia. It is not a general-purpose information appliance. Most of the editing that most people might want to do online is not encyclopedic. That's why Facebook has far more contributors than Wikipedia. Facebook lets anyone post almost anything they want, without regard to quality, and without the threat of being edited by someone else. I don't mention Facebook to denigrate anyone. Facebook satisfies a much larger market for self-expression than Wikipedia does. On Facebook, you only have to appeal to your friends.
The "falling" number of contributors (I use scare-quotes because I don't know what the actual number is) might not be a problem. It might be showing that Wikipedia is getting close to maxing out its remit. There are only so many possible topics that can meet Wikipedia's notability requirements. Once we have articles on all of them, the only thing left to do is improve their quality, and to add the comparatively small number of newly notable topics as they appear in the real world. Of course we will never have an article on every notable topic here. Many topics are "notable" enough for Wikipedia, but extremely uninteresting to most people. Not many people are interested in writing articles about every single bridge and power plant in the world, for example, so our progress toward documenting all of those is slow. We could make Wikipedia more interesting to more people by relaxing the notability requirements and other limits from WP:NOT. I'm an inclusionist. I think it is silly for Wikipedia to exclude procedural knowledge, for example. Why don't we have practical how-to articles? I don't see any good reason for Wikipedia to exclude content that might prove useful to someone. If I want to plant a garden, or repair a bicycle, I'd like to read how on Wikipedia, because Wikipedia presents content better than most random Web pages.
Over-selling will not solve the problem. We should not put a friendly, welcoming facade on Wikipedia while the fact is that our deletionists can hardly wait burn the newbies. (What's the difference between a vandal and a deletionist? You can block a vandal.) If Wikipedia is losing contributors, I suspect that's because people are tired of getting victimized by the honey trap we set for them. I think it is at the very least uncharitable to design a site that encourages people to contribute their intellectual property without warning them that we are likely to destroy it if they violate an enormous list of persnickety rules they never heard of. It's like putting welcome signs on a mine field. The Main Page lists the current number of articles on Wikipedia; why does it not mention the deleted articles? There are hundreds of thousands of deleted articles - think of all those potential contributors we probably drove away.
The function of the Help desk is to answer questions. If a questioner has already read the relevant manuals and failed to understand them, the questioner should summarize that. See How to Ask Questions the Smart Way. When I link to a manual page, it is because I have read the manual and I know it answers the question. If the question is about something more specific (such as the preferred format for a particular type of article), that usually won't be in the main manual set. Instead you look in the relevant WikiProject for topic-specific guidelines. If there is no WikiProject or it has no relevant guidelines, then you look at featured articles on similar topics. I'm not sure what you find unsatisfactory about this. If all else fails, ask on the Help desk. Have you ever seen a system of comparable complexity and power that is easier to figure out than Wikipedia? If you find a problem with a manual, you should fix the manual page if you can, or at least report the problem on the talk page. That's how the manuals get better.
If someone doesn't like the free help they get on the Help desk, they can post a reply asking for clarification. Not many questions on the Help desk are well-posed. We don't know whether the questioner has already read any manuals, or what manuals, we don't know their level of computer knowledge, etc. Often questioners will ask how to do something when they should really be trying a different step to reach their (unstated) goal. Again, see How to Ask Questions the Smart Way. It would be nice if schools would make that part of their standard curriculum - everybody should know how to take advantage of all the free help that is available, if only one can pose a question that admits an answer. --Teratornis (talk) 22:10, 28 February 2011 (UTC)[]
This article doesn't meet GNG; fails CRYSTAL
That's just a thought. But yes, of course; anything to make things clearer. This seems like something to bring up on Wikipedia:Usability, and/or Wikipedia:Idea lab.
This has been a nice, interesting, and collegiate discussion. Regardless of all the content, I thank you very sincerely for your polite, erudite, and reasoned arguments. I don't agree with you of course, but it's been a good chat, I respect your opinions, and appreciate your willingness to discuss.  Chzz  ►  02:13, 1 March 2011 (UTC)[]
"I'm convinced from personal experience that the vast, vast majority (of new articles) are useless" - is that a problem? Usefulness is not a criterion for inclusion on Wikipedia, which relates to our exclusion of procedural knowledge, the most useful type of knowledge there is. The vast majority of new articles may well be useless to you, and may be useless to most other people too, but deleting them drives contributors away. "Useless" is hardly a problem for a wiki. The marginal cost of putting up a page is nearly zero, especially if nobody looks at it. If having a useless article on Wikipedia makes the creator feel more welcome, what's the harm? Actually I support the firmly rejected proposal to have a separate Wikimedia Foundation wiki of Wikipedia's deleted articles (except for libel, copyright violations, or other illegal content). It would hardly cost anything to have our own Deletionpedia, and the benefit in goodwill would be huge. Why couldn't we have a high-quality Wikipedia, and a lower-quality holding pen Wikipedia? We should only delete genuine crap out of the holding pen. Then the challenge for newbies would not be to avoid deletion, but to promote their low quality articles out of the holding pen.
"your expectations of competence are, currently, far too high; you're being elitist" - there's a bit of the Is–ought problem here. Those aren't primarily my expectations, those are Wikipedia's. It's not so much that I approve of them, it's that the only solution I know (formal classroom training) costs too much. Wikipedia is hostile because hostility is cheap - the cheapest way to "train" people is to write the instructions once and let users learn by reading the friendly manuals and trial-and-error. Wikipedia expects you to know what you are doing, or else your work gets mercilessly edited. People don't have to be competent to edit on Wikipedia; they only have to be competent if they want their edits to stick. Of course 99.9999% of Wikipedia editors probably wouldn't waste their time making any edit unless they expected it to stick. If I tell someone they need to know something before they can make it through a minefield without getting blown up, I'm not being elitist, I'm giving the news. I would be elitist if I said the minefield should be there and should require a high level of competence to get through. I'm always interested in finding ways to make minefields a little more user-friendly. I don't agree with Wikipedia's attempt to camouflage its minefields to make them more welcoming.
  • The exclusion of procedural knowledge is baldly elitist. It loftily assumes people are here primarily to amuse their intellectual curiosity, rather than solve real-world problems. We assume Wikipedians are members of a leisured class with no need to get their hands dirty. By excluding procedural knowledge we more or less exclude the working class. Below them, the world's poorest 1.4 billion live on $1.25 per day per person. Do they care about topics such as Heraldry that we cover at length? No, they care about where their next meal is coming from.
"We're an Encyclopaedia, not a guide book" - yes, I know. I've read what we are. I haven't read a convincing reason why we exclude procedural knowledge. My best theory is that this was a restriction imposed early when there were still lots of notable topics left to write about. The need then was to limit scope so the small number of editors could focus on doing a few things well. Of course I follow the guidelines, not because I agree with all of them, but because resistance is futile. Once a rule becomes entrenched, it no longer requires any logical or factual justification. We'll just fly it right into the dirt.
"But for a startling example, consider the number of new admins" - yes, I was startled firsthand, in particular by the fallacious arguments made and how readily they swayed subsequent voters (who nonsensically deny they are voters). As a result, I cannot recommend seeking administratorship to anyone who expects others to follow logical arguments. I wonder whether even Jimbo could pass an RfA in its present form.
"the core vision was "anyone can edit"." That was and is Jimbo Wales's core vision. The problem is that the word "edit" means something different on Wikipedia (and on wikis in general) than it means anywhere else. Most people have used computers for years; when they click "edit" they change something, and when when they click "save" it stays the way they edited it, until they click "edit" again. Most people have no experience with editing as an experiment with unpredictable results. Imagine trying to drive a car that heads in a different random direction each time you turn the wheel a particular way. Wikipedia is essentially a game to predict what other editors are going to do. Reading the friendly manuals makes your predictions more accurate, but never perfect.
  • It's like saying our core vision is for everyone to have access to a restroom. What we don't say is you're sharing that restroom with 1,000 other people, so there have to be a lot more rules than with a private restroom.
  • In the early days, it was easier for anyone to edit. The first articles were just plain text, and people could start new articles about obviously notable topics, like Jupiter. Later things got fancier with images, templates, tables, equations, geographical coordinates, and on and on it goes. Wikipedia is feature creep on steroids. And that's why Wikipedia is so popular (with readers). It's a beautiful site to read. The presentation and organization of information are amazing. But it takes a staggering amount of technology to produce. And editors have to understand an incredible number of things to make their edits stick here. Even subsets of Wikipedia amount to whole specialties now. For example image uploading. I wrote most of the Editor's index to Commons as a way to figure some of that out. That's not the fault of Wikipedia, it's complexity spilling in from our insane copyright laws. To comply with copyright law, we have to turn image uploading into rocket science. The only way to make it simpler would be to allow large-scale copyright violations like Flickr and Facebook do.
"If Bus-stop number 37 on Highway 73 has an interesting, documented history - then why not?" Do you mean why shouldn't we, or why don't we?
  • We only have articles if someone writes them, and makes them deletion-proof. If only 1 out of 1,000 people in the general population know enough about Wikipedia to do that, and only 1 out of 100 people in the general population care about Bus stop number 37, we probably won't have an article on Bus stop number 37. There's about a 1 in 10 chance.
  • I can't think of any good reason to exclude any reliably sourced content from Wikipedia. Which is to say, I think "notability" in itself is complete and utter bunk. But again, resistance is futile. If we invite newbies to help us write increasingly obscure articles that are increasingly harder to defend against our remarkably unempathetic deletionists, the newbies are going to get slaughtered. The falling numbers of newbies suggest the deletionists are winning in their odd campaign to choke off Wikipedia's lifeblood. It's like the revenge of the nerds. On Wikipedia, nerds get to be deletionists and get their jollies by destroying intellectual property - legally.
I basically agree with your thing in the Signpost. I should have read it before my previous reply. If you had only displayed a shortcut, I might have been forced to look at it. It's clear that creating a new article is ridiculously beyond the capability of almost all new editors. They don't know about WP:LAYOUT, WP:MOS, WP:CSD, etc. Jimbo is living in the past if he thinks our "core principle" means we have to keep the increasingly lethal minefield wide open and welcoming to everyone. Obviously all new article ideas have to be vetted by someone who has read some manuals and gotten some articles to stick. Just take all the labor we are wasting in WP:AFD and move it into WP:AFC. --Teratornis (talk) 04:15, 1 March 2011 (UTC)[]

"Useless" was a poor choice of word. I meant, unencyclopaedic. Most (new articles) are unreferenced, and thus the potential for harm is manifold. Apart from the obvious concerns of BLP, copyright, promotion, and so forth - if Wikipedia presents false information, it devalues the entire project.

For a "lower-quality holding pen" - have you seen Wikipedia:Incubation?

Re. "procedural" articles...I'm not sure. It sounds like this is something you have strong opinions about, and it's not something I've come across before. I've really always thought them non-Encyclopaedic; I'd like our articles about boiled eggs to document nutritional content, cultural differences in cooking styles, and so forth - but not instructions for how to actually boil one. It would be extraordinarily hard to present that with balance and neutrality - surely procedural guides quickly enter OR territory? But as I said...I have not given this much thought before. I'll have to ponder that one.

Of course, the sheer size of Wikipedia does lend to complexity and WP:CREEP etc; the complexity is unavoidable, but I still (maybe naively) think that the basics can remain comprehendible, so that your average-Joe can add to it.

For 'bus-stop 37', I did mean "why not"; it sounds like we're in agreement on that. I wrote the example to illustrate that there is no reason why anything cannot have an article, as long as there are sources.

I agree that N is bunk; I think of WP:GNG as "lies to children". We have to set some standard, and - currently - that's the best we can do. I say currently because, I really don't know how it will work in the future. It's quite hard to claim that Twitter, for example, is not a 'reliable source' when it is clearly accepted by newspapers who quote what celebs write there. Another problem is, with the wish to promote demographics outside the "Global North" (I really really hate that term; it makes no sense), increasingly the references are in other languages. So we AGF...and in theory we can check them. But this isn't realistic; if someone cites a magazine only available in a city in placeholder-country, in placeholder-language...can we really expect to check it? In rare, exceptional cases, sure - but what about when such refs become the norm?

The last part...I don't think it is AfD that needs diverting to AFC; I think it is CSD and WP:NPP - because that is where the massive amount of man-hours goes. But, the people doing that stuff might not be capable of actually developing articles. I'm thinking of all the people using 'huggle' and hitting 'revert' on all the articles saying "Joe Smith Eats Poo LOL", etc. -Of course, we need people who deal with all that, but I'm not convinced that the users who just do that can help with AFC.  Chzz  ►  06:11, 1 March 2011 (UTC)[]

Procedural knowledge - I don't know that I have "strong opinions", I was presenting what I consider to be factual arguments. If you see a factual error please correct me. Procedural knowledge is a big part of the most useful knowledge; it's what people pay good money to learn in vocational and professional schools, and in apprenticeships. It's also something that young people don't usually have a lot of, so Wikipedia's key demographic would have a harder time contributing. The best people to write about topics like home repair are people who have been doing it for decades. Yes, it would probably be harder to write procedural knowledge on Wikipedia than useless knowledge. We can write anything we want about useless topics like Heraldry and nobody dies. If something is useless, it can't really be wrong, since it isn't being tested against reality by being put to use. In contrast, if we write something wrong about how to use power tools, then we need the disclaimer to be bulletproof. I think it is a fact that by excluding procedural content, we make Wikipedia smaller. I don't think that is an opinion. I have no idea whether it would be practical to include procedural knowledge, I only know that by excluding it, we are excluding an enormous subset of "the sum of human knowledge" that Jimbo claims to want to make freely available to every person on the planet. I'm actually pretty optimistic about the capabilities of the Wikipedia community. Yes, procedural knowledge would undoubtedly include some original work (God help us). We would have to rely on the community to verify our procedural knowledge by actually testing it. We would have to work out some method to rank editors by trustworthiness. It's a tough problem, but not impossible. It was too hard for the young Wikipedia in 2001 or 2002. Back then the only hope for verification was to lean on reputable publishers to do the verifying. Wikipedia is now one of the world's biggest publishers. At some point we are going to have to get over our fear of figuring out how to verify things for ourselves. We can't lean on other organizations to do that forever, especially if we start putting them out of business by taking their traffic.
There is one very important exception to the no procedural knowledge rule: the Editor's index to Wikipedia. That is one giant collection of documents about how to write the largest encyclopedia in history by organizing the efforts of unpaid remote volunteers. If we can trust Wikipedians to write about how to edit Wikipedia, why can't we trust Wikipedians to write about how to do everything else? Is everything else much harder than what Wikipedia is doing? Is it harder to plant a garden or paint a house? If you went back fifteen years in a time machine and described today's Wikipedia to people, most would probably not believe you.
Of course Wikibooks and Wikiversity provide outlets for procedural knowledge, at least in theory, but Wikipedia's sister projects are having a hard time attracting a critical mass of editors. Chopping up the projects makes it harder to port templates and so on. --Teratornis (talk) 06:57, 1 March 2011 (UTC)[]
I'm still puzzled why you think it is horrible to filter out editors who refuse to read manuals. Everything about computers has been doing that ever since computers were invented. People who can read and follow instructions have an innate advantage when doing almost anything computer-related. And the need never declines, because computer technology evolves so fast. Today the critical skill is search. Some people know how to search a lot better than other people. Those other people end up on the Help desk asking barely coherent questions. We can answer their question, but what about their next hundred questions? At some point they have to learn how to catch their own fish. We can't keep throwing them fish at every step. Do you think it is horrible for a sport like basketball to filter out players who refuse to dribble, pass, and shoot? It may be horrible, but how is it avoidable? If you remove the need for dribbling from basketball, it is no longer basketball. People who don't read well probably aren't very literate. What is an encyclopedia? It is a tool for literate people. Writing an encyclopedia is a literary art. It's an activity for people who are comfortable in the world of writing. Those people can easily read and follow instructions.
Jimbo Wales said that when he was a kid, he used to read the World Book encyclopedia for fun. So did I. And I got ridiculed by other kids for it. How many people who thought reading encyclopedias was stupid do you think can be taught to write encyclopedias? How many of them can teach themselves to write encyclopedias? My guess is: not many, and the Pareto distribution of edit counts supports this. Anyone who has contributed significantly to Wikipedia is a rare breed of cat. Not everybody can do what we do, and that probably won't change until there are breakthroughs in artificial intelligence. Essentially we need to take the actual expertise of people like you and put it into the software, so the non-encyclopedic people out there who don't read manuals can just talk to their computers exactly as they would talk to you if you were sitting in the room with them, talking about what they want to put on Wikipedia. --Teratornis (talk) 07:11, 1 March 2011 (UTC)[]
Re. 'procedural', I'll keep my answer short, because I think that is a discussion for another place. Current core principles of verifiability and neutrality seem to preclude that type of material. Those could change, I suppose; but that is definitely a discussion for elsewhere.
Regarding the baseball analogy: baseball is one particular skillset. A better comparison might be, regarding a sporting college. Some people might well be useless at baseball, but they might excel at football - discarding them because there is one area they are deficient in wouldn't be wise. It is not essential to be able to read reams of manuals to edit Wikipedia. It is perfectly possible to make constructive contributions without reading anything at all - and so it should be. For example, I once helped a user from India, who spoke very broken English - via the IRC 'live help'. It took about 3 hours, but I showed him how to find appropriately-licenced images on flickr and add them to articles. He went on to add many such images. He would not be able to understand the instruction pages.
I could also point to a particular professor (I will not name), who is quite incompetent when it comes to computers (and probably wouldn't mind me saying so); it took many, many exchanges before he a) signed, and b) put messages on the user talk page instead of the user page. He certainly would struggle to search things on the net. However, he is the world expert in his field, and has helped add and improve many entries in his particular field. Chzz  ►  19:27, 1 March 2011 (UTC)[]
Your sporting analogy actually proves my point. I've bicycled for 30 years, and met a lot of bicyclists. People who have athletic ability tend to progress in almost any physically demanding sport faster than people who have less athletic ability. Athletes tend to specialize because they might be somewhat better at one sport than another, or because different sports favor particular body types (tall for basketball, heavy and muscled for American football, slender for road cycling). The main limiting factor is time - mastering a given sport requires a lot of training time and effort, making it difficult for an athlete to master many of them. But if you think everyone could be an excellent athlete, if only we could provide enough options, I think that is wishful thinking. Instead the reality is that if you took a team of elite basketballers, and forced them to play baseball, they would get up to speed a lot faster than a group of unathletic people with a history of failing at other sports.
Your professor example illustrates the costs that lazy people inflict on responsible people. Think of the time you had to waste spoon-feeding this professor because he refuses to read the friendly manuals. His problem is probably not any deficit of cognitive ability - if he is smart enough to become an expert in his field, he is smart enough to learn how to function in the larger culture of his choosing (the world of computers). He is more than able to stop playing dumb, and read the manuals. Possibly he is only held back by his ego. After mastering one field, he feels entitled to unearned mastery in a completely unrelated field. He doesn't want to humble himself and go back to being a newbie again. He doesn't want to make the same effort he made to master the field of his expertise. If so, then he is repeating the error of the Franklin Expedition explorers. They sailed into the Arctic that was unfamiliar to them, confident in their "superior" technology, dismissing the Inuit as uneducated savages, and died. Later, the Inuit "savages" on routine hunting trips found the explorers' remains and marveled at their hubris. Subsequent explorers began to study Inuit technology and fieldcraft. Once they learned how the Inuit were surviving in the hostile environment, they were able to get on with exploring. The explorers had to learn that superiority in unrelated fields confers no automatic advantage in new and different fields.
Again, the only way to help Wikipedians who refuse to read manuals is to provide them with hand-holding from someone (or something) that has read the manuals. People who refuse to help themselves by reading the manuals generate enormous costs, for themselves and others. Consider your professor friend, for example: how much did his formal education cost? How much money had to be spent by someone to turn him into an expert in his field? Do we have that kind of money to spend on everyone who wants to edit on Wikipedia? No. Instead we rely on a proven method for skill development that is at least three orders of magnitude cheaper than formal education: RTFM. Computer nerds put the "F" word into that acronym to express their contempt toward people who refuse to help themselves. People who refuse to read the manuals that other people prepared for them multiply the costs and problems for everyone else involved in a project. Manual refusers can be what Fred Brooks calls "negatively productive people" - people whose every hour of work generates more than an hour of work for competent people to clean up. (Also see Brooks' famous essay about accident, essence, and complexity in software development, which applies to Wikipedia as we are essentially a type of software development project. Ever since the 1950s, everybody involved with computers has struggled to "simplify" them, only to see their "simple" systems feature-creep back into complexity again. That occurs because the complexity is not accidental - it is an essential feature of the problems we try to solve with computers.)
Wikipedia is extremely cheap. This is as fundamental to Wikipedia as all the foundation principles. The other top ten Web sites have budgets in the billions of dollars. Wikipedia's budget is in the mere millions, about a thousand times cheaper. We eliminate the need for all the ridiculously expensive overhead (offices, meetings, middle managers, etc.) by requiring users to be self-reliant. TANSTAAFL - Wikipedia is cheap in monetary terms, but it is not free. Somebody has to shoulder the immense intellectual cost of grappling with the unavoidable complexity to build a top ten site. Those somebodies are the people who write and read our friendly manuals, who we then rely on to "manage" the hordes of people who refuse to read the manuals.
Can we make Wikipedia user-friendly? That is, friendly to people who cannot or will not read manuals? I don't know. Could we make surgery user friendly for beginners? Piloting jet aircraft? Operating a welder? For most complex technical skills, every society that has them has concluded formal education is necessary. You need teachers in a classroom to force students to learn lots of things that the students cannot initially recognize as relevant. Only a tiny percentage of people can (or will) teach themselves any complex skill. Which is too bad because we could eliminate trillions of dollars in annual waste if people stopped pretending to be helpless. Think of all the ways people are held back by their general refusal to learn much of anything useful on their own. --Teratornis (talk) 20:34, 1 March 2011 (UTC)[]
"It is perfectly possible to make constructive contributions without reading anything at all - and so it should be. For example, I once helped a user from India, who spoke very broken English - via the IRC 'live help'. It took about 3 hours, but I showed him how to find appropriately-licenced images on flickr and add them to articles. He went on to add many such images. He would not be able to understand the instruction pages."
  • How do you know he is too stupid to understand the instruction pages? All you know is that someone exploited your willingness to read the manuals for him. As long as the lazy person can find someone else to do the hard work, as long as you are willing to serve as the enabler, why should he try to better himself? It would be nice if we had enough enablers, but we don't. That's why WP:AFD is so busy. All those people who couldn't be bothered to read the manuals are seeing their work destroyed. They want something (to see their work on Wikipedia) for nothing (they don't want to do the hard work of reading and understanding the manuals, and they don't want to question their own ignorant assumptions about Wikipedia, for example the common implicit assumption that reliable sources are not necessary). For everyone who understands why reading the manuals matters, there might be 100 people who don't understand. They look at Wikipedia and assume they instantly know what to do. In the case of the person you "helped", you taught him how to do one particular thing. That's good, but it would have been better to teach him how to teach himself to do that one particular thing. Then, when he (inevitably) wants to do something else, he will know how to teach himself to do that thing too. He won't have to wait around for another enabler to show up and hold his hand. The most important thing we can teach anyone on Wikipedia is how to teach himself. That's what Wikipedia is all about: do it yourself.
  • "Should" it be possible for people to edit on Wikipedia without reading any manuals? Of course, if they want to do something very simple and obvious, like correct a typo. The Wikipedia interface is simple enough to make that apparent. That particular task is simple because the user is editing within the existing complex structure of the article that other users wrote, without changing or understanding that structure. But most Wikipedia editors are not content to limit themselves to correcting typos. They want more power than that. For example, one common motivation for new editors is to create an entirely new article. They search for something on Wikipedia, don't find it, and decide it should be here. That's why I started editing - I did not come here just to fix typos. I looked at Wikipedia and started getting ideas for new articles. I had absolutely no idea at the time how difficult it is to write new articles and make them stick. Because Wikipedia, in its misguided attempt to be "welcoming", censors that information from the new user. We don't bite the newcomers when they create a new article. No, we let them sink hours of work into implementing their ideas, let them think they are making progress, and then we bite them on WP:CSD or WP:AFD. We cannot simplify the problem of creating new articles by very much, because there are so many rules and different kinds of articles and special cases. We might be able to simplify the creation of one particular type of article, when all those articles have a similar structure. But invariably someone will feel constrained and want to break out of our imposed structure, giving rise to feature creep again. Plus, the effort required to simplify a problem is many times higher than the effort to solve once instance of the problem. That is, the work of creating an article generator for, say, football club articles is much harder than the work to create one football club article. We can only justify the work to automate a task when we expect many repetitions of it. But repetitive tasks are already easy to do on Wikipedia: you just copy the wikitext of a similar article, and customize it for the new instance. Thus the people who would be significantly helped by an article generator are people who are creating their first article. They might not use it more than a few times, perhaps preferring the copy, paste, and edit method once they know what they are doing. And then once we have all the football club articles we want, the tool becomes useless.
  • In software design, the way to "simplify" a task is to structure it. For example, identify the common data fields a user must input to solve a problem, and design a friendly form for the user to fill out. Problem solved - or maybe not. Any time we impose structure on a problem, someone complains about being limited. They want more flexibility, more power, more feature creep. We keep adding fields to the form, making it harder for users to comprehend. If there are many distinct problems to solve, we need many distinct input forms. Then users have to recognize which form to use to solve their particular problem. If there are thousands of distinct problems, the user first has to solve a complex diagnostic problem, to figure out what kind of problem he has. Before you know it, you're right back to complexity again. You have a big complex collection of tools, with a big mess of manuals to document them. And most users refuse to read the manuals, because they want it to be "simple."
  • Simplicity and power are incompatible goals in software design, much like equality and freedom. In politics, the more freedom a society has, the more unequal its members will be. In societies that are totally free, with no laws restricting anyone's freedom (we call them failed states), inequality leads to warlord culture. No human society has ever simultaneously maximized equality and freedom, and no politician wants to be honest about that, because everybody wants to be free, and equal to whoever is above them.
    • That being said, we always want to eliminate unnecessary complexity. But it is often hard to figure out which aspects of complexity are unnecessary. For example, if it is possible to build a truly simple to use Wikipedia, why hasn't anyone built it? Given all the people who clearly want simplicity, anyone who could build a simple to use Wikipedia that produces the same quality of results should quickly take most editors away from the complex Wikipedia. Anyone is free to set up their own wiki and run it any way they want. Of the thousands of wikis that exist, none is more successful than Wikipedia. Thus it is hard to argue that Wikipedia could be much simpler than it is. There is no evidence to suggest Wikipedia is much more complex than it needs to be, and much evidence to suggest it isn't.
  • Wishful thinking is believing something is true because we want it to be true. We all want Wikipedia to be simple for everyone to use. Therefore, we (fallaciously, but not necessarily incorrectly) believe it must be possible to make Wikipedia simple to use. But people have been trying to make software simple to use for the past 60 years, and it hasn't gotten simple. Learning to use computers remains pretty much a full time job. As soon as we make one thing simple, immediately we move on to new problems. Once you have made a million things simple, you now have a complex collection of one million simple things to deal with. So we pile new meta-systems on top to simplify the complexity we created in our earlier drive to simplify. And on it goes forever, like a simplifying treadmill (analogous to the euphemism treadmill).
--Teratornis (talk) 22:36, 1 March 2011 (UTC)[]

Puzzle at WP:EIW

Resolved – Use ((Shortcut compact)), rather than the blockier ((Shortcut)), to display shortcuts next to nested list items.

Need another pair of eyes: why, at WP:EIW, in section "W", at the "Research and studies:" entry, is the next visible line showing three dots/blocks at the beginning, rather than just one? (When I remove the template immediately below the entry, the problem goes away, but I want to keep the template - I just can't figure out what is wrong with it, or even if that is the problem.)

Thanks. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 15:48, 23 March 2011 (UTC)[]

Yes, I too am seeing redundant bullet characters ahead of the list item after the ((Shortcut)) template. I noticed the problem with ((Shortcut)) interacting poorly with nested unordered list items quite some time ago. I've seen the same problem on other MediaWiki wikis where I have created index pages using similar style. The problem has thus far stumped me. I tried all sorts of things, such as repositioning the template at the beginning and end of various lines. I even asked template expert Davidgothberg for advice, to no avail. The main problem seems to be that MediaWiki's list markup does not like to have lines ending in hard returns that contain anything other than list items, mixed in with other list items. Since then I have gained slightly more experience with templates and CSS. I might be able to find a solution now. A brute force possibility might be to replace some portion of the wikitext list with an HTML list. I've used that method to embed various things like multi-line blocks of plain text within a list. Another workaround would be to spin out the "Research" sub-heading to a top-level list heading under the "R" section in the index, replacing it with a "See" entry at its current position in the "W" section, until we figure out a nice way to put ((Shortcut)) boxes on sub-list-items without getting the redundant bullets. Anyway, I'll fool around with this on my offline personal wiki and see if I get any farther this time. --Teratornis (talk) 20:17, 23 March 2011 (UTC)[]
I use the HTML list trick routinely when I take notes about complex procedures on my personal wiki. For example, I might want to make an ordered list of steps, and between some of the steps I need to paste in command line examples and so on. Using the wikitext ordered list method causes list items to renumber back to 1 when they follow a line of something that is not a wikitext list item. With an HTML list you can format a list much more flexibly. For example:
  1. This is a wikitext list item.
  2. This is another wikitext list item.
This is a line of nowiki'ed plain text stuffed into the list.
  1. This wikitext list item starts over at 1 again.

  1. This is an HTML list item.
  2. This is another HTML list item.
  3. This is a line of nowiki'ed plain text stuffed into the list.
  4. The HTML list continues.
--Teratornis (talk) 20:25, 23 March 2011 (UTC)[]
See some old discussion of this problem from 2008:
--Teratornis (talk) 05:22, 25 March 2011 (UTC)[]
Re-reading the above discussion reminded me to use ((Shortcut compact)) which I actually suggested originally as a way to fix this problem, but somehow I forgot about that template, I suppose while I was waiting for David Gothberg to edit it to fix some problem. I guess. Anyway, it seems to work now at Wikipedia:EIW#Research. --Teratornis (talk) 05:35, 25 March 2011 (UTC)[]
Very nice. An offline find-and-replace (252 changes) and everything looks fixed. One less thing to worry about. Thanks! -- John Broughton (♫♫) 17:09, 25 March 2011 (UTC)[]
A side benefit is that the compact template fits better when successive short entries in the Index want to have shortcuts. I will add a note to document this in Wikipedia:Editor's index to Wikipedia/About#Shortcuts. --Teratornis (talk) 19:21, 25 March 2011 (UTC)[]

Wikipedia:Help Page Patrol

In 2008, you suggested that Wikipedia:Help Page Patrol be renamed to Wikipedia:Help desk patrol. I have initiated a requested move at the talk page, and thought you might be interested. Cheers, -- Black Falcon (talk) 20:03, 18 April 2011 (UTC)[]

Dew point graph

Hi, I'm not sure if this is the right place to do this, but I've spotted your graph on the article on dew points:

And I was wondering if you had a link to the original data? Or knew where I could find a table of saturation fraction against temperature somewhere else? I can't read the precise values from the graph, and I'm having trouble finding one like it elsewhere. It's not too important, I'm just interested in looking at some real life values and looking at the relationship between them. (talk) 15:31, 14 May 2011 (UTC)[]

The original uploader of File:Dewpoint.jpg was GregBenson. I only moved the image file to Commons. It would be nice if the file description linked to GregBenson's original data more definitively than "based on data from the NOAA weather balloon sounding database". --Teratornis (talk) 16:36, 14 May 2011 (UTC)[]

Ok thanks for your help I've asked GregBenson the same thing. (talk) 16:44, 14 May 2011 (UTC)[]

WP:TPG concern ... Any helpful suggestions to stop User:Arthur Rubin from deleting other's User Talk?

Anything to stop User:Arthur Rubin from deleting other's User Talk? User:Arthur Rubin (wp:Arthur Rubin) continues to hide other's Talk, this time on User Talk:Zodon ( ... on March 30th 2011 it was User talk:Granitethighs ( and User talk:OhanaUnited ( —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:43, 19 May 2011 (UTC)[]

Wikipedia:Talk page guidelines#Others' comments gives the conditions in which it is permissible to edit or remove edits on a talk page by another user. If you feel a user is violating a guideline, the general procedure is:
  • Ask the user to explain his or her actions in light of the guideline.
  • If you are not satisfied with the answer, you can take it to one of the noticeboards such as WP:ANI. See also WP:EIW#Dispute.
  • An alternative to using a user talk page is to send email to the user. E.g. Special:EmailUser/Zodon.
In general it is best to cite specific guidelines you feel have been violated and give specific examples, rather than presenting a bunch of raw diffs and asking someone else to figure out what happened. Also note that posting under an IP address makes you seem less credible - even thought it should not - simply because the vast majority of vandalism on Wikipedia is by IP address users. After a while, users see so much IP vandalism that they are sometimes less careful to check for legitimate IP activity. Creating an account is an easy way to avoid that problem. --Teratornis (talk) 22:17, 19 May 2011 (UTC)[]
If of interest, more ... (talk) 04:53, 3 June 2011 (UTC)[]

Query on a new template

I have created a new template here. I would much appreciate if you could guide me in creating the documentation for it. Thanks Suraj T 10:42, 18 June 2011 (UTC)[]

I copied and edited Template:Solar energy/doc into Template:Photovoltaics/doc. As always, feel free to edit further if necessary. Navigation box templates do not usually need much documentation, since they are straightforward to use. For instructions on making template documentation subpages see WP:DOC and ((Documentation)). Good luck. --Teratornis (talk) 19:07, 19 June 2011 (UTC)[]
Thanks. Cheers. Suraj T 04:58, 20 June 2011 (UTC)[]

thanks for the help at help desk, and

Wikipedia:Help_desk#adding_attribution as you said I created a template for . and is like this ((Pestinfo)). Is this correct. -- Raghith 09:22, 10 July 2011 (UTC)[]

It looks good to me. A search shows that Austroicetes vulgaris also cites If that article quotes or will quote any text from directly, it could use the same attribution template. --Teratornis (talk) 16:10, 10 July 2011 (UTC)[]
Thank you for the help. And Austroicetes vulgaris , it set as a reference only. -- Raghith 16:49, 12 July 2011 (UTC)[]


Rcsprinter (talk) 15:58, 19 July 2011 (UTC)[]

Google custom is broken

Hi, please see thread I've raised at Template talk:Google custom#Broken link. --Redrose64 (talk) 11:50, 12 August 2011 (UTC)[]

Nomination for deletion of Template:Astray

Ambox warning pn.svgTemplate:Astray has been nominated for deletion. You are invited to comment on the discussion at the template's entry on the Templates for discussion page.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 03:05, 28 August 2011 (UTC)[]


Thanks for your response at the Help desk. I've now replied here, and included a link to my proposed replacement draft (also here). Looking forward to your feedback, WWB Too (talk) 14:02, 11 October 2011 (UTC)[]

Hello again, Teratornis, I realize you have been away since the 10th and may not find this for awhile yet. Anyway, with one editor supporting the change, no one objecting and frankly no responses at the WikiProjects I pinged (no currently-active stakeholders in the TeenScreen articles, either) I went ahead and merged the articles with a hard redirect, and replaced the TeenScreen article with what I had prepared. If you see anything you'd like to change in this new version, please feel free to make any necessary adjustments to bring it closer to Wikipedia standards. Thanks, WWB Too (talk) 17:09, 14 October 2011 (UTC)[]

Any ideas for naming List of plasma (physics) applications articles

I had created this plasma physics article a few days ago. It was originally named List of plasma physics articles. I figure since it has all the aspects and elements plasma physics related sources including artificial and equations that is should have a more diverse name. What do you think it should be called. How do i get it view and approved as a official article. And how does the debating work out for articles on the verge of being deleted or changed. Who gets to vote can anyone vote like non wikipedia agents.Shawn Worthington Laser Plasma (talk) 23:48, 23 November 2011 (UTC)[]

See Wikipedia:WikiProject Physics and Wikipedia:WikiProject Indexes and their talk pages. Wikipedia editors who share common interests typically congregate around WikiProject pages. Also see Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Glossaries. I have no particular expertise in plasma physics so I have no expert opinion on the best way to organize articles on the subject. The problem of organizing articles on Wikipedia is similar to the work that reference librarians have done for centuries. You may find something useful in the classification schemes they have developed, for example the controlled vocabularies such as MeSH (List of MeSH codes (H01)), Category:Classification systems, Category:Library cataloging and classification, Library of Congress Classification:Class Q -- Science. The taxonomy used in a reference library may not be detailed enough to classify topics in a specialized field, or one that has recently expanded its terms. Wikipedia:Categories for discussion is where editors discuss what to do with categories. A change to the category scheme affects potentially many articles and thus many editors, so these changes tend to require more discussion. A change to an index page, in contrast, only affects that index page, and thus may be less contentious. --Teratornis (talk) 18:52, 24 November 2011 (UTC)[]

December 2011 Newsletter for WikiProject United States

The December 2011 issue of the WikiProject United States newsletter has been published. You may read the newsletter, change the format in which future issues will be delivered to you, or unsubscribe from this notification by following the link. Thank you.

--Kumioko (talk) 03:39, 13 December 2011 (UTC)[]

January 2012 Newsletter for WikiProject United States and supported projects

The January 2012 issue of the WikiProject United States newsletter has been published. You may read the newsletter, change the format in which future issues will be delivered to you, or unsubscribe from this notification by following the link. Thank you.

--Kumi-Taskbot (talk) 19:48, 16 January 2012 (UTC)[]

Ways to improve Wikipedia

Hi. Fairly recently, I started a free-form list on my userpage on how to improve Wikipedia - please do not complain about the silliness or layout, as it is still in embryonic stages and is meant to be a freeflow of ideas. Please have a look at it and tell me of any suggestions. Also, I noticed that I had an intuitive guess that I may be able to help on your essay in fairly rough shape - On scientific bias in science articles. Consider, for example, WP:FRINGE and topics that involve a mix of scientific and ethical/cultural/religious perspectives. I remember you discussing a failed proposal for scientific point of view some time ago. Another potential for scientific bias is containing outdated data, an imbalance of analyses toward one specificality, an undue focus on government-only sources, failing to discuss causal mechanisms, or areas where only one approach is discussed, e.g. reductionism vs. holism. Feel free to discuss any further. Thanks. ~AH1 (discuss!) 03:05, 29 February 2012 (UTC)[]

Wind power in Hawaii

Back in 2009, you expressed interest (on your subpage) in creating an article about Wind power in Hawaii. If you are still interested, let me know, as I would be happy to collaborate and help with research and composition. Thanks. Viriditas (talk) 03:45, 24 March 2012 (UTC)[]

The first step is to collect reliable sources. Feel free to list any you have on User:Teratornis/Energy#Wind power in Hawaii. You can format them with citation templates such as ((Cite web)), or just make a list of raw links and I will format them and archive them with WebCite (to prevent WP:LINKROT). Creating an article is straightforward if we have the sources; we can follow the style of existing similar articles such as Wind power in Indiana, etc. It's nice to have some information about the history of wind power in the state; and a list of wind farms with their statuses (decommissioned, planned, under construction, operating), nameplate capacity, geographical coordinates, ownership, cost, etc. This job has become somewhat harder since the American Wind Energy Association put their wind projects database behind a paywall. Sometimes a state will have a government office that lists its renewable energy projects. Otherwise you have to track down each wind farm from press clippings and so on, which are often written by reporters who know little about wind power and thus omit essential information. You could also inform User:Johnfos who edits many articles on renewable energy topics and might wish to help. --Teratornis (talk) 19:29, 26 March 2012 (UTC)[]

Request for help concerning energy...


I noticed you listed yourself as a participant of the Energy WikiProject.

There are 2 new outlines in this area that attempt to consolidate Wikipedia's coverage of their respective subjects, gathering and organizing the articles about them into one place and including descriptions for convenience. The purposes of these outlines are to make it easier for readers to survey or review a whole subject, and to choose from Wikipedia's many articles about it.

The new energy outlines are:

Please take a look at them, and....

if you spot missing topics, add them in.
if you can, improve the descriptions.
add missing descriptions.
show parent-offspring relationships (with indents).
fix errors.

For more information about the format and functions of outlines, see Wikipedia:Outlines.

Building outlines of existing material (such as Wikipedia) is called "reverse outlining". Reverse outlines are useful as a revision tool, for identifying gaps in coverage and for spotting poor structuring.

Revising a work with multiple articles (such as Wikipedia) is a little different than revising a paper. But the general principles are the same...

As you develop these outlines, you may notice things about the articles they organize. Like what topics are not adequately covered, better ways to structure and present the material, awkward titles, articles that need splitting, article sections lacking ((Main)) links, etc.

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask me on my talk page or at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Outlines.

Thank you. Sincerely, The Transhumanist 00:57, 2 June 2012 (UTC)

P.S.: see also Outline of energy[]


Template talk:WikiProject Energy

Please take a look at proposed image change. Delphi234 (talk) 07:04, 5 August 2012 (UTC)[]

Disambiguation link notification for August 28

Hi. Thank you for your recent edits. Wikipedia appreciates your help. We noticed though that when you edited Hesco bastion, you added a link pointing to the disambiguation page Container (check to confirm | fix with Dab solver). Such links are almost always unintended, since a disambiguation page is merely a list of "Did you mean..." article titles. Read the FAQ • Join us at the DPL WikiProject.

It's OK to remove this message. Also, to stop receiving these messages, follow these opt-out instructions. Thanks, DPL bot (talk) 13:52, 28 August 2012 (UTC)[]

For the record, I followed the above suggestion. --Teratornis (talk) 17:16, 28 August 2012 (UTC)[]

How the ((shortcut compact)) template works

Interesting question here: Wikipedia talk:Editor's index to Wikipedia#Shortcut link point. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 23:39, 19 November 2012 (UTC)[]

Firefox does work fine. But both the Chrome and Safari browsers, for me (on a Mac), seem to be off by a line when connecting to a shortcut. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 17:54, 21 November 2012 (UTC)[]
Wikipedia:Browser notes might be the place to note this, or to see if someone else has reported a similar problem. --Teratornis (talk) 17:59, 22 November 2012 (UTC)[]

Wikipedia Loves Libraries Seattle

Decemmber 8 - Wikipedia Loves Libraries Seattle - You're invited
Seattle Public Library
Seattle Public Library
  • Date Saturday, December 8, 2012
  • Time 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
  • Location Seattle Public Library Meeting Room 1 on Level 4, Central Library, 1000 4th Avenue, Seattle WA, 98104
  • Event An editathon on Seattle-related Wikipedia articles with Wikipedia tutorials and Librarian assistance on hand.
  • Hashtag #wikiloveslib or #glamwiki.
  • Registration or use on-wiki regsistration.

Yours, Maximilianklein (talk) 03:08, 1 December 2012 (UTC)[]

A barnstar for you!

The Civility Barnstar
Thanks for the link on ice-albedo. Darkrain4 (talk) 06:02, 5 December 2013 (UTC)[]
You're welcome. I assume you refer to this edit of 01:30, 5 December 2012, in which I now see that I missed a previously-existing typo in the same sentence, that an unregistered user later corrected. On further examination I can see a possible further edit to the same sentence, to be more precise about what the self-reinforcing collapse of ice sheets could become independent of. Currently the sentence reads:
  • This positive ice-albedo feedback system could become independent of climate change past a certain point which will cause huge losses of ice to the icecaps.
Since the "ice-albedo feedback system" is itself a component of and contributor to "climate change", its action is not really "independent of climate change". A possible better wording might be:
  • This positive ice-albedo feedback system could become independent of human-caused climate forcing past a certain point which will cause huge losses of ice to the icecaps.
In other words, humans are causing most of the (relatively small) amount of ice loss currently observed, but if ice-albedo feedback kicks in as a result of the human-caused initial trigger, the self-reinforcing ice loss will exceed the loss being caused more proximately by humans. See also proximate and ultimate causation. --Teratornis (talk) 21:59, 5 December 2013 (UTC)[]

Disambiguation link notification for February 21

Hi. Thank you for your recent edits. Wikipedia appreciates your help. We noticed though that when you edited James Garvey (philosopher), you added a link pointing to the disambiguation page Jiu Jitsu (check to confirm | fix with Dab solver). Such links are almost always unintended, since a disambiguation page is merely a list of "Did you mean..." article titles. Read the FAQ • Join us at the DPL WikiProject.

It's OK to remove this message. Also, to stop receiving these messages, follow these opt-out instructions. Thanks, DPL bot (talk) 09:08, 21 February 2014 (UTC)[]

QuietRevolution turbine in Bristol

What building is this?
What building is this?
Another view of the Colston Hall foyer with a QR wind turbine
Another view of the Colston Hall foyer with a QR wind turbine

Hi Teratornis, by chance, would you know what building this QuietRevolution turbine is installed over in Bristol? It may be an optical illusion, in that its installed behind the building, rather than on its roof. In any event I'd like to mention the building in the photo's caption. Thanks, HarryZilber (talk) 14:08, 17 May 2014 (UTC)[]

I had not thought of that. I merely scraped the photo from Flickr. You might contact the original uploader there. However, the photo is geotagged, and the Google Maps link shows the camera location to be outside of Colston Hall. The following search:
yields this video which appears to depict the same turbine:
In particular the camera angle starting at 00:24 looks similar to the still photo. The Colston Hall article mentions that the building does have a wind turbine, with references, and gives another photograph of the new foyer with possibly the same wind turbine. Perhaps this photo belongs there, if this is the wind turbine atop Colston Hall. You might ask on Talk:Colston Hall to get confirmation from a topic expert, i.e. someone local. --Teratornis (talk) 18:35, 17 May 2014 (UTC)[]
Colston Hall it is. Thanks for your help. Best: HarryZilber (talk) 03:04, 18 May 2014 (UTC)[]

Good article reassessment

Peak oil, an article that you or your project may be interested in, has been nominated for a community good article reassessment. If you are interested in the discussion, please participate by adding your comments to the reassessment page. If concerns are not addressed during the review period, the good article status may be removed from the article. Beagel (talk) 18:36, 5 June 2014 (UTC)[]

Edit request for Sophie Hunter page

Can you please insert this parameter to Sophie Hunter's page as she has notable family members. You can just copy-paste the one I've coded below and just replace the parentheses with brackets for linking. The sources are in the page's family section. Thank you very much and keep up the good work you do here on Wiki! (talk) 02:39, 25 February 2015 (UTC)[]

|family = ((ubl|((Michael Gow (British Army officer)|Michael Gow))|((small|(maternal grandfather)))
               |((J. E. B. Seely, 1st Baron Mottistone|J. E. B. Seely))|((small|(maternal great-grandfather)))
               |((Timothy Carlton))|((small|(father-in-law)))
               |((Wanda Ventham))|((small|(mother-in-law)))))
If you don't wish to create a Wikipedia account so you can edit the article yourself, it looks like you should add a section to the talk page of the article (in this case Talk:Sophie Hunter) and use the ((edit semi-protected)) template to request the edit. That way you will get the attention of registered users who monitor the article and would be more familiar than I am with its history of editing disputes and so on. That will also maintain a record of how the edit came to be, on the talk page of the article itself, rather than over here on my user talk page where people would be less likely to look. As you can see, Talk:Sophie Hunter already contains several such edit requests, so that looks like the preferred method. --Teratornis (talk) 02:57, 25 February 2015 (UTC)[]
Teratornis, it would seem that this IP is actually a blocked sock wanting to get content readded that was deleted because of his socky-ness. -- WV 03:04, 25 February 2015 (UTC)[]
Thanks for that. I assumed good faith but in keeping with the Trust, but verify principle, I thought it best to direct the unregistered user to the article's talk page, where people familiar with the article's history could vet the request. I have no idea how this request ended up on my user talk page, since I have not edited the Sophie Hunter article - or perhaps that was the point. --Teratornis (talk) 03:10, 25 February 2015 (UTC)[]
No idea how or why they chose me, either. Weird. -- WV 03:15, 25 February 2015 (UTC)[]
Ah, I see that I should have checked before my first reply. The unregistered user seems to be adding this request to a series of (random?) Wikipedia users' talk pages. Thank you for being more attentive than I was. --Teratornis (talk) 03:20, 25 February 2015 (UTC)[]

ArbCom elections are now open!

You appear to be eligible to vote in the current Arbitration Committee election. The Arbitration Committee is the panel of editors responsible for conducting the Wikipedia arbitration process. It has the authority to enact binding solutions for disputes between editors, primarily related to serious behavioural issues that the community has been unable to resolve. This includes the ability to impose site bans, topic bans, editing restrictions, and other measures needed to maintain our editing environment. The arbitration policy describes the Committee's roles and responsibilities in greater detail. If you wish to participate, you are welcome to review the candidates' statements and submit your choices on the voting page. For the Election committee, MediaWiki message delivery (talk) 13:56, 23 November 2015 (UTC)[]

Wikipedia:WikiProject United States/The 50,000 Challenge

You are invited to participate in the 50,000 Challenge, aiming for 50,000 article improvements and creations for articles relating to the United States. This effort began on November 1, 2016 and to reach our goal, we will need editors like you to participate, expand, and create. See more here!

--MediaWiki message delivery (talk) 02:41, 8 November 2016 (UTC)[]

Nomination for deletion of Template:Google scholar cite

Ambox warning blue.svgTemplate:Google scholar cite has been nominated for deletion. You are invited to comment on the discussion at the template's entry on the Templates for discussion page. — billinghurst sDrewth 04:52, 13 November 2016 (UTC)[]

ArbCom Elections 2016: Voting now open!

Hello, Teratornis. Voting in the 2016 Arbitration Committee elections is open from Monday, 00:00, 21 November through Sunday, 23:59, 4 December to all unblocked users who have registered an account before Wednesday, 00:00, 28 October 2016 and have made at least 150 mainspace edits before Sunday, 00:00, 1 November 2016.

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The Arbitration Committee is the panel of editors responsible for conducting the Wikipedia arbitration process. It has the authority to impose binding solutions to disputes between editors, primarily for serious conduct disputes the community has been unable to resolve. This includes the authority to impose site bans, topic bans, editing restrictions, and other measures needed to maintain our editing environment. The arbitration policy describes the Committee's roles and responsibilities in greater detail.

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ArbCom 2018 election voter message

Hello, Teratornis. Voting in the 2018 Arbitration Committee elections is now open until 23.59 on Sunday, 3 December. All users who registered an account before Sunday, 28 October 2018, made at least 150 mainspace edits before Thursday, 1 November 2018 and are not currently blocked are eligible to vote. Users with alternate accounts may only vote once.

The Arbitration Committee is the panel of editors responsible for conducting the Wikipedia arbitration process. It has the authority to impose binding solutions to disputes between editors, primarily for serious conduct disputes the community has been unable to resolve. This includes the authority to impose site bans, topic bans, editing restrictions, and other measures needed to maintain our editing environment. The arbitration policy describes the Committee's roles and responsibilities in greater detail.

If you wish to participate in the 2018 election, please review the candidates and submit your choices on the voting page. MediaWiki message delivery (talk) 18:42, 19 November 2018 (UTC)[]


"regular guiding voice at the help desk"

Thank you for quality articles focused on energy, such as Meadow Lake Wind Farm and some Wind power by country, for related navboxes, for helping project cycling, for being a "regular guiding voice at the help desk", - repeating from ten years ago: you are an awesome Wikipedian!

Ten years!

--Gerda Arendt (talk) 20:14, 8 January 2019 (UTC)[]

Perhaps not to late to say Happy 2019! --Gerda Arendt (talk) 08:53, 13 January 2019 (UTC)[]

A year ago, you were recipient no. 2114 of Precious, a prize of QAI! --Gerda Arendt (talk) 10:55, 8 January 2020 (UTC)[]

ArbCom 2019 election voter message

Hello! Voting in the 2019 Arbitration Committee elections is now open until 23:59 on Monday, 2 December 2019. All eligible users are allowed to vote. Users with alternate accounts may only vote once.

The Arbitration Committee is the panel of editors responsible for conducting the Wikipedia arbitration process. It has the authority to impose binding solutions to disputes between editors, primarily for serious conduct disputes the community has been unable to resolve. This includes the authority to impose site bans, topic bans, editing restrictions, and other measures needed to maintain our editing environment. The arbitration policy describes the Committee's roles and responsibilities in greater detail.

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The Arbitration Committee is the panel of editors responsible for conducting the Wikipedia arbitration process. It has the authority to impose binding solutions to disputes between editors, primarily for serious conduct disputes the community has been unable to resolve. This includes the authority to impose site bans, topic bans, editing restrictions, and other measures needed to maintain our editing environment. The arbitration policy describes the Committee's roles and responsibilities in greater detail.

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Precious anniversary

Two years!

--Gerda Arendt (talk) 08:55, 8 January 2021 (UTC)[]