Talk:Main Page/Archive 17

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Did you know blank line

Please add a blank line between the second and third facts in the Did You know section - or remove the blank line between the first and second. r3m0t 22:51, 5 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Sorry, it isn't a line break problem (see Template:dyk) but something with the image. I don't know how to fix it, but at least dyk isn't protected. r3m0t 22:53, 5 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Current image

Whilst I know what acetosalicylic acid is from the name (although not by diagram), I think that the majority of non-chemistry graduates would be hard pusded to match the picture given with the Aspirin article. The addition of the word "Aspirin" in parenthesis after the chemical name in the text alternative for the image would probably be a useful addition. Syntax 01:06, 6 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Did You know: Add

I am unsure how to go about this, but I think that TBF Avenger would fit nicely on DYK. However, i wrote it, and I don't know how to edit on the Main Page correctly, so... ugen64 02:26, Mar 6, 2004 (UTC)

The slashdotting

We're being slashdotted. Burn servers, burn. →Raul654 02:29, Mar 6, 2004 (UTC)

Yay! ugen64 02:41, Mar 6, 2004 (UTC)

I'm Getting the March 5th Main Page

Now it's the 6th, but it's been reverted. It talks about Kerry, no mention of Martha Stewart, and the featured article on maths is gone. However, in page history, all is well. Strange. --Johnleemk 11:29, 6 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Press CTRL-F5. --Jiang 11:31, 6 Mar 2004 (UTC)
I already tried that several times. Then I waited five minutes and tried again. Now it works. Odd. I could've sworn this happened to the 2004 page yesterday too, but maybe I wasn't reading properly then. --Johnleemk 11:33, 6 Mar 2004 (UTC)

I've been getting the March 17 main page, although it alternates with more recent variations. It keeps on showing the End times article and March 17 anniversaries. What's going on? And yes, I refresh the cache all the times. And yes, just now it's started displaying today's page. What's going on, guys?? Jfdwolff 10:39, 28 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Global Warming/In the news

That the summer was a hot as the one in 1500 doesnt have to do something with global warming! Its higly hipothetical. Especially cause temperature around the world wasnt measured like we do today around the world. 15:51, 6 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Some questions

The opening line of the main page "Welcome to Wikipedia, a multilingual, free-content encyclopedia..." seems depressingly underemphasized to me. Could it be put in a box with a diffrent background so that the eye doesn't slide right down to Featured Article? Also, what is the purpose of "Did you Know"? Finally, my main page wouldn't refresh to the newest version for quite a while - I was still getting "Propaganda" as the featured article long after it had changed. How do I fix that? Thanks, Alex S 16:52, 6 Mar 2004 (UTC).

How do you like the opening now?—Eloquence 17:19, Mar 6, 2004 (UTC)
I rather dislike it. It comes across as very saccharine and pretentious. I suggested on a while back, but it got ignored, and now I can't find it in the talk archive... hmm... -- Seth Ilys 17:30, 6 Mar 2004 (UTC)
Saccharine? It's supposed to be friendly if that's what you mean. I'd rather be "saccharine" than "depressing". Pretentious? Is it in any way untruthful?—Eloquence 17:33, Mar 6, 2004 (UTC)

I'd rather be depressing than saccharine... "We hope you enjoy your stay"?! Come on... that's something you get from an insincere hotel clerk, and it certainly doesn't come across as genuine...

Here's what I suggested before: Welcome to Wikipedia, a multilingual, free-content encyclopedia being written collaboratively by thousands of Internet users since January 2001. We're currently working on xxxxxx articles in the English version, and you can help, too. Visit the Community Main Page to find out how.'

I think a vote on new intro text may be in order, especially if we get some more suggestions in the mix.

I might also note that the yellow box is visually horrendous on my monitor. Yellow has been shown by psychological testing to be a stress-inducing color. Surely we can do better. -- Seth Ilys 17:39, 6 Mar 2004 (UTC)

I'm open to suggestions re: the colors. I prefer the current text to your version, though. I think it's important to create an emotional bond with the reader, and some positive, uplifting language certainly can't hurt to accomplish that.—Eloquence
Emotional bonds? This is an encyclopedia, for crying out load. That's just sillyness. We should strive for professionalism. -- Seth Ilys 17:45, 6 Mar 2004 (UTC)
"Emotional bonds .. for crying out loud" - interesting irony there. We need to respect the reader's emotional intelligence; modern psychology, sociology, marketing etc. all build on this knowledge. Human beings are not machines and they should not be treated as such.—Eloquence 17:52, Mar 6, 2004 (UTC)
We should also not insult our readers with such language as "We hope you enjoy your stay," which is obviously insincere and untruthful. As a point of fact, we do not hope that all users enjoy their stay. We hope that vandals, for instance, are discouraged from their actions (which they presumably enjoy) and stop editing. "Welcome to Wikipedia!" with an exclamation point is similarly off-putting. -- Seth Ilys 18:03, 6 Mar 2004 (UTC)
Wishing people a pleasant stay is no more "insincere" or "untruthful" than welcoming them in the first place. To say so is like saying it is insincere to kiss your girlfriend because she might break up with you some day. We should assume good faith, and be as friendly and positive in our behavior as we can, until our options are exhausted.—Eloquence 18:13, Mar 6, 2004 (UTC)
I think it's official Wikipedia policy that "reformed" vandals are free to contribute to Wikipedia and that first, the vandal is approached nicely and if that doesn't work, is banned not for the sake of punishment, but for the quality of Wikipedia and that if there's any reason to believe the ex-vandal would contribute productively, the ban would be lifted. And welcoming ALL readers is truthful too, since the average reader who's new to the concept of a Wiki would probably feel some trepidition to changing someone else's website content. And without any emotional bond, why would anyone wish to contribute to Wikipedia in the first place? Although I'd have to admit it can be off-putting to some people, Seth Ilys, for example.

Can I also suggest that we all develop new language somewhere other than on the main page itself, so that all of us (not just admins) can be involved in the process? -- Seth Ilys 17:48, 6 Mar 2004 (UTC)

For the record, here is the revision with the colored box. I think having some color is not a bad idea, although these particular colors may be a bit too intense.—Eloquence 17:58, Mar 6, 2004 (UTC)

Some clarification: I meant that the opening text was "depressingly underemphasized," not "depressing." I just think that it is/was a very nice opening blurb that should be the visual beginning of the page. Just plain text doesn't do it justice Also, as for rewording, I suggest this:

Welcome to Wikipedia! We are building a multilingual encyclopedia that belongs to all of us (copyleft instead of copyright). We hope that you can help us in our project by joining the Wikipedia community. We started in January 2001 and are now working on 220757 articles in the English version. Visit the Community Portal or experiment in the sandbox to find out how you can edit any article right now.

And again, can someone tell me how to get the main page to automatically update itself? What's wrong with my computer? --Alex S 18:50, 6 Mar 2004 (UTC)


what does copyleft mean? I've never encountered that word. The link takes users to a page that does not explain the term at all. Either change the word on the Main page, or in the first paragraph of Wikipedia:Copyrights, define copyleft. Kingturtle 19:14, 6 Mar 2004 (UTC)

  • Personally, I think that using "copyleft" will just confuse people who are new to Wikipedia. It was better off with "free" instead. It doesn't give as specific of a definition, but it is correct, and makes more sense to the average person. Besides, we're still going to have a link there to explain what it means anyways, so we might as well give the easier to understand term. -- LGagnon
I agree with LG. "Copyleft" is geek-speak, with no established consistent legal meaning. Wikipedia is supposed to be a tool for all; expecting new users to look up an arcane (to most) term to understand the most basic introductory sentence in the whole 'pedia is a bad way to make them feel welcome. "Free to use and edit" is a clear, accurate, common-language alternative. Jgm 03:42, 8 Mar 2004 (UTC)
  • I think the change from free to copyleft is a really really good thing. The association between free and freebie is so strong especially on the internet that most people wouldn't take a second look at the copyrights page after seeing "free encyclopedia". If people aren't familiar with the word copyleft, they will follow the link and understand the GFDL. -- Arvindn 06:32, 7 Mar 2004 (UTC)
    • Yes, yes, but my point is that the word copyleft does not link to copyleft, it links to Wikipedia:Copyrights, and Wikipedia:Copyrights does not inform the reader of what copyleft means. I recommend that a definition of copyleft be placed in the first paragraph of Wikipedia:Copyrights. Kingturtle 07:53, 7 Mar 2004 (UTC)
      • Agree. I propose: "This principle is known as copyleft, and its goal is to ensure that modified or extended works are free as well, by requiring that they be copylefted too. The name is a reversal of copyright, which is seen as restricting users' freedom, whereas copyleft guarantees freedom. Accordingly, Wikipedia content ...". If you think its fine go ahead and add it. -- Arvindn 13:05, 7 Mar 2004 (UTC)
  • GFDL is not a copyleft. Even RMS himself has admitted that you can use the GFDL in ways that are non-free. Anthony DiPierro 13:32, 7 Mar 2004 (UTC)
    • I took a bold step and changed copyleft back to free content Kingturtle 03:47, 8 Mar 2004 (UTC)
      • says: "The GNU Free Documentation License (FDL) is a form of copyleft intended for use on a manual, textbook or other document to assure everyone the effective freedom to copy and redistribute it, with or without modifications, either commercially or noncommercially." Why not include the definition of copyleft in Wikipedia:Copyrights, as you originally wanted to do? You agreed above when I said the change from free-content to copyleft was a good thing. -- Arvindn 06:58, 8 Mar 2004 (UTC)
The copyleft status of the GNU FDL is disputed (by at least the Debian project). IMO our implementation of the GNU FDL is copyleft, but as soon as you add invariant sections and other junk it is no longer copyleft (although still free content). --mav
Just for the record, I'm pretty sure that mav has this backwards (between free vs copyleft). If you believe the GFDL's detractors at Debian, then our usage of the GFDL is free (and would be allowed in the free/ directory of a Debian distro), while any usage with Invariant Sections is not free (and so should go to the nonfree/ directory). But anybody could add ISes to their own fork of Wikipedia -- therefore, even our usage of the GFDL is not copyleft. That is, if you buy the Debian detractors' arguments (as Anthony apparently does), then the GFDL is never copyleft, even though most GFDL docments are still free. (My personal opinion is that both "copyleft" and "free" are relative terms; and a GFDL document, even with ISes, is very free, so the GFDL itself is very copyleft, even though neither of these "very"s can be replaced with a "completely". The debate among the Debian community, from my POV, is about where to draw a somewhat arbitrary line.) -- Toby Bartels 00:13, 9 Mar 2004 (UTC)
You are right Toby - I had it backwards. :) --mav
I agree with Toby for the most part (but it's not just about invariant sections).
Yes, the ISs are just the most obvious flaw. -- Toby Bartels (interpolation)
And RMS himself has stated on the mailing list that it is possible to use the GFDL in ways which are not free. [1] Wikipedia is free (for the most part, there are a few non-free images). But it is not a strong copyleft. Weak copyleft maybe. But generally generally copyleft implies strong copyleft. Is copyleft an accurate term? Probably. But I think it's confusing, and I think free is a much better term to use. Especially without reaching a consensus that we want to change the statement of the goal of the site. Anthony DiPierro 03:40, 9 Mar 2004 (UTC)

I see that despite the apparently clear lack of consensus here, "copyleft" has returned to the first sentence of the wikipedia again, which I think is a bad thing (see my comments above, all still stand). Interesting to see a slo-mo edit war on a protected page. Jgm 01:48, 15 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Copyleft is a very good term to encapsulate the basic concept of requiring that any modifications to a distributed Wikipedia article must be made freely available. Yes, it is not immediately obvious what it means, because the concept behind it is not immediately obvious (but very important!). The solution is not to use a misleading term, but to have the relevant information quickly available. Encyclopedias need not dumb down complex issues, they should provide the reader with the tools to find out what they need to know.—Eloquence 01:52, Mar 15, 2004 (UTC)
  • Your argument is very much like the first explanation which resulted in significant discussion without clear consensus that the word should be there. What beyond your personal preference is in effect here?
  • From the discussion above, it doesn't seem clear that "copyleft" really is a very good term here; several have pointed out that the License is not a true copyleft (whatever that may mean, it seems to be open for interpretation as well).
  • There is a significant difference between "dumbing down issues" within the content of the encyclopedia and making the thing easy to use and understand. As I've said above, including a specialized term requiring significant user effort to understand in the very first sentence of the encyclopedia, when simple english-language alternatives exist and have been working fine (and can be linked to the same detailed information) is putting up needless obstacles.
  • Putting it another way, "copyleft" is a made up word to 9X% of Wikipedia users. Why not go for 100%? I can make up any word -- "Wikipedia is an arglebargle enclyclopedia" -- and put any level of explanation behind the link, to describe all the complexities and subtleties of concept that the word "free" can't seem to carry. That I could do it does not make it a good thing to do.
  • I can only guess that you, personally, have a long history in the open-source world and are inherently comfortable with the term; please try to see it from a user point of view.
Jgm 02:41, 15 Mar 2004 (UTC)
There is not consensus for either term, so that argument is moot. The obnoxious "free content" replaced the earlier text open content at some point without discussion. If we fail to reach consensus, we can always vote, but I consider this matter fairly clear and obvious.
We do not use the aspects of the FDL that are not copyleft, so that argument is also moot.
As for "requiring significant user effort", the question is of course, is the difference one which we consider important enough to use the specialized term? Yes, it clearly is. There are many mirrors and forks which are in violation of our license, and we carefully try to make them aware that "free" in our sense does not mean "take it and do whatever you want". Because the slogan "the free encyclopedia" is similarly problematic, it is a good idea (also from a legal standpoint) to inform first time visitors quickly of the fact that free in our sense does not mean "do whatever you want", it means, "give back your changes to the community". This concept is not obvious, so it can't have an obvious name that people will instantly recognize! And that concept is well encapsulated in the term copyleft.
As for the "made up word" argument, Wikipedia is not a place for original research. Copyleft is existing, specialized jargon that is very much applicable and useful in this particular instance. If there was another term which is similarly useful and more "friendly", we could of course use that term. I would settle for open content, but free content is neither particularly helpful (it sounds strange) nor particularly informative ("free" is misleading here).—Eloquence 03:03, Mar 15, 2004 (UTC)
Being free is the important part, not being copyleft. We're here to share knowledge, not lock it up in a license with lots unduly restrictive terms which make it hard for normal people to use the content in normal ways. I don't know about you but I really don't want a high school project report to have to include a copy of the GFDL and be released under the GFDL. Requiring that is contrary to our sharing knowledge objective. Jamesday 13:42, 19 Mar 2004 (UTC)
"We do not use the aspects of the FDL that are not copyleft, so that argument is also moot."
Copyleft isn't copyleft if you don't use it. To put this into perspective, if we used the BSD license, would you say that we do not use the aspects of the BSD license which are not copyleft? In any case, I agree with Jamesday, being copyleft is not the goal. Being free is. If you use copyleft in the weak sense (derivative works must be under the same license) then you include license such as CC-NC-SA, which isn't free. If you use it in the strong sense (derivative works must be free), then the GFDL doesn't even apply, as derivative works don't have to be free. Finally, just look at the byline: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Do you suggest we change that to "copyleft" as well, so that people don't get confused? Anthony DiPierro 14:04, 20 Mar 2004 (UTC)
I don't have a problem with open content nearly so much as copyleft. Jgm 11:40, 15 Mar 2004 (UTC)
I like open content best. None of the terms is self-explanatory; that's why we have to provide a link. But "open content" avoids the potential confusion of both "free content" and "copyleft". Free content confuses many people into thinking that it's free of charge (it is here, but doesn't have to be); copyleft confuses many people into thinking that copyright doesn't apply, which I think is a dangerous impression to create. Open content can also remind people of the fact that our content is open in the sense that it can be edited directly; that isn't implicit in the other terms. --Michael Snow 16:54, 15 Mar 2004 (UTC)
I think open content is just as much as a jargon/technical word as copyleft is. It doesn't make that much sense unless you know what open source is.
The choice seems stark.
Use a correct but specialized term, copyleft, that few will understand and few will bother to try to understand, or
Use a correct but unspecialized phrase such as "freely reusable content", that people will think they understand (they think of public domain) but actually miss the subtlety.
I.e. wrap the subtlety in a jargon word, or drop the subtlety completely. There's no room for anything else on this page. Pete/Pcb21 (talk) 12:32, 16 Mar 2004 (UTC)
  • My two cents: I personally think "open content" is friendliest to newcomers; "copyleft" is a very specialized term. I would change it myself if I was gutsy enough --MerovingianTalk 23:01, Mar 17, 2004 (UTC)
  • I prefer "free content" to "open content". Both are accurate, but free content is more specific (take a look at Open Directory License, which is open content but not free content, is that what we want for Wikipedia). I disagree that using the term "free" leads people to believe they can do whatever they want. Most importantly, I see this whole change as hindering efforts to make Wikipedia free (not just open content, free content). Anthony DiPierro 14:25, 20 Mar 2004 (UTC)
  • I think it should be "copyleft", because that refects the decidedly Leftist slant of most of the articles. Maybe we could squeeze in the word "multicultural" as well.
If you detect a slant (NPOV), then fix it. I suggest you get an ID and do it the right way. I have a conservative bent, and I am working for the Republican party locally, and 99% of my own personal computer work is copyleft-ed. The pun wasn't funny the first time I heard it, and now it is just worn out.... Dominick 18:40, 24 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Another Cache Problem Question

I'm not getting the March 5 page -- instead it's the March 3 version. (Obviously it's a cache thing, either on the server end or my end.) But this leads to a couple of questions:

  • Are parts of the Main Page dynamicaly generated (e.g. the "Selected Aniversaries")? If so which? (BTW, I understand why this is a good thing.)
  • If someone with sysop rights makes an edit to a cached image, will there be any warning that the person is altering an out-of-date page? --llywrch 19:37, 6 Mar 2004 (UTC)

A thought occured to me

If we hadn't already given certain elements reason to think we're commie pinkos, I guess featuring an article on the PRC should just about do it :) →Raul654 06:20, Mar 7, 2004 (UTC)

Definitions In Other Languages

Why are some word definitions in foreign languages, but not in English ? Example: Chordonia is found in the Dansk version of Wikipedia, but not in the English version. 04-03-07

Interesting number

  • Well, it passed 222222 articles and I missed it. It is at 222291 articles now. --Jeff8765 21:48, 8 Mar 2004 (UTC)
  • "227050 articles in the English version" now. I think we should have some sort of celebration at 250,000 = 1/4 million and 333,333 = 1/3 million. -- DavidCary 20:26, 15 Mar 2004 (UTC)
  • 233444 articles 21:39 - nice number to capture Ancheta Wis 21:42, 25 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Press release: Wikipedia publishes 500,000 articles in 50 languages
Send out the release to your local paper! See how!

Change of picture

Changing the picture would be helpful - the current page seems to imply that the picture of Costas Caramanlis is supposed to be John Allen Muhammed. -Alex S 02:38, 10 Mar 2004 (UTC)

You can change it if you feel the need to. Perl 03:27, 10 Mar 2004 (UTC)
How? (As a side note, the picture now looks like it's supposed to be Abu Abbas.) --Alex S 06:11, 10 Mar 2004 (UTC)

TV Guide covers

Is a TV Guide cover fair use, say, a cover of Oprah in the Oprah article, a Cookie Monster cover in the Cookie Monster article, that sort of thing? -- user:zanimum

I don't see why it would. The copyright lies with TV Guide or whoever they licensed the pictures from. MikeCapone mar 12, 2004.

Politically correct

Wikipedia has some problems with political correctness:

  • There are many pages that use "she" as a generic third person pronoun, which is overtly political and totally unnatural in English. There is no way to defend this without invoking politics. And the people who are doing this don't realize how ridiculous it looks to the average non-radical person. At least use "they" instead, since that is something people actually say in real life (even though it's a bit awkward). This "she" business is pure politics and it doesn't belong in an encyclopedia that purports to be neutral.

(add more here)

Moved from page top...


While I agree that the Madrid bombings are tragic, shouting about it here does little to help. I'm certain someone closer to the event will post a news item here soon. I encourage you to become familiar with Wikipedia so you can add items like this yourself. - Gaz 13:27, 11 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Just random thoughs. So we now feature nuclear weapon and madrid attacks. And we still live in this world. Sorry for ranting. -- Taku

I would suggest replacing the Spanish flag in the main page with the one with the black ribbon Madrid pesame.png Sabbut 09:34, 13 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Justification, spaces

I have found ridiculously difficult to edit a news abstract these days (about the Spanish terrorist attack) and getting no spurious big spaces between know, the classical

this  is a  well formatted
article         containing

I put it to the width of the news section being too small... Is there a way to prevent justification? Is it just my preferences (I should have checked this before)...

Thanks in advance to whomever gives an answer. Pfortuny 15:28, 13 Mar 2004 (UTC)

It should be whoever, not whomever. Whoever is the subject of gives, and the whole phrase "whoever gives me an answer" is the object of to. You should stay away from whom and friends unless you can use them with certainty.
IMSoP looks at the page history [2]. I guess we all make mistakes. ;-D
You could also use 'whomsoever' ... Not that it's that important. ^_~

Nuclear weapon

Re: Nuclear weapon - Wondering why Israel was edited out of the Main Page abstract. I don't keep track of who's nuclear, and I was only glancing at the front page highlight, but Israel's absence from the list of nuke-possessing countries still jumped out at me, because: 1) I'd heard something on the news recently about Israel and weapons testing; 2) I've been under the general impression that Israel had nukes for years. I checked the Web and "Israel is widely believed to possess" is support in "mainstream" articles from, like, LA Times and Financial Times. So, it seems to be a glaring omission?

I omitted them for the same reason I omitted North Korea (which had been listed in the article previously) - because they have not admitted it. Those are the nations we know with absolute certainty have nuclear weapons. →Raul654 16:19, Mar 13, 2004 (UTC)
Oh, I just added Israel - I wrote this comment before I realized the abstract was editable, too (and why wouldn't it be? ;). I just came back here to remove my comment!! Anyhow, I'm not into battling over this. I really don't know much, and a five-minute Web browse certainly doesn't make be much more knowledgeable... But still, from the amount, sources and long period of time over which Israel's possible nuke arsenal seems to've been covered, putting it on a par with N.Korea would be like equating it with Iraq and WMD just a year ago...It seems disingenuous not to mention it... Tsavage 16:25, 13 Mar 2004 (UTC)
As well as the relevant Wikipedia articles (List of countries with nuclear weapons), The Economist had a reasonable write-up of the current state of play a couple of weeks ago - [3]. Pete/Pcb21 (talk) 12:17, 16 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Referencing and Citing

I really like this website, and I am thinking of adding some things in both English and Dutch ... ... doesn't tell me how to specifically reference this page. -User:Mephistophyles

See Wikipedia:Citing Wikipedia.
James F. (talk) 17:43, 14 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Thank you -User:Mephistophyles

New design for article pages

On Talk:Main Page/New Design there is my new design for article pages. I planted there some of my inventions: Disambiguation, See also and External links are moved to left pane for quick reference.

It is especially important with Disambiguation. Now there is a chaos regarding this issue - some pages list most important topics while listing its homonyms at the bottom of article, some list them just below the title and still others put the list on separate Disambiguation page that is sort of directory without any serious message.

Disambiguation (or maybe better 'Other meanings' or something - remember that Wikipedia isn't the domain of Anglophones only and Disambiguation isn't on 'Top 1000 words' list) could be moved into 'most visible position not colliding with text' and given topic (say 'Titan') could display its most commonly thought use (in this case - 'Titan (mythology)' ) without retorting to Disambiguation pages whatsoever.

However this inventions necessitate some changes in the code. I think that there should be separate textarea or other tool for each section of left pane. Also unused sections should be hidden automatically. Could it be done?

Comments please. -- Forseti 09:53, 16 Mar 2004 (UTC)

I think you're still confusing two (or even three) pieces of design:
  1. You have designed a new layout for Main Page, but haven't shown what it would look like in any currently available skin.
  2. You have also designed a new skin, which also looks very nice - but is not just for the main page, so should perhaps be discussed more widely (e.g. at the Village pump).
  3. Finally, both of these designs include a completely new software feature which is that the "quickbar" on the left is replaced in your designs by an article-dependent modular sidebar (your Main Page's red sidebar could just be part of the page's markup; no software necessary). This is technically awkward, and likely to be controversial:
    • it involves some way of defining this information in articles, which its not obvious how to do within a wiki-based system. What's more, anything that changed the one article name <-> one block of text relationship would potentially necessitate redesigning the underlying database, and rewriting just about the entire software.
    • the quickbar is already rather full of things people like to have - see the discussion at Wikipedia talk:Community Portal, for instance. Some kind of modular sidebar could, if customisable, actually alleviate this problem somewhat, but it would require a lot of coding.
In short, the designs are good, but need to be seperated out and discussed independently. - IMSoP 11:15, 16 Mar 2004 (UTC)
Well, maybe I'm confusing this things but it does have upsides. Having shown all that can be done to Wikipedia in one piece of work, I managed to convince several people to the ideas and everyone can see them working.If you speak of dividing things, let's do it:
  • Layout and skin separation: as I mentioned at Talk:Main Page/New Design I'd be happy if skins would only change fonts and colors of page and perhaps some ornamentals. There should not be such serious differences in layout between skins as between Cologne Blue and Classic skins where even quickber options differ. Of course it would be desirable to have targeted layouts for different types of users (say 'reader', 'academic reader', 'casual editor', 'commited wikipedian' or 'content reviewer') but this could be done by introducing layout choosing independent of skin choosing. Presented desing is based on assumption that it will be standard layout with standard skin. Other skins would change its fonts/colors only. Other layouts would be at best planned feature so I didn't considered them yet.
  • Modular sidebar with Disambi and links: yes, this should necessitate database schema update, but 'only' update, not some revolutionary redesign. Just adding some fields in articles table (in less ambitious scenario where users are responsible for formatting) or adding linked and indexed tables for each section (in more ambitious scenario with autoformatting and linking an article with number of records for each of sidebar sections. IMHO former scenario is better, easier and more healthy for a database. As for scripting, it would add one textarea for each section. It could be good as it would motivate editors to put something into them. And some links in 'See also' and 'External links' are good for every article and IMHO should be a must.
In some spare time I'll put it in Village Pump if it's better place for this discussion.
-- Forseti 13:49, 17 Mar 2004 (UTC)
Fair enough - although I'd argue that the term "skin" normally does mean a fundamental layout change; but different use of terminology certainly doesn't negate the argument against having them, or for having them more strongly targetted at "types" of user.
OK, definition at "skin" says that you are right. What I postulate is to have not one set of skin choices but two: one for color&font and other for layout. I know that it won't happen quicly - if at all.
I still think you'll run up against a lot of resistance if you try and replace the current sidebar, though. And don't expect this kind of major development to happen very fast, unless you can do it yourself - the software is entirely voluntarily developed, remember.
Quickbar isn't going to be replaced in my design. It gets out of the way of real content only. Look again on picture, the 'v Tools' menu item is for JavaScript (or whatever else) menu that appears on 'click' on 'mouseover' event. Some commonly used menuitems like 'Edit' or 'Discussion' are just moved to secondary toolbar to be more accessible.
Sorry to sound so down on the whole idea, it's just a question of whether it gains enough improvement to justify the extra effort. Remember that the original point of a wiki was to be the simplest solution possible. There's some interesting discussion on this kind of thing at MeatBall:TechnologySolution and MeatBall:FormOverContent. Personally, I'd favour a way (if you could find somewhere to put it) of extracting disambiguation etc from the wiki-source as the skin was loaded - in much the same way as tables of contents are auto-generated from headings. This would still require some way of semantically marking the relevant text - more XML-ish than wiki-ish, but something that we may end up having to do.
- IMSoP 18:02, 17 Mar 2004 (UTC)
Hey, that's good idea! XML isn't even really needed - what is needed is some Wikipedia markup enhancement like [[[See also]]] (meaning that from this to next heading or EOF there is See also section). Alternative: different namespace like: See:Titan (mythology) or Disambiguation:Titan
Forseti 11:37, 18 Mar 2004 (UTC)


What is the use of this project? What is Wikipedia that Internet in itself isn't?

It's a free encyclopedia; free as in freedom, free as in beer. The Internet is not an encylopedia. See Wikipedia:Criticisms and Wikipedia:Replies to common objections for more discussion on these points. -- The Anome 12:07, 16 Mar 2004 (UTC)
Did I hear something about free beer?!?! :D Sam Spade 23:13, 17 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Add Breaks

Could somebody please add breaks to the main page between the sections as I have done in the sandbox?

No - that's ugly. --mav 06:09, 18 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Editing the blurb about the featured article

How does one edit the blurb about the featured article? (I had no trouble editing the Main Page; that's not what I'm asking about.) <tantrum>I am shocked that the uncouth phrasal verb refers to is being used on the Main Page. (There are legitimate uses for that phrase, but "A dog refers to an animal that barks" instead of "A dog is an animal that barks" is the style used by the at most marginally literate.)</tantrum> Michael Hardy 00:32, 22 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Fixed. Thanks for pointing it out. For future reference, if you see {{msg:something}} in the source text, you can edit it at MediaWiki:Something. In this case, the page you were looking for was Template:Feature. — Timwi 00:59, 22 Mar 2004 (UTC)
Thanks. Michael Hardy 01:14, 22 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Why Pearl Harbor Today?

Why is the Pearl Harbor article featured today? It should have waited for December 7th.
Brooklyn Nellie (Nricardo) 19:57, Mar 23, 2004 (UTC)

I picked it because there haven't been enough history articles featured. Plus, certain featured articles (Nuclear weapon, villian, pearl harbor) tend to attract more attention than others, and the former is much preferable. →Raul654 20:00, Mar 23, 2004 (UTC)
I take it that there is a list somewhere of which article on which day? Secretlondon 20:07, 23 Mar 2004 (UTC)
If you mean like 'day-in-history' is done (with automatically updated mediawiki lists)- no. At least for the time being, it's done manually. It's been discussed before, so I don't really feel like going into depth, but basically - (1) unlike day in history, the order of featured articles is essentially arbitrary. This could lead to problems in deciding the order; (2) the overhead of such a system is pretty scary. (3) It lets us be timely - an article can be approved on tuesday and make it on wednesday. SO for now, it's manual. →Raul654 20:21, Mar 23, 2004 (UTC)
PS - if you would like something featured every request so far except one (which was unfeaturable and has since been de-'featured')

why the random link returns mostly geography articles?

hullo! this is Viky. Pardon my question but I'm new here! Why the random link returns mostly geography articles, like small towns in U.S. ?

Because the US census data was added en mass. Because of this a lot of articles are about small US towns. However the more articles we get the less of a problem it is. Secretlondon 20:57, 24 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Web browser characters

How can I see the strange characters that appears in the links to another wikipedia versions ? (i.e. to the chinese wikipedia ). I use Mozilla web browser.

By installing appropriate fonts and/or, if you're using Windows, the appropriate language support (see Control Panel). — Timwi 16:43, 27 Mar 2004 (UTC)

I wonder if the X-43 did break any record. I think it's a unmaned plane. Thus it didn't break any speed record for piloted airplane. If we consider unmanned rockets wasn't anything faster in earth athmosphe ? Of course being (as far as I know) scramjet to fly it has established the first speed record for scramjet. Ericd 19:31, 29 Mar 2004 (UTC)

From nasa site : "NASA's second X-43A hypersonic research aircraft flew successfully today, the first time an air-breathing scramjet powered aircraft has flown freely." The NASA doesn't claim any record the engine worked 10s and I don't what was the speed of the booster rocket. Ericd 19:37, 29 Mar 2004 (UTC)

recent "Did you know..." typo

  • ...that in the 1930s, Australia was home to a paramilitary Fascist called the New Guard?

should be :

  • ".. paramilitary Fascist organization called.."

Problem in Firefox 0.8


I use Firefox to browse Wikipedia everyday (is my homepage) but I got a problem: The pages doesn't change as much as the design changes. For example before I clean up the Cache minutes ago, every time I entered into the Main page, showed me the same page as was March the 28th, even today (March the 30th). Is that a browser problem or Wikipedia problem?

That's all.

I'm on Firefox 0.8, and it WFM. Perhaps it's a cache issue &#151;d8uv (t) 12:01, Apr 4, 2004 (UTC)

I have the same problem with Firefox 0.8, should I turn caching off? CNN comes up new every day... Terrible Tim

Firefoxers ahoy! I use Firefox (on both Linux and Windows) and it works fine for me. Must be something with your cache preferences. Alternatively, you could always blame the proxy, even if you're not using one. -- Itai 00:16, 8 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Bold # Articles

Once upon a time I bolded the number of articles, and mav reverted because they were still in progress. Yes, but everything on Wikipedia is in progress, that's the nature of the beast. That doesn't mean we don't have XXX number of articles. I'd like to bold that number again, several of the other pedias do so. Could we discuss? jengod 03:10, Mar 31, 2004 (UTC)

No need to brag - esp when a great many of our articles are stubs. Also. the last thing we should emphasize now is the number - we've beat everybody cold on that count (all other wikis along with all other encyclopedias - why rub their faces into our large article count?). What we now need to focus on is expanding our current articles - our size and momentum along with rewarding a select few new articles with exposure in the "Did you know..." section is all that we need. So modesty is the best policy in this respect, IMO (some people have argued against having the number of articles on the Main Page at all). --mav
I never thought of it in terms of the face-rub angle. That's a really good point. N'mind. jengod 05:21, Mar 31, 2004 (UTC)
In case it seems like mav is the only one saying this, I'd like to state that I heartily agree with him here. On a tangential note Erik's fantastic stats pages ([4]) show that in the post-Rambot era (after October 2002) there are only two months in which the average article size has fallen. Yep you've guessed it - February 2004 and March 2004. Now is not the time to be emphasising article count. Pete/Pcb21 (talk) 15:27, 31 Mar 2004 (UTC)
All other encyclopedias? Not quite: The large edition of the German Brockhaus encyclopdia has 260,000 articles.—Eloquence 15:36, Mar 31, 2004 (UTC)

Nnonshifting Holidays

I think nonshifting holidays/special days like today (April fools), Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc deseve a mention on the main page. Unless someone objects, I'm going to add it to the Selected anniversaries. →Raul654 04:01, Apr 1, 2004 (UTC)

Shown on Main Page - Google has been acquired by Microsoft for an undisclosed amount. Is this an April Fool ? Where's the news report? Why isn't it on Current Events?

It's 4pm UTC. I will unilaterally remove April Fools from now on. :-) Pete/Pcb21 (talk) 15:26, 1 Apr 2004 (UTC)
am i the only one bugged by this april fools prank? wikipedia is supposed to be international, and this prank was still running on april 2nd in japan. i don't think there should be pranks to begin with, mind you, but how about a bit of restraint? -- Tlotoxl 15:30, 1 Apr 2004 (UTC)
By the way, Pete - your signature would seem to disagree with you about what the time was! Personally, I find the whole thing rather fun - it's nice to be able to be a bit risqué one day a year. But, yeah, I guess it's time to take them down now. - IMSoP 16:06, 1 Apr 2004 (UTC)
Arrrrghhh, yes. Last week us Brits joined the rest of the world in not having UTC as our time. We go back to UTC for winter. Sorry for any confusion! Pete/Pcb21 (talk) 16:23, 1 Apr 2004 (UTC)
He meant BST. I didn't think we should have had the joke on the Main Page. We've got enough false information floating about on Wikipedia already. Also we weren't allowed to have a joke at the end of the London congestion charge article. Mintguy (T) 16:13, 1 Apr 2004 (UTC)
As I have commented the last 3 times I reverted april fools pranks (done by admins, no less) - I don't want to be a grinch or anything, I like april fools jokes, but Wikipedia is supposed to be a professional encyclopedia. So keep the jokes to wiki-centric subpages (RfA Jimbo Wales, for example) - *not* on the main page or the announcements. →Raul654 16:14, Apr 1, 2004 (UTC)

Protecting the included Mediawiki pages

The main page is protected from anon users etc editing it, but the included pages arn't isn't this a bit of an anomaly? Should they be protected? Mintguy (T)

1) Ssshh! You'll break our security through obscurity 2) No, it's not an anomily. In theory, we want regular users to be able to modify the main page - it lets us be more timely and include more views. However, as a result, we open ourselves to anon vandalism. This has all been discussed before. →Raul654 16:37, Apr 1, 2004 (UTC)

Ok. In that case I think that it should be easier to edit these pages. It's not immediately obvious. I've put a copy of the main page in User:Mintguy/Sandbox with a small edit link in the 'In The News' panel. Any comments? Mintguy (T)

That neat trick of adding an "edit me" link to the mediawiki page (the neat bit is that you can copy and paste the link from your browser address bar because the link required is the link you are at!) is also used on vfd. Some people seem to have a really strong dislike of them, which appears to come from not being able to understand what is going on. The same may apply here, though it's not exactly the same. However I personally think it is a great idea. The main page is unreasonably difficult to edit at the moment.. hand-typed URLs and all. Pete/Pcb21 (talk) 17:07, 1 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Honestly, it's a bad idea. While security through obsecurity is generally a bad thing, in this case, it works rather nicely. Regular users can ask at the village pump, or take the time to figure it out themselves. But I definintely don't want to make it easier for click-through vandals to figure out how to graffitti the main page. →Raul654 16:50, Apr 1, 2004 (UTC)

Exactly. Adding edit links to each section will be both ugly and open us up to vandalism. Edits to these sections are easy for anybody who knows what is going on - all you have to do is go to this talk page and click on the part you want to edit. --mav 05:36, 3 Apr 2004 (UTC)


Do we still need to edit that stupid purging tag? Maybe there should be a Special: page that automagically changes the purging tag by some meaningful method (names of chemical elements, etc). Pakaran. 18:34, 1 Apr 2004 (UTC)

The tag is no longer needed. The page can be purged through this, although even that may have been made unnecessary (I seem to remeber something about the page being purged automatically, but I'm not sure). Dori | Talk 20:30, Apr 1, 2004 (UTC)

Foreign Languages

Wouldn't it make more sense to just list them at the top as in any other page? It'd make the page shorter, retain more of a standard wiki format, plus would be less of a hassle for foreign language users. The only real problems I could see is that it might be unsightly for some (since it is a rather lot of languages) and the "start a new edition" link would have be moved. What are other people's thoughts on this? Sarge Baldy 21:09, Apr 1, 2004 (UTC)

I see two problems: 1) It's much uglier 2) They won't be as prominent. Dori | Talk 21:13, Apr 1, 2004 (UTC)
Hmm, less prominent how exactly? I would have thought the opposite. Ugly I can definitely agree with although I haven't actually previewed it myself to see exactly how large a space that would take up. Sarge Baldy 00:07, Apr 2, 2004 (UTC)
My feeling is that they will tend to get ignored/not noticed if they're put at the top in the "Other languages". Right now there is one clear link on the top of the page, and a nice section with a list of the languages. Perhaps the format of the Other languages needs to be changed somehow for all pages, but as it is... Dori | Talk 19:26, Apr 3, 2004 (UTC)


Question moved to MediaWiki talk:Wikipedialang.