WikiAlpha:Community portal/Archive 1

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Hi, I've just had an Email notifying me that an article I created on EN wiki has been migrated here, except it hasn't. I frequently move poorly named new articles and I wonder if that has lead to your migration bot being confused? As you haven't got the relevant history I can't see what happened in that case, but am pretty sure that would be the case. WereSpielChequers 01:47, 3 July 2011 (MDT)

Hi. Thanks, yes that page was one of the first we did, and it appears to have been accidentally removed during testing. Sorry about that. --Richard 02:14, 3 July 2011 (MDT)


Copyright/License terms

At the head of pages copied from Wikipedia you properly refer to CC-BY-SA, but at the foot of the pages and on the main page it still says "Content is available under Public Domain". That is misleading and untrue - at most it should say something like "Content is available under Public Domain unless otherwise stated at the head of the page." (talk) 15:36, 10 July 2011 (MSD)

Yes, we will update the template to be more explicit. Richard (talk) 16:26, 10 July 2011 (MSD)
This needs to be done at


All the best, Rich Farmbrough (talk) 07:37, 5 June 2012 (MSD)

Thanks for the pointer, Rich. I've asked Govind if this can be updated. Best regards. Web (talk) 08:13, 5 June 2012 (MSD)

Also adding MediaWiki:Copyright to the list. Thanks. Web (talk) 12:18, 7 June 2012 (MSD)

{{Wp-cca}} already states that it is "contrary to the public domain logo at the foot of the page.". I don't know that MediaWiki allows you to selectively change the copyright message on some articles. Govind (talk) 04:13, 9 June 2012 (MSD)
Thanks for stopping by, Govind, I appreciate the help. Some people I spoke to were reluctant to help because of the issue. I though it wouldn't hurt to ask if the message could be changed. Would you be opposed to changing MediaWiki:Copyright from Content is available under Public Domain. to this Content is available under Public Domain unless otherwise noted. or something similar? Thanks. Web (talk) 13:49, 9 June 2012 (MSD)


I was wondering about the status of this site. It seems that Richard hasn't edited in a couple weeks and HistoryBot is only running sporadically. I was hoping this place would be running full steam by now. Could somebody provide a status of the site operations? Thanks. Web (talk) 06:33, 24 July 2011 (MSD)

Hi Web, we've been a little busy the last couple of weeks but we've both been monitoring the site and the situation with wikipedia. I need to make some adjustments to HistoryBot, but it will be back up and running soon. Thanks for your contributions by the way. Cheers Richard (talk) 09:04, 24 July 2011 (MSD)
Thanks for the update, Richard. Thanks also to you and Govind for setting up the site and everything. It's very kind of you to provide a safe haven for disenfranchised Wikipedians. Thanks. Web (talk) 01:03, 25 July 2011 (MSD)
Hey guys, quick update: We're on a new server located in Germany. It's an SSD server so the wiki should be nice and fast. Govind was supposed to be working on the public backup system (i.e. in the spirit of public domain, we want to share our backups), but I haven't heard anything for a while. Will check up on it. Other than that, traffic growth has been positive. Keep up the good work. Cheers Richard (talk)
Is this related to the problem I had uploading a picture? It worked after I uploaded it, but last night it disappeared, and it won't let me upload a replacement. Mathewignash (talk) 02:39, 28 November 2012 (MSK)


See [1]. I just heard about this site, which dates back to a 2002 dispute at Wikipedia which began a trip down the wrong path... unfortunately, the site is closed, but maybe the operators could be contacted and recruited to your project? Just a thought. Wnt (talk) 22:30, 27 July 2011 (MSD)

I think anything that adds to WikiAlpha would probably be benefitial. Web (talk) 07:46, 29 July 2011 (MSD)
I was admin there. There and I think the Afar WP, which was also closed. Interestingly the September 11 wiki became more encyclopedic as time passed, and less of a memorial as such. There was no real problem with keeping it, but some folk just like tidying up for the sake of it. Rich Farmbrough (talk)

Time zone

The time zone for the server appears to be UTC, while the time zone on signatures appears to be "MSD" AKA Wikipedia:Moscow Time and Wikipedia:UTC+04:00. Why the discrepancy?   — Jeff G. ツ 05:09, 3 August 2011 (MSD)

Using templates from Wikipedia?

I'm going to be working on articles, but there are a number of templates I need first. I've been grabbing templates from Wikipedia for the new ones, but I was wondering if anybody would mind if I used Wikipedia's templates for existing ones, like {{cite book}} and {{cite news}}? I wanted to ask permission before I started doing this. Another one I was hoping to replace was {{infobox}}, but I want to ask first because it will change the look of all infoboxes from the yellow/orange border to black like Wikipedia.
@Richard, Govind & Mathew, I wanted to get your OK on this before I did anything since this will change how the site looks. Thanks in advance for your input. Web (talk) 07:20, 25 August 2011 (MSD)

That sounds good, but be warned, the cite templates on enwp take esoteric to a whole new level. :)   — Jeff G. ツ 07:55, 23 October 2011 (MSD)
Feel free, but as Jeff said above, they take some getting used to. :P Govind (talk) 10:09, 23 October 2011 (MSD)
Yes, the template stuff is way beyond my abilities, but I'm fortunate to be getting help from Wikipedia's premier template expert, User:Rich Farmbrough, who has been generously helping. So I may make some headway on this. Web (talk) 08:05, 5 June 2012 (MSD)

On notability, and its hidden bias -- versus maintainability

I looked at a couple of discussion pages here, recognized a lot of names of wikipedia contributors, was surprised to see so many people from there participating here. Then I realized it was a cut and paste of a discussion that occurred at wikipedia. Rather than reply on that page, to people unlikely to ever read my comment, I am going to comment here.

One of those discussions asked about notability.

I have had reservations about notability since the very first {{afd}} I participated in, as, it seemed to me that often when a contributor called something "not notable" it was really a sign of their own, unconscious, hidden bias. To anyone who thinks my name is familiar from I was the person who made the most effort to cover the Guantanamo captives and other topics related to what the Bush administration used to call the "global war on terror".

It routinely seemed to me that the claims of many of those who challenged the notability of the stories of these individual amounted to judgement calls the challengers were making about the credibility of the captives' claims. They didn't agree the captives' stories were notable because they didn't agree the captives' stories were credible.

When they didn't believe that any of the USA's captive had been innocent civilian bystanders, they didn't think articles about these individuals were merited, even when they had been tortured, or their detention was justified for tissue thin claims that they were owners of the same watch that Ahmed Ressam was going to use to bomb LAX on 1999-12-31.

The Citizendium, where I have also contributed articles, some newly written, some ported from wikipedia, tried to learn some lessons from the wikipedia. They have a cool system for attaching a cluster of files to each article, including a gallery for related images, and a "related articles" feature.

But the thing that first interested me about trying to volunteer there was they didn't have a notability policy or guideline -- instead they had a "maintainability" policy. Articles required reliable, authoritative, verifiable references, in order to be considered "maintainable". And, articles that seemed to have fallen out of date, where those who had worked on them were no longer active, or had lost interest, could also be deemed "unmaintainable".

I have been prolific at the wikipedia. I started a lot of articles, on controversial topics, and there are something like 100 articles I started there, that have been deleted, which I think could be perfectly suitable articles here, or on some other wiki. (Some of them I think were policy compliant there too.)

I want to learn more about the differences in liscensing here and there prior to committing to port those 100 or so articles here. I will start a seperate section on that.

Cheers! Geo Swan (talk) 03:08, 6 June 2012 (MSD)

Hi Geo Swan. Thanks for your contributions. I believe User:Govind is the site operator and pays for the hosting and other bills. He can give you a definative answer. My understanding is that the only things that would be deleted here are copyright violations and BLP violations. I think everything else is safe from deletion. I know that notability doesn't apply and I don't think there's anything like maintainability. Best regards. Web (talk) 09:34, 6 June 2012 (MSD)I was mistaken. Striking incorrect info. See below. Web (talk) 14:33, 8 June 2012 (MSD)
See also WikiAlpha:CSD. Web (talk) 12:27, 6 June 2012 (MSD)
Hi Geo Swan. Good to have you aboard. FYI: Govind is the head wiki administrator here, I mostly maintain the server and pay hosting costs. As to licensing: try to follow the law as best you can. To my knowledge Creative Commons licenses are very rarely enforced so I wouldn't be hyper concerned about it. We are public domain, so anything you write on this site is free for everyone to read, modify and reproduce forever more (it's not as scary as it sounds!) And as to inclusion requirements -- we are basically laissez faire. Nothing illegal or grossly offensive. Anything else is fine. Richard (talk) 14:19, 8 June 2012 (MSD)
Thanks Richard. I appreciate you funding the project here. It's very generous of you. Kind regards. Web (talk) 14:36, 8 June 2012 (MSD)

Liscensing -- I'd like to be fickle

I'd like to be fickle. If I started an article, I'd like to be able to encapsulate my edits that started that article, and carry that encapsulation to any other wiki, and make it available there.


I know the wikipedia's interpretation of {{gfdl}} and {{cc-sa-3.0}} is that a contributor's right to have their contribution attributed to them is satisfied by a mere list of contributors. I am not aware of whether this was ever the subject of a discussion on the wikipedia. If it was that discussion probably occurred very early. I am not aware of anyone challenging that interpretation. While, I am not a lawyer, this interpretation seems questionable to me, on a purely legal level. Further, there are a couple of non-legal aspects of this interpretation that bug me.

It seems to me that if there was a court case where this interpretation of attribution was challenged, and a court ruled that a mere list of contributors was insufficient, all the wikipedia's mirror sites, and the wikipedia and its sibling projects, would all be out of compliance with the law.

When I have ported articles I started to other wikis, I take a look at the contribution history, and try to determine the edit which is the last which I can claim I was the sole author of intellectual content. And that is the version I port -- even if it was a couple of years out of date. In doing so I honor my interpretation of what kind of attribution is required.

In the wikipedia discussions that were copied here, that I referred to in my comment above, someone made the point that the original liscense the wikipedia contributors submitted their edits under when they submitted them there is not compatible with claiming that that material is in the public domain here.

I think they are right. I think that material is not in the public domain, that their original liscense required re-users to only use that material under the same liscense it was originally released under.

Sometime in 2005 someone ported a couple of maps I had uploaded to to the wikimedia commons. My nose was put out, because I didn't understand that the gfdl I submitted it under explicitly allowed him or her to do that. Sometime between 2007 and 2009 I decided I would relax the liscensing on all my images, and put them all in the public domain.

Some famous guy said an egoless person could quietly get a lot more accomplished -- if they were prepared to forgo taking credit for those accomplishments -- under that theory I am think I could be convinced to put my own personal contributions in the public domain -- but I can't make that commitment for other people who contributed to the wikipedia version of an article. Geo Swan (talk) 03:51, 6 June 2012 (MSD)

I've left User:Govind a note about the #Copyright/License terms discussion above. Web (talk) 09:41, 6 June 2012 (MSD)
See Mycroft Holmes. Rich Farmbrough (talk)

I think I was the sole author of the intellectual content of this article

I ported an article before AFD here. After reviewing its contribution history at wikipedia I thought I could assert I was the sole author of the intellectual content of Mustaq Aksari. I moved it to article space, and removed the tag about attributing it to wikipedia, as, although other people edited the article, they only edited its meta data, and left the intellectual content untouched.

I`d appreciate another set of eyes looking at the contribution history and confirming or disputing my interpretation.

Cheers! Geo Swan (talk) 23:49, 7 June 2012 (MSD)

You certainly created the majority of the content. Most everything else was tags, CATs, persondata and such. But this edit could be considered an addition worthy of attribution. Web (talk) 14:20, 8 June 2012 (MSD)
strike previous comment above In re-reading your comments above, I believe you would like to release certain articles to the public domain. I would say Yes you can, there are no substantial additions to this article that would prevent that. I would just add that, per Moonriddengirl's comment here, that WikiAlpha (i.e. you, me & everybody) does a very good job attributing while the majority of other sites do not. So I think you're doing fine and the talk page already includes attributions. Best regards. Web (talk) 16:58, 8 June 2012 (MSD)

Who is entitled to attribution?

I recently sought input at one of wikipedia's village pumps over who is entitled to count on the attribution described in {{gfdl}} and {{cc-sa-3.0}}. I think only contributors whose edits contained "intellectual content" are entitled to attribution.

I think there are various kinds of edits that are valuable, but don't entitle a contributor to attribution. I think edits that correct spelling, grammar or punctuation are not entitled to attribution. I think edits that add categories, or other meta information, do not require attribution. Geo Swan (talk) 03:51, 6 June 2012 (MSD)

This is actually very interesting question. Dewey have IPRs in a system of organizing knowledge, in the same way the WP community could claim at least communal IPRs on the WP category system, though many individual parts would not be protectable by themselves. Rich Farmbrough (talk)
@Geo Swan, I've never really thought about it myself. I don't really have an opinion at the moment, but some people may view attribution as a courtesy for their volunteering. Web (talk) 09:46, 6 June 2012 (MSD)
  • There is no question that those who make edits that don't add or significantly amend the intellectual property in an article may still have made a very valuable contribution.
Copyediting is valuable. Wikitags, and other organizational metatags don't add intellectual content, but are still valuable.
Adding or fixing references don't add intellectual content, but are very useful
When edits are valuable the contributor should get their share of wikilove, barnstars, and plain old straight forward expressions of appreciation. But since attribution is a legal requirement, I think we should stick to the other ways of showing appreciation, and not also use attribution as a way of showing appreciation. Geo Swan (talk) 00:36, 7 June 2012 (MSD)
You're probably right. I haven't thought much about the legal aspects. For me, the most important part of these wiki-type projects is making the information itself available so that people can find it, read it and benefit from it. Before Wikipedia, a lot of very helpful information was not easily accessable. Today there are a lot of Wikis and the net has become a valuable resource for finding details on many important subjects. Web (talk) 17:30, 8 June 2012 (MSD)

Where should bug reports be made?

Where should bug reports be made? Here on this page? Briefly, I tried porting an article from the wikipedia. I encountered two bugs.

  1. The port of the cite templated doesn't properly understand the "archiveurl =" field. That is OK with me. I prefer to put the url to the archived version after the {{cite}} template.
  2. I encountered a problem when I tried using html comments to hide templates that weren't supported here from the render engine. The render engine seemed to ignore those html comments. This seemed so odd to me it occurred to me that this might be a problem with the caching of the previously saved version.

I assume we are all volunteers here. I know I can't count on having these bugs, if they are bugs, addressed promptly -- or even at all. I record them here just for completeness.

Cheers! Geo Swan (talk) 04:18, 6 June 2012 (MSD)

I'm not sure where bug reports should go, but this seems like as good a place as any. I should probably mention that User:Richard was the other person maintaining this site, but looking at his contribs, it appears he's not active any more. So it may be that Govind has his hands full keeping things running, but that's just a guess. Web (talk) 10:02, 6 June 2012 (MSD)

Solution to #2 above The reason the HTML comment didn't work is because of a comment inside a comment.

{{Infobox WoT detainees
| name        = Mohammed Ahmed
| image          =
| image_size          =
| caption       =
| date_of_birth       = {{Birth year and age|1996}}
| place_of_birth      = [[USA]]
| date_of_arrest      = 2003-03
| place_of_arrest     = Pakistan
| arresting_authority = US and Pakistani security officials
| date_of_release     = 2008
| place_of_release    = Afghanistan
| date_of_death       = <!-- {{Death-date and age| death date | birth date }} -->
| place_of_death      =
| citizenship         = [[USA]]
| detained_at         = CIA [[black sites]]
| id_number           =
| group               =
| alias               = Ahmed Siddiqui
| charge              = no charge, held in [[extrajudicial detention]]
| penalty             =
| status              = returned to his maternal family
| csrt_summary        =
| csrt_transcript     =
| occupation          =
| spouse              = 
| parents             = [[Aafia Siddiqui]]
| children            =

In this instance, there is a second comment in this template. The date_of_death parameter has {{Death-date and age}} commented out and is the second comment. If you remove the <!-- and --> from that part, then your comment around the template will work. Best regards. Web (talk) 16:26, 8 June 2012 (MSD)

  • Ah. Pilot error. Thanks! Geo Swan (talk) 18:05, 8 June 2012 (MSD)


having trouble accessing the API. Rich Farmbrough (talk)

API as in like Wikipedia's ? I don't have any experience in this area. Perhaps User:Govind could help, but it's quite possible that you are the most experienced person here, Rich. Maybe Govind could give you access to the database and other stuff. Just a thought. Web (talk) 09:56, 6 June 2012 (MSD)
Adding mediawiki:API:Main page for my reference. Web (talk) 10:19, 6 June 2012 (MSD)
The endpoint as listed on that page is what I'm looking for. It's not present in the HTML page source. Rich Farmbrough (talk)
Tried a query and it seems to work. Web (talk) 10:16, 7 June 2012 (MSD)
Excellent! I'll get to work. Rich Farmbrough (talk)
(Strangely, though, works fine it may be that there is more to this than meets the eye.) Rich Farmbrough (talk) 19:20, 7 June 2012 (MSD)
I'm getting JSON errors, now, which is interesting because I wasn't aware the perl module used JSON. But annoying too. Rich Farmbrough (talk)
I spent several hours digging around, but haven't made any progress. I've been reading through and, which was interesting but not too helpful. I would guess that Govind has a non-standard installation, but I could easily be wrong. Could you let me know a specific error message? Thanks. Web (talk) 14:10, 8 June 2012 (MSD)
We have some URL rewriting going on that makes the URLs friendlier. That may be upsetting your API access. I've added a rule to prevent it messing with the api.php script. Let me know if that helps. Richard (talk) 14:32, 8 June 2012 (MSD)
Thank you. Web (talk) 14:37, 8 June 2012 (MSD)

Explicitly thanking Richard, and seeking clarification of this project's scope

First, User:Richard, let me explicitly thank you for paying the bills here.

I am going to mention three recent threads at:

If you read the last two threads you will see some straw arguments advanced by a non-administrator named User:Whatamidoing, who quite agressively chewed me out for (1) claiming I could demand an administrator email me deleted content on request; (2) failing to keep a copy of every article I started that might someday be deleted.

Of course I never made the demands she claimed I was making. Grrr.

WRT her second admonition, I think she was claiming I should have copied that material to my hard drive. But another option would be to republish articles I start that I think might face deletion on a second wiki.

Is a parallel copy of articles I start in the future, that I think might face deletion, going to be welcome here?

What about the articles I already started? Over my 8 years at the wikipedia I have been prolific. I started well over 2000 articles. Anything I port here, where I think I can claim I was the sole author of the intellectual content, I will place in the public domain.

In addition to those listed in the link above there is another five to ten percent of the articles I started that have been deleted. Some of them were deleted for bullshit reasons. There are half a dozen hostile wiki-ids who show up when articles I have started have been nominated for deletion, don't actually read or participate in the discussion, and leave a boilerplate "delete" vote. Can I look forward to adding those 100 to 200 articles put into article space here, if I can get access to their source text?

Thanks again! Cheers! Geo Swan (talk) 10:01, 9 June 2012 (MSD)

Certainly your articles are welcome! Original articles are prefered, but feel free to back up your existing articles too. Incidently, this is the very thing WikiAlpha was originally intended as: A refuge for exiled articles, and an open encyclopedia. Richard (talk) 15:13, 9 June 2012 (MSD)
I too would like to publically thank Richard for funding this project. I'd also like to thank Govind for all his work too. I folowed the WikiAlpha discussions over at Wikipedia and I was sad to see Richard and Govind repeatedly treated very poorly. It's very generous of both Richard and Govind to be providing us a safe haven to publish articles. Thanks guys. Web (talk) 17:01, 9 June 2012 (MSD)
@Geo Swan, Yes, the threads at the village pump didn't go very well. It's sad, but Wikipedia has become very WP:BITEy. Regarding the deleted articles, I've had very good luck working with Wikipedia's copyright expert, wikipedia:User:Moonriddengirl, on getting deleted articles. She's been very generous providing deleted articles to people, so you may want to contact her. She has an account here and helped with attributions for several deleted articles she provided to this website. You might let her know about the Special:SaveArticle feature here since it would make it easier for her. Best regards. Web (talk) 17:33, 9 June 2012 (MSD)
strike previous @Geo Swan, if you give me a list of deleted articles you want, I will get them copied here. Kind regards. Web (talk) 18:34, 9 June 2012 (MSD)
  • Thanks!
Can we start with these --User:Geo Swan/a list of deleted articles -- or as many as are convenient in one single go? Geo Swan (talk) 21:48, 9 June 2012 (MSD)
I replied at your talk page. Web (talk) 15:50, 11 June 2012 (MSD)

How are we doing?

Richard, since I started porting articles here about two hundred articles have entered the main article space. I think Matthew and I are responsible for the bulk of them. So, how are we doing? Do our efforts satisfy you?

I have contributed some brand new articles, and I am happy to explicitly put those in the public domain. Some of the articles I have ported, I have reverted to the last version where I could claim I was the sole author of the article's intellectual content -- sometimes because I liked that version better -- but sometimes so I could explicitly put the article in the public domain.

From January through May 2011 I made considerable contribution to the complex operations wiki. It is a wiki that specializes in politico-military topics, where the bills are paid by Darpa. And I went in there remembering the other golden rule -- ie he or she who has the gold makes the rules. I figure that golden rule applies here, too.

I could port all, or most, of the articles I started on politico-military topics on the wikipedia to this wiki. That would be over 1000 articles. If I worked to make sure they were up to date, that would probably be at least half an hour each -- possibly hours. That could be years of my spare time.

So, Richard, can I ask a few questions about your plans for this wiki?

  1. Are periodic backups made? If so, how often? If something unexpected happens, like (heaven forfend) if you have a financial reverse, can those of us who have contributed here get a copy?
  2. As the size of the wiki increases, I figure the hosting costs will increase. I know that the hosting costs for the Citizendium are about $250 per month. Have you given thought as to whether to take on partners, or place advertizing? I only bring this up because my modest income would preclude chipping in.
  3. Should I revert back to a version where I was the sole contributor, so a ported article can be placed in the public domain -- if it means leaving out new material written by others?

Thanks again for paying those bills! Geo Swan (talk) 05:27, 16 August 2012 (MSD)

Hi Geo,
Thanks for your contributions! Yes you and Matt are doing well!
Currently, backups should be being made automatically by the host on their backend. But I take your point about the size of the Wiki getting large enough to warrant proactive backups. So, pending Govind having time to set it up, I think we'll go WikiLeaks style and release periodic public backups.
Re: Hosting costs. WikiAlpha is believe or not a commercial venture. We haven't added any advertising yet because it makes the site less appealing to new editors, when the site is still small and unappealing to begin with. We started this site as a 50-50 partnership between Govind and myself, with him doing as much technical work as is needed, and me paying the bills and doing anything he can't. At the moment costs are something like $20 per month, and no problem to pay. By this time next year I will be looking at putting some ads up.
Re: Public domain legalities. It is up to you how you want to play it. To be honest I think public domain vs. creative commons is a storm in a tea cup. No one has ever sued anyone (to my knowledge) over reprinting or editing of text entered into a public wiki.
Hope that helps! Govind will reply here when he's read this and thought about the backup situtation. Cheers, Richard (talk) 17:56, 16 August 2012 (MSD)
The only case I can remember of someone using a wiki text for a commercial venture is when IDW published a comic book (All Hail Megatron #15) that the cover had a page from a wiki on it. They sold the comic book for money, and no one seemed to care much, although lots of people worried it would TECHNICALLY make the whole comic book creative commons. Mathewignash (talk) 21:54, 16 August 2012 (MSD)

fair use images?

When I have ported articles with PD or free images I have uploaded those here. When I have ported articles with fair use images I haven't uploaded those image. Should I?

Cheers! Geo Swan (talk) 10:17, 11 June 2012 (MSD)

I believe Richard allows fair-use images on this site per his discussion here. There is a template for fair-use images at {{Image-fairuse}} that can be used in the form of {{image-fairuse|source|explaination}} but I've never used it before so it may be slightly different than that. 16:02, 11 June 2012 (MSD)
Here is my first use of fair use File:Elbe eisbrechers -a.jpg. I wrote there that I figured this use might be challenged on the wikipedia, but I thought "fair use" was an area where the WMF tries to be "more catholic than the pope..."
I have no ego attachment to this image, and won't be upset if others disagree.
Cheers! Geo Swan (talk) 20:28, 16 June 2012 (MSD)

Robot plague

I don't know if anything can be done about it, but if someone could suggest anything, we really have a severe problem with a robot registering random names. We have over 50 robot users today. Whatever security we have to for registraton seems to be failing. I see there is a system were is asks you to do some math problem to avoid robots. Someone cracked that one. Can we even just change the formatting a little to confuse the bot? Mathewignash (talk) 02:38, 7 July 2012 (MSD)

Hello Matthew, there is a similar over-run on the wiki I use, there are a number of lines of attack, there is a spamlist which stops them saving pages, I was thinking to leave mine invite only, so people can't login without sending an email to a disposable email address, I was also thinking to ask about and see if we can get a bot, maybe an IRC bot which notifies of new signups or signup requests by a beeping sound on your computer. That way, any human identified would simply use the board as per usual, and bots would be instantly terminated because you would know that one just came online. It would only work of course if you are awake, the rest of the time they would just overrun the place as usual. I can't help but think that helping each other there would work as well, as a few users could share the load. I could certainly use the help. Otherwise I guess locking and unlocking the board when awakening and going to sleep going from 'please just make yourself at home' to 'please send me an email' would be the way.
Many solutions, just a matter of finding what we can manage. Penyulap (talk) 09:53, 3 August 2012 (MSD)
We have added an extra feature alongside the captcha system to help stem the mass-registration of bots. Govind (talk) 04:02, 6 August 2012 (MSD)

Attributing to Wikipedia when the article name has changed or split

I'm not sure quite what to do about this, but I've run into several articles when I copy an article from Wikipedia that was about several fictional characters with a similar name, and once here I break it into several smaller articles. The original article name is now just a disambig page here on Wikialpha, pointing to several other articles, all of which have text from the original. We have a tag that allows you to say an article came from a Wikipedia article of the same name, but can we get one for when the name has changed? For instance, I want to say that Optimus Prime (Shattered Glass) came from a wikipedia article called "Optimus Prime"? Mathewignash (talk) 00:39, 17 August 2012 (MSD)

{{subst}} the {{Wp-cca}} template and edit the text from there, like so: {{subst:wp-cca}}. Govind (talk) 06:42, 28 November 2012 (MSK)

Returning to the wikipedia version bug

The box with the disclaimer that advises readers the page has been copied from the wikipedia has a link that says it may point to the old wikipedia version. But that URL should have the "Deleted:" prefix stripped first.

Cheers! Geo Swan (talk) 03:19, 25 August 2012 (MSD)

Ah, that should be a quick fix. I'll poke around now. Govind (talk) 05:39, 28 November 2012 (MSK)
Fixed :) Govind (talk) 06:40, 28 November 2012 (MSK)

Problem using the save article function

For some reason I couldn't save the article here: I'm wondering if maybe it's the "&" in the name messing things up? Mathewignash (talk) 23:02, 9 September 2012 (MSD)

Hi Matt. I will have a look at this in a few hours. Sorry about the inconvenience.

When should ampersands be escaped?

The save article function escapes some, or all, ampersands.

Sometimes old-fashioned escapes for special characters are embedded in our source text.  , the non-breaking space, is one I use occasionally. — is one other contributors have used. The save article function translates   to &nbsp;. It translates — to &mdash;.

When should ampersands be escaped? I am not sure, but some of the ampersand translation that the save article function does automatically has to be manually undone.

Cheers! Geo Swan (talk) 20:40, 11 October 2012 (MSD)

This is all Govind's stuff to work out. (He's the WikiMedia expert. I do the hardware and hosting.) I'll go jump on his toes to come have a look. Cheers Richard (talk) 05:01, 28 November 2012 (MSK)
I'll add an exception for ampersands that are followed by a set of common HTML escape sequences to the save article script. Govind (talk) 05:27, 28 November 2012 (MSK)

Upload problems

I tried uploading an image today, and got the error message: The upload directory (public) is not writable by the webserver. Geo Swan (talk) 04:31, 28 November 2012 (MSK)

Hi guys, sorry about this. Should be fixed now. Here's a test image I just uploaded.
Richard (talk) 04:48, 28 November 2012 (MSK)

Save article feature not working?

Seems to be offline. Mathewignash (talk) 16:51, 16 December 2012 (MSK)

Fixed. Govind (talk) 06:05, 17 December 2012 (MSK)

Can we set up a deletion bot that follows the major deletionists?

Can we just have a bot that copies over any article for deletion done by this guy? Mathewignash (talk) 17:36, 16 December 2012 (MSK)

I might give this a shot in the near future. For now, you can always save them manually. Even if you're not going to work on them. Richard (talk) 11:54, 17 December 2012 (MSK)
If you could make a list of major deletionists (make it an article even), then that would help me code a bot. Cheers Richard (talk) 12:16, 17 December 2012 (MSK)

Save article renaming articles

I was curious why articles saved from Wikipedia have the "Deleted" name added to them. As a function of how the system works, only articles that are NOT deleted can be copied from wikipedia to wikialpha with this tool. So it's never correct. Shouldn't it either save the article with the same name? Maybe we could have the option of choosing deleted, or picking the name of the created article? Also, are there any other online wiki encyclopedias out there besides Wikipedia top save articles from? Like deletionopedia? Mathewignash (talk) 05:12, 21 December 2012 (MSK)

Lag Issues

Hey guys, I noticed today the site was running very slowly. Memcached had fallen over on the server (maybe due to host reboot?) anyway I put it back up again and added a starter to rc.local and a watch script. Hopefully it won't happen again. If the site is having choppy performance for any extended period please email me at [email protected] to let me know so I can fix it. Cheers Richard (talk) 08:39, 5 January 2013 (MSK)

Thanks. I was going to ask about that. I have barely been able to use the site lately. Mathewignash (talk) 15:08, 5 January 2013 (UTC)
I noticed too.
I see you added a tiny ad. Over the years I have added the most persistent, annoying, or otherwise problematic sites to my router's blocked sites list. was the first. I have about 200 added now, and your ad is coming from one of those sites. Luckily for advertizers I think hardly anyone does this. I am reconsidering this, as some sites seem to go into endless loops trying to access those sites, and they can use up a huge fraction of my computer's resources.
Anyhow, can I ask what the ad is?
Cheers! Geo Swan (talk) 04:14, 8 January 2013 (UTC)
Hey guys. Lag issue should be fixed again. Not sure what happened, but all the watchdog scripts were down. Will keep an eye on it. RE: Advertising. As previously stated we intend to put ads up on the site eventually (when we find an ad provider) with the hope that the site will pay for itself (shouldn't be too hard, doesn't cost much to run.) Feel free to adblock or nullroute these if you don't like seeing them. We aren't intending to put up lots of ads, just a modest adbox somewhere in the main template. And GeoSwan if everyone blocked ads then the web would probably transition to a pay to use model :) That said free-riders haven't been a problem for us yet, and -- even if they were -- you guys aren't free riders (you're editors) so feel free to block. Cheers Richard (talk) 13:45, 11 February 2013 (UTC)
  • I am not averse to ads, in and of themselves. I;ll look at reasonably relevant ads. My concern is sneaky or broken ad-sites. Lots of modern ads use scripts, in script programming languages, rather than plain old html, and their scripts either contain endless loops, take an incredibly long time to load, causing the whole tab to be blocked -- or they sneakily stay active, doing something (what?) that causes them to keep reporting back to HQ. These are the ones I block.
Cheers! Geo Swan (talk) 15:54, 11 February 2013 (UTC)

Seems to have lag issues again the last few days. Mathewignash (talk) 20:06, 6 February 2013 (UTC)

  • I experienced this also. Geo Swan (talk) 17:00, 8 February 2013 (UTC)

The fixes seem to only last a day then the lag comes back. Mathewignash (talk) 00:46, 14 February 2013 (UTC)

Still not sure exactly what's going on with the memcached situation. It has been fine for months then suddenly its playing up? Keeping an eye on it.Richard (talk) 15:20, 16 February 2013 (UTC)
I think there is a bug in memcached or something that's changed on the site has caused it to bug out and absorb all the server's cpu time once a day. I've resorted t running it on a script whereby it's restarted every 10 minutes or so. It's not a great solution but it should fix the lag issues until we figure out properly what is going wrong. Richard (talk) 03:38, 23 February 2013 (UTC)

Material that stirred controversy

I ported a version of the deleted Google Watch. There were multiple acrimonious afd, a drv, and other discussions. I tried to figure out what the exact problem was. Someone told me that the article, and related articles, weren't actually policy problems, but that people complaining about them were such squeaky wheels that those articles were deleted anyway. I have no personal knowledge of that.

Is it possible those people may come to complain here too? I don't know, but since it was a possibility,I thought I would leave a heads-up here.

Cheers! Geo Swan (talk) 00:18, 28 January 2013 (UTC)

Honestly, the server is hosted in Germany and the site is owned in partnership between an Australian and a Canadian. Free speech and journalism are also international protected human rights. Any legal complaints coming our way are probably nothing to worry about. Any other sort of complaint is just bytes of text as far as I am concerned. So no problems as far as I can see. Carry on :) Richard (talk) 03:43, 23 February 2013 (UTC)
Canadian? Me too. Geo Swan (talk) 03:18, 24 August 2013 (UTC)

PDF and TXT files?

Is there a way to upload small PDF and TXT documents to Wikialpha? I have some people who want to post their custom made RPG characters here. I don't see any way to upload anything besides images like JPGs and PNGs. Mathewignash (talk)

I'll ask Govind to have a look. Richard (talk) 04:17, 23 February 2013 (UTC)
I've been playing around with posting RPG character sheets, and if they are simply TXT files, I think I can insert them into a page by using the PRE tag, like here: Captain America for Hero System. Not sure if we can get wikialpha to save a PDF or other format file, but it might be nice. Mathewignash (talk) 14:47, 24 February 2013 (UTC)
Additional - I have gotten two guys from a RPG web site to join here, but I guess they need to get confirmation emails to edit? Can anyone get those out please? Mathewignash (talk) 02:41, 25 February 2013 (UTC)
Sorry about the delay in getting to this; I've been really busy with midterms lately. PDF and TXT uploads are now supported. Govind (talk) 06:17, 1 March 2013 (UTC)

Thanks, how? Just load them like an image? I tried and I got some files uploaded, but then I'm not sure how to display the. Can we support alt text or maybe a thumbnail image inline with an article? Here is what I have so far Bumblebee (Generation 1)#GamesMathewignash (talk) 11:35, 1 March 2013 (UTC)

MediaWiki by default has no handler for PDF files other than the default file handler. What you could do is directly link to the uploaded file within the article, like []. Govind (talk) 06:28, 2 March 2013 (UTC)

Save Article problem with wikipedia user pages

When an article gets deleted on wikipedia, you can request that it get used into your userspace, which I have done. Problem is when I go to use the save article function it says it cannot copy articles from userspace. Seems that this is going to happen a lot as I recover deleted artciles. Can anyone fix this? I'm not sure why it was prohibited in the first place. Thanks! Mathewignash (talk) 12:36, 23 March 2013 (UTC)\

It was prohibited because I didn't want to have non-article content being written into article space. I will revise this soon to make it so that the user namespace gets a new destination in Save Article, like, say, Deleted_userspace: or something similar. Govind (talk) 20:05, 24 March 2013 (UTC)

Usenet announcements for saved artciles?

Since the usenet is pretty much unmoderated and filled with annoying bots, I was wondering if anyone wants to try to use it to help promote wikialpha. Maybe when an article is copied from wikipedia, we could have a bot post an announcement on a usenet group? Maybe make a box that has a space for it. If I save a Battletech related article, I could say the usenet group would be "", etc. Mathewignash (talk) 15:41, 23 March 2013 (UTC)

Added to my To-Do list. Govind (talk) 20:05, 24 March 2013 (UTC)

Wikipeida new PDF exporter

I noticed that Wikipedia has added a new feature to generate PDF images of pages on demand. Is this the sort of featured that can be copied into Wikialpha's code? Mathewignash (talk) 15:13, 2 April 2013 (UTC)

That's not a trivial project by any means. Govind (talk) 03:35, 12 April 2013 (UTC)
No problem then. If it was something that could be copied, that would be cool, but don't put a lot of work into it. There is one feature in it that might be useful to us. When it generates a page it also makes a quick list of the editors on the bottom of the page that just lists each editor once, in alphabetical order. Much simplier than out long lists of all edits on out copied pages from Wikipedia. Mathewignash (talk) 13:40, 12 April 2013 (UTC)

No confirmation emails

A friend of mine tried to join Wikialpha at my recommendation. They never got a confirmation email. I make a new account as mathewignash2, and I never got a confirmation email either. I click to request one, and nothing arrives. Can anyone fix this? Might be why we are not getting new users. Mathewignash (talk) 13:42, 12 April 2013 (UTC)

I believe I have removed email confirmation on registration and editing. Let me know if there are still any issues. Govind (talk) 00:36, 19 June 2013 (UTC)

Classic skin errors

The Classic skin setting makes the pages error out. Be careful. If you set it to Classic you can no longer view or edit pages, including the page that lets you change your skin. I was locked out all morning until I tricked it into displaying the preferences page in an example of another skin, so I could view it! Mathewignash (talk) 13:44, 12 April 2013 (UTC)

BTW - Cologne Blue & Nostalgia also do not work. Mathewignash (talk) 13:51, 12 April 2013 (UTC)
Sorry for the late reply, but I fixed this a long time ago. Govind (talk) 00:37, 19 June 2013 (UTC)

Wikialpha coverage

Minor coverage, but WikiAlpha was mentioned positively in a podcast I listen to recently, so I added mention of that to the page on WikiAlpha. Mathewignash (talk) 01:21, 20 June 2013 (UTC)

Great :) Govind (talk) 09:43, 28 July 2013 (UTC)
I also know an upcoming book on toy collecting will mention WikiAlpha. I will add that when the book comes out. Mathewignash (talk) 11:39, 28 July 2013 (UTC)
That would be awesome. :) Govind (talk) 00:54, 31 July 2013 (UTC)

requesting opinions on Leanne Freeman

I contributed an article here on Leanne Freeman -- Toronto's 42nd murder victim of 2011. Another contributor has blanked the article twice, [2] [3] disputing that Ms Freeman had been a sex trade worker. The article doesn't actually say she was a sex trade worker. It says the police identified her as a sex trade worker. Enough articles explicitly quote the police saying she was a sex trade worker, that, if the article was on the wikipedia, and if she was still alive, those articles would satisfy the wikipedia's BLP policy.

I'd appreciate more eyes on this. Geo Swan (talk) 05:34, 27 January 2014 (UTC)

MP3 file instead of wav?

I see that you can upload .wav files to WIkialpha, but not MP3. Wouldn't MP3 save more space? If you can add support for it I'd use it for my voice recordings.Mathewignash (talk) 20:03, 30 January 2014 (UTC)

Articles with many contributions

I noticed that the save article bot didn't import the revision history of the black site article. It had over 1000 revisions. Maybe the bot couldn't handle that many?

I wrote a small trivial python script, below, where one can paste the raw contribution history in the "rawinput" string, and it will output a wikiready list. I put this trivial script in the public domain. Geo Swan (talk) 18:59, 16 January 2015 (UTC)

rawinput = """
for ri in rawinput.split( "\n" ):
if len( ri ) > 3:
print( "# %s" % ri.strip( ) )

{{Wp-cca}} for articles that don't require disambiguation here

{{Wp-cca}} assumes that the prior history for an article ported from the wikipedia will have the same name as the article here. I realized today that this isn't always true. An article on John Smith (astronomer) requires disambiguation on the wikipeda, but could be plain John Smith here.

There have been other occasions where the version ported here hasn't had the exact same name as the original wikipedia version. Allowing an optional parameter, to specify the name of the article, at the wikipedia, would be useful, when the two articles have different names.

Just a thought. Cheers! Geo Swan (talk) 18:21, 24 February 2015 (UTC)

I just go ahead and add the disambig anyways on the title of the article here, since there could eventually be articles here for the other uses of the word. I do, however, sometimes have a disambig here that is not on Wikipedia, since sometimes there is only one article on Wikipedia because all other uses of a word have been deleted, but here on WikiAlpha there are multiple articles, so in those cases a Wp-cca that can point to another article name on Wikipedia might be helpful. Mathewignash (talk) 02:09, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
Okay, but what if there are other reasons why an article should have a different name here than it has on the wikipedia? For example, consider the article I started on Shona Holmes. Holmes is a notable person. She lied about the Canadian health care system. Some members of the public found her lies were so disturbing she started to receive death threats. She claimed her life was at risk due to a "brain tumor". What she had was a congenital condition called a Rathke's Cleft Cyst, a very common misstep from the 6th week of fetal development. It was not a brain tumor.
Anyhow, to comply with one of the goofier aspects of WP:BLP, her article was renamed Shona Holmes health care incident. The article wasn't changed, just its title -- but somehow this made it policy compliant. Crazy. It is a crazy policy. Geo Swan (talk) 15:43, 1 March 2015 (UTC)
I would guess that they say the person wasn't notable, but the incident was notable, and probably the article should be rewritten about the incident. Anyways, call the article what you want here. Mathewignash (talk) 00:25, 2 March 2015 (UTC)
Yes, some did say that -- ignoring that Holmes is at least a 2 incident individual. In addition to the deceitful ad she did for US medical insurance companies, she also launched a lawsuit against Ontario's government single-payer system, OHIP, claiming she should be re-imbursed for the $100,000 USD she paid her US medical team -- even though the excised her cyst when the standard practice is simply to pierce these cysts and let them drain. The lawsuit came first, and IMO, it was enough to establish notability all on its own, because, when the ruling comes down, its implications will be massive. Geo Swan (talk) 16:36, 2 March 2015 (UTC)
They made a judgement call based on Wikipedia (often inconsistent) standards. Feel free to write the article how you see fit here. Since we don't require that someone be notable anyways, the argument as to whether the person or incident is notable is pointless. Have BOTH articles if you want. Mathewignash (talk) 21:59, 2 March 2015 (UTC)

The save article button isn't working anymore...

The save article button isn't working anymore, at least not for me. I first noticed this a week or two ago. No error message, just a blank screen.

Could this be due to a change at wikipedia? Geo Swan (talk) 07:06, 22 July 2015 (UTC)

It's working now. Thanks! Geo Swan (talk) 14:24, 31 August 2015 (UTC)

Page view stats?

I started an article on Bubble bump football. There is no coverage of this newly popular game at the wikipedia. I am curious as to whether this article will draw new readers to wikialpha?

At the wikipedia there is a tool that tells how many page view an article gets. There is nothing like that, here, correct?

Cheers! Geo Swan (talk) 14:24, 31 August 2015 (UTC)

Isn't that listed at the bottom of each page? It says the page has been viewed 84 times. Mathewignash (talk) 01:36, 2 September 2015 (UTC)
It is not visible to me...


Could I get my UserName changed to OptimusPrimon? Sorry if this is the wrong spot for this.OptimusMagnus (talk) 03:36, 4 September 2016 (UTC)

SPA blanked a page

The article on Trent A. Aistrope was recently blanked by a contributor named User:Jaistrope803, with just a single edit. Is Jaistrope803 related to Trent Aistrope? It's likely.

The Trent Aistrope article mainly talks about his crime. Yes, embarrassing for him, and his relatives. Is that a reason to blank the article, when there is no real doubt as to his conviction, and he offered no alibi to suggest he was wrongfully convicted?

I reverted the blanking. Geo Swan (talk) 15:31, 10 February 2017 (UTC)


Can WikiAlpha's LocalSettings.php be edited to allow .svg files to be uploaded? There are many SVGs from Wikipedia that I can't upload here. LuisAnton (talkcontribs) 06:21, 8 June 2017 (UTC)

Is it for asking questions? Just like the talk page? It is not to ask questions. I will ask an administrator to protect the community portal. CityOfSilver 03:14, 3 July 2017 (UTC)

Capcha regularly fails to let me in

I dunno why.

Sometimes it doesn't come up.

Sometimes it comes up, but I can get in. When it won't let me in, there is a warning, in red, above the pictures. Geo Swan (talk) 02:39, 6 October 2017 (UTC)

Aline Marie Massel sanitized

Aline Marie Massel is a model and former beauty queen, who had an affair with a billionaire NY financier. She ended up suing him -- all well documented. Her ex-lover was a guy named Robert Charles Gibbins. About three weeks after I started the article a new userid here, Template:U, gutted the article.

If Mr Gibbins thinks the article is unfair, let him explain why. Otherwise I think I should restore it again, if he returns here to try to sanitize his reputation. Geo Swan (talk) 06:04, 24 November 2018 (UTC)

I ported Katie Gold, the BLP of a porn actress

I ported Katie Gold, the BLP of a porn actress. I have no real interest in porn, and only did so because I strongly disagree with the guy who nominated it for deletion. I will refrain from porting articles of this kind if it is felt it attracts the wrong kind of interest.

Cheers! Geo Swan (talk) 14:03, 6 July 2019 (UTC)

Save article page needs some work

I tried to use the Save Article page, just now. Instead of its regular report it produced a warning, presumably from wikipedia, entitled

Your Browser's Connection Security is Outdated

Cheers! Geo Swan (talk) 06:33, 14 December 2019 (UTC)

Dövé Windsor

Zone started an article, Dövé Windsor, that Cg098 thinks is a hoax. Both individuals have asked Mathewignash and I to intervene.

Cg098, Mathew and I are administrators, but, unlike on the wikipedia, where contributors who are also administrators, are entrusted to make judgement calls about policy, we were entrusted with administrator privileges because we have been very prolific.

I am prepared to offer advice. Zone, you have reverted Cg098 three times, without explanation.

Cg098 is correct, wikialpha's speedy deletion criteria do seem to prohibit blatant hoaxes.

While there do seem to be some other references to a Dövé Windsor, they also seem to be either hoaxes, or instances where someone was duped by a hoax.

I know there are some people who argue that they are engaged in conceptual art, or street theatre, when they attempt to fool other people.

I would encourage you to explain why we shouldn't see the article as a hoax, or explain how it is an attempt to fool people that has some underlying artistic or other merit, that lifts it from the class of blatant hoaxes.

Cheers! Geo Swan (talk) 04:01, 23 December 2020 (UTC)

preg_match failed!

Several times. Is there a bug or am I doing it wrong?Tenkian shuriken (talk) 23:27, 5 March 2021 (UTC)

  • Yes, it is a long-standing bug. I personally lack the skills to diagnose or fix it. Geo Swan (talk) 22:18, 8 June 2021 (UTC)

Attracting editors with non-commercial interests

As of now, it appears that the only users here on WikiAlpha who regularly create articles on non-commercial topics are User:Geo Swan, User:Mathewignash, and me.

Paid commercial topics are not a problem at all, since the founding principle of WikiAlpha is its universal inclusion policy. Many of the companies and entrepreneurs mentioned on here are quite interesting, but they would have been speedily deleted on Wikipedia. Curiously, more than half of them are Bangladeshi social media influencers.

However, to be more rounded, wiki encyclopedias should have both commercial and non-commercial interests to balance each other out, in order to maintain a certain level of diversity. Of course, the two are not mutually exclusive.

What can we do to attract more editors who tend to have non-commercial interests? WritingSnowman (talk) 05:49, 13 May 2021 (UTC)

WritingSnowman, I too would like to encourage more contributions of independent articles. No ideas as to how to do so come to mind. Cheers! Geo Swan (talk) 22:21, 8 June 2021 (UTC)

WikiAlpha celebrates 10 years

Congratulations to WikiAlpha for successfully being online for 10 years! While Wikipdia celebrated its 20th anniversary this year, we are celebrating our 10th. In an online world where websites appear and disappear all within a few years, this is an impressive achievement. Kudos to Richard for consistently maintaining WikiAlpha, to Govind for helping it get started, MathewWignash and Geo Swan for continually and consistently updating and maintaining WikiAlpha, and all the editors on this wiki who have made us who we are today.

As a friendly, inclusive online space that radically departs from Wikipedia's environment, we will remain committed to being radically free, uncensored, and open. Keep on editing folks! WritingSnowman (talk) 16:33, 21 August 2021 (UTC)

P.S. WikiAlpha has recently had a lot of new articles on Bangladeshi entertainers. This trend started sometime in late 2019 or 2020. Wonder how this had happened! Sooner or later, we might have to rename ourselves WikiBangla. WritingSnowman (talk) 16:33, 21 August 2021 (UTC)
Alexa Site Info shows that nearly 50% of WikiAlpha's site traffic comes from Bangladesh, and just over 80% is from South Asia. WritingSnowman (talk) 20:47, 26 August 2021 (UTC)
@User:WritingSnowman that is because some people started writing articles in exchange for money as a marketing businees. They are running paid advertisements for this on Facebook for that. Ref: [Facebook Ad post Link]. WyseMan (talk) 11:55, 29 September 2021 (UTC)
That's OK as long as they don't mess up the site by doing things like copying and pasting into Template:Recent pages and doing things that would cause bandwidth problems, like copying and pasting unnecessarily large chunks of text. And oftentimes, their writing is semi-legible at best. WritingSnowman (talk) 19:30, 8 November 2021 (UTC)