WikiAlpha:Community portal

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Revision as of 11:13, 9 June 2012 by Richard (Talk | contribs) (Explicitly thanking Richard, and seeking clarification of this project's scope)

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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)


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)