Wiktionary:Beer parlour/2010/May

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Beer parlour archives +/-

=May 2010=f


topical categories, and lemmings

(I've been thinking about this for a while, but my final impetus to posting it was EP's comment at WT:RFDO#Category:Walt_Disney_derivations.)

We have lots and lots of topical categories, and, like it or not (and most of us do), they are, seemingly, here to stay. But specific categories are often ill-conceived: too narrow and specific or too obscure. My proposal is that we have a list, set in stone, of which topical categories we should have, and delete all others. What list should we use? Well, Roget has a very nice list, and the 1911 edition is in the public domain. A list of the topics is at http://poets.notredame.ac.jp/Roget/contents.html. I'm not proposing, of course, that words be categorized into the same categories Roget has placed them in, but merely that we adopt his categories. (For example, my (more recent) Roget's puts Rodentia with geozoology in "Zoology" but mouse in "Animals", whereas we'd probably want Rodentia at least in "Animals".) Nor, indeed, am I saying our categories need necessarily have the same names as his: merely that they be in one-to-one correspondence. (Finally, of course, I am not saying anything about non-topical categories.) Thoughts?​—msh210 16:54, 3 May 2010 (UTC)

So then, we wouldn't have "Countries", "Anatomy", "Astronomy", or "Microbiology", but we would have categories for "Means", "Bane", "Essay", and "Bungler". I really don't care for that, as Roget's categories were designed for the grouping of synonyms (not contextual topics), and thus leaves out all those many, many words which don't have synonyms (or have very few). And presumably you want to create some sort of community approval process before any new category goes into effect, as well? I can't say I like the suggestion. --EncycloPetey 01:33, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
(Where in Roget would quantum computer belong?) Why not use Wikipedia's category tree, or a subset of it? Michael Z. 2010-05-04 04:07 z
Because WP's category tree is *not* logically developed. There are, in fact, fairly extensive studies in knowledge categorization, primarily in Library/Information sciences, and from these several mature systems have been developed. Unfortunately, none of them are currently available in a free format other than the Library of Congress Classification (USA), which is also the least relevant for Wiktionary's needs. (I was involved in researching this for Strategy project's offline task force, and we did only a cursory search and talked with librarians about the topic. There probably are some options for such standards we never ran across.)
My personal opinion is the Thesaurus model is not particularly useful as the model is to interlink related word senses, rather than categorize regions of knowledge. It's almost certain we are over-categorizing both in application and in precision of our metadata. To what level or degree do other references similar to Wiktionary classify words, and do they use any common standards which we might adopt or expand upon? - Amgine/talk 04:57, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
Most dictionaries don't classify words by subject matter, of course. Many have (what we call) context tags indicating that a word is used in a particular field only, but our topical categories are not only for words only so used.​—msh210 14:50, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
Tangentially: subject/topic categories, context/usage categories, and context/usage labels are one big soup, with no way for readers and new editors to distinguish. As long as we're on the topic, could we consider the following?
  1. Keeping subject and context category trees separate, or having well-defined ways to interlink or contain each other's leaves?
  2. Rename one, the other, or both category trees to make clear the difference between topics and usage? For example, Category:Subject:Animals, or Category:Usage:Zoology?
 Michael Z. 2010-05-04 17:04 z
The latter of those two ideas sounds like a specific implementation of the former (unless I'm misunderstanding something), and sounds like a good idea to me. Perhaps, to clarify that one set of categories is for words used only in a jargon, it can be category:Jargon:Zoology or category:Argot:Zoology (rather than "Usage", I mean).​—msh210 17:08, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
There are many categories of restricted-usage labels, and varying categorizations of them – may be simplest to just rename the entire tree. E.g., there are medium (poetic, text-messaging), formality (colloquial, formal), temporality (archaic, buzzword), technical (zoology, military), register (vulgar, euphemism), attitude (pejorative), and “slang” can be put into about 3 or 4 of these. For one good classification, see p 150–51 in Hartmann's Dictionary of Lexicography.[1] Michael Z. 2010-05-04 17:26 z
Yes: the ones that conflict most often with subject categories are what you call the technical ones, but I'll grant that the others do, sometimes, too. Perhaps you're right that "Usage" in the category name is best. But there are potentially three (e.g.) text-messaging categories, one for words used in text messages, one for text-messaging jargon (used by those who text message, or those who work in telecommunications' text-messaging subfield, about text messaging), and one for words about text messaging used by everyone: we may need a way to distinguish not only subjects from contexts but also types of contexts from one another.​—msh210 15:34, 5 May 2010 (UTC)
True, but these should be analyzed from the point of view of usage. Aren't text shortcuts also used in IRC, chatrooms, online games, etc?—then perhaps they belong to a broader media category of interactive keyboarding, or in a sibling medium category with teletype, radio voice procedure, telegrams. Is text-messaging a separate field in telecommunications with a rich jargon of its own, or can we group it with telephony or general telecom? Is “words about text messaging” a restricted usage context at all, or do they show up without explanation in, say, blogs about bar-hopping, magazine articles about child-rearing, etc? Michael Z. 2010-05-05 21:05 z
To answer your last question first: Right, that was my point: "words about text messaging" is a subject-matter category rather than a context. As to the other questions, well, maybe text messagingwasn't the best example, but any of the other "medium" contexts will do also. Words about poetry used by everyone (poem), words used in the study of poetry (I don't know any, but I'm sure there are some), and words used in poetry (ere).​—msh210 17:35, 6 May 2010 (UTC)
I think we could benefit from sorting all this out, yes. These categories are supposed to be helpful to readers. Furthermore topical and lexical categories sometimes overlap, consider [[Category:fr:Obsolete]] but [[Category:French obsolete spellings]]. One uses the language code, and one uses the full language name. Mglovesfun (talk) 15:51, 5 May 2010 (UTC)
Well, Obsolete is lexical rather than topical, so it should be using the language-name system. There are more categories like that, too.​—msh210 17:35, 6 May 2010 (UTC)


In the event that Wiktionary:Votes/2010-03/Main Page redesign doesn't pass, as it is probable that it won't, would there be any objections to putting in the Word Du Jour into the current Main Page? It would look something like this, but with the CSS ironed out, of course. I don't think the "Interesting Stuff" is quite ready yet for Main Page inclusion because it needs more nominations. —Internoob (DiscCont) 23:07, 3 May 2010 (UTC)

Sounds like a good idea. Could we alternate between WDJ and interesting stuff (and anything else) on an ad-hoc basis to reduce the workload/increase excitement? You might want to consider "flattening" the current "behind the scenes" box into just a bulleted list so that it can stay on the right (or just delete it completely), but what you propose (with the CSS fixed for "behind the scenes" and WDJ) looks good. Conrad.Irwin 23:22, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
I'm on board too. May I ask if the new section has someone in charge of it, or is it done collectively? -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 23:34, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
No-one officially, unless it would greatly offend someone (and presuming he wants to) I think it should be Yair, he's done a lot of work on this stuff. Having someone who can do all the grunt work make sensible editorial decisions about the content of these features autonomously is also a good idea. Conrad.Irwin 23:39, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
I don't think this is really a good idea, and I don't think it would pass a vote if it came to that.
One of the things about trying to get a new main page up is getting consensus for the whole package, even if the pieces, being subjective decisions, may not have received full consensus individually. The main page is supposed to feature interesting content, show what Wiktionary is about and what it includes, give links to useful areas of Wiktionary, and otherwise make a good impression. Many of the decisions that went into the redesign may not have passed a vote by themselves, but were mostly accepted during the designing process. The current main page has so much that needs improving, I don't think it makes sense to try and put in bits and pieces of redesigning into the current version, rather than trying to do a full redesign. I am optimistic that a full redesign can be accomplished, if not in the present vote (currently at 14-8), then in a later vote after more discussion and work on the design. --Yair rand 01:00, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
While you have some valid points, from reading the oppose votes, it would appear that many (though certainly not all) voted thus solely because they were concerned about the maintenance of the new daily features. If we could get one of those features up and running, and demonstrate that it has someone backing it, I think that would go a long way towards swaying some of those folks. If you have no interest in being responsible for WDJ, then by all means say so, and no one will think less of you. Like the rest of us, you're a volunteer, and it is a fairly hefty responsibility. However, I think that it would instrumental in bringing about the whole-scale change you speak of. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 01:13, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
I had originally planned to run the new features for a while at the beginning, get a few months worth of entries ahead, and after some time slowly shift it into being mainly a community effort. I don't particularly like the idea of having these things being done by one person on the long term. The main issue in my mind is really getting the rest of the changes up, with the extra features being a helpful complement to it. --Yair rand 01:35, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
Well, truth be told, I wouldn't feel comfortable supporting such a feature unless there was a responsible editor who had a real desire to maintain it for the forseeable future. Unorganized crowdsourcing is great, don't get me wrong. We've come a long way towards a great dictionary thus far with everyone simply doing whatever interested them in a fairly chaotic fashion. However, in my opinion, it's crap at meeting deadlines. EP may not always do what everyone wants, but he does take community input seriously, he does do a good job, and he does almost always meet the daily deadline (there have been a couple of times where someone has had to pick up his slack, but they've been very few and far between). I think something like this demands a benevolent dictator. Again, that doesn't necessarily have to be you. There are a number of people whom I'd trust to do this, but someone has to stand up here in order for me to support. Otherwise, I feel it would become yet another abandoned project (we have so many here), just one that is completely and utterly visible to the general public. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 02:26, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
I think it would be manageable, especially if there was a simple way to add new entries to the list (maybe something like this). I would be able to start it off with 85 WDJ's and 200 interesting stuff entries, plus those nominations put in between now and when it's put up, and from there it would be a simple matter of adding new pages for the nominations every once in a while, keeping at least a month or two ahead at all times. And as Dan Polansky said on the vote page, they can be given a chance; and if no one takes care of them, they can get removed in another vote, or even in an informal straw poll. --Yair rand 04:17, 5 May 2010 (UTC)

Noting stems in etymologies

EncycloPetey and I have recently been discussing how to present derivation information in etymologies; we have yet to come to agreement. User talk:EncycloPetey#equison etymology and User talk:EncycloPetey#Unresolved discussion contain the discussion thus far. For convenience, I copy them hereto in the following rel-tables:

In brief, our disagreement centred on the etymologies of the English words tripod and its closely related near-synonym tripus. Both derive from the Latin tripūs, itself a derivation of the Ancient Greek τρίπους (trípous); however, in the case of tripod, there is an intermediary: I asserted that it is the stem tripod-, whereas EP asserted that it is the (nominative?) plural form tripodēs. The discussion that followed was clarifying, but not conclusive. Atelaes then passed comment, stating that "both of [us had] solid arguments on [our] side, and neither [was] being dull". The discussion then petered out.

EncycloPetey proposes only to note lemmata and collateral forms (where known and applicable) in etymologies, whereas I propose to show etyma's stems where they are not obvious from looking at their lemmata. A possible compromise that has not yet been discussed is something like this:

What do others think?  — Raifʻhār Doremítzwr ~ (U · T · C) ~ 13:18, 4 May 2010 (UTC)

I am undecided on the issue, but I thought I'd add a few things, to clarify the issue for others. Ancient Greek πούς, the central word in this issue, has ποδ as it's stem, or bare form. This can be a little confusing for English speakers, because in English, the singular form is a bare form, that is, it has no inflectional ending. However, in Ancient Greek, as in Latin and many others, all forms have an inflectional ending. Now, consider the very (phonetically) similar English word pod. If you say the plural aloud, you don't actually say the "d", you simply say the plural inflectional ending "s" (realized as /z/, because the last consonant is voiced), with the end result something like /pɑz/. The /z/ is a little sharper, kind of hinting at the dental, but a /d/ is never said. Ok, ok, you can say it with an actual /d/ in there if you're specifically trying, but in natural speech you don't. This is because it's very tricky to say /dz/, and so many languages streamline it to something. This is what's happening with πούς. The inflectional ending of the dictionary form (the nominative singular) has s as its inflectional ending. The /d/ is not pronounced, and the vowel is lengthened and rounded a bit to sort of compensate, and they spelled it as it was pronounced. However, the d is still a part of the word overall, and shows up in most other forms. In any case, it can be a bit confusing to users, as they might well wonder where the d came from, as it doesn't appear to be in the Latin nor the Greek (even though it actually is). Various editors have tried various approaches to clarify this, such as noting the stem itself, or noting the genitive singular form, which shows the d. Keep in mind that the English word tripod did not come from any of these particular forms, but from the word as a whole, the collective sum of all the different forms. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 14:00, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
To supplement what Atelaes said: Yes, the English word tripod derives from τρίπους (trípous) as a whole (i.e., as a lexeme), whereas tripus derives from the specific form τρίπους (trípous) (i.e., the nominative singular form).  — Raifʻhār Doremítzwr ~ (U · T · C) ~ 15:19, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
I am inclined to mentioning stems in etymology, unlinked. That's what I do for Armenian, e.g. in ծովագնաց (covagnacʿ). --Vahagn Petrosyan 14:42, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
I think that normal users would benefit from seeing the stem in etymologies. Having the stem unlinked seems to avoid complications. But if contributors in the most affected languages were running out of things to do, stems redirecting to the lemma and appearing on the inflection would be fine. Other approaches might also work. I have just started using unlinked stems in preference to linked particular inflected forms in etymologies. DCDuring TALK 17:29, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
Like Atelaes said, you're both kind of right. What I normally do is say "From (the stem of) tripodes", rather than actually write the stem as a separate form with hyphen. Ƿidsiþ 17:32, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
That's clearer than eschewing any mention of the stem whatsoever; however, that method either forces the user to click on the lemma of the etymon to work out the stem from the inflexion table given thereat (in the case of extant entries, and quite difficult in the case of, say, Latin verbs, where the English derivation tends to be modelled on the stem of the passive perfect participle) or does not tell the user anything useful (in the case of inextant, "red-linked" entries). Moreover, that wording does not dispel the implication that the stem is "some independent entity, which can be cited in a vacuum". IPOF, that method is the worst of both worlds.  — Raifʻhār Doremítzwr ~ (U · T · C) ~ 18:45, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
But for English verbs modelled on the passive participle, we can list the participle in the etymology without worrying about stems. Latin participles have their own lemma pages and are treated as a separate part of speech for that language, since they have their own inflection and grammar separate from the verb. The concern is what to do when there is no specific form to link in the etymology, and a stem (word fragment) is desired by the editor. --EncycloPetey 21:16, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
No, we can't. The distinction between derivation from the passive perfect participle itself and derivation from the passive perfect participial stem is exemplified by the separate derivations of reparate#Etymology 1 (the adjective) and reparate#Etymology 2 (the verb); that is:
  1. reparate (adjective) = (Wiktionary): "From the Classical Latin reparātus (repaired), perfect participle of reparō (I renew”, “I repair)."; (OED): "< classical Latin reparātus, past participle of reparāre…"
  2. reparate (verb) = (Wiktionary): "From the Classical Latin reparō (I renew”, “I repair), modelled on its past participial stem reparāt-."; (OED): "< classical Latin reparāt-, past participial stem…of reparāre…"
The adjective reparate has adjectival and perfective verbal force, whereas the verb reparate only has verbal force. In our discussion, you talked about collateral forms; you would need to show that the participle in question was used as a collateral form of the verb to show that the English verb was derived from it and not from its stem.  — Raifʻhār Doremítzwr ~ (U · T · C) ~ 22:40, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
Yes we can. For the second Etymology, the OED's etymology (and our derivative etymology) consists of a convoluted way of saying it comes from the fourth principal part of the verb, that is, the supine. If we list the supine form of the verb in the etymology, then we need not mess with the stem. I'm surprised that there is no French intermediate. --EncycloPetey 23:19, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
I'm not familiar enough with the supine to comment.  — Raifʻhār Doremítzwr ~ (U · T · C) ~ 23:44, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
Having looked at some Wikipedia pages, it seems to me to be pretty similar to the English infinitive. (Specifically, the full infinitive, complete with the particle to, as opposed to the bare infinitive, without it; since I find it difficult to distinguish a difference in meaning between those two English constructions, I therefore find it difficult to distinguish the Latin supine from the present active infinitive.) It seems to me that this could work for English verbs deriving from Latin ones, so I'll go with marking derivation from the supine if that's what you think is appropriate and unless someone else gives me a reason not to.
However, the point about the need to demonstrate the use of nominal and adjectival inflexions as collateral forms still stands for English nouns derived from them (because almost all English nouns have a purely nominative force in isolation). Pertinent to this discussion, you still have not proven the use of the plural inflexion tripodēs as a collateral form of tripūs.  — Raifʻhār Doremítzwr ~ (U · T · C) ~ 09:48, 5 May 2010 (UTC)
Yes, I wanted to point out the distinction, but you've also summarized it well. Cases like the 3rd-declension nouns and adjectives from Greek and Latin, still need examination and discussion as part of this thread, but there probably won't be a need to worry when it comes to verb derivations (at least not in any of the situations I've yet come across). --EncycloPetey 01:25, 6 May 2010 (UTC)
I'm glad that verbs aren't a problem; however, nouns still are (maybe less so adjectives). Really, the only way I can see around using stems in the etymologies of nouns deriving from the lexemes (sans case endings) of Latin and Ancient Greek third-declension nouns is for there to be demonstrated use of a form other than the nominative singular as a collateral form in every single case. But, let's cross that bridge when we come to it. For starters, please provide the necessary evidence for the use of tripodēs as a collateral form of tripūs.  — Raifʻhār Doremítzwr ~ (U · T · C) ~ 00:35, 7 May 2010 (UTC)
As I've noted before, that isn't at all an easy thing to do, but I'll present the evidence I have so far. First, the Facciolati Lexicon lists tripus principally as an adjective. There is a subsection for substantive senses, but all the quotations and translations given there are strictly plural. Likewise, Lewis & Short, although they give tripus as primarily a noun, list only quotations using the plural form, with no examples at all of the singular. They have a separate header for tripodes, including the genitive and gender, although it directs the reader to the tripus entry for more information, and Facciolati does the same. Finally, Niermeyer lists a Medieval variant of tripoda in the headword line for tripus (three-legged stool). Taken together the evidence is stronger than any individual item, although not quite explicit. --EncycloPetey 02:56, 7 May 2010 (UTC)
Yes, all that does seem to hint at some irregularity of usage, but what we need is primary evidence; that is, unambiguous uses of tripodēs as a collateral form. The first properly English use of tripod(e) that the OED attests to is from 1603. (Apart from that, it also gives "[1370 Mem. Ripon (Surtees) II. 130 Item unum tripod ferri.]" ("Mem. Ripon" refers to "Memorials of the Church of SS. Peter and Wilfrid, Ripon v.d. (Surtees Soc. 1882–88)" according to its bibliography), but that looks more like Latin than English.) Maybe some of that information will help.  — Raifʻhār Doremítzwr ~ (U · T · C) ~ 01:37, 9 May 2010 (UTC)
Umm... if all the uses from the primary sources are plural, then isn't that de facto evidence? What sort of "uses" do you imagine finding other than the sorts of citations I've mentioned exist in L&S and in Facciolati? What we are actually lacking is evidence for use of the singular; we have no lack of evidence for the plural. —This unsigned comment was added by EncycloPetey (talkcontribs) at 03:25, 9 May 2010 (UTC).
The question is whether they have a singular sense: Would those uses be translated into English with the word tripod or the word tripods?
Anyway, thinking clearly about this again, even if the use as a collateral form of tripodēs is proven (or plausibly demonstrated, or whatever), then the English word still derives from the stem. We don't say "a tripodes", we say "a tripod". The plural is tripods, not the invariant tripodes or the suffixed *tripodeses. The only thing that proving that Latin used tripodēs as a collateral form of tripūs achieves is making it unnecessary to mention the stem in the etymology; however, that is only because the stem would be obvious, and not because the word wasn't actually derived from the stem.  — Raifʻhār Doremítzwr ~ (U · T · C) ~ 14:11, 9 May 2010 (UTC)
Huh? Where did you find any source that actually says the English word derived from the stem? All you've shown are etymologies in dictionaries that mention various forms or a stem, and not always the same one. --EncycloPetey 22:53, 9 May 2010 (UTC)
The Encarta® World English Dictionary, North American Edition and Dictionary.com Unabridged both explicitly mark derivation from the stem tripod-. Many others mention the stem, whilst others mention the genitive form tripodis or only the ending thereof. By contrast, no dictionary I've seen states that the English tripod derives from the Latin tripodēs.  — Raifʻhār Doremítzwr ~ (U · T · C) ~ 23:27, 9 May 2010 (UTC)
Those two sources are not independent, as both are based on the Random House dictionary, which means we really have just one source making the claim. Dictionaries do contain errors, and I believe that this may be one of them. If there is no evidence for a singular form of the Latin substantive, then all the etymologies you've mentioned or alluded to are wrong. --EncycloPetey 23:35, 9 May 2010 (UTC)
Here is an example of the use of the substantive in the accusative singular tripodem. What about some evidence of the use of tripodēs as a collateral form with a singular sense? At the moment, your case seems weaker than mine; at least I have a source that unambiguously backs up what I'm saying…  — Raifʻhār Doremítzwr ~ (U · T · C) ~ 00:20, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
Your example is dated 1826, which is long after the date that tripod entered the English language. Your case is weaker, because it is predicated entirely upon an apparent error in a single quote from a single dictionary whcih (I note) is not present in any other dictionary that did not copy their information from Random House. I have evidence for the use of the plural substantive prior to the origin of the English word, even in Classical Latin. You have no evidence for substantive use of the singular. --EncycloPetey 00:47, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
But you have not shown that they have a singular sense. I shall search for a pre-1603 Latin citation of the substantive use in the singular at a later date. To show that this isn't an isolated error by Random House, derivation from the stem is also given for the -ped terms aliped, biped, fissiped, multiped, pinnatiped, quadruped, and soliped. More -pod terms will follow; I've GTG ATM.  — Raifʻhār Doremítzwr ~ (U · T · C) ~ 13:33, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
Returning to margin…

Dictionary.com's etymologies of -pod terms that give derivation from the stem include hexapod, polypod, tetrapod, and the aforementioned tripod. Also of note from the OED: isopod, n. (a.) "…f. Gr. type *ἰσοποδ-…"; hexapod, n. and a. "ad. Gr. ἑξαποδ- six-footed…"; cirrhopod "…f. assumed Gr. κιῤῥό-ς…+ ποδ- foot"; taliped, a. vs. ‖talipes; palmiped, n. and adj. "< classical Latin palmiped-, palmipēs web-footed…"; and, bradypod and bradypus, from βραδυποδ- (bradupod-) and βραδύπους (bradúpous), respectively.  — Raifʻhār Doremítzwr ~ (U · T · C) ~ 20:53, 10 May 2010 (UTC)

To explicate my comments' significance for EP:
  1. You have only shown that tripodēs was in use in Classical Latin in a plural sense. (Well, you haven't actually shown that, but only asserted it; however, I've seen uses of that term in Classical Latin myself, so that isn't a point of contention.) You need to show that tripodēs was used in a singular sense before you can claim that it was used as a collateral form of tripūs. At the moment, all we have is an ordinary noun which doesn't seem to be attested in the lemma form in Classical Latin (similar, according to the OED, to the case of *fauxfaucefaucēs).
  2. You asserted that "[my] case is weaker, because it is predicated entirely upon an apparent error in a single quote from a single dictionary". This is not true, as exemplified by the ten other similarly-formatted etymologies to which I linked. I'm sure I could find more etymologies like that for terms that derive from Latin nouns where the stem is not apparent in the nominative singular. Moreover, I linked to some etymologies in the OED which refer to stems; solely to stems in the case of cirrhopod, hexapod, and isopod. Tripod is not some isolated case that can be explained away as an error.
  3. Even if there exists "no evidence for substantive use of the singular" form(s) of tripodēs "prior to the origin of the English word", there are still all those other -ped and -pod terms to explain away, for every one of which you would need to show the existence of one or more collateral forms.
  4. Recapitulating my point (in terser form) that I made in an above post in this section (timestamped: 14:11, 9 May 2010): English terms that lack their etyma's case endings and which are modelled on the stems are therefore derived from those stems. That is the difference between bradypus and bradypod, talipes and taliped, tripus and tripod, vibratiuncula and vibratiuncule, &c. — the former of the pairs is derived from its etymon, case ending and all, whereas the latter of the pairs is derived from the stem of its etymon.
That is what calls for a response from you.  — Raifʻhār Doremítzwr ~ (U · T · C) ~ 15:14, 16 May 2010 (UTC)
Your examples of stem-derivations are still not independent of each other. Multiple appeals to a single dictionary relies on a single editor's choice for a single published work. your appeal to the OED is in error, as it clearly lists isopod as coming from Neo-Latin Isopoda, which is isopoda, and is explicitly identified as a neuter plural form. Your entire argument for why you think tripod comes from a Latin stem is based upon a single doctionary's use of that stem in an etymology, and seems to ignore the fact that most major dictionaries make no such claim whatsoever. You have presented no evidence that tripod or any similar word derives from a stem, rather you have presented only one dictionary's editorial choice for presenting its etymologies, and that choice is at odds with all major dictionaries. The same is true of words with the same ending. Your entire case is based upon what the publishers of the Random House Dictionary chose to do, and which dictionary.com has since copied from them. We need not propogate their error.
Your point about "singular sense" is irrelevant. If a word was never used in the singular, and never appears in a singular form, then we don't invent such a form simply for the purpose of writing etymologies. The word in that situation is plurale tantum, and is the source word regardless of its meaning in the other language. The fact that it is considered singular in English does not necessitate that it have a singular meaning in Latin to be the source word. --EncycloPetey 18:06, 16 May 2010 (UTC)
I number my points for clarity:
  1. I only quoted the relevant part of the etymology, which was the part that made reference to a stem alone. The OED's etymology for isopod in its entirety is: "[a. mod.F. isopode, f. mod.L. Isopod-a neuter pl., f. Gr. type *ἰσοποδ-, f. iso- + πούς, ποδ- foot.]". Note that in the Latin etymon Isopod-a — whose stem is obvious in the lemma — the OED uses a hyphen to separate the stem from the case ending. It does this a lot; another pertient example is equison, for which it gives "ad. L. equīsōn-em groom…". And of course, it gives the unpredictable stem ποδ- (pod-) for πούς (poús). Assumed but unattested lemmata have the same ontological status as their stems, which explains why they give *ἰσοποδ- but not *ἰσοπους, wouldn't you agree?
  2. I searched b.g.c. for pre-1603 hits of "tripus" OR "tripodis" OR "tripodem" OR "tripodi" OR "tripode"; it yielded 622 hits. Undoubtedly, there will be a healthy number of uses of the singular substantive in there. Here's one from 1531: Tripus ferrea ante regiã ſemper ſtare ſolebat… (tripūs ferrea ante rēgiam semper stāre solēbat, an iron tripod always used to stand in front of the palace). My Latin isn't great, so I might have got some of that wrong (I'm uncertain about the sense of rēgia that is meant, because I didn't look at the context very much). Curiously, that 1531 source seems to treat tripūs as feminine; however, it is number, and not gender, that is the issue here.
  3. If they remain close in sense to and retain the case ending(s) of their Classical etyma, it is highly likely for English derivations from Latin or Ancient Greek to preserve the grammatical number of their etyma. The OED lemmatises two words ending in -podes (both derived via Latin from the Ancient Greek πόδες (pódes)), viz. antipodes and Sciapodes — both plural nouns. (Antipodes has the back-formed singular form antipode as well as the etymologically consistent antipous (e.g.); however, that changes nothing — antipodes isn't used as a singular noun, at least not usually or without earning others' reproach.)
  4. "Your entire argument for why you think tripod comes from a Latin stem is based upon a single d[i]ctionary's use of that stem in an etymology, and seems to ignore the fact that most major dictionaries make no such claim whatsoever. You have presented no evidence that tripod or any similar word derives from a stem, rather you have presented only one dictionary's editorial choice for presenting its etymologies, and that choice is at odds with all major dictionaries. The same is true of words with the same ending." — I presented a summary of the etymologies given in various dictionaries in User talk:EncycloPetey#equison etymology. Most marked derivation from the nominative singular in conjunction with either the stem or the genitive singular; Random House's, as we know, unambiguously marks derivation from the stem qua stem. As I explained in point 4 of my above post (timestamped: 15:14, 16 May 2010), I regard the way the words are written as evidence of derivation from the stem. The way Random House writes its etymologies is not just some arbitrary editorial choice or house style; it's a factual assertion. As you know, the OED differentiates entries by etymology — those from the same root are treated in one entry, whereas those from different roots are treated in different entries. Now, take the OED's entries for tripod, n. and a. (etymology: [ad. L. tripūs, tripod-, a. Gr. τρίπους, -ποδ- adj., three-footed, also as n., f. τρι- three + πούς, ποδ- foot.]) and for ‖tripus (etymology: [L. tripūs, a. Gr. τρίπους tripod.]). Clearly, the OED believes that the singular form tripūs exists (as I demonstrated in point 2) and that tripodēs is not plurale tantum (even if they were wrong, that would be irrelevant, because the point here is about the consistency of their assertions). Given all that, why does the OED treat tripod and tripus in different entries if, as you assert, stems are invalid etymological elements, unless they disagree with you?
  5. "Your point about 'singular sense' is irrelevant. If a word was never used in the singular, and never appears in a singular form, then we don't invent such a form simply for the purpose of writing etymologies. The word in that situation is plurale tantum…" — I cited in point 2 a Latin text which uses tripūs. The Latin tripūs is thereby attested from 1531, which is 72 years before the date of the first attestation (1603) of the English tripod. That means that tripūs already existed as an ordinary noun (and not as a plurale tantum) in the Latin lexicon long before the English tripod came about. The existence of tripūs also means that tripodēs is ipso facto not plurale tantum, irrespective of whether its existence precedes that of tripūs or of any of the other singular forms. Since tripodēs is not plurale tantum, it is simply an ordinary nominative singular form. Ergo, your assertion that tripodēs is a collateral form is without basis unless you can show its use in a singular sense. (Consider this analogous example: Were we to first attest an English verb in the third-person singular present active indicative form decades or even centuries before its infinitive form, would you therefore maintain that they are separate verbs?)
  6. Given points 1–5, there is no reason whatsoever to suppose that the Latin tripodēs is the direct etymon of the English tripod; moreover, the fact that no other dictionary I'm aware of asserts as you do should cause you to retract the assertion.
I respectfully ask that you concede.  — Raifʻhār Doremítzwr ~ (U · T · C) ~ 17:05, 21 May 2010 (UTC)
Dictionary.com gives the etymology of referent as "1835–45; < L referent- (s. of referēns)…", whereas the OED (draft revision, September 2009) gives it as "< classical Latin referent-, referēns…". It is interesting to note that the OED (2nd Ed., 1989) gives the etymology as "ad. L. referent-em". What I believe we are seeing here is the most up-to-date way of thinking about English derivation. In the case of the OED, they used to show the stem by giving the accusative singular, with the case ending separated therefrom by a hyphen, but now, as with Random House, they give the stem instead (in both cases, giving it priority). I wager that when the OED gets round to revising its entry for equison, they will give its etymology as "< classical Latin equīsōn-, equīsō…", supplanting the second edition's "ad. L. equīsōn-em…". I take this to be the most plausible interpretation of the data.  — Raifʻhār Doremítzwr ~ (U · T · C) ~ 13:20, 26 May 2010 (UTC)
Given the lack of response, I'll consider this discussion concluded and strike the header.  — Raifʻhār Doremítzwr ~ (U · T · C) ~ 03:31, 8 June 2010 (UTC)
What to do with forms in Dutch that are composed of verb+adjective or verb+noun? Such as leunstoel? In Dutch, verb infinitives (the lemma form) have a suffix. The suffixless form occurs in the 1st person singular, but this is not a lemma form like it is in Latin, so it's not suited as an etymology. —CodeCat 20:33, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
You're confusing the stem with the first-person singular, which can be spelt identically. For example, in Latin mascluine agent nouns (let's take dictātor as our example), the stem is spelt dictātōr-, whereas the nominative singular form is spelt dictātor (i.e., identically, since macra aren't actually written in Latin). In the case of leunstoel, it's the difference between "leun (I lean) + stoel (chair)" and "leun- (the stem of leunen (to lean)) + stoel (chair)". IMO, that shouldn't be necessary, since the stem (leun-) is obvious from looking at the lemma (leunen).  — Raifʻhār Doremítzwr ~ (U · T · C) ~ 20:54, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
CodeCat: What we do in those sorts of situations for Latin is actually list both the form and the lemma. See WT:ALA#Romance language verbs for a special situation that often occurs. Since the lemma for Romance language verbs is the infinitive, we want to mention the Latin present active infinitive in the etymology as the immediate source word, but we also have to link to the lemma of the Latin verb to avoid lots of extra clicking. The standard solution in that situation is to include both, but that's different from the current issue, where there isn't even a form-of page to link to. --EncycloPetey 21:16, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
Word formation and interlinguistic derivation or descent are different things; you're talking about the latter, whereas CodeCat's talking about the former. Unless Dutch compounds involving verbs always involve the first-person singular, there is no reason to mention them in the compounds' etymologies.  — Raifʻhār Doremítzwr ~ (U · T · C) ~ 22:40, 4 May 2010 (UTC)

Proposal for (toned) pinyin words

I would like to put forth a standard template that can be used for all pinyin (with tones) words on Wiktionary. See User:Tooironic/xìngshì for the proposed design. I will need the help of admins to make it pretty and workable. Note by "words" I mean combinations of two or more Mandarin syllables (e.g. guójiā and xǐhuān, not guó and huān).

Even just today I came across shengqi which is a misleading entry because it can potentially refer to 升起 shēngqǐ, 升旗 shēngqí, 声气 shēngqì, 盛气 shèngqì, 生气 shēngqì and 生漆 shēngqī. We only list one of these readings.

I think soft-redirects are the best option because it means that we don't have to triple the amount of work for us by having to maintain both the pinyin and (simplified and traditional) hanzi entries. It also allows the user to see a full list of all possible homophones, which I think is quite useful. I know that Japanese romaji has a similar formatting policy.

By contrast, I think maintaining toneless pinyin words is silly because they're not actually words and we shouldn't be misleading people that they are. In real life, if you pronunced pinyin without tones you would have a hard time being understood. Moreover, even if you could somehow guarantee that all toneless pinyin entries included every possible tone combination that would still not be enough as incorrectly spelt and non-standard formatting is rife. So potentially jiaozi or jiao zi could be read in the middle of a sentence as (你会让他)叫自(己姐姐或哥哥吗)? or 教资(会主席史美伦昨表示) etc. Some sources don't even delimit words with spaces - how are we supposed to handle that? And let's not even go into the thousands of possible combinations for Chinese names. In short, let's stick to real words with the right spelling and that can be easily attested. This will save us a lot of stuffing around and increase our efficiency in the long run.

So, pending critique, I am enlisting the help of you smart people to come up with a) a working template and b) a policy proposal. :) Cheers. ---> Tooironic 01:34, 30 May 2010 (UTC)

I've made a start with {{new cmn pinyin reading}}. However, I don't know how to tell it not to display the listing numbers if the associated parameters aren't specified. I'm a complete n00b when it comes to coding templates and I'm too tired to figure this out / to teach myself this tonight; perhaps someone else can make the necessary improvements.  — Raifʻhār Doremítzwr ~ (U · T · C) ~ 01:59, 30 May 2010 (UTC)
User:Tooironic/xìngshì doesn't have an inflection line, or even a normal definition line. This is very problematic, IMO. --Yair rand (talk) 03:14, 30 May 2010 (UTC)
I'm not sure what you mean. Mandarin words don't inflect. And there aren't meant to be any definition lines - they're soft-redirects. ---> Tooironic 03:45, 30 May 2010 (UTC)
Even words without inflections have the word written in bold under the POS header. Definition lines (lines beginning with #, not *#) are used in all entries but hard redirects and the {{only in}} entries. --Yair rand (talk) 04:21, 30 May 2010 (UTC)
Our current format is somewhat ill-equipped to handle situations like this. Truth be told, I've been thinking for some time that our soft redirect format really needs some tweaking, but I am at a loss as to how it should look. In any case, for the moment, what you could do is simply remove the bullet point with "In Mandarin, xìngshì may refer to any one of the following hanzi", put the pinyin, bold, immediately under the L3 header, and you'd be ok. So...if I were to do it, it'd look something like this. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 04:59, 30 May 2010 (UTC)
That looks like a good edit Atelaes. Now if you could just add in the byline about "In Mandarin, xìngshì may refer to any one of the following hanzi:" (not sure how to get it to automatically display the entry name e.g. in this case "xìngshì") that would be perfect. ---> Tooironic 22:06, 30 May 2010 (UTC)
Would this work? By the way, it's your userpage, so feel to revert without explanation. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 22:38, 30 May 2010 (UTC)
Sure, looks good. Ta. ---> Tooironic 07:16, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
The issue with romanised entries is not unique to Chinese. Although some editors support Japanese Rōmaji entries, there are also entries in Hiragana and proper Kanji. An example: shūkan (only one definition), しゅうかん (has 4 definitions, I have just added one) - 習慣, 週間, 週刊, 収監. Maintaining all 3 types of Japanese seems too complicated. One problem is keeping the entries in synch but in Japanese Rōmaji and Hiragana could be at least one-to-one except for words written in Katakana (Katakana entries would have to make another synchronisation pair - aisukurīmu vs アイスクリーム) but Chinese has one-to-many relationships in each of these - toneless Pinyin -> Pinyin with tones -> Hanzi. Please address the treatment of toneless Pinyin, i.e. what we do with entries like xingshi. Or will this be covered separately? --Anatoli 22:54, 30 May 2010 (UTC)
Under my proposal, toneless pinyin words won't be covered at all (though syllables will be, as they are limited in number). We would need to delete most of them or move the salvagable ones to toned pinyin entries.
So are there any admins that can help me here with writing up this policy and template proposal? ---> Tooironic 07:16, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
I agree in principle with the above. We have had a couple of Chinese editors in the past who seemed to think people should learn to read and write Pinyin without using tone marks, and they entered lots of Pinyin words and sentences without tones. I think it’s unacceptable and feel that every Mandarin Chinese word should have to be either in hanzi or in Pinyin with tones. The only exceptions should be words that have entered English, such as I Ching.
In regard to the standard Pinyin template itself, I leave that up to the template designers. It seems to me that it would be a good idea if the template could accept input using numbers, like {sheng|1|qi|3} > shēngqǐ, as a matter of convenience, but if that requires complex programming, then never mind. I’d just like to see all Mandarin Pinyin words complete with tones. —Stephen 09:09, 8 June 2010 (UTC)
This looks pretty sensible to me. I'd prefer not to use # at the start of the line as they are not really definitions, but it doesn't matter hugely. How many definitions do the target words normally have? It would make these entries much better if the definition from the target was included as a gloss - otherwise someone wanting to look up the English meaning (and we are supposed to be an English dictionary) has to click through to every page individually. That said, duplicating information is always problematic, so it might be better to leave the format simple and elegant as it is. I'm not sure how much policy you'd need to write - probably just a sentence explaining what words this format should be used for (i.e. multiple syllable toned pinyin only) and an example of how the wikitext looks. Conrad.Irwin 10:40, 8 June 2010 (UTC)
Sure. Thanks for the input. My only issue is I've never initiated any kind of policy change on Wiktionary so I have absolutely no idea how to go about it. Could someone please advise me on this? ---> Tooironic 13:51, 8 June 2010 (UTC)
Well this is a language-specific issue so we don't need anything like the CFI-modification votes, and an informal consensus might even be all that's necessary. If you think a vote is necessary, just go to WT:V, start a vote with an explanation of the proposal, and link to the vote from WT:AZH when it's over. There's instructions on how to start a vote at the top of WT:V ("Starting a new vote on this page"). --Yair rand (talk) 13:55, 8 June 2010 (UTC)
Pinyin entries are mentioned here: Wiktionary:About_Chinese#Pinyin_entries. Perhaps this is the page where the policy should be described and referred to if not followed? --Anatoli 11:43, 9 June 2010 (UTC)


I forgot I had made a start on this. With any luck, we can *finally* get this over with. PS I'll be going out all day so I won't reply to any comments until tomorrow. Having said that, I ma log on at my local library. Mglovesfun (talk) 12:01, 5 May 2010 (UTC)

Needs some improvement: entity, a thing, is confused with entry, a discrete dictionary section for a lexeme. But remember that what we would include in the dictionary are specific entities' names. If a specific entity's name is not a proper noun, then what POS header whould it be placed under? Of course it can be pluralized,[2] especially if it has any sort of generic meaning.[3]  Michael Z. 2010-05-05 14:21 z

Does anyone know if that vote passed or not?

So, the vote about Liquid Threads recently finished, and I was thinking of closing it, but I honestly didn't know how to. It's at 73%. Is that passing? Yair Rand has gone ahead and closed it as "pass", and I'm not sure if I should feel contentious about this or not. Of course, I really want to see Liquid Threads, so there is my own personal conflict of interest. In any case, this raises an issue which has been bugging me for some time, and I'd really like to see it resolved. Can we set some firm guidelines for what defines a passing vote? There have been a number of votes with contentious endings of late, and I'd really like to see a set in stone guideline for how we define these things. The decision discussion of this vote provides some interesting and telling points. Basically, I think we all agree that we need more than 51% (i.e. more than a simple majority) to pass, and we all agree that 85% or so is enough, but for everything in between it's pretty damned nebulous. I propose that we follow Wikipedia's lead and make the following policy: "Any vote with 75% or more supporting votes (not counting abstain votes) passes. Any vote with less than 70% support (again, not counting abstain votes) fails. Anything in between must be closed by a bureaucrat, who will make the final decison." The bureaucrats would of course, be allowed to discuss amongst themselves, and come up with any cabalistic guidelines for closing contentious votes that they deem proper. Fortunately, I think we have a damned good set of 'crats here, and I trust them to make prudent choices in the matter. I further suggest that, if we do decide to go with this policy (or any other) that it NOT be applied ex post facto (i.e. if a vote was previously passed at 69%, it not be automagically failed once the new policy is put in place). Obviously, this type of thing would require a vote, but I don't think we've yet had the proper discussion to preempt one. Thoughts? -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 01:16, 6 May 2010 (UTC)

I always thought the standard minimum votes for a pass was 2/3 +1 supports. We've certainly passed votes with far less consensus than 11-4 in the past. (A vote to start an official standard for votes would be difficult, simply because of the fact that for anything like that to make sense, we would need overwhelming consensus to put it into place.) --Yair rand 01:23, 6 May 2010 (UTC)
Just to be clear, this thread was not meant to be any sort of attack on you, personally. I think your closing of the LT vote falls well within the realm of responsible editing. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 01:26, 6 May 2010 (UTC)
Some votes shouldn't need a large majority (like the recent renaming requested entries one) by virtue of the difference between a pass and fail having virtually no effect. Other votes are much more contentious, or have further-sweeping consequences, and they require a larger majority. I'd be happy to restrict vote closing to beauaeareuaueaocrats if necessary (and it does seem recently we've had a lot of votes recently where the decision has been counteracted, so it may well have become so - though it pains me). (as an abstain/opposer) 73% for a software feature that no-one has to use seems more than favourable enough to me. (And it's interesting that Dan changed his vote just to make the majority larger, perhaps forseeing yet more shenanigans from our argumentatives) Conrad.Irwin 01:30, 6 May 2010 (UTC)
Yes, I'd be quite happy to simply have the policy be "all votes must be closed by a 'crat." Then again, I suppose we should ask them if they're ok with that. ;-) They're all old fogies, and perhaps the added typing strain would bother their arthritis. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 01:35, 6 May 2010 (UTC)
Votes have a specified term and when the term is up, anyone should be able to close the vote. The only problem is deciding whether the vote passes or fails. That is a matter for policy. If you want to make it policy that below 70% fails, above 75% passes, and 70 to 75 is to be decided by a bureaucrat, that’s okay with me. To avoid the crats having to take a second vote among themselves, make it policy that the first crat to attend to the matter makes the decision and the decision is final.
It might make more sense to simplify things and just say that 70% or higher passes, less than 70% fails. I think this is a better way. —Stephen 01:54, 6 May 2010 (UTC)

Wiktionary:Votes/pl-2010-05/Restricting the use of LiquidThreads

RuakhTALK 01:40, 6 May 2010 (UTC)

Yuck. What is the piont in this vote? As I see it, it takes great pains to restrict people from doing something they probably won't do on the basis of an uninformed opinion. (I would vote support, but I'd rather just delete the vote and let people live lives of freedom and happiness with the occasional slap on the wrist as opposed to a blanket prohibition). Conrad.Irwin 01:43, 6 May 2010 (UTC)
It's not really "freedom" if a thing is still forbidden, revertible, and slap-on-the-wrist-able, but without any documentation or linkable vote. —RuakhTALK 03:05, 6 May 2010 (UTC)
Hmmmm.....aren't votes supposed to be preceded by discussion, not coincided? :-P In any case, I'm going to vote oppose when the vote officially starts, and I thought I'd note that here, so the vote can at least be preceded by a pointless flame war. It seems to me that the whole point of enabling Liquid Threads is to try it out, and see its pros and cons firsthand. A user's discussion page does not really allow for that. I agree that it would be imprudent to slap it on the BP or RFD right off the bat, but I think we need something somewhere in between those two extremes to really see what it can do. Perhaps a lesser used page, like WT:ES (no idea if it's practical there or not, just thinking out loud) or the discussion page of Wiktionary:About given names and surnames....something along those lines. A page where real discussion is simultaneously happening on multiple topics, yet is not a core discussion page. Anywho, that's my two cents. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 01:50, 6 May 2010 (UTC)
There is the issue that there isn't any simple way to switch a discussion room to LQT, since comments can't be converted and LQT goes bottom to top instead of top to bottom. (Maybe RFM could be split into LQT and semi-archived non-LQT rooms, if there's consensus?) On the other hand, maybe non-userspace testing should really be started as small as possible, and probably not until in-userspace testing has been around for awhile. --Yair rand 01:59, 6 May 2010 (UTC)
I actually didn't intend for this section to be a discussion; rather, I was just pointing people to the vote. The discussion already took place (see #LiquidThreads above) — and apparently reached a conclusion, in that comments in the previous vote seemed to take for granted that this restriction would be in place. —RuakhTALK 03:03, 6 May 2010 (UTC)
The biggest danger I see is that while the status quo is as the vote describes, if the vote failed it could be taken to endorse the use of this everywhere. Conrad.Irwin 11:14, 6 May 2010 (UTC)
If you can demonstrate that the status quo is as the vote describes, then I will happily retract the vote. —RuakhTALK 14:57, 6 May 2010 (UTC)
If it isn't the status quo, then voting on it is doubly pointless :p. From what I've seen of related discussions, the intent was initially to only allow this on users' pages at their discretion. We could make that explicit somewhere, but I don't think a vote is needed. Conrad.Irwin 15:02, 6 May 2010 (UTC)
That was the intent, yes; but for some reason, it was not included in the initial vote, and therefore doesn't seem to be part of the "status quo". (Actually, the status quo is that we don't even have this extension, though I imagine a developer will come by and change that at some point.) I don't understand why a vote isn't needed. —RuakhTALK 15:10, 6 May 2010 (UTC)
A vote likes this adds unnecessary bureaucracy and clout to a decision that has been made with no knowledge of the consequences of either outcome. It is very premature at best. Conrad.Irwin 15:52, 6 May 2010 (UTC)
It seemed to me that the unnecessary bureaucracy already existed: it seems like informal consensus has gone out the window, and VOTEs are now essential for any sort of policy. We've previously tried to address that — with a VOTE, ironically enough — by loosening the restrictions on policy changes, but it failed. I don't understand the framework that you and Yair rand seem to be working under. —RuakhTALK 17:25, 6 May 2010 (UTC)
I'm glad you also agree that lots of the bureaucracy is unnecessary. Given that agreement, I don't understand how you can consider a formal policy superior to just maintaining the gentlemen's agreement which seems to already exist. I am strongly of the opinion that policy should be wide-sweeping and consist of general principles, not irritating regulations; it's easier to understand, and easier to apply with common sense. (hence the current format of WT:BLOCK). Conrad.Irwin 18:41, 6 May 2010 (UTC)
Personally, I thought the bureaucracy, and the problem, was not in the existence of policies, but in the frustratingly ineffective mechanism for keeping policies in line with consensus. But obviously a fair number of you disagree, so whatever. I've canceled the vote. —RuakhTALK 12:50, 7 May 2010 (UTC)
That is a good way of looking at it. Thanks (for the perspective and the canellation). Conrad.Irwin 13:23, 7 May 2010 (UTC)

Why is it that nowadays every vote requires a followup vote to put some additional restrictions/changes or simply to accept the outcome of the previous vote? -- Prince Kassad 05:45, 6 May 2010 (UTC)

Because people suck at assembling the initial votes. :-P   (Though it's also everyone else's fault for not examining votes closely until after they've started.)RuakhTALK 14:57, 6 May 2010 (UTC)
  1. Symbol support vote.svg Support. I support the creation of the vote, and I am going to vote support. I oppose the use of Liquid threads in Beer parlour. If the vote Wiktionary:Votes/2010-02/Installing_LiquidThreads is to be intepreted as supporting the use of liquid threads in Beer palour, then I would like to take back my supporting vote cast in that vote. I admit my fault in being less formal than usual: the wording of the vote is so ambiguous that I should not have supported in spite of the majority supporting the vote. --Dan Polansky 07:58, 6 May 2010 (UTC)
Okay, let's clarify a few things. That vote was about enabling an extension. That's it. There is no "policy" about it, and there doesn't need to be. These things can be determined by common sense and consensus. There can't be a huge change to the working of the BP, or any other discussion room, without consensus. As everyone can assume, a person does not need full consensus to change the structure of their own talk page. A template's talk page, or talk pages of minor policy pages, or other things like that, are slightly grey areas, but shouldn't really be done without some consensus that it's okay to use LQT in some of them. Like any other instance of getting some new technical feature, lack of policy regarding it does not mean total anarchy with it. Should, for example, the flood flag proposal pass, it doesn't mean people will be able to start giving it out at random, just because a procedure hasn't been completely agreed upon and finished yet. (I'm beginning to think we should have WT:Don't make policies out of common sense but that would be self contradicting. :)) --Yair rand 15:37, 6 May 2010 (UTC)
WT:Don't starts a vote unless you know it will pass and WT:Don't make policies that aren't essential should cover most things. Conrad.Irwin 15:52, 6 May 2010 (UTC)
Funny, I thought I did know this would pass, since it seemed to reflect what everyone did consider essential. I'm very confused to find otherwise. —RuakhTALK 17:25, 6 May 2010 (UTC)
Ditto.​—msh210 17:57, 6 May 2010 (UTC)
I'd certainly hope it would pass, but I don't understand how you can think of it as "essential". Conrad.Irwin 18:41, 6 May 2010 (UTC)
Re "WT:Don't starts a vote unless you know it will pass": This is blatantly absurd. It is this fallacious assumption that blocks Wiktionary's policy development. A vote is a time-tested method for finding out what the community actually thinks. There is no epistemically and logically solid method of finding out what a larger base of a wiki community actually thinks other than a vote. A case in point is the vote Wiktionary:Votes/pl-2010-01/Renaming_given_name_appendixes, which I originally was afraid was going to end up with no consensus with majority of around 55%, but it turned out to succeed with 86% in support. You have only confirmed your long-standing anti-vote stance.
If there actually is a community agreement on a claim that is not wholly trivial and obvious to everyone, it should better be documented in a vote.
I am convinced that we should vote more often, and that not every vote should be preceded by a never-ending discussion.
I don't think that this vote should have been canceled only because some 4 or less out of some 32 regular contributors who voted in some larger votes think it should be canceled. I think that the vote would actually have shown that there was not a consensus for its subject. But only a vote can show such a lack of consensus, not a Beer parlour discussion.
A failed vote is not a failure. It is no more a failure than a scientific experiment that has refuted the tested hypothesis. One of the purposes of a vote is to find out, not merely to confirm. --Dan Polansky 12:25, 8 May 2010 (UTC)
I have quite possibly already exhausted my rant and ramble quota for this week, but I have one more note to make. It has been spoken of bureaucracy in relation to Wiktionary votes. I frankly do not quite know what that is supposed to mean. The only thing about Wiktionary votes that gives an appearance of bureaucracy is the alleged requirement that a vote needs to be discussed before it is started, and that it has to last for a month rather than two weeks. Without this requirement made by some editors, Wiktionary voting is an extremely lean process. The voting itself is wholly trivial and undemanding as regards vote logistics: one person writes up a vote and creates a page for it, other people just register their votes, each by a single edit to a wiki page. --Dan Polansky 12:58, 8 May 2010 (UTC)

Words with many synonyms, antonyms, etc.

Welcome to look at the list of words rich in relations. The list is created by my Wiktionary parser. See the same list, but for Russian Wiktionary here: [4] -- Andrew Krizhanovsky 21:07, 9 May 2010 (UTC)

Very nice. This could be quite useful for making Wikisaurus entries. --Yair rand 23:19, 9 May 2010 (UTC)

US / British

It should be either (UK) and (US) or (British) and (American). At the moment it's (British) and (US). Personally I hate British as a context marker, I actually think it sounds very American, ironically. I would rather just have UK, and have it sort into Category:British English, in the same way as {{US}} sorts into Category:American English. But either way the inconsistency seems undesirable. Ƿidsiþ 07:08, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

It doesn't bother me as much as it seems to you, but I too find it odd. It's also inconsistent that we use (British) and (US) in definitions but (UK) and (US) in pronunciation sections. Thryduulf (talk) 07:57, 13 May 2010 (UTC)
Shorter is better, IMO. UK! DCDuring TALK 10:38, 13 May 2010 (UTC)
I would favour (England) and (US) as it it seems to be the most accurate. America includes Canada, and Britain includes Scotland. —CodeCat 10:40, 13 May 2010 (UTC)
There are some terms that are UK-wide and others that are specific to one of the constituent parts, (UK, Ireland) is better than (England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales). Also I'd prefer to see (UK, except Scotland) than a huge list. Thryduulf (talk) 12:01, 13 May 2010 (UTC)
UK/US please. (Without prohibiting more detailed regional markers where justified). Conrad.Irwin 12:03, 13 May 2010 (UTC)
Agreed. Also while America includes Canada (in one sense of America) US does not. Mglovesfun (talk)
Agree with Conrad. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 12:08, 13 May 2010 (UTC)
Effected.​—msh210 16:21, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

Not so fast, cowboys. There was a lot of discussion about this. British is used by most dictionaries, and it corresponds to British English, the conventions of educated vocabulary, spelling, orthography originating in Britain and until recently taught in schools throughout the British Empire and Commonwealth. American isn't used because it is ambiguous, since the discovery of Canadian English during the last century or so, because it can mean either US or North American (=Canadian and US). Michael Z. 2010-05-13 19:38 z [correction. Michael Z. 2010-05-13 20:07 z]

Also, as an argumentum ad verecundiam, the OED uses Brit. and U.S.  — Raifʻhār Doremítzwr ~ (U · T · C) ~ 19:43, 13 May 2010 (UTC)
In a peer-reviewed survey of 10 dictionaries, labels American or U.S. were used, as well as Brit. or British, but not U.K.. See Norri (1998), “Regional Labels in Some British and American Dictionaries,” in International Journal of Lexicography, v 9, n 1, p 1. Michael Z. 2010-05-13 20:03 z
Comes back the whole thing that British spellings are not British words. A word can have a British spelling without being used in the UK. Mzajac, have you ever actually replied to this point? I think I've put it to you about 25 times without any reply. Mglovesfun (talk) 19:49, 13 May 2010 (UTC)
Yeah, as you first mentioned, we don't have separate classifications for spelling and vocabulary – all types of regionalisms are treated just as regionalisms. I don't see how you'd add this feature, as it would make labelling complex and confusing, and the identity of our entries is based on their spelling. Michael Z. 2010-05-13 20:25 z
Sorry, but what does the British spelling versus British word thing have to do with this?​—msh210 20:08, 13 May 2010 (UTC)
Mglovesfun wants to talk about two sets of regional labels and categories, one for words and the other for spellings; wherein, e.g., labor/labour are labelled as different regional spellings for a single universal word. I'm not sure what he actually wants from me regarding this, or how it's relevant to this label change. Michael Z. 2010-05-13 20:25 z
The four countries main bits of the United Kingdom do not correspond to any linguistic realm. Michael Z. 2010-05-13 20:16 z
Just FYI, Northern Ireland isn't a constituent country — it's a province.  — Raifʻhār Doremítzwr ~ (U · T · C) ~ 21:02, 13 May 2010 (UTC)
Oops. I got the terminology from w: Countries of the United Kingdom, which does state that it is mixed up. Michael Z. 2010-05-13 21:44 z

Also, we do have Category:British English, and Category:American English and Category:Canadian English, contained in Category:North American English. “UK English” doesn't make much sense: excepting perhaps some judicial or government-administrative vocabulary, there is no dialect or variety of English that stops at the borders of the UK (which includes England and Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland). Michael Z. 2010-05-13 19:58 z

No one was (here) proposing to change the category name. Only the context label.​—msh210 20:08, 13 May 2010 (UTC)
I get that. So a term from Category:British English, a variety of the language which spread through the British Empire and Commonwealth in terms and spellings like aluminium, football (“soccer”), hockey (“field hockey”), kerb, tram, and tyre, would be labelled “UK,” looking as if it were restricted to one particular federated country. Michael Z. 2010-05-13 20:16 z
I think you are trying to see distinctions where there aren't any. In practice if a word is common in, say, Canada as well as Britain then it needs to be labelled (UK, Canada) because "British" for most people does not imply usage around the former Empire, whatever lexicographers call that form of the language. If it is common everywhere except the US, which is what you seem to be implying, then in fact it doesn't need a context label anyway. And although "American" can conceivably mean "North American", I just don't accept that for 99% of users it implies anything other than "from the US". Ƿidsiþ 08:48, 14 May 2010 (UTC)
Right. I think that for the vast majority of people "British" means "from Britain (i.e. England, Scotland, Wales, and perhaps some Channel or other islands)" or "from the U.K. (i.e., the above plus all the other islands and also Northern Ireland)". I highly doubt many people see "British" and think "from the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Israel, etc.".​—msh210 14:52, 14 May 2010 (UTC)
I certainly don't read a context label of (British) as meaning "Common to all British and Commonwealth varieties of English". For that I'd expect a label of (Commonwealth) or (Worldwide except US). Canada can go either way, (US, Canada) and Template:Commonwealth except Canada can be used to contrast. If we need more precision than that in any specific cases then I think it's time to write a usage notes section. Thryduulf (talk) 15:39, 14 May 2010 (UTC)

Okay guys, so how should an editor label a word like elevenses, which according to Norri is labelled Brit(ish) in 8 of 10 major dictionaries (ChD and OED don't label native British-English words). When he sees the label British in two or three good dictionaries, should he:

  1. Know that British in other dictionaries means (UK) in Wiktionary, and transcribe the label?
  2. Know that British in other dictionaries means (Australian, India, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, UK), and add all these labels?
  3. Assume that British in other dictionaries means British here, and enter that label without realizing that some editors will ascribe a different meaning to what she has entered?

What's an editor to do? How's a reader to know that our convention is different from every other dictionary they've seen? What is our justification for going against convention and making our labelling incompatible the important references? Michael Z. 2010-05-14 22:47 z

  • What makes you think "British" means "Australian, India, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, UK"? I simply don't accept that. The OED does not use the term that way; they label things Brit. when they are "British English", a term which is regularly contrasted with other areas of the Commonwealth: I quote from their Overview: "The varieties of English covered include British English, American English, Australian English, New Zealand English, the Englishes of the Indian subcontinent, Southern Africa, and the Caribbean, among others." In this specific case, if indeed elevenses is used in all the places you say it is, then it probably doesn't need a context label. A word which is used everywhere except South Africa would be unlikely to get one, after all, and if you really want to make people aware that it's not used in the States, then that's probably better done with a Usage note or a def-line bracketed comment. Certainly labelling it British, when you mean "everywhere outside the US", is not the best solution. Most people – even most editors – think "British" means "used in Britain" (and I'd say that's a reasonable assumption). Ƿidsiþ 00:42, 15 May 2010 (UTC)
The OED's definition and citations of British English (s.v. British) make it clear that it is chiefly contrasted with American English. Some other dictionaries:
  • 1990, Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English, 8th ed., Oxford: Clarendon Press:
    Brit. indicates the use is found chiefly in British English (and often also in Australian and New Zealand English, and in other parts of the Commonwealth) but not in American English.
  • 1991, Collins English Dictionary, 3rd ed., Glasgow: HarperCollins Publishers, p xvi:
    Brit. [. . .] mainly to distinguish a particular word or sense from its North American equivalent or to identify a term or concept that does not exist in North American English
  • 1994, Merriam–Webster's Dictionary of English Usage, ISBN 0877791325:
    454: Let's begin with a cursory glance at British English. [. . .] Our only two fairly recent examples of British folks—and these both from Commonwealth sources—are of this construction: [followed by quotations from Australia and Barbados]
    611: In the following examples, the first three are British, in the broad sense that comprehends the Commonwealth nations: one locates a place, one a thing, and the third might be intepreted either way. The rest of the examples are American. [followed by quotations from Doris Lessing, Zimbabwe, and J. Stevenson-Hamilton, South Africa, and Stuart Cloete, South Africa]
    730: Persevere may sometimes be used with with; although it is found in American English, it seems more often to occur in British and Commonwealth English:
  • 2004, “Guide to the Use of This Dictionary” in Canadian Oxford Dictionary, 2nd ed., Don Mills: Oxford University Press, p xvii:
    Brit. indicates the use is found chiefly in British English (and often also in Australian and New Zealand English and in other parts of the Commonwealth except Canada) but not in North American English.
  • 2006, American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 4th ed., p xxxiii:
    This Dictionary contains a number of labels noting the restriction of particular entry words and senses to specific areas of the English-speaking world. Among them is Chiefly British, which acknowledges that words are seldom restricted exclusively to the British or American vocabulary and in fact are often in use elsewhere in the world, as in New Zealand or South Africa.
  • 2010, “Usage Labels” in Merriam–Webster Online:
    The label British indicates that a word or sense is current in the United Kingdom or in more than one nation of the Commonwealth (as the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada).
I didn't say elevenses is used in those places. But several fine dictionaries imply that it is part of a vocabulary which is.
Again: when our references label a term British, how would you transcribe that into a Wiktionary entry? Michael Z. 2010-05-15 04:59 z
Michael, those quotes don't convince me, at all. Come one, admit it, all they really show is that most dictionaries are lazy and only bother to distinguish between words common in the UK and those in the US, and then they hedge their bets by saying that many British words are also used elsewhere. It's not good enough, and we can and do do better. The OED in its new revisions always distinguishes "Brit." from Canadian, SAfrican and other forms of English, and so should we. So my direct answer to your question is that if we are going by a dictionary reference to "British", we should tag it here UK (putting it into Category:British English) until and unless we get further clarification from Canadian, East African or Australian editors, or until we can check its existence in a dictionary covering those forms of English, or in a newspaper or website from that part of the world. Ƿidsiþ 07:46, 15 May 2010 (UTC)
All the references you have used there appear to be from dictionaries published in either the UK or the United States. What terminology do South African, Australian, etc dictionaries use? Without knowing the answer to this, I would say that if a dictionary is using "British" to mean "English as spoken in Great Britain" then we use (British) or (UK), if however it is using it to mean "English as spoken in places other than the United Sates" then we should use the more neutral (Commonwealth)" Thryduulf (talk) 07:51, 15 May 2010 (UTC)
Widsith, British labels non-(North) American terms and spellings, practically none of which is restricted to Britain. AusE, IndE, IrE, NZE, SAfrE, have all inherited the majority of common, universal Briticisms like aluminium and boot (“car trunk”). It's wrong to transcribe British as UK, thus purging these other English-speaking regions from our dictionary until we happen to look up a thousand words in an Anglo-Indian dictionary. Of course there are also more-restricted Australianisms, Northern Englandisms, etc.
Thryduulf, I've also included the best Canadian dictionary. Can you cite any dictionary which labels common Briticisms, e.g. aluminium, with a long list of countries?
Any that uses the label “Commonwealth?” Commonwealth is wrong because there is no commonality in the English of CW member countries, and British English is also the basis in non-Commonwealth countries. E.g., Canadian (CW) English is non-British, Ireland's (non-CW) English is British both geographically and etymologically, and many countries have joined or left the CW, without changing their form of English. Michael Z. 2010-05-15 08:19 z
"British labels non-(North) American terms)". Says who?? If some dictionaries treat it like that, it's sheer laziness. It certainly does not mean there is some distinction between "British" and "UK". There isn't, not to me and not, I'm willing to bet, to most users. If everyone uses aluminium except Americans, then it doesn't need a context label; only aluminum does. Labelling it "British" doesn't help, because everyone think that means "used only in Britain". Ƿidsiþ 11:01, 15 May 2010 (UTC)
By the way, the OED's definition of British English: ‘the English language as spoken or written in Britain, as contrasted with those forms used in the United States or other English-speaking countries’. Ƿidsiþ 11:12, 15 May 2010 (UTC)
It is not sheer laziness, it's not “some” dictionaries, and I've done a lot of work finding citations that say who, so please don't recite “says who” when you're just offering your opinions and no evidence. It starts with the OED and pervades the best dictionaries. OED doesn't label British terms, it treats that as the default (⅔ of the OED's development happened before the British Empire disappeared, but that historical dictionary remains the basis for English lexicography). When the same term or spelling is used in all the British world, the OED doesn't label it. But any international or North American dictionary adds Brit(ish) to these same terms. That represents the language continuously spoken in Britain since it arose, and in the British Empire for 450 years, until a mere 70 years ago.
But there are two main varieties of the language, British and American, which are very widely used. So I don't agree that British terms such as aluminium and kerb should be left unlabelled, as if North American English were some insignificant dialect. And in the recent few decades there has finally been study and recognition of other real English dialects, and they are not treated merely as collections of quaint regionalisms which are to be avoided in written “Queen's English.” Canadian English is unique among these: although it is essentially an American dialect, it inherits many terms and spellings from both main branches, and so its differences from either must be addressed. You can't just leave aluminium unlabelled, implying that it is used worldwide, nor can you label it except US, implying that it is used in Canada. Michael Z. 2010-05-15 15:49 z
I don't care how you label it. I'm literally not interested, use a Usage note or use a list of countries, it doesn't make any difference to me. What you can't do is pretend that anyone understands "British" to cover everywhere outside North America: they don't. "British English" means primarily "English used in Britain", that's how the dictionary defines it, that's even how we define it. As you say, much recent work has given us a good understanding of worldwide forms of English, so there is no longer any excuse for just using "British" and "American" to cover everywhere. (Or what do you propose to do with words that are only used in Britain? – but that's another tangent.) What I can't understand is why you're so opposed to this – surely more accuracy is better, surely listing which areas, specifically, use a given word, is better. Ƿidsiþ 16:28, 15 May 2010 (UTC)
Regarding OED's “British English,” it has 5 citations where it has different senses in the 2010 draft rev.:
  • (1867) British English is the vernacular dialect, contrasted with unaccented upper-class English (which you and I might both call British English).[5]
  • (1892) British English contrasted with the vulgar-London or ‘Cockney’-influenced Australasian
  • (1932) British English contrasted with that current in America
  • (1967) British English contrasted with American
  • (2004) British English contrasted with American, differentiated by the efforts of Webster et al.
Even the latest regional dictionaries still use the dictionary label British (not precisely “British English”) this way. The ubiquitous system has been modified by layering regionalisms over the background of the very large category of British. There is no reason to break with the practice of all of our best references. There is no reason to throw out two centuries of lexicography and start from scratch.
You haven't justified throwing all that out and starting to use UK. Is this valid at all? Can you name a few terms that are used in the UK and not used outside of it?
The usage label British (English) has a particular range of meaning in lexicography and linguistics. We must define our labels, and let's not define them differently from other dictionaries just because you aren't happy with the state of the art of lexicography. Michael Z. 2010-05-15 16:51 z
Come on dude, we must be able to agree on something here. We are just going back and forth and the key point seems to be what "British English" means. I think it means "used in Britain", based on dictionary definitions and common sense, but you have shown that some lexicographers use it as a catch-all for words that have spread through the Commonwealth area. Fair enough; I totally believe you. But I feel strongly that it doesn't indicate that to many people. And when I said above that it was a kind of laziness, I meant that don't you feel it came about by dictionaries saying, ‘Well, those countries just use more-or-less British English, don't they?’ But we now know that they really don't. As you said earlier, a lot of good work has been done on world Englishes recently, and I think it's better to represent this in a more nuanced way than just slapping "British" on everything. And yes – there are loads of words only used in Britain and not outside it, one I was working on recently is mooey (me being a Londoner..). As for the unwieldiness of trying to list lots of countries where necessary, there are other ways around it which don't sacrifice accuracy to terseness. The OED's new entry for mum (mother) includes a sort of usage note: ‘The word has a wide geographical spread, although in U.S. usage the equivalent MOM is more common’, and I imagine this sort of thing might be called into action for some entries. It seems like a good solution to me, certainly better than using "British" and leaving New Zealand or Kenyan readers to get irritated or marginalized still further. Ƿidsiþ 17:08, 15 May 2010 (UTC)
Well, there are two questions that complicate each other.
1, our main topic in this heading, is replacing the commonly-used label British with UK. The UK is a political unit composed of England and Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. Linguistically, do the parts of the UK have more in common with each other than with places outside of them? (Is mooey used everywhere within those borders and not, for example, in the Republic of Ireland?) Is there a sharp isogloss between the two Irelands, and none between England and Scotland, or Scotland and Ireland? I don't see that UK is acceptable as a linguistic label at all, much less superior to British.
2, that readers and editors don't inherently understand the nuance of the label British as it is used. I see that. Firstly, I think using a label inconsistent with all the quality dictionaries would be a much more serious problem for editing, for referencing our work, and for a large number of readers who, it seems, don't have any problems with all those other dictionaries. We can mitigate difficulties by creating findable documentation (which I can start on immediately, given consensus on this), and with a well-explained, consistent labelling policy that is harmonized with English-language lexicography produced in the last two centuries and in the foreseeable future. Michael Z. 2010-05-15 22:39 z
Why not have a look at a typical scenario with a term that is labelled British that is used outside Britain? For example I, an Irish English speaker, come along and see a word I use a lot that is labelled British. That's wrong, I think, because I am not British, but I use that word. So I change it to British, Ireland or somesuch. This is a very likely scenario that is going to happen quite a bit if we use British to mean 'not American'. —CodeCat 17:27, 15 May 2010 (UTC)
Is this an actual scenario, or speculative? I would offer a scenario where an editor sees the label British on the same term in 3 reference dictionaries which use it to mean “not North American,” and copies it to Wiktionary, where it shows up as UK, and some readers and editors take it to mean “Northern Ireland but not Republic of Ireland, and nowhere else outside of the British Isles.” My real scenario is when I see British in all of my references, and you want me to change it to something else. How does our labelling compare to your own Anglo-Irish dictionary? Michael Z. 2010-05-15 22:39 z
It has nothing to do with that, but everything to do with common sense. What does the term British mean? 'Related to Britain'. Not 'related to any place that speaks English except for America'. That is how people are going to understand it, because that is what it means intuitively to them. Never mind what existing dictionaries say. Remember that a large proportion of users on Wiktionary is not from a native English-speaking country and is not familiar with OED or any other kind of 'authoritative' English dictionary. If Wiktionary wants to blindly follow a bad convention set by other dictionaries, why not just change the main page to a link to www.oed.com? The point of Wiktionary is that we have the means and the resources to make things accessible to everyone. That's what Wiktionary is all about. And making things accessible means phrasing things in a way that makes the most sense to the most people. —CodeCat 23:08, 15 May 2010 (UTC)
So according to common sense, when I see that COD, M–W, RH, and AHD all label aluminium “chiefly British,” and I see that at least three of these dictionaries explicitly state that the label has a wider scope than Britain, how would I transfer this information to Wiktionary? (Don't you think it's pretty arrogant to throw every one of these dictionaries out the window and state that you know better than their collective editors and lexicographers? You really think that ignoring conventions makes things more accessible?) Michael Z. 2010-05-16 06:04 z
Michael, the dictionaries you refer to are all British or American: they don't care about making fine distinctions. What about a user in Cape Town, who looks it up in the Oxford Dictionary of South African English, or in Brisbane who uses the Oxford Dictionary of Australian English? Aluminium is not labelled "chiefly British" there, so what should they do exactly? What information are they supposed to transfer to Wiktionary? Ƿidsiþ 07:39, 16 May 2010 (UTC)
Also Canadian – the CanOD has “aluminum ... (also Brit. aluminium)”. I'm not familiar with the policies of those dictionaries. The Australian Macquarie Dictionary (2005) has “aluminium ... Also, US, aluminum”. Its forward doesn't appear to explain this, but from a quick look, this dictionary appears to treat British English as the default. So I'd have to check more references to treat aluminium globally. Michael Z. 2010-05-16 15:55 z
I (an American) agree with a large chunk of Mzajac's point. It's like how a theoretical dictionary of "Norse" (Swedish + Nynorsk + Bokmal + c.) might label a usage (Swedish), thereby indicating that it's specific to Swedish, without implying that it's specific to Sweden (see [[w:Finland Swedish]]). British has the obvious sense "used in Britain", but it also has an IMHO surprising sense "used in a language variety called 'British English', one of two major English language varieties". (For one clear example of this latter sense, see [6].) Mzajac contends that most other dictionaries use (British) in this latter sense, as a dialect label rather than a regional label; I think that's true in general, though in large measure it's probably due to their failure to distinguish these two senses. Since British English (insofar as it exists) is spoken in so many countries, it's easy to imagine a British-English word that's not actually used in Britain, but I tend to doubt that these dictionaries would use a (British) tag for it.
So the problem here is that we've just taken what may often be a dialect label, and changed it to be an unambiguous region label. I think this was probably the right move — Americans, and apparently Canadians, think of "British English" as a single entity, but I'm not sure that has much linguistic validity, and I think region labels are much more verifiable/NPOV/etc. — but it makes for an awkward transition. There was an unacknowledged semantic change here.
RuakhTALK 23:19, 15 May 2010 (UTC)
Australian, New Zealand, South African, Anglo-Indian, and many others are varieties of British English, and so words they have inherited from British English continue to be British English words (Canadian English is likewise descended from the American English that was spoken before the United States of America was founded, but since it has much British vocabulary, it is dangerous to label a word American and assume it is therefore also Canadian). Few linguists will explicitly state these relationships because they see no profit in displeasing the prideful national masses. Of course each of these language varieties has many unique and original characteristics, and a life of its own now that it has moved out of its parent's basement.
Also, we are a historical dictionary. Many terms labelled British were spoken only in Britain before there was a United Kingdom or British Empire, and in the worldwide British Empire before, for example, Australian or New Zealand English even existed, and continued to be taught as standard English in the empire even as Australianisms and New Zealandisms were coined. The scope of the label is much longer in time than just this year, or just the last 50 years. Michael Z. 2010-05-16 06:04 z
It's a poor lexicographer in my opinion who continues to think of New Zealand or South African English as "British English", and that is not how the term is ever defined. It is sometimes used that way by default by dictionaries who do not have much treatment of world Englishes; the only one that does have such global treatment, the OED, is revising all its entries with far more specific labelling, and we should be doing the same thing. But ANYWAY, IF "British English" means what you think it does (which, to most people, I still insist it doesn't), that is really a separate issue. The category "British English" is not going anywhere. The issue is what we put on the def-line, and "UK" has no different meaning from "British" in this respect. Ƿidsiþ 07:33, 16 May 2010 (UTC)
That's a strawman argument – we are putting restricted-usage labels on terms, senses, and spellings, not on countries. Aluminium is not a New Zealandism or South Africanism, but a Briticism which continues to be used in many countries. Sure we can add detail (Jamaican, or except Jamaican) when we find that info. But until we do, we will most often rely on the most accessible references (many of them freely available, and consulted hundreds of times per day for this project). Michael Z. 2010-05-16 15:55 z
After reading through all this, I'm inclined to stick with my original position (US & UK). Widsith makes an excellent point that most dictionaries have simply been lazy and have only looked at the US vs UK divide and largely ignoring other varieties (or assuming them to more or less fall under one of those two super categories). I don't know if we can afford to be all that finger-waggy at them, as we've been doing the same. In any case, even if using the term "British English" to refer to all non-American forms of English is the standard, it's not one I want to follow, because, as Widsith has repeatedly stated, it's just damned confusing and I very much doubt that many readers will make that inference. Additionally, as Widsith has already stated, we can do better; we can have UK, South African, Australian, etc. because they're all distinct entities which deserve reference. Ruakh also makes an excellent point that categorizing words by region, instead of by dialect is far easier, far more practical, and makes for drawing lines in the sand which dialectical division does not. There are, of course, some dialects that defy regional categorization, such as AAVE, but by and large I think it to be a workable system. Sorry Mzajac, your points are not without merit, but Widsith's got my vote. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 08:22, 16 May 2010 (UTC)
Then there is one final point to make. UK (so far) includes Northern Ireland as well, whereas Britain does not. English in Northern Ireland is more likely to resemble Ireland's English than Britain's English, so perhaps we should use Britain as the label. —CodeCat 09:32, 16 May 2010 (UTC)
If we must use strictly national labels, then use all three of Irish, Scottish, and England or English, because these are linguistic categories, while UK is not. (Although England's English is more diverse than the entire rest of the world's, so England or a so-called “UK” is equivalent to a register label Standard English, not a strict regional label) And, per Widsith's suggestion, we must also treat British English as the English default, so that widely-used Briticism like aluminium would be marked “except Canadian and US” or “except North American”. This would also let us be more efficient and consistent by always making British spellings the lemma, and treating corresponding US or US & Canadian ones as alternate forms. Michael Z. 2010-05-16 15:55 z
(It occurs to me that regional labels label regionalisms – terms originating in, limited to, or having special meaning in particular regions. A regionalism is not just a word current in a region and elsewhere. British works with this, since, e.g., aluminium is specific to British English, and not to Australian, New Zealand, etc, even though it is inherited by those descendent varieties. If we abandon British and only list countries, then we lose the hierarchy of regionalism and its implied special meaning. [The alternate form aluminum is not an Americanism in one sense, since it is the original British form]. Michael Z. 2010-05-16 16:44 z)
Michael, my understanding of your position from everything you've written here is that there are two varieties of English, "British" and "American" with the former consisting of significantly less important divisions such as "Australian", "South African" and "Irish". My position (and seemingly that of everyone else) is that if this was ever true it isn't any longer and to pretend otherwise is ethnocentrism. I understand that you are saying we should label everything that isn't American as "British" because that is what other US and Canadian dictionaries do, and what the OED used to do, however I don't agree with this. Print dictionaries have a national focus, and in the majority of cases the only differentiation between varieties of English that is felt to be worth the space is to differentiate between American and local, or between local and non-local English. Wiktionary as an international project without a local variety of English and without space constraints should be distinguishing between all forms of English as precisely as possible (imo). It is just as useful for us to distinguish between English as spoken in South Africa and New Zealand as it is to distinguish between English as spoken in the USA and England. Thryduulf (talk) 17:19, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
To say that we have no space constraints is not accurate. We may have no effective storage space constraints, but human users do have cognitive and perceptual constraints. As long as we have some small level of concern for normal human users we share some of the space-limitation concerns of print dictionaries and certainly those of other on-line dictionaries. Until such time as we have more localization delivered to unregistered users, I venture we do most users no service by displaying such lists.
It would be a shame to squander the gift of effective screen space for well-cited entries that Atelaes has given us. OTOH, it may be that his code could provide the basis for selectivity in the display of contexts and definitions. DCDuring TALK 17:54, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
Thryduulf, I think your position is based on misunderstanding. Firstly, the OED did begin as a British-oriented dictionary in the 19th century, but in the 21st it is the most international English dictionary. It never did label terms British. It can continue not to do so because as a historical and etymological dictionary it recognizes that British English is the language stem, and doesn't label words that have spread unchanged as if they were regionalisms. All 10 dictionaries surveyed in Norri 1996 are international in scope, even if some (not all) are made for national readerships.
Even if you oppose OED's labelling scheme (I'm not advocating it, but it is attractive): I don't understand how you can claim that ignoring the information in many of our references serves the dictionary or its readers (incl. ignoring the label British). I don't understand how you think fabricating a fantasy language region “U.K.” does so (there is no such variety or dialect of the language as UK English.) I don't understand how the inevitable confusion between conventional labelling (incl. British) and an incompatible system (with an apparent near-synonym UK, having a different meaning, or perhaps no meaning, in a linguistic context) could be better.
I'm concerned that you refer to ideology. This is not ethnocentric (in any sense, since, e.g. Australian English isn't an ethnicity) and no one is implying that some person is less important than anyone other. No matter how long the language is spoken, it will continue to be a historical fact that the spelling and pronunciation of aluminium, currently in dozens of countries, was inherited from British English. Documenting its etymology is not ethnocentrism. But citing imaginary chauvinism, pretending that all of our English didn't come from England, and censoring the label conveying that information does not advance the scholarship in this historical dictionary. Michael Z. 2010-05-17 19:10 z

(unindent) Michael, your argument has now become bonkers. Consider: you are saying that because aluminium was "inherited from British English", it should be given a British context label as a way of "[d]ocumenting its etymology". But context labels are not there to show a word's etymology – they are there to show in what contexts (including geographical ones) the word is, in fact, used. (Otherwise you might as well label every word in the language British!)

Another point where I think you've gone wrong: it's untrue to say that the OED continues not to label words used in Britain as "British". They have been doing so consistently since they started revising the new edition back in 2005 or '06 or whenever it was. Why? Because, as you say, they are now "the most international English dictionary", and it's therefore right and necessary that they distinguish between those words used in Britain and those used elsewhere – including in Australia, South Africa, East Africa and so on.

You say that there is no "fantasy language region ‘U.K.’". If it seems ridiculous, only consider how much more fantastical is your idea of British English, which looks for a single standard taking in not only the UK but half the world. But anyway: the UK is not a fantasy region, it is in fact exactly what is referred to by the term British English. That is how we define it; that is how the OED defines it; that is how the Wikipedia article defines it and discusses it at some length. Please let us drop the idea that British English means something else, when it clearly doesn't. Yes, I know the UK region has internal differences and variation, like any language region, but it is still a useful area to consider as a whole.

This whole (useful if tangential) discussion only started because I thought British English was better labelled UK on definition lines (though still categorized into Category:British English, which is what it's generally called). I thought so because it's more concise and also in keeping with the way we label words as US. Personally I don't find your objections very convincing, but the fact you are making them suggests the term "British" can be ambiguous, which is a further strong reason for preferring "UK" as a tag. Ƿidsiþ 06:49, 25 May 2010 (UTC)

Hideable Quotes

I've added some javascript to WT:PREFS, and I was wondering if I could get some community feedback. If you go to the "Experiments" section you'll see an option for collapsible quotes. If you check that, and then head over to User:Atelaes/Demo, you'll see it in action, utilizing {{quote-hide}} (if you don't see hidden quotes there, you may have to refresh your cache). Now, I'm not advocating this as standard practice, so much as asking if folks think it'd be ok if I (and anyone else who feels so inclined) started using it. I'd also be interested in what others would think about adding this to our standard javascript, so everyone gets this. The beauty of the template is that if the javascript is not enabled, they just see the quotes like they normally would; the template's invisible. Thus, the template would be usable, if perhaps somewhat ill-advised, even if the javascipt isn't available to everyone. I would also be more than receptive to critiques and suggestions for improvement. I must admit that the entry looks very blue with all the linked words in the definitions plus the show/hide buttons. I had considered using a simple, black plus and minus button, which would probably be less distracting, if also somewhat less clear. Oh, there are a few minor oddities about the entry, such as odd comments attached to the quotes, which are......to be brought up in a later conversation, so don't worry about them too much. Thoughts? -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 02:14, 8 May 2010 (UTC)

I don't see the option in PREFS. What's it called?  — Raifʻhār Doremítzwr ~ (U · T · C) ~ 02:27, 8 May 2010 (UTC)
It's called "Enable collapsible quotes.". I added it fairly recently, so you might have to refresh your cache for it to show up. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 02:28, 8 May 2010 (UTC)
Aah, yes; sorry, you did mention that.
This sort of thing is sorely needed. In principle, I certainly agree to it, though I have my reservations. As you said, the excess of blue is distracting; besides unlinking the more common words, there should also be a better toggle for the quotations. Do you remember Ruakh's template that had the same purpose? I think I prefer its presentation to {{quote-hide}}'s. Collapsible boxes with lightly-greyed backgrounds serve to make the text of quotations and the text of definitions easily distinguishible, even when all the quotations are on display. Anyway, those are my first reactions; sorry they're not more helpful — as my first question might have suggested, I'm very tired.
BTW, there seems to be a display problem with sense 3.1 / 3.1.1; what's that about?  — Raifʻhār Doremítzwr ~ (U · T · C) ~ 02:41, 8 May 2010 (UTC)
3.1.1 is right....sort of. That's one of those things you shouldn't worry about just yet. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 03:04, 8 May 2010 (UTC)
And ultimately, the look of the quotes isn't affected by the template. I suspect that alternate coloration could be worked in pretty easily. However, I must say that I prefer my version, in which the definitions appear as if they had no quotes whatsoever, with nothing disturbing their structure. However, you are, of course, entitled to your opinion. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 04:23, 8 May 2010 (UTC)
  • It's a wonderful thing. I personally don't and wouldn't wikilink as high a proportion of the terms in the definitions and dislike the appearance of 3.1.1. What's the next step? DCDuring TALK 09:18, 8 May 2010 (UTC)
    Query, is citation/talk/history namespace content downloaded at the same time as principal namespace content? Separate downloading speeds user access to the "core" content. DCDuring TALK 09:25, 8 May 2010 (UTC)
I dread the use of the template on our more polysemous English entries and, eventually, on multilingual entries, if they get attested. (I've learned to stay away out of the water.) We could use some guidelines on appropriate use of citation space vs principal namespace for citations. The template itself would be useful in facilitating the scanning of numerous citations in citation space as well as for economizing on vertical screen space in principal namespace. DCDuring TALK 12:04, 8 May 2010 (UTC)

If I want to see all of the quotations, it takes 12 clicks in this entry – I'd much rather see a single toggle for all quotations, whose setting is persistent across all dictionary entries. An animated transition might help the reader maintain context (CSS3 or javascript). Some readers may want to never see quotations, some always, and many may want them during a browsing session or part of it. No one wants to click 12 times.

What about example uses? Would these always remain visible, be grouped with quotations, or have a separate toggle?

No gray boxes, please! Let's use typography to differentiate, not add more clutter. Michael Z. 2010-05-08 18:42 z

I tend to agree with you on the lack of grey boxes. As for showing/hiding all at once, we could add a button which would do that, perhaps just one "all" trailing the first def. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 00:02, 9 May 2010 (UTC)
  • It would be nice if the it could be integrated with the Citations tab, whence it would transclude content on-demand (by using labeled section transclusion, or whatever). --Ivan Štambuk 19:19, 8 May 2010 (UTC)
Perhaps we should abolish Citations: entirely, except for use where a sense or a word has not yet been defined. Nadando 21:58, 8 May 2010 (UTC)
I think we should aim in the other direction - to fill the citations namespace with more words than are in the entries. Conrad.Irwin 22:15, 8 May 2010 (UTC)

We also need variations of this for translations – so I can show only the Japanese translation for every entry if I'm preparing for a trip to Japan. And maybe 3 visible lines and the rest revealable for etymologies, because some are very long. What else? Michael Z. 2010-05-08 21:47 z

Just talking theoretical here: we need a relational database, so the text of our citations can be searchable on its own, and so one citation can illustrate different entries without duplicating it. Just try finding the word “journal” or “page” in our citations! Michael Z. 2010-05-08 22:43 z
That would be trickier. I suppose we would need some kind of absolute tagging for this to work. Truth be told, while I think it could probably be done in JS, it would be better done in the PHP itself. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 00:02, 9 May 2010 (UTC)
Yeah, I think this would have to be a shift past the MediaWiki software, so I have barely dared to mention such a change. I have a vague idea that could be done within the namespaces and templates, I fear that this couldn't transcend the level of a monumental kludge. Michael Z. 2010-05-10 02:58 z
Or an integration with English Wikisource. Some kind of an extension that would accept complete word inflection (also variant and obsolete spellings) as a parameter, and generate Wiktionay-compatible format of citations, properly extracting authors and year of publication from the meta-content (in templates). It could also interface with other on-line corpora (Internet Archive, Google Books, COCA...), and extract content from them. The search feature is already there, it only needs to be properly glued. --Ivan Štambuk 08:13, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
(We'd also have to accommodate fair-use quotations, where the the source is proprietary.) Michael Z. 2010-05-11 05:41 z
Wooooahhh there. I think we need to distinguish between citation creation and presentation. What you're talking about is acquiring quotes, which could well be done, but would be a bot job, not a software job. A software job would be more along the lines of "presenting quotes which have already been harvested somehow". In response to Mzajac's comments, that's basically what I was thinking. It could probably be done, but it'd be unavoidably ugly. Hippietrail has been working on a Wiktionary specific version of Mediawiki for some time, but I haven't heard anything on that front recently. He had some good things going. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 12:19, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
Etymologies is a good idea, and not too hard to do either - though I'd cut it off earlier than three lines. Again you have the problem of "show one" versus "show all" - hmm... You might be able to get away with Etymology being always "show all" if you did some stuff to make sure the screen didn't jump when showing etymologies that were above the top. For these quotation buttons, can we put the button between the definition (a la "paper view") so that it is more clearly delimited (at the expense of slight vertical expansion). If we were to use a system like WT:Usability/flag, it would be possible to have a row of toggles under each definition for "etymology, quotations, translations" and a row of toggles at the top for "show all". Translations per language again is probably harder to get "right", I imagine what would work best is showing the translations you want to see when the box is supposedly "hidden" and then allowing the show button to give you the rest. Conrad.Irwin 22:15, 8 May 2010 (UTC)
I like that usability flag. I think it would be quite reasonable to have etymology and pronunciation as trailing L4's, instead of preceding L3's, except in cases where they're being used as nesting sorters, which is the minority situation. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 00:02, 9 May 2010 (UTC)
  • YES, YES, and HELL YES. I have been waiting for this for a long time, and I really think Wiktionary needs this to develop. Now at last we have the ability to add substantial numbers of illustrative quotations without clogging up a page. Can I start using this straight away? Ƿidsiþ 09:18, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
I was wondering if it might take your fancy. :-) As to your final question......sort of? The most important thing to keep in mind is that, at least for the time-being, the functionality of this template is on an opt-in basis only. Your average visitor will see the quotes exactly as if you hadn't used the template at all. Thus, I suggest not adding a hundred quotes to a single entry just yet. However, the responses on this thread seem generally positive, so I think it's worth cautiously moving forward with it. In fact, doing so is probably the only way to get real discussion on this and iron out any potential issues. I think I can safely count on your support of moving this to the general population's javascript at some point in the future? -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 12:19, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
Actually, scratch that. I realized that the addition of all those {{quote-hide}}'s is a right pain in the ass. As it stands, the template does nothing other than give the javascript a location, so it knows what to hide and where to put the button (the button is created entirely by the JS, the template doesn't have any content). I can probably just teach the JS to find the definitions and any quotes (and perhaps also example sentences) and just do it all without the {{quote-hide}} training wheels. That way, all the quotations we've got would be instantly hidden, instead of having to chug through all our entries and add stupid templates at the end of every sense. Give me a few days to work on it. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 13:21, 11 May 2010 (UTC)
Tell us more! Michael Z. 2010-05-11 05:41 z
Can this be made to work in something like the manner that Ivan suggested, by transclusion on demand from the citations page? If it cannot be made to work that way, I fear that our best-attested entries, with abundant documentation of current and historical usage will be the ones whose downloading most often leads users to interrupt downloading and go elsewhere. Personally, I can always deal with the delay in downloading by switching to another tab, working on hardcopies of entries, consulting a reference, reading a book, dusting my desk, sorting papers, or going outside for some exercise.
If we don't care about such users, then we can save ourselves a great deal of aggravation by deciding to basically ignore them, if not forever, then for now. What we could ignore are their low-bandwidth connections, non-Javascripted hardware, failure to register, and failure to use Wiktionary. We could also substantially eliminate complaining, vandalism, unformatted contributions, folk etymologies, boring questions, and other pesky behavior. Subsequent generations of folks just like us will probably be grateful. See WT:Purpose#Users. DCDuring TALK 11:12, 11 May 2010 (UTC)
Truth be told, it's not something I'm terribly worried about. We'd have to add hundreds, if not thousands of quotes to add any noticeable load time. It's just raw text, after all. As for non-javascripted hardware...... The thing is that javascript is one of the standard languages of the Intertubes. I don't think it's unreasonable for us to assume that everyone's browser has a reasonably compliant JS engine (granted, we have to make some allowances for all those poor folks still trudging away on IE). We can try and limit the damage folks without JS suffer, and in this case I think we do. The quotes would look just normal for them, just like they do for everyone else now. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 13:21, 11 May 2010 (UTC)
I think it's unreasonable. The page must degrade gracefully, emphatically in a project whose philosophy is the universal distribution of free information. The page has to be readable without javascript, in a text-only web browser, by Google's indexer, by our search, and in print-out. It has to be readable in every obscure screen reader and braille display that we will never even hear of for as long as we live, so it has to conform to normal web standards and authoring best practices. If javascript is used to reveal an element, then javascript should be used to hide it in the first place, so that information is readable by default. CSS can be used to make it look a certain way, but the page has to also work without that.
(That reminds me, I have to go and nuke our custom-formatting framework for definition lines and labels, which uses CSS as a broken content management system.) Michael Z. 2010-05-11 19:47 z
I'm worried about your not being worried. [[water]] is my test unit. It contains no animations. I think it is virtually unusable as is, though it only takes a few seconds more to load on my modest, aging laptop with a cable-broadband connection. It is a kind of miner's canary for us. (Or are my modest, aging laptop and my immodest, aging self the canary equivalent?). DCDuring TALK 14:29, 11 May 2010 (UTC)
Mzajac: Fair point. So, the question is, does the quote hiding mechanism fail those tests? The content is all there, and isn't hidden until the JS goes to work. It is hidden by CSS, but it's javascript created CSS hiding. I am also for web standards compliance, and if I have failed one of their standards, I would like to know. I would argue that machines would probably read quotes better which use my system, as it's now sort of nested in the content it matches up with. Granted it's not actually nested (in the html), but....it's closer. As for screen-readers, I have no idea. I'm open to feedback in that area as well. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 22:21, 11 May 2010 (UTC)
Coming back to this thread late, but at this time it looks just fine in Safari/Mac (Javascript off) and Lynx (text-only). Michael Z. 2010-05-17 03:50 z

DCDuring: water is a bit more complicated, as it's pulling up about a billion templates, mostly language and script templates, which is probably where the delay in load time is coming from. I suspect that our use of language templates doesn't scale very well. Something that integral to the system should probably be built into the software more intimately. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 22:21, 11 May 2010 (UTC)

WT:ELE: Alternative spellings and forms

location and usage need to be explained

In Wiktionary:Entry layout explained, I would suggest that the alternative spellings (followed by any alternative forms) should go BEFORE the Etymology, UNLESS they are specific to a particular part of speech or usage, in which case they should go in the appropriate section. Feel free to comment at Wiktionary talk:Entry layout explained#Alternative spellings and Alternative forms - location and usage need to be explained. Thanks, Facts707 19:25, 10 May 2010 (UTC)

This is currently the case (see the list of headings) - so you are advocating adding an explicit section describing alternative spellings to WT:ELE too? Sounds like a good idea. Conrad.Irwin 19:36, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
Thanks. There are only two occurrences of the word "alternative" in WT:ELE, and one is not relevant to this discussion. "Alternative spellings" is shown as a section header in a "typical entry" in the section WT:ELE#Alternative headings, but it has no explanation and no link to WT:Alternative spellings. There is no mention at all of "Alternative forms". Further, there is no mention as to when an alternative spelling should go before the definition (I would think, if ALL etymologies match the alternative spelling). E.g. tire is listed as an alt spelling for tyre at the top of the entry, but tyre is listed as an alt spelling for tyre only in one of the two etymology sections. I did make these very basic and (to me) obvious modifications (as of 18:53, 10 May 2010), but was reversed. Since WT:ELE seems to be extremely sensitive to change, I'll leave it at that for now and wait for a vote to come along in a month or two. Facts707 07:23, 11 May 2010 (UTC)


"Deze gebruiker spreekt vloeiend en foutloos Nederlands."<eror-fre=no exist---Please note, I have [[Repetitive Strain Injury]] and find typing very hard. I use a form of shorthand, which may be difficult to understand. I can be contacted through MSN (sven70) or Skype (sven0921) if my meaning is unclear. 22:49, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

This user account--User:Sven70--should be indefinitely blocked. Another account of the same user--User:史凡--has been permanently blocked on English Wiktionary for intimidating behavior. We do not need to run into Sven's drama again only because some Wiktionary non-editor--User:WizardOfOz--requested Sven's unblocking based solely on Sven's account of how things are.--Dan Polansky 08:29, 14 May 2010 (UTC)
I don't understand, blocked for what? Ƿidsiþ 08:41, 14 May 2010 (UTC)
See above. Mglovesfun (talk) 09:25, 14 May 2010 (UTC)
Unblocking Sven70 is equivalent to unblocking User:史凡. There is the same user behind the two user accounts: Sven J.G. Verels. Sven J.G. Verels has been blocked for intimidating behavior. Of course, not only some accounts but all accounts of this person should be blocked. If the central question is what it is that Sven J.G. Verels has been blocked for, it was for intimidating behavior, part of which is traceable online in English Wiktionary, while another part has been delivered through email to some users including me. --Dan Polansky 11:04, 14 May 2010 (UTC)
Dan, could you provide some links? I recall the user(s) being rather confusing to read and overly dramatic, but not intimidating. I have not, however, yet managed to read every conversation which has taken place on Wiktionary, and so could have well missed something. Also, if you feel comfortable forwarding the email(s) in question to a trusted fellow admin, that might help as well. Though if you don't, I don't think anyone could blame you. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 12:08, 14 May 2010 (UTC)
Let me check if I understand "intimidating" correctly, given that I am a non-native speaker. Per "intimidate": "To make timid or fearful; to inspire or affect with fear; to deter, as by threats; to dishearten; to abash". I have to admit that I have received no post from him that would be threatening. It was EncycloPetey who did receive such a post. For more on this, see Wiktionary:Beer parlour archive/2009/October#Can y'all reconcile this please?. --Dan Polansky 13:18, 14 May 2010 (UTC)
Some abusive, though probably not intimidating, post is here: User_talk:Dan_Polansky/2009#Get_off_my_talk_page.21. --Dan Polansky 13:24, 14 May 2010 (UTC)
I have a fairly extensive history of emails from this user to myself and to User:Logomaniac (some of which other users have already seen). The basic premise is that Sven, being disabled, is deserving of respect that we (to quote: shitheads/fuckers/bastards/nazis) aren't giving him; and the emails range from petty insults to death threats. I am happy to forward these to anyone interested - while they are all written in shorthand, its pretty clear what is meant. I don't mind giving him a second chance, but I would advise people to avoid revealing their email addresses by replying to anything they might receive through the "Email User" button. I will not hesitate to block him if it looks like any of the haranguing from the past is about to begin again. Conrad.Irwin 13:34, 14 May 2010 (UTC)
You mean third chance? He sent threatening e-mails to some users, then played innocent to others in an attempt to gain sympathy. He doesn't want fair treatment, as he often claims, but wants people to do things they are not capable of doing, and gets angry and abusive when they don't do what he's demanded. He insults other people, and them claims they were the ones being abusive. We were very patient for a long time, and I don't see that we need to go through that again. --EncycloPetey 13:58, 14 May 2010 (UTC)
I agree. As far as I'm aware, he hasn't even acknowledged that his past behavior was unacceptable. If and when he does that, then we can consider unblocking him. —RuakhTALK 18:29, 14 May 2010 (UTC)
Ok, that seems conclusive enough from where I'm standing. I've rebanned the user. I was a little torn on whether to disable email, but given that he has already misused that privilege, I've decided to do it. If any other admins think that we should leave that avenue of apology open, then feel quite free to adjust the block settings without even discussing it. Any other modifications (i.e. unblocking, shortening block, etc.) should at least be noted here. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 21:09, 14 May 2010 (UTC)
Did I miss something? Is there to be no response to the original question, because, well, it is a little bit of hard work to understand what the man says? I am a trusted admin on en-WP, and I am willing to receive the intimidating emails. I would note that I have spoken (via Skype) with Sven and he is really rather frustrated that people will not respond to his posts until his temper gets the better of him and then he gets blocked and when, as in this case, he posts a legitimate query his past is used as an excuse to ignore him or - case very much in point - simply make sure no one has to go to the effort in responding. LessHeard vanU 21:43, 14 May 2010 (UTC)
Yes, lots. At least 5 administrators have accused this user of sending abusive emails, and relations on-wiki were very strained in the past, there's plenty of history you can find if you are interested (I don't think anything's been deleted, but feel free to ask if you find something you want to see). I'll forward you the contents of a few (though don't have the patience to go through them all again). Conrad.Irwin 21:51, 14 May 2010 (UTC)
I should have asked, do you know what the question here means? It's not written in the shorthand (which is understandably, if time-consuming), but nor is it written in English... Conrad.Irwin 22:13, 14 May 2010 (UTC)
It's Dutch. I think he's suggesting a correction to the text of {{User nl-4}}; however, what he proposes instead is very different from what's there at the moment, so I don't know.  — Raifʻhār Doremítzwr ~ (U · T · C) ~ 22:24, 14 May 2010 (UTC)
The text quoted by Sven appears to be from Wikipedia's W:Template:User nl-4. Sven seems to say that "foutloos" ("flawless" I guess) is inappropriate in that template, as no one can speak absolutely flawless Dutch. --Dan Polansky 22:32, 14 May 2010 (UTC)
And he brought that here why?  — Raifʻhār Doremítzwr ~ (U · T · C) ~ 00:42, 15 May 2010 (UTC)

So I have read those above, and would like if someone could proceed me those mails. @ Dan, I am not a wiktionary contributor as you say, but I am Sysop on three projects including meta and IMO a trusted user globaly as a global rollbacker. I am here because Sven asked for help on meta. I can understand your opinion, if your words are true, but how will you feel when someone is allways hacking on you just while you can´t communicate other than in shorthand? If every single wort you write is discussed just because someone can´t understand you and you have no posibility to change it? I don´t want to excuse what he has done before, but just want to make you understand how he perhaps feel. Now he is just suggesting a change in template, even if this is a wrong place, and you are attacking him. Have you ever heard about assuming good faith? If you have a problem with him, it´s ok, you don´t need to have any contact with him. Go your own way and let him try to make his own. This is a first user we have with such dissability. What if the next comes around? Should we block everyone who is not normal? Has he send you anything in meantime? If the community decide to block him for his attacks, it´s ok for me. But I also saw other rough words not coming from him. Whole thing has come up just because of hard way of communication. What do he need to do to make you happy? Is it enough if he apologizes? --WizardOfOz 07:30, 15 May 2010 (UTC)

For the record, Sven is not the first user we have with a disability. I know for a fact that I am not the only disabled user of this project at the moment. I also know that there are several other regular editors who are dyslexic. Sven's particular style of writing on main pages was immensely difficult for those people as well as for myself, and repeatedly proved itself to be not worth the time. And yes, I know I'm late to the discussion. But. --Neskaya contribs talk? 15:08, 2 June 2010 (UTC)
Re "This is a first user we have with such dissability. What if the next comes around? Should we block everyone who is not normal?": You imply that Wiktionary admins block people for their disability. But posts above in this thread show otherwise: the person owning the user accounts User:史凡 and User:Sven70 was blocked for intimidating behavior. His having RSI is no excuse for his intimidating behavior, while it may in part explain it. But an explanation or even a causal explanation is not justification. --Dan Polansky 07:47, 15 May 2010 (UTC)
I've forwarded you the same selection of emails I sent to LessHeardVanU. I think most of us would admit that we're not the most tolerant of communities, though this is not the root of the problem here. As I have repeatedly told Sven, the problem is his insistence (evidenced by his choice to use shorthand) that we should go out of our way to help him, coupled with his anger if we don't do everything he wants. Communities like this are for volunteers to have fun, it is utterly unnacceptable for one user to assume a god-given right for special treatment. Of course, he has a right to a certain degree of tolerance, none of us are perfect, and I am aware that as he began to irritate more people, levels of tolerance plummeted. I don't think this excuses his behaviour, and I am firmly of the opinion that an infinite block was correct and justified at the time. Now, had it been through some accident that he became unblocked, it may have been ok to see whether he had matured; as I see it is yet another instance of him demanding special treatment (this time using the "if dad says no, I'll ask mum" approach), I am content to let the current block stand. For what its worth, there are other users here with disabilities and difficulties, as far as I'm aware, none of them share Sven's attitude, and (relatively) harmonious commmunal dictionary-building has ensued. Conrad.Irwin 10:14, 15 May 2010 (UTC)
Could you forward this selection of e-mails to me as well? Anyway, apart from overt and unambiguous offences or threats, I think we should appraise the users here by the accuracy and conduciveness of their edits to wiktionary rather than by their morosity (I am aware intimidation, offences and threats are not inmplied by the notion morosity and that is why I am eager to wade through these e-mails). The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 10:38, 15 May 2010 (UTC)
To check if I understand: by morosity do you mean a tendency to complain and whine? It seems that "morosity" means gloominess or cheerlessness in English, judging from dictionaries. --Dan Polansky 12:12, 15 May 2010 (UTC)
Yes, by morosity I meant sombre mood and ungregarious and gloomy behaviour towards others but not to the extent of becoming offensive or threatening. The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 16:05, 15 May 2010 (UTC)

I have diagnosed Sven with w:Münchausen syndrome and I find indef-block justified.--Vahagn Petrosyan 11:18, 16 May 2010 (UTC)

You have not diagnosed anything. You have no evidence that Sven70 feigns a disorder. If this is one of your jokes, it is a bad one. --Dan Polansky 11:42, 16 May 2010 (UTC)
It's not a joke. He edits the mainspace without making a single typo but then comes to Beer Parlour or users' talkpages, posts gibberish and abuse, because he craves our attention, IMO. --Vahagn Petrosyan 12:13, 16 May 2010 (UTC)
I'm skeptical of a diagnosis made based on such evidence, but, even if I did think it accurate, I fail to see how that would change the situation. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 18:58, 16 May 2010 (UTC)

So after i read the mail and this posting above, i just wonder why sven is blocked when someone can post a self maded "dignosis" without sanctions on wiki space. There are hard words in the mail i recived, but I can´t finde any of them somewhere on wiki space. But in my opinion, the post above is a kind of pretty ofensive harassment posted on wiki space. @ Dan: you didn´t answer the questions i asked. Have you recive any newer mail? Is there no possibility to change behavior in few months? Is there noone who deserve second chance? He has just post a sugestion and now there is a discussion about his behavior months ago. --WizardOfOz 19:28, 16 May 2010 (UTC)

Thank you for your interest, but Sven has already had a second chance, and continued to harass people after being blocked the second time. The fact that he lied to you about the reason for his block shows that he is not repentant. This happened months ago as well, when he privately sought sympathy from some admins while sending e-mail threats to other admins at the same time. Most of his posts on Wiktionary were non-constructive, so unblocking him would not benefit Wiktionary, and would most likely serve to harm the community again. --EncycloPetey 19:34, 16 May 2010 (UTC)
The last email that I have received from Sven Verelst, an insulting one, is from Oct 17, 2009. I have had and seen enough interaction with Sven Verelst to be disinclined to give him any more chance for more insults and drama.
Re "There are hard words in the mail I received, but I can't find any of them somewhere on wiki space": So what? You have the evidence that you have asked for, haven't you? --Dan Polansky 08:24, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
And here is the apology (nld'abusiv1s were/must'vben[ined2gothru'm ovedetop4wichi'pologiz-, bold by me) for these hard words, at least as far as I could understand. Are you disinclined to face and consider it as well? The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 21:25, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
Well, that could be interpeted as an apology, if it were quoted out of context. However, look at the bulleted list of demands for diffs that follow that line. He's requesting proof of his misbehavior point by point, which looks to me more like a prelude to wiki-lawyering than an apology. When we blocked Sven the last time, he sent "friendly" e-mails to Logomaniac all about hugs and apologies and understanding, while simultaneously sending threats and intimidation to other admins. After each "apology" e-mail to Logomaniac, another (unprovoked) abusive e-mail would come my way or someone else's. His last e-mail to me began with "gonathretnme i/myprivatlifmate?" and proceded from there. I have no idea what that was about as I never sent him any e-mail and never intend to after his abuse and threats. That particular message was sent to me five days after he had sent one containing phrases like "iherew/*unreservdly apologyz*4praps also'v'urt urfelins" and "imkinda notda persn2holdagrudg i/gnrl" and "do onto others wotu 'dlik'em2do onto u" to Logomaniac. Quite a reversal for five days without any provocation (again, I never sent him any e-mail whatsoever). So, I really can't place any faith in an apology from Sven, as he has backed out on his apologies before, and that in the midst of an attempt by an admin to help him reconcile. --EncycloPetey 03:21, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
If you, EncycloPetey, and Dan, are unwilling to accept apologies from Sven, however pænitent and unambiguous they may be (such as the one I quoted from meta), then please at least do not publish excerpts from his e-mails without his permission. The procedure Conrad followed is the proper one - forwarding e-mails to the person who demanded them. The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 08:40, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
Please do not give your personal opinon that Sven's apologies are "pænitent and unambiguous", because they are neither, as many of us have seen. My point is that you have offered nothing in this matter that we haven't already been through before. You asked if we were disinclined to consider his apology, and you have an answer with solid reasoning to support it. --EncycloPetey 02:13, 20 May 2010 (UTC)

Ligature=== -> ===Letter

There are a few entries (in Telugu, Malayalam and Translingual) using Ligature, everywhere else uses Letter. (cf. æ, ). Should we subsume Ligature into Letter, or allow both? Conrad.Irwin 01:06, 14 May 2010 (UTC)

Can we add a new type of header? Ligature wasn't used before simply because there are not enough contributions in languages using them. Some examples I looked at: œ - Letter, لله - is also a word, although it's a complicated Arabic ligature, لا - a word. These 3 examples also fall under ligatures. Hindi uses ligatures as well, e.g. स्त्र. A symbol would be too broad, a letter is incorrect. I suggest creating a new header - ligature. When there are more contributions in Hindi, Kannada, Gujarati, the ones you listed and a few others, it will be heavily used.--Anatoli 01:29, 14 May 2010 (UTC)
We have a lot of Hindi... I even did some ===Ligature=== entries for Devanagari. I don't think we should really use "letter" except for proper alphabets (Latin, Greek, Cyrillic)... maybe for abjads (Hebrew, Arabic). But abugidas like Devanagari are just too different... it doesn't seem right to compare them too much.
On œ, while it certainly is a ligature, I don't think it's unfair to call it a letter. — [ R·I·C ] opiaterein — 01:32, 14 May 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for your contributions in Devanagari script and Hindi, Opiaterein. Ligature is not a standard header but if you look at the entry for œ, it says a ligature of o and e. Ligature œ is usually not included in the French alphabet, neither is ß in the German alphabet. European languages would have a few: æ, ß or ij but Indian languages would have too many to be ignored. We should allow ligatures, IMO. --Anatoli 01:38, 14 May 2010 (UTC)
But abugidas like Devanagari are just too different... it doesn't seem right to compare them too much. Why not? We should classify them somehow. Any phenomenon should be described and given a name, especially in English. I would exclude Hangeul from this, e.g. , otherwise all the Korean symbols would be ligatures, except for Jamo symbols. --Anatoli 01:46, 14 May 2010 (UTC)
We could classify them... as ligatures? >_> — [ R·I·C ] opiaterein — 12:39, 14 May 2010 (UTC)
They have this header but it generates Category:Entries with non-standard headers, as in स्त्र. What needs to be done to make them standard? --Anatoli 12:51, 14 May 2010 (UTC)
It generates that header because AF has a list of headers it likes and anything else is "non-standard". There is no universally agreed-ypon list, just the list that AF happens to have been given by Robert. If the community adopts a new header, then we add it to WT:POS and tell Robert so he can adjust AF. --EncycloPetey 13:46, 14 May 2010 (UTC)
To stop them going into the category, you need to talk to User:AutoFormat. I think you can "just" edit User:AutoFormat/Headers, but it may be worth checking with Ullmann first. It'd also be worth adding it to WT:POS for human reference. Conrad.Irwin 13:42, 14 May 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for the answers, I'll look into it. --Anatoli 03:19, 15 May 2010 (UTC)
Whether a certain symbol is a ligature or a letter is actually language specific. In Latin, æ is a ligature of a and e. But in Danish, it's a letter in its own right and has its own position in alphabetical order. And of course it's a single letter in IPA as well. Perhaps whether something is a ligature or not is a matter of etymology (if that term makes sense for a symbol)? —CodeCat 09:34, 14 May 2010 (UTC)
That's all right, the heading could be different for different languages. In Czech CH, Ch and ch is a letter of the alphabet and it is always a digraph in others. --Anatoli 03:19, 15 May 2010 (UTC)
I quite like 'character' myself. Mglovesfun (talk) 12:44, 14 May 2010 (UTC)
It seems like a good idea to use Ligature where appropriate, given how often they are incorrectly called digraphs and diphthongs; moreover, Category:English ligatures would be a more populous category than Category:English articles.  — Raifʻhār Doremítzwr ~ (U · T · C) ~ 21:11, 14 May 2010 (UTC)
In the Indic scripts, these are often called conjunct consonants. However, that only refers to the truncated, subscripted, or superscripted consonant, not the whole ligature. And vowels form ligatures with the consonants as well...for instance, the letter (ka) plus a vowel matra yields these ligatures: का कि की कु कू कृ कॄ कॅ कॆ के कै कॉ कॊ को कौ क्. That’s why conjunct consonant won’t do. I think ligature is the best word. Digraph won’t work, because you can have स्त्रा स्त्रि स्त्री स्त्रु स्त्रू स्त्रृ स्त्रॄ स्त्रॅ स्त्रॆ स्त्रे स्त्रै स्त्रॉ स्त्रॊ स्त्रो स्त्रौ स्त्र्, each made of three consonants and a vowel. The Indic scrips have tons of these. —Stephen 02:45, 15 May 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for the answers, all. Stephen, guys explained what needs to be done, could you help with the proposal to "legitimise" the ligatures, please? --Anatoli 03:19, 15 May 2010 (UTC)
I have left a note to Ullmann, and added it to WT:POS.
To clarify re AutoFormat: yes, you just edit User:AutoFormat/Headers to keep things from being tagged. They should have "NS" set in the appropriate column unless and until they are approved by vote/or some process. AF does only read the control files when started, so you do have to poke me when it should read edits. (I've done this, and you can consider me poked, I'll restart AF in a moment ;-)
The objective is to keep headers to a finite set that are well-defined (we hope), and not an arbitrary open-ended set that users of the data cannot reasonably be expected to deal with; it is not to limit headers we want to define and use.
that said: my own opinion (aside from AF) is that "Ligature" is a fine idea for an L3 header like Letter, Symbol, and so on. Robert Ullmann 20:03, 15 May 2010 (UTC)
Yes, it should be the same L3 header. --Anatoli 10:30, 16 May 2010 (UTC)

Other headers

As part of my ongoing vendetta to get part-of-speech headers correct on definitions (to make http://toolserver.org/~enwikt/definitions/ as good as possible). I've whittled it down to 134 entries with part-of-speech headers that are not currently on WT:POS. The list I am working off is at User:Conrad.Irwin/pos errors, should anyone else wish to join in. As my expertise is very much "not" in the part-of-speech header area, could I ask for suggestions on treatment for the following headers (presumably we can add some to WT:POS, while others should be replaced) used on more than one entry:

  • Onomatopoeia (used by some Japanese nouns) -> interjection
  • Preverb 10 (same as verb prefix? used in Ojibwe and Chickasaw) -> WT:POS
  • Prenoun 2 (depends on preverb, used in Ojibwe) -> WT:POS
  • Hantu (and variants) -> "Han character?" -> Han character
  • Preposition phrase (add to the "deprecated" table with "Noun phrase"? (and/or deal with in one's face, up against it and out of the box) Thanks DCDuring
  • Kun-reading of: and On-reading of: (with the colons...)

Thanks in advance. Conrad.Irwin 15:44, 15 May 2010 (UTC)

Onomatopoeia should not be a POS, though it is useful to note in etymologies. Animal sound onomatopoeias (the most common kind) should be interjections. My understanding was that "preverb" and "prenoun" are necessary POS's for some languages and should be kept, but we should run that by Stephen. I agree that "Preposition phrase" should probably be deprecated and changed to "Preposition". No idea about the others. East Asian languages have always mystified me. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 15:51, 15 May 2010 (UTC)
"Preposition phrase" can almost always be replaced by "Prepositional phrase", for use of which we had a vote (relevant only for English?). It is intended to shorten some entries where the phrase can be used both as adjective and adverb with no change in meaning (though the definition may not be fully substitutable for all usages. OTOH any "phrasal preposition" should be a preposition. DCDuring TALK 17:15, 15 May 2010 (UTC)
Thanks both. The burning question now is what to do about the readings headers? Could anyone tell me what they even are? Conrad.Irwin 00:59, 16 May 2010 (UTC)
They've driven me crazy for many months, working from Ullmann's old problematic-header lists. Do you think that {{attention|lang=XXX}} would get someone to look? DCDuring TALK 01:41, 16 May 2010 (UTC)
WT:AJ#Hiragana_entries currently prescribes this abomination, and apparently cannot be altered without recourse to the abomination that is WT:VOTE. ... This situation puzzles me; I thought CJK reading entries (in kana, pinyin or hangul) were the whole reason for having the ===Syllable=== header in the first place. (e.g. ). -- Visviva 18:25, 22 May 2010 (UTC)
I think that the about language pages are supposed to be guidelines, the only vote about that page seems to be to approve this change. I notice that AutoFormat has taken to un-definitioning them [7], which resolves the main problem I have with them, but it would be nice to sort them out properly as opposed to sweeping them under the carpet. There is the ===Readings=== header too (音#Japanese), but is that for the reverse direction? Conrad.Irwin 19:11, 22 May 2010 (UTC)

WOTD - word of the day candidates

Are you sure that the very rare words are the good candidates for the WORD? For example, today's WOTD is "pleased as Punch" is so rare and infrequent phrase, that there is no one translation...

My propose is to nominate as WOTD only the words (not phrases) which are complex enough, i.e.:

  1. there are several meanings
  2. the word should not be too specific for English, i.e. it should be possible to find translations to other languages...
  3. it should be the word, not a phrase

Because, I think that WOTD is a possibility to improve the dictionary entry by many editors. Today's "pleased as Punch" is a bad choice from this point of view. -- Andrew Krizhanovsky 16:04, 15 May 2010 (UTC)

EncycloPetey is in charge of WOTD. His philosophy towards it is to find words which are common enough that they are encountered from time to time, but rare enough that a given person might not know them. The point is to provide words which users will find interesting and can perhaps add to their personal lexicon. WOTD is not meant to highlight a word for collaborative editing. We used to have WT:COW, which filled that purpose, but it is long since abandoned. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 16:24, 15 May 2010 (UTC)
+1 today's WOTD Ruritanian... which is a bad candidate for a command work, because it has too specific meaning... I think so, because there are no translation into other languages, and I can't imagine how to translate it into my native Russian :(.
OK, if WT:COW is dead, then I will be happy if the candidates for the WOTD will be more common words. Because... WOTD it's not only possibility to know more (to extend my lexicon), but also WOTD is a good opportunity to make a best article from the good one. Thanks :) -- Andrew Krizhanovsky 05:52, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
We often have WOTD selections with no translations into other languages. Sometimes this is because the entry is new or has had very little edit history, but sometimes it's just a difficult word to translate. Please note that, on those occasions where a common word was WOTD, that is when we got the most complaints from users about a poor choice for WOTD. People do not want WOTD to be a common word. That isn't what a "word of the day" means to people. In any case, translation is not the purpose of WOTD, and never has been. Part of the reason that WT:COW and WT:TOW are dead is that most contributors to them stopped participating after a very short time. So, making WOTD into a replacement for those projects is a sure way to kill off its popularity as well. We do often have people come in and help to improve the WOTD entry and to add translations, but that is not the purpose of WOTD nor should it be. --EncycloPetey 02:01, 20 May 2010 (UTC)

New and improved hideable quotes

So, I've reworked the javascript I wrote and presented here. Instead of using a template to specifically ask for the quotes to be hidden, the JS now simply finds all the quotes and hides them automatically. Additionally, it also now works on example sentences. Finally, it also adds an "all" button to the first definition in every clump of definitions, which toggles all at once. I've tested it in recent versions of Firefox (Linux and Mac), Chrome (Linux), Opera (Linux), and Safari (Mac), but don't have easy access to try out IE. Anyone who had previously turned on the hideable quotes option at WT:PREFS should have it fed automatically to them, as I've switched the code which that pref turns on, though you may have to refresh your cache for it to work. For all others, I would like to very humbly beg that you try it out (it's in the experimental section of WT:PREFS) and see what you think. Since this is no longer something called by a template, the next logical step would be to simply include it in our standard JS, and have it fed to all users. I was thinking of letting folks use it for a month or so and then holding a vote. So I would like to reiterate my request that everyone try it out, and post here with your thoughts, whether positive or negative, so that I can address any issues and know whether it's worth my time to start a vote (it's not if the vote's just gonna get shot down). Many thanks to all. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 17:57, 15 May 2010 (UTC)

It's great. It worked fine on my FF 3.6.3/Windows XP set up. It definitely needs something to suggest what lies beneath. As it is, it is only somewhat clear in the cases where the citations appear under a "Quotations" header. It would defeat the purpose to to require such a header. [I would be happy if we outlawed the Quotations header totally with a possible exception for quotes that are both famous (to justify inclusion) and consistent with more than one definition (to justify not being under a specific sense).] DCDuring TALK 19:25, 15 May 2010 (UTC)
Can I ask for a clarification? Do you mean that it's confusing for quotes which appear under a "Quotations" header, or just in general? Also, could you give me an example of an entry with a quotations header? I can't think of one off the top of my head. Thanks. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 19:28, 15 May 2010 (UTC)
My main objection is that it appears without any explanation of what is hidden if the quotations appear immediately following a sense line, as they (usually ?) do. I was afraid that you had designed this to work with the Quotations header, which IMO is an abomination, especially for highly polysemous PoSs, except in the case I specified above. DCDuring TALK 20:25, 15 May 2010 (UTC)
It looks wonderful, though I find the [+] [all] confusing. Perhaps we can re-word them slightly? Would it be better to put [all] into the Toolbox at the left? Conrad.Irwin 19:43, 15 May 2010 (UTC)
Well, I'm open to the idea of moving "all" to the toolbox, but I'm a bit concerned that users will not notice it at all. However, truth be told, I never thought it was that important. I just added it in an attempt to woo Mzajac's support. In any case, I don't know how to do it. Feel quite free to make the changes yourself. As for the pluses (I'm not sure if you're critiquing them or not, but DCDuring might have been too, so I'll just address it), I have to say that I like it simple like that. Granted, a first time user might not know what it does on first sight, but a click or two should make it fairly clear. My concern is that anything more verbose is apt to clutter up the pages. Perhaps a tooltip could help (that's what the little message that pops up if you hover over it is called, right?). -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 19:55, 15 May 2010 (UTC)
To me it all depends on whether we measure success by the size and growth of our non- and minimally-contributing user base. If we feel entitled to ignore the new-user experience, the infrequent-user experience, and the not-so-brilliant-user experience, we can successfully limit the number of pesky new users, especially of those unlike ourselves.
Registered users can be deemed to have their clutter needs addressed by being given the option of having no text appear.
If this kind of code is used to hide other verbose material under a PoS header (eg, rare, obsolete, and archaic definitions; technically or geographically specialized definitions), we ought to have some kind of clue about what lies hidden.
Something terse, small, and perhaps, enticing, should be sufficient for most new users. DCDuring TALK 20:46, 15 May 2010 (UTC)
To begin with, I suspect that the average user can overcome this hurdle without much difficulty. There is, of course, a balancing act which must be played between having too much info (which degrades usability, clarity, and aesthetics) and too little (which makes the site confusing and esoteric). Additionally, this was sort of built with the possibility of other kinds of content appearing under it in mind. I thought that the plus would well serve as a general purpose indicator of "there's more, click here!" And, while I know this sounds a little bitchy, could you stop with the sarcastic remarks, not so subtly implying that we all hate new users, and want to make this site some ivory tower where only academics can possibly navigate around? Because I want to, and am trying to, make this site usable for the broadest possible audience, and don't really appreciate snide implications to the contrary. Instead of sarcastically talking about how great it is that this interface drives people away, how about a concrete suggestion of how to make it better? Because I really do want make this setup as good as it can be, and am open to suggestions. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 21:25, 15 May 2010 (UTC)
Most sites seem to bend over backward to design to new users, apparently in the belief that experienced users will learn to ignore what they don't need. We have the extra advantage of having actual customization for registered users, which option our most experienced users and other savvy users take advantage of. As we do not, and as most efforts to work in that direction have foundered, smothered in the crib, or explicitly rejected in principle (without attracting any defenders), I have come to believe that the core of experienced users in fact does not give the proverbial fig. To me it is unconscionable, but a spade is a spade. DCDuring TALK 23:35, 15 May 2010 (UTC)
Would [quotes ▼] (or more generally [show ▼] be too intrusive? This would then match the translations table. It would also be great if things stayed open when I was editing them (just check for wgAction=='view'). Conrad.Irwin 21:31, 15 May 2010 (UTC)
It's a bit clunky for my taste, but since you both seem to think it necessary I've done it. Refresh your caches and take a look. Also, the quotes are now shown by default while editing. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 21:44, 15 May 2010 (UTC)
I agree it's clunky, but it seems that even that may not be visible enough; I keep thinking "oh, no quotes", and I know it's there... I am at a loss as to how to progress. Conrad.Irwin 23:25, 15 May 2010 (UTC)
I have always appreciated your concern for the full range of users and I envy you the skills that you are able to deploy to offer user-experience improvements such as those this effort already brings.
  1. The small size seems too small to me.
  2. A single artificial usage example is the most common thing that we are hiding. When that is the sole reward for clicking, it doesn't seem worth it. If we had some crude indicator of the content of what was hidden, it would be more useful and even enticing for less-frequent users. For example, in our display of (at least some) categories, we now show the number of sub-subcategories and entries that are members of listed subcategories. In this case, a differentiation between mere usage examples (starting with "#: ''" and full citations ("#*[templates or '''date] might be feasible. DCDuring TALK 23:57, 15 May 2010 (UTC)
Perhaps we could hide only beyond the first quote/example? Conrad.Irwin 00:06, 16 May 2010 (UTC)
A one-line usage example (few are longer), if it is any good, never struck me as a waste of space. But few full quotations take up less than 3 lines -- more wasteful. Also the first quotations is supposed to be the oldest. Thus the display of a single quotatoon would tend to make us look antiquarian.
This script does not interact well with at least some templates (mis)placed within a sequence of quotes. See abscission and laugh. (I specifically inserted the templates where I personally would but rarely try to put them. Please revert once you have grokked the issue.) I don't know whether it is better to:
  1. expend coding effort to handle this
  2. bot-find and manually correct any problematic template placement or
  3. let the instances be discovered by users. DCDuring TALK 00:23, 16 May 2010 (UTC)

That really doesn't sit well with me. To have the first quote shown, and none of the others.....it just feels so inconsistent and sloppy. I think we have to keep in mind that I think we're looking at this from a different perspective from the average user. The average user is likely going to actually read the definition they're interested in, right? We probably aren't, at least I'm not. I'm just skimming over them all and looking at the interface. My suspicion is that, if you're actually reading the definition, and, consequently, if your eyes actually spend more than a tenth of a second in that area, then you're likely to see the "quote" button. I remember when we first started hiding translation sections, and all the pages felt so damned small and empty. Yet now, on the very odd occasion that I see an entry without hideable translations (I suppose we don't actually have any anymore, do we? Well, when I saw them in the recent past) it just looks so damned messy and gross, and I don't know how we ever survived without the collapsible option. The beauty of the collapsible bit is that you don't have to see the translations if you're not interested in them. Yet, you know they're there, and are easily accessed if and when you need them. Likewise, the quotes are no longer out there, for everyone to see at first glance, and yet it's fairly clear and intuitive how to access them. As for the hidden content indicator proposed by DCDuring....I don't think that's a good idea. For one, it'd be a little tricky, though certainly not impossible to pull it off. My primary deterrent against it is how obscenely gaudy it would look. And I just don't think that it would really benefit users that much. As I've already said, most users probably won't be clicking on ten "show" buttons from an entry. They're probably interested in a single sense. Yes, they might be a bit disappointed if we only have a single example sentence, but probably not much more than if that example sentence was shown from the get-go. In the past, we've had to strike a tough balance between having too many quotes that it made the definitions impossible to navigate and too few that it didn't give a good picture of how the word's used. And, quite frankly, you could never balance it properly, because even a single quote per def was way too much, it just made the line of definitions into this big texty mess, and of course a single quote is nowhere near enough to give a proper view of the word. So, it's my hope that editors will feel much more free, in the long run, to add lots of illustrative quotes. As for the small size.....I will admit, it's a bit small, but I feel strongly that we need something to set the buttons off from the definition text. If you can come up with a more legible way to do that, I'm all ears. Finally, concerning abscission and laugh, that breaks stuff regardless of whether the quotes are hidden. Stuff like that should not exist, ever, regardless of whether we're using hiding quotes. Man, I feel like such a megalomaniac, just shooting down all your ideas (which I really, really appreciate, guys, seriously). I wish we had a few more folks contributing, to round out the picture a bit. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 00:35, 16 May 2010 (UTC)

Put a little bit of margin on the button?,
  1. Blah di blah.[quotes]
Make it Blink :D
  1. Blah di blah.[quotes]
Sorry for being so critical! You're perfectly allowed to shoot down ideas. Conrad.Irwin 00:47, 16 May 2010 (UTC)
Ok, that was hilarious. Just reminded me of this.  :-) The margin idea might work, but it would need to be a bit bigger, I think. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 00:52, 16 May 2010 (UTC)
I've experienced rejection before in this and in serious contexts.
I suppose that the "abscission" and "laugh" demos are mostly just reminders that there are have more restrictions on layout that we could or should show in WT:ELE.
The fact that, say, Category:English adverbs has the extra information about what is effectively hidden struck me as highly desirable. It allows rapid discrimination types of categories (abandoned/unused ones, overly inclusive ones [often virtually useless], highly structured ones, etc).
I have no other thoughts at the moment. DCDuring TALK 01:23, 16 May 2010 (UTC)
I'm only commenting because you keep asking for input. Indeed, my only comment is that I have no input. Almost any of the versions I've seen would be a big improvement over the status quo; and almost all of them seem to require the same wiki-text, with differences only in the site's JavaScript and CSS, meaning that I don't care one whit which version you go with, since it'll be easy to tweak later. —RuakhTALK 03:09, 16 May 2010 (UTC)
Your feedback is nonetheless appreciated, as it lets me know where one more editor stands on the position and how they're likely to vote. Thanks. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 03:15, 16 May 2010 (UTC)
At first, I had my reservations about this; I felt alarmed that this would overly marginalise our already paltry stock of citations. (Given how many I add, that was a bit demoralising.) In its present form, I don't feel that such reservations are warranted. I love that this has immediate application to all our interlarded quotations. Furthermore, the toggle is pretty much perfect — set off by an em space: | | from the definition to distinguish it therefrom, using quotes to make it unambiguous what the toggle shows and hides, and using the / symbols to make it clear that it is indeed a toggle — it immediately and unintrusively indicates it if and when there are quotations available. Praise aside, my comment isn't all encomium. I have a few specific suggestions to make:
  1. Change the three spaces: |   | presently used for spacing to an actual em space: | |. I assume that, at the moment, you're using | &nbsp; | to force that whitespace. The em space is cleaner, has a constant width, and is a useful character to have available for copying and pasting.
  2. Quotes isn't really ideal in our formal context to mean quotations. (Ref. AHD [4th Ed.] "quote" usage note: "People have been using the noun quote as a truncation of quotation for over 100 years, and its use in less formal contexts is widespread today. Language critics have objected to this usage, however, as unduly journalistic or breezy. As such, it is best avoided in more formal situations.") That said, perhaps the full quotations is too long. The OED uses quot. (sg) and quots. (pl); shall we follow their lead?
  3. Would it be possible to show "quot." (or "quote") when there is only one quotation or example sentence to reveal and to show "quots." (or "quotes") only when there is more than one quotation or example sentence to reveal? I assume it wouldn't be too much hassle: When the lines begin #, #:, # or #, #*, (#*:, #*::, #*:::,) #, show "quot."; in all other cases, show "quots."
  4. Finally but most importantly, note the display of the toggles in certain cases involving subsense structure, for example in parthenogenesis and unlachrymose. The "all" toggle only appears after the first main sense which is followed directly by quotations. For parthenogenesis, the toggle comes after the second main sense — skipping sense 1 and subsenses 1.1, 1.2, and 1.3 even though subsense 1.1 has a supporting quotation; for unlachrymose, because it has the subsense structure "1.1–4, 1.3.1–2" and because quotations have been added to support all other senses but not sense 1 and subsense 1.3, it means that it has no main sense directly followed by quotations, and that consequently, it has no "all" toggle anywhere. IMO, there should be an "all quots." (or "all quotes") toggle after the first definition in all cases where the list of definitions has any supporting quotations, be it for a main sense or (sub-)subsense.
This is excellent work, Atelaes. If taken to a VOTE, this would certainly get my backing. I hope my four suggestions are practicable and are regarded as useful.  — Raifʻhār Doremítzwr ~ (U · T · C) ~ 12:32, 16 May 2010 (UTC)
Hmmm. There seems to be some problem with displaying this quotation I added to quot. Any idea what's causing that?  — Raifʻhār Doremítzwr ~ (U · T · C) ~ 15:22, 16 May 2010 (UTC) Now displaying fine.  — Raifʻhār Doremítzwr ~ (U · T · C) ~ 14:29, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
Yes, I hope you see the possibility of a LOT more quotes in our entries, should we adopt this interface, which I think we can both agree is a serious boon to making this project better. As to the em quote, I'm gone ahead and adopted Mzajac's suggestion of the non-breaking space + space instead. Nothing personal. Yes, I think that "quotations" is too long. However, I think quots. is just damned esoteric, and I feel that the word "quote" is really not taken to be terribly informal anymore. Those guys at the OED are just so damned stodgy. :-) I gave some thought to the quote/quotes issue, but I decided that a more uniform button appearance and lack of extra coding overhead outweigh the information gained. It's a very easy and non-committal thing to click the button and find out what's there. As to the issue with subsenses.......I went the slacker route and just moved the "all" bit to the toolbox. Conrad and Mzajac, take note, it was Doremítzwr who convinced me of that move, by appealing to my laziness. Overcoming this issue with an inline "all" would have involved some pretty heavy coding, for the script would have had to truly understand some rather complex Wiktionary structure. As I've previously alluded to, I really want to keep this, simple, fast, and responsive. Even with my strong desire for simplicity, the code's growing at a monstrous rate, and I suspect that within a few weeks it'll be going by the nickname "Skynet" and will have installed itself on the Russian Wiktionary. I can sympathize with your concern that most users just won't see it, but keep a couple things: First, I think most users won't need it. They'll be interested in a sense or two at a time in most cases. The whole reason for this interface in the first place is that looking at a bunch of definitions with all their quotes shown all at once is unwieldy. Also, now that the toggle all button changes based on how many quotes are shown, one of their toolbox options will start changing on them, which I suspect will draw their attention. Finally, a note about your issue with quot.. The reason why it was initially broke was because the first version of the code didn't support any defs with both an example sentence and a quotation, a rather serious oversight of mine, for which I apologize. It works fine now, but there is a limitation to the code which should be noted. It can only handle a single block of quotes and/or a single block of example sentences. If you put a quote, then an example sentence, then another quote, it breaks. Quite frankly, I don't think we should mix them anyway, so I'm not too concerned. However, I am a bit concerned about using the example sentence format for a note about the quote. I think it would be better to take an approach like the notes section of {{grc-cite}}. In any case, if this code gains momentum, I suggest that it will spark some more serious discussion about our formatting of quotations and such. Looking back, it would appear that I've completely dismissed all of your suggestions. Rest assured that it is most certainly not personal, and that your suggestions were absolutely appreciated. I'm trying to balance everyone's feedback, while still keeping true to my own concerns and my overall vision for this feature. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 02:40, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
Sorry I've taken over a week to get back to you on this. I'll number my points for clarity:
  1. "As to the em quote, I'm gone ahead and adopted Mzajac's suggestion of the non-breaking space + space instead." — Michael Z. wrote in point 2.2 of his comment (timestamped: 2010-05-16 18:53): "‘[quotes ▲] [all]’ is a fussy, cluttered expression for just two interface affordances. We can improve this with typography… A good typographic spacer is [non-breaking space] + [space]. This adds a bit of breathing room…" I take what he wrote to refer to the spacing between the two toggles ("[quotes ▲]" and "[all]"), which was at the time a single space, and not to the spacing between the end of the definition and the subsequent "[quotes ▲]" toggle. His suggestion has since been obsoleted by the removal of the "[all]" toggle. The spacing between the definition and the "[quotes ▲]" toggle has, AFAICT, always been | &nbsp; |, so nothing's changed. I'd still recommend using an em space instead, for the reasons I gave. (Not that it's a big deal, really.)
  2. "I think quots. is just damned esoteric, and I feel that the word 'quote' is really not taken to be terribly informal anymore. Those guys at the OED are just so damned stodgy." — The reference I cited was not the OED; it was The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language [4th Ed.; 2000] (accessible viâ Dictionary.com). I completely disagree that quot(s). is esoteric; its meaning is transparent. (In that context, what else, other than quotation(s), could it denote?) If both the AHD and the OED eschew the use of quote(s) to mean "quotation(s)" (with explicit justification for that choice given by the former), then we should have better reasons for doing differently than your "feeling".
  3. "I gave some thought to the quote/quotes issue, but I decided that a more uniform button appearance and lack of extra coding overhead outweigh the information gained." — Agreed. Our various headers are invariant in number as standard, and many are plural even when the referent is singular (e.g., Alternative spellings, Related terms, Synonyms, Quotations, Usage notes, &c.). Moreover, if quote appears in the singular, the toggle may be misinterpreted as a link to some kind of "cite this source" service, akin to Dictionary.com's.
  4. "I…moved the 'all' [toggle] to the toolbox." — Even after all this time, I don't see any such button in the toolbox, nor anywhere else for that matter. I don't know whether I'm the only one who has this problem or whether it's more widespread. Can you suggest a solution to this?
  5. "If you put a quote, then an example sentence, then another quote, [the code] breaks. Quite frankly, I don't think we should mix them anyway, so I'm not too concerned." — Agreed. In my experience, the order has always been that the example sentence(s) come(s) first, followed by the quotation(s). Since coding relies on that convention now, we should codify it somewhere; perhaps WT:QUOTE?
  6. "I am a bit concerned about using the example sentence format for a note about the quote. I think it would be better to take an approach like the notes section of {{grc-cite}}." — For commentary of quotations, I've tended to use invisible editorial notes, parenthetical comments after the textual information (i.e., the date, author, text title, &c.), or (rarely) <small> text further indented after the quotation text. Am I right in assuming that none of these three methods interferes with the new quotation-hiding code? Could you explain what approach the notes section of {{grc-cite}} takes, please?
"Looking back, it would appear that I've completely dismissed all of your suggestions. Rest assured that it is most certainly not personal, and that your suggestions were absolutely appreciated." — Yeah, that's fine; you've given pretty good reasons for most of your choices. My only flat-out disagreement with you is in point 2, and I still have concerns in re point 4.  — Raifʻhār Doremítzwr ~ (U · T · C) ~ 12:55, 26 May 2010 (UTC)
Ok, so I've switched the spacing to the em space. It doesn't look too different from what was before, but there's a certain elegance in having a single character providing the spacing, so I consider it an improvement. As for quots., I'm still dead against it. I think that general Wiktionary policy precludes abbreviations in general, though I can't think of a specific example or discussion to cite......sorry. As for textual comments, {{grc-cite}} basically just tacks on comments after the context (author, work, etc). You can see it in action at User:Atelaes/Demo. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 15:05, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
Right, so {{grc-cite}} works exactly like my parenthetical comments, then. Since it would be unrealistic to expect all our quotations to be presented in templates, shall we prescribe the parenthetical method in lieu of a template's notes= parameter?
That seems reasonable. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 17:32, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
There is indeed a tendency to eschew most abbreviations here, especially in things like context tags; you needn't link anywhither that proves that. However, now that the font size of the toggle has been shrunk, the full quotations may not be too long; how about we use the full form, rather than either the excessively informal quotes or the excessively esoteric quots.?  — Raifʻhār Doremítzwr ~ (U · T · C) ~ 17:11, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
You know, that's not a bad idea. Done. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 17:32, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
That looks good. Thanks for taking the time to listen to feedback.  — Raifʻhār Doremítzwr ~ (U · T · C) ~ 18:14, 9 June 2010 (UTC)

That's pretty kick-ass. Interface could be refined. Specifically:

  1. “All” toggles a constant, hidden state. If I open every set individually, then I expect all to close them, but does nothing because it is still switching from its self-contained closed state. The results might feel better for the user if all's state was based on the first quotation, or on all quotations, or if all was a dual open all/close all control.
  2. “[quotes ▲] [all]” is a fussy, cluttered expression for just two interface affordances. We can improve this with typography, or by using the browser affordances which everyone is familiar with.
    1. The triangle is too bold. Can we make it a notch smaller, or a light grey colour?
    2. A good typographic spacer is [non-breaking space] + [space]. This adds a bit of breathing room but still allows a clean line break.
    3. Whatever we do should be done with compatibility with HTML5 <details> element[8] in mind, for when it becomes available in browsers.
    4. Square brackets represent the editorial voice, but here they are a poor man's button. Why not use a real button, which implies “this does something.” Why not keep the label a simple, unobtrusive Q, with explanatory tooltip “Quotations”. The operation is non-destrictive, so it's okay to let the user discover the details of its operation by experiment. <button type="button" title="Quotations"><small>Q</small></button>
    5. Replacing “all” with a control in the toolbox would be great. Rather than just toggling the current page, it could be made persistent via cookie, and determine the default state when pages load. Proposed text: Show quotations or Hide quotations.
  3. Instead of a separate “all” button, how about option-click (alt-click) on one Q button is the power user's “show/hide all.” To aid discoverability and provide feedback, highlight all the Q buttons while the option key is depressed, or change their labels to Q (all) when it is depressed.
  4. A different interface could be composed of heading + metadata, providing a larger interface with less in-yer-face. What if the quotations block had a tiny header that would also serve as a show/hide button:

  1. Definition of a term, quotations collapsed.
    ▶ QUOTATIONS 1861, 1930
  2. The next definition.

  1. Definition of a term, quotations expanded.
    • 1861, Johnny Appleseed, The Rain in Blaine, p 35:
      Blah blarg blah blah.
    • 1930, Li'l Abner, Lower Slobovian Nights, p 300:
      Blah blah blarg blah.
  2. The next definition.

We could tighten that reveal header's bottom margin a bit with CSS. Michael Z. 2010-05-16 18:53 z

Sorry it's taken so long to reply to all this. First, the all button is now in the toolbox. Additionally, it recognizes when it's function will be useless (e.g. if it's prepped to show, as it is initially, and the user manually reveals all the quotes), and makes the switch. Try revealing all the quotes on a page while watching the toolbox. The persistent cookie all is an interesting idea, but I'm a bit hesitant to try it just yet, until we figure out just where the script will live (i.e. will it stay in WT:PREFS, will it get moved to the main JS?). I'm open to the idea of control-click = all idea, as a supplement to the toolbox button, but wouldn't know how to do it off the top of my head. I'll dig into it when I get some time, but if you can do it off the bat, please feel free to do so. I've followed your suggestion of non-breaking space + space, and I think it works rather nicely. Thanks. I'm open to using <details> once we get some browser support on it. Quite frankly, I wonder if a lot things on Wiktionary could benefit from it. As to the idea of putting the single toggle button on it's own line.....Ruakh was working on something like that, but I feel strongly in keeping the senses arranged as if they had no quotes at all. I just think it's more readable, and allows for a more focused screenspace. As to the idea of noting what's inside the hidden quotes, I've addressed this before with DCDuring. I think it just looks too messy, and as you yourself have said, clicking the button is a very easy task. Also, it would add a fair amount of more code, and, as I said to Doremítzwr, I'm doing everything in my power to keep this simple, lightweight, and fast. As to your suggestions about reformatting the button: Some of them do look nice, arguably nicer than the current state. However, a big part of the reason why I switched buttons formats to readily early on is that I saw a great deal of value in matching this button up with the navbar button (granted it's not identical now, but it's very similar). Current users are used to this button, and it will make the new button far more intuitive for them. For future users, when they figure out one button (either one), they will quite quickly pick up on the other. Also, it just makes the site look a hell of a lot more professional and pretty when we use a consistent format for our show/hide buttons. I would be very open to a discussion on the overall format for the two buttons combined, but please, please, please make it a new thread if you want to have that discussion. This one is already seven pages (seven pages of fairly focused conversation, no less). As to your note about tightening up the reveal header with CSS, Conrad mentioned in the Grease Pit convo that the buttons make the spaces between defs a bit bigger than they should be, and suggested that CSSing the line height to 1.5em would fix it. I completely forgot about that issue (and, admittedly, wasn't terribly concerned about it initially, as the difference is quite minute). Is that the same issue you're referring to? Well, I think I addressed everything. Please feel free to mention anything I neglected or anything new you come up with. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 13:27, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
Update: changed the triangles. The reveal just makes more sense to me when the triangle/arrow points to the content to be revealed; I read it as “in here”/“down there,” not up/down. Caveat: I'm used to this convention on the Mac. If you animate the revealing quotations and rotating arrow, I'll buy you a drink. Michael Z. 2010-05-17 03:59 z
I disagree with 2.4, 2.5, and 3: "Q" is too short an abbreviation for it to be obvious what it toggles, toggles in the toolbox are too far off to the left and are therefore liable to go unnoticed, and the option+click function is very unlikely to be guessed at or even stumbled upon by most of our users. Conversely, I like 4; however, how would you gather metadata from dates that include ante, circa, or post, use approximating symbols like "~", give only a century, use A.D. or B.C., include a month or otherwise more precise date, use a "?" for unknown dates, from date ranges (like 1918–1921 or 1918–21), or from other such complex cases? Regarding the arrow in the button, compatibility with {{trans-top}}, {{rel-top}}, {{der-top}}, &c. is an issue which ought to be borne in mind. Otherwise, the right-pointing arrow makes sense for the kind of interface you propose in 4, but not when the toggle follows to the right of the definition. You say you've changed the triangle already; for whatever reason, I yet to see any such change.  — Raifʻhār Doremítzwr ~ (U · T · C) ~ 14:29, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
Q doesn't make it obvious what it toggles (although a tool tip will help). But once you've toggled it, then it will remain obvious forever. It's potentially a button common on our pages, not a user manual. But I think the ▶ QUOTATIONS header is still better, because it follows a convention for OS reveal controls, as well as serving as a subheading (can we make it ⊞ ⊟ on XP, ▶ ▼ on mac?). Regarding the control in the toolbox, think of it as an easy-access preference.
If we use dates in the header, then whatever appears in boldface at the front of an entry can appear in the header.
  1. Definition of a term, quotations collapsed.
    ▶ QUOTATIONS 32 BC, c 1720, 1918–21
I only changed the triangle in my sample, above. If the toggle is on the right, then the arrow could point left, but it will be easier for readers to find multiple controls if they all line up at the left margin, than if they follow a ragged right (and there is no reason to put a grey header box across the full width). Michael Z. 2010-05-18 19:06 z
I tested it in three browsers: IE8, Google Chrome 4.1, Firefox 3.6.3. It did not work in Firefox. The other two works fine, slightly different appearance (smaller in Chrome with other fonts appearing the same). I like this idea a lot, it will improve usability. I would also support Michael's suggestions on changing the color to grey. --Panda10 20:45, 16 May 2010 (UTC)
Can you tell me more about what happened in Firefox? I've been doing all my initial testing in FF3.6.3 (for Linux), and so I'm surprised that it failed there. Perhaps try pulling up the error console (ctrl-shift-J). Doremítzwr and Mzajac, I've read your comments, but it will take me a bit more time to properly respond to them. Rest assured I will. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 21:02, 16 May 2010 (UTC)
Thanks. Just brainstorming, so please don't feel any pressure to fulfill all of this. Michael Z. 2010-05-16 22:08 z
Nothing happens, no error (error console is clear), tried clearing the cache several times, closed/opened browser. The quotes appear as before - open. No quote button to open/close them. --Panda10 21:19, 16 May 2010 (UTC)
Well.....dammit. If you come up with anything else, keep me posted. Thanks for letting me know about this. Anyone else having trouble with Firefox or any other browsers? -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 21:30, 16 May 2010 (UTC)
In my sample, I positioned the reveal by nesting it with an extra “:”, which adds a level of definition list to the whole hierarchy. If you have control over HTML, it could be done with more semantic and accessible code, perhaps with a <br /> and <span> contained in the definition line. HTML Super-Ninja would go ahead and insert HTML5 details and summary elements and make them work with Javascript. Michael Z. 2010-05-16 22:22 z

One more comment – is there a ny way to avoid the flash of unhidden quotations when the page first loads? (only tested in Safari/Mac so far.) Michael Z. 2010-05-16 22:08 z

I don't think so. The browser loads the html, and then the javascript, and I don't think there's much we can do to fix it. I was expecting to see it myself, but haven't, oddly (using Linux FF3.6). -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 13:27, 18 May 2010 (UTC)

Should I stop using {{projectlink}} under the definition line? The 'quotes' button implies a quotation when there may not necessarily be one. Nadando 23:25, 16 May 2010 (UTC)

Yes, I think you should. I suspect that, if the community accepts this, we'll have to be a bit more tight on what we allow in the subdef space and how it's formatted. Keep an eye out for a related note that I'll be leaving for Doremítzwr. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 23:45, 16 May 2010 (UTC)

I love this so much. Ƿidsiþ 06:56, 25 May 2010 (UTC)

political POV on user pages

The user page User:Sokac121 contains a map of Europe with the flag of the illegally and unilaterally proclaimed entity of Kosovo. Even if most of you may not agree with regard to this entity, I think it goes without saying that this issue is highly controversial and must stay away from user pages here on wiktionary per Wiktionary:Usernames and user pages (must not contain controversial or offensive content) (statements such as I support/oppose xxx's independence are admissible on WP, but not there and the præsence of this map æquals to such a statement). Given the well-defined POV and controversial nature of the user's edits, I consider discussing the map with him futile. If no other administrator opposes the deletion, I shall proceed with it. If there is such an administrator, then may he please either engage the user or explain wherefore the user pages policy is to be disregarded on this particular occasion. The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 15:50, 18 May 2010 (UTC)

You've got to give the guy credit for coming up with a way of getting under the skin of those of differing views without bothering most of us. He has provoked you into helping promote his cause without making himself look bad. DCDuring TALK 15:57, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
[Edit conflict with Ivan:] Yes, WT:USER says "User pages [] must not contain controversial or offensive content (as above).", but the "as above" refers back to only "Usernames must not be offensive, as an offensive username can interfere with the community-building essential to a wiki." which says nothing about being controversial. I have little to go on, therefore. But I would not delete such an image inclusion based on the "controversial" rule. Almost anything one can put on his userpage is arguably controversial. I have "Please don't edit this page" on my own userpage: this is arguably controversial on a wiki. My userpage calls Stokoe, ASCII Stokoe, and SignWriting "standard transcription methods" of American Sign Language, again arguably controversial. Surely we don't really want anything removed that anyone finds controversial. However, the map does not satisfy the main rule of userpages, "User pages should be constructive toward the goals of Wiktionary.", and I have no problem with removing it for that reason.​—msh210 16:27, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
I took the liberty of removing the offending map and invited the user to replace it with something less controversial and more useful. --Ivan Štambuk 16:25, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
To some people, just being from a certain country or following a certain belief system is controversial and offensive. Where do we draw the line? —CodeCat 20:35, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
Nowhere. All information that is irrelevant to project participation should be removed if it is found to be disturbing on some reasonable grounds. If one states that he's sq-N and from Kosovo on his userpage - I'm OK with that. But putting a map of Europe with independent Kosovo on it is really asking for trouble. --Ivan Štambuk 21:30, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
Well, but your userpage gives your Babels in both sh and hr. That offends both people who find hr to be nationalist and offensive, and people who find sh to be nationalist and offensive! (You yourself once sought the deletion of the sh Babel-templates as insulting propaganda: see http://en.wiktionary.org/w/index.php?oldid=6146178#Template:User_sh.) —RuakhTALK 21:37, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
I don't really give a damn if it "offends" anybody. If it offends you in particular, you are free to elaborate why is it so on my talkpage, and I will consider your arguments carefully. --Ivan Štambuk 22:08, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
It doesn't offend me in particular, no, but thanks for the offer. :-)   And I see now that your original comment specifically restricted itself to "information that is irrelevant to project participation"; I suppose Babels, no matter how reasonably disturbing, are immune from that. —RuakhTALK 22:40, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
Re: "...offends both people..." To me it actually looks like he's trying to satisfy both people, rather than offend them. —Internoob (DiscCont) 20:26, 24 May 2010 (UTC)

Current Voting Policy Vote

So, there's some vote going on right now, maybe some of you have heard of it. :-P Right now, it's pretty close. We haven't yet officially decided upon a passing percentage, but I think we generally agree it's somewhere between 60 and 80. The vote stands at 68% right now. I suspect that this is going to be one of those times where we're really going to regret not having a set deciding percentage. I also suspect that everyone who wants the vote to pass is going to say that 60% is plenty, while those who don't are going to be adamant that 80% is much more characteristic of "consensus". Myself, I like 70%, and would fail (i.e. "no consensus") the vote were it to end right now. However, there are a lot of people out there encouraging folks to vote, and there are still at least 20 million Yugoslavians who haven't voted, so it could go either way still. In any case, I am very worried that the thing's a bomb waiting to go off at 24:00, 24 May 2010 (UTC). I wonder if, perhaps, we come to some agreements before then, we might diffuse it a little. It seems to me that there are two major problems that are preventing this vote from an easy pass. First, some people are concerned that it alienates outsiders; it doesn't give them a say or anything. Second, the SC cadre. Now, I think that the first can be resolved fairly simply. If the vote doesn't pass, we start a new discussion, and harangue the opposers to participate. We come to a consensus, and we start a new vote. It's a little irritating to do the whole bit all over again, but hey, what else are we going to do? If we had lives we wouldn't be editing Wiktionary in the first place, right? Quite frankly, I wonder if simply allowing folks who don't meet the standards to vote "abstain" would appease a lot of the folks. This would give them a clear way to make their opinions known, while keeping the decision-making in the hands of those who have a stake in the project. The second issue is a little trickier, however I think there is a solution. It's pretty clear that there is a group of Yugoslavian (you know, there was a point where I never thought I'd use that adjective ever again, except in a historical context :-)) nationalists influencing our voting. There are, of course, accusations flying about concerning who is responsible for that (I've even made some myself). But, for the purposes of this conversation, let's set them aside. The cadre exists. Let's deal with that present situation first. Now, it seems to me that a group of folks whose primary purpose here is to lopside our votes is unacceptable. The solution is fairly simple, even if it will probably be a bit controversial. We ban them all. We go through, and permanently block everyone who participated in both votes (regardless of which side they voted on) and has less than a hundred edits (as of the writing of this statement). None of them are contributing much to the project, as this is one of the criteria. And I'm sorry, but I just don't feel sorry for any of them, as it's just such a damned sleazy thing to do. Of course, it's not my place to do this unilaterally, so....what does everyone else think? I think it's perfectly reasonable for a community to eject a group of people who are causing trouble. So, I suggest, and earnestly plead with everyone that, we agree that 70% is the cutoff for the vote ahead of time, and agree not to moan and bitch if the vote doesn't go the way we'd like. Rather, we deal with the two problems, and do it again. Finally, this discussion only yields fruit if it does not evolve into a flame war, so if we could abstain from calling supporters "fascists" or "elitists" and from calling opposers "naive" or "meatpuppeteers", and just generally keeping our tone of voice low and civil, that'd be great. Please. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 10:05, 22 May 2010 (UTC)

I support resolutely the proposed ban of users with a scarce number of main space contributions who are specialised in casting votes. I do not feel sorry for any of them either. The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 10:17, 22 May 2010 (UTC)
The banning of users as a penalty for having voted goes exactly the opposite of what ought to be our normal preference for broader participation in all aspects of this project. Announcing it in advance looks exactly like pressuring users to change their vote. This is worse than normal electioneering. This is the equivalent of having police slapping nightsticks against their palms outside polling places. This is typical behavior of incumbent power groups: changing the rules and resorting to coercion when a decision adverse to them might occur. I appreciate that there are difficulties in our voting process. This seems like the wrong precedent or policy. DCDuring TALK 11:55, 22 May 2010 (UTC)
This "broader participation" that you keep enviosioning will never happen. Nobody reads a dictionary unless he has to (e.g. to check for a spelling), let alone writes one in his spare time. Nobody ever wrote a free dictionary size of the fraction of the Wiktionay's (current) size unless he was payed a fat cheque to do so. The best that we can hope to achieve is IPs leaving insightful (or not so insightful) comments on the talkpages. Same goes for Wiktionary policies. You think that those opposers having a single- or two-digit total number of edits will ever turn to become productive, decent editors unburdened by their original voting agenda? Sorry, never gonna happen. Yesterday it was the SC vote, today it's this vote, and tomorrow it will be any vote where some canvassed nefarious miscreants determine to blithely obstruct policy-making procedures that would be at odds with their ideologically-distorted worldview, regardless how rational or commonsense they may be in structure and intent. They want the Wild Wild West? Fine - but they should also be prepared to taste some of their own medicine. Impacts of these blockings would be infinitesimal to Wiktionary's performance, and would furthermore set a positive example of should similar disturbances arise in the future. --Ivan Štambuk 14:31, 22 May 2010 (UTC)
What you're proposing to do is a bit unconstitutional. Then again, Yugoslavs forfeited their constitutional rights, when they abused loopholes in our voting system to harm the project. Basically, what they're saying is "You cannot pass anything, unless we allow you to". I say we ban them all; this is a matter of honor and a point of principle. If we don't, then we're a community of pussies. --Vahagn Petrosyan 12:26, 22 May 2010 (UTC)
I wholeheartedly support both Atelaes's suggestions (1) to set the threshold for consensus at 70% (I'd've prefered a straight ⅔ supermajority myself, but a ⁷⁄₁₀ supermajority is close enought to it to gain my support) and (2) to ban all those who voted in both the SC vote and in the present one who had <100 contributions in the mainspace as of the time of the beginning of the present vote.  — Raifʻhār Doremítzwr ~ (U · T · C) ~ 13:51, 22 May 2010 (UTC)
I also wholeheartedly endorse the proposed crackdown measures. It's quick and dirty in nature - but it's an effectual remedy for what appears to be an intractable regulatory conundrum (outsiders ouvoting regulars in a vote that would disenfranchize them from participating in such a vote in the first place). But I would advise that the blocking should be set not to an indefinite, but to some prolonged period: e.g. 1-2 years, or at least 6 months. Just in case they decide to change their mind and commence fruitful contributing outside votespace&talkspace. --Ivan Štambuk 14:25, 22 May 2010 (UTC)
Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose permablocking, per DCDuring. I totally understand your frustration, Atelaes, but our current voting guidelines explicitly say that regulars from other Wiktionaries are welcome to drop in and vote. Besides, if we really want to go on the offensive, wouldn't it be simpler to take it to their turf, and start vandalizing the SC nationalist projects? ;-)   —RuakhTALK 14:59, 22 May 2010 (UTC)
We extremely frequently qualify, modify, and contradict the letter of our written policies when absurdity results, whilst remaining true to their spirit. Why can't we apply the same informal approach to this débâcle, where an undeniable absurdity has resulted from the way a policy has been written? Our voting policy was intended to keep our voting process open to external input, not to allow bands of POV-pushing outsiders to veto the decisions legitimately taken by this community.  — Raifʻhār Doremítzwr ~ (U · T · C) ~ 15:36, 22 May 2010 (UTC)
Unfortunately, we have now a fairly repræsentative bunch of editors from Dutch wiktionary in the Oppose section and your approach (start vandalizing the SC nationalist projects) would hardly be effective there. Any idea as to why they ganged up with Croatian nationalists? Would you settle for 1-year block, if not permanent? The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 20:24, 22 May 2010 (UTC)
I oppose the proposed block, per DCDuring and Ruakh.​—msh210 15:42, 24 May 2010 (UTC)
Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose the proposed block, per DCDuring and Ruakh. --Dan Polansky 15:57, 24 May 2010 (UTC)
Absolutely not. To try and make decisions by force is wrong, even if the decision is right - the end does not justify the means. In this instance particularly, there's a lot of talk of people with few edits deliberately swinging the consensus, but - surely - it is editors with fewer edits that are most likely to oppose this, by the nature of the vote. While I question the motives of whoever advertised this vote so widely, I don't question the oppose votes to quite such an extent. Would you vote against your right to vote, your friend's rights to vote? (In part, a lot of the extra visibility of the vote came from all the snide remarks and pointless comments causing it to show up in recent changes, over and over again, be talked about widely, etc. - looks like you shot yourselves in the foot a bit there, to be honest). Conrad.Irwin 16:01, 22 May 2010 (UTC)
The way our voting structure is set up is akin to San Marino extending suffrage to everyone in the world. Read up on the story of Western Sahara (esp. w:Western Sahara#Stalling of the referendum and Settlement Plan) for an IRL analogue. In re "Would you vote against your right to vote, your friend's rights to vote?": Yes, I would; electorates are too big.  — Raifʻhār Doremítzwr ~ (U · T · C) ~ 16:19, 22 May 2010 (UTC)
Re: "Would you vote against your right to vote, your friend's rights to vote?": If we shouldn't be voting, then I wouldn't vote. I contribute occasionally to Wiktionnaire and to ויקימילון, but not often enough to feel like I have any right to vote at either one. If they had votes on their voting policies, I wouldn't vote in those votes (though I might give input, if I thought had useful input to give). Also, your parenthetical note strikes me as very unjust, both because it's wrong, and also because, well, who is this "yourselves" you refer to? Some editors left large numbers of snide and pointless comments, yes, but seeing as the great majority of active English Wiktionarians appear to support this proposal, you can hardly blame all of us for those few. —RuakhTALK 16:38, 22 May 2010 (UTC)
My comment was aimed at the people you have identified as "some editors". Sorry for any confusion. Conrad.Irwin 20:32, 22 May 2010 (UTC)
Here and here are two classical examples of meatpuppeting - Bugoslav (talkcontribs) and Jcwf (talkcontribs) summoned their fellows from Croatian Wikipedia and Dutch Wiktionary respectively and they ganged up in the Oppose section. I think that some sort of action is ineluctable for those two advertisers, but as their edits are not commensurable, the severity of the response should also be different for both of them. In general, I favour at least 1 year block for the editors who voted in both the SC and this vote and for those whose instances of participation in votes exceed their edits in the main space (regardless of where they voted). 20:41, 22 May 2010 (UTC)
  • I always enjoy reading users' analogies of WT situations to RL situations. It reminds me of teh proverbs "people who lead donkeys to glass houses are worth two in the bush". They always seem like they make sense, but never make decent sense once one thinks about it. Sorry for not having anything useful to say. --Rising Sun talk? contributions 18:37, 22 May 2010 (UTC)
      • Perhaps you mean "People who live in glass wikis should realise that although they can lead a donkey to a voting booth they cannot make him (her or it) throw the first stone to the wolves. Pingku 20:50, 22 May 2010 (UTC)
Original post tl;dr. If I were to ban anyone, it would be the ones who only voted in this vote and the SC vote. If the vote were to end as it were right now I would call it a pass. It's pretty clear which side most of the manipulation was on. — [ R·I·C ] opiaterein — 20:38, 22 May 2010 (UTC)
Agreed. Up to now, we've said that when the vote is close, the ones that close it get some discretion in the outcome. They should take into consideration the dubiousness of the opposition. —Internoob (DiscCont) 21:29, 22 May 2010 (UTC)

DCDuring, Ruakh, and Conrad.Irwin, three of the folks whose opinions I most highly value, and yet your comments here seem to lack the typical luster. This is not an action taken against all opposers. I did not suggest banning the SC crowd, and then leaving nasty notes for everyone else who voted oppose. This is not even an action against all newbies, but rather a very specific subset of them. DCDuring, it's not like having police club anyone who voted against a particular candidate, it's like finding a group of people who committed electoral fraud (regardless of which way they voted) and then removing their right to vote. This is not an intimidation tactic, meant to get the SC crowd to vote the way I want them to, but almost the opposite. It's a statement that pulling in a bunch of folks, who would not otherwise be here, solely to swing a vote is not acceptable. Ruakh? You're just as frustrated with all of this as I am, and all you can offer is a one-liner? Conrad, I'm not trying to force any decision. I'm trying to eliminate a vote-swinging group, so we can make a decision. If that is still against having voting requirements, then fine. And you know damned well that this is not random noobs concerned about their rights. This is a specific group that's been here for awhile, with a specific agenda. And while our little hate-monger squad does make us all look like a bunch of little prats, it's clearly not the reason why they're voting. At this point, we now have the Dutch projects voting, and we've basically exhausted our supply of native editors, so the current vote's a lost cause. But do we really want to say that any time someone really wants a vote to go a certain way, they can just call up their friends and have them vote, and we'll be ok with that? Your mere disagreement obliterates any chance of consensus on the issue, so the bannings won't happen, which is hardly surprising, but at least convince me, please? Also, I must say that I'm a little disappointed that no one even addressed any of my other comments. All of you who are so eager to block everyone, are you also willing to compromise a little and let this vote fail, so we can do it better next time? Because while I don't want to set a precedent that people can win votes by calling up their friends, I equally don't want to set the precedent that people can win votes with enough nasty insults to the opposition. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 23:59, 22 May 2010 (UTC)

We should absolutely not be blocking people for doing something which we encourage them to do. Our language on the topic of voting mentions voters from other projects and languages as people we want to have participating. This doesn't make them bad people for acting on that invitation. Did they vote because they felt what they were voting for was correct by their standard of measure (in this case probably the advice of a trusted acquaintance)? Sure they did. That is what we all did, we recorded our judgment on a subject based on criteria we ourselves determined to be of merit. In actual, meaningful elections people cast their votes for all kinds of reasons not nearly as valid as "someone I trust told me I should vote this way". This is a problem inherent in voting, not in the voters. - TheDaveRoss 00:45, 23 May 2010 (UTC)
I entirely agree with TDR.
There is no new procedure announced after a vote has begun that can apply to that vote without it raising suspicions. For the procedure to be introduced where it might itself determine the outcome can only raise more suspicions. If we have defective procedures for voting we need to either clean them up one unobjectionable bit at a time or adopt wholesale something that has been proven to work in some wiki environment at least as demanding as ours.
In this case a voter was in the position of being able to avoid a ban only by withdrawing or changing a vote already made. Whatever the benign intent, it had the effect of pressuring folks to change their vote.
The subject of the vote itself is a "constitutional" change that needs to have as clean a procedure as possible and should require, if anything, a higher-than-normal percentage. DCDuring TALK 01:10, 23 May 2010 (UTC)
No, that's not what I'm saying at all! I'm not saying "threaten the SC folks that if they don't vote the way we want them to, we'll ban them." I'm saying, they voted, we let their vote stand, the current vote fails. But, we subsequently decide that we won't accept folks from other projects coming en masse to affect our votes, so we get rid of them. They don't vote in anything further. The ban is not a punishment or a threat. I'm not saying that I hate the SC folks and want to hurt them. I'm saying that we as a community have a right to self-determination. If we want to exclude them from future votes, we have a right (or at least the power) to. We don't have to be mean about it. I'd be perfectly happy with saying, "Sorry, but we view groups of people who are here solely to vote as a problem. If you'd like to become an active contributor, we're more than happy to work with you." If you disagree with me, that's fine, I'm not positive that it's the best approach myself. However, at least argue against what I'm actually saying. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 01:38, 23 May 2010 (UTC)

An alternative proposal

Atelaes began this section with what I believe to be a very sensible proposal. Unfortunately, the threshold for consensus has been left virtually undiscussed, with people arguing about the blocking of the SC cadre instead. Please see Wiktionary talk:Votes/2010-04/Voting policy#Voting tally by numbers of contributions, where you can read about an alternative solution to the meatpuppetry we have been experiencing of late (a summary is given in my post therein timestamped: 15:45, 23 May 2010). For convenience, I copy the discussion to the following rel-table:

If we accept the proposal to give each voter a number votes equal to the square root of his number of contributions, meatpuppetry will permanently cease to be a problem. Moreover, doing so would enable us to allow the present vote to fail, forgo banning anyone, and keep our univeral franchise with no ill-effect.  — Raifʻhār Doremítzwr ~ (U · T · C) ~ 16:19, 23 May 2010 (UTC)

I prefer the log-10 method, as that way the "incentive" for additional edits drops exponentially with number of edits -- thus hopefully keeping the number of any incentivized "garbage edits" reasonably low. This most nearly matches the behavior of a threshold count like 50, without the difficulties introduced by having a single, arbitrary threshold.
If this were going to be a formal policy proposal, I would suggest that it also require that the applicable count not include any edits made since the opening of the vote in question. -- Visviva 18:49, 23 May 2010 (UTC)

Oy. I can't believe this discussion is actually taking place. People are actually proposing that votes be distributed by edit count. Has everyone forgotten what a wiki is? This is not a democracy; it is, for the most part, anarchy. We act upon discussion and consensus. Where it can be useful, we might codify a consensus in CFI or ELE through a vote, but this is not usually necessary. We're not going to semi-protect RFD because someone might bring ten friends to yell out "keep" for a word they made up one day. There was a reason the issue of how many votes is needed to make something "pass" was left undecided and ambiguous. We don't have concrete rules for most things because we assume people can use common sense. --Yair rand (talk) 20:35, 23 May 2010 (UTC)

I agree that we should be deciding almost all policy issues through the wiki process, rather than by voting. Unfortunately the practice of voting on all policy changes is not only entrenched but enshrined in {{policy}}, which the community has resisted past efforts to reform. Ergo, substantive changes on the project can be accomplished only through WT:VOTE, which means we need a coherent system for preventing egregious manipulation of the sort that has been taking place. -- Visviva 21:00, 23 May 2010 (UTC)
Votes are necessary for changes to our top policies, CFI, ELE, and a few others, and it is a practice that makes a certain amount of sense. The mostly uncontroversial top overruling widespread ideas for the what and how of Wiktionary should be unusually difficult to change, and should be clearly shown at the highest level, only being changeable through a vote as a result of extensive discussion, and a clear supermajority to change, with little or no arguments against. A vote to flip some technical switch, whether to add a new extension or to give someone certain user rights, also requires a vote, but for a different reason. A decision to change something, outside of these specific examples, does not require a vote, although sometimes people have used votes for these anyway, but that does not mean that it is required. Where doing something by vote will cause problems, or will be anything but smooth sailing, doing it by vote is a bad idea. Votes and full policies are a useful way of showing existing clear consensus, but it is not a necessity. --Yair rand (talk) 21:18, 23 May 2010 (UTC)
And what problems would passing this vote entail? I can only see a bunch of problems solved. --Ivan Štambuk 21:25, 23 May 2010 (UTC)
I am rolling my eyes in an extremely exasperated manner, I just wanted to make sure that came across in this discussion. What is the goal of all of these proposals? If it is to keep people who aren't regular members of this community from voting we might as well say only admins can vote, we make all of the regular members admins anyway. I don't support that idea but it is slightly less arbitrary than all of these edit count proposals, at least we have expressed confidence as a group in the set of admins. It would also be a lot less work. This idea of using edit counts as a measure of voice is totally contrary to the spirit of Wikimedia and should be abandoned as soon as possible. Voting to get around our inability to compromise is the root issue and not our voting policy. There are a bunch of people out there who have never registered a user name, who have never edited a wiki once in their lives. These people just come to this site to make use of the resource which it is our goal to create. I would value the vote of these people much more than I value the vote of the regular contributors, because I am making this for them, not for us. - TheDaveRoss 22:34, 23 May 2010 (UTC)
As I state below, whatever we come up with is something we need to let simmer for some time. However, I strongly disagree with your statement that the people who voted against the policy are a random assortment of newbies who just happened to see the vote and take an interest. This is clearly a group of people from a different project who were herded here with the direct and sole purpose of influencing our votes. Pretending otherwise is factually incorrect and unhelpful. Also, the problems we're seeing here are most certainly not the result of our inability to discuss and compromise. The issue was rather heavily discussed, and many changes were made as a result of that discussion. We cannot take the views of others into account when they don't enter the conversation, and if you look, I would be utterly shocked if more than one or two people involved in the discussion voted "oppose". -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 22:45, 23 May 2010 (UTC)
My interest would be in making the WT:VOTE process less of a bizarre game and more in line with the way that the rest of the wiki functions. De facto, the ways of the wiki are shaped by those who edit most. This doesn't mean, of course, that the top contributors are somehow more entitled to run the project than others; it's just because those who do the most editing have the most impact on the result.
If we are going to retain voting as an integral part of how policy is shaped -- and again, I would much prefer that we did not -- it makes sense for the voting process to be as closely in line with the de facto decisionmaking of the wiki as possible. Which means giving more weight to people like Semper and EP and Robert who have shaped the project by sheer force of editing, and less to people like me who -- however intelligent and well-meaning we may be -- simply aren't in the same weight class. Ideas proposed by passing contributors can have an enormous impact on the project ... but only insofar as they are taken up by those who do the work.
At any rate, per Atelaes, I don't see any great reason to hurry. Then again, per WT:VOTE, "No voting policies are in effect at this time", which suggests to me that this proposal is as valid or invalid as a simple enumeration would be. (It is remarkable that we have fetishized voting to such an extent, without having any clear policies on how it is to be done.) -- Visviva 06:47, 24 May 2010 (UTC)
What you're advocating (IPs having voting rights that are valued the same [if not more] as that of established users) makes no sense to me. Are you blind Dave?! Bulk of the opposing votes are more than obviously canvassed, and I can guarantee you that the majority of them hasn't even bothered to read the related discussions, previous vote on the same issue, and evidently hasn't left any comment justifying why they've voted the way they've voted. They're simply voting for the empowerment to influence hypothetical future votes at which they could have ideological stake. One of the canvassers at Croatian pedia (Bugoslav (talkcontribs)) literally wrote that: inviting everyone to amass 50 edits (he suggested adding translation, which is exceedingly easy being done in a semi-automated fashion), so that they can influence future "more important" votes. That's what we're fighting against! Not some random passers-by, but well-organized PoV fundamentalists who couldn't care less except for their own agenda. As I've mentioned elsewhere: this won't prevent anyone, even IP, for making an opinion that could influence outcome of any future vote, which I'm sure it will if it's reasonably argued and rationalized, but it will prevent vote manipulation on a massive scale, as we can see it occurring now. Sometimes the time comes when you have to exert a little authority to cut the Gordian knot, otherwise you're stuck in an endless loop. --Ivan Štambuk 09:05, 24 May 2010 (UTC)
I don't think the problems of passing this vote have to do with its content. I think the policy is sound, and is supported by most of our community. However, there is a very grave problem with passing it which is associated with the act of passing itself. We simply can't start making rules and applying them ex post facto. We can't say, "well, we're going to come up with a way to pass this vote no matter what," after it's been voted on. Quite frankly, I would suggest simply leaving the topic of this vote alone for the time-being, and let everything cool down a bit. Any approach which we might try to overcome the difficulties raised would take lots of discussion time. We can't go trying to solve this thing half-cocked. In the meantime, I suspect that few of our normal votes will attract the interest of the SC crowd, and so we can reasonably safely ignore them, for awhile (I'm not suggesting we all bury our heads in the sand and act as though this didn't happen). Additionally, regardless of what the vote or the little banner at the top of the page says, WT:ASH is de facto policy because the only folks writing SH entries are following it. The only person who really wants to see this stopped is Robert, and his only real means to doing so, automation, will surely never happen, as it requires a consensus that he will certainly never see. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 22:45, 23 May 2010 (UTC)
There are still a number of circumstances in which we can forgo voting (i.e. things which haven't been locked down with {{policy}}). I am most certainly going to consider non-vote options for such things in the future, and I suspect that others who have been turned off by this and other votes might do the same. However, Visviva is quite right that we have a lot of stuff which needs to be changed, and, in its current state, cannot be without a vote. There is some merit to Doremítzwr's proposal (not entirely sure if I support it just yet), and it's certainly more humane than my proposal. Additionally, it should be remembered that we are not nearly as free-form as most other wikis. We need a lot more rules than other projects, and subsequently, those additional rules require.....more rules...about rules. It is a rather unfortunate conundrum, but there you have it. In its defence, most of our more seasoned editors are rather adept in discussion and argument, and are quite willing to listen to the opinions of others, and perhaps most importantly, really do have this project's best interest at heart. It should also be borne in mind that, on Wikipedia, the 'crats are the ones who cut through contention and make final tough decisions. Our 'crats, on the other hand, have zero interest in getting involved in the politics of the site. There is an ironic beauty in having 'crats who utterly hate bureaucracy, and much prefer to simply write content (and they're damned good at that). I do admit that I think TheDaveRoss was correct when he said that the acceptance of WT:ASH should probably have simply been the result of a discussion between SH editors and other interested parties, and then acted upon, sans vote. Fortunately, and rather ironically, the policy has been acted upon by all SH editors, regardless of its vote status. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 22:45, 23 May 2010 (UTC)
User Bogorm, the administrator from en.wiktionary, was canvassing on sr.wiki--Sokac121 00:05, 24 May 2010 (UTC)
Yes, both sides have engaged in meatpuppetry in both this and the previous SC vote. Generally, any of the proposals listed here are meant to interfere with such things, absolutely regardless of what side the puppets are voting on. I must admit, it does smack a bit that one of the people who so vehemently opposed such things engaged in it. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 00:29, 24 May 2010 (UTC)
Ok, I feel sorry that it has been disclosed. The difference between the meatpuppetry on hr.wiki and nl.wikt and my simple post is that the latter does not show any trace of the denigrating comparisons Jcwf engaged in (Milosevic) nor of the overt and heinous meatpuppeting (come and make 50 edits, even if this is accepted, so we can influence future important votes over there, on hr.wiki). Mine was a simple post aimed at informing the community of Serbian wikipedia that there are organised Croatian nationalists who vote en masse against the proposal. Is there anything repræhensible in that? In my post there is neither denigration, nor exhortation to influence future votes, just a succinct explanation of the lamentable situation on the vote page. The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 12:16, 24 May 2010 (UTC)
That's sad. But at least Bogorm did it decently, and not camouflaged into some heinous propaganda, as Jcwf and Bugoslav did on Dutch wiktionary and Croatian pedia, respectively. It should also be noted that the discussion that Bogorm initiated took a decisive swing against what Bogorm was originally advocating. It will be interesting to see how Serbian pedists will eventually vote, if they decided to vote. --Ivan Štambuk 08:46, 24 May 2010 (UTC)
What are the voting prerequisites at the hr wiki, I wonder? Every wiktionary and wikipedia that I have heard details about all have reasonable requirements. I know the French do, and it appears that the SC nationalists, the Dutch and the French are all trying to deny for us the same rights that they demand for themselves. —Stephen 09:08, 24 May 2010 (UTC)
According to their official policy page, they require more than 200 edits in the main namespace, and for the voter to be active at least 2 months before the respective vote was started. They ignore abstaining votes and require >50% of support votes for a vote to pass (and they've repeatedly passed controversial policies and elected admins by a very narrow margin). So yeah, it's pretty hypocritical what they're trying to do here. --Ivan Štambuk 09:20, 24 May 2010 (UTC)
The Bulgarian wikipedia has also rigorous requirements - 400 contributions and registration præceding the vote for 3 months. The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 12:16, 24 May 2010 (UTC)

A solution to the current impasse or stalemate that could work is to setup a follow-up on this vote, and openly broadcast it on other wikiprojects. In the broadcast, we could openly explain why we need voting help from other projects. It seems that we abide by the meta-policy of letting anyone vote in this meta-vote, which is very generous. If so, then the broad electorates of currently eligible editors (that is, all editors on all wikiprojects) should be properly notified of the existence of this vote, including editors on English Wikipedia. As it now stands, the only parts of the broad all-inclusive electorate that have been notified are those who are likely to oppose, and they have been not only notified of the existence of the vote but rather urged to oppose. --Dan Polansky 10:03, 24 May 2010 (UTC)

There is an ever simpler solution: let us block those having voted in the ongoing vote who do not have 100 content (main space, Appendix and so on) contributions for one month and restart the vote, what do you think? But in my opinion, this should only be applied, if there is vehement opposition to the vote to pass, as a last resort. The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 12:16, 24 May 2010 (UTC)
It seems wrong to block people only to prevent them from voting. Having less than 100 content edits while voting is not a blockable behavior, especially given the current informal voting guideline: "Anyone can vote, especially regulars from other language Wiktionaries". I feel like explaining that 4 + 12 = 16, though. --Dan Polansky 12:56, 24 May 2010 (UTC)
I am going to put my foot down on this one; we are not going to block people for voting unless they voted more than once. We don't like the reasons why some people chose to vote, but unless you can show me that someone voted more than once I will undo any blocks made on the basis of their having voted. It doesn't matter why someone voted, it doesn't matter whether or not we like how someone voted, it doesn't matter if someone was asked to vote a certain way, it doesn't matter where the user has contributed; all that matters is that they acted within our current policy and we won't be punishing people for doing that. A lot of this voting discussion has pushed into the land of the absurd, we need to get our collective head on straight. If this vote is a pass, then by all means block people in the future for violating it. But this vote can't be applied ex post facto to punish people who participated in it. Our current voting policy is very lenient, and we are asking for this very situation by having it be so lenient while also using it to decide so much of how our project is run. If we want to be lenient then we should use voting less. If we want to use voting more we should be far stricter. If we want to be lenient and we want to use voting a lot we should expect that situations like this will arise time and time again. This vote is the fruit of our voting policy and our usage of voting, we shouldn't be surprised that it is sour. - TheDaveRoss 21:26, 25 May 2010 (UTC)
No, the blocking will not happen, as we clearly do not have community consensus on the issue (no matter how tightly or loosely you define the community). I will also undo anyone who tries to do this unilaterally. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 22:20, 25 May 2010 (UTC)

The Wiktionary logo vote ended almost four months ago, resulting in the winner being the book logo designed by AAEngelman. During and after the vote, various statements were made by Cary Bass, the Volunteer Coordinator for the WMF, clearly saying that the default logo has become the book logo, and those Wiktionaries not using the tile logo should now be changing to the new logo. The Foundation's position seems to be that we should be changing the logo. On the other hand, the Foundation, as far as I can see, will not go against the community consensus on these things. If we were to have consensus that we should be using the text logo, we would technically be allowed to do so regardless of the foundation's position (I think). Only one thing:

That consensus never existed. We never had any consensus that we should go against the official process. We had a majority (though not clear consensus) in favor of changing to the new logo in the acceptance vote (started by me under the incorrect assumption that we need a vote for this). After the bug report to change the logo was dealt with, the logo was changed back. We are actively going against the officially decided global Wiktionary logo. However, we have no local consensus for changing. We seem to have an unprecedented situation here, no consensus for changing, none against, the default according to the foundation being the book logo, and if we were to try and find out what the community thinks the default should be, we would undoubtedly come up with "no consensus".

So... What do we do now? --Yair rand (talk) 21:35, 25 May 2010 (UTC)

Be bold! - TheDaveRoss 21:39, 25 May 2010 (UTC)
What various statements represent the foundation's position? Michael Z. 2010-05-25 21:49 z
Uh, about half the comments made by Cary Bass/bastique on m:Talk:Wiktionary/logo/refresh/voting, plus those made on his meta talk page in response to me asking him to clarify things (and, just as an extra precaution, I asked for clarifications again in IRC right before posting the first post). I'm pretty sure he is the only guy in the foundation who's responsible for these things, and he's made the position fairly clear. --Yair rand (talk) 22:08, 25 May 2010 (UTC)
Uh, like I'm supposed to know that some random login name is a particular person and that he is the foundation's voice? What exactly did he say? If the foundation has a relevant position on this, can they say so to us? No disrespect intended, but a hearsay “Foundation's position seems to be” isn't carrying a lot of weight, and I don't have time to launch a research project into what some fellow wrote on a Wiki somewhere and whether this is important to us. Michael Z. 2010-05-26 02:37 z
Responded on your talk page. --Yair rand (talk) 03:37, 26 May 2010 (UTC)
Okay, I see that a representative of the foundation directly stated that the old logo “will not be staying.” I had not seen that, or at least had not realized its significance. Sorry to be so doubting, YR, but I had no idea that the foundation had any presence in this. Looks like we have to accept the book...
But Bastique also mentioned that the tile logo would be allowed for those Wiktionaries which accepted it. Another vote, anyone? Michael Z. 2010-05-26 05:29 z
A lot of people rejected the tile logo because (1) they didn’t like the Japanese letter or (2) thought the central W was too Anglocentric. It should be pointed out that the central W is changed to the first letter of the word for Wiktionary in the language of that Wiktionary. Also, the Japanese letter, which some decry as a smilyface, can be replaced with a different letter or even a different script. If we could make this change to the tile logo and then try it for a couple of weeks, and also the book logo for a couple of weeks, and then have a vote, I think we might get a better result. See for example ko:위키낱말사전:대문 (W replaced) and vi:Trang Chính (Japanese letter replaced). —Stephen 05:49, 26 May 2010 (UTC)
I agree wholeheartedly with this proposal - let us try the tile logo, then the one which took 55% on meta and then decide which of them is more suitable. Discarding the tile logo without trying it or at least giving it a chance in some vote appears to be unacceptable. Regarding the w letter, well, it is used in German and Polish at least as often as in English and the accusations of Anglocentrism are not more justified than accusations of Germanocentrism or Polonocentrism. Who feels uncomfortable about this shapely letter? The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 07:16, 26 May 2010 (UTC)
The tile logo has a long history of being rejected and ignored, hence why we had another logo vote. I am very dubious as to the usefulness of upgrading to an already obsolete logo... Conrad.Irwin 10:26, 26 May 2010 (UTC)
Agree with Conrad. We really have to bear in mind that we aren't acting in a vacuum. We have to consider how our logo fits into the schema of the logos presented by all the Wiktionaries. Having a mishmash of various logos makes us look like a sloppy, second-rate project. There were, admittedly, some shortcomings of the vote, but I think we currently lack the infrastructure to have done any better. Besides, the vote was not done in a dark room. It was done publicly, on meta, with plenty of time and announcements. Any problems with the vote should have been raised while it was in process, not now that it's over. The tile logo is officially obsolete. I propose that we follow Conrad's suggestion, try the new logo out for a couple of weeks, and then have a winner take all vote afterwards (I don't think we can achieve consensus on any logo, and yet, unlike so many other issues, we can't not make a decision). -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 12:45, 26 May 2010 (UTC)
Well, the old logo sounds officially dead, as in it will be removed, while the tile logo is officially alive, as in some Wiktionaries can, and apparently will keep it (anyone know the actual status?).[*] So neither logo choice on our part would create or prevent mishmash. I don't love the tiles, but it fulfils several functional requirements of a logo that neither the current logo nor the picture of a book is able to (e.g., maintaining a visual identity at favicon, medium, and large sizes).
Let's not “try” the logo in production. We can examine full-size usage examples, but temporarily swapping out our site's visual identification is like trying out one or two different-sized wheels on your car – consistency is integral to this thing's function. Michael Z. 2010-05-26 21:18 z
I don't know, the notice that Bastique put on the logo vote talk page said that the tile logo could be used "for those projects which have already have gone through the votes to claim it as theirs", which certainly isn't en.wikt. It looks like the book logo is becoming the "official" Wiktionary logo, meaning it will probably be used on new Wiktionaries and Wiktionaries that are currently using the text logo that don't specifically make a different decision. Additionally, the corner piece of the book will probably become the base favicon for all Wiktionaries at the end of this. (As for stats, by my count 23 Wiktionaries are using the tile logo, only one of which so far has voted to switch to the book.) --Yair rand (talk) 21:51, 26 May 2010 (UTC)
Fair enough. I, for one, went through the recent no-consensus vote without realizing that the old logo was going to be taken away. I assumed that we could keep the status quo it until something superior was available. But we are being offered any colour as long as it is black, and maybe tiles too. The book doesn't enjoy consensus approval here, and the tiles logo is objectively better, so I will see if our members would prefer the tiles. Michael Z. 2010-05-26 23:42 z
I definitely præfer the tiles. So let us summon our regular contributors on a vote in which they can opt either for the tile logo or for that one which took 55% on meta. Thus, some of those two will gain the formal approval of the community and the procedure will be transparent. The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 06:11, 27 May 2010 (UTC)
I suggest we do the same as Wikipedia and roll out the new logo as part of our new skin (which we are getting at some point in the next week or two) - the new logo fits into the vector skin much better than the old one. The Wikipedia change was less drastic, but more sudden - we have at least been forwarned. For the interested, you can find new logo vector, new logo monobook, old logo monobook, old logo vector. There are many valid concerns about the new logo, but I think there are many more that can be leveled at the old. As a compromise, we could try using the new logo for a fortnight (starting with the new skin) and then revert it if there are real issues. Conrad.Irwin 00:36, 26 May 2010 (UTC)
I tested the new skin and left bug reports in the comments when I switched back. Any idea where I can track these? Michael Z. 2010-05-26 02:42 z
bugzilla gives the list of things they officially know about. There's a local gadget for removing the down-arrow menu thing and just having normal tabs - and we can make similar fixes (site-wide or as a gadget) if necessary. Conrad.Irwin 10:26, 26 May 2010 (UTC)
Sounds good to me. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 00:43, 26 May 2010 (UTC)
Likewise. I assume our new skin going to be similar to the one now in place on Wikipedia and Commons. Off-topic comment: My only complaint about that new skin so far is that the "edit" tab is all the way on the right side of the monitor screen. That's nice for newbies, to help them keep it straight, but it adds wrist strain to seasoned editors who now have to bounce back and forth across the screen to edit and navigate. I also dislike the search window being all the way at top right, an area which is often off the top of my screen while I'm working. --EncycloPetey 03:49, 27 May 2010 (UTC)
I just discovered that accesskey F selects the search field. I did prefer having + instead of Add topicMichael Z. 2010-05-27 04:51 z
I've changed "Add Topic" to " + " (MediaWiki:Vector-action-add-topic) and "View History" -> "History" (MediaWiki:Vector-view-history) feel free to edit further or undo. It's not quite so easy to fix the position of the search box, and we should probably remain consistent with Wikipedia on that.Conrad.Irwin 10:03, 27 May 2010 (UTC)
Thank you, Conrad. I do prefer that – the + is a prominent target, and visually anchors the links around it, while the two words “add topic” made me have to stop and scan for the blue hairlines to sort out the word soup. Michael Z. 2010-05-27 19:46 z
I don't understand. The Meta page says clearly "Following logo modifications, each of Wiktionary's language editions will hold their own vote on whether to approve or reject the winning logo. If 60% of the Wiktionaries approve of the logo, it will be applied to all of those Wiktionaries. Otherwise, this logo contest will have no effect, and each wiki will continue to use its current logo." Is that being ignored/recanted by the WMF now? (It does not, note, say anything about keeping a current logo only if there was clear consensus in support thereof.)​—msh210 15:07, 27 May 2010 (UTC)
It looks like the part about local votes on every Wiktionary and requiring 60% overall was considered to be completely impossible, given that there are 170 Wiktionaries many of which don't have active communities. Bastique said "... as the project never "approved" any logo whatsoever, and the overall vote was in favor of changing the default logo, changing to this logo would seem to be the appropriate outcome for the English Wiktionary and any other projects which have never voted to approve a logo. A vote to set the original logo as the logo of the English Wiktionary is the only outcome that would dictate otherwise." --Yair rand (talk) 16:08, 27 May 2010 (UTC)
But then the Meta vote was conducted under false pretense and should be invalidated. More people might have voted if they knew that the vote would count more heavily than it was advertised to.​—msh210 16:24, 27 May 2010 (UTC)
Hmmm. Changing the voting rules after the vote has begun or, better, after it has taken place. This is a whole new kind of democracy we are working on here. Increasingly, votes seem to be just opinion surveys.
I would have thought that WMF had the responsibility to select a uniform logo across Wiktionaries: they should have more insight into user behavior and more concern with the overall "brand". DCDuring TALK 20:13, 27 May 2010 (UTC)
I don't understand why people are talking about instating the tiles logo - there has never been a consensus to use it on en Wiktionary, and I explicitly voted against it in the meta vote (which was widely advertised and trailed by months of discussion about the process, so you can't complain now about it being invalid). I didn't vote for the book logo in the first round, but of the ones that made it to the second round it was significantly the better. Unless you want to organise a new vote across all the wiktionaries that is somehow more valid than the last one, then afaict the only logos that we can possibly use here are the present one and the book one that was the victor in the Meta vote. 21:07, 27 May 2010 (UTC)
But we can't use the present one, since a WM Foundation staff member said that it's going to be pulled. There is no consensus on EN WT for any logo that we will be able to continue to use. It might be the case that the tile logo would be allowed if we were to vote for it, so we may as well try. Michael Z. 2010-05-27 21:21 z
Yes, there has not been a consensus to use the tiles logo and there has never been a lack of consensus to use it on en.wikt neither - determining which of those two is the case is feasible by means of a vote. That is the reason why this option is being considered. The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 06:09, 28 May 2010 (UTC)

Look of tile logo: I quite like the tiles, but I agree the "smiley face" appearing Japanese character could do with being replaced by another Japanese character or something else altogether. Also, to me the tiles would look better if they were more ivory in color/colour so they would look more like dominoes or mahjong tiles, rather than the tan or brown colour/color they are now. Facts707 08:04, 27 May 2010 (UTC)

I don't remember if I voted or not, but currently I am favoring the book logo for this reason: the book logo screams two things at me, dictionary and Wiki. Leveraging the extremely widely known Wikipedia puzzle globe look makes a lot of sense to me. This is purely from a brand recognition standpoint; the tile logo doesn't associate us with WMF or Wikipedia at all. It also doesn't convey any particular meaning to me, other than perhaps shades of mahjong/Scrabble. Aesthetically I think they are roughly tied in my head, I am no artist nor to I claim to be a graphic design gourmet; they both seem to be decently executed in those regards to my layman eyes. - TheDaveRoss 21:30, 27 May 2010 (UTC)
Interesting: if you do a Google Image search for Wikipedia, you get a clear preponderance of the puzzle-globe logo. If you image-search Wiktionary and browse the first few pages, the strongest visual impression comes from the wooden tiles logo. Michael Z. 2010-05-28 16:44 z
That is a meaningless statement... How exactly do you define "strongest visual impression"? When I tried this there were approximately equal tiles/current in the first three pages, and then after that there are all the images that were used in the various commons votes. Once you get to the 8th and beyond page there are no tiles at all, but still a sprinkling of current logos (all the way up to 24 or so when I got bored). Conrad.Irwin 18:21, 28 May 2010 (UTC)
The current logo looks like (is, in fact) a cropped screenshot of some grayish text, which hardly stands out from the various screen shots that show up in the search. If you hadn't seen Wiktionary, you probably wouldn't spot it as a logo at all, much less find it memorable. Both the tile logo, and some variations of a blue/green/red book with faces, catch the eye when you flip through the search results. Michael Z. 2010-05-28 21:51 z
Wiktionary does not have a visual identity yet, if you showed those tiles to 10,000 randomly selected people you would be quite lucky to get one who associated them with Wiktionary. We get to choose what it will be now, and I can't imagine why we wouldn't want to leverage the strength of the current Wikipedia brand while we can. Discounting aesthetics (and we should, as they are entirely subjective) the tile logo does not sell itself as well as the book logo does. - TheDaveRoss 19:32, 28 May 2010 (UTC)
Maybe the concept is good, but – sorry – its poor execution fails to leverage anything, by objective standards . At the site-logo size I can't really distinguish the 8 or 10-px wide puzzle pieces by their faint hairline borders, nor the murky blobs intended to represent letters, and even the high-contrast corner piece just looks like a 7-px blob (just 2 or 3 px in the sisterlinks size). So the favicon's visual relationship to the logo is also weak or absent. Because the book's shape is defined by white, grey, and black edges, it isn't well defined on either light or dark backgrounds. I was hoping that the promised tweaks would fix some of these problems, but the logo is so underwhelming that there isn't even any interest in improving it. Michael Z. 2010-05-29 22:06 z
If you want to improve the favicon, please do so - as you say, it could do with improvement, and this is a wiki world (that said I don't find [9] hard to recognise). Your arguments about the logo seem to apply equally well to Wikipedia's (white grey and black edges) - and that seems to work adequately (in addition to being totally irrelevant to their favicon). I do agree that it has unnecessarily fine detail, but hey - having the favicon will subtly reinforce the detail for the hard-of-seeing). You say your arguments are objective, possibly, but they are presented subjectively. You are ignoring valid points about the new logo clearly being a dictionary, and clearly being a wiki, being consistent (approximately) with the Wikipedia logo. Nothing is perfect, least of all something hacked up by a vote process, and everything "must" be a compromise. The tile logo, with its (sole?) advantage of having a good favicon, seems to be a fairly poor second. A matching favicon just isn't important - look at google. If site-aesthetics are to be taken into account, I find them pretty similar, though (again in my opinion) the tiles clashes horribly with the blues of vector [10], while the dictionary does not [11]. Conrad.Irwin 22:50, 29 May 2010 (UTC)
Wow, you've misinterpreted so many things that I wrote. Michael Z. 2010-05-31 01:20 z

CFI - prescriptive or descriptive

I'm gonna log off for bit, but before I do. If our most experienced editors like SemperBlotto, Stephen G. Brown and EncycloPetey are not following CFI, what needs to change? I say CFI. CFI should be describing what our best editors do, not telling them what to do. I'm not saying "anything should go" but that we have established practices that are not reflected by CFI because of the bother of creating and maintaining votes, and then getting a 70% approval for them. I agree when DCDuring says "What definition of idiom does this fit in? Or is it just voting?". Editors aren't following, or in some cases even reading CFI as it's out of date, and updating it is pretty tough:

"Compounds are generally idiomatic, even when the meaning can be clearly expressed in terms of the parts. The reason is that the parts often have several possible senses, but the compound is often restricted to only some combinations of them."

Is one paragraph we like to ignore, because any two words that have multiple meanings and could be put together and have a primary meaning (no matter how obvious that meaning is) would pass CFI. It's just very poorly worded, but we need something to replace it. warm-up match is a current example. CFI would say since it doesn't mean "a small stick of wood used to generate heat" it would pass. Yet per the de facto CFI (what editors actually use) it would fail, quite simply because its the sum of its parts and has a totally transparent meaning. Mglovesfun (talk) 16:35, 29 May 2010 (UTC)

English is a son of a gun isn't it? Any sufficiently strong CFI is going to exclude some term or other which we want, while anything weaker than it will include some term or other that we don't really care about. It is the nature of the beast. Our best weapon against this is being willing to apply common sense to our decisions and look to the CFI as an evolutionary, malleable set of guidelines for what we generally think we need to include. We should ere on the side of inclusiveness in my mind though, if we include something which is purely SoP it does absolutely no harm; nobody will ever look it up so nobody will ever see it. We aren't running out of paper. If we exclude something which we think might be SoP but someone comes along and tries to look it up the we did them a disservice and failed to accomplish our goals as a project. - TheDaveRoss 16:45, 29 May 2010 (UTC)
IMO the only answer is that CFI needs to be editable through the standard wiki process. There are good arguments for keeping some policy pages inviolable -- e.g. WT:ELE, since wiki-style fluctuations would interfere with the purpose of standardization -- but those arguments don't really apply to CFI, especially since its wording is mostly ignored anyway. The "editable CFI" experiment didn't really work because there wasn't much purpose in editing it. Let's just liberate the page, revise {{policy}} accordingly, and see if, when put to the test, we can come to a real consensus on some defining principles. (And I don't think this requires a vote. The wording of {{policy}} was never subject to vote in the first place, but is merely a side-effect of a squabble between Richardb and Connel in the bad old days.) -- Visviva 16:53, 29 May 2010 (UTC)
Re Visvisa, a vote on this topic failed by the narrowest of margins with 69.3% (from memory). Obviously allowing free editing would solve a set of problems by creating a new set. Vote failing with more than a two-to-one majority for them is lunacy IMO. Mglovesfun (talk) 19:05, 29 May 2010 (UTC)
It would force people to actually get engaged with formulating policy in a dynamic way, which would require getting over a number of (bad, un-wiki-like) habits we have developed. I think we're up to the challenge, but if we aren't it could get ugly... And yes, I was rather mystified by the vote being closed as "failed" when there seemed to me to be a strong supermajority in support. My Wiktionary habit was in remission at the time, so I didn't make a stink about it, but I think the failure of that vote simply demonstrates the incurable brokenness of the entire WT:VOTE system (which, to repeat myself, has never had the consensus which its proponents claim is necessary for any changes). -- Visviva 20:59, 29 May 2010 (UTC)
CFI is too much a jumble of statements of principle and incomplete and partial operational criteria. It also does not reflect the massive civil and uncivil disobedience about what few policies and practices we have.
Shouldn't it be possible to be more frank about the idea that, whatever our slogan says, that there are classes of of words that we choose to exclude for a time in the interests of improving quality of entries closer to our core?
Can we not structure CFI so that it is clear what are sufficient conditions for inclusion and what are necessary conditions for inclusion? The terms that are fail to meet the sufficient conditions, but cannot be shown to fail to meet the necessary conditions are worth our time. It might be possible to more explicitly learn from our voting behavior what additional necessary or sufficient conditions might reflect our less explicit judgments or what implemented conditions do not reflect our explicit judgments. DCDuring TALK 18:10, 29 May 2010 (UTC)
Whenever this idea of "exclude to improve quality of what remains" comes up I wonder about whether or not that idea is based in reality. Let's consider place names for a moment. If there is a user who would like nothing better than to add the name of every single town in all of Great Britain to Wiktionary that does not mean they would be willing to spend a comparable amount of time adding etymologies to existing entries, or fleshing out our Afrikaans section. On the other hand it does absolutely no harm to anyone to have all of the place names on their own pages, in their own category. The only potential harm would be if having a definition line for a town name caused the entry to be less useful to the reader coming to the page for another reason, I can't imagine that scenario would be very common.
There are a few things which I do want CFI to exclude: neologisms, unimportant people (like me), and words which reside exclusively in fictional universes. I am pretty willing to negotiate for everything else, especially if that everything can coexist without collateral damage. If we were to loosen our grip on things like "NISOP" and place names and famous people names and all of those other things which comprise most of our bickering in RFV and RFD then perhaps that quality aspect might benefit from the inclusion of all that other stuff. Certainly WT:CFI would become easier to read and apply. - TheDaveRoss 18:27, 29 May 2010 (UTC)
Per above, my real problem with voting on CFI is that we have votes that 'fail' with 69%. No wonder CF doesn't represent us well, when more than two out of three editors support something, and it is dismissed. Mglovesfun (talk) 19:07, 29 May 2010 (UTC)
The problem, as has been stated, is that CFI is too messy - it tries to do too much. This was why I was excited by the idea of Wiktionary:Purpose (the idea in general, the page itself needs a lot more work) - perhaps, instead of arguing endlessly over minutiae, we could come up with a short, coherent statement of what Wiktionary is for. Other policies would then be recognisable as "implementation details" - i.e., we acknowledge that there are other approaches, but we can give reasoned argument as to why we think our approach is better. As we don't have a coherent idea of what Wiktionary is supposed to do, it is not possible to give a consistent account of how Wiktionary should do it. Conrad.Irwin 20:22, 29 May 2010 (UTC)

WT:Entry layout explained proposed name change

to WT:Entry layout guidelines

Some editors have proposed that Wiktionary:Entry layout explained be renamed to Wiktionary:Entry layout guidelines.

You may view the request details and make comments here. Facts707 19:33, 10 May 2010 (UTC)

This message should also appear in Wiktionary:Entry layout explained at the top of that page, but apparently even suggesting a name change on that page requires a vote. Facts707 07:27, 11 May 2010 (UTC)

Synonym analysis

Now I'm going to share some observations and assumptions on the subject of alternative spellings, alternative forms and synonyms, which is currently being discussed at some places. I don't think these statements are necessarily obvious, simple or correct; so I'd appreciate if they were reviewed and commented by other editors.

  1. Introduction.
    1. An entry, which is naturally divided into language sections, may contain subsections "Alternative spellings", "Alternative forms" and "Synonyms", with lists of related words or phrases.
    2. These three possible sections often overlap each other and are chosen according to editorial discretion to avoid repetition of terms between various sections.
  2. Overall differences.
    1. The definitions of each "synonym" are equal or similar to each other.
      Therefore, cut and chop are synonyms of each other.
    2. The definitions of each "alternative form" are as strictly identical as possible.
      Therefore, in two shakes of a duck's tail and in two shakes of a cow's tail are alternative forms or synonyms of each other.
    3. The definitions of each "alternative spelling" are strictly identical, and so are their pronunciations.
      Therefore, internationalization and internationalisation are alternative spellings, alternative forms or synonyms of each other.
  3. Sections and definitions.
    1. The texts "alternative spelling of [...]" or "alternative form of [...]" may be used as definitions.
    2. When these definitions exist, no additional information is necessary.
      Therefore, if romanize is defined as an alternative spelling of romanise, the latter has detailed definitions such as "To make Roman [...]", "To bring under the authority or Rome [...]", "To write in Roman script [...]" and romanize has simply a link to romanise.
    3. Entries are lemmatized (have their detailed contents replaced by "alternative spelling of" or "alternative form of" definitions) or expanded (have their "alternative spelling of" or "alternative form of" definitions replaced by detailed contents) randomly.
    4. An "alternative" definition is often actually supposed to mean "slightly less used".
      Therefore, the definition of color or colour as an alternative spelling of the other may be a serious offense against whole regional varieties of English.
  4. Language-specific.
    1. Only the English sections have the benefit of defining alternative forms without the "alternative form of" text or other details.
      For instance, the English specificness can be defined as "specificity" or "Alternative form of specificity". On the other hand, the Portuguese autocarro can be defined as "bus" (the translation to English) or "Alternative form of ônibus.", but may not be defined merely as "ônibus" because this is the English Wiktionary.
    2. Arguably, only scripts with letters (not syllables, neither ideograms) have spellings.
      Therefore, Japanese コンピューター and コンピュータ are alternative spellings of each other. But maybe they aren't.

--Daniel. 21:09, 10 May 2010 (UTC)

Sections 1 through 3 all read as sensible; and highlight excellently the deficiencies of binding the entry's spelling to the entry's content. The "language specific" section doesn't quite so much sense - specificness is not an alternative form of specificity (there's probably some argument deeply tied in with Etymology that I don't understand - it's just a gut feeling). There's less advantage to having the alternative forms in a foreign language, as there's only one definition and no translations, so it (more often than not) just increases the number of clicks to get to anything useful - but (policy aside) I can't see a practical reason why it shouldn't be used. The Japanese examples look like alternative spellings to my English-only eyes too. Conrad.Irwin 22:37, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
I think we need to abolish completely the idea that "alternative form" means anything other than it says on the tin (though I agree it does seem that way sometimes) - perhaps we could put an analysis of spelling frequencies (if we can find a way of analysing them fairly). Indeed, I would go further than that and insist that we should choose one dialect of English and consistently use that for page names (along, perhaps, with some guidelines about hyphens). There are no benefits (beyond some kind of warm "makes people happy") to having pages distributed randomly across dialects, or duplicated everywhere. By choosing one dialect, we increase the chances that people link directly to the "expanded" versions, reducing the number of "click-through" pages, it is also helpful to users to be consistent - maybe they can then work out what to expect. Of course there are words (program springs to mind) which need special treatment, and I wouldn't advocate destroying a useful page to convert it into a form-of. Would anyone else be in favour of running a vote (I imagine using STV with the options of "US, UK, Aus, no-decision") so that we could move in that direction. (Sorry this isn't on-topic here, maybe I should split it out). Conrad.Irwin 22:37, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
Wow, there's a lot of stuff here. To begin with, I support more clearly defining the difference between "alternative spelling" and "alternative form". I have never really grasped that difference myself. Synonym seems rather clearly distinct from the two; it is a word which is semantically similar, but etymologically and phonologically different. If we simply said that "alternative spelling" is something which is semantically, etymologically, and phonologically identical, with the only allowable difference being spelling, that might be reasonable. Note, that this would completely remove "alternative spellings" from Ancient Greek, as all spelling differences are phonologically meaningful. As for English only rights....you may have a point there...maybe, but your example is not a good one. autocarro and ônibus are etymologically unrelated, and hence could only link to each other as synonyms, not alternative anything. As for Conrad's proposal of using a specific dialect of English, I think it has merit. I have some thoughts, but won't place them here, as I think that it should indeed be a separate thread, lest it drown out the conversation Daniel.'s trying to have. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 23:16, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
For multi-word entries, there is a clear, possibly legitimate use for "alternative forms". See Lord willing and the creek don't rise or many entries in Category:English proverbs. DCDuring TALK 23:30, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
The texts “Alternative form” and “Alternative spelling” are headings for exactly the same section – they never both appear (I hope). Many alternates have the same spelling, so when they differ only by capitalization or hyphenation, it gets changed to “form”. This is dumb. Let's always use one inclusive heading for this section. (And let's use the shorter “Alternate form,” because alternative has other senses.)
“Synonyms” is a separate heading, appearing in a different place, but there are forms which could be placed in either, requiring a judgment call. Are mum and mom two words or one? At least the latter is pronounced like the former by some people.
We should lemmatize as many terms as possible, but sometimes the resolution doesn't achieve consensus, requires minor exceptions, or is just impossible. Is labour (“A political party or force aiming or claiming to represent the interests of labour”) the same as Labour (“Short for the Labour Party”), or not? I once made aboriginal an alternative of Aboriginal, but it has gradually regrown. whiskey and whisky are regional synonyms, but they are commonly used as to describe regional referents (it's polite to write Scotch whisky and bourbon whiskey, wherever you live).
There are three major forms of English spelling, corresponding to three major dialect groups: British, Canadian, and US. Let's always make the lemma the form that is most common in at least two of these. E.g., put the lemmas at labour and aluminum, not labor or aluminiumMichael Z. 2010-05-13 22:30 z

Locking Wiktionary:Entry layout explained

Can someone please lock Wiktionary:Entry layout explained? There is no need to have the page technically editable, given it should not be modified without a vote. Proposals to that page can be made in Wiktionary:Entry layout explained/Editable. --Dan Polansky 22:43, 10 May 2010 (UTC)

Unfortunately the keyword in that text is "should", not "must" (not be modified without a vote). And apparently commenting on Wiktionary talk:Entry layout explained is not sufficient to propose changes to WT:ELE, they must also be posted on WT:BP. Also could you explain how Wiktionary:Entry layout explained/Editable fits into this? And I assume we must also now vote to change the word "should" to "must" in "should not be modified without a vote"? And another vote to say where to propose changes? Facts707 07:56, 11 May 2010 (UTC)
I also don't see the vote where we voted to lock the page. Facts707 07:59, 11 May 2010 (UTC)
It doesn't need one, looking at the history, most edits have been reverted, so protection will reduce the amount of work we have to do. (Same reason we use protection on entries). Conrad.Irwin 09:29, 11 May 2010 (UTC)

Main page redesign (again)

Wiktionary:Votes/2010-03/Main Page redesign has failed, 15-8-2. The consensus, on and off of the vote page, appears to be that without a full set of volunteers in charge of the new features, the redesign should not go up, but it should be put up if there are volunteers willing to be in charge of the new features, and that my idea of having the features be unorginized community efforts is not a good idea.

So here's what I propose: We can set up sign-up sheets, trying to get volunteers for the various features, dividing "Interesting stuff" into its subsections (as was originally planned, I believe), and waiting until it is completely filled with people willing to maintain the features. Then, assuming there are no objections, we can put up the new main page, without another vote, as it seems to have been determined that there is consensus for using the new main page so long as it will be maintained. Thoughts? --Yair rand 00:26, 11 May 2010 (UTC)

I think that's a sound interpretation of the vote....or at the very least a sound interpretation of my opinions (and really, does anyone else's really matter?). However, I don't know if it's a good idea to simply slap it up once maintainers are found. We'd need, at the very least, a BP consensus, and possible even, as tiresome as this admittedly is, another vote. However, let's burn that bridge when we get to it. The first thing we need to do is get folks matched up with features, and then we can worry about the next step. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 00:30, 11 May 2010 (UTC)
There are two issues, firstly the features, and secondly the design. Unless you are completely set on doing both at the same time, the proposal to start the new features without the new design (or vice versa) may be a useful stepping stone. We can always take these features off-line again if interest wanes, though (again) it's easier if doing so doesn't require reverting the entire page's new design. Conrad.Irwin 00:33, 11 May 2010 (UTC)
Well, the new design without the features leaves quite a lot of blank space there, and the features without the design not only would leave quite a bit of space, but seems kind of like a waste. But then again, these would probably be for not that long a time, and if someone could find a way around the problems... --Yair rand 00:41, 11 May 2010 (UTC)

How many of the redesign features could we introduce into the current design, without controversy and votes? Michael Z. 2010-05-11 05:35 z

Hopefully all. The previous vote clearly determined that with people managing the features, the redesign is acceptable, without them, it's not. The vote ended 15-8, which means two more supporting or one less opposing would mean it would pass, which it would clearly get if it was clear that there would be people managing the new features. Thus, another vote would just be a pointless waste of time. Does anyone disagree? --Yair rand 21:40, 11 May 2010 (UTC)
I've started Wiktionary:Main Page/Features. Anyone interested in running one of the features, please add your name to the page in the proper location. Thank you. --Yair rand 00:37, 14 May 2010 (UTC)

Some thoughts about Tatar

I noticed that Tatar is written here in both Cyrillic and Latin, although the Tatar content is not large Well, officially it's in Cyrillic. Although, there is some material in Latin and there are attempts to switch to Latin, both the reality and the prescribed forms are in Cyrillic. If we are to maintain some standards - most Tatars live in Russia and some Kazakhstan, we should have rules to have Tatar entries in Cyrillic and since there is a standard Tatar romanisation, also used on internet, we could use it for romanisation, e.g. татарча (tatarça). The Tatar Wikipedia and Wiktionary use mixed scripts, which reflects the nationalistic movement by some Tatars but until there is an official ruling, writing Tatar in Latin is non-standard. Please don't confuse with Crimean Tatar - a similar language in Crimea, Ukraine, which are allowed to use Latin. --Anatoli 22:53, 11 May 2010 (UTC)

I admit to knowing nothing about the language beyond what you've just written here, but it seems to me that whether it is official or not, if there is durably archived use of the Latin script to write Tatar then we should include it here. I say this because Wiktionary is (or aims to be) a descriptive (rather than proscriptive) dictionary, and so we should include the words that people do use rather than what they should be using (regardless of who is saying they should). Discussion of who is being presciptivist with the language, why, what the prescription is and what effect is having along with any other counter-prescriptivism and the effect that is having should be the subject of encyclopaedic treatment at Wiktionary. Thryduulf (talk) 23:18, 11 May 2010 (UTC)
Agree with Thryduulf. I expect that when Tatar starts getting worked on with earnest, the vast majority of its content will be in Cyrillic. However, the fact remains that there is attestable content in Latin, which deserves to be kept. Anyone who wants to work on it and do all their work in Cyrillic-only is quite welcome to do so. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 23:24, 11 May 2010 (UTC)
I see, thanks. So it's a matter of attestability and contributors' preference? On the attestability we do have romanised (chat) Arabic, Russian, toneless pinyin for Chinese and other non-conventional stuff. In any case, Tatar in Cyrillic is about four times bigger on the internet and the printed material is mainly in Cyrillic.
FYI only, Tatar (language code - tt) is a Turkic language, the 2nd largest (with a large gap) spoken language in Russia (competing with Ukrainian and unofficially with Chinese) and is the official language in Tatarstan, Russia (Kazan is the capital). There are not many Tatar Tatar contributions to worry about it yet. --Anatoli 00:05, 12 May 2010 (UTC)

A new phrasebook entry - Appendix:I_am (nationality)

I have created an Appendix Appendix:I_am (nationality) to help learners understand introduction from natives of other languages. For example, at customs office, a Russian traveller says "я русский" (male) or "я русская" (female), this type of entries would help in this case. Please add entries for missing languages. It can't be made to generic to have I am American, I am Austrian, etc, one entry per each language would suffice. Here's an idea for the next phrasebook entry: I need an interpreter. --Anatoli 01:54, 13 May 2010 (UTC)


Does exist the list of labels, which is used in the Wiktionary in the template: {{qualifier|some label here}}, e.g. in the same way as the list in the Russian Wiktionary? -- Andrew Krizhanovsky 11:44, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

My another question about labels is here: Template_talk:qualifier#Discussion. Thank you. -- Andrew Krizhanovsky 11:55, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

All labels on wiktionary are free form, you can put whatever you like there. Seperate with a comma, rather than two qualifiers. Conrad.Irwin 12:04, 13 May 2010 (UTC)
What purpose would such as list serve? Mglovesfun (talk) 12:08, 13 May 2010 (UTC)
It reduces the entropy of the dictionary, by encouraging consistency. Which should, in some abstract way, make it easier to use, but probably (slightly) harder to write. Conrad.Irwin 12:13, 13 May 2010 (UTC)
Yes, it will simplify:
(1) adding labels by foreign editors, because my dictionary translates Russian label литер. (литературный) into bookish, literary, abstract; pedantic... And I don't know which label is more suitable :(
(2) adding labels into my Wiktionary parser. -- Andrew Krizhanovsky 12:50, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

Try to use the labels in Category:Context labels. Type in your own when you must. Obviously, it's best to avoid using different labels for one concept, because someone will perceive that as different concepts. Michael Z. 2010-05-13 21:49 z

Should {{qualifier}} also use these? Conrad.Irwin 21:51, 13 May 2010 (UTC)
Yup. Qualifier labels are just context labels, but they refer to mentions of other entries, so we don't want them to categorize. Michael Z. 2010-05-13 23:00 z
Thank you. I have added the reference Category:Context labels into Template_talk:qualifier#See_also. -- Andrew Krizhanovsky 15:40, 15 May 2010 (UTC)


Application certificate.

The way the template {{policy-TT}} for policy drafts looks seems inapproripate. In particular, its use of a certificate icon seem inappropriate. It uses the template {{policy}}, which contains the hardwided image Application certificate. The first step to make policy-TT look appropriate is to adjust {{policy}} to have the certificate icon merely as an optional item. Then, {{policy-TT}} should be adjusted to avoid the certificate icon. Put differently, only the hard policies should have a certificate icon. IMHO anyway. --Dan Polansky 12:57, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

Done. Though feel free to find a better image. Conrad.Irwin 13:15, 13 May 2010 (UTC)
Another icon
Thank you. I have set there another icon, but revert me as you see fit. --Dan Polansky 14:11, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

Wiktionary:Votes/pl-2010-05/Placenames with linguistic information 2

Once again. This vote was created to answer the questions in the failed vote, Wiktionary:Votes/pl-2010-03/Placenames with linguistic information are accepted. Feedback is welcome, particularly from the users who voted "abstain", or opposed with reservations. Please discuss on the talk page , not here, to keep the discussion in one place. --Makaokalani 14:40, 14 May 2010 (UTC)

I cannot accept this wording: "A name of a specific person should be included if it is used attributively, with a widely understood meaning". The section on specific entities has to be fixed first before a vote on placenames can be properly started, or else the broken unvoted-on text of that section gets confirmed by a vote. I was planning to post to Beer parlour on Monday my plan to start a vote on fixing the section on names of specific entities, as a follow up on Wiktionary:Beer parlour#Straw poll on the 'names of specific entries'. But as it has become more urgent, let me state the proposal now.
The vote that I am planning should propose replacement of the current section on inclusion of names of specific entities with the following text:

This section regulates the inclusion and exclusion of names of specific entities, that is, names of individual people, names of geographical entities, names of mythological creatures, names of planets and stars, etc. ¶ Many names of specific entitites should be excluded while some should be included. There is no agreement on specific rules for the inclusion of names of specific entities.

Once this text is accepted, it can be further amended as follows:

This section regulates the inclusion and exclusion of names of specific entities, that is, names of individual people, names of geographic entities, names of mythological creatures, names of planets and stars, etc. ¶ Many names of specific entitites should be excluded while some should be included. There is no agreement on specific rules for the inclusion of names of specific entities, but there is a specific regulation for names of geographic entities, specified in the section "Names of geographic entities".

(I am using the term "names of geographic entities" instead of "placenames", a minor difference. "placenames" would be okay with me, but "names of geographic entities" seems more accurate, yet correct me if I am wrong.)
--Dan Polansky 16:47, 14 May 2010 (UTC)
I've responded at the vote's talkpage.​—msh210 17:09, 14 May 2010 (UTC)

Wikimedia Commons Picture of the Year contest open!

Dear Wiktionary users,

Wikimedia Commons is happy to announce that the 2009 Picture of the Year competition has now opened. Any user registered at a Wikimedia wiki since 2009 or before with more than 200 edits before 16 January 2010 (UTC) is welcome to vote.

Over 890 images that have been rated Featured Pictures by the international Wikimedia Commons community in the past year are fighting to impress the highest number of voters. From professional animal and plants shots, over breathtaking panoramas and skylines, restorations of historically relevant images, images portraying world's best architecture, maps, emblems and diagrams created with the most modern technology and impressing human portrays, Commons features pictures for all flavours.

Check your eligibility now and if you're allowed to vote, you may use one of your accounts for the voting. The vote page is located at: Commons:Picture of the Year/2009/Voting.

Two rounds of voting will be held: In the first round, you can vote for as many images as you like. In the final round, when only 20 images are left, you must decide for one image to become the Picture of the Year.

Wikimedia Commons is looking forward for your decision in determinating the ultimate featured picture of 2009.

Thanks, Wikimedia Commons Picture of the Year committee http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons:Picture_of_the_Year/2009 --The Evil IP address 17:13, 14 May 2010 (UTC)

Does anybody still want inflection-line tables?

Can we (please) be rid of them, once and for all? Consider:

  1. People can't see them unless they opt in (unless they have no CSS support, see below). So they're useless for all users except regulars (who set PREFS). Do any readers of what I'm now writing have that opt-in set?
  2. Those without CSS support, who I admit are few now, see the inflection line and inflection table, clearly a bad situation.

​—msh210 17:46, 14 May 2010 (UTC)

I'm not sure what they are. Can you give an example? —CodeCat 18:11, 14 May 2010 (UTC)
  • If you're talking about the inflection-line boxes, then yes, I use them – and I love them. They clearly mark out the POS line on a page, which is something many users complain about; I actually think they should be enabled by default. Ƿidsiþ 18:12, 14 May 2010 (UTC)
    • Do you agree, Widsith, that having the tables and lines is inappropriate duplication?​—msh210 18:19, 14 May 2010 (UTC)
      I don't really understand what you mean, sorry. What lines? Ƿidsiþ 07:50, 15 May 2010 (UTC)
Can you point me to examples? Are there any under English L2 headers? DCDuring TALK 18:13, 14 May 2010 (UTC)
Yes, {{en-noun}} has it, for example. If you add .infl-inline {display:none} .infl-table {display:inline} to your monobook.css you'll see them.​—msh210 18:19, 14 May 2010 (UTC)
However, not all inflection templates have it (de-noun does not, for instance), which leads to inconsistent rendering for those with the PREF set.​—msh210 18:22, 14 May 2010 (UTC)
Thanks. It is not to my taste, so I have commented it out. Under Wiktionary:Purpose#Users we don't have to be concerned about users other than people just like us (our hardware, knowledge, etc). It's hard enough getting us to agree. As we all have CSS, why should we care how stupid it looks to the benighted ones who don't have CSS? DCDuring TALK 19:20, 14 May 2010 (UTC)
I have virtually no understanding of what CSS is and know even less about how to change it, so, FWIW, I see no problem with those inflexion lines and tables (if I'm right about what I think you're referring to).  — Raifʻhār Doremítzwr ~ (U · T · C) ~ 21:06, 14 May 2010 (UTC)

The implementation of these is an abomination. This is what three lines of an entry looks like in a text-only browser:

[edit] Verb                                                                     
   to step dance                                                                
   Third person singular                                                        
   step dances                                                                  
   Simple past                                                                  
   step danced                                                                  
   Past participle                                                              
   step danced                                                                  
   Present participle                                                           
   step dancing                                                                 
   to step dance (third-person singular simple present step dances,             
   present participle step dancing, simple past and past participle step danced)
    1. To perform a step dance.                                                 

CSS should never be used as an ersatz content management system (and there's no excuse when it is being served by this highly sophisticated actual content management system). This renders pages inaccessibly, which is a sore embarrassment in a so-called “open content” project. Michael Z. 2010-05-14 22:24 z

Agreed (user-specific content-mangling should be done with js). These tables are a pain for template maintainers. Also, true tables should be in their own subsection, not before the definitions. I very much want these tables to be removed. --Bequw τ 19:17, 15 May 2010 (UTC)
I would also like to see these go away, but I see no reason to explicitly kill them. I am unpersuaded by the text-only browser argument, as I am firmly of the opinion that fewer people use these to view Wiktionary than Widsith uses the boxes. There is certainly a template maintainance argument, and, should the template maintainers wish to drop support for the tables in the process of updating the templates, that seems fair and rational. It should be pretty easy, using the accelerated creation classnames, to reconstruct the tables from inflection lines that have accelerated creation in javascript, if it is desired. Conrad.Irwin 19:46, 15 May 2010 (UTC)
What are the tables used for? Could we not use CSS and display:table-cell, etc, to restyle one set of information for those who want a table display? Michael Z. 2010-05-17 03:31 z

Vote on names of specific entities

I have created Wiktionary:Votes/pl-2010-05/Names of specific entities, to be started on Tuesday, 18 May 2010. The proposed new text:

This section regulates the inclusion and exclusion of names of specific entities, that is, names of individual people, names of geographic entities, names of mythological creatures, names of planets and stars, etc.

Many names of specific entitites should be excluded while some should be included. There is no agreement on specific rules for the inclusion of names of specific entities.

The text can still be refined.

The vote is a follow up on Wiktionary:Beer parlour#Straw poll on the 'names of specific entries', which was on removing the section altogether. This vote, instead of removing the section "Names of specific entities" altogether, makes it explicit what sort of names the section is meant to regulate, and then states explicitly that no specific rules are in effect. That seems better than leaving a blank space in CFI. --Dan Polansky 23:15, 14 May 2010 (UTC)

Is there an admin who can talk to me regarding User:Sven70

I am LessHeard vanU - an admin on Wikipedia - and I have been contacted by the above user regarding communication difficulties. I have been able to make some progress on Wikipedia regarding his method of communication, and have spoken to him over the internet. I have found it is far easier to communicate with him via that medium than through wiki channels. I am writing to see if there is someone I can contact, who would be willing to also speak to Sven on this basis. Basically, I am trying to broker a discussion between a Wiktionary admin and a user with communication issues - and who is frustrated with his experiences. To that end I would be grateful if it is someone who has not interacted with S70 previously would indicate that they are willing to undertake this. I have read some of the interactions, including on this page, and feel that a person without the weight of past discussions may be beneficial. I am, for what it is worth, willing to vouch for Sven70; that he is wanting to be better understood so he may contribute to this project. I am willing to act as an intermediary if voice to voice interaction is not desired, or otherwise facilitate communication. Thank you, in anticipation, for anyone reading this and willing to respond. LessHeard vanU 21:44, 16 May 2010 (UTC)

For anyone's reference, see also #nl4.5Bbabl.3Dimprope, May 2010. --Dan Polansky 09:45, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
If Sven wants to reestablish himself as an editor, he should follow the following steps:
  1. Register a new nickname.
  2. Start contributing content in the main namespace.
  3. Completely evade and minimize talkpage interaction.
Everything else is a waste of time IMHO. --Ivan Štambuk 10:08, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
Let please Sven not register a new nickname--that would amount to sockpuppeting. Sven70 is a good user name. Let him first send a public apology for those actions for which he is sorry, with references to those particular actions, and do it as an anonymous user who signs himself as "--Sven70" or "--Sven Verelst". That would be a first step to do. --Dan Polansky 10:17, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
Or Sven Verelst can make that public apology for some of his edits on English Wiktionary on his W:User talk:Sven70, where he has been unblocked. --Dan Polansky 10:32, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
Is there an admin who is willing to talk to me in regard to Sven70? It is a simple question. I should be grateful for a direct answer. LessHeard vanU 19:48, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
Erm, that's not the same question you asked the first time. Yes, I'd be willing to talk to you, or with you, regarding Sven. I'm unwilling to (as you requested the first time) communicate with Sven via VoIP or through yourself.​—msh210 19:54, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
Thank you, it is a start. I would still be open to talking to any other admin who would, once I have explained matters, consider communicating with Sven. LessHeard vanU 19:52, 18 May 2010 (UTC)


It seems we can safely delete WT:VOTE, because when a vote passes, if EncycloPetey doesn't agree with it, he just reverts it. Mglovesfun (talk) 23:11, 16 May 2010 (UTC)

I don't suppose you could've said this any other way. — [ R·I·C ] opiaterein — 23:15, 16 May 2010 (UTC)
That's ambiguous. Mglovesfun (talk) 23:16, 16 May 2010 (UTC)
I would partially agree with deleting WT:VOTE at the moment. The entire thing has degenerated into the worst kind of political bickering. There are good reasons why wikipedia says !vote. There are also good reasons why we have votes, they are useful, for example, to demonstrate where there is no consensus, and further work is needed. Is the extent of your accusation against EP is only the number/numeral vote? I don't know what exactly the problem is there, but I suspect, like the "UK/US" thingy above, the difference is subtle. The problem with subtle differences is that they really annoy pedants, cf. the greengrocer's apostrophe. Conrad.Irwin 23:17, 16 May 2010 (UTC)
No, other things, all of the same nature. What's the point then? If consensus doesn't matter, it's each to his own. How can anyone criticize him, me or anyone for just creating or deleting things at will? Mglovesfun (talk) 23:18, 16 May 2010 (UTC)
If I delete his user page, and I have, there's no consensus to do that. But if we disregard consensus, there are no grounds to criticize me other than 'I don't like it because I don't'. Mglovesfun (talk) 23:19, 16 May 2010 (UTC)
Who knows? It's an unsolvable problem, unfortunately. We can hope that each respects the others, but as communities grow, this ceases to be the case. Of course, we could create a police force (or ArbCom if you prefer) that has an (assumed) authority, but it would not solve the problem, merely provide a way of enforcing decisions that some people don't like. Conrad.Irwin 23:22, 16 May 2010 (UTC)
I don't think EP intends to defend himself. If that were the case, he'd have simply replied instead of reverting my message, which has harsh, yes, but accurate. Mglovesfun (talk) 23:23, 16 May 2010 (UTC)
It's impossible for someone to respond when they've been blocked. You blocked me three times in the span of a few minutes for "Vandalism" (thank you to Daniel and Conrad for unblocking) and then deleted my user page twice. I tried to respond several times, but each time found myself blocked, up against an edit conflict, or distracted by the edit war on my talk page. At this time, I see no point in pursuing the issue (if any). --EncycloPetey 23:53, 16 May 2010 (UTC)
Like I said on WT:RFDO, I accused him of POV pushing and regretted it. I turned out to be right the first time, and it's horrible that I was right, because it leaves us in this situation. While I hate conflict, I don't like to turn into a 'doormat' either. Mglovesfun (talk) 23:25, 16 May 2010 (UTC)
I should hope he doesn't; that would give you both a chance to have an exciting fight. By remaining non-confrontational, we can hope to engage in more fruitful discourse. Conrad.Irwin 23:27, 16 May 2010 (UTC)
On voting, not on EncycloPetey: Voting is a good thing. Voting in English Wiktionary has not degenerated at all; by contrast, we are learning how to do it. People are learning how to formulate policies and how to criticize them. People are learning how to express disagreement. Disagreement, dubbed above as bickering, is typical for open systems for collective decision making, as opposed to autocratic, oligocratic and dictatorial ones. --Dan Polansky 08:36, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
Ugh... I completely disagree. Voting works very well for admin/bot/software requests - clear boolean choices. It does not work at all well for making informed decisions, particularly due to our style of vote, where no-consensus and fail are effectively the same; and given that we have no definition of majority, and no way of enforcing the outcome. Yes, I'd encourage expression of disagreement, but pushing things to a vote, which gives them a very political swing, and artificially ramps up the tension, is not the way to come to stable, rational, agreements. You may argue that this is a learning process, but it's a phenomenally slow and expensive one - I would maintain that it is not worth the effort. How to make decisions instead? Well, like the SC issue, we can, and I think should, let the decision make itself over time. Allow both parties to make the edits they wish to make, under an agreement (however tenuous) that they won't destroy the work of the other without making improvements to Wiktionary. This works very well, particularly notable is that people's views are represented in almost exact proportion to how much work they put in - this is much fairer than the "50 edits to vote" idea we're about to implement. It may come to the point, in the future, that it is obvious that one method has overwhelmingly more support than the other, and given that it is better for Wiktionary to be consistent than to have two different styles - how much better depends - we can then make necessary alterations, and vote on "accepting the status quo". There is also a massive overhead here, but luckily, at every stage in the process Wiktionary gets better. Conrad.Irwin 10:58, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
The vote on SC actually clearly showed that there was an overwhelming support for what the vote proposed among regular Wiktionary editors. I have accepted the result of the SC vote as supporting the BSCM merger, which is why I have felt no further obligation to interefere with the actions of those SC contributors who pushed the merger of BSCM. The vote on SC was actually one of the most revealing and most useful votes. It revealed not only what editors of English Wiktionary uninvolved in SC editing actually think, but also what sort of pseudo-arguments have been brought in by opposers coming to the vote from other Wiktionaries and Wikipedias. All of this would have been impossible without a vote.
So you advocate having votes, but not for using the outcome of the vote? That makes some kind of sense (albeit very open to accusations of foul play). Your wording above implies that we have votes solely to get outsider feedback we then ignore, presumably the intention (in general) is to take the outside feedback on board? (I'm not trying to be irritating, I am genuinely interested in how you have your point of view). Conrad.Irwin 12:09, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
I am not sure how to answer your question. As you have pointed out, there is certain negotiation and collective decision making in the mainspace even without a vote, a point with which I agree. If a conclusive vote rules a thing in one way, so much better. But even if a vote is not perfectly conclusive, it discloses editor preferences, and it modifies the behavior of editors in the mainspace without enforcement, so it modifies the negotiation pressures in the mainspace. This has happened in the SC vote, in that great many BSCM entries were converted, but some are still left unconverted. After a vote ends in "no consensus" in favor of A and disfavor of B, admins can no longer validly claim that "We do things in B way in Wiktionary". So even "no consensus" votes provide a check on administrative power. I see nothing illegitimate about editors voluntarily modifying their behavior in the mainspace based on the outcome of a "no consensus" vote, no more than when that happens after a straw poll. Such a "no consensus" vote, again, cannot be used to enforce the decision, but the decision can still be quietly accepted by many editors. I do not see a vote as a means of getting outside view in every and any sense of "outside"; the view in question should be a view outside of the narrow group of disagreeing editors, but it should not be outside of English Wiktionary. I have pushed that only editors of English Wiktionary should be eligible for voting, in a currently running vote. That vote is formally going to fail, while it still confirms that most of the editors whose consent I sought agree with me, while some editors who have contributed very little or nothing to English Wiktionary disagree, unsurprisingly. --Dan Polansky 13:33, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
In the SC vote, there was unanimity among the major SC contributors. There are subjects, though, for which the method of letting contributors decide in the mainspace does not work, because there is neither unanimity nor apparent consensus among those contributors. In some subjects, it is not known what the majority of contributors think before a vote starts. In one of the previous discussions about merits of voting, I have mentioned the vote on renaming of appendixes for male given names, whose result was an overwhelming support, a surprising result to me. Also, the method of deciding in the mainspace gives an edge to more eloquent and persistent editors.
There are outstanding issues in Wiktionary policy and practice that can be resolved with voting, but no one dared or cared so far to bring them up. These outstanding issues did not resolve themselves. One of them is the use of "<" vs the use of ", from" in etymologies, an issue on which I am planning a vote. --Dan Polansky 11:31, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
Have you considered asking them in a non-confrontational manner? We do have a BP and talk pages... I imagine you will get very different responses to "Please choose ',', '<' or 'don't care' in the next two weeks, or you don't get a say.", to "would you mind if I start converting , to < (or vice versa) so that we can make Wiktionary as clear as possible". - While you can do either, or even both, on WT:BP, you can only ever ask the first question in a vote. Conrad.Irwin 12:09, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
There was a discussion in BP on the subject, one on which some 4 to 5 users took part, although the discussion was not initiated by me. The discussion came to no consensus. It was a discussion, not a straw poll. In a vote, there are often many more participants. I think that votes should more often be presented in a non-confrontational way. If we get less tolerant to insulting and incivil behavior, the votes can become more enjoyable and less confrontational. --Dan Polansky 13:33, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
On EncycloPetey: If this is a charge against EncycloPetey, I would like to see a traceable and hyperlinked statement of that charge. Like, EncycloPetey edited this thing, but this vote ruled otherwise. This thread was probably stirred by this discussion. Then again, Mglovesfun, state the subject of the disagreement or conflict, refer to the vote, and let us see what needs to be done. I of course wholeheartedly disagree with Conrad Irwin's "Being in the majority does not make you right, which is why democracy is a very bad way to do things." To which I would add, being in the minority does not make you automatically right either. --Dan Polansky 08:47, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
Being in the majority or in the minority does not make you right, but I think Conrad is aluding to w:Tyranny of the majority. The wishes of the majority are why the Native Americans were oppressed, relocated, and murdered, why gays cannot marry; why German, Polish, and other Jews were rounded up, why American black people were denied equal treatment and opportunity for centuries, and so on. It’s why we have two houses of Congress, with one set up so that the smallest U.S. states have the same representation and say in government as the biggest states. —Stephen 09:16, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
Heh, yes, though I wasn't aware of the expression. I hate it when other people have my ideas first :). Conrad.Irwin 10:58, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
Stephen has it right: numbers are no indicator of rightness. The only way that talk of voting and numbers in reaching right decisions can proceed non-fallaciously is if the question asked is "For what body of voters is the assent of its majority a reliable indicator of right decisions?", and that is an empirical question.  — Raifʻhār Doremítzwr ~ (U · T · C) ~ 14:41, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
Mglovesfun sadly left the project for good. He was a very good addition to the project, and this just shows how those people who want to destroy the project always end up being the winning guys (see also: SC). If anyone wants to bring up WT:VOTE on RFDO, I'll be sure to add my supporting vote. -- Prince Kassad 09:19, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
this just shows how those people who want to destroy the project always end up being the winning guys (see also: SC) - Considering that you yourself also voted against Serbo-Croatian unification proposal, that's a pretty hypocritical statement to make. --Ivan Štambuk 09:34, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
(after edit conflict)
There is doubtless such a thing as "tyranny" of majority. There is naturally also "tyranny" of minority. Strictly speaking, "tyranny of majority" is a figurative expression, as tyranny normally entails autocracy. Still, there is such as thing as an abuse of power given to a majority by a democratic system. Yet all systems of collective decision making are liable to an abuse of power, and democracy is far from the worst offender.
Now Mglovesfun has written: "So a vote passes with a consensus of 9-1, which I set up but not really caring which way it went." You see, this is not a "tyranny" of majority, this is a "tyranny" of almost perfect consensus, if anything.
I have seen no Wiktionary vote such that (a) a majority would have won, and (b) the vote could be called "tyranny" or abuse of majority power. --Dan Polansky 09:39, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
Am I reading this right? "I have seen no Wiktionary vote such that a majority would have won"?? That makes no sense. Conrad.Irwin 10:58, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
Have you noticed the "and" in the sentence? I have seen no Wiktionary vote such that (a) and (b) would hold for it at the same time. Please provide a better formulation, one that would be less ambiguous. --Dan Polansky 11:39, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
Ah, sorry. I assume you were doing some kind of inline list thingy "vote such that (a) and vote such that (b)" - I'd just leave them out unless you are refering to (a) and (b) from elsewhere. It entirely depends on your definition of tyranny; obviously, as we are in the ruling caste, we're unlikely to notice it - though our restrictions on user boxes could be regarded as such: Wiktionary:Votes/pl-2007-08/Babel_userboxes. Conrad.Irwin 12:09, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
Okay. As regards Wiktionary:Votes/pl-2007-08/Babel_userboxes, it does not seem to be an abuse of power. It is not a dictate of a mere plain majority but a dictate of an overwhelming majority, at least. The vote is also not all that constraining: it says "All other userboxes are currently forbidden (though specific exceptions may be made, after discussion)", so makes a provision for exceptions to be made after discussion and without further vote. But I accept the point that those users who took part on the vote constrain apparently private space of many editors who did not take part. --Dan Polansky 13:33, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
Re "...how those people who want to destroy the project always end up being the winning guys ...": There are no editors here who want to destroy English Wiktionary; that is utter nonsense, I am sorry to say. --Dan Polansky 09:42, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
On another note, this dispute is probably a follow-up on this: Wiktionary:RFDO#Template:cardinal, May 2010.--Dan Polansky 10:00, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
I can find no evidence of Mglovesfun’s desysopping in the user rights log, but he is no adminitrator any more. If so, why there is no information about who and when deprived him of this status? The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 11:54, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
He requested it on meta, and it was done there: [12]. Conrad.Irwin 11:59, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
(I should perhaps add that, should he regret having done this, I would have no qualms about reinstating him without a vote) Conrad.Irwin 12:01, 19 May 2010 (UTC)


LQT is live now. Feel free to use it on your favorite talk pages. -- Prince Kassad 12:06, 17 May 2010 (UTC)

There seems to be no link from the threaded discussion page to the thread talk- and summary talk-namespace pages, in which case perhaps we should autoredirect away from them as we do for citations talk.​—msh210 18:12, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
Citations talk is auto-redirected? How? (Citations talk:a seems to work like a regular link...) --Yair rand (talk) 17:26, 24 May 2010 (UTC)
See http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Citations_talk:a.​—msh210 15:18, 25 May 2010 (UTC)
  • For everyone's information, my talk page uses LQT now, so if you want to talk to me about anything, go ahead. ;) —Internoob (DiscCont) 20:35, 24 May 2010 (UTC)

I used it on Internoob's talk page, and it doesn't seem to play very well with my large font. I would like to ask that we restrict it to user talk (and not perhaps test it on a talk page for an entry or anything else like that) until it does play well with things. :) --Neskaya contribs talk? 19:15, 3 June 2010 (UTC)

Yes, that's the current agreement. Conrad.Irwin 01:02, 4 June 2010 (UTC)

block list

WHAT IS WRONG?! (Unsigned by

04:03, 18 May 2010 Tooironic (Talk | contribs) blocked (Talk) with an expiry time of 2 weeks (anonymous users only, account creation disabled) ‎ (Disruptive edits)

23:09, 17 May 2010 Tooironic (Talk | contribs) blocked (Talk) with an expiry time of 2 weeks (anonymous users only, account creation disabled) ‎ (Disruptive edits)

13:33, 17 May 2010 Tooironic (Talk | contribs) blocked (Talk) with an expiry time of 2 weeks (anonymous users only, account creation disabled) ‎ (Disruptive edits)

10:49, 17 May 2010 Tooironic (Talk | contribs) blocked (Talk) with an expiry time of 2 weeks (anonymous users only, account creation disabled) ‎ (Disruptive edits)

08:55, 17 May 2010 Tooironic (Talk | contribs) blocked (Talk) with an expiry time of 1 week (anonymous users only, account creation disabled) ‎ (Disruptive edits)

22:38, 16 May 2010 Tooironic (Talk | contribs) blocked (Talk) with an expiry time of 1 week (anonymous users only, account creation disabled) ‎ (Disruptive edits)

22:37, 16 May 2010 Tooironic (Talk | contribs) blocked (Talk) with an expiry time of 1 week (anonymous users only, account creation disabled) ‎ (Disruptive edits)

03:26, 16 May 2010 Tooironic (Talk | contribs) blocked (Talk) with an expiry time of 1 week (anonymous users only, account creation disabled) ‎ (Disruptive edits)

01:36, 16 May 2010 Tooironic (Talk | contribs) blocked (Talk) with an expiry time of 1 week (anonymous users only, account creation disabled) ‎ (Disruptive edits)

00:21, 16 May 2010 Tooironic (Talk | contribs) blocked (Talk) with an expiry time of 1 week (anonymous users only, account creation disabled) ‎ (Disruptive edits)

00:20, 16 May 2010 Tooironic (Talk | contribs) blocked (Talk) with an expiry time of 1 week (anonymous users only, account creation disabled) ‎ (Disruptive edits)

00:20, 16 May 2010 Tooironic (Talk | contribs) blocked (Talk) with an expiry time of 1 week (anonymous users only, account creation disabled) ‎ (Disruptive edits) . . . . . .

To, aka abc123. He blocks you for a reason explained in the block - disruptive edits. --Anatoli 05:42, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
Can anyone help get rid of this pesky editor? --Anatoli 05:43, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
You keep creating toneless pinyin entries nobody wants. Is something wrong with you? It's interfering with work on proper Mandarin entries. --Anatoli 05:52, 18 May 2010 (UTC)

You avoid any discussions but just keep generating new IP addresses. Do you think you get support for your case? I suggest simply remove all entries created by you without even checking for quality. Fixing them takes more time than creating new good ones. I perfectly understand Tooironic 's frustration with you. --Anatoli 05:56, 18 May 2010 (UTC)

  • Because you don't like Pinyin entries (with and without tone). (Unsigned by
Do you dislike Hanzi then? Why don't you create entries in proper Hanzi and add pinyin? Pinyin is the transcription, not a proper script for Mandarin Chinese. Your numerous entries under different aliases, which have the heading Mandarin are not in Mandarin but in pinyin. Chinese don't write in pinyin. Pinyin is only used as a phonetic guide for learners. The issues were explained many times. An entry like "shishi" would be useless as we don't have disambiguation pages. You should sign your comments - you were told this as well many times. As usual, you ignore what others tell you. --Anatoli 06:36, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
  • I like Hanzi (traditional and simplified) as well as Pinyin, but you hate Pinyin.
I was suggesting to move toneless Pinyin entries into those with tones. Now I have a different idea. I may personally start converting them into redirects to proper Chinese entries? What do you think, abc123? Your entire entries will turn into redirect pages in seconds? Your entries are not synchronise in contents and senses and examples with the Hanzi entries. Feel sorry for your work already? Since you're not a registered user, you don't follow any recommendations, nobody will stand up for you? I advise for the N-th time - do what community wants, follow advise on how to create entries in Mandarin. Perhaps then the other users will start paying attention to what is going on. There is no guide on how to create toneless Pinyin entries here and there shouldn't be. --Anatoli 06:47, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
But we definitely need Pinyin entries (with tones) in the same way that Romaji entries for Japanese are allowed. Romaji is no valid Japanese script, but is admitted on wiktionary. In the same way Pinyin entries with tones are welcome, do you agree? Could the toneless pinyin entries redirect to the Pinyin entries provided with tones? The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 12:50, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
As for disambiguation pages, kaku#Japanese resembles such page in content, albeit not in formatting. The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 12:51, 18 May 2010 (UTC)

For the record, somebody praised IP's work recently. --Vahagn Petrosyan 12:56, 18 May 2010 (UTC)

Please Tooironic, just block and That will save us a lot of clean-up work. -- Prince Kassad 14:57, 18 May 2010 (UTC)

What problems do toneless entries cause? Conrad.Irwin 15:03, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
Toneless individual syllables are treated as {{nonstandard spelling of}}s per vote. I don't know about whole words, which I think are what this anon has been adding.​—msh210 16:35, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
In reply to the silly comment of the anon that I hate Pinyin - no, of course I don't. I use pinyin with tones in every translation I make and support their usage with tones in entries for the main entries and every example but not in the header. This anon doesn't read our votes or any suggestions we make and continues to create entries in toneless Pinyin, not as "non-standard spelling" but as proper Mandarin entries. Please don't lump Japanese (Romaji) and Chinese (Pinyin) together. User:Tohru suggested WT:AJA#Hiragana entries and WT:AJA#Romaji entries for the Japanese. We don't have similar rules for Mandarin or people willing to maintain entries in Pinyin, especially toneless (e.g. shijian) or where tones are marked as numbers (e.g. shi2jian1), not tone marks (e.g. shíjiān). An entry shijian can be read as about 24 different words in my estimate. Who will maintain the accuracy of such entries? --Anatoli 20:07, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
I just indef blocked both IP blocks these edits have been coming from, pending a community consensus on what we should do about the persistent block evasion by this user. CheckUser revealed that the block evasion has been occurring for months and this game of whack-a-mole is clearly not solving the root problem. - TheDaveRoss 01:58, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
Yes, you can't make your point by block evasion. As for the proposal, can someone help with suggestion to disallow toneless pinyin entries? A fresh example of why toneless pinyin is a bad idea: jiaozi is both "Chinese dumplings" (trad. 餃子, simpl. 饺子 (pinyin: jiǎozi)) and a palanquin (trad. 轎子, simpl. 轿子 (pinyin: jiàozi)). Giving the complexity of Mandarin entries, having to look after the pinyin entries is an extra burden. To Conrad Irwin, we don't create entries in e.g. Hebrew rofe (a doctor) or in other non-Roman languages in Roman scripts, do we? The English entry jiaozi should be kept but Mandarin is ambiguous, at least. I found 14 words in Mandarin with "jiaozi" readings. --Anatoli 06:21, 24 May 2010 (UTC)
I am not very comfortable with leaving two /18s blocked for very long periods of time, I suggest that we unblock the registered username of this person and try to engage them in discussion about the problems with their previous activity and our future expectations of them. Once that has been resolved (assuming resolution is possible) we can unblock the range and enact any necessary punitive measures on the user specifically as opposed to the user and their 32767 closest friends. - TheDaveRoss 19:34, 27 May 2010 (UTC)


How do y'all feel about administrators unblocking themselves? I ask because I recently warned an administrator about a behavior I considered blockable, and he replied that any time I blocked him, he would simply unblock himself. I don't really consider that acceptable; even if there are cases when administrators can rightly unblock themselves, it seems clearly wrong for them to take the preemptive stance that they will always unblock themselves, no?

(For the curious: the warning and reply, and some additional discussion of that instance, are at Wiktionary talk:Votes/2010-04/Voting policy#From the vote page.)

RuakhTALK 14:29, 18 May 2010 (UTC)

I agree that "even if there are cases when administrators can rightly unblock themselves, it seems clearly wrong for them to take the preemptive stance that they will always unblock themselves". --Dan Polansky 08:00, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
If the block was unjustified and clearly under ridiculous explanation, why should it be clearly wrong to undo it? --Ivan Štambuk 14:44, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
What block would that be? You did not state that the block was unjustified or ridiculous; you said only that every time I block you, you will unblock yourself. —RuakhTALK 14:46, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
The context of the statement by Ivan clearly implies every time you block him for a particular reason. To wit, for defending lies as being jokes, or for not making it clear that he's joking, or some other interpretation of your disagreement. According to WT:BLOCK, this seems justified, if we assume that these statements are harmful to Wiktionary. Conrad.Irwin 15:13, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
This is veering off-topic, but for the record, I thought the proposed block-reason was pretty clear: it would be for making what Ivan calls "a bloody satirical statement intended to ridicule the opposing voters". —RuakhTALK 16:01, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
And why exactly is that blockable behavior? --Ivan Štambuk 16:42, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
Because ridicule is not an acceptable use of the "edit" feature — especially blanket ridicule of everyone who disagrees with you. —RuakhTALK 17:20, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
You meant to say: not acceptable when I do it? --Ivan Štambuk 17:45, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
No, I meant what I said. —RuakhTALK 18:05, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
My point was that it's pointless to selectively enforce principle. There were many occasions where you could've raised the similar type of warning to others, but you didn't. You neither have the formal authority nor moral high ground to tell me what I can write or not. And I doubt that I speak only for myself when I ridicule the malicious efforts of users who are abusing the complete lack of regulation on voting to obstruct the voting of such very regulation, esp. if they all appear to be low- or no-activity accounts with 0 input to the discussion. --Ivan Štambuk 18:35, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
Not every time, but every time you block me under the justification you gave for such blocking. Until we have policies regulating what you call "blockable behavior" (=free speech censorship as I see it), that cannot be used as an argument for established editors, because it's completely subjective and will always be abused. Anyway, what I was referring to in my comment above was the implicit assumption that the blocker is somehow more "right" than the blockee, and the blockee thus lacks high ground for unblocking (what you call "preemptive" action, but I don't see how that is preemptive at all). I was blocked 2 times by other admins (for 1 day), both completely undeservingly IMO, and unblocked myself the first time because the blocking excuse was absurd (and would also the second time, but I was on a wiki-break then). Under no circumstances should admins block other admins (unless they're blocking themselves). There are talkpages and votes to settle disputes. Unless there is vandalism being done, we don't need anyone monitoring "blockable behavior". --Ivan Štambuk 15:17, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
I would strongly advocate against limiting the unblocking at a technical level. As to on a social level, it entirely depends on the block. If it is the case that we want to block an administrator so that they cannot unblock themselves, we should ask them to resign (or, if necessary, force them to). Conrad.Irwin 15:13, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
Yes, I'm speaking at a social level. Since you say that it depends on the block, I take it you agree that there are times when administrators should not unblock themselves? So, if an administrator wrongly unblocks himself (or herself), how should we address that? For example, if X blocks Y, Y unblocks Y, and Z thinks the block was justified; should Z re-block Y? Leave a comment at User talk:Y? Something else? (I assume that we don't consider it productive for X to re-block Y on his own?) —RuakhTALK 15:27, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
I feel any block that appears to be in good faith, not a typo, and not clearly against community consensus should not be undone without asking the blocking admin first (and either getting his okay or knowing that his reason for blocking was wrong in the unblocker's opinion and likely in the community's) — or some similar rule. This would apply not only to self-unblocks but to any. A self-unblock will then be usually impossible (unless, again, the block seemingly was not in good faith, a typo, or clearly against community consensus), as the blocking admin will need to be consulted only via e-mail (or on IRC or the like), but IMO that's a good, not a bad, side-effect.​—msh210 15:59, 18 May 2010 (UTC)

Because we have unreasonable administrators who, in my opinion, have blocked other admins unjustifiably in the past (off the top of my head I can remember Msh, Ruakh, Prince Kassad, Neskaya doing that), self-unblocking should never be off the table. --Vahagn Petrosyan 15:18, 18 May 2010 (UTC)

There might be some merit in either not allowing admins to unblock themselves or having (voidable) sanctions for self-unblocking. But they might have to be accompanied by sanctions against blocking admins. Forcing a blocked admin to ask another admin to unblock might serve to defuse some conflicts. However, I fear that it would simply mean that even more mutual-aid groupings of the like-minded would form, exacerbating the politicization now occurring.
We could have certain elected "Saints" who had unblock powers (possibly in addition to ex-officio Saints such as checkusers and bureaucrats). But that too seems likely to get bureaucratic and/or political.
Another mechanism might be short, but irreversible (by anyone) blocks, say, 15 minutes or an hour. These would have the effect of providing a cooling-off period. A variation would be that the blocker would also automatically be applying the same limited unvoidable block to him/herself. But any mechanism can be gamed at bit. DCDuring TALK 15:38, 18 May 2010 (UTC)

Truth be told, I think that blocking admins is generally a bad idea. Not because it's mean, or any such thing like that, but rather because it's ineffectual. The whole point of a block is a naked exercise of power. It's basically the one and only tool we have to allow folks who care about the project to prevent those who don't from running amok. It cuts through all the red tape when reasonable discussion isn't working properly, isn't working fast enough, can't happen, or isn't worth happening. With an admin, it's a little different, because they have the ability to instantly undo the action, and subsequently the power evaporates. There are certain rare cases where a line is crossed, and we call a steward and just dump 'em (Wonderfool). However, in most cases, the only thing we can really appeal to is reason. Generally, I think we make a strong effort to only elect reasonable people into the admin cabal, and so this works. We have an amazing number of instances on this and other projects where folks put into effect policies which they vehemently hate because it's the community's will, or other examples of simply setting aside one's own personal bullshit to make the thing work. This is what adminship is all about. We have had cases where an admin, for whatever reason, lost the ability to set themselves aside and do what was needed for the project. Connel is, of course, the classic example. While a terrific and prolific editor, he lost his ability to control himself (truth be told, he was always a bit irrational and snappish, but it seemed to get worse over time), which resulted in what probably still remains one of the most contentious votes of our project. Oddly, the situation resolved itself, as Connel seemed to take the thing pretty hard, and left of his own accord. So, now we are left with a similar situation, with three admins (Ivan, Ric, Robert) who are obviously completely unable to set themselves aside. Their seething hatred for each other has not lessened over time. Ivan and Ric express their hatred for Robert with complete and utter rudeness, abuse, and just about everything which could be considered uncivil, thrown against Robert, anyone who agrees with him at the time, or anyone who just plain pisses them off. Robert is somewhat more controlled, and so his discussions are a bit less vitriolic, but I think that starting a little meatpuppet cadre to influence our votes the way he wants it, and doing his damnedest to get Ivan into serious legal trouble over an internet discussion is no less problematic. Clearly, none of them give two shits about how much this is poisoning the project and about how we're all wasting vast amounts of time putting out their little fires here and there. They have all been asked to desist more times than I can count, yet regard such requests with utter apathy and disdain. The only option I can think of is a final ultimatum, that they set aside their stupid bullshit now, this fucking second, or we just have them all desysoped. I suppose this whole thing would probably have to be formalized with a vote......sigh.....which of course they would have no say in, nor would any of Robert's little cabal. As with Connel, it would be unfortunate if it came to that, because, as with Connel, they are among our best and brightest editors. However, the project just can't tolerate this sort of nonsense. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 16:57, 18 May 2010 (UTC)

Robert is somewhat more controlled, and so his discussions are a bit less vitriolic - Uhm, excuse me, but Ullmann's action are 10 times more "abusive" than everything I did. He blocked me on two occasions with his prolific minions Neskaya and Amgine, started two unsuccessful attempts at meta to get me desysoped and blocked, has sent abusive e-mails defaming me to most of the Wiktionary admins and Wikimedia Foundation Board. Not to mention that he has managed to subvert two votes that would've almost certainly pass were it not for his orchestrated meat-puppetry. So pardon me if I gently tell them to sod off from time to time. The "problem" is not in me, it's in them, in their inability to discuss the Serbo-Croatian issue outside political context. --Ivan Štambuk 17:16, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
I'm not sure that you've ever noticed this, but abusive behavior [of others] directed toward oneself or one's friends or favorite causes is always at least 10 times worse and more frequent that what one directs toward others. (And that presupposes that one can see any basis for one's own comments being less than objective.) Consequently direct participants are the last one's to provide a useful appraisal.
Vitriol directed at those attempting to maintain neutrality is a great way to degrade and polarize any discussion. As I recall in the SC vote you were at best belittling and dismissive of anyone who valued any consideration that you did not. I understand that that issue is important to you, that you have vastly more expertise on the linguistic facts, and that you are more familiar with the political realities and even the Wikimedia personalities involved. Nevertheless there were (and are) other considerations. They need to be weighed against the technical linguistic considerations. It is difficult to weigh incommensurables in any conversation. It is much worse when participants' behavior interferes with the higher brain functions of others. DCDuring TALK 18:15, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
but abusive behavior directed toward oneself or one's friends or favorite causes - What exactly is this supposed to mean? How can I be "abusive to myself" ? I'm sorry, but that entire paragraph looks meaningless to me.
Please note attempted clarification in brackets above. HTH. DCDuring TALK 20:09, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
It's still meaningless verbiage to me. I keep reading it on and on..it almost makes sense, but then the semantic tree in my brain just disappears in a puff of nothingness. I don't understand 1) how can I be "self-abusive" 2) why exactly a direct participant is unable to provide useful appraisal. It appears to me that you're trying to dismiss my opinion simply because the whole case involves me, and not on the basis of the truthfulness or usefulness of the comment itself. --Ivan Štambuk 22:04, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
What I'm saying is that it is very difficult for a human being to be objective about a situation in s/he is emotionally involved. Sometimes it is possible to not even know or admit that one is emotionally involved. Once one is emotionally involved the rationalizing (not rational) mind does what it does best: produce 101 reasons why one is right and those who disagree are wrong. I am not dismissing your feelings and views. I am just raising the possibility that you do not do your case justice by weighing in with a statement like "Ullmann's action are 10 times more "abusive" than everything I did". A bald evaluative statement is something that I would take as an indication that someone is upset. But it is not on the same footing in my consideration as a fact or even an argument about the merits of the case. DCDuring TALK 22:41, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
As I recall in the SC vote you were at best belittling and dismissive of anyone who valued any consideration that you did not. - I was belittling anyone who was imagining various kind of "reasons", as well as downright lying about the differences among Serbo-Croatian standard varieties. Not to react wold be tacitly legitimize such nonsense. Some of the votes were out of sheer malice (people who wouldn't care less about the issue if I weren't involved, and who provided no input in the relevant discussions).
There is never a reason to belittle people (HR 101). You may argue against their position and even mock their positions, but ad hominem arguments are beyond the pale. DCDuring TALK 20:09, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
In my experience, it saves a lot of effort later because such evil-minded users are discouraged to participate once they realize that nobody will silently put up with their malicious actions. Most of the SC malcontents are gone now almost as fast as they made their appearance. Most of them had no intentions of contributing here anyway. If I kept my mouth shut, Ullmann and his clique would be doing 100 times more dangerous stuff by now. --Ivan Štambuk 22:04, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
Why did you direct any vitriol and belittlement at me? Did you believe me evil? DCDuring TALK 22:41, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
Nevertheless there were (and are) other considerations. - Yes there are, political in nature and thus immaterial.
That is an example of dismissiveness. If other people bring it up, they do not think it is immaterial. You may deem it immaterial, but that does not end the discussion. In a discussion among mature participants, one would take the trouble to explain why, which you never did. DCDuring TALK 20:09, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
I did explain it endless amount of times, but when your interlocutors are both clueless and persistently ignore absolutely any productive discussion that exclude politics, it's very hard to make progress. Why exactly is political ("faith") aspect of Serbo-Croatian immaterial to English Wiktionary? Because no body here cares about it! --Ivan Štambuk 22:04, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
The implication than is that I am a nobody? You just can't help yourself, can you? DCDuring TALK 22:41, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
They need to be weighed against the technical linguistic considerations. - No they need not. There is no need to distort reality to make it fit people's ideological conviction. It should be the other way around. That Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian/Montenegrin are different languages is a matter of faith, not of linguistic reality. From my experience, anyone who thinks otherwise either doesn't have clue what he's talking about, has a very perverted notion of a language ("nothing do with linguistics"), or is simply lying. --Ivan Štambuk 18:55, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
Reality is not an ivory tower. It includes political, social and interpersonal considerations. I view it as the duty of one who seeks to preserve open institutions such as ours to learn how to do so effectively. I do recall the flippant definition that "a language is a dialect with an army". DCDuring TALK 22:41, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
You continue to provide evidence of the very dismissiveness I am discussing. You refuse to engage in any discussion of concerns beyond your technical expertise. DCDuring TALK 20:09, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
Yes, I refuse to engage into pointless politicking. That is just about the only thing that your (and your friends') arguments really boil down to. You have zero knowledge or interest in the actual topic, so you end up politicizing it, making it appear something more than it really is. I prefer to cut through that sharply and expose the underlying emptiness. --Ivan Štambuk 22:04, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
It may be politicking, but it isn't pointless, IMHO. WMF and en.wikt are inherently political as all organizations involving normal (and other) humans. People who are effective in all kinds of organizations are somewhat political. I advocated a point of view that I thought was being underdiscussed. Many people whose opinions I respect disagreed. I knew that I could not myself weigh both sides of the argument, so I participated as best I could in accordance with my values, those of WMF, and my views on how they applied to the case. DCDuring TALK 22:41, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
I agree that the theoretical possibility of an administrator blocking another administrator should never be permitted to happen, not only because of the ability of the blockee to release himself, but also because: 1) the blocking administrator seemingly assumes a higher rank of administrator and from this arrogated position dares to judge and punish another administrator, which is præsumptuous, since they both are æqual. 2) in case of irreconcilable altercations between established contributors on major wikipediae there are Arbitration Committees which are supposed to umpire between the two parties and to come to a solution. Why not establish one here? When the two parties are administrators and one of them is blocked by another administrator, this is clearly no reconciliation, but just reinforcement to one of the two camps with dire consequences, since the altercation is likely to escalate.
As for the quæstion whether Ivan or RU’s comportment has been more disquieting (judging from their actions and not just words), I think it is RU’s for one simple reason: apart from Ivan’s occasionally harsh language he has never resorted to manipulating the outcome of votes. I can just add præventing Interwicket from adding links to the Serbo-Croatian wiktionary (and before December 2009 even setting it to remove said interwiki links) because of the convictions of its owner. Atelaes, please try to imagine the immense and overwhelming indignation which is inevitable when one’s diligently and carefully præpared vote has gained the consensus from virtually all (dozens) significant contributors on the project except 2 or 3, but the vote still is bound to fail due to gross meatpuppeting and incursion of users exclusively specialised in contributing on voting pages. And when this indignation finds its verbal expression, it is nowhere near as abusive as the subversion of votes and interwiki links. The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 18:38, 18 May 2010 (UTC)

Administrators are supposed to be above the average editor, they have the tools to block and delete, and must of course for these reasons be trustable persons. As long as an admin actually is an admin, his opinions should respected as someone of admin authority. If one admin disagrees with another, he can't just block him; they have the same level of authority. If an admin commits blockable offenses, then I cannot see why he should still keep his powers as an administrator as he is not trustable. These kind of "dramas" put the admin title to shame. --Harald Khan Ճ 18:12, 18 May 2010 (UTC)

Because we value skills in multiple languages as well as general linguistic knowledge, we are often highly dependent on a small number of editors to give us coverage (contributions + patrol) of important languages. We often accept what might be considered outrageous behavior by some editors as a result. Whether this practice is good for the project remains an open question. DCDuring TALK 18:29, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
I see what you're saying, but some offenses seem major enough to warrant a block, but not major enough, on their own, to warrant de-sysopping. I don't know. To me, de-sysopping-with-prejudice seems like a very extreme measure, to be taken only as a last resort. (I realize that some people also consider blocking to be a very extreme measure, but at Wiktionary we use blocks fairly often when an editor refuses to abide by the rules, and I don't think adminship should grant a free pass.) —RuakhTALK 18:23, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
  • A view from outside of Wiktionary. I am an admin of some standing at en-WP, running for Oversight (I shan't link, since I have no idea if there is the equivalent here) privileges, and am aware that if I were to unblock myself for any reason - including an abusive block - that I would be emergency desysopped and might only have the privileges returned after a rigorous review of my actions; unblocks are (should) always be made by third parties who can review the rationales for the block and unblock request - abusive blocks can be undone with a summary explaining that the sanction was unjustified, etc. On en-WP even commenting that one would self unblock would be grounds for a review of the fitness of the admin to hold those buttons. I realise that things are done differently here, but in the matter of holding positions of trust it may still be that actions relating to those extended permissions must be seen as being absolutely nonpartisan or disruptive. FWIW. LessHeard vanU 20:28, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for the helpful perspective. It is possible that we will have to follow some practices of other projects. DCDuring TALK 20:32, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
Are admins actually ever blocked on Wikipedia while at the same time keeping their admin powers? --Harald Khan Ճ 21:08, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
Admins are blocked for violations of policy, without losing access to the flags. It is understood that admins are not perfect, can make mistakes and errors of judgement, but are generally trusted to use the admin tools appropriately. Regular and systematic abuse of the tools will result in them being removed (although there is a weight of opinion that it is too difficult to desysop poor admins). En-WP is a huge enterprise, where there are less than 1000 active admins and hundreds of thousands of editors, and may be considered the exception rather than the standard. LessHeard vanU 19:10, 21 May 2010 (UTC)

It seems that no harm would ensue if admins were technically unable to unblock themselves. A blocked admin can ask other admins for a review of the block. There seems to be a new feature of Mediawiki software that makes it possibly to disable self-unblocking: see W:Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)/Archive_61#Disable_admin_self-unblocking?, May 2010. Quoting the introductory post:

"From the next software update (see r64228), blocked admins will no longer be able to block or unblock other users, and the ability to unblock themselves will become a configurable setting, a permission which we can, if desired, remove from the admin group here on enwiki. That would mean that blocked admins are technically prevented from unblocking themselves. In light of recent drama at WP:ACN, and our general distaste for the practice of self-unblocking, is that desirable? Happy‑melon 19:54, 4 May 2010 (UTC)"

--Dan Polansky 08:28, 19 May 2010 (UTC)

Why is it so difficult to comprehend that it is the mere concept of administrators blocking another administrators which causes most harm to the community of this project? There should instead be a feature præcluding for good the possibility to block an administrator, except when the blocking person is steward or bureaucrat. As I already pounted out, any administrator blocking another administrator, is seemingly arrogating a higher administrator status, which is undoubtedly repræhensible. If any administrator thinks that another administrator has crossed the line, then may he just start a desysoping vote and let us see whether the rest of administrators agree with him, or his concerns turn out to be unjustified. The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 09:00, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
An admin blocking another admin causes no harm to Wiktionary community at all. What does harm Wiktionary community are insulting admins who think they can evade constraints put on non-admins and behave as they see fit, defending themselves with references to "free speech", considering it their sacred right to call other people "brain-damaged morons". Wikipedia does allow admins blocking other admins, and it frowns unpon self-unblocking. I do not see where you are coming from with your "undoubtedly reprehensible": Wikipedia practice may be considered suboptimal with respect to certain goals, but hardly "reprehensible". There is no need to go for desysoping where a block suffices. --Dan Polansky 09:25, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
Uhm Polansky, speaking as someone coming from a former Communist country, and as someone who has been undoubtedly as least partially indoctrinated in radical statist ideologies, it comes t me as no surprise that you are eager to deprive others of such trifles such as free speech. (Which you disparagingly write in quotation marks). Yes it's a sacred right. It's inalienable, bestowed by the Creator, and cannot be taken away by anyone else. Wikipedia is falling to pieces; it reached its peak growth 2 years ago and is losing hundreds of invaluable contributors monthly only to be replaced by an army or brazen teenagers. They have several orders of magnitude more vandalism than all the other sister projects combined with backlog tracing back prehistory. Their admins are faced with insurmountable mountains of idiotic regulations, regulations of regulations, regulations of regulations of regulations regulated by Arbacom...which instills fear from committing any trivial mistake which could likely cost them their head on a plate (politely served by some psychotic sock-master who simply lived for such occasion). First of all, it's is completely immoral to force everyone to act as you want them to act. Especially if it's apparent to everyone that the aura of animosity is floating in the air, but is being conveniently hidden in scornful undercurrents of verbiage. It would simply look ridiculous - as if on one those courtroom shows where the defendant and witness are conversing with each other in utmost respect, but would most rather cut each other's guts out. Simply put, one has no right to act as a thought police, mandating what others ought to think, behave, what kind of cloth they should wear (think of those shameless anti-Islamic laws recently passed in several European countries...), what are they "allowed" to to their very own body (THC..) People must have freedoms, but also responsibility to answer for any infractions they committed. Now, I'm not saying that it's OK to write to some fellow Wiktionarian that he's a "brain-damaged moron" - it isn't, and the person who stated that should be held accountable should similar forms of derogatory demeanor appear in the future. He should be known that that's unacceptable, and that he should watch his tongue (which I'm sure he doubtlessly will: you'd be surprised how sincere criticism can be effectual), but regulating it in a way of "If you said f-word, you'd be blocked for successively increasing periods no lesser than X" would be completely unproductive: malicious people would simply find regulatory loopholes to exploit, doubtlessly focusing their efforts to forcing their interlocutors into uttering the reprehensible words, imagining all kinds of "offenses" fathomable under the sky. You're also suggesting it from a completely skewed perspective: most of the admin blocks that we have had so far were contentious, some overtly so, and for each of their cases you could find a party that would instantly either unblock or reblock the alleged offender. You're assuming that the harsh penalty of block is something always committed in good faith and on the body of undeniable evidence - that is not the case. That's why I'm telling Ruakh that I refuse to be judged selectively by his personal criteria. Blocking established editors is a serious step forward in escalating any conflict (and not solving it), and if it should be done it must not be done on the basis of one person making that decision hastily on some verbal trigger - a completely harmless offense IMHO (it's not what you say, but what you do that matters). --Ivan Štambuk 14:16, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
Yes, I stand firmly by my undoubtedly reprehensible, because English-language wikipedia has several hundreds or thousands of admins, whereas there are just a few dozens. In German, English or French-language Wikipediae they may block themselves mutually at leisure, but with regard to our humble number of administrators the regular application of this practice here would inflict pernicious ramifications on our community. Thus, I have to clarify - this practice is reprehensible on projects with less than ca. 70-80 administrators. Hopefully, my stance is clear-cut now. The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 11:46, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
Re "the regular application of this practice here would inflict pernicious ramifications on our community": This is a mere speculation, one that looks utterly improbable to me. What I have written in my previous post applies: What does harm Wiktionary community are insulting admins who think they can evade constraints put on non-admins, etc. And I will do some lookups given that you stubbornly refuse to use plain English: pernicious--1. Causing death or injury; deadly; 2. Causing much harm in a subtle way; ramification--An offshoot of a decision, fact etc.; a consequence or implication, especially one which complicates a situation. --Dan Polansky 12:01, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
I am happy to enrich your English vocabulary ^_^ Soothly, colloquial English and slang are not my cup of teetea, but elaborate English and Hochdeutsch are. I meant to say that some archaic flavour is to be found not only in my written English, but in my written German as well. The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 12:19, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
I don't want to be mean, but … your elaborate English is not as good as you think it is. :-/   (By the way, the colloquialism you're looking for is cup of tea.) —RuakhTALK 14:20, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
I have never claimed that mine Engliſh is elaborate, but that I have a prædilection for elaborate Engliſh (for reading it) and two of its ſources are the writings of certain authors and the vocabulary of the Latin language. Theſe are two ſources I cheriſh, but I would never venture to deem mine Engliſh comparable with that of my favourite authors. As for tea/Tee, well, I write in German much more eaſily than in Engliſh and now and again I have to recall the ſpelling of ſimilarly ſounding words, which I did not take into account in my prævious poſt in my ruſh to anſwer. The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 14:43, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
Even if it is not elaborate (which I admit), it has been rated as distinct and interesting which is a more agreeable feature than elaborateness (at least to me). Distinctness is precious in the age of pervasive, ineluctable and ubiquitous æqualisation. The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 08:23, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
Look at how what you originally said gets rendered using the definitions: The regular use of this practice here would cause subtly harmful consequences that complicate the situation. What consequences? A blocked admin asking another admin for a review of the block? Or did you even mean that the regular use of this practice here would cause deadly consequences that complicate the situation? It is far from clear what you are saying; what I see is obscurantism rather than elaborateness. So what consequences--particular and specific rather than vague and indeterminate--would ensue? What specific examples of such consequences can be described? In what other wiki have such consequences already happened? --Dan Polansky 12:33, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
Dan, you claim to have looked up pernicious, and if so I simply cannot imagine why on earth you are considering the first definition, when it is obvious that the word was used in the second sense. Ok, here are some possible consequences: undermined trust in the judgement of fellow administrators, overtly inimical attitude towards each other, the blocked administrator feeling ostracised or at best castigated or vituperated, the blocking administrator becoming prone to resorting into this practice of arrogating a seemingly higher administrator status by blocking his fellows in future. Is that not pernicious enough? Regarding my wording, it is the result of my learning Latin and of the kind of writings I tend to peruse. If you feel discontent with it, we can proceed with the discussion on your talk page on German which would hardly be undestood here, on a community page. « Ich stehe hier, ich kann nicht anders. » (although in general, I dislike the person who uttered these words, but the citation per se is marvellous) The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 12:51, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
I do not claim to have looked up "pernicous"; I looked it up, as evidenced by my above post. There is nothing obvious about the second sense of "pernicious" being used, to me anyway, as neither sense makes much sense to me in the sentence. Overly unfriendly or hostile attitude towards each other is what has actually happened, not speculatively, by the very admins who are implicitly discussed in this threads, and whose insulting behavior has gone unchecked. That is a fact, a statement of what has actually happened, not mere phantasising speculation. If a blocked admin cannot accept a block given for his misbehavior and feels "ostracised", he should better leave the project anyway, as he is lacking perspective and distance. --Dan Polansky 13:02, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
The "ramifications" of disabling administratorial self-unblocking could be very damaging ("pernicious" seems inappropriately light a word). Here is a specific (i.e., not vague) scenario: Consider Wonderfool, who, under different guises, succeeded in being granted administratorship multiple times, in each case going on an eventual vandalism spree which resulted in his desysopping-with-prejudice. Were self-unblocking to be disabled, such a user could easily examine the IRC and/or recent changes to infer the administrators active at a given time; he could then block them all (it takes seconds to block — indefinitely — and tabbed browsing allows one to have several tabs for blocking open at once); once the immediate danger of the on-line admins was out of the way, the WF-type admin could then proceed to block indefinitely every other admin within minutes; he is then free to vandalise to his heart's content. I consider that a worse outcome than what presently results from admins' de facto immunity from blocking.  — Raifʻhār Doremítzwr ~ (U · T · C) ~ 13:11, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
(unindent) The scenario that you have described could be handled by a steward. --Dan Polansky 13:30, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
It could be that Polansky is a Wonderfool sock. WF was adding Czech entries last time he made public appearance here, and P is a Czech regular. Blocking all admins from a predefined list could be done trivially in one line of code (Python, .NET) using several of the available frameworks. Wouldn't that be a wonderful check-mate, first depriving everyone of the ability to self-unblock under some seemingly "righteous" cause, and then wreaking mass havoc? LOL --Ivan Štambuk 13:33, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
However, Polansky has a user page on Czech Wikipedia and judging from his user talk page (I am judging by means of my vedomostí zo slovenčiny, I can understand ca. 60% of written Czech text thanks to it), no one there seems to have raised concerns about non-native command of Czech. Thus, I would be flabbergasted, if Dan Polansky manifested any relation to WF. WF has on the other hand accounts on Wiktionnaire and on German Wiktionary, but has hardly used them for any activity. He is apparently intent on subverting English-speaking projects. The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 13:53, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
I don't think DP is WF. I just think he's overly committed to counter-autocratic ideas of checks and balances. I've said my piece simply to justify why I think disabling self-unblocking would be a bad idea.  — Raifʻhār Doremítzwr ~ (U · T · C) ~ 13:59, 19 May 2010 (UTC)

I know for sure that Dan Polansky is not WF. WF knows French reasonably well, but that’s all. If he does any Czech, he does it like RazorFlame. Besides, WF is active here at the present (and has been for some time now), and he often edits at the same time that Dan is editing. —Stephen 14:03, 19 May 2010 (UTC)

(unindenting) My two cents: I think that administrators should not be allowed to unblock themselves, except in cases of abuse by another administrator, in which case, they could easily email an administrator to unblock them or they could ask in IRC for the unblock. That's all I am going to say here. Razorflame 21:16, 30 May 2010 (UTC)

I agree with this because a block that the blockee can revert is meaningless. If the blocker acted in bad faith, which shouldn't be particularly often, the community should review their admin position. Equinox 21:24, 30 May 2010 (UTC)
And we shouldn't be reviewing the admin positions of users who commit gross incivility on a daily and routine basis? I'm shocked. --Neskaya contribs talk? 06:55, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
I've no idea what you mean. I'm talking about general policy, not this particular case and the people involved in it. Equinox 12:16, 6 June 2010 (UTC)

Why are the "th"-sounds so rare?

The two sounds represented by th in English (breath and breathe) don't seem to occur in many other languages. AFAIK, those sounds aren't used in French, German, Dutch, Spanish, Italian, Finnish, or Japanese. Why are they so uncommon? Equinox 18:53, 18 May 2010 (UTC)

I don't know, but I can suggest [[w:WP:RDL]] if you don't get a satisfactory reply here. A lot of people who don't know what they're talking about reply there, but also several who do.​—msh210 18:57, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
The sound is widespread in fellow Germanic languages such as Icelandic, Old Norse and Gothic. It is not to be found in any South or East Slavic language (probably West too, though I do not know for sure). The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 19:04, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
[e/c; posting without first reading what's below:] Well, if we're collecting data points, then let me add that it's absent in Hebrew and AFAIK in Yiddish, Hungarian, and Russian. But I believe it (the soft 'th' in 'breath') is present in Spanish, contrary to your assertion, Equinox. Doubtless SGB will be able to fill us in on many more languages' info.​—msh210 19:11, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
Absent in many modern forms of Hebrew, including Standard Israeli Hebrew; but present in some Sephardic forms (not in my ancestors' Persian-influenced form, but yes in Yemenite and some other Arabic-influenced forms), and believed to have been present in Ancient forms until at least Late Antiquity (since otherwise it's hard to account for the divergence between Ashkenazic and Sephardic pronunciations of dagesh-less tav). —RuakhTALK 19:18, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
[θ] and [ð] are very hard to pronounce and require a lot of muscle movement and energy. Proto-Indo-European did not have such consonants; what you need to ask, is why English developed them. --Vahagn Petrosyan 19:07, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
See Grimm's law on that. --Ivan Štambuk 19:20, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
That is an excellent question! (Though, one quibble: many forms of Spanish do in fact display one or both of these sounds.) The best explanation that I've encountered is this one:
The scattered geographical distribution of dental or alveolar non-sibilant fricatives suggests that the processes that give rise to them are ones that are easily triggered spontaneously. However, the comparative rarity of sounds of this class suggests that these sounds may also be easily lost over a period of time. This may be because of their quietness, which makes them among the least perceptually salient of consonants.
That's from the World Atlas of Linguistic Structures, “Feature/Chapter 19: Presence of Uncommon Consonants”, section 5. You may be interested in the rest of that section, and indeed, the rest of the atlas — it's available online, in its entirety, for free, and it totally rocks.
RuakhTALK 19:09, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
My guess is that, in early Germanic times, the voiceless plosives were initially aspirated (alongside the existing Proto-Indo-European voiced aspirates), creating the series ph/th/kh, b/d/g, bh/dh/gh (and of course the labiovelars). Because voicing was no longer distinctive for non-aspirates, they then lost their voicing. Following or perhaps around the same time, aspirates became fricatives, resulting in the sounds familiar to Germanic: ɸ/θ/χ, p/t/k, β/ð/ɣ. So in this context, the Germanic [θ] is nothing special, it's just the result of three parallel aspirates softening to fricatives. Many later Germanic languages modified the sound in some way. This started off with Old High German which voiced [θ] to [ð], and then hardened voiced fricatives except [z] to plosives: β/ð/ɣ > b/d/g. The change affecting [θ] then spread throughout continental German, Low Saxon and Dutch, resulting in complete loss of dental fricatives in Dutch around the 12th century, and somewhat later in Frisian. The Scandinavian languages held onto them somewhat longer (around the 15th-16th century), and Danish still has [ð] to this day. —CodeCat 20:29, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
I also recall that Finnish had both [θ] and [ð] until quite recently, a few hundred years at most. [θ] became [ts], and [ð] changed into a variety of sounds that are indicated with <d> in the official spelling. —CodeCat 20:33, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
Hmm, I see. Thanks for the knowledgeable answers. Equinox 20:46, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Actually the sound /ð/ does occur in Spanish, but has no corresponding letter. It is used in textbooks as a classic example of sound change in context. The word dama is pronounced /ˈda.ma/, except in the phrase la dama, where it becomes /la ˈða.ma/. So, although the "th" sounds don't always appear with correspondence to a particular letter or set of characters, that doesn't mean those sounds are absent form the language. --EncycloPetey 21:04, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
[θ] and [ð] are both used in Spanish. The latter in I think all dialects. It's represented by "d" especially between vowels (cansado) and I think at the ends of words. [θ] is Castilian Spanish, represented by z and ce/ci. Most dialects of Spanish pronounce this [s].
[ð] is also used in European Portuguese, in pretty much the same ways as in Spanish. Both sounds are also used in Albanian and Arabic... that's all I can think of offhand, but there are surely more. — [ R·I·C ] opiaterein — 21:01, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
Here's more on [θ] Voiceless_dental_fricative and [ð] Voiced dental fricative in Wikipedia. You can see, which languages they are present in, not just English, Spanish and Arabic. Many Arabic dialects are losing these sounds but it's present in Modern Standard Arabic --Anatoli 21:54, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
My goodness! Has everyone forgotten Greek? It has both /θ/ and /ð/! – Krun 22:00, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
Oh, and some languages have /θ/ and /ð/, but not /s/ or /z/, such as Turkmen. – Krun 22:03, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
Welsh has /θ/ and /ð/ (represented orthographically by "th" and "dd" respectively) it also has /s/, but no /z/ - words of English origin with this sound typically becoming /ts/. Cornish certainly has /θ/ and I think /ð/ as well but I'm not completely certain on that. Thryduulf (talk) 22:20, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
No, fear not, no one forgot Greek; Anatoli and I both linked to lists that include Greek. —RuakhTALK 22:47, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
They are still rare, if English were excluded but it never is he-he. Anyway, out of the big and official languages. It's English, Bengali, Burmese, Greek, (standard) Arabic, (European) Spanish, Turkmen and Swahili (have I missed any?). The other languages, in which you won't here news, seem too small. No wonder the sounds cause many problems for most of learners in Europe, East, North and South Asia (inclusive Russia, China, India) who replace them with different other sounds. In Hindi, strange enough the sounds are replaced with aspirated [tʰ] and [dʰ] and they are romanised as th and dh. --Anatoli 22:59, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
Well, you missed non-European Spanish, which has [ð] as an allophone of the phoneme usually given as /d/. Also, I wonder — I've known a number of Indian-American women named <Shruti>, and they've all pronounced it [ˈʃɹuː.θi] (though some wouldn't bother correcting people who pronounced it [ˈʃɹuː.ɾi]). So I just assumed that some major Indian language had /θ/. Is that not the case? —RuakhTALK 00:12, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
I checked and found that Shruti is used at least in two big languages in India - Hindi and Tamil - श्रुति (from Sanscrit) and ஷ்ருதி. Both words use normal [t]. Hindi definitely doesn't have them (w:Hindi–Urdu_phonology) but retroflex aspirated sounds /ʈʰ/ or /ɖʱ/ may sound somewhat like /θ/ and /ð/? A /t/ and /d/ has 4 versions each in Hindi - normal, aspirated, retroflex and retroflex aspirated, perhaps one of them sounds like dental fricative to an untrained ear? Other Indian languages - Indo-Aryan and Dravidian have similar sounds. --Anatoli 00:35, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
Well, untrained ears weren't involved — their names had been Englished by recent immigrants — but of course, borrowing effects can be even weirder than untrained-ear effects. ... (split below) —RuakhTALK 00:45, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
AFAIK Bashkir has these two sounds too. -- Prince Kassad 17:59, 19 May 2010 (UTC)

Russian transcribes H, h as G, g (Г, г)

(split from above)

...I understand that Russian, for example, frequently borrows English /h/ as /g/, even though I expect that most Americans would consider /x/ or Ø to be a more natural choice. —RuakhTALK 00:45, 19 May 2010 (UTC)

I lost my answer. Anyway, Russians, when here the sound /h/ they often transcribe it with Г, г, it sounds /ɦ/ in Ukrainian and Belarusian and southern Russian. Also allowed in some words in standard Russian. Both /ɦ/ and /g/ sound like one sound to Russians but the latter has a higher prestige (it's the standard pronunciation). Most Slavic languages have words where /h/ and /g/ are used in similar words - /g/ Russian, Bulgarian, Serbo-Croatian, Slovenian, Macedonian, Polish; /h/ - Ukrianian, Belarusian, Czech, Slovak. There are more words where Х, х are used instead of Г, г - хоккей, хаб, хотдог, хобби, etc. German and Danish Hans is traditionally transcribed as "Ганс" (Gans), which upsets Germans, so "Ханс" (Xans) is used more often now. --Anatoli 01:18, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
I liken this to the way English adopts and adapts Ancient Greek χ, as in words such as chaos. It would seem closer to the original to say and write "haose", but we just prefer chaos. In very recent years, I have noticed Russian borrowing English words and spelling them more and more with х instead of г, but I attribute this to inexperienced writers getting to them first. Nevertheless, once the х spelling become widely known, it becomes standard. —Stephen 01:44, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
There are battles going on in the Russian Wikipedia about how to spell foreign words and names. Some people insist on writing German names Хитлер, Хайне instead of traditional Гитлер, Гейне. Well, it's now Холокост, хоккей, хаб, хобби, хост, ховеркрафт, etc. So it's almost standard to transliterate new words like this but the traditional names probably won't change. In the past, there was a rule to write Г, г but pronounce /ɦ/, now this pronounciation would sound irregular or non-standard but as I said, many Russians do use it.
This issue is similar to the usage of letter Ё, ё, which are often replaced with Е, е in writing and the impact on the pronunciation. --Anatoli 01:57, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
@Stephen G. Brown: That's a good point. In most cases, and in the general trend, it's because Latin borrowed those words from Ancient Greek before /kh/ (and the other aspirated unvoiced plosives) changed to /x/ (and other unvoiced fricatives), and in the Latin borrowings it became /k/. This is also why we spell it with <ch> rather than <kh>. (Incidentally, I've noticed that Americans trying to imitate Hebrew words such as בָּרוּךְ (barúkh) will usually go for /baˈɹuk/ rather than /baˈɹuh/. But I assume that's only because the latter is phonologically impossible in English: when the word starts with a /x/, they do go for /h/.) —RuakhTALK 02:02, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
If you mention Greek and Hebrew, why not mention Russian (Slavic) kh /x/? I would prefer my native city of Kharkiv/Kharkov (depends whether you use Russian (Харьков) or Ukrainian (Харків) as a base) to be called Harkiv/Harkov, there is no /k/ but /x/ in the city name or train English speaker to pronounce /x/ in the Slavic names. The kh is also used for the Arabic sound. --Anatoli 02:11, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
Anglophones do pronounce the /x/ sound to various degrees. It has Germanic roots, merging with the sound from loch and Bach, which can be pronounced /lɒk, bɑk, bæk/, never /lɒh, bæh/ (which for many anglophones would come out like law, bah). Michael Z. 2010-05-19 04:06 z
True but when Khodorkovsky (Ходорковский) was in the news, it's very seldom you heard /x/-. the digraph must be misleading to Anglophones or they just don't care? Khrushchov (Хрущёв) is even harder to handle who has become Krushchev. --Anatoli 04:58, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
Well, the sound isn't native to most anglophones, and there's no unambiguous way to indicate it in unfamiliar words. Some news outfits like the CBC seem to try pronouncing foreign names correctly (heck, when rural Manitoba towns make the national news it can take a day or two for CBC Toronto to start saying the names right). Michael Z. 2010-05-19 16:37 z
I suspect that "kh" isn't recognised as a digraph by most anglophones (I certainly wouldn't), and as Michael says there is no standard way representing /x/ in English orthography. Possibly the most common is "ch" (which is how German, Welsh and Scots orthographies represent it) but as that far more commonly represents /tʃ/ in English you'd most likely get Brits pronouncing "Chodorkovsky" as /ˈtʃɒd.ɔː(ɹ)ˌkɒv.ski/ (with USians using something similar most likely). Thryduulf (talk) 20:50, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
Indeed. I can think of several examples offhand: Noam Chomsky's last name, Hebrew /xomski/, is pronounced /ˈtʃɔm.ski/ in English; my oldest sister, when she lived here, was often called /tʃɛn/; and so on. But on the other hand, I don't think I've ever heard someone mispronounce the name Chana. —RuakhTALK 20:57, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
I've seen four different transliterations into Russian of English /h/=<h>: <Г>, <Х>, ∅, and Г with something over it (I think a tilde, but maybe it was a titlo). FWIW.​—msh210 17:24, 21 May 2010 (UTC)
Ґ/ґ is præsent only in the Ukrainian alphabet, it is never used in Russian. The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 19:22, 21 May 2010 (UTC)
That's not what I was referring to, which looked like Г with a tilde over it.​—msh210 19:25, 21 May 2010 (UTC)
Actually, one or more of those might have been only as a transliteration of Hebrew /h/=<ה>.​—msh210 19:29, 21 May 2010 (UTC)
Titlo, I also wonder what you meant. Roman H,h can only be rendered as Гг or Хх in Russian, and the sounds are /g/ and /x/. The /ɦ/ (similar to voiced /h/) is used in Ukrainian and Belarusian (render by letter Гг) and is considered non-standard Russian. Ґ/ґ is occasionally used in Ukrainian to render /g/, normally Гг is used. So /g/ normally becomes /ɦ/ (/h/ allophone) in Ukrainian, the opposite of Russian. --Anatoli 01:23, 24 May 2010 (UTC)

Best tools for translators - let's share?

I know we shouldn't rely on tools when adding translations but many of us do - especially if we are not native in that language. It also helps to check for synonyms, save typing, help with the transliteration, etc.

Here's one per each language I'd like to share: Online:


If we already have pages for this, please let me know. --Anatoli 05:25, 19 May 2010 (UTC)

Japanese. --Daniel. 05:38, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
Japanese to German.
Yakut to Russian. The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 08:03, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
See Wiktionary:Resources for translators. The knowledgeable could add their resources there. --Bequw τ 00:32, 24 May 2010 (UTC)

Thanks, I have added some.--Anatoli 00:40, 24 May 2010 (UTC)

Show/Hide selected revisions

Recently this feature appeared on page history tab (or at least I discovered it only recently). What exactly is its purpose? Is it related to the installment of Liquid Threads? --Ivan Štambuk 16:07, 19 May 2010 (UTC)

It seems to me to be an interface to selectively delete revisions from the page history. – Krun 16:11, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
I would expect it to either show or hide something. But that would be too user-friendly for this Wiki. SemperBlotto 16:13, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
The idea is that it "hides" things from non-administrators. (The real question is why it's also called revision deletion). I'm not so sure why it appears in so many places, given how limited its use is (it's designed as a less-drastic replacement to oversight, which wikipedia uses to permanently and irrereivably delete material). Conrad.Irwin 16:19, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
Re: "(The real question is why it's also called revision deletion).": Well, it's roughly equivalent to deleting the page and restoring all revisions except the specified ones, so that actually seems like a better name than "show/hide". It even shows up in the page's deletion logs. —RuakhTALK 18:09, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
Not really.. It just obscures the attributes of the revision, it's still perfectly "there" (and people can see it's there, unlike the deletion/restore process). Conrad.Irwin 18:16, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
It can obscure the attributes of the revision, yes; but it can actually obscure the revision itself. People will see it in the history, just like how currently people can see an entry's deletion log. I think "revision deletion" is a much better name than "show/hide". —RuakhTALK 18:31, 19 May 2010 (UTC)

Wait, you mean this hides them from everybody? Or deletes them permanently? The way it's placed equivalent to the “compare” button, and near the “view” links, it looks like it's a view control, whose effect will only last until I click a link or close the window. This is not just user-unfriendly, but potentially destructive. Michael Z. 2010-05-19 16:31 z

It hides them from anyone but administrators, no permanent damage is done. Perhaps we should change "show/hide" to "Suppress"? Conrad.Irwin 16:34, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
Okay, and I see there's a big ugly confirmation dialogue. Still, since it makes a persistent change, I think for clarity that button ought to be outside of the on-page view/controllers area. Perhaps above the Browse history box or below everything. Or in the toolbox would be very appropriate.
For button text, how about “Set visibility restrictions,” which is in the dialogue. But really, the whole thing is poorly written. I have no idea if the “delete/undelete revisions,” “deleted revisions and events,” and “undelete” refer to the same operation as “hidden” or “set visibility restrictions”, or to something else. The “No” and “Yes” columns are confusing – “don't change” and “No” (don't hide?) have the same meaning. Michael Z. 2010-05-19 18:17 z
Yes, it's poorly written; but that goes for most of MediaWiki. There's no point expressing your confusion; just test it out and see what happens. (I used User:Ruakh/Test for my testing; if you don't want to create your own sandbox, you can share mine.) "Don't change" has the same meaning as "No" if the information is currently not hidden; but when the information is currently hidden, "Don't change" has the same meaning as "Yes." It's not intuitive at first, but once you've tried it out, you'll understand it well enough. —RuakhTALK 18:31, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
I guessed that the intent was don't change / unhide / hide, but that's not what it says.But the way this interface uses (un)delete, set visibility restrictions, and hide to refer to its own main operation is inexcusable. I haven't seen anything this bad in Mediawiki. Do we have access to edit the templates that make up this interface?
We can change the text, it's just a case of playing the (obnoxious) "hunt-the-message" game. (If you want to make it easier, use http://wikt.test.jelzo.com/ and append ?uselang=none to see the names of the messages - cf. http://wikt.test.jelzo.com/w/index.php?action=history&uselang=none - they didn't accept my patch to add that to MediaWiki proper yet as there are a few bugs) Conrad.Irwin 19:14, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
Also, it's mysterious why we'd use this, and when we're allowed to. The link to “the policy” tells me that “Wiktionary is a dictionary, thesaurus, and phrase-book.” Michael Z. 2010-05-19 18:52 z
In certain cases of extreme vandalism, rather than simply reverting it and letting the vandalized version remain in the page history, it's better to delete them. For that matter, it doesn't even have to be vandalism; editors often personal information at Wiktionary:Feedback, for example, apparently thinking that we can use it to contact them. —RuakhTALK 19:00, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
Which guideline says that? If none, then who can remove the “the policy” link which is a stupid decoy showing that we have no regard for people's time? Michael Z. 2010-05-19 19:12 z
It's apparently controlled by MediaWiki:Revdelete-confirm, which I've now changed, replacing the policy-link with the unlinked phrase "policies/guidelines/consensus". Feel free to tweak further. —RuakhTALK 19:34, 19 May 2010 (UTC)

Is there any way to turn this off on an individual user basis? It's just below the rollback link when you mark edits patrolled, simply begging to be accidentally clicked. --Ivan Štambuk 09:24, 20 May 2010 (UTC)

Well, if you're using Monobook, and want to turn it off on the diff-view, you could add .mw-revdelundel-link { display: none; } to Special:Mypage/monobook.css. —RuakhTALK 17:37, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
I've found a use for it. Somebody included their email address in a the edit summary of an update to licentious - now hidden. SemperBlotto 18:32, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
I hid what you did, and the fact that you did it. This apparently works on logs as well as histories. - TheDaveRoss 19:33, 20 May 2010 (UTC)

Just FYI, very tentative enWP guidelines on the use of this feature include (I quote):

  • Do not use RevDelete on more than one revision per action on a live page, even if it lets you. Log issues can arise later.
  • Do not use RevDelete on deleted revisions. Log issues could arise if RevisionDelete gets applied to a revision while deleted and the revision was later undeleted. Instead, use selective undelete to undelete the revision first, then delete the problem fields using RevDelete.
  • Do not use RevisionDelete to delete revisions or log entries (and especially block or delete logs) except when you are exceedingly sure they are within the terms of WP:REVDEL [their policy].

I don't know any details about the "issues" this refers to or the reasons for the last rule.​—msh210 17:45, 24 May 2010 (UTC)

Requests for grammar and ortography

So, we have the TR to request for translations; and we have the BP, GP, TR and ID, these four with different scopes which apparently aren't exactly what I'm looking for.

Where can I post some random requests for information about all languages? For instance, if I have doubts about grammatical cases of my Latin phrases, or whether or not my Ancient Greek adjectives should be inflected in gender; or yet, instructions on how to read a Japanese text written in Nihon-shiki romanization, which is not present at our entries (because we use the Hepburn romanzation).

Should a new discussion room for this be created, like possibly Wiktionary:Requests for grammar and ortography (WT:RGO)? I noticed that it's a fairly common subject in various user talk pages; for instance, a person can look for EncycloPetey, Daniel., SemperBlotto, Atelaes and Nadando to ask us about Latin, Portuguese, Italian, Ancient Greek and Spanish languages respectively. However, this behaviour is quite impractical because I don't remember any resident Lithuanian or Dalmatian editor; in addition, I probably wouldn't be willing to bug the same person repeatedly even if I have various questions to ask, and I'd like if the questions could draw attention of other people able to respond them as well.

This new discussion room would probably be converted in suggestions for expansion of appendices or other ways of improvement of Wiktionary; on the other hand, it could be flooded with requests from people lazy or uninformed enough to not actually search for these terms and appendices, which would not be a harmful effect but should probably be disencouraged by a proper introduction. --Daniel. 01:07, 20 May 2010 (UTC)

Oops, in the first line of my message I meant "we have the TRREQ to request for translations". An easy mistake to make. --Daniel. 14:03, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
This seems like it should be the information desk or (possibly) the tea room. I am interested as to why you think these are not what you are looking for - perhaps because they have, to some extent, already become overrun by these lazy people of whom you speak? Language specific questions should, I feel, be addressable to language-specific groups - perhaps at [Wiktionary_talk:About *]? - though this doesn't seem to happen. The problem there is encouraging people to use these pages instead of personal talk pages (which are by far the best way if you need a response - even if that response comes from someone else - because people watch the talk pages of interesting people). Discussion of improvements to Wiktionary should be here on the BP (or perhaps GP if you need technical details), we need to discuss more than just the latest power-struggles. We don't seem to have a forum for discussion of Appendices - I would probably use this page. I am against introducing new discussion rooms (and all things new in general, it would seem). As we have no way to deal with difficult requests except by doing hard work, creating a new room seems just a way to ignore all the unresolved issues that fill our current talk pages. A better approach may be to just "sod it" and delete/archive their contents to make room for new discussion. Conrad.Irwin 01:23, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
Seems like a good idea. There is lots of useful learning material dispersed on various talkpages, and it's a shame that it isn't more centralized. Perhaps translating the phrase tea room into something appropriate in the respective destination language, and creating corresponding discussion board in the Wiktionary: namespace. Current TR is too densely populated with English-only entries, which makes it inconvenient to monitor and browse. About: pages's talkpages mainly deal with establishing common practice in editing entries, and are not appropriate for general-purpose discussion on language issues. --Ivan Štambuk 09:18, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
I agree with Ivan that there could be some merit to such pages. I would opt for a less restrictive naming scheme, but that's really neither here nor there. However, I think that, at the place where we're currently at, such pages would be ghost towns. Generally, for a given language, at most a few editors are competent in it (usually Stephen and someone else :-)). However, as we grow, such language-specific discussion pages will become necessary. As such, I'm in no big hurry to create any, but I wouldn't be opposed to them either. If more than one or two are created, we should think about an infrastructure to make their existence known. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 13:19, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
Its ultimate effect could actually be very beneficial to the project: it could attract more outsiders if the word be known that there is a place where free advice on language learning is given. Some of them would surely contribute useful entries in an effort to explicate their questions or answers. This is principally outside the main project focus of building a dictionary, but given that Wikipedia already has several such sideprojects irrelevant to their chief purpose of existence of building an encyclopedia (e.g. w:WP:RDL), I don't think that there should be any formal problems in pursuing that path. We are much more equipped in content than any of the online fora where language learners congregate, and undoubtedly would excel them in signal-to-noise ratio, as well as any other fathomable metric of quality. First I think that we should create boards for several major languages, and for smaller ones collective boards would suffice. For examples, I think that all Slavic, and (at least some) Turkic languages should at first be treated commonly (on separate boards of course), because they're very similar and cross-language comparisons and comments would appear often. Questions appearing on specific entry talkpages could then make their appearance on the main boards by using labeled section transclusion, like it's currently used for "Etymology Scriptorium". --Ivan Štambuk 13:53, 20 May 2010 (UTC)

Conrad, I concluded that the information desk is not the place I'm looking for, because despite its generic description "miscellaneous ideas that don’t fit in any of the other rooms", the page is filled with questions from newbies about Wiktionary practices; such as where to place etymologies, how to create a new entry, etc. This is apparently a nice focus which I wouldn't want to disturb by suggesting new uses for that room.

The introductory text of the tea room also does not reflect exactly how the page is used as I understood it: "A place to ask for help on finding quotations, etymologies, or other information about particular words." Since all words should be defined in Wiktionary entries, I feel that the room is supposed to strictly and directly improve Wiktionary by finding and discussing possible flaws on said entries, unless I'm mistaken. This is indeed a worthy goal; however, the additional goal of asking about words, spellings, constructions of phrases, etc. for mere personal knowledge is also worthy enough to be discussed somewhere (and, as I said, such questions for "personal knowledge" of readers are likely to be ultimately converted into entries or appendices after properly replied, thus also improving Wiktionary).

Probably, the introduction of the tea room ought to be edited to specifically allow and encourage requests for in-depth grammatical information of words and phrases. Or, if the Ivan's idea of creating boards for general discussions for each individual language is implemented, the tea room would be the place for such words and phrases in English. (And, perhaps the Portuguese version could be named simply Wiktionary:Sala de chá also.) And I agree with him about the Wiktionary:About X pages, which serve the purpose of establishing common practices for each language, therefore are outside the scope of my suggestions. --Daniel. 14:03, 20 May 2010 (UTC)

Phrasebook CFI?

With the recent surge in interest in the phrasebook, do we want to draft some basic rules about what is allowed as a phrasebook title? I'd also like to consider the possibility of moving these to a set of appendices where very similar phrases can be merged together - or, as Daniel. suggested, using appendices as a navigation aid to main-namespace entries. Conrad.Irwin 01:51, 20 May 2010 (UTC)

I'd like to see more people contributing to translations (not so much n creating new ones, there will be a limit, I think). Thanks to people involved so far. Not sure how much growth we should allow. Please use your translation skills. Remember, the translations can be flagged with {{ttbc|LANGUAGE}} I don't know if we need very similar phrases starting with "I need...", for example. I don't mean it as a criticism, though but some rules should be in place. --Anatoli 06:49, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
Here's the link to the new and old phrases - Category:English_phrasebook. I have no strong opinion about the rules at the moment. --Anatoli 06:53, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
I'd like to see much more use of appendices. Appendix:I need (something) could have many objects on it. In fact, I think I'll start that now... Nadando 06:54, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
(EDIT CONFLICT) ..we should also discuss proverbs and idioms, they make dictionaries alive and would attract more readers and contributors. I find translating or searching/checking translations more enjoyable than single words at times and I think I am learning many new things. --Anatoli 06:53, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
The most basic question is whether we continue to use principal namespace for the phrasebook. The advantages are obvious, inertia/momentum, searchable by default, format mostly established. At present there is no other structure to phrasebook entries. Do they need some kind of topical/situational grouping to be useful? I have an English monolingual phrasebook aimed presumably at fairly advanced learners that has such an organization. Should our organization be based principally on "See also" links to other entries or on topical categories, which are the relevant means in principal namespace, I think?
The alternatives, in appendix space or a new namespace, having no reality, enjoy the benefit of having no warts. Does anyone want to specify them? DCDuring TALK 10:53, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
Yeah, appendices to avoid potential massive redundancy. Like I'm 20 years old. Mglovesfun (talk) 14:04, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
How appendices would avoid potential massive redundancy? --Daniel. 14:10, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
You could create a template, for example, that allows you to generate all the language's "I am 20"s from a generic "I am age" and an argument for the translation of the year (obviously there'll be some idiomatic ones, that's why natural language is so great...). This would stop you needing 126 pages in the main namespace that contain no useful information - just presentation of facts that exists elsewhere. Conrad.Irwin 20:21, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
I think that appendices is the only sensible decision: Where is the nearest bookshop? does not warrant its own page. Nonetheless, phrasebook entries should also be included as normal entries when they can be considered as set phrases (e.g. what time is it, good morning or I love you). I think that this criterion should be general, and apply to all phrases. Lmaltier 21:04, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
Well, just for I am 20, we could have I am 20, I am 20 years old, I'm 20, I'm 20 years old, I'm twenty, I'm twenty years old, I am twenty and I am twenty years old, so that's already eight possibilities. Now if you change the age from everything from zero to a hundred, that's 800 entries that are entirely useless. Mglovesfun (talk) 21:37, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
You're right, your examples are not set phrases, as the age has to be included into the template phrase. Lmaltier 21:49, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
That was (among other things) a reply to Daniel.'s post, I should have been a bit clearer on that. Mglovesfun (talk) 22:53, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
Of these eight possibilities to inform one's own age, I think seven may be either redirects to or alternative forms of "I'm twenty years old". I suppose that the placement of these phrases in appendices would not make us avoid etymologies, translations, pronunciations and usage notes of each possibility, so the amount of information is the same, either in appendices or entries. --Daniel. 01:55, 21 May 2010 (UTC)
Should a phrasebook have a principal focus on speech or on writing? If speech, then forms with "20" and those with "twenty" are identical.
Should there be some recognition of register differences and variations? Should we have only canonical sentences (no ellipses, no contractions, etc) or should we also show the ellipses? The use of ellipses and contractions is important for native-sounding speech, but not for just conveying or eliciting information. What is the initial objective for the phrasebook: "idiomatic speech" or "the basics"? DCDuring TALK 02:55, 21 May 2010 (UTC)
The phrasebook should be based on speech, in my opinion, that's why transliteration for non-Roman based languages would be important. I'd prefer to use words ("twenty"), not numbers ("20") because the entry would teach the words in the translated languages, even if there are languages where numbers are rendered differently. (I am 20, I am 20 years old, I'm 20, I'm 20 years old, I'm twenty, I'm twenty years old, I am twenty and I am twenty years old) I would also reduce the number of synonyms in English and give a most common translation. I have been adding different forms for singular/plural, formal/informal, masculine/feminine, to a man/to a woman for some languages. --Anatoli 00:29, 24 May 2010 (UTC)
What is the initial objective for the phrasebook: "idiomatic speech" or "the basics"? Basics, IMHO. Serving as a survival guide or a basic introduction to a language. One user complained that proverb and phrase book entries don't help foreign learners, only those who already mastered English. I think the translation is one step to help those but the entry explanation should also be helpful and we should avoid explaining an idiom with another idiom. --Anatoli 00:32, 24 May 2010 (UTC)
Your thoughts seem a sensible start and rationale for this, at least for starting. DCDuring TALK 01:42, 24 May 2010 (UTC)
I have mixed feelings about appendixes like Appendix:I need (something). It's a good effort but it may have too many entries. I don't want to be the judge but I would like to contribute to a few similar translations but when it's too many, it becomes boring and time-consuming but this could be done for a long time and can be left waiting if the community decides to have it this way. It is generic enough, though, so translations could potentially be added with users with only basic skills in a FL. Appendix:I am (something) wouldn't work even if we leave it for adjectives and nouns only as the missing attributives. I am tired, I am hungry, I am blind would use different expressions in different languages, not always adjectives. I feel a bit lazy at the moment to write the CFI myself and I think am not good at writing proposals. Happy to add comments and more thoughts when it starts moving on. Contractions should be allowed if they are more natural than the canonical sentences but then, as I said we shouldn't create too many versions of the same sentence - some identical but abbreviated/full sentences could be made redirects to others (e.g. a user is looking for I am tired but we only have I'm tired). --Anatoli 02:09, 24 May 2010 (UTC)
I think all editors here edit for two mainly reasons. Because they enjoy it, and to help the project. I think Daniel. is our editor that comes closest to only doing it for enjoyment. A part from creating complicated templates to replace simple ones that work with no problems like {{en}}, he's created dozens of phrasebook entries that have been nominated for deletion, and kept creating them while they were being nominated for deletion. If his only interest is to create complicated templates for the pleasure of it, why Wiktionary? He could go to Wikipedia or Wikisource or Wikia. Mglovesfun (talk) 16:39, 29 May 2010 (UTC)
Do not try to shuffle Daniel. off somewhere else, he's one of the best editors we've got. --Rising Sun talk? contributions 17:15, 29 May 2010 (UTC)
How? Mglovesfun (talk) 17:18, 29 May 2010 (UTC)
The overwhelming majority of his edits constitute an improvement to Wiktionary. If you don't like the way he does things, then tell "him", complaining in public is a waste of time. Conrad.Irwin 20:36, 29 May 2010 (UTC)
Anatoli, even your two paragraphs above would be a great start if you want to add to Wiktionary:Phrasebook. Conrad.Irwin 20:36, 29 May 2010 (UTC)
Yes, we need to do something, otherwise the RFD offensive will build up. --Anatoli 04:22, 31 May 2010 (UTC)

I have added some text but I am not satisfied. Will have to think more and come back. --Anatoli 04:49, 31 May 2010 (UTC)

Why don't people try to throw in every possible idea for a format of a phrasebook CFI? Let's make a list of all possible concepts: (Please add to the list, toss in anything, no matter how unreasonable it sounds at first.) --Yair rand (talk) 04:39, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
  1. CFI based on existing phrasebooks
  2. CFI based on google hits
  3. CFI based on community consensus for every entry
  4. Community consensus for some huge list of English entries drawn up by the community over a long period of time
  5. Entries require some kind of mega-attestibility for inclusion, requiring that the phrase be used in durably archived works X times/in X amount of areas/in X% of all books ever written/etc.
  6. CFI based on the phrase itself, its usability in X situations, its applicability in a phrasebook, etc.
I have a small collection of phrasebooks and interesting enough, there are mini-grammar sections at the beginning - placements of verbs, word order, conjugation/declension in a given FL. We don't have to do the same, perhaps, but expressing ideas like I must (+ a common verb)... I want (a noun) ..., I want (to do...), there is (a noun)..., is not always easy using our dictionary, especially for languages, which follow different patterns. We could have a few Appendix:I need (something) or Appendix:I am (ethnicity) or I'm ... year(s) old type of entries for that. --Anatoli 06:03, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
I think the ideas expressed so far are good, as long as there is a desire to contribute, I think it will work. we can test if there are any missing if this is put on a vote. What do people think about having too many similar phrases like Appendix:I need (something) or "I don't speak ..."? There are benefits and downsides of having a generic entry and duplicating very similar expressions. In my opinion, Appendix:I am (ethnicity) is more efficient since it is sort of a guide how to make this kind of sentences and (really) only requires one translation per language. Well, someone has to provide translations, and trust me, it's discouraging if you have to do it for 20 similar phrases. So, we must address the question - can we fill many phrases with translations? We can or we have more chance, if we do it efficiently. --Anatoli 06:12, 3 June 2010 (UTC)

Portuguese hyphenation

[13]- bot created with a mistake. Looks like all pluperfect indicative first person forms that Dawnraybot created have this. Nadando 19:55, 20 May 2010 (UTC)

You'd best prod the bot's owner. (User:Rising Sun) Conrad.Irwin 20:19, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
Shit. Sorry. I hope someone else can find a list of others like this, and I'll clean em up. It's out of the current code, however, so I guess the list'll be small --Rising Sun talk? contributions 21:59, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
That is not how things work. If you run a bot, you are responsible when it screws up. If you just don't care, you (and/or it) should be blocked (cf. Help:Interacting with humans). Conrad.Irwin 22:45, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
I happen to have programmed a bot that can add and correct Portuguese spellings (contributions: User:Autômato); if the community agrees and someone provides me a list of the erroneous hyphenations, I can fix 'em automatically. Hmm, perhaps I should create a formal vote requesting bot status first. --Daniel. 01:50, 21 May 2010 (UTC)
@Conrad - I didn't mean to come off as shirking responsibility for cleanup. It's just finding what needs to be cleaned up looks very difficult. I'd be whipping up a cleanup page User:Rising Sun/Portuguese verb forms created by Dawnraybot with a hyphenation section this instance if I knew how to do it. And then I'd plod my way through all the errors and fix them. --Rising Sun talk? contributions 09:51, 21 May 2010 (UTC)

Checking numbers of contributions

Hello all. Does anyone know of an easy way to check an editor's total number of contributions here? I know that one's own number is accessible via "my preferences", but don't know of a way to find anyone else's without laborious counting via their contributions list. Any help appreciated.  — Raifʻhār Doremítzwr ~ (U · T · C) ~ 21:29, 20 May 2010 (UTC)

This'll do. :-D (Hmm. This is my 12,345th contribution. Nice little coincidence.)  — Raifʻhār Doremítzwr ~ (U · T · C) ~ 21:53, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
you have 12022, I have 16094. Suckers. --Rising Sun talk? contributions 21:56, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
Not according to my "my preferences" tab. Maybe there's a bit of a delay in the counter registering recent contibutions. Also, read 'em and weep. XD  — Raifʻhār Doremítzwr ~ (U · T · C) ~ 22:05, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
ATMC, I'll surpass SB in 14 years, assuming absolutely everything stays exactly the same in both our lives, which I'm sure it will. my bot's edit and mine, however, who see me zoom past SGB. --Rising Sun talk? contributions 22:26, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
I thoguht I was a fairly prolific contributor, but despite SB's first edit to Wiktionary being 1 day later than mine, he has 200,000 more contribs than me :-O. Also striking is that 78% of my Wiktionary contribs have been to the main namespace, whereas only 60% of my Wikipedia and 1% Commons contribs have been to the equivalent namespaces on those wikis (these are teh only 3 where I've amassed any significant numbers of edits). Thryduulf (talk) 23:42, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
I fail at being a Wiktionary person, with a meagre 40% of main-namespace edits. I guess I'll just have to count the edits that have been made by my javascripts too :). You can get an up-to-date total from the api, but that pie chart is much cooler. Conrad.Irwin 23:57, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
When you accumulate enough edits, the tool no longer works. My connection times out before the tool finishes tallying my edits. :P --EncycloPetey 02:35, 21 May 2010 (UTC)
I have 11095. Not bad for a relative newbie, eh? :P And I suppose if you count MewBot's edits... —CodeCat 09:04, 21 May 2010 (UTC)

Don't forget about this list. --Vahagn Petrosyan 00:48, 21 May 2010 (UTC)

Yah, but it's not being regularly updated anymore. The statistics there only include data through 31 March, despite the availability of more recent dumps. --EncycloPetey 02:35, 21 May 2010 (UTC)

Are contractions words?

Following the rfd'ing of n'avais and defendernos, when and when do we not consider contractions words? If we consider house's as SoP of house + 's, how about

It's bloody hard, isn't it? Mglovesfun (talk) 16:36, 21 May 2010 (UTC)

Those terms are arguably more SoP than house's. House's isn't even a contraction, it's one word. —CodeCat 17:40, 21 May 2010 (UTC)
Not really; 's is an enclitic. For example, in the (poorly styled) phrase "the house I grew up in's door", the 's is attached to in, yet it is senseless to form a possessive of a preposition. In that phrase, 's attaches to the entire noun phrase "house I grew up in", not just to in. Recasting the phrase, we get "the door of the house I grew up in" (or "the door of the house in which I grew up"); of takes the place of 's (or "'s's place" ;-)), and more clearly marks the noun in the possessive case. Because 's makes entire noun phrases possessive, house's is just as NISOP as house I grew up in's.  — Raifʻhār Doremítzwr ~ (U · T · C) ~ 23:48, 21 May 2010 (UTC)
I don't think I would call any of your examples "contractions"; certainly not house's, which isn't a contraction of anything (the -'s enclitic, though written with an apostrophe, actually descends from an older genitive case ending, rather than from a former separate word), nor decirlo and llámame, where there are no sounds being elided. I suppose your French examples could be called contractions, but I wouldn't call them that, personally. For me "contraction" implies that it's basically a new word that must be learned and memorized on its own (sometimes being completely unpredictable, such as don't and won't). I think the best English analog for n'avais would be something like Mary'd or James'll. —RuakhTALK 02:18, 22 May 2010 (UTC)


Reading w:Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo got me wondering: Does anyone know a proper noun, a common noun, a verb, an adjective, and an adverb that are all homographs of one another? Better still if there are also prepositions, conjunctions, &c...  — Raifʻhār Doremítzwr ~ (U · T · C) ~ 00:35, 22 May 2010 (UTC)

Fast? (For proper nouns, see [[w:FAST]].) —RuakhTALK 01:44, 22 May 2010 (UTC)
The word well is a noun, verb, adjective, adverb, and interjection. --EncycloPetey 01:49, 22 May 2010 (UTC)
Thank you both. Any where the common noun has an invariant plural (as is the case with buffalo)?  — Raifʻhār Doremítzwr ~ (U · T · C) ~ 01:54, 22 May 2010 (UTC)
pants? Conrad.Irwin 10:59, 22 May 2010 (UTC)
"Pants' pants pants pants' pants pants pants pants pants' pants pants." = "Trousers' rubbish trousers [which] trousers' rubbish trousers keg [themselves] keg trousers' rubbish trousers." — That's eleven homographs forming a grammatically valid sentence. :-D  — Raifʻhār Doremítzwr ~ (U · T · C) ~ 14:05, 22 May 2010 (UTC)
And pants is sometimes used like an interjection, as a mild swear word (like bum or tits). Usually by twee university students. Equinox 15:23, 22 May 2010 (UTC)
Hmmm. I s'pose you could have "Pants! Pants' pants pants pants' pants pants pants pants pants' pants pants.", but that'd technically make it two sentences.  — Raifʻhār Doremítzwr ~ (U · T · C) ~ 15:28, 22 May 2010 (UTC)
Are you allowed a parenthetical clause? You could slip it in that way. "He discovered that the company was no longer hiring (damn!) but decided to go along anyway." Equinox 15:37, 22 May 2010 (UTC)

There's will. Will Will will Will will will? Will will will Will will will. (Is it the case that William is going to devise to William the fortitude to bequeath? Yes, William is going to devise William the fortitude to bequeath. bd2412 T 21:21, 24 May 2010 (UTC)

Twelve! Very nice… :-)  — Raifʻhār Doremítzwr ~ (U · T · C) ~ 23:51, 24 May 2010 (UTC)

What is consensus

When you closed that vote and proclaimed that "The supports have it …".

At that point in time the tally was 52 – 30 – 6, that was 59.0909% – 34.0909% – 6.8181%.

I hope that consensus could not be defined as 59.0909%, nor as 63%, but only as between 70 and 75 %

For instance Wiktionary:Votes/2010-02/Accepting the results of the Wiktionary logo vote was deemed as no concensus.

No user from any wiktionary has deliberately voted –either way– because they are nationalists, but they are labeled as such by a number of users, which paints "not so preety pictures" about the sittuation here.

We all know what is the real topic behind this vote, it is a way – a method of obtaining a favourable result in Part 2 of the one–particular horor movie.

I sincerely hope that you would consider what I have written, in good faith.

Yours truly

Bugoslav 14:38, 24 May 2010 (UTC)

The previous message was written to Widsith, on his talk page, but since he believes it belongs elsewhere, I believe it belongs here.

Bugoslav 22:03, 24 May 2010 (UTC)

Actually, we've never decided how to define "consensus." I've attempted to get the community to engage this topic, but they never have. So, at this point, consensus is in the eye of the beholder. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 22:07, 24 May 2010 (UTC)
No it is not, the "consensus" is by definition something that could last, and we have precedent that 52-30-6 is not what you or anybody could call consensus.
Votes casted after the deadline could not be counted.
Bugoslav 22:11, 24 May 2010 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but I don't follow your argument. Are you saying "consensus" needs to be defined in terms of longevity? If so, then 100% support wouldn't fit the bill, as this project is incredibly dynamic. We change our minds all the time in response to new arguments and new options. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 22:21, 24 May 2010 (UTC)
We should probably have a vote on what the results of this vote were. - TheDaveRoss 22:36, 24 May 2010 (UTC)
Not so fast. We'd certainly need a vote to decide how to go about formulating that vote. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 22:42, 24 May 2010 (UTC)
I disagree. Having a vote to decide how to go about formulating that vote would not be the best course of action. Clearly we now need a vote on whether to have a vote on how to go about formulating the vote to decide what the results of the vote were. --Yair rand (talk) 22:46, 24 May 2010 (UTC)

The vote passed with well over 70%, if we discount votes by voters who had only a handful of edits here before participating in that vote. So far as I know, it has always been within the common sense discretion of closing admins to disregard the opinions of fly-by voters. bd2412 T 22:48, 24 May 2010 (UTC)

See my comments on the talk page. I think this is a pass. Or better yet, permablock the users with one edit that voted oppose, because some might say that permanently blocked users' votes don't count. Mglovesfun (talk) 22:54, 24 May 2010 (UTC)
Wait, why are people talking about this vote in the past tense? The vote doesn't end for more than an hour. When it does end, one of our sensible 'crats will close it and decide whether there is consensus. --Yair rand (talk) 22:56, 24 May 2010 (UTC)

Whither hence?

OK, so the voting policy vote passed. However, we know that the canvassed voters have been admonished to amass the prerequisite 50 edits (see WT:BP#An alternative proposal: Ivan Štambuk 09:05, 24 May 2010), which would render that restriction impotent. Any well-organised and opinionated group need only have eight days' warning to influence our votes. I have already suggested in WT:BP#An alternative proposal a means of putting a permanent end to meatpuppetting by having our de jure voting system more closely reflect our de facto ergocratic modus operandi. I am of the opinion that only such a measure will ensure that our votes are free from unwarranted external influence in future.  — Raifʻhār Doremítzwr ~ (U · T · C) ~ 00:24, 25 May 2010 (UTC)

Ummmm.....how about we just let the dust settle on this issue for awhile. Tensions are high and this does not need to be settled immediately. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 00:44, 25 May 2010 (UTC)
OK, but this will need to be revisited before we plan on holding any votes with perceived political significance.  — Raifʻhār Doremítzwr ~ (U · T · C) ~ 00:47, 25 May 2010 (UTC)
Agreed. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 00:49, 25 May 2010 (UTC)

Customized pronunciation display

Some time ago, Thryduulf proposed {{shavian}} at this GP thread. I objected, as I think the pronunciation sections are already far too messy, but Conrad suggested a route which could satisfy us both. I believe I've taken this route to a point where it might be useful to the project as a whole. If you enable 'Allow conversion of IPA to other formats' on WT:PREFS, go to User:Atelaes/Customization/Pronunciation, and set your preference for SAMPA (none of the others work yet, so please don't click them), you can have every instance of IPA converted to SAMPA. The beauty of this is that, if people are interested in this, we could pare our pronunciation sections down to just IPA, and then allow each individual user to choose any other format they like. Of course, this only works if our users are actually aware of this option. I suspect that only Wiktionary insiders are aware of, and will ever use, WT:PREFS. But perhaps something like

would do the trick, while still keeping our pronunciation sections cleaner and easier to manage. Obviously, this will also only work if we get my little page somewhere more official and get the script fully developed, but I wanted to get input before I invest a ton of time into the thing; see if others think there is merit to this. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 01:13, 25 May 2010 (UTC)

That's something of an improvement. However, I suggest changing the text of the customisation option to "Display problems? Show SAMPA.", since AFAIK SAMPA is only used where support for IPA is unreliable or non-existent. Whilst there shouldn't be any problem with IPA > SAMPA conversion, this won't work for enPR, because enPR and IPA lack a bijective relationship.  — Raifʻhār Doremítzwr ~ (U · T · C) ~ 01:27, 25 May 2010 (UTC)
Well, there are a couple of routes we could take with enPR, and I was thinking that it would probably be best to allow the user access to both. We could have it only do the IPA sections of English entries, and leave IPA for all others. Otherwise we could have it do everything, with a very strongly worded warning that it's a lossy system. For the second option, we'd code the script to match all IPA characters to the closest English phoneme. There are probably other options that I haven't thought of, but let's not discount the possibilities so quickly. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 01:36, 25 May 2010 (UTC)
Dictionary.com has a similar feature called [Show Ipa]/[Show Spelled]; see e.g. here. I have been looking forward to something along that lines in Wiktionary; I find SAMPA ugly and distracting. --Vahagn Petrosyan 02:02, 25 May 2010 (UTC)
If this will someday let me choose IPA to hide all the busy respelling (“enpr”) and SAMPA, then I'm all for it.
Why can we not automatically convert IPA to respelling? They are both supposed to be phonemic for English, I thought. So if our respellings can't be derived from our IPA, then is something broken about the respelling system? Can it be fixed?
In reality, IPA is a phonetic representation. It can be used with varying degrees of depth, and we've been using it rather shallowly, in a more phonemic way, which isn't a huge problem, as it's really what all other dictionaries are doing. However, the real problem with conversion comes in the IPA sections of non-English languages which have phonemes which don't exist in English. EnPR only has English phonemes, as this is all it was really ever intended to do. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 09:25, 25 May 2010 (UTC)
Of course, I meant in English sections only. Michael Z. 2010-05-25 13:08 z
I don't expect any problems with converting the IPA pronunciations of English entries to enPR. Since there appears to be at least some initial interest in the project, I'll start coding that directly. I'll report back if I come upon any stumbling blocks. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 13:36, 25 May 2010 (UTC)
Shavian? Who is using this? No disrespect, but is someone adding it just because they can? Michael Z. 2010-05-25 04:28 z
No idea. However, it really won't hurt anything to add it. I suspect it'll be rarely used. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 09:25, 25 May 2010 (UTC)
We had the guy who wrote the Shavian wiki wanting to import his articles into an Appendix here, but he hasn't done it yet. (Much like the current import of Appendix:Interlingua). I think it's great that we are becoming a repository for such linguistic resources. Conrad.Irwin 10:37, 25 May 2010 (UTC)
Did you consider merging the customisation page with a local copy of the IPA chart? Then there's no need for a separate customise button at all, but people who don't understand IPA will still be able to change it. I like the idea though :). Conrad.Irwin 10:37, 25 May 2010 (UTC)
That's an interesting idea, but I worry that it'd be way too esoteric. A few folks might happen to stumble upon it while looking for help with IPA, but I suspect that number would be few. Truth be told, I'm kind of thinking that customization is something we need to take a bit more seriously, and advertise more aggressively. This would also tie into my bit with translations, as well as a few other things I'm throwing about in my head. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 12:37, 25 May 2010 (UTC)

Extension of WT:COALMINE guideline

At Wiktionary:Votes/pl-2009-12/Unidiomatic multi-word phrases to meet CFI when the more common spelling of a single word, Wiktionary voted to include entries such as coal mine when the entry is a more common spelling of a single word, e.g. coalmine.

However, the vote did not discuss the case where the single word is more common than the multi-word entry, and therefore also did not discuss how common such a multi-word entry would have to be in order to be included as an "alternative spelling" of the single word entry.

The vote also did not mention other cases such as if a multi-word entry is a homophone, synonym, antonym, or "alternative form" of a single word entry.

Thoughts? Facts707 20:47, 25 May 2010 (UTC)

"Common enough" => 3 cites (at the moment). Homohpones/synonyms/antonyms shouldn't be included automatically, they are clearly different: rubbish bag is not the same as bin bag (rubbishbag vs. binbag). The idea, as I see it, is to establish whether authors regard the term to be a lexical unit - in which case we follow their lead. If the single word term is more common, the multi-word term (or hyphenated term) need just be citable, I feel. Conrad.Irwin 20:58, 25 May 2010 (UTC)
I wasn't thinking of "automatic" inclusion, just that it could be allowed in some circumstances. We have front yard and backyard, but not frontyard. Although in this case front yard may have some additional meaning beyond the two component words, you can see what I'm getting at. Facts707 21:56, 25 May 2010 (UTC)
Yeah, the specific facts are practically always relevant to inclusion of a word. The coalmine rule is only to prevent us having form-of entries that lack main entries, and really has nothing to do with the relationship between the forms. Perhaps backyard is strung together because it is more common as an attributive: backyard activities, backyard barbecue, etc (I was surprised at the spelling, because the nominative is pronounced back yard, not BACK-yard). Pairs of ’nyms are often asymmetrical: closed or hyphenated forms are more often attributive or adjectival, roof tile can mean a specialized ridge tile, while a floor tile is just a tile for the floor. Michael Z. 2010-05-27 05:03 z
I disagree with Conrad's "'Common enough' => 3 cites (at the moment)" if it refers (at it seems to) to "the case where the single word is more common than the multi-word entry, and [] how common such a multi-word entry would have to be in order to be included as an 'alternative spelling' of the single word entry": Such a phrase is SOP and not inclusible. It was so before the COALMINE vote, which did nothing to change that rule. More: The vote only applies to phrases "significantly more common" (emphasis added) than the concatenation, not merely those more common.​—msh210 15:15, 27 May 2010 (UTC)

template:en-noun and "plural only" or plurale tantum

Hi, gang. Back in April 2008, at Wiktionary:Beer_parlour_archive/2008/April#Inflection line for nouns used only in the plural., there was some discussion about modifying template:en-noun to be able to handle "plural only" (a.k.a. plurale tantum) nouns, such as glad rags or long johns.

I would like to be able to use {{en-noun|{{pluralonly}}}} for these entries. Would this be possible? It would certainly make these entries more consistent.

And for entries where some senses are plurals of something else and some senses are plural only, the following could be used (and if accepted we should document this in template:en-noun):


  1. {{plural of|spectacle}}
  2. {{plural only}} A pair of lenses set in a frame worn on the nose and ears in order to correct deficiencies in eyesight or to ornament the face.

The documentation at template:en-noun for plural nouns currently says to use template:infl:

In entries for English plural nouns, use {{temp|infl|en|...}}:

{{temp|infl|en|noun|plural only}}

Thoughts? Facts707 07:50, 27 May 2010 (UTC)

The documentation should be updated to reflect the existence of {{en-plural noun}}, and we should use that rather than making {{en-noun}} move complicated. Otherwise, {{en-noun|plural only}} could be made to work - or {{en-noun|$}} to be more consistent with -, !, ?. Conrad.Irwin 09:48, 27 May 2010 (UTC)
Done (the documentation update). Conrad.Irwin 09:57, 27 May 2010 (UTC)
Yes, please. Or {{en-noun|#}} (relating to numbers), {{en-noun|&}} (relating to something additional), or {{en-noun|+}} (relating to addition)? Michael Z. 2010-05-27 21:41 z
The parameter "?" has been used intentionally in {{en-noun}} for a year or so to indicate "unknown or uncertain plural" because folks were using "-" when they didn't know there was a plural or didn't know what the plural was. The overwhelming majority of the uses of "-" were erroneous. DCDuring TALK 23:09, 27 May 2010 (UTC)
{{en-noun}} already takes a "pluralOnly" parameter ({{en-noun|pluralOnly=yes}}, though it doesn't render very nicely at present. -- 05:39, 28 May 2010 (UTC)

Greek verb form/particple/adjective - structure of entry

κρυμμένος is the perfect participle of κρύβομαι. I am totally challenged when it somes to the semantics (do I mean that word?) of grammar in relation to participles (in English, let alone Greek). Reading the archives I understand that things differ between languages. I have (sort of) taken Βικιλεξικό as a guide and produced κρυμμένος . Is this a reasonable treatment or is it a fudge? (This is a trial and participles will not eventually be in the adjective category.) —Saltmarshαπάντηση 15:33, 27 May 2010 (UTC)

I've simply been treating them as inflected forms (see Category:Ancient Greek participles for some examples), as their definitions should be the same as their parent verbs, and I don't think it good to duplicate the info, however, other editors (such as EncycloPetey) have used your approach. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 22:34, 27 May 2010 (UTC)
Perfect participles are used mainly as adjectives in Greek. Sometimes they also form a "second" perfect (έχω κρυμμένο= έχω κρύψει - Ι have hidden, είμαι κρυμμένος = έχω κρυφτεί - I have been hidden). This is the main reason I think that they are classified as participles in grammar textbooks. Greek dictionaries seldom have entries for participles, however - since we have not the restrictions they have - it's appropriate to have full entries at least for the most common words of this category and at any case for those participles whose meaning slightly differs from that of the verb. On the other hand we'll find hundreds or thousands of participles where we will not have anything more to say and a simple definition (inflected form of the verb X) would suffice. Still, I think it's more useful for the visitor to see that κρυμμένος means hidden than just see a formal inflected form description--flyax 10:04, 28 May 2010 (UTC)
I have added a separate verb section - I will make a form-of-verb template - but are there any other comments about this approach? —Saltmarshαπάντηση 04:58, 1 June 2010 (UTC)

template:en-verb - use for commonly derived noun (-tion)?

Pros and cons of expanding template:en-verb to identify "-tion" nouns? E.g. nationalize -> nationalization. Facts707 17:32, 28 May 2010 (UTC)

Discussion at template talk:en-verb#use for commonly derived noun (-tion)? Facts707 17:34, 28 May 2010 (UTC)

{{suffix}} - {{suffix|nationalize|ation}} — [ R·I·C ] opiaterein — 21:25, 30 May 2010 (UTC)

Green Check Mark

On Wikipedia Reference Desk, when a question is solved, a green check mark is placed under that heading to show finality. Can we introduce such a graphic on the user forums here?-- 22:48, 30 May 2010 (UTC)

The convention here is to strike through the heading. (Though we have a large backlog of pages that need some aggressive archiving) Conrad.Irwin 23:06, 30 May 2010 (UTC)
Is it polite, then, to insert the overstrike when it appears that a debate has concluded (provided, e.g., that it's already been several weeks or months with no new postings)?-- 19:30, 31 May 2010 (UTC)
More than polite, I'd say. And anyway, headers can always be unstricken by those who wish to resurrect a discussion.  — Raifʻhār Doremítzwr ~ (U · T · C) ~ 19:50, 31 May 2010 (UTC)
Ohh so that's what the strikethrough means! Not really all that obvious... —CodeCat 11:14, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

Bot flag for Diego Grez Bot

I would like to have bot flag on Diego Grez Bot. I'll run it on category and Wiktionary namespaces, because the main one is already covered by Interwicket. If you don't bother, I'll do a few test edits. Also, it has bot flag on French and Tamil Wikinews, and this would be the first Wiktionary =) Thanks in advance. --Diego Grez 01:23, 31 May 2010 (UTC)

What does it do? - Amgine/talk 01:25, 31 May 2010 (UTC)
/me slaps himself; Interwiki! --Diego Grez 01:27, 31 May 2010 (UTC)
I think you'd have to prove that your bot can do something that others can't. We already have bots (User:MalafayaBot and User:VolkovBot) which do non-main-namespace interwikis, which are fairly few and far between to begin with. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 11:38, 31 May 2010 (UTC)
The hard bit to that is matching up the categories. If you had a way of finding categories/appendices/WT pages that need matching, that'd be amazing. Otherwise, the bot will be of very limited use, per above. Mglovesfun (talk) 15:42, 31 May 2010 (UTC)
Well, it is fairly the same function as these named bots, but I'll be finding categories and project pages matching on almost abandoned wikis, like I did on Aymara. =) --Diego Grez 18:13, 31 May 2010 (UTC)
Is there enough of that around to warrant using a bot? --EncycloPetey 03:02, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
I think so. --Diego Grez 03:23, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
Well, then you should start a bot vote at WT:VOTE. -Yair rand (talk) 05:07, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
Well, first run a test. See [[WT:BOT]].​—msh210 15:24, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
Ran some tests =) --Diego Grez 17:56, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
And at least one went wrong [14] (That was the only one to hit my watchlist, I've not looked at any others). Thryduulf (talk) 18:54, 1 June 2010 (UTC)

Template:Elementary Mandarin

Template:Beginning Mandarin

Template:Intermediate Mandarin

Template:Advanced Mandarin

These are classified in Category:Topical context labels, but they don't seem to be topics to me. I guess they are classifications of the difficulty or complexity of the words, prescribed by a language academy or equivalent. Are these more properly placed in Category:Grammatical context labels? Can someone provide a short but comprehensive blurb to describe these in Appendix:GlossaryMichael Z. 2010-05-31 14:47 z

Dunno really. If I knew the answer, I would never have nominated all four for deletion. A good explanation would make a massive difference. Mglovesfun (talk) 21:08, 31 May 2010 (UTC)
The categories are good -- and I think we should have similar categories for many other languages --, but as context labels these don't make any sense to me. I'm not familiar with the original wordlists, but I doubt if they refer to specific senses as beginning, intermediate, etc. IMO these should be replaced with bare categories. -- Visviva 22:08, 31 May 2010 (UTC)
Then again, on Template talk:Elementary Mandarin, Bequw asserts that this is sense-level information. That seems rather extraordinary, if true; but even if true, I'm still not sure we want to clutter the sense line with this information. -- Visviva 22:46, 31 May 2010 (UTC)
I wouldn't worry about this. These categories are of major importance for HSK examinees. Over time I've been moving a lot of the categories from the definition line to the bottom of the page. Over time, things will smooth out, but now there are more important issues to worry about regarding Mandarin entries on Wiktionary - e.g. toneless pinyin! ---> Tooironic 07:07, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
I would definitely recommend we keep these as sense-level templates. As Tooironic states, these are important for Chinese-learners who are studying for (or simply using materials intended for) the PRC national Chinese-language proficiency exam, HSK (Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi). It might seem extraordinary, but indeed such labels do segregate the various senses of words. --达伟 09:54, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
Okay, so they don't represent topics. Is there any objection to categorizing the labels as grammatical? Michael Z. 2010-06-03 19:57 z

my name is Shirley

Ok, phrasebooks are not bad. I'm not against a phrasebook, I'm against it in the name space. Three immediate possibilities occur to me; having them only in appendices (Appendix:my name is) creating a namespace Phrasebook: with an auto-redirection from my name is to Phrasebook:my name is, or simply not doing it here but on another project, maybe even outside of Wikimedia. Mglovesfun (talk) 15:40, 31 May 2010 (UTC)

  • In the meantime, this one has been deleted again. Please don't recreate it. SemperBlotto 15:47, 31 May 2010 (UTC)
It is pretty easy to get another namespace created, why not make a Phrasebook one? - TheDaveRoss 16:06, 31 May 2010 (UTC)
I support this. Would also support a pseudonamespace e.g. (Appendix:Phrasebook:), but I seem to be the only one who likes those. There's nothing wrong with the content of (most of) these entries, but much like certain other classes of entries, they don't fit well in mainspace (different criteria, different structuring concerns, potentially different preferred format...) -- Visviva 16:12, 31 May 2010 (UTC)
I strongly oppose removing the phrasebook from the main namespace. It's not like it interferes with the regular entries, it has much of the same goals, it is an important part of the project, and there's no reason to throw it off to somewhere else just because it needs some shaping up. The real issue is that people have very different ideas about how inclusive the phrasebook should be. (Should it have 800 phrases? 20,000 phrases? As many phrases as we can possibly get?) --Yair rand (talk) 16:43, 31 May 2010 (UTC)
The thing is that very few of the concerns that apply to ordinary entries apply to Phrasebook entries, which tends to result in a mess. A Phrasebook entry is only a translation hanger; it does not benefit at all from information about "etymology" or semantic relations (synonyms/antonyms/etc.), and doesn't even really need a definition. But this doesn't stop people from adding all of this spurious information, oblivious to its (lack of) use value. At the same time, the optimal principles for selection and titling of Phrasebook entries are (it seems) quite contrary to those for regular entries. For regular entries, we want separate entries (or quasi-entries) for every form; for Phrasebook entries, we want to avoid separate entries even for forms with demonstrably different meanings ("three beers please", "four beers please"...). For regular entries, we have generally rejected the use of variables and the like in entry titles ("the X of Y"); for Phrasebook entries, there is a very strong case to be made for such titles (the alternative being an infinite and infinitely unmaintainable set of "I need a [noun]" entries). IMO all of these things point towards this type of content being better maintained in its own space, with its own rules, a la Wikisaurus. -- Visviva 03:28, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
"A Phrasebook entry is only a translation hanger" - this is completely incorrect. A major part of phrasebook entries is the pronunciation section, audio and IPA, inflection line information, alternative forms (more formal, less formal, m/f versions), etc. --Yair rand (talk) 13:44, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
You're quite right; I overstated my case. And pronunciation is of course very important. I'm less sure about the inflection line; it seems like the level of inflectional information needed goes well beyond what can comfortably fit in an inflection line, and really calls for a section of its own if it's going to be done properly. Haven't done a thorough survey, but I see that even I love you contains no inflectional info. The inflection line links to the component terms, but that is not a very satisfactory way of doing things. Similarly, gradations in formality and intensity, etc., seem to call for something closer to a mini-grammatical-Appendix than to our standard "Alternative forms" and "Usage notes", if they're ever going to be treated adequately. -- Visviva 15:12, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
  • I used to think phrasebook entries were OK in the main namespace, when it was things like I love you. Now we have such things as do you speak Middle French and I have a big penis, it's pretty obvious the whole idea is going the way of the thesaurus, and should be put somewhere else. Ƿidsiþ 17:01, 31 May 2010 (UTC)
If you have to type a special prefix, such as Appendix:Phrasebook, it makes the entries virtually impossible for most people to find, and it would stop further additions to it. I would not be able to remember the prefix and I would not add to it, edit it, or consult it. If those who dislike phrasebook entries simply refrain from looking for them (in their present location), then they won’t see them. Almost everything in the Appendix and Wiktionary spaces, except for the three or four most frequently used pages, is effectively removed from the project and is unavailable except through a very small number of links which may only be found by accident. —Stephen 17:05, 31 May 2010 (UTC)
That's true, Stephen -- but then, 1) this is a dictionary project, not a phrasebook, and 2) surely you must admit that many of the phrases being defended are rather spurious -- the problem being that apparently anything goes. Ƿidsiþ 17:08, 31 May 2010 (UTC)
It is a dictionary project which benefits from the inclusion of a phrasebook. Rather than move the phrasebook to a space that makes it invisible and unusable, we should delete the nonsense entries and mockery candidates that someone like WF might try to sneak in. The phrase book doesn’t need anything about any dead languages except perhaps for Latin and Greek, and it doesn’t need to include phrases for the red light district. We need to include the vulgar slang and common offensive language, but not in the phrasebook. "I’ve a big salami" is not useful anywhere at all. —Stephen 17:22, 31 May 2010 (UTC)
It would be a problem for the usability of the phrasebook it entries were not readily findable. But is it not possible that phrasebook space could be included in the spaces searched by default? Also, phrasebook entries have more need than normal entries for access by type of situation. That would suggest that we need something like categories or Appendix pages to provide multiple forms of access to the entries. If we have such means of access, it might make putting these out of principal namespace and out of the reach of WT:ELE more attractive. DCDuring TALK 03:54, 1 June 2010 (UTC)

A separate namespace sounds like a good idea (could use the shorter Phrases:?). This would allow us to separate the CFI, and perhaps have appropriate phrasebook-specific presentation, like translations expanded by default, or a preference for bilingual translation to and from the language you need today, clearly-defined phrasebook categories. (Another namespace for Proverbs:, anyone?)

See also Wikitravel's phrasebooks, “Unlikely phrases from real phrasebooks.” Michael Z. 2010-05-31 19:55 z

Yeah, the system could auto-redirect from red links, like it does for Happiness (to happiness). Mglovesfun (talk) 20:07, 31 May 2010 (UTC)
I think it is probably up to those of us who prefer this solution to set things up at and around Appendix:English phrasebook (for now), and make that work well enough to be demonstrably more effective than the current arrangement. I think it can be done, but Stephen is quite right that non-Main namespaces tend to be where good ideas go to die. -- Visviva 15:12, 1 June 2010 (UTC)

I made I have a big penis go away. Utterly pointless and nonsensical. And I'll make other things like it go away too! --Neskaya contribs talk? 21:03, 31 May 2010 (UTC)

How is I have a big penis any more pointless than I don't speak Old French and its 500 copies? I personally find the former 100 times more useful. I'd use such an entry. Also I want to fuck you. I find that these kinds of vulgar and moronic phrases make learning languages much more enjoyable. — [ R·I·C ] opiaterein — 14:53, 2 June 2010 (UTC)
Who died and made you what-is-utterly-pointless-and-nonsensical decider? --Vahagn Petrosyan 10:34, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
this vote for WIUPANDship did. --Rising Sun talk? contributions 10:46, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
Aha, so it's OK for admins to delete entries pending rfd. Good to know. --Vahagn Petrosyan 10:51, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
Yep, especially the one in question. I'd have done the same. --Rising Sun talk? contributions 11:17, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
Oh, come on. I voted keep, but I think we can all agree that that entry was complete bollocks... ;-)  — Raifʻhār Doremítzwr ~ (U · T · C) ~ 11:39, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
What do other lemmings do? "Rough" and "Gimmick" seem simpatico. DCDuring TALK 14:56, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
Huzzah for boldness! -- Visviva 15:12, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
I deleted it because it should never have been put to RFD in the first place, but put for speedy deletion. --Neskaya contribs talk? 14:55, 2 June 2010 (UTC)

Phrasebook policy

Since people were asking for a policy on phrasebook entries, I expanded the page Wiktionary:Phrasebook in an effort to create that. While I couldn't provide stable rules because consensus was not achieved on various aspects, I think I could describe all phrasebook tendencies and write down all the arguments gathered from related discussions. --Daniel. 16:53, 31 May 2010 (UTC)

It will make it easier to define a policy if you define a set of readers the phrase book is for rather than some (apparently arbitrary) types of phrases. Presumably
  • English tourists in foreign countries?
  • Foreign tourists in English countries?
Trying to include foreign tourists visiting foreign countries seems to be as much out-of-scope of English Wiktionary as foreign-to-foreign translations. (And once you've identified this, the list of apparently arbitrary types of phrases can become a justified list of phrases).
Other issues I have with lots of these phrases is that they are not fluent English. For example "I need toothpaste", it just isn't something you say unless you are asked "what do you need?", which would imply it would be more useful to list these phrases under that question some how (or just to exclude them, you don't need to say any more than "toothpaste" which we already include). "Do you have some toothpaste I could borrow?" is possibly a more useful phrase, and I presume what was meant by the entry. What I really wonder though is, is a tourist going to find it more useful to have a list of "Do you have an X I could borrow?" questions, or a list of common nouns coupled with the way to phrase "Do you have an X I could borrow". I imagine the latter, and can't really think of anything that the former approach improves. A good description of how most phrasebooks are structured is at w:Phrasebook, I notice that our phrasebook is totally different on almost every level - while that may not be a problem, we should at least be able to justify why our way is better (and I am strongly of the opinion that, at the moment, we cannot). Conrad.Irwin 17:46, 31 May 2010 (UTC)

All phrasebooks are organized by situation (e.g. you are in a shop, you walk in the street, at the hotel, you meet somebody, you are ill, etc.), because this is how they are useful. Nobody will ever look for a page such as I need toothpaste, because there are as many such phrases as you wish. I already suggested the following policy: phrases in appendices (one appendix for each situation + a portal), + normal pages (in addition to their inclusion in appendices) when phrases are set phrases (e.g. good evening, thank you...) Lmaltier 17:57, 31 May 2010 (UTC)

English tourists and countries? You mean English-speaking, for starters. English is the most international language on this planet. This phrasebook should be useful for native speakers, for learners, for immigrants (and emigrants), for people from English-as-a-second-language countries like India and Nigeria, and from every other country in the world, where English may serve as a lingua franca between newly-met friends.
Tourists? Other languages are useful to couriers, politicians, soldiers, merchants, pilots, sea captains, ferry boatmen, computer programmers, architects, teachers, aid workers, doctors, emergency services, publishers etc, etc. They are useful to people who were born in the same country but don't speak each other's language (200-odd languages in Nigeria).
Let's grow this thing so well that it will want to become a separate wiki. Michael Z. 2010-05-31 20:02 z
Although some sweet talk should be OK (I have just added kiss me with multiple translations), we should stay decent, IMHO and shouldn't add naughty phrases. My time is better spent on adding translations than writing proposals, though. --Anatoli 23:42, 31 May 2010 (UTC)
I agree with Conrad: "Do you have some toothpaste I could borrow?" is probably more useful than "I need toothpaste". And I agree with Michael on the fact that the phrasebook should not help tourists only; for instance, the classic phrasebook entry I love you is meant for a wider group of people: everybody, theoretically. That said, if our phrasebook criteria permit the inclusion of that entry, I conclude that other entries meant to be used by everybody, possibly due to their commonness and simplicity, would be created too: perhaps I'm happy, fuck you and don't cry. --Daniel. 15:28, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
The problem with saying it's for "everybody" is you get no guidance as to what phrases to include - tourists was perhaps narrow, but hopefully there is some middle ground that is (most importantly) easy to explain. I think we are all of the opinion that some restriction is needed, and a simple to state guideline is much easier to work with than a list of examples that must be constantly maintained. Looking at the lists of people that Mzajac proposes, I struggle to think of anything, it is too broad - everyone needs foreign languages occasionally, but whether we can build a phrase book "for them" is another question. I certainly think we should stay away from trying to define phrase-books for professionals, at least for now, as each profession requires its own specialised jargon (see the NHS one). Conrad.Irwin 16:46, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
I wasn't proposing a phrasebook specific to any particular vocations, nor necessarily one with such jargon. I'm saying let's forget the stereotypical target market of tourists. We don't have to make a profit on the travel shelf of the popular bookstore, and we aren't constrained to size and scope limits by being paper. Ten thousand kinds of non-tourists have to have mundane conversations in unfamiliar languages every single day, so let's not limit ourselves by that cliché. Michael Z. 2010-06-03 19:54 z
A final thought is: would our efforts actually be better invested in improving an existing free phrasebook, such as the [15] ones, or [16]? From what I can see they have a much stronger base than ours, and there's little reason to be competitive when we are all on the same team. (I have emailed the author of worldphrasebook to ask about licensing). There are also numerous "joke" phrasebooks, [17] so we needn't compete in that market either. Conrad.Irwin 16:46, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
The problems were experiencing in part are because a lot of these things we'd normally delete on sight. But since they're created by other admins 1) they can just restore them 2) it could create a rift, and IMO nobody thinks this is important enough to do that. Some people think they are genuinely useful (I think) while some think these are a joke, albeit a funny one and not many people actually hate these, most are in categoris 1) and 2). Mglovesfun (talk) 14:55, 3 June 2010 (UTC)