User talk:DCDuring

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Comments welcome. DCDuring 17:44, 30 August 2007 (UTC)



Taxonomic entries


Problems with plurals[edit]

Hi. I only recently became aware that there was a problem. My first thought was to dig into Category:Uncountable to see just what sort of problems might be present. That was when I realised that we have a grave problem, given that we cannot really keep track of anything if the templates are not working. I think EP is right.

  1. Step 1 is to rename the category.
  2. Step 2.IMHO is to modify the {{uncountable}}, {{pluralonly}}, {{singularonly}}, templates so that only the senses are marked as uncountable, plurale t, and singulare t respectively, and the {{en-noun|-}} template option to simply not put plural forms only. That is, disable its automatic "uncountable" label and categorisation.
  3. Step 3. I hadn't thought about "pair of" Perhaps a new template and category?
  4. Step 4. A bot to find and list entries that need to be checked out. (Might turn out to be a huge list :-/)
  • We could then encourage the correct use of the templates. In any case, I see this as an urgent "to do" before it gets completely out of hand. I wish I knew how big a problem it really is! - Algrif 11:08, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
Your plan looks pretty good to me. The wording of the display for "plurale tantum" and "singulare tantum" and of the WT entries for those phrases needs work. It needs to be more accessible to ordinary users and not just technically correct.
I am appalled at the number of entries that have no templates and no categories. I spend time looking at frequency lists and filling in missing inflected forms. Probably half of the associated lemma entries are missing or significantly defective - and I don't mean missing senses, I mean missing PoSs, missing templates, obsolete headers, erroneous statements of comparability or countability, and structure problems. One hardly knows where to begin.
Are there good tools for counting entries with various characteristics and, especially, combinations of characteristics? I often wish that I could just do queries (not necessarily real-time) on the WT entries to get info on combinations of headers and templates (and parameters of templates). I guess bots marking or listing entries is as good as it gets. I am in need of getting up to speed on the capabilities of templates, bots, etc. What is a good place to start learning? My computer skills are not very up to date, but I am still capable of learning and willing to do so. DCDuring 15:15, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
I need to think more carefully on your program. Whatever we do should be linguistically correct, consistent with good wiki-tech-practice, and sufficiently user-friendly as to help WT benefit from and handle any extra users we get from improving WT visiblity on Google. DCDuring 15:20, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
I'm quite good at suggesting, but not very good at doing. I wish I knew how to write bots, but my (modern day) programming skills are limited. I would need someone to write, or help to write, said bot. I don't even know what could be possible, although I expect it wouldn't be too hard to seek and list all entries with certain tags and bracketed words (uncountable). As for going through any generated list; like all the other listed tasks on Wikt, it could never be a one-man job, although I would see myself being heavily involved. Can we put together a brief proposal about all this for GP consideration? - Algrif 10:08, 11 January 2008 (UTC)


Is this word ever used to refer to more than one golf course? One can find usage of both "The links is ...." and "The links are ...." but every case I've looked at seems to refer to a single course. Also, an etymology is that it is a shortening of "linksland". DCDuring TALK 03:31, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

Found usage: "links" (with either is or are) can refer to a single golf course. "Links are" can also refer to multiple courses. What is that called? DCDuring TALK 04:16, 21 April 2008 (UTC)
I don't know what name this phenomenon goes by, but it's the same as deer, where the singular and plural forms are identical. --EncycloPetey 04:23, 21 April 2008 (UTC)
Based on our Category:English invariant nouns, they are "invariant nouns". Thryduulf 18:17, 21 April 2008 (UTC)
Oh, yes. I've been to that page. Could someone clarify it? I'm having trouble understanding the distinction made there between invariant nouns and invariant use of non-invariant nouns. There is certainly too much "ink" spent on the second case without making it clear exactly what the difference is. I'm too simple-minded to take on that challenge myself. I also don't understand the relationship of that to plurale tantum. I'm beginning to suspect that it would be useful to have an article somewhere (Wiktionary Appendix or WP?) explaining the various non-standard plural phenomena: invariant nouns, plurale tantum, singulare tantum, uncountability, semantic singularity, invariant use of non-invariant nouns, pair-of nouns, and collective nouns with special focus on the simple usage questions of greatest potential interest to our anon and even not-so-anon users:
  1. How does a speaker/writer use each type of noun with respect to a single referent ? and
  2. Does it (always, sometimes, never) take a plural verb when referring to a single referent?
Consistent nomenclature and corresponding categories for the technically adept wouldn't hurt either to assist the flow of wisdom from adepts to contributors to lowest common denominator. There seem to be some bottlenecks in the flow. DCDuring TALK 19:43, 21 April 2008 (UTC)
  • Regular, non-invariant nouns can be either singular or plural with different forms, e.g. "one ship", "two ships"
  • Invariant nouns can be either singular or plural, but have the same form for both, e.g. "one sheep", "two sheep"
  • Invariant use of non invariant nouns is using one form, usually the singular form, of a noun that has different forms for singular and plural as both singular and plural. e.g. elephant is a non-invariant noun ("one elephant", "two elephants"), but the singular form can be used for the plural (i.e. invariantly), e.g. "I shot three elephant today"
  • Pluarlia tantum can only be plural, e.g. tongs - you can say "pass me the tongs please" but not *"pass me the tong please".
  • Singularia tantum can only be singular, e.g. crack of dawn.
Does this help? Thryduulf 21:17, 21 April 2008 (UTC)
It helps because it gives real cases. I seem to try to avoid using many of these expressions as do many of the folks I listen to, so my ear doesn't seem to have been getting much practice.
OK: "One sheep is"; "Two sheep are"
Help me here: "Three elephant are approaching" ?; "Three elephants are approaching". I'm not sure this comes up much in US. You must have more elephant in the UK.
OK: "Three cannon are firing", "Three cannons are firing", "The cannon are firing".
Help me here: "The cannon is firing" How many cannons may be involved? Only one?
If only one cannon can be involved, why would we bother calling this "invariant" rather than a noun with two plural forms?
OK for pairs-of words: "These tongs have rusted" (whether referring to one pair or more than one pair).
How does this work for p.t. nouns that are not pairs-of?
Help me here: Is it simply wrong to say "The experience of cracks of dawn differs by latitude and season"?
Confirm: "The fleet is passing through the channel". (US) "The fleet are passing through the channel". (UK)

DCDuring TALK 01:45, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

So links (golf sense) is an invariant noun, plural in form (by coincidence only), with the added quirk of being optionally used as a plural to refer to what is normally considered a single place (a golf course). Oof. Do any other words behave this way? -- Visviva 23:39, 22 April 2008 (UTC)
Come to think of it, I guess all pair-of words behave this way; glasses, scissors, jeans, etc. -- Visviva 11:04, 23 April 2008 (UTC)
I started an entry for linksland, but was struck that this term is used only in golf-related literature. On the other hand links/lynkis is a valid Scots word for rough open ground, so linksland seems like a pleonasm, perhaps invented after "links" had begun to refer to golf courses themselves. [1] -- Visviva 23:39, 22 April 2008 (UTC)


Please be careful here. For example all the hits for "more nitrogenized" seem to have "more" modifying the noun rather than the adjective.[2] This is also borne out by the 0 hits for "more nitrogenized than." In general "more X than" is a better search, but still may result in false positives. -- Visviva 04:41, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

Thanks. For nitrogenized, I also looked at the superlative and found nine in gbc. I reasoned that if a sup does exist, there is no reason for a comp not to exist. Is that too racy?
I am using "more-X-than" as my search term and reading until I find real comparables (not more modifying the same noun that the X modifies, first books, then scholar, sometimes then news, rarely groups. I look for 3. I'm trying to do it right so that I can meet challenges.
Many of the other adjs are logically capable of forming comparatives, but the number of uses is too low (0-2). I think editors are fooled by their own absolutist definitions. Someone defined worldwide as meaning applicable "everywhere". Clearly not how the word is actually used. DCDuring 04:53, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
You're certainly right that people tend to go overboard with prescriptive definitions. However, for cases like this, IMO very close attention to use is needed. Eight of the nine hits for "most nitrogenized"[3] seem to be modifying the noun rather than the adjective, as in "most nitrogenized compounds are..." The only exception is the 1881 use, and frankly I can't make head or tails of that one. -- Visviva 12:23, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
If your google yields the searches in the same order as mine 1 and 4 are the right cites. This is most marginal of all the cases. Frankly I am skeptical about many engineering-process words being non-comparable even without the cites. If you would like to challenge it, I will see if I can use print sources to located some additional cites beyond the two clear ones for the superlative. I must say that I thought that the situation would be even worse than it has turned out to be. I thought it would be as bad as with uncountability, but it isn't. The a-/an-, in-, non-, and un- adjectives are rarely comparable in practice. I had estimated 15-20% non-comparability, but find that the negative prefix adjectives reduce the ratio to closer to 10% opposable claims. If it weren't for the proscriptiveness of the "not comparable", I wouldn't care as much. Do our editors find that, given a permissive environment, free of received rules, they must use the freedom to create new rules and restrictions?
That is indeed a common reaction, though mercifully much more muted here than on the pedia. No worries, anyway; looks like you've got a notion for what you're doing. I just happened to notice the activity on RC and think "hm, that seems odd," so I went in for a closer look. It does seem odd that the only two uses of "nitrogenized" in a comparable way on b.g.c. date from the 19th century; but perhaps that's just a fluke. Happy editing! -- Visviva 15:28, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
I have noted the wantonness of Victorian word invention (crash of rhinoceroses) and morphology (-ical when -ic would do). I have tried editing some of the 1913 dictionary entries and 1911 Encyclopedia entries. They were developing a more Germanic language for a while. Perhaps the comparatives were part of the same syndrome. When I engage in chains of similar edits, there is a risk that I will go over the top. I think nitrogenized was the edit with the least support, though I have faith that more could be found. I have often been chastened by confronting the goggle evidence that my a priori assumptions are often wrong. I just wish that some folks would test their assumptions more often. Thanks for the chat. DCDuring 16:28, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

Countable and comparable[edit]

Hello there, I noticed that you have amended the inflection lines of many nouns so that they are countable e.g. adipic acid - in this instance the the chemical itself is not countable but only if there is more than one type of adipic acid e.g. isomers - if that is the case then the definition may need revision to make that clear.

I'm also curious as to what g.b.c. is? - Do you mean Google - in which case many of the changes might then reflect incorrect or at least dubious usages and should not be included in Wiktionary unless they are noted as such.--Williamsayers79

Thanks for following up. I was aware that those changes were incomplete. Since the entry remains on my watchlist, I was hoping someone would come along, make the appropriate changes, and thereby provide a good model for other entries. Yes, I have altered them based on the (which ought to be abbreviated b.g.c. not g.b.c. (my mistake)). I certainly wouldn't rely on google web search results given the need to sift through even the supposedly edited works on b.g.c. (let alone the older scanned material). I try to look through the first few pages of a b.g.c. search to make sure that not everything is spurious. I have noticed that folks are inclined to claim that something is uncountable when it is not (not just in chemistry). It wouldn't be so bad if uncountability were marked only at the sense line. I am generally aware that structural differences are abundant in complex molecules, that atoms have isotopes, that there are many Marxisms. However, my chemistry is not so good that I trust myself to add the appropriate senses. If you would point me to a good example of an entry for a chemical with both countable and uncountable senses and let me know the approximate limits of applicability of that model, I would henceforth apply only that model in my effots and would hope to be able to call upon you for cases beyond the scope of the model. DCDuring TALK 19:25, 27 January 2008 (UTC)
I would say that methane is a good example where the chemical itself (CH4) is uncountable as it has only one form, and where the word is also used to refer to other chemicals based on that compound therefore haveing a countable sense to.--Williamsayers79 13:16, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
Comparablility has similar issues. I am somewhat numerate so I am sensitive to the fact that most natural phenomena are matters of degree. Folks who engage in selling, making, or studying things usually are making comparisions of types, grades, and lots in terms of various attributes which are sometimes popularly deemed incomparable. Maybe I have been wrong about believing that we should reflect the practice of "experts" in comparing and pluralizing what the laity do not, but the opposite presumption does not seem to have been based on much more than whim or limited experience in most cases, certainly not consultation with references or b.g.c. I am open to (and enjoy) argument on this as with most Wiktionary matters. DCDuring TALK 19:37, 27 January 2008 (UTC)
I'm glad you are open for discussion in this area. We often have a bun-fight here over such things when all that is needed is good discussion and clear explanations (use of Usage notes are definitely welcomed from my view point). Regards --Williamsayers79 13:16, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
From context I assumed that bunfight meant dust-up, but the sense entered and defended by SB is different. Did you mean something like tempest in a teapot? I think the heat generated has to do with the missing side-channels of communication (facial expression, posture, gesture, tone of voice, clothing, tics}} - not that folks don't get into pissing matches in the real world. Internet communication is good for paranoid reactions. I've noted it in my own reactions from time to time. I'm wondering how to defuse some of the negative interactions between important contributors. Humor is a little risky without the side channels. DCDuring TALK 15:08, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
If you're addressing the idea of what is countable (a slippery concept to be sure) Arnold Zwicky does a good job of laying out the issues here. You might also check out Reid's 1991 book Verb and Noun number in English.--BrettR 13:36, 2 April 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for the references. DCDuring TALK 14:15, 2 April 2008 (UTC)



Following is a initial dump of "issues". Perhaps it could become the start of a guideline for handling the occasional abbreviations that are not well handled by the default features of the existing system:


Apparently c. is considered to be the cutting edge of forward thinking about abbreviations. I has PoS info optionally at the sense line. Perhaps that is all that is required, given that probably 99% of abbreviations are of proper nouns or nouns. Also an abbreviation that gets used as a verb is often not considered an abbreviation ("RVing" is not "recreational vehicling"). The PoS info is a gloss that may eliminate the need to click through to the entry underlying the abbreviaton, if there is an underlying entry.

No underlying WT entry[edit]

Some abbreviations have no underlying entry (it would not meet CFI). For such entries there is more need for PoS info, WP links.


There would be some value in including the plural form of an abbreviation to that a user who typed in a plural for "apts." or "apts" was directed to "apt." or "apt."

Period/no period[edit]

Periodless abbreviations are acceptable, following European convention. It would be handy it the search engine given eihter "apt" or "apt." would yield both "apt." and "apt".


Now folded into characterization as "initialism" or "acronym". As Agvulpine pointed out, some are pronounced both ways and some are pronounced in a combination. Some are rarely spoken. Some seem unpronounceable. Some fraction of Abbreviations are not well served. DCDuring TALK 19:07, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

Alternative spellings[edit]

Thanks for actually addressing the original question. Interesting that there was so much pent-up energy about the overall interface. Until there is some more radical advance on the user-interface front, we just have to do the best we can. I don't like to make unilateral changes, especially in something like first-screen appearance, especially if there is a more general issue involved. Are there other instances like OK that you know of? DCDuring TALK 11:19, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

I also noted that the heading in "OK" is "Alternative forms". There are certainly other instances, arguable even rock and roll, where the content under the header is not "spellings" {u.c./l.c., hyphens, -or/-our, -ise/-ize, and/'n') but other closely related variants. Those variants don't always have a good home on the page. Do you think that we should make that the universal header in that position or an allowed alternative, either documented or undocumented? DCDuring TALK 11:32, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

I think in all cases in all entries, we should work to present entries that give the clearest information about a word in the format that is most effective and appropriate to the specifics of that entry, while obviously being subject to the limitations of the Mediawiki code and remaining loyal to our strict formatting precedents, but not obsessively so. The entries should cater first to the reality of that particular word, and second to some overly rigid arbitrary format. For example, if rock-and-roll and OK really don't have "alternate spellings", but more appropriately "alternate forms", well we should be able to make that minor distinction without much fuss. If the list of four or five alt. forms takes up too much vertical space, well then, golly gee, just put 'em side by side. Not too difficult. The formatting conventions are arbitrary, and many believe something is emphatically a necessary formatting convention when it's just some pedant with Asperger's whose brain fights for routine rather than effectiveness.

It's clear some formatting is important to the future of the project, to some preference skins and analysis tools, and to Wiktionary's ability to be understood by potential third party software. However, if a change is necessary, it should be simply made rather than fought. If "alternate forms" (or another useful heading) is currently not a valid heading in some skins, it should simply be made valid. If our software can't properly report to third parties a list of alt forms if they are horizontal with commas, well we should fix that. It's really people's personalities, not actual limitations that sometimes prevent success. -- Thisis0 21:19, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

This place seems to have more justification for format rigidity than WP. I've been cautious because I'm new and because folks can be touchy about things I don't expect them to be touchy about. The alt spellings format "issue" connected with the homophones discussion a bit and with the general problem of the low useful-info content of the first screen users see for many entries. I also am disappointed by the lack of knowledge about design-relevant user behavior characteristics. We do this for love, but I personally would love to have happy end users. I am optimistic that perhaps we can allow customization of the user interface so that editors and members of the language community can have useful interfaces without jeopardizing the experience of our presumed client base. I would be willing to submit to format rigidity if it sped up the achievement of user-interface customization. DCDuring TALK 21:37, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
Again, simple solutions. Extra trivia like Homophones (and Anagrams, for f's sake) really just need to go after the definitions (like near Synonyms and See also). I'm assuming the Anagram/Homophone junkies fought so hard to be included, the momentum of their cause overshot itself and pushed right up to a prime real estate location, when they really belong down among the trivias and see-also's, if at all. -- Thisis0 22:05, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
Hompohones at least might be justified on the grounds of helping someone to pronounce something or at least to stop looking for non-existent/minimal pronunciation differences. My fear is that the phonetic alphabetic knowledge (or working software for the audio) required to benefit from most of the Pronunciation section isn't there among most (many) of our end users. Simple solutions are all that we are likely to achieve. Because WMF doesn't have vast technical resources, technical solutions at all but the most basic level will be few and far between. I hope that it isn't all duct tape at the server farm. DCDuring TALK 23:01, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
Having IPA here to encourage learning something new is cool, however, I wish we employed classic dictionary pronunciation, or better yet, simple pronunciation (pro-nunn'-see-ay'-shun). Wouldn't that be useful? I also wish we had a better way of showing syllabic hyphenation. As an arranger/editor of sheet music, that is my frequent utility of a dictionary, and sadly, Wiktionary is no help in that regard. I currently hafta take my business elsewhere. It would be a huge change, but I think it would be appropriate where the entry name repeats in bold just under the PoS headers. You know, where the en-noun templates and such are used. That's just a repeat of the entry name, why not make it use·ful? -- Thisis0 23:19, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
Anything that increases the density of useful info on the first screen without setting back a user's ability to find things on other screens is good. In particular, both of your ideas seem good.
  1. Hyphenation at the inflection line would either give more info than is now in the entry or save a line in the pronunciation block for those entries that have it. Hyphenation skill is becoming less broadly useful as word-processing software absorbs that function so there may not be much energy for implementing it.
  2. A pronunciation scheme that an amateur could use without a reference would be good, even if it was not as useful for linguists and not as correct. Horizontalizing it seems like a good idea, but I don't know whether it interferes with someone's grand scheme for the section.
Today someone was removing the Shorthand section (well formatted and apparently correct) of some entries and could not understand what use that could be. That seems like another skill (like Morse code) that will soon disappear. DCDuring TALK 23:39, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
What entries? I'd like to see (shorthand sections). Regarding horizontal pronunciations, apparently it's already being done fairly effectively (and simply -- the key to greatness!). Look at attribute. I'd just like to add simple pronunciation to the beginning of those lists. Wouldn't that be a neat way to promote learning IPA anyway, to see the equivalents side by side? -- Thisis0 23:48, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
There are perhaps 40 entries with the Shorthand heading, appearing at the bottom of the page. They mostly begin "ab". abash should be one. I assume that the person entering them ran out of gas. You can search for "shorthand" and find them by the bottom of page 3 of the search results. There might be more to found by serching the same way for "Gregg" or even "Pitman". If you want to test on a user who knows no IPA, I'm your test subject for alpha testing. DCDuring TALK 00:06, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

Some sort of quality process for important words[edit]


I agree with you that we need to focus more effectively on core-entry quality. I'd been thinking of some sort of process that would focus on bringing entries for core vocabulary words (and particularly the senses and examples) up to the best achievable level. It would have to be sort of the opposite of our existing "Requests" processes, which do a reasonable job of enforcing compliance with minimum standards but aren't really equipped to go beyond that.

Specifically, I was thinking of something

  • slow (maybe a 30-90 day timeframe?),
  • fairly structured and deliberative (with a durable subpage structure, maybe including something like Appendix:Dictionary notes),
  • focused sharply on key words (maybe the Academic Word List and/or GSL), and with
  • restricted throughput (perhaps 10 words per month to start?).

Ideally, upon completing the process, entries would be raised to a high enough standard that they could be used as models of excellence. Truly model entries are something we currently lack, a fact which in turn discourages any serious work on quality, leaving us in the viciously circular place where we find ourselves.

Anyway, I was wondering if you've had any thoughts along these lines. This is another one of those things that I've been meaning to put together a more serious proposal for, but I keep distracting myself with various other shiny objects.  :-) -- Visviva 07:34, 1 February 2009 (UTC)

Let me start by rambling.
I certainly think that we have numerous articles that have quality issues. Some of the issues are:
  1. insufficient modernisation of Websters 1913 imports.
  2. missing senses
  3. poor grouping of senses in entries with numerous senses
  4. redundancy of senses due to hyperspecific senses, especially in fields such as sports, computing, equestrianism, perhaps some scientific fields (eg, mycology).
All of these are fixable within our existing rules. Fixing them would seem to not fit well with our wikiness in that they require the intense efforts of a very few dedicated, experienced users and benefit hardly at all from the active participation of newbies, at least given current modes of participation.
I've been reading some older (1968) essays by Sir Randolph Quirk (Longmans Grammar). He cited Murray talking about the need for his contributors to go back over many entries (closed categories like prepositions especially) and make slips out for the usages that they did not find extraordinary. Quirk believes that non-literary-corpus-based analysis, barely feasible at the time of his essays, was the answer to the underlying problem. That would suggest that we need to have more recourse to the on-line corpera to improve those "core" entries.
To some extent our wikiness seems to give us disproportionate interest in "hard words" or "interesting" words. Though I should know better, I fritter away time on words like griffonage, which happened to be on the "uncategorised pages" list, instead of words like by, bill, defy, or set, just to mention words that have some degree of problem like missing definitions.
I know that lists are motivating. I don't think that the "collaboration of the week" idea worked. WotD creates some motivational pressure due to deadlines, but directs it at "interesting words" (=shiny things). Perhaps we need to have a sequence of lists aimed at intersections of maintenance categories, what-links-here, and other categories. An example might be English prepositions with Webster 1913 templates or used in 5 prepositional phrase entries. Perhaps we could have a page of lists of such lists.
And ultimately we could have featured entries and quality ratings as WP has.
I just don't know what is both motivating and truly useful. I continue to be desirous of ways of addressing the "needs" or "wants" of users, which may themselves be for "shiny objects". DCDuring TALK 11:29, 1 February 2009 (UTC)
Well, there's no denying the motivational power of shiny objects. :-) On the other hand, there are a lot of structural needs that IMO are best addressed by focusing on a fairly limited set of "boring" core and near-core words. The need that's been most painfully apparent to me lately is to avoid "lost work" on translation sections -- there are far too many cases where a sloppy original entry has attracted lots of good translations, which have then all been dumped into TTBC when the entry was cleaned up (and if the cleanup itself was flawed, this process may repeat itself several times over). But that's not all; there's also the need to inform compositionality debates -- I think my most common rejoinder on RFD has been "if this is sum of parts, we're missing a sense at [X]" --; the need to support comprehensive treatment of 'nyms and 'terms; the need to delve into those issues of sense-grouping and -splitting that we keep touching on but never really hashing out; and so forth. Poorly-constructed definition sets have all sorts of undesirable side effects.
More cleanup lists would be an excellent thing, as would some kind of central, annotated list of lists (at least, I don't think there is any such list currently maintained). I think we often underestimate the amount of potential newbie and non-newbie energy that goes unchanneled. But still, cleanup lists focus more on the floor (minimum quality) than the ceiling; that is, while reducing the number of "bad" entries is a worthy goal in itself, it won't necessarily lead to more "good" entries. This is particularly the case for the lexical core, where the difference between "adequate" and "good" is particularly noticeable. To really do justice to a GSL word like by or one, or even an AWL word like analyze, requires a major collective investment of thought and effort. That's why I don't think we can do much more for these entries than we are doing now, without some genuinely new process -- perhaps something like a blend of Wikipedia's FA and Peer Review systems with their Core Topics collaboration. Maybe this process could harness the motivational power of to-do lists as well -- for example, the initial phase of review for an entry could involve outlining a list of individual, bite-sized tasks that need to be dealt with.
I think the biggest problem with the CotW approach has been that a week is too short a time to really gather even one person's energies to confront one of these words. I can say from personal experience that, when faced with an entry like do, 40 hours is barely enough time to lay the groundwork for an approach -- and I dare say few of us ever actually have 40 hours to spare in a single week. That's what tends to make these entries so discouraging to work on, and it's why I was thinking of a longer, flexible timeframe. Perhaps the process should be throttled with this in mind -- not 10 entries per month, as I initially suggested, but a maximum of 10 (or X) entries under consideration at one time. When consensus has been reached that the senses for a word are optimal, it could then be removed from the queue and a new word added. -- Visviva 12:29, 1 February 2009 (UTC) I'm having a hard time keeping my thoughts to less than 3 paragraphs lately, sorry. :-)
I guess I am of the opinion (and temperament) that wiktionary needs to be more checklist-oriented than WP. WP articles seem to attract fans, fanatics, learn-by-teaching types, and professionals with teaching inclinations, with narrow subject interests (though sometimes just eclectic). Wiktionary seems to attract serious effort mostly from language fans. Many of us seem to like short-attention-span work, for which checklists are very good.
The longer entries are overwheming. Perhaps the process would be to go through some high-likely-problem-ratio lists and
  1. leave a bunch of tags (including new ones) OR
  2. leave a tag on the talk page and an entry-specific checklist.
Perhaps the tags or checklists could be harvested for bot or template ideas that would make the process work faster. (I do not yet have a good feel for what can be done by bots or even templates, though a talk-page-checklist template that provided a formatted improvement checklist and entry-improvement log and some invisible maintenance-category membership does seem feasible though ambitious).
Maybe we need some simple focus-generating lists like "Preposition of the Month", "Determiner of the Month", "Pronoun of the Month", "Letter of the Month", "Symbol of the Month". (By the time we progress through each of these we could just start over, because there will be new issues.)
Maybe we need to mark senses that are in the opinion of some ready for translation. (Perhaps we could delete trans tables for those not ready and insert them for those that are.)
Senior contributor tasks:
  1. Sequence X-of-the-Month lists (easy ones, test ones, important ones, bad ones)
  2. Review entry for tasks to be done
  3. Review senses for translations
  4. Create short help pages for structured chunks of work
  5. Identify exemplars for each L3 and L4 Heading
Meta-tasks include some consensus- and enthusiasm-building.
Shiny objects might be a talk-page maintenance-task template, a page about determining the adequacy of a sense, a help page about how to write some class of definitions, and a proposed list of exemplars.
I'm almost getting enthusiastic myself. DCDuring TALK 14:26, 1 February 2009 (UTC)



We can't be the only people wondering about this - perhaps we ought to set-up a project page somewhere on WT and let the Wikispecies people know about it? Maybe there will be some people on Meta interested in cross-project stuff? Thryduulf 23:29, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

It could be, but I'm interested in the specific way that we could get some content and get some impossible stuff off our plate. I think everything really constructive tends to be bottom-up rather than top-down in Wikiworld. We can offer WSP traffic and etymology on taxonomic words. We can get a little traffic and perhaps a lot of words (many thousands?), mostly Translinguals and Latins. We'd probably get some (hundreds, thousands?) additional vernacular names. We might be able to get many entries we don't have, blue some links and not embarass ourselves with amateur handling of taxonomy. IF you can find somebody at Meta for support that would be great too. I'm thinking about working on our classicists. EPetey, and Ataeles, HarrisMorgan because the offer of ety help (if WSp even cares) would depend a bit on them. DCDuring TALK 00:17, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

Taxonomy levels[edit]

| Phylum phylum || Phyla |- | Classis classis Classes |- | Ordo ordo Ordines]] |- | Familia familia Familiae |- | Divisio divisio Divisiones |- | Cohors cohors Cohortes |- | Sectio sectio Sectiones |- | Tribus tribus Tribus |- | Genus genus Genera |- | Species species |- | Forma forma Formae


Request for Help with Purplebackpack89[edit]

As an administrator, I was wondering if you could help resolve the situation occurring with Purplebackpack89's personal attacks in response to my comments on Requests for Verification/conservative. This all began when he seemed to suggest that the definition should discuss the histories of the Republican and Democratic parties, in a manner that implied that Republican ideology was "regressive" on racial, social, and religious issues. My comment was that it would be inappropriate to include what were essentially personal opinions in Wiktionary entries. Unfortunately, since that time he's unwilling to let it rest and has taken to a number of rude and insulting jabs, including carrying on his argument in the edit summaries of RfV, which is certainly against Wiktionary policy. I've asked him to stop twice, and it's still going on. These are some of his comments:

  • "Maybe get your facts straight? Also, I changed it, so why are you still talking?"
  • "And I'm not even sure you really know what the word "regressive" means."
  • "you have yet to actually edit Conservative Democrat, you've merely griped about it in this RfV."
  • "TLDR, except, regrettably, I actually read it."
  • "I'm not even sure you've actually read them. It should have been blatantly obvious to you..."
  • "I'm also not sure you've actually read everything I said above..."
  • "you're still far too hung up on a gut reaction to the word "regressive" that time you were hung up on a gut reaction to disableds...or to house...or to fabulous."
  • "And don't try to lecture me about when events happened in American history, young man...I have a bachelor's degree in American history with a minor in politics."

And these edit summaries occur in the page history, all directed at me:

  • "re:Aculeius' blueberry claim"
  • "I don't know why P Aculeius is making so much fuss over this. Frankly, his comments belie how little he knows about the project"
  • "oh, descriptive words are off-limits now? Try writing definitions without any descriptive words. You'll find it's quite difficult"
  • "dude, read the actual definitions for conservative and Conservative Democrat"
  • "too hung up on a gut reaction"
  • "collapse P's meandering"

Enough sarcasm, condescension, and insults to fill several weeks, IMO. I'm quite certain that personal attacks are not permitted; insulting and belittling other people's intelligence, education, reading skills, or contributions in general merely because you disagree with them seems to contravene Wiktionary policy; as does using edit summaries to do the same. Since I can't make him stop, is there any chance that you can? P Aculeius (talk) 16:11, 9 January 2016 (UTC)

Why don't you take this to User talk:Purplebackpack89? --Dan Polansky (talk) 16:15, 9 January 2016 (UTC)
Because asking him to stop only seems to result in more of the same. And try as I might over the last two days, I couldn't find any page or policy suggesting how to deal with repeated incivility and personal attacks, other than a suggestion to ignore them. Contacting an administrator who seems active and who might be familiar with the page and discussion seemed like the most obvious way of obtaining help. P Aculeius (talk) 16:51, 9 January 2016 (UTC)
I've had to thicken my skin over the years. In any event, your reputation among those familiar with PB89 is unlikely to suffer. Even to a newbie his mostly fact-free assertions and insults are fairly transparent. Keep up the good work. DCDuring TALK 17:00, 9 January 2016 (UTC)
If, in your job, a co-worker is continuously being impolite to you, what do you do first? Do you first talk to him or to your boss? Or do you talk to the security guy and ask whether the security guy could prevent the colleague from entering the building for a day? --Dan Polansky (talk) 17:01, 9 January 2016 (UTC)
I asked him to stop, several times, and did my utmost to respond only to the original point under discussion, not to subsidiary topics that I had never addressed or intended to address. I tried not to personalize what I said, or throw insults at him, but merely tried, again and again, to explain the original comment that was being described as naïve foolishness from someone who had no idea what he was talking about (I mean me, not him; I'm describing his assertions, not making one of my own). Talking to someone as an equal only works when that person is willing to treat you as one, and when they repeatedly indicate that they don't have to listen to you because they're your superior, then yes, talking to the "boss" is the best option. I didn't ask anyone to block or be blocked. I didn't request a punishment. I just asked if an admin could step in before it got really ugly, although IMO carrying on an argument through edit summaries is already pretty getting pretty ugly, since rude remarks in edit summaries are difficult to remove, and can't be modified by the offending party. And while I won't reject kindly-offered advice even if it isn't what I might have hoped to hear, it's good to know that I'm not the only one who feels the need to shout, "fetchez la vache!" when Mr. Backpack talks. P Aculeius (talk) 21:43, 9 January 2016 (UTC)
In some parts of the USofA we have another option: open carry. DCDuring TALK 17:35, 9 January 2016 (UTC)
Piss off, PB. You've got a lot of gall jumping in on this. It's enough to make me rethink my advice to PA. In your case folks "threw stuff" at you because you deserved it: you rarely responded rationally to anything anyone said and routinely resorted to ad hominem attacks, dragging down the tenor of virtually every discussion you "participated" in.
Please refrain from posting on any user page of mine. I will simply roll your "contributions" back. DCDuring TALK 19:51, 9 January 2016 (UTC)


Hey Dennis. As the Translingual spcies guy, could you please add some Translingual stuff to Nicolaus? Seems to me like another bunch of boring insects to me...--Stubborn Pen (talk) 10:55, 10 January 2016 (UTC)

Insects are my least fun group. DCDuring TALK 12:36, 10 January 2016 (UTC)
Next time, please tell me why the group is worth my time. DCDuring TALK 12:44, 10 January 2016 (UTC)
The group is nothing special, just that Nicolaus had other meanings. Thanks, anyway. --Stubborn Pen (talk) 17:13, 10 January 2016 (UTC)
I see. I guess I do that too to reduce confusion in advance, even when the risk of it occurring is very low. DCDuring TALK 23:39, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Hey, the next request is for a translingual entry for Godiva. These nudibranches are all really pretty, and are one day going to brainwash all humankind. That is why it's worth your time making it... -WF
  • Yes check.svg Done

RFI in template[edit]

Hey DC, can you update your template for taxonomic stuff to include the language code in {{rfi}}? If you are not using a template feel free to ignore this. - TheDaveRoss

Strepera fuliginosa[edit]

This was labelled English (and simultaneously a noun and a proper noun, which is how I noticed it). I tried to fix it up using Tyrannosaurus rex as a model; let me know if I got any of the templates wrong. :) - -sche (discuss) 22:51, 29 January 2016 (UTC)

What you did was correct and useful. Thanks.
If you have the chance, add templates for the sister projects WP, Species, and Commons. I put {{pedia}}, {{specieslite}}, and {{comcatlite}} under an External links header, which leaves makes for a more compact entry when an image is added (as I did for this). Clicking on them will sometimes reveal a better or additional vernacular name (black jay), some interesting fact (Tasmania), or that the family name in the template does not match what the sister projects have (All three projects show that Cractidae is now the subfamily Cractinae, Artamidae is the family). For me this is second nature now, so it doesn't even seem time-consuming, but it is for others.
As I check new additions to the taxonomic categories for genera and species, I tend to catch any "errors" and use the opportunity to add some content to the entry, as I did. This entry will not get the full treatment (more external links, add out of sequence a template {{Artamidae Hypernyms}} to Strepera) because I'm betting that it is not "important". DCDuring TALK 23:37, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for the informative explanation. Nice catch that Cractidae is no longer current. (I wonder where our entry Strepera got Cractidae from. Maybe it was only recently changed; on Google Books, it's still used even into the 2000s.) Yes, I doubt this bird is important. - -sche (discuss) 03:22, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
Cractidae is not at all far-fetched. One of the best avian taxonomy sources was formerly called Aves - Taxonomy in Flux. They report the Artamidae placement but clearly show that it is both recent (yes, post 2004-8) and subject to change. This kind of relentless and active change is occurring at many places, from trunk to twig, on the tree of life. DCDuring TALK 03:33, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Taxonomy is notoriously fuzzy, to start with, but the change from morphology-based to molecular-based to various types of DNA-based taxonomy has accelerated all of this to the point where there are multiple layers of revolutions in a matter of decades, each overturning everything in a given area of taxonomy, only to be overturned again. Field guides, floras and popular descriptive works tend to fossilize the taxonomic state of the art as of their compilation, and they're all out there being used by people who have no idea that anything has changed. I never wonder about how people come up with outdated taxonomy- I marvel that anyone is up to date at all. Chuck Entz (talk) 04:13, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
You may be amused by this parody from YouTube. Tun off the sound so the unedited and unrelated German doesn't interfere with enjoying the body language and the dubbing. DCDuring TALK 04:19, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
Cractidae turns out to be an uncommon variation of Cracticidae. - -sche (discuss) 04:47, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
Mistakes like the one I made above, dropping -ic-, occur in the literature for certain types of names with repeated syllables in the spelling. I'd imagine that authors never hear some of these terms spoken. Further I'd guess errors occurs most for authors who are not familiar with the genus from which the higher rank taxon is derived (like me!) or who are not familiar with the pattern of relationship between nominatives and stems in Latin and Greek. They may figure that a pattern like that of AccipiterAccipitridae is followed. DCDuring TALK 13:27, 30 January 2016 (UTC)

I edited your page[edit]

I have edited User:DCDuring/Symbolia. --kc_kennylau (talk) 17:06, 3 February 2016 (UTC)

Species and Wikipedia links[edit]

Since you do a lot of the work on taxonomy I thought you might be in the best position to answer this: are links to Wikipedia and Wikispecies like interwiki links? Meaning, should I remove the link if the target page does not exist? I have run into a couple and I wasn't sure whether the common practice was to leave the links or remove them in such cases. Thanks. - TheDaveRoss 14:07, 11 February 2016 (UTC)

For any links to sister projects, I try to find the best content they have to offer. If all else fails, I search for the term on the sister project. Sometimes a project has nothing to offer in which case I remove the link.
For taxonomic names at either WP or Species there is a third option: go up the hypernyms until you find a page that exists. Often that page will have a redlink to the entry you started from. This usually works at Wikispecies, the exception being homonyms which need to be disambiguated, which isn't that hard. For Wikipedia: sometimes there is a substantive entry at the taxonomic name, sometimes at the vernacular name. Usually there are redirects between them. Going up the hypernyms requires guessing which hypernym might have a WP article, or at least a redirect. WP and Species sometimes have different hypernyms. Finally, Commons mirrors WPs hypernyms and has very useful content. The best access to taxa is through category pages, which is why there is {{comcatlite}}.
I know that's more than you wanted to know, but it means our taxonomic content is fuller and easier to update as WP fills in articles. DCDuring TALK 16:55, 11 February 2016 (UTC)


Used other than as an idiom. It's a single word isn't it? Anyway, can you cite any unidiomatic use? I think if nominate to rfv it would fail but I was hoping that won't be needed. Renard Migrant (talk) 13:20, 16 February 2016 (UTC)

It is used to mean a hole for pots in several stove patents and perhaps in other objects, as well as the ground. I thought the usage example was clear enough. I wonder whether someone refers to the location of their stash as a pot-hole. DCDuring TALK 13:38, 16 February 2016 (UTC)
I think it is also used to refer to holes the size or shape of a pot, to holes that serve as pots, privy holes, and exceptions to marijuana laws, none of them common and few with three citations. That is, it seems that the combination is productive. Even if there were more than three instances on a single type of use, it would hardly justify a definition. DCDuring TALK 14:06, 16 February 2016 (UTC)

Voted twice[edit]

FYI, in Wiktionary:Votes/pl-2015-12/References, you voted twice. --Dan Polansky (talk) 10:58, 21 February 2016 (UTC)


What do you mean? --Dixtosa (talk) 19:34, 6 April 2016 (UTC)

I didn't understand the documentation and really don't understand why the month and year can't be read automagically. DCDuring TALK 20:32, 6 April 2016 (UTC)
The template can read the current month and year, but it cannot not know what month and year the discussion was actually started. In other words, it would only be able to link to the correct page for no more than a month. --WikiTiki89 20:53, 6 April 2016 (UTC)
So there's no way to use subst? Scribunto is also crippled? You guys have all the technical talent. Why such a lame "solution" to a minimal problem? DCDuring TALK 22:45, 6 April 2016 (UTC)
It could be changed to use a subst. Just like {{subst:wgping|es}} substs to the same template with filled in parameters: {{wgping|es|u1=Ungoliant MMDCCLXIV|u2=Metaknowledge}}. --WikiTiki89 17:21, 8 April 2016 (UTC)

Substitution principle[edit]

FYI, I agree with you that the substitution principle in relation to definitions is a good thing. Considerable effort should be taken to make definitions substitutable. The principle should probably be relaxed here and there where other considerations prevail, but in general, it is a useful guiding principle.

--Dan Polansky (talk) 07:23, 8 May 2016 (UTC)

It is so simple that it is usable. It is almost always something that can be agreed upon by multiple native speakers and probably and usually by advanced speakers of a language. I really don't understand why it has been opposed. DCDuring TALK 11:37, 8 May 2016 (UTC)


Do you mean with this edit that the cruciform symbol is part of the accepted orthography of the word?— Pingkudimmi 07:37, 31 May 2016 (UTC)

There's no way that whether a taxon is extinct can be considered lexical information. I say we shouldn't include that; plus, only neontological literature does that anyway. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 07:49, 31 May 2016 (UTC)
For clarification, I was only questioning the usage in the inflection line. In the case of genera, this part of the entry is italicised to indicate common typography, so there is precedence for a similar interpretation.— Pingkudimmi 09:51, 31 May 2016 (UTC)
Yes it is, optionally, part of the typography, just like the italics and the capitalization. OTOH I wouldn't want it to mess up sorting, which is expected to not include such a symbol. DCDuring TALK 16:37, 31 May 2016 (UTC)

pings inside templates[edit]

Hi there. In the last day or two I tried to notify you about a couple of pages I wandered by that included Latin taxonomy. The way I did it was with a {{ping}} template inside a {{attention}} template. I have no idea if this is a trick that works though. Let me know if you got the notifications and I might keep using this technique. If you did not I'll try to find which pages they were and I'll let you know. Cheers. — hippietrail (talk) 09:50, 7 July 2016 (UTC)

It didn't work. You could next try putting {{ping}} on the Talk page for the entry. Sometimes the forces of negativity and limitation don't, or forget to, disable capabilities outside of the namespace dreamt of in their philosophies. DCDuring TALK 10:59, 7 July 2016 (UTC)
It only works if a link is actually created. The attention template does not actually wiki-render the text within it. --WikiTiki89 15:32, 7 July 2016 (UTC)
Aha thanks. Won't try that trick again then (-: — hippietrail (talk) 14:38, 8 July 2016 (UTC)
FYI: Help:When do pings get sent? and mw:Manual:Echo. --Daniel Carrero (talk) 14:57, 8 July 2016 (UTC)
The correct way to do this is with the {{taxlink}} template. It creates a link to Wikispecies if there's no entry on Wiktionary for the taxonomic name, and populates missing-taxonomic-names categories that DCD monitors. Aside from the name and taxonomic rank parameters, you should also include |noshow=1 to keep the entry out of a category that tags {{taxlink}} usage by those who haven't had the template explained to them. Chuck Entz (talk) 20:10, 8 July 2016 (UTC)
That would be a little easier for me, but I don't mind the very modest extra effort required for the {{ping}} approach. If someone is not a regular contributor of vernacular or taxonomic names of organisms, I am loathe to add yet another template to the list they need to keep track of. If they do use {{taxlink}}, they can take some comfort that I avoid changing the template parameters, because {{taxlink}} seems to be used rarely or episodically by any one user.
I had always hoped that folks would add vernacular names from relatively exotic languages and provide the association with the local species or genera. DCDuring TALK 21:26, 8 July 2016 (UTC)


This is apparently an order of trees- but it seems to be used only by Polish authors. Do you know if there is a more common equivalent? DTLHS (talk) 17:39, 9 July 2016 (UTC)

Not everything in Latin is a taxonomic name. It seems to be an ecological term for a plant association that includes Molinia caerulea- a type of grassland, in other words. Perhaps it's equivalent to one of the Purple moor grass and rush pastures. Although it seems most used by Poles, here is an example of English usage. Chuck Entz (talk) 20:03, 9 July 2016 (UTC)
I agree with Chuck. It seems to be in use among some schools of ecologists in Europe. I found journal article that characterizes it and others as "syntaxonomic orders" within the Molinio-Arrhenatherata class. I had come across some similar names ending in -etum in some works by Francophone ecologists. Taxonomic species would seem to be meronyms of syntaxonomic names, AFAICT. I have enough trouble with the taxa on the tree of life without having to contend with "syntaxa". DCDuring TALK 20:21, 9 July 2016 (UTC)


This has a redlink to a taxonomic term. Since you create these a lot, I thought I'd let you know. —CodeCat 18:29, 17 August 2016 (UTC)

Thanks. If you put a taxonomic name within {{taxlink}} I will find it in due course. Although {{taxlink|Lycalopex culpeo|species}} is the canonical form, you can leave {{{2}}} blank or type "unknown" to indicate that the rank of the name is unknown to you. That's probably faster than leaving a message on my talk page, though it is yet another thing to remember. DCDuring TALK 18:37, 17 August 2016 (UTC)


Just a note (no criticism intended), re this edit. In entries, I often like to balance LHS (text) with RHS (images and boxes). It's merely aesthetics of course, and dependent on the screen you are using (and whether, like me, you always show quotations)... On the other hand, boxes aren't terribly pretty. — Pingkudimmi 08:00, 6 September 2016 (UTC)

Interesting. I seek the same kind of balance, but I use RHS Table of Contents, so the lines taken by the ToC and the image are almost an exact match to the lines taken up by the text. I've never understood why we haven't made rhs ToC the default. I don't remember any specific arguments against it. DCDuring TALK 10:52, 6 September 2016 (UTC)
Perhaps because the implementation is a bit messy. By rights, the ToC should be completely above the first language group, but it seems things didn't quite work as planned. With LHS, it does display as expected, fully above the first level 2. (Thus it doesn't affect the balance within English, say.) With RHS, the ToC is balanced on the left only by the level 2 header (the name of the language), so it intrudes into the top language group. — Pingkudimmi 12:32, 6 September 2016 (UTC)
Since the intrusion is on the right-hand side, which tends to be relatively empty, the effect is for more of the first L2 to be on the initial screen, without as much paging down required to see content. This works very well for English and Translingual and it would probably work well for any L2 that was first on the entry. I don't see any disadvantage for other languages, for which the ToC is as accessible on the right side as on the left. DCDuring TALK 15:13, 6 September 2016 (UTC)
With LHS ToC, there is white space on the right until the first L2. The RHS ToC fills this otherwise white space at the cost of intruding into the first L2, pushing down any RHS elements that might be there. The latter is not in itself a bad thing, but it does mean that you can't predict (specify) exactly how the screen is going to look. If RHS elements dominate in the first L2, intrusion might cascade into the second L2. Conceivably (I've never seen it happen), an image might become separated from its L2. (In practice, the RHS isn't used enough for that to happen.)
To be fair, I see this as a design issue, and not a very high-priority one. It indicates limiting use of RHS elements, which aren't much used anyhow. Or at least they aren't now... — Pingkudimmi 02:19, 7 September 2016 (UTC)

like a train[edit]

Hello DC -- True indeed, there is a distinction to be made between motion and momentum. I'm not sure there's any way to directly image momentum in itself. But the moving GIF of a train does suggest momentum. Anyhow, it seems Sam has now adjusted the caption of that GIF in a manner that may help keep the entry "on track". -- · (talk) 01:37, 20 September 2016 (UTC)

I understand MW is working on a haptic interface that should address this. DCDuring TALK 03:27, 20 September 2016 (UTC)
Hello DC -- Alrightee, then. Bound to be impactful. ;-) · (talk) 17:16, 20 September 2016 (UTC)

News for editors[edit]

The link you just added isn't a working link. I was going to fix it but I can't tell what's wrong. Please check it again. Equinox 01:41, 27 September 2016 (UTC)

A good rendering of the link leads to the contribution being blocked by a spam filter. How about Hypertextprotocol:// DCDuring TALK 01:49, 27 September 2016 (UTC)

"" links suck because you can't tell where they go. It might be malware, or (in 2 years, when the teenage owners of give up on it, not having made enough dotcom money) we will have no idea what it pointed to. Please add a link to the real destination, not a faddy shortcut site. Equinox 01:51, 27 September 2016 (UTC)
Yes check.svg Done as best I can. See WT:NEWS

aethalium: Special:Diff/41076411[edit]

Cf.'s etymology. — I.S.M.E.T.A. 12:57, 3 October 2016 (UTC)

I'd be down with that, though I'd usually prefer single words in Latin or Greek, The derivations of the etyma I'd leave at entries for the etyma. DCDuring TALK 13:43, 3 October 2016 (UTC)
I think the difference boils down to whether the name is from a sooty color or a soot-like mass of spores.Here's the original description if it helps (I don't have time to translate the Latin this morning, so I'm not sure). Chuck Entz (talk) 13:52, 3 October 2016 (UTC)
@DCDuring: I don't think your etymology is correct. For a Latinisation like aethalium, you'd need a Greek etymon of the form *αἰθαλιον (aithalion); αἰθᾰλίων (aithalíōn) would be Latinised *aethaliōn. — I.S.M.E.T.A. 14:02, 3 October 2016 (UTC)
If you really believe that taxonomists follow the rules like that. There is an abundance of instances of mistakes (eg, gender) and what you would call non-standard derivations in taxonomic Latin. I'd venture that Late, Medieval, Scientific, Legal, and even Ecclesiastical Latin have derivations that violate such rules. DCDuring TALK 14:13, 3 October 2016 (UTC)
Yeah, fine, but I find it easier to believe a derivation that isn't erroneous over one that is. As such, I am inclined to believe's etymology. — I.S.M.E.T.A. 14:23, 3 October 2016 (UTC)
You are probably right. The name is fairly old. It was formally published in a German journal in 1809. The standard of classical language knowledge among taxonomic authors and editors was probably fairly high. DCDuring TALK 17:30, 3 October 2016 (UTC)
See Aethalium. DCDuring TALK 14:23, 4 October 2016 (UTC)
Your quotation is illuminating; however, αἰθᾰλίων (aithalíōn) refers to toasted cicadae, whereas αἴθᾰλος (aíthalos) can mean both soot and (more-or-less) soot-coloured (like αἰθαλόεις (aithalóeis)), and has the advantage of making the derivation entirely regular. I hope you're happy with my solution. — I.S.M.E.T.A. 17:46, 18 October 2016 (UTC)
-ium (biological structure???). Not a definition we have. How do we support it? DCDuring TALK 20:42, 18 October 2016 (UTC)
See the entry taken from the Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition of the Collins English Dictionary at — I.S.M.E.T.A. 21:31, 18 October 2016 (UTC)
May as well add it to the -ium entry. DCDuring TALK 22:48, 18 October 2016 (UTC)
Other than aethalium only [[pseudanthium]] links to [[-ium]] and fits the definition. DCDuring TALK 23:07, 18 October 2016 (UTC)
I think we can probably find many in fungal anatomy. DCDuring TALK 23:23, 18 October 2016 (UTC)
Indeed, see -ium#Derived terms. DCDuring TALK 23:53, 18 October 2016 (UTC)
Great work! Thanks for that. — I.S.M.E.T.A. 13:12, 19 October 2016 (UTC)


What does ver= do? SemperBlotto (talk) 12:49, 10 October 2016 (UTC)

I use it to record the date (YYMMDD) on which I have verified the existence of the name, ie, corrected misspellings, etc. As I do this I try to find out whether the taxon is current or has been superseded. I check against databases. The taxonomic names used in citations are, of course, usually right, but they can be misspelled and more often are older synonyms. Entries from foreign languages are often made from older, copyright-free dictionaries and books and often use obsolete (or misspelled) taxonomic names.
I should document it, but I hardly expect others to do the verification. DCDuring TALK 15:14, 10 October 2016 (UTC)

Parameter "i" on projectlink templates[edit]

You seem to have added the parameter i= to lots of templates, but there is no such parameter. Now that some of them have been Luafied, they're showing errors. What did you intend this parameter to do? —CodeCat 19:34, 13 October 2016 (UTC)

Was it meant to italicize the link? --WikiTiki89 19:37, 13 October 2016 (UTC)
Indeed. See Template talk:projectlink/Wikipedia#Optional italics. DCDuring TALK 21:01, 13 October 2016 (UTC)
That was never implemented, though. Also, what you did here seems to work too: adenium. So there doesn't seem to be a need for this parameter. —CodeCat 21:08, 13 October 2016 (UTC)
Why wasn't it? What I did on [[adenium]] is a waste of keystrokes. The keystroke problem is much worse for subgeneric taxonomic names. Cut-and-paste saves keystrokes, but breaks up workflow. In addition, retroactively inserting the text within italics into the pipe, cannot be done efficiently, whereas inserting "|i=1" can be. DCDuring TALK 21:29, 13 October 2016 (UTC)
@CodeCat: Could you implement the |i= parameter into the Luacised projectlink templates, please? — I.S.M.E.T.A. 16:02, 18 October 2016 (UTC)
Done. —CodeCat 16:25, 18 October 2016 (UTC)
@CodeCat: Thank you! :-D  — I.S.M.E.T.A. 17:36, 18 October 2016 (UTC)
Wait, I thought CodeCat did it in delayed response to my prior request. So, thanks @CodeCat: DCDuring TALK 17:48, 18 October 2016 (UTC)

What's this about?[edit]

I have become disengaged.

I don't believe in the practices followed as they have changed.

This is not a dictionary I would rely on.

UtherPendrogn (talk) 17:17, 17 October 2016 (UTC)

Obviously the first is no longer true. Indeed it was never very true.
There are plenty of things I disagree with, many of them related to specific persons.
I would not and do not rely on this dictionary because many entries that I come across are poor and we have no processes no improve quality. DCDuring TALK 17:25, 17 October 2016 (UTC)
Right! I have a lot of qualms with the site and users as well. UtherPendrogn (talk) 19:08, 17 October 2016 (UTC)

northern greater galago[edit]

Why do you insist on keeping a request that can't be filled? It was hard enough to find a dictionary with galago, and there is no mention, even in the more compendious older dictionaries, of any terms for specific kinds of galagos, let alone species that don't even live where Chichewa is spoken. This is nothing more than an annoyance to someone like me who's actually working on fulfilling requests. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 21:40, 17 October 2016 (UTC)

Because simply deleting implicit requests to show progress on meeting them is, well, sleazy. Some requests are wildly implausible. This one is not, being from a neighboring region. If you want to see some real laffers among fulfilled "requests" and unrequested inventions, take a look at Navaho. DCDuring TALK 21:50, 17 October 2016 (UTC)
If we added a translation, it would fail RFV. Chichewa just isn't rich in these kinds of words. That's why the request should be removed, not for your idea of what sleaziness is (although if I understand you correctly on Navajo, I agree on that count). —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 21:54, 17 October 2016 (UTC)
I think CFI-compliance should be a measure for whether we include any kind of link to a word. A red link means fairly explicitly "we want an entry here", which is of course not true if the term doesn't meet CFI. I'm not saying whether this term does or doesn't meet it, but it should be the main factor in deciding if a translation request can ever be fulfilled. —CodeCat 21:57, 17 October 2016 (UTC)
How would we know? What valid, objective process do we have to make such a determination? What is the big problem with having a few more redlinks on a list? I thought WMF is trying to increase participation from Africa. These requests are just one means of providing target activity for a native speaker or student of such a language. DCDuring TALK 22:03, 17 October 2016 (UTC)
Heh, that's a BS excuse and you know it. This isn't a good "target activity" because the word would have to be made up. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 01:07, 18 October 2016 (UTC)
How do you know? Been doing a lot of traveling? You sure are good at being arrogant. DCDuring TALK 02:28, 18 October 2016 (UTC)
Most of these people have holier-than-thou complexes higher than the Burj Khalifa. UtherPendrogn (talk) 05:34, 18 October 2016 (UTC)
DCDuring has earned the right to insult me in earnest by at least demonstrating true competence in lexicography. You have a long way to go before you can insult me without merely causing me to laugh. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 06:05, 18 October 2016 (UTC)
I didn't think I was insulting you. After all, I'm pretty good at being arrogant myself. I was wondering whether you had some special insight into the range of application of east African languages. DCDuring TALK 11:07, 18 October 2016 (UTC)
It's not entirely unreasonable to hope for the possibility that a native Chichewa speaker who happens to know the name of this animal in his native language will see the request and fulfill it. We can't judge the potential of fulfilling a request by the availability of dictionaries. --WikiTiki89 14:42, 18 October 2016 (UTC)

"to lick one's balls"[edit]

This is in re: your reversion of my deletion. I did ask to be informed if I acted improperly, and I don't mind being reverted. That has certainly happened before, and will happen again, doubtless. I do appreciate your explanation, as I have often been reverted with no explanation whatsoever, and I don't intend to pursue this further, as I don't believe it merits the time or effort. I have no problem with vulgarity in a dictionary, or lewdness, certainly. I also understand the principle of erring on the side of caution. I DO, however, have a problem with pointless, disruptive lewdness or vulgarity. All that said, I think someone is pulling Wiktionary's leg. Having fun at the expense of those of you who are working very hard to create and develop something of value. Thank you for what you do. I have contributed very little to Wiktionary, and don't even visit very often. I just think it's a shame when someone makes sport of a serious wiki, and I think this is an example. I guess it comes with the territory. My hope is that they get bored and move on to troll somewhere else.

(I think you should seriously consider archiving some more material from this page. I came to it in "mobile" view, and had to back out to change to "desktop" view, in order to navigate. No disrespect intended, just a suggestion.) Ragityman (talk) 05:50, 19 October 2016 (UTC)

Wow! I'm so glad you reverted me. I just took a cursory look at your USER PAGE. I really like an informative user page, as I am here to learn as much as to build. I'll bet you didn't attend Indiana State. Ragityman (talk) 06:49, 19 October 2016 (UTC)
Yes it needs archiving. Thanks for the comments etc. You ought to come by and contribute - additively. DCDuring TALK 11:14, 19 October 2016 (UTC)

media bias[edit]

Can you deal with this idiot? DonnanZ (talk) 21:39, 27 October 2016 (UTC)

Nice job insulting me, hero. -- Pedrianaplant (talk) 21:40, 27 October 2016 (UTC)
What's this about? DCDuring TALK 00:10, 28 October 2016 (UTC)
In the meantime I had found out how to properly implement what was once called {{only-in}} with a somewhat different format. It is very much like what Pedrianaplant had done. I guess it's the singer not the song here. Sorry, Pedrianaplant. DCDuring TALK 00:15, 28 October 2016 (UTC)
I was merely trying to alert you about what was happening, but I was followed. DonnanZ (talk) 01:22, 28 October 2016 (UTC)
Thanks. What Pedrianaplant had done was better than what I'd done, though not yet in our canonical form for such entries. The display resulting from our canonical form stinks though, obscuring the substantive link, in this case to Wikipedia. DCDuring TALK 03:39, 28 October 2016 (UTC)
That user doesn't deserve any credit, the reference to Wikipedia was removed. I reverted the edits twice, then it was put up for speedy deletion. With hindsight I should have reverted that too. But reverting edits can be like waving a red rag at a bull. Anyway... DonnanZ (talk) 09:28, 28 October 2016 (UTC)
Believe it or not, but what I did is exactly what the page contains right now. Down to the source, 1:1 identical. If you don't believe it, ask an admin, he will confirm it. -- Pedrianaplant (talk) 15:30, 28 October 2016 (UTC)
I stand corrected. Thanks. DCDuring TALK 15:38, 28 October 2016 (UTC)
That's not how I saw it, but I'm not going to argue any further. DonnanZ (talk) 16:19, 28 October 2016 (UTC)
Clearly, that must not be how you saw it. But the edit history shows that Pedrianaplant's 16:34 and 17:30 versions were identical to my version, which is the current one. DCDuring TALK 17:36, 28 October 2016 (UTC)

So, things got you down?[edit]

Hello. Way back in 2007 you added this example usage of down.

So, things got you down? / Is Rodney Dangerfield giving you no respect? / Well, bunky, cheer up!

The styling makes me think it might be a lyric, but I can't find it to add a date. The quote is all over the web, but mainly in English-learning sites that presumably got it from Wiktionary. Was it original to you? If it is from a song or poem, do you happen to remember the source? Thanks for your time, Cnilep (talk) 07:46, 28 October 2016 (UTC)

The exact words may be original to me. But the line is in the style of "The Old Philosopher", Eddie Lawrence. For a few minutes of him from You Tube, try this. DCDuring TALK 13:52, 28 October 2016 (UTC)
Thanks muchly! Cnilep (talk) 01:47, 31 October 2016 (UTC)

Category:Taxonomic name templates[edit]

Most of these seem to be reference templates. Do you think those could be placed in a separate Category:Taxonomy reference templates? —CodeCat 23:20, 31 October 2016 (UTC)

They are already in Category:Translingual reference templates. DCDuring TALK 10:18, 1 November 2016 (UTC)

Question about category templates[edit]

This is related to Wiktionary:Grease pit/2016/November#Category:en:Philanthropy, but also a bit off-topic: would you support removing all templates and modules from all categories, and using only "manual" categorization? (Personally, I like the templates, and dislike the messy untended category tree, but I'd like to know if you think that the existence of templates and modules are part of the problem in some way) --Daniel Carrero (talk) 02:39, 18 November 2016 (UTC)

I just don't think that the categorization system is transparent or documented. It looks very much as if we don't want the wrong kind of people to create categories, which may be true and possibly desirable, but we still need a way to ease the creation of categories both inside and outside the current hierarchical structures. To do this it is not enough to document templates and modules. I also don't think that the error messages are much help. The error message at Category:en:Philanthropy (at present: "The automatically-generated contents of this category has errors. / The label given to the {{topic cat}} template is not valid. You may have mistyped it, or it simply has not been created yet. To add a new label, please consult the documentation of the template.") doesn't really cover the situation that category is in. It would have to say something like: "Beg for help from your betters at the Grease Pit."
I created my own, admittedly baroque, system for taxonomic names, because I needed categories that did not fit the existing structure, trying to hook it into the existing system where I could.
Also I've also created categories for English grammatical groupings that sometimes don't fit a pure hierarchy, many of them small. Some have been deleted even though they could have been populated. They might have been useful for achieving a consistency in the entries involved. DCDuring TALK 02:55, 18 November 2016 (UTC)


Hi. I have been doing a bit of dusting in some of WT's less-visited nooks today, and came across a clam. The definitions on the page are obviously from a hundred years ago, so lots of taxonomic stuff is rubbish. I tidied it up a bit, but I never feel comfortable with taxonomic entries, so thought I'd ask you to double-check. --Derrib9 (talk) 18:27, 26 November 2016 (UTC)

Thanks. This particular are is apparently not resolved taxonomically even now and is confusing to me. That is why I have been discouraged in trying to update the taxonomomic entries associated with this. I will take another run at it. DCDuring TALK 19:53, 26 November 2016 (UTC)


Hi DCDuring, I would like to be added to this list. By using the AWB I am going to add Kurdish prons to the entries (by using ku-IPA-template) For example. Thanks in advance --GeorgeAnimal. 20:08, 26 November 2016 (UTC)

Up to speed[edit]

In this edit, you added to up to speed the example sentence "Is Mary up to speed on the situation in KL." This has me wondering what KL means. Cilantrohead (talk) 03:56, 5 December 2016 (UTC)


Creation of a new template[edit]

Hi DCDuring, I have a question. I created this new template along with a documentation page used for a conjugation table of the German verb "senden" by copying this template of the German verb "wenden" that shows the same irregular conjugation pattern. This newly created template works fine as you can see here: zusenden#Conjugation. I wonder, however, whether something is missing that might cause some kind of difficulty. So my question now is: Did I do anything wrong or is this sufficient?-- 13:13, 17 March 2017 (UTC)

All I can do is take a superficial look, not being at all conversant with inflection templates. It looks OK. Try a couple of the DE-N, DE-5, or DE-4 Users for a more cogent review. DCDuring TALK 13:39, 17 March 2017 (UTC)
Thanks a lot.-- 13:44, 17 March 2017 (UTC)

Fox entries[edit]

I created entries for Dutch names of fox species in Category:nl:Foxes, also some in Category:nl:Canids (for those that are not true foxes). I noticed many of the English words are redlinks, so if you want to make entries for them...? —CodeCat 14:08, 8 April 2017 (UTC)

Translations in Translingual taxonomic entries[edit]

Is adding Translations to Translingual taxonomic entries an accepted practice? —suzukaze (tc) 04:25, 5 May 2017 (UTC)

@Suzukaze-c: Yes. WT:EL contains the rule "Translations should be given in English entries, and also in Translingual entries for taxonomic names.", which was voted and approved in Wiktionary:Votes/pl-2016-01/Translations of taxonomic names. --Daniel Carrero (talk) 04:31, 5 May 2017 (UTC)
@Daniel Carrero: Thanks. —suzukaze (tc) 04:38, 5 May 2017 (UTC)
You're welcome. --Daniel Carrero (talk) 04:39, 5 May 2017 (UTC)
(@Daniel Carrero) What about "translations into English"? —suzukaze (tc) 05:11, 14 May 2017 (UTC)
I think translations into English are fine. I don't remember any explicit consensus/proposal/vote/discussion to allow them, but they seem a natural thing to have in Translingual sections, if the translation table exists in the first place. --Daniel Carrero (talk) 08:35, 14 May 2017 (UTC)

External links[edit]

Just so you know, per a recent vote, this header is being phased out in favour of "Further reading". —CodeCat 23:26, 14 May 2017 (UTC)

Why? The new name doesn't well characterize the links in taxonomic names. I suppose I can replace it with "See also". DCDuring (talk) 23:42, 14 May 2017 (UTC)
"See also" is for links within dictionary only, e.g., entries, appendices, categories. --Daniel Carrero (talk) 20:46, 19 May 2017 (UTC)
The only explicit reference to See also in ELE from the days BDC is under "Semantic relations", which would but rarely include appendices and categories. That's not entirely consistent with its placement separated by Translations from the other semantic relations headers.
It take it that the basis for the wording in WT:ELE is the vote outlawing the use of "See also" for external links. DCDuring (talk) 22:45, 19 May 2017 (UTC)

Keeping an eye on votes[edit]

Greetings. As for "I wonder why no one brought this vote to my attention or noticed the widespread use", I think watching WT:VOTES is a must. The required minimum practice is to check WT:VOTES and its proposals at least once a month.

By the way, thank you for your late oppose in Wiktionary:Votes/2017-03/"External sources", "External links", "Further information" or "Further reading". --Dan Polansky (talk) 08:25, 19 May 2017 (UTC)

More to the substance: I think editors might accept a proposal to use "Further information" heading for taxonomic entries. I for one think that External links was the best heading overall, but editors at large disagreed. --Dan Polansky (talk) 08:27, 19 May 2017 (UTC)
One might argue that if the source contains words, then the user has to read the words. That is to say, even perusing a bullet list of items would be reading. One kind of source that would not be read in any way would be image-only database. --Dan Polansky (talk) 08:37, 19 May 2017 (UTC)
Of course it's on my watchlist. But votes often make my eyes glaze over. Of course, too, there is a definition of read that suits the desired meaning, but it is not the most common one and indeed is not normally applied to dictionaries or databases. It's a choice of words that indicates that native speakers are not much at work in enwikt. DCDuring (talk) 10:26, 19 May 2017 (UTC)
In Wiktionary:Votes/2017-03/"External sources", "External links", "Further information" or "Further reading", I count 7 native speakers in the support rubric for Further reading; I count 3 non-native speakers. --Dan Polansky (::::talk) 20:31, 19 May 2017 (UTC)
Maybe we could use "Taxonomic databases" as a new heading. Even though I prefer "Further reading", which is a great heading name for links to databases. But I see DCDuring thinks differently. --Daniel Carrero (talk) 20:42, 19 May 2017 (UTC)
When I look at Google Books "read|reads|reading a database" only about 10 of the approximately 50 hits that had a preview were from books that were not books in areas of computing. Sadly, it was not possible to see specifically how the expression was being used in any of those works. When the word read is used I guess most folks here have adopted the stance of a computer program with respect to its meaning. That is, they are adopting a word usage differing from that of "normal" users, this time because they have some intimate familiarity with computer programming (not computer use, which is much more widespread, of course). DCDuring (talk) 22:24, 19 May 2017 (UTC)
  • I suppose that the best header for the items included formerly under External links is "References", not "Further reading." The important content for Wiktionary is the correspondence or lack thereof to the semantic relations and definitions included in the entry. The "reading" content is mostly incidental. Even if it were not, I can't see any good from having both "References" and "Further reading" in our already heading-heavy entries. I wish that footnoted references did not appear in a way so distinct from other references. I am sure that our technical mavens will resolve this sometime in this millennium, possibly even this decade. DCDuring (talk) 22:53, 19 May 2017 (UTC)
    OK. Why "References"? I'm not saying it's a good or bad idea. I'm just asking why. --Daniel Carrero (talk) 23:41, 19 May 2017 (UTC)
    I gave my reason above. The taxonomic references (See Category:Translingual reference templates, which contains mostly items from the category fka Taxonomic reference templates (another infuriating bit of harassment from CodeCat).) support semantic relations in or to be included in the entry or show alternative, mostly obsolete, semantic relations and definitions of the taxa. DCDuring (talk) 23:49, 19 May 2017 (UTC)
    Doesn't that already fit the use of "References" as described in WT:EL#References anyway? That would mean you can use "References" according to the voted policy. --Daniel Carrero (talk) 00:45, 20 May 2017 (UTC)
    Someone has thoughtfully inserted 6,222 "Additional readings" headings where there were 6,222 "See also" and "External links" headers in Translingual entries. I think there are probably many more such poorly selected headings added in English entries. DCDuring (talk) 03:49, 20 May 2017 (UTC)

Rollback of just like[edit]

The rollback was inappropriate, because you deleted the RFD tag when the RFD discussion had just started. PseudoSkull (talk) 00:32, 20 May 2017 (UTC)

Sorry about removing the RfD. I wss in a snit about the other changes you had made and didn't take appropriate care. BTE, see Talk:like#Is_the_preposition_definition_right.3F for MWOnline's definitions of like Preposition. They have seven to our one. DCDuring (talk) 03:35, 20 May 2017 (UTC)


I for one would appreciate if you could reduce the use of sarcasm. In me, it creates unpleasant emotions; I often feel a strong urge to write something angry in response, but luckily, I usually resist the temptation. I believe an excessive use of sarcasm is basically incivil insofar as it contributes to inflamming the conversation while contributing no substance to it. --Dan Polansky (talk) 09:59, 20 May 2017 (UTC)

I suppose passive-aggressive is the preferred means of (non)communication. DCDuring (talk) 23:01, 20 May 2017 (UTC)
Do you have any specific instances in mind? DCDuring (talk) 23:41, 20 May 2017 (UTC)
A recent item is this: 'Someone has thoughtfully inserted 6,222 "Additional readings" headings'; obviously, you do not think it was thoughtful yet you say "thoughtfully". (In fact, those were "Further reading" headings.) --Dan Polansky (talk) 09:10, 21 May 2017 (UTC)
I don't that if I said "thoughtlessly" that it would have been an improvement. DCDuring (talk) 09:12, 21 May 2017 (UTC)
It would be an improvement. The pragmatic meaning of the "thoughtfully" sarcasm is "thoughlessly" anyway, so it would at least be plain and honest. --Dan Polansky (talk) 09:28, 21 May 2017 (UTC)