User talk:Sack36/archive20080828

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Beer Parlour Edit[edit]

Your most recent edit on the Beer Parlour has been reverted. On Wiktionary (as well as most other wiki projects), a user's comments are generally considered......sacred, in a sense. It is almost never acceptable to alter another user's comments. While grammar fixes are most appreciated within entries, in discussions, we would appreciate you refraining from them and simply tolerating our sometimes poor grammar/spelling/etc. Thanks. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 04:54, 23 March 2008 (UTC)

Temporary block[edit]

You were blocked for removing content from an entry. I then realized what you really meant to do, and unblocked you. See ascerbate. SemperBlotto 08:52, 23 March 2008 (UTC)

Heading levels[edit]

Hi, In general you should never use the =Level 1 heading= as it is the same weight as the heading at the top of the page. It's better to use == Level 2== and get lower, if you are doing it because it looks horrid, then that is something we can tweak with CSS. Conrad.Irwin 18:43, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

Consideration for Additions to Wikisaurus pages[edit]

It would be better to have namespaces like Synonyms: and Antonyms: used like Synonyms:happy and Antonyms:happy. This incidently allows us to support other semantic relations like hyponyms, meronyms and troponyms. For example

   * Hyponyms:animal could contain a list of animals like cats, dogs etc. OK this is mostly what categories should be used for, so it more meant as a compliment.
   * Meronyms:tree could contain a list of all possible part of a tree like bark, leaf etc. Perhaps even with some sort of clickable drawing.
   * Troponyms:cut could contain particular ways to cut like to trim and to slice etc with a short explaination how they are more particular.
excerpt from Wiktionary talk Amina (sack36) 06:11, 18 June 2008 (UTC)


Hi Amina,

I’ve reverted this edit to Wikisaurus:gigantic, since the resulting page has broken formatting.

You seem to have made some substantive changes – I wanted to inform you in case you’d like to re-do them (without breaking the formatting).


Nbarth (email) (talk) 20:33, 29 June 2008 (UTC)

Hi Amina,
As per User talk:Nbarth#The reversion of Gigantic – no worries, go ahead and revert my revision.
If you’re going to be making changes over time, you might want to do the intermediate steps in a sandbox – in this case in Wikisaurus:gigantic/Sandbox – or at least leave a note in the history saying “in the middle of fixing it”, else one might think it’s an accidental partial fix.
(Admittedly, WS pages aren’t terribly busy – I was just fixing category tags.)
To revert my reversion (I swear that makes sense), see Help:Reverting.
In detail:
  • go to Wikisaurus:gigantic
  • Click history (4th tab at top, next to edit), which yields this page
  • Next to my reversion, which is the latest, and reads:
  • (cur) (last) 20:30, 2008 June 29 Nbarth (Talk | contribs) (1,157 bytes) (Undo revision 4770026 by Sack36 (Talk), which broke layout) (undo)
  • click (undo)
  • …and then add explanation, and hit “Save changes” (duh).
Nbarth (email) (talk) 20:32, 30 June 2008 (UTC)


While I’m here…

Your user page is in Category:Wikisaurus, which is almost certainly wrong (unless you want all Wikisaurus-lovers to come visit your user page – you show up in [[:Category:Wikisaurus|the Wikisaurus category page]]).

This is because you have the code [[Category:Wikisaurus]] in this section of your user page: User:Sack36#Wikisaurus.

Perhaps you meant to write [[:Category:Wikisaurus]], which would link to the Category, like this: [[:Category:Wikisaurus]]?

(I don’t want to touch your user page, else I’d make the change myself, and perhaps it’s intentional.)

Nbarth (email) (talk) 20:38, 29 June 2008 (UTC)

typo fixed 20:39, 29 June 2008 (UTC)

Wikisaurus Architecture[edit]

I think I have a very basic problem with Wikisaurus: I disagree with what appears to be its word-centered architecture. IMO it needs to be more centered on definitions, as synonyms are in Wiktionary. This becomes apparent when you go in the different directions that a word like "alcoholic" takes you. I don't know for sure that either of the two main directions (containing alcohol) and (addicted to alcohol) are the right titles for the separate pages of clustered synonyms and links to other pages of clustered synonyms. As it is now, the WS page is duplicating some Wikt functionality without adding too much.

IMHO, there ought to be a page for the sense of "drinker of alcoholic beverages" with ALL of the words for the degrees of this on that page. Words could be added by contributors with any glosses that provided nuances. Nuances might lead to headings and subheadings. These might become the core of new pages. Related clusters (addiction!, beverages, drinking establishments, containers?) would be linked as appropriate.

I don't know what the best way is to take advantage of the Wikiness of WS to make it better, but it would behoove you to figure that out soon so that it wasn't a one-person project. There is also no point in designing it so that the broad mass of users can't contribute. The conceptual design needs to be fairly obvious. The obvious starting point has to be one of the designs of a print thesaurus.

I did not want to put this on the Wikisaurus or BP pages unless and until you wanted the discussion to go to such a fundamental question. Also, I may be missing something fundamental about WS as it is now. DCDuring TALK 11:27, 2 July 2008 (UTC)


One problem is burnout. There are lots of things that can lead one to attempt an unsustainable level of effort and enthusiasm. Make sure you're having some fun. DCDuring TALK 22:31, 5 July 2008 (UTC)

well, so far I get impatient with the other things I'm doing because I'd rather be over here! :) Amina (sack36) 22:35, 5 July 2008 (UTC)
Burning the proverbial at both ends, eh? I know that this can be very consuming, because a lot of it is serious fun. DCDuring TALK 22:40, 5 July 2008 (UTC)

Wikisaurus templates[edit]

I was just playing around with Wikisaurus:miser and added pinch pennies, which was a redlink. I then wanted to add a template that looked good and would fit under a Synonyms header, along the lines of {{specieslite}}. I didn't find one. Is there one? DCDuring TALK 20:50, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

Please note that {{Wikisaurus-link}} insists on being on the right-hand side. I would like it to behave like pedialite with respect to placement. I have voted to keep Wikisuarus-refer for now. The rfd is rather old and had already gathered opponents. DCDuring TALK 22:09, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

pinch pennies#Synonyms[edit]

Please take a look. I can insert a link to wikisaurus, as I did, but it doesn't look nice. The template for wikipedia looks nice and stays on the left hand side, unlike {{WikiSaurus-link}}. A template that looked like the pedialite template and took a parameter that was a wikisaurus page name would be simple and useful. The miser page at wikisaurus is exactly the kind of page I would hope that saurus would have. Multiple parts of speech conveying the same general meaning. What it lacks is explanation of nuances. DCDuring TALK 22:11, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

Wikisaurus:mad person[edit]

Hi Amina,

You sent me an email about my discussion with User:DCDuring in the Wiktionary:Tea room about the entry Wikisaurus:mad person, and my edits to same page.

I’m confused.

…so I don’t follow what you’re talking about. Could you clarify?

Nbarth (email) (talk) 23:20, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

BP:WS at cross purposes[edit]

Hi Amina,

Thanks for the heads-up about the discussion – I’ve added my thoughts, which I hope help.

Perhaps you could clarify some of your comments, since I’m certainly confused, and detail would help – for instance, what page did you find much changéd?

Nbarth (email) (talk) 00:09, 11 July 2008 (UTC)

WS format[edit]

Hi Amina,

Thanks for the tips on WS templates! (Are they written up anywhere? If so, where? If not, could you – others could certainly benefit.)

I’ll try to use ’em, though especially for new WS pages, I tend to just dump a pile of synonyms and related words – is there some {{WS stub}} that I can use to mark these for cleanup / proper formatting / expansion?

Nils (Nbarth) (email) (talk) 00:20, 11 July 2008 (UTC)

Re: email about wikisaurus[edit]

I am glad to hear that you are interested in putting some time into Wikisaurus, it is a good idea which has had several false starts in the past, it is good that someone wants to keep it going. I would be happy to hear about any changes you are making, I may even be able to find some time to come help out. Anything that you find in my userspace is absolutely free to be stolen and modified in any way you like, anything which isn't mine originally is marked as such. I am around, just not particularly active at the moment, so if you have any questions about anything you find in my userspace (or anything else really) feel free to email me or just leave a note on my talk page, I do check Wikt (more or less) daily. - TheDaveRoss 19:51, 14 July 2008 (UTC)

Thank you for asking, but I would not need to be notified. I have Wikisaurus:listen on my watchlist, and will be interested to see how the new format progresses, but I am too busy with other projects to invest much time in Wikisaurus. --EncycloPetey 20:21, 14 July 2008 (UTC)


If you put a header in a template, the section is in the template and the edit link will edit the template. The section is not in the entry, so you can't section edit the entry. Robert Ullmann 12:40, 24 July 2008 (UTC)


I took a run at characterizing the synonyms, dividing them into some basic categories. It illustrates a first level of "annotation". Other divisions: permanent vs. mobile (RV, trailer home, Winnebago, tepee, houseboat); by special location or purpose (farmhouse, ranchhouse, gatehouse, bunkhouse, barracks). To me each of the main categories would warrant its own page. At the lowest level (words) I would hope that the links would be to Wiktionary not to Wikisaurus duplicating Wiktionary functionality. DCDuring TALK 16:09, 25 July 2008 (UTC)

OK, here's my question. How does a person find the synonyms for "demesne" when he can only remember the word "house"? Amina (sack36) 23:51, 25 July 2008 (UTC)

Perhaps s/he starts at wikt:house, takes a look at the synonyms there, finds the link to Wikisaurus, clicks, looks at that page, finds something else to click on a tries that, goes back, figures out the navigation more generally, goes up another couple of blind alleys until the word is found or not. I don't see how much can happen until demesne is connected to whatever thesaurus structure there is. Words that are listed synonyms, certain linked terms in the definitions, and "what links here" are the ways to find the right home in Saurus structure for demesne. The structure of "demesne" is a type of "X". Y is a type of "demesne" (the various semantic relations) can be better than a single hierarchy. Demesne is interesting because it gets to the "structure + site" category, but, failing that, it would show up in some kind of semantic structure of the legal structure of holding real estate in Anglo-French law. When I has fooling with abode, the form-of-property question came to mind (leasehold, fee simple, cooperative, condominium, remainder interest, joint tenancy). There would be no guarantees that all the appropriate links would be there.
If someone really needs to find something specific and a little obscure, then it might not work without effort and creative searching.
It takes a huge amount of focus to get started someplace where there might be significant benefit in the "short" run. Invective, minced oaths, body parts, sex acts, drunkenness, might form a cluster. That would quickly provide hooks for lots of other things. Or perhaps prepositions might be a good toy world. Prepositions are generally only synonymous with other prepostions (possibly including phrasal ones). There are not even hundreds of prepositions (even counting phrasal ones). Prefixes, Suffixes, or Interjections might be even simpler, because they are much less polysemic than prepositions.
No effort is wasted, but being able to push something small all the way to completion might have advantages for demonstration and illustrating problems and approaches. In a toy world, you could actually do it more than once. DCDuring TALK 01:24, 26 July 2008 (UTC)

You were complaining about a minor clicking problem when the subject was brought up before and here you want to put these poor people through mental gymnastics I wouldn't lay on MENSA! This particular discussion may actually be moot. A way to mouseover to get definitions from Wiktionary has been devised so that the clicking back and forth that you had objected to earlier is no longer a problem. Check the project pages to see the function or go here You keep talking, DC, about this duplicating wiktionary functionality. It is definitely not duplicating wiktionary functionality. If anything, Wiktionary is duplicating Wikisaurus functionality. Three or four words embedded as many as 6 pages down in a tool for finding meaning is by no means a duplication of a thesaurus that provides as many as 30 synonyms per headword and the ability to find hundreds more near-synonyms. The functionality you want to give to wikisaurus has never been a thesaurus function. If you want that kind of genus/phylum system, why not start a new project and call it what it is: a classification system based on botany models? Amina (sack36) 02:03, 26 July 2008 (UTC)

I'm sorry that I wasted your time with my minor clicking problem. Above I was just trying to describe actual user behavior IMO, not an ideal-world solution. If someone doesn't know what they are looking for, then there will be mistakes and backtracking. If we could get two or three layers of hierarchy on a single page, that would be great. I was describing a first-time user's encounter with a system s/he didn't know to try to find something they couldn't specify, starting from the point you provided. That kind of search is what people do routinely. If OTOH demesne is on the tip of their tongue, then all they would need to see is a list with the word on it or something that seemed to them to be in the right direction.
The key differences between Saurus duplicationg Wikt and Wikt duplicating Suarus are:
  1. Wiktionary is where people will start for quite a while. No one will find Wikisaurus initially except through Wiktionary.
  2. Wiktionary already has many entries that have synonyms and many, many thousands more that will have them.

What users find in Saurus needs to be something they don't readily get from Wiktionary if they are to become regular users. Once they are regular users, then the Wiktioanry links may become less important and useful to them.

Roget offers a shallow hierarchy. I was believing that links allow a given pool of synonyms to be in more than one hierarchy.

I have now provided two use scenarios for Wikisaurus as I imagine it being used. I eagerly await your characterizations of some of the other ways you believe that users will use Wikisaurus. It would make it easier to discuss if we had such use cases, especially if they were semi realistic and involved mostly first-time users or light users (almost as bad as first users because they may have forgotten all details of their first experiences by the time of their next one). DCDuring TALK 02:33, 26 July 2008 (UTC)

Roget's II has "abode" with pretty much only the basic synonyms that you have. They reference the category protection. Under "home" they also have, under "protection", some institutional living arrangements. I do not find "demesne" anywhere. DCDuring TALK 03:18, 26 July 2008 (UTC)

Let's compromise[edit]

In the spirit of "I wanna get at it!" what do you say to a compromise? I really want the links on each word (except the head word) to be to a wikisaurus page. What if the Roget linkage is still put at the bottom of each page; the tool-tip mouseover is used to "link" back to wiktionary for the definitions; and we use the type of hierarchical setup you used on abode for all of the more complex pages? Amina (sack36) 04:19, 26 July 2008 (UTC) PS: every word gets a page. Amina (sack36) 04:20, 26 July 2008 (UTC)

Compromise is of no interest to me. You need to do it as you think best. The proof of the pudding will be in the eating. I continue to wonder what the appropriate scope for an initial effort should be. Some "normal" words; some small, closed class of words that can be worked through to completion; a problem class of words that is somewhat closed? I also believe it useful to think about where the user is coming from (google, a saurus link in a Wikt entry, saurus or wikt home page), with what level of wikt and saurus experience, what expectations about an online thesaurus, and with what search objectives. DCDuring TALK 04:36, 26 July 2008 (UTC)


Just a note: We reserve all 3-letter codes for language-specific templates, so this template should be renamed. Templates should not begin with 2- or 3-letter codes except where they refer to an ISO language code. While wse is not currently assigned to a language, there is no guarantee that future revisions will not assign it to a language. I note that the other Wikisaurus template I found begins with saurus-, so Template:saurus-shell might be a better name. --EncycloPetey 00:38, 26 July 2008 (UTC) Petey, while I appreciate the difficulty here, to make this change could easily close down the wikisaurus project. wse is being used not just in shell, but in virtually every template associated with wikisaurus. It is used not just once in each page but over and over. wse-beginlist, wse-shell, wse, wse refer, wse-g, wse-top... saurus is used only in one template at this time. Also, isn't the code for wikipedia two letters? (wp) and wiktionary? (wt) and wikisource? (ws) and wikibooks? (wb) Amina (sack36) 00:58, 26 July 2008 (UTC) PS applied Amina (sack36) 01:02, 26 July 2008 (UTC) edit for spelling Amina (sack36) 01:03, 26 July 2008 (UTC)

Sorry, but that is a community-wide decision. I understand the difficulties involved in making the change and sympathize. We went through the same issue when we had to rename many of our grammatical templates. No, the abbreviations for WP, WT, etc. are not the same because these are not template names. There is no Template:wp, etc. Perhaps someone with a bot can help make the change, but the change will eventaully need to be made. --EncycloPetey 01:24, 26 July 2008 (UTC)
Agreed. The template prefix wse must be reserved for a language code. While I imagine this will irritating (especially since no language has yet been assigned wse), but the switch must be made. As a compromise, it would not be that difficult to simply move all the templates, and leave the redirects in place for the time-being. As EP notes, someone with some programming skills could change the template calls in the actual entries with minimal labor. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 01:28, 26 July 2008 (UTC)
Well by all means go for it guys! It wasn't my idea to do wse in the first place. I just assumed that a community wide decision had been made before I got here. It does happen, I hear. Whatever you come up with, it would be ever so nice not to have to type saurus or even wikisaurus each time. Come to think of it this may be a first time kinda thing. Wiktionary doesn't require any prefix in templates. Amina (sack36) 01:38, 26 July 2008 (UTC)
Better to make the change ASAP. As Confucius said, when he was asked what he would do if he were the prime minister of the duchy where he lived, "The first thing I would do is call things by their right names.
There are 5 wse templates in use. 3 have about 30-40 uses. Two have more, but apparently fewer than one hundred. So the names could be, say, wsRefer, but not wse-refer?
Is this correct: As a reward to you for taking an interest in Wikisaurus, we would first like you to clean up a mess made by someone else that we just noticed. DCDuring TALK 02:03, 26 July 2008 (UTC)
This is the sort of thing for which we started the Grease Pit. Once suitable names are decided on, you can ask there for someone with a 'bot to make the moves for you. --EncycloPetey 02:06, 26 July 2008 (UTC)
Why, DC, Petey, Atelaes! Thank you so much for this honor! No, not honor. Privilege! I'm getting misty eyed. Amina (sack36) 02:13, 26 July 2008 (UTC)
Always happy to oblige in any way we can. DCDuring TALK 03:11, 26 July 2008 (UTC)
Please see Wiktionary:Grease_pit#Wikisaurus_Template_Naming. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 03:14, 26 July 2008 (UTC)

What to name Wikisaurus Templates[edit]

I suppose there are two items to address here.

The generalized view[edit]

What convention do we want to go with when dealing with this on any similar project?

Since the two and three letter with a dash is used, what if we considered project templates as a whole different critter and use different patterns? e.g.

  1. we could use sequence numbers to designate which project, thus wikisaurus-shell could be either shell1 or 1shell or even 1-shell
  2. we could capitalize instead of separate by a dash
  3. we could make it a suffix, not a prefix
  4. we could make it a four character prefix

The specific view[edit]

Poor Wikisaurus gets a new template name... again.

I'm thinking how nice it would be if it were something short and sweet. I'm partial to 01-shell. Amina (sack36) 04:03, 26 July 2008 (UTC)

Now that we've got a centralized discussion moving, we should probably keep the discussion there, so everyone can keep up. Would you mind if I copied this there? -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 04:06, 26 July 2008 (UTC)

Not at all! Where is there? Amina (sack36) 04:08, 26 July 2008 (UTC)

Wiktionary:Grease_pit#Wikisaurus_Template_Naming. I have copied the comments there. I have also reformatted them a bit to work into the existing discussion pattern. Please feel quite free to undo any of my formatting if it bothers you. They are your comments, and have your username attached to them. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 04:14, 26 July 2008 (UTC)

Does this help[edit]

All I can offer: User talk:Conrad.Irwin/edittools.js. DCDuring TALK 01:15, 27 July 2008 (UTC)

Wikisaurus headwords[edit]

In your comment line, you say that "all senses for a given word should be on the same page for ease of location". I've written about this before, and I have to say again more personally that I truly and deeply believe this is the wrong direction for that project. On the other hand, it is how Wikisaurus was originally conceived, so I'm not going to ask you to change direction. Even if it's not the best format in the end, I'm confident you're making a lot of improvements that will not be lost. But do keep the alternative in the back of your mind. No, words even for given senses do not have exactly the same meaning, but as synonyms they're not supposed to anyway. Wikisaurus pages as the more traditional topic pages could very easily be linked from the corresponding dictionary entries. The way you're doing it, you might as well just beef up the Synonyms and Antonyms sections, so why have a separate namespace? I have the same quarrel with the way Citations has been set up. Although that's a different issue, it's another example of doing everything the same way because, rather than trying to figure out what's best, it's the way that's accepted within the group already. I know you believe yours is the right approach, but there is certainly a bias towards it that you're very likely not aware of. Do not believe that the ability to push the idea forward so easy is a confirmation of its logical superiority. Space is not the only reason traditional thesauruses broke ideas up categorically. DAVilla 20:46, 30 July 2008 (UTC)

He said from a position or greater authority (by virtue of his previous experience, especially) what I was trying to say. DCDuring TALK 21:04, 30 July 2008 (UTC)
I am always open for convincing, but DCDuring--try as he might--never managed to make me understand the system as he envisioned it. All I seemed to be able to see is a way to lose functionality in wikisaurus without adding value to a user's experience. Starting with baby steps let me ask how can we get people to look up "fat(obese)" or "fat(rich)" instead of "fat" with the expectancy of seeing one or the other?
The other thing you referred to, "you might as well just beef up the Synonyms and Antonyms sections" DC alluded to also. I can't understand what the synonyms and antonyms sections are doing in wiktionary in the first place. They add yet another layer of confusion to a page that has become weighted down with clutter. Why isn't wiktionary a totally separate space?
I really and truly want to understand you guys' model. I'm all for doing anything to make the user's life a breeze. Show me how it does that and I'll do the change-over myself. Amina (sack36) 01:58, 31 July 2008 (UTC)
Those funny page titles were my idea and one that I was sad to see die. By the way, I would not consider "fat (rich)" to be a good heading because fat is not closely associated with the concept of wealth. The title I had created for that page was "rich (wealthy)". Rich is the most common word to describe that concept, and wealthy is a suitable choice to indicate the sense of money. A different system of naming might have used "rich (money)" but I thought it best to use the same part of speech.
I had a trial template set up at one time stating, with a cute little Wikisaurus logo that Richardb had been using, that Wikisaurus has an entry for fat in the sense of "obese", or for face in the sense of "countenance", etc. The way that "fast (speedy)" and "fast (quickly)" would be linked from the dictionary entries are through the synonyms section, taking two lines in that case. Ideally this would be linked not only on fast but on swift and sluggish and as many other pages for which it were a synonym or antonym (especially those that are undisputably so), as well as on Wikisaurus pages for closely related concepts like "brief (ephemeral)" and "slow (gradual)". In my opinion, as a speaker of English only, the pages "rich (wealthy)" and "fat (obese)" are not closely related concepts.
A search for rich, fat, or even obese would find those Wikisaurus pages almost immediately. Searching for synonyms not in the title would also turn up those pages lower down in the list. (Of course, the Wikisaurus namespace would have to be included in the search, and so it would be best to have it included by default. One objection for doing so is that the content of Wikisaurus is so miserable that we would't really want anyone to find it. A catch-22 if you ask me. But you see how Wikisaurus has been neglected.)
* * * * *
Your idea of stripping out synonyms and antonyms is, at least, consistent with the current layout of Wikisaurus that you are pushing forward. Also, there has always been kind of an awkward problem of identifying each group of synonyms with a corresponding definition line, which would be partly avoided (not entirely, since this still has to be done for translations). However, I do not believe that what you propose would have much support in the community, although you could ask. Myself, I don't see that the utility of separating the two pages is so great. In fact, there's a new problem in that definition changes (if they should happen to the type of core words likely to have thesaurus entries) are better reflected on both pages. Anyways, the tie between definition and synonyms is pretty strong. A list of maybe three synonyms is sometimes all that is offered in the definition line.
What I'm afraid might happen after you're done is that all of the content is going to be reabsorbed into the dictionary space, thereby scrapping the thesaurus and restarting it. That's not necessarily a negative if it is an improvement to the project, albeit an inderect one, but it's hard to see how you would feel good about such a drastic revision to all your work.
In my opinion, and I could be wrong, pages by topic is a better design which will have to win out sooner or later. As I envision it, topics could always be renamed, split, or merged the way Wikipedia articles are. Parenthesized titles are the best way I could come up with to pin concepts, but there is also strong opposition to those. I had compromised on the primary meaning, that is, letting a single word title represent the concept for the primary meaning of that word. WS:fast would mean "speedy" and not "firm" or "fasting" or "quickly". For some words, it's not obvious what the primary meaning is, and these would be avoided as titles. But as I'm not entirely happy with this, it led me away from editing Wikisaurus. I'm not sure I would have accomplished a lot, but I do know that difference of opinion can be stifling, which is why I would rather explain to you my view than to tell you that you're doing it wrong. As of yet nobody knows for certain that your approach won't actually work, and if it's not ideal, your work isn't a total loss anyway. DAVilla 16:16, 31 July 2008 (UTC)
I appreciate your explanation. I can easily see that synonyms and definitions are closely associated and there will always be that overlap no matter which way is adopted. That struggle will be forever.
As for "fat(rich)" it seems a valid (if perhaps old) usage to me. e.g. fat cat, fat wallet, fat bank account, fat computer program (this may have morphed to meaning wordy, but at one time it meant coded to be used by more than one operating system)
I still don't get why you and DC think that topics are easier for a user to navigate. Parenthesized titles will have no meaning to the average user; it is counter-intuitive for someone seeking a thesaurus to look in a dictionary; the synonyms are buried deep in the body of wiktionary; and it is not obvious what the synonym section is connected to in-so-far as meaning is concerned. How does your vision take care of those problems? The bottom line is how easy it is for the user to use. If it isn't both easier and more complete than or then it's not worth doing because we'll get no traffic.
The setting of wikisaurus as having it's own namespace is, I agree, not in the cards just yet, but I think it won't be too much longer before it will start to be useful. Now that would be quite a bit sooner if only there were people helping. I notice a severe lack in new names anywhere on wiktionary. Is there some way we could do some drafting of help? (That is to say beyond the pitiful attempts I've been making with friends and family) Is there a place where we should be sticking ideas for drumming up business? Having been web master for several different sites over the years, I've got a stack of ways to improve visibility over and above Google. I'd love to pitch some ideas in that vein if it wouldn't get me in trouble.
About the problem of changes in definition not being reflected in a new page: Is there a way to point to a specific spot on one page from another page (like in html?) It seems to me having a reference capability could solve several of our problems both in wikisaurus and in wiktionary.
The idea of the pages I've worked so hard on being folded back into wiktionary is causing me a great deal of concern. Some of those pages contain huge numbers of synonyms: e.g. wikisaurus:active or wikisaurus:sound The action of folding these into the mainline goes so far beyond my sensibilities that were I to think that was the fate of the wikisaurus, I'd rather go rent space on a server and start my own! (picture enraged elephant screeching defiance and putting herself between danger and her pups! :p) By the way, I'm waiting to complete the work on those two until I've figured out a way to refer back in real time. I'd hate to have to do it twice! lol
Despite the picture of the elephant, I hope this doesn't strike you as defensive and argumentative. I'm still with you on wanting a better way. I just don't see your vision yet. The one single question that I don't see answered is, how is it easier on the user? Answer that one question and I'll start changing over so fast you'll see skid marks in the continuum! Amina (sack36) 19:21, 31 July 2008 (UTC)
I'm not saying that fat in the sense of "rich" is an invalid usage. I'm saying that there only need be one page for all of those synonyms, at that it probably wouldn't have the word "fat" in the title. When you go to the dictionary page fat, the synonyms section would link you to that page: Wikisaurus has an entry on rich in the sense of "wealthy". This corresponds with the definition of fat that you illustrate. Similary well off would link to that page: Wikisaurus has an entry on rich in the sense of "wealthy". There need only be one page for this concept. I don't have a problem with the dictionary entries listing a few synonyms themselves (or not), but it's best if only the closest synonyms are listed. The thesaurus expands into many more, and also into related concepts like "billionaire" which is a different part of speech, no? I could imagine a thesaurus page listing billionaire, aristocrat, etc. which would be reciprocally linked to the first. I could also imagine splitting off highbrow and aristocratic to a separate page, since that's a slightly different concept, but again linking those Wikisaurus pages together.
The alternative is your proposal, which would amount to separate pages in Wikisaurus for rich, wealthy, well off, etc. I mean, take a serious look at all the red links on Wikisaurus:active. You would honestly populate each of those with as many synonyms as are already listed? And then for navigation, instead of related concepts you would have a list of words that wonders off in one random direction or another when there are additional meanings for a word (lard -> fat -> rich -> delicious), and otherwise may only contain as many synonyms as were on the previous page, or fewer. DAVilla 05:33, 1 August 2008 (UTC)

Let's see if I finally got this right[edit]

Let me give this a try. Joe is writing a poem. It's all sonnet and old style language. He wants a word that means that thing that goes on a woman around the waist that laces up but isn't part of the dress and isn't a corset. Closest he figures he comes is corset. wiktionary: absolutely no help at all!! Everything to click on takes him further and further away from what he needs. But I'll give you a break here. Let's say synonyms were actually given for the meaning as it stands. What I think you're saying is that a given concept will have a synonym entry into wikisaurus. Since there really isn't more than one concept given in wiktionary I'll go with underwear as the defining concept here. He goes to wikisaurus:underwear Since I haven't gotten that far yet, let's grab the Webster define: Synonyms underclothes, underclothing, undergarments, undies Related Words lingerie; pantie (or panty), slip, underskirt; briefs, drawers, long johns, pants, shorts, underdrawers, underpants, undershirt, union suit; nightdress, nightgown, nightshirt, pajamas, pj's (and because webster doesn't have the foresight to include it), corset. Since none of these are remotely what he can use and because every link on this page goes back to wiktionary, he either has an all day task ahead of him or--more likely--he goes elsewhere.

I swear to you I didn't think any of this through ahead of time. I did it as "Joe" did it. Where did I mess up? Amina (sack36) 08:11, 1 August 2008 (UTC)

PS I think the word he is looking for is kirtle or bodice. Amina (sack36) 08:11, 1 August 2008 (UTC)

No current online thesaurus would have found bodice from corset either. AHD would have helped our user find it. In this case I have added a missing archaic sense from Webster's 1913 our entry for bodice.
This would seem to indicate limits to current thesauri. They are not as inclusive as dictionaries.
Two other means that a user has on Wiktionary are search and categories. "Search" as opposed to the default "go". This capability is obscured and underutilized by less experienced users, especially those who have come to Wiktionary in the last few months when the fill-in box has appeared, covering the "search" button. Categories could work for scanning if they are done completely. DCDuring TALK 12:32, 1 August 2008 (UTC)
I'm not sure how this is a counterexample. How would Joe have found the word he was looking for using the thesaurus you're trying to build? My guess is he would have gone to corset and through to the thesaurus entry for that word, which we could probably all assume is a good synonym for bodice. That's all well and good. But why does that mean that corset needs its own thesaurus entry and bodice needs its own thesaurus entry? Why couldn't there be just one page for that type of clothing, linked from both words? And why couldn't that page also be conveniently linked from the one you name, with undergarments and briefs and slip, in case Joe really did look there first? To tell you the truth, I'm not sure even those three words should be on the same page since there are lots of synonyms for underpants that could be listed together as a separate though very closely related topic. It seems you've got wrapped up in the idea that concepts have to be meta categorical things, but the argument you laid out illustrates very clearly that's not the case. If corset and bodice don't quite fit on the undergarments page, that doesn't mean they get kicked out of Club Thesaurus entirely. One of my peeves about thesauruses, in fact, is that they leave out adverbs almost universally, listing only the adjective forms without -ly. Not all adverbs end in -ly, so you're not going to find soon, parlous, or many idiomatic prepositional phrases by looking up quick, extreme, or any other adjective. So although I say that not every word should have its own thesaurus entry, I do believe that every word, in fact every meaning of every word ideally, should be listed in some thesaurus entry if not named in its title. Isn't it enough that autoteller just appear in the thesaurus rather than demand that it and every one of its seven or more synonyms get their own shrines? DAVilla 07:55, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

You know, I didn't follow Joe through on the other way of doing in. There's goes my membership in the junior scientist club! OK. I'm convinced that my model of this thesaurus is flawed. The Joe scenario was meant to show that Joe wouldn't have the training necessary to use your vision of it. I have never found "search" to be useful. There are way too many references that have no bearing to the lookup. Categories have been useless in my experience, but if Categories were the Roget equivelent to the next meaning up I can see that working. How could wictionary provide that service? Amina (sack36) 11:45, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

I wasn't posing it as a serious alternative to a thesaurus. I was merely trying to illustrate the range of tools that might be used as part of my general belief in the importance of trying to think through use cases. Categories offer much less potential than a well-designed thesaurus, IMO. A wiki page not married to the category structure has more flexibility for things like annotations. DCDuring TALK 12:03, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

The Minimal Approach[edit]

The last thing I'd want to do is stop you! For instance the Wikisaurus entry for active looks beautiful. The only thing is, I'd like to have an understanding, at least, that there are some things that still need to be thought through, and maybe some rethought, and unfortunately and inevitably rethought again, if history is any precedent. Particularly, I'm not too excited about having all of the links go to thesaurus entries because I don't think there should be that many thesaurus entries. For many of those words, that very page is the one which corresponds to the primary meaning. I suppose you could make a number of redirects, but there isn't much point to linking dozens of redirects that bring you right back to the same page, is there? Your insistence on navigation is healthy. Here's what we need, in my view:
  • Wiktionary -> Wikisaurus
    This would require not only active but also agile, kinetic etc. linking to the appropriate concept page.
    This would also require that many dictionary entries, having multiple definitions, link to more than one concept. For instance, mobile could link to not only WS:active but also WS:portable or the like.
  • Wikisaurus -> Wikisaurus
    This is appropriate for related concepts. For instance, if the page for WS:active were split into several groups of very close synonyms, then the split pages should link to each other. Concepts can be related in many ways: they can be similar in idea (e.g. WS:brief and WS:temporary, WS:dwelling and WS:room), they can vary in part of speech (e.g. WS:wealthy and WS:billionaire, WS:speedy and WS:quickly), one can be a class of another (maybe something like WS:move and WS:drive, WS:communicate and WS:wink), etc. I'm less sure about the last type, which is I think the category structure that DCDuring has dreamed up, but anyways there should be as much navigation between these as is useful.
  • Wikisaurus -> Wiktionary
    In the past all words have linked to the dictionary entries since this is where they are defined, exemplified, and so forth. Also it's good to see all blue links. Red links are usually questionable entries that have been shifted to /more pages and that I'd just as well see struck with lightning.
This says nothing about page titles, which at the moment I don't really care enough to argue with. If it's reasonable and if no others object, whatever you want to call the page is fine with me.
Of course, there are a lot of ways to improve Wikisaurus that have nothing to do with any of this. DAVilla 07:20, 4 August 2008 (UTC)
Oh don't worry about the "rethought and again rethought" part. I'm always retinking things. That's why none of my artwork hangs in my house. It'd drive me nuts! I digress.
I can see the structure of the model you propose now but I still don't see it's purpose. My model is flawed and I understand that, but I still don't see that your model improves on it. How will it improve the user's experience? Amina (sack36) 09:48, 4 August 2008 (UTC)
I don't know if it's an improvement for the user overall. I suppose it could be if it's done right, or not if it isn't given much thought. The hope would be a design as useful as having one page per word, and you might ammend some of the ideas above to make that happen. For me the primary motivation in organization isn't navigation but tractability. Yes, navigation is extremely important, and though between us it would be done very differently I don't see much of a difference in outcome. Anyways, regardless of which direction we head in, others will find ways, using categories or whatever method, to improve navigation beyond what either of us have in mind. It's good that the question is framed in this way.
The problem is if it isn't a tractable solution then it's that much harder to design it correctly. When you get down to it, it's an improvement for Joe if there aren't several dozen lists of synonyms that all look confusingly similar but don't seem to get out to the word that he's looking for. Sometimes in a thesaurus you can wind up just going in circles looking for the exact word you want which turns out not to be there after all. It's a lot easier to figure out you have to start looking somewhere else when there are three pages about undergarments rather than twenty-seven holding the same amount of content. And if you're going to add a word, it's more likely going to be hidden if there are twenty-seven pages about undergarments than if there are only three. DAVilla 13:48, 4 August 2008 (UTC)


It's true your concept would be easier to maintain. I like that particular bonus. My concept would require a bot or something to help with maintenance. I don't think it's really a benefit to Joe to have fewer linkages. The English language is analog, not digital. The fewer connections that are made, the more like a digital reference it becomes. What if I've forgotten to put the word into the groups that he thinks of? I noticed on Wiktionary the definitions areas are often lacking one or two, or ten definitions. I'm sure it'll be the same for me and wikisaurus.

The English language is more about nuance than category. Unfortunately, I don't think I'm capable of creating a category system adequate to the task. I'm analog too, and my meds make me about 30 IQ points dumber than in my youth. "I feared it might injure the brain; But, now that I'm perfectly sure I have none, Why, I do it again and again." [1].

If y'all would prefer, I could become the peon helper I offered when I came here and one of you could set up the network in digital. I'd fill in the words on the pages you gave me to do. I can do what I know, which is make the software work for idiots and cretins, but I don't know how to make the software work for the hardware. I've always been fortunate to have the hardware get better just when we needed it to.

I've come to the conclusion that your model is as good as mine (albeit for different reasons) and am willing to step down to a lesser role for your wikisaurus to be actualized. Amina (sack36) 22:26, 4 August 2008 (UTC) edit Amina (sack36) 22:29, 4 August 2008 (UTC)

Right now I think you are the lead role. No one much touches Wikisaurus, and we really need someone like you who is eager to put energy into it, to get the ball rolling so to speak. Anyways, when it comes down to it, we're all "peon helpers". Even the most ambitious contributors can claim only a thin slice of the project, and neither DCDuring nor I rank up there. The ideas he and I have are just that: ideas. There are so many corner and special cases, it usually takes a lot of trial and error to implement these things, to prove or disprove them. I've only written my opinons to guide you, to hopefully keep a lot of work from being undone or redone a different way. I wouldn't worry so much about making every page uniform right now, or creating the perfect scheme. Just keep going, and see if we can find something that works to everyone's satisfaction. When we come to that, then we can go back and fix things up. I promise you these pages will go through many such cycles in the lifetime of the project. Particularly, I'm not convinced either that categories, though they may help with maintenance and navigation, can capture the nuance of language. I believe that there will be other ways. DAVilla 04:16, 6 August 2008 (UTC) Edited.
Alright. Then I'll be working mostly on those words most likely (in my opinion) to become headwords in your vision. I'll also be cleaning up the stuff in wiktionary:wikisaurus and in the page of requests referenced there. That should keep me plenty busy and into trouble. Amina (sack36) 04:28, 6 August 2008 (UTC)

Phrases in Wikisaurus[edit]

This dated snippet makes an interesting point that has some bearing on WikiSaurus entry organization and on what it's content might include. I wonder whether things are different now. I certainly haven't found good coverage of idioms and phrasal constructions, even at a much more basic level than the snippet talks about. DCDuring TALK 02:35, 7 August 2008 (UTC)

I've been thinking about that too. Idioms, Colloquialisms, Archaic, SnowClones all need documenting somewhere. When I run across them already in the page, I label them and move on, but I think the major effort should wait until the thesaurus is cleaned up and able to be accessed like a real, live boy. Maybe when a consistent half of the synonyms turn blue. I figure it'll be about the time I'm 80. sigh. I have talked it up, but there are few people who are both interested and educated enough to be of any real help. We seem to be in a "Catch 22" here. We shouldn't be advertising our presence until we're bigger, fatter, and less skanky; but we'll never get bigger and fatter unless we advertise our presence. Such a conundrum! Amina (sack36) 03:22, 7 August 2008 (UTC)
BTW, DC, the snippet didn't come through. Amina (sack36) 03:25, 7 August 2008 (UTC)
It must be associated with the user that originated the search request? It was from 1949. It came up in the discussion of "knitting" as a euphemism for pregnancy. TR? The point the authors made was that there had not been many efforts to collect idioms by their conceptual meaning (that is, synonymy). I liked the point because it suggests an advantage to a conceptual-semantic framework (further beating horse on last legs). Whatever you decide is fine. I am a relative newcomer to wikisaurus thinking, which is why I deferred to DAVilla. I was happy that his beliefs seemed congenial to mine. Neither he (it seems) nor I really want to tackle Wikisaurus. I am aware of how lonely this kind of work can be. I wanted to keep you company while giving you a sounding board and encouragement as best I could. DAVilla seems to have the same thoughts.
I continue to believe that you need to pick some arena that can be worked through to completion (toySaurus), preferrably by you and one or two others quickly. This might give a model for what a larger project might be. The next task would be to find some area of interest that offered widely perceived benefits to heavy contributors to get whatever Votes and tech support you needed. At some point you would need to figure out how to make it easy for Wiktonarians to contribute without having to become "experts" in WikiSaurus, in fact, without knowing much at all. You have to be a worker bee while also being project architect, then become project manager/cheerleader and troubleshooter. Then you'll have to return to architecting etc., all the time praying for someone to take the whole thing off your hands without screwing it up (because it is a non-paying proposition, after all). DCDuring TALK 03:48, 7 August 2008 (UTC)
non-paying = labor of love. :)
There is something the Wiktonarians can do right now! Whenever they create a definition, if they could put an anchor there it would be great. The anchor name would be the part of speech + line number. That should make it unique. It's a simple add that would link wikisaurus to wiktionary in a way to make it easier in the future when definitions change. (as they do).
I haven't worked out the code to access it yet within the complex structure I've already got, but there is a way, I know it! (complex code = easy for user) Externally it would look like this: {{ws|idiot|N2}}. If you or DAVilla would know how to manage that, I would be forever grateful. Amina (sack36) 04:02, 7 August 2008 (UTC)
I've already added the anchor code to Template:ws using a parameter. I named it "v" but it needs a better name, which you should now be able to edit. We have a few conventions for these sorts of things, maybe not this one.
I'm not sure this is the best solution though. I did it mainly at your request. This sort of thing has been talked about before, for other reasons, and the result was inconclusive, primarily because so much is subject to change. In my opinion we should be labeling at least some of the definitions, especially the primary definitions. That's all I'll say for now. DAVilla 12:38, 7 August 2008 (UTC)
Anchor code won't work as written. The first variable is the word as it will appear in the page and the second variable is the definition. That means the first should have stayed the same and the second should have contained the first variable plus the # plus the second variable. The second variable is the name of the anchor. Since there can be more than one anchor on a page we'll need to point to the anchor we want. The template when used should be {{ws|counter|n2}} or {{ws|run|v1}} or {{ws|cold|a2}} Is that clearer? Amina (sack36) 17:41, 7 August 2008 (UTC)
Wait, I'm confused where you're going with this. Anyways I've made the changes. DAVilla 18:10, 7 August 2008 (UTC)
The idea is that no matter how the wiktionary page changes, there will always be definitions on the page. As long as the anchor gets put with the definition, the mouseover will always pick up the right definition and display it. Amina (sack36) 18:18, 7 August 2008 (UTC)
Are you saying that you don't have to supply the definiton to {{ws|...}}, only a short anchor, and it will know what to display? I had put an extra parameter in because I didn't think this was possible. (See the revision history of Template talk:ws.) Anyways, if what you have works then you don't have to explain it to me, but do document it on Wiktionary:Wikisaurus or whatever is more appropriate.
By the way, do you still intend to divide up Wikisaurus entries by definition too? If it's one concept per page, then it would only be the primary definition. If you want I can help push some of the other meanings off to separate pages. I wouldn't do that though until I was certain the issue were settled. Otherwise just let me know if you need anything. DAVilla 22:43, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

Anchor points.[edit]

Hi Amina,

Please discuss the anchor-points thing somewhere, such as the Beer parlour. You're damaging the display of definitions — see e.g. [[agony#Noun]] — and it's not all clear that #N1 etc. are useful anchor names.

RuakhTALK 20:13, 9 August 2008 (UTC)

Ruakh, I did put this in Beer Parlor. I received no response. I have entered it again. Amina (sack36) 02:53, 10 August 2008 (UTC)
Thanks! I've replied there. —RuakhTALK 13:09, 10 August 2008 (UTC)

Template ws[edit]

Hello, I have made a proposal for a change of the appearance of {{ws}}, there. FYI. --Dan Polansky 14:15, 22 August 2008 (UTC)

Right-hand side ToC[edit]

Any registered use can get this. I've forgotten how. Conrad.Irwin can clue you in. There's a whole set of selectable experimental options beyond those available through "my preferences". DCDuring TALK 20:05, 23 August 2008 (UTC)

I was under the impression that there was a debate going on just now about right hand vs left hand. I figured I'd rather not have to deal with the argument and instead confirm RH for each record. Paranoid, I guess. Is the options package that wiktionary uses different from the one wikisaurus gets? For that matter what will the decision do to wikisaurus? Will I have to go take them out if the matter goes the other way? (maybe I should start lobbying!) Amina (sack36) 02:35, 24 August 2008 (UTC) (PS. that bit about lobbying was a joke)

It is an option individually selectable by each user "in the know". It only affects what that user sees. The discussion has been about whether ir ought to become the default (and therefore what is seen by users not logged in or perhaps be advertised more widely so more registered users would test it. It is not mature. For example, there are numerous templates that demand to be on or near the right-hend edge and therefore push content following them below the rhs ToC. Try WT:PREFS. I'm not sure that is the way I selected my options, but it is straight forward. Note that none of this seems to work well with IE, which is probably part of the reason for the go-slow. DCDuring TALK 03:46, 24 August 2008 (UTC)
Thanks, DC, that explains a lot. While messing with my prefs, I ran across this: Automatically lookup words that are double-clicked on (in main namespace only). This gives me an idea--I'm dangerous with ideas so go carefully forth--is there a way to have single click synonyms go to wikisaurus and double click go to wiktionary?

Next question: Is there a way to put an option in the prefs that swaps the precursor word in wikisaurus with wiktionary? e.g. wikt:wiktionary word. It would make my job easier! Amina (sack36) 06:20, 24 August 2008 (UTC)

I'm just a simple user. These would be questions for Conrad.Irwin. It is my impression that many things are possible. DCDuring TALK 11:17, 24 August 2008 (UTC)
I saw my name on RC, so thought I'd come and chime in. My current table-of-contents proposal only affects Wiktionary space, however it would be easy to do the same in Wikisaurus space - they are configurable separately. I'm not sure how well the stylesheet (automatic) TOCright will work when combined with the manual {{tocright}}, but it would be trivial to fix (in several different ways). If you want it enabled in Wikisaurus space, I can't see that there would be any objections, as the pages are designed for it that side anyway.
The double click preference still needs a bit of work before it can be enabled by default, it occasionally does silly things like popping up "Recent changes" when I click there. It would be possible, though quite tricky, to cause a single click on synonyms to open Wikisaurus, however this is not necessarily desirable, as people often single-click by accident. I'm not sure what you mean by the precursor word, but it would be possible for the double-click preference to open Wikisaurus pages in Wikisaurus, and it would be possible to write javascript that created a link to Wiktionary next to each link to Wikisaurus. Conrad.Irwin 11:53, 24 August 2008 (UTC)
That would be great to get wikisaurus to automatically show TOC on the right. If there is a problem with the two commands working at odds with each other, I'll be happy to clean up the singletons.
By precursor word, I mean that every time I must look something up in wikisaurus I must "prefix" it with the word wikisaurus. It would be nice to not have to do that, but not really necessary. Eventually we'll have to take that crutch away, but I don't see it happening in the near future and having a pref alter the way I access it would eventually work against me.
The double click was just a passing thought. I'm not much interested in a wiktionary link in the synonyms. I'm convinced that always working through wiktionary for access will in the long run confuse the consumer. Having worked with public access of computer data all my adult life, I have become convinced that if there is a loop-hole to misconstrue a given action, the user will not only find that loop-hole but exploit it. There will, of course, be a wiktionary link on every page for the head word. Right now that seems counter productive, I know, but as our pages go from red to blue, it will pay off. Amina (sack36) 15:03, 24 August 2008 (UTC)