Wikipedia talk:Village pump/Archive 3

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Anonymous users should not be permitted to ask questions

[Imported from actual Village pump by IMSoP 00:41, 18 Mar 2004 (UTC)]

This page (already way past its 32kB limit) is flooded with too many random IPs asking questions that seem not to be grounded with the aim to write and improve WP encyclopedia articles. We should state up at the top that if you are not registered, any reference desk question asked here will not be moved to the reference desk but deleted. --Jiang 00:11, 15 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Better clarify the intro instead.—Eloquence
Boilerplate text at the top of articles is there solely to benefit mouse scroll wheel manufacturers, not to be read by anyone. The proposal would only have the effect of alienating potential new users. Pete/Pcb21 (talk) 09:52, 15 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Anonymous users should not be blamed for asking questions on the pump. Lets try to see how an anon comes here.

  1. He goes to the Main page, sees Help at the right corner
  2. The most eye-catching entry in the TOC at Wikipedia:Help is "Getting in touch".
  3. In that section, the first is "Contact us" and the second is "Village Pump, a forum to ask questions not answered here or in the FAQs". Obviously the 2nd seems better than the first because it appears more interactive, rather than send a mail and wait for ages. They try out Village Pump and see that questions are being answered in large numbers.
  4. The 3rd option in the TOC "Reference desk, request an article or information. See also Requested articles." doesn't appeal much as it has something to do with articles. (an article ?? whats that ?)

Jay 17:13, 15 Mar 2004 (UTC)

I strongly disagree with Jiang. If a question on this page is annoying you, just move it to the reference desk. Over there we tend to be very sweet to the questioners, performing google searches for them, asking for clarifications of incoherent questions, etc. User:Jwrosenzweig even gave advice to someone looking to clear her home of canine ghosts. I don't personally e-mail people who wish e-mail answers, but others do. Remember that we have to put a good public face on Wikipedia, that we want good press both for our usage and for our contributions grow. Rudeness (not aimed at you Jiang, but others have been rude) doesn't help anyone, and we can't assume that all of our readers are as computer-savvy as the average Wikipedian. moink 18:03, 15 Mar 2004 (UTC)

I just dont see the benefits of answering questions. If answering questions is going to get people to contribute then you have a valid point. If it provides no benefit, then what's the point? Maybe we should send out boiler plate text asking anyone who asks questions to contribute. The cost is that VP is clogged when it cannot afford it. --Jiang

Perhaps then you can explain more for us about the village pump budget and what it can afford. I would also be interested to know what benifit I must realize before it is worthwhile for me to answer somebody's question. DontMessWithThis 04:00, 16 Mar 2004 (UTC)

The page is 70kb and some browsers have problems loading pages over 32kb. That's why a big bold message shows up when one clicks on "Edit this page".--Jiang 05:10, 16 Mar 2004 (UTC)

As long as this page is the village pump, anyone should be allowed to ask whatever (s)he wants, and anyone should be allowed to answer (and, obviously, not to answer). This is not the information desk but the village pump, there's a great difference. OK, this page may need tidying up more frequently, but not by silencing people. Pfortuny 11:42, 16 Mar 2004 (UTC)

This village pump stopped taking reference questions a long time ago. That's why we have a reference desk. Dont penalize those with slow modems are those who don't want to scroll. Again, what is the benefit? Do things only if there's a perceived benefit. These anons come and ask quesitions and they never come back. Isn't answering them a waste of time? We don't know if they ever find their questions answered or if theyre just trolling. --Jiang
I think more people check their answers than tell us that they are doing so. Maybe we should add to the header on the reference desk (to which all of this type of question should be moved) that we would like people to acknowledge when they see their answers, thus letting us delete the question earlier and keep track of how many people check. Also, many people who leave e-mails get responses as well. As far as trolling, very few questions I've seen fit into any definition of troll that I've come across. The benefits to Wikipedia are more potential readers and contributors, a better reputation, and improvements to articles when we learn that something is missing. The benefits to some individual Wikipedians (like me, this is why I hang out at the ref desk) is that we feel that some of our research directly benefits people. The benefit to humanity is more knowledge shared by more people. If we want to talk about moving the ref desk questions off the pump more quickly, or doing other things to improve pump readability and editability, that's fine, but I don't think the solution is ignoring members of the public or being rude to them. moink 23:36, 16 Mar 2004 (UTC)

It is true that this page is long enough to be obnoxious. Could we subdivide it by category? pstudier 23:23, 2004 Mar 16 (UTC)

Maybe. See above. Angela. 02:02, Mar 27, 2004 (UTC)

The immediate solution is to make the heading more clear that this is the wrong place to ask questions and to take the suggestion of acknowleding answers on the reference desk.

You can clear them out more quickly, but these anon won't know where to go to find the answer to their questions. If you do keep a record, you still clog the page.--Jiang

The heading is clear enough, but anons still ask questions here. The solution could be to not direct anons to this page. But thats what the Wikipedia help page is currently doing. Solution could be to redesign the Help page. See top of discussion on the workings of the Help page. Jay 13:43, 18 Mar 2004 (UTC)
Talking of not directing all and sundry here, the boilerplate welcome message links here, which I don't think helps.
Longterm, I want to kill this page as a discussion page, and direct folks elsewhere. Martin 15:30, 27 Mar 2004 (UTC)
I think a central focus for general discussion is a natural and important part of a cohesive community, and a useful resource for those who have not yet learnt the full complexities of the site. However, I generally agree that it is becoming impractical to continue discussions directly on the page itself, for which reason I have come up with the germs of a "revolution" (in terms of usage) in the section just above this one, your opinions on which would be much appreciated. - IMSoP 16:33, 27 Mar 2004 (UTC)
I strongly disagree with removing this from the welcome message. The page needs to be fixed, not hidden. Angela. 02:31, Mar 29, 2004 (UTC)
Perhaps we could have a seperate place for newcomers to ask "newbie questions"? Some sort of talk page, heavily linked from places like "Welcome, newcomers", the sandbox, and of course on welcome messages. Are there enough people who take the time to welcome newcomers to make it workable?
Just throwing out ideas, at this point... Martin 00:12, 30 Mar 2004 (UTC)
I'd be interested in helping, and I'm sure most of the other members of the Wikipedia:Welcoming Committee would be too. LUDRAMAN | T 17:12, 30 Mar 2004 (UTC)


This page is too long.


This page is too long! Seriously - why do we have 109 open discussions? Are they active? No. At the same time, important ones tend to get buried pretty quickly.

It's all part of a larger trend I've noticed on wikipedia - we have way too much overhead. We log everything! We have a log for protected pages, unprotected pages, failed featured article nominations, featured articles that make it onto the main page, did you know, the village pump, announcements, etc etc ad infinitum. Just to grant someone's request to protect/unprotect, I have to

  1. Remove it from the requests protection
  2. Unprotect the article
  3. Remove the protection notice
  4. Add the note into the list (un)protected pages.

And guess what? When you have so many steps just to do this kind of stuff, very few people actually do it all - so someone else has to come along later and spring clean them. Last night I removed 80% of the Featured article candidates - it hadn't been cleaned in that long. I'd like to suggest that we stop this ridiculous habit of logging everything and encourage people to be bold in cleaning up pages like this. →Raul654 19:35, Apr 7, 2004 (UTC)

I agree with you completely. Dori | Talk 19:38, Apr 7, 2004 (UTC)
Does wikipedia scale? I'm beginning to fear not, and this is an example. DavidWBrooks 20:27, 7 Apr 2004 (UTC)
If you look at this talk page it's full of complaints from when people (myself included) have boldly (radically) trimmed this page. That's discouraging, especially if you've spent an hour or two doing it (searching out all the relevant talk pages to archive discussions on). But, what's the answer? Just stick all VP content in an archive where no one will read it, so questions get asked over and over again? fabiform | talk 20:54, 7 Apr 2004 (UTC)

A suggestion - first, pages like this should be maintained often enough that the job doesn't become insurmountable (as it is now). Second, 95% of the stuff that gets asked here can be flatly deleted - no logging, just the axe. What little is important can be logged to a collective archive (the VP archive) or individual archives. Third, a lot of the traffic that gets posted here should not be here in the first place. To be blunt - we need to discourage people from posting here, and encourage them to do it elsewhere.

  • If you want to publicize a poll, use goings on.
  • If you want to ask what should happen on the chinese pedia, use Meta.
  • If you want a new feature, go to sourceforge.

Right now, just about the only thing I see that belongs here is the discussion of the takedown request. These issues are covered at the top of the page, but no one reads that. I'm tempted to rewrite it myself to discourage it. →Raul654 21:02, Apr 7, 2004 (UTC)

IMHOP there should be a specific format for these sections.

Ie. there should be say three brief summary sentences such as:

  1. Problem
  3. Solution

The solution can be put into practice or formally added to a Wikipedia namespace for future reference.

By Wikipedia namespace I mean Wikipedia:meta page (as per the problem above). Bensaccount 21:04, 7 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Enforcing a format on the village pump will only make things worse as newbies won't know they have to do it, so others will need to come and change it for them; meaning twice as many edits, an even more useless page history, and twice as many edit conflicts.
There are discussions on the talk page for splitting the village pump up into different topic areas, or for ensuring that all talk occurs on existing talk pages. I suggest people comment there so that some sort of consensus can be arrived at before any major change is made. Angela. 22:08, Apr 7, 2004 (UTC)
If you look towards the end of the talk page, you'll see that I proposed a few weeks ago that the Pump could become a place to draw attention to discussions elsewhere (one paragraph summary and link per section). Which is to say, it would permanently be in the state that it reaches after a particularly thorough archiving now. Rather than discouraging use of this page, we would be discouraging content on this page. See my last comment in the discussion mentioned for a first stab at a boilerplate for such a page. We might also want to encourage ReplaceQuestionWithAnswer for simple queries; even simpler ones could simply be answered on the appropriate User_talk: page and deleted outright from here.
I would put this into a "formal" proposal, but I'm just getting ready to go on holiday for the Easter weekend; however, if nobody else does so within the next week, I'll do it when I get back, because I think this is a workable system which will scale better than the current one without sacrificing the usefulness of having a central point of discussion. - IMSoP 22:19, 7 Apr 2004 (UTC) [arsebiscuits! edit conflict with Angela]


  1. Emphasize intro to make people post in correct place
  2. Reformat this page
    1. Use this page to link to discussions in correct place
  3. Split this page into topic areas


What on earth is going on the the V.P. is protected? This seems a very odd page to shut down, since it is almost continuously edited. -- Jmabel 00:03, 20 Apr 2004 (UTC)

My bad. I was cleaing it up earlier, and I *know* I clicked unprotect, but I don't think it registered on the server. →Raul654 00:04, Apr 20, 2004 (UTC)
PS - I was wondering why it was so quiet. →Raul654 00:05, Apr 20, 2004 (UTC)

Where's the archive gone?

Are the moved discussions no longer being archived or have they just gone somewhere I don't know about? The archive doesn't have any new links since the end of January. I don't mean the archive of the content, just of the links to where things have been moved to. Angela. 06:25, Apr 24, 2004 (UTC)

The moved link stuff now says "This list gets deleted occasionally to make room for newer entries.", so I guess that's what people have been doing... Martin 14:39, 24 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Alternative shorthands

Shouldn't it be

? If there are multiple shorthands, we should include them all. - Woodrow XXIIIII, Emperor of the United States, Minister of Ministry 01:38, 25 Apr 2004 (UTC)

I'll take your silence as an assent... - Woodrow XXIIIII, Emperor of the United States, Minister of Ministry 19:43, 29 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Pump's been duplicated

I'm deadline-bashing right now (or should be), so I haven't time to fix it myself, but I just noticed the pump's been hit by that irritating content-cloning thang. Someone might want to fix that before too much confusion ensues. The best approach I've come up with for making sure nothing gets lost is:

  1. Save a page (in a sandbox, perhaps) consisting of the top half of the page (down to the beginning of the duplicate copy)
  2. Replace that with the bottom half
  3. Look at the diff between the two, and see what edits have been made to one and not the other.
  4. Incorporate those changes into the final page.

Oh, and then you may delete this comment to save space. Thank you to whoever has the time which I don't. IMSoP 23:02, 29 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Ok, tried to fix it - I did it section by section, looking at the last author. Saves having to create a new page. (That bug is quite annoying, btw ;) Dysprosia 23:17, 29 Apr 2004 (UTC)
Thanks, Dysprosia. I brought up the bug on the tech mailing list, but then I had to be gone for a while. I'm glad you stepped in and took care of it!
-Rholton 01:27, 30 Apr 2004 (UTC)


The pump keeps getting vandalized by a persistent vandal. Should we protect if for an hour or two? Gentgeen 10:57, 26 May 2004 (UTC)

It's Wik. I don't think protection is appropriate for such a widely used page. We need to revert and block then repeat with the new IP until the vandalism stops. There are a lot more of us than there are of him so hopefully he'll get tired and stop. theresa knott 12:27, 26 May 2004 (UTC)

Spam Filter?

Just now, I don't seem to be able to save to Wikipedia:Village Pump or Wikipedia:Cleanup. I'm getting a rather unclear message about a "spam protection filter", which doesn't tell me what I should do about this. Can someone please explain what the heck is going on? -- Jmabel 18:37, Jun 18, 2004 (UTC)

It would be helpful to know what text you were trying to save. Could you please try saving it under a different name, say a user subpage or something? Angela. 05:22, 20 Jun 2004 (UTC)
I was having this problem about two weeks ago then it just went away. But I was unable to post ANYTHING for a day. RickK 05:41, Jun 29, 2004 (UTC)

I can't post to Village Pump

I keep getting a database error:

A database query syntax error has occurred. This could be because of an illegal search query (see Searching Wikipedia), or it may indicate a bug in the software. The last attempted database query was: UPDATE cur SET cur_text='{{villagepump}} :Followed by a copy of everything in the Pump Followed by cur_user=13800,cur_timestamp='20040629053637',cur_user_text='RickK',cur_is_redirect=0, cur_is_new=0, cur_touched='20040629053637', inverse_timestamp='79959370946362' WHERE cur_id=731397 AND cur_timestamp='20040629053338' from within function "Article::updateArticle". MySQL returned error "1205: Lock wait timeout exceeded; Try restarting transaction".

Anyway, can somebody explain to my how to rename Categories without having to delete the Category, recreate it with the new name, and go back to every article linked to it and changing them? RickK 05:40, Jun 29, 2004 (UTC)

There isn't one. Submit a request on source forge. --ssd 00:35, 30 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Don't know if this is a bug or a problem with me...

I tried to update an image by uploading one with the same name: Image:Crude-EU9.png

But the new image isn't showing -- the one on display is the *old* one. And if you look at the Image History, even though the details of my image are correct (4706 bytes) when you click at it it takes you to the old image with the old size - 3603 bytes.

Has anyone else been able to update images recently? And if yes, how have they accomplished it?

Any ideas what's the problem? Is it something I could have done wrong?

Aris Katsaris 14:39, 15 Jul 2004 (UTC)

I get that. I find it sorts itself out if I refresh the page. — Chameleon My page/My talk 16:23, 15 Jul 2004 (UTC)
Thanks. I'd been updating with F5 and that hadn't been working, but Ctrl+F5 did work. My bad. Aris Katsaris 17:48, 15 Jul 2004 (UTC)

This is a bug: see [1]. Gdr 22:04, 2004 Jul 21 (UTC)

Warning, this page's content has been duplicated again

Somewhere between these 2 revisions: [[2]] and [[3]]. I am too tired to try to sort it out. Probably want to lock the page briefly to fix it? Elf | Talk 04:33, 27 Jul 2004 (UTC)

I've been using emacs compare-window (via either w3m or mozex) and fixing is both trivial and quick. --ssd 05:57, 27 Jul 2004 (UTC)


Vp redirects here. I think it would be better for that page to go to Vice President, as that's by far the more common usage, and likely to be typed in by readers. I'm making the change now. [[User:Meelar|Meelar (talk)]] 20:40, 2004 Aug 16 (UTC)

Archiving the pump

Now the village pump is constantly over 200kb, is there any point to the "Summarised sections" part? It takes a long time to move the discussions elsewhere and/or summarise them, and I'm wondering if it is worth the effort or whether people would be happy for sections older than a few days just to be removed without any record. Angela. 04:07, Aug 18, 2004 (UTC)

I don't think there's any point in general. If the discussion ended up being quite important and worth referencing in future, it should be copied to an appropriate page, else it should just be deleted. Much of the pump's content is ephemeral. —Morven 04:28, Aug 18, 2004 (UTC)
Yes, but the people involved in the discussions rarely do move it to the appropriate page. Should it be assumed that if no one has taken it somewhere else after three days then it is to be considered non-important and removable? Angela. 07:28, Aug 18, 2004 (UTC)
I think deleting content with no immediate use is fine; it's all in the history anyway. Never delete the history though - it's as important as archives of newsgroups. Derrick Coetzee 05:54, 18 Aug 2004 (UTC)
The history of the village pump is useless though. You can't go back more than a few weeks without the database timing out, and the history is not searchable. Angela. 07:28, Aug 18, 2004 (UTC)
But it is saved, and might be both searchable and snappily accessible in the future. I like the idea to just remove what has not been moved away to a more specific page, except in obvious cases where the cleaner sees that a discussion has a great value. [[User:Sverdrup|Sverdrup❞]] 04:06, 19 Aug 2004 (UTC)

A related question is how short should the pump be? Removing 74 sections only brought it down to 64kb, which is still twice as large as the recommended maximum. The sections started in the last 24 hours alone add up to 32kb. This is not scaling. Perhaps it's time to move onto bulletin boards instead? Angela. 07:34, Aug 18, 2004 (UTC)

I'd agree with the bulletin boards suggestion. I don't think the MediaWiki software works well for 'big' discussions. —Morven 08:44, Aug 18, 2004 (UTC)
BBs essentially solve the "big page" problem by showing a list of links to individual discussions, rather than all the discussions all at once. We could do on the wiki too if we wanted. Pcb21| Pete 11:17, 18 Aug 2004 (UTC)
We're halfway to that solution on WP:VFD -- Jmabel 18:36, Aug 18, 2004 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Requests for comment is even further in that direction - it has its advantages and disadvantages. The most important of the latter is that the index page gets stale. e.g "Request for comment on Blah Blah Blah - page is POV" but when you get there the discussion has moved on. Pcb21| Pete 23:19, 18 Aug 2004 (UTC)

If we are considering being radical, another solution might be to leverage the strong wikipedia IRC community - have a javascript app that links into the underlying IRC channel for "quick questions". Might take some weight off the pump? Pcb21| Pete 19:24, 18 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Tim has proposed an Article chat box feature, but it hasn't been written yet. Angela. 23:00, Aug 18, 2004 (UTC)

In my opinion, y'all are spending too much time trying to keep the page short. Any discussion should remain visible for at least a week, and past discussions should be archived in a quickly and easily accessible way. The pump isn't just for admins to practice maintenance on, Angela. If it's too much effort for you to keep it properly maintained, go somewhere else. --[[User:Eequor|η υωρ]] 05:10, 8 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Let's try saying that to those poor users on dial-up trying to ask a question on the pump. The pump isn't just for broadband-users to flex their speed on, Eequor. If it's too annoying for you to watch it kept properly maintained, go somewhere else. ;-) Johnleemk | Talk 10:01, 8 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Personally, I'm used to pages taking a while to load, especially big pages such as the pump or other very active pages (I'm on 28k dialup). If I'm asking a question on one of these pages, I usually look at the diffs instead.
As I said before, the pump isn't for admins to practice doing maintenance with. I'm not here to watch anybody maintain it; I'm here to actually use it as what it's for. It's annoying to see admins making it harder to use. --[[User:Eequor|η υωρ]] 13:43, 8 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Nonsense in archive summary

If you're going to archive a section, at least give it enough of a description that everyone understands what the section was about, even if they hadn't participated in it. Some summaries are just nonsense, and I've removed them to here:

I haven't the slightest idea what any of these are supposed to be about. --[[User:Eequor|η υωρ]] 05:24, 8 Sep 2004 (UTC)

By and large it seems many people can't be bothered or don't want to archive, so I suggest we go easy on those who do. It's better than just removing the content with no links. zoney ▓   ▒ talk 09:51, 8 Sep 2004 (UTC)
These summaries are nonsense. Nobody except the participants in the individual discussions will understand what the discussions were about. It could be argued that these links are worse than simply deleting the sections; they have no value to the majority of Wikipedia users and simply take up space.
User:Angela only rarely edits the page in any way other than to summarize sections. Since she is not one of the participants, she is one of the least suitable people to maintain the page, and her suggestions or complaints about maintenance have little merit. --[[User:Eequor|η υωρ]] 14:04, 8 Sep 2004 (UTC)