Wikibooks:Reading room/Proposals

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Welcome to the Proposals reading room. On this page, Wikibookians are free to talk about suggestions for improving Wikibooks.


It dawned on me earlier that Wikibooks is one of the few websites which I regularly use which doesn't include buttons for sharing pages (books) with various social networks. Digging around showed that this had been discussed many times before on W'pedia (here but has such a proposal taken place in Wikibooks? I've read the arguments against the idea and understand how it might promote certain other websites and so on but when more and more traffic is coming from mobile devices it seems like the obvious way forward. Copying and pasting a URL and then switching to a VK or Facebook app to post the link is quite a chore on a mobile device.--ЗAНИA Flag of Estonia.svgtalk 01:16, 16 March 2014 (UTC)

n:Template:Social bookmarks. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 02:49, 16 March 2014 (UTC)
With that precedent in mind, I think it's an interesting idea; but, where would you envision putting the share buttons? For example, if we wanted them per-book, and at the bottom of the book's main page, we could add them to template {{subjects}} (with some care, since there might be some books that don't put {{subjects}} in the standard place). Sharing per-book makes a certain amount of sense to me, because the point of our project is the books as coherent units, rather than just collections of pages (which is Wikipedia's turf). On the other hand, there are times when a particular page is of interest, and very much so in the Cookbook subproject. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 16:21, 16 March 2014 (UTC)
I'd say that share buttons at the foot of the page would be the best idea. The buttons would be for sharing the whole book with the exception of Cookbook pages. But what are the negatives of doing this? I don't fully understand why Wikipedia rejected it - it seems like an obvious idea to me but it seems to have been repeatedly shot down.--ЗAНИA Flag of Estonia.svgtalk 19:12, 16 March 2014 (UTC)
Well, bluntly, the Wikipedian community plays headgames with itself. They have this virulently anti-elitist tradition, yet in openly acknowledging they aren't themselves a reliable source they nurse an inferiority complex that compels them to put on the trappings of elitism. Share-links would be plebian.
(I choose to believe Wikipedia isn't beyond redemption. I do. But I think they've gotten themselves into a hole they can't dig themselves out of; it's going to be up to their sister projects to succeed and show them how it can be done. Not a short-term goal, but one I think worth striving for.) --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 19:51, 16 March 2014 (UTC)
I'd welcome it being made easier to socially share Wikibooks content, especially on mobile devices: it might go some way to addressing the disparity between Wikibooks' quality and how well known it is. On the "per-book" versus "per-page" issue, I request that avoid paternalism and put as much as possible in the hands of the user. This fits with the Wikimedia ethos of content freely reusable by anyone for any purpose. Say I find the page Communication_Theory/Uncertainty_Reduction and want to share it with colleagues or students: I'd hope the page itself would be shared, not the entire book on the assumption that the book is intended as a coherent unit. Leave it to the user to share what they think is worth sharing, rather than deciding on their behalf. Cheers, MartinPoulter (discusscontribs) 17:16, 24 March 2014 (UTC)
Well I tried to have a go myself. I copied the template text from Wikinews (User:Xania/Template:Social_bookmark) but then got stumped by the mention of Javascript (which I found on common.js but it scared me). There really must be an easy way. We mentioned above about the problems with Wikipedia and other Wikimedia sites but as countless media articles have pointed out over the years it's the software that puts most people off. Anything more than simple editing of pages is beyond the limits of most users. It's no wonder people need lots of time to become a bigger part of the community, it's why out of all the stewards there is only one female, and it's why Wikipedia is lacking in so many subjects which the majority of contributors have no interest in.--ЗAНИA Flag of the Isle of Mann.svgtalk 18:08, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
The objective of my interactive tools is to allow ordinary wiki markup to be used to construct interactive web pages, such as wizards. On the theory that the community of a sister project should be used not only to crowdsource ongoing development of content for the project, but also to crowdsource ongoing development of semi-automated assistance for on-wiki tasks requiring expertise. There are lots of tasks on any wiki requiring expertise; content development requires expertise, and various administrative tasks do too, and the community could capture these things and make almost everything anyone does on the wiki easier.
That said, there will always be occasions when one has to resort to some other language (for example, I'm creating my interactive tools using javascript and lua). Wiki markup is, and must remain, deliberately weak enough that it doesn't offer exploits.
Some of the javascript over on Wikinews is truly harrowing; iirc bawolff has remarked that he wrote a bunch of it when he was much less experienced, and it scares him now. When I get a chance, I'll see what the javascript for the social bookmarks is like, and thus whether it can be adapted or would need rewritten. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 19:04, 4 June 2014 (UTC)


Is it easy to change the frequency of archiving for the various Reading Rooms. Wikibooks (or at least the Reading Rooms) is a lot less active than in the past and it's a pain returning after a break to have to plough through all of the various archives. Seems to be archiving everything after 21 days of no activity - would it be feasible to change this to 45 or 60 days? Also noticed that Wikibooks:Reading_room/Archives didn't have lists for 2013 so I've added them.--ЗAНИA Flag of Estonia.svgtalk 23:42, 17 March 2014 (UTC)

Each page should have a template call at the top to {{User:MiszaBot/config}}. One of the parameters is  algo = old(21d)  which can presumably be changed from 21 to 45 or 60 with the desired efect. I'd be okay with 60. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 01:24, 18 March 2014 (UTC)
Great so it's that simple. I'll give it a go some time. Thanks.--ЗAНИA Flag of Estonia.svgtalk 01:44, 18 March 2014 (UTC)
Done. Now 50 days. --ЗAНИA Flag of Estonia.svgtalk 18:07, 22 March 2014 (UTC)

Why is there no literature in Hindi?[edit]


You can find Hindi books at Hindi Wikibooks. --darklama 13:53, 22 April 2014 (UTC)
More literary material will be at Hindi Wikisource [1]. Recent Runes (discusscontribs) 19:16, 22 April 2014 (UTC)

Welcome template for Class Project users[edit]

Since there are so many new users involved in academic projects I thought it was a good idea to create a welcome template for such users. I have created Template:Classwelcome. I hope somebody can edit it further as more should be said. As with all welcome messages it should be substituted. Maybe it would be better to refer to the users as being involved with academic projects as many of these seem to be university students so class isn't the appropriate word (at least not in Europe).--ЗAНИA Flag of Estonia.svgtalk 18:46, 5 May 2014 (UTC)

Should welcome messages be substituted? I'm not actively disagreeing, just wondering about the reasoning involved. On Wikinews, we never (intentionally) substitute the {{Howdy}} template, which is transcluded on a humongous number of user talk pages (I see it's over a million now); every few years, when we decide to upgrade it, the upgrade gets deployed to everyone's user talk page. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 18:59, 5 May 2014 (UTC)
I have always substituted them because I recall reading somewhere that I should and there's no need for old welcome messages to be updated I'm guessing (as the message has already been read). I don't know much about the technical side of all this except that people claim that substituting is less demanding on the servers but to what extent I don't know. As for academic project people, I know it's not always clear if a new user is here for an academic project but often the type of page they edit or their username will give it away (for some projects everybody has a similar username).--ЗAНИA Flag of Estonia.svgtalk 19:16, 5 May 2014 (UTC)
True, there is a server demand issue: a single edit to the Wikinews Howdy template would require the server to update over a million pages. So it's not something to do unless distributing the change like that is really what one wants. Fair enough. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 02:36, 6 May 2014 (UTC)

Do we need 7 different Reading rooms?[edit]

In the Discussion category we have: General | Proposals | Projects | Featured books

In the Assistance category we have: General | Technical | Administrative

Do we really need this many reading rooms? Could the General discussion and Proposals be merged? And the General and Technical Assistance be merged too? Having two rooms named General also seems a bit confusing? I can see why Wikipedia needs so many rooms but other projects seem to manage with fewer - I only see one regularly used at Voyage.--ЗAНИA Flag of Estonia.svgtalk 21:43, 19 May 2014 (UTC)

And after my little rant I now realise that I've probably filed this message in the wrong reading room. Another problem possibly? People often are not sure where to put their messages.--ЗAНИA Flag of Estonia.svgtalk 21:45, 19 May 2014 (UTC)
At en.wn we have five water coolers. Nowadays some of them might not see anything posted in a given month. Nobody's even suggested consolidating; it's a given that better times are ahead, and the infrastructure for keeping things straight is already in place for when it's more needed than it is now.
However, the point about people not knowing where to post is important. I'd want to address it by some means other than collapsing the infrastructure, but it should be addressed.
And, well, yes, the preferred reading room for the topic would probably be "Proposals". ;-)  --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 22:03, 19 May 2014 (UTC)

(edit conflict) English Wikinews has 5 places in their water cooler, plus the Newsroom (which I think is like the Projects Reading Room). English Wikinews may not have featured news because they list many current news stories on their main page. I think the General Discussion and General Assistance reading rooms could be merged. I think proposals should be kept separate to keep from overwhelming any other discussions or assistance people may need. I think technical assistance should be kept separate to ease tracking by people who can help. Administrative assistance might make sense to discontinue as administrators already watch the other reading rooms, and because there might not be much there that doesn't overlap with other requests for assistance or discussions. --darklama 22:26, 19 May 2014 (UTC)

(Just an aside — The Newsroom isn't a place for discussion, it's a place where unpublished articles are automatically listed sorted by status; mainly, not yet submitted for review, and failed review so potentially in need of repairs. Articles can't be nominated for Featured Article status until they're archived, a week or more after publication; there's a page for discussing FA nominations.)
Merging General Discussion and General Assistance seems fairly reasonable to me. It should be raised at the proposals rr, though, because there's a reasonable expectation by people who may care about the decision, and who might not be watching here, that such a thing would be raised there.
I'm uncomfortable about discontinuing administrative assistance; there should always be a place to ask for help from the admins. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 23:11, 19 May 2014 (UTC)
I agree this proposal should be moved to the proposals rr for the reasons you mentioned. --darklama 23:30, 19 May 2014 (UTC)
This topic has been moved from Wikibooks:Reading_room/Assistance--ЗAНИA Flag of Estonia.svgtalk 23:49, 19 May 2014 (UTC)

About administrative assistance, there are already specific pages to request specific assistance from administrators. The only remaining requests seems to be ones that may require discussion or anyone can do, much like anyone can discuss whether to keep or delete books at RFD/RFU and anyone can evaluate what the consensus is. Administrative action is only required when/if consensus is to delete.

I think the distinction between discussion and assistance might be the main problem with the organization of the reading rooms. --darklama 00:18, 20 May 2014 (UTC)

On the second point, if the distinction between discussion and assistance is a problem, then I expect the solution to be difficult to work out. Actually, looking at the nav bar at the top of this page, it looks more intuitive the more we discuss changing things. We'll want to think this through very carefully.
I'd like to explore the first point. You say "there are already specific pages to request specific assistance from administrators". Hmm. What pages are you referring to? --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 01:17, 20 May 2014 (UTC)
I think the solution is easy with General and Assistance merged there is no overlap with the rest:
  • Technical − Ask questions, request assistance, and discuss technical issues
  • Proposals − Suggest and discuss ideas for improving Wikibooks
  • Projects − Ask questions, request assistance, and discuss book-related problems
  • Imports − Request material and files be imported to Wikibooks
  • Permissions − Request access to addition tools
  • Renames − Request name changes
  • RFD/RFU − Request and discuss (un)deletions
  • Featured books − Request and discuss featured status for books
  • General − All other questions, requests, and community discussions
Imports and Renames are requests for specific assistance from administrators. Requests in the other reading rooms may require assistance from administrators to implement depending on what is being requested. People don't always understand what requests may require assistance from administrators and what requests do not. Requests may also not be clear from the beginning whether there is a need for administrator assistance or not. I think ambiguities in who assistance is needed from should be addressed with either specific request pages with focus on the request type and not the who, or when unknown should be addressed with something more general that isn't administrator specific with the assumption that anyone can generally help and if a request really does request assistance from someone with access to specific tools then a person with those tools can join the discussion and address the problem. --darklama 02:20, 20 May 2014 (UTC)
Intuitive? Hardly. Just look at the amount of discussions in the various rooms which begin with Not sure if this is the right place, but.... And any kind of message or proposal can turn into a discussion. Though I quite like the description above Darklama - I had no idea that that was what the Proposals and Projects rooms were for. I'd presumed Projects was related to class projects and I had gathered that Proposals was for this kind of discussion but also guessed it was for book-related proposals. Anyway, most of these pages are not reading rooms - maybe there could be one reading room and several other things with a somewhat different name (just as RfD is not the Deletions reading room).--ЗAНИA Flag of Estonia.svgtalk 09:35, 20 May 2014 (UTC)
@ЗAНИA. What pages are not reading rooms? What do you propose to change now? Maybe we agree. Maybe we disagree. I do not know. I do not understand where you are going with this comment. --darklama 14:40, 20 May 2014 (UTC)
  • Regarding the exitence of many specific pages for different kinds of adminstrative requests — that's no substitute for having a simple, easy-to-find place to ask for administrative help. There's a good chance that sort of request may come from folks who are either already having trouble figuring out what's what, or already feeling harassed/frustrated/generally put-upon and don't need another hassle figuring out where to go to ask for assistance. I would expect any sister project to have a single general-purpose clearinghouse for administrative concerns, regardless of how many more specialized pages there are.
Other issues here seem to be about knowing where to go, and I think that's very bound up with the way the menu bar is constructed. I'm gonna need to think about that a bunch more. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 11:25, 20 May 2014 (UTC)
@Pi zero. I think people don't need the added hassle of figuring out where to go to ask for assistance, where to go to discuss things, or to whom it may concern. I think the priorities are getting answers to questions and getting problems fixed, rather than who answers or fixes the problem. I would expect any community-driven project to have a single general-purpose place where people can get answers and have their problems fixed, regardless of how many more specialized pages there are. I think what should or shouldn't be brought up on the administrative page is added hassle people don't need and is the result of the page being either too specialized or not specialized enough.
I think the main issue is about knowing where to go. I too think the layout of the navigation bar/menu is part of the problem. --darklama 14:40, 20 May 2014 (UTC)
I suspect we agree on a lot more than we disagree on here. If someone brings a question to one place, and some other place would have been better, they ought not to be (a) berated for being in the wrong place, or (b) told that such-and-such would be a better place and told to go reask their question there. And they souldn't worry that either of those things might happen. Various helpful responses are possible, neither (a) or (b) amongst them. This is, perhaps, an important ingredient to keep in mind for any upgrade: the nav bar should help them to usually pick a pretty okay place to ask without creating anxiety over where the user should be taking their concern. The clarity, and the reliably pretty-good choice, and the lack of anxiety are all parts of what we want.
Keeping in mind the non-anxiety factor, I'm saying there should be a place one can raise issues that are meant to be particularly brought to the attention of admins. One certainly ought not to respond to other placement of such a post with any of the unhelpful responses such as aforementioned, but there should be a place for admin-relevant concerns particularly. Some people will be expecting that there is such a place, and if they can't find it, that may cause distress to them.
Note that this is not only about the user knowing where to post. That's obviously hugely important. But it is also a matter of where each discussion ultimately gets archived. Admin concerns ought, I suggest, to be archived in a place where one can find such things collected. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 15:12, 20 May 2014 (UTC)
I want to reduce distress and anxiety about where posts ought to be placed, who ought to address particular concerns, and where past discussions ultimately ought to be archived. People also shouldn't be hassled because only administrators or whoever can address their problems and told they need to repost somewhere else to get attention from the "right" people. Getting attention from the "right" people should not be a problem. I think there should be no "wrong" place to post, or one "right" approach to get attention from the "right" people. Wikibooks has made searching the archives easier, but there is probably more that could be done so that one search will return all relevant community discussions. --darklama 16:54, 20 May 2014 (UTC)
It occurs to me en.wn has one other page, not considered part of the water cooler, related to this discussion: WN:AAA — Admin Action Alerts. That's the page that corresponds, roughly, to our Administrative Assistance reading room — and, as I say, it's not considered a water cooler (equiv reading room) at all.
The five water coolers (while we're accumulating comparisons that might provide some snippet of relevant insight) are Policy, Proposals, Technical, Assistance, and Miscellaneous. Those seem to me to be considerably better defined than our set of reading rooms, even though there are situations where more than one choice is reasonable. Food for thought. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 17:52, 20 May 2014 (UTC)
For the sake of disclosure and any potential bias, I draw a comparison with the water cooler because I made the original proposal that resulted in the split of the reading room, I was influenced by Wikinews' approach, and the name "reading room" was proposed along with it. Prior to that, the reading room consisted of a single page named "staff lounge", and the administrative assistance was known as the "administrator's noticeboard". I think I may have suggested merging the administrator's noticeboard into the general reading room then as well. I know I felt a far clearer overlap between the two pages existed back then. The general reading room is like the miscellaneous water cooler. I didn't suggest a policy page back then because the common practice at the time was to discuss on a proposed policy's discussion page and announce the discussion in the site notice. I think there is still no need for a policy page because those can be discussed here in the proposals reading room should the need ever arise, plus consensus from proposals can lead to policy changes, which has happened in the past. What do you think needs to be better defined? I guess maybe my involvement in the reading room's conception leads me not to see how the reading rooms aren't clearly defined already. --darklama 13:40, 30 May 2014 (UTC)

Broadly I'm neutral on this, with the following exceptions. There are two groups of people who come here from other Wikimedia project and are looking immediately for assistance (so their first edit is usually to a Reading Room): The Small Wiki Monitoring Team ("SWMT") including Global Rollbackers and Global Sysops who want to make vandalism reports / block requests; editors wanting to usurp an account in order to complete their Single Unified Login and are directed here from Meta. The renames / usurps are handled by Bureaucrats so are better left on their own page IMO. It can be named something else if people want but I think it is best just left as is because I've only seen a couple of misplaced rename requests so it obviously works. For the SWMT, a page that is familiarly named is most useful as not all are English first-language speakers. So "Administrative Assistance", "Administrators Noticeboard" or something similar is best I think. QuiteUnusual (discusscontribs) 13:52, 30 May 2014 (UTC)

I think everything in the requests part of the top navigation is clearly defined and should be kept as is. I think the administrative assistance is not clearly defined. Based on your comment, I think a reading room to discuss and report problematic behavior would be clearer than "administrative assistance". How about the "user mediation" reading room? Administrative assistance could be renamed leaving the redirect behind, or simply redirected, either would leave a redirect behind for SWMT to find. --darklama 14:10, 30 May 2014 (UTC)
A passing thought: mediation pretty much doesn't work. It's basically begging to escalate a situation and maximize how disruptive it is for as long as possible. I'm not saying I know an ideal alternative, but mediation is horrible and definitely ought not to be encouraged as a default way of thinking. Mediation is part of the interlocking infrastructure by which Wikipedia makes itself a troll-haven. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 15:43, 30 May 2014 (UTC)
Mediation/Arbitration hasn't worked for English Wikibooks either. Maybe people are anxious about any page being used to discuss and report problematic behavior out of the fear that it is begging to escalate a situation to maximize disruption for as long as possible. Maybe that is why these type of pages always use a less specific name compared to other request pages. Meta has RFC, which people use to propose things and to propose blocks. I remember when I was new to Wikibooks, before I knew anything about how the wikimedia projects work, I sought out help on the irc channel for my questions because I didn't know where else to go, and figured anyone who ran the website would be there. Seems like other people new to Wikibooks now often resort to an admin's user discussion page when they have questions or need help with something. --darklama 16:54, 30 May 2014 (UTC)
My original concern was simply that so many rooms were unnecessary because it means looking in several rooms to find what you want and because it may bewilder new users (or me). I also felt that the descriptions weren't clear enough. But it's clear people don't want anything to change so no bother. As for mediation - Wiki attitudes to this are often ridiculous as can be seen on Wikipedia where old-timers simply baffle less-experienced editors with their knowledge of Wiki jargon thus getting their own way or the fiasco of Panic's ridiculous mediation / arbitration / whatever many years ago (although that is all very amusing looking back at the long discussions and blocks / unblocks in the archives).--ЗAНИA Flag of Estonia.svgtalk 18:53, 30 May 2014 (UTC)
Meh. The status quo isn't so wonderful. I think we're just going to take a while to settle on how to change things; no need to move hastily. We may well get there in the end. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 19:13, 30 May 2014 (UTC)
I didn't see any objections to merging the two general reading rooms. That might possibly be the only thing that can change, unless Pi zero still wants/needs more time to think about reorganizing. --darklama 19:42, 30 May 2014 (UTC)

Preventing IP users from creating new pages[edit]

While I believe that only logged in users should be able to edit that's a battle I'm not going to attempt to argue here. However this concerns new pages being created by IP users. Are there more cases of bad page creations than good ones when it comes to IP users? Is there a way of stopping IP users from creating new pages especially creating pages which fall outside of an existing book? Would people support such a change or would it be against Foundation rules? I'd also say that as IP addresses contain personal information wouldn't this cause problems with our new EU right to be forgotten? --ЗAНИA Flag of the Isle of Mann.svgtalk 20:42, 2 June 2014 (UTC)

for reference I count:
  • June 1st - no new good page creations by IP users
  • May 31st - no new good page creations by IP users
  • May 30th - one reasonable page creation by IP user
  • June 1st - 6 new bad page creations by IP users and new accounts (at least 9 today)
  • May 31st - 7 new bad page creations by IP users and new accounts
  • May 30th - 2 new bad page creations by IP users and new accounts

--ЗAНИA Flag of the Isle of Mann.svgtalk 20:59, 2 June 2014 (UTC)

I support limiting IP users to creating new discussion pages for existing content pages to allow any well meaning person to at least point out problems with existing content. --darklama 21:07, 2 June 2014 (UTC)
At en.wn we allow page creation by IPs. We'd rather deal with lots of garbage than discourage a single newcomer. Anyway, my untested impression is that most bad page creations there are by registered accounts. And imho it'd be a terrible idea to force users to wait four days after creating an account before they could create pages. Didn't Wikipedia play with this sort of thing, find it was unfriendly to newcomers, go to an "articles for creation" queue, and find that that doesn't work at all well either?
If you only allow autoconfirmed users to create pages, that's unfriendly to newcomers. If you allow un-autoconfirmed newcomers to create pages, but don't allow IPs to create pages, that means it's harder to know what IP bad page creations came from.
If one were to prevent IPs from creating pages (in some spaces), could one do it in a way that gives humans (but not bots) a friendly invitation to register an account? --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 00:00, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
I meant that IP users should at least be able to point out problems by being able to create discussion pages when considering whether to limit IP users ability to create pages. My impression is restricting IP user activity can have a negative impact on contributions, because fewer people are willing to register an account, if activity at non-wikimedia wiki websites that have restricted editing is any indication. I'm unfamiliar with Wikipedia's practices to know what they have tried and what didn't work for them. The Abuse Filter could probably be used to tag new pages created by IP users to make addressing bad page creations easier for the counter-vandalism team. --darklama 01:05, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
Technically it can be done via the site config or via the Abuse Filter. I created an abuse filter a few weeks ago that throttles new page creation by IP editors (it stops them after they've created more than a couple within a short period) to deal with the copy / paste copyright vandal. It would be easy enough to modify it to disallow any page creations. However, I am generally of the view that the whole principles of Wikimedia projects - "anyone can edit" - should mean exactly that. QuiteUnusual (discusscontribs) 07:36, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
I understand people's points. Would it be easy to edit the filter to prevent any external links in new pages created by IPs and unconfirmed accounts? And how difficult would it be to stop such users from creating new books (as opposed to pages within a book or a talk page)?--ЗAНИA Flag of the Isle of Mann.svgtalk 09:18, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
Does anyone can edit mean anyone even if they don't create an account? I mean requiring people to create an account is still allowing anyone to edit because anyone can create an account. It's even safer because it protects their IP address. --ЗAНИA Flag of the Isle of Mann.svgtalk 20:35, 6 June 2014 (UTC)
I think anyone is usually interpreted to include IPs; one wants to encourage them to register, but one doesn't want to make registration a front-end load on contribution. Myself, I made my first edit to Wikipedia in 2005, a typo in an article I was looking at iirc, and figured if I ever found myself editing it again I'd get an account; and sure enough, about a year later I found myself wanting to make another edit, so I registered. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 22:33, 6 June 2014 (UTC)
I think I was really just thinking aloud. I'm pretty sure I know what is meant by anyone can edit. I might suggest though that encouraging (or forcing) IP editors to use might result in them becoming part of the community and making further constructive edits (more than they would if they remain as IP editors). No way of proving my wild theory though.--ЗAНИA Flag of the Isle of Mann.svgtalk 22:40, 6 June 2014 (UTC)
… While the others would spend a few extra minutes to register a one-time account they’ll never consider remembering the password of, just for that single particular edit. To no-one’s win. — Ivan Shmakov (dc) 23:03, 6 June 2014 (UTC)
IMO, at present, the problem of bad page creations is not serious. We're a small community, the Recent Changes do not fill up too quickly, and there's a review system in place, which gives us a list of RCs that are easy to patrol. I'd wager the majority of the bad page creations are deleted before they're caught by Google, i.e. there's very little chance those pages will be seen. I'd rather we continue to combat vandalism/spamming than to bar IPs from creating pages, which will only worsen WB's contribution rate. I fully support the WN attitude Pi zero stated: 'We'd rather deal with lots of garbage than discourage a single newcomer.' Kayau (talk · contribs) 00:45, 27 July 2014 (UTC)

Support for Chemical table files[edit]

As of now, images of structural formulas have to be created using third party software and converting the output to SVG or PNG. With MolHandler we aim for a solution capable accepting and rendering chemical markup files and providing a web-interface for easily creating, modifying and re-mixing formula files. This does not only make re-using existing structures easier and simplifies creation of structures, moreover it allows Wikis to adopt a unified style for rendering these structures, makes structures searchable (sub-structure search) allows pulling, pushing and verifying data from big databases like ChemSpider and PubChem. In the future we plan to enable support for spectra and more sophisticated file formats to have at least some minimum support forchemistry-related Wiki-works.

I am currently looking for features you would find helpful as well as your opinion of what is needed to deploy MolHandler to Wikipedia and therefore created a test wiki at which you can create user accounts (and do everything you ever wanted to do). A non-exhaustive list of features is available for raking by drag&drop. Or just write here what you at least want, what you would like to see soon and what is less important to you.

If you want to upload MOL or RXN files instead of SVGs and PNGs in future, go to, test and say, "YES to MolHandler"!

-- Rillke (discusscontribs) 14:01, 8 July 2014 (UTC)

Alternative paid contribution disclosure policy[edit]

I’ve already started a discussion on the issue at v:Wikiversity:Colloquium#Alternative paid contribution disclosure policy, and intend to do the same at Russian Wikibooks and Wikiversity just as well.

I believe that the paid contributions disclosure policy effected by the Foundation is broad enough to potentially affect anyone who happens to collaborate on Wikibooks as part of their class assignments, for the text of the policy seems to make no exception for, say, getting a course credit when compensation is mentioned. (As part of these obligations, you must disclose your employer, client, and affiliation with respect to any contribution for which you receive, or expect to receive, compensation.)

To stress it out, – it’s my understanding of the policy that anyone using Wikibooks as part of one’s class assignment, must, from now on, disclose his or her affiliation (as in: school) in at least one of the following ways: a statement on [one’s] user page, a statement on the talk page accompanying any paid contributions, or a statement in the edit summary accompanying any paid contributions.

And while I agree that it may be expected for the instructor to inform the community of the forthcoming class assignments to be performed on Wikibooks, I feel it grossly inappropriate for the students’ (accidental) failure to report their affiliation to be deemed breach of the Terms of Use.

Fortunately, it’s explicitly allowed for any individual Wikimedia wiki to adopt its own, alternative policy, to be used in place of the global one, by means of the community consensus. One such policy has recently been implemented at the Wikimedia Commons, and reads: The Wikimedia Commons community does not require any disclosure of paid contributions from its contributor.

I hereby propose that a similarly relaxed, or perhaps identical, alternative paid contributions policy is adopted for the English Wikibooks just as well.

FTR, Commons seem to be the only project to adopt an alternative paid contribution disclosure policy so far.

Ivan Shmakov (dc) 18:34, 20 July 2014 (UTC)

As I indicated in my vote a while ago, all paid-for editing should be completely banned. Why does anyone support it? Is it an American thing? The whole concept is completely against the spirit of Wikimedia. Paid contributions and donations from commercial organizations should never be permitted. I really don't understand the above post. Why would a student be making paid-for edits? The vast majority of universities are not profit-making organizations. Please re-word the above proposal (or comments) in terms that ordinary, especially non-American, readers can understand.--ЗAНИA Flag of the Isle of Mann.svgtalk 22:33, 20 July 2014 (UTC)
This isn't about paid-for editing. I see the change to the terms of use as a wedge for persons of dubious faith to use to drive others out of wikimedia. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 22:49, 20 July 2014 (UTC)
@Xania: Students (probably) don't get money for editing but they do get credit. So they receive some compensation for creating content here (or at Wikipedia or elsewhere). —Justin (koavf)TCM 03:05, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
That’s the point. But otherwise, if some corporation decides to, say, publish a manual for their product here on Wikibooks, do we really have a problem with that? — Ivan Shmakov (dc) 06:44, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
I don't believe we need any agreement regarding clarification/interpretation on the new changes unless there is some point that must be made to address an issue on our project. I think I understand the point being made and I would agree that without clearly stating it any contribution (work) for compensation could be described as a paid contribution (it needn't only to involve money), there are plenty of examples of paid work (writing work) on the WEB that does not linearly translate into what we generally accept as a monetary transaction, from reviews being done because the reviewer gets a free copy of the product to the academia that must produce work for credit or even tenure all can indeed be described as an economic relation, a transaction.
In any case I don't think that our project is one that is impacted by problematic paid-for editing (we normally ban most form of contributions that are clearly marked as only having economic interests and we avoid most contemporaneous turf wars in our existing policies and those that escape that fall into a POV issues that can easily be fixed by the next editor). Here free content is king, whatever the origin and by design we only accept useful content so I can't envision us getting into problems like those that must exist in other more generalist and contemporaneous Wikimedia projects (Wikipedia, Wikinews or Commons).
So far in my view this is no a problem that needs fixing in this project. --Panic (discusscontribs) 03:47, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
Could you please clarify what you do not consider a problem that needs fixing in this project: is it receiving compensation (which I agree is not a problem), or is it that disclosure is now mandatory for all the edits that one receives, or expect to receive, compensation for (which I believe is a problem)? — Ivan Shmakov (dc) 06:44, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
I doubt that you will have any people needing to comply to the disclosure requirement and then even less chances to verify any breach of that same requirement in this project. So I don't see it as a problem at all unless people start to take the meaning of paid-for editing beyond what is intended (it is clear what Wikimedia is objecting too, there is no need to take it further). They just need a way to pull out some abusive people that have an economic interest liked to their participation and so have an incentive to spend some coinage in legal actions, this serves only to avoid legal procedures when they get banned.
Even if I don't see it as a problem on this project we may have some from a reverse side, in global bans that eject editors that are indeed contributing valid and acceptable content here but being abusive of their freedoms elsewhere. --Panic (discusscontribs) 07:25, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
We may argue about the intent, but the wording of the policy is pretty clear: a student who participates in Wikibooks with the intent of getting a course credit (compensation) and failing to make it clear as required (disclosure) is in breach of the ToU, and may thus be subject to legal action from WMF.
Do I understand it correctly that you suggest we should just keep our eyes closed on any such breach, until and unless there’re other issues with one’s contributions?
Otherwise, I agree that the current disclosure policy is essentially unenforceable. But that’s one more reason to supersede it with a relaxed local policy, – just as the Commons community did.
Ivan Shmakov (dc) 07:42, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
I am also concerned with the danger that this over-generally-worded provision in the ToU would be used maliciously as a weapon against individuals, including long-standing memebers of the project. Granted, afaik Wikibooks has not so far been the target of as much of this sort of nonsense as, say, Wikinews — Wikinews is the target of dirty politics routinely (for example, a while ago over at meta somebody tried to amend the project-closure policy specifically to make it easier to close Wikinews projects) — but that could change, and I believe it would be wise for us to close this loophole to make ourselves less vulnerable. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 10:54, 21 July 2014 (UTC)

… One another thing to note is that, say, in Russia, for a fair share (if not straight majority) of higher education students, the tuition is funded by the state, – based on one’s own academic performance. Thus, it’s not as simple as “I participate on Wikibooks so to get a course credit”, – it actually has a “and so that the state will provide funding for the next year of my education” part all along. And that gets quite close to the “money or services” – as clarified in the FAQ.

Now, there’s one more side to the problem. I have to admit that with the free licenses being embraced by the corporations, – and with something like every other enterprise out there having a wiki for the staff and clients to share the recipes on how to use the respective goods and services, – my idea was, why duplicate the effort? Is it all that reasonable to describe how to do something using product X when we can actually have free instructions on all the similar products (X, Y, Z, and beyond) collected at one single place, which is Wikibooks? (And the money currently spent on the maintenance of the company’s own wiki may be donated to the Foundation, – or some other worthy cause, anyway.)

Fortunately, despite of some confusion over the amendment, it does not prohibit “paid-for” contributions. Neither even does inconvenience the contributors in this case, either, for I’d rather expect for the employees of a company interested in contributing their documentation to Wikibooks (and collaborating over it there), to identify themselves irrespective of the policy, – if only as a matter of showing “authority” (of a kind) over their contributions on the particular subject.

What bother me, however, (and in addition to the issue with students above) – are the freelancers.

Suppose, for instance, that I’m contacted over IRC to write a book on air showers, and publish it here on Wikibooks, and be paid in Bitcoin for that. Now, I duly note on my user page that I was compensated by jsmith (~jsmith@2001:db8::da:42; J. Smith) for my contributions to the Air showers for dummies book. The question is: how the Wikibooks community is going to use that information? Will the book be instantly deleted because of that, or will I be blocked, or something?

Generally, could someone please spell out the specific circumstances when the value of one’s contributions is to be decided based, in whole or in part, on the (claimed) employer, client, and affiliation of the contributor? Suppose that, say Special:Diff/2468642 is found to be “paid” for. Does that make it any better or worse, and if so, why? Are there any other specific edits here at Wikibooks for which the affiliation would matter somehow?

Thanks in advance.

Ivan Shmakov (dc) 21:22, 1 August 2014 (UTC)

Category:Wikibooks media[edit]

The French Wikibooks is requiring Image:Importing Image.jpg, and I was wondering why it hadn't been moved on Commons.

For information I did recently such a bot migration with MW:Manual:Pywikibot/ for the French Wikibooks and Wikiversity so there wouldn't be any technical difficulty. JackPotte (discusscontribs) 21:07, 2 August 2014 (UTC)

Idem for Image:Stages_of_how_a_photocopier_works.png, their licenses allow to avoid a duplication. JackPotte (discusscontribs) 20:34, 8 August 2014 (UTC)

We have about 5,000 images that are suitable for import to Commons; and no willing volunteers to do it! QuiteUnusual (discusscontribs) 12:51, 11 August 2014 (UTC)
So I will begin in the next days, after my bot flag on Commons. JackPotte (discusscontribs) 20:06, 11 August 2014 (UTC)

Echo and watchlist[edit]

Special:Notifications & Special:Watchlist substantially overlap in functionality, except the former also contains extra (some non-public) events and doesn't provide with passive usage options (means to turn off web-nagging or email-nagging and to just keep visiting the page whenever I'm free), while the latter doesn't provide with options of active web-nagging notifications (but already provides email interface). Partly, in my personal view, the Echo/Notifications project was driven by low usability of watchlist; [2] comes to mind. It's also perhaps worth noting that Echo users aren't exposed to Special:Notifications unless thy have JavaScript disabled — in which case it's their only means of reading the notifications.

I'd like to get this done:

  1. Merge these two pages into one.
  2. To remedy large inflow of information, introduce multiple levels of importance of the web-nagging notifications (red for mentions, orange for thanks, blue for new watchlist items, etc and configurable in your settings).

Thoughts on both, please? --Gryllida 02:19, 9 September 2014 (UTC)

Nice idea, although you're more likely to generate interest discussing this on Meta or MediaWiki where these issues are generally pushed around... QuiteUnusual (discusscontribs) 07:25, 9 September 2014 (UTC)
Merging the two into one could make both more complex and thus less useful. I rather like both the way they are, as I perceive them as serving different purposes — notifications for a small number of personal items, watchlist for a bigger picture of mostly-less-personal items.
Which said, I still don't understand what Echo is; I've tried to find information about it, but half the time, pages say it's the same as notifications, while the other half, they talk about it as something different but evidently assume everyone already knows what. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 10:13, 9 September 2014 (UTC)
Echo and Notifications are indeed the same thing (see mw:Echo (Notifications) QuiteUnusual (discusscontribs) 11:29, 9 September 2014 (UTC)