Wikibooks:Reading room/General

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Welcome to the General reading room. On this page, Wikibookians are free to talk about the Wikibooks project in general. For proposals for improving Wikibooks, see the Proposals reading room.

Introducing myself[edit]

Hello to everyone, I am posting this as I saw a message on profile page to introduce myself. I am medical graduate from India ,currently pursuing PG in Radiology and also preparing for some more exams. I like to untangle the anything that i feel is too complicated to my liking and i good at it (at least that is what my colleagues have told me). Ever I started my med school preps , their were just way too many things to cram in my brain (which shrinks a little every day) , so i started to make jingles out the first alphabets. I will most likely be contributing a lot of my mnemonics to this site and messing with others , and if i ever manage to write a book , it will happen here at Wikibooks. —Preceding unsigned comment by Randjo (discusscontribs) added before 23:50, 24 January 2015 (UTC)

Introducing myself[edit]

Hi , I'm Leaderboard and I currently edit on some computing books , such as and Basic Computing Using Windows

VisualEditor coming to this wiki as a Beta Feature[edit]

VE as BetaFeature.png

Hello. Please excuse the English. I would be grateful if you translated this message!

VisualEditor, a rich-text editor for MediaWiki, will soon be available on this wiki as a Beta Feature. The estimated date of activation is Wednesday, 26 November.

To access it, you will need to visit the Beta features page after the deployment and tick the box next to "VisualEditor". (If you have enabled the "Automatically enable all new beta features" option, VisualEditor will be automatically available for you.) There will also be a "VisualEditor language tool" that you can enable if you need it.

Then, you just have to click on "Edit" to start VisualEditor, or on "Edit source" to edit using wikitext markup. You can even begin to edit pages with VisualEditor and then switch to the wikitext editor simply by clicking on its tab at any point, and you can keep your changes when doing so.

A guide was just published at so that you can learn how to support your community with this transition: please read and translate it if you can! You will find all the information about the next steps there. Please report any suggestions or issues at the main feedback page. You will also receive the next issues of the multilingual monthly newsletter here on this page: if you want it delivered elsewhere, for example at your personal talk page, please add the relevant page here.

Thanks for your attention and happy editing, Elitre (WMF) 18:12, 21 November 2014 (UTC)
I'm sorry to hear it's coming here in any form at all. The Foundation has made clear they don't care what users think, though. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 18:17, 21 November 2014 (UTC)
I'm interested to hear what your reasons for opposing it are. I don't know that much about this but I reckon that anything which encourages more non-technical people to contribute to Wikimedia projects is a good thing. Wikipedia and sister projects are so fiddly to edit and very little has changed in 10 years. It's stilll just as much of a pain in the arse to find pages, to add templates and to remember what code does what as it was at the very beginning.--ЗAНИA Flag of the Isle of Mann.svgtalk 19:47, 21 November 2014 (UTC)
Having taken a few days to mentally prepare, I'll take a shot at articulating this. Though, there could well be deep considerations that contribute to my intuition without my having explicitly identified them. (I've said for many years now, I take my ituition very seriously because I've found from experience that my intuition is way smarter than I am.)
I've got two ways of describing this, very different from each other though seemingly somehow intertwined — one in terms of the way markup languages evolve, and one in terms of the way wiki users learn.
  • Having watched as data formats rise and fall, I've observed that the ones that enjoy real long-term success are text; not some binary format, just plain text. This is closely related, of course, to the open-source concept, since text is by nature broadly readable and maniuplable with no need for specialized software to access it. UNIX is founded on text as a common data form. Programming languages (successful ones) are too. TeX, and its highly successful library extension LaTeX. Text is the medium of the web, and of (for all its flaws) javascript. Html. And wikis. This is why something like Flow (yes, I know we're not primarily talking about Flow here) is just a stupifyingly bad idea; if you deliberately set out to bring about the destruction of the wikimedian movement, you couldn't do much better than Flow.
However, there is a qualitative difference between text that can be manipulated by hand, and text that can only be handled by machine. In the early days of html, we wrote our web pages in html. And it was tolerably easy to do. The markup language was, however, oriented in its design more toward software than toward human authors, and continued to evolve in that direction — and wiki markup came along, the dominant characteristic of which was that it is incredibly easy for a human being to write and edit. There's been a lot of revisionism about this, but despite efforts to portray wiki markup as difficult, the whole reason it was ever successful in the first place is that it's a miracle of convenience. And the one thing guaranteed to turn any text-based language, no matter how easy to use, into a humanly intractable mire — as demonstrated consistently by history— is to have a program "help" to write it. The computer will "help" you right into being unable to deal with the text directly, losing a great chunk out of the marvelous benefits of text. Programing language source code written by software is unreadable, even if (as rarely happens) the software is made to enforce some ostensibly human-friendly style discipline. Html, that reasonably tractable markup I remember hand-coding in the first few years of the web, can still be written to be sort-of legible if it's written entirely by hand, but the moment any of it is generated by software you've lost it, and since it's been ceded to the software a lot of what you'd want to do is beyond reasonable reach of hand-composition anyway. If you want to hang on to the lion's share of the benefits of text —and, as I say, those benefits are requisite to large-scale, long-term success— you have to avoid ceding its composition to software.
  • My other view of this thing is based on personal experience with learning wiki markup, and watching others do so. If you want to write something on a wiki, how do you do it? You want to correct a spelling error, perhaps; my first several wiki edits were correcting spelling errors. You click where it says "edit", and you're presented with an edit buffer full of stuff. Most of it is just plain text; there's a little markup, much of it very light-weight, which you don't have to bother with right now — but you see it there, and at least with the lightest-weight parts of it, you can see immediately how it's done. Later on, when you have occasion to want to do some of that yourself, you've already seen it done — and if you have any doubts, you just go and find where somebody else has done something similar, and there's your example to follow. Pretty much all of wiki markup —and there really isn't much to it— is like that, you don't need much very often, and by the time you do need something you've probably already seen it done, and you can find examples of how it's done.
The whole thrust of VE is to try to prevent you from ever seeing the raw wiki markup — in other words, its whole purpose is to prevent you from learning how to do anything, to deprive you of the very benefits that have made wikis a huge success. My first eperience with VE went like this: I was looking at a section of a Wikipedia article, and there was something missing from a bulleted list. Oh, I thought, I'll just add that. And it occurred to me to try to use VE for it, since VE had been much touted, and this was a very simple edit. I tried. And tried. I couldn't figure out how. I finally gave up and just edited the wiki markup directly. And in doing so, I reflected that a complete novice could trivially easily have made that edit, because the moment they edited the wiki markup for that section, it would have been immediately obvious how to add another bullet item to the list, because you're looking right at nothing but a block of examples of how to do it. Even if you figure out how to do something with VE, it doesn't help you do something else with VE; even if you see an example where somebody else has done something on a wiki page, with VE you can't imitate it because you don't know how they did it; and you also don't get to incidentally see examples of how things are done that you haven't needed to do yet but may in the future. So you've taken a markup language that's incredibly easy to learn, and actively interceded to prevent users from learning it. As with Flow, this is a profoundly bad idea.
--Pi zero (discusscontribs) 17:40, 24 November 2014 (UTC)
I understand your reasons and I see how useful it is for editors to learn the markup. But Wikimedia needs to look at how many people start editing and then never edit again. So many editors are tech-savy which might suggest that ordinary people find it too cumbersome to edit pages. I believe that anything which makes this process easier is a good thing.--ЗAНИA Flag of the Isle of Mann.svgtalk 07:58, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
Some thoughts.
  • I actually don't think the Foundation, as a whole, is competent to do studies, and then extract correct conclusions, of things like "how many people start editing and then never edit again". Almost all such studies get misdesigned, misimplemented, and then misinterpreted, and the misinterpretation usually favors whatever conclusion was already favored by those providing the initiative for the study. The line about "three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics" is saying something profound.
    In this case, right off the bat, in the unlikely event one could actually determine reliably how many people start editing and then never edit again, one probably couldn't reliably determine why (self-impressions certainly wouldn't do it, and asking people for self-impressions might actually increase the likelihood that they wouldn't come back).
  • I've heard anecdontally of non-tech people who try wiki markup and VE, find wiki markup easier, and are surprised by this because they had heard that wiki markup is difficult. There are a bunch of tech people who basically want wiki markup to be difficult for non-tech people. Why do they want this? Proobably because changing replacing the interface is a simple-minded way of throwing tech labor at the problem. Irony, that.
  • I maintain that
    1. all you have to be able to do in order to start using wiki markup is edit a plain text file.
      If somebody wants to make an easier-to-use interface for editing plain text, they're welcome to try. Not sarcasm. When you're in the standard wikimedia interface, and you go to edit a section, you get an edit box with the cursor at line 1 column 1 of the edit box, and you then have to hunt for the part of the edit buffer where the thing you actually wanted to change (such as a spelling error) is. Might it be more useful, for mobile devices, if you could enter the edit interface from any point in the text, and that would put you in edit mode with the cursor at the point where you entered?
    2. once you're in, the fact that you are working directly with the wiki markup is what helps you learn more wiki markup.
      So as soon as you're dealing with something that actually is technical, you're better off having started out working with wiki markup.
    3. the actual causes of the slow decline of wikimedia are to be found elsewhere. I see two major causes, one social and one technical.
      • (a) The Wikipedian social atmosphere is toxic. Untangling why, and moreover what can be done to change it, is a really difficult social problem. The Wikipedian social order is based on, broadly, bureaucracy and AGF-and-civility. These seem to me like technical approaches to social structure: bureaucracy is like programming, and AGF-and-civility is a gross oversimplification, naive in the extreme. And instead of tangling with anything deeper on the social side, folks want (as I mentioned before) a simple way of throwing tech labor at the problem.
      • (b) The higher-level things wikimedians do, on every sister project including Wikipedia, actually do require expertise; not expertise with writing wiki markup, but expertise with what high-level decisions are needed, when, and what one needs to know to make them well.
      I was under the misapprehension, when I'd been on Wikinews for just a little while, that Writing a news article is an especially technical task; but really, the pressure at Wikinews is merely because the technical task has to be done in such a short period of time. I've since concluded that writing a Wikipedia article is, on the whole, actually a good deal more complicated; and organizing a book —from overall outline to arrangment of parts at scales all the way down to the paragraph/table/figure— so that it comes out well is, I think, even more complicated. And the technical means avaiable to capture expertise on wikis is, of course, to do the one thing wikis have been made to be good at: writing documents. Manuals and guides and help pages and such. Which (I think I've said this before) is a really lousy way to try to pass on the expertise. Hands-on is what you want.

      I'm working on a technical approach to making it possible to actually address the expertise problem, in a way that can eventually be crowdsourced to the sister-project communities (once I've devised appropriate idioms for practical use of the low-level tools I'm implementing); and I'm hoping even the social problems can be partly alleviated by capturing expertise for social interaction. (The low-level tools would make wiki pages interactive; make that one change, the theory goes, and all else can follow.)

--Pi zero (discusscontribs) 12:03, 26 November 2014 (UTC)

Give rate limited move-subpages (and supressredirect-new-self) to autoconfirmed users[edit]

I suggested this at wikipedia, and it was pointed out that this would be particularly useful for wikibooks. This would allow autoconfirmed users to move books with up to seven subpages in one action, instead of having to move each subpage one by one. The subpage moves would be counted in the rate limit of eight moves per minute, removing the potential for abuse that the was the reason this feature got restricted to admins in the first place. As a bonus, you could increase the rate limit for reviewers to, for example, 30 moves per minute, so that they can move in one go books with more subpages. I also suggest to allow recently created pages with a single contributor to be moved by said user without leaving a redirect. If you were to show your support for this, it would be prioritized by developers. I'll file the bugs then. Cenarium (discusscontribs) 10:10, 28 November 2014 (UTC)

Bringing Sociology to the World[edit]

Hi everyone. My name is Dr. Mike. I'm a sociologist and I've been involved in "opening sociology" for over twenty years. I currently have two sociological projects running, one is The Socjourn ( and one is a nascent space on the Sociology of Religion. I came here to maybe help with the introductory sociology text books.Dr.Sosteric (discusscontribs) 14:56, 9 December 2014 (UTC)

Hi, Dr.Sosteric. Welcome to Wikibooks. :-)  --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 15:04, 9 December 2014 (UTC)

Difference between Wikipedia and Wikibooks[edit]

There is a feature in Wikipedia for making a book by gathering different pages on a specific subject. Can wikibooks import a verbatim of one of these books if the subject is in the domain of Wikibooks? If the answer is yes, what is wikibooks for then?--Doostdar (discusscontribs) 20:28, 9 December 2014 (UTC)

You seem to have a problem understanding what is an Encyclopedia and what constitutes a text book (the scope of the projects). Wikipedia if for encyclopedic articles (I would agree that sometimes it goes far beyond that but that is a problem for Wikipedians) while Wikibooks is only for the creation of educational text books (that sometimes some projects seem only a collection of encyclopedic articles is because Wikibooks is intended for continual developing of works and almost no starting process is objected too, and that is a fast way to bring useful content in, requiring only licensing considerations and few creative or intellectual work). --Panic (discusscontribs) 20:45, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for your eligible answer but I think we need some clear-cut criteria for example wikibooks contains test exams, exercises, etc. but wikipedia not. --Doostdar (discusscontribs) 21:12, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
At the time the "book" feature of Wikipedia was introduced, it was suggested —how seriously is open to interpretation— that the feature was called "book" in a deliberate attempt to undermine Wikibooks. A collection of pages is decidedly not a book, in the sense used here; it's not a matter of content, but of coherence. See WB:What is Wikibooks?. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 14:28, 10 December 2014 (UTC)

Copyright concerns with Wikibooks' suicide instruction manual[edit]

I have started a discussion on Jimbo Wales Wikipedia talk page about some possible copyright issues here. Please see this item. Thanks. Nasal Ant Horn (discusscontribs) 23:26, 20 December 2014 (UTC)

@Nasal Ant Horn: If you have concerns about one of the books here, the place to raise those concerns is here, not on Wikipedia. Wikibooks is not part of Wikipedia. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 00:51, 21 December 2014 (UTC)
You are absolutely right. I should have started the discussion here. Now that we're in agreement about that, what do you think we should do about the copyright issue? Nasal Ant Horn (discusscontribs) 04:00, 21 December 2014 (UTC)
I have looked into the linked discussion and couldn't find any copyright issue at best there was a concern that some probable sources to the first repository may lead to copyright issues here (it didn't seem to have raided them so far) but even if we normally act pro-actively to protect the project, the alleged infringement is just that alleged...
Note also that usenet (1980) predates the 1989 adoption of the Berne Convention that requires copyright to be assumed (before it was assumed that if not stated so it was public domain) and even the content on usenet posts may came from other sources or after several iterations to the present state of the content any copyright claim would be null. As such I think there is no issue to be debated around the allegations until someone provides clear factual evidence...
Provide a direct link to plagiarized content that has an incompatible license and we can fix it, even by attempting to contact the copyrights owner. --Panic (discusscontribs) 05:59, 21 December 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for your reply. I did provide one specific example with links to the likely source, did you miss it? For reference, SuicideWiki was not formed until 2013 and this example is from 2011. Nasal Ant Horn (discusscontribs) 16:23, 21 December 2014 (UTC)
Since SuicideWiki has a compatible license any possible infringement of another source copyright regarding their licensed content is their domain and liability. We could only act after they are established as infringing the law (pro-actively, by copyright owner's request or under a legal order from a court). Since your concerns involve their licensed content you should first act on that, there.
One thing that has become abundant clear and strange is that you are not claiming ownership over any content that was used and so I question the motivation why you are putting efforts in challenging or policing the licensed content, going beyond simple legal concern or curiosity. This "strangeness" is already pointed out on the first discussion. --Panic (discusscontribs) 18:42, 21 December 2014 (UTC)
Wikibooks only accepts freely licensed content. There's nothing "strange" about someone pointing out that the content appears to be a copyright violation. You entirely wrong in saying that SuicideWiki's terms somehow exempt Wikibooks from any responsibility or liability. You are also entirely wrong in saying that no action needs to be undertaken until SuicideWiki is found legally liable. Perhaps someone from teh Wikibooks community with more knowledge of copyright will speak up or act. Until then, I'll stick to asking the question on Wikipedia. Nasal Ant Horn (discusscontribs) 22:48, 21 December 2014 (UTC)
Per Panic2k4, it would be much easier to act on this if you link the page that uses the content and link the site you say it was taken from. It is certainly not implausible that SuicideWiki obtained proper permission for reuse of Usenet announcements that were previously distributed free to a large audience, and without a more specific allegation, I don't see why Wikibooks would need to second-guess their copyright decisions. Every source from which content is licensed may or may not be lying about it, and it is impossible to pedigree every word of every one of them; however, it is possible to investigate a specific instance. Wnt (discusscontribs) 00:15, 23 December 2014 (UTC)
It looks like some or all of the content came from SuicideWiki. SuicideWiki had a cc-by-sa license. Under the terms of that license, the original authors need to be properly credited. Right now, they aren't. There's the additional question of the sources used for the information in SuicdeWiki. I've given you one example which appears to show plagarism. The links are in the original message. This really isn't complicated. Nasal Ant Horn (discusscontribs) 05:51, 23 December 2014 (UTC)
Again this is not the place to advance your views of any problem with the content at SuicideWiki. I have told you that I haven't seen any relevant issue to our project (or Wikipedia or Wikimedia for that matter) in the points you raised. More since this has been a discussion dear to me here on this project, authorship is not simply attributed (one does not add names to credit others), it must be claimed (one signs what one is responsible for and claims rights over). --Panic (discusscontribs) 06:12, 23 December 2014 (UTC)

We should remove the questionable duplicate content, if someone is ever interested in developing this text they can recreate, or properly import the information with attribution. Thenub314 (talk) 20:07, 14 January 2015 (UTC)

VisualEditor News #10—2014[edit]

18:59, 26 December 2014 (UTC)

It's so sad to see this sort of thing being designed and implemented by folks who are intrinsically unable to have insight into wiki-ness; there's no possibility that anything good can come of an organizational structure where those who create the software are insulated from direct understanding, and those with direct understanding are insulated from the development process (no "feedback" system can come within orders of magnitude of compensating for that organizational structure). It can only progressively poison the wiki movement. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 20:36, 26 December 2014 (UTC)
I just want to say that I actually like VisualEditor. It makes editing Wikibooks far more enjoyable for me. Honestly, I don't quite get the widespread anger over it. If you don't like it, just turn it off! (I know of no plans to make VE mandatory; if you know differently, please let me know.) Elitre, keep up the good work! SupremeUmanu (discusscontribs) 22:52, 3 January 2015 (UTC)

Extra period in the license text[edit]

There's an extra period in the license text in the footer (marked with yellow in the quote: "Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.; additional terms may apply."), is it possible to remove it somehow or is it intended? --Cic (discusscontribs) 22:56, 9 January 2015 (UTC)

Hopi surnames[edit]

As I was doing housekeeping on the character name appendices to the Writing Adolescent Fiction wikibook, I discovered someone had deleted all the Hopi surnames on the Writing_Adolescent_Fiction/Character_names/Native_American page. Someone identified only as an ISP of left the edit summary "(→‎Hopi surnames: I have deleted this list. Hopi last names are very specific to very small family units. It is not proper to list them in this manner for public use. ~~)".

Is this a sufficient reason to leave an ethnic group's surnames out of this wikibook, especially when it leaves one ethnicity out of all the ethnicities in the world completely listless? I wanted to revert this edit and put the names back in, but I'd like the community's input first. Cilantrohead (discusscontribs) 11:43, 11 January 2015 (UTC)

My advice is to be bold, but leave a discussion on the talk page as to your point of view. Hoepfully if someone disagrees that can start a discussion, and a consensus can be found. Thenub314 (talk) 20:03, 14 January 2015 (UTC)

Translation from de.wikibooks[edit]

Hey guys, I noted there's currently no cookbook article on Spaghetti aglio e olio, however the German-language Wikibooks has one. How do you deal with translations from one language to another? AFAICS there's no way to import from other Wikibooks. Thank you, --The Evil IP address (discusscontribs) 11:03, 21 January 2015 (UTC)

You can copy / paste it here as long as you add the permalink URL in the revision summary text, on the talk page or somewhere else where it is visible. It is possible to import from de.wikibooks, you just need to ask a Steward as they have the importupload right that enables this. QuiteUnusual (discusscontribs) 11:11, 21 January 2015 (UTC)

Wishing to somewhat depopulate Category:Annotated Republic of China Laws[edit]

As I am the primary editor of Annotated Republic of China Laws, please advise if any template will automatically categorize pages based on its subpages, like Annotated Republic of China Laws/Copyright Act. Template:BookCat is useful, but I prefer deeper categories rather than overpopulating Category:Annotated Republic of China Laws, so I ask. Thanks.--Jusjih (discusscontribs) 03:08, 22 January 2015 (UTC)

{{BookCat}} has an option filing=deep, which may be of interest to you. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 04:52, 22 January 2015 (UTC)
Thank you very much for your answer. I will reorganize the pages soon.--Jusjih (discusscontribs) 04:45, 24 January 2015 (UTC)

Looking for feedback on my funding proposal to work with UNESCO[edit]

Hi all

I’m looking for feedback and endorsement for my Wikimedia Foundation PEG grant to be Wikimedian in Residence at UNESCO. I’d very much appreciate if you would have a look, the most relevant objective to Wikibooks is:

2. Make content from the archives of UNESCO and its partners available on Wikimedia projects: This project will facilitate the upload of 30,000 images, audio files, videos, data and other content to Wikimedia projects from UNESCO archives (24,000 images), UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) and other sources including 10 organisations changing their content license to be Wikimedia compatible.

I'm very much hoping that UNESCO and it's partners will contribute to Wikibooks as part of the project, possibly by contributing existing material they have developed, I think Wikipedia Zero will be an amazing opportunity for them to share their resources with underserved communities.

I ran a pilot project that resulted in the images found in Commons category Images from the archive of UNESCO, here are a few examples:

If you think this is a worthwhile project please click this link and click the endorse button.

Many thanks

Mrjohncummings (discusscontribs) 23:50, 24 January 2015 (UTC)