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.

Why are we allowing automatic reviewer rights?[edit]

What's the whole purpose of automatically achieving the reviewer flag? Which holds reviewing/rollback rights in them? --atcovi (talk) 19:57, 27 March 2015 (UTC)

Interesting question. I think the main purpose is for editors who've been active in the project for some time. Since by now they are trusted by the community , an additional privilege is granted in the form of reviewer.--Leaderboard (discusscontribs) 06:39, 29 March 2015 (UTC)
When a user first arrives at Wikibooks, they have (by definition of "first arrives") no prior experience of how things are done here. They may have experience of another wiki, most likely Wikipedia, and should edit here for a while, to learn how practices here are different from practices there, before they're given the power to make normative judgements here. If they don't have prior experience of another wiki, then again they should edit here for a while before they're given such. The criteria for autopromotion are meant to hold off on giving them the bit until they've had a chance to get some sense of the place. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 12:12, 29 March 2015 (UTC)

Possibility of a "Sister projects" report in the Wikipedia Signpost[edit]

Hello, all I'm a volunteer at the Wikipedia Signpost, the Wikimedia movement's biggest internal newspaper. Almost all of our coverage focuses on Wikipedia, with occasional coverage of Commons, the Meta-Wiki, MediaWiki, Wikidata, the the Wikimedia Labs; we have little to nothing to say about Wiktionary, Wikiquote, Wikibooks, Wikisource, Wikispecies, Wikinews, Wikiversity, or Wikivoyage. I'm interested in writing a special long-form "sister projects" report to try and address this shortfall. Is there anyone experienced in the Wikibooks project with whom I can speak with, perhaps over Skype, about the mission, organization, history, successes, troubles, and foibles of being a contributor to this project? If so, please drop me a line at my English Wikipedia talk page. Thanks! ResMar 21:04, 5 April 2015 (UTC)

Did you mean to customize this message for each project, or did you really mean to ask at multiple sisters "Is there anyone experienced in the Wikiversity project..."? --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 23:58, 5 April 2015 (UTC)
I wish I had the excuse that I was tired, but no, I left the computer, went to eat lunch, came back, forgot I had to change that bit, and cross-posted. Well, I've fixed it now. Time to navigate around, again. Tut. Resident Mario (discusscontribs) 00:27, 6 April 2015 (UTC)
@Resident Mario: Do you figure on getting one person to talk to about a project, or getting a broader perspective on a given project by talking to more than one person per? Obviously, talking to multiple people per project there's the challenge of rendering the material into a coherent report, while talking to just one person there's the likelihood of idiosyncracies in the interviwee's view of the project. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 12:48, 6 April 2015 (UTC)
@Pi zero: Because there's a lot of individual interviews that need to happen, I hope that if I get comments from one prominent contributor per wiki I can get a sufficiently clear picture of that wiki's activities from that alone, as long as the interview is of sufficient length. I do, however, want to speak with multiple people when possible, and I will post the draft here for community input before publication. Resident Mario (discusscontribs) 02:16, 7 April 2015 (UTC)
@Resident Mario: Taking myself as an example, I know I have some ideas about Wikibooks that come from my peculiar personal history: I started on Wikipedia, then branched out to Wikibooks, then branched out to Wikinews, and have spent years medidating on the comarisons and contrasts between those three. If you interviewed me, it's a good bet you'd get a different impression of the elephant than speaking to some else. I can think of at least one other active long-term Wikibookian who'd be likely to give you an atypical view. Based on my own experiences with these projects, I expect I'd have to be active in a project for at least a year before I'd start to get a feel for it, several years for deeper insight (I got major insights into Wikipedia about once a years for several years, and even though I've slowed down at lot there, I feel I've got some further deep insights into it since).
I don't mean to discourage you, honestly; I'm just encouraging you to be aware of the pitfalls.
For mainstream insights into Wikibooks, the first name that pops into my head is QuiteUnusual, which may of course just mean I'm unaware of the peculiarities of QU's view of the project :-).  I've no clue whether QU would even entertain the possibility of an interview (I imagine some folks would be happy to give an interview, some would flat-out refuse; I'm ambivalent, myself). --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 11:45, 7 April 2015 (UTC)
I have one perspective, sure, but there are others like Chazz, Jomegat, Panic, etc., who are very content focused whereas these days I'm quite administration focused. Depends what you want really. QuiteUnusual (discusscontribs) 12:46, 7 April 2015 (UTC)
Perhaps one of each, then? Resident Mario (discusscontribs) 15:24, 7 April 2015 (UTC)
I had no idea that such a activity even existed here. Probably a good idea I think. I could probably help here.--Leaderboard (discusscontribs) 16:30, 7 April 2015 (UTC)
Ok, I will contact the people that have responded in this thread at a later date, a little buried at the moment. Thanks all! Resident Mario (discusscontribs) 03:35, 9 April 2015 (UTC)


How can we make use of Wikidata here at Wikibooks? It occurred to me that all the data stored there could be used to keep books up to date. For example, property d:P1098 is "number of speakers" (of a language), which could be used in language learning books to keep number of speakers claims up to date. However, as far as I can tell, there is no way to access any of this data on a Wikibooks. Supposedly, {{#property:p1098}} should access the data for this property stored at the Wikidata page for that item, but I tried it on Breton, which is linked to the Wikidata page for the Breton language, which has P1098, but it didn't work. Not implemented for Wikibooks yet, maybe. Even if it worked here, the #property tag only allows accessing data from the Wikidata page for the current page. So there's no way, as I understand, to access any data for the Breton language on a subpage of that book, nor is it possible to access population data for Germany on Wikijunior:Europe/Germany. This essentially negates the usefulness of any Wikidata data on Wikibooks. This really bothers me. All this useful data collected in a systematic way, but for all intents and purposes not useful for any project but Wikipedia! I don't even see it being used at Wikipedia much, except for the interlanguage links. What makes this worse, is this appears to be a software thing, not something the people at Wikidata can fix. Then there's the whole problem of the interwiki links being forced on us, and not being organised in a way that is useful to our project. The Wikimedia Foundation is notoriously unresponsive to requests from the community, so I feel we, the Wikibooks community, possibly with the other sister projects, need to get the Foundation's attention, and let them know we are annoyed that Wikidata and the Wikidata software is being implemented in such a top-down, undemocratic way, and that is sidelining other projects and is not designed in a way that benefits any of the sister projects. I'm not sure how we'd go about this, but I think it's an issue the community should discuss. Liam987 talk 00:52, 8 April 2015 (UTC)

Have you listened to Lila's address at last year's Wikimania? One of the earlier points — translated from politician-speak — was, the Foundation doesn't give a <several choices here, of varying rudeness> about the non-Wikipedian sisters.
Anyway, about Wikidata. I don't think I'd trust Wikidata's material to be automatically imported to Wikibooks (or any other sister, really, not even a Wikipedia), but I'm interested in the possibility of some sort of semi-automated checks against Wikidata that would make it easy to compare the current state of things here to the current state of things there, and update here for automatic use when things look right.
I thought Wikidata stuff was supposed to be made available through Lua? At the very least, it should be possible to get at it through javascript — but we'd want to work out a super-general tool, so we'd only have to write it once and then wouldn't have to be constantly changing it every time we want some slight variation. The trick is to create a tool that's enormously general but also carefully limited in power so that it can't be used for large-scale vandalism (indeed, that's one of the key design blunders with Wikidata, that it doesn't minimize the consequences of vandalism). --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 02:50, 8 April 2015 (UTC)
I understood that Lua could be used for that too, but it seems not. w:Template:Wikidata has a thread on the talk page from 2013 about wether it was possible to access Wikidata data for a page other than the current one, and it was found to be impossible. Nothing seems to have changed since. I really seems such a waste to have these people collecting endless data in a way that isn't useful to anyone. Liam987 talk 02:25, 9 April 2015 (UTC)
@Liam987: I'll put "accessing Wikidata" on my list of things to add to my dialog tools. The tools — which I do mean to import to Wikibooks once I've gotten one more round of upgrades implemented (in progress) — are designed to be extensible without modifying the existing code, by creating new actions, which are wiki pages with associated javascript. So we can write javascript for querying Wikidata, and then a dialog can send a request to the Wikidata-query action which fetches the requested data and sends the results to another dialog page for further processing. That will be, frankly, slow; probably at least four seconds, all told, and that's when neither the server nor the internet is being sluggish; but if we arrange for Wikidata queries to be an infrequent, manually initiated maintenance action, it should be tolerable. Eventually, once we've got the query facility working smoothly and are sure it's what we want it to be, we can integrate the Wikidata query facility into the general do action, where most dialog facilities are all kept together to avoid the time overhead of switching between actions; that should cut out two or three out of those four seconds. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 14:09, 9 April 2015 (UTC)
There is some stuff implemented at Wikipedia that compares, for example, the date of death recorded on Wikipedia to the Wikidata equivalent and then adds the article to a hidden category if they differ. No idea how this is done (because I haven't bothered to look). QuiteUnusual (discusscontribs) 16:26, 9 April 2015 (UTC)
Sounds like a good place to start for an example of how to query Wikidata. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 16:51, 9 April 2015 (UTC)
@QuiteUnusual: You're referring to, I think, w:Template:WikidataCheck. The problem with this is the same as I mentioned for the {{#property}} tag: it can only access data for the current page. If we were to create a Wikidata page for every page on Wikibooks, we could use this but the data would still have to be updated there. Liam987 talk 22:29, 9 April 2015 (UTC)

Stewards confirmation rules[edit]

Hello, I made a proposal on Meta to change the rules for the steward confirmations. Currently consensus to remove is required for a steward to lose his status, however I think it's fairer to the community if every steward needed the consensus to keep. As this is an issue that affects all WMF wikis, I'm sending this notification to let people know & be able to participate. Best regards, --MF-W 16:12, 10 April 2015 (UTC)

VisualEditor News #2—2015[edit]

19:48, 10 April 2015 (UTC)[edit]

Just a quick note to inform that and now leads to links would continue to redirect to English Wikibooks for backward compatibility. See phab:T87039. Glaisher (discusscontribs) 08:05, 11 April 2015 (UTC)

TOC in sidebar?[edit]

Wikibooks usually have a TOC and people love to navigate thru the book via this TOC. But in most cases the TOC is a page of its own. So you always have to toggle between TOC-page and your actual page (or the author adds one of the navigation-templates, which is ugly, uncomplete and error-prone). Shall we have a sidebar like in the documentation of mediawiki to visualise the TOC? Additionally to the actual sidebar or as a replacement? --Kelti (discusscontribs) 11:45, 17 April 2015 (UTC)

That sort of stylistic preference varies by book. Some books have a side navigation box, for example WJ:Big Cats. (Easily adjusting the style of such things is one of the targets I had in mind in Wikibooks:Reading room/Proposals#Navlist.) --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 12:22, 17 April 2015 (UTC)

Nominations are being accepted for 2015 Wikimedia Foundation elections[edit]

This is a message from the 2015 Wikimedia Foundation Elections Committee. Translations are available.

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I am pleased to announce that nominations are now being accepted for the 2015 Wikimedia Foundation Elections. This year the Board and the FDC Staff are looking for a diverse set of candidates from regions and projects that are traditionally under-represented on the board and in the movement as well as candidates with experience in technology, product or finance. To this end they have published letters describing what they think is needed and, recognizing that those who know the community the best are the community themselves, the election committee is accepting nominations for community members you think should run and will reach out to those nominated to provide them with information about the job and the election process.

This year, elections are being held for the following roles:

Board of Trustees
The Board of Trustees is the decision-making body that is ultimately responsible for the long term sustainability of the Foundation, so we value wide input into its selection. There are three positions being filled. More information about this role can be found at the board elections page.

Funds Dissemination Committee (FDC)
The Funds Dissemination Committee (FDC) makes recommendations about how to allocate Wikimedia movement funds to eligible entities. There are five positions being filled. More information about this role can be found at the FDC elections page.

Funds Dissemination Committee (FDC) Ombud
The FDC Ombud receives complaints and feedback about the FDC process, investigates complaints at the request of the Board of Trustees, and summarizes the investigations and feedback for the Board of Trustees on an annual basis. One position is being filled. More information about this role can be found at the FDC Ombudsperson elections page.

The candidacy submission phase lasts from 00:00 UTC April 20 to 23:59 UTC May 5 for the Board and from 00:00 UTCApril 20 to 23:59 UTC April 30 for the FDC and FDC Ombudsperson. This year, we are accepting both self-nominations and nominations of others. More information on this election and the nomination process can be found on the 2015 Wikimedia elections page on Meta-Wiki.

Please feel free to post a note about the election on your project's village pump. Any questions related to the election can be posted on the talk page on Meta, or sent to the election committee's mailing list, board-elections -at-

On behalf of the Elections Committee,
-Gregory Varnum (User:Varnent)
Coordinator, 2015 Wikimedia Foundation Elections Committee

Posted by the MediaWiki message delivery on behalf of the 2015 Wikimedia Foundation Elections Committee, 05:03, 21 April 2015 (UTC) • TranslateGet help

Mechanical work[edit]

Hello! When filling images of stamps on the Commons there is a need for a set of cross references. Perhaps, they can be divided into 3 groups: 1) galleries of versions; 2) templates of series; 3) archives and miniatures. It is purely mechanical work. With pleasure I will look after the volunteer, temporary or constant. --Matsievsky (discusscontribs) 12:51, 29 April 2015 (UTC)

I'm back...[edit]

Technically, I haven't really been inactive, but I'm back from my semi-retirement from the WB community, i.e. I'll contribute in discussions and recent changes reviewing again. Any updates I should know? Any new members I should meet, new policies I should know, etc.? (I do know about Atcovi's adminship since I got a notification when Pi zero linked to my userpage. Nifty new feature!) Kayau (talk · contribs) 06:54, 3 May 2015 (UTC)

It's a neat feature, isn't it? Just about the only time I can remember in my years here that an upgrade to the wiki software appeared unambiguously beneficial. There's a template {{ping}} for invoking it, like this:
(As for recent developments, there's been trouble on the wikimedia-sisterhood-wide front, with the Foundation pursuing a lot of obviously or subtly centralizing measures that I see as the biggest current threat to the long-term future of the sisterhood; but that's a whole other can of worms.) --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 12:17, 3 May 2015 (UTC)
Would you mind linking to that? :) Kayau (talk · contribs) 09:50, 4 May 2015 (UTC)
@Kayau: Well, for the single most obvious and prominent development, you might start with Meta:Letter to Wikimedia Foundation: Superprotect and Media Viewer. My observation about the overall situation is based on the trend of a number of recent developments/initiatives; off the top of my head, there's Scribunto, Wikidata, VisualEditor, MediaViewer, Flow. There was, btw, an appalling statement by Jan-Bart (chair of the Foundation board of trustees), in the context of the superprotect business, that any members of the wikimedia community who don't approve of the Foundation's decisions should leave; that you can find in the archives of Lila Tretikov's user talk page at meta, Meta:User talk:LilaTretikov (WMF)/Archive 3#Our Future and the role of the Foundation. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 11:04, 4 May 2015 (UTC)
This does appear to be serious. The WMF seems to be acting like a government. The superprotect right has been demonstrated to be detrimental to wiki autonomy. I wonder how the WMF will react. Kayau (talk · contribs) 07:54, 6 May 2015 (UTC)
The interesting thing is that the WMF isn't really reacting. This all happened months ago, and the Foundation mostly ignored it, and nothing has really come of it since. Most people have either forgotten or never heard about it. There was an RfC on Meta where there was a lot of outrage and heated arguments, and some rather worrying comments from Foundation board member Ad Huikeshoven in which he called the RfC "annoying" and referred to the project websites as "internet real estate owned by the Wikimedia Foundation". However, the whole thing died out a while ago, with no conclusion reached and no action taken by anyone. I think this is because not enough people have heard about the issue or the RfC. I said as much on the RfC talk page, but nothing came of that either. Liam987 talk 20:10, 8 May 2015 (UTC)
I don't think I agree that the whole thing died out. The WMF is doing some things that supposedly address the problem, and many in the community perceive them as same-old-same-old not addressing the problem. The letter has (I recall being remarked) more signatories than have ever voted for a candidate in a board of trustees election, and it's still going after an unprecedented time. People were quite vocal on Lila's talk page for a while, but that died down a lot after people got the impression nobody was really listening to what they said there; it doesn't follow that the sentiments went away, nor that things aren't happening on both sides. A proposal has recently been made from someone on the community to get the board to vote on a resolution about global permissions. The Foundation on one hand banned some users with no appeal possible and no explanation of why, and on the other hand Erik Möller has stepped down as deputy director. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 14:07, 9 May 2015 (UTC)

Wikimedia Foundation Funds Dissemination Committee elections 2015[edit]

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This is a message from the 2015 Wikimedia Foundation Elections Committee. Translations are available.

Voting has begun for eligible voters in the 2015 elections for the Funds Dissemination Committee (FDC) and FDC Ombudsperson. Questions and discussion with the candidates for the Funds Dissemination Committee (FDC) and FDC Ombudsperson will continue during the voting. Nominations for the Board of Trustees will be accepted until 23:59 UTC May 5.

The Funds Dissemination Committee (FDC) makes recommendations about how to allocate Wikimedia movement funds to eligible entities. There are five positions on the committee being filled.

The FDC Ombudsperson receives complaints and feedback about the FDC process, investigates complaints at the request of the Board of Trustees, and summarizes the investigations and feedback for the Board of Trustees on an annual basis. One position is being filled.

The voting phase lasts from 00:00 UTC May 3 to 23:59 UTC May 10. Click here to vote. Questions and discussion with the candidates will continue during that time. Click here to ask the FDC candidates a question. Click here to ask the FDC Ombudsperson candidates a question. More information on the candidates and the elections can be found on the 2015 FDC election page, the 2015 FDC Ombudsperson election page, and the 2015 Board election page on Meta-Wiki.

On behalf of the Elections Committee,
-Gregory Varnum (User:Varnent)
Volunteer Coordinator, 2015 Wikimedia Foundation Elections Committee

Posted by the MediaWiki message delivery 03:45, 4 May 2015 (UTC) • TranslateGet help

Language books[edit]

Hi! I have mostly been contributing (in the past as my alter ego Iarlagab) to the Dutch language book. At the time I concentrated mostly on properly explaining grammar and syntax, which is useful but it is also not enough to actually learn a language. That also takes vocabulary building and training in listening and speaking. A book, even an e-book, is not really ever enough: you need to be with mother tongue speakers to learn how to speak. But certainly book can be helpful in the process and e-books have advantages over hard copy books in that you can add things like sound files or you can make little exercises with a collapsed wikitable that contains the solution to make the reading a bit more interactive. Now that the Dutch wiktionary has generated thousands of sound files all uploaded to commons, I decided to come back here to try and make the book Dutch more interactive and have developed a number of tricks to do so.

However, I feel that many of the issues I am dealing with are of a general nature and are relevant to all language books. I may well be reinventing wheels here. Are there authors of other language wikibooks interested in any exchange of experience on this point? Do we have some sort of user group for that?

Jcwf (discusscontribs) 17:41, 14 May 2015 (UTC)

Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees elections 2015[edit]

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This is a message from the 2015 Wikimedia Foundation Elections Committee. Translations are available.

Voting has begun for eligible voters in the 2015 elections for the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees. Questions and discussion with the candidates for the Board will continue during the voting.

The Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees is the ultimate governing authority of the Wikimedia Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization registered in the United States. The Wikimedia Foundation manages many diverse projects such as Wikipedia and Commons.

The voting phase lasts from 00:00 UTC May 17 to 23:59 UTC May 31. Click here to vote. More information on the candidates and the elections can be found on the 2015 Board election page on Meta-Wiki.

On behalf of the Elections Committee,
-Gregory Varnum (User:Varnent)
Volunteer Coordinator, 2015 Wikimedia Foundation Elections Committee

Posted by the MediaWiki message delivery 17:20, 17 May 2015 (UTC) • TranslateGet help