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.

What IdeaLab campaigns do you want to see?[edit]

IdeaLab logo dark orange.png

Hey folks. I’m seeking your help to decide on topics for new IdeaLab campaigns that could be run starting next year. These campaigns are designed to attract proposals from Wikimedia project contributors that address a broad gap or area of need in Wikimedia projects.

Here’s how to participate:

With thanks,

I JethroBT (WMF), Community Resources, Wikimedia Foundation. 23:02, 17 December 2015 (UTC)

Get involved in Wikipedia 15![edit]

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

International-Space-Station wordmark blue.svg

As many of you know, January 15 is Wikipedia’s 15th Birthday!

People around the world are getting involved in the celebration and have started adding their events on Meta Page. While we are celebrating Wikipedia's birthday, we hope that all projects and affiliates will be able to utilize this celebration to raise awareness of our community's efforts.

Haven’t started planning? Don’t worry, there’s lots of ways to get involved. Here are some ideas:

Everything is linked on the Wikipedia 15 Meta page. You’ll find a set of ten data visualization works that you can show at your events, and a list of all the Wikipedia 15 logos that community members have already designed.

If you have any questions, please contact Zachary McCune or Joe Sutherland.

Thanks and Happy nearly Wikipedia 15!
-The Wikimedia Foundation Communications team

Posted by the MediaWiki message delivery, 20:59, 18 December 2015 (UTC) • Please help translate to your languageHelp

Wikimania 2016: call for proposals is open![edit]

Dear users,
the call for proposals for Wikimania 2016 is open! All the members of the Wikimedia projects, researchers and observers are invited to propose a critical issue to be included in the programme of the conference, which will be held in Italy, in Esino Lario, from June 21 to 28.
Through this call we only accept what we call critical issues, i.e. proposals aiming at presenting problems, possible solutions and critical analysis about Wikimedia projects and activities in 18 minutes. These proposals do not need to target newbies, and they can assume attendees to already have a background knowledge on a topic (community, tech, outreach, policies...).
To submit a presentation, please refer to the Submissions page on the Wikimania 2016 website. Deadline for submitting proposals is 7th January 2016 and the selection of these proposals will be through a blind peer-reviewed process. Looking forward to your proposals. --Yiyi (discusscontribs) 10:23, 19 December 2015 (UTC)

The deadline for the call for proposals for Wikimania 2016 has been moved on 17th January 2016, so you have 10 days to submit you proposal(s). To submit a presentation, please refer to the Submissions page on the Wikimania 2016 website. --Yiyi (discusscontribs) 09:38, 7 January 2016 (UTC)

Password Strength RFC[edit]


We have started an RFC on meta to increase password requirements for users that have accounts which can edit MediaWiki:Common.js, have access to checkuser or have access to Oversight.

These types of accounts have sensitive access to our sites, and can cause real harm if they fall into malicious hands. Currently the only requirement is the password is at least 1 letter long. We would like to make the minimum be 8 letters (bytes) long and also ban certain really common passwords.

By increasing requirements on passwords for accounts with high levels of access, we hope to make Wikimedia wikis more secure for everyone. Please read the full text of the proposal here, and make your voice heard at the RFC.

Thank you

(On behalf of the WMF security team) BWolff (WMF) (discusscontribs) 07:24, 21 December 2015 (UTC)

Delivered using the distribution list

Community Wishlist Survey results[edit]

Hi everyone,

The 2015 Community Wishlist Survey is over, and now the Community Tech team's work begins on the top 10 features and fixes.

In November and December 2015, we invited contributors from all Wikimedia projects to submit proposals for what they would like the Community Tech team to work on, for the purpose of improving or producing curation and moderation tools for active contributors.

634 people participated in the survey, where they proposed, discussed and voted on 107 ideas. There was a two-week period in November to submit and endorse proposals, followed by two weeks of voting. The top 10 proposals with the most support votes now become the Community Tech team's backlog of projects to evaluate and address.

You can see the whole list with links to all the proposals and Phabricator tickets on this page: 2015 Community Wishlist Survey.

For everybody who proposed, endorsed, discussed, debated and voted in the survey, as well as everyone who said nice things to us recently: thank you very much for coming out and supporting live feature development. We're excited about the work ahead of us. -- DannyH (WMF) (discusscontribs) 21:11, 21 December 2015 (UTC)

VisualEditor News #6—2015[edit]

Elitre (WMF), 00:07, 25 December 2015 (UTC)

2016 WMF Strategy consultation[edit]

Please help translate to your language

Hello, all.

The Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) has launched a consultation to help create and prioritize WMF strategy beginning July 2016 and for the 12 to 24 months thereafter. This consultation will be open, on Meta, from 18 January to 26 February, after which the Foundation will also use these ideas to help inform its Annual Plan. (More on our timeline can be found on that Meta page.)

Your input is welcome (and greatly desired) at the Meta discussion, 2016 Strategy/Community consultation.

Apologies for English, where this is posted on a non-English project. We thought it was more important to get the consultation translated as much as possible, and good headway has been made there in some languages. There is still much to do, however! We created m:2016 Strategy/Translations to try to help coordinate what needs translation and what progress is being made. :)

If you have questions, please reach out to me on my talk page or on the strategy consultation's talk page or by email to

I hope you'll join us! Maggie Dennis via MediaWiki message delivery (discusscontribs) 19:06, 18 January 2016 (UTC)


Categorization set aside, the more I read about the commercial textbook registration systems, I find it a lack that Wikibooks doesn't have a unique book identifier system (ex.Wikibook Standard Book Number, WSBN). I doubt that International Standard Book Number, ISBN will include Wikibooks into their categorization eventhough they issue separate numbering for commercial e-books. Has this been considered by the community? au (discusscontribs) 04:14, 23 January 2016 (UTC) au: I agree that some kind of unique identifier might be helpful but let's think about what an ISBN is: in the case of a printed book, the contents won't change. And if they do change somewhat from printing to printing, it's assumed that they are relatively stable. In the example of a wikibook, that is not the case. Wikisource has something similar with unique identifiers for authors (similar to ORCID or a VIAF authority control or what have you) and Wikidata basically is a bunch of unique identifiers. But what if a page or module gets incorporated into another text? What if two chapters are consolidated into one? Or one chapter split into two? Ultimately, each text here already has a unique identifier: it's URI. —Justin (koavf)TCM 05:18, 23 January 2016 (UTC)
Thanks Justin. ISBN does get "assigned to each edition and variation (except reprintings) of a book". I am not sure if every variance need to be counted for with a Wikibook. I believe the current sytem of identifying with URI seems constrained and does not appear pleasingly scalable. There appear to be utilization of case-sensitiveness to make subjects and titles unique. That set aside, an unique identifier for the 'project', regardless of its variations, as a standard book number, would have many benefits in my humble opinion. And we could have created a system with a commercial equivalence as ISBN! Cheers au (discusscontribs) 07:20, 23 January 2016 (UTC)
Thinking about the other aspect you had raised, i.e., dynamic referencing - I was wondering if the community had thought about 'Restore points' for books (not just history of individual pages)? Let's say someone wants to cite a Wikibook because it contains a 'valid personal opinion' or a 'wikibook group consensus', which is not available in any other means (ex. through commercially published research articles) but at the same time has inherent merit, a standard book numbering system inclusive of a 'Restore point' could help. Technically, the citation format (ex. wikibooknumber-restorepoint-page, nnnnnxxxxetc-yyyymmddhhmmss-page) should be able to link the historical articles in a way that the reader is presented the book as it was at the time of generation of the restore point. The system could generate this restore point anytime someone wishes to cite a specific content, rather than periodically. Would be glad to know if there is a system such as this in existence already. au (discusscontribs) 10:34, 23 January 2016 (UTC)
Concerning identifying numbers, imho part of the essence if wikis is that they're relentlessly human-oriented. The unique identifier of, say, the Conlang wikibook is that it's on English Wikibooks and its title is "Conlang"; that's unique, no other identifier is needed.

That said, it is true that sometimes you want to refer to the state of the Conlang wikibook at 0902 UTC on February 7, 2013. Saying that is still sufficient to explain what you mean, but actually reconstructing what the book looked like then is archeology (seriously, that's the term used, spelling variations notwithstanding). The wiki software allows recovering the wikitext of a particular page from a particular time, but only directly allows viewing that page using the current versions of templates, so you can't even tell readily what the page looked like when it was current — and that's just one page. Reconstructing what pages of a book existed and what they were called and what templates were transcluded and in what versions is a huge task; and the devs haven't even provided support for reconstructing the historical appearance of a single page, nor I think will they ever do so. Politics: software upgrades only happen if the WMF (who have no understanding of wikis) believe that those upgrades will serve Wikipedia. They won't lift a finger to help the non-Wikipedian projects unless they think it'll benefit Wikipedia, and they're sufficiently clueless about Wikipedia that their major software initiatives are more likely to damage Wikipedia than help it. I used to think about how to get them to give some of their attention to non-Wikipedian sisters; now I think about how to prevent them from giving attention to non-Wikipedian sisters. Don't get me wrong, I'm for the sister projects, including Wikipedia; it's just that I consider the WMF an obstacle to be overcome, and definitely not a potential source of software improvements. (I do have in mind a major improvement to the software, which I've been developing for several years over at English Wikinews.) --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 15:46, 23 January 2016 (UTC)

Idleness, vice and want - the three great evils of mankind declared Voltaire. I think what he meant was politics, beaurocracy and business (not in any particular order)! But we can always dream and no one "can stop an idea whose time has come" (Victor Hugo). Hence, let's keep cultivating our gardens! I think the better word that describes the idea is 'User generated editions' than archaeology. au (discusscontribs) 19:58, 23 January 2016 (UTC)
I consider Wikibooks the natural extension to Wikipedia and wonder, as you perceive, why it had not been given the attention it deserves. More than an animated film winning an Oscar award will be a Wikibook winning the Nobel prize in literature! Perhaps the authors here should venture on a collaborative book worthy of that ideal - A wikibook worthy of a Nobel prize nomination! (Who they will award it to will be another question!). Sometimes grandiose thoughts help realize the worth of projects ;) au (discusscontribs) 00:05, 24 January 2016 (UTC)
Writing a book is difficult. It requires a vision of the overall structure of the book, and sticking to that vision. Choose the wrong overall structure, and the book will go nowhere (I found a Wikijunior book on religions with that problem; its structure was unworkable, resulting of years of complete paralysis until restructured). Even with the right structure already in place, new contributors to an existing book have to learn what the structure is and then work within it. Each book is really a microproject — making Wikibooks a vast herd of microprojects banding together to share a common administrative structure. Contributors to a book can easily be so sparse that only of them is active at a time, so that later contributors have to learn their way about the book without benefit of consulting those who came before. Contributors to Wikibooks have a lot more respect for the wishes of those who came before and aren't around now, because that's the only way to operate when contributors to a given book are likely to be so few and far between; that's in contrast to Wikipedia where, in my experience, there's really no respect for the opinions of those who came before unless they're still around to continue arguing for their position.

I figure Wikibooks could benefit hugely from some crowdsourced semi-automated tools, of the sort I mean my dialog tools to support; so I export to port the tools here once I get them a bit more stable at Wikinews.

I agree that Wikibooks is a natural complement to Wikipedia. Wikipedia's own rules forbid it from going into real depth about anything, and practically prevent it from giving a coherent shape to an extended collection of articles; Wikibooks is the cure for both of those shortcomings. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 00:39, 24 January 2016 (UTC)

Perhaps then a grand book be begun to involve many people. A book such as "The Human condition - Who are we, where are we and why are we?" which any human could contribute, trying to answer these most primal of questions that arise among us. If broadcasted I think many will come forward. This should be Nobel worthy! (excuse my grandiose aspirations ;) au (discusscontribs) 00:52, 24 January 2016 (UTC)
Wikibooks has a no-original-research policy. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 02:43, 24 January 2016 (UTC)
Validates my interpretation of Voltaire's three evils (I think the 'beaurocracy' one blocks this)! At least, discussions like this give food for thought. au (discusscontribs) 03:24, 24 January 2016 (UTC)
I think of bureaucracy, in the negative sense (which is almost always how I used the word), as following rules mindlessly. Some rules were put in place for good reason, and following their spirit can only safely depart from following their letter once one has enough expertise to grok their spirit. A very large community is most likely to have trouble with following rules mindlessly, because there the rules have to have a lot of 'momentum' or people go off and do their own thing and the community loses coherence; thus, it's not surprising that Wikipedia, as the largest of the sister projects, has the most trouble with bureaucracy. We have less of the problem on Wikibooks. The no-original-research rule on Wikibooks prevents folks from using the project as a blog-like platform to promote their own ideas. It is, in fact, possible for a wiki to support books with original research, but that needs a different sort of policy infrastructure and has different social dynamics (the two go together); it's my understanding that in the early days of Wikibooks, well before my time, those who wanted to allow original research split off from the Wikibooks community and became at least part of the seed community for Wikiversity. I perceive Wikiversity to have its own problems, which I don't pretend to fully understand and have even less clue how to articulate, but at any rate it is a different place with a different character. (Wiggle room in the no-original-research principle has been discussed here quite recently, btw, in the section immediately above this one [argh, I'm getting tangled up; it's above the corresponding thread in another of the reading rooms] about the wikilore proposal.) --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 12:16, 24 January 2016 (UTC)
Good to know that there still exists the possibility. Here's my take on rules: the truth about 'rules' is that there are 'no rules'. We invent them to limit the individual freedom, thereby limiting creativity, fearing change! These 'rules' then were morphed to sound a little more 'democratic' by the adoption of the term called 'policies'. Their underlying intent (and the sort of people that make them) is still the same. Great minds discuss ideas; Mediocre minds discuss events; Little minds discuss people; Beaurocrats discuss policies! Cheers au (discusscontribs) 02:46, 25 January 2016 (UTC)

Importing another wiki[edit]

I'm working with a client who have an academic, technical wiki which they are intending to sunset at the end of their project. (Details are currently confidential, sorry.) The content is of the standard one would expect in a book, written by experts in their field. The wiki is running "vanilla" MediaWiki, with no templates, and has a number of open-licensed images. There is extensive use of <math> markup.

They are willing to make it available under an open licence. In principle, is it possible for us to upload this material to Wikibooks? Is there an automatic or semi-automatic tool that could be used to do the grunt work. Some staff time would be available to do any checking and polishing needed.

I asked on Wikisource, but have been referred here. Pigsonthewing (discusscontribs) 14:47, 25 January 2016 (UTC)

If it is standard MediaWiki and they offload it using Special:Export (i.e., to the XML format) then it should be possible for a Steward to upload it here. It is more complicated than I just made it sound, and each page will need work once it is uploaded, but in theory it can be done. QuiteUnusual (discusscontribs) 16:17, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
Thank you. Will that include the images? Pigsonthewing (discusscontribs) 17:09, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
No, the import process doesn't support images. We'd have to upload those either to Commons (preferred) or here. If there are a significant number, then I believe there are bots available at Commons that can be used. That is, we can ask a bot operator to process the uploads in bulk. QuiteUnusual (discusscontribs) 13:11, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
All clear; thanks. Pigsonthewing (discusscontribs) 16:06, 27 January 2016 (UTC)

Wikidata & GLAM in Australia & Indonesia[edit]

In February, I'm undertaking a four-week tour of Australia and Indonesia, giving talks about Wikidata, and Wikipedia's GLAM collaborations, and attending meetups. Do join us if you can, and please invite your Wikimedia, Open Knowledge, OpenData, GLAM or OpenStreetMap contacts in those countries to come along. Pigsonthewing (discusscontribs) 14:53, 25 January 2016 (UTC)

Future IdeaLab Campaigns results[edit]

IdeaLab badge 1.png

Last December, I invited you to help determine future ideaLab campaigns by submitting and voting on different possible topics. I'm happy to announce the results of your participation, and encourage you to review them and our next steps for implementing those campaigns this year. Thank you to everyone who volunteered time to participate and submit ideas.

With great thanks,

I JethroBT (WMF), Community Resources, Wikimedia Foundation. 23:49, 26 January 2016 (UTC)

Mrs Beeton...[edit]

Over at Wikisource s:Index:Mrs_Beeton's_Book_of_Household_Management.djvu, there was a slow moving effort to get a 1907 reprint of Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Mannagment trasncribed. I was wondering if people here would be willing or interested to help, and then to carefully integrate some of content (with some updates) into the Cookbook here? ShakespeareFan00 (discusscontribs) 10:34, 29 January 2016 (UTC)