Complete list of encyclopedia topics/Talk

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Is this a list of both articles we have AND stubs we have? (on a procedural note, we have trouble getting people to update the Biographical listings page - see my effort 9/16.) --MichaelTinkler

The lists include the topics we already have (as of today, without subpages), and also some topocs from selected lists I found on the web. The idea was to list all topics we should cover. With about 16.000 words, it is far from complete, but it's a start.
See especially the letter 'Q', I found many words there, but it's still a small list that we could easily cover. Let's proclaim a "Q-week" ;)

What are the various misspellings and OldStyleLinksThatWe'reNowTryingToAvoid for? :-) --KQ

With these number of topics, I can't check them all manually :(
If you have an idea of how to handle that, I'm open for suggestions...

I wish I did. So should we eliminate redundancies and redirects?

These pages seem (unsurprisingly) to get rather long. Perhaps it would be a good idea to split each page into existing subjects and subjects that should exist? --Pinkunicorn


This is a good idea, Magnus--I don't know why we didn't do it before. :-) We'll have to link to it from requested articles. I would agree that 16,000 words will not come close to exhausting the number of Wikipedia articles we'll write. The value in this list, though, is that it's a list of topics that other encyclopedists (or is it only we, ourselves??) have seen fit to write articles on--so, we'll have passed a significant milestone when we have written articles on all of these topics.

(Hey Magnus, if you haven't done this yet, it would be fantastic to list all the encyclopedia topics that www.dmoz.org lists in their encyclopedia directory -- the list is free. That way we can make sure we're covering all the topics that Britannica, Encarta, and Columbia Concise is covering.)

Of course, if we make it a habit of writing endless "stubs" just to say that we've got articles on the subjects, I think we'll in the end dilute the usefulness of the project...that bothers me. My theory is that at some point, Wikipedia will have achieved such breadth that it will have to grow in depth if it is to grow at all, and at that point, the project will be a lot more interesting to bona fide experts. For instance, if a classicist now observes that we're surrounding an article on the Temple of Apollo at Delphi with zillions of lightweight stubs, he won't want to participate, because he'll think the project is lightweight. I think that's probably the reaction of most academics to Wikipedia right now. But once we start really exploring subjects in-depth, the classicist's interest will be piqued. --LMS

speaking as an academic, there's no estimating (over or under) their intellectual snobbery, but the REAL problem with academics and wikipedia is the culture of the signature, which is why nupedia is your only hope for that. And you've seen what peer review does to initiative; I'd hesitate to suggest myself for the Charlemagne article there, because "people I know" would read it and associate it with me. Here at wikipedia I feel much less constrained, if only because I know that it's collaborative. On the other hand, I'm at least 3 years away from the real tenure crunch, so my level of paranoia is lower. --MichaelTinkler
I added the encyclopedia.com and encarta "Q" topics from dmoz (I have to download and convert each page manually). Britannica doesn't have a list on dmoz.org (or I couldn't find it). Problem is, right now, I have several word lists as test files (a topic per line) here, and a program that sorts them, deletes duplicates (more or less), and converts them to wiki format. But, I get 36 pages (A-Z,0-9) which I'd have to upload each time there is a major change. So, I think the best thing to do would be to collect as many sources as possible BEFORE uploading the entire thing again. I will go through the dmoz lists tomorrow. I'll also try to use the dmoz archive structure list (23MByte!). Any word lists or URLs with word lists would be very appreciated. Please put the URLs here, if you have a word list, just append it to /New topics. At what point should I stop? 50.000 words, as the preliminary benchmark? I think the /Q list is already quite complete, it might be fun to cover that one completely ("The Qte encyclopedia?":) -- Magnus Manske

Hey Magnus, as usual, I am amazed at your creativity. Thanks. Another thing to consider is to put links to other encyclopedias' article URLs after the Wikified name, in between single brackets. So, for example, one bit would look like this:

... - Jesus Christ [1] - ...

--LMS

Nice idea, but woudln't it be better to put that link at the bottom of the article itself instead? In the topic list it might clutter the page. Also, I'd have to look up and edit every single entry manually :(
Or am I missing the point here? --Magnus Manske
Well, I thought the main point of this list was to provide people with ideas about what we should have articles on. So at the same time that someone looks at a topic on your list, it would be nice to see a link to an article about that topic. Instant easy research! --LMS

I am quite happy to announce that my local word database has passed the 120.000 words! Not counting crap, there should be about 100.000 left. I also used the /New topics list, and uploaded the /Q page again as an example. I'll upload all letters once we decide on a "partly finished version". --Magnus Manske


Magnus, why are there duplicates (e.g. Quantum mechanics) on the /Q page? Missing a "sort -u" somewhere? --Robbe


Somewhere, before the list is officially finished, you should add a comment to the effect that very many of these proposed article names do not follow Wikipedia's naming conventions. Many use plurals and upper case when we'd use singular and lower case. --LMS

I added a warning, and I'm working on ways to reduce plurals semi-automatically. I'll probably start uploading the lists I have later today. These should keep us busy for a while ;)
one of the great things about the 'complete list' is that it will help identify those illicit plurals and refactor into appropriate entry-title! Thanks again, Magnus. --MichaelTinkler

The "basic vocabulary" page includes zillions of words that are not names of any plausible encyclopedia article. We shouldn't be encouraging people to write articles on basic vocabulary; we should be encouraging them to write articles on basic encyclopedia topics, which is totally different. --LMS


I don't believe basic encyclopedia topics will work. Who could decide what 10% of history is most significant? I still prefer the Q-week idea - just grind through the topics and people who know more will pick them up. Although I'm doing K-months and a lot of tat is slipping through.TwoOneTwo


Huh? Why won't it work? Of course it will work, if we work on it. It doesn't have to be exact. It just has to be useful. --LMS


You're probably right about the "basic vocabulary", but do you really think people will go through more than 100.000 topics searching for ones from their special area? Click on /A, find a topic and write, yes, but ...

I got the "basic biology topics" by collecing them on biology pages. Might be easier for the other topics, too. Well, at least you got rid of a subpage;) --Magnus Manske

I tried going through the topic list one by one looking for sport topics, but it's just *impossible* with the list in its present form. It might be marginally easier if you formatted the words into a single-column or two-column list. It's a real needle-in-a-haystack exercise, though, and I doubt whether it's a particularly good use of my time when I already know of important articles yet to be written. --Robert Merkel