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See Wikipedia FAQ to add general questions about Wikipedia; use Wikipedia chat for highly idiosyncratic questions. See Wikipedia category schemes/Talk for general discussion of the category scheme on Wikipedia's HomePage. See below for more discussion of particular issues (e.g., whether to include a particular category on the page).

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What if we used Wikipedia to store song lyrics? Also, shouldn't there be a search box at the TOP of the home page?


IMHO wikipedia is not and should not be a storehouse for song lyrics, especially since most of the song lyrics people will be inclined to include will be copyrighted. --KQ




Summary of Past Discussions & Changes

Subtopics moved to appropriate topic page: Countries of the World to Geography, Electronics to Engineering and Physics, Computing to Computer science, Nutrition to Health Science

Topics removed because not "top level" enough: Anomalous Phenomena

Mythology is now carried under Religion. This is a controversial change because it suggests mythology is less "important" than religion. But on the other hand, one man's religion could be considered another man's myth... Suggestion was made to put both mythology and religion as subcategories of Culture.

While it would be nice to have a more detailed set of topics on the home page, the current scheme is sufficient, and has the benefit of being concise. Having to page down more than once is considered a navigational pain in the rat's patootie. The current organization of topics feels somewhat ad hoc and might be better served if it had particular principles underlying it. One organization principle for a homepage might be the categories of Rogets Thesaurus. Another principle might be to quickly direct traffic to the most commonly accessed pages. Another might be a general ontology of the universe.

Added index and random links to homepage. Removed redundant welcome. Added Complete list of encyclopedia topics.

Is critical theory "top-level enough"? Larry argues yes, as it is about culture and has very broad implications. No one disagrees with this description, but various counter-arguments are made: it is too specific and not a good portal page; it does not belong the heading of under Culture; it is primarily an academic topic, as opposed to a general knowledge topic. After much debate, the issue remains somewhat undecided. Currently, it seems that Critical theory will be put under an interdisciplinary heading with several other such topics; keep reading for more information

"Year in Review" catagory changed to "Historical view".

"Current Events" section pruned and relocated.

Wikipedia copyright clarified with links to GNU Free Documentation License, open content and free content.


Moved from Larry Sanger:

Copied from Hello, I saw in the comments fields of the home page that I shouldn't modify it without contacting you first - but its a bit late for that.

Anyway, I'd like to recommend that 'Space' be left on the main page under the 'applied arts and sciences' field. It's a rather large subject that should be fairly popular, and there are already a lot of pages that could fall into that category. The only problem with the existing pages was lack of a central location, and as such they are all scattered and hooked into the other physical science and engineering fields. I tried to find a more appropriate place to link a space category, but the other existing locations seemed too narrow in scope to justify a full-bore 'space' category there. The only appropriate solution seemed to be at the root level.

There isn't a lot under the heading right now, mainly scaffolding. But with a central, obvious location, I would expect it to fill out rather rapidly.


There are at least two reasons why this is a non-starter:

  • Space transport is included under transport; other aspects of space technology are listed under techology.
  • The name, "Space," is the name of a subject studied by Astronomy and Astrophysics, not the name of an applied science or technology. If anything, space technology (if there is such a thing that is so-called) could be listed under "applied science and technology."
  • Generally speaking, the items on the HomePage are either names of disciplines, or names of arts and technologies. "Space" is none of these. The subject that studies space is astronomy.

--Larry Sanger


I disagree with this again. 'Space' is big enough that it pretty much requires its own field, and calling it 'space science' IMO narrows it too much. Not all that is space is science; there is a lot of raw technology and history involved that would be inappropriate for a raw science category. Not all that is space involves telescopes and people in white lab coats.

Space happens to include astronomy and astrophysics. It also includes space technology, and it includes space science and space engineering. The problem is that all of these fields link heavily into each other, and it should be possible to find them all under one, single, unified category. What is the obvious category to select to find out about manned lunar missions? Should it be astronomy/astrophysics? How about technology? How about engineering? For the life of me, I couldn't find most of them from the front page.

At least if I got desparate, I could type in 'wiki/Space' into the url and get a category with space sciences in it, right? Not anymore. It's just been reverted to the four liner describing space as a location in a coordinate grid.

Once again, this is a very common, popular, and broad-reaching subject, and requires a central header that is simple and obvious for everything that falls under it. At the very least, give us the Space keyword, even if it is not on the main page. What I had posted under it could hardly be worse than the existing definition, and would certainly be what people accessing the page would expect. For example, if you looked up 'Space', what would you expect to see?

-dennis T


You can take nearly any broad concept--space, love, health, justice, etc.--and make similar arguments to the ones you've made. But we aren't doing that, for the reasons I mentioned (you could, perhaps, reply point-by-point to those reasons if you think they're wrong). --LMS


Why does the home page contain the date in the server's timezone? I don't see how that is relevant to an encyclopedia, especially since the timezone will only apply to a tiny minority of users. At the very least, we should give the date in UCT, but even that would be pretty useless IMHO. --AxelBoldt


I suppose that today's date gives a starting point into Year in Review entries. I'd agree we should use UTC; the only problem is remembering when to change it. Unless you set your timezone preference differently, the RecentChanges page displays server time, which is what I at least follow when deciding to update the HomePage date. I wonder, why doesn't someone just modify the wiki script to use UTC, or change the server time zone to UTC, or something like that? -- Simon J Kissane

The server is located on the west coast of the United States, in California. This semmed simply as good a time as any for keeping track of what day it is. (When I started keeping track of the date on the homepage, I set it by the time in Izhevsk, Russia. :-) ) In the future, sure, we'd like that particular link to be generated automatically (maybe Magnus' script will do this?), and then, sure, we could switch it to "Universal Coordinated Time," which is the same as what used to be called Greenwich Mean Time. In the Mean Time, why not just keep it where it is in order to coordinate the home page "time" with the Recent Changes time? --LMS

I think applied arts and sciences ought to have Government as a link. I also think that Military should be a link under that. The basic problem I have is that I'd like to write an artcle, and Government is where it belongs. So- anybody agree? Ray Van De Walker


Isn't the topic of government very well covered by the combination of political science and public affairs? Besides, on the homepage, so far, the topics are names of fields of study (and sometimes fields of study that are also names of the subjects they study).

I don't like the idea of an activism category on the homepage. Activism per se is not a broad subject in the way that the others are, and activist approaches to various subjects are linked to from various other categories, such as public affairs, political science, and philosophy.

I just noticed that we have politics on the page and not political science, which is the relevant category. --LMS



I'm going to remove the GSS link, pending some discussion of why we should have that, and not the many other interdisciplinary fields that exist.

Alternatively, we could simply create a new supercategory devoted just to those interdisciplinary fields--which would solve the problem of where to put Critical Theory. --LMS


I'd say a page of interdisciplinary fields would be useful, though I'd divide it into social science and natural science interdisciplinary fields -- bioinformatics and cognitive science are very different from GSS & friends.

Secondly, GSS (or one of its subfields like womens studies) very often gets it own department at universities; and if you count womens studies departments in it, it certaintly gets one much more often than almost any other interdisciplinary field, at least in the social science -- SJK


OK! I propose we set up a list of the most important interdisciplinary fields here on this page, and when it looks good, someone can move it to the HomePage. --LMS

The header now says "you can edit this page right now!". Except the homepage is read only. That seems kind of silly, to me. -- DrBob


Search Control:

How about moving the search control to the top of the front page rather than hidden down at the bottom. This is my first visit today and, if I wasn't fairly websavvy, I might have given up at not seeing a way of looking up something of interest at first glance.

Believe me, it's a very old complaint. :) We're moving to new software fairly soon, and the problem will be corrected. Check out feature requests. --STG

Someone expressed there objection to having Mythology listed under religion. But they chose to do it with a H1 font and to call us "RETARDOS"... so i deleted their comment. -- SJK


Why is Parapsychology under Social Science? I think that gives it too much legitimacy, implying that it is a science. Please move it somewhere more neutral. --Eob


Eob: I think parapsychology does belong under science (I'm not so sure about *social* science though...). It is entirely possibly to scientifically study paranormal phenomena. Of course, the results are not particularly encouraging for supporters of the existence of such phenomena, but just because the results are negative doesn't mean that objective scientific research is impossible on such topics. And even though a lot of parapsychological research has been invalid, that doesn't mean there hasn't or there can't be valid parapsychological research, especially since bad research is found in all scientific disciplines... -- SJK

I agree with with you in that serious research on the paranormal is possible, but the fact it's been tried for quite a while now and the results, as you say, are not good. Giving it a link on the front page probably gives it a prominence I would argue it doesn't deserve. --Robert Merkel
Robert--maybe, but where else will it go? Perhaps under psychology; it's often treated as a branch of psychology (thus the classification under social sciences). Moreover, if we do remove it, we're going to have to have something else, equally problematic, such as anomalous phenomena, on the home page, as a catch-all category for all manner of popular, arguably important, but (admittedly) extremely dubious phenomena. --LMS
Good point. Stay with the status quo, then. --Robert Merkel

I think the article Critical Theory, as it is now, doesn't belong to the front page, but to some of the others front pages. --AN


I think that's a criticism of the present Critical Theory article, not of its present placement. Look, critical theory absolutely dominates the way academics today (as well as many critics and other opinion-makers) think about literature, art, theater, film, etc., etc. It is hugely important. Often, when one gets a Ph.D. in literature, for example, most of the courses one takes are in critical theory. Some of the 20th century's most influential cultural theorists (Foucault, Derrida, Gadamer, Habermas, etc.) can be placed under that general aegis. I personally find the methods they use baffling, and, when I understand them (or as much as there is there to understand), I find them totally unconvincing. I imagine most scientifically-minded people would agree with me; but I don't think that that opinion of ours should affect where we place the field. The fact of the matter is that this stuff is extremely influential today, and a sophisticated understanding of "human knowledge" requires some understanding of the field. --LMS


Where should one categorise the 'manual arts'? Things like woodwork, metalwork, etc?


Under the appropriate "Applied Arts and Sciences," I'd think--maybe under technology. --LMS