Larry Sanger/Yet more old comments

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How would you suggest renaming the subpages of various countries? For instance, "Algerian government" or "Government of Algeria"? Or would you suggest it? --KQ

I think it's probably more trouble than it's worth right now, actually. I hate subpages, but I don't think it matters terribly that we use them, particularly in certain contexts, like those country pages, where there's established customs. Who knows, maybe in some future version of Wikipedia software, we'll eliminate subpages and all subpages will be renamed in such a way that the slash is replaced by two hyphens, or by a colon :-).

To answer your question, though, I don't know. I'd have to think more about it. Maybe Algeria: Government would be good, but since that's not permitted by the software, I guess either Government of Algeria or Algeria--Government would be fine. We could always have it Government/Algeria. :-) Thing is, in these particular cases, the subpages really do act as good disambiguators and organizers. --LMS

I see. That's fine. I knew you made some exceptions, but I didn't know if that was one of them. I haven't changed them yet because the syntax as it is is unambiguous, which leads people to pipe links, but otherwise it's a 50/50 chance at best of accidental linking.

Good work at Wikipedia, Larry.

I've answered your question about lowercase links here. --KQ

Here you go, Larry: Jamaican jerk spice. :-) --KQ

Just noticed this, KQ! Is this a "jerk spice" (whatever that is) from Jamaica, or a spice made by Jamaican jerks? Wouldn't want to eat any racist foods. :-) Anyway, are you recommending that I try the recipe out, or what? --LMS

Well, I think I was expecting it to raise your ire as not-an-encyclopedia-article. Apparently I'm alone in that assessment, though. :-) --KQ

Hey, if you want to input recipes, that would be great. Would be the beginning of our Wikipedia Encyclopedia of Cooking. Why the hell not? :-) --LMS

Thanx for cleaning up in the mess the Comic section became. Everyone and their brother wanted an article of their own :-) --Anders Torlind

My pleasure! (Or is that what I was feeling?) --LMS

Re your comment on your last edit of the home page: I last counted a couple of days ago, and it was 9560 articles or so, with 60+ new articles a day. It'll be 10000 by next friday, I think... Malcolm Farmer

Thanks! We will have to have some sort of virtual celebration. :-) --Larry

Larry, check out my rewrite of sports utility vehicle and see whether you think it's an improvement. Robert Merkel

Robert, I think it's a huge improvement. Thanks very much! --Larry

Larry, I think you ought to cast an eye over the Roman Mythology page someone put up. It looks like it might be straight out of Encarta or somesuch... sjc

Done... See Roman Mythology/Talk. --Larry

Larry, can you list all your subpages, I get lost looking for some subjects you have expounded on. :) mike dill

I think you're probably looking for /Columns. That's where most of my expounding is done. :-) I recently also added /Review requests. --LMS

Hi, could you look into the Amazon River article? It looks like the history could be broken, because (especially) YAPURA is redundant and seems to be edited. Anyway, maybe it´s only a mistake. --Vulture

I thought Yapura was duplicated as well, but as I started moving stuff from the page to other places, it stopped being so, so I guess Wikipedia has some kind of bug when it comes to very long pages. --Pinkunicorn

I had a look, and it looks to me like somebody is already on the problem. Ain't wiki great? --LMS

Larry, how do you find all these places that have linked to wikipedia? --KQ

The referer_log! --LS

Oh. So you just visit where people were before coming here, and look to see if there's a link? Or does that show only places that do link to wikipedia?

I look to see if there's a link there. In one or two cases, I looked and didn't see, but I remembered seeing a link (weblogs, e.g.). --LMS

I've been working hard the last couple of days to do something about the poor Dutch Wikipedia. Now virtually all relevant information is there, though most of it still needs to be translated into Dutch. How can I get other Dutch Wikipedians to put some effort into it? And, ofcourse, to cook up some content. Once the thing is moving, it will attract others, I hope. By the way, Thanks for your help, Jason. --Thea Kemper.

Good luck, Thea! You don't necessarily need to use the Dutch Wikipedia to translate the English Wikipedia into Dutch--you could use it for that, but you could also use it to write original articles in Dutch. Basically, I hope you'll use it in whatever way will encourage you and other Dutch speakers to build something grand. Thanks for getting it off the ground, anyway! --Larry

This is my page. :-) I get to say what goes on it. :-) Debates about word usage might very well be deleted. :-)

A fair writeup on Usian, Larry. Thanks. --KQ

Hi Larry -- The Sidehill Gouger article is nearly identical to an article in the Journal of Irreproducible Results ( from a long time ago (1960's? earlier?). Anyway, it's almost certainly copyrighted by them, and should be removed.

I put a note on Bryan Derksen's page about this. --Larry

Though I did refer to the JIR article in question to make sure of my facts before I began writing, along with a couple of other Gouger-related websites, the article was written from scratch by me. The Sidehill Gouger was not originally created by JIR, it is a creature of folklore. -BD

OK, now I understand. --Larry

Here's an article you might find interesting, Larry: --KQ

Don't get me started. --Larry

I had no intention of debating anything in the article (I'd be far out of my league, anyway); I just thought you might find it interesting. :-) --KQ

Thanks! I know you didn't want to get into a debate. It is very interesting, but it's also very annoying. :-) --Larry

I'd be interested to know why you find it annoying. I'm sure there's something I'm not understanding. Perhaps you could email me the details (koyaanisqatsi at, if you'd rather not start a discussion on your page. (And, again, I don't want to debate, just to hear.) --KQ

Hi, there is no copyright problem related to the PostScript page. See Public_Domain_Resources/Foldoc_license. --css

Wow! That's a great windfall. Thanks, Axel & css for looking into this. --Larry

Hi Larry (didn't know where to put this). Some comments on the article in the Danish paper Ingenoeren (news for engineers) [1]. In Denmark a new national encyclopedia has recently been published (first volume 1994, last volume of 20 will be out soon). Now the discussion goes whether the government should spent more money to make a web-version of the work available. The concern is that people may not want to pay (the britannica problem), and that government support is unfair competition. This is what the paper discusses. In this context wikipedia is mentioned as an alternative way of doing an encyclopedia. --css

Thanks for the summary. This is very useful information, because it makes it extremely clear that we should set up a Danish Wikipedia ASAP and see if we can get Ingenoeren to do a follow-up announcing it. I e-mailed Jason about this. Hopefully he'll set one up for us.

This is actually pretty exciting, come to think of it--if they are concerned that people might not want to pay for it, and that Wikipedia is an alternative, that indicates that the concept of Wikipedia might really be starting to take hold of the public imagination (well, at least among Danish engineers!). --Larry

Hey Larry, can you ask (or make someone ask) Jason about putting the copyright notice on spanish wikipedia? I sent him the translation yesterday by email. It is important. Yesterday I already had to remove a copyrighted article. AN

His address is jasonr at If he thinks it's important, he'll get on it ASAP. If you tell him it's important, he won't necessarily think it's important. :-) But you can tell him that I said I think it's important. :-) --LMS

I was thinking that it might be interesting to have some of the email exchanges concerning the founding of Wikipedia over at the Wikipedia page. Do you, or Jimbo, or your friend over at Ward's Wiki have any of them archived? After all, when Wikipedia is the world's most respected reference work, we'll actually want a decent history of it. :) -- STG

Don't expect Jimbo to have them. I've seen his e-mail filing system...doesn't exist!

The early history might be interesting when Wikipedia is the world's most respected reference work. :-) I won't be deleting the mails anytime soon, anyway :-). I don't know if I have all of them, but I'm sure I have all the ones that I sent. --LMS

Larry, who should I contact about technical problems. for some reason, I'm not getting a cookie from the server and thus can't set preferences). --Robert Merkel

You could try, but he probably won't know what's wrong. You could try adding the problem to Wikipedia bugs. Or you could just reload, or use a different browser, or pray for divine intervention. --LMS

Sugestion: add a link to non-english wikipedias to the to the navigation bar

All of them, or just that page? Hmm...

A link to non-english wikipedias --joao
Joao, that sounds like a good idea to me. Could you write and/or and ask him (them) to do this (saying I thought it'd be a good idea)? (They'll listen to you more than they will to me. ;-) ) --LMS

Larry, To provide a handly reminder to be able to review 'my' articles (and for a little bit of vanity!) I created a contributions page at Verloren/Contributions. If you visit this you'll see a number of articles listed have vanished - can you explain to a newbie what's going on? Thanks, Verloren

I guess what you're trying to tell me is that your articles have been verloren. (Ba-dum-tsss!) Actually, that's just a bug I've noticed myself. The articles haven't actually disappeared, it's just a (new!) bug--sometimes for some reason the script doesn't recognize links to existing articles properly. Just go reload the page again. This would be another one to add to Wikipedia bugs. Hopefully, Magnus' new script will be done sometime within my lifetime, and we won't have these bugs. (Instead, we'll have a brand new set of bugs! :-) ) --LMS

You can thank me later for setting up the joke :) What particularly worried me was that I searched for Power storage (as an example), and even the search doesn't find it. Do we know when the articles will return?

The server is acting very weird at the present moment, and that seems to be related to the bug. I wrote Jimbo and Jason about it, and can only hope they'll look into it.

For my own future reference: [2] and [3] --LMS

Larry, I think I'm going to do away with all the subpages stemming from countries of the world. What do you think of renaming them all to for instance:

History of *
Geography of *
People of *
Government of *
Economy of *
Communications in *
Transportation in *
Military of *
Foreign relations of *

"Transnational issues" would be integrated w/ "foreign relations of." Any suggestions? (aside from "get a life"?) ;-) --KQ

KQ, what better life could there be than to work constantly on Wikipedia? (Don't answer that. :-) ) Your suggestion makes sense to me. If you don't do this, then if Magnus does what I ask and doesn't implement subpages, the Foo/Bar pages will all be translated automatically to Foo--Bar. And that, in the case of the geography entries, wouldn't look half bad. --LMS (working overtime again)

If you do choose to not implement subpages (a perfectly rational choice, IMHO), perhaps you should make the transition method a little less automatic. "History of *", "Communications in *" are good examples of how to render all of those subpages--much better than "*--History". Mine should become "Raise (Poker)" rather than "Poker--Raise". There are probably only a few large collections of subpages that would benefit from a little hand-tuning; the rest can be done automatically. --LDC

Larry, we have Yaohushua in spouting off nonsense Hebrew, Jessica Brookes promoting relationship website, and Doug Bundy posting a theory that the universe is not composed of matter. I do believe that this is a small-scale, purposeful invasion; some people are tesing how easy it would be for a crank to post Wikipedia articles. My theory, anyway. -- STG

Well, you could be right, but do you really think Jessica Brooks would get together with Doug Bundy to perform such a test? I think it's perhaps more likely that I haven't been out there weeding enough--but, on the other hand, hey! I can't do everything, nor, it seems, do I really need to, because all youse guys pick up the slack. Thanks! --LMS

No, but I bet three guys communicating over ICQ wouldn't have much trouble picking out their favourite weirdos and paying us a visit. If you scan down RecentChanges, you'll find they all started at around the same time. I and a few others have undone all the damage (I think), but now I have to go finish a compost bin. :) Keep an eye on Yaohushua mucking around on the religion pages. -- STG

Aha, that would make sense, wouldn't it? --LMS

Speaking of helpful newbies and *ahem* interesting newbies, J Hofmann Kemp is helping me keep from changing everything Prussian and baltic and germanic from becoming really scary. Check the recent changes in the Talk under Wilhelm Gustloff whatever to see some of the stuff that she's up to. 207 seems to be the one who keeps interjecting 'Judea declares war on Germany' into the WWII entries, by the way. --MichaelTinkler

Golly, it looks like a lot has been going on since I've been gone. Could I have the Cliff's Notes version? --LMS

Hi Larry,

i went back into the Wilhelm Gustloff/talk page to try to put some sort of order into Helga Jonat's (she's conversation with me. Could you please take a look? I'm going to try to wean myself off of this particular conversation, because it's beginning to depress me -- It's like trying to explain to a D student why he didn't get an A. I just don't want to go from bold editing to slash and burn in my first wiki-week.

Ugh, it seems I spoke too soon. (By the way, just to be clear, I'm not the editor of Wikipedia. I can offer my opinion, but it is not binding on anyone.) Anyway, I'll take a look. --LMS

Thanks, Larry -- really I just needed some moral support from someone other than Michael!! J Hofmann Kemp

I beg to differ about filing links being fun. --KQ

No, it really is! You can look at what other people say about Wikipedia, and then you can file it with like-themed websites. You can idly infer all sorts of interesting things about people based on how they and their peers react to Wikipedia. --LMS

Larry sez:

I just noticed the way you've been adding historical events to year entries, by searching through Wikipedia articles for mentions of years.

Well, I'm feeling too brain-dead today to write original articles, and I noticed that the links are starting to work more often now -- I guessed there'd be enough in Wikipedia now that searching for years would be worthwhile. Let's see: 20 years a day, staring at 1600, only three weeks to reach the present day.... --Paul Drye

Larry, I hugely admire the work that you've done with Wikipedia, and your desire to be first among equals rather than leader/editor. But (there, you knew it was on its way) I'm wrestling with a standards issue, and wondering if there are any (in a positive sense!). I'm trying to write some articles on cities, and don't know how to link to them. Should they be (city) or (city, country) or (city, state/county) or some other scheme? All seem to be used at the moment, which is confusing to write and confusing to use. I'm not necessarily looking for you to make a decision, but it seems to me there are times when standardisation would benefit everyone without having a downside, but I don't know how to get there. Your thoughts... Verloren

Thanks! Well, I think if we all follow a bit of common sense, templates in these early stages will prove to be unnecessary. (This isn't to say that those who have made templates for others to follow aren't doing useful work--as long as they don't try to cow others into using them.) For U.S. cities, (city, state) seems to be the norm, and it makes sense too, because there are so many different cities with the same name (and only one country with the same name as a U.S. state--Georgia). For cities in other countries, I guess it should be a case-by-case basis whether we want to identify cities by (city, province/etc.) or (city, country). In huge, populous countries like Brazil and Russia, surely there are many cities with the same name, and then it would make sense to disambiguate. See naming conventions... --LMS

Do you ever put a rest in between work? (Not meant negatively) ;) not_now

I do! I don't think I work on Wikipedia enough, but I also don't work on Nupedia enough. It's difficult. --LMS