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Wikipedia … Maciej on Antarctica … ¡Cabrón! 8th of March, 2006 POST·MERIDIEM 01:58

I just picked nits on the subject of Wikipedia over at Languagehat’s page, http://​www.​languagehat.​com/​archives/​002295.​php , and I suspect people read it as my hating the project. I don’t; I think it’s a magnificent resource, incomparable in its breadth—as Des noticed recently, no other information source is likely to list the mock Latin names of Mr. W. E. Coyote episode by episode, and indeed I find, for example, its articles on Warner Brothers cartoons in general fascinating and comprehensive.

But I only rarely edit it or add to it, even on those subjects I have some confidence about. It is tedious to have the English pronunciation information for Jökulhlaup removed from the corresponding article for no good reason , or to have well-sourced coherent criticism of Richard Stallman taken out of his article by his cheerleading team, or to have coherent edits taken out without notes as to why by someone writing incoherent things himself on the corresponding talk page. Arguing a point is essentially marketing work for your point of view, convincing other people of something you’re aware of already; I don’t like most strangers enough to consider that worthwhile.

Anyway. Jamie Zawinski linked to it, so you’ve probably seen it already, but if you haven’t, Maciej Cegłowski wrote an excellent, and in some places screamingly funny, article on the Antarctic yesterday. Go read it— http://​www.​idlewords.​com/​2006/​03/​ruling_antarctica.​htm .

Word of the day: el cabrón  is Spanish for “billy goat,” and can often be translated by “bastard”; буз means “goat” in general in Tajik.

I’ve never felt up to the task of editing a wikipedia page directly, but I’m confident enough to edit a talk page.

I agree that getting into the middle of such squabbles at Wikipedia is fruitless, and I don’t do it myself. It doesn’t seem to me that has much to do with correcting punctuation, spelling, or errors of fact in normal articles (i.e., not the subject of ongoing testosterone rage).

Sheila: Never? Wow. You really should, you know lots of esoteric stuff. But now I think of it I know someone else I like, respect and find charming who didn’t post weblog comments from, as far as I can work out, lack of confidence, so that makes it a bit easier for me to understand it from you.

Language Hat: Of course, I’m not suggesting that people shouldn’t work on Wikipedia articles in general. I’m just explaining why I do it very little at the moment, despite my general comfort with and interest in the web. And I plan on writing more; one of the things I need to get round to in the next few months to is translating boring things from the English and French Wikipediæ into the German, because my written German needs the practice.

(Oh, and excuse the confusion with the entry that was on the front page for ten minutes; I need to debug my mail-client-cum-posting-tool some more :-)

paragraph. :) Cool. It also leaves the old text in the field. Pardon the digression.

Ah, me. You’ve lost my previous two comments. Recap: Regardless of what I know, I do not feel that I can replace the section on the history of the casta system with a section written as well as what I think should go there. (tagent: I noticed that page becuase I wanted to read more about R. Douglas Cope. He doesn’t have a wikipedia entry)

(Bah, sorry about that. That’s my evening accounted for, then—this stuff really needs fixing.)

Well, okay, but you could easily replace that section with something that was better than is there now, as I understand it? And I think coding principles apply here; that is, perfect isn’t practical, but better has value in itself.

I added a comment in the talk section feeling certain that people who write better than I do would see it and correct the main page. I wonder why no one has?

In case you need a bug report: if I press return, my entry is posted. The text of my entry remains in the form. If I edit the form and post again my previous post is replaced. Speculation: wonder if my post will always be replaced unless someone has posted after me?

I suspect the number of writers who are better than you are is more limited than you might think.

If you press return, the browser behaves as if the Preview Comment button has been pressed; I evidently need to make the “Previewing” text stand out more.

I missed that. Would it be too ugly to change the background of the previewed comment to have "preview" ghosted on it? This idiom is used in many places. It is not entirely satisfactory, to my eye.

Okay, keep away from the comment boxes today, people. Interestingly, different Firefox builds have different bugs in this area

And, that particular problem fixed; I suspect the W3C’s validator was telling me different things about <textarea>s three years ago when I started doing <input type="textarea"> instead of <textarea>, than it is today, when the latter is fine.

Some HTML is allowed. Use Preview if you’re not sure that what you type will be.

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