User talk:Guy vandegrift/Archive 4

From Wikiversity
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Probationary Custodianship[edit]

I was wondering if you'd given any more thought to becoming a Wikiversity custodian. You are one of our most prolific contributors [1], and seem to have an inclusive view of Wikiversity as a whole and a willingness to assist other editors. If you are interested, I'd be happy to nominate you at Wikiversity:Candidates for Custodianship. -- Dave Braunschweig (discusscontribs) 15:48, 1 March 2015 (UTC)

Yes please nominate me. --Guy vandegrift (discusscontribs) 15:59, 1 March 2015 (UTC)
Welcome aboard, Guy, you are now a probationary custodian[2]. Thanks for mentoring, Dave. -- Jtneill - Talk - c 04:36, 5 March 2015 (UTC)

Now that you are a probationary custodian, you'll find you have more options. There are more features on the menu, and more pages available under Special pages. Take it slow. Read instructions when necessary. As a first order of business, add yourself to Wikiversity:Support staff. Also, while you're there, review the list and verify that the names in bold are currently active.

I've built a list of skills I think custodians should master during their probationary period at Wikiversity:Custodian Mentorship. Please let me know whenever you have any questions. And thanks for being willing to serve our community! -- Dave Braunschweig (discusscontribs) 04:46, 5 March 2015 (UTC)

Yes, welcome aboard. What not to to do, I learned the hard way. Now that you are a custodian, you may rename an entire page structure with a single command if you specify "include subpages." There is no Undo for this, to reverse such an action, each move must be individually undone. So I made a mistake moving, and then spent a whole day undoing it.... So be careful, and you'll be fine! It's a wiki, so most mistakes are easy to fix. --Abd (discusscontribs) 14:15, 5 March 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for the advice. I recall a custodian having trouble with that on something I wanted to move. --Guy vandegrift (discusscontribs) 14:21, 5 March 2015 (UTC)

About My Quizzes[edit]

You have my permission to move my quizzes out of my user space --MarsLoveslions (discusscontribs) 18:25, 11 March 2015 (UTC)

Yes. @MarsLoveslions:, I forgot to tell you that the custom is that discussions continue (and hopefully end) where they started. It would be "odd" for me to leave an answer on your user page and not here. Also, I probably would have moved it without your permission anyway ... if you didn't like the move I could just move it back.--Guy vandegrift (discusscontribs) 20:31, 11 March 2015 (UTC)
Ummm... We would probably not move a page out of user space without the user's permission, unless there were extenuating circumstances. A user works on a page in their user space because they don't think it is ready for mainspace or some similar reason. In user space, we respect their control. In mainspace, it's been, more or less, opened to the planet. (There are exceptions; we have attributed "essay" pages that are part of educational resources. Those should probably not be randomly edited, because they are attributed, but they can get moved about, discussed on Talk and sometimes on the page itself, etc. Attribution, by the way, is how we can allow high freedom in original research and the expression of opinion.) However, whatever you do intending to help the user will probably work out fine. Yes, actions can be undone, especially by an admin. --Abd (discusscontribs) 23:40, 11 March 2015 (UTC)


  • You know about signing with four tildes, even if you forget, as I do from time to time. Four tildes will generate your signature and a timestamp. The signature is either a default or is defined in your Preferences. However, just in case, did you know about three tildes, which will just generate user link, like this for me: Abd (discusscontribs). That was just three tildes. And then there is the timestamp alone, five tildes: 23:49, 11 March 2015 (UTC). While it is now redundant, here is my signature with two hyphens and four tildes: --Abd (discusscontribs) 23:49, 11 March 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for the info, both regarding moving essays out of user space w/o permission and the three tilda signature, which I will try right now:


Thanks for [3], not for the vote itself, but for actually looking, reporting what you found, and drawing a conclusion from it. If we have all made some terrible mistake, I assume someone will appear to tell us, or send me an email or something about what a horrible monster the person is. If they provide evidence, I'd even look. But I don't think that will happen. Give him more time as a steward, they are troll magnets, if they do their job. And then there are stewards who actually are or have been abusive, on occasion. So it can get complicated. It is not complicated with Ruy. --Abd (discusscontribs) 17:03, 25 March 2015 (UTC)

Links to Deleted Files[edit]

It's not necessary for you to clean up links to deleted files. If this is something you think we should do, I could set up a bot to do this automatically after the files are deleted. It might be even better if we wrapped the file link in some type of template that would provide a link to a resource that would educate users on why files are deleted and how to license them properly to avoid deletions in the future. -- Dave Braunschweig (discusscontribs) 17:42, 4 April 2015 (UTC)

Wikiversity Signpost stories[edit]

"flow_of_ideas"_on_Wikiversity A and B. Thanks! Resident Mario (discusscontribs) 02:58, 9 April 2015 (UTC)

Deleting your own work[edit]

I see a place where you intend to delete a user page that you created. Please be careful about this. While it may be harmless, the general principle we have in place is that, with certain exceptions, deletions are not unilateral decisions. So a custodian wishing to delete a page normally tags it for deletion the same as any other user. We do still make exceptions to this, such as blatant spam pages, grossly uncivil attack pages, and the like. (Most such reflexive deletions are harmless, but I've also seen this abused on other wikis. It can be a way to hide the past.) That was a sock account you created for a purpose you considered reasonable, and I assume you found a better way. Obviously, everything you do on-wiki is visible!

The account page should probably just be blanked except for a note that this is an alternative account for Guy vandegrift. I have a few of those. They only cause harm if there is deception involved. --Abd (discusscontribs) 21:32, 2 May 2015 (UTC)

If this helps any, the deleted account was not really a sock account, but a mistaken creation that happened when I was trying to move something into to my sandbox. The "move GUI" said "User:" so I just filled in the blank with "Sandbox", thinking my name was understood by the GUI. My sock account is user:Grumpy25, and as you pointed out, was never secret.
But I have found a way to use Wikiversity to make testbanks and should have something complete in a week or two.--Guy vandegrift (discusscontribs) 22:00, 2 May 2015 (UTC)
Actually, I wasn't asking about that Sandbox deletion. Deleting a mistaken move like that is not a problem, it's an example of an exception, where there is zero possibility of any controversy or suspicion of controversy. Good luck with testbanks. --Abd (discusscontribs) 15:21, 3 May 2015 (UTC)

Scalar theories of gravitation[edit]

Can you check out Talk:Scalar theories of gravitation? Perhaps this article needs to be moved to user space and/or tagged as fringe. Thanks! -- Dave Braunschweig (discusscontribs) 03:13, 12 May 2015 (UTC)

Can you also please take a look at Four potential gravitation? It's this page that led me to the section on the Scalar theories of gravitation page; written by the same author, it is entirely about a fringe theory, supported only by the author's self-published booklets. I added a speedy deletion tag yesterday, but it was since removed. Thanks. Vttoth (discusscontribs) 14:48, 12 May 2015 (UTC)

Vttoth I will tag that page with the {{fringe}} template and keep it on my watch list. Wikiversity has a tolerance policy that I believe should be followed whenever a page does no harm. And, Wikiversity shares Wikipedia's consensus policy, which is why I don't want to delete anything yet. I believe User:Vttoth and User:Guy vandegrift are close to establishing consensus that this material is not needed. Now it becomes an issue of tolerance: What harm are these so-called "theories" of gravitation doing to Wikiversity? See this message' to Marshallsumter. You obviously have a decent understanding of physics. I hope you continue to contribute to Wikiversity. --Guy vandegrift (discusscontribs) 16:24, 12 May 2015 (UTC)
Please do whatever you think is best. I proposed the page (after it was brought to my attention by the page author) for speedy deletion as it is obviously self-promotional, has zero scientific value (again, the author's sole references are his self-published books, the so-called theory contradicts established science and has internal inconsistencies, too) and as an educational tool (the stated purpose of Wikiversity) it is misleading at best. That said, I am certainly okay with being tolerant. Vttoth (discusscontribs) 16:51, 12 May 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for your interest, Vttoth. We study fringe theories here. However, where and how are matters to consider. First of all, these pages are really only about one theory, each. Unless a theory is notable, it doesn't belong at the top level in mainspace. We won't delete pages like this, generally. We may move them to user space -- because for a user to work on a page expressing his or her theories, or some fringe theory or other work not ready for prime time is still educational for the user. We will do that even for nonsense pages, if by a registered user and there are good-faith contributions. And maybe the user can engage someone else to help in some way, by contributing or criticizing.
Or we may move them to an essay space, where students and others may create attributed essays. We more or less allow them to own the essays if they are in mainspace, because they are attributed. If there is an essay by Abd ul-Rahman Lomax, -- i.e., me -- it isn't accurate to attribute it to him if someone else changes it without his permission. At the top level, we don't allow page ownership. At any level, and especially in mainspace, attached Talk pages are available for comment.
The user should be consulted. If the user wants maximum control, the pages go into user space. But we don't normally link from mainspace to user space. We can link to mainspace essays from mainspace articles, see Physics/Essays.
The "fringe" tag may be a bit offensive to some, but if the user doesn't object, it's okay. "Fringe" doesn't mean "Bad" or "Wrong," just that the ideas are not generally accepted. If it is controversial, then we would want high consensus for such tagging. We don't fight over useless stuff like this.
Another point. "Self-promotional" is not a deletion reason here, if there is possible educational purpose. That is, suppose there is some scientist who has a fringe theory. We'd be delighted for the scientist to explain it here. We would want nothing deceptive, no claims of non-existent authority, and no pretense that something is accepted when there isn't evidence of acceptance. But we are neutral-by-inclusion here, rather than neutral-by-exclusion, as Wikipedia. That is, we are much more like a University or University library, plus all the student work, than we are like an encyclopedia. --Abd (discusscontribs) 22:40, 12 May 2015 (UTC)
In this case, I think fringe is too mild a term. I have worked, and will no doubt work again, on legitimate fringe theories, and published such work in legitimate top-tier journals. However, when a so-called "theory" is a) demonstrably incorrect (contradicts well-established science) and b) exists only in the form of the author's self-published/vanity-published booklets, that's more than fringe... I'll let you pick the right term there, if you know what I mean. That said, if you believe that moving to userspace is the right thing to do, that certainly sounds like a workable solution to me. Vttoth (discusscontribs) 00:49, 13 May 2015 (UTC)
Vttoth, if any user other than the author supports a page staying in mainspace, we will keep it there. We will still organize it within mainspace, placing it or tagging it so that nobody is misled, and so that our content is organized. However, it seems you would have us discriminate between "legitimate fringe" and "illegitimate fringe." You would apparently want a notability standard, before opinions and original research can be presented here. This would toss us right into the conflict that is routine on Wikipedia. That conflict is probably intrinsic to being an encyclopedia, though my opinion is that it could still have been handled better there. We are much more like a university environment, where what is studied is up to the professors, and then more like a free school, where the students decide what to study, and the institution then provides them with support but does not control them. This is the "learning by doing" aspect of our mission. Wikipedians often think that Wikiversity is supposed to be just a collection of "educational materials," to be handed out in classes studying traditional subjects, for example. We are that, but not only that.
We do consider notability when organizing. This is what we find, though: Users are not upset when their page gets moved. They are *very* upset when their work is deleted, and they may be upset if their work is mangled. *And their education is our product.* The Wikipedian thinks of working on something for use by others, only. We work here, most of us, not only for others, but for our own education. --Abd (discusscontribs) 04:54, 13 May 2015 (UTC)

I believe it is almost always easy for an expert to distinguish legitimate-fringe from crackpot-fringe. But we who manage Wikiversity should not make that effort because our charge is education, not research. Anything not taught in college should be treated as "fringe", but also allowed on Wikiversity. I am grateful for the efforts by User:Abd to keep the "fringe" from interfering with our educational charge, and only just noticed his Physics/Essays page today. Someday I would like to contribute to that page myself.

For example, I believe the best way to introduce general relativity is to assume flat-spacetime and a simple field equation of the form . Impose a Lorentz gauge (because it is simple and symmetric) and take what seems to me like natural steps, and voila you get general relativity (albeit linearized). Instead of abandoning flat space-time, a change of variables was is employed to redefine time in a way that yields the gravitational redshift. This "redefinition" of time was introduced to reconcile the fact that frequency must change in a static field, even though the wave equation stipulates solutions of the form where is a constant (linear PDE with no time-dependent coefficients). Since is constant, it cannot represent frequency. Therefore does not represent time. What at first seems like an innocent change-o-variables morphs into a non-euclidean metric when you solve the trivial problem of a uniform gravitational field (in the linearized approximation) and discover that due to your change of variables, the "line" of constant y is actually a parabola. (In other words, a very large flat sheet of very dense matter would be concave on both sides!) Nobody seems to like this approach but me, which by definition, makes it fringe. Come to think of it, Quizbank is a fringe idea, but please don't move that page yet, my friend user:Abd. Smiley.svg--Guy vandegrift (discusscontribs) 01:48, 13 May 2015 (UTC)

Yeah, I do often just dive in and move it! But don't worry, I know that this one requires more care. It might stay in mainspace, but I think that it will need support for that. If you want to provide the support, great. Then it's a question of where it goes, as essay pages under Physics/Essays or perhaps as properly framed essays or articles under Gravitation. If you decide not to support the pages, then I'd vote for user space. The user could always find support later. As we get bigger -- we will, you know -- we may need to develop some clearer standards. --Abd (discusscontribs) 04:59, 13 May 2015 (UTC)
Guy, I think there is a difference between fringe and fringe. Your fringe approach is fringe because it is not widely accepted by the community. However, it is technically legitimate, based on existing, published research. There is a way even for a non-expert to tell at least some crackpottery apart from legitimate science (fringe or mainstream), when said crackpottery is supported solely by self-published/vanity-published publications. Vttoth (discusscontribs) 02:28, 13 May 2015 (UTC)
We love cracked pottery, Vttoth. We make sure nobody gets cut by the sharp edges. I have found museum-quality pieces that were cracked. If not cracked, I'd never have been able to afford them. Cracked, just as beautiful.
The standard you propose (self-published) indicates that someone is working outside of the mainstream system. They may be completely insane. We don't require notability here; we are, however, careful about who gets to reserve the large auditorium, whose work appears in the course catalog, what will show up in default searches. You seem concerned about reputation. Your concerns are more like those of Wikipedia, which has a terrible reputation among academics, because experts can easily get banned, their work is deleted, they are insulted by being called crackpots.
Much of my work, real-life, is related to education. Increasingly, it is realized that deep education requires freedom. If you believe that a Wikiversity resource is misleading, fix it. Ask for help, if you run into opposition. Speedy deletion is a cheap shot, and it rarely fixes anything, it just hides stuff, and we don't need to hide alleged fringe or pseudoscience or the work of the 7-year old or, for that matter, the work of a Nobel Prize winner. Wikipedia does all this. We organize it, and we add balance when needed.
We use speedy deletion for spam, vandalism, some kinds of copyvio, and stuff that nobody will miss, not even the creator. --Abd (discusscontribs) 04:44, 13 May 2015 (UTC)
Guy, I knew I saw the approach that you advocate for gravity somewhere before: this is exactly how Ohanian and Ruffini do it in their book on gravitation, i.e., they introduce linearized gravity before they move on to curved spacetime. So perhaps your approach is not as fringe as you thought!
Abd, I see what you are saying about cracked pottery, but I wonder if it is good policy to let Wikiversity become a platform for this. Crackpots crave legitimacy, and being able to "publish" their theories on Wikiversity feeds that craving but ultimately may undermine or destroy Wikiversity's integrity and reputation. I bow to your judgment on this as my experience to date is limited to Wikipedia, but I think this is a thought to consider. Vttoth (discusscontribs) 22:04, 13 May 2015 (UTC)
Yes, I read Ohanian's derivation and could not understand it. I don't want to make any accusations about him just jumping to the right answer, though. I believe Feynman also "derived" linearized GR and placed it in a really obscure journal. He also included a step I could not follow. What makes my approach unique is the "change-of-variables" that allows omega to remain constant while the observed frequency changes. It was really exciting to "discover" that this change of variables violated the Euclidean geometry for a static gravitational field. I spent a lot of time on it and submitted it twice to AJP. The editor said it is an example of a person figuring something out for himself (herself) but doing so in a way that nobody else would find insightful. I finally got tenure and don't need to publish, and am much more satisfied doing something important on Wikiversity. You do physics for fun, but since the state of Ohio pays me, I think society should get its money's worth. That is why I focus on that first year physics course.
BTW, the change of variables as a simple analogy: If you thought the Earth was flat and did a careful measurement of the altitude of a beam of light directed horizontally, you would come to the false conclusion that light is deflected upward by Earth's gravity. First-year students use a non-Euclidean Cartesian metric every time they solve a projectile motion problem)--Guy vandegrift (discusscontribs) 22:48, 13 May 2015 (UTC)
I guess what puzzles me most about GR is this: How did Einstein know to adopt a metric that violated Euclidean geometry? I understand his insight occurred when he realized that the gravity he felt sitting on his chair was equivalent to sitting in an accelerating room. But any metric constructed by an accelerating observer in an empty universe would have no Reimannian curvature -- its a always a flat metric without (real) gravity.--Guy vandegrift (discusscontribs) 23:06, 13 May 2015 (UTC)
I'll have to think about your business with . As to your question regarding Einstein, rather than attempting to answer it myself, let me ask, have you read Pais's scientific biography of Einstein? If not, I highly recommend it, and I believe it provides insight into this specific question, too. Vttoth (discusscontribs) 03:07, 14 May 2015 (UTC)

I have been spending all day long programming MATLAB to render the wikitext needed to make randomized versions of a quizzes. Tomorrow I will go into work and send you a draft of the linearized GR paper from my office computer where it's stored. If you can fix it, I would be happy to share authorship. I think I have only the second version that I sent to AJP and in retrospect it is long and rambling. Having said that, the article is not a top priority for me. The Quizbank is. BTW, the real "prize" would have been to extend the derivation of linearized GR to the full nonlinear limit. I never even got close to cracking that nut. --Guy vandegrift (discusscontribs) 03:20, 14 May 2015 (UTC)

It just occurred to me that Einstein's first paper on the deflection of light by gravity was wrong. Perhaps he never realized Euclidean geometry was being violated. Instead he was focusing on the most elegant way to generalize the minimization rules of classical mechanics (wasn't it the Lagrangian?). The most natural thing to minimize would involve the metric, perhaps.--Guy vandegrift (discusscontribs) 03:30, 14 May 2015 (UTC)

How Einstein developed various approaches to the deflection of light, and how some of these were quite wrong is beautifully documented in Pais's scientific biography of Einstein. As to the Lagrangian, I don't think Einstein followed a Lagrangian approach in his attempts. Hilbert did, which is how he arrived at the same field equations as Einstein (albeit in the narrower context of the electromagnetic field only, no other forms of matter) at approximately the same time. Vttoth (discusscontribs) 01:11, 15 May 2015 (UTC)

From Poth: It is not clear for me whether the discussion about my gravitation theories should take place at various wikiversity pages or mainly on (discusscontribs) 18:28, 18 May 2015 (UTC)

The best place is at User:Hapoth and User_talk:Hapoth. The messages stored in this space will soon be archived. --Guy vandegrift (discusscontribs) 20:47, 18 May 2015 (UTC)