User talk:StuRat

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Hello StuRat! Welcome to Wikiversity! If you decide that you need help, check out Wikiversity:Help desk, ask the support staff, or ask me on my talk page. Please remember to sign your name on talk pages using four tildes (~~~~); this will automatically produce your name and the date. Below are some recommended guidelines to facilitate your involvement. Happy Editing! -- JWSchmidt 21:18, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
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Thanks for the welcome ! StuRat 02:14, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

Hi![edit source]

Hi, StuRat! It's good to know that you came here after reading my suggestion on the Rererence Desk. I'm excited about Wikiversity and their Help Desk. It will be nice to say in a few years (when this project becomes really big) that we've been here since 2007. A.z. 22:48, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

Yea, and we may have a big part in getting the Wikiversity Help Desk up and running. You had a good suggestion, and I intend to keep forwarding questions which fit better here from the Wikipedia Ref Desk, then provide my answers. I hope that you will do the same. (I get tired of the constant arguments from deletionist at the Ref Desk, and would much prefer to take action to solve everyone's issues.) StuRat 02:14, 5 April 2007 (UTC)
I will surely do what I can so that the Wikiversity Help Desk soon becomes a great, heavy traffic, interesting place. I know that some threads here will eventually degenerate into personal attacks, but I have the not-so-common opinion that this is not necessarily bad: I think that instead of deleting the whole thing and making the attackers stop (like they do on the Reference Desk), other editors could participate on the discussion and do their best to help the discussion return to a good level of civility. However, not everyone thinks like that, and I'm worried that people like those on the Reference Desk will start appearing here and will eventually try to delete things, saying that opinion-giving answers degenerate into personal attacks and therefore should be deleted. I don't really know how to prevent this from happening.
However, a lot of the "arguments" the deletionists use on the Reference Desk would not even be taken into account here. This place seems to welcome both original research and point of view.
I already invited Loomis to come here, though it may take a while to know his answer since he is on a Wikibreak. I think some other editors may come here as well. A.z. 13:59, 5 April 2007 (UTC)
I assume you meant to say that degenerating into personal attacks is a bad thing, but not a bad thing which should be dealt with by mass, unilateral deletions without notifying the authors. Rather, it should be dealt with by having other editors guide the conversation back on track. In that case, I completely agree. I'd also like to create a set of rules for this Help Desk more in keeping with the consensus rules agreed to on the Ref Desk [1], before the deletionists took over and deleted them. Please take a look at those rules and let me know which are good and which you would change. StuRat 14:23, 5 April 2007 (UTC)
I definitely agree that personal attacks are a bad thing. I never meant to say otherwise, though my post is really not that clear. I'm going to read the rules now and see what I think about them. A.Z. 14:54, 5 April 2007 (UTC)
I'm reading your rules now, StuRat. I really like the way you think the Reference Desk (and now the Help Desk) should look like. But what it looks like is that you thought of an ideal Reference Desk and then made rules saying this is how things should be. I think they would be more helpful as "guidelines" or "suggestions".
For instance, what do you think of doing when someone uses abbreviations like "OP" and neologisms like "suitly emphazi"? Certainly not deleting it! You can just go to the talk page of the user and tell him that new users may not understand what he said. This looks much better to me than making a rule forbidding him to use abbreviations and neologisms. Even if the guy insists on using abbreviations, this would not be that disruptive and there is no reason to start deleting his posts or telling him "hey, you're violating this rule! you'll be blocked!"
On the realm of suggestions, one thing I would like is that people adressed their concerns on the threads themselves. For instance, you say opinions should be identified as such. Then, if someone writes an opinion on the Desk and presents it as more than just an opinion, it would be wrong to delete it, but it would be right to write under it on the thread that it was just the opinion of that user. So the people reading it could know that your opinion is that the statement above is just an opinion. And they would have all the information needed to judge for themselves what is the truth. If the guy disagrees with you and he really thinks his opinion is actually a fact, then he can defend this position by citing references or something and debating with you. At the end, each person will know your arguments and his arguments and each person will be able to reach their own conclusion. Of course the great thing would actually be if at the end of the debate one of the two convinced the other of his position and both came to agree on the matter...
These are only my first impressions and thoughts on this. Please don't take them as if I disagree with you about what the Reference Desk and the Help Desk should be. I agree with you on the way it should be, just not on the way we must act to make it true.
I hope we can discuss this a lot more and find out the best way to prevent the Help Desk from ever being taken over by deletionists. A.Z. 15:25, 5 April 2007 (UTC)
Actually, I don't think we disagree at all. They were originally called "Guidelines", but the deletionists removed that page, then I recreated them in my own area and called them simply "rules", so they would leave them alone. They aren't "my rules", BTW, but were voted on and gained consensus last year. The rules I proposed were a bit more liberal. And I never intended to imply that violating any of the guidelines means your post should be deleted. If you look at the final section, you will see the process for deleting posts ensures that only the most serious violations would garner a consensus for deletion. StuRat 21:26, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

Have I Died and Gone to Heaven?[edit source]

Hey Stu and A.Z.,

From the little I've seen so far, this place seems so amazing it's surreal. Not to detract from Wikipedia, as it remains an excellent source of information, Wikiversity, on the other hand, can actually serve as an excellent source of education. I must say that I agree with A.Z. on this one. Wikiversity has the potential to become a HUGE cultural phenomenon, (dare I say, even dwarfing Wikipedia itself!), and I'm honoured to have joined so early. But we have to be very careful not to screw this one up. When you think of it, while the three of us may have a decent education, Wikiversity has the potential to provide some of the poorest in the world to attain an education, only rather than being denied such an education due to lack of financial means, rather than lay out a small fortune for a higher education, all one would need is a computer and a modem. Absolutely incredible! of course Wikiversity will only very slowly be accepted in society, with initial reactions that it's of extremely poor quality, and that it borders on fraud to dare compare it to a "real" brick and mortar university. Yet though we'll have to deal with that sort of abuse for a good while, I'm confident that the critics will eventually shut up, realizing how absolutely groundbreaking this newly invented format for free education to any and all who want it will end up being.

Thanks to A.Z, for introducing me to this! Hopefully it'll be an exraordinary success, rather than the "pipe-dream" all the anal retentive pessimists dismissed this sort of thing as. I realize that it's not exactly a "WikiForum" as I proposed, indeed it's better by light years. I'm really looking forward to making brand new start here, no insults, no incivility, just rigorous debate and learning, everything the Wikipedia RefDesk could have been but failed at being. Now this may sound a bit spiteful, just a bit, but if this turns out to be a success, and all the interesting contributors with fascinating opinions flock over here, I can just imagine the dreary, dull place the Old RefDesk will become! But please, let's nor ruin it by proving the rest of them right and letting this place descend into the circus that's become of the RefDesk.

Just one thing though. Do you think it would be possible if Wikiversity can somehow be linked up with Wikipedia's articles, only to the extent that we can have access to its wealth of information (while completely avoiding any connection to any of the talkpages or the Refdesk) so that we can make use of its information by hyperlinking directly to its articles without having everyone to deal with the hassle of logging out of here, logging in there, copying a citation for some fact, logging out of there and then logging back in here, and pasting it to our post? Believe me, I'd love for the two Wikis to be linked up only as minimally as possible, but I think that at the very least we should have quick hyperlink access to Wikipedias main articles. In fact I haven't even checked, perhaps that feature is already available. In any case, I gotta say that I thing this Wikiversity concept is brilliant, and I'm glad that I've found it so early on. I hope to make a fresh start here, and who knows...perhaps finally fulfil my lifelong dream of earning a dotorate in proctology! (Nah...I guess the links don't work).

One more suggestion if I may. Do you think it would be possible to somehow require one to certify his or her academic credentials before allowing that particular person to "teach"? It would certainly be a shame if someone came here to learn about, say, engineering, only to be totally led astray by some contributor who has absolutely no credentials with regard to engineering, and indeed doesn't know what the hell he's talking about? I for one pledge to only offer comment in my few areas of expertise, those being my major, Political Science (and certain related "soft sciences" such as economics), Business Management, Law, and perhaps, though my education on this one is of a completely informal nature, if permitted, my particular culture and faith. On the other hand, should you ever find me commenting in an area where I clearly do not possess even a minimum of expertise, such as, once again, fields such as engineering, medecine, literature, etc. I'd fully expect the rest of you to give me a good verbal "slap-upside-the-head" and warn me that I'm venturing too far into an areas where, relative to the experts, I indeed don't know what the hell I'm talking about. As for now, I think I'll do a bit of exploring here and at least set up some sort of skeleton of a user-page. Loomis 22:04, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

No worries, Lewis, you can enjoy W:proctology to your heart's content. Or, if you prefer to make it look nicer, you can enjoy proctology, instead. I like to keep two Firefox tabs open, one in Wikipedia and one here. You can also open two windows in just about any browser. I have a bit of a different philosophy than you on "experts", however. I think that, given enough contributors, the correct response(s) will emerge from any discussion, even if some of those answers are wrong. Many non-experts can contribute correct answers, as well. While I don't consider myself an expert on Shakespeare, for example, I could certainly provide a summary of Romeo and Juliet (or is it Romiet and Julio ? :-) ), if asked. StuRat 01:50, 6 April 2007 (UTC)
Of course many non-experts can contribute quality responses in areas beyond their expertise. I for one, though my expertise lies strictly in what I refer to as the "soft sciences", fancy myself quite the amateur astronomer. I know, for example, despite any expert training whatesoever on the subject, that Uranus happens to be the seventh closest planet from the sun. Still though, I'm definitely no expert, as I'm still unsure as to the planet's correct pronunciation. No matter how you pronounce it, it always ends up sounding obscene. "Urine-Us"? "Ur-Anus"? I'll never figure that one out.
But I get what you're saying about experts. It'll be a difficult challenge to tackle. Some lacking in formal education on a subject can provide the most brilliant of insights. Some formally trained experts in a field can tend to allow their established authority in field get to their head, first viciously excluding any one else with perhaps less formal education on the subject from throwing in their two cents, only to insist that they're not just AN authority on the subject, but THE FINAL authority, lest any lesser beings even consider challenging a fact or two.
"Uranus is NOT the seventh planet from the sun, dammit! It's the 24th! Had I not known any better, I'd assume that you were retarded! No offence of course! And don't you dare challenge my assertion, as I'm a renowned astrophysicist, and you're but a mere High School drop-out!" As we both know all to well, certain supposed "experts" on certain subjects, are so plainly dead wrong it's beyond absurdity. And then there are those single-minded-android-types who choose to name themselves after days of the week, yet seem to lack the capacity for the sligtest degree of original thought, and resort to circular mantras: "Wikipedia is no place for for debate. Why? Because Wikipedia says so." But why is intelligent discussion so terrible? "Because Wikipedia is no place for debate.". Yes but WHY!? "Because Wikpedia says so." But don't you see how Wikipedia itself and it's guidelines evolved over time due to popular consensus? And don't you see how the "no debate" guideline is an equally fair topic for discussion and perhaps even one that should be reconsidered?" "Error...error...Wikipedia guidelines forbid debate...what your saying is not logical...error...error...does not compute...does not compute"
And of course there's that final master of circular reasoning. "I removed your post because it was insulting". Yes, perhaps, but as its author you've just insulted me for removing it without warning, don't you see the wrongness of that? "Irrelevant...irellevant...error...error...does not compute...does not compute. You made an offensive remark...I removed your offensive remark...yet my removal of your offensive remark was apparently offensive in and of itself...therefore my remark should never have been made...yet if my remark was never made, your offensive remark would remain...yet I insulted you by removing your remark and should therefore be banned...error...error...illogical...illogical, does not compute, does not compute..."
Next thing you know all three users begin overheating their circuits, begin billowing in smoke, and ultimately are forced to self-destruct. (Sorry, perhaps a bit too much Star Trek for me!) Loomis 04:17, 6 April 2007 (UTC)
That was really funny. It's good to know you're here, Lewis!
Can both of you native speakers of English help that poor querent who asked the first question ever asked on the English Language Reference Desk and got no answers yet? This reference desk seems to be quite a... calm place for now. A.Z. 04:37, 6 April 2007 (UTC)
A.Z., I've never seen any indication that you aren't a native speaker, your English is perfect. What was your first language ? I'll go look at that question, now. StuRat 12:43, 6 April 2007 (UTC)
Lewis, I was thinking "Lost in Space" with the robot yelling "Warning ! Warning !" while flailing his arms about wildly. I've always pronounced the planet "Your anus", so the following joke works:
"What does the Star Trek Enterprise have in common with toilet paper ?"
"Both can be found circling Uranus searching for Klingons."
StuRat 12:43, 6 April 2007 (UTC)
LOL, Stu. And don't bother with AZ, I've given up on trying to convince him that assessing his English as a mere "en-2" is being far too modest. Perhaps the long-lost Dirk, despite have going AWOL (and perhaps this is an indication as to how far the RefDesk seems to have sunk, but I'm beginning to miss that incoherent Dutch prick! Despite our differences in opinion, relatively speaking, he's still always been so more good natured than the above users I've made discreet reference to (ok perhaps not THAT discreet) that having him come back to the RefDesk would actually IMPROVE it to a great degree! (I can't believe I'm actually saying this...if by any chance you happen to come across this post, Dirk, rest assured that I still maintain that you're a lazy-ass leftist lunatic, yet a lovable one at that!)). Compare his excellent, yet somewhat more imperfect English to yours, A.Z., which he nonetheless rates as a 4! Please, A.Z. take my previous advice and raise your Babel ranking to at least a 3!. Loomis 13:54, 6 April 2007 (UTC)
As for the RefDesk, please, both of you rest assured, at least the humanities desk is in capable hands. It seems to have finally found for itself an editor who's an expert in absolutely everything. They no longer need us. That being said, I'll end with yet another non-sequitur of a poem. It's got nothing to do with anything we've been discussing, but I'll include it because in doing so I'll completely confuse you into believing that my intelligence is so utterly beyond yours that you couldn't possibly appreciate it's relevance:
"Plop! Plop!"
"Fizz! Fizz!"
"Oh, What a relief"
"It is!"
Brilliant! It operates on so many levels! Loomis 13:53, 6 April 2007 (UTC)
An unwillingness to change because "we've always done it that way" is an W:appeal to tradition. I would say you should keep doing things the way they've always been done, but only until you find a better way. "Change for changes sake" is stupid, but so is a refusal to ever change, even when warranted. In the case of the Ref Desk debate, however, some, like Friday, keep saying "it's always been done this way" when clearly it has not always been done that way on the Ref Desk, so even Friday's appeal to tradition is faulty. StuRat 14:28, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

New guidelines for Wikiversity help desk[edit source]

I've copied the old supermajority consensus guidelines from Wikipedia here: [2]. Please add any comments to that page so we can get them in good shape then propose them as the official rules on the Wikipedia Help page. (For one thing, all the references and links to Wikipedia need to be changed to Wikiversity.) StuRat 14:15, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

"Querent" comment to A.Z.[edit source]

While this word might be technically correct, I'd avoid using it, as some less educated "querents" might think you are calling them a "queer", or homosexual. This is similar to my advice to avoid the use of the word "niggardly" (meaning stingy) as it can be taken to mean "nigger". I just call the "querent" the "question asker" to avoid any unintentional insults. I also sometimes call them the "OP", but only on the Ref Desk Talk Page, as many OPs don't know that means "original poster". StuRat 14:33, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

I must disagree with you on this one, Stu. The term "querent" is possibly the most accurate and sophisticated term to be used. Many English words that sound or appear to be related to one another, in fact are in no way related.
Perhaps the following remarks may not be the least bit german to the discussion, but though I may not be an acidic Jew (my ph level is just too low), I'd say, Stu, that if you believe that the work "querent" can in any way be associated with the word "queer", then perhaps you've spent a bit too much of your time masticating, and not nearly enough time mastering the English language. Of course I have no moral objection to mastication in and of itself, I freely admit that I must masticate several hundred times a day, most of the time at the dinner table of all places! Still, I make it a point, despite my masticatory activities, to take a break from it once in a while, and devote some of my spare thyme (whatever portion I have available after having taking care of my base gastronomical needs) to improving my English, lest my knowledge of the language disappear into Bolivia. :-) Lewis 06:49, 7 April 2007 (UTC)
LOL. StuRat 23:46, 7 April 2007 (UTC)

Why do you continue torturing yourself?[edit source]

Hey Stu,

I couldn't help but take a peek at the RefDesk talk page just now. It's been a while and I think that my time away has given me some valuable perspective.

What I see is you trying and trying and trying, using every possible valid logical argument to get through to these people.

I can just imagine how maddening it must be to mobbed by a gang of completely irrational lunatics. And that's basically the most valuable perspective my absence has provided me.

Why do you keep trying to convince Eric or Clio or Ten that they've wrong and you're right? These guys have skulls that are so damn thick they're absolutely inpenetrable. As such, I've come to realize that trying to convince them of the painfully obvious is an impossible task.

Look, Stu, I said it to A.Z., and I'll say it to you.

For whatever it's worth, please read these words carefully, and should you ever find yourself pulling your hair out due to yet another fruitless attempt to get through to them, come back here and reread the following phrase, as many times as necessary, to maintain your sanity:

Stuart, YOU'RE RIGHT, and THEY'RE WRONG. Period.

Print out these words, have them laminated and hang them up on your wall above your computer if necessary. Just please remember them.

People like Clio or Eric or Ten seem to live in some bizarre paralell universe where the rules of logic that we take for granted simply do not exist.

Hopefully you'll eventually come to that conclusion on your own, and finally quit torturing yourself.

I realize how difficult it is to resist responding to absurd statements, it was actually quite the challenge to hold back myself just now. Some of the statements are so utterly bizarre, they're actually funny.

Anyway, how you choose to proceed is of course your choice. However, from my perspective, what you're so desperately trying to do is analogous to trying to teach calculus to a cockroach. It's simply impossible.

Just one last point. I may just be imagining it, but ever since I started at the RefDesk, its quality has been consistently declining. The best editors seem to be getting fed up one by one and leaving. No matter though, Clio the Omniscient is fully capable of providing an answer to absolutely any question that comes her way. As for the quality, accuracy and supposed "unbiased, purely historical, fact-based, absolute neutrality" of her answers...well that's an entirely different story.

But for the most part, the OP's aren't stupid. Most of them can see through all the melodramatic language and spot a useless, questionably accurate answer when they see one. Oh and those damn poems! Does each and every response have to conclude with a bad poem? :-)

What I'm getting at is that I can foresee the RefDesk going through a "purge" of sorts. The intelligent editors will keep leaving, the quality will just keep sinking, until finally someone will come to their senses and realize the truth of the matter, that all that remain are the most incompetent of editors, and figure out some mechanism to assure the RefDesks quality. Once that happens, I'll come back. However as long as you stick around providing intelligent answers, you're only delaying all of this from finally happening! :-) (Just kidding, stick around as long as you wish, all I hope is that for the sake of your sanity, you at least consider my words). Lewis 19:08, 8 April 2007 (UTC)

Perhaps I will give up on the Ref Desk at some point, but not quite yet. While many people there (like Clio) are completely beyond reasoning with, others are not yet beyond all hope. Ten is usually capable of reason, and Friday can, on rare occasions, be reasonable. At other times Friday just threatens to block anyone who disagrees with her/him.
Many of the people there now have a fair amount of expertise, but the way they treat other editors is the problem. I can eventually see the "experts" chasing off everyone else who ever answers a question, leaving about a half dozen experts, not nearly enough to answer all the questions. So, more and more questions which could have been answered by non-experts will go completely unanswered, until the OPs get disgusted by this lack of response and go elsewhere. StuRat 04:11, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
Fair enough. I just hope my post didn't come across as anything more than a concern that you may be getting all frustrated for no good reason. If you're anything like me in this regard (which lucky for you, you don't seem to be!) I suspected that you may have held a tiny bit of self-doubt somewhere in some small corner of your mind, wondering "maybe they're right after all. Maybe I'm the one that just doesn't get it". I was only able to leave when I find put to rest that very tiny bit of self-doubt, and had finally proven to myself that they were indeed wrong, and I was right. I finally got my closure, and was finaly able to move on. That's why I phrased the above bolded line as I did.
There's just one thing that I'm a bit bothered by in what you said above. You seemed to imply that Clio and others are "experts" in their field, while guys like you and I are some lower class of "non-experts". I may bothered by it, but I'm certainly not offended, as you seem to have been putting yourself down along with me.
I generally hate to "pull rank" and brag about my academic accomplishments and expertise, but by all accounts, I'm indeed considered an expert and professional in my field. Again I'm not saying this to brag, only because I found it a bit disturbing that you seem to have implied that despite her shortcomings with regard to her behaviour around other editors, Clio is an "expert historian", whereas you and I are mere jacks-of-all trades. I have to disagree. True, she seems to have the academic credentials and one of the most vast repertoires of raw historical data in that brain of hers, yet it takes more to be a true "professional". For an historian, no matter how much raw historical data you have in your brain, if you're not able to recognize the limits of your expertise, and if you're not able to recognize that you yourself, as a flawed human being inevitably interpret that data, no matter how hard you try not to, through the lens of your own biases, and if you're not able to realize that despite all that raw data, you may still be dead-wrong on many occasions, to me, you're hardly what I'd call an "expert historian", and most definitely do not qualify as a professional of any sort. Implicit in professionalism is humility. One who is utterly lacking in humility simply cannot be qualified as a professional.
In contrast, despite my legal and business education, on many, many occasions when confronted with a legal or business question on the RefDesk, if I find that it's beyond my expertise to contribute anything of use, I just skip the question entirely. If I find that I may have some useful information to offer, I make it very clear in some way or another that my contribution is a limited one at best. And even when I feel rather certain that I can fully and adequately answer the question, even then, I begin with a few tentative remarks such as "Though as always, I may be wrong, I feel reasonable confident that..." or perhaps "It would appear, to the best of my knowledge that...". Now at the risk of tooting my own horn, THAT'S the only proper way an expert professional should answer a question.
On the other hand, it is COMPLETELY unprofessional to answer a question in the following manner:
Q: How was irrigation devoloped in South America?
A: Dear Joe. Your question is an interesting one indeed. If you'd look at the case of Brown v. Board of Education, you'd see that the Supreme Court there relied heavily on Title III of the Civil Rights Act as constutional authority to reverse the precedent set in Plessy v. Ferguson which had the effect of validating the constitutionality of segregation in both private and public schools, despite the fact that the Thirteenth Amendment explicitly banned slavery, granted full citizenship to Blacks as well as guaranteed their right to vote. Brown was most known for reversing Plessy by mandating the immediate integration of American schools as well as the controversial forced busing of students across state lines. Other immediate results of the decision included the mandating of the desegration of public restaurants and bathrooms. Then president Andrew Johnson, a staunch opponent of the Civil Rights movement and desegration, attempted to use his executive veto power to overrule the Brown decision as granted by Article XII of the Declaration of Independence. Fortunately, however, his veto was overruled by the required three quarters of the Congress and two thirds of the states. If you're interested in further reading on the subject, I'd highly recommend Jean François Louis Cochon de Merde Montarville's brilliant and insightful novel, Men in Black.
It's been my absolute pleasure to answer your question, should you require any further enlightenement, feel free to ask.
I must end this discussion with one of the most touching poems ever written:
Amazing grace! (how sweet the sound)
That sav’d a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears reliev’d;
How precious did that grace appear,
The hour I first believ’d!
Thro’ many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
’Tis grace has brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.
The Lord has promis’d good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.
Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease;
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.
The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, who call’d me here below,
Will be forever mine.
- Olivier Newton John.
Clio the Omniscient 27:64, 42 April, 1923 (NBC)
(Other editor who has absolutely no idea of the mess he's about to get into): Uhh, Clio, I believe you're incorrect on one point. The President has no power to veto Supreme Court rulings.)
Clio: My goodness! Yet another sorry attempt in this ceaseless campaign to discredit me just because I happen to be a young, intelligent woman! In the extremely unlikely event that you're capable of grasping the intricacies of American Constitutional Law, I suggest you take a look at the article on Judicial Review and in particular, the precedent for it rendered by justice Thurgood Marshal in Marbury v. Madison. Even then, should you continue to personally attack me by continuing with your juvenile challenges to my posts, don't expect an answer from me, as you are not the type of person I care to ever debate with. There will be no further discussion. Clio the Omniscient 28:41, 34 February, 19234 (PBS)
Ok, I couldn't help but get a bit carried away with that one. Some of the errors are just too obvious, but I just couldn't help throwing them in. Still, many of the errors are very subtle ones that few without a strong grasp of American Constitutional Law would be able to catch. There are at least 25 errors in the above response. I'm sure you'd be able to spot at least 15-20 in no time, because they're just so obvious. But can you catch the other five or so? Probably. Just for fun, tell me how many you can spot! :) Lewis 12:54, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
I'd say it's all wrong, in that it has absolutely nothing to do with irrigation in South America. I agree with you on the above discussion of "experts". I usually put that word in quotation marks to show that I mean "so-called experts", or people who claim to be experts, as opposed to real experts. The funniest claim of expertise from Clio was that she knew the intentions of the North Korean government better than I, based on her "expertise" on NK, which turned out to mean she once visited. I'm rather skeptical to the claim that she visited NK, as very few upper-class Brits ever do that in a lifetime, and she's only 24, according to her user page. However, even if she had visited, how absurd to state that she had insight into the mind of W:Kim Jung Il, simply because she had once visited the country ! StuRat 16:23, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
My mock-Clio response above may have come across as just a silly excercize to make fun of her, but in truth, before I began inserting all the silly obvious errors, it was a serious attempt to make a point. Above you mentioned: "[m]any of the people there now have a fair amount of expertise, but the way they treat other editors is the problem." Certainly it's one of the problems, but that sentence seems to imply that we the "other editors" are the only ones who suffer, whereas the OPs don't suffer at all, as despite their poor treatment of us, these other editors nonetheless provide quality answers. I couldn't disagree more. I've always maintained that my biggest concern is for the OP's, and not us other editors. My mock response above may have gone completely overboard, but if you ignore the obvious silly errors, there are many errors that only one with a rather sophisticated understanding of US Constitutional Law would catch. Assuming the OP doesn't have that sophisticated understanding, s/he would be led astray by an apparent expert giving completely misleading information. I'll just take one of the more seemingly reasonable assertions I made above to illustrate my point:
"Brown, in rejecting the "separate but equal", doctrine enunciated in Plessy, mandated the immediate integration of American schools as well as the desegration of public restaurants and bathrooms."
Sounds pretty accurate, wouldn't you say? Yet the above statement is COMPLETELY FALSE. Pity the poor OP who takes it as an accurate answer to his/her question. Lewis 18:18, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
Yes, Brown 1 didn't force immediate integration, as it was not until Brown 2 that the phrase "with all deliberate speed" was added (which the South still took to mean decades or perhaps centuries). And I absolutely agree that use of W:argument from authority harms not only other editors, but also OPs. StuRat 19:21, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
That's true, yet neither the Brown I/Brown II confusion, nor Brown II's supposed order "mandating the immediate integration of American schools", though clearly errors in sematics and linguistic interpretation, to me do not rise to the level of the MAJOR inacuracy that I was getting at. The fact is that both Brown I and Brown II were strictly related to the matters of desegregation in schools and the desegregation of schools only. The biggest flaw is the assertion that the Brown rulings had anything at all to do with the desegration "of public restaurants and bathrooms". Those forms of segregation were only dealt with nearly a decade later, in the form of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, with the great help of the then desegregationist President, Andrew Johnson (oops! sorry! I meant Lyndon Johnson! :) Lewis 00:47, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

War and Iran[edit source]

I read you suggestion [3] for me to change War and Iran from the mainspace to my userpage, so I asked on the colloquium to see what is the best place to take the page. I just asked there, let's see what are the responses. But I don't really think there's much of a problem with leaving the page where it is. a.z. 04:51, 9 April 2007 (UTC)

OK, I hope you are allowed to leave it where it is, but I'm skeptical. StuRat 06:02, 9 April 2007 (UTC)

It's Finally Over[edit source]

I've finally had enough of it. Forget about the silly "wikibreak" or the even sillier "RefDesk defection". The RefDesk is going down the toilett, and despite my efforts, I've come to realize that there's nothing I can do about it.

With that in mind I've deleted my Wikipedia account. I have no interest in participating in the absurd circus that the RefDesk has become, nor do I have any interest in remaining on a site where I'm clearly unwelcome.

Sure, I've been an ass, and I admit it. I'm a shit-disturber by design actually. When I see something terribly wrong going on, I've found that stirring up a bit of shit can be rather effective at effectuating required change.

What baffles me though is how Clio, a clearly disturbed individual, hasn't once, not even once gotten even so much as a minor slap on the wrist.

I'm told that if I'm looking for fairness, (being in wikipedia) I'm in the wrong place. Fair enough. I've never expect Wikipedia to be a paragon of fairness, all I expect is a minimum, a so tiny minimum of fairness. Yet in a request for even this tiniest amount of fairness, I'm treated as if I'm some sort of vindictive, obsessive lunatic.

So let the RefDesk go down the toilett. I've given up.

Though for the sake of peace I backed away from this position, now that I'm free to speak, I'll finally speak my mind. Clio is INDEED a Nazi Apologist. Her series of remarks aimed at rationalizing National Socialism are both disturbing and disgusting.

But that's not the most disturbing part of it at all. What I find so TERRIBLY disturbing is the fact that with the exception of you and A.Z., pretty much everyone else is completely enchanted by her apparent "infinite wisdom". It is THAT that I find most disturbing of all.

I just can't figure it out. Why is it that you and I and A.Z. are the only ones to see her for the monster that she is? Even Jack, a guy who I've respected for the longest time has finally shown his true colours and turned on me.

The situation is so bizarre it almost qualifies as an episode of the twilight zone. Go check out Clio's talk page, read it from top to bottom, and then try to tell me that you don't have the urge to vomit.

Sorry if this post appears hostile. Please don't take it personally. I'm just completely fed up with Wikipedia.

On the other hand, I'm so extremely grateful for the fact that I have at least you and A.Z. to rely on to retain my sanity.

Still, I've tried my best and failed. But at least I tried my best.

Hope to see you around Wikiversity!

Lewis 04:09, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

I already replied on A.Z.'s talk page as to why I think Clio slides by. I was hoping that you would join me in putting in links from the Ref Desk to the Wikiversity Help page where opinion, speculation, or POV is warranted, and then answering the question here. This may be a good way to build up a user base here. StuRat 04:25, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
Sounds like a great idea and I'd be more than glad to join you in it. I'm just a bit unclear as to the technicalities of it. Could you perhaps provide a link to somewhere where you've done it so that I can understand precisely what you're proposing? Lewis 14:22, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
Sure, here's an example: [4]. StuRat 15:31, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
I really meant it when I said that I'd love to help you and Wikiversity, I hope you realize that. However what you're suggesting would mean that I'd have to rejoin Wikipedia once again, and I hope you understand, but I simply can't do that. It's out of the question. To my embarassment, I've come to be known as one who constantly makes promises, only to break them. I promised to stay away from Clio several times, only to end up seeing her go way too far again, and unable to resist the urge to break that promise. I must have apologized 100 times for my "poor behaviour", promising to be a perfect gentleman, only to lose my temper in a fit of rage when the insanity of it all just became too much. I apologized to Clio herself, promising to never insult her again, yet once again, I couldn't help but break that promise. I tried taking a wikibreak promising to stay away from all of Wikipedia for at least a month, and a few days later I even designed a userbox announcing my "defection" to Wikiversity, only to return just a few days later in yet another fit of rage, this time in the form of my "For the love of God leave!" post. Finally I decided to completely delete my account entirely, as the whole atmosphere of the place sickens me. To return yet again, breaking yet another promise of sorts...well, I just can't do that. I hope you understand, but I simply can't go back there. On the other hand, I'm very impressed with Wikiversity, and would do practically anything to help improve it, so long as it doesn't involve rejoining Wikipedia. If there's any other way I can help, please tell me. I'd love to join in. I hope you understand my position. Lewis 23:58, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
You could go back to Wikipedia under another name or just as an anon I/P, long enough to send a few questions here. While "sockpuppets" are bad if you use them for stacking votes, etc., I think they are fine if you just want to start over and forget your old history. StuRat 01:48, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
I suppose that's an option, I'll have to give it some thought.
As for my Anti-Bigotry Bigotry post, no problem. It's been moved as you suggested. I hope you understand that I'm new here and don't yet have a full grasp of how the rules differ from Wikipedia. Still, are you sure it qualifies as a "rant"? To me, a "rant" is an incoherent, useless, mad display of emotion. Is that how you really see it?
In any case, I don't. I'm sure you're right in that it doesn't belong where I put it, but I wouldn't call it a "rant". An "opinion piece", perhaps? I've got no problem being told that I've put it in the wrong place. I understand that and I've moved it. But do you really consider it to be an "incoherent, useless, mad display of emotion"? Lewis 03:07, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
No, I don't consider it that, I've even self-identified some of my own comments on my talk page as rants before. But you have to admit, it's rather difficult to find a question in there. I guess I wasn't convinced your primary purpose for posting that was to get the answer to a question, but it rather looked like you just wanted to state an opinion. I think we should only post questions for which there are actual answers that can be given at a Help Desk. Thanks for moving it ! StuRat 03:49, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
Well, what actually happened is that it began as a question, and I just wanted to provide a little context so that people would understand where I'm coming from. But you know me too well by now, once I start providing context, I just can't stop and the context ends up overwhelming the question. Brevity certainly isn't one of my strengths!
What the question boiled down to was a request for people's opinions as to whether the statement that Clio made was indeed an instance of Nazi Apologism or not. I sincerely and honestly wanted to get as much feedback and opinion and critique as possible from people as to their take on that sentence. I only gave them my take just to "get the ball rolling", so to speak, not to convince anyone that my take was the correct one. Amongst other things, I specifically asked for "critique" of my statement, meaning that I was inviting and welcoming those who disagreed with me to tell me so and tell me why. I suppose that still doesn't qualify as a question in the narrow sense of the term, as there obviously doesn't exist any definite "black or white" answer. Rather, it was a request for opinion. Would you say that a request for opinion qualifies as a question? If so, where would you say is the proper place to put such a "question", and how would you suggest is the proper way to phrase it?
I suppose another aspect of my question concerns the tension between civility on the one hand, and honesty and truth on the other. If you hadn't noticed, I'd adressed that particular tension in my introductory remarks on my talk page, those being, that though I highly value civility, should it ever clash with truth or honesty, the latter must prevail. Normally speaking, to gratuitously refer to another as a racist is an insult. But what if you honestly believe that that person is indeed a racist? Further, what if you can even prove it? Is it still an insult? I know that legally speaking, a remark that would otherwise qualify as libel or slander is saved from that qualification if it's indeed true. Yet I remember reading somewhere in the wikipedia guidelines that even insults that are true are still considered uncivil and personal attacks. Taken to its extreme then, it would naturally follow from that guideline that one would be breaching the requirements of civility if one were to refer to Hitler as a racist! Indeed, if he were a Wikipedian and I told him point blank: "User:Hitler, you're a racist!" that would actually qualify as a personal attack, and inevitably some moron like Friday or Ten would issue a warning on my talkpage, telling me that I'm in the wrong and should stop "personally attacking" user:Hitler! Well, I suppose they wouldn't do that, though not by admitting that there's anything the least bit imperfect in the guidelines, no, that would be far to sensible for them. Rather, they'd likely invent some completely incoherent rationalization as to why personally attacking user:Hitler is somehow, for some mysterious reason, not a breach of the guidelines at all. Of course in their strictest interpretation, you or I would clearly see that personally attacking user:Hitler by referring to him as a racist is indeed a breach of wiki policy, proving that there are a few serious flaws in the guidelines that need to be adressed. If you ask me, I say scrap the guidelines as they exist, and go with my "three pillars" approach! Lewis 12:25, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
I understand that particular policy. After all, it's not OK to call people fat and ugly, even if you honestly think that they are. In your Hitler example, they would say he could be called a racist because there are absolutely unambiguous quotes of his and actions of his which make it quite clear. I do think opinion questions are OK on the Help Desk, so long as you don't state your own opinion in the question. Had you just asked "Is calling somebody a racist, even when you have proof, considered an ad hominem attack ?", without giving an example of a fellow wiki user, I think it would have been OK. And you're right on needing to work on brevity. I find that by the time I finish reading one of your paragraphs, I forget what was at the beginning, so have to reread it, maybe several times, to retain it all. It's more like studying for a test than reading a comment. :-) StuRat 14:33, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
Your criticism concerning brevity is well taken, I'm never bothered by well intended constructive criticism. I'm actually rather flattered. Apparently, despite my lack of brevity, you seem to be saying that my ideas are interesting and insightful enough that they're worth all the extra effort it takes to read them. If I'm understanding you correctly then thanks! (Of course I'll still do my best to work on my brevity). :-) Lewis 15:53, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
That was a nice, short reply. Well done ! StuRat 17:57, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
I was thinking about your comments about my Hitler example. Hitler probably wasn't the best example, as defining him as a racist is pretty much a no-brainer. No one would deny it, not even Hitler himself. Instead of Hitler, how would you characterize the propriety of the following remark: "User:Louis Farrakhan, you're an antisemite!"
I noticed that in the article on him a section was devoted to "allegations of antisemitism", followed by a rather lengthy series of antisemitic quotations, ranging from "Hitler was a great man" to referring to Judaism as a "gutter religion". When would say it would be appropriate to drop the "alleged" qualifier in referring to someone as an "alleged antisemite"? Lewis 23:35, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
Well, first there is the issue of whether those quotations are accurate. Then, if we accept that they are, they might be taken out of context. For example, "Hitler was a great man" could be using the older meaning of "great", meaning "highly significant", as in the "Great Depression". I think everyone would agree that Hitler was highly significant to course of history in the 20th century. So, I could still see how some could argue that Farrakhan wasn't a racist. StuRat 23:49, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

Inclusionism vs. Exclusionism Deletionism[edit source]

Hey Stu,

We all seem to have our pet issues, mine of late being the whole issue of bigotry and civility, and the dividing line between those instances where calling one a bigot constitutes a personal attack, and those instances where it's so clear that that person is a bigot that referring to him as such is a mere statement of the obvious.

With regard to my latest example of Louis Farrakhan, I have to disagree with you. Sure, a few lapses in judgement, a few cases of being misquoted, or a few cases of putting one's foot in one's mouth are excusable. For example, I really don't know that much about Don Imus, or about whether his recent racial remarks were the final straw in a long and consistent racist pattern of his or whether they were just a once off boner. If the latter is the case, I don't think that that most recent remark of his warrants the condemnation he's received. On the other hand, if he's been consistently making off colour racist remarks, then he deserves what he got.

But with regards to Farrakhan, to myself at least, I simply can't dismiss his remarks as a matter of one or two forgiveable lapses in judgement. The pattern is way too consistent, the list is way too long, and as such it's quite clear and obvious to me that he's an antisemite.

Anyway, that's my most recent pet issue, but I feel that it's been monopolizing our discussions lately. There's a point where even a serious issue such as bigotry should be given a rest.

I've noticed that an important issue to you has been the whole issue of Inclusionism vs. Exclusionism. Once again, I think I agree with you and favour inclusionism, yet I need a bit more information about exactly what you're talking about to take an informed position.

So the stage is yours Stu! Tell me what exactly you mean by "Inclusionism" and why you so strongly support it. I'd really like to get a better understanding of the whole issue. Here's your chance, Stu, rant away! Lewis 01:28, 14 April 2007 (UTC)

The difference could be summed up like so:
1) Inclusionists believe everything should be included, unless the consensus is that it harms Wikipedia or the Ref Desk.
2) Deletionists believe everything should be deleted, unless the consensus is that it benefits Wikipedia or the Help Desk.
So, for example, personal opinions, original research, speculation, unreferenced info, etc., is all to be removed, according to the deletionist philosophy, and only replaced if a consensus develops that it helps Wikipedia. If you read the Wikipedia Ref Desk talk page you will frequently see people say "I removed X because it didn't help the Ref Desk". I, on the other hand, would reply, "but what did it hurt ?". I don't think I would have a notability requirement for new articles, either, unless I could be convinced that non-notable articles substantially harm Wikipedia. The "assume good faith" clause seems to follow the inclusionist philosophy, however, so Wikipedia policies are a mixture of both inclusionism and deletionism. StuRat 02:01, 14 April 2007 (UTC)
Now I see what you're getting at. Of the two, I'd also be an inclusionist, yet for me, the much bigger issue is the completely arbitrary and biased way in which the deletionists act, rather than deletionism itself. If they somehow managed to act in a consistent, unbiased fashion, I don't think I'd have anwhere near as much of a problem with it, if any.
The way you describe it, eric would seem to be an example of deletionism at its worst. Back when I was trying my best to express my objection to a point made by our little English historian friend, I first made sure to do so without violating any possible guideline. I wrote in a stern yet completely civil tone, and made no attacks upon the poster, but only objected to the post. In fact I didn't even mention the poster's name.
Still, eric took it upon himself to remove it. I politely asked him to explain to me why my post was deleted, as to the best of my knowledge, I had acted completely within every possible guideline I was aware of. His response was simple. He told me that my post was removed because it was "obviously a transparent attempt to attack Clio yet again". I see. So now even when I'm not attacking her I'm attacking her. Not only can she continue to personally attack me with impunity, but now, even if I conform to every possible guideline to a T, I still can't even disagree with a post of hers, lest it be "yet another transparent attempt to attack Clio yet again".
What's next, wiki thought police perhaps? "Loomis, though you've indeed been staying away from Clio as we all requested, and not making any explicit or implicit remarks about her, surely you must be thinking negative thoughts about her and personally attacking her in your mind. Those thoughts being a natural continuation of your campaign of hatred against her, we demand that you cease having those thoughts. This is your final warning."
Or perhaps the introduction of the "pre-emptive block". "Loomis, though you haven't attacked Clio for a while now, it's a virtual certainty that at some point in the near future you will. We're therefore blocking you as a pre-emptive measure to prevent any of these virtually certain attacks from occuring in the first place."
I hope you see by now why I simply can't go back there. Just a bit more of the RefDesk and I'll begin to feel like a character in some novel by Kafka, hoping that I won't wake up the next day to discover that I've been transformed into a giant cockroach! :-) Lewis 16:03, 14 April 2007 (UTC)
I've seen most of that rant before, did you copy it from elsewhere ? I definitely agree that people only enforce the rules against those they disagree with, up to and including Admins who will only do blocks on people who disagree with them. They not only allow uncivil behavior by those who agree with them, they even encourage it, such as when Friday endorsed Hipocrite's RFC against me, which was quite a transparent way to attack inclusionists by using me. They have also unblocked obvious sockpuppets blocked by other Admins, so those sockpuppets can continue to harass me. StuRat 16:16, 14 April 2007 (UTC)
Not only am I ranting, but I'm now apparently starting to show signs of Alzheimer's, as I don't recall making that particular rant before (except for the bit about the pre-emptive block and the general issues I have arbitrariness in how wiki rules are administered). Still, I can swear that the "wiki thought-police" bit and the part about Kafka were two brand new thoughts of mine. Have I really said that before? If there's anything worse than a rant, it's got to be the repeat of a previous rant! Lewis 16:32, 14 April 2007 (UTC)
I'm not sure if those parts were repeated or not (you rant so often I can't keep track of them all).  :-) BTW, my favorite term for a rant is a W:Philippic. StuRat 18:53, 14 April 2007 (UTC)

Thanks[edit source]

Hi StuRat, I just wanted to say thanks for all the work you've been putting in to the Wikiversity:Help desk. I really appreciate that you and others are taking it so seriously (and I mean that in a good way!). I know that it was envisaged to be the potential genesis of many learning projects - I'm not sure how much of a reality that vision spawned, but with dedicated people, it might well develop into something really special. Cheers! (and fascinating talk page so far!) Cormaggio talk 17:02, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

Your quite welcome ! StuRat 17:43, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

Good answer![edit source]

I thought your answer there [5] was quite interesting. a.z. 04:05, 21 April 2007 (UTC)

Thanks ! StuRat 11:56, 21 April 2007 (UTC)

Relationships on the Internet[edit source]

Hi, StuRat! You made a comment on relationships and specifically on relationships on the Internet on my talk page. You said you firmly believed that we should treat people as people online. As you said "firmly", I guess that you must have thought about it for a while and you may have other things to say about this subject. I'm interested in knowing any further elaboration that you could provide on what you think about relationships and relationships on the Internet, as I am very interested in learning more about these things. a.z. 05:13, 22 April 2007 (UTC)

In short I don't think there's necessarily any difference between a relationship online and one in person. I know I get angry and sad and happy from comments other people make online, just as in real life, don't you ?
The only possible diff I see is that it's a bit easier to lie about who you are online, but people can also be highly deceptive in person. In either case, I tend to believe people are who they claim to be, until it's proven otherwise. I suppose this is "assume good faith" in action.
Also, some don't like the Internet because they don't know the age or gender of the person they are talking with. I don't discriminate on age like others do. I often hear other editors say "he's just a teenager, so we can ignore what he thinks". I couldn't disagree any more. If someone acts immaturely, that's one thing, but their physical age alone should not be used as a basis to decide how important their thoughts are. I also don't discriminate towards women, although it is nice to know when you are speaking with a woman because they act a bit differently.
BTW, did you get my e-mail ? If so, I await your reply. StuRat 06:42, 22 April 2007 (UTC)

Checkuser discussions[edit source]

Hi StuRat. If you can spare the time, your opinion would be greatly appreciated in the discussion currently going on about getting local Checkuser permissions here on Wikiversity. As an active user here, you're probably familiar with the "quiet, behind the scenes" way that we introduce new Custodians, but requesting Checkuser actually requires a "show of support" for the foundation stewards to give us this tool.

If you're not familiar with Checkuser, it's a tool we can use to find the source IP address (and/or alternate accounts) of vandals and others who mean harm to the project. This allows us to both "stop the problem at the source", or in some cases lets us know we can't stop something at the source if an IP is shared by one or more constructive contributors. --SB_Johnny | talk 11:38, 31 August 2007 (UTC)

OK, I'll take a look. StuRat 16:38, 31 August 2007 (UTC)

sedative[edit source]

"Maybe we need to give Wikipedia a big sedative" <-- I tried to "read up" on the "medical advice" threads for the Wikipedia help desk. I fear that I gave up before completing the usual for Wikipedia discussions, the information/noise ratio was alarmingly low. I tried to expand the introduction for the Wikiversity help desk. What do you think? I also tried to make it clear that Wikiversity is no different from Wikipedia when it comes to how people should make use of what they read at a wiki website where everyone can edit. However, I do think that Wikiversity has more "elbow room" when it comes to helping people explore most topics. An encyclopedia is very limited in mission and scope. Sadly, Wikiversity has constant problems with self-centered Wikipedians who do not even know that the Wikimedia Foundation exists and that in order to meet its educational mission, the Foundation has several sister projects. Since Wikiversity is so new, it is probably not useful to push too hard at making links from Wikipedia to Wikiversity unless you have time to fight to keep those links from being deleted. I find fighting with Wikipedians very unproductive.....its like beating your head against a wall. I spend my time cutting holes in that wall and installing is hard work that takes time, but it hurts my head less. --JWSchmidt 14:20, 5 September 2007 (UTC)

"listing possible medical conditions that match given symptoms, followed by instructions that they need to see a doctor to establish the exact problem and treatment, doesn't constitute "practicing medicine", and is therefore OK here[?]" <-- I'm not sure that there is a "one size fits all" answer to questions like this. If an experienced wiki editor asked a medical question, I would personally be comfortable providing a few links to webpages that might help answer the question. Pointing someone towards sources of information is not giving medical advice and it is not practicing medicine. The situation is different when dealing with a question from someone who has no significant identifiable edit history. Part of good information exchange is knowing who you are "talking" to. If a medical question comes from someone who may not understand the nature of a wiki website, then it might be wise to make sure that they understand that Wikiversity is a place where we all help each other try to figure things out, but answers to all questions have to be viewed critically. Many people have very limited critical thinking skills so a wiki help desk is in some sense an attractive nuisance. It seems to me that the solution to this "attractive nuisance" problem is to always try to make sure that newbies understand the nature of wiki and that they cannot substitute text on a wiki for professional help with a serious real world problem. Maybe it would be wise to not rush to provide answers to some medical questions from newbies....questions that seem to be asking for medical advice. Maybe when answering such questions from people who do not seem to have an extensive editing history and familiarity with wiki we should first say something like, "Do you know what a wiki website is? Do you understand that Wikiversity is here to help participants learn, but if you have a real world problem you should not expect to solve that problem by asking questions here?" If an answer comes back that is something like, "Okay, I understand your warnings, but I still want to research this topic," then we can help provide some links to relevant information. If there is no reply or the person seems clueless, then I would feel no need to have further interactions with them (beyond saying "see a doctor").....doing so might do more harm than good. "build up our customer base" <-- I do think that much of Wikiversity will be built by learners who are finding answers rather than by people who already have the answers, so we need to encourage people to ask questions and seek answers. Note: this is a more "user-centered" approach than exists at Wikipedia which is very "content oriented". "I take it this isn't a battle you wish to take on at this time" <-- I am torn between my desire to help Wikipedia improve and the feeling that I have to budget my wiki time wisely. Do you think this is a battle that can be won now? --JWSchmidt 16:03, 5 September 2007 (UTC)
  • "Would you mind if I add some text explaining that we don't want the strict, broad, inflexible application of Wikipedia rules to apply here?" I think we need to be very clear about what we are talking about.....people throw around terms like "medical advice" without bothering to define them. I started Medical practice and the law with the hope that we can be more clear about what the issues are. I think all Wikimedia projects agree with "do not ask for medical advice, do not offer medical advice", but I doubt if there is broad understanding and agreement about what constitutes medical advice. I think we need to clarify the meaning of "medical advice" and "practice medicine" in the context of Wikiversity discussions of medical topics. "links to Wikiversity from Wikipedia" <-- I seldom find myself in agreement with consensus at Wikipedia. I do not understand why administrators have any special say in decisions about the Wikipedia reference desks. --JWSchmidt 21:20, 5 September 2007 (UTC)

GFDL[edit source]

I noticed your comments about the GFDL. I wonder if you ever noticed this Wikiversity page: The GFDL and you. It is by belief that the GFDL is automatically applied to all copyrighted text added by editors to Wikiversity pages." In my view, the message, "You agree to license your contributions under the GFDL," is meant to apply every time I click "save page" even if it is for a talk page or any other non-main namespace page. However, I do not believe that anyone can claim copyright over generic or conventional sentences such as short questions asked at a reference desk, so it is hard for me to understand how the GFDL applies to such questions.

In a certain sense, the GFDL is impotent unless someone intends to take legal action to defend the rights claimed by individuals who license their copyrighted content under the license. However, in another sense, the spirit of the GFDL includes the idea of attribution. I think most wiki editors have no great interest in receiving attribution for their wiki edits when wiki content is copied. However, attribution of GFDL-licensed content back to its source(s) does serve useful purposes. From an educational perspective, I often like to know where an idea came from or the original context of an idea. Part of good scholarship is being able to trace information back to its source. So even when it seems like a waste of time to make a link back to a source, I try to provide such links. Sometimes I get lazy and just make an edit summary that says "from the Foo Bar page at Wikipedia", such as when I copy some templates from Wikipedia to Wikiversity.

I'm thinking we could start a Wikiversity page about "wikilawyering". What do you think? --JWSchmidt 17:15, 16 September 2007 (UTC)

Yea, that might be a good idea. I've found it's one of those terms which is used against anyone the person disagrees with. Whenever I point out the misapplication of a Wikipedia policy to a talk page which was explicitly written for articles, I am accused of "Wikilawyering".
As for providing links back to the Wikipedia Ref Desk, I'm fine with that, although the links get broken as soon as the page is archived in a week. I just hate being accused of violating GFDL (with the implication that Wikipedia will be sued for millions, if I ever forget). StuRat 01:44, 17 September 2007 (UTC)

If I be[edit source]

Hi. I don't mind that you correct my English, I actually like it, but why do you think that "if I be" is non-standard? I searched for it in Google and there were 151,000 results, many from the King James Bible and Shakespeare's books. Wikipedia's article on the subjunctive mood says that the present subjunctive for the verb to be is I be. It may be old fashioned (or more dead than alive), but it looks like it's standard. Artur 01:39, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

I was reading the article on Wikipedia and it looks that in English and Spanish there's no such thing as a future subjunctive (as seen on the section about the subjunctive in Portuguese), and I think that was exactly what I intended to mean, not the present subjunctive... The example of the article is "If I am elected president, I will change the law." So, if I am disciplined enough, I have chances to pass. You were right! Thanks! Artur 01:47, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
Yea, it just didn't sound right. BTW, "I have chances to pass" is a bit weird, too. I'd say "I have a good chance to pass", instead. StuRat 07:03, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
Thanks. Artur 00:01, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

Re:[edit source]

ping Terra 17:23, 22 April 2008 (UTC)

Thought you might be able to help...[edit source]

See User_talk:SB_Johnny#Reliable_sources. I think he wants to do something similar to what you've done with the Help desk/Reference desk thing. --SB_Johnny talk 09:33, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

Mix-up[edit source]

My apologies! Not perfectly sure how your edit got reversed, but it may have come about from my editing directly from a changelog. The Jade Knight (d'viser) 09:19, 29 November 2008 (UTC)

OK, thanks. StuRat 19:23, 29 November 2008 (UTC)

Some questions[edit source]

You mentioned that you find mikeu's block of JWS troubling, that the block's purpose looks like something else, that relative minor violations were used as an excuse instead, and that you've seen this type of overreaction before. I don't think I understand your comments. Are you saying that if mikeu really did block JWS for incivility you think the block was an overreaction? If so, why do you think blocking for incivility is an overreaction? Are you saying that you think mikeu is being dishonest about his reasons for blocking JWS? If so, why do you think mikeu was being dishonest about his reasons for blocking JWS, and what leads you to jump from that to the conclusion that the real purpose is to crush dissent? I think some clarification and more insight would be helpful. --darkYin yang.svglama 17:31, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

Not all "incivility" requires a block. I don't think the examples given rise to that level. Here's an example of one that might warrant a block, especially after several warnings for similar events: "I wish you'd drop dead, you stupid fucking faggot !". The JWS examples are very far from that. This, overlaid with JWS's ongoing efforts against what he calls censorship, makes is likely that mikeu's overreaction was based on that. I've seen overly strict enforcement of rules which are normally laxly enforced at Wikipedia, precisely when the Admin doing the blocks has some other beef against the blockee. StuRat 17:40, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
Replied to you, Stu [6]. Before you buy the horse there, please ask yourself whether there really is any evidence of a movement towards censorship (other than Moulton (long story), or John's negative descriptions of the motivations of his fellow contributors). I'm relatively certain that there isn't. --SB_Johnny talk 20:35, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
You said escalation is needed because everything else has been tried. Has de-escalation been tried ? That is, just backing off and letting things cool down ? As for censorship, I don't think whether it exists or not is relevant, but what is relevant is if the people on one side of an issue start blocking people on the other side, which has at least the appearance of a conflict of interest. I don't have enough info to know if that's the pattern here, or not, but I've definitely seen it at WP. StuRat 23:39, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
It's been tried for a while now: he's mostly been doing this in his blog, which wasn't an issue for anyone until Guillom popped in and requested deletion of the blog (Guillom was a caretaker custodian here in 2006-2007, but dropped his tools as he got busier elsewhere). This flareup started because of how John reacted to that.
I've seen it on WP too, but this isn't a censorship issue, but rather a user conduct issue. --SB_Johnny talk 11:37, 17 January 2009 (UTC)
Are people on one side of an issue blocking people on the other side, here at Wikiversity ? StuRat 15:23, 17 January 2009 (UTC)
Yes and no. The block of JWSchmidt isn't about a content dispute at all, just the way he talks to and about other people (like I said, a user-conduct issue, not an issue of censoring content). With him it's not a problem with what he's researching and studying, but rather that he habitually paints people in the worst possible light, ascribing "bad faith" motivations rather than simply inquiring about why people say or do something he doesn't agree with, or when he does ask, it's in the passive-aggressive mode (e.g., "so did beat your wife yet today?"), which of course tend not to get answered, and so he takes the refusal to answer as evidence of further bad faith and/or of the existence of shady organizations, and round and round it goes. He just needs to stop assuming and ascribing evil motives to people who (as far as I know) don't have evil motives :-).
The blocks and deletions involved with Moulton were Jimbo's thing. --SB_Johnny talk 15:46, 17 January 2009 (UTC)
Indeed. Jimbo came whiffling into Wikversity (and burbled as he came), to introject his patented Bomis Boyz™ B&D regime in support of the goons of IDCab. Jimbo did not have the support of the founding community here; he usurped community self-governance, swept aside the WV Mission Statement, and simultaneously breached the WMF Mission Statement in flagrant disregard for Section 230 Immunity. The founding community was utterly gobsmacked by Jimbo's jackboot juggernaut, and frankly found themselves powerless and petrified by his puerile pogrom parade. —Barry Kort 13:23, 18 January 2009 (UTC)
You said "yes and no". Please explain the "yes" part, and recommend what we can do to avoid such apparent conflicts of interest. StuRat 11:31, 18 January 2009 (UTC)
Oh, sorry. The yes part is about Moulton's studies. I'm completely at a loss about what to do about it: he's unwilling to compromise, so there's really no way to mediate it. --SB_Johnny talk 11:36, 18 January 2009 (UTC)
From the beginning (both on WP and on WV) I have called for a Social Contract, that being the formal name in the literature for a mutually agreeable compact, setting forth mutually agreeable terms of engagement. What part of "mutually agreeable" do you find unacceptable? —Barry Kort 13:09, 18 January 2009 (UTC)
The evidence of a movement toward censorship is overwhelming. How else can you explain the unprecedented appearance in this tiny backwater project by the likes of Cary Bass and Jimbo Wales, to introject a puerile pogrom parade the likes of which academia has not seen since the one that struck Europe in the decade before I was born? —Barry Kort 20:52, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

Usurpation[edit source]

Re: User_talk:Lewis#Request_for_Usurpation The confusion about 14 days might stem from {{Usurpation requested}} which I believe was saying that if there are no edits ("...because you have not used it to edit...") an account can be usurped after 14 days. I just changed the template to try to clarify that, but please have a look at the current text. --mikeu talk 21:05, 29 August 2009 (UTC)

PS: we could use some input on the guidelines and process on usurpation. The last time I tried to start a discussion on this there were few comments from the community. --mikeu talk 11:41, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
That modified text looks better, thanks. Where should I put my input regarding the process ? StuRat 14:46, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
I would suggest Wikiversity talk:Changing username with perhaps a note on Colloqium to draw attention to the discussion. I notified User:Little Lewis that there should have been a request at Changing Username when the template was added to the talk page. There seems to have been a misunderstanding (due to poor template documentation and vague instructions at Changing Username) that the {{Usurpation requested}} should only really be used when there are no, or at least very few, edits. --mikeu talk 14:53, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
Due to a lack of input and a couple of outstanding requests there is now a Wikiversity:Community Review/Usurpation of usernames. Please join in on the discussion, we could really use some more input on this question. --mikeu talk 14:05, 13 September 2009 (UTC)

I'm sorry for mis-using the template. I wasn't actually trying to usurp the username here, but only at I put notices on all the sites where the username was registered, even though most of them probably aren't the same person. Since the account on has never been used, but the one here has been, and since there was a good chance those two are for the same person, I thought a notice here would be helpful. Apparently it was more confusing than helpful, and again I'm sorry about that. --Little Lewis 20:51, 30 August 2009 (UTC)

Pajaron[edit source]

Hi StuRat,

I think the user is a troll. He uses several ip-addresses, and i removed his last edits, because they contaminated the Help Desk. I sure need to do something useful with my time, instead of debating trolls.Daanschr 10:26, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

I wouldn't call him a troll, just someone who doesn't know the proper place to post. Perhaps that would have been a good start on a "Personal Security" topic page here at Wikiversity. Would you be willing to help him set something like that up ? (I would do it myself, but I actually have to go to work soon. :-) ) StuRat 15:04, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

I don't know on which of his talk pages he will respond.Daanschr 16:36, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

In that case, you could leave a note for him at the Help Desk. StuRat 16:50, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
I still think he is a troll, so i am not going to waste time to him.Daanschr 17:27, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

Note[edit source]

[7] I think this was merely a copy of your thread on the Help:Desk. I couldn't find an original diff of it at the War and Iran page. I could be wrong, though. Ottava Rima (talk) 17:20, 2 February 2010 (UTC)

I looked through the history and it looks like you're right. I will delete it again. Thanks. StuRat 18:08, 2 February 2010 (UTC)

something to proofread[edit source]

Thanks for your message that you are going to help. Everything I do will be here: Sorting_data This chapter is now completely new and the subchapters RadixSort and ExtraDix as well. I do not mind any changes whatsoever (unless you delete everything). And there will (later) be some C-code as well but since I'm nearly a native C-speaker you don't have to take care about that. I think I will do about one more chapter per week and later the wikification. P.S.: You mentioned FORTRAN; I can hardly remember the time when I programmed in FORTRAN and I thougt it to be extinct. --JDHenning 12:44, 8 March 2010 (UTC)

OK, so far I've proofread the lede for spelling only. A few general comments:
1) I see you are using British spelling. I'm more familiar with American spelling, and, as such, may be unable to determine if a word correctly uses British spelling. Would you mind if I changed the article over to American spelling, to avoid this problem ?
2) You use a lower opening double quotation mark („), while I believe both American and British English normally use the higher character for both opening and closing: "as in this example".
3) You don't mention one of the criteria being the current sort status of the data. If there is a good possibility the data is already sorted, or perhaps nearly sorted, or perhaps sorted in reverse order, then different sorting methods may be appropriate.
4) The nature of the key is also important, as longer keys are less suitable to certain types of sorts, such as radix. The length of the data can also be important, depending on whether the data itself must be moved around or whether pointers to the array can be sorted, instead. Multiple keys, especially of different data types, can also complicate sorting.
5) The number of records to sort is also critical, with a bubble sort only being appropriate for a small number of records.
6) As for reducing the sorting time, there's the average time and also the maximum. Sometimes one is more important, sometimes the other. StuRat 16:25, 8 March 2010 (UTC)

I think the main page should be fine now. I will do the sub-pages during the next days (or weekend) and tell you.--JDHenning 11:58, 24 March 2010 (UTC)

Ok, thanks. StuRat 15:39, 25 March 2010 (UTC)

BubbleSort is done as well. --JDHenning 12:01, 26 March 2010 (UTC)

I'll take a look this weekend. StuRat 12:42, 27 March 2010 (UTC)

SelectionSort and InsertionSort are ready as well --JDHenning 09:54, 31 March 2010 (UTC)

And the rest should be ready as well. Now I will do the last chapter where the different algorithms are compared timewise and where I will give examples in C of them. But I guess this will take a few days. --JDHenning 10:45, 15 April 2010 (UTC)

Excellent. StuRat 12:28, 15 April 2010 (UTC)

History of the Ottoman Empire course[edit source]

Hi! Thank you for you want to help me. I will write carefully. It course is my first lesson. Good works... --Berm@nyaİleti 23:41, 17 June 2010 (UTC)

You're welcome. I will help in any way I can. StuRat 23:43, 17 June 2010 (UTC)

Could you give me your reference which contains this date as 1365 ? In most references there are some errors . In these links which I write, supports my date; Osman Gazi, Orhan Gazi and Murat I. Good works... --Bermanya 18:12, 18 June 2010 (UTC)

Sure, that's the date given for the capture of Edirne in the English Wikipedia, in the 4th paragraph here: [8]. I don't speak Turkish, but the Turkish Wikipedia seems to say something about 1361, here: [9]. What does that say ? StuRat 00:30, 19 June 2010 (UTC)
As for the death of Orhan I being in 1361, that's what the English Wikipedia says here: [10]. StuRat 00:34, 19 June 2010 (UTC)
No, that is polemical. Some references say: Orhan Gazi died in 1361 / some references say: Orhan Gazi died in 1362. Also, I study about History of Ottoman Empire for five years. I didn't error about this topic. Turkish references say: Orhan Gazi died in 1362, Ottomans captured Edirne in 1362, Crusaders attacked Edirne in 1365, Kosovo War in 1389... And ı have encyclopedia references about this topic. Good works... --Bermanya 00:48, 19 June 2010 (UTC)
Turkish wikipedia: A; Ottomans captured Edirne in 1362. Also english wikipedia: B; English wikipedia says: Ottomans captured Edirne in 1362. Anyway Orhan Gazi died, Murat I become Sultan of Ottomans and Ottomans captured Edirne in the same year (1362). Good works... --Bermanya 01:07, 19 June 2010 (UTC)
I see. Since this is bound to be confusing to students who find different dates in different sources, perhaps we should add notes saying "different sources list other dates for this event, such as ...". StuRat 04:01, 19 June 2010 (UTC)

OK. Good works... --Bermanya 17:28, 19 June 2010 (UTC)

Two proposed policies need discusson[edit source]

Please see. I am contacting regulars and admin so we can start going through our proposed policies and establish some. Ottava Rima (talk) 16:31, 8 July 2010 (UTC)