Trains:Station Cafe (Buffet Car)

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This is one of the Station Cafe pages. We use them to discuss the technical issues, policies, and operations of Train Spotting World. The Station Cafe is divided into sections covering these different aspects, but if you can't decide which to use, try Left Luggage. You can see all station cafe sections at once here. Please sign and date your posts (by typing ~~~~ at the end).

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Buffet Car
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TSW Policy

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Technical Issues

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Requests for Help

Left Luggage
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Everything else


First and foremost, this topic is open to all members here, not simply the current admins. Equally it ought to be said that a future "candidate" (if that is the right word) for adminship should not be judged because they have or have not contributed to the discussion.

I am fundamentally against heavy bureaucracy. I believe it damages instead of assists. So I am asking us all: "How do we want to grant the extra responsibility of adminship to users here?"

A follow-up question is "How do we judge an admin's performance with a view to continuing or rescinding their adminship?"

I am very much concerned that we start out by creating and implementing a true consensus, by which I mean that logical and well explained statements which sway and alter our own thoughts should win the day rather than balloting.

Tim Trent talk to me 23:05, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

Taking some ideas from WP, prospective admins will have been editing for a reasonable period of time (say 6 months) and shown a willingness to do the following:
  • edit pages on a broad range of topics
  • undertake admin-type work (such as reverting vandalism and warning offending users)
  • contribute to discussions (such as AfDs)
  • obey/apply policies and standards
  • etc (list incomplete)
There is also a need for the prospective admin to state why they want to be an admin.
Not saying that we have to apply such rules here, but these are points that might be worth considering.
NB - for editors with experience at Wikipedia, it would be appropriate to consider their contributions there. (So, for example, and admin at WP could, if wished, pretty much step straight into an admin position here).
EdJogg 01:09, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
All very much worth considering. All valid points. How would we do that without the (IMHO) rather demeaning "Request for Adminship" circus that WP has? Tim Trent talk to me 07:19, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
That, really, is what we're trying to work out here. A rogue admin could cause a huge amount of damage in a short time. An inexperienced admin could cause more subtle problems through 'good faith' edits that take longer to discover and fix. So we must have some kind of screening process in place, and there must be some minimum standards for the candidate to attain to ensure commitment and quality. This will inevitably lead to greater 'bureaucracy', but I can't see how you can avoid that.
This is going to be a big discussion, and will result in a TSW Policy, so I suggest that a page is created to start building that Policy. Discussions would sensibly continue on its talk page.
As a starter, I would say that any prospective admin should fulfill the following minimum credentials:
  • Minimum length of membership (say 6 months?) at either TSW or WP
  • Minimum number of edits (say 1000?) at either TSW or WP. (WP would require these to be 'main space' edits)
  • Visible commitment to participation in TSW maintenance activities (templates, categories, help pages, etc)
  • Visible awareness (through quality/type of edits) of editing standards at TSW or WP
The last of these are quite subjective, but do allow for 'quality control' when more basic requirements have been met
(I would also suggest that anyone already an active admin at WP will automatically pass the selection criteria!)
'Process' is more tricky. We both agree that the WP RfA process is OTT for TSW, which leaves us with two options: (1) start with the WP RfA process and prune it to a manageable size; or (2) come up with a process from scratch (possibly using ideas from WP RfA). I don't know the RfA process, but I would guess that it relies on the 'voting' of an adequate number of existing admins. (Hence, again, you need to ensure minimum quality of candidates, otherwise the average quality will decrease with increasing numbers.) Presumably we would still need something like that here.
(Run out of ideas for now!) -- EdJogg 12:10, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
On the basis that a starting point is better than a blank canvas I suggest a radically pruned WP RFA process. This is how Bernd and I created the initial policies. We found it a challenge to remove sufficient excess fat, though.
To see what goes on I participated in a WP RFA discussion, a thing which any WP editor "in good standing" may have a voice in. I felt a consensus had been reached pro, and it came out anti. Slightly bizarre as a process, not wholly transparent, and very political. It was not my idea of a fun time!
With regard to the right eventual home for this discussion, we may move it at any time to the RFA Policy "yet to be created) discussion page". When we do I think we should transclude it here to ensure the widest possible accessibility for discussion, because I'm very aware it is just thee and me postulating the process here.
Tim Trent talk to me 15:07, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
There is currently an ongoing discussion on this matter at Trains talk:Requests for adminship. Users may be interested to comment in the discussion so that a consensus can be achieved. Tbo 157 20:38, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

Work in Progress

I have started creating, but not pruning Trains:Requests for adminship. It looks like it could be a long job, especially since I can't yet find the meat! BUt there is a load of barrack room laywer stuff we just don't need already, so please feel free to leap in and prune as well as finding other relevant documents to add. Tim Trent talk to me 16:34, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

It will turn into quite a long job. I think we need to work quietly through it and stick to "Appointment by whim" currently. It need not be my whim :).
I've added the {{Under construction}} banner to the top of a few. Oddly I failed to important that template well from WP, though I suspect we don;t need all the odd, arcane and "neat" coding theat WP has started to go for in a big (and undocumented) way.
If we take this stuff verbatim we'll end up with a huge administrative overhead. I've cut some obvious stuff, but I'm not doing more for the moment. No-one will die if we don;t have this in place!
I think "A page at a time" needs to be ripped apart. Nothing is sacred. Tim Trent 19:12, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
I would like to be an administrator because:
 • I want to contribute to the world of trains and Thomas.

 • I am good at spelling.  • I hate vandalism.  • I want to revert vandalism.

This is why I should be an administrator. --S.C.Ruffeyfan 18:36, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
In the absence of a system (since we are still creating it) I'd like to deal with this at User talk:S.C.Ruffeyfan, so I will copy it over there and invite anyone who wises to make whatever comments they choose there. I will include this comment, too. Tim Trent Talk to me 19:26, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

Story so far on pages

I suspect there is more to port across. We also very much need to simplify it, but I think all the "main" pages are there now. We also have the inputbox extension available now. Tim Trent Talk to me 22:45, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

Internal cat names - Policy needed

All this recent activity has thrown up a wealth of potential categories (as redlinks). The naming of these is inconsistent. Current maintenance categories are typically prefixed 'TrainspottingWorld', but new pages have been identified as 'TSW xxxx' or 'Trainspottingworld xxxx'.

Could we please agree on some naming conventions? Also, could all editors be a bit more proactive in creating the new categories and linking them in to the tree? (ALL pages should be a member of at least one cat).

Care should be taken that an existing cat is used where available and appropriate.

EdJogg 14:01, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

I'm guilty of both charges. Categories are also a pain because you can't rename them, redirect them or move them. Keeping it simple, "TSW" is hard to mis-spell, and hard to capitalise incorrectly. There are too many variants of the others, and a lot of scope for error. Since Trains is a freestanding Wiki, there will be no conflict when we launch Toilet Spotting World because it can have its own TSW.
Wise to agree it and then plan relevant migrations if we deem appropriate. Of course a bot would make such things easier.
I do try hard to link articles to categories. I know we can all forget sometimes. the awkward one is where you know a category, like Cat:Sources should exist, but can't work out where to link it to the tree.
Tim Trent talk to me 15:00, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
I'm OK with 'TSW', although it'll take a while to bring the existing cats into line. I'm more concerned with the number of pages that are created with RED cats. These don't show up on the Special Pages 'Uncategorised' pages. Ironically, adding {{uncat}} adds pages to a special 'uncat' cat, so they still don't show up on special pages!
Maybe I need to spend some time sorting out the cat tree? (Doesn't fill me with excitement!)
Incidentally, I note that WP has a Special Page for 'Uncategorized templates', but we don't. Is this easy to add?
Incidentally 2 - just looking at 'Wanted categories'. This Wiki contains some real crud! Take a look at Cat:Casinos in Las Vegas and Cat:Hotels in Las Vegas!!
EdJogg 16:28, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
I was just going to point you at Special:Wantedcategories. I use it to have occasional anti-crud blitzes, and to do other things, too. Feel free to decrud. Tim Trent talk to me 16:40, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
Uncategorised Template, eh? If you find it we can add it. Memo to self - get rid of pretty signature! Tim Trent talk to me 16:50, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

Cat names - Part 2

It occurs to me that a vast number of templates, cats and help pages (etc) that are being established here would be of more general use to sister projects. Is there any technical way of linking the projects together, so that, say, 'Trains' uses standard help pages from the parent 'Spotting World'? The reason I ask is that it may have an influence on naming policy.

Any cats which are generic could, in theory, be labelled 'Spotting World XXXX' (such as the Copyright page I've just superseded). Then, when copied to a sister project, the cat tree is setup and ready to go. Alternatively, the cats could be named 'TSW XXXX', as discussed above. Then, if copied, a bot would be needed to change "TSW" to "XXSW".

If generic cats can be inherited from Spotting World, then it should be these cat names we use. (Generic cats remove problems of page duplication, with attendant saving in storage requirements, thus simplifying editing tasks.)


EdJogg 13:59, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

Yes. Anything seen as common can be placed on Spotting World. I can create admins there very easily, and we have full interwiki links with it. I'm really happy if this happens. I'm not sure how categories work interwiki, but an experiment would be well in order. Interwiki prefix is sworld: Tim Trent Talk to me 18:09, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
It would be a complete pain in the wotsit to all users to have to interwiki the basic templates, but I think there is a reasonably easy way round it. What we need to do is migrate the formatting, copyright, etc, templates to Spotting World, so the code is centrally located but the templates are universally available to the child wikis. At the child wiki, the templates would still exist, but merely as a transwiki link, so no transclusions would need modifying. (You'd better check with Bernd that (a) this will work and (b) that this isn't going to introduce an intolerable server load, or slow down page creation unduly!!) There would be no need for interwiki categories, since these would mostly exist in the central area, the child wikis either duplicating the entire structure, or simply having a few specifically for interwiki'd templates/help pages, etc.
I see no great problem in continuing to import templates, help pages, etc, to Trains as we are doing now. Once they are working and stable they can be migrated to Spotting World. (And once we get the hang of this, it would be even better to copy from WP to SW direct.) If we are careful with the category names (in particular) it should be an easy matter to copy great swathes of working interwiki'd templates from one child wiki to another and have them all working from day one.
This will require a bit of work though, so maybe it is one of the questions that needs asking to prospective admin candidates: how much of the nitty-gritty Spotting World setup are you prepared to get stuck in to? (or words to that effect!)
I've created an account at Spotting World, so feel free to adminise me there.
EdJogg 01:50, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
Server load is not greater at all (in any significant manner). Our system is designed to allow for it, and also to allow wikis to be freestanding and split across multiple servers when required, though our first move will be to a physical instead of a virtual server. Odd how the price (and thus the income required from advertising) jumps about six-fold when one does this!
Adminification coming up. Tim Trent Talk to me 07:15, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
I think that tackling the Help pages will be a good start. They are clearly separate, and there aren't too many yet. Once we know that works, the copyright templates are probably next. There are 63 unused templates already at Spotting World (use the special pages command) and most relate to licensing. After that we should be able to do a 'How To' for admins to migrate everything else, and produce a task list. (I'm never this organised at work, what gives?)
If we are careful with this, it is an opportunity to make sure all the pages are properly categorised within a sane category structure.
EdJogg 11:06, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
There will be a number of ointmental flies, though. I suspect we wil be able to scarytransclude templates, but will have to interwikilink to help. Tim Trent Talk to me 11:21, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
The 'trans' bit appears to be set for the 'sw' interwiki, at Spotting World, but not at Trains. This suggests that transclusion may be possible in one direction...
Incidentally, some of the above is already in place. Clicking on 'Privacy policy' at the bottom of the page takes the user to the SW page.
EdJogg 11:34, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
I will do some stuff when I get around to it too, but I am v busy atm. Can i b adminified 2 pls tim? Bluegoblin7 19:41, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
Done Tim Trent Talk to me 20:54, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

Exotic signatures

I think the real question is "Do we care how exotic a signature is?"


Tim Trent talk to me is generated by:

<font face="Comic Sans MS">[[User:Tim Trent|<b><font color="red">T</font><font color="Orange">i</font><font color="yellow">m</font> <font color="Green">T</font><font color="blue">r</font><font color="indigo">e</font><font color="violet">n</font><font color="Red">t</font></b>]] <font face="Comic Sans MS"><sup>[[User talk:Tim Trent|talk to me]]</sup></font></font>

  • Great scope for individualism
  • Fun
  • Pretty (well sometimes!)
  • They make the edit window a bit hard to navigate inside because they can spawn massive lines of html. I tried a very exotic one and it was often bigger than the thing I signed!
  • Can be illegible
  • Elitist - it may be easy to do, but it's only easy when you know how.

So, do we care?

Tim Trent Talk to me 16:21, 22 November 2007 (UTC)

I've never really seen the need! Your rainbow affair was rather ridiculous, but there are others on WP who have as bad. I prefer simpler. EdJogg 17:10, 22 November 2007 (UTC)
The rainbow was "because I could" and also to see how to do it. And yes, it was very silly. I quite like the one I have now, though. And yetit does have a welter of html with itm, just a smaller welter. Tim Trent Talk to me 17:34, 22 November 2007 (UTC)
I think that while sigs are good, they should be moderated! When I get around to putting on line the page about User Names etc, I will also mention sigs. Great work over here btw! It's really coming together. Will now work on completing the rest of the help sections! Bluegoblin7 11:17, 23 November 2007 (UTC)

Interwikiing stuff

At present Special:Interwiki shows that the trans bit is unset here. but sworld:Special:Interwiki shows a different pattern. Last time I tried, [[sw:Special:Interwiki]] did nothing in a very special way! In fact if I use it here bewteen : and : you will see what "happens!  :: Or not, really!

So this gets rather exciting!

Interwiki picture transclusion from Commons looks like a Wikipedia special kluge since pages are not supposed to transclude interwiki!

So, what does this mean for Help pages?

It means they can migrate (oh excitement) to sworld and be interwikied from Trains and Planes. Not sure if a return link (back to where you came from) is possible though.

Tim Trent Talk to me 11:42, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

Interwiki redirects also work! Tim Trent Talk to me 11:53, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
It's likely to be the weekend before we implement any changes. There is a serious danger of crashing the entire thing and being unable to revert the changes! Yes, "something" inside changes when you edit the interwiki table and seems not to change back when you change it back. Tim Trent Talk to me 07:19, 6 December 2007 (UTC)

Anonymous Editing - Re-enable?

From Tim Trent's talk page, via 'The Works':

Reopening all user editing...

Hi Tim,

I think that this is probably going to be something that will need to be done to allow the wiki to grow. I am going to be free nearly every day, all day, as off tommorrow, so will be able to rv vandals and block ips etc. This time of year is especialy good, as people are on holiday etc, and therefore will want to edit pages... Let me know what you think...

Bluegoblin7 11:13, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

The challenge is that there is this fool who sets bots on wikis and is only stoppable with registration. It was lucky last time that I was logged in when he attacked, because we were able to slam the door on him
I think Wikipedia is insane with unregistered editors, you know. We can't run antivandal bots, and, despite the fact that you will be online, 20 edits while you get a drink, all of which are moves which create new pages are hard to revert.
Additionally the history means that trash can never be deleted. So these is scope for this and other idiots to run us out of disk space in a flash. I don't dare go back to anonymous edits. People are used to registering on sites.
Tim Trent Talk to me 12:11, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
I understand and have accepted your reasoning for this. Now we need to set this in concrete and move on. There are a number of things that follow-on from this:
  1. It is probably worth writing a 'policy' page at Spotting World to give the reasons. In the future, anyone who seriously questions 'why?' can be referred there.
  2. We need a FAQ along the lines of 'Why do I need to register?', which will be rather simpler than the policy page, and also highlight the benefit of the user's IP address being hidden!
  3. Page protection can be simplified. There will be only two levels, 'Unprotected' and 'Sysop-only'. A ToDo task should be created to note this and check all pages are appropriately categorised and identified. (As a side issue, we should perhaps consider which pages need to be sysop-protected.)
  4. Welcome, help, and introductory text should be adjusted. We need to note that you must register to edit, but we must not labour this point.
EdJogg 13:50, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
(Sorry, just notice this is Tim's talk page and not the cafe! - can someone copy/move it please?)
Although probably not the case here, you may be interested to know that the reason why anoynymous editing is enabled on en wp is because alot of constructive editors edit anonymously. This has been an issue discussed many times there. Tbo 157 17:09, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
I appreciate the WP ethos :) From a vandalism perspective they are insane, though :) But they also have data centres that allow IRC use. Now, if some clever person here could work out a way of botting vandalism patrols that use the database, or RSS, or some non IRC indicator, then we could (probably) open the doors to anon editors. Tim Trent Talk to me 17:57, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
If there is any chance of us allowing anon edits in the dim-and-distant future, then this must be considered when wording the changes I outlined above. For example, it may be appropriate to limit the number of locations where it is mentioned either that 'you must register to edit' or 'anonymous editing is not permitted. But in either case it must ALWAYS link to a common page describing user registration, as this will allow us to trace references. EdJogg 18:31, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

From BlueGoblin7's talk page:

Anonymous Editors - Allow them?

We wondering what the community thought on this. Please leave suggestions below:

Reasons for
  • IPs often make constructive edits whilst just dropping in
  • Site would get more edits so more possibilities would open (e.g. the interwiki map - see below)
  • One-off contributors might say to their friends "Ooh look at this site. It's great, anyone can edit it and you don't even need to sign up!"
Reasons against
  • Opens the door for Vandal- and Spam-bots
  • One-off contributors might say to their friends "Ooh look at this site. It's great, anyone can edit it and you don't even need to sign up! -- let's see how much of a mess we can make before anyone notices..."
  • Registration is no big deal to someone who really wants to contribute
  1. BG7
  2. Tbo 157 23:19, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose I've been around the block more than a few times on the other place about this issue. To the point where I gave up saying anything at all. My feelings about this are that if someone feels they have something worthwhile to contribute to the community, they won't mind having to take 2 sec. to create an account. The stats on Wikip of annons who repeatedly vandalize are rampant while the anonns who make meaningful and honest efforts are slim. Whilst doing RC patrol (I gave that up, else sacrifice what little bit of sanity remains.) I could easily say that 5 out of 10 anon-edits I verified were subtle vandalism out of the remaining 5, 3 were blatant vandalism and 2 were honest efforts to contribute. Wikip seems love anonymous editors because then they can claim no responsibility for libel, yet it seems it's the IP editors who are most likely to provide grounds for libel. Whilst largely contributing to their growing reputation of being an unreliable source. I'd hate to see that happen here. I've got a pocket full of change on this issue and thats just a few pence worth of the lot. --DP67 (talk/contribs) 23:04, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

Actually a significant chunk of editing comes from anons. Registered users tend to go towards maintenance tasks more while alot of anons actually edit articles constructively. I thought exactly the same thing as you before but my views on that have changed since becoming an admin on Wikipedia. There are actually some anons who contribute more than alot of registered users and one has even been nominated for adminship. Just look at the page history over at Wp. Without anons WP articles would be significantly slimmer. Not everyone wants to get fully involved with teh community idea. Some people just want to edit as they see. Looking back, it was naive of me to think that anon edits were all vandalism. Also, WIkipedia would be an unreliable sorce regardless of whether anon editing is disabled. Teh only way to create a reliable encyclopedia is by getting users to provide CVs and proof of identity. Tbo 157 23:17, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose Clearing-up during and after the vandal bot attacks took Tim a great deal of time and effort. We cannot risk that happening on a wider scale: there is no permanent and/or automatic monitoring presence as there is at WP.

Registering should be no big deal -- there are loads of sites that require registration.

And the Thomas pages attracted loads of attention because the anon editors were being cracked-down on at WP -- so they then started contributing the same rubbish here (partly on open invitation, it has to be said, as all the un-encyclopaedic Thomas pages were 'rescued' here from WP!). In the end Tim and I introduced the Fan Fiction area to preserve our sanity. EdJogg 23:37, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

Registering is a very big deal. It was for me. Once you see the words register it deters people because people naturally assume you have to enter personal details. We've just become used to this that we laugh at anons who don't bother to provide a username and pasword. Tbo 157 23:55, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

Moved from Bluegoblin7's talk page:

I fear this is one time I have to make a unilateral decision, one that I will review if we get to a position where we can run antivandal bots (which we cannot at present because we cannot use IRC in our data centre). That decision is that we currently cannot afford to have IP-only editors because it opens the door to bulk, bot-driven vandalism. The only way we stropped them was to slam the door on them.

Bot vandalism doesnt just alter articles. It can run us out of disk space very fast precisley because of the GFDL nature and the history. So I am not about to risk your community, even if IP-only edits are viewed as desirable, by taking this step.

Wikis have very few defences. This is a small, yet paradoxically major one.

This is an odd page for this discussion, it really ought to be at the cafe.

OK, now the decision may be unilateral, but I do not wish to stifle discussion. We just can't afford the risk. I understand the desire, but it is not, currently, going to happen.

Tim Trent Talk to me 23:52, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

Better "marketing" for non logged in users

Please look at MediaWiki:Whitelistedittitle and MediaWiki:Whitelistedittext. Feel free to edit to improve them (only admins can edit here) or, iof you can't edit or want to reach consensus, please discuss it. We're stuck with this, so let;s make it as good as we can. Tim Trent Talk to me 10:06, 20 December 2007 (UTC)

The texts:


Please log in or create an account


It's really quick and easy to open an account here! Come on in and join us!

No personal details are required for registration

It's really great that you want to make some edits here. All you need is a username and password. To prevent "drive by" vandals we had to make it compulsory to register before you can edit pages.

Don't have an account yet?

That couldn't be easier. follow the $1 link and create your account.

Why create an account?

You get a load of extra information about how to use this site, automatically. You may even make some online friends here - people have been known to use your account's talk pages to chat to you. You get to feel part of the place, or not, if you prefer not.

But not all Wikis need accounts?

No, they don't. We had to change that as a security measure to help stop a very few folks from making edits anonymously that ruined pages here. So the few control the many. We hate it but we've had to do it.

Worried about privacy?

Don't be. We keep everything 100% private. Use a pseudonym with pleasure. We don't use anything here for any commercial purposes, nor do we pass personal data to anyone else at all. In fact, if we did that without asking your permission that would be against the UK's Data Protection Act 1998, and you could report us to the UK Information Commissioner. The Privacy Policy is linked at the foot of the page. We suggest you open it in a new window and read it if you have any doubts.

So how do I create an account?

Follow the $1 link. It tells you how

Lets make it clear that its simple and easy.Tbo 157 12:08, 20 December 2007 (UTC)
I'm very much into being bold. I've put up a first pass. That's something to work from. Make it as good as you like or can :)
I do hope people realise that I also like anonymous edits, but we can;t afford it at present. Tim Trent Talk to me 12:56, 20 December 2007 (UTC)

Article naming policy

CAn I propose an article naming policy in order to try and get us higher on google search results. Wikipedia are in fact right in their claim that naming an article with a common name is beter to get higher on Google search results list as people search using the common terms. Tbo 157 21:15, 20 December 2007 (UTC)

Me and Tbo have been discussing this, and it is Definitely needed - i will draft one up in a bit... BG7 21:39, 20 December 2007 (UTC)
It is not so much that naming an article with a common name is better to get higher on Google search results list as people search using the common terms. (though the effect is correct), but that the <title> tag is viewed the the most important element in choosing which pages to bring to the top of SERPs when a search is entered.
Thus a search on Green widgets will show pages with the exact phrase in the title above pages devoted to green widgets in the text of the page.
That said, SEO is an interesting and inexact science. All that one may say for certain is that a site will be indexed well if:
  • Sitemaps are submitted regulalry which reflect reality
  • The site is in continuous development. Static sites are not highly prized by search engines
  • Links to other sites are common. Dead end sites are not liked by search engines
  • Content is differentiated from other sites with similar content (Clearly we fail here at present, but that is changing as we diverge from WP)
  • Inbound links from "good neighbourhoods" ideally deep links, are prized, especially when the text at the source site reflects the target site
  • Mutual links are deprecated and may attract penalties
We do all of this to the best of our ability with the site itself. We ought to concentrate on content rather than too much labour around how content should be determined, and on showing how useful we are to clubs, societies, charities etc as a showcase for their use (whicvh will get relevant inbound links)
We also supply blogs for our users. Why? Well, first so they can have one as a "perk" for joining us, and second because the blogs get indexed and, while not exactly providing inbound links to us, provide entry points to us, even if wholly "off topic"
But any true SEO professional will tell you "Content is King". Our need is to diverge from WP in a competent and practical manner. In any "head to head" on an identical article they will always beat us hands down. We don't chase "Google Page Rank", an interesting and elusive measurement that is updated quasi-quarterly. We despise Alexa. And what we need, chiefly, is our embryo community to grow, to edit, and to create good content.
Quite a speech, that! Tim Trent Talk to me 22:03, 20 December 2007 (UTC)
A prime example of how to distance ourselves from WP is here. BG7, one of your barnstars is needed here!! Tim Trent Talk to me 22:12, 20 December 2007 (UTC)
Well we cant really grow our community if it doesn't get noticed. Just writing content with the editors we have isn't going to get us anywhere. Tbo 157 13:03, 21 December 2007 (UTC)
If you can think of anything we have not already done, please, as a matter of importance, let me know. I don't mind if it is off the wall. But we will not do tricksy things like cloaking (Google finds that out anyway). If we've done it already I'll tell you. If we haven't then I'll start it. 13:48, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

login / create account text

Should we change the text at the top right hand corner for anon users which reads "log in/create account" to make it clear that no details are required as Ive figured out how to do this. Tbo 157 21:36, 20 December 2007 (UTC)

What would your suggestion be? BG7 21:38, 20 December 2007 (UTC)
Something like "login or register (No details required)". Tbo 157 23:21, 20 December 2007 (UTC)
That is rather like "this page is left blank" ;) We do require trivial details, like a user name and a password of their choice. So the wording needs to reflect the lack of perosnal data held while being short and to the point. "Just user name and password" is kind of too long, but is along the right lines. Tim Trent Talk to me 23:28, 20 December 2007 (UTC)
Yes it does need to be short. OTherwise it will end up taking all the space at the top of every page for anons.
How about "Log-in / Register"?
It's the "Create Account" wording that sounds rather daunting. Registration is commonplace for many online services to get full functionality (such as online stores) and mandatory for others (banking, for example). Users who have a phobia about registering should address that phobia rather than expecting us to remove our defences.
EdJogg 01:01, 21 December 2007 (UTC)
I disagree. "Registering" or "creating an account" is traditionally a scary thing. We may be used to registering with wikis but I don't think necessarily telling users to address their phobia is going to help us grow the community. But perhaps we can create 2 separate links for logging in and registering so that teh register buttont akes you directly to the registration form. Tbo 157 12:59, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

Generating inbound links

Since this helps with visitors etc and also with SEO, we provided DIGG and Delicious links. But how many of us use them?

I know BG7 does.

Use them when you find an unusual page, or one you are proud of. They drive traffic in a minor way, but provide deep links, albeit diluted ones

Tim Trent Talk to me 00:47, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

Search Engine Optimisation

Since we most defineitely want to rise in SERPs, I felt you would be interested in the following:


Googlebot last successfully accessed your home page on Dec 15, 2007.

Web crawl

This page lists URLs from your site that Googlebot had trouble crawling. Googlebot found these pages either in your Sitemap or by following links from other pages during a discovery crawl. Choose a category of errors to view:

HTTP errors (0) | Not found (0) | URLs not followed (0) | URLs restricted by robots.txt (0) | URLs timed out (0) | Unreachable URLs (1)

We have no errors to report. We crawl regularly, so check back later to see updates.

Content analysis

We didn't detect any content issues with your site.

Top search queries

The top 20 queries in which your site appeared, and the percentage of the top20 queries represented by each search.

  1. % Query Position

1 29% trainspottingworld 1
2 10% "prime business journal" finance 4
3 8% "sony spiderman com" 5
4 8% "www sony spiderman com" 7
5 4% "www splashface" 6
6 4% strawberry train kishigawa 40
7 3% київський фунікулер 4
8 3% "www splashface" com 6
9 3% haubor freight 7
10 3% prr i1s decapod 4483 10
11 3% tomix ho 31
12 2% "train spottingworld" 1
13 2% "it's christmas time at the railway station" 3
14 2% deltic at arley 3
15 2% "www splashface com" 6
16 2% "slough & windsor railway society" 11
17 2% "jr maglev" 26
18 2% "thomas pearson" "george hudson" 29
19 2% "img 0167 jpg" 104
20 2% "ellen rogers" 158

Top clicked queries

The top 20 from which users reached your site, and the percentage of the top 20 queries represented by each click.

  1. % Query Position

1 48% trainspottingworld 1
2 9% railways korea south saemaul 69
3 6% київський фунікулер 4
4 6% pete waterman model trains 8
5 6% lego tgv 41
6 6% train o scale carpet layout 106
7 6% train models change station signals 135
8 6% lego train 163
9 6% ktx



We're not actually bad at this. But we're a new site in global terms and not yet viewed as very important by search engines.

Tim Trent Talk to me 14:00, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

Fair use images on portals?

So that other site has a policy against using fair use licensed images on portals. Are we going to follow a similar policy here? Slambo (Speak) 16:57, 26 December 2007 (UTC)

My thoughts are that Fair Use restricts an image to nominated articles. It's quite a restricted use of an image because it may imply copyright issues, difficult ones. The problem with fair use is that we could never afford to be challenged in the courts to provide the test case!
Logic says that a FUR is required to be very clear why an image could/should be mounted on a portal. We have to be prepared to be challenged on our use of such images, and we have to be able to show that we care about copyright and have a defensible position (even if we have no muscle to defend it).
With that in mind, what are your (and everyone's) thoughts?
I think it is clear that mine are nervous about the idea except in very carefully restricted and justified cases.
Tim Trent Talk to me 21:45, 27 December 2007 (UTC)
It seems easiest to stick with no fair use images on portals; at least it's what I'm already used to in maintaining Portal:Trains there. There should be enough CC, GFDL and PD images to last for a while, and there are more being created every day. But, it would be nice to be able to display a fair use image showing non-reproducible events for things like news items. Slambo (Speak) 12:21, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
I think there can be time limited ability to use news items carefully on portals. But that rationale needs to be stated in the FUR of the picture. Tim Trent Talk to me 15:15, 28 December 2007 (UTC)


What is the right ratio of Bureaucrats to admins? Assuming there is a right ratio, that is!

At present we have me, and 7 admins in total (of which I am one). When I am away Bernd will caretake the place (he is a kind of superuser), but he will never be active here. I am thinking that we may well need an initial further bureaucrat and then to consider a ratio.

Now the challenge with this is that it looks like a rank hierarchy. I suppose Mediawiki was designed that way, but I don;t actually mind of you guys decide that every admin should be a bureaucrat as well, or automatically after 2 weeks, or some other process.

What can Bureaucrats do? To me it looks as if they can promote admins!

I declare myself neutral in this discussion, though I reserve the right to comment on comments :). This is because I hope you will all design the place you want.

Every user here has a right to input in this discussion. Remember, admins have the same weight to their opinion as bureaucrats as regular users.

Tim Trent Talk to me 21:41, 27 December 2007 (UTC)

Bureaucrats can promote admins, rename users and flag bots. Although the exact role tends to depend on the wiki. IMO, there are currently enough bureaucrats here. Unfortunately, the mediawiki software was designed in a hierachical way. There is no right ratio but most wikis have very few crats. Even WP with their large community only have a ccountable number of crats and this is sufficient. Class91 21:45, 27 December 2007 (UTC)
Are you experienced in what "Flagging bots" actually does? The reason I ask (and we may want to handle this under another heading) is that a bot can be run from just about anywhere, so I have no real idea what flagging it as a bot does. using WP as a model, it just "looks" like permission giving for a manually enforced process. Tim Trent Talk to me 21:50, 27 December 2007 (UTC)
Flagging an account as a bot gets rid of its contribs from the recent changes and also alerts users that it is a bot. Bot flags are given out on most wikis, only after a trial period and careful consideration due to the damage it could be capable of doing. During the trial period the bots actions remain clearly visible in recent changes and is only allowed to operate at a low rate in case something goes wrong. Once the bot has been flagged it is allowed to operate at higher rates and it won't appear in recent changes. Class91 21:58, 27 December 2007 (UTC)
I think that b'cratship should be granted on the following:
  • succesful RfA noms
  • quality of use of admin tools
  • freely available to be contacted
  • online regularly.
If we have a process, then that, otherwise...
any admin becomes a crat after a time period - 6 months is my suggestion.
BG7 22:48, 27 December 2007 (UTC)
I suggest that bureaucrats and admins are 2 completely separate user roles with 2 separate approval processes. None should be a prerequisite for each other. Are there stewards here?
"Steward" does not seem to be a mediawiki defined role. Definitely worth opening this discussion up to encompass them once we know what they are Tim Trent Talk to me 23:16, 27 December 2007 (UTC)
Steward is a role created by the Wikimedia foundation. They have access to the user rights change tool on all foundation projects. The roles in WM Foundation projects are admin, b'crat, oversight, checkuser and steward. Stewards can make users anyone of these roles and remove any of these roles. It seems overly complicated to me. Class91 23:35, 27 December 2007 (UTC)
It sounds like a hierarchy for a hierarchy's sake in so many ways. WMF has a way of complicating very simple things. If this were a forum we would have moderators, period. We need transparency and ease with anything we create here. As a reasonably experienced WP editor (who has never wanted to be an admin there) it took me a while to shake off the "Big procedure" stuff and realise that we can easily be friendly, small, chatty and a real community. And that we can design what we need.
In the early days Bernd and I designed what we had. I'm moving away from that role as fast as I can because I want to let everyone here build what they truly want. We need to be attractive to people who like places like this can be. That's a truism, of course, but it means that those who administer the place need to be sensitive to the good stuff and the harm they can do.
Tim Trent Talk to me 23:42, 27 December 2007 (UTC)
Ive tried to reform the community at WP to make it simple, but bureaucracy simply overpowered me. WMF even have an article for the benevolent dictator of WMF now [1] and the hierachy pyramid [2].Class91 23:58, 27 December 2007 (UTC)
The best reform is at the start of something. Once a "thing-centric" ethos gets hold it can't be altered easily. If we are to be anything-centric it is member-centric. I decided long ago for this project to have no ego, to start as an initiator, move from there to facilitator, and then to guide. I carry the legal can, so very rarely, especially with items such as copyright, or "the art of the possible" I have to make a decision that has to stand. Apart from that we have a great team here, and it gets more fun, more chatty, and more like a real community daily. I knew it was working as soon as someone had an idea that was not one of mine :) With this discussion I simply want us to make sure we get the framework right for what we all (mainly you all) want and need in order to be as autonomous as possible. Once I'm not "necessary" I can enjoy editing! Tim Trent Talk to me 00:14, 28 December 2007 (UTC)

(Reset indent) WP was a good community in the beginning, it was just like TSW, but with the advent of more members, came a whole variety of opinions and power hunger and it all some how turned into a bureaucracy. Class91 00:28, 28 December 2007 (UTC)

Potentially a "vastly smaller" community, we stand a better chance of curbing power seekers, simply because of that. I loathe the WP bureaucracy. I value consensus. I stand against the hijacking of the consensus by a vociferous minority. Tim Trent Talk to me 00:35, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
I don't think anyone hijacked WP. I think its partly the influence of the founder and also in part its how consensus seems to turns out on wikis when you have so many members. Compromsie plays a big part inc osnensus and with a large community bureaucracy just arose. Your right that TSW has the potential to be a great community as it has fewer members. But I think anywhere even in teh real world, where consensus is an important factor, some bureaucracy starts to develop. Although this isn't always the case obviously. Anyway the point is keeping things simple here.Class91 01:05, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
As long as we preach and repeat the mantra of simplicity, and don't allow a process to escape before it has been simplified, and as lonmg as we always encourage users, new and old, to keep it simple, then we stand a chance. The key functional difference is that we are not an encyclopaedia and so we do not have the cult of neutrality or even verifiability. We prefer it, but are able to write much more freely without it. Tim Trent Talk to me 15:19, 28 December 2007 (UTC)

RfA --> AfA Name Change?

There appears to have been a unilateral name change of the process from "Requests for Adminship" to "Applications for Adminship".

I don't have any great objections to this (although 'Applications' is a four-syllable word - not simple! How about 'Ask' instead?), but I am conscious that no attempt was made to achieve consensus on the matter.

What do other users think?

If the process name is to be changed, we should be consistent and re-word almost every reference to RfA, including the category and project pages. EdJogg 01:44, 29 December 2007 (UTC)

I was being bold. Sometimes If you're not bold, nothing ever gets done. I already noted the discussion which some other user started on the Rfa talk page and that doesn't seem to have gone very far. Class91 02:11, 29 December 2007 (UTC)
Yes, I appreciate you were being bold, and I apologise for the unsubtle implied criticism. It was a good move by you to get the ball rolling.
At the very least I wanted to highlight the fact that if the name were to be changed, it needs doing 'completely'. (We do need to still refer to RfA though, and keep some refs as redirects, for users familiar with WP.) But there is also the point that before rolling-out the name change, it is worth getting the nod from a few other regulars, to avoid wasted effort.
Incidentally, if we are naming a process, "Ask for Adminship" is not inappropriate, and is much shorter!
Thoughts, anyone? EdJogg 09:10, 29 December 2007 (UTC)
I had a sudden sharp intake of breath until I thought hard. If I were in WP mode "This should have had consensus", but we are not in WP mode. We are free from many of those shackles until we invent our own. And, after all, if anyone actually objected to what is an excellent idea, and a good distancing of ourselves from a bureaucratic nightmare, then it could so easily be moved back.
I held back from any comment until the first comment had been made. I don't want to be seen as a dictator, benevolent or otherwise. I think the move is a great idea. I have no strong feelings about "Ask" vs "Application", but do let's decide for sure before rewording anything!
Tim Trent Talk to me 09:32, 29 December 2007 (UTC)
By 'consensus' I am suggesting little more than that one editor has come up with an idea and presented it for discussion, allowing others to comment before any major changes are applied. I am not suggesting that we require the agreement of 'a majority of registered users' before doing anything, just that in many cases it is worth bouncing an idea before implementing it. So in this case I would suggest we have reached enough of a consensus that the name change is appropriate, but we have not reached one in in terms of what the 'A' should stand for!
It is one thing aiming to avoid unnecessary bureaucracy at TSW, but many of the recent comments imply that nothing short of total anarchy will be acceptable.
EdJogg 00:52, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
It seems to me that we have two current suggestions for "A" to which I will add one:
  • Application
  • Ask
  • Apply
A consensus on this (that is consensus of all those who wish to make their views known) is needed and will avoid any suggestions of anarchy.
Tim Trent Talk to me 10:40, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
"Apply" gets my vote! Short 'n' sweet, and describes the process in a nutshell.
EdJogg 17:57, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
Why does length matter since youre never going to say it. If you can't be bothered to type it out, just type AFA. Class91 18:52, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
Well, we're aiming for simplicity here, aren't we? :o)
EdJogg 19:42, 30 December 2007 (UTC)


Shall we stop using the word policy? Policy makes it sound strict and more like a rule. In WP, this is what it has become. To avoid that here, I think we should call them guidelines, suggestions or something along those lines. Any ideas? Class91 17:56, 29 December 2007 (UTC)

STRONGLY DISAGREE -- The word 'policy' is used for rules where there is no room for interpretation. There are some policies at TSW, and they are NOT "guidelines". The policy of copyright material usage is not optional, and, in order to preserve everyone's sanity, the policy of keeping "Fan Fiction" separate from mainspace articles is not optional either. There are probably others, but these are two obvious examples.
By all means create 'guidelines' which may be ignored by users if wished, but for things that need defining in order to operate the wiki smoothly, we have policies.
I have adjusted Trains:Policies to suit.
EdJogg 01:10, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
Oh no, here comes the edit war. Now what do we do? Policies are not strict rules - that is bureaucracy. Policies are different from laws which apply to everyone. Even on WP, policies are not supposed to be strict. Follow the spirit, not the rule. Class91 01:30, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
Ive replaced the page with under dispute to prevent edit warring. Please discuss here first. Class91 01:34, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
According to your last edit on the policies page, you want strict rules - we don't need that as we still have to follow laws. You also suggested that admins have a higher rank than normal users and should police the site by removing the text "We should not create user classes or a bureaucracy" - please explain if I am wrong. Class91 01:41, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
I think no edit wars are required. It seems to me that most people are ignorant of laws. "Ah, but we're special and can break the law a little bit, even if I don't know what it is" used to be the attitude when the web was 'new'.
I do feel that, where a thing is mandatory (compliance with law, Fan Fiction in the FanFic: prefixed area, etc, that is a policy. A policy is policed (even if the etymology may not be linked - I haven't checked!) by all users, including admins. Those rules, which I hope will be few in number, have to be inviolate, adhered to, fixed, and enforced.
A guideline is an attempt at 'Best Practice', and may not fit all circumstances. Equally, we should have few of them. They are probably also a moving target. As a 'guideline' I do like citations where possible, but I never see, here, a reason to insist upon them. When available, let's have them. But we don't need formal paperwork to say that, do we?
We should also get back to the main thing the site is about: Trains of all sorts, and steam now we have expanded it. Creating policies and guidelines is amusing, but doesn't get the baby bathed
Tim Trent Talk to me 10:26, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
Now, in order that we may see what we are discussing, I have re-instated, edited, but not endorsed, that page under discussion. It's far easier to discuss from a starting point than to discuss in a vacuum. Please let's leave that page relatively untouched - it is "Under Construction" after all - until there is a consensus over this. That means a simple consensus of those who wish to make their opinions known. Tim Trent Talk to me 11:06, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
Im sorry but I very strongly disagree with that. It is very clear now that the law applies on the web and this just needs to be made known through the relevant pages as well as any other laws. Policies should only be guidelines. It is almost impossible to make a policy a strict rule as everyone has their different opinions on this and everyones opinion should count equally. Class91 12:28, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
I very much hope you will find that everyone who chooses to express an opinion will have that opinion weighed and considered. I happen not to agree with you, but that is a simple matter of not agreeing. I do not disgree at all with your strong expression of your opinion. I welcome that. We need to beware of creating bureaucracies and voices such as yours will keep us heading in the direction of simplification.
We do not just have adults here. Kids have as much editing right and opinion right as anyone else, and they are less likely, simply because of age, to know the law.
Equally a policy is a partial defence against accusations of illegality, though by no means a full defence. "It was against our policy. Thank you for bringing it to our attention. We have removed it." While an imperfect defence it is a defence in copyright areas.
Tim Trent Talk to me 13:19, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
There seems to be a little confusion here as to what a policy is. A policy is in fact a binding contract, not just guidelines. Try to tell your insurance agent that policy is not a set of fixed rules. Fact is if you agreed to and signed the policy and something goes wrong that is not in the policy it's replacement cost is out of your pocket because they won't hear "well, that's not the way I read it". Any other policy is just the same. Both EdJogg and Tim are right. Yes, it is practically impossible to cover all the bases and police all the content therefore if a site-wide policy is posted at least we have a leg to stand on if someone causes problems and we are called up on it by someone or some organization. "It was against our policy. Thank you for bringing it to our attention. We have removed it." is about all we can do and it's a lot better than just saying, "Our policy is left up to the judgment if whomever reads it" which would be in fact "Guidelines" and could in fact make us liable. There does need to be some sort of policy here for that very reason. A policy does hold some weight in preventing liability and does show we care and are making a responsible effort as to what we do. Guidelines are different for example; we can't and don't want to tell our editors exactly how to write an article but we can create guidelines to follow. The guidelines are liquid in that the writer still has room to express his or her writing style without violating our policy.
Bottom line here is the policy is a fixed rule and all participants are bound to follow it. Our policy is there to stand as a "Cover Your Ass" (CYA) statement that if someone violates that policy we have at least some fighting chance against being liable for that user. Therefore we need a policy against obvious things like libel , plagiarism, copyright infringements, deliberate misinformation, etc. Then the guidelines which state they are guidelines and not policy can be added to that. Hopefully this makes some sort of sense.
--DP67 (talk/contribs) 15:23, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
Thank you for putting it so clearly. I interpret what you have said to mean "We need a bare minimum of important, fixed, inviolate policies, and anything else should be guidelines." Do I have that interpretation correct? Tim Trent Talk to me 15:43, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
Thats a affirmative. --DP67 (talk/contribs) 15:48, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
I might also add that a statement should also be included that we reserve the right to change the policy at any time. That way if something should come up that is not expressed in the policy it can be added as needed.
--DP67 (talk/contribs) 16:09, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
Well, ok. But can we keep such policies at a bare minimum. i.e. Only needed for vandalism, copyright infringement etc and can we also stay away from wikilawyering, i.e. writing and treating policies like laws or insurance company policies with a million clauses and small print etc. Class91 16:26, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
Can we use the WP definition - "Policies have wide acceptance among editors and are considered a standard that all users should follow." and "Guidelines are more advisory in nature than policies, and should be treated with common sense and the occasional exception." rather then "Policies are strict rules which must be observed." which sounds a bit hard. Class91 16:32, 30 December 2007 (UTC)

(reset indent)I think we have broad agreement. I am nervous, still, of a policy per se being in any way able to be interpreted as in the slightest bit optional, though. Those few real policies do have to be mandatory, because there has to be a small and basic set of rules that must be followed. So wording is important. How can we address this? Tim Trent Talk to me 17:28, 30 December 2007 (UTC)

Read wp::WP:IAR and the supplement which explains it -wp:Wikipedia:What "Ignore all rules" means. "Policies have wide acceptance among editors and are considered a standard that all users should follow.", is clear enough in my opinion. On WP "Ignore all rules" is a widely accepted policy and it works. Class91 18:54, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
I've put aside all other projects to fulfill a more pressing issue: that of the one discussed here. Although it is still in its raw stages it's a start. I tried to cover most of the topics open for debate here but I'll admit not all are filled at the moment.. Please check out my Policy Proposal. Yes, it does get 'wordy' and you might consider far from 'simple' but these are issues that we cannot afford to leave any loop holes.
--DP67 (talk/contribs) 19:27, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
Apart from a few syntax, grammar and other titivations that works for me. The important thing is the legal aspect. We have to protect the "edifice" from its editors and the editors from the edifice. And we also have to be as clear and simple as possible. The text you have written needs a little more polishing - a thing we can all do once the broad principle is acceptable; the load should not all be yours - and it seems to meet all needs. There is a point when one must be official and officious, and this area of the basic policy - the major rule under which submissions are accepted - is one such.
There are many other areas where policy is not required. Guidelines are fine there if needed.
I do not believe the Wikipedia reference to ignoring all rules or their model of policies is a thing we can live with. Policies need not have any "acceptance among editors" to be essential and part of the fabric of the site. We cannot exhort folk to ignore them. Wikipedia's strength is also its weakness. Well intentioned editors can dilute adherence to laws by well meaning and fuzzy edits.
I'd be content, if we ever need it, for an "ignore guidelines" concept, but never "ignore policies". But I would not be content if policy were not open to challenge. Nonetheless there are areas where legal niceties must prevail. I dislike the speed limit when driving, but I accept that I am required to adhere to it.
Once this is agreed I feel we need to place this at Spotting World, not simply locally here.
I do see we have a consensus for policies being inviolate, even without my own opinion. In this area we do not "require" consensus. If we had lawyers we would simply be deploying what they advise. But I do prefer a consensus because that means that we all choose to accept it.
I am adding my opinion to the pot and calling the consensus as "Settled and agreed." Let us now, please, work towards finishing your document and migrating it when ready to the umbrella wiki.
Tim Trent Talk to me 19:54, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
In parallel with your above comment, I have tightened some of the text. I have not touched 'Guidelines' and below, although I think that my somewhat tongue-in-cheek wording needs to be revised rather...
I hope it still meets your needs. As you, Tim, hold the legal can, so-to-speak, you need to be happy that the wording is acceptable, unambiguous and not open to interpretation.
EdJogg 20:18, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
I am making minor amendments. I need to come to this with a morning brain, not an evening one. A policy may not commit the management to "doing something." Instead it may commit the management to "using reasonable efforts to do something," something I have learnt in many long years in businesses. Tim Trent Talk to me 20:25, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
Ok with all of the above, but I don't like the wording "Policies are strict rules that must be observed" so I'm changing it since that's what all you guys have done with your opinions. Class91 20:29, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
I need to think about the changes you have made. They look to meet the overall need. I just need a clear dawn light. Tim Trent Talk to me 20:37, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
What about wikilawyering? Are we going to allow that or are most users here against that? I know I am. Class91 20:34, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
I detest barrack room lawyers. We cannot, of course, create a policy against it (ah the irony) but we can show by example and by the way we handle it that it does not meet the acceptable standards of our community. Tim Trent Talk to me 20:37, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
Can we also keep these policies to a minimum. I really don't want to see policies like the 3 revert rule here, where imo perfectly good faith editors end up being blocked. Class91 20:40, 30 December 2007 (UTC)

(reset)I too detest the 3RR and don't see why it should be strictly implemented here. If someone is reverting just to be a pest, yes get rid of them. but a good faith editor who is trying to clean up someone else's mess should not fall victim to that rule. As far as edit wars go, hopefully we won't have to fight that battle. I hope that everyone involved in the article can reach an understanding in the talk page of the article before administrative action is necessary. The point of the policy is to cover ourselves from liability, not to put rubber bands around our editors' creativity. As mentioned before all that stuff can be in guidelines, and of course guidelines are not carved in stone like the legal policy. Anyone can break a guideline as long as it's not absurd, profane, or in violation of said policy. Outside of breaking the law which may result in this website being brought to court or being shut down, go for it! Just do it responsibly. I'm even willing to go light on WP's personal strict attack policy. For example, If I'm being an idiot, then feel free to tell me! (I've been called worse! LOL) The same goes for calling people by their given name. If someone does not mind being called by their first name so be it.. As far as I know on WP even if someone puts their real name on their user space you're still not to call them by it. Then why put it there? For example, my name is on my user page, even if I use the alias DP67 I won't be offended if I'm called by my first name. (And yes, I know what Randy means in English, English! lol You can call me Randall, if you yourself are offended.:) I don't want to see the "rules" get ridiculously out of control either, but lets face it there has to be some rules to any society. E'nuff said, let's just come together here and get the legal nasties out of the way so we can all have fun.

--DP67 (talk/contribs) 21:19, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
Yes, WP does have ridiculous rules. You can get banned for expressing your own opinions if they in any way go against the dictator, Jimbo Wales.Class91
To start with, we should probably limit ourselves to a set of policies regarding only legal aspects, with anything else being covered by guidelines. (Except for the FanFiction 'policy', which is there to preserve sanity!) I don't anticipate a need for such things as AfD, 3RR, etc, as I would expect that users will be working either in isolation on articles or in close collaboration -- hence much less scope for conflict. However, there must always be scope for elevating a guideline to a policy, if consensus deems it necessary.
I'm glad this one seems to have come together now, and I apologise if my uncompromising edit that started it off has caused any ill feeling. Merry Christmas everyone!
EdJogg 22:53, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
And a Happy New Year :) Class91 23:14, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
We will create something which is, I hope, simple - the community we both desire and deserve. This is not Wikipedia, though it fed form there at the start, and has the look and feel because it uses the same appalling software.
Our main tenets are expressed in the new user welcome message:

There are very few rules here. The best summary is:

  • Respect other people's Copyright
  • Behave to others as you would like them to behave to you
  • Do no harm
We need very few policies to express those rules because they are common sense. So let's get on with putting into "print" our thoughts and other things in the article space :)
Tim Trent Talk to me 00:27, 31 December 2007 (UTC)

Fair Use

I have been to wp:Wikipedia:Non-free content and inhaled some of the page there. Then I localised it in User:Dp67/Sandboxes/Policy to an extent. I would have done more but time is pressing.

So please will you all look at it wuith care. Please simplify without watering down, but start to make sure it fits us, not WP.

Note that the reserved namespace Project: is replaced dynamically by the name of the local wiki. Using it will make it easier to transfer this to the main SW wiki instead of simply having a local copy

Tim Trent Talk to me 15:15, 31 December 2007 (UTC)

I think there may be something missing for the NOGALLERY tag. I added it to Image:John Bull operating in 1981.jpg, but it still shows the thumbnail in Category:Images of 1981. Slambo (Speak) 16:01, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
Ah, you add it to where you want or do not want it to be displayed. You need Help:Magic Words to explain it better than I. Tim Trent Talk to me 22:19, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
Cool, thanks. I've put the NOG call in {{Yearcats}} so we don't have to paste it all over every category that the template links to. Slambo (Speak) 23:17, 31 December 2007 (UTC)

Policy/Guideline required regarding Links to commercial websites?

Today we acquired a new user: Peeppeepthomas (talk · contribs)

So what?, you might say. Well, this 'user' is an online shop, and has added an External Link on Thomas and Friends Wooden Railway. Again 'So what?'. Well, unless there are any issues over the 'Google ads', which would require such link's instant removal, I think the site needs a policy (or a Guideline, if you must) for handling links to commercial sites.

I don't see any particular reason why TSW cannot include links to online stores, for 'Thomas' merchandise' for example, but perhaps they should be kept separate within the External Links section, to make it obvious that it is an online store and not a genuine source of further information. (Some of the existing links on 'Thomas' merchandising pages may need adjusting too.)

My suggestion is the following:

  • External links section to include a sub-section (level 3 heading) at the end, when required, named: Commercial links ("Commercial links" rather than "Online stores", since the latter may not incorporate all sites adequately.)
  • Within the 'Commercial Links' section, sites should be listed alphabetically by actual name (not URL!).
  • The repeated removal of a commercial link, by another user, should be met with a warning (and subsequent block, if required)
  • 'Negative' tampering with existing commercial links by any user posting a commercial link should lead to that user's blocking, and removal of their links.

There may be more things to consider, but the above is intended to keep links to commercial and non-commercial sites separated within the article namespace, and avoid anti-competitive practices by any user.

Thoughts, anyone?

EdJogg 13:23, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

On a related issue, and requiring a separate discussion, we need to decide our Policy (or "Guideline that we will always follow") concerning pages created purely as advertisements. It hasn't happened yet, but is surely only a matter of time...

EdJogg 13:37, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

I saw those edits too and almost reverted since the login name was the same as the store name. I don't have too much of a problem with commercial links as long as we are fair with their inclusion. I don't know of any exclusivity contracts on railroadiana or model merchandise (regardless of whether the models depict fictional trains or real trains). I think your suggestions are a good start to address the issue. Slambo (Speak) 19:27, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
Unless the users here wish to exclude commercial links - a matter for the community - I can see no objection unless they become invasive. I suggest a guideline on tastefulness is approproate but that a policy may well not be required.
We use the attribute rel="nofollow" in our <a href html constructs on all our external links in order that a human surfer may follow the link with pleasure, but the a spider (well programmed) will either not follow it, or not impart any benefit to the recipient site by following it.
I see (currently) only good coming form decent and lawful commercial links in that the net beneficiary is us on a technical level and on a user visit level.
"A page as an advertisement" is of no huge concern since taste may be edited back in where it is absent. Where would one draw the line between a good railway society which has commercial aims and a commercial store? Again my answer is a guideline of taste.
That is one opinion, only.
Tim Trent Talk to me 21:22, 5 January 2008 (UTC)
The one thing I noticed right off the bat is that page is really whacked. The side navbar shows up way down the bottom of the page and the cat banner is all bunched up in the bottom corner. I'm on the fence about about opening the doors to free advertising of any sort. I think they should pay their way instead of milking someone else's bandwidth but as long as such advertising links are kept to a minimum and to a page that discusses merchandise of sorts I can live with it. Spamming any other article should be kept off. In other words, if the purpose of the article is to discuss merchandise, ok fine, if the article is supposed to be an informative educational type article about a specific subject then no. Only related non-commercial links should be allowed. The other problem is over commercialism you don't what this place to become a spam trap and scare people off either.
--DP67 (talk/contribs) 00:59, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
Which is why, for me, it comes down to taste, and guidelines. Frankly I see no issue at all with anyone removing a commercial link if it proves to be tasteless, and I absolutely have no issue with links of a link farm nature being removed.
The whackedness of our page is probably a mismatched div tag set.
Tim Trent Talk to me 12:02, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
Cured the whackedness. Was as I suspected. Please also see {{Commercial links}}, presented as "ready for improvement". Not sure what category to put the template itself into, though. Tim Trent Talk to me 12:19, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
Why I see tasteful commercial links as beneficial: It's a small thing, but every new word on here creates two things:
  1. "Activity", so the search engines see that the site is ever changing. IN general search engine algorithms love sites that are active
  2. New words for search engines to index. Every word we didn't have before means a chance of a visitor we never had before.
This benefits the enthusiast user (ie the community) soundly because that new visitor will do one of three things:
  • Join the community (less than 1% propability)
  • Abandon their visit (At least 80% probability)
  • Leave the site by clicking an advert
The first and last options are desirable, the middle is unavoidable.
Tim Trent Talk to me 12:19, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
You got in first with the template, Tim, well done! I think there is now agreement that links to commercial sites are OK, within reason. So we probably need to write-up a guideline, to encapsulate what we've discussed. Being a guideline, rather than 'policy', we can adjust to address future problems as they arise. (I suggest that the guideline should also state that the 'rules' may be tightened at any time, and links/ads removed, if it is found that the wiki is suffering due to commercial links/ads.)
'Full page ads' will need to be mentioned. While any article about a heritage railway or railway society could be considered an advert, the guideline must be whether the article is of general benefit to the reader. I suggest a suitable 'advertisement'/disclaimer template be made available to identify advertising pages. As a radical alternative, 'Fan fic' has its own section to keep pages separate, something similar ('Commercial:' ?) could be provided for ads, maybe?
EdJogg 15:59, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
If I may make a suggestion, it is that we start out as very open, and amenable to commercial links and pages that add value here. If there were a "Fred Smith's Railfan Emporium" I would see no objection to the eponymous Mr Smith creating a page describing the emporium and the benefits it brings to railfans everywhere. Equally I would be unhappy if Mr Smith were not factual, were all trade puffery, and were to write a page in poor taste. I would be equally unhappy if Mr Smith felt that he then had any proprietorial rights over that page.
I would suggest that any guideline were drawn up to reflect this openness. We are not an encyclopaedia, but neither are we a free advertising service. Yet we have no inherent objection to Mr Smith's store being described here, precisely because it has relevance.
Tim Trent Talk to me 23:38, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

Draft Guideline

I have taken a few minutes to create this at sworld:Guidelines:Commercial links and advertising as a stalking horse. The top level wiki does not yet have templates like {{Under construction}} and {{Commercial links}}, so a kind soul might place them there.

I've put it up there because there is the right place for such a guideline.

Please look at it, edit it, criticise it, and simplify it where possible. Once you are ready, then it may be deployed. I can't remember now if interwiki transclusion works or not, I fear!

Tim Trent Talk to me 16:14, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

I've re-read it a few times and tweaked it a bit. The more I read it, with a view to adding some comment about heritage railway pages not being classed as commercial articles, the more I found it to be unnecessary. Heritage railway articles could be written as adverts; that they aren't (yet) is probably due to their Wikipedia origins. I was also looking to add something about 'what is a commercial link', and mentioning something about 'primarily for selling goods and services', but again, this did not appear to be necessary.
The only thing I still have a problem with is "No Spotting World site is an encyclopaedia, neither is it a link farm." The English is fine, but as the first sentence of an article it is very negative. Unfortunately I could not come up with a sane alternative.
Finally, I think your {{Guideline}} template would benefit from some severe pruning. While all the text is valid, simpler text and a link to a page containing further explanation would be kinder to the reader. But that is a proof-read for another day...
EdJogg 01:00, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
Please feel totally at liberty to prune! All I did was took what I had written and make it a template. It's always easier to edit something thatls present than to create afresh. I never feel emotionally connected to "stuff" I create.  :) Tim Trent Talk to me 07:23, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
Great improvement. I have since adjusted the punctuation, slightly.
I have also tackled the {{Guideline}} template, simplifying it drastically and linking to a new 'Guideline' page. Words have been pruned to suit the chosen box width!
I have a feeling that the parameter text should be formatted in some way, whether bold or italic, for consistency, rather than leaving it to the page authors. What think you?
EdJogg 14:07, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
ROFLMAO! He expects me to think! I think a default formatting would be useful, yes. I suspect this may as well be released into the wild. Tim Trent Talk to me 18:06, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
As it took me five minutes to find this information again I have added some new FAQs to find it quicker in future!
I have also copied this section to sworld:Talk:Guidelines:Commercial links and advertising, for easier reference.
EdJogg 10:37, 2 October 2008 (UTC)

Fair use and other content templates.

I have a suggestion for fair use templates as well as other uploaded media templates. I was thinking of adding an example of the appropriate information template on the page with media template such a fair use, etc.. This is in order to prevent what I've mentioned before about WP. Everything seems to be at least 25 clicks away, well lets put it right there on the same page as the fair use template as well as the other templates. That way you always know where to find it.


Anything goes for demo only


From my own work


5 January, 2008


I made this

(Reusing this image)

{{Insert template here}}

Other versions Don't know of any

These are what I'm talking about adding to the same page where the actual media template resides. Does it make sense? It's late I'm tired but this came to mind and I wanted to make the suggestion before I forgot it.

--DP67 (talk/contribs) 09:36, 5 January 2008 (UTC)
An unequivocal "yes" Tim Trent Talk to me 18:12, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

Ownership of articles

We don't, I think, want to get legalistic. Wikilawyering is not something I want to encourage. How do we express simply and easily the concept that the GFDL actually removes ownership rights from articles, while encouraging attribution?

I'm really not into WP style treatises on ownership. It is not a policy nor a guideline matter, just an explanation, really.

Unless, of course, you feel differently from me.

Tim Trent Talk to me 22:47, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

Now things are getting interesting, aren't they? As we have established, policies cover invariant aspects of the wiki. Non-ownership of articles is a basic tenet of this site, and is invariant, and therefore could be classed as 'policy'! It would therefore seem simplest to include a sub-section of a policy concerning ownership...
Just because some aspect of wiki-editing is 'policy' doesn't mean it has to be explained in legalese. But you are making work for yourself if you try and avoid processes, policies and guidelines when they would clearly make life more simple.
EdJogg 18:14, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
You make a persuasive point in favour of a policy. Against that point I pit the GFDL itself which is the thing that of itself removes the concept of ownership. This is why I suggest that ownership is not of itself a policy matter, but a matter of explaining the licence.
What I don't want to do is to create a policy that in some way appears to conflict with the GFDL itself.
Tim Trent Talk to me 18:46, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
I don't think I can suggest anything else. You are more familiar with the GFDL, and with what you want to say. The information doesn't belong in a Guideline nor a Policy, so it needs to live elsewhere. Over to you, I think...
EdJogg 00:07, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
How about an FAQ? Tim Trent Talk to me 15:22, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
Try Help:Article ownership for size. Feel free to enhance it. Tim Trent Talk to me 15:48, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
I've fixed a couple of typos, but the text is basically OK. Others might wish to tweak it further. A re-read after a few weeks might be useful. EdJogg 17:40, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

FanFic Policy/Editing help required?

Hello cafe patrons,

Just a quick one, new user Eagle (talk · contribs) has been editing lots of FanFic recently. This, you may say, is a good thing, but when every edit is formatted badly, hidden, in the wrong place, using spaces to get a new line, you know something is up. I;ve directed them towards the Tutorial etc, but I think we might need something else to help use here, especially as most Thomas/FanFic editors are quite young... any takers?

BG7 12:38, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

I suspect that, if the tutorial does not get through then nothing will except mentoring. Tim Trent Talk to me 13:42, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
Hmm ok Tim. In that case are there any takers on localising and simplifying the Tutorial (and the rest of the Help)? Its a bit of a mess at the moment, although the missing pages are now there, and all needs a clear-up. However, Don't move it to SpottingWorld - everyone needs to create an account there aswell if they just want to Sandbox! And, also, that way we can't personalise them for the wikis...
BG7 13:46, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

Dispute Resolution - 'process' required

I have noticed there's a bit of a 'hole' in this guideline. It gives some good, general, common-sense suggestions for editors to resolve things themselves. However, if these fail it then suggests 'getting the community involved', without giving any idea how to go about doing this.

I know some editors here are frightened of the word 'process', but here is a place where a process needs to be defined -- if only to suggest a course of action that has a good chance of resulting in help being given. It is wrong to assume that A.N.Editor will know the best way of obtaining help for a particular situation. A defined (or 'recommended' !) process avoids leaving editors to flounder around working out what to do next.

I have started a discussion at Trains talk:Dispute resolution to progress this further.

EdJogg 18:01, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

Promotion of SW

I know we all want to promote all of SW. We all know there are good ways and bad ways of doing it. Is there any use in providing guidelines of what is sensible to do and what is highly desirable to avoid?

We need to be a "good citizen" when we promote ourselves to others, and not cause raised hackles at the other end.

I'd appreciate thoughts, please

Tim Trent Talk to me 00:12, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

OK, that one fell a bit flat. Seriously, chaps, what do you think? Tim Trent Talk to me 17:12, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
<thud!> I was out of town for the weekend, and with the snow that we got here last night, my guess is that DP will be digging out for the next day or two as well. <picking the discussion up off the floor...> The first thing that comes to mind in the "highly desirable to avoid" category would be a mass email campaign. The last thing we need is to be blackballed as spammers.
A simple way to promote the site is to add a link in signatures for appropriate boards. For example, I'm active on Trainboard, so I've added a link into my profile signature on that board. I haven't seen any complaints yet.
I'm also presenting a clinic at this summer's NMRA national convention on the status of WP:Trains, where this site will be included as one of the activities that editors are doing to hold information that falls outside of WP's scope (i.e. original research, reviews, fanfic, rosters, spotting reports, etc.). Slambo (Speak) 18:08, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
Excellent approach. We very much need "word of mouth" rather than attempting to stuff this "up people". When we launched I approached the various Google railfan groups and asked permission to join and tell members what we do and are for. This was thus spamming with the moderator's permission." It got us precisely nowhere, though we did start Trackside Dining and there is one report of rotyary plows from that activity. Mostly deafening silence greeted it.
The only time to place a link on sites like Wikipedia is when it is a directly relevant link that adds value. You will know that the early discussions I had at WP:Trains were stating what we do and asking permission to place a link. You were quite reasonable in saying "no" at that point. I do not yet see any reason for you to alter that "no" to a "maybe" because we have not yet diverged enough.
Signature links are good. They can be used in day to day emails as well as on forums.
I also like real life mentions of how we can be used as a resource for clubs and societies. I have tried that in the past by creating a page for the club, emailing the webmaster and letting them know. It has not yet paid off
Tim Trent Talk to me 21:21, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
Sorry for seeming to ignore your request. The thing is that our views are very closely aligned, so I wanted to allow other editors to have a say for once! EdJogg 23:58, 22 January 2008 (UTC)