Trains:Station Cafe (all)

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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).

Station Cafe sections
Buffet Car
post | watch

TSW Policy

The Works
post | watch

Technical Issues

Mess Room
post | watch

Ideas and Suggestions

Guard's Van
post | watch

Requests for Help

Left Luggage
post | watch

Everything else


The Station Cafe


Welcome to the Station Cafe, a 'forum' for discussions about Train Spotting World (TSW).
Grab a coffee, order some cake, pull up a stool, and join in. Oh and don't forget to take pictures of the passing trains!

This set of pages is used to discuss the technical issues, policies, and operations of Train Spotting World.

When posting in a section, please sign and date your posts (by typing ~~~~ at the end).

Station Cafe sections
Buffet Car
post | watch

TSW Policy

The Works
post | watch

Technical Issues

Mess Room
post | watch

Ideas and Suggestions

Guard's Van
post | watch

Requests for Help

Left Luggage
post | watch

Everything else

I want... Where to go
To browse all Station Cafe topics at once Station Cafe (all)
Help using Train Spotting World Help desk
To find my way around Train Spotting World Department directory
Specific facts (e.g. What is a Pacific locomotive?) Reference desk
Constructive criticisms from others for a specific article Peer review
Help resolving a specific article edit dispute or making a user conduct dispute complaint  Requests for comment
To report a bug or software/coding problem encountered in TSW. TSW Bug List
To comment on a specific article Article's talk page
To help improve Train Spotting World The ToDo list
To view other Spotting World projects {{SpottingWorldSister}}
To learn about citing Train Spotting World in a bibliography Citing Train Spotting World
To report sites that copy Train Spotting World content Mirrors and forks


Discussions older than seven days (date of last made comment) will be moved to a sub page of each section (called section name/Archive n) as soon as we identify the archiving mechanism to be used.

The Buffet Car


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)

The Works

Welcome to the The Works, the area of the Station Cafe dedicated to discussions about the mechanics of the Train Spotting World Wiki, page formatting, etc.

Main Page 'Breaking News' Mechanism

I have highlighted a need for a new mechanism for 'Breaking News', and have outlined one suggestion. This requires consideration by other editors.

Please join the discussion at Trains talk:Breaking News#Defined Mechanism Needed.

EdJogg 12:14, 13 November 2007 (UTC)

Upload PD Images

Drop-down menu on Upload page does not have an entry for 'I am NOT creator, but creator has released image into Public Domain', as for this roadworks sign. Can this be updated?

EdJogg 19:04, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

If it has been released elsewhere under the GFDL licence (Which all WP is after itejms are released into it, except fair Use, of course) then the right licence here is GFDL, isn't it? Source attribution is necessary {{From Wikipedia}} applies (even if it is stored on Commons I think) and then {{GFDL}}
Or am I mistaken? Tim Trent 19:41, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

That little "+" sign

We really need to have that in the set of tabs at the top of this page. It makes it easy to add a new section. I can't find out how to do it. It's on talk pages, of course it is, but not here. If anyone has any idea how, please point us in the right direction. Tim Trent 14:04, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

And solved by pure accident. __NEWSECTIONLINK__ does it for non talk pages. Tim Trent 14:36, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
Well done, Sir! We'll make you a Mediawiki expert yet!!! EdJogg 14:51, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
I would give you the trains barnstar (but probably the newly made Mediawiki barnstar), but I havnt made it yet!!! Bluegoblin7 16:38, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

URL encoding

The template {{PAGENAMEU}} makes use of the mediawiki syntax {{urlencode:FILENAME}}. However, this function replaces space characters with '+' symbols. When such a link is followed, the destination page continues to use '+' symbols in the address, thereby preventing the page from being found. If a URL containing spaces is cut-and-pasted to the address bar, the spaces are auto-converted to underscores, and the URL is 'understood'. This is why the {{From Commons}} template displays the URL without providing a direct link (there is no Interwiki link from TSW to Commons). Solutions to providing a direct link would be welcome!

EdJogg 14:14, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

Have a look at Help:Magic words and see if that solves your problem. Tim Trent 14:33, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
I've got you half way plus! I've commented out your first part and entered modified stuff from {{From Wikipedia}}. The interwiki linking works, but I can't work out the syntax of the conditional elements for "if it's the same pagename, then use it, else use what I write here", so I've not handled that.
When you handle it in {{From Commons}} please could you, after testing it works, reverse engineer that into {{From Wikipedia}}?
Tim Trent 16:04, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
I keep staring at that pesky "if" statement and wondering how to add it to either of these templates to idiot-proof them. This multiple {{{{{{}}}}}} syntax is alarming. I have, so far, chickened out at every available opportunity. I believe in consistency! Tim Trent Talk to me 16:17, 22 November 2007 (UTC)
Sorry, I keep getting side-tracked by everything else! This shouldn't be too difficult to do (well, for a software engineer :o) ), just need to put my mind to it. If you want a really 'serious' template to look at, try the source code for the Trains WikiProject banner (written by template-meister Slambo).
EdJogg 17:06, 22 November 2007 (UTC)
I should have been doing something much more important, but it's done.
{{From Commons}} is 'complete', apart from having the documentation section moved to a sub-page. You will see that the named parameter has been dispensed with, as I have worked out an alternative solution for ignoring the 'en' parameter on {{Used}}.
{{From Wikipedia}} has been upgraded to match. Can now place a parameterless template on the talk page and it will link to the correct WP article. The only drawback to this approach is that it assumes article namespace, but I didn't think this was a problem since we have been liberally copying templates without noting the source! (If we need to, a new Template:Template from Wikipedia will be appropriate.)
I have documented {{From Commons}}, but I'll leave you to apply the {{From Wikipedia}} documentation, and update any usage notes elsewhere...
EdJogg 23:11, 22 November 2007 (UTC)


Wikipedia has an excellent set of archiving bots which archive talk pages and other pages (Such as their Village pump). We will need such things here. Anyone fancy taking the job on of identifying the right one and porting it across here? Tim Trent 14:38, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

We could probably do with a help page on archiving. I think we already have all the templates necessary for the talk pages, but it would be nice to be able to guide people how to use them effectively.
EdJogg 14:53, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
Probably right, but almost no-one implements a manual archiving scheme. I think we need a bot, too, then we can produce the right help. My own talk page is archived and examples of the use of templates can be seen there. Tim Trent 15:08, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
Will have a look at some of the archiving bots on WP, and see if they could be implemented here. Will also speak to owners. Bluegoblin7 16:49, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
I've used Shadowbot3 since Werdnabot went offline. It seems robust and reliable, which is all we need. I appreciate your taking this one on. Tim Trent 17:08, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

svg files

These specialist, xml defined images are sometimes displaying and other times not. the issue seems to be that some svg editing suites put tags in that Mediawiki extensions fail to recognise. This is a consistent error.

We've identified it and are working on a resolution. So, continue to upload svg files, even if they are invisible for now! It's "one of those things" that will suddenly come right when we finish the resolution.

Tim Trent 14:42, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

That one is solved. We found the problem was with files created by Inkscape so installed it as a renderer. It renders svg as png (all because M$ was too slow obeying the emerging svg standard) so we then had to delete all the pre-rendered .svg.png files. Now it all works. Tim Trent 22:22, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

Trains:Station Cafe (all)

I am not sure how to handle the TOC (to get it to indent one more step) and the oft repeated initial template. So I'd appreciate someone else taking a further look. Tim Trent 14:47, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

The indented numbering scheme was just obvious with a little lateral thought! Still not sure what to do with the repetitive template, though. Tim Trent 15:28, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
Try sticking <noinclude> around it... EdJogg 16:00, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
Hiding in plain sight, that was! Thanks. Tim Trent 16:05, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

Protection categories

This isn't very urgent, but having just protected the Station Cafe portal, I have managed to add it to two categories: Category:Protected (added manually) and Category:Semi-protected added by the template...

Now the problem is not that, but rather that the protection categories and templates are in a bit of a mess. (It would help if protecting a page automatically added it to a category, or automatically showed a little padlock, or both).

{{sprotected2}} adds the page to 'semi-protected', but it is the only one of the protection templates that I trust to behave.

What I think I am trying to get at is that there should be different templates for protected (sysop-only) pages and semi-protected (registered users only) pages. Something to add to the site-wide to-do list, maybe?

EdJogg 00:20, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

{{Protected2}} is ready and meets some of that need. I guess we just need to se what we have and bring (and modify) others in from WP.
On that subject I think imagemap now works (has been highly relevant to imported templates). I've discovered the really banal reason why it's needed! Mediawiki wiki markup means that an image cannot be a wikilink except to itself. So the imagemap has to be declared if you want an image to wikilink elsewhere. Someone designed this stuff!
Tim Trent talk to me 14:52, 21 November 2007 (UTC)


I have got deep into the mud at Adding an event to the calendar, partly because my laptop is on a go slow and I have to go offline for a few hours. Either some kind soul could have a look or I'll solve it when I get back (I hope). I was using the "All Station Cafe" page as my model and hit a brick wall. What I was attempting is a template for all FAQ pages that is included in the FAQ individual page, but that is not included in the overall FAQ list. One thing I see straight away is that all individual FAQ pages need a title in order to be editable form the FAQ list. Tim Trent talk to me 09:00, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

Well, for a start you were missing a slash! Now inserted. Any help? EdJogg 13:55, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
Have you noticed that, when you give yourself plenty of time to do something but have a deadline you must meet to finish, that there is always something that makes you miss that deadline. That slash solved it. Thank you.
I think you are concerned about the "bigness" of headings created with a single "=". We may be able to use CSS to solve that one.
Tim Trent talk to me 14:46, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

Portal Temps...

Can anyone have a look at the Trains:Adopt-a-User area? The page is screwed up. It all comes from Portal:Box-footer, which I can't get from WP cos it gives me a strange link! HELP!!! Bluegoblin7 15:58, 23 November 2007 (UTC)

I'm guessing that it is mismatched <div></div> tags like in templates. Hard to spot I fear. Tim Trent Talk to me 16:24, 23 November 2007 (UTC)
In Portal:Box-footer there was one too many </div>, but removing it (I have) makes no difference. The problem must be higher up. Tim Trent Talk to me 16:28, 23 November 2007 (UTC)

Work in progress

I have done as follows: <nowiki>{{Trains:Adopt-a-User/box-footer|}}</nowiki> throughout

Note: at first sight this cures the problem, but it does not. The left margin is wrong - look at the right hand edge of the SEARCH box.

I've run out of time to play for the moment. My suggested technique is to use <nowiki></nowiki> to surround things to eliminate them. I suspect the box-header, and possibly overall table widths if not in relative measure.

I also don't understand the parameter passed to Portal:Box footer.

Trains:Adopt-a-User/box-footer shows the search box damage, too, but Portal:Box-footer does not. Hmm.

EdJogg? You seem to have a methodical way of solving this type of horror?

Tim Trent Talk to me 17:01, 23 November 2007 (UTC)

BTW Firefox and IE have radically different lpage renderings! Safari shows a subtle narrowing of the left hand menu margin, so it's hard to see the problems. Ye gods and little fishes. What one can "get away with" on WP one can not here. Tim Trent Talk to me 17:25, 23 November 2007 (UTC)
I am more than a little at a loss. I copied a great swathe of CSS from WP to MediaWiki:Common.css that was possibly the right stuff, and, of course, nothing happened. I can't see on WP the class "noprint" which might be the problem, so sorry, I am still very much in the dark here. Tim Trent Talk to me 21:10, 23 November 2007 (UTC)

Partial solution

You imported, or created Portal:Box-footer and Template:Portal:Box-footer. There is an order of transclusion precedence. It goes to the Template namespace first then other namespaces. There were mismatched div tags in each. I cured the former, but not the latter originally.

Now both have matched div tags. But which one do you WANT? Please delete the other one.

But we are not completely there yet. User:Tim Trent/Sandbox has it working for just that segment. Trains:Adopt-a-User is still not right. It;s better, but wrong still. But I think I can safely leave more detective work to you on the basis of teaching you to fish instead of giving you a fish?

Seriously it is worth getting to grips with this now I've aimed you in the right direction.

You can see what "Templates are in use" when opening a page in edit mode and scrolling down past the edit box.

Let us know how you're doing!

Tim Trent Talk to me 23:02, 23 November 2007 (UTC)

BTW a good tip is to debug each transclusion in a sandbox one at a time. If the footer was wrong I wonder about the header. Idle wondering and I have not checked. Tim Trent Talk to me 23:08, 23 November 2007 (UTC)


Trains:Adopt-a-User had an unclosed comment towards the bottom, which was hiding a 'div', thus giving the effect of too many /divs. This restored the LH toolbar. Was that the problem you were having?

(BTW - Took less than 5mins to spot and fix, but then this is the sort of thing I do for a living! -- looking for software bugs, I mean, not editing TSW pages!!)

BTW2 - {{Portal:Box-header}} looks a bit scary! Please don't introduce any bugs into that!!!

EdJogg 03:09, 24 November 2007 (UTC)

They all look scary! Looked pretty hard to spot to me. Wheeeeeeeeeeeee. Tim Trent Talk to me 07:52, 24 November 2007 (UTC)
No. Doesn't seem to have worked. The layout is fixed, but the writing should be inside the coloured background. See the WP Page to see what i mean!
This may be something to do with the CSS class used by WP. I suspect the templates work just fine but the class is absent. I'll do some leisurely poking about over the next few days. Work on the text etc, importing other templates etc should just go on, I think. Tim Trent Talk to me 16:19, 24 November 2007 (UTC)
First pass says I am wrong. I can't spot where the box itself is given a background colour. UNoless, of course it is in the column templates? Not looked yet. Tim Trent Talk to me 17:10, 24 November 2007 (UTC)
Sorry, can't see anything either. EdJogg 00:59, 25 November 2007 (UTC)
Somewhat bizarre, really. Do we know anyone who might take a look? Slambo hasn;t been active here for a while, he might be able to spot it easily. Tim Trent Talk to me 07:49, 25 November 2007 (UTC)
Well, you could always ask him to drop by. He's very busy at WP usually, but he might be interested enough to help. (After all, the worst he's likely to say is 'No'.) EdJogg 21:50, 26 November 2007 (UTC)
Yeah, well, I meant at WP, actually...y'know, like where he might see it?  :o)
EdJogg 22:40, 26 November 2007 (UTC)
I did. As did BG7, but I left the main message on his local talk page :) After all TSW stuff is "out of place" on WP Tim Trent Talk to me 22:48, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

Imagemap and svg files

I am starting to hate the alleged need for imagemap, a need we inherited from WP.

We "need" imagemap because it's impossible to use an image in mediawiki (as fas as I know) as a link to another location unless it is bounded by an image map. Images link to themselves, not to other places. So WP deploys imagemap as a means not to create a real image map (bounded areas of an image which each perform a different function when clicked), though it could, but as a means of getting an image to be clickable at all as a link.

Thus syntax like:

rect 0 0 128 125 [[Trains:Welcoming committee|The Welcoming Committee]]
desc none 
The Welcoming CommitteeVista-Ym.png

which is a clickable image.

Replace Image:Vista-Ym.png with Image:Peace dove.svg and a different issue arises! SVG files are true images, but not images on which (currently) imagemap may be deployed:

Image:Peace dove.svg|110px
rect 0 0 128 125 [[Trains:Kindness Campaign|Kindness Campaign]]
desc none 
Kindness CampaignPeace dove.svg

Or an image that is unclickable.

I love the foibles of Mediawiki!

Tim Trent Talk to me 08:35, 25 November 2007 (UTC)

Hi Tim,
It is actually possible to use a template to do this with ALL image types - i'll port it over when i remember where abouts it is!
BG7 10:21, 2 April 2008 (UTC)

Updating Image Files

The ex-Commons template {{Used}} has been adapted to identify images sourced from Commons. I have since changed it to add the images to Category:Images sourced from Wikimedia Commons. However, although the images all seem to include the new cat, the cat doesn't include the images! I edited one image slightly, and this now appears, but there are 63 images using this template and I don't want to edit them all.

How is a change to Category:Articles sourced originally from Wikipedia applied to all the files when it is updated in the same way? It seems to work by 'magic'!

(I've just tweaked {{From Wikipedia}} to list articles by pagename. I am currently tweaking the cat, and every time I edit it, more and more articles have been sorted... So why didn't that work for the image files for {{Used}}?)

EdJogg 09:34, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

It seems to have caught up now! EdJogg 10:46, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
What happens is that it has to go and physically update every database record with the new category. It places the task in some sort of job queue and processes these reasonably fast or unreasonably slowly, depending upon your viewpoint :) Tim Trent 11:47, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
I know there are some issues (at WP) about pages not being updated with revised template contents, until the pages in question are physically updated in some way. (Hence the question.) Once the process started, I could see that it was happily trundling along. There are so many files in the 'from WP' cat it was rather intriguing to see a different set of files every time I hit 'Preview'. I was allowing for the differences in speed between the WP server city and whatever we have here at TSW. I guess the job queue on the 'from WP' task was so long that nothing would be seen on the 'from Commons' task until the other had finished.
EdJogg 13:33, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
It's the scale of the brute. We have a pretty minute server compared with the WP server farms, but we have far less activity. Our speed appears to be much faster than WP, which is a hoot!
I think the job queue is wise and interleaves things. Some parts of Mediawiki are great! Itl;s just hard to find them!!
Tim Trent 13:53, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
No criticism was implied. EdJogg 14:03, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
 :) I just loathe Mediawiki, though. Tim Trent 14:09, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

What happens when you update a template

Actually it happens when you update any transcluded page, but templates are the most common.

Edit a template and save it and the system puts all the necessary page updates (Pages which transclude the template) into a job queue. Have a look at Special:Statistics to see the length of the queue at any time.

Any sane designer would then run a cron job that looked at load factors and emptied the queue fast in low load times and slowed down in high load times. Not mediawiki's designers, oh no.

Mediaiwki's job queue empties based upon surfing activity. "By default, each time a request runs, one job is taken from the job queue and executed."

This means that, the more pages viewed by a visitor, the more jobs are called from the queue. One view one job! So Mediawiki adds load to high load period!

Why am I telling you this?

Simply so you know what happens in the background. The queue can take as long as it likes to empty, and large changes will ripple through the database reasonably fast if we have a lot of visitors. No visitors = no queue emptying, but that actually does not matter at all, because they don't need to see anything if they aren't there.

The system is insane, though!

Tim Trent Talk to me 23:21, 28 November 2007 (UTC)

This may amuse you. Tim Trent Talk to me 09:03, 2 December 2007 (UTC)

using the double {

Hey Tim,

Is it possible to transclude a page using the above without havin to have template in front? I can do it at wp, but it won't work here... it's on the main page redesign...

Bluegoblin7 22:12, 30 November 2007 (UTC)

I need an example of where it fails to work. Look at ghe source (currently) of User:Tim Trent/Sandbox for example of it working. Tim Trent Talk to me 09:08, 1 December 2007 (UTC)
It's all on the Main Page Sandbox... Bluegoblin7 17:16, 1 December 2007 (UTC)
FIXED IT!!! (Put a : in front) Bluegoblin7 17:19, 1 December 2007 (UTC)

Template:Random portal component

Hi Tim,

On the main page sandbox, this temp isnt working. Any ideas?

Bluegoblin7 17:52, 1 December 2007 (UTC)

This should be at The Works!
This has got me baffled too. 'Template:Random...' content is same as Wp, so it may be down to the header/footer templates.
Just got a major clue though, while editing the sandbox I just noticed that 'Mod' and 'Rand' are being recognised as templates (which don't exist, of course) rather than the parser functions that they are. Not sure what the answer is, I'm afraid, but you could try testing each of the template components in isolation, gradually building up to the full expression.
Just a thought, Tim: is it possible that TSW S/W doesn't support 'maths' functions like mod and rand? If it doesn't, then "all bets are off"!!
EdJogg 01:20, 2 December 2007 (UTC)
The answer to all questions about the underlying disaster area that we know as Mediawiki is that I have no idea! However WP has wp:Template:Mod and wp:Template:Rand which I have not got the chance right now to port across. Perhaps after one of you guys ports them the thing will work. Of course it all depends on the order in which meediawiki calls things! Tim Trent Talk to me 09:01, 2 December 2007 (UTC)
Ive bought the temps across, but theres no difference. Maybe i'll just make do with a non-randomised one, with several DYKs on it...Bluegoblin7 09:53, 2 December 2007 (UTC)
Don't give up that easily :)
have you done precisely what the instructions say at Template:Random portal component? Sometimes they are written so that they need to be read four or more times!
Tim Trent Talk to me 10:18, 2 December 2007 (UTC)
It's just decided to work! Bluegoblin7 10:23, 2 December 2007 (UTC)
One problem creates another. Now it wants all the subpages to be templates. And the solution above doesnt work. Grr. MediaWiki I hate YOU!!! (And how comes it works on WP ok?)
Bluegoblin7 10:37, 2 December 2007 (UTC)
You may be in error about it needing the sub pages to be template. Any page can be transcluded, but MW assumes a transcluded page is a template because iut goes to the template namespace first. Don't let this beat you. You're good enough to solve it. Tim Trent Talk to me 10:46, 2 December 2007 (UTC)

Ive created all the subpages but no avail. Perhaps its on the job q Bluegoblin7 10:48, 2 December 2007 (UTC)

Add it to the current main page and see if it works/fails there. Tim Trent Talk to me 11:34, 2 December 2007 (UTC)
If that fails EdJogg often has good insights into arcane template syntax. Tim Trent Talk to me 11:35, 2 December 2007 (UTC)
Doesnt transclude on the main page either: but, as it does on the sandbox, you can edit the "real" page through the edit link. Bluegoblin7 18:03, 2 December 2007 (UTC)
I've just added some 'direct' calls to the Main Page, using transclusion syntax, and you'll see that none of them are working. Hence the 'random' template may well be OK, but it will not behave as intended until the pages may be transcluded directly. Back to Tim...?
BTW, it is NOT working in the Sandbox either.
EdJogg 10:07, 3 December 2007 (UTC)
By working in sandbox, i mean the edit link, not the transclusion!
On the main page, I have added colons (see above discussion), and the links now transclude. This, however, doesn't work for the random thingy. What i think we should do, is test it further on Random portal test, and just you use a single DYK box until we can get it working.
I am almost certain it it mediawiki orientated.
Maybe Slambo can shed some light?...
Bluegoblin7 13:22, 3 December 2007 (UTC)
Pure transclusion works, whether it be of articles or templates. The randomisation may be missing something, but I have no idea what. You find it, we'll implement it. I know this is frustrating. Why not start by asking the WP template creator to be very kind and take a look? Tim Trent Talk to me 14:01, 3 December 2007 (UTC)

(reindent) I've just moved the colon to the template, and it appears to be working. I have modified the test call on the Main Page and at Main Page/Sandbox to suit. Perhaps you can test it more thoroughly, etc.

Those subtle TSW vs WP differences again! Think this ought to go in the Templates FAQ somewhere...

EdJogg 14:54, 3 December 2007 (UTC)

Cheers EdJogg...but now we have another problem...Now we can't edit the transcluded pages!!! Bluegoblin7 16:50, 3 December 2007 (UTC)
Is that actually a problem? It is normal practice to include protected content on the Main Page as it is so visible, and hence risky to vandalism.
Incidentally, I don't understand what I'm seeing on the Main Page. The random element appears to say "This is file /Did You Know/1 put in as a test for Bluegobin7 ", yet if you follow the edit link, the text shown is 'test edit'. Is that the problem you meant?
EdJogg 18:15, 3 December 2007 (UTC)
WHat it is is that the page wont transclude correctly, but the edit link is perfect! THe translusion is just /Did You Know, which becomes an external page at http://Did You Know, or similar, and as soon as i press save after editing, my browser closes. I tried to redirect it, but the same happened... grrr... I think i will drop the original maker a message!
Bluegoblin7 19:45, 3 December 2007 (UTC)
Everything is working now... must have been in a mediawiki job q!
But..... the job queue was zero length and has been for ages. Tim Trent Talk to me 20:40, 3 December 2007 (UTC)
(edit conflict)
or not then...
Half fixed. It's still got the URL problem, but at least its showing up now... Bluegoblin7 20:41, 3 December 2007 (UTC)

The Main Page and its boxes

I was going to suggest this on my own talk page, but that woudl not get it discussed properly. Currently, today, there si a problem with boxes and borders on the main page. The border does not surround the text.

Here is my putative solution:

What I think the problem is

Arrghhh. I used to be a programmer in Algol, but this stuff is somehow closing my brain down.

  • We have a sensitivity to mismatched <div></div> tags. They break the finished, saved page layout badly. Try it in a sandbox and see!
  • To solve this on {{/Box-header}}, which oddly appears to be a template that includes {{Portal:Box-header}} which also appears to be a template(!!!), div tags have been matched, and the global page l;ayout issue goes away. The box footer is presumably equivalent.
  • The problem has not been solved, but the symptoms have been masked. Each individual page displays well, but the totality is screwed up.

Now I was thinking about this in bed last night, sad person that I am. And I believe we have twin problems. One ought to be simple to solve, the other requires brain power

Simple issue

I may be mistaken, but I think we need to ensure that {{/Box-header}} is not a template, but a page. Same with {{Portal:Box-header}} (and the footers). This may well mean deletion of what we have, and re-import the correct pages from WP into the correct namespace.

Regular pages transclude, and so do templates, but I think there is a priority order that the Template: namespace is checked before the article namespace.

Let's solve this part first. But please could an expert or a very patient editor who is not distracted do it!

Complex issue

You'll need to bear with me! I'll explain my thinking as best as I can.

WP appears more tolerant of mismatched DIV tags than we are. I think this is because our default layout includes placement of the adverts that pay for this place.

When we ported the relevant items for box headers and footers from WP, their pages had wrecked layout and so did any pages where they were applied. We solved the symptom, but not the problem by matching div opens and closes manually. This was an error. I found this when looking at closing an AfD manually at User talk:S.C.Ruffeyfan where the closure heading had "box border stuff in a div" and the closing div had to be entered manually at he foot of the div to surround the text that needed a border.

Now my thoughts for box-header and box-footer. I think it revolves around <noinclude> tags

Consider this:

putting a border around text
<div (and loads of fancy stuff for a border) >
text text text text text text text text text text text
text text text text text text text text text text text 
text text text text text text text text text text text 
text text text text text text text text text 

That puts a border around text.

Make the opening and closing stuff into transcluded items


<div (and loads of fancy stuff for a border) >



Now each of these, when applied thus:

text text text text text text text text text text text
text text text text text text text text text text text 
text text text text text text text text text text text 
text text text text text text text text text 

Create a correct border around text. But their own pages have screwed formats.

What I think we need to do is this:


<div (and loads of fancy stuff for a border) >



These have closing and opening div tags respectively that do NOT get transcluded. So their pages will be (should be) OK, and the pages using them, provided they are used in pairs, should be ok.

That's the theory. Would someone sense check this, please?

Tim Trent Talk to me 20:39, 13 December 2007 (UTC)


Yes, I agree with the issue regarding the template instead of a page for the box-header. I did notice this but thought about whether this could be an affecting factor. If no one here can fix this, then I know some experienced coders on the english wikipedia who might be able to help. Tbo 157 21:35, 13 December 2007 (UTC)

I think the twin issues are not linked, but I would prefer to solve them "in order" so that we get back to "the way it ought to work". What we have now feels like a solution to transclusion symptoms, not to transclusion problems.
While we are solving this, whoever solves it, and WP coding experts are more than welcome, we need to revert temporarily to the prior Main Page, i think (otherwise we wil get into one heck of a mess! Tim Trent Talk to me 21:50, 13 December 2007 (UTC)
Ive restored the original main page as you said. Tbo 157 22:06, 13 December 2007 (UTC)
Fancy having a crack at the rest of the stuff? I'm far too tired tonight! Tim Trent Talk to me 22:14, 13 December 2007 (UTC)
Forget the 'simple' issue for now. Just go for the 'complex' issue solution as you've outlined it. I suspect you will find that this works fine. When I first saw these two templates, that was exactly what I was expecting to see inside -- split divs. Logically this is needed, or each template nicely completes its own box. (Don't understand how WP gets away with split divs though!) And, as you suggest, making use of noincludes will sort the display issues on the templates' own pages.
As for the 'simple' issue... If the above fixes the 'complex' issue, do check that a 'simple issue' actually exists before changing anything else!
EdJogg 00:10, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
I have no ability to concentrate on this for the next couple of days. I have work pressures, and, far worse than that, family coming over the weekend! I'd be grateful for one of you guys to pick it up and run with it, please. Tim Trent Talk to me 07:19, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
The boxes are solved. See my talk page. It seems my helicopter view was right, but it took sharp eyesight to spot it at ground level. Way to go! Do drop by my talk page for "next actions" coz I'm on big painkillers and can't focus for as long as I want.Tim Trent Talk to me 17:27, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

Discussion 2 - 'Simple Issue'

Just re-read the description of the problem. Please bear in mind that the reason it is weird here is that it is weird at WP, and we copied from one to t'other! I thought about changing the naming at the outset, but the whole setup seemed to need the non-obvious naming, or at least the hierarchical relationship between the various pages.

Also, I would have expected that pages and templates would be transcluded equally. If you have same-name pages in multiple namespaces then you are asking for trouble. I don't think we have that problem here. If anything, at WP, pages will be moved TO the template namespace rather than remaining as mainspace sub-pages.

(BTW - I think that this is actually the more complex issue!!)

EdJogg 00:25, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

From Tim Trent's talk page

I have migrated all the recent general topics from Tim Trent's talk page to here. Thanks. Tbo 157 23:06, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

Interwiki map

Should this project use the interwiki map which can be seen here - [3]. This would allow us to be able to interwiki to many other projects which are part of the map using the same prefix. Thanks. Tbo 157 20:07, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

I don't see why not - can they link to us though?... BG7 20:10, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
PS Are there any other useful MW gadgets we could deploy?
Yes they can link to us. It needs to be done by a meta admin though. What do you mean by gadgets? Archive bots might be useful here. Tbo 157 20:13, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
Well yes: any bot we can use, archive, delivery, sign(!) perhaps. By gadgets i meant thinkgs like the events calendar. Are there any more that might be useful?
BG7 20:16, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
Yes, we could just use the code they use at WP for the bots. We might want to flag them too so well ask Tim to do that. Tbo 157 20:20, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
I spoke to Tim a while ago about bots and he said go for it! We've just got to be careful about what they use.
Another one to (maybe) grab - the Assessment one. I'm probably going to work on it tommorrow as we have several Workforces now...BG7 20:23, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
WEre going to need to ask the operator of the bots for permission fi we can sue the bots and wed probably need to ask them to set it up. And then someone here can run them. Tbo 157 20:25, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
Yes that's probably best - can you do that? Thanks BG7 20:27, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
Ye, sure. Tbo 157 21:15, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

(reset indent)
We do need someone who is experienced in the deployment of bots. I am very nervous of a bot's ability to run wild, too. Testing them on live data is all we have though, whcih is scary.

A bot at WP is GFDL licenced isn't it? We woudl do well to ask the author for help, but GFDL is GFDL. And politeness is also important.

Note: we are unable to use IRC as a communication mechanism between bots.

Should this conversation not be migrated to the cafe?

Tim Trent Talk to me 21:24, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

I have a feeling that not many users would be willing to come here to set up bots unfortunately. Tbo 157 22:26, 18 December 2007 (UTC)


The validator points out alot of errors in the file MediaWiki:Common.css. I know some parts are not recognised by the validator but can I check over it using the wp one as a template? I'll rollback if I screw up. Thanks. Tbo 157 14:25, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

Everything with care :) Do also check out the special page for versions to see what it is we run. We are almost never going to upgrade the mediawiki software unless there is a showstopping problem. It's evil and fragile stuff. Tim Trent Talk to me 15:37, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
Well Wikipedia employ developers and software programmers so they can afford to upgrade etc but im presuming that we don't have that. Tbo 157 16:10, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
Success. Ive managed to hide the main page title using css. Tbo 157
Ive also managed to insert the text "From TrainSpottingWorld, for Rail and Steam fans everywhere" under the heading. I can change it if you want. Is it too long? Tbo 157 17:00, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
Looks good to me :)
What we have is a couple of friends who put this together, half as an academic exercise, and half for fun. Bernd is a consummate programmer and developer, but, quite reasonably, pushes back hard on any change he sees as potential disaster! I have huge enthusiasms that he, wisely, pours cold water on :) And we have found, together, that mediawiki is the most amazing mess of apparently uncontrolled and barely documented collaborative development. Open source it may be, but a good open source project it is not! As an example just look at the Job Queue! We used that as a kluge on servers we had years ago when we had no access to root levels.
We're very happy that any pragmatic changes are made. We'll resist any we think are harmful, but it is hard to harm code one has no access to :)
Our software admin system rolls any extensions out to all three wikis automatically. That does not include local CSS files etc, which must stay local. Tim Trent Talk to me 17:23, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
Yes, Mediawiki is a mess and Im amaazed at how far you've got. It is after all free software. Im presuming that Bernd is a busy person looking at his activity level. So I guess well just have to solve coding problems as a community. Problems Ive come across includes bugs which alter the layout of a page, transcluding box-headers in portal style layouts and dates being changed when a page is deleted and restored. Talking fo bugs, Ive moved the page I created to Sworld:SpottingWorld:Bugs and problems. Tbo 157 17:43, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
We got this far with a lot of cursing :). We chose mediawiki because of the familiar user interface, but frankly hate it as a "product". We also took the decision at design stage that we woudl never touch MySQL, so we use PostgreSQL. BTW, you'll very rarely find Bernd editing here, he prefers the behind the scenes challenges.
We can solve all genuine bugs. One of the challenges can be that a bug to us is sometimes a "tolerance" to WP. The transclusion for things like {{/doc}} there requiring {{page's name/doc}} here may be some sort of patch at WP. Very wary of applying those, but we can if they are showstoppers. If we can work to identify them we can work to solve them, if soluble. The main thing is to document them well enough so that Bernd can see what the issue is when you ask me to draw them to his attention.
Should this conversation migrate to the cafe? If so please cut and paste :)
Tim Trent Talk to me 21:19, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

What else do we allow on this wiki?

Hi Tim,

Just wondering what else is allowed on this wiki either in abscence of the others or here until this one gets split. My ideas were buses, cars etc.

Please let me know,

Bluegoblin7 18:53, 17 December 2007 (UTC)

I guess we allow on this wiki what the community wants. No clear boundaires. Remember TSW is what you want it to be as it says on the main page. Tbo 157 19:17, 17 December 2007 (UTC)
Ok. I suppose the easiest way is to just create Workforces for them, and then if this wiki is spilt, the articles can be moved. They seem more appropriate here than at PSW anyhow. Bluegoblin7 19:19, 17 December 2007 (UTC)
Ye, go for it. Tbo 157 19:52, 17 December 2007 (UTC)
Waiting in the wings we have Trucks, but we can't add it to this server or we'll kill it. But you are right: this is truly (within logical limits) what you want it to be. Tim Trent Talk to me 15:39, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
Ok then. I'll hold back on road transport as that can all go into trucks for the time being. Indeed: WP:Bueses is a child of WP:Trucks.
Any idea when we might get a new server?
Bluegoblin7 15:41, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
The new server depends on the success we have in attracting visitors who click our adverts. To justify a new server the SW community has to generate a repeatable $125 per month in advertising revenue, but that just moves us from a virtual server to a physical server of the same horsepower. It also allows a small war chest to be built up against revenue shortfalls during slow periods. Regrettably we are not yet anywhere near that. Now I truly do not mean "click the adverts" because what we need is a predictable revenue stream. Also any "click campaign" is against Google's terms of service and will get us barred. It stops click fraud, which is a good thing. Tim Trent Talk to me 15:45, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
Ok Tim. I will make sure i do make the odd click if something is relevant - i normally ignore them! I wont go OTT though :-D. Can you let us know when we're nearly there?
Perhaps in the mean time we shoule build up Truck/Bus/Car etc articles in SW? Then they can be moved across. Let me know!
Bluegoblin7 15:50, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
Well, thats the problem with most conventional ads. People tend to ignore them because theyre so used to seeing them. Thats why ad companies are developing interactive and more interesting, eye catching ads. Its presumably harder on teh net though. Tbo 157 16:13, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
Exactly. On a site like this one regular users become immune to adverts very fast. But the adverts are really for the "drive by" user, who came, didn't like it, found an advert and left by that route. By all means click a truly relevant advert, but only when you do want to respond to it, not "just to see".
Getting to our "freedom target" will be several months yet. The Adsense world is a fickle world. Today, in the last 9 hours, TSW has made $1.28. In the entirety of yesterday it made $1.46. We depend on word of mouth (we don't advertise ourselves because this is not commercial exercise) and creation of good, unique articles. We're doing very well for a site launched in February 2007. But Planes is doing poorly and was launched very shortly after. Everything depends on catching the imaginmation of keen people. And it depends on making sure that those keen people have the flexibility to make it their own. We really hope clubs will start to use us as a resource. We're happy for what WP considers to be spam links (we also use rel="nofollow" to avoid being seen as a link farm - we're quite bright!) Tim Trent Talk to me 17:22, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
Ok Tim. Well, what i'll do is put around the site to some of the groups im in, informally (i.e. just word-of-mouth type stuff), and we'll see what we get. As i've said on EdJogg's page, we need to do some clearing up before we can properly launch it.
Would you possibly be able to give us an update how were doing each month ads wise? If it's not likely to be soon, may I start adding buses/trucks/cars to SW? Cheers, Bluegoblin7 18:45, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
Do we get any revenue for simply displaying the ads?
As for other content -- I think we need to concentrate on getting 'Trains' up-to-scratch, and then copying it as a working example into the other areas (such as Planes). Diluting with content regarding trucks, buses and even steam engines (though some may creep in!) is also diluting maintenance effort.
TSW is not very obvious on Google. Are you trying anything to make its presence more visible?
EdJogg 19:16, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

(reset indent)
We get a very trivial sum for simply displaying them. Adwords customers may "Site Target" adverts and say how many cents per thousand impressions they will pay. As our visitor count increases so will the fees google charges advertisers rise. Of course we never have any idea of the revenue split between us and Google. Tim Trent Talk to me 21:36, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

Perhaps aswell as the general newsletter, we should have like an admin one or something, with things like this included, e.g. the revenue for each week so that we can see how were getting on etc? BG7 21:39, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
(after edit conflict) Ah, and Google visibility. The benefit and the challenge is that we have a lot of duplicate content with WP. As content diverges our profile will rise. We are well optimised within the constraints of the software for search engines, but content is king. We submit daily sitemap updates to Google and Yahoo, and our RSS feed is registered with all the major places these things need to be registered. There is very little other SEO that can be done that is not tricksy and deprecated by Google etc. It is always posisbel to place the relevant links to us in genuine posts om message forums, but spamming is a poor idea. Tim Trent Talk to me 21:43, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

Main page question

Is it possible to hide the title at the top of the Main page like on en wp. Tbo 157 19:11, 16 December 2007 (UTC)

U mite b able 2 find out on the MediaWiki site... --Bluegoblin7 19:20, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
Well, I tried! seems to be it. But we need to add the extension. Tim Trent Talk to me 20:29, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
Ok. Thanks. Does the extension need to added to the actual mediawiki software or is it doable without altering the software? Tbo 157 20:49, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
Hmm. wp:Special:Version does not show it in use. Feel free to ask at Wikipedia how they do it. Extensions alwasy have to be added, and we add those in the various server conmfig files. Tim Trent Talk to me 20:55, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
Also, is it ok if I put a logo of planespottingworld in the sister projects section of the main page. Thanks. Tbo 157 20:58, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
Feel free :) Tim Trent Talk to me 21:01, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
Thanks. Tbo 157 21:35, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
Wikipedia hide the title on the main page using coding in wp:MediaWiki:Common.js and wp:MediaWiki:Monobook.css. Could you take a look and try it out. Thanks. Tbo 157 12:54, 17 December 2007 (UTC)
Spoon feed me! Tim Trent Talk to me 23:47, 17 December 2007 (UTC)


Hi Tim,

Looking through some archives i noticed that you needed to "create" a namespace when you created FanFic. Does the same need to be done for Workforce and Portal? No problems with Workoforce so far, but thought i should check before creating the first portal...


Bluegoblin7 13:41, 17 December 2007 (UTC)

I didn't actually create a namespace. I created a pseudo-namespace by adopting a convention. WP does the same. Namespaces are interesting and slightly scary things. Tim Trent Talk to me 22:05, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

New bugs page

I have created Trains:Bugs and problems where users of the community can discuss bugs, possible problems and possible fixes. There is a template (in the edit section) on the page which can be used to list problems. I will also create a similar page at [4] and [5] if thats ok. Thanks. Tbo 157 17:14, 17 December 2007 (UTC)

I suggest it may be far better, since the software is identical, to create it at sworld:Bugs and problems
Never forget we interwiki link :) Tim Trent Talk to me 15:41, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
Ok. Ill move the page there and Ill put in a redirect from the one here. Thanks. Tbo 157 16:14, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

Coding followup

Ive asked for help on the reference desk on english wikipedia and the user helping has asked a few questions regarding the coding at [[6]]. So you may want to comment there. Thanks. Tbo 157 23:04, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

I have no ability to do anything today. It might be better, too, to get BG7, who created it, to comment, I think. I watched in awe as he got as far as he did :) Tim Trent Talk to me 09:18, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
Pesumably he used the skeleton portal available as a template from wp but for some reason the coding does not work here. Its already thrown 1 wikipedia user so Ill try to find someone who can help. Tbo 157 13:08, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
I do truly think the slution I put on the Cafe is the one. I just have no personal time to try it. WP is far more tolerant of bad code than we are. We also try our best to make it clean html automatically. Tim Trent Talk to me 14:33, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
Honestly, you lot, it was about 15 minutes work - comparing the WP originals and making them work here as per Tim's suggestion. Have a look at Main Page/Sandbox now... Part of the problem was that the header template was including the footer template too - the WP version used noincludes around this bit, and they had been 'lost' from the TSW version. For the footer, Tim was spot-on. We (probably, I) had deleted the odd /div and hence the page loooked OK but the template stopped working.
EdJogg 16:43, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
Way to go! I definitely needed "my" concept to be sense checked, though. I'm running on painkillers right now, so I could handle theory, but the practical application needed more focus than I have at present. To the victor go the spoils (Er, I mean would you like to move the sandbox over the current main page?") And would some clever bloke (or bloke-ette) like to see if a colour gradient is possible in box headers? And then get the colour to match the logo! Probably a CSS thing. I recommend if CSS is not your thing. We CAN create a class on our global CSS page if you make a pleasing and unique one. Tim Trent Talk to me 17:14, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
Great work Edjogg. Ill get back to working on the design now and Ill see if I can try a gradient colour scheme. Tbo 157 18:06, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
Just to let you know, Ive brushed up the layout at Main Page/Sandbox. Suggestions for further design aspects are welcome from all users. Thanks. Tbo 157 20:06, 15 December 2007 (UTC)


I have been learning what a bot "really" is. The answer is quite scary!

what it is

A bot is a combination of a user login (as the bot) and software running on a server, any server, that interacts with this place.

If you look at a bot as an intelligent keystroke macro that you execute from just anywhere with TSW as the target for its work, there you have it.

Now that does pose a few issues. The first is that we cannot open up our security on the main server to allow anyone else in. That means that we can't mount a bot for a user because we woudl also have to give some server admin rights to the bot owner in order to maintain the bot. This is why, even at Wikipedia, an external server is used. But we don't have the budget for an external server ourselves, nor will we for the foreseeable future.

So, currently, bots need to be hosted and executed from "your" own server, which makes it kind of tough if you don't have one. But you do! We all do!


If the bot is to be run occasionally then the server may be the computer through which you connect to the net - your Mac or PC. Remember it is effectively a macro.


I thought a bot was GFDL licenced. That is not the case. If the bot is written by someone and not mounted under a GFDL licenced arrangement then that bot is copyright its author. We may approach and request, but we may not simply take.

Tim Trent Talk to me 11:03, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

Can anyone find any bot experts who would be willing to set up all this. Tbo 157 11:29, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
Oddly one needs a nodding expertise with a scripting langauge, but that is all. It appears that each user can quite easily run a bot.
Now there is a different discussion to be held about who is allowed to run a bot, but that is quite a different matter.
Tim Trent Talk to me 13:44, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

Who can run bots?

Well, I would say only admins as other users may abuse them. Admins are also the only ones who can turn it off. If someone can write me some code... I'm happy to run one! BG7 13:47, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

As an admin one can turn the user id off from which the bot runs. But one cannot turn the bot off. An excellent example was the vandalbot that moved a load of our pages from Foo to Foo on wheels a while back. We blocked it for now because we have gone away from anonymous edits, but, if it comes back in an ID, which is perfectly possible, what then?
WP's bot approval (etc) policy is unenforceable. Anyone can run a bot on WP. Look how we started this place. We did not manually copy the articles. We had a bot crawl links to a certain depth and grabe the articles and their associated media (Lawfully, I hasten to add) without any WP admin rights and without any express permission to run a bot. That bot was mounted on one of Bernd's machines - I suspect it was his laptop - and ran overnight inhaling pages.
That bot could easily have been one that altered articles subtly and saved them back on WP. "Count to find the 15th "and" in an article and change it to a random conjunction from a list; wait 15 minutes and hit another."
Tim Trent Talk to me 13:58, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
Ok I get it. Couldn't Bernd code us a couple of bots?
BG7 14:05, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
He could. But it would have to interest him. I mean as a technical challenge. His day job is as head of development somewhere quite exciting, and the systems he creates are amazing and in the realms of "rather difficult and scary". His view tends to be like mine: "If we absolutely need it to make the place work, then ok, but, if it's just for fun, or to make a task easier, unless it's an interesting task, then no, thank you."
I'm sure he will be happy to offer advice, but he'd far rather teach fishing than give you a fish.
I'll ask him to look at this conversation, but he tends to avoid being drawn in. Think of him as the Keyser Söze of wikidom!
Tim Trent Talk to me 14:45, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

Should we recommend that bots run under dedicated logins? If an automated bot goes wonky, we can temporarily block the bot while the bot owner still has editing privileges to respond on the appropriate talk pages. Based on a couple questions I've received, I've been looking into how the assessment bots are run at WP (although not very deeply yet) with an eye toward setting up similar processes. Slambo 14:10, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

Yes that would probably work best - with the login being the name of the bot. BG7 14:11, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
Well, then, <posting a flag in the sand> I officially claim Slambot (talk · contribs) for this purpose. B-) Slambo 14:23, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
Ok then. If that's how were doing this: I have a friend who may be able to make me a bot to use, so i'm going to claim Goblinbot (talk · contribs)! BG7 14:25, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

Plea for good sense

Please check bots out, insofar as is possible, on sandboxes, or, a very restricted set of articles that are easy to revert. There is some form of mass reversion tool, but I have never used it, that is said to revert all edits by a named user in a named time period. I can't remember where I saw that, though.

While we take a daily incremental backup the idea of having to reciover from it scares me rigid

Tim Trent Talk to me 14:45, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

I've asked at WP about mass reversion. You mayall wish to track the answers. Tim Trent Talk to me 15:03, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

Way around IRC?

Hey all i think I have a way around the IRC problem if someone can program it. In theory, the bot can trawl through recent changes, clicking on each diff button, doing what it does, and then waiting a period of time before doing it again. Same should work for the rest of it... BG7 19:01, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

Precisely, or the RSS feed associated with recent changes which displays the diffs Tim Trent Talk to me 21:55, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

Assessment thoughts

Before we get too carried away in copying existing processes from WP, let's take a moment to think about assessments. One comment that I've frequently seen over there is that the quality assessment should be the same for all associated projects ("a stub by any other name..."), but the priorities per project could and should be different.

We can easily create a banner that will show the assessed quality, the problem is in attaching the associated workgroups to the quality in such a way that when the quality is reassessed, it updates in all of the workgroups with just one change. So the talk page would look something like:

{{Quality|stub|groups=Group1, Group2}} {{Group1|importance=low}} {{Group2|importance=high}}

What I'm not sure about yet is how to code the handling of the groups parameter in this example. It needs to be expandable to an arbitrary number of workforces so we don't run into problems when there are more than X number of workforces to list, and it needs to carry the class parameter value through to the appropriate categories so the editor only needs to update the class on one banner. Slambo (Speak) 15:25, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

Before we actually get a system in place, my comments on the rankings:
  • Quality
    • Stub
    • Start
    • C
    • B
    • A
    • FA
  • Importance
    • Top
    • High
    • Mid
    • Low
    • Unimportant
On top of these, the relevant extras, Portal, Dab etc.
BG7 15:32, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
Leaving out GA seems like a good thing here, based on the number of arguments that I see for it over there. It seems to me that we can use A in place of GA. But, do we need a C class? Slambo (Speak) 15:47, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
As I see it GA and A are duplicates of each other, so A = GA, B = B, and C = a new one, but we don't need to have it. Maybe start without C, and add it if needed. BG7 15:52, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

Bots that inspect changes

This is a challenge for us for one simple reason. We do not have the ability to use bots structured in a simlar manner to Wikipedia because theirs make use of an IRC channel to see what changes. Bots like Cluebot which [patrol and set vandalism right there are not available to us.

So I was considering mechanisms for bots to inspect in order to detect changes.

Approach 1

We have Special:Recentchanges which could be polled and inspected. And that page has or which update regularly.

We can't easily let bots into the data structures partly because they are weird, wonderful and fragile and partly because doing so woudl compromise system integrity.

It's a long time since I was a programmer, and I programmed in Burroughs Extended Algol, and a weird language RPL11M, but I think one might prevail upon Cluebot;s author to allow us to have a version that works (if a decent programmer modifies it) with (eg) RSS, atom or polling the page itself. If we're really nice to him he might even let us mount it on his own server

If we can achieve this (and do rememebr that Cluebot also warns vandals etc, and interfaces with WP's blocking policy which we may not want to emulate), then we may be able to reopen the door to anonymous edits.

Approach 2

write an extension that keeps a rotating logfile of recent changes which can be web-accessed, and then take it from there

Or there will be other ways. The floor is open to you guys.

Tim Trent Talk to me 14:51, 20 December 2007 (UTC)


I've contacted another MW site about their experience of IP edits, and they get very little vandalism - if any. So why can't we just try IP editing for a week and see what happens? BG7 15:04, 20 December 2007 (UTC)

I agree with a trial. We could also work on cluebots which don't need to use IRC. There should be away to create bots which can patrol recent changes and look for characteristics of vandal edits. Tbo 157 15:08, 20 December 2007 (UTC)
Guys, please give me a break over this. The other wiki was probably not attacked yet. We came under heavy attack - we're quite visible. Pages were being vandalised faster than I coudl stop the vandalism by blocking IPs. Since we closed the door our vandalism level has dropped to zero
Get us a working anti vandal bot and I've said I will review it.
Tim Trent Talk to me 15:49, 20 December 2007 (UTC)
Im trying to find otu if tehre are any which don't use IRC. Tbo 157 15:52, 20 December 2007 (UTC)


Special:Allmessages may be of interest to admins here. It allows you to edit the MediaWiki software in just about any way. Tbo 157 13:45, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

Please only make one change at a time, test what has happened, and roll it back if at all unsure. There is scope for totally banjaxing the place here. Tim Trent Talk to me 22:04, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

Code Confilict

I noticed last night that everytime I tried to revert I was asked that mathematical question, I'd answer it correctly and then I would get the prompt that I hadn't entered an edit summary when I did. It seems to get stuck on a loop and would not let me save the edit until I turned off the prompt option. Not sure what's going on with that.

--DP67 (talk/contribs) 15:57, 26 December 2007 (UTC)
Me neither. "The prompt option"? Tim Trent Talk to me 16:15, 26 December 2007 (UTC)
Ah. User preferences. I have no idea. Tim Trent Talk to me 16:17, 26 December 2007 (UTC)
The prompt before saving without edit summary option. Although I had an edit summary it still wouldn't save it got stuck in a loop.
--DP67 (talk/contribs) 16:58, 26 December 2007 (UTC)
Looks like a bug in the CAPTCHA extension. No hope of having it solved though. Silly thought, but has rebooting your machine solved it? If so I blame M$oft! Tim Trent Talk to me 18:03, 26 December 2007 (UTC)

Editing system messages

Please be very careful when editing system messages that contain "dollar strings". an example is MediaWiki:Whitelistedittext which contains the login instructions for IP users. You will see the line:

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

If you are logged in, or even if you are an IP user and are viewing this page directly, it has the string "$1" in it. That looks wrong, but it is not. It comes into play when the page is invoked (not when it is read)

To prove this to yourself, log out, go to a random unprotected page and click the edit tab. Note how the $1 is now replaced by what ought to be there. And note how there is more than just a login action that happens when you log in by this route.

These pages are complex. Please only edit them if you know what you are doing for certain, have tested any comment you receive that they are not working correctly by invoking them, not by reading them, and by documenting what you have done on the talk page.

I only caught this one by luck. I know it was a simple error made in good faith, and I know that the documentation on the dollar strings is impossible to find.

Tim Trent Talk to me 00:50, 31 December 2007 (UTC)

Please read Mediawiki whcih describes in minimal detail a woefully small subset of the dollar string parameter passing if you dig deep enough. Tim Trent Talk to me 01:03, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
Sorry.. :( I'll keep that in mind next time. I thought it was an error.
--DP67 (talk/contribs) 02:54, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
I'm not at all worried. The great thing about wikis is that we can keep track of changes. I posted about it here so your accident, made in good faith, can show everyone else something we all need to learn. This parameter passing is a "well kept secret". Tim Trent Talk to me 09:38, 31 December 2007 (UTC)

html/JavaScript countdown timer...

Does anyone know any code for the above, that has Days, Months, Hours, Minutes, Seconds etc?

If so can you drop it in my Sandbox.


BG7 17:45, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

There are various codes around on the web. Search it on google. You would need to paste the primary coding into a .js page and then put the coding in for the timer on the page you want it to display. Class91 18:05, 3 January 2008 (UTC)
???... Sorry... you've kinda confuzzled me a bit there mate!
Are you trying to say search google for code, then do something with it?
BG7 18:11, 3 January 2008 (UTC)
Ye. Class91 18:37, 3 January 2008 (UTC)
Ok, I have my code, so if i put it at countdown.js what would i do next? BG7 18:39, 3 January 2008 (UTC)
I'm not sure it would work without being installed as a global script. To the best of my knowledge the $wgAllowUserJs or $wgAllowUserCss are not turned on in LocalSettings. If they were it would be nice.
--DP67 (talk/contribs) 20:26, 3 January 2008 (UTC)


Yes, it is at wp:Special:Allmessages, and on WP it works. No, it is not in Special:Allmessages here, and, though the page exists, it does nothing currently.

We have no reason not to have it, but have no idea yet how to make it work. So, over you you guys. If you can tell us how to make it work then, provided it is not a MW release issue we can implement it.

Tim Trent Talk to me 00:05, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

Date links and user preferences

Is it just me or are the date links not honoring user preferences for their display? I have the "16:12, January 15, 2001" format selected in my preferences, but I don't see any difference in the date links; linked dates are displayed in whatever format they were coded in. Slambo (Speak) 16:20, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

I may have found the answer... Meta mentions that the variable $wgUseDynamicDates controls the autoformatting; if it's set to true, it autoformats date links according to user preferences. A little further digging says that this variable defaults to false. Since I don't see this variable listed on Special:Version, I'm assuming that it's unset, which would mean that the default value of false is being used here. Slambo (Speak) 20:09, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
We have set the flag. We do not yet see any changes. Please watch and see if anything happens because it may be cache. Tim Trent Talk to me 23:19, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
Hmmm. Bernd says it does work but only on history pages. Ok, that is just weird. Tim Trent Talk to me 23:23, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
Now it appears to be working for me. Thanks! Slambo (Speak) 12:24, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

Possible MW extensions?

Hello all,

Just wondering if anyone thought that installing the following MW extensions would be a good idea?

(links to follow shortly!)

  1. Dismissable Site Notice
  2. Giverollback
  3. Oversight (as we have young users they may post stuff not suitable?!?!)


BG7 10:15, 2 April 2008 (UTC)

Permanent Message on the anon site notice?

Hello all,

Just wondering if we should add a permanent message on the anon site notice saying "Please log in" or similar?


BG7 10:16, 2 April 2008 (UTC)

We have server constraints

Our host has constrained our server. We expect this to be resolved by negotiation or migration within 2 weeks. Tim Trent Talk to me 09:58, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

Server migration is completed

Much planning, but now we are on a bigger, faster server. Tim Trent Talk to me 23:35, 7 June 2008 (UTC)

Good stuff! Now we can make a larger mess more quickly!! :o) EdJogg 10:44, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

Performance enhancement

We have now migrated all SpottingWorld to a substantially faster web environment on the new server.

This ought to make life even easier.

Tim Trent Talk to me 15:54, 22 June 2008 (UTC)

Navbox upgrade issues

If you have a look at today's recent changes you will see a surge of template activity. This was precipitated by someone making a real edit (shock horror) to Manchester Metrolink, and me spotting that the page was missing several templates.

As part of this process I needed to fetch {{Navbox subgroup}} and, to cut a long story short, realised that the main {{Navbox}} template here was very out-of-date compared to the Wikipedia version on which {{Navbox subgroup}} was based. To cut another long story short, an attempt to update the Navbox template (to allow import of new naviboxes) failed miserably. The problem may be a missing CSS style, but I am no expert on these so I have made no further progress. I have reverted the changes and if someone would like to try resolving the matter, we may be able to re-enable the new versions.

NOTE - since the Navbox is the basis for hundreds of other templates, use of a sandbox is encouraged when trying to make it work!

EdJogg 16:58, 28 October 2008 (UTC)

The Mess Room

Community Portal Name

Ok, so we need a name for this, like Wikipedia's Village Pump. So far, ideas have included Mess Room, Roundhouse, Station Cafe, Buffet Car and Guard's Compartment.

Please add yours below. We do not want to press anything onto users, merely guide them. Please let this become your own.

Bluegoblin7 23:37, 10 November 2007 (UTC)

Just thought i'd mention: Ballot will close at 20:00, 17 November 2007 (UTC) - Bluegoblin7 15:25, 12 November 2007 (UTC)
Not trying to be a nuisance, but is a ballot comprising solely of the three votes from the three active sysops really representative? (No, I'm not expecting anyone else to vote in the next five days!) EdJogg 00:29, 13 November 2007 (UTC)
It'll do, though. Tim Trent 00:33, 13 November 2007 (UTC)

We should call it 'Main Station'--S.C.Ruffeyfan 17:53, 17 November 2007 (UTC)

I like Bluegoblin7's idea about the name "Roundhouse". However, I was thinking something along the lines of "Train Yard" or "Goods Yard" --Dalek X 18:31, 17 November 2007 (UTC)
Extending time limit to Sunday (Tommorrow) at 20:00, to allow more users to vote. Bluegoblin7 20:01, 17 November 2007 (UTC)
DalekX's idea's are good--S.C.Ruffeyfan 20:17, 17 November 2007 (UTC)


This can also have new entries in it, but add the suggestion above this heading. I suggest 3 mandatory votes. 3 points, two points and one point. Highest total wins. Please update the tally when you vote.


  • Buffet Car: 3
  • Round House 6
  • Station Cafe 6
  • The Works 4
  • Refreshment Room 2
  • Left Luggage 1
  • Goods Yard 2

  • Three Station Cafe, Two Round House (one or two words?), One Buffet Car. Tim Trent 08:42, 11 November 2007 (UTC)
  • Three Station Cafe, Two Buffet Car, One Round House Bluegoblin7 09:59, 11 November 2007 (UTC)
  • Three The Works, Two Refreshment Room, One Left Luggage. 'The Works' could be Swindon Works, Brighton Works, Crewe Works... EdJogg 23:30, 11 November 2007 (UTC)
  • One Train Yard, One Goods Yard --Dalek X 18:33, 17 November 2007 (UTC)
Comment - er, we need 3,2 and 1 points, otherwise it's a spoiled ballot paper :) Tim Trent 23:03, 17 November 2007 (UTC)
All right. Three more for Round House, 2 more for Goods Yard, and 1 more for The Works. --Dalek X 19:14, 18 November 2007 (UTC)

When we settle on this we need to create the page, not rename this one. And I need to work out where to get a + sign from! Tim Trent 17:39, 16 November 2007 (UTC)

Just to further complicate matters...:o)
At WP, there are multiple sections to the Village Pump. Here I can see that there also could be several discussion areas, including 'General', 'Technical', 'Admin' (?) etc, and hence it will be possible to use several appropriate names. (eg "The Works" for technical Q's ?)
EdJogg 02:07, 18 November 2007 (UTC)
That is a very good idea. But I think we should cross that path when we get to it: theres no VP yet, so lets get that first! AN idea though: take the ones with the most votes as the subheadings, the ones that would miss out! Bluegoblin7 11:39, 18 November 2007 (UTC)


As can be seen, the ballot has closed: and the results are as follows:

  • Buffet Car: 3
  • Round House 6
  • Station Cafe 6
  • The Works 4
  • Refreshment Room 2
  • Left Luggage 1
  • Goods Yard 2

Therefore, the Village Pump will be named Station Cafe, with various sections taking the other names: Admin info could be Round House' for example. Please add input at Trains_talk:Station Cafe!

--Bluegoblin7 11:28, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

Need for a TSW-wide ToDo list?

A ToDo list page has been created at Trains:Station Cafe (ToDo list). Previous discussion on this page has been moved to the ToDo list talk page. A shortcut ToDo has been created.

EdJogg 13:20, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

Special Pages request

I was going to ask if we can have access to the Special:Prefixindex Special Page, as this allows users to browse all articles, templates, categories, images, etc. But I've just seen that we DO have the page, so we need to make its presence more widely known!! (remainder of message edited to suit!)

Also useful, as mentioned somewhere else before, would be Special:Uncategorizedtemplates.

Is this a difficult thing to add? It is available at WP, and selecting the page gives access to the related help page and hence the Mediawiki info.

EdJogg 11:25, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

If you can find out where to get it from then we can see what challenge it may be to add it. Tim Trent Talk to me 13:13, 20 December 2007 (UTC)
Ah. shows it is in release 1.11 onwards. we are 1.9.x so it seems it will only arrive if we have a real need to upgrade. And that is not something we will do lightly! The process is "interesting". Tim Trent Talk to me 14:36, 20 December 2007 (UTC)


I propose that we stop borrowing so many processes from WP - processes designed for a large community. WP wasn't that complex in the early days when they had fewer users. It just had to adapt to the amount of users they were getting, an amount we will never get. I propose that we start being creative and create processes to suit our own needs for a small community. This includes pages such as the station cafe which is simply a renamed village pump where messages can be unnoticed for days, RfA, AfD. Lets create simple processes for deletion, granting adminship, resolving conflicts etc. I really hope we don't go as far as creating Arbcom, Medcom etc. There is no need to unnecessarily overload our servers. Thanks very much. :) Tbo 157 12:39, 20 December 2007 (UTC)

Symbol support vote.svg Support unequivocally. We need only what we need in oder to make thsi both useful and a fun playground. Tim Trent Talk to me 13:14, 20 December 2007 (UTC)

Symbol support vote.svg Support although there are still loads of things that need to be done script wise. (WP seems to be the only source at the mo.) Once the basic needs of the community are met simple is the best route. Especially when it comes to finding help. One thing that really gets to me about wikipedia is it always seems that help is always 30 clicks away. You find a document that you 'think' might answer your question, but before you're done you have 30 windows open and you have to bounce back and forth and remember what window was what. The once you find help there is 2 weeks of bureaucracy to contend with. Maybe that's a little extreme but I'm sure you get the point. General help should always be one or two clicks away. WP is too wound up in bureaucracy there are documented policy's policy's that aren't really policies, etc. then what it all boils down to is what confucious say..

--DP67 (talk/contribs) 14:38, 20 December 2007 (UTC)
I can work on some of the scripting. Im trying to find out more about CSS etc at the moment. Tbo 157 15:04, 20 December 2007 (UTC)
For scripting I'm not too good at coming up with things from scratch but I can read into existing scripts and figure out whats going on. I'm not a pro at wiki templates but I'm learning. I don't mind adapting them if there are any we need I'll gladly modify them to suit the local need. Speaking of, one thing that would be really nice is Lupin's Editor. I don't know what you've got running server side so I'm not sure if it will support java applets or not.
--DP67 (talk/contribs) 18:07, 20 December 2007 (UTC)
Should we get rid of some of the cafe sections. We don't really need 5 sections. WE could merge some of them and get rid of Guard's van in my opinion as thats just a duplicate of the help desk. Tbo 157 19:38, 20 December 2007 (UTC)

Symbol support vote.svg Support -- I'm all for simplicity. The Station Cafe simplifies discussions by bringing them into one place (well, OK, several places, but I see no harm in separating discussions about Policy and Technical matters, for example) rather than having them spread around user talk pages that most users will not have on a watchlist. Messages should not 'hang around for days', as all admins should have the Station Cafe pages on their watch list and respond as appropriate. I'm not aware that any messages have been ignored for days. I've seen some user talk page messages ignored for days or weeks, while the editor is away from the wiki, but not those at the Cafe.

The Cafe certainly WAS based on the Village Pump, for the simple reason that there was a need for such a beast here. It freed up the 'Community Portal' which was then free to be developed into an area to provide updates about changes at TSW, but instead there's a 'newsletter' being developed elsewhere.

In terms of simplicity, I've been simplifying some of the flowery text that seems to be left around on public-facing pages (such as the Station Cafe subtitles within the boxed header above, and the preceding text). Have you seen the Help Desk page? It's enough to put anyone off using it. maybe the Help Desk should re-direct to the Guard's Van -- that would avoid having two similarly-functioning pages. (Also, most users seem to go to other user talk pages to ask for help, rather than going to the Help Desk.)

So far we have not imported any processes from WP. We have used WP as a model, certainly, as it has been going a number of years longer than TSW and has had time to find out where there are problems that need addressing with processes. But why re-invent the wheel? For example, much of our category structure mirrors that at WP to the letter, but why try and recreate a different structure when the relationships between topics will be the same and the language to describe them is the same?

We do not yet have an 'AfD' process/policy. Since TSW was founded, no-one has needed one! We do not yet have an RfA process, as no-one has agreed what we want. We do have help pages, but they are incomplete copies from WP and need serious copy-editing. We have a tutorial, with two pages missing and masses of redlinks. We have a rapidly growing selection of Portals, Workforces and Userboxes, but relatively little in the way of 'content'.

Simplicity we already have -- what we lack is focus.

EdJogg 01:46, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

Social accomodations

One thing I think we can do being a smaller group is develop a social community. WP expects everything to be 100% business and frown on socializing on anything off topic. They claim to have IRC social meets yet I've gone in some of the rooms and you can sit there for hours and nobody says a word. Be it IRC, or a forum type platform is that sort of thing a possibility here?

DP67 (talk/contribs) 14:49, 20 December 2007 (UTC)
We have a chat room if you click on the Live Chat link on the left. It's below Special Pages and above Digg/ Or, if you want, I can set up a message board?
BG7 14:59, 20 December 2007 (UTC)
I think we should have a general forum. Tbo 157 15:05, 20 December 2007 (UTC)
How do you mean? I can pput together a small message board (alas with adverts and an external link, none of which benefits us :-(, unless Tim can add it to the Spotting World Domain?). Please let me know.
BG7 15:07, 20 December 2007 (UTC)
There is some sort of extension that allows forum style operation. I'm not sure if it overrides all pages though. Extensions are relatively easy to add. We need to be really careful about generic messageboards. While I can mount them with ease some are huge spam and security holes.
Have a look at mediawiki for suitabel extensions, and see what you think we need
Tim Trent Talk to me 15:29, 20 December 2007 (UTC)
We're lookkng at the problem, Bernd and I. Before we go a huge way down this road, how certani are you that we need such a thing? What would be wrong with dedicating a page here as the forum? Surely that is what the cafe is meant to be? Have I missed the point somewhre along the way? Tim Trent Talk to me 15:40, 20 December 2007 (UTC)
I don't have a problem with things how they are. I just want to see the cafe simplified. Possibly less sections. Does Bernd have an account? Tbo 157 15:55, 20 December 2007 (UTC)
He does, but his talk page is not a priority item for him to check. Bernd Heller. He is an enabler, not a participant, if you follow me. Tim Trent Talk to me 16:14, 20 December 2007 (UTC)
Ye, like a WP developer. It might make his life easier if we all list the prroblems weve encountered at Sworld:SpottingWorld:Bugs and problems. Tbo 157 16:29, 20 December 2007 (UTC)
Be aware that, if something works as mediawiki was designed, that is the answer :) Also, if you are sure it is a bug, 100% sure (unlikely) then it needs to be well documented. If it's a layout issue then, in general, that is under user control and soluble by the community. Tim Trent Talk to me 18:15, 20 December 2007 (UTC)
Good to know.. I sit in the WP chat rooms sometimes for hours and nobody says a word. Parts/Quits galore but thats about it. They all must be sleeping or cybering.. Ever think about just a room on freenode or something? It's free and doesn't use up your own servers BW. --DP67 (talk/contribs) 18:02, 20 December 2007 (UTC)
We do have a chat room. And there is no load on our servers :) Left hand margin. Tim Trent Talk to me 18:10, 20 December 2007 (UTC)
OK, wasn't sure if that was running locally or remotely. --DP67 (talk/contribs) 18:12, 20 December 2007 (UTC)
Oh well, Finally got my Linux box back up and running (I think) and found out the chatroom doesn't like linux. Or I'm missing the proper plugin or something. I'll have to use it on Weirdos XP I guess..
--DP67 (talk/contribs) 20:28, 20 December 2007 (UTC)
Maybe the people who might visit the chat room at WP are actually spending their time editing articles instead? EdJogg 01:01, 21 December 2007 (UTC)
But there is time to do both. WP takes itself too seriously. It can make it very "un fun" to edit there. I believe that we need social stuff and good edits. That is, in many ways, our unique over WP. And we're doing it now, with every message we place here.
Gosh, perhaps this is a messageboard or forum!
A great example is we now know what DP67 looks like cos he is at the controls of a loco. Nice pic, BTW. Not hard to find BG7 and his pic driving a DMU and digging a hole.
We may never meet in the pub, but we meet here when it suits us. And we create articles and other stuff too.
Tim Trent Talk to me 01:08, 21 December 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for the compliment. I assume you're talking about the locomotive being the nice part.. lol I think I figured out what was wrong with my Fedora Box, but the bad news is.. The Flash Chat does not like Linux. I tried it earlier on Winblows and it works.. Now I need to go to the store and get another LAN cable so I can run both machines..
--DP67 (talk/contribs) 01:24, 21 December 2007 (UTC)
OK, maybe I've been Devil's advocate here...
At WP, the best friendships I've built up, if sometimes only briefly, have been where I have been working in close collaboration with one or two other editors to develop a page, often in a short timescale to get a DYK entry selected. Other friendships develop over time, but again, usually through the 'additional information' that you glean through talk page conversations.
Each to his own, though, I'm just not a chatroom person, I guess. :o) (although, aren't we chatting now?)
BTW -- Tim, you mention the pub -- I find it a little silly that we work little more than 100yds from one another but we've not met for a pint!
EdJogg 02:12, 21 December 2007 (UTC)
True. We will have to do that soon! Wrt to chatrooms etc, I agree with you, others don't. But we have the facilities here for "to each his own", which is great. Tim Trent Talk to me 07:23, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

A request

I understand the purpose behind the mathmatical spam spam filter, but can it be turned off temporarily? While article inventory is built up ot a pain in the bullions having to complete another step each time you edit a page.

Thanks! --DP67 (talk/contribs) 23:07, 20 December 2007 (UTC)
Who sees the mathematical captcha thing? I haven't seen it except when I was not logged in. Or are admins exempt? Tim Trent Talk to me 23:11, 20 December 2007 (UTC)
I would suspect admins are exempt.. But it pops up everytime for me. (Sometimes I have to take me shoes off! LOL) --DP67 (talk/contribs) 23:19, 20 December 2007 (UTC)

Do we have any snow experts?

People love rail snow ploughs. A decent article on thenm woudl be awesome. We have some stuff already from last winter (Union Pacific Rotary Plows), but youtube has new vids in abundance.

A really good artilce that is then Digged etc would be great. is a great source and {{video}} of major use

Tim Trent Talk to me 18:42, 23 December 2007 (UTC)

Article started at Ploughing snow. Come and play! Tim Trent Talk to me 00:28, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
Related question, having added a there a practical limit on the number of video pics on a page? (I'm thinking download times, etc) EdJogg 01:53, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
We can always subdivide the page. The d/l time limit is really imposed by the video server, nothing else. Tim Trent Talk to me 10:28, 28 December 2007 (UTC)

Please digg things

Has just been Dugg it is Ploughing snow, and ought to bring traffic to us.

Digging interesting articles will help bring folks to us who may want to stay and join is, or may just enjoy a visit sometimes.

Tim Trent Talk to me 00:06, 29 December 2007 (UTC)

Good move there, Tim. Will do so if I remember, but it is far-removed from what I normally do on-line...
EdJogg 00:49, 29 December 2007 (UTC)
Pssst. Just a hint to Digg it, too. For everyone. Ok, it means joining Digg, but so what? Tim Trent Talk to me 09:37, 29 December 2007 (UTC)

Multiple Upload

There is a multiple upload extension available unfortunately it is not restricted. I am working on the code to see if I can get it to work for sysop only. If I get it working you are more than welcome to the code. Something like this could come in handy for sysops and trusted users.

--DP67 (talk/contribs) 05:48, 29 December 2007 (UTC)
Sorry for the belated reply!
I say, if you can get it working, GO FOR IT!!! I personally would fid it really useful - what about everyone else?
BG7 12:31, 13 January 2008 (UTC)


I have been placing some shortcuts on here in a similar fashion to the Wikipedia pages - those that are to do with the general running of the website. For example TSW:P. 51mply south 19:02, 29 December 2007 (UTC)

This follows-on from a number of shortcuts I have created. Being free from WP constraints here (no liklihood of 'everything' being an article), it is possible to create really short shortcut names that can seriously save some typing. Hence you will find cafe, FAQ, buffet, works, mess, etc, and new Category:Shortcuts to provide a quick reference for what's available. (Incidentally, Cats takes you to the top of the category tree, and Tcats takes you to the TSW Categories cat....)
EdJogg 00:38, 30 December 2007 (UTC)

Video clip descriptions

Is there any way that the descriptive text for a video clip can be placed alongside the clip rather than below it? I haven't checked for available width on a SVGA screen, but there would certainly seem to be plenty of width available.

This would suggest the need for a template...

EdJogg 00:31, 31 December 2007 (UTC)

{{Video}} was started but never finished. This may help. Your first thought will be a table, but CSS would, if you can deploy it, be better. Tim Trent Talk to me 13:39, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
Soon after writing the above, I tried a table, and the results are at Slough Estates Ltd, No. 3. Haven't played further yet. {{Video}} is a good idea, and could also identify the categories...
EdJogg 00:38, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

Howdy all,

Please comment on image:Wiki.png, seen here: Wiki.png, as a possible logo to be displayed for one day only on the 14th Feb. it will then be found in Trains:Special Notices Archive, a page to keep all such special things!


BG7 17:29, 2 February 2008 (UTC)

I think thats a good idea but I don't think it should replace the actual logo on the top left hand side. Tbo 19:42, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
I think a suitable message in the site notice would be adequate 'celebration'. -- EdJogg 20:23, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
I've been away. Sorry. Ok, Marketing hat on: "However good an idea is, never mess with a logo". Look at Ford, GE etc. Lousy logos but the just do not change, ever.
I'm strongly in favour of something as a banner, just not as a logo change.
Tim Trent Talk to me 14:36, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

Moving the Main Page to Train Spotting World or similar?

Hello all,

Would anyone object to the above move? It's has been pointed out to me on my wiki(s) that my Google Page Rank will be higher if my Main Page has the name of the wiki or something relevant to it, especiall for keyword searches as they will be on every page.

Give me your ideas!

BG7 20:53, 27 March 2008 (UTC)

I see no objection at all. It can always be moved back if it goes silly on you. Tim Trent Talk to me 16:35, 29 March 2008 (UTC)
Are there any MediaWiki concerns? MainPage is presumably a default used by all Wikis. Will there be any software/utilities that expect this name rather than something else? EdJogg 09:21, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
Nope. There is a MediaWiki page (MediaWiki:Mainpage) that you change the page name on and it automatically changes the rest of it. It is better for your Google Page Rank (how high we are yp Google searches) to have Train Spotting World (or Trains) - Trains - (internet browser) in your header bar, and Train Spotting World on every page in the sidebar than how have it now!
I've now used it on several wikis (mine) in different ways, and it works perfectly! Some other wikis just use a redirect, however the correct MW utility should do it better!
Hope this answers you question!
If there are no objections i'll do it later today and we'll see what happens!
BG7 09:43, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
Well, as long as you know what you're doing... :o) EdJogg 09:33, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
;) Of course! I've moved it to and nothing seems to have broken yet!
BG7 09:37, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

Quick suggestion...

Hey all,

Just an idea, but is it possible to install Oversight on the wiki?

I think it's needed, mainly due to us attracting a large amount of users who are fairly young, and also that i have noticed a lot of FF things have bad language in it that we might want to remove? (Or rather, the language is in the history).

Just a thought. If it's not possible, don't worry ;). Although i have a feeling it will require us to upgrade our MW version (1.14alpha is very good...)


BG7 17:54, 22 April 2008 (UTC) 15:28, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

Let's wait until we actually need it. Upgrading the version of MW is not, as you know, without major issues. I'm not worried about 'idiot profanity' Tim Trent Talk to me 21:36, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

The Custard Cream Cavalry

I was recently upon the bridge of Diss in Norfolk (England) on a gloryously sunny day. Whilst partaking in another offering of custard creams and worthers original i suddenly spotted a train arriving within the distance. All the fellow trainspotters looked upon with amazement and excitement to see a train glide with passion below our feet. It was at that moment i looked at my fellow trainspotters and said "Do u know what?... I think we are the true definition of boring, and we should really consider comptemplating all the wasted years we have spend doing nothing". To that, we all agreed and went our seperate ways. I am now living it up in sunny Las Vagas with 3 beutiful blonde babes, maybe u should all reconsider your direction in lives too :-).

The Guard's Van



How do I become an administrator? --S.C.Ruffeyfan 18:00, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

Well over at WP there is somethign called RfA, or Requests for Adminship. We don;t have such thing as this here yet, but it may appear soon. In the meantime, if you talk to Tim he might make you an admin...
Hope this helps!
Bluegoblin7 18:02, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

(after edit conflict)

It's by no means as formal as Wikipedia. We don't have a process yet, but we probably should soon. You do it by helping out, showing use of common sense, decent quality edits in articles or admin areas, helping other users, etc.
The thing about adminship is that it is a real pain! Seriously!! Because we have no special privileges, we only have extra responsibilities we work a little bit harder, and truly try to get the place into shape.
At present we appoint admins on a whim! So far it has been my whim! But we now have sufficient other admins that they can make a judgment and have their own whims, too.
You have to be pretty sure you want to be one before asking to be one :)
Tim Trent 18:07, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

Images from Wikimedia Commons

I notice many images here are from Wikimedia Commons, can you link directly to images from Wikimedia Commons like that other Wiki Website? Or do you have to go through the hassle of uploading them separately? If you have to upload them separately is there a bot to make it easier? Oxyman 16:26, 29 December 2007 (UTC)

Hi there. Unfortunately images from there have to be uploaded separately but we are currently looking for bots to perform the various laborious tasks that need doing. If you do upload images from Commons, you should tag teh talk page with {{From Commons}} Thanks. Class91 17:27, 29 December 2007 (UTC)


How do u archive a talk page??????????? --S.C.Rf 18:36, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

Hi Alex,
The easiset way is to just cut and paste the content from your talk page to an archive page (User talk:S.C.Ruffeyfan/Archive 1 for example), however there is a way to do it where you move the history of a page as well. Tim, Slambo or EdJogg, may know more...
BG7 18:48, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
If you really want the background to this, there's help somewhere at WP page: WP:Help:Archiving a talk page, which describes archiving talk pages. Can't remember where it is, though. There are drawbacks to both methods, but the simple cut-and-paste, as described by BG7 is quite adequate. The history is preserved on your talk page, as is the submission where you identify moving a chunk of talk content to an archive, so there's nothing to worry about -- you won't 'lose' history.
Have a look at Tim's talk page and you'll see what you need to do (scroll down a bit to find the 'Archives' box, and look at one of the archive pages to see the templates to use). I would suggest you look at my page, but you'll have to go to WP for that, as I haven't got round to it yet here.
EdJogg 00:34, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
Having just seen that {{Archive box}} did not exist, I have now got round to archiving my own talk page. So have a look to see how its done. It is quite straightforward.
Incidentally, it might be helpful to copy WP:Help:Archiving a talk page over here, especially as it is linked from all the templates and sub-templates! Thoughts anyone?
EdJogg 13:33, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

New user welcome template

Where's the New User Welcome (user talk page) template? There's a typo on it! ('diesn't' instead of 'doesn't') EdJogg 10:29, 19 June 2008 (UTC)

That took some finding! MediaWiki:NewUserWelcomeTalkPageContent Tim Trent Talk to me 10:37, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
The typo has been untypoed Tim Trent Talk to me 10:41, 19 June 2008 (UTC)

Bad filename needs deleting

A user has managed to create Is This the End?, which seems an innocuous-enough title, except that the Mediawiki software is objecting to it -- click on the page link, and you'll see ("Bad title").

At the very least someone with access to the server needs to look into this to remove the file, and find out what is being objected to in the filename. Once the issue is resolved, the replacement article Is This the End should be moved to its correct title (with a question mark).

For reference, Wikipedia has plenty of article titles containing question marks. ('?' itself is a redirect to 'Question mark').

EdJogg 09:53, 30 October 2008 (UTC)

Bernd is looking at it. Unfortunately a simple deletion from the database is impossible. MW software has weird database dependencies. I created a file myself Test page? and have the same result. It fails on page creation, which is regrettable since the work put in to creating the page is lost. Tim Trent Talk to me 13:47, 30 October 2008 (UTC)
Just as well we found this then! EdJogg 14:43, 30 October 2008 (UTC)
It appears to be impenetrable, though. Tim Trent Talk to me 14:50, 30 October 2008 (UTC)
Hey guys, I think that the problem is related to our MW version. I don't know what version we're running as Special:Version isn't showing it. I'll have a looksy to see what version it was introduced in, if that is the issue. *sigh* it seems many of our issues relate to the software version... Personally, i'd upgrade to 1.14alpha and use that (indeed, I do!) but it's up to you guys.
BG7 17:54, 22 April 2008 (UTC) 16:03, 3 November 2008 (UTC)
I take your point, but it will take an earthquake to make us upgrade. MW sucks, and release upgrades suck the worst of all. Tim Trent Talk to me 17:59, 3 November 2008 (UTC)
True ;). The easiest way I found was to reinstall it with the latest one, and just putting in the db etc as it is. Update the extensions at the same time, and then run upgrade.php in the maintenance file and we've had no issues. We now update from the latest SVN revision on all of our wikis on our wikifarm. Anyhoo, just my thoughts ;) BG7 17:54, 22 April 2008 (UTC) 19:06, 3 November 2008 (UTC)

Macon, Dublin and Savannah Railroad

Hi there, New member to the forum here.

I was attempting to find anyone with information regarding the paint scheme used on the MD&S diesels in the 40's and 50's.

I am inquiring about the colors used, lettering and heralds on any diesel-anyone has info about.

My name is Ric and I may be reached at:

Many thanks to all!

Hi Ric,
I hope you find the information out. When you do is there a chance you can add it to the article, please? Tim Trent Talk to me 17:58, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

Fanfiction Needs Deletion

Hi there,

a user has created a series of pages for a Thomas fanfiction, "Thomas the Trackmaster Movie", which was made by plagiarizing my fanfiction from, "Saving Sodor".

I'm not happy to have my work plagiarized by this user. If these articles could be deleted, that would be much apreciated.


Creating new topics?

How do you make new topics? Thomasfanaz (talk) 00:16, 29 August 2011 (UTC)

Left Luggage


I've just hammered down this set pf pages adding a shedload of pages from WP that seem to fit. However I have added them uncritically, for the most part. I'd appreciate other eyes being passed over them, ripping things out of not relevant here.

We are not a WP clone. We will use the things they have that are useful, will add our own and will remove heavy bureaucracy wherever we find we are slipping into it.

OK, that sounds like a directive. It isn't. It's a desire. I loathe the WP bureaucracy and am wholly against creating one here. I just want things that help, not that involve people in barrack room lawyer stuff.

Tim Trent Talk to me 20:58, 26 November 2007 (UTC)


Just noticed that the default WP signature includes a '(talk)' hotlink after the username, but the TSW one does not. Any reason for this? EdJogg 14:16, 27 November 2007 (UTC)

It arrived "suddenly" on WP. I have no idea what the setting is that triggers it, or of it is available in the stable release that we use. If it's available to us I am happy to trigger it. It's useful. Any pointers gratefully received! Tim Trent Talk to me 18:28, 27 November 2007 (UTC)
That WP talk thing seems to be switching on and off on a daily basis! Tim Trent Talk to me 20:30, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
Found it. But it requires a patch and it also requires trusting the latest release of mediawiki, which is unstable, because WP runs on the current unstable version. Hell will freeze over (or we'll need an overriding reason) before we upgrade this, it's too fragile. If this were "real" software it would never have been allowed into the wild. I have updates pages MediaWiki:Signature and MediaWiki:Signature-anon in TSW so that, should we ever upgrade (and I do mean "ever" - almost all wikis have frozen on their "release at date of installation"), it will remind us to do it to the other wikis, too, assuming it actually works at that point (they fiddle with things back at Mediawiki). Tim Trent Talk to me 07:45, 7 December 2007 (UTC)
I guess it's something that we can easily live without.
I'm not sure of your rose-tinted view of "real" software though. M$ new operating systems are notoriously unreliable: where possible, business users wait for a year before deploying them (I'm waiting for the Service Pack for Vista, which is not due until March). Can't rememeber the release number, but WordPerfect released a pre-release version by mistake that was riddled with bugs and had a severe impact on their users' confidence. And as for eBay...the developers there are ALWAYS fiddling with the live environment, and from forum feedback their Turbolister program has a catalogue of issues as they tweak and and break and fix. WP is also 'fiddled with', but that is in the nature of a wiki, and it seems pretty reliable on the whole, whowever unstable mediawiki is. I would also be inclined to say that ALL software has bugs in, it's just that some are more obvious than others!
EdJogg 09:24, 7 December 2007 (UTC)

pictures in Cat:User:Yaohua2000

The category is redlinked, but it contains pictures and they can be seen now. Some are orphans, at least one is 8MB. We need to determine whether we need the pictures, the more so since they proved technically problematic to render:

there are 3 HUGE (3-8MB) files in it and MW has default limits for the convert process that totally blocked it. the poor thing tried to convert those enormous files with a 10kB memory limit. bound to fail. increased it, and it now works.

So says Bernd. It took him a disproportionately long time to solve. SO, do the pictures and articles add to us or do they have negligible value?

Tim Trent Talk to me 09:32, 2 December 2007 (UTC)

The three huge files are all video clips. The pictures are mostly used in Qingzang railway, so may be seen in context. Presumably all this it is still in place at WP, so it could be reasonably argued that there's no need for the page/images here. EdJogg 01:10, 3 December 2007 (UTC)


Does anyone else think that "TSWer" is an ugly word? I'm sure it was created in good faith as an equivalent to "Wikipedian", but, unlike that, it isn't possible to say it out loud.

Any objections to changing Cat:TSWers to Cat:TSW users?

EdJogg 15:27, 6 December 2007 (UTC)

The original does sound a bit like ~gasp~ tossers, doesn't it! Now we get "category fun". Want to try to get the bot from WP that does cat changes? Tim Trent Talk to me 20:28, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
I genuinely hadn't spotted that! But now I find it hard to read it as anything else :o). Try reading the intro to Trains:Welcoming committee now...
As for the bot...(a) I've never used one, (b) it would be one of the most useful bots to have, but, (c) we've caught the problem early: 6 categories with it in the title, and another 28 pages with it somewhere else.
NB - The bulk of the affected pages are from the adoption scheme, some of which should be moving to SW. Feel free to start moving things around! (I'll add it to the ToDo list.)
EdJogg 23:59, 6 December 2007 (UTC)

Thoughts for the future...

A few thoughts for the future...

  1. Expand the workforces, and start a grading system, aswell as something like WP:Council, but less formal, for future forces
  2. Get all the help complete and centralised (started i believe)
  3. Get in some Wp processes, such as AfD, RfA etc, but make them MUCH less formal

Any good? (Feel free to add more!)

This is just a list of my personal ideas. Please feel free to add more, and also please please please comment on them... I would like to impelemt some in time for TSW's 1st birthday in February, but obviously they take time to make, so please comment ASAP!!! (but that's a nice ASAP... don't rush it! ;]) Bluegoblin7 10:59, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

OK, my thoughts...
(1) Workforces will not need much formal process, either to setup or run, as they are really intended for co-ordinating the efforts of groups of like-minded contributors to build on a subject area. For example, if you got some of your tram-enthusiast friends to join in I would expect you all to get on with organising and running the workforce without any kind of centralised control. In the future this may change, but I suggest we cross that bridge when we come to it!
(2) Help pages are worth concentrating on. They need to be built-up at Spotting World and transcluded across (see discussion elsewhere!), which will avoid duplicating effort. Same goes for the Tutorial, which appears to have two pages missing!
(3) Processes need to be developed, but ony where needed. 'RfA', for example, will need to be simplified at first due to the dearth of contributors. Once the Wiki is properly running we can introduce something more formal. If we recognise this now then it will avoid arguments later.
You also need to remember a couple of things. WP has evolved complex processes for certain tasks to (hopefully) ensure fair play and that everyone has a chance to comment or disagree. Some of these processes, and the timing thereof, rely on the sheer number of visitors (editors) to WP -- they know that there is a high chance of interested parties 'dropping by' within a short time frame, and there are plenty of people willing to help implement the results.
We need to consider and evolve processes on a case-by-case basis, as needs arise. For example, AfD is achieved through the Station Cafe pages, at present, since we are unlikely to encounter any that require discussion. As numbers increase, and users start adding more pages, it will become more likely that disputes will arise over content, and that is when we need to have the processes to handle it.
As for me, I ought to take a back seat over Christmas. Any major editing time I allow myself needs to be directed towards Traction Engine content at WP. As WP's '(un)official Traction Engine correspondent' I have been failing in my duties... :o)
EdJogg 13:36, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
(2) Help pages are worth concentrating on. They need to be built-up at Spotting World and transcluded across (see discussion elsewhere!), which will avoid duplicating effort. Same goes for the Tutorial, which appears to have two pages missing!"
Not sure if I mentioned this before or not... But this is an important issue. On thing I really dislike about WP is the help section is so scattered around that in order to get the answers you are looking for you have to go through a dozen or so pages. Kind like those damn automated telephone answering machines that piss everyone off. If there is anyway that could be avoided here it's well worth it. Being overly bureaucratic is the cause for that. Let's hope it doesn't get that way here.
--DP67 (talk/contribs) 18:53, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

""So farthis has been mainly my fault: i will delete all the help pages we don't need and the ones we do ill redirect to spottingworld. Let me know what YOU want to see help wise! --BG7 18:55, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

Just so you know, I'm not talking about here, I realize and respect the fact that this is a work in progress.. There's allot of stuff missing and that's to be expected. The other place on the other hand has gotten so far spread out it's a nightmare to get help if you need it because no one page gives you all the details or at least a general summary without having to click a dozen links reading policies that may contradict one another.. For help it shouldn't be that way. If a visitor ("potential FA/GA editor") comes in and can't find what they want on the first page that came up on a search engine or within a couple of clicks... They're gone.. Easy navigation for the visitor is the key to any websites success.
--DP67 (talk/contribs) 19:35, 21 December 2007 (UTC)
Well thats a reason I put places to find help on the main page (that reminds me - it needs moving!), but i just copied the WP help when i strted setting it up. As i move it across, i'll rationalise it. --BG7 19:39, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

Newsletter for the wiki...

Hello TSW Users,

I was just wanting some input from other users as to what to call our new newsletter, what it should contain, and how it should look.

So far, suggested names have included:

  • Platform Ticket
  • Notice Board
  • Timetable Board
  • Driver's Notebook

Please add any layouts etc to my sandbox ----> User:Bluegoblin7/Sandbox

Please add any ideas for content there too.


Bluegoblin7 17:10, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

  • Spotting diary?
  • Transport Journal (and include all (!) of the wikis in it) Tim Trent Talk to me 17:26, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
Yes transport journal sounds good. Tbo 157 17:45, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
Ive mocked up a possible template for the newsletter at User:Tbo 157/newsletter sandbox. Colours, titles, layout can easily be changed. Tbo 157 18:17, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

Other suggestions to bounce around..
  • TSW Dispatch(er) or The Dispatch(er), or just Dispatch(er) within the trains motif but also a popular name among newsprint media.
  • TSW Tower
  • TSW Yard Board
  • Form 19 (Not sure if it means much to the UK, but Form 19 is the main work order form for all US railroads. Without a form 19, you sit and wait.) A few other ideas may come to mind when my head stops aching.
--DP67 (talk/contribs) 01:36, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
"Transport Journal" is good: allows use with multiple 'spotter' wikis and uses generic terminology, although "Spotters' Diary" has some merit too.
TSW Dispatcher/Tower/Yard Board/Form 19 all use US-specific terminology which we are trying to avoid (DP67 will be unaware of the debates that went into the naming of the Station Cafe and its sub-areas).
EdJogg 09:37, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
Although the name and format of this newsletter hasn't been decided yet, you can sign up to be part of the editing team or subscribe to the newsletter here. You can also see a draft of the newsletter here Thanks. Tbo 157 12:49, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

Functional format for the year pages

Okay, so I started on this quite a while ago, but it took until today to get one of the year pages fully fleshed out. I just went through all of the inbound links to 1981 and added events from all those pages to the year page. Other than the lack of references (the Amtrak list has a few that need to be added here), this is the format that I was thinking of for year pages. I didn't see much of anything for model railway product releases or other hobby news; I would think that since this wiki is all about trains, model and hobby news would be appropriate on the year pages too. Images on the year pages should depict the events that are listed; other images that are created in the year but don't depict specific events belong in the appropriate Images of YEAR category.

The only other part that I would add right now would be an awards section for things like the 1981 Railroader of the Year (Lawrence Cena of the Santa Fe), Short Line Railroad of the Year, Regional Railroad of the Year, E. H. Harriman Awards and any others that can be identified. Some of the recent year pages on WP have sections like this. Slambo (Speak) 21:41, 20 December 2007 (UTC)

Oh yeah, one other thing that I'm planning on is to update the navbox to delink categories and pages that are not logical. For example, since we won't have any images of 2009 until January 1, 2009, that shouldn't be linked. This will cut down on the pages and categories in the wanted lists a little. Since the box is already on a lot of pages, I'll be doing the update and testing separately and then copying over the working template when it's done (which I can hopefully get to this weekend). Slambo (Speak) 21:45, 20 December 2007 (UTC)

That looks amazing. BG7 is designing our railway wheel barnstars, and this beacon deserves one. You've shown us already how to start to distance ourselves from WP. It strikes me that we should each take a year and follow your example. Tim Trent Talk to me 22:10, 20 December 2007 (UTC)
I've started work on 2007. It is a detailed process. I'm adding it to the to do list as a global task. I suggest we each grab a page and note it there. Tim Trent Talk to me 12:57, 21 December 2007 (UTC)
I created User:Slambo/Years as a sort of check-off list to mark the pages that are under construction and to strike them out when they are completed. The list also includes all of the anniversary pages, so I'll build one of those as an example page too. Really, they're very similar to the years, but they're centered around a date instead. Slambo (Speak) 18:32, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

Site and community growth

I think we all want our community to grow. The one key thing is that we can not force growth. By that I mean we can't put links to us into every goshdarned newsgroup, we can;t make search engines find us better than they do (that comes with time).

What we can do is to have fun.

Fun is infectious. Work is alien. When the task of making the content fly here is fun, things happen.

I've said this before and I'll keep saying it. Content is king.

There are two sides to this place:

  • Casual visitors, the folks who come here for interest and information
  • Those who get involved, even if briefly

The first are the bread and butter here. They drop in, they read a while, they may tell a friend, and they leave. We hope very much that they click an advert, but we don't expect it or ask for it. These are the people who cause the bills to be paid, and we love them.

The second are the people who probably come here. They are the creators, the editors, the politicians, the inspiration. We, for I am one, we have fun by creating this place. We enjoy titivating articles, sharing experiences, chatting to each other. We don't even see the adverts any more, and we certainly do not click them.

The community is made up from the second sort. It will grow by world of mouth, by club members writing pages about clubs, by embryo engine drivers writing about their experience driving an engine. We are not an encyclopaedia. We may want to cite things and write well, but we can put opinion end experience in. We cause content to be generated. And spiders visit us from search engines and index that content. Every edit is sent out on our RSS feed for recent changes, and that feed is registered with every RSS directory we can find. That generates inbound links of random value deep within our site.

And those links attract search engines and attract the casual visitor. Those are the folks we create this stuff for. And ourselves, of course!

So the site increases its visitor count, slowly, and our community increases slowly. And steadily. And that's the whole point. Tortoise and hare.

Now, if anyone can help with places to add real links to us that are relevant to forum topics, then great. If you have a club you want to showcase here, great. If you have friends to tell about the place, great. That;s how we grow.

Tim Trent Talk to me 16:04, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

One easy suggestion is to add a link into your signature on train related boards and in your email client. It basically says "I'm involved in the projects listed below" without placing undue strain on the recipients of the messages; links to sites where you are very involved are generally accepted and expected in signatures. For example, I've had the main TSW page in my sig at Trainboard since I joined here; the server logs should show the referrer results from there (but I suspect that it's pretty small so far).
I've thought of making business cards for myself that list my research project links (this would be one of them, WP another, The Rip Track [my own site] a third, etc.) that I can use when I visit reference libraries (oh, how I wish the NMRA's Kalmbach Memorial Library was closer to me!) or industry locations. Slambo (Speak) 20:00, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

Lupin's Editor tools..

Would it be possible to talk to Lupin (on Wikipedia) and ask him if we can import his editor tools here? I'm not sure if they would work here as is but they are very handy to have. His vandal tools or Twinkle might also be handy for future use. Also; On WP you are able to view/edit your raw watch list is it possible to have that option here as well? Makes stripping wiki from entire categories and raw text dumping into your watch list.

--DP67 (talk/contribs) 14:52, 23 December 2007 (UTC)

Some thoughts on unique content

Here are some less than random thoughts from today's foray out of the house...

So we want to be more than just a WP mirror. Well, on my recent jaunt to the local hobby shop today, I flipped through a few of the magazines there. In the Milwaukee Railroader (publication of the Milwaukee Road Historical Association), I see an article about the Milwaukee Road parlor solarium cars, an article about Milwaukee passenger trains 56/58, and another article about Atkins, Iowa, that showed how the Milwaukee Road passed through the town and its impact on the local area. In Narrow Gauge and Short Line Gazette, I see an article about the Victoria Falls Hotel Trolley, and an article about 30" gauge railroads in Montana. Other magazines have similarly specific articles. These are specifically the kinds of articles that we can write and update here to create the unique content we need to differentiate ourselves from other sites.

We haven't built stringent notability requirements for article inclusion here yet, but as far as I can see, the only real requirement is that the article has to have something to do with rail transport. In other words, let's get cracking and start writing articles on more specific topics and start tracking things down to details that are too minute for WP's notability guidelines. Sure, we should include those big topics, but we should also include articles about lesser known subjects, like we often see in the glossy magazines. If we can put enough of them together on a regular basis, we can even look into (long term thinking here...) publishing our own printed periodical.

So, how do we get articles like that? Find a subject that you're interested in learning more about, research it and write about it here. That's how I got into writing the article about the Pioneer Zephyr, Timken 1111, California Southern Railroad (looks like those last two aren't imported yet), and a number of other topics that have come up in the three years I've been editing over there. Our inclusion criteria here is much more liberal, so let's get to it. Slambo (Speak) 03:07, 24 December 2007 (UTC)


How come Special:Events does not respond to includeonly/noinclude tags?

Have a look at February and you'll see three complete copies of the (fairly long) Brighton Modelworld page!

If we could use these tags, each event page could have a visible section as a normal 'article page' and a hidden section to display on the 'events' page. A template would do nicely for this.

EdJogg 22:14, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

Only the guy who wrote the calendar will know the answer, I think. Tim Trent Talk to me 23:02, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
Well, I've asked a question at the Calendar extension help page at MeidaWiki, so we'll see if it ever gets a response... EdJogg 00:38, 14 January 2008 (UTC)


Is it about time someone archived tha cafe?

I'd do it, but i'm VERY busy at the moment, doing some stuff to, Planes and ScoutWiki.

BG7 13:55, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

Two pages "rescued"

A long-time editor at WP has posted his intentions to reduce two lists of railfan jargon to little more than stubs a week from now when he removes every item that is not referenced. I've copied the text of the two pages here using the same titles: List of U.S. railfan jargon and List of UK railfan jargon. I haven't copied the images yet mostly because I don't have enough time to go through all of them to check their licenses and reupload them. Slambo (Speak) 21:42, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

It might be appropriate to mention your rescue on the WP talk pages, with links, and that we have different standards of citation. Tim Trent Talk to me 23:10, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
Thank you, Slambo -- several items now removed from my ToDo list! I had anticipated this, but had temporarilly removed the pages from my WP watchlist while I caught up with my Christmas backlog! I have captured List of NZ railfan jargon to complete the set, and created the CompactTOC that they use.
BTW - I respect the judgement of the editor in question. WP is pushing harder for references in order to be taken more seriously, and, unfortunately, these pages fall far short of the expected standards. The difference, with him editing them, is that the pages will be retained (albeit in severely truncated form), whereas another editor, or group of editors, might decide that they were irredeemable, and hence remove them altogether -- I suspect they wouldn't survive a third AfD unless much better referenced.
EdJogg 00:19, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
It's horses for courses. WP is an encyclopaedia. We are a place for fun and amusement and happen to include good articles, with a preference for citations but no necessity. The WP editor is correct and has also given good warning.
I think we may genuinely promote ourselves there on the talk pages (not sure about the articles) as a resource that is able to hold uncited material.
I'm leaving that to you guys. You are better judges of the mood there than I am.
Tim Trent Talk to me 01:04, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
I added Railroad nicknames, too. I suspect wp:Rail terminology is also vulnerable, but it is sleep time. Tim Trent Talk to me 01:20, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
I considered the other two pages too, especially the nicknames page, but they weren't under threat yet. Slambo (Speak) 13:44, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
Just passing through, but I picked up Rail terminology, too. It is bound to be vulnerable. Like you I have not grabbed the images. I may have a change to do so later, but I suspect they are less vulnerable and that we have time on our side Tim Trent Talk to me 18:20, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

Interwiki links and map...

Well ladies and gentlemen,

I can now reveal that TrainSpottingWorld is on the OFFICIAL meta-wiki Interwiki Map, as used by Wikipedia, Wikimedia etc!

The links won't actually work for a while yet - until the latest map gets sent out to all the wikis that use it - this could be anywhere from immediately until the end of the quarter!

To use the links, simply add [[swtrain:]], the same prefix we use on the SW projects, in front of the page name here!

Please, leave a message in the edit summary to say that the link sin;t active yet!

Planes and the rest of the sws will hopefully follow soon!

BG7 19:08, 4 February 2008 (UTC)

Transport Journal

For the purposes of improving the Transport Journal, can I ask users to just comment on the following:

  • Do you read the Transport Journal? If no, why not?
  • Is it easy to follow and read?
  • Is it too long or not simple enough?
  • Is it useful?
  • Any other comments?

Sorry I had to spam your talk pages but it seems to be the only way to get attention since we've had very few comments so far. See Trains:The Transport Journal/Comments. We need satisfied readers. If there are no readers or no satisfied readers, the editors are wasting their time. Thanks very much. Tbo 12:57, 10 February 2008 (UTC)

OK. You wanted my comments, so here they are...
Frankly I cannot see the point in the Transport Journal (which is why I have neither subscribed nor participated in its editing). It seems like an awful lot of work, especially if it is 'published' every week. There is the danger that it is diverting attention away from the work of improving the existing Wiki content and help pages (etc), and creating new content -- both of which are far more important.
These comments are not levelled at any of the TJ participants in particular, nor are they a 'knee-jerk' reaction -- I felt much the same way when the idea was first mooted.
Sorry. EdJogg 01:51, 11 February 2008 (UTC)
Thanks EdJogg. Comments are valuable. If enough people feel the same way, we may close the TJ or replace it. To be honest, I agree with you in part but I do think there should be a page or a newsletter, maybe monthly, which outlines simply, current discussions and issues as it is useful when the wiki grows larger for keeping track of what is going on. Tbo 11:36, 11 February 2008 (UTC)
If the TJ is discontinued it might be worth considering whether the Community Portal, or one of the related 'news' pages might fulfil this role, at least for wiki-specific information. The TJ, from what I remember, tries to incorporate information for all the active SW wikis, AND the outside world in general. That is a very wide scope... EdJogg 17:23, 11 February 2008 (UTC)
Thanks. Anoy other comments from other users? Tbo 21:23, 13 February 2008 (UTC)
I think it may be a good idea to use the Station announcements page for the wiki related news. Tbo 21:26, 13 February 2008 (UTC)
If anyone has been reading my notes, then you will notice that I suggested some supplements. The best way foward i think is (for now) to switch to monthly, and cover JUST the SW wikis, and then perhaps a bimonthly one for real-world news, community news etc... let me know ASAP, as i'll mention it in tomorrow's TJ.
BG7 17:26, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
I think the formatting should be changed. It needs to be simplified and we should stop with those long announcements and editors notes. Short and simple bullet pointed announcements are all we need in my opinion. Remember the TJ was setup to be helpful and informative to all. Class91 17:35, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
Im not so sure about real-world news. If I wanted real rail news then I would go and read a magazine or look at other websites. At the moment, I don't think its feasible to do real rail news due to the lack of editors. It would take alot of time to do a rail news magazine. Just look at any rail magazine and try and count the number of articles there are. Also everyone is interested in different articles. Tbo 17:41, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

(reset indent) Hmm... well, they are all fair points. What I suggest is the following...

  1. Lose the Real World Section for good at the moment
  2. Move editor's notes to the bottom, and smaller - we don't need it at the top!
  3. Make a section for each wiki - Planes/Trains/SW - within that we can have the community/news/announcements sections etc. It also removes having empty sections or sections with repeated info.

Failing all this, simply switch to a small news paragraph simply for each wiki, without large cross wiki section.


BG7 17:55, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

Have a look at Sworld:SpottingWorld:The Transport Journal/Issue 9. I think thats all we need. Nice and simple. Tbo 18:03, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

Please note: 'Publication' of future issues is suspended while the editors (and the subscribers) are inactive at TSW. Complaints should be directed to the current editors... EdJogg 10:18, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

Actually, weve decided to change the Transport Journal into a simple page outlining, briefly,the latest news at spottingworld projects which is updated monthly. Tbo 21:01, 22 March 2008 (UTC)
Sounds like a very sensible move. EdJogg 12:16, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
Yep I agree to - it was planned to go from Issue 9, but we postponed it to Issue 10 to get 9 released on time!
Also, would anybody have any problems if I expand the Transport Journal to my wiki, Obviously it would require minor modifications, but I can see it only as a benefit to both wikis!
BG7 16:30, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
I suppose I might be considered to be "relevant" here since I created the place. I see no objection as long as the TJ is a useful organ to it being shared between sites. Indeed I see this as positive. I do see thsi as a c9ommunity decision, though. The GFDL, while not covering this explicitly, seems to militate in favour of it, too. [I may not be active at present, but I do run my eye over what is going on!] Tim Trent Talk to me 07:34, 26 March 2008 (UTC)

We need at least one Bureaucrat

It strikes me that I should not be the only one with the door key. One needs to be one in order to action (eg) requests for adminship. I just spent ages wondering why no-one had finished making Dalek X an admin and then realised that I had to do it!

The role requires a responsible attitude because it can also screw the place up totally.

Thoughts, self (or other) nominations, etc, are needed I think.

Tim Trent Talk to me 07:41, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

With some hesitation, I put my name forward. I am not looking for more responsibility, but I recognise the need to have a 'backup bureaucrat' here. I do still monitor 'recent changes', Mon-Fri at least, but I have been MUCH more active at WP in recent months, and my limited time has to be shared between the two wikis (currently about 99.5% WP). Hence I am not expecting to be a 'pro-active' bureaucrat...
EdJogg 10:24, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
Hmm... i'd like to also nominate myself, however I think it requires more "community"(!) discussion, and a RfB to sort it out. So, once we agree it's necesary (i'm not that convinced... we're a small community still!), we should start by doing the RfBs on the current RfA pages.
Does that make sense? Probably not!
BG7 17:55, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
We do need one more, certainly, because there are times when Bernd and I are both unavailable to do whatever it is a bureaucrat can do. I agree with the need for discussion. I think we are really looking for a person who is usually available, and knows it is extra responsibility, not any form of privilege. Tim Trent Talk to me 07:52, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
Ok point taken! I would like to nominate myself as, although I haven't been active at the moment (due to something known as MediaWiki-itis - i presume Tim and Bernd know what I'm on about!), but I am always around, am able to get on every day pretty much 24/7, and have my preferences set so that I am emailed when a page on my watchlist is changed! ;)
In the meantime (as in after i've had my MediaWikibiotics!) I will set up a batch RfB page (something such as Trains:RfA/RfB's) and transclude it into the main RfA page. Users can then nominate/vote etc there, rather than cluttering RfA with RfBs!
BG7 18:40, 11 April 2008 (UTC)

[indent reset] I am content with any of the admins we have taking on this role. It really is a matter of you all being happy. I do think that one of the criteria must be that the nominee is an admin, here or elsewhere, and is in recognised "good standing" (whatever that means) Tim Trent Talk to me 22:21, 11 April 2008 (UTC)

Yes I perfectly agree with the criteria. If they are an admin here, great, and admin elsewhere, then good, but we must check first!
In all fairness do we need to go down the line of RfBs? Is it not easier to just use this discussion area and do it on here?
If so, then I see it as this:

Voting moved to new section below for ease of use.

BG7 18:57, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
That works for me. Looks like nominations are open. The floor is the community's Tim Trent Talk to me 23:17, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
Note, please: Each candidacy is a separate thing. We are not holding a popularity contest. We may end up with 1, 2 (or more), or none. Tim Trent Talk to me 17:07, 13 April 2008 (UTC)

Candidates for bureaucratship

EdJogg (talk · contribs) - Self Nom

I think I may as well close as "approved" Tim Trent Talk to me 22:03, 16 April 2008 (UTC)

Bluegoblin7 (talk · contribs) - self nom

I think I may as well close as "approved" Tim Trent Talk to me 22:03, 16 April 2008 (UTC)

We're conducting an experiment

We know that the adverts which fund the server are "tuned out" by regular editors. There is absolutely no point in displaying them to the regulars because you never see them and thus will never see anything of interest to click.

So we are now experimenting with only displaying them to non logged in (thus unregistered) users. We expect that will have two benefits:

  1. your experience as a registered user will improve
  2. The clickthru ratio will improve because we no longer see the adverts and a better or more profitable set of adverts will be displayed to the casual user.

I bet you never even noticed!

Tim Trent Talk to me 09:25, 16 June 2008 (UTC)

You're right, I hadn't noticed!
An added benefit is that the right-hand sidebar adverts will no longer obscure parts of the display. Hope the experiment works OK. EdJogg 11:44, 17 June 2008 (UTC)
We ought now to have "unobscured" the part that offended. Don;t know why we didn;t see how to solve that before. ~slaps own wrist~
We've also changed a great deal of where adverts appear. Our objective is to generate enough revenue to see us through lean times. Our server costs have more than trebled We have enough in our war chest to cover it, no problem with that at all, and we've added a fun and stupid site here with adverts to help bridge the gap.
All in all the move looks positive. The old server was great until they gave us crazy limits on number of open files and number of concurrent processes.
We're also looking at performance improvements by moving away from Apache for the wikis into a specialist environment.
Anyway, take a look at the new advertising regime by logging out. Only click an advert if the advert interests you.
Tim Trent Talk to me 14:10, 17 June 2008 (UTC)

Publishing TrainSpottingWorld Content


RAIL Magazine would like to publish a TrainSpottingWorld article ( in our next edition. Please advise on proper protocol for requesting and receiving permission and where credit should be attributed to.

Regards, Rich Sampson Assistant Editor RAIL Magazine

Hi Rich,
The correct attribution is to cite the URL of the article and attribute it to Train Spotting World as having been released under the GNU Free Documentation License (which is linked to at the foot of every page)
Train Spotting World is a combination of many sources, all GFDL licenced, and, as such, may be used freely provided attribution is given and provided the attribution chain remains unbroken.
I'm glad you found an article that appeals. I hope you find many such. Tim Trent Talk to me 14:14, 14 August 2009 (UTC)