User talk:Brian

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Hi Brian,

It would be okay to start from the Wikipedia stuff, I imagine, but ultimately, you should read the license agreement. It might require that any derived works also use the same open source license. If you want to use a different license, it could be a problem.

Why not to emulate Wikipedia

I would highly (highly highly) recommend not copying Wikipedia in terms of style and culture. They are restricted to being an encyclopedia, we should not restrict ourselves that way. Wikis are far more flexible than the rigid structure of Wikipedia. It works for them, because they want to be an encyclopedia. But we don't (or shouldn't). We should be a more collaborative and open form of Wiki.

One possibility would be to make a sub-wiki which keeps copies of wikipedia articles of interest (e.g. the Rational Responders page from wikipedia), and then we can have pages here (our own info about 'Rational Responders') which link to them for reference, but which we can also use as we see fit, without feeling like we have to be constrained to the Wikipedia format.

For example. On wikipedia, you have to keep a neutral POV, and you have to link to external links for any claims. But on our wiki, we should be able to make the RRS page represent whatever we want. It's like a community editable homepage for RRS. We could put up promotions, ask for feedback, link to articles, etc., without being stuck in an 'encyclopedia' format which says 'no no' to that kind of stuff.

I was a member of the original wiki (yes, the original first one ever) back in 1999-2001, and it was very much unlike Wikipedia. It was almost totally freeform, but the topics were focused on things related to software development, and the members were almost all professional software developers. And since it was the first wiki ever, we didn't quite yet know what it was, so we experimented with all sorts of ideas. Wikipedia took a few of those good ideas, but it left behind a whole bunch of other good ideas, and it imposed its own rules and restrictions on top of that, so that it could remain an encyclopedia.

I think most people today think that all wikis must be encyclopedia, but we shouldn't let ourselves fall into that trap. -- Wonderist 21:31, 29 October 2011 (UTC)

You're brilliant. XC added a lot of the wiki capabilities so let's still be sure to use them. I'd love to see what you could make an RRS page look like. I think I'd actually do a poor job of making a page like that. Are you suggesting no sourcing? --Brian 22:09, 29 October 2011 (UTC)

Well, actually, I think I'm good at starting things, planting seeds, and leaving them to see what they sprout into (from contributions from others). And then later, I'm good at re-organizing and streamlining the pages so that they are easier for newcomers to navigate and get info out of. I'm also pretty good at responding to things, like questions and threaded discussions. But as for coming up with the main content, that's much harder for me, because I have difficulty deciding what is important to put there and what should be omitted.

I'll give a go at it. But honestly, I have no idea what should belong on that page. I'll spend a few minutes on it, and then maybe that will give you some idea of what you want, and then you can either take over or delegate to me or someone else to fill in the missing bits. ?! Wonderist 00:52, 30 October 2011 (UTC)

Oops, forgot your last question. Do you mean, don't include stuff from Wikipedia? You could or you might not want to, depending on their licensing. It might be good to have a kind of 'local backup' of Wikipedia pages, possibly. I don't know. I thought that's what you were going for.

What I'm suggesting is simply that we shouldn't restrict ourselves to Wikipedia's style. If we import everything whole hog and 'tweak' that, we will end up basically being a Wikipedia-lite for atheist-related stuff. My suggestion was along these lines:

  • Import Wikipedia pages for the organizations/groups, but instead of making those our primary pages about the organizations, just use them as a kind of 'reference' or backup. Similar to how Facebook includes 'Interest' pages with content imported from Wikipedia (like the 'Atheism' Interest page), but you can start your own 'Atheism' group or page and put your own content on there.
  • Have an Atheism United Wiki page for each organization.
  • The AU wiki pages can link to the 'local-Wikipedia' reference pages, but they would not use that content as the primary AU wiki page content.
  • Instead, members of each organization should maintain their own organization-pages, very similar to how we will all maintain our own User: pages here.
  • In fact, just like there's a User:Brian page, I wonder if MediaWiki allows the creation of other special kinds of pages, like maybe a Group:Rational Responders page, or a Group:American Atheists page.
    • If this is not strictly possible, we could 'fake it' by creating user accounts for each atheist group/organization. If an official member steps up, they can be given access to actually log in as that organization. Possibly. Just an idea.
    • If we went this way, then it would perhaps make more intuitive sense to newcomers how these organization/group pages are supposed to be 'official', and not simply encyclopedia entries.

?! Wonderist 01:09, 30 October 2011 (UTC)

Stub pages for organizations

There are lots of possibilities. Here are a couple I can think of right now:

  • A tag such as Org stub or Urgent stub or Top 20 stub
  • A similar Category, such as Category:Urgent or Category:Top 20 Stub
    • Categories are not used in-line, like tags are. They show up at the bottom of the page.
    • Either a tag or a category would work just fine.
    • But honestly, categories are easier to use when you are trying to 'mark' the entire page, rather than a specific part within the page, which is when tags work well.
    • In fact, I'm going to make a Category:Stub page right now.
  • Instead of adding a tag or category, you can simply collect a list of pages on a separate page and ask people to focus on them. Honestly, this is what we used to do before we used categories and tags. We called them index pages. E.g. Index of urgent pages.

?! Wonderist 01:52, 30 October 2011 (UTC)

I've added [[Category:Urgent stub]], which you can get to via: Urgent stubs

I'll add a couple to give you an idea how it works. ?! Wonderist 02:51, 30 October 2011 (UTC)

Update: I played around with different ways of doing this, and came up with a few good categories. Basically, I think the best way to do it would be to use the Category:Urgent category, and then you can mark any page you want as urgent. There is also the Category:Stub category. If the page is an 'urgent stub', then add both 'Urgent' and 'Stub' categories independently. I tried creating a Category:Urgent stub, and it could also work, but it's less helpful than using two separate categories because a page marked with Category:Urgent stub doesn't show up on the lists for Category:Urgent or Category:Stub, even though I have the 'Urgent stub' category inheriting both 'Urgent' and 'Stub' categories. ‽ Wonderist (talk) 05:06, 30 October 2011 (UTC)

We can have Stub as both a Category and a template. Basically, by including the template into the article, the article is automatically included into the stub's category. I could copy over or we can make our own. --Mrxc (Talk) 23:34, 30 October 2011 (UTC)

RRS wiki page

This is what I came up with: RRS (You can thank Wikipedia:Methylphenidate. ;-) )

'Our vision' page

Hi Brian, it's basically an issue with capitalization. The wiki has a feature where the first letter of each page is automatically capitalized, and if you link to help or Help, it goes to the same place. But it only works on the very first letter of each page name. Our vision and our vision will link to the same place, but Our Vision and our Vision both link to a different page.

There's no 'one' correct way to resolve this in every case. I would suggest a rule of thumb: If the page represents a concept, idea, topic, or whatever, then usually let the default capitalization dominate, and pick our vision and Our vision as the 'official' page. If the page represents a specific title of something, such as the title of a book, article, document, etc., or if it is a proper name of a person or place, then use the standard Book Title Capitalization as the 'official' page name.

For the 'unofficial' page name, you can make it into a redirect page. There are two ways to do this. Moving a page is fairly automatic, but isn't always an option if the new page name already exists (in which case you probably have to merge page contents). The other way is to manually redirect a page, which amounts to replacing its content with the wiki text #REDIRECT [[Our Vision]] (or 'vision', depending on your choice of which is the 'official' title).

So, it's up to you to decide in this case. Is it just the concept of 'the vision of this group', or is this a proper title of an article called "Our Vision", by Lance Sievert, et al.? Once you decide that, all you have to do is either move Our Vision to our vision (which will automatically leave behind a working redirect), or else manually add a redirect by creating a new page at our vision and making its entire wiki text read #REDIRECT [[Our Vision]].

It will be good practice, since redirecting pages is quite common on well-run wikis. I am about to add some Category:How To pages which will coincidentally do all the stuff I just mentioned. You can take a look at them if you need an example. Wonderist (talk) 03:55, 31 October 2011 (UTC)

Update: I wikified the Our Vision page, and tweaked the broken links by using a piped wiki link to simply show the link text as 'our vision'. You should still decide on an 'official' page title and do the redirect thing as I described. That makes it much easier for other contributors to link to the vision page. Wonderist (talk) 08:33, 31 October 2011 (UTC)


XC and Wonderist: don't wait for my call on anything on the wiki. We can always change something if I freak out. I'm getting sidetracked.

Amazon links

Hey Brian, how should we make Amazon links? Specifically, is there a specific Atheism United tag we should use? Or should we use the RRS one for now? Wonderist (talk) 00:59, 5 November 2011 (UTC)

I think Amazon links hit a spam warning. We need to turn that off first, but the RRS one is all that we'll use. --Brian 01:04, 5 November 2011 (UTC)

There should be a way to use a 'book' template or something. I don't know the details yet, though. I asked XC on User_talk:Mrxc.

As for the RRS tag. Makes sense to use it to start, but I think it would be good to consider getting one for Atheism United itself, just to make it clear that it's separate. It can operate the same as the RRS one for now, but if you're going for non-profit status eventually, it'll be important to have a way to separate it off. In any case, it still makes sense to use the RRS one for now. Just have to find a good way to do it via MediaWiki. Wonderist (talk) 01:20, 5 November 2011 (UTC)

Update: I answered your question on User_talk:Wonderist#Templates.

Also, I made a template to make signatures more useful (by adding a 'talk' link at the end). Go to your preferences, and under Signatures put {{signature talk|Brian}} (don't include the nowiki tag if you copy it from the wiki editor), and make sure you select/check the Treat signature as wikitext (without an automatic link) checkbox. Then save your prefs.

If you use the signature button in the wiki editor, it inserts --~~~~, which would reproduce your current signature, plus the new talk link. However, if you tend to manually type ~~~~, as I do, then to reproduce your current signature, you would add "--" before the signature talk template in your prefs, so it will look like this: --{{signature talk|Brian}}. It would result in this: --Brian (talk) 01:20, 5 November 2011 (UTC). (Note: The talk link won't actually make a link on this page, because it is already your talk page.) I use the four tildes manually, cuz I don't like the "--" and figured out how to do the , which I like better. Here's how mine comes out: Wonderist (talk) 10:25, 5 November 2011 (UTC)

Our Vision links

Although you have a point that red links are less presentable on the Our Vision page, the ultimate solution is not simply to remove the links, but to flesh out the red-linked pages. When a red link is created by a user, it's like planting a seed. These pages are known as wanted pages, and you can find a list of them here: Special:WantedPages. The red links I added to the Our Vision page were chosen based on thinking, "I bet some significant portion of people are going to want an explanation of that concept." Since I don't have time to write something about each one, I just quickly red link them, in the expectation that someone like yourself or Lance will eventually fill in the blanks.

Since I agree that we don't want red links on an official page like that, I've moved the red-linked version to its own page here: Our Vision (wikified)

It would be a good project for someone like Lance to go through all those red links and to write at least a quick summary page of "What do we mean by X?"

For example: What do we mean by educate? To force people into 're-education' camps, or to speak out about the truths of reality, and to promote free education, including education in critical thinking? Obviously, the latter, but we need to spell it all out for those we would like to convince to join the cause, but who have serious doubts (rational or irrational) about our motives.

Perhaps this is something worth delegating to Lance or some others? I worked on a few, like "What do we mean by atheists and atheism?" for example. They don't have to be perfect. They just need to be started with some basically reasonable/useful content. They can be categorized also, such as with Category:To do or Category:Stub or Category:Work in progress or something like that, until we get them sufficiently completed.

I'll write more later on how this makes sense as a concept wiki. Have to go to work soon, though. Wonderist (talk) 11:25, 5 November 2011 (UTC)

Update: Here's a bit about concept wikis. Wonderist (talk) 23:25, 5 November 2011 (UTC)

Our vision is designed to be responded to by our bloggers. Our vision will be prominently displayed and the bloggers will have links in the area where the vision is produced. The wiki is just a place for me to work on the vision, and toy with it, a place for others to help form the vision. The vision itself will be ever changing. You can make wiki pages if you want, just keep in mind that my focus on the project will be to post the vision on the drupal atheismunited and have links to the Atheism United Blogger that posts about it. The wiki is growing on me slowly, seeing some red disappear is nice. --Brian 03:53, 6 November 2011 (UTC)

YouTube template

I added Template:Youtube, and used it as an example on Brian Sapient. That way you don't have to remember all the 'center' codes and other random stuff. Wonderist (talk) 03:38, 6 November 2011 (UTC)

Home Page

Well, honestly, I don't know what needs to go on the home page. I'll see what I can do, but you may be disappointed. In any case, I can probably make it better than it is now. Wonderist (talk) 18:31, 12 November 2011 (UTC)

You made it better already... I know you can do more. Let's see your vision, I trust it. --Brian 18:40, 12 November 2011 (UTC)

First update: Main page I'll do more later on. Significant things:

  • Used a transclusion to include the text of the Our Vision page, without actually copy-pasting it. Pretty cool.
  • I added a {{quote|Quoted text goes here.}} template to make better looking quotes, like on the home page.
I once said something very profound. ~ Anonymous

Wonderist (talk) 22:22, 12 November 2011 (UTC)


Hey Brian, I added a bunch of stuff to make linking Examiners easier.

See Atheist rss feeds for examples.

Basically, each examiner needs to have their own template (e.g. User:William Hamby/Examiner), which keeps their relevant information and RSS feed code, and once you have that set up, you can link to them any time you want with just {{Examiner|William Hamby}}, like this: William Hamby (Atlanta Atheism Examiner (feed), Atlanta Progressive Examiner (feed))

If you find it hard to use, leave a comment explaining what tripped you up, and I'll make it easier and/or document it better. Time for bed now. Wonderist (talk) 09:50, 14 November 2011 (UTC)

Spam control

Stephen_T strongly suggests we install the QuestyCaptcha extension to reduce spam. Your thoughts ? -ParToutatis 09:41, 21 March 2013 (UTC)

Not all atheists rely on science

Not all atheists are critical thinkers. There are some atheists who have done terrible things even though they didn't believe in God (e.g. Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong, Pol Pot) So a person being an atheist doesn't necessarily mean that person is sane even though there were religious people who were bad as well(e.g. Saddam Hussein, Adolf Hitler, Fred Phelps) Poppy12 (talk) 05:21, 12 May 2014 (UTC)

Poppy12, I agree with you. I'm not sure why you brought this up though. Did I say or do something that makes you think I don't agree? --Brian (talk) 14:42, 16 May 2014 (UTC)