Link salienceEdit

Well now I've revisited your long posts at MOSLINK, I realise I got the message completely wrong. I largely do agree with what you're saying. Tony (talk) 15:23, 18 May 2012 (UTC)

Glad to hear it. I figured it was most likely a misunderstanding, due to my long-winded first attempt at explaining the idea. —Ben Kovitz (talk) 16:36, 18 May 2012 (UTC)
Could you take a look at
The "one link" rule/enforcement has gotten out of hand, I'm trying to get something closer to rationality. You seem to be one of the people that has a middle view, and I'm trying to turn a paragraph that states one end of the spectrum into something nearer the balance point. Thanks Boundlessly (talk) 21:38, 23 October 2012 (UTC)

List of scientific constants named after peopleEdit

  You are invited to join the discussion at Talk:List of scientific constants named after people#Notability. 786b6364 (talk) 16:25, 7 June 2012 (UTC)

Wikinic - last minute planningEdit

The Wiknic is nearly upon us! We need to figure out who can bring different food items; please reply at Wikipedia talk:Meetup/Evansville/Wiknic/2012#Food. Thanks! Bob the WikipediaN (talkcontribs) 22:52, 25 June 2012 (UTC)

How much time will you have on Saturday? I need to get a few photos near Hovey Lake in Point Township, and after we're done I'm looking to get some photos down by Henderson, but if you're willing to go along I'll be happy to take you. Of course I'll not ask gas money for anything except the trip to Evansville and back. Nyttend (talk) 00:41, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
I got a note today from Vmenkov, asking about carpooling also. This makes me more flexible, since I don't want to leave two people behind — I really need the photo out by Hovey Lake, but Henderson is becoming more and more droppable. Nyttend backup (talk) 14:37, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
Sorry to keep piling on the questions; I got another note from Vmenkov, saying that he'd be willing to come to wherever you'd like to meet. What would be a convenient place for us to meet? Nyttend (talk) 19:17, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
Hoping this will be my last note and that I'll not need to pile on more questions. I'll be working at Liberian Collections on Friday, both morning and afternoon; if you'd like, I'll be able to log out of working to chat about Saturday's schedule for a bit. Nyttend (talk) 21:22, 27 June 2012 (UTC)

Nyttend, I'd love to accompany you on your photo shoot. I might even learn something. As for where to meet, I'm happy to come by CRCC. Or, it might be simplest to just pick up me and Vmenkov on your way to the picnic. I'll be at CRCC a little later this afternoon (next door to the Liberian collection), so we can talk in person. —Ben Kovitz (talk)

Check your email for details. Nyttend (talk) 20:21, 29 June 2012 (UTC)

Homeopathy: relevance of MEDRS guidelinesEdit

Hello, I felt these remarks were relevant. But I didn't want to stoke any flames. Regards, —MistyMorn (talk) 05:41, 15 July 2012 (UTC)

Thanks for pointing out the most specific and relevant guidelines, MistyMorn. Hopefully that clarifies the matter better than my comment. And thanks for not stoking any flames! On Talk:Homeopathy, I've seen a lot of conversation of the form, "These (meta-)studies say such-and-such, and the article should address that," answered by "The rules say such-and-such, therefore you must back down" and taunting, over and over. I'm hoping that asking Alice1818 to explicitly address the relative weights to be given to different research might end the back-and-forth citing of rules and opposing research. Maybe it will even lead to new, good content for the article (though the article's coverage of homeopathy research already appears to me quite good). —Ben Kovitz (talk) 09:44, 15 July 2012 (UTC)
FWIW, she "listened" to our posts about as much as she did to yours. Over the distance, trying to reason with her about evaluation of efficacy was extenuating (like... "how did I get to be here?"). I tried to remain reasonably civil and polite, but I'm glad she is indefinitely blocked and I really hope she doesn't come back. Attitudes like that are damaging to Wikipedia.

Yes, the article did need some updating. I think the most important update was inclusion of Ernst 2010, which I have now seen to. Honestly, I don't see any reason to go into greater detail regarding individual studies, a step which I don't think would be in the spirit of WP:MEDRS. Clear explanation of the role of publication bias (and how it can be detected) seems to me more relevant. Regards, —MistyMorn (talk) 21:29, 17 July 2012 (UTC)

Thanks for making the updates, MistyMorn. I think a historical summary of the research is clearest, and I just looked at Ernst 2010; it does indeed look like an excellent secondary source. About details regarding individual studies, I'm thinking that most people find abstract discussions of bias unconvincing because they don't understand them. A concrete description of specifically what facts led people to their current assessment of a theory is often much more enlightening. It's the difference between hearing just a courtroom verdict + arguments that trials are usually fair vs. hearing the verdict + a summary of the evidence. Such an approach should satisfy the pro-homeopathy crowd, since their favorite studies would be described. And it should satisfy the anti-homeopathy crowd, since the basis for rejecting those studies' results would also be clearly explained—factually, neutrally, without taking a side in the controversy. I suppose the burden falls on me, though, to write something up in this manner and see if it does justice to current leading sources and is clearer. I'll need to become more familiar with the leading sources before I can attempt that myself (hence my lazy attempts to nudge other people into doing it).
Regarding Alice1818, indeed she kept re-raising old arguments. I think the way some other editors handled it was appalling, though. Humiliation is not the wiki way. —Ben Kovitz (talk) 22:19, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
As regards evidence of efficacy, the Ernst 2010 review is useful as it's actually very useful as it's basically a very simple paper which conveniently summarizes the conclusions of all the "best evidence" Cochrane reviews (systematic reviews of randomized controlled trials which have to follow an extremely rigorous methodology, and eventually only extract evidence from really high quality trials). Beyond citing the conclusions of systematic reviews and meta-analyses, I really wouldn't know how to explain further without invoking the concept of publication bias. Put simply, studies with negative results (ie providing no evidence of efficacy) are less likely to be published, which tends to give a false overall impression that a treatment has an effect. This well known problem of meta-analysis can be investigated using a statistical technique called a funnel plot. Another key issue regards discrepancies in results between randomized controlled trials that are methodologically sound and those that are poorly designed or conducted and are undersized. Such discrepancies can be studied using a technique called sensitivity analysis. Here, it turns out that it was the poor quality studies that tended to provide the positive results, providing apparent evidence of efficacy.

Not terribly complex to explain really, when one's got wikilinks to help... Maybe, a newspaper article by Ben Goldacre could indeed be a key source to sketch a layman's explanation. —MistyMorn (talk) 23:18, 17 July 2012 (UTC)

Thank you for adjusting that subtitle. I agree it's much better like that. As you'll have noticed, I've briefly outlined on the Talk page some ways in which I'd like to try to clarify the Evidence section. As you've seen, I've already made a start in the last couple of days. My medium-term aim would be to achieve a better structured discussion to address the key questions clearly, to allow lay readers to understand the reasons for the mainstream scientific consensus about efficacy (perhaps the most difficult part to explain because of the methodological issues). While I do try to combine terminological correctness with clarity, I'm not used to writing for a general readership. So, I find feedback on anything that isn't quite clear really useful. Cheers, —MistyMorn (talk) 17:24, 18 July 2012 (UTC)

Welcome back Ben. I saw your message and will reply soonish. Thanks, —MistyMorn (talk) 15:23, 20 September 2012 (UTC)

I fully agree on the importance of clarifying the explanation in the lead. Readers need to be able to grasp the "why". However it's no easy task to make a plain English explanation of such matters which is genuinely encyclopedic rather than an oversimplification. 2c, —MistyMorn (talk) 14:50, 6 October 2012 (UTC)


I made a small reply to you in the Talk:Mathematics page. Marvin Ray Burns (talk) 01:26, 10 September 2012 (UTC)

Bloomington meetupEdit

Don't know if you heard, but the library school's Society of American Archivists student chapter is putting on a meetup on Saturday. There's not a ton of space at the venue (University Archives, fourth floor of Wells Library), so if you're interested, you should contact Brimarshall, the organiser. If you want to send Brimarshall an email directly instead of through the email service, let me know and I'll forward you the email that went put on the library school listserv. Nyttend (talk) 04:08, 4 October 2012 (UTC)

Oops, never mind: Brimarshall hasn't enabled Special:EmailUser. Just leave me a note if you're interested in seeing the listserv email. Nyttend (talk) 04:11, 4 October 2012 (UTC)
Sorry I missed this! Grad-school shuffle… I hope to attend the next one. —Ben Kovitz (talk) 08:01, 15 April 2013 (UTC)

Rising for Ten CommandmentsEdit

The article stated baldly that "Ashkenazim" rise while "Sephardim" don't. In my personal experience, the Spanish and Portuguese congregations in London do. I therefore toned down the claim so as not to imply that all Sephardim are the same. If you want a source on the details, the best bet would probably be Gaguine's Keter Shem Tob, which compares the different Sephardic traditions. --Sir Myles na Gopaleen (the da) (talk) 09:15, 8 October 2012 (UTC)


Ben, Regarding -Sentence added to 4th paragraph of lead. I was re-reading your original comment and noticed that somehow I missed the original meaning. I completely agree that the sentence re-added should be removed. Don't know how I missed that. Good work on the rewording we discussed. --Daffydavid (talk) 22:19, 10 October 2012 (UTC)

Thanks for taking a second look and letting me know! See you on the talk page… —Ben Kovitz (talk) 23:00, 10 October 2012 (UTC)

Maize vs CornEdit

Hello BenKovitz, I see you opened the talk page up on the Maize page to arguments from both sides. I'm not sure if anything has been done about it, but it seems that the Corn side has many more and better arguments. Since you seemed to be in charge, could you take another look at it? Shicoco (talk) 14:27, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for letting me know, Shicoco. I'll check it out. BTW, I'm not in charge, I just set aside one section to summarize old arguments about the name of the page, so people wouldn't have to repeat them or say "go look in the archives; this has all been discussed before". This is Wikipedia—no one's in charge here! —Ben Kovitz (talk) 00:46, 13 May 2013 (UTC)
I just sorted through all the new arguments. I agree with you that the "pre-19th century usage" argument was irrelevant. It should not be listed among the leading arguments. It still seems to me that most of the pro-corn arguments have been solidly refuted by the objections. The one argument that hasn't—that maize is less well-known than corn—seems quite a bit weaker to me than the only real pro-maize argument, which is that it's the unambiguous, formal, vernacular word for the plant that has the same meaning in all regional varieties of English, and is common in international usage, while corn has a peculiarly complex ambiguity that varies by locality. This view has achieved a pretty strong consensus among editors who work on Maize. If you have something new to add, don't let that stop you, of course. BTW, contrary to what I said above, I guess I am in charge of the Summary of arguments section. At least, I started it, and I seem to have volunteered to curate it. —Ben Kovitz (talk) 03:33, 13 May 2013 (UTC)
Well now, in fact maize does not have the same meaning in all regional varieties. In American English, exclusive of certain specialized publications, maize means specifically "Indian corn"; that is, the hard-shelled decorative variety with brightly colored kernels. --Trovatore (talk) 04:38, 13 May 2013 (UTC)
Well, who knows, this might the be the fact that sways the consensus. The OED says that maize in North American usage means corn in the ordinary sense, my American Heritage dictionary says that maize means corn in the ordinary sense, and Merriam Webster makes maize a synonym for Indian corn, where the first sense given is ordinary American corn and the third sense is the decorative variety. Well, my American Heritage dictionary is from 1976, so maybe that no longer counts. What source are you getting your version from? If you have a credible, conflicting source, it might be worth starting yet another discussion about this at Talk:Maize. —Ben Kovitz (talk) 08:08, 13 May 2013 (UTC)

Invitation to join the Ten Year SocietyEdit

Dear Ben,

I'd like to extend a cordial invitation to you to join the Ten Year Society, an informal group for editors who've been participating in the Wikipedia project for ten years or more.

Best regards, — Scott talk 12:57, 21 May 2013 (UTC)

Sure! I've never been a heavy editor, but I just checked, and I see that indeed I've been trickling in about 18 edits a month since 2003. —Ben Kovitz (talk) 13:53, 21 May 2013 (UTC)


I think the sentence "Soylent has not been scientifically tested and is potentially dangerous" is an unnecessarily harsh statement, which is only an opinion expressed by the news article writer, not necessarily a medical experts opinion. I think people are confusing the use of this as a dietary supplement with its use as a sole food, which of course he is promoting, but which is really the only way it can be harmful, and since its not medically tested, no doctor on earth would recommend it as a sole food, just like no doctor would recommend flax oil as a sole food. other than that, not sure what else.Mercurywoodrose (talk) 07:12, 29 May 2013 (UTC)

A pleasure meeting youEdit

A great chance encounter at an unlikely place. Good luck with your dissertation! NorthBySouthBaranof (talk) 02:30, 6 June 2013 (UTC)

It was a pleasure meeting you, too! I'm browsing about Chaco culture and the Harry S "No Consensus" Truman National Historic Site right now. BTW, I met User:Awadewit in the Kroger's parking lot in the same way, except she was the one wearing a Wikipedia jacket and I was the one who asked if she edited Wikipedia. —Ben Kovitz (talk) 16:16, 6 June 2013 (UTC)

WP:No personal attacksEdit

Just letting you know I've reverted your addition to this policy. I recommend seeking consensus first. –Roscelese (talkcontribs) 21:39, 12 June 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for letting me know. I just responded at WT:No personal attacks#Belittling competence. —Ben Kovitz (talk) 23:43, 12 June 2013 (UTC)
With the exception of an obvious punctuation or spelling mistake or the like, I never edit Wikipedia policy without discussion and consensus. Wikipedia editors/admins/etc rely on these documents as stable works of reference which guide our actions. New editors use them to learn how Wikipedia works. These documents are so critical, that no change should ever be taken lightly or made unilaterally. Thanks. Regards. Taroaldo 00:34, 13 June 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for letting me know your concerns, Taroaldo. I thought I was filling in an obvious omission, reflecting common understanding among skilled editors per WP:PGCHANGE, but clearly I was wrong and got reverted. I hope the discussion leads to better-targeted wording than I was able to write on my own. —Ben Kovitz (talk) 03:14, 13 June 2013 (UTC)


Can't remember if it were to you or to Rob whom I was mentioning this today, so leaving the same message for both of you. Rockhouse Cliffs Rockshelters is the rockshelter site in question; as you can see from File:Rockhouse Hollow shelter with human for scale, interior.jpg, its ceiling is several times the height of a person, and it's quite the impressive sight when you come around the corner and observe it for the first time. Thanks for participating in the meetup! Nyttend (talk) 06:37, 16 June 2013 (UTC)


This may sounds wrong to you, and please see the talk to find what section of the source supports this, ... but please restore the info.

Talk:Encyclopedia/Archive 1#Info_removed.2C_please_restore.3B_General_encyclopedias

--J. D. Redding 20:06, 12 July 2013 (UTC)

Response to my query on Paid EditingEdit

Thank you for your insightful responses to my question regarding paid editing. I hope you would not mind if I quoted you in my sure-to-be-published-nationwide-first-year-English-class paper. ; ) If you do mind, let me know on my talk page. Thanks Pugsly8000 (talk) 00:32, 24 November 2013 (UTC)

Sure, feel free to quote. BTW, if you're super-new here, these pages might provide some further insight into the shared values on Wikipedia: WP:V(relating to knowledge being accessible and verifiable by anyone, not just experts); WP:NPOV, WP:FRINGE, WP:OR (relating to respect for scholarly expertise); WP:BRD, WP:BOLD, WP:CONS, WP:AGF (relating to unilateral action and cooperation); WP:NOT (what belongs on Wikipedia and what doesn't). There are plenty more shared values, of course, many of which are not documented anywhere, but these are probably most relevant to opinions about paid editing. One of those is surely "the right to disagree about anything", including all the shared values I just listed. Good luck getting your school paper published! :) Are you a grad student in English? —Ben Kovitz (talk) 22:00, 28 November 2013 (UTC)

Trying it your way too!Edit

Hi, I would just like to take to your attention that I will be doing an experiment on the Chemophobia one (it's still early on and it seems to be the weakest pick) but I am really not interested in arguing and spreading conflict with people over things I don't care about at all. I would just like a nice policy so it is easy to follow for everyone in the future so please do give me your thoughts on it as well. ( Is invoking NPOV, Advocacy and Notability a good procedure here? I really have no idea how to work with all these terms in has grown into quite the bureaucratic colossus with an internal language that is difficult for outsiders to grasp. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:58, 29 November 2013 (UTC)

I just looked at the Chemophobia article and I think you've got a point. I'll post to the talk page right now. —Ben Kovitz (talk) 14:40, 29 November 2013 (UTC)
Hey Ben, thanks I guess but although I do not like the article for all its intents and purposes I do not think that its main fault is neologism although it may be easier to prove. It sure is an example of probable neologism but neologism itself doesn't hurt anyone. Neologism itself if done properly is a natural way to create new words. It could only be neologism if the term isn't recognised as an affliction in past records and of that I am not sure. But this is not the issue. Had they constructed their word as for example misochemy to describe hatred and dislike for chemical addatives then it would also have to pass the same test for neologism but it wouldn't really be a problem for the prefix would attached to the correct word. Can you understand my perspective and why this is so important? Neologism may not be very encyclopedic, the subterfuge of our language is worrisome on a whole other level. They are trying to create guilt by association and are in fact hurting those with real phobias too. Considering the articles scope it would be better to name it something like "Anti-addatives movement" or "Natural Food Movement". Their guilt by association is so extreme that the whole thing falls flat on its face. I haven't anyone who is afraid, dislikes or even just doesn't care about any and all (artificial or not) chemicals (There are for example people with phobias for chlorine). So it is clear that is being used as a blanket term and I'd like to delete it/rename it and all other examples and future examples on the basis of a broad and easily understandable policy or set of policies and I need everyones help with making a good proposal. Do you think that it is possible to formulate such guidelines or proposal(s)? (talk) 16:00, 29 November 2013 (UTC)
I'm no longer sure I understand. Are you saying that chemophobia is a bad neologism because it misuses the -phobia suffix, and therefore Wikipedia shouldn't use the word? —Ben Kovitz (talk) 16:11, 29 November 2013 (UTC)
The article is really bad (compared to the Homophobia one that just uses incorrect terminology) and sorry if I was unclear. It is bad because it uses incorrect terminology (chemophobia instead of misochemy or chemomisia...I'm a bit tired, wrote wrong term before), it is bad because its scope goes beyond any reasonable scope, it is bad because it is neologism no matter what you name it and it is bad because it is clearly subjective. But if the facts are true and there are those who oppose chemical addatives in some general sense then the article, despite its bias should stay, just be compltely rewritten. My small criticism to you was that it isn't the neologism which is the worst part of the article because neologism per definition is something real described with a non yet accepted term. This is possibly not real and written for purposes to deceive. If the article was described as for example the "Anti-Addative Movement" and limited in its scope then it should stay but then there should also be room and will be room for the other side to express themselves without feeling insulted by the terminology. But I am no expert, I have no biology degree and I am not pro- or for- this subject at all. Heck I probably know something more about all the other subjects than this. What got me about this one is that I got into it through the article on Bees (after watching a small film about them on the Guardian Newspaper) and someone had slipped it in there in a really nasty way. That got me going and here we are. (Here is my Bee edit and what we risk if we accept this type of behavior: : the creation of ad hoc termninology supported with ad hoc articles on wikipedia) (talk) 16:25, 29 November 2013 (UTC)
OK, now I think I understand: you're saying that it's not Wikipedia's place to use a term that doesn't have legitimate acceptance, especially in order to advocate a controversial opinion. Policy strongly supports you on that. Specifically regarding chemophobia, though, the Oxford English Dictionary has an entry for it, and it cites usage going back to 1962. So, it does appear that chemophobia is an accepted term. However, it looks to me like it's a term of derision, not a serious topic with facts about it. Certainly you were right to remove chemophobic movement from Beekeeping; that wording was sarcastic, and violated WP:NPOV. —Ben Kovitz (talk) 16:55, 29 November 2013 (UTC)
Heh, thanks. It doesn't have an entry in my version of the dictionary but it is not the main common one but those for students of the english language. Still I assume that their definition is similiar to the one I described for Homophobia and not as it is in the article, right? And yup, that's pretty much what I am saying. But legitimate for me here is the issue I am discussing. What is legitimate? I would not like it to be sources in articles, news entries or announcement. Perhaps not even scientific articles should do it. Only scientific or common dictionaries and I don't see why we can't form a policy about this. Heck even when there is a rare difference between two accepted dictionaries then let's argue about which dictionary is better to use, not bombard each other with opinions on what is biased and what is not. I am sure that at least some of the payed lobbyist scientists working for American Health Bla Bla believe in at least some part of their work. Who is really to say that they are worse. Which is also why I say that if their facts check out then parts of the article could stay. But the terms should change...ah well seems not to many are eager to make such a small but significant disturbance :P (talk) 17:23, 29 November 2013 (UTC)
Off-Topic: You may wonder; what is this fellow up to? Why does he go all bonkers over some small counter-edit in some beekeeping-article against which nobody has complained. Well you see I learned (well O.K. I knew a little about it before too) from that Guardian film that bees are very important and that they are dying in ever growing numbers to the point where wild bees are almost impossible to find in some places in Britain today. So a bunch of these good beekeepers organised a demonstration at parliament and they said it may be a new pesticide doing this. Pesticide is big money and bees are crucial to our survival. I won't have it that honest small-business farmers who are concerned about their bees get -phobia attached to them not because I care about them so much nor do they care about what is attached to them but because it could lead to the ridicule of the whole bee-death-issue. And I don't know why but it just stuck with me and now that I have done some research about this I see this type of thing being used on many places in Wikipedia and elsewhere and I am concerned about it because it is so subtle, because it is so minor yet impacts the very foundations of an idea or cause. (talk) 16:53, 29 November 2013 (UTC)
I agree with you: that kind of subtle ridicule is dishonest and has no place on Wikipedia. If you'd like to look at existing policy to see ways to improve it, one good place in addition to the ones I mentioned on Village Pump is WP:TERRORIST. Good luck stamping out that kind of rhetoric! Since Wikipedia allows anyone to edit, policy violations will keep on happening no matter what the policy says, of course. Cleaning it up requires eternal vigilance. —Ben Kovitz (talk) 17:06, 29 November 2013 (UTC)
Ye...I'll need it :) I probably should've made an account long ago and I even think I have but I've forgoten about it. Would've had some more credibility than being just an IP as some editors dislike IPs as we are called. But I once explained my reason for not making or using an account here and that's because I think that we are all anonymous here and our credibility should only go so far as our message can take us. But I think I may be wrong about this now that I think about it. (talk) 17:27, 29 November 2013 (UTC)

Amazing story about the rise of WikipediaEdit

Ben, I read in one breath your amazing story about the Wikipedia emergence... and it touched me deeply. I think every editor on Wikipedia should read it to understand the deep meaning of Wikipedia. Also, I have seen remarkable thoughts in your essay about salience, especially "There is more to writing an encyclopedia than collecting facts from verifiable sources..." I only wonder why there are no other contributors in this interesting and so important for Wikipedia topic (looking at the history, I see you started it almost five years ago)... strange... Thank you for all that wisdom... I was just willing to accept it... --Circuit dreamer (talk, contribs, email) 22:14, 1 December 2013 (UTC)

Ten CommandmentsEdit

Hey there? What do you mean with "not readable"?
Is there something I could improve on that?
Greetings, Wuschelkopf (talk) 10:02, 18 January 2014 (UTC)

Hi, Wuschelkopf. I'll reply over at Talk:Ten Commandments in case someone else interested in that page comes up with a better idea. —Ben Kovitz (talk) 21:25, 19 January 2014 (UTC)

Edits to phonetics page "scars"Edit

You made recent edits on Help:IPA for Latin to replace example words like "scar" with "cat". Consonant clusters like in "spot" and "store" are conventionally used for English phonology to illustrate unaspirated stops versus aspirated. Personally I don't like this convention, since a layperson who doesn't know what unaspirated means or sounds like would not understand the difference in the sound of "scar" or "cat" anyway, but it is convention in every dictionary and language-learning book (but not linguistics book) I've ever seen. I won't revert, but as a heads-up, don't be surprised and don't edit-war if somebody does, because they would be backed by both convention and technical correctness. SamuelRiv (talk) 14:20, 5 August 2014 (UTC)

August 2014Edit

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Proposed deletion of Dora KentEdit


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Hey great work on cleaning up of the article Intuition Shrikanthv (talk) 09:20, 16 March 2017 (UTC)

Thanks! —Ben Kovitz (talk) 07:48, 14 January 2018 (UTC)


thanks Ben for the thanks, best regards. Govindaharihari (talk) 05:51, 28 March 2017 (UTC)

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Funny stuff!Edit

This is the first time I've seen this. Really cracked me up. Thanks for making my day. -- WikiPedant (talk) 21:32, 11 November 2017 (UTC)

Glad you liked it. I didn't make it up. It cracked me up, too. It's why I joined! —Ben Kovitz (talk) 03:48, 10 February 2019 (UTC)

What is Talk Page Theatre? Come find out!Edit

Please join us in downtown San Francisco!

Come find out what "Talk Page Theatre" is all about! The last Wednesday evening of every other month, wiki enthusiasts gather at Bay Area WikiSalon to collaborate, mingle, and learn about new projects and ideas.

We allow time for informal conversation and working on articles. Newcomers and experienced wiki users are encouraged to attend. Free Wi-Fi is available so bring your editing devices. We will have beverages (including beer and wine) plus light snacks. We will be at the NEW Wikimedia Foundation offices! w00t!!!

Please note: You should RSVP here, and bring a photo ID that matches your registration name. This also helps us figure out how much food and drink to bring in.

For further details, see: Wikipedia:Bay Area WikiSalon, November 2017

See you soon! Ben Creasy, Nikikana, and Wayne | ( Subscribe/Unsubscribe to this talk page notice ) | MediaWiki message delivery (talk) 09:30, 14 November 2017 (UTC)

Fun !Edit

Hello BenKovitz,

I won't insist, but the picture File:Its fun to be a Sentinel.jpg Fun at work was meant to illustrate : Fellowship: This type of fun is created when cooperation and coexistence with other people... This could be developed much more.

But maybe you never had fun on your workplace ...

Happy editing anyway,

Ji-Elle (talk) 15:33, 6 January 2018 (UTC)

@Ji-Elle: Thanks for the explanation. It's just not clear what the picture illustrates or why the article needs it. That section of the article appears to be about video games. Happily, I've worked in many fun workplaces; I hope you have, too. I see that you've been posting a lot of pictures. May I ask, are you starting with the pictures and looking for articles to put them in, or starting with the articles and searching for pictures that fill a need of the article? I ask because it seems strange, in a section about "agriculture and ensete", to add a picture of a person harvesting potatoes, showing them from behind and half out of frame. —Ben Kovitz (talk) 07:36, 14 January 2018 (UTC)

Barbara OakleyEdit

I would like to address the two questions you posed in your summary to this edit. I already responded to question (c) on Talk:Mathematics, but I would like to respond here as well to ensure there isn't any confusion. To reiterate, Oakley doesn't actually make the claim that mathematical notation is more ambiguous or equivocal than regular words. When she's describing encryptedness, she's referring to mathematical symbols having multiple operations or ideas embedded within them, not to mathematical symbols having more than one meaning ("standing for more than one operation"). Hence, the question of whether there is consensus among scholars about the ambiguity of mathematical notation isn't really relevant; Oakley never concerns herself with this question, and it isn't really addressed in the article either.

I also have a quick response to question (b). As Mr. August stated, two of the three ideas attributed to Oakley (viz., that mathematical notation is more abstract than natural language and more encrypted than natural language) seem self-evidently true. Oakley isn't making any innovative claims here; in fact, I can't think of any mathematicians who would disagree with these statements (assuming, of course, there isn't any confusion about what is meant by "encrypted"). For that reason, I agree with you that mentioning Oakley by name is unnecessary. The focus should be on the ideas she's describing rather than on the person who's describing them. I personally would support removing the in-text attribution to Oakley, but keeping her citations and the wording they support in their current form.

Any thoughts? Lord Bolingbroke (talk) 03:45, 1 February 2018 (UTC)

Thanks for your thoughtful explanations, Lord Bolingbroke. It does sound like the explanation of "encryptedness" could use some work, or perhaps even deletion. And thanks for letting me know that you think that Oakley should not be mentioned in the main text. Will you mention that on Talk:Mathematics? BTW, when discussing edits to an article, it's usually best to reply on that article's talk page. That way, everyone interested in that article can see it. —Ben Kovitz (talk) 12:57, 2 February 2018 (UTC)
I will mention my thoughts on the in-text attribution to Oakley on Talk:Mathematics as well. I thought I would reply to you here to keep the discussion there from becoming too convoluted, but in hindsight I agree I should have responded to you on the mathematics talk page. Lord Bolingbroke (talk) 06:51, 3 February 2018 (UTC)

Could youEdit

also tell me the correct latin translation for "Make it so"? Gråbergs Gråa Sång (talk) 13:42, 11 February 2018 (UTC)

My first thought is Fac ita, but my Latin is not very strong, so don't give that much weight. I can tell you an excellent place to ask the question, though: —Ben Kovitz (talk) 14:14, 11 February 2018 (UTC)
Canticum griseo griseo de montibus thanks you. Gråbergs Gråa Sång (talk) 14:28, 11 February 2018 (UTC)


Hello, and thank you for your inspiration for the Wiki-encyclopedia concept and instant follow-through with Larry Sanger as outlined on your user page, which I just read. A very good historical document, especially with Sanger's reply. The concept and cooperation shown in those early hours and days created something which now seems to be the largest collaborative process in human history as well as one of humanity's touchstones. Nice work. Randy Kryn (talk) 15:19, 11 February 2018 (UTC)

Thanks for the kind words, Randy Kryn. —Ben Kovitz (talk) 03:48, 10 February 2019 (UTC)

Comma Separated Values: Application support editEdit


I noticed that you made a WP:NOTADVICE edit to the CSV page to clean up the Application Support section (11:55, 5 February 2018). I had added a sentence 27 January 2017‎ about an Excel nuance with non-comma delimiters ('cause I found that nuance to be a significant issue with how Excel supported non-comma delimited *.csv files).

Based on your understanding of the WP:NOTADVICE guidelines and the page structure regarding Comma Separated Values, where/if/how should a nuance like Excel's interpretation of the "sep= " row be recorded in Wikipedia?

Thank you for any insight you can give.

a novice contributor, (Jimdmurphy (talk) 22:17, 30 May 2018 (UTC))

Hi, Jimdmurphy. I'm not sure if Excel's "sep=" feature belongs anywhere in Wikipedia. It depends on the topic and on how it's covered in sources. However, I can tell you the main factors to consider regarding whether or how to include it. First, Wikipedia is an encyclopedia. Each article summarizes the main, most important information about its topic, as covered in other sources, especially secondary sources. This means not covering every available fact and technical detail about every topic. If a fact is included in an article, that should reflect some special importance or prominence in the other published literature on the topic. As you saw on WP:NOTADVICE, Wikipedia is not a manual or instruction guide or collection of helpful tips. It's just like Encyclopedia Britannica. You probably wouldn't find "sep=" in a general encyclopedia. As it is, the Comma-separated values page is currently way too long. The main facts are somewhat buried in large amounts of technical details and instruction. It could use some thoughtful paring down. If you'd like to pare it down, that would be great. If you just want to lead people to some helpful information about Excel, you could do it by adding an External Links section, with a link to a high-quality page with that kind of information. I hope this helps! ;) —Ben Kovitz (talk) 09:32, 1 June 2018 (UTC)

February 2019Edit

  Hello and welcome to Wikipedia. When you add content to talk pages and Wikipedia pages that have open discussion (but never when editing articles), such as at Talk:Demagogue, please be sure to sign your posts. There are two ways to do this. Either:

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Thank you. – S. Rich (talk) 02:58, 10 February 2019 (UTC)

Hi, @Srich32977: I think I've signed all my messages on Talk:Demagogue. Did I miss one? The section I added today is an addendum to the list of sources that I started in 2012. I hope all users will feel free to contribute to that list anonymously rather than in back-and-forth dialogue. —Ben Kovitz (talk) 03:40, 10 February 2019 (UTC)
You've added sources, but the summaries are editor opinion. Leaving the last posts undated should prevent archiving, but I'm wondering how you can "sign" the summaries. Perhaps by labeling the section "Sources – provided by U:BenKovitz"? – S. Rich (talk) 03:53, 10 February 2019 (UTC)
And please forgive me if I've violated WP:DTTR. – S. Rich (talk) 03:54, 10 February 2019 (UTC)
Indeed someone might disagree with my remarks about the sources. I'm thinking that signing everything and getting formal would create a lot of clutter and spoil the usefulness of the list, and if some disagreement of importance emerges, we can figure out a way to handle it then. The main thing is that if anyone actually wants to read some good sources for material to put into the article, they can start with the benefit of the digging that I (and anyone else who contributes) have already done. (I used the list myself for that, actually.) What do you think? (About WP:DTTR: Forgiven. :) I figured you were just telling me in a playful way that I had forgotten to sign a comment.) —Ben Kovitz (talk) 04:15, 10 February 2019 (UTC)

Invitation to join the Fifteen Year SocietyEdit

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I'd like to extend a cordial invitation to you to join the Fifteen Year Society, an informal group for editors who've been participating in the Wikipedia project for fifteen years or more. ​

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@Urhixidur: Sure! Add me to the list. —Ben Kovitz (talk) 21:41, 8 May 2019 (UTC)

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Ashkenazi Jewish IntelligenceEdit

What exactly was wrong with the wording changes I made? I would like to know, especially because I am a non-native speaker who wants to improve his English. Zesd (talk) 21:45, 3 July 2019 (UTC)

Ah, I was wondering if that might be it. These are subtleties of English that are probably seldom taught.
First change:
Previous: "Whether Ashkenazi Jews have a higher average intelligence than most ethnic groups, and if so, why, has been an occasional subject of scientific controversy."
Edit: "Whether Ashkenazi Jews have a higher average intelligence than all or most other ethnic groups, and if so, why, has been an occasional subject of scientific controversy."
Actually, changing most to other was an improvement. "More X than others" literally means "more X than some others" but it most commonly means "more X than all others". The context clarifies which "others" are being compared. In this case, the context is the body of the article, for which this sentence is both a summary and an introduction. The body never really addresses exactly which other ethnic groups are being compared, so the very precise tone of "all or most" promises a kind of preciseness that the body never delivers.
Second change:
Previous: One study found that Ashkenazi Jews had only mediocre visual-spatial intelligence, about IQ 98, while a 1958 study of yeshiva students found that their verbal IQ (which includes verbal reasoning, comprehension, working memory, and mathematical computation) had a high median of 125.6.
Edit: One study found that Ashkenazi Jews had only a mediocre visual-spatial IQ of about 98, whereas a 1958 study of yeshiva students found that their verbal IQ (which includes verbal reasoning, comprehension, working memory, and mathematical computation) had a high median of 125.6.
The idea of the previous version is to parallel the preceding point about high verbal/mathematical intelligence and below-average spatial intelligence. The word whereas puts the emphasis on contrast with the immediately preceding fact, suggesting a partial retraction, rather than full agreement with the earlier dual claim about both kinds of intelligence. Making the main noun "intelligence" or "IQ" is fine either way. I went with "intelligence" partly to make the parallel a little stronger, partly because intelligence is the attribute possessed and IQ is a measure of it (admittedly this might not be relevant), and partly because "a mediocre IQ" sounds a little jarring; "mediocre intelligence" is more conventional (but both are reasonable).
Does that help? I used to enjoy doing this a lot on a web site dedicated to helping non-native speakers master English. It's clear, though, that your mastery of English is already better than that of most native speakers. The above are very fine points, which few people beyond copyeditors and professional writers give much conscious attention. Maybe you can think of a way to reword the strange phrase "a high median of 125.6". :) —Ben Kovitz (talk) 05:41, 4 July 2019 (UTC)
Thanks, it helped me a lot. Zesd (talk) 13:45, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
I have changed the phrase "a high median of 125.6". "(...) while a 1958 study of yeshiva students demonstrated that they had an extraordinary high verbal intelligence (...) as their median verbal IQ was found to be nearly 126. Zesd (talk) 13:45, 7 July 2019 (UTC)

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