The Signpost: 23 October 2017

Missing dates

Hey, you're right - the eighth edn. doesn't have them either. --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 00:04, 8 November 2017 (UTC)

I'd been meaning to get a new edition for ages and hadn't looked at in detail until now. It's a bit odd that information has been omitted.--DavidCane (talk) 00:37, 8 November 2017 (UTC)

The Signpost: 24 November 2017

ArbCom 2017 election voter message

 Hello, DavidCane. Voting in the 2017 Arbitration Committee elections is now open until 23.59 on Sunday, 10 December. All users who registered an account before Saturday, 28 October 2017, made at least 150 mainspace edits before Wednesday, 1 November 2017 and are not currently blocked are eligible to vote. Users with alternate accounts may only vote once.

The Arbitration Committee is the panel of editors responsible for conducting the Wikipedia arbitration process. It has the authority to impose binding solutions to disputes between editors, primarily for serious conduct disputes the community has been unable to resolve. This includes the authority to impose site bans, topic bans, editing restrictions, and other measures needed to maintain our editing environment. The arbitration policy describes the Committee's roles and responsibilities in greater detail.

If you wish to participate in the 2017 election, please review the candidates and submit your choices on the voting page. MediaWiki message delivery (talk) 18:42, 3 December 2017 (UTC)

The Signpost: 18 December 2017

The Signpost: 16 January 2018

The Signpost: 5 February 2018

Your GA nomination of Kennington tube station

Hi there, I'm pleased to inform you that I've begun reviewing the article Kennington tube station you nominated for GA-status according to the criteria.   This process may take up to 7 days. Feel free to contact me with any questions or comments you might have during this period. Message delivered by Legobot, on behalf of Tim riley -- Tim riley (talk) 11:00, 7 February 2018 (UTC)

Your GA nomination of Kennington tube station

The article Kennington tube station you nominated as a good article has passed  ; see Talk:Kennington tube station for comments about the article. Well done! If the article has not already been on the main page as an "In the news" or "Did you know" item, you can nominate it to appear in Did you know. Message delivered by Legobot, on behalf of Tim riley -- Tim riley (talk) 12:41, 9 February 2018 (UTC)

Looks good to me for a GA - well done. How many Northern Line GAs have we now got - Morden, Kennington, Moorgate, Euston - any others I've missed? Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 18:39, 9 February 2018 (UTC)
There are five more on the Northern line. Embankment tube station, Highgate tube station and East Finchley tube station are also GAs of mine and Angel tube station and Elephant & Castle tube station are by User:Vincent60030. Finchley Central tube station went to GAN in 2015, but got bogged down with a reviewer who didn't like the layout of the article, content and the referencing style. I gave-up on that one at the time as I got busy with real work. I have been meaning to clean it up and take it back to GAN.--DavidCane (talk) 00:16, 10 February 2018 (UTC)

The Signpost: 20 February 2018

DYK for Kennington tube station

 On 23 March 2018, Did you know was updated with a fact from the article Kennington tube station, which you recently created, substantially expanded, or brought to good article status. The fact was ... that Kennington tube station, opened in 1890, is a listed building and the only one from the world's first underground electric railway to retain its original appearance? The nomination discussion and review may be seen at Template:Did you know nominations/Kennington tube station. You are welcome to check how many page hits the article got while on the front page (here's how, Kennington tube station), and it may be added to the statistics page if the total is over 5,000. Finally, if you know of an interesting fact from another recently created article, then please feel free to suggest it on the Did you know talk page.

Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 00:02, 23 March 2018 (UTC)

Signpost issue 4 – 29 March 2018

Morden Depot

Thanks for your edits to Morden Depot. I was wondering on what basis you have changed the date of the Trade Facilities Act from 1922 to 1921, when 1922 was supported by a reference, and 1921 isn't. Since the emphasis is on government guarantees, it is much more likely to be the 1922 act than the 1921 act. Regards. Bob1960evens (talk) 15:12, 2 April 2018 (UTC)

That's the date of the Act - it received royal assent on 10 November 1921 (see here). If you want a book reference see page 90 of The Story of London's Underground (11th ed.) by Day and Reed, which mentions it by date. I happened to know, as I wrote the articles on the C&SLR and the CCE&HR which referenced it.
Prior to the act being assented, the government had asked organisations to submit applications for government backing of their schemes. Lord Ashfield made the application in October 1921. The application was approved in March 1922 (The Times page 12, 9 March 1922 and page 12, 10 March 1922). The 1922 Act (actually the "Trade Facilities and Loan Guarantee Act") received assent on 15 December 1922.--DavidCane (talk) 16:17, 2 April 2018 (UTC)
I agree that 1921 is the date of an Act, but not necessarily the date of the Act that enabled the City and South London Railway to raise the finance for their scheme. Lee (1968) expressly states on two occasions that it was the provisions of the 1922 Act that enabled them to raise the finance. I have had a look at the two articles you mention, and was surprised to find that the paragraphs dealing with the 1921 Act are completely unreferenced on both occasions. I do not have access to Day and Reed, and sadly, "I happened to know" does not count as a reliable source. There are now two {fact} templates covering the unreferenced information in the article. I think I can resolve the one about the extensions to time by using the references in the City and South London article, but unless you can supply a proper reference for the 1921 Act, I shall be reverting it to the 1922 Act, since that is supported by a reliable source. If Day and Reed specifically mention the 1921 Act in this context, we then have the usual conundrum of what to do when reliable sources disagree. Regards. Bob1960evens (talk) 11:25, 3 April 2018 (UTC)
I have the 10th edition, but it's also p. 90

In 1921 the Government passed the Trade Facilities Act which promised generous financial guarantees for projects which provided employment for large numbers of people. Railway building, being highly labour intensive, provided such employment and in October 1921 Lord Ashfield presented MPs with detailed proposals to extend certain parts of the Underground, including the Hampstead Line to Edgware, using capital guaranteed by the new Act. Eventually the powers were extended by the LER Act (1923) to build an extension of the Hampstead Line from Charing Cross to Kennington,

it goes on. --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 15:22, 3 April 2018 (UTC)
I agree that the northern extensions were enabled by the provisions of the 1921 Act, and Wolmar (2004) p.221 also makes that point. However, what has been quoted so far makes no clear reference that it was the powers of the 1921 Act that funded the southern extensions, and Lee specifically says that it was the 1922 Act. This probably ought to be on the article talk page now that the discussion has escalated. Regards. Bob1960evens (talk) 15:42, 3 April 2018 (UTC)
Bob, Hansard was unavailable yesterday, but this answer from Hilton Young on 22 March 1922 indicates that the government was guaranteeing principal and interest on up to £5 million of borrowing for the London Electric Railway Company and the City and South London Railway works.--DavidCane (talk) 21:49, 3 April 2018 (UTC)
A further question to Mr Young on 1 May 1922 makes it explicit that it was under the 1921 Act that the loan was guaranteed.--DavidCane (talk) 22:30, 3 April 2018 (UTC)
The dates of both of these reports clearly indicate that they are dealing with the £5 million that Lord Ashfield requested for the northern extensions in 1921, which were not originally mentioned in the article, because they have much less to do with Morden Depot than the southern extensions, which included the depot. The question remains as to whether, having requested £5M in 1921, under a scheme that guaranteed amounts up to £5M, he could go back in 1923 to request another £5M (or whatever the cost was) under the same scheme to fund the southern extensions, and whether this would be described as "issuing 4.5% debenture stock in November 1923". Lee says it was not the same scheme, and the fact that the government introduced Trade Facilities Acts in 1921, 1922, 1924 and 1926 would also point in this direction. Regards. Bob1960evens (talk) 09:02, 4 April 2018 (UTC)
I have just found this which clearly states that the 1922 Act extended the total amount of money that could be guaranteed, and extended the time limits for another year, during which an application for guarantees could be made. In view of the dates, the southern extensions must have been funded using the provisions of the 1922 Act, and so I believe Lee is correct when he states that they were. Bob1960evens (talk) 07:40, 5 April 2018 (UTC)
  • I have taken the liberty of moving this discussion to the Morden Depot talk page. Thanks for your diligence in helping to resolve these issues. Bob1960evens (talk) 14:30, 5 April 2018 (UTC)

Nomination of Portal:London Transport for deletion

A proposal has been made to delete Portal:London Transport, which you have made significant contributions to, as well as all other portals on English Wikipedia. You are welcome to contribute to the discussion if you'd like, which is located at Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)#RfC: Ending the system of portals. Thank you for your contributions to Wikipedia. North America1000 11:10, 12 April 2018 (UTC)

Your GA nomination of Finchley Central tube station

Hi there, I'm pleased to inform you that I've begun reviewing the article Finchley Central tube station you nominated for GA-status according to the criteria.   This process may take up to 7 days. Feel free to contact me with any questions or comments you might have during this period. Message delivered by Legobot, on behalf of Ritchie333 -- Ritchie333 (talk) 12:20, 12 April 2018 (UTC)

Your GA nomination of Finchley Central tube station

The article Finchley Central tube station you nominated as a good article has been placed on hold  . The article is close to meeting the good article criteria, but there are some minor changes or clarifications needing to be addressed. If these are fixed within 7 days, the article will pass; otherwise it may fail. See Talk:Finchley Central tube station for things which need to be addressed. Message delivered by Legobot, on behalf of Ritchie333 -- Ritchie333 (talk) 14:20, 12 April 2018 (UTC)

Invitation to WikiProject Portals

The Portals WikiProject has been rebooted.

You are invited to join, and participate in the effort to revitalize and improve the Portal system and all the portals in it.

There are sections on the WikiProject page dedicated to tasks (including WikiGnome tasks too), and areas on the talk page for discussing the improvement and automation of the various features of portals.

Many complaints have been lodged in the RfC to delete all portals, pointing out their various problems. They say that many portals are not maintained, or have fallen out of date, are useless, etc. Many of the !votes indicate that the editors who posted them simply don't believe in the potential of portals anymore.

It's time to change all that. Let's give them reasons to believe in portals, by revitalizing them.

The best response to a deletion nomination is to fix the page that was nominated. The further underway the effort is to improve portals by the time the RfC has run its course, the more of the reasons against portals will no longer apply. RfCs typically run 30 days. There are 19 days left in this one. Let's see how many portals we can update and improve before the RfC is closed, and beyond.

A healthy WikiProject dedicated to supporting and maintaining portals may be the strongest argument of all not to delete.

We may even surprise ourselves and exceed all expectations. Who knows what we will be able to accomplish in what may become the biggest Wikicollaboration in years.

Let's do this.

See ya at the WikiProject!

Sincerely,    — The Transhumanist   10:19, 21 April 2018 (UTC)

The Signpost: 26 April 2018

WikiProject Portals Overview, May 04, 2018

Thank you for being a member of the Portals WikiProject, and thank you for all the work you have all been doing on the portal namespace. To see the activity, check out the watchlist.

This is our 3rd issue, see previous issues at the Newsletter archive.

Top priority: Main list of portals needs updating

The top, and one of the most visible parts, of the portal system is Portal:Contents/Portals, which is intended to list all (completed) portals on Wikipedia.

About half of the missing existing portals have been added since this WikiProject's reboot (April 17th). Thank you to RockMagnetist, TriNitrobrick, Polyamorph, PratyushSinha101, Ganesha811, Bermicourt, Javert2113, Noyster, Ɱ, Lepricavark, XOR'easter, and Emir of Wikipedia, for working on this.

We are half-way to completion with this. We need everyone to chip in until it is done. Instructions, and the list of missing entries are at Portal talk:Contents/Portals#These are not listed yet.

I hope you'll join me there. ("Many hands make light work").

Thank you.

Membership

We're at 66 members, with more joining daily. We even have 6 WikiGnomes!

Special thanks

I have awarded Certes with a portals barnstar on his talk page for his work on the new excerpt templates that are revolutionizing the portal system (Template:Transclude lead excerpt & Template:Transclude random excerpt). If you'd like to show your appreciation, please feel free to stop by his talk page and add your signature to the barnstar itself.

Thank you Certes. You are enabling this WikiProject to get the right things done, fast.

By the way, the templates have already gone international. After being told about the templates, Mossab wrote:

Thanks You very much!. Those are fantastic and great templates! I transferred them to Arabic Wikipedia and they do a magic great job. I worked to improve portal anatomy here and i do every thing i can to improve it and i am very sad for the nomination for deletion of portals :(. I am glad to be member on WikiProject Portals and i added my name with pleasure. Kind regards

RFC

As you know, the (April 8th) proposal to delete all portals and the portal namespace inspired the reboot of this WikiProject. RfCs typically run for 30 days, which means there are 5 days left including today, before the RfC will be closed. The !votes are predominantly "oppose", but many editors have shared their disappointment with the portal system. We have our work cut out for us in correcting the problems of the portals to address their concerns. Complaints ranged from being out of date and lacking maintenance, to taking up the time of editors that they felt (due to low traffic) would be better spent improving articles.

Anti-WikiProject drama

This past week has been somewhat stressful for me, with more than a little conflict...

It culminated with my being reported at the Administrator's Noticeboard "for spamming and canvassing". This is the second time I've been reported there during the RfC; the first one was for posting notices of the deletion discussion (the RfC) at the top of all portal pages.

The accusations were 1) Posting notices of the deletion discussion (the RfC) at the top of all portal pages, 2) Adding an Article alerts section to the Portals WikiProject page, and 3) posting notices (invitations) about this WikiProject on user talk and portal talk pages.

None of which fall under the Wikipedia definitions of spamming or canvassing.

Thank you, Lionelt and Lepricavark, for coming to my rescue. I don't know how the discussion would have turned out if you had not spoken up.

The discussion was closed as "no action necessary".

After that, the person responsible posted their thoughts to my talk page. Here they are, with my response:

Congratulations, it appears your relentless targeted advertising of the RFC, your beating the RFC Supporters with a stick by posting countless times there, your dishonest insistence that Current Events was on the chopping block, and your obstruction of clean up efforts at MfD are paying dividends. Have fun playing with Portal space where no one will read your work. I'm sure someone will eventually clean up the mess when your interest wanes. Cheers. Legacypac

Thank you. I accept your congratulations on behalf of Wikiproject Portals and the portal-loving community – it was a team effort. In addition, I'd like to clarify some things about your claims above...
  1. Each page nominated for deletion must have a notice at the top of its page, per the deletion guideline. Not to have one there, would be unfair to those who use such pages, and would constitute a secret deletion tribunal. We don't do things that way on Wikipedia.
  2. As new facts became available (e.g., a motivated and thriving WikiProject to support the portals, new building blocks, etc.), it was appropriate to post the developments to the RfC, to support informed decision making.
  3. Proposals are literal, not figurative. The proposal specified "all portals". All means all.
  4. The fact is, the rebooted WikiProject is cleaning up the mess, rather rapidly. By updating and upgrading the portals, rather than getting rid of them.
  5. I think I'll be hanging around for awhile, but the project is more than likely to achieve critical mass and may outlive us all, due in part to the development of tools to assist editors in building, upgrading, and maintaining portals that are fully dynamic and self-updating.
Portals are more fun to work with than ever. Thank you for your role in making this happen. You made us try even harder, and inspired us to pull together as a team. You'll have a warm place in our hearts, forever. The Transhumanist

Automatically refreshed excerpts

The main advancement we've made so far is applying selective transclusion Transclusion is template technology, showing a page on another page. Selective transclusion shows only part of that page. We use it to show excerpts that always match the source. The two templates we have so far, are Template:Transclude lead excerpt and Template:Transclude random excerpt.

Obsoleting subpages

Excerpts are migrating toward the base page of each portal, and where this is done, a subpage is no longer needed.

Template:Transclude lead excerpt will be able to be used to put the intro excerpt directly on the portal page, rather than on an intro subpage, once we adapt a portal design to accommodate this.

Template:Transclude random excerpt is currently being used on 1st-level subpages, and eliminates the need for 2nd-level subpages. (Many portals have 2 levels of subpages).

There are about 1500 portals, but there are around 148,000 subpages in portal space. Further discussions are needed to develop designs and components that do not require them.

It is my hope that the portal of the future will be a single page, or close to it, pulling in excerpts from specified dynamic sources (like category pages), filtered by ratings. This would obviate the need for subpages at all (except for maybe the header and footer subpages, which store a portal's settings). A more likely near-term solution would be subpages with a list maintained by a bot, or editors using semi-automatic tools.

New portals

Since the reboot, a new portal has been created:

Portal:Limited recognition

Please watchlist these pages

Some central pages in the portal system. The more eyes on them, the better.

Wrapping up...

There's more in the works, like a rating system, further redesigns, etc. Keep an eye on the discussions on the project's talk page. They should start showing up there soon.

Hope to see you there. Sincerely,    — The Transhumanist   06:22, 4 May 2018 (UTC)


WikiProject Portals update, 11 May 2018

We've grown to 73 members, and morale is high. Thank you for joining. Here is some news, and some tasks...

The RfC will be closed soon...

2018-05-11: preparations are being made to close the RfC. See Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Requests for closure#Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)/RfC: Ending the system of portals.

When there, be sure to notice the consultation link.

We're trying to get a prototypical single-page portal developed in time to show the RfC closers before they make their final decision. You can help. It's Portal:Humanism. So far, we've applied selective transclusion (automation) to excerpts, and have made the following sections without subpages: intro, selected article, selected biography, categories, related portals, wikiprojects, things to do, and wikimedia. Eight down, 4 to go, plus 2 formatting subpages (not sure we can migrate those). Automating every section, would also be nice.

Main objectives

Our main objectives currently, are:

  1. Replace static excerpts with selective transclusions, so that the excerpts always stay fresh (that is, match the source content). We are now doing this on the portal base page as much as possible, to reduce the number of subpages that are needed. See #2...
  2. Migrate the functions of subpages to the portal base pages. There are around 150,000 subpages in portal space. We aim to make these obsolete by using templates and other calls from the portal base pages.
  3. Improve portal design to make portals self-update. Semi-dynamic sections update from a static list, as used in {{Transclude random excerpt}}. Fully-dynamic sections would update from a list maintained elsewhere on Wikipedia, like a category. We haven't found a way to do this yet, other than to create a bot (which we will probably need to do).

Maintenance pass #1: Upgrading the intro section

The intro section of many portals transcludes an "Intro" subpage that has an excerpt in it.

We're replacing that with a selective transclusion directly in the intro section, bypassing the subpage. Though, there's a little more to it...

For instructions, see: Wikipedia:WikiProject Portals#Transclude intro excerpt directly on the portal base page.

Please skip Portal:American Civil War, as that is specifically being maintained by hand.

Maintenance pass #2: Obsoleting the Wikimedia subpages

One of the sections on many portals links to sister projects on the subject. This needlessly takes a subpage. The subpage can be made obsolete by using the template {{Wikimedia for portals}} directly on the portal base page.

This has been done for several hundred portals so far.

See Wikipedia:WikiProject Portals#Obsolete a Wikimedia subpage for instructions.

Maintenance pass #3: calling the category tree from the portal base page

Certes figured out how...

{{subst:Text|<category|tree>}}{{subst:PAGENAME}}{{subst:Text|</categorytree>}}

For more information, see the thread Wikipedia:WikiProject Portals#Rendering PAGENAME inside categorytree tag doesn't work (it does now).

More to come...

In the meantime, see ya around the portals!    — The Transhumanist   15:33, 11 May 2018 (UTC)

Portals WikiProject update, 15 May 2018

We are at 74 members. If you know anyone who might find this WikiProject interesting, please invite them.

The RfC has ended

The RfC was closed May 11th, and a closing statement was posted May 12th which says "There exists a strong consensus against deleting or even deprecating portals at this time."

Ongoing tasks

Some major activities that we are in the middle of include:

  • Adding the missing existing portals to the main portals list at Portal:Contents/Portals. Instructions are on the talk page. There are about 125 portals left to be processed. (There were 400). Keep up the good work!
  • Development discussions on how to migrate the subpages to the base pages. There are around 150,000 subpages in portal space, associated with the various sections on a typical portal. We are trying to obsolete them section type by section type. Currently, we're working on obsoleting the intro subpages and the "selected articles" subpages. Please join in.

Other tasks

  • The list of portals not ready to be listed on the main list can be found at Wikipedia:WikiProject Portals#These are not listed yet (scroll down to see them - they are marked   Not ready). They are incomplete. If you want a specific portal to work on, please consider choosing one from that list.
  • Over the years, some incomplete portals (portals under construction) got added to Portal:Contents/Portals. Therefore, every portal listed there needs to be inspected, and any that are incomplete should be removed from that list and added to the not ready list at Wikipedia:WikiProject Portals#These are not listed yet (scroll down to see it). On Portal:Contents/Portals, I'm already almost done inspecting the portals in the culture section, and so you can skip those. The types of things to look for are empty sections (most will have a redlinked subpage), lack of "selected" sections, portal stubs with just an intro and end sections, and very poor layout (like seriously unbalanced columns).

Portal-building resources

During his work on portals, Broter found a quote randomizer. It is {{Random quotation}}.

Trailblazer: approaching the one-page portal

Broter has transformed the Portal:Community of Christ so it is comprised of only 3 pages in portal space: the base page, its box-header subpage, and its box-footer subpage. Its other other subpages are now obsolete and are waiting for deletion. Nice job, Broter!

Well, that's all for now. See ya around the portals.    — The Transhumanist   06:38, 16 May 2018 (UTC)

The Signpost: 24 May 2018

Portals WikiProject update, 25 May 2018

We have grown to 79 members.

Please provide a warm welcome to our latest additions, Wpgbrown, Cactus.man, JLJ001, and Wumbolo.

A lot is going on, much of it on the WikiProject's talk page, so be sure to go there and join in on any of the many discussions taking place there.

Elsewhere around the portal project, or related to portals, the following is happening...

New news template ready for testing

Evad37 has created a new template, with supporting lua module, to handle news in portals...

{{Transclude selected current events}} is ready to be tested in some actual portals. Let Evad37 know if you need help with the search patterns.

Noyster commented that "This is the best portal innovation since sliced bread!"

See the relevant discussion at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Portals#Alternative to Wikinews.

Thank you, Evad.

Coming soon: Automatic article alerts (but there is a glitch)

Our WikiProject is now subscribed to the bot that makes automatic article alerts, but the subpage where they are posted has not been added to our WikiProject page yet because of a weird problem...

Featured portal nominations from two years ago keep popping up on there.

Please check Wikipedia:WikiProject Portals/Article alerts to see if you can figure out how to fix this.

Once that is remedied, it will be posted on our WikiProject page.

Thank you.

Note that, this will only track base pages, because to track the rest, we'd have to create over 140,000 talk pages for the subpages, and that just isn't worthwhile (as we're trying to remove the subpages anyways). Therefore, any alerts for subpages will still need to be posted manually.

New portal, still needs work

Drafting a new portals guideline

Your input/editing is welcome on the draft-in-progress of a new guideline for portals.

See or work on the draft at User:Cesdeva/sandbox11.

See also the discussion at: Wikipedia talk:Portal guidelines#RfC on new portal guidelines

RfC on new TOC layout for main portal list

There is a proposal to change the look of the table of contents at Portal:Contents/Portals.

See: Portal talk:Contents/Portals#RFC on layout update.

Deletion discussion survivors

Thank you to those who have participated in portal deletion discussions. There are still some editors out there who despise portals, and this comes across in their argumentation style. Wow. Such negativity. But, there is some good news...

Current deletion discussions are posted on our WikiProject page.

Portal space clean up

While portal detractors are trying to get rid of portals via MfD, we have deleted many of them via speedy deletion (per {{Db-p1}} or {{Db-p2}}). Essentially, they were bare skeletons, with maybe a little meat on them. The plus here is that speedy deletion is without prejudice to re-creating the portals. They can easily be restarted from scratch without getting approval, or be undeleted by request by someone willing to work on them. We have kept track of these, for when someone wants to rebuild them. They are listed at Portal talk:Contents/Portals#These are not listed yet.

We are also removing subpages, the functions of which have been migrated to portal base pages. To see which ones have been removed, look for the redlinks in our watchlist.

There is also an MfD concerning some of these at Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Redundant subpages of the Cornwall portal.

For subpages that need to be deleted, you can conveniently place this speedy deletion template at the top of each of them:

{{Db-g6|rationale=of subpage clean up – this subpage's function has been migrated to the portal base page and is no longer needed}}

Then an admin will come along and delete them.

Please help list the unlisted portals!

There are still 100 existing portals not yet presented on the main portal list at Portal:Contents/Portals. There were 400, so we've come a long way. Thank you! But we are not done yet...

Please list a couple of them. Every little bit helps. If each member of this project listed one more, it would almost all be done. Many hands make light work.

The list of missings, and instructions, are to be found at Portal talk:Contents/Portals#These are not listed yet.

I hope to see you there!

Wrapping up

These developments make up just the tip of the iceberg. I'll have more to report in the next update, soon.    — The Transhumanist   00:31, 25 May 2018 (UTC)

Whoa, I missed one...

There's an article about the Portals WikiProject in the new issue of Signpost:

Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2018-05-24/WikiProject report

Enjoy.

P.S.: We now have 80 members. Evad37 just joined!    — The Transhumanist   01:36, 25 May 2018 (UTC)

Nomination for deletion of Template:London Transport portal main heading

 Template:London Transport portal main heading has been nominated for deletion. You are invited to comment on the discussion at the template's entry on the Templates for discussion page. Dicklyon (talk) 05:00, 25 May 2018 (UTC)

Portals WikiProject update #007, 31 May 2018

We have grown to 89 members.

This is the seventh issue of this newsletter. For previous issues, see our newsletter archive.

Welcome

A warm welcome to our nearly one dozen new members...

Our new members include:

Be sure to say "hi" and welcome them to the team.

The portal set has shrunk

There were 1515 portals, but now we have 1475, because we speedy deleted a bunch of incompleted portals that had been sitting around for ages, that were empty shells or had very little content. Because they were speedied, they can be rebuilt from scratch without acquiring approval from WP:DRV.

Maintenance runs on the portals set have begun

This is what we have been gearing up for: upgrading the portals en masse, using AWB.

More than half of the Associated Wikimedia sections have been converted to no longer use a subpage. This chore will probably be completed over the next week or two. Many thanks to the WikiGnome Squad, who have added an Associated Wikimedia section to the many geography-related portals that lacked one. The rest of the subjects await. :)

The next maintenance drive will be on the intro sections. Notices have gone out to the WikiProjects for which one or more portals fall within their subject scope. Once enough time has elapsed for them to respond (1 week), AWB processing of intro sections will begin.

Thank you, you

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your part in the RfC. I went back and reread much of it. I believe your enthusiasm played a major part in turning the tide on there. I'm proud of all of you.

Why reread that mess, you ask?

To harvest ideas, and to keep the problems that need to be fixed firmly in mind. But, also to keep in touch. See below...

Thank yous all around

I've contacted all of the other opposers of the RfC proposal to delete portals, to thank them for their support, and to assure them that their decision was not made in vain. I updated them on our activities, provided the link to the interviews about this project in the Signpost, pointed out our newsletter archive so they can keep up-to-date with what we are doing, and I invited them all to come and have a look-see at our operations (on our talk page).

Sockpuppet, and reverting his work

It so happened that one of our members was a sockpuppet: JLJ001. According to the admin who blocked him, he was a particularly tricky long term abuser. This is a weird situation, since the user was quite helpful. He will be missed.

This has been somewhat disruptive, because admins are doing routine deletions of the pages (portals, templates, etc.) he created, and reversion of his edits (I don't know if they will be reverting all of them). Please bear with them, as they are only doing what is best in the long run.

The following pages have been deleted by the admins so far, that I know of:

Automation so far, section by section...

Automatic article alerts is up and running

Automatic article alerts are now featured on the project page.

Some super out-of-date entries kept showing up on there, so posting it on the Project page was delayed. Thanks to Evad37 and AfroThundr for providing solutions on this one. Evad37 adjusted the workflow settings per Wikipedia:Article alerts/Subscribing#Choosing workflows, to make sure only the appropriate page types show up. AfroThundr removed the tags from the old entries that caused them to keep showing up in the article alerts.

Other things that could use some automation

Noyster pointed out that it would be nice to automate the updating of the portals section at the Community bulletin board.

Another major component of the portal system is the main list of portals, at Portal:Contents/Portals. How would we go about automating the updating of that?

Please post your ideas on the WikiProject's talk page. Thank you.

Deletion discussion survivors

Keep in mind that we have already speedy deleted almost all of the nearly empty portals, which can be rebuilt without approval whenever it is convenient to do so. Other portals should be completed if at all possible rather than delete them through MfD (which requires approval from Deletion review to rebuild).

(Current deletion discussions are posted on our WikiProject page).

Portals needing repair

Wrapping up

There's still more, but it will have to wait until next issue.

Until then, see ya around the project.    — The Transhumanist   12:00, 31 May 2018 (UTC)

Portals WikiProject update #008, 7 June 2018

The WikiProject now has 92 participants, including 16 admins.

Welcome

A warm welcome to the newest members of the team:

Be sure to say hi.

Congrats

Pbsouthwood has just gotten through the grueling RfA process to become a Wikipedia administrator. Be sure to congratulate him.

The reason he went for it was: "For some time I expect to be busy with subpage deletion for Wikipedia:WikiProject Portals as mentioned above. The amount of work is expected to keep me busy for some time. I am primarly a content creator and contributor to policy discussions, but would be willing to consider other admin work on request, providing that I feel that my involvement would be appropriate and not too far outside my comfort zone."

New feature: Picture slideshow

Picture slideshow

Evad37 has figured out a way to let the user flip through pictures without purging the page. Purging is awkward because there is an intermediary confirmation screen that you have to click on "yes". In the new picture slideshow section, all you have to do is click on the > to go to the next picture or < to instantly show the previous feature. The feature also shuffles the pictures when the page is initiated, so that they are shown in a different order each time the user visits the page (or purges it).

It is featured in Portal:Sacramento, California. Check it out to the right.

Keep in mind that the feature is a beta version. Please share your comments on how to refine this feature, at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Portals#Refining the Picture slideshow.

The one-page portal has been achieved

We now have a one-page portal design. It isn't fully automated, nor is it even fully semi-automated, as there are still some manually filled-in areas. But it no longer requires any subpages in portal space, and that is a huge improvement. For example, Portal:Sacramento, California utilizes the one-page design concept. While is employs heavy use of templates, it does not have any subpages of its own.

I commend you for your teamwork

This is the most cooperative team I've ever seen. With a strong spirit of working together to get an important job done. Kudos to you.

In conclusion...

There's more. A lot more. But it will have to wait until next issue, but you don't have to wait. See what's going on at the WikiProject's talk page.    — The Transhumanist   02:08, 7 June 2018 (UTC)

Portals WikiProject update #009, 15 June 2018

(Article slideshow prototype)
Selected animals

Don't mind that box to the right. We'll be talking about that later, below.

Almost done...

With the portals upgrades?

No. :)

What is almost done is the updating of the main list of portals!

There are 23 portals left to be listed.

Kudos to the WikiGnome Squadron, for spearheading this.

Once it is fully updated, we need to keep it up to date. When you complete a portal, remember to add it to Portal:Contents/Portals.

Concerning portal upgrades, we are working on those section-by-section...

Associated Wikimedia section conversion task complete

The Associated Wikimedia sections of the entire set of portals have been upgraded. These are now handled on each portal base page (bypassing the previously used corresponding subpages), using the {{Wikimedia for portals}} template rather than reiterated copied/pasted code.

So, to be more accurate on reporting upgrade progress, that's one section down (for the whole set of portals), with (about) nine sections to go. (Skipping curated portals, regarding custom content sections, of course).

Further section conversions (using AWB)

Work is underway on converting Portals' introduction sections, and the categories sections.

If you would like to help, see Wikipedia:WikiProject Portals#Upgrade introduction sections and Wikipedia:WikiProject Portals#AWB task: Convert category sections

Further section conversions (by hand)

Work has also started with converting selected picture sections to picture slideshow sections. See Wikipedia:WikiProject Portals#Install picture slideshows.

Quality rating system for portals under development

Currently, there is no quality rating for portals: in the Portals WikiProject box on each portals' talk page, it just says "Portal". But times are a changin'. Quality assessment is on the way, and you can help. See the discussion.

What's coming: excerpt slideshows

Evad37 has figured out a way to apply the picture slideshow feature to displaying article excerpts (now you can check out the provided box above). :) This allows us to bypass page purging to see the next selection, and you can even click through them rather quickly. Currently, the wikicode for doing this for article excerpts is a bit eye-boggling, and so we are looking into simplifying it. A streamlined version may be just around the corner.

Note that this is a prototype, not ready for widespread use. Click on the box in between the lesser than and greater than signs, to see what I mean. It was meant for pictures, and so the thumbnail feature doesn't apply to article prose very well. I've presented it even though it isn't ready, to show the direction portal development is heading. See the discussion.

Wow

I'm amazed at how rapidly portals are evolving. And we're still within a single generation of portal technological evolution. Imagine what they might be in 2 or 3 more generations of developments. Pretty soon, portals will be able to shake your hand. :)    — The Transhumanist   11:03, 16 June 2018 (UTC)

The Signpost: 29 June 2018

Portals WikiProject update #010, 30 June 2018

We've grown to 94 participants.

A warm welcome to dcljr and Kpgjhpjm.

Rating system for portals

We are in the process of developing a rating system specifically for portals, as the quality assessment scheme for articles does not apply to portals. It is coming along nicely. Your input would be very helpful. See the discussion at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Portals/General#Proposed new quality class assessments.

Better than a barnstar

One of our participants got involved with this WikiProject through interest in how the new generation of portals would be handled in WP's MOS (Manual of Style). It didn't take long before he got sucked in deeper. This has given him an opportunity to look around, and so, he has made an assessment of this WikiProject's operations:

I'm quite frankly really impressed and inspired by what's happening here. If you'd asked me a year ago if I thought portals should just be scrapped as a failed, dragged-out experiment, I would have said "yes". This planning and the progress toward making it all practical is exemplary of the wiki spirit, in particular of a happy service-to-readers puppy properly wagging its technological and editorial tail instead of the other way around, and without "drama". It's also one of the few examples I've seen in a long time of a new wikiproject actually doing something useful and fomenting constructive activity (instead of acting as a barrier to participation, and a canvassing/ownership farm for PoV pushers). Kudos all around. — SMcCandlish

Congratulations, everyone. Keep up the great work.

Slideshow development

We've run into a glitch with slideshows: they don't work on mobile devices.

Initially, we will need to explore options that allow portals to have slideshows without adversely affecting mobile viewers. See Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Portals/Design#Mobile view support.

Eventually, we may need another way to do slideshows. If we do go this route, and I don't see why we wouldn't, then (user configurable) automatic slideshows also become a possibility.

TemplateStyles RfC passed

Once implemented, this will allow editors to create and edit cascading style sheets for use with templates. This will expand what we can do with portals. For more detail, see mw:Extension:TemplateStyles and Wikipedia:TemplateStyles.

Automation effort

We've run into an obstacle using Lua-based selective transclusion: Lua is incapable (on Wikipedia) of reading in article names from categories. Because of this, we'll need to seek other approaches for fully automating the Selected article section. We are exploring sources other than categories, and other technologies besides Lua.

Speaking of using other sources, the template {{Transclude list item excerpt}} collects list items from a specified page, or from a section of that page, and transcludes the lead from a randomly selected link from that list. Courtesy of Certes. So, if you use this in a portal, and if the template specifies a page or section serviced by JL-Bot, you've now got yourself an automatically updated section in the portal. JL-Bot provides links to featured content and good articles, by subject.

What is "fully automated"? When you create a portal using a creation template, and the portal works thereafter without editor intervention, the portal is fully automated. That is, the portal is supported by features that fetch new content. If you have to add new article names every so often for it to display new content, then it is only semi-automated.

Currently, the Selected article section is semi-automated, because it requires that an editor supplies the names of the various articles for which excerpts are (automatically) displayed. For examples, look at the wikisource code of Portal:Reptiles, Portal:Ancient Tamil civilization, and Portal:Reference works.

So far, 3 sections are fully automatable: the introduction section, the categories section, and the Associated Wikimedia section.

Where is all this heading?

Henry.

Or some other name.

Eventually, the portal department will be a software program. And we won't have to do anything (unless we want to). Not even tell it what portals to create (unless we want to). It will just do it all (plus whatever else we want it to do). And we will of course give it good manners, and a name.

But, that is a few years off.

Until then, building portals is still (partially) up to us.    — The Transhumanist   13:30, 30 June 2018 (UTC)

Precious anniversary

Precious
 
Five years!

--Gerda Arendt (talk) 07:32, 1 July 2018 (UTC)

Portals WikiProject update #011, 10 July 2018

We now have 97 participants.

Be sure to welcome our newest members, BrantleyIzMe, Coffeeandcrumbs, and Nolan Perry, with warm regards.

Work is proceeding apace. We have 2 major thrusts right now: converting the intro sections of portals, and building the components of the one-page automated model...

Converting the intro sections

We need everybody, except those building software components, to work on converting intros. If you have AWB, definitely use that. If not, then work on them manually. Even one a day, or as often as you can muster, will help a lot. There are only about 1,000 of them left to go, so if everyone chips in, it will go pretty quickly. Remember, there are 97 of us!

The intros for most of the portals starting with A through F have already been converted to use the {{Transclude lead excerpt}} template.

The standard wikicode for the automated intro that we want to put into place looks like this:

{{/box-header|Introduction|noedit=yes|}}
{{Transclude lead excerpt | {{PAGENAME}} | paragraphs=1-2 | files=1}}
{{Box-footer|[[{{PAGENAME}}|Read more...]]}}

That works for most portals, but not all. For some portals it requires some tweaking, and for others, we may have to use a different or more customized approach. Remember to visually inspect each portal you work on and make sure that it works before moving on to the next one.

Be sure to skip user-maintained portals. They are listed at Wikipedia:WikiProject_Portals#Specific_portal_maintainers.

AWB tips

I've started an AWB tips page, for those of you feeling a bit overwhelmed by that power user tool. Feel free to add to it and/or improve it.

Portal automation

We have some very talented Lua programmers, who are pushing the limits of what we can do in gathering data from Wikipedia's various namespaces and presenting it in portals. Due to their efforts, Lua is powering the selective transclusion core of our emerging automated portal design, in the form of selected article sections that rotate content, and slideshows.

To go beyond Lua's limits, to take full advantage of Mediawiki's API, we are in the midst of adding another programming language to the resources we shall be making use of: JavaScript. The ways that JavaScript can help us edit portals to boost the power of our Lua solutions, are being explored, which will likely make the two languages synergistic if not symbiotic. Research is under way on how we can use JavaScript to make some of the portal semi-automated features fully automatically self-updating, in ways that Lua cannot. Like gathering random members from a category and inserting them into a portal's templates as parameters. Once the parameters are in place, Lua does the rest.

If you would like to get involved with design efforts, or just keep up on them, see Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Portals/Design.

When should we start building new portals?

Well, not at the present time, because building portals is quite time consuming. The good news is that we are working on a design that will be fully automated, or as close to that as we can get. And the new design is being implemented in the portal department's main portal creation template. This means, that not only will portals update themselves, their creation will be highly automated as well. That's the nature of templates. You put them in place, and they just... work.

What I'm getting at here, is that it would be better to wait to build lots of new portals until after the new design is completed. Because with it, instead of taking hours to create a new portal, it will likely take minutes.

That does not mean we should be idle in the meantime. The main reason most of us are here is because it became apparent that portals were largely unmaintained and had grown out-of-date. This had become so apparent that a proposal was made to delete all the portals and the portal namespace to boot. That makes our main objective in the short term to improve all the existing portals so that the community will want to keep them—forever.

Building lots of new portals comes later. Let's fix up the ones we have first. ;)

And on that note, I bid you adieu. Until next newsletter, see ya 'round the WikiProject.    — The Transhumanist   12:30, 10 July 2018 (UTC)

Portals WikiProject update #012, 15 July 2018

We have 97 participants.

Getting faster

Automation makes things go faster, even portal creation. One of the components Certes made was {{Transclude list item excerpt}}. I became curious about its possible applications.

So I worked out a portal design using it, the initial prototypes being Portal:Kyoto (without a "Selected pictures" section), and Portal:Dubai (with a "Selected pictures" section). Then I used Portal:Dubai as the basis for further portals of this type...

I was able to revamp Portal:Munich from start to finish in less than 22 minutes.
Portal:Dresden took about 19 minutes.
Portal:Athens took less than 17 minutes.
Did Portal:Florence in about 13 minutes.
Portal:Stockholm also in about 13.
Portal:Palermo approx. 12 minutes.

Why?

To see, and to show, what may become feasible via automation.

It now looks highly feasible that we could get portal construction time down to a few minutes, or maybe even down to a few seconds.

The singularity is just around the corner. :)

Slideshows

When using the {{Random slideshow}} template to display pictures, be sure to use the plural tense in the section title: "Selected pictures". That's because slideshows don't show up on many mobile devices. Instead the whole set of pictures is shown, hence the section title "Selected pictures", as it fits both situations.

In case you are curious, here is a list of the portals so far that have a slideshow:

Progress on intro conversions

The intros for most of the portals up through the letter "O" have been converted, using this wikicode:

{{/box-header|Introduction|noedit=yes|}}
{{Transclude lead excerpt | {{PAGENAME}} | paragraphs=1-2 | files=1}}
{{Box-footer|[[{{PAGENAME}}|Read more...]]}}

Where the pagename didn't match the article title for the subject, the title was typed in.

Most of the portals that do not contain {{/intro}} or {{{{FULLPGENAME}}/Intro}} have not yet been processed.

About a thousand portals use the method of selective transclusion for the intro section. That's about two-thirds. That means we have one-third of the way to go on the intro section conversions.

Much more to come...

So much has been happening with portals that I can't keep up with it. (That's good). Which means, more in the upcoming issue. Until then, see ya 'round the project. Sincerely,    — The Transhumanist   08:44, 15 July 2018 (UTC)

Notes at Green Park tube station

Great to see that you're working on Green Park tube station, I guess that you'll try for GA very soon. I see that it now has 13 notes; in the text these are shown as [n 1] etc. but in the list at the bottom they have simple numbers, which could cause confusion with the ref numbers. Are you aware that if you alter |group="n" to |group="lower-alpha" you can then have the markers in the text show as [a] [b] etc. and the same letters will be in the list at the bottom. The {{efn}} and {{notelist}} templates will do the same thing with less typing, and you can still put {{sfn}} inside, as in {{efn|Funding for Stage 1 of the line was to come from the Greater London Council and central government in the ratio 1:3.{{sfn|Horne|2000|p=35}}}}. --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 07:16, 17 July 2018 (UTC)

I've just about finished it now. I've not really kept up with the development of the multitude of referencing templates - {{sfn}} does the job for most citations, but {{efn}} looks like a nice alternative to the old #tag:ref method. I don't like the examples where the notes are defined in to notes list at the bottom and I can't see why this would be useful. In my view, when in edit mode, the notes text should appear alongside the body text that it is amplifying rather than at the bottom of the page.--DavidCane (talk) 22:02, 19 July 2018 (UTC)
The {{efn}} template should not be confused with list-defined references - indeed, they don't work well together.[a] ← But here is an example of {{efn}}. --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 22:20, 19 July 2018 (UTC)
  1. ^ I can't remember where this was discussed but it was three or four years back

Portals WikiProject update #013, 18 July 2018

I got overwhelmed IRL (in real life) during the production of issue #12. So, here is a catch-up issue, to help bring you (and me) up to speed on what is happening with portals...

By the way, we still have 97 participants. (Tell all your friends about this WikiProject, and have them join!)

Panoramas!

One cool feature of some of the geographical portals is a panoramic picture at the top of the intro section.

Check these out:

The Portals WikiGnome squadron is busy adding panoramas to geographical portals that don't yet have one. Feel free to join in on the fun. See task details at Wikipedia:WikiProject Portals#Add a panorama or skyline to a geographic portal.

Caveat: avoid super-huge pics, as they can cause portal scripts to time-out. Please try to keep picture size down below 2 megabytes. Thank you.

Auto-populated slideshows

Speaking of pictures...

We now have two slideshow templates. You may be familiar with {{Random slideshow}}, in which the editor types in (or copies/pastes) a list of pictures he or she wants it to display.

Well, now we have another template, courtesy of Evad37, which accepts one or more page names instead, and displays a random image off of the listed pages. So instead of listing dozens of files by hand, you can include a title or three to be scanned automatically. It even lets you specify particular sections.

The new slideshow template is {{Transclude files as random slideshow}}.

Here's a sample, that grabs images from a single page:

Selected motorcycle or motorcycling pictures

New Template:Box-header colour

Speaking of new templates, here's another one!

Also from Evad37, we have a new component for starting section boxes, that is color configurable, and that bypasses the need for box-header subpages altogether. It is {{Box-header colour}}.

For color support, see Web colors.

For the discussion in which this was inspired, see Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Portals/Tasks#Colour combinations for accessibility.

(In case you didn't notice, the slideshow box above uses this new template).

BTW, don't forget to close your box with {{Box-footer}}.

Where are we on the redesign?

The answer to this question is quite involved, and would fill this page to overflowing. Therefore, this subject, including a complete update on where we are at and where we are going with portal design, is covered at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Portals/Design.

Where are we on portal conversion?

An AWB pass to convert intros on the portals has been completed. The pass couldn't convert them all (due to various formatting configurations, etc.).

All but about 170 portals now have introductions selectively transcluded on the base page. Not counting manually maintained portals, that leaves about 70 portals that either need their intros converted, or they need an intro.

Next, we'll be converting the categories sections!

What's the plan, man?

The course of action we have been taking goes something like this, with all steps being pursued simultaeneously...

1) Design a one-page automated portal model

2) Convert existing portals to that design (except those being manually maintained)

3) Remove subpages no longer needed

4) Develop further tools to empower editors working on portals

Later, when the tools are up to the task, filling in the gaps in coverage (with new portals) will also become practical.

Are we caught up yet?

Probably not.

Who knows what our programmers and editors have dreamed up while I was writing this.

See ya again soon,    — The Transhumanist   11:06, 18 July 2018 (UTC)

Portals WikiProject update #014, 27 July 2018

Development of design continues, full speed ahead...

Excerpt slideshows are here!

Can you say "paradigm shift"?

Now, in addition to picture slideshows, we have slideshows that can display excerpts. Portals are not just for topic tasting anymore. Now they can be made useful for surveying Wikipedia's coverage of entire subjects. This gives a deeper meaning to their name. Hmmm. "Portals"... Doorways to knowledge.

Portal:Lithuania was redesigned using excerpt slideshows. Check it out.

For those of you who cannot wait to test out these new toys...

We have not one, but three excerpt slideshow components to pick from:

{{Transclude excerpts as random slideshow}}

For this one, you specify the page names where the excerpts are to be extracted from.

{{Transclude list item excerpts as random slideshow}}

This one accepts source pages from where the page names are gathered from list items. Then an excerpt from one of those pages is displayed. The selection of what is included in the slide show can be limited to a specific number from the collection (of the page names gathered), and that selection is renewed from scratch each time the page is purged.
For example, if you specify Template:World Heritage Sites in Spain as a source page, the slideshow will cycle through those sites. Now you don't have to type them in one-by-one. This greatly reduces portal creation time.

{{Transclude linked excerpts as random slideshow}}

Same as above, but gathers links instead of just linked list items.

Panoramic banners

{{Portal image banner}} displays a panoramic picture the width of the page, and adjusts its size, so it stays that way even if the user changes page view size. And it accepts multiple file names, so that the picture displayed randomizes between them each time the page is visited/purged.

Give resizing the page a try:

Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania.

You can now balance section boxes

Before:

Reptile types
Amphibian types

After:

Reptile types
Amphibian types

Notice how the box bottoms line up. That readjusts even if you click the slideshow buttons.

The template used for this is {{Flex columns}}.

By the way, when you include more than one box in a column, any left over whitespace in that column is divided between them.

Box-header colour

You may have noticed the new {{Box-header colour}} template used above. It lets you pick the color locally (right on the same page). Before, this was handled on a subpage somewhere.

Testing, testing

Now that we have lots of toys to play with for making cool portals...

Don't forget, that the majority of views of Wikipedia these days are from mobile devices. We need to make certain that portals display well on those. So, remember to check your work on portals in mobile view mode...

To see a portal in mobile view mode, insert a ".m" into a portal's url, after "en", like this:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portal:Reptile

If you discover problems in a portal you can't fix, report them on Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Portals/Design.

Until next time...

Have fun.    — The Transhumanist   00:57, 27 July 2018 (UTC)

Portals tasks requests: presented in the newsletter below...

Portals WikiProject update #015, 31 July 2018

Now that we have lots of toys to play with, it's play time!

Here are some fun activities to use our new toys on...

Fun activity #1: put the improved panorama template to use

Would you like to travel around the world? Well, this may be the next best thing...

Here's another fun toy to play with: {{Portal image banner}}

To see what it looks like, check out the panoramas at the tops of the following portals:

The task: There are many geography portals that lack panoramas. Please add some. Please keep the file size down below 2 megabytes, and keep in mind that you may find quality banners at commons: at less than 200K (.2 megabytes). Good search terms to include with the place name are "banner", "cityscape", "skyline", "panorama", "landscape", etc.

Related task: There are also lots of geography portals that have panoramas used as gaudy banners (with print or icons splattered across them) or that display them in some random location on the page. In many cases, those pages would be improved by displaying the panorama as a clean picture at the top of the intro section, like on the examples above. This works best with banner-like panoramas. Please fix such pages when you come across them, if you believe it would improve the look of the page.

Taller images might be better suited displayed further down the page, or in the "Selected images" section.

Note that {{Portal image banner}} supports multiple images, and displays one at random upon the first visit, and each time the page is purged.

Fun activity #2: install "Selected images" sections

That is, image slideshows!

Over 200 have been installed so far. Just 1200 to go. (Be sure not to install them on portals with active maintainers, unless they want you to).

The title "Selected images" reflects the fact that not all images on Wikipedia are pictures, and encompasses maps, graphs, diagrams, sketches, paintings, pictures, and so on.

The toys we have to work with for this are:

{{Random slideshow}}

and

{{Transclude files as random slideshow}}

The task: Using one of the above templates directly on a portal's base page, replace static "Selected picture" sections, with a section like one of these:

Selected images
Selected images

The one on the left uses {{Random slideshow}} (which accepts file names), and the one on the right uses {{Transclude files as random slideshow}} (which accepts source pages from which the filenames are gathered).

The above section formatting is used on many of the pages you will come across, but not all. In those cases, use whatever section formatting matches the rest of the page.

Note that you may come across "Selected picture" sections done with {{Random portal component}} templates. That template call is the entire section. Replace it with a section that matches the other sections on the page, and put the new slideshow inside that.

For example, in Portal:California, this code:

{{Random portal component|max=21|seed=27|header=Selected picture|subpage=Selected picture}}

was replaced with this code:

{{/box-header|Selected images|noedit=yes}}
{{Transclude files as random slideshow
| {{PAGENAME}}
| Culture of {{PAGENAME}}
}}
{{Box-footer}}

And the new section blended right in with the formatting of the rest of the page. Note the use of the {{PAGENAME}} magic word. Plain article titles also work. Don't feel limited to one or two page names. But be sure to test each slideshow before installing the next one. (Or if you prefer, in batches - just don't leave them hanging). Report technical problems at the Portal design talk page.

Fun activity #3: upgrade "Selected article" sections

These sections, where unmaintained, have gone stale. That's because 1) the excerpts are static, having been manually copied and pasted, and 2) because they lack automatic addition of new entries.

They can be upgraded with:

{{Transclude random excerpt}}

or

{{Transclude list item excerpt}}

or

{{Transclude linked excerpt}}

All three of these will provide excerpts that won't go stale. The latter two can provide excerpt collections that won't go stale, by providing new entries over time. The key is to select source pages or source sections that are frequently updated, such as root article sections, mainstream lists, or navigation templates.

Where will this put us?

When the above tasks are completed for the entire collection of portals (except the ones with specific maintainers), we'll be more than half-way done with the portal system upgrade.

Keep up the great work.    — The Transhumanist   19:09, 30 July 2018 (UTC)

The Signpost: 31 July 2018

Portals WikiProject update #016, 15 Aug 2018

Future portal tool

Discussions are underway on the design of a portal tool (user script) that will hopefully have features for modifying portals at the click of a menu item, to make editing them easier. It might do things like change the color for you, add to a selection, add a new section, move a section, and so on.

If you'd like to be involved and suggest features for the tool, please join us at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Portals/Design#What would you want a portal tool to be able to do?.

Progress report: upgrade of portals

As new portal components are built by our Lua gurus, those components are being used to upgrade portals. Each component automates a section of a portal in a particular way.

The sections that are mostly upgraded so far are the Intro, and the Associated Wikimedia section.

The sections currently undergoing upgrade are: Selected image, Categories, and the Intro.

The Intro? Isn't that done already?

Yes, and no.

The upgrade of the excerpt in intros is mostly complete (there are about 70 non-standard portals that still need it).

Now we are doing another upgrade of intros in the form of adding a panoramic picture at the top of the intro, on portals for which such a picture is available on Commons:. Dozens of panoramas have been added so far, and they are really starting to affect the look of portals — the portals that have them look really good.

Regions are the most likely subjects to have panoramas, but a surprising number of other subjects have banner-shaped pictures too. Some examples of non-geographic portals that they have been added to are:

Speaking of pictures, several hundred Selected image sections have been upgraded to include image slideshows.

Progress report: design

The push for automation continues, with new components under continuous testing in the field. As problems are spotted, they are reported to our programmers, who have done a fantastic job of keeping up with bug reports and fixing the relevant Lua modules fast. I am highly impressed.

Construction time on new portals is now down to as little as a minute or less. Though not in general. If you are lucky enough to spot portals that fit the profile of the new tools (their strengths), then a portal can be complete almost as soon as it is created, with the added time it takes to find and add a panorama. Source page titles are not generally standardized, and so it source pages in many cases must be entered manually. Where source page titles follow a standard naming convention, portal creation for those subjects goes quickly.

So, we still have some hurdles, but the outlook on portals is very good. New features, and many improvements to features are on the horizon. I'll be sure to report them when they become available.

What will the portal of the future look like? That is up to you!

See you on the project's talk pages.

Sincerely,    — The Transhumanist   21:01, 15 August 2018 (UTC)

Portals WikiProject update #017, 22 Aug 2018

This issue is about portal creation...

Creating new portals

Myself and others have been testing and experimenting with the new components in upgrading existing portals and in building new portals. They have now been applied in hundreds of portals.

The templates are ready for general use for portal creation.

They are still a bit buggy, but the only way we are going to work the rest of the bugs out is by using them and reporting the bugs as we come across them.

I look forward to seeing what new portals you create!

Be sure to report bugs at WT:WPPORTD.

The main portal creation template is {{box portal skeleton}}.

Portal creation tips

After starting a portal using {{box portal skeleton}}...

  1. Placing a panorama (banner picture) at the top of the intro section is a nice touch, and really makes a portal look good. {{box portal skeleton}} doesn't automatically insert panoramas. So, you will need to do that by hand. They can be found at Commons:. For some examples, check out Portal:Sharks, Portal:Cheese, and Portal:Florence
  2. The search term provided in the Did you know? and In the news sections is very basic and rarely matches anything. It is best to replace that term with multiple search arguments, if possible (separate each argument with a pipe character). For example, in Portal:Capital punishment, see https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Portal:Capital_punishment&diff=855255361&oldid=855137403 Searches in templates use Lua search notation.
  3. Check the In the news and Did you know? sections for mismatches. That is, sometimes entries come up that shouldn't be displayed. If there are any, refine the search strings further, so they don't return such results.
  4. Finish each portal you've created before creating a new one. We don't want unfinished portals sitting around.

Need a laugh?

Check out the Did you know? section on Portal:Determinism.    — The Transhumanist   02:43, 22 August 2018 (UTC)

Your GA nomination of Green Park tube station

Hi there, I'm pleased to inform you that I've begun reviewing the article Green Park tube station you nominated for GA-status according to the criteria.   This process may take up to 7 days. Feel free to contact me with any questions or comments you might have during this period. Message delivered by Legobot, on behalf of Tim riley -- Tim riley (talk) 12:20, 27 August 2018 (UTC)

The article is clearly promotable, but first I've left a handful of minor comments for your consideration. Tim riley talk 12:41, 27 August 2018 (UTC)

Your GA nomination of Green Park tube station

The article Green Park tube station you nominated as a good article has passed  ; see Talk:Green Park tube station for comments about the article. Well done! If the article has not already been on the main page as an "In the news" or "Did you know" item, you can nominate it to appear in Did you know. Message delivered by Legobot, on behalf of Tim riley -- Tim riley (talk) 15:01, 27 August 2018 (UTC)

The Signpost: 30 August 2018

Portals WikiProject update #018, 04 Sept 2018

Bug hunt!

As you know, portals are now supported by a number of new templates, which are in turn supported by some new Lua modules.

Those templates and modules are being put to the test, in the new portals that have been created since this WikiProject rebooted, plus a number of existing portals that have been revamped.

The new portals, and revamped ones, can be found at Category:Single-page portals.

Please browse the new portals at your leisure, and report any and all problems that you spot. Post bug and other portal problem reports at WT:WPPORTD. Please report bugs, quirks, awkward aspects, or anything weird or off that you notice. Compliments and suggestions are also welcome. :)

When you report a bug, please indicate the portal's name, the section that the problem appeared in, and the name of the article appearing (first) in the section with the problem. Most problems will likely be encountered in the Selected general articles" section, due to quirks in a displayed article's wikicode that the lua modules don't handle yet. Your help in spotting those is of utmost value. Thank you.

Don't delete portal subpages just yet

For portals that have been converted to the single-page design, we are not deleting their subpages at this time, because we are working on ways to harvest the data from those pages. For example, the Selected picture subpages include filenames and captions that would be valuable for the image slideshows. Please don't delete portal subpages, for now. They'll be slated for d-batch speedy deletion after harvesting. Thank you.

Development notes

We are currently testing a feature added to {{Transclude files as random slideshow}} that allows it to accept both sourcepages and filenames. Courtesy of Evad37. This will pave the way for harvesting files and their captions from portal subpages, for use in image slideshows.

We need your help

The bulk of the work is being done by a handful of editors. But we can't do it all. We need help with spotting bugs, refining the search parameters in new/revamped portals (in the "Did you know..." and "In the news" sections), adding images to slideshows for a broader selection (they default to showing the images on the root article page but are capable of showing so much more), adding panoramic pictures at the top of the intro section of region portals (cities, counties, states, provinces, countries, continents, and other regions), to name but a few task types.

It is rewarding to be a part of the growing portal phenomenon. And you get to see its expansion and refinement up close.

Feel free to join in on the fun. ;)

Thank you,    — The Transhumanist   06:41, 4 September 2018 (UTC)

DYK Green Park tube station

Hi. I just wanted to let you know that I passed this nomination, but two of your suggested hooks were over the 200 character limit. I don't know how attached you are to the first hook, but I thought I'd give you the opportunity to tweak it if you want to. As I mention in my review, I personally prefer the ALT1. – JuneGloom07 Talk 13:57, 16 September 2018 (UTC)

Portals WikiProject update #019, 22 Sept 2018

Portals progress report

Don't blink. You might miss something.

As of a few days ago, portals had doubled in about a month and a half.

Also, there were 98 incompleted portals in Category:Portals under construction. Now there are just 43.

The WikiProject page has been thoroughly revised

The goals, plans, and task sections have all been updated.

Orphaned portals need a home...

Many new portals are still orphans, and need links pointing to them:

  1. A portal link at the bottom of corresponding navigation footer template. E.g., Template:Machines for Portal:Machines. See examples of a portals link at the bottom of Template:Robotics and Template:Forestry.
  2. A {{Portal}} box in the See also section of the corresponding root article for each portal. If there is no See also section, create one and place the portal template in that. (Rather than placing them in an external links section -- they're not external links).
  3. A {{Portal}} template placed at the top of the category page corresponding to each portal.

All new and revamped portals can be found at Category:Single-page portals.

Portal:Contents/Portals

This is the main list of portals.

Nearly 2,000 of the new portals need to be listed here.

They can be found at Portal talk:Contents/Portals#These are not listed yet. Instructions are included there.

Customized Portal Rating system is now in place

Portals now have a new rating system of their own designed specifically to support portal evaluation! We were trying to use the standard assessment system for articles, but that doesn't fit portals very well.

Many thanks to Evad37, Waggers, AfroThundr3007730, SMcCandlish, Tom, BrendonTheWizard, and Pbsouthwood for their work and input on this.

The new system can be found at the top of all portal talk pages, in the WikiProject portals box. Those with "???" ratings need to be assessed, which makes up most of the older portals.

Most of the new portals were started out with an initial "Low" level of importance when their talk pages were created. Those deserving higher importance should be promoted as you come across them.

Improving the new portals

The starting point for new portals included minimal parameters and content, in the form of default values in the template(s) used for their creation.

Embellishing embedded search strings

So, for the search strings in the "Did you know..." and "In the news" sections, this was the magic word {{PAGENAME}}, which represents the portal's name. Unfortunately, the resulting term is alway capitalized, which limits its effectiveness as a search string for anything but proper nouns. Results for those two sections can be improved, by replacing the "PAGENAME" magic word with multiple search strings, and search strings that begin with lower case letters. There is no inherent limit as to how many search parameters may be included. Lua search notation is used. The more general the subject, the more subtopic search terms you may want to include. For example, on Portal:Avengers (comics), {{PAGENAME}} turned up nothing. But, when more parameters were added, as in the wikicode below...

{{Transclude selected recent additions | {{PAGENAME}} | Iron Man | Spiderman | Antman | Hawkeye | The Hulk | Incredible Hulk | David Banner | Captain America | Scarlet Witch | Black Widow | Tony Stark | Nick Fury | Age of Ultron | Infinity War | months=36 | header={{Box-header colour|Did you know... }}|max=6}}

... that returned several results in the portal's DYK section.

Be sure you make the improvements to both the DYK section and the "In the news" section, as they both require the search strings.

Expanding the slideshow contents

The default starting selection for the image slideshow in most new portals is whatever images happen to be in the corresponding root article (via the PAGENAME magic word). You can improve image slideshows by adding more sourcepages and filenames as parameters in the "Selected images" section of portals.

See Template:Transclude files as random slideshow/doc for instructions.

More exciting things are to come...

Portals used to take about 6 hours or more to create. Now, for subjects that have particular navigation support, we've got that down to about one minute each, with even more content displayed than ever. True, that means the new portals pick you, rather than the other way around. Creating a specific portal that doesn't happen to have the requisite navigation support is still pretty time consuming. But, we are working on extending our reach beyond the low-hanging fruit.

And efforts are ongoing to keep shaving time off of the creation process. Eventually, we may get it down to seconds each.

In addition to improving automation, we're always looking for new features and improvements that we can add to portals, and there is plenty of potential to expand on the standard design so that new portals are even better right out of the starting gate. Additional designs are also possible.

On the horizon, there are many more portals waiting to be created. And we can expect to see at least a few more section types emerge. I never expected slideshows, for example, especially not for excerpts. Who knows where innovation will take us next?

Keep up the great work everyone.

Sincerely,    — The Transhumanist   07:05, 23 September 2018 (UTC)

DYK for Green Park tube station

 On 29 September 2018, Did you know was updated with a fact from the article Green Park tube station, which you recently created, substantially expanded, or brought to good article status. The fact was ... that the Queen and Prince Charles each travelled on London Underground trains from Green Park tube station when they carried out the official openings of the Victoria and Jubilee lines? The nomination discussion and review may be seen at Template:Did you know nominations/Green Park tube station. You are welcome to check how many page hits the article got while on the front page (here's how, Green Park tube station), and it may be added to the statistics page if the total is over 5,000. Finally, if you know of an interesting fact from another recently created article, then please feel free to suggest it on the Did you know talk page.

Alex Shih (talk) 00:02, 29 September 2018 (UTC)

The Signpost: 1 October 2018

Portals WikiProject update #020, 12 Oct 2018

Whew, a lot has been happening.

A bit of defending of the portals has been needed. But, most activity recently has been directed upon maintenance and development of existing portals.

The majority of portals now use the new design, about 2400 of them, leaving around 1200 portals that still employ the old style.

Newest portals

Please inspect these portals, and report problems or suggest improvements at WT:WPPORTD. Thank you.

MfDs

Since the last issue of this newsletter, Nineteen portals were nominated for deletion. All posted by the same person.

Two portals were deleted.

One resolved as "no consensus".

Sixteen resolved as "keep".

Links to the archived discussions are provided below:

  1. Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Portal:Air France
  2. Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Portal:Alexander Korda
  3. Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Portal:August Derleth
  4. Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Portal:Average White Band
  5. Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Portal:Bee-eaters
  6. Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Portal:Ben E. King
  7. Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Portal:Benny Goodman
  8. Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Portal:Bill Bryson
  9. Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Portal:Billy Idol
  10. Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Portal:Billy Ocean
  11. Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Portal:Bob Hope
  12. Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Portal:Bobbie Rosenfeld Award
  13. Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Portal:Body piercing
  14. Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Portal:Canton, Michigan
  15. Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Portal:Compostela Group of Universities
  16. Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Portal:Diplo
  17. Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Portal:Diversity of fish
  18. Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Portal:Pebble Beach
  19. Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Portal:Peter, Paul and Mary

Many thanks to those who participated in the discussions.

To watch for future MfD's, keep in mind that the Portals WikiProject is supported by automatic alerts. You can see them at: Wikipedia:WikiProject Portals#Article alerts: portals for deletion at MfD

Creation criteria

There was also some discussion of creation criteria for portals. The result was that one of the participants in the discussion reverted the portal guidelines to the old version, which has the minimum number of articles for a portal included in there: "about 20 articles", a guideline that was in place since 2009.

Many of the portals that existed prior to April 2018 do not have that many (being limited to however many subpages the portal creator created), and therefore, these portals need to be upgraded to the new design (which automatically provides many articles for display). Using the new design, exceeding 20 articles for display is very easy.

Linking to the new portals

Efforts have been underway to place links to new portals (all 2200 of them created since April).

  1. Link (portal button) from corresponding category pages.   Done
  2. Link from See also section on corresponding root articles.   Partially implemented
  3. Link from bottom of corresponding templates.   Partially implemented
  4. Link for each portal on Portal:Contents/Portals.   Partially implemented

Your help is needed. It is easy to access the page mentioned in #1, #2, & #3 from the portals themselves.

AWBers could do these tasks even faster (that's how the category pages were done), except #4...

Item #4 above pretty much has to be done by hand. (If you can find a way to speed that up, I would be very impressed). The links needing placement can be found at Portal talk:Contents/Portals#These are not listed yet. Instructions are included there.

The conversion effort: news sections

There are still around 1200 old-style portals that have only undergone partial conversion to the new design concepts, still relying on subpages with copied/pasted excerpts that have been going stale for years, out of date (manually posted) news entries, etc.

The section currently being tackled on these is news. You can help by deleting any news section on the old-style portals that has news entries that are years old (that is the dead giveaway to a manual news section). Be sure not to delete the news sections of portals that have up-to-date news, or active maintainers. For maintainers, look at the portal's categories, and/or check the participants list at WP:WPPORT.

Eventually, conditional news sections (that appear only when news items are available for display) will be added using AWB to all portals without a news section.

News items (and even the news sections themselves) are automatically generated for portals that were created using the Basic portal start page. On those portals, there is a hidden comment at the top of the page (that you can see in the edit window), that says this:

<!-- This portal was created using subst:Basic portal start page -->

Design development

Presently, we are in the process of implementing the new design features, creating new portals with them, and installing them in existing portals.

But, what about development of new new design features?

We have a wish department.

Post your wishes at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Portals/Design#Discussions about possible cool new features, and they might come true. Many have already, and for many of those, this is where they were posted.

Cascade effect

A resource that has been elusive so far will be obtained eventually: categories. That is, the ability to pull category member links to populate a page.

Rather than populate portals directly with such links, it may be more beneficial to the encyclopedia to utilize them in navigation footers, because portals already have the ability to generate themselves based on those.

So, this would create a cascade effect: auto-gathering entries from categories, would enable the construction of new navigation footers, that would in turn support the development of new portals.

The cascade effect would also be felt by existing portals, as existing navigation footers could be expanded using the category harvesting methods, which would in turn expand the coverage of portals that access those navigation footers.

You can help by providing leads about any potential category harvesting methods. Please report anything you know about harvesting categories at WT:WPPORTD. Thank you.

Looking into the future: the quantum portal?

One idea that has been floating around is the concept of a pageless portal. That is, a portal that isn't stored anywhere, instead being generated when you click on a menu item or button.

Many of the new portals were generated by a single click, and then saved via a second click.

Therefore, it seems likely that the portals of the future will employ the one-click concept.

Because of the need for customization by users, this concept would need to be augmented with a way to integrate user contributions. This could be done in at least two ways: posting an existing portal, autogenerating one from scratch if such does not yet exist, or have a special data page for user contributions that is folded into the auto-generated portal.

How soon? That is up to you. All that is needed are persons to implement it.

Until next time...

Keep up the good work on portals. They are improving daily. Thank you.    — The Transhumanist   04:17, 12 October 2018 (UTC)

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