User talk:Dan Nessett

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Welcome to the Citizendium! We hope you will contribute boldly and well. Here are pointers for a quick start. You'll probably want to know how to get started as an author. Just look at CZ:Getting Started for other helpful "startup" links, and CZ:Home for the top menu of community pages. Be sure to stay abreast of events via the Citizendium-L (broadcast) mailing list (do join!) and the blog. Please also join the workgroup mailing list(s) that concern your particular interests. You can test out editing in the sandbox if you'd like. If you need help to get going, the forums is one option. That's also where we discuss policy and proposals. You can ask any constable for help, too. Me, for instance! Just put a note on their "talk" page. Again, welcome and have fun! Hayford Peirce 16:36, 7 July 2009 (UTC)

Welcome to a colleague

I'm an underemployed computer scientist who was born in mid-day about two years after you, and now, among other things, a Computers, Military and Engineering Editor here. I still stay on some of the IETF and IRTF lists, primarily in routing. Alas, some of my best router design was at Nortel.

There are a number of articles in crypto/privacy approaching stability for approval (e.g., block cipher), as well as a less mature series of developing articles in email including privacy email system being the current top-level. We've been talking about how to set up a series of articles on trust and PKI structures, but haven't really come to any conclusion.

We have assorted music people who might share interests.

Howard C. Berkowitz 16:45, 7 July 2009 (UTC)

Sorry for not replying sooner. There was something wrong with my email verification and that meant I couldn't edit anything, even my own talk page. That is now resolved. I am not an editor, so I can only advise on security/privacy. However, right now I would like to concentrate on getting the proofs I mentioned in my fora posts inserted in the right place on Citizendium. After that I can perhaps help out with other stuff. Dan Nessett 01:22, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

Referencing across multiple pages

Hi Dan, this aim is familiar to me, and so I wish to invite your comments on CZ:Direct referencing and this Forum thread. Thank you! --Daniel Mietchen 18:09, 7 July 2009 (UTC)

Hi Daniel. Sorry for not replying sooner. There was something wrong with my email verification, which meant I couldn't edit anything, including my own talk page. That is now resolved. When I get a chance I will look at CZ:Direct referencing and the forum thread. Cheer. Dan Nessett 01:24, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

Speedy templating

Can you please take a look at this forum thread and comment? Thanks! --Daniel Mietchen 08:43, 28 August 2009 (UTC)

I really have nothing to contribute. The speedy delete request was made by Peter Schmitt on my behalf (I am in the process of learning how to start a CZ article and Peter, in his role as Mathematics editor, has been helping me). So, my experience on the issue is pretty well zero. Dan Nessett 15:08, 28 August 2009 (UTC)
I was not talking about a specific request for deletion, but rather about how to format them in light of all the transclusion activities we have on the site. I thought that if you have experience in MediaWiki programming, you might also know how to incorporate the <noinclude></noinclude> tags into the {{speedydelete}} template, as discussed in that thread. Never mind. --Daniel Mietchen 15:37, 28 August 2009 (UTC)

Britain before Augustine

Hi Dan--

I'm sorry to say that early medieval Britain is not something I know a whole lot about. Upon reflection, though, I do have a good book to recommend: 'Framing the Early Middle Ages' by Chris Wickham. It looks daunting, but Wickham is a very clear writer and the book is well-organized-- it should be pretty easy for you to find what you want to know. Wickham is also a good book to read because of your interest in everyday life: although there are not a lot of written sources for early medieval Britain, Wickham covers archeological evidence extensively. Since the book was also published in 2005, another benefit is that the bibliography is up-to-date.

One caveat: Wickham does not cover Scotland. Don't let that stop you, though; it's really a great book. Let me know if you pick it up, or if there's anything else I can help you with. Brian P. Long 05:41, 29 August 2009 (UTC)

Thanks Brian, I'll get a copy. Dan Nessett 03:48, 30 August 2009 (UTC)

moving toward approval

Dan, your best bet (other than Peter Schmitt) for getting a timely and helpful response from a mathematics editor is Jitse Niesen. I haven't seen him around too much recently but he has been very active at different times. He is also very approachable and thoughtful in his responses. Since the article is also listed in the Physics Workgroup, physics editors can initiate the approval process too; that would include Paul Wormer or Daniel Mietchen. --Joe (Approvals Manager) 18:32, 2 September 2009 (UTC)

I sent you email on the proposal...

Didn't know if your listed address is one you don't check often, or it isn't working -- it doesn't look like you saw it based on talk page and forum posts. Howard C. Berkowitz 22:02, 11 September 2009 (UTC)

I haven't received anything yet. I do check it quite often. Dan Nessett 22:51, 11 September 2009 (UTC)
Howard. I still have not received your email. I know it is working, since Daniel sent me an email yesterday. Why not try to send me the message from another account. Dan Nessett 14:44, 12 September 2009 (UTC)
I don't have an external email for you; I sent it through the CZ interface. Try sending me a message internally (identify it as such), and then to hcb at net cases (one word) period net. Howard C. Berkowitz 15:19, 12 September 2009 (UTC)

More email addresses for Greg Mullane

Dan: Here are two more email addresses for Greg Mullane (harvested by Google) that you could try: and

Let me know if either of those reaches him. Milton Beychok 07:12, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

Thanks Milt. I'll give them a try. Dan Nessett 15:33, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
You can also try and me ( Greg's not the only person who can do technical work and if we ask nicely, we might be able to get others to help. Also, if there are anything like emergencies, I want to know, because in some cases I might be the only person (at present) to be able to do anything about them. --Larry Sanger 15:47, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
Thanks Larry. I tried, but no luck. I also tried Greg's talk page and sent him email through the CZ facility. Again, no luck. I am trying to contact him not for any emergency, but to ask him if there is a subversion repository that hosts CZ's mediawiki distribution. Do you happen to know? Also, if you think we are a little light on technical help, I can ask a few people with whom I briefly interacted while attempting to convince the MW community it needs better QA procedures. Some might be willing to chip in some volunteer work. Dan Nessett 16:22, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

See my response to your latest post on my Talk page

Dan, I just responded to your last post on my Talk page ... please read it. The new Internet article looks fine and the History tab is working just as it should. In fact, Howard is making some edits as I am writing this.

All that is lacking is that you have not yet created the Definition subpage. Milton Beychok 16:50, 18 September 2009 (UTC)

CZ installation

Is there some simple way you can teach me how to do that, once you are done? I am thinking of having something like , first in private, and later on in public. May also be useful to test (and possibly adapt) extensions. I would also be very interested in getting some namespace of CZ coupled to databases — with metadata on references (as already discussed) or any other sorts of data, e.g. like here (previously discussed at CZ here) and here. Thanks! --Daniel Mietchen 00:12, 19 September 2009 (UTC)

Sure, I'll help you when I get it all figured out myself. I originally learned MW using a MAMP (Macintosh Apache MySQL PHP) foundation. However, CZ uses Postgres, which is a bit more difficult to set up. I dual (actually triple) boot my PC with Vista/Ubuntu and have installed Apache, Postgres and PHP on Ubuntu. These now all work together, but CZ modifies the table structure of the 'page' table and I am running into a problem modifying it at this exact moment. If all that made some sense to you, we should be able to get you up and running. Since I am now familiar with setting up APP on Ubuntu, hopefully you have access to a Linux system. Otherwise, it will be harder for me to help you. Also, I have been using Netbeans on my Mac and will get it installed on my Ubuntu machine when I get the CZ distribution running. What IDE are you familiar with? Dan Nessett 01:03, 19 September 2009 (UTC)
BTW I also have been thinking about a Right now the CZ distribution is not on a subversion repository. It would be really convenient to set one up, so that is another thing we can do. The one problem is getting a system to use. I think CZ is hosted by Steadfast Networks (at least that is what it says at the bottom of the Welcome page). In order to set up both and we will have to get approval from the Executive Committee, since it's necessary to point a citizendium DNS A record to the server's IP address. It also means we probably will need a machine with a permanent IP address (not an absolute requirement, since it could be set up using DDNS). This all argues for a hosted solution, which costs money and which citizendium will pay for and therefore we have to make a good case. Also, we need to get Greg Mullane on-board, since he is the CZ technical lead. Dan Nessett 01:20, 19 September 2009 (UTC)
Thanks! I'm on a MacBook 5.2 and have tried to get Ubuntu running on it too (following these instructions which have been "undergoing major revision" for months now) but so far, this did not work out. I have used XCode on occasion, but none of the other IDE I came across (yes, I am not a developer, and most of the coding I do is editing code written by someone else such that it fits my needs). What if not SVN is currently used for version control? Yes, we will need broad consensus and approval from Greg (or who else may have access to the server) to set the two new subdomains. --Daniel Mietchen 23:28, 19 September 2009 (UTC)
As for hosting, I think Howard mentioned recently on the forums that he has some ideas or contacts. --Daniel Mietchen 23:32, 19 September 2009 (UTC)
It is possible to install postgres on Mac OS X (see: and also possible to install the Apache server and PHP on a Mac. You certainly can take that route if you can't figure out how to dual boot your MacBook. However, I have no experience installing postgres on a Mac, so I won't be able to help you with that. There are some other complications as well, since depending on the version of Mac OS you are running, it already has an Apache server, but I don't think it is Apache2, which is what CZ runs. Here are some instructions for setting up a partition on a Mac system and installing ubuntu ( You can also Google "mac os x ubuntu install" for a bunch of other pages that may help. Dan Nessett 04:19, 20 September 2009 (UTC)

Have you seen that you were nominated for the charter drafting committee?

Dan, take a look here. Milton Beychok 03:27, 20 September 2009 (UTC)

No, I didn't notice that. Thanks for the heads up. I think, however, I will decline. Not because I am not interested in the new charter, but rather because I am fairly new to CZ and probably need more experience under my belt before I am qualified to serve in such a capacity. Dan Nessett 04:05, 20 September 2009 (UTC)
Dan, your lack of experience on CZ may be a good thing, as you have not been indoctrinated one way or another on any particular issue. It is basically like writing a new constitution. Please consider accepted the nomination if you have enough free time. David E. Volk 18:43, 26 September 2009 (UTC)
David. I really appreciate your vote of confidence. I really do. But, I have significant reservations about the charter drafting committee. To understand some of these see my comments on the drafting committee and look at the discussion at the end. If the citizens who have been at CZ longer than I disagree with the points I am making on the talk page of Matt Innis, then there is no point participating on the drafting committee. I will just be considered a gadfly who is stirring things up and not making a useful contribution. In addition, if those citizens cannot see we have a significant problem to solve and instead of addressing it spend all their time trying to solve a different problem, then my participation would be useless. So, in a way the conversation we are having on Matt's talk page represents a test of how the eventual drafting committee will handle the important decisions that they need to make. Dan Nessett 19:05, 26 September 2009 (UTC)


I thought it better to answer your question here rather than add another digression to the forum. You can find all the details at Talk:Eastern Orthodox Church. Peter Jackson 10:43, 28 September 2009 (UTC)

Thanks Peter. I will read through the page you reference and, if you don't mind, get back to you with some clarifying questions. However, I think pointing the other readers of the forum to this page would help us analyze the question posed on the thread. Would you provide it there as well? Dan Nessett 16:53, 28 September 2009 (UTC)

Absent editors

Dan, of the last 8 applicants I have approved, two show some activity, one no longer seems to have an account anymore,and five that still have pages have made no contributions other than their profile. I left brief note on their talk pages to ask if they need any help. David E. Volk 01:00, 29 September 2009 (UTC)

Thanks David. Of the 5 that have made no contributions, have they been editors for a long time (say, longer than 1 month)? If so, maybe if you don't hear from them in a couple of days you could ask them whether they are still interested in contributing and if not, why they have decided against it. This is only a suggestion, of course. Do whatever you are comfortable doing. Dan Nessett 03:43, 29 September 2009 (UTC)

Your email

Dan, did you ever turn on the preference that allows CZ folks to send you email via CZ? It is on your preferences email checklist, which I have copied below from my account. (The check boxes don't copy)

E-mail Your e-mail address was authenticated on 05:22, 5 January 2009.

E-mail me when a page on my watchlist is changed
E-mail me when my user talk page is changed
E-mail me also for minor edits of pages
Enable e-mail from other users
Send me copies of e-mails I send to other users 

David E. Volk 01:08, 29 September 2009 (UTC)

David. Yes my email had been enabled ever since I joined. Others have successfully emailed me in the past. Dan Nessett 03:36, 29 September 2009 (UTC)


Dan, you wrote me that you don't want to write about your specialization. I can sympathize with that because there is probably too much and your knowledge is likely too specialized for an encyclopedia. But you could write about things around it. I have been a computer user (also since 1967) and I would be very interested in reading about the history of the IBM 360 series, CDC x600's, Univac, …. The birth of SUN, the origin of Unix, you were on the scene when it it happened and you could write about it.

I read on your user page that you know about music, there is lots and lots of room there, you could write a great deal on all kinds of aspects related to all sorts of music. Music is an infinite source for encyclopedia articles.

You must have known Edward Teller, at least from a distance. I wrote about him and left the article in status 2, meaning that there is room for improvement/additions. The article about LLN is empty (Howard created it with just a title, which I wouldn't have done because a blue link gives the impression that there is something) and you could write about Teller and the founding of LLN. That would interest me greatly.

--Paul Wormer 06:50, 14 October 2009 (UTC)

Paul. Thanks for the encouraging words. You're right, I could write about the history of computers (I worked on all the computers you mention). My musical knowledge is fairly limited. I compose by ear and my works are assembled using Garagband and Logic Express. So, I am not really qualified to write on music. When I worked at LLNL I would occasionally meet Edward Teller walking between buildings and we would say hello to each other, but I really have no special knowledge about him.
The difficulty is those areas you mention are not currently of interest to me, at least not interesting enough to do the necessary research to write about. Since I am now retired and have the flexibility to work on things I am interested in, rather than on things my job requires, I go where my interest carries me. I am qualified to write on subjects that I think would warrant encyclopedia articles, but when I attempted to do that, I was subjected to what I consider to have been inappropriate editor interference. So, I decided not to make contributions in areas under the auspices of the computers or engineering workgroups.
Consequently, I think the best way I can contribute to CZ is to attempt to improve its software base. I am working with Greg to put MW software maintenance into a more manageable form and to rectify some problems with MW bug reporting (right now emails to are effectively ignored). Dan Nessett 16:49, 14 October 2009 (UTC)

This might be the type problem you can help with!

See this forum if you haven't already! D. Matt Innis 13:54, 20 October 2009 (UTC)

I did what I can. However, this appears to be a configuration problem, which I do not have the privileges to fix. So, I have emailed Greg and hopefully he can handle it. Dan Nessett 19:57, 20 October 2009 (UTC)


Dan, take a look at this forum. I thought we just got mp3? Or was Daniel misinterpreting something? I don't even kow where to look! D. Matt Innis 18:16, 21 October 2009 (UTC)

I have sought clarification from Daniel on his forum post. Dan Nessett 18:25, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
Okay, let me know what's up. D. Matt Innis 21:17, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
mp3 isn't suppported. However, Greg loaded the ogg handler, which allows CZers to upload and embed ogg audio files (and vorbis video files as well - but actually both are untested right now). The problem with mp3 appears to be there is no well tested extension that supplies the necessary functionality. Greg hasn't said this, but I suspect he is reluctant to install an extension that is still in beta (the FlashMP3 extension) or one with very scant documentation (the Dew mp3 player). Both of these seem to have no widespread testing that would give him confidence they are not buggy. I think the Special:Upload page should be updated so mp3 isn't shown as a supported file type. I don't know who has the right to do that, but I suspect Greg has to do it. I will ask him. Dan Nessett 21:29, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
There's a tab at the top, "Special" that tells me that I can't edit the page. So Kops kount for nuttin'! Hayford Peirce 21:36, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
I was able to get to the text about "You seem to have reached...", but nothing that shows what file types, so I assume either you're right and Greg has access to something we don't or I'm in the totally wrong place or that it is something that is machine generated. Still looking forward to Daniel's response. D. Matt Innis 21:46, 21 October 2009 (UTC)


Special pages are implemented as php files (an interpreted programming language), so I suspect Greg has to modify something within them (a constant value or array of values). He hasn't responded to my request to change Special:Upload, but he has done a lot of configuration work on CZ today and he may be working on other things. I get the impression he has lots of things to do at his job and fits in CZ sysadmin work whenever he can. Dan Nessett 22:43, 21 October 2009 (UTC)

The closest I can get is "Permitted file types: $1." D. Matt Innis 22:57, 21 October 2009 (UTC)

This is a test

If you were testing to see if I would notice, it worked :) [1] D. Matt Innis 00:28, 22 December 2009 (UTC)

Actually, I was testing a test wiki Greg and I are working on. There is such a wiki lying around but it was connected to the live wiki database. Greg changed that and I made a change on my CZ user page and then looked at the corresponding page on the test wiki. The latter didn't change, so we have successfully disconneted it from CZ. Sometime in the early new year, we should be making some announcements about this and some other things that I hope will greatly improve our ability to fix bugs, make configuration changes and work on enhancements for CZ. Stay tuned :-D Dan Nessett 01:28, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
Sounds good! D. Matt Innis 02:47, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
Yes, this sounds really promising. Chris Day 15:04, 22 December 2009 (UTC)


Dan, I assume that Notes on setting up CZ clones is only accidently placed in the main namespace? --Peter Schmitt 22:18, 20 January 2010 (UTC)

Thanks for finding this mistake Peter. I forgot to append User:Dan Nessett when I created the page and then subsequently used a link to reference it (so I didn't notice the misplacement). I have moved the content to my user namespace and placed a speedy delete template on the main namespace subpage. Dan Nessett 23:08, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
You could have moved it there, instead of copying it. --Peter Schmitt 00:02, 21 January 2010 (UTC)
Well, that would have left a redirect. The notes really have no business in the main namespace. They are just things I need to remember about creating a CZ clone. I am working on some instructions that will allow others to create a CZ clone on their personal machines. When they are finished I will put them in the CZ namespace. Dan Nessett 00:54, 21 January 2010 (UTC)

Data Structures

Wow! I think we might want to take the EoS and data structures stuff off to a sidebar. It's not that it's off topic exactly, but it's getting pretty thick over there...and we seem to be the only two examining it in detail.

First: I am very grateful to you for your contributions and I share your concern of "authoritarian oligarchy".

My specific concern comes from a particular Chem editor...who shall remain nameless...removing some well documented and properly referenced content which happened to make his industry look bad. He replaced it with references considerably more favorable to his industry. When I quizzed him about it he replied that the sources of the information were "sorely incompetent and unknowledgeable", but did not refute the accuracy of the data...which I had specifically asked him about. This is now one of the editors lobbying for deletion of the properties subpages. This is unacceptable. You don't build consensus or reliable information that way.

David, the above paragraph is a complete mis-characterization and scandalous as well. For shame! Milton Beychok 22:00, 11 February 2010 (UTC)

Now, back to data structures...

"I don't follow your argument about units and the identification of dependent and independent variables."

I may be not looking at this correctly, but I think the question is how/where to include the properties of water...for CZ.

Let's again take Boiling point of water for an example. The boiling point _has_ a unit...temperature. While I agree that it is possible to devise a function that interrelates temp, pressure, volume, etc. for water and "calls" the appropriate "function" to display the boiling point, when we call the function, we would pass it the temp, etc. and it would return the boiling point. As I understand it, this would mean that in the context of the function, the Boiling point is dependent on the

"independent variables are used as indexes over a set of objects (in our case pages). The dependent variables are then placed on these pages." If the database is indexed in this fashion, (if I read this correctly) there would be a "Boiling point" page that accepts inputs "Water" and "25C" for instance. OK, I guess I understand what you are saying...Yes, that should be feasible...I think. BUT, the Boiling point "function", would have to be a case/switch or "lookup" that has to address every material type in existence, unless we can come up with a single EoS for everything...which we said is not possible...and would be original research...Am I still not getting it?--David Yamakuchi 19:31, 11 February 2010 (UTC)

One thing I have learned by brutal experience is if you want to convince someone that what you are doing makes sense, you first have to develop a deep understanding of what you are doing yourself. I can't begin to tell you in a reasonable amount of time the number of times in which I had an idea that I had not completely thought through, which I then tried to sell to others, only to receive a bad beating when it became evident I did not have a clear understanding of what I was trying to accompish. Going through that experience several times motivated me to really understand what I was trying to accomplish before bringing it to the attention of others. So, part of addressing the problem of how to organize your data involves getting your goals and techniques clearly defined.
Since I am not a chemist or physicist, my assistance in developing such an understanding will necessarily be slight. On the other hand, if you can explain it to me, then you should be able to explain it to those with more expertise in the subject. So, before returning to the data structure design problem, can you formulate a description of your goals and the techniques you wish to employ to achieve them? Some questions that your description should answer include: 1) what properties do you intend to catalog?; 2) why are those properties of interest to others?; 3) what problems involve the use of these properties?; and 4) what are some examples of articles that would incorporate these properties in their content. Once we get this sorted out, it will be more evident how to organize the properties into data structures in a way that makes them useful to others. Dan Nessett 20:25, 11 February 2010 (UTC)

Well, I think we are now out of n-dimensional space, and back to the forum topic specifically :) Let me reply to the 4 questions there.--David Yamakuchi 23:47, 11 February 2010 (UTC)

Ranges, Domains, and Co-domains

Thought I'd break this one out separately here...

"The distinction between the range of a function and its co-domain is the latter is a subset of the former. For example, the function f(x) = x^2 has a range of the non-negative reals and a co-domain of the reals (assuming, of course, that x is a real valued variable)."

Now I really don't understand. If the co-domain is a subset of the range, I take that to mean that any "element" (math now, not chem) in the co-domain must be in the range. So how can the co-domain be the reals (which would include negative numbers) and the range be the non-negative reals?--David Yamakuchi 20:10, 11 February 2010 (UTC)

What I wrote was in error. I should have said the former is a subset of the latter. I will correct this on the forum thread. Dan Nessett 20:27, 11 February 2010 (UTC)

Response to David Yamakuchi's scandalous remarks about me (see "Data Structures" above)

The complete transcript of our exchange of views in May 2009 about the Tetraethyl lead article copied directly from David Yamakuchi's talk page is now available here. I challenge anyone to read that transcript and to find where I was anything but respectful in our exchange of views.

I also ask that everyone note the following statement made by David Yamakuchi after I explained why I discounted the EPA article he mentioned: That's ok, I did sort of suspect the text as being a little slanted, considering the source and all, but was hesitant to remove stuff because I thought it was a good read. Now about 9 months later, he says that I removed the EPA article because "it made his industry look bad" and I replaced it with "references more favorable to his industry". In effect, he says that I am an apologist for the petroleum industry. That is a scandalous and completely uncalled for characterization!!!

As can be seen in the transcript of our postings I said I had done work with the EPA during their formative years and found them to be "sorely incompetent and unknowledgeable". I did in fact interface often with the EPA in their early years. In fact, after my book Aqueous Wastes From Petroleum and Petrochemical Plant was published, I was contacted by the EPA and asked to help them write their regulations about wastewater discharges from petroleum refineries. So when I say that they were incompetent and unknowledgeable in their early days, I know whereof I speak. The EPA article that David now feels (9 months later) that I should not have removed was not a good article in my opinion.

Be that as it may, the transcript of our exchange clearly shows that I even invited David to write the History section of the new Tetraethyl lead article if he so desired. Now 9 months later, he insults me and libels me by saying I removed the EPA article because "it made his industry look bad". I don't consider the petroleum industry to be "my industry". I consider my profession to have been the chemical engineering profession.

David owes me an apology!!! Milton Beychok 23:09, 11 February 2010 (UTC)

Milton, I'm sorry you're angry.
--David Yamakuchi 18:36, 12 February 2010 (UTC)
David, that's not an apology! Read the entire transcript at here where I told you that I had suggested converting the TEL section into a shorter stand-alone article on the talk page of Lead. You didn't even respond. As I told you at that time, three other people told me to go ahead, so I did. That transcript is a direct copy from your own user Talk page. It appears to me that your problem is that you just don't want people to edit anything you wrote, no matter how many people agreed to that edit. In other words, you don't like the CZ collaborative policy. The three people who told me to ahead were Chris Day, Ro Thorpe and Joe Quick as stated in the transcript from your Talk page.
Also read where you said That's ok, I did sort of suspect the text as being a little slanted, considering the source and all, but was hesitant to remove stuff because I thought it was a good read. A mystery novel is also a good read ... but it isn't necessarily a reliable source of info for an article about TEL. Milton Beychok 21:46, 12 February 2010 (UTC)

Why Constables want to tear their hair and go mix themselves a couple of martinis

Gentlemen, gentlemen, gentlemen! I have been trying to follow this argument and its permutations through many, many thousands of words scattered over various fora, it being a topic in which I have absolutely no personal interest, and it seems to me that the tone of the discussion has been becoming warmer and warmer and sharper and sharper. No one, I think, has *quite* reached the point where I put on my Kop's Kap and start removing content and leaving messages about "Professionalism" and "Courtesy" and so forth, but I think that some of the things being stated are not that far off, either. So, please do a grouchy old Constable a big favor, and moderate your tone. Before any of you write anything further about this whole ball of wax, please consider *carefully* what you are about to write -- and ask yourself if you would like to have anyone at all write the same passage with reference to your own good self. Many thanks! Hayford Peirce 23:57, 11 February 2010 (UTC)

Hayford, I am sorry to cause you problems but David owes me an apology. PLEASE read the transcript of our exchange of view in May 2009 available here ... and then read what he said above. PLEASE, that is only a few hundred words in total. Milton Beychok 00:05, 12 February 2010 (UTC)
I have read it (in fact I read it *before* I wrote the above), and I think that, as Howard is wont to quote, "What we have here is a failure to comm-yun-ee-cate", or perhaps to remember clearly, and this is why I want to go mix up a big pitcher of 1950s-type Westchester County martinis. I think it is clear that the discussions of last May are now being mischaracterized but NOT in such an egregious manner that I have to be official about it. I see two parties here who feel aggrieved (or is it three or more parties?) and nothing is so clear-cut that I feel I can jump in like Big John Wayne with all guns blasting. There are unquestionably Rights and Wrongs here, but I don't feel qualified (or inclined) to clearly sort them out. Which is why I'm just asking for a de-escalation of tone by everyone, no matter how aggrieved they feel about these various issues. Hayford Peirce 00:25, 12 February 2010 (UTC)
I'm not asking you to take any action. In fact, I would rather that you not do so. I just wanted to establish a record to document that David has completely mis-characterised me in a scandalous manner. Just one more fact, I was not a chemistry editor at the time the exchange about Tetraethyl lead occurred. That occurred later. Regards, Milton Beychok 01:07, 12 February 2010 (UTC)

Changed Notes field for Fair Use claim

Dan, I tried your fix on the test wiki and it worked perfectly. In fact, the field window has 6 lines of text. Thanks much. 00:18, 13 March 2010 (UTC)


Wasn't sure where I should comment on your sandbox notes, but Special:ExpandTemplates exists in the special pages list. On the live wiki it appears right at the bottom under 'Other special pages'. On the test wiki it appears half way down under 'Wiki data and tools'. --Chris Key 15:26, 7 May 2010 (UTC)

How can it be that the location is not identical on both wikis? --Daniel Mietchen 16:03, 7 May 2010 (UTC)
Because the upgraded version contains the line $wgSpecialPageGroups['ExpandTemplates'] = 'wiki'; which puts it in a specific catagory. The old version doesn't. --Chris Key 16:19, 7 May 2010 (UTC)


I've managed to track down what every permission does except one. Do you have any idea what 'setstatus' does? --Chris Key 19:25, 11 May 2010 (UTC)

Haven't a clue. Dan Nessett 19:45, 11 May 2010 (UTC)


Please see The request for the ExpensiveParserJog Bot, in particular the Approval Discussion section. --Chris Key 19:01, 15 June 2010 (UTC)

I have seen it. The problem is Daniel decided to shortcut the process that we agreed to use for approving this bot. This puts me (and you as well) in a difficult position. I don't understand why Daniel didn't try to work with me to get the bot running on the test wiki, rather than jumping immediately to the live wiki. Only he can answer that question. But now if I support its use, I will also support his decision to ignore the steps Matt Innis (the interim Bot Manager) set down for approval. This would set a precedent and encourage Daniel and others to ignore any governance decisions they unilaterally decide shouldn't apply to them. That way lies anarchy. Dan Nessett 19:20, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
It is a good point. However, I feel that I can support the bot itself from a technical standpoint (which has been proven to work), whilst not supporting the decision to bypass the policies set down. That is a matter for the interim Bot Manager and/or the Constabulary. --Chris Key 19:27, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
Just to clarify — I did try to get the script running via both my account on the test wiki and that of the Housekeeping bot, and I did so in multiple ways, for the sake of complying with our nascent policy. This took me about three hours this time, and I have tried it several times before (see bug 39). In contrast, actually setting up and doing the nine test edits on the live wiki was an affair of five minutes. Plus, most actions of these scripts can also be tested without actually making any edits, and I always do that, so even though I would prefer to make test edits on the test wiki, I do not see it as critical in this very simple case. --Daniel Mietchen 19:47, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
From my perspective this isn't about the ExpensiveParserJog bot itself. It is about working together to achieve a common objective. If you are having problems getting your bots to work on the test wiki, let's try to figure out why. Personally, I would not have spent 3 hours trying to get the ExpensiveParserJog bot working on the test wiki. I am sure it was obvious pretty early on that there was a problem. At that point, why didn't you email me or put a question on my talk page? This would have saved you hours of effort and by working together to identify the problem, we would not only have satisfied the process set down, but also made it easier to use the test wiki for bot testing in the future. Dan Nessett 21:17, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
I had informed you about the problems, both in bug 39 and in emails, but so far, this didn't result in any pointer to a possible solution. They concern Pywikipediabot access to the test wiki in general, though some scripts run fine. I saw several ways in which the barrier might possibly be overcome, some of which I tried during this time, always with the hope of finally breaking through or at least understanding what the exact problem is. I repeat that I have never used Python before embarking on these bots, so it may well be that I am missing something obvious. Thus, I also googled the error messages that I got, and tried to make sense of them. Such an approach takes time. --Daniel Mietchen 06:56, 16 June 2010 (UTC)

(undent)I'd say let's go ahead and see if we can figure out why it doesn't work on the test wiki. We need the test wiki to be identicle to this wiki in order to test future bots, so we might as well use this harmless bot as a test of the test wiki AND a test of this process. Once Dan is satisfied, we can run it here. D. Matt Innis 14:02, 16 June 2010 (UTC)

OK. Daniel, please send me instructions how to use the bot (that is, Python bots in general and this one in particular). I will investigate the problem and see if I can fix it. Dan Nessett 15:59, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
OK, here we go:
  1. Follow these instructions for general information, including about installation. To facilitate the process, I will send you two configuration files, and families/, as I use them on the live wiki (where everything works just fine). We could also make them public, I think.
  2. Once you have run, you should be able to run any of the scripts in your bot directory.
  3. This specific bot uses and, in its basic variant, would be called by
python -cat:Pages_with_too_many_expensive_parser_function_calls -text:" "
which will require manual confirmation of edits. To this,
-pt:10 (throttle, 10s),
-summary:"Test edit:Category jog for [[:Category:Pages with too many expensive parser function calls|Pages with too many expensive parser function calls]]. [[CZ:Bot status/ExpensiveParserJog/Feedback|Give feedback.]] (summary, useful for most bot edits, but not for this one, since it does not show up on Recent Changes or article history pages)
as well as
-always (bypassing the need for manual confirmation)
and a number of other optional parameters can be added.
Let me know in case of problems. --Daniel Mietchen 09:16, 17 June 2010 (UTC)

Animated GIFs

Are we still avoiding using animated GIFs? --Chris Key 14:30, 17 July 2010 (UTC)

Yes, until we can upgrade to a newer version of MW, which fixes the animated GIF bug, animated GIFs will bring the server to its knees. Dan Nessett 17:01, 17 July 2010 (UTC)

Replaced Image:Pashtun Tribes.png and Image:Flag of England.png

Thanks for notifying me of their loss by the system. I have now replaced them. Milton Beychok 23:51, 18 August 2010 (UTC)

Thanks for responding so quickly. Dan Nessett 00:08, 19 August 2010 (UTC)

Copy of post I just left on Chris's Talk page

Dan, this is a copy of the post I left on Chris's Talk page to update him on what I have done today:

Chris, we have now had 5 donations and the total in our PayPal account is at $372.

  • I have posted instructions on how to donate to the PayPal account in the "Governance" forum thread and the "Management and other non-content issues" forum thread.
  • I deleted (into the History page) the entire contents of CZ:Donate and re-wrote it to include the same instructions as I posted in the two forum threads.
  • I added a section on the live wiki "Welcome" page that is titled as WE NEED SUPPORT FROM DONATIONS! PLEASE HELP! and it includes a link to CZ:Donate which now contains the instructions on how to make a donation.
  • Dan and I had a phone conversation in which I gave him the passwords and other information needed for him to have access to both our PayPal account and to the Hotmail account where we receive notifications from PayPal when a donation is made.

If you wish to re-word the CZ:Donate article that I re-wrote, feel free to do so. And perhaps you should install your donate button there as long as you are sure it works and makes it simpler for the donors. The manual instructions that I posted do seem to work, since we've actually had some donations.

If you also wish to re-write the section that I added to the Welcome page, again feel free to do so. I've done so much today that I am brain weary and you are better at these things than I am.

I also think it would be a good idea to create a banner at the top of each live wiki page (as was done for the Nominations and for the Election) that would ask for donations and would include a link to CZ:Donate. Would you please do that as soon as you can?

I will probably go to bed within about 2-3 hours from now. It is now almost 9:00 PM Pacific Standard Time and about 5:00 AM your time in the UK. Thanks in advance. Milton Beychok 05:02, 11 November 2010 (UTC)

Registering people on the EC wiki

Dan, you don't need to re-enable registration to register somebody on the wiki. A sysop just needs to go to and create it manually. --Chris Key 18:36, 7 December 2010 (UTC)

Yes, I know. However, the registration form requires the specification of a bio. This is then put on the user's main page. I haven't looked at the bios for the EC members, but at least in theory it would differ from that given on their CZ user page, being oriented more toward editorial matters than general expertise and "who I am" information. If the EC desires, I can eliminate that requirement and just put them on the wiki. It is up to them. Dan Nessett 18:46, 7 December 2010 (UTC)
Could the right to do this (on the EC wiki) be given to EC sysops? Dan: Currently we have no requirements for the EC user pages. If we decide to impose them we can enforce them independently from the registration process. --Peter Schmitt 19:09, 7 December 2010 (UTC)
Yes, if you don't want the normal registration process, then permission for creating new users could be given to EC sysops. However, this request needs to come from the Secretary. Dan Nessett 19:30, 7 December 2010 (UTC)
Hi Dan, yes please go ahead and let the EC sysops register new members. If they don't have a bio, I will ask them after the join to provide a brief one. Thanks! Hayford Peirce 20:51, 7 December 2010 (UTC)
OK. EC wiki registrations are turned off. EC sysops can create accounts (please test this and let me know). Also, with the instructions I sent Peter and Johan, sysops should be able to block a former member without automatically blocking So, you should be able to manage the EC wiki yourself except to: 1) change the password of a member that leaves, if you so desire, and 2) promote members to sysop. I can give an EC member the rights to promote to sysop by sending the Wikisysop password to someone you want to act as EC wiki bureaucrat. (This request should come from the Secretary) Dan Nessett 21:10, 7 December 2010 (UTC)

Talk page comments swallowed by category soup

I posted this idea to the forums the day before yesterday: [2].

Since you are on the technical staff, I thought you might know who will be able to approve of this proposed change? Does it have to go before the MC as a formal proposal? Thank you. Johan A. Förberg 15:30, 10 December 2010 (UTC)

I don't think a modification as minor as this requires MC approval. However, it does change the presentation of content, so you might want to run it past the EC. If you need help implementing the modification, right now is not a good time. Chris is pretty much unavailable until the first of the year (although it wouldn't hurt leaving him a message on his talk page). I am flat out trying to analyze our current application suite configuration in preparation for moving to a less costly hosting solution. So, if you need technical help implementing your idea, it will probably have to wait until the beginning of the new year (unless Chris can get some time to work on it). Dan Nessett 18:06, 10 December 2010 (UTC)
Thanks Dan. There's no hurry with this modification, it can easily wait until next year. I'll think a bit more about how it should be done and then clear it with the rest of the EC. Johan A. Förberg 20:13, 10 December 2010 (UTC)

Image warning message

There's a scary warning for a .svg file here. I noticed it because the image doesn't show up on the article. Can it be deleted? Thanks. John Stephenson 07:36, 5 February 2011 (UTC)

If you look, you will see that the MIME type for the file is xml/unknown. I think this is what is causing the warning message, The file was uploaded on 23 August 2007, before we had svg support. You could try to reupload the file and see what happens.
Note: for future reference, you should send these kinds of reports to either cz-tech, cz-bugs or use Bugzilla to report a bug. I rarely read my talk pages and in any case, this is a system problem that should be reported through CZ bug reporting channels. Dan Nessett 18:07, 5 February 2011 (UTC)

Hosting for Citizendium

Dan, Please see, Milton Beychok's talk page and my contributions there towards the bottom. The question I would have would be how to approach my school about this possibility? A further question would be why the hosting cost is so high for citizendium. Does it have to do with traffic volume? I myself, for example, have a virtual dedicated server account and it's less than 50 dollars. I'm assuming citizendium needs a dedicated server, but even in that case, 300 a month seems high.

Hi Maria. The Citizendium wiki is not a typical web site with static HTML pages. It is an example of what is called a three-tiered distributed application. The front-end of this application is the user's browser. The mid-level of the application is implemented by a program written in PHP that runs on our dedicated servers. This is a reasonably large program with ~400,000 program statements. The backend is a database that maintains the wiki information and which also runs on our dedicated servers. Our wiki uses a postgres database. In addition, Citizendium supports the following applications:
  • A discussion forum using Simple Machines Forum (SMF) software. SMF uses Mysql as its database backend.
  • A Subversion based software version control system.
  • An issues tracker using Bugzilla.
  • A blog using the WordPress application.
  • Email lists using Mailman and a email service.
  • Various other support applications such as an IMAP server, ssh (for secure access to the servers), Spam and virus detection software for email, ....
So, it isn't really possible to host Citizendium's application suite on a commercial web service, such as the one you use for personal work. We need either: 1) a set of dedicated servers, or 2) a set of virtual slices on a cloud service. Right now we have 3 servers, two of which have 500 MB of disk storage, dual 3 GHz processors, 4 GB of memory and one of which has 250 MB of disk storage, dual 2 GHz processors and 2 GB of memory. In addition, our bandwidth requirements are 1 Mbyte outbound sustained and 2 Mbytes peak with monthly aggregates of ~200 Gbytes outbound and ~15 Gbytes inbound. If we attempted to transition to a less resource capable configuration, I would estimate significant performance degradation.
If you wish to contact the IT department at your school, I would forward to them this information and ask them if they are willing to provide such resources for less than $320/month. My guess is they would not.
Furthermore, Universities normally are not in the business of offering non-School related computing services. In fact, there may be legal reasons why they cannot do so. Consequently, moving CZ to a university may entail making it a university project, which would likely mean placing it under the control of the university's administration. This would have significant implications on things such as maintaining the current governance structure (e.g., charter based governance with the Management Council and Editorial Council controlling Citizendium activities). So, before moving the Citizendium applications to university IT resources, we would have to understand what control the university would impose on Citizendium activities. Dan Nessett 19:26, 8 April 2011 (UTC)
Dan, in my career before being an academic I was a programmer. I didn't put it in my cv here since I didn't think it was a needed bit of information. I did Oracle, PL/SQL, mySQL, php,, and more, at a PBS affiliate and several government agencies. So I am familiar with the scenarios you describe and use them on my own personal sites but in tinier implementations. I am realizing the problem is more complicated after seeing your note. There are also redundancy and integrity issues. Citizendium does more than web presentation layer. Giving over the project would, as you say, be politically contentious since it would involve changing the complexion of citizendium. That I don't think would be a good idea. And using commercial solutions would run almost 200 hundred per server. In my case, because I have a virtual server and expect moderate to little traffic, I opted for only 2GB ram and 30 GB storage and 1000 GB/mo bandwidth. That comes to 32 dollars a month. However, it is not critical if the system goes offline. If the server goes down, it goes down. And p.s. I was and am a self-taught programmer so my programming is probably somewhat non-standard in places. --Maria Cuervo 20:54, 8 April 2011 (UTC)
Thank you for the explanation. Now that I have heard it it does seem that finding a university is a poor option.--Maria Cuervo 21:33, 8 April 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for asking. It gave me the motivation to catalog our technical requirements in a public forum (I had done so privately for the MC when we were considering hosting options). Dan Nessett 22:32, 8 April 2011 (UTC)
How much flexibility is there is those requirements? Specifically, what could we dump to reduce cost & complexity?
We now have two DBMSs in play, MySQL for the forums and Postgres for our Wikimedia installation. Would moving our Wikimedia version to MySQL, like most others, save resources? Or cost us functionality?
Do we really need our own version control and bug tracking software? Presumably Mediawiki has both.
Neither the blog nor the mailing lists are very active. Would dumping one or both give a worthwhile saving?
Would scrapping the forums and doing it all on the wiki save significant resources?
None of these are purely technical questions of course; all of them have policy implications about the sort of project we are. However, they all seem worth asking. Sandy Harris 03:16, 9 April 2011 (UTC)
  • Moving to MySQL for our wiki database would not reduce our resource requirements and require significant development work. Postgresql and MySQL do not use the same variant of SQL, so we would have to convert our database schema, not an insignificant amount of work. Furthermore, our Technical Lead, Greg Sabino-Mullane is a core developer of Postgresql and he has optimized our postgres server and implemented various scripts to provide high-performance and backup service. It would take significant development work to duplicate this with MySQL (and Greg probably wouldn't be willing to do it). Moving to MySQL as our wiki database application would, in my view, would be completely inadvisable.
  • In regards to eliminating applications, we could do that, but it wouldn't reduce our costs substantially. I can't get into specifics, since that would require revealing sensitive financial arrangements information. However, I can say when we looked at hosting options, we considered offers from Steadfast, SingleHop, Amazon EC2 and HostGator. The deal we negotiated with Steadfast was the best by far and eliminating applications would not decrease our costs significantly with either Steadfast or any of the other hosting solutions we investigated.
  • We do not run a standard version of the Mediawiki software. We run a modified code that implements some CZ specific functions. So, we need the version control system to maintain these modifications and to store backported bug fixes. We also need Bugzilla to track bugs specific to our site.
  • The blog isn't very active, but the mailing lists are. Some of these lists are private (e.g., a list for internal constable discussions) and some are public. But, there is significant traffic on them. The straight email functionality is used for functions like Nessett 04:40, 9 April 2011 (UTC)

Please review Los Alamos National Laboratory for spelling, grammar, and whatever

Dan, I well know that you are busy, but I would very much appreciate it if you would review Los Alamos National Laboratory for spelling, grammar, and whatever else you think may be needed. Thanks, Milton Beychok 19:06, 6 June 2011 (UTC)

I made a couple of minor grammatical corrections. One statement that caught my eye was: "Just exactly when LANL began to focus a significant part of their work on scientific and technological fields other than nuclear weapons is not very clear, but it was presumably sometimes during the 1990s after the Cold War had ended." I worked at LLNL, not LANL. However, if I remember correctly the funding of nuclear weapons research at LLNL during my tenure (1977-1994) was roughly 60% weapons and 40% non-weapons. I imagine it was pretty much the same at LANL. So, during the 70s, 80s and 90s there was significant funding for non-weapons work. There was major funding for Magnetic Fusion energy research while I worked at LLNL and I think MFE received major funding at LANL as well. So, I think this statement is probably incorrect or at least misleading. Dan Nessett 22:47, 6 June 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for your review and comments, Dan. In response to that comment that caught your eye, I have reworded that paragraph to be more specific so that it now reads:
Just exactly when LANL began to focus a significant part of its work on scientific and technological fields other than nuclear weapons is not very clear. But even in 2010, 65 percent of LANL's annual expenditures were on weapons programs, working on nonproliferation of weapons, and maintaining security of equipment and information (see the section below on "Personnel and operating costs"). That means that only 35 percent of their expenditures were for scientific and technological fields other than nuclear weapons.
I don't consider one-third of their funds being spent on non-weapon work as being "significant". I would have thought that by now, 50 percent or more was being spent non-weapon work. Milton Beychok 05:55, 8 June 2011 (UTC)
I guess it is all how you look at it. LANL and LLNL are the two nuclear weapons labs in the U.S. There are other DOE national labs that principally concentrate on other aspects of energy and do no nuclear weapons work, e.g., Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Argon National Laboratory, Stanford Linear Accelerator, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Labatory, Ames Laboratory, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, and the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility. In any case, I think phrasing such as "But even" and "That means that only" express opinions, not facts. So, I think the paragraph would be improved without them. Dan Nessett 16:37, 8 June 2011 (UTC)
I will remove the words "But even" and "That means only" as you suggest. Dan, I am well aware of all the other national laboratories. I am also aware that LANL and LLNL are the two labs that still do nuclear weapons work. My point is that the LANL website includes this statement in their "About us" page:
Los Alamos National Laboratory personnel play leading roles worldwide in basic and applied scientific research and technology. Whether it's conducting crucial experiments in space and at our linear accelerator in Northern New Mexico or developing breakthroughs in nanotechnology and determining how best to prevent the spread of HIV and avian flu, the men and women of Los Alamos help lead the way.
Lab R&D helps curb a wide variety of threats to U.S. interests—whether it's the proliferation of nuclear weapons, the spread of deadly diseases, inadequate supplies of energy, or the effects of climate change.
In my opinion, if they really mean the above, then I would have thought that at least 50 percent of their expenditures should be for non-weapons work.
Changing the subject, how about your writing an article about LLNL since you worked there for so many years? And CZ needs articles about all of the national labs. Milton Beychok 17:14, 8 June 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for the invitation to write about LLNL. However, I don't write for the encyclopedia. I decided some time ago to limit my contributions to CZ to tech staff work and (later) administrative work on the MC. Dan Nessett 17:30, 8 June 2011 (UTC)

(unindent)Dan, no one knows better than I how busy you are at the moment. But if you would make an exception just this once and if you find some spare time, we need more national lab articles ... and one on LLNL by someone who actually worked there for many years would be very, very useful. Milton Beychok 05:39, 9 June 2011 (UTC)