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[edit] Stop FDL

Participation would be greater if a more permissive (not adware-ready) and practical (didn't require distribution of a lengthy license with printouts) licence was used instead of the GNU FDL. 09:46, 5 May 2009 (UTC)

The FDL indeed has some problems for swpat.org. I expect to change the licence in the near future. I was planning on using the cc-by-sa-3.0, but I still have a few issues to work out. I added the copyright assignment so that the licence decision can be taken later - so that it wouldn't delay the launch any further. Ciaran 06:37, 5 May 2009 (EDT)

[edit] Categories

Hi, The category system seems to need a lot of work. I have some ideas, but should I discuss them first? I wouldn't want to mess too much with say Category:Top level category is that would upset somebody. Steelpillow 09:37, 25 May 2009 (EDT)

To clarify, I mean category in the MediaWiki sense as a kind of index for linked articles, rather than as a way of naming articles. Steelpillow 04:26, 26 May 2009 (EDT)

As a first step, here is a hierarchical breakdown of content areas. I have not tried to find snappy titles, just descriptive of the title for now. Clearly, some will appear in more places, for example Patent offices would also come under Organisations. I have also left out much of the finer detail.

  • About this site:
    • Parent org - End Software Patents
    • Aims and stuff of en.swpat.org
    • Help and style guides for en.swpat.org
    • Wikis and MediaWiki generally
  • Legal topic areas:
    • About patents themselves
    • Jurisdictions (countries, states, federations, etc)
      • Legislation
      • Case law
      • Patent offices
    • Organisations
      • those that deal with patent issues (law firms, pressure groups)
      • those that own or abuse patents (commercial companies and a few others)
    • Specific patent disputes
  • General issues:
    • Why patents matter
      • The harm they do
      • Dispelling myths
      • Should we be fighting all patents or just some?
    • Fighting for freedom
      • Alerts
      • Threats and opportunities
      • About our proposals
  • Documents:
    • Individual patents
    • Books and papers
    • Individual laws and policies
    • Statements

This might also serve as a framework for a redesigned Main Page. What do you think? Steelpillow 07:05, 26 May 2009 (EDT)

Yup, looks good. Do you know anything about bots? Wikipedia uses a lot of bots for automateable tasks. I'm not sure if this work is automateable, but as the categories and page numbers grow, there will be structuration things that we'll want to automate.
The only observation I have is that I think Wikipedia made one mistake with overly strict application of hierarchy. For example, I think it's useful for there to be one category for the toplevel country pages (Brazil, Belgium, etc.), but also a category that includes those pages *and* the "case law in..." and "patent office practice in..." pages. Wikipedia wouldn't allow that, but I think in a small number of cases it does make sense. Ciaran 07:58, 26 May 2009 (EDT)
Sorry, I am not a bot person. As for Categories, the whole idea is to allow an organic, recursive hierarchy where a given article may be placed in several relevant categories, some of which may be sub-categories of each other. For example there is a top-level [[:Category:Region or jurisdiction]] and also Category:Case law by region. We could create a Category:England and Wales and make it a sub-category of [[:Category:Region or jurisdiction]]. Then, the article Case law in England and Wales can go in both Category:Case law by region and Category:England and Wales. Something like this:
      Category:Region or jurisdiction
                     |                      Category:Case law by region
         Category:England and Wales                     |
                     |                                  |
                        Case law in England and Wales
Wikipedia does a lot of this kind of thing - or have I misunderstood you? Steelpillow 16:14, 27 May 2009 (EDT)
There's no problem with the situation in your diagram, but I don't think Wikipedia would allow a category like the swpat.org's current Category:Country and regional info. That category contains both toplevel region pages like Belgium *and* subpages of those pages, such as Legislation in Belgium. I think it's useful to be able to get a list of all pages about regional info, but I think Wikipedia policy would say that this inclusive category shouldn't exist and that Category:Legislation by country should be a sub-category of Category:Country and regional info and Legislation in Belgium should be in only the Category:Legislation by country, not also in a category such as Category:Country and regional info.

[edit] Geographical based categories

The names "Region or jurisdiction" and "Country and regional info" are not perfect. I use two descriptions in each because I want to avoid debates about whether Kosovo/Tibet/Catalonia/UK/Scotland is a "country" or a "nation" or a "state" etc. The only important groupings for swpat.org are the boundaries of patent office jurisdictions and court rulings. Maybe the two categories should be "Region or jurisdiction" (just for Belgium, England and Wales, but excluding the legislation and case law subpages) and "All info for regions and jurisdictions" (Belgium, England and Wales, ...etc. plus "legislation in X",Y,Z plus "Case law in X",Y,Z)

However, since there are very few legislation and case law subpages, and I've recently merged some of them into the toplevel articles, maybe the broad all-inclusive category isn't so necessary anymore. No big issue, just thinking out loud. Ciaran 23:14, 28 May 2009 (EDT)
"Jurisdictions" seems like the most accurate term, and also the least likely to cause pointless debate/offence. But, is the EU a jurisdiction? Probably, yeh. Are the countries which signed up to the European Patent Convention a jurisdiction? Probably not. Maybe "Jurisdictions and international"? Ciaran 21:42, 31 May 2009 (EDT)
I have been working out a new Category tree here. There might be topics which are country/jurisdiction related but not legal topics, such as individual campaigns. The broad category, currently called Region or jurisdiction could be useful to group together all geographical-related articles. The more specific category, currently called Country and regional info, could then focus on legal topics. However I'd suggest these names be changed. For the broad, I cam up with Countries and international, and for the legal specifics Jurisdictions seems appropriate. steelpillow 03:25, 1 June 2009 (EDT)
The breakdown makes sense, but I've encountered problems by using the word "country" before. People who live in places of disputed sovereignty/independence often feel very strongly about the name used for the things that writes the laws that apply to them. If we have a category for "countries", some people will dispute or get offended by whether or not, for example, Catalonia is categorised as a "country".
For swpat.org, this distinction is completely irrelevent since we only care about knowing what entity writes the laws and creates court precedents for a given area. If a local Catalonian government writes the applicable patent law and administers the patent office, then nobody could dispute that Catalonia is a "jurisdiction", and if the Spanish government does those things, the no one could dispute that Catalonia, for patent issues, is part of the jurisdiction "Spain".
So "jurisdiction" is probably more accurate and informative and avoids a potential problem.
Is the EU a jurisdiction? Yes and no. Do the signatories to the EPC form a jurisdiction? Yes and no. So something should be added, maybe the right term is then "Jurisdictions and international"? Ciaran 15:09, 1 June 2009 (EDT)
I have no real problem with Countries and regions, we can move articles across from Category:Country and regional info. steelpillow 05:00, 5 June 2009 (EDT)

We also have [[:Category:Region or jurisdiction]]. At the moment, say Case law in Germany is placed here. I'd prefer to move it into two other categories, Category:Germany and a new Category:Case law. Eventually, Category:Region or jurisdiction becomes redundant. steelpillow 05:00, 5 June 2009 (EDT)

What category would Germany and Belgium go into? Not intending to stall your efforts, but FWIW here's what's in my head: the number of "Legislation in..." articles (and "Case law in..." articles) is decreasing rather than increasing. Now that there's some info in the wiki, I'm starting to think that that separation was a bad start. Example of problem: which page should hold information about the criteria for patentability in the USA? Whether something is patentable or not depends on a combination of the legislation, and what the courts have said, and how the patent office interpret those two things. So it probably makes more sense to have all three on the same page (be that either the "USA" page or maybe a "patentability in the USA" page). Ciaran 20:37, 5 June 2009 (EDT)
Taking the first bit first, let us suppose for the sake of argument that Germany keeps its own category but Belgium does not. The article on Belgium goes into Category:Countries and regions, that's easy. According to strict Categorisation rules, the article on Germany would go only into Category:Germany. But to get at it you would need to click through twice from Category:Countries and regions. So for convenience it could be added to that category as well. There would then be two entries for Germany in that top-level category, one for its category and another for its article - each in its appropriate list. Something like this:
 Category:Countries and regions
    |       |         |
    |       |  Category:Germany
    |       |   |            |
 Belgium   Germany   Innovation in Germany
If you think that most or all of the "case law in..." and "Legislation in..." pages will disappear, then the problem disappears with them. I think the best approach is for each country/region to have it all on one page unless and until that page gets too unwieldly. steelpillow 16:24, 6 June 2009 (EDT)

[edit] Jurisdiction too jargonish

The reason I am not keen on "jurisdiction" for the top-level category is that to me, being thoroughly ignorant of legal things, it sounds too technical to be about everyday things like countries or the EU. Then, would it be reasonable to say that California is part of the USA, and so its information would not appear in the TLC but only within the sub-category for the USA? Thus, the TLC covers countries (and international) while sub-categories cover smaller jurisdictions within those countries, something like this:

 Category:Countries and international
      Category:States in the USA
          California articles

I think this is straight forward enough. Or would too many people think "Oh, there's no top-level category for States, I'll give up looking"? steelpillow 15:27, 2 June 2009 (EDT)

I see your point about "jurisdiction" being jargonish. How about "Countries and regions"? "Regions" is vague enough to provide an escape path for why X was put into this category. "Countries and international" still has the political problem. I'll keep thinking about this...
I don't think "no top-level category for States" is a problem. "State" has a different meaning in every state-based federation/union anyway, so having a unified "states" category could never be coherent. Ciaran 16:28, 2 June 2009 (EDT)

[edit] Area based articles

(Discussion moved from here).

Having tried to gather information per-country, I think I'm already hitting limits - sooner than I expected. For most countries, there's not much story to tell, so it would probably be best to merge all per-country info back into one per-country page (from "legislation in..." and "patent office practice..." and "case law in...", just make one page). That's just FYI, in case you have ideas on that idea or on other restructuring. Since it seems I'm no longer the only person in this until-now sandbox, I better start announcing upcoming recategorisations :-) Ciaran 10:37, 25 May 2009 (EDT)

Actually, maybe case law and patent offices do deserve their own separate per-country page, but the legislation pages probably should be merged into the general overview per-country pages. Ciaran 17:42, 25 May 2009 (EDT)
I think it best to keep information for a given area in one article until it becomes too big. If the information is thin, dicing and slicing it into many pages leaves visitors frustrated as they fruitlessly click around all that emptiness. Once an article becomes indigestible, key topics can start to be split off to new pages. This also allows the site to grow organically, without an excessive editing load. In the present case, the candidate topic areas for new pages have already been identified. Steelpillow 04:36, 26 May 2009 (EDT)
I think you're right. I overestimated how much data could be gathered quickly about the sub-topics. I've moved/merged a few of the tiny sub-articles now, such as by moving Legislation in Chile to Chile. Ciaran 00:07, 29 May 2009 (EDT)

[edit] The spam

There's spam being added to this wiki every day. There are good technologies for blocking this, for example, non-logged-in users have to answer a math question if their edit includes a link. IMO it's not urgent though. Removing the spam isn't hard, and I'm a fan of holding back regulation until it's really necessary. For now, it's important to keep contribution as simple as possible. We will surely install some such anti-spam measure in the coming weeks. Ciaran 08:28, 26 May 2009 (EDT)

[edit] Spambot created a page

You may want to do something soon. A spambot just created a page anonymously. Visitors such as myself cannot delete such pages for you, so there is a danger it might get the idea and overwhelm you with thousands of spam pages. I can't remember if you have blocked automated account creation. 05:42, 30 May 2009 (EDT)

Thanks. Three interesting things used by Wikipedia are:
  • Anonymous edits with URLs have to answer a math question as a captcha
  • All changes with suspicious paterns get flagged (I think this tech is new, might be called "AF", an example is that any change which includes the same character four times in a row gets a tag "AF:row" or similar)
  • A blacklist of URLs that can't be added. Wikipedia has already built up a very long list of blacklisted URLs, so we can just copy theirs.
On Monday I'll talk to the sysadmins about which technologies they're familiar with or what other options we have. Ciaran 18:30, 30 May 2009 (EDT)

[edit] Spamblocking Software Blocking Sourceforge Addresses

Attempted to add my project to the list of projects shut down by patent threats. The main page is openises dot sourceforge dot net. When we attempted to save the page, it advised that the web address was spam. Given the number of open source projects at sourceforge, not sure why you would block their addresses??

Thanks for the heads up. I'm looking into it now... Ciaran 16:23, 3 September 2009 (EDT)
Here's the spamblock list: MediaWiki:Spam-blacklist. Sourceforge isn't on it.
What's the URL you're trying to add? (if you put a space in it, the spamblocker won't spot it) Ciaran 16:27, 3 September 2009 (EDT)
This should be working now (e.g. http://openises.sourceforge.net/ )
I didn't find the exact problem, but their were a number of semi-complicated exclusion rules in the spamblock list and I suspect one or two of them was trying to be a little too clever, so I removed the lot (for now). Ciaran 17:33, 3 September 2009 (EDT)

[edit] Deleting unwanted pages

I have created Template:Delete as a simple way to mark unwanted pages. It's just a quick fix, doing t properly is beyond my skills. The best way to track marked pages is to go to the template and use the "What links here" tool. 05:42, 30 May 2009 (EDT)

[edit] Non-software patent articles

Recently an article was created for patent 7490593. This is not software related. Does it have a place on en.swpat.org? (Just asking, I have no opinion either way, but I am thinking of Why focus only on software) steelpillow 15:34, 2 June 2009 (EDT)

I'm undecided, but it doesn't seem to be doing any harm, so I'd tend to leave it be. I can't imagine how it will help build the case against swpats, but that might just mean my imagination is too limited :-) Ciaran 16:12, 2 June 2009 (EDT)

[edit] Alerts

How about an Alerts box on the Main page?, aimed at visitors who are browsing rather than editing? Maybe a Template:Alerts, something like this:

The idea is to get people actively campaigning (in contrast to merely adding campaign information on the wiki). What do you think? steelpillow 05:01, 24 June 2009 (EDT)

[edit] More on spam

We've installed MediaWiki:Spam-blacklist. That should block some spam.

But there's a strange type of spam remaining, a bot is adding links to websites that don't exist: [1], [2]. What's the purpose?

Two possibilities spring to mind. First, it might just be probing the site defences, using urls that will not be on any blacklist. Second (approaching paranoia?), it might be adding urls for sites that might get created one day as part of some DoS system, similar to the mass of unused urls carried by conficker, perhaps using unguarded wikis as proxies to save carrying that mass of urls around. steelpillow 17:10, 17 July 2009 (EDT)

If this persists, I guess I'll have to add in a test ("What is 7 plus 3?") whenever a non-logged in user makes an edit which adds a URL. Ciaran 15:09, 17 July 2009 (EDT)

Well, evil bots ain't going to disappear from the Internet overnight. Some halfway measures might be:
  • Disallow sub-pages in the main, Category, Talk and Category talk namespaces.
  • Block page creation by IP users (but still allow edits).
steelpillow 17:10, 17 July 2009 (EDT)

[edit] en.swpat.org policy

ISTR that somewhere on these pages is a statement that this is not a campaign against 'all patents, just software patents.

Whether this is so or not, I think the policy needs saying more prominently. I can't find that statement now, or any other on such details of policy.

If we are confining ourselves to swpat-specific issues, then I think we need to be careful how we present our case, whether on this wiki or when campaigning. Inconsistency, such as being against swpats because they are expensive to SMEs while not campaigning against other patents for the same reason, might weaken our case.

Maybe we need a policy page where we can hammer out such issues? steelpillow 04:39, 9 August 2009 (EDT)

Even though I can't think of any campaign or region where I'd argue against the whole patent system, it's still good to document the general problems of the patent system. For example, when a government is considering giving the patent office more power (which would usually lead to reinforcing software patents), it would be useful to be able to point out that the patent office is a failing institution (if that's true).
There might even be countries where arguing against the whole patent system is a realistic way to get rid of software patents.
Some general problems take special significance in the context of software - like that the USPTO often takes seven years to process patent applications. In software, that's an eternity. Most start-ups don't even last that long. The wiki should make this clearer.
I think it's better to gather information in as broad a scope as possible, and let individual campaigns decide what they're going to argue for. But you're right that it's generally a mistake to argue against the whole patent system, so I've made this article prominent on the Main Page: Why focus only on software.
There's also the issue of attracting and keeping wiki contributors. From experience on Wikipedia, when people's first contributions are met with pointers to policy, they feel unwelcome. When people make contributions that I think are poor quality, or even slightly negative, I usually do nothing, and review it in a week or month's time. Keeping their edit makes them feel welcome - and retaining a contributor is more important than fixing any minor error.
For SMEs, the cost argument takes special significance in the context of software because software SMEs don't need special premises or permits so they usually have much lower budgets than manufacturing or pharaceutical SMEs. This needs to be made clearer on the SME page... Ciaran 08:50, 10 August 2009 (EDT)

[edit] Site organization

I think the front page of the Wiki risks scaring away new visitors. There are too many links and the page is scrollable. Obviously, when this Wiki began, articles were on the front page because there was so little material, at first. However, let me congratulate everyone who has contributed to en.swpat.org for the success in completing an important hurdle in the Wiki:WikiLifeCycle: The Wiki has outgrown the front page.

The attempts to use formatting to squeeze everything into the available real estate of the front page only avoids a glaring problem. The site needs to have clear paths for visitors to find information. User:steelpillow has begun this work by studying the topics covered and writing a proposal for categorization. To take this further, there needs to be a proposal for the front page that meets the needs of visitors with what exists on the site.

So who are the "audiences"?

  • People who want to get involved in abolishing software patents.
  • People who want to know why software patents are bad.
  • People who want to contribute (to the Wiki).
  • People who want to get involved in software patent issues in their locale.
  • People who want to learn more about this campaign against software patents.
  • People who want to learn about a specific technical issue as it relates to software patents.
  • People who want to learn about a specific discussion of software patents (economics, legal cases, GPLv3).
  • People who want a bibliography on software patent literature (for reading articles or watching video).

These people can come from different backgrounds, including:

  • Programmers
  • Software users (general public)
  • Lawyers or legal think-tankers
  • Political class or NGO do-gooders

The trick is coming up with a comprehensive map of who the visitors are that meets what already exists on the site. The resulting plan that works for the front page will should also scale as the Wiki grows and its purpose develops. --Ashawley 17:49, 9 August 2009 (EDT)

Thanks for the interesting link about the wiki life cycle. The target audience of swpat.org is anti-swpat campaigners. If someone's writing a letter to a government official, making a flyer, or even just arguing on a web forum, swpat.org should be the place they come to for information. If we achieve that, then the wiki should develop a reputation and that will lead to people contributing.
You're certainly right that we're outgrowing the frontpage. A clear example is the list of countries on the frontpage that I'm manually maintaining while the Categories functionality provides that automatically. (Category:Countries and regions) I don't know any way to have a category's contents automatically printed in another page in a formatted way.
I'm not sure that having the page scrollable is bad. All the wikis that I consult have frontpages that scroll. Got any links to good frontpages (scrollable or not) we could follow? Ciaran 12:19, 10 August 2009 (EDT)

Indeed, being scrollable isn't the problem. Many sites have material on the front page to read and thus requires scrolling. But right now this Wiki doesn't have any readable material, it's just a list of links. Again, that is fine since the mode of operation is to build the Wiki. I'm suggesting there needs to be a strategy developed for this site that suits its visitors. Keep it in mind. --Ashawley 16:06, 12 August 2009 (EDT)

I have hacked a demo for a new Main Page layout here. The individual link menus still need lot of work, but what do you think of the general idea? I'd like a short lead paragraph or so of text before the main lists of links, but am unsure what to talk about. steelpillow 15:05, 14 August 2009 (EDT)

[edit] Category suggestions

I've added category links at the bottom of the countries, arguments, and organisations sections on Main Page.

One problem with MediaWiki's categories is that subcategories are given a lot of space. Compare:

I think the latter is a lot better in terms of presenting the user with the content of the category. Would it be a good idea to tag certain categories as "simple categories", for which we agree not to add any subcategories. This could be implemented by putting a comment in each "simple" category, like this. Comments? Ciaran 16:42, 10 August 2009 (EDT)

Category pages are a take-what-you-get listing of linked stuff, they are dynamic and not easily controlled. For example as more countries grow multiple pages, they will grow more country sub-categories, until eventually [[:Category:Countries and regions] will have a useful top half of sub-categories and a "why is that hidden down there?" problematic bottom half of less documented countries. I think it best to take each topic area on its own merits. For example countries/regions are not going to appear and disappear rapidly. They could be listed on an ordinary page, subdivided by continent and/or just alphabetically (A sortable table could allow the user to select the ordering rule within the same table, using a hidden indexing system). The Arguments page is already beginning to do something similar for Category:Arguments. OTOH Category:Documents is unlikely to spur creation of a "Documents" article.
Categories have this brilliant ability to be linked to, even if you know of no other articles on that topic. I can browse a category and come across loads of pages I never knew existed, providing a powerful tool in rationalising and organising the actual pages. The more complex the site becomes, the more valuable this ability becomes. I sometimes use a category to capture related pages for a while, before building an introductory article that provides context and links for each article. Revisit the category later, and other users will have linked more articles, so then I am able to update/improve the introduction. A category is seldom a stable listing, and is not intended to be. steelpillow 17:09, 10 August 2009 (EDT)
Ok. I've undone my changes to Category:Arguments and I'm making a page now for Countries and regions. Ciaran 17:33, 10 August 2009 (EDT)

[edit] Countries and regions template

I had another idea. To avoid having a list on Main Page plus a list on a "Countries and regions" page to maintain, I made Template:Countries and regions, which contains all the data and a parent template Template:Countries and regions blurb which can be included in articles. For example, see the end of the Argentina article. Just an idea. Ciaran 17:52, 10 August 2009 (EDT)

Nah, not a good idea. The content of the front page should be easily editable by first time visitors, so it's not good that when they click the edit button they just see "{{countries and regions}}". For use at the bottom of each country page, I'm undecided if Template:countries and regions blurb is useful. I've left it in the Argentina article as an example. Ciaran 04:43, 11 August 2009 (EDT)
I don't think editability is a problem. A list like this is pretty static - it need not be so easily editable by the inexperienced, while the inveterate tinkerer will know how to track it down. Not so sure about the blurb though, the list is self-evident. But I am still not sure if it is a good idea. How often will anybody want to click from country to country? Is the shortcut worth the real estate occupied by the whole list? I am inclined to favour a Countries and Regions page: that occupies only one link, but demands an extra mouse-click to move countries. steelpillow 15:17, 11 August 2009 (EDT)
In fact, here is a demo sortable Countries and regions table. What do you think? It could maybe list the continent for each country in grey. steelpillow 15:45, 11 August 2009 (EDT)
Great. I thought I'd have to wait for a plugin to be installed to get that kind of table. I've put the current list of countries into your table and saved it at countries and regions. What other data could go in the table? Ciaran 21:59, 11 August 2009 (EDT)

[edit] About new accounts being created

In the create user log, there are two entries:

  • 10:18, 15 January 2010 Jenhongcai (Talk | contribs | block) created new account User:Acai (Talk | contribs | block)
  • 10:17, 15 January 2010 Jenhongcai (Talk | contribs | block) New user account

I don't know what the top message means. How does one user create another?

Other thing: where's the creation entry for User:ciaran and User:steelpillow?

There have been a few accounts made recently and never used, so I'd like to understand this a bit more, in case there's a new spam tactic in preparation. Ciaran 11:49, 15 January 2010 (UTC)

One user creates another
I replicated this by:
  1. While logged off, go to Log in/Create new user.
  2. Open it again in a second tab and log in as usual. The system now knows who my broswer session belongs to.
  3. While still logged on, go back to the first tab and create the new user. Result, as you now see in the User creation log.
The suspect accounts are so recent, it's hard to say whether foul play is involved. People do sometimes create sock puppets for themselves, or accounts for friends, for legitimate reasons.
steelpillow 13:36, 16 January 2010 (UTC)
Interesting. Slightly unintuitive behaviour from MediaWiki. Could be harmless alright. It got my attention because the name of the creator catches the eye more than the name of the created account does, so it could be used as a way to try to reduce the chances of an account being created. Ciaran 00:38, 18 January 2010 (UTC)
Missing log entries
I created my own account back in May 2009, while the current User creation log only goes back to November 2009. Something appears to have (accidentally or knowingly) purged the log. Possibly someone may have done it while carrying out system maintenance? If not, it could be due to malware purging the log entries recording its own naughtiness. steelpillow 13:36, 16 January 2010 (UTC)
AFAIR, there was a MediaWiki upgrade done in November alright. Probably that. Ciaran 00:38, 18 January 2010 (UTC)

[edit] References (citations and facts)

I've made Template:reference needed and Help:Adding references, to mirror Wikipedia's way of requesting references.

The only change is that instead of using Wikipedia's terminology - where the three terms fact-reference-citation are all used but with no difference - I've used the term "reference" for everything.

Using one term is simpler. My prefered term of the three is probably citations, however, there's no convenient way to rename the <ref> tags, and "references" isn't a bad second, so I suggest we unify on "references". Ciaran 14:26, 6 February 2010 (UTC)

I'd agree. Citations are really just a particular kind of reference, while the "fact" tag is a way of requesting a reference. BTW, sorry I'm not helping much at the moment, but am v. busy on other things. steelpillow 22:12, 6 February 2010 (UTC)
No problem. I'll try to keep the evolutions logical and I'll continue to mention things here if they seem to need explaining. Your help has already been great.
I put in the request to get ParserFunctions installed. It's just taking some time because I put in a number of other sys admin requests at the same time. We should have ParserFunctions features to mess with in a few days. Ciaran 11:13, 7 February 2010 (UTC)

[edit] July 2010: splitting case law and litigation

I haven't gotten the perfect name but I'm going to go ahead with the splitting of court cases into case law and "litigation" for want of a better name. Doing this will allow us to have a "legal" ("governance"?) section of the wiki which will have case law, legislation, patent office practice, legal wordings and other stuff, and we'll be able to have a "real world harm" section which will include articles about litigation where software patents cost developers money. Ciaran 12:33, 25 July 2010 (UTC)

[edit] Recent Changes Cleanup

The Recent Changes Cleanup extension has been installed, which allows (admins only, I think) edits to get tagged as coming from a bot.

When someone spams the wiki, and I block them and undo their spam, leaving three useless entries in the Special:RecentChanges list. The extension makes this page Special:RecentChangesCleanup, from which those three edits can be tagged bot, so they don't appear on RecentChanges by default. If anyone wants to see those changes, they can click "Show bots".

Nothing major. Not even sure how much I'll bother with it, but I wanted to mention it in case it seems weird that edits disappear etc. Ciaran 12:13, 29 May 2010 (UTC)

[edit] Messing with fonts, styles

I'm doing some work to unify the styles of:

In general, I'm using en.swpat.org as the starting point and modifying the other sites to fit it, so there won't be too much change here.

The fonts here will be made bigger. (update: done)

I want the three sites to look as similar as possible, which means I have to avoid differences that would make users change their local settings. If fonts are small here and big on another site, the readers will enlarge the text here, shrink it on the other site, and in the process they'll knock design elements such as the background image out of sync. Ciaran 16:45, 15 June 2010 (UTC)

[edit] Template:Cite_web almost working

Template:Cite_web is, IMHO, a very important wiki-feature. It formats stuff nicely for inside <ref></ref> tags. We currently just put URLs in the ref tags, but with Cite_web we can give those links titles, authors, dates, add quotes from the linked document, etc. More documentation is at:

So, where we currently do this:

David Kappos gives talk about copyright.<ref>http://www.uspto.gov/</ref>

We can now do this: (if and when we like)

David Kappos gives talk about copyright.<ref>{{cite web
|title=USPTO homepage
|quote=USPTO Director David Kappos among the featured speakers at a public meeting to discuss copyright policy}}</ref>

Which should put this into the references section:

  1. "USPTO homepage". "USPTO Director David Kappos among the featured speakers at a public meeting to discuss copyright policy"

The only remaining glitch I've spotted is that the URL is currently printed after the link. That doesn't happen on wikipedia. I'm looking into it, but it's for another day. Cite_web is already safe to use. Ciaran 01:33, 26 June 2010 (UTC)

[edit] New argument: software innovation has to happen fast

It's kinda just a new way to state the existing argument about patents being too slow, but I wonder how/where it's best to develop the argument that computer security (and responding to users requests) requires innovation to happen quickly.

Responding to an oil leak is a question of logistics, procurement, decision making.

Responding to a virus that exploits a security weakness can requiring rethinking the security architecture or rethinking the user interface. Ciaran 13:56, 25 July 2010 (UTC)

One example (kinda) is Trend Micro v. Barracuda (2008, USA). That's not an emergency situation, but Barracuda was helping people respond to a security problem. Ciaran 14:12, 25 July 2010 (UTC)

[edit] External links per-section

I often want to add some links which only have relevance for a section of an article. When I put them in "External links" at the end, their relevance is lost, but if we spread external links across the whole article, they're harder to find. So I was thinking of adding section-specific external links sections (only in occasionally, when useful), and giving all the external links sections a background colour so that they're still easy to find at a glance.

The downside is that this requires some html <div> tags before and after the links, which is annoying because I prefer to keep the techy markup to a miniumum. Either:

{{ext links start|



{{ext links start}}

{{ext links end}}

The second seems better - less chance of unpredicted interaction between the links and the tag. Ciaran 18:56, 1 December 2010 (EST)