User talk:LibraryGeek Information
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Apologies. I inadvertently deleted your comments at Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Wikipedia:WikiProject Libraries/Cleanup listing. I did immediately restore the comments but you may have wondered why the comments were temporarily deleted. A simple mis-clicking on the wrong link. Sorry about that. Velella Velella Talk 11:26, 13 October 2018 (UTC)
Hong Kong, as British Hong Kong, is widely considered as a separate entity. Despite the formerly colony now under the umbrella of China, the city-state has a high-degree of self-rule. I would suggest leaving Hong Kong in the country cat, just like BVI, Cayman Islands and other sub-nations. Matthew hk ( talk) 09:10, 30 December 2018 (UTC)
- Matthew hk, you made some big mistakes. 1. Hong Kong isn't a separate entity throughout its history. Hong Kong was a part of China for a long time until 1842; Hong Kong is a special administrative region of the People's Republic of China from 1997. Hong Kong was a colony of the United Kingdom from 1842 to 1941, and from 1945 to 1997. Hong Kong was military occupied by Japan from 1941 to 1945. 2. Hong Kong is a special administrative region of the People's Republic of China and has high-degree autonomy from 1997, but Hong Kong is still a part of the the People's Republic of China like other administrative regions (provinces, direct-administered municipalities and autonomous regions) of the People's Republic of China. Thus, Hong Kong isn't a country or sub-nation.
- 03:18, 31 December 2018 (UTC)
- Okay, IP, it appears that from your talk page, contribs, and the histories of the pages you've edited, you're being a somewhat difficult person. Please don't lurk on other people's talk pages, chasing users you don't like, and trying to impersonate users you don't even know. I don't appreciate it. You may be technically correct, but your methods are not. Please tone it down, and act in a civil manner, and you may get a better response, and you won't have to keep changing your IP to avoid being blocked.
- That said, Matthew hk, I understand your point, but you are on a slippery slope. Let me explain my reasoning. No matter what your point of view is, the bottom line is you've got to draw a line somewhere, or you quickly find yourself descending into chaos. Yes, there are some places in the world where people generally aren't exactly clear if it's a "country" or not. To them, the distinction may appear to be technical and arbitrary. But to the people who live there, the distinction can be quite important. Often times, the issue may be part of a major dispute between people, and sometimes it's not. Regardless, Wikipedia cannot be all things to all people. Part of the role of a reference, such as this, is to be fair and unbiased, and to represent the facts as they actually are, and not to push an agenda for or against any one point of view.
- Since I began cleaning up the WikiProject Libraries infrastructure, I've seen a lot of crazy things. The project has been virtually abandoned for a long time, and a lot of dust and cobwebs have formed, and the machinery was never well-built, in the first place. Well-designed infrastructure is invisible. It is something you should never have to think about. It should "just work" and be consistent wherever you go. Of course, achieving that is a lot of work, but it makes life a lot easier for everyone else. One of the reasons an infrastructure breaks down is a lack of clear, well-defined rules, and an inability to enforce them consistently. It may not seem like a big deal to take a shortcut here and there, once in a while. But if everyone takes shortcuts, a well-planned street grid quickly becomes a maze of cobwebs criss-crossing in random directions in random patterns. Over time, it becomes entirely confusing and even useless. That's exactly the mess I'm trying to clean-up, in the first place.
- To make my point, let's not talk about Hong Kong. Let's talk about Greenland. I'll bet most people don't know that Greenland is not a country. It is a part of the Kingdom of Denmark. Granted, Greenland has a high degree of autonomy, it is still short of a fully independent nation. Let's say we may an "exception" for Greenland, so that people who don't know Greenland's status can still find it on the list of "countries". Okay, well, if that's okay, then what about Guam? Guam's not a country, it is a U.S. territory. Let's make an exception for Guam, too. So now, what about Puerto Rico? It's a U.S. territory, just like Guam. Why not make it a "country", too. But if Puerto Rico's a country, what about the District of Columbia? Isn't that a country?? Now, we're starting to slip into absurdity, but let's not stop there. Let's look at Hawaii, dead smack in the middle of the Pacific. Isn't that a "country"?? You may think that calling the 50th state of the United States a "country" is going a bit too far for most people. But yet, when I got here, that's exactly what I found. Hawaii was listed as a "country". So if Hawaii is a country, what about Maine? Aren't England, Scotland and Wales separate "countries"? What about Northern Ireland? Well, according to what I originally found here, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland are both subdivisions of the "country" of Ireland. That may match some people's political ambitions, but it does not represent the facts on the ground, today. Okay then, what about Northern Cyprus?? There is only one country in the world that recognizes Northern Cyprus as a "country", namely Turkey. So let's make Northern Cyprus a "country". In fact, that's also what I found here. If we keep this up, then Alaska's a "country", and so is Texas, Massachusetts, and Maine. Oh, hell, let's make every subdivision a "country". So now Boston's a "country" as is London. Let's make things really "easy" and make the parts of Boston (Brighton, Roxbury, Dorchester, Charlestown, etc.) "countries" as well. Are you getting my point? If you start making exceptions, where do you stop? The point is you don't. You let chaos overwhelm everything, and pretty soon the notion of "country" has no meaning at all.
- Either that, or you make some clear, well-defined rules, and you stick to them. There is no country in the world that recognizes Hong Kong, Greenland, Hawaii, Alaska, or London as separate "countries". So neither should we. There are parts of the world that are awash in bloodshed over this issue. Is Syria a "country" or is ISIS? These are not small issues. So where do we draw the line?
- There are 193 member nations of the U.N., with two "observer" states, Vatican City and the State of Palestine. There are also two more countries that have exclusive, complete and independent control of their territories, but for various political reasons have been denied U.N. membership, despite the fact that they clearly qualify: Taiwan and Kosovo. I am not aware of any other "countries" that are widely accepted. Indeed, there are many more that are hotly contested. China and Serbia would claim that their case against their "rebel provinces" are just and right, but the fact of the matter is they do not have control over them, and any attempt to do so would trigger an international political (and possibly military) crisis. So, by these definitions, I come up with the number of 197.
- The British Virgin Islands are not a country. They are one of the British Overseas Territories. Neither are the U.S. Virgin Islands. Neither is Gibraltar, or Greenland or Alaska or Hawaii. The same can be said for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland today. I cannot say if the same will be said tomorrow, given the impact that BREXIT may have. But Wikipedia is not a reference for tomorrow. If the U.K. collapses, then it will be time to make the necessary changes here. The Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia are no longer "countries", though they once were. Such is the way of the world. Things change. So the U.K. returned Hong Kong to China in 1997, a very controversial move at the time. East Germany is no longer a separate country. Hong Kong was not an independent nation. Neither was the Panama Canal Zone, which the U.S. returned to Panama in 1979. Should the Canal Zone be a "country", too?? I rest my case.
- I know this is a rather long response, but I expect that Hong Kong will not be the only one of the "not a countries" that people will object to. So, to cut off further discussions of this kind, I thought it best to make my reasons clear, and my rationale plain and well documented. We have to draw a line somewhere. No matter where we draw it, someone will object. So let's use clear, concise criteria and apply them uniformly. That is the only solution to total chaos.
- Now, this all said, there is no reason to take an extreme approach and make Wikipedia user-hostile for the sake of "correctness". I have been considering, and plan to experiment with, an alternative approach with the "not a country" situation for users who aren't well-read on the political niceties of places such as Greenland, Guam, or even, for that matter, Hawaii. I'm thinking of a "not a country" category structure for dependencies, disputed territories, and former countries. The exact technical details have yet to be worked out, nevermind implemented, but I'm thinking of possibly using soft redirects to point to the correct subdivision, which will take various names and places on the category tree. The integrity of the main tree should not be disrupted, but I can't see why we can't have a parallel tree that indexes into the correct location on the "real" tree. But before we get there, we have to first prune the main tree, and to get it back to health. I am using templates to build the links consistently, rather than relying on people to maintain hand edits accurately at all times. The use of templates will allow broad changes across the entire tree in a single edit, if necessary, yet keep all 197 countries consistent and rational. It will make adding "missing" countries simple and easy. But the links between one country's subdivisions, and those of another country are not consistent. In the U.S., there are "Libraries in the United States by state" (but as of this writing no corresponding category for its territories). In Canada, there are subcategories directly under "Libraries in Canada", but there are also links to the corresponding category "Education in Canada by province or territory". Inconsistencies in the tree structure is confusing for humans and fatal for templates and scripts. Wikipedia no longer has a "goal" of 100,000 pages. It has nearly 6 million, and "shortcuts" and "exceptions" that were once "no big deal" make this monster all that much more difficult to maintain. If Wikipedia is going to continue to scale and thrive, it will need an infrastructure that will need to be able to scale with it. The current hand-maintained structure is brittle and unmanageable. The current situation in the "Organizations" tree is a worst-case example. In Category:Educational organizations by country, you'll find "Educational organisations in Australia", but "Educational organizations based in Canada". "Educational organizations in China", but "Educational organizations based in the United States" ... no clear rhyme or reason, and no way to achieve consistency without a lot of ugly, breaking changes. This must not be allowed to continue, unless we want Wikipedia's infrastructure to become so brittle that it breaks apart in a sea of random chaos.
- So yes, this is a long-winded response, but this is something I've thought about and considered very carefully. I'm working slowly but deliberately, trying to improve the infrastructure, and paving the way for better maintenance. I generally add missing links, rather than remove them. Those I do remove, I do so carefully, looking for links and redirects that may be effected. But Hawaii is not a country. Not today. That link could break a bot that may run soon, looking for new articles that weren't properly tagged ... and may have appeared unbeknowingly to those who should be reviewing it. So I'm pruning the tree, clearing out the deadwood and cobwebs, so that we can have a healthy tree for the future. This means establishing certain rules of structure and sticking to them, but also creating tools and templates for situations that need special attention, when needed. One such situation is the issue with "countries" and "nationalties". For example "Libraries in Canada" connects to both "Education in Canada" and "Canadian culture". Libraries and Education are "countries" categories, while culture is a "nationality" category. No one has yet created a template to bridge the gap, and that has lead to broken solutions to the problem. This is one of many issues I'm looking at. I hope that my efforts and the tools I develop for maintaining the Libraries tree will, in time, be adopted by other projects, and over time, the health and vigor of the categories tree will, in turn, be much improved. By clearing out the cobwebs, the shape and structure of the tree will be clearer and more intuitive. The goal of a well-defined infrastructure is to become "invisible". It's something you should be able to work with without thinking about it. Templates, bots and scripts should be able to use it without problems. We have a long way to go before we get to that point, but I do believe it's possible, and if done properly, will insure the long term health of Wikipedia as a whole. So that's where I'm coming from. It's not a matter of politics or bureaucracy. It's about achieving a healthy balance between well-considered rules, practical reality, and technical requirements. It's about building on a well-considered design for the future.
- I hope this explains why I'm doing what I'm doing, and that I do take your concerns to heart, but I have to balance those concerns with other valid concerns and points of view. My motivation and intent is to help secure the long-term health and vitality of Wikipedia as a whole, or, at the very least, my tiny little corner of it. Thanks for your comments. You're more than welcome to address anything you think I may have overlooked. No one person has all of the answers. This is why I invite everyone I come across to join my effort. Of course, we all have our own interests and expertise. That is also one of the strengths of Wikipedia. We all get to work on what interests us, and where our expertise can benefit the project. Thanks again, and I hope to work with you again, soon.
Speedy deletion nomination of Category:WikiProject Libraries portals
A tag has been placed on Category:WikiProject Libraries portals requesting that it be speedily deleted from Wikipedia. This has been done under section C1 of the criteria for speedy deletion, because the category has been empty for seven days or more and is not a disambiguation category, a category redirect, a featured topics category, under discussion at Categories for discussion, or a project category that by its nature may become empty on occasion.
If you think this page should not be deleted for this reason, you may contest the nomination by visiting the page and clicking the button labelled "Contest this speedy deletion". This will give you the opportunity to explain why you believe the page should not be deleted. However, be aware that once a page is tagged for speedy deletion, it may be deleted without delay. Please do not remove the speedy deletion tag from the page yourself, but do not hesitate to add information in line with Wikipedia's policies and guidelines. UnitedStatesian ( talk) 01:38, 27 September 2019 (UTC)