User talk:John James

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Hello, John James, and welcome to the Mises Wiki! Thanks for signing up – we're glad to have you! If you need help getting started, take a look at our help pages.

Community discussion takes place at the MisesWiki Commons, so feel free to post any questions you might have there or on my talk page. Please sign your messages on talk and discussion pages using four tildes (~~~~); this will automatically insert your username and the date. Again, welcome!

Template:Wikipedia text

Hi John: thanks for the heads up regarding a bug. Could you give me an example of a page that is having the issue you describe so I can look? I'm only aware of one potential issue with this template, and that is that for pages with multi-word titles, it's important to use underscores instead of spaces. So, for example, instead of:

{{Wikipedia text|Supreme Court of the United States|Edition ID}}


{{Wikipedia text|Supreme_Court_of_the_United_States|Edition ID}}

Let me know if that helps. --Forgottenman (talk) 07:02, 9 April 2011 (MSD)

Yeah that took care of it. Interesting I missed that. I actually went back to the template page and noticed the underscores are there in the example...I would have sworn they weren't there before, but I can see the page hasn't been updated in months so I obviously just overlooked it. Thanks for the response. --John James 08:49, 9 April 2011 (MSD)
I believe I have fixed this template. It no longer requires underscores, and it still allows for the use of id as a named parameter (which you added). One thing I removed from your version is {{#switch:{{lc:{{{section|}}} }}; I'm not sure that linking sections is necessary, but if you want it back I'll figure it out. Let me know if you notice any other issues. --Forgottenman (talk) 01:56, 11 May 2011 (MSD)
Awesome. Sounds good. If you get a chance, have a look at the to do list on my user page. You might be able to help with at least one of those things. --John James 02:32, 11 May 2011 (MSD)
Actually, it's still broken for punctuation... our urlencode magic word doesn't work like on Wikipedia for some strange reason... --Forgottenman (talk) 17:46, 12 May 2011 (MSD)
I think I noticed that with my {{wplink}} has a problem with punctuation too. Even with "PAGENAMEE" it still returns "%27" instead of an apostrophe...and wikipedia doesn't like that...which means pages like America's Great Depression come up with an error when you click that link. But then again if you use the same syntax for the mises wiki it pulls up the page fine (i.e. mises doesn't have a problem with code instead of actual characters.) --John James 05:02, 13 May 2011 (MSD)

On Categories

Hallo John James, very nice work on all the newly created content pages! There is one thing, though, I am not so sure about - does it make sense to create so many new categories, most of which will stay empty for the foreseeable future? (See e.g. the categories on the Peter Schiff page.) Pestergaines 00:38, 12 April 2011 (MSD)

I've removed these categories from that page. Categories are only helpful to readers when there are a significant number of articles in each one. I don't see a need for copying Wikipedia's bureaucracy and structure in our much smaller wiki. --Forgottenman (talk) 00:51, 12 April 2011 (MSD)
Yeah that was really the only one I left them all on. I wasn't sure about that figured they were mostly pretty general categories that other things would fit into without too much difficulty. --John James 09:10, 12 April 2011 (MSD)

Infobox template

Hallo John, you have recently updated the Infobox template to a much larger feature set. That is all to the good, but it seems all the country boxes are now broken. (See e.g. Ireland.) What can be done to fix this? Pestergaines 14:36, 3 May 2011 (MSD)

FYI: I'll do a revert on the Infobox template, hope that things will work fine afterwards. Please let me know if that's not the case! Pestergaines 12:55, 6 May 2011 (MSD)
I undid your undo on the template:infobox, as that setup was not constructed to best allow specific infoboxes to be created. That template is best used as a meta...I had already used it to create one for books (as you can see at Principles of Economics), and the undo made it inoperable. To fix the countries, I created one for countries, and one for islands, but they are not yet fully debugged. I went ahead and put the beginnings of one on the Ireland page anyway so you can see how it will go.
I have a feeling at least part of the issue in the bugs lies in a lack of some specific classes in areas such as the common.css...which you need admin status to be able to edit. I posted a message on the talk page of Wikiadmin, but haven't gotten a response. would you be able to tell me how I might go about getting the proper permissions to be able to fix stuff like that? --John James 17:15, 6 May 2011 (MSD)
I'm not sure if there is an official policy for this, but the Mises Institute is the overarching institution for the wiki. The most suitable place for this sort of request would be the mailing list. At the moment I don't see a big need for more administrators. The mailing list is in any case the best place to propose your changes to the common.css and get feedback from the site admins. And by the way: Wikipedia suggests to test changes on user's personal skin.css first, that could make things easier for you while the discussion goes on.
How long do you think will the fixing process work? If it takes a long time, I suggest going back to the original setup. Another template could be used as the base for the book infobox (which I like, by the way); or we could quickly migrate all countries so we don't have a host of broken pages all over the place. Please let me know. Pestergaines 18:09, 6 May 2011 (MSD)
I fixed the infobox islands template, so Ireland looks fine. The normal country infobox will probably require the permissions I was talking about, so I'll look into that. But keeping the current meta infobox template doesn't break any pages, it just means an infobox doesn't show up on a page that uses the old format. --John James 05:48, 7 May 2011 (MSD)
Very nice work! Please also include the data, that was in the infobox before (e.g. the indices). Then we can fix the other countries that lack that data and the broken reference that is the result. Pestergaines 17:33, 7 May 2011 (MSD)

What do you think? --John James 21:57, 7 May 2011 (MSD)

Excellent! Now we only need Life Expectancy and Unemployment. (If you use the same page from the CIA Factbook, consider reusing the "ref name="CIA_IE"" part - but only if it's worth it.) Pestergaines 13:12, 9 May 2011 (MSD)

Hi, I've created the {{Infobox Country}} template, and requested from Forgottenman a migration of all countries to it. In this way, all countries can show their whole content and the new templates are untouched, at least until this migration is finalized. Pestergaines 23:46, 22 May 2011 (MSD)

It would be more helpful if you could just correct any bugs in the one that already exists. Check out United States to see how it can function. --John James 23:52, 22 May 2011 (MSD)
Sadly, I am not an familiar enough with templates, so I don't know what its bugs are. The old one showed its contents quite well, and I want to restore that. The new template set is certainly superior, but until it is finished I want to have the old content visible and avoid broken content. Pestergaines 00:18, 23 May 2011 (MSD)

Dear John James,

we seem to be discussing the topic on several pages now with little progress, so let me state this clearly to prevent misunderstandings: updating and adding content is absolutely welcome, effectively removing useful content is not. If some content is outdated, replace it. You may experiment to improve the wiki, but you have to be very careful if your changes affect a large part of it for extended periods of time and on numerous pages (we're talking some 200 pages here). Please refrain from such large-scale changes in the future, or discuss them with others first.

I hope I made myself clear. I am absolutely not against the idea itself: the new template looks great and will come in handy. I'll create a new discussion in the Commons about the content of the new Infobox for countries.

Pestergaines 15:41, 23 May 2011 (MSD)

A few things

I was looking over your user and talk pages and wanted to mention:

  • Regarding Common.css and Common.js: Wikipedia's versions of these pages are quite complex, and often refer to other css and js pages in the MediaWiki namespace. If you find that we need to add something here, it's probably good to move slowly and make sure there aren't any negative side effects.
  • That said, this wiki doesn't have individual css and js files enabled, so you can't test new css for yourself first. Enabling this might be worthwhile, but there may be a reason for it not being available... would need to ask the developers.
  • Regarding using images from Commons: it is possible, actually, via this extension. There may be security issues related to using it, however, so we need to investigate.
  • It's already possible to link to other wikimedia projects. For example, commons:Main Page and wiktionary:Main Page. Wikisource is the only major one that fails, I believe, because the shortcut doesn't assume that you want the English site. Unfortunately it appears that making editing the available keywords is rather complicated, so we'll probably want to have a good reason to do this before going to the developers. --Forgottenman (talk) 18:03, 11 May 2011 (MSD)
Thanks for all the feedback. I agree we should ask about enabling personal .css/.js pages for testing. That's great to hear about interwiki linking...I didn't really bother to try using various identifiers to see if they actually worked in linking. Is this ability (and the markup) mentioned somewhere? We might add it to the Help:Introduction page, no? Also, any idea what the reason is for the image upload issue? That one kinda bugs me. --John James 04:03, 12 May 2011 (MSD)
Also, regarding the extension to use Commons images...what exactly would need to be done before we start using it? --John James 04:07, 12 May 2011 (MSD)


FYI, your edits to Common.css (Navbox) broke some templates (see MisesWiki:Anniversaries/May 30, for example--the links at the bottom used to be in a nicely formatted box). For some reason it's not letting me revert, so please address this if you see this before I am able to. Thanks. --Forgottenman (talk) 06:30, 26 May 2011 (MSD)

I think I fixed it. Let me know if my change broke something else. --Forgottenman (talk) 06:35, 26 May 2011 (MSD)
Existing templates that include tables using the navbox class are still broken. Don't have time to fix it now... I think we will need another class. --Forgottenman (talk) 06:40, 26 May 2011 (MSD)
Darn. Sorry about that. Do you have an example of where there's still an issue? I might be able to pinpoint it if I can see it. --John James 06:45, 26 May 2011 (MSD)
See the bottom of MisesWiki:Anniversaries. The table.navbox you added has "width: 100%", which overrides the default. I think navboxes are traditionally 100% width, so it's probably best to come up with another name for what I was calling "navbox". --Forgottenman (talk) 15:24, 26 May 2011 (MSD)
I think that took care of it. Check it out, as I'm not sure how it was supposed to look. Lemme know. --John James 23:09, 26 May 2011 (MSD)

Award templates and images

Hallo John James,

I've started to copy award images and templates, when I realized that that may not be necessary. (At least the images, which could be linked from the Commons, right?) I also don't know if the templates need the hi-res versions of the images, since they refer to it in the code... so I thought to check with you, since you might know. :)

We need a bunch of general awards and create our own spin-offs. How can we do this with the least amount of work? Pestergaines 00:45, 28 July 2011 (MSD)

Your hunch is right. All those barnstar images (as well as all the generic shapes like check marks, x's etc.) are free images hosted at the Commons. That means we don't have to upload any of them. All 10 million+. This is why I have been so adamant about getting that function turned on. WHICH IT NOW LOOKS LIKE IT HAS!
Unfortunately I know of no way to utilize actual templates from one wiki to another, and no way to import them other than manually copying the code (at least that's the only way I can see available to us without access to the the MediaWiki installation). But still, copying template code isn't so hard, and now that the Commons function is on we don't have to upload any of the images. --John James 02:39, 28 July 2011 (MSD)
I've created another template - Template:The Tireless Contributor Barnstar - and the image was effortlessly linked into the page. Shiny!
It also belongs to categories like 'MisesWiki templates to be automatically substituted' and 'MisesWiki substituted templates', probably because of templates down the line - are these necessary? Pestergaines 11:30, 28 July 2011 (MSD)
Well, technically speaking, no categories are "necessary"...that whole feature is just there to make the wiki more accessible. So yeah, while they may not be useful currently, they may be in the future. I can understand not wanting to add really narrow, specific categories to actual articles (like we talked about with Peter Schiff, for example) but for technical pages I say go ahead and include them. It would be far too difficult to try to go back and categorize them later. It's best to just have them tagged, even if the category itself doesn't get created for a while. It's not like it hurts anything. --John James 12:44, 28 July 2011 (MSD)
Okay with me. Pestergaines 12:47, 28 July 2011 (MSD)

Also just noticed: the loading of 'alt' (high-resolution) images for the barnstar templates does take some time. Just something to watch out for. Pestergaines 12:57, 28 July 2011 (MSD)

Removing spam

Barnstar of Reversion2.png The Anti-Vandalism Barnstar
For his ceaseless vigilance in removing spam, John James is awarded the Anti-Vandalism Barnstar! Pestergaines 11:45, 28 July 2011 (MSD)

Book covers

Jeff confirmed that Mises Institute book covers have the CC-BY license, so I changed a few of your recent uploads to reflect this. Let me know if you have any concerns. --Forgottenman (talk) 20:22, 9 August 2011 (MSD)

Yeah I wasn't sure about that, so I figured to be on the safe side. In that case, we might as well upload them all to the Commons. --John James 21:23, 9 August 2011 (MSD)
Good point. --Forgottenman (talk) 21:31, 9 August 2011 (MSD)

More and more books

Library Barnstar.png The Diligent Librarian Barnstar
For his ceaseless work on creating pages for libertarian literature, I award you the Diligent Librarian Barnstar! Pestergaines 11:57, 10 April 2012 (MSD)

Awesome! How in the world did you find that one? --John James 19:51, 10 April 2012 (MSD)

When the idea of awarding Barnstars was first floated around, I've scoured WP for all sorts of awards that would fit this wiki, and this was one. And seeing the activity lately, you are pretty much the only one left - with an impressive collection of books to show for it. Thus, an award seemed in place! :) Pestergaines

Yeah, that's certainly my main contribution so far. That and templates, I guess. I just have no idea how you found that one. I had to google it...I couldn't even find it through Wikipedia. It bothers me they're not all included in the same place. Is that one on a collection page I missed somewhere? Or did you just stumble across it by itself? --John James 04:40, 11 April 2012 (MSD)

There was some googling, but I think it came from the award templates category page which I breezed through at the time. Pestergaines 13:51, 12 April 2012 (MSD)


Do you suppose I could get exemption from the captcha? I proposed some changes to the settings here. Since most spammers only make one or two edits before they get blocked (which usually occurs within 24 hours of their arrival), it's probably unnecessary to require more than a handful of edits and a 24-hour period before exempting people from the captcha. Nathan Larson 05:06, 11 July 2012 (MSD)

My bad. The way your user page was structured kinda reminded me of a talk page, so I got confused. I think it's pretty cool, by the way, how the wiki and the rest of the site have that same — ribbon I guess you'd call it? That thing with all the buttons on it that say, Daily, About, etc. Pretty stylish. Nathan Larson 09:30, 11 July 2012 (MSD)
Now that I look at it again, it really doesn't look that much like a talk page. Hmm, not sure how I got confused about that, but oh well. Nathan Larson 09:31, 11 July 2012 (MSD)
No worries. --John James 09:36, 11 July 2012 (MSD)


I hope we didn't get off on the wrong foot. I wasn't trying to get rid of your configuration issue from the list because I thought it was unimportant or anything like that. I was reorganizing the list, and when I saw that item, I went ahead and notified a sysop as to how to fix it and then took it off the list because I assumed it would be taken care of within a day or two, and that therefore it wasn't worth going to the effort of reformatting the item in accordance with the new organizational scheme I was implementing. As it turned out, it didn't get fixed right away, and I forgot about it rather than restoring it to the list. My bad.

Also, when you gave me that template earlier, my mind was occupied with other stuff I was working on, and so I didn't take the time to look at it right away and appreciate the significance and usefulness of it, and its applicability to the type of content I was adding. So, that was why I didn't use it right away. It wasn't that I thought to myself that it was a bad template or not worth using.

I admit that sometimes in my enthusiasm to get certain stuff done as quickly as possible, I cut corners that I shouldn't (e.g. acting on assumptions/guesses rather than taking the more cautious approach of first verifying for sure what the facts are), and people wonder, "What the heck?" And sometimes (usually on other wikis, not this one) I've had conflicting views with other editors over the best way to run a wiki, although lately I've toned down the forcefulness of how I approach such disputes, and begun launching some wikis of my own where I can do what I want, rather than try so hard to change the policy and administration of wikis I don't own. Oh well, I'll try to be more careful in the future. Nathan Larson (talk) 21:23, 12 August 2012 (MSD)

I appreciate your effort to explain and reach out. As you're probably learning, fixes don't always get implemented very quickly around here. You got really lucky with having all those things crossed off the list not long after you made it. If you go through the history of the Google Group you'll find that requests for attention from site owners on various issues in the past have been made multiple times, sometimes over a period of months, without any response. However, even if this weren't the case, it is poor practice to cross things off as "done" without them actually being done. This is not only true in personal affairs, but even more so in collaborative/group settings. I'm sure you can imagine how this sort of practice can create a lot of headache and haywire. Simply forwarding something along to someone and informing them it needs to be fixed does not automatically mean it's as good as done, and it can be marked off as such. Certainly not right away. I'm not sure what sort of work experience you have, but if you spend any time in an office you'd realize this right away.
That being said, your contributions are appreciated and it's great to have such enthusiasm here for expanding the wiki. But I think you're right that it is important to remember that this is not one of your personal wikis, and that collaboration is needed. And also, while this wiki is still relatively small, with only a handful of contributors at this point, it is still an important project and an arm of the online LvMI it is important to keep a good balance between expansion and best practices to ensure a sound buildout. Obviously cutting corners is rarely a good thing, and acting on assumptions and guesses can lead to a lot of issues down the road. And certainly going around making changes to users' personal pages without their permission, let alone without their knowledge is not acceptable.
It's great that you have such zeal for the project, just keep in mind you're not the only one here, and the community is only going to get larger. --John James (talk) 01:29, 14 August 2012 (MSD)
Oh yeah, I think I made two edits to other users' pages? In the case of yours, I was confused about what page I was on, and in the case of Matthew's, I was being a bit presumptuous in my haste to turn a redlink blue. Some user's, e.g. Jimbo Wales, don't mind people editing their userpages (although they make it evident by saying so). But it appears that the default is that, if they say nothing, one should assume that permission is not granted, and that one therefore has to ask first.
Looks like you were right about the js and css files, and in the course of investigating/experimenting, I discovered another strange but not particularly important issue, which I'll note on MisesWiki talk:Configuration... Nathan Larson (talk) 18:39, 16 August 2012 (MSD)

The Real Lincoln

I thought The Real Lincoln was an interesting book, although one of its theories, that Lincoln created the state of West Virginia in order to shore up his electoral vote count, did not survive as a statement of likely fact when I posted it to Wikipedia. According to wikipedia:History_of_West_Virginia#Civil_War_and_split, "President Lincoln was in a close campaign when he won reelection in 1864 with the majority of the popular vote and 212 electoral votes, versus 21 electoral votes cast for his democratic opponent. However, the act that created West Virginia was signed in 1862, two years before Lincoln's re-election." I guess there's not too much hard evidence about what was going through Lincoln's mind at the time. Nathan Larson (talk) 00:01, 6 September 2012 (MSD)


Should the title come first in these citations, rather than the author? I notice that the Wikipedia standard (in templates such as Template:Cite book) is to put the author first. Thus, we end up with inconsistent styles in articles like government employment. On the one hand, the way it is now, the hyperlinks for Mises Daily articles all show on the far-left, making them quickly accessible; if the hyperlinks are put anywhere but on the far left, then they are in inconsistent locations due to varying length of the authors' names. Nathan Larson (talk) 13:23, 20 September 2012 (MSD)

I'm not sure why the MD template was used for a citation in that article. It was never intended as such. There are already plenty of citation templates, including multiple ones which would work for Mises Dailies, just as they would for any other online article. I created the MD template and the ones like it as a simple and uniform way to include such resources in the "Links" section of the wiki articles. You'll find this is stated in the opening line of documentation at {{md}}.
But on that note, I don't see why any article should have to put an author name first for external links in the links section. I agree with you that having the link on the far left makes it more accessible, plus it is more consistent, as not all external links are going to include authors. I offer Federal Reserve, Meltdown (book), and Austrian School as examples of how such sections can be fleshed out. You'll see that the "Links" section is not used for referencing material used in the actual article, but rather for content that is simply related to the subject of the article, outside of the wiki. Material referenced in the actual text of the article is generally listed in "Notes", "References", "Cited" etc. sections. (See w:Abraham Lincoln for an all-inclusive example). That is where you'll find author's names first, in common citation style format. The Links section is not meant for citing anything, it's really not much more than a simple list. --John James (talk) 18:57, 20 September 2012 (MSD)

Troubleshooting template issues

If you want, I can set up a clone of Mises Wiki on my own webhost, with the same database and file system, and let you play around with it, making such deletions and revisions as you feel necessary to troubleshoot what might be wrong with the templates. I spent a few hours on it without figuring it out. I tried switching from our customized skin to the regular Vector skin, and the templates still didn't collapse, so I guess that's not where the problem is. I can give you access to the command line at my webhost if you need to play around with that as well. Depending on your level of skill and interest, you might find that helpful in troubleshooting not just this issue but other tech issues as well that remain unresolved. Let me know. Nathan Larson (talk) 13:29, 7 October 2012 (MSD)

Thanks for the offer, but it might be a while before I have time to dive into that kind of trial and error. I'll definitely keep it in mind and let you know when I have some free time though. --John James (talk) 03:11, 10 October 2012 (MSD)

Template request

Hallo John, could you please make a template for the Essays category, that we could include at its top? Something to the effect that the essay represents the views of a specific contributor or contributors (perhaps add the user(s) as parameters)? Pestergaines (talk) 13:49, 31 October 2012 (MSK)

There are many different options. This one and this one, for instance. Or maybe even this one. I think there should be an option for essays to not be listed under any particular author, much as Wikipedia essays in the Wikipedia namespace usually are not attributed to a particular user, except through history pages. Nathan Larson (talk) 14:26, 31 October 2012 (MSK)
Good find! I like the Essay one: "This is an essay. It expresses the opinions and ideas of some Mises Wiki users, but may not have wide support. Feel free to update this page as needed, or use the discussion page to propose major changes." Pestergaines (talk) 14:32, 31 October 2012 (MSK)
Good call. I'd be okay with the metawiki one. We definitely need some kind of header for those pages. --John James (talk) 15:02, 1 November 2012 (MSK)

In mostly unrelated news, it seems that Template:Ambox, ambox, tmbox, imbox or cmbox is broken, i.e. the pages using them only display "{{{text}}}" as text. See e.g. Declaration of independence. Pestergaines (talk) 23:43, 7 November 2012 (MSK)