User talk:Djr13

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Hello, Djr13, and welcome to Wikisource! Thank you for joining the project. I hope you like the place and decide to stay. Here are a few good links for newcomers:

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Again, welcome! Beeswaxcandle (talk) 04:59, 2 October 2012 (UTC)

{{ext scan link}}[edit]

Hi. For linking to external works we have created Template:ext scan link. This allows a standard formatting, and an ability to watch backlinks to find out where we have works listed. It would great if for future additions that you could use the template. Thx. — billinghurst sDrewth 13:26, 6 October 2013 (UTC)

Thank you, I wasn't aware of this template. I think the only place I had added external links here is on Author:Richard Anthony Proctor, and I have gone back and replaced most of the links with the template. However, I've simulated a couple of them that have multiple versions of the same work, since the template seems only made to handle multiple volumes. I suppose I could create a versions disambiguation page for any redlink that I find multiple scans for, but that would have to wait for another time. djr13 (talk) 22:23, 6 October 2013 (UTC)
The multiples is for multiple volumes of the one work, not trying to cover multiple versions of the same work. One link to the best available scan is sufficient. — billinghurst sDrewth 00:38, 13 October 2013 (UTC)
Right, I realize that for the template's available options it covers volumes rather than versions. IMO it is more of a benefit than a problem to have multiple versions listed in the context these links are in. However, I do understand this is a bit unsightly and perhaps distracting, and that a better place in the long term would be a dedicated versions page for each title if practical, or on a relevant talk page otherwise. If you insist, I'll happily reduce it to the earliest versions of each and move the rest of the links onto the author's talk page. djr13 (talk) 01:27, 13 October 2013 (UTC)

{{DEFAULTSORT:}} by preference[edit]

Gday. Generally we would look to tag a page with {{DEFAULTSORT:}} rather than pipe the category with a sort factor. It is less usual for our pages to be sorted differently, so the use of a default sort is often most adequate. Also, some of the bot tools suffer an element of added difficulty with piped categories, so default sort works better in that scope to. Thanks. — billinghurst sDrewth 00:24, 13 October 2013 (UTC)

PSM Category list[edit]

Hi. Thanks for adding THIS NEW PSM CATEGORY. When adding a category to any article in the PSM project, would you also kindly add it TO THIS LIST. Many thanks. — Ineuw talk 05:28, 22 December 2013 (UTC)


Do you have any detail at all for the author Woodruff? My looking through family history records for an Abner Woodruff doesn't show much, and nothing as Abner E.. Closest that I can find is an Abner (R.?) Woodruff in Ohio recorded as a rubber worker. Born c.1875. — billinghurst sDrewth 03:57, 23 February 2014 (UTC)

Addendum, so I am presuming that it is a pseudonym, especially when taking into the context and anti-establishment nature of the work. — billinghurst sDrewth 04:06, 23 February 2014 (UTC)
I did a cursory search prior and unfortunately didn't find anything obvious. An Ohioan rubber worker seems vaguely plausible. There's probably subtle hints hidden in old publications and government records, but I can't find anything conclusive at the moment. Below are some trivial results from a mildly exhaustive search. He wrote at least three books/long pamphlets and a couple articles in the One Big Union Monthly and maybe Solidarity (haven't read these yet). A pseudonym is definitely possible.
Mostly trivial mentions I discovered while trudging through Google Books:
  • Woodruff mentioned in Seeing Reds: Federal Surveillance of Radicals in the Pittsburgh Mill District, 1917-1921 as alongside w:Harrison George (another death-year missing person) arriving in Pittsburgh, (1917?) "intended to organize Ohio farm workers, but then turned his attention to coke-producing areas" and later (still 1917?) reported a failure at this.
  • A conservative publication, The New York Times Current History (Volume 16) refers to him as "one of the organization's official writers."
  • Wallace M. Short, Iowa rebel places Woodruff as a "Chicago organizer" who was the featured speaker at a picnic at Zoo Park, Sioux City, Iowa in mid-July 1919.
  • OBU Monthly (misc preview clips) mentions expenses compensated for a trip to Milwaukee. Also mentions Woodruff apparently receiving the bulk of votes in a section titled "Secretary-Treasurer" in 1920, although I'm not sure of what specific body, as he is not listed as having been an IWW General Secratary-Treasurer. Maybe the Chicago branch?
  • The Public (Volume 17) mentions in a section titled "Pamphlets Received": "The Advancing Proletariat. By Abner E. Woodruff. Published by the I. W. W. Publishing Bureau, Cleveland, O. 1914. Price, 10 cents." City and year different from the copy I uploaded.
  • The Industrial Pioneer (Volume 1) mentions Woodruff as a "civil engineer," likely what is referred to by the "C. E." title he uses.
  • The Evolution of Industrial Democracy was translated and republished by the Stockholm, Sweden Marine Transport branch of the IWW in 1926 (translated by Viktor Hallberg, edited by C. G. Andersson). Den Industriella demokratiens utveckling. In it Woodruff is titled "civilingenjör".
  • A couple of these were apparently also translated into Hungarian: Az ipari demokrácia fejlődése and A haladó proletáriátus.
djr13 (talk) 07:42, 23 February 2014 (UTC)
I had the C.E. bit from UK works, though I am unsure whether that was an indication of MICE or not. Whichever it tends to obviate the rubber worker, especially as the census records show that bloke as only having year 8. I will see what other sources I can poke for a response. The vote would tend to indicate a real person. <shrug>

Please do add the work to Template:New texts, that just needs to be proofread to appear there (though it is now validated anyway). — billinghurst sDrewth 13:14, 23 February 2014 (UTC)

Alright, I'll toss it onto the list, although I'll have another one by the author in just a few days. Should I also (perhaps at a gradual pace) add in the other works I've completed (mostly of the same genre) in the past few months even though many are a month or two old by now?
Also, I found another hint while proofing Woodruff's last work, a part which talks about his Polish immigrant father and seeing the last of the westward US expansion while living in Illinois in his youth. Page:Evolution of American Agriculture (Woodruff).djvu/41 djr13 (talk) 04:32, 25 February 2014 (UTC)

Re: Page:Evolution of American Agriculture (Woodruff).djvu/86[edit]

Sigh. You are quite right. The two logos are different. Well spotted. I have lifted and sharpened the image off the page as best I am able (i.e please do better if you can!), but to tell the truth it is so small I wonder if anybody else will ever know? AuFCL (talk) 11:37, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

Ah, yeah, I'm sorry I did a partial revert there, I had actually intended on trying to produce a replacement myself. This way was a bit rude, seeming like an annoying, "You did it wrong, fix it!" :-) I was looking at it and the SVG version to discern what I'd need to adjust, maybe a quick invert of a couple details, but I guess it also used a slightly different text and globe design. Although that may well have just been because it's such a tiny little thing the ink couldn't have taken any finer details! I've been going through this same archive a while and developing an eye for such similarities vs trivial variations, sometimes in graphics, sometimes in whole pages that carried over from one work to another. djr13 (talk) 21:17, 1 March 2014 (UTC)
No insult taken, and you of course were quite right at every stage. I was in fact wondering if you had access to a better quality image (or perhaps a copy of the physical pamphlet?) and were going to produce a clearer image, but in the meantime I'd already grabbed the jp2 zipfile from IA for the other images and did my best with the little IWW logo. The result is still as blurry but, as I stated above, is so small most people will never know it isn't the other logo anyway...

Unrelated: how did you find {{plainlist}}? That was quite a new one to me, and seems to have a few undocumented "quirks" which I hope I have used in the intended fashion. AuFCL (talk) 22:43, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

I only have the jp2 zip as well. I'm not sure, but I think the original zip (the one prior to IA rotating and cropping) may be ever-so-slightly cleaner for editing.
I found plainlist the same way I find most templates...hoping, guessing and searching. I wasn't aware of that undocumented feature you found though! The tag (or rather, the "plainlist" CSS class it uses) has a bug that I documented that breaks (or at least, prevents) plainlist sub-items working as one might expect. djr13 (talk) 00:16, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

Re: Page:Evolution of American Agriculture (Woodruff).djvu/15[edit]

I saw your rather sad comment on the change above, and re-jigged (and validated) the page to remove those {{transparent}}s I previously used to "force" justification (oh, and of course added the drop-cap-simulating one.) Probably a bad idea in any case. However, to replace the effect I've resorted to using {{p|alj}} which was originally written and tested (not by me!) to work with Internet Explorer, and uses CSS which only recently seems to be working with Firefox (my browser.) If you should happen to be using any other than these two, please double check the page "works" for you. It passes the "cut-and-paste-to-text" (a few extra blank lines which I hope do not matter) test for me, now, which I believe was your intent all along? AuFCL (talk) 04:44, 6 March 2014 (UTC)

The extra blank lines are undesirable and if I were to law down the lawr these broken paragraphs would carry the harshest retribution possible. But eh. It's probably a pipe dream to think there is some chance in hell in designing a contraption able to intuitively reflow text between independent text boxes. And that that contraption would possibly shoehorn into wikitext. It could probably be done only subtractively, by positioning divs in areas where the text shouldn't be, rather than actually positioning two divs where the text should be as might appear the most intuitive option. In any case I'd hate to be the one to try to put that together. :-) It looks pretty good here anyway. djr13 (talk) 05:24, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
As the old joke goes, if the broken pieces offend then you are welcome to keep them. As always if you can do better please knock yourself out (I certainly don't mean that literally.) Cheers, AuFCL (talk) 06:27, 6 March 2014 (UTC)

Template:Floating quotation mark[edit]

Hello. I happened to notice your pair of edits here and thought I'd better point out (assuming this is what you want to do, of course) that:


might be closer to the syntax you were looking for. There is some relevant technical documentation here in case it helps. Regards, AuFCL (talk) 20:56, 15 March 2014 (UTC)

Um forget it. I see whilst writing the above you've already figured it out. Sorry to have intruded. AuFCL (talk) 20:57, 15 March 2014 (UTC)
Hah, no problem, and thank you nonetheless. Folks on IRC beat you to the punch. djr13 (talk) 21:03, 15 March 2014 (UTC)

New fqm template[edit]

Hi, I see you're methodically working through the uses of {{shift left}} and changing them to {{fqm}}. Given that there's ca. another 1000 to go, could this be done by a bot? If so, drop a request a WS:BOTR and one of the bot operators can have a look at it. Beeswaxcandle (talk) 06:29, 16 March 2014 (UTC)

And I was having so much fun. :) After the first hundred or so I started wondering if maybe I should get a stat on how widely {{shift left}} is used.... I'm not sure if this could be done via bot, as it requires interpreting the intention of the {{shift left}}, checking the scan for reference, and sometimes correcting the odd transcription mistake. djr13 (talk) 06:37, 16 March 2014 (UTC)
I might as well add this. As far as I know @Xensyria: based the original {{fqm}} on {{overfloat left}}, so no doubt at least some uses of the last may be also eligible for substitution as well if you are feeling keen (adds maybe another 400 cases?) Want a hand? AuFCL (talk) 07:37, 16 March 2014 (UTC)
Could definitely use a hand if you find it interesting. I've just been chipping away at's not really the most pressing thing of course. I simply had run across a couple years old scriptorium thread that inspired me to dig into it. I haven't yet looked at how widely {{overfloat left}} is used for hanging quotation marks. djr13 (talk) 07:51, 16 March 2014 (UTC)
O.K. I intend working through this list, which I believe (hope?) won't interfere with your edits, before (maybe) moving on to the rest. Unless there are any other pressing reasons for changing the tag, I intend marking everything "fqm campaign." (e.g.) I hope this fits in neatly with your intentions? AuFCL (talk) 00:09, 17 March 2014 (UTC)
I'm taking a break from it to do some works uploading that I had transcribed while away from the internet recently. Will probably be done with these and resume chipping away at it in a week or so. Your linked diff looks good, although I don't know what to think of the {{di}} interaction, hadn't yet run across that one. djr13 (talk) 06:27, 17 March 2014 (UTC)
Just letting you know I have completed one full pass through the {{overfloat left}} cases above. I do not believe the remaining occurrences at least for the present are reducible to {{fqm}} but please check (better yet after a delay in case any new ones turn up?) if you feel so inclined. AuFCL (talk) 06:37, 18 March 2014 (UTC)

Re: [1]: It is only my opinion that padding between quotation marks and text is unnecessary (even between quotation marks and apostrophes). It looks more like the text, but it was more a typesetting issue than place-setting in the original (if I am explaining myself correctly). I used to leave a space between text and colons/semi-colons for the same reason (because it looked more like the original), but was convinced to cease from doing so for the same (typesetting) reason. I like to keep things tidy for the most part. Again, just my opinion. I noticed BWC chime in above; if he feels {{fqm}} is a reasonable replacement for {{shift left}}, then I will use it; I know that he has used shift left in the past, and I have confidence in his opinion. Quick question: With shift left, you can wrap more than one line of text in the template if need be (see example below). Is that possible with fqm? or do you need to treat each line separately? And if a bot makes changes, how will it change instances of multiple wrapped lines correctly (being myself ignorant of how bots work)? I think shift left was used in some instances of plays where multiple lines are wrapped in shift left. BWC might remember. Thanks, Londonjackbooks (talk) 20:36, 16 March 2014 (UTC)

{{block center/s}}
But you see fairer in your dreams!<br />
{{shift left|What voices are these on the clear night air?<br />
What lights in the court, what steps on the stair?|2em}}
{{block center/e}}
Thanks for feedback on my edits there, it's good to have some thoughts on my use of padding before going overboard. I agree that it's pretty clearly just a typesetting matter, be it typesetting in the work itself or for displaying as intended on the web, EG as my primary reason for adding the padding was for reasons similar to {{" '}}. IMO, since we use straight quotes, we remove some context that we then must represent in other ways, such as visually emphasizing the difference between "', ''' and '" (IE, "', ''' and '") My reason for applying this across the rest of the work where there was no apostrophe to speak of is purely for visual consistency.
As far as comparison to {{shift left}}, these are very different templates. {{fqm}} is used as a direct replacement for quotation marks that are desired to hang over the left margin, making {{shift left}} unnecessary and a bit roundabout for reproducing the effect. I'm not entirely sure what you mean by multiple lines in the context of {{fqm}}, as the template is not meant to encapsulate lines of text. djr13 (talk) 21:25, 16 March 2014 (UTC)
{{block center/s}}
"But you see fairer in your dreams!"<br /> WITHOUT FQM
{{fqm}}What voices are these on the clear night air?<br /> WITH FQM
What lights in the court, what steps on the stair?"
{{block center/e}}

"But you see fairer in your dreams!" WITHOUT FQM
"What voices are these on the clear night air? WITH FQM
What lights in the court, what steps on the stair?"

I am overthinking things... I guess a better question would be to ask how a bot would "treat" instances of {{shift left}}, since some uses of the shift left template (like my example above) do not involve the use of quotation marks. How would a bot distinguish between the two uses as it runs its course? Londonjackbooks (talk) 23:50, 16 March 2014 (UTC)
I think this is what Beeswaxcandle was asking me, and I don't really know, for exactly the problem you point out. I think it requires some relatively high level interpretation including using a page scan image as reference. My impression is there's not much a bot could do to process these automatically, that it requires a patient and attentive human eye. (By the way, there were also a couple {{shift left}} quotation mark instances I passed up because I'm not sure how to properly format even with {{fqm}}, usually because they were implementing floated marks on indented lines, which {{fqm}} seems to need help with.) djr13 (talk) 06:27, 17 March 2014 (UTC)
The only a bot could tell would be to look at the value in the third field of the {{shift left}} template. If the value is 0.4em, then use the " version. If the value is 0.2em, then use the ' version. Ignore all other uses. Whatever way is used (bot or manual), we then need to look at what's left and see what needs to be done–if anything–to those.

The Coates' example that LJB gives above (with the padding) doesn't work for me because the purpose of hanging punctuation is to align the first letters of the lines. This allows the eye to travel down the page of text more easily. Beeswaxcandle (talk) 06:53, 17 March 2014 (UTC)

After reading the 2011 archived discussion linked above, I'm starting to feel a bit like the fool who rushed in. As @AuFCL: (thanks for catching all my uses of equivalent templates that I missed by the way) surmised, I used a streamlined version of the {{overfloat left}} code, not being aware of {{shift left}} (though by using align:right, it bypasses the need to guess the character width), and made it more as a shortcut in my own editing for something which annoyed me: I wasn't expecting the template to take off or cause discussion to this extent.
As for the bots mentioned above—if it hasn't already been done—it would be simple enough to catch all (and only) the relevant uses of similar templates with AutoWikiBrowser, using the right regex. The only thing I'm not sure of is if it's possible to work from a list of uses of a template (like that generated by "What links here"); if not a temporary tracking category could possibly be added to the relevant templates. Is AWB enabled on en.WS? --xensyriaT 17:37, 19 March 2014 (UTC)

"Little Red Songbook" editions[edit]

The "Little Red Songbook" is a series of songbooks which have become iconic among folk music and the global labor movement since its first publication ca 1910. Spanning 100 years of publication, with over 30 official editions (and probably many more beyond). That's the salespitch, here's the problem: There's many quirks thrown into the series including publications in other localities, other languages, by subgroups, occasionally in the midst of political feuds and splits. Even just among the decidedly pre-1923 editions there are a couple dozen, and they have some tendencies which confuse me: unclear definitive titles, quirky content organization, and each edition tends to contain many songs overlapping other editions and other works, requiring much redundancy just to grab a few additional songs. @SDrewth: ping! as you had requested in the channel.

There are three existing copies which probably need some work as it is:

More can be seen on EG Worldcat (under a few different titles). I've been hoping to pick up a copy of the Big Red Songbook which is not simply a larger songbook but apparently particularly a history book on the series, published by a third party. It could answer some of my questions, but just as likely have me asking more. djr13 (talk) 12:07, 3 April 2014 (UTC)

Onward Sweep of the Machine Process (ca 1917).pdf[edit]

Thank you so much for adding this (and similar) work(s).

(To tell the truth I am not quite sure why I really want to read these sorts of things; as they reveal just how little a century or more has changed the very situation(s) the I.W.W. was supposedly established to address.) [Most certainly bad for (my, at least) blood-pressure!] AuFCL (talk) 05:32, 13 May 2014 (UTC)

I know what you mean, after getting into this stuff I find myself frequently bearing the slogan "nothing has changed" or to recall the Talking Heads, "same as it ever was." :P ...Especially with old history literature, like Historical Catechism of American Unionism or The Indian Dispossessed, which in their time attempted to reflect tragedies caused by prior centuries' cyclical political themes in accessible read them after yet another century gone by and consider how these themes have continued to play out through today is chilling. It does at least provide perspective on roads taken and untaken. In fact as depressing and cynical as the sense of political stagnation it infects you with is, it paradoxically carries with it a sense of undying rebellion, and the very against-the-grain philosophy and history described in the works has lent to a century of powerful music, poetry, art and stories. Hunter S. Thompson described it as "the last human concept in American politics." Like Ralph Chaplin's poem "Red November, Black November" (hmm, not on here yet) and the famous Joe Hill quote, "Don't waste time mourning—Organize!" the literature tends to foist a fiery reflection of the past into a fiery agitation towards the future. djr13 (talk) 07:39, 13 May 2014 (UTC)
To the above I had better now add a fresh thanks for managing to put (at least some kind of) positive spin upon the matter! ("If there is one thing we learn from a study of History it is this; that no-one seems to learn a single damn thing from History."…I hope this does not undermine your good efforts!) AuFCL (talk) 10:59, 14 May 2014 (UTC)


Hi, just picking up on part of your conversation with @AuFCL: about Advertisements. The category that you've been using is a mainspace category and as such is intended to only be for works (preferably transcluded). We need a separate category for the Page: namespace. I suggest that a sub-category in Category:Tracking categories might be the best place. It could be called Category:Pages containing advertisements. Beeswaxcandle (talk) 08:33, 18 May 2014 (UTC)

You're right. Would you mind creating the tracking category for it? I wouldn't know where to start. I'd be happy to switch over all the relevant cases I can find. djr13 (talk) 19:39, 19 May 2014 (UTC)

Poem on two pages[edit]


sorry, I didn't check carefully enough. I reverted my edits. I'll leave it two the folks that are more "technical" - like you - to fix this. Good luck with it.

Apart from that I'm interested in the history of the labour movement. So I was happy to find this.

Greetings, Dick Bos (talk) 08:13, 7 November 2014 (UTC)

No problem. And I'm hardly "technical" at least as far as this goes, my fix is about equivalent to kicking it when it didn't work! djr13 (talk) 22:04, 7 November 2014 (UTC)

New Proposal Notification - Replacement of common main-space header template[edit]

Announcing the listing of a new formal proposal recently added to the Scriptorium community-discussion page, Proposals section, titled:

Switch header template foundation from table-based to division-based

The proposal entails the replacement of the current Header template familiar to most with a structurally redesigned new Header template. Replacement is a needed first step in series of steps needed to properly address the long time deficiencies behind several issues as well as enhance our mobile device presence.

There should be no significant operational or visual differences between the existing and proposed Header templates under normal usage (i.e. Desktop view). The change is entirely structural -- moving away from the existing HTML all Table make-up to an all Div[ision] based one.

Please examine the testcases where the current template is compared to the proposed replacement. Don't forget to also check Mobile Mode from the testcases page -- which is where the differences between current header template & proposed header template will be hard to miss.

For those who are concerned over the possible impact replacement might have on specific works, you can test the replacement on your own by entering edit mode, substituting the header tag {{header with {{header/sandbox and then previewing the work with the change in place. Saving the page with the change in place should not be needed but if you opt to save the page instead of just previewing it, please remember to revert the change soon after your done inspecting the results.

Your questions or comments are welcomed. At the same time I personally urge participants to support this proposed change. -- George Orwell III (talk) 02:04, 13 January 2015 (UTC)

missing pages FOUND for Our Sister Republic: Mexico (1870) [487-490] ->;view=1up;seq=509[edit]

Pages 487-490 appear to be missing from the scans.

These pages can be found on HaitiTrust. How would one insert them into what is here on wikisource? I can get them and upload them and remove any watermarks. Here is the link starting with: p.487;view=1up;seq=509

—Maury (talk) 23:55, 18 January 2015 (UTC)

@William Maury Morris II: Thanks for letting me know, though all I contributed to that was nodding my head at the error and flipping an option at the index to visibly indicate the problem... From memory, I've marked some but never fixed any missing pages problems myself.

I do know though that since this work is already fully proofread (besides those few pages obviously), with existing pages, we'd probably need to get a bot to help move the appropriate pages out of the way. Then you can create those last few page, and when finished, make sure to visit mainspace and adjust any <pages> tags. ...I'm not sure if you overwrite the old file before or after moving the pages.

Oh yeah, and about overwriting the file, I'm not certain but.... Make absolutely sure first that the copy on Hathitrust and the copy here are the same edition and everything. Then when you've gone through enough pages to make sure everything matches (obviously pay close attention to front and back matter and page numbering) you can do one of two things. The most optimal, and easiest, way to fix it is to just get the whole file from Hathitrust, and convert it, if necessary, to the same format as the one we have already. Alternatively, you can download the file from here and try splicing in those few pages where they go. Then go and upload them by the exact same name as the old file. Hope this helps at all! djr13 (talk) 02:48, 19 January 2015 (UTC)

Page:Ballot (Smith).djvu/7[edit]

To answer your question, printer's marks are optional. (That A2 is there to remind the printer which sections go where since books were printed in small sections.) Since the rest of the book didn't have the printer's marks transcribed, I removed the only one that was left for consistency rather than add other marks that don't mean anything in terms of the book. The Haz talk 00:01, 15 February 2015 (UTC)

Index formatting[edit]

Hi, I'm finishing proofreading Jean Jaurès, socialist and humanitarian and have come across a page of the index you have worked on. You've used {{plainlist}}. I'm "just" a proofreader who suffers agonies grappling with wiki-ing and templates in particular, and have settled on doing Indexes as per p 153 with colons and {{hi}}because it is simplest and I think looks as good as any. Do you have any criticism (constructive preferably)? Plainlist would need a style parameter to get the hanging indent and seem awfully complicated for what seems to me the same result. Cheers, — Zoeannl (talk) 11:11, 11 March 2016 (UTC)

Hello, thanks for asking about this!

First and most importantly, never use colons or semicolons for visual formatting, such as indentation (except in poem tags...and on talk pages, where all rules are apparently out the window)! These wikimarkup symbols are actually special semantic formatting shortcuts for definition lists. It might seem expedient and produce the visual result you're looking for, but it breaks accessibility, and might visually break too if the formatting of these elements ever changes. Instead, always use formatting templates for this purpose, which have a well defined specific formatting purpose.

As far as the plainlist, it's pretty ugly. However, it produces the correct markup (an unordered list without bullets), which is the main important thing when transcribing. I really think Mediawiki/Wikimedia should enable hanging indent on plainlists by default (the template relies on a CSS class defined in site-wide stylesheets), as this would greatly improve readability for all kinds of unbulleted lists. Coding it correctly means that at some point the appearance of all plainlists can be changed at once, either via the sitewide CSS file or tweaks to the plainlist template.

Semantics matter! Maybe I'm especially hardline about this, often going so far as to use <em>emphasis tags</em> instead of ''italic tags'' when it is clear that the difference is not purely visual/typographical. But, it matters for accessibility and future format-shifting.

I hope this detailed answer is not overwhelming. :) djr13 (talk) 16:02, 11 March 2016 (UTC)
Your explanation is not overwhelming but not welcome either. I asked the question because I suspected what you have confirmed. I’ve decided to do what I can to encourage proofreaders who lack wiki skills and this sort off thing bothers me: it is discouraging. I get that if I use the template then it is specific and will remain "fit for purpose" but what does it take to make it fit for people (i.e. non-wiki-ers)? Seriously, I’m not (just) whining, how do we go about "fixing" a template? I would like to see a plainlist that produced the "right" results from items separated by hard returns, no *. That would be more intuitive, fits with how Project Gutenberg proofreaders are trained and is much easier to produce from scans. WS suffers a lack of proofreaders and peculiar templates don't help. And don't get me started about italics! Cheers, Zoeannl (talk) 10:16, 12 March 2016 (UTC)
So then the main peculiarity you're concerned about is that users will find using asterisks to indicate list items to be unintuitive? For better or worse there are many ways to produce similar formatting and/or semantic results. * is the standard Mediawiki code for a bulleted list item, and {{Plainlist}} is a wrapper around these lists for removing the visual bullet. To me that's pretty intuitive, but we could avoid using asterisks with a template that takes each list item as a parameter, essentially replacing * with |. Wikipedia has one, w:Template:Unbulleted list, but Wikisource currently does not. It exists on Wikipedia mainly because of the common need to embed lists within things like infoboxes where the hard code generated by * tends to break things. As far as a template which allows one big parameter and interprets newlines as list items, I'm not sure if that's possible or not, it might require a Mediawiki extension to accomplish, like <poem> does but not focused purely on visual formatting.

In general, it is critical that an editor is able to know when a feature they are transcribing is semantic, when it is artistic, and when it is merely a limitation of the format on which it was created, and consider how and even whether they should represent this in the transcription. It's a bit subjective and can get complicated and probably can't be avoided unless you simply take away tools and limit what formats you care your transcriptions to be useful and attractive for. For example, the index of the work you're transcribing is neither a poem, nor a series of line wraps, nor a series of paragraphs, nor a table, but is a long list. With the right CSS, a web browser can easily display all of these identically and you'd never know the difference. A screen reader, however, would have no reason to discern between a bulleted or unbulleted list (or line wraps), but would have reason to discern between these and poems, paragraphs and tables. But even just for web browsers I do wish they'd change the plainlist CSS to be more attractive and readable.

But as far as just making it look good, you can easily wrap a plainlist in a hanging indent template. Hopefully if they ever do change the CSS to something sensible, it won't conflict with the use of that template on lists, but if it did that would certainly be a bug. add a parameter to {{Plainlist}} to enable hanging indents, which can then be easily changed sitewide if things are ever properly fixed in CSS. Not directly related to this discussion but worth mentioning, I've poked at the CSS a bit on my Wikipedia sandbox. djr13 (talk) 14:01, 12 March 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for your thoughtful response. I'm looking to help people to pick up wiki-skills from zero, so doing it right from the start and not learning bad habits is the goal. Most of basic proofreading (in the PG sense) is easily achieved, it's the formatting of things like the Index and TOC where things get complicated. With helpful Help, it's possible to explain the whys of what we do and we can be honest about the shortfalls of what we do, but it helps to be consistent to promote familiarity and "friendliness". A | would be good as we are using this for {{TOCstyle}} and tables. I’ve added a parameter for hi which works well; I had to look at your example to see how to span pages, that wasn't in the documentation. With other templates we use /s and /e. Is that another 6 of one, ½ dozen of another scenario?
Any suggestions on how to indent within plainlist? e.g. Page:Jean Jaurès socialist and humanitarian 1917.djvu/159. I haven't marked it up yet since converting to plainlist; my favourite is {{gap}} but I'm getting feedback that it might not always be appropriate, and have started using & nbsp; (I don't know how to nowiki that) without really knowing why. Cheers,Zoeannl (talk) 02:23, 13 March 2016 (UTC)
@Zoeannl: Yeah one problem with Wikisource (though I'm sure you could find plenty of dissent on this) is the lack of practical rules beyond the very basic ones necessary to prevent the entire site from imploding. Rules that, for example, clearly state how complicated things like lists and tables of contents should be formatted rather than making each and every one an exercise in reinvention. Or maybe more than the lack of rules is the lack of good templates (er...I mean by this definition) to always refer to. On Wikipedia you can often pick any popular subject and you'll find many style and syntax scenarios to replicate and adapt from. Guessing at template names, category names is a tedious art and it's the only reason I've gotten anywhere editing these many wikis. Just look above in my talk page, and one of the wiki's biggest editors was surprised to discover via my editing that {{plainlist}} even exists.

The more I think about the syntax, the more I agree on at least the issues with difficulty. So much of the syntax is very finicky and requires a fine touch to work around strange issues and syntax/formatting conflicts. Regarding indenting within a list (other than the hanging indents for when a list item is very long), there's currently only one good way to do it, but the problem is, it doesn't work...this is why I keep referring back to the CSS. See my Wikipedia sandbox where I experimented with this bug. I might have filed a bug report, but I can't remember now. The proper way to do it with asterisks is just like regular bulleted lists, a double asterisk to denote a subitem, a triple asterisk to nest again, etc. This actually works in most cases, as far as generated the final HTML code, as it outputs sub-items as embedded lists, as it is supposed to. The problem is that the CSS should be coded to handle plainlists embedded within plainlists (and other lists, though embedding a bulleted list inside an unbulleted list may be complicated?).

Aside from relying on asterisks, if we created a template similar to w:Template:Unbulleted list, sub-item functionality would be replicated by simply embedding another list, like {{ubl|list item 1|list item 2|{{ubl|subitem=yes|subitem of list item 2}}|list item 3}}. Since we're already going out of our way to call a template rather than relying on a raw syntax-generated list, we can also handle common formatting questions via this same template, such as indentation. This sounds like the way to go unless you feel like complaining to any developers/admins about the CSS. But make sure editors know to use {{=}}.

When I mention adding a hanging indent parameter to {{plainlist}} I guess I mean standardize it beyond simply relying on a custom |style= markup, which is always rather complicated to figure out properly. I'll probably end up doing this myself eventually, it's something that's bothered me a bit for a very long time. And I've discussed before that hidden feature of making it span across pages but it needs to be documented. Right now I'm working on fixing Wikipedia's awful inflation calculation templates though... djr13 (talk) 09:22, 14 March 2016 (UTC)