User talk:Bob M/Archive4

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Welcome back to school![edit]

Greetings Bob M - nice logo. Not sure that the syntax of the caption is quite right, though. And I see that I've got a lot of catching up to do... Regs., --Technopat 11:29, 10 September 2009 (UTC)

If you've got any suggestions on the logs they'd be most welcome.--Bob M 12:00, 10 September 2009 (UTC)
Logs or logo? Puzzled in Madrid. --Technopat 12:07, 10 September 2009 (UTC)
Sorry for the small tyop there. "logo" :-)
If you want changes to the logo, I can make them easily; I would just like to know that I have a version which everyone is happy with. Phantom Hoover 19:09, 10 September 2009 (UTC)
I was never totally sure about the IPA. Phantom Hoover 19:12, 10 September 2009 (UTC)
OK, I'm waiting for TP to come back on that. Let's see what he has to say. Thanks for your offer.--Bob M 19:22, 10 September 2009 (UTC)
Actually, now I come to think of it, we never really finished debating the text when the bandwidth problem came up. I'm still not 100% with it, so any other ideas would be welcome.
  • The English teachers' wiki.
  • The wiki for the English teaching world.
  • The wiki for English teachers.
  • ?--Bob M 19:26, 10 September 2009 (UTC)
I'll let you decide this amongst yourselves and make the changes once you agree on something. Phantom Hoover 19:51, 10 September 2009 (UTC)

(outdent) I kinda like "The English teachers' wiki" mentioned above, but it excludes students & I've been encouraging some of mine to pop in here to look at exercises, etc. I suppose "The wiki for English teachers and students" is too clumsy? (Not especially inspired today) "The English language teaching wiki"? If there's no hurry to this, I'll be back one of these days... --Technopat 21:47, 10 September 2009 (UTC)

Mmmmm. The thing is the objective is (or certainly was) a wiki for teachers. However, there are certainly a lot more students than teachers so I'd quite like to find a way to include them - though I'm not sure how.
So if we want to be inclusive. Your suggestion: "The wiki for English teachers and students" is a good description but perhaps a bit long. Is there a general word for "teachers and students"? Or for teaching and learning? (And one that isn't too technical)
On another point TP - does the Teflpedia in the phonetic font look OK to you? It looks good to me but the creator had some doubts, so a second opinion would be nice.--Bob M 22:04, 10 September 2009 (UTC)
As I mentioned, I have successfully convinced several students to make use of this 'ere great teflpedia's resources, so I do think the logo should be inclusive. The logo itself looks great, but now that you mention it, the phonetic transcription should be enclosed with //. Do the Creator's doubts refer to the mortar board, the phonetic transcription or the conjunto? Cheers! --Technopat 23:04, 10 September 2009 (UTC)
Hi TP. The Creator had doubts about the phonetic transcription itself. I take your point about the // but I think we can probably omit them on the grounds of artistic licence as adding them would reduce the space for actual text.--Bob M 07:08, 11 September 2009 (UTC)
Nice to see things getting back to TEFLing (it's my mother's pet charity) after that rather strange late August/early September "strangeness". How will you ever explain, Bob? ;) Human 08:53, 12 September 2009 (UTC)
Hi Human. Thanks for the kind thoughts. Shhh. I think I got away with the August/September madness.--Bob M 18:01, 12 September 2009 (UTC)
It looks like your regulars turned up again and didn't notice the "irregular verbs" that overran the site for a few weeks. Nice to see things looking like they are back to TEFLspeed! Human 05:32, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
How's 'bout "The English teaching wiki" - seems so obvious that I'm sure it's been proposed before (or maybe other wikis already use it) but can't find it here. Cheers!--Technopat 10:44, 17 September 2009 (UTC)
Just now coming back to this. "The English teaching wiki" sounds quire good to me. More snappy than the one we have.--Bob M 11:08, 18 October 2009 (UTC)

Great minds...[edit]

Greetings Bob M - I was just about to pop in 'ere to suggest including students in the special spaces blurb. You beat me to it by a micro-second - but I probably thought of it first :) Cheers!--Technopat 09:08, 17 September 2009 (UTC)

Actually it was prompted by one of your comments. So, yes, you did think of it first.  :-)--Bob M 09:13, 17 September 2009 (UTC)


I like the one you've got now. Sorry, I lost track of where on RW we were talking about it. Isn't it amusing that we now offer you a place to "discuss" high-bandwidth things like images, after you hosted our summer holiday? Human 05:11, 20 September 2009 (UTC)

Ironic perhaps. :-) You don't think the existing out is a bit hard to see?--Bob M 08:18, 20 September 2009 (UTC)
Not too hard to see for me, no. There's just enough there to make it out - the quadrangle and the gold tassel are enough to ID it. Human 22:19, 20 September 2009 (UTC)
Any other comments on the favicon? Nx proposed some other ones here.--Bob M 11:12, 18 October 2009 (UTC)

slight point[edit]

Bob, if you go to Special:Listusers & select a group (any group) & then click "Go", you get dumped to the main page (I do anyhow). Noticed it during the holidays but only just remembered. Toast 04:30, 24 September 2009 (UTC)

Do you? That's weird. I don't. Could you try it again?--Bob M 05:42, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
It does for me. The difference might be due to the fact that me and Toast are (I think) both using Firefox on Ubuntu. What browser and OS are you on? Phantom Hoover 15:01, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
I'm on Firefox 3.5.3, Vista. But it cant be Ubuntu, can it?--Bob M 15:25, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
Probably not, no. That was just wild conjecture. Phantom Hoover 16:03, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
Still does it for me . I am Ffx(3 0 04) & Ubuntu (jj). I have no explanation, sorry. Toast 20:54, 27 September 2009 (UTC)
(And: the gallery of new files still doesn't work:

Warning: escapeshellarg() has been disabled for security reasons in /home/bobmudfo/public_html/ on line 1055 etc.... Fatal error: Allowed memory size of 33554432 bytes exhausted (tried to allocate 8836 bytes) in /home/bobmudfo/public_html/ on line 165 Toast 21:00, 27 September 2009 (UTC))

BONs dumping spam[edit]

Maybe you should restrict editing to registered users? Since obviously, any "real" user/editor would "sign in". Letting BONs run rampant on the main page is just silly, it's not like they're going to add anything to the site... just my thoughts. Yeah, I check in from time to time. Human 05:13, 26 September 2009 (UTC)

Yes, I see that you do stuff from time to time. I think they're here becasue I'm not that active at the moment. (On a technical point they are spamming the talk page not the main page which is protected.) If it keeps up I'll do what you suggest. thanks for the reverts and the opinion.  :-) --Bob M 07:11, 26 September 2009 (UTC)
But I've got to get back to being active here rather than "other places". If I don't edit I can't expect other people to.  :-) Also thinking about the point above, we only get one or two a day - it looks like a lot because there is nothing else going on. --Bob M 10:05, 26 September 2009 (UTC)
Good point. Human 19:27, 26 September 2009 (UTC)
Greetings All - for what it (my opinion) is worth, I agree with Human's initial suggestion of restricting editing to registered users. What's th edownside to requiring users to register? I don't see that anyone would be offended by being asked to do so - does it mean it's not a "real" wiki? I'd feel "safe" in the knowledge that what little time I have to spend contributing stuff was not going to be wasted by bots and/or assorted levels of un (non-?)constructive edits. Regs., --Technopat 11:39, 1 October 2009 (UTC)
Well, we get about two a day, the vast majority of which are fixed by me and they take about 30 seconds to fix. I could a) use a captcha or b) limit editing to logged in users. But each time you make life difficult for spammers you also make life difficult for potential legitimate users. It's not that difficult to create an account and spammers would then start creating accounts to spam. So then we'd need to improve the security on account creation. But they can get past that too. So what I'm saying is that adding security is a slippery slope. In fact, we used to get considerably more spam then we get at the moment - and that from logged-in users. If you go to userlist from special pages you will see a lot of odd usernames which were used by spammers. I introduced some security settings which subsequently reduced such things a lot. If we get really overwhelmed with them then I'll most certainly take action to restrict access, but I don't consider 1-3 a day to be a huge chore.--Bob M 12:05, 1 October 2009 (UTC)
OK - thanx for rationale.--Technopat 12:20, 1 October 2009 (UTC)

Weird things happening at Reading article...[edit]

Greetings Bob M - just tried to expand the Reading article and when I hit preview I only get part of the first paragraph - if you check the history you'll see what I mean. Thinking it might be a problem with the cache of my PC I went off to try with another PC - same situation. I've semi-solved the problem by reverting to the previous version while I look into it (and continue experimenting). Just to let you know in case you were wondering what's going on and/or have ever experienced similar sit. Cheers!--Technopat 11:19, 1 October 2009 (UTC)

Fixed! Often amazed by my IT skills, I was able to fix it - will spare you the details... suffice to say it was my goof! Sorry you were troubled. Cheers! --Technopat 11:27, 1 October 2009 (UTC)
My IT skills often astound me as well. I've spent a lot of today trying to get my trusty old industrial scale laser printer to stop acting up - without success. Which leaves me with the option of asking a technician to have a look at it at unknown cost, or buying a new toner cartridge at 100 euros plus in the hope that that's the problem. In the meantime I've bought a refill for my standby deskjet at some 30 euros - but that's only good for some 200 odd pages. The laser is good for 10,000. --Bob M 15:24, 1 October 2009 (UTC)

Weird things happening elsewhere...[edit]

Greetings Bob M. After having successfully solved my previous goof (see above), I thought I could take on all comers. This evening, however, a gremlin has crept into a new article I've started at Practical English Usage. The ghost category (short articles) just won't go away - I've tried deleting the article, copy&pasting, etc. It's probably summat too obvious for me to see, so maybe if you'd have a butcher's. Cheers! --Technopat 20:31, 12 October 2009 (UTC)

Think I get it now. I suppose it's a default setting referring to the length of article content, rather than a categorisation of the type of article. If so, is there anyway it can be hidden from view? --Technopat 20:38, 12 October 2009 (UTC)
<Toast butts in> It's not a default: it's intentionally included with the stub template. That's so anyone having an idle moment on their hands can look at Category:Short articles and pick out something to improve. It also shows that the article in question isn't considered to be "finished". If you don't want to see it: remove the {{stub}}. Regards, </Toast butts out> 02:54, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
Thanks Toast.--Bob M 06:56, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
Greetings All - just seen Toast's reply, but not sure I understand the difference 'tween "stub" and "short article".
Way I see it, stub serves the function you mention for short article, so if there is a stub category - which I don't remember offhand if there is - surely one of 'em would be redundant. Unlike Wikipedia, which has articles that are ridiculously lengthy - for screen-based reading - Teflpedia tends to have nice, crisp articles, as in short articles. Regs., --Technopat 15:03, 31 October 2009 (UTC)

nicking content[edit]

What's your view on nicking stuff wholesale from WP? I'm looking at this for example. Obviously edit to suit TEFLpedia. Toast 20:54, 14 October 2009 (UTC)

Well .... We've got the same licence and I wrote about it here. To be honest I'm a little uneasy about lifting great slabs of text that we haven't written, as we could fill the entire wiki that way pretty quickly, but I don't feel that would be right somehow. Secondly here we specify that articles should be accessible to the general reader, and I don't think that that always describes WP. You've also chosen a fairly controversial topic as CALL (at least in my experience) creates a love-it/hate-it, believe-it-can-do-everything/believe-it's-a-con-by-language-schools dichotomy amongst teachers.
But having said all that, if you think you can create an appropriate derivative article inspired by WP and credited to them, then go for it. Or is that too many caveats?  :-) --Bob M 21:15, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
Fraid that's me finished for the night.--Bob M 21:16, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
Dichotomy? Another side-by-side? :-) Toast 22:14, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
Mmmm. I don't think so. Though it could be. I really should read the WP article to get a grip on their angle. In my experience CALL works well with students who: Are highly motivated. Are not able to attend regular classes. Are prepared to stare at a PC for long hours. Are interested in rule learning. Have long attention spans. Have not already spent their working day in front of a computer. Are more interested in working with computers than people.
Which makes the ideal student an unemployed, obsessive, engineering graduate. But the systems as sold as being the solution for everybody.--Bob M 08:08, 15 October 2009 (UTC)

BrE v AmE[edit]

I've made 2 templates ame & bre that put AmE & BrE in. I thought that using normal type was rather intrusive. I've put some in Punctuation dunno if you'll like them? Toast 08:22, 21 October 2009 (UTC)

You're right about it being intrusive, but I'm afraid that I think the solution is still intrusive. How about making the text smaller? Or using a tiny British or American flag which links to British or American english?--Bob M 10:24, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
In "punctuation" it's 'cause it's in the headers that it looks bad: probably leave it out of headers altogether & explain/expand in the para(s) below? I've amended "full stop". Once they've been <sup>ped and diminution in size is either not noticeable or makes them unreadable. I recently read somewhere on good web design that using flags → languages was a bad thing, partly because it doesn't allow for "text only" browsers & small (phone sized) screens and also for the visually impaired etc. Toast 12:48, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
It looks better the way you've changed it. I'll bow to your knowledge on web design - something about which I claim no knowledge. But what you say does sound logical.--Bob M 15:25, 21 October 2009 (UTC)

Blocked users[edit]

Greetings Bob M. I've just blanked User talk: after having left a warning welcome there earlier. I then realised that it was the same IP number you had blocked earlier. Shouldn't there be an automatic template added to the user page? Regs., --Technopat 14:48, 31 October 2009 (UTC)

I'm afraid that's way beyond my wiki skills even if it possible. I noticed that you'd welcomed him (?) and that you'd noticed that his edit has been reversed - which I assumed was a consequence of your noticing movements on "recent changes". But recent changes also shows him being blocked for spamming which was the reason I'd reversed him. I'm afraid that I can only suggest that you have a slightly longer look at recent changes. On another level I suppose there is no reason why we shouldn't say "hello" to these people. There is a 10,000,000 to 1 possibility that they might come back with a constructive edit.  :-) In fact, I had imagined that you had been thinking along these rather generous lines, and for that reason I made no comment when I saw your welcome. --Bob M 17:07, 31 October 2009 (UTC)

New Year's Greetings[edit]

Thanks for your message - just seen it. Have been busy elsewhere - as you may have noticed. Have a good 2010!--Technopat 13:37, 5 January 2010 (UTC)

Yes, I noticed that you had transferred your hyperactivity.  :-) --Bob M 19:20, 5 January 2010 (UTC)

Different parts of the brain...[edit]

Greetings Bob M - Thought you might be interested in this: NeuroImage Volume 49, Issue 3, 1 February 2010, Pages 2826-2835 - I've stuck it in at noun. Cheers!--Technopat 22:54, 26 February 2010 (UTC)

Interesting indeed. Though it starts me thinking .... I wonder if greater processing power is needed for verbs than nouns? After all they have to be conjugated. I wonder if phrasal verbs are more difficult? Presumably the research was based on "one word = one meaning", so what impact would multiple meanings have had? Nouns used as verbs and the reverse? Would all languages work the same way? Is the noun/verb split not so clear in some languages?--Bob M 08:15, 27 February 2010 (UTC)


You have orange boxen at RW. Human 02:23, 17 May 2010 (UTC)

Cheers Human.--Bob M 07:21, 17 May 2010 (UTC)


How about a little box on each mainspace article:

Thank you for visiting Teflpedia.
Your feedback is welcomed here (click).

19:09, 29 May 2010 (UTC) Toast

It's a good idea in principle but I'm not convinced. I've spend some time thinking about this. The nature of the site invites consumers rather than contributors. Have a look at our popular pages. Our most popular page is on conversation questions, and variations on that theme are also our most popular search result. English teachers like conversation questions because, when you are in a hurry, it's great quick class material. In that case the user is interested in getting the stuff and using it as quickly as they can - they are not here to contribute. Our next most popular page is on copyright. This is our most linked to and referenced article. I've even got WP links to it. But again, by its nature, it doesn't really attract contributors. I must say that I have absolutely no idea why spelling comes in next. I suspect that it's linked to some spammers monitoring system - but that could be paranoia. You've got to get down to something like article rank 11 before you really get to something which could get people to contribute. So ... I'm not convinced. But if you think I've got it wrong then come back to me.--Bob M 19:32, 29 May 2010 (UTC)
I've changed the wording to "feedback". Why not try it out for a while on the ten most accessed pages. Can't do any harm & might produce something worthwhile. 19:48, 29 May 2010 (UTC) Toast
That's certainly true too. :-) OK, let's give it a shot. The Conversation question ones already have a banner at the top. Perhaps at the bottom in that case?--Bob M 19:59, 29 May 2010 (UTC)
I'll make it into a template: {{feedback}} then. 20:09, 29 May 2010 (UTC) Toast
(It wasn't signed; it was sealed, the knig prolly couldn't write) 20:26, 29 May 2010 (UTC) Toast
Ah. Actually it was an old schoolboy joke. "Where was the Magna Carta signed?" "At the bottom! Boom! Boom!".
Template - Great. Thanks.  :-) --Bob M 20:31, 29 May 2010 (UTC)
Also a schoolgirl joke which was effectively squashed as above :-) 20:33, 29 May 2010 (UTC) Toast


Greetings Bob M - if you were down here in the blazing heat of Madrid I'd find it easier to understand, but as you're based up there in the cooler 'n' greener north I'm a bit nonplussed as to why you're taking so much exception to the odd cats I've been adding recently. The latest example, over at Culture shock, has been the last straw and highlights the systematic attack being carried out on my recents edits - only joking :) - and to which I must finally bring myself to contest.

Point is, in the edit summary you justify deleting the cat. because culture shock is "not only UK". Of course it ain't. No-one is suggesting that it is. But following the apparent logic of your argument, you might just as well delete the remaining cat., "Advice for new teachers", given that culture shock, as defined in the article itself, is just as likely - if not more so - older, experienced teachers.

The way I see cats is that they are there to group together subjects that [however] loosely tie in with each other (much more loosely than the "See also" section or the blinks, for that matter) and encourage readers to investigate other, related articles and travel through areas of the site they might not otherwise think of visiting off their own bat. Whatever their purpose, I don't really see any harm in 'em... Yours sincerely, Miffy in Madrid aka --Technopat 18:44, 31 May 2010 (UTC)

People who are thinking about taking up a teaching career in a new country need to be aware of the existence and nature of culture shock. Therefore it is logical to give information about culture shock to new teachers so they can prepare themselves before they go out and during their initial stay.
On the other hand, culture shock per se has nothing to do with British culture. It is an international phenomenon. Arguably a category "culture" as opposed to "British culture" might be appropriate - but even then it wouldn't add an awful lot as "culture" is such a broad concept and, at some level, almost everything in the wiki could go in it. ("Cultural aspects of teaching" or something of that nature might work though.)
To put my objection another way, if we are going to define "culture shock" as "British culture" then we logically need to have a whole list of country culture categories starting with Afghanistan and ending Zimbabwe and put culture shock in all of them.--Bob M 21:13, 31 May 2010 (UTC)

Conversation questions[edit]

Would it make sense to link you conversation questions articles to an article explaining your method of using these questions as ann effective tool for teaching? (If you already have done this, then please forgive my ignorance.) Gooniepunk2005 06:16, 3 June 2010 (UTC)

Hi Gonie. Thanks for bringing it up, but the banner at the top of every conversation questions page includes a line which reads: "For advice on using the topics see our ESL conversation questions article".
I have forgiven you. :-) --Bob M 11:17, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
I figured it was probably there somewhere. Odds are I read it dozens of times, and yet it never really sunk in that it was there. Thanks for the forgiveness. Gooniepunk2005 15:10, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
We could make it more prominent I suppose, but anybody who has actually gone looking for conversation questions probably already has some ideas about how they are going to use them anyway.
Forgiveness is free, so I am always happy to give it away.--Bob M 17:16, 3 June 2010 (UTC)


I know there is a MediaWiki extension wherein users that are blocked can edit their own talkpage. Could you possibly get that extension on this Wiki, just in case someone is blocked by accident? Gooniepunk2005 18:55, 17 June 2010 (UTC)

It's not an extension, it's a setup change presumably in "local settings". Doesn't look difficult, I switch it when I've got a moment. What happened to cause you concern?
Turns out that that AssaSom person, if RW is to be believed, is actually a real person, as they created an account on RW earlier today and confirmed they are not a spambot (though there was an AssaCom spammer go about the Wiki internets only a few months ago which caused my alarm). Needless to say, I jumped the gun a bit thinking it was related to the spammer. Gooniepunk2005 22:00, 17 June 2010 (UTC)
OK, I've said "Hi" to the user.:-) --Bob M 08:06, 18 June 2010 (UTC)

Blocked template[edit]

Greetings Bob, How's life? In case you haven't seen it yet, I've just protected the Stephen Krashen page for a couple of weeks. I just logged out to see what the effect was, and it just says it's blocked from editing, which has a sort of permanence ring to it. Maybe you could soften it a bit by sticking in a template along the lines of:

"Due to the high amount of vandal editing at this page over the last fews days, Teflpedia has blocked it until further notice. This block is temporary. If you wish to add something to the page, please notify Bob M or (whatever other admins you got out there) and they will temporarily unblock it for you. Thank you for your understanding."

Sweltering-heat regs., Technopat

Yes, a remarkable quantity of spam there. I think a spmabot gets hold of something and keeps hitting it while it can. I reverted a couple of things and was thinking of protecting it myself. If the spambot comes back I'll just make it impossible for IP's to edit.
Somewhat weirdly I had to delete something on the talk page. But it must have just slipped through.
We have quite a number of articles which IP's can't edit now because a spambot has them in its sights. I'm not sure that we need a template to tell people what's going on. Maybe though ... I'll think about it....
Not as hot up here as down there. 22 to your 40 I think. :-) --Bob M 19:09, 6 August 2010 (UTC)


We're under attack by the spammers! Gooniepunk2005 02:40, 17 August 2010 (UTC)

The problem is that I'm in hospital without access to the site codes. This means that I can't server block the bastards. Don't know when I'll get out. Should be a day or so depending on the latest scan.--Bob M 06:59, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
In the meantime, I'll keep a lookout for spam. If it gets bad, I may even be able to coax RW's Human to come and help out. If it get horrible, I'll post something there asking for help over here. Gooniepunk2005 21:17, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
That's most kind of you. With luck I should be out by Friday.--Bob M 21:44, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
Sorry folks! The cavalry didn't arrive in time to be of much good. I just happened to look in just now and saw what's been happening. GP - as you can see fm recent changes, I blocked a spammer but when I tried to protect the page, I get a Expiry time is invalid. in red. I changed it from UTC to GMT which seemed to work last time I protected a page, but not this time. Trouble is, I haven't really got a clue as to what I'm doing or not doing. Can you give me a couple of user-friendly steps to follow so that I can be slightly more useful than useless next time there's one of those mass attacks - if I happen to get in there in time, that is? Cheers and thanks for being out there! Tp