User talk:Bob M/archive1

From Teflpedia

Bob M removing a red link.--Bob M 10:53, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

Hi Mr. Mudford, I'm just testing the editing of his page. Thanks, the other Mr. Mudford.
OK cool.--Bob M 18:24, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

Administration rights[edit]

Hey Bob, it's Trent. I know it is not kosher to ask for administration rights with your first wiki edit :) but I am working on the vandal brake and need an account with both sysop and crate rights. Tmtoulouse 17:18, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

Hi Trent. Do it now.--Bob M 17:19, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
Thanks, I am getting ready to move some files over if there are any coding errors the wiki will likely display some errors. If that happens I will get it fixed but just wanted to let you know so it didn't freak you out. Tmtoulouse 17:40, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
Excellent. Great, Cool! I've been putting off whoring the wiki about the net waiting for something like this. Thanks. --Bob M 17:42, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

Vandal brake[edit]

The vandal brake is now installed. The biggest difference is the way this version of mediawiki handles error processing. The only way I could get it to display custom error message was by having it display the page as a "database locked" error and then customizing the lock reason. You can check it out if you want by using your IP, a new user account, or moving yourself into the "Vandal" user group. Let me know what you think. TmtoulouseSock 18:36, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

OK, I'll just save a stub and give it a shot.--Bob M 18:39, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
Works as advertised on IP's and new accounts.--Sam Smith 18:44, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
Teflpedia:Vandal should now work. Tmtoulouse 06:57, 10 August 2008 (UTC)
It does - except on the on-screen reporting. My moves don't show on-screen - though they do show on the seperate history screen. But they show as being made by you.--Bob M 07:11, 10 August 2008 (UTC)
Okay, I will take a look but I have a big coding job I have to do for AOTW over at RW tomorrow so it might be a few days till I can get back to it. Tmtoulouse 07:14, 10 August 2008 (UTC)
OK - when you have time. Cheers.--Bob M 11:07, 10 August 2008 (UTC)

User Block[edit]

How come I'm blocked as a new user?--Trevor 22:56, 28 December 2008 (UTC)

Strange, you shouldn't be. Tell me if the problem continues. Cheers.--Admin 12:14, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for the welcome![edit]

Hi Bob! Thanks for welcoming me on board this wiki & congratulations on setting it up. Cheers!--Technopat 08:47, 5 May 2009 (UTC)

Re. crossword maker[edit]

Mornin' Bob, Thanks for that link - not got time right now to check it out, but looks interesting. Cheers! --Technopat 09:22, 5 May 2009 (UTC)

Please check this one...[edit]

Greetings Bob M - I've just expanded on the Idioms article but I've got this nagging feeling that what I've added is not quite right. Fresh eyes might spot it, so please have a butcher's when you have a moment. Cheers! --Technopat 14:44, 7 May 2009 (UTC)

Ok, will do.  :-) --Bob M 14:45, 7 May 2009 (UTC)
Cheers! Excellent improvement!--Technopat 15:21, 7 May 2009 (UTC)
Thank you for your praise. Wave.gif If makes me feel a bit better after the 10,000 typos of mine which you corrected. Ashamed.gif --Bob M 15:32, 7 May 2009 (UTC)
It's just a knack I picked up after my youngest came out of that lush meadow covered in ticks... --Technopat 17:34, 7 May 2009 (UTC)
Crikey! Was he really covered in ticks?--Bob M 17:37, 7 May 2009 (UTC)
From tip to toe - with all the bits in between...--Technopat 18:22, 7 May 2009 (UTC)
Aggggg. Gerrrrrr. It's the stress of forcing myself not to write. Not to write .. ... "I hope you ticked him off then." Sorry. In the end I couldn't control myself.--Bob M 18:33, 7 May 2009 (UTC)
Good one! Never repress it! It's like sneezes - the damage you can do to yerself. One reason our neurotic societies are in the mess they're in is 'cos we've been taught to repress our urges - the best psychologists recommend letting it all flow... Cheers! --Technopat 18:51, 7 May 2009 (UTC)

Edit conflict[edit]

Greetings Bob M - we just had an edit conflict over at Ellipsis - please check to see that I haven't accidently deleted something of importance... Regs.,--Technopat 17:32, 7 May 2009 (UTC)

No, it looks good to me. Sorry about walking on your turf while you were still laying it. --Bob M 17:35, 7 May 2009 (UTC)


Greetings Bob M - just to let you know I've just blocked a spammer - I had previously reverted the edit as an anon. user from another PC.--Technopat 14:19, 8 May 2009 (UTC)

Greetings TP. Good work.  :-) We don't get too many of them, but it's best to keep them in line. I don't usually give them infinite bans though - as they are probably not using their own IPs but riding in on proxy servers and there is a remote possibility that some legitimate user could wish to use a proxy to edit at some time in the distant future.--Bob M 14:43, 8 May 2009 (UTC)

PNL, etc.[edit]

Greetings Bob M, while yours truly is the last person to quibble at mild scepticism being expressed per se., I do think that the word "claim", or variations on the theme, should also be used for the other methodologies mentioned. Singling out one of 'em, in this case PNL, for yer mild sc. might be out of context on the Methodologies article page and could possibly be put to "better" use at the dedicated article. Regards, Mr Eclectic --Technopat 17:20, 12 May 2009 (UTC)

Well, that brings up an interesting point - or perhaps brings us close to one. Wikipedia has a policy of "Neutral point of view" (along with "No original research" and "Verifiability"). All these are certainly good things for Wikipedia and it's clear why they have them. But It's not necessarily clear that all wikis should have these same policies. In my opinion there are quite a few wacky policies out there in TEFLland - and some are more wacky than others. I do think that NLP is an especially wacky example, perhaps only excelled by using astrology to decide what lessons to give students - I came across that once but now, sadly, can't find anything on it. I feel that if something is truly nutty then we should not feel a requirement to give it any NPOV treatment. That said, OK, I suppose the snark should go in the article and not in the small intro.
It's also not entirely clear to me that we should necessarily have all our articles in a deadly serious encyclopaedic tone. I see no reason why we shouldn't be prepared to be controversial or outspoken over issues which we may feel strongly. If people want to take issue on the talk pages then so much the better.
Perhaps I should mention in passing that my background is in smaller wikis and not in Wikipedia where things are (I understand) quite highly structured - and consequently we may be coming at things from different cultures.--Bob M 18:51, 12 May 2009 (UTC)
Glad you liked that one :) As I mentioned, I have no objection to controversy or outspokenness - though as you mention, maybe the talk pages is where stuff should get thrashed out in order to get the desired consensus. I have come across a sufficient number of forums out there to see how quickly they degenerate into foul-mouthed fingered slanging matches and suffer from people with interesting stuff to say leaving.
As for NLP, I would imagine it is used more as a technique for the teacher to apply to him/herself rather than as a teaching technique, but I'd be interested to know what else you know on the matter - see you over at the Talk:NLP. Regs., --Technopat 19:19, 12 May 2009 (UTC)


Greetings Bob M. Have just overdone things over at the English article. Could you have a butcher's and put yer scalpel to it. Methinks it's too long as it stands 'n' I'm off... Cheers! --Technopat 21:21, 12 May 2009 (UTC)

Well, there was nothing on the history part which I the heart to cut - in fact I added a bit to clarify the Roman/Anglo-Saxon time. I merged the two very similar parts which we had both written about estimating the number of words in English.--Bob M 08:35, 13 May 2009 (UTC)
Thanx - I was starting to see double and realised it needed a fresh pair of eyes... --Technopat 15:45, 13 May 2009 (UTC)
OK.  :-) I see that you're back on the case so I'll lay off it for a while to avoid edit conflicts. In fact History of English had been on my mental "to do" list so it's good to see your getting it on.--Bob M 15:54, 13 May 2009 (UTC)

Graded teaching materials[edit]

Are you serious 'bout this one? I know I've been out on my own for a long time, but are you insinuating that these are still being used - apart from coursebooks? Wtf.gif I use authentic texts with my beginner students... --Technopat 11:40, 14 May 2009 (UTC)

I too have been on my own for a long time. But my assumption is that course books use graded materials. Like you, I use nothing but authentic as that's what my students will encounter in real life. I was reading the other day some teacher on the net - I can't remember who - who was giving advice to students about how to complain about teachers who use authentic material. So, yes, I'm serious. Now I think about it, the main source of graded materials will probably be 10-year-old stuff photocopied from coursebooks anyway.--Bob M 11:46, 14 May 2009 (UTC)

Can - could, etc...[edit]

Greetings Bob M - way I see it it's can - could, will - would and must - should. Apart from its use in questions, Shall is principally a variant of will and is sometimes, but surely not often enough to make a difference, used as a more direct form of should. Feedback? PS. However often I start a new article from a redlink at Special pages/Pages wanted - the list keeps growing. Could you do me a favour and delete (and/or redirect) some of the weirder ones so I can convince myself that I'm making headway. Cheers! --Technopat 18:26, 14 May 2009 (UTC)

Hi TP.  :-) Well, as I suspected that my edit could be contentious I simultaneously put an explanation up on the article talk page. It's basically an argument from authority (or perhaps tradition) though. I know that Michael Lewis gives a reason for his other pairings in the book, so I'll see if he gives a reason for that one and come back on it. I agree that, at first look, it doesn't seem as obvious as the others though.
I did a bit myself on the reds the other day and I'll get back to them later, and I'll see if it would be a good idea to redirect or remove some of them. One of the problems is writing about grammar tends to breed the blasted things. To be completely honest I hadn't really intended to concentrate on grammar but to give advice to teachers, however a couple of the first people who edited started grammar stubs and they grow like topsy.
In point of fact, the vast majority of the hits the site presently gets are on the conversation questions. Just glancing quickly, out of the top thirty-five search engine hits which bring people here about thirty of them are for variations on conversation questions.--Bob M 18:42, 14 May 2009 (UTC)
It's down to 100!!! --Technopat 18:50, 14 May 2009 (UTC)
Yes I saw that. An achievement. Ohmy.gif --Bob M 18:53, 14 May 2009 (UTC)--Bob M 18:53, 14 May 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for tweakin' it (at 88 as of even date).--Technopat 18:59, 14 May 2009 (UTC)
and now duty calls.--Bob M 19:01, 14 May 2009 (UTC)
Down to 64!!!--Technopat 12:49, 15 May 2009 (UTC)
Yes! A bit more effort and we'll get then cut down further. :-)--Bob M 13:56, 15 May 2009 (UTC)
As of even date, we're down to 57. With a bit of luck we should be able to keep it somewhere near the 50 mark from now on... Cheers! --Technopat 11:40, 16 May 2009 (UTC)
Yes, though I must admit that I've been trying to exercise self control and not create more then I clear.:-) --Bob M 12:00, 16 May 2009 (UTC)

(outdent) No - keep 'em coming. I'm still only halfway through this 130-page proofreading job for 12-noon Monday deadline Brussels and I need the breaks Teflpedia gives me...--Technopat 13:07, 16 May 2009 (UTC)

Only 50 to go - Wanted pages AND pages to proofread... --Technopat 20:36, 16 May 2009 (UTC)
Down in the mid-20s... :)--Technopat 13:49, 23 May 2009 (UTC)
That's pretty cool.  :-) We may need to start working on "depth" as well as "width" in that case.  :-) --Bob M 14:16, 23 May 2009 (UTC)
Oh dear! I was dreading that... what was that thing we used to study at school? "That a plane has no dimensions except length; it does not have width; rather, it only has depth..." or words to that effect. I never really understood it, thereby frustrating my childhood desire to be a pilot. --Technopat 14:37, 23 May 2009 (UTC)
Mmm. Which type of plane was that I wonder? Plane sailing? Plane English? The reign on the plane in Spain? Plane difficult I think.--Bob M 14:42, 23 May 2009 (UTC)
Ouch! Right, you asked for it... Rememebr to keep yer scalpel ready. Cheers!--Technopat 17:42, 23 May 2009 (UTC)
Back down in the upper 20s...--Technopat 10:12, 14 June 2009 (UTC)
Good work. :-) At the moment I've got computer problems wearing me down. Nothing to do with Teflpedia - just problems at home. :-( Doing this on small backup machine. --Bob M 10:49, 14 June 2009 (UTC)
Good luck - and may The Force be with you! --Technopat 10:54, 14 June 2009 (UTC)
Just found a work-around to help me out a bit. But I'm still waiting for a man to come out and charge me a fortune to fix my desktop. Every time I switch it on it blows all the power in the house. I think it's a problem with the power supply - the bit inside the PC where the lead goes into the PC - the thing with all the messages saying "DON'T TOUCH" all over it. But randomly switching parts inside the beast is a somewhat beyond my technical ability.  :-(
So back live and catching up with a few things. It was the power supply and it cost an arm and a leg. Would almost have been cheaper to buy a new PC. Still, if it happens again I'll know what the problem is and I think I should be able to fix it myself. Might be able to get the cash back on the house insurance.--Bob M 14:46, 14 June 2009 (UTC)

Accuracy etc...[edit]

Bob - I've made a right whatchamallit of this - have tried setting up a new page for Accuracy - OK - but I can't get rid of the redirect for Fluency. S'pose you can do summat. Sorry! and cheers!--Technopat 17:52, 16 May 2009 (UTC)

No problem. When you move an article it automatically leaves the old title as a redirect. Usually this is fine as you may be changing a plural to a singular or whatever. If you don't want it then you just need to overwrite the "redirect" info on the old page (or delete it). Actually there are things you can screw up with redirects - but this isn't one of them. You should have a delete tab as a sysop. :-) --Bob M 18:03, 16 May 2009 (UTC)
Thanx for that - trouble with being a sysop is that I don't know which part worries me the most: the sissy or the sop... All's well that... --Technopat 19:31, 16 May 2009 (UTC)

Excessive stubble[edit]

Greetings Bob M - while whittling away at the Wanted pages, it occurred to me that maybe you could reduced the size of the stub template - by about 50%. In many, if not most, cases said template occupies more space than the article content itself.

I was thinking that the following could be suppressed without taking away the essence of the template: If you are unsure about how to edit a wiki, simple guidance can be found here. Additional instructions may be found in the help box to the left. Back-to-work regs., --Technopat 10:02, 17 May 2009 (UTC)

Yeeeeeees it could be suppressed. But I put that in for a reason. Many people still don't know how to edit a wiki, and so it ...umm... tells them where to go. Also, if the stub is only, say, a couple of lines them the "stub" banner will always be bigger than the article. But I'll have a look at it. Thanks for the suggestion. (The fact that my banner editing skills are not of the first order is also a bit of a problem.)--Bob M 11:29, 17 May 2009 (UTC)
I reckoned that the main page etc. gives enough instruction on editing, but I'm easy. Don't want to generate more work for you than I can cover elsewhere.--Technopat 11:50, 17 May 2009 (UTC)
Just seen revised template - great! --Technopat 11:52, 17 May 2009 (UTC)
Thanks. That's about as minimalist as I think I can make it whilst including everything I want to say. I remember seeing responses about a different TEFL wiki where people responded on a user-list saying that it had various errors - but their response was to complain on the list rather than correct the wiki. From that I took it they they did not know that they could edit the wiki or, if they did, did not know how to edit it. So I resolved that teflpedia would not suffer the same problem and it would have clear instructions for newcommers.
Having said all that, if you want to edit it then you only need to enter template:stub in the searchbox and you will be there. That is also how you would create a new template. (Sorry if I'm teaching my grandmother to suck eggs.)--Bob M 12:07, 17 May 2009 (UTC)
Sigh! While being a highly-experienced user of internet and assorted sources, I'm very much a non-expert, i.e. I need to follow user-friendly, step-by-step instructions and preferable in words of one syllable. But I take the hint :) Cheers! --Technopat 13:04, 17 May 2009 (UTC)

The countdown has started...[edit]

Greetings Bob M - thought you might be interested in the ongoing debate at Talk:TPR. Cheers! --Technopat 18:19, 17 May 2009 (UTC)

I'm afraid that I don't think that debate will have too many legs. A far more difficult task at the moment is finding some interesting audio on the European elections. Can't find anything.  :-( --Bob M 18:47, 17 May 2009 (UTC)--Bob M 18:47, 17 May 2009 (UTC)


Weird things going on with format at the Non-standard English - references, stub etc. don't show... is it just my PC or something to do with the wiki? Curious from Bognor Regis.--Technopat 18:12, 18 May 2009 (UTC)

Solved it! Previous editor forgot to close ref... :) --Technopat 18:15, 18 May 2009 (UTC)

Tweakin' away[edit]

Greetings Bob M - just popped in to say that I took advantage of me sysopprivs and did a bit o' tweakin' on the main page to make contractions more consistent throughout. Hope you don't mind... Regs., --Technopat 23:36, 22 May 2009 (UTC)

Ok that's cool. However (and I'm sure this goes without saying) if you wish to suggest any substantial changes to the mission statement or out objectives then I'm sure you'd discuss them first.--Bob M 14:12, 23 May 2009 (UTC)

Warmin' up to the task[edit]

Greetings Bob M. Good work over at the warmers - it needed doing and I kept putting it off. While we're on the subject, I've been meaning to start an article on games, but keep coming up against the name for it, as the natural name would be plural, which is not in keeping with Teflpedia policy. Would Classroom activity do as an umbrella term, with susections for Warmers, Games, etc? Any thoughts? Cheers! --Technopat 14:20, 29 May 2009 (UTC) PS I've got a monster proofreading job to do this weekend so I'll be especially active here at Teflpedia!!

Actually I've been thinking along the same lines. I want to create a category for "games", "classroom activities", "fifteen minute activities" or something like that. To be honest, I was toying with the idea of taking the existing "warmer's" article and splitting it up either into a large number of individual articles or at least a series of themed articles based on the headings I put in. As you mentioned previously, some of the activities could be considerably more than warmers.
A google search on "ESL games" gets quite a few hits - which suggests it's a popular topic. On the other hand "game" sounds a little informal - but I suppose "semi-structured learning activity" goes too far in the other direction.
Anyway, to answer your direct question. My preference would be a for a category "ESL games" which would act as a portal to anything game-like. An article "Classroom activity" with a reference to "ESL games" early in the introduction with something about using them to lower the affective filter or whatever. But I think the article should simply speak about the methodological reasons for using games and other activities. The activities themselves should each have a seperate article explaining how it works and what its objectives are. To attempt to list them all on a single page would be to eventually have an article of many pages. At some later date we could use sub cats to split the games/activities within the cat.
Anyway, that's my take - what are your feelings?--Bob M 15:47, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
Fine by me - I'll follow your lead. As you point out, categories can be plural, so Language games/ESL/EFL/TEFL games, etc. would be legit. As for my participation, classroom games have never really been my thing - I use a lot of warmers but with a very strict time limit (and award a symbolic 10 points to students who incorporate newly-learnt vocabulary from previous class/es)- and most of those mentioned are too elaborate for me, personally. But I recognise their worth and encourage others to use 'em. So how about a Category:Language games with redirects for ESL games/EFL games/TEFL games and an article Classroom activity and if the game/activity is especially difficult to explain, a specific article page for that. Which take us back to the inevitability of having articles with plural headings, as in Noughts and crosses (only an example - that particular activity doesn't really require its own art.). I'll put the question to Mr Game Person as he might have some ideas to put forward on this. Cheers! --Technopat 16:23, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
Thin king about this some more - ideally each activity/game description should be consistent with:
  • Objective - review, vocab, fluency, grammar or whatever.
  • Age range.
  • Max/min time.
  • Group size.
We could then give them additional cats based on these criteria so that they would be easier to find.--Bob M 16:35, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
OK, let's see if Paul has any ideas. After all we have him to thank for creating that list of warmers which started us on this. I have to say that my personal feeling would be for a page per activity.--Bob M 16:40, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
OK by me. BTW, did you see that my proposed cat. is at the bottom of this page? Wonders of ICT... --Technopat 17:03, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
Cat looks good - though as I said above, we might want more. Actually, now that I look again at the warmers again I become a little less convinced that they all really deserve a seperate article. Still - consistency ... The other problem is that, like you, I don't really use any of these. My classes are all small-group-adult or one-to-one, so many of these activities are now alien to me.
On the other hand it certainly seems to be a popular subject amongst English teachers; who are, after all, our target audience. At the moment 95% of our search engine hits are on conversation questions, while 90 % the sites which link into us link to the copyright article. (I think that we are the only site on the web that has such a list of international comparisons.) I feel sure that a good set of games would almost certainly be up with those two in terms of attracting hits - and potentially new editors.--Bob M 18:33, 29 May 2009 (UTC)

ELT vs ESL vs ELF[edit]

Greetings Bob M. Not sure if you've seen my reply at Talk:Warmer, but my googling brought up ELT as the favourite term used with games and I reckon we should use that term with redirects FROM the other variations to ELT one. My preference for a search would be ELT, followed by EFL (this is Teflpedia, after all), and I would probably never have thought of looking under ESL...--Technopat 13:51, 30 May 2009 (UTC)

Is that what I used? To be honest, I've got these damn three letter abbreviations going round in my head like bees.  :-( I must have misread your suggestion. I've got no problem with a move to ELT.--Bob M 14:18, 30 May 2009 (UTC)
I'll go 'round re-directing...--Technopat 14:50, 30 May 2009 (UTC)
Now you've got me at it! I must remember to put ELT! I must remember to put ELT! I must remember to put ELT! I must remember to put ELT!--Technopat 15:13, 30 May 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for that.  :-) Bloody TLA's. --Bob M 15:53, 30 May 2009 (UTC)

Uploading a word document[edit]

Greetings Bob M. Have just posted instructions at Vocabulary ELT games for a great game I sometimes play with my students, Word battleships (I've even played it as a one-to-one - and got beaten!). I have the grids mentioned on a Word document, but have no idea how to go about posting it here as a handout (nor time right now to check it out). If you want - and have time - I can send it you as an attachment for you to post. Send me a PM with your email address 'cos I don't think I have it. Cheers! --Technopat 15:17, 1 June 2009 (UTC)

Hi TP. Assuming that you have entered your email info in Teflpedia I'll send you from there. But I know of no easy way of entering a word document in wiki format. There are some possibilities.
  1. Create a table in wiki format. I hate them personally, but some people seem very able.
  2. Create the table in Open office and try a direct import. This worked for me once but the last time I tried I had problems.
  3. Try creating it on some wikiwig wiki and copy the code.
Anyway, I'll send you my address and if you don't fancy fighting with any of the above, I'll give a shot.  :-) Cheers. --Bob M 16:44, 1 June 2009 (UTC)

Freestuff space[edit]

Greetings Bob M - I'm a bit dense right now - just sent off an especially mind-numbing translation and needed to work off some tediousness by posting stuff here. Have upladed an exercise (see recent changes) for the free stuff space, but can't seem to get at it from any of the links, i.e. have been unable to find/create any links to it. When you have a moment, please check it out. I'll probably see the light later on today, but 'til then... G'night.--Technopat 00:18, 5 June 2009 (UTC)

You'd link to it like this: Freestuff:Brainbox or like which might be be prettier: brainbox. Was that your question? (Going to have a power outage all morning Friday.) --Bob M 06:09, 5 June 2009 (UTC)
I was looking for summat along the lines of Category:Conversation questions, and have now set up Category:Freestuff but not truly convinced...--Technopat 14:29, 5 June 2009 (UTC)
Had to do the above without bluelinks 'cos it comes out all funny otherwise! Sorry!--Technopat 14:32, 5 June 2009 (UTC)
About what are you not convinced above?--Bob M 15:44, 5 June 2009 (UTC)
I meant I'm not sure that what I've done coincides with what you had in mind. If it does, great! - if it don't, sorry!--Technopat 16:04, 5 June 2009 (UTC)
Actually setting up a category is quite a good idea, I really should have thought of that. When we have a bit more content we can set up a link to it from the Mainpage to give it a higher profile. While the stuff on the mechanics of ELT is interesting, it will take a while before people come to us as a resource for that - however good, class-tested material that people can just pick up and use is always popular.
On "conversation questions" - with hindsight I really should have put them in freestuff but, for reasons which must have seemed good at the time, I didn't. Which is a shame because it creates a bad precedent. Now I'm reluctant to move them because they get hits - still I suppose they'd leave redirects behind.--Bob M 16:14, 5 June 2009 (UTC)
I reckon yer "conversation questions" are great where they are - the title is clear and to-the-point. Over time they'll get linked to other more or less irrelevant stuff and thus generate more onsite mobility. As you say, "Teflpedia freestuff" will, one day, look good up on the main page.--Technopat 16:43, 5 June 2009 (UTC)
Suppose. I'll leave them be for now. :-) --Bob M 17:54, 5 June 2009 (UTC)
While ruthless with tyops on Teflpedia article pages, I consider that any made on a user's talk page a part of his/her personality and therefore none of me b. :) --Technopat 18:05, 5 June 2009 (UTC)


Hi. Looks like you don't have the parserfunctions extension, without it, you'll either have to use two different templates, or use something like this:

This is a free lesson which has been donated to [[Teflpedia]] by {{{1|someone}}}.

(this is actually the way the Template:Essay works on rationalwiki) This will produce "This is a free lesson which has been donated to Teflpedia by someone." if used as {{Noeditlesson}} and "This is a free lesson which has been donated to Teflpedia by Example." if used as {{Noeditlesson|Example}} If you can install parserfunctions, you could instead do something like this:

This is a free lesson which has been donated to [[Teflpedia]]{{#if:{{{1|}}} |  by [[User:{{{1}}}|{{{1}}}]]|}}.

(note that there's an   in there, which is needed) This version will produce "This is a free lesson which has been donated to Teflpedia." without the parameter and "This is a free lesson which has been donated to Teflpedia by Example." with the parameter. Nx 15:46, 6 June 2009 (UTC)

Hi Nx. Thanks for looking at it. I guess that I should install parserfunctions anyway, but I must say that the the non parserfunctions option looks a bit less intimidating. I'll just give it a shot.--Bob M 16:36, 6 June 2009 (UTC)
Excellent! I'll go with the first option for now, but get parserfunctions installed when I have a moment. Thank you very much. I'll have to get the appropriate templates edited and try to write up some simple instructions.--Bob M 16:46, 6 June 2009 (UTC)
One more thing regarding this {{noeditlesson | John Smith}} is the correct usage, but this won't create a link with the first version (it will with the parserfunction version). You could use {{noeditlesson | [[User:John Smith]]}} but then that would break the parserfunctions version. Nx 17:05, 6 June 2009 (UTC)
I don't quite understand. I am using, and suggesting using, {{noeditlesson|[[User:Bob M | Bob M]]}} on one of my classes, and it seems to work......... Ah, Ok. You're saying this will fail if and when I install parserfunctions? In which case I would need to re-edit manually anything which has been set up previously?
Yes. You could of course modify the parserfunctions version to work with {{noeditlesson|[[User:Bob M | Bob M]]}}, but I think it's better to use {{noeditlesson|Bob M}} and let the template create the link. Nx 17:16, 6 June 2009 (UTC)
That looks better, and would be more sensible. It's just that the [[Teflpedia]]{{#if:{{{1|}}} | by [[User:{{{1}}}|{{{1}}}]]|}}. looks daunting. But if the result is that users simply need to enter {{noeditlesson|Bob M}} then it's a plus obviously. Ill get on it.--Bob M 17:22, 6 June 2009 (UTC)
There's a non-breaking space before by, but nowiki doesn't show it. If you leave it out (like you did now), it will look like this: Teflpediaby User:Bob M (#if strips all spaces, so I had to use a non-breaking space). Copy the wikitext source instead. Nx 17:35, 6 June 2009 (UTC)
I'll fight with that when I get parserfunctions installed.:-) --Bob M 17:45, 6 June 2009 (UTC)


So I added the file ParserFunctions-MW1.10-r19892.tar to extensions. I put require_once( "$IP/extensions/ParserFunctions/ParserFunctions.php" ); into Local settings and

the wiki blew up and told me:

Warning: require_once(/home/bobmudfo/public_html/ [function.require-once]: failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /home/bobmudfo/public_html/ on line 155

Fatal error: require_once() [function.require]: Failed opening required '/home/bobmudfo/public_html/' (include_path='/home/bobmudfo/public_html/') in /home/bobmudfo/public_html/ on line 155

So I reverted local setting to the previous version.

I see that in the documentation I am told: Note that some extensions need a file called ExtensionFunctions.php, located at extensions/ExtensionFunctions.php, that is, in the parent directory of this particular extension's directory.

But I do not seem to be given access to this directory.

Any ideas? --Bob M 18:09, 6 June 2009 (UTC)

It looks to me like it can't find (or can't open) ParserFunctions.php. Maybe a permissions problem? Nx 18:16, 6 June 2009 (UTC)
We're well out of my comfort zone on that. What would a "permissions problem" be?--Bob M 18:54, 6 June 2009 (UTC)
Do you use an ftp program to access the server, or a linux shell? In a shell run chmod -R a+r ParserFunctions in the extensions directory. Nx 19:06, 6 June 2009 (UTC)
I get on using filezilla. Does that help? I know not the linux shell.--Bob M 19:14, 6 June 2009 (UTC)
Thought that I'd got it figured out but no such lick. Still getting:

Warning: require_once(/home/bobmudfo/public_html/ [function.require-once]: failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /home/bobmudfo/public_html/ on line 82

Fatal error: require_once() [function.require]: Failed opening required '/home/bobmudfo/public_html/' (include_path='/home/bobmudfo/public_html/') in /home/bobmudfo/public_html/ on line 82

I try again in the morning when my brain is sharper. --Bob M 19:36, 6 June 2009 (UTC)

Down to the teens...[edit]

We're down in the teens, i.e. at 19 as of even date.--Technopat 17:38, 16 June 2009 (UTC)

Yes, good work! Done a couple myself. Real life is slowing me down a bit at the moment.--Bob M 18:43, 16 June 2009 (UTC)
Real life? You mean there's actually something else outside cyber/hyperspace? --Technopat 18:45, 17 June 2009 (UTC)
Yes, houses, cars, wives, dogs - I'm sure you remember. (Maybe those plurals are a mistake though.)  :-) --Bob M 18:54, 17 June 2009 (UTC)

Spot the deliberate misteak...[edit]

Greetings Bob M! Keep forgetting to point this one out to you: Below are the last 50 changes in the last last 7 days, as of 18:39, 17 June 2009. - I'd sort it out meself but my soppysys powers are too feak and weeble... Regs., --Technopat 18:43, 17 June 2009 (UTC)

OK, I have to confess that my skills as a copy editor are pretty bad and I have a tendency to miss the blindingly obvious. SO I've got to do this word by word. Below (OK - not bellow)) are (OK) the (OK) last (OK) 50 changes (OK) in (OK) the (OK) last (OK) last (AH!) 7 days , as of 18:39, 17 June 2009.
Now that's interesting. I think that's part of the media wiki software. I'll have to go look.--Bob M 18:52, 17 June 2009 (UTC)
@on one on@one !1 Shifty.gif Cool or what! --Bob M 19:06, 17 June 2009 (UTC)

'Nother N[edit]

Nearly reached the ton, but 101+ Conversation questions would be even better... :) --Technopat 15:00, 2 July 2009 (UTC)

Hey, that's pretty cool. Nods.gif --Bob M 15:10, 2 July 2009 (UTC)
I've got to say that my brain has stopped working.--Bob M 16:05, 2 July 2009 (UTC)

Polarisin' the conversation... Sorry! Couldn't resist that one! :)[edit]

Greetings Bob M. I know that you like to de-polar as much as possible, and in the broad, general whatchamallit, I agree with you. However, my criteria is that if the normal question I would ask a native speaker is a polar question, then that's the question I ask me students.

That often means that the initial question requires a simple yes/no answer (although I do insist on the need for the aux.) - which must be immediately followed up with a wh-question.

In other words, rather than construct some grammatically-intriguing-but-artificial question to obtain a grammatically-satisfying response, I encourage that first yes/no answer (+ do/does/am/is/would etc.) in order to engage 'em in the conversation - they usually have much more to say on the matter, and I find the problem isn't so much getting 'em to talk, but getting 'em to stop... Topic for the Teachers' room? --Technopat 10:37, 6 July 2009 (UTC)

I'll see you for a cuppa in the teachers' room on this one.--Bob M 10:57, 6 July 2009 (UTC)

Site support[edit]

In case gmail mangled the code I sent you in email, here it is again:

<div><p style="text-align:center">Donate in euros</p><form action="" method="post"><input type="hidden" name="cmd" value="_s-xclick"><input type="hidden" name="hosted_button_id" value="6653439"><input type="image" src="" border="0" name="submit" alt="PayPal - The safer, easier way to pay online!"><img alt="" border="0" src="" width="1" height="1"></form></div>
<div><p style="text-align:center">Donate in dollars</p><form action="" method="post"><input type="hidden" name="cmd" value="_s-xclick"><input type="hidden" name="hosted_button_id" value="6653087"><input type="image" src="" border="0" name="submit" alt="PayPal - The safer, easier way to pay online."><img alt="" border="0" src="" width="1" height="1"></form></div>
<div><p style="text-align:center">Donate in British pounds</p><form action="" method="post"><input type="hidden" name="cmd" value="_s-xclick"><input type="hidden" name="hosted_button_id" value="6653779"><input type="image" src="" border="0" name="submit" alt="PayPal - The safer, easier way to pay online."><img alt="" border="0" src="" width="1" height="1"></form></div>

Nx 16:52, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

Replace the green test div with this:

<div class="portlet" style="text-align:center;"><form action="" method="post"><input type="hidden" name="cmd" value="_s-xclick"><input type="hidden" name="hosted_button_id" value="6653737"><input type="image" src="" border="0" name="submit" alt="PayPal - The safer, easier way to pay online."><img alt="" border="0" src="" width="1" height="1"></form></div>

Nx 17:00, 8 July 2009 (UTC)


Thanx for Beeb link.--Technopat 20:53, 11 July 2009 (UTC)

Glad you liked it. Interesting to hear David Crystal's voice.--Bob M 10:28, 12 July 2009 (UTC)

Tea break over, ...[edit]

Greetings Bob M. Bearing up under the strain? Am back for another coupla weeks before I head off again for cooler climes...--Technopat 08:56, 27 July 2009 (UTC)

Ah yes? Welcome back for a coupla weeks then. Did not know that you were so mobile.  :-) --Bob M 09:58, 27 July 2009 (UTC)

Mindless stats.[edit]

Greetings Bob M - Congrats. on the latest stats. I had been slightly concerned that the steady increase over the preceding few months was due to my hyperactivity enthusiasm, but as July was precisely the month that I was less active here, it means that that folks are starting to take notice - or they're looking for viagra or whatever it is you sell as a sideline :) --Technopat 11:53, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

I must admit that July was rather a surprise. Most of our hits were on something to do with conversation questions. Maybe people were looking for something to use before school broke up? By region we have Spain, US, GB and Malaysia. August has started at a slightly quieter rate - though not much. Top four countries hitting are US, Spain, China and GB. Viagra sales are also well up on my other website.--Bob M 21:21, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

Greetings BobM - just a thought off the top o' me 'ead, and pardon my ignorance in such matters, but isn't it possible to protect - or semi-protect - the main page (which is the one that seems to get all the spam) from being edited by new users? I realise that in a perfect world it goes against the principles of a wiki, but the main page is a sort of showcase to the world, and when a system gets abused, it must take measures to protect itself - without harming others... Cheers! --Technopat 12:12, 7 August 2009 (UTC)

Hi TP, and thanks very much for raising your concern. I've been involved in a couple of small wiki projects in the past where this issue has come up and so I'm going to answer at length.
The Main page is, in fact, fully protected - but that's not what's getting hit. It's the talk page of the main page which is getting spam. Talk pages are not usually protected because - well - they are meant to be edited.
The other thing is that all our pages are already protected to some extent from editing by new users in that they have to wait between each edit. There are also other security measures in place which slow them down. In general they need to make more effort to create the spam than we have to make to reverse it. Reversal is really just one click away.
Some time before you arrived I got lots and lots of spam every day, but since I implemented the measures above it's become a almost marginal issue.
Furthermore, if we were to protect whatever page happened to be the present target of interest they would simply shift to a different page. The result would be our gradually applying full protection to every page on the wiki.
In conclusion: the Mainpage isn't the target; it's more difficult for them to spam than us than it is for us to reverse it; protecting one page wouldn't remove the problem.
So I'm afraid that there is not a lot more that we can do. Well, that's not true - I could prevent all editing by IPs (non registered users) but I don't want to do that unless we have a really big problem. There is always a balance between making life difficult for spammers and not hindering potential new users, and I'd rather err on the side of making life easy for potential new users at the moment.
Thanks again for raising this, it's always a topic of debate on small wikis. If you feel that I've missed a bet please come back on it.--Bob M 16:16, 7 August 2009 (UTC)

Teh RationalWiki squad[edit]

I feel very rude intruding upon your wiki with nothing in mind but 90/10 talk, so I thought I'd clear my conscience in advance by thanking you for your kind hospitality to me and the other RWians. SuperJosh 22:54, 19 August 2009 (UTC)

Similar levels of gratitude, to be sure. --Kels 22:58, 19 August 2009 (UTC)
We'll try not to mess up the place. It's so shiny. Sterile 01:21, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
That's cool. I owe Trent and Nx some favours for helping me out with stuff here as well. I'm going to be out for the next couple of days though so I won't be about. No doubt you'll keep the place tidy. :-) --Bob M 06:20, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
I see that some people are concerned about being here. I don't think it's a big problem. The majority of the hits I get are for people looking for info and not from people who want to edit. They only way that they'd even know that you're here is if they hit "recent changes" and I doubt that many of them do that. Also August is a pretty quiet time in the English teaching world, so if everything is tidied up by the end of the holidays then I don't imagine a big problem.--Bob M 06:59, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
Cue the RationalWiki Summer Barbecue Party. Genghis Khant 08:20, 20 August 2009 (UTC)