User talk:Zephram Stark

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What can I do for you today? --Zephram Stark 19:29, 11 November 2005 (UTC)

Logo attribution[edit]

Hey Zack, I'm getting ocassional confusion about the origin of the Wikispecies logo. Especially on this page:

We have the history pages of the logo contest - including my original design submission with the ball, double helix and U design. You cleaned the file up, added shadowing, etc. Would you mind changing the attribution for the image on your userpage to read "Logo creation I designed for Wikispecies based on an original logo by Jeremy Kemp." Thanks! Jeremykemp

I "cleaned the file up?"
Here is your concept design:
Jeremykemp logo speciesLogo.png
It took you all of what, fifteen minutes?
Here is the logo I created based on your concept design:
Including multiple requests for revisions, it took me sixteen hours. I think it's fair to say that this is the logo I created based on your concept design, which is exactly how the image is attributed.
It should also be noted that you were asked several times over a two month period to turn your concept design into a logo. You never responded or gave any indication that you would, so I was hired for the job. The only payment I requested was recognition for my work.
--Zephram Stark 03:42, 19 September 2008 (UTC)


Hi there! Thanks a lot for your help with the wikispecies logo, it is much appreciated and I think it looks great. Could you please create a text-version png of the "winning version" image, basically the same thing as you did for the "organic version" file? Thanks a lot, Benedikt

Sure, I'll get right on it. --Zephram Stark 04:59, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
How's this?


logo implementation[edit]

hey there, I uploaded the logo as "Wiki.png", but the page doesn't seem to be terribly impressed - where and under which filename do I have to upload the file to make it appear on the main page? Thanks, --Benedikt 19:19, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

Improper display[edit]

On Firefox 1.0.4, I get this image, with a good deal of the ball and subtitle gone. IE 6 cuts the samer amount off the ball. Any ideas? -- user:zanimum

I get the same issue on Safari. Could someone fix this issue? -- 23:17, 17 December 2005 (UTC)
Same here on mac with Firefox 1.5 23:33, 17 December 2005 (UTC)
It appears that the Navigation bar is not dynamically situated based on the logo size. This problem is especially evident on Wikipedia, where the logo is forced up to the top, on Wikisource where there isn't even room for text, and here at Wikispecies. There are six feasible fixes for this bug:
  1. I would be happy to make the location of the Navigation bar dynamic
  2. Another developer could correct the fixed location of the Navigation bar (by making it dynamic)
  3. We could eliminate the text of the logo as is done on Wikisource
  4. We could place the text in front of the logo with a white glow between it and the logo
  5. We could make the logo extremely small to fit within the space
  6. We could eliminate the red ball from the top of the logo
I would be happy to help in any capacity.
--Zephram Stark 02:09, 18 December 2005 (UTC)

Wouldn't that be a css issue? Css can be edited by any admin at MediaWiki:monobook.css. n:user:bawolff 03:39, 18 December 2005 (UTC) (note I probally don't have a clue what i'm talking about)

monobook.css is used only to add things to the main area of the page, not the side margin. The Mediawiki 'monobook' style sheet found in file main.css controls the space allowed for the logo. As you can see in the snippet of code I've copied below, that height is limited to 155px. It should be dynamic, based on the size of the logo.
** Logo properties

#p-logo {
    z-index: 3;
    position: absolute; /*needed to use z-index */
    top: 0;
    left: 0;
    height: 155px;
    width: 12em;
    overflow: visible;
#p-logo h5 {
    display: none;
#p-logo a,
#p-logo a:hover {
    display: block;
    height: 155px;
    width: 12.2em;
    background-repeat: no-repeat;
    background-position: 35% 50% !important;
    text-decoration: none;
A search of the buglist reveals no issues about the spacing of logos. I don't think that a bug issue is really needed since a hardcoded value of 155px was obviously just placed there temporarily until the additional coding of a dynamic value was needed. If I changed the code to make the space a minimum of 155px, but a maximum of whatever is needed to comfortably allow for the logo (height only, width should remain hardcoded), I seriously doubt that anyone would have even the slightest complaint. At the most, they might notice that every page looks better on Wikipedia and Wikispecies. As Big John always says, "position is everything." --Zephram Stark 17:21, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
I'm getting the same problem in my Firefox, too. The upper part of the ball is cut off and 90% of the subtitle is, too. I like the logo per se though! --en:User:HereToHelp

Thanks for fixing that Stark. It looks great now! --Sarah Scott 22:53, 17 January 2006 (UTC)

lively discussion![edit]

Well Zephram, you certainly sound like a guy who might be up for a bit of lively discussion/debate, so here we go:
Firstly, a not so serious issue: who the heck cares who created the logo??? It's like the credits at the end of a movie, and being the caterer or something! I just found it bizarre to read above you arguing with someone who should get the most credit for the logo! If anything, I would say most credit ought to go with the guy who had the original (albeit rather crude) idea. It is easier to develop and refine someone else's original idea than it is to come up with such an idea de novo. BUt at the end of the day, it's just a logo! Maybe it would be worth arguing over who gets the credit (and big bucks) for creating the McDonalds golden arch or something, but, er, this ain't quite that!
Secondly, a far more serious issue: I agree that "reputation management" is a huge hurdle for Wikispecies, but I strongly believe that peer proofing is absolutely NOT the way to go! Taxonomy (the science upon which Wikispecies relies) is notoriously subjective (or at least difficult to agree upon). Different people can have very different, but more or less equally defensible ideas on classification, and they tend to want to stick with their own ideas. Clearly, inconsistent opinions cannot be combined into a sensible overall opinion - they combine to create chaos. Alternative opinions are just that - alternatives - and must, so to speak, be considered "in parallel". Hence I belive it would have been far more sensible to allow each Wikispecies editor to protect their own articles, and simply provide alternative versions of the article in cases of disgreement, which the user can choose between. Failing this, the only other solution, as I see it, is to simply cite references for everything, and it is up to the reader to verify the information as presented against the references. You see the problem is that one's very interpretation of published "facts" depends on one's level of experience and talent in the area, and cannot therefore be said to be "objective". 07:29, 8 February 2009 (UTC) oops, had logged out by mistake Stho002 07:30, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
Furthermore, "peer proofing" doesn't really work for a wiki precisely because it is a wiki, and therefore allows everybody to have their say equally regardless of level of experience/competence. Since low levels of experience/competence are more common than high levels, the "quality control" has too much of an input from those least qualified to make a judgement. But if you restrict the "peer group", then you no longer have a wiki, but an exclusive club! Stho002 08:15, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

Accountability as a Requirement of Integrity[edit]

I'm afraid I can't provide you with too lively of a counterargument to these points because I largely agree with them. To your first point I would like to add that when someone attacks me as having done something wrong, I like to either identify and correct the reasons for my miscalculation or, if I disagree that the action was a mistake, defend the reasons for my action. In the case of the logo, I cannot identify anything I did wrong, so I defended my honor when attacked. I believe that perfect integrity demands that we either fix an inconsistency or show that it is not inconsistent with our beliefs. I'll post a note here next time we discuss this topic on our MySpace blog. --Zephram 15:27, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
When is a disagreement an attack? It could be argued (no pun intended!) that "defending your honor" might make you feel better, but failed to address a putatively valid criticism of a specific issue. He says "excuse me but I think you need to reconsider this", and you hit him over the head with a big stick and carry on! There are always two sides to every story, and I just think that although he is probably after too much of the credit, so are you, and two wrongs don't make a right. Fragile egos seem to be an all too widespread problem...
I can assure you that I do not have a fragile ego. My ego is exceptionally robust, as is the case with anyone who goes out of his way to make sure that his value system retains perfect integrity as it evolves. I gave Jeremy's proposal to change my value system serious consideration with an assumption of good faith, and I rejected it. I still believe that Jeremy acted in good faith according to his values. It's just that his values are silly. As a product designer, if I owned every product I created the initial concept sketch for, I would be a billionaire. The people who turn my rough sketches into something usable deserve almost all of the credit. Without them, I would be nothing. I need them. They don't need me. --Zephram 06:31, 10 February 2009 (UTC)

>As a product designer, if I owned every product I created the initial concept sketch for, I would be a billionaire
Who said anything about owning? That is an entirely different issue to getting due aknowledgement, which is the issue at stake here. I don't know who would have most ownership rights to the Wiki logo. For some bizarre reason, another Led Zep analogy springs to mind! Their 1973 album Houses of the Holy sold 11 million copies in the US alone, but the record company owns the copyright. Page and Plant think they SHOULD own the rights to it because they created it, but the record company claims that it was a work for hire, and that Page/Plant agreed to the terms at the time. Nevertheless, nobody contests that Page/Plant deserve all (or most) of the creative credit (they just don't get the cheques!) Stho002 06:57, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

In a monetary based economy, cheques are the unit of acknowledgment. Usurers of Page and Plant's contributions get more cheques than the contributors, so people are motivated to become usurers. Somebody in the economy has to create the actual music, however, so we promise them that they too can eventually become usurers of other people's contributions if they pay their hard work into the bottom of the pyramid. Invariably, usury forms a Ponzi Scheme that will always eventually crash, so it turns out Page and Plant were right from a much larger perspective. If you pay cheques to the record company, you are promoting a pyramid scheme that will eventually end with a whole bunch of people pushing money around and nobody willing to work for anyone else. The solution is to create a tool that works for the job we want it to do. --Zephram 19:27, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

Finish Artist Contribution Weighing[edit]

One minor disagreement I have with you is over the creativity required of the finished artist. If I took the time to do so, I believe I could demonstrate that the finished logo requires considerably more original creative decisions than the concept design. The reason most people in our Western culture prefer to be concept artists is illustrated by my discussion with Jeremy. He offered no contention when I noted that he probably spent about fifteen minutes on his concept whereas I spent sixteen hours on the details, yet he referred to my work as nothing more than cleaning up his file. Why would anyone want to donate sixteen hours of his time to clean up someone else's file? Jeremy ignored repeated pleas to do the finish work on his concept. If he's not willing to get the job done, the person who gets the job done gets the credit. Jeremy spent approximately 1.5% of the total time necessary for completion of this project, so he gets 1.5% of the credit. In some cultures, that much credit would be considered generous because when someone drops the ball and slows down the progress of everyone else, the ball dropper can actually have a negative effect on the whole. When you consider that additional logo concepts where submitted after Jeremy's, but we waited in vain for Jeremy to finish his design instead of considering the newer submissions because Jeremy had already been declared the winner, it can certainly be argued that dropping the ball in this case had an overall negative effect. The reason this facet of the logo drama is so interesting to me is that it leads into your second point, which I will discuss as a separate issue giving you a chance to counterpoint to this one if you so desire. --Zephram 16:11, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

>the finished logo requires considerably more original creative decisions than the concept design
Perhaps, but it could be argued that the magnitude of the creativity for the original idea is greater than the sum of those required for the refinement. As an analogy, imagine taking some song lyrics, say from Stairway to Heaven, and making a great many creative decisions to change the lyrics into something somewhat more "refined". Assuming for sake of argument that I could do that, would it make me the greater artistic talent than Page/Plant??? Of course not!

Of course not, but that's not what happened here. This is more analogous to Page and Plant overhearing someone mention a stairway to heaven at a party and writing a song about it. On the album cover, they might make the mistake of mentioning the inspiration for their song, in which case the guy at the party claims that he owns the the song because it was his idea even though he did practically none of the work to produce it. --Zephram 06:17, 10 February 2009 (UTC)

>he probably spent about fifteen minutes on his concept whereas I spent sixteen hours on the details
How long does it take to have a brilliant idea? Is the brilliance of the idea directly proportional to the time taken to have it??

As I see it, the proper attribution of credit would be something like logo is a refinement by you of an original idea by Jeremy. Them's the facts!

Actually, I did not "refine" Jeremy's idea. I created a new logo that was close enough to his "winning" concept that the judges let it pass. I didn't like Jeremy's clunky idea, and as you can see above upon close inspection, the wispy logo I created is not the same thing. I attributed it to him just to be nice. I can see now that my attempt to be amicable was a mistake. Any of a thousand disparate designs could have been created from his crappy little sketch. He obviously was hell bent on taking credit for whatever anyone else created, but he was unwilling to do the work himself. That's the trouble with recognizing anyone else as an inspiration in a Feudalist society, they get greedy and want to claim the whole thing. --Zephram 06:17, 10 February 2009 (UTC)

I have to disagree with both your replies in this section! You seem to be claiming that Jeremy's original sketch is soooo crude that it bears hardly any resemblance at all to your finished product. Hogwash! If I squint my eyes a little, I can hardly see much difference at all! I would say that you haven't added anything CONCEPTUAL to it, just refined it. So, I still maintain that the best attribution of credit is to say that it was developed and refined by you, based on an original idea by Jeremy. But, as above, this has little bearing on who, if anybody, ought to OWN it...

Stho002 06:57, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

I'm a conceptual artist on almost all projects I'm involved with, but I agreed to act as a finish artist in this case because nobody else was willing to do it. As a conceptual artist, I don't pretend that my time and effort is worth more than that of the finished artists. If anything, the hardest part of the job is bringing it to completion. I'm glad most people don't feel the way you do, because there wouldn't be any finish artists if doing 98% of the work didn't warrant most of the credit for a project. --Zephram 18:48, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

Using a Screwdriver as a Hammer[edit]

Regarding your second point, I would like to use an allegory. We have a house to build and only one tool to build it with: a screwdriver. If you’ve ever tried to connect two studs together with only a screwdriver, you know that it is difficult because pine is only soft enough to hand torque a screw through in a minority of places. The chances of two studs having that soft spot in the area required to screw them together is slim. When you multiply that slim chance by the number of connections required to build a house, the project becomes impossible to build using screws. However, a builder thinking outside the box may turn the screwdriver around and use the handle as a striking surface to hammer in standard homebuilding nails. In this way, the house could be completed, albeit with considerable difficulty.
Building a house with a screwdriver is what we see happening at Wikipedia. People like Jayjg, Slimvirgin and Jimbo note that a screwdriver is not designed to be used as a hammer, but they can’t get the workers to use screws. Nevertheless, the workers are getting the job done by turning the screwdriver around and using the handle as a mallet. You have the same problem here at Wikispecies, and you will likewise find that the workers are unwilling to use the Wiki tool you provide in the way it was intended. That’s because it doesn’t work in the way it was intended. The method around which the tool was designed is insufficient for the task. My advice is to buy the workers some hammers and stop using this crappy little Wiki engine. --Zephram 16:40, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
This is a bit too allegorical for me, I'm afraid! You clearly stated on your user page that, in your view, peer proofing is the way to go for reputation management for Wikis, including (by implication) Wikispecies. My point was that it can't work for Wikispecies in particular, for the reasons I gave above. Now you are telling me that the answer is to turn peer proofing on its head and bash reliability out of the Wiki! Well, maybe that is exactly what I am doing! I don't know. At any rate, perhaps a version of Wikispecies more along the lines of Citizendium might be more of a solution???
Larry's going in the wrong direction with Citizendium. It won't work. My point in the allegory is that you don't use data to fit your engine. You use an engine to fit your data. Our data consists of multiple competing disparate lexicographies with no absolute measure to determine which is correct. The engine must allow for each reality to form independently, combining only where consensual to both groups of the merger and allowing non-destructive forks. In other words, the strength of the entire linked system must be compared, not the individual articles. The only way to do that is with an engine that enables it. The Wiki was designed for groups of people who knew each other well enough to assume good faith and competence. It simply cannot handle anything this big. Jimbo's idea of completely separate forks to solve the problem is silly because the fork with lesser market share will always whither and die. The only solution is an engine that enables forks to merge, split and update each other at will, competing on merit as entire systems. A user might get the most popular set as a default, but could easily change to a value system more in line with his ideas, thereby strengthening it, or even form his own minor fork while retaining the updates of most articles. --Zephram 06:52, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
I still think you are an engineer/economist talking to a "taxonomist" (actually, more a diagnostician with a good grasp of biotaxonomic nomenclature). If I could realistically start up a website, it would allow anybody (in Wiki fashion) to create an article which is edit protected and categorised by subject. Then, anybody who searches for information on that subject would get a list of alternative articles to check out and choose between. Rather like what you get from a Google search. The main difference is that not everybody can easily find somewhere to host an article they might want to write, such that it could be Googled. Such articles could be cited in other publications. This would be true "desktop publishing" for all. The articles wouldn't go through peer review, of course, but experience has shown me that peer review "ain't all it's cracked up to be", and I think articles ought to be judged on how useful they prove to be. The crap ones will soon fall into obscurity, and the good ones would shine through. Only this would allow EVERYONE (with access to the net) to make the biggest contribution to human knowledge that they possibly could make, regardless of their socioeconomic circumstances. If someone in deepest Africa, or in prison, or ... has something valid to say on a subject, then this would allow them to do so. Stho002 07:10, 11 February 2009 (UTC)
I'm glad to see that you recognize the need for better tools. I have committed my life to the creation of these tools. I am convinced that consensual measurement of contribution is the key, and that consent is only possible where dissent is viable. Thus, a singular line of thinking about any topic makes consensual measurement unrealistic and gives the controllers of the systems of measurement ultimate say over the content. I present the Federal Reserve System as a prime example of this obfuscated despotism. In the same way, having ultimate control of the inherently singular nature of the Wiki gives Jimbo ultimate control of the content here and makes anything based on a Wiki biased and unreliable. Your apparent suggestion of having multiple nonintersecting wikis won't help because the one with greater market share will become dominant and singular in time. We need a hammer to finish this house in a world where the hammer has not yet been invented. --Zephram 19:12, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

Wikispecies logo needs resizing[edit]

Please see this bug. Thanks! Kaldari (talk) 18:52, 7 September 2010 (UTC)