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"Historic" versus "Historical"

For the nitpicky amongst us, here's Grammar Girl on the use of "historic" vs. "historical". To summarize, historic is important; historical is just old. Of course, when dealing with local history, this can no doubt lead to arguments. (She also tackles "a historic" vs. "an historic", but that's even less clear cut.) --Lkseitz 11:30, 17 January 2011 (PST)

Largest city wikis

Reviving User:Dystopos' post from last year, with somewhat updated statistics. A copy of Wikipedia:City wiki#Largest city wikis with all the non-USA wikis brashly tossed out:

Rank Founded Name Location (City, State) Articles Images Edits Users
1 2004-06-24 DavisWiki Davis, California 16,993 20,957 300,448 14,280
2 2006-03-15 Bhamwiki Birmingham, Alabama 7,888 2,753 72,791 324
3 2007-02-06 Omaha Commons Omaha, Nebraska 7,124 1,408 39,943 729
4 2005-09-09 ArborWiki Ann Arbor, Michigan 6,951 849 46,649 1,001
5 2005-01-18 RocWiki Rochester, New York 6,040 3,003 75,019 5,938
6 2006-12-05 Mankatopedia (disabled) Mankato, Minnesota 3,984 572 15,254 99
7 2006-02-27 Santa CruzWiki Santa Cruz, California 3,135 1,603 16,497 98
8 2005-07-18 Bloomingpedia Bloomington, Indiana 3,109 1,402 27,179 2,816
9 2006-07-19 Chico Wiki Chico, California 2,495 2,070 18,245 90
10 2009-09-28 PortlandWiki Portland, Oregon 466 269 4,889 78

Fun with statistics


  • Images per article is 141.5% at DavisWiki, 83% at Chico Wiki, 51.1% at Santa CruzWiki, 49.7% at RocWiki, 45.4% at PortlandWiki, 42.7% at Bloomingpedia, 30.1% at Bhamwiki, 19.9% at Omaha Commons, and on down. Of course, that doesn't count images that are used on more than one article. --Lkseitz 12:07, 17 January 2011 (PST)
  • We've inched up to 32.0%, still a solid 7th. --Dystopos 00:34, 31 January 2011 (PST)
  • Just over 33%. --Dystopos 21:07, 8 February 2011 (PST)
  • Closing in on 35% --Dystopos 09:16, 5 March 2011 (PST)
  • Still going through my archives. We'll be pushing 40% soon! Patriarca12 12:28, 1 May 2011 (PDT)
  • 40.8% now. --Dystopos 09:43, 17 March 2012 (PDT)
  • 3640/8754=41.6% --Dystopos 19:54, 3 June 2012 (PDT)

Edits per user

We're still on top of edits per user at 215.1, followed by 202.7 at Chico Wiki, 168.3 at Santa CruzWiki, 154.1 at Mankatopedia, 63.9 at Omaha Commons, and on down. --Lkseitz 12:07, 17 January 2011 (PST)
I've revised some of the data on the table. The sites that use DavisWiki's software are very frustrating. Anyway, it looks like Mankatopedia is missing in action. Our current "edits per user" is 218.8. Some of the Wikis count users with 1 or more edits separately from those who have registered and never edited. I expect if we did that, then we'd probably have something in the order of 25-35 "active" users, giving us an "edits per active user" closer to 2,000. --Dystopos 13:01, 17 January 2011 (PST)

Fun with Street View

I've been having fun using Google Street View to link to recent views that match up to historic(al) photos, such as Image:City Market sm.jpg and J. R. Copeland residence. Seems helpful as a way of connecting people's everyday experience to the past. Conveniently, when you get a link from Google (blue button on the top right of the viewing window) it's already formatted as a short URL. Comments and suggestions for expanding this tool are welcome. --Dystopos 13:28, 25 January 2011 (PST)

  • I think the way you've been using it is fine. I'll try to keep it in mind as I go forward. --Lkseitz 10:46, 1 February 2011 (PST)
  • I seem to be doing something different, as the URLs I'm getting aren't short. --Lkseitz 11:37, 10 February 2011 (PST)

Feature articles

  • I've been mulling over the possibility of having some kind of "featured articles" listing on Bhamwiki. It might be a good place to direct newcomers who wouldn't be impressed with most of what a "random" page turns up. I think Linn Park and Wallace Rayfield are good candidates, based in part on the level of graphical content. Any other suggestions or thoughts on whether it's worth doing and how to do it? --Dystopos 15:21, 9 February 2011 (PST)


Anniversary V at Davenport's Pizza (L-R: Lkseitz, Dystopos, Wheresdib)
  • This year's FIFTH anniversary falls on a Tuesday, but in the past weekends have been better for everyone. Saturday the 12th is the last day of standard time. On Saturday the 19th we could all pitch in on a 5 Mile Creek cleanup (or not). As before, my plan is to briefly share some milestones, mention a few possibilities for the future of the project, and hand out some goodies. I'll invite everyone in the Facebook "fan" list, so there's a possibility for a larger turnout, but who knows. I'm open to venue suggestions. Do you guys like Jim Davenport's Pizza Palace? --Dystopos 15:21, 9 February 2011 (PST)
    • Alternately, we could stage a bal masque on the theme of "Night on Mount Olympus". Just let me know. --Dystopos 15:23, 9 February 2011 (PST)
    • March 12 works best for me, Davenport's is fine (I haven't been there in 15 years though). --Wheresdib 17:01, 9 February 2011 (PST)
      • I don't see anything major on the calendar either weekend yet, but March 12 is slightly better. Despite growing up less than 1/2-mile from Davenport's, I don't recall ever eating there. --Lkseitz 12:24, 10 February 2011 (PST)
        • March 12 is the date, then. Place to be determined. --Dystopos 11:59, 17 February 2011 (PST)
          • March 12 is the date. Jim Davenport's Pizza Palace. What time? 7:00? --Dystopos 09:57, 5 March 2011 (PST)
            • That or earlier works for me. --Lkseitz 15:51, 7 March 2011 (PST)
            • Same here, 7 or earlier. --Wheresdib 16:07, 7 March 2011 (PST)
              • And please make it an event on Facebook or I'll forget to come ;-). --Wheresdib 08:21, 8 March 2011 (PST)
                • I started too, but, the "like" page doesn't allow the creation of events, so I'll have to do it from the group page, which I had intended to deprecate. Ah well. --Dystopos 10:38, 8 March 2011 (PST)


  • As always, thanks for a great time, Dystopos! It was a nice night for pizza and a scooter ride. --Wheresdib 05:31, 13 March 2011 (PDT)
    • What he said, minus the scooter ride. Thanks, Dystopos. --Lkseitz 06:01, 13 March 2011 (PDT)
      • My pleasure. Darren, let's meet at Bakers' sometime. --Dystopos 17:46, 28 March 2011 (PDT)
        • Hmmm, I haven't been to Baker's in a dozen years at least. No pun intended. --Wheresdib 19:32, 29 March 2011 (PDT)
          • Wasn't that the pizzeria ya'll were talking highly about? --Dystopos 19:41, 29 March 2011 (PDT)
            • Yes, but that was when it was "Baker's Best" in Huffman. He moved to Bluff Park and re-named it "Baker's Famous" in the late 90s and I haven't been to the "new" location. --Wheresdib 07:50, 30 March 2011 (PDT)

Dashes revisited

We've discussed dashes before. I should have looked it up a long time ago, but instead of using "–", you can also hold down Alt and press "0150" on your numeric keypad. Unfortunately, the en-dash (–) and hyphen (-) look identical in the editing window, at least on my computer, but a preview shows the difference. (And Alt-0151 can be used for an em-dash (—), but we don't have much call for those.) --Lkseitz 11:20, 17 February 2011 (PST)

  • For the record, on a Mac, I can just use hold down the option key and type a hyphen. Like with Windows, the appearance in the input window is the same, but it shows up as an en dash in the article. (Thanks for inspiring me to look that up!). The "½" I've been using on some addresses requires going to the Special Characters palette on a Mac, but is accessible in windows with Alt+0189. An online tool I've used sometimes when I can't remember how to get a certain character is ✌♥☺ --Dystopos 11:57, 17 February 2011 (PST)


AT&T promises to replace my non-functioning drop line from the pole in the alley tomorrow, so I should be able to rejoin the project then. One of the things on my to-do list is to upgrade to the current version of MediaWiki, so if anyone has any expertise or warnings to share, let me know. --Dystopos 17:45, 28 March 2011 (PDT)

  • The first serviceperson said the drop line was damaged, but the guy who came today said that the lines just got switched, apparently by AT&T's other work in the area, and nothing was broken. Anyway. I'm back. --Dystopos 14:07, 29 March 2011 (PDT)
    • Welcome back! We broke 8K articles while you were away. --Wheresdib 19:31, 29 March 2011 (PDT)


  • Just for safety's sake, you might want to save anything you work on from now until further notice in text files (just copy the contents of the edit window into notepad and save). I'm planning to try to upgrade to the current version of Mediawiki in the near future (as soon as I man up). --Dystopos 16:04, 30 March 2011 (PDT)
    • Status so far. I've exported our 531 MB database in .SQL format (as I've always done for backups) and installed a Mediawiki 1.16.2 stack on my desktop machine with its own PHP and MySQL environment. That stack is running the mediawiki application, but when I went to import Bhamwiki's database, I found out it has a 2 MB limit on imports through phpMyAdmin. So the workaround is to just copy the actual file somewhere, but I don't know where or to run any of several command-line scripts which dump different versions of databases or XML files including different levels of information (user data, settings, history, etc), but I don't really know where to start with all that so I'm turning in for the night. --Dystopos 21:33, 30 March 2011 (PDT)

Pages with lists of dates

In doing the various year pages, I noticed that Wikipedia is (now?) using dashes instead of colons between the date and the event (e.g. 1936). Comparing it to our pages (e.g. 1936), I kind of like their format better. It makes the difference between the date and the name more obvious (see the Births sections on both pages). They also only give a date once and then an indented list below it instead of our method of repeating the date, unlinked. I have no preference regarding that detail, but thought I'd mention it in case someone else does. (But given past history on such formatting trivialities, the answer is no, no one else really cares.) Any thoughts? --Lkseitz 11:29, 19 April 2011 (PDT)

April 27

Does anyone have an opinion on what the article for the April 27 tornadoes should be called? --Wheresdib 00:21, 3 May 2011 (PDT)

  • I think I've used a couple of redlinks, but 2011 tornado outbreak would be the most parallel to the recent 1932 tornado outbreak article. --Dystopos 05:14, 3 May 2011 (PDT)
  • Just as a reference, the main article is (going to be) April 2011 tornado outbreak. Now someone just needs to write it. --Wheresdib 19:51, 8 May 2011 (PDT)
    • Took an initial pass at this. A fair amount of the WP article was simply wrong and needed to be cleaned up. Someone else will need to comb through it now and add information where necessary. Patriarca12 16:07, 9 May 2011 (PDT)

Tornado damaged buildings

Speaking of tornadoes, I was wondering if there should be a separate category for buildings destroyed by them under Category:Demolished buildings as there is for burned buildings. "Demolished" generally puts me in mind of purposeful demolition, not acts of nature. --Lkseitz 12:50, 4 May 2011 (PDT)

  • How about Category:Wind damaged buildings, in case hurricanes or straight-line winds come into play? Or is "damaged" not strong enough to meet our intent? (So far we've avoided Wikipedia's slide into ridiculous categories like "buildings and structures irreparably damaged by weather events in the United States". --Dystopos 19:10, 4 May 2011 (PDT)
    • I personally don't think we should go down that road. Demolished is good enough IMHO. --Wheresdib 20:27, 4 May 2011 (PDT)
      • An alternative has just occurred to me. Make the 2011 tornadoes a category and include all severely damaged/destroyed buildings in it. --Lkseitz 05:01, 5 May 2011 (PDT)
        • Which implies categories for each year with destructive tornadoes, which brings up another question: should demolitions be divided into years like disestablishments? --Dystopos 05:06, 5 May 2011 (PDT)
          • I do like the idea of possibly creating categories specifically for major natural disasters like Category:April 2011 tornado outbreak. I know that selection would be subjective, but events like those of last week are significant and do effect many different areas within the scope of this project and it would be worthwhile IMHO to have a category that links similar articles that can be cited. As for demolition by type, as a building geek, I do like the idea of having categories such as Category:Imploded buildings, Category:Manually demolished buildings, Category:Destroyed by natural disaster, etc. Patriarca12 05:29, 5 May 2011 (PDT)
          • Only categories for tornadoes or outbreaks that do damage to multiple notable buildings. Such tornadoes are, to date, exceedingly rare. I'd like to have a list of notable buildings damaged and/or destroyed, but such a list is too lengthy to put in the article. Even compiling a separate "list" article would be something of a hassle, but simply tagging articles with a category is rather easy and produces its own list in the end, especially if we start now rather than later. --Lkseitz 15:19, 5 May 2011 (PDT)
          • As to your question on years for demolition, the thought has crossed my mind as I've been working on years that such a thing might be useful. --Lkseitz 15:19, 5 May 2011 (PDT)
  • OK, I am going to go ahead and add Category:April 2011 tornado outbreak to add to those buildings and businesses damaged/destroyed on April 27. Feel free to change it but I've got to start using it or these are going to get out of hand. --Wheresdib 08:16, 8 May 2011 (PDT)
    • Thanks for getting this started, Dib. I hate to quibble – wait, you know me better than that. Um, anyway, is there a reason we're specifying April on this one? I know Wikipedia did, but they have other outbreaks to specify against. We don't (yet), do we? --Lkseitz 07:36, 10 May 2011 (PDT)

Red links

Been a while since I did this. There are currently 33,320 wanted articles with 65,955 links to them (red links). (The majority only have one link to them.) The front page says we have about 8,228 articles, meaning we're at 19.80% complete. At the beginning of December 2010, we were at 7,472 articles with 30,210 wanted ones (19.83% done). --Lkseitz, 15 June 2011


I just discovered a site called WikiIndex, a list of wikis, and added an entry for us. Feel free to elaborate on the sentence I stole from the main page. We now have a new statistic to chart: wikiFactor! We're currently at 16. --Lkseitz 14:47, 14 September 2011 (PDT)

  • Interesting. I fleshed out the description. A lot of dormant wikis out there. Thanks for helping make ours active. --Dystopos 19:24, 14 September 2011 (PDT)


  • Early on, I decided that Bhamwiki was best viewed on an 800-pixel wide browser winder. I usually have two windows open side by side and that still works for me, but once you get to the big monitors (the 24" iMac has a 2560x1440 display) , an 800-pixel window looks like an adding-machine tape. The 575-pixel banners were established as a function of that formerly-ideal window. So anyway, here's where we discuss alternatives (and find out if anyone wants to set up a mobile site.) I'm experimenting with an 800-pixel image on HB56 for your inspection. --Dystopos 14:45, 15 November 2011 (PST)
  • Also using an 800px banner at Regions Field. --Dystopos 10:00, 3 February 2012 (PST)


  • I recently removed several images from the Category:Paintings in favor of using the Template:Art, but now I think I need separate templates for paintings, sculptures, etc. If anyone wants to jump in and offer advice or help, go ahead. --Dystopos 13:29, 19 December 2011 (PST)

Statistics 2012

Red links

As of January 25, 2012, there are currently 34,412 wanted articles with 67,920 links to them (red links). (The majority only have one link to them.) The front page says we have about 8,559 articles, meaning we're 19.92% complete. The last time I did this (June 15, 2011), we were at 8,228 articles with 33,320 wanted ones (19.80% done), so we made some progress even though we added 1,965 red links. --Lkseitz 15:13, 25 January 2012 (PST)

  • Good to hear. If I haven't said so before, my approach to red links is to put them around any topic which "could" have an article, not just those that "should" or "probably will" have articles. --Dystopos 06:56, 26 January 2012 (PST)


And our wikiFactor is now 20, up from 16 in mid-September 2011. --Lkseitz 11:44, 3 February 2012 (PST)

  • I think we're up to 22 now. --Dystopos 09:51, 17 March 2012 (PDT)
    • And as we close in on a year since I discovered wikiFactor, it's now up to 26. We went up ten in just under a year. --Lkseitz 10:05, 6 September 2012 (PDT)

Anniversary dinner 2012

6th anniversary dinner
  • There will be a dinner, on or about March 15. Details to come soon. Comments welcomed already. --Dystopos 04:36, 23 February 2012 (PST)
    • As always, weekends work better for me, but the celebration isn't about me. The Saturday after the 15th is St. Patrick's Day, if that makes a difference. DST begins March 11. Both weekends appear equally open for me at the moment. As far as food goes, we've done Jim & Nick's BBQ, pizza, brunch, J&N BBQ, and pizza. Does that mean we have to do brunch again? :-) Coincidentally, I might be bringing an under 1-year-old again, just like when we did brunch last time. --Lkseitz 07:02, 23 February 2012 (PST)
      • OK. We don't have to do brunch again. What do you guys think about starting fairly early (5:00 or so) on Saturday at ROJO? --Dystopos 07:50, 2 March 2012 (PST)
        • Since that's walking distance from my parents, I'm always agreeable with Rojo. But which Saturday? --Lkseitz 09:51, 2 March 2012 (PST)
          • Saturday the 17th. --Dystopos 14:41, 2 March 2012 (PST)
            • Looks like we'll miss it this year. Our baby is due the next week. --Wheresdib 21:04, 2 March 2012 (PST)
              • How is that supposed to excuse you? Oh well. Maybe we can do lunch again soon. I need to talk some geocaching stuff with you. --Dystopos 13:02, 4 March 2012 (PST)
                • Oh, and congrats! --Dystopos 13:03, 4 March 2012 (PST)
  • Thanks for another great anniversary dinner, Dystopos! --Lkseitz 07:36, 20 March 2012 (PDT)

Shades Valley vs. Oxmoor Valley

Does anyone know the difference between Shades Valley and Oxmoor Valley? My sense of Oxmoor Valley is rather vague, but looking at the 1907 15 minute quadrangle of Bessemer, Shades Valley extends well southwest of what I think of as Oxmoor Valley. Is Oxmoor Valley just the small valley between Little Shades Mountain and Shades Mountain? If so, what about the valley between Bald Ridge and Shades Mountain? Both of those valleys are where Shades Creek is found, yet neither is labeled with a name on this map. We need to recruit a pro or serious hobbyist geologist/geographer/cartographer. --Lkseitz 09:52, 27 February 2012 (PST)

Testing a new template

Year process

I documented my process for creating needed year pages for the reasons stated at the top of that page. I thought it might be helpful to provide a pointer here. --Lkseitz 11:10, 1 June 2012 (PDT)

  • On behalf of posterity, I thank you. --Dystopos 11:35, 1 June 2012 (PDT)

Cities vs. Towns

I thought I'd mentioned this somewhere, but I can't find it, so I'll do so here (possibly again). According to the Code of Alabama Section 11-40-6, municipalities with less than 2,000 people are towns while those with 2,000 or more are cities. The latest U.S. Census (not estimate) determines the population. A few towns became cities after the 2010 Census, like Kimberly. --Lkseitz 10:19, 6 September 2012 (PDT)

  • Oops. --Wheresdib 10:46, 6 September 2012 (PDT)
    • No biggie. I was going to fix it, but I got distracted by historical populations. Then I saw what Dystopos did with Shelby County and decided I'd get back to it later. --Lkseitz 12:36, 6 September 2012 (PDT)

Orphaned pages

Want to help Bhamwiki, but don't have the time or inclination to write an entire article? Why not adopt one of our over 500 orphaned pages? These are articles that exist, but are not linked to by any other articles. The only way to reach them is by searching or browsing the categories. You could pick one and see if there are existing articles that should link to it. For example, I added a link to the Woodlawn Board of Aldermen from the Woodlawn article. Some pages in the list need to remain orphans, like disambiguation pages. And some really are too esoteric to link to from any existing articles . . . so far. But some probably have some natural links that just haven't been made yet. --Lkseitz 11:54, 7 September 2012 (PDT)

Official Birmingham city song?

I have been pondering this for a while now- the state has an official song, albeit most think it's "My Home's in Alabama" due to the effort to make that the state song a while back, but that's another argument. What we need is an official song that basically equates to us. I've been tinkering now and then in my secret lab with my guitar, but nothing substantial yet. In the mean time, I'd like to open the floor to anyone with a good song suggestion, and I'll start- Whether he was intending to be satirical or not (like his usual work- don't get me started on "Short People"), Randy Newman's "Birmingham" seems to describe the way things were in the past, and in my eyes, where we want the city to get back to in some form while still moving forward. I'd love to have a dog named Dan who was "the meanest dog in Alabam' ". Feel free to post your thoughts. --Jared Johnson 12:11, 15 September 2012 (PDT)

  • The chamber of commerce endorses "Sweet Birmingham" by Robert Moore, as recorded by Taj Mahal. --Dystopos 17:06, 15 September 2012 (PDT)
  • A very nice song, first time I've ever heard it. I like it, kinda catchy, sounds like something that would have been came up with somewhere near the Carver Theater by someone with a saxophone and some spare time. --Jared Johnson 15:25, 16 September 2012 (PDT)