User talk:AgProv

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It's not hard to export pages and import them into here. But I'd hold off, Sanity is supposed to be giving me a copy of the existing site this weekend. --Osiris (talk) 19:30, 2 October 2012 (PDT)

Back again! Check the "Delete" option in the drop-down from "Create" in the vandal's User page. It's quick and easy and removes the pest from the User list at the same time. It only lacks a knob on the end! --Old Dickens (talk) 15:13, 16 November 2012 (PST)

There's a little drop down arrow with extra options on the page. Delete, Move, Protect, & Watch. --Osiris (talk) 16:56, 8 December 2012 (PST)

Thanks guys! See what you miss if you don't stay alert? AgProv (talk) 06:28, 9 December 2012 (PST)

Strange templates

There. I think I fixed the Annotations section of the Book Data template so that it works instead of creating a new page with a stutter. Now if someone could make the Amazon cover look-up work...--Old Dickens (talk) 21:59, 3 February 2013 (GMT)

Hi AgProv

Hello AgProv!

Thank you for your kind words. I take your point about potential spammistry so I've thrown a random thought up onto my user page.

Thanks again for the warm welcome!


What's new

Yo! You're back from Seattle! Feel free to comment on various changes to the infrastructure and the new creator permission. Sewage has been transpiring. --Old Dickens (talk) 23:51, 10 June 2013 (GMT)

Holy Mother of Nuggan! That must have been the biggest day ever. --Old Dickens (talk) 22:20, 17 June 2013 (GMT)

It was a sense of acheivement. I also have an uneasy feeling that User Sharlee (7070) might have been legitimate, as he/she made a couple of insightful edits to one page. (Deep sense of "whoops") I may have deleted them in error. Is it possible to get a second opinion on this and restore them?AgProv (talk) 23:31, 17 June 2013 (GMT)

"friendly fire incident": sure, blame it on the Americans!
--Old Dickens (talk) 00:51, 21 June 2013 (GMT)

Quite a few in the Falklands and Northern Ireland when there wasn't an American in sight.... at some level, does the Wiki store email addresses for users? A quick email from me to Aldibidable (and Sharlee) to explain what's happened and beg apology might be called for here... AgProv (talk) 23:18, 21 June 2013 (GMT) more care is now being taken when blitzing spammers, although this is hardly an excuse...AgProv (talk) 23:18, 21 June 2013 (GMT)

No worries about the accidental deletion. I only managed one bit of spam killing as my aldi account anyhow. Manwe (talk) 21:02, 23 June 2013 (GMT)

Speaking of spam, the talk page for this account was spam. Discount handbags indeed. Manwe (talk) 18:08, 24 June 2013 (GMT)

DanaeBatt: he/she/it is now not even a memory. Thank you for pointing it out! having now killed all the "B"'s in UserList, with the exception of BS5770 and Britarse, I'm onto the C's...AgProv (talk) 18:49, 24 June 2013 (GMT)

A couple of things

First off the main page keeps getting vandalised. I have undone edits twice in the last 24 hours where it has been replaced with an ad for methods of getting 'free' xbox live points. Is there no way to protect the page somehow or is that not something this version of the wiki software will do?

Also, I have spotted some redlinks for pages I wouldn't mind creating, but I can only seem to edit existing pages not add to blank ones, is this intentional? Forgive my newbie-ness - is there something I need to do to get access to this or do I need to get one of you guys to put some text in to enable editing like you did for my user page? Manwe (talk) 10:15, 26 June 2013 (GMT)

What we've discovered - Old Dickens and me spotted this independently - is that there are two "special" spammer names that just cannot be killed, at present: they appear to have burrowed themselves neatly into the deeper programming of the Wiki and corrupted the database. these two user-names specifically target the Main Page and at present appear kill-protected - all we can do here, for now, is to keep restoring the original edit. I suspect this may be a useful clue to something deeper. I also discovered a third spam user who just keeps coming back with the same name, however often we detect, delete, and merge. Like a vampire, this one has returned from the grave three times. Funny what you find out when you're intensively slaying spammers and start noting exceptions and anomalies...I wish I had the know-how to explore this more deeply...AgProv (talk) 15:13, 26 June 2013 (GMT)

Well I don't know if I can help any, but I am a computer technician. What do you see? Manwe (talk) 20:34, 26 June 2013 (GMT) I don't know if you see what I see when you go to a userpage, but what I'm getting when I try to merge/delete certain users into "Anonymous" is this:

Database error

A database query syntax error has occurred. This may indicate a bug in the software. The last attempted database query was: (SQL query hidden) from within function "DatabaseBase::update". Database returned error "1062: Duplicate entry '0-0-Main_Page' for key 'wl_user' (".

I have so far identified THREE spam names who return this error message and who all appear to still have active accounts. These are:-

  • Darrington07
  • Parent7kettle
  • Taiwan5kettle

The "vampire" user who has so far returned from deletion three times was "Antoinette"

O.K., so what I have gathered from looking at the documentation on the merge user tool is that this is caused by the spam user's watchlist. Would I be right in assuming that the Anonymous user you are merging them into is the one that you/the admins control? If so you need to log in as the Anonymous account, go in to the account's watchlist, edit raw watchlist and clear it. Then log back in as your administrator self and try merging/deleting the troublemakers again. That should obliterate them. Manwe (talk) 00:39, 27 June 2013 (GMT)

Addendum, if I got this right, the error is caused by the user you are trying to merge having something in their watch list that is already in the watch list of your dummy deletion account which the database can't handle. It's not a serious hacking attempt fortunately. Manwe (talk) 00:43, 27 June 2013 (GMT)

OK, I feel like Homer Simpson, but anyway I'd suggest cutting and pasting the two previous sections to the Mended Drum where I've started an overview of the security exceptions. Demarcation, don't you know? . --Old Dickens (talk) 01:41, 27 June 2013 (GMT)
I have no problem with that. I hadn't noticed it was being discussed in there to be honest. Manwe (talk) 01:45, 27 June 2013 (GMT)

A high rate of fire

A spammer every five seconds? My ISP isn't that fast - couldn't do it. --Old Dickens (talk) 22:36, 18 July 2013 (GMT) I did a little test. Ten seconds seems to be a good average for me. --Old Dickens (talk) 22:53, 18 July 2013 (GMT)

The technique I've arrived at is to open User List in "Special Pages", and go down it, right-clicking on every red name and clicking again on "Open In New Tab". (Of course, I also check the Active Users list to be sure we haven't had any new legitimate contributors there - any red names there that look legit, I'll open their contributions. If they're valid, I'll blue-list them with a welcome message on their user page. If not, they're zapped).

When I've got around thirty-five new tabs set up - that seems to be the maximum number of open tabs my browser will allow me - I'll go through them form left to right. It's a simple three click process: hit "delete", wait for the screen to change, click to merge user to "anonymous", close tab, the next New user tab pops up automatically, repeat. As the relevant points to click on appear in exactly the same places on screen every time, my mouse-using hand is now trained to move quickly and accurately!

Now and again I'll double-check any name that looks plausible or familiar and scope them out, but as often as not I'll blast the whole lot at a fairly fast kill-rate! Then refresh user list and begin again...AgProv (talk) 00:08, 19 July 2013 (GMT)

Ah...not performance-enhancing drugs, then. --Old Dickens (talk) 00:19, 19 July 2013 (GMT)

alas, no. One of the four fundamental Druidic forces applies - bloody-mindedness....and as it's now 01:23 GMT, I'm off to bed...AgProv (talk) 00:20, 19 July 2013 (GMT)

All-Time High: during the sixty seconds of 22:12 GMT on Friday 19th July, I deleted 24 spam accounts... that's one every 2.5 seconds... I'd be really surprised if I bettered that...AgProv (talk) 07:48, 20 July 2013 (GMT) and during the sixty seconds of 18:12 GMT on Saturday 27th July I killed 28... that's getting close to one every two seconds...AgProv (talk) 18:37, 27 July 2013 (GMT)

Kill the fatted calf; the Provigal returneth!

...and about time, too. I fear no one's been doing much work: fortunately Qwesty Capcha has eliminated the vandals, unfortunately very few new or old contributors have shown up. I've bee

I'm pottering around dusting and polishing, but you haven't missed much. A new book's due though; that may provide a boost.--Old Dickens (talk) 03:15, 4 November 2013 (GMT)

The Cymric spelling confused me, there. I thought you referred to to your old Hugglestonian school, but I find Prifysgol Glyndŵr in the Welsh Wikipedia with an "i". "Pryf" translates as hornet; I wondered why. --Old Dickens (talk) 03:15, 4 November 2013 (GMT)

Well.. you know you are bilingual when you can make speling mistakes in either language...AgProv (talk) 19:38, 8 November 2013 (GMT)


I can't read the damn book; it's not here yet! (mutter, grumble...) --Old Dickens (talk) 03:42, 9 November 2013 (GMT)

Entirely irrelevant personal query

I'm curious to know what you've noticed of our Mayor, Rob Ford (I say "our", although I didn't get to vote against him, but we in the suburbs may be tarred with the same brush, as you may be thought of abroad as a Mancunian). We have heard of another neighbour of yours named Rob Ford who has had no end of trouble on his Twitter account as a result of the oaf's antics. It's not often our politics creates the excitement of British (never mind American) shenanigans. --Old Dickens (talk) 03:12, 17 November 2013 (GMT)

Born in a place called Etobicoke. How apt. Is "Etobicoke" a Native Canadian word for "place where crack cocaine may be procured"? The story made it to BBC news today! This guy... well, I try not to point the finger at people who are grossly obese. That's lazy thinking. But he looks like a corrupt politician. There's something about that glistening porcine self-satisfied look. We could perhaps commission fan-art here? This guy could stroll into the Discworld as Crispin Horsefly or another suitable associate of Reacher Gilt. I'm really surprised he's only 44. He looks a good 20 years older. I see his brother succeeded him in his city council ward. it gets better, doesn't it? That's the sort of thing you get in Tammany Hall. Or the British Labour Party. Wait, there's more! Alientating the Canadian-Italian voting community with some politically incorrect epithets... and he tops this with some back-handed compliments to those of "oriental" race... and basically says if you can't or won't get a car and persist in riding a bike in adulthood, why should we listen to you whining on about cycle lanes, you don't pay no road tax, so get off the god-damn road and if you get killed it's your own damn fault,you don't belong there.

He really knows how to make friends and influence people, doesn't he? I begin to suspect some sort of chicanery and gerrymandering is the only thing keeping him in office. He represents a ward where there are a lot of immigrants, who may either not vote or do not want to go on an electoral roll for fear of being officially listed. Hmm. An insecure and transient population, the shady politician's asset. And of course a bit of judicious rabble-rousing to raise fears in good white folks - who are registered to vote - about brown-skinned immigrants. And on top of all this, allegations of prostitutes and improper sexual advances to Toronto municipal employees. Caught driving DUI in the USA - well, it was Florida, a state where right-wing conservatives kinda help each other out...

And now.. admissions of "drunken stupors" in which he buys crack cocaine.

"Independent" Progressive Conservative of Ontario - "progressive" probably meaning ultra-right wing libertarian?

BTW, the BBC article on the news today mentioned something about him being a Christian lay minister? What church? I guess they're not pleased...

MYSTERY SOLVED! I wasn't listening too carefully to BBC radio news and was conflating two stories. Just as the Ford story broke in the UK, there was a little local scandal about a Chief Executive of a major British bank - who was in fact also a previously-respected lay minister - of the Methodist church (nominally teetotal). Who was caught by police in a very intoxicated state attempting to procure crack cocaine. He has since admitted to a long-standing drugs and alcohol problem going back some years. If you join the dots, this predates the recession provoked by a banking collapse. He has admitted to being too habitually intoxicated to do his job properly. Other senior bankers are trying to deny having worked too closely with him. We really, really, need a Vetinari, a Concludium, and for preference a Guild of Assassins in this country.

And the OTHER Rob Ford is a politics don at Manchester Uni. Ah well, it's material for an academic treatise...

August 2014

I see the DWCON is right in your neighbourhood this summer. We'll want voluminous reports. --Old Dickens (talk) 02:58, 12 February 2014 (UTC)

The Palace Hotel in the city centre, and I discover, fully subscribed even in February! But at least I'm now on the waiting list in case anyone drops out, and there may be open events for which one does not need to be a resident. There is also the possibility of somehow wangling my way in as a helper and assistant, for which I have made a case (the organisers are recruiting). We shall see... AgProv (talk) 00:47, 16 February 2014 (UTC)

Correct Ions

Now I see that you've bee using correctinos for months. I blame my aging eyes; my mind's fine, really it is... --Old Dickens (talk) 23:13, 4 June 2014 (UTC)

Hee-hee; try this: . They guessed that my native language was Welsh! --Old Dickens (talk) 04:22, 7 June 2014 (UTC)

I started looking hard at words for missing leters or trasnpositnios due to too-fast typing. Then I realised when I wrote the edit reason I still managed to spell "correctinos" rather than "corrections", thus highlighting the reason why a single-letter change was necessary in the first place. I liked the resultant phrase so much it stuck and I carried on using it. AgProv (talk) 21:05, 14 June 2014 (UTC)

The game clocked me as being Northern Irish, Southern Irish and then Scottish in descending order of probability and also considered if English wasn't my first language, I'd be Hungarian.... my hovercraft is indeed full of eels, evidently. AgProv (talk) 21:22, 14 June 2014 (UTC)

The Long Series

Back on the amphetamines, I see. Well, it's a good thing someone is reading those. --Old Dickens (talk) 23:48, 16 August 2014 (UTC)

I do have to admit that having read the three books of the series back-to-back, they're getting more interesting and entertaining. The first was a little bit "flat", but they've taken off a bit with Long War and Long Mars. There's an awful lot of "recycling" going on, with Discworld ideas given a more scientific and "realistic" treatment. Lots of ideas from the The Science of Discworld series creep in - look for the Crab civilisation in Book Three. Even Jacqueline Simpson gets a look-in - she's credited with ideas and original research. (on elves and kobolds). And the music! (just like Soul Music...)AgProv (talk) 01:35, 17 August 2014 (UTC)

Damn! You mean I have to buy the other two? --Old Dickens (talk) 02:21, 17 August 2014 (UTC)


"Rwyf wedi prynu y llyfr hwn. Yr ydym yn trafod cyfieithiadau o Terry. Dylwn i ysgrifennu adolygiad. Rwy'n rhy ddiog ar hyn o bryd."
That's easy for you to say... --Old Dickens (talk) 23:38, 28 November 2014 (UTC)


While you're back, see if you can provide any help to the prodigal Moishe Rosenbaum, who's trying to spread the good word among the heathen of Power Cable and vicinity (I already volunteered your services). --Old Dickens (talk) 00:16, 18 July 2015 (UTC)

On Aceria

On the subject of the Atlas, The Great Outdoors seems to be the location for your Aceria. Aligning the map with hubward as "north", we can follow the route of the expelled Quirmian settlers rimward to Genua, bringing their chaudrons and fiddles with them. On the other side we have New Nothing, a settlement suggesting old Scandiwegian excursions to North America. In between there's a lot of outdoors generally ignored by the rest of the world. Old Dickens (talk) 00:53, 15 April 2016 (UTC)

Excellent! That's pretty much where i'd have looked, although at first I was looking at the lands between the Hub and Whale Bay, seeing a sort of "Hudson's Bay" resonance there. But then, that's marked as Ecalpon and Gonim and therefore "taken"...And I see the Slake Plains even have "Mormons" on the salt flats (Utah). hold me back! AgProv (talk) 20:40, 15 April 2016 (UTC)


You're incognito in e-mail. Is this intentional or oversight? --Old Dickens (talk) 03:47, 21 May 2016 (UTC)

Interesting. I've just checked in Preferences, and all the buttons to enable emailing appear to be ticked. I did refrain from resetting Language Preference to "cy", though - the default language for the Wiki is English, and I may as well stick with that. Have I missed anything I should be ticking to enable emails? AgProv (talk) 16:34, 21 May 2016 (UTC)

The wiki e-mail seemed to be trying, but messages bounce both through the wiki and directly. I thought you'd probably changed providers. I'll try again... --Old Dickens (talk) 16:49, 21 May 2016 (UTC)
OK. Now it seems to work except that there's a glitch in the wikimail if you check "send me a copy". Still don't know why the original direct mail didn't work. --Old Dickens (talk) 17:04, 21 May 2016 (UTC)

Seems to be working now. Replies sent. AgProv (talk) 23:56, 21 May 2016 (UTC)

Snuff annotation page, see if I can put it here

[AgProv, this keeps getting blocked by the spam filter. Can't see why; perhaps it will work on your talk page since I can't put it directly under your comments on the Snuff annotation page.]

AgProv, I'm just reading your analysis above about historical lesbianism in the 20th century -- didn't know that about the decades after the world wars. Thanks for the analysis.
My quibbly nit to pick is that this isn't the first clear presentation of gay women: Monstrous Regiment included Tonker and Lofty. ("The world is really opening up for you now, isn't it Oliver," Maledict[a] said to Polly upon making the connection.) Now granted, Tonker and Lofty are together due to the dreadful algebra of necessity rather than social choice, but they're there -- major characters who are gay and female. Moishe Rosenbaum (talk) 16:43, 27 July 2016 (UTC)
And so it worked here. The spam filter rejected identical text on the other page. Oh well... :-) Moishe Rosenbaum (talk) 16:44, 27 July 2016 (UTC)


A humble subject for the four-thousandth article, but whaddyagonnado? Now I recommend a large whisky in a dim, quiet room. Bring the bottle, actually. --Old Dickens (talk) 22:55, 30 July 2016 (UTC)

Toblerone is fairly horrible, isn't it? Not the greatest Swiss chocolate.... I have here a bottle of single-malt Laphraoig from the Islands. Fancy a glass? AgProv (talk) 23:09, 30 July 2016 (UTC)

Thanks anyway. Thy need is greater than mine, and I'm more of a Speyside man. (I wish I could afford it, of course.) --Old Dickens (talk) 23:23, 30 July 2016 (UTC)

So where are 1100 empty pages and how did they get there? I tried to create one: it didn't work. (I'd rather improve, organise or reduce a thousand old ones, anyway.) --Old Dickens (talk) 19:23, 1 August 2016 (UTC)

go to Main Page, then click on "wanted but still empty pages" in the first paragraph. this opens up a list currently 1175 items long. Most of these redlinks open onto empty pages which have links and references in other articles - established by previous editors setting up a link to be filled in later, either by themselves or somebody else with the time, knowledge and inclination. What complicates things is that several hundred items appearing on the list are in fact active articles - but on the German language Wiki, so I'm not sure what they're doing here as "empty pages".

Havinf trawled through it, my guess is that several hundred of the residue could usefully be completed, in time, as legitimate and worthwhile article pages. I've done a fair deal of that in the last week, and you cleared about thirty in one fell swoop by deleting that Czech-language article. (the list was nearly 1400 items long!)

Others are mis-spellings, misdirects and duplicates - I've deleted a few of these, usually by editing the parent article that generated the redlink.

Some are so tangential they're really not worth doing as independent pages in their own right: in these cases I've either done away with altogether, or else incorporated a brief mention of the character, place, concept or item on a suitable "overview" page.

And some are just so weird or irrelevant, I'm not sure how they got there at all.

Take a look and see what you think? AgProv (talk) 20:34, 1 August 2016 (UTC)

Oh dear. I fixed a couple, with some difficulty, but I don't think many of them can be found at all. Why blue de: links? It wants the god of resurrection; perhaps he could filter all links with only one request? The list isn't much use in that state. --Old Dickens (talk) 23:05, 1 August 2016 (UTC)
The list is still 1089 pages, but many should just be unlinked and some should be created, but whence all the de: links? --Old Dickens (talk) 00:25, 4 February 2020 (UTC)

Standard operating procedure:

  • Under "Welcome to the..." (first paragraph) click on "wanted but still empty pages".
  • Open list, scroll down until you find something that sparks interest.
  • Open empty page. Click on "What links here" to find the article where the item is referenced to see if this adds further information or sparks a neuron of memory. Keep cross-referencing the links or even (in extremis, I have been known to do this now and again) go to the original book to look it up!
  • If there really isn't anything that can be written, return to linked article and edit link, either to remove it or to point to a more relevant page.
  • If it can be done, write article. Tidy and add categories.
  • repeat up to 1175 times.... AgProv (talk) 08:07, 2 August 2016 (UTC)
  • return to list.


I've had no response to an email since the last time I mentioned the problem in May 2016 (see above). How can I forward quite an interesting letter I got from Somerset? --Old Dickens (talk) 18:56, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
Speaking of Zombies, he's back! But what about that email address? If it needs to be secret, you could delete it in Preferences. --Old Dickens (talk) 22:29, 3 February 2020 (UTC)

Apoloiges. just been out of circulation for a while and my email inbox was being swamped with crap - force deleted a lot of stuff without looking. so if it's possible for you to resend? interest and curiosity have been piqued. Thanks and nice to touch base again!

Email re-sent, fingers crossed. --Old Dickens (talk) 00:07, 4 February 2020 (UTC)
...but again, no response.--Old Dickens (talk) 02:07, 6 February 2020 (UTC)