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Keeping Names Straight

Discussions about Camerapedia and often confuse several similar-sounding words; they are defined here:

  • wiki = a technology for collaborative authoring through a web-browser interface. Used by many websites, projects, and companies for all types of content.
  • Wikipedia = the largest and most visible user of wiki technology is the free encyclopedia Wikipedia.
  • Wikia = the name of a private, for-profit company which hosts user-created wikis; it derives its income from advertising placed alongside this content. There are other similar "Wiki farm" companies in existence.
  • Camerapedia = An online encyclopedia of cameras and photography begun in 2004, and hosted at the domain In January 2011 this domain was sold to Wikia, and no longer exists as such. A website with the name "Camerapedia" is now hosted through
  • Camera-wiki = the website you are now visiting. In January 2011, many of the contributors to Camerapedia rebelled at its commercial hijacking by Wikia. A splinter group duplicated Camerapedia as it then existed, and "forked" off a new project, pledging it would remain non-commercial. On February 7, 2011 this went public as It has grown by many hundreds of pages since this split.

Where Should We Talk?

Although having our community discussions take place on this page is "the true Wiki way," I'd like to raise the question of whether it's actually the best place for it.

I do think it's essential to have a venue where the active and committed wiki contributors can talk out issues about policy, organization, etc. And as the size of our Flickr group grows it may be unwieldy to do it there. Early on, I did set up a google group mailing list; but at the moment it remains invitation-only and not much used. (I'm happy to invite you, just Flickrmail me your preferred email address, or send it to me via subfunky (at]

I know I keep beating away at this same message, but there are lots of folks in the world who potentially could be a great help to us--either with camera expertise or organizing a non-profit--but who find all this wiki-markup nonsense completely opaque and unfriendly. Many will forget to look for discussions or followup comments here, and miss them entirely (I only just figured out watchlists today myself).

I'd like to find some discussion venue that's accessible and easy for the less techie folks. I propose that email lists are a pretty good lowest common denominator where that could happen. Happy to take other suggestions, though.--Vox 12:44, 24 February 2011 (PST)

Just to update this: Our google group mailing list is up and running, and you can make a request from the group front page to join it.--Vox 13:27, 13 June 2011 (PDT)

Other wiki discussions

To reach the largest number of wiki contributors, it is advisable to start a topic at the Flickr discussion area.

If making a request to add or improve features of the wiki, also please see the "To do" list.

--Vox 07:23, 21 February 2012 (PST)

Image Uses

Going forward, I feel there are a couple of areas where Camerawiki could use some refinement. The first is pushing for a more standardized way to embed images in pages--always including the essentials of a link back to the source, identifying the contributor, and stating the license terms. The first is mandatory to use Flickr-hosted images in a way consistent with their terms of service.

Another area needing work is to aim for greater visual consistency between pages, which currently can be a bit chaotic. There's no standard for the image dimensions used, so some pages have excessively tiny thumbnails. The wiki markup syntax is not the most intuitive (not to me, anyway) when it comes to understanding how photos align or how text wraps, and so odd collisions with text often occur. I'd like to work with folks more familiar with the wiki markup language to define some "best practices" for nicer-looking pages. --Vox 19:17, 30 January 2011 (CST)

chaotic answer: At the moment the visual inconsitency is just a dusadvantage for wikia's skinned page view. Thumbnail images are sometimes used for good reasons. On some pages they are just decoration of camera type lists. In some of these pages they can be replaced by "small" variants instead of thumbnail. There are helpful buttons over the editor window to get some wiki syntax generated. Steevithak already began to enhance the Flickr_image template. I think about a second version for uploaded Flickr image copies.U. kulick 19:45, 30 January 2011 (CST)
Since we have one obvious advantage over Wikia (less page clutter), it would be nice to capitalize on that by encouraging nice clean, open layouts. I'm concerned that we need to be welcoming to contributors with great camera knowledge, but little patience for wrestling with markup syntax to lay out pages neatly. Even a template that e.g. automatically forms two columns, (text left, images/captions right) would smooth out the appearance of many pages. --Vox 23:03, 30 January 2011 (CST)
Actually, the wiki version of adding images and sizing them is quite easy, once you get used to it. It's much more flexible for getting an image in a particular place in an article, the exact size it needs to be relative to it's location in the article. Adding images as links from Flickr can be constrictive at times - you can't adjust the size easily. I'm hesitant to change an image to a different size because it would mean finding the original contributor's page and choosing a size that would be better than the original found on the wiki. One question semi-related to images: Are we going for images that represent the camera the best or just with images that are uploaded first? I've seen a couple images that could be replaced with better representations of that model, but am also hesitant to change anything. I've seen people on other wikis get into battles over having their photographs replaced. HaarFager 14:42, 8 February 2011 (PST)
If you would care to mock up some dummy pages with examples of "best practices" for laying out text and images, perhaps that could be a rallying point for making gradual improvements throughout Camera-wiki. The only thing to be aware of is the Template:Flickr image, because we're attempting to enforce more consistency in image attribution and rights clarity.
In my case as a total beginner, page layouts tended to be the result of random thrashing because I didn't understand the markup, and I expect that will be true for many prospective contributors who might be camera experts, but new to wikis.
For photo replacements, I agree with you that in many cases authors just grabbed what was in the Camerapedia pool as of that date, when much better images might be available. My preference would always be to replace images in the event we can get 1) plain light backgrounds; 2) camera examples in better & more original condition; 3) sharper images without wacky HDR, sepia, or Hipstamatic processing.

In my opinion, the "Flickr image" template is good for a single image only. Once you try to add two or three images aligned to the right or to the left, the template causes various problems. The Mediawiki table syntax is more flexible when you want to insert many images, and it is not that difficult to grasp. See for example Eder Patent Kamera, impossible to achieve with the "Flickr image" template, or this page for more complex layouts.

For a beginner, it is certainly easier to cut and paste the layout of an existing page and changing the image URLs. To help with that, we might set up a help page with real-life examples taken from various pages.

--NihonCamera 12:54, 30 March 2011 (PDT)

A welcome message for new user IDs

A short conversation in the talk page of new user Past reflections reminded me that a welcome message for new users might be not merely a friendly gesture but also something of utility. I therefore whipped up a template for the purpose. It's rather kludgy but I think it's a lot better than nothing.

I like to think that its kludginess may be part of its appeal. It requires two taps on the "Save page" button, and the interval between the two not only lets the writer sign it but also lets them add something personal -- "By the way, I'm delighted to see that you're working on Kowa medium-format cameras; I still have one of these and use it every weekend" -- so that the message is more appealing and doesn't risk smelling like "unthinking boilerplate".

I called the template "Welcome1" rather than plain "Welcome" with the idea that, even after it's rephrased and finessed, it needn't be the sole welcome template. Instead there could be several, allowing a choice among them.

Incidentally, work on this template reminds me that invitations to ask questions on the writer's own talk page will remain pretty hollow until the default expansion of "~~~~" is not simple "[[User:JoeBloggs|JoeBloggs]]" plus timestamp but instead something like "[[User:JoeBloggs|JoeBloggs]] ([[User talk:JoeBloggs|talk]])" plus timestamp. Any chance of effecting such a change? Zuleika 00:51, 30 March 2011 (PDT)

Just to update this, we now have a template {{newb}} which fills in a boilerplate greeting and a warning against would-be spammers. When this template invites the newbie to write on their user page, its redlink does automatically insert the proper page title. --Vox 07:38, 23 March 2012 (PDT)
Both template are now in the Category:User_talk_page_templates to make them easier to find. I'm working on a third template for new user talk pages that will be used by our MediaWiki bot, called botscura. My plan is to have the bot check for new users hourly and initialize their talk page and profile page using templates. I'm still in the research & development phase now but I'll update this discussion when I've got it working. Steevithak (talk) 12:02, 22 June 2012 (PDT)


Template:Self puzzles me. Please see my questions at Template talk:Self/doc. -- Zuleika 01:51, 3 April 2011 (PDT)

It's taken from another Wiki to prepare future file uploads. Self is a license template for the file description pages of uploaded files.U. Kulick 04:08, 3 April 2011 (PDT)
You mean, it's exclusively for file uploads to this site? If that's so (and if I understand this website), then indeed its use is not (yet) necessary or even appropriate; and it would be better, I think, to note conspicuously within Template:Self/doc that it shouldn't (yet) be used. Zuleika 05:34, 3 April 2011 (PDT)
Uh, hello? Zuleika 18:43, 5 April 2011 (PDT)

Image license

Thoughts prompted by the result of this move: This wiki lacks any "Image license" namespace. Its current name thus implies that "Image license: Creative Commons (not for commercial use)" is a mainspace article, e.g. a camera worth writing about.

Can a namespace be added? If not, I think that this should be " Creative Commons license excluding commercial use", or similar. (Which, I'd agree, is quite a mouthful.) Zuleika 18:43, 5 April 2011 (PDT)

Ack--ditto for "Sources:", as in for example Sources: Bibliographies (and note the anomalous space after the colon).

I don't demand that anyone should fix these problems really quickly--as if anyone would be persuaded even if I did make such a demand!--but I do think that decisions should be made quickly so that we know how new pages should be made, and thus don't exacerbate existing problems. Zuleika 19:27, 5 April 2011 (PDT)

Rather than create a new namespace just for image licenses, I'd prefer using the namespace (it seems to me licenses used by the belong there anyway). We've got some other changes to the license templates planned to make them align better with the CC license types, so I'd rather do them all at once. Those templates are pretty heavily used and it would put our job queue count through the roof if we make a lot of little changes. I'm hoping to get time to look at this issue within the next week. (feel free to remind me if don't get to it) Steevithak 11:41, 6 April 2011 (PDT)
Sound thinking there.
And although "IANAL", I think that some pages such as this would benefit from rewording. (I've just now reworded this one myself, although I'm not fully confident of the result.) Zuleika 16:46, 6 April 2011 (PDT)

Reminder: Creative Commons and Non-Commercial are not the same - There are six types of CC licenses and only 3 restrict commercial use. I noticed several of my images have been changed from CC (creative commons) to NC (non-commercial). These are NOT the same thing. In my case I use the CC BY-SA license, which explicitly allows commercial use and derivative works. Only CC licenses that include the 'NC' designator (i.e. the CC BY-NC, CC BY-NC-SA, or CC BY-NC-ND) can legitimately use the 'nc' image rights template. It would make more sense if we had templates for each of the six types of CC license but we don't. I've updated the cc image rights template with a full explanation of the types of CC licenses and I'd recommend using it for all CC licensed images to avoid confusion.

As a side note, once we get to MediaWiki version 1.19, I think I'll be able to get an automated flickr image extension working that will automatically display the appropriate license terms as indicated by the flickr API. So it's not worth making a lot of new template to solve this right now.
Steevithak 07:13, 2 March 2012 (PST)

Steevithak, thanks for this enlightening of the creative common licenses. Guess i had read somewhere that all cc's should be replaced by nc's but see that this is not the case and just a misunderstanding on my side.
Hanskerensky 21:12, 7 March 2012 (CET)

We did did not have a non-commercial template until about a year ago. So previously, all CC photo had the same image-rights link. So what did change recently was that we began noting "non-commercial" for CC images where the license on the Flickr page specified that... It was sort of a halfway solution, since we still don't note any other CC license terms like "no derivative works" or "share alike." At the time WIkia had hijacked so many NC images, I think that was the license term people were most preoccupied about. --Vox 07:12, 9 March 2012 (PST)


Having rearranged Nikomat/Nikkormat last night, I'm now dissatisfied with my approach (or rather with its goal), and want to rereorganize. But before I embark on that, I invite comments. Please see Talk:Nikomat/Nikkormat. Thank you. -- Hoarier 17:16, 15 May 2011 (PDT)

Nobody commented, so I went ahead. -- Hoarier 22:29, 20 May 2011 (PDT)

Beloved Wikipedia pages

There might be wikipedia pages which You want to cite as a whole. Here's a recipe to achieve that in a standardized way: .U. Kulick 12:14, 19 May 2011 (PDT)

Now the idea can be checked with widget Widget:MediaWiki. There are other nice new widgets [´for Flickr images nor: Widget:Flickr and Widget:FlickrShow. U. Kulick 05:55, 20 May 2011 (PDT)
According to the web page ( ) to which you point, it's not a matter of citing but a matter of embedding.
The notion of citing is already surprising -- surely CW articles should not cite articles on other wikis (though they may mention them) -- but that of embedding is even more surprising. When might one want to do this? -- Hoarier 18:34, 20 May 2011 (PDT)
Looks like this widget has not been used to embed anything since it was added and there is now a rather large warning on the MediaWikia site saying it should be used with caution as it allows any user to embedded pages containing malware. I'm going to remove the widget for now. If we find a need for later, we can always put it back in.
Steevithak 20:32, 20 June 2012 (PDT)
So what is the correct procedure for referencing or including wikipedia content? For example, the whole wikipedia page on flange focal distance is already highly developed and useful for my lens adapter project.
It might not be a good idea to duplicate it in camera wiki though because that would mean someone had to check the wikipedia version for updates, decide if the camera wiki version should have those, too... if not, it would become an inconsistent fork... maybe best just link them up as external links? --Skinman (talk) 20:34, 27 November 2015 (CST)

This question has come up before. I have occasionally linked to WP, for example if I use a phrase or name that an average reader may need an explanation for, but which isn't central to our field. For example, I linked to WP in Svea while discussing the origin of the camera's name. Our page Help:Citing sources doesn't forbid using WP 'to provide context'. I just searched and found 501 links to WP! Admittedly, a lot of those are in discussions about whether and how to cite WP as a source! Sometime, I might go through some of those and see if we really have to use WP that much.
Although we're both wikis, WP and CW are very different projects. One difference is the attitude to 'Original Research'. None of the information at WP should be original; so if we make a statement here that really needs a source to support it, WP isn't really the right source to cite, though we could look up the source cited by the WP article, and cite that. However, in this case, you aren't asking about using WP to support statements that might be disputed. I imagine it's the table of values that I guess you're interested in. Just because of the number of contributors, the table at WP is likely to be bigger, and new values added sooner, than ours. I can see the attraction of giving a link (and I think I'd go ahead and do it!). I see a lot of red-links in the table though!
Note that we already have the pages Flange focal distance and Lens mount. Maybe you could modify those (and add a link to the information at WP if you think it helps).
Cheers!--Dustin McAmera (talk) 15:51, 30 November 2015 (CST)

New featured articles

In the past we had changed the list of featured articles several times, most times in February or October. I suggest the use of Template:Featured articles/October 2011 for the coming October, but for the last time with my suggestions for featured articles. I always chose articles with some interesting contents, but the site has gone through a phase of massive good rework by several of our best contributors. So there should be some more of you now who might like to decide what's a good article. It would be fine if we would find a way to make the choices together, for example with a list of good articles. We can set up new featured articles lists using suggestions from that good articles list, for example every February, June and October, that means we would need at least 9 new suggestions every year. If we get more suggestions we could use the "superfluous" ones for featuring additional articles thru links from our facebook page.U. Kulick 14:46, 19 September 2011 (PDT)

I once began a page to collect good articles. It has not been used so far, but is available for this purpose. (I later noticed Fujica GW690 had already been used as a featured article before.) Anyone who wishes to suggest good articles could add them there.--Vox 11:00, 20 September 2011 (PDT)
No, it was the Fujica G690 which was already featured in the beginnings of the project. The Fujica GW690 was just suggested as feature.
Aha, I mis-read that. Good then, we've got one on the list!--Vox 13:52, 20 September 2011 (PDT)
Hi all, please check , a suggested new version of our featured articles on main page. If it pleases You please revive the reverted edit.U. Kulick 07:11, 11 October 2011 (PDT)

Category clear-up

A thought occurs to a Camera-Wiki (CW) reader (or editor): "Wasn't there some German 6×9 SLR back in the 1930s?"

The obvious way to locate such a beast is to get the list of all cameras here, and reduce this to an easily skim-readable size by specifying as many as are needed of the specifications "German(y)", "6×9", "SLR", "1930–1939" (and by applying these specifications in any order).

It's a pleasant idea, but MediaWiki (the software used here) has no provision for this; and, to the best of my knowledge, nothing like it is in the pipeline.

Instead, all we have are categories. These are unsatisfactory, not least because any category only displays its member pages (or member templates or whatever) plus the categories immediately above it and below it. Yes, it would be far better if there were a "breadcrumbs" system, allowing one to jump three levels up (etc), but there isn't. (I've heard that a "breadcrumbs" system already is offered; but that at this point it's so buggy that it would irritate more than it would help.)

All of which goes to show that, curse it though we may, the category system is all we have and all we are likely to have in the foreseeable future. It may become easier to navigate -- the breadcrumb function might be added [wild guess!] the year after next -- but it would still be what's used.

The following may seem self-evident, but: The more consistent the category system is, the easier it is to use. Please bear with me for an example. Over at Wikipedia (WP) the other day, I noticed the existence of the newish and [then] virtually uncategorized article "Third Floor Gallery" (a photo gallery in Cardiff). I had a vague idea of how this might/should be additionally categorized, but a clearer idea that it was analogous to London's Photographers' Gallery. So I "edited" the latter to copy its category section, pasted this into the former, made changes to the categories that seemed obvious, previewed, deleted the "red" (non-existent) categories, explored the blue ones . . . yes, it may sound terribly complicated but it probably took only five minutes. What I did not have to do was either to travel a long way up the category hierarchy in order to explore other possible directions or to do more than trivial guesswork.

All of this is helped by the fact that WP categorizing is a lot more consistent than CW categorizing. This is hardly surprising, and it is not intended as a mere complaint about CW; it's a statement of (perceived) fact. And it's a fact that I propose to do something about.

Descriptions of CW categories are dreary both to write and to read, but let's just look at one simple (and trivial) example. Arco lenses (plural) is within Category:Japanese lenses (plural). But Category:Japanese lenses is within Category:Lens (singular). In itself, this is no big deal. But inconsistencies like this are rife, and they waste time. Well, one simple proposal: Categories for things (plural) should be named for the plural. (Yes, hardly a revolutionary idea, I realize.)

If you're reading "Community discussions" you probably know something about categories already. But if not: Categories cannot be renamed (or not effectively, anyway). If Category:Lens should instead be Category:Lenses, then the process is:

  1. Create Category:Lenses (categorizing it, etc)
  2. For every member of Category:Lens: edit, rewrite "Category:Lens" as "Category:Lenses", save
  3. Delete Category:Lens

The first and third stages are easy. It's the second that takes time.

In WP jargon, the second stage is of "depopulating" the old category and "populating" the new one. At WP, people use a special tool for this, "HotCat", wherever possible. (I've never tried HotCat myself.)

Actually there are four stages. Above are the second to fourth; the first stage is getting agreement that what you're proposing is the right thing. After all, there are few things more infuriating than undoing some other fool's category "improvement", and (I speak from experience here) few more miserable than undoing one's own.

Let's start at the top. If we go to any category of CW and go up, up, up, eventually we reach ":Category:Root category". Root at the top? Oh, right, this is a tree, and trees grow upwards rather than downwards. (Metaphorical use seems to have inverted the actual tree.) And "root" brings to mind "root access" (not to mention "root canal") and all in all is not the best name.

Instead, I propose that all articles (about cameras, etc, not about such matters as how to write for CW) should lead up to Category:Articles, and that this in turn should be one of a very few members of Category:Contents. But this wouldn't just ("just"?) be a matter of renaming, because the current ":Category:Root category" is a mess, containing some categories themselves better categorized elsewhere, and one or two categories for material that I don't think should be in CW at all. Very soon, I'll be happy to comment (concisely!) on what I think should be done with every member of :Category:Root category. However, enough from me for now. Instead, over to you. -- Hoarier 17:16, 9 January 2012 (PST)

Articulating a more logical architecture from the "top down" is indeed an important goal in improving our category system (which at present is very confusing, and so poorly maintained). But I would also like to note there are plenty of issues from the "bottom up" which also need attention. We have categories with only one member, and thus are of questionable value (I am not speaking of image-by credits, which have their own rationale). We have categories whose names are perplexing. We have a guideline that cameras should be put in the narrowest category that exists—but many articles are included in multiple levels of the same hierarchy. I don't want that less glamorous, but very necessary, work to be forgotten.
My other desire is to improve HOW our category system is presented to users and editors. Because there is not (currently) any graphic representation of the category hierarchy, most users fail to understand the system. We need to paper over that flaw with better explanations to orient and guide people. The question of where this text should go and what form it should take can come later, after the category structure itself has better internal logic.--Vox 19:41, 9 January 2012 (PST)
I agree with most of what's above (though the 'tree' metaphor isn't a problem to me: it makes a lot more sense than 'nested'!) I see the sense of defining categories in the plural, and separating the hard-core camera content from other articles at as high a level as possible seems wise.
I have often thought it would be good to decouple a camera's German-ness from it's folding-ness and its size, as Hoarier describes at the top: a mostly un-nested/treed system; more like tags' than categories. It might make sense to have some of these in parent categories (to mix up the tree metaphor a bit): 6x9 and 3x4 in 'Formats', 'German' and 'Chinese' in 'Country of origin' etc. This might make a guideline for applying the cats quite simple: for a simple camera article, you need one from this set, one from that set, and one from this other set.
The main barrier to such a system is that (as far as I know) we currently lack the way to search it. There is an extension Multi-category Search that might do this well enough. It allows up to five categories to include, and up to three to exclude. The section on Purpose and usage in the page about the extension describes pretty much our situation (only for a cinema wiki). I have spent all of two minutes looking at it, so I'm not advocating it, just pointing out that it exists, and seems to be intended for exactly our problem.
As Vox says, there's a lot of bottom-level work to be done correcting the categories into which individual articles have been put (even if there were no change to the system; a lot more if we do change it), and some rate of this work is bound to be ongoing by the nature of the project: any new writer will get the system wrong for a while.
A few of the categories are indeed a bit weird, and reflect earlier workers' personal preoccupations. Anything German or Japanese is more thoroughly categorised than anything else, it seems. The 'US-American' thing must be an attempt at political correctness, I think; making the point that there are other Americas besides the USA, at the expense of a category anyone would ever think of. A similar problem exists with 'Former USSR'; most of the cameras categorised there weren't made in the former USSR, they were made in the USSR; and in any case, most of those were made in either Ukraine or Russia, which existed and had national status before, during and after the Soviet Union. --Dustin McAmera 02:07, 10 January 2012 (PST)

Thank you both for your comments.

Whether "trees" go upwards or downwards, yes, there are indeed problems in numerous categories here, all the way down to those categories that themselves have no subcategories.

Of course a category that only has one member, or that has no members at all, should normally not exist. (There are exceptions, of course, notably a category that somebody is in the process of "populating". But I don't want to get into detail.)

On the face of it, it seems silly to have categories with only five or fewer members. These should be discouraged. However, I've occasionally found them useful.

I agree with Vox that better explanations are needed, but I think that clearing up the categories themselves is a more pressing task.

Wikimedia's "Multi-category Search" is very interesting news. (Thank you, Dustin.) Its talk page suggests that people have lost interest, but the history of the page itself (not the talk page) shows that updates have continued.

It got me thinking, and I quickly found a page that was completely new to me, one that makes a request: "Category intersection". It makes for very interesting reading and is worthwhile just for clarifying one's own ideas of what categorizing is or should be for. What's depressing is that it has already been bubbling away for five years. What's alarming is that (A) it would require a thoroughgoing reworking of the whole of WP's categorization, while (B) it of course is an unknown until it's actually in place: might it be too much of a strain for the servers or bring delays? (I'd guess that it's this combination of (A) and (B) that deters people from working to bring it about.) we can't be certain. What's cheering is that its discussion page brings a lot of interesting suggestions. Neither the page itself nor the discussion page is very long, but there's a lot of food for thought and I can't claim to have digested it: I suggest that the three of us (and of course anyone else here who's interested) devote a bit of time and thought to what's written there.

D: Anything German or Japanese is more thoroughly categorised than anything else, it seems. Often, yes. The idea is this. XYZ is a kind of thing (for example a 35mm interchangeable-lens SLR). There are lots of these XYZs. Ignoring the fact that almost everything these days seems to be made wherever corporate taxes are low and moderately skilled labor is cheap, the "nationality" of a camera is pretty salient -- people know that Asahi/Pentax is Japanese, Leitz/Leica is German, etc. Most XYZs are either German or Japanese. So when the XYZ category gets too heavily populated, hive off some of its contents to "German XYZ" etc. Such categories can always be added later: e.g. if there later are a lot of articles on French XYZs, a separate category can be made for them.

D: The 'US-American' thing must be an attempt at political correctness, I think [. . .] As I hazily remember, there was disagreement on whether to go with "US" or "American", and this was a compromise that very few people liked but nobody summoned the stamina (bloody-mindedness) to oppose. Yes, it's horrible. So which is better, "US" or "American"?

D: A similar problem exists with 'Former USSR'; most of the cameras categorised there weren't made in the former USSR, they were made in the USSR I can't get worked up about this, but I believe it's idiomatic to say that Leningrad was the name of a city in the former USSR. Though yes, "former" does seem unnecessary, and I too would prefer to drop it.

I'll be pretty busy for the next 60 hours or so (and also fairly busy for a couple of days after that); I can't get started on anything big very soon. -- Hoarier 05:36, 10 January 2012 (PST)

So which is better, "US" or "American"? Unless there's some fear of ambiguity, I'd prefer "US"—just because it's more compact (and faster to type). "US" is perfectly acceptable to my ear as an adjective (e.g. "US electorate stunned by moronic behavior").
I spent several hours on the HotCat thing last night. It turns out HotCat was designed specifically for Wikipedia and is not a general purpose MediaWiki extension. It's actually a MW "Gadget". This required first installing some stuff so that we could support gadgets. Once that was done, I enlisted the help of two MediaWiki developers who were familiar with HotCat to help me figure out how we could get it working on Camera-Wiki. It took some minor modifications but it seems to be working. They warned that we should use it carefully at first as they can't guarantee it will function correctly on a stock MediaWiki. Also they suggested it would be unwise to use it with skins other than Vector as that is the only one it was designed to work with (apparently due to some kind of better Javascript support the Vector skin provides).
If you go to your personal preferences page, you'll now see a tab that says "gadgets" where any installed gadgets may be turned on. They have to be enabled individually for each editor. You should see HotCat listed there. If you turn it on, it adds a lot of little text icons to the category display at the bottom of the page. Aside from making the category list uglier, (not really problem since a typical user won't see it), it also looks potentially dangerous, so I'd suggest not turning this on unless you actually anticipate using it to modify categories.
Today looks pretty busy but if I get time, I'll check out the multi-category search extension. Steevithak 07:06, 10 January 2012 (PST)
It sounds like it would be safest to create some test pages, included in fictional new categories, to give HotCat a test before turning it loose on our regular wiki articles... --Vox 07:16, 10 January 2012 (PST)

Another topic to raise: Should we scrap the categories for manufacturer's names? Even if uniformly applied (which is rare), don't those just repeat model lists already found in the main articles for each manufacturer? In fact, the latter are more reliable: There we usually list models in logical groups, and also note models we do not have articles written about yet.--Vox 08:32, 10 January 2012 (PST)

Thank you for the HotCat work!
Yes, I like "US". Does anyone insist on dots for "U.S."? (He asks, very much hoping for the answer "no".)
No we shouldn't scrap categories for manufacturers' names. As it is, both Category:Pentax and Category:Konica point conspicuously, surprisingly and delightfully to Zion and Optor. (If the article is correct, only Asahi manufactured these lenses, but luckily the category titles aren't "Products manufactured by XYZ" and so this isn't an issue.) People uninterested by these categories needn't use them, but they're easy to add (I don't know about you, but I first paste in [[Category:]] several times and then fill these in; "Pentax" or whatever is a particularly simple choice) and they're pretty easy to maintain too.
What I'm a lot less enthusiastic about are the letters: [[Category:Z|Zion]], [[Category:O|Optor]], etc., because they're a bit troublesome and I have trouble believing that people are interested. -- Hoarier 17:26, 10 January 2012 (PST)
Should we be holding off creating any categories for now? I have edited a few pages recently on jumelle cameras (and I know there are plenty more not yet in the wiki), and think it ('Cat:Jumelle cameras') would be a worthwhile cat, but I can keep a mental note of it if a new and better system is about to be launched. I looked at 'Cat:Detective camera' (currently in the singular) as a model; it is in 'Cat:Cameras' and has one sub-cat (of questionable usefulness). 'Cat:Jumelle cameras' would be too small to be worth subcategorising, at least for now; in due course it might be worth making subcats for mono and stereo.
I don't think the letter cats do much either. They're easy to add; that's their main attraction (but even that can go wrong: I can't recall the exact case, but I know I've seen an article on (say) the Voigtländer Rhino with 'Cat: R' and 'Cat: V'). --Dustin McAmera 03:32, 23 January 2012 (PST)
"Category:Jumelle cameras" seems good to me, though I only have a hazy idea of what they might be. (Are they related to these titillating items?)
Even with the help of HotCat (which I plan to try out very soon), a thoroughgoing revamping of the category structure would take an impossibly huge number of human-hours. [Do we have any women here?] And so far nobody has come up with an idea that's much more attractive than what we have now and workable with the WikiMedia software. So I don't think there will be any such revamping. However, there are plenty of other changes that can and I think should be made. Just off the top of my head:
  • A division between (a) policies and guidelines for CW and explanations of how things are in it (which may be long), and (b) practical advice (which should be as concise as possible) on how to achieve this; the former to be in the "Camera-wiki" namespace and the latter in the "Help" namespace.
  • Unless there's a powerful reason not to do this, all category titles should be noun phrases or nouns, in the plural (not "enlarger" but "enlargers"; not "folding" but [yet to be decided] "folding cameras" or "folders").
  • "US-American" should be "US".
Hoarier 16:16, 23 January 2012 (PST)

I hadn't looked hard enough: I found that [[Category:Photo-Jumelle]] already existed, with one member. I deleted it and replaced it with Category:Photo-jumelle cameras (with a small j), and have put in everything I could find that belongs. I put that cat in Category:Cameras and Category:Camera architecture. I liked your photo-mamelles.
'Enlargers' looks a bit orphaned, so high up the category hierarchy (but of course there's no point creating unnecessary cats ('Darkroom equipment') just to move it down). Personally, I like 'folding cameras'. --Dustin McAmera 18:11, 24 January 2012 (PST)
Sorry for this late reply, but you're entirely right about Category:Enlargers. Ideally, this should be within Category:Darkroom equipment or similar. However, there's no point constructing this now. But later, doing so may be a good idea (and would be easy to implement). -- Hoarier 19:16, 3 February 2012 (PST)

"US-American" is now history; the term is now "US".

I now have experience of HotCat. Recategorizing with it is less irksome than doing so without it, but it's still a major bore. In view of this, let's think very hard before creating more categories that might later be "renamed" (i.e. depopulated, created, repopulated). -- Hoarier 19:19, 3 February 2012 (PST)

I'm deeply grateful for all the category fixes you've done so far. On the question of getting others to pitch in, perhaps it would be worth revisiting our categories help page to be sure it is clear and accurate. If you can articulate some simple principles to follow, you could also appeal for others to help in the work, via our maintenance task list. We appear to have quite a few single-member categories which should be looked at (I am not referring to image-by categories, which are valid). But before slashing and burning too freely, I want to be sure I understand our end goals. --Vox 09:21, 4 February 2012 (PST)
Yes, I agree. -- Hoarier 22:12, 4 February 2012 (PST)
Yesterday I did minor fiddling, not to add anything but merely to correct mistakes, etc. I'm very much aware of the need for further explanations here. Frankly I've only half worked out what I want to say, and have hardly started an attempt to say it in a way that doesn't merely add to the complexity (real or apparent). I'm still thinking, sorry. -- Hoarier 01:17, 6 February 2012 (PST)

Category:Lens is now Category:Lenses. -- Hoarier 22:47, 4 February 2012 (PST)

Page redirects to categories up for deletion No articles link to any of these. Any reason to keep them?

  • ... Super This is a redirect to Category:Super with an ellipsis and a leading space.
  • Super ... Another redirect to Category:Super with trailing ellipsis and space.
  • ... Super ... Another redirect to Category:Super with leading and trailing ellipsis and spaces.
  • Super Another redirect to Category:Super (somebody was really intent on alternate ways to find the Super category!
Hm, I sort of understand the intention here: if someone hazily remembers dad used to have a "something super something-or-other," they'll see a list (presumably incomplete by now) of all the models with super in the name. As opposed to our regular search, which presumably will include more chaff ("the metal trim on this camera is super cheesy"). But the two with ellipses first should definitely die, since no one will ever type that into our search box. --Vox 13:13, 31 March 2012 (PDT)
Fair enough, I've deleted ... Super and ... Super .... I think Super ... could go too but I'm happy to get rid of two of them. Steevithak 12:36, 1 April 2012 (PDT)

External links

I've just realized that links tells people:

Links to a page which is not the main page of a website are allowed, provided the link to the main page is given too. For example: Depth of Field at Wikipedia. This also applies to the links pointing to a single frame inside a page. Links directly pointing to an image or to a PDF document are discouraged, but may be allowable, for example if the needed document is likely to be hard to find.

Forgetting about that, I'd just introduced two external links in that page to particular pages of Wikipedia that weren't accompanied by links to Wikipedia as a whole. But even before I perpetrated that today, Help:Citing sources had told people:

For a longer explanation and more details, see Wikipedia's "Help:Footnotes" (in which it's called "the Cite.php method") and "Footnotes"

again with no link to Wikipedia as a whole.

Additionally, what's wrong with linking directly to a PDF file? (Yes, it's better if the link is marked as linking to a PDF, and if the PDF is unusually large this is worth mentioning too.) -- Hoarier 01:33, 13 January 2012 (PST)

I can only think a bad view of linking to PDFs dates to a time when quite a lot of people weren't equipped to read them, and/or downloading was limited and slow. A PDF link has a document icon, not the standard link-arrow, so there is automatically a sort of a warning. I have added a warning in the past when I linked to a large document. Most of the PDFs here are probably camera manuals at Mike Butkus' site and some of the camera-makers; eminently useful links. I tend to link to the preceding 'splash' page for Butkus' ones, where it (a) tells you what format the manual is in, and (b) gives his spiel about donating.
There are sites where I don't think a top-page link is very necessary, though I still give one (for the first link or ref to the site in any article). I link to Early Photography quite frequently, and the link seems to give you the page you want in the context of the frame system, so you can get to anything else on the site quite quickly from the first link. In particular, the top page is linked by the site logo at the top left, just like WP and many other sites. However, clicking that logo at Collection d'Appareils gives me a redirection warning, which is always slightly annoying, so I give the page it redirects to as my top-page link, though to be honest I don't think it's a useful page to see.
I have been adding quite a few links to Westlicht auctions recently. The point of these is to show the pictures, which open as a popup from the auction listing. I've used that popup window as my main link (it opens as a normal window/tab when you link to it), and give the page of the auction listing which contains the item as the second link. From there you can click to Westlicht's top page if you want. --Dustin McAmera 03:00, 13 January 2012 (PST)
Yes, the last time I looked, Butkus was asking people to please please not link directly to any Good Stuff, but instead to link to its prefatory page. Well, fair enough. But surely we don't have to add a link to the top page of his site. (For one thing, most sites have a link that obviously goes to the top. For another, the slightly computer-literate know that you achieve this by deleting everything in the URL window that comes after the TLD -- e.g. here, everything after the ".org".) Yes, single images are a bit dodgy, if only because the page in which they're first embedded may present important info about authorship, copyright, and of course a factual explanation too.
For a PDF, how about something like
[ Sinistraflex X10 manual] (PDF, 4.3MB)
? -- Hoarier 05:26, 13 January 2012 (PST)
Sorry all—Dreamhost had a network outage which kept me from replying sooner... I have always preferred the format deeplink/at/homepage for external links, and will usually change links to that format. There are three advantages to it: 1) It allows people to quickly gauge whether the linked site is one they know and trust; 2) it is a courtesy to webmasters whose good information we are essentially borrowing when our own articles lack it—it allows them to introduce their site with whatever description or welcome they prefer; and 3) That courtesy may encourage them to add reciprocal links back to (which we badly need to improve our search rankings, which typically still have ahead of us ).
I agree that today it's much less of a problem to link directly to a PDF (for example, Chrome just displays them directly in the browser window). Still it can't hurt to note their size, especially if it's unusually large. --Vox 11:08, 13 January 2012 (PST)
I do link to a lot to PDFs, I try to do a page that contain the pdf link, but sometimes the page is harder to find or a non existent orphan pdf from a different revision of the website. or maybe not in English making things even harder for the majority to locate the pdf.--Tkmedia 13:04, 13 January 2012 (PST)

I wrote above Is linking to the top page necessary? / I think not, though I understand that in a very few cases it may help.

All right, it is necessary. But I've slightly reworded the page on external links so that people don't feel compelled to repeat the link to the top page within any one page here.

As for links to PDFs, they're now treated together with those to JPEGs. You seem to agree with me that they can instead be treated pretty much like links to web page, but I haven't yet altered this part of the page -- somebody else may like to comment first. -- Hoarier 20:19, 13 January 2012 (PST)

For deletion?

  • Wikipedia: Contains next to nothing about Wikipedia that would be of particular interest to readers of Camera-Wiki; and if people want to read about Wikipedia in general, then Wikipedia has a hugely better article about itself.
  • Photographic studio: Pleasing illustrations, but this does not add up to an article, and I very much doubt that it ever will.
  • WikiNode: for the reasons given on this page, above.

Hoarier 16:37, 23 January 2012 (PST)

While I agree that Wikipedia is pretty questionable, keep some perspective here: Practically no one sees it. (And I strongly suspect that most of those views are from the CW editors disputing its value.) A better use of our time would be to start working down the list of most-viewed pages and try to remove any howlers that appear there. --Vox 08:56, 24 January 2012 (PST)

I wouldn't delete Photographic studio; I see the point in such an article existing, and I think it could be improved (and needs to be, though it's not the next thing I'd spend time writing). Useful insights about how photography was done might come from an article about studios. The present article refers to false backgrounds as though this was an unusual practice, but I suspect they were the norm in some periods, and knowing that is important when you look at an old portrait. I have PDFs of one or two Handbooks of Photography from the late Victorian and Edwardian periods, some of which include guidance on layout and equipment for a studio. I'll have a look (sometime...) and see if I come up with anything to add quickly. The main picture isn't informative, and should be at least smaller, or replaced; and the text doesn't say what period it's talking about.
I wouldn't weep over the loss of Wikinode; it seems an odd concept, reducing the Web to a daisy-chain; and the particular nearest neighbours chosen for us don't seem that apt. The page has been there since '05, and left alone for most of that time. User:MarkDilley was the last to pay it serious attention, almost a year ago (incidentally, I have used his Template:RightTOC thing a couple of times).
There is some point in a page about WP here, but nobody needs to be told what WP is, or shown an exmple page of it (and one was shown, it probably shouldn't be the front page, which isn't a typical one). Rather, it could give guidance on if/when and how to use WP as a reference or link; which would make it (part of) a Help page.
Incidentally, is this the accepted way to announce one's desire to delete a page? I'm not criticising; it seems a perfectly good one. There is also the Talk page of the article, and then there is a template Template:To be deleted (I have recently added it to Vitessa T). Or then again, on previous occasions, I've just quietly done the deletion (say when incorporating the material about one camera model from one page into an article about the whole series, and deleting the model's page). None of the warning methods reach the parties likely to be agrieved unless they look at the Special:RecentChanges (so I bet nobody would complain for a long time if Wikinode slept with the fishes). --Dustin McAmera 14:48, 24 January 2012 (PST)
I suggested WikiNode for delete - any admin can just do it.
Wikipedia is one of the major resources for any knowledge. We have the article as sample how to embed a web page by widget, and as explanation how to treat original text taken from Wikipedia - as citation.
We may embed an external chat page that way in the future, too.
The article photographic studio is a basic explanation to understand early photography: Where did they get the light from for early studio shots? Certainly there was a photographic era before the invention of the flashgun. And photo studios are still common locations for professional photo work.
Thus we let the articles about Wikipedia and photographic studio where they are: in this wiki! U. Kulick 13:55, 28 January 2012 (PST)
Can anyone come up with an example of when it would be a good idea to embed a page from Wikipedia (or indeed any other wiki) within a page here? I can't. Furthermore, here's a legal reason not to do this for Wikipedia and various other sites: At the foot of the article "Wikipedia" we read Text is available under GNU Free Documentation License 1.3 (with no mention of an exception for embedded material), but the page that's embedded says Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. -- Hoarier 05:17, 29 January 2012 (PST)
It seems there are two issues: One is whether, where, and how material from Wikipedia may be used in My feeling is a that plain external link is the least confusing. It's a different website! This is a policy question that needs to be settled with more discussion.
In any case, whatever the advice is, it belongs in a Help page.
The second question is whether we need a page describing Wikipedia itself, for the benefit of some hypothetical visitor who has discovered us before them. I cannot see any reason for that.--Vox 07:12, 29 January 2012 (PST)
Well said. Additionally, I'm puzzled by something that the page now tells its readers: The consensus of Camera-Wiki's predecessor Camerapedia's community was that Wikipedia articles should not be copied, but rather cited like any other source. That policy is continued in They should be cited like any other source? No, a legitimate need to cite Wikipedia is extremely rare. A good Wikipedia article backs up its assertions with sources; wanting to cite something in a Wikipedia one instead checks the relevant source, makes sure it says what it's claimed to say, and then cites this. And of course a bad Wikipedia article is not worth citing. The editors of Wikipedia are right to rule that open wikis (such as Wikipedia itself) are not reliable sources. -- Hoarier 07:26, 29 January 2012 (PST)
I disagree. The article belongs to the category of articles about photography-related sites. I corrected the contents so that the "Photography Portal" appears as embedded page. It is the full page, including the link to the copyright policy of Wikipedia. It's all in perfect order. I have greatest respect for Wikipedia since many people whom I had asked to work with our predecessor Camerapedia (not the actual Wikia version) prefered to work for Wikipedia (don't know who of them ever did so). Thus our real concurrent is not the Wikia-Camerapedia but Wikipedia. We have brave Wikipedia-Admins like Hoary and Rebollo_fr among us. Thus it should be an honor for them that we mention specifically their extra wiki project Wikipedia in an own article. The presentation with an embedded photography-related page can serve as model for other pages. Please don't see that as bad fault but as a good feature. Don't worry, be happy. Think about the hypothetical user who sees the name Kodak for the first time in our Wiki as a photography related name. The company already shrinked to a size where people don't see it as part of "Corporate America" anymore. Many people are not aware of all the portals of Wikipedia too. Thus it's just undisputably fair and fine to give them an impression of Wikipedia's role as photography-related site.U. Kulick 08:37, 29 January 2012 (PST)
Okay, I am the contributor of 10,500 or so edits to Therefore in a tribute to me, should we create an article about my website Silverbased? Of course not. If we cared to compile a page itemizing many photography-related websites, Wikipedia would certainly earn a listing there. But this obsession with Wikipedia seems very misplaced to me. --Vox 09:32, 29 January 2012 (PST)
I'm in favoring of keeping photographic studio. I think the evolution of photographic studios and their equipment is a valid topic and potentially of interest. But if we keep it, it needs some work to normalize the look, the giant photo needs to go. I'm in favoring of either deleting wikinode or relinking to more relevant sites. I'm leaning toward agreeing that the wikipedia article is unneeded. Do we really need to tell people how to embed a wikipedia page in an iframe? If so, put the instructions in the help section. I really don't think anyone would ever need to do something like that. I've used Wikipedia pages but what I usually do is find the references used in the WP article and proceed to the original source material. And I take Vox's point that creating pages about other photography sites isn't really a good idea. If that's the point of the page, maybe it should be replaced with a link and small description on the sources page. Steevithak 10:09, 29 January 2012 (PST)
Why is it Your obsession to kick out an article of mine? If we want to be a camera encyclopedia we need the wider view, not the narrowest, excluding all and anything which is not an article about a certain camera. We don't want to copy Mc Keown's, a pure item list, we want to handle the topic cameras as one related to photography - don't fear that, better make it true. Some professional photography people need studios and of course some studio equipment - much more can be written about that in this wiki. Keep it open, don't destroy the good idea camera-wiki.
The image size in the studio page is shown so big so that anyone can read the text belonging to it and the details which are refered in the text. And it's a unique original 19th century document showing an ancient photo studio, and how photographers did work. Don't mind that the article begins with that humorous scene - It's really excellent old British humour, something that even the most unhumorous camera enthusiast around here should accept - the Punch image punched onto that page.U. Kulick 10:58, 29 January 2012 (PST)

part 2

I'm sorry, I can't keep count of the colons any more.

I am hardly "obsessed" with deleting Wikipedia. My top comment observes it's a little-viewed article, and that fixing other pages is a higher priority.

But this is an important point: We all must be gracious in accepting criticism—especially when four active editors are basically saying the same thing: We don't need a page describing Wikipedia. And there is no agreement that we should "embed" any part of it into our own pages. (We already have too many people confusing the two websites and their similar names.) If there are guidelines for linking to Wikipedia content, they belong in the Help pages.

It appears that there is some support for keeping Photographic studio, albeit in a modified form. --Vox 13:01, 29 January 2012 (PST)

It seems that we are getting personal. I don't want to get personal about others, but I'm happy to get personal about myself -- and also to attend to factual matters about another user.
First, a reality check. We have brave Wikipedia-Admins like Hoary and Rebollo_fr among us. This EN list and this FR list show that the pitifully monoglot Hoary is an administrator in en:WP but that the enviably bilingual-plus Rebollo_fr is not an administrator in either fr:WP or en:WP. It's been one and a half years since Rebollo_fr contributed to fr:WP and a year since he contributed to en:WP.
Secondly:Thus it should be an honor for [Hoary and Rebollo_fr] that we mention specifically their extra wiki project Wikipedia in an own article. I do not presume to speak for Rebollo_fr. I can speak for Hoary, because I am Hoary. Whether or not it should be an honor for me that there's an article here about Wikipedia, it is not an honor. Indeed, it's a chronic embarrassment to me that Camera-Wiki has articles on the same subjects as those of Wikipedia but that are far inferior and that are most unlikely ever to rival or significantly complement those of Wikipedia. -- Hoarier 16:18, 29 January 2012 (PST)
Sorry, I falsely remembered that Rebollo_fr was WP-admin, too, but he was contributor. But I explained why I think respectfully about Wikipedia. Otherwise I never would have got the idea to write the article about wikipedia. I even categorized it as institution. Of course we always had some articles which were not of as rich content as an wikipedia article about the very same term. If You feel embarassed by the "inferiority" of so many articles here, I can't see that as acceptable criticism. Please rethink your position. Either a wiki is a work in progress or it is dead. We are working on this one here. Go deep into WP and you'll find a lot of articles of "embarassing quality". That's no reason to complain about these articles, that's a reason to improve them.U. Kulick 17:15, 29 January 2012 (PST)
Yes, a great number of articles in WP are indeed of embarrassing quality. (You don't have to go deep in order to find them!) Yes, most of these should be improved, and most stand a good chance of being improved. That's not true for all of them, and WP has procedures for getting rid of these. ¶ CW (and before it, CP) and WP are radically different. WP has wide scope, CW has narrow scope. Of course cameras are closely related to such subjects as industrial chemistry, the physics of light, the history of precision manufacturing, the history of international trade and tariffs, photographic techniques, the aesthetics of photography, vernacular photography, photojournalism, art photography and more. Some of these subjects are treated well in WP, others not. Where CW (or CP) has attempted this sort of thing, it has occasionally done so bravely or interestingly or both, but to my mind it has never surpassed WP and never seemed likely to do so. If a group of people here showed expertise in one of these areas (including a proven ability and willingness to cite reliable sources) and an enthusiasm for developing it, I'd probably be warmly in favor. Until that happens, no. I'd guess that CW is likelier to attract new contributors if they see that what CW does have (however incomplete it may be) is better than what WP has. -- Hoarier 17:37, 29 January 2012 (PST)
What are we discussing now? Perhaps the question of when it is desirable to delete articles. In fact, we delete pages all the time, whenever they are duplicates, or have essentially no content, or when (after discussion) several editors find them misguided. If we have an article which is sloppy or incomplete, and makes us look amateurish, it is no defense to say that articles elsewhere are bad too. It is perfectly valid to delete it. Yes a wiki is always "under construction," but even the first few boards nailed together should be straight and sturdy.
Returning to the three articles proposed for deletion: WikiNode is gone already. Photographic studio can stay, if it is expanded, and gets a more pertinent top image. The arguments to preserve Wikipedia have not persuaded others. We need to start a discussion about "when and how to use WIkipedia content"—I propose doing that at Help talk:Markup reference. The policy consensus should then be added to that Help page. A brief entry on Wikipedia also should be added to links.--Vox 07:47, 1 February 2012 (PST)
But that's the discussion page for a help page, one telling you how you should do this and that, not whether you should be doing it. " standards" sounds promising, but is merely a list of links. None of these even has a title that looks promising, aside from " practice"; but this in turn says nothing. What this site needs is something that attempts to do for it what "WP:V" does for Wikipedia. Even after adaptation to allow certain kinds of "original research" -- yes, actual research, defined to exclude stuff that "everybody knows", that "I'm sure I read in some BBS discussion somewhere", that are the writer's impressions while subconsciously trying to justify to himself all the money that he spent on some toy, etc -- this would, I think, be greatly disliked by a number of vigorous contributors to C-W, past and present. And popularity aside, it wouldn't be easy. For one thing, a huge amount of this website depends and probably has to depend on the say-so of this or that "expert" writing in his own website, but we have to separate actual experts from nutballs, fools and lazy regurgitators. A tough job, and one that's guaranteed to ruffle feathers. -- Hoarier 22:11, 4 February 2012 (PST)
Well, it sounds like you're proposing a new Help page entirely, on "accountability" or something—with our question "when and how to use Wikipedia as a source" merely as a subset of that broader discussion. I don't object to that. In practice I think it's fine to use Wikipedia as a supporting source, giving context on a topic that we do not include in CW—I did this with "Airy disk" and "f/64 Group" in the article diffraction. But those are not direct sources for a particular assertion. Statements appearing in the form of ink on paper have the advantage of being static, and thus remaining re-checkable by anyone who cares to. But surely, authors of printed works may regurgitate "something they heard somewhere" just as often as wiki contributors, or web fanpage authors. The American 35mm is certainly a citable source—it's just one that happens to be wrong as often as right. --Vox 09:54, 5 February 2012 (PST)
Yes, it's true that many books have many mistakes. It's also true that many websites are put together very scrupulously. On balance, though, I'd go with books. But at least the particular source for a particular assertion should be noted, so that people may judge for themselves. ¶ I've no objection to "see Wikipedia's article [whatever] for a general explanation", or similar; but as you've said, this isn't the same as sourcing. It could indeed be that Wikipedia's article on company XYZ is first-rate; but if it is, then it will cite its own sources, which we may (in principle) look at. -- Hoarier 16:12, 5 February 2012 (PST)
Please note this edit and this one, which seem to me to be two sensible places for any Wikipedia-related content to appear (perhaps in addition to other locations I haven't thought of).--Vox 08:57, 10 February 2012 (PST)

Responding to a question Dustin McAmera raised above: Incidentally, is this the accepted way to announce one's desire to delete a page? I'm not criticising; it seems a perfectly good one.

I think it is hard to find any single place that is guaranteed to be noticed and receive responses from all the interested parties. I suggest that one advantage of discussing deletions here is that if an article is ultimately deleted, its talk page may also disappear (I'm still unclear if that happens automatically). In any case, for some editor wondering "where did my page go?" we will have a record preserved here of what the reasoning was.

Meanwhile: Editors who have questioned the value of the article Wikipedia (here or on its talk page) now include: John Kratz, NihonCamera, Voxphoto, Hoarier, Dustin McAmera, and Steevithak. A defense by U. Kulick for keeping the article has not convinced others. I have begun subsections on two other pages where material about Wikipedia could be added appropriately. If there is no other comment I will move ahead and delete Wikipedia within the next few days. --Vox 12:54, 20 February 2012 (PST)

To conclude the extremely longwinded discussion of Wikipedia, it seems we reached pretty universal agreement that this page should go. See my last few comments above.--Vox 13:46, 24 February 2012 (PST)
Another comment on how to discuss deletions. Deletion of an article doesn't necessarily lead to deletion of its talk page, but even if the talk page were retained, people probably wouldn't think of going there. There are ways around that, too: for example, this page could point people there.
There isn't yet so much discussion on this page, so perhaps it's best for deletion discussions to take place here. If this page did become so active that deletion discussions either got lost within it or got in the way of other discussions, it would be sensible to have a separate page titled " discussions" or similar. -- Hoarier 17:39, 24 February 2012 (PST)

Links to some website called ""

In order not to prolong the change from Category:Lens to Category:Lenses, I tried not to look at the articles I was amending. Sometimes I did, however. An example. This read, in part:

By far the most prolific producer of radioactive lenses was Eastman Kodak. From the 1940s through the 1960s, substantial numbers of amateur cameras were produced and sold with thoriated (containing thorium oxide) lenses, including some of the [ Pony], [ Signet], and high end [ Instamatic] cameras.

Yes, three links to (And there were other, uh, oddities besides. And there still are.)

Steve (or somebody): Is there some way to look right through the database for any link to such-and-such a domain name? -- Hoarier 22:56, 4 February 2012 (PST)

Yes, it's a Special page. I didn't look too deeply, but it seems like most are links from old talk pages, and thus harmless.--Vox 08:33, 5 February 2012 (PST)
I fixed a couple of things turned up in that search that weren't on talk/user pages. I wonder if we should consider fixing some of links in the talk area where appropriate. Some actually refer to camerapedia but some are conversations about a local page and a link sending the reader off to camerpedia is potentially confusing. On the other hand, not sure if it's considered acceptable to modify historical talk stuff. Any thoughts? Steevithak 09:03, 5 February 2012 (PST)
I'm sure it's unnecessary, and it may also be mildly undesirable. But I don't want you to spend yet more of your time reverting. -- Hoarier 16:03, 5 February 2012 (PST)
Interesting. Some of these are links to specific edits in page edit histories. Wikia is giving 404s on them anyway so I went ahead and changed a couple to camera-wiki in an article and they now work again, correctly showing the edit being discussed. I'm inclined to fix the others too. What's possibly concerning is that the Wikia links gave 440s - does that mean Wikia dumped the old edit histories (another potential copyright concern as it removes authorship info) or do they just have different edit history addresses than a standard mediawiki? Steevithak 09:14, 5 February 2012 (PST)

Yikes, you've been changing links in talk pages too. I didn't have that in mind; only articles and one or two other namespaces. I'm sorry if my comment led you to do much more work. -- Hoarier 16:02, 5 February 2012 (PST)

No worries, there weren't that many and I stumbled on a few things that really needed fixing along the way. Steevithak 17:17, 5 February 2012 (PST)

More for deletion

FSU Camera. Bookfuls could be written on the subject, and they'd be welcome here. But this isn't a start, it's just a mild embarrassment. Would somebody like to make a major, sourced, improvement to this? Or shall we just put it out of its misery? -- Hoarier 23:48, 6 February 2012 (PST)

Looks like it might be more useful as an entry in the glossary than an article. Steevithak 06:51, 7 February 2012 (PST)
I have made notes on the talk pages of France, China, and United States of America asking whether these can be salvaged. At the moment they do not provide any useful information about those countries' camera industries, inventors, etc.. Great Britain is at least making a beginning, although the writing style of that page is still a mess.--Vox 07:28, 21 February 2012 (PST)

See the talk page for the article Lens comparisons for my question whether it should be merged or substantially reworked. Potentially there are links there which shouldn't be lost, but I didn't have the patience to investigate fully. --Vox 13:38, 2 March 2012 (PST)

The Soviet Union, Russia, the Ukraine, etc

Today I started to recategorize a lot of stuff from "Former USSR" (which for the most part meant USSR, not areas that had previously belonged to the USSR) to the brand new category "USSR". For the most part.

What I tried to do was to determine if the subject matter pertained to the Soviet period, to the period after it, or both. (Nothing pertained to the period before it, rich though this was in photography.) For something Soviet, I applied the category "USSR". If there was also a category such as "Ukraine" that didn't seem wrong, I left it, but I didn't add such categories. For something post-Soviet I removed "Former USSR" and tried to be sure that it had whichever was appropriate of "Russia", "Ukraine, etc. (Of course, if something spanned the break-up of the USSR, I made sure that it was categorized as both "USSR" and "Russia" or whatever.)

Perhaps 30% of the way through this process, I noticed the existence of the category "Russian lens" (although "Russian camera" did/does not exist), and it occurred to me that what was Soviet would better be categorized as one or more of:

So I created the first three, reexamined my work, and did some re-recategorizing -- and then continued my recategorizing.

It's tempting to add "Soviet companies" or similar, but as I understand it many of what are lazily treated in anglophone websites as companies were not companies, even in a socialist sense. I have vague ideas about what should be best, but didn't act on them.

It's likely that some Soviet material is not categorized as Soviet, and that some material categorized as Soviet is not Soviet. Feel free to check and amend.

The categories "Russia", "Ukraine", "Belarus", etc are not consistently used for material from the Soviet period. I have rather mixed-up ideas on this myself, in the meantime, I haven't attempted either to increase or to decrease their use.

The category "Camera" looks a bit of a mess, and will become more so if more countries are added. Therefore I propose a category "Cameras by country" (with "Lenses by country"), in order to include categories "[country name] cameras" ("Japanese cameras, etc) and nothing else. -- Hoarier 04:48, 7 February 2012 (PST)

Oddball stuff, in oddball categories

In the course of recategorization, etc, I've recently been surprised to encounter:

To keep tabs on these, I've created three categories that each have just one member: Category:Advertising and Category:Manuals (each in Category:Sources), and Category:Logos (directly in Category:Articles). I'm not at all happy about one-member categories, still less about cluttering up "Articles" with a one-member category. But I did this very much as a stopgap measure. If anyone would like to delete them, go ahead.

Actually I think that the content of the two Ernemann articles might be better incorporated within a "gallery" within Ernemann: two of my three new categories could then be deleted. I don't know what to do about Soviet factory logos, however. -- Hoarier 05:25, 7 February 2012 (PST)

I've been pondering a way to display the Vivitar magazine ads on their own page, though with a little more textual information about the history of Vivitar advertising. So I'll be curious what the outcome is on the Ernemann page. I'm for keeping the Ernemann pages in some form. I think it's definitely worthwhile to provide old ads for viewing but I haven't figured out how best to do that within the context of a Wiki. Aside from entertainment value, I've found old ads are often important as references for camera specifications, prices, or manufacture dates.
The Soviet factory logos page seems a bit baffling though. Shouldn't the logo photos be in the articles about the respective brands? And, if they are, why duplicate them on a page that's just a list of brands? Don't we already have the List of companies and now the Category:USSR? This page just duplicates those look-up mechanisms but probably won't be updated by anyone adding a new Soviet camera brand in the future because it's not as obvious. I'm for deleting the Soviet factory logos page. Or, as an alternative, could the logo photos be moved to the USSR category page perhaps? That would at least consolidate the information in one place so it's not forgotten. Steevithak 07:07, 7 February 2012 (PST)
Soviet factory logos is now (much of) Soviet Union, and Category:Logos is no more. -- Hoarier 23:22, 7 February 2012 (PST)
I fear I may have started Soviet factory logos, when I was new here. If I didn't start it, I added to it. I think I must have meant it to be an identify-your-Soviet-item-by-its-logo tool; but in any case, Alf Klomp's website does that better (and I can't promise that isn't where I got the idea, if it was actually me). --Dustin McAmera 13:48, 20 February 2012 (PST)


As I've said, far too much of the content of this site is on the say-so of its contributors. When this is a matter of saying that the viewfinder window shows framelines, fine; when it's about company history, no.

Thus my related proposal at talk:About for the "About" page. Please comment there. Thanks. -- Hoarier 19:37, 7 February 2012 (PST)

Lens adapting info


A few buddies from the German Olympus forum thought it would be a good idea in this day and age to have a Lens Adapter Wiki or something, where you could put all the information about what lenses can be adapted to which camera mounts, what kinds of limitations apply etc.

In our efforts to avoid reinventing the wheel, we then came across Camera Wiki.

Would you be partial to have this kind of info added to the pages about the individual lens mounts, like in this case Micro Four Thirds?

It could become quite specific and elaborate, looking at how active electronic adapters like Metabones seem to work more or less well on an individual lens basis, and even receive on-going firmware updates as more control protocols of lenses are reverse-engineered or programmed into the firmware or whatnot. Compare this thread here (German), four pages on Canon EF alone (although the sheer hard facts should boil down to a lot less.)

Then again, the info would be great to have for a lot of people I'm sure.

The more I think about it, maybe it would be ideal to include the general info about what lenses can be adapted on the particular lens mount pages and create separate pages for each specific adapter containing all the drawbacks, restrictions and specifics?--Skinman (talk) 07:09, 26 November 2015 (CST)

Hi Skinman!
I think it's a great idea! It's a class of products we have hardly covered at all. I have posted a link to this discussion at the CW Flickr group, to get more reactions (we use Flickr to host the pictures for the wiki, and some of our discussions).
You may have seen we have a simple Lens adapter page; maybe you could start by expanding that. The Metabones brand (and any other major brands) could have their own pages linked from there, where there could be a list of their individual products, which can have their own pages too, if there's enough to say about each. Note where there isn't much to say about a particular product, you can still create either a stub article or a redirect page, so that if someone searches for that product, the search lands somewhere. You could also add paragraphs to the lens-mount pages stating that lenses of that mount are served by such-and-such an adapter.
That's how I'd do it, but (while we have some normal rules of conduct, mostly described in the pages linked in User:Botscura's automated message on your Talk page) you should feel free to follow your own ideas. As it says at the bottom of our edit screen, your work may then be edited by other users. Also take note of the Free Documentation License; if you write a good description of a particular device, you may well see your words reappearing elsewhere in the Web.
It's good to cite the sources of your information, even if it's not available as a web-link. People here are touchy about links to commercial sites, and we usually avoid links even to useful product information hosted by dealers, with an 'Add to cart' button, but links to such information at manufacturer's sites is quite ok.
So welcome! I hope you'll decide to put your work here! Cheers!--Dustin McAmera (talk) 09:43, 26 November 2015 (CST)
Speaking of sources, some of the info would clearly be regarded as 'original research' on wikipedia, which I think they kind of frown upon for some reason... not peer-reviewed or something... how about that? For example, there's the 'official' list of supported lenses at the Metabones site, but someone at the Oly forum has tried the EF 85 f1.8 USM, which is not supported (yet).
As I see it, that would be exactly the kind of info I'd hope to find in the lens adapter wiki, saving me the effort to weed through all kinds of different forums, so I hope that would be OK.
Another concern (although we just could cross that bridge when we come to it) would be info a manufacturer might find unfavourable, like an extensive list of older lenses their product doesn't work with (yet). Or such a list becoming outdated and poorly maintained.
But why keep wringing hands and pulling chins? You're probably right and we should just start and see how it goes.--Skinman (talk) 13:14, 26 November 2015 (CST)

'Original research' is not an issue; our About page says so explicitly. I've included personal observations of details of my own cameras, for example in our Bobette II and Pilot Super pages. In our Aires 35 page, there's a paragraph quoting a first-person statement about the camera by one of our writers, Laurie Pettitt (when were still Camerapedia); we just changed it to say 'Camerapedia editor Laurie Pettitt wrote: blah, blah, blah....' to fit our 'encyclopaedia-like' style. In our Ami (WZFO) page, writer Hoary has written 'The example examined,<ref>By editor Hoary.</ref> was accompanied by a leather case.'
In the example you gave, maybe the claim has been made somewhere else already. If so, I think I'd give the official list of supported lenses (with a reference to the maker's site, maybe), then something like 'In addition, owner Eric Somebody reported that the EF 85 f1.8 USM, not listed above, worked correctly with the adapter.<ref>Reported in [ this post] at the [ Adapter Discussion Forum], April 2015.</ref>. Then what's stated in Camera-wiki isn't that the lens works with the adapter, but that somebody says it does: then it's not original research.
We haven't ever been aware of a maker being unhappy with anything we wrote. I guess a lot of what we write about is long out of production, so the makers either don't exist, or don't care what we say about their obsolete cameras. However, if what you write is factual, they can hardly complain. That 'About' page advises that a certain amount of opinion is ok ('The build quality is flimsy').
On the other hand, the wiki's content becoming out of date is a constant concern. One of our admins, User:Hanskerensky, spends a lot of his time checking if external web-links are still valid. You can always add 'At the time of writing,...' or 'As at November 2015, ...' to what you say, and maybe keep a personal list of things you might need to come back to. It doesn't happen a lot with the old stuff I mostly write about :) Cheers!--Dustin McAmera (talk) 17:44, 26 November 2015 (CST)
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