Wikipedia Talk:WikiProject Spoken Wikipedia/Archive 3
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Wikipedia Talk:WikiProject Spoken Wikipedia/Archive 3

Lead paragraph only

While looking for a really short article to try as my first spoken resource attempt, I clicked on the calendar of the "tomarrow's featured article" page, which gave me a page containing only the first paragraph of the article. Thinking that it was a very short, article, I read it, edited it, processed it and all. Now I realize my silly mistake. Should I post the file anyway? It is too late for me to finish it in time for its frot page debut.--William Morgan Jan 8, 2006

Speech synthesis

What's about a speech synthesis solution, like (an opensource solution like) Readspeaker, as it is used on the site Agoravox (in french) : the synthesis is done server sidde and the resulting mp3 transmitted to the client. So, it's probably to complicated/expensive : the hardware infrastructure to make that possible should be pretty heavy... Traroth 09:32, 4 January 2006 (UTC)

One of the reasons we decided to start the project is because many people found listening to synthesised speach painfully tedious! Joe D (t) 23:07, 8 January 2006 (UTC)

Does anyone know how to convert a wave to OGG? second, could we start an article on that? --CyclePat 03:36, 9 January 2006 (UTC) Joe D (t) 03:51, 9 January 2006 (UTC)

Seems to me that the article Speech synthesis could use a version of the article read using a good speech synthesizer. --Carnildo 02:50, 11 January 2006 (UTC)

That actually tickles my sense of humor :D I have TextAloud with the Natural Voices installed - may I should run the article though it ;) - Beowulf314159 02:55, 11 January 2006 (UTC)

Advertisements and plugs

Hi all. I've recently come across 4 spoken articles which necessitate a discussion of advertising and plugs in Spoken resource audio recordings. In December 2005, uploaded four recordings, En-Podcasting.ogg, En-Creative-Commons.ogg, En-JRRTolkien.ogg and En-CSLewis.ogg, that began and ended with "This resource entry is brought to you by Learn Out Loud. For more educational audio material, please visit" Fortunately, the first two were licensed under the GFDL and the second two as public domain, and I was able to remove the advertisements without any discernable quality loss (the originals were quite good). However, this issue is likely to occur again, and I would like to know how others think this situation should be handled.

I believe that the spoken article recordings should be treated just as the written articles in terms of advertisements like this. Unless necessitated by copyright license, I think the audio recording should be limited to the resource notice and article text, nothing more.

With compressed audio, all subsequent edits to the file result in quality loss. Some articles are very long, and I would hate to re-record an entire article just because someone put some crummy ad in the middle of their recording. I think this issue deserves a mention on at least the Recording guidelines page if not the main project page. What does everyone else think? ~MDD4696 01:49, 11 January 2006 (UTC)

I agree wholeheartedly. I had noticed the En-JRRTolkien.ogg and En-CSLewis.ogg recordings. I think this is something that has to be headed off before it gets out of control. "Audio spam" in the middle of a file isn't filterable as easily as embedded text spam. Something has to be done fast before we're swamped with "ad-ware" spoken articles - Beowulf314159 02:47, 11 January 2006 (UTC)
I have a couple of suggestions: First, we could going to WP:CSD or the relevant policy page and proposing that advertisments in audio files becomes a criterion for speedy deletion. This has potential problems in that there isn't an undelete option for media, so mistakes would be permanent. Also it wouldn't give us the option of somebody downloading the file and removing the advertising.
Another is to create a new Resource: Spoken articles for deletion, however I don't think we'd get backing for that unless or until the project is getting spam regularly enough to merit the effort it would take to implement and run. The advantage of that is that we could have a rule such as orphaning the file while it is under discussion to give editors a few days to fix, if possible. Joe D (t) 03:17, 11 January 2006 (UTC)
Alexkillby (talk o contribs o deleted contribs o nuke contribs o logs o filter log o block user o block log) has uploaded several with adverts for "Tech on the fly". Joe D (t) 03:37, 11 January 2006 (UTC)
New template: {{SpokenSpam}}, Joe D (t) 03:59, 11 January 2006 (UTC)
How about a Resource: Spoken articles for Spam editing? Orphan the file, but leave it there for volunteers to de-spam and set free again? - Beowulf314159 04:23, 11 January 2006 (UTC)
I've already got the template in Category:Spoken articles needing cleanup. Joe D (t) 04:28, 11 January 2006 (UTC)

So you do - guess I should read closer before I speak next time. Is is worth altering the spoken article infobox - put a see here if this recording contains commecial messages - with a page asking people to remove the article from the page, list it on Category:Spoken articles needing cleanup, add the spoken spam template, etc? = Beowulf314159 04:38, 11 January 2006 (UTC)

There's no need for ad plugs in spoken word articles, since resource is meant to be neutral and unbaised from any company or movement. I think it should be policy that all spoken word articles are non-advertising or pluged and (in another problem i have found,which i want to get off my chest) all articles are spoken natually and not from a text to speech program (i.e artifical). -Dynamo_ace Talk 11th January 2006

I cleaned the audio files tagged with {{SpokenSpam}} and listed in Category:Spoken articles needing cleanup, using Mp3splt. The tool does not reencode the file, but instead works with the inner structure of the ogg, thus preserving the quality. The command used was "mp3splt -n article.ogg 0.6 100.0", which cuts off the first 6 seconds of the file. -- Paradisal 20:03, 8 February 2006 (UTC)

Lost spoken articles

I've got a list of large .ogg files that don't claim to be part of WikiProject Spoken resource at User:Carnildo/Unusual Files. Some of them may be untagged spoken articles; you might want to check them out. --Carnildo 02:30, 11 January 2006 (UTC)

Untagged spoken, I have removed them from the articles for now because they contain advertising. Joe D (t) 03:23, 11 January 2006 (UTC)

File quality audits / Technical summaries

Hello everyone! I was having a difficult time listening to Image:Yellow River Cantata.ogg when I had an idea for this project. I think we should create some sort of ranking mechanism for the audio files so that we can more easily work with the recordings, somewhat like metadata for images. This could easily be incorporated into Template:Spoken article entry or into a new template.

The rationale: Audio quality differs substantially between recordings. We have quite a few that should be re-recorded, for a wide variety of reasons. We need a standard method of determining if a recording needs to be edited or replaced. However, the only way to determine this is to listen to the file itself, something that can be very time consuming, especially for large files and slow connections. We could develop a ranking tool that would make it easily to evaluate and compare recordings, without necessarily having to listen to the recording itself.

The areas I think that would be important to rank would be:

  • Technical quality: Amount of background noise, breathing into the microphone, dynamic range, bitrate
  • Clarity: How well the reader enunciates, pacing, how easy it is to understand
  • Pronunciation and accuracy: How well the reader reads the aticle, including mis-steps

These areas are all subject to interpretation, so I would propose a simple ranking scheme, from 1 to 3. For example, the ranking system for clarity might go:

  1. Low clarity. Very difficult to understand. Words blend together, improper word emphasis disrupts sentence flow.
  2. Moderate clarity. Problems do not hinder basic comprehension.
  3. High clarity. User enunciates clearly and most of the article can be understood without difficulty.

The only real problem I see with this kind of system is people misusing it with regard to accents. However, I feel that if the ranks are limited to 3 levels, with easily qualifiable aspects, that people will be able to easily use and apply this system.

I'd like to know what the community thinks of this idea, and any potential concerns there might be. In the mean time, I will draw up a draft on my user page and post it when I have time. ~MDD4696 04:20, 11 January 2006 (UTC)

I like your idea, though I'm a little doubtful as to how much it will be used, considering the time required to listen to and rank even one article. If there's some WikiGnome willing to take this on, then all the better for it!
I can't imagine accent being an issue - anybody speaking clearly, with the exception of some non-native speakers of English and some very uncommon dialects/accents of English, should not be misunderstood for their accent. Darobsta 03:46, 12 January 2006 (UTC)
That is one of the reasons behind my proposal. Not everyone has time to listen to the entire audio file, and this template/system would allow people to evaluate and compare recordings more quickly. Also, what I meant to say with regard to accent is that some people may mistakenly label a sound file as being unclear, strictly because of the accent. That is why I think it's important to describe the ranking levels in such a way that they are independant of the accent. ~MDD4696 04:14, 12 January 2006 (UTC)
So in the template, we would invite listeners to rank the article--sort of like how the STUB tag invites people to expand the article, correct? Ckamaeleon
Perhaps, yes, if the file were of low quality. But I would like the template to be able to indicate high quality files as well, similar to {{featured}}. Maybe I'll throw one together tonight. ~MDD4696 00:31, 27 January 2006 (UTC)
I meant that instead of saying "You can help resource by expanding it." It would say something like "If you are listening to it, you can help resource by rating it." (with a link to maybe the Image file's talk page?
It would be v. cool if there were a little matrix, with each category on a different row--you would click to rate 0-5 stars or whatever, like you do in WinMedia Player/iTunes and then maybe there would be a short line for gen. comments. But resource isn't that we would just have to leave general comments on the talk page.... but maybe we could set up a section for Technical Quality, Clarity, and Pronunciation/Accuracy, like this. People could leave relevant comments under each section.
It would be GREAT if we could get a bot to paste those sections at the top of the page (that way any previous comments will end up under "General Comments" instead of being erased) as soon as the image is uploaded/a "Rate this" template links to it. Ckamaeleon 00:02, 29 January 2006 (UTC).

Problem downloading

I downloaded Titanic and I can't open it unless I know what program created it! Help me! The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk • contribs) .

Which operating system are you using? (Windows, Mac, etc?) You probably need to download the OGG codec in order to play the file. -SCEhardT 20:18, 16 January 2006 (UTC)
Did you try taking a look at Resource: Media help? ~MDD4696 22:34, 16 January 2006 (UTC)

Placement of spoken article templates

Hi - I have become very interested in the Spoken resource project - one task that I was working on was to go through all the articles w/ spoken files, adding the spoken template to the articles which didn't have them, moving the template to the top of articles which had templates (as per the guidelines), and adding the specific talk page template to the article's talk page. User:Raul654 reverted my edits changing placement of the template stating they should be in the external links (see User_talk:Athf1234) but hasn't posted a link to this rule. It makes a lot of sense to me to place the template at the top of the page where people can see it upon first viewing an article. User:Raul654 has also changed the policy (see here) and I would like there to be some discussion or clarification on this. Thank you Athf1234 03:04, 17 January 2006 (UTC)

I think that having it in the External links section is consistent with other projects, as Raul stated. However I also agree with you that it is not very visible there. The biggest problem I see with putting the current template at the top of the page is that it's very intrusive, and it disrupts the article for those viewing it. It collides with images and infoboxes and is inconsistently placed when inserted under them.
To me, visibility isn't as important as consistency. Visibility is only important for those that don't know about the spoken versions, and I think that people will eventually discover them no matter where the template is located. The location needs to be consistent so that people who know about the project see the templates where they expect them to be.
Are there other proposals for the template location? Joe D stated that there is no consensus to put it in the External links section. People are putting the template everywhere on the pages, and it really doesn't look very good.
I think a great spot would be as is discussed here (right justified in the article title), but until we can technically do that, we'll have to hold off. For now I think that the External links section is the most appropriate place, and the only thing we lose by putting it there is visibility to newbies. ~MDD4696 03:36, 17 January 2006 (UTC)
Erm, and just for everyone's information -- I made all of those template moves before I noticed this discussion. I wasn't trying to act unilaterally, and I'm definately open to other ideas. ~MDD4696 03:41, 17 January 2006 (UTC)
I disagree with Raul, re: other projects. Sister projects go in the external linsk, WikiProjects do not. WikiProjects make all sorts of templates, such as infoboxes and boxes that go right at the very bottom (e.g. under "References", "Notes" or "Further reading" where relevant) of the page. Sister projects are external links, which is why they go in the external links section. Spoken resource does not fit that description. The argument for putting it at the top is that it's largely redundant at the bottom - by that time the reader has finnished the article or given up. I've asked to get the css code fixed which will add a small link beside the title (you mentioned this - it is possible and for a long time we had it, somebody broke the css and nobody could be bothered fixing it - see MediaWiki talk:Monobook.css) and make this whole matter redundant, so in most cases I don't care about your moves. I did revert Podcasting though because I don't think any of the arguments given apply there. There are no other images or project boxes to clash with, but putting it in the external links (where IMO these look out of place) makes it clash with sistor project boxes. Aesthetically it looks better that way. This may apply to other articles, but Podcasting in particular has featured article status somewhere on the distant horizon, so I care about it more. Joe D (t) 04:16, 17 January 2006 (UTC)
Looking back it seems like the header code never really did work in the first place. Header messages like Jimbo's appeal for donations would've messed it up, wouldn't they have?
Also, I think the "redundant" argument is unsubstantiated; it disregards the fact that users learn about the recordings and where to find them in the article. I would say that if a user reads an article, and is disappointed to find the audio recording after he has read the entire text, it's a small loss. He still obtained the information he needed, and the recording is still available to him if he wants it. The next time he is on resource reading articles, he will remember what happened before, and will look for recordings before reading.
Excluding those who use the spoken articles because they cannot physically read the article itself, people who download the recording use it to a) listen to while they read the article, b) listen to while they do other things on the computer, or c) listen to while they do other things away from the computer. Having the link at the bottom of the page affects none of these. In these situations, people are actively looking for audio recordings, and having the template at the bottom of the page is not going to prevent them from finding what they want. What is going to be a problem is if they have to search a big long article just to figure out where the recording template is located. It's so easy just to scroll all the way to the bottom of the page; just slightly more difficult than not scrolling at all.
We need a consistent, easily accessible point on the page to position the template. The easiest places for people to access are at the very top and the very bottom of pages, so they don't have to guess how much to scroll. I certainly don't think that the template should be given precedence over an article's infobox or primary image--it would be too imposing and would detract from the written article (that the majority of users are using). We can't put the template just under that top element as it does not guarantee sufficient consistency. I've seen some very large infoboxes and images along the right side there, and putting the template under those would force the user to scroll down to find it. Suddenly, the template is no longer at the top of the page, but at some point in the middle, especially for those viewing the article with low resolution monitors.
Also, I don't believe most people read an article from top to bottom, straight through, in one sitting. Perhaps I have ADD or something, but when I read an article, I skip around to topics that interest me in the article. Then, if I'm still looking for more information, I scroll right down to the appendices, where the "See also", "References" and "External links" sections are. This area contains all the relevant information to the article's subject that doesn't fit into a written article. To me, having an audio recording located somewhere in that Appendix area makes a lot of sense.
Now of course that location doesn't address new users who don't know the spoken versions exist. But you know what? I don't think we're in any big rush. There's a lot of other, more important things they don't know about either. People will eventually find out about the recordings, whether it's from the template on the talk pages, just random luck, or searching. They won't lose their value as time goes on, and we can re-record new ones as they go out of date. As the Spoken resource project grows, the visibility problem will be even less of an issue.
If we can come up with a solution that fits with the above criteria, great! However, I think we're discussing this issue because no one has yet; it's entirely possible that no one will for quite some time. Until a solution is found, I think the primary focus needs to be on a consistent location. Under External links is a fine place to put the template because it is an unambiguous location, it doesn't break anything or disrupt articles, and it makes some sense there. The primary opposition, that I've read at least, is that it's not visible, which as I've said above, is really not that important.
Unless we get some good discussion going, I think this issue warrants some sort of RFC. The Spoken resource Project is composed of a relatively small percentage of the Wikipedian userbase, and I think we could get some fresh ideas or alternatives from others. ~MDD4696 05:09, 17 January 2006 (UTC)
Sorry, remind me why it makes sense to put it in external links?
The link beside the header worked fine. Once in a blue moon it needed a temporary fix to push it a few pixels. This is Wikipedia, there are people watching for it and it can be edited in seconds, it's not an issue. With regards to "redundancy", I'm not sure what you're referring to, but what I mean is that when the header css is fixed I will give up arguing about the placement of the box. Joe D (t) 05:43, 17 January 2006 (UTC)
Basically I said that I thought the External links section was the most appropriate spot for the immediate future because it does not interfere with the article's other content, it is an easily accessible, consistent and unambiguous location, and since Spoken resource is similar to sister projects, it would fit right in.
You said "The argument for putting it at the top is that it's largely redundant at the bottom - by that time the reader has finnished the article or given up." I was trying to say that putting it at the bottom doesn't mean that user's will only find recordings after they've read the articles. ~MDD4696 22:15, 17 January 2006 (UTC)
I think that putting the link right justified in the article title would be optimal, if that could be implemented soon. Right now there are not that many articles with spoken versions so users wanting to listen to spoken versions will probably just peruse the category. But as it grows, I think it will be more important for the link to the spoken version to be clear and visible on the article title - my main concern would be for users who have difficulty reading, etc. so that they can easily find spoken versions when browsing Wikipedia. Making a change to the articles with spoken versions would be a major pain when they number in the hundreds or thousands. Also, maybe RfC would be a good idea. Athf1234 06:42, 17 January 2006 (UTC)

I concur with Mdd4696 - consistent placement is important, and the top of articles is simply not an acceptable location for reasons already stated. The external links section, which exists is almost all articles and is already the placement for the sister-project templates (which are about the same size, and equially periphially related to the article) so it makes sense to put it there. Raul654 20:49, 17 January 2006 (UTC)

Seeing as the original inspiration for this project was the German Wikipedia's Wikiprojekt Gesprochene Wikipedia, I decided to look there and see what they have done. I'm not much of a fan of their solution, but I did notice a few interesting things:
  • The guideline is to have an explicit "Gesprochene Wikipedia" section that goes at the bottom of the page. See de:Albert Einstein.
  • Some pages just put the template at the very bottom, with no section. See de:Dinner for one.
  • None of the articles I looked at had anything at the top. However, they have very nice-looking coordinates right-aligned in the title of de:Antarktis. Perhaps we could adapt what their code if it's different from what we have. When I have time I'll take a look at their CSS.
Now, I don't speak German, so I have no idea if they discussed this issue, but poking around there might give us a few ideas.
Also, as far as the sister-project comparison goes: I think it is fair to treat the Spoken resource project as a sister project to an extent. However, I also think it's important to recognize that it is much more dependant on the resource article itself than any other project. ~MDD4696 22:37, 17 January 2006 (UTC)
For reference: de:Vorlage:Koordinate Artikel, de:Vorlage:Editcount, de:MediaWiki:Monobook.css, de:MediaWiki:Common.css ~MDD4696 22:44, 17 January 2006 (UTC)
My thoughts are that it IS valuable to know when you first stumble upon an article that there IS, in fact, a recorded version. (Just look at me accidentally recording Beverage can stove, only to get to the bottom and find--doh!--that it had already been recorded four months earlier. Oops.) I'd be in favor of a small icon next to the article title. Maybe it would have popup text with an explanation, or direct you to the bottom of the page, where you can see the full recording template with the date, etc. Ckamaeleon 07:43, 22 January 2006 (UTC)
Sound-icon.png What if we put a little speaker icon at the very beginning of the article, like I did with this comment? It could either link to the audio file or it could link to the box at the bottom of the page. Does anybody like that idea? ~MDD4696 23:04, 23 January 2006 (UTC)
I think it's perfect! I was envisioning exactly that. As for where it links to.. that's a stickier question. I'd like users to be able to see the template with the date, especially (so they get a sense of how recent the recording is--it may vary drastically from the article by the time they read the article. Also, I wish you could see speaker info up front: sex/accent/(age?) before you decide to download a file)...BUT there's also something to be said for people not having to jump through hoops to get what they want. It should be easy to go from:
  1. Discovering that the article has a recorded version to
  2. Listening to that recording. Ckamaeleon 01:33, 24 January 2006 (UTC)
MDD, you say about Gesprochene resource that "None of the articles I looked at had anything at the top.". This is not quite true. One effect of having a seperate "Gesprochene Wikipedia" section at the bottom is that it appears in the contents at the top. I'm not sure how noticable it is there.
Also, I like the idea of having a little icon at the start, which could be a different solution. Has anyone put this into practice since it was discussed? You'll see at the bottom of this page that an IP address has just suggested putting the icon at the top right, just like for featured articles. This wouldn't exactly jump out at the reader, but it seems to be that the more obvious it is to people who would benefit from knowing about it, the more intrusive it is to people who don't care about it. T J McKenzie 23:39, 17 February 2006 (UTC)
Don't we already do that for spoken featured articles? --Saxsux 09:27, 11 May 2006 (UTC)
We do now, but I think this conversation occurred before the little icon became convention. (I could be wrong though, this was all before my time here.) --Laura S 16:51, 11 May 2006 (UTC)

Uploading NEW Versions / re-recordings

This may be a silly question...bear with me b/c I haven't much uploading experience. Do we have a protocol for uploading new versions? I've been uploading as with new files (using the canonical file name) and clicking "save" after the warning about replacing the old version, then updating the IMAGE:Name_of_file page. I wouldn't want to accidentally mess up the previous reader's work. Just in case, I've downloaded the old version of any Spoken file I'm replacing.

For that matter, I was thinking about the re-recording process. Do you think it would be a good idea to give re-recording preference to the original reader? If he or she saved their project files, it might be easier for him or her to edit them to reflect the textual changes. Then again, the nature of resource editing (a change here, a change there) may mean it would be easier to just re-record from scratch. Thoughts? Ckamaeleon 23:17, 19 January 2006 (UTC)

When you upload a file over an old one the old file is not deleted but kept in the history, and can be reverted if necessary. Joe D (t) 00:00, 20 January 2006 (UTC)
Unless entire sections of very large articles remain unchanged, it probably makes more sense to re-record from scratch due both to the time required for editing and to make sure the final product has a consistent sound throughout. -SCEhardT 03:52, 20 January 2006 (UTC)


Is it just me, or did the project shortcut change from being WP:SPOKEN to WP:WSW? Just curious. I learned the first somewhere, but I notice now that the second is on the Project page, and can't see a recent change in the page's history. It seems that both are redirecting to this page at the moment. Ckamaeleon 01:53, 22 January 2006 (UTC)

Now they're both listed. -SCEhardT 04:07, 22 January 2006 (UTC)
Well it was less whining than trying to not be out of the loop. I didn't know if we were trying to start using WSW instead or what. Just wondering if someone knew anything about it, really. But thanks. Ckamaeleon 07:37, 22 January 2006 (UTC)
My apologies if I came across wrong. I don't always have the best 'internet voice.' I'm glad you brought up the discrepancy so it could be fixed! -SCEhardT 16:52, 22 January 2006 (UTC)
No offense taken. I assumed good faith :o) Ckamaeleon 01:37, 24 January 2006 (UTC)

Newest Spoken Articles Page?

Is there a special page that automatically lists newly recorded articles (and removes them after they are X days old)? We have a lot of automated stuff like that on Wikipedia. I'd really appreciate a way to see the newest spoken resource contributions--especially if they didn't have to be manually updated. Ckamaeleon 08:21, 22 January 2006 (UTC)

The only thing I know of that updates with recent spoken articles is the (manually updated) rss feed, which is linked at the top of the project page. That said, it is currently very out of date, but I am going to work on that when I get a chance. -SCEhardT 16:46, 22 January 2006 (UTC)
It seems a shame to waste real people's time/effort on something like that that could be automated..But I don't know enough about resource and it's inner workings to make that happen. Ckamaeleon 02:02, 26 January 2006 (UTC)
Well, looky here! Special:Newimages. So there IS a special page for new uploads.. unfortunately, it's ALL uploads because of the way resource refers to both sounds and images as "images." I shall delve deeper into this mystery. Ckamaeleon 14:08, 26 January 2006 (UTC)

It seems that running a search for "ogg" on the aforementioned special page is a good way to see what's new. This still won't get you purely spoken Wiki articles, though-- you'll have to sift through sound clips. But it may be useful to you, SCEhard, if you haven't already discovered it (especially armed with the projct page of active participants. Seeing a recording by one of us is probably a good sign that it's a spoken project.) It also seems to be The Newest articles-- only going back a day or so. Ckamaeleon 14:15, 26 January 2006 (UTC)

Multi-part articles

Has anyone recorded a multipart article so far?

How are we doing those? Do we need to say:

  • "Article Title, part 1, from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia."
  • [read part one]
  • "This concludes part one of Article Name. This recording, etc, etc, GNU, etc. etc. ..."
    • "Article Title, part 2, from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia."
    • [read part two]
    • "This concludes part two of Article Name. This recording, etc, etc, GNU, etc. etc. ..."
      • "Article Title, part 3, from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia."
      • [read part three]
      • "This concludes Article Name. This recording, etc, etc, GNU, etc. etc. ..."

Or are we simply to record the file as usual (with one file title and license announcement), then just cut it into three parts?

Do we need to reference the file name of the next/previous parts? (i.e. "This is part 2 in a series of 3 parts. For part one, see" and at the end: "For part three, see..."

I know that we've discussed the practice of dividing long articles, but I didn't see any conversation about the mechanics of doing it. Thoughts? Ckamaeleon 03:29, 23 January 2006 (UTC)

Thinking about it, I'm inclined to do it as bulleted above. I still don't know if I should provide the address of the next part. I think not, though. It's extra length. Is it assuming too much to say that people know where to find the subsequent parts (if they're listed in the template the right way) Ckamaeleon 02:42, 24 January 2006 (UTC)

Omissions and other things

Hi there.

I'm preparing to start work on my first Spoken resource article and I'd like to know which parts of the article can (or perhaps should) be omitted during reading. In particular:

  • what about article titles from 'See also'?
  • 'External links'?
  • 'Bibliography'? (sometimes quite long)
  • Reference facts charts (as those at the top of language-related articles; speakers population, ranking, ISO codes)?

Other than that, I'd also like to know the view toward non-native speakers of English reading English articles (I feel quite confident about my capability but...). In such case, what do I fill in the 'accent' field? :) TIA Utsutsu 15:36, 23 January 2006 (UTC)

Well, there isn't a set standard that I know of. Personally, I think that the only section in addition to the main text that should be read it the See also section. It is usually short and a listener can easily remember and use information from that part. The External links section, Bibliography section and fact charts are just too long and tedious to listen to. It is extremely difficult to search through an audio file, so when people want to use any of those sections they probably will just go to the article itself.
Remember that people are using these files to listen to away from the computer, to listen to while they do other things on the computer, or they are using them because they cannot read the article. In any of these cases it would be more convenient to go back to the original article for the section the person needs (for the last case a screen reader would do the job just fine). ~MDD4696 23:16, 23 January 2006 (UTC)
As far as your accent goes... just put what your accent is. I see that you're from Poland, so say that you have a Polish accent. Let me know once you've uploaded the file and I could give you a better idea of what your accent sounds like to an American English speaker. ~MDD4696 23:20, 23 January 2006 (UTC)

It's true that this project doesn't yet have a lot of "firm" policy. We're really still tryign to get people to help first of all. The ONLY hard rules are that you need to introduce the article title using the name of the article and providing credit to resource and the web address for the site (but not the article) , and you have to end with the GFDL statement. Sometimes I wish we had more detailed guidelines on this, but I think they might be intimidating. If I get into the project, I'm toying with the idea of writing a tutorial with sound samples and screenshots. I'd rather people be interested and do it inconsistently than get scared off and not contribute at all.Ckamaeleon 01:05, 24 January 2006 (UTC)

Here's the style I've developed:

  • The article text. I read the text, ignoring wikilinks. I use my voice to indicate quotation marks and different speakers, if there are any. I read everything in parentheses, especially alternate measurements, so that people who use metric (or who don't) have an idea of what you're talking about.
  • Section headings I read as "Section (whatever number it is): (whatever title it is). For example, "Section One: History of Ice Cream." I do not number the subsections (like 1.2, 1.3, etc), but rather just read off their titles.
  • Photos and visuals: I omit them, and any references to them, It's unwieldy to describe a photo, so listeners will just have to do without, unfortunately. Likewise, I don't read captions. It's as though the article had no images.
  • Tables: haven't had to read any yet. Don't know. Probably would read if it's short.
  • Infoboxes (like in the Columbine High School massacre article): I read them off, at the end of the section they're in, after I've read the rest of the text for that section.
  • See Also. I read the heading as "Consult also" and then read the list.
  • Bibliography. Yes, if short (about 6 or fewer books)
  • References/External links. Yes, if short. Read caption/title, description, then web address. I omit "http://" if the address starts with "www". If it doesn't, I read the whole address. If part of the address has numbers in it, I spell out the entire part . So " reads "w-w-w-dot-c-n-n-dot-com-slash-news-slash-t-w-o-2-t-a-l-k. This way. people aren't confused over whether I mean "two or "too" or "2" or "to". When in doubt, it's safer (but slower of course ) to spell out addresses.

The argument for reading the links is that they are helpful for reference if a person wants to note an address while listening for later consultation, sometimes resource is slow or unavailable so you can't go to an article to get the links, and since they're always at the end of the article anyway, you can just skip to the next track if they bore you. The argument against reading them is that they're unpleasant to listen to, tedious to read aloud, and they add unncesssary length to the track.

Ultimately, what you choose to omit probably has a lot to do with your personal philosophy about resource in general. If you're an inclusionist, you won't want to omit what you see as valuable info. If you're a deletionist, you'll only want to read the "meat" of the article, since that's what's most important to you.

  • I also include the DATE of the recording ex: "This sound file, recorded January 21st, 2006, and all text i nteh article are licensed under the GNU Free Documentation license, available at w-w-w-dot-g-n-u-dot-o-r-g-slash-copyleft-slash-f-d-l-dot-h-t-m-l." This way, if the file's date is changed (due to a copy, move, download, whatever, the date is still preserved in the recording.
  • The accent blank is very loose. I use "General American (Texas)" because I am from Texas, but I don't really have an accent from that region.
  • For sex, I usually include my general age, too. The Speech Accent Archive provides both sex and age, and I think it's helpful to know what to expect when you download a file. I use "Male (20s)."

I hope this is helpful. As you get into the project, you will have a chance to listen to other people's articles an see how they do it. You can also use the "history" tab on the articles to see what the article looked like when they recorded it. Eventually, you'll just find a way that works for you. Ckamaeleon 01:05, 24 January 2006 (UTC)

I hadn't thought of putting age in there... great idea! ~MDD4696 01:40, 24 January 2006 (UTC)
When I was uploading a new version of Beverage can stove, I saw that Messedrocker had listed himself as "male youth" so really, credit goes to him. Ckamaeleon 02:33, 24 January 2006 (UTC)

If the photos, table and diagrams are particularly useful you could prefix the reading with "This article contains additional information and data in tables and graphics at e n dot w i k i p e d i a dot o r g forward slash w i k i forward slash article name." Joe D (t) 02:23, 24 January 2006 (UTC)

Nice. Ckamaeleon 02:34, 24 January 2006 (UTC)
In this vein, I decided to announce at the beginning of a section any images in the section, and what their captions are, on the grounds that if people want to look at the pictures, and are able to, they'll know what's there. I suppose if there was a picture in the introduction of an article, I would read the introduction first, and announce the image afterwards. If you want, you can hear what it sounds like in my spoken version of the article on cicadas. Incidentally, this is the first spoken article I've recorded, so I won't be too offended if anyone has any comments about how I could improve. Initially, my reason for leaving out the taxobox was that I forgot to put it in. Then, when I thought about it, I was unsure about the clearest way to get the information across verbally. Also, I'm not sure what accent to use for the Latin words. In the body of the article, I stuck to what I remember of what I learnt many years ago about how people think Latin was spoken in the first century AD (although the region was never specified). Does anyone know what accent taxonomists prefer?The preceding unsigned comment was added by T J McKenzie (talk • contribs) .
Yeah, sorry. I realized just now that I hadn't signed it, and came back to do it, but someone beat me to it. Never mind, I'll try to remember in future. T J McKenzie 01:18, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

I recently sent a message to an email list for visually impaired people in New Zealand, telling them about this project, and asking how footnotes and references are usually handled in talking books. The only response so far has the advice "In general, in talking books, footnotes are read as they are encountered. Explanatory notes are read at the end of each chapter when they appear. Reference notes are omitted.". Just so you know. T J McKenzie 02:21, 2 March 2006 (UTC)

New Project Member & First Spoken Article

Hi all, please allow me to introduce myself. I am Thor, born in Iceland, but now living in the UK. I have recorded and uploaded my first article, following 99% of your guidelines, but it may need a little cleaning up. I would like to join the project on a permanent basis, if you would permit me, and if you wish to check the article or listen to it, its at - I would be interested in your views & considerations, either here or to my talk page. Thanks a lot! Thor Malmjursson 01:33, 25 January 2006 (UTC)

replied on on your Talk page. Ckamaeleon 04:29, 25 January 2006 (UTC)

Hey, I too am a new project member (and a new resource member in general). I have been editing from my IP for a while, and thought I'd get an account and do some spoken articles! I'm just working out the kinks in my first, and hope to work on some more. I like how resource is like communism but actually works, and with fantastic results! Catch y'all on the Spoken Article list! WAZAAAA 01:41, 26 January 2006 (UTC)

I wouldn't say it's entirely communist, but it does have a nice communal feel doesn't it? It's very satisfying how people from all over the globe can come together to hash things out in the name of free information. Ckamaeleon 02:06, 26 January 2006 (UTC)

Making Spoken resource easily blind-accessible, etc

It might be nice to start looking towards the future of Spoken resource - what purpose these audio files should serve 5-10 years from now, and in what form they will be available.

My vision is of a portal for those who want audio-assisted articles or completely audio articles (ie for blind readers). This could be accomplished using easy keyboard-based navigation and audiofiles that play in an embedded player, rather than making them click on the audio file and load them in an external player. Flash audio players have been quite effective in that regard.

10 years from now I would love to be able to go to a Spoken resource portal and make my way around just by using my keyboard and listening to articles. The accumulation of these articles so far is excellent, and definitely a worthwhile endeavor. Thanks for everyone's hard work in this project. -WAZAAAA 04:18, 26 January 2006 (UTC) (ps I'm a noob)

Feel free to add comments to User:Steinsky/Encyclopaedia for the blind. Joe D (t) 04:57, 26 January 2006 (UTC)

Incorporating audio files already on the article?

In working on various music-related spoken articles (such as Reggae), I wondered if there was a way to use snippets of songs already included in the article in ogg format in the spoken version. Is that allowed? Would I have to completely change the spoken articles' liscence if I include a 15 second clip of a song?

I found a way around it, though, through recording the song segments on my own. It's worth the effort, and makes the spoken articles flow like cream cheese at the factory. -WAZAAAA 23:48, 26 January 2006 (UTC)

Just make sure to not include copyrighted music as it would remove the free status of your work. We discourage fair use in the spoken articles more strongly than in the Wiki text because it's harder to remove in order to make an unencombered version. --Gmaxwell 19:42, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

As if we haven't already talked enough about templates

So we have this X user has requested that this article be recorded for Spoken Wikipedia," right?
Do we have anything that says "Y user is currently recording or editing this article for Spoken resource [in response to a request by X User]" ?

This might be a good way to:

  • a) let general readers know what's coming up in terms of new recordings and
  • b) let "key editors" -- you know, the people who seem to really be watching over the article-- know who they should communicate with if they want to discuss the recording process.
  • c) let other project members know that this article is already claimed to prevent people from accidentally recording the same article twice. Hopefully, they'll see the template as they're looking over the article to record.
    Ckamaeleon 16:51, 27 January 2006 (UTC)
Something kinda like this? Feel free to edit that one, as it's just a sandbox of sorts. --lightdarkness 17:14, 28 January 2006 (UTC)
The only thing I would change about that is to remove the third line. After someone starts recording it, I don't think the rationale behind the request matters anymore. Plus, many requests don't have a reason listed with them. Other than that, it looks great to me! -SCEhardT 20:28, 28 January 2006 (UTC)
Wonderful. Some thoughts:
  • I agree that the third line isn't so important.
  • But what if someone hasn't yet requested the article? What if you just stumble upon it and decide it'd be fun/worthwhile to record? (That's why I left the request bit in brackets up there). Seems like you should still have some sort of notification on the page. How about an alternative second version that looks something like this? I don't think the wording is perfect, so feel free to edit it.
  • It should probably also include a date (just like how we've started dating the cleanup tags). The way I see it, we can't put it on the talk page like the other templates, because it's less likely to be noticed there. (I know it's best practice to "check out" the article before recording, but usually, I just skim the article to see if it has content that would be easy enough to record, as well as a subject and length I'm comfy with, and then I check out the history to see what kind of changes have been going on recently, and that's it.) But we don't want it to be too obtrusive by hanging on to the article page for a long time, so if we date the "hold", we can see if it's been up for a long time. If it has, we can contact the Spoken Wiki volunteer who placed the hold and ask if they're still working in earnest or if it needs to be scrapped/passed off to someone else -- and then update or remove the template accordingly. Ckamaeleon 22:49, 28 January 2006 (UTC)
Ckamaeleon, I couldn't get your template to work properly (testing in a sandbox), so I edited it. I hope it's an improvement, rather than me messing things up because I don't know how they work. Revert it if I'm wrong. Anyway, I can get it to look and link right now by typing "{{User:Ckamaeleon/Spoken resource In Progress (no request)|T J McKenzie|16 February, 2006}}". T J McKenzie 08:35, 16 February 2006 (UTC)
If you were having problems with the templates, it's probably because I don't know what I'm doing when I write them ;op Feel free to edit away. Ckamaeleon 07:33, 14 March 2006 (UTC)

I just created a new icon for recordings-in-progress. Let me know what you think. It may be a bit too light. Thought the gradient might be a nice way to indicate that the recording was coming along. Ckamaeleon 23:38, 28 January 2006 (UTC)

Should we list the finalized templates (on the project page) in the Wikipedia index of Template Messages? I didn't see any of ours there, but I know Spoken isn't a sister project, as much as it is as sub-project of Wikipedia. Ckamaeleon 03:17, 29 January 2006 (UTC)

MP3 vs. OGG

Created a page of the arguments of both sides of this issue. -WAZAAAA 15:46, 28 January 2006 (UTC)

Discussion going on over at Resource: Media about whether MP3s should be used on the site. I make my case for MP3s or a better alternative over there: MP3 vs. OGG -WAZAAAA 01:30, 28 January 2006 (UTC)

We've gone over this at least twice... I think in archive 2 of this page and then again on the talk page of the recording guidelines. Unless the wikimedia people have a good response to the patent-encumbrance of MP3s, I don't know how much more ground we could break in a discussion. I should add, though, that if all things were the same, I'd prefer MP3. But I'm learning to deal with OGG. Running Linux and/or Winamp in Windows helps. Ckamaeleon 03:34, 28 January 2006 (UTC)
Yeah, it doesn't seem to be a very two-sided discussion. I say resource should vote on it, as there are a lot of people who seem to think it would make the audio projects worth something. But the powers that be seem to believe this rule is set in stone, frankly I think it's the reason why we haven't been having too much popularity with any of the audio projects. -WAZAAAA 05:16, 28 January 2006 (UTC)
This has come up again more then twice. ... It's not called 'Resource: The Free Encyclopedia' for nothing. The goal of freedom isn't any more negotiable than the goal of being an encyclopedia. The repeated arguments ignoring what was said before is disruptive and disrespectful. Please don't bring up the subject again unless you really have something new to offer the discussion. --Gmaxwell 19:40, 11 February 2006 (UTC)
I'm an average user, and I want to voice my intense displasure at being forced to use OGG - or more accurately, denied access to resource spoken articles. I don't have an OGG player. MP3 makes infinitely more sense - though it may be a patented technology, resource doesn't have to pay anything to use it. This seems like a case of open-source elitism to me. You're also going to have fewer people contribute if you use such an obscure format. Providing audio is about accessibility - how accessible is it if people are supposed to download a separate player just to uphold an open-source ideal? Use open-source where it works - this is clearly not one of those cases.-- 09:51, 28 March 2006 (UTC)
Look at the help page about Ogg Vorbis files. No need to download a separate application at all, just an extension to media player. Most Linux and Mac flavours worth thier salt natively accept Ogg Vorbis as it's free from patents and other legal rubbish. Please read the guide we have before complaining. --Celestianpower háblame 12:49, 28 March 2006 (UTC)
You are incorrect, resource could very well have to pay to license the MP3 technology to host sounds files--see the MP3 licensing page's FAQ. ~MDD4696 01:39, 17 June 2006 (UTC)

RSS feed is updated!

Should be up and running now; does it work correctly for everyone? Now go record some more articles! -SCEhardT 04:54, 29 January 2006 (UTC)

Nice work. Yes, Sir/Ma'am! Macropode 10:11, 31 January 2006 (UTC)

Icon at top right

Hello, it would be very nice if there was a small pic' at the top-right corner to indicate that there is a spoken version of the article. Just like for the features articles. See Template:Featured article 21:35, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for your idea. As you'll see above, in the section about "Placement of spoken article templates", there has been discussion of a similar idea, but I'm not sure if anyone has put it into practice yet.
Out of curiosity, are you suggesting this as a potential contributor who wants to raise awareness of the project, or as someone who wants to regularly listen to articles, or what? Most of the discussion here is from contributors, so I think it's important for us to hear what regular listeners want, too. T J McKenzie 23:47, 17 February 2006 (UTC)
Well, I think I've done it now. Copying and pasting from other templates meant that I didn't really need to know what I was doing that much. I learnt a bit from it, too. The remaining question is what the icon should link to when you click on it. User:Steinsky had a good idea and linked it to the information associated with the uploaded file, which tells you all sorts of things, and lets you listen to it. Unfortunately, it's not obvious what to do if the recording is in several parts. Have a look at the discussion at Template talk:Spoken Wikipedia#Icon at the top right (which at time of writing consists only of my comments, but hopefully someone else will talk there soon, too).
By the way, I've changed the heading of this section of discussion, since it was a link to the template for a spoken article recorded in two parts, which could confuse people.
Let me know what you think about the icon, and what it links to. T J McKenzie 04:50, 18 February 2006 (UTC)
The link I changed it to is what the old top of the page link pointed to (check the history of the template for that). It was implemented about a year ago, but for various techinical reasons has been turned off for a while. Joe D (t) 05:33, 18 February 2006 (UTC)
I've been playing with a copy of the Spoken article entry template at User:T J McKenzie/Spoken article entry. I think I've got a solution that will allow the icon at the top right to link sensibly to even multi-part recordings. It involves there being links from that template to the next part of the recording (for each part except the last) and to the first part (for each part except the first). Admittedly, this will require manually editing the information pages about the recordings for multi-part articles, but a quick check of Special:Whatlinkshere/Template:Spoken_Wikipedia-2, etc. shows that at time of writing, there are only 15 such articles. Of course, if we like the idea, we'll also need to change the instructions about uploading. Have a look at the examples I've put on the talk page for that template.
By the way, if you're wondering why it doesn't have proper internal links to the first and next parts, here's the story:
  1. The | in links like [[article name|label]] is interpreted as marking the start of the next parameter passed to the qif template, which I'm using to surround the links to the first and next parts, so that the link is only shown if it needs to be. Fortunately, Template:wikilink is designed for just such a situation.
  2. The Image namespace is a bit different from some other namespaces. [[Image:CalvinAndHobbes1.ogg|Go to the first part]] seems to ignore the label passed to it, like this:
    . Instead, we need to link it like this: [[:Image:CalvinAndHobbes1.ogg|Go to the first part]], so that it shows the label properly, like this: Go to the first part.
  3. And here's the clincher: a leading colon in a parameter passed to a template (like this: {{wikilink|:Image:CalvinAndHobbes1.ogg|Go to the first part}}) is interpreted as indentation, as if it was at the beginning of a line, like this: {{wikilink|:Image:CalvinAndHobbes1.ogg|Go to the first part}}.
If anyone can think of a way around it, feel free to fix the template. By the way, I did think of using the external link notation, which wouldn't require a |, but I thought there had to be a better way. As it stands, looking like it links to a different Wiki isn't as bad as looking like it links all the way to the outside world.
Do let me know what you think of the template, and whether it should be used. T J McKenzie 22:46, 19 February 2006 (UTC)
I have now got the links to be proper internal links, and now I'm not sure how true #1 is above; I fixed it by using [[]] notation, but this time with :Image:... instead of just Image:..., which I hadn't done before I concluded that {{wikilink}} was necessary.
Also, I noticed that the corresponding template on Commons is out of sync with {{Spoken article entry}}. In particular, it uses the parameter user_name_link, instead of user_name, and treats it differently. This probably causes confusion (a perusal of the archives indicates it has on at least one occasion), since the instructions on the project page relate only to user_name, but the recording guidelines suggest that uploading to Commons is a possibility. I suggest we synchronize the templates. However, a large number of audio files have been uploaded to Commons (and a larger number to Wikipedia), so unless we got a bot to do it, it would be difficult to change everything. Instead, I've tried out another change to the template in my user space, which will allow either to be used. It should be noted that user_name_link allows more functionality if you choose to use that (since you can pass it any text containing as many links as you like), and user_name is simpler if you just want a link to your own user page (since you need only pass it your user name, not a link). We needn't document this on the project page (it would make things look more complicated, and therefore less encouraging for potential contributors), but if someone's curious enough to go to the talk page of the template, they can find the documentation there. Incidentally, we can make it simpler by removing the requirement to fill in file_name, which isn't currently used (and I haven't started using it in the version I'm playing with on my user space).
As I'm learning more about templates (faster than I initially expected), I'm also learning how inexperienced I am with resource in general. This is why I'm a little less bold than I was a few days ago, and why I'm leaving this idea here for a while to allow comment before I implement it (or decide not to). T J McKenzie 10:19, 22 February 2006 (UTC)

I haven't read through your template code, but assuming it works correctly, I'd say go for it! We need to fix the differences between the two since it (understandably) seems to confuse a lot of people. -SCEhardT 15:17, 22 February 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for your encouragement! I won't start doing it right now though, partly to give people more of a chance to comment, and partly because our apparent consensus that it's a good idea to have some sort of spoken-version-indicator at the top of articles now has one dissenter: Raul654. Have a look at his reasons at Template talk:Spoken Wikipedia#Icon at the top right. T J McKenzie 02:46, 23 February 2006 (UTC)


A thought just struck me. If we want to raise awareness of this project, one possible tactic is to record a large number of stubs and other short articles. We could do this more quickly than if we were concentrating mainly on featured articles. Hopefully, this will mean more people will see that this project exists, and perhaps join us. (Of course, it's still good to get recordings of featured articles that are about to be on the main page, which is another way of raising awareness; in fact, I discovered this project the day that Douglas Adams was on the main page; thanks, Lightdarkness!) What does everyone think? T J McKenzie 05:07, 20 February 2006 (UTC)

Heh, that article took forever to record. For the 35 minutes of audio, probably took over a gig of raw wav data, and about 3-4 hours of my time :P As far as rasing awareness, I'm not sure. I've recorded two FA's (Douglas Adams Raney nickel now before they hit the main page, and I think the addition of the Speaker icon at the top of the article will help. --lightdarkness (talk) 05:12, 20 February 2006 (UTC)
I'm not particularly in favour of this, though I won't stop you. I wouldn't want to see the Spoken Articles category and podcast filled up with useless files that nobody wants to listen to just to promote the project -- indeed, if we listed those articles we might discourage people from joining in. I also wouldn't want to attract people to this project if their only interest was then to record stubs. Recording short or unstable articles is a bit of a waste of time, as they will become out of date as the article is updated and improved and need recording again.
While we're on the subject of promoting the project, we need to talk about an alternative template for the featured article section on the front page--either for the "Archive - By email - More featured articles..." line, or the title, which includes a link to the audio. I did that manually a couple of times when the project had just started, but I've not had time to keep an eye on it lately. We should also start paying attention to the landmarks we reach regarding number of articles recorded and post them on the news/landmarks page on meta and in the Resource: resource Signpost.
Joe D (t) 05:32, 20 February 2006 (UTC)
I take your point that people might not want, for example, Median test (which took me a few minutes to record earlier today) on the podcast. But the podcast is manually updated, isn't it? So that can be left out, along with anything else excessively short. As for what appears in the list at Category:Spoken articles, that's automatic, isn't it? So we can't exclude short articles from that too easily. What makes you think that having small articles there will put people off? I'm not necessarily saying it won't, I'm just curious about why you think it will.
Why wouldn't you want to attract people only interested in recording stubs? Admittedly, they might not provide much benefit to the project, but will it harm the project? Personally, I don't intend to record only short articles, but if I've got a little spare time, but don't want to start anything big, I might click the "Random article" link a few times until I find a suitable short article.
As for the template for main page spoken articles, either we should get one together very quickly, or just manually update the next one up: Resource: Today's featured article/February 21, 2006, which is lightdarkness's Raney nickel. Of course, an administrator needs to do that. And yes, it's a good idea to have a link to the spoken version right there on the main page.
And to keep track of and publicize landmarks. Personally, I don't know how to find out the number of articles in a category easily, so I'm not volunteering for that job. T J McKenzie 08:16, 20 February 2006 (UTC)

Does anyone have a Glaswegian accent? Or any kind of Scottish accent? Having a good-quality recording of Jordanhill railway station right now would be a brilliant way of raising awareness. Of course, the page is changing fairly quickly at the moment, but cost-benefit-wise, I think it may be worthwhile making a recording of it, and updating it occasionally in the near future. T J McKenzie 01:58, 2 March 2006 (UTC)

While I find Glaswegian accents to be incredibly attractive, I don't have one. I couldn't even affect one properly. But on that line, do you think adding accent info to the Active Members list would be a good idea? I have mixed feelings about it. For one, it's not info that people couldn't find by looking up their recordings' Image pages...but on the other hand, people get kind of hung up about the accent thing...I dunno. Ckamaeleon ((T)) 21:28, 15 March 2006 (UTC)

What is the purpose of the small icon?

What is the real purpose of the small icon on the top right of each article that has a spoken version? If it is to indicate that it's a spoken article, doesn't the article have a category and a clearly visible template to show? While the featured article doesn't have any. If it is to link easily to the sound file, why do we keep using the big template box? For now I'm not finding any useful goal for this icon and I'm for its removal. CG 16:59, 26 February 2006 (UTC)

It serves the same purpose as the featured icon does, it let's you know right away when visiting the article that it has a spoken version, rather than having to go to the bottom and seeing the template box/category. --lightdarkness (talk) 17:06, 26 February 2006 (UTC)
First, the FA icon was created to serve as a motive for contributors more than to show the status of the article (we are trying to avoid self-reference). Second, I don't think the regular reader browses through resource to find spoken articles, the icon will be insignificant for most of the time. And third, this icon might help visually-impaired users that use screen readers to detect rapidly that the article has a sound file, but being a metadata, I don't think these screen readers will read it. CG 18:14, 27 February 2006 (UTC)
First, one of the arguments in favour of the featured article star was that it would inform interested readers. See, for example, TreyHarris's comment. How would the star be an incentive if editors thought that readers would ignore it?
Second, the icon for spoken articles is important precisely because the regular reader doesn't browse through resource to find spoken articles. If someone was interested only in spoken articles, they could just go to the category. What's more likely is that someone is interested in resource articles, and when possible, listening to them. It would considerably slow such a person down if they had to look for a box in the "External links" section of every article before they read it. Sometimes I've had trouble finding the box on articles that I already know are spoken. How often will it be missed by people who are looking for it to find out if an article is spoken?
Third, we have thought about how screen-readers will deal with it. Have a look at Template talk:Spoken Wikipedia#Icon at the top right. Any suggestions about how to make spoken articles easily identifiable for both sighted and visually impaired users will be appreciated. Besides, there are other problems that resource readers might have that might not prevent them from reading, but might make it more difficult. Dyslexia and chronic fatigue syndrome come to mind. Even restricting our attention to medical issues is being too narrow; have a look at the benefits of our project. T J McKenzie 00:11, 1 March 2006 (UTC)

I'm not really convinced, but it's fine. But I want to suggest a better location, maybe at the top of the article, on the same level than the title, and right next to the FA star, and not below it. We could make this area a repository of icons. CG 16:29, 1 March 2006 (UTC)

I agree that it should be there. In fact, that's where I put it a little while ago. Unfortunately, it clashes with the words soliciting donations from users who aren't logged in. We need to convice an admin to shift the Anonnotice slightly to prevent the clash. Have a look at the discussion about it. T J McKenzie 22:43, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
I like having a quick way to find out ifhte article has a recorded version--without having to scroll all the way down...AND without a large transclusion at the top of the article. The tiny sound icon seems to serve this purpose nicely. Am also in favor if it going next to the FA star. Ckamaeleon ((T)) 20:16, 15 March 2006 (UTC)
I think the small icon was a mistake, because the only people who know what it means or even notice it are the people who are recording the articles. A new user is going to have no idea that the small icon has any significance, if they even notice it at all. It would do resource and spoken articles a service if there was a more clear notification of a spoken article available.--M4bwav 20:25, 15 March 2006 (UTC)
But then won't a user be curious as to what it is, and possibly click on it? --lightdarkness (talk) 20:29, 15 March 2006 (UTC)
I agree with Lightdarkness. Even if he/she didn't know what it meant, he/she would see the infobox @ the bottom of the article. OR he or she would click on it. How did people figure out that the star meant "featured article"? I don't think the connection is as intuitive as, say, a floppy disk for "save" (which, come to think of it, is kind of funny, seeing as how new computers aren't even built to use floppies anymore). Too bad the project's work can't get on the Main Page the way "featured images" are on the Commons. Seems like our current policy of recording articles that are slated for the main page is the closest thing we have to that kind of publicity. Ckamaeleon ((T)) 21:22, 15 March 2006 (UTC)

Spoken names

I have a db of pronunciations of names of people & places, from VOA; and am planning to add those to the start of related articles. Should this involve the narration project at all? +sj + 19:51, 28 February 2006 (UTC)

It doesn't really sound to me like the two are very much related (and thus I don't think they should be integrated), but if you want any help just let us know what we can do! Are you placing the articles with the pronunciations into a special category?-SCEhardT 22:18, 28 February 2006 (UTC)


I have boldly moved the recording instructions off the main page and into a 5-step instruction set beginning with 'Choose an article'. Unless anyone objects, I'm planning to unclutter the main page a bit more by creating a couple more subpages. -SCEhardT 21:03, 28 February 2006 (UTC)

OK; I'm done rearranging now - what do you think? -SCEhardT 23:01, 28 February 2006 (UTC)
Wonderful! Thank you! T J McKenzie 23:18, 28 February 2006 (UTC)
Wowie Zowie! That's good stuff. Thanks for simplifying it. Ckamaeleon 07:47, 14 March 2006 (UTC)

Along those lines, I wish we had an FAQ or an index to help newbies follow developments one this page. It's a pain in the butt to read through ALL of the archived pages, but if you don't you might ask a question that's already been answered. The "why not mp3" and "Text to speech" questions come to mind here. Ckamaeleon 07:47, 14 March 2006 (UTC)

Yep, a FAQ section for those types of questions seems like a good idea to me. -SCEhardT 15:44, 14 March 2006 (UTC)
It also seems logical to place Ambuj Saxena's userbox in a section immediately following the barnstar on the main page. It won't take up much room, and it would be easier for people to add their names to the active users list and then snag the userbox code, if the they like. Thoughts? Ckamaeleon 11:45, 15 March 2006 (UTC)

Out of boredom (and in an attempt to avoid doing laundry and a large pile of dishes in my kitchen sink), I created a page to put suggestions for a newbie's first article, as well as a section for slightly more ambitious ones. Right now, it's housed on the Talk page for The article choice guidelines page, because I wanted to see what other people thought before putting it in a more prominent place. If it's successful, I'd suggest either giving it its own page, with a link from the guidelines page OR just tossing the sections at the bottom of the relatively short Guidelines page itself. Ckamaeleon ((T)) 18:54, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

Text to speech

Can advanced text-to-speech software (such as AT&T natural voices: be used to create Spoken articles? Beeing careful, of course, to respect original pronuntiation/phonetics, punctuation, and correct use of abbreviations. -- 06:40, 11 March 2006 (UTC)

I don't think the results from such software are acceptable for this project. (Plus, would there be copyright issues?) -SCEhardT 06:57, 11 March 2006 (UTC)
Would the software that comes with Mac OS X be acceptable? I don't see how there is any copyright issues, since the software doesn't have a hold on the end product (or does it and I don't know about this?). I see how the voice is copyrighted, but the audio file is not giving away the voice anymore than hearing the voice in a room would be considered stealing the copyright. Assuming there is no copyright issue, if it sounds good enough it may be worthwhile to look into using since that could be used to a much greater extent than the current method. The results would require at least one or two careful listenings before being uploaded, I agree. -- 14:21, 12 May 2006 (UTC)
Although speech synthesis can be tedious to listen to, use of a good voice can have a positive impact, and there are open source alternatives that may alleviate copyright worries. I would love to see/hear resource articles - and even auto-generated playlists, aka wikistations on various topics...--Pzygote 07:34, 11 July 2006 (UTC)

I'd like to start creating sythezised spoken articles. The TTS engine that can be used is Festival which is free to use-- they also provide free voices. I think synthesized articles can be of benefit for these reasons:

  • 1) Sight-impared users can listen to articles when there is no TTS capability available (eg: internet cafe's, public libraries).
  • 2) The ability to make more spoken articles in less time.
  • 3) The ability for those with poor-speech and a bad-speaking voice to still contribute to Wikipedia.

I've uploaded an example of a sythesized article here. Please listen to it and review whether it's acceptable. Thanks. dq 23:16, 24 October 2006 (UTC)

To address your points:
1) Public services, particularly libraries, would most likely have an interest in catering to their sight-impaired users by having TTS software installed on their own systems, thereby giving sight-impaired users access to much more than just resource articles. If they don't, then they're not granting everybody equal access to their services. If the issue is raised with them in a friendly and constructive manner, they may be willing do something about it.
2) Granted, although I won't speculate about whether people prefer machine-generated or human voices. The human brain is very good at dealing with speech; machines currently aren't, as is very obvious if you listen to one for a while. They might render some short articles reasonably well, but they inevitably make some very obvious mistakes, and the time you spend on correcting these would probably be better spent on narrating the article using your own voice. Also, one of the features of this project is that it provides material for people learning to speak English. Nobody (that I know of) wants to speak like a machine.
3) There are many ways to usefully contribute to resource in case you're unable, for physical reasons or otherwise, to do Spoken. If you're just lacking speaking practice and maybe a bit of confidence, rest assured you're not alone! No right-thinking person is going to throw crap at you for trying.
Irene_papas.ogg is a very short recording, at just over four minutes long, yet it's nearly 3 MegaBytes in size. En.Wikipedia currently has 1,450,226 articles. Even if they were all that short, and only a fraction of them were uploaded as captured TTS engine output, you're looking at potentially huge amounts of Wikimedia server disk space (not to mention the network bandwidth needed to transfer it all) to store artificially generated audio that could just as easily be produced by users downloading the text versions of articles in the usual way, and then simply performing the extra step of having their computer convert it to speech on-the-fly. There's no shortage of TTS software to do this with. -- Macropode 10:36, 25 October 2006 (UTC)

I encoded the Irene_papas.ogg file in a separate step-- it can be made smaller. I recorded it at 48k as per intructions here, but the ogg-quality level is probably much higher than it needs to be (I think it's at 3). dq 13:51, 25 October 2006 (UTC)

You can compress the crap out of it (I do with mine) and you still won't end up with a file any smaller than a couple of MB. Speech synthesisers are fun to play with, but the fact remains that it's hard to justify storing synthesised audio on Wikimedia's servers when pretty much any resource user can bypass the whole process of downloading it by running TTS software on their own machine. It's much faster, as the user only downloads a few kB of text rather than MegaBytes of audio, and they can choose to have the article rendered to audio in whatever voice style and at whatever speed they like. Being the mature person that I am, I'd probably use a Dalek voice.
C'mon man, treat the listeners to the dulcet tones of your own voice. -- Macropode 06:57, 26 October 2006 (UTC)
What about an on-the-fly generator of spoken articles? That is, a person clicks on an article's "Spoken" link, the article is passed through the TTS software mentioned above, and the person is presented with a .OGG file that is cached on the Wikimedia servers until a few revisions are made to the text. This might be a bit tricky to pull off, seeing as we don't want the Wikimedia servers performing the conversion and with all the differences between Windows/Mac/Linux... you get the idea. Java, perhaps? Anyway, just food for thought. --Mechcozmo 05:27, 31 October 2006 (UTC)

For all of you, who want to compare naturally spoken texts with computer generated ones: Give a try, and hear that the best text to speech algorithm is not as good as the worst natural speaker. ~~de:Benutzer:Jokannes 14:57, 25 November 2006 (UTC)

Userbox / Artwork

It looked like this WikiProject doesn't have any Userbox, so I created one. I couldn't get a very good image of a microphone, so added this. Feel free to improve.

It expands as follows:

USB-Microphone.jpgThis user is a member of WikiProject Spoken Wikipedia.

To add this template, type:

{{User WikiProject Spoken Wikipedia}}

Ambuj Saxena (talk) 19:01, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

Since there weren't any good images to use in the userbox, I decided to make one. I've uploaded some self-made images to the resource Commons: Wikimic.png; Wikimic2.png; Wikimic-cropped.png; Wikimic2-cropped.png

Hopefully,the cropped versions will look better when shrunk down to userbox size.

Here are some suggestions for how they could be used in a userbox. Feel free to make suggestions or even boldly modify them.

Wikimic-cropped.svgThis user is a member of WikiProject Spoken Wikipedia.

One would add this template by typing:

{{User WikiProject Spoken Wikipedia2}}

Wikimic2-cropped.svgThis user is a member of WikiProject Spoken Wikipedia.

One would add this template by typing:

{{User WikiProject Spoken Wikipedia3}}

Ckamaeleon 19:50, 15 March 2006 (UTC) P.S. -- I'm partial to the maroon one, myself.

Speaker Icon.svgThis user is a member of WikiProject Spoken Wikipedia.

I like the digital noise variation. Was the source file that you derived it from freely licensed? If not, that could be problematic...otherwise, great!
P.S. -- if you like, you could make the white background transparent (it's easy to do in GIMP and other image editors). That would let it blend in with the background color of the userbox. As I understand, you can also specify a contrasting color for the part of the userbox that has the image, so it would blend into that, actually. Ckamaeleon ((T)) 14:35, 5 April 2006 (UTC)

Here's another Userbox design idea: use a 2-box design, like the one produced by this code: {{userbox-2|#0000CD|#ADD8E6|[[Image:Crystal package favourite.png|40px]]|Boxes can have one or two sideboxes.|[[Image:Crystal ark.png|40px]]}} but have the image on the left something like a written page and the box on the right one of the "audio" symbols we've devleoped for the above userboxes. Ckamaeleon ((T)) 14:43, 5 April 2006 (UTC)

Like this:

Lorem Ipsum Gill Sans.svgThis user is a member of WikiProject Spoken Wikipedia.Speaker Icon.svg

The symbol is public domain, its the standard symbol for a speaker output. I drew it myself using the image i found as a reference. I'll make it transparant soon, my flash is acting funny . Glad you like it : ) Jackpot Den 19:44, 6 April 2006 (UTC)

Uploading problem

OK, I completed my first spoken article and I'm trying to upload it. However, after I click "upload file" my browser (Firefox) keeps timing out. Any suggestions? --Speaker Eric 08:40, 9 April 2006 (UTC)

How big is the file size? I think there's a current limit of ~20mb. pfctdayelise (translate?) 09:25, 9 April 2006 (UTC)
Yes, that was exactly my problem. I split the file and it uploaded just fine. Any comments would be welcome. Doubtless, the process will be much easier next time. --Speaker Eric 11:03, 9 April 2006 (UTC)

Article Selection

Hello all, A few weeks ago, I started adding articles to the Article Choice Guide's Talk Page I wanted to invite project members to contribute to the list: if, during your resource browsing, you find an article that might be a good "first" article, consider adding it to the list for new project members.

As it says on the page, feel free to edit the list as you see fit. The only thing that would bother me would be seeing no suggestions there Ckamaeleon ((T)) 08:04, 15 April 2006 (UTC)

Which microphone?

I'm thinking of recording some articles, but the only microphone I possess is a tiny little thing I got free with PC Gamer for playing computer games with and I doubt the results from it would be acceptable even under "better crap than nothing" standards. The instructions on this WikiProject seem very comprehensive, but there doesn't seem to be much advice on buying a decent microphone. A glance at Amazon's bestsellers doesn't give me much of an idea about what would be decent enough to record articles on. --Sam Blanning(talk) 17:38, 16 April 2006 (UTC)

I don't know about which models are good/bad, but you'll want to get a microphone specifically designed for a computer. I think most of the mics on the page you linked to would need a signal booster to work with a PC. -SCEhardT 17:51, 16 April 2006 (UTC)
For voice, any cheap microphone is usually sufficient, as long as you eliminate background noise and speak at a proper distance. ~MDD4696 18:04, 16 April 2006 (UTC)
Is there a way to tell which ones are designed for a computer? --Sam Blanning(talk) 18:18, 16 April 2006 (UTC)
i've always had the impression that the Project doesn't require spending a lot of money. Glancing at the system configs, some of us have fancy-dancy systems and some of us don't. I see everything from hi-end equipment and custom built machines running Gentoo to out-of-the-box Dells and generic mics. I think any mic that you find at a computer store (even if you buy it @ Amazon) should be okay. Another option would be to find a brick-and-mortar store that has an easy return policy so you can try out your purchase and choose another if it's not good. Ckamaeleon ((T)) 00:36, 18 April 2006 (UTC) P.S. -- I use my generic OEM mic (meaning the one that came with my computer) and find that while it's not nearly as nice as my friend's sweet conden$or mic, it gets the job done. Environment (eliminating background noise, maybe padding echoey walls) and good production (not too close to the mic, judicious effect processing) seem to play a larger part.
There are any number of inexpensive microphones on the market that are designed to plug straight into your computer/sound card. They are usually identified as such on the packaging. Look for almost any lightweight mic that has one of those tiddly little 3.5mm audio connectors on the end of the cable. Internally, they're all pretty much the same, the key component being a tiny electret-condenser microphone cartridge which is powered by the sound card in your computer.
Most of these mics work quite well, but some introduce a bit of electrical hum or noise into the signal; if it's constant and reasonably low in level, it can usually be effectively removed with your sound software's noise-reduction tool.
The only potentially serious obstacle you might run into if you're unlucky, is variable low-level buzzing, whining and other strange sounds that manifest themselves in your recording no matter what microphone you use. This is caused by all those transistors in the chips in your computer switching their little heads off millions of times per second and generating electrical noise in the process. This noise sometimes gets into the computer's sound circuitry. I have a cheapo laptop computer, which while being audibly very quiet and generally a lovely little machine, has a habit of injecting high rpm motorbike type sounds into any recording I try to make whenever it accesses it's hard disk, making it unusable for doing audio recordings with.
As pointed out by others above, getting the production basics right first will yield better results than fussing over microphone quality. Whatever microphone you use, get close enough to it to out-compete any background noise and echo, but not so close that you sound like Darth Vader with a cold when you breathe. :) -- Macropode 08:36, 18 April 2006 (UTC)

How do I make an OGG file?

Help please! I've recorded one of the suggested articles this morning, compressed it, normalized it and taken off noise, and I don't know what to do next. Apologies for the cross-posting - I've asked this question in a couple of other places, but I don't know which place is the right one to refer to for advice. I think I need to know how to make my Adobe Audition turn my file into OGG format - is that right? - and then, a beginner's explanation of how to name the file ready for Wikipedia. After that I'll have a go at uploading it, hoping not to find too many problems along the way. Thanks, Patrick --Patrick 13:45, 24 April 2006 (UTC)

You can always just save it as whatever, then download audacity (, open the file with that, and save it as OGG from Audacity Robert 01:37, 22 October 2006 (UTC)

Vorbis vs. Speex?

While we're discussing this, is there an authorative decision on whether to use Vorbis or Speex? I know that people have talked about using Speex (a long time ago in the talk archives for this page), but in practice, I'm just using Vorbis, since it's what's on my computer already. Ckamaeleon ((T)) 14:42, 24 April 2006 (UTC)

I was just doing some reading, and it seems that while Speex is a better codec to use, Audacity (which most of us use) can't export to it yet. So I'm guessing most everyone is using the "export to Ogg Vorbis" command in Audacity. Ckamaeleon ((T)) 16:35, 24 April 2006 (UTC)

I'm in the same boat as Patrick: I want to help out resource by making recordings for you guys, but I don't know how to make this obscure format, ogg!!! Why don't you guys just use something NORMAL like mp3? I'm using MOTU dp4 on a Mac. I have iTunes. Someone please tell me how to make an ogg file! email <address removed>

I've removed your email address so that it doesn't get picked up by spammers. You can revert my edit if you really do want it posted. The best thing to do is check back here for responses. -- Laura S | talk to me 01:53, 23 June 2006 (UTC)

Ogg + Adobe Audition

Does anybody use Adobe Audition? Patrick is looking for help getting the program to export to OGG. I looked at the list of sample specs and it seems that everyone is using Audacity, which already is set up to encode Ogg files. But the recording guide specifically mentions Adobe Audition as an example of a recording program, so somebody has to know about it. Ckamaeleon ((T)) 15:15, 24 April 2006 (UTC)

I use it. All you have to do is download a filter for OGG files and put it in the plugin folder, and it should allow you to save it as an .ogg extension. Google "Adobe Audition" and "OGG"; it should come up. Anthony Hit me up... 19:02, 24 April 2006 (UTC)

Speaker Quality (Performer Quality)

Along the lines of the "File quality audits / Technical summaries" section, is there a page or section that could collect and award the spoken files for their high speaker quality? And when I say high speaker quality, I don't really mean just the sound quality, but I am talking about the quality of the speaker (so maybe it should collect names of users who are highly regarded for their spoken files). In the long run, I guess I'm pointing in the direction of having experienced/professional people do the spoken articles, but that's not really my intent. My real intent is not only to recognize good speakers, but also help people (like myself) emulate them when I'm trying to make one on my own. I'll go right ahead and give props to the spoken file for Rachel Green. However, the speaker for this file was advertising for their own thing, and the user is not actively involved with Wikipedia. The advertisement made in the file has since been cut out now thanks to User:MarkSweep. In any case, the quality of the speech is relatively good, and so I would like to recognize those files that are spoken well. Kenumay 11:37, 29 April 2006 (UTC)

That sounds like a good idea, although I'd be wary of specifiying "good" speakers over anyone else. I've been listening to a lot of different files and have yet to hear one that sounds bad. It might accomplish the same goal (pointing out characteristics to emulate) if we expand the production tips into a section on "characteristics of a great spoken recording" or something, along the lines of What is a featured article. And as for recognizing great recordings, this project does have a barnstar. It looks like it was intended mainly for volume contributions, but I see no reason why you couldn't award it for a single, particularly high-quality recording. --Laura S 15:25, 6 May 2006 (UTC)

Featured narration?

Anyone for this idea?-- ??? Chat with Tdxiang on IRC! 09:06, 9 May 2006 (UTC)

I like it! Do we have enough articles for this? Seems like there are a lot, but I don't know what quality standards we'd impose. Also, I could be wrong (cause I'm kinda new) but my impression was that a lot of the point of the FA is to help nurture articles into featured status - ie, it drives improvement of articles. The spoken versions aren't really something that can be tweaked by the community.
Although this is very similar to what Kenumay suggested above. It seems there's a desire emerging to highlight excellent spoken articles. Good reasons would be promoting the project, providing guidance on high-quality narrations and recordings, etc. It won't help improve current narrations without totally redoing them, but it might encourage higher quality down the road. (I'm not sure there actually is a quality problem though; every recording I've listened to has sounded really good.)
Could you elaborate some more on your thoughts around reasoning, and also what criteria would be used to select a Featured Narration?
By the way, I like calling them "narrations". It flows a little better than "spoken version", which is what I've been calling them. --Laura S 13:46, 9 May 2006 (UTC)
I would prefer to see a Spoken Article Peer Review. Joe D (t) 16:03, 9 May 2006 (UTC)
Oh, okay, we should set up a page then!:)-- ??? Chat with Tdxiang on IRC! 03:32, 10 May 2006 (UTC)
I also would like to see some kind of peer review system established. Since I've been doing this, very few people have volunteered any critical appraisal of the spoken articles I've done. Under these circumstances, it can be somewhat difficult to know if you're not doing things right. For example, I recorded a featured article in December last year which contains the names of several Japanese astronomers, one of which, due to my failure to do some basic research, I rather badly mis-pronounced. This fairly obvious mistake stood without comment until last week, when I updated the recording.
I have a heap of fun doing these recordings (strange, isn't it? :) ) to the best of my somewhat limited ability, but the seeming lack of the same element of critical review that applies to the original text articles leads to the possibility that I may, on occasion, be inadvertently harming the resource goal of providing accurate and factual information.
This could also, of course, simply be due to the fact that this project is still too small to have yet garnered much attention, or it could be that people are just too bloody polite to say when something's wrong. :) -- Macropode 08:22, 10 May 2006 (UTC)
Peer review sounds like a great idea. Those of us keeping the raw files should be able to do some (simple) edits if necessary. What sort of things would we be looking for in a peer review? I'm thinking two categories: technical merits and quality of speaking. Technical merits is pretty self-explanatory; it would cover sound quality, noise, etc. (Perhaps someone with more sound experience could elaborate on what constitutes good technical merit?) Quality of speaking would cover speed, enunciation, conformance to the actual article text, etc.
Some possible issues would be things like accents - which is why I listed enunciation but not pronunciation. Pronunciation of names in the article is definitely important, but I don't think we can expect anyyone to have a perfect accent in every language. Also we'd have to watch that we're checking against the actual version of the article that was recorded.
Pronunciation is a major problem for me too; I have had to look up a lot of pronunciations of names, and there are some articles I've just not done because I had a feeling I would completely mess up half the names in it, and not all of them have pronunciation guides on the web. A good idea might be to leave a note on the talk page asking someone familiar with the material to provide pronunciations. --Laura S 17:01, 11 May 2006 (UTC)
On reviewing the discussion here, it appears that while peer review seems generally considered in theory to be a Good Thing, actually implementing a workable system may not be so easy. Any further ideas on this, anyone?
I've placed requests for feedback on article talk pages several times and got a few very helpful replies. I might try doing this on a more regular basis.
With regard to checking against the actual article version recorded, I make a "web archive" copy of the text of each article I record, for my own reference. KDE's Konqueror web browser has this functionality, as I believe does MS Internet Explorer although currently Firefox doesn't. -- Macropode 12:08, 12 May 2006 (UTC)
I believe there's an extension that does this. I've used it with FF 1.07 in Windows. I'd assume there's an updated version for FF 1.5 by now. I haven't tested it on FF for Linux b/c I've been too lazy to download all of the extensions I have on the Win version Ckamaeleon ((T)) 06:00, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
I just discovered Ckamaeleon's idea though it doesn't seem to have taken off. If it were implemented, it may not be used too much by listeners for a while, but it would provide a clear indication that feedback is welcomed and a reasonably convenient way to provide it, given the technical limitations of the MediaWiki software. -- Macropode 11:30, 12 May 2006 (UTC)
Yeah, I was kind of disheartened that nobody ran with it...but you win some, you lose some. If nothing else, I think it would fill the need for feedback that new project members have. They're usually anxious about their accent/equipment/etc. and until now, feedback has been going on their talk pages, but that makes it more fragmented than it has to be. It also means that it can get buried in an archive somewhere. Ckamaeleon ((T)) 05:57, 20 May 2006 (UTC)

Help Pages

Are there any plans to produce spoken versions of resource Help pages, policies, guidlines, and other non-article suff? --Saxsux 20:10, 10 May 2006 (UTC)

To my knowledge, no. It might be very useful for people with vision impairments to have spoken versions of these, but it would probably be important that the spoken versions be kept up-to-date with any changes in the text, particularly for help and policy pages. Macropode 08:15, 11 May 2006 (UTC)
How often do some of these pages change? I'd imagine the five pillars don't change a whole lot. (On second thought, it seems they do change more often than I thought, although they mostly look like relatively minor changes, and a lot of vandalism reverts.) It might be worth looking at recording some of the more static ones. If we could do a series of some of the more prominent ones, that might really help increase the visibility of the project. --Laura S 21:18, 11 May 2006 (UTC)
Saxsux, if you're thinking about doing these, go for it! -- Macropode 02:44, 12 May 2006 (UTC)
WP:NOT already has a spoken version. I'm surprised that recording spoken versions of the five pillars, at least, isn't actually planned. --Sam Blanning(talk) 09:58, 12 May 2006 (UTC)
WP:GFDL also has a spoken version, and WP:IAR is one line. This really only leaves two. They're fairly long (feature-length, if you will), but nothing terribly difficult. I can do them as my next articles; I was being indecisive about which one to do next anyway. We should also consider doing some of the other prominent policies, such as WP:AGF. Thanks for the comment Sam, it's great to see active interest from outside the project! --Laura S 13:42, 12 May 2006 (UTC)
I want to be inside the project, actually, but haven't got around to buying a microphone yet :-) --Sam Blanning(talk) 11:31, 16 May 2006 (UTC)
So hurry up and buy one! :) It's a little time-consuming but well worth it in my opinion. And somehow fun. You've probably noticed people saying this elsewhere but you don't need any expensive fancy microphone. My no-name microphone seems to work ok. (I hope - no one besides my friends has critiqued my files) --Laura S 23:09, 16 May 2006 (UTC)
As an update: I've started recording WP:NPOV. It's long, but going pretty fast because it's written in a conversational tone, and doesn't have any foreign words or names that I have to look up. --Laura S 00:45, 13 May 2006 (UTC)
WP:NPOV is done. --Laura S 02:41, 16 May 2006 (UTC)
Update: I did WP:EQ and even WP:IAR (the whole line! :) so the five pillars are done. There are other policies that would be worth doing, but I think I need a small break :) --Laura S 00:54, 17 May 2006 (UTC)

This is slightly off topic, but in relation to recording policy and guideline pages, there is an interesting discussion/poll going on at Resource: Editing policy pages. -- Laura S | talk to me 17:16, 19 May 2006 (UTC)

It seems like there has been talk of doing this. I DO know that other project members have been recording the WP: articles (i.e. WP:No Personal Attacks, etc.) I think it's a great idea, provided they're kept up to date. Perhaps a few members will make them "pet projects." It seems like it may be easier to update the articles that you originally recorded, if only b/c you're familiar with them already.Ckamaeleon ((T)) 06:04, 21 May 2006 (UTC)

Active Participants list?

I think it's great that so many people are on board, but it feels like the Project Page is getting unwieldy b/c of the long list of active participants. Is there some way we could organize it?

  • Maybe we could put up a "hide" option at the top of the list--OR at the start of each letter?
  • Another option might be to create subpages..or divide the list up by specialty, (if we can discern such a thing) or some other characteristic. Personally, I think it would be neat to have the members grouped by some vocal quality, like accent...but I wouldn't want to offend anyone by doing that. Ckamaeleon ((T)) 06:09, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
I, for one, wouldn't be in the least offended by being grouped according to accent, although I'm not sure it would serve any useful purpose other than to break up the list so that it might be more manageable. I'd like, however, to keep the list all on one page. This makes it easy to search when you've selected an article as your next victim, and you want to check that someone isn't already working on it.
Maybe we should have an "Inactive Participants" list too. :) -- Macropode 07:21, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
Another thought: What if we put the active participants list on a subpage and just used the space on the main page for "Recent contributions". You could put your name up there and the article and a date. Newest goes first. Maybe even a bot to delete entries more than a month old (or just anything after the first 25 entries) or something like that. That way, we'd get to see what's been freshly churned out, AND
  1. People who are active get the small reward of being more visible
  2. It's easier to find fresh articles for critique/commentary
  3. People who like to download articles for listening (and/or the folks working on the RSS feed) might find it useful

Ckamaeleon ((T)) 08:14, 21 May 2006 (UTC)

I agree with all the advantages to this idea that you've pointed out, however I think the idea has the disadvantage that it would add complexity to the "housekeeping" tasks that need to be done while working in this project. This would particularly affect new contributors and people like me who have a propensity to either forget or to stuff up details like this. Along with maintenance of the RSS feed and the soliciting of critique/commentary, this idea is another example of an aspect of this project that would greatly benefit from having automated tools do the work, if it were possible. -- Macropode 10:09, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
Yes, I cringe when I think of all the little steps that have "creeped" into the project. All of a sudden people are spending more time doing tags and comments here and there than they are actually reading articles aloud! What's BECOME of us, I ask Less melodramatically, I wish I knew how to write bots and things to do this for us. None of my project related bot-requests have gotten much attn. :o( Ckamaeleon ((T)) 10:19, 21 May 2006 (UTC)

On a related note, I have talked about trying to organize this talk page's archives thematically, rather than chronologically. There are a lot of good ideas in there, but few people have the patience to sit down and read through them, as willy-nilly as they are. Ckamaeleon ((T))

You have altogether too many new ideas to be good for one person. Cut it out! :) -- Macropode 10:33, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
lol...that's who I am.. I'm a brainstormer. Would it be any better if I assigned a few to each personality? (j/k) Ckamaeleon ((T)) 11:14, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
Possibly, but don't look my way. I'm a nit-picking perfectionist, and have enough trouble just getting out about one spoken per month... -- Macropode 11:40, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
Only 24 hours to "get" the personality joke. There are no flies on me, but you can see where they've been... -- Macropode 06:22, 22 May 2006 (UTC)

I'm curious to know...

...Do I have a "California accent"? :) A visitor from Texas once told me I do, but I've never been able to discern any difference from "General American" when listening to others talk. I recently recorded Image:Renaissance.ogg, so maybe someone from the USA can listen to a little of it and tell me - I've been to a few different (albeit western) states without ever thinking, "Man, these people have accents!" Maybe my Texan friend, who had the stereotypical Texan accent, is just more accutely aware of linguistic differences. Moulder 04:03, 22 May 2006 (UTC)

(Good lord, I just listened to myself and I need to slow down a bit. Nervous probably. Sorry!) Moulder 06:56, 22 May 2006 (UTC)

Hey can't listen to the recording right now, but I sympathize about talking too fast. People have always told me I talk really fast. I slow it down to what feels like a crawl when I record, but it still seems faster than a lot of the others. Ever give a presentation to a live audience? That's the worst! So easy to get nervous but you absolutely cannot let yourself speed up :) -- Laura S | talk to me 12:49, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
I can't detect any accent. Sounds General American to me. I on the other hand am from Michigan, so I have to monitor my use of ABOOT instead of about. :) Good performance, BTW. Aguerriero (talk) 22:18, 6 June 2006 (UTC)

Deletion of Template:Spoken Wikipedia

has been proposed at WP:TFD and subsequently withdrawn, and discussion continues here for anyone who is interested. -- Macropode 16:07, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

To clarify, the person who proposed the template be deleted actually wants only the icon in the upper right corner to go away. He was a dissenter early on, as the talk page shows. Thanks for posting this Macropode, I wouldn't have known about it otherwise. -- Laura S | talk to me 20:06, 23 May 2006 (UTC)
I have no preference one way or the other regarding the Spoken icon in the top right corner of articles. However, I noticed that all the Spoken icons have been removed from WP:FA, apparently on aesthetic grounds. Upon further investigation, I came across this. What interests me is that, unless I misinterpret the argument, there seems to be a proposal here for a vote which would include the option of complete deletion of the Spoken Wikpedia template. -- Macropode 00:26, 24 May 2006 (UTC)
This proposed policy, created by User:Raul654 on 17 May 2006, may also be of interest in relation to the future of the Spoken template on article pages. Acceptance of this proposal as policy would pave the way for the removal of any link from an article's main page to it's spoken version, no matter where it is positioned or what size it is. -- Macropode 04:24, 24 May 2006 (UTC)

Review requested

Hi all, I just stumbled on this project and I am very excited about contributing. I did a test run on a small article I wrote a while back, Opaline glass. I was wondering if anyone would give it a listen and let me know if they hear anything I can improve on before starting longer articles (or alternately, "Hey Andy, you sound like a dying yak. Please don't record any other articles.") :) Thanks, Aguerriero (talk) 22:26, 6 June 2006 (UTC)

Your recording sounds great. I have two comments: first, that the very beginning of the recording got cut off (unless that's just a problem with my player; I'm using my new Mac and not used to it yet). The second is completely personal preference. I prefer recordings to be a little faster. However, I tend to talk faster than most people like, so it's entirely possible that your pace is perfect :) -- Laura S | talk to me 00:47, 7 June 2006 (UTC)
I too wouldn't mind it being a bit faster, but I'd rather have you do it slower than ideal than the way I did Renaissance on my first try. :) One thing that irks is me is that a lot of Americans (I'm from Cali so make of that what you will) seem to say "wih-ih/uh" instead of "wih-kee" when it's part of the word Wikipedia. That just grates on me for some reason. Moulder 03:35, 8 June 2006 (UTC)
Heh - I'm from NJ and end up saying "wih-kee", but it sounds weird every time I say it. That's just how it comes out though. "Wik-ih" feels lazy or something. Interestingly, when I listen to my recordings, I hear a much deeper accent than I thought I had. I wonder if that's just when I record though, because I'm making such a concerted effort in speaking. -- Laura S | talk to me 15:10, 9 June 2006 (UTC)
Yep, good work. speed her up a bit maybe, but the quality's great. THE KING 12:45, 9 June 2006 (UTC)


Hello everyone. to get myself into this project and just see how i go before i do a featured article, i thought i would produce a spoken version of the Handjob article. Feedback would be greatly appreciated on my talk page. Similarly for logitech. Thanks, THE KING 10:22, 9 June 2006 (UTC)

Wow those sound like two different people! In both cases, the title got cut off (they start right in with "from Wikipedia..."). I would suggest a little more enunciation, although the Logitech article was ok on that. The Handjob article was probably too fast, but I thought you got the pacing pretty much right on in Logitech. -- Laura S | talk to me 04:44, 10 June 2006 (UTC)
Laura, I think there might be some issues with your playback, since this is the second article where you had that issue of the beginning being cut off. It plays fine for me in Winamp. Aguerriero (talk) 20:56, 12 June 2006 (UTC)
Nice try. Fremont in the Logitech article is pronounced freemont. I think you need to check the pronounciation on some other names too. --Facto 05:16, 10 June 2006 (UTC)

Jean Grey

Recording this spoken version of Jean Grey (Image:Jean Grey.ogg) was tough. It was my first one, so please let me know if it is allright. --Facto 07:43, 12 June 2006 (UTC)

Great job, Darth Vader... Moulder 20:40, 12 June 2006 (UTC)
Thanks (I think). How were you able to keep your file size down so low. My first 30 minutes were 15MB, but you managed to squeeze 47 minutes into 14MB. --Facto 20:54, 12 June 2006 (UTC)
Ouch, that's some scathing criticism... of course now I'm curious and can't wait to listen to it (can't while I'm at work). -- Laura S | talk to me 20:51, 12 June 2006 (UTC)
Sorry, I didn't mean to be so mean, but what did you do to make it sound that way? Slow it down? My initial reaction was that it was intended to be comedic; I didn't mean that to be a personal attack (if by some chance you really are Vader). Other than that, it's fine.
I use Nero Wave Editor, which was originally Cool Edit Pro and is now Adobe Something-or-other, and when I save it, I tell it to go at 45kbps. If you're using Audacity, I noticed it doesn't ask for specs when you export to OGG - it just saves. Maybe someone more experienced can help you out. Moulder 21:19, 12 June 2006 (UTC)
Ah I see what you mean. Not Darth Vader exactly, but it does sound like you recorded it normally and then slowed it way down. It's low and thick. If that is how your voice really sounds, I'd recommend speaking a little faster. -- Laura S | talk to me 22:25, 12 June 2006 (UTC)
In Audacity, there's a little menu for each track. To the left of the track there's a box with a bunch of info; click on the little triangle next to "audio track", select "rate", and you can pick an option there. I'm not a sound expert but I think that will do it. -- Laura S | talk to me 23:06, 12 June 2006 (UTC)
That's the sample rate, which should be 44100 Hz. From the Audacity main menu, do "Edit" > "Preferences" to open the Audacity preferences dialogue box. Choose "File Formats" from the tabs on the left. In the "OGG Export Setup" section, bung the slider labeled "OGG Quality" all the way to the left. Then when you've finished editing your spoken and do "File" > "Export as OGG Vorbis", the resulting file will be compressed to play at a nominal 48 kbps bitrate. This produces small audio files which are quicker for users with slower internet links to download and don't take up heaps of space on the resource servers, but still sound very good for spoken audio. -- Macropode 09:21, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

AIDS issues

I'm concerned with the formatting in AIDS' external links section, because it hides the speaker icon at the top of the article. Does anyone know how to fix this?

Once it is fixed, I noticed the spoken articles category mentions articles being on the front page with an audio link, so when AIDS is today's FA, we'll get some publicity. :) Moulder 19:19, 12 June 2006 (UTC)

add it to the bottom of the section maybe? --Facto 19:34, 12 June 2006 (UTC)
Good idea putting it in with the notes. Are any other articles formatted that way? I supposed they're just trying to keep the page from being too long, but it seems kind of kludgy to me. And as far as the main page, I've done a couple FA articles that were planned for main page for exactly that reason :) They're a little tougher, because they tend to be long and there's a time crunch, but worth it I think. -- Laura S | talk to me 20:17, 12 June 2006 (UTC)
Something tells me this is one of those political issues that I didn't want to get involved in... But isn't this contrary to what it says here about spoken articles on the main page? I haven't been involved with the project long enough to know how to react. Moulder 06:05, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
Be fearful, Moulder, you're questioning Raul654's will. :) -- Macropode 09:26, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
Excuse me, people. Sarcasm, in hindsight, even in jest, obviously is not productive in situations like this. Moulder, yes it's politics, and it's ugly. You might try asking Raul654 what the reasoning behind his actions is. -- Macropode 06:56, 14 June 2006 (UTC)
I've been on both sides of the aisle, so no comment. ;) But if this is the case, maybe the bolding on the category page should be either removed or just to indicate that an article had a spoken version when it was on the main page. Moulder 09:01, 18 June 2006 (UTC)

Heavy metal umlaut

I really want to record this article, since it is an FA and it has been requested. But DAMN it is challenging. I have done several takes and I keep messing things up or barely misprounouncing some facet of it. The most difficult thing is having to read all the instances of words that contain the umlaut. Aguerriero (talk) 20:58, 12 June 2006 (UTC)

No need to do it all at once! Just try section-by-section (or even smaller parts) and stick them together afterwards. I think this would be a neat spoken article to have! -SCEhardT 22:54, 12 June 2006 (UTC)

Background Noise Problem

I was recently testing out Audacity, before I record my article, but when I followed the guidelines on the record page, it still left a background I can only describe as just like you've just poured out a glass of coke and the bubbles are making noises, but swooshier. I can't up the noise removal any more without making my voice sound bad, but the only noise in my room is the computer fan! What can I do to rectify this? Dev920 00:29, 17 June 2006 (UTC)

Hmmm, what microphone are you using? I've been successful with a cheap no-name mic, so you don't need anything fancy. But it's possible there is just something wrong with yours, or a bad connection in the wiring somewhere along the way. Also, is the computer fan very close to the mic? -- Laura S | talk to me 01:07, 17 June 2006 (UTC)
I know exactly what you are talking about, and if someone knows the answer to this problem, I'd love to hear it. I have this problem even with *no* noise at all in the room, dead silent. ~MDD4696 01:36, 17 June 2006 (UTC)
Its a cheapo five quid one. The computer fan is located underneath my desk, so I don't think it's that. But if you think there might be someting wrong with the mic itself, I'll try my spare one tomorrow - it's 2:30 am and I need to sleep! Dev920 01:39, 17 June 2006 (UTC)
Er, actually sometimes the problem in this case might be that the microphone is TOO good, or too sensitive to ambient noise. Trying turning down the input level on Audacity, and speaking closer to the mic. If you have the input level too high, it will let you be further away but also pick up a gnat farting. Aguerriero (talk) 02:25, 17 June 2006 (UTC)
Dev920, when you make a test recording with an open mic, without talking or the sound of flatulent gnats in the room, and without applying any processing whatsoever to the recording, do you still hear this noise on playback?
Audacity's noise reduction, BTW, is very effective, but tends to introduce artifacts into the audio, as you've found. I find it works very well when set to absolute minumum, and I have two moderately noisy machines under the desk. -- Macropode 10:09, 17 June 2006 (UTC)

Right, I tried using a different mic, which had no effect whatsoever. I tried setting the level of the mic down to 0.1 as recommended, but the noise didn't go away and then I just couldn't hear me properly. When I put it a little lower, and then removed a little noise, it did end up almost perfect, but you could still hear the little sparkly noise, and it was starting to go a bit goldfish bowly. When I tried recording a bit closer, it resulted in my voice becoming a bit louder, and nothing else. Making a blank recording does result in exactly the same noise. Not sure what that means though. Dev920 18:59, 17 June 2006 (UTC)

Let's rule out a few possibilities, then. It's not ambient noise. The fact that the noise doesn't change when you swap mics or reduce the mic gain pretty much rules out the microphone as the source of your trouble. The noise is present in a blank un-processed recording so it's not any artifact introduced by the sound editing software. Unless I've missed something, it seems to me that you may have a problem I've seen before; internally generated electrical noise getting into your computer's sound circuitry. Laptops seem particularly prone to this problem. It's defining characteristic is that it seems like nothing you do (short of using noise reduction to "blank" it out) will make it go away, and that's because it's coming from inside your computer, not from your microphone.
There are a few things you can try, in no particular order of ridiculousness:
  • Open your system's sound mixer app (I can't help you with specific details here, you might have to experiment a little) and turn off/mute all the inputs except your sound source, usually "Mic" (although on my system, using Audacity on Kubuntu Linux, it's called "Capture"). What you want to do here is to ensure that the only audio you're recording is coming from your microphone, and not any other sound sources your system may have which could be just contributing noise. It's unlikely, but worth a try.
  • Try plugging a new/different sound card into your computer, and using that. It may help in cases of internal electrical noise.
  • Beg, borrow or steal (preferably from a family member :) ) another computer to do your spoken recordings on.
  • Finally, just soldier on, and don't worry about it too much. MDD4696 has the same problem, and from listening to his very good recording, you wouldn't know it. With a bit of experimentation with noise reduction and maybe a bit of equalisation, you should still be able to make great sounding recordings.
If it all seems like a lot of hassle at first, stick with it. It gets easier, no bull! Let us know how you get on. -- Macropode 10:37, 18 June 2006 (UTC)
I think I figured out the source of my problem... it's something with my sound card's output, not the recording... oops! ~MDD4696 15:37, 18 June 2006 (UTC)
Good news, MDD4696. Now you've got no excuse for not doing more spoken. Get going! :)
Usually, these issues turn out to be something as simple (but non-obvious at the time) as a mixer setting, or having the mic plugged into the Line in socket instead of the Mic socket, something I've accidentally done. These can be pretty frustrating when all you want to do is make a recording, but it's very rarely some exotic, un-solvable problem, just something that takes a bit of persistence to solve. -- Macropode 04:27, 19 June 2006 (UTC)
Dev920, now that MDD4696 has pointed out the missing cornerstone in my towering edifice of logic above, maybe you'd like to upload a recording and see if it sounds as bad to us as it does to you. :) -- Macropode 08:05, 19 June 2006 (UTC)
I am currently out of town and will remain so for the next day or two. Will update you on my attempts when I get back.

Update: Basically, it is electrical inference from my crap mic that cannot be editted without destroying my voice. Instead of simply buying a slightly better mic, my mother insists I can borrow her (extremely good) mic - except of course, that she's on the Internet just as much as me and hates to part with it for long periods of time, so I'm guessing this article is going to take a while... Dev920 21:48, 27 June 2006 (UTC)

My kids aren't averse to the use of a bit of emotional blackmail in situations like this. Try it! Don't tell your mum I said this, though. :) -- Macropode 04:38, 2 July 2006 (UTC)

Reviews please...

  • Ok, so I've now done a few of these, but before I move onto something large I'd like some constructive criticism. I'm using Audacity on a Windows laptop with a Logitech headset/mic combo. I think the quality has gotten better, but right now I'm not sure if it is good enough. In particular the effect that sounds like a synthesized wave on some of them. Ok, enough dithering. In order I did them:
  1. Dennis Ritchie
  2. Ken Thompson (computer programmer)
  3. Adam Elsheimer
  4. Monster truck

Wikibofh(talk) 05:14, 18 June 2006 (UTC)

It sounds like you're going too far with the noise removal (based on the monster truck one - I'm listening to it right now). You're easy enough to understand, but it's almost as if something's missing from the audio file. Maybe that's the compression, which I'm 90% sure is whatever the synthesized sound issue is. The file is fine though, just ease up on the threshold next time. Moulder 09:06, 18 June 2006 (UTC)
You were probably aware of this already, but Dennis Ritchie is a bit quiet and sounds like you were trying a bit too hard to make your recording understandable. The recording works though and is fine for a first attempt. Moulder 09:12, 18 June 2006 (UTC)
  • Thanks for the comments. I have tried the lowest noise removal levels and I still seem to get that artifact. I will probably re-record Ritchie, if for no other reason than I changed the article after my recording. It's amazing how doing the spoken word thing shows how many things need to be fixed. :) Perhaps I could upload the file without any noise removal or normalization and someone here could give it a shot and then explain what they did? Thanks again. Wikibofh(talk) 15:38, 18 June 2006 (UTC)

Large file upload....

Ok, so I've finished World War I, but can't get it to upload. It is a large file (40MB). Does it have to be broken into smaller pieces or is there a way we can work around the upload size limit? Wikibofh(talk) 15:44, 25 June 2006 (UTC)

It appears that other editors have had problems uploading any files larger than 20MB. So, you probably should break it into at least two parts. That allows for easier downloading for users, as well. --Aguerriero (talk) 18:56, 25 June 2006 (UTC)

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Music Scenes