Robin Patterson

aka Robin Forlonge Patterson

45,672 Edits since joining this wiki
April 13, 2005
  • I live in Plimmerton, Porirua City, New Zealand
  • I was born on December 14
  • My occupation is Editor
  • I am male
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This is the user talk page for Robin Patterson, where you can send messages and comments to Robin Patterson.

(See also my archives:

Recent blog posts - Please read the most recent if you haven't already!Edit

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  • Robin Patterson

    We have passed the half-million mark. Just under 40% are articles, and lots of those are about places, but there are tens of thousands of articles about individuals, cleverly linked. Keep it up, folks! -- Robin Patterson (Talk) 10:06, November 4, 2015 (UTC)

    Read more >
  • Robin Patterson

    Some familypedians are very good at marking edits as "Minor" or giving brief edit summaries. Some of you are less diligent. To minimise the amount of scrolling needed for browsing "Recent Changes", please:

    • Check the "Minor edit" box whenever you're creating a standard subpage (sensor, tree, etc), so that we can "Hide minor edits" and thus see more …
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  • Robin Patterson

    Another software change, over which we users have no control, has caused problems with renaming pages and maybe with other things. Please read the notes at the top of Help:Renaming pages.

    In 2013 staff remained "committed to keeping [SMW] active and useable on wikis that already had the tool". Let's hope they continue to help with Familypedia, one …

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  • Robin Patterson

    "Hi Robin Patterson,

    It's time for your daily dose of activity from Familypedia.

    8104 people viewed your wiki.

    Keep up the great work adding interesting content for people to read!

    488 edits were made.

    Happy editors make happy wikis. Make sure to thank your editors and check in with them from time to time.

    21 people joined your wiki.

    ... "

    Read more >
  • Kimbo8867

    My Sixteen

    March 6, 2015 by Kimbo8867

    One of my 8 great, great grandmothers-Phoebe Ann Bronson, was born September 28, 1859 on the  NJ side of Greenwood Lake. Her family lived in Warwick, NY which is not far from Greenwood Lake. I believe that her mother moved in with her sister to have the baby, as census records show Phoebe's aunt, Elizabeth Decker Leachman, residing in Greenwood La…

    Read more >
See more >

Royal descent Edit

You may be able to add something useful to Talk:Famous_Descendants_of_William_the_Conqueror_of_England#Catherine_Stanley_and_Dulcia_Savage.: this is outside my comfort-zone. Thurstan (talk) 00:56, January 9, 2015 (UTC)

Joan Tudor Edit

You might like to have a go at cleaning up Joan Tudor and connected pages, lest I declare them illiterate drivel and delete them. Thurstan (talk) 21:25, January 31, 2015 (UTC)

Ooh, you're a hard man to please. (-D - see -- Robin Patterson (Talk) 00:14, February 1, 2015 (UTC)
Thank you for taking that on: you'll note that anon has her mother wrong. Thurstan (talk) 00:27, February 1, 2015 (UTC)

Alan la Zouche Edit

Looking at parents, it seems to me that Alan la Zouche (c1157-1190) and Alan la Zouche (c1093-1150) are supposed to be the same person. What do you think? Thurstan (talk) 00:55, February 10, 2015 (UTC)

Another upgrade Edit

We seem to have had another upgrade, around about 20 Feb. Now when the "sources" and "notes" properties are retrieved, the line-breaks and the "new note" tags have ben removed, so that the formatting no longer works. Would you please ask your SMW contacts what we can do about it? Thurstan (talk) 21:07, March 9, 2015 (UTC)

subcategories of Category:Deaths by country Edit

I have just noticed that the Wikipedia categories "Deaths in countryname" are not at all equivalent to our "Died in countryname". There are at least two problems:

(1) not every page in a subcategory of such a category is a page for a person
(2) even if it is a page for a person, the person did not neccessarily die in the nominated country

So examples: {{#ask: [[Category:Deaths in the United States]] |?Death place }} gives:

  Death place
Amzi Lewis Armstrong (1827-1910)
John Endecott (bef1601-1665) Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, United States
Kieft's War
John Doyle Lee (1812-1877) Mountain Meadows, Washington County, Utah, United States
Mountain Meadows, Utah
Margaret Hilda Roberts, Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven (1925-2013) The Ritz London Hotel, London, England, United Kingdom
Hyrum Smith (1800-1844) Carthage Jail, Carthage, Hancock County, Illinois, United States
Somerset County, Pennsylvania
Waco, Texas
Brigham Young (1801-1877) Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah, United States

so 2 localities, a county and a war as well as some people, not all of whom died in the US. It is interesting to trace how Margaret Thatcher got here!

{{#ask: [[Category:Deaths in Canada]] |?Death place }} gives:

  Death place
John Endecott (bef1601-1665) Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, United States
Kieft's War
Charles Lennox, 4th Duke of Richmond (1764-1819) Richmond, Ontario, Canada

so one person who didn't die in Canada. A similar case: {{#ask: [[Category:Deaths in Japan]] |?Death place }} gives:

  Death place
Lionel Colin Matthews (1912-1944) Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia

These are not really errors, just the fact that Wikipedia categories are not designed to work like this. This is the same reason that we don't put the "Counties of" categories into the "Valid name" categories, and the reason you hacked a subcat of the "Monarchs" category. Thurstan (talk) 05:09, March 30, 2015 (UTC)

Non-standard license for imageEdit

You've taken one of my images from wikipedia, without providing proper attribution on your site:
Please delete the image unless you are willing to provide proper copyright as per wikipedia page.,_New_York Niagara_Falls_before_a_rain_storm_%282007%29.jpg

Same goes for any other pictures you are using from Dmitri Markine  without proper authorization or permission.

Best Regards,

OK, attributed on our page - though I don't see anything similar on the Wikipedia page. Images on Wikipedia pages that we copy are transcluded automatically from Wikimedia Commons with no indication that there may be a non-standard license. Please see whether the attribution I have given is OK and give us a list of your other images that we may have. -- Robin Patterson (Talk) 03:37, April 4, 2015 (UTC)


Could you add Acheivments?

—Preceding unsigned comment added by Indigo76 (talkcontribs)

We could, but it would send wrong signals and encourage undesirable addition of category links. -- Robin Patterson (Talk) 02:10, June 5, 2015 (UTC)

Munsell/Munsil, etcEdit

How do I add my gedcom of over 7700 folks?

EoGuy (talk) 00:37, June 5, 2015 (UTC)

Infobox Updates Edit

Please consider Forum:Infobox_Updates. Thurstan (talk) 07:02, July 29, 2015 (UTC)


Yes, Wikia wiped all property values again. It takes time to restore the chain to Charlemagne, particularly for later descendants. It also takes time to restore the properties birth & death nation when these are taken from the location pages. rtol (talk) 05:59, August 2, 2015 (UTC)

Vandal Edit

He is. Thanks man! :). — Jr Mime (talk) [VSTF] 01:23, August 5, 2015 (UTC)

Found 4 more accounts :L. — Jr Mime (talk) [VSTF] 01:26, August 5, 2015 (UTC)

Forms and page names Edit

When we first implemented forms with SMW, I thought "Wouldn't it be nice if contributors could just click a Create Person button, and fill in the details on the form, and have the page name calculated automatically, since that seems to be a source of difficulty". Now browsing through the SMW documentation I discover that this is possible (see "The one-step process" on that page). I have created Form:Create Person to test this: it generates the page name from the short_name, birth_date-approx, birth_year, death_date-approx and death_year properties. I can see two things going wrong:

  1. contributors seem to misunderstand "short name", so we will probably get a crop of pages called "Bessie (-)"
  2. the implementation seems to have a weakness: if there is already a page with that name, it will just get overwritten. To fix this, I have added the "unique number" parameter to the end, so we will get "John Blair Smith (1756-1799) 2" if we try to create another copy.

I have tested the form by creating John Blair Smith (1756-1799) and a couple of his sons. You might like to have a play with it too.

This is actually set up by adding a tag {{{info }}} to the form, so there is no reason that we can't make this change to the existing form, even if we do not offer it for general use. Thurstan (talk) 01:38, August 5, 2015 (UTC)

Good, I hope. (When we started SMW, that page wasn't there: )
We will also get "Bessie Marriedname", which someone will have to move.
Using the short name will also inspire a desired move for anyone with three or more names, not all of which are in the short name. (I've not looked at John Blair Smith yet.)
The unique number thing will have us looking more like WeRelate; but is it perhaps the key to automated GEDCOM upload? A program like Yewenyi's could create pages more easily if it didn't have to devise a pagename. A bot can run around the namespace once a month finding pagenames that end in a number greater than 1 and sending a message about possible duplication to every editor of each version. Downside could be that a renaming of just one of the duplicates could leave the bot with nothing to find (unless it was instructed to treat redirects as investigable pages). Tell me if this is hopeless uninformed speculation!
I don't see how we can add a tag to a form but not offer it for general use. Maybe you mean we have a parallel form that is reachable only with deliberate clicking of options.
-- Robin Patterson (Talk) 02:33, August 5, 2015 (UTC)

Category Salva, Bistrița-Năsăud Edit

You are right. Sorry about the error and thank you for sending me the remark. I corrected the error. All the best, Andrei. 17:46, August 8, 2015 (UTC)

Template documentation (and non-documentation)Edit

I have recently noticed that the template gremlins have included {{Notable ancestors}}, {{Migration}} and {{Locations}} into {{Showfacts biography}}, and that these templates set properties which cascade from parent to child. This means that {{Showfacts biography}} is now a standard part of a person page, not an optional extra. You might like to check documentation where you describe it as optional. Thurstan (talk) 01:37, August 11, 2015 (UTC)

Migration has been part of biog for about 5 years; I haven't checked on the introduction-dates of the others (though I've glanced at Locations and wonder how it affects biog - and wondered which of many possible locations it gives the spouse!). But I don't see why their inclusion makes biog a standard part of a page. Highly desirable but not essential, surely? I usually add it if it's missing (e.g. from an infopage-conversion). But some less prolific contributors have grumbled about aspects of it. -- Robin Patterson (Talk) 05:00, August 11, 2015 (UTC)
Well, it is essential in the sense that if you leave it out of one person in a line of descent, it breaks the chain. And if everyone is descended from the big-C, then everyone is part of such a chain. (1st spouse gets place-of-birth) Thurstan (talk) 05:04, August 11, 2015 (UTC)
I thought that some parts of that sort of chaining used the sensor pages. Either our documentation is not yet up to date or I haven't looked in the right places. Admittedly I've had a dearth of replies from a migrant from The Netherlands to Ireland (then England) when asking for explanations, but someone must know how to explain clever things they have been working on. You usually do. I guess my above-requested checking should extend to seeing whether there are adequate explanations, in appropriate places, of some of your above paragraphs. Then you might like to check my work for accuracy, as usual. -- Robin Patterson (Talk) 01:09, November 5, 2015 (UTC)

OK, I started my search in the obvious place, {{Showfacts biography/doc}}, created by User:Phlox. Significant part of it when he last edited: "When no biography narrative is provided, please use it if the alternative is nothing. You can probably do much better, so please replace it if you can with original text, ...". I merely paraphrased that while expanding it a little. The people who changed the base template should have been the ones to change that, as soon as it became invalid. I will continue searching. ---- Robin Patterson (Talk) 01:19, November 5, 2015 (UTC)

Next I checked minibio history, and have reported main finding at - please check that it's a fair summary then maybe you can ask rtol to comment. -- Robin Patterson (Talk) 01:55, November 5, 2015 (UTC)

Now I've added a paragraph there, with more history and a suggestion for the future. -- Robin Patterson (Talk) 04:47, November 5, 2015 (UTC)


On a different note, you may have noticed that I have refined {{Reflexivity test}}, and I am finding that Familypedia:Diagnostics is now showing lots of cases of people with the wrong parents, wrong links from parents to child etc etc. Thurstan (talk) 01:37, August 11, 2015 (UTC)

Amazing software you and rtol develop! I guess the recent refining was a success. Would some of those cases be merely from renaming without redirects? -- Robin Patterson (Talk) 05:00, August 11, 2015 (UTC)
Some have been simple mistakes (grandmother instead of mother etc), others have been duplicate pages. I haven't seen much evidence for the renames as the problem. You might like to analyse William Herbert (1696-1757), a page you created, who was not linked to from his father. Thurstan (talk) 05:09, August 11, 2015 (UTC)
And another source of problem is the fact that the /info page upgrade dropped kids off the end sometimes. Thurstan (talk) 05:28, August 11, 2015 (UTC)


First version of Thomas shows William as the only child. Third revision, still in 2010, also by me, adds five other children with Margaret and one with Barbara. Fourth revision, in 2012, by Thurstan, changes child William to "c1696-1757" - still blue link, so presumably a redirect somewhere in the system. Last three versions, all by Thurstan, leave him with the "c". It redirects happily (though we both know that for perfect SMW operation it should match, and one of us should try to find out whether the "c" is the best prefix).

(William had his death year changed, fairly early in the process, before his father's page was created: - but he has never been changed to add a "c".)

At what stage(s) was William "not linked to from his father"?

-- Robin Patterson (Talk) 06:08, August 11, 2015 (UTC)

(Wikipedia has the "c"): he wasn't linked until I created the redirect (with the "c") this morning, so maybe I broke it in 2012. Thurstan (talk) 06:15, August 11, 2015 (UTC)
Indeed it does. Both authors of Parliamentary history have "c." - so I've renamed him. Guess what: no double names. Pagemove bug dead? But the first "Edit with form" wouldn't show the "Create/update sensor page". I tweaked the address bar for that. Republishing sensor shows tabs, and his article shows them now that I've edited it twice (once to add the "c", once to add the sibs}. Could the weekend java raid responses have affected some of our stuff? -- Robin Patterson (Talk) 06:51, August 11, 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for fixing William. Maybe the bug is dead: I will try a test when I get a chance. I notice that the "collapsible section" of the Person form is neither collapsed nor collapsible this morning, and the same is true on the Monopoly wiki, so that must depend on whatever has been switched off. Thurstan (talk) 06:59, August 11, 2015 (UTC)
Bug still alive: I got it with move to Margaret Ferch Llywelyn (c1202-aft1268) on the sensor. Thurstan (talk) 07:17, August 11, 2015 (UTC)

Can you untangle? Edit

It seems to me that Ivy Smith (1904-) is the same person as Ivy Maria Smith (1904-2000), and her daughter Betty Dunn is the same person as Betty M Turner (1931). Can you sort this out? Thurstan (talk) 08:50, August 17, 2015 (UTC)

Father name differs a little. I'll see if the various contributors can put their heads together. -- Robin Patterson (Talk) 10:11, August 17, 2015 (UTC)

Bonvolu - in EsperantoEdit

I spend most of my time on the alternate history wiki where I'm in second place in number of edits.

I have been awarded Best Editor the last four years in a row.

I have also made spelling and grammar corrections on Disney, Star Trek and others.

I tell folks I'm like the English professor in the men's room - I don't write on the walls. I just correct the spelling and grammar.

Bil EoGuy (talk) 18:46, August 17, 2015 (UTC)


To see why kids sometimes call me Santa go to the ham radio website and enter my call sign K1ATV.


PS - Bonvolu means please.

Hello is Saluton. Good morning is Bonan Tagon. Good night is Bonan Nokton.

I think I entered a GEDCOM or two many years ago. EoGuy (talk) 15:48, August 18, 2015 (UTC)


Can I ask you for something?--AlexHoskins (talk) 20:26, September 2, 2015 (UTC)

Re: HelloEdit

Could you send the PNG photos from Naruto in the Heroes Wiki? Here's the link for the Heroes Wiki: (talk) 03:36, September 3, 2015 (UTC)

  1. Send them where?
  2. Which ones?
  3. Why can't you do it?
-- Robin Patterson (Talk) 05:01, September 3, 2015 (UTC)

Non-transitive categories Edit

Please don't put Wikipedia categories like Category:De Clare family into our categories (such as surname categories) which our contributors expect to be transitive: it will break Familypedia:Reports at least. Thurstan (talk) 06:55, October 21, 2015 (UTC)

I respect your judgment and I see how "Reports" can be mucked up. (But this contributor does not recall ever thinking that a category could be transitive!) If there isn't a clear instruction somewhere about that, there should be. I'll poke around in top families and surname categories to see whether there's a guide. -- Robin Patterson (Talk) 11:03, October 21, 2015 (UTC)

Gage Edit

I am working on the uncategorized articles. If I remember correctly Gage was not an article it was a simple phrase not linked and not categorized. Afil (talk) 20:28, October 21, 2015 (UTC)

It was a person (with a Wikipedia-type name) and it was linked, though it might have a better future as a redirect to a standard person-page name with years of birth and/or death. Deletion is not a good solution for a lack of categories. And deleting an admin's creation without giving any reason is bad etiquette. -- Robin Patterson (Talk) 05:48, October 22, 2015 (UTC)

Article namesEdit

For naming articles, you said to include years of birth and death in the article title. Where does that go into the template? Into the "short name" section?Dlx210 (talk) 01:25, November 16, 2015 (UTC)

(Answered on that contributor's talk page)

Moriori linkEdit

Kia ora Robin

I would be interested to know about your Moriori hokopapa.  can you please direct me to that forum?  Kind regards, susan (

—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Not exactly a hokopapa, Susan: not a blood relationship. I think the page you may want to look at is User:Robin Patterson/Moriori. You're most welcome to add details of descendants of Tame and of his ancestors and cousins. (|:-) -- Robin Patterson (Talk) 02:07, November 18, 2015 (UTC)

Sortable tableEdit

Hi Robin,

Thanks for the info! I have a question: I would like to automatically create a page with a sortable table listing people. Is that possible? Thanks Alberto

We produce several types of those (though the "automatically" may not be the same as what you have in mind). See the bottom of our main page for examples. Tell us how you want to select the people, and one of us can probably help you work out the coding. -- Robin Patterson (Talk) 02:54, November 18, 2015 (UTC)

Hi Robin,

Thanks for your help the bdm page is cool. Is there any way to create something like that for other categories, like "Members of Irish Parliament pre-1801"? Thanks, Alberto

That could well be a simple category - and if the person is on Wikipedia it will probably be in place. More generally, though, the creation of pages like the bdm or the front page listings needs the creation of a Property using Semantic MediaWiki. I'm a mere beginner with that stuff, so I'll copy this discussion to the Forum:Help desk and we can try to get an expert involved. There are sure to be other contributors interested in the answers. -- Robin Patterson (Talk) 21:27, November 18, 2015 (UTC)

William Manson (1852-1940) Edit

William Manson (1852-1940) page name doesn't match his YoD. Would you like to fix him? Thurstan (talk) 04:22, November 20, 2015 (UTC)

I wouldn't, of course, but I checked him out and found Geni was wrong again and I bravely renamed him. Hey - where's the bug? A duplicate descendants page hardly counts. Is he just lucky or is the bug dying? -- Robin Patterson (Talk)
Thanks for the fix. I am not sure what is happening with the bug, though I just found that if I rename twice I can get three descendants tabs! Thurstan (talk) 05:04, November 20, 2015 (UTC)
Deleting new sensor page and restoring kills the duplicate descendants. -- Robin Patterson (Talk) 05:18, November 20, 2015 (UTC)

Minor edits Edit

A few days ago you left me a message asking me to specify the cases when I make minor edits. I have since ticked the square of minor edit, though I might have missed some cases. However I tried to see if there is any difference in how they are recorded in the Recent Wiki Activity records and did not notice any. Am I doing something wrong or where the minor changes dutifully recorded so as not to give you any more trouble? Afil (talk) 06:41, November 20, 2015 (UTC)

Adoptive parents Edit

I have tried to identify the rules on how to record adoptive and natural parents in the Showfacts person template. I can use either one (but am not sure how to specify) but not both, and if I make a note I cannot link them in a tree. Are there any such rules? There must have been other users who have encountered the same problem. Thank you for your help. Afil (talk) 06:41, November 20, 2015 (UTC)

I'm one of those myself. It has been covered in at least one forum. Try a search. I'm off to dinner now! -- Robin Patterson (Talk) 06:46, November 20, 2015 (UTC)

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