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March 10[edit]

Help for contacting members to discuss, ask, collaborate, and help if needed.[edit]

Hi:

This discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

First of all thank you very much to Jimmy Wales and all the wonderful people who has made this amazing free encyclopedia available to us. I can’t help monetarily, but I will intend collaborating. I don’t even have enough money to survive at the present time. If I could have few dollars extra I will given them happily to the encyclopedia.

I will like contact some one personally since it takes a lot of time to read and understand, I had been thinking help building and collaborating with in. I have been using wikipedia for many years and I use it constantly in many different ways. As a writer, activist, artist, musician. Studying Modern physics, astrophysics’, quantum mechanics and more.

Could I be able to communicate with people here? Is there a blog to meet physicists? To have comments and be able contribute with my own philosophical views on subject matters?

I live in Barcelona Spain, but I lived from 1976 to 2011 in the United States of America where I am proud and feel as my country. Speak fairly good English and I will like to ask questions instead of spending time looking for answers in articles.

Notice that I spend over twelve hours a day working with out profits, writing, doing art, photography, music among other.

For reference to who I am I will say I studied Color Photography, Art and English, Cinematography, and Script Writing at the Santa Monica City College in Los Angeles in 1977. Music, Culinary Arts, English, and Reading Comprehension in San Bernardino Valley College in 1979. Music, English, Photography, American History, Computer Sciences and Programming Grand Rapids Community College. And Accounting at the Davenport College in Grand Rapids Michigan.

In 1992 I was the Treasurer, Chairmen, and Editor of the News Letter, (That I transformed to a News Paper format) of the east Hills Neighbor Association. 1994 - 1995 Designed and Directed a Live TV show: “ Oh say: Can you SEE.” To an Organization founded by Frank Girard called S.E.E (Society for Economic Equality) with I collaborated but never been a member. Even I was very good and close friend with Frank. And the same years Member of a zine called Big Fish that the New York Times classified as one of the best then zines in the US. And the last numbers front page done by Allan Ginsberg who we interview him right before he died and had the honor to meet.

At the present time I am trying learn and studied Physics, on my own since here in Spain there is not financial aid for people like me 69 year old. I use Wikipedia constantly and fallow the much I can find with today physicists, and will like to know in more depth on studies and experiments done. One particular experiment that will like to perform my self is the double slit experiment, especially done in the subatomic particles level.

So to me it will be with great benefit to meet Physicist at all levels, will like to discuss personal theories and question theories that I don’t fully understand.

Thank you for your time.

Yours truly

Jose Caballero — Preceding unsigned comment added by Artatake (talk • contribs) 00:19, 10 March 2018 (UTC)

@Artatake: Sorry, but no, this is not the right place for that. This is an encyclopedia, not a chat room. RudolfRed (talk) 01:29, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
Mom, what's a double slit? Wakari07 (talk) 04:12, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
There is the Portal:Physics and the various talk pages for your purposes, Artatake. However, even if you're 97, please remain careful when sharing personal information. Wakari07 (talk) 04:33, 10 March 2018 (UTC)

Mountain West Conference standings[edit]

Nevada And UNLV Are Suppsose to be remove from the double redirect into main space articles now. 68.102.39.189 (talk) 03:31, 10 March 2018 (UTC)

68.102.39.189, you really need to learn to speak to other users on Wikipedia in a nicer way, instead of demanding for something to be done. Now do you want to point us to what article/s you want edited that you appear to not be able to do yourself? NZFC(talk) 03:34, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
After further searching, it appears you are WP:FORUMSHOP from Wikipedia:WikiProject Articles for creation/Help desk after being told it was WP:TOOSOON for these articles. The football season doesn't kick off for six months. NZFC(talk) 03:40, 10 March 2018 (UTC)

cant be found[edit]

I don't know why my article cannot be show on search engines if searched — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ace Khyd (talk • contribs) 03:00, 10 March 2018 (UTC)

Ace Khyd Your article Draft:Ace khyd is still in draft so is not index in search engines. Despite that, if you were to try publish your article it would be declined as it doesn't establish notability and lacks independent reliable sources.
Social media would be more appropriate for you to publish your own biography. If you have been written about in independent reliable sources, then it would be better if someone else writes an article that summarises these sources. See WP:Autobiography. Dbfirs 08:00, 10 March 2018 (UTC)

Sub-pages[edit]

May I create some sub-pages like User:Sishaykh/My edits by time, User:Sishaykh/My edits by topic, etc? -- Shafaat Islam (talk) 03:25 (edited - 03:33), 10 March 2018 (UTC)

Hello Sishaykh, and welcome back to the TeaHouse. Your question raises two separate issues. Firstly, you can create sub-pages with those names. To do that, just type that name into the normal search box - this will display a page which tells you there is currently no such page, and gives you the option to go ahead and create it. Secondly, having created the page I guess you want to populate it automatically with information about your edits. I don't know of any way to do that by size; perhaps somebody else can help. There is already the "Contributions" tool (near the top right corner on a PC display) that will give your edits by date. You can see a list of all your sub-pages by going to the Contributions page, and down the bottom click on "Subpages". If that's not what you were looking for, please ask more.--Gronk Oz (talk) 06:56, 10 March 2018 (UTC)

[edit]

Hi,

I am quite new to Wikipedia and am still learning the basics.

I went to the Teahouse and posed a question. Several people responded with helpful information. I would like to respond to one of their comments. How do I do that? Do I click "Edit Source" in my question's section? I tried that and I see there is room at the bottom to place my comments. But it's a bit confusing. The source code for the other people's comments contain :: and other markup, and I don't want to make a mistake.

Your advice is appreciated. LindaPenn04 (talk) 07:13, 10 March 2018 (UTC)

Yes that's how to do it. The colons indent responses, one tab per colon., so that threads may be easily followed. Meters (talk) 07:24, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
See WP:CHEAT for more markup. Meters (talk) 07:27, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
Thank you!LindaPenn04 (talk) 08:18, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
@LindaPenn04: You got it! And you will find the people at the TeaHouse very tolerant. Especially if you say "I'm new here" they won't expect you to know all that stuff yet, so they won't mind formatting mistakes and such.--Gronk Oz (talk) 09:14, 10 March 2018 (UTC)

Indian painting and Indian tribal painting[edit]

Dear reader
If you are a NATIVE ENGLISH SPEAKING person, and if you have some spare time, please take a look on these articles, machine translated from French (fr:Peinture en Inde and fr:Peinture tribale en Inde). Don’t hesitate to log on as user, and make the needed language corrections.
Best regards
Andershus."Andershus (talk) 07:34, 10 March 2018 (UTC)"

It started with a 50-byte stub. Impressive what it's become. Wakari07 (talk) 15:30, 10 March 2018 (UTC)

 Administrator note: The second one has been moved to draft space and the redirect deleted, it is now at Draft:Indian tribal painting. Beeblebrox (talk) 19:06, 10 March 2018 (UTC)

Comment:@Beeblebrox and Wakari07:Andershus has 562 edits at Indian painting since mid-Feb and has been dumping machine translated text into the article, and then dropping notices into the article page itself (twice reverted), here, and elsewhere asking others to clean it up. I expect to open a User talk page section about MT and how best to contribute to en-wiki, and a section at Talk:Indian painting to poll major contributors to the article whether there is any objection to my rolling back to the version of 11:55, February 9, 2018‎ in an attempt to untangle the mess. Links coming. Mathglot (talk) 00:04, 11 March 2018 (UTC)
I looked at the article and it made my head hurt. We should make it clear here that machine translated text is generally not welcome on En.Wikipedia, to the point that we turned off the content tranlslation tool specifically to stop it being dumped here. If you can’t write coherently in English, it isn’t fair to just dump badly translated content and then try and get others to clean up your mess. Beeblebrox (talk) 00:40, 11 March 2018 (UTC)

I want to edit my username for a new account I created[edit]

Hi,

I want to make a small edit to my username.

Existing Craft2art To be changed to Craft2Art

Can you please help — Preceding unsigned comment added by Craft2art (talk • contribs) 08:00, 10 March 2018 (UTC)

@Craft2art: This question has been answered at the Teahouse. No need to ask in two places; it just confuses us dummies. --Gronk Oz (talk) 09:18, 10 March 2018 (UTC)

Is this character notable?[edit]

Can I have some opinions on whether or not publishing my draft for Twilight Sparkle would hold up to notability? I've been on Wikipedia for 5 years, so I'm hardly a noob, but I know one thing, Wikipedia is strict on character notability. I still have haunting flashbacks from the mass merger of Sonic character articles, so I just want to see if my draft would stand up. I know my draft is a fairly small stub, but I can expand a bit more. I just want to make absolutely sure that notability is well established for her. I would say very much so, as seeing articles from TVGuide, Entertainment Weekly, WIRED, and The Sun giving much more than just passing mentions of her. I didn't know how to include the coverage in my draft, but Twilight has also gotten extensive attention from Sean Spicer mentioning her when discussing Melania Trump's speech controversy. These sources include CBS News, CNN, ABC News, Washington Post, and Huffington Post, among others. Shouldn't this be enough? --AmaryllisGardenertalk 08:03, 10 March 2018 (UTC)

As written I wouldn't see the point of splitting it off to a separate article since the character is already covered in much greater detail at List of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic characters and the cultural impact of the show is already discussed at the main article on the series and at My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fandom. This is just my opinion, but it seems to me like we have the subject pretty well covered already without sprawling it out into articles on the individual characters. I think, as you apparently have seen yourself, is that the general trend is to merge these type of articles into character lists.
That being said, you could always solicit more opinion by adding {{splitto}}to the article and opening a talk page discussion about it. Beeblebrox (talk) 18:46, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
@Beeblebrox: I will try to add to my draft later, and perhaps then I'll make a discussion. Thanks for the input! --AmaryllisGardenertalk 20:47, 10 March 2018 (UTC)

Adjust infobox width[edit]

Hello, how can I adapt the width of Template:History of the British Isles to that of Template:History of England (cf. the visible difference in width at the beginning of England in the Late Middle Ages, for example)?--Boczi (talk) 10:10, 10 March 2018 (UTC)

@Boczi: They both produce code with and are the same width to me in Firefox. What is your browser, which one is wider to you, and does it look like it has a wide element which forces it to this width? PrimeHunter (talk) 11:09, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
Thanks for posting! I use the latest Firefox (on a landscape format screen), Template:History of the British Isles is wider to me, and it may be the image in the latter that forces it to this width, but I'm only guessing here! Best wishes--Boczi (talk) 11:31, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
@Boczi: The image is displayed as 250px and that barely fits within for me so it does not widen the box. The box in {{History of the British Isles}} is the same width to me if I preview the template page with instead of . Does it become more narrow to you? It widens a little for me with . PrimeHunter (talk) 12:19, 10 March 2018 (UTC)

Disappearing sections[edit]

Can someone please explain this? If you check this diff, you see that I added a bit of text at a certain spot, but then if you check the previous revision you can see that sections 10-13 either disappeared or got mangled. What happened? François Robere (talk) 18:11, 10 March 2018 (UTC)

You accidentally did not close a reference tag - I fixed it here. I had to add your signature using the "unsigned" template as if I'd left the 4 tildes it would have signed as me. DuncanHill (talk) 18:42, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
This was very weird. The segment I copied had maybe 5-6 citations one after the other, and I seem to have copied the opening ref tag of one I didn't actually want to include. Thanks for your help! François Robere (talk) 18:53, 10 March 2018 (UTC)

Castle of Mey[edit]

The Castle of Mey entry states that it features in 'The Crown' TV series, it does not.

I have positivly identified the castle shown in episode 8, as 'Slains Castle' (properly 'New Slains Castle') in Cruden Bay, Aberdeenshire. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2A00:23C4:4C82:1A00:F521:A073:50B3:B9AB (talk) 18:44, 10 March 2018 (UTC)

You should raise this issue at Talk:Castle of Mey. The statement in the article is actually unreferenced and can be removed. Ruslik_Zero 20:05, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
But you should not add your own identification of the castle, unless you can find a reliably published source that says it. Original research may not be published on Wikipedia. --ColinFine (talk) 23:08, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Note also that the Castle of Mey is one of the subjects of episode 8 of The Crown (TV series), and this would remain true even if some other castle were shown in its place in the series. Therefore, the statement should (probably) not be removed from the Castle of Mey article. -Arch dude (talk) 03:11, 12 March 2018 (UTC)

References[edit]

Hello!I have just started my work and I have a question: what is the scheme of writing references? Thanks a lot! — Preceding unsigned comment added by Daryazinkovskaya (talk • contribs) 21:57, 10 March 2018 (UTC)

  • Hi there. This help desk is for questions about using and editing Wikipedia. If that's not what you want, please check out our reference desk, where the volunteers may be able to help with other kinds of references, especially if you can ask a more specific question. If you want to edit a Wikipedia article to add a reference, please read WP:REF, and if you have further questions on this topic, feel free to come back here. -Arch dude (talk) 22:34, 10 March 2018 (UTC)

March 11[edit]

My uploads and pages are being deleted for copyright.[edit]

I am trying to upload pictures of Veela and information about her, which she has given to me with the correct copyright in effect. What do I do? XSklzxDark (talk) 00:23, 11 March 2018 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by XSklzxDark (talk • contribs) 00:22, 11 March 2018 (UTC)

XSklzxDark copyrighted images (and text) are not allowed in Wikipedia, as outlined in this policy. That applies even to images created by you or your organisation, unless they state clearly and explicitly that they are public domain. We require that images posted here can be used, modified and distributed for any purpose, including commercial but there is no indication that the images allows free use. Images are considered to be copyright unless explicitly stated otherwise. There are ways to donate copyrighted images to Wikipedia, as described here; please note that simply asserting on the talk page that you are the owner of the copyright, or you have permission to use the image, isn't sufficient.
I've moved your draft to the correct title and removed the social media links. You will need to provide independent verifiable sources to enable us to verify the facts and show that she meets the notability guidelines. It is now Wikipedia policy that biographical articles about living people must have independent verifiable references, as defined in the link, or they will be deleted. Sources that are not acceptable include those linked to her or an associated organisation, press releases, YouTube, IMDB, social media and other sites that can be self-edited, blogs, websites of unknown or non-reliable provenance, and sites that are just reporting what she claims or interviewing her. Note that references should be in-line so we can tell what fact each is supporting, and should not be bare urls
If you have a conflict of interest when editing this article, you must declare it. In particular, if you are paid directly or indirectly by her or her organisation, you are required by the Wikimedia Terms of Use to disclose your employer, client and affiliation.
See also this important guidance.
Jimfbleak - talk to me? 06:39, 11 March 2018 (UTC)
  • @Jimfbleak: Your advice above is slightly mistaken. Images can be uploaded as long as they are compatible with Wikipedia's WP:LICENSE (CC-BY-SA), which is not restricted to public domain. Any PD image will do, but other non-PD images can be uploaded. TigraanClick here to contact me 12:37, 12 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Tigraan, of course you are right, and I provided a link to the donation page. In practice, there are very images that we can use here unless they are either licensed especially for Wikipedia, or are PD through age or released by the US federal government Jimfbleak - talk to me? 13:32, 12 March 2018 (UTC)

Trying to make someone italic, didn't work. Oops.[edit]

Hello there, I was trying to make the article A Short Vision's name italic; but I couldn't and ended up redirecting with quotations; and it would not let me move it back. So, I would like some help please on making it italic and redirecting it back. Thanks... and sorry. Do the Danse Macabre! (Talk) 00:23, 11 March 2018 (UTC)

Hi In Memoriam A.H.H. you need to use Template:DISPLAYTITLE. I've added it to the article, so once someone with the rights to do so (I unfortunately can't) moves the page back to A Short Vision, then it should display in italics. Joseph2302 (talk) 01:36, 11 March 2018 (UTC)
DISPLAYTITLE works but for this purpose it's more common to add {{italic title}}. PrimeHunter (talk) 02:25, 11 March 2018 (UTC)

Correct info on page[edit]

Hello I am Mike Hughes Mad Mike Hughes limo driver and daredevil The home state on my wiki page is wrong mi was born in Oklahoma not California — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2600:1012:B157:4365:F4AF:2FD8:E5B4:E282 (talk) 12:48, 11 March 2018 (UTC)

Thank you for letting us know. I've changed the place of birth on the assumption that no-one knows better than you, but we really need a reference because we have no way to check that the anonymous IP address you use really is you. Dbfirs 13:18, 11 March 2018 (UTC)
I strongly doubt no-one knows better than Mike where Mike was born. I'm even sure there are (or at least: there were) people knowing better – people who told it to him. As far as I know, no person remembers the place where he or she was born, let alone knowing a specific state name or even a notion of a state on the day they come to the world... --CiaPan (talk) 21:44, 11 March 2018 (UTC)
I suppose it depends on age and family. In this country (UK) we have birth certificates which state the place of birth. In any case, we should really have a reference if we have the information in a Wikipedia article. Dbfirs 15:23, 12 March 2018 (UTC)
(Trolling! OFF–topic! Ignore – or at least do not take seriously!) I don't live in UK, but have birth certificates, too. I have cerificates of both my parents and two of my grandparents, and of my children. But I don't possess one of myself. Of course I may obtain a copy from an office if necessary, and I have even had to get one to get married, but somehow I lost it in abyss of my drawers. However, my family knows where I was born, so I do know, too – but I will never say I know best. :) Anyway, if a child is not born in a hospital, the statement in the official certificate comes from a parents' statement, made at the office. So a certificate is a secondary source of information, after the doctor's or parents' statement. What the subject knows is a tertiary information, copied either from parents of from the official copy. --CiaPan (talk) 08:15, 13 March 2018 (UTC)
EOT. I promise. CiaPan (talk)

Is there a step by step process to see my page. For example: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helen_Terry with my my page with this url[edit]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helen_Terry— Preceding unsigned comment added by DeepaArts (talk • contribs) 16:12, 11 March 2018 (UTC)

To see the page you follow the wikilinkHelen Terry, or type "Helen Terry" into the search box at the top of any Wikipedia page. --David Biddulph (talk) 18:42, 11 March 2018 (UTC)
Hi, DeepaArts, do you mean the User:DeepaKoshaleyArt/sandbox page?
As far as I can see, there are several problems with that page.
First of all, you created it in another user's space (namely, User:DeepaKoshaleyArt, and not in your, User:DeepaArts space).
Secondly, that is invalid space, as the User:DeepaKoshaleyArt is not a registered name of Wikipedia user.
Third, the text is waaay too short to become a Wikipedia article. It is also very subjective in tone, I could even say: promotional. Additionally, it lacks any material details and, last but not least, any sources.
Before you make an attempt to convert it into an article in Wikipedia:
Best regards. --CiaPan (talk) 21:26, 11 March 2018 (UTC)
P.S. Looking at your nick, DeepaArts, and the subject's name, Deepa Koshaley, I suspect you're closely related to the subject. May be you're writing about yourself or about a member of a family; may be you are a fan or an agent of the subject. Whichever may be true, I strongly recommend you to see the Wikipedia:Conflict of interest policy and refrain from writing about that person. --CiaPan (talk) 21:36, 11 March 2018 (UTC)

March 12[edit]

Pat Benatar/ Hammersmith[edit]

The Pat Benatar page has 2 (errors). I don’t know what is correct info. Hammersmith made the last (significant) change: is it possible to contact (him)?

[In August 1984, Benatar released her fifth studio album, Tropico (US #14, AUS #9, UK #31). The single "We Belong", released in October 1984, a month prior to the album release, became another top 10 hit in the US peaking at #5 and #7 in Australia.] SO: Maybe month (and a bit) AFTER, or not August or not October.

[At 19, after one year at Stony Brook, she dropped out to marry her first husband, high school sweetheart Dennis Benatar] SO: birthdate’s wrong, or she was 17, or she worked BEFORE Stony Brook, contrary to (implied) next paragraph. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 120.16.8.129 (talk) 10:55, 12 March 2018 (UTC)

Thank you for raising these points. Hammersoft only reverted vandalism. A better course would be to put your points at the article's talk page where anyone interested in the topic will see it. Please note that any changes to the article would need to cite reliable sources; personal memory is not considered sufficient basis for information about a living person: Noyster(talk), 11:43, 12 March 2018 (UTC)

Can't login[edit]

Wikipedia:Help_desk/Archives/2017_December_5#Can.27t_login— Preceding unsigned comment added by 90.196.241.204 (talk) 12:42, 12 March 2018 (UTC)

Do you have an already-existing account? If you don't go to Special:CreateAccount. L293D () 13:11, 12 March 2018 (UTC)
  • In the prior helpdesk topic you linked to, it said you cannot log in using Firefox 43.0.1, but you can log in using Internet Explorer. If this is still the case, you should probably update your Firefox, as a whole lot has happened since the 43.0.1 release. Take a look at our article: Firefox version history. If you cannot update your browser, please take your question to Wikipedia:Reference desk/Computing: those volunteers may be able to help you. -Arch dude (talk) 16:23, 12 March 2018 (UTC)

Sorting an editing history[edit]

I've begun to enter content from the medical journal-BMJ. I would like to keep track of the edit summaries that I write and be able to count my edit summaries that contain "BMJ". Best Regards, Barbara ✐  ✉ 14:45, 12 March 2018 (UTC)

Barbara - your last 500 pages can be searched using the "Edit summary search" at the foot of your "contributions" page - This currently has 12 matches to BMJ going back to October 2015. As for whether that can be expanded beyond 500 pages - I don't know - Arjayay (talk) 15:00, 12 March 2018 (UTC)
  • That's a cool feature that I did not know about. There is a "next 500 results" link at the bottom of the list returned by the search, or you can edit the URL to change the 500 to a larger number, and then bookmark your modified URL to use later. -Arch dude (talk) 16:09, 12 March 2018 (UTC)

ROGER MAYWEATHER[edit]

ROGER MAYWEATHER TRAINED LAILA ALI TO HER CHAMPIONSHIP TITLES SHOULD BE ADDED TO HIS ROGER MAYWEATHER PAGE 173.248.109.3 (talk) 14:57, 12 March 2018 (UTC)

Duplicate name on wikipedia[edit]

I wish to start an article on Fiona MacDonald an opera singer and founder of Scottish charity Bravehound and Glen Art. As there is already a Fiona MacDonald on wikipedia how would I title her?... Fiona MacDonald (philanthropist)?

http://www.creativescotland.com/explore/read/stories/features/2015/voices-of-the-first-world-warhttps://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/archives/news/26244/on-song-for-heroes/https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/project-honours-scotland-s-first-world-war-dead-1-3317395https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/05/13/army-turns-greek-tragedy-help-troops-open-ptsd/https://www.express.co.uk/news/nature/768141/Soldiering-On-Awards-2017-bravehound-dog-companions-help-veterans-cope-PTSD

I'd recomment starting an article as a Draft at Draft:Fiona McDonald (opera singer) and put it in for review, when accepted, the person who accepts should work with you to create a disambiguation page that can point to both women and move the existing appropriately (They look like they have similar levels of notability.)Naraht (talk) 15:28, 12 March 2018 (UTC)

On the day Einstein died, Time photographer Ralph Morse eschewed the crowds of reporters and other photojournalists gathered at Princeton Hospital, and instead found his way to Einstein’s office at the Institute of Advanced Studies.

He snapped a single picture of the legacy of the world’s greatest mind.

What that picture (below) shows is chaos. Not an inch of Einstein’s desk is free of paper. Books, manuscripts, magazines, and envelopes are everywhere (alone with what looks like a cookie jar). The same goes for the shelves. One shelf holds neatly arrayed journals, but elsewhere are piles and piles of papers.

It’s a mess, and he liked it that way. When asked about his messy desk, Einstein remarked “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, then what are we to think of an empty desk?”

Empty desks are all the rage.

Minimalist, paper-free offices are the current trend with a place for everything and everything in its place.

But for creative minds this might be the worst possible way to work. The combination of recent studies and evidence from the world’s foremost creatives show that just the right amount of mess on your desk can help you achieve greater creativity, defy convention, and even be more productive.

01. You get a creative boost from a messy desk

Psychologist Kathleen Vohs, from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management, was interested in whether there was any social purpose to messiness. As a society, we seem to strongly prefer people to keep clean than be dirty – “cleanliness is next to godliness” and all that. But we are happy to tolerate a bit of messiness in others. She predicted that being tidy is associated with ‘upholding societal standards’ and being messy is all about turning away from socials conventions and trying out something new.

She and her group set out to test this hypothesis. First they wanted to see of messiness did make people rebel against the norm. Her researchers organized one room in their laboratory tidely, with papers stacked neatly and books put away properly. Then then organized, or rather disorganized, another, with all the papers and books strewn all across the room. The participants in the study were then randomly assigned to one of the rooms and told they were going to undergo a consumer-choice study.

They were then given a smoothie menu and asked to choose from one of three options – health, wellness, or a vitamin boost. On half the menus the health option was described as ‘classic’, and on the other half it was described as ‘new’. The participants in the tidy room chose the healthy option with the word ‘classic’ twice as often as when it was described as new. The opposite was true in the messy room, with the subjects choosing the ‘new’ version over the ‘classic’ version twice as much.

Therefore the people surrounded my tidiness were choosing convention, whereas the people surrounded by messiness were choosing novelty.

Vohs’ group then moved on to creativity. Using the same tidy room/messy room paradigm, they asked participants to think up as many uses for ping pong balls as they could in the allotted time. The found that people in both rooms came up with about the same number of alternative uses for ping pong balls, but the people in the messy room were far more creative in their odd uses.

Researchers at Northwestern University tried the same thing, and found similar results.

They found that people in messy rooms drew more creativity and were quicker at solving creative problems.

So it may be that having a little bit of mess around reminds us that the world is not an ordered and structured thing, but something that contains chaos and unknowns. This jumpstarts our brains into creativity mode and makes us remember that it is OK to be a little bit unconventional and think creatively.

This should show you that you shouldn’t really care too much about tidying your desk, your office, or your room and instead see if there is any creative inspiration there. Whereas being nice and neat and tidy is a good idea for some things – you probably wouldn’t want to have surgery in an operating room with instruments strewn about – for tasks that require significant creativity you should feel free to leave post-its everywhere, books open, and a coffee cup or two lying around.

02. The best were messy

Einstein definitely was not alone in finding a messy desk was a productive desk. There are plenty of examples of creative talents choosing to be a bit light on the housework.

Here is Einstein’s desk, from Morse’s photo on the day Einstein died:

As I said – messy. To Einstein though everything was where it needed to be, and he had his own system for organization.

Mark Twain was another that chose to tidy up as little as possible. Like Einstein’s Twain’s desk is one that is literally littered with paper and books. It might be easier nowadays to have a paper-free, clutter-free lifestyle, but having such disorganization around them never did the creative giants of Einstein and Twain any harm.

Bringing it more up-to-date, Steve Jobs was, ironically, one for plenty of mess. The man that has done more to streamline and declutter our workspaces than any other, but he himself was in fact someone who was more than happy to wallow in a little bit of filth. Steve Jobs’ desk was one with plenty of paper on it, and the shelves of his home office were heaving with books at all angles:

The tech leaders of today have obviously chosen to follow in Jobs’ footsteps.

In our imagination, the offices and desks of Silicon Valley’s tech giants are sparse, clean things, all polished aluminum and Macs.

While the Macs are definitely there, a lot of the founders of the big tech companies eschew that more corporate ideal in favor of slumming it with their co-workers.

This is Mark Zuckerberg’s desk:

While it isn’t quite on the scale of extravagant chaos as Einstein’s, it isn’t what you imagine for someone worth $35 Billion. It does look like the desk of a 31-year old though, and his surroundings show that he is more interested in the work than the status.

Finally, let’s look at a true master of chaos, Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos:

Einstein would have been proud.

Of course, if this article was all about how creativity stems from order, I am sure I could find some examples of creative greats that had Spartan desks and working environments. The science does suggest that a bit of disorder can help invigorate the mind, but you shouldn’t go chucking your papers all over your desk in order to gain insight, especially if you are someone who likes a tidy pile.

Instead, this should show that the best don’t really care about what their desks look like, and instead get on with the work.

03. Minimalism might be killing your creativity

Though it’s cool to look at the lifestyles and desks of the rich and famous, there is an important lesson to be learned from these examples, particularly for designers and architects. A clean, modern, efficient office might look great on paper, but it can have negative side-effects when thrust into the real world.

If your company requires any type of creativity, and nearly all companies and sectors do, then by restraining employees within their work environments might be having a detrimental effect on the company.

Initially these minimalist office environments might seem like a great idea.

Something like ‘hot-desking’, where employees can jump from desk to desk daily as needed look very efficient and helpful on the surface, but leave employees with a non-existent footprint on the office – nowhere to call their own, nowhere to keep their things, nowhere to make a mess.

For creative individuals, it could be that your push for productivity is actually hampering your creativity. A clean desk looks so inviting. It feels like you are ready for work and your mind is focused and on the task ahead. But by removing any semblance of self from your working environment you are stopping your brain from wandering and making the connections required for creativity. The chaos required to jumpstart ideas isn’t there and you can find that you might be more productive, but not on anything creative.

The right balance is one that works for you. Some people are neat by design and others love a mess. Don’t clean your workspace because you think it needs to be done, and certainly not to ‘clear your mind’. Your mind needs those little ideas floating in the periphery so that it can find the random, complicated, creative answers for your work.

04. You are wasting your precious time and energy

An opportunity cost is when doing one thing means you can’t do another: You could go to the movies tonight, but that means you can’t go a party; you can buy a coffee right now, but that money then isn’t available to buy a beer later. You have to decide which it is that you want.

The same is true here. If there is a standing order in an organization to keep a workspace clean then that means physical and mental energy has to then be spent on that task, as well as time.

That is time and energy that you then cannot use on any creative tasks.

This may seem small in themselves, but these small acts of tidying can add up, and, from the scientific evidence, for nothing.

Though it can be difficult to rebel against a boss that wants their office to look spic and span, you should at least always have the ‘tidying up’ far down your to-do list (for me, if my desk is too clean, it is an obvious sign of procrastination – I should be spending that time and energy on creative tasks, but… [insert excuse here].)

There is also the emotional energy you can waste. As Vohs said, we are conditioned to consider order, cleanliness and tidiness as ‘good’ things, and disorder and mess as ‘bad’. This is ingrained in us from an early age – ‘Go tidy your room!’ is something all of us will have heard as teenagers. Therefore we feel bad if we are messy and our desks are untidy, and instinctively want to please people by tidying up after ourselves.

Again, this could actually be damaging your creative process. You are not ‘bad’ for enjoying a little bit of mess (if there is mold in your coffee cup then I am not entirely sure that is creative. Unless you are Alexander Fleming, inventor of Penicillin, who was notoriously messy and has saved millions of lives because of it!).

Don’t worry about what other think of your desk, and instead thrive on the mess to try and stay more creative.

If your messiness is starting to become a problem at work or at home, then try and set boundaries for family or coworkers – you cannot make a mess on the dining room table, but they cannot complain about the mess on your personal desk.

05. Find the tipping point for true messy creativity

Some of the more messy fold reading this will think it’s Christmas. Their desks will never see a clean-wipe, or sunlight, again. But a word of caution. At some point your creativity is going to come up against the real world. It might be great that you have found creative inspiration in your messy desk, but if you can’t then find the invoice for your client, you haven’t really progressed. Almost every creative has at one time or other written a great idea down on a post-it, only for that note to be lost people piles of papers, stuck to some trash, or pushed down the back of the desk.

There has to be a happy medium between creativity and productivity.

Just enough mess that it keeps your brain engaged, but not enough that once your eureka moment comes you spend five minutes looking for your pencil and then forget what you were going to do in the first place (I have done that).

If you choose to go the ‘whole hog’ then you might come across negative opinions from others, and you will have to decide whether you are getting true creativity out of the mess, or you are just messy because you are lazy. Don’t confuse the two. Even on the desks of the greats above, they know where everything is, and the mess has a purpose – to excel creatively. IF you messiness allows you to do that, then don’t worry about the odd remark or weird look.

Achieve the perfect mess

So what is the ‘perfect mess’? It is that mess that helps you creatively, but doesn’t stifle your productivity. It will be different for everyone. What the research on messiness should show you is that organization and order are overblown concepts, and if you are spending too much time on them, you are hurting yourself, particularly creatively. Allow the mess to pile up a bit and spend that time constructively on creative tasks instead.

You might become overwhelmed by the disorder, in which that is the time to cut back, but if you are trying to achieve a perfectly clean desk, with no clutter, no mementos, no tchotchkes, no personality, you are also creating an environment with no creativity.

Allow your inner messiness to show itself and you might find your brain starts to have a whole lot of better ideas.

Do you agree? How do you like to work? Leave your thoughts in the comments below?

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