Category talk:Tabularium (Nova Roma)

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General working methods

For everyone information, a specific 'Tabularium project' group (Yahoo! list) has been created on 31 August 2007 to allow Praetor G. Equitius Cato's scribes (A. Apollonius Cordus and M. Lucretius Agricola) to join Pr. A. Tullia Scholastica's ones (T. Iulius Sabinus and P. Memmius Albucius), still working on the issue. The interest of this praetorian group is to join wiki skilled citizens and law ones. Every issue presented below is naturally to be examined by this group and solved, taking in consideration the specific questions asked by the Tabularium and its relation to NR web site current technical parameters. This Tabularium project group's work is to be validated regularly by both praetors, who will communicate and/or report as they will see fit to the other concerned magistrates and assemblies of Nova Roma. Have yet subscribed into this group : A. Apollonius Cordus (31 Aug.), T. Iulius Sabinus (1 Sept.), P. Memmius Albucius (31 Aug.).
Albucius 10:15, 03 Sept. 2007 (Rome time).

Visual Presentation

All editors please read this.

I see this section of our site is getting a lot of non-standard presentation elements. This practice must stop. I mean things like HTML "break" elements, using LI elements to provide indent and other things as well. If there is a display problem, we can deal with that using our stylesheets and classes. Adding presentation elements to articles is a horrible practice that makes upkeep far more difficult. In short, resist the temptation to "prettify" individual articles. It is 2007 after all, not 1985. We have tools to deal with presentation that work site-wide. Anything else will just make breakage of future skins likely. Really seriously, folks, this is a system-wide issue. Anyone with a working knowledge of XHTML (who can code to validation to the "strict" DTD) and CSS (level 1), and ideally experience with MediaWiki skins is welcome to contact me and I will give you a lot of work. Any specific presentation issues should be brought to my attention and I will try to get something worked out systematically. Well, actually, I will get something worked out. Agricola 17:20, 31 August 2007 (CEST)


Too bad that all the work that went into the CJNR is being ignored. I suspect that since the CJNR was an early addition, later editors did not become aware of it. For this reason I am placing this page on protection, in the hope that we can have a real plan in place before any more energy is spent on duplications. Agricola 07:17, 25 August 2007 (CEST)

I would like to see a discussion regarding the "Novaroman Law Handbook", specifically stating why the existing CJNR cannot form the basis for this. Considerable time has been spent on the CJNR and I would dislike to see that wasted. On the other hand, if there is a fundamental flaw in the CJNR that makes it unusable, I would be willing to delete it, rather than seeing it hang on incomplete. Either way is fine, but let there please be a thoughtful reason. I urge in the strongest terms that we recruit someone from outside legal circles to look at what we have already (CJNR). If we want to write "in terms understandable by every citizen and reader", then it is best practice to get input from one or two non-specialists, at least. If we do that now we could avert the need for future potential revisions. I am not particularly happy with the CJNR title, by the way, so a move to something reasonable, and linkable would find support from me. In short, please look seriously at CJNR and explain either how it can be improved, modified, transformed or otherwise used, or why it must be abandoned. This commentary is not legal text itself. It is a community resource, so let's get the community in on the ground floor and build to last. Agricola 17:20, 31 August 2007 (CEST)

For what it's worth, I do not like the CJNR and I do not find it helpful. But even if it is helpful to others, I do not think it ought to be included as part of the tabularium. The tabularium is a repository for legal texts. Tools which help people understand and circumnavigate those texts are jolly good, but it is not the place of the official organs of government to endorse any particular tool as any kind of official or definitive guide. Different people will have different interpretations of legal documents, and it would be iniquitous to present one interpretation as more valid than another by including it as part of the tabularium. It may be thought that the CJNR does not engage in interpretation, but I say that even classifying documents by topic is a form of interpretation: it involves decisions about what is the main or essential topic of a given text, and that is a decision about the true meaning, i.e. the interpretation, of the text.
For the same reason, I am extremely troubled by the suggestion of creating any sort of official handbook of modern Roman law. It would, in effect, put the resources of the state behind a particular interpretation of the law regardless of whether that interpretation had the sanction of consensus, magisterial authority, decisions of a court of law, or indeed common sense. A handbook might be a very useful thing, but it should not be in the tabularium and I am not certain it should be on the website at all.
- Cordus 21:00, 31 August 2007 (CEST)
It is an interesting point. In the extreme there is of course the "search" function. It is in fact quite efficient and very much under-used. In any event you articulate well why this discussion is needed. You also point to the very thing that was on my mind when I suggested those magisterial domain templates last year. There is very little here that is canon. If we mark that explicitly, would you be more comfortable with everything else being "non-canon" by implication? Or does the fact that it occupies the NR server taint it all? I could easily be convinced of that as it is consistent with post-modern understanding of power in the classroom, for example. Agricola 05:18, 1 September 2007 (CEST)
After some pondering, I think no real harm is done by having legal commentary on the server as long as all editors are free to contribute such commentary and none is marked or formatted in any way which would imply that it is more official or authoritative than any other. Also it may be a good idea to require any substantive assertion to be attributed to a named person. It's hard to think how commentary would be best presented - I suspect it's something we'll have to experiment with. But removing it from the tabularium would be a good start, especially while the tabularium continues to be headed with a big banner saying that it is under the authority of the praetores.
- Cordus 17:51, 3 September 2007 (CEST)
I agree with Cordus. CJNR and handbook are (finally) only tools. Well, maybe necessary tools, but not in this moment.
- Sabinus 21:58, 3 September 2007 (CEST)


For discussion:

  1. Subcategories should cover all topics in the tabularium.
  2. Every item should be in at least one subcat.
  3. Any item may be in more than one subcat, as appropriate.
  4. The main tabularium cat (in addition to the top matter) should contain only subcats, with very few or no exceptions (e.g., maybe the constitution that is in force at present).

Agricola 07:27, 25 August 2007 (CEST)

Addendum: One giant category full of everything isn't very useful, it seems to me, but if the community thinks it is, then so be it. My preference would be a cleaner organization and then use index pages for comprehensive listings. If we go for the one giant cat, then we have to discuss indexing (see message from Q·CAEC·MET·POST below). Anyone who is really interested in categories in MediaWiki can read the almost excessively comprehensive online documentation at meta-mediawiki. Agricola 17:20, 31 August 2007 (CEST)

Those all sound like sensible principles to me.
- Cordus 13:37, 26 August 2007 (CEST)
I now have a single template to replace the seven or so now in use. It will handle all the category assignments automatically. This will be a big time savings in addition to ensuring that the status that is displayed always matches the category assignment. Since I'll probably write a bot to handle this conversion, we can postpone the cat discussion for the time being. (Because once a single template handles all the cats, we will be able to do all the cat assignments for all articles at once, with a single edit.) Let's take a look at the presentation and cats used before too long, maybe in the next couple of weeks, if possible. Agricola 17:20, 31 August 2007 (CEST)
I'll be away over the weekend, but I'll play with the new template jobbies when I get back.
- Cordus 23:45, 31 August 2007 (CEST)

Cat Head Text

The head text on this cat page talks a lot about what we plan and so forth. This sort of thing belongs on this talk page, not cluttering up the main article. Let's strive to be clear, simple and concise. Barring negative comments I will soon have at that material and move a lot of it here. Agricola 09:41, 25 August 2007 (CEST)

Agreed, though some brief explanation of the nature of the category could usefully remain.
- Cordus 13:37, 26 August 2007 (CEST)
What I would really like to see first is to move any talk about the historical building in Rome to its own article, leaving a link behind. This is especially important because, as the present text states, the functions of the two tabularia are not the same. This also satisfies our principle that articles about NR and RA should have good separation. We have already have a cat for Category:Archaeological sites in Rome, in which the article should be put, and I have a number of pictures of the tabularium itself, both from the forum and also inside the passage. I'll upload the photos as soon as I see the article appear. Agricola 17:20, 31 August 2007 (CEST)

Inclusion of the Commentarii Pontificum

I realise that this was likely by my own doing, but should we include the Commentarii Pontificum (i.e., responsa) in the Tabularium? Since they do have no legal bearing, it seems to me that they might be better placed with items on the cultus Deorum. Thoughts, anyone? Metellus 03:10, 13 November 2006 (CET)

Let's not view this as "the laws", let's say this is where we put official documents that should be protected from edits. Does that solve the problem? Agricola 07:27, 25 August 2007 (CEST)

Categorisation of Leges

In looking at the list on this category page, I think that for the sake of ease, it might be more user-friendly to categorise the leges either A) by name (e.g. lex Vedia in the 'V' part of the alphabetical list; or B) by the topic as given in the name (e.g. a Lex Vedia Provincialis would be found in the 'P' section). Any thoughts on this? Q·CAEC·MET·POST 03:45, 12 February 2007 (CET)

If I may be allowed to speak on this--I agree with Metellus. The eye (and mind) doth glaze over when reading so many items starting with the same word. As is, there are numerous laws with the same proposer (Vedius was quite prolific), and some with the exact same name originally, which is why I had to add Latin words to separate these (I believe you term it 'disambiguation').

Hope this format is acceptable; I have done corrections, but not added posts. ATS

The upgrade in functionality to enable sorting on the V of Vedia is code complete and is being checked. This function should be ready to install soon. Agricola 09:49, 3 September 2007 (CEST)

Attention please, all interested parties

I know we have all temporarily stopped working on the contents of the tabularium during discussions. However, it seems to me extremely important that citizens should continue to have access to information about legislative and pseudo-legislative processes going on at the moment. These are matters about which citizens should be informed so that they can consider, discuss, and act upon them.

For this reason, I have added the recently published relationes in senatu to the tabularium. I also propose to add any senatus consulta created by the current meeting of the senate, any edicta issued by magistrates from now on, any responsa issued by the priestly colleges, any rogationes put before the people, and so on. In this way our ongoing discussions will not prevent the people from being well-informed about the creation of new law which may affect their lives.

We may, of course, need to alter the organization, format, and presentation of these new items as a result of our discussions. For this reason, I am for now adding them with minimal formatting and minimal categorization. But I think the most important thing is to make the information available in some form.

- Cordus 17:11, 5 September 2007 (CEST)

Even while you are supposedly busy discussing matters, it would be useful to remove the errors from the main tabularium page. "Index legium' should be "index legum," and fresh law students (I know they *can* be fresh) should be "first year law students." Leaving these in place makes us a laughingstock. So, too, do laws without texts, and uncorrected titles in mutilated Latin.
Secondly, this discussion process seems to be taking far too long with little progress, and is starting to look more like a deliberate impediment to me and my cohors than the result of genuine concerns on your part(s). There are law texts and translations to be uploaded, as well as other things to do, but it seems that not much has been decided on working rules and the like. Are you really working on this, or merely waiting for the end of the year, when some disengaged praetor will take over and let the wiki magistri do their thing without any oversight? Too many magistrates (and others) here are content to earn the prize, but not do the work; fewer still are the praetores who pay any attention to the Tabularium. That, however, seems to be the preference of some. Guys, let's get this show on the road. The laws at least should be simple enough to manage; the SCs may indeed require more categories (and here I seem to agree with Cordus, as on his point about making things available in the mean time), but please, the time is getting short, and in the end you will be better off if we can get this done while someone in authority cares about the results. -- A. Tullia Scholastica, 16:11, 22 September 2007 (EDT)
[Marius, fresh outta the hospital:]
OK, here is my (very green, very newbie, not even a citizen, wary of half the people here and trying not to tick off the other half) understanding of the policy on Tabularium edits. I submit it in the hope that anybody at all can gain an understanding of what this whole subject must look like to a non-Praetor, let alone an editor of any other sort:
  • Texts of laws may not be edited. (I should hope not.)
  • If you find a very minor error (spelling, let's say) in the text of a law, that does not change its meaning, it's OK to nail it...I think. Latin corrections may fall under this provision. Other'n that, see rule #1.
  • That intimidating page-lock banner (works great on me) is there for a reason. I suspect it has something to do with rule #1 or rule #2.
  • Anything else on a Wiki page--any Wiki page--that is not the actual text of a law may be edited unto perdition. Yes, even by non-disengaged magistrates. Click the Edit tab at the top of the faulty page and have at it. Same way I've just now indented both our comments and bolded your .sig. "Fresh students" needs to be "first-year students"? --Fix it. Latin all balled up? Don't bite the techies--fix it. There's no way to be sure that someone else is going to trip over the same mistake you saw unless you either tell somebody...or fix it yourself upon discovery, if you can and it only involves the one page. (Otherwise, ask any unbitten techies.)
This thing is huge. Nova Roma has existed for nine years and has got more laws to show for it than anything else. The Tabularium is not going to be finished this year. It might be finished sometime this half-decade if done as carefully as it needs to be, and if we don't have to nurse the cauterised stumps of our tails in the meantime. The last person I saw correct a Tabularium page got very publicly spanked on the Wiki list. That's not the good way to attract editors. Under the circumstance, you will see why I myself am not touching this thing with a 53-foot pole. Perhaps I could serve as an experimental "non-expert user" for the section, once the narcotic painkillers wear off and my eyes are no longer glazed over. But "friendly fire" like some of the above could explain why the work is going slowly and you're not up to your ears in volunteers. -- Marius Peregrinus 02:13, 23 September 2007 (CEST)
A. Tullia, this process of discussion which you find excessively slow (and I can't say I entirely disagree) is one in which I am participating out of consideration for you and your assistants. I don't need to. I have a mandate from your colleague to do whatever I think best to the tabularium and I have a completely independent mandate from the magister aranearius to do whatever I think best throughout the whole of the website. So I can get working right now. Similarly, there is nothing I can do to stop your assistants getting to work right now, and if you want to instruct them to abandon the discussion and get on with whatever it was they were doing before, you can do that. Suits me either way.
- Cordus 13:30, 23 September 2007 (CEST)

more on the blocking myth

Re the corrections to the main Tabularium page, I was blocked from any editing on that page.

briefly, months ago. The protection was removed in August, and you've been free to edit it since. I see that you successfully edited it today. Marcus Octavius Gracchus(t)

I still cannot correct typos, etc., in the list of leges, so perhaps one of the wiki magistri could assist. Aula Tullia Scholastica

The list you see on that page is compiled automatically from the titles of the articles included; no one can edit it directly. To retitle an article, go to that article's page and use the "move" link at the top. This will fix it on that article page itself and in every Category it's included in. (Also look for the "Category:Tabularium" link in the article itself, as sometimes that link supplies an alternate title as a parameter). Marcus Octavius Gracchus(t)

The title Lex Apula de magistratu eiuranda has a typo at the end of the last word which creates an error of Latin grammar: it should be eiurando, not eiuranda. There is a bigger error in another law title, the Lex Vedia de ...edictium, which should be, as written just below, edictorum. Ain't no sech Latin beast as edictium, or eligium, neither. If these are different laws, they should be disambiguated with the word altera, as I did earlier; if they are not, the incorrect one should be deleted. Aula Tullia Scholastica

Yes, we have lots of laws. As time passed, and we grew, we had to change some of the rules, for the things that worked when we were small and Latin-less no longer worked when we were much bigger and had at least a couple dozen people who can not only read Latin, they can write it, and some can speak it. Magisterial titles were changed, duties were changed, methods of vote-counting were changed, etc., etc. Yes, it's a lot of verbiage (I know; I proofread every law, not once, but TWICE, for two different magistri araneari), but that's what happens when you have a Roman government which, like the original, is indisposed to throwing things out--and in this law library, things should never be thrown out. Some were, however, and part of my job is to discover what the deleted laws were, where they belonged sequentially, and get them back into the Tabularium where they belong. Another part is getting our laws translated into the major languages so non-English speaking citizens can see what they have signed up for. If my cohors is blocked from uploading new laws or translations of laws or recovered laws pending reorganization or whatever, we are hurting all of the citizens. That is to no one's advantage, though some seem to think that it is. Aula Tullia Scholastica

They're not blocked. How many times do we have to say it? You're accusing people of plotting against you, when all that's happening is that you fail to understand how the software works. The wikimagisters are willing to help you, but when you start flinging accusations about, we're just going to close ranks. Marcus Octavius Gracchus(t) 15:24, 3 November 2007 (CET)
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