Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Layout

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See Also section: is our guidance realistic?[edit]

Our instructions for the See Also section include this language:

"As a general rule, the 'See also' section should not repeat links that appear in the article's body or its navigation boxes."

I wonder whether this instruction is actually desirable, and also whether it describes actual practice. Perhaps it is true in situations where the redundancy is obvious, or in cases where the See Also section has grown to include items of questionable relevance. However, other than these reasonable constraints, it seems to me that this is a rule that puts form over function. Especially in long articles, the See Also section functions as a sort of tl;dr which identifies some of the best wikilinks that appeared within the article.

If the best defense of the existing language is that it interprets the word "also," one could reply that the "also" means articles other than this article.

I am not insisting that the sentence simply be deleted. But we should decide exactly what it is we want to say. Maybe that requires a bit more subtlety. Andrew Gradman talk/WP:Hornbook 17:50, 2 February 2014 (UTC)

It describes actual practice when it comes to WP:Good and WP:Featured articles, generally anyway...until someone adds a link to the See also section that is repeated higher in the article. And very experienced Wikipedia editors, such as myself, often remove a link from the See also section that is repeated higher in the article; I usually do. If WP:See also did not have this rule, the See also section could become a large WP:DIRECTORY, as it is in some articles.
This WP:See also rule is generally abiding by WP:OVERLINK, which makes a few exceptions; it states, "Generally, a link should appear only once in an article, but if helpful for readers, links may be repeated in infoboxes, tables, image captions, footnotes, and at the first occurrence after the lead." Flyer22 (talk) 18:07, 2 February 2014 (UTC)
Interesting. Thanks for your reply. So my take away is that there really has formed a conscious , deliberate consensus around this rule. I guess I assumed this language was accidental and not carefully thought out ... but by now I should have known that does not happen on Wikipedia as often as it used to!
Still, I am following up because I wonder whether you ever felt that there were individual cases where certain articles would have been more useful had you not deleted those redundant wikilinks from the See Also section -- and, significantly, whether you can articulate the distinction in a principled way -- like, "While it is important to not create a slippery slope situation where the See Also section winds up looking like a directory, some of these articles are so significant (perhaps PRECISELY because they featured so heavily in the body text!) that we should make an exception."
Speaking as a lawyer, I will volunteer that I understand why it is risky business to suggest changes to longstanding policies. The encyclopedia is working quite well. But in this case I think you would agree that some of those articles were actually enriched by having a more thorough See Also section. In a place as unruly and heterogenous as Wikipedia, policies like this should not be framed as absolutes, but rather as a balance of values (here, usefulness vs. crowdedness) . That puts a thumb in the dike of the slippery slope, and allows people to make case by case solutions to what is essentially an aesthetic problem. Andrew Gradman talk/WP:Hornbook 19:15, 2 February 2014 (UTC)
EDIT: In general, no-discretion policies are preferable where the costs of uncertainty are high, e.g. because quibbling over borderline cases leads to conflict. But I don't think this is such a case -- I don't think we have seen editors become as emotionally invested in having their favorite links in the See Also section! We are not going to see edit wars here. Andrew Gradman talk/WP:Hornbook 19:36, 2 February 2014 (UTC)
You would be awfully surprised then. --Izno (talk) 00:05, 3 February 2014 (UTC)
Andrew Gradman, yes, I oftentimes feel that a link should be repeated. As noted above, if a link is in the lead, WP:See also allows us to repeat a link once after the lead. So that is two chances that a reader has to see a link. There are other chances to repeat a link as well, noted above, which makes more than two chances in some cases. And in those cases, it can be overkill to then add the link to the See also section. The See also section is supposed to tell people to "See this also" because that matter has not yet been addressed in the article, or because it's otherwise relevantly related to the article; that's why it's (generally) not good to have a link repeated in the See also section, as if that matter has not already been addressed. So, yes, I have removed a See also link in cases where I thought that the article benefited from them, but I don't generally feel that way. Sorry for the late reply. And WP:See also and WP:Overlink are guidelines, not policies. Flyer22 (talk) 16:07, 8 February 2014 (UTC)
That sentence has bothered me for quite some time. Sometimes it's just silly not to put a highly related topic in the "See Also" section merely because it was linked earlier in the article. This becomes especially true when the article is very big and the link in the text is unlikely to be easily found by a skim reader. In the end, as far as I'm concerned, good common sense is what matters most for the "See also" links section. Jason Quinn (talk) 14:39, 17 March 2014 (UTC)
  As a short answer to the question posed: no, the guidance is not realistic.
  The common notion and supposed rule that a "See also" section should not duplicate any wiki-links inside an article is being interpreted strictly by some editors who use it as authority for removing duplicate links, without any allowance for editorial discretion. (E.g.: here and here.)
  This notion appears to be derived from an implication that if "See also" is for wiki-links not used in an article, then it is not for links that are used. However, this is syllogistically invalid. That certain items are permitted is not the same thing as permitting only those items.
  It has also been stated "as a general rule" (also at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Layout/Archive_9#.27See_Also.27) that see-also links should not repeat links in the text. This is the application of a more general rule, that links should not be duplicated. However, it is unreasonable that if some other topic is important to more than one section of an article that it cannot be linked in each such section, or that the reader should have to dig for links buried in the text of other sections. It seems more reasonable that links should not be duplicated within any given section, and that in any section where another topic is sufficiently important or relevant to be linked it may be linked on first mention, regardless of any links in other sections.
  In support of restricting "See also" links it has been said that the purpose of this supposed rule "is to stop large, double columned see also listings [and duplication of obvious material]" (Shadowjams, at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Layout/Archive_9#Repeating links in See also section). I agree that is a reasonable purpose; we certainly do not want long lists of links of marginal interest. But this rule is much more restrictive than necessary for such a purpose. As some editors are interpreting it strictly, without allowing for exceptions, some clarification is needed.
  Probably we should discuss the purpose of "See also" and suitable inclusion and exclusion criteria. However, until that is resolved I think we should add some language to the effect that links in "See also" are not precluded, and should not be removed, on the sole basis of being duplicated elsewhere in the article. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:40, 6 May 2014 (UTC)

As this issue came to a matter of WP:OVERLINK and its "only once" rule I have proposed here that links be allowed once per section. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 20:59, 18 May 2014 (UTC)

The current guidelines work very well because they dramatically limit the number of articles that can appear in "See also" to just articles that are highly related but not mentioned in the text. That is often just a handful of links. Changing this logic to just "highly related terms" will quickly expand the candidate links to many dozen. Just think of how many you could come up with for an article like 2014 Crimean crisis (which already has over 20). There is clearly some benefit to this guideline as it (a) promotes articles not linked in the text (additional detail) over already linked articles (repeated detail), and (b) makes sure editors do not spend hours debating which links deserve a second link at the end of an article. SFB 09:24, 15 June 2014 (UTC)

See also - article sections[edit]

Sometimes it is useful to include in the See also section a specific section of an article (especially a long article, where only on section is relevant). Some guidelines on to do this would be helpful. Possibilities include:

Thoughts, anyone? Mitch Ames (talk) 14:10, 17 February 2014 (UTC)

I usually do
in mainspace (articles). In internal namespaces and on talk pages I just use Midland Railway of Western Australia#Land development, because all editors know what that means.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  06:17, 5 May 2014 (UTC)
I agree with SMcC except I suppose I always=rarely do
as consider ' section "Land development" ' a wordy analogue to 'p. 1'.
--P64 (talk) 21:34, 5 May 2014 (UTC)

Section symbol, §[edit]

The professional way of doing so (which is approved for WP:FA as well) is using section sign, "§". You can find in below your editor interface in "Wiki markup" category. You can also use {{section link}} template to implement it:
{{section link|Midland Railway of Western Australia|Land development}} gives Midland Railway of Western Australia § Land development
In addition, {{Main}}, {{Further}}, {{See also}} and {{Details}} now automatically convert "Midland Railway of Western Australia#Land development" into "Midland Railway of Western Australia § Land development"
Best regards,
Codename Lisa (talk) 22:46, 5 May 2014 (UTC)
Mmm, yeah, or not. I've seen that a grand total of ONE TIME in all of Wikipedia, and it wasn't even in an article. Some people may like it and an argument can be made for it becoming a norm someday here, but it definitely is not one presently.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  00:12, 6 May 2014 (UTC) Reconsidered in light of wide deployment in hatnote templates.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  08:27, 6 May 2014 (UTC)
Well, then, look into the article associated with this talk page! You will see a lot more there. Evidently, Mitch Ames does not want to go with the raw # form, which I bet you've seen a lot. So, might as well take the route for which there is template and Lua support and is accepted in academic circles. I'm just saying... Best regards, Codename Lisa (talk) 03:05, 6 May 2014 (UTC)
@Codename Lisa: On second thought, if various templates are going to do this automatically now, I rescind any objection (it was more of an observation than an objection). It's not that the style is "wrong"; it's well-used off-WP, and I have even tried to implement it here myself in various places only to get reverted on it. My demurrer was basically that the symbol was not (for better or worse) our internal style for sections, but that seems to be in flux, and leaning in a way I'd ultimately prefer anyway. :-) I was engaging in some kind of "argument from sour-grapes entropy" fallacy, I think.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  08:25, 6 May 2014 (UTC)
The section sign looks good to me. Actually any "standard" would suit me, as long as we all agree to do the same thing - and can point to something in MOS to justify the usage in any disagreement. Does it actually get mentioned anywhere in MOS? Should it? The existence of {{section link}} and usage in {{see also}} is a good enough reference for me, but perhaps it ought to be mentioned in MOS. (Had it been mentioned in WP:SEEALSO, I wouldn't have needed to ask here.) Mitch Ames (talk) 11:50, 6 May 2014 (UTC)
It probably should be added here, or its absence could be used as an argument to remove it from all those templates.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  19:43, 6 May 2014 (UTC)

Relevance of "See also" entries[edit]

I think see alsos should be ordered by relevance to article. (talk) 12:37, 15 March 2014 (UTC)

It says preferably alphabetically sorted and I think that makes sense. Relevance is very subjective and is different for different readers. Alphabetic ordering helps readers find things more quickly, useful as the section is for navigation. It's also a guideline, so editors can and do ignore it: one thing I've seen that works is grouping of longer lists by topic, another is using indentation to group topics. And if the list is too long it can often be shortened considerably by removing irrelevant links/integrating them into the article.--JohnBlackburnewordsdeeds 13:58, 15 March 2014 (UTC)
Perhaps we should omit information about how to organize these lists, and leave it entirely up to editor judgment. WhatamIdoing (talk) 15:59, 23 March 2014 (UTC)
I think we should not omit information about organizing these lists. An editor might have absolutely no clue as to what might work (let alone what might be best) and no basis for a judgment, and so suggestions, even recommendations, should be given, with some comment on their advantages or disadvantages. What we might omit is any suggestion that it must be done any particular way. Indeed, as merely suggesting "preferably alphabetized" seems to be taken by many editors as required perhaps we should say something like "alphabetic order is not required, but is preferable to having no order". ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 19:34, 3 May 2014 (UTC)
Agreed that "relevance" is too subjective. It also won't work because various things can be entirely equally relevant. Alpha order has served us well.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  08:30, 6 May 2014 (UTC)

Change to further reading guideline[edit]

We're running into a situation where some editors are choosing to use further reading sections as external link dumps in order to circumvent our external link guidelines. I'd like to propose that we either craft the manual of style so that further reading sections aren't used in this manner, or point people to a main project page on external links (as opposed to the dead-on-the-vine further reading guideline proposal) to ensure that we don't continue to have these sorts of issues. Thoughts? Thargor Orlando (talk) 15:46, 21 March 2014 (UTC)

My reading of WP:FURTHER is that a "Further reading" section and an "External links" section are pretty much the same, except that one is primarily (not necessarily exclusively) printed matter and the other is exclusively online material. As I understand it, WP:EL applies to any EL that is not used as a reference, regardless of the heading that precedes it. --Redrose64 (talk) 19:54, 21 March 2014 (UTC)
That's absolutely the common sense reading I get from it as well. Unfortunately, this common sense doesn't seem to be carrying over across the board, and it would be nice that, if our reading of it is the intention, that we can explicitly say as such. Thargor Orlando (talk) 21:54, 21 March 2014 (UTC)
I agree, and propose that we could solve the problem by simply adding to WP:FURTHER and Wikipedia:Further reading's lead section the explicit statement:

Any links to external websites included under Further reading are subject to the guidelines described at Wikipedia:External links.

Mitch Ames (talk) 03:57, 22 March 2014 (UTC)
I completely and totally disagree. The "further reading" section is not now and has never been considered an "external link" section, as the layout MOS makes perfectly clear when it says that the section should not duplicate external links nor the references. A further reading section is a standard appendix that supports article content. Just as the external links guideline does not apply to citations to sources in reference section, neither does it apply to further reading sections. This is the common sense reading of it. Furthermore, most further reading sections on Wikipedia do not have external links at all because often times such citations are offline. Viriditas (talk) 11:58, 22 March 2014 (UTC)
I acknowledge your points that Further reading should not duplicate External links nor References, and that most Further reading sections have no links - but those points are irrelevant. The discussion is about external links that are in Further reading and do not duplicate External links or References. Mitch Ames (talk) 13:33, 22 March 2014 (UTC)
@Viriditas: WP:FURTHER doesn't say that "the section should not duplicate external links nor the references"; it says "The Further reading section should not duplicate the content of the External links section, and should normally not duplicate the content of the References section". The use of the word "content" (twice) is significant: this means that any particular link or source that appears under either External links or References should not also appear under Further reading. Nor is it "a standard appendix that supports article content". It is a standard appendix, yes: but it says "This section is not intended as a repository for general references that were used to create the article content." which is to say it is the place to put material which was not used to support article content. Nowhere does it specify that the material listed under Further reading should be printed matter, so they may, ipso facto, include links to online publications; and WP:ELPOINTS is clear that any link that is not used as an inline citation or a general reference is subject to WP:EL. --Redrose64 (talk) 21:32, 22 March 2014 (UTC)
In practice, further reading sections support content and provide pointers to further information. And while they are not intended to be used as a repository for general references that were used to create article content, they can be used to point readers to "publications that would help interested readers learn more about the article subject" and help them expand it as editors. While it is true that the guidelines for external links sections provide for further research and contain some overlap here, a further reading section is not an external links section, and overlap between references and further reading is allowed in terms of general reading lists. A further reading section is in practice, a list of old media, including recommended print and electronic citations. On the other hand, in practice, an external links section is a recommended list of websites. The reason we have an external links guideline is because anyone can publish a website; not everyone can publish a reliable book or newspaper. The overlap occurs when the old media makes the jump to new media, but the dominant guideline for further reading sections is WP:RELIABLE, not WP:EL. Thargor's conspiracy theory, which posits that editors are "choosing to use further reading sections as external link dumps in order to circumvent our external link guidelines", is one of the most ridiculous claims I've ever seen on Wikipedia and has no basis in reality. External link guidelines do not apply to further reading sections, WP:RS does. Thargor is making this claim because for the last year or so he's been systematically removing further reading sections in controversial articles because he personally doesn't like them, usually due to their subject matter. This entire discussion is an attempt by Thargor to game the system by claiming external links guidelines apply to further reading section in order to bypass WP:RS and remove any source he doesn't like. Unfortunately, most editors in this discussion aren't aware of this behavior, and don't know what he's really up to here. To summarize, further reading sections are not intended to contain websites, they are used for traditional citations, so EL doesn't apply. It is true that there is some overlap between old and new media, hence the confusion, but at the end of the day, we defer to WP:RS, not WP:EL. Viriditas (talk) 01:25, 23 March 2014 (UTC)
Perhaps some example would be helpful in this discussion. @Thargor Orlando: could you provide a few examples of "further reading sections as external link dumps in order to circumvent our external link guidelines", so that we can see what the problem is. @Viriditas: no doubt can provide examples of Thargor Orlando's alleged "systematically removing further reading sections in controversial articles because he personally doesn't like them". Viriditas, can you provide some examples of legitimate links in Further reading that would contravene WP:EL if it applied? Mitch Ames (talk) 01:51, 23 March 2014 (UTC)
Mitch, addressing only the relevant question to me, the issue was raised specifically at Abby Martin, which is what prompted this desire for clarification. I'm sure, if I took some time and effort, I could find more. I've been doing a lot of work on external links (not further reading sections) as of late and was frankly surprised that the only real mention was here. Thargor Orlando (talk) 03:05, 23 March 2014 (UTC)
Please provide an example of further reading sections being used as external link dumps in order to circumvent our external link guidelines. Abby Martin's article does not have any links which circumvent the guidelines. Instead, you modified this layout guideline, and claimed that it is now governed by the external links guideline, which you then used to deny exclusion. That makes no sense at all, and merely demonstrates you trying to game the system. Further reading sections are not governed by external links, they are governed by RS. Viriditas (talk) 00:58, 30 March 2014 (UTC)
I had a look at the Further readings section of this recent version of Abby Martin. Most of them obviously contravene WP:ELNO 8 "Direct links to documents that require external applications or plugins (such as Flash or Java) to view the content". One has significant content viewable without Flash, but the Flash content may be relevant and/or necessary for reasonable interpretation of the text. The only one that didn't require some external software was in Russian (which does not contravene ELNO, but see WP:NONENGEL). Mitch Ames (talk) 06:06, 30 March 2014 (UTC)
The major paper encyclopedias typically have sections called "further reading," which is the inspiration for Wikipedia. They tell readers where to go to pursue the study of the subject. In our case they point to reliable secondary sources that have not been referenced explicitly, but often have been reviewed by editors in preparing the article. All the items in "further reading" are facts about a publication that deals with the topic of the article, and these facts have been selected by an editor just as have the facts in the main text of the article been selected by an editor. I have not seen (in history articles) examples of "data dumps", which I take to be UNselected grab bags. "Further reading" sections are unusually valuable for students doing papers on the topic. Websites, as several editors here have noted, do not usually meet the criteria of published reliable secondary source. Rjensen (talk) 04:25, 23 March 2014 (UTC)
Of course, the major paper encyclopedias have far fewer footnotes. So they explicitly reference very little in the body of the article. Accordingly, their "further reading" sections may well contain sources used to support the articles. Butwhatdoiknow (talk) 12:06, 23 March 2014 (UTC)
I've always seen "further reading," however, as substantive bodies of work that would be used not as a reference in our project, but as larger works. As an example, the article on Barack Obama might not use a book called Barack Obama: A Biography as a source, but it would be a good larger-form option for readers who want to learn more about a subject. On the other hand, some random New York Times interview is unlikely to act as further reading, and is just an indiscriminate link that offers little "further" information. By simply pushing out indiscriminate links as "further reading," it creates the same problem the external links guideline sought to solve, as there would be no end to it. Butwhatdoiknow also makes a solid point that our referencing system is much different than a traditional encyclopedia, making further reading sections somewhat moot in many regards. Thargor Orlando (talk) 12:54, 23 March 2014 (UTC)
I agree with the substance of your comment. However, it seems I misled you regarding my point: I think that a citation to Barack Obama: A Biography in a footnote somewhere in the Barack Obama article should not keep it out of the Further reading section. Butwhatdoiknow (talk) 15:47, 23 March 2014 (UTC)
Particularly important books may be double-listed. What Barack Obama needs, though, is someone to actually get a handful of good books like that and use it, instead of citing four hundred WP:PRIMARYNEWS and websites. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:14, 23 March 2014 (UTC)
Also agree. I think the idea I'm trying to say is that "further reading" should be substantive texts, not random links. Thargor Orlando (talk) 22:17, 23 March 2014 (UTC)
Substantive texts are used as sources and citations in the body of the article and appear as references to cited material. Further reading sections do not contain "random" links. "Links" are the domain of external links, not further reading sections. Viriditas (talk) 01:29, 30 March 2014 (UTC)
It appears we're basically on the same page here, with one exception. Unless there's any significant protest, I think I like Mitch's suggestion of adding this: "Any links to external websites included under Further reading are subject to the guidelines described at Wikipedia:External links." This allows for book "further reading" offerings without allowing the external links workaround. Thargor Orlando (talk) 12:31, 25 March 2014 (UTC)
Considering the discussion above, I am going to use Mitch's suggestion and make the change. Thanks everyone! Thargor Orlando (talk) 12:21, 26 March 2014 (UTC)
Good edit!! Compiling further reading sections and bibliographies is a major activity of historians and scholars here on Wikipedia. What needs to be clear is that "further reading sections" should contain major works on the topics......thus should contain only scholarly publications. Links to web sites do not belong in "further reading sections" or in bibliographies for that matter. For student "further reading" and its extension bibliography of work pages are essential - as Wiki is used as a jumping of point for self education. We simply cant use all the best sources in articles. Students from the Wikipedia:Canada Education Program have used the sources from the "further reading section" of Canada - History of Canada - Military history of Canada - Culture of Canada so much that we created bibliographies for all of them Bibliography of Canada - Bibliography of Canadian history - Bibliography of Canadian military history. -- Moxy (talk) 17:51, 26 March 2014 (UTC)
I'm glad this inadvertently made a better discussion as to what belongs there. Is there a way we can phrase that to flesh out what we have a little more? Thargor Orlando (talk) 19:06, 26 March 2014 (UTC)
Well, Moxy is wrong. That's too harsh: Moxy is right so long as you're only talking about specific types of articles, like maybe major subjects in history, such as the article on World War II. For pop culture, notable hoaxes, outdated concepts of diseases, etc., you should not limit it to "only scholarly publications". ==Further reading== for a notable pseudoscience-y book should include a bibliographic citation for the original book. For a disease, it's good to include a famous early description of the disease, and it's often a good idea to include a lay-oriented book that average non-university-graduate patients (or even younger students) could understand. Even for something like history subjects, where scholarly books are easy to find, there's a place for including non-scholarly books, e.g., books written by people who were present or participating. It'd be pretty silly to exclude Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant from Ulysses S. Grant on the grounds that his own memoirs weren't "scholarly". WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:15, 26 March 2014 (UTC)
I would rephrase Moxy's original statement "further reading sections" should contain major works on the topics......thus should contain only scholarly publications." to something like "further reading sections" should contain major works on the topics, with priority given to the most reliable and most scholarly sources available to Wikipedia readers. 'Further reading' can also include "primary sources" that are of value in historical study." Rjensen (talk) 20:56, 26 March 2014 (UTC)

Thargor Orlando recently added this to the layout guideline in order to gain advantage in a dispute:

Any links to external websites included under Further reading are subject to the guidelines described at Wikipedia:External links.

This is altogether unclear. Many of our best sources are print publications, not external websites. However, these print publications are now becoming available online. They should not be subject to an external link guideline, they should be subject to WP:RS. We also have a plethora of new media sources that are not exactly considered "external links", ranging from podcasts, to television interviews, to radio shows, to documentaries. Again, these are not considered "external links", such as a self-published website. The external link guideline was created to act as a gatekeeper of self-published websites. It was not intended to filter citations and sources in further reading sections. The rules governing external links are quite different than the rules governing further reading sections which include scholarly and other types of content. We don't determine their inclusion based on the type of website that hosts the content. The fact of the matter is, the external links guideline does not apply to citations and sources already being used. In practice, citations and sources found in further reading sections use WP:RS to determine inclusion regardless of the type of website where their content may be found. Thargor Orlando is trying to invoke the external links guideline because it allows him to eliminate sources used in controversial articles. Essentially, it is a backdoor for those wishing to exclude sources because of their POV, not because of their reliability. This is a bad faith proposal with the sole purpose of eliminating further reading sections, particularly in controversial articles where POV pushers may attempt to hide or delete sources because they disagree with the view presented. Essentially, Thargor Orlando is doing a sneaky, backend run around NPOV by appealing to the external links guideline. This allows him (and anyone else) to endlessly wikilawyer over the minimal use of sources, the merit of including citations, and the relevance of a further reading section, while ignoring RS. For only two examples of this today, Thargor Orlando argued on Talk:Abby Martin that links to controversial television and radio interviews of Abby Martin by Piers Morgan and Bob Garfield, two reliable sources, were not acceptable as either further reading or external links. Thargor Orlando is trying to go around RS and NPOV by proposing that further reading sections should be governed by the external links guideline even though these sources and citations do not depend on websites for their content. Piers Morgan's interview appeared on CNN and Bob Garfield's on NPR. These are relevant to the subject of the article in terms of further reading or further reading and resources, not in terms of their external links or the merits of their external links. Viriditas (talk) 00:55, 30 March 2014 (UTC)

I'm not so sure now that that WP:FURTHER should be necessarily be constrained by WP:ELNO. Some ELNO items are purely about accessibility - eg 7 "Sites that are inaccessible to a substantial number of users, ... only work with a specific browser or in a specific country.", 8 "require external applications or plugins". So ELNO disallows a site that requires Flash, even though most users can easily get Flash. But Further reading could legitimately include a book or other physical publication that might be difficult or impossible for me to find or buy. It seems to me that before we say Further reading should be constrained by ELNO, we need to answer a few underlying questions:
  • Why are those restrictions in ELNO?
  • Why do we separate External links and Further reading? (Obviously External links are web sites, but it's not obvious that Further reading is intended to be limited to offline publications.)
Mitch Ames (talk) 06:24, 30 March 2014 (UTC)
The idea about constraining the two is exactly why we talked about it prior, to ensure that link dumps don't occur in further reading like they don't occur in external links. It is clear by the discussion above that further reading, at least as understood by everyone, that it's meant to be a place for more significant looks at a topic, not simply random "hey, check this out" indiscriminate links. A television interview concerning one topic is not "further reading," as it's not something to read and it's not a significant look. The external links section is constrained because we don't want an indiscriminate list anywhere. We want links to outside sources to either be references or official sites to ensure quality, not to become random dumps of information. To use further reading as a link dump is not at all what is intended by it, and really basically misses the point. Even if we were to say "hey, weblinks are cool here", nothing being added to the place Viriditas is currently battling at would be allowable even still. If someone wrote a biography of Abby Martin, or even perhaps a feature-length biographical magazine article, those could be appropriate. Not a podcast. Thargor Orlando (talk) 12:47, 30 March 2014 (UTC)

The External Links section is basically a 'Further Reading' section - most if not all of the external link in an External Links should be information, and I quote, "Some acceptable links include those that contain further research that is accurate and on-topic, information that could not be added to the article for reasons such as copyright or amount of detail, or other meaningful, relevant content that is not suitable for inclusion in an article for reasons unrelated to its accuracy." that adds to the article. Basically, an External Links section is just a bit wider than a Further Reading section. We do not add a 'Further reading' section (my emphasis) if there is nothing to further the reader.

I do agree that it adds to clarity to sometimes split the External Links and Further Reading type information, but those two sections are basically the same. Whether it is separate or not, they still both have to comply with our core policies and guidelines, in other words, no linkfarming, no yellow page generation, and the sections should neutrally (where applicable) depict what there is outside, follow copyright rules, etc. etc. I also see Further Reading sections (without direct linking) which are plainly a large, long list of publications regarding the subject - most of which do not necessarily add, nor cumulatively add.

Regarding Viriditas' example ("Piers Morgan's interview appeared on CNN and Bob Garfield's on NPR. These are relevant to the subject of the article in terms of further reading or further reading and resources, not in terms of their external links or the merits of their external links.") - that is exactly what external links should comply with, they are relevant in terms of further reading/research. Thát is the base requirement. If they do that, then they may fail some of the 'Links to be avoided'-requirements but still be suitable for inclusion. As an example: omitting a YouTube because they are on YouTube is not the reason, the reason generall is that they do not add (which is, unfortunately, true for by far most of the material on YouTube) anything to the article which is not already there.

Mitch Ames: no, ELNO does not disallow sites - the point (#7) is that if many readers can't read the info, it does not help the reader anyway. Similarly for #8. We are not writing an USA/Europe centered encyclopedia here where everyone has access to everything - do note that there are countries that have no or limited access to YouTube and even to Wikipedia. Sites that hit some or more of the points in WP:ELNO often are often of less use to Wikipedia articles. --Dirk Beetstra T C 08:11, 30 March 2014 (UTC)

Another further reading issue - do we mean 'anything an editor thinks should be there'?[edit]

I'm having 'editor-recommended' quoted at me to argue that any book recommended by an editor can be in the list. I don't think this was ever intended - surely if a book is added it should be one that is clearly significant in some obvious way, eg mentioned by other authors in the field, etc? Dougweller (talk) 07:41, 10 April 2014 (UTC)

Yeah, good question. Does anyone know what the phrase "editor recommended" is designed to accomplish in Further reading? Maybe we can just delete it. Butwhatdoiknow (talk) 11:40, 10 April 2014 (UTC)
I think that's more a consensus issue, but if it's causing that sort of problem, removing it doesn't seem out of line. Thargor Orlando (talk) 12:57, 10 April 2014 (UTC)
Linking to and phrasing it in line with WP:CON might be a good idea instead. --Izno (talk) 04:05, 24 May 2014 (UTC)

Name of the section which includes the citations[edit]

Should it be called "References" or "Reference list" or something else. all input is welcome at Talk:Albert Anae. thank you. Frietjes (talk) 22:56, 12 June 2014 (UTC)

According to WP:FNNR:

Editors may use any section title that they choose.[1] The most frequent choice is "References"...

  1. ^ One reason this guide does not standardize section headings for citations and explanatory notes is that Wikipedia draws editors from many disciplines (history, English, science, etc.), each with its own note and reference section naming convention (or conventions). For more, see Wikipedia:Perennial proposals#Changes to standard appendices, Wikipedia:Perennial proposals#Establish a house citation style and Template:Cnote2/example.
Mitch Ames (talk) 05:30, 14 June 2014 (UTC)

Proposal: Only one stub template per article[edit]

There is no consensus to limit articles to a maximum of one stub tag. That said, there is enough support to modify the way multiple stub templates appear in an article, but the discussion on how to implement that is still in the brainstorming stage, and might be better suited to a venue with a more technical audience (e.g. WP:VPT). Titoxd(?!? - cool stuff) 01:29, 21 July 2014 (UTC)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

The custom over the past several years is to put several stub templates on an article as a means of categorization. The reason for doing this made sense—people wanting to work on stubs having to do with Subject Matter X can look at the category for stubs in Subject Matter X, while said article would also be appealing to those working on articles in Subject Matter Y. But from the user experience point of view, it's a problematic proposition. Imagine going to an article and seeing:

This article is an X stub.
This article is a Y stub.
This article is a Z stub.

Why does it say the same thing three times? I already knew it was a stub when I read it was one the first time! I thus propose that articles are limited to one stub template per article. Using WikiProject templates on the talk page, we can sort articles into as many stub categories as we like. For the purposes of presentation, however, I think one template would suffice. (I would support further changes to the way we handle stubs on Wikipedia but let's just do one thing at a time.) Harej (talk) 01:16, 14 June 2014 (UTC)

What about something akin to {{multiple issues}} (but less obtrusive), where the different stub tags are grouped together? Nikkimaria (talk) 01:34, 14 June 2014 (UTC)
Is it possible to make the {{stub}} template clever enough to make it only display the first instance on page? (The editors would then be responsible for putting the most significant one first.) Mitch Ames (talk) 08:44, 14 June 2014 (UTC)
This would require massive amounts of editing, but we could go back to just using {{stub}}, using parameters for different categories, e.g. {{stub|Australia|politics}}. The parameters would sort the article into stub categories accordingly. My assumption is that the purpose of stub sorting is categorization. This means that we don't necessarily need to broadcast the stub type on the article; if you're reading an article on Australian politics, you don't need to be informed that it is an Australian politics stub because you already know it's Australian politics. This is a good opportunity to just have one message that is broadcast on each stub. Consistency makes the user experience better. I propose something like this. Note that the demonstration linked to is just the styling with no practical functions. Harej (talk) 19:40, 14 June 2014 (UTC)
I agree with going back to {{stub}} with parameters. A stub should have "enough information ... to provide adequate context", else it risks speedy deletion. (And I fairly sure that the specific stub template doesn't count as "context" for this purpose.) And if there is enough context, the reader doesn't need a stub template to tell them what the article is about.Mitch Ames (talk) 01:52, 15 June 2014 (UTC)
I think concatenating them or grouping them, as proposed immediately above, would be an improvement. It is possible a bot could do this, but it would be quite an intensive effort. I also separately agree that the community could consider a change to the layout of the stub template. --LT910001 (talk) 22:44, 14 June 2014 (UTC)
Grouping the stub templates does sound like a good idea. Failing that, putting them on the talk page would work. NinjaRobotPirate (talk) 01:54, 15 June 2014 (UTC)
There are 2 problems with grouping stubs:
  1. This would make the creation of stub types be a task that only admins and template-editors can do.
  2. It would break the use of normal automated tools (such as AWB) for stub sorting - we would need special ones.
I think the best solution would be if we could have some means of "disappearing" the stub tag if there are others, while maintaining the tag in the wiki-code and the category/categories at the bottom. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 03:13, 15 June 2014 (UTC)
Od Mishehu, I appreciate the issues you bring up, but I think they can be mitigated. First, the way I would re-design the stub template would have template parameters serve to define categories, in the manner {{{1}}} ---> [[Category:{{{1}}} stubs]]. The template itself would not contain any stub types except it would set off a red flag if a stub is sorted into a category that doesn't exist. This means that to create a stub type, all you would have to do is create a category, which you already have to do when establishing a stub type. Regarding the automated tools, we could ensure a smooth transition by making the old templates still work. We would deprecate the specific stub templates, but they would still technically work. To prevent stub sorting scripts from going nuts, thinking all sorts of articles are unsorted, we could create the template under a new name like {{sorted stub}} or something. What are your thoughts on this? Harej (talk) 04:38, 15 June 2014 (UTC)
Currently, I can go down a list of stubs which would get a new stub tag, and have AWB both add the stub tag in question and remove stub tags which are redundant to it. I doubt that you could create some sort of {{multiple stub}} tag which would allow this functionality easily. A good example of this would be the US state bridge stub tags - the redundant stub tags I was looking for were the state's own top-level and struct stub tags, and the top-level and US bridge-struct tags - a total of 4, easily groupable into 2 groups. And frequently we have upmerged stub tags - that is, stub tags which may eventually have their own category, but don't yet - I have, relatively recently, added a pre-existing {{Maryland-railstation-stub}} tag to many categories, and subsequently creating a Category:Maryland railway station stubs category. This was noticed because the tag existed, even though the category didn't yet - and in the meantime, the tag placed the stubs in the natural parent categories. Close to half of the stub tags are currently upmerged - Category:Stub message templates has about 23,300 tags, but Category:Stub categories has only about 12,600 stub categories. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 08:50, 15 June 2014 (UTC)
Fascinating how Wikipedia's processes look once you open them up to scrutiny. Is there a reason why one stub category will have two stub templates? Shouldn't it be 1:1 templates to categories? Further, what causes this: are people lazily merging stub categories together without merging the corresponding templates, or are people creating templates but preferring to use pre-existing categories? I'm happy to help create 10,700 categories, or merge 10,700 templates, assuming that it would not conflict with policy. Harej (talk) 20:08, 15 June 2014 (UTC)
It is an artifact of stub sorting, so that trial stubs could be floated that dumped into the broader category, but when there were enough members of the trial set, it would be easy to dump them in a newly created subcategory. --Bejnar (talk) 02:01, 16 June 2014 (UTC)
Dear Everyone, If there is one stub template but embedded categories or conditions then that would improve Wikimedia because it would make the presentation of the content look cleaner but keep the interest of the various project to patrol the stubs. So, I vote to Adopt the new clean stub format. Geraldshields11 (talk) 00:05, 16 June 2014 (UTC)
Programming note: I've started a separate conversation on the number of stub types here. Let's keep this discussion focused on the proposal of having only one stub template per page. Harej (talk) 03:31, 16 June 2014 (UTC)
I am not entirely sure that the user issue that prompted this is that large or pressing; but why not just make stubs invisible on the page and only display in hidden categories? I don't think that we need to tell people that a particular article is a stub, they can see that. What we want is the ability of editors to focus on the stubs where their interest lies. --Bejnar (talk) 02:01, 16 June 2014 (UTC)
They can see that it is a stub, yes, but the template also invites people to edit. My proposed change (latest revision as of this post) adds a nice prominent "Edit Article" button and invitation to edit that is not as necessary on more established edits, plus a link to the Teahouse for those that need help. So more than just stating the obvious, it is an active invitation to improve Wikipedia. Harej (talk) 02:50, 16 June 2014 (UTC)

Oppose as a longtime stub-sorter who is all too familiar with the current complexity of stub templates and their interaction with multiple categories. Even a fairly specific stub like {{Europe-radio-station-stub}} requires either a second stub tag to sort it with the specific country or creation of a new stub template for each country in Europe. Currently, only the UK and Turkey have enough such stub radio station articles to justify a unique template (and {{Turkey-radio-station-stub}} sorts out to Category:European radio station stubs, Category:Turkish media stubs, and Category:Turkish company stubs until there enough stubs to justify Category:Turkish radio station stubs being created. The best way to stop a stub tag from being displayed is to improve the article. - Dravecky (talk) 05:12, 16 June 2014 (UTC)

I Oppose making a rule about editing procedure because I believe this issue can only be solved agreeably with the help of new programming. Until such a thing is implemented, we should leave the style guides alone. I don't think it's yet been proposed to redo the template to allow multiple categories: For example, if the article Ludwig van Beethoven were a stub, adding three tags would result in redundancy: "This is a stub article about a musician... This is a stub article about a German person... This is a stub article about a deaf person." A multi-category tag however, something like (brackets)stub|musician,German,deaf(brackets), could be engineered to create the message "This is a stub article about a musician, a German person, and a deaf person." Muffinator (talk) 00:28, 7 July 2014 (UTC)

@Muffinator: Well, we already have {{Germany-musician-stub}} which covers two of the three... it populates Category:German musician stubs (which contains 199 pages). Intersecting that with deaf people too would not have the potential for the 60+ articles required at WP:WSS/P#Proposing new stub types – procedure. That doesn't mean that we can't further subdivide - there is {{Germany-classical-musician-stub}} after all, which populates Category:German classical musician stubs (containing 113 pages). But for a composer, I'd use {{Germany-composer-stub}}, which populates Category:German composer stubs (374 pages). --Redrose64 (talk) 07:57, 7 July 2014 (UTC)

Let's take a different tack[edit]

So there may be logistical complications with changing the fundamental categorization system or consolidating everything into the same stub template. Would everyone support a MoS change endorsing one stub message per article if there was a way you could still use multiple stub templates, just have only one visible? I think the easiest way to implement this would be a "hide" parameter such that you have:


This would be trivial to implement in {{asbox}}. Let me know what you think. Harej (talk) 11:57, 17 June 2014 (UTC)

That requires every single page with two or more stub templates to be edited (bot job). It also relies on the person making a future edit which adds a second (or subsequent) stub template to remember to include the |hide, and if they are removing the first stub template, they need to remember to remove the |hide from the stub template that becomes the first one. A better way would be to automatically hide all except the first instance of a stub template; it should be possible to do this in one line of CSS:
table.stub:not(:first-of-type) { display: none; }
but although this works on my home intranet, I've found that it works on a Wikipedia page only if there are no previous tables on the page. If the stubs are correctly placed at the bottom, and there is a table of any kind (remember that infoboxes and navboxes are also tables), all the stub templates get hidden, instead of all bar the first one. It's as if the .stub selector was being ignored. If this can be made to work, it would not need any special coding on the individual uses, it also wouldn't need any change to {{asbox}} - the code would go in MediaWiki:Common.css --Redrose64 (talk) 14:55, 17 June 2014 (UTC)
What if you changed that code so that it relied solely on the "stub" class being activated, rather than it being particular to tables that are part of the stub class? Also, is the "not first of type" part standard CSS that can be expected to work across browsers? Harej (talk) 16:47, 17 June 2014 (UTC)
If I remove the table specificity, i.e.
.stub:not(:first-of-type) { display: none; }
the effect is the same. The negation pseudo-class :not() and the :first-of-type pseudo-class are both part of CSS Selectors Level 3, which most browsers have supported for a few years now (includes Firefox 30, Chrome 35, Opera 12, Safari 5). It fails gracefully: if the browser doesn't handle Selectors Level 3 (such as Internet Explorer 8), it will reject the whole rule, so all stub templates will be visible. --Redrose64 (talk) 18:47, 17 June 2014 (UTC)
I would definitely support it, if this works as easily and simply as this - editors don't need to think about it, stub tag creators don't need to think about it, and articles can get multiple stub tag templates freely. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 07:05, 18 June 2014 (UTC)
I would like some advice please from e.g. Edokter or Gadget850 as to why the selector table.stub:not(:first-of-type) is behaving as if it were table.stub or table:not(:first-of-type) when there are earlier tables on the page. A good page to test on is Dastarkhān because that is a short page with seven stub templates and only one other table (the {{refimprove}} at the top). The CSS rule should hide the second one onwards, leaving the first visible; instead, it hides all of them. --Redrose64 (talk) 12:28, 18 June 2014 (UTC)
:first-of-type aplies to element types only; it does not consider classes. So I'm afraid this method is not a viable option. A possible solution is to use the sibling selector "~" instead, but that does require the stubs to be wrapped in a parent. -- [[User:Edokter]] {{talk}} 17:04, 18 June 2014 (UTC)
table.stub + table.stub { display: none; }
works. What this does is it looks for any two consecutive stub templates, and hides the second of the pair. --Redrose64 (talk) 18:39, 18 June 2014 (UTC)
On a side note, if all-but-the-first stubs are hidden, I think we'll get a load of complaints and question as to why they don't show. -- [[User:Edokter]] {{talk}} 19:12, 18 June 2014 (UTC)
At first. Eventually, users will get used to it. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 19:51, 18 June 2014 (UTC)
We'll need to update the documentation and make it incredibly obvious that this change has happened. Incidentally, is there anything we need to do to get additional input? Harej (talk) 20:22, 18 June 2014 (UTC)

What if we created a container template where parameters defined template names? The first parameter would be the stub template that's rendered visible; the others would be hidden. The stub templates as-is would continue existing. Harej (talk) 18:15, 18 June 2014 (UTC)

I've raised my objection in the first section of this discussion - makes semi-automated stub sorting (such as with AWB) much more difficult. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 19:51, 18 June 2014 (UTC)
Ah, true. Plus I think we solved the CSS problem above. Harej (talk) 20:22, 18 June 2014 (UTC)

As a regular stub-sorter, I oppose the idea of hiding second and subsequent stub tags - this will confuse editors who see an article and realise that there are more appropriate stub tags which could be added, and will upset readers in cases where two tags have equal importance but one is made visible and not the other (an example coming to mind is a border crossing: it is a "Country-X stub" and also a "Country-Y stub"). I can appreciate that some articles are outbalanced by, perhaps, three stub tags appearing on a one-sentence article: the answer is to expand the article, not to hide the stub tags. PamD 22:50, 18 June 2014 (UTC)

I would support many of the ideas proposed here. Hiding all but the first (or even all) of the stub templates sounds reasonable. These could be made visible to those who wanted to see them (via personal CSS). Combining all into one template is probably the neatest solution, but incredibly labour intensive. — Martin (MSGJ · talk) 14:00, 23 June 2014 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Horizontal line[edit]

In accordance with the guideline, I have been systematically removing instances of the horizontal line from articles. I met with objection when doing so at some hockey articles. In defending its use, User:Aleenf1 stated that it is used legitimately as separators between match results, also in use in many football articles. The guideline is categorical and makes no mention of exceptions, and the table appears perfectly clear and acceptable without the lines. Can anyone recall the reason why the horizontal line is deprecated, and why these can/should not be removed throughout the encyclopaedia? Thanks, -- Ohc ¡digame! 03:48, 17 June 2014 (UTC)

I can't answer your question, but I can point out that guidelines are not rules. Butwhatdoiknow (talk) 11:53, 17 June 2014 (UTC)
  • "Although previous versions of HTML defined the hr element only in presentational terms, the element has now been given the specific semantic purpose of representing a 'paragraph-level thematic break'."[1]
  • "Some examples of thematic breaks that can be marked up using the hr element include a scene change in a story, or a transition to another topic within a section of a reference book."
It appears to me that the various sections in question are changes in topic, thus hr is valid. We normally use section headings and subheadings, but the horizontal rule is more appropriate in this instance. I recommend that it be moved to the template so it can be applied consistently, perhaps with a switch to disable it as needed. I have noted that the MoS really does not address the semantics involved in HTML elements. --  Gadget850 talk 17:14, 17 June 2014 (UTC)
The guideline does list several exceptions: "Rules can be used to provide separation inside certain templates (for example, sidebar derivatives), within discussions, or when needed in some other formats." - Dravecky (talk) 03:36, 18 June 2014 (UTC)
I have the impression (the rule is before my time) that it's really about the old, pre-dab-page style of writing articles. Horizontal lines were used to separate content that we'd now put on separate pages.
I kind of like the look of the hockey article you linked. It's basically an airy-looking table built with a template (for the columns) and horizontal lines (to delineate rows). It could actually be turned into a table, while still keeping that format, if wanted, but this system is probably simpler to edit. WhatamIdoing (talk) 15:00, 18 June 2014 (UTC)
I have to agree, <hr />s work very well there. Based on the W3C guidance that Gadget850 quotes, I think that WP:LINE is overdue for an update. — Scott talk 23:11, 18 June 2014 (UTC)

Dispute over "see also" link[edit]

Should the Casey Kasem article contain a link to "List of vegans" in the see also section, despite his veganism not being the most notable part of his public life? Should that list (and others) be more widely linked in see also sections? There's a dispute about this at the Casey Kasem talk page; please direct any responses there. Graham87 01:57, 27 June 2014 (UTC)

Improve categories tag[edit]

Template:Improve categories says "It is recommended that this template be placed at the bottom of the page, where readers will look for the categories." Just wondering if there's a WP:ORDER standard for where exactly? E.g, after categories, or before defaultsort?

Msmarmalade (talk) 23:30, 3 July 2014 (UTC)

Another dispute over "see also" link[edit]

Here is a good question: Is having a see-also link between two articles a coat rack? Greg Mortenson and Somaly Mam both are accused of fabricating portions of their biographies to enhance their charities. Is having a see-also link between the two a coat rack? Would your average reader want to jump between the two articles based on that connection? While I was reading about the Somaly Mam controversy, I asked myself who was that other guy that had the same thing happen ... Please join the lively discussion at Talk:Greg Mortenson --Richard Arthur Norton (1958- ) (talk) 16:50, 24 July 2014 (UTC)