Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Layout

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WikiProject Manual of Style
WikiProject icon This page falls within the scope of WikiProject Manual of Style, a drive to identify and address contradictions and redundancies, improve language, and coordinate the pages that form the MoS guidelines.

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)

Since its exact positioning in the defaultsort/categories cluster does not affect how or where it is displayed on the page, on the rare occasions I've used the tag I've put it at the very bottom of the categories for easiest editing. - Dravecky (talk) 12:39, 6 August 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)

Further reading is not external links[edit]

I am going to revert this edit made at 12:22, 26 March 2014. The edit added the following sentence to the "Further reading" section:

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

As far as I can tell above this change was not discussed and if it had been I hope that others would not support it as I do not think it helps the project. There are many quirks in external links that do not apply to citations, and Further reading tends to be seen as a repository for general references that go beyond what is currently cited in the article. This means it is not uncommon for jstor and ODNB articles to be included in further reading both of which according to those who worry about such things in "External links" are forbidden (from Wikipedia:External links "one should generally avoid providing external links to: ... Sites that require payment or registration").

It is not uncommon for an article to have in its "Further reading" section links to books in other languages, particularly if for example article is about a long dead French person where the detailed biographies about the person are in French yet there is a ban in Wikipedia:External links against "Non-English-language content".

What is acceptable for a Further reading section tends to follow reliable sources usage rather than external links usage, and WP:V specifically says:

  • WP:NONENG: "Citations to non-English sources are allowed...English-language sources are preferred over non-English ones, whenever English sources of equal quality and relevance are available." -- This content policy advise seems to me far better advise for further reading than the advise in external links guidleine.
  • WP:SOURCEACCESS "Do not reject sources just because they are hard or costly to access." I suggest that better advise is to paraphrase the WP:NONENG: "Citations to pay sources are allowed, however free to access sources are preferred over pay to access ones, whenever free to access sources of equal quality and relevance are available."

So I think that the addition was inappropriate because if the sentence I am removing is taken at face value introduces silly inconsistencies:

  • It means that it is OK add a reliable sources as a {{citation}} in further reading, but if it is to an ODNB article, you can mention its doi but can not provide a link to the doi because that is an external link and there are different rules for external links placed within a "Further reading" section.
  • Likewise if one includes in further reading a mention of an article in the Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie, if that article is available on Wikisource (see s:de:ADB:Register/A), one may not link to it.

-- PBS (talk) 16:53, 5 August 2014 (UTC)

It was discussed, see Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Layout/Archive 10#Change to further reading guideline. --Redrose64 (talk) 18:12, 5 August 2014 (UTC)
Thank you for the information, and having read the section I think it need further discussion. For example there seems to be a misunderstanding of the phrase "The Further reading section should not duplicate the content of the External links section," -- the assumption by some seemed to be that duplicated entries should be removed from the "Further reading" section (it ain't necessarily so) -- the phrase can just as equally well be rephrased "External links section should not duplicate the content of the "Further reading section", because if there is duplication one can remove the duplicated entries from either unless an entry clear belonged in one rather than the other.
But leaving that issue to one side, before the sentence I have removed is put back, I think there needs to be a discussion about the anomalies I have pointed out exist when it is in place and why such a sentence ought to be in there given those anomalies. -- PBS (talk) 22:32, 5 August 2014 (UTC)
We could simplify the statement: All URLs, anywhere in the mainspace except as part of citations to reliable sources that directly support material in the article, are subject to WP:EL. That would include URLs present in the ==Further reading== section.
Your conflation of "generally avoid" and "forbidden" is very strange. There's a reason that the "generally avoid" language appears under the shortcut ELNO rather than ELNEVER: these kinds of links should only be generally, i.e., not always, avoided. WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:49, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
(1) For those who do not know WhatamIdoing I disagree whether general references are suitable as citations that support content (I take the position that they are not). But for this discussion let us assume that they are. General references do not "directly support material in the article" so are they subject to WP:EL?
(2) But does not "generally avoid" links cover links to most jstor articles in further reading? Are you suggesting that jstor articles may be listed in further reading, but generally not with convenience links to the jstor location? -- PBS (talk) 07:34, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
(3) What about links to foreign sources in "Further reading", are you supporting the idea that on can place a citation to a foreign source in further reading but not if the include a link to a website such as Wikisource, the Internet Archive, or Google books?
EL makes no distinction between WP:V's reliable sources and non reliable sources, so in my experience the External links section is often a repository for all those sources that editors like and to place in the article but fail WP:V while "Further reading" tends to contain reliable sources.
WP:EL is in the main drafted for the content of the "External links" section and I think expanding EL coverage is not desirable, because it causes complications and is instruction creep. -- PBS (talk) 07:34, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
About (1), WP:General references do "directly support material in the article". The problem with them is that the reader has no idea which specific material is being supported by which general reference.
About (2) "generally avoid" does not cover JSTOR, doi, PMID, etc. links to publications with full bibliographic citations in ==Further reading==, as is obvious from looking at the actual practice. Also,
About (3), I have said no such thing. Also, Wikisource links are normally placed under ==External links==.
"Generally avoid" does not mean "forbidden". There are some fairly common exceptions, and you have identified most of them here.
The problem with your attempt to make WP:V apply is that ==Further reading== entries, by definition, are not used to verify anything on the page. The concept of verification is irrelevant. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:31, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
(1) General references do not "directly support material in the article" as defined by WP:V which demands inline citations (WP:PROVEIT). If the reader has no idea "which specific material is being supported by which general reference" then a general reference is not "directly support material in the article".
(2) "generally avoid" does not cover JSTOR ... who says? Yes it is practice in further reading sections to include jstor links but it could be read as a violation of WP:EL hence one of my reasons for removing the recently added sentence.
(3) you may not have said it but WP:EL says so in WP:NONENGEL, and you seem to be supporting the idea that EL applies to more than the External links section.
(3a) I think you are confusing Wikisource in English, for which there is no prohibition and for example those in German as in the example I gave (s:de:ADB:Register/A) which WP:NONENGEL make problematic for inclusion in the external links section.
My mention of WP:V is for its definition of reliable sources, those sources do not have to verify anything on the page to be reliable sources. For example reliable sources are used by WP:AT without their being used to directly verify anything on the page. EL has been organically grown to cover problems that have arisen in the external links section and I think to try to extend its reach causes problems and is instruction creep.
-- PBS (talk) 20:03, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
There's no such thing as a reliable source that does not verify anything. The only way to know whether a source is reliable is to consider whether the material that the source supports. Even the most gold-plated, independent, academic, secondary source is not "reliable" unless the material that it supports is present in that source—and a truly lousy self-published blog can be entirely reliable for other material.
NONENGEL specifically gives "when the link is to the subject's text in its original language", which should cover all links to non-English Wikisource texts, as well as the other examples you've given.
And, yes, "generally avoid" does cover JSTOR, and we know that it covers JSTOR because no non-POINTy efforts to remove such links have ever stood. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:25, 7 August 2014 (UTC)
WP:SOURCES does not support your assertion that "There's no such thing as a reliable source that does not verify anything". The definition is separate from usage with the exception of the sentence "Use sources..." which (is obviously linked to WP:PROVEIT and probably needs to be moved from this section -- particularly if one support the use of general references. The more useful sentence for Further reading (and general references) is "The appropriateness of any source depends on the context." -- and it needs to be because the definition is used also by WP:AT. I still stand by my assertion (that in the subject areas I am interested in -- I have not read millions of articles), most entries in further reading section tend to be governed by SOURCES and whether or not they have links to a web page is incidental to their inclusion. Extending EL to cover Further reading is detrimental to the project because in introduces needless complexities and is instruction creep.
Not every subject has an "its [own] original language" (as many are inanimate) and for other reasons. For example places now in Poland may have details of their German history only available in German. An example with humans: many Irish soldiers volunteered for French service after the Flight of the Wild Geese, a detailed biography on one of them or a notable action in which they were involved may only be available in French and not in Irish or English.
As to your last point, then why is the wording in EL if it is continually being breached? Why bring that FUD into Further reading?
-- PBS (talk) 08:10, 8 August 2014 (UTC)
It appears WhatamIdoing has mixed two questions: 1) whether a source is reliable, and 2) the use of a source for verification (support) of content in an article. By her definition any source used in an article's text cannot be used in a further reading, which, inverted, implies that nothing in a "Further reading" section will be present in the text. Having arrived at this mutual exclusion, she then imputes that verification is entirely a matter for one area, and not the other. After this I don't quite follow her logic. She seems to be saying that as verification requires reliable sources, sources are reliable only the extent they verify something. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 19:35, 9 August 2014 (UTC)
User:PBS, I hope that you've gotten this sorted out by now. I wasn't aware that humans or places had a "text" to begin with. I thought that humans had body parts and places had geographical features, and that only things like books and poems had "text". The line about "a subject's text" in NONENGEL clearly does not apply to every single publication. However, the line is introduced with the phrase such as, which indicates that it is a non-comprehensive list of examples.
As for whether it is possible to determine whether a source is reliable in the absence of any statement to compare it against, I suggest that you read the FAQ at WT:V and contemplate the notice at RSN about the importance of considering the exact statement that the source is supposed to support. It is obvious to all editors that the most gold-plated academic source in the world is utterly un-reliable if the statement to be supported involves a subject that the source does not address. RSCONTEXT matters, and FURTHER items have no context. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:18, 15 October 2014 (UTC)

Wikimedia Commons templates[edit]

If Wikimedia Commons has a page for the subject a the WP article, should a template be placed in the WP article to the Commons page or to the Commons category. What led me to raise this issue is that I wanted to place a Commons template in the Bas-Rhin article. There is a page on Commons with the same name, but it only has two images (a locator map & the official seal/blason) and an index to pages for all French departments (equivalent to states/provinces). I don't think it's very intuitive for people not familiar with WP (or wikis in general) to click the link at the bottom for the category. This is relevant here, because the {{Commons}} template says "Wikimedia Commons has media related to Bas-Rhin." When someone looking for "media" follows that link, they just see two images and—again—it's not intuitive to click the category link at the bottom. Meanwhile, the Commons category has many images and it should be somewhat intuitive for people who have followed a link from the WP article to then click on the subcategories to find the media content they'd like to view.

So basically, if Commons has both a page and a category, which should (or should both) be linked from a Wikipedia article? I think that whichever is better for WP readers, since the template says it links to media. Any changes resulting from this discussion need to be made to the "Links to sister projects" section and at Wikipedia:Wikimedia sister projects. AHeneen (talk) 19:19, 19 September 2014 (UTC)

Proposed copyedit and layout change at WP:AVOIDYOU[edit]

There is a copyedit and layout proposal at "Avoiding personal attacks". Your participation would be appreciated. Lightbreather (talk) 00:22, 20 September 2014 (UTC)

WP:ORDER and a master list for the layout order[edit]

I wanted WP:ORDER to redirect to some central list of the order of sections of Wikipedia articles. As best I can tell, no list has ever existed on Wikipedia. This is unexpected; I am sure someone must have proposed one.

What did exist in this article is a series of disjointed lists. Previously, WP:ORDER redirected to the order list for the appendix/footer section of Wikipedia articles. I collected all the disjointed lists on this page, put them all in one section, wrote an intro, then put the WP:ORDER anchor to redirect to here. See Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style/Layout#Order_of_sections for the live version of this.

I think I have neither added nor changed any concepts already presented here, and am only summarizing the order that everyone uses anyway. I would appreciate comment on what I have done because it is always touchy to make bold changes to fundamental guides like this one. Thanks. Blue Rasberry (talk) 19:33, 25 September 2014 (UTC)

Good start, but it's made the list content of the "Lead section" section completely redundant. That needs to be replaced with a very concise summary of WP:LEAD as it applies to layout matters. I.e., in prose form, not a redundant list of elements (most of which are page header elements, not lead elements anyway).  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  00:30, 28 September 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for the feedback. I agree about the "Lead section" being redundant. If this WP:ORDER section stands then I think the lead section should be re-written in prose form with more explanation about what the lead contains, as you say. I hesitate to do that yet because I want to see if anyone comes forward with any complaints about all these changes. I feel like I changed something sensitive and I am not in such a hurry to change a lot more, but what you say should happen as you describe if the new section remains. Thoughts from others about any part of this? Blue Rasberry (talk) 13:25, 29 September 2014 (UTC)

The difference between appendices and footers.[edit]

I write regarding this edit, which cites to a 2010 version of Layout. The editor explains that the difference between an appendix and a footer is that "appendices have headings; footers do not". But the new "Orders" section of this page explains that: "These areas are more influenced by technical considerations than the body of articles. The established Wikipedia community typically maintains the order of these sections in its quality checks, as these orders are specific to Wikipedia." Which is it? Butwhatdoiknow (talk) 12:38, 29 September 2014 (UTC)

That was me. The merging of appendices and footers (over four years ago, admittedly) has blurred the distinction. But at the top of the section that I linked it states "when certain optional standard appendix sections are used, they should appear at the bottom of an article, with level 2 headings, followed by the various footers"; and if we look at the current version of MOS:APPENDIX it still states exactly that - the wording is absolutely unchanged. Either way, it is surely another way of saying "appendices have headings; footers do not". Every year or two, somebody suggests that the navboxes should be given a heading; it's always rejected.
I'm not sure what these "technical considerations" might be, with certain exceptions: hatnotes must be first so that screen readers read them out first; the infobox should be before the introductory text so that it appears alongside (instead of below); the TOC must be the last item before the first level-2 heading because screen readers will not read out anything in between. As regards navboxes, I think that it's psychological: they "draw a line" across the bottom of the article which for some people means that they don't need to read any further. --Redrose64 (talk) 13:14, 29 September 2014 (UTC)

MORE LINKS - I demand more links![edit]

I've added a number here Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style/Layout#Order_of_sections, but two line items are still linkless ("Foreign character warning boxes" and "Navigational boxes (header navboxes)"). Can you add either one of those two? Also, of course, you can swap in any better links for the ones I found. Butwhatdoiknow (talk) 13:12, 5 October 2014 (UTC)

Is a "Works cited" section really disallowed as a subsection of "References"?[edit]

Omnipaedista has informed me that a ===Level 3=== "Works cited" section must not appear as a subsection of a ==Level 2== "References" section. Here's the relevant part of the message:

the "works cited/sources" section is usually considered a separate section wikiwide (as opposed to subsection of "citations/references") and (apart from very few exceptions) is marked as a level 2 heading. The only other way is to have a level 2 heading called "Notes and references" (or "References") and have two level 3 headings called "Notes" (or "Citations") and "References" (or "Works cited"), respectively, below it. This Wikipedia convention reflects the convention employed in most printed academic publications according to which the last two sections of an article/book are called "Citations/references" and "Works cited", respectively. Even WP:APPENDIX says "optional standard appendix sections are used, they should appear at the bottom of an article, with ==level 2 headings==".

This is totally news to me—somehow I've managed to push through 19 FAs using the format—




{{Reflist}} ''using short refs''

===Works cited===

* ''List of''
* ''full citations''
* ''of sources''

Have I really been such a bad boy? Am I really in violation of the MOS? Curly Turkey ⚞¡gobble!⚟ 06:41, 9 October 2014 (UTC)

No. As the headings section indicates, subdividing appendices is permissible (although the current method suggested for doing so needs to be changed...see next section). Subdivided reference sections of the type you describe are fairly common. Nikkimaria (talk) 14:22, 9 October 2014 (UTC)


The current advice on headings for subdividing section states that "In the rare cases when it is useful to sub-divide these sections (for example, to separate a list of magazine articles from a list of books), most editors prefer to use either definition list headings (;Books) or bold-faced text ("Books") instead of level 3 headings (===Books===)." However, this contradicts MOS:ACCESS, which states "Do not make pseudo-headings using bold or semicolon markup [Books or ;Books). Screen readers and other machines can only use correctly formatted headings [ie ===Books===]" (my additions for clarity). I suggest we follow the latter. Nikkimaria (talk) 14:22, 9 October 2014 (UTC)

Yes, I commented on the same issue at Help talk:Wiki markup#semicolon issue?; accordingly, Agree. --Redrose64 (talk) 15:35, 9 October 2014 (UTC)
The use of bold markup instead of semicolons is a helpful compromise which avoids mini sections and cluttering the ToC; it does not present accessibility problems. It is widely used and the guideline ought to be changed. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 07:36, 13 October 2014 (UTC)
I agree with MB. People who do not use screen readers, easily skip parts of the TOC if they see it contains trivia, a person using a screen reader can not so easily do that, so insisting on using a format which expands the TOC unnecessarily is not helpful to the people for whom the bug in ";bold" is a problem in the first place. -- PBS (talk) 08:08, 13 October 2014 (UTC)
Since the statement that it presents accessibility problems comes from MOS:ACCESS, I would be interested in seeing evidence to the contrary. It is quite easy for someone using a screen reader to skip all of the appendices in the TOC if they so wish; if they don't so wish, it's helpful to be able to select one. Nikkimaria (talk) 00:11, 14 October 2014 (UTC)
I remember User:Graham87 mentioning that, unlike the semicolon, a bolded pseudoheading doesn't present a problem for screen readers, but I can't find his remark now. User:RexxS responded similarly at Help talk:Wiki markup. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 06:03, 14 October 2014 (UTC)
I'd prefer bolded headings, but it would be best if real headings could be used if possible. Graham87 07:21, 14 October 2014 (UTC)
First choice for anything that heads a section is to mark it up as a heading - that allows screen readers to navigate to it directly if required. If the table of contents becomes too cluttered then {{toc limit}} can sometimes help, but failing that, using bold markup ('''Subheading''') causes few problems for modern screen readers. The semicolon markup creates a definition list that is an annoyance for many screen reader users and should be avoided. --RexxS (talk) 10:28, 14 October 2014 (UTC)
User:Voceditenore provided some history of the relevant parts of the guidelines involved at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Opera#Do we have to relive the "Opera/Article styles and formats" discussion??. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 12:54, 14 October 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── To save people wading through a lengthy discussion there to find it, I wrote ... The injunction against using both the semicolon and the standard bold marking for pseudo headers, and in fact, an injunction against pseudo headers per se, was unilaterally added to MOS:ACCESS by one editor in June 2012 [1]. When they later had doubts and asked for comment, only one other editor replied (WhatamIdoing), to the effect that a standard bolded topic heading can actually help dyslexic readers keep track of the text and would not seriously affect those using screen readers. See Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Accessibility/Archive 12#Headings: avoid pseudo-headings. Nevertheless, the guideline remained with only a minor change from "never" to "do not". Then 3 days ago, Nikkimaria changed the guideline at MOS:LAYOUT [2] to "match" the one at MOS:ACCESS after a brief discussion with only one other editor, thus perpetuating an assertion for which no clear, independent evidence has ever been provided. RexxS's comment above seems to bear out the notion that while semicolon bolding creates potential problems for screen readers, it should not be conflated with standard bolding for pseudo headers, which is very widely practiced on Wikipedia. Voceditenore (talk) 13:06, 14 October 2014 (UTC)

I'm in favor of discouraging the semi-colon for bolding (;bolding). I'm not in favor of discouraging wikitext bolding (bolding). However, I'm okay with gently encouraging proper ===subsection headings=== since that is better for WP:ACCESS purposes (even though IMO it's also ugly). WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:21, 15 October 2014 (UTC)