Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Lists

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Need for repeated wikilinking of same target[edit]

Looking through British Academy Television Awards 2011 I realized that the unlinking of target articles that have already been linked is counterproductive in a list of this kind. This being a list of awards sees the same articles listed many times in different categories where the shows or people have been nominated or won the award. I find it very cumbersome having to scroll back in order to find any given item wikilinked and find myself instead copying the title and pasting it directly into the search box. The MoS should address this problem in a constructive manner. __meco (talk) 12:47, 26 November 2011 (UTC)

This also applies to glossaries and any other list that is long and/or likely to be browsed by incoming links to specific sections, not read top-to-bottom. — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒ ɖ∘¿¤þ   Contrib. 12:37, 2 March 2012 (UTC)

Listing of dependencies on country lists[edit]

[1] Should dependencies such as Puerto Rico, Hong Kong, Greenland, Bermuda be listed with their own sections? (talk) 14:07, 8 January 2012 (UTC)

How to subdivide the list is entirely up to the editors at that list. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:10, 12 January 2012 (UTC)
Is there any particular reason why they shouldn't? Is there any guideline on how countries should be arranged (e.g. into sections, or into rows in a table) on Wikipedia lists? (talk) 13:17, 13 January 2012 (UTC)

Should every single item on a list have a reference?[edit]

A related discussion is taking place at WT:Manual of Style/Stand-alone lists#Citing sources (mostly background at this point) and WT:Manual of Style/Stand-alone lists#Three different list purposes (something new, including deprecation of redundant citations in list entries).

This has come up time and again. I would like the wording on this page to specifically answer this question to avoid problems. If no one actually sincerely doubts the entries on a list are accurate, should you be required to have a reference for it anyway? Most list articles don't have references for every entry in them, especially if the information on them can be easily verified in the Wikipedia articles they link to. I suggest the following change:

The verifiability policy states that if material is challenged or likely to be challenged, it is the responsibility of the editor who adds or restores the material to an article to cite sources for that material.

Obviously we don't have a reference to every single sentence and every single statement in every article there is. So no sense doing that to list articles either. I suggest we change this to:

If any information is sincerely doubted, then it can be challenged and removed. Consensus can be formed on the talk page of an article if something needs a reference to remain. Editors should never just remove something, simply because it doesn't have a reference.

Opinions please? Support or Oppose Dream Focus 20:37, 13 January 2012 (UTC)

I suspect some rewording would be useful, but along a different tack than you've taken. A list entry is essentially the child of the inclusion or selection criteria laid out in the lead. That inclusion criteria defines the group or set that comprises the list. Individual entries should be verifiable as members of that set or group. Sometimes that membership is obvious, other times its not, but membership in the group or set is what must be verifiable. Just by way of examples: If one looks at Charles Dickens bibliography, membership in the group is clear, an entry must have been authored by Charles Dickens. Sourcing each entry to validate the fact that Dickens was indeed the author serves little purpose unless there is controversy over the authorship of a particular work. On the other hand, if one looks at Bibliography of the Lewis and Clark Expedition they will see that most entries are sourced to references that indeed verify the work is about Lewis and Clark. Unfortunately, we've don't talk about inclusion criteria in this MOS. Whatever wording is changed, it should be that entries in a list should be verifiable members of the group or set that the list is about. --Mike Cline (talk) 21:24, 13 January 2012 (UTC)
Please see this discussion that recently concluded. Basically: it's up to editors to determine if the material is contentious enough per WP:V to include cites , or if just linking to the respective pages is sufficient. --MASEM (t) 21:38, 13 January 2012 (UTC)
If you don't change the guideline page itself, then nothing said on the talk page will convince some people. Dream Focus 22:21, 13 January 2012 (UTC)
This page is probably the wrong place to address it, since its focus is on how to write and format a decent list as part of an article. I suppose we ought to get back to the brief section on sourcing that we started talking about adding to WP:STANDALONE a while ago. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:07, 13 January 2012 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Manual of Style (Redirected from Wikipedia:LIST). WP:LIST brings me to this page. Dream Focus 22:21, 13 January 2012 (UTC)
BTW, I've just boldly drafted such a section for STANDALONE. Please read it and either make your own bold attempt to improve it, or leave a note on the talk page with suggestions. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:26, 13 January 2012 (UTC)
[[2]] Good start, better than nothing. But not really going to be effective. My way isbetter, it specific, leaving no room to argue. And if I boldly change something, I'm certain someone seeing my name will automatically revert it. Dream Focus 00:00, 14 January 2012 (UTC)
See WP:BRD. The Transhumanist 11:14, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

*Comment It's pretty clear that our verifiability policy requires that every single item on a list have a reference, if challenged or likely to be challenged. Dlabtot (talk) 19:20, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

Sure, but it's also pretty clear that many lists have items that aren't the least bit WP:LIKELY to be challenged. (I doubt that any of us could imagine a good-faith question about whether Apple should be included in the List of fruits, for example.) Some lists will have no items at all that are likely to be challenged. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:45, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
Exactly so. Any Wikipedia content challenged or likely to be challenged needs a reference. Content not likely to be challenged does not - till it is challenged.
I would further add that a list item that consists of a link to a Wikipedia article relies on the verifibility of that linked article. Dlabtot (talk) 17:33, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
Just for reference, look at the sourcing bibliographic entries section [3]] in WikiProject Bibliographies to see how that project approaches individual list entry sourcing. Its too verbose for a guideline, but does convey a comprehensive approach consistent with WP:V. --Mike Cline (talk) 10:54 pm, Yesterday (UTC+0)
I agree with Dlabtot Also, WhatamIdoing is not a reliable editor and it is a waste of time assuming good faith in that individual. Her reference list [4] about Da Costa's syndrome included number 7 by Oglesby Paul who described it as common in the first paragraph [5], and number 7, the Rare Diseases Database, which includes it on one of it's many lists [6]. Those two items are still on the current reference list for that topic three years later.
Another example of her abuse of lists can be seen where she places the ailment in the category of "Somatoform disorders" and yet number 5 from her reference list is a lecture by Paul Wood. The category of somatoform refers to imaginary symptoms and the link page includes Da Costa's syndrome in it's list [7], whereas Wood mentions the difficulty of distinguishing visceral from somatic symptoms and describes three good reasons why the left inframammary pain is not imaginary [8]
WhatamIdoing responds to challenges by arrogantly ignoring them or changing the subject so there needs to be an improvement in the means of ensuring the reliability of list entries. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:57, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
This is just Posturewriter (talk · contribs) engaging in WP:Block evasion; I suppose that someone ought to report it. His comments here are no worse than the extensive complaints about Wikipedia not permitting his POV pushing and original research that he's posted at his personal website. He is correct that I do not assume good faith when dealing with users who have been indefinitely blocked because of their bad behavior (documented, in this case, in an RFC and a request to ArbCom). WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:16, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
WhatamIdoing: I am old enough to be your father and would like you to take responsibility for your actions, instead of acting like a child by changing the subject and rushing off to add comments to 20 other discussions in the hope that this one will be lost in the history of edits. You need to explain the irreconcilable contradictions in your references. You could start by telling this group of editors that you are too busy on other discussions to be able to actually read them. You might also like to explain who, outside of Wikipedia, is giving them to you, and telling you that they are relevant to your POV. If they are not 'giving them to you' then why haven't you read them, and why are you using them. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:37, 18 January 2012 (UTC)
WhatamIdoing is behaving in her typical devious way by ignoring this discussion, and contributing to many other talk pages. In one case she is even trying to give the false impression that she has the moral authority to give a 'big' thankyou to an editor for improving articles by providing reliable references, and adding that Wikipedia needs more people like that [9] — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:34, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
WhatamIdoing is still evading her responsiblity to account for the unreliable and contradictory nature of her choice of references, and yet is trying to give other groups the impression that her standards are good enough to give these instructions on 21-1-2012 . . . "Appropriate sources for encyclopedia articles are primarily on the subject in question and are authored or published in a way that gives you confidence that the material is accurate." [10]. It is a pity that she doesn't take her own advice. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:49, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
I've reported Posturewriter's block evasion at Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/IncidentArchive820#Block_evasion_by_Posturewriter, if anyone is interested in expressing an opinion there. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:08, 23 January 2012 (UTC)

Should every single item on a list have a reference? Yes and no. Like material in other articles, if a bit is contested it should be sourced and if sourcing is impossible the contested bit should be removed. Ideally every contestable bit of information should be sourced but we are a work in progress so material widely-understood to be sourceable would be acceptable to most editors. FL class articles are a bit different; I would expect every bit of information except the most obvious to be tied back somewhere to a source (although it may not need to be sourced in-line if the bulk of a list is derived from a single source). ThemFromSpace 19:28, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

Should lists about people require the linking biography page to mention the subject's relationship to the list?[edit]

This issue is being debated for a single article here. The issue resolves around violating BLP, that if a biography doesn't mention a scientist's relationship to a very political issue, why should a list label them as such. Counter points seem to include issues of using Wikipedia biographies as a primary reference for BLP violation. I think this issue should be brought to the greater Wikipedia community, since all politically charged lists of people likely face similar issues. Dkriegls (talk) 21:47, 21 January 2012 (UTC)

I think I agree with you, if you're suggesting that we make clearer that in lists which include people, BLP principles apply. —WFC— 07:01, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
Kinda; essentially should BLP be fact checked against a person's biography page. If biography editors have decided this is not a notable position of said person, should it be a violation of BLP to add them to a list that suggests it is a notable position? Dkriegls (talk) 21:27, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
It depends: Is this something that the editors have properly discussed and made a conscious decision about, or just another case of the biography being WP:NOTDONE or even suffering from POV pushing? If the latter, then you should ignore the contents of the biography. If the former, then those editors' reasons should be made known to the editors at the list. Fundamentally, it's the job of the people at the list itself to decide what their criteria for including or excluding people are, not the job of the people at the biography. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:12, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
Shouldn't any issue of BLP be resolved at the biography page, not on some list? This is obviously most relevant to contentious issues where inclusion of said person on a list declares them in allegiance with a contentious issue. Lists are poor places to use prose to discuss the minutia of a person's position on the issue. Dkriegls (talk) 04:35, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
No, like any other content dispute, any BLP issue should be resolved at the actual page where the BLP issue exists.
Additionally, a well-written list can provide substantial information about why an entry was included. WhatamIdoing (talk) 06:14, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
I dont agree that there must be a mention of X in John Doe's article for John Doe to be included in List of X , although there does need to be sources. While X may play a minimal role in understanding John Doe and his importance, the fact that John Doe is X may be of great importance to X. Wikipedia is not paper and so we have list articles of very trivial things. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 04:32, 9 February 2014 (UTC)
I guess we're revisiting this two years later ;) I do agree that in general a trivial X doesn't need to be mentioned in John Doe's biography to make a list about category x. Example: Celebrity John Doe is a yearly pie eating judge in the small Maine town where he keeps a summer home. Not notable enough for his biography, but not WP:Undue weight to list him as one of the town's judges (given that the event is notable about the town. However, what I was originally asking was if there is a PLB issue, shouldn't that be resolved at the Biography page where editors are more familiar with the subject? Dkriegls (talk to me!) 12:40, 9 February 2014 (UTC)
For the particular list you started this discussion about they already do check the bio article talks about their relationship to the subject. I'm not too keen on your use of the word notable though, yes it should be mentioned in a reliable source and have enough weight to be put in a bio - but the person may be notable for something else and would not have been put in Wikipedia if their only contribution had been on the topic of the list. E.g. Prince Charles talks to plants and if people who talked to plants was a notable topic he would definitely be on it, but he isn't notable because he talks to plants, he is notable because he is a prince. Dmcq (talk) 13:04, 9 February 2014 (UTC)
Lets say we find a source that quotes the prince from 1992 as saying "When I talk to my plants I use an American accent". Editors who want to advance the idea that plant talking is normal and even princes do it, will be happy to use that source and add him to their list of people who talk to plants. But on his biography page, it is such a minor quote and not a position he actively endorses, that it is likely not to get mentioned there. Now, there might be a BLP and WP:Undue weight issue of adding the Prince of Wales' as an endorser of that position. Or more realistically, lets say he just used homeopathy but wasn't such a big endorser of it. His use probably wouldn't be noted in his biography, but people looking to highlight celebrity use of homeopathy might be keen to add him to their list given that his use is well cited. This is the type of thing I come across on lists like List of African-American Republicans or Lists of important people endorsing so and so. I do understand your position, but just think that if a list is going to make a claim about someone having a politicized or controversial position, it should be a position significant enough for inclusion on the biography page were editors more familiar with the person can asses BLP issues with the claim. Dkriegls (talk to me!) 06:11, 12 February 2014 (UTC)

Or, I guess just informing the talkpage of said biography that a BLP discussion is happening about the subject on a list page is probably the best way to go. I just find it hard for Wikipedia to claim a scientist as "anti" climate change unless they are full-on endorsing that position in a very public way that would be included in their biography. Most scientists I know always have nuanced positions, making it hard to say they belong on a list about endorsing a position because they wrote a paper on it three years ago. Dkriegls (talk to me!) 06:17, 12 February 2014 (UTC)

Roman numeral numbering (again)[edit]

Apparently I enquired about this back in August (Archive 7), but I have no recollection of doing so, or the context. (That's what a brain haemorrhage can do for you.)
Here is an existing example, Symphony No. 8 (Kabeláč), where you have 9 Parts which, I assume, come verbatim from a musical score with Roman numbering.
So it is not purely a hypothetical.
The recommendation back in August was to take a look at Help:List#Changing_the_list_type for an example of doing it the hard way.
Varlaam (talk) 05:35, 13 February 2012 (UTC)

Inline HTML[edit]

I've just reverted two edits which suggested that inline HTML should be used, in articles (in some cases) in preference to templates. It's my understanding that the MoS does not recommend this. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 23:47, 29 February 2012 (UTC)

Yes, but the current Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Lists#Streamlined style or horizontal style already suggested the exact same construction for hlist as I added and you reverted for plainlist on my edit. If that is not recommended I do not have an issue with that but please correct that section as well. Part of the issue is that there is a large promotion of using classes to style lists in alternative ways and a push away from heavy use of templating for such things. You can plainly see this movement within navboxes, infoboxes, sidebars, and even directly in wiki table markup. (talk) 23:54, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
Also on that note I am trying to remove references to {{unbulleted list}} and its alias {{ubl}} as they give nothing over {{plainlist}} and its associated class, limit list length, and promote a more templating approach to lists rather than existing wiki list markup. (talk) 23:56, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
Please include suggestions to do things along the following lines:
  • example 1
  • example 2
  • example 3
  • example 1
  • example 2
    • sub example 2.1
    • sub example 2.2
    • sub example 2.3
  • example 3
example 1
example 2
example 3
Thank you. (talk) 00:14, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
there is no consensus to remove {{unbulleted list}}, see the associated TfD for that template. Frietjes (talk) 00:19, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
There is no consensus to remove thousands of other templates either but that hardly means they are recommended (and certainly not in MoS). (talk) 00:27, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
Try using plainlist in an image caption and see what happens. Now try the same with unbulleted list. Frietjes (talk) 00:32, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
{{plainlist}} should be preferred over {{ubl}} as the former has less parsing overhead and uses familiar list markup, but {ubl} will still have some appropriate uses, which is, I believe, what Frietjes is referring to. {plainlist} should also be preferred over a div w/class=hlist in most cases. Explicit use of hlist is best used in template class parameters and places such as between pipes in wiki-table markup, although for a one-off a {plainlist} in the data cell would be clearer (template invocations being more-wiki than html class attributes). Alarbus (talk) 04:19, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
I agree and was not considering discouraging the usage of {{flatlist}} or {{plainlist}} but I was thinking {{ubl}} should not be recommended except in a few rare circumstances and even then it is not necessary. The problem with lists in image captions is not {{plainlist}} and {{ubl}} is not the solution—{{ubl}} is one (less than optimal) work-around because it happens to use HTML markup lists and not wiki lists. The real issue is the parser and the convoluted image/media syntax that makes wiki lists not work withing image captions. {{ubl}} is now implemented with class plainlist and HTML list markup. I can use {{plainlist}} just fine within an image caption (so long as I do not use wiki lists and instead use use HTML markup lists like {{ubl}} does). {{plainlist}} (and {{flatlist}}) does not even create a list—it just wraps the plainlist (or hlist) style class around any potential lists within it which causes any such lists to be rendered differently; it works fine and it not at issue. For these same reasons {{collapsible list}} will work within an image caption but a standard wiki list within {{hidden}} will not. This is the same sort of comparison between {{plainlist}} and {{ubl}} (both either make collapsible lists of render unbulleted lists and the latter items do not even make lists but rather just make a list render differently). (talk) 05:36, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
For reference here, I am linking in the relevant TfD material for {{Unbulleted list}}: Wikipedia:Templates for discussion/Log/2011 December 27#Template:Unbulleted_list, Bugzilla:16768 (talk) 06:08, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
  • {{ubl}}
  • inside image
  • example
Your examples are using raw html for the ul/li which is poor form; I guess that means that {plainlist} can work in image captions, but that markup should be fixed on sight. Alarbus (talk) 06:32, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
Poor form? So the poor form goes away if I wrap it in a template? Even if I buy that argument, my point is that {{ubl}} is not the optimal way to create lists with HTML markup even within a template. (talk) 06:48, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
* {{plainlist}} * inside image * example
Yup, it goes to the template, which at least removes it from the view of most editors. All sorts of raw html appears in templates. It's good to encapsulate complexity. And it's good to keep template implementations clean if possible. But no raw ul/li in image captions, please; you might scare a n00b.
I see you're doing hlist in navbox; please keep that up. And most {ubl} out there can and should be changed to {plainlist}. It has a much longer history, which is why there are thousands underfoot. Alarbus (talk) 07:22, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
I am aware of the {{Unbulleted list}} history as I remember when it was first created. I am also doing plainlist in navboxes, infoboxes, and sidbars, etc. (among other things). I wonder if any admins will add code to {{navbox}} like what was done to {{navbox musical artist}} so one can find all the navboxes without hlist via something like Category:Navigational boxes without horizontal lists. (talk) 08:47, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
&& other appropriate place, too, of course. The tracking was added by WOSlinker; he'll be adding tracking elsewhere once it's not so easy to find things that need work (I already asked). It might be time. See User:WOSlinker/wrapping. Alarbus (talk) 09:55, 1 March 2012 (UTC)


At the time of writing, the page is recommending {{div|class=plainlist|, not {{Plainlist|; and {{div|class=hlist|, not {{Flatlist|. Why? It seems ridiculous. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 10:44, 1 March 2012 (UTC)

fixed. Gonna leave a message, next. Alarbus (talk) 11:03, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
I personally feel recommending {{plainlist}} and {{flatlist}} was the right thing but I was just following what had been there (the HTML div) and addressing Andy Mabbett's issue of having direct HTML markup in MoS. I do feel part of the recommendations should include the class usage as well as in terms of lists such cases are highly common over the rare solitary list. I believe MoS Accessibility has some on that angle now. (talk) 14:30, 1 March 2012 (UTC)

little help[edit]

I'm not sure where to ask, as I don't think it needs anything as advanced as a peer review or something like that, but discussion here seems to have stalled, and I pretty much ran out of ideas a few weeks ago on how to improve the (list) article, if anyone can take a quick glance and give me a list of homework or ideas that would be a big help. Penyulap 09:53, 3 May 2012 (UTC)

Numbering lists which aren't numbered by an outside source is considered WP:Original Research. For your dilemma, I suggest adding a sentence or two to the beginning describing how many their are and why there might be different counts. But stating such and such a flight is the 85th flight, if the Russians didn't label it as such, isn't a good idea. Dkriegls (talk) 11:33, 3 May 2012 (UTC)

Lead sentence of List[edit]

If I understand correctly, these three openings are all self-references but none are WP:SELF.

  • This list of books is ...
  • This is a complete list of books that ..
  • These books are the ...

Thoughts? --P64 (talk) 21:01, 21 May 2012 (UTC)

Depends on the context. WP:Self allows for "References that exist in a way that assumes the reader is using an encyclopedia" as in WP:Splitting. If the list is stand alone then self referencing the point of the list is a widely practices consensus. However, if the list is embedded, there might be a better way to intro, that flows from the article, but not always. If you have a specific issue, feel free to bring it up here. Dkriegls (talk) 21:39, 21 May 2012 (UTC)
Thanks. "complete" and "list of books" were poor examples in a short note. My present inquiries concern standalone lists and lead paragraphs(?) that do not, or perhaps should not, repeat the article name so closely to bold it. (Some issues are more broadly pertinent. I'll continue here although today I discovered and read both the Embedded and Standalone Talk; not their archives, of course.)
1. Do we have a standard acceptable way to make remarks about the completeness of a list relative to either (a) members of a kind or (b) wikipedia articles about members of a kind? If i understand correctly we should not compose remarks (b); they should be standard (related exhibit: Template:incomplete list).
Exhibit: List of mythologies. ?Have we any approved way to say in the lead, essentially, "This list may never be complete but it includes all [maybe-restricted] mythologies that have their own articles (2012-05-22)."?
If not in the lead, is such communication permitted in a footnote?
2. None of our articles opens "This article ..." or "The following ..." or even "This". But most lists open "This list of ... is"/contains/covers/includes/verbs or "This list is"; "This list of Xs verbs blah-blah" where the title is "List of blah-blah Xs"; "The following Xs verb"; "The following are Xs that ..."; or "This is a list of ...".
I am surprised to find these openings are common even among lists chosen to illustrate the Manual of Style. It appears that they are recommended.
Consider our List of winners of the National Book Awards, which I heavily revised this winter, and wrote the entire lead. Is there any reason not to open, "These books and authors have won ..." Exhibit (current version)? Is there any reason to open anything like, (no boldface; i don't know why not) "The following is a partial list of winners of the National Book Awards." Exhibit (old version)?
P.S. I'm unsure where "Style" in MOS speaks primarily to high quality, B or Good, on matters that should be ignored everywhere there is a Stub tag and may be unhealthy distractions in Start land. I know that it isn't unusual to mention Style in Talk about a Start, or in a Start edit summary without any Talk. --P64 (talk) 21:16, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
Well, List of mythologies is lacking a quality Wikipedia:Lead section, as is the List of winners of the National Book Award. Though self referencing intros for lists is wide spread, it is not widely used on Featured Lists. I would recommend referring to WP:Featured lists for examples of quality lead sections. They almost always go into some depth about the subject, as apposed to simply stating "This is a list of". Ashley Tisdale discography is a good example of explaining the list by stating "The discography of Ashley Tisdale consists of two..." without any self-referencing like 'and this is here discography". I was actually hard pressed to find an example of self-referencing, but in the FL List of extreme points of India it says "Consequently, this list mentions both the disputed and undisputed eastern-most points in India." The title states the inclusion category, but self-referencing is probably best used only if qualifications to the category need to be made.
So for the List of mythologies the lead should mention the breadth of mythologies. If written right, there may not be need for self-referencing the list. Dkriegls (talk) 06:22, 23 May 2012 (UTC)


Are we ever going to harmonize or merge WP:LIST#Bulleted lists with WP:LIST#Bulleted and numbered lists? For instance, the former forbids ending with a semicolon, and the latter almost requires it. The same information at WP:MOS and WP:EMBED also needs to be harmonized or merged. In practice, semicolons are almost never used in lists. Art LaPella (talk) 17:57, 27 May 2012 (UTC)

Comment, Notable people lists almost always use semicolons to deliver info about the individual in small chunks. Dkriegls (talk) 21:23, 27 May 2012 (UTC)
I couldn't confirm that. Here are some lists I found in articles on notable people that end with no punctuation here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. While compiling those lists, I also found some lists that ended in periods, but the only lists I found ending in semicolons are at Garry Kasparov. So perhaps you meant some other kind of "notable people lists". Art LaPella (talk) 23:36, 27 May 2012 (UTC)
Sorry, I definitely did not mean they end in semi-colons. I read your first post wrong. I support ending such non-sentence prose without punctuation. Semi-colons should only be used within the prose of a single subject to separate ideas. Dkriegls (talk) 04:59, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
I've made a stab at improving it. The actual rule is that your punctuation practices don't change just because you've added list structure, except to introduce a mid-sentence list with a colon a colon. So here's a simple example:
I'm going to the store to buy milk, eggs, and green beans.
I'm going to the store to buy:
* milk,
* eggs, and
* green beans.
Either of these is correct. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:48, 1 June 2012 (UTC)
Now we have 3 contradicting guidelines instead of 2. Art LaPella (talk) 23:13, 1 June 2012 (UTC)
I can think of so many lists where that punctuation would make no sense. Most lists are not just a sentence broken down. --Dkriegls (talk to me!) 06:49, 3 June 2012 (UTC)
Right, and in those cases (when the list isn't a sentence), you still use the same capitalization that you would if there were no list formatting. Here's a list that could be a paragraph just as easily:
Many people are doing things today. I am editing Wikipedia. You are improving Wikipedia. Someone else is reading Wikipedia.
which, with list formatting, becomes this:
Many people are doing things today.
* I am editing Wikipedia.
* You are improving Wikipedia.
* Someone else is reading Wikipedia.
The fact that we're adding list formatting doesn't change the sentences. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:00, 3 June 2012 (UTC)
I don't disagree with you for sentence format lists, nor do WP:LIST#Bulleted lists or WP:LIST#Bulleted and numbered lists. I think the issue brought up here by Art LaPella was for sentence fragment lists, like a list of mayors or historic buildings. Do they need to end with a punctuation? I think no.
My issue is of course contradictory guidelines, not which way the contradictions are resolved. But most of the examples I found are more like my first one. Art LaPella (talk) 22:12, 3 June 2012 (UTC)

(outdent) ? That one, like section "See also" that immediately follows it, is not introduced by any prose at all. This issue should concern those lists introduced by sentence fragments --which correctly in those cases terminate in colons. --P64 (talk) 14:59, 4 June 2012 (UTC)

Space after bullet point?[edit]

An editor recently edited (without edit summary) a bulleted list (in Sharp (surname) to systematically remove spaces between the bullet point (asterisk) and the text of the entry. I have replaced them because I find them easier on the eye for the editor, and because I cannot see justification for their removal.

I cannot find chapter and verse for the presence, or absence, of this space, although the examples at WP:BULLET all include them. Is there any documentation about this? Is the space optional, down to the discretion of the editor? (In which case he was wrong to remove them as the previous editors had chosen to use them). I've replaced the spaces but would like to be able to cite a policy somewhere. Have I missed anything? Or could we add it explicitly to this MOS? PamD 07:50, 4 June 2012 (UTC)

I don't know about policy and suppose that it isn't generally needed in such a case. The editor revised with a constructive purpose. Did you try to undo the first edit and restore the constructive component (16 bytes)? I believe the first part of the auto-generated revert summary may be helpful in supporting your own point (which you abbreviated too much) in the edit summary without benefit of chapter and verse.
Presuming no past experience with this editor, I would have hoped to say, essentially, Undo[boilerplate including ID number] to restore useful whitespace (manually re-do the welcome correction). --P64 (talk) 15:08, 4 June 2012 (UTC)
Space after bullet, that's how the automatic formatting for Bullet and Numbered lists is set, no need to spell it out. --Dkriegls (talk to me!) 20:12, 4 June 2012 (UTC)
This editor habitually removes spaces from templates and infoboxes, although he has been asked not to do so. I would like to see a policy I can quote in asking him not to remove spaces from bulleted lists. Any thoughts? PamD 09:20, 6 June 2012 (UTC)
This should do: Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Command-line examples#General guidelines "spaces are used to separate multiple arguments on the command line". Given that the line between the bullet and the text are separate command arguments. --Dkriegls (talk to me!) 16:51, 6 June 2012 (UTC)
Thanks, but no, I think that is about how to display commands in examples, rather than what should be in the actual WP articles. Any other ideas? (Also, anywhere which states that it is not good to remove the space between the "|" and the following field, in a template.) PamD 06:39, 10 June 2012 (UTC)
This is not a WP:Articles question you are asking, since the code argument for bullets with/with out spaces produces no difference in the actual article. You are asking a code question. And as General guidelines for code go, Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Command-line examples is the place to look. The examples you may be referring to were only for how to use italics in-code; there were no examples provided for the spacing guidelines because it is applied to all arguments. --Dkriegls (talk to me!) 06:14, 12 June 2012 (UTC)

In some templates, or many or the norm?, a space for editorial convenience must precede rather than follow the pipe --" |" rather than "| "-- because trailing spaces are ignored but leading spaces are utilized, I suppose.

Is the space following the lead asterisk also at issue here? --P64 (talk) 16:35, 18 July 2012 (UTC)

To me the consensus seems to be to have a space after the bullet point/number in lists. Could the lists MOS documentation be updated to reflect this (if it is indeed the case)Jamesmcmahon0 (talk) 10:15, 26 August 2013 (UTC)

User:Jamesmcmahon0 has now, despite WP:BRD, re-inserted the phrase "Style note: Always leave a single space between the bullet point, number, letter etc and the list item." I reverted his earlier edit which had inserted it. The editor claims there's consensus here in his favour. I can see no such consensus. User P64 is silent on the matter, Dkriegls points to Wikipedia's automatic formatting (which uses a space) and then quotes an unrelated other guideline; they don't agree to a compulsory space. The orginal questioner, PamD, seems in favour of the separating space, as is Jamesmcmahon0. That doesn't look like the level of consensus that would justify inserting a mandate for such spaces into the guideline. In my opinion, they should be entirely optional and no edits ought to be performed simply to add or remove them. I suggest to remove the above quoted phrase from the guideline. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 14:02, 15 September 2013 (UTC)
This mandate would be a time-waster. My fingers are pretty good at putting asterisks at the beginning of lines when I find a list that an earlier editor did not bother to format. If I'm using wikEd on an article, it will create bulleted lists with the spaces, but I'm not always using wikEd. I may be using a plain editing session so that my own scripts can be run, or I may be using AutoWikiBrowser when I run across an unformatted list. It's going to be more of a pain to add spaces along with the asterisks, and I sure don't want a nasty note on my talk page about not putting spaces in an article that I have beautified. All over something that is not visible on the rendered page? I have a lot of misspellings and mispunctuation on my plate. I don't need this. If I am fixing a list of five items, and one or two don't have the space, I will make them uniform, but I'm not going to work over all the lists on a page just to add spaces. Chris the speller yack 16:16, 15 September 2013 (UTC)
A few points:
It should not be "mandated", but it should be explicitly recommended. Ie. Nobody should go through articles with a bot/AWB purely to add spaces, but it is a good additional thing for editors/bots/etc to standardize towards.
One of the tasks that User:Addbot does is "Fix white space", which includes removing trailing-spaces, and adding a single space after bulletpoints in list items, eg this edit.
I agree with the proposed addition, but I suggest it be placed in the section Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Lists#Bulleted and numbered lists instead, and worded as "* List items should be preceded with a space, for visual clarity in the wikisource editor. See all the examples above, in this styleguide." or something like that.
HTH. –Quiddity (talk) 19:42, 15 September 2013 (UTC)
Firstly, I would like to apologise for making the edit, in my defense I did think consensus had been achieved and I gave it another 20 days to see if there were any objections to that assessment. I agree with the above comments that I do not think it should be a mandated change but since bots and AWB are capable of doing it whilst performing other edits it should be added to the MOS somewhere to clarify the matter. Jamesmcmahon0 (talk) 09:14, 16 September 2013 (UTC)
I support including it but not mandating it. Dkriegls (talk to me!) 23:44, 16 September 2013 (UTC)

Chronological lists[edit]

In the case of lists of things in chronological order (Presidents of a country, CEOs of a company, World champions in a sport, etc) is it best to list them in normal or reverse chronological order - should the current occupant of the position be at the top or the bottom of the list? Roger (talk) 07:05, 5 July 2012 (UTC)

I favor coverage of the "current occupant of the position", if applicable, or the current or latest rendition of the event, in advance of the list of past occupants or renditions, typically in section 1. Exhibit: Bermuda Bowl, where it's strictly section 2, but not really (to be addressed next year).
The complete list should be in chronological order with the current/latest at its foot, which may be strictly redundant in my favored design.
Both for periodic competitions as in the exhibit, and for annual book awards, I usually find in place a nearly raw list or a wikitable comprising winners or winners and/or other contenders such as "shortlists". It's sorted chronologically one way or the other. My approach is don't the rock boat --or don't begin that way. First cover the current/latest rendition adequately.
In many cases, I believe, adequate early coverage of both current and latest --or underway and current, such as US President-elect and President-- will preempt the concern of many editors to put the most important or interesting at the top of the list. That is sometimes, commonly, or almost always the argument for reverse chron order, I suppose.
--P64 (talk) 16:17, 18 July 2012 (UTC)

For your review[edit]

I just made a change to the requirement for citations for material in lists. However, I'm aware that there has been plenty of discussion here about when these are and are not required, so I wanted to draw some extra attention to it here to make sure I'm not way off base. I'm sure someone here will let me know if it looks good (or bad). Thanks. — Bdb484 (talk) 18:38, 1 August 2012 (UTC)

That was fast. I've already been reverted.
My understanding of WP:V is that inline citations are required for any material that has been challenged or that is likely to be challenged. My edit was intended to reflect that this requirement applies also to material lists. I'm not exactly sure whether my interpretation of WP:V is off, my application of it to lists is off, or my wording of that application is off. Or maybe all three.
Thoughts? — Bdb484 (talk) 18:47, 1 August 2012 (UTC)
My concern here is the risk of unintended consequences, weighed against the benefit of stating the obvious. Requiring contentious content to be covered by an inline citation is a firm principle of the project: it is enshrined at WP:V, which is concerned with the content of articles/lists. The Manual of Style on the other hand is concerned with the layout, formatting and structure of articles/lists. Thus, the implication of making that point in the Manual of Style is that every entry in a list, contentious or not, requires an inline citation, even if that is not the original intention. I am confident there is not consensus for this, in cases where a general reference covers the listed content. —WFC— 18:51, 1 August 2012 (UTC)
If membership in a list is contentious (eg say a list of people or organizations that support LGBT rights), there should be a cited reference for each member. If the membership in the list isn't contentious (list of people from a given country, for example) where the verification of the fact can be found by following the link, its better not to weigh down the list with those references. --MASEM (t) 18:58, 1 August 2012 (UTC)
I agree with both of the above points. I don't understand, though, how the proposed change would imply the requirement of a citation for material that is not likely to be challenged when it is explicitly talking about material that is likely to be challenged.
Either way, could this issue be addressed with an equally explicit notice that noncontroversial material in lists does not necessarily require an inline citation? For instance, "The verifiability policy states that material challenged or likely to be challenged must be attributed to a reliable published source using an inline citation; inline citations are not required for material that has not been and is not likely to be challenged." — Bdb484 (talk) 19:08, 1 August 2012 (UTC)
Well, actually thinking about it, there's another way of sourcing without inlines for contentious inclusions, and that is if the list itself, as a whole, is sourced within a single work (or sourced repeatedly in multiple works), such that one general reference applies to all the elements of the list. Mind you, I'm having a hard time coming up with a possible list example where inclusion is contentious and would be sufficiently notable. (EG: A list of a critic's worst films of all time would certainly be contentious, but why would we have a singular list about one critic's films? On the other hand, the worst films in financial terms would not be a contentious list). There's still some common sense here that requiring inline cites for contentious entries may not always be required. --MASEM (t) 19:18, 1 August 2012 (UTC)
I think the concerns above are about how the true statement could be misunderstood and abused, not about whether WP:V applies to lists. (For example, if an editor has trouble understanding that the list items are honestly not WP:LIKELY to be challenged.)
Masem, your example would not actually be an inline citation, and WP:V requires inlines for WP:MINREF material. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:24, 1 August 2012 (UTC)
Masem, Hollywood Ten might be what you're looking for.
And now that you mention it, it also seems like it might be good to explicitly mention that possibility in the MOS. Most lists -- to the extent they're cited at all -- seem to use citations for each item, which is admittedly a bit more cluttered.
What about something saying that when material has been or is likely to be challenged, inline citations must be attached to either the entries or to an introduction that covers all of them? — Bdb484 (talk) 19:47, 1 August 2012 (UTC)
I would just like to comment that if the list item is a link to a Wikipedia article, and that article satisfies WP's notability requirements (multiple independent citations to reliable sources), the list item itself doesn't really need citations because they are present in the underlying article. Dlabtot (talk) 01:53, 2 August 2012 (UTC)
That makes a few assumptions that often don't apply, but is incorrect anyway, I think. If the material is contentious or likely to be contested, WP:V requires the addition of an inline citation. — Bdb484 (talk) 11:46, 2 August 2012 (UTC)
That's in little doubt (from me at least). But if WP:V requires clarification, the most effective way of doing so is WP:V. —WFC— 14:32, 2 August 2012 (UTC)
Well, that's the thing. I think WP:V is clear and says what it's supposed to say. The gap I see is in MOS conformity. — Bdb484 (talk) 15:39, 2 August 2012 (UTC)

Character lists[edit]

I was reading over the page trying to look for proper formatting of a character list (e.g. video game characters) and I couldn't find a proper format. My question is what would be the proper way to format a list of characters? I've been working on a character list page and what I have done is a bulleted list, bolded the name of the character, put an endash, and then a summary of the character. Here's an example:

  • Kratos – The protagonist of the God of War series. The character is a power-hungry Spartan who, to save his life, is eventually forced to serve the Olympian god Ares. During one murderous rampage, Kratos accidentally kills his wife and child. Renouncing Ares and becoming a tormented soul, Kratos serves the gods for ten years (eventually becoming the God of War and revealed to be a demigod) until betrayed by his father Zeus. A convuluted series of attempts to free himself from the influence of the gods (and eventually the Titans) and exact vengeance follow, culminating with a final confrontation with Zeus. The character is voiced by Terrence C. Carson, with Antony Del Rio voicing the character as a child in God of War: Ghost of Sparta.

Would this be considered acceptable for a character list? I have seen other character pages where they have sub-sections for the characters. The problem with doing that with the page I've been editing is that there are 60+ characters. JDC808 (talk) 04:54, 6 August 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia:WikiProject Fictional characters has style guide and templates. Particularly take a look at their /Quality content#Featured Lists pointers. -- Quiddity (talk) 06:28, 6 August 2012 (UTC)

New RfC about Categorization of persons[edit]

Please see Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Categorization of persons: "Should we categorize people according to genetic and cultural heritage, faith, or sexual orientation? If so, what are our criteria for deciding an identity?" Thank you, IZAK (talk) 02:40, 30 August 2012 (UTC)

List titling[edit]

There is a discussion going on here on list titles in which interested editors may want to participate. UnitedStatesian (talk) 01:03, 11 October 2012 (UTC)

Conflicting instructions[edit]

From MOS talk:

WP:BULLETLIST says "As a matter of style, list items should start with a capital letter. They should not have a punctuation mark such as a period, a comma or a semi-colon at the end, except if a list item is one or more full sentences, in which case there is a period at the end." But MOS:#Bulleted and numbered lists says "When the elements are sentence fragments ... [they] are formatted consistently in either sentence case or lower case. Each element should end with a semicolon, with a period instead for the last element. Alternatively (especially when the elements are short), no final punctuation is used at all." (emphasis added)

How do we want to resolve this? — kwami (talk) 19:08, 21 October 2012 (UTC)

I compromised: consistent capitalization, no final punctuation unless required by items themselves. This reflects what we actually do, and I've not seen any objection to this format. I'm not claiming consensus, simply resolving the conflict until (or if) there is further discussion. — kwami (talk) 23:18, 21 October 2012 (UTC)
Years later, this is not fixed. We still have "When the elements are sentence fragments, the list is typically introduced by a lead fragment ending with a colon. When these elements are titles of works, they retain the original capitalization of the titles. Other elements are formatted consistently in either sentence case or lower case. Each element should end with a semicolon or comma (whichever you would use if the items were not formatted as a list), with a period instead for the last element. Alternatively (especially when the elements are short), no final punctuation is used at all" (my emphasis). Earlier in the page, "They should not have final punctuation unless they consist of complete sentences". One instruction says not to use final punctuation when elements are sentence fragments, and one instruction says to use a semicolon or comma, except if you decide not to, whatever that means. Yipes, I hardly ever see lists with semicolons or commas. Periods on every element, yes, I see those, but I remove them. The same semicolon blather is found near the end of WP:EMBED. Chris the speller yack 02:05, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
My usual practice is:
for sentences in a list to use sentence case and end in a period
for fragments in a list to use no closing punctuation
for fragments in a list to start with a capital letter or not depending on how they are being used
I understand that to be constant with WP:MOS, though that is confusing, but in disagreement with WP:LIST and WP:EMBED. I'd support changes to LIST and EMBED. SchreiberBike talk 04:26, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
I have made those changes. Chris the speller yack 21:33, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
Eek. What were the odds? Chris the speller, here it is, almost exactly 24 hours after you made the change, and I just happened onto the scene, looking for the "official word" on the use of semicolons in lists of sentence fragments, and I encountered silence. Making matters worse, I did encounter the previous bullet, which looks like this:
  • Use numbers rather than bullets only if:
    • a need to refer to the elements by number may arise;
    • the sequence of the items is critical; or
    • the numbering has some independent meaning, for example in a listing of musical tracks.
Actually, that is a lie – the "or" was at the beginning of the final bullet, but I doubt anyone would support that as being correct. I saw that silence as a deficiency in the MOS, especially where the MOS itself so clearly used the semicolon. Without any knowledge of the earlier conflict, I made the change listed below. But first, SchreiberBike, I agree with your assessment of the previous guideline as "blather", and I also agree that commas should never be used. However, I disagree that semicolons should be altogether eliminated. I was always taught that the semicolon should be used in lists of sentence fragments, or dependent clauses, when introduced by a lead fragment. In other words, the bulleted list shown above is correct. I haven't looked, but I daresay that other style guides would agree. Without further ado, here is how I modified the guideline:
  • Use the same grammatical form for all elements in a list, and do not mix sentences and sentence fragments as elements.
    • When the elements are complete sentences, each one is formatted with sentence case (i.e. the initial letter is capitalized) and a final period.
    • When the elements are sentence fragments, the list is typically introduced by a lead fragment ending with a colon. Each element fragment is formatted in lower case ending with a semicolon – except for the last one, which ends in a final period. Each element fragment, when coupled in turn with the lead fragment, should form a syntactically-correct sentence if it were to stand on its own.
    • When the elements are titles of works, they retain the original capitalization of the titles, without final punctuation.
    • Other elements are formatted consistently in either sentence case or lower case. No final punctuation is used.
I'd love to hear your thoughts. Thanks,  Grollτech (talk) 23:12, 16 July 2014 (UTC)
I thought there were two major styles of bulleted lists: those with whole sentences, and those with sentence fragments. The second type could be titles of works or some other sentence fragments. So there are three styles in total: sentences, fragments that are titles of works, and fragments that are not titles. Your modified guideline seems to have four styles ("Other elements" being the fourth), so now I'm confused. Before we go further, note that disambiguation pages have a style that fits with fragments that are not titles (well, mostly not titles). WP:DABSTYLE says "Entries are sentence fragments; do not end them with periods or other punctuation." Having done a lot of work with dab pages, now bulleted lists with ending punctuation, when not full sentences, look very strange to me. Don't you agree that the vast majority of the bulleted lists of sentence fragments on WP currently are without final punctuation? It might be time to have examples of properly formatted lists of all 3 types, or all 4 types. Chris the speller yack 02:51, 17 July 2014 (UTC)
@Grolltech: Oh, now I think I figured it out. You may be equating "sentence fragment" with "dependent clause", while I think of "sentence fragment" as one or more words, but less than a full sentence. Let's get that settled first. Chris the speller yack 03:00, 17 July 2014 (UTC)
I am no grammar expert; nonetheless I'll share my thoughts. I think the style described in green above works well for lists in running text, but to my eye the use of bullets ( • ) in a columnar list makes ending punctuation for each line unnecessary. I think the use of bullets also means that it is unnecessary to add the final conjunction (or/and) and the period. In restricted spaces like infoboxes, the same would apply to unbulleted columnar lists. SchreiberBike talk 03:42, 17 July 2014 (UTC)
Musdan77, I'd like to invite you to this discussion, in light of your revert, which I understand, but please take a moment to review this thread.]
SchreiberBike, I'm no grammar expert either, but I agree with the premise that you would not write:
For breakfast, I had:
  • eggs;
  • ham; and
  • coffee.
That would be foolish, and I think the original paragraph attempted to cover that scenario by saying, "Alternatively (especially when the elements are short), no final punctuation is used at all." I do know enough about grammar to know that the following sentence – which is achieved by simply removing the bullets – is gramatically correct:
"Use numbers rather than bullets only if: a need to refer to the elements by number may arise; the sequence of the items is critical; or the numbering has some independent meaning, for example in a listing of musical tracks"
That fits with the original paragraph's clumsily-worded, "Each element should end with a semicolon or comma (whichever you would use if the items were not formatted as a list), with a period instead for the last element."
So, Chris the speller, I think that you are correct as to the two "major" types (whole sentences and sentence fragments), but I think there are three types of "fragment" elements:
  • longer sentence clauses that are dependent on an introductory or "lead fragment";
  • titles of works; and
  • everything else.
For another point of view, Section 6.125 of the Chicago Manual of Style – self-proclaimed as "one of the most widely used and respected style guides in the United States" – says,
"In a numbered vertical list that completes a sentence begun in an introductory element and that consist of phrases or sentences with internal punctuation, semicolon may be used between the items, and a period should follow the final item. [...] If bullets were used instead of numbers ... the punctuation remain the same."
Interestingly, CMOS would not have us place a colon after the lead fragment. The conjunction on the penultimate line is also optional, and is trending out of favor.  Grollτech (talk) 01:57, 18 July 2014 (UTC)
For the record, I'm in basic agreement with all those who say that there are two (or 3) types. So, let's make sure that the MOS clearly shows the use for each one. --Musdan77 (talk) 02:32, 18 July 2014 (UTC)

Comma-separated lists[edit]

The section "Comma-separated lists" doesn't make any sense to me. 1) It does not actually show the rendered output of the code example; instead, it shows a rendering of completely different code. 2) I don't see how such a list (either one: the code example or the shown rendering) could possibly be useful in an infobox. 3) It refers to two examples; I see only one. 4) It misspells "info box". I suggest to remove the whole section. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 02:46, 30 December 2012 (UTC)

Dynamic formation of columns for a long list[edit]

Is there a set of HTML tags to form dynamic columns so as I widen the page, the columns expand in number? --Richard Arthur Norton (1958- ) (talk) 04:46, 6 January 2013 (UTC)

Suggestion for adding bit to clear things up about list[edit]

There are a rather large number of lists on Wikipedia that go to AFD and usually get kept. It would save a lot of time if things were clearer here. Can we eliminate the part about meeting the "notability guidelines" at the top? Or create a notability guideline for List? Or simply state "if the list includes multiple items that have their own Wikipedia article, and these are related enough to be listed together, then the list article is fine". I believe there was once something about a list aiding in navigation, then it was fine. List articles such as List of lists of lists are useful, but would you find a single reliable source to prove they have a reason to be here? There are hordes more list articles like that. Character list usually are saved, if at least a few characters have their own articles. It does of course depend on whatever small number of people randomly notice and show up at the AFD to comment, sometimes you just having people who hate all fictional articles and want them deleted, but most times the list is saved. Dream Focus 15:59, 13 January 2013 (UTC)

The problem here is that based on when we tried to define WP:LISTN at WP:N, there's so many different types of lists out there that no single piece of advice can work for them all in terms of its worthy for inclusion, whether that's based on notability, usefulness, etc. LISTN is purposely written to highlight the only documentable case where we're sure lists are kept (when the list itself is shown notable via the GNG), but that doesn't mean no other list is inappropriate, and in fact we point back to LISTPURP to show that several types of lists are kept often. I don't think removing the advice about notability is right, as we do want editors to consider notability of the list topic particularly if it is informational, but we can't enforce rules on what is notable or not when it comes to lists. --MASEM (t) 16:09, 13 January 2013 (UTC)
You can't say that "notability guidelines apply", and then say in the next paragraph "There is no present consensus for how to assess the notability ". That doesn't make any sense at all. People arguing to delete a list simply because they don't see any reliable sources specifically mentioning the item, is just a constant thing. As long as it says they have to meet the notability guidelines, we have a problem, unless there is a subject specific guideline for list. Or just say: "A list is notable if there are reliable sources for its content, such as Category:International reactions. The list is also notable if the items are related and there are at least three of them with their own Wikipedia articles. Wouldn't that include all notable list? Can you think of one that wouldn't fall into one of those two things? Dream Focus 16:22, 13 January 2013 (UTC)
I think it's more the case that notability guidelines do apply, but how they are supposed to be worked into a list article is in question. For example, I fully support the idea of things like lists of characters as spinouts of the main work they are part of (as long as article size issue is a problem). Here, notability should be show at the work level - not the character level - and thus outside of re-establishing what the work is on the list, we don't need to show any GNG-type notability there, since we're assuming its established in the work article. This implies that we should only have lists of characters for notable works, and perhaps this also sets a level of detail that's appropriate for these - eg we can justify the half-dozen Simpsons character lists due to the length and popularity of the show , but we wouldn't be able to support the same for a show with all of 13 episodes that was cancelled mid-season. (Note that I know others support this view, but there's several that don't so we couldn't document that advice). So what this leaves is that notability should be considered - whether in the list, the parent article of the list, or the elements of the list - but how to access it for purposes of AFD is extremely fuzzy and impossible to document. If your list shows no aspect anywhere of notability, it will likely be deleted, but that's the best piece of consistent advice we can give. --MASEM (t) 16:31, 13 January 2013 (UTC)
We need to have an example that says you can have list articles for characters/villains for notable shows then. An AFD just closed where more people said keep than delete, but it was deleted anyway, despite being a character list for a massively popular show that has lasted for many years, made billions of dollars in merchandising, and spawned various other notable shows from it. [11] The closing rational was that all articles, even list, must prove they meet the notability guidelines on their own. So a rather massive number of list articles like this will now be nominated, and eliminated. Dream Focus 12:13, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
  • I'm working on a subject specific guideline for List articles at User:Dream Focus/Wikipedia:Notability (lists). Please join in a discussion on the talk page about it, what should be added, removed, or changed, and also a list of any list article you believe belongs in Wikipedia but doesn't pass the GNG right now. Dream Focus 12:38, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
    • Trust me, you are wasting your time trying to get anything more exact. We tried to suggest similar rules in considering the wording for LISTN but simply couldn't get consensus to support anything. The AFD you mentioned above is an example of where the pattern where characters articles are usually kept - and indicative of why we couldn't get consistence advice. --MASEM (t) 14:38, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
    • And "Every item listed has its own reference to prove it belongs there, or the information is not challenged." will not fly. That's just showing WP:V, which of course is necessary, but nothing about being indiscriminate; it's a necessary but not sufficient condition for a stand-alone list. I could use this to make a list of businesses in a certain city (using a yellow pages to do so), or a list of people living on my street. Notability is about keeping WP free of indiscriminate information, hence why lists should be built with that consideration even if we can't exactly define how to show it. --MASEM (t) 14:51, 15 January 2013 (UTC)

Non-numbered ordered lists and other html quirks[edit]

I think that the ability to create non-numbered ordered lists should be mentioned, since it's not trivial to retrieve how to do so if an editor isn't an experienced with html. I mean,

  1. this
  2. kind
  3. of
  4. list


  1. lists that don't start from 1

Nineko (talk) 03:37, 4 February 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for adding that; it's appreciated. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 01:25, 6 February 2013 (UTC)
I'm glad you liked that :)
Nineko (talk) 05:19, 6 February 2013 (UTC)
you can achieve the second case using a hybrid of wikimarkup and html,
  1. lists
  2. that
  3. don't
  4. start
  5. from 1
Frietjes (talk) 17:55, 6 February 2013 (UTC)
Now that's interesting, I didn't know that, either!
Nineko (talk) 17:57, 6 February 2013 (UTC)

Need for a Manual of Style/Indexes of articles or similar manual of style article[edit]

Hello all,

I would like to bring up a topic of discussion concerning some work that I have been doing recently, and the issue I ran across. All throughout Wikipedia, there are several different looks for indexes of articles. I have looked at a few of these lists; some have every single article listed on one "index" article, and others have the index split up into several subarticles based on what letter, number, or symbol at the start of the name of the articles in that index. The fact that there is no streamlined manual of style seems to be a bit of an issue when trying to determine how to write these articles (and in the case of Index of mathematics articles, what namespace to place the articles). I propose that there can be a consensus reached about creating manual of style guidelines specifically for this type of list. At this point, I have found some other manual of styles that could assist in a consensus for this decision: WP:ARTICLESIZE, WP:SPLITLIST. Besides mentioning the existence of indexes of articles in this manual of style, there is very little information about this topic anywhere in the Wikipedia namespace. Steel1943 (talk) 20:42, 7 February 2013 (UTC)

I'm just wondering why there are all of these lists of lists articles (there's even a List of lists of lists). Isn't that what categories are for? What's the difference? --Musdan77 (talk) 23:46, 7 February 2013 (UTC)
An index is an alphabetical listing of a certain topic, whereas a list of lists is exactly that: a list of other lists. These two topics are not one in the same. I'm referring specifically to the articles that are usually found in Category:Indexes of topics, or can be properly tagged in that category. Steel1943 (talk) 02:05, 8 February 2013 (UTC)
Musdan77: many categories get deleted with an option to listify them; see e.g. Wikipedia:Categories for discussion/Log/2013 January 29#Category:Foods named after people. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 07:07, 8 February 2013 (UTC)
I'm not too clear on how this discussion has went off topic and became a discussion about Musdan77's question, which does not relate at all to the question I am asking. Would anyone have input on the topic I brought up about possibly needing a manual of style for index-style list articles? Steel1943 (talk) 07:47, 8 February 2013 (UTC)

Appearance of bullets[edit]

Has there been a change in the appearance of bullets? Theoldsparkle (talk) 12:55, 8 May 2013 (UTC)

I don't think so, try your browser settings. --Dkriegls (talk to me!) 05:36, 4 June 2013 (UTC)

List of current heads of state and government[edit]

Looking at List of current heads of state and government, I see that some entries on the list are in small font and some in regular font. No explanation is provided as to why this is so. Looking at the infoboxes at the articles of the relevant nations, all names and titles are in the regular size there, so this seems to be some local peculiarity of the list. I have asked on the talk page for some short explanation so that we can make it clear to readers why there is a distinction, rather than letting them guess, but so far no comprehensible response.

I can find no formatting help in the various relevant sections of the MoS, but I feel that if there is a reason beyond the personal taste of one or two editors, then it should be made plain as a guide for the reader and as a help to new contributors to the list, as there are often people who update the list after elections or other changes and may be unaware of whatever local methodology applies. --Pete (talk) 20:32, 10 May 2013 (UTC)

All the type looks the same size to me on my browser. GeorgeLouis (talk) 04:26, 26 May 2013 (UTC)

Request for comment[edit]

Should there be a photo gallery at List of sopranos in non-classical music? Make your comments at Talk:List of sopranos in non-classical music. GeorgeLouis (talk) 04:19, 26 May 2013 (UTC)

Templates for lists in tables[edit]

My addition of the words "commas may be used, but {{Flatlist}} is preferred, for improved accessibility:" has been reverted, with an edit summary of "no consensus for replacing comma lists with flatlists". Aside from WP:DNRNC applying, there is widespread consensus for the use of that template; its in most infoboxes' documentation and used on hundreds of thousands of articles. The template emits proper HTML list, in accordance with HTML standards, improves accessibility, and provides better data granularity for parsers. User:RexxS gave a good, detailed explanation. The wording should be restored. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 19:31, 3 June 2013 (UTC)

I disagree that bullets are better than commas. Perhaps you should consider the hcomma class? Frietjes (talk) 19:35, 3 June 2013 (UTC)
The issue is not whether "bullets are better than commas", but whether we should use proper list markup for lists. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 20:51, 3 June 2013 (UTC)
I'm with Andy, standardizing the format to {{Flatlist}} is preferred. The text doesn't omit use of commas. --Dkriegls (talk to me!) 05:35, 4 June 2013 (UTC)
There are two reasons to prefer {{Flatlist}} or {{Hlist}} to commas:
  1. Marking up a list as such helps natural text recognition programs to correctly identify the structure. This is most useful inside infoboxes and summary tables, which are most likely to be targeted by those programs.
  2. Using list markup can be a help to screen readers which are capable of announcing the number of items in a list. Sighted readers can quickly spot the number of items in a list and it is easy for us to look back and count them if we wish. Visually impaired readers may find that rather more difficult and the opportunity to glean extra information about a list from its markup is a worthwhile improvement to their experience of using Wikipedia. Clearly, if the list only contains two or three items, there is no great advantage for screen readers in marking that up as a list.
However, we are all accustomed to having list items separated by commas in running prose - so much so that nobody would seriously consider replacing such lists in the normal body of an article. In this case, it seems sensible to alert editors to the advantages of {{Flatlist}} and {{Hlist}}. It would certainly not be unreasonable to describe them as "preferred" wherever a summary is used, but not in running prose. --RexxS (talk) 15:39, 4 June 2013 (UTC)
sounds like more reason for the hcomma class, that way you wouldn't have to change the visual appearance just to get list markup. Frietjes (talk) 17:49, 4 June 2013 (UTC)
Has hcomma made any headway? I've had flatlists removed that I'd added, and one argument was that the dots are "ugly" (though personally I'd prefer the dots). Curly Turkey ⚞¡gobble!⚟ 01:29, 20 May 2014 (UTC)

removing duplication in comparisons[edit]

(I am writing this here because Category:Comparisons mentions WP:Comparison, which redirects here.)

There are a lot of comparison tables in Wikipedia. Just for Category:Software_comparisons, there are about 200 pages, and that's not counting sub-categories. For every comparison page, wikipedians need to painstakingly edit huge tables with multiple components, and very often duplicate information that shows up in the individual page anyways. This seems like an awful waste of time.

Is there a way to collect that data from the individual pages instead of having to copy-paste it? This would reduce data duplication and make the table much easier to manage in a larger scale. --TheAnarcat (talk) 18:01, 18 July 2013 (UTC)

You can transclude pages into others (and use tags like noinclude or include-only to prevent or add stuff). TV shows with episode guides have detailed templates that do this - brief table entries for full episode lists and longer summaries for season lists.
The caution here is that all the data from the original entries must be in the same format for the comparison, which may or may not work. It's possible, but doubtful a uniform solution for all. --MASEM (t) 18:34, 18 July 2013 (UTC)

List-related templates at TfD[edit]

The maintenance templates {{ORList}}, {{inclusion}}, {{famous}}, and {{famous players}} have been nominated for deletion. Someone not using his real name (talk) 17:58, 7 August 2013 (UTC)

Selection criteria[edit]

The Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Stand-alone lists article has a section on "Selection criteria" with WP:LSC and WP:CSC pointing to sub-sections of that section. There's also Template:List missing criteria which is presently worded such that it applies to standalone lists.

I would assume that same rules or guidelines about selection criteria for standalone lists apply to Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Embedded lists. I am surprised that article is silent on the issue. Occasionally I've run across embedded lists where the selection criteria need clarification. For example:

If these were standalone lists we could hatnote the articles using {{List missing criteria}} while editors work on a better selection criteria. For now, I did a workaround using {{citation needed}} with an embedded comment.

As a proposal - I'd like to move the selection criteria language from the standalone list article into this article. WP:LSC, WP:CSC, and other shortcuts would also be shifted along with rewording Template:List missing criteria. --Marc Kupper|talk 19:59, 18 August 2013 (UTC)

I think I agree. If I remember correctly, the issue arises with embedded lists in that an article's subject is clear, but the editors add catch-all embedded list about that subject. I don't agree with these catch-alls and some of the them are explicitly discouraged (e.g. Trivia sections), but they are there and that is the resistance I anticipate from this move. --Dkriegls (talk to me!) 17:00, 19 August 2013 (UTC)

"Comparison of..." lists[edit]

I see we have rather numerous such articles, but they're neither mentioned here not covered by any other guideline that I can find. It seems to me most of these aren't actually comparisons and are just (pompously) titled so. I've started a discussion about some specific such lists at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Computing. Someone not using his real name (talk) 16:49, 13 January 2014 (UTC)

Alphabetical order?[edit]

I've noticed that there is a discrepancy in the way that "St." is alphabetized in the lists of U.S. counties; some put it where "Saint" would go, some put it in the St-s. I've also noticed that the Wikipedia articles on collation and alphabetical order name no strict convention, and that the manual of style has no specific guidelines on the preferred alphabetical standard for Wikipedia. Should we adopt some sort of consistent standard, or just let each article be different? Someone the Person (talk) 16:23, 25 April 2014 (UTC)

If it's consistent within each article it shouldn't pose a particular problem. The most obvious way to handle it is to not abbreviate in the first place. Gigs (talk) 18:05, 25 April 2014 (UTC)
I remember looking hard for such instructions when I started at Wikipedia. I just found Help:Alphabetical order which describes automated alphabetization of capital letters before from lower case letters. For instance in this example Schreiber's Green Lizard is sorted before Schreiber's bat. That's certainly different from how I've alphabetized. I think the encyclopedia would benefit from a standard way of alphabetizing. If you're up for proposing a system, I'd be interested in seeing it. I did put this together for my own use when I was spending a lot of time on surname pages. SchreiberBike talk 22:47, 25 April 2014 (UTC)
I'm actually surprised there isn't a standard. Perhaps this question should be asked over at the manual of style main page, to see if any editors over there recall any such previous efforts to standardize and what the reason for not doing so was. If there hasn't been any previous effort, I think it makes for a respectable cause. Dkriegls (talk to me!) 04:59, 27 April 2014 (UTC)
The archives are searchable at WT:MOS. Check for discussion in the WT:CFD talk page too, perhaps? Or where ever else categorization is being figured out. And, yes, this should be covered somewhere, and yes, we should advocate that the search key be for the non-abbreviated version (Saint). Other standard cases are to treat characters with diacritics as if without for search purposes (e.g. search key for a bio of "Elías Blöm" should be "Blom, Elias"), and Mac/Mc/M' names are done as if all "Mac", etc. I'm sure there are some external publications somewhere that outline how to do all of this sanely. We should find, review and synthesize them into a standard here. This become more important the larger our categories get, especially when full of things like human surnames and geographical names based on Saints and such, where spelling is hard to predict.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  12:42, 27 April 2014 (UTC)
Capitals are sorted before lower case because that's the order they are in the ASCII table. Of course, that's a little skewed here because mediawiki doesn't support case sensitive first letters by default, probably partially for that exact reason. Gigs (talk) 16:29, 28 April 2014 (UTC)