Wikipedia talk:Template namespace

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RfC notice[edit]

  • RfC concerning protection of templates and the creation of a template editor user-right. - jc37 13:16, 29 May 2012 (UTC)

New RfC[edit]

There is a Request for comment about the need/redundancy of Largest cities/city population templates. This is an open invitation for participating in the request for comment on Wikipedia:Requests for comment/City population templates. Should you wish to respond to the invitation, your contribution to this discussion will be very much appreciated! If in doubt, please see suggestions for responding. Mrt3366(Talk?) (New thread?) 10:26, 13 September 2012 (UTC)

Part of this page looks bogus[edit]

See here. Any ideas if any of that section is necessary? Biosthmors (talk) 19:50, 2 December 2012 (UTC)

Removed the whole tutorial. It was out-dated when it was placed there, and this is the wrong page for "how-to"'s anyway. --Netoholic @ 04:30, 17 June 2014 (UTC)


Kumar Shailesh, a versatile Sadri film actor, has showcased his talent through all kinds of films, romantic, comedy and action. The variety tells enough about his versatility.[citation needed] His Nickname is vickey. He lives with his famili at resides near Coochbehar. Shailesh was born at Jamuwa, a small village in bhojpur dist in Bihar and spent his childhood days at mathabhanga or in Coochbehar Dist in westbengal. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Kumar Shailesh (Actor) (talkcontribs) 07:01, 10 December 2012 (UTC)

Lua programming language[edit]

We got Scribunto extension installed - please see Wikipedia:Lua. Could we add a note about the possibility to use Lua to the page contents? Lua is considered quite a big step forward by template makers so I think it is worth mentioning.--Kozuch (talk) 11:18, 11 March 2013 (UTC)

Added to the History section. --Netoholic @ 04:26, 17 June 2014 (UTC)

Delete all single-use templates?[edit]

See Wikipedia:Templates_for_discussion/Log/2013_September_23#Template:Seetal_railway_line, re {{Seetal railway line}}

There is a view (thankfully being resisted) that templates should be deleted because (and only because) they are only used in one instance.

This viewpoint has been supported by quoting Wikipedia:Template namespace guideline: "Templates should not do the work of article content in the main article namespace; instead, place the text directly into the article."

Obviously a dogmatic interpretation of this would be a foolish nonsense and no sensible editor would do so. However this is Wikipedia, and such behaviour is commonplace. In this TfD situation, this mere guideline has already been cited as policy to justify such a deletion.

There may be many reasons why a template might be useful, even when only used once. In the specific case here, these RFD templates represent railway route maps and they are a thoroughly unpleasant bit of coding, requiring skill with both templates and familiarity with the RFD icons. Yet the RFD maps are generally more stable than article bodies. We do not want such a thing placed in the article body itself. The article body doesn't benefit and the bulk of complex and fragile rocket-science code it would dump into the main edit window is just asking for damage. Apart from which, speaking as a software engineer with decades of experience, never rule something out because you haven't yet thought of a use for it. Yes, there is rarely any gain to be had by splitting articles up into a composition exercise from isolated templates. However should another editor have seen a reason to do so, later editors should be very wary of permanently subst:ing the template contents into the article as that is no more likely to offer a measurable gain. We should certainly not have a policy, or extend a guideline, to support bulk removal of templates on those grounds alone. For clarity, we should not have a guideline that can be misinterpreted in such a way. As we appear to at present, it warrants re-wording. Andy Dingley (talk) 16:06, 25 September 2013 (UTC)n s

  • I think the basic principle is valid when it refers to "article content", but an RDT (Route Diagram Template) is a technical construct with long passages of coded sub-templates that would obstruct the editing of the regular text that makes up most of a normal article. That exposed code could also be subject to inadvertant disruption by editors with no experience of what all that "stuff" does. I have seen spelling corrected in an RDT, probably auto-corrected, which completely crashed it. Secondarywaltz (talk) 16:50, 25 September 2013 (UTC)
  • What would you say about creating a universal template for route diagrams, coded with Lua? This sounds like a perfect use case. Keφr 17:44, 25 September 2013 (UTC)
    • If you want to write such a template, then feel free. However it's creating yet another domain-specific markup to describe the route diagrams, which even fewer editors will understand. If you were also planning to convert existing templates, then that would need an automatic tool building to convert them.
    As to this issue, then I'm just here to oppose the, "Single use is a sufficient condition to delete a template" Andy Dingley (talk) 18:53, 25 September 2013 (UTC)
    • …because the current system is so simple and obvious to understand. So simple that you have to isolate markup for the route diagrams and put it in a separate page.
    Using Lua may simplify markup and obviate the need for single-use templates in this case. To be fair, we also have Category:Latest preview software release templates, which also seem to be exempt from this rule. However, Wikidata may soon remove the need for these too. The question is: shall we do away with the rule, amend the rule to make an exception for this practice, or fix practice to fit the rule? This is not just a side proposal, but one quite central to the problem. Keφr 19:18, 25 September 2013 (UTC)
    It's not the markup that's the problem, it's the complexity of the route icons. Andy Dingley (talk) 22:11, 25 September 2013 (UTC)
    Let me quote a person who is supposedly an expert here: "they are a thoroughly unpleasant bit of coding, requiring skill with both templates and familiarity with the RFD icons. [...] The article body doesn't benefit and the bulk of complex and fragile rocket-science code it would dump into the main edit window is just asking for damage." Keφr 04:40, 26 September 2013 (UTC)
  • What's that got to do with the...? We are not discussing the complexities of RDTs here - well you are! Stop doing that and focus! The guideline says: "Templates should not do the work of article content in the main article namespace; instead, place the text directly into the article." RDTs are not text and are not doing the work of content, so this does not apply. The End. Secondarywaltz (talk) 22:24, 25 September 2013 (UTC)
So then why are RDT templates being nominated for deletion on this ground alone? Andy Dingley (talk) 23:45, 25 September 2013 (UTC)
WikiZombies! But you probably knew that. Secondarywaltz (talk) 00:07, 26 September 2013 (UTC)
They are not doing the work of content? You mean, they can be safely deleted and all it would change is that the navigation would be less convenient? Why defend them so strongly, then? Keφr 04:40, 26 September 2013 (UTC)

Proposal: The Template namespace is not a repository of external data[edit]

This is inspired by a TfD discussion related to a sub-template of {{cite doi}} (used in references). The intent of this template and the sub-templates such as {{Cite doi/10.5665.2Fsleep.1378}} is to create a system of preformatted references for each DOI instance. There are over 67 million DOIs in existence and this collection of sub-templates has already grown to 49k at Category:Cite doi templates, created mostly by bot (Special:Contributions/Citation bot). Similar schemes have been created around {{pmid}} (11k sub-templates), {{RussiaAdmMunRef}} (1400), Category:Middle-earth source templates (96), just to name a few (more at Category:Specific-source templates). Essentially, these template schemes are moving citation data (which is article material) and attempting to create a raw data repository within the template namespace. Most are only used on one or few articles, and in many cases become abandoned which editors subst: or replace them, or find that the given formatting doesn't fit the needs of the article they are working on. The additional danger is that someone will change a citation template to fit one article, but cause cited information within another article to be invalid. Now, I think a small number of source-specific templates may have their use, but clearly we don't want to recreate 67 million-entry databases either.

Along the lines of Wikipedia is not an indiscriminate collection of information, I'd like to propose that we produce a policy which limits the use of the template namespace, so that it does not become a repository for arbitrary data. -- Netoholic @ 22:16, 10 June 2014 (UTC)

Some of these also contain a block of citations together for some reason that just locks up articles unnecessarily (see Template:Latin_phrases_references used on about 30 pages learning towards delete, Template:Lunar_crater_references on over 1400 pages and Template:Australian Trilobite References leaning towards keep because it's used on nine articles that people find difficult to copy and paste). There's also Category:External link templates. Some people argue for some of these based on the fact that certain websites that are linked so (say IMDb) could change their fundamental structure and rather than having a bot or someone fix the problems, it can be done via a template. I don't agree because it fundamentally makes it more difficult for new users to see what we're doing. For example, at the discussion Netoholic mentioned (note, I was the one who started it), someone mentioned my concern that it was orphaned and "solved" it by making plain text into a template which does not help even regular users because they'd be guessing if that would work unless we actually create all 67 million templates. This whole thing seems strange given WP:T3 which seems to clearly lean towards removing attempts to create templates for plain text like this. -- Ricky81682 (talk) 02:00, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
Calling it as I see it: the OP's post appears to be full of straw men; I do not know if that was intentional or through a misunderstanding. Straw man 1: The information in cite doi templates is neither indiscriminate nor arbitrary. It is specific information that editors have deliberately chosen to insert into articles. Straw man 2: As for the alleged danger, please provide an instance of this happening. I have edited many thousands of these templates and thousands of articles that use them, and I have not seen an instance of this. Straw man 3: We are nowhere near 67 million. What we have now is a small number, compared to our total article count, of useful templates that prevent articles from being cluttered with long journal citations and allow the same citation to be used in multiple articles. This is basic modular construction, used in computer programming and many other fields of endeavor.
It has been proposed elsewhere that this information reside somewhere other than within Wikipedia and be called from within articles. That might be an interesting avenue to pursue, though I don't know how it would work. – Jonesey95 (talk) 13:11, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
"specific information that editors have deliberately chosen to insert into articles" - no, thats the problem. This is data which is not in the articles, but stored in the template namespace. -- Netoholic @ 17:07, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
Just because it is stored in template namespace, doesn't mean that it wasn't deliberately chosen to insert into articles. We use templates all the time for information that is in multiple different articles so that only one place needs to be changed in order to change it in all articles using it. This is no different. -DJSasso (talk) 19:09, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
For navigation and presentation purposes, yes, but almost all template use involves storing the external data as template-call parameters within the article. In this case, the data is stored in the template namespace and is separated from the edit history of the article which relies on that citation information. Also, if the citation is changed in the template (say if an update, correction, or new edition is released), then referenced material within articles could be invalidated. Templates like this don't allow for variations in formatting tailored to each article, nor do they allow detailed information, such as specific page references. Data which is external to Wikipedia doesn't belong anywhere except the articles themselves. Internal Wikipedia data (page links, formatting) is what templates are for. -- Netoholic @ 19:31, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
Re variations in formatting: Your argument that it does not allow variations in formatting, while true, is a non-starter. As is very explicitly stated in a banner notice at the top of template:cite doi, format variations are not intended to be provided. The user is explicitly told that they should not use the template in articles where citations are not formatted in the manner described. I see no reason that this should be a consideration. It is always the responsibility of the editor making an addition/change to an article to be compliant with WP guidelines. This template, like any template, is a tool. It is not intended to perform all of the duties of editing a page.— Makyen (talk) 22:21, 12 June 2014 (UTC)

In addition to the TfD mentioned above this is also being discussed here, and at Wikipedia:Bot owners' noticeboard#‎User:Citation bot - mass creation of sub-templates. Please don't split discussion like that. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 13:19, 11 June 2014 (UTC)

That discussion is about a bot exceeding its mandate (which drew attention to the problem of people using templates to store external data). This is a discussion about what policy guidelines might be necessary to prevent that. -- Netoholic @ 17:07, 11 June 2014 (UTC)

Information: This thread contains some statements which imply a misunderstanding as to how {{Cite doi}} works. {{Cite doi}} was created in 2008 as a method of having reusable citations with bot-filled information when the editor supplies only a DOI. It is a generic method of obtaining a complete citation from only a DOI. A new template is created in a sub-page of template:Cite doi if and only if an editor enters a {{cite doi}} into a page with a |doi= containing a DOI for which a individual template does not already exist. Sometime after such a new DOI is entered a new template is created which contains the bot-filled data for that DOI. The {{cite doi}} then transcludes that new template wherever it is used with a |doi= containing that DOI.

  • Since May 2008, 49k such templates have been created.
  • There is no danger of 67 million templates being created, contrary to what is implied in both the first and second post in this thread.

— Makyen (talk) 22:21, 12 June 2014 (UTC)

One minor tweak to the statement above by my esteemed colleague Makyen: a net of 49K cite doi templates have been created. A non-trivial number (hundreds, at least, maybe a thousand or more) have been speedy-deleted because they were created in error and/or are not linked from or transcluded in any articles. I routinely mark new cite doi templates with the CSD-G6 tag (or fill them in manually, if the DOI is valid but not linked to yet) after being directed to them by the CS1 citation error categories. I do not routinely delete well-formed but orphaned cite doi templates, figuring that they are not hurting anyone. – Jonesey95 (talk) 00:33, 13 June 2014 (UTC)
This discussion is about setting a guideline to dissuade people from using the template space for storing data, it is not a referendum on how {{cite doi}} work - that template is used as an example of a system which can grow indefinitely without a policy to guide it. --Netoholic @ 01:37, 13 June 2014 (UTC)
If you don't mind me asking, how many do you think you're planning on creating? As of April 2014, there were approximately 454k non-redirect templates. As such, the doi template constitute more than 10% of all templates at the moment. -- Ricky81682 (talk) 05:16, 17 June 2014 (UTC)
The thing is it actually doesn't matter what percentage of templates are doi templates. They are useful both individually and as a group. Even if (which I am not suggesting for a moment) we created all 67 million doi templates the impact on the servers would be negligible, the impact on maintenance would be negligible, the impact on namespace conservation would be negligible. All the best: Rich Farmbrough13:22, 17 June 2014 (UTC).
More straw men, hooray! I have probably marked more cite doi templates for speedy deletion than I have created. – Jonesey95 (talk) 14:57, 17 June 2014 (UTC)

Subproposal: some criteria for citation templates that call on subtemplates[edit]

Assume that the main proposal is rejected, can we formulate some rules on subtemplates then? In comparison, Template:Cite CAstat works by having the parameters in the template and pulls only the quotation from the subpage. Each doi is unique so there are a number of calls (although the main template doesn't seem to go into the subtemplate parameters). At the least, CAstat could have the url being stored in the subpage so that the URLs can be distinguishable per subpage. Template:RussiaAdmMunRef (about 1400 subtemplates) also has the subtemplates in a separate category. I think I would prefer that the subtemplates be placed in a separate category and maybe have some structure behind it in case someone else wants to create a different citation format for the subtemplates. I could imagine a use where someone wants to cite a particular doi template but only the year and date (for a parenthetical citation format) or even some weirdness where people want to pull two doi templates or other combinations, it's a wiki, it'll come up somewhere. -- Ricky81682 (talk) 00:27, 18 June 2014 (UTC)

These are prime examples of why we have Lua and Wikidata. The Template namespace is the wrong place for this sort of complex external data scheme. Its highly inefficient, hard to watch over, and hard to maintain when the creators of these schemes go on wikibreaks. Its why rather than try to think of other equally complex solutions, like endorsing sub-templates, we instead go for the real problem of moving external data out of the namespace. --Netoholic @ 01:57, 18 June 2014 (UTC)

Proposal: we do nothing twice[edit]

I think everything that's done at least twice should be stored in case people want to use it again. Why make more work for us? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:48, 14 June 2014 (UTC)

Good idea, what exactly are you referring to ? Mlpearc (open channel) 14:33, 29 June 2014 (UTC)

Templates for editors only: allowed in more places than just Talkspace.[edit]

About guideline "[...] Templates that provide information only of service to editors belong on an article's talk page."

I think this should say something like "do not belong in content space". As it is written now, we can not use an editors-aimed template in subject spaces like WP:, Help: and Template: (documentation). -DePiep (talk) 14:26, 29 June 2014 (UTC)

Good call, I'll clarifiy it. Thanks. --Netoholic @ 22:28, 30 June 2014 (UTC)
Thx. BTW, I still don't know what "content space" exactly envelopes (Lua seems to have it listed). Check this: is a template home page content space (like template:periodic table)? Its /doc included then? -DePiep (talk) 00:00, 1 July 2014 (UTC)
Articles are "content space", everything is is in non-content space. Messages directed solely at editors should not be visible on articles. -- Netoholic @ 00:14, 1 July 2014 (UTC)
(OT from here) Are you sure? Categories can't be content? -DePiep (talk) 00:52, 1 July 2014 (UTC)
Check [1]. It promises, but it is the worst documentation area in wikiworld ever. -DePiep (talk) 01:00, 1 July 2014 (UTC)
Categories are a navigational aid and aren't primarily article content. As far as that Scribunto/Lua item - I think that is a general function. A wiki could define more than one "content space" - on english Wikipedia we only have one (the articles), but other wikis might have several. The template guidelines on this page are just for english Wikipedia, they aren't technical restrictions, but rather instructions for our use. --Netoholic @ 01:10, 1 July 2014 (UTC)
Splitting hairs: you write "primarily article content". 'primarily' is an escape. But all right: if you will consider my OP, everything is fine. -DePiep (talk) 01:23, 1 July 2014 (UTC)
What I meant was that categories aren't a primary source for content - you wouldn't add a category to an article unless the main content of the article supported that category. --Netoholic @ 01:32, 1 July 2014 (UTC)