Wikipedia talk:WikiProject U.S. states/state templates

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Note: If for some reason WikiProject U.S. states (or anyone else) decides to delete this page, please instead move it to User:MrD9/state templates. Thanks. //MrD9 06:31, 19 March 2006 (UTC)

An effort to standardize U.S. state templates has already begun and is currently in progress. You can assist editors who are contributing to the standardization by either joining this discussion or, if you are skilled in CSS and wiki markup, restyling the templates so that they conform with already standardized templates such as Template:Alaska and Template:Colorado.

The following templates are currently being debated, whether here, on templates' talk pages, or on users' talk pages. Please take care when making major edits to them before a consensus is reached.

Webdinger BLAH | SZ 01:15, 30 August 2006 (UTC)


Harmonizing all U.S. states/state templates[edit]

I think we could start harmonize all U.S. states/state templates. I already harmonized Template:Alaska and Template:Hawaii couple days ago. The reason is that I went to this page Wikipedia:Canadian wikipedians' notice board/discussion#Harmonizing province templates 4 days ago. User:BigBang11 22 March 2006 21:23 PST (UTC)

I agree with you--while the colors and minor details could be customized for each state, it would be nice if the template sizes, titles, and basic layouts and categories matched each other.
I attempted to standardize the size of the templates (to see why, see, for example, the bottom of New York metropolitan area) becuase many pages have more than one state's template on them. I used 94%, which I had seen in a few other places with international templates. You are using 90%. Regardless of what is chosen or is more common, they should all use the same size (preferably the one that is most common on WP in general, since not only state templates appear with state templates on many pages (there are often city/county/international/other ones on pages).
Additionally, you should potentially provide a link to this page in your edit summaries if possible. //MrD9 02:39, 24 March 2006 (UTC)
I forgot--there should also be a consistent naming format. For example, Rhode Island's template says "The State of Rhode Island," while others say simply "State/Commonwealth of x." I also would suggest wikilinking the State/Commonwealth portion of the title to U.S. state, which is standard in many state articles themselves and useful for those unfamiliar with the U.S. //MrD9 02:42, 24 March 2006 (UTC)
I've harominzed them a bit, making them all 94% wide with 75px flags (except RI, which is square.) They still need some work, but I think they look better while still having some level of customization. Lovelac7 03:40, 27 August 2006 (UTC)
As an effort to improve these templates' aesthetics and readibility, I'm going to set the standard font size at 11px and improve all state templates slightly. You can see the beginnings of my efforts for all 50 templates at Template:Colorado. Let me know if you disapprove or think we need a better compromise. — Webdinger BLAH | SZ 21:47, 27 August 2006 (UTC)
I think some sort of consensus needs to be reached over the alignment of the links—prior to Lovelac7's standardization, many headings were aligned to the right and the links to the left. Some editors have made the text align back to the left again, resulting in a possible edit war. How should the headings and links be aligned?Webdinger BLAH | SZ 21:52, 27 August 2006 (UTC)
I'm reverting Louisiana. Please bring changes for dicussion first. Centering each of the sections is a sign of poor graphical design. --Kunzite 22:53, 27 August 2006 (UTC)
I don't care if the links are centered or left/right aligned, just as long as it's somewhat consistant. I chose one style and stuck with it, but I have no preference. Lovelac7 22:59, 27 August 2006 (UTC)
Kunzite, what if each section were to be differentiated with a different color, as all of the state templates up to Template:Illinois are on Wikipedia:WikiProject U.S. states/state templates? Please contribute any ideas regarding a possible consensus on how all the links should be aligned. — Webdinger BLAH | SZ 00:19, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
I like the left-align better. Centering of the capital row looks bad due to the great amount of blank space between "Capital" and the capital name. --JW1805 (Talk) 02:46, 30 August 2006 (UTC)
What about the striping that I've been placing into state templates lately? (See Template:Colorado for an example.) This may be sufficient differentiation between the sections, because the eye can easily travel along the line to the center of the template. Whichever alignment we choose, it might be important to maintain a different color for each section, merely for ease of use and readability. — Webdinger BLAH | SZ 03:11, 30 August 2006 (UTC)

Regarding standardization of state templates[edit]

I know I am entering this discussion late, but as requested will share my thoughts on nav boxes in general and state templates in particular. Many of us, myself included, have been designing nav boxes for every conceivable purpose, until some of our articles have become bottom heavy, to say the least, with nav boxes. Once several people made this clear to me, I began trying to figure out designs for high level nav boxes that could be used on many articles, and basically lead the reader into the information already in categories. Clearly in the U.S. the various states are an appropriate high level nav box, as is, I think, the Federal Government & Congress. My goal is to see a design that 1) can limit the number of nav boxes on a biography to two or three, 2) can have nav boxes that are small and concise, and 3) can look professional with colors/placement and not just hung together.

I think this means scaling way back the listings of cities & counties on the state boxes and balancing them with the other categories of information. So if a reader needs to see other Governors, the nav box should lead them into the appropriate category, likewise other cities, and so on. There really is no need to repeat all the counties in a state, or states in the union, every time an article has horizontal applicability. The categories already do that. The arrangement of information on the Template:Delaware is my best attempt so far to achieve this. I'm sure it can be improved upon, but I don't think the current standarization drive helsp or hurts goal 1 or 2, and I think it goes backwards on goal 3. But, I also want standarization and look forward to working with the group to get the best of all worlds accross the board. stilltim 02:04, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

I like this approach, but how can we standardize the topics for each template? For example, Delaware is the only state that has Hundreds. Also, some topics are more popular or important than others; for example, I do not think that [[Category:High schools in XXXX]] should belong in a state template. --Schzmo 20:13, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

Massachusetts[edit]

By moving the link to the list of towns from its own line to a "topics" line ignores the fact that towns in New England are more like cities in other states - they are incorporated municipalities that differ from cities in their frame of government, not their state of existence. This type of change should be discussed. Other than that, I think standardization is a wonderful thing. Sahasrahla 23:47, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

  • any standardization will necessarily have to be flexible enough to handle situations like NE towns and Delaware hundreds. stilltim 00:18, 30 August 2006 (UTC)
I don't see how NE towns pose a problem for standardization, unless the topics are narrowed down to individual categories. If the topics are general, such as "Cities & Communities", then there is no problem. Hundreds are a different story - they aren't really communities. They could fit under a "Geography" topic that links to Category:Geography of Delaware. --Schzmo 01:13, 30 August 2006 (UTC)
What the issue is, is that the new version of the template makes it appear as though cities are somehow superior or of a different nature than towns. The old version had a category on the side, "Towns", that said, "Complete list of the 301 towns." This new version continues to list the 50 cities independently. However, it lumps towns under "Topics" which includes, "Culture · Geography · Government · History · Images · Towns". This is not adequate. Freetown, Tisbury, Peru, and the 298 other towns are no less special than Boston. I'm not 100% sure what, "Hundreds are a different story - they aren't really communities" means. Surely, it does not mean that the towns are not communities.
While I have in the past advocated listing all 301 towns, like on Template:New Hampshire, I don't really see a problem with the old format of "Towns" and "Complete list...". I do have a problem with towns being treated like something less than what they are, which is what this new version comes across as doing. Sahasrahla 03:55, 30 August 2006 (UTC)
I agree with you on that, but then it seems like the cities are also more important than Massachusetts culture, government, and history (also listed under "Topics"), which is not true. I like stilltim's idea of arranging Template:Delaware into a list of topics with links to the relevant categories (see Regarding standardization of state templates). This shortens the template, and at the same time does not make one topic seem more special than another.
Regarding the hundreds, I meant that they can't really be treated as communities, since they now only exist as a geographical point of reference. And because Delaware is the only state that has hundreds, there may be a problem with standardization. --Schzmo 12:18, 30 August 2006 (UTC)
To those of us who live in towns, they are not merely reference points; but, it's not a big deal. Sahasrahla 10:19, 1 September 2006 (UTC)
I live in Massachusetts too, and I do agree with you about the towns. Maybe you don't understand what I'm saying. I just want to avoid a general "Topics" section altogether. History, which is also lumped into that section, is equally important as geography (in the case of Massachusetts, arguably more important). The state templates, I believe, are too geography-focused, and I want all topics to be on the same plane. Handling cities/towns is a bit tricky because they can't be considered a single topic - each town/city has a unique geography, history, culture, etc. So, I think there should be a few cities and towns listed; i.e., those communities that have had a significant role in shaping the state. However, since the counties and regions fit more easily into a single category, I think these sections should be removed and replaced with links to the respective categories for the topics. Again, I like stilltim's idea of arranging Template:Delaware. --Schzmo 02:48, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

Should the state seal be incorporated into templates?[edit]

A question that came up with Lovelac7's recent edits to Template:Florida was whether the state seal should be incorporated into its respective state template. I personally believe that the state flag is sufficient—some non-U.S. residents may want a map of the United States with the state highlighted on it, but for now, I believe the solution of keeping the state flag on the right is sufficient. Should the state seal be included in templates? — Webdinger BLAH | SZ 01:18, 30 August 2006 (UTC)

No. Some state seals, such as that of Texas are protected by law and are fair use on Wikipedia (see Image:Texas state seal.png). --Schzmo 01:28, 30 August 2006 (UTC)
This gives us enough reason to remove the state seal that JW1805 added back in. I will go ahead and remove it, including a link to this page in the edit summary. — Webdinger BLAH | SZ 01:44, 30 August 2006 (UTC)
The Florida seal is listed as public domain at Wiki Commons. I don't see any reason why every state template should look the same. If a state has an aesthetically pleasing seal and the editors of that template want to include it, that should be OK. Or, if a state has a flag that doesn't really look good at such a low resolution, and they want to put an additional state symbol, that is also OK. No harm is done. --JW1805 (Talk) 02:38, 30 August 2006 (UTC)
I personally think that widespread use of fair use images is not a good idea because of the amount of exposure these state templates will be receiving. I agree with Schzmo in that we should try to keep state templates as much in the public domain as possible. Also, I think it's important that all state templates be concise and too many images will make many state templates seem cluttered. — Webdinger BLAH | SZ 03:06, 30 August 2006 (UTC)
And I believe that putting the state template on all related pages would violate the fair use policy, since not all the articles would be about the state government, which holds the copyright. --Schzmo 12:30, 30 August 2006 (UTC)

Show/Hide tags[edit]

Yesterday, User:The Future redesigned the Montana template with a class="NavContent", meaning that the bottom part of the template is hidable. I've tried to work this feature into the semi-standards of the other state templates. The Montana experiment looks good on my computer in the Montana article and in the Template namespace, but for some reason, it looks bad on this page. That, and the [Hide] tag is stuck to far up in the corner. I'm no CSS expert, so if anyone knows how to fix this, jump right in. If we can get it working well enough, I propose that we add it to all templates. What do you think? Lovelac7 09:34, 31 August 2006 (UTC)

I'm against it. Adding show/hide tags isn't really going to assist the reader unless the template is very large. Showing the template by default will not make the page any shorter, and hiding it by default means that the reader will have to keep clicking "Show" on each page. If we're trying to make the templates more concise as stilltim suggested, why is it necessary. --Schzmo 11:42, 31 August 2006 (UTC)

I like Lovelac7's edit to the template. I tried keeping the same format as is and just add the hide/show, but I couldn't figure it out. (But thanks Lovelac7 for showing me how :P) Schzmo, I understand that you having the template hide/show prevents it from being viewed by default. I believe the hide/show will be effective mostly for articles like George W. Bush where the entire bottom of the page is crammed with 4-5 templates. If we hide/showed the templates, it will make it realy much easier for things to be viewed. Suppose that {{Montana}} wasn't the only template on one page? Say 2 or 3? If you just want to see one template all you have to do is click the "show" feature and you see that one template, which takes away time from scrolling through the templates. It doesn't take away the consiseness of the template anyways.. Theres really no reason why we should be as lazy as to point and click to view.. — The Future 19:53, 31 August 2006 (UTC)

I'm also against the implementation of show/hide links. They were originally meant for very long templates such as Template:World War II or Template:American Civil War. These links will only clutter the heading of the template, and part of the original objective in standardizing the templates was to make them both cleaner and more concise. And for something as small as Template:Montana, the show/hide links are truly unnecessary. As for articles that have multiple templates on their pages, I doubt that using state templates would be necessary for someone who merely spent time or was born in a certain state. After all, a link to the article isn't provided on the template; it's not very sensible. I appreciate your efforts, but I think it's a good idea to discuss it first. — Webdinger BLAH | SZ 00:29, 1 September 2006 (UTC)
I also am against the show/hide links, I am sure older browsers have issues with them. They are probably not good for handicap acessability as well. -Ravedave (help name my baby) 03:27, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

Font size[edit]

Recently Lovelac7 has been making edits to templates changing a standard I was following by modifying the font size of headings from 16px to 12px. I believe 16px is a better font size for readability and discernability. We need to establish the heading font size quickly. — Webdinger BLAH | SZ 21:42, 1 September 2006 (UTC)

  • I'm fine with 16px.Lovelac7 05:26, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

Straw Polls[edit]

To figure out what the consensus is, I'd like to summarize some of the debates from above. Like other "votes" on the Wikipedia, the argument is more important than the vote. Let's begin. Note: This straw poll is not official for all state templates. Those being debated do not need to conform to the results.

Header font size[edit]
  • 16px.. I originally was changing them all to 12px, but since Webdinger brought it up, I've been doing 16. Lovelac7 23:18, 2 September 2006 (UTC)
    • 87% for the content, and 145% for the headline, per Fred Bradstadt. Lovelac7 18:51, 4 September 2006 (UTC)
      • 150% is equivalent to 16px, not 145%. 145% isn't as noticeable as 150% is. — Webdinger BLAH | SZ 02:31, 5 September 2006 (UTC)
  • 16px. See above. For aesthetics and readability. — Webdinger BLAH | SZ 05:00, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
    • Please don't specify sizes in px - use percentages or keywords (large, small, x-small) instead. --Fred Bradstadt 19:33, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
Text alignment[edit]
  • Center. I find the templates most readable when both the section headers and items are centered, with light gray (#eee) striping for legibility. The alternative would be right justification on the section headers, and left justification in each item section à la Canadian provincial templates. Lovelac7 23:18, 2 September 2006 (UTC)
  • Center. With striping, as expertly laid out by Lovelac7. — Webdinger BLAH | SZ 05:00, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
  • Left
This is freshman-level design. Centering blocks of text is really *poor* design. "Align elements along "hard vertical edges. If instead of centering your text, you align the text on the left or the right, the invisible line that connects the text is much stronger because it has a hard vertical edge to follow. [1].

I've centered this text. Is this easy to read? No.

These lists should be aligned to the left. What happens with centering is that there is usually a word left "hanging" at the end of the article. The other thing that takes me back to my Uni days where one of my graphic design professor used to put-down his students for poor design is that no-one on Wikipedia seems to know how to valign=top. The default horizontal alignment to the center looks so unprofessional. Valign top is also much easier to follow. --Kunzite 05:35, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
    • Kunzite, you've got a very valid argument, and originally, I formatted Template:Colorado so that it would be aligned to the left. I added in some striping so that users would be able to discern between areas of study. If we were to align text to the left, would striping be necessary? Also, how much padding would be inserted between the left-aligned text and the edges of the headings on the left? And is aligning to the center really a bad thing? I think it adds a lot aesthetically. Thanks! ;) — Webdinger BLAH | SZ 03:27, 14 September 2006 (UTC)
Coats of arms[edit]
  • Omit.. The Wikipedia rules about Fair Use have become stricter, and since some state seals are copyrighted, this might be a problem. I've also had a problem with centering the headed when inserting a coat of arms. Lovelac7 23:18, 2 September 2006 (UTC)
  • Omit. First, the fair use argument as mentioned above. Second, the state flag by itself is sufficient, since most people are more familiar with the state flag than the state coat of arms. --Schzmo 01:27, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
  • Usage per state Not all states are Texas (thank god). Let the states whose seal is in fair use use the seal. --Kunzite 01:35, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
  • Omit. The inclusion of seals/coats of arms in certain states would be inconsistent and be strange in articles that use multiple state templates. Agree with Schzmo and Lovelac7 in this respect. — Webdinger BLAH | SZ 05:00, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
Show/hide tags[edit]
  • Omit. I think this would be agreat idea if we could do it well, but there are a lot of browser incompatibilies that might make the templates too esoteric. Lovelac7 23:18, 2 September 2006 (UTC)
  • Omit. State templates are not long enough. For an example, see Template:War on Terrorism for correct usage. — Webdinger BLAH | SZ 05:00, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
  • Usage per state. Please include this feature for at least two reasons. For one, some states run long (the template is used differently in different states). And some pages (not only state pages) have many screenfuls of various templates at the end. Thank you. -Susanlesch 06:01, 9 March 2007 (UTC)
Topics section[edit]
  • Expand focus beyond geography Ideally, each template should have individual sections for geography, history, culture, etc. In the mean time, I'm trying to make the Misc. Topics sections look conistant. 23:18, 2 September 2006 (UTC)
  • Expand focus beyond geography. Agreed. — Webdinger BLAH | SZ 05:00, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
Inclusion of sections[edit]
  • Capital, regions, largest cities/cities, counties, topics (at bottom). Include capital in header per Lovelac7. Just thought I'd bring this aspect up. Many state templates have different sections. I think it'd be best to standardize those also. The order I've laid out is possibly the most logical in terms of organization. — Webdinger BLAH | SZ 05:00, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
  • Remove capital it's a waste of space to include a separate line for a place that will be listed with the largest cities. Simply bold the name and put (capital) behind it. --Kunzite 05:21, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
  • Keep capital, put in box header, like "State of North Dakota (Capital: Bismarck)". Remove regions and counties If we want expand the focus beyond geography, including regions and counties might make the template very long. What will happen with Texas, which has 254 counties? I'd suggest adding links to the categories rather than putting them all on the template. --Schzmo 11:36, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
    • Agreed strongly. Having all this data on generic nav box is too much. If you must, create a specfic geography nav box for the few times that would be useful, but only a small, topical (to use someone else's phrase) nav box will be generally useful. Once that is settlred, someone with design talent needs to make it look good. Maybe two paths need to be taken here, or maybe a rest in the debate would be useful to let some of this good thinking sink in. Please keep in mind that a good editor figures out what is imortant and discards the rest, because it distracts the reader from the important stuff. KISS (if you know what I mean). stilltim 12:35, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
  • Remove capital, counties, and smaller cities but keep regions. Of all the geographical categories, the region box takes up the least amount of space. It also puts some focus on physical and cultural geography, as opposed to the political geography of counties, towns, CDPs, metros, etc. As for the capital, I like Kunzite's idea of bolding it and putting it with a list of major cities. We could also use Schzmo's idea of putting it directly in the header, something like below. Lovelac7 16:57, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
    • I like that idea. It complements our objective of consistency. — Webdinger BLAH | SZ 18:58, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
Flag of Michigan State of Michigan
Lansing (Capital)

Washington[edit]

Flag of Washington

State of Washington
Cities | Towns | Municipalities | Governors | Legislature | Initiatives to the People | Initiatives to the Legislature | Congress | Symbols | Parks | Roads | Music

State capital:

Olympia

Regions:

Central Washington | Columbia River Plateau | Eastern Washington | Inland Empire | Kitsap Peninsula | Olympic Peninsula | Okanogan Country | Palouse | Puget Sound | San Juan Islands | Western Washington | Yakima Valley

Major cities:

Bellevue | Seattle | Spokane | Tacoma | Tri-Cities | Vancouver

Smaller cities:

Aberdeen | Anacortes | Arlington | Auburn | Bainbridge Island | Bellingham | Bothell | Bremerton | Burien | Centralia | Covington | Des Moines | Edmonds | Ellensburg | Enumclaw | Everett | Federal Way | Issaquah | Kenmore | Kennewick | Kent | Kirkland | Lacey | Lake Forest Park | Lakewood | Longview | Lynnwood | Maple Valley | Marysville | Mercer Island | Mill Creek | Monroe | Moses Lake | Mount Vernon | Mountlake Terrace | Mukilteo | Oak Harbor | Pasco | Port Angeles | Port Orchard | Port Townsend | Pullman | Puyallup | Redmond | Renton | Richland | Sammamish | SeaTac | Shoreline | Spokane Valley | Tukwila | University Place | Walla Walla | Wenatchee | Woodinville | Yakima

Counties:

Adams | Asotin | Benton | Chelan | Clallam | Clark | Columbia | Cowlitz | Douglas | Ferry | Franklin | Garfield | Grant | Grays Harbor | Island | Jefferson | King | Kitsap | Kittitas | Klickitat | Lewis | Lincoln | Mason | Okanogan | Pacific | Pend Oreille | Pierce | San Juan | Skagit | Skamania | Snohomish | Spokane | Stevens | Thurston | Wahkiakum | Walla Walla | Whatcom | Whitman | Yakima

See, in this form, it looks nice and simple. Why must it be standardized? I'm sorry, I just don't get it (pardon my curtness, I realize your goals are probably good, I just don't fully understand)... Matt Yeager (Talk?) 04:47, 3 September 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for asking, Matt. Some of us have become really worried about how most state templates look right now; if you look at all of the templates put together on the same page (Wikipedia:WikiProject U.S. states/state templates) they don't look good together (although they've improved quite a bit). We'd just like to establish some guidelines so they don't all end up as ugly as they have become. Many of the state templates were fine, but there were quite a few that really did not look good and did not complement the others. — Webdinger BLAH | SZ 05:03, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
Matt, I've added in some of Kunzite's suggestions, such as left-aligning the main content. Hopefully you'll like this one more. Lovelac7 06:19, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
Flag of Washington State of Washington
Topics

Cities | Towns | Municipalities | Governors | Legislature | Initiatives to the People | Initiatives to the Legislature | Congress | Symbols | Parks | Roads | Music

Capital

Olympia

Regions

Central Washington | Columbia River Plateau | Eastern Washington | Inland Empire | Kitsap Peninsula | Long Beach Peninsula | Olympic Peninsula | Okanogan Country | Palouse | Puget Sound | San Juan Islands | Western Washington | Yakima Valley

Major
cities

Bellevue | Seattle | Spokane | Tacoma | Tri-Cities | Vancouver

Smaller
cities

Aberdeen | Anacortes | Arlington | Auburn | Bainbridge Island | Bellingham | Bothell | Bremerton | Burien | Centralia | Covington | Des Moines | Edmonds | Ellensburg | Enumclaw | Everett | Federal Way | Issaquah | Kenmore | Kennewick | Kent | Kirkland | Lacey | Lake Forest Park | Lakewood | Longview | Lynnwood | Maple Valley | Marysville | Mercer Island | Mill Creek | Monroe | Moses Lake | Mount Vernon | Mountlake Terrace | Mukilteo | Oak Harbor | Pasco | Port Angeles | Port Orchard | Port Townsend | Pullman | Puyallup | Redmond | Renton | Richland | Sammamish | SeaTac | Shoreline | Spokane Valley | Tukwila | University Place | Walla Walla | Wenatchee | Woodinville | Yakima

Counties

Adams | Asotin | Benton | Chelan | Clallam | Clark | Columbia | Cowlitz | Douglas | Ferry | Franklin | Garfield | Grant | Grays Harbor | Island | Jefferson | King | Kitsap | Kittitas | Klickitat | Lewis | Lincoln | Mason | Okanogan | Pacific | Pend Oreille | Pierce | San Juan | Skagit | Skamania | Snohomish | Spokane | Stevens | Thurston | Wahkiakum | Walla Walla | Whatcom | Whitman | Yakima


A consensus[edit]

This discussion has been lying dormant for over a week now. Let's come up with the results of our "straw poll" and what we will place into the new standardized state templates (except those being debated, of course). Standardization according to this consensus can commence immediately.

  • Font size: 87% for the content, 150% for the heading.
  • Coats of arms: Omit.
  • Show/hide tags: Omit.
  • Topics section: Expand focus beyond geography.

Areas apparently with no consensus:

  • Text alignment: Center, or left?
  • Inclusion of sections: No consensus.

Webdinger BLAH | SZ 03:27, 14 September 2006 (UTC)

Coming late to the discussion. I would like to see lists of State Representative Districts under a heading "government" Pennsylvania has such a heading but no links to the State Political system.Tstrobaugh 22:25, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

Large templates[edit]

Template:New Hampshire and several others include large lists of municipalities. I was wondering if there is a consensus for inclusion of Cities. It would seem to me that having a list of the top 20 or so cities would be the most appropriate balance between template size and template inclusiveness. Is there a guideline for population? Like only including MSA's or cities over 100k, 75k or 50k population or top 10 or 20 sized cites? --Dual Freq 12:21, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

Maybe major cities are the top 5-10 by population, then smaller cities is the top 10-15 below that, with the inclusion of county seats regardless of size (thus, of note politically if not by size). Example is Port Orchard, WA which is the county seat for Kitsap County, but which doesn't meet any size estimations that would make a reasonable list (only ~8k population within city limits). -- Snarky Boy 21:37, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
So there is no standard for inclusion of cities? Listing county seats for states like New Hampshire would reduce the template's size, but for other states it would lead to a list of over 100 cities. I was hoping for a list in the 20 to 30 range, but reading through the page above I don't see any guidelines. Does a list of 75 to 100 cities in a state template seem reasonable? --Dual Freq 00:50, 2 February 2007 (UTC)
Dual Freq, this debate kind of died quite a long time ago, but I still think it's important to put together a consensus for what cities should be included in a state template. I personally feel that 75 to 100 is overdoing it, because most cities will be comparably small to others. 20 to 30 is much more reasonable. — Webdinger BLAH | SZ 04:49, 2 February 2007 (UTC)
I agree that 75 to 100 municipalities is way too many. Setting a population threshold probably wouldn't work either since smaller states might only have a few cities listed while larger states would have too many. It would seem most uniform to list a top 20 or top 30 cities since every state will have a top 20 or 30. Listing by population would exclude some municipalities, but the templates link to each county and full state lists of cities. Navigation would only require an extra click to find unlisted cities. --Dual Freq 13:15, 2 February 2007 (UTC)


Purpose?[edit]

I've seen debate here regarding the specifics and minutiae of which spacing to use, how many links (e.g. cities) to include in a template, but I don't see any discussion of the purpose of all this effort. I'm not sure if the benefits of standardizing the templates outweigh the disadvantages of doing so. If we're talking about style, that is, simple colors, fonts, spacing, centering, location of state emblem and state flag, then I can understand the motivation for standardization.

However, requiring each state to the same content seems unnecessary and overbearing. There is huge variation between the states. Some states like California and Texas have many MSAs (where M stands for Metropolitan in this case, not Micropolitan), while others have only a few. Some states have many counties, like Texas (254), Georgia (159), or Kentucky (120), while others have very few, like Delaware (3) or Rhode Island (5). Some states have many cities above a certain minimum population. I'm sure CA, TX, FL, IL, and NY would have many while VT, ND, and WY would have very few. If a constant cutoff population is not intended to be used for every state, then perhaps (for instance) the 20 most populuous cities would be listed for each state. In that case, would Newcastle, Wyoming (pop. 3,221) really be as important Irvine, California (pop. 186,852) or Waco, Texas (pop. 120,465), even though each is the 20th most-populous city in its respective state?

Different things matter to different states. Forcing the same information to appear in each template for every state of the Union (and territories) does not seem to have a net benefit, certainly not for the reader.

Also, if {{Template:Alaska}} and {{Template:Colorado}} are the standards to go by, how do we know which is appropriate, since they even differ from one another? Ufwuct 19:36, 2 February 2007 (UTC)

I think it's important to have some level of uniformity in these types of templates. Defining "large cities" as the top 10 (by population) and "smaller cities" as the top 11-30 (by population) seems reasonable, and universally workable across all states. And to your point, Newcastle, WY might be important to the state of Wyoming, don't you think? I would also propose that the capitol not have its own row, as as single item taking a whole row seems a little wasteful of space. Maybe put it next to the state in the header - eg: State of Washington (Capitol: Olympia)? -- Snarky Boy 19:54, 2 February 2007 (UTC)
No, I really don't think Newcastle would be as important to someone reading about Wyoming. There's just not a whole lot you can say about it. I've been there (and not to Irvine), and not to knock the place, but I don't think it's prominent enough to appear in a template. Still, what is the purpose of having this much uniformity? Certainly the articles differ in content, quality, and length and always will. There should be much more flexibility in content than is currently being allowed/proposed. Ufwuct 20:13, 2 February 2007 (UTC)
I disagree with Ufwuct, but it's probably more of a fundamental semantic disagreement than anything else. A template by its very definition should be something that's common and predictable. The purpose is that someone looking at any state "infobox" knows that they're seeing the top x cities, the top y towns, and a predictable amount/type of information for any given state. I think if you set a threshold for one template, it should apply to all. Now, whether there should be a threshold, or what that threshold should be, well I suppose that's another question entirely. But any threshold will be somewhat arbitrary, and you'll always be able to find examples that show why that threshold doesn't make sense (Newcastle, WY for top X, but a set population cap will have other examples against it). -- Snarky Boy 20:19, 2 February 2007 (UTC)
I don't the same criteria should apply to every state, as I've said before. I even think that there could be a few categories the could be optional on the templates, depending on the state. For instance, the apparently agreed-upon and "standardized" templates have different categories. {{Template:Colorado}} has the daughter articles in the template. This could be useful for large and populuous states which also have large and well-developed daughter articles. I would expect that California and New York might opt to do this based on their population size, history, cultural influence, etc. This would be a convenient way of showing these topics for further reading. I wouldn't guess that Alaska or Vermont would have daughter articles that would be so well developed, so they wouldn't need to include this in the template. Another example would be MSAs (metropolitan areas). For Florida and Texas, which have numerous MSAs which are also spread widely throughout the respective states (i.e. not right on top of each other), including MSAs in the template might be the best way of representing the major populated areas in the state. Listing Mesquite, Grand Prairie, White Settlement, Plano, ...; Pasadena, Pearland, ...; instead of just the Dallas and Houston MSAs (by their official names) serves no purpose. And if we pick the largest cities, do we not include CDPs? In some states, some of the CDPs can get quite large (approaching 100,000). It would be only misleading to put a list of cities on the template that are smaller than other places that just happen to be unincorporated. Ufwuct
Has anyone happened to notice the {{New Hampshire}} template? Is Roxbury, New Hampshire (pop 237) important enough to list on a state template? I think the question is about a max number of cities for template size. A line should be drawn somewhere, it's ridiculous to list 70+ cities in a state template. Dual Freq 20:22, 2 February 2007 (UTC)
Dual Freq - That's my point, I think we need some standard, but population doesn't necessarily work. Having the top 5-10 cities by population in the "Major Cities" category, then the remaining of the top 30 (or 20...) in the "Smaller Cities" would put a cap on the size that allows for a reasonable number of cities to be displayed for every state. -- Snarky Boy 20:28, 2 February 2007 (UTC)
Sorry, I was replying to Ufwuct, but you added your comment first giving me an edit conflict and I just pasted my comment in after yours. I agree that a line has to be drawn somewhere. -Dual Freq 20:54, 2 February 2007 (UTC)
The initial contributors who were attempting to form a consensus on state template standardization (primarily Lovelac7 and myself) agreed that it is important to maintain consistency when using state templates; some state templates are absolutely horrendous both aesthetically and structurally. Using this particular objective would satisfy both. However, this debate dwindled down to near-nothing; I have been very inactive recently and I haven't heard anything from Lovelac7 on this topic. If you would like to fire this back up, feel free — I'll help out. The consensus we achieved is still in effect, it's just that nobody has the time or motivation to go ahead and standardize all the state templates based on this consensus. Will someone do the dirty work? ;) — Webdinger BLAH | SZ 23:35, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
I wouldn't mind doing some of the heavy lifting - assuming we can come to some agreement as to standards. I would think that listing the top 20 cities by population (and noting this in the template somehow?) seems reasonable and generaly applicable. Snarky Boy 00:15, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
I'll add my voice to the folks putting the brakes on standardization. I completely agree that standardization for aesthetic reasons is great; for one, I'm glad to see the capital cities being kicked upstairs to the title area. Standardizing width of templates, size of fonts, etc. is also welcome. And general guidelines on the length of a template (don't exceed X number of pixels height, e.g.) are also appropriate. But User:Ufwuct is right: different states demand different treatment, from a content point of view. That much-maligned New Hampshire template probably fails any max-length rule; but as someone who has lived in both the Midwest and in New England, I understand why every town in N.H. is included, while every other state omits its smallest communities: there's a strong feeling, here (N.H.-Vt.-Mass.-R.I.-Conn., maybe Maine as well) that every place counts, that, as was stated earlier, Peru, Massachusetts, is just as "special" as Boston. It would be an inaccurate representation of the New Hampshire "experience" to treat its template exactly as one would treat, say, Missouri's. Put another way: take a gander at the List of regions of the United States page and compare New York with Tennessee, or California with Rhode Island. Arguably, the smaller states could do with one line of "regions" (Rhode Island probably doesn't need any -- move Blackstone Valley to "Geography" or "Topics" and redirect the rest to their respective counties, with which they're more or less contiguous); the larger states would need several lines. One cannot apply the same criteria to all four of these and end up with four similarly sized templates. ``` W i k i W i s t a h W a s s a p ``` 05:26, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

Flag of State[edit]

So, each state's template has a little flag picture on it, usually in the top-left (as well they should). Right now, at least on {{Washington}}, that link just takes you to the flag's picture. What would you guys think if every flag icon took you to the article on that flag (say, Flag of Washington)? I think it'd be a nice touch. Matt Yeager (Talk?) 23:07, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

Regarding the new {{US state navigation box}}[edit]

Question: Why is it a good thing to have a single template transcluded across all 56 (is that how many there are?) state/state-like-object template? Matt Yeager (Talk?) 22:12, 5 March 2007 (UTC)

Matt: It'll make standardization much, much easier; CapitalR's done a good job with the US state navigation box template. — Webdinger BLAH | SZ 03:22, 10 March 2007 (UTC)

Nebraska template[edit]

The Nebraska template looks completely messed up. It looks really bad on Firefox and a little better in IE, but there's a lot of code that appears at the top, and the infobox itself is formatted really weirdly. Can someone who's more knowledgeable about this fix it? -- T.o.n.y 15:35, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

Actually, scratch that. ALL the state templates look wacky. It must be something wrong with Template:US state navigation box. -- T.o.n.y 15:38, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

Template:Montana[edit]

I'd like to do something about the Montana template. Specifically with regard to the listing of 'Largest Cities'. I've been working on the larger cities' {{Template:Infobox Settlement}} and have noticed that the listing in the infobox has a few problems. First, I can't discern where the cut-off was for the list originally. Using 2000 Census figures the smallest place on the list is Glendive at a population of 4,729. The next smallest place was Polson at a population of 4,041. So the cut-off, in terms of size, wasn't 4,000. Second, there is a total of eighteen places listed so it isn't a round number of, say, 20 places. Second, since the 2000 Census, demographic shifts have changed the rankings. Using 2006 U.S. Census estimates, Polson, Columbia Falls, and Hamilton are now larger than Glendive, the smallest included community according to the 2000 Census. Finally, Evergreen, Montana isn't actually an incorporated city or town but a census designated place. It does however rank up there when it comes large places in Montana with 6,215 people at the 2000 Census.

So put shortly, I'd like to clarify the list and maybe be more inclusive and do what some other states have done like Minnesota and include a list of 'Larger Cities' and one for 'Smaller Cities' with the parameters for population clearly stated. Any thoughts?

I've also posted this query to Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Montana to get input from those who aren't likely to see it here, so please check there for any comments. Thanks. -- Ltvine | Talk 05:14, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

Historically Significant Cities[edit]

Is there a reason to omit historically significant cities from state templates, other than population? I'm wondering about the wisdom of omitting Natchitoches from the Louisiana template since Natchitoches stands out as the oldest permanent settlement of the Louisiana Purchase. The rationale to go only with "large" cities and towns based solely on population seems to go against history as encyclopedic. Lwalt ♦ talk 08:47, 6 September 2010 (UTC)

A different approach[edit]

Just discovered that Vermont template is being changed beyond all recognition. I used to be able to use this navigational template before someone tried to turn it into a pseudo-portal. It is less usable now and will be ignored as all tediously lengthy lists are.

One "standard" you ought to discuss (there are college texts out there that have already recorded this determination) is how long should a list be before users stop regarding it as "friendly?" There is a specific answer to that question. I do not have the text in my hand.

Vermont's template (I don't see it above, please hide, if it is) looks like this now:


The first item says "topic". Apparently a catch-all phrase. The first items seem to be "articles" not links to other articles as the name "topic" implies. The editor also assumes that people using this template want the potpourri items first not specifics. I rather doubt that.

In the good old days, Vermont was geography first and maybe only, before everyone tried to piggy-back on this successful template.

Now it is a junkpile that gets added to everything indiscrimately like maple syrup, cows, lord knows what else.

I wish you guys would stop. People looking at a geographic template want a navigational template to other geographical items. Doubtless the same with political articles, government articles, etc. Fine if you want to have an olio line at the bottom that will give access to a different type of navbox. So there could be a real topics line, and be able to navigate out of geography to politics, for example. The boxes would all be named differently, "Vermont-geography", "Vermont-politics" etc. The politics box would have a topics line to get to geography. That sort of thing.

Festivals are normally just c-of-c WP:PR. Since they have articles, fine, but with its own template, it doesn't clutter up a geographic template or a politics or government one. Just a simple topic on each template with "Festivals" on it to get out of the current topic.

In that way, we wouldn't have monster boxes all over every single state article indiscrimanately taking up gobs of white space, sometimes more than the tiny article! Student7 (talk) 12:36, 20 September 2010 (UTC)


Aid for census maintenance[edit]

I've made a suggestion that might aid census maintenance at Wikipedia:Village_pump_(proposals)#Use_bots_to_maintain_census_figures. Your comments are welcome. Student7 (talk) 13:21, 1 March 2011 (UTC)