Help talk:Introduction to tables with Wiki Markup/1

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Wikipedia Help Project (Rated NA-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon This page is within the scope of the Wikipedia Help Project, a collaborative effort to improve Wikipedia's help documentation for readers and contributors. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks. To browse help related resources see the Help Menu or Help Directory. Or ask for help on your talk page and a volunteer will visit you there.
 NA  This page does not require a rating on the project's quality scale.
 Mid  This page has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.


Help:Wikitable (most recent version) was redirected to this page (MfD, decision: "Redirected to Help:Table/Introduction to tables. The content will remain in the history, if there's anything someone wants to merge.")

I don't think any merging has been done - just noting it here in case it's useful, and so the existence of the old page is not forgotten. --Chriswaterguy talk 02:47, 14 March 2013 (UTC)

Introduction to tables/2[edit]

It would be helpful to have the sample table, shown here in layout format, actually shown as it would appear. As is, it is not clear what exactly is text and what is formating instruction.-- (talk) 01:01, 14 June 2013 (UTC)

Sortable and collapsible?[edit]

I am working on the Dead Sea Scrolls article. Does anyone know if it is possible to create a table that's both sortable and collapsible? Mercy11 (talk) 12:39, 27 June 2013 (UTC)

Possible other sections[edit]

The tabs currently present are just the ones that Ironholds completed when he first made the page in 2012.

  • Intro
  • Creating tables manually
  • Sortable tables
  • HTML

At the same time were created stub pages for the following, though they were never completed and have now been deleted:

  • Collapsible tables
  • Colour
  • Creating a table
  • Other formatting
  • Table placement

The above list is probably a bit too much detail, but if people have opinions for what the important topics to add the current set could be expanded. T.Shafee(Evo﹠Evo)talk 08:45, 1 December 2015 (UTC)

Having though about it, I reckon 'HTML' should be renamed to 'advanced formatting', since that's the important part. We should also have a section on tools to convert spreadsheet data (e.g. CSV) to wikimarkup, since that'll be a pretty common requirement. T.Shafee(Evo﹠Evo)talk 10:35, 5 December 2015 (UTC)
NB: add Wikipedia:Advanced table formatting to eventual summary tab.

"Dumbing down" of guide[edit]

@Evolution and evolvability: why are you removing lots of necessary detail from this guide? You're making more difficult to follow if anything, these details are very necessary to explain. Please stop from removing details, which in my view are very necessary. Also moving the basic markup to page 4 makes no sense to me. --Jules (Mrjulesd) 12:42, 6 December 2015 (UTC)

Hi, I'll stop editing for the moment whilst we discuss. I've been trying to bring it into line with the level of detail of other "introduction to" pages. A lot of the information was repeated on multiple sections, and much of it was superfluous to a new user's understanding of how to actually use of format a table. In the same way the intro to pages for references or editing don't explain how heading wikimarkup is really a set of HTML formatting. I reckon that that level of detail is better left to the more detailed help pages (e.g. Help:tables, Wikipedia:Advanced table formatting, Help:HTML_in_wikitext#Tables). What are your thoughts on what the intro to table pages should cover? T.Shafee(Evo﹠Evo)talk 13:00, 6 December 2015 (UTC)
I think it is best explained if we examine what's happened here:
1: too short on details for my liking. Why make the intro so short?
2: it is confusing to show alternate table formatting without some rudimentary explanation of basic markup, which has been moved to page 4.
3: No changes here really.
4: this table is too late in the explanation. Also no examples on that page, the user would have to flick between page 2 and 4 to see how these examples are used in practice.
5: Now I originated the "HTML and tables" section. The basic idea was to fully explain how HTML attributes are inserted into tables. Now you've removed some of the details, which as a new user I found extremely confusing. There is no explanation of inserting HTML attributes on single lines with multiple contents. There is no explanation of adding HTML attributes with contents on new lines. The purpose of this section has been subverted. You're adding other HTML attributes, which I feel is unnecessarily for this section as it complicates things. I deliberately used a single attribute to keep things simple. These should be added to a new section at the very least.
--Jules (Mrjulesd) 14:10, 6 December 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for the feedback Jules, I appreciate the thought you've put into it. A actually agree with a lot of it so I'll also respond point-by-point.
1: I'd intended it to be vaguely inkeeping with Intro to images and editing pages, providing a basic background for someone almost entirely unfamiliar with what to do (e.g. new editor only wants to add a single table)
2&4: I agree that sections /4 and /2 should be merged. I was aiming at a user that may just want to change a single cell in an existing table, or add a new, simple table. However, you're right that the information does fit logically together. The reason that I think that explanations of the individual components should be after the whole table, is that a lot of newcomers to markup edit by pattern recognition, rather than understanding the functions of the elements, e.g. a lot of people add a table row by copy-pasting a the one above and editing it.
5: I think this section was a bit too long and detailed before. My aim was to remove some of the alternative equivalent formatting options to do the same thing, to show what markup to use, even if you don't understand it's function. E.g. ! HTML | header1 makes it look like you literally write "HTML" (oldID). For people that just want to colour in some table cells but have no knowledge of HTML, I had intended to make it more fool-proof. That all said, I realise that maybe it swung too far into oversimplification, and a middle ground could be found!
Your help here is really helpful. It's easy for a page with too few contributing editors to end up skewed by one person's angle. I hope at least now it's clear what content level I was attempting so that we know whether we disagree over the aims or implementation! Let me know what you think of my suggestions.
As a final note, I think the only remaining sections really need to still be added are placement (inc. floating and collapsing, parhaps as the new section/4) and a final summary (inc. links to the more thorough help pages). T.Shafee(Evo﹠Evo)talk 11:39, 7 December 2015 (UTC)
1 I see: you're trying to make all the guides look the same. And making it worse as a result.
2&4: I'm glad you see your mistake. How about just changing them back to how they were?
5: how the heck were they too long and detailed before? They were about one issue: how to insert HTML attributes into content, headers, captions, tables and rows. And to remove details of this is going to cause confusion. This is a BASIC TOPIC that is FUNDAMENTAL TO TABLE CONSTRUCTION. Introducing further attributes is a MORE COMPLEX TOPIC that is explained in great detail at Help:Table. JUST REDUCING THINGS BECAUSE THEY "LOOK TOO LONG" is not a good way to approach these issues at all. I included HTML in the descriptions because this is what the section is about: ADDING HTML ATTRIBUTES.
Look this guide has been built up over a long period of time, and reflects consensus and the input from a good many editors. How about just reversing these changes and starting again. For major overhauls you need build consensus otherwise you're just going to piss people off. --Jules (Mrjulesd) 12:09, 7 December 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I'm sorry to hear that you feel the guide has been made worse through my edits. It's not so much that I was trying to make the pages simply look the same, but rather to provide similar levels of detail and aimed at similarly new editors. Either way, hopefully it will be possible to improve upon both the version present before I started editing, and the current version. The reason that I think the previous version of the HTML section (oldID) needed some improvements were the following:

  • Hidden comments (uncommon) introduced before colour formatting (more common)
  • The first paragraphs of how to add HTML attributes to cell content were repeated from previous sections
  • I think that markup such as ! HTML | header1 adds an unnecessary step of understanding what should be written in place of "HTML", whereas ! style="" | Header C1 more clearly links in with the different style parameters listed just after which all work in the same way. I'm happy to split it into two steps with background example first, then color, text-align & width.

Although the intro to tables guide was built up over a long period of time, I'm not sure it reflected a final consensus position. When I started editing them in November, 5 of 9 sections were blank, the enhanced editing toolbar has been the default for some time, some headers were capitalised, the series had no end summary and abruptly ended, had repeated sections so I thought it could do with some attention and improvements. I think that it's not really worth starting over again, since adding older info back in deliberately will give an opportunity to think again about what needs to be explained unless my opinion is in the minority. I agree that it'll be good to get some other perspectives on the content though. T.Shafee(Evo﹠Evo)talk 12:19, 8 December 2015 (UTC)

Some points:
  • "but rather to provide similar levels of detail and aimed at similarly new editors." Well yes their basic guides to rudimentary facts. And you go and remove details of adding HTML attributes, which boils down to BASIC MARKUP.
  • The original second page explained all the basic markup pertaining to tables. And the HTML section merely expanded with examples of adding HTML attributes, in case you couldn't follow the text. What the heck was wrong with that?
  • style="" IS NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR HTML ATTRIBUTES. HTML attributes can be class, style, rowspan, collspan etc. . By the changes you're confusing things.
Look before completely rearranging things for the worse, how about some discussion? You seem to have confusion about BASIC TABLE MARKUP versus more advanced topics. Build a sandbox and invite people in. The reason the guide was not longer is because it is a guide to BASIC MARKUP, and this should be distinguished from more advanced topics, which have no place in these guides. But basic table markup needs to be fully described and a groundwork for more advanced topics. --Jules (Mrjulesd) 23:20, 8 December 2015 (UTC)
@Mrjulesd: I've been editing Wikipedia articles for more than nine years, and I've never added HTML to any article page. I don't consider HTML code, in articles, to be basic, in any way, shape, or form, be that for tables or for anything else. In particular, I don't think discussion of HTML belongs in an introductory tutorial. The whole point of wikitext is to shield editors from the incredible variety of HTML that is possible, some of which will break Wikipedia page formatting.
As I wrote in another section, below, the best way to move forward with the tutorial is to suggest specific language. Other than HTML, do you have any specific recommendations regarding the tutorial as now written? And by "specific", I mean specific suggested wording or wording changes, either made directly (per WP:BB), or suggested on this page. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 00:27, 10 December 2015 (UTC)
Well that's were you're wrong. Basic markup for tables includes basic markup for including HTML attributes. What is the basic markup? Well this table will inform you:


Table start: it is required.


Table caption: it is optional. Only between table start and first table row


Table header cell: it is optional. Cells may start on new lines, each beginning with its own single mark. Cell contents may also be put on the next line.


Consecutive table header cell: it is optional. Cells may be added on same lines separated by double marks.


Table row: it is optional on the first row, but otherwise required. The wiki engine assumes the first row.


Table data cell: it is required for data cells on new lines. Cells may start on new lines, each beginning with its own single mark. Cell contents may also be put on the next line. It is also used to separate HTML attributes from cell contents (both data or header), or caption contents.


Consecutive table data cell: it is required for data cells on the same line. Cells may be added on same lines separated by double marks.


Table end: it is required.

AS you may notice, the basic markup includes the single bar symbol. This bar symbol is used for separating basic markup from HTML attributes. Therefore it is basic markup to describe this. It not anything advanced, it is fundamental to table construction, as it belongs to the few symbols that are used to describe tables. How much more basic can you get?

You cannot get away from HTML attributes. class="wikitable" is needed in almost every table. class="wikitable" is a HTML attribute. Therefore every table contains an HTML attribute. It is basic. Very basic. Not advanced. Every table. Do you understand?

As for suggestions, go back to how it was, and start again. --Jules (Mrjulesd) 03:06, 10 December 2015 (UTC)

Here's what I think is "basic" table markup:
{| class="wikitable"
! Header text !! Header text !! Header text
| Example || Example || Example
| Example || Example || Example
| Example || Example || Example
Others may disagree with me, but as far as I'm concerned, an "Introduction to tables with Wiki Markup" should cover very little that is not visible in that example.
It doesn't really matter to me whether we decide that "class" is properly classified as HTML (because the same word is used in this context in HTML) or as wikitext (because that word is used in this context in MediaWiki core). All that matters to me is that editors understand how to make one of those and how to change them if someone else made one of those – and that they not get lost in details about hex codes or other "advanced" details that are only occasionally used in Wikipedia articles. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 19:07, 16 December 2015 (UTC)
(Also, |} isn't technically required at the moment. The parser is currently cleaning up after people if they forget to close the table. It's kind of messy/unreliable, and the parser won't support this forever, but closing a table is technically not required right now.) Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 19:10, 16 December 2015 (UTC)
Well I disagree. There has to be a bridge between Help:Table and an introduction. That could be described in a single page. To not describe the eight symbols used by table nomenclature, and then to expect them to dive straight into incredibly complex Help:Table is at the very best extremely shortsighted. Are you really expecting for people the jump easily? --Jules (Mrjulesd) 01:34, 17 December 2015 (UTC)

Deciding on tutorial content[edit]

It would be good to decide on what we think the content of the tutorial should be and its target audience.

The table below is a hopefully useful quick reference to the versions pre-November vs now (December).

pre-Nov Dec
Introduction to tables Introduction to tables
Creating tables manually Inserting new tables
Sortable tables Sortable information
Table placement (blank) Positioning and layout (to come)
HTML and tables Advanced formatting (HTML)
Creating a table (blank)
Collapsible tables (blank)
Colour (blank)
Other formatting (blank)
Summary (to come)

My opinions on the previous pages are in the discussion above. I'd be useful to have other editor's opinions on the following:

Of course, any other observations are welcome! T.Shafee(Evo﹠Evo)talk 12:24, 8 December 2015 (UTC)

IMO "Positioning and layout" and "Advanced formatting" don't sound like they belong in an "introduction". Talking about collapsing tables also requires people to understand MOS:COLLAPSE, which is also more advanced. I think that it might be more appropriate to focus on the simplest case – basically, the information needed to be able to create the table above, and to edit its contents (change the contents of an existing cell or add a new row to the bottom). What do other people think? Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 17:43, 8 December 2015 (UTC)
I agree with Whatamidoing (WMF) - the content should be relatively basic, in keeping with the word Introduction in the title, as well as other tutorials. So collapsing tables and html are, I also agree, a lesson too far. We have no need to duplicate all - or even the majority of - the information that already exists on other pages; we just need to provide links to that advanced material.
I've added, to the second less, blank sections for adding a row - which I think is among the most common things that editors want to do - and deleting a row. A good argument could be made for moving them to a separate tab. For possible content, see the section below.
I think the best way to make progress on this tutorial is with specifics. If something is missing (or you think was removed in error) from an existing tab, either add it directly, or post a note on this page suggesting the addition. Similarly, if something on a page seems inappropriate, either edit it directly or post something here. That way, we don't have to guess exactly what other editors find problematical. For example, I've been bold and changed two of the tab names. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 21:12, 8 December 2015 (UTC)
As a way of moving forward, one possibility is to revert to the original HTML page, but separate it from the basic intro to tables series. It could be kept as a help page in the same way as WP:Advanced_table_formatting and WP:Extended_image_syntax. That way we retain the depth and detail of the original, whilst retaining the newcomer-focus of the basic sections? T.Shafee(Evo﹠Evo)talk 11:06, 13 December 2015 (UTC)
I think that's a reasonable compromise. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 19:01, 16 December 2015 (UTC)

Tables tutorial at Help:TMM[edit]

I'm going to add comments to the above section, but I want to mention a possible source for content:

Help:Wikipedia: The Missing Manual/Formatting and illustrating articles/Creating lists and tables#Editing and creating tables

I think there is far more content (that is, it's much more detailed) than what should go into introductory tutorials, but again, it's something one might look at. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 20:36, 8 December 2015 (UTC)


In {| class="wikitable", does that space have to be there? I'm one of those editors who prefers closing up the spaces between * content, so I was wondering if it had any purpose? Mac Dreamstate (talk) 21:14, 14 July 2016 (UTC)

To the best of my knowledge, there's no functional difference. I've tended to add spaces to aid human readability, but I've actually no idea which is more common, or if there's a style guide preference. T.Shafee(Evo﹠Evo)talk 03:05, 15 July 2016 (UTC)