Template talk:External media

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Can we expand the use of this template for links to all types of media? It would be great to have links to videos and other related media. Billscottbob (talk) 00:23, 12 February 2008 (UTC)

Principally yes, but how do we make sure the quality of the material is sufficient? For example at Xmas last year a lecture on battles was excesively linked in wikipedia, but the video was rather bad. With images we have less problems of this kind.
The simples approach would be renaming this to external media, however I want to consult at least my codeveloper before taking this step. Wandalstouring (talk) 15:53, 12 February 2008 (UTC)
I'm critcal of creating a template for all external media and would prefer several for specific media. That makes it easier to provide guidelines for each type. Apart from video and soundsamples is there anything else you think we should link? Wandalstouring (talk) 16:29, 12 February 2008 (UTC)


Can we fix it so that if a template transclusion has more than one image then the title says "External images"? Also on the other templates? Harryboyles 12:14, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

I just deleted it because it turned out that the singular is the norm. This will be a lot of coding and I don't know if it's worth the effort. Wandalstouring (talk) 12:20, 14 February 2008 (UTC)
"External links" are still plural even when theres only one link. Think outside the box 11:20, 15 February 2008 (UTC)
Done, but the template code stays singular, that is less to type and thus less chances for errors. Wandalstouring (talk) 11:45, 15 February 2008 (UTC)

Bad idea[edit]

This template and the associated audio and video ones are a bad idea and invite all sorts of trouble. I'm surprised I haven't seen {{externalimage}} used before now considering it's over a year old.

  1. By linking to images on external websites, we significantly increase our maintenance work. As it stands editors do not regularly check external links to make sure they still exist, are of good quality, and are not spam. These templates may exacerbate the problem by increasing the number of links that must be regularly checked.
  2. We are linking to content which we do not control. It would be easy for someone to replace the content with something obscene. Enough said.
  3. We are linking directly to content. People generally do not like hotlinking, as is done on War against Nabis. I expect that OTRS will receive a large increase in complaints due to high traffic from Wikipedia.
  4. They take up a lot of space and make reading the actual article difficult. Imagine an article with tens of images linked!
  5. Most importantly these templates go against our commitment to free content, one of Wikipedia's five pillars. We are not building just an encyclopedia, we are building a free one. Did you know that editors have asked content-holders for permission to use content on Wikipedia under a free license? And did you know that in many cases permission has been granted? These templates will discourage editors from even asking, because the templates will be seen as "good enough". They are not good enough! We want free content!

By and large you need to make templates idiot-proof, and even then Wikipedia editors will still use them wrong. Editors will hotlink to content and annoy site administrators. Editors will not attempt to find free content alternatives. Articles will become bloated with large captions with no relation to the body text.

I hope that we can start some discussion on how to handle all of the problems I've outlined above. I think the community can come up with improvements to the current template that will solve the issues. ~MDD4696 03:18, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

  1. Maintenance has so far not been a real problem, the solution is explicitly intended to provide a link as long as no better solution is available. It stayed small and it got replaced in many cases.
  2. So what we do have enough obscene material in commons and anyone can put obscene images in any wikipedia article without us having any more control that via externalimages what is absolutely done considering writing.
  3. What some anonymous people like is of no concern here. Are there so many externalimages that there are any complains? Will there ever be?
  4. no more that eight externalimages have been linked in articles and this way they are far better readable than articles with the same number of uploaded images. This is no argument.
  5. The content is available online without paying money. As long as JStOR sources aren't forbidden I don't see any difference. And after all it is only a temporary solution until there is an image in commons. So far this has always been preferred to links.
You seem well aware of wikipolitics but little of the actual problems acquiring accurate images. We don't get the images we need, that's it. So we use the best possible solution and link to them. In a lot of cases later on images of the content were found and provided a better solution. Then there is no need for external images.
Just show me ONE idiotproof template in wikipedia. Wandalstouring (talk) 11:13, 24 February 2008 (UTC)
As far as point 3, I don't see why we can't be considerate of others. Wikipedia generates a lot of traffic and could negatively impact unsuspecting webmasters. Anyways, can we emphasize somewhere on the template description that these templates are not generally intended as a permanent or long-term solution, only as placeholders until free content can be found? ~MDD4696 20:14, 24 February 2008 (UTC)
Added comment about removal and counterclause because for example the image of the Macedonian phalanx in commons is not accurate for the Hellenistic armies. etc. Wandalstouring (talk) 13:25, 29 February 2008 (UTC)
I have reservations about this template too. Articles should be made from "our" content, not cobbled together from non-free material. We already have a mechanism to connect to the non-free world: the external links section. The volatile and transitory nature of third-party websites suggests that these links will have a very short average lifetime before rotting, probably much shorter than internal links. I just think that if this template were to become popular, it would lower the quality of the encyclopedia. This concern is in addition to those about hot-linking in general. Jason Quinn (talk) 00:38, 2 September 2010 (UTC)

Behaviour when left justified[edit]

Without detracting from MDD4696's concerns, I still find the concept of this template entirely congenial. Sometimes linking to external images is the best we can do if our focus is presenting content in the best way we can. It can considerably enhance an article. However, I have a couple of quibbles about the implementation. Firstly, the template behaves badly when it is left justified (see midwater trawling). Secondly, and less importantly, it inserts a spurious line feed (or should I say a spurious blank line) before it displays. --Geronimo20 (talk) 11:07, 7 April 2008 (UTC)

Could you please explain how it behaves badly when justified?
I don't see a problem with a blank line. Is that perhaps based on the download speed? Wandalstouring (talk) 14:12, 7 April 2008 (UTC)
Well here's another example. There is an adjacent right justified navigation box on this page. If you insert left justified images, they display correctly down the left side of the page. Your box, however, ignores the position where it is entered in the text, and does not display until it is level with the bottom of the navigation box. In addition, there is no white border, so the text that wraps round the box is jammed up hard alongside it. --Geronimo20 (talk) 05:26, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
You seem a bit confused. You have to define on which side an image appears. The images also just appear at the bottom of the infobox if the infobox is quite long. I don't see your problem. Wandalstouring (talk) 14:02, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
Fixed the alignment issue; the infobox CSS class the template derives from was automatically bringing in a clear:right attribute. Hopefully removing that doesn't break the layout anywhere else. Kirill 15:33, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
Thanks Kirill. Can it also be given, say, a 6px border so the text wrap round isn't jammed against the box? --Geronimo20 (talk) 22:15, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
Ok, done. Kirill 16:23, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
Much appreciated --Geronimo20 (talk) 19:51, 11 April 2008 (UTC)

What a "great" idea![edit]

Where was the discussion about merging this page and creating this ugly and uninformative new template page? Where? The great Thumperwand doing the job wasn't even able to adjust the code, so all media is still limited to images or what? I wouldn't mind the creation of new solutions, but this is almost vandalism. Wandalstouring (talk) 16:07, 4 December 2008 (UTC)

I don't like the new design either; sure, it is useful to have the same template for all media rather than one for each seperate thing, but IMO the new design is unproffesional.--Patton123 16:51, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
I have to say, this doesn't seem like the best of moves, and rather controversial. Was there any prior discussion? Skinny87 (talk) 17:22, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
Two things seem to have been done by Thumperward. First, the style has been changed to remove the background border to represent a standard infobox. I don't think this was a good idea, as these weren't infoboxes. Also as a technical issue, this seems to have created a problem where the 'name' of the infobox now renders in some places above the External links header. Second, the audio, video and image templates have been merged. I also see no benefit to do this (maybe for coders, but not for readers). The new header 'external media' is too ambiguous, and using tiny icons to distinguish mixed lists (if this has been implemented) is not realy obvious at first glance. The three separate implementations were quite clear in what they were for. MickMacNee (talk) 18:32, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
User:Thumperward has pulled similar stuff on other templates, too -- complete rewrites without considering the context or reasoning behind the the template as it stood. I've also pointed out that doing things for the sake of coders over readers is bad, but he apparently isn't interested in that viewpoint. Warren -talk- 18:41, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
Nothing wrong with being bold, we are not a beurocracy. Nothing is irreversible. MickMacNee (talk) 19:18, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
I agree. But, read the full policy to see what it has to say about being bold in updating templates. Then look up, and tell me what's missing... Warren -talk- 20:46, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
Yes he was bold nothing wrong with that but we disagree with what he did so the next step in the cycle is to revert and discuss his changes here.--Patton123 21:25, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
Oh, the joys. "Almost vandalism". Anyway, to the point. Keeping three separate templates for this is silly. They cover almost identical areas, varying only in the label ("images / audio / video") and the icon used; further, allowing users to add all three types to one box instead of having to remember the names of three different templates (and add them separately to pages) strikes me as a very useful addition. I've whipped up a variant in the new Template:External media/sandbox which includes the following:
  1. I've put the styling back to how it was. I agree that it isn't an infobox. my bad.
  2. If the box contains only one type of media, then the header says "External images" or whatever. It if contains more than one type of media, the header says "External media" and there are sub-headers for each type which say "Images", "Audio" et cetera.
This should resolve all quibbles. Please try it out on articles, and if there are no issues then I'll re-merge. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 09:16, 5 December 2008 (UTC)
I believe people are annoyed because you seem to have done this without any consensus. Skinny87 (talk) 09:26, 5 December 2008 (UTC)
I don't see the benefit of turning a simple template complicated with features hardly anyone uses. And if one does like in the music project the videolinks are integrated into the infobox, a standard others are likely to follow who have plenty of material to link to. Keeping the templates seperate allows a better distinction between the different media types, even if you can't see the icons, and it helps to avoid a regulative monster when new specifictions for the content are created. Wandalstouring (talk) 09:37, 5 December 2008 (UTC)
As I said, the sandbox version includes clear text labels which identifies the content types if more than one is present. I don't feel that keeping the templates separate because they might differ in future is the best way of going about things - surely the best idea, when forking a template, is to fork from the most recent version? If any project wants to take the box in a different direction in future they can re-split easily, and they'll have picked up any changes made to the template in the meantime. For now, I've addressed the issues raised. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 09:52, 5 December 2008 (UTC)
Thank you for conceding number 1 Thumperward. I personally have never used it for anything other than images, so if with this file recognition malarky nothing changes in how you actually edit it into a page, then I have no problem with it automatically adjusting to say Image at the top when rendered. MickMacNee (talk) 09:44, 5 December 2008 (UTC)
Yep, nothing should have changed from the user's point of view. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 09:52, 5 December 2008 (UTC)
I'm willing to work on your sandbox version but first it needs a better documentation. The current one is only for externalimage and doesn't cover your new features. If we have ironed out all problems with the sandbox version we can talk about implementing it. Wandalstouring (talk) 17:56, 5 December 2008 (UTC)
I updated the documentation at the time; I can add notes regarding the specific changes to the appearance when more than one media type is used quickly if it's okay to switch it back. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 23:30, 5 December 2008 (UTC)
Your sandbox example still reads the same and has external videos as a header. Fix that please. I still don't see how one can see the difference between image, audio and video except from the icons that aren't always shown or slowly rendered. Wandalstouring (talk) 08:30, 6 December 2008 (UTC)
I'll fix the template display, and update the docs with examples. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 09:54, 6 December 2008 (UTC)
The sandbox has been updated, and examples are provided in the documentation. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 10:40, 6 December 2008 (UTC)
You didn't read the template, did you? It still talks about two different templates and there's no sign how the template looks like. That's very important for the ordinary user to know he's on the right page besides you had a bug there. Wandalstouring (talk) 16:16, 6 December 2008 (UTC)
See the section below. You're looking at the wrong doc page. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 12:47, 7 December 2008 (UTC)

Moving forward[edit]

The function of externalimage has been maintained, however the help isn't very helpful because you get redirected to another template and then read a help text about the implementation of two templates. I thing keeping it to one template will end this confusion and sorry, but externalmedia isn't yet ready for implementation. Thumpward and I are still working on it.

Externalvideo and externalaudio are in actual fact unused templates. Externalvideo was a short time in use, but has been replaced. I wouldn't mind mothballing them.

External media is being carved out, but it isn't clear whether it can provide all functions at the same level of simplicity. Therefor I suggest to implement this template besides externalimage and let them compete. If there is a valid interest in the new media template, we can anytime mothball externalimage and redirect to external media or vice versa if nothing but images gets linked. Wandalstouring (talk) 09:39, 6 December 2008 (UTC)

As I say, the template is already functionally equivalent to all existing deployments. I think that's a clear indication that it "can provide all functions at the same level of simplicity". There's no point in maintaining three templates if only one is currently in use, so I think it's practical to just re-merge externalvideo and externalaudio just now. My main concern, contrary to Warren's assertion that I was doing this for the good of the code, was reducing our proliferation of rarely-used templates which makes it difficult for users to find the one they want. This template can be trivially adapted to add the functionality of the other two. Even if said functionality is only rarely used, it's still better than asking users to choose between three separate templates, which all have to be updated if any style changes are made, et cetera. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 09:54, 6 December 2008 (UTC)
Sure I agree, let them compete. If after a while one of them isn't being used we can always bring it to templates for deletion.--Patton123 14:21, 6 December 2008 (UTC)
The video template is still in use, Special:WhatLinksHere/Template:Externalvideo, albeit not much. I don't agree that 'competition in the wild' is a very good philosophy, it is already hard enough for users to figure out the template system, without offering seemingly duplicative options. So I still have no real objection to the merged design, although I would say the documentation (while showing it in pictures), still needs to explicitly explain to the user that the header changes form automatically. MickMacNee (talk) 15:02, 6 December 2008 (UTC). P.S. while I might not agree competing templates is a good idea, I am not sure that is an official policy position, I have an idea that I have seen duplicative templates out there, is this by accident or on purpose? MickMacNee (talk) 15:05, 6 December 2008 (UTC)
The documentation is still talking about two templates and there's no sign of how the template looks like. That's important for the user to recognize he's at the right site. Can you once do a job properly BEFORE announcing it's done? Wandalstouring (talk) 16:14, 6 December 2008 (UTC)
I did, in fact, do the job properly. You're looking at the wrong documentation page. The documentation I'm talking about is the one linked from the sandbox page - template:external media/testcases. I wasn't going to overwrite the existing documentation at template:externalimage/doc until the merge had been agreed to. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 12:47, 7 December 2008 (UTC)
I followed your new link and it still talks abou two templates. Do the job properly.Wandalstouring (talk) 15:05, 7 December 2008 (UTC)
Fixed. Thanks. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 16:47, 7 December 2008 (UTC)
Nice job with the examples, however, the description on how to use the template and the examples given don't support each other, or in other words they're conflicting. That has to be solved. the problem is that it says to link the images or audio files directly and not the homepages, however, a reader is lost searching for verification if a footnote to the homepage where the content is described isn't provided. See Roman-Spartan War as an example for a featured article with this template.
Next issue is the symbol for external media. you're using the externalimage symbol that doesn't fit well for audios. Please search another icon. Wandalstouring (talk) 10:49, 8 December 2008 (UTC)
I'll have a look for another multimedia icon - the movie clipboard is the most common icon used to represent diverse multimedia, but I'll see what else there is.
I didn't actually change the wording of the usage guide at all, just used the existing wording from template:externalimage/doc. However, I can see that it's lacking, so I'll try to update it to make it more understandable. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 12:20, 8 December 2008 (UTC)
The problem is that you have picked off the wrong use of the template. Take a look at high level articles like Late Roman army and you will see it inserted according to the description. So better change the examples. Wandalstouring (talk) 15:16, 8 December 2008 (UTC)
Yes, I saw this - I just haven't gotten round to finishing the documentation update yet. It's still in the sandbox and not deployed, so it makes no difference whether it's done tonight or a week from now. I'll ping the talk page once I've finished. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 15:36, 8 December 2008 (UTC)


Current draft of the documentation is here. It should give a good idea of what the new code is capable of. If this is acceptable, I'll request the moves which will get this all updated. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 14:35, 16 December 2008 (UTC)

Looks OK. However, I understood the <ref> parts were required, to identify the source of the media. MickMacNee (talk) 21:21, 16 December 2008 (UTC)
There's nothing in the template code which has ever made that mandatory. It's good practice, but template documentation is meant to tell you what you can do with a template; the Manual of Style is there to tell editors what they should be doing with them. Use of references wasn't universal in the wild anyway, from an examination of existing transclusions. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 23:09, 16 December 2008 (UTC)
That's still violating MOS. Statements from online sources must be sourced with the date of retrieval. Wandalstouring (talk) 07:16, 18 December 2008 (UTC)
Am I right in saying that all you want is a note to that effect added? This wasn't previously enforced by the template code, and isn't used by all existing deployments. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 09:02, 18 December 2008 (UTC)
It's used by all A-class and FA articles using the template and yes, I do want it plus an example of a FA showing it in action. Wandalstouring (talk) 12:21, 19 December 2008 (UTC)
Actually, it's not used by FA-class Lochry's Defeat. I've added a note on usage - if you have an appropriate example FA then be my guest. For now, I think the documentation is complete enough that the merge can be reattempted. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 12:35, 19 December 2008 (UTC)
I miss your point. Externalimage isn't used in this article. Look at War against Nabis for its implementation. Wandalstouring (talk) 16:10, 19 December 2008 (UTC)
I understand, you mean that the citation guidelines are violated for the primary sources in this article. Well, that's true. Wandalstouring (talk) 16:13, 19 December 2008 (UTC)
It's used in this section. Anyway, yeah, I'll update the doc with the example from the War against Nabis article. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 16:21, 19 December 2008 (UTC)
Give me the link when your finished and I'll add a bit of argumentation regarding the why. Wandalstouring (talk) 16:34, 19 December 2008 (UTC)
Done. I've replaced example 1 with the first image in the War against Nabis imagebox. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 09:55, 20 December 2008 (UTC)
The two video entries need sources. Wandalstouring (talk) 10:28, 20 December 2008 (UTC)
Done. Are we good to go? Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 11:57, 20 December 2008 (UTC)

OK. You can launch it. Wandalstouring (talk) 13:36, 20 December 2008 (UTC)

merging templates[edit]

I suggest to merge Template:YouTube user with Template:External media. Wandalstouring (talk) 18:00, 15 April 2009 (UTC)

Better on Commons?[edit]

For articles which have a corresponding Commons page (or category), wouldn't it be better to use this template on the Commons page rather than on the main article? If a reader is interested in reviewing / locating media on a specific topic then the Commons is the logical place to go. Greenshed (talk) 09:23, 10 October 2009 (UTC)

This isn't for Commons media. You want Template:Commonscat MickMacNee (talk) 17:02, 11 October 2009 (UTC)
Actually, I don't want commonscat. I want to move the external media template from an article (where it takes up space) to the commons page where it will be logically grouped with hosted media. Greenshed (talk) 23:16, 12 October 2009 (UTC)
Ah right. I doubt that would come under the commons scope, they are not there to help people find non-free media, so I doubt they would want to start supporting such a template. Anyway, since that is a cross-project proposal, you would need to raise it at a more visible level than just this talk page, and probably on commons first. MickMacNee (talk) 01:50, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
Indeed. I don't see the suitability here; this template is an unfortunate compromise on en-WP, but it's definitely not something Commons would be looking for. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 09:10, 15 October 2009 (UTC)

Box header[edit]

External media
Example audio
Example video

The switch to "External media" for mixed content does not work properly if there is no parameter |image1= present. E.g. the code

{{External media|audio1=[http://example.com/example.mp3 Example audio]|video1=[http://example.com/example.avi Example video]}}

produces the box shown on the right with the header "External audio". Could some fix the #if statements in the template code? -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 05:26, 28 October 2010 (UTC)

External media use in Themes in Avatar[edit]

There is an ongoing debate on the proper use of this template in general, and its appropriateness in the lead of Themes in Avatar in particular. Would anybody involved with the template development and/or knowledgeable about the applicable Wiki policies governing its use please consider weighing in? Thanks and regards, Cinosaur (talk) 03:44, 17 November 2010 (UTC)

Template encourages violation of our external linking policy[edit]

The biggest problem I see with this template is that it encourages violation of our external linking policies. External links are never permitted in the body of the article, whether from inline text or from a template.

Text needs to be added to the documentation that the template should only be used in the external links section. Yworo (talk) 14:07, 18 November 2010 (UTC)

A few thoughts: The WP:EL guideline says "... they should not normally be used in the body of an article ..." in two places. It doesn't forbid external links within an article's body, it just strongly discourages them.
Also, see Wikipedia:Embedded citations and Help:Citations quick reference, which discourage plain embedded links, but note that they're far better than nothing.
For examples, Kaipara Harbour#Tidal power is much improved by having relevant maps linked to, directly within the section; additionally, the site they are sourced from has a full footnote-reference within the template. Until there are equivalent maps that we can upload and use, this template/method will help the readers. Ditto for Oatka Creek#Watershed, and the cutaways in Boeing 747#Aircraft on display and Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II#Specifications (F-35A). The section Usain Bolt#2008 Summer Olympics, a Good Article, has embedded video, that we simply can't upload. Lochry's Defeat#Aftermath, a Featured Article, has had that template since it was promoted. (Note: )
However, I do agree that there are some instances which should be rethought or removed, eg Vessel monitoring system and Haukåsen Radar contain deadlinks, and in The Memphis Album#Development and recording the first link is not available in Canada.
There are currently 993 uses of this template, and from random sampling at least 50% of them are embedded with the article body. So, I'm going to revert your addition to the template's doc, as it doesn't match actual practice. But I do agree that further discussion would be helpful. HTH. -- Quiddity (talk) 21:06, 18 November 2010 (UTC)
What you call an "embedded link", also called an unnamed link, is a link without text.[1] They are permitted to be used as references. A named link, also called a text-link or text-anchored link, isn't permitted in the article body, even if used as a reference. The template creates and promotes a named link. Yworo (talk) 21:36, 18 November 2010 (UTC)
The Manual of Style is more explicit about linking styles permitted in the body of the article, here: "You should not add a descriptive title to an embedded HTML link within an article. ... However, you should add a descriptive title when an external link is offered in the References, Further reading, or External links section."
And, with respect to positioning of links says, "Embedded links that are used to support information in an article are positioned in the same manner as any other reference in the article, following the usual standards about citation formatting and placement in relation to punctuation. ... Links that are not used as sources can be listed in the External links section..." [emphasis in source] Yworo (talk) 22:44, 18 November 2010 (UTC)
Is there any particular reason why we couldn't place this box in the ==External links== section? WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:13, 27 November 2010 (UTC)
As I said above, from a random sampling of our current usages, about 50% do appear in the EL section, and about 50% appear within the article body. Based on the "descriptive not prescriptive" theory, I'd favor keeping things that way, and not requiring it to appear in a certain place. Any problematic instances can hopefully be cleared up on a case-by-case basis. HTH. -- Quiddity (talk) 00:36, 28 November 2010 (UTC)
Having thought it over, I am now wondering whether this big template ought to be used in ==EL==. Perhaps it would be better for those to be * [http://example.com Link to media] rather than {{external media | align = right | image1 = [http://example.com Link to media}}.
Consider Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II#External_links: Is there a good reason for those two external links to be in this template, rather than appearing like everyday, normal links?
Put another way, how would you complete the sentence, "I recommend using this template to..."? WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:31, 29 November 2010 (UTC)
I also believe that placing this template in the "External links" section is intrusive; there's no good reason why those links in the Lockheed article should not be presented in the usual way.
"I recommend using this template to..." – exactly what it currently says: "If an image, audio or video clip is available online, but cannot be uploaded to Wikipedia […]". In other words, where we would normally place an image or an audio clip in the body of an article, but we don't have one. I used the template recently in this way in the Claire Dux article. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 02:51, 30 November 2010 (UTC)
So you would recommend using this template only when both of the following conditions are met:
  1. when the linked media is something that a well-constructed article would obviously contain, but can't, because the media files aren't available on WMF projects, and
  2. when it is placed in the main body of the article.
You would not, for example, use it to provide a link that the article wouldn't normally contain (say, to a television news story about the subject or to my favorite concert performance of a song). You would also not use it to provide any links under the ==External links== heading.
As a purely hypothetical example, let's pretend that there's a new media type that allows users to smell things through their computers, and readers have come to expect such files in articles about food. If Free-apple.smell is available on commons, and Commercial-apple.smell is available at a grower's website, you would not use the template: You would link File:Free-apple.smell in the article and be done with it. However, if Commercial-apple.smell was the only apple-scented computer file in the world, then you would use this template in the main body of the article, until such a time as a "Free-apple.smell" is created—at which point, you would remove this template and replace it with with File:Free-apple.smell. At no time would this template be placed under ==External links== (although Commercial-apple.smell could be linked as an ordinary, everyday external link, if variety were wanted).
Do I have that right? Does anyone disagree with this approach? WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:22, 3 December 2010 (UTC)
Yes, that (your points 1 & 2 above) is my approach. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 03:34, 4 December 2010 (UTC)
WhatamIdoing, thanks for the vivid illustration of your point. To extend the hypothetical example a bit further, if the article in question is on the smell of apples, and Commercial-apple.smell is the only kind of multi-layer apple-scented file in the world that gives a smeller reader a comprehensive idea of what various apple-smells are, all other free versions being limited just to one of the variety of smells characteristic of apples, will it be justified to use the template in the lead of the article as a summary illustration for it? Regards, Cinosaur (talk) 05:45, 4 December 2010 (UTC)
Based on the above response, I think Michael would provide that link under ==External links==, just like any other. I think this is reasonable. Wikipedia has a vested interest in keeping the reader at Wikipedia, so sending them away is the "last thing" we want in an article (literally). WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:53, 5 December 2010 (UTC)
I've updated the docs to reflect what I think is the general/IAR-when-needed advice. Please take a look and let me know (here) if there are any obvious problems. WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:39, 6 December 2010 (UTC)
It's nice to see where my invention goes. After searching for hundreds of requested images and writing innumerable letters for image donations, I convinced people with more coding skills to give me this tool. The intention from the start was to put this template not in the EL section, but into the article. And the traffic, the deep linking and the dead links situation should have been caught by a reference with a broader link to where the specifically linked image was from. Yes, it was just meant as a temporary solution to a well defined problem, but has grown over time into something bigger, more diverse and been translated into other languages. If there's a replacement the corresponding link should be moved to EL without the template around. However, we may restructure EL into something more informative and not a commercial dumping place for black hat advertisement, so the optics of this template may have a legacy there. As has been already mentioned, we simply lack content, but we know what is needed and were to find it. This makes for a clear "ignore all rules" case in order to operate a good encyclopedia. If you see the use of this template as a threatening problem fight the roots not the plant. This means improve our capabilities to get the required content and I would strongly advocate to include links to helpful material on this topic in the description of the template and its use. (Most people have opinions, few have ideas. The only criticism worth listening to is constructive criticism) Wandalstouring (talk) 13:09, 19 June 2011 (UTC)


Floating a suggestion to add a section for webcams. Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 02:01, 25 December 2010 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I've sandboxed the addition of support for webcams. Barring objection, I'll move that into the template in a day or two. Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 12:02, 31 December 2010 (UTC)

I've created two test cases which show several bugs. It still shows the bug from the current version which displays the box's heading wrongly not as "External media" but as "External audio" when the parameter |image1= is not present, but more than one other media type is present. See also #Box header above.
It seems the sandbox omits some subheadings within the box and produces sometimes the external links for the web cams multiple times additionally outside the box at the left margin.
The second example shows two subheadings within the box for "Webcams" and the box is labelled "External videos" where it should be "External media".
I think we should have a lot more test cases before implementation. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 13:06, 31 December 2010 (UTC)
I don't think we should have this feature. I can't think of a single instance in which a webcam ought to be in the article, rather than as a plain old link under ==External links==. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:14, 31 December 2010 (UTC)
────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Thanks for the troubleshooting and the test cases. I knew I shouldn't have tried to do this on New Years Eve, sitting on my stepdaughter's couch, with the TV blaring, surrounded by screaming kids, using an undersized netbook with a too-tight keyboard, crummmy mousepad and ratty display, over a slow and dodgy wifi connection. (the fact that I'm a lousy template coder might have had some impact as well)
Anyhow, I've redone the sandboxed code. While I was looking at that, I noticed some apparent problems in the current {{external media}} regarding header content with audio & video device combinations:
With {{External media}} With {{External media/sandbox}}
External media
Example audio
Example video
That should have the External media header, not the External audio header.
My changes to the sandboxed code should fix that problem as well as the problems you uncovered with the added webcam media type (but don't bet on it -- I wasn't kidding either about my current suboptimal work environment or about my inexpert template coding skills).
Re whether or not this template should support webcams, I got into this as a side-issue from something else and I don't feel strongly either way about that. I do think that discussion here seems overly concerned about how WP editors might use the template (something over which template designers and maintainers have little control), rather than focusing on what the template is meant to do and how it ought to get that done. Before I raised the question of explicit webcam support here as an available media type category, I found that webcams work just fine when presented to the template as the video media type (or, for that matter, as any of the other explicitly named media types).
Re usage of the template, it seems to me that usage outside of the EL section flouts the WP:EL guideline that ELs should not normally be used in the body of an article (perhaps that guideline should be loosened slightly); similarly, that guideline does not contemplate usage of templates such as this inside the EL section (perhaps it should). I would call this template a solution in search of a problem, were it not that I see that it is currently transcluded by over a thousand articles — the few that I looked at did locate it somewhere in the article body, though I don't understand the objection to it being located in the EL section.
Re webcam links, I don't have the breakdown handy, but before I stumbled over this template I looked around WP for webcam links and found quite a few of them located variously in inline ELs embedded in in prose, in image captions (very useful in some cases, with the image containing a captured still image overlaid with explanations about what is visible there), and in article EL sections. I saw quite a few dead-link webcam links (not surprising).
Anyhow, I think I'll move on to something else. I hope some part of the above is useful here. Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 09:25, 2 January 2011 (UTC)
The current version of the sandbox does indeed address the concerns I raised above, including the long-standing bug where the template failed to display "External media" in certain circumstances. This means, the sandbox code seems better than the current live version and, after a few more test cases (I've done my bit), this fix should be carried into the live version.
The result of the recent discussion about the placement of this template within articles (strictly EL or not) seems quite satisfactory.
I have no opinion on the need or desirability of webcams in this template. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 12:02, 2 January 2011 (UTC)

The template is very much needed for videos![edit]

videos for wikipedia are essentially unplayable. I went to huge amounts of work to get a state agency to donate a video to Commons. But guess what, it doesn't play with Internet Explorer. Or most other browsers. Even with the Java plugin. And it;s a known problem. So when I have very targeted content and a type of media that I want to use in article, I just techically CAN'T! Every darned blog on the Internet can embed videos. But because we refuse to use "normal" commercial formats (not content, just formats), our videos are unwatchable by the majority of the general public. When I ahve a specific reason to put a video in a SPOT in the article (as I would do with an image!), then this template serves me well. TCO (talk) 04:11, 3 February 2011 (UTC)

And telling me to stick the link in EL makes no sense. I'm not trying to give it some general site that's good on the topic. But as a specific content to go in a specific part of the page. It's still "in" the page in EL. Just I'm putting it in a spot, that is not editorially sound in terms of composition of an article.TCO (talk) 04:14, 3 February 2011 (UTC)
Now if we would FIX the video situation (us fix it, and stop blaming the external world), then I'd be fine with a hard-ass no templates policy. But as for now, this thing is a total catch-22. And I'm very capable of using this template responsibliy, just as I do with all my other decisions!TCO (talk) 04:14, 3 February 2011 (UTC)
If the video is freely licensed as demanded by the Commons guidelines, you may always convert it to a free format before uploading to Commons. --Eleassar my talk 07:37, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
Reread this "I went to huge amounts of work to get a state agency to donate a video to Commons. But guess what, it doesn't play with Internet Explorer. Or most other browsers. Even with the Java plugin." In this case, I did get the donation AND then convert it to ogg. Which made it nonviewable by most readers (and asking people to download software is insane...they won't do it, some of them are non-techie and can't do it, and it is not a normal expectation, every other site serves them viewable video).TCO (talk) 23:03, 23 May 2013 (UTC)

Edits 14-Dec-2011[edit]

The last edit of a set of edits on 14 December 2011 caused the table header (External images / External audio / External media) to disappear; I'm not sure why, but they ought to be reinstated. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 13:11, 14 December 2011 (UTC)

My mistake, I needed to purge the page. Still, the previous version had a light blue background for the header row and the font size was not as big as it is now. I think both ought to be as they were. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 13:17, 14 December 2011 (UTC)


This should link to, and be linked from, related templates in a ==See also== section. L'il help? --Lexein (talk) 11:24, 28 September 2012 (UTC)

Align=left not working[edit]

At Nik Stauskas, I am trying to use align=left and it is not working.--TonyTheTiger (T/C/BIO/WP:CHICAGO/WP:FOUR) 19:51, 30 March 2013 (UTC)

Yes, please fix. I would like to use it at (Fluorine.TCO (talk) 22:58, 23 May 2013 (UTC)
From looking at the code in Template:External_media/testcases there appears to be a float=left (or center, or right) parameter as well. That one seems to work right now, but align=left doesn't. (Not sure what the difference is, actually.) EEng (talk) 07:00, 1 July 2013 (UTC)

Please edit the documentation to replace all "align" with "float". Align command does not work, float does. (talk) 14:56, 14 September 2013 (UTC) (talk) 14:56, 14 September 2013 (UTC)

I hesitate to rush in where angels fear to tread i.e. templates are so complex it takes elaborate investigation to be sure one knows what's going on. But from an examination of the code it does appear that float, not align is the right syntax so I'm gonna go ahead and change the documentation. EEng (talk) 21:14, 14 September 2013 (UTC)

Size of External Media box ?[edit]

Hi, I would like to be able to resize the External Media box, in width, like we can with embedded images. Sometimes the link text cannot be reasonably compressed into one line, and then takes too much vertical space. I usually view Wikipedia in a window 1200px wide, whereas most people use 1600 or 1920 pixels wide (FullHD), and I mostly see empty space ready to be filled to the left of the External Media box. TGCP (talk) 12:19, 12 October 2013 (UTC)

You can use e.g. width=18em or width=100px EEng (talk) 14:33, 12 October 2013 (UTC)
Ah thanks, that worked! The page does say so... I struggled to find this page via Help, and gave up too soon. TGCP (talk) 16:25, 12 October 2013 (UTC)
Where shall I send the bill? EEng (talk) 17:11, 12 October 2013 (UTC)

Optional title Icons removed from box title[edit]

Could we get an option to omit the title and top image? Since there is already an image inside the box, why must we have another? In a FAC review someone said, "Its not very attractive." BollyJeff | talk 20:20, 11 December 2013 (UTC)

+1 (I would attempt, but it's a complicated template). –Quiddity (talk) 20:59, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
I think it would be easily done by killing the |title= parameter in the template code. However, I think that as a formality the reader should be on notice that the links are external. I agree that the current design is visually intrusive, but I think this comes mostly from the Nuvola apps kview.svgNuvola apps arts.svgNuvola apps kaboodle.svg icons above the box, to the left of External Media (or video or whatever). If we drop the icon but keep the External [whatever] I think that would be fine.
I'm almost brave enough to do this myself, but I think we better get broader consensus first -- there might be a hidden reason it's not a good idea. EEng (talk) 06:06, 22 December 2013 (UTC)
[Later...] I see now the OP was talking about making the title optional -- I opened my post as if the request was to simply eliminate it, period. In any event, I am suggesting that the title icons be eliminated, always. EEng (talk) 10:59, 22 December 2013 (UTC)
I agree with EEng's position. The title itself ("External images|audio|media") should stay, but the image to its left is unnecessary decoration and should be removed. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 10:20, 22 December 2013 (UTC)
Agreed; it is just the title image that is redundant. BollyJeff | talk 13:41, 22 December 2013 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Someone want to check my work?

EEng (talk) 15:34, 22 December 2013 (UTC)

Looks good to me. :) –Quiddity (talk) 22:05, 22 December 2013 (UTC)
Now live. <Faint sound of nuclear blast in distance.> EEng (talk) 23:07, 22 December 2013 (UTC)
Seems to work, but picture still shows on the original, only absent from sandbox version, despite what the template page says. BollyJeff | talk 03:16, 23 December 2013 (UTC)
There's a typically clear-as-mud technogeek pile of confusing instructions for how to fix that at WP:PURGE. EEng (talk) 04:23, 23 December 2013 (UTC)
Reboot did it. Thank you, BollyJeff | talk 20:50, 23 December 2013 (UTC)
For future reference rebooting shouldn't be necessary (you'll notice there was a little winking emoticon in my edit summary), but you may need to PURGE + clear browser cache. Reboot does include a browser cache clear, but not the PURGE, so in fact might not be enough most of the time. This always gives me a headache so I just do something else until it fixes itself. EEng (talk) 21:47, 23 December 2013 (UTC)

"External images" plural[edit]

It says "External images" even though there is only 1 image. The script should be aware to say "Image" or "Images" depending how many are listed. -- GreenC 15:27, 24 April 2014 (UTC)

Use with infobox in lead for biographies[edit]

Suppose that there is a Wikipedia biography on a person and it is not possible to upload an image of that person to Wikipedia or Wikimedia Commons. Should this template or any variation of it be used to link out to some picture of the person on an external website?

This issue is being explored with edit reverts at the biography of Sophie Hunter. There are pictures of this actress on the Internet Movie Database, and a user has proposed that a link to a picture there be made prominent at the beginning of the article. Another user opposed this use.

If this kind of use is allowed, then we could automate the linking of actors in every country to IMDB, as that website is the most complete publicly accessible photo archive of actors. If this kind of use is not allowed, then guidelines for using this template should be clarified. Blue Rasberry (talk) 14:38, 14 November 2014 (UTC)

I will add that I was the user who added the external image in hopes of stopping the socks that infest that article to stop posing as photographers to get images of Hunter uploaded to the commons to add to the infobox. The user that keeps reverting it is another sock, just waiting for the SPI case to close. LADY LOTUSTALK 15:40, 14 November 2014 (UTC)

Won't left float at same level as infobox[edit]

TransAsia Airways Flight 235
Accident summary
Date 4 February 2015 (2015-02-04)
Summary Crashed soon after takeoff; under investigation
Site Keelung River, Taipei, Taiwan
25°03′48″N 121°37′04″E / 25.06333°N 121.61778°E / 25.06333; 121.61778Coordinates: 25°03′48″N 121°37′04″E / 25.06333°N 121.61778°E / 25.06333; 121.61778
Passengers 53
Crew 5
Fatalities At least 40
Injuries (non-fatal) 17 (including 2 on ground)
Missing 3
Survivors 15
Aircraft type ATR 72-600
Operator TransAsia Airways
Registration B-22816
Flight origin Taipei Songshan Airport, Songshan, Taipei, Taiwan
Destination Kinmen Airport, Kinmen, Taiwan
External video
Dashcam 1
Dashcam 2
Rooftop CCTV

This template was inserted in the first section (after the lead) of TransAsia Airways Flight 235, which is the appropriate place for the links, and left aligned. Refer to this revision, since the page is a current event and frequently changing. It will not appear at the same level as the infobox, only below the infobox, but it does appear at the same level as the foreign character warning box or images (on the right). The lead and first section aren't very long (and about the same height as the infobox on my display), which causes the External Media template to appear at the end of the first section, despite being placed at the beginning of the section, and conflict with the next section's header. When the "Contents" is collapsed, then the External Media template appears at the end of the second section and causes layout issues with the page. Please fix this issue. AHeneen (talk) 22:40, 7 February 2015 (UTC)

It can be done with <div style="float: right;"> ... </div>. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 06:15, 8 February 2015 (UTC)

Template change?[edit]

Was this template changed so that it no longer sticks to the left or right edge? For example, see Perpetuity (sculpture). Before, the external media box appeared below the infobox, not right next to it. I've noticed this problem with other articles, too. ---Another Believer (Talk) 00:39, 14 November 2015 (UTC)

Update: This 'problem' no longer applies to the example I provided above, so perhaps it has been resolved. ---Another Believer (Talk) 00:37, 16 November 2015 (UTC)

Heading is too big[edit]

I think the heading of this box is too big, and commands an undue degree of attention in an article. For me, it is somewhere between the level 3 and level 4 headings:

External image
bla bla bla text

Demo level 3 heading

Demo level 4 heading

It would be nice to make the heading a bit smaller or less bold. Better still, incorporate it into the box itself. — This, that and the other (talk) 08:39, 29 January 2016 (UTC)