Template talk:Infobox NFL biography

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Unlink "central" draft articles[edit]


Could someone please unlink '''[[National Football League draft|NFL draft]]''', '''[[American Football League draft|AFL draft]]''', etc. The links cause every player ever drafted to link to the central pages, so that they have thousands of incoming links, making it impossible to identify which articles really link to them. And this number will continue to grow.

Linking to the actual draft (year) article is relevant in the player article context, but not linking to the "central" pages.

If someone thinks the links are relevant in the context of the template itself, then the linking could be limited by <noinclude></noinclude> tags.


HandsomeFella (talk) 11:18, 20 September 2015 (UTC)

  • This would need consensus, and I doubt it would be forthcoming. The links are useful, the year links will already be in the article, and there's no reason to limit how much linking we do within the wiki. Actually, more linking is generally preferable to aid in navigation between pages. I support the links as is. ~ RobTalk 16:25, 20 September 2015 (UTC)
    • Thanks for your response. I guess it can always be said that links are useful. Yet there's a guideline in the MOS (WP:OVERLINK) on the topic. Unfortunately it touches only on the problem of having too many outgoing links, not (explicitly) on that of having too many incoming links. At least I haven't seen that.
I realize that it's – to some extent anyway – a matter of opinion what should be linked, and what shouldn't. I personally think that a reader of a player article would be more interested in who else was drafted, and by which team, that year, than in the generic process itself, however interesting that may be. If the reader becomes interested in that process after reading the year article, s/he can access it from there, where a link obviously would be motivated.
The question of whether links "acquired" from transcluding a template, shown in the "What links here" function just like "regular" links, could (or should) be avoided has been raised several times on WP:VPT, so I guess other people have also seen the problem. In some cases though, the problem is that some templates encompass a set of pages that is too large, and when all those articles transclude the template, all will also have very many incoming links.
The problem is somewhat different here. We have a template that doesn't have very many outgoing links, but it's transcluded by v-e-r-y- m-a-n-y articles, and that number is growing by – I'm guessing here – at least 100 a year. So the problem is growing. We could mitigate that problem by de-linking some of the most common, or generic, link targets.
HandsomeFella (talk) 16:58, 20 September 2015 (UTC)
I work as much with this particular template as anyone, and I would not oppose de-linking the built-in infobox link to the general NFL draft article, so long as the links are preserved to the articles for the individual draft years, e.g., 2015 NFL draft. In the past, several of the infobox field/parameter labels were linked, including "Position," "College," "High school," etc. From a design standpoint, I always thought it was kind of odd and more than a little distracting to link some, but not all infobox field labels. Frankly, at one point in Wikipedia's history, there was a tendency to link everything that was link-able. I think we're past that (see WP:OVERLINK), and now we are only linking to the most important subjects or most relevant subjects. Those are my thoughts. Let's see what others have to say. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 17:22, 20 September 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for your input. I only saw it when I saved a new paragraph that I added to my post immediately above. Amazingly, there was no edit conflict. WP software is getting better every day, it seems. HandsomeFella (talk) 17:29, 20 September 2015 (UTC)
As a clarification to my rationale for supporting the links, I'm not in the business of recommending we link everything. In this case, I believe the links are useful because those who may not know too much about sports might not know what the draft is, how it's carried out, etc. I'm lumped in with the category of "people who know nothing" for many sports other than football, and I know a link to, say, the NHL draft would be helpful to me. ~ RobTalk 10:37, 22 September 2015 (UTC)
Red information icon with gradient background.svg Not done for now: It is evident that the delinking requested needs more discussion and would require a community consensus. Painius  23:35, 21 September 2015 (UTC)


Could the number and team be moved back into the first header? It looks worse the current way. The "currentteam" parameter should also automatically link up to the team, without having to use brackets. The old template was this way, and I don't see why this has to look uglier post-merge. ~ Dissident93 (talk) 00:10, 24 November 2015 (UTC)

Yes, this needs fixed to the way it was before. WikiOriginal-9 (talk) 00:34, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
I have to agree. The "Current position" bar seems strange, especially when position is confused with the actual position played, which is ambiguously a "position" field under "Current position". @Primefac: I'm going to revert the changes for now. Can you set up some test cases comparing the output before and after the proposed merge. I think WP:NFL should help review the changes before going live again.—Bagumba (talk) 04:16, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
To be fair, it seems that this was how Template:Infobox NFL coach always showed it. If we are going to merge, I think we should decide which features we want to keep and which we should deprecate. Personally, I wouldnt want people to start adding a player's record into |current_record=, which the coach's infobox currently supports.—Bagumba (talk) 04:38, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
The template should focus mainly on players since there are nearly 2,000 NFL players currently on a team, but only 100 or so notable active coaches. Coach/executive only parameters should work by having a "yes" type flag, similar to the |pastteamsnote= parameter that was recently added (the info only appears when set to yes). ~ Dissident93 (talk) 04:45, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
I don't see why a coach's current record is even special enough to be in the infobox. I'm sure some fanboy will just start marking the flag so they can put their favorite QBs record. Just delete it, and presumably "Current position" can be universally replaced with "No. <number> <team>", where number would be empty for a coach. Look at Jack Del Rio and Jeff Fisher: they're former players turned coach, and they still used the player infobox. They don't have their current record.—Bagumba (talk) 04:54, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
Completely fine with me. ~ Dissident93 (talk) 05:07, 24 November 2015 (UTC)

Note: WP:NFL has been notified of this discussion.—Bagumba (talk) 04:47, 24 November 2015 (UTC)

Feedback on sandbox test case results[edit]

There's an existing set of test cases at Template:Infobox NFL player/testcases and Template:Infobox NFL coach/testcases. (see next comment) I've copied the proposed merge changes to the respective sandboxes. At a minimum, we should use those to get feedback on the differences there.—Bagumba (talk) 07:51, 24 November 2015 (UTC)

I've consolidated the test cases including all examples for both {{Infobox NFL player}} and {{Infobox NFL coach}} at Template:Infobox NFL biography/testcases. The point was to simplify the effort by avoiding having to sync changes made in mulitple templates. Going forward, let's just work on Template:Infobox NFL biography/sandbox. @Bagumba: I've taken the liberty of striking out a portion of your comment above since these testcases are now consolidated. I hope you're not offended. — DeeJayK (talk) 21:40, 25 November 2015 (UTC)

Player feedback[edit]

  1. "Current position" should be changed back to "No. <number> <team>"—Bagumba (talk) 08:14, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
    I question whether it's appropriate/necessary to even present the uniform number for non-active players. Second, if we do choose to present uniform number (whether it be for an active or inactive player), the current "No. XX" convention seems less than ideal, particularly as "No." is a non-obvious (though I admit widely used) abbreviation for "number". It seems like this presentation could be a cause for confusion especially for non-native readers. I would suggest that we change the label to "Uniform number" or perhaps "Uniform #". — DeeJayK (talk) 21:06, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
    Yeah, I think that if a player who wore alot of numbers in their career, it doesn't need to be listed. But somebody who only wore one, I.E. Barry Sanders, then it's fine to list theirs. ~ Dissident93 (talk) 23:48, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
    I guess that approach seems sensible, but I can't think of a way that it could be implemented in the template to enforce that rule. The way it is currently implemented, if the value is omitted nothing is displayed, so that puts that impetus on the editor of each individual article as to whether the information is displayed, which gives us a disparate experience from article to article. If we drew a hard line of simply not showing the number for any inactive player then we could implement enforcement of that rule in the template. This is just something to discuss. — DeeJayK (talk) 16:52, 25 November 2015 (UTC)
    As the capability to do so for non-active players exists even w/o a merge, maybe it's a topic for a separate discussion. As for "No.", it's a pretty standard abbreviation per MOS:NUMBERSIGN.—Bagumba (talk) 21:29, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
    Obviously per the MOS "No." is sufficient. I just don't feel it looks particularly good, but maybe that's just a personal pecadillo. As it stands I prefer the old implementation for active players where the uniform number is presented with the team name — this makes it more clear that "No." represents uniform number. The presentation of just the number by itself (particularly for inactive players) seem ambiguous. Unless we have a space concern, I continue to think that presenting it as "Uniform number" or even "Uniform no." would remove any doubt as to what the number represents, but I don't feel strongly enough to go tilting at windmills over it. Either way, I agree that it makes little sense to have a "Current position" section for an inactive player. We should either look into reverting this header back to the way it was (as Bagumba suggested above) or alternately we could change the header to simply "Position" for inactive players (or perhaps for active players as well). — DeeJayK (talk) 16:52, 25 November 2015 (UTC)
    FYI, there have been similar proposals which included moving the number (and team) out of the header that have failed for Template:Infobox basketball biography and with Template:Infobox college football player.—Bagumba (talk) 20:13, 25 November 2015 (UTC)
    Here's the change I made to address this issue — I made the "Current position" header optional dependent upon the existence of any of the following parameters: currenttitle, current_title, currentteam, current_team, currentnumber. I also moved position to the "Career information" section (as requested by Bagumba as #4 in the #coach feedback notes below) and consolidated number with jersey which is displayed in the "Career information" section as well. If currentnumber exists, these parameters are suppressed. In addition, I took the liberty of changing "No." to "Uniform no." (in the "Current position" section) and "Jersey number" to "Uniform no." (in the "Career information" section) — this label change was done merely to see how it looks, as discussed elsewhere, if others have strong feelings about this label I'm fine with reverting it. Looking at the testcases I'm not sure this all looks exactly right. Please let me know what you think. — DeeJayK (talk) 22:54, 25 November 2015 (UTC)
    Based on the early feedback above at #Question, I don't think there is support to have retain the "Current position" format from Infobox NFL coach. And if the prior basketball and college football discussions that I linked above was any indication, I doubt if there will be support for it.—Bagumba (talk) 23:30, 25 November 2015 (UTC)
    |position= is going to be a problem, because the same parameter is currently used differently in the two infoboxes. For players, it is their current position for active players, or past position for non-active players. For coaches, it is their position as a player, while |current_title= is their role today. I don't think the person's current role should be buried in "Career information". So it seems we either need to programmatically determine if this is a coach or player and treat |position= accordingly, or some changes in the articles need to happen. If needed, it would be easiest to change coach articles, as there are only 340 transclusions currently.—Bagumba (talk) 23:30, 25 November 2015 (UTC)
    I was just now playing with an attempt to differentiate this display based on whether the article was related to a player (in which case we would revert to a header similar to the current player infobox with the uniform number and team name) or a coach (in which case we'd use the "Current position" header). I was attempting to use the existence of the |current_title= parameter to determine the use case, since this parameter should apply exclusively to coaches. I was able to get something to work, but there remained issues, particularly for inactive players. Since I didn't feel like spending time today to try to work out these issues, I reverted my changes. However, this sort of approach might be something we want to consider given the apparent support for the existing look of the player template in regard to these elements. — DeeJayK (talk) 18:26, 26 November 2015 (UTC)
    "No." is correct per MOS:NUMBERSIGN. In fact, all number signs ("#") in our CFB and NFL articles should be replaced outside space-limited tables, e.g., poll rankings, season, schedules, player rosters, etc. The use of the number sign in sports articles is one of the most abused uses of inappropriate symbols in article text. The display of the current team in the first subheader should be consistent for players and coaches, but infoboxes for coaches should not display player jersey number(s). This would be best accomplished with a "toggle" parameter that enables the display certain coach-related parameters for coaches, and disables certain player-related parameters for coaches. Good infobox design is about making choices, and not cramming every available datapoint into an infobox; coach infoboxes should emphasize coaching data, and should not be over-burdened with optional parameters and trivia related to the often brief playing careers of coaches. Query: whether the "stats" parameters should be toggled off for coaches? Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 17:10, 30 November 2015 (UTC)
    Fixed I've added some logic to {{Infobox NFL biography/sandbox}} to address this issue. Please take another look at the testcases and let me know what you think. Thanks! — DeeJayK (talk) 16:55, 18 December 2015 (UTC)
  2. The Renaldo Nehemiah test case has unneeded section "Team(s) as a player" which duplicates "Career history"—Bagumba (talk) 08:14, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
    I don't understand why these two sections are necessary. Is there a case when it would be appropriate for each to contain relevant information for a single person? Perhaps a player turned coach? Short of some clarity on what information each section is meant to provide, I'm not sure what the "fix" for this issue would be. To me, the entire "Team(s) as a player" section seems superfluous. — DeeJayK (talk) 21:06, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
    Yes, my recommendation is to make sure it is not duplicated.—Bagumba (talk) 21:29, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
    FYI, "Team(s) as a player" is a byproduct of {{Infobox NFL coach}}, and the merge result was not tested against existing TCs for the player infobox.—Bagumba (talk) 22:05, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
    That makes sense. I would suggest we look at completely removing the "Team(s) as a player" section and instead presenting that information in the "Career history" section. I'll have to take a closer look at how those two sections are implemented (particularly w/r/t the JDR example). — DeeJayK (talk) 16:52, 25 November 2015 (UTC)
    Bagumba is exactly right: conform the "team(s) as a player" parameter to the standard formatting of the NFL player's "career history" parameter. If this requires manual editing, so be it. Has someone captured a list of all 340 instances of Infobox NFL coach? We will need that list later for post-merge review, manual editing and clean-up. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 17:21, 30 November 2015 (UTC)
    Fixed I've added some logic to fix the duplication of the player history information. Please take a look and let me know how this looks now. — DeeJayK (talk) 15:03, 18 December 2015 (UTC)
  3. The Jack Del Rio TC has "Regular season" missing under "Head coaching record"—Bagumba (talk) 09:56, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
Fixed This issue was due to a duplicate item number. The coachregrecord row used the same number as the header. I renumbered this row (and all subsequent rows) to fix this. — DeeJayK (talk) 21:06, 24 November 2015 (UTC)

Coach feedback[edit]

  1. Color is not working—Bagumba (talk) 08:14, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
    Fixed - I fixed this by allowing the {{NFLPrimaryStyle}} template to take either "currentteam" or "current_team". My question is whether there is a need to have two parameters so similar. — DeeJayK (talk) 20:14, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
    @Deejayk: If this was designed from scratch, no. However, we don't know which articles are historically using what, so unless a bot can normalize it, backwards compatibility must be somehow ensured. See #General discussion below.—Bagumba (talk) 20:41, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
    Also, when "fixing it", how are we ensuring the two sandboxes are in sync? Wouldn't want a fix to get lost. Thanks.—Bagumba (talk) 20:40, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
    Sorry, I'm coming to this whole effort late and jumped in before reading through all the discussion. As far as keeping things in sync, why are we maintaining two sandboxes? Again, sorry for the ignorant questions. — DeeJayK (talk) 21:12, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
    Legacy test cases already existed for the existing templates, so it seemed logical to reuse them instead of reinventing the wheel. The quick-and-dirty was for me just to copy into the respective sandboxes to get some immediate feedback. Taking a breath now, I guess one sandbox can just redir to another, but I honestly was doing it as a convenience for Primefac, who I presumed would continue here and do as they saw fit, but maybe not.—Bagumba (talk) 21:35, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
    I've copied all the changes I've made to BOTH templates for now. I would suggest that perhaps the best solution moving forward would be to simply use {{Infobox NFL biography}} as the single point of development moving forward. It should be relatively simple to recreate the testcases there. — DeeJayK (talk) 18:36, 25 November 2015 (UTC)
    Whatever works. The existing test cases are using {{Testcase table}} as a harness, which I haven't bothered to look if it is customizable as far as template paths to use. I'm not sure what happened before, as the editor has not come back to comment, but it seems like a reasonable expectation that whoever volunteers to take this live will do the due diligence of testing and getting feedback for this high-risk template.—Bagumba (talk) 19:46, 25 November 2015 (UTC)
    I am indifferent as to whether the conformed parameter includes the underscore/space following the merge, but for purposes of intuitive parameter names it needs to include the word "current" -- so that newbies and others do not attempt to re-task this parameter after the coach or player retires. Because virtually no pro player or coach spends his entire career with a single team, it is impossible to use team colors for retired personnel. Hence, the need for the word "current". Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 16:37, 30 November 2015 (UTC)
  2. Deprecate support for "Current record"—Bagumba (talk) 08:14, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
    Fixed I commented this parameter out for now so that the change reflects in the test cases. Does community support exist for removal of this field? I'm fine with it, but it seems like a change that warrants some discussion (which may already have taken place). — DeeJayK (talk) 19:53, 25 November 2015 (UTC)
    Dissident93 expressed support at #Question (above) at 05:07, 24 November 2015. WP:NFL notification of this merge discussion was already placed at Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_National_Football_League#Merge_of_player_and_coaches_infobox.—Bagumba (talk) 20:20, 25 November 2015 (UTC)
    The majority of NFL coaches -- i.e., those that presently use Infobox NFL player -- do not use a "current record" parameter. Do not introduce another unnecessary legacy parameter to the merged template: lose the "current record" parameter. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 16:40, 30 November 2015 (UTC)
    I've deprecated current_record from the coach infobox after finding out that it was only used in one article (where it was being used to present the exact same information as overall_record) from which I deleted it. — DeeJayK (talk) 20:00, 11 December 2015 (UTC)
  1. Mike McCarthy test case is not showing "Coaching stats"—Bagumba (talk) 08:14, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
    Fixed Issue was related to case of "PFRCoach" and "PFR" parameters. Original templates present them as capitalized as shown in previous sentence, but new template had them in all lowercase. Since parameters are case-sensitive this didn't work. Changed merged template to use existing case. — DeeJayK (talk) 19:53, 25 November 2015 (UTC)
    Please see question and comment below about "stats" section. I seriously question whether we should have links for non-official websites -- such as Pro-Football-Reference.com -- linked in the infobox. Most, if not all, of these links should be moved to the "external links" section of the article. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 16:51, 30 November 2015 (UTC)
  2. In the "All non-empty" TC, "position" should be placed in "Career information", as it is not the same as the current position for coaches.—Bagumba (talk) 08:14, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
    Fixed Moved position from "Current position" section to "Career information" section. — DeeJayK (talk) 23:34, 25 November 2015 (UTC)
    Actually, this is contingent on resolution of #Player feedback #1.—Bagumba (talk) 23:42, 25 November 2015 (UTC)
  3. In "All non-empty", high school is not shown—Bagumba (talk) 08:14, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
    Fixed Added alternate versions of highschool parameter. Ideally we would settle on ONE parameter in all of these cases and undertake a cleanup effort to migrate any non-conforming uses to the single parameter. — DeeJayK (talk) 23:34, 25 November 2015 (UTC)
    Query: whether this is one of the parameters that should be "toggled off" for coaches. High school playing career has some relevance to college and pro players, but virtually none for NFL coaches. Frankly, I was one of the original advocates for the wide use of the "high school" parameter for NFL players, and I've come to regard my earlier position as a mistake for NFL players, too. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 17:30, 30 November 2015 (UTC)
  4. "Stats" section is missing—Bagumba (talk) 08:14, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
    I think this should be Fixed, but I'm not sure which testcase example you were looking at. Please re-check. — DeeJayK (talk) 23:34, 25 November 2015 (UTC)
    @Bagumba and Deejayk: Does "stats" section refer to the individual listing of stats at the bottom of the infobox, or to the external links to outside websites? If the latter, we should seriously consider removing all external links from the resulting merged template. The strong trend across all sports has been to remove external stats links from athlete/coach bio infoboxes and move them to the "external links" section of the article. There is a strong argument to be made that including external links in infoboxes was never proper per the infobox design and external links guidelines. In any event, we should not be introducing another "legacy" design element to the merged template. The majority of NFL coaches using the present Infobox NFL player demonstrate such external links are unnecessary. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 16:32, 30 November 2015 (UTC)
    I've stumbled into this process only very recently, so I haven't been involved in any discussion re: the design of the template. My limited involvement vis-a-vis this particular piece of functionality is to get something that is working for the NFL coach template to actually work as designed for the merged template. I rather like the links to external sources in the infoboxes (as a WP reader, not necessarily an editor), but I haven't looked at how other projects treat them nor am I versed on what the overall trends are w/r/t the uses of external links in infoboxes. In as much as these sorts of links are used extensively by both of the templates we are attempting to move, it seems that discussions about their overall propriety may be something that can be discussed outside of this discussion on the merge attempt so as not to sidetrack this effort. — DeeJayK (talk) 16:47, 30 November 2015 (UTC)
  5. "Super Bowl wins" not shown for John Harbaugh TC.
    Fixed Added alternate version of Super_Bowls parameter. See note above re: highschools. — DeeJayK (talk) 23:34, 25 November 2015 (UTC)
    This parameter is unnecessary and redundant with the existing architecture of Infobox NFL player. Super Bowl championships -- and other highlights and awards -- are supposed to be listed in the "highlights" section of Infobox NFL player. We should not introduce unnecessary "legacy" parameters into the surviving template, leading to more inconsistency in the presentation of this data. Well executed merges simplify and conform the presentation of data to a common standard; merges that introduce inconsistency and multiple data formats for the same data class do not serve the basic function of reducing template maintenance -- the usual reason advanced for template merges. Bottom line: When we're done, these 340 coach articles should not be inconsistent with the existing 16,000+ player and coach articles in their presentation of Super Bowl championships. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 16:25, 30 November 2015 (UTC)
    As with my previous comment, my involvement to this point has been focused on enabling functionality and not so much with overarching design. However, the point you bring up may be something that needs to be discussed as it does seem as though we are likely to have disparate presentations if we go forward with the current approach of maintaining all such elements. — DeeJayK (talk) 16:47, 30 November 2015 (UTC)
    And this is one of the reasons why the original proponents of this merge never executed it: they were clueless when they realized that any merge was not a simple matter of adding some coach-related parameters to the existing NFL player box, but would actually require some manual editing. The point of a merge is to simplify and conform. We should not be merging templates for the sake of merging. The final product should be consistent in terms of parameters and data presentation. The 340 inconsistent coach articles using the NFL coach box should not introduce even more legacy parameters and further inconsistency in data formatting. The established consensus data presentation of the NFL player box needs to be preserved. If that requires manually editing, so be it. We have several editors such as Wikioriginal-9 who relish such tasks. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 16:59, 30 November 2015 (UTC)
    @DeeJayK: "we are likely to have disparate presentations": That already exists today, before a merge. That should not be a reason in itself to not continue. I'd advise incrementally merging and retaining all functionality—inasmuch as possible—first, and then streamlining/deprecating overlapping features based on consensus afterwards. IMO, trying to do to much at once increases the risk on introducing unintended consequences, or complicates the task to the point that this will remain in the holding cell for years to come.—Bagumba (talk) 20:55, 30 November 2015 (UTC)
    Bagumba, that has got to be the least time efficient, most chaotic way to implement a merge. In fact, it's a horrible idea. Merging the template for a relatively small number of coach articles that use Infobox NFL coach should not be an excuse for complicating Infobox NFL player with redundant and conflicting parameters and different data formats for similar information. Such a merge as you suggest cannot be justified on any grounds of maintenance efficiency or simplification when all you have done is simply add all of the features of one template, regardless of whether they are redundant or conflicting, to a second template. That's not a merge, that's a mess, and we would be better served with two coherent templates, rather than one incoherent template. Recant, good fellow, or I will mock you a second time [1]. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 21:09, 30 November 2015 (UTC)
    I've overseen the merge of millions of lines of code professionally, so the size of this alone is not daunting. That said, merges only work if there is respect and understanding for what used to work. The first attempt did not account for legacy code for alternative parameters, and did not, at a bare minimum, leverage existing test cases which would have identified naming conflicts between the two templates. Not following those rudimentary steps leads to failed merges, and the negative perception that merges cannot work. No worries: consensus on a manual merge does not require recanting by dissenters.—Bagumba (talk) 22:49, 30 November 2015 (UTC)
    From what I've seen so far, DeeJayK is well on his way to accounting for all of the legacy code for alternative parameters, with your substantial input. And that's a very good thing. Cleaning the code and eliminating redundant parameters is one of the steps that requires technical skill, and once finished it will significantly expedite the remaining tasks. I hope you enjoyed the Monty Python "taunting" excerpt. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 23:20, 30 November 2015 (UTC)
  6. databaseFootball.com - @Deejayk: DatabaseFootball.com has not been actively maintained since at least 2011, and the databaseFootball.com links were removed from Infobox NFL player some time ago pursuant to template talk page discussion. These links should not be revived as part of the merge of the template for coaches and players. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 23:27, 7 December 2015 (UTC)
    Fixed As mentioned elsewhere previously, the DatabaseFootball.com links have been excised from both {{Infobox NFL coach}} and {{Infobox NFL biography/sandbox}}. — DeeJayK (talk) 15:22, 18 December 2015 (UTC)

General discussion[edit]

For the "Super Bowl wins" issues, it looks like the TC uses "SuperBowls", but the merged code only handles "Super_Bowls". Generally, it looks like where the coach template might have supported aliases for some parameter names, the merged code sometime only took one of the names and not the rest. For backwards compatability, it needs to be ensured that all legacy parameter aliases are supported, or some bot or AWB needs to normalize them all beforehand.—Bagumba (talk) 10:32, 24 November 2015 (UTC)

  • I've been busy with other things over the last several days, so I apologize for being late to this discussion. Before we implement any further changes and certainly before we attempt to go live with any fully merged "Infobox NFL biography" template, I would like to see a full mock-up of the proposed new template for both a typical player and a typical coach, with most of the usual optional parameters invoked.
Also, can someone direct me to the current working version of the template, with all proposed changes? I have several comments that I would like to make about what I have seen, and several changes to which I would strongly object, but I have no idea if I'm even commenting on the current working version based on the conversation above. Please point me to the current sandbox version. Thanks. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 01:36, 25 November 2015 (UTC)
See the top of #Feedback on sandbox test case results. The TC links in turn have links to the respective sandboxes. Aditionally, going directly to the template e.g. {{Infobox NFL player}} usually provides links to the TCs and sbox in the docs as well.—Bagumba (talk) 19:50, 25 November 2015 (UTC)
  • Team name and jersey no. at top - @Bagumba, Deejayk, and Dissident93: This is the third time this year (2015) that it has been proposed to remove the team name and jersey number from from the top of the infobox, after having been rejected twice. I reject it again. It is one of the distinctive design elements of the box and it should stay.
As I catch up on the two days worth of discussion above, I will be making a number of comments tonight regarding the design elements, the parameters (data fields) and the template architecture. There are a number of problematic suggestions that have been made above, especially regarding the proposed architecture of the merged template that need to be discussed. I would be grateful if you slow down and have a listen to what I have to say before we make some fundamental design errors. Thanks. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 00:18, 26 November 2015 (UTC)

Cleanup of Infobox NFL coach[edit]

I'm noticing that the existing Infoboxes (player and coach) contain lots of alternate parameters. For example the parameter "current_team" can also be used as "currentteam". While I can understand how these sorts of duplications might make the templates slightly more forgiving to the user, they also add quite a bit of complexity and bulk to the syntax of the template code. The problem is exacerbated when we're attempting to merge two templates which both contain lots of this sort of duplication. It seems the most common use case for employing these templates is going to be either copying and pasting the infobox from an existing article or from the template doc page, either of which approach makes these sorts of duplicate parameters less necessary.

It seems their only value is to allow lazy editors (who don't want to take the time look up the correct parameter) to sort of guess at what the parameter should be or type the parameter with the incorrect case or spacing. As such, I really don't think that these sorts of alternate spellings provide enough value to be worth the maintenance hassle.

I'm undertaking an effort to identify articles which currently use any of these alternate or deprecated parameters starting with the articles that use {{Infobox NFL coach}}. Once I've eradicated these alternate spellings from existing articles, I intend to excise them from the infoboxes. Comments? — DeeJayK (talk) 14:13, 26 November 2015 (UTC)

@Deejayk: Yes, the alternate parameter names need to be replaced. For certain parameters, there are multiple alternate parameter names -- what Bagumba called "legacy parameter names". Both of these templates are the result of previous merges, but especially Infobox NFL player, which includes a half dozen or more merges with older templates. When this process is done, each parameter should have a single simple name. I spent a couple weeks last summer compiling a list of alternate "legacy" parameters with the plan that BU Rob13 would run a bot to eliminate/replace all "legacy" parameter names. I suggest that you ping BU Rob13, and see when he will be finished with his final exams and what his availability is. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 21:19, 26 November 2015 (UTC)
"only value is to allow lazy editors ...": I know of at least one project were someone thought underscores made the params more readable, so they universally changed them. Maybe the same happened here. As long as any information that is presented today remains available after a merge (and after any other massaging needed), I don't have any objection. Presumably we would not make any presentation changes in this iteration unless a merge conflict requires it be addressed. Any other improvements should be discussed after the merge.—Bagumba (talk) 05:55, 27 November 2015 (UTC)
Have we decided on a final list of parameters for the merged template? If so, I am willing to go through the Coach template uses and replace any alternate names with the base names (removing the need for multiple alt names). I know Player also uses alt names, but it looks like only 1-2 (and a few alt names is fine). My apologies for being absent on this, I was busy with other things (though it looks like things are proceeding well). Primefac (talk) 16:37, 28 November 2015 (UTC)
@Bagumba: point taken; my "lazy editors" comment was a gross oversimplication. I admit I don't have any idea WHY these duplicate spellings were introduced, and your conjecture seems plausible. My thinking is that, regardless of how or why these duplicates came about, having multiple parameters representing the same thing doesn't really serve a useful purpose. As such, ,minimizing or eliminating these duplications will allow us to simplify these templates and the process of merging them. — DeeJayK (talk) 15:55, 30 November 2015 (UTC)
@Deejayk: "I don't have any idea WHY these duplicate spellings were introduced": as I noted above, most of these alternate parameter names were introduced as a result of the multiple merges of at least six different infobox templates into the present Infobox NFL player. Others were a result of cross-overs from related templates, such Infobox college coach, which shares a common lineage with Infobox NFL coach. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 16:18, 30 November 2015 (UTC)
@Primefac: I don't necessarily have a preference as to which of the parameters we settle on (although, see Bagumba's comment above). I guess for simplicity my thinking is that we would choose whichever variant is most prevalent in usage. To that point, does anyone understand how "Check for unknown parameters" section of the {{Infobox NFL coach}} code works? I see that it populates a maintenance category Category:Pages using infobox NFL coach with deprecated syntax, but I don't understand how it determines which parameters are deprecated as it seems to be given a list of all the parameters. Since I don't grok the wizardry behind this piece of code, I've added a bit of code to the coach Infobox template which does a similar thing, but only for a single parameter at a time; this can be used to determine which pages (if any) are using a particular parameter. Although it will be a bit time consuming to go through every parameter, that's my best idea at this point in time. Edit: I've figured out that this is using Module:Check for unknown parameters (talk · edit · hist · links · doc · subpages · tests (results)); I'm working on determining how this module can be harnessed to our ends. — DeeJayK (talk) 15:55, 30 November 2015 (UTC)
Likewise, I only care at the margins what the parameter names are; only that the resulting parameter names should be logical, relatively intuitive, and consistent throughout. At the completion of this process the parameter names should be consistent, and no alternative "legacy" parameters should exist. Likewise, data entry, data formatting, and parameter architecture should also be consistent throughout. The 340 articles that presently use Template:Infobox NFL coach should not present team tenures in a manner different from the majority of coach articles that already use Template:Infobox NFL player. The purpose of any well executed template merge is to simplify, make consistent, and conform presentation of data to a common standard. If we are simply engrafting even more legacy parameters -- and even worse, importing parameter data in a completely different format from the established standards of Infobox NFL player -- then we would be better served by manually replacing the remaining 340 instances of Infobox NFL coach, rather than further complicating the existing template in order to accomplish a "merge". Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 16:13, 30 November 2015 (UTC)
We might have to do that anyway, if there are that many legacy parameters and varying coding (specifically the "past teams" and "highlights" sections). Primefac (talk) 16:21, 30 November 2015 (UTC)
I agree with Dirtlawyer1 description of the task. Looking at where we are with the process, I still feel like a merge can be accomplished. — DeeJayK (talk) 16:24, 30 November 2015 (UTC)
The merge needs to happen for a lot of reasons, guys, not least of which is most NFL coach bios already use Infobox NFL player. The question is: does it make more sense to execute the merge using a bot or AWB, whether doing it properly requires manually editing, or it can be most efficiently accomplished with a combination of manual editing and automation. In order, I suggest we focus on (1) which parameters will be included in the merged template, (2) what the merged template should look like (including any shift of parameters from one section to another), (3) determining what the single conformed parameter names for each surviving parameter should be, and (4) only then deciding how best to execute the merge. I assisted User:Eagles247 with the last major round of merges into Infobox NFL player in 2010, involving four or five times as many articles as the 340 under discussion here, and I can tell you a little pre-planning goes a long way and the need for follow-through is absolute. I still encounter older articles that were the subject of that prior merge whose infoboxes do not display properly, either because of legacy parameter names or because the formatting of data was not correct. A lot of those problems were the result of relying on third-party bot operators for automated merges/conversions. Given the relatively small number involved here (340), every affected article should be reviewed after the merge to make sure there are no problems. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 17:41, 30 November 2015 (UTC)
@Dirtlawyer1: "... we would be better served by manually replacing the remaining 340 instances of Infobox NFL coach} ...": I don't really care if that happens or not. I'd only caution that this merge has already been mired for 3 year at Wikipedia:Templates_for_discussion/Holding_cell. Since a manual merge hadn't happened by now, that should be a point of consideration in deciding whether to halt or continue the recent momentum of a programmatic solution—Bagumba (talk) 20:41, 30 November 2015 (UTC)
@Bagumba: See my comment above. Will you be available to do the manual editing to clean up the mess created by adding all of the conflicting and redundant parameters of Infobox NFL coach to Infobox NFL coach? The rational way to handle this is to decide what parameters are to be kept, what the finished product will look like, and then determine the most efficient way to implement it. Slapping together two templates, with different architecture and different data formatting, for the sake of saying a merge has been done is just plain goofy. Having a plan before proceeding is common sense, even if you have never implemented a merge of this nature before. Let's not waste our valuable (and limited) volunteer time by not having a plan, and not doing this in the most time-efficient manner. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 21:23, 30 November 2015 (UTC)
"... for the sake of saying a merge has been done is just plain goofy" It's overly simplistic to discount the reduced maintenance of the majority of the code that is common. I'm probably in the minority of people that don't have a huge problem with deprecated parameters that are removed from documentation, but continue to work for backwards compatibility. It's done in industry all the time to reduce the risk of things breaking, and has been working as such in the existing templates. However, if enough people are bugged that "old" parameters still lurk, then so be it. I might volunteer to brute-force merge a few if that is the direction that is decided, but I'm typically not much of a gnome.—Bagumba (talk) 21:44, 30 November 2015 (UTC)
Common parameter coding with AWB is easy; common data formatting, however, requires manual editing. The plan would be to use AWB to replace the parameter names in the 340 coach articles. That can be done in a matter of minutes once we settle on the final parameter names (we can get BU Rob13 to clean up the legacy parameter names in the current 16,000 transclusions of Infobox NFL player when he's done with exams). The manual work -- the real pain-in-the-ass manual work -- involves cleaning up the parameter data for team tenures, championships, awards and other highlights and putting it into the standard format for Infobox NFL player. There are 340 articles that need to have their infobox "merged" in this exercise; if we split that manual editing among 7 to 10 knowledgeable editors we can be done in about a week. It's a bit more than typical "gnome" work because it requires a working knowledge of NFL/AFL history, championships, awards and honors. I've already pinged DeeJayK and Primefac to see if they're willing, and I'm pretty sure Wikioriginal-9 will take a slice of the work. If we can recruit another 3 to 5 editors to help, this becomes a very manageable exercise -- nothing of the scale of the merge work Eagles oversaw 5 years ago. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 22:26, 30 November 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I'm (finally) finishing up my cleanup/simplification of the existing {{Infobox NFL coach}}. I've whittled the duplicate parameters down to the minimum. Here is a list of the parameters I've managed to remove (bear in mind template parameters are case sensitive):

  1. currentteam (current_team should be used instead)
  2. Image (image should be used)
  3. Height_ft (height_ft should be used)
  4. Height_in (height_in should be used)
  5. Caption (caption should be used)
  6. weight_lb (weight_lbs should be used)
  7. weight_lb (weight_lbs should be used)
  8. Weight_lb (weight_lbs should be used)
  9. Weight_lbs (weight_lbs should be used)
  10. Position (position should be used)
  11. College (college should be used)
  12. HighSchool (high_school should be used)
  13. high school (high_school should be used)
  14. Jersey (jersey should be used)
  15. DraftedYear (drafted_year should be used)
  16. DraftedRound (drafted_round should be used)
  17. AFLDraftedYear (AFL_drafted_year should be used)
  18. AFLDraftedRound (AFL_drafted_round should be used)
  19. Awards (awards should be used)
  20. Honors (honors should be used)
  21. Retired #s (retired_numbers should be used)
  22. Records (records should be used)
  23. record (overall_record should be used)
  24. Record (overall_record should be used)
  25. RegularRecord (regular_record should be used)
  26. PlayoffRecord (playoff_record should be used)
  27. Super_Bowls (SuperBowls should be used)
  28. Championships (championships should be used)
  29. years (player_years1 or coach_years1 should be used)
  30. teams (player_team1 or coach_team1 should be used)
  31. player_years (player_years1, player_years2, etc. should be used)
  32. player_teams (player_team1, player_team2, etc. should be used)
  33. coaching_years (coach_years1, coach_years2, etc. should be used)
  34. coachingyears (coach_years1, coach_years2, etc. should be used)
  35. coach_years (coach_years1, coach_years2, etc. should be used)
  36. coaching_teams (coach_team1, coach_team2, etc. should be used)
  37. coachingteams (coach_team1, coach_team2, etc. should be used)
  38. coach_teams (coach_team1, coach_team2, etc. should be used)
  39. debutyear (no direct replacement, but this was not implemented in the code and was not used by any page)
  40. debut_year (no direct replacement, but this was not implemented in the code and was not used by any page)
  41. debutteam (no direct replacement, but this was not implemented in the code and was not used by any page)
  42. debut_team (no direct replacement, but this was not implemented in the code and was not used by any page)
  43. finalyear (no direct replacement, but this was not implemented in the code and was not used by any page)
  44. final_year (no direct replacement, but this was not implemented in the code and was not used by any page)
  45. finalteam (no direct replacement, but this was not implemented in the code and was not used by any page)
  46. final_team (no direct replacement, but this was not implemented in the code and was not used by any page)
  47. player_positions (player_position should be used)
  48. DatabaseFootball (NFL or PFR should be used instead)
  49. DatabaseFootballCoach (PFRCoach should be used instead)
  50. ESPN (NFL or PFR should be used instead)
  51. CBS (NFL or PFR should be used instead)
  52. CFHOFYear (no direct replacement, but this was not implemented in the code and was not used by any page)

Through the course of this effort I did quite a bit of manual cleanup of the articles that use this template (to the point that I began to wonder whether it would have made more sense to just to manually migrate them all to use {{Infobox NFL player}}). I also added two parameters: SRCollCoach provides an external link for college coaching records and CFLCoach provides an external link for CFL coaching records. I realize there has been discussion as to whether these types of external links are appropriate in infoboxes, but I figured that as long as we had some, why not make it more complete. If someone wants to initiate a discussion to remove all of the external links, I would be happy to participate.

Next steps are to update the {{Infobox NFL biography/sandbox}} with the changes that I've made to streamline {{Infobox NFL Coach}}. However, before I begin that, I'd like to solicit feedback on the changes I've made to this point. — DeeJayK (talk) 21:10, 9 December 2015 (UTC)

Thanks for the thorough update! You mentioned wondering if a manual update made more sense. Am I to presume that you determined that a merge is the best direction to go?—Bagumba (talk) 05:33, 10 December 2015 (UTC)
I'm still not sure I've really determined whether a merge remains the best way forward. Either way we go, the work I've done in simplifying this template and cleaning up the pages that use it should make the migration process simpler once we determine how that will look. — DeeJayK (talk) 15:21, 10 December 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── FYI, I've already recruited several editors to help with the manual clean-up of the merged coach infobox, including myself, CrashUnderride, Jweiss11, Primefac, Wikioriginal-9, Yankees10 -- plus Bagumba and DeeJayK. That makes eight so far, and we can recruit several more if needed. The coding and data entry for the "merged" coach infoboxes should match that of existing players and coaches that already use Infobox NFL player. There should be no legacy coding and no legacy formatted data when we're done. One template to rule them all. The biggest problem, of course, if the inverted teams and tenures data for the existing uses of Infobox NFL coach, which will need to be put in the standard format:

The data formatting for coaches parallels that for players:

Easy-peasy, but the manual work should be performed by editors familiar with NFL/AFL history (so as to catch various errors, etc.), and fully briefed on the merge and surviving parameter names, etc.. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 20:50, 10 December 2015 (UTC)

This distinction between the way playing/coaching histories are displayed seems to me to be the biggest unaddressed hurdle remaining for this merge effort. As someone who values the consistency and simplicity of reorganization that comes with highly structured data, I strongly prefer the way these histories are handled by {{Infobox NFL coach}} (with the playeryears1, playerteam1, playeryears2, playerteam2, coach_years1, coach_team1, etc., parameters) over the unstructured data in {{Infobox NFL player}} (with "pastteams", "pastcoaching", etc.). In fact, if I were designing this template from scratch I would consider extending the structure even further to capture coaching position (i.e. coach_pos1 = defensive backs, coach_pos2 = defensive coordinator, etc.). However, the existing player template has a MUCH larger installed base, and I can't think of any sort of automated/bot method of converting the unstructured data in the existing "pastteams", "pastcoaching", "pastadmin", etc. to a more structured form like the coach template uses. However, since the player template has a much larger installed base than the coach template (16K+ to 300K articles) the effort it would take to implement the structured format in the player articles is daunting. As such, I think our best way forward with this merge effort is to retain the playing/coaching history structures existing in both templates. My hope would be that the structured format would replace the unstructured format over time. — DeeJayK (talk) 18:15, 18 December 2015 (UTC)
I completely agree, both in that the structured format is better, and that hopefully things will swing that way in the future. Certainly from what I've seen, templates of this nature should encourage team1/team2/etc format instead of a generic "team" param. My thoughts would be (once we get everything sorted and merged) to make the doc show the 1/2/3 params and essentially depreciate the generic catch-all fill-in-the-param params, slowly replacing them over time. Primefac (talk) 06:01, 22 December 2015 (UTC)
I'm think that the approach Primefac outlines above would be the best way forward. I'm planning on updating the sandbox with that in mind. If anyone feels differently, please state your case. Thanks. — DeeJayK (talk) 16:43, 22 December 2015 (UTC)
I just saw this, and I could not disagree more strongly. Over 16,000 existing articles are formatted using the "list" format for player and coach tenures, and that includes the majority of NFL coach articles that already use the existing NFL player infobox. There is no benefit in restructuring the coaching tenure data for each individual coaching tenure into three or more separate datapoints; even less so when the majority of NFL coach infoboxes are already formatted in a different manner -- a manner, I might add, that is consistent with the way all 16,000 player histories are already formatted. So, no, adopting the minority practice this is not the best way forward. The goal is a single, uniform format for all NFL infoboxes, not another 6 or 7 years of multiple minority formats that lead to confusion, edit-warring and wasted editor time. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 17:39, 26 December 2015 (UTC)
IIRC, the itemized team/year params were in line with WP:ACCESS to discourage the use of <br> to format separate stints. If nothing else, the old format should at the very least be deprecated in documentation (if it hasn't been already).—Bagumba (talk) 16:20, 27 December 2015 (UTC)
Uh, no. There is nothing in WP:ACCESS that requires or prefers multiple parameters for tenures. You are recalling recent changes to Infobox college coach, which did not previously employ plainlist formatting, but instead used a single field for all coach tenures (and other single fields for player tenures and awards), with each individual tenure separated with a <br> coded hard return. The plainlist format used by Infobox NFL player does not require coded hard returns, only an asterisk-coded bullet point at the beginning of each tenure and an uncoded hard return at the end of each. In fact, we just converted virtually every navbox on Wikipedia to the bullet-point hlist format over the last two years, and both plainlist and hlist are WP:ACCESS compliant per WP:HLIST and WP:PLIST. Moreover, we absolutely should not start reversing 8.5 years of formatting the year-span tenures of 16,000 infoboxes to accommodate a relative handful of infoboxes in which the year-spans of the coaching tenures precede the team names (which is what requires the multiple parameters in order to achieve proper alignment and internal spacing for year spans of differing character lengths, without using the coded hard returns). Again, this is why these things need to be discussed with editors who know and understand the history of the template. If you want to reverse 8.5 years of dozens of editors moving toward a consistent and logical format for tenures for our American football player infoboxes, we can just undo this merge right now, Bags. We're not going to format tenures for all players and most coaches one way, and some coaches another way -- thus defeating the original logic of the merge to simplify and conform. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 18:14, 27 December 2015 (UTC)
You had me at "plainlist". If <br> is not a concern, then WP:ACCESS is not an issue.—Bagumba (talk) 22:49, 28 December 2015 (UTC)
@DL: "this is why these things need to be discussed with editors who know and understand the history of the template": And I believe this is being discussed here, no?—Bagumba (talk) 22:49, 28 December 2015 (UTC)

CFL stats[edit]

cfl.ca changed their website and the way their url formats are for player bios so this players with this infobox are linking to "PAGE NOT FOUND" Joeykai (talk) 23:44, 9 December 2015 (UTC)

The problem seems to be that this sort of data is no longer hosted on CFL.ca at all. Rather, it looks like this sort of player statistical information is now being hosted by STATS LLC on a page like this one: Jabari Arthur stats. The larger problem behind this change is that the player identifiers on the new site are completely different than those used on the old site, so in addition to changing the URL in the template the fix for this would also entail changing the ID on every single article that uses this parameter. I guess this points up one major reason why some have argued that these sorts of external links may not belong in Infoboxes to begin with. Maybe it's time that we had that discussion on the larger topic before we invest the time in fixing these links. — DeeJayK (talk) 14:54, 10 December 2015 (UTC)
DJK, I suggest you ping the WP:CFL guys on their talk page to see what they are doing about this. Also, take a look at Templete:Infobox gridiron football player, and see if anyone has already updated the player page coding. Hopefully, the CFL is moving toward permanent player pages (like NFL.com); in the past, they have deleted player pages for retired or otherwise inactive players. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 20:31, 10 December 2015 (UTC)
I've raised this issue over on WP:CFL. We'll see if the CFL folks have any opinions to share. — DeeJayK (talk) 17:43, 15 December 2015 (UTC)
UPDATE: I've removed (commented out) the external links to cfl.ca in {{Infobox NFL player}} until this issue can be addressed. I've also added a tracking category to see how many pages are currently using this parameter: Category:Pages using infobox NFL player with cfl parameter. — DeeJayK (talk) 22:00, 22 December 2015 (UTC)
We do what we can. CFL.com/CFL.ca has repeatedly changed the links for their active player profiles over the last several years, and they routinely delete the webpages for former players. Unless the WP:CFL guys can provide an easy solution, I think setting this challenge aside for the time being is the best use of your valuable editing time. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 18:08, 26 December 2015 (UTC)

alma_mater error?[edit]

The doc page lists alma_mater as a valid parameter. However, it is giving off an error category of Category:Deprecated infobox param (alma mater) (yes redlink is correct). Is this deprecated and if yes, shouldn't it be going into Category:Pages using infobox NFL coach with deprecated syntax? Also, there a couple of other redlink cats on the doc page. Bgwhite (talk) 09:21, 10 December 2015 (UTC)

Sorry, this was something I introduced as part of my ongoing cleanup effort. In the case of alma_mater, I wanted to see how widely that parameter is used. I'm trying to figure out if there is a way to merge alma_mater and college that makes sense. The two parameters are presented in different ways in the Infobox, but for the most part they should be conveying the same basic information. It seems that in the current presentation, the use of college makes more sense for those who played football in college, while the use of alma_mater makes more sense for those who weren't college football players.
If these temporary redlinked categories are a real problem, I can remove them. That said, I find them very useful to my cleanup effort. Perhaps someone can suggest another way I can achieve my ends. Also, if anyone has an opinion as to the alma_mater vs. college question, I'd be happy to hear it. Thanks! — DeeJayK (talk) 14:34, 10 December 2015 (UTC)
Obviously, any temporary tracking categories that are being used during the present merge efforts should be retained until the merge an related manual clean-up are completed. We retain administrative tracking categories that are intermittently empty for all sorts for purposes. That said, if BGW (a skilled gnomer and admin) has a preference how these tracking cats should be structured and labeled, we should welcome his help in that regard. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 20:26, 10 December 2015 (UTC)
@Deejayk and Dirtlawyer1: I've been cleaning out several deprecated parameter categories and have noticed dependencies between the doc and the code. I thought this might be another case and there could be an error.
There are two ways of seeing what parameters are being used without resorting to temporary categories. 1) The use of template tiger. This is the results for {{Infobox NFL coach}}. This is the results for {{Infobox NFL player}}. These results are from the May 2015 dump, which reminds me I need to run new data for enwiki and pass it along to the template tiger people so it can be updated. It should be updating every couple of months. 2) sporkbot can do the same thing. See Template talk:Infobox dam#Parameter scan. Bgwhite (talk) 21:46, 10 December 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I assume the tracking categories issue has been resolved. As for the substance of the original question, yes, there should be single parameter for college, not a second separate parameter for a coach's "alma mater". The overall goal of this exercise is to simplify and conform all odds and ends to the single, uniform template. Non-conforming "legacy" parameters such as "alma mater" need to be eliminated. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 17:59, 26 December 2015 (UTC)

@Dirtlawyer1: The approach I have taken in the sandbox with regard to alma mater is to keep it, but change the manner in which it is displayed. The thinking behind this is that college (or cis) would be used in cases where a person played college football (which is the vast majority of those to whom this infobox applies) while alma mater would be used in cases where the person did NOT play college football. The two parameters are displayed in different locations — alma mater would be displayed in the "Personal information" section whereas college is displayed in the "Career information" section (since college football is essentially the beginning of a person's career in the sport). If BOTH parameters are included, only college (or cis) is displayed, while alma mater is suppressed. Obviously, if we decide to go forward with this approach, we would make this distinction clear in the template documentation (which is something I have put off tackling for the merged template until we come to some consensus as to whether the merge is agreeable). — DeeJayK (talk) 15:45, 4 January 2016 (UTC)
@Deejayk: The case you describe -- a professional football coach who never played college football -- is relatively rare, but I will allow that it does occur from time to time. If you want to build an "alma mater" parameter into the template, then the "college team" and "alma mater" parameters must be exclusive, and the template coding must provide that the use of the "college team" parameter must suppress the display of the "alma mater" parameter, and, yes, obviously this must be explained clearly and definitively in the template instructions/documentation. Speaking from seven years of experience in using Template:Infobox college coach, which includes separate parameters for "college team" and "alma mater," inexperienced editors invariably want to use both (one for the university attended and the other for the college team), and even experienced editors often do not understand the distinction between the two and when it is appropriate to use one and not the other. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 17:40, 4 January 2016 (UTC)
I don't think the risk of continuing to support both parameters is high. If an editor populates both and notices that alma mater is not displayed, then hopefully they would avail themselves of the infobox documentation where the correct usage will be documented. — DeeJayK (talk) 23:06, 4 January 2016 (UTC)

Are links to external sites appropriate in this Infobox?[edit]

I think we need to discuss whether the use of links to external (non-WP) sites in these infoboxes ({{Infobox NFL coach}}, {{Infobox NFL player}} and the in-progress merger of the two at {{Infobox NFL biography/sandbox}}). Currently these infoboxes link to a variety of external sites for player and coach stats, Halls of Fame, etc. Dirtlawyer1 has previously suggested that there has been a "strong trend across all sports ... to remove external stats links from athlete/coach bio infoboxes and move them to the "external links" section of the article." As a WP reader, I find these links quite useful and having them in the infobox provides a consistent location to find them in most articles. Are there any other arguments as to why these links should be retained? On the other hand, an issue that has recently come up regarding the CFL links on player pages points to one strong argument against these sorts of links, since the external sites can change causing broken links and maintenance headaches. Other than this technical/practical issue what are the other arguments for removing these links? It would seem that now is as good a time as any to hash this topic out, since we are trying to determine how best to merge these templates and also figure out whether it makes sense to undertake the cleanup effort caused by the CFL site change. — DeeJayK (talk) 15:14, 10 December 2015 (UTC)

I think the strongest argument for getting rid of these elinks is that they can be dynamic. As I recently found out, all it takes is to change the structure of a website and the template/elink is (literally) impossible to correct. I can, of course, see the benefits in a "see more information" elink, but I presume that most of these articles already have references/elinks to such sites, making it redundant at best and (if a bad link) broken at worst. Overall, my !vote would be to nix them all (except the "website" param, which is in every infobox). Primefac (talk) 18:20, 10 December 2015 (UTC)
I hate to see "links farms" of three, four or five links at the bottom of the infobox; no more than one link should be retained in the infobox, and for players of the past 20 years preference should be given to the NFL.com player pages. The databaseFootball.com links need to be removed because (a) the website has not been actively maintained since 2011, (b) we've already removed them from Template:Infobox NFL player some time ago, and (c) it was never a particularly good stats site to begin with. If we're going to keep any links at all in the infobox, we should retain the official NFL profile for modern era players; Pro-Football-Reference.com is often a better resource for players of the 1920s, '30s, '40s and '50s, for whom NFL.com often provides little more than a name and birth date. Links for CBS Sports, ESPN, Yahoo, etc., should all be moved to the "external links" section, if they are retained at all. I'm happy to elaborate on those points at length if anyone wants to argue the merits of particular sites. Bottom line: our NFL infobox should not be a "link farm." Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 20:13, 10 December 2015 (UTC)
With regard to the DatabaseFootball links, I've completely removed them from Infobox NFL coach as part of my cleanup efforts. I've also removed the ESPN and CBS links from the coach infobox (although I found no pages were actually using them anyway.) In addition, I changed that template so that only ONE external link of a given type (player stats, NFL coach stats, CFL coach stats, NCAA coach stats) is displayed — previously a single infobox could potentially have had as many as 8-10 external links if all of the parameters were filled in. However, in light of the CFL link issues that have recently come to light, I'm in more of a mind to support complete removal of these sorts of links primarily due to the issues noted by Primefac above. — DeeJayK (talk) 23:42, 10 December 2015 (UTC)
I agree with every word you just wrote. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 00:07, 11 December 2015 (UTC)
Link rot is an issue whether or not it is in the infobox or in an external link section. The good thing with having it in a template, whether or not it is in an infobox, is that it is centralized. If there is a simple format change needed, it can be done universally; if it is obsolete, it can be easily disabled. The more relevant question is which ones are useful while avoiding WP:LINKFARM. As a note, WP:NBA has given up on NBA.com links to retired players because the NBA is notorious for drastically changing their url formats for non-active players (though a few people still manually add them w/o templates to EL section)—Bagumba (talk) 00:48, 11 December 2015 (UTC)
I'd prefer to keep at least one (or an acceptable minimum that avoids WP:LINKFARM) that is used for verification of infobox facts that are typically not sourced in the body. The reality is that most timely updates occur in the infobox regarding new teams, not in prose, so one profile link could be used for ease of verification. Secondly, its just convenient as a reader to have that EL in the infobox, and it's almost akin to an official link being allowed to to a website. There's also the matter of other player bio info that is in the infobox that is often not sourced in the body, like birthplace, height, weight, etc. Again, the EL serves as a convenient citation or sorts for articles that have not reached FA/GA level of quality.—Bagumba (talk) 00:48, 11 December 2015 (UTC)
@Bagumba: These are excellent points, and I'm thinking I'm becoming convinced that there is some merit to supporting a limited number of external links in the infobox. In particular, your comments regarding link rot are well said and I see the value in having the potential ability of fixing a whole group of broken links with a single change. In terms of the specific sites that are being linked to, the NFL site and the Pro Football Reference/ Sports Reference sites that are linked by Infobox NFL coach all seem fairly solid in terms of a commitment to at least maintaining a consistent ID structure (if not a consistent URL structure). I don't know enough about stats.CFLdb.ca to hazard a guess as to its stability. In terms of number of links, I've limited the current coach infobox to a maximum of four external links under the "Stats" header: NFL/PFR player stats, College coach record, NFL coach record and CFL coach record. Obviously, there are very few individuals where all four of these would be used. In terms of the potential merged template, I guess a CFL player link (if it's stable) would be appropriate to include as well. In addition, the infobox supports external links to the various Halls of Fame (NFL, CFL, College FB) which are located at the bottom. What is the tipping point that triggers WP:LINKFARM concerns? — DeeJayK (talk) 18:55, 11 December 2015 (UTC)
The first consideration I'd use for LINKFARM is to weed out links that don't provide a needed and unique resource. If the content mostly overlaps, and verifiability is already satisfied by another link, there's no need to add more. If we look at Jack Del Rio's PFR link for his playing stats, it has a link on the page to his pro coaching record. Chip Kelly at PFR has a link to his college coaching profile at sports-referece.com, but that doesnt have a backlink back to his pro stats. Ideally, we could use one link that a reader can navigate from, and PFR more or less has that. I presume its only a matter of time before sports-reference.com links back to PFR. So maybe we add that with NFL.com, because it'd be strange not to have NFL.com for an NFL player/coach.—Bagumba (talk) 20:11, 11 December 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Revisiting this issue, I can live with one or two player profile links (NFL.com, Pro-Football-Reference.com); the CBS, ESPN, Yahoo, etc., links should just be eliminated. I suggest we program the template to only display ONE link, with a preference for the NFL.com player profile; instructions may be included on the template page to use Pro-Football-Reference.com for historical players before 1980 or so. PFR has more complete player histories for players from earlier eras. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 18:21, 26 December 2015 (UTC)

@Dirtlawyer1: The approach you suggest above is essentially what has been implemented in the sandbox. As it's currently configured only one playing stats link will be displayed, with a preference for NFL.com over PFR if both are present (all others have been removed). In addition there could be (as appropriate) external links for NFL coaching record (PFR), college coaching record (Sports-Reference.com), CFL coaching record (CFLdb.com), Arena playing stats (ArenaFan.com) and possibly CFL playing stats (if someone figures out a solution to the broken link issue noted previously). In the latest design these links generally appear at the bottom of the section in which they are appropriate, which for the most part avoids a list of external links grouped together on the page. I think this approach is rational and don't feel that it makes the page appear to be a WP:LINKFARM. — DeeJayK (talk) 16:02, 4 January 2016 (UTC)
@Deejayk: I can live with one player stats link and one coach stats link, but multiple coach stats links -- regardless of whether they are links for separate CFB, NFL, CFL and Arena coaching histories -- are by definition a "link farm". This is an unavoidable problem with coaches who have coached at different levels and in multiple leagues. If there is more than one relevant coach stats link, then the whole lot of them should be moved to the "external links" section of the article. The same principle should apply to players who have played in multiple leagues. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 17:49, 4 January 2016 (UTC)
Unfortunately, there is no single source I am aware of that contains information on coaching records across NFL, CFL and college, so a single external link encapsulating a coach's entire history is not an option. Frankly, the number of articles that would have more than one coaching external link is fairly small, and if there is one with with all three (NFL, CFL and college) I have yet to come across it. As such, the majority of articles will be limited to no more than one playing stats and one coaching record external links. Obviously, we could code the infobox in such a way that we present only a single link of each type, but that would require us to define a hierarchy to determine which link to display (e.g. College takes precedence over NFL which takes precedence over CFL, etc.) I wouldn't want to even think about opening the Pandora's box that would entail, and it would do a disservice to those coaches whose primary contribution was in an area we chose to define as a less important. I appreciate your desire, Dirtlawyer1, to have all external links moved to the "external links" section, but I don't believe that is an issue that we can necessarily address with the infobox. In the end, the proposed merged template definitely pares down the number of external links we are presenting and any single case where the infobox satisfies anyone's definition of a link farm would be an extreme edge case indeed. Let's not make perfect the enemy of good.— DeeJayK (talk) 20:39, 4 January 2016 (UTC)

Misuse of flag icons[edit]

@Deejayk: Can you create tracking categories for the misuse of flag icons in the place of birth and place of death infobox parameters (e.g., Jerry Sherk)? We do not use them for birth and death places, ever, and they served no purpose for NFL players' nationality because NFL players do not represent their country in international competition. Hopefully, there are precious few of these, but the ones that do exist need to be removed. Thanks. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 20:45, 12 December 2015 (UTC)

Hmmmm...off the top of my head I'm not sure how to tackle that, but let me give it some thought and see if I can come up with some sort of solution. Thanks. — DeeJayK (talk) 17:45, 15 December 2015 (UTC)
So, I've figured out a simple way to create a tracking category to track the use of flagicons in the Infobox. I've tested this in {{Infobox NFL coach}} and found one page which was using this (which I have since fixed) — see Category:Infobox NFL coach article with flagicon in birth place. I don't have Template Editor privileges, so I cannot implement this in {{Infobox NFL player}} (which is protected), but I have submitted a request for such privileges and hope to gain them soon. — DeeJayK (talk) 16:19, 16 December 2015 (UTC)
Yes check.svg Done Should you need any other changes to NFL player while you're waiting, let me know and I'll add them in. Should I add the other depreciated params to player? Primefac (talk) 16:34, 16 December 2015 (UTC)
Thanks, Primefac. No, I don't think we want to add the other params at this point. Unfortunately, my privileges request was shot down (for now), since I haven't done enough work on protected templates (or at least haven't submitted proof of such). I guess if I want to suggest additional changes to the template I'll just submit them on the talk page for now. — DeeJayK (talk) 17:03, 16 December 2015 (UTC)
@Deejayk: I have template editor rights. Just leave the verbatim code for any change you want made on the talk page and ping me; I'm happy to help your good and thorough work any time I can. And please let me know next time you request the TE bit; clearly, I will support your request. Cheers. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 17:09, 16 December 2015 (UTC)
@Dirtlawyer1: @Primefac: There's a small error in the way this was implemented on {{Infobox NFL player}}. Instead of
{{#if:{{#invoke:String|find|{{{birth_place}}}|flagicon}}|[[Category:Infobox NFL coach article with flagicon in birth_place|{{PAGENAME}}]]}}
it should be:
{{#ifexpr:{{#invoke:String|find|{{{birth_place}}}|flagicon}}|[[Category:Infobox NFL player article with flagicon in birth_place|{{PAGENAME}}]]}}
Thanks! — DeeJayK (talk) 17:17, 16 December 2015 (UTC)
Fixed Whoops. Primefac (talk) 17:19, 16 December 2015 (UTC)
Looks like a pretty short list (currently 4 articles) — Category:Infobox NFL player article with flagicon in birth place. — DeeJayK (talk) 17:41, 16 December 2015 (UTC)
This tracking category is now empty. I assume that someone has removed the flag icons from the four articles mentioned above -- correct? Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 18:29, 26 December 2015 (UTC)
It wasn't me who did it, but I would make the same assumption that someone undertook this cleanup. Unfortunately, I don't recall any of the names on the list, which makes it difficult to determine who it may have been. I've confirmed the code to populate the category still exists in the template, so I'm pretty confident that we're in good shape on this issue. — DeeJayK (talk) 16:12, 4 January 2016 (UTC)
Yankees10 (talk · contribs) removed the flag icon from the Jerry Sherk example I provided above in my original post. Y10 regularly patrols athlete infoboxes for such formatting errors. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 17:54, 4 January 2016 (UTC)

Feedback needed on merged template[edit]

After addressing all of the issues raised in the last round of feedback I'd like to solicit your thoughts on the current state of the merged template in the sandbox. Please take a look at the testcases. Feel free to add (or recommend) additional test cases if you have a particular situation you'd like to look at. If you notice an issue, please feel free to fix it or simply leave a note here and I'll take a look. I'll be available only sporadically over the next week or so, until after New Years, but if you leave a comment I'll be sure to get back to you (just be patient). Thanks! — DeeJayK (talk) 22:32, 23 December 2015 (UTC)

As soon as I get a day off work (hah!) I'll sit down and take a proper look at the test cases and give some feedback. Awesome job you've done so far! Primefac (talk) 01:54, 26 December 2015 (UTC)
I made some minor tweaks, including reducing the number of line-wrapping stats labels. Frietjes (talk) 16:50, 26 December 2015 (UTC)
Frietjes makes a good point: we should standardize short-form infobox stats labels to minimize, if not eliminate, line-wrapping. In an ideal world, we would move the NFL stats to a separate table in the pro career section of the article. Unless and until that happens, we should do everything reasonably possible to eliminate line-wrapping of the infobox labels because line-wrapping screws up the appearance of the infobox to no good purpose. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 17:16, 26 December 2015 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Has anyone had a chance to evaluate the current state of the proposed merged template? I think that a lot of progress has been made since the previous round of feedback. In fact, I would hazard to say that we are getting very close to a state where the merged template offers improvements over both of the templates we are proposing to replace. I'd love to get some feedback from other editors as to whether any consensus can be found to move forward with implementing the merger. — DeeJayK (talk) 16:02, 11 January 2016 (UTC)

  • Feedback:
  1. Moving the roster status to the top section is probably a good idea.
  2. We should consider moving height and weight from "Personal information" to the top section for players, together with position and roster status. Height and weight are directly relevant to the player's athletic career.
  3. Height and weight should be toggled off for coaches by using a "coach=yes" parameter for coaches. The display of all coach-specific parameters should be tied to the toggle.
  4. Likewise, jersey number should be toggled off for coaches.
  5. Using the same toggle function for coaches, the "position" parameter label should changed to "title" for coaches.
  6. Coach win-loss records should be toggled on, and player stats toggled off for coaches.
  7. Moving player statistics to the center of the box is a bad idea. The existing section order, with stats at the bottom, is better.
  8. Moving career history to the bottom of the box, effectively switching positions with career history, is a bad idea. The existing section order is better.
  9. "Career information" and "career history" should either be adjoining sections, or we should consider combining them into a single "career history" sectiuon. Semantically, the distinction between "career information" and "career history" has never been particularly clear.
  10. The segregated "championships," with separate parameters and separate field labels, for the 338 articles that currently use Infobox NFL coach need to be folded into the highlights section to be consistent with the 16,000+ existing uses of Infobox NFL player. If this requires manual editing of the 338 infoboxes that currently use Infobox NFL coach, so be it. The last thing we need to do is introduce a new format into the 16,000 existing uses of Infobox NFL player.
  11. Segregated honors, such as separate parameters, with separate field labels, for Pro Bowls, All-Pro, CFL All-Star, AFL All-Star, retired nos., etc., need to be folded in to the highlights section, with the standard formatting used Infobox NFL player. If this requires manual editing of the 338 infoboxes that currently use Infobox NFL coach, that's okay. Again, the last thing we need to do is introduce a new and competing format into the 16,000 existing uses of Infobox NFL player.
  12. It would be far better to segregate coaching championships and other highlights so that they are displayed under a separate subheader from those won or received as a player, just as we have a separate parameter with a displayed subheader for coaching career history
When this merge was proposed by a non-sports editor, none of the obvious inconsistencies between these two templates were ever considered let alone discussed in a meaningful way. The goal of any well-thought-out merge should be to fold the relatively small number of uses of Infobox NFL coach into Infobox NFL player, and conform all uses to a single template, a single data entry format, a single data presentation format, and a single set of parameter names. Creating a Frankenstein template where we simply stitch the two templates together and preserve all of the existing inconsistencies from the coach infobox into the player infobox is a very bad idea. Again, if this requires manual editing of the remaining 338 uses of Infobox NFL coach, that's fine. We have the experienced volunteers to do that manual editing. The most tedious spadework has already been done by eliminating the multiplicity of field names. Once we resolve the issues above, it's time to take the final step and conform the coach fields and formatting to those of the player box. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 16:56, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
@Dirtlawyer1: first, thank you for the detailed feedback. Let me respond to your points individually
1. I think this change should be fairly non-controversial. If anyone feels otherwise, let's discuss.
2, 3 & 4. I understand where you are coming from here, but I'm not sure I agree. While it does make sense that physical attributes have very little bearing on a coach's performance, simply because a player becomes a coach doesn't erase that he was previously a player where these attributes are key. As such, it doesn't make sense to me to suppress these attributes for coaches. We could consider a scenario where these physical attributes would be suppressed for coaches who never played, but as discussed previously in the alma_mater conversation, that is a tiny minority of cases and as such I'm not sure it warrants the effort. A better solution might be simply to note in the documentation that the height/weight parameters should be supplied only for current or former players. Also, your "coach=y" toggle solution would require adding that parameter to all relevant pages which use this template, which is a decent sized effort.
5. If you look at the Kris Richard example, I've attempted to do just this in cases where both currentposition and position are provided. If we go forward with the merger, it makes more sense to use the current_title parameter for coaching titles.
6. Again, simply because a person is now a coach, it doesn't make sense that we should essentially ignore the fact that he was formerly a player.
7 & 8. This is a case where I attempted to integrate the layout of the two infoboxes and in doing so made a decision that I thought that it made sense for the "Career History" section should be at the bottom (as it is in {{Infobox NFL coach}}). I'm open to other suggestions regarding the order of the sections, but we should do so on more than an assertion that "the existing order is better." Why is it better? What reasoning do we have to order these infobox section? Also, when you say that "the existing order is better" you have to remember that there are TWO infoboxes involved in this merge with two different existing orders and I feel strongly that we need to settle on one layout. Aslo, if player stats are retained for coaches (as I argue for above), then I'm not sure it makes sense for that player stats be the lower-most section for an infobox related to a coach.
9. I agree that we probably should come up with a better name for one or both of these sections, but I do believe the two sections should remain distinct and should not be merged. In practice, the "Career information" section of the merged infobox contains primarily information related to the subject's playing career. I'm not sure I love the idea of renaming the section "Playing career information". If anyone has other suggestions, then I'm all ears.
10, 11 & 12. I disagree. With any MERGER you're going to end up with a template that includes parameters from only one of the constituent templates. Otherwise what you are suggesting is not a MERGER but simply a replacement of the coach template with the player template. I've tried to minimize that where possible, but I don't have any programmatic way to deal with these particular parameters and thus have retained them in the merged design. We can discuss which parameter might be preferred in the final merger and noted in the documentation as such, but if we're going to do a MERGER then we have to be okay with some actual MERGING.
By and large these suggestions (addressed above) pertain to requests for improvements to one or the other of the constituent templates and as such shouldn't be considered germane to a discussion of the merger per se. It would be great if we could limit this discussion to the differences between the merged template and the existing templates as shown in the side-by-side comparisons in the testcase article. If we can agree that the merged presentation improves upon the existing presentation (or at a minimum doesn't make is worse), then we can perhaps complete this merge and THEN discuss your other ideas for improving the template. Also, I wholeheartedly disagree that the player template should be prioritized over the coach template in discussing this merger simply on the basis of the player templates much larger installed base. Rather than favoring either template, I feel that our goal in this effort should be to make the merged template as complete and as functional as possible and incorporate the best designs from each of the constituent templates. This merger proposal has already dragged out over two years, so the sooner we can put this behind us the sooner we can refocus our efforts on improving the single infobox going forward (possibly implementing some of your suggestions above). — DeeJayK (talk) 18:11, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
10, 11 & 12. Okay. For now, let's focus on the most essential point. As I said above, "When this merge was proposed by a non-sports editor, none of the obvious inconsistencies between these two templates were ever considered let alone discussed in a meaningful way. The goal of any well-thought-out merge should be to fold the relatively small number of uses of Infobox NFL coach into Infobox NFL player, and conform all uses to a single template, a single data entry format, a single data presentation format, and a single set of parameter names."
Call it a merge, call it a replacement; it doesn't matter. We should not introduce inconsistent design elements, conflicting data formats, and separate parameters that render different display results for the same data into the existing 16,000 uses for the sake of a small minority of 338. Having two different displays for player tenures, coach tenures, honors, awards, and championships based on which parameters are selected (those of existing Infobox player or existing Infobox coach) is not a merge result; it's essentially two completely different infoboxes stitched together, sharing only the same template, but rendering different graphics, and displaying data in a different format. That's exactly the wrong result. When we are done, the infoboxes for all coaches should share the same design elements, and all data should be displayed in the same format, not two distinctly different designs with two different data displays. Moreover, the coaching data and player data should be displayed in exactly the same format to the extent possible. The idea that one head coach's infobox should display teams first and year-spans second, while another head coach's infobox displays year-spans first and teams second is just plain goofy. And, yes, the relative numbers are relevant: we are not going to reformat 16,000 infoboxes to accommodate 338. That's common sense.
We have the experienced volunteers to do this properly, and there is no reason why the required manual editing should not be wrapped up in a month, give or take. It's waited three years, with two months of actual spadework to get us where we are now. It can certainly wait another month in order to avoid introducing conflicting design elements and formatting to the existing template. I feel strongly enough about this to manually edit all 338 of them by myself. I did so for three examples in about an hour last week, so I have a pretty good idea how much time is involved, and if necessary, I can replace all 338 in less than four months (at the rate of about three per day). With the experienced volunteers I recruited in December, this can be accomplished in a fraction of that time.
In case you are not aware of the template history, the separate parameters for "coach_team" and "coach_years" were only introduced to Infobox NFL coach in late January and early February 2015, when Frietjes was attempting to address WP:ACCESS concerns; as Infobox NFL existed prior to January/February 2015, the parameters for "coach_team" and "coach_years" were single parameters with the individual teams and year-spans separated by hard-coded linebreaks. To eliminate the hard-coded breaks in the then-350 or so examples, Frietjes used a script and then did manual checking and clean-up. When she was in the middle of this process, I reminded her that the coach/player merge was still pending, and that the separate parameters conflicted with the plainlist formatting of Infobox NFL player. I was assured that the now-separate parameters could be readily converted again to conform to the final merge. So, there is no precedent, no substantial history, behind the separate parameters. For our editors, plainlist is the simpler and more flexible format now in wide use in many of our infoboxes and virtually all of our navboxes; Infobox NFL player has incorporated plainlist from its creation in 2007.
Bottom line: yes, consistency is important, and yes, the design and formatting of the 16,000 takes priority over the 338. We certainly are not going to reformat the 16,000 to the style of the 338. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 19:20, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
If that's your position, and there's no room for compromise as you see it, then we might as well just wrap this entire merge attempt up and you can go ahead and work on replacing the current instances of {{Infobox NFL coach}} with {{Infobox NFL player}}. I regret the considerable efforts I've put forth in the past months in an attempt to move this merge forward as it doesn't appear that anything short of a simple replacement could possibly meet your demands. — DeeJayK (talk) 19:54, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
@DeeJayK: The consensus since 2012 has been to merge these two templates. While DL has always opposed this, there has been no new consensus to halt this. The implementation has been consolidated, a maintenance relief for template editors and less confusion for article editors, and the merged result generally seems to have the same inherent properties with some improvements over the previous respective templates. I support going forward, with no reservation about any improvements after this merge if there is further consensus.—Bagumba (talk) 20:32, 11 January 2016 (UTC) <small
Wrong, Bagumba. I did not oppose this merge in principle; I opposed it after the fact because (1) the merge was proposed with absolutely no notice to or consultation with WP:NFL editors, (2) the template's major contributors were not notified or consulted, (3) not a single one of the various conflicting design and data format complications were discussed or even mentioned, (4) no consideration was given to whether it made sense to maintain separate templates or not, and (5) non-sports "template editors" presumed they would just slap two complex templates together with no input from the actual users of them. Five people participated in that TfD/TfM -- five people who had zero to minimal experience in designing, maintaining or using these two templates, who knew zero to precious little about their creation, their subsequent history, and their actual use, and who presented absolutely no plan for the merge of the single most important template for two of the most active WikiProjects. Given the procedural defects and the lack of any discussion of the surviving template in the original TfD/TfM, I was angry then and I'm still angry about it over three years later. It's why I now patrol TfD daily, looking for discussions that affect the sports WikiProjects, requesting that template creators and affected projects be notified as appropriate, and why I do what I can to prevent any template zealots from bullying through merges when there is a perfectly valid reason for maintaining two or more separate templates. For me, it has always been about the ease of use for the actual users and best presentation of infobox information. Somehow, I would hope you could understand that problematic history, instead of saying "DL has always opposed this". Hopefully, I have refreshed your memory. What is happening now on this talk page was what should have happened in 2012, either before or during the TfD/TfM discussion. I may not agree with DJK on every point, but he is a sports editor who understands the practical concerns of other sports editors, and his goal is a surviving template that its primary users like and can easily use. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 21:25, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
DL: I'm generally aware of the past points you have made, and I did not suggest that you did not explain your reasons, nor that they are completely without merit. However, I stand by my assertion that there has always been consensus to merge, and I'd be grateful if DeeJayK is the one that finally accomplishes this after four years. Thanks.—Bagumba (talk) 23:22, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
It would have been done in the first four months of 2015, but for the interference of others derailing the process I had started among NFL and CFB editors. Thanks. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 23:53, 11 January 2016 (UTC)

Re: 8. Moving career history to the bottom of the box: I agree with DL that history should come before highlights. It's consistent with the previous implementation for players, which considerably outnumbered instances of coaches. Moreover, it's consistent with basketball and baseball infoboxes.—Bagumba (talk) 20:56, 11 January 2016 (UTC)

That's a simple enough change to make if the consensus here is that the order you suggest makes sense. The previous merge attempt maintained the positions of this section from each of the constituent templates and I felt that was a bad design for the merge to follow. As such, I simply followed the order from the coach template as that made more sense to me, but I don't have an strong reason to support that order. We just need to be aware that if we change it for the merged template, this will represent a change from the existing coach template. — DeeJayK (talk) 21:06, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
@Deejayk: I obviously feel very strongly about preserving the core design of Infobox NFL player, but there's still room for compromise regarding design elements as noted in numbered items 1 through 9 above. What I am adamant about is that there will be a single template, with a single set of parameter names, that presents the data in the same format for all players and coaches. The merge still requires us to address the use of the imported parameters for current title, alma mater, win-loss, records, and any others for which there is was no previous corresponding substitute in Infobox NFL player -- which will need to be added to all coaches other than 338. In summary, here are my core points:
1. All team tenures, championships, awards and honors should be presented in the standard format of the individual tenure, championship, award or honor (linked when appropriate), followed by the year of such items in a parenthetical (also linked when appropriate); and
2. Plainlist should be preserved as the primary coded field structure for (a) career history/team tenures for both players and coaches, and (b) all highlights, including all championships, awards and honors.
That maintains the existing template code architecture and the existing data formatting and presentation. Frankly, I will accept any number of things which are not my first choices in order to preserve those core points of architecture and graphic design. As for your considerable efforts, all the work you have done to date has contributed to getting us where we are, and that's no small thing. Having been a part of a much larger merge involving this same template five years ago, believe me, I understand how tedious and time-consuming the work you have performed is. I have over 1,500 NFL players and coaches on watch lists, and I have seen what you have done -- tracking and eliminating duplicate and non-conforming parameters, removing deprecated and non-functional parameters, cleaning up data as required, cleaning up and simplifying the template code. All of that work was a necessary prerequisite to performing this merge, whether you want to call it a "merge" or "replacement"; none of that work is wasted -- all of your work was necessary to doing this the right way. But having one template render two different presentations of the biographical data was not, and should never have been a consideration, and based on your comments through early December, I don't think it was your goal, either, when you started this process.
I've spoken my piece, and now I will hold my peace. In addition to the parameters for current title, birth name, alma mater, and win-loss records imported from Infobox NFL coach, what other parameters and/or datapoints do you think should be imported from Infobox into the surviving Template:Infobox NFL biography? And what are your core positions on items 1 through 9 above. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 20:57, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
My core feeling on your items 2 thru 6 is that those suggestions are fine in and of themselves (not that I agree, but am open to discussing them), but I feel they're largely misplaced in the context of a discussion of the merge which is my primary focus at the moment since they're essentially issues related to the existing functionality of one or both of the constituent templates and not with any changes that are being made to support the merge. As such, bringing them up at this point accomplishes little except sidetracking us from the merge at hand. Ideally, we could limit this discussion to the side-by-side changes in the testcases so that we can gain consensus to move forward with the merger. Then, once the merger is complete we can continue to work on ways to streamline and improve the merged template. As far as your other suggestions, I'm happy to entertain them as I've described above as long as there is some logical basis. — DeeJayK (talk) 21:19, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
DJK: point by point --
Okay, let's set aside items 2 through 6 as "new" topics to be discussed later. They are "largely misplaced in the context of the discussion of the merge," in your words.
Items 7 and 8, as they exist in the sandbox examples, represent changes to the existing order of data presentation, and should likewise be set aside to be discussed later. These are proposed design changes that are "largely misplaced in the context of the discussion of the merge," to borrow your words.
Regarding item 9, I think we agree that a better, more semantically intuitive section header is desirable. Whether we can find a better label remains to be determined, and can be punted for the time being if needed.
Items 10, 11 and 12 are core points: use of plainlist coding for the career history section (inclusive of coach and player tenures) and highlights (inclusive of all championships, awards and honors); and both tenures and highlights will be presented in the order of the tenure and highlight items presented first followed by the applicable years in parentheticals (e.g., "3× Pro Bowl (2012, 2014, 2015)", "Super Bowl championship (2012)", "AFL Player of the Year (2015)"). Separate parameters will not be used for tenure and highlight items and dates. This will require manual editing. I am serious as a heart attack on there being a single template, with a single set of parameters, with a single presentation format for all coach and player data as described.
In addition to parameters for current title, birth name, alma mater, and win-loss records imported from Infobox NFL coach, what other parameters and/or datapoints do you think should be imported from Infobox into the surviving Template:Infobox NFL biography? Is there some substantive parameter of Infobox NFL coach which I am omitting?
Your turn. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 22:05, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
I agree that we should table #2–6 and focus on the merge questions. I've got to run at the moment, but will respond to the remainder of your points as soon as I get a few spare minutes. — DeeJayK (talk) 23:04, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
For #10 and #11, one option would be to deprecate the Infobox NFL Coach parameters in documentation, and manually change them to the preferred format after going live with the merged template. Once they have all been removed from the transclustions, the legacy code can be removed from the template implementation.—Bagumba (talk) 07:46, 12 January 2016 (UTC)
#7 & 8 re: the order of the sections are most certainly germane to the merge discussion as this change was an attempt to unify the section orders of the two templates. Unless we are going to have different section orders depending on which of the existing templates is currently used (a bad practice in my opinion) then the orders of the sections of one or both of the constituent templates must change. I chose to largely maintain the order of the coach template in this case, simply because I felt that order made more sense. After looking at how the career history is presented in some other sports infoboxes, it appears that the consensus is to follow the rough order that is used currently by the player infobox, and so I've altered the order of the merged template to follow that consensus. As far as the overall order of the rest of the sections, this is another item that makes as much or more sense to deal with after the merge as before or during the merge. For example, I might argue that the player stats and head coaching records sections might belong above the career highlights sections, but as noted that is something we can settle post-merge. For now, please take another look at the testcases and let me know if the section order looks better to you.
#9 re: the "Career information" section header is a minor question and a change that we can make at any time. If someone has a better name they'd like to use, please throw it out here for consideration.
#10 & 12 re: separate parameters and sections for Super Bowls and Championships. These parameters exist in both of the constituent templates and the only change in the merge consisted of a one-to-one mapping of the elements ("SuperBowls" and "coachSB", "ArenaBowls" and "coachAB", "Championships" and "coachchamps"). As such, I don't really consider a discussion around the elimination of these parameters a component of the merge discussion. If there is a case to remove them it could have been made for either or both of the templates just as simply as it can be made for the merged template after the completion of the merge. Bringing the topic up here simply serves to muddy the waters. As with your points 2-6 and 10 the exercise at hand is not to PERFECT this template in one stroke, but merely to merge these two templates. As such, this discussion seems to me to fall outside the scope of the merge. I don't have a strong opinion on these suggestions pro or con, but simply feel that it's they should also be tabled until after the merge is behind us.
#11 re: manually editing the coach articles to merge some parameters. I don't share your belief that a single plaintext "highlights" section is the only workable solution. My general preference is for structured over unstructured data as I feel that is more conducive to maintaining a consistent presentation across all articles that use the template — it's just as unlikely that you are going to disabuse me of my opinion as that I am going to alter your beliefs. That said, I think that Bagumba's suggestion makes a lot of sense. If we (as a project) decide that your suggestion should carry the day, then the manual editing necessary to achieve that end is simpler to achieve after the merge than it is before anyway.
Overall, I would urge you to consider this merge with the mindset that the merged template is not being delivered from the mountaintop carved in stone. I view this as an iterative process and a work in progress. Whatever quibbles you (or anyone) has with the template can continue to be hashed out after the merge, and in fact, since we'll have just a single template to worry about at that point any changes will be that much simpler to implement. — DeeJayK (talk) 13:07, 12 January 2016 (UTC)

Convenience break no. 1[edit]

Re: 10, 11, 12: I think the guiding principle should be the consensus stated at Wikipedia:Templates_for_discussion/Holding_cell#Sports to merge Infobox NFL coach into Infobox NFL player. Coupled with the fact that there are more transclusions of the players' template than the coaches', precedence should be given to retain the players' format inasmuch as possible. Parameters like coachSB, coachAB, and coachchamps should remain grouped under Head coaching record, as they are with Infobox NFL player.—Bagumba (talk) 23:21, 13 January 2016 (UTC)

If you feel these parameters fit better somewhere else, then by all means move them. But the placement of these (infrequently used) parameters shouldn't be the thing that is holding up this merge effort. I'd love to get this merge DONE, so that I can start in with the post merge cleanup and then eventually get on to more important topics. — DeeJayK (talk) 04:12, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
I moved some player- and coach-specific parameters so that they retained the order from their orig templates. AFAICS, I think you can process with competing this. What are the outstanding action items that are needed for the merge?—Bagumba (talk) 08:28, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
No, Bagumba, we are not ready to go live. The sandbox examples of hybrid conversions from Infobox NFL coach to the rearranged Infobox NFL biography look like a sloppy mess, and there remain issues to be resolved regarding the parameters for player position and coach title and their placement within the boxes for current and retired coaches. It ain't yet ready for prime time, and the hasty implementation will simply contribute to the confusion among template users as to the correct parameters and data formatting to be used during an interim period. The coach-to-biography conversions that now live in the bottom half of the sandbox are a graphic and semantic mess. We owe our editors and readers much more than that, even if you believe it is only an intermediate step.
I've converted 20+ articles from Infobox NFL coach to the current version of Infobox NFL biography, including all of the parameters that DJ has conformed to date. Having performed those 20+ manual conversions, I am convinced more than ever that the only way to execute this properly is a manual editing of the data of the remaining 316 instances of Infobox NFL coach. If need be, I will personally convert every single one of the remaining 316 uses of Infobox NFL coach so that the parameters and data formatting conform to those of Infobox NFL player (with accepted modifications). We are not going to introduce a "Trojan horse" of conflicting parameters and conflicting data formats after 8.5 years of imposing a measure of uniformity on the existing 16,000 infoboxes -- a result of over a half dozen merges and untold hours of volunteer editor time. This is not some code that exists in isolation; it is used daily by dozens of editors, and hundreds if not thousands of readers.
If you compare any of the infoboxes of the 28 currently listed NFL head coaches -- all of which have been converted or conformed by me in the last 24 hours -- to what's in the sandbox, you may begin to understand my frustration. The 28 current head coach infoboxes I've converted or conformed look like nearly finished products. The examples of coach-to-biography conversions in the lower half of the sandbox look like exactly what they are: the rushed stitching-together of two templates with disparate design elements, and conflicting data formats. The proposed importation of new and conflicting parameters and data formats from a small minority of 300 templates into an existing environment of 16,000 is a formula for confusion among the actual users of the template and has the potential to create conflict and chaos among our volunteer editors. I would hope that you would understand and accept what I have been saying for the last two months on this talk page: (1) one set of parameters, (2) one data input format, (3) both based on the existing plainlist coding of Infobox NFL player, and (4) not on a proliferation of multiple new parameters for teams, tenures, awards, honors, championships, etc., imported from the existing Infobox NFL coach.
In addition to the outstanding design issues, there remains plenty of parameter clean-up work that remains to be done -- all of which may proceed while the remaining 300 coach boxes are manually edited. I would ask you to postpone any idea of going live for 30 days. During that time, I can eliminate all of the conflicting data and parameters of the existing Infobox NFL coach, thereby simplifying the coding for this merge with absolutely no down side. That would permit us to launch with a 97% solution in mid-February, as opposed to going live with the 60% solution that now lives in the sandbox. There is absolutely no reason to rush this, and no one should be obligated to buy a pig in a poke. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 11:29, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
I'm out. I've tried to get this merge moving, but it's clear to me now that some participants are not coming to the effort with an open mind and participating in this dialog in good faith. I have better things to do with my time than deal with this nonsense. — DeeJayK (talk) 19:01, 14 January 2016 (UTC)


any thoughts on |birth_name=? for example, see Abdul-Karim al-Jabbar. there are about 10 articles currently using this parameter. Frietjes (talk) 15:17, 25 December 2015 (UTC)

I see no reason why we shouldn't include this parameter, given that just about every infobox gives some variant on "native/birth/original name". Primefac (talk) 01:53, 26 December 2015 (UTC)
okay, since it seems uncontroversial, now added. Frietjes (talk) 16:45, 26 December 2015 (UTC)
None of the American football infobox variants have ever used birth name and nickname variants, and the infobox does not restate the player's name in in the infobox in any form, only showing the article display name (i.e., the WP:COMMONNAME) at the top of the infobox. These are are very long infoboxes when all of the optional parameters are used, and especially so when the player has a long list tenures and awards and/or had a subsequent coaching career. Given the particular circumstances, I think listing the player's full name in bolded text in the lead is more than sufficient and adding a birth name parameter to this infobox is redundant. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 17:00, 26 December 2015 (UTC)
I'm with Frietjes and Primefac on this one. It seems that this is only going to apply to a very small subset of articles and I don't feel concerns over the length of the infobox are sufficient to veto the addition of a piece of information which in some cases can be crucial to understanding a person's biography and which will add only a single line. — DeeJayK (talk) 16:20, 4 January 2016 (UTC)
We have done without a "birth name" parameter for 16,000+ articles for 8.5 years. The birth name is best presented in the bolded statement of the subject's full name in the lead sentence of the article. In typical Wikipedia fashion, if the "birth name" parameter is retained in the template, it will not be an exception for very long, and it will simply be added to every infobox over time. There is nothing particularly crucial about including a birth name in the infobox when it's already included in the lead. We've done just fine without separate parameters for full name, birth name and nicknames in the infobox. The nickname parameter has proved to be especially problematic for modern athletes, where it is to often used to insert all sorts of unsourced fancruft, inside jokes and BLP violation. The birth name parameter is merely redundant. If this infobox did not often run to more 12 or 15 column inches as filled out, I would be more inclined to acquiesce in its addition. When you see something like the ridiculously long Emmitt Smith infobox, however, you quickly realize that adding redundant parameters is perhaps not such a great idea. Yes, just "one more line" does matter when we're trying to gain some control over the ridiculously overpopulated uses of the template. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 18:08, 4 January 2016 (UTC)
As far as I am aware Emmitt Smith hasn't changed his name since he was born — please feel free to correct me if I am wrong. I understand there are examples where the infobox is perhaps too packed with information, but I see that as an opportunity to pare down what is being presented in that individual article, not necessarily as an argument that we can't or shouldn't add something new. Also, your argument that we shouldn't do something simply because we haven't done it previously doesn't hold a lot of water with me — no phone prior to the first iPhone lacked a physical keypad and relied primarily on a touchscreen for input, but I'm glad that the Apple design team didn't let that stop them from designing the first modern smart phone. — DeeJayK (talk) 20:48, 4 January 2016 (UTC)

One arguments to add |birth_name= is WP:OTHERSTUFF, which is not compelling without further justification. Another reason was that it provides further biographic detail. However, his parents, siblings, spouse, etc. would also provide more background, so I'm not seeing how his birth name is any more important. Frankly, it's rarely a key point of notability for NFL people. Per WP:IBX: "The less information [an infobox] contains, the more effectively it serves that purpose, allowing readers to identify key facts at a glance." I'd support removal of this new parameter.—Bagumba (talk) 01:44, 5 January 2016 (UTC)

@Bagumba: I don't believe anyone is suggesting we add "parents, siblings, spouse, etc." to this infobox, so I'm having a hard time seeing how that bit of your argument is relevant. Additionally, you state that birth name is "rarely a key point of notability for NFL people" — I can agree with this, but "rarely" is not "never" and for those individuals for whom it is a key point, it's worthwhile to have the infobox support it. For some small handful of people (e.g. perhaps Ahmad Rashād) the decision to change one's name can be a significant and even defining decision in one's life. As such, it seems worthy of inclusion in the infobox. — DeeJayK (talk) 15:14, 7 January 2016 (UTC)
Consider this from WP:IBX also: "If the field is relevant to very few articles, it should probably not be included at all." I maintain that this is a common enough attribute to have been added.—Bagumba (talk) 03:50, 8 January 2016 (UTC)

Image alternate text parameter (alt=)[edit]

Per WP:ACCESS, we are supposed to endeavor to make Wikipedia more accessible for sight-impaired readers whenever possible. Per Wikipedia:Alternative text for images, that is supposed to include adding alternate descriptive text to all photos and other graphic images which is machine-readable for computer screen-readers. The "alt" parameter for this template has been a standard parameter since July 2007 (two days after it was created), and is supposed to be included every time this template is added to an NFL player or coach article. Recently, I have actually found several editors removing the "alt" parameter from NFL bio articles. That needs to stop, and we need to have a discussion on the WP:NFL talk page in order to familiarize all of our regular NFL and CFB editors with it and its purpose. That said, the "alt" parameter needs to added or restored to all instances of this infobox as part of our clean-up, and we need to encourage our NFL and CFB editors to actually use it. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 20:46, 26 December 2015 (UTC)

While the alt text should be used, I have (in all of my TFD/template editing/etc) seen maybe ten articles use it in the infobox. If alt=This it what the image shows is deleted it should most definitely be restored, but if you think changing the params for 16000 articles is a pain try going through and (manually) adding alt text for every image. Yikes. Primefac (talk) 06:19, 30 December 2015 (UTC)
I'm in agreement that alt text should be added for every article. In fact, in the course of cleaning up some of the articles that use the NFL coach template, I added alt text for a decent number of articles. I also agree that any removal of alt text from articles should be reverted and that editors should be encouraged to add alt text any time they add or change an image. I'm also not opposed if someone wants to undertake an effort to add alt text to any article where it is missing (it would be simple to create a category that identifies such articles). However, I would vehemently oppose any suggestion that fixing the alt issue needs to be a requirement for wrapping up the ongoing infobox merge discussion as it really is a separate issue. — DeeJayK (talk) 16:28, 4 January 2016 (UTC)
Can we create a tracking category for all instances of Infobox NFL player that do not include the "alt" text parameter? The underlying problem can be partly addressed by adding a hidden text message when the parameter is unused (i.e., please do not remove "alt=" per WP:ACCESS, etc.), but also by better explaining the purpose and use of the parameter in the template instructions/documentation, initiating a discussion at the WP:NFL and WP:CFB talk pages, maintaining the tracking category after our clean-up is complete, and lastly by gently slapping the hand of editors who we discover are deleting the parameter. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 18:16, 4 January 2016 (UTC)
See Category:Infobox NFL player article missing alt text and Category:Infobox NFL coach article missing alt text. To help understand the scope of the issue I've also added Category:Infobox NFL player article with alt text (i.e. articles where the alt parameter IS populated). As of right now, there are over 4,400 player articles where this parameter is missing versus only 170 where it is populated, which indicates that this parameter is being used less than 4% of the time. — DeeJayK (talk) 05:20, 5 January 2016 (UTC)
Thank you for doing that, DJ. The numbers are not surprising. Few CFB and NFL editors know what the purpose of the parameter is, and it is incumbent upon us to spread the word. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 05:48, 5 January 2016 (UTC)
I'm pretty sure this issue isn't isolated to football articles — I would guess that the prevalence of alt text on images is roughly similar across the entire encyclopedia. But you're certainly correct that it is primarily an education issue. The documentation of the infobox seems pretty clear on the use of alt, stating "[i]f an image is used, alt should describe the visual appearance of the image for visually impaired readers; see WP:ALT." I'm not really sure how to make that instruction more plain. I have made one tweak to the template to populate the alt with "refer to caption" in cases where alt is missing but caption is populated. As such, I've changed the Category:Infobox NFL player article missing alt text category to include articles that are missing alt but have a caption to refer to, and created a new category, Category:Infobox NFL player article missing alt text and caption to capture articles that are missing both alt and caption. I would suggest that you focus your clean-up efforts first on this last category. — DeeJayK (talk) 16:07, 5 January 2016 (UTC)
I've completed a cleanup of all the articles in Category:Infobox NFL coach article missing alt text. Now that I've done half the job, I'll leave the NFL player articles to someone else. ;) — DeeJayK (talk) 21:08, 5 January 2016 (UTC)
I added captions and alt text to a half dozen or so former Florida Gators who were in the "no captions/no alt text" tracking category. More importantly, I will start a discussion on the WP:NFL talk page this week explaining the purpose of alt text, and use those edits to the former Gators as linked examples so I can show WP:NFL editors how the alt text parameter is supposed to be used. There remains a lot of clean-up to be done on conforming parameter names, removing deprecated parameters, etc., and a lot of that can be done by bot. I'm keeping a list and will submit it to one of the better bot guys when we're done with the pending merge: when the clean-up is completed, there should be only one parameter name for every parameter, all standard parameters should be included on every template (not limited to alt text), and all of the deprecated/non-functional parameters should be removed from every instance. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 20:05, 11 January 2016 (UTC)

Two dashes[edit]

what's the point of If number is not currently known, fill in as two dashes (--)? this is the equivalent of |highlights=n/a or other non-statements. if there is nothing to say, then say nothing and leave it blank. Frietjes (talk) 13:48, 4 February 2016 (UTC)

My thought would be that it is there to explicitly state that the number is unknown, and thus a more visible indication that it should be filled in. However, I agree that such practices are unnecessary. Primefac (talk) 15:00, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
@Frietjes and Primefac: The dash for an unknown jersey number has been traditionally used as a temporary placeholder when "current_team=Free agent". I'm not sure how or why this convention evolved among WP:NFL editors; it was in place when I started editing Wikipedia in mid-2009, or nearly 7 years ago. At any given time, the affected universe are 250+ free agents who are either in transition waiting to be signed by another team, or approaching de facto retirement. A player may linger in free agent status for a year or more before we treat their failure to sign with a new team as a de facto retirement. The other circumstance where we use the dash as a temporary placeholder for an unknown jersey number is for newly drafted or newly signed players; this status typically lasts for a few days to a handful of weeks until jersey number assignments become publicly known for all 32 teams. This second group may include ~256 new draftees, plus another couple hundred undrafted free agent signees for a period of a few weeks following the annual NFL Draft.
Personally, I am not in love with the practice, but it is well established, and we have a large number of peripheral editors -- i.e. those who edit NFL-related articles heavily at certain times a year, but are not actively involved in discussions at WP:NFL -- who maintain these conventions with minimal supervision from WP:NFL. Retraining those peripheral editors and overcoming any resistance might take some effort. That said, if you have better ideas how the "unknown jersey number" scenarios might be better handled, I'm all ears. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 16:17, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
we can certainly make the template output whatever we want when |currentteam=free agent and |currentnumber= is blank. or, when |currentnumber=--. note that there is a difference between something being "unknown" and when something being "not applicable". for example, the value of |birth_place= may be unknown, but that doesn't mean it can never be known. however, the value of |college= for LeBron James is rightfully omitted. we wouldn't set |college=--- for LeBron James. a free agent is not on a team, and hence, has no team number. thus a free agent should have no number. Frietjes (talk) 21:16, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
I think it can be removed from documentation. We don't need to encourage the practice, even if some people will continue to do it.—Bagumba (talk) 21:43, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
Well, if we're going to deprecate the practice of using the dash for unknown jersey numbers, then I suggest we program the field to ignore any character that's not a number. Problem solved. No edit-warring, no corrections, no long-winded explanations to newbies and peripherals. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 21:49, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
I would say, start by ignoring |currentteam=-- and |currentteam=-. all non-numeric may work as well, but I would like to see a list of all non-numeric values currently in use. I can have this done by a bot-op. Frietjes (talk) 22:18, 4 February 2016 (UTC)

Tracking categories for rarely used parameters[edit]

@Bagumba: Can you set up tracking categories for all instances of Infobox NFL player or Infobox NFL biography that use any of the following three parameters:

  • | coachSB =
  • | coachAB =
  • | coachchamps =

I want to see how many, if any, existing transclusions of the NFL player/biography actually use any of these. The only times I've ever encountered any of these parameters is as part of Infobox NFL coach. FYI, there are now fewer than 60 transclusions of Infobox NFL coach which remain to be replaced, and that process should be completed within the next few days. After that, I anticipate returning to the outstanding questions about parameters for player positions vs. current coach titles, college alma mater vs. college team, etc., which were not previously resolved. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 18:58, 4 February 2016 (UTC)

FYI: Ping only works with a new signature, not by changing an existing one like you did. Try https://tools.wmflabs.org/templatetiger/ mentioned by Bgwhite at #alma_mater error?. I'm not entirely familiar with the tracking category method, plus AFAIK it takes a while to fully populate.—Bagumba (talk) 21:36, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
@Bgwhite: Can you accomplish the above request in the simplest, least intrusive manner possible? I am trying to identify all of the transclusions of Infobox NFL player and Infobox NFL biography which use any of the three parameters above. These tracking categories will not need to be permanent. Thanks. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 21:57, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
It's good to go already. For example, for coachSB on Infobox NFL player: 1) click "enwiki", 2) click "Parameter" on the "Infobox NFL player" row, 3) click "link" on the "with" column of the "coachSB" row, 4) scroll to right to the "coachSB" column to see the values that are populated.—Bagumba (talk) 22:33, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
@Bagumba: Thanks, Bags. That's a handy little tool once I figured it out. The results were exactly what I expected. Out of 17,000+ transclusions of Infobox NFL player/biography, there were a grand total of 17 that included any or all of these three parameters. Of those 17, only six were actually using any of the three. Of those six, four included the identical information in the "highlights" section. I moved the non-duplicate information to the highlights section for the two remaining articles, and I have removed all three parameters from all 17 articles that included any of them. I'm now going to remove these parameters from the template documentation. One more issue resolved; three more unneeded parameters removed, and the coding will be simplified. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 23:50, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
Dirtlawyer1, see "Category:NFL player with coaching championship parameters", will take some time to populate. Frietjes (talk) 22:13, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
@Frietjes: Thanks, F. After the category populates, hopefully it will still be empty! Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 22:33, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
@Dirtlawyer1: Provided articles show up in the tracking category (Ahhh, an empty tracking category is the best category), I can run AWB with a custom module to delete the parameters. For future reference, Magioladitis or I can do this for any Infobox/parameter combination. Bgwhite (talk) 00:36, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
@Bgwhite: Thanks. You, sir, were already on my to-do list. This one was easy -- these three parameters only appeared in a total of 17 articles, so I've already deleted them manually. We are going to have a substantial amount of AWB and possible bot work to clean up other previously deprecated parameters that were in widespread use, many of which were simply left in place after the parameters were made inoperative. There's going to be plenty of work for everyone to make this a model template. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 00:59, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
@Frietjes: Would you like to do the honors and remove the coding for these three parameters from the template? Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 00:59, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
now removed, any new ones will show up in Category:Pages using infobox NFL player with unsupported parameters under "C". Frietjes (talk) 22:54, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
@Frietjes: Thank you. Interestingly, your tracking category picked up another 8 or 9 articles that were using these parameters which were missed by TemplateTiger. Not sure what to make of that -- you would hope they would yield identical results -- but in the future I will check both when looking for parameter-specific issues. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 23:29, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
Dirtlawyer1, one reason could be that templatetiger scans the database dump, which is going to be older information. however, adding tracking categories has disadvantages as well: (1) adds to the job queue and (2) you have to wait for the job queue to reprocess all the transclusions before the category fills up. there are ways to speed up the process, but those ways are not recommended for templates with large numbers of transclusions. Frietjes (talk) 00:03, 6 February 2016 (UTC)

Improved parameter names to be added as aliases[edit]

@Frietjes: In November and December, DeeJayK spent considerable time and effort selecting the most semantically intuitive parameter names and then systematically adding them to Infobox NFL coach and the current sandbox version of Infobox NFL biography. These improved parameter names include the following:

  • | regular_record =
  • | playoff_record =
  • | overall_record =

These are the direct counterparts of the following parameters of the currently operative version of Infobox NFL biography:

  • | coachregrecord = >>>> | regular_record =
  • | coachplayoffrecord = >>>> | playoff_record =
  • | coachrecord = >>>> | overall_record =

These three particular new and improved parameter names have not been added to the currently live version of Template:Infobox NFL player yet, but everyone agreed they represented improvements -- more semantically intuitive names. Could you please add these as parameter aliases to the live version of the template? The plan is that all 17,000 transclusions of the template will be updated to a common standard by BG and his AWB boys once we settle on the remaining changes. In the mean time, I would like to be able to use these new parameter names while we're cleaning up and replacing existing uses of Infobox NFL coach and Infobox NFL player. At the end of this process -- say 60 to 90 days from now -- I would like to see every template transclusion with a uniform set of parameters, and all old aliases removed entirely by AWB edits. We've got the personnel for both manual clean-up and AWB replacements, and the groundwork has already been laid in large part. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 05:33, 6 February 2016 (UTC)

Will there be a tag for only coaches to have this show up? People are going to add this for players, but I don't think that's the intention, right? ~ Dissident93 (talk) 06:34, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
@Dissident93: Sure, people can add these three parameters for players, but it will look kinda silly under a section header labeled "Head coaching record," don't you think? Face-smile.svg Generally speaking, I am in favor of programming certain parameters that are prone to misuse to prevent such misuse. It's one of several related issues yet to be resolved in completing the template's architecture. Keep in mind that these three parameters already exist within Infobox NFL player; we're just renaming them per DeeJayK's improvements as part of the post-merge clean-up. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 15:42, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
Got it. ~ Dissident93 (talk) 22:56, 6 February 2016 (UTC)