Template talk:Infobox artist/Archive 2

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Archive 1 Archive 2 Archive 3

Recent changes

There have been a flurry of changes to the template recently, and problems of various kinds have arisen. The template has been stable for a long time and is in use in many articles. I have reverted it back to a state when it was working fine.[1]

Changes should not be made to such a high visibility template until they have been discussed properly and consensus reached for content, and, for technical matters, tested properly in a sandbox.

There has been a rationale of bringing it in line with Infobox scientist. That is not necessarily a reason to change Infobox artist. The addition of a signature parameter has not got consensus and is already in dispute at Vincent van Gogh. There is no reason for the hide feature for the "Influenced" and "Influenced by" as these sections are not in practice over-populated (and I would argue should anyway be restricted to the minimum essential names). Additionally hide features are discouraged because of problems with printing out the article.

Let's start again, and make sure any changes are examined and agreed. In particular the editors at Wikipedia:WikiProject Visual arts need to be involved, as they are the ones who use the Infobox all the time, and know what needs to be in it. Post at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Visual arts to notify of any discussions here.

Ty 19:15, 10 October 2009 (UTC)

Agreed. People should bear in mind that very many VA editors dislike these boxes anyway, & if they give any trouble they are liable to just be removed from articles. Johnbod (talk) 23:13, 10 October 2009 (UTC)
Seconded, I spent a couple of hours messing around with image sizes in infoboxes yesterday, now they are adding absurd signature facsimiles to the boxes as well....Modernist (talk) 23:38, 10 October 2009 (UTC)
Yep, too much difficulty with this recently. And thanks to Modernist for correcting images and infoboxes, a task which should be covered here [2]. JNW (talk) 23:44, 10 October 2009 (UTC)

Website not shown on example

I note that Website is available as an entry, but it is not shown in the example or definitions on the page for {{Infobox artist}} GloverEpp (talk) 20:07, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

The documentation was just generally incongruous with the current state of the template. I've updated it to match the present status of the code. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 14:57, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

Signature Parameter

I was thinking of adding a signature parameter, because I believe it would be of value to the articles.--MaximilianT (talk) 18:19, 1 January 2010 (UTC)

Why would a sample of the artist's signature be of value to the article? Bus stop (talk) 18:23, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
There are similar parameters at infobox person, writer and philosopher. They exist to familiarize the reader with the subject. Why shouldn't the reader be able to observe the subject's signature?--MaximilianT (talk) 18:45, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
It seems hokey. We are talking about visual artists, primarily, right? Their work is their work, not their "signature." A signature serves to authenticate something, doesn't it? We should be concentrating on the work of art. I think the signature just serves as a distraction. And the presence of the signature I think trivializes the work itself. Do we only think the art is "good" because it is authentic? Bus stop (talk) 19:20, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
I don't think it trivializes it, because the same parameter exists on 3 other templates and hasn't trivialized any part of the content. This parameter is already being used in other similar, so it should be also used on this one. --MaximilianT (talk) 20:22, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
But this has to do with visual art. The signature is a visual entity, is it not? I think the one is equated with the other, in the reader's thinking. I think this association of the signature with the art, is an unfortunate association, and can be avoided by not including a sample of the signature. Also — the signature changes over time. What is the significance of the particular "snapshot" of a signature? Bus stop (talk) 20:31, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
Note that this parameter was added before, but was subsequently removed. It has been requested that any proposed changes be publicized at Wikipedia:WikiProject Visual arts. See also Template talk:Infobox artist/Archive 1#Signature Plastikspork ―Œ(talk) 20:26, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
Consensus has so far been clearly against the signature for a wide variety of reasons, this discussion has been going on for a long time...Modernist (talk) 20:38, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
I personally don't mind discussing this, because it is my opinion that the desire for the signature reflects a very common misunderstanding that the authenticity of the artwork is of very great importance. And I think this overlooks the great importance of looking and thinking that is incumbent on any viewer of the visual arts. In short — we have to think for ourselves. The signature is not there to tell us what to think. Bus stop (talk) 20:57, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
I strongly support the addition of a signature parameter. First, encyclopedia articles on artists clearly have to do with a lot more than the visual aspects of their work; otherwise they would consist of nothing but pictures of their work. Forget biographical info, etc. Second, anyone who thinks that the signature is not a highly significant component of an artist's artistic identity should simply look at the price difference between signed and unsigned works; if Wikipedia were concerned purely with art and not with authenticity and market value of art, then notability would be a pretty difficult concept to employ. - Wormcast (talk) 18:01, 3 January 2010 (UTC)
Even if a signature had a place in an article, why would it be in an infobox? Bus stop (talk) 18:08, 3 January 2010 (UTC)
That is a reasonable question. One consideration is standardization: the signature parameter is included in Template:Infobox_Person, the default bio template, as well as in Template:Infobox_Writer and Template:Infobox_Fashion_Designer, the only other fundamentally visual/written works bio templates derived from Person. Another is that the signature is a concise, unique, important, identifying piece information, and as such is a natural candidate for a quick summary structure such as an infobox. If not signatures, then why, for instance, photographs of artists? I would think that photos of artists have substantially less to do with their respective bodies of work than their signatures, and yet are included. - Wormcast (talk) 19:57, 3 January 2010 (UTC)
It's a different type of field than the other fields in the info-box, with the exception of the photograph or other type of image of the artist. In my opinion it should be in the article's space when an editorial decision is made to include it.
A lot of artists nowadays don't sign artworks. And I think critical thinking downplays individual importance of artists (as might be suggested by the highlighting of the signature) since perhaps the advent of postmodernism. I don't necessarily agree with this. But I think the presence of a signature in an info-box would almost look anachronistic, or dated. This is obviously just my opinion. Thanks for your thoughtful response to my posed question.
Also, the photograph of the artist I think is of ongoing interest for reasons not necessarily connected to the art. From the signature little can be derived, except perhaps by such disciplines as handwriting analysis. But people (readers) are notoriously proficient at extracting meaning from almost any visual clue provided in the actual image of the person. Hair length, dress style, expression of facial features, "racial" indications — these and more are all indicated in many photographs. The reader is naturally curious about the subject of the article. A signature I think is far less revealing artifact relating to the individual being written about. Bus stop (talk) 15:54, 4 January 2010 (UTC)
Signature reproduction may require copyright permission. Signature is the artist’s property. Up to the 19th century signing was not popular. E.g.: JMW Turner rarely signed his work. He signed the work for special request. It has been frequently found that incorrect works were baring forged signatures. The provenance of the work is the most critical part in identification. Therefore the provenance of the images e.g.: property of the artist, specified museum collection or private collection etc., are significant proofs of authenticity. (Salmon1 (talk) 20:01, 5 February 2010 (UTC))

I added the signature parameter without having read this conversation. Another user was watchful enough to have spotted and reverted the change. Sorry for any inconvenience. Spinoff 12:52, 18 December 2010 (UTC)


Hey there,

I added this one, figured I'd seen it in other infoboxes (person, writer), so it sounded useful as a general thing. Feel free to discuss restoring it or leaving it off. BOZ (talk) 23:42, 2 January 2010 (UTC)

I think we are better off without it. The nature of most artist biographies rarely if ever discuss a spouse - either male or female. From before the renaissance through today the very rare exception might mention a husband or a wife. Thank you for your proposal however...Modernist (talk) 23:47, 2 January 2010 (UTC)
Just 2¢, but generally "spouse" seems to be a field that should be limited to "celebrity" templates. The justification there being the spouse is also famous or the marriage is part of the celebrity.
Beyond that... the few cases I can think of for an artist or writer is when the spouses collaborate. At that point, the spouse can be listed one of the influence fields. - J Greb (talk) 23:57, 2 January 2010 (UTC)
Lee Krasner is discussed in the lede at Jackson Pollock because of the important relationship that they had in life and in their work, but it is the exception...Modernist (talk) 00:01, 3 January 2010 (UTC)
And that would be case where cross listing them under "influenced by/influenced" in both infoboxes would make sense. - J Greb (talk) 00:21, 3 January 2010 (UTC)
I think if it finds a place in a well-written article then mention of the spouse is a natural thing. I don't think an infobox should have a field for spouse. Bus stop (talk) 01:16, 3 January 2010 (UTC)

Colour code

Is there any specific code for the bgcolour parameter similar to the musical artist box? I can't find any instruction how to use it here other than "you can change it." If there is no purpose for that parameter at all, why not simply hardcode it to default blue? De728631 (talk) 21:07, 5 April 2010 (UTC)

In the process of converting this into an {{infobox}} I've simply removed the parameter as arbitrary and of no clear illustrative or informational purpose. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 12:38, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
Who removed the color bar? It was long agreed upon - return it please, thank you...Modernist (talk) 13:01, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
Well, no: it was long argued over, which eventually simmered down without an identifiable conclusion. As De728631 says, it is ill-defined and seemingly serves no demonstrable informational value; such arbitary colour bars are becoming less common on Wikipedia, and the style used at {{infobox artwork}} seems to have been uncontroversial. What purpose does the colour bar serve? Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 13:10, 13 April 2010 (UTC)

You said when making this change, "convert to {{infobox}} for clarity of code and ease of maintenance. if there are any issues with this code drop, before reverting please let me know and I'll try to fix them quickly".[3] There was an issue as raised above by Modernist, but you have not fixed it quickly, so I have reverted your change per WP:BRD. We are now at the D phase.

The inclusion per se of colour was not "long argued over"; the actual colour was discussed and no change was reached. Colour has been in use for years and obviously gained acceptance by the large numbers of editors using this infobox, so it is not up to one person unilaterally to change that. The colour bar is an attractive feature visually which serves to demarcate the contents of the infobox from that of the main text. I agree with the retention of the colour bar.

Ty 13:27, 13 April 2010 (UTC)

Colour was in use for years because once upon a time it was prevalent on tables on Wikipedia. That is no longer the case; the majority of widely-deployed infobox templates make only sparing use of colour and many infobox templates omit it altogether. I'm not prepared to accept that the use of colour genuinely makes the box less distinct; less distracting perhaps. In addition, this opens the way to use an HTML <caption> element for the title rather than just a header, which increases the semantic value of the template. Regardless of how the title is presented, though, the change to an {{infobox}} should be restored however; I hadn't realised that someone had already done the work for this previously, again to be reverted for unrelated quibbles to presentation). But I'll sort that out once we've had further discussion here. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 13:57, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
The discussion is open here, so we can see what consensus is reached. In the meantime, there is no consensus to remove the long-standing colour bar at the top of the box. It is a design decision. Design is an art of communication visually. Perhaps you could explain "In addition, this opens the way to use an HTML <caption> element for the title rather than just a header, which increases the semantic value of the template" for the non-techies. I note the similar use of colour bars in e.g. {{Infobox_musician}} and {{Infobox military conflict}} amongst others, so there is no site-wide embargo on them. Ty 15:04, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
"There's no consensus" is not an argument, it's a conclusion; I rather believe that until now it's been taken as a given, but I'm happy to discuss it anyway (and it's orthogonal to the significant template cleanup work). The HTML comment is a technical issue which concerns the use of semantic HTML to mark up information in articles; it goes hand in hand with the use of microformats, which were introduced to this infobox several months ago. While I noted that the use of the title style is increasingly common, I didn't say it was universal; there is ongoing discussion regarding the unification and coding of music infoboxes (which I imagine will lead to a change), and {{Infobox military conflict}} falls under WP:MILHIST which has a habit of doing things its own way. I did point out that this style is widely used on {{infobox artwork}}, which was the result of a unification of several widely-used art infoboxes; furthermore, there has still never been an adequate rationale for why the particular shade currently used was chosen (save for personal preference), nor why it should be optional as De728631 questioned. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 15:28, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
Sorry, I don't understand "The HTML comment is a technical issue which concerns the use of semantic HTML to mark up information in articles; it goes hand in hand with the use of microformats, which were introduced to this infobox several months ago." If "WP:MILHIST ... has a habit of doing things its own way", this is presumably because they determine what is most suitable for their content. That applies to other projects also, such as WP:WPVA. Input is necessary from those who most use the template. {{infobox artwork}} is not comparable, as it holds an image (i.e. an artwork) whose colours have an intrinsic importance. This is not the case with a photo of a person (which can often be in black and white). There is a rationale for the colour, and for an option to change it when deemed appropriate, at Template_talk:Infobox_artist/Archive_1#Block_blue_default. I suggest seeing who else contributes to this discussion. Ty 16:12, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
No project (or other group of editors) has "their [own] content"; see WP:OWN. Andy Mabbett (User:Pigsonthewing); Andy's talk; Andy's edits 21:44, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
And that includes the template guys as well, you do not WP:OWN anything either...Modernist (talk) 21:47, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
I'd say keep it, but that's not a very strong view. If it is felt to clash with a particlar work it can go. Johnbod (talk) 16:18, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
The switch to {{infobox}} and the use of the colour code are two distinct issues. I would say conversion to {{infobox}} would be fairly uncontroversial, since it could be done without changing the visual appearance or function. I have no strong opinion about the colour code, but I would like to see this template switch to using {{infobox}}. Plastikspork ―Œ(talk) 16:46, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
Thank you for returning the color bar per consensus, I think it's useful. By the way - I think visual arts editors will decide whether or not to use the color bar. It is in use now and as I use it I expect it to remain. Not really Chris Cunningham's decision...Modernist (talk) 21:12, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
I, too, support use of {{infobox}}; reverting that change because of a WP:BIKESHED issue was out of order. The current colour has too little contrast with the text, from an accessibility point of view. Andy Mabbett (User:Pigsonthewing); Andy's talk; Andy's edits 21:15, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
While I would agree that migrating from a table mark up to the basic infobox base template is a needed thing, it really should be handled apart from any other changes to the look and function of the template. To that end, can a sandbox of the {{infobox}} based template be but up to make sure it can function as the current version does? If so, then maybe that issue can be dealt with.
That would leave, I believe, the accessibility issue and the ability to vary the bar color. Off the hop, can someone point me to a few examples where something other than the default is being used? Jumping through a small smattering all I saw was either no 'box or blue.
Also, Andy does have a point - while color can be used, it has to be in a way that create problems for readers with vision issues. Now, as far as I can tell using the suggested links at WP:COLOR, the default is fine with black text. It may need some discussion based on what colors are currently in use though.
Beyond that... "bikeshed" maybe a bit disingenuous here. Since there is a consensus of the work group using the template for the inclusion of a colored background here, and a variable one at that, it isn't good form for an editor that generally doesn't work within that group to pop in and ditch that in one bold edit. Add WP:BIKE to it and it feels like an attempt to avoid discussing the issue by labeling it as unimportant. - J Greb (talk) 21:54, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
I am a big fan of color optional by the way try - Vincent Van Gogh, Jackson Pollock and Francis Bacon (artist)...Modernist (talk) 21:59, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
All of which do not use the default, which is what Andy was pointing out had potential accessibility problems, due to lack of contrast. Plastikspork ―Œ(talk) 22:05, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
hrm... and Bacon may be close to being an issue.
Beyond that, is there a rhyme or reason behind the coloring? - J Greb (talk) 22:15, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
"consensus of the work group" means nothing; WP works on consensus, without any such qualification. Andy Mabbett (User:Pigsonthewing); Andy's talk; Andy's edits 22:21, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
Lets be clear - most use the default. These were placed here per request. Yellow and silver corresponds specifically to issues in - respectively Van Gogh's and Pollock's paintings. Silver with black lettering as well as yellow with black lettering is highly visible and readable - as is the default by the way. The orange used at Francis Bacon was placed specifically by one of the leading editors at the article. By the way WP:IDON'TLIKEIT doesn'tmean much either...Modernist (talk) 22:26, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
Once again: the "leading editors at the article" don't own the article. And accessibility concerns are not "WP:IDONTLIKEIT" Andy Mabbett (User:Pigsonthewing); Andy's talk; Andy's edits 22:34, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
Speak for yourself! We clearly have a major disagreement surrounding the interpretation of English, you simply do not determine these issues on your own either because likewise WP:OWN applies to you as well...Modernist (talk) 22:36, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
You appear to be addressing me; I've presumed to speak for no-one but myself, not tried to decide anything by myself; nor claimed to own anything. Andy Mabbett (User:Pigsonthewing); Andy's talk; Andy's edits 22:50, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
I can accept that - you only voice your own opinion. That sounds right...Modernist (talk) 22:55, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
I think the color concern could be partially alleviated by slightly lightening it from  this  to say  this  or even  this , but that could be started as another straw poll? I know that the W3G has guidelines for colour contrast, and formulae for computing it. Plastikspork ―Œ(talk) 22:37, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
Truth is I agree - I favor the lighter blue...Modernist (talk) 22:40, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
Sigh. Every twelve months, another inconclusive straw poll / edit war is had over the exact shade used here. That will continue indefinitely because the colour is a) meaningless and b) arbitrary. The arguments for keeping the colour (the arguments worth heeding, that is) don't really do enough to justify this. In the long run, removing the colour is the best way to end such bikeshedding. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 22:46, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
That is your opinion and I and others do not share your opinion...Modernist (talk) 22:49, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
Oh, but for an artist, the colour of the bikeshed is everything! :) Plastikspork ―Œ(talk) 22:55, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
Per Modernist above, I have no objection to the lighter blue. If we agree on that change and to leave an option for the colour to be changed or removed altogether where deemed desirable for specific articles, then that solves the problem. If underlying code is changed without any visible alteration to usage, then that will not be problem either. Clearly there is a desire for colour to be available, and it is used by editors who employ the infobox. Any objection to specific colour usage should be made on the talk page of the relevant article. Ty 00:39, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
"Desire" isn't really enough. This isn't a democracy; there has still be no good argument for why the colour should be optional, and a show of hands isn't really an adequate substitute for that. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 07:05, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
I didn't say "desire"; I said "desirable", as in meet and fitting for encyclopedic purpose. There is a good reason for optional colour, as it can on some occasions reinforce article content. Some artists are associated through their work and/or writings with specific colours. Those working on the article and familiar with the source material on the subject can, as with any other article content, ascertain if this is the case. A classic example is Vincent van Gogh's association with the colour yellow. The visual is information, just as text is, and editors make visual judgements just as they do textual judgements. There may also be a design consideration, where a specific colour clashes with the infobox image. Editorial skill can be employed to make the appearance of the page more pleasing for the reader. You seem very good on coding etc (well done), but not very sympathetic to or aware of visual content. Ty 13:40, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
Excuse me, but having a different opinion to you on this matter does not mean that I am "unaware of visual content". I haven't denigrated anyone's technical abilities in this discussion, so I'd appreciate it if others refrained from passing comments on my supposed artistic grasp. If this was the reason for the colour being optional, why did it take until now (after four rounds of "it's there because we like it" and "it's there because it always was") before it was advanced? Was this the original reason for allowing a colour to be specified? Where was that discussed? Why is the default a dark blue, and why in all previous discussions has the shade chosen been settled by what editors like rather than what hue best fits the world of art? Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 14:03, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
I didn't say it was "the reason"; I said it was "a good reason". Actions are often taken from intuition and knowledge. The extensive use of something by numerous editors for a long period of time is an strong indication that it is a successful feature. A "liking" for something is also a validation. We aim to produce an encyclopedia that readers will not only find informative, but will also enjoy and "like". The default is not a "dark blue" (see bottom left hand square): it's a mid blue. In previous discussions, the mid blue has been determined as default for fitting the subject, namely a refreshing appearance which would sit most comfortably with most content, as opposed to, e.g., fluorescent pink, which would be highly distracting and inappropriate. The option is there for subjects where a different colour would, for whatever reason, be more appropriate. This reason could be because of a strong association with the subject or because of better compatibility with the image in the infobox or for some other local reason. These things need to be determined by consensus on a case-by-case basis. Ty 15:19, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
Except it's not "extensive use"; to my knowledge the subject has practically never been discussed. Almost all artist infoboxes use the default colour and the option wasn't even documented. Furthermore, is it really the case that such a trivial embellishment (undocumented and underused as it is) really adds to the encyclopedic value of an article? The Van Gogh article, for instance, does very little to explain the artist's link to the colour yellow. And again, the explanation that the default colour was "determined as default for fitting the subject, namely a refreshing appearance which would sit most comfortably with most content" seems to be justification after the fact; to the extent that it's been discussed in the past, there was never any discussion along those lines. Indeed, the last comment you made yourself on the matter, in June 2008, was "As far as I know there is no consensus on such matters". (struck: this was indeed justified, albeit by symmetry with the Visual Arts project which no longer uses the colour.) Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 08:13, 15 April 2010 (UTC)

(unindent) By "extensive use", I was referring to the infobox with colour bar, not the colour variant option. If the Van Gogh article does not explain the importance of yellow for him, then it is a deficiency of the article.[4] This is best taken to the article talk page. However, it is a good example of the value of optional colour change, as the blue would be extremely unsympathetic to the infobox image.[5] I disagree that this is "trivial". Yes, appearance does add to the value of the encyclopedia. WP:WPVA continues to make use of a mid-blue in, e.g. {{WPVA}} and {{User WikiProject Visual arts}}. The blue followed through from the blue in File:WPVA-khamsa.svg (used in {{WP Visual Arts Sidebar}}) and was lightened for legibility. Ty 14:01, 15 April 2010 (UTC)

As I said in the first post of this thread, I was thinking of a similar way of handling it as is done at the infobox musical artist. Single persons and bands get a different default colour. The single biography there gets a shade of yellow with black script for the titlebar, which is also applied at "infobox actor". So as all these are creative persons, artists in their way, I recommend to follow suit and use this black on yellow over here as well. It would unify the generic biographical aspect and is moreover better to read than the current black on blue. Another option would even be to introduce field-related colours distinguishing painters from photographers etc. But then that would become diffuse as I guess a lot of artists can't be put into a single field of work. So, I say let's just take the yellow bar as a default and do like those other bio templates do.
As to the use of colours in infoboxes in general, someone said above that it has become rather uncommon. I can't agree to that, as a sort of infobox geek placing one whereever I can, I have seen a lot of different templates for persons, ships, mountains, locations, chemical substances, weaponry, etc. and only a very few of those do not use a coloured title bar. Just my 2 cents. De728631 (talk) 18:54, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
A good reason not to use the yellow as in {{Infobox actor}} is to keep the distinction between actors and visual artists. Ty 05:04, 16 April 2010 (UTC)

Not being aware of this previous discussion, I boldly changed the default header background color from dark blue to light blue. The only reason I did this is that the black text of the header was hard to read against the dark blue background (at least on my laptop). If someone wants to revert it, at least make it a little lighter than the old blue. Thanks! Kaldari (talk) 05:23, 6 January 2012 (UTC)