Template talk:Infobox river

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WikiProject Rivers (Rated Template-class)
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Standardising on one template[edit]

River Penk
River Penk upstream at Penkridge - geograph.org.uk - 1443825.jpg
The River Penk at Penkridge, with Penkridge Viaduct in the background.
Country England
County Staffordshire
 - left Moat Brook, Whiston Brook, Pothooks Brook, Rickerscote Drain
 - right Watershead Brook, Saredon Brook, Deepmoor Drain
Towns Anytown1, Anytown2, Anytown3
Source Perton, South Staffordshire
Mouth Confluence with the Sow
 - coordinates 52°48′12″N 2°04′55″W / 52.80333°N 2.08194°W / 52.80333; -2.08194Coordinates: 52°48′12″N 2°04′55″W / 52.80333°N 2.08194°W / 52.80333; -2.08194
Length 36 km (22 mi)
Basin 356 km2 (137 sq mi)
Discharge for Penkridge
 - average 2.27 m3/s (80 cu ft/s)
Wikimedia Commons: River Penk
Progression : Penk—SowTrentHumberNorth Sea
River Penk upstream at Penkridge - geograph.org.uk - 1443825.jpg
The Penk at Penkridge, with Penkridge Viaduct in the background.
Country England
County Staffordshire
Basin features
Main source Perton, South Staffordshire
River mouth Confluence with the Sow
52°48′12″N 2°04′55″W / 52.80333°N 2.08194°W / 52.80333; -2.08194
Progression SowTrentHumberNorth Sea
Basin size 356 km2 (137 sq mi)
  • Left:
    Moat Brook, Whiston Brook, Pothooks Brook, Rickerscote Drain
  • Right:
    Watershead Brook, Saredon Brook, Deepmoor Drain
Physical characteristics
Length 36 km (22 mi)
  • Average rate:
    2.27 m3/s (80 cu ft/s)

Wherever possible, we should replace {{Geobox}} with a more specific template, such as this one, instead of {{Geobox|River}} (examples above; geobox first). Here's a sample conversion. How might we speed up, or automate, this prcess? What are the barriers to doing so completeley? Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 14:28, 1 June 2016 (UTC)

As discussed elsewhere some time ago, there is a bot sweep currently in progress (by SporkBot) - see section above. Once that is done, it will be fairly easy to switch articles to use this template, as all the necessary fields of Geobox are now in Infobox River. Or if you like, you may wish to manually change articles for now, or request a separate bot task to change the uses of Geobox to this template. P.s. I have collapsed the infobox examples which you have provided, hope you dont mind. Regards, Rehman 14:47, 1 June 2016 (UTC)
Until there is a way to present information in Infobox River in a way that is best-suited to the size and geographic extent of the river being described, I would strongly, strongly oppose a sweeping effort to switch from one infobox to another, especially an automated effort deployed just for the sake of switching, without regard for whether the change from one to the other constitutes an improvement to a given article. Looking at Sycamore Creek (Michigan), it appears to me that a switch from Geobox to Infobox River would wipe out the state, county, municipality, and township fields. It would also, illogically for a stream that flows through one U.S. state only, present to the reader first the location of the source (someplace in Michigan), then the location of the mouth (someplace in Michigan), and only THEN tell the reader that the stream's watershed is in the United States. Presenting "basin countries" AFTER the source and mouth information might make sense for large multi-country rivers, but most rivers aren't large. And the infobox's political jurisdiction options won't currently accommodate whichever levels of jurisdiction are most relevant to the size and geographical extent of the river being described, as the Geobox does. I think improvement of the information being communicated in an article ought to be the primary consideration when deciding, on a case-by-case basis, to switch from one infobox to another, and I don't think a switch to Infobox River in its current form would improve the Sycamore Creek (Michigan) article. In this case and many others, I think such a change would reduce the quality of the information provided to the reader. --TimK MSI (talk) 02:11, 2 June 2016 (UTC)
@TimK MSI: In his reply above, User:Rehman says "all the necessary fields of Geobox are now in Infobox River". Are you saying that that is not the case? Otherwise, what changes would you say are needed to this template, to satisfy your concern? Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 11:12, 2 June 2016 (UTC)
Yes, I'm saying that all the necessary fields of Geobox are not in Infobox River, and I pointed to several examples above as a start. I'll also point out that in the River Penk example shown, the "Counties" field was stripped out in the change to Infobox River. --TimK MSI (talk) 12:39, 2 June 2016 (UTC)
Strongly agree with TimK, a mass change from Infobox to Geobox is not supported by WP:INFOBOXUSE. The Geobox has the advantage of inbuilt conversions, and a degree of adaptability, note how Staffordshire appears as a County in the Geobox (adapted from region), and can’t be included in the Infobox at all. In the example given, it looks better as a Geobox, maybe we should convert the Infoboxes instead...Jokulhlaup (talk) 14:05, 2 June 2016 (UTC)
I think the Geobox version looks bloody awful. But neither view is grounds for a separate template. We should standardise on one, and reach consensus as to what features, and style it should use. If your arguments are persuasive, then the end result will be more articles using your preferences! Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 17:52, 6 June 2016 (UTC)
Completely agree. Lets have a proper discussion/vote as soon as the current tasks are complete. Rehman 23:38, 6 June 2016 (UTC)
Hi all. Together with the concern raised in the section immediately below, I went ahead and did the necessary corrections (as it doesn't impact the current ongoing bot task). The countries field at the bottom, and other key parameters not being where it should be was something that I overlooked when doing the template cleanup. Hope things are better now? Cheers, Rehman 13:45, 4 June 2016 (UTC)
@TimK MSI: Are you now satisfied that "all the necessary fields of Geobox are now in Infobox River"? Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 20:05, 22 September 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for asking, I'm away from my computer for a few days but I will investigate next week.--TimK MSI (talk) 12:11, 23 September 2016 (UTC)
Hi TimK MSI. Just pinging you in case you find time to go through this again. :-) Rehman 01:41, 4 December 2016 (UTC)
It appears that User:TimK MSI, who has edited on five separate days (UTC) since your ping (and on around 30 days, since their last post here), has lost interest. I suggest we proceed. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 17:34, 27 December 2016 (UTC)
I haven't lost interest, I've been busy with other matters, sorry. One issue that remains is that the infobox lacks The geobox expresses the place names and landform names for the source and mouth in multiple fields for both source and mouth, whereas the infobox crams all of this into one field each for source and mouth. (This is something that would need to be handled carefully in any programmatic transfer of data from geobox to infobox.) I think at a minimum, something like source_landform and mouth_waterbody fields should be added to the infobox, to allow editors to express things like mountain ranges and seas separately from political jurisdictions. (I know not all rivers end in a body of water, but I don't think it would be problematic to enter, say, a desert name in a mouth_waterbody field when necessary; alternatively the field could have a name like mouth_landform.) --TimK MSI (talk) 18:27, 27 December 2016 (UTC)
@Rehman: Is there any progress in addressing TimK MSI concerns? Keith D (talk) 01:08, 4 February 2017 (UTC)

Hey Keith. It's been a very tough start of 2017 for me in RL, hence I apologise for loosing track of most things that were ongoing here. May I ask which points you're referring to in particular? I believe all earlier concerns were already sorted. As for the last paragraph by TimK, I believe such uses fits in the current template? Please correct me if I'm wrong TimK MSI. Cheers, Rehman 07:59, 4 February 2017 (UTC)

Thanks for reply, I was just looking at the last post by TimK MSI on 27 December 2016 that raised some concerns about missing "a dedicated field to accommodate the landforms and waterbodies at the source and the mouth." Keith D (talk) 11:44, 4 February 2017 (UTC)
Yes, that was my concern. There is currently a single field each for source and mouth to accommodate very different data points-- political jurisdiction and landform/waterbody. The Geobox allows these to be split between separate fields (two for source and two for mouth, vs. the infobox having one for each -- the Mississippi River geobox illustrates this). I also think there could be some adjustments to the organization of information in the infobox (in the "organization suggestions" discussion below). Thanks--TimK MSI (talk) 12:01, 4 February 2017 (UTC)
@TimK MSI. I went ahead and added it. Is it better? Rehman 01:07, 11 February 2017 (UTC)
@Rehman -- yes. Thank you! --TimK MSI (talk) 13:43, 13 February 2017 (UTC)

Cities as "basin cities" vs "cities through which the river flows"[edit]

I'm curious why the only available "_cities" field is not simply used to list cities through which the river flows, instead of cities in its drainage basin. Pittsburgh and Denver are both in the Mississippi River basin but are far away from the Mississippi River. The "basin_cities" field would appear to encourage their inclusion in a Mississippi River infobox, but I don't think many editors/readers would find it desirable to include them. Would it be possible to "liberate" the "basin_cities" field from its connection to the river basin? Or, alternatively, to have an additional "cities" field that would be intended to accommodate only cities situated along the river? --TimK MSI (talk) 12:57, 2 June 2016 (UTC)

Hey there. I agree with what you said, including in the section immediately above. Lets wait a bit longer till the current bot maintenance is complete, before we go deeper into editing. If you're wondering, the current task is just a maintenance task to neaten out existing parameters in articles already using Infobox River. Cheers, Rehman 13:49, 2 June 2016 (UTC)
@TimK MSI, I went ahead and did the change as it doesn't really impact the current bot task. We now have a new cities field, which is for cities along the river. Cheers, Rehman 13:39, 4 June 2016 (UTC)
Thanks --TimK MSI (talk) 11:12, 7 June 2016 (UTC)
Rivers also flow through towns and other settlements, again this is where the adaptability of the Geobox is useful. I have altered the cities parameter for the Penk example to show three towns, without the need for a separate parameter...Jokulhlaup (talk) 10:46, 7 June 2016 (UTC)
Could we bring over the method used at Template:Infobox settlement? This uses fields named subdivision_type, subdivision_name, subdivision_type1, subdivision_name1, etc., up to subdivision_type6, subdivision_name6. This would allow editors to specify whichever political jurisdictions are appropriate to a given article (countries, provinces, states, counties, cities, towns, municipalities, townships, etc.) This solves the plural/singular problem as well, because the plural/singular form is set case-by-case in the subdivision_type* fields. --TimK MSI (talk) 11:12, 7 June 2016 (UTC)
Yes this is a better way to go. @Frietjes, may I trouble you for some help to add this support? I tried adding it, but I can't get it to work properly... Thanks in advance! Rehman 08:08, 6 August 2016 (UTC)
Rehman, added. the use of |subdivision_type1= sets the label and allows for use of |subdivision_name1=. if |subdivision_type1= is not specified, then |subdivision_name1= is ignored, and the value set by |country= is used instead. similar for |subdivision_type2=/|subdivision_name2=/|states= and |subdivision_type3=/|subdivision_name3=/|cities=. Frietjes (talk) 12:49, 6 August 2016 (UTC)
Many thanks, Frietjes! @TimK MSI, FYI. :-) Rehman 16:54, 6 August 2016 (UTC)

Format for specifying coordinates[edit]

See this RFC. basically, there is now a LUA module which can take a {{coord|XX|YY|ZZ|NS|AA|BB|CC|DD|EW}} as input and return the latitude and longitude from inside the template. since this is more compact than the method used by this template, the RFC proposes using this more compact method and deprecating the less compact form. Frietjes (talk) 12:12, 13 August 2016 (UTC)

What was the outcome of the RfC? Agathoclea (talk) 19:42, 22 September 2016 (UTC)
@Frietjes: I personally don't see any negative impact of using the compact form on this template... If that method is the new norm, would you be able to show the way forward from here? Is it as simple as a bot updating the instances in the articles? And if so, will we be able to simply insert a {{Coord}} into a simple parameter like |coordinates=? Sorry for the dumb question, I'm not too familiar with the way the coord template works... Cheers, Rehman 01:50, 4 December 2016 (UTC)
The outcome of the RFC was to replace all individual coordinate parameters with coordinates = {{coord}}. A bot can do the work for all or most infoboxes that use coordinates. See Wikipedia:Coordinates in infoboxes, which may look daunting, but you don't have to make the changes yourself. We will get to each infobox in due time. – Jonesey95 (talk) 06:36, 5 December 2016 (UTC)
Rehman and Jonesey95, I have added alternative syntax, Category:Pages using infobox river with deprecated coordinates parameters for tracking, and updated the documentation. I decided to use a separate tracking category since the mouth_, source1_ syntax here is a bit different from the other infoboxes, and we may be able to get Plastikspork to help. I am sure he is going to be please since he just performed the opposite transformation for us a few months ago. Frietjes (talk) 15:08, 8 December 2016 (UTC)
Thanks Frietjes, that's great. Do you think we can do the syntax update along with this? Rehman 15:23, 8 December 2016 (UTC)
Rehman, if that bot can do the coordinate transformations, that would be great to combine the tasks. otherwise, we will need a second bot run. Frietjes (talk) 15:26, 8 December 2016 (UTC)
it looks like these have all been fixed, so I have updated the template syntax, but temporarily kept the tracking in there in case any new ones pop up. I have also added some checking for parameters without units in Category:Pages using infobox river without units after spotting a few problematic articles. for the elevation it's particularly bad since there is no label associated with the number either, so you just get a floating number with no context. Frietjes (talk) 15:12, 27 December 2016 (UTC)


What is the new paramenter replacing location that is found in quite a number of infobox uses? Agathoclea (talk) 19:42, 22 September 2016 (UTC)

Hi. Any one of the below groups (depending on if any is used):
| subdivision_type1  = 
| subdivision_name1  = 
| subdivision_type2  = 
| subdivision_name2  = 
| subdivision_type3  = 
| subdivision_name3  = 
--Rehman 23:31, 22 September 2016 (UTC)

Citing sources for coordinates in infobox[edit]

In this sandbox text page, I attempted to cite my sources for two sets of geographic coordinates (as I've done in the live geobox version of the same article). I can't figure out how to do it without breaking the template. Geographic coordinates are often entered only in the infobox (since they are not comfortably readable in the prose of an article), so I think it's important to have the ability to cite a source for them in the infobox. Can this be done? Thanks--TimK MSI (talk) 18:03, 2 October 2016 (UTC)

Resolved: Another editor solved the problem by moving the citations to "source1_coord_ref" and "mouth_coord_ref" fields.
--TimK MSI (talk) 17:27, 13 November 2016 (UTC)

Oraganization suggestions[edit]

I think of a river's source and mouth as being characteristics of the river rather than the basin -- particularly in cases in which a river's source is expressed in the infobox as the confluence of two smaller streams. I think these changes would make sense:

  • Move the "main source" and "river mouth" fields to the top of the "physical characteristics" section
  • Move the "physical characteristics" section ahead of the "basin" section
  • Rename "main source" to "source" and "river mouth" to "mouth."

Agreements/disagreements? Thanks-- TimK MSI (talk) 18:46, 2 October 2016 (UTC)

I personally like your suggestions. I'm not too sure about the last point though, as the template supports multiple sources/mouths. Cheers, Rehman 22:53, 11 November 2016 (UTC)
Thanks! In the case of rivers with multiple sources that were separately specified in the infobox, would it be undesirable/confusing to have the "Main source" field read "Source" instead, given that additional sources would be specified as "2nd source," "3rd source," etc.? Looking at the the definitions given in the "River source" article, I think "main source" implies the "the most distant headwater source (irrespective of stream name)." In practice, we often give the source in the infobox as a confluence of other streams, or the location of the farthest headwater assigned the same name (irrespective of distance from the river mouth). I think "source" is a better label than "main source" in these latter instances.
It's not clear to me from the documentation how one would add multiple mouths to the infobox. If it's possible to do so, I think it would be uncommon, and if it were to be labeled as a "secondary mouth" or "other mouth," I don't think it would be confusing if the current "river mouth" field were relabeled "mouth" for conciseness.
Thanks-- TimK MSI (talk) 17:22, 13 November 2016 (UTC)
Sorry for the late reply, TimK MSI, RL has been quite tough for me lately. Yes, you are right, there should be no issue with your 3rd point well. I'd like to add further points as well, before we proceed with the change:
  • altitude_difference is used to state the alt. diff between the source and the mouth. Since the mouth is almost always at 0m above sea level, the alt-diff is almost always equal to source1_elevation. Maybe we should remove this? I added this sometime back, but now I'm wondering if that was a dumb move.
  • If the above is done, it leaves us with just five short labels under the "Basin" heading. I propose we merge that to the "Features" section below, and just label is as...well... "Basin features". Any comments?
Kind regards, Rehman 02:07, 4 December 2016 (UTC)
Many rivers do not run to the sea (at least not directly) Rmhermen (talk) 06:23, 4 December 2016 (UTC)
Apologies again for the delay. Regarding altitude_difference, I agree that most rivers don't run to the sea. But I guess I don't see the value of displaying a number that results from a simple subtraction calculation of two numbers already displayed in the infobox. Are there scientific (or other) circumstances in which people would use "difference between source elevation and mouth elevation" as a meaningful data point when comparing multiple rivers to one another? I think I've seen "fall per mile" or "fall per km" used as a meaningful data point, but not a simple altitude difference. --TimK MSI (talk) 18:40, 27 December 2016 (UTC)
On the separate matter of groupings of fields and what they should be labeled, I think "basin features" could work as suggested by User:Rehman. But I wonder if we could somehow follow the example of Template:Infobox settlement and eliminate the named banners altogether? Could we just have logical groupings separated by lines, instead of named banners? One issue I've noticed with the existing "features" section is that it is also the location of custom fields that can be used for things like GNIS and HUC identifiers. These don't really make sense in a section labeled "features." If the sections weren't labeled, the custom fields could just be in an unnamed rectangle of their own, as they are on the settlement infobox. --TimK MSI (talk) 18:52, 27 December 2016 (UTC)
@Rehman: Any thoughts on these suggestions? Thanks! --TimK MSI (talk) 12:00, 4 February 2017 (UTC)
TimK MSI: I have merged the sections for now. If I am correct, the no-header format is based on an entirely different way of writing the template. Either way, we can always do that in the days to come. For now, we have a "Basin Features" section! :) Let me know if you have any comments on the changes made. Cheers. Rehman 01:10, 11 February 2017 (UTC)
@Rehman: Thank you! I'd still like to see the source and mouth pulled out of the "basin features" section and moved to the top of the section that contains the river length, on the grounds that these fields (source and mouth) are most applicable to the river, rather than its basin. And I'd like to see that section moved ahead of the "basin features" section -- the logic being, first we're describing the river: its jurisdictions, where it starts and ends, its length and size. Then we're describing the basin. Does that make sense?/sound good?/sound bad? --TimK MSI (talk) 13:41, 13 February 2017 (UTC)
Yes, it makes sense. Will start working on it. Cheers, Rehman 23:54, 13 February 2017 (UTC)

Issue with only allowing one set of 'primary tag' co-ordinates per page[edit]

I've been working on Niemica (river), but after having put the co-ordinates of both the source and the mouth in the infobox (which I did later change to a geobox, but that had no effect on the issue), but Wikipedia is now giving me a message, in read, that: {{#coordinates:}}: cannot have more than one primary tag per page

I'm finding this impossible to solve, as a new user, even though other pages with this infobox seem to be working fine. I'd like the co-ordinates of the mouth to appear in the top corner, but with no error message. Any help would be greatly appreciated.N Oneemuss (talk) 20:26, 25 October 2016 (UTC)

Fixed; please ignore (sorry for the inconvenience)N Oneemuss (talk) 20:49, 25 October 2016 (UTC)

Deprecation of basin_countries[edit]

There is a consensus to replace instances of {{{basin_countries}}} with {{{subdivision_name1}}} and to deprecate {{{basin_countries}}} and track it with Category:Pages using infobox river with "basin countries" parameter.

Three editors supported the change: Zackmann08, Rehman, and TimK MSI.

Three editors had "no opinion" or "no comment": Jonesey95, JJMC89, and Frietjes.

Frietjes noted that a bot has been approved for this task at Wikipedia:Bots/Requests for approval/SporkBot 7.

Cunard (talk) 05:23, 16 January 2017 (UTC)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

I am looking at cleaning up this infobox. I was going to replace instances of {{{basin_countries}}} with {{{subdivision_name1}}}. The param is deprecated and tracked with Category:Pages using infobox river with "basin countries" parameter. Just wanted to make sure there were no objections. Any thoughts, including statements of support? --Zackmann08 (Talk to me/What I been doing) 03:47, 4 December 2016 (UTC)

For anyone interested, the related bot request is at Wikipedia:Bots/Requests for approval/ZackBot 4. Rehman 06:44, 4 December 2016 (UTC)
@JJMC89, Jonesey95, Frietjes, TimK MSI, Rehman, Jakec, Tagishsimon, Plastikspork, Mr. Stradivarius, and Pigsonthewing: You've all contributed to this template. Would love some input. The WP:BRFA has stalled because while this parameter has been deprecated, there has not been a clear discussion reaching a consensus to replace {{{basin_countries}}} with {{{subdivision_name1}}}. --Zackmann08 (Talk to me/What I been doing) 16:54, 22 December 2016 (UTC)
  • Support, as stated on the BRFA earlier. Rehman 23:24, 22 December 2016 (UTC)
  • No opinion. – Jonesey95 (talk) 16:40, 23 December 2016 (UTC)
  • No comment – I only edited the template as part of my work on migrating infobox coordinates. — JJMC89(T·C) 17:49, 23 December 2016 (UTC)
  • Support the replacement. Thanks --TimK MSI (talk) 23:17, 24 December 2016 (UTC)
  • no opinion, but it would seem as though we already have a bot approved for this task here, so we could have Plastikspork do it, if he is available. Frietjes (talk) 15:43, 25 December 2016 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Location map[edit]

I imported the location map feature from {{infobox settlement}}, so this works. this should help simplify the maps that Aymatth2 has been adding to river articles. please let me know if there are any problems. Frietjes (talk) 16:19, 25 December 2016 (UTC)

That is a big improvement. Even with a basic stub like Vermelho River (São Lourenço River) we should at least know the mouth coordinates. A map makes the stub much more informative, and |pushpin_map= ... |mouth_coordinates= {{coord ... parameters make the river template more like other location-type templates. Aymatth2 (talk) 20:03, 25 December 2016 (UTC)