Template talk:Introductory article

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Documentation[edit]

This template should be used on articles that serve as general introductions to some technical topic, also known as trampoline articles. It takes one input variable, the title of the main encyclopaedia article. For example,

{{introduction|Quantum mechanics}} produces This article is intended as a general non-technical introduction. For the main encyclopedia article, please see Quantum mechanics.

Proposed change to text[edit]

I think it would be better to say "the full encyclopaedia article" rather than "the proper encyclopaedia article". The introductory article is surely entirely proper! It should be just as accurate, well written (perhaps more so) and reliable as the main article. Any objections to changing the text of the template? Snalwibma 08:40, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

I just came here to say the same thing when viewing this template on the Introduction to evolution article. I was going to suggest "more detailed" instead of "full", since depending on the topic one article may not contain the "full" explanation. Perhaps "main" would work as well. Thoughts? --*Spark* 18:37, 10 December 2006 (UTC)
I think main will be best. Loom91 09:37, 11 December 2006 (UTC)
I have gone ahead and made that change. Snalwibma 22:56, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

Categorisation[edit]

Is there a way to place articles that use this template into the introductions category by topic (automatically categorise Introduction to quantum mechanics as [[Category:Introductions|Quantum mechanics, Introduction to]])? —Dylan Lake 02:34, 6 January 2007 (UTC)

Fixed. Articles should now be sorted automatically based on the name of their parent article. ornis (t) 14:30, 18 September 2007 (UTC)

Reverse template?[edit]

Is it possible to have a similar template to put on the main article, directing people to the introductory article, and similarly have it populate a category of "Articles that have an introductory article"? Carcharoth 00:31, 15 July 2007 (UTC)

Such a template already exists and should be used for all cases where this template is used: {{seeintro}}. Loom91 10:34, 15 July 2007 (UTC)
I've added that to the documentation. Please also see Category:Introductions, for the latest additions which I found using this link. I'm uncertain about Background and genesis of topos theory - please remove that if you think it is inappropriate. Carcharoth 12:00, 15 July 2007 (UTC)
The 'seeintro' template lacks documentation. Someone should fix that when they have time. Carcharoth 12:01, 15 July 2007 (UTC)

Being systematic about this[edit]

It is strange that such a category of article could emerge without any apparent provision for them in policy. At the very least, we need a Wikipedia:Introductory articles policy/project page. Thanks.--Pharos 06:26, 12 September 2007 (UTC)

The provision already exists in Wikipedia:Make technical articles accessible, and I don't see any need for a detailed policy at this moment. What would it say? Loom91 08:30, 12 September 2007 (UTC)
That's a general guideline for making articles accessible; it does not mention this special category of "introductory articles" (we appear to have just 7 at present) that are not accounted for at all in policy and would technically be AFD-worthy if consensus hadn't already established that some are already FA quality. So, we need a guideline on what sort of topics deserve an ""introductory article", how much they should be simplified, and the specific ways in which their simplification differs from the attempt at reaching a broad audience in the writing of ordinary articles.--Pharos 14:27, 12 September 2007 (UTC)
That guideline contains the following line in the lead: "Depending on the topic and the amount of interest in it, it may be appropriate to write a separate 'trampoline' article". Loom91 13:15, 14 September 2007 (UTC)

What does generally accessible mean?[edit]

There was recently a dispute concerning what generally accessible means. To me, it obviously means an audience of laymen who may know only the rudiments of the subject matter. However, some mathematicians, perhaps because of their academic background, seemed to think that professional mathematicians may also qualify as a general audience. Unless there is opposition, I'll change the wording of the template to reflect that it is meant to be used only on articles that are truly acessible. Loom91 (talk) 21:05, 27 June 2008 (UTC)

For new arrivals, the article I referenced previously is Introduction to systolic geometry, which seems anything but introductory to me. Loom91 (talk) 21:17, 27 June 2008 (UTC)

There is great resistance to "Introduction to..." articles from those who are concerned they may constitute content forking. My line of argument (laid out e.g. in WP:Many things to many people) is that they are spin-off articles of the lead, permissible as well as necessary if the article is unavoidably technical, but nevertheless of sufficient interest to sufficiently many people so that the lead (which should always be generally accessible) is not enough. And I agree with you that accessible, in reference to "Introduction to..." articles, should mean accessible to the curious average person. Introduction to systolic geometry could, I think, readily be integrated into Systolic geometry. They're both not overly long, and they're both comparatively technical. Markus Poessel (talk) 00:11, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
See the discussion at Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Log/2008_May_29#Systolic_geometry_for_a_beginner showing a wide consensus in favor of such an introductory article. It is not technical and far more accessible than the main article at systolic geometry. Katzmik (talk) 10:54, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
It is not enough to be more accessible than the main article, the article must be accessible to an audience who have no technical knowledge of the subject matter. Loom91 (talk) 18:04, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
Agreed. To me, "generally accessible" means anyone with a school-level education (school to 18 years) can read it. Not a good metric to use in practice, but avoiding advanced mathematics is one thing I would agree with. Explaining things is always better than using advanced terminology, jargon and equations. Carcharoth (talk) 19:50, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
I'm changing the statement of the template then. Loom91 (talk) 11:26, 5 July 2008 (UTC)
I have just deleted the addition of "for a general, layman audience", because (a) we have readers, not an audience; (b) let's not tell readers who should (and by implication who should not) be reading an article. Introductory articles are intended as general, accessible and non-technical introductions. Whether the reader is a general or a colonel, or a clergyman or a laywoman, or a postdoctoral mathematician, is not our business. SNALWIBMA ( talk - contribs ) 12:05, 5 July 2008 (UTC)

You are right in that the template, primarily meant for the reader, should not specify the reader. In that case, we need to develop a guideline that will specify the target audience that needs to be kept in mind when writing an introductory article, and some minimum standards of accessibility that should be met before the template is used, Otherwise the reader may be mislead by highly technical articles claiming to be generally accessible. Loom91 (talk) 14:24, 5 July 2008 (UTC)

Note without categorisation[edit]

Is there any way to use the template without including the article in the category? For example, Disaster should not be in Category:Introductions. Zain Ebrahim (talk) 12:31, 26 August 2009 (UTC)

NOTTEXTBOOK[edit]

I thought for a while that this kind of article conflicts with WP:NOTTEXTBOOK. A closer reading convinced me otherwise. But if I fell for it, others might follow. I think adding a few words on compatibility with NOTTEXTBOOK would not hurt. Paradoctor (talk) 21:49, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

I respectfully disagree and am curious how this conclusion was arrived at. WP:NOTTEXTBOOK says, among other things

A Wikipedia article should not be presented on the assumption that the reader is well versed in the topic's field. Introductory language in the lead and initial sections of the article should be written in plain terms and concepts that can be understood by any literate reader of Wikipedia without any knowledge in the given field before advancing to more detailed explanations of the topic. While wikilinks should be provided for advanced terms and concepts in that field, articles should be written on the assumption that the reader will not or cannot follow these links, instead attempting to infer their meaning from the text.

The introductory article could only servce a purpose if the original article has violated this guideline. If the original article has actually followed the guideline then the novice reader should be able to understand the material in the earlier part of the article. It may be the case that later material in the article becomes too complex for the novice but that is perfectly fine. Nothing says that any particular reader should need to read every word in a particular article. Perhaps more importantly, Wikipedia:Content forking says

A content fork is the creation of multiple separate articles all treating the same subject. Content forks that are created unintentionally result in redundant or conflicting articles and are to be avoided. As an article grows, editors often create Summary style spin-offs or new, linked article for related material. This is acceptable, and often encouraged, as a way of making articles clearer and easier to manage.

By this definition an introductory article is a content fork. WP:Summary style clearly discusses creating article hierarchies but in no way advocates creating two articles on the same topic for different purposes.
To me creating introductory articles is simply an end-around for bad writing. I believe this needs to go away.
--Mcorazao (talk) 01:30, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
If you're against introductory articles in general, WP:VPP seems like a good place to start. Paradoctor (talk) 08:03, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
That's a bit unusual. VPP is generally for discussing changes to policy, not for discussing specific articles/templates that violate policy. --Mcorazao (talk) 13:47, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
I'm afraid I don't see anything referring specifically to this article, as in exactly specifying how it violates which policy. Paradoctor (talk) 19:02, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
Move those articles to simple:Wikipedia or Wikibooks. It makes no sense to have two about the same thing. It is violating Wikipedia:Content forking. Matthias M. (talk) 20:57, 25 August 2010 (UTC)

Eschew excessive verbosity[edit]

The text says, This article is intended as an accessible, non-technical introduction to the subject. For the main encyclopedia article, see .... That's an amazingly complicated way to say, this is simple. Any objections if I change this to, This is a non-technical introduction. For more details, see ...? -- RoySmith (talk) 15:44, 18 April 2010 (UTC)

So now I see why the template reads This is an accessible..., a claim that, without intended as, is pure POV. As the function of introductions is to be accessible, I shall remove it. Rothorpe (talk) 20:30, 14 April 2014 (UTC)

Category not getting populated[edit]

Category:Introduction articles currently only has 1 article listed. Is there something wrong with the template {{Introductory article}} ? It's transcluded to all the places it should be... Special:WhatLinksHere/Template:Introductory article. Quiddity (talk) 03:40, 11 October 2015 (UTC)