Template talk:Very long

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Issues with this template[edit]

General discussion[edit]

I originally wanted to take this template to WP:TFD. However, I was convinced this talk page is the best way to go. Taken from User talk:George Ho/Mentorship discussions#Template:very long with tweaks:

I wonder if a whole article deserves to be tagged as "too long" without any other information by placing it on top of an article. The "desired" length of articles is somewhat subjective (despite guidelines). Similar to the case of {{expand}}, I wonder if this template is better used for a section of an article, so it is clearer how to fix the problem. Template:split and its descendants and Template:very long section exist. Would they not be a better "fit" for this type of "tagging"? There are over 400 articles currently using this tag — is the tag helping to get them "fixed"?

I would like to thank Begoon for assistance to this post. Feel free to discuss this template openly. --George Ho (talk) 10:44, 20 March 2012 (UTC)

  • Comment: Did you also read the old TFD? mabdul 11:14, 20 March 2012 (UTC)
I'm embarassed to say I didn't… Still, it was 2006, and not unanimous - I don't think a quick discussion of current sentiments is necessarily a bad thing, although I wouldn't personally have stuck an RFC tag on it yet. Begoontalk 12:18, 20 March 2012 (
I did read the old TFD. I find the discussion hard to determine. This template was bundled with other several templates, and I could not tell whether they referred one template or another or several as a whole. --George Ho (talk) 17:57, 20 March 2012 (UTC)
  • Comment: it is a non-issue. This template is needed to express editors' concerns in order to attract others' attention. As this template isn't connected with administrative actions or other potentially harmful events, its vagueness doesn't hurt anyone. Furthermore, as the criteria of desired article's length are completely arbitrary, the template's vagueness gives a benefit of allowing arbitrary use. Still it can peacefully co-exist with {{very long section}}: the more general template would be more appropriate in cases when editor feels that something should be done but has no idea about what exactly is needed. — Dmitrij D. Czarkoff (talk) 10:31, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
    • Come again? I still don't follow your logic. Well, if I understood your point, I must summarize: although a vague template, it is useful. I might disagree. Cat (edit | talk | history | protect | delete | links | watch | logs | views) was tagged with "very long"; the template was discussed and then removed. Vague or not, "very long" template was improperly used there. Same goes for Social Security (United States) (edit | talk | history | protect | delete | links | watch | logs | views), but it was not discussed. I uncontroversially removed the tag because I thought the tag was inaccurate. --George Ho (talk) 10:40, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
      • Everything can be misused, while there is an evident proper use case: the editor sees that the length of article should be addressed but the proper way to do it isn't evident. — Dmitrij D. Czarkoff (talk) 11:27, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
        • ...Let's check many articles: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:WhatLinksHere/Template:Very_long --George Ho (talk) 11:44, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
          • Do I understand you right: your point is that it is misused most of the time? — Dmitrij D. Czarkoff (talk) 15:01, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
            • To me, it was misused in "Cat", "Social Security (United States)", and "Thing (comics)". Not sure about the rest, but that is exactly my point. My point may be not 100% accurate, but tagging a long article as "very long"... I don't know how it addresses issues of an article. Does the template address the length issue? If so, that would contradict quality issues of an article, as length... well, Begoon thinks length is an issue, but I don't think so. I mean, not all subtopics of an article may guarantee an independent article per WP:N. --George Ho (talk) 21:03, 23 March 2012 (UTC)


  • None of tags addresses issues, while this tag reveals editors' concerns. I.e. in case of Social Security (United States) it was appropriate, as some sections of this article should be split out. In order to make its use more productive, this template can be tuned to require discussion link (if no such link provided, the banner would show error), so that the plain English description of concern would be mandatory. — Dmitrij D. Czarkoff (talk) 21:35, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
    • I don't know. I don't see any section that must be split from that article. I don't see how one subtopic is notable independently from its own topic. For example, List of Social Security legislation (United States). I'm not sure if Early life of Marilyn Monroe is notable per WP:GNG or WP:N, but I'm trying. --George Ho (talk) 21:46, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
      • Each topic has its subtopics which are either covered by inline citations from independent reliable sources (thus notable) or are not (and then unverifiable and should be deleted). If the long section is sourced to the single source, then this source is given improper weight and the section should be reduced. As long as all the main Wikipedia concepts boil down to sources, every topic distinct enough to have a section can be easily split out without violating the policies. This is apparently evident in case of Social Security (United States), where the "History section" could be safely split out, and probably some content of the second half of the article as well. — Dmitrij D. Czarkoff (talk) 22:17, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
        • I have tagged "History" section of Social Security with "split section" proposal tag. "Very long" is too vague to add back. --George Ho (talk) 23:04, 23 March 2012 (UTC) Also, I have added "Lead too long" because someone in the talk page said that intro is too long. --George Ho (talk) 23:14, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
          • The "History" section was just an example (though I think it indeed should be split to separate article). The more problematic are the sections that are in the second half of the article. And they constitute the rationale behind this template: the article is too long, but the exact way to solve this problem is not evident, so the attention of the editors should be drawn in order to collect the suggestions. That said, I more and more like my idea of adding mandatory talk section link to this template, as without the dedicated thread on the talk page it won't encourage collaboration anyway. — Dmitrij D. Czarkoff (talk) 23:26, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── You can add the mandatory "(Discuss)" link if you want, which is uncontroversial addition to me. However, I still see this template as redundant as its counterpart, "expand". By the way, I don't see anything wrong with the second half of Social Security (United States) (edit | talk | history | protect | delete | links | watch | logs | views). I see linkable sections that are easy to navigate. --George Ho (talk) 23:35, 23 March 2012 (UTC) Care to explain your concerns? --George Ho (talk) 23:36, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

For me the main problem is that editing a long article is more difficult, though having a short overview article and longer and detailed articles on different aspects allow easier apprehension and navigation anyway. — Dmitrij D. Czarkoff (talk) 23:51, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
Simply, go to either WP:Article size#If you have problems editing a long article or WP:help desk. This template doesn't lead to anything other than potential bad edits by newcomers who may not be familiar with notability guidelines and verifiability policy. I removed this template from some articles for that reason. --George Ho (talk) 00:03, 24 March 2012 (UTC)
That is: this template is in line with my subjective thoughts on content structuring and organizing, but not with yours. The newcomers are not a valid concern, as the harm each of us inflicts until we get familiar with policies and guidelines happens due to misunderstanding of basic Wikipedia concepts, not the templates. As far as I can tell, newcomers tend more to ignore templates then to overreact on them; and even if some editor would spawn a series of articles in violation of WP:N and WP:V, the edits would be soon reverted, the forks – speedied. — Dmitrij D. Czarkoff (talk) 00:12, 24 March 2012 (UTC)
...Have you tried to change your preferences? There, you can click "Gadgets", scroll down to "Appearances", and then click "Add an [edit] link for the lead section of a page". Would that help? --George Ho (talk) 00:35, 24 March 2012 (UTC)
Trust me, I'm fairly familiar with preferences and already tuned my settings. The problem with editing is not the technical one, but that of integrity: long article is more difficult to keep consistent, identify the information needed to be updated and a nightmare for gnomish tasks like formatting for consistency, checking references for link rot, replacing references, etc. — Dmitrij D. Czarkoff (talk) 09:16, 24 March 2012 (UTC)
To be honest here, I don't think this is changing my mind about this template. You discussed editing issues, so maybe you can discuss your issues about long articles in WP:village pump or WP:village pump (miscellaneous). As for this template, let's see below:

This page may be too long to read and navigate comfortably. Please consider splitting content into sub-articles and using this article for a summary of the key points of the subject.

Are you sure your concerns gains reliability of this template? I don't see the connection and relevance here. I always assume the final results of editing, not editing an article. --George Ho (talk) 18:04, 24 March 2012 (UTC)

The apprehension point stands both for editing and reading. And I don't see any problem in addressing editing issues when no damage to reading issues is inflicted. — Dmitrij D. Czarkoff (talk) 18:11, 24 March 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── If this template is used to address length issues that may affect abilities to read, load, and edit a long article, then.... I don't know what else to do other than discuss this template and try point out its redundancy, regardless of reading, loading, and editing concerns. However, to me, reading and editing issues do not matter much as other issues, such as use of this template and other specific article issues, including needs to cite, copyedit, restructure, etc. --George Ho (talk) 19:55, 24 March 2012 (UTC)

The problem is, George, that it's actually a difficult question you're asking. Is this template getting articles that are too long fixed? I think it probably doesn't do that in the best and most informative and helpful way we could, but to change that, an alternative is needed.
Despite the fact that you think the length of an article is "not important", you are likely to be in a minority, and I haven't yet seen an answer to how you would tag an article that had 15 sections, all too long, without this tag - 15 section tags? Cleanup? (with a reason). Something else?
There's a discussion right now going on to make the "rationale" mandatory on "cleanup". Would that help here, or would people just put "too long" as a reason, adding nothing?
You're correct that this can be confusingly used, and Cat is the perfect example of where it became confusing. But think about this - the tag did cause a discussion, which is ongoing. A good question to ponder would be "What could the tagger have done in that case to make life easier? If you have an answer for that, it could help you consider ways to improve the process. Begoontalk 22:36, 24 March 2012 (UTC)Begoontalk 22:32, 24 March 2012 (UTC)

Ideas for this template[edit]

To be honest, I could not tell whether this template addresses editing and/or reading issues. I have come up following ideas for this template:

  1. Take this template to WP:TFD
  2. Change this template and its documentation
  3. Change only the documentation of this template
  4. Create a new template (1st re-edit)
  5. (Any other ideas?)
  6. Leave this template and its documentation alone

I have created subsections for you to decide. Feel free. --George Ho (talk) 23:02, 24 March 2012 (UTC)

I have another idea: create a derivative templates.

Change this template and its documentation[edit]

Identify the typical issues with long articles and make the switches (arguments) for this template that would make it show specific concerns instead of custom text. Probably let the user specify the freeform message. Make the arguments mandatory, so that the template outputs error message if no specific concern is mentioned. — Dmitrij D. Czarkoff (talk) 12:57, 25 March 2012 (UTC)

This could be a good approach. Careful selection of the 'standard reasons' available would be important, so that appropriate choices were available, and an additional optional free text field would be handy for explanations. A user might still just pick a 'standard reason' at 'random', or with little care, but then we are no worse off - any extra information we get from this change would be a bonus. Begoontalk 21:57, 25 March 2012 (UTC)
The mandatory thing was supposed to mean that this template should output error only if used with no arguments at all – neither standard, nor freeform. These types are mutually exclusive, IMHO. I would also note that if this suggestion succeeds, we'll get quite a lot of stats on popular reasons and concern regarding length of articles, which could be a valuable source of information for multiple purposes. – Dmitrij D. Czarkoff (talk) 22:59, 25 March 2012 (UTC)
(edit conflict) The statistics point is good, standardised reasons lend themselves wonderfully to that. Yeah, I saw the mandatory part - I think the free form text should be optional in all cases, though - with the error still triggered if there is neither a "standard reason" nor a "free-form rationale". For instance - if an option for "reason" is "could be split" or similar, then the tagger might wish to add freeform text identifying which sections or content are good candidates to split. It's not a huge thing, though, and might be an even smaller thing once the "options" were determined - all this could alternatively be done just by including a link to a talk page post. (updated to add - the tagger needs to be able to add more than one of the "standard reasons" too - see below.) Begoontalk 23:09, 25 March 2012 (UTC)

Change only the documentation[edit]

  • Consider this. Offering advice and alternative strategies (tag related or not) may help. Worth exploring. Begoontalk 23:15, 24 March 2012 (UTC)
    • The template should ideally be self-explanatory, as most people won't read the documentation anyway. — Dmitrij D. Czarkoff (talk) 23:01, 25 March 2012 (UTC)
      • I concede that point utterly. I write documentation for my own software and nobody ever seems to actually read it. It should still be correct though, so that users may be referred to it. It's not going to solve any major problems on its own - you are absolutely right. Begoontalk 23:56, 25 March 2012 (UTC)
        • I'm coming from OpenBSD land, where patches are not accepted if changes to documentation are missing. Still, we are talking about solving the problem, and the people with RTFM skills probably don't abuse this template anyway. — Dmitrij D. Czarkoff (talk) 00:41, 26 March 2012 (UTC)

Nominate this template in templates for discussion[edit]

  • I don't support this. Certainly not without a proper alternative. Begoontalk 23:15, 24 March 2012 (UTC)

Create a derivative template[edit]

I have templates that come in mind: "Too long to read", "Too long to edit", "Too long to load", and "Too long to navigate". If approved, I may take this to WP:Requested templates. --George Ho (talk) 04:50, 25 March 2012 (UTC)

Splitting a vague template into four vague templates doesn't address the issues your claim. Effectively you propose creating a template for issues you previously argued don't exist at all. Anyway, having one template with switches would be a better solution. — Dmitrij D. Czarkoff (talk) 12:54, 25 March 2012 (UTC)
Of course, this impinges on the suggestion above. If you think it through, and we have a template with multiple standard options, there will be occasions where more than one applies. You could easily want to tag an article where more than one of these applies: ""Too long to read", "Too long to edit", "Too long to load", and "Too long to navigate"" - so multiple standard reasons would need to be possible when tagging. Begoontalk 00:12, 26 March 2012 (UTC)

Any other ideas?[edit]

Leave this template and its documentation alone[edit]

  • My preferred option for now. Take some time to properly assess the 400+ transclusions (could take a long time), then apply what is learned to this discussion. In other words, have a proper investigation, and reconvene with the results in several weeks. Of course, you may do all that work, and still not get consensus for change - so before investing time in an investigation, remember that. The plus side would be that you would undoubtedly find some "bad" tags and maybe improve some articles in small way in the process. You'd need to decide how important that is to you. Begoontalk 23:15, 24 March 2012 (UTC)
  • I also see nothing intrinsically wrong with this template, per the argument of Dmitrij D. Czarkoff above. Debresser (talk) 15:52, 9 May 2012 (UTC)

Articles that transclude this template[edit]

In the Colours, standards and guidons article, I have replaced this template with "{{example farm}}", "{{original research}}", and "{{fancruft}}". Are they more suitable than "very long"? --George Ho (talk) 22:43, 25 March 2012 (UTC)

I guess we'll find out the answer to that if we now leave it alone for some time and see if that inspires somebody else to reduce the article length. Because it is too long. Interesting use of 'fancruft' though - the output wording on the article is fine: "excessive amount of intricate detail that may only interest a specific audience", but it seems odd to think of "fans" of flags and stuff. Guess that's what they are, though… I should just think of its actual name, {{Overly detailed}}, probably, not the redirect... Do you think it still needs the {{cleanup}} with the other info you added? Begoontalk 23:24, 25 March 2012 (UTC)
"Cleanup" is vague as this template. Specific-issue tags are fine to tag. --George Ho (talk) 00:21, 26 March 2012 (UTC)
I agree - {{cleanup}} was redundant like that. Far better as it is now. Begoontalk 00:29, 26 March 2012 (UTC)
It wasn't removed – I just merged it into {{multiple issues}} to avoid emphasis. It is still there. — Dmitrij D. Czarkoff (talk) 00:38, 26 March 2012 (UTC)
(edit conflict) :-) I know now - I checked the history properly and amended my post... Begoontalk 00:39, 26 March 2012 (UTC)

Attempting a discussion summary[edit]

Reading the above discussion, it seems to me that the main concern with this template would be its inherent vagueness, claiming that it points to a problem but does not suggest a solution. Parallels are drawn in this regard to {{cleanup}} and {{expand}}.

Another claim is that it overlaps with a number of other cleanup templates, most notably {{split}}, {{very long section}}, {{cleanup-reorganize}}, {{example farm}}, {{original research}} and {{overly detailed}}.

Lastly, User:George Ho asserts that it is easily/usually misused.

Let me know if you think I have left out something important. --M4gnum0n (talk) 11:26, 9 May 2012 (UTC)

I am rebooting the discussion because I feel it has already jumped to vague proposals without even an agreement on the perceived problems of this template. --M4gnum0n (talk) 11:35, 9 May 2012 (UTC)

And again: If the template is used wrong, then either fix it (by replacing the template with the correct one) or change it so that the tagger is understanding the message better ("update the doc"). mabdul 12:11, 9 May 2012 (UTC)

Should this tag be exempted from lists?[edit]

No way to minimize use of this template?[edit]

Too many subheadings can make an article look longer than it is[edit]

I've mentioned before on Wikipedia, including recently (my "18:05, 29 March 2015 (UTC)" post), that I've seen useless subheadings mess up articles, as they make the articles look significantly longer than they are and make navigating through the articles more difficult for our readers if Template:TOC limit is not used. I've seen articles tagged with Template:Very long because of such subheadings when the article is not a WP:SIZE issue at all. This is why I added "or removing" to the template, since removing useless subheadings can reduce the "too long" concern. Flyer22 (talk) 18:33, 29 March 2015 (UTC)

You absolutely have a point, but the result is confusing. Debresser (talk) 21:23, 29 March 2015 (UTC)
What result? What I added to the template? If so, how? Also, for a current example of subheadings making an article look significantly longer than it is (from the table of contents), see this version of the Theoretical definition article. Flyer22 (talk) 21:43, 29 March 2015 (UTC)
Yes, what you added to the text of the template makes it confusing. Let me explain. What the template now says can be paraphrased as follows: "This template has a problem. To solve the problem, make the article shorter or longer." Well, isn't that confusing? Debresser (talk) 22:44, 30 March 2015 (UTC)
I don't see how I've made the template confusing; it stated, "This page may be too long to read and navigate comfortably. Please consider splitting content into sub-articles, condensing it or adding subheadings." It now states, "This page may be too long to read and navigate comfortably. Please consider splitting content into sub-articles, condensing it, or adding or removing subheadings." The "adding subheadings" part is about navigation; adding subheadings does not make the article longer or shorter (well, not significantly). But, as I noted, they can make the article look longer. So reducing unnecessary subheadings also tackles the "too long" concern, and therefore makes the article easier to navigate through. Flyer22 (talk) 07:23, 31 March 2015 (UTC)
Sorry, my mistake, I meant not "shorter or longer" but "add or remove headings". That is a confusing instruction! :) Again, I get the point, but that doesn't make the text any less confusing. Debresser (talk) 08:21, 31 March 2015 (UTC)
I just saw your latest reply. Per what I stated above, I don't grasp the confusion. Flyer22 (talk) 17:19, 5 April 2015 (UTC)
I suppose it can be confusing, even though I personally don't find the "removing subheadings" part to be confusing. If anything, the "adding subheadings" aspect is what I would peg as likely being more confusing in this matter (since people commonly add more subheadings than needed). Anyway, we can explain what we mean on the template with regard to adding or removing subheadings. I think we should. After all, some other templates, such as Template:POV, have instructional details. Flyer22 (talk) 17:26, 5 April 2015 (UTC)

Inline template for concision and wordiness?[edit]

I have students create WP articles, and I make use of templates, especially inline ones like {ambiguous awkward clarify definition dubious elucidate vague}. Is there one for something like {concision wordiness}? The sentiment is similar to {Very long} but is more at the sentence level. -Reagle (talk) 14:59, 9 April 2015 (UTC)

Not that I know of. You could use {{Cleanup}}, and add a reason, like this {{Cleanup|reason=Needs to be rewritten less wordy.}}, for example. Debresser (talk) 19:23, 11 April 2015 (UTC)