User:Wooyi/Readability

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This page is an essay. This is an essay. It is not a policy or guideline, it simply reflects some opinions of its authors. Please update the page as needed, or discuss it on the talk page. However, in one of the sections below there is a policy proposal, and may be under a discussion to reach consensus.

A good article on Wikipedia should be readable—easy to read. Poor sentence structure and wordiness can annoy readers and even frustrate them, rendering some articles inconvenient to read, some to the extent of being virtually unreadable. Other impediments to readability include excessive numbers of warning boxes, long lists within an article that make readers not want to continue scrolling down the page, excessively long external link sections, and styles that decrease reader's interest, among others.

Too many warning boxes[edit]

Excessive warning boxes, such as simultaneous display of {{totally-disputed}}, {{cleanup}}, {{advert}}, etcetera, discourage the reader. Redundant warning boxes can be moved to talk pages, leaving only those that highlight the main problems. For talk pages themselves, the {{hidemessages}} template moves less urgent notices to a collapsible message box.

Long lists within articles[edit]

Short lists in articles are informative. But long ones that require lengthy scrolling may be an impediment. The list should be shortened or separated into an independent list.

Style[edit]

A style of an article should follow standard Wikipedia manual of styles. Many articles in Wikipedia, espcially some short articles, do not follow the manual and make people discouraged to read them. One example would be an article on a congressman that mainly reproduces the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress (their biographies read more like reference sources instead of articles for general reading) or poor paraphrasing of the "about" page on websites. To improve the readability of those articles, rewording, wikifying, or rewriting may be necessary.

Policy proposal[edit]

Here are two policies I propose pursuant to the essay I wrote above:

  1. Numbers of warning boxes (cleanup, NPOV, factual accuracy) shall not exceed two in each article.
  2. Lists and external links within an article shall not exceed the length of the rest of the article, with the exception of list pages (articles starting with "list of", such as List of World Snooker Champions).

Please go to Wikipedia talk:Readability/proposal discussion to discuss the policy proposal.

See also[edit]