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Wikipedia:Formatting bilateral relations templates

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Bilateral relations templates are an important component when it comes to navigating articles related to the relations between two countries. While not every bilateral relationship needs a navbox or some other template, it should be left to the more important relations (e.g. Russia–United States relations), there should be a standard format on every bilateral relations template for consistency and clear navigational purposes.

The first step in formatting bilateral relations templates is that the topic must have at least enough articles for there to navigate through. While navboxes must have a minimum of five, not counting the name of the template, but there should be at least one in the respective sections of the template.

At the top of the template page, the format should be in the following order:

  • The name of the template is in alphabetic order per the same standard on the bilateral relations articles.
    • name = Russia–United States relations
  • The title has the same name but contains the flag icon template of both countries with the abbreviation for the countries' names with the link to the main relations article in between the flag icon templates.
    • title = {{flagicon|Russia}} [[Russia–United States relations]] {{flagicon|United States}}
  • The state of the template must be autocollapsed so that the templates don't add more to the apperance of it's size when reading through the article. As sometimes these templates can be quite large.
    • state = {{{state|autocollapse}}}
  • The groupstyle is styled as text-align:center;.
    • groupstyle = text-align:center;
  • The listclass is in the hlist format.
    • listclass = hlist

As opposed to some templates where it contains a related image for the topic, an image is not needed as the flag icons serve as defacto images.

Now the next step is adding articles concerning the topic. Bear in mind, not all the section titles listed below will be applicable given how many articles there may or may not be for the bilateral relations.

The first section should be titled Diplomatic posts.

The order of article should be the following per the example of Russia–United States relations: Embassy of the first country in alphabetical order, in this case, Embassy of Russia, Washington, D.C., then the article List of ambassadors of Russia to the United States. But in this case, the entire name of the article doesn't need to be displayed. Instead, Ambassadors of Russia to the United States is better. If an article exists for an ambassador's residence, then it should follow the list of ambassadors article. The second part is the articles for the following country, Embassy of the United States, Moscow, Ambassadors of the United States to Russia. Once the main diplomatic posts articles are added, then if articles exist for consulates for both countries in the same order. Any buildings article that has been used that served as an important factor in the relations between both countries should be added after the Consulates articles. Then the first country's Permanent Mission to the United States (only if the article exists), as their missions to the U.N. also serve as a de facto office to the United States. Any other diplomatic post offices that also conduct relations between the two countries. The last article in this section if it concerns foreign relations of the United States should be the division of the United States Department of State responsible for overseeing U.S. relations for a specific region.

The second section should be titled Diplomacy. Diplomacy concerns cooperation between the two countries and should only include articles about cooperation. These could be articles about summits, treaties, state visits by a visiting head of state/government. This section depends on what articles exist that would determine the proper order of articles to be included. It could article about events, which should be listed chronologically, or if not about any events, it should be alphabetical. The last part of this section should contain organizations that relate to bilateral cooperation.

The third section can vary for its name. It could be titled Incidents or Conflicts. If the section is titled "Incidents", then it should list articles chronologically. Incidents cover controversies or minor conflicts, non-military usually, but can cover topics concerning respective militaries, mainly not about wars or battles between the two nations. If titled "Conflicts", also in chronological order, should list all military conflicts between both countries and articles about the conflict. Not all articles should be included. Only overall articles that can summarize the main topic listed in the template. If there are enough articles about a specific conflict or dispute between two countries, then it can be given its own section. Normally this won't be the case. But for China–India relations it has enough articles about both countries' border dispute that warrants its own section even if it's not all the articles about the specific subject. Incidents can apply to legal cases involving both governments but can be part of the legislation section below.

The fourth section can be titled Military relations, Economic relations, or some other title that warrants it. Military relations concerns both countries' militaries in mutual cooperation. Military relations articles should be in alphabetical order. Economic relations relates to articles about economic relations/cooperation. Be it articles about trade or economic agreements. Although, this always isn't the case. Normally, economic relations articles can just be part of the diplomacy section.

The fifth section is titled Legislation. Article about countries that have signed some form of legislation that concerns the countries' relationship. Whether it's treaties, official acts, agreements, sanctions, or executive orders, these go here. Treaties can be given their own section if there are at least three articles. If not then they can go in as part of the legislation section or be listed chronologically in the diplomacy section.

The sixth section is usually titled Related. Related articles go here. Whatever doesn't apply above in the previous sections, be it cultural relations, organizations, individuals, works such as books, plays, films, etc, or articles about foreign relations with an autonomous region of the larger nation are listed here. It's not necessary to have the articles listed in alphabetical order.

And the bottom of the template should feature a link to the main category:

|below = '''{{Icon|Category}} [[:Category:Russia–United States relations]]'''

The last form of editing closes the navbox using the Russia–United States relations example should be:

}} <noinclude> {{collapsible option}} [[Category:Russia–United States relations|*]] [[Category:Russia politics and government templates|United States relations]] [[Category:United States politics and government templates]] [[Category:Foreign relations templates]] </noinclude>

And thus, the template is in great shape fulfilling its navigational purpose with a clear style of formatting.

See also