Wikipedia talk:Filmographies

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I think the acting filmographies should be pretty solid as it is right now. I'm "seeding" a few actors so that real people can see it and hopefully leave their comments here.

However, the non-acting filmographies are kind of a mess, so I haven't implemented them yet. I'm looking for comments about the best way to handle them here. There is obviously no "role" when you are a writer or director, but there is lots of other bits of useful information that would be nice to include (whether the person was the original creator, a screenplay writer or adapter, a story writer or the actual credited script writer; episode names and links for television; etc., etc.). Perhaps we just leave a table cell open for the "Role" and let the author fill in as needed but with some guidelines. Any thoughts?

RADICALBENDER 00:58, August 14, 2005 (UTC)

Acting categories - I looked at Scott Foley and Jennifer Garner. They look good but I like violet/riga's suggestions. Firstly "Acting filmography" heading is not needed - section header should suffice. I think three column headings such as "Title", "Role" and "Comments" would be better. (I've tried to make a test to demonstrate but I'm not good at tables - I'll try again when I have more time). Also I think the Garner one is a good example of why the images would be neater and cleaner if all on the left - or there could be a column between the title and the role, if you think the title should come first. I don't think that would be as clean visually, but it would be less random. I like it though. Rossrs 14:49, 23 August 2005 (UTC)

Image placement[edit]

Should the images be placed on the left to maintain consistency, such as:

Acting Filmography
Video Game Alias: The Video Game (2004) Sydney Bristow (voice)
Movie Daredevil (2003) Elektra
Television Alias (2001-present) Sydney Bristow

I think it works better, particularly with the smaller images. Also, lists don't take up much room, and I'd worry that this would create quite a bit of extra vertical spacing. I think it is a very promising idea though. violet/riga (t) 20:03, 16 August 2005 (UTC)

I agree. I'm thinking about some of the potentially longer lists, and having the image on the right after the title is going to cause a very random, cluttered, unstructured appearance, although in the examples given where there are only a few titles/images it looks good. Prefer the image on the left as a standard format. Rossrs 14:17, 23 August 2005 (UTC)


Does it need the title? Since the table will usually be under an appropriately titled section I think it might become redundant. violet/riga (t) 20:10, 16 August 2005 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Manual of Style (lists of works)[edit]

This might best be a subsection of Wikipedia:Manual of Style (lists of works) - please read the discussion page there for more discussion on the topic. violet/riga (t) 20:10, 16 August 2005 (UTC)

I've been looking for this for a while. These pages should be Merged in some way. I was specifically looking for a guideline on how to format bibliographies, and your MoS(list of works) was the closest i could find. --Quiddity 20:47, 30 October 2005 (UTC) withdrawn. i prefer the simple lists already in use. --Quiddity 20:48, 6 November 2005 (UTC)

Very code heavy[edit]

I like the idea, it's a really good layout and all... It's just that it's very code intensive. If you look at List of people in Playboy 2000-Present you'll see that there isn't as much code to deal with. It's not hard for someone to just come along and add the next month to the table when the next month's issue comes out. Granted, you don't have the little icons for video games and TV and such but it's clean, neat, easy to update, and is not very code intensive.

To me the idea of an encyclopedia that "anyone can edit" means that you have to keep it simplistic enough so that we can have just that, "anyone" doing the edits. For some the task of putting their entry in the right section or in alphabetical order is nothing short of daunting. For example, look at List of famous redheads and especially at List of vegetarians. In the first, people come along every few days and have been throwing names in with a disregard to the fact that the list is in alphabetical order. With the second, names would be added to the bottom of the list whether they belonged there or not. Politicians are listed last but we end up with Leo Tolstoy, and Nikola Tesla under that category.

Anyway, I've gone on about this long enough and belabored my point. Basically, I think it's a great idea and looks really good, it's just too code intensive. Dismas 21:26, 16 August 2005 (UTC)

A very good point and a worry of mine. If we could streamline the code it might be a good idea to use the templates with "subst" - that might make it easier to update and more elegant too. violet/riga (t) 22:51, 16 August 2005 (UTC)

Reading material[edit]

Please take a look at this older proposal... [1]. Radiant_>|< 21:35, 29 October 2005 (UTC)

Chronological ordering[edit]

Should it be earliest to latest or latest to earliest? I prefer earliest to latest, and I think that tends to hold more in accord with the Wikipedia as a whole, especially if you are looking at other lists of works for say, an author, musician, and so forth. I know that we get much of the film info from the IMDb, which prefers latest to earliest, but the IMDb is not an encyclopedia. It makes sense for the IMDb to do this, since most of their readership and revenue is because of current films, but to give some perspective, would you want to see an encyclopedia article for, say, Alfred Hitchcock or D.W. Griffith with filmographies which start with their most recent films? Perhaps Orson Welles's filmography can begin with his turn in Transformers: The Movie? I can't see any horrible problems resulting from current actors and directors having earliest to latest filmographies as well. Obviously information is information - it doesn't change the facts, but I find it hard to believe that one isn't clearly stylistically more appropriate, consistent across other non-film articles, and unbiased with regard to past vs. present. Just my view, anyway. --Girolamo Savonarola 01:23, 1 November 2005 (UTC)

its been discussed elsewhere in the past & consensus has always been chronoligical order (earliest to latest) for ALL lists of works, including filmographies. Zzzzz 22:29, 3 April 2006 (UTC)

This is ridiculous. Zzzzz here changed the order on this inactive page to suit his argument and used the page as reason to change the order on pages. This smells of bad faith editting to me. 1) Change a wikipedia page to suit your argument; 2) reference the page as authoritative; 3) make changes per this page. I honestly can't see how I should assume good faith. Cburnett 03:22, 6 April 2006 (UTC)

Fundamentally, this is a style preference. You can rationalize the order just as you can how many links there should be on a page. I find changing a wikipedia page to make a presentation of consensus as distasteful and in bad faith.

Personally, I prefer newest first since it's the most recent and most likely the most sought (as opposed to the first movie they did). Coincidence with IMDB is not of relevance to me. Nice, but irrelevant. The two pages I find (this is one) discussing this topic are both inactive and it seems that it needs to be revived.

Ultimately, I would be happy with the same policy as done toward british vs. american english. Prefer locale (which I don't think this really applies to this case) otherwise don't change it to just change it. Cburnett 03:51, 6 April 2006 (UTC)

I think Zzzzz was just altering it to show the concensus that has generally held firm (afaik), as discussed at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (lists of works) and elsewhere (article talk pages, etc). The arguments at the top of that page are still valid. The only argument i've seen for putting latest-at-top is so that "new releases" can be found more easily, but that doesnt seem like an encyclopedic reason. It's more "timeless" to be in chronological order, and more consistent with the other lists of people's works (biblios, discogs, etc). --Quiddity 04:13, 6 April 2006 (UTC)
I don't think you can claim either order is encyclopedic any more than you can argue <pick arbitrarily topic from the MOS> is encyclopedic. Like "C.S. Lewis" vs. "C. S. Lewis". I don't see how you can argue one is more encyclopedic.
The only reason I can think of that oldest first might appear outside of the electronic realm is that it's easier to add a new line to a page than to retype the entire page (think typewriter). This clearly has no relevance to an electronic medium.
To play devil's advocate: why not use alphabetical?
What I really want is MediaWiki to support the ability to resort data on a page and have it set as a preference. I can set filmographies to sort newest first and you can set it to oldest first and Joe Bloe can do alphabetical with Z first. Then this entire discussion is 100% moot and a waste of time. I can dream I guess... Cburnett 04:30, 6 April 2006 (UTC)
Earliest to latest makes more intuitive sense, because we live in a chronological dimension. The works in a filmography were created one after another, so each previous work has some sort of impact/influence on later works. Hence you're getting an additional layer of contextual information, that would not be present with eg alphabetical ordering. The biography of a person is written chronologically for the same reason, and so their creations list should follow the same format. Thats actually the principle argument i guess.
And the prior tradition of listing order may not be relevant for its original reason anymore, but the very fact that it was the tradition, means that it is what is expected. (though imdb and amazon and the latest-and-greatest-consumer-culture are slowly eroding the tradition/expectation argument...)
And i utterly agree, it would will be wonderful to have all the metadata that is emdedded in the articles available for making dynamically generated timelines and comparison tables and pie charts and such. We're all dreaming with you :) But thats still a few years of coding (or a massive google brainpower investment ;) away from happening. --Quiddity 05:21, 6 April 2006 (UTC)
See, I don't think this discussion will have an end. Newest first makes the most sense to me and I don't think I can convince you (and vice-versa). When I change filmographies to tables I change the order while I'm at it (Zzzzz's attempt at changing some is just the tip of the ice berg). I would gladly reach a consensus on this because I'd, in all honestly, rather be editting articles then arguing about how to do it. Cburnett 05:43, 6 April 2006 (UTC)
  • I concur on the newest first notion. JackO'Lantern 05:52, 6 April 2006 (UTC)

nice to see such good faith and general cooperative behaviour! ;-) as it says at the top of this inactive/deceased proposal, "please edit this page". why does this upset cburnett so? because he prefers latest-to-earliest? fine, please discuss it at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (lists of works). user cburnett should also note the following text from Wikipedia:Edit this proposal: "Think very carefully before you wholesale revert a change, because it's essentially saying that the person before you had a bad idea. That's certainly possible, but it's equally possible that it's actually a good idea that you just don't happen to like because it's not what you were thinking of. " if cburnett would rather be "editing articles than arguing about how to do it", i strongly concur, sadly he is the only one arguing. if you would like to change the age-old wikistyle of earliest-to-latest please attempt to do so via *discussion*, not via angry wholesale reverts to things you dont like.

as far as i can see, the earliest-to-latest xographies are used on 95% of all FAs, i found only 6 otherwise, so requested them to be changed to match the general style seen in other FAs in order to prevent confusion. this was happily done by other editors, with little or no controversy. similarly with GAs there was only 5 or so articles that didnt match the standard, they were temporarily delisted, fixes were quickly made by the editors and they were immediately relisted, without complaint. does having filmogs latest-to-earliest mean that much to you that you must start revert-wars across previously uncontroversial articles? i prefer a simple standard that all editors can follow based on the current existing status quo, not contradicted by any FAs (as per now, earliest-to-latest everywhere). this works. why change it? Zzzzz 12:32, 6 April 2006 (UTC)

Earliest to latest in my opinion. It seems logical to me that all lists should follow the same style whether it's authors/books, painters/paintings or actors/films. I can understand why people might prefer most recent at the top for current actors to see what they're doing now, but as the majority of filmographies are for dead performers, this rationale does not apply for the majority of filmographies. I also think the style of the list should match the style of the article - the history of the person is conveyed in chronological order starting with their birth, into their career and progressing to the present day. It seems illogical to me that this would be immediately followed by a list that starts in the present and goes backwards into the past. Every cinematic reference book I own (and I have quite a number) shows filmographies from earliest to latest. I understand a book is a static medium however I don't see that the dynamic nature of a Wikipedia article should necessitate a change in style such as this. I agree with Zzzzz here. (Going off onto a slight tangent : I would also note that the comment placed on the articles stating that the filmographies should be reversed or they "will be removed from the FA list" was excessive because I'm sure the FA status would not be reversed for that reason only, especially when it's so easily fixed. I feel that a couple of users simply jumped to attention and obeyed you because they didn't know any better, and that's not a fair approach. )
It is very much a personal preference. I agree with User:Quiddity's reasoning, but that only means that it is similar to mine. I feel that the people in support of earliest to latest have at least attempted to explain why they feel this way (myself, Zzzz, Quiddity), while the supporters of latest to earliest have not to any substantial degree. I accept User:Cburnett's comment "Newest first makes the most sense to me" but I would be interested if it could be expanded a little just so I can understand why this makes sense to you. There must be some reasoning behind this, beyond simply personal preference. Rossrs 13:31, 6 April 2006 (UTC)
To add my US$0.02, my personal preference is newest first based on what I would think would be the higher likelihood of an Internet user (as opposed to a print encyclopedia user) wanting to know "what has that person done lately?" Having said that, my preference one way or the other isn't really that strong, in retrospect. I think we should find a convention and stick with it, though I'm still puzzled by a user who told me that every Featured Article descends—after changing Uma Thurman, KaDee Strickland and Katie Holmes to conform. And, with that, back to helping write an encyclopedia... ;) RadioKirk talk to me 20:03, 6 April 2006 (UTC)

If you guys want to do newest to earliest, fine. I just demand that you start re-editing all of the filmmaker pages starting with the earliest people in the business and see how silly it looks. This is not the IMDb; a filmography is essentially a timeline of a person's work, and it does not make sense to create reverse timelines, so far as I can see. Nor can I think of any category of non-pop-culture items where this is an acceptable working standard. Please, keep it simple. If people really want to see the most recent of their work, surely they have the intelligence to figure out where on the list this will be after seeing the first few dates next to the titles. If the best argument you have is a hypothetical internet straw man who might not understand anything about list ordering, I don't see how that's relevant. Provide structural or aesthetic reasons, please. Girolamo Savonarola 21:50, 6 April 2006 (UTC)

*sigh* Neither straw nor sticks nor bricks; merely a personal opinion. I think I'm just going the stay the hell out of this one from now on... RadioKirk talk to me 21:57, 6 April 2006 (UTC)

And while I'm tilting at windmills, please allow me to diverge into a non-sequitur of sorts. I've recently been involved in some re-edits of a few pages for Agatha Christie novels. The basic gist of it was that, even despite having spoiler warnings, some users were of the opinion that the articles ought not to discuss the endings of the books at all, so as to keep it a surprise. In essence, they just wanted a brief little teaser to be all that would be divulged of the plot. The problem is that Wikipedia is not a promotional tool. It's not either, and its only function is as a reference tool, not to highlight what's going on lately. There are several film reference works in print (particularly Ephraim Katz's Film Encyclopedia as a longstanding standard bearer), and all of them to my knowledge list filmographies from the start to the finish. At the end of the day IMDb-style works for a site that's trying to capitalize on short-term interest in the latest material, which they can then sell via links on the page. We don't do that. We don't have an interest in that, and there's no stylistic reason why we should break with both internal and external convention.
I will say it again - as an example, an Orson Welles filmography which starts with Transformers the Movie and ends with Citizen Kane is simply bad style. Furthermore, it makes it extremely difficult to look at his works and see a progression. Just one of many examples. Girolamo Savonarola 22:03, 6 April 2006 (UTC)
Fine; that's a substantive argument, and a good one. Your previous comment, however, invoking the use of a "straw man"—which, by definition, requires intent—well, given how snakebitten certain aspects of this discussion have left me, that grated. Hard. RadioKirk talk to me 22:15, 6 April 2006 (UTC)

Aye aye, where to start... Zzzzz, you're actions of changing a page to reflect your argument and then using it as authoritative and a show of consensus is extremely questionable action (which I raised). You also made threats of removal of article status if you didn't have it your way. From your edit history, it seems you did that on a few articles and got tired of doing that so you delisted 6 or 7 articles in a row. No more threatening to do it, you just did it. If there's consensus to list oldest first then threats are completely unwarranted and totally unnecessary. All the more reason for me to believe you're acting in bad faith. Nevermind for a second that your purported consensus backs the action you demand but it does not back your threat at all.

I also find it extremely, uh, "convenient" that User:Catherine breillat is gone for 11 days and the first thing she does is change Keira Knightley's filmography order and references the "style guide" which neither this page nor the other is apart of the MOS. Secondly, User:Calabrese creates a new account within the last 24 hours and changes the order on 4 articles and performs other non-newbie tasks like completeting merges; uses the pipe-syntax for tables; marks articles as stubs; adds references; adds categories; etc. This doesn't smell right either.

I want to preface my short (hah!) argument with saying that what's done for any other media does not necessarily apply here because there's no other project, in print (which would be nigh impossible) or electronic, that compares to what wikipedia does. Wikipedia (well, wikis in general) is an experiment in media and collaboration. Not that I'm saying tradition should be ignored, but tradition shouldn't be respected based solely on the fact that it's tradition. Doing so prevents change (for better or for worse) and can lead to stagnation.

I still also do not see anyone's perspective changing here. If you can come up with a way for the british to convince americans that it's "colour", "favourite", "theatre", etc. and it's really "mind the step" not "watch your step" then this discussion might get somewhere.

My position is simple: I want to see the newest films first and I don't think I'm alone. To no one's surprise: I have no precedent to stand on (which I never really claimed I did). It's simply my preference and makes the most sense to me. Really, the only reason I'm here and riled up is because of Zzzzz's actions (change a page; call it policy; and make transparent threats based on it). As an administrator here, I take it as a part of my "duty" to not let his actions be tolerated. If consensus can be made, then so be it. If I stand alone, then so be it, I can play ball.

So are there any arguements for oldest-first that do not hinge on printed precedent or totally subjective reasons as "newest first is so unencyclopedic"? I tend toward the logical side of life (I'm no Spock) and would appreciate something logical (and I wholly acknowledge that I offer little). The only thing I can think of is basic web page design theory that puts the most sought/used information at top. There's a reason search boxes are at the top as well as most navigation. Imagine for a second having to go to the bottom of the page for the edit link or history link. That said, I believe the most recent films a person has done would be more sought than the oldest. I don't see that the purpose of the information changes this either. Cburnett 00:28, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

I agree that Zzzzz's editing actions are potentially questionable. However that is a completely seperate issue and should be discussed seperately, so as not to cloud the discussion over guideline creation.
I disagree that all prior arguments (for chronological ordering) were appeals to tradition or subjective reasoning. The main rational reason for earliest-first is thus:
  • They should be listed in the order that they were created. Each item was influenced by what came before it, so should be listed afterwards; as within human life itself (biography).
Your arguments for newest-first are only applicable to living actors, who create new "current" works. They do not apply once an actor has ceased producing, and hence would need to be re-ordered when the subject dies. eg harry potter movies should be listed 1 - 2 - 3 - etc, the Orson Welles example above, or Stanley Kubrick.
Finally, I'll repeat Rossrs question from above: I accept User:Cburnett's comment "Newest first makes the most sense to me" but I would be interested if it could be expanded a little just so I can understand why this makes sense to you. There must be some reasoning behind this, beyond simply personal preference. --Quiddity 01:35, 7 April 2006 (UTC)
I guess I fail to see how Paycheck (film) influences Kill Bill. I see little causal relationship and a lot of correlation. If Paycheck is indeed an influencer of Kill Bill then it's much more subtle to pick up from a simple list and warrants a mid-term university film class essay.
But assume that's true, then on the flip side of the coin, newest first still let's you see what films influenced it by scrolling down. The a priori knowledge you wish to have first is subjective.
Of course, this means your main rationale is for the sole purpose of understanding the inter-film relations. For me, this is quite rare to never. A biography? Sure. Paycheck vs. Kill Bill? I honestly cannot think of the last time I sat down and looked at a filmography for the ultimate purpose of understanding the influential relationships between films. To see the latest films someone's done? You betcha. To find the name of their role? Yup (except alphabetical order of films would be best for this search, not chronological). To see if they won an award for the film? Maybe (some articles have this).
And, yes, I'm not responding to Rossrs question because I believe I already have. I still don't see a logical reason to pick either sort order at the moment. If you want a filmography to show influential relationships...ok, but I highly doubt this is what the majority of people use a filmography for. Cburnett 02:03, 7 April 2006 (UTC)
I think it's going to be very difficult to reach a consensus as we're looking at two opposite approaches with no middle ground in which to compromise, but it should be interesting. Thanks for responding to my question. I can understand your opinion a little better now. Rossrs 09:49, 7 April 2006 (UTC)
Again: "mind the step" vs. "watch your step". Ultimately, I wouldn't mind if no order was chosen and it was handled in the same manner as american vs. british english. Cburnett 22:30, 7 April 2006 (UTC)
I wouldn't mind either because I don't feel passionately about this subject, but when you have users threatening to have articles stripped of their FA status because that user doesn't like the chosen format, and manipulating other users into complying with their POV, it demonstrates a need to have some kind of authoritative guidelines at the very least. A question. How do you think this would be viewed in terms of copyright? I know that lists/data etc can be copyrighted. If we copy and paste filmographies from IMDB plus include a link to IMDB as we do with most of our celebrity articles, do you think that could be problematic? Rossrs 22:59, 7 April 2006 (UTC)
I'm also wondering if it might be worthwhile to have two standards. Recent to early for current/active performers and earliest to latest for dead/retired performers. I guess with the dead performers it's fair to say the list is "complete". The current performers' lists will be works in progress. Perhaps that might be a way of compromising. Rossrs 23:10, 7 April 2006 (UTC)
People complain that tables are enough work, not sure how those people would take having to reverse-order massive tables. :) Cburnett 01:09, 8 April 2006 (UTC)

There is of course a good bookmarklet that will allow anyone to sort tables. Try it on the Arnold_Schwarzeneggar#Filmography. see "sort table" at [2]. Possibly a dev is reading this and will be inspired to hack it into the wikicode somehow? *dreams* -Quiddity 02:35, 8 April 2006 (UTC)

For accessibility's sake, I support filmography lists being in reverse chronological order. It's not practical to have to scroll all the way down to a most recent film. In this case, it's probably a good idea to pick practicality over formality. --Antrophica 17:02, 15 May 2006 (UTC)

For the purpose of providing arguments in favor of reverse chronology, I copy here what I'm offering on my talk page:

  • Resumes are commonly ordered in reverse chronology. The most recent experience is placed first because it's generally considered the most appealing for a potential recruiter. Although there is no recruiter here, a list of recent works remains similar to a resume. Cinema is a modern art, and modern means recent.
  • The underlying concept is that we usually remember best the most recent works. In a way, it is also similar to journalistic narration, which starts from the most actual facts, then goes back in the past for history and more sources.
  • The most detailed and most successful online encyclopedia (or database) about cinema is the Internet Movie Database (IMDb). Beyond that niche, some might consider it different in its goals compared to Wikipedia, and it probably is, but its authority remains a fact when it comes to inventorying the seventh art. All filmographies on IMDb are listed according to reverse chronology. I must add that I'm a frequent user of this website.--N00w (talk) 01:23, 10 April 2010 (UTC)

All films or some ?[edit]

Is it good for a biography article to have an exhaustive list of films the person has worked in ? Or should the filmography have only the list of successful/notable/special/milestone films of the person's life ? It goes without saying that films which have an own article on it should be included. The user can get the complete list from an external link which is almost always IMDb. I removed a list of 100+ films from Amjad Khan's filmography, as the article was more of the filmography and less of other content. Does an exhaustive filmography be considered the same as an indiscriminate collection of information (with reference to Wikipedia:What_Wikipedia_is_not#Wikipedia_is_not_an_indiscriminate_collection_of_information) Jay 19:46, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

Personally, I'd advocate completism as far as filmographies, bibliographies, and discographies are concerned. If a list becomes excessively large for a page, then split if off into a seperate article (eg Amjad Khan (filmography)). Some may argue that this is what imdb is for, but that relies upon imdb being around/free/reliable forever. The scope of a person's work is as important as the best parts of that person's work. "information is any difference that makes a difference". --Quiddity 20:23, 12 February 2006 (UTC)
I don't see a reason to not list everything. I would consider an indiscriminate things as # of things on my desk or locations of trashcans in the white house. A list of films an actor has done doesn't seem anywhere near that caliber. A list of films I own would be indiscriminate. Cburnett 04:05, 6 April 2006 (UTC)
I think that as soon as you begin shortening a list to make it a "selected filmography" you are placing some kind of POV onto it. A film that you or I might eliminate from the list, may be considered noteworthy by someone else. Some films are notable not for only for their commercial success or their impact on popular culture but for conveying a completeness of a career or for illuminating the highs and lows of a career. These lists are finite and where they become long they can be broken off to create their own article. Rossrs 13:39, 6 April 2006 (UTC)
Excellent point! Though, we could put an arbitrary line in the sand if we want though (I think there's one for web comics in that it has to have existed for such a period and have such a readership). Say, if a film had $5 mil in gross sales or has won some kind of national/internationally recognized award. Not that I'm proposing it (I actual deplore doing so) but just saying it. I see no problem in a full listing. Cburnett 00:34, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

Non-order style of filmographies[edit]

This is an age old debate on WP for many reasons, but what style (this having nothing to do with order of listings) should we use. This page presents quite a complex method using various templates and such. My preferred choice is sampled as the following:

Year Title Role Other notes
2005 Elektra Matt Murdock Scene Cut
2004 Surviving Christmas Drew Latham
Jersey Girl Ollie Trinke
2003 Paycheck Michael Jennings
Gigli Larry Gigli
Daredevil Matt Murdock/Daredevil


  • Tables: it's tabulated data, period. If it was just year & title then there's still some self-justification happening if you put year first. With multiple columns the data is aligned and much easier to read.
  • Rowspanning the year reduces overlinking and reduces clutter. Why repeat 2004 twice and 2003 thrice when that quantity will never change?
  • Use of wikitable class: keeps consistency between all tables that use it. It originally started as {{prettytable}} but was progressed to a full-blown class because of it's usage (which I had a large hand in doing). Most of the tables that use a long string of styles was a result of substitituing the prettytable template (for some reason). Now that tables have their own class, it makes most sense to use it for consistencies sake alone. It also keeps the wikicode much more simpler
  • No templates needed. Templates, in this case, would allow for quick changes of layout but doing so increases the server load (WP already has enough problems in that department) and puts too much "power" in someone changing hundreds or thousands of pages in a few clicks (yes, I'm assume bad faith here...vandalism happens enough). I just don't see the need for such flexibility.

NOTE: the use of prettytable and subsequent substitutions of it for filmographies was my original style when converting lists to tables. For some reason (funny in the non-humor way), some editors have reverted my own edits to my own edits in favor against using the predefined class.

Additional note: I started using rowspans after a discussion with RadioKirk 2 months ago about the Dakota Fanning filmography. This was a consensus between us in weighing linking the year in each row since it's tabulated data and avoiding redundant linking.

Compare for yourselves (at the time I post this):

  • Ben Affleck — my style described above
  • Dakota Fanning — "old style"
  • Jude Law — straight up list (note that it doesn't contain roles or any notes which would [pov added]add to the clutter[/pov added])

Personally, I find the first example much clearer to read and easiest to keep consistent.

Comments please. Cburnett 02:26, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

At Dakota Fanning and Lindsay Lohan (and probably others), an editor (I don't remember who) wanted to make the header row a darker color for better contrast. I didn't argue much, figuring it was rather harmless; I've just fixed Dakota Fanning. RadioKirk talk to me 02:49, 7 April 2006 (UTC)
That's interesting because a lighter color gives you more contrast with the text. Or did they mean contrast the header row with the rest of the table? Suppose we could file a bug to get it bumped from #f2f2f2 to #E0E0E0 or something. Cburnett 02:54, 7 April 2006 (UTC)
That user meant a greater contrast with the other rows, which took a while to figure out when he kept referring the bgcolor as "text". ;) RadioKirk talk to me 03:38, 7 April 2006 (UTC)
I agree that tables are better in most ways. However i also believe they make it a lot harder for new editors to create/update an article, hence i propose that the list format be recommended as the primary guideline, with tables suggested as an advanced alternative (and generally recommended for inclusion in more feature-complete articles, rather than in stub-level articles).
If that could be agreed upon, i would also suggest we somehow merge this page with Wikipedia:Manual of Style (lists of works), as that seems to be the only issue seperating them. This page is currently/primarily a list of templates, and could be more useful if these two "historical" pages were combined. --Quiddity 03:11, 7 April 2006 (UTC)
My objection to that is I prefer to give people the benefit of the doubt than assume they can't. Personally, I would gladly trade ease of editability for clarity and consistency any day. Cburnett 03:23, 7 April 2006 (UTC)
I learned tables relatively quickly. Your mileage may vary, taxes, title and doc fees not included, not intended as a solicitation for services, valid in 49 states (sorry, Tennessee). ;) RadioKirk talk to me 03:38, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

See also: Wikipedia_talk:Manual_of_Style_(lists_of_works)#Table_or_list --Quiddity

Survey on ordering?[edit]

Perhaps a survey would be a good way to "air out" the room a bit with some outside comments and *maybe* even get a clearer picture about where consensus lies. Can we agree to this? I am unfortunately going out of town for the next four days, but if someone wants to initiate this, I think it'd be great. Otherwise, I'll get on it when I return next week. Girolamo Savonarola 13:11, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

I mostly object to a survey at this point. The two sides of this issue don't seem to have any strong, non-subjective points and the survey will just be that of preferences and I don't think it will actually add much to the discussion. I would much rather have constructive input than a yes/no to a specific order. Cburnett 22:26, 7 April 2006 (UTC)
I thought the chronological=biographical order argument was very objective and logical! --Quiddity
(tangent: which reminds me of this, m:MPOV, which i discovered a few days ago, and i post purely for everyone's reading amusement. i have other folks in mind than the people here when i laugh whilst reading the intro ;) --Quiddity 23:28, 7 April 2006 (UTC)
Discussion, such as we are having, is fine, but I don't think a survey would help. It would depend upon who came along to vote on a particular day, and how much electioneering they did to get likeminded users to come along and add to the vote. The majority could choose a stance based on personal preference only and yet still make a "wrong" choice. It would be very similar to the debacle over choosing the biography infobox, which produced a "majority rules" vote which was not necessarily right or wrong, and which displeased a significant number of users who felt strongly about it, but were overruled. It would be far better to have a guideline based on commonly accepted styles in lists such as those used in other media/venues, rather than a bunch of people, who don't necessarily know much about web design or the accepted format for lists in publications, voting on their own personal whim. Rossrs 23:06, 7 April 2006 (UTC)
(hang on, it makes sense by the end)
I honestly believe a large enough survey would come out vastly in favour of earliest-to-latest. (for the reasons given previously by the supporters of that viewpoint, primarily the appeal to tradition. We're simply used to things that start at the start and progress to the end.)
I also believe (as i said above), that the earliest-to-latest stance has an objective rationalization, as well as the appeal to tradition; whereas latest-to-earliest has only a subjective-preference argument and an appeal to the new-standard of imdb/amazon/blogs for newest at top.
That said, i don't want to reargue those topics again, as i fully understand the desire for latest-at-top, and sometimes would use it myself if it were optional. What i would like to suggest, is that a compromise would be preferable to a stalemate, in the sense that there is a strong desire for a guideline/consensus for editors to follow in the present.
I agree that the ideal solution would be a preference toggle. But until that arrives, i would suggest that standardizing on the basis of the results of a poll/survey, is possibly the simplest and most effective resolution to this issue. (or, of course, one side could gracefully cede the issue...(!)). --Quiddity 23:45, 7 April 2006 (UTC) (struck at 00:56, 8 April 2006 (UTC))
WP:STRAW. Cburnett 00:35, 8 April 2006 (UTC)
my bad. i've struckout my own MPOV suggestion ;) -Quiddity

More templates[edit]

I just found {{F}} and {{TV}} that deal with a similar issue. - The DJ 22:28, 21 April 2006 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Manual of Style (lists of works)[edit]

I've overhauled Wikipedia:Manual of Style (lists of works) based on a 2nd round of feedback. Feedback (at it's talkpage) or improvements welcome :) --Quiddity 02:25, 2 November 2006 (UTC)