Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Lists/Archive 1

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Archive 1 Archive 2


Copied from Village pump archive: I just created Wikipedia:Wikitrivia discussion to discuss the removal of part of the lists to a different wiki-sister project. Cheers, Muriel Gottrop 07:43, 27 Oct 2003 (UTC) See also: Talk:List of heterosexuals/deletion (final archive) Do these pages have any encyclopaedic value?

  1. List of songs which refer to other songs
  2. List of songs with titles that don't appear in the lyrics
  3. List of songs in which the title constitutes the entire lyrics
  4. List of songs which have the word Song in title or lyrics
  5. List of songs whose main title appears more than twenty times in the lyrics
These seem to have a little justification
  1. List of songs that retell a work of literature
  2. List of songs my Muddy Waters a redirect to
  3. List of songs by Muddy Waters
-- Chris Q 16:49 Mar 17, 2003 (UTC)
I'd move these two to the bottom list (sic) *List of songs which refer to other songs tells much about "how the web was woven", "passing the torch", "historical process" *List of songs whose title does not appear in the lyrics has some paradoxical/logical interest. The rest are just self-indulgent fun, probably harmless. -- Ortolan88

-- MyRedDice (talk · contribs · logs) 16:36, 24 August 2003 (UTC)

Linking to list

For the last couple of days I have taken a break from writing articles and have concentrated on compiling lists of business articles. The following lists cover all the business articles that I have been able to find:

Finding related topics

I have placed this at the end of about 20 articles as an experiment. My objective is to make every business article easy to find and available with only two mouse clicks.

My questions to the wiki-experts are “Will appending this list to articles conflict with the new category system being developed? If so, how should I modify it to prevent future problems?” mydogategodshat 06:06, 19 Aug 2003 (UTC)

My answer is: I think it's a very bad idea to place a whole slump of often little significant links on the bottom of pages, whether we have a category system or not. A single link to an encompassing subject, I can imagine, but 14 categories when it belongs to one or two? You may be happy that I'm not much on the English version or on business topics, as I'd delete them on sight. Andre Engels 14:08, 21 Aug 2003 (UTC)
You have stated your opinion that having easy access to these lists are a bad idea but have given no reason why you feel this way.
You then state that there should only be one or two lists. It is true that all of these lists could be compiled into one or two lists but the list would be so long and so diverse in scope that they would be useless. Who can find what they are looking for on a list of 1000 entries? That is why I subdivided them into the catagories that are taught in business schools. Business schools offer either majors and minors in all these the fields (with the exception of lists of people, of course). When someone tells me that these are all one topic, what it says to me is that the person is not familiar with the depth or scope of the topic. It is equivalent to a non-scientist saying that all science topics belong on one list. The number of subdivisions we include reflects the level of expertise we have in the field. I do not feel we should revert back to a time when Wiki was a project by and for geeksmydogategodshat 15:52, 21 Aug 2003 (UTC)
I am not saying that they are all one topic. Rather the reverse. I am saying that they are rather different, sometimes closely sometimes less closely related topics. And because of that, if you put this whole list on a page, most of the links will not be closely related to its subject. The reason I think it is a bad idea, is that a page with subject 'X' should be about subject 'X'. Some links to subjects closely related to X are good. But a long list of links of subjects that are often of just little significance to X are not. One page will probably fall under one or two of the topics above. Add links to the lists for those topics, and leave out the rest. Andre Engels 18:06, 21 Aug 2003 (UTC)
We seem to be starting from different first principles. You seem to be starting from a category scheme that you feel is ideal (or at least optimal) for organizational reasons. I am trying to create a user-freindly environment and I feel this first principle takes precidence over categorical or organizational conciderations. Being from a business background, I see customer satisfaction (or user friendliness) as the prime driver of all decisions. If a venture is to be sucessfull, all other considerations, no matter how important, must first pass this criterion.
That is why having easy access to the lists are so important. As you are aware there are currently two ways of using Wikipepia ; Seaching and browsing (the "see also lists"). Using the search engine is effective if : 1) you know exactly what you are looking for; 2) you know the term commonly used to describe what you are looking for ; 3) there is only one or two common terms for the item you are looking for; 4) you know how to spell the terms involved. Browsing or surfing is useful when you do not have a specific goal in mind. Unfortunately, in most cases these criteria are not met. That is why most people find specific online searches so frustrating. You know that the information is available somewhere but finding it can take hours. What these lists do is address this void. They provide access to related topics so that users can find what they want without having to do ten or twenty searches. And do it with just two mouse clicks. I have yet to hear a sound argument for why this additional functionality should not be used to make Wiki a more user friendly place. mydogategodshat 22:06, 21 Aug 2003 (UTC)
Apparently I am the only one against here, and seeing that I am less active on at least the English Wikipedia, I'll bow my head here. I'm not happy, though. Andre Engels 06:40, 22 Aug 2003 (UTC)

I think could be a good idea but in a sligter shorter form like the links to other languages. Jensp 07:09, 22 Aug 2003 (UTC) Like this:

Lists of business topics: management, marketing, human resource, economics, finance, accounting, information technology, production, business law, ethics, political economy, and philosophy, theorists, economists, corporate leaders, companies

I think that the lists should be easily accessible from the articles but not in this way. Firstly, it's too big. Secondly, and more important, imagine that you want to add new list to the list: you'd have to do so in all articles with the list and there could easily be hundreds of them. I think that the right solution is to make List of business lists (List of business topics has already been taken and has another purpose) and link that to the articles. Nikola 07:49, 22 Aug 2003 (UTC)
I prefer the streamlined version too. The only reason I used the "title and bullet" format is I thought that was the direction Wiki was going with the new TOC format of multiple edit points. Having a single link to a list of lists is not a bad idea. However it has two dissadvantages. It reduces flexibility. We should be able to modify these to suit each page. Articles in the information technology management area, for example, would benefit from the inclusion of list of computing topics and list of Internet topics. The other disadvantage is that it would require three clicks each time rather than two. mydogategodshat 09:05, 22 Aug 2003 (UTC)
Personally, I'd add the list of lists only to the lists themselves (as the box on List of people by name).
On the article, I'd just link to the list(s) (or the topic) it belongs to. Once (if ever) a category feature is available, I'd suppose it might be possible to use the lists to add that to the articles automatically. Of course, you'd better ask a developer about this.
-- User:Docu
So I'm not alone in my opinion after all. Good to hear. Andre Engels 17:18, 23 Aug 2003 (UTC)
Docu, Why would you not make a range of lists of related topics readily available?mydogategodshat 19:49, 23 Aug 2003 (UTC)
I agree with Andre that huge lists at the end of articles are not a good idea. Angela
Thanks for your opinion Angela. I am still waiting for someone to give a reason why they don't want the lists available. mydogategodshat 10:56, 24 Aug 2003 (UTC)
They don't seem useful and add clutter. They are too broad - not specific to the topic. Angela
A related issue to that is that eventually we will need to use some kind of "relatedness check" which will rely on "what links to what". Any links that are motivated by top-down assessment of what is in what curriculum will distort these metrics. The right way to do such top-down structure is in the textbook project and maybe if we learn from it we can import it here. Until then, it seems fine to use the abbreviated list of lists only at the end of the lists in question. That would be handy actually.

List of atheists and similar lists of people

Discussion atarted at: Talk:Listing of noted atheists

Who cares about these people being atheists? I find it of little encyclopedic value to have this list around; same for the other lists of noted (religion x)s. These lists would only be useful if they contained people who are actively proclaiming their opinion on this topic, and are known for that. Not just a bunch of actors that happen to share some opinion. We might just as well make a list of noted people that have a hamster as a pet... jheijmans

I am tempted to agree. Does anybody want to argue the case for listing everyone who might happen to be an atheist here? --Robert Merkel

These types of lists aren't really useful. Although I wouldn't like to see lists of noted persons in certain professions go away. Religious affiliation seems peripheral in importance to me (but then, so does sexual orientation. See: Famous gay lesbian or bisexual people). --maveric149

I also would tend to agree; a listing of people whose atheistic beliefs are relevant to what they've accomplished in life and how they present themselves would be interesting, but a mish-mash of people who happen to be atheists and also happen to be somewhat famous? Maybe someone might like it, but I don't really care. (On the other hand, I'm not a militant atheist. The kind of people who want to see Christmas Day removed as a national holiday might think otherwise.) --Brion VIBBER

These lists are useful as an expression of support or community for minorities or out-groups. Many adolescents find these especially useful - "Gee, I always thought I was the only 'X'!"

I think these lists are a valuable service in this regard, and we can´t make any case against them that outweighs this value. Again - if you don't like these lists, don't read them! :-)

I've made that exact same argument in the past, but these things are getting less and less useful.
The debate is on whether we should list *all* 'X's, or whether we should restrict the list to people whose X'ism is part of the reason they are encyclopedia-worthy.For instance, Bob Hawke was agnostic, and worthy of an encyclopedia article here, but does he warrant an appearance on a list of noted agnostics? I would argue not. --Robert Merkel

I'd say this is pretty simple: People who like these lists can make them. People who don't like these lists can ignore them - it's not like the lists are hurting anything. I think we need to be very wary of judging what "we" consider to be "encyclopedia worthy". Personally, I'd remove all articles on video and computer games, rap music, US counties, and I'd seriously consider removing everything on professional sports. Fortunately, my opinion on these things isn't important. Live and let live. Work on the subjects you like. :-)

Indeed. I'm certainly not arguing against the existence of the list, just for some judicial trimming to make it an interesting and informative list. Expressions of support for out-groups are lovely and wonderful, but they're advocacy, which isn't really the mission of an encyclopedia. All-inclusive lists of famous people who were/are/might have been atheists for the purpose of making dejected teenages feel better can be found in warmer, fuzzier places that are specifically pro-atheism -- [1], [2], [3], [4], [5] were the first five that came up in a google search for "famous atheists".
Want to include some links to advocacy sites at the bottom of an article about people who are noted for being atheists? Fine by me! What to have "a partial list of persons believed to be atheists"? What's the point? --Brion VIBBER

The point is to have a partial list of persons believed to be atheists, of course! (what Wikipedia article can claim to be "complete"?) (and the same for lists of other types of persons 'X')(Though I'd like a slightly more rigorous standard than "believed to be")

Sturgeon's Law says "90% of everything is crap".

90% of Wikipedia is crap.

'However', one person's crap is another person's fertilizer. We do NOT all agree on *which* 90%! As I said above, I detest a lot of what I see on Wikipedia. However, I understand very well that *somebody* likes it (and "somebody" is generally at least several thousand people, I'd guess). I think when we work on Wikipedia, we should confine ourselves to 1)writing what we believe to be true 2)correcting what we believe to be false 3)making things more NPOV. I *don't* think we should be in the business of judging what others might find useful or interesting.

To say "People who like these lists can make them. People who don't like these lists can ignore them." misses the point. The point is that no encyclopedia or almanac for that matter would simply list noted persons of any faith just because they happen to be a member of that faith (or anti-faith as in this case). This would be the true even if they were like wikipedia and did't have paper contraints; because such lists are inherently non-neutral propoganda designed to make other people with similar views feel good about themselves (and wikipedia is attempting to be a neutral encyclopedia that has some almanac type information -- such as valid lists of noted professionals who are famous because they advanced their profession). Think of the hideous hugeness a Christian list might become (or the inevitable controversy over who is "really" a Christian rubbish). Brion is right, if there is to be such as list it must be short and informative and, as Robert said, the people listed should be famous in relation to, at least, being X faith -- just because they were otherwise famous and a member of X faith doesn't count. The problem with having these lists is that they can never be said to be nearly complete, are oftentimes difficult to verify, many people change their faith several times during their lives and others only pretended to be faithful or are not considered to have belonged to a certain faith by some groups. In addition, having "Listing of X faith" encourages the creation of other such meaningless lists and brings down the average quality of wikipedia. I'm starting to see a strong consensus here that this page in its current form is not informative and should either be fixed or remain in the deletion queue for final review. I don't see any reason why this page shouldn't be copied over to the meta though. Hard drive space is cheap, but wikipedia's strived for reputation for NPOV content is a very important goal -- these faith and related lists are more proselytizing propoganda than anything else -- this also goes for Famous gay lesbian or bisexual people too (I'm both atheist and gay BTW). --maveric149

I agree that these lists should go. If there is any justification to keeping them, it would be only after they are trimmed down to include only people who are famous because of their affiliation. In other words, a list of famous atheists should only include people who contributed to atheism and are famous for doing so (Madeleine Murray O'Hare comes to mind). In that case, the list could be appended to the Atheism article. I feel the same way about the list of famous gay people, Jews, Prussians, Canadians, etc. Oh, and I am very much opposed to the list of "Beautiful Italians," which puts these lists to shame. Danny

The value of a "List of foos" article is that it pulls together many disparate elements when such a list has no appropriate home elsewhere, for example List of famous gay, lesbian or bisexual people. But on the other hand, Marketing contains both general information about marketing as well as an extensive list of marketing subtopics -- so there is no need for a List of marketing topics (in my opinion anyway). -- Cyan 06:20, 8 Sep 2003 (UTC)

famous, notable, etc

Merriam-Webster online says:

FAMOUS, RENOWNED, CELEBRATED, NOTED, NOTORIOUS, DISTINGUISHED, EMINENT, ILLUSTRIOUS mean known far and wide. FAMOUS implies little more than the fact of being, sometimes briefly, widely and popularly known <a famous actress>. RENOWNED implies more glory and acclamation <one of the most renowned figures in sports history>. CELEBRATED implies notice and attention especially in print <the most celebrated beauty of her day>. NOTED suggests well- deserved public attention <the noted mystery writer>. NOTORIOUS frequently adds to FAMOUS an implication of questionableness or evil <a notorious gangster>. DISTINGUISHED implies acknowledged excellence or superiority <a distinguished scientist who won the Nobel Prize>. EMINENT implies even greater prominence for outstanding quality or character <the country's most eminent writers>. ILLUSTRIOUS stresses enduring honor and glory attached to a deed or person <illustrious heroes>.

We prefer not to have (for example) list of famous Canadians, because often we'll want to have noted Canadians too - getting on the list isn't a simple question of fame. So instead title lists of people as for list of Canadians.

Vote for your favorite criteria here:

  • noted, distinguished, eminent, illustrious:
  • widely and popularly known:
  • has at least one Wikipedia article
    • I vote for this, for essentially all lists of this type Martin
  • has X number of Google hits

Formatting of lists

Lists of people

  1. Kenneth Kaunda (1924-), President of Zambia
  2. Kenneth Kaunda, (1924 -), President of Zambia.
  • Alias: italics, placement
  1. Zeljko Raznatovic ("Arkan"), (2000), Serb paramilitary leader.
  2. Khalil Wazir, (1988), ("Abu Jihad") military leader of the PLO.
  3. Le Corbusier (1887-1965), (Charles-Edouard Jeanneret)
  • Approx. DOB/lifespan
  1. David Rizzio (~1533-1566), private secretary of Mary I of Scotland
  2. David Rizzio (c. 1533-1566), private secretary of Mary I of Scotland
  3. David Rizzio (approx. 1533-1566), private secretary of Mary I of Scotland
  4. David Rizzio (1533?-1566?), private secretary of Mary I of Scotland

Any preference or suggested version?

Some of mine:



  • 1 or 2 - no pref
  • 1. Zeljko Raznatovic ("Arkan"), (2000), Serb paramilitary leader. (name next to name)
  • 2. David Rizzio (c. 1533-1566), private secretary of Mary I of Scotland

--Martin 11:23, 17 Sep 2003 (UTC)

Naming of lists of lists

List of lists of X is nasty looking.
I need it cut down on keeping up with cross-links, list of fictional cats listed to list of fictional mice and rats (makes sence, you look up Tom, and want to find his opponent...). But then you need to add in list of fictional dogs (cat-dog, or opponent groups), and then it gets larger. And pretty soon you need to update all these different pages all the damn time. So, my solution was to go up to a master list: fictional X goes to master fictional list by topic, and a link specifically to historical X as well.
I'd like to suggest Index of lists of X as a potential solution.
Some lists are ambigious: What did list of fictional animals mean? extinct animals? list of lists of fictional versions of real animals (what I'd orginally envisioned), lists of fictional species (like unicorns), etc
~ender 2003-09-20 09:26:MST

BTW It suggest to use Lists of X for List of lists of X --User:Docu
Yup, saw that: but again, what's Lists of fictional animals to mean?
~ender 2003-09-20 09:40:MST


Can anybody explain where [this obsession with lists] is going to end? I think that an enciclopedia reflects the culture of who creates it. In the wiki case it's the whole world. Do we want to live in a world where people are catalogued in this principles? Does anybody is really serious about this listing-cataloguing-mania? I can invent so many examples of unreasonable lists that i make a suggestion: we have a wiki-quote, a wikctonary, why not a WIKILIST? Then we can remove all this nonsense (my NPOV, i assume) to there and give space to the List maniacs to create them at their leisure. Cheers all, Muriel Gottrop 09:20, 24 Oct 2003 (UTC)

Wikilists: that's an excellent idea, Muriel. Dysprosia 09:23, 24 Oct 2003 (UTC)
I'd say such a list function would be a valuable addition to the Wikipedia itself, but wouldn't be very useful as a seperate project, unless the entries in the lists linked to the Wikipedia articles and the articles link back to the appropriate lists (which is pretty much the same thing as having the list part of the 'pedia in the first place). If Wikipedia is about creating order from chaos, and do it in a way that paper can't, then lists provide a valuable way to find connections and relationships. The fact that some lists seem silly at a glance, or are going to be so inclusive as to be useless, is an artifact that will be self-correcting in the long run. Jgm 12:22, 24 Oct 2003 (UTC)

I do recognize that lists can be, for some people, interesting. I just dont think the wikipedia is the place for it. So, i propose here, as i did in VfD and Lists of people talk, to create a different place to put it: a wikilists or wikitrivia. This should be the place where all funny lists, cataloguing and whatevers would be welcome. There are things i think it would be interesting like List of historical mentally disturbed people that are not encyclopedic, but should be here. Any comments? Cheers to all, Muriel Gottrop 13:20, 25 Oct 2003 (UTC)

I think Jgm explained the problem with that perfectly, and I agree with everything that he/she said above. As I see it, the main purpose of lists in the Wikipedia is to organise the articles and allow people to find related articles easily and quickly. To separate the lists from the articles would defeat that purpose. -- Oliver P. 00:36, 26 Oct 2003 (UTC)

My sugestion does not include the removal of all Lists from the Wikipedia space. Things like List of people is useful as an index and all topic related lists are certainly to keep. What I suggest is the removal to Listipedia (i like the name below) of all trivia lists, like the ones being discussed on VfD. List of queer composers in the Wiki? Please no... In the Listipedia? Yes and i volunteer to add names to it! About technicalities of automated or not automated lists, i cant give an opinion because my computer skils are very limitated... But i think the wiki-format should be kept in the Listipedia. I hope i made myself clear now. Cheers, Muriel Gottrop 13:39, 26 Oct 2003 (UTC)

So your objection is not to the existence of these lists, but rather to their integration into the encyclopaedia? Would the entries on these lists link to Wikipedia articles? Would we be allowed to link to the "Listipedia" from the Wikipedia? If not, they lose most of their value. The more integrated information is, the more useful it is. If we are going to have the lists anyway, what advantage is there to removing their connection from the rest of the Wikipedia? -- Oliver P. 03:07, 27 Oct 2003 (UTC)
Yes, my objection is to keep them in the wikipedia. And i think all the people/things should be linked to the wiki-article. Could a bot do this? My main concern is to see Wikipedia nominated for the Ignobel Prize because of the listing mania. I created Wikipedia:Wikitrivia discussion to host this discussion. Hope to see you there. And i adore Aaron's suggestion below! Yes, lists like that is all what wikipedia really needs. Muriel Gottrop 07:32, 27 Oct 2003 (UTC)

Perhaps a whole new site should be set up simply for such lists. We can categorize the entire universe (or at least the part of it discussed on Wikipedia) into nice little lists and sublists (e.g. List of multiracial people who have written a song featured in a movie by a caucasian person whose title does not appear in the lyrics]]) User:AaronSw

Automating construction of lists

I really like the idea of an automated Wikilist, either within Wikipedia or separate. Besides saving us from wasting our time doing it by hand and arguing over it indefinitely, the automation process would hopefully be less biased than human minds and hence solve the NPOV problem (to some extent). -- zandperl 15:54, 25 Oct 2003 (UTC)

There have been suggestions (and some coding!) for a series of category: pages to replace our lists and explicitly seperate organisational things (list of biology topics) from actual articles (biology), using a category: namespace. I wonder if this would be sufficient for Muriel's wants, or whether she wants to go further.
I wonder if categories have had discussion on meta... Martin 17:20, 25 Oct 2003 (UTC)
I beleive Muriel is aware of the various lists and is looking for further standardization of them--I know this is my desire. For example, there has been much controversy involving lists of (race) people. We do not seem to have any agreement upon what conditions such lists are formed. I think either an autolist or a Wikiproject are in order. -- zandperl 21:12, 25 Oct 2003 (UTC)
What do you mean by an "autolist"?
Certainly I agree that it'd be good to have some standardisation - though on the other hand it makes sense for list of Lithuanians to be handled differently to list of people from the United States, due to the populations involved. Martin 21:38, 25 Oct 2003 (UTC)

I certainly don't think that automatically generated lists should replace hand-crafted ones, if that's what's being suggested. This is partly because hand-crafted lists can contain a lot more information, e.g. comments accompanying each entry in the list explaining why that entry belongs. But mostly it's because of NPOV. I don't understand how automatic lists would "solve the NPOV problem" (to any extent). Rather, I think it does the opposite. Categories in real life often have fuzzy or disputed boundaries, so membership of a category is not an all-or-nothing thing. Following NPOV, we can at the moment say for each entity listed that X considers the entry to belong, but Y doesn't, and so on. I can't see any way of automating that! Hard-coding categoriation of entities would immediately result in NPOV violations all over the place, because by including a disputed entity in a category, we are siding with those who classify it as belonging to that category, and by not including it, we are siding with those who don't. It is far better to allow all lists to be edited by the normal wiki process, to allow such disputes to be explained without having to takes sides. -- Oliver P. 00:36, 26 Oct 2003 (UTC)

The way I envision an automated list feature ("autolist") is that on the edit page, in addition to having the big box for text, small box for summary, and a couple check boxes, there would also be a small box for keywords for lists. When editing an existing page, the keyword list box would be loaded with all the previous keywords. When submitting the edit, the auto-listmaker would compare the new keywords to the old keywords, remove the article from lists that are no longer considered relevant, and add the article (alphabetically) to newly relevant lists. I have listed this idea on the Wikipedia:Feature request Sourceforge page, but I said essentially the same thing. -- zandperl 23:06, 26 Oct 2003 (UTC)

Are you suggesting that lists should no longer be editable as wiki pages? I made two objections to that above. How would you address them? -- Oliver P. 03:22, 27 Oct 2003 (UTC)

Recent changes

For those trying to follow the recent revisions by Cunctator and Mydogategodshat, you may want to check the histories of List Manual_of_Style_(lists_of_links) Manual_of_Style_(lists). There was some discussion about the present layout at Wikipedia_talk:Manual_of_Style_(lists_-_stand_alone_lists).
Unfortunatly the history of the different pages got shuffled and the talk pages don't related to the present versions. I did some cleaning up, but there is still to do.
BTW Wikipedia:Lists (embedded lists) should probably be better integrated into Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style#See_also_and_Related_topics_styles.
-- User:Docu (20 Dec 2003)

Index vs. List

An index is "something that serves to guide, point out, or otherwise facilitate reference," or said differently "that which guides, points out, informs, or directs." A list is merely "a series of names, words, or other items." The difference is significant. What we have mostly in Wikipedia are indexes, not lists.

Many of our "List of..." articles should be renamed "Index of..." This will better reflect professional electronic information databases and other references. For example:

List of reference tables should be Index of reference tables
List of British monarchs should be Index of British monarchs
List of Biblical names should be Index of Biblical names
and so on down the line.

Maybe some Lists should remain lists, but most of them should be changed to Indexes. Kingturtle 08:21, 25 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Consistency is important, and unless you intend to change 30,000 links and move around 4,400 pages, I suggest they are all left as list of. I also think people are more likely to be searching for "list of" than "index of". Angela. 16:45, Mar 25, 2004 (UTC)
A robot could make those changes. Kingturtle 20:07, 25 Mar 2004 (UTC)
Are you saying that if a list is plain text, then it's a list, but if you add wikilinks to the items in the list, it becomes an index, since each item points to another article? I say we should keep the more familiar word, list, since it's assumed in a hypertext encyclopedia that every significant word in every article is an index to another page. GUllman 21:04, 23 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Order of time-based lists

There doesn't seem to be a standard on how to order a list based on time (e.g. Filmography). Some do it earliest first, some latest first (I prefer earliest first). Any comments? Lefty 00:05, 2004 Apr 23 (UTC)

Reverse chronological order is useful in situations (like your job resume) when you want to make it easy to find the most recent items on the list, especially if the list is very long. I would say reverse would be useful if a list is much longer than one screen, and if most people would be looking for the most recent items. Actors start out in minor roles and become progressively more famous, so most people would be looking for their most recent films. Otherwise, if a list is historical (items are no longer being added to the list), such as the kings of an ancient kingdom, then chronological order makes sense. GUllman 21:04, 23 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Really Long Lists

In the biography for Kylie Minogue, there is an very long list of all her 45rpms and albums. Similar such listings can be found for many other singers/actresses/authors and the like. At the same time, in the biography of Jack Pickford, there was a partial list of films he appeared in that was removed by User:Frecklefoot with the reason "commented out overlong filmograph." I’m fairly new here so don’t want to do things that established and valuable contributors have determined as unacceptable. I'm starting on a biography for silent film actress Pauline White but because I am now not certain what is proper, can someone tell me if I should follow User:Frecklefoot's policy when I create new biographies and not include a filmography/list of albums/45s/CDs, or books etc? Similarly, if I edit an existing biography, should I also delete the filmography, list of albums/45s/CDs, books etc? Jill

This was hashed out a while ago. I probably did comment out a very long list (if I deleted it, it can be retreived via the pages history). I dislike really long lists in article, especially filmographies when the information is available via other sites, such as the IMDb. I find that they add little but clutter to articles. However, it was decided that very long lists should go on a seperate page, such as [[List of John Doe's movies]]. Most felt that Wikipedia should not rely on outside websites for complete information. So, if its a really long list, put it on a seperate page. If it's fairly brief, it can go in the main article. I hope this clears things up. :-) —Frecklefoot 19:43, Apr 26, 2004 (UTC)
A rule to consider: Suppose you create [[List of Xs relating to Y]]. If the only page that will link to it is Y then you may as well have List Of Y thingies on the Y page, otherwise you are just making navigation unnecessarily difficult for the user for the sake of bumping up the page count by 1. The 32k page size caveat still applies even to list pages though - long edit pages hinder some browsers. Pete/Pcb21 (talk) 20:54, 26 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Really, really long lists

Arnfjörð Bjarmason thinks the article at sexual slang should be in bulleted list form. I think this makes the page look too vertical and it should be reverted back to its previous form. What do other people think? Andy5 15:57, 8 May 2004 (UTC) Warning: the page is a listing of adult language that could potentially be very offensive to some people.

In praise of annotating lists of links—and anything else

In reference to the above problem of external links not being described (and consequently hiding POV), let me add that I feel that in general, Wikipedia has too many lists of links and anything else that just list items without any descriptions. Most of could be enormously improved by adding short notes to list items. (The note should be short enough so that the list remains on a single line without wrapping when the window is a normal size. This preserves the vertical compactness of the list and keeps the list items positioned for easy visual overview).

Editors seem to be reluctant to do this, I'm not sure why.

Perhaps what happens is that someone starts a list that contains no comments, and subsequent editors are reluctant to be the first to disturb the pristine columnnar appearance of the list by adding the first comment? Or is it a "foolish consistency" fear that it is somehow wrong to annotate one item unless you can annotate all of them?

When listing Moog synthesizer users, how much better to have

(as is the case in the actual article) than

Dpbsmith 11:13, 16 May 2004 (UTC)

That's better, certainly, but good old fashioned sentences would be better yet. Strawman:
I've taken to doing this on disambigs, e.g. Stirling (disambiguation) -- Finlay McWalter | Talk 22:41, 16 May 2004 (UTC)
I don't know. There's a case to be made for conciseness as well. I think we should seek a happy medium. I agree that "Mike Farrell" or "Doug Fieger" is too little, but I think information about particular albums, songs, or collaborators should be found in the linked article not the link itself. MK 04:47, 17 May 2004 (UTC)
I maintain many lists - around 70. If there is twice as much to type, it takes twice as long (and I don't feel I've achieved more, in fact). I'm not past passive resistance if others get fancy about this. A list is mostly about making information about what is here or possibly is not here, in my view. Putting it another way, I think of a list as mostly about reducing the number of clicks pages are away from the Main Page. Charles Matthews 15:45, 20 May 2004 (UTC)

lists of lists

I think lists of lists would be easier to use if each item didn't start with "list of." Maurreen 07:25, 15 Sep 2004 (UTC)

From Wikipedia:Votes for deletion/List of villains

(Copied Jayjg's vote from there.)

  • Delete. As useful as most Wikipedia lists, that is to say, not at all, since inherently un-maintainable, and comprehensive list would have tens of thousands of entries making it useless. Jayjg 12:23, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)

(Note that I respect your opinion and your vote, this is a personal reaction. This page seemed like the best place to put it.) Re "inherently unmaintainable": what does that mean, actually? This is a wiki. Everyone's a maintainer. What makes this list so special that it's beyond maintenance? Size? Factual accuracy? Might be tricky, but certainly not impossible. Re "tens of thousands of entries": we should be lucky to get a list that comprehensive. And by that time, we would certainly have different ways of organizing it. Until that time, there's nothing wrong with a flat or semi-flat list. JRM 13:20, 2004 Nov 14 (UTC)

  • Delete. Pure crap for partisans who can't make an intelligent arguement. nobs 02:06, 18 July 2005 (UTC)

Seed of a Policy Proposal

Nabla suggested that I bring this over from a VFD discussion. I suggested that a policy to the following effect may be worth considering:

  • "Lists may only be permitted as part of larger articles that could stand on their own as articles with the list removed. Otherwise, attempts to form a list as an article must be merged with a legitimate and actual article, converted into a category, or deleted."

Basically, I believe that while lists can contribute greatly to an article (for instance, an article about a writer is enhanced with a list of their works), the list on its own is not an acceptable article ("List of books by _____" is no good.) In cases where the list consists primarily of wikilinks, I believe the list's purposes are better served by replacing it with a category. In cases where the list does not consist predominately of wikilinks, I believe that written content in addition to the list is required to form an article, in the same way that a dicdef on its own is insufficient for an article, but many good articles include dicdefs as one part of their content. The Literate Engineer 01:10, 18 July 2005 (UTC)

I took a look around and it sounds like Wikipedia:Lists (stand-alone lists)#Appropriate topics for lists is quite close to this.
So I guess that, at least, what you propose could be added there a some sort of rule of thumb. Something in the line of adding an extra paragraph at the bottom of that section, clarifying it:
As a rule of thumb if a list can be considered as part of a larger article that can stand on its own with the list removed, than it is probably an appropriate list. Otherwise, attempts to form a list unrelated to some article are likely to be merged with a legitimate and actual article, converted into a category, or deleted.
If we move in that direction we should move this talk section to that page. Nabla 00:47, 21 July 2005 (UTC)
I'm not sure about this. Some lists are more or less indexess, or annotated indexes, that can be sorted in different ways than articles. But I can't think of any good examples at the moment. Maurreen 03:02, 21 July 2005 (UTC)

I suggested something similar to this over at Wikipedia talk:Centralized discussion/Lists of songs#Linking lists to related articles. android79 23:49, 17 September 2005 (UTC)

Capitalization of list entries

Please see the discussion about capitalization of list items: Wikipedia_talk:Manual_of_Style. Cacycle 22:39, 30 August 2005 (UTC)

Lists lowercase?

The project page states

As a matter of style, do not capitalize list items...

I had a hard time finding where this was being following, in the wikipedia or anywhere else. Standard English usage is to capitalize the first letter of each item in a bulleted or numbered list. This avoids the incongruity of having some items capitalized and some not when common nouns and proper nouns are mixed in the same list, or sentence fragments mixed with complete sentences.

In addition, the example used for the horizontal list actually uses capitalized items. This is also against standard english usage, where items on a line like that are only capitalized if they are proper nouns.

My proposal is to add a section titled "Capitalization" that looks like this:

Items in lists should be capitalized according to the following rules:

For ordered lists, unordered lists and definition lists, the first word of each item should be capitalized. Other words on that line should only be capitalized if they are proper nouns.

== Title of list ==
* Example one, more words
* Example two, more words with one a Proper Noun
* Example three

For streamlined or horizontal lists, only proper nouns and the first word introducing the list should be capitalized.

Title of list: example one, example two, example three has a Proper Noun 

Alternatively, we could just leave it out, but conform the examples to these suggestions and people will still get the idea. Its silly to leave it as-is, though. Chuck 23:12, 30 August 2005 (UTC)

One of the main reasons for the current rule (no matter how poorly it is followed in actual practice) is that there are many cases where capitalized version (the proper noun) and the lower-case version (the common noun) can mean fairly different things, so using the lower-case version when you mean the common noun helps prevent any ambiguity. BlankVerse 13:33, 31 August 2005 (UTC)
I guess that makes sense, it just seems like we'd be swimming upstream:(i) most lists in articles already use caps, (ii) the table of contents does not conform to this guideline, (iii) the category system does not conform to this guideline, (iv) it contradicts what many consider standard typesetting convention, (v) it is the style that new users would be least likely to utilize, and (v) it only prevents ambiguity if people feel they can trust that lists generally conform. Why not just eplicitly address ambiguity in the cases where it arises? Chuck 19:30, 31 August 2005 (UTC)
I completely agree with Chuck. Also the Wikipedia user interface and the Main Page contain only capitalized lists. The current rule was 'invented' by Patrick six months ago without any discussion. Cacycle 21:59, 31 August 2005 (UTC)
I wrote down what was already customary in Wikipedia, and what I think makes most sense. By the way, note that capitalization in lists of article names is a separate discussion, this is about arbitrary lists.--Patrick 07:57, 27 September 2005 (UTC)

If nobody (rationally) objects I will make the appropriate changes to Wikipedia:Lists. Cacycle 10:51, 22 September 2005 (UTC)

If by "appropriate changes" you mean restoring the previous, well-founded guideline of having list entries capitalized, I don't object. —jiy (talk) 20:59, 24 September 2005 (UTC)

I have now restored the original guideline (capitalization of list entries). See also the discussion at Wikipedia_talk:Manual_of_Style#Capitalization of link lists. Cacycle 22:15, 6 October 2005 (UTC)

Request for discussion of naming convention for long lists

I am hoping to generate a naming convention for long lists that are broken up alphabetically. Please see Wikipedia:Naming conventions (long lists) and thank you in advance for any input you might have. -- Reinyday, 14:16, 31 August 2005 (UTC)

Should comma-separated lists end with a dot

Should comma-separated horizontal style lists end with a dot or not? I would prefer the dot. Cacycle 22:20, 6 October 2005 (UTC)

Capping List %.

I think we should institute a cap on the percentage of any article that can be a list, thereby requiring that every article contain a minimum of non-list material, thereby making it a legitimate article. As a starting point, I propose 75%: at least 25% of an article's content must be non-list material. The Literate Engineer 21:50, 23 October 2005 (UTC)

Lists of companies - proposed for deletion

I've nominated for deletion all Lists of companies type articles (collected in Lists of companies) with named exceptions and others that may be proposed. See Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Lists of companies. Rd232 talk 13:15, 26 October 2005 (UTC)

Paragraph or List?

1) Do you like "sister cities" in paragraph:

Albuquerque has nine sister cities, as designated by Sister Cities International, Inc. (SCI): Ashgabat (Turkmenistan), Chihuahua (Mexico), Gijon (Spain), Helmstedt (Germany), Lanzhou (China), Sasebo (Japan), Guadalajara (Mexico), Hua Lien (Taiwan), and Alburquerque (Spain).

2) Or list form:

Albuquerque has nine sister cities, as designated by Sister Cities International, Inc. (SCI):

3) Two column list/mini table: Albuquerque has nine sister cities, as designated by Sister Cities International, Inc. (SCI):

4) Infobox: Taipei is using a table at the bottom of the article:

Asunción | Atlanta | Banjul | Bissau | Boston | Cleveland | Cotonou | Dakar | Dallas | Gold Coast | Guatemala City | Ho Chi Minh City | Houston | Indianapolis | Jeddah | Johannesburg | La Paz | Lilongwe | Lomé | Los Angeles | Majuro | Managua | Manila | Marshall | Mbabane | Monrovia | Oklahoma City | Panama City | Phoenix | Pretoria | Quezon City | Riga | San Francisco | San José | San Nicolas | San Salvador | Santo Domingo | Seoul | Tegucigalpa | Ulaanbaatar | Ulan Ude | Versailles | Vilnius | Warsaw

NOTE Constanţa - has them in an infobox on the top-right hand side, with the flag, seal, map, etc. CHECK IT OUT!

5) Table, Gold Coast, Queensland:

Country City (and Province or State)
Australia Shoalhaven, New South Wales
China Beihai, Guangxi Zhuang
France Noumea, New Caledonia island territory
Greece Corfu
Israel Netanya
Japan Kanagawa, Takasu-cho, and Hokkaido
New Zealand Horowhenua
Taiwan Taipei
United Arab Emirates Dubai
United States of America Ft. Lauderdale, Florida


Many of the city articles have the year (and/or day & month) that they became a sister city after the city (Jinan, Nuremberg, Melbourne):

  • Osaka, Japan - 1978


  • Freetown, Sierra Leone (March 20, 1984)

Some have an external link after (Kobe, Ludwigshafen am Rhein):


A very few have it broken into sub-headings for foriegn and domestic (Akita, Akita, Kesennuma, Miyagi):

International Sister / Friendship Cities

Japanese Sister Cities

Current Stats

I did a ramdom sample of 200 cities:

  • 24 (12%) Only had ONE sister city, so I discount them.
  • 34 (17%) Are in PARAGRAPH form.
  • 142 (71%) Are LIST format:

Between Paragraph and List it is:

  • List - 81%
  • Paragraph - 19%


Which is easier to read and decipher faster?

This example is for Albuquerque, now try it for Istanbul, which has 26 sister cities, what a NIGHTMARE that would be to read in paragraph form! Yerevan has 24.

Writing for the Web is very different from writing for print:

  • 79% of users scan the page instead of reading word-for-word
  • Reading from computer screens is 25% slower than from paper
  • Web content should have 50% of the word count of its paper equivalent

Bulleted and numbered lists slow down the scanning eye and can draw attention to important points.

Lists: You can include a greater number of lists on a web page than on a printed paper page.Use numbered lists when the order of entries is important.Use unnumbered lists whenever the sequence of the entries is not important.Limit the number of items in a single list to no more than nine.Generally, limit lists to no more than two levels: primary and secondary.

by Jakob Nielsen, distinguished engineer; PJ Schemenaur, technical editor; and Jonathan Fox, editor-in-chief,

Lists are useful because they emphasize certain information in regular text. When you see a list of three or four items strung out vertically on the page, rather than in normal paragraph format, you naturally notice it more and are likely to pay more attention to it. Certain types of lists also make for easier reading. For example, in instructions, it is a big help for each step to be numbered and separate from the preceding or following steps. Lists also create more white space and spread out the text so that pages don't seem like solid walls of words. Online Technical Writing: Lists

WikiDon 21:46, 2 November 2005 (UTC)

Message from Dr. Mary Ellen Guffey

The list of cities is much more readable in list form, as shown. I can't imagine any instance when this kind of information would be arranged in paragraph form. Lists improve readability.

Dr. Mary Ellen Guffey, Author

  Business Communication: Process and Product
  Essentials of Business Communication
  Business English
  Professional English
  Essentials of College English


  • LIST WikiDon 21:46, 2 November 2005 (UTC)
  • List - it isn't prose; far easier to read when bulleted. TPK 04:52, 3 November 2005 (UTC)
  • Prose - I generally support the prose format as opposed to lists, since I don't think that wikipedia articles should be composed of just lists of list. Encyclopedia articles should be written out. However, in the case of the Sister Cities information, since there is generally little other info than simply a listing of cities, I can see how listing the cities out would make it easier to read for a long list of cities. I think I would generally favor prose format for short lists (5 or less cities in the list), and list format for longer lists. But for really long lists, I think the list should be divided into two columns, to prevent the accumulation of excessive and boring whitespace to the right of the list. Dr. Cash 23:00, 3 November 2005 (UTC)
  • List or Infobox - I would favor Prose only for two or fewer cities. Infobox would need a header to describe what it is, and if infobox is used, then no prose should exist even for one or two sister cities. On tables, the division into columns is ok, but it should be dependent upon the number of cities. Splitting a list of less than six cities into two columns seems like a bad idea to me. For drastic cases like Istanbul, I would be ok with three columns. Neier 03:42, 4 November 2005 (UTC)
  • List or maybe a SIMPLE table. It should be easy and readible. Paragraph is stupid. IP4240207xx 03:46, 4 November 2005 (UTC)
  • List please. --Plastictv 06:45, 4 November 2005 (UTC)
  • Blank. Let the editors do what they think is most suitable; not something to poll about. //Fred-Chess 16:20, 4 November 2005 (UTC)
Fred: How can you say that? Don't these cities articles need to be of a similar look and feel to the reader? Isn't having different formatting in each city article in not acceptable according to Wikipedia policy? Why have a Wikipedia:Manual of Style and Wikipedia:Guide to layout at all if you feel that way? If the reader finds different formatting for every article that they go to, won't some of them may become frustrated with the experience and not return? WikiDon 17:44, 4 November 2005 (UTC)
The manual of style is not a forced policy. Although a common structure is nice, I can see no reason why it is necessary to force it for the the description of sister cities. If it is a merely a listing of cities, use a list; if it can be turned into nice prose, write prose. // Fred-Chess 07:33, 5 November 2005 (UTC)
  • List. It's easier to read, especially with cities that have a large number of sister cities or with sister cities that need to be subcategorized. -Nameneko 06:58, 5 November 2005 (UTC)
  • List. Easier to read and work with. I especially like the the list used for the Chicago Sister Cities article with flags by the name of each city, but that's just me. I used the same pattern with the Cleveland Sister Cities article I started. -- Clevelander 20:41, 11 December 2005 (UTC)


What does a list achieve that a suitably-written category page does not?

Category pages are dynamically updated. Furthermore, a category page can have introductory text meaning it can easily replace any 'List of...' article. In terms of maximising our usage of the technology lists seem to me to be totally pointless. --kingboyk 13:48, 14 January 2006 (UTC)

Lists can be annotated. olderwiser 13:50, 14 January 2006 (UTC)
True. A feature which could be added for Category entries, but isn't there yet. I'll have to Fold. --kingboyk 22:09, 14 January 2006 (UTC)

Shortcut WP:LIST

Could the shortcut WP:LIST point to this Lists page? haz (user talk) 20:53, 23 January 2006 (UTC)

WP:LIST does this now. -- Omniplex 02:00, 25 March 2006 (UTC)