Wikipedia talk:Root page/Archive 1

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first talk

This is something I have introduced into several pages, and would like to suggest as a useful concept. It should probably have a label as is the case for 'disambiguation page' --Lindosland 13:29, 30 December 2005 (UTC)

I note the change to Wikipedia:Root page. I wonder if root page should be a category, like Disambiguation. I'm not sure.

I also tend to think it might be useful to place 'This is a Root page at the top of the article, along with 'see also' followed by just the most pertinent links (duplicating from the main See also list at the bottom of the article. I'll give it a try. --Lindosland 15:35, 30 December 2005 (UTC)

Naming? (section of material moved from Wikipedia talk:Disambiguation)

Obviously, there are a lot of cases where such a page is useful. But the proposed implementation isn't exactly what I want.

  • Really, all pages that don't have "(disambiguation)" in the title could be root pages. We just need some nice well-known text somewhere that make this clear, so that the disambiguation warriors don't strip the pages to lists of entries — a problem well documented on numerous complaints and talk pages!
  • I suggest that the "Multi-stub pages" section be moved up to "When to disambiguate" (to clearly indicate that the disambig template not be used — in fact it's in the wrong section now, so I'll do that right away), and also copied to WP:GTL and MOS:DP and others.
  • A formal name for such pages would be good, such as root or signpost. A "better name discussion" for these pages might be needed!
--William Allen Simpson 07:37, 1 January 2006 (UTC)
Let's avoid "signpost" as this presents confusion beside Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost, unfortunately. User:Ceyockey (talk to me) 15:52, 1 January 2006 (UTC)
I'd say Wikipedia talk:Root page is a better place for the naming discussion? Thanks/wangi 15:57, 1 January 2006 (UTC)

deja vu

Gives me a sense of deja-vu - this is exactly like the signpost articles I put up for deletion a month back: Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Wikipedia:Manual of Style (signpost articles) and Wikipedia:Categories for deletion/Log/2005 November 30#:Category:Signpost articles. I'll list root pages later on this evening. Thanks/wangi 19:34, 30 December 2005 (UTC)

Deja-vu alone is no reason for deletion. I think there is need for this or something like it, and so it seems did someone before me. I cannot compare my solution to the previous attempt since its been deleted. I'd like to see further discussion, as the concept seems to solve a problem I keep coming across. I did get a 'well done' message after using this approach to sort out a call for 'cleanup' on Animation. --86.135.217.246 21:00, 30 December 2005 (UTC)
Deja vu isn't my reason for deletion - i've given my reason on the MfD page: Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Wikipedia:Root page. Also see the two linked discussions above. Thanks/wangi 21:03, 30 December 2005 (UTC)

Alright, but I read in the first of those links that a signpost article "essentially does the same thing as a disambiguation page". This couldn't be further from the truth for the Root page idea: please read the explanation I put up more carefully.

Wikipedia is full of articles duplicating each other's contents. Disambiguation is only for different meanings, not associated topics. If used as a means of tidying up a large page, disambiguation fragments the ideas, leaving no common explanation. This is about hierarchy. Without a Root page, editors fail to spot each other's articles with slightly different (and unexpected) names. The Root page is about coordinating page content, and minimising duplication of effort. It is also different from a Project, which is about cooperating over a body of entries.

Please think again about this. Regards --Lindosland 21:56, 30 December 2005 (UTC)

By the way, I didn't discuss first because I felt that demonstrating (carefully and with the best of intentions) was the clearest way to provide a basis for discussion and bring in comments. I also understood that the articles talk page was a good place to discuss, and I asked for discussion there --Lindosland 22:00, 30 December 2005 (UTC)

The page is marked as a proposed policy, as it should be, now, and the MfD is rather unfounded. rspeer / ɹəədsɹ 05:24, 31 December 2005 (UTC)

I'd just like to reply to the implication on the closed MfD that I was acting in bad faith here. When I put the page up for deletion it hadn't been discussed in any expected place and accepted policy/guidelines we being edited to include it as if it were policy. Sure, I jumped the gun. Also the idea is so similar to signpost articles which were MfD'd at the end of Novemeber that I expected the ultimate consensus here would also be to delete. Additionally I was the one who actually added the {{proposed}} tag. Thanks/wangi 01:32, 2 January 2006 (UTC)

I like the idea, with the caveat that deep hierarchies are hard to maintain and proposals that involve them have generally been rejected. As long as there aren't generally root pages for other root pages, I think this will work. Lindosland, you can make an example of a root page in your userspace, and point to it from Wikipedia:Root page. rspeer / ɹəədsɹ 05:24, 31 December 2005 (UTC)

I'm not sure, but I think that I have been thinking of something similar, that I was considering calling "Topic guides" that would make it easier to find related topics and explain the relationships between them. BlankVerse 09:19, 31 December 2005 (UTC)

That's right Rspeer, I think there should never be a Root page for a Root page. That's the problem with other methods, they just confuse. In my work on Animation, which I made a Root page, I considered whether Graphic was a Root page for Animation, and Drawing for Graphic etc. but you can go on like that forever and it defeats the object of providing a point of reference for pulling together work on associated topics. I'll add text to that effect. --Lindosland 11:26, 31 December 2005 (UTC)

Explanation of the common aspects

A root page may be a useful solution for the problem that a disambiguation page hardly allows explanation of the common aspects.--Patrick 12:34, 31 December 2005 (UTC)

Relationship between Root pages and Portals

If the Root pages concept is adopted, it would likely be useful to articulate some formal relationship between Root pages and Portals. Portals are designed to be introductions to broad topic areas while Root pages are (so I'm interpreting) meant to be introductions to topic areas as well. One transition method from the current state to one including Root pages could be examining each of the Portals and introducing a "Root pages" section in each that would provide a hierarchy step. I would, in fact, suggest that this change be considered as a preceding step before implementation of a Root page tag across a significant number of articles. I would further suggest that the tag be implemented, if adopted, via a WikiProject that would coordinate Portal representation and article tagging. This would be in addition to the actions of individual editors, not in replacement of. User:Ceyockey (talk to me) 18:22, 31 December 2005 (UTC)

  • Thats sounds good to me, though I don't claim familiarity with what Portals are about. Note that I have just revised the page, emphasising the 'star' structure, and warning that this is not about creating a multi-level hierarchy. I've also emphasised that it is perhaps more about enabling coordinated editing than assisting the user, and it is certainly not about guiding the user forever forwards or backwards. --Lindosland 23:01, 31 December 2005 (UTC)
Could someone differentiate this project more from Wikipedia:Portals? I fail to see any significant difference between the two. ~MDD4696 01:16, 14 March 2006 (UTC)

Use of Redirect from Root page to Wikipedia:Root page

Following the use of a Robot all instances of Root page were changed to the full form Wikipedia:Root page. The redirect was deleted.

I feel this was premature and have asked for it to be reversed. My feeling is that use of the shortened form Root page is easier, and there is nothing wrong in using the Redirect. There are several precedants for this, such as Wikipedia:Disambiguation, which has several redirects in place including Disambiguation and Disambiguation page. --Lindosland 00:16, 1 January 2006 (UTC)

You can't put things about Wikipedia process in the main article namespace. Not even with a redirect. rspeer / ɹəədsɹ 05:56, 1 January 2006 (UTC)

Refined text clarifies use as the 'core of a star'

In attempting the refine the text I have found it necessary to clarify several principles.

A Root page cannot have a Root page. (avoids endless hierarchy)

A page labelled as a Root page, should not be listed in another article as a root page unless it is considered the Root page of that article. (Else the unifying object of the idea is defeated.)

An article can list two pages as its Root pages? Possible, but not recommended (example given).

Having clarified that this is about 'star' association, not hierarchy, I wonder if Root is the best word. Other possibilities might be 'Core page', 'Intro page', 'Topic page', 'Bonding page'. --Lindosland 01:47, 1 January 2006 (UTC)

Obviously Hub page is the ideal name for this idea! I hope I have not 'spoke' too soon! :-))--Light current 17:24, 22 February 2006 (UTC)

Root page and categories and templates (brainstorming)

The article that shares a name with a category is often a Root page in the sense used here, if not in fact then in potential. Should there be some wordage included that says something to this? Should there be an attempt, for instance, to limit to one Root page per category? User:Ceyockey (talk to me) 03:39, 1 January 2006 (UTC)

I thought it was one portal per category. I'd say one root page per series template.
--William Allen Simpson 15:54, 6 January 2006 (UTC)

Purpose is unclear

As I interpret it, looking at Animation as an example, a root page is an article which introduces a topic in its broadest form and serves as a hub to more specific topics (that's what I think they should be called, "hub articles"). Unless I've misinterpreted, isn't this guideline simply a codification of what has emerged naturally in varying forms, or is it something new? For instance, the only difference I see between the root-pagified Animation example and, say, Philosophy or War, is that Animation has italicized meta-messages inserted into it and the others do not. The messages don't seem to add much benefit and if they were removed (on say Animation) the article would stand perfectly fine. Another point this guideline discusses is linking back to the "root page" from more specialized ones. Yet most child articles I have seen link to their parent naturally within the first sentence, so...why do it again? The guideline also says something about providing an easy way for editors and readers to find a list of associated topics, but isn't that what categories and "List of X topics" articles are for? So far this guideline smells of instruction creep and is somewhat redundant with Wikipedia:Summary style, at least by my interpretation. Can its purpose be clarified?—jiy (talk) 09:29, 1 January 2006 (UTC)

I am thinking along similar lines as jiy. Sure, animation is a "Root page" where a general topic branches off into more specific articles. But ideally this what every encyclopedia aritcle should be. I don't see the need to brand an article as a Root page. --Commander Keane 17:08, 1 January 2006 (UTC)
Yeah, almost every article can be though of like this. For example the Boeing 737 article doesn't go into the whole explanation about what a jet aircraft is - it just links to jet aircraft. Likewise here why should cell animation simply state it's a form of animation and let the user follow the link? Why can't the animation article simply just refer to other types of animation, why the need for complication? Thanks/wangi 01:39, 2 January 2006 (UTC)
  • Yes, you are both right, but you are missing the point that a Root page assists editors and formalises what is otherwise a bit too haphazard. Please see further explanation of how it helps editors under 'Summary pages' below. --Lindosland 14:45, 6 January 2006 (UTC)
    • Problem is we're not writing an encyclopedia for editors. Anything intended for editors should live on talk pages or the wikipedia namespace. Thanks/wangi 15:10, 6 January 2006 (UTC)
    • I agree with Wangi, but clearly newer editors are having a hard time figuring out the best form for these pages. when folks are asking for similar things over and over, it's time to pay heed! --William Allen Simpson 15:54, 6 January 2006 (UTC)
I'm baffled. Everything is linked to everything else - how do you pick a real "root" other that perhaps "Cogito, ergo sum" ? An encyclopedia with a million spelling and grammar errors needs good articles well-written and edited more than it needs another arbitrary hierarchical scheme. --Wtshymanski 18:44, 27 February 2006 (UTC)
I agree. This just adds another layer of cruft to the project. I don't want to be told when I visit an article that it's a "root article". Says who? What if I disagree with the structure? The whole thing is annoying. If the purpose is to help editors, then the structure should be hidden away where only editors can see it, and only editors who subscribe to the idea at that. Anyway, hierarchies are so nineteenth-century. --Heron 19:54, 6 March 2006 (UTC)

Summary pages

My observation is that there are quite a few of these pages already. They provide a root for branches on related subjects.

These are easily distinguished from disambiguation pages by the lack of the "(disambiguation)" title and the lack of the Disambiguation (or disambig or dab) template.

Therefore, I propose that these pages be called "Summary pages" paired with Wikipedia:Manual of Style (summary pages) aka Wikipedia:Summary style.

Note: thus matching the current pairing for Wikipedia:Disambiguation with Wikipedia:Manual of Style (disambiguation pages).

--William Allen Simpson 00:53, 2 January 2006 (UTC)
  • I think the Summary page suggestion is a good one, and I like the linking with Wikipedia:Summary style. Strictly, the term used in the summary style article seems to be Summary article, but I prefer Summary page, which pairs with Disambiguation page.

Most of the commments so far view the concept in terms of of utility to the reader, concluding that since many existing pages act as Summary pages this is nothing new. I agree that the idea does little for the reader that cannot already be done with Wikilinks but it's main value is in coordinating the editing of pages.

When I started to edit Computer generated imagery this page did not have any reference in its first paragraph to Animation and surprisingly it still doesn't have (though it probably should!). Nor did it have Animation under 'See also'. People tend to think in their own boxes when creating pages, and I guess what I am trying to do is formalise a scheme that gets people thinking about Summary style.

Once a page is labelled Summary page, editors know that this is a place where the reader should find links to ALL daughter pages. If some daughter pages do not contain links to other daughter pages, then this does not matter so much. It takes 100 edits to cross-link 10 daughter pages, and as things stand currently such cross linking tends to be patchy. Without adequaate cross-linking, separated groups arise. Nominating a Summary page avoids the need to check for full cross-linking.

With all links to daughters pages provided on the summary page, the editor who starts a new page can quickly check whether the article he is about to create already exists under a name he may not have thought of. He can also see clearly where he should place a link to his new page as top priority. --Lindosland 14:39, 6 January 2006 (UTC)

Summary/root and daughter/branch pages should use series templates. There's no need for other links between daughter/branch pages.
--William Allen Simpson 15:54, 6 January 2006 (UTC)

This is not consistent with the definition of series templates at Wikipedia:Template namespace, which says 'templates are used to duplicate the same content across several pages.' While it would be possible to provide a box listing all related pages on all daughter pages using a template, this is ugly, and a warning to that effect is given. It in no way indicates which page is the Summary page, and it simply clutters every page with too many links that would be more appropriately placed on the Summary page. I have seen no examples of such use. --Lindosland 11:31, 7 January 2006 (UTC)

I see that Lindosland is in the process of changing all the Roots to Summary, and that's a good thing -- but it would be very helpful to the rest of us to use the Preview function while writing, and only Save when you are done! Avoid conflict, and make reading your change history easier.
--William Allen Simpson 16:01, 6 January 2006 (UTC)

I do, all the time, but I still make mistakes, or change my mind on a re-read. It's ok - that's what 'minor edit' is for (they are all marked M). --Lindosland 11:02, 7 January 2006 (UTC) I have found that spending too long working on an edit can actually result in edit-conflict if someone else changes the page before you save your version, and that it is therefore better to proceed in stages sometimes. I also find that Wikipedia logs me off at times (but the indication still says logged in)(Wikipedia goes down quiet often) making it desirable to save edits quickly --Lindosland 11:38, 7 January 2006 (UTC)


difference between "root page" and "summary style"

The "root page" ideas here *sound* good. But I'm a little fuzzy. Once again, how does Wikipedia:Root page differs from the Wikipedia:Summary style? (In theory, you should be able to find all pages with that style by looking at the backlinks from the {{details}} template, but I think there's a few pages that people just cut-and-pasted manually, because they didn't know about the template. ) The "summary style" is used by

and just about every page that has a Category named after it. (Except for sense, which uses yet another completely different style ...).

  • Is this supposed to be a new, improved version of Wikipedia:Summary style, making the old version obsolete? (If so, shouldn't we merge them, and discuss improvments on *its* talk page?)
  • Is this supposed to be an alternative, for pages that (for some reason) make this more appropriate than "summary style"?
  • Is it possible for some pages to be both?

I think I'm missing the point somewhere. --DavidCary 05:40, 10 January 2006 (UTC)

No David, I think you've hit it on the head... Wikipedia:Summary style, {{details}} and {{background}} are doing the same thing as this proposal is trying to. Thanks/wangi 13:51, 10 January 2006 (UTC)
This gave me much pause for thought over Summary Style, but I conclude that this is definitely not the same. Summary style requires the 'Summary page' to be just that; a summary of its daughter articles. This creates a bit of a chicken-and-egg editing problem, as the daughter articles cannot be summarised until they have been written, and a Summary page cannot be established as such until it has daughters.
A 'Root page' (and I now go back to preferring that term), is indeed the Root from which other pages grow. It incorporates not so much a summary of it's 'branch' articles, but an introduction that can form the common basis of understanding for any future branch articles. It's main value, I repeat, is to editors, and I dispute the claim made above that 'Wikipedia is not written for editors'. Wikipedia is very much about editing, and spurious articles on similar topics by editors that have not noticed each others' work are a common occurence, giving rise to frequent calls for clean-up. I think that this is why, as several folk have commented, 'ideas like this keep recurring - perhaps there is a need'.
It has been pointed out to me that 'self references' are not approved of, largely on the grounds that every article should stand alone elsewhere, and so my instruction that Root pages should start with 'This is a Root Page' is undesirable. It also clutters the top of the page somewhat. I suggest instead that root pages should include the category 'Rootpage' in their category listing at the end of the page. I don't think though that this means that the Root page concept is just a category, it is still Wikipedia style, but with a category label as part of its functioning.
While I think it might be a good idea to redefine 'Summary style' as providing an introduction rather than a summary, the very word summary is then perhaps a misnomer. I also share with others a dislike of the summary boxes, which appear in full as clutter on every daughter page, and also require knowledge and effort to update properly on the template. The root page concept is tidier, as it does not attempt to duplicate all links on every page, it just points to 'base'. I therefore suggest that Root page should proceed as an independant experiment alongside Summary style. I will update the text to reflect my latest view as stated here. --Lindosland 13:57, 15 January 2006 (UTC)
BTW, we also have hub pages. And also summary style in the example suggests to have an introductory lead ("World War II was the most extensive and costly armed conflict in the history of the world ...").

Are we going to create 200 names for the same concept? --Army1987 13:53, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

Revived as it is in use on some 'big' pages

I am reviving this concept as I see its use has been taken up on a few 'big' pages, and also some useful additions have appeared without comment, like the template.

There have been no major objections here, but there has been some support, as well as useage.

I submit that contributors here who question the concept seem to have dismissed it too quickly, without taking in the important differences. I have explained these in relation to disambiguation and signpost article and summary style.

I think this is a concept that will only be fully accepted and understood as people find it useful. Those who think it duplicates other concepts are wrong, and need to study the issues more carefully. Hub page was not something I had seen, but it is hierarchical, and there has been much criticism of hierarchical attempts as leading to confusion. It is also not nearly as thoroughly defined as Root page. No, we don't want hundreds of methods, but we can live with a few and let useage be the test. I propose leaving things as they are. If the useage grows to a significant level then I will call for support here, on the talk pages of all articles using my method. If it does not, then no harm is done. --Lindosland 15:00, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

Merge discussion

I don't think that a root page and a hub page are similar, and I love this idea and think it should become policy. Let me know how I can help. -Visorstuff 18:06, 15 February 2006 (UTC)


Hub pages

As the instigator of the 'hub page' idea, I am pleased to find that others are aware of the need for a concept of this sort for large subjects with many branches.

I was not aware of the Root page page until today. I will take some time to study the root page idea and it may be that they might perform (or could be made to perform ) the same function and are therfore worthy of merging. However, I will reserve judgement for now.--Light current 17:09, 22 February 2006 (UTC)

Moved from my talk--Light current 06:23, 2 March 2006 (UTC)

Root page

Crossed swords! Arch Enemies! Good grief, I thought I'd got clear of WikiWars for now. Thanks for your help, and yes, we need support but I'm not sure how to proceed now. I had a long session going through pages in Electronics as well as some others I'd worked on and which appear in the category page now. I was fairly brave in dropping in the templates and branch lists, with occasional notes urging people to carry on building the branch lists. I hoped that might bring interest, but so far just rejection from Electrical eng. I sent him a message back asking if he'd read 'Root page' first. What was the nature of your crossed swords? Was it about Hub pages, or general things? Do you think we should call for a vote before taking the 'not policy' notice down? If you want to take it down I won't object! --Lindosland 00:31, 28 February 2006 (UTC)

Well these were wars primarily about NPOV on Electrical engineering and technical disagreements on Transformer These have now died away- ended in an uneasy truce you might say!
Maybe we should just leave electrical engineering for now and wait for the idea to become more generally accepted by the majority of editors before retrying.
Knowing the nature of my previous adversaries, I think it would be very wise to win a vote before declaring this thing as policy, then that will quell any arguments before they start!.
BTW I ve been roaming around Electronics and its sub pages adding backlinks etc as I go, and its a delight to be able to whizz from one place to another (and back again) with ease. Just a few problems but Ive put those on talk:root page or your talk page so I'm sure you'll see them. --Light current 00:45, 28 February 2006 (UTC)

Examples of candidates for the Hub/Root page treatment:

existing (primary) hub pages that have lots of links to large subsections

Pleas take alook at these pages and see if these would fit into the Hub/Root page concept.--Light current 17:19, 22 February 2006 (UTC)

I've just looked again at Electronics, and it's true of course that there are many branches. So far though, the Hub page concept fails to refer back adequately I feel, and there seems to be no rule for labelling of sub-hub pages. If I go to Analogue electronics for example, I see nothing to point me to the Hub page Electronics. If you look at my page Audio quality measurement you will see that it lists the associated pages like Noise measurement and if you go there you see the reference back to the Root page first in the 'See other' listing.
I would also say, as I observed before, that the extensive listings on the Electronics hub page, plus the topics panel, make it very cluttered and complicated.
I would suggest labelling Electronics as a Root page. Then take out all the detailed listings but make sure you list Analogue electronics, Digital electronics and other major divisions under 'See also'. Then link the more specialised pages only from these, but make sure the Root page Electronics is listed on every one, top of the see other, with the note 'root page', as the central 'clearing house'.
There may be a case for calling Analogue electronics etc Hub pages, as distinct from the Root page which embodies the introduction, but I would always keep the links simple so that the Root page is the one that will take you where you want to go via the hub pages, and there is only one Root page from which everything springs and to which feedback regarding the whole topic structure is directed by editors. --Lindosland 02:43, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

Are you saying a root page is at the top level, but that hub pages at the next level down may be necessary? If so, Im not sure how this is different from my primary hub and secondary hub idea. I agree that electronics and other associated pages are in a hell of a mess and this is one reason I want to get this organisation in place!

One area we disagree is where the links to the sub pages should be. I think they should be at the head of the introduction para to that particular topic on the hub/root page-- you think they should be at the bottom of the hub /root page?. BTW the term root implies that everything springs from it, whereas the term hub can be thought of as a starting point or as a central reference point when coming FROM a sub page. What are your views on these thoughts?--Light current 02:57, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

I was suggesting that maybe we could have hubs off the root page, but only tentatively, and I now doubt that it can work. I cannot answer your question as to how this differs from your primary and secondary hubs because you have not adequately defined them. If you were to actually label a hub as a 'primary hub' or a 'secondary hub', then I would ask, "do you allow going backwards as well as forward?" In other words, is it permissible for me to take your Electronics page which would be primary hub, and refer it back to 'Electricity', which surely forms a 'broader' hub? If so, do you then re-name your hub as a secondary hub, or 'electricity' as a 'pre-hub'? Such re-labelling could go on forever, causing clashes and weakening the very concept of a hub. Any attempt to label hubs with their levels, 'primary', 'secondary', etc seems to be doomed to confusion because of this problem that there is ALWAYS a higher topic if by 'higher', we mean 'broader'. If we don't actually label hubs as primary or secondary, then the terms 'primary' and 'secondary' seem to have no meaning, and might as well be discarded.
The problem gets bigger if you allow a hierarchy to go both forwards and backwards, and also allow hubs to link back to multiple 'pre-hubs', as this can lead, in the extreme, to iterative loops where a root page becomes a distant root page for itself via an unexpected path! If you've followed this, then perhaps you are begining to see, as I did, that there is a very basic problem to be tackled here, and I don't think it has a solution, at least not one that accepts the existence of any hierarchy.
I think this problem of hierarchy is so fundamental that it should be spelled out on the article page, which I will now attempt to do, allong with some new suggestions. --Lindosland 16:38, 26 February 2006 (UTC)

As I said in my definition on hub page, a primary hub is just that Primary. Therfore you cannot go higher in the heirrchy than a Primary hub. THe choice of which pages to designate primary hubs is, of necessity, arbitrary, but I should think that there would not need to be too many of them anyway and consensus on which pages are primary hubs would be easily reached. So as regards your question:

In other words, is it permissible for me to take your Electronics page which would be primary hub, and refer it back to 'Electricity', which surely forms a 'broader' hub? If so, do you then re-name your hub as a secondary hub, or 'electricity' as a 'pre-hub'?

the answer is NO. Lets keep it simple!--Light current 17:51, 26 February 2006 (UTC)