Wikipedia talk:Series templates

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Not a standard[edit]

This page was created by Cantus as a way to justify his format. It is not an accepted standard by any means. Guanaco 05:18, 5 Sep 2004 (UTC)

You are free to cooperate. --Cantus 05:28, Sep 5, 2004 (UTC)
As are you Cantus; please discuss these things before implementing them, and take a look at Wikipedia:How to create a policy as you develop this. Also, recall the consensus Wikipedia operates under, and when several editors disagree with you, discuss the changes instead of making them (repeatedly). We're all here because we want wants best for Wikipedia, none of these arguments should be taken personally. siroχo 05:40, Sep 5, 2004 (UTC)
Cantus seems to like changing formats of the boxes... he also tried to change the established WP Countries template recently, so I can't help but notice a pattern. Cantus, enthusiasm is nice, but this is going too far. We insist on a consensus-based policy when one changes content of a single page, you simply can't go around changing templates included in *several* pages without the same consideration given to attaining a consensus. --Joy [shallot]

Bullet points[edit]

I disagree with the format. Bullet points are a waste of space. --Jiang 05:44, 5 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Do you disagree with this format as well? -->
I'm just aiming for consistency here. --Cantus 06:07, Sep 5, 2004 (UTC)

Yes i do, but there's no easy way for me to change it. What's wrong with keeping the article obviously separate from the website? --Jiang 06:10, 5 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Copied text on bullets[edit]

Now, I understand where you're coming from when desiring bullets. Bullets indicate list items and offer instand organization. However, the reason bullets are used to indicate list items is to give the eye a sign of organization. In such a narrow a one-item-per-line template box, such organization exists already, the human eye easily recognizes that it is a list.

A, bullets in an article are fine because there is already a ton of negative space, they don't clutter things up. In such a small template box, the bullets are mushed between the border and the items. They attract the eye away from the list of articles. In effect, its providing a second statement that the list is not part of the article. The box itself is there for precisely that reason, and performs the task better than the bullets.

Lastly, I want to say that just because Wikipedia offers a feature, doesn't mean they are the only way to accomplish something. Not using bullets here is similar to the idea of not using the horizontal line to separate things within articles, and not overusing bold text to emphasize words in articles, there are better ways to do it.

Written by myself on User talk:Cantus

I'd like to add to that that even if Wikipedia's monobook style has a left-aligned box with bullets in it, it is not a parallel situation. Those boxes are left aligned without a large heading inside them, and although I think the bullets are not needed there, it is not a matter of consistency to include them in series nav boxes. siroχo 06:18, Sep 5, 2004 (UTC)

New version[edit]

I have no dispute with the new version, its quite elegent on white at least. siroχo 07:07, Sep 5, 2004 (UTC)

The new version is unnecessarily cluttered with too many colors. Guanaco 03:00, 6 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Hi Guanaco. I appreciate that you are finally discussing the policy, instead of just reverting my edits. I believe it is important to have a visible separation of the topics listed. We can try a different color scheme, of course. By the way, I only see two colors in the current scheme. --Cantus 03:15, Sep 6, 2004 (UTC)

Btw, I don't favor either the striped or solid scheme, both are fine in my opinion, Cantus please don't use my approval as a reason to continue a revert war. siroχo 18:11, Sep 9, 2004 (UTC)

Uhoh. I just changed some (diverse) history templates before finding this discussion. Stripes in a table help the eye follow a wide row, but they're just needless chart junk in a simple list of short titles—no offense. If some of the titles are long enough to wrap, then maybe bullets are better, to help you find each item. There's an example with useful stripes at Romanization of Ukrainian. Anyway, have a look at my changes in the following:

Revert if you must, but have a look at the table code for some improvements. Cheers. Michael Z. 07:00, 2004 Sep 16 (UTC)

Wow, it didn't take long for my changes to start being reverted.

Anyway, why not leave the wiki and HTML code efficient, even if you want the stripes? Easier to edit and keeps Wikipedia's server bills down:

  • Apply attributes like style="font-size:90%;background:#fff;" once on the whole table, instead of duplicating them on each row. Then override the size on a header or the background on striped rows.
    • Or put them on a row, instead of on each cell in it.
  • Use shortcuts for margins and padding: margin:0 5px; is exactly equivalent to margin: 0px 5px 0px 5px;.
  • Use shortcut colours in CSS declarations: background:#aaa; is exactly equivalent to background: #aaaaaa;.
  • Use web-safe colours when possible: triplets of 0, 3, 6, 9, C, and F are in the web-safe palette. So #999 is preferable to #aaa.
  • Headers are centred in visual browsers; no need to add align="center".

In terms of design, the nav boxes are meant to enhance an article, not to grab all the reader's attention. Any one of bold font, or larger font, or a purple background is enough emphasis to indicate a header; two or three of these are visual overkill. The striped rows just make it look like a barber pole.

If you revert, have a look at the changes someone made and don't add unnecessary code. And if you feel you must, then please don't add code with errors in it.

Michael Z. 16:38, 2004 Sep 16 (UTC)


The white, gray, white, gray, ... ping-pong is disastrous. We need a navigational element here, not distraction for the eyes. --Joy [shallot] 12:57, 25 Sep 2004 (UTC) (copied from Talk:History of Russia which is where this abomination struck me first)

I agree. There are about 50 history series templates, and exactly two of them have zebra stripes. The stripes serve no function, except grabbing too much attention and clashing with everything else on the page. They should be removed until such time as broad consensus for using them is achieved. Michael Z. 15:44, 2004 Sep 25 (UTC)
Heck, any consensus will do. So far we have Guanaco, 172, yourself and myself against them, and Cantus for them (not counting Didactohedron's edit of T:HoRUB because it only wanted to mimic T:HoR). I'll get rid of them until there's at least the same amount of people in favor of them. --Joy [shallot]
I did that in several templates already, but Template:History of China was somewhat deviant. See that version for another alternative. --Joy [shallot] 01:11, 26 Sep 2004 (UTC)
And on that note, look what we got...
  • (cur) (last) 10:07, 26 Sep 2004 Siroxo (Paragraphs don't need to be alternated in color, they have spaces between)
  • (cur) (last) 09:52, 26 Sep 2004 Cantus (Do you realize now why alternating colors are necessary?)
  • (cur) (last) 09:03, 26 Sep 2004 172 (avoided alternating colors (per talk), but since the width is fixed at 150px (!), rows need some separation, so used a thin dashed border. comments welcome...)
  • (cur) (last) 03:53, 26 Sep 2004 Cantus (Do you realize now why alternating colors are necessary?)
  • (cur) (last) 03:04, 26 Sep 2004 Joy (avoided alternating colors (per talk), but since the width is fixed at 150px (!), rows need some separation, so used a thin dashed border. comments welcome...)
Can we *please* stop exchanging assertions via commit log messages? Does it always have to come to the point where something gets protected and/or someone gets banned? --Joy [shallot] 16:00, 26 Sep 2004 (UTC)
BTW, Cantus, no, I don't see how you come to the conclusion that alternating colors are made necessary by the width when I fixed the same problem with the thin dashed border. Heck, even if I hadn't demonstrated that it can be done differently, it would still be a logical fallacy... --Joy [shallot] 16:02, 26 Sep 2004 (UTC)
I'd just like to make a few points about design of the box -- sorry if I've already gone on about this too much. And let us know if you disagree:
The series box is incidental to an article's main text, and so it should be as unobtrusive as possible. Design elements should be only be added that serve a useful function. Apple uses alternating backgrounds to good effect on their software page, because:
  • Some items in the table wrap to multiple lines, and the backgrounds help delineate the items.
  • The blue background stripes on their page are very subtle, especially in comparison to the strong blue link colour dominating that table.
  • Their list of recent software downloads is a major part of the page content, so in this case it's okay that it's visually very strong.
I haven't yet noticed any WP series boxes where lines wrap, but there are many of them out there (I've listed all the history ones I could find on this project page, but there are lots more too). Is line wrapping an issue? Can we replace the example History of France series boxes with an example that has some line wrapping, and see which of our solutions works best?
Bullet points, indentation, and vertical spacing are some other ways to resolve confusion from line wrapping. We could create a style sheet that used more subtle bullet points than the default Wikipedia blue squares. I think with the cooperation of an admin, we can make additions to the style sheet.
Michael Z. 03:39, 2004 Sep 27 (UTC)

One more idea: using a numbered list in the box. Numbers serve the purpose of bullets, help reinforce the idea of an ordered series of articles, and obviate the use of the word "series" in the header. It will help prevent the over-use of series boxes in places where articles aren't really a series. Two examples:

History of France

1 Gaul
2 Franks
3 Middle Ages
4 Valois Dynasty
5 Bourbon Dynasty
6 French Revolution
7 First Empire
8 Restoration
9 Second Republic
10 Second Empire
11 Third Republic
12 World War II
13 Fourth Republic
14 Fifth Republic

History of France
  1. Gaul
  2. Franks
  3. Middle Ages
  4. Valois Dynasty
  5. Bourbon Dynasty
  6. French Revolution
  7. First Empire
  8. Restoration
  9. Second Republic
  10. Second Empire
  11. Third Republic
  12. World War II
  13. Fourth Republic
  14. Fifth Republic

Question: will numbers work in all series boxes? Michael Z. 04:38, 2004 Sep 27 (UTC)

Answer: most of the history series boxes are ordered lists by historic period. Some have a few additional topical items listed separately below (e.g. Template:USHBS). A few aren't ordered series' at all, but topical lists (e.g. Template:Roman myth, Template:Terrorism, Template:WWIIHistory, Template:WWIITheatre). The Chinese history series boxes are pretty complicated. I haven't looked at non-history series boxes at all yet. Michael Z. 05:08, 2004 Sep 27 (UTC)

emphasizing current page better[edit]

Something that I noticed is that there doesn't appear to be a trivial way to make the background color of the currently active page in the navigation template to be gray. I was thinking something along the lines of...

<table cellpadding="3" cellspacing="0" style="float: right; margin: 5px; border: 3px solid;">
<tr><td style="border-bottom: 3px solid; background: #efefef;">
<small>This period is part of the<br>[[Paleozoic]] era.</small>
<tr><td {{{Perm|style="background:#efefef;"}}}>[[Permian]]</td></tr>
<tr><td {{{Carb|style="background:#efefef;"}}}>[[Carboniferous]]</td></tr>
<tr><td {{{Devo|style="background:#efefef;"}}}>[[Devonian]]</td></tr>
<tr><td {{{Silu|style="background:#efefef;"}}}>[[Silurian]]</td></tr>
<tr><td {{{Ordo|style="background:#efefef;"}}}>[[Ordovician]]</td></tr>
<tr><td {{{Camb|style="background:#efefef;"}}}>[[Cambrian]]</td><tr>

But of course this is all just wishful thinking... I wish we had something like WML's mp4h. Then again, maybe I just need to fiddle with it some more... --Joy [shallot] 16:54, 25 Sep 2004 (UTC)

It seems that a kludge would work — including e.g. Perm=#efefef as an argument to the template's inclusion in the Permian page, but that breaks as you can't include {{{Perm}}} in <td style>. :/ --Joy [shallot]

Proposed formats[edit]

I made this edit because I think the above discussion pretty much showed that people are not in favor of bullets in this list, therefore the vote was between two unpreferred formats, and the one that the rough consensus seems to be leaning to (from various edits to various templates) was not included. I simply removed the bulleted option since it was already decided against, instead of including it and making more options. siroχo

Let's make people vote and not assume they prefer one or other option. All proposals are valid proposals. Please don't delete proposals you don't agree or feel the community does not agree with. That is not your job to decide. Thanks :) --Cantus 23:31, Sep 25, 2004 (UTC)

Oh, sorry I thought I was following the rough consensus of the contributors to this page and the templates affected. I didn't realize that when going against the wills of the community several times you understood so well the principles and ideals that Wikipedia is founded on, and that I had forgotten words of wisdom I have given to you several times that you regurgitate to me now, and that the format that has already been decided against should be brought up again because you will it so, and that every proposal anyone wants to make is valid till kingdom come regardless of the community's will simply because. My mistake. I won't decide for the community any more. siroχo

But I never deleted anything. You did. Take it easy :) --Cantus 01:59, Sep 26, 2004 (UTC)

Well that was the point, I deleted it because several editors (all those involved besides yourself) all agreed previously that this option was not a good idea. I did delete something, yet you're representing it as a novel idea which has not been considered. Neither wiki nor consensus are about keeping everything. siroχo

Other design issues[edit]

In addition to the issue of alternating background colours, there are some other things that are inconsistent in many of the series boxes. We may as well consider these before we go out there and change everything. Michael Z. 03:51, 2004 Sep 27 (UTC)


Some boxes have an outline, some have a background tone, and some have both. I submit that only one or even none of these is necessary to make the box stand out on the page. The 1-pixel grey line is basic to the monobook.css default style.

The current proposals also have font-size: 90% applied to the navigation links, which look very nice in my browser.


The proposed formats have the header emphasized in all of the following ways:

  • background tone (slightly darker than the white article background)
  • background colour (blueish)
  • bottom border, either as an explicit one-pixel line or in the change of tone between header's background and next cell
  • larger font
  • bold font
  • linked text is also emphasized by being blue in colour

This is too much! It draws attention to the series box, but it only needs to emphasize the header slightly over the box contents. Any one or two of these emphasis methods would be enough to indicate that the header is a header.

The background color of the header should be #ccf (the blue-violet), as that has become the de facto standard for many wikipedia navigational templates. The font does not need to be larger, but I guess since its a header, the web standard is to bold it. The text should be linked if there is a central article for the series. siroχo


Does this page still need to be listed at RfC? Maurreen 05:53, 2 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Fourth alternative.[edit]

I've pasted in a fourth alternative. It's already used in Template:History of animation, Template:OSIModel and navboxes such as Template:BadReligion and Template:Toolband. Advantages include:

  • Compact.
  • No distracting bulletpoints or stripes.
  • Styled with part of the site CSS (class="toccolours"). See Bugzilla:1707 for a proposed further improvement which would allow for the navboxes to be styled as part of the site's skin.

Commentary and improvements are welcome. grendel|khan 22:30, 2005 Mar 21 (UTC)

Proposed merge with "Navigational templates"[edit]

I do not agree. Quite a many series templates provide actual value, unlike most of navigational templates that would be better to be replaced by more convenient categories. If the two get merged together no one will be able to solve the current mess in templating. Pavel Vozenilek 00:43, 28 May 2006 (UTC)

Latino template[edit]

Please help with the Latino template. --JuanMuslim 1m 18:52, 29 May 2006 (UTC)

What's up with all these templates??[edit]

I've noticed more than one article where some editor has designed a template and just stuck it in the article without so much as a by-your-leave. This usually displaces a nice image that says more about the article than the template box (which, in my opinion, more often than not just rehashes trivia found in the lead paragraph).

Being relatively new here (~250 edits over 6 months), I would like to know if templates automatically trump all other content (the way that, say, the absolute worst public domain photo auto-trumps the best Fair User photo) and whether the template must always appear at the upper right of an article.

Thanks, MrHarman 00:14, 6 September 2006 (UTC)