Wikipedia talk:Summary style/Archive 2

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Archive 1 Archive 2 Archive 3

Transclusion, an interesting tool.

Earlier, I participated in this talk page to a discussion on how to remove duplication from Wikipedia. Since then, I found a neat tool called transclusion to publish the same text in more than one page. Now, here is my crazy idea: a summary article could be made up of a collection of lead paragraphs transcluded from the corresponding main articles. Thus, it will always be up to date and editors attempting to edit it will be sent to the main article. Emmanuelm (talk) 18:44, 17 April 2008 (UTC)

Can you point to a particular summary page plus main page where that would be a good idea? I like the general idea of not duplicating material, but it would depend on the page. - Dan (talk) 19:03, 17 April 2008 (UTC)
Coming soon. So far, I've only used this tool to host the same discussion in several talk pages. Emmanuelm (talk) 12:50, 18 April 2008 (UTC)
Dan, I just completed my first transclusion. The main article is Indoor bonsai. Its seemingly ordinary lead paragraph is in fact transcluded from the subpage Indoor bonsai/lead. The same text is also transcluded as a section in Bonsai and Houseplant, the two summary articles. All modifications to the transcluded text will be shown in all locations. Do you like it? Emmanuelm (talk) 14:24, 18 April 2008 (UTC)
Update: User:Discospinster bluntly deleted within minutes the subpage Indoor bonsai/lead, judged to be a "test page". There was no warning and she did not discuss it in my talk page. Turns out subpages of main articles are forbidden, for no good reason. I will fight this but I know too well that Gods/editors are immune to attacks from simple mortals. Emmanuelm (talk) 18:15, 18 April 2008 (UTC)
It is not that subpages of articles are forbidden; it is that they quite techincally are not enabled. Could you do this thing by using <onlyinclude>...</onlyinclude>around the lead instead? — the Sidhekin (talk) 18:22, 18 April 2008 (UTC)
Sidhekin, I'll skip the argument about subpages, it is discussed here. I want to thank you for your suggestion of the includeonly tags. For some reason, these tags do not work as advertised but the noinclude tags work well.
I added such tags around the lead paragraph of Indoor bonsai and transcluded the whole page into Bonsai and Houseplant. It seems to work fine and, frankly, is faster than creating a subpage. There is, however, an extra limitation: all recipient pages will show the same text. With subpages, I could have created several transclusion schemes from the same page. Emmanuelm (talk) 19:22, 18 April 2008 (UTC)
Not includeonly — it's onlyinclude (includeonly is something else). I keep making that mistake myself; I reckon they made a poor nomenclature choice for these tags.  :-) — the Sidhekin (talk) 19:29, 18 April 2008 (UTC)
I'll keep an open mind toward this approach for the time being. In the example being offered here, it seems to work reasonably well, at least visually. I think it's not very editor-friendly, however: "What are these 'noincludes' doing here?" "How do I edit the text in this section? All it has is two things inside braces."
It also causes somewhat screwy formatting: in Houseplant#Indoor_bonsai, "bonsai" is bolded because it's bolded per the MoS on the indoor bonsai page, and houseplant ends up getting bolded as well because that's how MediaWiki formats self-links.--Father Goose (talk) 22:44, 18 April 2008 (UTC)
I am in favor of limited deployment of this concept. I think some editors will be concerned that this will lead to laziness (simply sticking your lead into other articles without thinking carefully about rewording as appropriate), but I don't think that's a valid objection; just don't allow that. The most important point, it seems to me, is that more eyeballs make better text; if people are seeing the same text several places, and if edits happen in each place at the same time, then the text will improve faster and degrade less.
There are several reasons that, if it isn't awkward, it's better to have exactly the same text in both places, rather than updating and tweaking the text separately. When the two texts are allowed to contradict, the credibility of both is pulled down. It's also much more work to update the text both places and continually have to check the two texts against each other.
I'm wondering why people didn't try this before. You should bring this up some place that more people watch, like WT:MoS. - Dan Dank55 (talk) 23:31, 18 April 2008 (UTC)
This is an interesting idea and I'm also tentatively in favour (or at least open minded) towards limited deployment: I think it is worth trying it out in a range of articles and see how it goes. The idea also encourages good lead writing: the lead is supposed to summarize the article and provide a self-contained overview, which is exactly what a summary style section is supposed to do.
Concerning technical issues, it is safer to put an "onlyinclude" around the lead, rather than "noinclude" the rest of the article, because someone could add categories or interwikis after the final "noinclude". Concerning "how to edit this section?", this could be handled by using an "includeonly" to transclude the section heading and the {{main}} template. Then "edit this section" would take the editor to the transcluded article. I'll demonstrate that in a moment. Other editing issues could be handled by adding suitable comments to the source. Geometry guy 10:56, 19 April 2008 (UTC)
This turned out to be much harder to do than I thought, essentially because lead sections don't have a section heading to link to. The best I can do can be found at {{spinout}} and I've demonstrated it on Bonsai and Houseplant: the problem is that the edit section link is in the wrong place, and I can't get it in the right place without adding it to the table of contents. I've also created {{spinout/link}} and {{spinout/title}} to deal with the bolding problems noted by Father Goose. They are demonstrated at Indoor bonsai. Geometry guy 14:09, 19 April 2008 (UTC)
GeometryGuy, thanks for the info about spinout; I am learning a lot here! And I agree with those that pointed out that this approach forces us to write good lead section; a well-written lead is a perfect summary. So, who among you will modify the Summary Style guideline to explain this?
Still, I maintain that the subpages approach would be better because it offers more flexibility. Specifically, it would allow the transclusion of different parts of a main article to different summary articles, something the templates cannot do. As I said before, main article subpages are arbitarily forbidden (which, Sidhekin, is closer to the truth than "not enabled"). You may want to discuss this here. Emmanuelm (talk) 14:52, 19 April 2008 (UTC)
You didn't know about {{spinout}}, as I only created it today (the template was previously a redirect to {{subarticle}})! Concerning flexibility, are you suggesting that it would be useful to transclude a section of an article other than the lead section into a summary article? I can't think of very many situations in which that would be a good idea. However, it is possible to achieve this using templates: just wrap the section in "onlyinclude" tags. If different parts are to be transcluded onto different pages, then this can be done by using #ifeq or #switch to test {{PAGENAME}}. Geometry guy 15:10, 19 April 2008 (UTC)
Grin. I was just coming over here to say that if you want to do this right, you should talk with Geometry Guy :) - Dan Dank55 (talk) 16:10, 19 April 2008 (UTC)

A general issue: I can see a case where the lede of a subarticle might be right for that article, but too long for the desired summary in the parent article. I doubt we should try to address cases like those via technical means. But even if the {{spinout}} approach proves to work well only in some cases (it remains to be seen if it is a good idea in any), I at least like the prospect of having it as an option.--Father Goose (talk) 03:12, 20 April 2008 (UTC)

Absolutely. This will crash and burn (at least as a proposal) if there's a pattern of people using it when a word-for-word copy is not appropriate. - Dan Dank55 (talk) 03:17, 20 April 2008 (UTC)
GeometryGuy, when talking about the limitations of the various templates, I had more that WP:SS in mind. There are other potential uses for transclusion. For example, a lexicon explaining jargon words could be transcluded in several articles on the subject. Interestingly, Richard001 gave me another example below, about the vestigiality of wisdom teeth.
Now, imagine I want to i) transclude the vestigiality paragraph of Wisdom teeth to Human vestigiality and ii) transclude the lead paragraph of wisdom teeth to the summary article Teeth. I could do it with subpages, if I was allowed to. Can you do it with templates?
By the way, I brought this discussion to the the Village Pump proposal talk page. Emmanuelm (talk) 13:56, 20 April 2008 (UTC)
I'm not sure that such multiple transclusions are a good idea, but yes, it can be done with templates. If you only wanted to do only two transclusions, as is this case here, then on the Wisdom teeth page you could use:
 <onlyinclude>{{#ifeq:{{PAGENAME}}|Human vestigiality||text of the lead paragraph}}</onlyinclude>
<onlyinclude>{{#ifeq:{{PAGENAME}}|Teeth||text of the vestigiality paragraph}}</onlyinclude>
(Note the double bar and the reversal of the pagenames.) However, to be more flexible/transparent, and allow more than two separate transclusions, slightly longer code is needed:
 <onlyinclude>{{#switch:{{PAGENAME}}|Wisdom teeth|Teeth=text of the lead paragraph}}</onlyinclude>
<onlyinclude>{{#switch:{{PAGENAME}}|Wisdom teeth|Human vestigiality=text of the vestigiality paragraph}}</onlyinclude>
Now the pagenames are not reversed, but you also have to mention the Wisdom teeth page itself, so that the text actually appears in the Wisdom teeth article too. In either case, you then have to transclude Wisdom teeth into both Teeth and Human vestigiality, using e.g., the {{spinout}} template I created.
The "onlyinclude" tags ensure that only these sections are transcluded, while the Parser functions (#ifeq or #switch) ensure that the right text is transcluded onto the right page. Geometry guy 17:35, 20 April 2008 (UTC)
Wow, GG, you sure know a lot about this. I'll have to find a hour or two to try this. In the meantime, someone (you?) really should edit the WP:Transclusion article to explain this, ideally with working examples. And I am still waiting for someone to modify the WP:SS guideline to mention the transclusion of lead sections. Emmanuelm (talk) 20:00, 20 April 2008 (UTC)

Basic criticisms

The obvious problem, as I have pointed out elsewhere, is that some things (like use of boldface and internal links) will need to be different. For use to be appropriate the section also needs to be an exact summary of the article, which it often isn't. There's also the possibility of a lead containing material that indicates that it is a lead, e.g. 'which will be treated more fully below' or something like that (though we could create a guideline similar to WP:SELF to avoid doing anything like that such that leads can be treated as small articles in themselves, independent of the rest of the article). I thought the main article and {{summary in}} notices were enough to make editors aware they should try to keep such sections in harmony. It could also be confusing for editors who don't understand what's going on, e.g. trying to edit a section and being redirected to editing the lead of a different article. Taking these things into account, even if people do understand not to use it inappropriately (which they don't with {{main}}), it's unlikely to be much use.

The other situation where it could be used is where two sections discuss the exact same thing without there being an article on the overlap of these things (it being too trivial to warrant its own article, for example). An example that comes to mind is the vestigiality of wisdom teeth, discussed both at human vestigiality and wisdom teeth. In these cases I sometimes add a hidden comment to each section alerting editors to the existence of the other and suggesting changes are reflected in both. Richard001 (talk) 07:55, 20 April 2008 (UTC)

Richard, most of your reservations about the quality of lead paragraphs are adressed in the guideline page about them. If need be, we could tweak these guidelines to address this new use of the lead paragraph. Again, a well-written lead paragraph is a perfect summary. Emmanuelm (talk) 13:56, 20 April 2008 (UTC)
I know this; what I was saying with for use to be appropriate the section also needs to be an exact summary of the article, which it often isn't is that the summary (not the lead) is often not a true summary at all. See the example given by Geometry guy below on Al Gore for one of the no doubt thousands of such cases. Richard001 (talk) 00:27, 24 April 2008 (UTC)
I am against using this idea systematically for some of the reasons Richard001 mentions. However, I am open minded to the idea of using it occasionally, where it works well (if it does). To give a silly example (an old favourite of mine), consider List of recurring human characters from Futurama. This has a subsection on Al Gore, and links to it as a main article. However, the lead of Al Gore is completely inappropriate as a summary of the role Al Gore plays in Futurama. Although this is a silly example, it does illustrate (in a rather extreme way) that a lead section might have the wrong emphasis to be used verbatim in another article. For instance, the lead section might not be the right length.
Concerning boldface and internal links, Father Goose already raised this, and I've provided a technical solution: see Indoor bonsai, Bonsai and Houseplant, where the boldface and internal links are correct in all three articles. Geometry guy 17:50, 20 April 2008 (UTC)
Notice in WT:LEAD#Version 1.0 that lead sections might turn out to be the only content on some subjects in WP:Version 1.0. So leads are vitally important for a number of reasons, and that's what might convince some people to try this, in order to get more eyeballs in more places working on leads. You don't have that argument if you're transcluding any old section. The way to make progress with proposals in Wikipedia is generally to do one thing at a time and make your strongest case first, and be prepared to put a lot of work into this if you want it to succeed. That would probably mean regularly visiting "what links here" to that template to see if people have the right idea. - Dan Dank55 (talk)(mistakes) 19:07, 20 April 2008 (UTC)
Dank, I'll put in the time I can afford. Right now, I am waiting for code wizards like GeometryGuy to show me how to do it. Emmanuelm (talk) 20:00, 20 April 2008 (UTC)

This idea would only be at all useful in cases where the lead section being transcluded is the length required by the summary article it is transcluded in (that is, no more than four paragraphs long). WP:SS recommends that the section in the summary article be longer than the lead section of the sub-topic article and in many cases the sections in summary articles are several subsections long. I fear that the result of implementing the lead section transclusion trick would create a tendency to force summary article sections to be smaller than they need to be and less-integrated in the article b/c those "sections" are really lead sections for other articles. This isn't as flexible as the current approach and just doesn't seem right to me; unintended consequences appear very likely. --mav (talk) 06:32, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

Further issues

Okay, while I continue to be open minded towards this idea, I have noticed a couple of further issues by watching the Indoor bonsai example. First, there is a watchlisting issue: when part of one page is transcluded into another, editors watchlisting the parent page also need to watchlist the spinout to keep track of changes. Secondly, the Bonsai#Indoor bonsai section now includes information in addition to the transclusion. Since this change happened so quickly, it is reasonable to expect that such edits will not be a particularly rare occurance. They have the potential to confuse editors and mess up the coordination of the articles. These two issues are related: if someone is watchlisting all of the articles involved in a transclusion, then they can maintain the coordination, but what guarantee is there that such an editor exists? And why is this any better than leaving comments/templates in the article source and on the talk page per Richard001? Geometry guy 19:39, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

Right, I think these are significant concerns. I'm very tied up with style guidelines and other wiki-stuff; this transclusion stuff is interesting, but I'll have to come back to it in a week. - Dan Dank55 (talk)(mistakes) 21:45, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

Summary via transcluded lead paragraphs -- a more complex example

I (a pathologist) have created a complex example of how the summary style guideline can be applied using transclusion of lead paragraphs. Here is the hierarchy so far:

What I've learned: I had to use plenty of self links for the transcluded text to work in both pages. Altough I removed some duplicated content from WP, the summary article contains a lot of repetitions. Overall, I like it a lot. Emmanuelm (talk) 20:54, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

I know we need to do a better job of treating articles as part of a complex web, but using this will make articles look like they were lumped together by a machine. The use of summary style in pathology as a medical specialty looks particularly bad; two summaries there repeat the same sort of information (redundancy) and use boldface where they shouldn't, the result being an amateurish looking article. It's also probably somewhat annoying as a reader to read a summary of an article, then get the exact same text spat back at you when you click on the main article link. Richard001 (talk) 00:54, 24 April 2008 (UTC)
I've fixed the boldface issues. Also, it is best not to do the bolding of titles using self-links because if results in overlinking when the lead is transcluded. For these reasons, I already created {{spinout/title}} and {{spinout/link}} to deal with titles and links respectively. I've reduced the overlinking, but there is still some in the main pathology article as a result of all these transclusions. I also agree with Richard001 that there is some redundancy in the prose. Again, I don't want to rush to judgement: it maybe that with some rewriting the leads can be made to read well as summary sections when they are transcluded. My point of view is that we should be trying to see if this idea can be made to work, rather than declaring that it doesn't, or conversely backing it with premature enthusiasm. Geometry guy 15:58, 24 April 2008 (UTC)
Thanks GG for the formatting, it indeed works better now.
Let me remind you all the main advantages of this approach: it prevents the creation of a POV fork between the main article and the summary article and also reduces the arguments over the wording of controversial texts. If you look at my user page, you will see that I edit very "hot" pages where extreme POVs are the norm. In that environment, the "lead-as-summary" approach saves lots of time and nerves. Emmanuelm (talk) 17:39, 24 April 2008 (UTC)
I might remind you that the 'lead as summary' approach is how all leads are required to be written, transclusion or no. The fact that they aren't just reflects on the present quality of Wikipedia. Richard001 (talk) 05:03, 25 April 2008 (UTC)
Btw, there's additional information at Help:Section#Sections vs. separate pages vs. transclusion. - Dan Dank55 (talk)(mistakes) 13:24, 25 April 2008 (UTC)
This information is somewhat out-of-date and opaque: help pages are one of the least glamorous parts of Wikipedia, so they don't get the attention they deserve. Everytime I want to do something new with a parser function, I struggle to find the relevant information... Geometry guy 18:47, 25 April 2008 (UTC)
Just wanted to affirm everyone going down this path, especially coder Geometry guy, because it is a great need on WP and a community of people who are learning to do it right will help greatly to redirect those who do it wrong later. I experimented with this last fall but did not have the tools to make it stick, but it looks like we are getting there now. There is transclusion in use at 2008 straw polls, but not due to summary style and not fully smoothly either. Without having looked at the examples, some of the keys are (1) ease of using slightly different text in the main and sub sections (e.g. bolding vs. not, included vs. excluded clauses) without encouraging totally different sections; and (2) ease of editing text from both articles (e.g. getting users to know that editing the one requires thinking of editing the other, and minimizing extra clicks necessary). I'm very pleased with this progress! At some point I will reconsider its use at Ron Paul, Political positions of Ron Paul, and the rest. Keep it up. JJB 20:56, 27 April 2008 (UTC)

The pathology example used here proved my point I give above; The lead section in History of pathology is, and always will be as long as it follows WP:LEAD guidelines, totally inadequate as a section summarising the history of pathology at Pathology. The history section at Pathology should be at least a couple subsections long with a half dozen or more paragraphs total when both Pathology and History of pathology are fully developed. I'm all for making sure that related articles be synced; especially summary vs subtopic articles. But lead sections and full-fledged sections serve different purposes. --mav (talk) 06:49, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

Can we be consistent in template use please?

We need to define the specific role of the templates used in summary style and summary-like fashions. It remains unclear to me what the exact niche of {{main}}, {{further}}, {{see}}, {{details}} (and others?) is. If they overlap, they should be merged. Each should have a specific and unique function otherwise it only creates confusion about the whole process and inconsistency among and even within articles. I have long ago proposed {{details}} and {{further}} be merged, but there has been no real response. This article is similarly vague, e.g. "—see {{Main}}, {{Details}},...)" - and what is the difference? Richard001 (talk) 23:26, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

I always use "main" if the summary section covers the same material as the sub article in total, and i use "see also" for subarticles that expand on the section but cover other topics, or when the subarticle only covers some of the material summarises.
Eg In LGBT themes in SF, the Comics section summarises LGBT themes in comics, but i used "See also" as it only summaries the parts that are relevant to speculative fiction, but the Yoai and Yuri section summarises the Yoai and Yuri (term) in toto, so i used "main".
Having a single see also/see/further/details template would be better imo, and more details on when to use them instead of main, to make the whole encylopedia more consistant.YobMod 10:18, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

Keep summary and main synchronized using transcluded leads

I moved this discussion from my user talk page to here.

Hi Emmanuel, I reverted, but only because I don't see any evidence that any trial projects have started or that we have the results from them we? - Dan Dank55 (talk)(mistakes) 14:24, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

The Pathology summary was a trial by me, with the invaluable technical help of GG and, in my opinion, it works well. The technique and this example were discussed here a month ago under Transclusion, an interesting tool. and its sub-headings. Then, you wrote you were in favor of this tool.
Dank, I searched for "Wikipedia:Trial project" and "Trial project" but found nothing. What is a "trial project"? What constitutes the "results" of a trial project? Emmanuelm (talk) 14:47, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
When a suggested change in guidelines involves a kind of templating that may not work as predicted and that people aren't familiar with, then WP:BRD is not the way to proceed; that is, we don't just change the guideline to say "this is okay now" and then watch what happens. I'll ask Geometry Guy if he feels the technical issues are settled, then the next step is to talk about this at some wider forum and see what the reaction is; WP:VPP would work. I'm still in favor of using the tool, but getting a number of people to try it out first and then report back is an important part of the process. There's no guideline that says you have to do this, but if you want it to succeed, it's a good idea. - Dan Dank55 (talk)(mistakes) 14:59, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
I'd like to see this tried on an article with a high edit rate such as Ron Paul (mentioned previously). Raising the topic at the Village Pump is also a good idea. The technical issues are not completely resolved, but I'm willing to help think up further improvements. Pathology works quite well, but not extremely well. My own tentative assessment of the transclusion idea is that it might better be regarded as a stage in the development of a family of articles rather than a final product. Of course there is no final product on Wikipedia, but at some point one may need to reconsider whether transclusion is helping or holding back the articles from getting better. Geometry guy 19:39, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
Okay, I've had some discussions with G-guy and mentioned this to Bulten. I was acting mostly in my role as watchdog here, and I don't have time to lead this discussion at WP:VPP or elsewhere myself; I'm hoping we can con persuade Bulten to take this on. - Dan Dank55 (talk)(mistakes) 22:06, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
P.S. I didn't want to give this any thought, but too late, I already did. If what we want is to enforce certain lead sections to be the same as certain sections in survey articles, this approach may make sense. If we're looking for a more flexible approach, one that would allow differences under some circumstances, then we're not looking for transclusion, we're looking for a tool that rapidly generates the desired diffs, so that people can easily keep track of discrepancies. - Dan Dank55 (talk)(mistakes) 22:10, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

Everything looks good, i.e., ready for beta. Emmanuel's insertion here looked fine for a first draft of the appropriate explanatory text, though of course the spinout family of templates should be mentioned here, and more documentation would be useful there. The flexibility exists in judicious use of the noinclude and includeonly templates (and perhaps onlyinclude), which needs documenting. I'll put this on watchlist and see how it can be incorporated and built upon here and there. Thanks again for everyone working on this idea. JJB 22:51, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

Thanks JJB for your kind words but my insertion was reverted and still is. How can a new idea be tried if it is deleted? I've done my part with Pathology, its your turn now. Emmanuelm (talk) 01:19, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
Okay, let me try again. Emmanuel, I very much support the idea of giving people better tools to keep lead sections in some kind of sync with sections in other articles. But we're nowhere near a consensus on whether it's better to do this with transclusion or some other tool, such as a diff-generator, and G-Guy is not going to swear that his template will work as desired, especially since he doesn't know what the desire is yet. The next step is to ask in some fairly public way what people want. And btw, this could cause real headaches with the proposed WP:Flagged revisions feature. It wouldn't be appropriate to say in this guideline "it's okay to do it", nor would it be appropriate to say here that it's proposed. I wouldn't be opposed to starting a new page where we talk about the proposal, but my guess is that's overkill; just discuss it on WP:VPP and do an RFC, and see what the reaction is. - Dan Dank55 (talk)(mistakes) 01:51, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
Another criticism that comes to mind is that summaries of articles are of various lengths; some will be shorter than the lead and others will be much longer. Transclusion makes it seem like summaries should always be lead-clones, which certainly isn't the case. It also makes changing the length more inflexible, as people are forced to keep the lead and summary the same and may not realize that abandoning the transclusion approach is a possibility. Richard001 (talk) 04:06, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
Yes, transclusion is definitely not a panacea. It is something that can be used sometimes in some articles, and perhaps later removed. This needs to be made clear. The only way to explore its scope and limitations is to develop examples. I'm willing to contribute template-based solutions to issues which arise. Geometry guy 20:35, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
It will be interesting to see how it works, but needs a lot more testing before being advertised as a viable option. All my articles summarise sub-articles i have written, and i don't see it being possible for any of them to use this transclusion technique. Even when length is not an issue, the lead of an article has to give enough context to be understood by a casual reader, and would give massive redundancy and poor organisation and writing in summary sections.
Sourcing - has this been discussed? If challenged, a summary section should contain citations, and all of mine do. Whereas my leads have no sources, as everything is sourced in the main text. Can transclsions deal with having sources in the summary but not the lead? Forcing sources into a lead would be ugly imo, especially as being present in mutliple articles could lead to sourcing every sentence multiple times for controversial articles.YobMod 10:32, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

Added shortcut

I added a shortcut called WP:AVOIDSPLIT because I think certain merge / split discussions need to keep it in mind. If someone needs to reformat it or rename it, I would support that. Randomran (talk) 06:34, 29 May 2008 (UTC)

Judith Butler reception: Summary style or POV fork?

See Talk:Judith Butler and Talk:Influence of Judith Butler's concepts. Thanks! Hyacinth (talk) 04:20, 16 June 2008 (UTC)


I removed a reference to transwikification but was later reverted. As the standard next step, I'd like to explain my rationale in more detail.

The clause in question is this: "If information can be trimmed, merged, moved to another wiki, or removed, these steps should be undertaken first before the new article is created."

User:Zappernapper is right in saying that transwikifiction is a fairly common practice. The problem with the current wording is that it describes transwikification as a competitive alternative to on-wiki forking; it essentially says that we cannot .

Clearly this is problematic. The chance that a reader will see transwikied content on any particular subject is relatively low. External links can help, but since WP:SS deals with subtopics within broader articles, bottom-of-the-page links are generally inappropriate (as too narrow), and using them in {{see}}-like notices goes against various guidelines and norms. Transwikification is a Good Thing, but it shouldn't be regarded as a replacement for housing content in-wiki, especially in the context of WP:SS.

xDanielx T/C\R 19:26, 2 July 2008 (UTC)


In a summary style article, is there any policy about wikilinking to the sub-articles in the lead? Of course the respective sub-articles will be linked at the beginning of each summary section, but should they also be wikilinked in the lead? If we wikilink some of the sub-articles in the lead, but not others, is that okay? I'm referring especially to the John McCain article, where this issue has cropped up recently.Ferrylodge (talk) 04:10, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

Never mind. I guess we've agreed to leave those wikilinks out of the lead, for the time being.Ferrylodge (talk) 19:45, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

Balance in summary vs. article

Just added a paragraph:

"Also, the summary on the main page should usually keep an approximately similar balance as in the subtopic article. If two sections of a subtopic article are of approximately similar length, then the summary in the main article should not spend 3 sentences summarizing one section and none on the other, unless there is an obvious reason and/or a consensus on the talk page that this different balance is appropriate."

Full disclosure: This issue does relate to a discussion I am currently involved with. I do not intend to cite my own text as policy in that discussion, but I believe that it is generally a common-sense point for the future. Homunq (talk) 01:15, 2 September 2008 (UTC)

Homunq is referring to the Sarah Palin article, which is perhaps the most unstable article in Wikipedia at the moment. Regarding his suggested edit to this guideline, I disagree with it. The comparative lengths of sections in a subtopic article should not always dictate how the subtopic article is summarized, because sometimes an extremely important point in the subtopic article can be stated relatively briefly there, whereas a less important point is elaborated upon at greater length lower down in the subtopic article. There are other additional reasons, but this is a good one to start with.Ferrylodge (talk) 01:32, 2 September 2008 (UTC)

I agree with Ferrylodge that this should not be a straitjacket, for reasons such as those they stated. This is why I stated it as I did: two equal-length sections should not get 3 sentences for one and 0 for the other. 3 sentences and 1 sentence would probably be OK. I think that this provides enough flexibility to cover cases like Ferrylodge's hypothetical, while still serving as a useful point of reference when opinions differ. Homunq (talk) 12:52, 2 September 2008 (UTC)

Why do you think a summarizer should look at all at the body of a subtopic article? Why not just look at the lead of the subtopic article?Ferrylodge (talk) 16:47, 2 September 2008 (UTC)

Consider the case at hand. There are different POV's involved, as well as editors with varying grasps of Wikipedia conventions. Clearly there is the greatest focus and the most chaos on the main article, a secondary focus but more order on the contents of the sub-article, and the least focus and the most order on the lead (aka lede) of the sub-article. Since I think that quality is something like the product of focus and order, in these circumstances, I think the best skeleton for a summary would be the TOC of the sub-article, not its lead. Homunq (talk) 17:11, 2 September 2008 (UTC)

I disagree that there is the least focus on the lead of the sub-article, as compared to the rest of the sub-article. Usually, editors know that the lead is the most important part, because it is what either grabs or loses the reader's attention, and the lead is what gives the reader a first impression about the article. Similarly, editors will often focus more on the initial sections of an article than on the later sections, because the initial sections have a much higher likelihood of being read. Maybe it shouldn't be that way ideally, but in practice that's how things often work out. Likewise, a Wikipedia editor might try to appease another editor by moving material lower in an article, instead of deleting it altogether.Ferrylodge (talk) 17:25, 2 September 2008 (UTC)

Editing or content?

This is currently classified as an editing guideline. Most of the contents at Category:Wikipedia editing guidelines seem to be about navigation, and I always expect this guideline to provide information about the level of detail (as in, "summarize your sources", instead of dumping zillions of unimportant details into an article). Do you think it might be better classified with the Category:Wikipedia style guidelines? WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:33, 3 September 2008 (UTC)


I added a shortcut called WP:DETAIL as it might prove useful to merge/split debate. If someone wants to reformat or rename it, no problem. Hiding T 13:08, 6 May 2009 (UTC)

Sourcing summary style articles

This page says... "There is no need to repeat all the references for the subtopics in the main "Summary style" article, unless they are required to support a specific point. The policy on sources, Wikipedia:Verifiability, says that sources must be provided for any material that is challenged or likely to be challenged, and for all quotations." was there any consensus for this? I was under the impression that all articles needed sources, not just the ones who don't have content forks. Many content forks are completely unsourced and in poor condition, should we rely on these for information found in Featured Articles? I don't think so. I think every article should stand on its own, complete with references, and should not rely on other WP articles as "sources". I think this phrase should be changed to state the opposite. --ErgoSumtalktrib 20:32, 26 June 2009 (UTC)

Agreed. Percy Snoodle (talk) 15:19, 27 June 2009 (UTC)
Also agree. If not saying the opposite, at least it needs expanding to give more nuance. I often find editors claiming a section of an article (or even every entry in a list) does not need sourcing because the individual articles have the information. But the sub-articles are not sourced, or the summary has altered the maining in some way, so it is no longer supported. It should at minimum be clear that when an editor asks for a source or fact tags a sentence, the source must be provided - not a vague assertion that it is somewhere in another article.YobMod 10:25, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
I added a note from WP:SCG#Summary_style stating "it is important to ensure that the material is present in the sub-article with a reference." But I don't necessarily agree with that statement. While it would be nice to leave it up to other articles to provide the references, things can change quickly and it would be impossible to synchronize all the articles with the sub-articles constantly. Each article should stand on its own, with its own references. --ErgoSumtalktrib 17:25, 18 July 2009 (UTC)

Summaries of Foreign Langauge Wiki articles

If sometimes happens that an article that describes something that is well known in an English-speaking country and then has a set of summaries that describe the same thing in other countries. Often an English-language article will map onto two or more articles in the same foreign language and it is appropriate in the English-language article to discuss the differences between the various foreign language articles (for example there might be differences between the way in which Germany, Switzerland and Austrian approach the subject). In such cases is it appropriate to have a set of "Main Article" links or "See" links, or is it preferable to incorporate the links as foreign-languagve Wikilinks? Martinvl (talk) 22:06, 14 November 2009 (UTC)

Summary split question regarding HMS Belfast (C35)

Input would be welcomed at Talk:HMS Belfast (C35)/GA1 regarding if a Summary style split is appropriate. SilkTork *YES! 17:10, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

The matter is now resolved. SilkTork *YES! 08:57, 17 December 2009 (UTC)

Problems with partial transclusions and page histories

I see there have been several discussions on this page about the practice of 'partial transclusions' where noinclude and its variations are used to include the lead section of an article in a summary-style article. One of the main problems with this is that it messes up the page history completely, with an old page version showing not what was on the page at the time, but what is on the transcluded sections at the time of viewing (if it showed what was in the transcluded section at the time of the page version in question, there would be no problem, but that needs to be sorted before this technique is used any further). I've said something similar here, pointing out that the same problems arises with templates and infoboxes, but unlike section transclusion, there is a definite page history for the templates to cross-reference with. My view is that the technique of partial transclusion of sections of another article into another article (imagine if that page was further transcluded into other articles) needs to be banned (now, completely) until these issues are sorted out. It is OK to do this in talk pages, user page, and Wikipedia project namespace, but to do this on live articles risks causing all sorts of confusion. If anyone agrees with me, I will try and attract more attention to this discussion to see if there is any support for my proposal to forbid use of article-article transclusions in mainspace (template-article transclusions are OK, as that is what that system was designed for). Carcharoth (talk) 17:47, 20 March 2010 (UTC)

  • Agreed that generally it is better to copy the lead from the child article and maybe add a bit from the child body if it is too short, prune if needed to avoid redundancy, perhaps rephrase or rearrange to fit the flow of the main article and so on. Better to adapt the child lead than just transclude. On the other hand, if the child article is very active, on a highly controversial subject, there may be an argument for transclusion to avoid forking. An example is Ghost#Spiritualist movement which has little resemblance to the lead of Spiritualism, although it claims to be a summary of Spiritualism. There is a war going on there about pseudoscience which has caused the forking. To me, the page history issue is internal while the forking issue is public and should take precedence. Aymatth2 (talk) 20:22, 20 March 2010 (UTC)
I'm someone fairly technical – but alas not yet in the realms of wiki scripting – who is also enjoying using partial transcludes at the moment. The technical issue of some people coolly writing some code such that when rendering a history version of an article, the transclude is done from a contemporary history of the transclusion source, seems to me a lot simpler than trying to deal with a lot of upset editors who've had their clever layout spoiled. I realise one-off substitutions could be fairly seamlessly done, but that's not the point. The point is to be clever and save repetition and keep articles connected. I was wondering how the database was organised earlier today while playing with a little whim in my userspace, but I can't see that such linking would involve any alteration to it, simply a few more milliseconds processing history-state pages. At least run this past the software coders before upseting the editors! Someone will have probably fixed it by tomorrow lunchtime! But then I'm an optimist ;-> Trev M 22:08, 20 March 2010 (UTC)
Please do try and find a developer to do something about this. I suggest a starting point would be WP:VPT (the technical village pump). Post a note there pointing people here, and hopefully more technical people will turn up. On the issue of whether it is possible to make sure that rendering of a old page version transcludes what the template looked liked at the time the page was saved, that would be wonderful, and I would fully support that. There are a few problems though. (1) If a template has been deleted, viewing old page version will show a redlink. So what might need to happen there is for people who are active at templates for deletion to be less inclined to delete templates, and to retire them instead (there might also be a need to undelete a lot of undeleted templates and protect them, so that the page history can be accessed by the program rendering old page version when people access those old page versions). (2) Templates have their own namespace, so it is relatively easy to look up what a template page (be it an infobox, navbox, or something else) looked like at the time a previous page version was saved - BUT, I can't figure out how this would be done for the transclusion of a lead section. Do you instruct the rendering program to look up the old page version of the article and obey whatever "noinclude" tags were on the page at the time? That might actually work, but would probably slow things down a bit further. (3) This can't apply to images, as some vandal-images are quite shocking and they need to show up as redlinks or the current version of an image in page histories. All-in-all, I would want to hear what developers have to say about this, as it is they who would have to try and implement some of these proposals. Carcharoth (talk) 22:33, 20 March 2010 (UTC)
I would never have thought of the problem from that point of view. I have made the request suggested here. Feel free to correct or clarify. Regardless of the outcome, this discussion and feedback gives me a big boost of confidence about the way Wikipedia works. 1+1=3. Thanks. Aymatth2 (talk) 23:34, 20 March 2010 (UTC)

MoS naming style

There is currently an ongoing discussion about the future of this and others MoS naming style. Please consider the issues raised in the discussion and vote if you wish GnevinAWB (talk) 21:01, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

How to summarize a list?

Transcendental Meditation#Notable practitioners is long and getting longer, so we're considering splitting it off to a standalone list for the parent article. (Now done: List of Transcendental Meditation practitioners.) The question is now about how to "summarize" a list of names. Do we, as editors, pick the names we think are most interesting or representative? Do we refer to the short lists of the most prominent practitioners? Do we pick every nth entry as a random assortment? Do we leave out the names and say that the notable practitioners include "musicians, actors, politicians, and other notable personalities"? Do we simply say that "many notable people have been practitioners"? Or do we avoid the problem by not attempting to summarize a list? Any suggestions?   Will Beback  talk  02:18, 26 April 2010 (UTC)

And to add to Will's question. As long as policy is being adhered to wouldn't editor consensus help determine how to summarize such a list?(olive (talk) 03:08, 26 April 2010 (UTC))
The point of this thread is to ask for suggestions on how, or if, we can find a way to summare a list that will adhere to policy. The problem, as I explained on the talk page, is that having one editor decide, with no objective criteria, which items to include would violate the "no original research" policy. I've proposed using one of the sourced short lists, or short list based on the most common items that appear in sources, but that apparently isn't satisfactory though I haven't heard why. So mere consensus doesn't seem like a good foundation for action. Also, this isn't the only article to face this issue and if there are good suggestions we may be able to improve the guideline. Let's not get into a debate about the details of the TM article here.   Will Beback  talk  06:27, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
Mere editor consensus isn't being suggested as far as I can see. If a list of names is reliably sourced, (policy is being adhered to) then selecting which if any of those already reliably sourced names should be used in a summary is not OR nor should the selection decision be left to any one editor. First a criteria for selecting how to choose the names may be necessary, and then which names fit within that description must be chosen. That requires consensus and Wikipedia as collaborative operates on consensus. I think you, in your opening post, suggested this concern was in reference to the TM article, but I'll be happy to keep specific references to the article on the TM page(olive (talk) 15:44, 26 April 2010 (UTC))
Nobody has proposed a criterion there or here. Suitable criteria for selecting a few entries from a list would be useful input here.   Will Beback  talk  18:21, 26 April 2010 (UTC)

Criteria, from TM talk page discussion:

  • The list we have is a cross section of people... actors, musicians, physicians, and so on, but in choosing names for the summary we are choosing reliably sourced names from a cross-section of the original list itself, not a cross section of practitioners or society or anything outside what already exists within the WP article’s list.
  • Criteria which would give us a good cross section of our original list could include:

-Choosing one or two names from each decade.

-One or two each from the different groups of: doctors, musicians, actors, politicians, newscasters, military, bankers, and so on.

-Possibly even age ranges (teen, adult, elderly).

Consensus can help determine which if not all of these criteria, we can use, and then which names to use.(olive (talk) 20:29, 26 April 2010 (UTC))

I suggest we use this page to gain input from other editors. There's no point in copying our discussion from that talk page here, unless we're moving the whole discussion here.   Will Beback  talk  20:36, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
I would suggest some consistency ... You said there was no criteria given here or on the TM talk page. I've given criteria on the TM talk page, and copied it here for ease. Its doubtful outside editors would involve themselves in that discussion especially since have specifically asked not to center this discussion on the TM article. (olive (talk) 21:44, 26 April 2010 (UTC))
I am here because of the post on the OR noticeboard. Yes, choosing to remove some names and not others approaches OR.
As of now, it appears that List of Transcendental Meditation practitioners has been created. I see no need to list any practitioners in the main article, and no need to trim any names from the list article. It is not clear to me why removal of list entries has ever been proposed, especially when most seem to have references that support their being on the list. Could someone clarify the motive for trimming the list? Blue Rasberry 13:32, 27 April 2010 (UTC)
There was never a proposal to remove names. But often when material that starts in one article is split off a summary is left. (In this case the list was only in the article for a few days). So one approach to summarizing would be a mini-list. However the mechanism for selecting which names to include in that "summary list" is problematic. I'm not sure how we can really summarize a list by including a few entries. "The list of U.S. states includes Alabama, Texas, and North Dakota". Hence this thread.   Will Beback  talk  13:43, 27 April 2010 (UTC)
The same question is now cross-posted at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Lists#Question on how to create a summary for larger lists.   Will Beback  talk  18:33, 27 April 2010 (UTC)
What's missing in Will's example above on the United Sates is that the list created has implied categories that are subsets of the list itself. For example:The contiguous United States, and those states not contiguous.
For example:
States in the USA
The USA is comprised of 50 separate states. Each State has a unique name and while most of the states are contiguous, such as New York State in the North East of the NA Continent, Florida state in the SE, California on the West Coast, Kansas and Nebraska in the middle, two states are outside the Continental US, Hawaii and Alaska.
or... these are also subsets of "United States", and there are multiple other ways of creating categories/subsets
Eastern Atlantic states, Southern States, Midwestern States, and so on..
What's clear is that there is no OR in any of these examples, the master list is already sourced, and so a summary or subset, a merely technical creation and division, speaks for itself. Sourcing to another list would seem to be an exercise in redundancy.(olive (talk) 18:12, 28 April 2010 (UTC))
There are two problems with using categories and then picking one or two items from each category. First is how to categorize the entries. Using the states example again, if we use a category of "island states" then we have only one entry. Likewise, "states that start with the letter 'U'". Second, even if the category issue can be resolved that just multiplies the issue of how to select the representative entries within the categories. OTOH, an logical and objective criteria, like "the five largest states", would seem less problematic. Perhaps even better is to simply describe the list, briefly, and then link to it. "The 50 states stretch from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and vary greatly in size and population. For a complete list, see..."   Will Beback  talk  15:40, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
I suggest finding 2-3 secondary references that provide reasonably short lists of that kind for the main article. The long (now) standalone list has been produced by trawling through dozens of sources. I suspect that many of those refs mention that X is TM practitioner in a context where X is the main topic, rather than the other way around. So, the question is rather simple: which practitioners are considered most noteworthy in an overview of TM by reliable sources? (By the way, the Romanian episode is poorly covered in the article, here's an overview article [1] in Romanian; you can use google translate, but the article uses fairly elaborate, literary Romanian, so YMMV. There's an entire book about the affair, also in Romanian. Because it involved a large number of Romanian intellectuals, User:Dahn might be interested in writing an article, which could be summarized in the main TM one.) Pcap ping 09:47, 16 May 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for that suggestion. I had made a similar proposal, but it didn't get any traction. One problem with those little lists, of which there are many, is that lazy reporters would apparently repeat each other's work. For example, many lists include the Rolling Stones. So far as I can tell from my research, only Mick Jagger learned the technique, and there's no indication in any of the sources I've read that he ever gave it a second thought. Going back even further, I've seen lists that included Shirley MacLaine even before she'd actually learned it. But as a general practive, I think that's a good way to go.
In the end, what we did was to use Google News and see who was mentioned most frequently in conjunction with TM. We picked the top five names. To give it a little more variety and to reduce the over-representation of musicians, we only used the top name per occupation. It was cobbled together and it may not meet the absolute ideal of NOR, but it seems like the best summarization possible given the circumstances.
Thanks for the link the the article on the Romanian episode. I'd seen some information on it and have been hoping to read more. While some groups take a sort of perverse pride in their persecutions, this doesn't seem to be mentioned anywhere in the TM literature. Overall, this may have been more important to the history of Romania, whose government apparently lost some of its finest minds, than to the international TM movement, for whom Romania was just another domain. Because it exists at the junction of two movements, it'd probably get the best treatment in a standalone article. I'll contact Dahn about it.   Will Beback  talk  09:06, 17 May 2010 (UTC)

Support for summaries

I m considering howe summaries could be better supported and have some initial ideas. This would support both summary style splitting or articles and within article summaries like in the lead or at the top of some subsections.

I think I'd want two templates

Plus a type of summary citation which is stuck at the end of a summary sentence and refers to what's summarized. For summary style that is done already but within articles there's no real indication that a statement summarizes something further down. One can of course put in an ordinary link but I think something better is needed. Then a lead could have something like 'Monsoons in Mojimbe regularly kill thousands of people.[Monsoons] ' which referred to the section 'Monsoons' instead of listing various citations from that section. Dmcq (talk) 15:04, 10 June 2010 (UTC)

I think I'll copy this over to WT:Verifiability#Citations_in_the_lead and any discussion should probably be centralized for the moment there. Dmcq (talk) 17:18, 10 June 2010 (UTC)

Summary section heading

Since before I ever began editing WP I have wondered why the first section of articles has no heading. I now note several things

  1. Perhaps, unlike in many other media, there is not supposed to be a heading for some stylistic or arcane reason and this can never be changed or revealed
  2. The function of the first section is different in different articles:
    1. It may be a summary. I never recognised that that was what it supposed to be until I started doing background reading, and there may be a significant proportion of practising WP editors and writers who continue not to know that
    2. It may be an introduction - an explanation of the content of the rest of the page
    3. It may be the entire page content
    4. In a fudgily written article, it may just be a first-thing-that-comes-to-mind section before the writer's mind crystallises into headings
  3. By default, with a reasonable size article and a top right Infobox and/or image, it shoves the contents box off the bottom of the first page screen that loads, leaving only the length of the scroll bar handle and load time as an indication of the extent of the page, unless code to make the summary text wrap it is added

The first thing I want to know – or rather feel – when I enter a page, often before even deciding whether to delve further within the page, is what the extent of the content is... so the regular poker-faced page-top that I am confronted with frustrates that.

I suspect this convention grew by default out of when WP was small enough that a page for a topic was enough division of content: that the first bit of the article just carried on under the h1 until it got too rambling and then an h2 was stuck in.

I am inclined to experiment in a few articles and name it Summary or Introduction or Foreword according to its rôle and watch what happens. The implications for search page extracts might be worth considering.

Actually propagating a heading for the section may serve to get it far better implemented, getting writers and editors to consider what it is actually there for, filling your first screen!

In the meantime I look forward to reading longer-practising writers' views on these matters.... Trev M 16:44, 10 June 2010 (UTC)

The first section is described in WP:LEAD and tends to be variously called the leader, lead or leda. In other documents that bit would be a short lead in italics before the main text. So yes it does have a special purpose. Dmcq (talk) 17:14, 10 June 2010 (UTC)
    • In the WP:LEAD page itself, for example, that short bit in italics seems to be consumed as follows:
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from Wikipedia:LEAD)
Jump to: navigation, search
This guideline is a part of the English Wikipedia's Manual of Style. Use common sense in applying it; ...
it will have occasional exceptions. Please ensure that any edits to this page reflect consensus.        
This page in a nutshell: The lead should define the topic and summarize the body of the article with appropriate weight.
That's already quite a lot of information. Then we get the italic bit, without a title, without italics (because hard to read on screen no doubt), then we get what the default section - the contents - on what article actually has in it... so with articles growing in complexity isn't it about time it had some clearly assigned purpose for the many who come here for whom WP is the printed work of our past?
I'm only just realising that the Summaries we're talking about here and the Lead are two completely different things! Maybe this thread should be transcluded to the LEAD talk page, as it's relevant to both. Trev M 17:42, 10 June 2010 (UTC)
How about just following the style already here? Please get some consensus before sticking in your own style. I was able to start editing Wikipedia without reading any of the rubbish in the WP: pages and without people complaining because I just kept the style already there and copied what other people had done. Keep it simple unless something a bit more complex is really necessary is my philosophy. You seem to want to use all sorts of things like this onlyinclude you've stuck here. It is not an exercise in learning strange constructions - the point is to write stuff that anyone else can edit as well.. Dmcq (talk) 18:49, 10 June 2010 (UTC)
      • Clarity is good as well as simplicity; if they are the same, even better. This is posted here to see what other input there is to the idea; let's see for a few months. Trev M 19:23, 10 June 2010 (UTC)
There is no need for a heading above the initial text as it is just clutter and pointless. The TOC should appear below the initial section as you usually read the initial section to see what the article is about and decide if you need to read on to get detail. It is at that point you look at the TOC and decide which sections you are interested in. It is much better if the start of the TOC is below the bottom of the infobox. Keith D (talk) 22:01, 10 June 2010 (UTC)
        • I simply disagree regarding your first assertion: it would have clarified much for me during the early days of my use of Wikipedia, and I believe would encourage other editors to use the section appropriately. There is plenty of wasted space and clutter around WP pages! You seem to be making the assumption that my (and thus presumeably the majority of other users') thought processes and reading techniques are, and should be, the same as yours!

Trev M 22:21, 10 June 2010 (UTC)

I agree with Keith D on all points. There is no need for an extra header at the top. It is clutter and conveys nothing since the purpose of that section is agreed by convention. There is no point in sticking the same word in bold at the top of every article and there would be no point in using different words. The lead should satisfy quick casual query and if you are searching through the contents then you want to spend more time on the article anyway. As to the placement of the contents list there is little point in making quick queries longer in the interest of making longer perusal where you already know about the subject a tiny fraction faster. Dmcq (talk) 22:35, 10 June 2010 (UTC)

Query regarding wikilinking at Village Pump Misc.

I have posted a query at the village pump, on the question of what is the best (long-term) way to handle redundancies among related articles. It relates to the use of summary style, so I thought some of you might have something to say. Cheers! AGradman / underlying article as I saw it / talk 03:40, 23 September 2010 (UTC)


I have removed the following text:

There is no need to repeat all the references for the subtopics in the main "Summary style" article, unless they are required to support a specific point. The policy on sources, Wikipedia:Verifiability, says that sources must be provided for any material that is challenged or likely to be challenged, and for all quotations.
When adding material to a section in the summary style, however, it is important to ensure that the material is present in the sub-article with a reference. This also imposes additional burden in maintaining Wikipedia articles, as it is important to ensure that the broad article and its sub-articles remain consistent.

The sourcing requirements for all articles on WP are effected only by the material in the article, and not in related articles. The use of summary style has no effect on our citation requirements whatsoever. This section has caused confusion in the past. I don't believe it is helpful. Colin°Talk 10:18, 21 November 2010 (UTC)

I reverted the change as I don't agree with it. A section that briefly describes the content of another article shouldn't need it's own references as verifiability requirements should be met in the other article.--RDBury (talk) 23:40, 21 November 2010 (UTC)
Wikipedia articles are never sourced to other Wikipedia articles. Summary style is no exception. This section has for too long given the impression of an opt-out of WP:V for summary sections, just like your comment states. Look at WP:V. Do you see an exception that allows sourcing to daughter articles? This doesn't even document best-practice as I'm not aware of any of our best articles (FAs), which adopt summary style, that don't stand on their own legs wrt sources. Can you point out any FA that relies on its daughter articles for sourcing? Colin°Talk 17:54, 22 November 2010 (UTC)

I'd also point out that RDBury also reverted this edit which resolved the confusing mess that the first paragraph had made as it had got references confused with further reading and external links. That edit should be uncontroversial. Colin°Talk 18:41, 22 November 2010 (UTC)

Colin is right about this, RDB. Articles have to stand alone in terms of their references. We can't refer readers to other articles and expect them to hunt for the citations there.
The sourcing policy, WP:V, says in its lead: "This policy is strictly applied to all material in the mainspace—articles, lists, sections of articles, and captions—without exception, and in particular to material about living persons" (bold added). I have a vague memory of the "sections of articles" part being added specifically to address this point about summary-style. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 19:00, 22 November 2010 (UTC)
Would you be in favour of these two consecutive edits being restored. This removed the above text and fixed the remaining paragraph to correctly discuss further reader and external links. Colin°Talk 19:18, 22 November 2010 (UTC)
Yes, I'd be fine with that. Small typo: "to give more structure to long a bibliography" --> "to give more structure to a long bibliography." SlimVirgin talk|contribs 19:44, 22 November 2010 (UTC)
The removed (now returned) material is correct, but incomplete... While there is no need to repeat all the references. However, there is a need to repeat at least some of them (enough to support the summary). Blueboar (talk) 19:59, 22 November 2010 (UTC)
It should be clearly and simply stated, e.g. that "Any article beyond stub-class should be able to stand on the sources cited in that article." We have far too long used AGF as an excuse for accepting unsourced content. Fixing this would dramatically reduce copyvio issues as well. LeadSongDog come howl! 20:49, 22 November 2010 (UTC)
Blueboar, have you ever seen anyone "repeat all the references"? No, because that would be a silly and unnecessary thing to do. Wikipedia articles get summarised to all sorts of levels in the article that links to them: section, paragraph, sentence, list item, word. Somehow, only section summaries, and only articles that have a hierarchical relationship, have been singled out for special treatment wrt sourcing. We don't need to say it. What's more, when we do say it, the reader thinks, well how much should I copy from the daughter article? Instead they should be concentrating on writing a good summary of the section topic using the best sources they have.
The second paragraph imposed the requirement that material added to a summary section must also be present in the daughter article with a reference. But both material, if WP:V requires it, need a reference. And the desire to keep the summary and detail articles in sync is a nice-to-have that is a content guideline issue quite separate from policy issues such as sourcing, and it is already covered in another section Colin°Talk 22:07, 22 November 2010 (UTC)
Yes, I agree. Heck, even list articles need sources. Blueboar (talk) 00:52, 23 November 2010 (UTC)