Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Contents/Archive 4

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Archive 3 Archive 4 Archive 5


Outline of Knowledge from Britannica

I have added the Outline of Knowledge (Propædia) of Encyclopedia Britannica to the Categorical Indices. The Outline is the result of the collaboration of many eminent academics and specialists, and is an excellent compendium of all human knowledge. I believe it merits inclusion in the "content listings" box. Palaeovia 03:52, 10 April 2007 (UTC) .

ps: The Outline of Knowledge can be found at [1] for the curious. Palaeovia 02:39, 13 May 2007 (UTC)

Limits of Knowledge

I noticed that most contributors are happy to show off what they know, but are less up-front about what they don't know. Especially in science, only a few are willing to admit ignorance. As Wiki is for everybody, I would suggest to frame content more in terms of what we know and what we don't know. This might help avoid intimidation of simple minds like mine, and help knowledge seekers get a better picture of the limits of knowledge and the challenges ahead.--Robert van der Hoff 01:13, 4 May 2007 (UTC)

We have some lists of unsolved problems in various fields; this sounds like the the sort of thing you're looking for – Gurch 15:25, 5 May 2007 (UTC)

Question re Further Explanation of page

Reading this page for the first time and clicking the links left me confused.

Is there something anywhere that explains the structure of the wiki database and how pages, articles, lists, topics, portals relate to each other?

76.80.92.186 06:27, 28 June 2007 (UTC)

The structure of the wiki database itself is quite complex, and it's not necessary to understand it in order to contribute. Wikipedia uses MediaWiki, open-source wiki software; documentation for that can be found at http://www.mediawiki.org. Wikipedia is split into various namespaces, which separate pages that are actually part of the encyclopedia from pages that are used for maintenance, administration and so forth. All articles are in the "main" namespace, which simply means there is no prefix before their title. So Cheese, Bear and Pokemon are all articles. Other pages have a prefix – for example the contents page is Wikipedia:Contents; the prefix "Wikipedia:" identifies it as a project page, rather than an article. Similarly, the "About Wikipedia" page (Wikipedia:About) and the Featured Content page (Wikipedia:Featured content) are both project pages. "Lists" are just a particular kind of article, there's nothing special about them, except that they're usually called "List of ..." something. "Topics" don't really exist outside of the Wikipedia:Featured topics page; they're just collections of related articles that are particularly good. "Portals" are part of another namespace, so they all start with "Portal:"; they provide an overview of particular topics within the encyclopedia (for example, Portal:Fish links to all kinds of stuff about fish). There are other namespaces too; for example, the "User:" namespace, which allows registered users to provide some information about themselves if they so wish, without interfering with the enyclopedia itself; and the "Special:" namespace, which contains 'special' report pages that can't be edited, for example the page which shows how many articles we have. Each namespace also has a corresponding "Talk:" namespace where that page can be discussed. For example, you can discuss the article Earth at Talk:Earth, and the page Wikipedia:Contents at Wikipedia talk:Contents (which is where we are now) – Gurch 10:51, 28 June 2007 (UTC)

Namespace and selfref

I've boldly reverted some of the changes Moe Epsilon made. To hopefully rectify the problems he saw (see this thread for details), I've placed the {{Contents pages (footer box)}} in a selfref div, instead of just removing it. I've also refilled that template with the contents it had before, which better mirror this page's listing. Hopefully that works for everyone. --Quiddity 17:12, 29 July 2007 (UTC)

The self-ref divs works too. — Moe ε 20:28, 6 August 2007 (UTC)

RfC on Lists and Contents pages

Please see a discussion at Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)#Contents pages, and lists of lists on the Wikipedia:Contents pages, and specifically on the namespace they belong in. Thanks. --Quiddity 17:43, 13 August 2007 (UTC)

Well that worked out great :). I am copying the thread from VP(policy)/archive to below, and adding an RfC tag:

Contents pages, and lists of lists

We cannot agree on which namespace some of these pages belong in: {{Contents pages (header bar)}}:

  1. What namespace do items 2–4 belong in, mainspace or projectspace or portalspace? (see example logs for some of the many disputed moves) Part of the problem seems to be the overlap of Wikipedia:Avoid self-references and Wikipedia:Lists.
  2. If they are in mainspace, should they have the fancy but unnecessary colouring and icons? Can and are they aiming for Featured List status? (similar to Lists of mathematics topics perhaps?)
  3. We desperately need more participation. I'm still shocked that Wikipedia:Contents made it into the sidebar so easily. We need more editors to go through all the subpages, to add missing items and remove unwarranted items. There aren't nearly enough people watchlisting the central talkpage to have a discussion there. (Please do, it's a very low update page. Actually all 8 are).

That's the very condensed version, with many tangential issues. Previous discussions abound, most recently here, and here.

Please advise. --Quiddity 17:40, 13 August 2007 (UTC)

  • They are in the main namespace, as evidenced by the lack of "wikipedia:" or "template:" or something else at the start of their name. If you wish to discuss their layout, either edit them yourself or use the talk page. Wrt featured lists, refer to the WP:FLC page >Radiant< 12:56, 14 August 2007 (UTC)
    Nonono (I know what a namespace is :P ). They have been moved back and forth between mainspace and projectspace a number of times. That is the problem.
    Many (most?) editors believe pages like Lists of basic topics belong in projectspace. They cannot pass Featured list criteria (WP:WIAFL), as by design they have no references or lead section. They look and act like portals, but don't belong in that namespace either.
    As the admin Prodego said (referring to List of overviews): "Obviously this is a list of Wikipedia overviews, not all overviews, so I think it probably belongs in the Wikipedia namespace." User Rbellin said: "... I don't think a move to the Wikipedia namespace is a bad idea for most of the list-of-topics/contents lists ..." User Moe Epsilon said: "Lists of topics is maintained like a WikiProject, not an article that provides disambiguation, and thus should have been moved to the Wikipedia namespace." Admin W.Marsh said: "Lists of lists are self-referential and shouldn't be articles. A list namespace might be a good idea but the portal namespace exists for pages that purely exist to organize links to articles."
    The Transhumanist is the main (only?) proponent of moving them to/keeping them in mainspace (see User talk:The Transhumanist/Archive 7#Contents and User talk:Quiddity/Archive 8#Contents pages and mirrors and Talk:List of overviews#Move to Wikipedia:List of overviews for his reasons, which I find partly compelling, and mostly confusing).
    (With the exception of List of academic disciplines, which we all seem to agree belongs in mainspace)
    If this were simple, I wouldn't have brought it here! And as I explained, only a handful of people watchlist Wikipedia:Contents (the low participation is a major problem in itself), so it isn't productive to discuss it there. --Quiddity 17:06, 14 August 2007 (UTC)
  • The problem that I see with these pages is that they try to act as both an article and a table of contents. The problem I have with them being articles is that articles are not supposed to be formated to look fancy like these are. Also, like was mentioned earlier, their is no way for these pages to become featured lists because there is no way that they can be referenced. Being, it appears, the only person to move this article in the move log, I still support the move of this and the related pages. The Placebo Effect 17:31, 25 August 2007 (UTC)
    • There are many other lists of lists on Wikipedia, such as those for mathematics. How do these lists of lists differ from those on math? Aren't those like tables of contents too? The Transhumanist    22:39, 12 November 2007 (UTC)
    • Also, it remains to be seen if they can be referenced or not. "Topic" is a subject, "basic topic" is a subject, and membership in those subjects should be pretty easy to source. The Transhumanist    03:03, 11 November 2007 (UTC)
  • I think they're fine how they are. Nothing wrong with making such general articles fancy, and I don't care what namespace the're in. Why is this an RFC, anyway? Seems to me watchers of this talk page are equipped to deal with the question. ←BenB4 02:13, 2 September 2007 (UTC)
    There is an RfC because, as I explained twice above, there are very few people watching this page. If you "don't care" then please don't add to a thread pointlessly. --Quiddity 19:11, 4 September 2007 (UTC)
    What namespace they are in affects searches, and also may affect whether they can be linked to from the main namespace. Links to the Wikipedia namespace are advised against by the guideline WP:ASR. The Transhumanist    22:39, 12 November 2007 (UTC)
  • I believe it would be best to move these to the Portal namespace. Seems like a logical place for them to me, essentially, being a portal through which users access the information.—Scott5114 21:56, 21 September 2007 (UTC)
    They don't fit within the current definition of what Portals are for (see lead at Portal:List of portals). Though I suppose it is an option to consider. --Quiddity 20:19, 24 September 2007 (UTC)
    Scott, can you explain your logic please? The guideline Wikipedia:Lists specifies that lists and lists of lists are articles. And articles go in the main namespace. If these lists don't belong in the main namespace, what is it about them that is different from other lists that determines this? Whatever logic you use may apply to other lists, so please clarify. What policies or guidelines are you basing your decision on, and how do those apply? The Transhumanist    22:39, 12 November 2007 (UTC)
    Sorry for my late reply, I'd totally forgotten about this before I got a talk page note about it. I feel that this is distinct from normal mainspace lists as it's meta-content trying to help the reader get where they're trying to go. Meta-content shouldn't be in the mainspace, but the Wikipedia: namespace doesn't seem like the right place as it's not intended for general readers. That leaves the Portal namespace, which I think is a good fit, because this is a starting place for navigation, like portals are (basically). I don't feel too strongly about the outcome; this is just an idea I wanted to bring up for consideration.—Scott5114 23:39, 12 November 2007 (UTC)
    What do you mean by "meta-content"? What is it about these lists that is "meta"? Since all lists are lists of links, they all try to help people where they want to go. What makes these lists different from those? For example, see Lists of philosophy topics and Lists of philosophers. Are those meta too? The Transhumanist    08:43, 13 November 2007 (UTC)
    I believe these particular lists are meta-content because they refer to the articles themselves. Other lists are grouped by virtue of their subject (i.e. the list of philosophers has articles listed that are about the philosophers). The list of overviews, for example, doesn't group things by subject matter, but rather by the virtue that they are overviews. They could be overviews of books, or movies, or scientific theories, or processes in the Earth's atmosphere. I'm sure someone will say I'm splitting hairs here. :) —Scott5114 18:27, 13 November 2007 (UTC)
    This kind of meta-content (i.e., "self-refernces" which are references to articles), is covered in WP:ASR, and is deemed acceptable by that guideline. They are called "neutral self-references". Also, lists of lists are treated as articles by Wikipedia:Lists and Wikipedia:Lists (stand-alone lists). The official home for lists of lists is the main name space, and always has been. The Transhumanist    20:35, 18 November 2007 (UTC)
  • Following the AfD of List of overviews by admin Coredesat, I've sent a note to the mailing list, requesting feedback. --Quiddity 20:39, 24 September 2007 (UTC)
  • I would prefer to see them kept in mainspace. Think about what such lists are for. They are formatted as navigational devices for the reader of Wikipedia, quite possible the new and unfamiliar reader of Wikipedia, and they are also devices to highlight ways to browse content. Given that, directing readers into the project-space (where different rules apply) is nothing but confusing. Navigational structures can be part of the article space. The argument that they are "not articles" and therefore don't belong in article-space is nonsense: redirects, disambig pages and all the other lists "aren't articles" either by that logic, yet we're not going to move all the disambig pages to Wikipedia space. -- phoebe/(talk) 21:55, 24 September 2007 (UTC)
    • That's a flawed argument. It is completley IMPOSSIBLE to move all redirects to project space. And secondly, I would support making a Disambiguation namespace to move DB pages out of article space and defluff our article count a little bit. Now this list doesn't belong in article space in my opinion. These pages are very much like portals, and if the first page in this series is a portal, then wither they all should be in article space, or portal space. The Placebo Effect 06:08, 2 October 2007 (UTC)
      • It's not flawed at all. Tables of contents are every bit as much a part of the books they belong to as the rest of the content of those books. The main consideration here I think is that cross-namespace links, especially from article space to the Wikipedia namespace are discouraged if not blatantly disallowed. And lists need to be able to be linked to from the main namespace. That's really where they belong, with the articles they support. The Transhumanist    22:35, 10 October 2007 (UTC)
        • Tables of contents are not included in the article pages of a book. they are always in the roman numeral numbered pages, seperate. And how do portals fall into the no cross-namespace links rule? BTW, could you show me a link to this rule because I have not seen it. The Placebo Effect 04:27, 16 October 2007 (UTC)
          • But they are included in the book. The main namespace is the encyclopedia, while the Wikipedia namespace is the community which supports it. The Transhumanist    20:38, 11 November 2007 (UTC)
          • Also, these aren't exactly tables of contents. Tables of contents are "tables" for the specific reason that they tabulate page numbers alongside chapter and heading names. These pages don't do that. These are lists, not tables. So we need to be clear why these lists should be treated differently from other lists, because we may be setting up a precedent here. These are lists of lists. There are many other lists of lists on Wikipedia. The guideline Wikipedia:Lists covers lists and lists of lists. Why exactly are you making an exception to that guideline for these lists, and how does that not apply to other lists? The Transhumanist    22:39, 12 November 2007 (UTC)
  • I would leave everything in the wikipedia space. These aren't articles so that would be logical--Phoenix 15 (Talk) 18:20, 17 October 2007 (UTC)
    How are these not articles, exactly? According to Wikipedia:Lists both lists and lists of lists are articles, and they're treatment is covered by that guideline. If these lists should be moved out of the main namespace, why shouldn't other lists also be moved? Whatever reasons you have for declaring these as not articles may apply to other lists, so it's important to be very specific. Lists are articles, what is different about these lists that make them not articles? The Transhumanist    22:39, 12 November 2007 (UTC)
  • there is no clear division, and there will always be room for debate. Common sense needs to be applied, case by case. The relevant question is: "is the page indexing Wikipedia, or is it an encyclopedic list?". Clear subpages of Wikipedia:Content obviously belong in Wikipedia: namespace. Otoh, things like list of academic disciplines are valid list articles that just happen to be linked from Wikiedia:Content. dab (𒁳) 18:22, 17 October 2007 (UTC)
    • How is it obvious? What common sense are you applying? How did you choose? Could you tell us how "topic" or "basic topic" differs from "academic discipline" and what makes the latter encyclopedic and the others not? What makes the page Lists of topics and the page Lists of basic topics not valid lists? The Transhumanist    22:39, 12 November 2007 (UTC)
  • The Wikipedia namespace is the home of the Wikipedia community. It really isn't part of the encyclopedia, and is intended mostly for administrative purposes. To have topical materials in the Wikipedia namespace is nothing but confusing. The lists of topics do more than serve as tables of contents, they show the structure of subjects (and knowledge as a whole) and in this respect are lists every bit as much as other lists covered by Wikipedia's list guideline, are therefore articles, and therefore belong in article space. That they are self-referential is irrelevant -- all lists are self-referential, and they as well as the list guideline are exceptions to the no self references guideline. Lists of basic topics, Lists of topics, and List of glossaries are each the main page of a set -- it makes no sense to move them away from their respecitive sets to another namespace. The Transhumanist    01:34, 2 November 2007 (UTC)
  • These lists belong in Wikipedia namespace. Many people walk into a library or bookstore and look around thinking, "Aha, so this is how all of knowledge is organized," but they are wrong. Many equally valid systems of organizing knowledge have been devised. The chosen scope of each Wikipedia article, the inclusion or exclusion of articles in a category or list (unless it is an indisputable fact), and the boundaries of academic disciplines are the opinions of the compilers. Categories of knowledge that were developed by an authority in the outside world such as Dewey, LC or Roget could stay in the article namespace, but the unique organization schemes that were grown inhouse by Wikipedia's editors are original research. They are indeed useful as overviews of this encyclopedia's strengths and lacks, but they should not be candidates for featured lists. GUllman 23:51, 9 November 2007 (UTC)
    • Since the 3 pages I listed above are also the names of their respective sets, it isn't clear to what lists you are referring to, just the 3 pages, or the entire sets? Note that the scope of the page "Lists of topics" is all lists on Wikipedia. To move them all to the Wikipedia namespace would require a larger venue of discussion. With respect to your last point, whether or not a list is eligible for featured list status depends upon if it can meet the requirements set by that department. "Basic geography" returns over 37,000 hits on Google, so it appears likely that the List of basic geography topics can be sourced as per the requirements of WP:FLC. The Transhumanist    17:01, 10 November 2007 (UTC)
  • The lists pages that were moved recently should indeed be in Portal namespace, in my opinion. Many portals have subpages that list the articles used at that portal. That is exactly what should be done here. Possibly Portal:Contents is needed to act as a portal from which to browse Wikipedia. These list pagse could be subpages of that portal. Carcharoth 15:42, 10 November 2007 (UTC)
    • No one has as of yet explored the possibility of sourcing these 3 pages. If they can be sourced, with each member of the lists being verified as a "topic" or a "basic topic", then the lists won't differ from any other list on Wikipedia. The glossaries page presents a problem, and would probably need to be renamed to "List of terms" or "List of topics (annotated)". It is also important to look at the specific reasons why they are being moved, to identify any precedents which may be set by moving them. For example, it might be seen that they are being moved because they are lists of lists, leading editors to moving other lists of lists out of the main namespace, such as Lists of philosophers. There were over 80 lists of lists the last time I checked. And what about expanded lists, where the base page retains the singular "List" in its title? (For example, see List of philosophical topics). In the case that those are treated differently, note that all lists of lists can be converted to the expansion model, including the 3 pages at issue. If lists that grow so large that they become lists of lists all of a sudden disappear to portal space, then things could get very confusing, especially for beginners. The Transhumanist    17:01, 10 November 2007 (UTC)
    • Do you mean rename Wikipedia:Contents to Portal:Contents? That makes sense, if the recent moves are to remain where they are. --Quiddity (talk) 05:07, 12 November 2007 (UTC)
    • Carcharoth, I forgot to ask "why do you think Wikipedia:Lists, which treats lists as articles, does not apply here?" What is it about these lists of lists that sets them apart from other lists of lists that makes you think that they should go in portal space? The Transhumanist    22:39, 12 November 2007 (UTC)
      • My view is that lists should be annotated, Closer to Wikipedia:Summary style than a pure list. I see pure (unannotated) lists and contents pages as being the role of categories and portals. Having similar things in mainspace is confusing. Carcharoth 00:52, 13 November 2007 (UTC)
        • To clarify further, I'm effectively saying that lists of articles are OK in main/article space (as you can annotate the individual entries on the lists and source the annotations, and in some cases point people at similar lists elsewhere), but that lists of lists are what should be in portal space. The only reasons for lists of lists might be a list of real, published lists (eg. a list of the "Top 100" lists published by XYZ). I hope that example makes clear the difference between lists of real lists and lists of Wikipedia lists. Carcharoth 10:46, 13 November 2007 (UTC)
  • I believe these lists are inherently unsourcable, as they merely cover (or were selected to represent) the articles which Wikipedia currently has. E.g. as Prodego said "this is a list of Wikipedia overviews, not all overviews". This seems to be the primary reason they belong outside mainspace. --Quiddity (talk) 18:28, 13 November 2007 (UTC)
  • I've requested input from Wikipedia:Lists (stand-alone lists), which is the only guideline covering "lists of lists", in order to cover any ramifications for other "lists of lists" (such as List of timelines and Lists of philosophers and everything else in Category:Lists of lists). --Quiddity (talk) 18:28, 13 November 2007 (UTC)
  • in my book, all "lists of lists" are disambiguation pages. {{disambig}} are the only cases of what are strictly self-references in article namespace (besides Main Page). Thus, list of languages is a list of lists, and a disambiguation page. dab (𒁳) 21:39, 13 November 2007 (UTC)

Tangent about basic topics as subpages of portals

  1. This isn't the issue under discussion here.
  2. These lists appear sourcable. To name a few, "basic geography", "basic history", "basic architecture", "basic biology", "basic nutrition", and "basic psychology" get tens of thousands of hits on Google. Also, organizations exist that define basic-level material for education. So portal space doesn't appear any more suitable for these lists than for other lists that belong in the main namespace.
  3. Pages in portal space don't show up in searches for most users.
  4. Many of the basic topic lists do not have corresponding portals.
  5. This isn't the right place to discuss this. See Wikipedia:WikiProject Lists of basic topics.   The Transhumanist    13:03, 13 November 2007 (UTC)
    • Then there's the issue of linking to a portal subpage from an article. All of the basic topics lists and many of the lists of topics are included in the see also sections of the articles which cover the same subjects. What will happen to those links? The Transhumanist    17:01, 10 November 2007 (UTC)
      • I see no problem with linking to such portal pages. Increasingly, now, I see people linking from articles to categories. Not something to be overdone, but something that is useful. Possibly linking to categories and portals is best done with a "sisterlinks" type template (the one that links to Commons and Wikiquote and stuff like that). I know people are meant to access categories from the tags at the bottom, but sometimes I think a more prominent pointer towards a useful (usually eponymous) category is needed. Carcharoth 23:04, 10 November 2007 (UTC)
        • But what about the community? Editors tend to enforce Wikipedia's guidelines with near religious fanaticism. We need to clarify what the guidelines are concerning cross-namespace links like these. The Transhumanist    02:57, 11 November 2007 (UTC)
    • Is the default scope of a search the main namespace only? If so, then it will no longer be as useful for searching lists if many of them are moved to portal space. When I use the search box, portal pages don't even show up on there. The Transhumanist    17:09, 10 November 2007 (UTC)
      • That's a very good point. I really hope portal pages are showing up in searches. If not, why not! This is a question that really needs answering before the debate can go any further, as it applies to all pages in Portal space. Carcharoth 23:04, 10 November 2007 (UTC)
        1. Click "my preferences" (upper right of your screen)
        2. Click "Search" tab
        3. Tick "Portal" box
        4. Click "Save" button
        • Alternatively, after performing a "Search", go to the bottom of the "search result" page, tick the boxes of the namespaces you want to search, and hit the "Search" button at the bottom of the page (in this case the search options are not stored permanently in your preferences). More at Help:Search. --Francis Schonken 19:39, 11 November 2007 (UTC)
          • But it's not set by default. How many users reset their default search? And how many scroll to the bottom of the search results to conduct a second search to change the namespace parameters? My guess is that the vast majority of users don't include the portal namespace in their searches. What good are tables of contents if users can't easily find them? Also, if cross-namespace links aren't allowed to these pages, then users can't be directed to the tables of contents for specific subjects from the main articles on those subjects (such as from their see also sections). The Transhumanist    20:48, 11 November 2007 (UTC)
            • I agree the lack of a default search of portal namespace is a concern. The cross-namespace links are not a problem though, in my view, as long as they avoid unnecessary self-references. You may need to start discussions elsewhere to address the issue of self-references. Personally, I view the portal links at the bottom of many articles, and the links to sister-wikis, as self-references, and no worse than linking to these lists. Possibly you are thinking of cross-namespace redirects, which are a problem (for reasons I can't remember right now). Carcharoth 23:54, 11 November 2007 (UTC)
  • Sorry Transhumanist but I'm...withdrawing from this debate. You can disregard all my comments, I'm busy elsewhere :-) Phoenix-wiki (talk · contribs) 21:38, 18 November 2007 (UTC)

(consensus resolved on the move to portal namespace. archiving. -- Quiddity (talk) 09:00, 8 December 2007 (UTC))