Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Succession Box Standardization

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Unnecessary bold[edit]

I propose that the bold formatting in the succession boxes should be removed, because it is contrary to MOS:BOLD and serves no purpose. (Originally raised at Template_talk:S-start#Template-protected_edit_request_on_26_January_2015). Mitch Ames (talk) 12:07, 26 January 2015 (UTC)

The MOS objection to bolding is based on the idea that it may distract from the flow of the text. Since the succession boxes have no flow of text to be distracted from, the relevance of the edict doesn't seem absolute. Even weaker given the MOS' own inconsistencies on the matter.
Looking at the example used in a previous discussion, Kenneth MacAlpin...
  • having "Kenneth MacAlpin" in plaintext and "House of Alpin" in bold seems perverse,
  • in "Preceded by Drest X", the bolding of Drest X compared to the plain "Preceded by" seems meaningful, and
  • the bolding in "Born: after 800 Died: 13 February 858" seems less meaningful, perhaps even distracting.
I'd agree that the bolding should be reviewed, but a blanket removal seems (imho) overkill. Bazj (talk) 13:21, 26 January 2015 (UTC)
In that vein, the following alteration would certainly seem an improvement to me:
Kenneth MacAlpin
Born: after 800 Died: 13 February 858
Kenneth MacAlpin
Born: after 800 Died: 13 February 858
Bazj (talk) 13:44, 26 January 2015 (UTC)
I think the use of bold does make the page too "busy" unnecessarily. Perhaps more to the point, what advantage does the bold provide? Ie what do we gain by going against MOS? I suggest that - given that we have a clear guideline in MOS not to use bold - the onus should on those who would apply bold to justify its use contrary to MOS. Mitch Ames (talk) 12:25, 28 January 2015 (UTC)
  • I think the use of bold does make the page too "busy" unnecessarily
The boxes that don't follow the flow of the text and have big colour bands across the top of them don't make the page look busy already?
  • what advantage does the bold provide
It draws your attention to the major points (Kenneth MacAlpin, rather than his birth and death dates in the example above)
  • given that we have a clear guideline in MOS
The clear guideline is to not break up the flow of a paragraph of text. There are no large blocks of text to have a flow in the succession boxes. The clarity of the guidelines is also muted by the exceptions in the MOS itself, WP:ARTCON,& WP:MOS#Wikilinks.
  • the onus should on those...
And yet the succession boxes are by-and-large protected. The onus falls on those wanting to overthrow the status quo.
While I'll agree there is a case for reviewing the use of bolding in succession boxes, there is no way a blanket removal is warranted. Are you suggesting the removal of bold at Template talk:Navbox and Template talk:Infobox? Bazj (talk) 13:53, 28 January 2015 (UTC)
The boxes that don't follow the flow of the text and have big colour bands across the top of them don't make the page look busy already?
So why make it worse?
It draws your attention to the major points (Kenneth MacAlpin, rather than his birth and death dates in the example above)
If you need to draw attention to specific elements of the table cell, I suggest that there is to much information in the cell.
The clear guideline is to not break up the flow ...
No, the clear guideline is too use bold only in the specific scenarios.
Are you suggesting the removal of bold at Template talk:Navbox and Template talk:Infobox?
The thought has crossed my mind. However notice that navboxes and infoboxes typically don't use bold in the contents cells, only the header or label cells. Mitch Ames (talk) 05:58, 1 February 2015 (UTC)

I'll be even bolder (no pun intended; formatting added later) and suggest something else: does this house template really serve a meaningful purpose? I've never seen much of a point in it, and shouldn't mind at all were it to disappear. It's a large, visually striking element used in monarchs' succession boxes and nowhere else, even though most of the information it carries (name and dates) exists for the overwhelming majority of biographies in Wikipedia, from Socrates to Benedict Cumberbatch. (Besides, the article name is not always the best way to refer to the subject, or may be one of several equally valid ways to do so, so I do not consider it a good idea to put it at the head of succession boxes.) Why not just do away with it? Waltham, The Duke of 18:49, 2 February 2015 (UTC)

  • "Why not just do away with it?" +1 -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 21:58, 2 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Support removal of {{s-hou}} (it is a bit peacock-y, and its removal appeals to my inner republican) but more than a little daunted by removal of 7624 transclusions. Bazj (talk) 13:57, 5 February 2015 (UTC)
    • I believe there is the option of requesting that a bot removes all transclusions of the template in the mainspace (or a subset thereof, like articles categorised as biographies)—a simple enough task that shouldn't cause any problems, though we can certainly refine the criteria if need be. However, the good people at Wikipedia:Bot requests may require stronger proof of consensus for such an action than our little chat here. It would be nice if more people expressed their opinion on this idea. Waltham, The Duke of 16:57, 6 March 2015 (UTC)
  • I consider that "house" is over-used. It is appropriate for reigning monarchs, but should probably not be bold. It should not be used for peers and the like. Peterkingiron (talk) 17:11, 6 March 2015 (UTC)
    • I haven't seen it used for peers; can you give an example? Your idea is interesting, but one might say a bit arbitrary as well: all monarchs belong to houses (even if they are the ones to found them), so why show it only for reigning monarchs? An "all or nothing" approach seems to me to make more sense, and you know which one I prefer. Besides, if we were to remove the template from dead monarchs, that would render the death date in the template completely superfluous and we'd have to remove it; that would upset the balance we have now, because we'd either have to put something else in its place (length of reign?), or move the birth date to the middle, or remove the birth date entirely, leaving just two names.
    • If we do keep the template, I am undecided on the issue of the bolding, because this is not a regular succession line but a sort of a header, so it makes sense to have it distinguish itself from the body of the succession box. (Not using bold at all would also distinguish it, I suppose, but not in a good way.) Waltham, The Duke of 08:25, 13 March 2015 (UTC)
  • I haven't had my say in this yet and I feel it's time. I was one of the co-designers of the s-hou box originally and its purpose was generally to get the information in once place when there was not already an infobox at the top of the page, as with many minor royals and nobles. As such, I think it serves a purpose. However, I agree that the page name is not always the most appropriate name to be at the top of the s-hou box and it really has never seemed necessary (I don't believe I was the person who included it originally). I think the box itself, though, does serve a purpose in that it places the royal/noble house in the context of the line of succession. Where that house has no relevance to the succession, such as with a politician or a noble with no corresponding house (such as a one-time appointment or a non-hereditary noble), then the box is not necessary. In recent updates I've made to various Wittelsbach family s-boxes, I have chosen not to include the s-hou header despite the individuals fulfilling all the criteria I just outlined. Thus, I suppose I can support the removal or reduction of the s-hou template and any others directly related to it. I do wish to keep the colour bands, though, as they do a good job of quickly separating the different types of titles one person may have throughout their life. Oh, and the bold "Born" and "Died" text can most definitely be reduced to normal size regardless the decision, but the house name should remain bold if the template is kept.
    Darius von Whaleyland, Great Khan of the Barbarian Horde 04:04, 10 August 2015 (UTC)


WhaleylandChoessArdric47AlkariOwenBlackerThe Duke of WalthamPhilosopherAppraiserAdrian M. H.John Carter52 PickupPigsonthewingPeterkingironNoraftTavatarBosstopher

Given that

  • the headline work of the project is long since complete, Succession boxes are now standardised,
  • the succession boxes in use are now all based on the standardised versions,
  • accessibility issues have been resolved,
  • the project's traffic since late 2012 has been so low that we've not responded to questions on this page (& Archive 8)
the question needs to be asked - Rather than let it atrophy, has the time come to put the project to bed and hand over responsibility for succession boxes to another project, perhaps WP:WPT?
Opinions please. Bazj (talk) 16:49, 2 February 2015 (UTC)
  • OK by me. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 17:15, 2 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Why not. I remember having a few ideas for improving the template system, but I might as well propose them at WikiProject Templates, where they might actually receive some input. The Guidelines might be retained, though a streamlining and dramatic reduction in size would make them far more useful; to be honest, I don't know how many people are even aware of that page's existence, let alone trouble themselves with consulting it. Waltham, The Duke of 18:57, 2 February 2015 (UTC)
  • I suppose people come here less often when everything had been smooth sailing with the boxes. The vast information here still provide a valuable centralized source for guidance on succession boxes area. TheAvatar (discuss?) 21:40, 2 February 2015 (UTC)
  • I see no objection to this project being merged with another, but which? The guidelines certainly need to be retained and I suppose we still need a place where they can be discussed. Personally, I have been much less active on WP than I used to be. I am now mainly only monitoring certain deletion lists. Peterkingiron (talk) 11:59, 3 February 2015 (UTC)
  • I don't have a fundamental problem with merging this into some other project, but I still come across un-standardised succession boxes quite frequently (mainly using the old syntax with a whole row in one template call). Is there any reason not to leave things as they are? — OwenBlacker (Talk) 12:39, 3 February 2015 (UTC)
  • No strong feelings either way, but I don't see any problem with leaving this up. As for people not answering inquiries on the page - well, the introduction to this message should give people an idea for who knows what's what around here... – Philosopher Let us reason together. 22:32, 5 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Adding pings to Redrose64 and Michael Bednarek based on their recent responses to discussions on this page. – Philosopher Let us reason together. 22:37, 5 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Neutral – but notify here about the outcome. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 03:44, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
  • I've begun following this page again so should receive notices if anything is changed (apparently I had stopped watching it. Oops!). I am indifferent either way but I do like having a central place to discuss the boxes when things seem amiss. Granted, that has not happened recently, which is very good. I did run across a whole group of un-updated succession boxes in a cadet branch of the Wittelsbach family last week and just finished changing them over yesterday, so there still is work to be done. But that work does not necessarily require a WikiProject page for it. I'd also like to see the Template:S-start page much simplified as it currently is almost readable. I designed this whole updated system in 2007-2008 and I can't even remember all the options each type of s-box template has. I've had to go back through everything just to be able to do moderately complex boxes. If there is anything left to this project, it is simplifying the instructions so anybody can use them.
    Darius von Whaleyland, Great Khan of the Barbarian Horde 04:09, 10 August 2015 (UTC)


Discussion at Template talk:S-rel#Name of template could do with input. Bazj (talk) 16:13, 13 November 2015 (UTC)

William Baker (bishop of Zanzibar)[edit]

Could someone please take a look at the succession box at William Baker (bishop of Zanzibar)? I've done what I can with it, but can you suggest a cleaner and/or more compact way of structuring it? Thanks, ~~Hydronium~Hydroxide~(Talk)~~ 04:19, 21 February 2016 (UTC)

I did some maintenance to make it more efficient and standardised with other templates. When people have their title elevated, they succeed themself as the new role. The predecessor on the next line then is "New title". Otherwise, you did a really good job and I was considering leaving it until I saw some of these issues. The biggest issue is that "Incumbent" is only used for the current (today) holder of a title in succession boxes, not a historical incumbent.  – Whaleyland (Talk • Contributions) 06:30, 21 February 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for the fixes. ~~Hydronium~Hydroxide~(Talk)~~ 06:33, 21 February 2016 (UTC)
Looks good to me. The link should be to the article Bishop of Zanzibar on the bishopric, rather than to Zanzibar, the see. I will change that. Peterkingiron (talk) 18:45, 21 February 2016 (UTC)
I find that my target is currently a redirect, but in England the article on Bishop of Worcester etc is a substantive article. I do not see why this should not apply elsewhere. Peterkingiron (talk) 18:49, 21 February 2016 (UTC)
There just isn't enough information on the subject yet so the bishopric is subsumed into the larger article on the Anglican Church of Tanzania. I'd recommend expanding the article (using appropriate sources, of course) if you want it to become more substantive. You can do a link to the specific bishop section of the church article using "#" after the page name followed by the section header. That may have to work until a larger article is created on the topic.  – Whaleyland (Talk • Contributions) 22:39, 21 February 2016 (UTC)
It should have an article eventually, and there's quite a lot of fragments, but sourcing is a bit of a pain with what's available online. Sample problem: The Diocese was actually originally "Zanzibar and East Africa", which at some point may have become "Z." alone. Renaming to "Z. and Dar Es Salaam" happened sometime between 1961 and 1963. A lot of later sources appear inaccurate/misleading in how they handle the transitions. I'll have a go at fixing up some more of the bishops. ~~Hydronium~Hydroxide~(Talk)~~ 09:59, 22 February 2016 (UTC)

Unknown predecessor/successor[edit]

Is there a standard way to indicate that the predecessor or successor is unknown? As an example, I intended to repair the redlink to ???? in the Attorney box near the bottom of William Marvin but I'm not sure what should replace it. Would it be best simply to remove this succession box on the grounds that it conveys no information about succession? Certes (talk) 23:27, 29 April 2016 (UTC)

Good question. If either the predecessor or successor are known, then in the box for the unknown person, you can simply write "Unknown". That occurs on a number of succession boxes. If both the predecessor and the successor are unknown, then the box is rather worthless and I recommend leaving it off the page until one of those two is known (as in the case with William Marvin). In any case, the unknown entity should not be a link, just the word "Unknown". I hope that helps. – Whaleyland (Talk • Contributions) 04:03, 30 April 2016 (UTC)
Thank you, that sounds like good advice. I've removed that particular box and I think those principles will be useful elsewhere. Certes (talk) 22:32, 30 April 2016 (UTC)

Small customisation[edit]

When using {{s-sports}} for professional boxers who have won both regional and world championships, would it be OK to customise the box to separate them like this:

Sporting positions
Regional boxing titles
Preceded by
Regional champion of some organisation
Date – Date
Title next held by
Minor world boxing titles
Preceded by
World champion of some organisation
Date – Date
Succeeded by
Major world boxing titles
Title last held by
World champion of some organisation
Interim title

Date – present

I ask because it looks very messy to lump them all under s-sports, since high-level boxers can accumulate loads of titles during different (and unrelated) time periods. Mac Dreamstate (talk) 21:38, 20 November 2016 (UTC)

Rather than hard table coding (!colspan=3 style="background:#C1D8FF;"|Regional boxing titles etc.), try {{s-note}} or {{s-text}}. --Redrose64 (talk) 10:50, 21 November 2016 (UTC)
That looks interesting. Could you reproduce that as an example using the box above? I'm still not particularly well-versed with how these work. Mac Dreamstate (talk) 12:38, 21 November 2016 (UTC)
Ah, I got it now. Looks great! Just to confirm—is {{s-text}}, with |style= to match the above, permissable for widespread use? If so, I (and other users of a WikiProject) will be applying it across hundreds of articles. Mac Dreamstate (talk) 12:51, 21 November 2016 (UTC)
At the moment, both of them assume that the succ box has a five-column layout, rather than the usual three-column layout - the extra two columns are for the vertical coloured stripes seen at e.g. Kelvedon railway station#External links. But it doesn't seem to cause trouble at Lennox Lewis (BTW you don't need to put a {{s-break}} before a {{s-text}} - there's one already built in, just as there is with {{s-bef}}). --Redrose64 (talk) 10:11, 22 November 2016 (UTC)
Oh right, I thought {{s-break}} was needed each time a new row began. Mac Dreamstate (talk) 15:28, 22 November 2016 (UTC)
Some of the succ box templates have a built-in new row marker, either at the start or the end of the template. If either:
  1. the first template of the new row begins with a built-in new-row marker (such templates include {{s-bef}}, {{s-note}}, {{s-sports}} and {{s-text}}); or
  2. the last template of the preceding row finishes with a built-in new-row marker (such templates include {{s-aft}} and {{s-inc}}),
then you don't need a {{s-break}} between the two rows. Of the other templates used in your demo above, {{s-ttl}} is normally used in the middle of a row (where starting a new row isn't sensible); {{s-vac}} might occur either at the beginning of a row (where it may need to be preceded with {{s-break}}) or at the end of a row (where it may need to be followed with {{s-break}}); {{s-start}} begins the box, and may need to be followed by a {{s-break}}; and {{s-end}} ends the whole box and never needs to be preceded by {{s-break}}. --Redrose64 (talk) 20:36, 22 November 2016 (UTC)
I must ask: why does {{s-vac}} vary in sometimes not having the built-in break? Since {{s-bef}} and {{s-aft}} have it, but {{s-vac}} does not, it feels like a game of trial and error in getting a complicated box to work, hence why I thought it looked so neat and tidy to just paste {{s-break}} between every new row. I'll probably remember how it works eventually, but getting other members of an already fragmented WikiProject to do the same will be a headache. Mac Dreamstate (talk) 21:27, 23 November 2016 (UTC)
It varies because, unlike the other predecessor or successor templates, s-vac can work on either side. Normally, the predecessor templates have an automatic row break built in, but since s-vac can go at either end, it can't have the break. So all you really have to remember is whether it is going at the front or end of a row. If it is for a predecessor, add in the s-break (or just type "|-"); if it is for a successor, don't add s-break. A bit annoying, I agree, but it's not too hard to follow once you remember the pattern. And again, just type "|-". We mostly created s-break because some people wanted a template for the row break code, but the code is only two keystrokes. S-end is the same way ( "|}" ), but I feel that one is more required since it gives a sense of finality to the box.  – Whaleyland (Talk • Contributions) 22:19, 23 November 2016 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── OK, that does clear it up. I can now see the way in which {{s-vac}} works differently to {{s-bef}} and {{s-aft}}. Regarding {{s-break}} and |-, the write-up here seems to strongly encourage the former. I have no problem whatsoever with a few extra keystrokes, and I usually just c&p it anyway. Mac Dreamstate (talk) 22:30, 23 November 2016 (UTC)