Wikipedia:Simple talk

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En wiki templates too complex for us?[change | change source]

This is something that affects the more technical pages, such as science & technology, and some of the biography and geographical place pages. Users bring over templates by the dozen, and almost all of them are far more complex than our pages require. Take the recent template on Dinitrogen tetroxide. The page was simple, but now it have such a huge template that it looks quite forbidding, and many of the key terms will be quite unknown to most users. This may be useful to graduate chemists, but it is no use to the rest of us, let alone some of our readers. Most of the information is not needed for an understanding of what the chemical is.

The templates for planets might impress some people but, as a communication device, they are utterly ridiculous in my opinion. I mean (see Jupiter) what are we doing with a label saying "Angle between its shortest distance from what it orbits around and where it comes up through the reference plane ("argument of periapsis")" plus a figure to three decimal places? That's supposed to be simple? It's not even necessary. And Jupiter is labelled a very good page.

My experience as an educator is that making things look too complex interferes with the process of learning.

What I suggest is for us to ask editors to edit templates down by eliminating very specialist information. Sometimes this has to be done to the source code of the template, but with other templates it can be done on the source code of an individual page. Macdonald-ross (talk) 12:24, 4 January 2015 (UTC)

I've noticed this problem too, especially in infoboxes. I will look at the templates and attempt to simplify them. We may also need a bot to change the parameters as well, or we could alternatively keep it the same. Anyways, I will be working on simplifying these templates. George Edward CTalkContributions 12:38, 4 January 2015 (UTC)
I agree, some of the things are quite complex and don't necessarily need to be included on the templates. However, I think we need to be careful about what we remove. Should this be at the discretion of a single editor, or should it be a combined effort on various talk pages (possibly using a temporary page listing templates that need checking or double checking)? This is a collaborative encyclopaedia after all. Information is always useful, but it needs to be conveyed in the correct way. Yottie =talk= 12:47, 4 January 2015 (UTC)
Just be careful not to make it hard to keep the templates in sync with enwiki's for the parts we do want. I suggest commenting the unwanted parts instead of deleting them. That would make it easier to compare when we want to bring over changes from enwiki. Sometimes those template changes are needed to keep things compatible with software changes. --Auntof6 (talk) 12:49, 4 January 2015 (UTC)

Interesting topic, and I think our infoboxes/templates do need simple versions. What happens when we import an newer version of a template? Does it overide our existing ones? Sorting the boxes out could be a good project to work on this year.--Peterdownunder (talk) 01:30, 5 January 2015 (UTC)

I made a start on this late last year as I updated a few transport infoboxes - that is, slimming them down to fit our requirements and ensuring that they are not overly complex. *In theory* every individual infobox can be altered to suit our needs and should never be affected if we have to make changes to the 'generic' templates for software reasons. As long as we ensure that the specific templates call the correct parameters, we can update {{infobox}} etc. regularly in line with enwiki and there shouldn't be any problems with, for example, {{infobox train}}. Does that all make sense? Sorry - it's late here and I might not be coming across too clearly. I would be more than happy to assist/co-ordinate a project to start looking into improving our templates here. Goblin 04:00, 5 January 2015 (UTC) I ♥ The Rambling Man!

I think there are a number of issues:
  1. We simplify the text, but the infoboxes are usually not simplified, and many of them cannot be simplified except on the template source page. As a result, the infoboxes, and also footer boxes are usually too complex for our needs, and sometimes ridiculously too complex.
  2. Second, when it is possible to simplify a box after it is placed on a page, it can be wiped out by anyone who re-imports the box from En wiki, so erasing any simplification which had been done.
  3. We need a method of discussion which allows regular editors on content to have a say in the areas where they work. Consider biographies, where two or three put up most of them, but another 12 or so also regularly edit. They need a forum page to talk about their templates and boxes, before any action is taken. It may be that some should be changed and some left as they are. Now take the opposite extreme, say relativity and theoretical physics generally. We haven't really got an expert, and have struggled to improve pages which are far from good. We just have to leave that alone, because trying to simplify templates does require content knowledge.
  4. Guidelines: discussions need guidelines. To give you an example from the infobox domain, one might say: As a general rule, a box should only give such detail as makes the page more comprehensible. But it should answer basic questions readers might have. Exactly what questions would vary, of course, according to the type of box. With taxoboxes one might say of a species "which family does it belong to?". You might think that's obvious, but we do have insect pages which say nothing more than "this is a beetle"...
  5. Footers: We have some footers that are even worse than the infoboxes. I saw one with about 50 terms, 49 of which were red-linked! That is like putting up a notice saying "go back to English wiki". As a first step, I would suggest that all footers are set as "closed". Then at least they would do less damage. But when editors discuss a particular content area, they might include footers as well as infoboxes.
  6. One good approach would be to say that after consensus, changes should not be made, except by small adjustments on individual pages. Not all individual pages need the same detail, so modest adjustments should be possible.
  7. Some have mentioned the need to allow regular updating of infoboxes. I can see areas where that would be useful, and I can see areas where it might be destructive. At any rate, if we have a working group on, say, biographies, they could decide what is best in that area (etc). No automatic updating should be done unless it benefits us. To give you an example, En wiki is moving towards taxoboxes base on clades instead of taxoboxes based on Linnaean traditional levels. I should hate to see us do that without discussion! Not only is the Linnaean system very well known for living species, it is also more stable. Clade-based taxonomies are already in trouble, with several versions offered by different authorities. So I think updating should be done in two stages: 1. Ask the group concerned, and 2. Do what they think best.
  8. Finally, we come to the crunch: we need a couple of people to supervise the changes in templates. Some templates are very difficult to code properly, at least I often don't get it right! Alas, we have lost the wizard Osiris, but I hope we do have one or two volunteers for the positions. Not everyone who edits on content is competent to fix templates. By the same token, some editors have imported templates without considering their effect on pages. Anyway, the general theme is that discussion would help decide what should or should not be done in various types of content. Macdonald-ross (talk) 12:22, 5 January 2015 (UTC)

I'm assuming that what's too complex in infoboxes is the number and detail of parameters. I have a suggestion. Let's start with a small number of individual templates that we think could be simpler, and have a discussion on each template's talk page to work out what we think could be changed or removed. My suggestions for where to start are Template:Infobox country, Template:Infobox settlement or Template:Infobox person, because I think they have a lot of parameters we could remove. The discussions should be well publicized here on Simple Talk. Once we get a few worked out, we should have a better idea of what we're looking for as far as simplifying. How does that sound? --Auntof6 (talk) 09:36, 15 January 2015 (UTC)

Yes, I'd be happy to start that way. Although my preference would be to set all footers as closed. When we have two articles in a category and a footer with 50+ terms almost all red, it is clear that something is quite wrong. Setting as closed is a simple first step.
But if you'ld like to choose one of the infoboxes, I'll give you some thoughts as to what is least needed. I think a guideline might be reasons for putting the data on the page as contrasted with a link giving the data. That is what we came up with concerning train timetables. The reasoning would be: facts stated need sources, but not all data in sources need to be on the page. Macdonald-ross (talk) 19:51, 18 January 2015 (UTC)

Watchlist[change | change source]

Have things changed? I have a watchlist, but today, when I wanted to add a page to my watchlist, I could not find a "Watch" button. How do I add a page to my watchlist?Kdammers (talk) 04:09, 11 January 2015 (UTC)

Oh, okeh, I found it now. It is the star. Can this be changed? Maybe ti's becuase I'm from an older generation, but I find icons opaque. I only found it by messing around (not the way I think an encyclopedia should work), actually after having given up on finding the "watch" button. Kdammers (talk) 04:13, 11 January 2015 (UTC)
I still see "Watch". I think it's different in different skins. To change it, you might have to change the skin you use. --Auntof6 (talk) 04:37, 11 January 2015 (UTC)
How do I change the skin? (Not that I had changed it before.) Kdammers (talk) 05:33, 12 January 2015 (UTC)
Top right hand corner, under your user name, the drop down menu has "My Settings", in the settings click on the tab called "appearance". The top section should give you a choice of at least 4 skins: Cologne Blue, Modern, MonoBook, Vector. I use vector without problems.--Peterdownunder (talk) 05:39, 12 January 2015 (UTC)
Thank You. I had it set at vector (labeled as "default") -- and on both my computer running Mozilla and another one running the Microsoft browser, I only got the star. I know that it didn't previously only give me the star. Any-way, I changed to MonoBook, and on my computer I get what I was looking for. Kdammers (talk) 07:37, 12 January 2015 (UTC)
Yeah the default changed from words to a star a year or two ago across sites. -DJSasso (talk) 15:44, 12 January 2015 (UTC)
Djsasso: thank You for the information. What was the reasoning for changing from words to a star? Kdammers (talk) 05:00, 17 January 2015 (UTC)

Mark all pages on watchlist as read/visited[change | change source]

Hi, all. I hope to be back at least a little more frequently after an extended absence. I've noticed that in this wiki, the button to mark everything in my watchlist as read/visited has disappeared. And this is not true on any of the other WP wikis that I look at. Was this a deliberate change? Is it something I can restore in my private settings? Thanks. StevenJ81 (talk) 16:50, 13 January 2015 (UTC)

Which skin do you use? I use Monobook, and I started seeing the same thing a while back. I also asked about it here and no one could help. There's no setting that I know of. I eventually noticed that when my watchlist page loads, the button appears briefly and then goes away. Sometimes I'm quick enough to click on it (or touch it on my tablet) before it disappears. I hope that helps. --Auntof6 (talk) 18:38, 13 January 2015 (UTC)
I have the button on Vector so I am guessing the Monobook settings are wrong. Let me see if I can see. -DJSasso (talk) 19:13, 13 January 2015 (UTC)
Clear your cache and check your watchlist. I think I fixed it. Glaisher made a change to a mediawiki page for the watchlist in July and I think it may have broke things for Monobook. I just tried with Monobook and it is working for me. -DJSasso (talk) 19:29, 13 January 2015 (UTC)
That didn't fix it for me. --Auntof6 (talk) 20:08, 13 January 2015 (UTC)
Then I am thinking it is probably something on both your sides because I am seeing it with both skins. Do you have anything in your personal js or css pages. Perhaps there is something conflicting. You could also trying turn off all your gadgets and see if it comes back and one by one turn them back on and if it disappears you know it was the last gadget you added that is causing it. -DJSasso (talk) 23:16, 13 January 2015 (UTC)
Also what browser are you using? I am using Chrome. -DJSasso (talk) 23:18, 13 January 2015 (UTC)
I have code in my js and css pages. I see this problem in two different browsers: Firefox on my laptop and the Silk browser on my Kindle Fire. When I'm on my laptop again, I'll see if it also happens in IE, and try resetting the js, css, and gadgets. Thanks. --Auntof6 (talk) 01:08, 14 January 2015 (UTC)
Another note; at the time I first started seeing this, I hadn't changed anything recently in my js, css, or gadgets. --Auntof6 (talk) 19:03, 14 January 2015 (UTC)
I do, too. I've seen the problem in Chrome on my office laptop, in Firefox on my home laptop, and in Safari on my iPad. I'm using Vector, but the problem showed up in Monobook, too. I also tried resetting most of my gadgets and code in my simplewiki settings, to no benefit. I did not play with the global files, because every other wiki's Watchlist page works correctly with them. So I'm thinking this is still something unique to the coding here in simplewiki.
In any event, I hadn't even noticed the brief flash appearance of the button before. That does help. StevenJ81 (talk) 15:22, 14 January 2015 (UTC)
Another possibility is you have plugins in your various browsers (I realize not likely since you have multiple browsers) that could be conflicting. I have it showing on 4 different browsers on 3 different computers at the moment. Ironically I do testing like this as part of my job. So I am just brainstorming hypothesis. -DJSasso (talk) 19:44, 14 January 2015 (UTC)
In the meantime I will look through MediaWiki files that changed the end of june beginnig of july. Since that is when Auntof6 first reported seeing it. -DJSasso (talk) 19:49, 14 January 2015 (UTC)
I completely reverted the change that was done at the beginning of July to the watchlist javascript. So give it ago again. That being said this puts us out of synch with so I doubt it is that. It still is working for me so at the very least it doesn't seem to have broken it worse. -DJSasso (talk) 19:55, 14 January 2015 (UTC)
Thank you. That fixed it for me.Debouch (talk) 19:59, 14 January 2015 (UTC)
Me, too! What does this mean for the Wiki? Is the change you reverted something that will need to be put back eventually? --Auntof6 (talk) 20:01, 14 January 2015 (UTC)
Well I don't think it will need to be put back. But it will probably mean we need to find what exactly in the code wasn't working right and probably have to update another file elsewhere. I am guessing when Glashier updated that page to match, it needed something else updated as well that he did not update. So I will see if I can figure out what that might be by looking through edits on -DJSasso (talk) 20:04, 14 January 2015 (UTC)
That did the job for me, too. That having been said ... StevenJ81 (talk) 22:09, 14 January 2015 (UTC)
Do any of you three that saw the problem use "Real-Time Recent Changes" there is a comment in the code that says to disable the button for people using enhanced recent changes. And I am wondering if they are referring to that gadget. If they are it would explain why I wasn't having the problem as I don't use that gadget. -DJSasso (talk) 22:22, 14 January 2015 (UTC)
I don't have that gadget enabled. --Auntof6 (talk) 00:18, 15 January 2015 (UTC)
Ugh I just had a big response typed out and then edit conflicted with a vandal. I think I found the cause. Apparently there was a massive war on about this button. Some wanted it visible to all, some wanted it hidden and opt in, others wanted it gone completely. Apparently they eventually removed control of the button from the common.css to the individual css pages of the skins. So when our common.css was updated to match there's sometime awhile back it removed some stuff it needed but it still worked because our watchlist javascript hadn't been updated to need it yet since we were running a really old version of it from 2009. When Glashier updated it in the summer it suddenly needed it and couldn't find it because it wasn't in our common.css or our skin css files. I have since added it to our skins and could switch the watchlist back to the newest one again but I would want someone around to test when I did. That being said, since were running on the old code for so long there is no reason that I know of that we have to catch up to just for this. However, in looking through a lot of these pages. It might be time to talk about upgrading all of our css and js and any appropriate mediawiki files to match in one big shot. With obvious simple modifications as necessary. Because this peacemeal updating of one here and there has made an awful mess. Some of ours have barely been touched in 10 years. -DJSasso (talk) 00:41, 15 January 2015 (UTC)
I'd be happy to help test. I'm generally in favor of keeping software up to date. I also wouldn't mind learning something about the tech side -- I have a tech background, although in a different area of data processing. --Auntof6 (talk) 03:26, 15 January 2015 (UTC)
I don't have that gadget enabled either. StevenJ81 (talk) 14:41, 15 January 2015 (UTC)
And I haven't used that gadget. Debouch (talk) 16:46, 15 January 2015 (UTC)

Related problem (?)[change | change source]

Before that, I would occasionally have the problem that after clicking that button, all of my watchlist pages would show up as unread, rather than read. Now that hasn't happened yet since you reverted, but I'm going to watch it. That, too, was a problem limited to here, and not en or fr or anywhere else I sojourn. StevenJ81 (talk) 22:09, 14 January 2015 (UTC)
Yeah let me know if you see it happen. I am not super familiar with the mess of code that is involved in this so it may be beyond me but I will try what I can. -DJSasso (talk) 22:13, 14 January 2015 (UTC)
I had that problem too and found that it was due to the "Watchlist Notifier" gadget. I unchecked the box and it stopped. Debouch (talk) 05:02, 15 January 2015 (UTC)
Maybe it was a side effect of the whole problem you described up above, Djasso. StevenJ81 (talk) 14:41, 15 January 2015 (UTC)
I've had a further look at this gadget. The link to the watchlist in the notification itself has to be clicked on or the mark-all-pages-as-visited button does what you describe. Debouch (talk) 02:07, 17 January 2015 (UTC)

Project: Wiktionary meets Matica srpska[change | change source]

Hi, we are starting the project related to Wiktionary. The announcement is on this page on Simple English Wiktionary. --Senka Latinović (talk) 15:43, 16 January 2015 (UTC)

Some questions[change | change source]

There is an article on curry . But the curry powder is not an article, it is red. Is this necessary? If there is a curry article, why should curry powder be red? --Windell (talk) 11:31, 19 January 2015 (UTC)
I am thinking about the link in the article Freak the Mighty. --Windell (talk) 11:33, 19 January 2015 (UTC)

Red links are a signal to editors that we do not have an article. It is a suggestion which someone might take up if they think the topic is important. Obviously, we have fewer articles than the main English wikipedia, because we have far fewer editors. Macdonald-ross (talk) 13:00, 19 January 2015 (UTC)

Also second question: Dr. Dolittle is not only a film but a book. On the English wikipedia it is linked to the book. Same article on English wikipedia is about the book, if you check. Can anyone help me make that to an article on book? Or make an other article that is the book? --Windell (talk) 12:25, 19 January 2015 (UTC)

Books and films are separate pages here. Macdonald-ross (talk) 13:00, 19 January 2015 (UTC)
Can anyone help me make an article on book? I mean they have the same title. I can't do that once more. --Windell (talk) 17:42, 19 January 2015 (UTC)
The enwiki article en:Doctor Dolittle is actually about the character, not a book or movie. They have separate articles about the books and movies. I just moved our article to Dr. Dolittle (movie) for clarity, and fixed the Wikidata link. An article here for the book would have a different title anyway, because none of the books is called just "Doctor Dolittle". For example, the first book is called The Story of Doctor Dolittle. --Auntof6 (talk) 18:37, 19 January 2015 (UTC)
Thank you. Finally a good answer. --Windell (talk) 12:23, 20 January 2015 (UTC)
I do that. --Windell (talk) 15:29, 23 January 2015 (UTC)

Twinkle not working?[change | change source]

I noticed that Twinkle isn't loading for me anymore. It works on the English Wikipedia, but not on Simple English. I noticed that Glaisher has edited the MediaWiki pages for Twinkle and may have accidentally broken something in the process. Could someone investigate? Thanks. --I am k6ka Talk to me! See what I have done 20:36, 22 January 2015 (UTC)

Since this is a rather complex script (for me) and some changes made to this script appear odd to me, I think it's better to wait for Glaisher to look at the issue again. -Barras talk 21:56, 22 January 2015 (UTC)
As of right now, it loads for me. Eurodyne (talk) 00:27, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
It's not working for me, either. I don't have the "warn" tab at the top of talk pages. --Auntof6 (talk) 03:05, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
The rollback works. The other stuff doesn't. Eurodyne (talk) 05:18, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
I'm only seeing the standard rollback, not the Twinkle rollback links. --Auntof6 (talk) 05:57, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
Fixed now. Sorry, it broke due to a really silly mistake of mine. Also another reason for its breakage (for users who have those two gadgets enabled) is due to the update of very old two other gadgets (newpagesbox.js and recentchangesbox.js) which is compatible with Monobook only. I just made it so that those two are now loaded only on Monobook skin so it shouldn't be an issue for now; still those two needs to be rewritten because the code is really old. I apologize once again and made a note to myself not to edit scripts while half asleep. If it still doesn't work, please clear your cache. Regards, --Glaisher (talk) 10:47, 23 January 2015 (UTC)

For me, Twinkle options reappeared after your fix -- thanks! Now I'm getting the message "could not parse twinkleoptions.js". I haven't changed my twinkleoptions.js since April 2013. --Auntof6 (talk) 21:38, 23 January 2015 (UTC)

Twinkle is working for me, but the preferences aren't—for some reason, pages I tag are still being added to my watchlist and the shared IP warning is still being added after warning messages, even after I (attempt to) disable that stuff through the preferences panel. -Mh7kJ (talk) 23:03, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
Also fixed now. Please clear your cache and let me know if the issue persists. --Glaisher (talk) 12:11, 24 January 2015 (UTC)

Proposal to simplify Template:Infobox person[change | change source]

As per the earlier discussion on this page, I have started a proposal to simplify Template:Infobox person. Please go to Template talk:Infobox person#Proposal to simplify this template to read about it and give your input. Thanks. --Auntof6 (talk) 11:29, 23 January 2015 (UTC)

unfinished articles - how can I save them?[change | change source]

Hello I have been trying to find out how to save an unfinished article, ie when it has been started but isn't ready to be published yet. I can't see any appropriate button to click on, and neither could I find instructions anywhere about this. Thanks, Hirodaicommunication (talk)

Create a sandbox page "user:Hirodaicommunication/whatever" and stick the text there. When it's ready for the world, create a new page with the topic title, and transfer your edited text there. Macdonald-ross (talk) 12:14, 24 January 2015 (UTC)

Discographies for band members[change | change source]

Should a discography for an individual person include recordings released by a band the person is/was in? Recently I've seen discographies for individuals include band recordings, sometimes with nothing else. Some of these were stand-alone discography articles, and some were discography sections in the musicians' individual articles. An example is in Keith Richards. Richards has done some solo recordings, but all the things listed in the discography here are from The Rolling Stones. I think discographies for individuals should include only things released under their own name, not things released by a band. Comments? --Auntof6 (talk) 04:57, 25 January 2015 (UTC)

Yes, otherwise they might not be notable except as a member of a notable band or group. Macdonald-ross (talk) 09:36, 25 January 2015 (UTC)
Please clarify, Mac. I'm not sure what you mean. --Auntof6 (talk) 09:54, 25 January 2015 (UTC)