Template talk:Infobox planet

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Simple words[change source]

A good job on simplifying here but I disagree with quite a few of the changes. For example,

This is not a good way to do it. There are no simpler substitutes for "satellite" and "planet". We need to retain accuracy. "True how not round it is", "True bits of the way around" and "True longest line from the center to it" aren't even proper English... Scientific topics will always have to deal with difficult words, but this is not the way to deal with them. Osiris (talk) 19:02, 2 January 2014 (UTC)

Remember that word lists are general suggestions, by one person or another. It doesn't mean that we always have to stick to them, and in many cases we won't be able to. Accuracy is key on scientific topics, and "Special point in time" as a replacement for "Epoch" is not going to help people learn. Most of the replacements are extremely esoteric and won't make sense to most readers.

  • "Argument of perihelion" → "Angle between the shortest distance and where it comes up" — Esoteric. Nobody is going to know what that means.
  • "Proper semi-major axis" → "True measure of the longest distance from the center of the way it goes" — Esoteric. Nobody is going to know what that means.
  • "Temperature" → "General heat outside it" — Esoteric. Won't make sense to anyone. It's also almost indistinguishable from the below ("Outside heat").
  • "Surface temperature" → "Outside heat" — "Surface" and "outside" are not synonyms. This is too confusing, and there's nothing wrong with "surface" or "temperature" ("heat" is also going to be confusing).
  • "min", "mean" and "max" → "Smallest", "General" and "Greatest" — These words are not used to describe temperature. We're supposed to be teaching proper English, we shouldn't encourage people to use "smallest temperature". "Lowest" and "Average" would be better substitutes, although "Greatest" seems okay to me. "Coldest"/"Hottest" might be another way to go.
  • "Angular diameter" → "Seeming size" — Esoteric. Won't make sense to anyone.
  • "Scale height" → "Scale distance" — Has the meaning been changed here?

Osiris (talk) 21:25, 3 January 2014 (UTC)

What the editor may not appreciate is that technical terms are part of the real substance of science. They are not add-ons which one can change at will. Anyone studying science at any level must learn the terms used at that level, and cutting them out of our articles makes them useless even for elementary students. We have already agreed between us that technical words should be either linked to a page where they are explained, or explained in a footnote or bracket. The whole point of a wiki is its links. Also, the "translation" into SE is largely a failure. much of the suggested language is not English: it is just a peculiar collection of SE words which do not convey the sense of the original.
What I propose is:
  1. Revert to original template
  2. Reduce the number of items in the template to those which are needed by us. I agree that many of the templates taken over from En wiki are too long and complex, and this is better solved by cutting out borderline items rather than writing them in SE. I will do this providing there is reasonable agreement as to this policy. I think we can do this for other technical templates, but it has to be done carefully by people who understand the subject-matter. Macdonald-ross (talk) 08:52, 4 January 2014 (UTC)
Firstly, thanks Mac for poking me! I'd strongly recommend to revert that simplification. I just explained my thoughts about that on my talk page, but will repeat it here. Just taking one example from: I really can't think of an equal substitute for "surface temperature". "Outside heat" does make little sense to me. What is outside? Outside of the planet's atmosphere? Outside of its orbit? In physics, "heat" explains the spontaneous flow of energy from a warmer to a colder body, while temperature is a measurement scale for hot and cold. Outside heat can't replace surface temperature. In general, I agree with what Macdonald-ross wrote here. Students will always learn the more technical terms in school. The replacement is not a real good and accurate way to describe those scientific words in a really simple way. It might be worth to think about removing some of the parameters of the template, which are not very important for us here. Make the box a bit smaller to only give an overview about a planet. The in-deepth details can be written somewhere in the article, with links and probably some explanation. -Barras talk 09:54, 4 January 2014 (UTC)
A side note, but can we revert it to the original template before the simplification until consensus is reached over how we should simplify the template. In its present state it appears far more confusing and misleading, even, to someone who has knowledge on this subject but not have the appropriate technical English vocabulary. --Beefball Talk 11:05, 4 January 2014 (UTC)
Well, first, apologies for creating some busy work out of misunderstanding the intent of this Wiki. My impression was that we were supposed to be using Basic English as much as possible. I quite agree that this was my first attempt at this and it was pretty clunky. Keeping within the 5 or 10k most common English words and glossing or linking anything outside Basic English comports with the basic idea of the intro pages. Using "way" instead of "path" or either instead of "orbit" does seem less helpful, especially since orbit turns out to be w/i the 5,000 most common English words (which I didn't expect.)
On the other hand, second, I do completely disagree with the two posters above attempting to justify wholesale use of scientific jargon here on the basis that it's part of English education. Sure, it is—and those able and interested are able to get it at en.wikipedia.org. There has to be some limit on technical vocab that falls well short of using "apoapsis", particularly given that it is so easily replaced by explanations of distance. Likewise, even though satellite also turns out to be unexpectedly common, I don't think it does have any more specialized or "correct" sense than "thing(s) that orbit it": your article on it, e.g., doesn't support that idea. (If Osiris was referring to a need to distinguish natural from artificial satellites... well, you'd need to add the word "natural" either way: "satellite" by itself also includes all the artificial ones). Some ideas (like the ecliptic) may be waaay too involved to explain in an infobox description, but surely some of these categories can be more helpfully expressed.
I'll do another draft, trying to follow Osiris's guidelines here and on my talk page to bring it back into comprehensibility without needing to use the links. If the consensus is that it's still an unpleasant thing, well, y'know what to do. — LlywelynII 12:22, 4 January 2014 (UTC)
I think the following terms (and their simple translations)can be removed entirely from the template as not necessary at this level of discussion:
long periastron; time periastron; arg peri; semi-amplitude. I think the circumlocution "what it orbits around" should be replaced by "Sun", since the template is only used for planets of the Solar System. Macdonald-ross (talk) 09:36, 8 January 2014 (UTC)

Simplifying[change source]

Here is a list of problematic fields in this infobox. Some I think need reverting, some need re-doing, and some might need to just be removed as a parameter entirely.

Parameter Original Current Decision?
{{{mp_name}}} MPC designation Name  Done
{{{epoch}}} Epoch Reference date delete if 2000 (2000 is standard)
{{{aphelion}}} {{#switch:{{{apsis}}}|apsis|gee|(apsis)=[[Apsis|Apo{{{apsis}}}]]|[[Apsis|Ap{{{apsis|helion}}}]]}} Longest distance from the Sun keep
{{{perihelion}}} Peri{{{apsis|helion}}} Shortest distance from the Sun delete
{{{periapsis}}} Peri{{{apsis|apsis}}} Shortest distance from what it orbits around keep if appropriate (applies to satellites)
{{{apoapsis}}} {{#switch:{{{apsis}}}|helion|astron=[[Apsis|Ap{{{apsis}}}]]|[[Apsis|Apo{{{apsis|apsis}}}]]}} Longest distance from what it orbits around delete
{{{semimajor}}} Semi-major axis Longest distance from the center of its orbital path
("semi-major axis")
{{{mean_orbit_radius}}} Mean orbit radius Avg. distance from the center of its orbital path delete or substitute for longest distance
{{{eccentricity}}} Eccentricity How egg-shaped its orbit is
{{{period}}} Orbital period How long it takes to complete an orbit keep always
{{{synodic_period}}} Synodic period How long an orbit seems to take
(from the central body)
delete: ridiculous except for our moon
{{{inclination}}} Inclination Angle above the reference plane
hmmm thinking... very complex
{{{angular_dist}}} Angular distance Angle above the celestial equator
("angular distance")
{{{asc_node}}} Longitude of ascending node Longitude of where it comes up through the reference plane delete: insanely complex for our readers!
{{{long_periastron}}} Longitude of periastron Longitude of its shortest distance from what it orbits around delete
{{{time_periastron}}} Time of periastron Time of its shortest distance from what it orbits around delete
{{{arg_peri}}} Argument of peri{{{apsis|helion}}} Angle between its shortest distance from what it orbits around and where it comes up through the reference plane
("argument of periapsis")
{{{semi-amplitude}}} Semi-amplitude Angle between true east and where it comes up through the reference plane
{{{satellites}}} Satellites Natural things which orbit around it always keep
N/A Proper orbital elements True measures  Done: removed since no params left
{{{p_semimajor}}} Proper semi-major axis True measure of the longest distance from what it orbits around effectively duplicates a previous item
{{{p_eccentricity}}} Proper eccentricity True measure of how egg-shaped its orbit is delete
{{{p_inclination}}} Proper inclination True measure of its angle above the reference plane delete
{{{p_mean_motion}}} Proper mean motion True measure of its average motion delete
N/A Proper orbital period True measure of how long it takes to complete an orbit delete
{{{perihelion_rate}}} Precession of perihelion Change of the shortest distance from what it orbits around delete
{{{node_rate}}} Precession of the ascending node Change of where it comes up through the reference plane delete
N/A Physical characteristics Size and other qualities  Done
{{{dimensions}}} Dimensions Measures  Done: "Measurements"
{{{mean_radius}}} Mean radius Average distance from its center to its surface keep always
 Done: "Average radius"
{{{equatorial_radius}}} Equatorial radius Distance from its center to its surface at its equator delete in favour of average
{{{polar_radius}}} Polar radius Distance from its center to its surface at the poles delete
{{{flattening}}} Flattening Flatness at the poles delete
{{{circumference}}} Circumference Distance around its equator keep
{{{surface_area}}} Surface area Area of its surface weak keep
 Done: back to original
{{{volume}}} Volume Volume inside it weak keep
 Done: back to original
{{{surface_grav}}} Equatorial surface gravity Gravity at its surface weak delete / weak keep (they won't understand it)
 Done "Surface gravity"
{{{escape_velocity}}} Escape velocity Slowest speed able to escape into space
("escape velocity")
keep as "escape velocity", v. well-known term
 Done: back to original
{{{rotation}}} Rotation period How long it takes to turn around one time keep as original term
 Done: back to original
{{{sidereal_day}}} Sidereal rotation period How long it takes to turn around one time
(in relation to the stars)
{{{rot_velocity}}} Equatorial rotation velocity Turning speed delete
{{{axial_tilt}}} Axial tilt Angle at which it turns
(in relation to its orbit)
{{{right_asc_north_pole}}} North pole right ascension Long. around the celestial equator
("right ascension")
{{{declination}}} North pole declination Angle above the celestial equator
{{{pole_ecliptic_lat}}} Pole ecliptic latitude Latitude above the ecliptic delete
{{{pole_ecliptic_lon}}} Pole ecliptic longitude Longitude around the ecliptic delete
{{{albedo}}} Albedo How much light it reflects don't know
 Done: kept
{{{single_temperature}}} Temperature Avg. surface temp. keep
{{{spectral_type}}} Spectral type Light-band group
("spectral type")
? keep
 Done: back to original
{{{magnitude}}} Apparent magnitude Seeming brightness
("apparent magnitude")
keep, and keep term
{{{abs_magnitude}}} Absolute magnitude (H) True brightness
("absolute magnitude")
keep, and keep term
{{{angular_size}}} Angular diameter Seeming size
("angular diameter")
N/A Atmosphere Air keep, and keep the word atmosphere
 Done: back to original
{{{atmosphere_composition}}} Composition Make up keep

Let's try and make out planet infobox as simple as it can possibly be, but still provide the basic data that an everyday person would want to know. Osiris (talk) 06:08, 17 January 2016 (UTC)

That comment I agree with.
Where we have a page explaining a term, we should usually use the term, not its (often weak) translation. Links exist for a good reason: use them, don't try and re-invent the wheel.
Remember, the main points about a body can be explained in the text of a page. A body (like Pluto, which is extremely eccentric in its orbit, has that fact dealt with on the page. Exactly how eccentric (in figures) is not so important for the general reader. The page tells readers that this minor planet goes from the Kuiper belt to inside the orbit of Neptune. That is more memorable than a number. Macdonald-ross (talk) 13:45, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
I need to take a closer look at the others when I've got some more time, but those I've shaded red I definitely agree are too complicated without an immediate explanation. So no objections to deleting those parameters from the template? Osiris (talk) 08:02, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
Tiny point 1: I think make-up should be hyphenated, and note we here use a colloquialism which might not be understood by some. I cannot think of a better term, and I agree "composition" is stuffy non-simple latinate word.
Tiny point 2: I do think users will understand "volume", so we should not say "volume inside it", which anyway is illiterate. Many of the others can be tweaked, e.g. not "Area of its surface", but instead "surface area". Macdonald-ross (talk) 12:08, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
Added the hyphen. It's under the section header Atmosphere so would "Gases" work as a substitute for "Make-up"/"Composition"?
No, because the emphasis is really about the relative proportions. I think make-up is a good simple way of saying "Composition by volume", the En version.
"Volume" and "Surface area" fixed. And I've removed those shaded red so they'll no longer appear on the articles even when they're called.
"Measurements" would be more correct English than "Measures". Any problem with that over "Dimensions"?
"Measurements" is good.
Any problem with changing "Gravity at its surface" → "Surface gravity"?
"Surface gravity" is good.
"Mean radius" (original) → "Average distance from its center to its surface" (current) → "Average radius"? I just think that a lot of these simplifications are too wordy/lengthy for the infobox.
"Average radius" is good enough.
"Light-band group" is a made-up replacement isn't it? Google shows that in relation to astronomy, it's only used on SEW. So change it back to "Spectral type"? Osiris (talk) 15:50, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
Where you've stated "keep term" near the bottom, do you mean keep the original (e.g., "Absolute magnitude") or the current (e.g., "True brightness")? Osiris (talk) 15:47, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
I quite like the translated terms, now I look at them again. Macdonald-ross (talk) 18:17, 25 January 2016 (UTC)

Done. As for the rest, I think we should leave them in the template, and leave it up to editorial discretion as to whether they're used in the article. One more thing, though: "orbits around"/"orbit around" is used a few times, but I'm thinking that "around" is redundant, no? Osiris (talk) 07:41, 28 January 2016 (UTC)

Yes, by definition orbits go round! Macdonald-ross (talk) 14:05, 11 February 2016 (UTC)
  • Oh, I've just seen something else. Under "How to say it" at the top is "adjective" redirecting to a page we may never have. Should just link directly to our page "adjective". Macdonald-ross (talk) 14:29, 11 February 2016 (UTC)
Done. Osiris (talk) 14:54, 11 February 2016 (UTC)
  • And now looking at the bottom section, I think it should take less space by
  1. reducing interline spacing where possible
  2. removing gases below 0.1%, and putting "other > 0.01%"
  3. removing spacing between "other" and first ice
  4. standardise spelling of make-up and ices, with (suggest) lower case initials
  5. space is missing between hydrosulfide and its formula
  • Right through there is a spacing issue between the data number and its reference. This becomes acute when we see the tiny superscript number up against the square bracket of the reference.
  1. Don't full point contractions, they are self-evident and linked. The points add to the visual complexity. I mean, look at "How much light it reflects 0.47 (geom.)[2]" = just a visual mess. Try instead "How much light it reflects 0.47geom [2]". I think that would work. Data in tabular form often does not need punctuation invented for continuous prose. The only real criterion is "can it be understood"?
  2. Even worse is "Surface area 4.27×1010 km²[5][a]" If we must have separate footnotes as well as references, then I think there needs to be spaces between the last letter or superscript and the reference number, and another before the footnote letter.

Again, I do appreciate what you have done. I'm just keen not to leave these details because it may be years before anyone gets back to this particular job. Macdonald-ross (talk) 15:38, 11 February 2016 (UTC)

You're looking at Saturn? Those issues are all produced by the formatting in that article, rather than being generated by the template. The interline spacing is because there's HTML table markup embedded in the |atmosphere_composition= field on that particular transclusion. You can change what gases are listed, formatting and spelling there too. I too prefer spaces between letters and citations, personally, but I have a feeling that MOS has it without spaces. I have, in the past, added spaces in table situations, and quite possibly infoboxes, where there aren't any punctuation marks before the citation. In this case, the visual problem is slightly exacerbated by the use of superscript digits, rather than of HTML super-scripting, which produces slightly larger digits (cf., km² vs km2 – the latter is written km<sup>2</sup> and is MOS standard). Osiris (talk) 04:02, 12 February 2016 (UTC)
I've taken care of all(?) of these things in a series of edits to Saturn here. Feel free to revert any of them if it doesn't look right. Osiris (talk) 04:23, 12 February 2016 (UTC)
I see that a lot of the other planet articles are using the same formatting. They'll all have to be changed individually though. Osiris (talk) 04:32, 12 February 2016 (UTC)
  • Looks so good! Can't think of anything more 'cept I'd have put a space before the superscripts in the subtitle areas also. Incidentally, Chicago MOS was the probable WP model: good, but not good enough. Publishers' style guides are built on continuous prose, whereas tabular formats need special treatment. For example, brackets around letters and numbers?!? Macdonald-ross (talk) 16:44, 12 February 2016 (UTC)
Oh yeah I didn't see those. Glad you think it's better. Osiris (talk) 07:16, 13 February 2016 (UTC)