Wikibooks:Reading room/Proposals

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Welcome to the Proposals reading room. On this page, Wikibookians are free to talk about suggestions for improving Wikibooks.


Subproject Cookbook contains content which is different from other contents of Wikibooks. How about seperating it from wikibooks? --Doostdar (discusscontribs) 17:54, 1 March 2016 (UTC)

I know of no disadvantage to having it here, and frankly I think it is an advantage, since it allows the administrative infrastructure of Wikibooks to efficiently serve Cookbook along with the other books here. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 22:47, 1 March 2016 (UTC)
In many languages such as Persian the Cookbook has enough pages to be a seperate project. --Doostdar (discusscontribs) 03:40, 2 March 2016 (UTC)
When you say "enough pages to be a separate project", you seem to be supposing it would desirable for it be a separate project. I've already given a reason, in my preceding remarks, why it would be more practical to have them be a single project than to separate them, which also implies that separating them would be undesirable. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 04:08, 2 March 2016 (UTC)
The structre of cookbook is different from other books here. By the way in my experience in Persian Wikibooks users who edit cookbook usually are uninterested in other parts of the project. Cookbook pages may not be part of class projects and are not used by Wikiversity. They can usually have interwikis while usual books don't. --Doostdar (discusscontribs) 05:55, 2 March 2016 (UTC)
Some thoughts.
  • Books have different structures from each other; Wikibooks is by its nature a collection of smaller projects each of which has some of its own character. Books have higher-level structure; Cookbook has less than some books, but more than most projects — more than Wiktionary, Wikipedia, Wikinews. The sort of books hosted on Wikibooks have different assembly rules than Wikinews or Wikisource (on the strict side) or Wikiversity (on the permissive side). But Cookbook is a pretty good fit.
  • If folks come here and are only interested in one book, that's not a problem; it'd be great to get them interested in other parts of the larger project, but failure to do so doesn't provide any sort of motive for sending it elsewhere.
  • Other books sometimes do have interwikis. That too varies from book to book, and greater success of one book than another in multilingual sharing does not seem to me to be any reason to separate projects. Here again, I simply don't see that the one (density of interwikis) has anything to do with the other (common administration).
Frankly, any time things have enough similarity to be handled under a single project, they should be. There are cases where it really isn't practical, where the administrative considerations are genuinely different enough in structure that it makes sense to keep them separate (something that some of the more insular Wikipedians just don't get); but when there's no need for separation, shared infrastructure is desirable. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 13:09, 2 March 2016 (UTC)
Requests for new projects are made at Meta:Proposals for new projects, not here. However, given that Wikibooks already relies on a tiny number of admins and the global sysops to just about keep things under control, I strongly support Pi zero's view that splitting it would be a mistake. The Cookbook is a target for mass copyright violation which is difficult for global sysops to deal with; splitting it off would likely create a festering pile of vandalism and illegal content with nobody to curate it. Even if that wasn't the result, I can't see how it gains anything from being split. QuiteUnusual (discusscontribs) 12:23, 3 March 2016 (UTC)
I love the cookbook and i think it would do well as a separate project. it would probably be better to be separate as it would have a clearer identity. however, because i love the cookbook I'd like to see it stay here on Wikibooks because I think it makes Wikibooks that much better. ЗAНИA Flag of the Isle of Mann.svgtalk 04:26, 29 May 2016 (UTC)

Template:RC allows to filter the recent changes by category[edit]

This new template (inspired from the Wiktionary) displays one category pages evolution.

  1. Should we add it into a drop down menu?
  2. Would you be in favor of its deployment into every category?
  3. With {{CategoryTOC}}?
  4. And {{Book search}}?

JackPotte (discusscontribs) 18:33, 30 April 2016 (UTC)

Cookbook week[edit]

Hello, I want to tell you that I've made a proposal for a Cookbook event on this Meta page.

I would be happy to see your comment ! Regards Archi38 (discusscontribs) 18:19, 15 May 2016 (UTC)

It's not WB Cookbook But WM Cookbook. --Doostdar (discusscontribs) 05:48, 25 August 2016 (UTC)

Category infrastructure[edit]

I propose some simple upgrades to our category infrastructure, which I think has been recognized as a problem for years. It's been upgraded a few times, and those were improvements imho, but it seems to me things can get a whole lot better with this next step I'll describe below. The two basic problems are that  (1) the current system is confusing, and  (2) it underrepresents the content of our books, which reduces the ability of readers to find relevant information and reduces the ability of other projects to provide sister links (for example, if Wikinews or Wikipedia or Wikiquote has a page about Barack Obama, they can't readily provide a sister link to Wikibooks because our category infrastructure doesn't support having a page like that).

So here are my ideas, all of which would be implemented in an incremental way that wouldn't break anything during the transition (I'm confident that can be done, and would see it through):

  • Book categories would have prefix Book:, and subject categories would have prefix Subject:.
Thus, the nature of every such category would be instantly apparent. For example, right now book European History has book category Category:European History and belongs to subject category Category:European history, which is confusing both when setting up the categories and when looking at the categories; as an admin, I've often had to untangle the results when people misunderstand how it all works. Under the new arrangement, these would be Category:Book:European History and Category:Subject:European history.
  • In addition, I suggest we have categories with prefix Keyword:, which are for categorizing page content.
Barack Obama would have a Category:Keyword:Barack Obama. It's important, I believe, to prefix all three kinds of categories, to keep very clear which is which.
  • There should be a template for adding pages to keyword categories, analogous to the existing {{Subjects}} for adding a book to subject categories.
Once we have that infrastructure in place, the task of populating the keyword categories will be simply an incremental thing that happens over a long period of time; I expect the process will get distinctly faster when, after a while, we get dialog-based semi-automated assistants on-line to help guide users through the tasks involved.
  • The list of subjects at the bottom of the main page of a book should link to the subject pages, not to the subject categories.
We've wanted to fix this for years; I can think of at least two possible ways to fix it, and mean to undertake that along with these other upgrades.

--Pi zero (discusscontribs) 15:19, 30 June 2016 (UTC)

I'd really like some feedback on this. Despite the smooth transition I envision, it's a significant change, and I wouldn't feel right moving forward on it entirely unilaterally. I'm willing to wait (heck, I don't think I would have been able to get started on it yet even if I'd been bowled over with enthusiastic responses when I first posted this); but really clarity about what others think on this is better to hear sooner than later. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 13:03, 25 August 2016 (UTC)
On the French Wikibooks we had voted a few years ago, not for a "Book:" prefix but for a " (book)" suffix (provided by {{BookCat}}). The subject categories had remained unchanged. So I could test this a while with Wikidata, and my conclusion is that there is no uniformization, sometimes the Wikipedia category is linked to a subject one, and sometimes to a book one, because when it's the only book of the subject, nobody creates a second redundant category. Moreover, here we are talking about thousands of categories, so I hope that you have some free time ;)
Concerning the "Keyword:", I was one of the firsts to use it for themes (hypernyms), but it has been cancelled for now. What about a categorizing template like {{k|Barack Obama}}?
But to sum up, the only point on which I would really disagree with you, would be to keep the "Subject:" pages, because I find these lists too much redundant with categories, and more painful to maintain. JackPotte (discusscontribs) 18:16, 25 August 2016 (UTC)
Atm the subject pages are the only reason there's any order at all in the system; they're spectacularly not redundant. The categories are hopelessly confusing, exactly because you can't tell by looking at a category whether it's a collection of pages of a book, or a collection of books. We keep having to fix books whose classification by subject is messed up because a book-category is being mistaken for a subject-category. Fortunately we have a system in place so that problems of this kind automatically get flagged out for us; but with the changes I'm proposing the problem wouldn't happen in the first place.

If we kept the existing categories as they are and also added in categories for collections of pages that aren't necessarily in the same book, the whole thing would be profoundly worse.

However, it would all work smoothly if we introduce an iron-clad, instantly recognizable naming scheme. Which is what I'm proposing to do.

A prefix, with a colon, is absolutely unambiguous ("iron-clad") and is the first thing you see when looking at a category name (because English is read from left to right, of course). A suffix "(book)" doesn't work nearly as well; we have a few of those, for situations where our stop-gap naming convention fails to distinguish between the name of a book and the name of a subject. Moreover, if you look at the list of categories at the bottom of a page, and those categories have these prefixes on them, you'll know instantly exactly what all the things on that list are.

I've had practice with vast structural rearrangements like this. Such things can be done, and can be done smoothly. The fact that it has to be done on each of about 3000 books just means it has to be lined up carefully so that it can then be done gradually, with very simple changes at each book that don't require a lot of thought and aren't going to be done wrong, and everything will keep working right while the gradual change is going on. Often this means doing it in multiple stages, where each stage has to be finished before the next begins. If we want to phase out the subject pages as a separate namespace, the way to not get tangled up in that is to do everything else first, and leave that as a separate stage, to be undertaken only after the rest of it is complete. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 19:15, 25 August 2016 (UTC)

Is the "Help" link right?[edit]

The "Help" link on the navbar on the left of every Wikibooks page links to

rather than

Was this intended? I checked that in the Japanese Wikibooks, their "Help" link navigates to their Wikibooks Help page, not their Wikimedia Help page. Greek Fellows (discusscontribs) 04:52, 1 July 2016 (UTC)

@Greek Fellows: Thanks for noticing this, and flagging it out to us. I think I've fixed it. (For the record: MediaWiki:Sidebar specifies helppage, which invokes MediaWiki:Helppage, which should have content Help:Contents. That page was deleted several years ago with reason "same as default"; maybe it was same as default then, but it isn't now, so I undeleted the page, then null-edited both pages to induce cache update.) --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 05:26, 1 July 2016 (UTC)

Small books[edit]

On the French and Portuguese Wikibooks we use a categorizing template on the books which seem finished but are too small to be split on several pages, and are not broadsheets to integrate elsewhere. That's why I've created {{Small book}} here and posted it on a first example to get your approval: Audiovisual Translation Modes. JackPotte (discusscontribs) 20:34, 9 July 2016 (UTC)

Linking policy[edit]

Wikibooks does not have a clear policy on linking like Wikivoyage and users are free to do anyhow they like. I think this is a big problem in a wiki project. --Doostdar (discusscontribs) 06:19, 25 August 2016 (UTC)

I had the same thought a few years ago, but {{Spam}} is a good basis. JackPotte (discusscontribs) 07:01, 25 August 2016 (UTC)
The place to look for these sorts of things is Using Wikibooks; it's probably addressed in there somewhere. We pin down some specific things that have to do with how our machinery works (such as {{BookCat}}, {{subjects}}, {{status}}), but otherwise we tend to go for broad principles (rather than highly regimented policies like the Wikivoyage one mentioned). There is, after all, a lot of leeway in how one can set up a book — in a certain sense Wikibooks is a confederation of about 3000 micro-projects (sharing some common principles and banding together for shared administrative infrastructure since most of them are far too small individually to warrant a whole wiki to themselves). --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 11:52, 25 August 2016 (UTC)
In a certain sense Wikibooks is a confederation of about 3000 micro-projects! Maybe you are talking about sub-projects: Cookbook and Wikijunior. So they should get independent to gain a better condition. --Doostdar (discusscontribs) 17:01, 25 August 2016 (UTC)
No, separate project status would not improve their condition, it would degrade their condition. The confederation isn't random, and Cookbook and Wikijunior benefit from being part of it. (Wikijunior is, btw, not "a" member of the confederation, but a bunch of members, and Cookbook demonstrates that the distinction between a single member and a collection of related members is itself sometimes fuzzy.) --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 17:09, 25 August 2016 (UTC)
I'm learning new thing which I couldn't find in Wikibooks:What is Wikibooks?! It's only written that "Wikibooks includes both minor and major book-like projects." It seems vague to me. --Doostdar (discusscontribs) 07:35, 26 August 2016 (UTC)