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.

Automatic welcoming to all new users[edit]

The following discussion has concluded. Please open a new discussion for any further comments.

Wikidata and interwikis[edit]

I observe folks starting to remove interwiki markup from pages that have wikidata links. I too once didn't question this practice, but as I've watched the damage that can be done by gratuitously relying on a central site for interwikis, I'd like to ask: why would we remove interwiki links? Wikidata linkage provides more complete interwiki coverage, filling in gaps where we'd left something off our list, but going out of our way to remove existing interwikis seems to me to be asking for trouble.

Thoughts? --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 23:53, 24 February 2015 (UTC)

Hello Pi zero, Wikidata is set up and intended to replace the system of local interwikilinks and instead maintain them centrally in one place. In the past years, many users have requested a central database for interwikilinks and this is now implemented this week on Wikibooks in all language versions. In the past two years, we have started at Wikipedia, followed by Wikimedia Commons, Wikivoyage, Wikisource, Wikiquote, Wikinews and Wikidata. On all these wiki's the interwikilinks have been moved to Wikidata (and thus removed locally). Both bots and users relocate the interwikilinks.
Maintaining local interwikilinks is complicated as all pages need to stay synchronised to avoid interwiki conflicts. Having /doc pages and protected pages, this was almost impossible. Other interwiki conflicts are updated link on one wiki, but not being updated elsewhere. This results in interwiki links that are broken as they point to non-existing pages on other language versions. This I already noticed multiple times with checking all the pages that were supposed to be connected with the local interwikilinks, but where deleted or moved already a long time ago. Another issue is that keeping local interwikilinks will block the interwikilinks from Wikidata. This means that if a page is deleted, moved, changed, etc, and updated on Wikidata, this will not show up locally as long as the local interwikilink is there and blocking it. And when all local interwikilinks have been relocated to Wikidata, users only have to add, update or fix broken links in one place instead of all wikis.
As all Wikibooks wikis are expected to have the interwikilinks moved to Wikidata, and as on most other wikis already the interwikilinks have been moved, users will soon no longer update local interwikilinks on Wikibooks and expect that all interwikilinks are on Wikidata only.
"The damage that could be done" requires a specific description of a problem and not a vague claim. I can understand that a new development can be experienced scary as it is new, but speaking from my experiences with the implementation of Wikidata on other Wikimedia wikis and the moving of the interwikilinks to Wikidata, it works great and generally speaking we definitely do not want to return to local interwikilinks.
And you can help! Each Wikidata item (Q...) has a section for Wikibooks. After clicking on edit in that section, you add the language in the grey field and when the software recognizes the language (or select the right one in the listed languages) you add the title of the page in the white field behind it.
On which item to add the interwikilink(s)? If you know a similar page/category/template/etc on Wikipedia, go to the Wikidata page for that one and add the interwikilink(s) there. It is highly recommended to add also pages to Wikidata, especially categories and templates, which do not have interwikilinks. When more and more pages are added to Wikidata from various language versions, if two pages that weren't connected before, they can be in future when the pages of two Wikibooks are added to an item.
After you added all interwikilinks to Wikidata for a page, you can remove the local interwikilinks from the page itself.
Help with the removal is especially recommended for templates with /doc pages and for protected pages. What you need to do first is to check if the interwikilinks have been added to Wikidata. If that has been done, the local interwikilinks can be removed as they have been moved to Wikidata.
If there are any questions or issues, I am happy to help with those questions. Greetings - Romaine (discusscontribs) 14:50, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
PS: You can activate SlurpInterwiki on Wikidata in your preferences (2nd item), then in the sidebar a link is added: "Import interwikis". How to use this tool: (1) add one interwikilink to the page on Wikidata, (2) click "Import interwikis" and select the interwiki you just added to the page and click "Import". The tool will automatically add the interwikilinks to that Wikidata page for you. Romaine (discusscontribs) 14:55, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
@Romaine: Wikidata does not, and ultimately cannot, replace interwikis. It is a structured database (not using wiki markup, which is itself a huge mistake that will continuously poison the wikimedia sisterhood; but I digress) that internally sees itself as an ontology. This is one of the ways that it damages the sister projects: interwikis are not ontological. Interwikis are provided to maximize readers' ability to navigate to related pages — not pages that are identical according to some philosophically pure ontology, but related pages. The more such links are provided between projects, the better for the entire sisterhood as users are encouraged to nagivate about and see more of the sisterhood (as long as the links are relevant so that the user doesn't feel their time has been wasted when they follow the link). The purer the ontology is at Wikidata, the fewer interwikis are provided. This is already happening in many cases — anywhere that a page corresponds to more than one wikidata item. There are cases of that sort of thing even on the Wikipedias, and they got a whole lot more common on other sisters. So yes, moving to rely exclusively on Wikidata for interwikis does actual, real damage to the entire sisterhood, damage of the sort that poisons the future of the sisterhood by making the projects less encouraging to new contributors. Doing something about that later is too late, as new contributors need to be encouraged relentlessly over years, not just sometimes (and certainly not at some future date that may well never come, since never is when the Foundation is likely to get around to software upgrades primarily affecting non-Wikipedian sisters).
Centralization could have been done in various ways, and the way it actually was done reduces local control and local visibility, so that it becomes impractical, in reality, for local projects to maintain control of their own interwikis (indeed, it could have been designed in a way that would have increased local control instead of decreasing it), and also becomes vastly less likely that local projects will even notice when their interwikis have been damaged. Thus, the particular way the centralization has been done maximizes damage to interwikis whether it's by malign intent, by benign mistake, by well-intentioned design choices at cross-purposes with interwikis, by blind automated mis-actions, or whatever.
Wikidata-driven interwikis do one very useful thing: they can pick up on cases that were overlooked when placing individual interwikis on specific pages. (Again, this could have been handled in a more beneficial way, but the way implemented does achieve this benefit.) But removing individual interwikis from the particular pages is essentially a form of (one sincerely hopes, unwitting) vandalism on a gradiose scale, destruction of information that great effort has gone into placing on those pages in the first place, and it is also subtly corrosive to the idealism that is at the heart of all wikis: that information should come from people. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 15:47, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
You sound very disappointed in general, I completely disagree with that. But speaking about "damage to the entire sisterhood" goes beyond reasonable thinking.
It is a pity you do not comment on any of the individual point I wrote.
I regularly give training, workshops and edit-a-thons for new users and they are very happy with Wikidata. They just can't believe that we had a system in the past with all the problems en huge workload. So please come out of the ivory tower.
Ow and by the way, please inform yourself first about how Wikidata is implemented, before you make statements that do not match with the reality. This in general but also specific. You can see the changes in Wikidata in the recent changes in the English Wikibooks, watchlist and more.
Having an ideal is great, but without becoming practical with it, it will bring nobody anywhere. Romaine (discusscontribs) 16:14, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
PS: If you talk about "vandalism", then you are out of arguments and you lost the discussion. Vandalism is intentionally damaging, with the intention to damage something and intentionally worsening something. And such is certainly not the case here. Naming something as "vandalism" when you disagree with something, is not a normal argumentation and does not belong in a normal discussion. I am sorry you are disappointed, but that does not give a reason to write in such way. Romaine (discusscontribs) 16:14, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
@Romaine: You accuse me of not knowing how Wikidata works. I have considerable experience with how Wikidata works. In what specific way do you claim what I have said is not how Wikidata works? (PS: Your statement about vandalism is simply false, as you may note by reading carefully what I wrote concerning it.) --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 16:22, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
Btw, I did address specifics of what you said. You asked specifically what damage was done, and I explained, in detail. A good deal of what you said is partly off, and the most efficient way to address those things was to explicitly answer your question about what damage was done, so that's what I did. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 16:28, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
Another point. You're setting up a false dichotomy (that's a very easy mistake to make; I've much sympathy for it). As I pointedly mentioned, the pre-existing problem could have been addressed in much better ways; the way it was addressed evidences misjudgements that are characteristic of the Foundation in recent years. Comparing the advantages of Wikidata to the disadvantages of the pre-existing arrangement is a distraction from comparing Wikidata to other approaches that could have been taken. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 16:42, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
I don't even remember the Wikibooks community to allow you guys to spread Wikidata here? --atcovi (talk) 18:59, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
I believe you are correct. They did tell us they were going to do it. I don't recall they ever asked.
If I were designing a robust, low-maintenance system for interwikis, I would have a central ontology, and then instead of having links from the central location to the other projects, I would have some sort of markup (such as a template) on each page with a list of items in the ontology. Interwikis for any given language would be generated from the first listed item that is linked to by a page from that language. This would maximize local control, minimize local labor, and minimize the potential for damage from the central location. (Indeed, with a bit of thought, and a bot, this could have been done without the need to create a separate sister project for a central ontology at all.) --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 20:35, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
Then I'm supposed to be undoing these edits unless it's allowed then. Correct or no? --atcovi (talk) 20:39, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
I'm unsure. I was hoping to hear from more of the local community here, in order to clarify the matter.
The question of whether to remove the local interwikis is separate from the activation of Wikidata for Wikibooks. Afaik we really do have no say in whether or not Wikidata is enabled for Wikibooks; but local interwikis are our responsibility, rather by definition. The way Wikidata works, a local interwiki takes precedence over anything Wikidata says, but if there isn't a local interwiki for the page for a given language, then any interwiki provided by Wikidata for that page is visible. If we remove the local interwikis, then we don't get any interwikis at all unless they're provided by Wikidata, and we're thus subject to all the vulnerabilities of a fully centralized system, as I described earlier. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 20:56, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
I fear that this discussion (on both sides) has strayed into people speaking from emotions and politics driven by past experiences, rather than trying to find a solution that works well for both sides. --Rschen7754 06:30, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
My own suspicion is that each side thinks the other is doing that. Which does not actually require either side to be correct in this belief about the other; but it does lead to a breakdown of useful discussion. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 13:35, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
I suggest warning the editor that there is no community consensus for what they are doing and pointing them to this discussion. I am happy to block any editor that continues to remove interwikis against consensus if they have been warned. QuiteUnusual (discusscontribs) 22:01, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
I agree with you. If as Pi Zero is correct when he states the two actions, the use of Wikidata on Wikibooks and the removal of interwikis are independent (even if related). The first we seem to have no say in but the second clearly requires community consensus or the deletion of valid, non-redundant content should indeed be treated as vandalism. --Panic (discusscontribs) 16:26, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
I've also added a note to the coordination page at Wikidata requesting that editors desist from reforming interwikis. Pi Zero is correct that the two actions are independent. Wikidata will collect information on existing interwikis in order to populate its database, however, it is a decision for each community whether or not they wish to use it. QuiteUnusual (discusscontribs) 16:48, 27 February 2015 (UTC)

Perhaps I should ask a question, for those who have not already commented: do people have any objections to what is proposed at d:Wikidata:Wikibooks/Development? --Rschen7754 02:13, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

  • Here's one small instance of one of the sorts of things that can result from removing interwikis. A user quite reasonably added an item to our bulletin board about the availability of wikidata on wikibooks, but in the process also removed the interwikis from that page. In undoing the interwiki part of the edit, I got a close look at exactly what wikidata did for the interwikis on that page. We had three explicit interwikis on the page. As of this writing, wikidata provides five interwikis for the page. However, when our explicit interwikis were combined with wikidata's, we have six interwikis. Wikidata provides three that we didn't have, and wikidata has linked the corresponding Polish Wikibooks page to a different item — "Wikipedia:Goings-on" rather than "Wikipedia:Milestones" — which is contrary to the way the Polish Wikibooks page explicit interwikis itself and results in wikidata not providing interwikis to or from the Polish page to any other Wikibooks.
As it happens, I can't fix wikidata's error, because apparently I don't have edit permission for the items. If I had time atm, what I ought to do is go around and make sure the corresponding pages on all the different projects have explicit interwikis to and from the Polish page. But regardless of whether the specific problem with that page is, or can be, fixed (at least temporarily), this appears to me to be a nice little illustration of  (a) why arbitrarily removing explicit interwikis is a mistake, and  (b) why wikidata-style centralized management of interwikis systemically damages local projects by depriving them of interwikis (noting, in this example if all the pages remove their explicit interwikis then Polish Wikibooks is systematically and completely isolated). Once again I'll note that improving interwikis could have been done in a way that would have enhanced local control instead of undermining it; indeed, we may yet be able to devise a way to fix the problem, but major initiatives like wikidata should never be deployed in a way that does damage in the near term based on speculation that the problems might be fixed eventually. The way to prevent damage in the near term is to not remove interwikis; unfortunately, we cannot locally prevent damage resulting from removal of interwikis on other wikibooks projects, but at least we can prevent damage resulting from removal of interwikis from our local pages. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 16:10, 1 March 2015 (UTC)
It's worth noting, I think, that Wikidata works a lot better for Wikipedia than for Wikibooks. English Wikipedia pages almost always do have exact equivalents in other languages, whereas on Wikibooks two books with similar titles or about the same subject in different languages are not necessarily, or even likely to be, the same book. In general, I've been very happy with how Wikidata works on Wikipedia and I think it is a good idea, but I think Wikibooks and other smaller wiki projects were overlooked when Wikidata was designed. Liam987 (t) 21:06, 12 March 2015 (UTC)
If you listen carefully to Lila's keynote at wikimania last year, she's fairly up-front (at least, by politician-speak standards) in saying the Foundation doesn't care about non-wikipedian sisters.
Actually, though, afaics even wikipedias are adversely affected by ontological cutting of wikidata-driven interwikis. If several things have the same name, they have different wikidata items; but sometimes Wikipedia has one article that covers several things with the same name, and this means that one article does not get incoming interwikis (through Wikidata) from all the appropriate articles on other Wikipedias; the article has to choose just one of the things covered to receive interwikis for. I encountered a wikipedian example of this the other day, and am frustrated that I can't remember what it was; I only remember some examples I've encountered on Wikinews, such as en.wn topic category Donetsk, which covers both the city Donetsk and the oblast Donetsk in which the city is located. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 21:57, 12 March 2015 (UTC)

Disallow new page creations for IP users[edit]

I propose that we do not allow new users to create new pages because of the fact that from what I see , the only new pages by IP users are for vandalism or test edits. If they need to create a page , they can always log in or request for the same. What do you think?--Leaderboard (discusscontribs) 18:39, 9 March 2015 (UTC)

I think it would create yet another barrier to participation, but at this point it could be more beneficial than problematic.
My first edits on the project were as an IP user for more than a month IIRC, registration is a step that indicates some commitment. I would agree that most projects do require some commitment (more than articles on Wikipedia) and the time of stubs seems to have passed, people have moved away from creating empty book projects (to me this seems to be the result of added difficulties for participation). We should decide if we do want unbounded participation or a more professional and aware editor. This of course should take in consideration the project maturity and levels of activity, preventing anonymous page creation is just one more step... --Panic (discusscontribs) 21:45, 9 March 2015 (UTC)
My first wikimedia edit was as an IP. In making it I was provided information about advantages of creating an account — even then a burden because of the need for yet another password — and I decided if I ever had occasion to make a second wikimedia edit I would register. About a year later I did have occasion to make a second edit, and I registered.
Of course, I wasn't creating a page, either of those times. The first was a spelling correction, and I'm pretty sure the second was comparable.
I believe the solution for the difficulty of editing is not to restrict participation to people willing to make a big commitment up front, and not to switch to a WYSIWYG interface (which isn't necessarily easier, and cuts off the path by which slightly involved editors slowly learn), but instead to provide flexible mechanisms, growable by the community, to help users to perform, and to learn, expert tasks.
None of this absolutely prohibits us from disallowing IP page creation, but I'm uncomfortable with the idea. Disallowing IP page creation doesn't feel consistent with the radically open participation characteristic of the wiki ethic. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 22:14, 9 March 2015 (UTC)
User:Pi zero , I understand what you mean. But my proposal is only to disallow new page creations , from my experience , I have yet to see a contributive new page creation which was not speedily deleted. That said , my experience is fairly short as compared to yours. We're still keeping the open participation of wiki ethic to the most part , leaving the main ability of editing pages open to all users. Anyway , has any IP user ever created a new page or a whole book?--Leaderboard (discusscontribs) 08:34, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
I suggest you review the list of pages created by IP editors. There are a lot of good pages created. QuiteUnusual (discusscontribs) 13:26, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose Maybe disallowing IP Users to create userpages would be a better proposal? Anyways that just prevents a lot of good contributions by IPs. IPs are very helpful, and and they might not be so comfortable creating an account, and they rather want to stay as an IP Editor. --atcovi (talk) 13:31, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
Preventing an IP creating a userpage other than their own was implemented a few weeks ago by an edit filter. QuiteUnusual (discusscontribs) 14:56, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
Wasn't necessarily aware of editing/creating being the same, just woke up :p. Thanks for telling me. --atcovi (talk) 14:59, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
QuiteUnusual , that's only a few compared to the list of pointless page being created out just for fun. Though I'm getting your point , I am not sure as to why don't we redirect them to the discussion room so that they can request a new page. Today itself I found a new page by an IP user that was useless.
User:Atcovi , the majority of good edits by IP that I see are additions or correction to existing pages. While I welcome this , and even new page creations , the fact that new pages are created mainly for vandalism makes me oppose allowing it.--Leaderboard (discusscontribs) 17:56, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
I remember when it was first pointed out to me that the US justice system would rather let a hundred guilty people off than convict one who's innocent. Seems to me a similar principle applies here. Contributors are our most valuable resource, first impressions are the most important, and, on reflection, it's crucial to give a well-meaning new contributor the benefit of the doubt. (Yes, I'm a disciple of Never assume rathern than AGF; this isn't about assuming good faith, it's about not treating IPs as guilty until proven innocent.) --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 01:30, 11 March 2015 (UTC)

Opinion on IPs having a userpage?[edit]

What is your opinion on IP's having userpages/sandboxes? (Removed from --atcovi (talk) 13:17, 12 March 2015 (UTC)

Symbol keep vote.svg Keep Why not? Having a userpage or sandbox shouldn't matter as long as it is within the rules. Sandbox is also a great place for testing , which is where we direct to always.--Leaderboard (discusscontribs) 13:54, 12 March 2015 (UTC)
I agree. IP editors can be just as valuable as logged in ones and are entitled to have a user page and other project-related items within their user space. No need to delete unless they are clearly out of the project scope. --Az1568 (discusscontribs) 18:39, 12 March 2015 (UTC)
Without a user page we can't address the users in their private discussion page, this can be important at times (log-in issues, system bugs, blocked users etc) even if most times it is a pointless exercise as their IP will change and they will not be aware of the attempt.
I would support having a bot welcoming these users (with a transcluded templated post promoting registration to save wasting resources) and have all IP user-space pages live only 3 months (if not blocked, inc. range blocks), since whatever actions took place in them will have no long term use... --Panic (discusscontribs) 21:08, 12 March 2015 (UTC)

Coffee table books[edit]

I propose the scope of Wikibooks be extended to include coffee table books, by which I mean books oriented around images. Wikijunior already has many books in the image-per-page format, such as Wikijunior:Animal Alphabet. Allowing non-Wikijunior books in this format could attract contributors to Wikibooks who don't have the specific knowledge needed to write a textbook. A larger balance of types of books on Wikibooks would better justify this project's name. We are Wikibooks, not Wikitextbooks.
The main problem with allowing coffee table books is that we could be flooded with large amounts of what amount to no more than slide shows. There would definitely have to be a policy of some sort mandating that there be text as well as images on every page. Wikijunior has not had a problem with tons and tons picture books of kittens, even though it's conceivable that that could happen.
Coffee table books would probably need a better name, especially if it were given its own namespace. "Table:" might be a bit misleading, and "Coffeetable:" isn't very catchy. Anyway, what are everyone's thoughts on this? Liam987 talk 15:17, 28 March 2015 (UTC)

@Liam987: I agree that this runs a risk of books like Pictures of My Cat but first off, this project doesn't a lot of activity in the first place, so it's unlikely that many users will show up to make out-of-scope books and secondly, a coffeetable book about art history or of travel photos can certainly be educational (or high-res photos of place of worship, etc.) —Justin (koavf)TCM 15:22, 28 March 2015 (UTC)
I can agree with what User:Liam987 said . This is definitely an interesting idea , so instead of outright banning them , why not just moderate the type of books allowed under this format? That is , make a policy/guideline on that?
For instance , my Internet Explorer book has most of its sections primarily centered on images. --Leaderboard (discusscontribs) 15:36, 28 March 2015 (UTC)
  • It's an interesting idea.
If we're considering extending our scope in this direction —which would clearly call for a strong cosensus (following the preliminary discussion we're having now)— we need to be very clear on what we're adding to our scope. What makes a coffee table book? Why, exactly, is it different from a "pictures of my cat" book? When somebody does submit a book of pictures of their cat, we need to have a very clear rational basis for telling them why it isn't appropriate, and for discussing it at an RFD.
We'd want to ground the idea in the wikimedia educational mission. (In theory I understand that to be the theoretical justification for the "textbook" scope of Wikibooks, although I recall hearing, from those who were here well before I came, that there were suspicions of a dubious economic motive being involved too). --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 12:38, 3 April 2015 (UTC)
@Pi zero: Educational merit would have to be requirement, naturally. (Although, as you mention, Wikijunior seems to be a bit of an exception to the requirement. There was some sort of grant that started it. Wikibooks talk:What is Wikijunior has some very enlightening discussions from years ago on the subject.) The problem is, it's hard to quantify educational merit. A few ideas and thoughts:
 • Every page (or most pages in a book) could be required to have text as well as a picture. It is normal for print coffee table books, even photography books, to have large amounts of text.
 • There could be strict guidelines of what types of books would be allowed, and guidelines to define what those books include and don't include. For example, a defined type of coffee table book could be "Nature Photography". There would be a guideline page for books on nature photography, defining scope, requirements, and format, and all books of this type would have to follow it. Each coffee table book would have to, when created, declare which one of the approved types of books it is, or else propose a new type for community discussion.
 • Another problem I could see arising is, among photography books, how to define the scope of a book. What would happen if one editor created Images of London, and another created Photographs of London, but with a very different format and style of photographs and text. Would they be allowed to coexist? Or, would Animals be allowed, despite its very broad scope, and would The Lives and Habits of Albino Male Lions in the Serengeti During the Dry Season be allowed, despite its very narrow scope?
 • Books on photographic technique, or simply showcasing photographs, could be educational, as could travel books, as User:Koavf mentioned. However, there is the problem of a potential overlap with Commons and Wikivoyage. As far as I know, neither project has anything like this, but there is still the question of wether they might not fit better there than here.
As you can see, I haven't thought this through completely. It definitely needs shaping and clarifying before it can become a serious proposal. Liam987 talk 21:12, 4 April 2015 (UTC)
@Liam987: First off, pardon me for lightly editing your comment above. Regarding redundancy, Wikipedia articles oftentimes include etymology, which might overlap Wiktionary. Wiktionary has attestations and citations as quotes, which overlaps Wikiquote. Wikiversity grew out of this project. There will be some overlap between all the sister projects and that's okay. I personally don't think that The Lives and Habits of Albino Male Lions in the Serengeti During the Dry Season would be a problem at all: if we have the content, why not display it? It's not like this is print and we have only so many pages or a bookshelf that holds only so many books (or an actual coffee table!) For what it's worth, nothing on Wikijunior strikes me as un-educational... —Justin (koavf)TCM 04:05, 5 April 2015 (UTC)
@Koavf: I agree with you. I wanted to bring up some potential problems/objections I could think of, but I agree that none of them would be major problems. Liam987 talk 22:32, 9 April 2015 (UTC)
I'm not convinced they are out-of-scope today... The implied "textbook" (as in "Wikitextbooks") is really about excluding fiction and things like biographies. A book of, for example, pictures taken by the Hubble space telescope with short captions is both educational and non-fiction. QuiteUnusual (discusscontribs) 10:25, 10 April 2015 (UTC)
Sounds reasonable to me. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 11:11, 10 April 2015 (UTC)


I'd like to invite suggestions and opinions on an idea I attempted some years ago, and am thinking of trying again with an improved internal look-and-feel.

My idea was to have a single template that describes the organization of a whole book, called (in the current version) Template:name of book/Navlist, and then a suite of templates you can place on the pages of the book that automatically generate a table of contents, or a navigation box for the top or bottom of a page, or whatever other such thing is wanted. Using, of course, various formats for the TOC or the navboxes, depending on what is wanted for the particular book.

I implemented this, but at the time I had to rely entirely on wiki templates, and as a result, the format of the navlist was a bit odd-looking. (There were also some size limits because generating things from the navlist involved large numbers of template calls.) You can see the suite I created at {{Navlist}}, an example of a book using it at Conlang, and the navlist for that book at {{Conlang/Navlist}}.

I now have the means to rewrite the suite templates so that each book navlist uses a more readable format, and the suite templates parse the book navlist (which also drastically reduces the number of template calls involved).

So here are some questions, if anyone would like to offer their thoughts:

  • Is this a worthwhile idea to pursue?
  • What format should the navlist for each book use? Something based on wiki list notation, perhaps? Or something else?
  • What sorts of formats ought to be supported for tables of contents, top-boxes, bottom-boxes? What other kinds of things might be generated from the book's navlist?
  • (thrown in, gratis) Suggestions for other kinds of things that could benefit from being generated automatically, like this? I know of a Wikijunior book, for instance, that has a glossary, and then repeats items from the glossary on content pages here and there; I'm thinking a template could be set up so on the content page you can just say, basically, put the glossary definition of such-and-such here, and the template would go parse the glossary and snarf the appropriate definition from it. Or possibly one would have the glossary data in a template, and the glossary page itself would also be generated by extracting data from that template.

Miscellaneous notes:

I was worried, from the start, that the navlist would be vulnerable to mistakes, or vandalism, as a single-point-of-failure; however (unlike Wikidata which is outside the projects it affects), the navlist is grouped with the book. I have in mind, in the long run, we could build a tool for checking to detect dropped pages, and perhaps other kinds of anomalies.
I belive strongly that control of a project should rest in wiki markup, maximizing its accessibility to ordinary wiki users (even if in some cases it's fully protected; it's still more visible and understandable as wiki markup). So I've developed a device for implementing sophisticated stuff within wiki markup (not yet imported to Wikibooks, but I anticipate doing so; atm it's yonder). An example of using it for a navlist-like constomization device is n:Template:Infobox; that's a generic news infobox, where you can just name a category, like {{infobox|France}}, and it'll go look for a customization file for France; the customization file, if it exists, calls a template that sets up a wiki table containing the customizing parameters, so, and {{infobox}} parses the wiki table.

--Pi zero (discusscontribs) 14:20, 3 April 2015 (UTC)

Really interesting ideas. The stub template on the French Wikipedia, w:fr:Modèle:Ébauche, works like the kind of template you're describing (I think). {{Ébauche|France}} calls on {{Ébauche/paramètres France}} for image, portal to link to, category, and so forth. As regards the Navlist, it seems like a good and very useful idea. I am concerned, though, that it is confusing for an editor unfamiliar with the workings of wikicode to add or edit the table of contents at a page like Template:Conlang/Navlist. Is there a way to hide more of the code from a casual editor? Liam987 talk 20:21, 4 April 2015 (UTC)
@Liam987: The scary notation of {{Conlang/Navlist}} was always one of the things that bothered me about it, even though I was pretty excited I got the suite to work. It's now possible to use almost any (wiki-based) syntax we want, which presents a different kind of problem in that, with no constraints to force us to do things a certain way, we have to decide what we think would be most useful — most readable and most writeable, presumably. It may turn out that there are practical constraints after all, when I get into the coding, but meanwhile, I'm interested in any thoughts on what others think might work well. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 23:03, 4 April 2015 (UTC)
@Pi zero: I've added a Navlist using your template on Breton, which I've been restructuring around imported Wikiversity material. It works very well, although one comment I have is that it would be useful to be able to have multiple levels of navigation in the {{Navlist/Top}} template. For example, the Breton books is structured into six levels and multiple lessons for level. I would like to be able to have the Navbox at the top of each page to link both to the next level and also to the next lesson, so that Breton/Level 2/Lesson 2 would link to Breton/Level 2/Lesson 1 and Breton/Level 2/Lesson 3, and then below that also to Breton/Level 1 and to Breton/Level 2. Also, more customizability as to which order pages are linked to, and maybe the ability to add pages to the Navbox list but not have them automatically included in the sequence for {{Navlist/Top}} and {{Navlist/Bottom}}, for optional subpages that are outside the main sequence of the book. Overall, though, these templates are great and I compliment you on them. Liam987 talk 20:59, 8 May 2015 (UTC)

Annotated Jurassic World Wikibook. Good idea?[edit]

I'm sure you're all aware that the summer blockbuster Jurassic World has just been released. Wikibooks's annotated texts policy states that works annotations for movies can be created here, and the featured status of the Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter suggests that these sorts of companion pieces to copyrighted works are acceptable here, so I was wondering if a book-length scene by scene breakdown of the scientific accuracy, effects, screenwriting, cinematography, etc of Jurassic World, like a movie version of Cliffs or Spark Notes, would be a viable project here. I posted this at the general reading room but it only got commented on by one (admittedly unenthusiastic) editor and I hoped posting it here too would attract some more eyes and comments. Abyssal (discusscontribs) 17:18, 15 June 2015 (UTC)

It all depends on the "educational" content, in general blockbuster movies are not worth speaking much about in regards to creative writing or even the cinematography. This one in particular, Jurassic World, is a very poor example of movie art, its full of cliches and the logic of the script goes out of the window about 30m in. In general it would be better to go about it like we go about biographies, avoid covering contemporaneous subjects since they bring about a lot of emotional baggage... --Panic (discusscontribs) 09:50, 15 June 2015 (UTC)
I'm reposting the above since it got "deleted" without notice even if I got it back from my contribution history it did not appear on this pages edit history... If you made a significant contribution check it out since it may have been a hiccup on the project's servers.--Panic (discusscontribs) 17:49, 15 June 2015 (UTC)
@Panic2k4:. It's because Abyssal posted the question twice. Your original comments are over at Wikibooks:Reading room/General. QuiteUnusual (discusscontribs) 07:31, 18 June 2015 (UTC)

Restructuring Linguistics[edit]

I have proposed a restructuring of the Linguistics book at Talk:Linguistics#Restructuring. Over the years, the book has seen many additions to its contents, and it seems that each additional module was added to the end of the book, in a way similar to the stack data structure. As such, I feel it is more appropriate to restructure the book now. I also plan to add chapters previously suggested by another user on the talk page. The only action that will require admin interference is the deletion of Linguistics/Computational Linguistics, which I think is a topic not possible to introduce in an introductory book on ling. Kayau (talk · contribs) 15:30, 22 June 2015 (UTC)