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The State of Wiki Templates and their Categories

Posted: 2021.02.06 19:15
by Arin Mara
The State of Wiki Templates and their Categories
Rayanth's Manifesto is clear: Lower the Bar by reducing the number of Templates. I've reviewed 235 Wiki Templates multiple times, so I can group them into Categories and mark them for deletion.

Template Deletion

I've marked 47 out of 235 Templates for deletion. The fewer Templates, the easier they are to update, harmonize, find and combine.

To balance the duty of honoring previous contributors with the need for clarity I've marked the Template for deletion only if it is:

  • outdated or a duplicate of another Template
  • superfluous, without a purpose or has served its purpose
  • rarely used and its deletion would cause little to no disruption to other pages

Template Categorization

Each Wiki Page has a Category. Categories are pages that cluster other Pages, making them easier to find. Currently, all Templates belong to a single megalithic Category: Template. Because there are so many Templates, even after deletion, it is hard to find the Template you are looking for.

It isn't clear how the remaining 188 Templates should be grouped together, nor what the Category names should be. To avoid making an arbitrary decision, I inspected Template Categories of EVE Online adjacent Wikies. A Wiki is adjacent if the game:

  • is popular: popular games have Wikis with a large number of contributors that require a refined consensus making process
  • has a wide variety of goals: varied goals produce varied content that in turn requires a varied number of Templates
  • is complex: complex games have Wikis that have to strike a balance between being useful to veterans and new players, just like our own Wiki
  • Data pages‎ (7 categories, 11 pages) - tables
  • Data templates‎ (14 pages) - data transformers, dictionaries and functions
  • Formatting templates‎ (2 categories, 66 pages) - inline/multi-column, code, font, colour,
  • Image templates‎ (29 pages) - images
  • Infobox templates‎ (26 pages) - infoboxes
  • Link templates‎ (41 pages) - links to entities
  • Lua-based templates‎ (1 category, 131 pages) - programmin templates
  • Maintenance templates‎ (37 pages) - cleanup, delete, split, merge, ...
  • Nav templates‎ (2 categories, 39 pages) - navigation
  • Notice templates‎ (1 category, 155 pages) - cleanup, delete, split, merge, but specialized for each page category
  • Table templates‎ (50 pages) - helper and meta templates
  • Technical templates‎ (15 pages) - escaped characters, special characters
  • Article management templates‎ (15 P) - split, verify, delete, move
  • Data templates‎ (180 P) - tables and data stores
  • Extension templates‎ (1 C, 11 P) - dynamic page listing (DPL), and programming
  • Formatting templates‎ (1 C, 80 P) - tables, diagrams, orientation
  • I18n-ready templates‎ (260 P) - language templates
  • Icon templates‎ (27 P) - images
  • Infobox templates‎ (2 C, 7 P) - inforboxes
  • Localization subtemplates‎ (113 P) - language templates
  • Navigational templates‎ (1 C, 199 P) - navboxes and sidebars
  • Notice templates‎ (2 C, 34 P) - notice banners
  • Shortcut templates‎ (79 P) - links to entities
Stardew Valley:
  • Article management templates - delete, stub, spoiler
  • Formatting templates - tables, item formats, currency formats
  • General wiki templates - clear, history, SEO,
  • Infobox templates - infoboxes
  • Modding templates - modding templates
  • Navigational templates - mostly navboxes
  • Transclusion templates - for easier transclusion
Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead:
  • Footers - like navboxes
  • Headers - table headers
Witcher Wiki:
  • Formatting templates‎ (47 P) - colour, format, citation, decoration
  • Icon templates‎ (112 P) - icon, small 48px images
  • Infobox templates‎ (34 P) - infoboxes
  • Link templates‎ (3 P) - like anchor
  • Navigation templates‎ (13 P) - navigation
  • Notice templates‎ (22 P) - cleanup, delete, stub, outdated notices
  • Text replacement templates‎ (51 P) - standardized phrases ("Critical hit chance")
When I group together Category names based on the Templates they contain, the following clusters emerge:
  • Data pages‎ - tables
  • Data templates‎ - data transformers, dictionaries and functions
  • Data templates - tables and data stores
  • Text replacement templates‎ - standardized phrases ("Critical hit chance")
  • Table templates‎ - helper and meta templates
  • Headers - table headers
  • Formatting templates - inline/multi-column, code, font, colour
  • Formatting templates ‎- tables, diagrams, orientation
  • Formatting templates - tables, item formats, currency formats
  • Formatting templates‎ - colour, format, citation, decoration
  • Image templates‎ - images
  • Icon templates‎ - images
  • Icon templates‎ - icon, small 48px images
  • Infobox templates ‎- infoboxes
  • Infobox templates - inforboxes
  • Infobox templates - infoboxes
  • Infobox templates‎ - infoboxes
  • Link templates‎ - links to entities
  • Link templates‎ - like anchor
  • Shortcut templates‎ - links to entities
  • Lua-based templates - programming templates
  • Extension templates - dynamic page listing (DPL), and programming
  • Article management templates‎ - split, verify, delete, move
  • Article management templates - delete, stub, spoiler
  • Maintenance templates‎ - cleanup, delete, split, merge, ...
  • Notice templates - cleanup, delete, split, merge, but specialized for each page category
  • Notice templates - notice banners
  • Notice templates‎ - cleanup, delete, stub, outdated notices
  • Technical templates - escaped characters, special characters
  • General wiki templates - clear, history, SEO
  • Nav templates‎ - navigation
  • Navigational templates - navboxes and sidebars
  • Navigational templates - mostly navboxes
  • Footers - like navboxes
  • Navigation templates‎ - navigation
  • I18n-ready templates‎ - language templates
  • Localization subtemplates‎ - language templates
  • Transclusion templates - for easier transclusion
Therefor, I propose that I sort the remaining 188 Wiki Templates into the following fuzzy Categories:
  • Data templates: Templates that transclude, make Pages consistent and harmonious or maker editing easier by transforming inputted data or applying a mathematical function
  • Formatting templates: Templates used for formatting the input into tables, boxes, panels or other shapes
  • Image template: Templates that format, display and harmonize images
  • Infobox templates: Templates that display a panel, usually in the top right of an article, next to the lead section that summarize key features of the Page's subject
  • Link templates: Templates that link to another Page or create an anchor
  • Maintenance templates: Templates that display banners, flags, notices and boxes for cleanup, deletion, Page merging of splitting or other Wiki maintenance information
  • Navigational templates: Templates that help users find related Pages
    • Navbox templates: Templates that display horizontally laid out lists of links usually placed at the bottom of a Page
    • Sidebar templates: Templates that display a vertically-aligned list of links usually positioned on the right-hand side of a Page
However, before I do that, I'd love to hear your ideas, opinions, comments and corrections about Wiki Templates and their Categories. :)

Wiki Template Trivia
You can color text with no less then six Templates:
  • Template:!xt
  • Template:Xt
  • Template:Co
  • Template:Color
  • Template:Dothis
  • Template:Notthis

Quite a few Pages still use the outdated Template:CMBSite and Template:CMBSiteBox, rather then the new and improved Template:CMBSiteInfo.

Template:Infobox (and its accompanying Template:Infobox/row) is an excellent idea, but is unused and protected from being edited even though it is used nowhere. I'll need the help of someone with magic powers to unlock the shackles.

Tenplate:em italizes text. ''text'' syntax does the same. Template:em uses 7 characters, instead of 4. I'm not suprised that no one used it for 3 years.

Template:Eve Who creates links from character names. That's quite neat and a good starting point for creating a Template that links to EVE DOTLAN.

Template:EWar, Template:Special and Template:ShipType are a duplicate of both Template:CMBSiteInfo and Template:CMBSite. However, they were still used to format a single Expedition Page, Blue Pills. No longer! :) I've sent the Templates to be deleted.

Template:Loop repeat a string of characters up to 150 times. What do you think happens if we nest the Template? :P For safety purposes, I've marked it for deletion.

Seek and ye shall find. I'm in favor of Wiki Templates, so I purposefully sought out opinions that caution against using Templates:

Re: The State of Wiki Templates and their Categories

Posted: 2021.02.07 14:30
by Cassiel Seraphim
First of all, nice work Arin!

Second, I like your suggested template sub-categories. Curious about the separation of the "infobox" category though, what is the benefit of keeping those separate from the other "navigation" category?

Re: The State of Wiki Templates and their Categories

Posted: 2021.02.07 19:16
by ElectricHaze
Looks good. Thank you for all of your work!

Re: The State of Wiki Templates and their Categories

Posted: 2021.02.08 16:05
by Arin Mara
Thanks! :)

I have no idea why Infoboxes are a separate Template Category on every Wiki I visit. My best guess is because of the word sometimes in the official Wikipedia description of Infoboxes: "... fixed-format tables usually added to the top right-hand corner of articles to consistently present a summary of some unifying aspect that the articles share and sometimes to improve navigation ...".

If I'm mistaken and it should go under Navigational templates, I can cheaply change it by adding the arch-Category. :)

Re: The State of Wiki Templates and their Categories

Posted: 2021.02.09 18:50
by Rayanth
The term "Infobox" is typically used for more detailed information across multiple pages, like an RPG wiki would use info boxes to share all the statistics for NPC's... or items and their crafting recipes, etc. Essentially "a quick summary/info dump". "Navbox" usually refers to the categorical navigation that commonly is put at the bottom of the page on wikipedia - like our navigation box for all the different types of ships.

They can be kept separated in categories.

Re: The State of Wiki Templates and their Categories

Posted: 2021.02.25 18:03
by Hippla Tsero
I find no words on how amazing the work you have done is :) Looking for a job IRL by any chance? :-D

Re: The State of Wiki Templates and their Categories

Posted: 2021.02.26 13:28
by Arin Mara
Aaaaaaaaaw, thank you very much Hippla!!! :) :) :)

You've already sent me the Twitter Medal Image which is worth about 1000 words :P
Whoever constructed the image knows exactly how to make me feel prideful and glorious :D

I'm employed as a DevOps and Software Engineer. Despite it being cerebral, interesting and ever-changing you have noticed correctly I still have a lot of productive energy when the work day ends ;)
I suspect it's because I score quite high on conscientiousness: I experience negative emotion when I'm idling unproductively. The Wiki allows me to trade these negative emotions for positive ones. :)

Re: The State of Wiki Templates and their Categories

Posted: 2021.03.23 17:24
by Arin Mara
I've emptied the Category:Template by sorting all 237 Templates into 7 Subcategories.

Rayanth tried, for weeks, to set up a program to help me sort the Templates, but couldn't find an elegant way to authenticate the program. That didn't stop me from manually inspecting and moving each Template and its documentation Page, 447 Pages in total. If a Template was missing documentation I either wrote it myself or placed it into the Category:Template without documentation. Templates that were marked for deletion I've moved to Category:Candidates for deletion.

Burning the midnight oil for so many nights will quickly pay off because Template makers will be able to search, maintain, combine and build Templates more easily. This will produce better Templates, more beautiful and harmonious Wiki Pages which will create a more pleasurable reading experience for the whole of New Eden! :)

Feel free to leave a new Template in the Category:Template if you can't decided or don't know to which Template Subcategory it belongs. :)