Meta templates and Qif on :en

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Meta templates and Qif on :en

Adrian Buehlmann
Thanks to Brion for his statement at
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WP:AUM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Template:Qif was up for shooting.
It is ugly.

WP:AUM has been used on :en as a motto to replace uses of Qif
with other ugliness.

Question: What shall we do now?

Qif is replaced now with a CSS trick (ugly):
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Adrian_Buehlmann/work/Conditional_expressions_with_CSS

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_W._Bush for an example use
(look at html source created by Infobox President template).

There is a third ugliness called weeble trick. Example
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_talk:Adrian_Buehlmann/work/Infobox_TV_channel/2006-01-02

So which ugliness shall we use until we have conditional functions
in MediaWiki ("ifempty", "or", "not", "and". No loops,
no gotos, no viruses)?

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Re: Meta templates and Qif on :en

Sam Korn
On 1/21/06, Adrian Buehlmann <[hidden email]> wrote:
> So which ugliness shall we use until we have conditional functions
> in MediaWiki ("ifempty", "or", "not", "and". No loops,
> no gotos, no viruses)?

How about none of them, and play with templates how they were designed
to be played with?

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Re: Meta templates and Qif on :en

Jama Poulsen
On Sat, Jan 21, 2006 at 05:18:39PM +0000, Sam Korn wrote:
> On 1/21/06, Adrian Buehlmann <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > So which ugliness shall we use until we have conditional functions
> > in MediaWiki ("ifempty", "or", "not", "and". No loops,
> > no gotos, no viruses)?
>
> How about none of them, and play with templates how they were designed
> to be played with?

You mean like this? :-)

  http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Frantik/Winter
  http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Frantik/Winter/Language_Specification

People can test the language here if they want (you do need a Wikicompany account):

  http://wikicompany.org/wiki?title=Wikicompany:Test4

Sure there are performance, security and editorial-complexity considerations
when deploying these kind of extensions, but some things are just too funky
too ignore.

Jama Poulsen
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Re: Meta templates and Qif on :en

Adrian Buehlmann
In reply to this post by Sam Korn
"Sam Korn" <[hidden email]> wrote in
message
news:[hidden email]
> On 1/21/06, Adrian Buehlmann
> <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> So which ugliness shall we use until we have conditional functions
>> in MediaWiki ("ifempty", "or", "not", "and". No loops,
>> no gotos, no viruses)?
>
> How about none of them, and play with templates how they were designed
> to be played with?

Yes please remove the CSS trick from the following templates on :en

Infobox President
Infobox Governor
Infobox Person
Infobox Senator

and a few hundred others. You can start at [[:Category:Infobox templates]].

The hack conditionals have been beaten with big sticks and they are
still alive. Who wonders?

Adrian



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Re: Meta templates and Qif on :en

Sam Korn
In reply to this post by Jama Poulsen
On 1/21/06, Jama Poulsen <[hidden email]> wrote:
> You mean like this? :-)
>
>   http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Frantik/Winter
>   http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Frantik/Winter/Language_Specification

I admire the work you've done there.  I think it's very impressive.
However, I also think it's far too complex for a site where the
accesibility level should be low.  The syntax should be *very* simple
-- markup rather than programming.

--
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Re: Re: Meta templates and Qif on :en

Sam Korn
In reply to this post by Adrian Buehlmann
On 1/21/06, Adrian Buehlmann <[hidden email]> wrote:
> The hack conditionals have been beaten with big sticks and they are
> still alive. Who wonders?

No-one, because every time someone attempts a semantically acceptable
and half-way decent looking solution someone reverts because it loses
some minor function.

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Re: Meta templates and Qif on :en

Jama Poulsen
In reply to this post by Sam Korn
On Sat, Jan 21, 2006 at 07:57:59PM +0000, Sam Korn wrote:

> On 1/21/06, Jama Poulsen <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > You mean like this? :-)
> >
> >   http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Frantik/Winter
> >   http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Frantik/Winter/Language_Specification
>
> I admire the work you've done there.  I think it's very impressive.
> However, I also think it's far too complex for a site where the
> accesibility level should be low.  The syntax should be *very* simple
> -- markup rather than programming.

I did not create this extension User:Frantik did.

One could also say that the current Wiki syntax is too simple for many editors.

Sure its much more complex than the 'standard' Wiki syntax, but I do see
a need for more dynamic page constructions and displays, and this provides
a very interesting building block for that.

I see this project as a natural progression of Wiki syntax. You can ignore this
development for some time, but as the Wiki editing model grows in popularity,
more people will want these more expressive Wiki editing options (like a more
advanced templating language, semantical annotations, etc.).

Jama Poulsen
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Re: Meta templates and Qif on :en

Sam Korn
On 1/21/06, Jama Poulsen <[hidden email]> wrote:
> I did not create this extension User:Frantik did.

Sorry for the misunderstanding.

>
> One could also say that the current Wiki syntax is too simple for many editors.
>
> Sure its much more complex than the 'standard' Wiki syntax, but I do see
> a need for more dynamic page constructions and displays, and this provides
> a very interesting building block for that.

Do you see the need?  I don't.  All I see is people wanting to use one
template in all situations, where they could easily use multiple
templates.

> I see this project as a natural progression of Wiki syntax. You can ignore this
> development for some time, but as the Wiki editing model grows in popularity,
> more people will want these more expressive Wiki editing options (like a more
> advanced templating language, semantical annotations, etc.).

Yes, they will want it.  I also want chocolate, but it doesn't mean
you must give it to me.

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Re: Meta templates and Qif on :en

Sam Korn
In reply to this post by Sam Korn
On 1/21/06, Sam Korn <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 1/21/06, Jama Poulsen <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > You mean like this? :-)
> >
> >   http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Frantik/Winter
> >   http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Frantik/Winter/Language_Specification
>
> I admire the work you've done there.  I think it's very impressive.
> However, I also think it's far too complex for a site where the
> accesibility level should be low.  The syntax should be *very* simple
> -- markup rather than programming.
>
> --
> Sam

Just to clarify -- I'm not really opposed to some very simple
conditional additions to the MediaWiki code, just against the breadth
included there.

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Re: Meta templates and Qif on :en

Omegatron
In reply to this post by Adrian Buehlmann
> I admire the work you've done there.  I think it's very impressive.
> However, I also think it's far too complex for a site where the
> accesibility level should be low.  The syntax should be *very* simple
> -- markup rather than programming.

The *article* syntax should be very simple.  It's already way too
complicated for the type of person who is supposed to be contributing,
with pipe tables, HTML, visual style markup, and so on.  Currently,
only those who aren't intimidated by code can contribute to the
encyclopedia, leading to significant systemic bias.

> Do you see the need?  I don't.  All I see is people wanting to use one
> template in all situations, where they could easily use multiple
> templates.

Using templates, especially templates with complex markup and
conditionals, makes *article markup* simpler and easier to edit.
There are still plenty of people who understand them and can make
changes when necessary.

> How about none of them, and play with templates how they were designed
> to be played with?

How exactly were they designed to be played with?  If they were really
only designed for one specific purpose, is there a good reason for not
expanding their breadth?  If they can be used as an intermediate step
between editors and developers, and make the wiki markup simpler and
easier to use for regular people, shouldn't it be done?  The
developers don't have time to do everything we want, but if other
editors can do it with templates, and it's not hurting the servers,
and it's not hurting anything else, where's the problem?

Obviously it would be better if this functionality was present in the
Mediawiki itself, but until it is, what makes these templates so bad?
They make the encyclopedia better.
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Re: Re: Meta templates and Qif on :en

Sam Korn
On 1/22/06, Omegatron <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Obviously it would be better if this functionality was present in the
> Mediawiki itself, but until it is, what makes these templates so bad?

There's nothing that can be done with these advanced templates that
can't be done just as easily and with a significantly lower entry
level for editing with single-level, uncomplicated templates.

Which, in answer to your question, is how templates were meant to be
played with.

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Re: Meta templates and Qif on :en

Adrian Buehlmann
"Sam Korn" <[hidden email]> wrote in
message
news:[hidden email]

> On 1/22/06, Omegatron
> <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> Obviously it would be better if this functionality was present in the
>> Mediawiki itself, but until it is, what makes these templates so bad?
>
> There's nothing that can be done with these advanced templates that
> can't be done just as easily and with a significantly lower entry
> level for editing with single-level, uncomplicated templates.
>
> Which, in answer to your question, is how templates were meant to be
> played with.

Totally wrong. BTW, the duty of prove is on your side. Ah, yes and
if you fail you remove the template, I see.

Shure yes. We have invented them solely because we intend to shock
people with ugly stuff and because we are wanna-be coders.
Ah yes, and because we want to create DOS attack vectors for the
servers.

Indeed we must be stupid. Strange, that we have not been banned
yet.

Another silly one is "templates should be used sparingly". We have
a concept that should not be used. Why? Not because of the concept,
because some people make unproven claims about the implementation.

Shure. Remove every template. They are not needed to create the wiki
pages. We can also write html directly.

BTW I use my own html compiler for that task (for my non wiki pages).
I'm shure you would do that by hand. Because your code is not meant to
change, right?



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Re: Re: Meta templates and Qif on :en

Sam Korn
On 1/22/06, Adrian Buehlmann <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > There's nothing that can be done with these advanced templates that
> > can't be done just as easily and with a significantly lower entry
> > level for editing with single-level, uncomplicated templates.
> >
> > Which, in answer to your question, is how templates were meant to be
> > played with.
>
> Totally wrong. BTW, the duty of prove is on your side. Ah, yes and
> if you fail you remove the template, I see.

Do you see me edit-warring over meta-templates?  No, because I know
it's pointless.  Nevertheless, I have been trying to create
semantically cleaner alternatives.  I think you have missed the fact
that these templates weren't created until well after the template
syntax (I believe they originated on en in April of last year).  If
the template syntax was intended to be used in this way, we would have
seen it before now.

> Shure yes. We have invented them solely because we intend to shock
> people with ugly stuff and because we are wanna-be coders.
> Ah yes, and because we want to create DOS attack vectors for the
> servers.
>
> Indeed we must be stupid. Strange, that we have not been banned
> yet.

Please don't put words in my mouth.

> Another silly one is "templates should be used sparingly". We have
> a concept that should not be used. Why? Not because of the concept,
> because some people make unproven claims about the implementation.
>
> Shure. Remove every template. They are not needed to create the wiki
> pages. We can also write html directly.

There must be some logical fallacy where you hyperbolise your
opponent's arguments in order to make him seem foolish.

> BTW I use my own html compiler for that task (for my non wiki pages).
> I'm shure you would do that by hand. Because your code is not meant to
> change, right?

I do, actually, because I think it's quite important that people can
understand my code.  Including myself.

> Wikitech-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> http://mail.wikipedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikitech-l

Hmm, I didn't realise we were here.  Shall we get off the devs' list?

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Re: Re: Meta templates and Qif on :en

Ray Saintonge
Sam Korn wrote:

>On 1/22/06, Adrian Buehlmann <[hidden email]> wrote:
>  
>
>>>There's nothing that can be done with these advanced templates that
>>>can't be done just as easily and with a significantly lower entry
>>>level for editing with single-level, uncomplicated templates.
>>>
>>>Which, in answer to your question, is how templates were meant to be
>>>played with.
>>>      
>>>
>>Totally wrong. BTW, the duty of prove is on your side. Ah, yes and
>>if you fail you remove the template, I see.
>>    
>>
>Do you see me edit-warring over meta-templates?  No, because I know
>it's pointless.  Nevertheless, I have been trying to create
>semantically cleaner alternatives.  I think you have missed the fact
>that these templates weren't created until well after the template
>syntax (I believe they originated on en in April of last year).  If
>the template syntax was intended to be used in this way, we would have
>seen it before now.
>
Part of the motivation for templates was the completely awkward approach
in HTML toward making data tables.  I very much support the notion that
the burden of proving necessity should remain with the person promoting
the use of a particular template.

>>Another silly one is "templates should be used sparingly". We have
>>a concept that should not be used. Why? Not because of the concept,
>>because some people make unproven claims about the implementation.
>>
>>Shure. Remove every template. They are not needed to create the wiki
>>pages. We can also write html directly.
>>    
>>
>There must be some logical fallacy where you hyperbolise your
>opponent's arguments in order to make him seem foolish.
>
I agree nobody, not even me, is arguing for banning the use of *all*
templates.

>>BTW I use my own html compiler for that task (for my non wiki pages).
>>I'm shure you would do that by hand. Because your code is not meant to
>>change, right?
>>    
>>
>I do, actually, because I think it's quite important that people can
>understand my code.  Including myself.
>
Most of us don't understand the underlying templates.  Used improperly
they can obscure the verification of content.  Templates should make the
use of the Wiki easier to the general audience.  Too often they are only
there to illustrate the coder's skill at using complicated techniques
for saving a few bytes of keyboarding.  To be useful a template must be
memorable.  If I have to engage in extensive reaearch to figure out the
correct specialized template I'm better off using plain text even when
it means typing out one whole word more.

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Re: Meta templates and Qif on :en

Phil Boswell
In reply to this post by Sam Korn

"Sam Korn" <[hidden email]> wrote in message
news:[hidden email]...
On 1/21/06, Jama Poulsen <[hidden email]>
wrote:
[snip]
> > One could also say that the current Wiki syntax is too simple for many
> > editors.
> > Sure its much more complex than the 'standard' Wiki syntax, but I do see
> > a need for more dynamic page constructions and displays, and this
> > provides
> > a very interesting building block for that.
> Do you see the need?  I don't.  All I see is people wanting to use one
> template in all situations, where they could easily use multiple
> templates.

This is known as "template forking" and is regarded as evil.

It generally results in 17 different variants of a given template, with
minor differences between them, forcing an editor to work much harder to
discern which variant is appropriate for a given occasion.

Take for example the classic {{book reference}}. The simplest possible
instance is just the title of the book. This can later be embellished with
the name of the author, possibly with a link to an appropriate article.
Later additions can include the publisher and ISBN, to distinguish between
different editions and to enable a reader to find an actual copy.

If you fork this template (and this was actually done before the advent of
condition "tricksiness"), you have to use a different template every time
you incrementally improve the accuracy of your citation. Your choice can
even be affected by the order in which your embellishments are added!

Since accurate citation of sources is a key requirement for a good Wikipedia
article, making this any harder than necessary is not good.

HTH HAND
--
Phil
[[en:User:Phil Boswell]]



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Re: Re: Meta templates and Qif on :en

Phil Boswell
In reply to this post by Sam Korn
"Sam Korn" <[hidden email]> wrote in message
news:[hidden email]...
On 1/22/06, Adrian Buehlmann
<[hidden email]> wrote:
[snip]
> Do you see me edit-warring over meta-templates?  No, because I know
> it's pointless.  Nevertheless, I have been trying to create
> semantically cleaner alternatives.  I think you have missed the fact
> that these templates weren't created until well after the template
> syntax (I believe they originated on en in April of last year).  If
> the template syntax was intended to be used in this way, we would have
> seen it before now.

This would be because the "default parameter" feature was not initially
available. This feature is the vital linchpin in the "conditional
tricksiness" which has caused all the argument.

Unfortunately it would appear that the "specification documentation" for
this particular feature is embedded in the brain of whoever added it in,
since the appropriate Help page on Meta was not produced until long after
the fact and provides no history or justification for its addition.

HTH HAND
--
Phil
[[en:User:Phil Boswell]]



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Re: Re: Meta templates and Qif on :en

Sam Korn
In reply to this post by Phil Boswell
On 1/23/06, Phil Boswell <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > Do you see the need?  I don't.  All I see is people wanting to use one
> > template in all situations, where they could easily use multiple
> > templates.
>
> This is known as "template forking" and is regarded as evil.

Are taxoboxes evil?  No, I think not.  Yet they are a good instance of
multiple templates cleanly giving an effect that could be achieved by
ugly single templates (I have seen attempts, with {{taxobox}} to
destroy this good work).  I have also seen templates that seek to use
one template for programmes, characters and various other pages
relating to the same manga series.

> Take for example the classic {{book reference}}. The simplest possible
> instance is just the title of the book. This can later be embellished with
> the name of the author, possibly with a link to an appropriate article.
> Later additions can include the publisher and ISBN, to distinguish between
> different editions and to enable a reader to find an actual copy.
>
> If you fork this template (and this was actually done before the advent of
> condition "tricksiness"), you have to use a different template every time
> you incrementally improve the accuracy of your citation. Your choice can
> even be affected by the order in which your embellishments are added!
>
> Since accurate citation of sources is a key requirement for a good Wikipedia
> article, making this any harder than necessary is not good.

This is one template that could *really* do with something built into
the software.  If it was even slightly possible that I could work this
myself, I would attempt to do so.

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Re: Meta templates and Qif on :en

Omegatron
In reply to this post by Adrian Buehlmann
> This is one template that could *really* do with something built into
> the software.  If it was even slightly possible that I could work this
> myself, I would attempt to do so.

Agreed.  Citations and references should really be built into the
software.  Lack of sources in articles is a *much* bigger problem than
any of this meta-template nonsense.

Infoboxes and taxoboxes could be built-in, too.

In the meantime, "complex" single templates are better than 15
different forks of the same template.
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Re: Re: Meta templates and Qif on :en

Nikola Smolenski
In reply to this post by Phil Boswell
On Monday 23 January 2006 09:51, Phil Boswell wrote:

> Take for example the classic {{book reference}}. The simplest possible
> instance is just the title of the book. This can later be embellished with
> the name of the author, possibly with a link to an appropriate article.
> Later additions can include the publisher and ISBN, to distinguish between
> different editions and to enable a reader to find an actual copy.
>
> If you fork this template (and this was actually done before the advent of
> condition "tricksiness"), you have to use a different template every time
> you incrementally improve the accuracy of your citation. Your choice can
> even be affected by the order in which your embellishments are added!

This is exactly the example I wanted to put forward. I try to cite sources
whenever I can, but I haven't used appropriate templates because of this
(there exist/have existed multiple book reference templates: with page
number, without page number, with ISBN, without ISBN...). With one template,
it is much easier and I will likely use it now.
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