Subpages in main namespace?

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Subpages in main namespace?

Birger-5
Why is the option to make subpages in the main namespaces not enabled by
default? Is there something wrong with making subpages into the main
namespace?
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Re: Subpages in main namespace?

Angela-5
On 3/23/06, Birger <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Why is the option to make subpages in the main namespaces not enabled by
> default? Is there something wrong with making subpages into the main
> namespace?

There's some old discussion which might help to explain it on Meta:

http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Case_against_subpages
http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Get_rid_of_subpages_entirely

Angela.
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Re: Subpages in main namespace?

jdd
Angela wrote:

> On 3/23/06, Birger <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> Why is the option to make subpages in the main namespaces not enabled by
>> default? Is there something wrong with making subpages into the main
>> namespace?
>
> There's some old discussion which might help to explain it on Meta:
>
> http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Case_against_subpages
> http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Get_rid_of_subpages_entirely
>
> Angela.

this discussion don't seems (to me) very factual. much "I
don't like", with little reasons.

I use extensively sub pages as soon as an article begin to
be too big to be reasonable to have in one page or to write
courses or big howtos.

I don't give any category to sub-pages, only to the main
one, like that one.
http://fr.opensuse.org/Gérer_ses_photographies


jdd

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Re: Subpages in main namespace?

Brion Vibber
In reply to this post by Birger-5
Birger wrote:
> Why is the option to make subpages in the main namespaces not enabled by
> default? Is there something wrong with making subpages into the main
> namespace?

It does patently incorrect things in MediaWiki's primary target data set
(Wikipedia), such as:

* making And/or a subpage of And
* making A/UX a subpage of A
* making Face/Off a subpage of Face
* making GNU/Linux a subpage of GNU
* making OS/2 a subpage of OS

etc.

Since the "/" character is legitimately used in many titles, it can't be used
unambiguously as a separator for meta-content. Instead we have a system of
associated namespaces (primarily the Talk: namespace) which provide a
machine-readable separation with much much lower probability of ambiguity.

-- brion vibber (brion @ pobox.com)


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Re: Subpages in main namespace?

jdd
Brion Vibber wrote:

> Since the "/" character is legitimately used in many titles,

this is simply a matter of syntax and is up to the devl
people (thanks to them, MediaWiki is a nive piece of code :-)

Instead we have a system of
> associated namespaces (primarily the Talk: namespace) which provide a
> machine-readable separation with much much lower probability of ambiguity.

I don't really see the relation between sub pages and
namespace. Namespace are very difficult to manage (admin
task). sub pages on my own work are very common

jdd


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Re: Subpages in main namespace?

Brion Vibber
jdd wrote:
> I don't really see the relation between sub pages and
> namespace.

Obviously you weren't around when talk pages were subpages.

-- brion vibber (brion @ pobox.com)


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Re: Subpages in main namespace?

jdd
Brion Vibber wrote:
> jdd wrote:
>> I don't really see the relation between sub pages and
>> namespace.
>
> Obviously you weren't around when talk pages were subpages.

of course not :-)

I use sub-pages fort courses or howto's too big for one page
and too small to be considered as a book.

jdd

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Re: Subpages in main namespace?

Joshua Yeidel
In reply to this post by jdd
I think the best argument against subpages in Wikipedia is that it removes a
whole set of arguments from the table (is "Biochemistry" a subpage of
"Biology" or of "Chemistry"?  Who decides?  Should I add a page as its own
main page or as a subpage of something else?).  There's less useless
controversy letting the links within pages (including "what links here")
specify the information relationships.

In non-encyclopedia contexts, you may have information architectures that
are best expressed using main-space subpages.  If so, it isn't hard to set
up.

-- Joshua



On 3/22/06 8:32 AM, "jdd" <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Angela wrote:
>> On 3/23/06, Birger <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>> Why is the option to make subpages in the main namespaces not enabled by
>>> default? Is there something wrong with making subpages into the main
>>> namespace?
>>
>> There's some old discussion which might help to explain it on Meta:
>>
>> http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Case_against_subpages
>> http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Get_rid_of_subpages_entirely
>>
>> Angela.
>
> this discussion don't seems (to me) very factual. much "I
> don't like", with little reasons.
>
> I use extensively sub pages as soon as an article begin to
> be too big to be reasonable to have in one page or to write
> courses or big howtos.
>
> I don't give any category to sub-pages, only to the main
> one, like that one.
> http://fr.opensuse.org/Gérer_ses_photographies
>
>
> jdd

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Re: Subpages in main namespace?

Rick DeNatale
On 3/22/06, Joshua Yeidel <[hidden email]> wrote:

> I think the best argument against subpages in Wikipedia is that it removes a
> whole set of arguments from the table (is "Biochemistry" a subpage of
> "Biology" or of "Chemistry"?  Who decides?  Should I add a page as its own
> main page or as a subpage of something else?).  There's less useless
> controversy letting the links within pages (including "what links here")
> specify the information relationships.
>
> In non-encyclopedia contexts, you may have information architectures that
> are best expressed using main-space subpages.  If so, it isn't hard to set
> up.

Yes, looking at those old pages (the seem to predate mediawiki in
fact, one talks about the coming NEW php implementaiton of wikipedia),
as an "archaelogist" rather than a participant, it seems to me that
the crux was the tension between seeing things as a hierarchy as
opposed to a more general structure.

Hierarchies are appealing on the surface because they seem to
correspond to the natural world, unfortunately too often they
correspond to particular points of view of the world and fall apart
when you try to use them to reconcile the views of multiple people*.
Having been a long term (and now retired) participant in the
object-oriented language wars, I understand too well how this clash of
hierarchical vs. non-hierarchical views can cause conflict.

WIth Brion's recent comments I'm sensing that subpages were originally
intended to be used for the implementation of talk pages (and possibly
similar things). But then the early wikipedians started using them for
other uses like disambiguation and categorization, and the strains in
the design started to show (again, since I wasn't "there" at the time
this might be an imagined history).

They seem to have been kept because they are useful for things like
factoring long-winded talk pages, and for things like packaging
template "subroutines."  As Joshua points out, for a site using
mediawiki with a controlled context and/or user set, they might be
useful in more general usage, but I'd beware of what drove them into
the corner for wikipedia.

* For some interesting reading on how hierarchies within the "common
wisdom" don't work out in practice, I'd recommend you track down a
copy of Stephen Jay Gould's essay "What, If Anything, Is a Zebra?"  If
you are REALLY fascinated you might want to trudge through George
Lakov's "Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things" which gives lots of
examples of how different cultures have very different classifications
of real world objects from the point of view of a cognitive linguist.

--
Rick DeNatale

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Re: Subpages in main namespace?

Jan Steinman
In reply to this post by Birger-5
> From: "Rick DeNatale" <[hidden email]>
>
> On 3/22/06, Joshua Yeidel <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>> In non-encyclopedia contexts, you may have information  
>> architectures that
>> are best expressed using main-space subpages.  If so, it isn't  
>> hard to set
>> up.
>
> Hierarchies are appealing on the surface because they seem to
> correspond to the natural world, unfortunately too often they
> correspond to particular points of view of the world and fall apart
> when you try to use them to reconcile the views of multiple people*.

Exactly, but it is important to note that hierarchies are very good  
at modeling... hierarchies!

People get hung up on the semantics of namespaces/subpages. But in  
reality, there are situations that already have a hierarchical  
organization -- what better way to represent them, than with subpages?

For example:
     http://www.EcoReality.org/wiki/Coop_rules

is a legal document of incorporation. It consists of numerous  
sections. Different people need to work on the different sections  
independently and concurrently. While it might be nice to be able to  
refer to a particular section by name somewhere else, that section is  
essentially useless without the enclosing context.

> for a site using
> mediawiki with a controlled context and/or user set, they might be
> useful in more general usage...

Exactly! Human knowledge is rife with hierarchies -- not because they  
are "natural," but because humans invented the model. A company org  
chart, the Dewey Decimal System, federal/state/county/city  
government... the examples go on and on.

I agree that, in the most general case, hierarchies are poor choices  
for modeling the real world. But the "unreal world" of human  
knowledge has created tons of hierarchies; let's not be so quick to  
call them all evil and impose some inappropriate structure on top of  
them.

When all you have is a hammer, all the world resembles a nail. If you  
have a dogmatic aversion to hierarchies, you're going to have to go  
through a lot of unnecessary work when you encounter a screw instead  
of a nail!

:::: Freedom of the commons brings ruin to all. -- Garrett Hardin ::::
:::: Jan Steinman (a fossil-fuel free zone!) <http://
www.VeggieVanGogh.com> ::::


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Re: Subpages in main namespace?

Rich Morin
At 3:18 PM -0800 3/22/06, Jan Steinman wrote:
> Human knowledge is rife with hierarchies -- not because
> they are "natural," but because humans invented the model.

I agree somewhat with this, but there are many situations in
which the universe enforces hierarchical organization.  For
example, if you start trying to organize physical items, you
soon run into the problem that an item can only be in one
category (ie, container) at a time.  However, that container
(eg, a drawer) can be contained in another (eg, a cabinet).

I believe that much of humans' use of hierarchies stems from
this interaction between a desire to organize and the limits
of the physical universe.

-r
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Technical editing and writing, programming, and web development
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Re: Subpages in main namespace?

Rick DeNatale
In reply to this post by Jan Steinman
On 3/22/06, Rich Morin <[hidden email]> wrote:

> At 3:18 PM -0800 3/22/06, Jan Steinman wrote:
> > Human knowledge is rife with hierarchies -- not because
> > they are "natural," but because humans invented the model.
>
> I agree somewhat with this, but there are many situations in
> which the universe enforces hierarchical organization.  For
> example, if you start trying to organize physical items, you
> soon run into the problem that an item can only be in one
> category (ie, container) at a time.  However, that container
> (eg, a drawer) can be contained in another (eg, a cabinet).

Be careful not to confuse containment with categorization.

Hierarchies do tend to be suited for containment modeling.  They don't
do so well with categorization.

> I believe that much of humans' use of hierarchies stems from
> this interaction between a desire to organize and the limits
> of the physical universe.

I believe that one of Lakov's observations was that people tend to
agree more on carving the world up into leaf level categories; that's
a tree and that's a bird; but that differences tend to crop up when
making hierarchies of those basic categories, making abstractions.

What seems to one person to be a perfectly natural hierarchical
structure to the universe, handed down on stone tablets by the diety,
may turn out to be completely unintuitive to another particularly one
raised in a different culture or with a different native language.

Getting to Jan's allusion to Maslov, I don't think that either
hierarchies or screws are evil.  Although a nail can serve in some of
the same roles as a screw and vice versa, it's not always completely
obvious when such a usage has crossed the line.  It's certainly best
to know when to use one vs the other, and when to switch.

--
Rick DeNatale

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Re: Subpages in main namespace?

jdd
In reply to this post by Rich Morin
Rich Morin wrote:
> At 3:18 PM -0800 3/22/06, Jan Steinman wrote:
>> Human knowledge is rife with hierarchies -- not because
>> they are "natural," but because humans invented the model.
>
> I agree somewhat with this, but there are many situations in
> which the universe enforces hierarchical organization.  For

I don't know the history of mediawiki, but don't forget
there are pages/sub pages (and I agree they must be very
strongly related to be usefull), but also categories/sub
categories.

and that can accomodate many categorisation kind (one page
can have more than one category). This is also very powerfull.

However, the controversy comes probably from the fact than
mediawiki is principally aimed to wikipedia, but is so good
that many others uses are now frequent :-)

jdd


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