[Wikipedia-l] Re: MetaTree

tarquin tarquin at planetunreal.com
Fri Aug 9 10:33:08 UTC 2002

Daniel Mayer wrote:

>On Thursday 08 August 2002 08:20 pm, tarquin wrote:
>>The reasoning was fairly simple: Wikiprojects are organized in a
>>hierarchy. Naming conventions are increasingly hierarchic too.
>>When I create a page, I seek information about how to name it and how to
>>present it. It's stupid having to career halfway across the Wikipedia to
>>find those two pieces of information.
>Then just add links. 
One word: spaghetti. Just because it's a web, it doesn't mean it can't 
be a cleanly organized web.

I'm afraid I can't explain it any more simply than I have on 
http://meta.wikipedia.com/wiki.phtml?title=Presentation+Conventions , 
but I shall endeavour to try:

For each subject area, and for each "class" of page (eg chemical element 
pages, people, ships etc), there are several different pieces of 
meta-information. They are:
* what should be covered in this area? what are the priorities?
* what's the scheme for naming pages in this area, or in this class?
* conventions for presentation: is there, should there be, or what is 
the agreed layout style?
* is there a group of Wikipedians who intend to flesh out this area?
* ... we may find the need to other things in the future

It merely seems good refactoring style to bring all those together.

>Also keep in mind that the only content policy we have is NPOV (everything 
>else is just a 'rule to consider') -- I do not want to have WikiProject 
>guidelines even to begin to appear as if they are a kind of content policy 
I absolutely agree.
This is not about restricting new content.
We don't expect people to produce fully-fledged articles on their first 
edit, or the grammar, spelling or typing to be perfect -- I'm not 
questioning that at all, and in fact I agree with it.
However, there is a lot of cleaning up work going on, and part of that 
involves harmonizing presentation. Articles about people are a good 
example: I have seen half a dozen or so ways of presenting a person's 
name, dates of birth & death and principal achievements. That doesn't 
diminish the value of the content, and consistency in look & feel should 
be very low on our priorities. But I am not the only one who takes 
random walks through the Wikipedia & tidies up what (s)he finds -- while 
I'm fixing typos or rewriting for clarity I might as well take care of 
the formatting too -- *if* I knew what the agreed conventions were.

I hope I've not been misunderstood: I am *not* trying to impose or set 
out new style rules in these pages on Meta. I'm trying to bring together 
existing conventions, and set out a forum where debates about style can 
take place.

>Also troubling is the term "Presentation Conventions" which is /far/ too 
>similar to "naming conventions" and will cause confusion with newbies about 
>the importance that naming conventions have in relation to any presentation 
Agreed. The name "Presentation Conventions" is gone, as far as I'm concerned. It was a poor choice. I haven't got round to renaming the page on Meta, that's all.

>As a matter of fact, I do not want us to have /any/ content 
>convention other than NPOV -- anything more will tend to stifle innovation 
>(consistency is nice, and I do strive for that, but it should /not/ be in any 
>way confused with policy). 
*Being consistent* must not be policy, but *what* the consistency is, should one choose to be consistent -- there's got to be a consensus, otherwise it's not consistent!
I get the impression we're looking at this from opposite angles:

You (seem to) think these pages will say: 
  "here are the presentation rules! obey them!"
I want them to say:
  "*if* you wish to be consistent in presentation (and naming, etc), here are the agreed guidelines *and* the place to debate them"

- tarquin

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