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Talk:Memory Alpha articles with cramped reference templates

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Reason for category?Edit

What are the intentions of this category, exactly? --Alan del Beccio 03:44, 18 March 2007 (UTC)

Not sure. I'm also having trouble pinning down when it got added to those articles. An example is the Intrepid-class article.
The problem is that the addition of the category does not show up in the diff between those edits. On the surface, it would seem that DYKBot both added and did not add the category. I can "prove" both. --OuroborosCobra talk 04:24, 18 March 2007 (UTC)
Talk to Cid. It comes from the VOY/DS9/ENT/etc templates. Specifically when there are more than 5 (i think), it adds that category so that they can be cleaned up. I think. -- Sulfur 04:41, 18 March 2007 (UTC)
So it is an automated part of the new Reference templates. Part of the technical side of that where my eyes glaze over. --OuroborosCobra talk 04:49, 18 March 2007 (UTC)
Yes'm. I believe that it is. -- Sulfur 04:50, 18 March 2007 (UTC)

Then I reckon that it is because of the 5 refs (ie "(VOY: "Someone to Watch Over Me", "Latent Image", "Macrocosm", "Homestead", "Before and After", and more)" on the Intrepid class#Recreational facilities portion of the page. Since the citation is simply repeating instances of recurring uses, then it seems to me that we might just include the first citation of the referenced appeared in, and add "et al." to note there are several others, notably in this case. A more concise list can be added to any related article, I suppose, if necessary. --Alan del Beccio 04:53, 18 March 2007 (UTC)

Yes, you figured that out correctly. This category and its inclusion on some pages is just a Proof-of-Concept at the moment, which is why the category hasn't been run through the approval process yet.
Short explanation: At the moment, this only concerns {{VOY}}. If that template contains more than five episode references, only the first five are shown and the text "and more" is added together with a catlink to this category. A discussion about this behaviour can be found here: Help talk:Linking to episodes and films. -- Cid Highwind 16:22, 18 March 2007 (UTC)

Ridiculous! Edit

What a silly cat! Can anyone explain the point of this?! It seems not only superfluous but also blatantly ridiculous, especially considering the entirely un-encyclopedic bias, re: Voyager. --Defiant 01:58, October 22, 2010 (UTC)

Erm... well, when you have too many episodes in a single call, then they show up here. It suggests that the references should be interspersed through the text rather than crammed in to the end. Why is it only Voyager? Because we were testing it on Voyager stuff initially, and never got past that state unfortunately. -- sulfur 02:04, October 22, 2010 (UTC)
Not ridiculous at all! The series reference template only allows for a fixed number of episodes to be put in there. If more are used, then not all are shown. That obviously is a problem that needs to be fixed one way or another, which makes it a very good thing to have a maintenance category that alarms us of such.
Basically, there are two ways of fixing this: the easy but at the same time bad way is to simply increase the number of allowed episode references in the template each time someone hits the limit. This removes the warning, but doesn't fix the inherent problem of huge "reference dumps" at the end of a paragraph. Which, of course, leads to the good way of fixing it - reword paragraphs and their reference lists until this no longer looks like a lazy dump.
For example, on the Borg philosophy article, there's currently a reference list of six(!) VOY episodes (plus one TNG, plus one movie) trying to act as citation for a ten-line paragraph. Split that in two (so that readers will actually have a chance to recognize which citation is supposed to belong to which information) and/or remove eventually existing "duplicate citations", and this problem vanishes. -- Cid Highwind 09:31, October 22, 2010 (UTC)

Okay; thanks for that - I agree with and understand it (I think!). Personally, I've never been a fan of citation dumps at the ends of paragraphs. But I definitely also believe the cut-off point for the series refs is extremely short - at only 2; I've personally found, commonly, that 3 would be a lot better. The system at work here doesn't seem to account for the possibility that sentences might need multiple citations. Surely we don't want to be seeing "et al."s all over the place(?) --Defiant 10:14, October 22, 2010 (UTC)

The cutoff point is not two. It is (I think) 5. -- sulfur 10:20, October 22, 2010 (UTC)
For all other series, it even is 8(!) at the moment - which, personally, I think is too much. How about we use this new discussion to bring the other templates into line with the VOY one and allow for 5 throughout, trying to rewrite whatever pages pop up here in the process. -- Cid Highwind 10:28, October 22, 2010 (UTC)

That's strange, because (until recently - i.e., since I left the above post), I could only see 2 refs; any others were hidden. I'm assuming it's been recently changed. Another difficulty I foresee with this so-called "solution" is the problem of otherwise breaking up sentences, which I certainly wouldn't want to see happen and I doubt anyone else would, either. It just makes reading a sentence very hard, for example, if - instead of, say, "The starship glowed blue, green, red, silver, purple, orange, yellow and white," with the episode references at the end - a sentence reads like, "The starship glowed blue (VOY: "Alliances"), green (VOY: "Endgame"), red (VOY: "Flashback"), silver (VOY: "Caretaker"), purple (VOY: "Parallax"), orange (VOY: "Timeless"), yellow (VOY: "Relativity") and white (VOY: "Scorpion")." --Defiant 10:32, October 22, 2010 (UTC)

At least the TNG one was "expanded to 8 slots" in 2007, and without checking I guess the same is true for the others. Regarding that inline referencing, I've never suggested that. -- Cid Highwind 10:39, October 22, 2010 (UTC)
The VOY template hasn't been changed since I added a category to it on Feb 1, 2010. And yes, strictly speaking, I am suggesting that inline referencing is something that we need to improve on. If something happened at a certain time, tell me when it happened. The bigger issue (in general) is when you get a paragraph that is 5-6 sentences long with 5 references at the end. Which bits correspond to which references? Which episode tells me that there are X crewmembers? Which tells me that Y of them are children? Etc. -- sulfur 10:42, October 22, 2010 (UTC)

Yeah, I agree about combating that sort of thing as being the bigger issue here. Can we please start using easily-understandable English though here, guys?! In one place, I already came across the term "original research" (used completely wrongly) and now, here, I'm seeing "inline referencing". That's something even I don't understand, so I don't know how you can expect newbies to do so! --Defiant 10:52, October 22, 2010 (UTC)

"Inline referencing" is doing this (VOY: "Episode 1") through a sentence (VOY: "Episode 2") so that things specifically cite the sources. (VOY: "Episode 3") -- sulfur 11:14, October 22, 2010 (UTC)

I gathered that from the context it was used in, but why not just say what you mean, to begin with?! It's the same problem as crappy technobabble which, as you probably know, actors complained about for years! Returning to topic, when you say that you believe inline referencing is something "we need to improve on," what exactly do you mean? Are you implying a different method of inline referencing or just implementing it more?! --Defiant 18:18, October 22, 2010 (UTC)

Because that is its proper name. "Inline references." That's what they are. It's a common scholarly thing. And we need to improve on tying the citation to the actual reference. Maybe not as much as your sentence there, but in paragraphs that present 6-7 facts from 6-7 episodes in 6-7 sentences? Put the citations with the relevant sentences. -- sulfur 18:43, October 22, 2010 (UTC)

Definitely; I agree, when it comes to sentences. But the reason I asked about the citations in list-sentence structure was because there are such examples as the following paragraph from the article Kazon:

As one, the Kazon were known as the Kazon Collective; however, they were really a collection of semi-independent sects and there seemed to be no overall leader or government. The major sects were Kazon-Halik, Kazon-Ogla, Kazon-Oglamar, Kazon-Relora, Kazon-Nistrim, Kazon-Mostral, Kazon-Hobii, and Kazon-Pommar. ({{VOY|Caretaker|Alliances|Maneuvers|Basics, Part I|Basics, Part II|State of Flux}})
Note: Template call <nowiki>-ed to remove this talk page from maintenance category. -- Cid Highwind 12:32, November 5, 2010 (UTC)

Would inline referencing be advisable here, for example? --Defiant 21:33, October 22, 2010 (UTC)

Depends -- are each of those sects from separate episodes? If so, maybe the key is to split up the sentences, such as:
As one, the Kazon were known as the Kazon Collective; however, they were really a collection of semi-independent sects and there seemed to be no overall leader or government. The first major sects encountered by Voyager were Kazon-Halik, Kazon-Ogla, and Kazon-Oglamar. (VOY: "Caretaker", "Alliances", "Maneuvers") The following year, Voyager encountered more major sects including Kazon-Relora, Kazon-Nistrim, Kazon-Mostral, Kazon-Hobii, and Kazon-Pommar. (VOY: "Basics, Part I", "Basics, Part II", "State of Flux")
In short -- when we're making a huge list of things, perhaps the best way is not in sentence form, but a list or something similar. -- sulfur 22:05, October 22, 2010 (UTC)

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