This page is an archive of a community-wide discussion. This page is no longer live. Further comments should be made in the Senate Hall or new Consensus Track pages rather than here so that this page is preserved as a historic record. The result of the debate was Prohibit "empty" infoboxes in articles. Toprawa and Ralltiir (talk) 15:55, March 5, 2015 (UTC)
Note: I have changed one of the example links to an old revision link since the empty infobox was removed from that article. —MJ—Comlink 08:39, February 25, 2015 (UTC)
Option 1: Require infobox even if empty
Proposed policy: "Each article must contain an appropriate infobox, even if no information can be placed in it other than the name of the subject. Exceptions can be made for generic subjects for which no appropriate infobox exists."
Pages without infoboxes have always looked incomplete to me. Ayrehead02 (talk) 10:30, February 23, 2015 (UTC)
Option 2: Prohibit empty infoboxes
Proposed policy: "Articles should not contain empty infoboxes. An empty infobox is defined as one in which no fields can be filled out other than the name of the subject due to limited information. Such infoboxes should be removed from the article until such time as more information can be added."
A "no consensus" outcome here would be problematic, since it does not appear that there is a policy or a clear status quo to revert to. While I will leave it to the discretion of other admins, particularly the closing admin, I do suggest that this be a simple plurality vote for the sake of establishing consistency. —MJ—Jedi Council Chambers 07:34, February 23, 2015 (UTC)
Atm I'm inclined to vote option 1, but as a newer editor, I'd like to understand a few things first:
We encourage (and sometimes demand) editors reload the infobox to ensure it contains all attributes in the current template, even if not all those can be filled (such as masters/apprentices on force unsensitives). My understanding was we always have all infobox parameters, even if empty, in case of future material being released that would fill those gaps, as well as to stop it from ending up in the Category:Infoboxes with missing parameters. If this is the case, shouldn't that rule also apply in this situation as well? Manoof (talk) 22:54, February 23, 2015 (UTC)
I would say an empty infobox serves one purpose—it immediately tells the viewer there is barely any information known about the subject. Since we are probably talking about a small fraction of articles (see below point), isn't that in itself significant? Manoof (talk) 22:54, February 23, 2015 (UTC)
I'm curious, is there any way to know exactly how many pages we have with empty infoboxes that would need removing? To me, it seems likely that we are talking about a VERY small fraction of articles, since most at least have an era. If that is the case, I would think it would be better for new editors to say "everything needs an infobox" compared to "99.99% of articles need an infobox, so look out for that 0.01%"... Manoof (talk) 22:54, February 23, 2015 (UTC)
I'll reply to your points in order:
That's perfectly reasonable when the infobox is serving a purpose. But IMO an empty infobox does not serve a purpose, and moreover detracts from the aesthetic appearance of the article. Thus it is my stance that the need to improve the appearance supersedes the desire to have all parameters present. Furthermore, complete versions of all infoboxes (or at least I think all) are two clicks away via the standard preloads on the edit form, meaning that when new information becomes available, restoring the infobox is as simple as adding a preload to the article, filling in the name and new info, and maybe removing a redundant eras template.
Except that without any fields visible, it's not even clear that the purpose of that box is to convey information; rather, it appears to the uninitiated reader that is merely to present the title of the article. Furthermore, if the prose does not properly convey that no further information is known, then the prose is not written correctly. And we're not talking about having to read through a thousand-word FA; the vast, vast majority of articles that would have empty infoboxes, if not all, would be unusually short even by CA standards.
Categorizing articles with empty infoboxes is as simple as adding one parser function to each infobox template page. And while I'm usually for lightening the learning curve for new editors, the very minor inconvenience of having to learn this rule (which many will never have a need to learn, given the very small number of pages affected) is greatly outweighed by improving the readers' experience. On Saturday, we had 797,459 page views, but only 1,117 edits. That's approximately one edit for every 714 page views. So the vast majority of those viewing Wookieepedia are readers, not editors, and probably many of them without an account or any desire to edit. Given those stats, the readers' experience should usually take priority over the editors' experience. —MJ—Training Room 02:01, February 24, 2015 (UTC)
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