Forums > Senate Hall > SH:Page Number Indexes

So I've been thinking a lot about page numbers recently and wanted to float an idea around to see what people thought.

First of all I stand by our choice not to use them in references, I think requiring them is impractical both in terms of hugely increasing the number of references necessary for a page and also in terms of differing editions of books and such. However... knowing the page number for a one off mention, especially in huge non-text-searchable reference books, is extremely useful. I know that I and some others even go back through article histories to find page numbers that were removed from references sometimes, so completely disallowing this information doesn't seem like the most beneficial choice for readers or editors.

I've been trying to come up with an option somewhere between references and nothing and so I'd like your thoughts on the idea of an OPTIONAL Index section. I've put together a little sample one for one of my status nominations along with some rough notes on different media types here.

I picture this as an auto-collapsed section under Notes and References and think it could cover all types of media (I constantly spend ages hoping around in films trying to find the exact 30 seconds that a pilot appears in a space battle). I've also highlighted optional, because when trying to think about this the main argument I came up with against it as a mandatory section was that it puts even more burden on article nominators to check every edition of every book and would also kill just about every status article we currently have. So the solution to this is to make it optional in the same way that interlang is optional - it isn't actually required for comprehensive coverage of a subject, but it's a handy reference guide for readers and editors who want to read more. Editors can just add to indexes as and when they have the information handy, which doesn't put a burden on anyone, but does allow us all to benefit from when the information is present.

Optional features are rare for us, so I'm sure people will have a lot of thoughts and I'm keen to discuss and consult on this until we find something everyone is happy with. Ayrehead02 (talk) 17:45, 2 November 2021 (UTC)

  • I like the idea, especially for those one off unidentified characters in books. Things like that are very difficult to just run a text search for. Supreme Emperor Holocomm 17:50, 2 November 2021 (UTC)
  • What about a section on the talk page to relist the sources and the corresponding location within the source? NBDani (talk) 17:53, 2 November 2021 (UTC)
    • To further elaborate: It would make our articles remain consistent between eachother. And it would allowed for more thorough notes (if needed) without clogging the source list. NBDani (talk) 18:01, 2 November 2021 (UTC)
      • Hmm, my main concern with that would be that it becomes much harder for readers to find since few if any would think to look on a talk page for that. Ayrehead02 (talk) 18:29, 2 November 2021 (UTC)
        • Perhaps an optional template in the source/ref section that has a link to the section on the talk page? NBDani (talk) 20:56, 2 November 2021 (UTC)
          • Historically, talk pages have been an unformated/informal "mess". Not really the ideal place for this kind of feature. --NanoLuukeCloning facility 21:37, 2 November 2021 (UTC)
  • I like the idea. Super useful. Lots of discord conversations, some of which go unanswered, are along the lines of “Where in <source> did <item> appear?”. — YakovChaimTzvi (he/him/his) ChissAscendancyCanonSymbol.svg (talk) 17:56, 2 November 2021 (UTC)
  • On the face of it, the idea is useful but I worry this is simply a duplication of information from the Sources section with extra bits tacked on. Which makes either this new section or the Appearances/Sources section in any article using it to be redundant. That said, I don't think the idea is without merit, I just don't think that executing it this way is the solution. - Sir Cavalier of OneFarStar.svg(Squadron channel) 18:11, 2 November 2021 (UTC)
    • The reason I separated it out from the sources/appearances section is primarily so that it can be optional and also to avoid the sources section itself becoming cluttered with the lengthier lists of information where multiple editions or similar are needed. Ayrehead02 (talk) 18:29, 2 November 2021 (UTC)
      • But at its heart there is still a duplication of information present within that section. Essentially there will be two Appearances/Sources lists, just one with more information than the other that is hidden. You're right that the information shouldn't be presented that way in the Apps/Sources as is, but there has to be a better way of integrating the optional need here with the currently existing Apps/Sources list. Perhaps something more akin to starting to reference source lists with available timestamp/page number information as an optional choice. - Sir Cavalier of OneFarStar.svg(Squadron channel) 18:53, 2 November 2021 (UTC)
        • We do have some kind of duplicate documentation list in OOU articles (Works versus Sources/Bibliography). But I might have a more elegant solution. --NanoLuukeCloning facility 21:37, 2 November 2021 (UTC)
  • Having both to have to remove pagination/timestamp from refs (per MOS), and facing the difficulty of the research aspect of finding "that tiny mention", I can only agree that we need a solution. I don't have a lot of time to research fully the subject, but this problematic is not new to Wikis, and I've gather some documentation for us to find the best technical solution to this issue:
  1. Help:Cite on MediaWiki
  2. WPfavicon.png Citing sources on Wikipedia
  3. WPfavicon.png Help:Footnotes on Wikipedia
  4. WPfavicon.png Help:References and page numbers on Wikipedia

I only took a few minutes to look at the possibilities, and I must say I partial to "Named References - Inline named references" on Wikipedia, which use something like {{r|elk1972|p=6–7}} to have the page number (here:p=6-7) show up in prose when the ref name (here: elk1972) is called. There's also the "bulleted" solution, as demonstrated by "Citing different parts of the same source" on MediaWiki, less elegant in my opinion. --NanoLuukeCloning facility 21:37, 2 November 2021 (UTC)

  • Something definitely needs to happen, particularly for those more obscure or barely-in-the-frame appearances. I echo the duplication of lists though, is there a way we could have another template in-line with the existing sources/appearances list that shows/hides the specific info? The template would essentilly simply hide/unhide a string of text, so we'd have something like this, where the bold text is hidden in the new template:
This would result in the lists looking the same barring the optional show button to reveal the specifics for those who want it. Manoof (he/him/his) (talk) 22:42, 2 November 2021 (UTC)
  • The problem with the inline referencing schemes that Nano offers is that those would inevitably lead to a massive increase in the volume of inline references, which, the way I see it, comes into direct conflict with Rule 6 of the Sourcing policy ("Reference articles as sparingly as possible, while still sourcing all of the facts.") And regarding Manoof's proposal, I'm not entirely sure I'm OK with the idea of mixing optional, potentially unregulated info within a required, regulated section. Imperators II(Talk) 09:57, 3 November 2021 (UTC)
    • Yeah my thoughts when putting this together were very much inline with what Imperators has said. Cav's right that it will lead to the list being present on the page twice, but I think that's a lesser evil to having optional stuff mixed into a non-optional section. Something that might be relevant to this is that in my suggested format I've put all relevant sources and appearances in the same list in chronological release order, so that does in some ways differentiate it from just being a carbon copy of sources and appearances. Ayrehead02 (talk) 11:53, 3 November 2021 (UTC)
  • I think this proposal is important given the recent release of The Vow of Silver Dawn, given that its over 200 chapters and in Chinese only. To say "insert subject here" appeared in Vow without giving any other context is not helpful at all Editoronthewiki (talk) 03:41, 10 November 2021 (UTC)
    • Yeah that's definitely a strong case in favor of this. Even if we don't agree to have an index section I'd argue Vow should have a template or something like CSWE since it's so huge. People seem to be generally supportive of the concept, but seems like its the formatting that we need to iron out. If folks who have further thoughts on there being a separate section vs it being included in sources/appearances or something similar then I'd love to hear them, equally new ideas for formatting are very welcome! Ayrehead02 (talk) 10:58, 10 November 2021 (UTC)
  • The idea of including page numbers somewhere has been growing on me lately, as it's definitely a useful tool for readers. What if we have a template like {{Mediacat}} that links to a subpage where the index is stored? "Click here to view an index for <topicname>." This would allow it to be visible to the reader on the main article, at least the link would be, and also stored on a separate page, which separates it from the required stuff. MasterFredCommerce Guild.svg(talk) 11:06, 10 November 2021 (UTC)
    • Ooh, I love the idea, Fred — YakovChaimTzvi (he/him/his) ChissAscendancyCanonSymbol.svg (talk) 01:40, 12 November 2021 (UTC)
    • That idea is so good that I have a contribution: we call these pages either "Index:PAGENAME" or "PAGENAME/Index". Depending, of course, on which the assembled editors think is superior. SilverSunbird (talk) 01:52, 12 November 2021 (UTC)
      • Oh, I actually like the idea of having a separate Index: namespace so that these pages don't affect article count. MasterFredCommerce Guild.svg(talk) 05:43, 12 November 2021 (UTC)