Wikinews talk:Reporter's tools

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Does anyone have any objections to me changing the sources template from-

==Sources== *{{source|url= |title= |author= |pub= |date=February 19, 2005}}
|date=February 19, 2005}}

I just find that it is easier to read, and not muddle up the different sources when it is spaced like that. I'll change it in a couple of days if noone objects. The bellman 11:27, 19 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Great idea, The bellman. It does take up more space on Wikinews:Reporter's tools, but it's worth it. Pingswept 16:26, 19 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Using "subst:" with templates[edit]

Dan100 has taken to using the "subst:" feature for the "date" and "source" templates.

There are a few issues with making such a major change, but Dan100 ignored my request to first build a consensus, and has again changed the explanations of the "date" and "source" templates on the Reporter's tools page, to recommend using "subst:", even after objections were raised about the long-term impact.

Here are some of the issues with using "subst:":

  • Obscured templates. "subst:" obscures the use of templates for new or casual contributors. People tend to learn best by example. If experienced editors use "subst:" with templates, the evidence that a template was used is eradicated for less experienced contributors who look at the article's markup later on for clues.
  • Copy and paste. While it's not impossible to copy and paste the expanded template contents from older articles into newer articles, now that we have a lot of stories that are related to each other, it would be nice to be able to copy and paste the new "Wikinews" source template instances from one story to another using the template instantiations and not the expanded template contents.
  • Loss of template benefits. Using "subst:" for the date and source templates prevents us from easily making stylistic changes to those articles which use these templates later on. Another benefit of templates is that they are simply more elegant to work with than the expanded template contents, for regular editors who work on many stories.

The use of technological alternatives to protected the templates is well-motivated. However, let's first reach a consensus on this issue from the regular contributors before making a decision that will have a long-term impact on the site.

One alternative that has been proposed is to protect templates that are used in many articles, such as "source" and "date". Over time I suppose this protection could include the "wikinews" template, which I created recently for presenting links to previous Wikinews stories in the Related news/See also sections. I believe this type of creeping protectionism is a bad idea for a number of reasons, which I provided when that proposal was made.

Until we reach a consensus on this issue, I will restore the examples given on the Reporter's tools page, and restore any templates which have been expanded in articles. — DV 20:04, 2 Apr 2005 (UTC)

First I have to ask - what has happened to the principals of 'being bold' and 'assume good faith'? Editors have never had to 'ask permission' before making changes, and should never have to.
Second, the reasons for using Subst: are simple and strong - please read and respond to w:Wikipedia:Avoid using meta-templates Dan100 (Talk) 10:04, 3 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Thanks for taking a moment to fix the broken link to that article. Avoid using meta-templates does not support your proposal very well. To quote that article's assessment of "subst:":

"Of course, this means that when the metatemplate is changed, the daughter templates won't update, and won't be tracked by the what links here feature, which probably defeats the point of using a meta-template in the first place"

The article also points out that "subst:" should really only be used to mitigate the effects of daughter templates, which wouldn't apply to "source" and "date". It also points out:

"If all of the daughter templates are to be updated, this would then have to be done by hand, expending a considerable amount of time and work (and even more bandwidth than a meta-template would have used)."

This article also appears to have a technical discussion of the impact of templates on server load and touches on templates as "vectors for attacks", neither of which are issues for Wikinews at this point.
Be bold is good. However, that applies to everyone, not just you. If a problem is found with some of your boldness, then the equally important rule of using the "wiki way" comes into effect, and a consensus must be reached. The "wiki way" is especially important for changes which have a long-term impact on the site, as your proposal would affect every article.
As for "assume good faith", your proposal was characterized as "well-motivated" in the posting up above. Perhaps you are imagining an attack where there really isn't one?
Instead of being argumentative about it, why not work to build a consensus among the regular contributors? I'm concerned that there isn't much support for this "subst:" proposal (you're the only one arguing for it) so let's find out what the community has to say about it first. The three bulleted reasons I listed above to not use "subst:" still stand as more practical considerations for Wikinews. — DV 10:43, 3 Apr 2005 (UTC)
P.S. If you are too busy or impatient to work towards building a consensus on this issue, I suppose you could start another poll to save some time gathering feedback. I think polls are evil (they seem to bring out the worst in people) and prefer to build a consensus over time, but if you prefer a poll, please feel free to set one up. — DV 10:51, 3 Apr 2005 (UTC)
    1. w:Wikipedia:Avoid using meta-templates doesn't apply here. It's about, as the title says, meta-templates, which these templates are not.
      The affect is the same - changes to all pages that use these templates (which is all news articles) 10:26, 8 Apr 2005 (UTC)
    2. I can forsee a point where we'll at least want to change {{date}}. See my query at Wikinews:Water cooler/technical#Date_Tag.
      But that proposal didn't gain support, indicating that people are happy with the status quo. Dan100 (Talk) 10:26, 8 Apr 2005 (UTC)
    3. If the concern is vandalism, then the answer is editor vigilance accompanied by temporary protection as and when necessary. Long term protection is a bad thing.
      But why not prevent the vandalism from occuring? Prevention is better than cure. Dan100 (Talk) 10:26, 8 Apr 2005 (UTC)
    4. Wiktionary has a long-recurring vandal that edits several of its highly visible templates once, sometimes twice, per day. Wiktionary has not seen the "site-disruption" that the dire warnings in these discussions predict. Neither has it seen the need to protect the templates.
      But maybe they should have protected them. We're not Wikitionary; we don't have to do what they do. Dan100 (Talk) 10:26, 8 Apr 2005 (UTC)
    5. Wikipedia had a long-running edit war affecting several of its meta-templates (ironically, with the very creator of w:Wikipedia:Avoid using meta-templates as one of its participants) throughout the latter half of February and the whole of March. The only disruption that it saw was the disruption caused by the fact that one side's preferred version of the derived template did not, in fact, actually work. (The participants became so caught up in the dispute that they completely overlooked that.) Wikipedia did not die as a result. Uncle G 16:17, 4 Apr 2005 (UTC)
      As I've said, I'm not suggesting that changing our templates would increase server load. The templates you're referring too, btw, weren't widely used. Jamesday said that changes to something like the stub template would significantly slow WP down; as he knows the servers better than anyone, I believe him. Dan100 (Talk) 10:26, 8 Apr 2005 (UTC)
  • Uncle G 16:17, 4 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I should point out that I inserted Subst: soon after a vandal attacked the Source template. It was lucky I was active on Wikinews at the time, and even then it took me a while to realise what had happened. Maybe if you'd seen first hand what had happened you'd be supportive of my suggestions. One day someone is going to put the Goatse pic in the date template of Wikinews and it'll be game over for us.
However it doesn't look like I'm going to get support for Subst:, so I give up. Dan100 (Talk) 10:31, 8 Apr 2005 (UTC)