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The 8 November edit by Rzafar has changed the link for Pakistan in the Location Infobox from an internal link to an external Wikipedia link. I understood that the preference is to always make an internal link where possible. The Fibiwiki Pakistan internal link has more information relevant to FIBIS and should have (but doesn't) a link on to Wikipedia. What do the moderators think?--Sy 02:22, 8 November 2009 (PST)

I am the guilty party here because I have asked Rzafar to change the links on the "Present Day Details" section of the Locations Infobox to point to the relevant Wikipedia articles. I have always done this on every Location Infobox I have either initiated or edited on the basis that the content of the FibiWiki articles is never going to be as comprehensive as the corresponding Wikipedia ones, and that much of the FibiWiki content will end circa 1947. It is also unlikely that anyone will get round to creating FibiWiki articles for every Indian, Pakistani, Banlgadeshi, Nepalese or Burnese state or province. At present, when reviewing the Pakistani locations, it looks as if there is redundancy because the External links section will also carry a Wikipedia link but these are generally just to the location article, not the state/province or the country.
HughWilding 16:44, 8 November 2009 (PST)
Forgive me if I disagree with you here Hugh. It must be sensible to have the tightest links in the Fibiwiki. Not to lead our users between associated pages is illogical and a waste of the time of those who have produced those pages. Use Chitral as an example:
The Chitral Campaign article has a link in the Location field to the Chitral location page. It also has an internal link to the Chitral Campaign category page which lists the actions and links internally to the NWF Campaigns. It also has an external link to the Chitral Expedition Wikipedia page. The Chitral location page has an external link in the Place Name field to the Chitral Wikipedia page. (It also has the same link under External Links which is redundant and should be removed.)
The Siege and Relief of Chitral article should follow the same logic. The argument that the Wikipedia article is fuller and goes beyond 1947 is irrelevant as long as the external link is provided on the Location page at the end of the search chain. Otherwise there would be no point in creating Fibiwiki Location pages. They are there because they provide something which the Wikipedia page does not i.e. British India information linked to the Fibiwiki database.
--Sy 01:45, 13 November 2009 (PST)
Oh, I've just caught up with this discussion. This is a bit of a difficult one. I am of the opinion that where we have an inhouse article on a topic it should be linked to. If we farm people straight out to Wikipedia we are not showing them what content we do have or encouraging them to add to it! However, there are a few points relating to external links I hadn't thought of until now.
So, on the battles pages we should almost always have a Fibiwiki article to link to as the places named there are relevant in the British era. I think it makes perfect sense for places in the military infoboxes to link to our articles. The Locations articles are a different matter though. The sections where Hugh is suggesting WP links are those relating to modern day details. What content will we ever have for inhouse articles on, say, Andhra Pradesh or Karnataka, other than a link to WP? Perhaps the Military and Locations projects need different rules for their infoboxes.
Thoughts? Sarah 13:03, 13 November 2009 (PST)
This is the approach which I think logical. On pages dealing with British India subjects (battles, wars, armies) the default should be an internal link to a Fibiwiki page where it exists. Once we get to Locations then the WP link gives the wider modern context.--Sy 10:10, 15 November 2009 (PST)
Good, so we are in agreement!
I wonder if I can touch on another matter? I have no wish to offend, Sy, but you are one who likes to use <br> instead of normal carriage returns in your text. This causes two problems, the first being that this makes review of the text more difficult than it need be for moderators. But I can live with it!
The second is more important. In its auto formatting of text, the wiki software depends on the modern style of block paragraphs. This convention separates paragraphs by a single line, visually making blocks of text much easier to follow. (A double carriage return achives this.) If you look at our exchange of comments above, I hope you will see what I mean.
I fully accept that <br> has its place. It has to be used within an Infobox to force separate lines and it is more space efficient within the long lists that are a feature of the orders of battle, campaign forces etc. But your reading public will appreciate the descriptions being broken up into visually distinctive units. I also think the wiki software generally does a good job in balancing the text with the whitespace.
Apologies for raising this here but I have been meaning to discuss this for some time.
HughWilding 01:39, 16 November 2009 (PST)
Right, well on the subject infobox links that is wikipedians call a consensus. A three man vote ;-) I will make a note on the Locations project page. Sarah 12:55, 16 November 2009 (PST)

Line Breaks

As you know, I come from the blundering amateur school of editing. The <br> was a work-around which I started to use when I realised that the return key does not produce a line break. It does of course make a line break when viewed in edit mode and of late I have done that in external link lists so they are easier to read when you amend them. Have a look at the Chitral article in edit mode.

A double return produces a line space and this is fine as a paragraph maker in a block of text. However it is less satisfactory in an external link or field force list as they are quite clear single spaced and double spacing lengthens the page unnecessarily. My preference is to see everything on the page on screen at once. I accept that this wont be possible when viewed on your iPhone or Blackberry.

I already use bullet points for field force lists. I propose using indent colons for external link lists to retain the single spacing. Is that OK?

One other thing. Many months go I was told (I can't remember by whom) that the correct format for an external link is with the source after the link (e.g. Chitral Wikipedia). I have therefore gradually been altering my pages as I revisit them. Lately I have noticed other variants such as

Chitral, Wikipedia
Chitral Wikipedia
Schwartzberg Historical Atlas - Indian Mutiny Map

Can we have a ruling again please?

BTW I am not in the least offended that you have raised this. It all helps us to be consistent. I am much more fussed however when you alter my Latin tags and introduce superfluous italics!

Regards --Sy 07:43, 16 November 2009 (PST)

I think the best reason for phasing out the break tag is that it is a bit obscure for inexperienced users. Wiki formatting is much easier for anyone to understand. I agree with Hugh that we should stick to the word processing convention of a line between paragraphs. I do think you always do that though, Sy, but I have seen it slip in elsewhere on the wiki. Apart from external links and infoboxes, the only places I notice you use them now are for formatting some lists which would require a table otherwise. I think just avoid the use where possible.
For lists of external links, I am in favour of bulleting them a la Wikipedia where all lists are bulleted. This also keeps single spacing. Sarah 12:55, 16 November 2009 (PST)

Format of links, italics etc

Just making a seperate section for the other point Sy was making above (although I'm sure Chitral isn't the place for this discussion!)

Italics - having learnt wiki editing on Wikipedia, I have followed their italicising conventions here. I will change that if we decide, but their rules are quite straightforward (WP: MOS Titles).

External links - For reference, WP:External links. I do not know the convention of putting the source after the link, but put (for instance) Wikipedia as a description of the external link.

I personally think it is ok to change the format to fit the type of link, provided some basic standards apply. I would like:

  • link at beginning of line
  • blue link text to be the title of the webpage or book linked to (or some other appropriate title - our own made up one if the page doesn't really have a useful one)
  • subsequent black text to describe material linked to, can name the website if appropriate

So, for example:

Anything that really wouldn't work like that can be formatted in whatever way will work.

I think I'm losing the thread of what I'm saying so will wit for other's comments! Sarah 12:55, 16 November 2009 (PST)

Wow! I knew there had to be one, but (WP: MOS Titles) leads into the whole Wikipedia Manual of Style and it just sucks you in!
Firstly I apologise about altering "status quo ante" to status quo ante bellum. The latter is the original source of the former and in the context it just struck me as appropriate to use. I italicised because the full phrase is in Latin and such is the convention - in fact, since the FibiWiki will be read by a significant number of readers for whom English is not their first language, this is a very helpful convention to observe fully - more so than Wikipedia suggests. If we ever get around to writing our own manual of style, we need to remember this.
Secondly, I am not sure that Wikipedia is itself consistent (but I haven't read enough of its MOS so must be careful). When I got going seriously on family history (about 1997), I realised that I needed to learn about how to cite sources and create bibliographies. To cut a long journey short, I ended up with the work of an American genealogist, Elizabeth Shown Mills, the then editor of the NGS Journal, who clearly laid out a system that was based on the Chicago Manual of Style but adapted to meet the needs of genealogists and family historians who draw information largely from unpublished or private papers and sources.
Wikipedia's own MOS seems to draw on the Chicago MOS which is helpful. When citing a work, the convention is: Author, Title (publishing history), text reference. With an encyclopedia, the convention is: (Author if known,) "Entry", Title (publishing history), ref. So a typcal citation looks like: "East Indian Railway", Encylopedia Indiana, 12 Volumes (Maidenhead: Wilding Press, 2009), 5:10-15. (The very last bit is the specific volume plus pages - English, as opposed to American practice, still tends to spell it out i.e. "Vol 5, pp 10-15". Whoops! too much detail.)
So for a reference or note to a Wikipedia article, I would use:
"History of the British Army", Wikipedia (accessed 17 November 2009). [The accessed date serves as the date the information was "published" to me.]
and the reason I have drawn you down this route is that there is a fundamental difference between our FibiWiki and Wikipedia in that much of our material is going to be original research which is anathema to Wikipedia. So at some time, we are going to have to agree a citation style and police it. Unfortunately, the inbuilt referencing tools have not yet been implemented in our version of the wiki software and we must wait until they are. I continue to make noises in the right quarter (not Valmay, I hasten to add).
I accept that citations are not the saem as external links but it does help to explain why my external links often look like:
but I am inconsistent and I know I often am with that comma separator after the link symbol.
So when I have that odd weekend, I will get stuck into the Wikipedia MOS!
HughWilding 01:36, 17 November 2009 (PST)