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Forums: Index WoWWiki policy Ref web, bluepost, and blizzforumlink

This is regards to WW:CITE. I think we need to improvement the writing guidelines for how and when to use {{ref web}}, {{bluepost}}, and {{blizzforumlink}}.

Personally I am in favor of this (although the language may need to be cleaned up before going into the guildeline):

  1. All URL citation including the official forums or forum aggregators, aka using the <ref> tag, should use the {{ref web}} template.
  2. "Simple references" should be cleaned up and replaced with {{ref web}} wherever possible, i.e. <ref>some URL<ref>
  3. Inline citation may use {{blizzforumlink}}, {{blizzEUforumlink}}, and {{bluepost}} where appropriate (see hotfixes as an example). This is at the author's discretion.
  4. As forum posts age (general guideline of 2 months or older), consider replacing old and lengthy inline {{bluepost}} quotes with a short summary and a {{ref web}}, or {{patched}} if applicable. Again this is at the author's discretion.

Comments would be appreciated. This post is primarily in response to this edit which I have reverted for the time being so we can have a discussion. Just Alerting You Small Howbizr(t·c) 10:05 PM, 22 Sep 2009 (EDT)

Even though I created them, I'm not a big fan of {{blizzforumlink}} and {{blizzEUforumlink}}, so if they were re-written (to be more like {{bluepost}}), I would not be offended. I'm not a huge fan of {{ref web}}, but if someone wants to convert simple refs to ref web, I encourage that anyway. I prefer a simple ref to no ref, so I hope pushing the use of ref web won't put anyone off.
Otherwise, the recommendations are all good. The only thing I would insert would be to ask whether we want to use {{patched}} inside a ref over a ref web, blizz forum post, or bluepost. --Gengar orange 22x22Beware the sneaky smile! Fandyllic (talk · contr) 12:23 AM PST 23 Sep 2009
I don't see what's the big fuss about having {{blizzforumlink}} and {{blizzEUforumlink}} instead of {{ref web}} when it comes to referencing forum posts; it's not that big of a change, and the URL can be changed to an archive one if needed (see for yourself). In my opinion they would be used for references, while {{bluepost}} would be somewhere in an article where it's not in the way of other content. And what's funny is that you say it is "at the author's discretion" to use either template, yet you revert me for doing that despite the fact that I made the original formatting - you don't "own" the article.
Ref web would be used for citations from any other source than the forums, since there's already templates to reference to that. Why change it if it works?
Regarding the matter to use {{patched}} in a citation, I don't think that's a good idea; the way I see it that {{patched}} is used is under patch changes sections and only there. --User:Gourra/Sig2 06:35, September 23, 2009 (UTC)
My problem is that it's a references section, so why not use the correct syntax? Especially, why use the correct syntax for other media such as books, but then not for websites? Why are they different? Really I wouldn't have had a problem with your edit [1] if you were changing a simple reference to using a template. But you were just changing the formatting, in my opinion, from a correct format to a less correct format.
Gourra, I still would have preferred, when you undid my edit, or when you changed the guideline with no community discussion, that there was at least a small comment in the revision history, since I can't read your mind. I just disagree, from a wikiquette standpoint, that a guideline that's been in place for over two years [2] should be changed (other than a small append or clarification) without some community input.
No, I'm not trying to "squat" on the article, or on the guideline for that matter, but rather leave the changes the way they were, which was following the current guidelines, until there was some community input whether the guidelines really needed to be changed, or if they were fine the way they were. All I ask is that we all follow the rules and guidelines to avoid miscommunication. As I've mentioned several times before, if all of us could do a better job with history comments, I think it would go a long way to avoid problems. Reverting edits always sucks, because it means someone's time was wasted. Whenever they can be avoided by putting policies and guidelines in place, I'm all for it.
Let me make this clear though, I am not out to abolish all inline templates, even though I have a strong personal preference for citation instead (full disclosure, I've been working with librarians for over the last year). I think all of the template we have currently meet our needs, we only needed to give some suggestions about which one to use and where. And I'm going to agree with Gourra on this point, that we should mention that editors should use an inline template, or a citation, but not both.
Since I realize I might sound fired up, I'm not trying to attack anyone, even though I like to speak plainly, so don't take what I'm saying the wrong way. This event merely reminded me that I wanted to improve the guideline a long time ago, and just never started down that path. Just Alerting You Small Howbizr(t·c) 2:17 PM, 23 Sep 2009 (EDT)
I think it's strange that when an admin think it's time to change a policy, especially one that is out of date (like you said, 2 years had passed), that it needs a community input on the forums. The feeling that I have is that ever since the forum has been introduced, every single thing that needs updating, such as things like these or some formatting, it has to be put on the forums. I frankly don't think that's the correct way to do it; after all, it's just us that are allowed to change the policy pages, and quite frankly I don't think that many people care about it, since I haven't seen many people using the reference templates. On another note, this discussion really belong on the talk page.
Whether it is the "correct" syntax or not would be up to the user, but what exactly does {{ref web}} has that {{blizzforumlink}} doesn't? An archive link? If that's the case then it could just be added to the template, but if you look closely you can see that it already has an option to link to the archive instead (archiveURL). The Blizzard icon can also be used for the template.
I won't go into other citation templates ({{ref book}}, {{ref rpg}} etc) since that's offtopic, and I won't take this discussion elsewhere. I'll save that for another time. --User:Gourra/Sig2 14:30, September 23, 2009 (UTC)
Just because Admins are the only one to officialy change policy, does not mean you have the right to change it anytime you feel like it because it affects the whole Wiki not just YOUR personal likes / dislikes. You and another Admin like to just change things whenever you want without saying why and expect everyone else to know why (as if we can read minds) being an Admin just means you enforce current policy and should get the Wiki's oppinion (even if it is just 5 - 7 active editors -so long as it meeds your Policy on Voting for policy changes) before changing Policy that you will have to enforce on the editors of the wiki. As to the lack of use of the different citation templates, most of us do not know they ( the many different ones ) exist, we know the main wiki references not the WoWWiki specific references until we see them used to have a reference point to go by.
I personly think we need to reduce the number of Reference templates - there are too many that are too simlar, such that choosing one over the other takes too much time to rea exactly what the differences are between them to choose. When you are typing (trying to get the information out) and do not know the different templates, most use the basic of references <ref> or <ref name="name"> Reference </ref> and then when we are done we go back and edit it to update to the more appropriate template (if we know them). -- (M o r p hJames E. Rooks, Jr. aka: Morph
Morphgnome & Morphdraenei
| CMorph has made 8,581 contribution(s) to WoWWiki. | TLeave me a message on my Discussion/Talk Page) IconSmall Gnome MaleMorphgnomeIconSmall Draenei MaleMorphdraenei 16:25, September 23, 2009 (UTC)
Sorry I did not realize the guideline pages were sysop, which actually disappoints me; I'm not sure they should be. All the same, I still think admins owe the community at least an edit comment if there's a change to the guidelines because admins "should not generally be viewed as leaders, or staff, of the wiki"[3].
I also disagree that WW:CITE is out of date. From what I can tell, the template is based off of APA style, and near as I can tell, {{ref web}} still lines up.
Yes, I am aware of the archiveurl parameter in {{blizzforumlink}} ([I added it[4]). But if I'm going to just add all the parameters to {{Blizzforumlink}} that are missing from {{ref web}}, why even have two templates? I really like the usage of {{blizzforumlink}} on hotfixes, but I just don't think it's appropriate beyond inline, because that's what the citation templates are for.
If you really think this belongs on the talk page, I guess we can move it (six half a dozen of another in my mind). But if discussion of guidelines don't belong in the Forum:WoWWiki policy forum, that has the description "This forum is for discussions about policies and guidelines on WoWWiki" then we really need to rename this forum and change the description because I was sure misled. Just Alerting You Small Howbizr(t·c) 4:54 PM, 23 Sep 2009 (EDT)
This is the right forum. --Gengar orange 22x22Beware the sneaky smile! Fandyllic (talk · contr) 6:46 PM PST 23 Sep 2009
I felt the same way Morph when I first tried to do citations, which I felt were extremely important on the undocumented changes pages. I'm not sure if we'll be able to reduce the number of templates, but perhaps better examples or documentation could work. I'm open to suggestions. Just Alerting You Small Howbizr(t·c) 4:57 PM, 23 Sep 2009 (EDT)
Yes, my bad; I'm just a bit unused to the forums, having been an active user here for some time. --User:Gourra/Sig2 17:18, September 23, 2009 (UTC)
Regarding where policies are discussed - I kinda prefer here if it's a reasonably important change, since few people watch the policy talk pages. And those that do, may not notice additions (if I switch watchlist emails on, it'd be 90% of my inbox!) Kirkburn  talk  contr 17:26, September 23, 2009 (UTC)
Guidelines are not owned by sysops as far as I know. Actually, neither are policies. It is just bad form (bad wikiquette) to make a major change (or a significant minor one) without discussing it in some way with at least a few inputs (more than 2 people). I prefer seeing things discussed on the forums first and then moved to talk pages when a set of interested parties has been established. Deciding changes on a talk page can be just a way to say, "we talked about it" and cleverly avoiding disagreement.
Regardless we should move the discussion on who and how guidelines can change to another thread. --Gengar orange 22x22Beware the sneaky smile! Fandyllic (talk · contr) 6:46 PM PST 23 Sep 2009
I only watch pages I've edited, for the most part. Even if I tagged ALL guideline pages as watched, someone creates a new guideline page, I'd never see the change. (Hard enough keeping up on forum threads...) --Eirik Ratcatcher (talk) 19:10, September 23, 2009 (UTC)

My two cents: Someone (Fandy?) obviously thought that a shortcut to creating references to the forums would be useful. Myself, I would like to see Blizzforumlink, et al, rewritten to employ {{ref web}}. This way, any changes to the ref web display format would automatically be reflected in those other templates. As long as all the information is correctly displayed and archived, I have no particular preference for how it gets there. I suspect that {{Blizzforumlink}} and {{BlizzEUforumlink}} could be combined, with a parameter for "EU/US". I don't use those templates, though, so I can't say more.

Perhaps a generic Ref forum template would be of use? Or are forum post URLs too idiosyncratic? --Eirik Ratcatcher (talk) 19:10, September 23, 2009 (UTC)

If {{ref web}} is too cumbersome and a shortcut template more like {{blizzforumlink}} would be help promote citation, I'm all for that. I would be in favor of replacing {{blizzforumlink}}/{{blizzEUforumlink}} with {{ref web}}, except that I don't really want the official APA style inline text. See hotfixes to really know what I mean by that.
On the converse, imagine the size of the references section for hotfixes if it used footnote citations with <ref>. I think, at least for that page, the article is more functional with inline citation. We could switch hotfixes over to {{bluepost}} instead, but that's a lot of blue text. I'm not sure if that's a good idea. Just Alerting You Small Howbizr(t·c) 7:35 PM, 23 Sep 2009 (EDT)
I still don't see why {{ref web}} would be better to use than {{blizzforumlink}}/{{blizzEUforumlink}}, but since the majority doesn't care whatever I say, I may as well withdraw from this discussion. --User:Gourra/Sig2 19:54, September 23, 2009 (UTC)

From what I can tell this forum discussion arose out of this dispute over how to reference info in "Faction Change service". Up to now, I'm not sure if I've actually heard any good arguments for using ref web over the blizzforumlink stuff, but I do think ref web is cumbersome. Unfortunately, blizzforumlink is not much better, since it is designed such that if Blizzard decides to change their forum URL structure it will break and break badly.

I suggest we narrow the discussion to ref web vs. blizzforumlink. I will start with my perspective.

  • Ref web pros:
    • Has the advantage of giving more information that will help in fixing a link or re-finding a reference where the link broke.
    • Follows Wikipedia-like conventions.
    • Relatively flexible in that not all parameters have to be filled in.
  • Ref web cons:
    • Cumbersome, in that even its minimum parameter requirements are more than most alternatives.
    • Tends to take up alot more code space.
    • May be overkill for forum posts that have a similar URL structure and are easy to re-find in most cases.
  • Blizzforumlink pros:
    • Simple structure that works well with forum posts.
    • Known by WoWWiki users who may not be familiar with Wikipedia conventions.
    • Created by Fandyllic. Winky
  • Blizzforumlink cons:
    • Potential to break badly if Blizzard changes its forum URL structure (which it has done at least once already).
    • Not very flexible. Only works for forum posts.
    • Somewhat obscure parameter usage, since it is tailored specifically to forum posts.
    • Fandyllic doesn't really like this template. Frowney

So looking at the pros and cons, I would lean slightly to ref web. However, I would actually suggest a 3rd option, perhaps a new template called something like {{ref quickweb}}. This would be a template similar to ref web, but only requires a URL, a title, and an optional author and/or date. It would be easy to convert to ref web (use same parameter names), but won't require some dubiously helpful parameters like accessdate=, format=, and work=. --Gengar orange 22x22Beware the sneaky smile! Fandyllic (talk · contr) 8:58 PM PST 23 Sep 2009

To answer Gourra's question, in hopes that you will not leave the discussion, because I do respect your input even if I disagree with some (but not all) of your points, because stuff in "references" should match up with referencing rules, such as APA style. -- Howbizr
APA style is not a "rule" it's just a "widely accepted style of documentation, particularly in the social sciences." Its format does not match with how wikis are formatted, especially with how (foot)notes are placed below the reference section. And nowhere have I seen that these "reference rules" should follow the APA style. --User:Gourra/Sig2 06:08, September 24, 2009 (UTC)
In reply to Fandy's post, I'm wondering, would it be easier to just make fewer parameters optional in {{ref web}}, than making an entirely new template? Just Alerting You Small Howbizr(t·c) 11:49 PM, 23 Sep 2009 (EDT)
Did you mean to say make more parameters optional or fewer? I just really don't like the accessdate=, format=, and work= parameters, because they seem mostly unnecessary in the web/wiki context. Maybe work= is usefull, but shouldn't be required. --Gengar orange 22x22Beware the sneaky smile! Fandyllic (talk · contr) 9:33 PM PST 24 Sep 2009
Myself, I like the thought of having accessdate available to help when looking for expired links. I don't think we have that capability, but without the information being present, we would be simply unable to. Format and Work are both optional, and for OUR wiki largely unnecessary IMO. Or at least they're currently marked 'optional' in the docs (which are unchanged since July). --Eirik Ratcatcher (talk) 00:08, September 25, 2009 (UTC)
In reply to Fandy's post, you say that Blizzforumlink is "potential to break badly if Blizzard changes its forum URL structure", but what would prevent us from changing the template? There is probably just one or two things that change, but it's not something that can't be fixed! --User:Gourra/Sig2 06:58, September 24, 2009 (UTC)
True, I guess I just thought it would be simpler to put a straight URL in there than what I did. I've been too lazy to change it because I don't want to fix all the places where it's used. --Gengar orange 22x22Beware the sneaky smile! Fandyllic (talk · contr) 9:33 PM PST 24 Sep 2009
Actually, when I think about it, it would be better to use {{blizzforumlink}}; that way the old forum links will never break since the link changes automatically with the template, instead of having to update every single link. --User:Gourra/Sig2 07:03, September 25, 2009 (UTC)

The more I look at this, the more I feel that Howbizr's objections spring mainly from the fact that Blizzforumlink/bluepost produce reference footnotes that do not look like those from ref web. (Please do correct me if I am wrong.) I note that Howbizr's original recommendation did include continued use of these other templates, just not for creating reference footnotes.

If the issue here is standardizing the appearance of reference footnotes, there is no reason that all of the forum templates (Bluenote, blizzforumlink, blizzEUforumlink) could not be split into, eg Template:Ref bluenote, Template:Ref blizzforumlink, etc. This would:

  • preserve the parameter formats of these templates, which some people find very convenient
  • provide a standard template prefix for footnote citations (vs inline citations)
  • allow the appearance of said footnote citations to be standardized.

If the issue is something other than standardizing how reference footnotes appear, please describe your objections and counter-objections more clearly. --Eirik Ratcatcher (talk) 18:10, September 24, 2009 (UTC)

I guess you want {{ref blizzforumlink}} to look something like this? I'm not sure about the formatting; it looks very ugly compared to how {{blizzforumlink}} looks right now... --User:Gourra/Sig2 09:53, September 25, 2009 (UTC)
I'm merely guessing what Howbizr's intent is. Howbizr? --Eirik Ratcatcher (talk) 23:42, September 25, 2009 (UTC)
I did not mean to suggest {{ref web}} should have more parameters. I meant to suggest we relax the rules for {{ref web}} so more of the parameters have defaults (or are simply skipped). The goal being, make {{ref web}} more accessible.
To what Gourra has been saying, {{blizzforumlink}} is probably more robust to a point. Some changes blizz could make to the their forum URL's would be compatible for us - We would simply make a change to {{blizzforumlink}}, and all the links would start working again. But that's a big assumption, so I wouldn't say it's a guarantee. I can give more detailed examples if anyone needs them.
Really, I think all of the templates we have are pretty much fine the way they are. I only think the "References" section should be compliant to some kind of citation standard, like APA style. People have already spent a lot of time and effort thinking about "the citation problem" - why should we reinvent the wheel?
So at this time, I don't think we need a new template ({{ref blizzforumlink}}) or need to destroy the current manifestation of {{blizzforumlink}}, we just need some guidelines, which is what I was trying to discuss in the first place. Obviously there's the tangential issue of usability. I think Gourra, and perhaps other users, find {{ref web}} confusing or cumbersome. So making the templates more relaxed, and the documentation more clear, should go a long way.
In the WW:CITE guideline, I currently see a need for answering (a)how do I reference a forum link, and (b)how long should I leave a long inline bluepost before moving it to a reference (for historical purposes)? Just Alerting You Small Howbizr(t·c) 5:15 PM, 28 Sep 2009 (EDT)
Well, the idea of restricting or giving preference to ref web or blizzforumlink was really your idea, Howbizr. I'm okay with both. The whole revert war between the two seemed kind of immature, but I've been accused of the same. As for long inline blueposts, they can be moved to references immediately as long as the important information is still in the body of the article. Some people like to leave the bluepost text because it is often clear, direct, and well-written. The important thing is the accuracy, readability, and understandability of the information. The details of the presentation are secondary, in my opinion. --Gengar orange 22x22Beware the sneaky smile! Fandyllic (talk · contr) 8:07 PM PST 28 Sep 2009
I gotta say, Howbizr, that I'm more confused than ever... Part of it is that we've meandered through several related subjects and not really stuck with any one of them.
RE {{ref web}} so more of the parameters have defaults (or are simply skipped). The documentation lists only title, url, and (one of a couple variations on) access date as mandatory, all else as optional. What else would you remove from that short list? What parameters do not have defaults, that you would add? (I note that the APA style you reference does not seem to mandate the accessdate parameter.)
RE some kind of citation standard, like APA style. APA style has no mention of forum citation format. You say I don't think we need a new template..., but in your first style rule suggestion restrict footnote citations to {{ref web}}. These seem contradictory on their face, given that they produce references that look different. Are you advocating that forum links using Ref Web use the BlizzForumLink format? Or are you saying that you don't care what the link looks like inline, as long as the footnote citations share a single look?
RE ...because that's what the citation templates are for. We can do the Labyrinth solution, and simply add the forum link templates to that category.... Winky --Eirik Ratcatcher (talk) 23:17, September 30, 2009 (UTC)
RE ...I currently see a need for answering (a)how do I reference a forum link, and (b)how long should I leave a long inline bluepost before moving it to a reference (for historical purposes)? For (a), you should use {{blizzforumlink}}/{{blizzEUforumlink}}, since that's the easiest way. While it doesn't look like the usual reference, and not like APA style (why is this even brought up anyway? it doesn't say anything about forum references) it is much easier to use than {{ref web}}. For (b), if you mean like how {{bluepost}} is, then there's not really a defined answer. I'd believe that when it comes to unreleased content, which has very little information at all, the template can stay at the top. Eventually it would be inside <ref></ref>, or put at the bottom (see Grim Batol).
I'm not sure if anyone agrees with me, but this is what I think. --User:Gourra/Sig2 08:36, October 6, 2009 (UTC)

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