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Okay, I am moving the conversation from User talk:Coswig about the recent changes to the Homeland page in comparison with such pages as City of the Spider Queen and Dungeon magazine 75... basically in the set up of the Index with bullet sets or listed bullets... any thoughts so we can make book pages more consistent... also, what do you think about referencing these types of indexes, such as Notable inhabitants or Notable locations sections... should they have a ref attached? Thanks :)
- Darkwynters (talk) 01:42, February 4, 2015 (UTC)

As I've argued in the past, I think the "sideways list" is quite effective. It fills out the page-space more efficiently (not so much glaring white-space) and the reader doesn't have to keep on scrolling and scrolling and scrolling to get to the bottom of a very detailed page. All the subsections and links are right there in front of the reader, making it quite easy to find what you're looking for, or maybe find something interesting you weren't looking for. You can tell at a glance if a topic is included in the source. Imagine how tiring it would be to look through City of the Spider Queen with vertical lists, going up and down forever. Furthermore, it's a style commonly employed by a number of well-developed wikias.

For the second bit, do you mean in regular articles or in source articles? In regular articles, I believe a list of links only needs references if they are red links, otherwise you have no idea where they come from. If they are blue and go to referenced articles, then we can forgo references in the list of links for neatness. I did this at Iriaebor just today, providing references to confirm the existence of some of the Notable Locations, to show where a reader can find more information.

— BadCatMan (talk) 12:49, February 4, 2015 (UTC)

As I learned from absent High admin FW, I reference everything... it also gives proof to whether or not info is true or false... that is why I like seeing refs... I agree with the "sideways list"... do we need to add this as a guideline to the Template:Book page?
- Darkwynters (talk) 21:45, February 4, 2015 (UTC)

I am of the 'reference everything' opinion too myself (I am still not sure about our infoboxes atm) so when I originally started indexing City of the Spider Queen I added loads of references. However it seemed kinda odd to reference...well your reference. It seemed redundant to have 100's of references at the bottom of the very book I was referencing. However I can understand denoting the page number for accuracy though so it was very hard to decide. In the end I left it out and wanted to see if others had an opinion. I am half-tempted to put them back as I like to see the proof for every bit of info we put down. For instance, if no one besides me checked that there was a dire bear or a reference to Jhaamdath in the adventure, it would require a lot of talk page discussion to do what a simple ref could. (Verdict: undecided)

With regards to the sideways listings, it just seems much neater and actually more useful to a reader (due to its ease in reading) but it is simply a stylistic choice. I'm not sure if it is policy-worthy though.(Verdit: sideways)

--Eli the Tanner (talk) 14:42, February 5, 2015 (UTC)

Just giving this a bump to see if anyone has had any thoughts on referencing Source Indexes. City of the Spider Queen is an example of one without refs, while The Twilight Tomb is an example of one with refs. I created both these Indexes and both sources are Featured Sources (though Twilight Tomb has not had the tag added yet), but I am undecided which style to go for. As my post above, I can appreciate both sides of the argument and am happy to go with whatever people prefer. Lhynard stated here that he is in favor of referencing but I hope more mods and members can weigh in before I make any more Indexes (they do take some time). Thanks for any light you can shed :)
--Eli the Tanner (talk) 22:49, April 27, 2015 (UTC)

I am in favor of referencing, but it's a lot of work, so I recommend adding references as you go forward. I do not expect you to go back and add refs to previous index articles. We can put a {{Nofootnotes|section}} tag on that part of the article to remind us to come back and do it later.
Moviesign (talk) 00:41, April 28, 2015 (UTC)

I'm not a fan of references in the indexes for these sources. These are all referenced inherently by virtue of appearing in the index for the source. Though I can see the benefit in being able to locate the page, it's not a major factor to my mind. Novels with multiple editions will make these page numbers meaningless. And the superscripted numbers just make the list look untidy, not as clean.
— BadCatMan (talk) 02:48, April 28, 2015 (UTC)

good point re: page numbers and different editions
~ Lhynard (talk) 03:51, April 28, 2015 (UTC)

By referencing each character, creature, location, item, etc., he is creating an index that currently does not exist, right? I'm not aware of a feature like this in any supermodule, but I could be wrong. Eli, have you seen an index in any of your sources that you have documented so far? This would be a valuable resource for someone running the module, IMO. Actually, it would be most useful as an alphabetical listing in a printer-friendly layout, now that I think about it. Oooh, that gives me an idea...

I wasn't even considering novels when I made my recommendation. I agree that page numbers in novels are not very useful unless you happen to have the same media edition and format. So I say fie on them, fie I say.

Moviesign (talk) 03:58, April 28, 2015 (UTC)

I am OCD and like referencing everything... basically, it proves the information is accurate... such as my Vampire of the Mists page :)
- Darkwynters (talk) 05:03, April 28, 2015 (UTC)

Although, I am a firm believer in following the wiki rules, so if ye guys come up with a new idea... I will use it, and enjoy it!!!
- Darkwynters (talk) 05:07, April 28, 2015 (UTC)

Thanks for the responses guys. So far, regarding putting references in sources, we have:

Seems the community is as divided as I am.

Moviesign, I have seen Indexes of characters in some sources but none that fully detail things like ours do (besides campaign settings). Also could you clarify your last point, are you suggesting we only reference adventures and leave novels alone or fie to refs in both sources? The idea of changing our Indexes to an alphabetical list-like entry with page numbers (akin to the back of the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition), possibly using Bold or Italic text to denote if they apeared or were merely referenced, might be a good compromise. Though I am a fan of the sideways listings style we use currently. What do others think?

In the event of a split decision, then I suggest we carry on making Indexes without refs (as they are still very useful) as BadCatMan suggests. If minds change later on, we can always revist this discussion.

--Eli the Tanner (talk) 15:38, April 28, 2015 (UTC)

To clarify my vote, I was speaking without considering the issue of novels; I was thinking only of sourcebooks, (perhaps because I've never read nor intend to read an FR novel.) In the case of novels, I vote against refs; in the case of sourcebooks, I vote for. But I, too, am interested in MovieSign's index idea as an alternative.
~ Lhynard (talk) 15:51, April 28, 2015 (UTC)

Not wanting to be the ugly duckling, we could use chapters instead of page numbers for referencing novels... easier for different editions of novels and still allows for referencing, such as Faceless One "Homeland" Chapter 1, instead of page 9... just a thought
- Darkwynters (talk) 18:39, April 28, 2015 (UTC)

I like that idea, DW, but do our citation templates handle that?
~ Lhynard (talk) 18:59, April 28, 2015 (UTC)

Movie could figure out whether or not... such as the references for Daenerys_Targaryen [1] on the A Wiki of Ice and Fire.
- Darkwynters (talk) 22:37, April 28, 2015 (UTC)

Okay, here is a rough sketch of my idea: add the page numbers invisibly to the article using a very simple template, {{P}}, then generate the index dynamically, either later in the same article, or make it it's own link (like Settlements links now). A crude demonstration is available for viewing. The article with the hidden page numbers is IndexTest and the (badly formatted) index generated is done by MakeIndex. I'm not sure how much better I can get the formatting—I'm still playing with it. But this is a "best of both worlds" solution, as far as I'm concerned: a useful index and an uncluttered article. Note that this is for one book and is not useful for anything involving more than one source. What do you think, sirs?
Moviesign (talk) 22:44, April 28, 2015 (UTC)

After some iterations, I have other examples to show. Second generation MakeIndex2 produces an index in simple table format. It is sorted by the full link text so "Deep Rothé" shows up in the "Rothe" slot and non-linked "Zebra" bubbles to the top because "Z" comes before "[". Next is the natural-looking MakeIndex3, but it turns out to be unsortable :( so it would rely on the order presented in the article. Finally, fourth generation MakeIndex4 still uses a table layout, but allows a "sortkey" field. Note that "Deep Rothé" and "Zebra" are in their correct place.

So the questions are, do you mind putting page number templates around items in the index articles, and do you like the look of the generated index (version 4)? Comments? Suggestions?

Moviesign (talk) 03:20, April 29, 2015 (UTC)

I think I like the list that Makeindex 4 actually... fells like It'll make a page really long tough... btw, guy speaking of long refs some pages have huge refs parts... is there any way to shorten them? If we referenced them like proposed with the novels (IE chapters) that would just reduce them down allot then (Country pages would just list the book chapters about them sort to say).
Terrorblades 's Far Realm logs dated 15:09, April 29, 2015 (UTC)

In regards to ref sections: at least one page on this wiki uses a double-column format. (I tried finding it again the other day but failed, but it's here somewhere.) I think two-column ref sections look way better on a computer screen, but columns work terribly in mobile, and supposedly, a lot of folk are accessing this wiki via mobile.
~ Lhynard (talk) 15:19, April 29, 2015 (UTC)

Great work Moviesign, I especially like the look of MakeIndex4. This seems to solve both sides of the equation, and means (if I'm understanding this correctly) that we will have our normal, uncluttered Index (or perhaps Contents would be a better term now) with perhaps a link at the bottom of the page to the comprehensive, alphabetized MakeIndex4 for those who wish to make use of it. This means we can clearly see what is in a selected source and still have it fully referenced. With regards to the multiple editions issue, we can simply add multiple links to the different Indexes at the bottom. Like so: ContentsTest

Hope this makes sense. I think you've worked template magic again Movie.

--Eli the Tanner (talk) 19:01, April 29, 2015 (UTC)

Thanks Eli :) I don't have good control over the format of the output in this case, so I'm thinking this would be best implemented as a link that folks can click on and get the full index (just as you suggested). Otherwise, it will make the article very long and not very interesting to most readers.

As for novels, you could replace the page numbers with "Chapter 1", "Chapter 2" and so on, as DW suggested above, and get an index at the Chapter level, but I'd have to do some more work with the template to allow a user to specify more than one set of page numbers.

Moviesign (talk) 19:47, April 29, 2015 (UTC)

Nice work, Movie... number 4 looks good... and having chapters for novels (if others like the idea) would be awesome :)
- Darkwynters (talk) 21:31, April 29, 2015 (UTC)

For the record, my vote was "For" indexing adventures, but not novels. But the whole thing is moot if BadCatMan likes my solution. :) I have a simple template you can add to any page and it will generate the index based on the {{P}} templates it finds on that page. It will just be a link, not take up a lot of real estate on the page.
Moviesign (talk) 01:09, April 30, 2015 (UTC)

Come to think of it, how would any of these change a page like Realms of the Dead? Its a featured article so I figured it might be a good example? Or have a misunderstood the discussion :S?
Terrorblades 's Far Realm logs dated 10:24, April 30, 2015 (UTC)

Hey Terrorblades, I think with anthologies we'd probably do an index for each section/story.

Darkwynters I'm not too sure if we would need chapter refs if Moviesign's template is implemented. We don't use chapter-based citations elsewhere and we can simply create Indexes for different editions, if needed. If people are interested in changing from page numbers to chapter references, perhaps we could have a seperate chat about that as I think that would have much wider implications for the wiki than this topic.

--Eli the Tanner (talk) 12:45, April 30, 2015 (UTC)

Back to this at last...

Some sourcebooks do have indexes, Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition, for example, but sadly too many do not. But I'm against us making indexes. For one, it's too much effort. Two, it's not our role to supplement what TSR or WotC failed to do. Our own organisation and usefulness is paramount. For our pages, I prefer the organisation of grouping the links as characters, races, places, etc. Weird fantasy names can be anything – what are Thistle, Bedon, and Cult of the Shadow going to be? It's helpful to know what you're in for before you click the link.

As for references, for me, meh. I won't order anyone to add references. I also won't remove them if someone has gone to the effort of adding them. We don't want to make these pages too complex, long, time-consuming, or code-heavy. They should be as simple and straightforward as possible to encourage people to create and add to them.

I like the idea of using chapters for referencing novels; I thought of it a while ago. It can't be hard to add a new entry to the templates that won't affect existing sub-templates. It'll be damn easier for general wiki work, using one broad chapter instead of a lot of different page ranges.

Realms of the Dead isn't indexed, but we needed a new featured source, and it was very detailed. But Eli and Darkwynters have now made several good indexed pages that could better take its place. Same with Realms of Valor.
— BadCatMan (talk) 13:34, April 30, 2015 (UTC)

I don't quite understand your objections BadCat. The additional effort is minimal for someone who is already going through a sourcebook page by page and listing all the Creatures, Locations, etc. All that's required is, instead of typing "Zombie" you type {{P|Zombie|54}}. Everything else, the "sideways list", the grouping of characters, races, places, etc. all stay the same. Look at User:Moviesign/Index Test and the only difference you see between that and the City of the Spider Queen page I copied it from, is that I changed the order (to test the sorting), added "Zebra" as a test, and the link to the index at the bottom. I will edit The Twilight Tomb and add the page numbers and the index link. This will eliminate nine self-referential references. If the community doesn't like it, we can always roll it back, but I think you will agree that page looks better and is more useful.
Moviesign (talk) 14:37, April 30, 2015 (UTC)

Sorry, it was late and I was tired and there were a lot of posts and things to catch up on. Okay, that is much easier and cleaner than expected.
— BadCatMan (talk) 12:36, May 1, 2015 (UTC)

Yay! I'm glad you approve. I will write up documentation on the new templates. They are already in place and ready to use, just look at The Twilight Tomb for an example. And let me know if anything needs tweaking.

As for using chapters in book citations, I think I can add a parameter that, if set, will replace the page number field. Instead of "p." or "pp.", would you like it to say "ch." or "chapter:" or what? Note that some books do not number their chapters, but instead use titles. (I am not aware of any specific examples because I haven't read the novels, but I've seen it done in other fantasy books.) The point is, anything specified as a chapter will be passed through without modification. Will this meet the need?

Moviesign (talk) 12:55, May 1, 2015 (UTC)

Thank you guys for hammering this out together, and great work again on those templates Moviesign. With what seems to be a solution, I'll start working on the Indexes again and update the ones I have done. Slowly but surely.
--Eli the Tanner (talk) 16:26, May 1, 2015 (UTC)

Wonderful work, Movie... I vote "CH" for novel citations... shorter and easier to write :)
- Darkwynters (talk) 22:12, May 1, 2015 (UTC)

Well, no one actually needs my approval... :)

I feel this wouldn't work as well on comics, as they're so short, basically chapters. If a character is on almost every page, then giving a page number seems redundant or needlessly complicated, a matter of picking out pages they're not on.

Since we use "p." or "pp.", maintaining that form and using "ch." or "chap." sounds best. It would keep our already-lengthy references short as possible, and it seems to be a standard format. "Chap." might be a good balance between shortness and clarity. I presume the template would write that itself.

I think most or all Realms novels use chapter numbers. If there are any that don't, then simply counting the number of chapters would work well enough.
— BadCatMan (talk) 09:22, May 2, 2015 (UTC)
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