Conservapedia talk:Footnotes - technical help

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Would you like me to fill in the technical how-to, Conservative? --Sid 3050 17:24, 31 March 2007 (EDT)

Footnote style

Should there maybe be a consistent style to the footnotes? MLA? Myk 00:29, 1 April 2007 (EDT)

Yes, some guidelines on the format of footnotes would be appreciated. I've changed a number that were often straight links to include the name of the article, the author, etc., but I'm not certain that I've done it in quite the right way. What would be best is some templates for footnotes, along the line of {{WebQuote||link|article name|author}}. There would probably need to be a number of different ones; a quote from a book that is not on-line would not have the link, for example. And having the templates would reduce or eliminate the need to detail the format. Philip J. Rayment 00:37, 1 April 2007 (EDT)

We still have no proper guide to the style of footnotes. Attempts to create guides have been started here by All Fish Welcome and here by HeartOfGold, but neither were completed, and the authors are not very active and longer with Conservapedia respectively.

They both made similar proposals, one aspect being that there should be both a bibliography or sources section, and a references or footnotes section. The latter would contain not only explanatory footnotes, but also references to publications included in the bibliography section. An example of this would look like the following:

  • Smith, J., Smith's book, ABC Publishing Co., 1999.
1. Smith, 1999, p.123.

I have tried using this basic style in a number of cases. It is more work initially, but it is less work if a given source is being cited a number of times.

HeartOfGold copied a couple of templates from Wikipedia for use with referencing. I had a number of minor concerns with the templates, including there being so many options that it was confusing. Another problem is that the templates, or even the proposed style for that matter, doesn't really seem to cater for all cases.

Information in references can include the following:

  • Author(s), or other role (translator, editor, etc.)
  • Title of article (in periodical or on web-site)
  • Title of publication (book or periodical)
  • Title of chapter of book
  • Date of publication (sometimes only the year)
  • Publisher
  • Publisher location
  • Edition
  • Page number or numbers
  • Web link to on-line content of article, chapter, or book
  • Web link to publication, but not to the content
  • Web link to abstract of the publication
  • Internal link to author
  • Internal link to publication
  • ISBN

One problem is when almost none of this information is available. On-line sources, in particular, often have no author, no date of publication, and sometimes no title!

I would prefer that we develop our own citation style to cater for all the citations we might want to use (which could be almost any combination of those listed above, except where they are obviously mutually exclusive), but at the same time I don't want to do anything too different to citation styles used in the wider world.

One question I have is how the author's name should be shown. Putting the surname first, then the Christian name is a very common way of doing it, and helps with putting a Bibliography in alphabetical order. But if we want to Wiki-link the author, we have to have a piped Wiki-link (e.g. [[John Smith|Smith, John]]. Putting the Christian name first avoids piped links, is also used in the wider world, and doesn't actually prevent putting publications in alphabetical order by author, but does make them a little harder to find. (But with a suitable template, it probably wouldn't matter either way.)

What do others think on all this?

Philip J. Rayment 07:46, 9 July 2007 (EDT)

The template parser for CP is now highly robust, so that we can make a number of parameters optional. In the extreme case, we can create more than one template. I am not aware that one must specify parameters in the order in which the template uses them.
One thing to remember: the parser cannot handle the processing of the <ref></ref> tags within the template. One must use those tags outside the template--especially since the <ref> tag does take an optional parameter, that being the name of the reference, so that one can cite it more than once.
Most footnotes appear with the Christian name first, then the surname. But that might not be according to MLA style. We ought to stick to MLA style as closely as possible, even if it means specifying more than one parameter for a linked biographical name (or, in the alternative, giving each biographee a redirect having the surname first).--TerryHTalk 08:02, 11 July 2007 (EDT)
No, we don't need to specify parameters in the order the template uses them (except un-named parameters, of course). I didn't realise that the <ref> tags could not be in the template; that kind of blows one idea I had, and reduces one of the advantages of templates—saving keystrokes. I wonder if we could have a <ref></ref> button on the editing toolbar?
What's "MLA style"?
Do you agree with the broad idea of separate sources or bibliography and references or notes sections, as I've done in Archaeopteryx?
Philip J. Rayment 08:56, 11 July 2007 (EDT)
Comment moved from where it was originally posted:
I have been asked to comment on this matter. I don't know how I feel about this. The pro argument is that if a link changes you can find it easier. Also, people can see the source. The con argument is that people don't cite enough as it is now and making it more cumbersome might actually deter sourcing. Conservative 13:54, 12 July 2007 (EDT)
Yes, making it more cumbersome might deter providing sources, but then asking people to provide sources might deter them from writing article, too! It is a valid concern, but not one that should dictate what our standards are, in my opinion. And providing just a link does not work when the source is not on-line anyway; in these other cases, we still need to define a style for presenting the information. Philip J. Rayment 05:52, 13 July 2007 (EDT)
  • I agree with Philip's take here. Not one rule can fit all, and our focus, always, should be on increasing content at this not mature wiki, where we really don't have the luxury of making it more cumbersome, as Conservative pointed out. Rules need to remain flexible in the formative stages, as we are still in, and can certainly be made to be more in compliance as we progress. Also, there are editors who love nothing more than to fix citations and formatting. Let us not be slaves to procedure at the risk of discouraging contributors who don't care much for formatting rules, and complications. --Sysop-TK /MyTalk 07:15, 13 July 2007 (EDT)
On the one hand, as you say, there are people who love nothing more than fixing up the formatting, etc. But on the other hand, it is less work to get it right in the first place than to do a whole lot of stuff without any guidelines then having to go back later and change it all to comply with some quality standards. One thing that Wikipedia suffers from (understandably) is a proliferation of templates, formats, and styles that have been added to in a very ad hoc way. We have the opportunity here to try and get things right before we go too far down the track of creating a mess that becomes too large to fix later. Philip J. Rayment 07:25, 13 July 2007 (EDT)
I agree with Phil. I have been adding a lot of footnotes and follow his general practice. I also include the URL link in both the footnote and the bibliographic entry. I strongly dislike the Wikipedia templates but they are over-complicated and very constraining as to annotations. RJJensen 12:42, 8 November 2008 (EST)

Using a footnote more than once

Does anyone have a problem when they try to do this? I tried it recently with the MiG-21, to use the same ref in three different sections, and I just could not get it to work. I put the refs in exactly as I was supposed to, but it kept giving me static. I finally just had to gave up. Is there a problem, or did I just do it wrong somehow?--Frey 12:35, 8 November 2008 (EST)

I don't follow you. In the MiG-21 article, you have done it correctly. Or did you fix that after posting this? Philip J. Rayment 18:25, 8 November 2008 (EST)
Sorry, I did, and I should have added to the comment afterward. I fixed it by cutting and pasting from the help page on the subject. I still don't know what I did wrong, but it was obviously my error, and now it's fixed. I'm cutting and pasting it from now on; I always seem to run into trouble when I try to type it in myself. Thanks.--Frey 22:05, 8 November 2008 (EST)

Mechanical/Grammatical Errors

(1) Swallowed d

Under the "Creating the References section [sic for Section]" the first line contains a "swallowed d":

"References sections should be place [sic for 'placed'] in all articles below the . . . ."

(2) Inconsistent title style

In this article the titles of the same order are inconsistent in style. A decision should be made as to capitalization: Choose a system and stay with it. For example, one may choose to capitalize only the first word of a title or one may choose to capitalize all the words in the title, except articles and prepositions. In the above case the title should be either "Creating the references section" or "Creating the References Sections." Then all the same level titles should conform.

(3) Lack of number agreement, subject and predicate; misplaced parentheses

Again, under the "Creating the References section [sic for Section]," one reads:
"Keep an eye out for articles with references ( [sic] which, as previously mentioned, are identifiable by the superscript text and link color) [sic] but does [sic for "do"] not display the references or displays [sic] them not inside the References subsection."
The antecedent of "which" is "articles"; thus "which" is plural. Therefore, the predicate of "which" should also be plural; "do," not "does"; "display," not displays. The parentheses should be moved so that the sentence makes sense when the parenthesis is removed:
Suggested correction:
Keep an eye out for articles with references which (as previously mentioned) are identifiable by the superscript text and link-color but do not display the references or do not display them inside the References subsection.
The hypen in "link-color" is suggested since as written, the words may give the impression that "link" is a verb with direct object "color."

(Thunkful 10:57, 17 June 2010 (EDT))