Template talk:StackHelpfulLinks

Name, title, content, usage

I have a few questions about this template:

  1. Since this is not the only development stack, it seems that the name should be a bit more specific. It refers to the LDS Java Stack. At the least, it should have the word "Java" in its name
  2. Similarly, it should have a title (inside the box) with a bit more specificity than "Stack Links"
  3. Having a more specific title is particularly important if this template is to be used in pages such as Project Announcements (where it was recently added), but I'm not so sure that is an appropriate usage. Instead, the Project Announcements page should link to the LDS Java Stack page and let the user navigate from there.
  4. There should be some documentation for this template
  5. For many similar projects, we use a Index box template to facilitate navigation among the closely related pages. It seems like navigation among the Java Stack pages would be greatly improved by such an index box, and the three external links currently included in this template could be included there.

I could begin some of these changes myself, but since I'm not involved directly in the development projects, I thought we should first discuss this. -- Aebrown 17:42, 1 June 2010 (UTC)

Great suggestions. I'd be happy to adhere to an existing standard like the Info Box Template.
There may be a semantic difference, though, in this case. The "Stack Links" are all external links for contributing to Stack development, whereas most Info Box Templates appear to be more an Index or Table of Contents for related pages within the wiki.
Regarding documentation, what would you like to see clarified/annotated/etc.?
A more specific title might be nice. In earlier revisions, we had a longer, more specific title but cut it short to save real estate. I'm not to picky either way, so long as it is short and to the point. -- joshcummings 15:38, 13 Jul 2010 (UTC)
Although the stack links are external, I don't see why that should have to make any difference. The nav box would have links to the appropriate wiki articles at the top, and then a separator line, and then the external links. That would work just fine.
For documentation, I would just like to see something like the documentation included with every other template. It can be very brief, but should provide a link to the context (e.g., "This template should be used for LDS Java Stack articles.") and explain the usage (tell people to insert {{StackHelpfulLinks}} in their articles.
I would suggest that the template should be called something like "JavaStackIndex" and the title on the template should be "LDS Java Stack". A full nav box will be bigger than the simple link box, but it will be well worth the real estate. If you agree that this is a good way to go, I'd be happy to make a first stab at the template. -- Aebrown 20:58, 13 July 2010 (UTC)
I think I can see where you are coming from. Internal, external, does it really matter? Let's see if I can clarify my point of view: The Stack's box right now is more like an encyclopedia's Appendix (external links) whereas the info box templates on the other sections are more like an encyclopedia's Index (internal links). The distinction is valuable, in my opinion. For example, what if the number of Stack pages grew to a point were an Index were important? In this case, I perceive that the widgets would be clearer and more cohesive if the internal and external links were separated. This distinction is carried out on many wikipedia pages where there is a table of contents (Index) at the top, and an external links section (Appendix) at the bottom of the page.
Perhaps you are saying, though, that the current Stack box just doesn't look very professional. In that case, I can completely see where you are coming from and would encourage efforts to make it look nicer. At this point, though, I hesitate to align it with a widget whose current function across the wiki as a whole is one of an Index instead of an Appendix.
Please, be my guest at adding documentation to the widget. As for changing the title, my vote would be for something like "Java Stack Appendix", "Java Stack External Links", "Other Java Stack Links", or something else that clearly differentiates it from its Index counterparts. It might be valuable to move it to the bottom of the pages as a horizontal bar, or something like that so it doesn't fight for attention with any Stack Index box that is added in the future. -- joshcummings 19:38, 4 Aug 2010
Some responses:
  1. The official group that makes overall decisions for the wiki has determined that Wikipedia's distinction between internal and external links is not a model we will follow on LDSTech. That distinction may make sense for Wikipedia (which has a policy against external links in the body of the text), but not on LDSTech (where there are external links throughout the body of the text in many articles).
  2. The number of Stack pages has has already grown to 15 -- well past the point where an index is important. In my opinion, we should have had an index for the LDS Java Stack articles months ago -- it would greatly improve navigation. Right now you have to use the category (which isn't familiar to new wiki users) or go to the main LDS Java Stack page, which isn't even linked to from some of the pages.
  3. I definitely agree that the internal and external links need to be separated, but they can still be on one nav box, as I proposed; they could be separated by a horizontal rule and a subheading for the external links, and then there would be no confusion.
  4. I don't see what a table of contents has to do with this discussion, since it consists purely of links internal to the page. And as I mentioned, LDSTech has decided not to have an external links section.
  5. Since we really need an index box for this topic, and it is awkward to have two boxes on each page, I really think it is best to have one nav box as I described above.
-- Aebrown 23:54, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
This page was last modified on 4 August 2010, at 16:54.

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