My concerns are less than Peter's but still there
While I am very much in favor of "thickets", I see the key mechanism being the Related Articles pages, started with relatively short definitions in R-templates, and extended into articles as they grow in length. A definition as long as was written when this was only a lemma is hard to read on a substantial Related Articles page, or even at the top of a Talk Page.
Lemmas were intended as a way to link to concise definitions, or slightly more lengthy definition that were never expected to be full articles (e.g., an expansion and explanation of a complex acronym or term of art). They evolved to be an adjunct to Related Pages.
I do not believe that creating wikilinks for ordinary words, which need no more than dictionary definitions, either help contextualization or readability.
Tom, I say this as having "walked the walk" of expanding lemmas that seem to have started as part of writing on mythology, and principally explore that definition. At the very least, then, if you must use a lemma, qualify it to be mother (mythology) or parent (Greek tragedy); don't let it appear to be a general definition. If you would be general about a term with many meanings, start a full article and use subheadings for the various meanings; perhaps only a sentence or two under each.
I generally dislike, if for no other than formatting reasons, to put sources in definitions. The restricted exception is when the definition comes directly, or with slight editing, from a controlled indexing vocabulary such as Medical Subject Headings. Howard C. Berkowitz 12:57, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
- Thanks for your thinking. What I'm getting here is what not to do, but it's less clear to me how to do. What I'm looking for is a way to meet the objective of rapid creation of acceptable material which serves as a support system for quality articles, and has the purpose of attracting readers and hopefully future contributors. The lemmas are fast to create, and what I had been told were easy to expand into larger articles; but now the whole issue of "what's a definition" and "what constitutes a valid definition" has come to the forefront, and my actions have created bickering and dickering over details. There are guidelines that when writing a lemma article, the definition doesn't have to be short -- I distinctly remember reading these guidelines. About sources in definitions -- this doesn't bother me, but it bothers others, so I'll stop. About subpages like the Related Articles subpage -- I'm not a big fan of subpages. They're slow to load. I think it adds a secondary step for both readers and contributors -- a tiny tab which obscures exactly what information is related -- I prefer the Wikipedia "See also" system without subpages as being simpler, straightforward, easier for readers, faster, and less likely to cause unnecessary fuss between contributors. If I create short articles without the subpages command at the top, and without a "Related Articles" subpage, would this be acceptable? But if I find that it takes me 5 minutes to do each "short article", that's too long. It must be efficient and simple.--Thomas Wright Sulcer 13:34, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
- I understand that subpages have a learning curve, but, until a future Editorial Council should rule otherwise, the CZ standard is Related Pages, not See Also. The concept of a "thicket" is consistent with a consensus about contextualization being desirable, but there is no consensus that doing it, and associated things, to improve Google Juice is necessary.
- With help from Chris Day, I first originated the idea of a lemma, so I can share my thinking on its original purpose, which was not to be a shorthand way of writing an article. Some of the original needs were military, such as as describing the purpose of an AN/FPS-99 radar, which would only be explained further in an article on fixed air and space search radara.
- So you created the lemma. Good job. That was then. When you created this structure, you had an idea of what it might have been used for, but you could not possibly have envisioned all the possible purposes to which it might have been put. As an analogy, when the wheel was invented, would it make sense for the person who invented the wheel to specify, back then, which possible purposes it could be used for, but which it couldn't be used for? Like, wheels are acceptable for carts but not for gears within a simple machine? This doesn't make sense. As the lemma's inventor, you created a structure; I'm merely finding ways to use this structure in new hopefully useful ways.--Thomas Wright Sulcer 14:54, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
- I can only say that there is a consensus that Related Articles pages are a good thing. Now, it's one thing for more experienced contributors to create them for beginners, or for subject matter experts to add terms that may not be common knowledge (e.g. Delphi method), but it stretches the idea of collaboration when someone writes lots of articles with the assumption that other people will polish -- especially when the articles are on topics that other contributors wonder if they deserve articles at all, or are more dictionary definitions.
- What I'm wondering is: is there some kind of compromise possible, so I can write competent articles quickly with a minimum of fuss? The lemmas do this nicely; but I run into what I see as unnecessary hassle about what constitutes a definition or which wikilinks are appropriate, or how long the definitions should be. Now I'm being told "short articles" are required; I was told there's no need to fuss with metadata pages; au contraire, I'm being told I must fuss with metadata pages or related articles pages. Is there a compromise solution which meets my needs and the needs of others? From my viewpoint, none of the lemmas or short articles are much fun; rather, I see this as a nuisance chore to possibly see if it builds Google Juice, and I don't know if it will have this effect, if any. And it's one more instance of general frustration which is giving me a strong incentive to abandon this project.--Thomas Wright Sulcer 14:54, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
- If you aren't doing Related Articles, you won't see how sources in definitions impacts their formatting. Lemmas have become multipurpose, but no particular usage should damage others.
- Of course there will be bickering over details; it's still a young project. At least the details are discussed. They should be discussed and defined much more efficiently by the Editorial Council and Workgroups, which really should be in the process of establishment, except that one controversial issue is holding up the ratification of the Charter that authorizes them. Personally, and officially as a minority (but not of one), I believe the less controversial Charter parts dealing with the EC should be voted upon, with the controversial topic of an Executive being taken up in a second pass. There is no question that the EC will define conventions, although an Executive might deal with their implementation. No EC, and the role of the Executive is moot. But that's my opinion. Howard C. Berkowitz 13:55, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
- I'd like there to be some kind of efficient judicial mechanism to resolve disputes fairly, speedily, without fraying nerves. WP doesn't have one; it's thug rule there. CZ can lead the way here, but right now it, too, lacks a good way to resolve disputes.--Thomas Wright Sulcer 14:54, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
- Believe me, Tom, I'd like nothing more. The Charter was intended to create such mechanisms but it's stalled principally on one issue. Speaking as an individual, the more community effort that is spent on breaking it free, the better for everyone. Unfortunately, the Executive situation is holding it hostage, although I see reasonable compromises that could break free the judicial mechanisms -- although there are people that believe the only way to resolve such things quickly is an Executive. I disagree. These discussions take place on the Forums, although they could also, I suppose, go to the Citizendium-L list.
- I have my own opinions on how a group could work on a Google Juice consensus, but that would either involve a functioning EC, or at least a consensus discussion on the Forums. Even though I dislike the Forum format, I've learned that the culture of CZ, at the present time, is not driven by talk page discussions. Talk pages are useful for individual articles, but not for policy. Howard C. Berkowitz 15:04, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
- Noted.--Thomas Wright Sulcer 15:25, 17 April 2010 (UTC)