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CZ:Related Articles

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This page contains standards and regulations related to Related Articles subpages.

"Related Articles" pages, such as Biology/Related Articles, link to a hand-picked set of other Citizendium articles. These pages list articles under three standard headings: Parent topics, Subtopics, and Other related topics. They also list, or should list, definitions of each linked-to article.

Taken together, "Related Articles" pages will compose a hand-created category scheme. This could be of great help not only to Citizendium users who are looking for more general or more specific information, but also to designers of taxonomies and other tools for search and artificial intelligence.

Moreover, with definitions listed with each topic, the list of "related topics" serves double duty as a glossary of related terms. For a good example of this use, see Civil society/Related Articles.

Heading and format standards

Canonical headings for Related Articles lists

The following is a canonical list of "related articles" headings. With few exceptions, all Related Articles pages should have all three headings. Surround these heading titles with two equals signs.

  • Parent topics
  • Subtopics
  • Other related topics

Here is an example that you can cut and paste on the related articles subpage:

==Parent topics==


==Other related topics==


When there is a group of topics greater than five or so that share some useful classification, a subheading (i.e., a heading that further classifies Subtopics and Other Related Topics) is probably in order. Subheadings should be used liberally--they are very useful information--but chosen carefully and edited aggressively. In particular, topics should be chosen so as not to overlap too much.

Here are some possible subheadings (notes in parentheses):

  • Subdisciplines (always include these in an article about a general discipline)
  • Chief figures (e.g., presidents of the United States)
  • Notable events (e.g., battles in a war)
  • Related fields (note, not subdisciplines, but allied fields that study overlapping aspects of the topic; for example, an article about semantics might list psycholinguistics, philosophy of language, and modal logic as related disciplines)
  • Jargon (use sparingly; often, "jargon" refers to topics that are otherwise usefully classifiable, as parts of the cell could be classified as such rather than as generic "jargon")

Many more possible subheadings depend entirely on the subject. For example, an article on ethics might have a list of the virtues under the heading "Virtues".

How to link to articles

Links should be created using bulleted lists and, where there are more than a dozen entries or so, two columns, created using {{col-begin}}, {{col-break}}, and {{col-end}}.

Links should also be created using the {{r}} template. See the next section for usage notes.

The {{r}} template

See also Definitions.

You could, but should not, write links like this:

* [[Philosophy]]: The study of the meaning and justification of beliefs about the most general, or universal, aspects of things.

Instead, write links using the {{r}} (for "related") template, like this:


This then displays as follows:

  • Philosophy [r]: The study of the meaning and justification of beliefs about the most general, or universal, aspects of things. [e]

The {{r}} template is a little template that does a lot:

  • First, it automatically produces a bullet point.
  • Next, it grabs the term's definition from--in the example in question--Philosophy/Definition. The reason the definition is grabbed from a separate page is so that the same definition can be conveniently reused on other Related Articles pages (glossaries), and updated from a single predictable location.

Following that, there are two tiny links, [r] and [e]:

  • The [r] link takes the user to the Related Articles page of the topic in question. In the example above, while the main link points to Philosophy, the [r] link points to Philosophy/Related Articles. This will be handy for people working on Related Articles subpages systematically; see below.
  • The [e] link takes one to the definition template for the topic in question. In the example above, the [e] link points to Philosophy/Definition.

Note: use the singular form of the topic name, i.e., the same as the article title. For example, when constructing the Related Articles page for the "Cat" article, or Cat/Related Articles, you should list "lion" rather than "lions".

Guidelines for editing

How to use the {{r}} template

See also Definitions for our definition policy, and Template:R for technical notes.

Here's how to fill out a list of related articles (with definitions).

The first step is to write out the links as follows (flush left):


This will initially produce the following (if no definitions exist for the topics in question):

The Topic1 link is to the article titled 'Topic1'. (It will be red if it doesn't exist yet.) Following that is the link to Topic1/Definition. To write a definition for 'Topic1', simply click on that link, write out a brief definition according to our standards (see Definitions), save, and return to the page (refresh if necessary). Then you'll see the definition you wrote out displayed as in these examples:

  • Ecology [r]: The study of the distribution and abundance of organisms and how they are affected by the environment. [e]
  • Endocrinology [r]: Generically, the study of glands and the hormonal regulation of physiology; also the subspecialty of internal medicine concerned with diseases of the endocrine system [e]
  • Ethology [r]: The scientific study of animal behavior. [e]


What links to include

You are encouraged to "go forth and be bold" when it comes to compiling lists of Related Articles. We do not yet have any firm rules, and, notwithstanding a few preliminary guidelines, experience is what will teach us what the rules ought to be.

Surely there is a limit to the number of links we can include on a Related Articles page, but, until we have more experience, we dare not specify this number. Articles on very broad topics probably will have dozens of links, perhaps over 100; articles on relatively narrow topics may not have any subtopics and only one or two parent topics and related topics.

Parent topics

Parent topics are relatively easy to identify. But we should only include immediate parent topics. So, for example, deontological ethics might have ethics as a parent topic, but not philosophy.

Note that, in order for x to be a parent topic of y, y must be a subtopic of x (see definition below). For example, in order for Science to be a parent topic of Biology, Biology must be a subtopic of Science (which it is). But sometimes there are articles on very general topics that mention relatively specialized topics, but they aren't parent topics of the specialized topics. For example, the article on Philosophy might discuss Biology, but clearly, Biology is not a subtopic of Philosophy. So Philosophy is not a parent topic of Biology.


Subtopic may be defined as follows:

x is a subtopic of y =df. discussion of x itself is necessarily also discussion of y.

For example, bacteria are a subtopic of biology, since all discussion of bacteria "themselves" is also discussion of (a small part of) biology. But psychology is not a subtopic of biology, because some discussion of psychology--for example, concerning the mind-body problem--is not, on many people's views, discussion of biology. Simply because a part of one topic is included in another topic, that does not entail that the first is a subtopic of the second.

As a rule of thumb, if you can imagine the article being a section of the main article, then it's a subtopic.

The most important links to include on Related Articles pages are the immediate subtopics of the infoset's topic. We can define this jargon as follows:

x is an immediate subtopic of y =df. x is a subtopic of y, and there is no other topic, z, of which we can say that x is a subtopic of z, and z is a subtopic of y.

For example, life is an immediate subtopic of biology. But organelle is not an immediate subtopic of biology, because it is a subtopic of cell (or cell biology), which is a subtopic of biology.

All immediate subtopics of a given topic should be listed on the Related Articles page.

There are, however, some subtopics that are not immediate subtopics, but which should be listed. These are topics that are particularly important. How "importance" is gauged is subjective. We might provide some guidelines over time.

Related topics

We won't attempt to define "related topic," because there are very many ways in which topics can be importantly related. But here are some examples:

David Hume - Thomas Reid (two philosophers of the Scottish Enlightenment)
France - Germany (neighboring countries with intertwined histories)
Christopher Reeve - paralysis (Reeve was one of the most famous paralytics)
Benjamin Franklin - Declaration of Independence (Franklin was a co-author)

Also, a related topic is neither a subtopic nor a parent topic. None of the above topic pairs are subtopics of each other. So you should be especially aware of the possibility that a certain topic is indeed a subtopic--just not an immediate subtopic. All subtopics, immediate or otherwise, should be listed under "Subtopics."

How to build out the Citizendium's category scheme

The aforementioned [r] links are a handy way to help build out the Citizendium category scheme, which will be made up of "Related Articles" pages containing lists of topics and definitions. While the Citizendium is first and foremost an encyclopedia project, we would certainly like to have a full complement of links connecting our articles, and useful supplementary glossaries. If you are interested in developing our category scheme, please do so. Here's how.

Before we begin, please bear in mind that an article on a topic need not exist in order for us to link to it "in advance," as it were. Also, we can write a definition for the topic without a whole article.

Suppose you want to develop a set of Related Articles pages for the top-level topics in your discipline. Then you would proceed as follows.

First, go to the article about your discipline, the one that has "subtopic" links to all the other articles; e.g., Physics.

Next, if there is no subpage template on the article yet, add one. Type {{subpages}} at the very top of the page.

Then click on the "Related" link. This will bring you to, for example, Physics/Related Articles.

After that, go to town creating a Related Articles page: write the headings, the topics belonging under the headings, and the definitions associated with the topics.

Finally, click on the [r] links following the definitions, as you can again see here:

  • Philosophy [r]: The study of the meaning and justification of beliefs about the most general, or universal, aspects of things. [e]

This will take you to new Related Articles pages, and you can then repeat the process.

If we get enough people doing this systematically, we might rather quickly build out a full complement of prospective topics, their interrelationships, and definitions.

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