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I have been pondering the problem of how to encode Children data. It is a big subject and I'd like to confine my inquiry to one piece of the puzzle. One solution I have been working on requires use of an edit button so that the user can click it to edit the content in another topic. wikipedia:Template Talk:Edit and variations of the same allow this. I could certainly transfer one over for use here, but the problem on wikia is that the code you use for this actually appears to be an external link, and so the spam prevention code is triggered.

I am wondering if there is an alternative preferred way (Template- whatever) of doing the same function on Wikia.

If there is an esoteric feature I could use in a template, that is fine. Although I prefer to keep templates simple, some utility templates are necessarily complex, and I have written and maintained some of them- eg some of the boolean templates before the functionality was added via reserved words to the wikimedia engine. -Knife Maker 16:57, 26 August 2007 (UTC)

Done Template:Edit; and you can teach us all how to use it! I've copied a few hundred [?] templates from Wikipedia to here. Some need a bit of tweaking of refs to WP, which I can usually spot at first reading. I'll happily copy over and adapt any you care to list! It will be good to have an expert at hand, although you sound as if you may be a bit out of date. (Are reserved words anything like magic words?) Incidentally, the word "esoteric" is disappearing from WP templates, replaced by "intricate". Robin Patterson 02:03, 27 August 2007 (UTC)
Thanks Robin but I think it isn't the way to go. When you copied that code, did you notice how it does its work? It uses single square bracket linking, so it looks like an external link. What I was predicting is true- the WP edit template is broken on wikia because it triggers the spam code. Just try saving from a non admin/bureacrat account. Here is a test case: [edit]
See? That sort of thing really makes editing a drag for folks just getting their feet wet, so I really want to find a different way. I'm not sure that Bill's solution is all that bad- he transcludes some stuff on the home page, then puts at edit link which doesn't take you to the edit box, but the location of the transcluded page. So the user has to do a second step of clicking the edit tab. It's two step so not that elegant, but no big deal. -Knife Maker 08:07, 27 August 2007 (UTC)
What you are looking (editing simplicity) is a significant problem. People (myself included) would like a simpler way of adding information about their ancestors rather than the brute force approach. For some, that means a GEDCOM dump program---for which there is one, but the original author no longer partipates, and its not ready for primetime. The transclusion approach that I use, works well enough as far as it goes, but as you point out its not an elegant solution, and I don't think anyone beyond me is actually using it. Something more efficient would be desirable.
However, ease of initial data entry is only part of the problem. The bigger (and more difficult to solve) part is related to the point that some data is used on multiple pages. For example, a persons DOB potentially appears on a) their parents page in their parents list of children, b) on their own page (in the vita box for example); c) on their spouse(s) page, d) and then again on each of their children's pages. Ditto DOD, etc. Its something of an annoyance to have to enter the same data in so many places---not only is it time consuming, but you have to be sure to get the same value in each time. And then of course, if better data comes along, it has to be changed everywhere its found. That's a fair bit of housekeeping---something that most people expect to be taken care of automatically in their genealogy programs.
Ultimately, the plan has been to write an extension to solve this particular problem using standard input boxes to transfer information in, and then anothr program to scavenge for updates, etc. My intent was/is to write such a program, but I'm afraid I'm having too much fun working genealogy programs.Bill 12:43, 27 August 2007 (UTC)
Big Big subject Bill, and I propose we cut/paste it out to a separate topic. It's the saw that cuts both ways. Informal databases are good due to their free format, but bad because of the lack of data sharing/ centralization/ disciplined data dictionary. To deal with it, there are bots, and transclusion templates. Both have the problem of introducing complexity.
Well, there IS a reason I've talked about doing this for some time, but haven't actually done anything. In part, that's because I'm not exactly set up to do this kind of thing any more, and learning yet another programming language isn't entirely as attractive as it once used to be. At any rate, there are two separate items here---one is the extension needed to implement effective input boxes (more than just article titles); that probably has some utility in other wiki's as well. If I wait long enough someone's bound to write the basic extension (G; just kidding---but there should be utility for this elsewhere as well as here.). Secondly are the 'bots'. We ourselves have none that I know of, but there is a definite place/need here. A particularly obvious bot would be one that takes the list of uncategorized pages, looks for the surname, and slaps a category onto the page accordingly. Since people articles have a very well defined nameing convention, a "catbot" should work fairly nicely. It would make Robin very happy, I'm sure. Practically speaking, such a bot would only be needed once or twice a year---just long enough to have accumulate a bunch of uncategorized articles, and the categorize them. Bill 23:13, 27 August 2007 (UTC) (Bill's right about me there! Robin Patterson 13:53, 28 August 2007 (UTC))
No need to be shy. The Pywikipedia Bot code is pretty trivial to use. I think it is on the meta.wikimedia site- in tools as I vaguely recall. They have it set up as a library of black boxes that you don't have to understand. There are a bunch of examples that you can just cut and paste. EG. Read a list of Cats to change. For each Cat, walk its tree and change foo pattern match to bar using regular expressions. Pretty dang powerful. You basically can use it with very little modification, and it is designed to work with the standard wikimedia engine. You don't run it on the server, but from any remote machine. It can be set to only send edits every N seconds / minutes so there is no extra load on the server. The only thing that might piss you off is the indentation/ whitespace is meaningful philosophy of Python. If you get fancy and the code breaks- google those terms and get ready to be surprised. -Mak 09:36, 29 August 2007 (UTC)
  • To mitigate this with Bots, what we have been doing on commons is to have folks post a requested task on the Bot page, and whoever is running it verifies the requester's bone fides, then executes it. These are usually trivial to write. I have probably run over 10K edits using the python bot engine for various admin approved changes (usually rationalizing Category names, eg French coins -> Coins of France). I don't propose that I do such bot maintenance- you probably don't have that much cruft build up at this point anyway. The main problem I see is that such automated tasks are good for strict text. A cat name is fixed. But on a genealogy wiki, users might have enterred bef1796 in one place, ca1796, or 1796? in a third.
  • The template method allows a central page with all the info on a subject stored in a single place. The user then can transclude whatever they want from that central page, using simple to use flags on the template. The problem I have found with it is that people don't use it that much on commons so maybe they would use it even less here. But if you are interested, here is a link to a page transcluding stuff from such an Info page: Example use of an Info Page. That navigation table and other junk under "background info" is dynamically loaded from the info page and shared between 25 odd pages. Make an edit to the info page, and everyone gets the fix. I wrote those templates, but like I said- what I have found after a year is that folks have voted with their feet, and although folks edit them, to my knowlege, no one has set up new ones besides me. -Knife Maker 20:26, 27 August 2007 (UTC)
I wonder whether that sort of thing is what I was looking for at http://genealogy.wikia.com/wiki/Genealogy_talk:People_Template#How_about_a_standardised_real_wiki-template_for_a_person.3F Robin Patterson 13:53, 28 August 2007 (UTC)
If WP edit template (or any other) is broken on Wikia, we can agitate to have it fixed. Central Wikia mailing list or Forum. However, in case that never happens for this template, I guess Knife Maker is saying we should not use it because any page it contains will break if any non-admin tries to edit it? Robin Patterson 13:22, 27 August 2007 (UTC)
Sorry for the confusion- I didn't mean it literally breaks- it just puts up the spam thing everytime you edit it.
Apparently the spam thing doesn't come up anymore. Did you guys turn off the Spam flag? Or maybe it stops doing the spam verification thing after the user has so many edits? If it is the former, and the flag only gets turned on when the site is in lock down mode during an attack, then that's fine, I'd have no problem using template:edit. If it is the latter, then it poses a barrier for visitors. And I think it is crucial to a wiki to keep the barriers as low as possible to first time users. -Knife Maker 19:42, 27 August 2007 (UTC)
Ah - you must be talking about the "captcha" (the thing that wants you to type what you can't really read in an image) - it applies for a user's first four days, I think, then it trusts you; we all got it when it first came in. If that's all it is, no worries!? Robin Patterson 13:53, 28 August 2007 (UTC)

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