Wiktionary:Grease pit/Standardized personalizable inflection templates

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Up to WT:BP or WT:GP

Standardized customizable inflection templates

In Category talk:Conjugation and declension templates/Inflection, conjugation, and declension template names, I have proposed that we standardize the names, purpose, and display style of three types of templates used in Wiktionary.

My interest in that topic is now renewed because of {{fr-infl-adj}} (used on "digital" and other entries). {{fr-infl-adj}} displays like a floating declension table (with the added property of showing pronunciation) but is named like {{en-infl-reg-other-e}} et al., which are used on the "inflection" line (immediately following the POS heading) to show the headword and its main inflections. Is there yet a preferred pattern for naming and display styles of the two types of templates?

Also, the existence of two sets of English inflection line templates ({{en-noun-reg}} and {{en-noun2}}) leads me to believe that editors have agreed to disagree about inflection line display style. If so, some CSS magic can let everyone have his or her way just as it does with {{cattag}}. Would anyone object to standardizing the inflection template display in a way that allows each reader to choose his or her inflection line display style? (Should I move this to WT:GP?) Rod (A. Smith) 19:39, 27 May 2006 (UTC)

  • I think a good place to start would be to come up with some standard CSS classes. We would need one SPAN or DIV (depending on whether it's inline or creates some kind of box or table) as a wrapper for the whole thing, and another SPAN for the actual inflected words. All templates should use the same classes so that people can say select italics for the body of the section and bold for the actual words - or however they like it.
  • The next step would be to come up with a flexible template that uses whatever it takes to please all the camps and produce an inline version or a version in a box or table etc. That's a lot more work and the place to do it is over in the Grease pit. — Hippietrail 22:05, 27 May 2006 (UTC)

Yes, standard CSS class names are key. At the test site's "word" entryTemplate talk:en-noun, I have an example entry that uses the very simple test template en-noun{{en-infl-noun}}. (BTW, I don't know how to wikilink across both language and project. Is it possible?)

Obviously, to see the table format, use this .css:

.infl-inline {display:none}
.infl-table {display:inline}

Likewise, this .cssby default, it shows the inline format because the following is in MediaWiki:Common.css:

.infl-inline {display:inline}
.infl-table {display:none}

I somewhat hastly chose the CSS class names "infl-inline" and "infl-table". I'm sure there's plenty of room to improve that naming scheme. Since I think that inflection lines should look fairly consistent in each language section, I left the ISO language component out of those two CSS class names.

Regarding the name of the template itself, I don't know whether "{{en-infl-noun}}" would be better, but I have the feeling that short names are better since the Category:Inflection templates should eventually be nearly ubiquitous. Thus "{{en-noun}}". Rod (A. Smith) 23:28, 27 May 2006 (UTC)

Rod, I assume you weren't around during the last flame and edit wars about them? The thing has died down a bit, fortunately, so this may be the time to restart thinking about them. Also, with the new ParserFunctions, I'm sure someone can devise the final English inflection templates. Please be bold and show us some good stuff! —Vildricianus 23:56, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
I was lucky enough to miss those arguments and edit wars. I took your advice and built out {{en-infl-noun}}. I won't use it in any main namespace entry until it sounds like it has enough support for a trial run. Besides, we need to agree on some CSS class names and get those classes into the main monobook in order to prevent multiple inflection styles from displaying for everyone. Check it out, modify your Special:Mypage/monobook.css, and tell me what you think! Rod (A. Smith) 03:07, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
Looks great up to now. I'm not sure whether the box style is more popular than the single-line style, though, but that's easy to change whenever it suits us. Oh wait, I must have missed the CSS bit. Perfect! —Vildricianus 06:58, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
You've obviously done a lot of work on this, thanks! My first thoughts were that there's a hell of a lot of options which I for one and certainly most newcomers will be hard pushed to remember. I think we only really need two paradigms - {en-noun|singular|plural} which wikifies automatically, and {en-noun2|"[singular]”|either “[this]” or “[that]”} where you can include more detailed disambiguation. That doesn't include info about whether or not it's countable, but it isn't necessary since that has to go on the def lines anyway. Widsith 16:20, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
Yes, the template must be easy to use, read, and remember. I tried to make sure it would please everybody, so it supports several equivalent ways to show the same thing. That doesn't mean everyone needs to use every option, just as not everyone needs to know every MediaWiki parser function to write a good entry.
I think it's easiest to show usage options with concrete examples. So, assuming that your example applies to irregular plurals, e.g. "cactus/cacti", the template can be used in either of the following ways on the "cactus" entry:
  • {{en-noun|cact|i}}
  • {{en-noun|cacti}}
Or, to specify multiple plurals, either of the following:
  • {{en-noun|cacti|pl2=cactuses}}
  • {{en-noun|''Either'' '''[[cacti]]''' ''or'' '''[[cactuses]]'''}}
To me, the styles seem terse, natural, and flexible, and depending on one's background, at least one will easy to remember because it reads like some dictionaries. Would you prefer a different syntax for irregular plurals or are you talking about regular plurals? Those are even easier.
As for countability, It would be difficult to convince everyone to stop indicating countability on the inflection line, so the template must support it, right? Or was there some decision not to show countability in inflection lines?
Either way, I'll clean up the usage notes so it doesn't look so complicated. Rod (A. Smith) 17:33, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
That looks great. If it works out, this could solve one of the longest-running disputes on Wiktionary. Widsith 18:43, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
  • It looks really really good to me though I haven't played with it. One minor thing is I think every template name should start off with it's function, thus I would prefer infl-en-noun. We probably need another topic just on template naming - I think it's one of the reasons many users dislike them and a few vehemently hate them.
  • A bigger problem is languages with a lot more inflections. The Russian tables are surprisingly concise, but those for Spanish and Swedish for instance are a whole different kettle of fish. Maybe it's possible to have a brief and expanded version where the brief version includes only the forms that from which all other forms can be derived. I think some dictionaries for some languages do this - I think Latin is one. The full version will be more like what you see in verb table books. — Hippietrail 19:12, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
  • It certainly looks great. Here's my thoughts:
    • I think the templates should be as concise as possible and contain only the necessary. If there are obsolete plurals and things like that, they can be noted in the template, but the main explanation of how and when should go in its own section, probably =Usage notes=. Usually, things like US only or obsolete except Scotland are hardly useful. A short paragraph describing history and such is more what Wiktionary should be about.
    • Whether countability is used on the inflection line or on the definition line doesn't matter much now. We can remove or re-add it as we please if we have a stable and universal template.
    • About the naming: I don't think the function should come first. Actually, pretty much all templates have the language first. I'd really stick with {{lang-pos}} for the inflection line templates, to keep them as simple and concise as possible, but that's of course open for discussion.
    • I think the intention is to have concise inflection-line templates versus extended own-section table templates.
    • The Russians are concise because it's way too complicated and bombastic to create 88 different templates, some of which would be used for only a handful of verbs. Therefore, the noun and verb templates are merely containing the ugly table syntax so that users are not confronted with these. They have little to do with "real" inflection templates, actually. —Vildricianus 19:44, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
Yes, in fact, "infl" would be a misnomer for parts of speech that don't inflect (e.g. EN adverbs, JA nouns, ZH verbs). We say "inflection line" and "inflection template" as loosely as we say "part of speech". I hope to have a single template for each language-pos combination.
The key features of an "inflection line" at Wiktionary seem to be showing the emboldened headword and its key forms (e.g. some important inflections, transliteration, or diactitics). Each language-pos combination has a fixed but possibly incomplete set of key "inflections" (e.g. de-noun has nom/gen/pl, en-adv has only the headword, es-adj has m/f/mpl/fpl, ja-noun has kanji/kana/romaji).
For more details, optional conjugation and declension templates can show everything from archaic EN 2nd-sing, to EN possessives, ES future, and RU instrumental, all nicely organized in a table in separate level 4 section, consistent across languages.
In case it's not painfully clear, I'm striving for consistency. This model seems applicable to all parts of speech in all languages. Rod (A. Smith) 07:30, 29 May 2006 (UTC)

I'd like to be bold and create a default style in MediaWiki:Common.css for the customizable universal inflection templates, but this seems like politically dangerous ground. There appear to be many more entries using the inline inflection templates (i.e. "type A") than using the table templates (i.e. "type B"), so the least-impact choice would seem to be to use inline inflection style as the default. Should I open the topic up at WT:BP? Please offer any suggestions on how to approach this potentially explosive decision. Rod (A. Smith) 16:56, 29 May 2006 (UTC)

I guess you can be bold here. The main proponent and creator of the box styles is more or less absent now, but I think he wouldn't oppose making inline the default, as long as he can have his boxes for himself. I think the inline styles are more popular and certainly much older than the boxes, and from my experience with them, have shown much more flexibility layout-wise, so that the majority of users should see them instead of the boxes. —Vildricianus 18:29, 29 May 2006 (UTC)
Lurking is different than absent. --Connel MacKenzie T C 18:57, 29 May 2006 (UTC)
He's at all times free to comment here or elsewhere. No voice, no choice. —Vildricianus 19:56, 29 May 2006 (UTC)
Lurking indeed. Ncik 16:22, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
Yes, indeed. You are still welcome to contribute to these conversations. Please do so! Discussing things before going off on your own tangent is much more productive. --Connel MacKenzie T C 20:14, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
The larger problem of consolidating the verb templates, is the non-standard order of parameters that Ncik used in his templates. That order is still incorrect, as it does not allow for the logical (simple) combination of past and past participle via template defaulting. Also, the pointed reordering from the standard used for a long time prior, (particularly in Uncle G's templates) is a point of confusion for Wiktionary readers.
Now that the color of the boxes has been rectified, I'm much more favorable towards them - but I'd still like to see the wording corrected to match the original templates. The original templates' wordings were discussed at length; the Ncik templates' wordings were not. I know some contributors object to the problems the boxes cause for image placement, but I do not see that as an insurmountable obstacle.
Rectifying that situation I see as a two-step cleanup process. The first step would be to have temporary templates with correct ordering. The next would be to have them 'bot corrected to reorder the parameters into the new template name.
Eclecticology objected to any such improvements in the past, citing template "ownership" or something. As a result, we've been stuck in a sort of detente where Ec considers conversion of one template style to the other a non-NPOV edit.
--Connel MacKenzie T C 20:14, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
It sounds like there isn't yet any objection to {{en-infl-noun}} or to the consolidation of inflection templates in general, so I'm quite hopeful for the prospect of a universal English verb inflection template. To make sure that consolidation is not viewed as POV, I have asked for opinions regarding {{en-infl-noun}} from Ncik, the only person who has so far been identified as strongly advocating table-style inflections. When all the technical challenges have been answered, the recommendation to deprecate the redundant inflection templates and to move the universal templates to "en-adj", "en-noun", "en-verb", etc. will of course move to WT:BP for approval. Rod (A. Smith) 22:12, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
To make it easier to move {{en-infl-noun}} and {{en-infl-verb}} to their logical homes (i.e. "en-noun" and "en-verb"), I temporarily added "legacy syntax support". I.e., if the first parameter matches the pagename, the templates behave compatibly with the legacy templates. That support lets us (1) move the new templates directly over top of "en-noun" and "en-verb", (2) gradually convert legacy syntax to the new syntax, (3) train editors to use the new syntax, and (4) eventually remove the legacy syntax support.
I realize we haven't yet simplified CSS editing, but the only identified table-format advocate doesn't object to consolidation, so unless anyone has any remaining technical points to address, I'll request approval on WT:BP. Rod (A. Smith) 22:47, 3 June 2006 (UTC)
Well done. I guess the majority will keep the default anyway. Those who complain will get personal assistance if they don't want to/can't edit their CSS files. In general, (it was I who raised the question of making it more user-friendly) I had in mind to find a solution in the long run, for our expected thousands of users anywhere in the near future. It's not pressing at all, as long as we have such a small community.
Q: What do you mean by "gradually convert..."? This is still planned for a bot, right? — Vildricianus 23:19, 3 June 2006 (UTC)
I said "gradually convert" to indicate that it's OK if the first bot pass mistakenly treats lots of "regular" nouns and verbs as "irregular". E.g. the bot may see "{{en-verb|dry|dries|dried|drying}}" and not be able to figure out that "dry" is actually a regular verb. It would be OK for it to leave the entry alone and let us change it later to "{{en-verb|dr|i|ed}}". Rod (A. Smith) 00:48, 4 June 2006 (UTC)
Um, Yes. Can we have some more discussion on the direction this is going first, please? I do not think this is quite ready to start, just yet. I'm sorry that I haven't kept up with this conversation so far - it seems like it is moving a little faster than it should. --Connel MacKenzie T C 00:56, 4 June 2006 (UTC)
  • To be a little less vague, I thought the longer-term concept was to have the {{en-noun}} and {{en-verb}} the the "real" versions, containing all the forms as User:Polyglot indicated a year ago, (with past and past part. as the last two, so that one can be left off if they are the same.) Proceeding from that point, the "Uncle G" templates would then be used only to assist in the various "preload" templates, resulting in the expanded {{en-noun}} and {{en-verb}} forms (when saved, with "subst:".) This would allow for the host of "preload buttons" on new pages. To most users, it would then look like we no longer use the "Uncle G" templates, when in fact, they would be heavily exercised with each new entry.
  • Reading all of the above, it is not clear to me, that that goal is still in sight. Have I misread it? --Connel MacKenzie T C
I wasn't here for Polyglot's proposals a year ago, but I gather from your comments that an earlier plan was to consolidate all verb templates. Good. You mention that the earlier plan was to use the form "{en-verb|start|starts|starting|started}". Note that the new template allows the parameter order you describe but it also allows simply "{en-verb}". I'd be happy to review the conversation you mentioned so that I can gather any useful recommendations from it. Where can I find the conversation? Rod (A. Smith) 02:30, 4 June 2006 (UTC)
Let me know if I can help answer any of your questions. Remember, the conversation is here to work out technical details. It will later move to WT:BP for approval before any conversion begins. Rod (A. Smith) 02:30, 4 June 2006 (UTC)
I want to propose the following on WT:BP:
  1. Get approval of {{en-infl-noun}} and {{en-infl-verb}}.
  2. Move them over top of {{en-noun}} and {{en-verb}}.
  3. Wait a week for additional feedback.
  4. Migrate from and deprecate all the other English noun and English verb inflection templates.
Please let me know how much more time you would like to review the technical details before I post the proposal to WT:BP. Rod (A. Smith) 21:11, 8 June 2006 (UTC)
As for me, please go ahead. I trust you've got them technical tricks worked out (massive work!). The sooner this can get standardized, the better. — Vildricianus 21:16, 8 June 2006 (UTC)
OK, on to WT:BP! (Shouldn't there be some scene change music for these transitions?) Rod (A. Smith) 07:33, 9 June 2006 (UTC)

Latin templates[edit]

I'd have come into this discussion sooner if I hadn't had such limited access for the past month (and coming few weeks). I applaud the attempt to do all this, and am eager to work with you on standardizing the Latin templates sometime soon (well, not the verbs yet). While I have the grammatical knowledge, I've held off for making any changes because I wasn't up on all the possible formatting and structuring issues, which seem to be on your mind. If you don't hear from me in a month or so, contact me directly, please. Also, there is a list of exisitng Latin templates in my Laboratorium, so that you can get a sense for the complexities of a language with numerous conjugational forms. --EncycloPetey 02:19, 16 June 2006 (UTC)

Thanks. I'm very much looking forward to working with you on the Latin templates. I will be sure to contact you directly at that time. By the way, would you recommend that Latin be the language to follow English in this effort? If not, any suggestions on what language to tackle next? Rod (A. Smith) 02:24, 16 June 2006 (UTC)
Spanish would be a logical choice. It's got inflections, but few of them and they're regularized (even the "irregular" ones in some situations). Hippietrail might be able to help with that -- he seems to have a much larger vocabulary than I do, at least. I have several big grammars and dictionaries that might help as well, if you keep me posted (and are patient, as I currently don't have access from home). From Spanish, it will be easier to go into Latin and other Romance languages. The advantage is that it's much easier to get good information on Latin as aroot language than it is in other language families, so it's easier to figure out what's going on historically with conjugational irregularities. Oh, and keep in mind that SemperBlotto speaks Italian. --EncycloPetey 03:15, 16 June 2006 (UTC)
I'll keep those points in mind. Spanish seems like a good next victim. It doesn't have much in the way of adj/noun declension, so we can primarily focus on the POS ("inflection") line and on the conjugation tables. I personally like the way {{fr-noun-reg}} takes the noun's gender as a parameter and would like to do something similar with the noun templates of all languages where gender is key. A fresh WT:GP topic is probably in order for that, though, so maybe I should wait to open that can of worms when the English templates are in place. Rod (A. Smith) 04:57, 16 June 2006 (UTC)
*Cough* Dutch *Cough* :-) — Vildricianus 09:22, 16 June 2006 (UTC)
Duly noted, but you really should have that cough looked at. :-) Rod (A. Smith) 18:19, 16 June 2006 (UTC)
Rodasmith, I would very much appreciate it if you could kindly look at Wiktionary talk:Swedish inflection templates#Naming conventions and templat layout and give any comment you may have. (Oh, and if I do get a goahead from the community, I will most likely need to bother you about template syntax details too *smile*) --sanna 15:11, 9 July 2006 (UTC)