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Template talk:Quickbar

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Quick Facts
Capital Washington (D.C.)
Government Federal republic
Currency US dollar (USD)
Area 3,755,241 miles2 (9,631,418 km2)
Population 293,027,571 (July 2004 est.)
Language English, Spanish (spoken by a sizable minority), Hawaiian (in Hawaii)
Religion Christian 78% (Protestant 52%, Roman Catholic 24% Mormon 2%) other 10%, none 10%, Jewish 1%, Muslim 1% (2002)
Electricity 120V / 60Hz
Country code 1
Internet TLD .us, .edu, .gov, .mil (most sites use .com, .net, .org)
Time Zone UTC -5 to UTC -10

This template replaces the HTML quickbars previously used in country templates. To implement use the following format (note that the location, flag, and main images MUST NOT be wider than 250px):

| image=[[Image:image|noframe|250px]]
| flag=[[Image:flag]]
| location=[[Image:location|noframe|250px]]
| capital=[[Capital]]
| government=Type of government
| currency=Currency used
| area=Country area
| population=Population
| language=[[Language1]], [[Language2]], Language3, ...
| religion=Religion(s)
| electricity=Electrical voltage and current
| callingcode=Calling code
| tld=Internet top level domain
| timezone=Time zone(s) in relation to UTC

Quickbar templates - request for comment

Swept in from the Pub:

While trying to track down existing templates for the Wikitravel:Template index page I came across User:JanSlupski/Projects/QuickBar, which was an attempt to create templates to use for quickbars. The advantages cited were that this would bring some consistency to how quickbars are implemented, and it would be less intimidating for a user to see {{quickbar|title=""|population=""|etc}} then the current batch of HTML that begins most articles with quickbars. It would be good if others could comment on User talk:JanSlupski/Projects/QuickBar as to whether they think something like this is a good idea, specifically in light of the fact that the current template policy discourages template use, although Evan did recently indicate that his opinions of templates may be changing. -- Ryan 14:13, 3 April 2006 (EDT)

This gets a strong support from me. I think a really brief quickbar template at the top of the page is way easier to grok than the HTML we have now (which predates templates, and MediaWiki tables, by the way).
Question: is it worth writing a bot to change the 200+ country quickbars, or should be just do it as time goes by? Also: JanSlupski's quickbar uses a lot of items. I wonder if, with defaults in templates that we get with MediaWiki 1.6.x, we could cut it down to just one Template:Quickbar. --Evan 17:29, 17 April 2006 (EDT)
There is also Template:Country Quickbar, which looks a bit easier to use. If it's used I think that the name should be changed to just "Template:Quickbar" (as you suggested), and it should then be fairly easy to modify the single template to take default params. I don't have time right now to cobble something together, but if no one beats me to it I could do something later tonight.
As to writing a bot, I'm not sure that the syntax and headers are standard enough that it would be all that easy - it might be easier to kind of change as we go, and with only 200 or so quickbars the change shouldn't be too painful. -- Ryan 17:56, 17 April 2006 (EDT)
I've put together a Template:Quickbar. I've replaced the quickbar for the Falkland Islands and Italy with this template. Let me know if you have any comments. -- Ryan 01:43, 18 April 2006 (EDT)
I tried it out on Picardie, which was a mess before. -- Jonboy 14:03, 18 April 2006 (EDT)
Thanks - it looks like a lot of whitespace is being added, so I'll see if I can fix that. Additionally, do we need the capability to add lists of regions to the quickbar? Currently "departements" is not a supported parameter, but that could be changed if it's something people want to see in the quickbars. My personal feeling is that region lists belong in the main article, but I don't feel so strongly about it that I wouldn't want to change the template if others wanted it changed. -- Ryan 14:30, 18 April 2006 (EDT)
I don't think we need regions in the quickbar, but based on my experience on Wikipedia, it would be nice to have an optional editor-defined item, to allow the inclusion of some factoid that doesn't apply in most cases, but is interesting and relevant to a specific location (e.g. national anthem: "Freebird". To implement it, the template would need to take two parameters: the name of the element and the data for it.
I'm concerned about shortening the name of the template to just "Quickbar". If this is the only kind of quickbar we're going to have, it's fine, but what about templates for other kinds of articles (e.g. cities, itineraries, parks)? If so, maybe "Quickcountry" or something would be more flexibile. The alternative would be to make one quickbar template that can take all kinds of parameters and ignore the irrelevant ones, but I think separate templates would be easier to grok (and to customize, such as color coding). - Todd VerBeek 15:15, 18 April 2006 (EDT)
Responding to Todd's comment above (indentation level was getting a bit deep), it would be pretty easy to add a couple of user-defined headings - for example "heading1=National Anthem", "value1=Freebird", "heading2=", "value2=". I'm not sure if that's the preferred approach, so I'll wait until someone else chimes in before making any changes.
In terms of naming, my personal preference would be to avoid the proliferation of templates that has occurred on Wikipedia by starting out with just one "Quickbar" template. If needed in the future we can always create new types of quickbars, but I don't think it hurts to have one general quickbar now. The current HTML quickbars are implemented with some consistency on country pages, region pages, state pages, and possibly even on a few city pages, so having a "general" quickbar template seems to be reasonable way to encompass how quickbars are currently used on the site. -- Ryan 17:09, 18 April 2006 (EDT)

Quickbar for States

Way back I put a quick bar on three of the US states. Maine, Arkansas and Oklahoma and maybe another one or two. I can't remember for sure if there where more. I kind of like it, but I would prefer to get a consensus before moving and doing more. And, if there is a consensus to do this I am thinking the best way would be to have a template. All three of the states were the same to start, but wikitravlers have made a couple of changes on the one in Oklahoma. Let me know what you think. If consensus is not to do this, I would be happy to remove the one's I put in place. Thanks. -- Tom Holland (xltel) 16:29, 7 June 2006 (EDT)

For what it's worth, something similar has been done for regions of France, e.g. Champagne-Ardenne. - Todd VerBeek 17:14, 7 June 2006 (EDT)
Also, before creating another template, what different fields are needed for states? It should be pretty simple to add new fields to this template, and we could also fairly easily add support for a few generic fields to allow users to define their own heading. -- Ryan 17:34, 7 June 2006 (EDT)
To be frank, I'm not a fan of including "state flower" and such on travel articles... that kind of elementary-school-geography info isn't as relevant to me as a potential traveler as the preferred languages, gods, and voltages of a country I might be visiting. Area codes are more practical info, but as soon as a state has more than one or two it doesn't do much good to list them. - Todd VerBeek 17:54, 7 June 2006 (EDT)
I've removed the quickbars from the French regions, and I think it would be prudent to do the same for the US states as well. My reasoning is similar to Todd's - aside from timezone and area code (if not more than one), the information provided really isn't all that useful for travel, and it can be tough to then draw the line. For example, is it appropriate to create a quickbar for any region? For cities? What then goes in the quickbar? Perhaps in the future if there are some guidelines created about what is valid information for a quickbar then we can revisit this issue, but for now I think the information is better off in the main article for non-country articles. I'll hold off on making further changes to allow others to comment, but unless there are objections then I'll probably remove them in the future as part of the quickbar-ectomy that is in progress. -- Ryan 09:21, 1 July 2006 (EDT)

Including maps

Should we include maps in the country quick bars? I'd suggest under the "location" map. - Andrew Haggard (Sapphire) 15:53, 13 June 2006 (EDT)

The two concerns I'd have would be 1) the map would be very tiny, and 2) the quickbar is getting a bit crowded. Looking at Italy as an example, I kind of like the way it's laid out now. That said, I'm terrible with aesthetics, so other opinions should carry a bit more weight than mine. -- Ryan 16:37, 13 June 2006 (EDT)
I've been thinking that we really should appropriate more of those location maps, probably for every country. They're Free and they're useful. I don't think they look bad in the quickbar... if any graphic element is going to go, I'd be inclined to (re)move the flags (provided there's a nice photo in place). - Todd VerBeek 17:14, 13 June 2006 (EDT)
Just in case I've bungled my words again, I'm very much in favor of the location maps in the quickbar, I just don't think we should also put the full country map in the quickbar. Italy is a great example of how the location map can be useful even in a small form.
I looked into getting more of those maps from Wikipedia, but many have been licensed as GFDL only. I've left a note on WikiPedia:User talk:Vardion#CC-SA licensing for maps? asking if he will re-license CC-SA, but he seems to be traveling and so it may be a while before we get a response. -- Ryan 17:31, 13 June 2006 (EDT)
I like the location maps too and I like the flags also so I don't think anything should go. Regarding the licensing the location maps. Some of them are available as PD. In theory we can use one that's licensed as public domain then edit the images to suit our needs, right? - Andrew Haggard (Sapphire) 17:35, 13 June 2006 (EDT)
  • I have a map include on a quick bar for Russia. You can see it on my sandbox test page. Thoughts? I also have the code prepared to replace the Templat:Quickbar ready, but I'm not going to mess with that yet. The map is a bit smaller than it would be if we left it free standing in an article, but I'd rather include it in the quick bar, because I think it cleans up the look of articles. Andrew Haggard (Sapphire) 17:26, 13 June 2006 (EDT)

Order of image/flag/location map

After adding a location map to Zambia the quickbar looked a bit odd to me - there was a nice landscape image of elephants, followed by a dinky flag image, followed by a nice location map. Switching the flag so that it is immediately above the "Quick Facts" section looks better to me, but others may disagree. Thoughts (if any)? -- Ryan 15:12, 27 June 2006 (EDT)

I like the way you ordered it. Image/Location/Map/Facts. - Andrew Haggard (Sapphire) 16:00, 27 June 2006 (EDT)

Image padding

Another minor change, but I'm leaving a note here since quickbars are now used on a lot of pages. The "location" map image had 2px padding around it, but the "image" image had 0px padding. I've added 2px of padding to the "image" image as well, which looks better to me - see Singapore or United States of America. As always, I'm terrible with aesthetics, so if anyone feels strongly that the image looks better without padding feel free to revert. -- Ryan 19:26, 29 June 2006 (EDT)

Wiki links for time zone & calling code?

Any objection to updating this template so that the timezone header, electricty header, and the callingcode header link to Time zones, Electrical systems and List of country calling codes, respectively? I'm personally not very familiar with "UTC", and the voltage thing for electricity can be a bit confusing, so the additional links might be helpful for people. -- Ryan 10:13, 1 July 2006 (EDT)

No objection; it's certainly harmless. - Todd VerBeek 10:24, 1 July 2006 (EDT)
Done. The Singapore quickbar looked a bit odd to me after making the change, so I've also modified the template to prevent headings from wrapping ("Calling Code" was appearing on two lines). -- Ryan 10:32, 1 July 2006 (EDT)

Requests for Quickbar-ectomies

Moved from the Pub:

The recently introduced quickbar template is now in use in over a hundred articles, but there are still a substantial number of articles using the old quickbar. Converting to the new format is pretty easy, so anyone interested in helping out can use this link to locate pages still implementing an HTML quickbar, and then edit the page to use the following syntax:

| image=[[Image:image|noframe|250px]]
| flag=[[Image:flag]]
| location=[[Image:location|noframe|250px]]
| capital=[[Capital]]
| government=Type of government
| currency=Currency used
| area=Country area
| population=Population
| language=[[Language1]], [[Language2]], Language3, ...
| religion=Religion(s)
| electricity=Electrical voltage and current
| callingcode=Calling code
| tld=Internet top level domain
| timezone=Time zone(s) in relation to UTC

If you don't feel like looking up a field it can be left empty, such as "timezone=". In addition, Todd points out the following:

It's not terribly difficult; I've done dozens of them already. The most time-consuming part of it is looking up the usually-missing bits (which are all optional, but as long as you're there you might as well), and picking a pretty picture if you're so inclined. Here are some handy references: TLDs [1], electricity [2], calling codes, and time zones. - Todd VerBeek 13:58, 7 June 2006 (EDT)

This isn't a critical task, but the more people who feel like helping out the faster it will get done. -- Ryan 22:22, 13 June 2006 (EDT)

And it looks like, after a few weeks of mostly Ryan and me tag-teaming it, we've finished! At this point, it is theoretically possible to move, reformat, etc. all of the country/territory quickbars at once by editing a handful of templates. - Todd VerBeek 22:02, 2 July 2006 (EDT)

Quickbars on states?

Moved from the Pub:

I've noticed whilst trawling through Wikitravel upgrading the old quickbars to the new template that alot of the states in the US and also a few of the departements in France have quickbars... Do these actually need quickbars? In most cases, the info in the bar is merely a summary of what is already written in the wordy bit of the article or a copy of what is written in the country's quickbar, such as language spoken, currency, internet domain, time zone etc. A few examples of this are Maine, Poitou-Charentes. For the sake of uniformity throughout wikitravel, I believe we should either

  • quickbar all such states/departements/provinces with a tailor made region quickbar template


  • remove quickbars from states/departements/provinces.

However, in my opinion if we put region quickbars in, the kinds of things that could be put in - such as main sights - would require explanations in the See / Do sections.... What do other people think? Tsandell 07:54, 26 June 2006 (EDT)

Those quickbars don't appeal to me. The timezone info is nice to have. OldPine 09:44, 26 June 2006 (EDT)
See Template talk:Quickbar#Quickbar for States. -- Ryan 10:27, 26 June 2006 (EDT)

Quickbar for Cities

We are using a quickbar for cities on de: for some months now and I think it might be good to introduce it in other language versions, too. Have a look at Paris, Dresden or Ko Tao to get an impression what it looks like. I also made a auto-translation-template so it is possible to copy-and-paste the quickbar from other language versions, that might be especially interesting for smaller versions. --Flip666 writeme! • 19:26, 14 May 2007 (EDT)

It does look nice, but I'm not sure it's worth the effort, considering the limited amount of travel-related information there is for a quickbar to present at the city level. Also, once we start putting it on some cities, we either need to determine which cities to use it on, or we put it on all cities... and creating a location map for every city in the guide... I feel tired just thinking about it. :) - Todd VerBeek 21:21, 14 May 2007 (EDT)
Actually, the location maps are auto-generated so there's no need to create a location map for every single city, just add the country code and geo coordinates. -- Sapphire(Talk) • 21:26, 14 May 2007 (EDT)
Even so, looking up the coords of every city and applying the template to each article takes time. Then multiply that by several thousand. I know first-hand that applying a quickbar "only" to the countries in en: was a lot of work; adding one to cities will require geometrically more time than that, and every hour spent that way would be an hour not spent on other tasks. I'm not opposed to it, but I don't see it as the most useful way to spend our time. - Todd VerBeek 21:47, 14 May 2007 (EDT)
We should find out the coordinates for the geo-Template anyway. And it is easy: Click on the link to WikiPedia and then on the coordinates (E.g. Munich: [3]). You'll see a page where you can copy&paste them in the right format. And the advantage is once one language version has gathered all information (coodinated, area, population, etc.) all other language versions could just copy&paste the template. --Flip666 writeme! • 22:02, 14 May 2007 (EDT)
I really like this idea. Some information that might be valuable on the city level includes: telephone area code, zip/postal code, and time zone. For example I'm writing an article about Sandpoint Idaho right now and I want to find a quick way to let travellers know that Sandpoint is, unlike most of Idaho, on Pacific Time. I think a quickbar for cities might be a good idea for listing important tidbits so that a traveller doesn't have to dig through the article to find them. L'Aquatique 18:13, 30 July 2007 (EDT)
Oh please, please no!, I'd like to get rid of this template entirely, not expand its use. I really think that the "Contact" section of cities is the appropriate place for this kind of information; if it is something exceptionally important to the traveler, as in this case, I think a short note plus an in-article link should do the trick just fine. --Peter Talk 19:54, 30 July 2007 (EDT)
I'm afraid I don't understand why quickbars are so unpopular here? I checked out Flip's german links and I have to say it looks good. Some changes in content might be helpful, but having that information right up front saves time, ouais? L'Aquatique 23:17, 31 July 2007 (EDT)

Delete the Quickbar

The quickbar has always looked like a weird, mostly irrelevant Wikipedia import to me and I think it is wreaking havoc on the country article displays. Especially since the ToC now lies to the left of content at the top of the page, having a right-aligned quickbar takes up lots of space and squashes the actual content into a mess. On country articles that have color-coded region maps (and I personally think they all should), the quickbar forces the map way down below the regions section. I resolved this on the Russia page, but throwing html brs around is not a good fix and leaves a lot of new white space.

But above all, these "factoids" are mostly of dubious importance to the traveler (flag images? Internet TLD? Government type="Federation"? Area in square km?). And the factoids that are of any relevance should be covered in the main sections of the article anyway. They are not so important (e.g., time zones, currency, religions, population) that they should take up such valuable real estate at the top of the page, and thereby mess up our article formatting. Even the "location" map should simply be replaced (IMO) with a Wikitravel style country map; and that doesn't have to be at the top of the page.

So, sorry if this seems radical, and I realize that a lot of effort has been put into this template, but I propose we delete the quickbar and discourage its use in country articles. --Peterfitzgerald Talk 21:20, 29 May 2007 (EDT)

I'd also like to point out that the quickbar is even messing up the formatting of this talk page. --Peterfitzgerald Talk 21:25, 29 May 2007 (EDT)
How about we first see if we can fix these problems before throwing out the baby, bathwater, and basin? I think some of that information is very useful (especially the location maps) and belongs at or near the top of the article, and the glamour photo in that position is a Wikitravelism I'd hate to see lost. The reason the quickbars were done as templates was to make them easily changed, globally. So alterations can be made to the contents, format, and even position (to the extent that attached CSS will let us). Other options to avoid a conflict (e.g. moving the Cities or Understand section into the space beteen the TOC and Quickbar) should be considered as well. - Todd VerBeek 21:47, 29 May 2007 (EDT)
Just so we're clear, I'm proposing we ditch quickbars altogether, not just the template ;) It just seems to me that they're not necessary. We can keep the top photo right where it is just by using wiki writeup, ditto for the location maps (which I'd prefer to see replaced by Wikitravel maps anyway), and everything else belongs in the article IMO. I'm curious to hear more thoughts, though. --Peterfitzgerald Talk 21:53, 29 May 2007 (EDT)
I'm with Todd on this one - let's first try some fixes for the TOC and other elements. I'm fairly confident that with a little bit of effort we can get things looking nice again, and I like how the quickbars provide a way to quickly identify country articles while also providing some succinct info for travelers. -- Ryan • (talk) • 21:55, 29 May 2007 (EDT)

Well, it's not looking like there is much support for my deletion proposal, so I will scale back. I say remove the following pieces of unimportant trivia from the quickbar and allow them to simply reside within the appropriate sections of a country article:

  • Flag — maybe other editors think it "looks nice," but it is totally irrelevant from a travel perspective
  • Government type — comparative government structure = encyclopedic content which is totally uninformative for a traveler's purposes; moreover, one-liner government descriptions are uselessly simplistic and silly
  • Area — why on earth would a traveler need to know the square kilometers of a country?
  • Language — we have an entire section of the travel guide ("Talk") devoted to this, why duplicate it here?
  • Internet TLD — a totally irrelevant factoid that belongs in an encyclopedia, not featured so prominently in our travel guides

Removing these sections would make the quickbar a bit less of an eyesore IMO and would help relieve the formatting pressures that the quickbar is putting on our country articles (e.g., Azerbaijan). It would also just make the quickbar more useful by sorting out the relevant information (e.g., calling code & electricity) from the absurdly irrelevant (area) and the simplistic and non-useful (government type). --Peterfitzgerald Talk 16:02, 2 June 2007 (EDT)

I don't think the area is "absurdly irrelevant"; it provides a sense of scale that's not otherwise obvious from just a map. I do think that the land area vs. water area data is of little value, which is why I've generally condensed that item to just the land area. I'm not overly attached to the other items you suggest removing. My earlier point about the template is that we can experiment and even implement the necessary changes (even going with your proposal of just a photo and a location map) using the template, without editing any of the articles. We decide we don't want to include TLD, and it's gone; we decide we want it back, and it's back. Etc. And I'll also be frank: the "problem" here isn't just the quickbar, but also the new regionlist template that apparently was constructed without checking to see whether it would actually work in the space available; it hardly seems fair to blame the quickbar for that. - Todd VerBeek 16:25, 2 June 2007 (EDT)
It may be that square km are just absurdly irrelevant to this traveler because I don't have any relative measurements on hand to compare. I prefer size comparisons with other well known countries or states and have tried to provide those, when relevant, in understand sections. And I don't think that the regionlist template has much anything to do with this problem besides making it obvious. The problem is that the long quickbar forces right aligned content (usually images) way down and this prevents editors from doing sensible things like putting a regions map next to the regions section. I'm still quite skeptical of the quickbar's value altogether, but would anyone object if I go ahead and remove the flag, government type, language, and Internet TLD sections as per my previous comment? That would at least reduce the problem a bit. --Peterfitzgerald Talk 16:55, 6 June 2007 (EDT)
I've got no objection to removing the TLD field, but language is useful, government is helpful, and flag has been there long enough that I've gotten kind of attached to it. If others want those fields removed I've got no real objection, but without comment from others I don't think too many changes should be made yet. Perhaps solicit further comment in the Pub? -- Ryan • (talk) • 19:57, 6 June 2007 (EDT)
I would object to removing any of the fields, except maybe the water/total areas. Jpatokal 22:40, 6 June 2007 (EDT)

RDF piggyback

Since every country article should have a quickbar, and only country articles should have a quickbar, I've piggybacked some RDF code that says "this article describes a country" into the quickbar template.

At some point it might be interesting to make some of the quickbar fields RDF attributes of the country, too. --Evan 13:15, 11 June 2007 (EDT)

Have a look at #Quickbar for Cities, as well as the articles using the quickbar. There are currently a number of cities that include this template. -- Ryan • (talk) • 13:40, 11 June 2007 (EDT)