Template talk:Politics of the United States

Comment

It should be obvious that this "series" is unacceptable at the top because it pushes relevant photographs towards the bottom in exchange for not so relevant links. If it is not converted into a footer, I will revert en masse.-- Jia ng 00:23, 12 May 2004 (UTC)

It is hardly obvious - Politics of the United Kingdom has worked very effectively this way, and people find it much more instructive to have a series header than a photograph. Many Wikipedia article series head an article, especially with general overviews such as these. Please look around the music genre boxes for example. Headers are a common part of Wikipedia, used in city, country pages, history etc. Why not in politics? These pages are clearly a series.
These aren't biographies, where the photo of course deserves a place at the top. These are descriptions of institutions. The pictures are either just examples of processes in action, or the buildings. And to be honest, the buildings should have their own sites, if the pictures are that important to you. If you think the politics header is basic - then expand it. It's supposed to be a start. Many people have little idea of the workings of governments and these headers help them to find their way around. I don't know whether you find it so ludicrous because you are very familiar with this particular political system, but the idea would be to extend this to every political system in the world, standardize, and by thus pointing out missing pages, encourage growth. That way, lesser known/understood political systems will become comprehendable and transparent. Pteron 00:37, 12 May 2004 (UTC)

The claims that the Politics of the United Kingdom has "worked very effectively this way" and that "people find it much more instructive to have a series header than a photograph" are entriely substantiated. There is no evidence that people generally prefer these series boxes pictures and there's the discussion to suggest that quite a few are opposed to the idea, and making listings that seem to have no clear chronological order into footers (instead of series boxes) seems to be the compromise action ( mediaWiki:cults and Template:Jesus were spared deletion this way). Take a look at the proposed series boxes policy. There is previous discussion at Wikipedia talk:Article series and Wikipedia talk:Page footers. Just because "series" exist elsewhere doesn't make it appropriate here. The UK articles have fewer pictures because their govt websites are copyrighted.

I don't like the idea of this grouping of articles at all, but am willing to allow it to sit at the bottom of the article. If people are clueless in the field of American politics, wouldn't directing them to politics of the United States be much more efficient than throwing in a link to the Senate Majority Leader? If the Senate Majority Leader is relevant and ever comes up, then it would be obviously linked in the article itself and linking it on the side wouldn't be necessary. IMO, which is unsubstantiated like yours, people ignore these boxes. They're just there because theyre pretty.

I don't buy your argument that those pictures have less relevacny, or at least less relevancy than the group of links. The building is not just a building, but a symbol of the institution itself. Examples of the processes in action helps the reader develop a mental image of what he/she is reading, making the article more memorable. Just like how a biography describes not what a person looks like, but what he did, an article on an institution describes not what the building looks like, but what the institution does. Institutions are just like biographies. A photo of the House chamber is more relevant in the House article than a link to the Vice President.-- Jia ng 01:02, 12 May 2004 (UTC)

The sites you have linked to show that people are actually quite divided on this issue. The list is much clearer than in most cases - it simply lists the highest government organs. While you could argue that some cases merit placing the list below a picture (the political parties might be such candidates - I'm unhappy cluttering the top of that article), no one is talking about eliminating a picture. If, as you are hoping, people actually read the article, they will be fed visual impulses soon enough. Boxes at the bottom are for less clearly related topics.
The idea is that the reader start with the more general topic and then, without having to search the article, can jump to the next relevant page . Pages tend to link to superordinate and subordinate topics, but not to ones on the same level. For instance an article on the Courts will link to politics of the United States and to different types of courts, but not to the President, etc. But someone trying to grasp the big picture might want to see how these two topics interrelate, without flipping back to the 'main article' every time.
The boxes serve an important purpose besides informing people about other connected topics - they also offer a host of red links to be added to. Even for the United States, an overview of elections is simply missing! There, I didn't know that - did you? This will cause people to work on the top level of hierarchy and from those subpages more and more red links will open up possibilities to write. Of course, for the US, the politics sections are pretty complete for the most part, but many countries' political systems' entries look very very bleak. And please, don't say, "aha - then form a WikiProject" - that's a great idea, and worth considering, but then these boxes would be even more necessary to alert people to the existance of that project.
First off though, a few paradigms are needed - and the US is at least a good system to go for to get people motivated to look at a box and give suggestions on how to modify it. This is how the wiki works, as you know - experimentation. Politics boxes are untested. The field is perfectly coherent and often badly connected. If the US politics page did a semi-decent job describing the American political system, perhaps we really wouldn't need a series box. This is not the case however. Before threatening with deletion, perhaps you should wait what other people say about this... We're sure to hear from others now that I provocatively placed the boxes at the top of the articles. I have my position, but it isn't doctrinaire and I may be willing to back off from it, once I've heard more opinions. Pteron 01:49, 12 May 2004 (UTC)

While people remain divided on the issue, converting non-chronological grouping into footers is the general compromise and standard practice. This is the first objection to converting a series into a footer that I've seen. The debate is over whether to have them at all. The issue is not over whether to put the picture there or not, but whether a link the Senate Majority Leader in an article on the House of Representatives is more relevant than a photograph of the House chamber. Of course readers will still see the picture, but which do you want them to see first? I do not see how this grouping of articles is more cohesive than some other footer articles. What has House have to do with the Chief Justice? One is a chamber of the Congress, the other is a position on the Supreme Court.

As for your example on how an article on the courts lacks a link to the president, I don't see why the presidency would have anything to do with the "big picture". The "big picture" exists at [Politics of the United States]. If the two subjects are related, the link will exist, as it should, and creating an extra link to the side is not necessary. Otherwise, the link to the presidency is irrelevant. If someone wants to learn about the preisdency, the can put their cursor over the upper right hand corner field, insert the title "POTUS" and press "Go". It's simple enough. This listing is clearly not a "series" since if I really wanted to learn all there was to know about the US govt, I could learn about the supreme court before I learned about the Congress. Furthermore, why the Senate Majority Leader and not the House Majority Leader? Why the House Speaker and not the President PRo Temp of the Senate? Whether to include certain positions in the government is arbitary. I don't understand what you mean by "next relevant page". If this "series" is meant to link parallel articles, it does a bad job. "Federal government", "senate", and "congress" all sit on different levels. There's also no parallelism with the govt positions, between political parties and government institutions, nor with the single link to "election". In any case, there's no reason not to make this a footer. LEt people see things and click once theyre done with reading the article.

The argument that this helps alert people of red links is flawed. The purpose of our edits is to improve the content and look of an article and just that. We are interested only in the final product and not the process. Requests to get articles written can be done at wikipedia:Requested articles or one may just spam all the relevant talk pages (even this is not recommended, to say the least of spamming articles themselves). We could try something like Template:BuddhismOpenTask, but to spam the article space (if we disregard the other reasons for keeping this thing) is highly inappropriate. That aside, I don't ask that this listing be removed. The same could be accomplished if it sat at the bottom of the article.

I'm not intersted in deleting this, just modifying this to reflect its importance in the article. IF there's something wrong with the US politics page, then fix that. This is no excuse for a bad page over there. -- Jia ng 05:24, 12 May 2004 (UTC)

If I receive no further response to my objections, I will revert. I would like to see a footer, but I don't see an easy way to make one. The grouping here is illogical. -- Jia ng 08:47, 22 May 2004 (UTC)
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