Forums: Index > Watercooler > Creation of /info pages for all person articles

In order to provide database queries on articles, I am going to be adding an invisible subpage to everyone's person articles.


By database queries, I mean that we will be able eventually to do what you can do on familysearch with search by surname, place, spousename and so on. As for immediate benefits, we will have automatic detection of similar names (see George Bush, Barack Obama), as well as dynamically created lists based on time/ place / surname and what not. EG- a Surname article could have a list of all persons with the surname born in a particular county within a particular decade.


What I am proposing will in no way affect anyone's articles, and no one will be obligated in any way to use the information on the /info subpages. The bot will attempt to extract the pertinent information: Parents, spouse, offspring, event dates/ places and so on and store this on the info page. As I said, no user need be aware of the /info subpage unless some contributor decides to add info features by using things like Template:Info categories and what not. (If anyone is curious about what an info page looks like, they can check out Category:Info pages. Actually, I think AMK not me/PhloxBot created most of them.)

Search hits will return links to the contributor's person article, not the info page. As many are aware- Info pages are tabular arrangements of data only meant for edit and not end user display anyway.

If anyone has any questions or objections, please post them here. After a week, I will assume silence means that everyone is ok with this/ doesn't care one way or the other.~ Phlox 07:50, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

Seems promising and can't do any harm. May help with what I've just discussed on the county pages forum. Robin Patterson 03:18, 28 November 2007 (UTC)
So the bot is automatically going to generate information on a person's page and make an info page? Like taking William Gregg (1642-1687)'s information and making William Gregg (1642-1687)/info as I have yet to create one? If so, I suggest adding a category to the info pages that have not been used on the main article. Articles using the info templates sytem only have category Category:Info pages. Info pages not using the info tempalate system have Category:Info pages and Category:Unused info pages or something like that?
Yes, I am going to attempt to extract what I can and deposit it on a separate page that we know of as info pages. For those articles that are not using the info page data, I'd be happy to add a marker category as you suggest. I already extract this stuff from WP articles that have infoboxes as you may have seen with the US president series of extractions. It was pretty much hack code so I have been rewriting it so that extractions from other things like gedcoms and free text can use the same logic. ~ Phlox 05:46, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
A cool thing is that with every person article having an info page, all people are contained in the category, Category:Info pages. Then, if one goes to Special:Mostlinkedcategories, it will tell us exactly how many people are in our database, which would be a cool statistic. There are currently 306 people with info pages -AMK152(TalkContributions 21:00, 28 November 2007 (UTC)

Real database queries[]

Actually, it is more than simple searching. It wasn't hyperbole or a hand wave when I said database queries. For example, on the page Special:DynamicPageListSP, in the upper left hand box paste the following:

category   =Born in Greene County, Ohio 
category = Born in 1809

Now press the button below the mass of boxes helpfully labelled "Create DPL report"

My oh my, our old friend Catherine Price. Similarly, we could query for all Price surname births from the 1840's. Helpful? You bet your boots.

Of course we would not use the DynamicPageListSP page, but on our own PHP form to make a friendly form with pulldown lists of categories of interest. I'm not a jock in this area, but am a quick read, so after I get the mass importer working reasonably smoothly, I will build a dynamic genealogy query screen for us one way or another. By that time we will have a couple thousand people on the wikia and the utility of this will be borne out. ~ Phlox 06:02, 28 November 2007 (UTC)

That last sentence may be hyperbole and either over-optimistic (we will have thousands of workers) or over-pessimistic (this improvement will take for ever). Either way: this all seems to be going in a good direction! Robin Patterson 06:36, 30 November 2007 (UTC)
Did you try the database query? Play with any combination of categories you like. (BTW- we don't have to add cats like mad to everything- eg. supercats like born in the 1850s or died in UK could be added as marker templates that don't display anything or do anything. That removes the category clutter, but you still can query- only you restrict by which articles use these marker templates. Get it? Well if it is clear as mud, it doesn't matter, the Info Categories template will auto generate these invisible query criteria that the search box will build. If a truck runs over me, anyone conversant with DPL will find it to be trivial.) ~ Phlox 08:40, 30 November 2007 (UTC)
If we want a list of people born in Ohio in the 1850s, do we then query on "Born in Ohio" and "Born in the 1850s", trusting that each includes the directly categorised individuals but also every individual who has a page in any of its offspring categories (respectively cities/counties and years)? Robin Patterson 12:26, 6 September 2008 (UTC)

That Special page has gone red. Do we have a local equivalent, or has something else changed? Robin Patterson 12:26, 6 September 2008 (UTC)

Progress with DPL[]

We now have the system working just fine in one area using info pages: similar person names (hndis for short!). Thurstan, and even I, managed to iron out a couple of imperfections. Robin Patterson 12:26, 6 September 2008 (UTC)

Any final words?[]

It has been a week and no one has voiced objections, so soon I shall dust off PhloxBot and set him to grinding out info pages for everyone's articles. One burden is that everyone is going to have to remember to move the info page if they move the main article.

You guys are very productive with articles and I know you are not much for chatter, but seriously- if are any cautionary notes, please voice them now. ~ Phlox 02:37, 6 December 2007 (UTC)

I check recent changes everyday and I'm sure others do. i will always watchout for page moves. Actually this is perhaps much easier to look at. Yeah, so just categorize them as both Category:Info pages and Category:Unused info pages. If an info page is actually used, the 2nd category can be removed. -AMK152(TalkContributions 02:45, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
I got that one and will incorporate it. ~ Phlox 06:05, 6 December 2007 (UTC)

Progress by July 2008?[]

Did Phlox complete that bot work that was going to give everyone an info page? I suspect he got diverted. I see at least two of our most active contributors (from opposite hemispheres) creating them.

On the assumption of a negative answer to the above, I'm pleased to see that a couple of you have mastered info pages. I guess I could do the same. I've read the "instructions", but I think I need more examples or something. I got lost at the point where you have created an info page for your article and then you create an info page article.

Anyway, I can start with my mother's page and see what happens, then do her mother's page, and then maybe rewrite bits of the instructions myself unless one of you bright young things has done it for me.

Then, from the screeds of stuff I have read in the last couple of hours, I think I should join in the push to do more about encouraging more users to try info pages. That may include things such as creating even more links to the "info pages" pages.

Are those of you who actually create info pages really sold on the idea and willing to push it? Or should we wait to see whether Phlox's political activities will eventually release him back to us so that he can finish the bot part of it?

Robin Patterson 14:32, 6 July 2008 (UTC)

I do recommend the use of info pages. Multiple people use them. Phlox, of course, the creator. Then there's me, Thurstan, Animebill, and Strump.
When I first saw them I didn't understand it. Then, when I wanted to adjust and fix information on the pages that Phlox put the info page system on, I began to understand it. I never read the instructions page, but that does help people. I mainly learned just by using it. I encourage using it, and will monitor any users who use it, and help them to a point where they know what they're doing. If you want, I could set up an info page on one of your ancestors' articles and you could take a look at the info page and the article page and see how the information you know a lot about is placed on the info page and is generated on the article itself. In my opinion, it is easier to learn how to use these by actually doing rather than reading about it. -AMK152(talkcontribs) 17:22, 6 July 2008 (UTC)
and obviously I like them: if I have to come back and update someone's birth or death place, it is nice not to have to (remember to) change the pages for both parents, so it is an issue of good database design. Now all we need is a mechanism so that we can put all the marriage/family info (dates, places, kids) in one place and refer to it from each parent. Thurstan 22:12, 6 July 2008 (UTC)
OK, I'll play around. (This really is more fun than online computer games and less stressful!) And maybe I will email Phlox to see when he expects to return full-time. Robin Patterson 10:13, 7 July 2008 (UTC)

Progress by Easter 2009[]

Phlox got his politics sorted but is still busy with his children. Ages about 4 to 8 so I don't want to discourage him from that. I've dropped hints about this forum's subject-matter twice in the last year.

On the bright side (assuming that we never do get the coding that will give everyone an info page by bot), most new contributors are creating info pages and several of us are preparing to have them created from GEDCOMs (which means there's a bit of extra thought being given to every line of the templates. Pigs might fly? See Genealogy talk:Info pages/list of parameters.

Robin Patterson (Talk) 14:21, 6 April 2009 (UTC)