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Forums: Index > Watercooler > SMW articles update


Change notice. The following alterations will be made to SMW fields associated with "Showfacts" templates other SMW fields are unaffected. In addition, to remove the "double flush" problem, all set XXX templates will be replaced.

For those who have created experimental articles using SMW templates {{set general info}} etc, a bot will be run to convert over articles that used the former conventions, so no action is required from contributors of these articles. This bot run of these experimental articles will take place in 4 days unless there is objection, or there is a request for delay.

The following is a run down of renames, and some notes on the rationale (some may be cryptic as they may have been notes to myself). Feel free to make objections/ suggestions/ request clarification. Thanks. ~ Phlox 17:59, September 13, 2009 (UTC)

Place Names

  • address renamed from street-address. Street address was too restrictive a meaning.
  • places-other is a new catch-all place type whose rationale is that it will allow concept queries with patterns like "Concept:Births in <some unsupported place type>" as well as overcome other limitations discussed in the past and are familiar to most here. The details of the rationale is more fully explored in blog posts: Soho, NYC and A rose is a rose is a rose?. It is permitted to use this repeating field for any placenames that the contributor feels should be associated with the event but may not fit into the current categories (address, locality, county, subdivision1 or nation).
  • nation renamed from country. This follows the Getty example and will avoids confusions with the lexically similar "county" as well as confusions and conflicts due to vernacular meanings of "country" peculiar to certain regions like England, Scotland and Kurdistan. Corresponding column heading should read "Nation".
  • N-ary fields: Previously, it was allowed that localities and counties could have multiple values. This will produce undesirable results in reports. Where county could be one of two previously we allowed both to be specified. With this new approach it would be recommended that the less likely alternate county(s) be referred to in "places-other". The same principle applies for previous guidance on what to do with subdivisions of localities such as the Borough of Brooklyn, or the neighborhood of Karlhorst, Berlin. After this, only the Address field will be allowed to be repeating. Anything else should go in comments or places-other.
  • nation-subdiv1 renamed from subdivision1. It is anticipated that we may have locality-subdiv1, locality-subdiv2 when we get into the millions of person records where folks want metropolis tables divided into finer columns. Subdivision1 does not indicate what it is a division of. This makes it explicit, and allows for briefer convention for future names.
  • Convention for parameters. If the parameter is an N-ary property, then the name generally should be a plural. (exception address).
    • middle_names renamed to middle_name.

Dates refactored

Refactoring of dates is required for a number of reasons described in this blog article. For details on these changes, see and or comment there.

Parameters removed: For all events (baptism, wedding, migration, death, remains)

  • birth_date-time
  • birth_date (property still exists, but is built from constituent parts)

Renames to reflect that these are true values rather than derived approximates.

  • birth_date-y becomes birth_year
    • illegal value changed from 0 to 9999, since 9999 is clearly impossible but year 0 seems conceivable to many who don't know that year zero does not exist.
  • birth_date-m becomes birth_month (numeric) limited values 1
  • birth day added.

Reshuffle on "Set event" templates

The "set <event>" templates used for setting the values of SMW properties such as {{set birth}} will largely be eliminated. Instead, the values will mostly be assigned to the template {{showfacts person}}. Set families values will be assigned to {{showfacts children}}. Rationale: The main idea with behind the old framework was to bury the arcane templates with immense numbers of parameters at the end of the article so new contributors would not see them. Although it is more ideal from an engineering perspective to keep data declaration separate from data presentation code, maintaining this separation meant that typical users would not see changes made until the page was reloaded. Most users would never figure this out and would simply think it is broken or they did something wrong. It turns out that the RTE editor can be made to work with SMW pages, and so the clutter problem of having large numbers of parameters at the beginning of the article is eliminated. Most but not all changes will be seen immediately after a form edit that changes a value. Those that won't are the contents of auxiliary templates like Showfacts bio. This cannot be helped, but the new approach is much better than the previous one and will eliminate 90% of the double flush (WTF-happened-to-my-edits) confusion.

Nav place forums

To say that the Place forums have had an underwhelming response would be putting it mildly. The germ of this concept came from genealogy BBS's and mailing lists for particular localities (typically counties) where intereested partes inquire about research questions that local experts might know more about, or have suggestions about where answers might be found.


Very few people have used this facility, and those that have were easily overlocked. Giving folks an empty toom to ask questions in will only turn them away. So with this in mind, I propose consolidation into a more narrow group of forums. Say nothing smaller than 10 million population except unless it is a US or OZ State. These still would have navboxes, but the forum would just redirect to what is hoped would be a better frequented forum.

Odds and Ends

  • image parameter is filled without the File: prefix when autocomplete is used, which is the norm. Therefore, File: prefix will be stripped. This means pictures are not viewable in the Facts display at the end of the page. The data type will be changed to string, since it no longer corresponds to a page.
  • coparents to "joined_with"
  • Nit- (user friendly naming) short name corresponds to long name. But we name it full name. Replace with long name.

end of list -~ Phlox 17:59, September 13, 2009 (UTC)

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