Wikiafripedia:Manual of Style/Lists

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Lists are commonly used in Wikiafripedia to organize information. Lists may be found within the body of a prose article, in appendices such as a "Publications" or "Works" section, or as a stand-alone article. This guideline explains when and how to use lists appropriately.

Types of lists[edit source | edit]

Wikiafripedia differentiates between articles that consist primarily of lists (generally called "lists" or "stand alone lists") and articles that consist primarily of prose (called "articles"). Articles are intended to consist primarily of prose, though they may contain some lists.

Stand-alone list articles[edit source | edit]

List articles are encyclopedia pages consisting of a lead section followed by a list (which may or may not be divided by headings). The items on these lists include links to articles in a particular subject area and may include additional information about the listed items. The titles of stand-alone lists typically begin with the type of list it is (List of, Index of, etc.), followed by the article's subject, e.g., List of vegetable oils. They can be organised alphabetically, by subject classification or by topics in a flat or hierarchical structure.

The title and bullet style, or vertical style, is common for stand-alone lists. These Wikiafripedia articles follow the Wikiafripedia:Stand-alone lists style guideline.

Embedded lists[edit source | edit]

Embedded lists are lists used within articles that supplement the article's prose content. They are included in the text-proper or appended, and may be in table format. Wikiafripedia uses several standard appendices, usually in list format, as well as navigational templates.

Embedded lists should be used only when appropriate; sometimes the information in a list is better presented as prose. Presenting too much statistical data in list format may contravene policy.

"Children" (i.e., indentation)[edit source | edit]

It can be appropriate to use a list style when the items in a list are "children" of the paragraphs that precede them. Such "children" logically qualify for indentation beneath their parent description. In this case, indenting the paragraphs in list form may make them easier to read, especially if the paragraphs are very short. The following example works both with and without the bullets:

Prose List
At the beginning of the 20th century, New York City was a center for the Beaux-Arts architectural movement, attracting the talents of such great architects as Stanford White and Carrere and Hastings. As better construction and engineering technology became available as the century progressed, New York became the focal point of the competition for the tallest building in the world.

The city's striking skyline has been composed of numerous and varied skyscrapers, many of which are icons of 20th-century architecture. The Flatiron Building, standing 285 ft (87 meters) high, was one of the tallest buildings in the city upon its completion in 1902, made possible by its steel skeleton. It was one of the first buildings designed with a steel framework, and to achieve this height with other construction methods of that time would have been very difficult. The Woolworth Building, a neo-Gothic "Cathedral of Commerce" overlooking City Hall, was designed by Cass Gilbert. At 792 feet (241 meters), it became the world's tallest building upon its completion in 1913, an honor it retained until 1930, when it was overtaken by 40 Wall Street. That same year, the Chrysler Building took the lead as the tallest building in the world, scraping the sky at 1,046 feet (319 m). More impressive than its height is the building's design, by William Van Alen. An art deco masterpiece with an exterior crafted of brick, the Chrysler Building continues to be a favorite of New Yorkers to this day.

At the beginning of the 20th century, New York City was a center for the Beaux-Arts architectural movement, attracting the talents of such great architects as Stanford White and Carrere and Hastings. As better construction and engineering technology became available as the century progressed, New York became the focal point of the competition for the tallest building in the world. The city's striking skyline has been composed of numerous and varied skyscrapers, many of which are icons of 20th-century architecture:
  • The Flatiron Building, standing 285 ft (87 meters) high, was one of the tallest buildings in the city upon its completion in 1902, made possible by its steel skeleton. It was one of the first buildings designed with a steel framework, and to achieve this height with other construction methods of that time would have been very difficult.
  • The Woolworth Building, a neo-Gothic "Cathedral of Commerce" overlooking City Hall, was designed by Cass Gilbert. At 792 feet (241 meters), it became the world's tallest building upon its completion in 1913, an honor it retained until 1930, when it was overtaken by 40 Wall Street.
  • That same year, the Chrysler Building took the lead as the tallest building in the world, scraping the sky at 1,046 feet (319 m). More impressive than its height is the building's design, by William Van Alen. An art deco masterpiece with an exterior crafted of brick, the Chrysler Building continues to be a favorite of New Yorkers to this day.

Lists of works and timelines[edit source | edit]

Lists of works of individuals or groups, such as bibliographies, discographies, filmographies, album personnel and track listings, as well as timelines or chronologies, are typically presented in simple list format, though it is expected that the information will be supported elsewhere in the article by prose analysis of the main points, and that if the lists become unwieldy, they are split off into stand-alone lists per WAP:Summary style. The content of a list is governed by the principle of due weight and other content policies, and that for people inclusion should be determined by WAP:Source list, in that the entries must have the same importance to the subject as would be required for the entry to be included in the text of the article according to Wikiafripedia policies and guidelines (including WAP:Trivia sections). Cast lists are preferably presented in prose. Specific advice regarding timelines is given in Wikiafripedia:Timeline standards.

Related topics (navigational lists)[edit source | edit]

"See also" lists and "Related topics" lists are valuable navigational tools that assist users in finding related Wikiafripedia articles. When deciding what articles and lists of articles to append to any given entry, it is useful to try to put yourself inside the mind of readers: Ask yourself where would a reader likely want to go after reading the article. Typically this will include three types of links:

There is some controversy over how many links to articles and links to lists that should be put in any article. Some people separate the "links to articles" (put in the "See also" section) from the "links to lists" (put in the "Related topics" section), but this is not necessary unless there are too many links for one section alone. Some feel the optimum number of links to lists that should be included at the end of any given article is one or two (or fewer). Others feel that a more comprehensive set of lists would be useful. In general, we should use the same criteria when deciding what list to include as we use to decide what articles to include in the See also section. We have to try to put ourselves in the readers' frame of mind and ask "Where will I likely want to go after reading this article?". As a general rule, the "See also" section should not repeat links that appear in the article's body or its navigation boxes.

References and external links[edit source | edit]

Reference lists show information sources outside of Wikiafripedia. The two most common types are:

  • "Web hyperlinks" – lists of links to web addresses other than Wikiafripedia, under the heading "External links"
  • "References" – lists of academic journal articles or books, under the heading "References"

Wikiafripedia is not a link collection and articles with only external links are actively discouraged, but it is appropriate to reference more detailed material from the Internet. This is particularly the case when you have used a web site as an important source of information.

Special names of lists[edit source | edit]

Most lists on Wikiafripedia are item lists, but not all. Specialized types of lists include:

  • Outlines – a Wikiafripedia outline is a hierarchically arranged list of topics belonging to a given subject. Outlines are one of the two types of general topics list on Wikiafripedia, the other being indices.
  • Indices – an index on Wikiafripedia is an alphabetical list of articles on a given subject. See Wikiafripedia:WikiProject Indexes.
  • Timelines – a timeline is a graphical representation of a chronological sequence of events.
  • Lists of works include bibliographies and discographies. Bibliographies are a list of relevant references for a subject area, including books, journal articles, and web articles; discographies are a listing of all recordings on which a musician or singer features, or may be compiled based on genre or record label
  • Glossaries – a glossary is a list of terms in a specific subject area, with definitions included.
  • Set index articles – document a set of items that share the same (or a similar) name. They are different from disambiguation pages in that they are full-fledged articles meant to document multiple subjects, while disambiguation pages are for navigation purposes only. Not all set index articles are lists.
  • Dynamic lists – a dynamic list is any list that changes as the subject it covers changes. Therefore, it may never be completed. A list of any type may be dynamic.

Purposes of lists[edit source | edit]

For further information, see Wikiafripedia:Manual of Style/Stand-alone lists#Selection criteria

Lists have three main purposes:

Information[edit source | edit]

The list may be a valuable information source. This is particularly the case for a structured list. Examples would include lists organized chronologically, grouped by theme, or annotated lists.

Navigation[edit source | edit]

Lists which contain internally linked terms (i.e., wikilinks) serve, in aggregate, as natural tables of contents and indexes of Wikiafripedia. If users have some general idea of what they are looking for but do not know the specific terminology, they could browse the lists of basic topics and more comprehensive lists of topics, which in turn lead to most if not all of Wikiafripedia's lists, which in turn lead to related articles. Users without a specific research goal in mind might also find the articles listed in articles' see also sections useful. Lists are also provided in portals to assist in navigating their subjects, and lists are often placed in articles via the use of series boxes and other navigational templates.

Users with a specific research goal, described in one or two words, are likely to find Wikiafripedia's search box useful.

Development[edit source | edit]

Some lists are useful for Wikiafripedia development purposes. The lists of related topics give an indication of the state of Wikiafripedia, the articles that have been written, and the articles that have yet to be written. However, as Wikiafripedia is optimized for readers over editors, any lists which exist primarily for development or maintenance purposes (such as a list that consists entirely of red links and does not serve an informational purpose; especially a list of missing topics) should be in either the project or user space, not the main space.

Lists and categories[edit source | edit]

Redundancy of lists and categories is beneficial because the two formats work together; the principle is covered in the guideline Wikiafripedia:Categories, lists, and navigation templates. Like categories, lists can be used for keeping track of changes in the listed pages, using the Related Changes feature. Unlike a category, a list also allows detection of deletion of its entries, and, more generally, a history of its contents is available; lists also permit a large number of entries to appear on a single page.

List naming[edit source | edit]

For further information, see Wikiafripedia:Manual of Style/Stand-alone lists#Naming conventions

For a stand-alone list, the list's title is the page name. For an embedded list, the list's title is usually a section title (for instance, Latin Empire#Latin Emperors of Constantinople, 1204–1261), but it can be shorter. The list title should not be misleading and should normally not include abbreviations. Additionally, an overly precise list title can be less useful and can make the list difficult to find; the precise inclusion criteria for the list should be spelled out in the lead section (see below), not the title. For instance, words like complete and notable are normally excluded from list titles. Instead, the lead makes clear whether the list is complete or whether it is limited to widely-known or notable members (i.e., those that merit articles). Note that the word "famous" is considered an unnecessary "peacock" embellishment and should not be used.

List layout[edit source | edit]

Use prose where understood easily[edit source | edit]

Prefer prose where a passage is understood easily as regular text. Prose allows the presentation of detail and clarification of context, in a way that a simple list may not.

{{prose}} can be used to indicate a list which may be better-written as prose. Many stub articles can be improved by converting unnecessary lists into encyclopedic prose.