User:Mehmet Karatay/Why an alternative formatting is needed

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Text-x-generic.svg This is an essay. It is not a policy or guideline; it merely reflects some opinions of its author(s). Please update the page as needed, or discuss it on the talk page.

Please do not be put off by the length of this page. Most of it is a comparison of styles; the actual essay is only a few paragraphs.


I believe that Wikiquote needs an alternative formatting of pages than what is suggested on Wikiquote:Guide to layout and Wikiquote:Templates. I am not proposing what is on those pages should be changed, but rather, that an alternative should at the very least co-exist with them.

A good comparison to this co-existence is the way Wikipedia treats lists. Depending on the context they can be formatted in a manner of ways: from simple bullet pointing (List of North American birds), to a simple table (Grade I listed buildings in Bristol), to a table with images (List of mammals of Korea).

Please discuss any comments or suggestions regarding this on the talk page.

Problems with current layout[edit]

A lot of thought and effort have gone into the current style guidelines which are nearing completion. For pages with short quotes, or not too many quotes I agree that current system works well and is simple to use. More importantly, perhaps, it is simple for even new comers to use and to start contributing to Wikiquote even without any prior wiki experience.

The problem is when quotes become long, plentiful and start to include a description of the context. In this case the eye, my eye at least, finds it very hard to browse through a page of quotes. It is hard to identify when one starts and the other stops; the description and source seem to get intermixed with all the quotes and it's hard to tell if you are looking at the quote or not. Personally, I find my self scrolling over the page not really taking anything in and then moving on to another page which will actually capture my interest.

Using photos help alleviate these concerns somewhat, but they are not the answer either. It is excellent that on this project, the image caption is almost always a quote. But what happens if the quote is long, needs explaining and most importantly needs the source next to it? The fact remains that in this case the images are looked at but most of the quotes are still glossed over while browsing.

Proposed solution[edit]

I have developed a template Quote box in my user space. An example of its use can be seen at the bottom of this essay or on the article User:Mehmet Karatay/Mount Kenya. It puts each quote in a table depending on the combination of description, source and image that are present. Any combination can be used as long as a quote is present. The template will stay in user space until consensus is reached. Only if feedback is not forthcoming will I assume that there are not objections and move it to template space.

Benefits[edit]

The template has the benefits that hopefully pages using it look visually appealing, the quotes are easily distinguished from each each other and from the description etc. Images with quotes and images without quotes do not appear as different entities as on the Albert Einstein page; they can both be recognised as equally important. The quote box hopefully increases ease of scanning the page and raises interest in the page so that users stay long enough to read the quotes.

As this is a template, pages which use it will have a uniform appearance. This is one of the aims of the current style guidelines but at the moment users must do this manually. If current style guideline changes, then updating all of the pages will be a lot of work. With a template one file is changed and all pages which use the template are instantly updated to the new format.

Arguments[edit]

Certain arguments may well be presented against the adoption of this template as an alternative. Any arguments not mentioned should be discussed on the essay's talk page. Among the arguments are:

Length of page
Using this template will increase the length of a page for the same number of quotes. This is an inherent requirement for what the template is attempting to achieve: ease of scanning and extra interest in the page. White space is a key element in graphic design and this is one of the things this template provides. Remember that Wikiquote is not a paper resource.
Sectioning
Some of the visual problems might be alleviated by sectioning more in the current style. This in effect also introduces white space which is why the brain can cope with the information better. Sometimes more sections are not appropriate. Also, in my opinion, while the new format benefits from sectioning as well, the individual sections can be longer before they need to be split. There is nothing stopping anyone from using the current formatting with many sections. Remember this proposal is for an alternative, not a replacement.
Vandalism
If a template is used on many pages, then a vandal can quickly target many pages. This is why some pages can be protected and should not be a problem.
Server load
It can be argued that a template with many parser functions that is used repeatedly on a page will considerably increase the server load. This is simple dealt with the Wikipedia editing guide line don't worry about performance.

Examples[edit]

The following examples are from a quote page that I am creating. They have been formatted with both the current guide lines and my proposed new format. I have not included photographs with the current style, so for fairness I have removed the photographs from the new example. An example of how the page looks with images is at User:Mehmet Karatay/Mount Kenya, from which the examples below are taken. The section extracted from the Mount Kenya page is long as this amplifies the message I am putting across; for a list of short quotes the brain can cope with the current formatting fine.

Current guide line[edit]

1849-1900

  • "This being great news to me, I pressed Kivoi for further information. He said, 'You will see both mountains at some distance from my hamlet, when there shall be a clear sky. It is ten days' journey from here to the white mountain in Jagga [Kilimanjaro], but only six to that of Kikuyu [Mount Kenya].'"
    • Johann Ludwig Krapf, Church Missionary Intelligencer (vol. i) pg 452, 1849-50
    • Written by Krapf in his diary on 1949-11-26, the day he found out of the existance of a second, and still larger, Kiima ja Jeu [mountain of whiteness] [than Kilimanjaro].
  • "The Sky being clear, I got a full sight of this snow-mountain... It appeared to be a gigantic wall, on whose summit I observed two immense towers [Batian and Nelion], or horns as you many call them. These horns, or towers, which are at a short distance from each other, give the mountain a grand and majestic appearance which raised in my mind overwhelming feelings."
    • Johann Ludwig Krapf, Church Missionary Intelligencer (vol. i) pg 470, 1849-50
    • Written by Krapf in his diary on 1849-12-03 when the weather finally allowed him to see Mount Kenya for the first time.
  • "As I stood entranced at this fulfilment of my dearest hopes [of seeing Mount Kenya], I drew a great sigh of satisfaction; and as I said to Brahmi, 'Look!' and pointed to the glittering crystal, I am not very sure but there was something like a tear in my eye."
    • Joseph Thomson (1968). Through Masai Land (3 ed.). London: Frank Cass & Co Ltd. 
    • Thomson was the second European to see Mount Kenya. By the time he did some people were begining to doubt Krapf's reports.
  • "As pious Moslems [sic] watch with strained eyes the appearance of the new moon or the setting of the sun, to begin their orisons, so we now waited for the uplifting of the fleecy veil, to render due homage to the heaven-piercing Kenia."
    • Joseph Thomson (1968). Through Masai Land (3 ed.). London: Frank Cass & Co Ltd. pp. pg 222. 
  • "This peak [Batian and Nelion], as in the case of Kimawenzi, without a doubt represents the column of lava which closed the volcanic life of the mountain, plugging or sealing up the troubled spirits of the earth... and now the plug stands forth, a fitting pinnacle to the majestic mass below."
    • Joseph Thomson (1968). Through Masai Land (3 ed.). London: Frank Cass & Co Ltd. 
    • Thomson accurately inferred the geological history of Mount Kenya from a distance.
  • "The gradient of the western slopes of Mount Kenya is very slight, whilst on the east it is so gentle as to be almost imperceptible, so that there the masses of snow extend far southwards, and give the impression of a grand and lofty glacier-covered plateau."
    • Lieutenant Ludwig von Höhnel; Count Samuel Teleki (1894). Discovery of Lakes Rudolf and Stefanie. London: Longmans. 
    • Count Teleki's expedition was the first European one to set foot on the mountain. The quote describes the view during the approach.
  • "The Kenia crater must be from 10,000 to 12,000 feet in circumference, and the bottom, which is pretty uniformly covered with snow and ice, is some 650 feet lower than the rim."
  • It was eighty miles away from us, but it stood out sharp and clear on the eastern skyline.
  • "While cutting a way through the bamboos we suddenly stumbled upon a block of lava... As I examined it, my interest was roused; for its grooved and rounded surface suggested that it had been carried to its present position by ice."
    • John Walter Gregory (1968). The Great Rift Valley. London: Frank Cass & Co. Ltd. 
    • It was hard to believe at the time that ice could have come as low as 3,000 m (10,000 ft) on the equator.
  • "Another trait of the Zanzibari character was shown at the same camp. In the morning the men came to tell me that the water they had left in the cooking-pots was all bewitched. They said it was white, and would not shake; the adventurous Fundi had even hit it with a stick, which would not go in. They begged me to look at it, and I told them to bring it to me. They declined, however, to touch it, and implored me to go to it. The water of course had frozen solid. I put one of the pots on the fire, and predicted that it would soon turn again into water. The men sat round and anxiously watched it; when it had melted they joyfully told me that the demon was expelled, and I told them they could now use this water; but as soon as my back was turned they poured it away, and refilled their pots from an adjoining brook."
  • "'That is all very well for wajuzi (lizards) and Wazungu (white men), but Zanzibari can't do that.' was his verdict. 'You'd better come back, master,' he cried; 'I promised to follow you anywhere, but how can I, when the path stands up on end?'"
    • John Walter Gregory (1968). The Great Rift Valley. London: Frank Cass & Co. Ltd. pp. pg 174. 
    • Gregory's porter Fundi refused to go scrambling; Gregory had to do the first ascent of Mount Höhnel alone.
  • "Then, with his hands together before him, he [Fundi] began to pray... he thanked Allah for having enabled him to come where neither native nor white man had every been before, and to stand on the edge of the great white fields he had seen with Dachi-tumbo [Count Teleki] from afar. He assured Allah that he was now more anxious to return in safety to the coast than he had ever been before, so that he might tell his friends of the wonders he had seen."
    • John Walter Gregory (1968). The Great Rift Valley. London: Frank Cass & Co. Ltd. pp. pg 178. 
    • Fundi was Gregory's favourite porter and the first African to reach the glaciers on Mount Kenya.
  • "After the prayer was over, I told Fundi to go onto the glacier. He went a few steps farther, and then, with a pleading look, said, 'No farther, master; it is too white.'"
    • John Walter Gregory (1968). The Great Rift Valley. London: Frank Cass & Co. Ltd. pp. pg 178. 
  • "He [Fundi] put on the boots—under protest, but absolutely refused to keep them on. As he also declined to allow me to put nails into the soles of his feet (his hide would probably have held them),... whatever snow-work was necessary would have to be done alone."
  • "The mountain-top is like a stunted tower rising from among ruins and crowned by three or four low turrets, upon which we sat, feet inward... We dare, however, stay only forty minutes—time enough to make observations and to photograph—and then had to descend, not from any physical inconvenience due to the elevation, but for fear of the afternoon storm."

Proposed new formatting[edit]

1849 - 1900

This being great news to me, I pressed Kivoi for further information. He said, 'You will see both mountains at some distance from my hamlet, when there shall be a clear sky. It is ten days' journey from here to the white mountain in Jagga [Kilimanjaro], but only six to that of Kikuyu [Mount Kenya].'
Written by Krapf in his diary on 1949-11-26, the day he found out of the existance of a second, and still larger, Kiima ja Jeu [mountain of whiteness] [than Kilimanjaro]. Johann Ludwig Krapf, Church Missionary Intelligencer (vol. i) pg 452, 1849-50
The Sky being clear, I got a full sight of this snow-mountain... It appeared to be a gigantic wall, on whose summit I observed two immense towers [Batian and Nelion], or horns as you many call them. These horns, or towers, which are at a short distance from each other, give the mountain a grand and majestic appearance which raised in my mind overwhelming feelings.
Written by Krapf in his diary on 1849-12-03 when the weather finally allowed him to see Mount Kenya for the first time. Johann Ludwig Krapf, Church Missionary Intelligencer (vol. i) pg 470, 1849-50
...he had often been at the foot of it [Mount Kenya], but had not ascended it to any great altitude on accound of the intense cold and the white matter which rolled down the mountain with a great noise,...
Krapf interviewed a man from Embu about the mountain in 1851; this description suggested that the mountain might have glaciers and permanent snow. Johann Ludwig Krapf (1860). Travels, Researches, and Missionary Labours in Eastern Africa. London: Frank Cass & Co. Ltd. pp. 545. 
As I stood entranced at this fulfilment of my dearest hopes [of seeing Mount Kenya], I drew a great sigh of satisfaction; and as I said to Brahmi, 'Look!' and pointed to the glittering crystal, I am not very sure but there was something like a tear in my eye.
Thomson was the second European to see Mount Kenya. By the time he did some people were begining to doubt Krapf's reports. Joseph Thomson (1968). Through Masai Land (3 ed.). London: Frank Cass & Co Ltd. 
As pious Moslems [sic] watch with strained eyes the appearance of the new moon or the setting of the sun, to begin their orisons, so we now waited for the uplifting of the fleecy veil, to render due homage to the heaven-piercing Kenia.
Joseph Thomson (1968). Through Masai Land (3 ed.). London: Frank Cass & Co Ltd. pp. pg 222. 
This peak [Batian and Nelion], as in the case of Kimawenzi, without a doubt represents the column of lava which closed the volcanic life of the mountain, plugging or sealing up the troubled spirits of the earth... and now the plug stands forth, a fitting pinnacle to the majestic mass below.
Thomson accurately inferred the geological history of Mount Kenya from a distance. Joseph Thomson (1968). Through Masai Land (3 ed.). London: Frank Cass & Co Ltd. 
The gradient of the western slopes of Mount Kenya is very slight, whilst on the east it is so gentle as to be almost imperceptible, so that there the masses of snow extend far southwards, and give the impression of a grand and lofty glacier-covered plateau.
Count Teleki's expedition was the first European one to set foot on the mountain. The quote describes the view during the approach. Lieutenant Ludwig von Höhnel; Count Samuel Teleki (1894). Discovery of Lakes Rudolf and Stefanie. London: Longmans. 
The Kenia crater must be from 10,000 to 12,000 feet in circumference, and the bottom, which is pretty uniformly covered with snow and ice, is some 650 feet lower than the rim.
Count Teleki misinterpreted the volcanic plugs of Batian and Nelion to be the highest point on the volcanic crater rim. Because this expedition had been on the mountain this interpretation of the landscape was believed over Thomson's correct one as he had only gazed upon the mountain from afar. Count Samuel Teleki in Lieutenant Ludwig von Höhnel; Count Samuel Teleki (1894). Discovery of Lakes Rudolf and Stefanie. London: Longmans. 
It was eighty miles away from us, but it stood out sharp and clear on the eastern skyline.
John Walter Gregory (1968). The Great Rift Valley. London: Frank Cass & Co. Ltd. 
While cutting a way through the bamboos we suddenly stumbled upon a block of lava... As I examined it, my interest was roused; for its grooved and rounded surface suggested that it had been carried to its present position by ice.
It was hard to believe at the time that ice could have come as low as 3,000 m (10,000 ft) on the equator. John Walter Gregory (1968). The Great Rift Valley. London: Frank Cass & Co. Ltd. 
Another trait of the Zanzibari character was shown at the same camp. In the morning the men came to tell me that the water they had left in the cooking-pots was all bewitched. They said it was white, and would not shake; the adventurous Fundi had even hit it with a stick, which would not go in. They begged me to look at it, and I told them to bring it to me. They declined, however, to touch it, and implored me to go to it. The water of course had frozen solid. I put one of the pots on the fire, and predicted that it would soon turn again into water. The men sat round and anxiously watched it; when it had melted they joyfully told me that the demon was expelled, and I told them they could now use this water; but as soon as my back was turned they poured it away, and refilled their pots from an adjoining brook.
John Walter Gregory (1968). The Great Rift Valley. London: Frank Cass & Co. Ltd. 
'That is all very well for wajuzi (lizards) and Wazungu (white men), but Zanzibari can't do that.' was his verdict. 'You'd better come back, master,' he cried; 'I promised to follow you anywhere, but how can I, when the path stands up on end?'
Gregory's porter Fundi refused to go scrambling; Gregory had to do the first ascent of Mount Höhnel alone. John Walter Gregory (1968). The Great Rift Valley. London: Frank Cass & Co. Ltd. pp. pg 174. 
Then, with his hands together before him, he [Fundi] began to pray... he thanked Allah for having enabled him to come where neither native nor white man had every been before, and to stand on the edge of the great white fields he had seen with Dachi-tumbo [Count Teleki] from afar. He assured Allah that he was now more anxious to return in safety to the coast than he had ever been before, so that he might tell his friends of the wonders he had seen.
Fundi was Gregory's favourite porter and the first African to reach the glaciers on Mount Kenya. John Walter Gregory (1968). The Great Rift Valley. London: Frank Cass & Co. Ltd. pp. pg 178. 
After the prayer was over, I told Fundi to go onto the glacier. He went a few steps farther, and then, with a pleading look, said, 'No farther, master; it is too white.'
John Walter Gregory (1968). The Great Rift Valley. London: Frank Cass & Co. Ltd. pp. pg 178. 
He [Fundi] put on the boots—under protest, but absolutely refused to keep them on. As he also declined to allow me to put nails into the soles of his feet (his hide would probably have held them),... whatever snow-work was necessary would have to be done alone.
John Walter Gregory (1968). The Great Rift Valley. London: Frank Cass & Co. Ltd. 
The mountain-top is like a stunted tower rising from among ruins and crowned by three or four low turrets, upon which we sat, feet inward... We dare, however, stay only forty minutes—time enough to make observations and to photograph—and then had to descend, not from any physical inconvenience due to the elevation, but for fear of the afternoon storm.
Mackinder's description of reaching the summit on the first ascent of Mount Kenya in 1899. Halford John Mackinder (May 1900). "A Journey to the Summit of Mount Kenya, British East Africa". The Geographical Journal 15 (5): 453-476.