Wikibooks should use subpages
- This essay promoted the usage of MediaWiki subpages in Wikibooks. Nowadays the use of subpages is enabled in server configuration, used in many books and an enforced policy (in Spanish and English Wikibooks)
There is an issue that I am wondering every day, and I don't know if it has been discussed before. All the Wikibooks projects lack a clear convention for titles of modules/pages composing a book. See for example the several conventions stated in Wikibooks:Naming policy or Wikibooks:es:Wikibooks:Convenciones nombrando artículos.
Often it is used ':' to separate books and pages in a hierarchical manner. Given this convention, there are two punctuation conventions: one to use a space after the colon (like usual punctuation) and the other, nothing (resembling real namespaces). The main problem using the colon in both ways (space is ignored) is that it is already used for namespaces and for interwiki links giving a high probability of name conflict.
In French Wikibooks, I saw also just use spaces as separator (e.g. see Wikibooks:fr:Programmation). But the space is a character to separate words in natural language, so this use is against legibility.
I don't have an argument against the hyphen as separator, but I propose a better solution, but it needs a change in the software configuration.
I definitely think that the software should know about our book structures. This could provide several conveniences in the future like automatic table of contents.
The current software feature which is more similar to this concept are the subpages. They were regarded as evil in Wikipedia and then deactivated in the main namespace (see "Background information" above). But an encyclopedia is not a collection of books -- we need to structure our books in an hierarchical manner and such feature is provided by subpages in MediaWiki. They insert automatic links to the upper pages, see Translation of the week/2006 translations for an example.
But subpages should be improved. Subpage titles should have a better looking, e.g. main page in a line and subpage in another (the slash should be hidden, that's just syntax).
Other convenience of subpages is linking. [[/Chapter 1|]] links to a subpage without specifying the full title when linking inside the main page of the book.
I have missed some disadvantage? I see none. Definitely subpages should be activated on main namespace on all the Wikibooks projects. Since they provide a software benefit, they will surely fuel a future naming convention. But in any case its activation will not mean that everybody is forced to move to this convention. Users would still be able to follow their own convention if they prefer to.
- As a side note, some of the wikibooks are using the subpage notation already, such as the b:Wikijunior projects. Gentgeen 22:31, 15 Jan 2005 (UTC)
- I think it is a great idea. And, by the way, would be possible to create sub-subpages? So that we can also organize sub-chapters in the same way. Book/chapter/subchapter. Could we open a voting in Bugzilla about this topic? --Javier Carro 09:05, 17 Jan 2005 (UTC)
- Yes, we have some examples here in Meta: Translation of the week/2006 translations/archive (note the up links to both parent pages). It is fun that here the subpages work and where they would be most useful, in Wikibooks, are disabled. You are right about Bugzilla, I'll open a configuration change request. ManuelGR 19:38, 17 Jan 2005 (UTC)
- If you support this proposal go to Bugzilla and vote for Bug 1353: Wikibooks should have enabled subpages on main namespace. ManuelGR 19:51, 17 Jan 2005 (UTC)
- I just voted! I support this idea of having subpages to organize books. --Andreas Ipp 00:59, 18 Jan 2005 (UTC)
The problem is that if this passes, there's going to be a lot of pages that need to be moved to adhere to this or any other convention. Plus, the books community seems to be divided over whether to use namespaces or subpages, or both in a weird way (see b:Wikibooks:Namespace and b:Wikibooks:Namespaces, etc). Another factor seems to be the ongoing C++ book fork (the C Plus Plus book vs. the C -/- -/- book) dispute...
As a Wikibookian that has developed over 500 stub pages (all for b:Pokémon and its subbooks), I think that some higher-up should really stomp their foot down on this.
BTW, I support the subpage idea, but I'm not entirely convinced enough to vote on it. b:en:User:kelvSYC (note to self: get an account on meta...)
- When talking about namespaces, one has to be aware that the number of real namespaces (the ones whose talk page is Namespace talk: instead of Talk:Namespace:) is fixed in the software configuration. Althoug it is possible to define a few custom namespaces, let's say Cookbook:, Programming:, etc, there is no way for normal users to add new namespaces and in any case its amount is limited, as far as I know.
- Take into account that there is no need to move from the different conventions already used to the "/" convention. It can be decided by each book author team. On the other hand, I think that given an advantage for one convention, e.g. the link to parents on subpages, the probability of reaching a consensus over the time is greater. Currently the decision is mostly based on personal preference on one character or another to separate chapters. This situation paves the way for the variety of conventions.
- I agree that pages already using "/" as a ordinary character should be renamed, but they "should", not "must". They still can use the slash, the links to the parent can be redirected to the same book. By the way, C -/- -/- is a very ugly title for C++, I think it should be renamed anyway. -- ManuelGR 19:21, 28 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Developers have already change the configuration. Thanks to them and to all who supported this proposal. There is no problem at all with current pages using "/" , the page is regarded as a subpage only if the parent page exists, so b:Programming: C -/- -/- and pages alike are not affected by this change. Current pages using slash convention now have an automatic link to their parents as in: b:Wikijunior Big Cats/Lion. Now for all not yet convinced, consider using "/" instead of ":", it gives you automatic links to parents and shortcut link syntax to subpages. ManuelGR 17:40, 29 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Background information 
Why subpages were disregarded in Wikipedia? See
I think those arguments do not apply to Wikibooks, where we agree about a "Main Topic is Book" and "Subtopic is module/section" structure. -- ManuelGR 19:09, 16 Jan 2005 (UTC)