Mild caution[]

This system uses Semantic MediaWiki and is still under construction. It works now for person articles, but it is likely to be improved. Articles created using the form can be as good as any created any other way and will be more versatile than most, but they may later be made even better by you or anyone else. If in any doubt, please read the last few items in Forum:SMW. — Robin Patterson (Talk) 07:23, 14 June 2009 (UTC)


Gregorian should be default. "None" is impossible. — Robin Patterson (Talk) 06:08, 15 June 2009 (UTC)

"None specified" is possible. Anything prior to 1582 but after the roman republican calendar is safely set to julian. After 1752, everything is safely Gregorian. The intermediate period is ambiguous, and we would take a point off the quality scale if no calendar was specified for those articles. -~ Phlox 18:52, 15 June 2009 (UTC)
After 1752 Russia continued to use Julian until the 20th century. I forget which other countries did. — Robin Patterson (Talk) 05:17, February 21, 2010 (UTC)

"use only if precise..."[]

"use only if precise date & time is known:use only if precise time of day is known:" appears in one block before a set of boxes.

  1. If it's meant to be divided up so each part refers to one group of boxes, rearrange form.
  2. If it's not meant to be divided, then the second part of it is redundant and confusing; combine in a single instruction.

More relevant, maybe, is the lack of indication of timezone, necessary to give usable meaning to "time of day". (Only astrologers would be likely to think that a birth time of 9 am was related to other births at that clock time in a different timezone.) If too difficult, maybe users should be invited to add in text any info they like about time of day; that's where the automatic inclusion of {{subst:biography}} in the article would be a handy default allowing easy logical placement later. I suspect that most users will not know any times of day for most events and would rather not waste input time by having a complex set of boxes to pass over once they understand it. — Robin Patterson (Talk) 06:25, 15 June 2009 (UTC)

Time zone is derivable from location, and is important to some people. This is an example of an exhaustive field that would be removed from a simplified beginner entry form. -~ Phlox 18:41, 15 June 2009 (UTC)
Time zone is by no means always derivable from location. "Born in Australia" gives you several hours of possible range, and "Born in Russia" gives you about eleven hours. I'm pleased that "time" has been removed from the simple form. — Robin Patterson (Talk) 01:40, September 28, 2010 (UTC)

Form fails to recognize edit summary?[]

I typed an edit summary and it was sitting there in its box while the software was telling me I hadn't entered one (and the proof is that it appears in the page history of Julie Mary Carrad (1950)). Wasted my time inviting me to insert one. — Robin Patterson (Talk) 06:32, 15 June 2009 (UTC)

Probably some problem with the standard form field inputs- I'll take a look at it when things die down. In the meantime you may just need to turn off the prompting in preferences.edit by unchecking "Prompt me when entering a blank edit summary". -~ Phlox 19:40, 15 June 2009 (UTC)
It's still doing it. And I work on too many Wikia sites to turn off my edit summary prompt. — Robin Patterson (Talk) 05:31, February 21, 2010 (UTC)
Still doing it if I do a preview but not if I go straight to "Save" or "Publier". Another incentive for not doing a preview, which is regrettable in principle because of the possibility of undiscovered edit conflicts. Not a problem with a new page or new section. — Robin Patterson (Talk) 01:44, September 28, 2010 (UTC)

Template:Set wedding2 etc when none asked for[]

"Template:Set wedding2 Template:Set wedding3 Template:Set wedding4 Template:Set wedding5 Template:Set wedding6" not an impressive start for an article - surely I don't have to spend time saying "No" to each of those? — Robin Patterson (Talk) 06:36, 15 June 2009 (UTC)

Construction noise. Put your hardhat on. Obvious cosmetics like this I am well aware of. -~ Phlox 18:37, 15 June 2009 (UTC)

Division into simple form and verbose/advanced form[]

Very good move, thank you.

Question: does the use of only the simple form affect any parent/child linkages such as the presence or extent of the /tree subpage? (That's the only reason I can think of for the appearance of a woman's grandfather on her son's tree while it was not on hers.)

Robin Patterson (Talk) 05:38, February 21, 2010 (UTC)

Investigating form after troublesome upgrade to SF[]

As a starter, here's the operative part of the form:

<includeonly>{{string|fm-form-person intro}}

{{{standard input|save}}}  {{string|fm-warning form buttons}}

{{showfacts formbuttons|advanced+children+journeys+residences}}

<center>'''{{string|fm-notice use semicolons}}'''</center>
{{{for template|Showfacts person}}}
{{Form table-general info|mode=simple}}

{{form table-event|birth|mode=simple|state=|inside state=collapsed|image=[[File:3 week old swaddled infant.png|60px]]}}
{{form table-event|death|mode=simple|state=|image=[[File:Stop black man.svg|50px]]}}
{{form table-event|wedding|count=1|state=|mode=simple|image=[[File:Weddingring_2007-6-23-1.jpg|60px]]}}

{| class="formtable collapsible collapsed" style="border:1px solid green;width:100%;"
!colspan=2|<span style="font-size:120%;color:blue;">'''{{string|fm-additional_info}}'''</span>
{{form table-event|baptism|state=|mode=simple|image=[[File:Skondals kyrka 2005.jpg|60px]]}}
{{form table-event|wedding|count=2|mode=simple|image=[[File:Weddingring_2007-6-23-1.jpg|60px]]}}
{{form table-event|remains|state=|mode=simple|image=[[File:Flowers grave.jpg|60px]]}}

<!-- the following are hidden, but we need to process them so that the parameters are not thrown away after a 
form edit -->{{form table-event|wedding|mode=hide|count=3}}{{form table-event|wedding|mode=hide|count=4}}{{form table-event|wedding|mode=hide|count=5}}{{form table-event|wedding|mode=hide|count=6}}{{form table-event|wedding|mode=hide|count=7}}{{form table-event|wedding|mode=hide|count=8}}<span style="display:none">{{{field|infobox-links|hidden}}}{{{field|test1|hidden}}}{{{field|globals|hidden|default={{get globals}}|type=textarea }}}</span>
{{{end template}}}
{{#if:{{#show:{{PAGENAME}}|default=|?sex=}}||<!--only executes on new article-->
{{{for template|Showfacts biography}}}
{{{end template}}}
{{{for template|Showfacts children}}}
{{{end template}}}

{{{standard input|free text|size=100%|preload=Form:Person/preload}}}

{{{standard input|summary}}}

{{{standard input|minor edit}}} {{{standard input|watch}}}

{{{standard input|save}}} {{{standard input|preview}}} {{{standard input|changes}}} {{{standard input|cancel}}}

Robin Patterson (Talk) 05:58, March 30, 2010 (UTC)

Here's the reply from Wikia Support:

Hi Robin. Sorry for the delay.

The problem is that we finally upgraded our Semantic Extensions (including forms)

Some of the special page names shifted around in the many many months.

This should help

As for the other thing, its because the value passed to #formlink is used as the value="" param of a submit button now, and you cant have a span inside of a value like that (technically you can, but the = and " for the style was mucking up).

-- Regards,

Chris "Uberfuzzy" Stafford

Wikia Community and Technical Support Team

Robin Patterson (Talk) 12:50, March 30, 2010 (UTC)

Need to fix it properly[]

It no longer works with any browser except the rather ancient Firefox 3. And we've lost most of the labels, possibly because of the move away from the strings thing. Something must be done if we are to return to being a leading-edge website.

I'm starting a separate page for people to start dissecting the form and maybe getting some fixes: Project:Person form. Please have a look and add your expertise or even speculations.

-- Robin Patterson (Talk) 12:06, February 16, 2012 (UTC)

Change to article name entry field[]

The string <type person article name here> does not disappear when you click on it like the "Search Familypedia" in the search box does. It must be erased before entering the article name, which is inconvenient and confusing to new users. So I am moving it to just above the box and changing the wording to "Type person article name below:" I changed the wording in Strings:en but haven't changed it for the other languages. DennisDoty 20:06, April 2, 2010 (UTC)

Don't use "Edit with form" more than once on any article if you've moved stuff around[]

I've now added a section to Help:Starting pages for people, places, or surnames/Guidance recommending that people not use "Edit with form" more than once on a page. All explained there. — Robin Patterson (Talk) 05:06, June 10, 2010 (UTC)

Properties that do not have a nation field box[]

Most readers of this will have noticed that the form offers no box for marriage nation or other marriage place (or marriage street?). Same with some other properties (e.g. baptism?). Particularly noticeable on pages that were upgraded using info pages: the infobox shows a full "location" in quote marks, but when you go through editing with form there's no sign of that and therefore no easy way to reassign the locality and county etc.

Not satisfactory in the medium term.

I had a look at the coding and saw that there were some complications, which made me doubt if I could insert the necessary code. It would be very good if one of our more proficient coders could fix it. Then maybe we will be ready to move to pulling in (mostly to the advanced form) those other templates that sit invitingly near the bottom of each page.

Robin Patterson (Talk) 00:59, September 8, 2010 (UTC)

Thanks to Thurstan (a computer programmer in another life) for prompt fix of nation and street and "other". — Robin Patterson (Talk) 01:49, September 28, 2010 (UTC)

Notes and sources need separate headings[]

I don't know why Phlox lumped them together after taking care to have them input in separate boxes. Users who have carefully separated them can be disappointed at the sometimes meaningless result. See how silly the sources for William Gibson Patterson (1915-1974) look with no separate "sources" headings.

Would one of our proficient template-manipulators please fix it. I fear that it may need work on several templates.

Robin Patterson (Talk) 02:53, November 2, 2010 (UTC)

The work is done in template {{Facts do ref}}, which is invoked from template {{Showfacts notes/main}} (which is invoked from {{Showfacts notes}} which is invoked from {{footer}}). Presumably we will need different symbols to footnote "notes" vs "sources". Thurstan 06:41, November 2, 2010 (UTC)
Thank you for setting those out. Complexities. There would also be a need to have lots more headings produced by {{Footer}}. — Robin Patterson (Talk) 01:56, November 4, 2010 (UTC)

Or maybe we merge the input boxes[]

If contributors know that it's all under one heading, they can decide for themselves how it should be arranged and can add their own subheadings if they feel the need (maybe with some help in the form of a preload?). But before going too far with that line we should examine how the current system displays the results of the advanced form's "primary sources" and "secondary sources". And anything that could be a separate item in a GEDCOM should ideally be a separate property here, in anticipation of semi-automatic article-creation from GEDCOMs. — Robin Patterson (Talk) 01:56, November 4, 2010 (UTC)

Keeping children code if no data on form[]

Users familiar with the process realize that, if no child data (children/notes/sources) is entered at the stage of initial page creation, manual entry of code lines will be needed for children/notes/sources. "|children-g1_sources=", for example. A hurdle for avid genealogists who don't like typing computer language even if they can remember what to type. Would that be fixed if we pre-loaded the fields, maybe with hyphens? So instead of the bare "{{showfacts children}}" near the bottom of the edit box we would have :

{{showfacts children

(and similar for children-g2) all ready for simple substitution or deletion as required. -- Robin Patterson (Talk) 22:43, April 27, 2018 (UTC)

That may now be unnecessary. I've just tried "Edit children facts" on my bio and found it working again. Is that a fluke or has some miracle actually fixed it?---- Robin Patterson (Talk) 00:51, April 28, 2018 (UTC)