Forums: Index > Help desk > Problems with info templates

Problem blamed on new tool, CategorySelect[]

Template:info and Template:Showinfo person haven't been working today for /info subpages added today, although they do still work for /info subpages added prior to today. DennisDoty 16:42, 18 March 2009 (UTC)

There is an extra new-line at the bottom: delete the new line before the last <noinclude>
I can't see where this change has come from.
Thurstan 22:14, 18 March 2009 (UTC)

I do not see an extra line before the <noinclude> at the bottom of newly created /info pages. The info and showinfo person templates are still not working. I have left a message for User:Phlox who seems to be in charge of this template, but no response. Apparently someone changed these vital and protected templates last night and did not bother to make sure the new version works. It's frustrating that because the templates are protected one can't even see who made the fatal change. Doesn't a supervisor keep an eye on this help desk? DennisDoty 23:44, 18 March 2009 (UTC)

User:Phlox introduced the info page system but is now trying to spend a decent amount of time with his four children. There are no supervisors routinely keeping an eye on the help desk, but some of us look at the "Recent changes" once or twice a day and will be likely to notice and respond if a forum page has been created or edited. For an urgent question, a good solution may be to look at "Recent changes" and address a question to the most active recent contributor. Thurstan may have fixed the above problem (and has left a detailed explanation on my talk page), but I'm going to have a look at what has happened. I'm not aware of any reason why you can't see the history of any page. I've just looked at a wiki where I'm not an admin (AFAIK), and had no trouble seeing a history:
Robin Patterson (Talk) 05:22, 19 March 2009 (UTC)

(next two comments copied from Robin's talk page)

I see the death dates for Nehemiah Baglin (1730-1818) has been corrected, thanks. But you seem to have the same problem as me e.g. if you look at the page, the links for father, mother and spouse in the info box are no longer working?

Nathanville 10:34, 19 March 2009 (UTC)

I just fixed Nehemiah Baglin (1730-1818): the other trap that people may be falling into is that if you change the /info page, and go back to the main page, it occasionally does not update. You have to check by going into "edit" for the main page, and look at "preview". If that is now fixed, then you have to purge the cache. I thought of all this because that's what I just had to do with Nehemiah Baglin (1730-1818).
Thurstan 11:04, 19 March 2009 (UTC)

There appear to be two problems:

  • 1. Relating to the new contributors section at the bottom of the new person page layout. I have not experienced this problem, perhaps because I have always put only three tildas after the -->, no spaces of carriage returns.
  • 2. Relating to the info template on the /info page. Thurstan and Robin Patterson have been looking at the problem using Samuel Doty (1679-aft1746) and Samuel Doty (1679-aft1746)/info as examples. On the info page, the template that assembles Date of birth from month, day, and year drops the birth year. The info page as edited looks okay, but the info page as displayed using Template:info shows this problem. The puzzle is that info pages added prior to yesterday don't display this problem.

To demonstrate that the two problems are unrelated, I have added an info page William Davison (-1723)/info without adding the corresponding person page. DennisDoty 15:13, 19 March 2009 (UTC)

I suspect Template:info contains a template that combines birth month, birth day, and birth year, into date of birth. Since Template:info hasn't been changed since Phlox locked it up, it appears that our problem results from a recent change in the date-combining template. I don't have the authority to look at Template:info to determine the name of that template. DennisDoty 16:14, 19 March 2009 (UTC)

Further thought: Template:info and Template:Showinfo person must substitute the date combining template, which explains why info pages added before yesterday are okay. Once the problem is fixed it will probably require re-saving person and info pages entered since the problem began. I hope it won't involve more than that. Maybe we should warn people not to enter info pages until the problem is fixed. DennisDoty 16:51, 19 March 2009 (UTC)

You are still creating pages with [[category:Info pages]] in the wrong place. When you fix that, your problem will go away.
Thurstan 20:56, 19 March 2009 (UTC)

Thurstan, I don't understand. William Davison (-1723)/info, for example, does not contain [[category:Info pages]] at all. I don't believe any info page does. Are you confusing problem 1 in the discussion above with problem 2? Or perhaps confusing Template:Info categories with Category:Info pages?

DennisDoty 21:25, 19 March 2009 (UTC)

No, you seem to be confused: edit William Davison (-1723)/info and scroll down and look at the last 5-6 lines of test. You will see that it looks like the first quotes box in User_talk:Robin_Patterson#Persons_.2Finfo_page. Change it to match the second box will fix your problem (making double-sure there isn't a "newline" at the end).

Otherwise, go to John Burgess (c1789-1844)/info which I fixed this morning, look at the "history" and "compare" my version with your last version.

21:35, 19 March 2009 (UTC)

Thurstan, I was confused. I'm new at this and I hadn't discovered the code view button at the bottom of the edit screen. The [[category:Info pages]] was in the code view box. So your fix does indeed work, thank you very much. But, the create info page button on Help:Alternative types of page for individual is still creating these bad pages. It is urgent that we get this fixed so we don't have to keep applying your fix to these pages

DennisDoty 23:11, 19 March 2009 (UTC)

It should not be doing that. This is how it ended when I checked it a minute ago:
|Familysearch afn     = 
|Genealogics pid      = 
}}<noinclude>{{tabs person}}{{Info table person}}[[category:Info pages]]
</noinclude><!--delete all blank lines following this one or you will see 
extra lines when you do Get's! -->
Incidentally, that code/category thingy at the bottom of the edit box is new to us all. Wikia introduced it yesterday. I think it could be more trouble than it's worth for this site.
Robin Patterson (Talk) 01:46, 20 March 2009 (UTC)
Now I am the one that is confused: I don't see a code/category thingy at the bottom of the edit box (I just checked): is this the thing that is breaking the /info pages by fiddling with how the categories are declared?
Thurstan 02:05, 20 March 2009 (UTC)
The button that may say "code view" is the second of the new rollouts, described in a message that may have reached your talk page and at - and it possibly appears only on articles. — Robin Patterson (Talk) 05:24, 20 March 2009 (UTC)

Yes, I remember the message, but did not pay it enough attention. Thanks for the link. I have only been able to see this "feature" once, and it went away again before I had a chance to test it. I think it is very likely to be what is breaking our /info pages. Perhaps someone who is having the problem should disable the feature in their preferences (instructions in Help:CategorySelect), and see if that fixes things. Note that technically speaking, the /info pages are actually templates, even though they are not in the "Template:" namespace.

Thurstan 06:12, 20 March 2009 (UTC)

See Forum:CategorySelect for brief intro and link to Help. It does add categories at the end of a page if you use its normal function. But that would presumably not affect an info (sub)page unless someone was careless. It could normally be used on the Basepage (the matching individual's article) with impunity, I imagine. — Robin Patterson (Talk) 10:06, 20 March 2009 (UTC)

I disabled category tagging in my preferences and the problem went away. DennisDoty 10:30, 20 March 2009 (UTC)

Sorry for my confusion: from the help links I see that I wasn't seeing "category tagging" even when I logged out because it is only available with Monaco skin, and I am still using Quartz. Thurstan 05:43, 21 March 2009 (UTC)

Thanks, Dennis, for checking on my grandmother and giving me the detailed report an hour or so ago. I had deleted everything after the "gets" before I left that page tonight and I have not used CategorySelect although it is probably lurking there. Nothing wrong, in principle, with it adding what it did (and seems to have done again, I see!) if it makes it run on instead of starting a new line; we might want to tweak the template but it should work OK. However, if the new tool is adding new lines to templates it must be modified so that it does not do that, because many templates across Wikia and Wikipedia go funny if you add a new line. I have sent an appeal to "Contact Wikia" outlining the critical nature of the problem and asking for someone to look at this page. Now I'm off to bed. — Robin Patterson (Talk) 12:15, 22 March 2009 (UTC)

No response from my "Contact Wikia" but I've followed it up at and seem to have got one of the experts interested. — Robin Patterson (Talk) 02:42, 28 March 2009 (UTC)

Is this fixed now? My undestanding is that a no include was being inserted at the end of info pages, which creates havoc when they are queried by the templates that use them. I assume the wikia software was very unhelpfully inserting this line, but it no longer is. Is this true? -~ Phlox 17:38, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
Problem has gone away. I think someone here disabled the new tool for this wiki. See Patterson (Talk) 05:24, 7 April 2009 (UTC)

Problem hasn't gone away?[]

The problem hasn't gone away. Have a look at Adaltrude (774-?)/info, which was entered yesterday. DennisDoty 08:52, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

I suspect that the problem is the comment at the top: I don't know why, but a comment at the top seems to break the info template. Thurstan 10:04, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

Previously the problem went away for me when I turned off category tagging in my preferences. So I went to check my preferences under the editing tab and the category tagging option has disappeared. Have the powers that be turned on category tagging for everyone? DennisDoty 11:07, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

No, I think they've turned it off for this wiki (see Robin's last message above). Thurstan 11:12, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
Okay. This probably relates to changes AMK152, Robin, and I have been making to Genealogy:Info pages/template, which includes your idea that it relates to the comment at the top. Maybe we should try removing the comment temporarily to see if the problem goes away. By the way, the last edit by AMK152 changed the template after |Article : from a substituted template to non-substituted, which is not the way it was previous to these most recent changes. DennisDoty 12:39, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

It's back again. Wikia has tied CategorySelect to the new RTE. See Forum:CategorySelect. — Robin Patterson (Talk) 02:43, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

Problems with links on hndis page and blank info page[]

See William Christie (?-1817)/info. Despite being saved at least twice and managing to work OK on its article, it's blank. I don't know if that matters, but it's a change of style!

Of more concern is the fact that it produces just the name on the William Christie hndis page where it should produce a link. The other name tabulated on that page is a link as it should be.

Any clues from recent users or editors? — Robin Patterson (Talk) 05:15, 12 April 2009 (UTC)

Now OK again since I added "subst" to his article parameter. That's clearly the key there. — Robin Patterson (Talk) 05:16, 15 April 2009 (UTC)

Ahnentafel getting wrong people[]

See "Pedigree" on June Roseth May Weaver (1880-1918) and her mother. What have I done wrong? — Robin Patterson (Talk) 10:57, 12 April 2009 (UTC)

Maybe it has to do with the fact that Article: now uses the unsubstituted version of Basepagename. See mu comment above. DennisDoty 11:15, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
I went ahead and changed the Article parameter to make the BASEPAGENAME template substituted. Then I entered the following info page Elizabeth Davison (1832-?)/info. As you can see, the problem of the info page as displayed being blank hasn't gone away. Maybe the problem relates to the comment at the start as suggested by Thurstan above. We could try putting the info template in front of the comment.DennisDoty 13:28, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
That's not it! I went ahead and tried my suggestion above and then entered Mary Jane Davison (1833-?)/info, and as you can see we are getting the same blank info page. For now I won't undo my change because, while it doesn't look as nice without the comment at the top, the change doesn't seem to create any additional problems.DennisDoty 13:57, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
When I entered the person pages for the above sample info pages, Elizabeth Davison (1832-?) and Mary Jane Davison (1833-?), I discovered that the problem with the Ahnentafel has gone away. So, it seems to me, that problem was caused by the BASEPAGENAME template not being substituted. DennisDoty 14:33, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
I noticed that the BASEPAGENAME template had been removed from the Short name parameter, so I put it back. But this hasn't made the blank info page problem go away, as demonstated by Josiah Davison (1834-1835)/info which I entered after the last change. DennisDoty 21:12, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
Okay, it seems that the ahnentafel template being used is totally out of date. It shoudl be replaced with Template:InfoAhnentafel. If BASEPAGENAME is substituted every time an article is create, and the article is moved, the BASEPAGENAME changes. If the InfoAhnentafel template is used, the BASEPAGENAME can remain unsubstituted. -AMK152(talkcontribs) 03:46, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
I don't understand your expression "totally out of date". It was working fine a week ago. Now the removal of "subst:" in a couple of places has mucked up that and other things. — Robin Patterson (Talk) 05:16, 15 April 2009 (UTC)

AMK152 said: If BASEPAGENAME is substituted every time an article is create, and the article is moved, the BASEPAGENAME changes. but that is not true (if you mean what I think you mean): when you save it, the "subst" means that the whole expression is replaced with the text for the (first time) BASEPAGENAME, which does not change until you actually edit it. Thurstan 06:46, 15 April 2009 (UTC)

Another problem with no subst[]

The template "Showinfo children" uses "Article" to show the spouse name (if possible). So if you don't use "subst" with "Article", the wrong name is generated (for example, see the second family for Clémence of Aquitaine (1060-1142)). So the question is, is the "Article" field doing anything useful here, or should the "Showinfo children" template be changed? Thurstan 10:07, 13 April 2009 (UTC)

(Clearly you are getting your head around these templates even if it hurts!) Your question here is the sort of thing for which I designed and created what someone else has now renamed Genealogy:Info pages/Parameters, where each parameter can have notes about where it is used and what editors (and, to a lesser extent, contributors) can do or shouldn't do with it. (If anyone's making significant adjustments to that parameter or those near it, please see if you can move the name-related ones up to somewhere near the top so that editors need less scrolling to paste parts of the page name into parameters that want them.) — Robin Patterson (Talk) 13:20, 13 April 2009 (UTC)

I just added an info page Samuel Naseby Davison (1839-?)/info and both the blank page problem and the ahnentafel problem have vanished. I have no idea why. DennisDoty 00:06, 14 April 2009 (UTC)

I was wrong: the blank page problem has vanished, but not the ahnentafel problem. The ahnentafel problem didn't show up on the above example because, while Samuel Naseby Davison (1839-?) was entered with no subst on BASEPAGENAME, his ancestors were entered with subst. I tried replacing Template:Ahnentafel/3 with Template:InfoAhnentafel as suggested by AMK152 above, but it does no good. DennisDoty 18:34, 14 April 2009 (UTC)
Here is an example: Eliza Crane (?-?) It has both Template:Ahnentafel/3 and Template:InfoAhnentafel. DennisDoty 23:40, 14 April 2009 (UTC)
The problem is that Template:Ahnentafel/3 uses Template:Get father and Template:Get mother which, to quote the documentation: "returns a link to the ... current article even if it is given an old article name prior to an article move-rename-redirect", so it is designed to have "subst:" on the "Article" field. On the other hand, Template:InfoAhnentafel uses Template:Get father-ex etc, which in turn uses Template:Get article to get the "Article" field (so the same net effect as Template:Ahnentafel/3). So unless someone is volunteering for a large-scale remediation effort, we have to use "subst:" with the "Article" field (and update the /info page after a move). If we don't use "subst:" with the "Article" field (or find another way to get the same effect), then that field has no purpose. Thurstan 03:37, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
Hmmmm... that is weird. Either we're going to have to figure out a way around it, or make sure that the article parameter is consistant with the page name when an article is moved. -AMK152(talkcontribs) 03:58, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
Until we figure out a way around it, let's keep the subst: - moving pages is not all that frequent, and another reminder to people who move pages (tied to the parameters where it matters) should keep that problem very small without disabling the Ahnentafel and the hndis pages. — Robin Patterson (Talk) 05:16, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
Good idea. Updating the "article" parameter not the most annoying thing anymore. -AMK152(talkcontribs) 03:04, 18 April 2009 (UTC)


I notice a lot of discussion on this page, and while the problem is clear, the solution is not. Doing away with BASEPAGENAME solves these problems but creates others. What is this "subst" solution? Rtol 05:26, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

The /info pages used to be coded with:
|Article              = {{subst:BASEPAGENAME}}
|Short name           = {{subst:BASEPAGENAME}}
and reverting to this form solves all the problems where the wrong names are displayed. Thurstan 05:44, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
OK, I'm going to "BE BOLD" and do it. — Robin Patterson (Talk) 05:03, 22 April 2009 (UTC)

Now what about the form {{subst<noinclude></noinclude>:BASEPAGENAME}}? I think I worked out what that did, but maybe someone can give a second opinion here. — Robin Patterson (Talk) 05:03, 22 April 2009 (UTC)

It is coded like that in the model page ("template") so that the "subst" doesn't happen when you save the model page. You wouldn't enter that in a real /info page. Thurstan 05:31, 22 April 2009 (UTC)

"Multiple sources should be a bulletted list:"[]

The above part-sentence has suddenly dominated at least two of our info templates, sitting in cells where it seems to have no business. Not the edit boxes, which may be fortunate. If somebody has been adding or moving those words, I would like to see them checked in case they are secretly mucking up something. — Robin Patterson (Talk) 13:26, 23 April 2009 (UTC)

Sorry, I edited Info pages/sources. I suspect that that page should be deleted. Where do these words appear? Thurstan 21:46, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
Fix by deleting Info pages/info. Thurstan 23:16, 23 April 2009 (UTC)

Problems at the end of June[]

I did not succeed in repairing the info page Ermengard der Franken (aft970-bef1049)/info, so I deleted all contents. I think I stop editing until all renewals have taken place at this site ! Bergsmit 09:50, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

Can someone explain to me what Fred's workflow is? He seems to be doing something that generates material from his site, but I have no idea what steps he takes. Is it totally a copy paste thing and the fragility of the info pages is what is annoying him? I'd like to get him situated with something that is not so frustrating in the interim. It may be that we tweak the old info pages a bit, or maybe we move his stuff over to SMW based articles. -~ Phlox 17:09, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
Thurstan did already repair the infopage of Ermengard. My way of working is: first click the red name on my controllists or anywhere alse, subst:st1 copy and paste the missing infopage in "create infopage", then copy and paste from parent and child to the infopage, save and resave the infopage, edit and save the personpage, then move person- and infopage to the standard namegiving. fred bergman --Bergsmit 17:41, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

Yes, I see his fix. I also saw what you were getting frustrated with and actually, it is ok to do that sort of thing. My edits after Thurstan's shows how. The rule you must follow when adding such material is to carefully protect any addition you make with <noinclude> </noinclude> tags, taking special care not to insert any newlines. It is a subtle error and easy to make. An example of this newline error would be the following:

Este es mi texto introductorio en español.
|Short name     ....

This seems reasonable, but the newline preceding the {{info... will muck everything up. The corrected version is:

Este es mi texto introductorio en español.
|Short name     ....

Any questions or future problems- just leave a message on my talk page. I continue my work on SMW so that this sort of complexity will be a thing of the past. We are getting closer, but it is like wine. I think the sensible thing is to take care to get as much possible right from the start rather than blunder along in a rush. Regards, ~ Phlox 19:35, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

I agree 100%, Phlox. I want something really functional so that inviting lots of members of the public is going to be a satisfying experience for nearly all invitees. At present it is patchy, as you may have seen from the wiki thread mentioned at soc.gen.medieval. — Robin Patterson (Talk) 04:20, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

Details of Fred's process[]

"My way of working is: first click the red name on my controllists or anywhere alse, subst:st1 copy and paste the missing infopage in "create infopage", then copy and paste from parent and child to the infopage, save and resave the infopage, edit and save the personpage, then move person- and infopage to the standard namegiving."

  1. There will be less work if the page name is correct before an info page is created, because you will not then have to change the article name in the info page when moving the info page. I understand the value of having a page here that is exactly the same as in your controllist or geneaweb; but make that just an article (with subst:st1 if you like) and move it (leaving the redirect) before creating its info page.
  2. No need to resave the info page before looking at the article that now uses it. See the instructions on Genealogy:Info pages: "Just save the page, copy its exact title (except for the "/info"), then return here for the next inputbox". In your process the article already exists, so you need only the first four words of that sentence. If we are lucky, we never need to look again at the info page. So save it and leave it.

Robin Patterson (Talk) 04:20, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

I agree that it's better to redirect before making an infopage! I was stupid to don't see this before you wrote this ;-) --Fred Bergman 06:19, 30 June 2009 (UTC)