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Wikipedia:Infobox consolidation

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Infobox consolidation is the process of merging similar infobox templates. A number of questions arise regularly, during discussion of proposals to merge, or delete, redundant infobox templates. This is an attempt to provide a convenient record of the answers to them.

Several of the principles apply to other types of template, equally.

Frequently asked questionsEdit

What are infoboxes?
See Wikipedia:WikiProject Infoboxes.
What's the best way to approach this?
When considering similar infobox templates we now know about, we need to ask what differences might justify having more than one; and consider, if we had none, and started with a clean sheet, what the template or templates we'd write would look like.
Why is having lots of similar infoboxes a bad thing?
The more infoboxes we have, the greater the maintenance burden. For example,we're still adding alt text parameters to infobox templates. The more templates, the longer it takes.
Why should we not have a separate infobox for, say, journalists, when we have a special box just for basketball players?
We have separate boxes for sportspeople, royalty, and politicians (amongst others) because there are lots of genre-specific details on those types of subjects which warrant inclusion in their infoboxes. That is not the case for every profession.
But aren't journalists important?
A separate infobox isn't a measure of importance, but of having different properties from other subjects.
What if a merged template has parameters not relevant for one subset of its subjects?
A simplified pro forma copy can be put on a user or project page; see, for example, the short copy of {{Infobox person}} at Template:Infobox person/doc#Blank template with basic parameters.
But I spent a lot of time working on that infobox!
Thank you. However, you, like all editors, have agreed that what you contribute may be amended or done away with.
It's so much easier to type and remember {{Foobox}} than {{Infobox people from Foo}}
Typically a redirect is kept at the old title so that you can still use it.
What if I don't like how Infobox foo looks? I prefer the appearance of Infobox foo2
If the only differences are aesthetic, that's not a reason to have two templates. Propose improving Infobox foo on its talk page; if there is consensus, your preferred version will then appear on more articles.
Wouldn't the time and effort spent on merging and replacing infoboxes be better spent on something else?
Nobody is compelled to do any work; but it always gets done. It's the sort of job usually done by a bot, or someone with a script. We have a few colleagues who are old hands at the process. Besides – as explained above – the work done in removing redundant infoboxes will reduce the work needed to maintain them in the future. Overall, there will be a net saving.
What infoboxes should be merged?
For example, those covering the same subject; those which lack clearly distinct parameters from one another.
Isn't all of the above just a minority viewpoint?
No. While some suggestions to delete infoboxes fail, for good or bad reasons, since 2010 or so, many more redundant infoboxes have been done away with, or merged, by consensus, to make our work on the encyclopedia easier.
Can you give me an example?
Yes; many. Since 2010, for instance, we have decided that we do not need separate infoboxes for railway stations in Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, France, India, Iran, The Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain or Switzerland, not to mention those on local systems in Bilbao, Bucharest, Budapest, Copenhagen, Glasgow, Melbourne, Milan, Monterrey, Montreal, Moscow, Munich, Oslo, South East Queensland, San Francisco (BART), Seville, Trondheim, Vancouver, Victoria, and many more; and have merged (or are in the process of doing so) the respective infobox templates into {{Infobox station}}.
I don't like infoboxes.
That's a separate debate. This is about which infobox to use, not whether to use one.

StepsEdit

A typical merge follows his process:

  1. Initiate Tfm
  2. Build consensus
  3. Add tracking categories
  4. Convert to wrapper
  5. Complete merger
  6. Create redirect

Major Merge initiativesEdit