Forum:Much Ado About Navboxes

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Forums: Yew Grove > Much Ado About Navboxes

See Forum:Navboxes are getting kinda stupid for a previous, but not entirely related, discussion

I wrote this quickly just to get it out today so I apologize if my thoughts seem a little scattered. I think there's several good utilities for navboxes: (1) it's interesting for users to find out/read about other content related what they're currently reading, and we should encourage this increased engagement; and (2) to quickly find/go to very related articles an aspect of an NPC/item/whatever is involved in. But we've been going a little overboard with them recently.

Unnecessary navboxes[edit source]

Navboxes should only be made for content that strongly relates to other articles. A quest, a minigame, an event, etc. It should be reasonable for a user to want to visit the other links on an navbox. Recently, some navboxes have been created without this purpose, and the primary purpose has been to make maintainability for categorization easier. Such navboxes include: Template:Treasure Trails NPCs and Template:Cooks, to name a few. In my opinion, no player reading a page on Sir Prysin needs to navigate to any other NPC that could possibly be involved in a clue scroll. It's not interesting to read about, and there's no need to do it for clues. Similarly, no player reading about the Lumbridge cook wants a quick link to every Cook in Gielinor, like 'Beefy' Burns. Users don't want to engage with it and it offers no practical purpose. Simple categories fit this exact purpose, and it's not difficult to add them or update them (if need be).

I don't believe users actually care to read through those navbox entries. Instead what it does is contribute to navbox fatigue. If a user sees a lot of navboxes at the bottom of a page, they're not going to read any of them. At a certain number, they quickly scan over the titles and then think "who cares." But if there are fewer navboxes, I think they're more likely to engage with them.

Proposal #1: only create navboxes for content that has strong relation to other articles. Obviously use common sense, but navboxes should not be for maintainability purposes. That's what we have categories for.

A different solution to combatting unnecessary navboxes has led to a second problem I think needs to be addressed.

Character navboxes[edit source]

It's been informal policy that once a page reaches 8 navboxes (which I believe is already too high), the individual navboxes are removed and the title links are instead put into a character navbox. See Template:Queen Black Dragon or Template:Prince Brand & Princess Astrid for examples. I think this takes away from the main draws of navboxes: the ability for users to quickly find related content and trying to increase engagement among related articles. With these character navboxes, there's no longer any related links on the page. Just bare links to groups of content that they're involved in.

I think there is a use for character navboxes. It works for NPCs who are minorly involved in a lot of different content. General Graardor doesn't need to have X navboxes with all the quests he's in for just 5 mins. There'd be a lot of links going to a majority of unrelated articles, so Template:General Graardor is fine. But getting rid of the QBD's individual navboxes in favor of a character one is a different beast. People reading the QBD article would be interesting in articles on other draconic races, the quests that she's involved in, etc. A navbox just linking to quests and the main pages on other content is not interesting, and I think we lose that engagement.

BlackHawk suggested that when there's too many individual navboxes, we should do something akin to User:Salix of Prifddinas/Navbox. But I don't like this because it auto-hides all of the navboxes and I think we'd lost out on engagement. Hopefully we can cut down on some of the navboxes if the other proposals pass though.

Proposal #2: use common sense when making character navboxes. It should be a high bar when other navboxes just don't "fit," and they shouldn't be used just as an alternative when individual navboxes become too many.

Long navboxes[edit source]

If we need to cut down on navboxes on a page, maybe we should redefine the criteria of what deserves a navbox. Do we need a navbox of all the Fremennik? Template:Fremennik is nice, but do users actually care? The same goes for Template:Gnomes or Template:Monarchs. These are huge navboxes that may have little utility. I like them, but I'm not sure they're worth keeping around if they contribute to the fatigue. Salix made a point that their purpose could be better served as DPL lists.

Proposal #3: delete large grouping navboxes.

Discussion[edit source]

Support 1 + 2, neutral 3 - as nominator. ɳex undique 19:50, 3 January 2021 (UTC)

Support all three - I've wanted to propose point #3 for a while. One that's specifically bugged me is Template:Keys -- none of these keys have any relation to each other apart from physical form, meaning it doesn't meet its intended purpose (easy navigation between similar pages). Someone looking for the Dragon Slayer keys is not going to be interested in keys dropped by the Legiones. The massive pile of quest keys lumped together in one subgroup is especially bad.

I think navboxes like this should be converted into "List of ___" articles instead, which also lets us write out descriptions for each item (see List of keys). Most links are also already contained in another topical navbox (for its quest, minigame, dungeon, etc), so I don't think we'll be missing much if we delete the big navboxes outright. Iiii I I I 22:08, 3 January 2021 (UTC)

Personally, I am not fond of many of the current "List of __" articles, especially since many of them are outdated and haven't been maintained in ages, let alone been polished and reworked to match the current standards of the Wiki. Templates have the benefit that they're easy to add to each page during the page creation, and equally easy to update to include the missing entries. "List of __" articles would be significantly harder to maintain in this regard, unless they're devised in a way that ensures that if a page is marked as a "key", it will appear in the "List of keys". AquaMage2459 (talk) 22:56, 3 January 2021 (UTC)
DPL using categories solves the maintainability issue. Lava hawk.png BlackHawk (Talk)    23:14, 3 January 2021 (UTC)


Support 1, 2 & 3, as long as alternatives for ease of categorization are implemented, clear-cut rules for the creation of navboxes and character navboxes are established, and old navboxes that don't meet these rules are removed

1) As the creator of many of the aforementioned navboxes, I'd like to clarify that the main purpose of the implementation of many of these categories was to ensure that it's easy to keep track of all the categories a page should belong to (since hardcoding categories to a page tends to lead to articles being overlooked), as well as to keep track of all characters involved with something in an easily accessible place. However, you do bring up several good points, and I concede that as long as another alternative for the ease of categorization is found (say, by integrating categories for races, jobs and religious affiliations to NPC infoboxes as a distinct infobox), I am fine with axing a lot of the navboxes contributing to the navbox fatigue. Alternatively, the categories in question could be axed: after all, how many of them are actually useful for players using the Wiki? Category fatigue isn't exactly something that has been discussed before.

2) Personally, I was originally against the implementation of the character navboxes for the exact reasons you provided. However, after the navboxes appeared to be here to stay and the amount of navboxes kept increasing, I began to implement most of the character navboxes currently in use, and was the one who established the unspoken rule of "8 templates = eligible for a character navbox". And in principle, I agree that the number of character navboxes could be cut down: chances are that once a lot of redundant navboxes are gotten rid of, several character navboxes will become too small to be maintained in the first place.

However, I disagree with the way you present the issue at hand. You gave rather clear-cut examples of articles that do and do not benefit from having an info-box, but what about those that fall in the middle? Say, what about characters that are involves in some content as minor characters, but in other content as major characters? Or characters that appear as major characters in a lot of content? Currently, there are 75 character templates, and last time I checked there were at least 40 character pages with 8 or more navboxes (and thus being eligible for a character navbox): which of these do and do not deserve to exist?

Furthermore, I disagree with the notion that navboxes and character navboxes should be created based on "common sense". It's essentially a buzz-word for players using their own judgement regarding when to create navboxes or character navboxes, and one person's opinion on the matter will likely differ from another's, sometimes so drastically that they wouldn't even consider each other to use "common sense". That said, given that character templates are essentially a band-aid fix to ever-increasing size of the list of navboxes, any sort of discussion about what to do with character navboxes would likely have to take place after regular navboxes are dealt with.

3) This might be a good idea. After all, many of the old navboxes date back to the inception of the Wiki when the rules and standards of the Wiki were much looser, and would probably be considered redundant if they were to be created nowadays. As a result, depending on a situation these articles could be replaced by a category imbedded to an infobox (like Gnomes or Fremennik), made a DPL list, or removed altogether: Monarch is an excellent example of the latter, given that it lumps together rulers of a region that aren't monarchs, rulers of a region that are monarchs, characters who don't ruler anything but belong to a royal family, and characters who just have a royal title like King, Queen, Prince or Princess in their names with no consideration as to what that title actually means in that particular context.

Thus, we should probably have a discussion about which navboxes we truly want to have, and which can be axed. What topics and aspects of the game truly need to have their own navboxes, and what topics can have their navboxes removed and have their functionality integrated with other features of the Wiki instead? AquaMage2459 (talk) 22:56, 3 January 2021 (UTC)

Comment - "In my opinion, no player reading a page on Sir Prysin needs to navigate to any other NPC that could possibly be involved in a clue scroll. It's not interesting to read about, and there's no need to do it for clues. Similarly, no player reading about the Lumbridge cook wants a quick link to every Cook in Gielinor, like 'Beefy' Burns. Users don't want to engage with it and it offers no practical purpose."

Can we measure this somehow? There's no actual evidence provided in the text. For all we know, users love hopping between vaguely related pages for trivia's sake. I know I do. Ancient talisman.png Oil4 Talk 08:49, 4 January 2021 (UTC)

You will still be able to hop between vaguely related pages if they're all put on a list instead of a navbox. Farming-icon.png Salix of Prifddinas (Talk) Prifddinas lodestone icon.png 13:31, 4 January 2021 (UTC)

Support 1 - Honestly I've noticed this trend recently where we are trying to do absolutely everything to make our pages a unified network (navboxes between so many articles, redirects always going to a page instead of just going to the search, etc etc), and then we splurge out this huge clusterfuck of an encyclopedia that offers nothing useful to our readers. Character navboxes work really well (I think our best example is our quest navboxes), but I can't form an opinion on them until I see #1 dealt with (per AquaMage).

Also, does anyone know what WP's stance on this? I've always noticed they have the right navboxes on their pages. HaidroH rune.pngEagle feather 3.pngCandle (blood red).png 1XqyDNM.png Crystal triskelion fragment 3.pngHazelmere's signet ring.png 09:43, 4 January 2021 (UTC)

Quest navboxes are not character navboxes. A character navbox is something like Template:King Roald. A quest navbox is just a regular navbox. Farming-icon.png Salix of Prifddinas (Talk) Prifddinas lodestone icon.png 13:30, 4 January 2021 (UTC)
Sorry, I was referring to them more generally as "navboxes that encompass one particular piece of content". HaidroH rune.pngEagle feather 3.pngCandle (blood red).png 1XqyDNM.png Crystal triskelion fragment 3.pngHazelmere's signet ring.png 13:33, 4 January 2021 (UTC)
Oh sorry, you meant those as two separate statements then? Farming-icon.png Salix of Prifddinas (Talk) Prifddinas lodestone icon.png 13:38, 4 January 2021 (UTC)

Support 1, neutral on 2 & 3 - For a very long time, navboxes have been a means to an end to add categories on pages. Especially for things like cooks and black knights, just using a category is fine. If you're really that interested in a list of all the named goblins in the game, just check the category instead of having a large, nonsensical navbox on the page. I think just that will alleviate most of the problems, as large amounts of pages will lose a fair amount of navboxes due to the proposed change #1, so I reckon it's better to implement that first and revisit the topic at a later date if #2 and #3 turn out to still be problems afterwards. User talk:ThePsionic.png: RS3 Inventory image of User talk:ThePsionic ThePsionic Special:Contributions/ThePsionic.png: RS3 Inventory image of Special:Contributions/ThePsionic 12:47, 4 January 2021 (UTC)

Only if things were that simple. Over the years, I've noticed that frequently when pages are linked to categories by adding them manually, the result is that more obscure pages tend to not be included at all. Sure, you could fix these by adding appropriate articles to categories if one finds them, but that only prolongs the issue at hand. The only reason the current arrangement works is because people are willing to put in the effort and time to add the appropriate categories to every single new article, and not everybody is willing to do so, severely impacting the quality of the Wiki. By baking this information into our templates, categorization becomes much easier to maintain and expand in the future. AquaMage2459 (talk) 19:11, 5 January 2021 (UTC)

Support 1, 2, and 3 - As I've noted on Discord (which was referenced above), in my opinion we're better served by creating DPL lists on List of X pages or perhaps on the related page, e.g. Gnome for a list of gnomes. Which subsequently means we can delete Template:Gnomes and replace it by Category:Gnomes. This subsequently means a lot of pages will have less navboxes potentially removing the need for character navboxes for certain NPCs. Although I think some NPCs will remain to have a lot of navboxes due to their involvement in a lot of content, e.g. King Roald (which was the reason we got character navboxes in the first place). Also FYI, infoboxes are the things at the top-right of articles, navboxes are the ones at the bottom. Infoboxes are not navboxes and vice versa. Farming-icon.png Salix of Prifddinas (Talk) Prifddinas lodestone icon.png 13:30, 4 January 2021 (UTC)

Support 1 & 2, neutral on 3 - To follow on from what I've said on Discord, I think we have a lot of navboxes that are unnecessary. My views align with Salix on this point, that instead of these templates, a simple category will do. With this we can then create "List of __" pages that contain a DPL statement that include said category. There would be no need to maintain these pages either as the listing would be completely automatic. Lava hawk.png BlackHawk (Talk)    13:44, 4 January 2021 (UTC)

Comment - I happen to like navboxes and would rather have too many than to few. They make navigating a lot easier and nicer than using categories. Categories just are really not nice to use at all, and if you make a dpl of a category, why not keep the navbox? Much better to go from A to B via navbox than from A to some category to B. Also page-page linking is a pretty important search engine analytic for page visibility. Seers headband 2 chathead.png Elessar2 (talk) 08:17, 5 January 2021 (UTC)

Support 1 & 2 - Note that I do think there are a few Navboxes, that are unnecessary and just a category would be better (eg Keys), and probably lists of using dpl (or {{Special:PrefixIndex/Category:}} for maintainability. Also for proposal 2, I think in some cases a combo would work (keep the more relevant navboxes, add a character one that replaces the less relevant ones. In general I think it's just always important to consider what other pages general users would actually be interested in related to the current page. Seers headband 2 chathead.png Elessar2 (talk) 08:30, 5 January 2021 (UTC)

Support the interesting title. --LiquidTalk 01:44, 14 January 2021 (UTC)

Proposal 3 deletions[edit source]

If proposal 3 is accepted, here is a list of navboxes I nominate to be deleted:

Let me know your thoughts. I will also provide a list of character navboxes that could be deleted under proposal 2 as well. ɳex undique 04:38, 21 January 2021 (UTC)

Delete all, except Template:Summoning. I'm not sure why that one ended up on your list. Farming-icon.png Salix of Prifddinas (Talk) Prifddinas lodestone icon.png 08:47, 21 January 2021 (UTC)