The main purpose of project boxes is organisational.
- Project boxes help categorise educational resources on Wikiversity into the most important categories by which Wikiversity is organised.
- It's better to categorise by template than by manual category tagging because this allows parser functions to be inserted at a later date which can retrospectively divide 1000's of pages into sub-categories when the main category has got too large. Programmers and scriptwriters can also retrospectively change category names, add extra categories or run other advanced organisational operations on resources as a group. In short: you do a great favour to Wikiversity if major categorisation is by template (project box), not by manual category tagging.
- The words, links, colours and icons are all of secondary importance and can be overridden.
- The words, links, colours and icons are attractive, fun and useful. They serve the purpose of encouraging many users to use project boxes. Of course, not everyone will like them. But many will. Many people who never categorise their resources will be attracted to project boxes because of their appearance. It is unlikely that most people will be attracted by the organisational function - they will place appearance first. But attracting people to project boxes ultimately serves the purpose of better organising Wikiversity.
Why does Wikiversity need this extra layer of organisation?
- Most other Wikimedia projects only have one type of resource per project. Wikiversity has a large and indefinite number of resource types. In other words, Wikiversity content is inherently more complex and therefore needs more organisation.
- Small wikis need low-maintenance solutions. Project boxes are a low-maintenance organisational solution.
- Metadata: this is about sharing catalogues of resources with other educational websites. Promotion of open educational resources largely occurs through metadata sharing. The project boxes project is largely framed around the common metadata schemes and will allow for future MediaWiki extensions to quickly build metadata catalogues.
Usage and customisation
You can use all project boxes without any additional configuration at all. Normally they just work by inserting their name into the page code between curly brackets - like this:
However you can do more than this if you wish by specifying additional parameters.
List of parameters
Only valid when this template is fully developed.
- text: specify an alternative text (overrides the default text).
- add: specify text to append to the end of the default text.
- theme: value 0 to 14; specifies an alternative colour scheme.
- icon: specify an alternative icon; just give it the image name.
- style: currently inactive; will enable the template to adopt different styles.
- visible: currently inactive; will enable a user to toggle the template between categorise-only (invisible) or category+box (visible) modes.
By their nature, project boxes have to be economical with words. The use of few words means that ambiguities, unintended interpretations and other unpleasant things may emerge in the course of time, or the choice of words may unwittingly reflect a particular point of view. Further, many of the original project boxes were created rapidly in large numbers, with little reflection or discussion of the wording. If you wish to suggest alternative default wording, you can use the talk pages for this purpose. It may be better to use the talk page of the corresponding help page for this purpose. When suggesting an alternative default wording:
- consider how many users chose to use the template in its current form;
- consider the option to productively fork;
- take into account the option for each user to override the defaults when transcluding;
- consider the option to extend rather than fork a template (because the variables are public);
- consider the need to avoid template clutter.
Project box controversy and the deletion of this template
Project boxes derive from user boxes. User boxes can be controversial and are often proposed for deletion (e.g. w:Wikipedia:Deletion review/Userbox debates/Archived). Reasons include problems with default wording (see above) as well as a wider feeling that user boxes are a pointless and distracting fad.
Before proposing this template for deletion:
- please remember that Wikiversity project boxes have a different purpose from user boxes - they serve an essential organisational function as regards the content of Wikiversity;
- as a last resort, an alternative is to render the project box invisible by default - i.e. preserve its categorisation function.
List of project box help pages
The following pages contain galleries of project boxes, together with the codes for inserting them into pages and other helpful information.
- Help:Resources by completion status (5 levels of completion, from freshly started to complete)
- Help:Resources by educational level (i.e. pre-school, primary, secondary, tertiary, non-formal, research)
- Help:Resources by type
- Help:Resources by subject (there are lots of these)
- Help:Resources by language (like subject boxes, for language learning; separate, as there as so many)
- Help:Resource attribution (of interest to major authors and course organisers)
- Help:Resource perspectives (an update of the old disclosures idea)
- Help:Interwiki project boxes (updated templates for notifying related materials on other Wikimedia projects)
- Help:Resources by quality (featured status; proposed for featured; cleanup)
- Help:Miscellaneous project boxes