Template talk:Alabama

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WikiProject Alabama (Rated Template-class)
WikiProject iconThis template is part of WikiProject Alabama, an attempt to build a comprehensive and detailed guide to Alabama on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, you can edit this article, or visit the project page to join the project and/or contribute to the discussion.
 Template  This template does not require a rating on the project's quality scale.

What exactly constitutes "major"?[edit]

Because there's no way that the bham SUBURBS of Homewood, Vestavia Hills, Alabaster are major cities, they are part of the Bham MSA. Hoover belongs by virtue of its sheer sprawl...er size. Bessemer is iffy. - (author?) (My bad, I made this comment. -Ttownfeen)

I've gone ahead and made changes to the "Major cities" list based on the following standards. A city is major if:
  • It is the largest city of a Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), or
  • It would be large enough to qualify as the largest city of an MSA if it were not a suburb (i.e., if the population is greater than 50,000).
I think these are reasonable standards as to what defines "major" - Lissoy 15:46, August 10, 2005 (UTC)
Looks good. Ttownfeen 01:24, August 11, 2005 (UTC)
I think we should stick to the largest city of a MSA, calling a city "major" if it reaches a population of 50,000 would be highly questionable (and probably laughable) by national or international standards. Tuscaloosa, Alabama, the fifth largest city in the state only has 2006 U.S. Census Bureau Estimated population of 83,052 with a MSA of 116,324. I question including any city any smaller than this as major. Especially if that city is a suburb of a larger city and probably would not exist if not for that fact, such as Hoover, Alabama. Maybe a visit to one of our sister projects, Wikipedia:WikiProject Cities might be helpful. Though, be forewarned that their priority scale, ranging from Top, High, Mid, to Low, would place most Alabama cities as Low. Not that we have to follow their lead as to what's major or important but I think that we should keep things in a broader perspective since Wikipedia is a worldwide endeavor. Altairisfar 10:20, 1 December 2007 (UTC)

Metro Areas[edit]

I am assuming that the "Metro Areas" in the template are used in reference to Metropolitan Statistical Areas created by the Census Bureau. I have used that assumption as justification for changing the names of the metro area to their official names as indicated on this census list. Also, Hunstville and Decatur are technically two seperate census areas. Any combination of the two is probably what should constitute the North Alabama article --Ttownfeen 04:02, 9 January 2006 (UTC)

Harmonizing Template:Alabama[edit]

Template:Alabama has been harmonized by BigBang11, 15 March 2006 21:18 PST (UTC)

U.S. state templates[edit]

Wikipedia:WikiProject U.S. states/state templates lists and displays all 50 U.S. state (and additional other) templates. It potentially can be used for ideas and standardization. //MrD9 07:13, 19 March 2006 (UTC)


What is the purpose of this template? Wouldn't every conceivable use be served by just wikilinking to the Alabama article? I could see maybe inconspicuous separate templates for "Symbols of Alabama", "Regions of Alabama" and maybe even "Major Cities of Alabama" but a template for all 67 counties? Hey look, you could just link to List of counties in Alabama which is better formatted and has a nice big map!

Also, this gigantic box is tremendously ugly and causes me great distress every time I chance upon it. If we are going to keep all this, let's at LEAST clean it up to the standards set by Template:Alaska.

--Dystopos 05:24, 28 March 2006 (UTC)

I, for one, use the template to quickly jump for city article to city article within Alabama. IMO, that part of the template definitely is useful. --Ttownfeen 06:01, 28 March 2006 (UTC)

Template formatting[edit]

I didn't like the following things about this version:

  • Red and white stripes look bad.
  • Everything is Bold.
  • There are no Micropolitan Areas articles, so no reason to include in template.
  • No real reason to separate "major" and "largest" cities (same for Metro areas).
  • A whole line for List of cities in Alabama is unnecessary.
  • The coat of arms has a gray background that looks very bad.
  • Three pictures is just too much.

So, I changed the template to look like this. reverted my changes without discussion, so I reverted it back. Comments are welcome here. --JW1805 (Talk) 06:03, 29 March 2006 (UTC)

Your version is much nicer. I've been looking at a lot of state templates, and until now, Alabama's was the biggest eyesore. You improved it a lot. //MrD9 06:25, 29 March 2006 (UTC)
I'm on board with JW1805's refinements. Actually, I don't think they go far enough; the oversized candy-colored one is terrible. Take a look at Template:Alaska for a really appealing version. --Dystopos 14:19, 29 March 2006 (UTC)
I don't think there's anything wrong with the Coat of Arms being on there. I bolded the major cities and counties (by defining major cities as those above 100,000 and counties as those above 75,000) so that we could have the distinction of major and not-so-major cities and counties without resorting to adding a new section. --Ttownfeen 21:12, 29 March 2006 (UTC)
Regarding the coat-of-arms; if someone wants to find out about the coat-of-arms, there's a prominent link in the infobox on the Alabama page. There's no point in reproducing it on every county article; the flag is better because it's easier to identify at a small size. Also, I don't see the point in distinguishing "major counties". That's not really an informative concept. Please, let's strip this abomination to its bare essentials. --Dystopos 23:24, 29 March 2006 (UTC)
Agreed. And somebody create some articles for these Metro areas. Red links on a state template are just embarrassing. --JW1805 (Talk) 23:46, 29 March 2006 (UTC)
Here's a sketch. (User:Dystopos/Template Alabama) I don't know much about table formatting. The flag might look better with a gray hairline around it. --Dystopos 23:51, 29 March 2006 (UTC)
I don't have any strong feels in any direction for the template. I like your second template. Here are some modification I might suggest. (User:Ttownfeen/Template Alabama) I think I am just bent on having some sort of seperation between the Big 4 and the other "major cities" in Alabama. --Ttownfeen 04:21, 30 March 2006 (UTC)
That one appeals to me for not being oversized. What if instead of putting larger cities in (slightly) larger text, we just ordered the list of cities by population? --Dystopos 06:20, 30 March 2006 (UTC)
It would look like the second template (User:Ttownfeen/Template_Alabama). I prefer the first one. --Ttownfeen 21:19, 31 March 2006 (UTC)
About the current version, I don't think that bolding the larger cities and counties is needed. I suggest this template AlabamaGuy2007's Alabama Template . TemplateAlaGuy 02:05, 30 March 2006 (UTC)
Does the salmon and mint color scheme represent something? --Dystopos 03:08, 30 March 2006 (UTC)?
Hmm, you raise a good point. How does this new version look, AlabamaGuy2007's Alabama Template, I took the "mint" of and replaced it with a ligt blue, I think that the red or "salmon" should stay though since red is a color on the flag. Also, I think the light blue looks good. Or we could completely remove the left column's color. I think the latest version of my version of the template looks best, but I'd like more opinions before I make any major change, or make my version the actual template. AlaGuy 04:16, 30 March 2006 (UTC)
I don't see any reason to use the color of the flag. Whatever color is used should be as pale and muted as possible, and you can't do that with red without turning it pink. How many editors do we have in this discussion now? Enough to work out a consensus? --Dystopos 06:24, 30 March 2006 (UTC)

How bout this one then? AlabamaGuy2007's Alabama Template AlabamaGuy2007 21:38, 30 March 2006 (UTC)

The two images should be smaller--like the size of User:Dystopos/Template_Alabama's top. Right now they are way too big and make the template look bad. //MrD9 22:45, 2 April 2006 (UTC)

Time to decide[edit]

A week has passed with no active discussion, so I think it's time to decide on a template. Are we going to keep it as is or change it to one of the suggested new designs? So far there are five proposed designs submitted by four editors (me being one of them). Here are links to the proposed designs:

Which do you think should be the template used?

--Ttownfeen 04:46, 10 April 2006 (UTC)

  • I believe that my proposal should be used, not just cause it's mine, but because it's not small, wimpy, or boring and blue. AlaGuy 03:41, 11 April 2006 (UTC)
  • I would like to suggest a compromise. See User:JW1805/Template Alabama. Basically, it is Dystopos's version with the seal. Not quite so boring...but not quite as flashy as AlabamaGuy's. For the record, I oppose all the ones that don't list the counties; the counties need to be there. --JW1805 (Talk) 04:01, 11 April 2006 (UTC)
  • For the sake of getting rid of the candy-colored monster, I officially support JW1805's compromise (though I prefer the really small and boring versions). --Dystopos 04:52, 11 April 2006 (UTC)
  • I like the compromised one, but the only thing that I would change if I was allowed to do so, would be to put the 3 or 4 largest metro/combined statistical areas on there. AlaGuy 01:03, 13 April 2006 (UTC)
  • Alright, how about this, we use JW's comprise version, but we change the Regions section to Regions and Metros and add the four largest MSAs. That we have a cleanly-formatted infobox and every gets what they want information-wise. --Ttownfeen 22:22, 19 April 2006 (UTC)
    • With apparent consensus and no further discussions, I've replaced the previous template with JW1805's compromise version. If people agree that the MSA's need to show up, that can be added per Ttownfeen's suggestion. --Dystopos 15:48, 24 April 2006 (UTC)

Standardization of state templates[edit]

There is currently an ongoing discussion regarding standardization of state templates (primarily regarding layout and styling) at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject U.S. states/state templates. An effort was made earlier this year to standardize Canadian province templates (which mostly succeeded). Lovelac7 and I have already begun standardizing all state templates. If you have any concerns, they should be directed toward the discussion page for state template standardization. Thanks! — Webdinger BLAH | SZ 22:36, 27 August 2006 (UTC)

Major Cities[edit]

Perhaps I was too bold, but I removed Hoover from Major Cities on the template due to the fact that it is part of the Birmingham-Hoover MSA and the Birmingham-Hoover-Cullman CSA. See above for my views on the subject. If this is contentious, please feel free to revert my changes until a consensus is reached. Altairisfar 10:42, 1 December 2007 (UTC)

Well my revision was reverted by Merbenz, so I guess that this is a contentious issue. Altairisfar 22:49, 2 December 2007 (UTC)


I'm beginning to notice that the regions line is getting quite cluttered. I wish that we could put all of the regions on here, but, does anyone think that we should put maybe just the regions in there are that are confined to just Alabama. Ex: North Alabama, Central Alabama, Mobile Bay, and not ex: Ridge and Valley, Tennessee Valley, Southern Coastal Plain... AlaGuy (talk) 00:33, 19 December 2007 (UTC)~

I guess it depends on what we want the regions to mean: geographical, political, general location, etc. Geographically it is divided into the Highland Rim, Cumberland Plateau, Appalachian Ridge and Valley , Piedmont Upland, and Gulf Coastal Plain(which covers most of the lower 2/3rds of the state); the Gulf Coastal Plain alone can be further divided into 11 subdivisions ranging from the Fall Line Hills to the Coastal Lowlands. Something along the lines of North, South, Central, etc. would probably work best for our purposes. Altairisfartalk 03:52, 29 December 2007 (UTC)
I would think that putting the North, South, Central, Northeast, Southeast, etc... would be best. It's really hard to decide which you would rather have, cause they're really all very important detailed regions. We just need more opinions on this. AlaGuy (talk) 08:02, 1 January 2008 (UTC)

Nav-box overlink crisis[edit]

22-Dec-2007: As the nav-box of each state, such as Template:Alabama, continues to be expanded with more cities or topics, and transcluded into more articles, the Wikipedia wikilink indexing is becoming a so-called "N-squared problem" or more accurately an "NxM (N-by-M) problem": when 2,500 articles use a nav-box having 200 wikilinks, the overall effect generates 500,000 entries into the Wikipedia index-file database: the seemingly small nav-box (with just 200 county names, cities and topics) snowballs into a massive half-million entries in the Wikipedia page-link database.

The problem is encouraged because some people treat nav-box templates as being shared subroutines or common menus, but they are not: in MediaWiki language 1.6, nav-box templates are actually copied as multiple instances for each page when used, rather than implemented as a shared common routine. If just 10 pages use a nav-box linking 150 cities/counties, that's 1,500 index entries, and the current result has become the thousands of index entries already created by templates such as Template:Alabama. Solutions should be sought to avoid the growing nav-box overlink crisis, as discussed below. -Wikid77 (talk) 20:13, 22 December 2007 (UTC)

Solving nav-box overlink crisis[edit]

22-Dec-2007: An easy solution is to split a nav-box into multiple smaller nav-boxes, only used on pages most likely to need each nav-box, rather than across several hundred articles.

I suggest using a condensed state-counties template for only counties of a state, similar in appearance to Template:Alabama, but with only box links to county-names (not regions or cities). Then, that kind of state-counties template ("Template:Alabama_counties") would only be transcluded into a few hundred articles about counties, rather than several hundred. Meanwhile, each state-template could be substantially shortened (by using "See: Table of Alabama counties" to reduce overall wikilinks by thousands). Long term, the general solution would be multiple smaller templates:

Other templates could be added for future subjects. Meanwhile, a transition plan is needed to convert the hundreds of articles that already use the whole-state template ("Template:Alabama"), as discussed below. -Wikid77 (talk) 20:13, 22 December 2007 (UTC)

Transition plan to smaller navboxes[edit]

22-Dec-2007: Many thousands of articles already include the whole-state templates (such as "Template:Alabama"), so a transition plan is needed to change existing articles to have less overlinking. Tests have shown that once extra links (such as county-name links) are removed from a template, the Wikipedia page-link database is auto-reconfigured (after several minutes) to re-index which pages transcluding that template no longer link to those omitted extra links (such as omitted county-name links). Wikipedia might "pause a while" when re-indexing against the modified template, before displaying "What links here" for a particular wikilink shown on the modified template.

For "Template:Alabama" there is a new parameter "show_counties=no" (or "=yes") that allows suppressing the county names (in each article that uses {{Alabama|show_counties=no}} ). Once the county-related articles are changed to use "show_counties=yes" then the default can be set to skip county names (as "show_counties=no"), at which point, Wikipedia (after several minutes) will auto-delink all 67 county-name articles from the hundreds of articles that no longer show the county-name links. A similar approach could be used to suppress city-name links, defaulting a hyphothetical parameter "show_cities=no" to trigger Wikipedia (after several minutes) to auto-delink every article that formerly linked to those city names; the problem is much greater in other states that have linked their state-template into over 2,000 articles and generated over 518,000 extra wikilinks. The detailed template coding changes are explained below. -Wikid77 (talk) 20:13, 22 December 2007 (UTC)

Template coding to skip counties[edit]

22-Dec-2007: The Template:Alabama has been modified for new parameter "show_counties=no" to suppress the 67 county-name links. The template coding (in MediaWiki 1.6 language) involved adding an if-expression (actually "#ifeq") above the list of county-name links, as follows:

 | title4 = [[List of counties in Alabama|Counties]]
 | body4 = {{
   #ifeq: {{{show_counties|yes}}}|no|<!--
   --then-link-table-->''See:''  [[Template:Alabama_counties{{!}}Table of Alabama counties]].|<!--
   --else-link-counties (not indented to avoid quote-box)
 [[Autauga County, Alabama|Autauga]] {{!}}<!--first county-->

The if-expression is ended after the list of county-name links, by the typical double-brace "}}" noting that the county names are not indented within the if-expression, because indented text would be interpreted as generating a "quote-box" highlighted section:

  [[Winston County, Alabama|Winston]]<!--
    --(lines above not indented to avoid quote-box)-->
    }}<!--endifeq-else show_counties=no -->

Notice (above) that the default setting is "yes" for the parameter "{{{show_counties|yes}}}". Later, after county-related articles are changed to always show county-name links, the default should be set to "no" (by "{{{show_counties|no}}}"). Once the template is saved with "no" then Wikipedia (after several minutes) will auto-delink all transcluding articles which no longer display those county-name links.

Similar template coding could be added for "show_cities=no" and such, to reduce excessive linking to those articles, as well. -Wikid77 (talk) 20:13, 22 December 2007 (UTC)