Template talk:LexInfo

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This template uses MAGICWORDS and ParserFunctions.



Put {{subst:Template talk:LexInfo}} on the first line of the article and save it. Then open it for editing and leave only the correct values. Remove all quote marks.

|sortkey= Enter the sort word for categories
|type= Enter the document type
|status= choose "current" "repealed" "lapsed" or "uncertain"
|result= choose "approved" "rejected" "vetoed" "withdrawn" or "uncertain"
|com= name of comitia
|yes= Number of YES votes |no= Number of NO votes |abs= Number of ABSTAIN votes
|when= date of action. use date templates freely.
|reference= URL to an off-wiki reference.

What this does and how to use it

1. It puts the languagebar on the top of the page. But I am not sure we really want to do this. Discussion?

2. It adds the article to Category:Leges (Nova Roma).

3. It blocks the TOC, but then the TOC shouldn't appear until the fourth heading is included. This can be overridden in the article, but it seems best to suppress them by default as in most cases the articles are short.

4. Creates a "Background" section.

The variable "status" can take these values:

C, c, current, F, f, all result in "IN FORCE"

R, r, repealed, all result in "REPEALED" and place the item in Category:Repealed leges (Nova Roma)

L, l, lapsed, all result in "LAPSED" and place the article in Category:Lapsed leges (Nova Roma)

No value or anything else result in "Uncertain" and place the article in Category:Leges needing attention (Nova Roma)}}

The variable "result" can take these values:

A, a, P, p, approved, all result in an "Approved by" message.

R, r, rejected, all result in a "Rejected by" message.

"Approved by" and "Rejected by" also get a comitia from the "com" variable and a voting record from "yes" "no" and "abs" variables.

V, v, vetoed, all result in a "Vetoed before voting in" message plus the comitia name.

W, w, withdrawn, all result in a "Withdrawn before voting in" message plus the comitia name.

Nothing or anything else result in "Uncertain" and placement in [[:Category:Leges needing attention

6. The date is added from the "when" variable. Note that this variable may contain other templates, specifically date templates. For date templates see the help files.

7. Inserts the message "Commentary is not part of the lex and should be placed on the discussion page. It automatically creates a link to each article's talk page.

8. Creates a level 2 heading with "Text of" plus the name of the article.

9. Sets a sort key through the "sortkey" variable, which is forced into first letter uppercase, just to be safe.


This one template does the work of seven or so old templates. It simplifies the work of changing status and it handles category membership automatically. This will prevent a law from stating one status but appearing in the category proper to a different status.

This template makes it a preference to display information in normal article format, not in the idiosyncratic box format. The box format used a table layout device, which is a deprecated mechanism and not reliable across browsers. This is especially true for persons with impaired vision and most particularly true for persons using screen readers. Agricola 11:58, 29 August 2007 (CEST)

Language bars

The text above raises the question whether it is a good idea to have a language bar at the top of an article which contains the text of a legal document. I think it is a good idea. Some legal documents are issued in more than one language - a number of leges, for example, have been promulgated and enacted in both Latin and English. There seems little point putting all the versions in the same article, because very few readers will want to read the same document in more than one language. Therefore it makes sense to have the English version of the text in one article, the Latin version in another, and so on, and to link them together using the language bar.

However, we must be careful here to distinguish between authentic and inauthentic texts. For non-lawyers I'll explain that the authentic text of a legal document is the text which embodies the meaning of the document and which can be relied upon by lawyers and judges. Where a question of interpretation arises, only an authentic text can be used to support any given interpretation. In Nova Roma the only authentic text of a lex is the text which was approved by the comitia, the only authentic text of a senatus consultum is the text which was approved by the senate, and so on. When a lex is proposed and voted on in both Latin and English then both Latin and English texts are authentic. But a translation made later is not authentic. So we need to be very careful to make clear which texts are authentic and which are inauthentic when presenting texts in several languages.

- Cordus 19:01, 3 September 2007 (CEST)

Agree. The problem I see is that elsewhere the languagebar links equivalent versions. It may be useful to break off the canonical texts from ALL other materials. This would let us use an include to bring the very same authentic text into all versions. We could also change the boilerplate in this template to Latin and have a link to a translation page. I have elsewhere been supportive of this sort of thing (e.g. dates) as a teaching tool. Agricola 03:38, 4 September 2007 (CEST)
I'm afraid I don't quite understand what all that means! Perhaps when you have time you could make an example..?  :)
- Cordus 14:40, 4 September 2007 (CEST)
I mean to put just the authentic text in an article. Then we could include it in other articles, maybe decorated with all sorts of other information, but in every case the authentic text would exist in exactly one place. We could include it by treating it like a template. We could also change this LexInfo template to Latin, so it could be used universally. It would have a link to a glossary page, basically. Agricola 07:20, 16 September 2007 (CEST)
Or would it be enough to rely on the use or not of "class=scriptum" to distinguish authentic texts from inauthentic ones? Agricola 07:20, 16 September 2007 (CEST)
Ah, I understand. Well, the problem with that is that sometimes there is more than one authentic text. In the last few years, for example, the comitia have approved a number of leges in both Latin and English. Since both texts have been simultaneously approved by the comitia in the same vote, both are authentic, and it then becomes impractical (and probably unhelpful) to put them both on the same page.
As for using the 'scriptum' box to distinguish the authentic texts from the inauthentic ones, that's a possibility, I suppose. What makes me hesitate is the possibility of 'official' translations. We have an official body of interpretes whose duty it is to translate such official documents. A translation by an official interpres is therefore a sort of 'official' translation, which has more authority than a translation done by a private citizen or by a sequence of private citizens who edit the translation just like a normal article on the website. It still wouldn't be an authentic text, but we might nonetheless want to protect it from the attentions of ordinary editors, and the 'scriptum' box would seem the natural way to do that. But then we'd need a different way to mark authentic texts. Hmm. I'm not sure.
- Cordus 17:55, 17 September 2007 (CEST)

Small suggestions

Four small suggestions:

  • To add the word "the" in front of the name of the comitia in the phrase "approved by comitia..."
  • To place the names of the comitia, the word lex, and other Latin words in italics.
  • To change the phrase "This lex is now uncertain" to "This lex is now of uncertain legal status". Otherwise it's not clear what the phrase means until you compare it to other leges which are not uncertain.
  • To change the word "now" to the word "currently" in the phrase "This lex is now...". To me the use of "now" implies that it used to be something else and has changed, which will not always be true of leges.

Obviously these are not high-priority changes, but I thought I'd note them on the record while they were in my mind.

- Cordus 18:05, 17 September 2007 (CEST)

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