Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Article message boxes

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There is a standard and consistent design for article message boxes — templates which are inserted into articles/sections, and identify problems or issues with the article. The design was standardized and implemented in September 2007.

Scope[edit]

The scope of this effort is the design of article message boxes ("amboxes"). Article message boxes are template messages, in a rectangular frame (box), which are placed in articles, and are also about articles. They identify issues or important information about the article, but are not part of the article content itself.

The following are presently outside the scope of this effort:

Terminology[edit]

  • Template: A page which is transcluded into other pages, typically to re-use the same content in multiple pages. See Help:Template.
  • Message box: Any template that looks like a box and contains a specific message about a specific issue with a page, section, or other thing on Wikipedia.
    • This is in contrast to templates which are used for info boxes, to automate processes, or any of the other myriad things templates are used for.
  • Article message box: Message boxes about articles
    • Info boxes, nav boxes, and such are part of an article, not about the article
  • ambox: Short for "article message box"

Design[edit]

What amboxes looked like before they were standardized…
…and after.

The ambox tags that we use to notify people of problems within an article are on thousands of our pages. Our readers see them and judgements are made not only about the article at hand, but about the project itself. In the past, we had a myriad of templates that often shared some level of consistency, but still looked very mismatched.

This effort aims to address these issues. Design principles include:

  • Colour-coding is good, but avoid excess
  • Consistent widths make multiple adjacent amboxes easier to read
  • This is a deliberate design effort, while the old templates evolved organically over time
  • Easily implemented
  • The use of CSS allows appearance customization/override on a per-user or per-skin basis

Categories and colours[edit]

Amboxes are divided into various categories. Each category has a corresponding colour code. The colour-coding helps to inform of the severity of the issues at a glance.

  Code Name Description Example Templates
  #b22222 Speedy Immediate deletion {{db-meta}}
  #b22222 Deletion Full-discussion deletion; proposed deletion {{afd}}, {{prod}}
  #f28500 Content Problems with the content of an article, i.e., what the article actually says {{POV}}, {{globalize}}
  #f4c430 Style Problems not with the content, but how it is formatted/presented {{cleanup}}, {{underlinked}}
  #1e90ff Notice Information readers/editors should be aware of {{current}}, {{recent death}}
  #9932cc Move Merge, split and transwiki proposals {{split}}, {{copy to wiktionary}}
  #bba Protection Page is locked against edits {{pp-protected}}

The choice of colour is partly inspired by the ANSI standard safety "Signal Words" and their corresponding colors: Danger (Red), Warning (Orange), Caution (Yellow), and Notice (Blue).

Most amboxes have a background colour of #fbfbfb (slightly off white), which is intended to contrast slightly with the full white (#ffffff) used for articles, while still being easy to read. The exception is the Speedy category, which uses a pink background (#fee) to highlight the immediate nature of the problem.

Implementation[edit]

Most article message boxes use this design.

The design of these article message boxes is controlled by the Ambox classes, which are styled by MediaWiki:Common.css.

The meta template {{ambox}} makes it easy to create article message boxes in the new design. It has usage documentation and examples. Note that {{ambox}} is just a thin wrapper for the classes.

The classes can also be used directly within a wikitable or HTML table, especially when special functionality is needed. Wikipedia:Ambox CSS classes describes how.

Alternate skins[edit]

It is possible to customize the appearance of ambox templates on a per-user basis. To do this, you need a named account. Then add to or alter the code in your monobook.css page. There are several pre-made "skins" available for this at Wikipedia:Ambox CSS classes/Skins.

Examples[edit]

Please note:

  • The wording (text) of these message boxes is outside the scope of this effort. The wording in the examples below is for illustration purposes only.
  • The following box has a white background to mimic article pages.

Speedy deletion[edit]

Deletion[edit]

This template is being used in the wrong namespace. To nominate this project page for deletion, go to Miscellany for deletion.

Content[edit]


Style[edit]


Notice[edit]

Move[edit]

Stacking demo[edit]

See also[edit]