Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Self-references to avoid

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This page is about the guideline for Wikipedia self-references to avoid. For the guideline on autobiographies, see Wikipedia:Autobiography. For self-published sources, see WP:SPS. For the {{selfref}} template, see Template:Selfref. For the guideline against using Wikipedia articles as references, see WP:CIRCULAR.

This guideline is about self-references and specifies which types of self-references should be avoided and which kinds are acceptable.

Typically, self-references within Wikipedia articles to the Wikipedia project should be avoided. These take several forms.

Types of self-reference[edit]

This Wikipedia article discusses...While Wikipedia is not a dictionary... (in an article about a certain term) — Edit this page...

Mentioning that the article is being read on Wikipedia, or to Wikipedia policy or technicalities of using Wikipedia should be avoided where possible. This type of self-reference limits the use of Wikipedia, as a free content encyclopedia suitable for forking, as permitted by our license. The goal of Wikipedia is to create an encyclopedia, not merely to perpetuate itself, so the articles produced should be useful, even outside the context of the project used to create them. This means that while articles may refer to themselves, they should not refer to "Wikipedia" or to the Wikipedia project as a whole (e.g. "this website").
Mentioning the Wikipedia community, or website features, can confuse readers of derivative works. Unless substantially part of the article topic, do not refer to the fact that the page can be edited or mention any Wikipedia project page or process, specialized Wikipedia jargon (e.g. "POV" in place of "biased") or any MediaWiki interface link in the sidebar or along the top of the screen.
References that exist in a way that assumes the reader is using an encyclopedia, without reference to the specific encyclopedia (Wikipedia) or the manner of access (online), are acceptable. For instance, in the article on the Kobe Bryant sexual assault case, before the alleged victim's identification, it said that "Due to concerns over privacy, the name of the alleged victim is not being included in this article or at this time." That is a reference that makes sense on mirrors and forks and in print, and makes sense in a copy of Wikipedia that contains only the article space. Examples also include disambiguation links and "See also" links.
The templates that render self-referencing graphics for the maintenance needs of developing articles, like {{stub}}, {{npov}}, and {{refimprove}} are unavoidable, but articles should normally avoid self-referencing templates such as {{shortcut}} and the others.

Click here to see more

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Although Wikipedia is not a paper encyclopedia, articles should be written in a manner that facilitates transmission in other forms such as print, spoken word, and via a screen reader. So terms such as "this article" are preferable to "this webpage", and terms like "click here" should be avoided, which make no sense when using a screen reader, for instance. A mouse is not used with mobile and text-based web browsers, and so "click" does not have a meaning in this context – the user might use any key to follow links. In determining what language is most suitable, it may be helpful to imagine writing the article for a print encyclopedia.

Free content projects, such as this website ... (Writing about Wikipedia itself)

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See also: Wikipedia:About
Articles about online communities may well discuss Wikipedia as an example, in a neutral tone, without specifically implying that the article in question is being read on—or is a part of—Wikipedia. In this framework, if you link from an article to a specific Wikipedia page, use external link style, so the link will make sense in any context.
Such pages may include:
  • Articles where Wikipedia played a major role in the subject of the article, for example: Uncyclopedia
  • Articles about prominent people involved in Wikipedia, for example: Jimmy Wales
  • Articles about Wikipedia
  • Articles where Wikipedia is illustrative of the subject, such as virtual community and encyclopedia

This article was criticised by...

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Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, so its articles are about their subjects; they are not about the articles themselves (even if an article itself becomes famous, it should not report this about itself).
If publicity regarding an article is significant enough to be included in Wikipedia, that information would not be included in the article, unless it is relevant to the topic of the article itself. For example, a discussion of Stephen Colbert's call for vandalism of the Elephant article might be appropriate for the article on The Colbert Report, but not for the article on elephants—the incident had nothing to do with the actual animal. Protests regarding depictions of Muhammad in Wikipedia's Muhammad article are not addressed at Muhammad (the article on the prophet), but at Depictions of Muhammad, under a "recent controversies" section.
A mention of Wikipedia by a notable person is unlikely to justify a mention in their Wikipedia article. To avoid self reference, a mention needs to reflect its importance in their overall body of work. For example, a radio host mentioning that he read his Wikipedia biography is not a very important event in his overall career. On the other hand, the media attention surrounding John Seigenthaler's Wikipedia entry is now a notable event in his public life.

In the Template and Category namespaces[edit]

Limited use of self-references are sometimes found in the Template namespace and the Category namespace, such as with disambiguation and stub notices. Expanding this to other areas is not encouraged, due to the need of third-party users to either delete those templates or modify them to remove the Wikipedia references.

When forced to use templates like this, you should use them in a way such that the article still makes sense when the template is removed, in order to facilitate automated removal.

Wikipedia project coordination pages should be under Category:Wikipedia administration, not in categories that contain main-namespace articles by topic. (A small number of articles about Wikipedia are in the mainstream categories and this is OK.) User pages may be categorized under Category:Wikipedians, but not in any of the subcategories under Category:People.

Self-reference tools[edit]

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The self-reference template, {{Selfref}}, is used to mark pieces of text and links that wouldn't make sense on copies of Wikipedia. This gives the ability to programmatically remove all such references or transform them into external links. Thus, the end product can have all of its self-references removed automatically for users, such as forks and mirrors. This template is most often used as a hatnote template to help guide editors from an article to a related Wikipedia policy or guideline page in the Wikipedia project namespace.

In cases where a Wikipedia page should link to Wikipedia itself (for instance, at Wikipedia) and this link should be kept on mirrors, the format {{srlink|link}} can be used to write the link as external, rather than internal when outside of Wikipedia, to prevent it breaking in mirrors. For instance: Wikipedia's Main Page (made by {{srlink|Main Page|Wikipedia's Main Page}}) as opposed to Wikipedia's Main Page ([[Main Page|Wikipedia's Main Page]]).

See also[edit]