Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Outlines

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WikiProject Outlines
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This article is an outline, a type of article that presents a list of articles or sub-topics related to its subject in a hierarchical form. For the standardized set of outlines on Wikipedia, see Portal:Contents/Outlines. Outlines are within the scope of the Outlines WikiProject, a collaborative effort to improve outlines on Wikipedia.


Gaps in coverage / missing outlines[edit]

The effort to create new outlines needs to be focused on blatant gaps in coverage. Some obvious ones (shown in red) are included in the list below. Please help create them and turn this list blue! An example of a well-developed sports outline is Outline of kayaking and canoeing.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg. There are many other gaps that I didn't spot that others would spot instantly.

The Transhumanist 23:02, 30 October 2010 (UTC)

Project page layout overhaul[edit]

I've simplified this project page, in an effort to make it easier to read, easier to update, and for the sake of general standardization.

The main remaining problem, is the surfeit of subpages. I'd suggest that we need to merge these:

And consider redirecting a number of others, towards the central wikiproject page (outreach, contests, halloffame, newsletterindex, etc). Unnecessary subpages are harmful - people are unlikely to notice or watchlist them; and if they do notice our profusion, they're likely to be overwhelmed by the quantity. The whole point of a wikiproject is to keep things centered, and non-redundant.

Assistance would be appreciated. -- Quiddity (talk) 01:56, 31 October 2010 (UTC)

Outline of Canada[edit]

There is currently a deletion request concerning the Outline of Canada article. Pls join in the discussion at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Outline of Canada. Moxy (talk) 19:36, 6 November 2010 (UTC)

Main Outlines TOC up for deletion[edit]

Portal:Contents/Outlines has been nominated for deletion. Robert Skyhawk (T C B) 04:48, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

Proposal: Rename this project to Wikipedia:WikiProject Outlines[edit]

This project was named after the title of the main list of outlines: Portal:Contents/Outline of Knowledge. But that title was simplified to Portal:Contents/Outlines. This wikiproject's name should be simplified too. It pertains to outlines. Referring to all the outlines on Wikipedia as a single integrated "Outline of Knowledge" is confusing. Most new editors don't get it. I propose we change the name of this project to Wikipedia:WikiProject Outlines.   The Transhumanist 02:12, 31 December 2010 (UTC)

  • Support your right!Moxy (talk) 02:15, 31 December 2010 (UTC)
  • Support. No need to divide the encyclopedia into "knowledge" and "non-knowledge". --SmokeyJoe (talk) 13:55, 31 December 2010 (UTC)
  • Support. Simpler, easier, makes more sense - HIGHFIELDS (TALKCONTRIBUTIONS) 14:51, 31 December 2010 (UTC)
  • Support. New name is more concise, shorter and much less confusing. Robert Skyhawk (T C B) 18:48, 1 January 2011 (UTC)

Article alerts[edit]

This project is now served by Article alerts, which can be seen at Wikipedia:WikiProject Outlines/Article alerts. This will allow us to know about any AfDs or other such discussions without having to rely on notifications on this page. The Alerts page is easily transcluded into userspace if desired. Robert Skyhawk (T C B) 03:28, 5 January 2011 (UTC)

Template:Main outline[edit]

The hatnote template Template:Main outline is unused and orphaned. Is it still wanted by this project? If not, it can probably be speedied. — This, that, and the other (talk) 03:57, 14 January 2011 (UTC)

Not in use. If we need one in the future, we can remake it. If you can do an administrative delete of it, that would be fine with me. The Transhumanist 02:35, 19 January 2011 (UTC)

Outline traffic analysis[edit]

How can we improve the availability of outlines (i.e., how can we increase traffic to them)?

My guess is that most traffic to outlines comes from within Wikipedia (via internal links). Outlines apparently don't show up on external search engine searches (at least not anywhere near the top), so they don't get much Google traffic, etc.

Here are some traffic comparisons...

United States is one of the most visited pages on Wikipedia. It's portal and outline don't even get 1% of that traffic:

The portal pages with links on the Main Page get far more traffic than the corresponding outlines:

Other portals get a small fraction of the traffic of Main Page links and prose article traffic, and this applies to outlines as well. In comparing these, sometimes outlines get more traffic than portals, sometimes portals get more:

Where is the traffic coming from, and how can we get more? The Transhumanist 03:30, 19 January 2011 (UTC)

My observations from Outline of sharks is that it is very related to the internal page views, outline of sharks have about 100 pages views per day, some days it jumps to 200 and even over 500, that is days when e.g. a shark article is on the main page, or where the featured page of the day have links to a shark page. So it (in my case) is really driven by internal wikilinks. --Stefan talk 10:15, 19 January 2011 (UTC)

Outlines needing updates[edit]

Outlines being annotated[edit]

The following outlines are in the process of being annotated (a dash followed by a description or note of interest). Please help add annotations to those entries needing them.

Collaboration / outlines under construction[edit]

Some outlines currently being developed are:

Some things you could do include gathering missing topics, place links from the see also or general concepts sections, add annotations, etc. The Transhumanist 19:15, 19 March 2011 (UTC)


it's a very useful project for users from other wikipedias! -- (talk) 12:51, 24 June 2011 (UTC)

Thank you. The Transhumanist 21:06, 3 September 2011 (UTC)

Are these articles in scope?[edit]

Would Outline of Nevada territorial evolution, Outline of North Dakota territorial evolution, Outline of Oregon territorial evolution, Outline of Washington territorial evolution, and Outline of Wyoming territorial evolution fall in the projects scope? I tagged them but I'm not sure. —  HELLKNOWZ  ▎TALK 18:19, 15 July 2011 (UTC)

Yes. Thank you for tagging them. The Transhumanist 21:07, 3 September 2011 (UTC)

Category:Incomplete outlines[edit]

I'm proposing upmerging Category:Incomplete outlines into Category:Outlines. There are very few outlines which could be said to be "complete". If there were a description of the category, it might be different, but I can't imagine what it could be. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 01:17, 4 September 2011 (UTC)

See the description at WP:WikiProject Outlines#Work on an existing outline. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 01:20, 4 September 2011 (UTC)

Arthur Rubin (talk) 01:27, 4 September 2011 (UTC)

Disruptive nature of this WikiProject[edit]

At Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Mathematics#Undiscussed_List_-.3E_Outline_moves a discussion is underway of the disruptive nature of this WikiProject. There is a consensus to undo a large number of page moves for which this projects purposes were cited as justification. I've started undoing them. About two years ago, this same episode happened and lots of page moves had to get undone. Michael Hardy (talk) 15:56, 5 September 2011 (UTC)

Not a members of this project - but am very distressed to see the lack of good faith in the comment above. To come to a projects talk page and refer to the efforts of all there editors as being overall disruptive in nature is not acceptable. I see you are frustrated over some moves, but do you realy think kicking the project members in the balls is a good idea that will lead to a solution or simply anger towards the lack of respect being shown? --> Wikipedia:EtiquetteMoxy (talk) 16:58, 5 September 2011 (UTC)
There is further discussion of these issues on AN/I here. Voceditenore (talk) 17:22, 5 September 2011 (UTC)

When my only familiarity with this WikiProject is because of disruption resulting from participation in it, how can I say anything about any of its other aspects, if those exist?

If you look at the discussion I linked to, you will find, among other things, a proposal to abolish this WikiProject. I'm not the one who propsed that. Michael Hardy (talk) 23:40, 5 September 2011 (UTC)

RfC: Elimination of outline articles[edit]

See Wikipedia:Village_pump_(proposals)#RfC:_Elimination_of_outline_articles. Ozob (talk) 00:03, 6 September 2011 (UTC)

Annotations needed[edit]

The annotating of the entries on Portal:Contents/Outlines is nearing completion.

Annotated entries look like this:

  • Basketball – team sport in which two teams of five players try to score points by throwing or "shooting" a ball through the top of a basketball hoop while following a set of rules.
  • Canoeing and kayaking – two closely related forms of watercraft paddling, involving manually propelling and navigating specialized boats called canoes and kayaks using a blade that is joined to a shaft, known as a paddle, in the water.
  • Cricket – bat-and-ball team sport, the most popular form played on an oval-shaped outdoor arena known as a cricket field at the centre of which is a rectangular 22-yard (20.12 m) long pitch that is the focus of the game.
  • Martial arts – extensive systems of codified practices and traditions of combat, practiced for a variety of reasons, including self-defense, competition, physical health and fitness, as well as mental and spiritual development.

Entries needing annotations look like this:

Please go to Portal:Contents/Outlines' and fill in as many missing annotations as you can, even if it's only one or two. Every little bit helps!

Thank you. The Transhumanist 00:13, 7 October 2011 (UTC)

Guideline for outlines[edit]

As a followup to the RFC on elimination of outlines, I have created Wikipedia:Proposed Outline Guideline. Input from the Outlines project would be appreciated. Monty845 16:23, 12 October 2011 (UTC)

I moved it to Wikipedia:Outlines/Proposed Outline Guideline. The Transhumanist 11:18, 14 October 2011 (UTC)


Hi. Outline_of_algebraic_structures is currently a mess. I have no experience with the Outline Project, so I was going to consult it before doing anything. The outline suffers from multiple problems. The chief problem is that the entire thing is written from the perspective of a universal algebraist. This will be an enormous stumbling block to anyone reading it who isn't a universal algebraist already (i.e. everybody learning about the topic). Besides using the highly specialized terminology, it also uses very obscure terminology ("shell" is an example, the page which it linked to has already been AFD'd). Finally, it includes a large examples section. This section, I would think, would not be appropriate in an outline, but I will not know until I ask. I'm not sure if this article can really ever be whipped completely into shape, because the subject matter will be difficult to organize into an outline. We might be able to make major repairs, though. Rschwieb (talk) 23:02, 11 March 2012 (UTC)

After just looking at it, I feel there are several other problems. For example, I feel the lead is too long. I don't understand universal algebra, and hesitate to try to condense bits of this outline into smaller form without some major research, which right now I really don't have time for. I think it can be saved, but... well... time is a factor. Marikafragen (talk) 01:39, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
And, of course, the main article about algebraic structures is more like an outline than an article. Perhaps some judicious copying? Marikafragen (talk) 01:41, 26 April 2012 (UTC)

Nomination for deletion of Template:Satop[edit]

Ambox warning pn.svgTemplate:Satop has been nominated for deletion. Among other things, Template:Satop links an article to its relevant outline, index, and portals. You may wish to comment at the template's entry on the Templates for discussion page.  Buaidh  01:28, 30 March 2012 (UTC)

Outlines in See also sections?[edit]

I am beginning to see lengthy outlines of links in See also sections (notably in AI topics, e.g. here, here, here), including links already used in the article. Is that an aspect of this project? If so, it does not fit well with standard practice across WP for See also (a short, simple bulleted list of nonredundant links). I would think that, rather than increasing the size and complexity of See also sections, the outline articles would collapse many of them with a link to an outline. Jojalozzo 19:59, 1 April 2012 (UTC)

Nomination for deletion of Template:Sar[edit]

Ambox warning pn.svgTemplate:Sar has been nominated for deletion. Among other things, Template:Sar creates a link to the outline of an article in its see also section. You may wish to comment at the template's entry on the Templates for discussion page.  Buaidh  21:39, 7 April 2012 (UTC)

[1] Outline of Catholicism in draft space[edit]

Created this outline today; not sure if it's ready for prime-time or not. If someone would review it, please? Thanks! Marikafragen (talk) 00:51, 25 April 2012 (UTC)

Never mind, finished it and put in article space.Marikafragen (talk) 18:14, 26 April 2012 (UTC)

This is confusing[edit]

I don't understand this WikiProject or any of these "Outline of... " articles. A general reference encyclopedia should provide an outline of any of these subjects at their respective articles. For example, you don't need Outline of Catholicism when you have Catholicism. This seems like a lot of unnecessary duplication.

In some ways, it also seems like these "Outline of... " articles are trying to be portals, but we have an entire Portal namespace devoted to that purpose. For example, Portal:Catholicism.

I'm rather confused. --MZMcBride (talk) 04:24, 1 May 2012 (UTC)

There are several reasons for outlines to exist as separate articles. As most outlines state, they are both an overview of and a topical guide to a subject.
  • First, outlines are an overview of the topic, summarizing it in bullet points (at least here on Wikipedia; numbers confuse the TOC generator).
  • Second, the outlines provide a topical guide to the subject. In both Categories and Portals, the topics are often listed without so much as a lead to tell you what they're about. Outlines provide the user with guided navigation of the topic at hand. Users may not want (or need) to read the entire article at Catholicism when what they want to know is some more specific area of doctrine, which isn't necessarily located in Catholicism, and may not be readily visible from the Catholicism article (how much do they have to read to find it?).
Right now, for example, Portal:Catholicism contains a passing reference to transsubstantiation, but someone looking for "bread and wine at communion" might not recognize the reference for what it is. Outline of Catholicism mentions the Eucharist specifically and provides some information to guide the user's choice of articles to read. Hope that helps your understanding.Marikafragen (talk) 02:30, 14 May 2012 (UTC)
Wouldn't a tree view of Category:Catholicism be roughly equivalent to these hand-made outlines? Though, admittedly, a dynamic category tree wouldn't allow for annotations. I'm not sure if that's a major loss, though. --MZMcBride (talk) 15:12, 16 May 2012 (UTC)

Dear MZMcBride,

Are we talking about the same thing? The context in which we are using the term "outline" is short for "hierarchical outline" a type of list and tree structure. All prose articles on Wikipedia fit the general context of "outline" that means "introduction or summary". It's just that "Hierarchical outline of the United States of America" is a bit long for an article title. So we've shortened it to "Outline of...", which is consistent with how the academic community and other encyclopedias refer to hierarchical outlines.

I hope this explanation helps alleviate your confusion.

There is more information available at Outlines and Wikipedia:Outlines.

Sincerely, The Transhumanist 06:19, 16 May 2012 (UTC)

I read your reply before it was moved to Wikipedia:Outlines. As I see it, there are a few competing issues:
  1. Should Wikipedia include (hand-made) outlines?
  2. If so, where should those outlines go?
  3. And are these pages really outlines or is there a better name for them? Topical index, perhaps?
A general purpose encyclopedia exists to provide summaries of information. The article namespace in particular is generally limited to this function, though obviously with exceptions (redirects and disambiguation pages, e.g.).
Personally, I'm still not sure how I feel about these outlines. A part of me feels like they're not encyclopedia articles, so at a minimum they shouldn't be living in the article namespace. Maybe a separate namespace is needed. Maybe a separate site is needed (e.g., Wikibooks or Wikiversity). There are advantages and disadvantages to moving the content elsewhere, to be sure.
And, semantically, I'm still not sure about the use of the word "outline." Hmmm. --MZMcBride (talk) 15:12, 16 May 2012 (UTC)

All of those issues have been discussed ad nauseam in Wikipedia's widest forums. The community consensus is to keep outlines where they are, in the article namespace, which is where they and lists in general have been since Wikipedia started.

Keep in mind that outlines, and indexes, are lists. Lists, including outlines and indexes, have been a type of article in the article namespace since the beginning of this encyclopedia. When Wikipedia started, outline and index articles were called "List of x topics".

Outlines and indexes were renamed because they shared the same title convention and began to clash. When there's already a structured topics list (outline) called "List of psychology topics", what do you call an alphabetical topics list (index) on that subject that you want to make? So both types were given their own more accurately descriptive name.

The community decided not to move outlines (or other lists) to another namespace, because lists are articles, and because other namespaces are not supported in searches by default. If you reduce a navigation aid's search access, you reduce its effectiveness. So moving lists defeats the purpose of having lists.

The community has also decided not to change the name. A great deal of research, and trial and error, was conducted to arrive at the current name. Note that alphabetical indexes are also topical (that is, they are comprised of topics). Both are examples of general topics lists. Remember, having an ambiguous name shared by indexes was why outlines were renamed in the first place.

Outlines have a great number of users and supporters. Their traffic has grown to over 6,000,000 page views per year, and continues to grow as outlines continue to improve.

Lists are doing fine where they are, including outlines. Sincerely, The Transhumanist 13:24, 19 May 2012 (UTC)

Fair enough. Thank you for the detailed reply. :-)
I hadn't realized that outlines and indexes had been around so long until recently. And I hadn't realized that they're classified as lists until I read your post. That's very helpful information.
I tripped across Index of law articles recently. It makes sense to re-evaluate these lists occasionally, I think. With improvements to MediaWiki, there may be smarter (less duplicative) ways to store and re-use this information. For example, a dynamic category tree of law-related articles may make sense instead of a manually updated (and always out of sync) outline or index. Annotations still need to be thought out. And, of course, any feature involving category membership doesn't work for non-existent pages (as they can't be categorized). But some of these issues and caveats are no longer as relevant as the encyclopedia has grown (e.g., the number of red links in such indexes or outlines is much fewer). Some issues still need technical work (e.g., implementing a reusable category_member_description field in the database that can accompany the category title when it's presented in a dynamic list).
It's good to see that people are still thinking about these things. --MZMcBride (talk) 21:17, 20 May 2012 (UTC)
Sometimes, one just needs to look at a bare list. One thing I'd like added is a toggle for annotations (to turn them all off/on). Do you have any ideas on how such a feature could be implemented?
Another feature I want to see included is level collapsing/expanding.
I see redundancy as a resource, for the reasons presented on WP:CLN. With multiple (parallel) avenues of technology development in an open environment like Wikipedia, you can never know which one will leapfrog the others, or when. I see a great deal of potential for outliner technology, which is well suited for reorganizing and reformatting existing material.
Keep in mind that each system, including lists, portals, categories, and navigation templates has strong support from editors who prefer one of these styles of reference aid over the others. Trying to force any of these groups to close down the system they have developed for the sake of efficiency is counter productive, as they have and will continue to fight to preserve their favorite system. Because of this, deletion nominations and move proposals of Wikipedia's navigation systems usually either fail or result in "no consensus". Such discussions waste valuable editor time and effort that would be better spent developing and innovating.
Editors differ in style, not just aesthetically, but in the way they think. That's probably the main reason we have several navigation systems. Each has its strengths and weaknesses, just like the editors who built them. Because of this, if you delete a system, don't be surprised if the editors of it do not switch over to developing one of the other systems. First, those may not fit their thinking style. Second, you've just lost their trust - the reward for their hard work was deletion of it. How motivating is that?
A subtle benefit of this encyclopedia's navigation aids, but perhaps the one that will be proven the most powerful in the future, involves checking data relationships against Wikipedia's redundant systems. Human decision making went into each edit in each system, and that makes all of those systems valuable... Having several taxonomical systems developed independently and in parallel by human editors provides a more robust data pool from which semantic web elements can be induced by data mining and heuristic software. If 3 out of 4 navigation systems say that something is a subtopic of something else, that is probably more reliable than if you only had a single system to check the relationship against. Such an approach can enable computers to bootstrap off of recorded instances of human discernment with a high degree of reliability. The redundancy in scope helps control errors — for example: imagine if one of the 4 look-ups was a typo or vandalism or a factual error. The 3 others make up for that. Redundancy in scope is a strength.
For these reasons, each of Wikipedia's navigation systems is a valuable resource. It's best to keep them to provide building blocks for future generations to develop even better systems.
Sincerely, The Transhumanist 16:55, 21 May 2012 (UTC)

Promoting Wikipedia Outlines so that they are easier to find.[edit]

My devil's advocate comments here (at the bottom of "high quality simple English leads for all articles") may be of interest. Yet another way of making outlines more easy to find would be to add a Hatnote with a link to the corresponding outline at the top of articles with outlines. Keep up the good work, but please make it easier for people to find ;-) LittleBen (talk) 09:54, 2 July 2012 (UTC)

Move outline of metaphysics draft to main article space[edit]

The outline of metaphysics looks pretty complete- I suggest moving it to article space and finish minor edits there. Metaphysics is the final major red-link in the outline of knowledge. (talk) 22:30, 21 October 2012 (UTC)

Outline of Judaism[edit]

I'm thinking about fixing up Outline of Judaism, but I have a few concerns:

  1. How should the history section be done? The problem is, the history overlaps with other sections a lot. For example, both History and Law might include information about the Development of Jewish Law. One of the examples shown at the top of this page is Outline of Ancient Rome, which barely has a history section at all. Is that a model worth following, or should I try to include more about the history in the outline?
  2. I understand that outlines should not be lists. But if a subsection has only a few dozen members, would it be acceptable? An example might be listing all presidents of the United States in Outline of American politics. More topically, including all 63 tractates of the Mishnah.
  3. Specifically here, should the outline be renamed and/or broadened as Outline of Judaism and the Jews?
  4. Is this even worth it? Considering that almost no one reads these outlines, would it be better to focus on improving the main article (which gets about 1000 times more traffic)?

YPNYPN 01:51, 24 December 2012 (UTC)

Featured outlines[edit]

There is a proposal at Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)#Featured outlines? that might be of interest to the watchers of this page. -- Toshio Yamaguchi 09:03, 27 December 2012 (UTC)

Redirects into project space[edit]

Hi, the following WP:CNR all redirect to Wikipedia:WikiProject Outlines/Drafts/Outline of family and consumer science, as a result of page moves by user:The Transhumanist:

The target isnt a well developed topical outline - not mainspace quality IMO. Is anyone likely to improve it soon? If not, I think the redirects from mainspace should be deleted. But I don't want to nominate them for deletion if there is someone here willing to pick up this challenge. John Vandenberg (chat) 18:42, 7 January 2014 (UTC)

I don't have time to work on it. The redirects should go bye-bye. The Transhumanist 08:48, 8 January 2014 (UTC)
Thanks. I have deleted them. Happy to continue discussion if someone feels they should be restored. John Vandenberg (chat) 03:32, 9 January 2014 (UTC)

template:Outline footer[edit]

FYI Template:Outline footer (edit|talk|history|links|watch|logs) has been requested to be renamed, see template talk:Outline footer -- (talk) 05:08, 2 June 2014 (UTC)

Leaflet for Wikiproject Outlines at Wikimania 2014[edit]

Project Leaflet WikiProject Medicine back and front v1.png

Hi all,

My name is Adi Khajuria and I am helping out with Wikimania 2014 in London.

One of our initiatives is to create leaflets to increase the discoverability of various wikimedia projects, and showcase the breadth of activity within wikimedia. Any kind of project can have a physical paper leaflet designed - for free - as a tool to help recruit new contributors. These leaflets will be printed at Wikimania 2014, and the designs can be re-used in the future at other events and locations.

This is particularly aimed at highlighting less discoverable but successful projects, e.g:

• Active Wikiprojects: Wikiproject Medicine, WikiProject Video Games, Wikiproject Film

• Tech projects/Tools, which may be looking for either users or developers.

• Less known major projects: Wikinews, Wikidata, Wikivoyage, etc.

• Wiki Loves Parliaments, Wiki Loves Monuments, Wiki Loves ____

• Wikimedia thematic organisations, Wikiwomen’s Collaborative, The Signpost

The deadline for submissions is 1st July 2014

For more information or to sign up for one for your project, go to:

Project leaflets
Adikhajuria (talk) 17:09, 27 June 2014 (UTC)

Outline of biophysics[edit]

FYI, "Outline of biophysics" has been requested to be renamed to Biophysical techniques; for the discussion, see talk:Outline of biophysics -- (talk) 08:50, 27 July 2014 (UTC)