Template talk:Wikipedia how-to

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Why does this template have a broom icon? It's not a cleanup template. - Rocket000 02:52, 9 September 2007 (UTC)

I just thought the same. So I looked around for some tool icons. I found some but they didn't look good in that box. --David Göthberg 10:54, 19 September 2007 (UTC)


This template can be used on any kind of how-to guide. That means that it is often used on how-to guides that describe brand new practices or processes, already before they become common.

Thus I changed the wording in the box from:

This page is a how-to guide detailing a common practice or process on the English Wikipedia.

To instead be:

This page is a how-to guide detailing a practice or process on the English Wikipedia.

As I see it the purpose of this box is to say two things: "This is a how-to guide" and "This is not a policy or guideline". Currently the second part is only implicated, which might be a good thing since listing everything that a page is not could be a long list.

The text now feels a bit short, but perhaps that is a good thing?

--David Göthberg (talk) 21:54, 5 April 2008 (UTC)

How-to when placed on a user page generates the How-to category[edit]

However, user pages should not be categorized. Problem occurs when articles are copied to user pages for editing. (talk) 04:24, 1 June 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for spotting this. I added code to prevent categorization outside the Wikipedia: and Help: namespaces. —TKD [talk][c] 08:07, 1 June 2009 (UTC)

New code[edit]

I have just updated the code of this template. Here's what I have done and why:

  • I made the image link to the image page again. That icon is not public domain. For pretty much all other licenses we must attribute the author and provide a link to the license text. So unlinking non-PD images is probably illegal.
  • I moved the documentation to a /doc subpage, since this template is semi-protected. Having a /doc subpage allows IP-users from other language editions of Wikipedia to add interwiki links, and allows anyone to update the documentation.
  • I made the box appear without the shortcut box on the template page, thus simplifying the code. Instead I added an example in the documentation showing the shortcut box.
  • This template still only categorizes when on Wikipedia and Help pages.
  • Since this template is used in Wikipedia space I added the {{cat handler}}, which automatically suppresses categorization on several pages in Wikipedia space where we only list and demonstrate templates. I also added the "nocat = true" parameter, if anyone wants to suppress categorization when on some other page. (And for backwards compatibility I retained the old suppression method that this template already had.)

--David Göthberg (talk) 09:12, 28 November 2009 (UTC)

how-to needs sort-by feature for category[edit]

Wikipedia:Producing maps with xplanet desires to sort their page in the Wikipedia how-to category by "xplanet" as in "Category:Wikipedia how-to|xplanet". I was going to add the {{how-to}} template and remove the separate category, but the {{how-to}} template doesn't have an optional sort-by parameter for the Wikipedia how-to category. Would you please add an optional sort-by parameter for the Wikipedia how-to category called by the {{how-to}} template. Thanks. -- Uzma Gamal (talk) 11:13, 21 November 2010 (UTC)

I have attempted this change. {{How-to|sort-by=xplanet}} should set the category key. -- John of Reading (talk) 12:46, 21 November 2010 (UTC)

Requested move 11 July 2017[edit]

Template:Wikipedia how-toTemplate:Wikipedia help page – See section on talk page NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 14:04, 11 July 2017 (UTC) --Relisting.  — Amakuru (talk) 08:59, 18 July 2017 (UTC)--Relisting. EvertonFC13(talk2me) 01:23, 10 August 2017 (UTC)

Elaborate on proposal and reasons[edit]

Proposal - To rename Template:Wikipedia how-to to Template:Wikipedia help page (I just created that page as a redir that points here), and change text from

Old - This page is a how-to guide. It details....
New - This help page details.....
note both links point to the same thing


  1. The target pages are generally in the help namespace, or at least a strong argument could be made for moving them there
  2. The relevant policy is Wikipedia:Policies_and_guidelines#Role which includes a bullet point that implies 'how-to' is a synonym for 'help page'
  3. Widespread adoption of the 'how-to' synonym dilutes the distinctions between the various namespaces. We don't have a 'how-to' namespace, but we do have a 'help' namespace. Note the blurry clumping of various pages in this recently created project guideline
  4. Template:How-to is already used for an entirely different purpose but it is easily confused with the how-to synonym for wikipedia help pages.
  5. The Help namespace lacks a generic template using some derivation of "help". This change would fix that

NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 17:29, 9 July 2017 (UTC)


Feel free to state your position on the renaming proposal by beginning a new line in this section with *'''Support''' or *'''Oppose''', then sign your comment with ~~~~. Since polling is not a substitute for discussion, please explain your reasons, taking into account Wikipedia's policy on article titles.
  • Support simple is always the best way to go....they are help pages....mostly in the help namespace.--Moxy (talk) 21:33, 9 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Strongly support, including moving more "how-to" material into the "Help:" namespace, provided it is not one-sided WP:ESSAY material that doesn't actually reflect consensus. I'd already been thinking along similar lines to this proposal's deeper aspects. More detailed comments in the Discussion section. — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  01:15, 12 July 2017 (UTC)
  • See proposer's revision in discussion section below.NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 11:20, 15 July 2017 (UTC) Support as proposer NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 17:29, 9 July 2017 (UTC)


Don't have a problem with a rename....would need to change the wording used on our administration pages. I assume you are implying that the catagories would need to be changes as well. Lots would need fixing. Also need to be aware that the help namespace has lots of info pages. Ping me if this goes through. ...I will do my best to help cleanup in the aftermath of a rename.--Moxy (talk) 21:10, 9 July 2017 (UTC)

yeah, that is the gist after the cleanup ongoing maintenance should be simpler. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 12:29, 10 July 2017 (UTC)

Some rationales behind my Support: For one thing, use of "how-to" is cognitively dissonant with WP:NOT#HOWTO. And, yes, it does have a "dilution" effect on the proper namespace for such material. The "Wikipedia:" namespace is far too cluttered and could use some further subdivision, but even just moving stuff to the already-extant proper namespaces is a great start. Not worried about categorization; there's nothing at all wrong with, e.g. WP:MINE being in a category for Wikipedia help pages as well as categories like Category:Wikipedia essays about verification. In the WP:P&G scheme, all help/information pages have the status of essays. I guess the real cat. question is whether to merge all or just some of Category:Wikipedia how-to essays into Category:Wikipedia how-to, and then merge the latter into Category:Wikipedia help; the last two of these are clearly redundant, and the distinction between the first two seems dubious.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  01:15, 12 July 2017 (UTC)

From a housekeeping point of view, the lousy onesided essays are crap wherever they are. If they are already marked as some form of help page, moving them from wikipedia namespace to help namespace won't change fact they are still crap. But going to Help: prefix instead of the same WP: prefix shared by our real rules and guidelines might lessen their tendency to confuse the unwary. And of course they are always subject to quality review and tweaking no matter where they live. I guess I'm saying this namespace consolidation effort can't be expected to also bear burden of quality control editing. Its hard enough to climb K-2 without trying to do all the peaks in the range in one season. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 01:58, 12 July 2017 (UTC)
If they're particularly crap, they should be nominated for deletion or userspacing. WP:MFD is generally very sympathetic to userspacing a) stuff that is contradictory to established policy or consensus (other than counter-essay to essays, like WP:NOTBLUE to WP:BLUE), and b) half-developed crud no one can really make much sense of, especially if it's single-author. If it's strongly anti-policy or total nonsense it may just get deleted.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  02:43, 12 July 2017 (UTC)
Sure... whoever realizes somethings crap should list at mfd. Just saying consolidation in the proper namespace is one task, where crap may or may not be recognized at the time since quality control is a different task than consolidation. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 02:57, 12 July 2017 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Revised Proposal To rename Template:Wikipedia how-to to Template:Help (How-to)

Old - This page is a how-to guide. It details....
New - This help page is a how-to guide which details.....
note both links point to the same thing

Explanation - Same reasons as above, but after I surveyed all WP: and Help: pages with this tag I came to believe that for a handful of high impact pages there will be eds who want to maintain easy categorization of how-to pages distinct from other forms of help pages. This revision will provide for easy ongoing category maintenance. In addition, the original generic template saying "wikipedia help page" would start to appear on other help pages that are not "how-to" type material. To solve these problems, I belatedly realized this categories template needs parenthetical dismabiguation. As a minor quibble with my original idea, the word "wikipedia" was superfluous, and squandered the opportunity to do education, i.e., that these are a sub type of "help" pages. As SmMcandlish mentioned above, this begs the question whether how-to pages now in WP: namespace would move to Help: namespace, but that's a separate question. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 11:31, 15 July 2017 (UTC)

Why not just change the text to what you proposed above over renaming the template. I personally don't think the name of the template makes a difference....it's the content that does. The help namespace was originally created to move the technical (software) info from meta to Wikipedia. Originally all the how-to stuff was at meta.Moxy (talk) 16:09, 15 July 2017 (UTC)
Honestly, I wouldn't get caught up in minor details at this stage. The important parts (and why I'd suggested RfC rather than RM, though it won't matter if consensus is reached) are to use better text in the template, and to use the namespaces better. Moxy's right about "Help:"'s genesis, but since then material has been written there that isn't entirely technical, and it's a really obvious place for what we're presently labeling "how-to" material. If people don't want to consider all this at once, that's okay, too. Renaming the template, massaging its wording, and moving pages into Help-space can all be separate discussions over time. "No deadline". Could even individually RM various essays, though that would be tedious. PS: I wouldn't pursue that with "conformity police" goals; e.g. howto-ish material that is labeled with {{Supplement}} (or of course {{Guideline}} or {{Policy}}) should remain in the Wikipedia namespace, as should stuff that is a subpage of an existing page that will remain in that namespace, like various Wikipedia:Manual of Style/whatever pages that aren't guidelines but additional materials that serve the function of extended footnotes.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  19:05, 15 July 2017 (UTC)
I'm disinclined toward this revision because use of "how-to" is confusing except to old hands who are steeped in policy and perfectly understand that WP:NOT#HOWTO applies only to encyclopedic content (mainspace, portal, categories for mainspace material, and templates used as content in mainspace). We just don't need to use "how-to" at all. "Wikipedia help page" is more consistent with our "Category:Wikipedia something" naming scheme, and is a more accurate identifier of what this template should be used on (pages that focus on help with Wikipedia); we don't want the template to be added to pages that primarily serve another purpose but which have some help material, or for noobs to misunderstand that the template should be used on their jokey userspace essays ("How to piss off grammar nazis" or whatever) or, worse yet, on article drafts because they haven't read NOT#HOWTO.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  19:14, 15 July 2017 (UTC)
I support the new introduction, as Egnlish language beginners understand "help page" much better than "how-to page". However, I don't see any point in renaming the template. --NaBUru38 (talk) 15:09, 16 July 2017 (UTC)