Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Self-references to avoid

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The word "Wikipedia" as an example[edit]

This is similar to the (apparently unresolved) question above about browser screenshots. In articles about coding schemes (barcode in particular), is it acceptable to use "Wikipedia" as an example of an arbitrary word to show how it is coded? As I read the policy, it should be, as the example still makes perfect sense in print or on a mirror; at worst someone will wonder why the word was chosen, but they will not be confused on the real topic of the article. But some of the editors who commented above appear to feel otherwise. Even if it is acceptable, would it be better to use the name of the coding scheme? Here there is no fair use issue. Matchups (talk) 03:08, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

It's primarily that I find it exceptionally tacky to use "Wikipedia" as an example when another word would do. Since the word "Wikipedia" is unrelated to the article, I could be a devil's advocate and suggest that we use "Britannica" as the example word as it has just as much to do with barcodes as does the word "Wikipedia". —Ben FrantzDale (talk) 02:26, 12 December 2007 (UTC)
If we had to pick an example word to recommend, it should be either an inherently funny word or "lorem". (I'd suggest "Slartibartfast" or "Jabberwocky" or "duck" :) -- Quiddity (talk) 03:43, 12 December 2007 (UTC)
Yes, it does not make much sense to use the word "wikipedia", maybe a common English word or something else is much better. --SF007 (talk) 22:49, 22 June 2010 (UTC)
Is "all other things being equal, an illustrative image that does not refer to Wikipedia is preferable to one that does" worth a line in the guidelines here? I've just reverted someone who suggested that an article about an Australian biscuit should have a picture of Jimbo Wales eating one, because this "adds Wikipedia-related content" to the article, as if this would be a good thing. --McGeddon (talk) 09:32, 21 March 2014 (UTC)

SRA and images[edit]

I have a question, why isn't there a clause considering the use of the Wikipedia logo in articles not about Wikipedia? It's not free content, but still - doesn't using Wikipedia as an example for software (especially with web browsers showing it) also count as a self-reference? ViperSnake151  Talk  22:30, 29 September 2009 (UTC)

I've been thinking a bit about this too. Pictures such as this one: [1] have unnecessary references to Wikipedia that don't function as a good example of what the device is able to do. Should such images be replaced? JosJuice (talk) 20:21, 23 March 2011 (UTC)

I'd also like to see this question resolved (and as JosJuice notes, this concerns not just the Wikipedia logo, but more generally images that use Wikipedia as an example). There are tons and tons of images that do this—including many screenshots (e.g., the main image on the Firefox article), visual examples of various kinds (e.g., this graph of traffic used as an example on the Web traffic article), and other miscellaneous occurrences (e.g., this example of a postal bar code that appears in the ZIP code article)—and it's not clear whether they violate the policy. This is a common enough issue that I think this guideline ought to specifically address it. —Caesura(t) 20:57, 14 February 2012 (UTC)

And when it comes to browsers, I know for a fact that IE9+, Firefox, Chrome, and Opera have "neutral" built-in home pages that may be a better way to depict the browser than using than just using Wikipedia's main page. Why we don't count this as a self-reference to avoid, I will never know. ViperSnake151  Talk  00:23, 3 April 2013 (UTC)


I've made a few changes to simply the presentation of ideas in this article, and to remove superfluous language. Any thoughts? Grandiose (me, talk, contribs) 15:21, 1 October 2011 (UTC)

I see that the following bullet point disappeared in this edit of yours.

* Any link in an article in the main namespace that links to one in the Wikipedia namespace. Such links are self-referential, because the Wikipedia namespace is not part of the encyclopedia. This applies even if the link is a piped link.

I was using that guideline in this discussion about the following article text in List of scientists opposing the mainstream scientific assessment of global warming.

The Wikipedia definition of Notability of people is used in this article. "Notable" is not used in the common language meaning of "a person of distinction or great reputation",[1]


I haven't been able to find anything about namespaces at WT:MOS, although I admit that I haven't been through all 125 archives. I wonder if you can clarify, does your edit represent a consensus that it is now perfectly acceptable to reference Wikipedia-namespace guidelines in article space? We currently have, under 'Examples of relevant self-referencing', the text "any links in the main namespace to the Wikipedia namespace". I am having trouble parsing a sentence out of what I see there, so I thought it better to ask before I pursue further discussions with other editors. Thanks for your help. --Nigelj (talk) 15:58, 8 October 2011 (UTC)
I had no intention of changing the meaning of the guideline, and find several parts which still recommend avoiding such a link, if possible:
  • "In this framework, if you link from an article to a specific Wikipedia page, use external link style [and only then in certain types of page]"
  • "articles produced should be useful, even outside the context of the project used to create them"
Grandiose (me, talk, contribs) 16:25, 8 October 2011 (UTC)
OK, that's good. Thanks. It's just a little harder to engage in a debate without something specific to quote. Do we take it that 'relevant' in 'Examples of relevant self-referencing' means relevant in the sense that you mustn't do them? --Nigelj (talk) 21:06, 8 October 2011 (UTC)

This is just my two cents, but I'm not a big fan of many of these revisions—especially the October 11 reorganization, which I think makes the guideline less clear for newcomers.

Previously the guideline was very clear. The basic rule ("Avoid referring to 'Wikipedia'") was given at the top, with further guidance ("Think about print") and exceptions ("Neutral self-references are acceptable", "Writing about Wikipedia itself") given in simple language under clear headings. The page has had this same basic form for years.

Now nearly the entire guideline is crammed into one big section, "Types of self-reference", perhaps with the intent that editors look for the type of self-reference that most closely matches the situation they are dealing with. However, I don't think that the subheadings of "Types of self-reference" are a good way of capturing the kinds of self-references that may exist in Wikipedia. I think the new structure will actually make it harder, rather than easier, for editors to find information relevant to them.

I also think much of the language is more stilted, which makes it harder for newcomers to get the point. Some of the rewritten text is difficult to understand. For example, the basic explanation under the first heading was previously "Avoid self-references within Wikipedia articles to the Wikipedia project"; now it is "Mentioning that the article is being read on Wikipedia, or to Wikipedia policy or technicalities of using Wikipedia should be avoided where possible", which is far more abstruse.

Fundamentally, this guideline is a simple one: don't refer to Wikipedia, unless you're writing about Wikipedia in a context where it's appropriate to do so. Over time, this page has accumulated a bunch of explanation and examples to illustrate this rule, but the rule itself is simple. I feel that the new structure obscures rather than clarifies this. I do think you made some good improvements, especially in simplifying wordings and the like. But on balance, I don't care for the reorganization. —Caesura(t) 22:23, 14 February 2012 (UTC)

Section on self reference tools needs clearer explanation[edit]

This section is almost incomprehensible (especially the description of {{srlink}}. I tried to improve it a bit by incorporating some of the explanation from the template's documentation. But still could use some rewriting. This explanation, from the documentation for Template:Selfref is the clearest explanation I found for srlink. "{{srlink}}, for the opposite case when you want a link to the Wikipedia: namespace that does show in mirrors without breaking (for instance when writing an article about Wikipedia or something connected to it)."

Is srlink only used for links to Wikipedia namespace? If so, should say so in the explanation here. If not, then maybe use this as a basis for writing something understandable to somebody who doesn't already know what the templates do and when one should use them. Thanks. Zodon (talk) 07:07, 22 March 2012 (UTC)

Practical examples[edit]

Are practical examples such as in the Mouseover article acceptable self-references? (permlink) Asking since this particular example appears harmless but it defies the advised notion of "writing for a print encyclopedia". -- (talk) 17:22, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

I agree that it is useful to have an example, but the example could be explicit rather than implicit, at the same time making it print-compatible (in the same sense that animations and other media are print-compatible). That example could just as well be included in floating box with a caption as multimedia. I'd argue more readers would find it and more readers would understand that it is part of the article not "meta". —Ben FrantzDale (talk) 12:15, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

The templates that render self-referencing graphics[edit]

I suggest that the paragraph:

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.

is altered to explain that some self-referencing templates such as {{stub}}, {{npov}}, and {{refimprove}} serve a dual purpose, they inform editors of problems with an article but they also warn readers that there is a problem with the article of which readers should be informed, but articles should normally avoid self-referencing templates such as {{shortcut}} and the others that provide no immediate benefit to the reader and are in essence editor to editor messages:

Templates that render self-referencing graphics which directly benefit the reader as a warning to the reader that an article needs further development to meet the minimum requirements of Wikipedia policies such as {{stub}}, {{npov}}, and {{refimprove}} are permitted, but articles should normally avoid self-referencing templates the provide no such direct benefit, such as {{shortcut}} and the others, that are primarily for the maintenance and development of articles (instead consider placing them on the talk page of an article).

-- PBS (talk) 18:22, 7 November 2012 (UTC)

I just want to point out, if it isn't self-evident, that if this new wording is approved, PBS is going to use it to support his argument that maintenence tags like {{dead end}}, {{underlinked}}, {{copyedit}} etc. should be placed on talk pages, rather than in articles. DoctorKubla (talk) 15:51, 8 November 2012 (UTC)

"... is beyond the scope of this article"[edit]

Recently another editor disagreed with this phrase's appearance in an article - "articles should not talk about themselves." I agree that articles should not say e.g. "This article was referenced in an article in the New York Times", but "beyond the scope of this article" is a very common usage - Google finds 11,000 occurrences on English WP. Who's right?

I settled for using an {{about}} hatnote, but that doesn't work so well if the thing the article isn't about doesn't really come up until somewhere in the article body.

Similarly, "(this other thing that we just provided a brief introduction to) is described more completely in [[Wikilink]]" is ok, yes? Even though it's "talking about Wikipedia"? There are cases where I'd rather do that than just Wikilink (this other thing). Jeh (talk) 22:09, 8 March 2013 (UTC)

Meta content in the portal namespace[edit]

It seems like most portals (including featured portals) have either a 'Things to do', 'Project collaboration' or 'WikiProject' section. Portal:United States even transcludes the whole subpage Wikipedia:U.S. Wikipedians' notice board/to do. This is the only discussion I could find about it ("The listing of WikiProjects is excluded ... because we have determined that it is useful for portals to list related WikiProjects"), but it dates from 2006 and does not discuss 'Things to do' sections. I think it goes against our guidelines about not mixing the content we present to our readers and meta content and is more confusing to our readers than it is helpful. Nay or yay? jonkerz ♠talk 17:13, 21 April 2013 (UTC)

At Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Portals#Meta_content User:Nihonjoe said (see diff): ":Portals are an introduction to the topic on Wikipedia, and therefore any related project work is relevant. Additionally, that guideline applies only to mainspace, not anywhere else: "Typically, self-references within Wikipedia articles to the Wikipedia project should be avoided." (emphasis added) Portals are a different namespace." WhisperToMe (talk) 22:57, 3 May 2013 (UTC)
The same could be said about categories which are created to categorize the topic on Wikipedia, but this does not mean we should add project-related content to content-related categories. Wikipedia:Copyrights does not belong in Category:Copyright law, and WP:MOS should not be added to Category:Style guides for American English. The guideline is relevant to all content pages, not just articles. The real question is: are portals content we present to our casual readers? If so, we should not display project-related material on these pages. jonkerz ♠talk 12:04, 5 May 2013 (UTC)
This displays a basic misunderstanding of what portals are. For example, the featured portal criteria specifically state that while a portal should generally not refer to itself "beyond (if at all) a welcome note...aspects of portals that encourage contribution may be self-referential." As you pointed out above, the inclusion of this WikiProject and related material in portals, including featured portals, has been long established and supported (since at least 2006, according to the discussion to which you link). If you want to change this, you are going to need to get broad community consensus to do so as this has been established (and therefore de facto) and encouraged procedure for many years now. No one is suggesting that WP-space information be added to mainspace categories (and your using this is a red herring). The guideline you quoted specifically states it refers only to articles, and that has been the longtime interpretation of that statement: articles should generally not refer to Wikipedia projects individually or the overall project as a whole unless it is specifically relevant to the article. ···日本穣? · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe · Join WP Japan! 07:53, 8 May 2013 (UTC)
Even though I agree with Nihonjoe that this usage of portals is widely accepted, I have always asked myself whether it's useful to have portals doing the same things as wikiprojects do. I come from pt:wikipedia, where most portals and projects have almost zero activity. Maybe portals that have gone inactive should turn its focus to the casual reader and have its more intense editor-related sections (like to-do lists) moved to the related WikiProject. Max51 (talk) 05:52, 20 July 2013 (UTC)
Agree with above comments by Nihonjoe. Cheers, — Cirt (talk) 20:51, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
Portals don't do the same thing as WikiProjects do. WikiProjects are there to allow collaboration in a particular area. A portal is there to allow introduction to a particular topic, and therefore they may point to articles, images, videos, audio, and related content, as well as potential things someone could do to help if they so choose. There is nothing "intense" about the "how you can help" sections. All they do is list potential things someone can do as it relates to the portal topic. In most cases, those sections either don't require much upkeep or bots can update any content which may change (or be created). Yes, portals and the mainspace are mostly intended for the casual user, but we need to make people aware there are things they can do if we want to attract a few of those casual users into assisting with the upkeep of the encyclopedia. If someone is already viewing a portal related to a topic which interests them, pointing them in the direction of a project which falls within that area of interest may encourage them to help out. "Hey, there's a project in my area of interest! Maybe I'll pitch in." Since portals are meant to be a broad introduction to a particular topic, not telling them about projects within that topic area would make the portal weaker, not stronger. ···日本穣? · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe · Join WP Japan! 06:17, 3 February 2014 (UTC)

Scope statements?[edit]

Does the prohibition of self-reference exclude scope statements? The nutshell says articles may refer to themselves. But the lede says: "Typically, self-references within Wikipedia articles to the Wikipedia project should be avoided. These take several forms." And then the opening text of "Types of self-reference", having given an example of a scope statement ("This article discusses...") then discusses some uses to be avoided. I believe I understand the kind of self-references that should be avoided, and I believe that scopes statements should be (and are) tolerated, but the text is confusing. Could we have this explicityl stated? And perhaps consider an alteration to the text, perhaps something that describes the allowed uses before discussing the proscribed uses? ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 22:27, 22 April 2013 (UTC)

If no one else is interested perhaps I'll just go in and arrange matters as I see best. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 22:36, 12 May 2013 (UTC)

linking from articles and disambiguators into Wikipedia and Help namespaces[edit]

Various articles have hatnotes linking into the Wikipedia and Help namespaces and various disambiguation pages have links into the Wikipedia namespace. There's a question about whether that violates this guideline. I started a discussion, with a couple more examples listed at a dab talk page. An argument for linking is convenience for new editors who don't know about namespaces; hatnotes are phrased and visually styled to be distinct from the body and the lead. An argument against it is that it confuses readers who don't edit, and there are many more readers than editors; and that cross-referencing, if there's to be any, should be limited to the most important ones. This seems to have been last discussed on this talk page about nine years ago. I can justify either side. Does anyone here have a view? Nick Levinson (talk) 20:47, 30 June 2013 (UTC) (Updated a link: 15:42, 1 July 2013 (UTC))

The reason self-references aren't allowed, according to this guideline, is so that the article still makes sense when it's removed from Wikipedia and copied onto one of the various mirror sites, or printed in a book. Cross-namespace hatnotes are fine as long as they're marked with the {{selfref}} template, so that mirrors can opt not to display them. DoctorKubla (talk) 07:53, 1 July 2013 (UTC)
This is one reason, but the main reason is that most of these links are going to be of value to very few individuals (editors; people who play the MMO), but to our readers they are going to appear confusing, unprofessional, or both. I've penned a section to reflect this: WP:SELFREFHAT, comments welcome. –xenotalk 19:52, 13 August 2014 (UTC)
I just removed the addition as I don't think the discussion here shows any consensus for such a prohibition. olderwiser 23:41, 13 August 2014 (UTC)
Restored with "under discussion" template; RFC filed immediately below. –xenotalk 23:56, 13 August 2014 (UTC)

Should we be linking readers (via disambiguation notes, etc.) to the Wikipedia/Help/Manual namespaces from the mainspace?[edit]

Should we be linking readers (via disambiguation notes, etc.) to the Wikipedia/Help/Manual namespaces from the mainspace?

I've recently added what I feel is fairly obvious guidance:

Generally, one should not include disambiguation notes from an article page to a page in the Wikipedia project or help namespace. For example, it is highly unlikely that readers looking for our encyclopedia article on retirement will want to be linked to our internal page Wikipedia:Retirement; the link will appear confusing or unprofessional, or both. Editors should know to use the "Wikipedia:" prefix, and should not need to be directed to the internal workings of the project via self-references at the top of articles in the article mainspace.

Based on comments thus far I've reworded it somewhat:

Consider carefully before including disambiguation notes from articles or disambiguation pages to the Wikipedia project or Help namespaces. For example, it is highly unlikely that readers looking for our encyclopedia article on retirement will want to be linked to our internal page Wikipedia:Retirement; the link will appear confusing or unprofessional, or both. Examples of acceptable uses are major policies and guidelines (e.g. Protection policy), commonly-used acronyms and shorthand (e.g. AFD), and material to assist new users with basic site features (e.g. Editing). These references should use the {{Selfref}} template as described below.

Further comments invited. –xenotalk 14:23, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
  • I've realized this is more of a Wikipedia:Hatnote and Wikipedia:Disambiguation issue rather than one related to the manual of style and have withdrawn the RfC (and may re-visit at one of those venues if necessary after taking into consideration comments here). However, further comments are invited. I've also noted we have existing guidance on this at WP:TRHAT. Thank you everyone for your input so far. –xenotalk 19:41, 14 August 2014 (UTC)

Readers are typically seeking encyclopedic content; editors should know that they need to use the WP: prefix to find internal projects pages such as WP:FTC. I've been reverted (@Bkonrad:), so comments invited. See here for examples of low-value links that should be removed under this guidance. –xenotalk 23:56, 13 August 2014 (UTC)

Talk pages and edit summaries are notorious for using an alphabet soup of acronyms and abbreviations. The hatnotes are intended to help readers who are not familiar with the jargon and might well be bewildered by the jargon and namespaces. So long as the self-reference is reasonably ambiguous and is properly wrapped in a {{selfref}} template, I don't see the harm. olderwiser 00:04, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
Should Viktor Dyk direct readers to WP:DYK? Or Mock to "the Wikipedia essay section on mock outrage, see Wikipedia:Mock"? Triple Crown? It should direct a reader to the MMO quest award WP:Triple Crown? I agree that there should not be a blanket prohibition, willing to let it slide on "FTC" and the like (unless local consensus rules it out on that page), but many of these links are just ridiculous. In most cases, we shouldn't mislead readers down the rabbit hole into our MMO, hence this suggested common-sense addition. –xenotalk 00:12, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
Should Viktor Dyk direct readers to WP:DYK? No. There is no reasonable ambiguity. Should DYK direct readers to WP:DYK? Yes. I don't think every single shortcut in WP namespace needs a hatnote in the corresponding article, as many shortcuts are very obscure. But many are in quite common currency. olderwiser 00:24, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
I don't plan to remove all of these links, especially ones like Protection policy -> Wikipedia:Protection policy, and if you think the links for the alphabet soup ones are helpful I'll avoid those too; however if you look at the uses of Template:Selfref (edit · talk · history · links · logs · subpages · delete), I'm sure you will also find many examples like those I've listed here that you agree should be removed - this is why I feel we need some guidance on this topic. –xenotalk 00:28, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Creation of needless extra rules is intrinsically harmful. In some cases, such as Retirement, the disambig is clearly unnecessary. In others, such as Help, the disambig is clearly necessary. Determining which pages fit in which box requires intelligent decision-making by editors, and since no rule that could be written on the subject will change that need for case-by-case decision making, creating a rule is a waste of time and effort whose only contribution to the project is tying us down with red tape. Your proposal is, in short, well-meaning but in no way helpful. --erachima talk 00:11, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
  • It's not a hard-and-fast rule. Please feel free to edit the addition as necessary to provide appropriate guidance. –xenotalk 00:13, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
  • The problem is not with your specific phrasing of the rule, it is that this rule is simple instruction creep. --erachima talk 00:19, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Yet you agree we should not be linking from "Retirement" to "WP:Retirement". I don't want to have to explain in detail each time I remove one of these ridiculous links. Pants on Fire was linking to a Wikipedia essay with very few authors (Wikipedia:Liar Liar Pants on Fire). We should offer no formal guidance on this subject? –xenotalk 00:22, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Correct. "Formal guidance" would be worthless, needless, and harmful. --erachima talk 03:41, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
  • I disagree that it would be worthless or needless; the reason I added the section was because I needed a way to explain my removals and don't want to have to establish local consensus every time there is a disagreement, like at Talk:Triple Crown (where our article is linking readers to some little-used userspace bauble). But I do thank you for your input. –xenotalk 09:32, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
  • I'm really not seeing a problem. I've checked several mainspace locations, and articles and disambiguation pages that share their name with policies or guidelines link to it using hatnotes. In my opinion, this looks clean and professional. That being stated, I agree that we should probably remove links to some of the more obscure policies. Spirit of Eagle (talk) 03:27, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
    Policies and guidelines that share their name exactly with an article: ok, especially major ones. What about little-used userspace awards like Triple Crown linking to Wp:Triple Crown? Wikipedia essays? Redirects to sections? How about. "etiquette" or "politeness"? These pages should link to our oft-debated and consensus-murky Civility policy or the WP:Etiquette page? –xenotalk 09:04, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
  • It is not clear to me what exactly the proposal is. If it is indeed the first line of this section, then I'd say: yes, where it helps and not harms. Generally, I see no harm on disambiguation pages. I agree with erachima that it's undesirable instruction creep to prohibit hatnotes on normal articles, or even to attempt rules for their use. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Michael Bednarek (talkcontribs) 05:13, 14 August 2014‎ (UTC)
    The proposal is to retain the addition of the section WP:SELFREFHAT in some form, collaboratively edited to provide some form of guidance we can all agree on as to "helps vs harms", and so I have some place to point to when I remove the links in the latter. Nowhere am I proposing a prohibition or hard line. However without any kind of guidance these have ballooned to a number in the hundreds or thousands and some are just ridiculous. I get the argument from CREEP but there is clearly a need for some counselling to prevent stuff like barely-cited Wikipedia essays and little-known userspace awards from being linked to from our articles and dab pages. –xenotalk 09:04, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
  • I've reworded the guidance based on comments here. –xenotalk 14:23, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
  • An addition which I have now reverted to the status quo. [2] --erachima talk 14:39, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Like older ≠ wiser, Michael Bednarek, and erachima said. The obscure ones are actually the toughest to find, sometimes, a hatnote at the most common search is useful. Is it WP:TRIPLECROWN or WP:TRIPLE or WP:TRIPLE CROWN, after all. Montanabw(talk) 19:11, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
    It is all three of these. It is not, however, an appropriate link for readers arriving at our article disambiguation page as it is trivial information in an encyclopedic context. However let's keep discussion this specific instance at Talk:Triple Crown. –xenotalk 19:34, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
  • I have had the Pipe article on my watchlist because of frequent spamming, and my longterm interest in improving the article content. When what seemed like a helpful hatnote there was removed, I reverted it, and was politely advised by Xeno about the wider, deeper issues at WP:SELFREF. I had previously assumed that the SELFREF issue was simply that of circular references to the same article from itself. As an intermediate-level editor (>11,000 edits), I still remember being bewildered by some of the jargon and acronyms used by Wikipedians (e.g. AfD, RfC, "piped link", etc.). I find the explanatory hatnotes and such to be helpful, and don't quite subscribe to a hard-line view that any mention of Wikipedia innards should be absolutely taboo. We should let curious readers have a glimpse of the workings "behind the green curtain", and not worry so much about maintaining an absolute "Iron Curtain" between the mechanisms and Wikipedia content. This will keep readers from feeling totally excluded by a secretive "Wikipedia cabal", and may even draw in some future editors of high quality.
On the other hand, it is possible to go overboard with confusing pointers to obscure Wikipedian internals, as illustrated by some of the more-extreme examples above. It is important to have a concise explanation of the SELFREF issue, with a shortcut like WP:SELFREFHAT, so that edit summaries and the like can efficiently point to it. The proposed location in the MoS seems suitable, as it is grouped with an explanation of the larger SELREF issues and the use of the Template:Selfref. I feel comfortable with text suggesting that an editor think about appropriateness and use good editorial judgment, subject to the editorial consensus of others, rather than attempting to rigidly prescribe rules about this. I do think that a clear explanation of the issue and an advisory guideline will help bring new editors up to speed, when they do encounter the related issues. Leaving the subject without any lasting explanation and guidance is like leaving a pothole in the road unfilled and unsigned, allowing an unending succession of unwary new arrivals to fall into it. We need to treat new editors well, and help them to become fluent as painlessly as possible, while allowing more-experienced editors to help them efficiently by pointing them to a clear explanation and guidance. Reify-tech (talk) 15:12, 15 August 2014 (UTC)

interpretation of 'Mentioning that the article is being read on Wikipedia, or to Wikipedia policy or technicalities of using Wikipedia should be avoided where possible"[edit]

There is a discussion going on at Binary prefix about whether it is appropriate to include a self-reference on that article to WP:MOSNUM guidelines on their use. I propose the discussion be contined here at MOS. Any comments? Dondervogel 2 (talk) 05:11, 2 August 2013 (UTC)

To add a bit of context, the specific issue being discussed is that Binary prefixes has a hatnote pointing to WP:COMPUNITS, and whether or not that usage should be acceptable, as the link to the style guide is not particularly relevant to the encyclopedic article. This usage is not unique to that article - the following partial list was put together by Shreevatsa:
* Deletion has a hatnote pointing to Wikipedia:Deletion policy.
* Manual of style (redirect to Style guide) has a hatnote pointing to Wikipedia:Manual of Style.
* Dates (redirect to Date) has a hatnote pointing to Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Dates and numbers.
* Formatting (redirect to Format) has a hatnote pointing to Wikipedia:Manual of Style.
* Dispute resolution has a hatnote pointing to Wikipedia:Dispute resolution.
* Administrator has a hatnote pointing to Wikipedia:Administrators.
Also mentioned was that Special:WhatLinksHere/Template:Selfref lists some additional ones.
So the question is should there be a policy about that sort of usage, and what should the policy be? Rwessel (talk) 06:53, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
As an aside, this appears to be approximately the same issue as raised in the prior section (“linking from articles and disambiguators into Wikipedia and Help namespaces”). Rwessel (talk) 07:00, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
And the conclusion in the prior section was "it's fine as long as it's marked with the {{selfref}} template."
Indeed, the help text for {{selfref}} offers, as an example of its use, exactly this sort of cross-namespace link!

"for instance, [[Objectivity]] could have a selfref link '{{Selfref|For Wikipedia's policy on avoiding bias, see [[Wikipedia:Neutral point of view]].}}'. "

In the discussion over at talk:Binary prefix some complained that the hatnote was unencyclopedic, but that does not seem to be a stated concern that this guideline is trying to address. If cross-namespace links are unacceptable even when {{selfref}} is used as a hatnote, then its help text needs to be updated. Jeh (talk) 08:31, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
Likewise if it is not the intention to avoid reference to policy or guidelines in articles, the present project page needs to be updated to reflect that. At the moment there is a clear advice to avoid such references. Am I the only editor who considers that there is no place for a reference to WP policies or guidelines in article space? Dondervogel 2 (talk) 22:40, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
The guideline is primarily intended to address wording in prose, ie. we don't ever write "The list here on Wikipedia contains x..."
The hatnotes are completely standard, and do indeed just need to be wrapped in a {{selfref}}. Many of the WP:Shortcuts titles, sans "WP:", contain a selfref hatnote. Additionally certain common names for the project pages will have hatnotes, eg Binary prefix per [3]
Discussing non-mainspace pages, within Wikipedia articles, is done according to WP:itself (very rarely). See Citation needed or Deletionism and inclusionism in Wikipedia for examples. –Quiddity (talk) 23:22, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
What the guideline says is that reference "to Wikipedia policy or technicalities of using Wikipedias hould be avoided where possible". If that is not what is intended I suggest it be rephrased to reduce confusion. Dondervogel 2 (talk) 15:11, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
That means (at least partially, and for example) don't quote/link WP:NLIST when describing in article-prose the content-criteria of an article/list. If you can think of a concise way to clarify that, suggest away. (Keeping in mind the clarifications already offered by the "Nutshell" section at the page-top.) –Quiddity (talk) 18:26, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
Consider replacing "to Wikipedia policy or technicalities of using Wikipedias should be avoided where possible" with "to Wikipedia policy or technicalities of using Wikipedias should be avoided unless the selfref template is used". I do not support this change because I think self-references, whether or not a special template is used, confuses readers who are not also editors. I am just syaing that if the intention is to exclude selfref from the rule, it would be helpful to say so. Dondervogel 2 (talk) 21:46, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
I think the guideline is clear enough as it is, in light of what the intent is (the "This page in a nutshell" at the top is quite sufficient to clarify that). (In any case I think of the article body prose proper as not including the hatnotes and sections (say) "See also" and below, and the article body is the main place to focus on. But really, adding such details will only confuse matters; I'm in support of leaving the guideline page as it is.) Shreevatsa (talk) 02:43, 7 August 2013 (UTC)

"See also" links[edit]

There is a somewhat cryptic mention of "see also" links as Examples also include disambiguation links and "See also" links. Does that mean that self-references are discouraged or excepted in "see also" links? User:Nick Levinson apparently interpreted that as an exception [4]. Someone not using his real name (talk) 16:45, 21 August 2013 (UTC)

My basis is that the guideline says that "references that exist in a way that assumes the reader is using an encyclopedia, without reference to the specific encyclopedia (Wikipedia)..., are acceptable.... Examples ... include disambiguation links and 'See also' links." Throughout the article namespace, there are numerous links to other namespaces, because of their utility. I think another guideline encourages such links, so if this guideline bars them there might be a conflict between guidelines. Nick Levinson (talk) 17:32, 21 August 2013 (UTC)

Self reference to Wikipedia at Chelsea Manning gender identity media coverage[edit]

I have removed the section on Wikipedia, but editors keep adding it back again. Would appreciate input at Talk:Chelsea Manning gender identity media coverage#Wikipedia?. --Rob Sinden (talk) 08:08, 30 August 2013 (UTC)

Famous articles[edit]

Six months ago, an obscure French military installation attracted worldwide attention when the French military tried to get fr:wp to remove its article on the installation. Media sources worldwide concentrated on the installation, articles were created on it in dozens of Wikipedia editions, and many of them (including ours) mentioned the Wikipedia incident because it raised knowledge of the station immensely. Now, let's assume that the same thing happens with an article about something in an English-speaking country, so it's one of our articles whose deletion is being urged by the authorities. If the incident with the article itself becomes highly significant to the subject of the article, like Pierre-sur-Haute, how would we handle it? In my opinion, the best is to write as if we're not Wikipedia: when the article itself is significant, mention it to a slight extent. Nyttend (talk) 03:20, 24 October 2013 (UTC)

Hatnote to WP:SELFCITE?[edit]

Should a helpful direct be added to the hatnote, e.g. for the guidelines on citing one's own work, see WP:SELFCITE? WP:SELFREF and WP:SELFCITE are quite similar and could arguably cause confusion, as "citation" and "referencing" are used interchangeably throughout Wikipedia. WP:SELFPUB is different in that it concerns self-published content like blogs and forums. WP:SELFCITE concerns whether I should cite my own research published in Nature. --Animalparty-- (talk) 23:52, 24 January 2015 (UTC)


Wikipedia:Templates_for_discussion/Log/2015_May_29#Template:Infestation_navs suggests that there's some confusion over what this page says about self-references. It's possible that some people read "The template namespace" as meaning that the existence of the template or category namespace is a self-reference (to how this website works). I've tried to make it a little clearer. In the process, I changed section heading; what we care about is the template's or category page's contents, not the fact that it's in a particular namespace. (I hope I got the anchor right, to avoid breaking any older links.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:29, 30 May 2015 (UTC)

I don't see anything particularly problematic about your changes, but said "confusion" doesn't exist from my POV. --Izno (talk) 01:16, 31 May 2015 (UTC)

Links to, say, The Signpost[edit]

Should they be The Signpost or The Signpost? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Red Slash (talkcontribs) 03:13, 3 June 2015 (UTC)

It's an interal Wikipedia link, so the latter ([[Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost|The Signpost]]), or, my preference, [[WP:WPS|The Signpost]]. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 05:44, 3 June 2015 (UTC)

Sorry, but could we add that "Wikipedia follows a certain spelling convention" should be replaced with "this article follows a certain spelling convention"?[edit]

This edit has been nagging at me intermittently for a few years, since it obviously violates the spirit of this guideline, but since this page is so vaguely worded ("avoided where possible" should probably be "avoided as much as possible", for example) it is almost impossible to use this guideline to justify removal of self-references.

Could we add a list of examples of what is definitely not okay?

Hijiri 88 (やや) 03:49, 4 April 2016 (UTC)

"Avoided where possible" and "as much as possible" mean the same thing, don't they? Where it is possible to avoid X, avoid X. You'd need a strong argument to say that it was "impossible" to avoid a self-reference.
It looks like your nagging edit has been removed since, but it saying "In the same way that Wikipedia has not yet adopted a consensus policy..." is plainly the "mentioning [...] Wikipedia policy" listed here. --McGeddon (talk) 08:17, 17 June 2016 (UTC)