Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Self-references to avoid/Archive 3

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Archive 2 Archive 3 Archive 4

I can see the reason for this style guide, but...

It is, in some knowledge domains, quite dysfunctional. Consider complex, advanced technology. People who write about this for a living -- I used to, long ago -- will tell you that you have to go from the known to the unknown. OK? So what's known to 100% of your audience in Wikipedia? Answer: Some of the technical details of the way Wikipedia works. And this knowledge can fruitfully serve as a bridge to deeper understanding.

Case in point: Please visit Pseudonymity, which I personally think is one of the finest articles to be found in our project. The language is unusually crisp and precise. A Wikipedia example is used to introduce what would undoubtedly be, for most readers, an unfamiliar concept.

And a user who's read this policy statement proposes to delete half the article! (See the talk page.)

OK, if you must, change "Wikipedia" to "a public Wiki site." Fine. You're introducing a small but undeniable barrier to understanding, but if it is really so important, do it. Just don't delete half the page. Please? Bryan 03:30, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

Do remember that part of the purpose of writing a free content encyclopedia is that the material should be usable elsewhere. And, when reused, we cannot presume that any portion of the readership has so much as heard of Wikipedia. - Jmabel | Talk 06:46, 17 August 2006 (UTC)
The article seems to be fine to me at the moment; it's fine for an article to mention Wikipedia, it just shouldn't:
  • assume that its content is on Wikipedia, or
  • break links when mirrored.
The reference in the article to WP:BITE has now been {{srlink}}ed, so external links won't break, and the mentions of Wikipedia carry enough context and would make sense, for instance, at (which hadn't updated with the srlink last time I looked, and dealt with the selfref by delinking it; the srlink would serve their site better). So the article seems fully ASR-compliant to me now. --ais523 11:49, 26 August 2006 (UTC)


Retards are looking up Wikipedia on Wikipedia. Why not let the retards know they're on Wikipedia? Urban Dictionary tells the retards THEY'RE on Urban Dictionary! —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 29 August 2006.


Is it OK for Deletion (a dab page) to link to Wikipedia:Deletion policy? >Radiant< 20:16, 12 September 2006 (UTC)

My general impression is that it's favored. I personally don't like it and think it kind of goes against this guideline, but others apparently feel its usefulness for the confused outweighs this. In theory, reusers could remove all this kind of thing if they're kept nicely wrapped in {{selfref}}. —Simetrical (talk • contribs) 02:41, 14 September 2006 (UTC)

Self-ref external links

What about external links that discuss the Wikipedia article? For example for Seth Finkelstein there is this Guardian article "I'm on Wikipedia get me out of it". Would this be ok in an article or self-referential? -- Stbalbach 05:42, 29 September 2006 (UTC)

Generally speaking (at least for people), it depends on whether Wikipedia has had a major effect on the person's public life, or if the person is notable due to their experiences with Wikipedia (in addition to any notability they may have through other methods). For non-bio articles, it depends on how much the thing being described depends on Wikipedia (for instance, it's OK to mention Wikipedia in Wikimedia Foundation but not in Elephant (contrast Talk:Elephant). --ais523 07:38, 29 September 2006 (UTC)
Think about it this way: if you were writing this article for an unrelated site, and you yourself had no connection to Wikipedia, would you mention Wikipedia? - Jmabel | Talk 17:49, 1 October 2006 (UTC)

Disambig tags

I've ran into this problem on the policy page: I put up a disambig tag to Wikipedia:Policies and guidelines, and yet it has been removed 3 times. Disambig tags are very commonly used for this purpose - and I find it very useful. Examples: delete, guideline. I find it utterly stupid that people are deleting useful and unobtrusive disambig tags. Fresheneesz 19:11, 19 October 2006 (UTC)

I've corrected it. It should at least have been in {{selfref}} tags, and I've tried to make the wording slightly more standard. --ais523 13:05, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

Think about print

Quote from project page Don't forget, we want to make the creation of a print version of Wikipedia as easy as possible, so try to use terms such as "this article" as opposed to "this website", and certainly don't use terms such as "click here" (which make no sense when using a screen reader, for instance). You may also find it helpful to imagine you're reading the article in another encyclopedia. End Quote

I am kind of new but have run across this statement and simular ones a couple times. I understand the wiki pages are subject to printing and inclusion in school project and stuff. I have a couple of questions Jeepday 14:59, 13 November 2006 (UTC)

  • Question - Who is the we that wants to make a print version of wikipedia?
  • Question - Are statements about "print versions" of wikipedia referening to a single page or hard copy multiple volume editions?
  • Question - How would a print version of wikipedia be a wiki?
  • Question - Why would you want to make a print version of wikipedia?
  • Question - Who would finance (and profit?) from a print version of wikipedia?
  • Question - How would you keep a print version of wikipedia updated?
There was a print version of some of the pages of the German Wikipedia a while back IIRC. As Wikipedia is GFDL, companies can created printed versions of Wikipedia and sell them if they wish, even making profit (the GFDL has no restrictions on commercial use.) I think they checked all the pages for vandalism first, and I remember talk of including a postcard so that readers could submit improvements (although I have no idea whether that was done on the German version or whether it was a proposal for the future). I don't think they intended to keep the print version updated. WP:1.0 may also be of interest if you're thinking about print. --ais523 15:08, 13 November 2006 (UTC)
So as I understand it from the answer above and the answer about Version 1.0 Who profits the Wikipedia community feels the very first entry on the page Wikipedia:Avoid self-references should be "Think about print" so a group of individuals with an intent to profit on the sale of millions of copies "I'd expect Version 1.0 (on DVD) to sell in the millions. Walkerma 15:54, 7 December 2006 (UTC)" can more easily profit on donated labor to a free information source. Is that a fairly accurate statement of why this article should encourage editors to “think about print”? Jeepday 03:11, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
I don't understand your opposition. Wikipedia is about trying to spread free-content knowledge to everyone; bear in mind that any sold CDs, DVDs, or even printed encyclopaedias would still be GFDL and so could be redistributed freely. (For instance, I could make a CD of my favourite Wikipedia pages and sell it now if I like, but whoever bought it could make copies and give them to their friends without having to pay me anything). Not everyone in the world owns a computer, and violating WP:ASR would just make it considerably more difficult to give them this information. Besides, even on the Internet companies are already profiting from Wikipedia's content under the GFDL (see Wikipedia:Mirrors and forks); Wikipedia is more popular than them because people don't have to pay or to see adverts to access the same content. Some wikis use a non-commercial licence, but commercial use on Wikipedia is explicitly allowed (see {{db-noncom}} for an example). --ais523 11:25, 20 December 2006 (UTC)

A new way of handling self references?

To me it seems there are two groups. Group 1 wants to have a small note at the top of all articles in the Main namespace that share the same name as an article in the Wikipedia namespace. Group A wants to remove all self references from all of wikipedia because of how they appear on websites that mirror wikipedia, as well as in publications that may contain a printed version of a wikipedia article. The two groups will always be set against each other with neither willing to comprimise. What I propose is adding new functionality to MediaWiki that will handle self references in a novel fashion. For all articles that share the same name as an article in another namespace, for example Neutral point of view, instead of having a Self Reference in the article, add a new tab to the right of Watch at the top of the page. This tab would be a link to the article in the other namespace. This method should also support some kind of markup within the article source so that articles with unique but similar names can be linked, such as Template and Template Messages. I have created a mockup that demonstrates the concept, however the final design of such a tab will be up to the community. Each namespace may have its own image, or the tab may have no image at all, that can be decided much farther on.

Wp tab.png

Please consider this as a viable alternative to the self-references that are on many wikipedia articles. --Carterhawk 07:56, 16 November 2006 (UTC)

That couldn't handle something like the dablink to WP:POINT from Gaming the system (which is a redirect to Rules lawyer). Likewise, you wouldn't want a link from about to Wikipedia:About. --ais523 09:20, 16 November 2006 (UTC)
It seems there is a dablink from about to Wikipedia:About. Oh well... --ais523 09:22, 16 November 2006 (UTC)
1) Why couldnt it handle it? and 2)This idea does not require total automation and probably shouldnt use it. A new type of wikimarkup for handling this would be the prefered method. --Carterhawk 10:44, 16 November 2006 (UTC)
I've written a script (User:ais523/selfreftab.js) that makes {{selfref}}s into a tab marked 'wp' at the top of the screen, which you can use if you like. This is a bad idea to put sitewide, though, because new users (who could most use the link) are less likely to notice it. --ais523 13:25, 16 November 2006 (UTC)
Super cool, I love it and will use it from now on, thankyou so much. I suppose now the question is, how to make it as noticable as the existing selfref template, without making it obtrusive. --Carterhawk 13:58, 16 November 2006 (UTC)

Eric Goldman

Is he independently notable? -- Zanimum 14:46, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

Possibly. The current content suggests that he is at least marginally so. It would probably take some research on his other work to know. I'd say that, at worst, the article is harmless. - Jmabel | Talk 04:23, 11 December 2006 (UTC)


What about disambiguations at the top of articles which point to useful Wikipedia space pages - are these permitted? For instance a disambig to WP:DRV at the top of DRV was recently taken off? I personally think such links are helpful to newbies or generally to people who don't want to fiddle around with Wikipedia's search engine. When I was less experienced, I found searching for wikipedia policies or special pages like WP:DRV through the Wikipedia search engine a bit of a pain. What was really helpful was when there were disambig lines at the top of mainspace articles to similarly named Wikipedia special pages. (eventually I worked out that using google 10 times more effective than the wikipedia search engine, but i still look for disambigs occasionally) Bwithh 02:16, 15 December 2006 (UTC)

Point Of View =?= biased

  • Quote:do not use specialized Wikipedia jargon (e.g. "POV" in place of "biased"),
    • biased should read bias. POV is a noun.
    • POV is the abbreviation for point of view. I have seen wikipedians using the term POV when they really mean bias. But it is not accurate. And we should not encourage it.-- 15:28, 18 December 2006 (UTC)

In the Template and Category namespaces (new template message proposed)

I created a template message supposed to be used at the top of categories belonging to the Wikipedia project (see Category:Wikipedia administration for the first exemple). The aim of this template is to allow readers to clearly see at first sight that a Wikipedia project category does belong to this kind of category and what is its aim (thanks to a description given in parameter). 16@r 23:15, 24 December 2006 (UTC)

Add a section?

Could someone add a section about referring to Wikipedia when it isn't notable. For example, On the Straight outta Lynwood page their was a mention about White and Nerdy mentioning Wikipedia when it was only one line in the song. The Placebo Effect 02:46, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

situations where self-references are okay

There are rare situations where an article will actually need to mention Wikipedia, or even its own Wikipedia article. This is sort of covered in this page already, in the line "Articles where Wikipedia played a major role in the subject of the article, for example: John Seigenthaler Sr. Wikipedia biography controversy". But "major role" is a bit too limiting, consider the recent Fuzzy Zoeller thing. It is a stretch to say Wikipedia played a major role in his life, but nevertheless his recent actions were covered by the mainstream press and I think should be mentioned in the article on him. I would propose changing the word "major" to "notable", notable in the literal sense that the article would do well to make a note of it. --W.marsh 18:40, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

Wikiproject's Collaboration of the Month/Week

Some Wikiproject's COTM have banners added to the article space. I really dislike these and would much prefer them to be added to the talk , rather than the article space. See The Maltese Falcon (1941 film), Mormon pioneers for examples. Note: the main COTM does add it's tag to the talk page. I tried to change this for the tax wiki project Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Taxation#Taxation Collaboration of the Month but the projects members still wished to keep this on the main article space. I still disagree. Can we build some concensus on this. GameKeeper 22:29, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

I'm one of the project members at WikiProject Taxation that disagrees with moving the banner to the talk space. I think it falls under the area of "Limited use of self-references are sometimes found in the Template namespace" as "Use of templates in the article namespace that self-reference because they link to articles in the user, talk, or Wikipedia namespace or that are special articles." The COTM is just like any other cleanup, expand, NPOV, etc banner. I prefer it on the article mainspace as it draws more attention and helps promote the collaboration. However, I feel the banner should be small (examples Tax, Muhammad Ali, Mormon pioneers, List of United States Representatives from California). Collaborations are difficult enough as it is without hiding them on the talk space. As a discussion for this group, I'd suggest we look at this from the point of - Does it violate Avoid self-reference policy? If it does not (which I believe), then I would leave the decision of this template placement standard to the WikiProject Council. Such a policy would effect many WikiProjects. Morphh (talk) 01:52, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
I would also agree that current collaboration banners should be on the article page and not the talk page. Such a banner serves a similar purpose to {{current}}, indicating that the article is currently undergoing a period of heavier editing than normal and that the contents of the article may change quickly. However, once the collaboration period is over, the banner should be removed from the article page. Slambo (Speak) 11:46, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

I'm getting sick of this

Can we please put in big letters somewhere on this page that this policy does not prevent us from having articles that are related to Wikipedia like Wikipedia and Jimbo Wales? People seem to keep not realizing that this is just a MOS issue. JoshuaZ 02:42, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

I think the letters in Wikipedia:Avoid_self-references#Writing_about_Wikipedia_itself are big enough. If someone is misciting the policy, just calmly link that. I'm not sure I'd categorise it as "just an MoS issue" - it's important for a number of reasons besides writing style. Deco 19:36, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

Suggestion, maybe...

Before I make my suggestion, let me first explain how I believe this guideline works. (This way you won't have to waste time reading a suggestion based on a faulty premise.)

  • Unacceptable entry to [[WP:X]] : "As it says in [[WP:Y]] the values of..." Directly sourcing another Wikipedia article would be wrong.
  • Acceptable same situation: "See also: [[WP:y]]" Providing a link to another Wikipedia article is acceptable.

If I'm correct, I'd propose changing this guideline's name to WP:NWC or WP:No Wikipedia Citations in the interest of clarity. I've found myself wondering, from some comments I've read, if some people assume no self references means "don't reference yourself". Anynobody 06:09, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

Almost, but not quite. The 'acceptable same situation should be' "{{selfref|See also: [[WP:Y]]}}", which means that mirrors can automatically remove the link if they don't copy WP:-space pages. --ais523 09:47, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

Sudden Additions?

Am I just noticing this...but it seems {{selfref}} is getting thrown at the top of a lot more articles than it used to...I mean, I happened to notice RFA. ^demon[omg plz] 11:52, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

To some extent, it's due to a common solution for cross-namespace redirects; redirecting them to a related article and putting {{selfref}} on the article aids navigation but doesn't land people in projectspace by accident. --ais523 09:52, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

Recent addition

I just added

A problem sometimes occurs when a notable person, especially a writer or media personality, mentions Wikipedia. There is a temptation to add any such mention to their Wikipedia article. However, to avoid self reference, this needs to be balanced with its importance in their overall body of work. For example, a radio host mentioning on one show that he read his Wikipedia biography is not a very important event in his overall career.

I think this reflects how we've dealt with any number of such incidents, off the top of my head, Mike Greenberg, Stephen Colbert and Pardon the Interruption. One problem is it doesn't mention a situation where such a reference should stay in... I'm sure there are much better examples but the only one I could think of is Fuzzy Zoeller. --W.marsh 17:45, 25 April 2007 (UTC)

"Writing about Wikipedia itself" proposed change

This section should also make clear that there should be a external source, other than Wikipedia, especially when the subject of the article has nothing to do with Wikipedia. The most recent example that comes to mind for me is in articles about copyright law, saying--essentially--"this is how we interepreted it on Wikipedia!" does not qualify as notable unless the New York Times wrote an article saying "this is how they do it on Wikipedia." Savidan 22:59, 2 May 2007 (UTC)


The page Wikipedia_talk:Software_screenshots, which is "inactive", states that web browser screenshots like those on Firefox should show the browser rendering Main Page. This seems completely self-referential to me. Wikipedia:Avoid self-references should say something about screenshots. —Ben FrantzDale 14:56, 25 May 2007 (UTC)

I absolutely agree. 16@r 20:15, 25 May 2007 (UTC)
I completely disagree. A screenshot featuring the site is not a self reference - what is it referencing? It simply allows the site to have a single way to example web browsers and other programs that display websites. What would you suggest screenshots should show then? We don't want them all to have random screens as this would just look bad.-Localzuk(talk) 20:29, 2 June 2007 (UTC)
We don't want them to show the Main Page, because it's got the Wikipedia logo in and there's no sensible way to justify that under fair use. The browser's default home page might make sense, or some neutral public-domain page. --ais523 15:24, 3 June 2007 (UTC)
OK, so if the "standard" should be changed, then what should it be? I'd like more consensus than this for something that would change a handful of highly-visible pages (the browser pages). I think the best thing to screenshot would be the browser showing the browser's default home page or the brower's project's home page (e.g., [1], [2]). To reiterate, it makes as much sense to have the screenshots show [3] as it does to show [4] or [5]. —Ben FrantzDale 05:58, 5 June 2007 (UTC)
I'd say ideally default home page, as it's got the best case for fair-use and the combined screenshot is likely to be legally fair-use in different contexts. --ais523 14:53, 14 June 2007 (UTC)
I am perplexed by some of the response above. The page in a nutshell says "Wikipedia's free content is reused in many places, online and off. Do not assume that the reader is reading Wikipedia, or indeed any website." Given that, it can't possibly make sense for screenshots to show Wikipedia. I'm not saying I know what page should be shown, but certainly not Wikipedia. One options would be to show the default home page when the software is first installed. —Ben FrantzDale 12:12, 16 July 2007 (UTC)
Firstly, while we can't assume that the reader is reading Wikipedia, we can assume that the reader is aware of Wikipedia, since the Gnu Free Documentation License (under which Wikipedia content is licensed) requires that content taken from Wikipedia be attributed to it. Secondly, even if we couldn't assume that — so what? The point of avoiding self-references is so that the content makes sense no matter where you are. Whether or not you've heard of Wikipedia, you won't see a screenshot of a browser open to the Wikipedia Main Page and go, "What's that? I don't understand what I'm seeing!" —RuakhTALK 15:52, 16 July 2007 (UTC)
I won't debate the first point. As for the second, you say "The point of avoiding self-references is so that the content makes sense no matter where you are." I disagree. In my opinion, the point of avoiding self-references is to be professional and not self-aggrandizing. I imagine someone seeing self-reference and thinking "Why are these Wikipedia people so full of themselves that they consider themselves to be the best possible example of a web page?" I see self-reference as getting in the way of writing the best possible article. The best possible Wikipedia article certainly has a screenshot of Wikipedia in it, but the best possible Firefox article certainly does not, and so by using Wikipedia as an example, I think we have compromised the quality of the page to create self reference. —Ben FrantzDale 02:24, 17 July 2007 (UTC)
but maybe this is a better way to put it: Why is it better for these screenshots to feature Wikipedia than for them to feature the browser's project page or it's default home page? I would think both of those are better.
So, where are we? It seems to me that using the Wikipedia page as the example page in an article about a web browser is a clear self-reference, in fact a gratuitous one, considering all the alternatives. - Bevo (talk) 18:33, 31 July 2008 (UTC)
In there is a statement that articles on web browsers are actually encouraged to use Wikipedia's main page as the example content to help ensure comparable content across these type of articles. Is that Wikipedia policy? - Bevo (talk) 22:10, 31 July 2008 (UTC)
It is, but it doesn't have to be and I see it as completely antithetical to avoiding self-reference. Although it's not ideal, would the W3C homepage be at least a little bit better than the Wikipedia home page? Other than W3C or maybe Acid3, I can't think of any NPOV pages that would make sense for all browsers to display. Personally, I think the browser's default home page makes the most sense, but if there's a strong feeling that all browser screenshots should show the same page, then something standards-related is probably the only NPOV page to display. —Ben FrantzDale (talk) 01:23, 1 August 2008 (UTC)
I agree that this is an unnecessary self-reference and that the default browser homepage, or some random instantly-recognizable site with lots of detail like Yahoo would be fine. Dcoetzee 01:30, 1 August 2008 (UTC)


We have a serious problem with the use of Template:Expert-subject (see what links here). Would it be best to have a bot move the tags to talk? —Viriditas | Talk 13:34, 14 June 2007 (UTC)

This is a tricky problem. The information in the boxes is metadata, which is given a loose line by guidelines such as this one (because it's easy for mirrors to filter out); it's certainly arguable that {{expert}} should be on the article itself (in the same way that {{wikify}} is). The problem is that unlike cleanup boxes like {{POV}}, {{expert}} contains wikitext and so is less suitable for mirrors that want to show cleanup boxes as a clue to the article's likely quality. As for mentioning wikiprojects, {{expert-subject}} isn't any worse for selfreference purposes than {{expert}} (they both mention something that only makes sense on Wikipedia). The tags aren't actual article content and so can be filtered out without losing meaning (see WP:ASR#In the Template and Category namespaces); in my view, the main point of WP:ASR is that the text should be reusable in other contexts like a print version. Or am I misunderstanding what you think the problem is? --ais523 14:52, 14 June 2007 (UTC)
No, you got the gist of it. However, I'm convinced that the expert tag should be incorporated into a standard WikiProject tag on the talk page. Recruiting editors on the main page should be strongly discouraged for many reasons. —Viriditas | Talk 12:07, 18 June 2007 (UTC)
I suppose it depends on what the chances are of an expert on the subject, who isn't a regular Wikipedia editor, coming across the article (but not the Talk page) and deciding to improve it, as opposed to the number of people who will be put off by the metadata. {{copyedit}} is something many people can do (most people can fix typos, and there are many who can do more major copyediting), but {{expert-subject}} has a much smaller number of people who can help. Maybe its talk page would be an appropriate place for this, or one of the Village Pump pages (I don't think this page is likely to attract many more people with opinions about this). --ais523 17:24, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

Pennsylvania Punch Bowl

I would appreciate someone taking a look at this article, which has a sizable section about my editing of the article. I don't want to get into an edit war; I am already sensitive about the subject because it was part of what led to my stepping down as an admin. Thanks. --Chris Griswold () 06:32, 4 July 2007 (UTC)