Wikipedia talk:Portal guidelines

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Portal icon[edit]

Somebody know how I can change portal icon?. --Kasper2006 (talk) 11:16, 8 October 2012 (UTC)

RfC on helping assist articles selected for portal inclusion[edit]

Should the portal guidelines, and possibly the portals themselves, be perhaps altered to give higher priority for portal selectionn to those articles which are most significant or important to the topic of the portal? John Carter (talk) 20:42, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

So far as I have seen, in general, it is often the case that articles at FA or GA class or similar seem to be most often and most quickly selected for inclusion in portals, even if those articles are often of rather peripheral importance to the stated topic of the portal. This seems to me anyway to perhaps make the portals less useful than they might be. So, for the purposes of discussion, I would propose four options
  • Option 1: The first stage of selection should focus on those articles which are of the highest declared importance to the topic of the portal. So, for instance, articles tagged as being of "top" importance to a directly related WikiProject are the first ones sifted through for portal selection.
  • Option 2: The first stage of selection should focus on the stated quality of the article, as per quality assessment.
  • Option 3: Some sort of "combined" selection. So, for instance, if the selected article for a given rotation is of comparatively lesser importance than several others, the DYK section of the portal might be filled with some of the other, more significant to the topic, articles in that particular iteration.
  • Option 4: The DYK section should itself perhaps have articles selected primarily on the basis of their apparent direct relevance to the topic of the portal.
  • Option 5: Perhaps the creation of an additional portal component, similar to the DYK section, to specifically include only DYK-ish entries on the most significant related articles.


  • Support 1-4, in roughly the order listed above, weak support of 5. The last might be the most direct way of dealing with this matter, but it would also at this point probably have too many complications resulting from the redesign of existing portals. If somehow an alternate portal template could be created which might include such a section, though, that might make it easier to include such articles in portals which have yet to be created, or which might have fallen into neglect. John Carter (talk) 20:42, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Option 1 --NaBUru38 (talk) 14:50, 28 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Option 1, while other factors might have some weight, the primary purpose of a portal is best served this way. --j⚛e deckertalk 17:05, 4 April 2013 (UTC)
  • Option 2-4 However, I can't really tell the limits between the options. IMHO, It must be ensured that the selection of articles covers the whole range of the portal topic. In extreme cases, I'd vote for low quality articles to be included in case they offer valuable information to understand the topic in all. --Jesus Presley (talk) 22:47, 8 April 2013 (UTC)
  • all the 1-4-5 Options are good, and can be used here. I prefer them.KhabarNegar (talk) 19:50, 11 April 2013 (UTC)
  • I can't see any of these options working as stated. As far as I've experienced it, the current selection process uses articles based on some balance between quality, importance and coverage of the area. Ideally I'd move the balance slightly further away from quality as assessed purely by featured/good processes, but in my experience "B class" is a very variable rating and high-importance articles are frequently (correctly) classed as Start. What I've tended to do is to use the picture section to highlight important articles of poorer quality, but that might not be widely applicable. Espresso Addict (talk) 21:20, 11 April 2013 (UTC)
  • What Espresso Addict said. Sven Manguard Wha? 06:21, 9 April 2014 (UTC)

Threaded discussion[edit]

  • To me, the point of portals is to show readers relevant articles about a subject, so they get intersted in reading them. In other words, if I visit a portal, I expect to see summaries of top-importance articles, not low-importance articles (even if they are featured or good). For example, when I did the Spanish-language es:Portal:Automovilismo and its subportals, I chose some of the most relevant racecar drivers, competitions and circuits. --NaBUru38 (talk) 14:50, 28 March 2013 (UTC)
  • As an editor who has some experience with portals, the contents in my experience tend to be driven by the Featured Portal process, which encourages inclusion of only featured content. The guidelines are usually interpreted as requiring major sections to use solely or predominantly featured/good articles, with perhaps a smattering of B-class articles for balance, but certainly no articles below B class. There is also, I believe, consensus there that the DYK section should only include hooks that have appeared on the main page. There's an obvious conflict with the importance of the articles, as the broader the article, the more difficult it is to get it to even B class, and heavily edited articles are often plastered with problem templates that preclude their use on portals. I'm not sure that any form of guidance on choice of article for portals that fails to alter the Featured Portal process's emphasis on featured content is going to be successful in changing practice. Espresso Addict (talk) 21:09, 11 April 2013 (UTC)
  • That might be true, but I remember, admittedly a long time ago that the Portal:Anglicanism, which I myself wasn't a particularly active developer off, specifically chose its DYKs on the basis of their significance to the topic. I think it did eventually get to FP anyway, although there was some controversy regarding other matters. It was more or less on the basis of that having been at least accepted once in an FP that I included the sections about editing down hooks of articles significant to the topic in the DYK section. John Carter (talk) 23:42, 11 April 2013 (UTC)
  • A really broad portal like that might have many thousands of main-page DYKs to chose amongst; most portals are stuck with a much smaller selection. Espresso Addict (talk) 23:53, 11 April 2013 (UTC)
  • FWIW, I think a lot of the portals are at least as broad as that one, and it is basically primarily about portals of that sort I was thinking. Honestly, I guess I should say that I for one never even considered applying these ideas to, for instance, portals relating to specific music acts, or TV shows, or smaller families of lifeforms, or whatever. But, for those portals which are as broad as that one, and those which are even broader, many of the currently best articles in terms of quality are among the less significant to the topic, and, in general, the more significant subarticles, like some of those chosen on the Anglicanism portal, are probably so old that they might never have qualified for DYK status anyway. John Carter (talk) 00:01, 12 April 2013 (UTC)
  • IMO the project as a whole -- not just portal maintainers -- has a big problem with the fact that getting a broad important article to GA, let alone featured, is an enormous and sometimes impossible undertaking. There's this drive to push very minor articles to GA/FA, with little or no motivation to try to get the major, core encyclopaedic articles into a better state. Espresso Addict (talk) 00:18, 12 April 2013 (UTC)
  • I don't think that's just your opinion, it's one of my major concerns as well. One of the problems with the broader articles is determining what they should contain. I am myself currently developing a Category:WikiProject lists of encyclopedic articles, which could, I suppose, help editors find what reference books contain articles of some length and quality regarding those broader topics, which would be useful at least as a point of reference for our own similar articles, but without "help" of that sort a lot of the broader articles will continue to probably get less attention and help in development. That was, honestly, one of the main reasons I had for trying to include them in a portal, at least those without quality tags, to maybe get some more attention to them. John Carter (talk) 00:44, 12 April 2013 (UTC)

Superportals and subportals[edit]

It can happen that an article (say Egypt) falls under one portal Egypt, but that portal itself falls under a higher portal Middle East.

Now, if these were Categories rather than Portals, then my understanding of guidelines is that the article would be marked as belonging to the lower category, with the higher one being 'automatically picked up' rather than explicitly linked in the article.

But what is the recommended case for Portals? You see, at the moment, Egypt is marked as a member of both portals. If WP were consistent, it seems that only the lower portal (Egypt) should be marked in the article.

I notice that some portals - e.g. Latin America - list their subportals near the bottom of the main ("umbrella") portal. So, another question: is the listing of subportals advisable for all portals?

Can anybody point me to a useful guideline re these aspects or - failing that - what are people's views? Thanks, Trafford09 (talk) 17:19, 15 August 2013 (UTC)

I think that articles don't "fall under portals". A portal features content about a group for articles. Of course an article may be related to several portals. --NaBUru38 (talk) 18:34, 26 August 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for your views, but I'm not sure what light they shed on the matter. I use the term 'fall under' in the sense of 'belong to for purposes of categorization' - but then you are an EN-4 (user who can contribute with a near-native level of English), so I guess you knew that. And yes, a portal features content about a group of articles - plainly. Of course an article may be related to several portals, as you say.
But all that's 'by the by' - I'm interested, rather, in whether editors think portals should behave like categories - I hope you see my point. Trafford09 (talk) 06:58, 30 August 2013 (UTC)

References in portals[edit]

The portal guidelines don't currently say whether portal pages should include references. I would like to add a statement somewhere that portals should not contain references; the verifiability requirement is met by including a "Read more" link to the article, where, in theory, everything should be referenced.

This follows the example of the Main Page itself, and is the practice adopted by the featured portals linked at the top right of the Main Page.

The question has become relevant following a recent change to {{Broken ref}}, which has added red "citation error" messages to thousands of portal pages. I don't want to see editors spending lots of effort adding reflists, tracking down missing named references, and so on, when I think a better fix is to remove the references completely.

Comments, opinions? -- John of Reading (talk) 15:30, 22 March 2014 (UTC)

I examined some of the portals in question, and see a common issue. Portal:Aesthetics for example, has references but is missing the reference list. Even if we hide the error message, the page has in-text citations [1] that show but do not work. It is apparent that the main content is a copy/paste from the relevant article with the references included.
Possible fixes:
  • Don't show errors- con: real issues will not be fixed
  • Remove references
  • Add {{reflist}} and show reference list
  • Add {{reflist hide}} to include {{reflist}} but not show it; con: in-text citations show but don't work
--  Gadget850 talk 13:24, 27 March 2014 (UTC)
Agree with everything stated by John of Reading, above. — Cirt (talk) 13:29, 1 April 2014 (UTC)
I've been futzing around with possible solutions to this, with eye toward automating something (6k pages to fix is...a lot of pages) (caveat: I am far from an AWB ninja. My sense of what's easy and hard to do with AWB may be very off). Here's what I've discovered:
  • Most of the errors on Portal front pages are not from content on those front pages, but from transcluded content
  • On those transcluded pages, there is a mix of empty refs (no reflist-able content, clearly just copy-pasted from articles) and populated refs (full citations)
  • The name and number of transcluded pages with these problematic refs varies hugely from portal to portal
  • Adding a reflist to the transcluded page or to the main page means the error persists on the other page, so this isn't a situation where one edit can fix twenty errors.
  • So, possible solutions I've thought of:
    • Remove all refs from all portals and portal subpages. Pros: fairly easy to draft an AWB task that can "remove all content between <ref> and </ref>, inclusive" on relevant pages. Cons: still have to manually identify and pull into AWB all pages that have these refs; still doesn't keep new portal subpage additions from throwing errors.
    • Add {{template reference list}} to all (affected?) portal subpages, then {{reflist}} to all (affected?) portal mainpages. Pros: potentially keeps this from happening (as badly) again when, inevitably, someone adds reffed content to a portal page. Cons: Much more complex to implement; doesn't address empty refs; doesn't keep new portal subpage additions from throwing errors. I've been trying this by hand today, and while it works, it's fairly convoluted to implement.
    • Somehow magically blacklist <ref> and </ref> tags in portal pages?
    • Fix these 6k pages by hand and then forget about it as not likely to happen again, given that I haven't seen a portal yet that's been updated in the past 2 years.
    • Nuke portalspace from orbit, since no one's paying attention to it anyway.
    • ???
    • Profit!
    • Some other solution I haven't thought of.
So basically, I haven't found any elegant way to deal with this. Whatever we do seems likely to end up kludgey and heavy on the manual effort. A fluffernutter is a sandwich! (talk) 20:51, 8 April 2014 (UTC)
I think my preferred solution would be to remove references from portals all-together -- once. I think the current problem is non-careful cut and pasting from article ledes, and that simply removing the references there now will clean up the fact that so many pages are broken. That said, we do have other solutions to make the red text go away if some editor of a particular portal puts references back; and there may be valid reasons to reference something in a portal. The task would HAVE to be manual/AWB -- a bot is not going to be able to distinguish between refs we don't need, and where someone might have used the ref system to add a footnote, and we don't want a bot blowing those away. Courcelles 22:35, 8 April 2014 (UTC)
Courcelles: References should not be in portals. Also, to be completely honest, I am surprised that we are actually having this discussion, both because my understanding is that it has always been that references should not be in portals, and because this discussion involves significantly more people than I knew to be active in the Portal namespace. As much as I find them useful and interesting, and as much as I love building them, the namespace is in terrible shape and is pretty dead participation-wise. Sven Manguard Wha? 03:31, 15 April 2014 (UTC)
@Sven Manguard: The reason for the increased interest this time around is that a recent change has flooded Category:Pages with missing references list with several thousand pages, attracting people who pay attention to that category as well as folks more active in portals. Courcelles 04:38, 15 April 2014 (UTC)
I've made a not-very-bold edit to the guidelines. If anyone would like to strengthen that to a recommendation, that would be fine by me. -- John of Reading (talk) 06:13, 15 April 2014 (UTC)
Agree with this change by John of Reading. — Cirt (talk) 17:28, 16 April 2014 (UTC)
I'm trying to clean up Category:Pages with missing references list and Portal:Featured content/Lists is one of two annoying sticking points. I've finally tracked down the problem with it. That portal makes extensive use of partial transclusion, so some, but not all, featured lists generate reference errors. The example I started with is List of islands of Scotland. Since the guidelines recommend omitting references, I have put <noinclude> tags around the refs on that page that are causing errors. This seems to be last portal with this particular problem, but I'll have to ask for others to help with cleaning up all of the transclusion sources. Some of the lists (example: List of Testudines families) only transclude plain references. While this doesn't cause a cite error, it leads to references appearing beneath the portal's box. Pathore (talk) 04:02, 18 December 2014 (UTC)

Portal activity status[edit]

I've been working in evaluating WikiProjects (according to Template:WikiProject status and am finding many inactive or semi-active WikiProjects that have been updated for years. I came across a similar Portal that contains dated information and I was wondering if there is any guidelines for marking Portals as retired, inactive or historical. It's on a topic that is unlikely to be of much interest in the future as it concerns a retired political figure.

Personally, I have found the project of reevaluating the status of WikiProject has led to renewed activity on some of them which had been dormant. Changing the status tag led to the WikiProjects appearing on editors' Watchlists (after being absent for several years), reminding editors of their previous activity and they often return to assess the state of the Project. It might help revitalize Wikipedia Portals if there was a similar reevaluation of their activity status every few years. Liz Read! Talk! 15:32, 23 March 2014 (UTC)

A well-written portal may not need much "activity". For example, Portal:Jane Austen has a good selection of articles, biographies and images, and will serve as an introduction to Wikipedia's coverage of the topic for years to come. -- John of Reading (talk) 16:16, 23 March 2014 (UTC)
Agree with this comment by John of Reading, above. Cheers, — Cirt (talk) 13:31, 1 April 2014 (UTC)