This Wikipedia article discusses ...
, While Wikipedia is not a ...
, Edit this page ...
Mentioning that the article is being read on Wikipedia, or referring to Wikipedia policy or technicalities of using Wikipedia, should be avoided where possible. This type of self-reference limits the use of Wikipedia as a free content
encyclopedia suitable for forking
, as permitted by our license
. The goal of Wikipedia is to create an encyclopedia
, not merely to perpetuate itself, so the articles produced should be useful, even outside the context of the project used to create them. This means that while articles may refer to themselves, they should not refer to "Wikipedia" or to the Wikipedia project as a whole (e.g. "this website"). And our readers already know this is an encyclopedia; it is not useful to inject content disclaimers
, e.g., "While Wikipedia is not a dictionary ..." at an article on a jargon term.
Mentioning the Wikipedia community, or website features, can confuse readers of derived works
. Unless substantially part of the article topic, do not refer to the fact that the page can be edited, nor mention any Wikipedia project page or process, specialized Wikipedia jargon (e.g. "PoV" in place of "biased"), or any MediaWiki
interface link in the sidebar or along the top of the screen.
References that exist in a way that assumes the reader is using an encyclopedia, without reference to the specific encyclopedia (Wikipedia) or the manner of access (online), are acceptable. For instance, in the article on the Kobe Bryant sexual assault case
, before the alleged victim's identification, it said that "Due to concerns over privacy, the name of the alleged victim is not being included in this article or at this time." That is a reference that makes sense on mirrors and forks
and in print, and makes sense in a copy of Wikipedia that contains only the article space. Similarly, many list articles
explicitly state their inclusion criteria in the lead section. The template
can be used to mark such passages as intentional self-references that are generally printworthy and mirror-worthy, but which some reusers may wish to suppress. Other examples of permissible self-references of this sort include disambiguation links
(the templates for which
suppress their appearance in printed copies), and "See ..." cross-references
(which may or may not be printworthy, depending upon whether they are inter-article;
The templates that render self-referencing messages for the maintenance needs of developing articles, such as ,, and
, are unavoidable (and may permissibly include things like "Edit this page ..."), but articles should normally avoid self-referencing templates such as
and the others.
Note that ...
, It is important to ...
, What is ...?
, Surprisingly ...
, Of course ...
Click here to see more
(think about print)
Although Wikipedia is not a paper encyclopedia
, articles should be written in a manner that facilitates transmission in other forms such as print, spoken word, and via a screen reader
. So terms such as "this article" are preferable to "this webpage", and phrases like "click here" should be avoided
. In determining what language is most suitable, it may be helpful to imagine writing the article for a print encyclopedia.
Free content projects, such as this website ...
(writing about Wikipedia itself)
Articles about online communities may well discuss Wikipedia as an example, in a neutral tone, without specifically implying that the article in question is being read on—or is a part of—Wikipedia. In this framework, if you link from an article to a specific Wikipedia page, use external link style, so the link will make sense in any context. The
template will do this for you.
Such pages may include:
This article was criticised by ...
(articles are about their subjects, not this website)
Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, so its articles are about their subjects; they are not about the articles themselves. This means that even if an article itself becomes famous, that article should not report this about itself.
For example, a discussion of Stephen Colbert's
call for vandalism of the Elephant
article might be appropriately mentioned in the article on The Colbert Report
, but not in the article on elephants, because the incident had nothing to do with elephants. Protests regarding depictions of Muhammad in Wikipedia's Muhammad
article are not
addressed in that article (which is about the prophet Muhammad), but rather in the article Depictions of Muhammad
A mention of Wikipedia by a notable person is unlikely to justify a mention in their Wikipedia article; such a mention would have to reflect its importance in the person's overall body of work
. For example, a radio host mentioning that he read his Wikipedia biography is not normally an important event in his overall career. On the other hand, the media attention surrounding John Seigenthaler
's Wikipedia entry is now a notable event
in his public life.