Using Wikibooks/Cleanup and Maintenance

Ways to Help


Correction of grammar, spelling, and formatting mistakes is an area where Wikibooks needs a lot of help from dedicated volunteers. However, there are many other tasks in maintenance and organization that can be performed by ordinary users too. A good place to start looking for general maintenance projects is at Wikibooks:Wikibooks maintenance. The Wikibooks:Card Catalog Office is a central hub for various organizational projects.

A list of the various template messages that can be used to signal a book that needs help is located at Wikibooks:Template messages. If you find a book that needs help, tag it with the appropriate template to alert other users.

We are going to discuss some common cleanup and maintenance tasks here, but we will exclude tasks that are reserved for administrators.

Keeping in Touch


Whenever you perform a maintenance action, there are typically people who need to know about it. If you find a page with a problem, it is often helpful to leave a message on the talk page of the user who created that problem. If a user uploads an unlicensed image, leave a message on that user's talk page alerting them of that problem.

If you start tagging unlicensed images, or even nominating pages for speedy deletion, it might be wise to make a note of it at the Administrative Assistance reading room, so that the administrators can stay informed of the situation.

If you tag a page with the various cleanup templates, such as {{qr-em}}, {{cleanup-nc}}, {{cleanup}}, {{npov}}, {{disputed}}, {{expand}} or the various move and merge templates, it is typically a good idea to leave a message on the corresponding talk page discussing your opinion on the matter and why you applied a particular tab.

In short, staying in touch with people is very important.

Page Patrolling


There are a number of ways to patrol pages for various issues. One of the best ways to patrol for problems is to monitor the Special:Newpages log. If a page is going to be a problem, it will typically be a problem right from the start. To query a page, to raise a flag that the page might be an error, use the template {{qr-em}}. To notify admins about a page that is bogus and needs to be deleted, use {{delete}}. If you find a page that needs general help, use {{cleanup}}. Make sure to provide a good reason. If you feel that a page has some content value but doesn't belong at Wikibooks, consider nominating it for {{transwiki}} instead of deletion.

Check Special:Shortpages for blank pages, or pages that only contain nonsense. Many pages with no content can be deleted. Pages that are not blank but are stubs can be marked with {{stub}}. Pages that have content but some sections are short can be tagged with {{sectstub}}.

Copyvios and Files


Check the Upload log for the most recently uploaded files. Like the list of newly created pages, files tend to be a problem from the start if they are going to be problems at all. All files should have a valid copyright license tag, and files that do not should be tagged with {{subst:nld}}. This will alert admins that the file is a potential copyright violation and needs to be dealt with.

If you find a page that contains copyrighted text, use the {{copyvio}} template. Make sure you include evidence to back up your assertion that the page is indeed a copyright violation. If the page is not a copyvio, but doesn't include the proper reference information to credit its sources, use {{unreferenced}} instead. If a page is a copy+paste copy of another page here on Wikibooks, use {{copied}} to alert users about the previous location of the page, and stay in compliance with the licensing.

You can also check Special:Unusedimages for a list of images that are not included in any book. Fair use images that are not included in a book can typically be nominated for speedy deletion.

Consider moving files on Wikibooks that are released under a free license to Wikimedia Commons. There are automated tools (such as CommonsHelper) to help with this process available. If you move an image to Commons, or if somebody else moves the image, use the {{nowcommons}} template to alert other users.

Moves and Mergers


There are various templates that can be used to signify that two books or pages should be merged: {{merge}}, {{mergeto}}, {{mergefrom}} and {{merge section}}. To signal that a page should be moved to a new location, use {{move}}. These templates are intended to give warning to other Wikibookians who might be interested. Always give about a week's notice or longer before actually moving or merging pages. Once you have performed the action, let people know with {{copied}} and {{movedto}}, respectively.

New Books and Organizing


A newly created book should be tagged with {{status|0%}}. This will alert the community that the book is new, and will include the book in the "new book" list automatically. New books typically need to be tagged with an appropriate shelf category tag as well. To add a book to a particular shelf, use the {{Shelves}} template. For a nearly complete list of available shelves, see Wikibooks Stacks/Departments.

Every book page should be tagged with a book category too. If the book is called "My Book", then every page should belong to "Category:Book:My Book". Notice that the {{Shelves}} template only goes on the main page of the book, but the book category goes on every page of the book. It is important to keep these rules straight, or it will cause clutter in our various organizational lists. Foruntately, you don't have to worry about what book category to use; just tag every page in the book with {{BookCat}}. This will automatically add the book pages to the proper categories. (Don't bother to put {{BookCat}} on the main page of the book; the {{shelves}} template on the book main page will take care of adding it to the book category.)

We go into more detail about {{BookCat}} and {{Shelves}} and related templates in a later section of this book, Shelves, Categories, and Classifications.



Orphans are book pages that nothing links to. An orphaned book should be tagged with {{Shelves}} (if it isn't tagged with them already). Check Special:Lonelypages for a complete list. For a list of orphaned images, see Special:Unusedimages instead.

  • Orphaned fair-use images can be deleted.
  • Orphaned "GFDL-presumed" images can be deleted.
  • Orphaned free-use images should probably be moved to Commons.
  • Orphaned pages can be tagged as {{merge}}, {{stub}} and/or {{delete}}, as necessary.

New Users


When a new user makes a few edits, they can be welcomed with {{joinus}} or {{bigwelcome}}, depending on whether they have a user account or not. New users should be encouraged to introduce themselves and their projects at WB:HELP. Experienced users are encouraged to watch that page and help answer questions that pop up.

New users who appear to be misbehaving, or who are making edits that do not conform with our policies should be notified on their talk pages with {{test}}, {{blatantvandal}}, {{nothanks}}, or any of several other available templates. If a user continues to misbehave after the proper warnings, get help from an administrator.

Broken and Double Redirects


Broken redirects are redirect pages that don't point to a valid page. Double redirects are when redirects point to other redirects (occasionally creating circular references).