Using Wikibooks/Print version

Using Wikibooks

The current, editable version of this book is available in Wikibooks, the open-content textbooks collection, at

Permission is granted to copy, distribute, and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License.

About The Book

Who Wrote this Book? edit

This book, like all books on Wikibooks, has been written by ordinary users, just like you. Any person who visits Wikibooks can edit almost any page at any time. Some of the users are experienced Wikibooks veterans. Some are just passersby, fixing small grammar or spelling errors as they read. You can help to write this book, and you can choose how much you want to help and in what way.

You can fix errors that you see, or you can add entire lessons that you've learned from your own experience here, or you can start and write whole books. If you have questions about using Wikibooks, ask! When you've learned the answers, you can write them down in this book for future users and readers.

Feedback edit

One of the best tools in the writing process here on Wikibooks is feedback from readers. If you are a new user and have learned from this book, we would be happy to hear about it. Also, if you find certain portions confusing, or even know of certain information that is missing, we would like to hear about that too. One of the best places to provide feedback about this book is at the assistance reading room. When leaving a question or comment, include a link to the book page in question, and discuss what you liked, what you didn't like, and what you think can be improved.

How Is this Book Set up? edit

This book is arranged by job. Wikibookians tend to assume different roles when they visit Wikibooks. The vast majority of our visitors are readers, who want to learn for free. Some Wikibookians help fix problems, like spelling and grammar or formatting errors. We call this second group "Editors". Other Wikibookians actually create new books and generate new content. These people are called "Writers" or "Authors". Other Wikibookians keep watch over the website, performing cleanup and organizational tasks and taking on responsibilities that other users don't. This last group is known as the Wikibooks "Administrators".

People who come to Wikibooks don't always fall into just one category but can be a combination of some or all of the above groups. Some people perform tasks that are entirely different from all those listed above. Most tasks at Wikibooks can be very similar to the four listed above though, so this book will divide the material into those four groups. Just remember that even though this book breaks up our users into four primary roles, this is just a simplification and not a reality. You should feel free to perform any helpful tasks (and there are a lot to choose from!) at Wikibooks.

The first section provides an introduction to Wikibooks, and an overview of what this project is and how it works. The second section is devoted to quick-start guides for various audiences.

A Note on Form edit

This book uses a pretty simple organizational format that other books can feel free to copy. The decisions that the authors of this book have made are not the only way or even the best way to do things, however. It's good to follow existing examples when creating your own books, but keep in mind that there is no single "right way" to do things, and different books may have very different needs.

This book is specifically intended to be printable, so it is held to a particular standard that other books on Wikibooks do not need to follow. The internet makes available a number of technologies such as interactivity and multimedia that cannot be translated easily into a printed medium. Even though this book is focused on being printable, other books on Wikibooks are not limited by that restriction and can make use of various technologies to improve their educational benefits.

Beyond being a good example, this book aims to be a good resource for readers who are new to Wikibooks or merely curious about it. If you have feedback about this book, or would like to make changes and improvements, remember that this is a wiki and anybody is free to edit it at any time. This may seem like an unbelievable concept, but throughout the following chapters we are going to talk about how the editing process works and how easy it really is to get involved.

What Is Wikibooks

What exactly is Wikibooks? edit

Wikibooks is a collaborative book authoring website, where users from all over the world work together to write textbooks and other types of instructional books on many topics. It is a Wikimedia project, operated by the same group of people who run Wikipedia, the Wikimedia Foundation. You can edit this page, and almost all pages like it, at any time. That is the basic principle of Wikibooks: anyone can edit it.

History edit

The Wikibooks project was started in 2003, and has become one of the largest free e-book websites in the world. There is more information about Wikibooks in the information page Wikibooks:Welcome. In the early history of the project there were many high and low points, but more recently things have begun to even out. Wikibooks has a large volume of books on a variety of different subjects, and a vibrant community of volunteers who write and maintain them.

Collaborative Community edit

Wikibooks is a completely volunteer online collaborative community. Many members of Wikibooks are anonymous in that they have not provided much, if any, information about themselves. Wikibooks does not have a government nor any form of centralized decision-making body. Instead, all decisions are decided by the community via discussion, compromise, and consensus.

All changes are implemented by our hardworking volunteers. Let's reiterate: anybody can edit nearly any page at any time, often anonymously, and there is no central governing body to keep everything running smoothly. How does the project function at all? How do we keep things running smoothly, much less make progress?

The secret is the dedicated volunteer community, a community that we will discuss in more detail later (later in the Introduction, and again later under Contributing To An Existing Wikibook).

What is Wikimedia? edit

The Wikimedia Foundation is a not-for-profit foundation that oversees the operations of Wikibooks, Wikipedia, and a variety of other projects. Some of these projects are:

What is Wiki? edit

The word "Wiki" is derived from the Hawaiian word "WikiWiki", which means "quick" or "fast". A wiki is a program that lets users generate content quickly. On almost every page in a wiki, there will be an edit button. Clicking on the edit button allows any user anywhere in the world to modify the contents of the page, and add new content. Some wiki websites restrict who can edit pages, but Wikibooks does not.

Wikitext edit

Pages in Wikibooks are written in a special format called "Wikitext". Wikitext is very similar in many respects to HTML, and several pages are written using a combination of Wikitext, HTML, and CSS.

The advantage of Wikitext is that it's very simple and quick to write. A large amount of formatting can be accomplished with a very small amount of effort. Also, the Wikitext helps to keep features on Wikibooks, such as page section titles and other formatting, standardized. The section The Wikibooks Editor will focus on using Wikitext.

Inclusion Criteria edit

Wikibooks has specific criteria for the inclusion of new materials. The name "Wikibooks" is a bit of a misnomer in the sense that this project does not allow all books to be hosted.

On the contrary, only the small subset of instructional non-fiction books are allowed to be hosted here. Traditionally the term used was "textbook", although blurring of the definition led to the current standing that wikibooks allows "Textbooks, manuals, and other instructional texts". The final interpretation of whether or not a particular book belongs on Wikibooks is left up to the community.

It is worth noting that Wikibooks overlaps considerably with the Wikiversity sister project. Materials that are outside the scope of Wikibooks may very well be suitable at Wikiversity.

Wikibooks also puts a premium on creating material, not just hosting material. While we do allow materials to be donated by authors, we always insist that the material must be editable. Also, historical works that are no longer under copyright should not be posted to Wikibooks, but instead should go to Wikisource.

Setting Up A User Account

   Note: also see Help:Account management

The Advantages of Using a User Account edit

There are a number of benefits to creating a Wikibooks account, and using that account consistently. We'll list some of the benefits below:

You are actually more anonymous when you register for an account. This is because when you edit anonymously, your IP address (which can be used to identify your location) is posted. When you have a user account, your IP address is hidden. Notice that if there is a problem, specially elected users known as Checkusers can access the IP records. However, Checkusers only access the records in response to specific needs. We will discuss Checkusers and the IP logs in greater detail in the section The Wikibooks Administrator.
User space
If you have a user account, you also have a personal user page, and any subpages to that page that you want to create. Some users have literally hundreds of personal pages for various uses. You can write about yourself on your user pages, or you can write about anything you want. Many users use their pages to write about books, and keep track of various tasks that need to be completed here. Also, users have their own personal JavaScript and CSS stylesheets that they can use to customize and personalize the Wikibooks interface. Some users have very simple user spaces, while some users have very elaborate spaces. It's your space, so feel free to use it however you want.
User talk pages
In addition to a user page where you can write about yourself, you also have a user talk page where other people can write messages to you. When somebody writes you a message, a notification will appear at the top of your page. This is a great way of keeping in touch with people, especially when timezone differences make direct communications difficult.
User Preferences
You can set a number of preferences for your account including: Setting an email contact address that others can use, changing display themes ("skins") to change the way the website looks, changing the appearance of certain items and changing time and date formats. Wikibookians and other Wikimedians have also developed a number of JavaScript-based productivity tools called gadgets that can be added to your account. There are lots of options for you to check out and customize your Wikibooks experience.
You will get a personal watchlist that will show changes that other people make to pages on that list. This way you can monitor pages you are interested in, such as pages you author and discussion pages you participate in. The watchlist gives you a way to keep track of pages you like, and play an active role in their development.
Voting and Discussing
While even IP users can participate in community discussions, their voice usually carries little weight and in some cases will be ignored entirely. This is because people editing from an IP address are not considered to have a vested interest here, and because there is a one-to-many relationship between most IP addresses and individual people. As a registered user you will have full rights to participate in community discussions and help make decisions, even from your very first day here.

This is a long list, but it is not complete. There are many reasons why you should create an account at Wikibooks. If you plan to spend much time here, you should consider signing up for one. The process is free, quick, and easy. You are not required to supply any personal information, so you can always remain anonymous if you choose to. We know it's yet another internet signup, and we know you've probably been through a million, but we promise this signup process will be fast and painless.

Setting up a User Account edit

Setting up a user account is quick and easy, often taking less than a couple of minutes to complete. Before starting this process you must first choose an appropriate username. Once you set up your account, all of your edits will be performed under this name, so it is important to choose a name you are comfortable with.

Once you have decided on a username you can register it. Click the "Sign in / create account" link in the top right of the screen to bring up the login screen. From here click the 'Create One' link at the top of the login box. Ensure all of the mandatory boxes are filled out on the form on the registration page and click 'Create Account' to finish the process. Make sure you choose a strong password that isn't easy to guess so your account remains secure (See Below).

Once you have finished registration you can login with your username and password. You now have access to your own personal watchlist and preferences, selected from the links banner in the top right corner.

Username Taken? edit

Dozens of new user accounts are created every day, so the odds are good that the username you want might already be taken by somebody else. There is some chance the username you want may be available for usurpation. That means that users who are stewards may be able to give you the username you want by taking it away from an inactive account. It is not a guarantee, but in some cases it is possible. Ask for help from a steward, including the username you want and your current username (if any), at this page at Meta.

Uploading Images edit

Help! I'm a new user, and I can't upload images for my book! What can I do?
This is a common question, and one that's worth answering here in the middle of the chapter. The software in use at Wikibooks, MediaWiki, is based on the idea of user permissions. Everybody can do basic editing stuff, but you need more permissions if you want to do more advanced things. For instance, only people with admin permissions can delete a page. Only people with bureaucrat permissions can promote users to admin. Uploading images requires a permission called uploader. You can request the uploader permission at WB:RFP.
Luckily, that's not the whole story. Another project called Wikimedia Commons allows users to upload images immediately without special permission. Images uploaded to commons are immediately usable and visible here at Wikibooks (and also at Wikipedia and all other WMF projects). However, because the images can be used all over the place, Commons is very strict about its copyright policies. Images uploaded to commons must be released under a free license, not fair use. Fair use images can be uploaded here at Wikibooks, but not unless you have the uploader permission.
If you have more questions about this, ask at WB:CHAT.

Choosing a Username edit

It is worth choosing a username that is not insulting or confusing to those around you in order to promote a harmonious editing environment. There are no policies regarding this in particular, but Wikibooks:Be civil is relevant. As a guideline, we suggest avoiding:

  1. Confusing usernames:
    • Usernames that are very similar to the name of another Wikibooks user and might cause confusion.
    • Usernames that confusingly refer to a Wikibooks process, namespace, or toolbar item.
  2. Misleading usernames:
    • Usernames that imply the user is an administrator or official figure on Wikipedia, or of the Wikimedia Foundation.
    • Usernames that match the name of a well-known/famous living or recently deceased person, unless you verifiably are that person, in which case please note this on your user page.
  3. Disruptive usernames:
    • Usernames that are similar to those previously used by persistent vandals or banned users.
    • Usernames that are attacks on specific users.
    • Usernames that contain personal information about people, such as a telephone number or street addresses.
    • Usernames that allude to hacking, trolling, vandalism, legal threats, or computer malware (viruses, spyware etc...).
    • Usernames that include profanity, or obscenities, or references to genitalia or sexual slang.
  4. Promotional usernames:
    • Usernames that match the name of a company or group, if the user is using the account as a promotional tool.
  5. Offensive usernames:
    • Usernames that promote a controversial or potentially inflammatory point of view.
    • Usernames that are defamatory or insulting to other people or groups.
    • Usernames that invoke the name of a religious figure or religion in a distasteful, disrespectful, or provocative way, or promote one religion over another. (Note that simple expressions of faith are allowed unless they are disruptive, but are generally discouraged.)
    • Usernames that refer to real-world violent actions.
    • Usernames that refer or include allusions to racism, sexism, hate speech, etc...
    • Usernames that refer to a medical condition or disability in a belittling way.
    • Usernames that include slurs, or references to reproductive or excretory bodily functions.
  6. Usernames containing the at symbol (@)
    • These are disallowed due to technical restrictions.

Choosing a Password edit

In order to maintain the integrity and security of your account, you should choose a good, strong password.

Weak Passwords:

Poor/easily guessable passwords tend to include words in the dictionary, proper names, words based on your username or common variations on these themes, as well as information such as birth dates and pet names.

Example of weak passwords include:

  • admin — too easily guessed
  • abc123 — too easily guessed
  • zzz — repeated letters and/or adjacent letters on a keyboard (e.g. asdf)
  • susan — common personal names
  • password — easily guessed, used very often
  • p@$$\/\/0rd — simple letter substitutions are pre-programmed into cracking tools
  • rover — common name for a pet, also a dictionary word
  • 18/9/73 — date, possibly of personal importance
  • nbusr123 — a user name, and if so, very easily guessed

Strong Passwords:

Strong passwords avoid using dictionary terms and are generally made up of a random sequence of letters, numbers, and symbols. Unusual/bizarre phrases can also be acceptable. The length of a password can also slow down the time which it takes to guess it, often causing a hacker to deem the amount of time needed is not worth it.

Examples of strong passwords include:

  • 7gEbs?id~3 — not a dictionary word, has both cases of alpha, plus numeric, and punctuation characters
  • nOoOoFiM425965 — long, with both alpha cases and numeric characters
  • Change_100$ to Pounds? — phrases can be long, memorable and contain an extended symbol to increase their strength
  • Tpftcits4Utg! — A mixture of varying-case letters, numbers, and symbols. It is memorable as an initialism of "The password for this computer is too strong for you to guess!"

Note: these particular strings are no longer strong passwords, because they have been published.

Moreover, a same password shouldn't be used on several sites in order to avoid a domino effect if one is discovered. To remember them easily, a part of their URL can be concatenated to a fix pattern (but try to do that in an unpredictable way).

New User Restrictions edit

Newly created user accounts have a few restrictions placed on them. We do this because vandals and other unsavory elements set up temporary user accounts in order to post spam and vandalism here on Wikibooks. This restricted period lasts 4 days from the time you create your user account. Once these 4 days have passed, your account is called autoconfirmed. Here are some of the restrictions new users face until they become autoconfirmed:

Image uploads
New users cannot upload images to Wikibooks. This is because we have historically had a large problem with vandals uploading inappropriate pictures to Wikibooks. However, there is an easy solution to this: Wikimedia Commons allows new users to upload images without having to wait to become autoconfirmed. Images that are uploaded to commons can be used here on Wikibooks as if they have been uploaded here. Commons is the preferred place to upload images, even for veteran users.
Page Moves
New users cannot move pages. However, if you have a page that needs to be moved, you can ask on WB:PROJECTS or WB:AN for help. Make sure to read the guidelines at Wikibooks:Naming policy, to help avoid some common mistakes.
Editing protected pages
Some pages on Wikibooks are protected against being edited by anonymous users. Unfortunately, registered users who are not autoconfirmed cannot edit these pages either. Luckily, these pages are not common, and it is unlikely new users will need to edit many of them anyway. Ask for help at WB:HELP or WB:AN for help with this.

User Page edit

Every user account has two special pages, a user page and a user talk page. These two pages are yours, and yours alone. What you do with these pages is for you to decide; but, here are some common uses:

Your User Page
People often use their user pages as profile pages. Write about yourself, what you like, who you are. Many people also use it as a place to organize thoughts, prepare a list of links that are needed often, tips, and reminders. Many users also take some pride in decorating their user pages, and making them look fancy. There are many options, and you should feel free to experiment with your user page as much as you want. If you are under 18, please do not list your first and last name.
Your User Talk Page
The talk page is a place where other users can contact you, and where you can carry on discussions with others. When another user writes a message on your user talk page, you will see a banner at the top of your browser that says "You have new messages". When you see this banner, go to your talk page, because somebody has left you a message. If you want people to contact you in a special way, or if you want to provide basic guidelines for how people talk to you, you can post them at the top of your talk page.

User Space edit

In addition to the two pages mentioned above, you can have a multitude of additional pages for personal use. These pages together are known as your user space.

The user space works like any other book. Your user page is like the main page, and you can create subpages with a forward slash /. Here are some common examples:

Your Page/Sandbox
Wikibooks has a large Wikibooks:Sandbox page that people can experiment with, but some people would like a personal sandbox where they can experiment with things without being disturbed. If you want to practice with templates, you might also like to create a Template Sandbox page, and experiment with that.
Your Page/Links
Create a list of links for your benefit, or to help others get around quickly.
Your Page/About
Create a page about you, your interests, your experience, your background.
Your Page/Books
Write a little bit about the books and projects you are working on, what your goals are, and what you think needs to be fixed. In book writing, the more plans you write out, the easier it will be for other users to join in.

These are just a few ideas. Some people don't use any pages in their user space, while some users have hundreds of pages there. Feel free to use as much or as little as you want.

Deleting User Subpages edit

If you have a subpage in your user space, and you want it to be deleted. add the following tag to the top of the page: {{delete|requested by owner}}. An admin will find it and delete it eventually. If you are in a big hurry for some reason, you could contact an admin directly.

Admins may delete pages in their own user space at any time for any reason.

Your Contributions edit

Your contributions are important, and you should be proud of them! Go to Special:Contributions and type in your name to see a list of your edits. In the upper-left corner of your screen, there should also be a link that says My Contributions. Clicking on that will take you to your edit history directly.

Discussion and Consensus

Who Makes Decisions? edit

If anybody can edit any page, who decides what goes where? Who keeps things in order? Who prevents this whole website from descending into total chaos?

The simple answer to all these questions is you. You, as an editor can help to keep things in operational order, so that everybody can share and enjoy Wikibooks.

The long answer is that people who edit Wikibooks form a type of community, a social group of people who want the project to grow and improve. It is through collaboration with the community that we develop policies and guidelines that all Wikibookians agree to follow, in order to keep the process running smoothly. With a username, you can join this community too, and help to keep everything in proper working order.

How are Decisions Made? edit

Wikibooks doesn't operate in a way that is similar to regular governments or groups with set leadership patterns. Simply put, Wikibooks doesn't have any official leaders, although there are always members who do take on informal leadership roles. Often, the best way to lead others into doing something is to do it yourself and set a good example.

Complicated decisions on Wikibooks are made by the community as a whole through a method called "consensus". Consensus is when the community discusses a situation, finds compromise, and comes to a general agreement on a proper course of action. Notice that this isn't the same as majority voting. Wikibooks is not a democracy, and we rarely vote. Even on occasions when we do cast votes, they are informal votes, used as a general way to measure consensus. A 51% majority never wins a discussion; you need to find compromise and get everybody, or almost everybody, to come to an agreement.

Why do we say "almost everybody"? Sometimes, people get angry and can just be unreasonable. If you can't be mature and work towards compromise, other people just won't listen to what you have to say. Other times — and this is something we especially appreciate and encourage — people who are in the minority tend to "stand aside". This means that a person will say "This is not what I want, but I will not stop the community from moving forward". Being respectful in this way never goes unnoticed, and it's precisely the users who take this option when necessary who are the most appreciated. After all, we may not always agree, but by being respectful and courteous, we can always improve and make forward progress.

The Reading Room edit

The central point for discussion and participation at Wikibooks is the Reading Room, a collection of discussion rooms where people are free to ask questions, and discuss various topics.

History edit

The Staff lounge was a page nearly as old as the Wikibooks project itself. Created in 2003, it was a single discussion page where all topics were discussed. The single-page structure of the staff lounge was unwieldy, and the page often became very large, a point that was brought up frequently.

The Administrator's Noticeboard was created in October 2006 as a separate discussion and notification area specific to Wikibooks Administrators. Special:Import had recently been enabled, and the Noticeboard was designed to be a centralized location where people could ask for help from admins.

In February 2007, the Staff lounge was broken into various sub-discussion rooms, including General Chat, Project Chat, and Technical Chat. A room specifically for new users and new book projects, the New Books and Users Chat was created in June 2007.

In October 2007, the Staff lounge was renamed the Reading Room. The Administrator's Noticeboard and the Bulletin Board were merged into the new discussion area in an effort to make finding and participating in discussions easier.

Discussion Rooms edit

There are several discussion rooms in the Reading Room, each with a particular theme. Often the line between them is a little blurry, so there are few hard rules about what kinds of topics can be in which rooms.

A discussion area for all discussions that relate to Wikibooks, but which do not necessarily fit into any of the other discussion rooms. When in doubt, post your messages/questions/comments to this room. A place where new users can introduce themselves.
Bulletin Board
Not a true discussion area, the bulletin board is a place where you can post announcements about important events.
A page to discuss and collaborate on various projects, such as books, organization, cleanup, and maintenance.
A place to suggest improvements to Wikibooks, to its policies, methods, or any other area.
General Assistance
A place where Wikibookians can help each other solve problems encountered while contributing to books or otherwise taking part in the Wikibooks community.
Technical Assistance
A place to get assistance on technical issues, such as wikitext, JavaScript, MediaWiki, as they relate to Wikibooks. A good place to request help from people who are proficient wikitext editors or computer programmers.
Administrative Assistance
The place to report vandalism, request help from admins, or report problems. Most admins keep this page on their watchlists, and if you ask for help here you will usually get it quickly.

Posting a New Message edit

All the Reading Room discussion areas have a link at the top that says "Post a Comment". Clicking on this link will open an edit window where you can write a comment or question to post on the page. Make sure you:

  1. Give your post an appropriate title
  2. Sign your name with ~~~~.

Policy and Guidelines

Policy and Guidelines edit

The Reading room is an important discussion area, and most discussions that affect the project will happen there. However, equally important are many of the ongoing discussions about policy, many of which happen on their own pages. These discussions, when they gather enough attention, will typically be announced on the Bulletin Board, or somewhere in the Reading Room.

Wikibooks has a large number of policy and guideline pages. Each page has an associated talk page, and that is where the discussion about that policy or guideline is taking place.

What Kinds of Policies are There? edit

Wikibooks has a few policies that Wikibookians really need to follow in order to keep this website running smoothly. Luckily, the amount of policy we have is really kept to a bare minimum, and is constantly being modified, expanded, reduced, and rewritten to make sure it's the best we can do.

Here are a few of the most fundamental policies, some of which we will discuss in greater detail in later chapters:

Be Bold
...but don't be reckless. "Be Bold" is a common phrase at Wikibooks. Because everybody has the tools available to make improvements, we expect people to just make them without asking for permission. See something you don't like? Don't complain about it, jump in and fix it! Sometimes however, being bold means not making changes, and asking for other people's opinions. Getting the community involved in a tricky discussion is much better than making controversial changes.
Neutral Point of View
Often abbreviated "NPOV", the neutral point of view policy means that we can't use Wikibooks as a tool for pushing a particular social, political, religious, or personal agenda. When writing a Wikibook, you need to make sure to include opposing points of view, and discuss material in a fair and unbiased way.
Be Civil
We know that some people are difficult to deal with, and sometimes people can get so angry that they want to say some nasty things to each other. Don't. On Wikibooks, you need to try to stay nice to each other. If you absolutely can't be nice, you need to at least keep the conversation civil. If you can't be civil, take a walk, or watch some TV, or check your email. Whatever you do, calm down before you start saying things that you are going to regret.
Be Mature and Professional
Some things just aren't appropriate, and we aren't going to list them. You just need to use your best judgment, and try to stay mature and professional. Some people who can't follow this rule post some lousy things on Wikibooks, and we call them "Vandals". We will discuss vandalism, and how to deal with it, in a later chapter.

Those are the most important policy rules, but there are plenty of other policies that you should probably familiarize yourself with. You can find the complete list at Wikibooks Policies and Guidelines. As with any community, there are norms that are pervasive. Important ones are sometimes reflected in the proposed guidelines, policies and information pages in the Wikibooks and Help namespaces. You'll get a feel for these norms as you participate, and some of them will be pointed out to you. For example, Wikibooks has no guideline or policy that says you should add a signature to discussions, but not to content. But this makes perfect sense — so much so that it is a social norm, but is not enshrined in policy.

Who Gets To Write Policy? edit

Anybody can draft a new proposal, but the community needs to reach consensus on it before it can become an official policy or guideline. Notice that this doesn't mean that nobody rejects the proposal. Instead, a proposal must have overwhelming affirmative support in order to become an accepted policy or guideline.

If you write a proposal that doesn't get accepted, you shouldn't get upset. The vast majority of all proposals, both for new policies and changes to existing ones, are rejected or ignored. Sometimes a good policy author is a good salesperson too. Even the best salespeople can cross the line of harassment, however, so if nobody is interested in your proposals at all you might need to forget about it yourself. As always, a little bit of moderation and personal best judgment is the best prescription.

Changing Policy edit

No policy is written in stone, anything is always open to discussion. However, without strong community support, it can be difficult to change policy. The best way to try and make a change is to start a discussion and write up a quick draft. Any user may write a draft for a new policy or a policy change at any time.

Drafts and Proposals edit

All new policies start as policy drafts. Ambitious editors create a draft of a proposal that they think needs to exist. Then, a discussion can start about the proposal in a public forum. Drafts are located on the wiki, of course, so they will be edited and modified as various users provide their input. The draft will grow and change over time, and may even spawn entirely separate drafts which can be compared together.

Modifying an existing policy usually requires some sort of public proposal and community discussion. Sometimes, if the proposed changes are large enough, a new unstable version of the policy will be drafted and discussed. The unstable version may lead to individual changes being agreed upon and merged into the existing policy. Sometimes, if the unstable version is different enough and has enough support, it could replace the existing policy entirely.

Once a draft or a proposal has been created, it should be well-advertised to get community involvement. An obvious place to advertise these kinds of discussion is in the Reading Room. The Wikibooks Bulletin Board is a great place to make notifications as well.

List edit

Here is a list of some of the policy and guideline pages, and the associated discussion pages. The complete list of all Wikibooks policies and guidelines are located at WB:PAG. Policies that are not open to change or discussion will not be listed here.

Important Policies edit

These are some of our most important policies that define how Wikibooks works, what kinds of materials we accept, and how our users should behave.

Wikibooks:What is Wikibooks
Also known as WIW, this is one of the most important policies on Wikibooks. WIW tells what kinds of books and materials can be hosted on this project, and what kinds of things need to be moved or deleted.
Wikibooks:Annotated texts
Similar to WIW, the annotated text policy tells how annotated texts can be hosted here at Wikibooks and how Wikibooks is related to sister project Wikisource.
Wikibooks:Naming policy
The naming policy tells how pages should be named, and how books should be organized.
Wikibooks:Neutral point of view
Also known as NPOV, this policy is a very important limitation to writing styles here on Wikibooks. Authors cannot use Wikibooks as a forum or a soapbox to push religious, political, or personal viewpoints or agendas.
Wikibooks:Deletion policy
The deletion policy tells what kinds of pages can be deleted here at Wikibooks, and how those deletions should be pursued to minimize project disruption.
Wikibooks has a relatively low tolerance about profanity, but we aren't into aggressive censorship either. The profanity policy describes how we walk the fine line between these two points.
Wikibooks:Be civil
Wikibookians should treat each other with respect, if not politeness and kindness.
Administrators are held to a certain standard. This policy describes the expectations made of our administrators, and how they should perform certain duties.

Guidelines edit

Guidelines are things that should be followed, while policies are things that generally must be followed. Here is a list of some of our most important guidelines.

Wikibooks: Decision making
Wikibookians don't generally cast yes/no votes. Instead, we try to use discussion, compromise, and consensus to make decisions. The decision making guidelines outline how decisions can be made, and helps to ensure that the voices of all Wikibookians are heard.
Wikibooks: Editing policy
More of an editorial philosophy than a rule, the editing policy page talks about some best practices in making edits and interacting with other editors.
Wikibooks: Be bold in updating pages
Wikibooks can only grow and improve when its editors are bold in making changes. You don't need anybody's permission to edit, and you can edit most pages at any time.
Wikibooks: Please do not bite the newcomers
All our active contributors used to be hesitant about new users at one point. We try to treat our newcomers with patience and respect, to ensure that they stay to become regular and active contributors.
Wikibooks: Manual of Style
Wikibookians have developed a number of best practices that should probably be followed to ensure books reach a high level of quality. The manual of style lays down some of these guidelines.

Proposals edit

Wikibookians often write proposals for new policy or guidelines, many of which are never accepted by the community. Some proposals are simply forgotten. Some proposals are never formally accepted, but make so much sense that we seem to follow them anyway. The complete list of proposals can be found here:

How To Edit A Wikibook

Editing Wikitext edit

We have an entire book about Wikitext editing which covers all bases, not just those that are used here at Wikibooks. Check out Editing Wikitext for more information about how to edit existing pages and create beautiful new ones. (For a quick overview, see the Wiki-Markup section later in this book).

Why you should edit...

People decide to edit Wikibooks for many different reasons, so it's tricky to try to understand why.

Some people, while reading, find a grammar error and it annoys them; they see it and they want it to be fixed, instead of waiting for somebody else to do it.

Nevertheless, it's faster and easier to just edit the page and do it yourself.

Some people really want to share the things that they know and help other students to learn for free versus buying textbooks on the web.

Some people edit because they are bored and want a constructive hobby.

Some people edit because their teachers are grading them!

There are even those whose job it is to create Wikis for their companies and this forces them to take a harder look at Wikis and through this they easily spot errors and feel inclined to correct them.

There are many reasons why people might edit, but the reasons don't really matter in the end. The important thing is that you are participating in the Wikibooks project, and that you have taken the first step to joining the Wikibooks community.

How to Edit edit

Almost all pages have a link at the top that says "edit this page". Click that link and it will take you to a page where you can edit and save the text of the page. We say "almost all" because some pages can be protected against being edited, for a variety of reasons. If a page has been protected, the "edit this page" link will be replaced with a "view source" link. You can view the source code of the text to see how it is written, but you cannot save any changes on protected pages.

When you edit a page, a text box will be displayed with the current text of the page already loaded in it. You can change or add things to the page, and when you are done, you can save it.

Clicking the Preview page button will show you a preview of the new page at the top, and will provide you with the edit window at the bottom. No changes will be saved if you preview.

Clicking the Save page button will save your changes, and display them on the page for anybody who reads it.

If you have just made a small edit, click the check box that says "This is a minor edit". This will record the edit as being a minor edit, and not one that other editors need to inspect carefully.

Edit Summaries edit

The text box called "Summary" gives you an opportunity to explain what you did and why you did it. You do not need to write a summary, but it is considered good practice. If you just make a small edit, such as a spelling or grammar edit, you can write simply "copyedit" or "grammar" or "spelling". This is good enough. If you make a larger or more substantial edit try to write, briefly, what you did and why. That will help to keep other proof-readers on task when they come to check your work for errors.

When other readers and editors look at the page's history, they will only see your edit summary. This means that if a person wants to see how a page has changed, they can either read the edit summaries (if they are provided) or else they have to scan the page line-by-line looking for changes.

Plus, an edit summary is a good way to tell whether a person is a vandal, or if they are simply a new user who may be a little confused about policy. Writing an edit summary such as "I tried to fix something, but I dont know if i did it right", or even "I need help!" is likely to indicate that you are not a vandal, and it will also attract help from users who are watching the recent changes list.

Keeping Track of Edits edit

There are a variety of ways that you can keep track of edits on Wikibooks. You can keep track of your own edits, edits to a particular page, and edits made by the entire community. We will discuss those things now.

Recent Changes edit

All the changes made by all Wikibooks editors on all pages are listed on the Recent Changes List. You can reach this list by clicking on the "Recent Changes" link in the "navigation" box on the left side of the screen. Here, you will see the changes made, in reverse chronological order, with the most recent change at the top of the list. Each change will contain the title of the page edited, the name of the user (or the IP address of the person, if they are not logged in), and various other data. Some of the other data that might be included are:

M or N
M means the edit was a minor edit. N means the edit is the first one on that page, and that the page is new.
In parenthesis will be the number of characters have been added to or removed from the page. If the number is small, it was likely a small edit. If the number is large, it was a major change.
Edit Summary
The edit summary, if the person wrote one before they saved the page. Sometimes, if the person did not write a summary, an automatic one will be generated by the software.

My Watchlist edit

If you have an account, and if you are logged in, you have access to a personal watchlist. Your watchlist is a list of pages that you want to keep track of. When you view your watchlist, by clicking the "my watchlist" link at the top of the page or by going to Special:Watchlist, you will see a listing of all the recent changes to the pages on your watchlist. These changes will be displayed in the same way as the edits on the recent changes list are displayed.

(If you don't have an account yet, see Setting Up A User Account).

There are a few ways to add a page to your watchlist. When you edit a page, there is a checkbox to "Watch this page". Checking that box adds the page to your watchlist. A second way is to click the "Watch" tab at the top of the page. A more advanced way is to go to the list at Special:Watchlist/raw, and add pages. In the raw watchlist view, you may add one page title per line, and as many pages as you want at once. However, keep in mind that spelling and capitalization count!

The Watchlist has a special feature: it only shows the most recent edit to each page, not every individual edit. That means if there have been 10 edits to a page since you last checked it, your watch list will only show the most recent edit, not all 10 of them.

The Watchlist tab in My Preferences contains a number of options concerning the use of your watchlist. You can set options to automatically watch pages that you edit, or pages that you create. This can be very helpful if you are creating a new book, and want to automatically add pages to your watch list as you create them.

History Pages edit

Every page has an associated history page. To get to the history page, click the "history" tab at the top. The history tab is to the left of the "edit this page" link.

The history pages allow you to keep track of how a page changes over time. The history page shows the same information that the recent changes list and the watchlist show.

The history page also lets you view old versions of a page. In the history page, click the links to the different versions to see what the page used to look like.

RSS and ATOM Feeds edit

The recent changes list, both to the whole Wikibooks site and to the history pages are available as RSS and ATOM feeds. Users who have RSS or ATOM aggregators may find this functionality useful.

There currently are no RSS or ATOM feeds for your personal watchlist, however. This is a known issue, and is one of the features most frequently requested from the software developers.

Live Edit Feed edit

Users who are familiar with IRC may be interested in watching the real-time edit feed at irc:// This feed shows, in real-time, all the edits and changes that are made, as they happen. This includes all the information that appears in the recent changes list, but is constantly updated.

In addition to the live feed, several members of the wikibooks community operate various patrol bots. These bots monitor the live feed looking for suspicious edits. These bots then report suspicious edits in irc:// Users who are interested in becoming active vandal fighters tend to enjoy the irc interface.

Watching All Pages in a Book edit

It is a common request for new authors to want to watch all pages in a given book. For some of our more prolific authors, they want to watch all pages in several books! There are several ways to accomplish this:

  1. Add all pages in the book to your watchlist. If you are creating a new book, go to Special:Preferences and check the box "Add pages I create to my watchlist". This will automatically add all the new pages in your book to your watchlist (but will not add pages other people create, automatically). If the book is an existing book, or if other people are working on it too, you might also want to check the box "Add pages I edit to my watchlist". This will automatically add pages that you edit to your watchlist. With all the pages on your watchlist, you can go to Special:Watchlist to see changes to those pages.
  2. Go to Special:RecentChangesLinked and type in the name of your book. If you add a forward-slash and the name of your book, you can create a direct link to this list. For example:

Diffs edit

A "diff" is a special feature that can show you the difference between two versions of a single page. When you view a diff, the changes will be displayed at the top of the page, and the page content will be displayed below.

On the recent changes and watchlist pages, there will be a link next to each edit that says "(diff)". Clicking this link will show you the diff for that edit, showing you what changes have been made to the page. If you see an edit in the recent changes or the watch list that seems suspicious, look at the diff and make sure the edit is a good one.

In the history page, you are given more options. You can use the diff feature to compare any two page versions, not just the most recent edit. In the history page, select the radio buttons for the edits you want to compare and click the button Compare Revisions.

If you are editing the pages, and you want to see the diff for your edit before you save it, you can click the . This will display the diff for the page that you can examine before you save.

Copyediting edit

One of the most valuable types of contributions are random copyedits to pages that contain errors. These edits can be short and quick, enabling editors to perform many such edits over a wide variety of pages in a short period of time.

Copyeditors all have different strategies. One way to go about it is to use Special:Randompage to travel to random pages across the wiki. This will expose the copyeditor to a large variety of different subjects and styles. However, since each book has its own style guidelines (many of which are implicit, not explicit), it is typically better for many copyeditors to use the "Random Book" function (on the left side of the screen, in the "navigation" box). This function will take the reader to the main page of a random book. From there, the copyeditor can traverse all the pages of the book, making sure that style guidelines, templates, and navigational tools are implemented in a common way.

Adding Pages edit

These notes will explain how to add pages to a wikibook, and how to reference these pages from within the wikibook.

Moving and Renaming Pages edit

Moving and renaming pages is a surprisingly common task. What is more surprising to many new users is how easy it is to do. Moving a page is as simple as clicking the "Move" tab at the top of the page. This will take you to the move-screen, where you are given the opportunity to specify the new name for the page and a short explanation for why it needs to be moved.

A common mistake is to try and move the page to the complete URL of the page. For instance if you had a page named "example" and you wanted it moved into the book called "My Book", you would move the page to "My Book/example", not "".

A typical example of when a page needs to be moved is when a new user creates a new page in the wrong location. All pages should either be the first page of a new book, or they should be sub-pages of an existing book. Also, all book pages should follow the proper naming convention.

For more tips on why and when to rename a page, see How To Structure A Wikibook.

Moving a Page into a Book edit

Moving a page into an existing book is an easy task. Click the "move" tab, and then enter the bookname, a forward slash, and then the page name, as such:


In the description box, say something simple such as "moving to a book", and then click the button.

Fixing the Naming Convention edit

Often times a new page will be created at "BOOKNAME PAGENAME", or "BOOKNAME:PAGENAME", or some other similar location that doesn't follow the proper naming convention. Fixing this is easy enough, all that needs to be done is the page renamed to "BOOKNAME/PAGENAME", with a forward slash between the book name and the page name, instead of a colon, space, dash, or other separator.

As a description, if you simply enter the term "nc", which is short for "naming convention", all other wikibooks editors will know what you did and why.

"Tagging" edit

Throughout the rest of this book we're going to use the word "tagging" a lot. Wikibooks has a number of pre-defined templates that can be used to alert other editors and readers about good and bad things on a page. To use a template, put two curly brackets on either side {{like this}}. That will include the text of the template at this point in the page.

Wikibooks has a number of templates that can be used on books and pages to indicate the quality of the book. To "tag a page" is to add an appropriate template or templates to the page so other people are aware of the same stuff you are. Some tags are good, such as those that mark new or rapidly-growing books. Some are less positive, marking books that need cleanup or expansion. Some are downright bad, like those marking a page for deletion. Here is a list of tags and what they are used for:

Task Related templates
Page nominated for RFD {{rfd}}
Page to be speedy deleted {{Delete}} {{Impending Doom}}
Page NPOV Violation {{npov}} {{Disputed}}
Page is a copyvio {{copyvio}} {{Unreferenced}}
Page needs general cleanup {{Cleanup}} {{Attention}}
Book follows wrong naming convention {{Cleanup-nc}}
Book might be created in error {{qr-em}}
Book is a stub and needs to be expanded {{Stub}} {{Expand}} {{Redlinks}}
Book needs to be merged {{Merge}} {{mergeto}} {{mergefrom}}
A page that isn't in a book needs to be moved into a book. {{Rename}}
Book needs to be moved or renamed {{Move}} {{moveto}} {{Transwiki}}
Book needs to be split into subbooks {{Split}}
Book needs to be split into subpages {{Subpages}}
Book is not categorized {{Uncategorized}}
Page is a duplicate {{qr-dup}}
Book needs more images or better formatting {{Images}} {{Formatting}}
Book looks like it's being written by a class or group {{Looks Like A Class}}

Advanced Techniques


Wikitext Basics edit

Wikitext is very simple, and one of the best ways to learn is by seeing and doing. When you see a page with fancy formatting, click "edit this page" to see the code. Some things are self-explanatory. Some things are not.

As we mentioned before, Wikitext can often be used interchangeably with HTML and CSS code. If you are not familiar with HTML and CSS, some of the most advanced formatting will be difficult for you to reproduce on your own. However, do not despair! There are no deadlines, things do not need to be perfect immediately, and you have plenty of time to learn and experiment here.

If you want to experiment with wikitext and editing, you can go to the Sandbox. The sandbox is a page where you can make edits without getting in trouble. If you have something you want to try, do it at the sandbox!

Paragraphs edit

New paragraphs can be made by creating the new paragraph in the code. E.g.

This code will create 2 paragraphs. This is the first.

This is the second.

will give you:

This code will create 2 paragraphs. This is the first.

This is the second.

Formatting: Bold and Italics edit

Text can be bolded or italicized to place emphasis on a certain word or phrase. To bold text, place three apostrophes (''') before and after the word or phrase you wish to bold E.g.

'''This is an incredibly bold statement'''

will give you

This is an incredibly bold statement

Bolding is usually used for the first appearance of an important term, E.g. in a mathematics book you might have "Integral calculus is...", followed by a definition. Another use of bolding is with entire sentences for emphasis of important information, E.g. in a chemistry book a recipe might be given for black powder, but after that there might be something like "Don't try making this at home!". You can probably think of more uses for bold text, these are just some general examples.

To italicize text, place two apostrophes ('', not to be confused with a quotation mark, ") before and after the phrase you wish to italicize E.g.

''This sentence looks slanty''

will give you

This sentence looks slanty

Italicized text can be used for adding emphasis to text when making a point, E.g. "You don't really need to do this but...", where people are probably going to read the "really" with a longer sound in their head than when they see the normal "really". Another use is when naming the titles of books and movies, E.g. "In William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, ...".

These two types of formatting can be combined by first putting the 3 apostrophes for bold text and then the 2 for italicized text E.g.

'''''A bold Italian might write like this...'''''


A bold Italian might write like this...

This might be used to emphasize important information while providing the same effect as italics in emphasis. It can also be used if you are making an annotated text for a book. You might start you introduction with the wikitext

J. R. R. Tolkien's novel, '''''The Lord of the Rings''''', was written...

and this would look like

J. R. R. Tolkien's novel, The Lord of the Rings, was written...

Bulleted and Numbered Lists edit

To create a bulleted list, simply place an asterisk in front of every addition to the list. For example:

*Number one
*Number two
*Number three

will show up as:

  • Number one
  • Number two
  • Number three

You can also indent particular bullets. To do so, just add another asterisk to the start of a line. For example:

*Number one
**Number two
*Number three

will show up as:

  • Number one
    • Number two
  • Number three

Numbered lists are just as easy. Place a # sign in front of every addition, and they will be automatically numbered. For example:

#Number one
#Number two
#Number three

will show up as:

  1. Number one
  2. Number two
  3. Number three

Numbered lists can also be indented. Add another # to the start of every line, like so:

#Number one
#Number two
##Number two point one
##Number two point two
#Number three

This will show up as:

  1. Number one
  2. Number two
    1. Number two point one
    2. Number two point two
  3. Number three

Preformatted Text edit

Preformatted text is rendered in a fixed-width font like Courier, and respects literal whitespace. This is most useful for writing software code, but also comes in handy in other places where things need to be made to line up in certain ways. Normally, using tables or divs should be used to align data, but sometimes preformatted text does what you want and does it better.

This is preformatted text. Text here will render
exactly how it appears. If you do not add inline
breaks when you edit this page, the text will run
off the edge of the screen. Notice how this text
appears in a little box? We can put text where
we want it:

Fixed-width fonts are good for lining things up and displaying literal text with respect to whitespace. It's typically considered bad for readability, and can be more difficult to edit because whitespace needs to be monitored.

Page Links edit

There are about 2 ways to link to other pages in wikibooks. One way is to simply put the URL of the page in the code E.g.


This is a bad idea when just doing a simple link to another page in wikibooks, because it doesn't look very neat, and is more reserved for external links to other websites for references and extra reading, e.g., a wikibook on nonsense might include in its “External links” section for further reading.

For simple links to other pages in Wikibooks, you take the part of the URL after, in the above example this would be Main_Page, and put a double pair of brackets around it, like this:


this makes

Main_Page is the name of the main page of wikibooks. You might wonder why your link has an underscore in it when all the other links you've seen just have spaces. When making links, the mediawiki software replaces spaces with underscores, because page names in wikibooks, and other Wikimedia projects, don't allow spaces in the page name. So you could have done the same thing with [[Main Page]]. Another thing with page names is that they always start with a capitalized first letter, and the software running wikibooks automatically converts the first letter in a link to upper case, so you could have typed [[main Page]] and gotten the same thing.

You're probably wondering if page names are case-sensitive now, because the lone 'P' looks out of place amongst all the other lower case characters. Well it is, so [[main Page]] and [[main page]] would link to two different pages.

Try clicking on [[main Page]] and [[main page]] to see the difference.

Try clicking on main Page and main page to see the difference.

You're probably wondering why, if the two links are supposed to go to different pages, they instead point to the same page. This is because [[main page]] points to a page which is a redirect. So when you click on the link, you go to, but the page will be replaced with the page from, and up the top left of the page there is a little piece of text saying (Redirected from Main page).

This is a very useful feature which makes it much easier to link to pages, because people have already thought of common page names people might try in links to link to certain pages, and have gone and created those pages as redirects, so that we little people don't need to bother ourselves with this case sensitivity stuff.

So that is how you link to a page in wikibooks. You can link to subpages as well, e.g.



This is pretty ugly, and just as bad as posting a URL to the page. This can be avoided by using a pipe character |. By putting a pipe character at the end of the page name, and then typing in another name after it, still inside the double brackets, you can change the text displayed for the link without changing the link. So instead of a big long link like Using Wikibooks/The Wikibooks Editor/Cleanup and Maintenance, you can do

[[Using_Wikibooks/The_Wikibooks_Editor/Cleanup_and_Maintenance|Cleanup and Maintenance]]

which gives

It doesn't matter if you want to add spaces in the link to space things out and make it more readable

[[ Using_Wikibooks/The_Wikibooks_Editor/Cleanup_and_Maintenance | Cleanup and Maintenance ]]

still makes

It's usually best to link to a whole page, but occasionally you may want to link to a section of a page. To do that, after the name of the page to link to, add a # and the name of the section. So

[[Using Wikibooks/The Wikibooks Editor/Cleanup and Maintenance#Moves and Mergers|Moves and Mergers]]


Linking to a particular section can be a bit risky in the long run, because if the section later gets renamed, the link will just go to the top of the target page. The same goes if you get the name of the section wrong, even slightly; for example, if you used the wrong capitalization in specifying the link target,

[[Using Wikibooks/The Wikibooks Editor/Cleanup and Maintenance#Moves and mergers|Moves and Mergers]]

would give

Most links are to pages in the same book, most links that aren't to the same book are to other pages on Wikibooks, but occasionally we do link to other sister projects, such as Wikipedia. To link to a page on a sister project, prefix the target page name with the name of the sister project and a colon; most projects have a one- or two-letter abbreviation that can be used. For example, you could link to Wikipedia with [[w:Tensor calculus|tensor calculus]] or [[wikipedia:Tensor calculus|tensor calculus]], either of which gives tensor calculus.

Cleanup and Maintenance

Ways to Help edit

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 edit

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 edit

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 edit

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 edit

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 edit

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 edit

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 edit

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 edit

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).

Advanced Techniques

Templates edit

We already mentioned templates briefly in our section on tagging. Now we're going to get into some of the more advanced features of them. Templates, their features, and their uses is a huge topic of discussion and is far too big for the scope of this book alone. The book Editing Wikitext will include more information about Templates than this book does, but even that isn't comprehensive resource. The best way to learn is to see other templates in action, or to ask some of our active users for help and see what solutions they come up with.

Templates have several benefits. First is that templates help to hide large, complex features from the page. That means that when new users contribute to a page, they don't need to dig through large quantities of formatting first. Second, templates can be used to apply very similar markups to multiple pages (or to multiple points in a single page) without having to copy and paste large amounts of code. Finally, through the use of parameters, templates can help to automate many tasks that otherwise would need to be performed by hand.

Templates are a special case of including pages. To include, or transclude, a page in the current one, the syntax is {{namespace:page name}}. For the main namespace, you leave the namespace part blank and just use {{:page name}}. The default namespace is Template:, so just putting in {{page name}} will try to include Template:page name, which is good if you are using templates.

Try including a page in the sandbox, E.g. include the main page using

{{:Main Page}}

This is how print versions of books are created. Each page is included in order on the print version page. Anything that shouldn't show up on the print version is put between <noinclude> </noinclude> in the code of the pages being included, which stops it being included when the page is included in another one. This is used to hide the navigation links and other stuff that only people looking at the book online would be interested in. Conversely if you want something to only appear for people viewing your print version, you use <includeonly> </includeonly>.

Templates use the same idea, only for different purposes and with some added features. An example of a simple template, which is used with just {{page name}}, could be


which makes

This is an example of a standard template just to save time. Tags like this can also be used to generate lists of books which are incomplete. If you go to Template:incomplete and click on the "What links here" link in the toolbox, the pages which have "(inclusion)" listed after them are pages which have included the template. For the {{incomplete}} template, an editor could use this to get a list of pages which are incomplete.

When you type {{incomplete}}, you are actually including the code from Template:incomplete, which looks like:

'''The text in its current form is incomplete.'''

That's pretty boring. You can use <includeonly> ... </includeonly> to mark sections of a template that should appear when transcluded, but should not appear on the template page itself. You can use <noinclude> ... </noinclude> to mark sections that should not be included. You can use this, for instance, to include the template in one category, but include pages that template is transcluded onto in another category. You can also display documentation on the template page about proper use of the template, without that documentation appearing everywhere you use the template. So if you wanted someone who went to look at the template page for {{incomplete}} to see what its purpose was after "The text in its current form is incomplete." you could replace the code with

'''The text in its current form is incomplete.'''
:This template is used to designate a page as incomplete

which would show people

The text in its current form is incomplete.

When they looked at the template page but only The text in its current form is incomplete. when they included it.

You can also be tricky with your categories:

'''The text in its current form is incomplete.'''
[[Category:Pages that are incomplete]]
:This template is used to designate a page as incomplete
[[Category:Templates that do tricky things]]

Template Parameters edit

The {{Message Box}} template is a little more complex because it uses parameters. Parameters are values which a template will use when making its code for a page including it. When you include Template:Message_box, You need to pass it parameters. If you just do

{{Message box}}

you get

Huh? This template actually has 2 parameters which we need to pass arguments to. If we include the template like

{{Message box|heading = hello|message = goodbye}}

you get

When including Templates, you don't need to worry about spaces or capitalizing the first letter, but the page names are still case sensitive for all the other letters, so if you type

{{Message Box|heading = hello|message = goodbye}}

you get

Because of the "Box" instead of "box".

Back to the example... heading and message are the names of the parameters of Template:Message_box. The actual code for the template looks like

<center class="metadata">
<table style="width: 60%; background: {{{backgroundcolor|transparent}}}; border: 1px solid #aaa; padding: 0.5em;"><tr>
<td style="width: 70px;">[[Image:{{{image|Wikibooks-logo.svg}}}|60px|{{{alt|logo}}}]]</td>
<td>'''{{{heading}}}'''<br /><small>{{{message}}}</small></td>

Wow, now that is complicated. Everything with three pairs of braces around it is a parameter. So there are 5 parameters, which are backgroundcolor, image, alt, heading, and message. The first 3 parameters have pipe characters in them. These create default values for the parameters, so that even if we only pass values for heading and message, the background is still transparent, the image shown is still the Wikibooks logo and the alternate text of that image is still "logo". If a parameter doesn't have a default value and you don't pass a value to it, it just shows the parameters name in 3 pairs of braces, which is why it made {{{heading}}} and {{{message}}} the first time.

But that doesn't mean we can't change these values. Say we want to get a green background, with a smiley image, and the alternate text "smile", with the same heading and message we used last time. To get this you would type

{{Message box|backgroundcolor = green|image = Face-smile.svg|alt = smile|heading = hello|message = goodbye}}

and get

It doesn't matter what order you pass arguments to the parameters in, as long as they are named. It does matter if the parameters use numbered parameters like {{{1}}}. If the parameter is numbered then you need to put it in the right place, so if it is {{{1}}} it would be the first value you pass.

The only thing limiting what you can achieve with templates is your imagination and your knowledge of HTML and CSS (used to make things look pretty), as well as a knowledge of variables and parser functions. That, and the template limits of the mediawiki software to avoid large workloads on the server, but this only really matters if you are transcluding a page which transcludes a page which transcludes a page, and will probably only bug you if you are a book writer trying to sort all your pages into chapter pages, and then trying to include those chapter pages in a print version, or something like that. When you try to include a page which includes other pages and it goes over the include limit, a link will just be placed onto the page pointing to the page you wanted to transclude, and I think there is some kind of error message generated in the HTML code as a comment.

Advanced Editing edit

There are a number of advanced tools that an editor can use to create better pages and templates. Many of these features are extensions to the MediaWiki software. New extensions can be added to Wikibooks, on occasion. If you can think of a feature that we don't have here, you can check out the list of available extensions on Before anything gets installed, however, you need to get community approval on the Technical Reading Room.

Extensions that We Can't Get edit

There are a number of extensions that Wikibookians have asked for in the past, but that we cannot have installed. Frequently, this is because of performance issues: Some extensions take up too many server resources. Sometimes, it's because of security: some extensions just haven't been rigourously tested enough to go live on a big site like Wikibooks. Here is a list of extensions and functionality that we have asked for and have not been able to get:

We do have an old version of DPL installed, but the new version has many more options and much more power. Unfortunately, all that power comes at the price of increased server load. Until the efficiency of this extension goes up, we are unlikely to see an upgraded version here on Wikibooks.
GNU LilyPond
Lilypond is an extension for allowing all sorts of LaTeX-based markups, including graphics, music, etc. Unfortunately, this extension has multiple components, many of which have not been rigourously security-tested.
Like the parser functions, these are parser hooks that can be used to manipulate string data. This includes tokenizing, manipulating, etc. This extension also requires too much server power, and so it can't be installed here on Wikibooks.

HTML and CSS edit

Wikitext is converted to HTML by the MediaWiki software. We use wikitext because it is easier to read and edit than plain HTML. However, there are plenty of occasions where we need to use HTML and CSS to perform a variety of tasks.

CSS Classes edit

Here are some common CSS classes that are used around wikibooks. Making use of these classes in your own work will help to keep everything standardized, and can save a lot of effort if you are trying to duplicate complicated styles.

PrettyTextBox is a CSS class that produces a box with a grey background and a grey border. Examples of this textbox are {{SideBox}} and {{TextBox}}. A common implemention of this is <div class="PrettyTextBox">...</div>.
wikitable and wikitable
These classes are used for tables that are similar to the PrettyTextBox color theme, above. The regular table cells are grey, header cells are darker grey, and all the cells have a grey border around them. This format is commonly used in many places, such as The Reading Room.
metadata, noprint
These classes cause items on your page not to appear when you print a book. This is useful for certain message or note templates that are intended more for writers than for readers.
Like those above, but opposite. Objects with class printonly will only appear when you print a page, but will not appear when you view the page online.
When you create an external link, the software automatically includes a little icon next to the link to indicate what type of resource that link points to. Using the plainlinks class will hide these little icons.

Parser Functions edit

Parser functions are powerful but complicated. They are best served in the template namespace, where their complexity can be hidden from people who edit books and pages. Using parser functions in a book page will make the code more difficult to read and understand. Therefore, the page will be more difficult for regular contributors to edit. The version of the parser functions that we have is not the complete, nor the most recent version. Documentation for our version is located here:

We do not have the "Extended" version of the parser functions, nor the "StringFunctions" extension, nor any of the other related extensions.

Math Tags edit

Visit the sciences, math, or engineering subject pages, and you are likely to see mathematical formulae. These are rendered using a LaTeX variant specifically designed for mathematics. You can see the complete markup help sheet at meta:Help:Displaying a formula. A more comprehensive version of this page can be found on meta and Wikipedia.

Dynamic Page Lists edit

Dynamic page lists (DPL) is an extension that automatically generates a list of pages based on the category and namespaces of those pages. Complete documentation for our version of DPL (which is not the most recent version, see the note above) is located at:


This feature is used mostly on organizational pages, such as the Wikibooks stacks, and other places. It is not commonly found in books, but it can be.

Flattening DPL Lists edit

DPL Lists, by default, appear in a vertical bulleted list. However, using the CSS class DPLFlat we can force the list to be horizontal instead. For example:

<div class="DPLFlat"><dynamicpagelist>...</dynamicpagelist></div>

This use is demonstrated on {{New}}.

Inserting Images

Images can be a vital addition to some books, illustrating a vital point or providing a visual aid to advance a reader's understanding. Proper image formatting can dramatically alter a page's appearance.

From Wikipedia's image syntax guide, the general syntax for including an image is:


{name} is the name of the image file, e.g. Commons-logo.svg, either stored here on Wikibooks or on Wikimedia Commons. All images need to have a name specified.

{type} is the type of formatting the image has. "thumb" makes the image a thumbnail, puts it in a box, and resizes the image if it is larger than the thumbnail size value set in the user preferences under the Files tab. The default is 180px, and this is used for people without an account or who are not logged in. "frame" puts the image in a box and doesn't resize it. Not putting in a type will just put the image in without a box at its original size, unless a size is given.

{location} is where the image will be put on the page. "left", "right", and "center" will put the image on either the left or right side of the page, or in the center of the page, respectively, and wrap the text around the image. "none" puts the image under the text and puts following text underneath it. If you don't put in a location, the image is included inline with the text.

{size} is the width of the image in pixels, written as the number of pixels followed by px, E.g. 200px for 200 pixels width. The image will be scaled to maintain aspect ratio and fit into this size. Images can be scaled up or down. If not used, then the image is shown at full size, or if it is a thumbnail, then the maximum size of a thumbnail. With thumbnails, the size option won't work if you try to make the image larger. This occurs even if it is still below the limit for images being resized in thumbnails (180px by default), and the image will remain its normal size in the thumbnail if you try. You can still make the picture smaller, if you want, by using a size less than the image's original width and less than the thumbnail size.

{border} just gives the image a gray line border, by using "border" as one of the options. Not giving a border will leave the image without a border, unless it already has one from the type.

{caption} is the alternate text of the image that you see when you hover the cursor over it. It is also used as the caption text for images using "thumb" or "frame". Wikiformatting can be used in this, E.g. links, but the formatting is removed for the alternate text and only shown in captions. If no caption is given, the filename is used as alternate text, and the caption on a frame or thumb is left blank.

The order of the options shouldn't matter except for the name. Using thumb and frame at the same time will just default to frame. Using multiple locations in the image will make the image use whatever location was given last. The process is the same when using multiple sizes.

Inserting an Image edit

A plain, unformatted picture can be inserted into a page by typing [[File:ImageName]].

This inserts the image into the page, however, the image appears at full size on the page, and does not integrate correctly with text. This is demonstrated below.



to the middle of the text makes

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Duis tellus. Donec ante dolor, iaculis nec, gravida ac, cursus in, eros. Mauris vestibulum, felis et egestas ullamcorper, purus nibh vehicula sem, eu egestas ante nisl non justo. Fusce tincidunt, lorem nec dapibus consectetuer, leo orci mollis ipsum, eget suscipit eros purus in ante.   Mauris at ipsum vitae est lacinia tincidunt. Maecenas elit orci, gravida ut, molestie non, venenatis vel, lorem. Sed lacinia. Suspendisse potenti. Sed ultricies cursus lectus. In id magna sit amet nibh suscipit euismod. Integer enim. Donec sapien ante, accumsan ut, sodales commodo, auctor quis, lacus. Maecenas a elit lacinia urna posuere sodales. Curabitur pede pede, molestie id, blandit vitae, varius ac, purus.

As you will agree, this does not look right. The text is poorly aligned with the image and the image is very large.

Placing the Image edit

By altering the image code slightly we can determine the positioning of the image on the page. There are several options available for us to choose from, depending on the desired layout of the page we are creating.

Example One, Right Align, Wrapped Text edit


<Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Duis tellus. Donec ante dolor, iaculis nec, gravida ac, cursus in, eros. Mauris vestibulum, felis et egestas ullamcorper, purus nibh vehicula sem, eu egestas ante nisl non justo. Fusce tincidunt, lorem nec dapibus consectetuer, leo orci mollis ipsum, eget suscipit eros purus in ante.


Mauris at ipsum vitae est lacinia tincidunt. Maecenas elit orci, gravida ut, molestie non, venenatis vel, lorem. Sed lacinia. Suspendisse potenti. Sed ultricies cursus lectus. In id magna sit amet nibh suscipit euismod. Integer enim. Donec sapien ante, accumsan ut, sodales commodo, auctor quis, lacus. Maecenas a elit lacinia urna posuere sodales. Curabitur pede pede, molestie id, blandit vitae, varius ac, purus. Morbi dictum. Vestibulum adipiscing pulvinar quam. In aliquam rhoncus sem. In mi erat, sodales eget, pretium interdum, malesuada ac, augue. Aliquam sollicitudin, massa ut vestibulum posuere, massa arcu elementum purus, eget vehicula lorem metus vel libero. Sed in dui id lectus commodo elementum. Etiam rhoncus tortor. Proin a lorem. Ut nec velit. Quisque varius. Proin nonummy justo dictum sapien tincidunt iaculis. Duis lobortis pellentesque risus. Aenean ut tortor imperdiet dolor scelerisque bibendum. Fusce metus nibh, adipiscing id, ullamcorper at, consequat a, nulla.

Phasellus orci. Etiam tempor elit auctor magna. Nullam nibh velit, vestibulum ut, eleifend non, pulvinar eget, enim. Class aptent taciti sociosqu ad litora torquent per conubia nostra, per inceptos hymenaeos. Integer velit mauris, convallis a, congue sed, placerat id, odio. Etiam venenatis tortor sed lectus. Nulla non orci. In egestas porttitor quam. Duis nec diam eget nibh mattis tempus. Curabitur accumsan pede id odio. Nunc vitae libero. Aenean condimentum diam et turpis. Vestibulum non risus.

Here we can see how the image has been placed on the right hand side of the page and the text wraps around it.

Example Two, Right Align, With Caption, Wrapped Text edit

[[File:Vista-folder.png|frame|right|Caption goes here]]

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Duis tellus. Donec ante dolor, iaculis nec, gravida ac, cursus in, eros. Mauris vestibulum, felis et egestas ullamcorper, purus nibh vehicula sem, eu egestas ante nisl non justo. Fusce tincidunt, lorem nec dapibus consectetuer, leo orci mollis ipsum, eget suscipit eros purus in ante.

Caption goes here

Mauris at ipsum vitae est lacinia tincidunt. Maecenas elit orci, gravida ut, molestie non, venenatis vel, lorem. Sed lacinia. Suspendisse potenti. Sed ultricies cursus lectus. In id magna sit amet nibh suscipit euismod. Integer enim. Donec sapien ante, accumsan ut, sodales commodo, auctor quis, lacus. Maecenas a elit lacinia urna posuere sodales. Curabitur pede pede, molestie id, blandit vitae, varius ac, purus. Morbi dictum. Vestibulum adipiscing pulvinar quam. In aliquam rhoncus sem. In mi erat, sodales eget, pretium interdum, malesuada ac, augue. Aliquam sollicitudin, massa ut vestibulum posuere, massa arcu elementum purus, eget vehicula lorem metus vel libero. Sed in dui id lectus commodo elementum. Etiam rhoncus tortor. Proin a lorem. Ut nec velit. Quisque varius. Proin nonummy justo dictum sapien tincidunt iaculis. Duis lobortis pellentesque risus. Aenean ut tortor imperdiet dolor scelerisque bibendum. Fusce metus nibh, adipiscing id, ullamcorper at, consequat a, nulla.

Phasellus orci. Etiam tempor elit auctor magna. Nullam nibh velit, vestibulum ut, eleifend non, pulvinar eget, enim. Class aptent taciti sociosqu ad litora torquent per conubia nostra, per inceptos hymenaeos. Integer velit mauris, convallis a, congue sed, placerat id, odio. Etiam venenatis tortor sed lectus. Nulla non orci. In egestas porttitor quam. Duis nec diam eget nibh mattis tempus. Curabitur accumsan pede id odio. Nunc vitae libero. Aenean condimentum diam et turpis. Vestibulum non risus.

Here we can see how the image has been placed on the right hand side of the page with a caption underneath and the text wraps around it.

Example Three, Left Align, Wrapped Text edit


Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Duis tellus. Donec ante dolor, iaculis nec, gravida ac, cursus in, eros. Mauris vestibulum, felis et egestas ullamcorper, purus nibh vehicula sem, eu egestas ante nisl non justo. Fusce tincidunt, lorem nec dapibus consectetuer, leo orci mollis ipsum, eget suscipit eros purus in ante.


Mauris at ipsum vitae est lacinia tincidunt. Maecenas elit orci, gravida ut, molestie non, venenatis vel, lorem. Sed lacinia. Suspendisse potenti. Sed ultricies cursus lectus. In id magna sit amet nibh suscipit euismod. Integer enim. Donec sapien ante, accumsan ut, sodales commodo, auctor quis, lacus. Maecenas a elit lacinia urna posuere sodales. Curabitur pede pede, molestie id, blandit vitae, varius ac, purus. Morbi dictum. Vestibulum adipiscing pulvinar quam. In aliquam rhoncus sem. In mi erat, sodales eget, pretium interdum, malesuada ac, augue. Aliquam sollicitudin, massa ut vestibulum posuere, massa arcu elementum purus, eget vehicula lorem metus vel libero. Sed in dui id lectus commodo elementum. Etiam rhoncus tortor. Proin a lorem. Ut nec velit. Quisque varius. Proin nonummy justo dictum sapien tincidunt iaculis. Duis lobortis pellentesque risus. Aenean ut tortor imperdiet dolor scelerisque bibendum. Fusce metus nibh, adipiscing id, ullamcorper at, consequat a, nulla.

Here we can see how the image has been placed on the left hand side of the page and the text wraps around it.

Example Four, Text Not Wrapped edit


Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Duis tellus. Donec ante dolor, iaculis nec, gravida ac, cursus in, eros. Mauris vestibulum, felis et egestas ullamcorper, purus nibh vehicula sem, eu egestas ante nisl non justo. Fusce tincidunt, lorem nec dapibus consectetuer, leo orci mollis ipsum, eget suscipit eros purus in ante.


Mauris at ipsum vitae est lacinia tincidunt. Maecenas elit orci, gravida ut, molestie non, venenatis vel, lorem. Sed lacinia. Suspendisse potenti. Sed ultricies cursus lectus. In id magna sit amet nibh suscipit euismod. Integer enim. Donec sapien ante, accumsan ut, sodales commodo, auctor quis, lacus. Maecenas a elit lacinia urna posuere sodales. Curabitur pede pede, molestie id, blandit vitae, varius ac, purus. Morbi dictum. Vestibulum adipiscing pulvinar quam. In aliquam rhoncus sem. In mi erat, sodales eget, pretium interdum, malesuada ac, augue. Aliquam sollicitudin, massa ut vestibulum posuere, massa arcu elementum purus, eget vehicula lorem metus vel libero. Sed in dui id lectus commodo elementum. Etiam rhoncus tortor. Proin a lorem. Ut nec velit. Quisque varius. Proin nonummy justo dictum sapien tincidunt iaculis. Duis lobortis pellentesque risus. Aenean ut tortor imperdiet dolor scelerisque bibendum. Fusce metus nibh, adipiscing id, ullamcorper at, consequat a, nulla.

Here we can see how the image appears to be completely separate to the text.

Resizing an Image edit


Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Duis tellus. Donec ante dolor, iaculis nec, gravida ac, cursus in, eros. Mauris vestibulum, felis et egestas ullamcorper, purus nibh vehicula sem, eu egestas ante nisl non justo. Fusce tincidunt, lorem nec dapibus consectetuer, leo orci mollis ipsum, eget suscipit eros purus in ante.   Mauris at ipsum vitae est lacinia tincidunt. Maecenas elit orci, gravida ut, molestie non, venenatis vel, lorem. Sed lacinia. Suspendisse potenti. Sed ultricies cursus lectus. In id magna sit amet nibh suscipit euismod. Integer enim. Donec sapien ante, accumsan ut, sodales commodo, auctor quis, lacus. Maecenas a elit lacinia urna posuere sodales. Curabitur pede pede, molestie id, blandit vitae, varius ac, purus. Morbi dictum. Vestibulum adipiscing pulvinar quam. In aliquam rhoncus sem. In mi erat, sodales eget, pretium interdum, malesuada ac, augue. Aliquam sollicitudin, massa ut vestibulum posuere, massa arcu elementum purus, eget vehicula lorem metus vel libero. Sed in dui id lectus commodo elementum. Etiam rhoncus tortor. Proin a lorem. Ut nec velit. Quisque varius. Proin nonummy justo dictum sapien tincidunt iaculis. Duis lobortis pellentesque risus. Aenean ut tortor imperdiet dolor scelerisque bibendum. Fusce metus nibh, adipiscing id, ullamcorper at, consequat a, nulla.

Thumbnailing an Image edit

If you wish to add a caption to an image and resize it, use 'thumb' instead of 'frame'.

[[File:Vista-folder.png|75px|thumb|right|Caption goes here]]

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Duis tellus. Donec ante dolor, iaculis nec, gravida ac, cursus in, eros. Mauris vestibulum, felis et egestas ullamcorper, purus nibh vehicula sem, eu egestas ante nisl non justo. Fusce tincidunt, lorem nec dapibus consectetuer, leo orci mollis ipsum, eget suscipit eros purus in ante.

Caption goes here

Mauris at ipsum vitae est lacinia tincidunt. Maecenas elit orci, gravida ut, molestie non, venenatis vel, lorem. Sed lacinia. Suspendisse potenti. Sed ultricies cursus lectus. In id magna sit amet nibh suscipit euismod. Integer enim. Donec sapien ante, accumsan ut, sodales commodo, auctor quis, lacus. Maecenas a elit lacinia urna posuere sodales. Curabitur pede pede, molestie id, blandit vitae, varius ac, purus. Morbi dictum. Vestibulum adipiscing pulvinar quam. In aliquam rhoncus sem. In mi erat, sodales eget, pretium interdum, malesuada ac, augue. Aliquam sollicitudin, massa ut vestibulum posuere, massa arcu elementum purus, eget vehicula lorem metus vel libero. Sed in dui id lectus commodo elementum. Etiam rhoncus tortor. Proin a lorem. Ut nec velit. Quisque varius. Proin nonummy justo dictum sapien tincidunt iaculis. Duis lobortis pellentesque risus. Aenean ut tortor imperdiet dolor scelerisque bibendum. Fusce metus nibh, adipiscing id, ullamcorper at, consequat a, nulla.

Wikipedian Primer

Wikipedia is an important sister project for Wikibooks, and many of our editors started as Wikipedians before coming to Wikibooks. Despite the many similarities between the projects, especially software-related similarities, there are a number of subtle differences between the two projects that could confuse Wikipedians at first. This chapter is designed to be a quick start guide for incoming Wikipedians, to help them acclimate to the Wikibooks project quickly.

Textbooks vs. Encyclopedia Articles edit

It should be obvious that a "textbook" and an "encyclopedia" would be different things, and online this difference is the same. While an encyclopedia is tasked with providing information, a textbook must instruct the reader, and teach that information in a way that a reader can learn. For the same size of a page, a textbook will typically contain much less information, but much more explanation and instruction.

Textbooks on Wikibooks should also be structured similarly to traditional textbooks. Books have a table of contents, and the book content is separated into chapters and then pages. Some books may only have pages, not chapters. Some books will use other layers of organization such as "units", and "subchapters". This much is left up to the discretion of the author. However, the important part is that books are organized hierarchically, with the "book" being the top of the hierarchy, and the "page" being at the bottom. Because of the hierarchical structure of books, and the self-contained nature, our textbooks tend to use hyperlinks less extensively than articles on Wikipedia do.

Wikibooks textbooks may also include other components of a traditional book such as:

Cover pages
Pages with the title of the book, a cover image, and some brief information
A page, written by the authors, about the book
Pages for defining terms and phrases used in the book
Pages that contain information that is ancillary to the central narrative of the book, but which is important for the proper understanding of the material

Organization and structure are not enough to differentiate a book from an encyclopedia article, however. The pages in a textbook should be interrelated to each other, usually with a predefined reading order, and a unified narrative that builds from page to page. A textbook is not a macropedia, a collection of several related encyclopedia articles. Some books however, such as the Cookbook are structured as a collection of pages, although this should be considered more of a rare exception than a rule. If a book does not have a specific reading order and a central narrative, it must at least be instructional.

"Bookify" and Book-Like Formatting edit

Many books start out as encyclopedia-like articles, or as macropedias. While a macropedia is not an acceptable textbook, it is common and acceptable for some books to be structured like a macropedia during development. There are several reasons for this. First, many books are created by importing articles from Wikipedia to use as a basis for the new book. Second, it is often easier to write information down first and then organize and revise it later. Writing a central narrative for a book can be difficult in the early stages of development when the reading order of the pages is not finalized. Macropedias that are early in development will be marked for cleanup. Macropedias that are old or abandoned may be nominated for deletion.

As we mentioned above, pages in a Wikibooks textbook tend to use links very sparsely. There are a few reasons for this. First, books really need to be self-contained. Relying on too many links means that your book isn't covering the material as well as it should. Also, external sources are unlikely to be as instructional as a textbook. Second, having to follow too many links, or following links in mid-sentence can be distracting to readers, and can prevent them from following the narrative of the book, and learning the lessons adequately.

Creating red links on Wikibooks, by putting [[brackets]] around [[common]] [[words]], like is done at Wikipedia is unlikely to create a viable link to an existing Wikibooks book. Converting these links to point to Wikipedia using piped syntax is more difficult to do, harder to maintain, and makes the source code of the page harder to edit. Also, interwiki links are unreliable, as we at Wikibooks have no control over whether Wikipedia articles are moved, or deleted, or disambiguated. Having pages full of such links can make maintenance a nightmare.

This is not to say that linking to Wikipedia or one of the other sister projects is a bad thing. However, use links sparsely, and only direct people to the articles that are the most pertinent and most important to support the discussion at hand. To include a link to Wikipedia, you could use the {{Wikipedia}} template. If you would like to link to several articles, you could use a page at the end of your book for "Resources", or a "Bibliography", or something similar. There are plenty of places to put links to reference Wikipedia or any other website, but typically they need to be used sparingly within the text of your book.

Wikipedian FAQ edit

  • Q: Where are the WikiProjects?
    • A: You can find information on them at Wikibooks:WikiProject. Another good place to start a discussion is in the Reading Room Project Page. If you want to work on coordinating several Wikibooks that are all about the same general topic, look for an existing project listed at Wikibooks:WikiProject, create your own WikiProject, or find a fitting shelf page and use the talk page to carry on that discussion.
  • Q: Why does my article need to be "de-wikified"?
    • A: Wikibooks are typically not named like Wikipedia articles, and a link to [[any]] [[old]] [[word]] probably won't point to anything at all. Also, books tend to collect most external links and resources together into a centralized bibliography. See Wikibooks:Dewikify for details.
  • Q: What are the module naming conventions?
    • A: The main page of a book is generally named "Book Name", while sub-pages are generally named "Book Name/Sub Page", or "Book Name/Chapter/Sub Page". Wikibooks does not use the wikipedia-style disambiguation convention of "Book Name (Page Name)"
  • Q: What are Wikibook's policies, and how are they different from Wikipedia's?
    • A: There are many differences, some big, some small. If you are interested in policy, see The complete list of current wikibooks policies. Wikibooks tends to be more minimalist then Wikipedia is, so the amount of policy that we have is far smaller than the Wikipedia counterpart.
  • Q: What is the recommended style for making and editing modules?
  • Q: Who decides the format/layout/audience/style/navigation/etc of a new book? Is there a single "right way?"
    • A: Who makes the decisions about a book? You do! Wikibooks authors are given a broad range of freedoms and liberties when it comes to writing books. We ask that all the pages in a single book are formatted the same, in order to give the book unity and continuity. Different books have different target audience, and the style of each book should be adapted for its particular target audience, so different books adopt different styles.
  • Q: Are there disambiguation pages?
    • A: No. There are some redirect pages and organizational pages (such as shelves), but so far disambiguation pages are only used in a limited way in the Cookbook.
  • Q: I'd like to move an article (or articles) from Wikipedia to Wikibooks in order to work on them here as textbook chapters. What's the policy on that?
    • A: Just request the article on WB:RFI, then follow the templated instructions that will be added to the imported page.

How you can help edit

  • Q: What kinds of cleanup tasks are there to do here on wikibooks?
    • A: Wikibooks has many of the same tasks as Wikipedia does. Pages can be categorized, modules can be fixed (edited, corrected, expanded), vandalism can be reverted, double-redirects can be removed... and the list goes on and on. For a listing of tasks that you can do, see Wikibooks Maintenance.
  • Q: How can I get involved?
    • A: There are lots of ways to get involved in Wikibooks. Most discussions about policy and structure can be found in the Reading Room where people can ask and answer questions. There are always good books to look through in Featured Books, where the community gets together and focuses on what books should be considered good models for other books to follow. Most of our debates about acceptable content on Wikibooks takes place on the Votes for Deletion page.

Class Project Guidelines

Wikibooks is a community for collaboratively writing textbooks and manuals. As such, it is uniquely suited for use in group collaborative projects. Several such projects have occurred on Wikibooks in the past, most with great success. Some of those projects are listed on our list of class projects. This isn't a comprehensive list, but if you are starting a new project, we would appreciate it if you would add your project to the list.

This page is going to serve as a quick-start guide for class or group projects. It's important that the group leader or class instructor reads this page through, and certain portions would be very good for the participants (students) to read as well. Wikibooks is an active community, and your project is going to end up interacting with that community in ways that may not be obvious.

Starting a Class Project edit

Typically, when starting a class project, it is important to define the scope of that project: What will be the title of your book(s)? What kind of materials will your book(s) include? How much depth will your book cover? What is the target audience? All these questions should probably be answered before your class starts working, to help keep things orderly and organized down the road. If class members are working on different chapters simultaneously, it is important to define the layout of each chapter, and whether there are sections (such as a glossary) that you would like each chapter to include.

Also, there are legal aspects to consider. All text and other materials on Wikibooks are released under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License and Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License and all participants in your project must agree to release their contributions under those licenses. Groups and individual students may wish to cross-license their contributions under the GFDL/CC-BY-SA and another compatible license, and some users may wish to release their contributions into the public domain. These are all acceptable options as well.

If your group is not going to be writing a textbook, or if it is going to be incorporating additional types of learning materials in addition to a textbook, it might be a good idea to consider organizing your project on Wikiversity. Wikiversity is an online community, related to Wikibooks, that focuses on learning new ways to create materials for classrooms of all kinds.

Register your participants edit

All participants in the project, especially the instructor or the project leader should register user names here on Wikibooks. Username accounts provide each user with a user page where they can write personal profiles, a user talk page where the user can receive messages from other users, and a contribution history, where the contributions made by that user are recorded. Course instructors have found the contribution history pages to be of particular interest, because those pages lay out precisely how much work a particular student has done on the project. It is important to note that the user's contribution history will not indicate whether the material added was original work, or if it has been copy+pasted from another source. For this reason, the instructor may need to spend some significant time testing student contributions for plagiarism.

List your project on Wikibooks:List of class projects, so that the Wikibooks community can follow your project, and provide you with extra help. Be sure to include information about who your participants are (a class, a study group, etc), and what your goals are (to write a new book, to improve an old book, etc)

Grading edit

Wikibooks cannot tell you, as an instructor of a class, how to grade your own students. However, we kindly ask that instructors who use Wikibooks for a class project leave us some feedback about their experiences, and we have compiled some of that feedback into a series of helpful suggestions.

One common problem associated with student projects is that students may focus their attention on their own work too much. Encourage students to review, edit, and revise the material written by other groups/students. Peer review can encourage students to learn subjects besides what they are themselves working on, and it can also produce positive feedback that will drive the creative process further. Wiki helps to spare students the details of formatting and presentation, so that they can focus on presenting their own information, and learning about the information of other students. Related to this is the common concern that students are learning, as well as simply writing. While the two processes are related, they are certainly not synonymous. You can ensure that students are learning by watching how their work progresses in the page history, and by watching how they respond to criticism and suggestions from other students. Because of the history pages that keep track of when and what a student is editing, it becomes more apparent which students are working hard on their pages for the duration of the project, and which students are procrastinating until the last moments.

Use the talk pages of your book, along with the user-talk pages of your students to communicate with each other, and to work to improve the content of your book. Ask students to add important pages (especially the user talk page of the class instructor) to their personal watch list. This way, when people leave messages, everybody in the class can be alerted about it. Ask students not only to work on their own pages, but also ask them to read and critique the work of other students. Tell students to help each other with grammar, spelling, formatting, and wording. Being both the writer and the editor and reviser all at once ensures that the students are engaged in the project. Each student's contributions page represents a complete history of all their authoring, editing, revising, discussing, and critiquing. These histories will not show communications between students via email, phone, or instant messenger, so you should ask students to try and keep their related work on Wikibooks, so that all their work is properly recorded and accounted for.

If all the students are working on a different page or topic, it can be hard to test and grade the class as one unit. However, if the entire class is working on only a single page/topic at once, there might not be enough work for everybody to contribute equally. Make sure to set specific guidelines, deadlines, and grading criteria out for your class. If everybody stays on the same pace and reaches certain milestones together, it will be easier to measure all the students against the same measuring stick. Don't hesitate to list your time line and grading criteria on the talk pages of your book, as a reference.

If you are a class instructor, and would like to provide us some feedback, we would love to hear from you! Post comments, suggestions, or concerns at the class projects discussion page.

Understand the community edit

Wikibooks Contributors edit

Wikibooks is run by a group of regular volunteers, authors, editors, and other contributors. These people would like to help your class project, and will likely be in contact with your members to give you a warm welcome and some friendly advice. Also, if you have any questions, regular contributors tend to hang out in the reading room. Sometimes, the community may even have a question for you or one of your students, and it's generally polite to answer them. Plus, if a student does something a little strange, a volunteer might ask for an explanation before "fixing" it. If you don't want your edits "fixed" by someone else, make sure to explain yourself when asked.

Wikibooks is an active community, and there will be many opportunities for you and your students to interact with the community at large. One of the most important things to learn before your students begin working on their book is that they are becoming a part of the Wikibooks community. The community brings certain benefits, but also brings certain responsibilities. If you or your students violate Wikibooks policies, or if you are disrespectful to each other or other community members, disciplinary action can be taken.

The community can be a great resource. We can answer questions, and we can also come to your book to lend a hand. Community members probably know a few tricks that can help you present your information better, make your book look more polished and professional, or even to make your work more efficient. Don't hesitate to ask if you need something.

Open-Content edit

Wikibooks is open-content, which means that any user is free to edit almost any page at any time. This means that if your class is working on a book, other users from around the world may come in to help edit your pages as well. Many times, such random edits are small fixes in spelling, grammar, or formatting, but sometimes a contribution may be large and will affect your entire project. Besides blatant vandalism, edits made by other users in good faith should not be deleted or restricted.

To distinguish between the edits made by your students, and the edits made by other Wikibookians, use the history pages. The history pages maintain a listing of every edit to a particular page, in addition to the user who made the edit, and the time it was made. You can access the edit history of any page by clicking the "history" tab at the top of the page.

You and your students should also feel free to edit other books here on Wikibooks, or to participate beyond the term your class project.

Policies and Guidelines edit

Wikibooks also has a series of policies and guidelines in place to help govern the actions of its users. It is important, as an instructor of a class, to familiarize yourself with some of these policies, because they could affect your project in a profound way. Here are some important policies:

  1. Copyright infringement is taken very seriously. Materials that violate copyright could be deleted without warning. Make sure your group understands how to avoid such troubles. See Also: Wikibooks:Copyrights.
  2. Vandalism (editing in a malicious way), profanity, and other childish behavior is not well tolerated here, and users who act in these ways could become blocked from editing at wikibooks. If you would like to test the wiki software, you can make any edit you want to the Sandbox page.
  3. Content must maintain a neutral point of view. Wikibooks cannot be used as a soapbox for promoting a particular religious, political, or other viewpoint.
  4. Wikibooks is not the correct place to conduct Original research. All content on Wikibooks should be verifiable, and properly referenced (when possible).
  5. All Wikibookians are encouraged to be nice to each other. Treat this more like a rule than a suggestion.

If one of the students in your class violates these policies, it is possible that they could be blocked from editing Wikibooks, at least temporarily. This is unlikely, but it is not unheard of. Make sure to talk to your students about the importance of following the rules.

What is Wikibooks? edit

Wikibooks is a project where the community members (known as Wikibookians, colloquially) collaboratively write open-content textbooks on a variety of different subjects. Wikibooks has a number of sister projects, all of which operate under the banner of the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF). Some of our sister projects are:

If your project doesn't fit on Wikibooks, perhaps it will fit on one of these other projects.

For further information about the kinds of materials that can be posted here at Wikibooks, you can refer to Wikibooks:What is Wikibooks.

Finding materials edit

One of the advantages of working on a Wikimedia project is the vast resources available for developing content.

  • If you would like to use content from Wikipedia, you can request an import of articles for use as the basis for a project. Keep in mind that a book should not just be a collection of Wikipedia articles, but instead should have a central narrative.
  • If you are looking for images (from photos to comic strips), try searching on Wikimedia Commons, which has free images on thousands of topics. Images located on Wikimedia Commons can be used on Wikibooks without any hassle. No need to download or upload the images to Wikibooks.

Get help when you need it edit

Wikibooks is a big place, and there are plenty of questions about how to do this, or why things are done like that.

If you would like to browse some of the various tools and pages that we have to offer, you can visit the Community portal. That page has a number of resources available, including help resources, and spotlights for particular projects.

For a complete overview of all policies and guidelines in effect on Wikibooks, please see Wikibooks:Policies and guidelines.

If you need help with the wiki text markup, you can read Editing Wikitext, a book we have been developing to teach about how to author and edit pages here and on other wikis.

If you need help dealing with vandalism, you can leave a message in the administrative assistance reading room.

If you have any other problems, questions, comments, or suggestions, you can always leave a note in one of the reading rooms. They are well-monitored for edits by the users here, and you should get a response quickly.

Become Part of the Community edit

Just because you are working on a class project doesn't mean you can't explore all the other projects that Wikibooks has to offer. There are many books on many subjects here at Wikibooks, and all contributors are encouraged to get involved.

When your class project is over, your user accounts don't disappear either. After the conclusion of your project, you are more than welcome to continue editing your book, or even move on to other books or projects. If you find another book you or any of your group members would like to edit, feel free to dive right in and contribute to them as well. Wikibooks is an open community, and our success is dependent on the contributions of users like you.

Starting a New Book

Note: this page is transcluded from Help:Contributing#Starting a book

Books, chapters and pages can be created, rewritten, altered, renamed, and improved by anyone. Chapters can be changed in order, added, and deleted. Books should conform to the definition of What Wikibooks is about.

Please check Wikibooks Stacks/Departments to see if your work could be part of an existing book, before starting a new one. Perhaps it is better to add the text to a related page (especially if the text is not very long); that page can always be split later, after it has grown.

Basic considerations edit

Does the world really need the 1001st introduction to some topic? If the web, library, and other documentation projects are already full of free information about a topic, is there really a need to have yet another document? Maybe the time would be better spent to support an existing project, or start (and finish) something truly original?
Is your effort really well spent on some trivial piece of "book"? In the extreme case, if the yellow press (or what amounts to the equivalent publication in a certain area) has already covered the topic extensively for years (and they even got it right), is there really a need for such a book? Wouldn't your effort be better spent on some less trivial task?
Lack of Perseverance
Does your perseverance not last longer than setting up a "wish list" of chapters? Are you not in a position to regularly spend time to ensure some coherence in a book, and is there no reasonable expectation that you will find other contributors? Then maybe your time is better spent contributing small parts to an existing book than rushing out to set up the structure for THE ultimate book about some subject, and then abandoning the book.

No complex rules edit

You can learn how to create a good book and find new ideas by analyzing existing ones. Wikibooks doesn't have strict policies determining the shape of a book so don't be confused if you find books that are designed completely different. Generally, it's a good idea to look up some featured books like Using Wikibooks and How To Assemble A Desktop PC.

  • Review the book naming conventions.
  • Choose a book title carefully. Names are important, undoing mistakes can take time, so it's always a good idea to do it right the first time.
  • Once you have a few strong ideas about a new book, write a few paragraphs and lay out an outline for it.
  • Decide on a writing style and how to format contents. See Wikibooks:Manual of Style for ideas.

Defining an outline and scope edit

Wikibooks are all about working with others. To help others contribute to a new book, it helps very much to define and publish the concept, layout, and scope of the book right from the beginning. This serves as some kind of contract and can avoid long discussions of what should or shouldn't be in the book and how the book should look. Please be aware that there is really no such thing as "your" book on a wiki like this—it is up to early contributors to demonstrate the writing and leadership for other contributors to accept them as the "lead authors" for a book. Some books have no lead authors, and develop organically over time.

Some questions you want to answer in defining the book:

  • What type of book will it be? Reference, textbook, self-study course, tutorial, experimentation instructions, travel report, etc.
  • Who is the target audience? How old are its constituents? What is their background? How advanced are their reading skills? Are they children or adults, students, hobbyists, or professionals, researchers or scientists? An advanced level for a hobbyist is quite different from that of a researcher.
  • What is the scope of the book? How much you want to cover -- in terms of topic, history and/or audience level -- helps determine where you start, and where you end. This also determines what to leave in and what to leave out.

Publish this information at the beginning of the book and on the discussion page, so people can decide if this is the right book they want to read or contribute to.

Write the first page edit

Read the naming policy on how to arrange and name your book. Visit Help:Pages for details on creating a new page for the book's table of contents. Choose a title, something short and descriptive without abbreviations. Create the page the way you want it, and save it.

When creating pages it is also good practice to run the text through a spell checker before submitting. You may find it more convenient to take a copy of the original page, work on it, then paste the edited copy back in. Creating brand-new topics is a great way to help Wikibooks increase its breadth (and depth).

Show the book to the public edit

Make the book available to other users. Of course, people can see it on Recent Changes, but its visibility on that list is not permanent, so you need to properly categorize it. Put the {{shelves}} template on the main page to put the book into an appropriate category. If you are not sure what shelf to put your book on, you can browse Wikibooks Stacks/Departments, or ask at the projects reading room. Place {{status|0%}} on the main page to indicate the book's new status and adjust in increments of 25% as the book develops. Add your book in the correct category (if applicable) in alphabetical order with {{alphabetical}}. Readers will find your book in no time!

Create printable books edit

If you want people to read your book as continuous text, in a PDF file etc., it is worthwhile maintaining a "collection" and/or "print version" from the start.

Note changing stages of development edit

You can mark which chapters are finished using development stage marks. You should similarly show how much of your book is ready next to its entry on the pages for its parent bookshelves.

Suggested chapters and appendices edit

Forewords and Postscripts
You can create "Foreword" or "Introduction" or "Postscript" chapter explaining the scope of the book and how to read it.
List of authors and manual of style
It's likely that other people may edit your book. There should be a page listing most important contributors to the book. It can be named "Authors". It is also good practice to create a local manual of style for the book—explaining how it should be written, which templates are used, etc.

Contributing To An Existing Wikibook

New or Existing? edit

You have the urge to write. You have knowledge and information you want to share with the world. The first impulse for most new writers is to simply set up a new book and begin writing. However, this is not the first thing to do. Wikibooks contains thousands of books on a multitude of topics. Browse/search in the Wikibooks holdings to see if there are any existing books on your subject matter that your knowledge could enhance before setting out on the task of writing a new one.

As the saying goes, "there is no need to reinvent the wheel".

If you find an existing book, covering a similar subject or focus and has similar intentions and goals to yours, peruse the content to determine if there is a suitable place for the information you have; if you are able to pinpoint such a place, consider contributing to and expanding that book first. If you are unsure about adding your contribution(s), continue reading this guide and don't be afraid to address any questions or concerns you may have with the Wikibooks' Community! Experience has shown that it is always better to consolidate information by creating one good book, rather than dividing knowledge and writing many, small, unfinished books.

This page is going to focus on how to contribute content to existing books. However, it is important to remember, contributing content isn't the only task that the Wikibooks Author will want to perform. Additionally, later chapters will provide details on how to create new books from scratch.

Book Definitions edit


Each book needs a definition — a purpose. The book's definition provides the groundwork needed to set goals and direction for the final product; this enables all contributors to work together collaboratively, efficiently, and successfully. A definition should include and cover, either explicitly or implicitly, all of the following information and details:

Target Audience
Who the book is written for. Each audience (i.e. the reader or group of readers) has certain background information that you can use to build more advanced lessons on. Sometimes, instead of specifying a particular audience, you will want to specify particular pre-requisites for your readers. If every reader starts off with the same level of knowledge on the main topic(s) the content covers, you don't need to provide as much basic or introductory information within the book. Thus, you are able to focus on writing new and more advanced content.
What topic or topics will you be writing about? It helps to detail as specific of a subject as possible.
Scope and Depth
You've determined the subject you are writing about, but how much of it do we want to cover? How deep or advanced do you want the book to go? How detailed do you want the content to cover? The scope of a book defines how much of the subject we want to cover and the depth defines how many details we want to discuss.

An important detail to consider when trying to determine if an existing book is suited to your contribution, is that two individual books, although written about the same subject, may have completely different definitions. If there is an existing book on your subject, but with a different definition, it is often best to start a new book. If there is a book that already exists with the same definition, it is safe to assume it would be most beneficial for you to contribute to the existing book rather than beginning a new one. Our primary goal when contributing to Wikibooks is to enhance and expand on the material being provided to readers and users!

Books and Communities edit

If the book you have found doesn't have any active contributors, take charge and do what you can to fix it up! Look to see if a local style guide or any formatting policies have been outlined (some authors go to great length to list this information). This ensures that any content you add, will fit nicely with the content already provided and flows seamlessly for readability and understanding. It is typically better to build on and expand existing style guidelines, than it is to re-format an entire book from scratch. At times, major aesthetic changes can come from simply improving some of the existing book templates. However, be wary of making changes to global templates, because changes of this calibur may have a negative impact on other books that use them, as well.

Many books do not have any style guidelines written down. In these cases, feel free to make any changes that you need to, in order to improve upon the existing book. Additionally, keep in mind that if you undertake a project that is too large to complete, you may end up leaving the book in worse condition than when you started.

Remember, in order to improve a book, you may need to be bold and make substantial changes. If you need to move or delete a page, or replace content in order to enhance or update the information within, don't hesitate! The Wikimedia software that powers Wikibooks, makes it easier to revert and/or change edits that don't have the desired outcome. Of course, if there are other editors actively contributing to it, maintain respect and consideration by seeking consensus before making any major changes.

Existing Book Community edit


A wiki is a collaborative environment and many projects often have existing contributors. These contributors will all have varying work schedules, activity levels, and vested interests in a particular book or project. Making substantial changes to things could upset people whom have spent extensive time, effort, and energy into formatting and content to create the particular work as it was when you found it to begin with.

Books that do not have an existing community are often the easiest to edit or contribute to. You find a page and you make any changes you want. Books with an existing community are quite different, although, they can be just as rewarding and at times, even more so! When multiple people are all working together on one book or project, it is greatly important to communicate and collaborate. Use other authors as a sounding board for new ideas. Improve the contributions of others, and be prepared for them to improve upon your work, as well. You may find that the book has an emergent property; therefore, gaining a higher level of quality than it would have under only one author.

Being the sole author of a book means that the book will show all the strengths and weaknesses that you write into it. The book will contain only your perspective. It will only cover the information that you know, and will lack information or examples that you are not as familiar with. By collaborating with other authors, the book can benefit from each author's strengths, and has a stronger chance of avoiding any individual weaknesses.

Consensus edit

Consensus can be a difficult process to understand, and is made even more difficult, when you and your fellow authors are trying to pursue it individually. The first thing to understand is, that for the wide majority of issues, there isn't a right or wrong answer and most decisions are more complex than "yes or no" or "my way or the highway". Your idea is not definitively correct and other competing ideas are not definitively incorrect. No single opinion about a work is ever "optimal", by itself. Wikis are founded on the idea of emergence; that the whole can be greater than the sum of its parts. Your ideas, combined with the ideas of others, are going to be better than any individual's ideas by themselves.

When working together, don't pick one viewpoint or single perception — instead, find a way to incorporate many perspectives. The benefit will be seen among the readers, who will often need a different explanation of the same concept in order to effectively learn or understand. The more ideas and points of view that are included in a given book, the better of a resource the book will be upon completion.

Consensus requires an understanding of this idea of emergence. If you want the book to improve, grow, and succeed, you are all but required to listen to and openly consider competing ideas and be willing to find and agree to compromises. If you don't, you are hurting the book, hurting the book community, and wasting your own time.

Rewriting a Book edit


There are several books to be found on Wikibooks, that were created but later abandoned by their original author(s). These books are in various states of disrepair and levels of completion, and often need more than just a minor effort or help to become successful. If you believe that you can create a much improved version and have concluded the existing book is irreparable or would take considerably more work, time, and effort to reach its full potential, feel free to create a new book and rewrite it according to your own vision.

Notice that, you should only attempt to completely rewrite a book that is in very poor condition; such as, a stub. You should never try to delete and rewrite a book that has substantial content or active contributors. Additionally, if a book has substantial out-dated content, it is also worth considering creating a new book rather than making substantial edits and/or changes to the existing content. Oftentimes, in these instances, it is better to write a new, up-to-date version. Not only does that enable the existing, outdated version to be used as a historical reference, but not all of the information contained within the work may have changed. It is also worth considering, and making the effort to, refer to the pre-existing book — either explicitly, in-reference, or even both — in order to provide a greater context to the readers and learners it targets.

Merging Books edit

When two or more, half-completed books, contain complimentary information that can be consolidated to form a single book that is in better condition, the best option available is to merge them. Merging is beneficial in many ways and enhances access to information for everyone. This may come from multiple existing books on Wikibooks, or you may find after starting to write your own, that certain stub or half-books would be significantly improved through being merged into yours.

To nominate book mergers, use the {{Merge}}, {{Mergeto}}, and {{Mergefrom}} templates. The purpose of these templates is to alert other contributors about a possible merge. There are instances when others may disagree with a merger for any number of reasons, leading to the need to seek consensus before continuing. The merge templates should stay on the books for at least one week (preferrably longer), to ensure that contributors have plenty of time to see the template(s), and to adequately participate in the ensuing discussion.

If consensus determines that performing a merge is appropriate and the best course of action, follow the steps below:

  1. Create a redirect from the original page(s) to the new page(s)
  2. Combine the book content
  3. Ask an Administrator to help merge the history pages (if needed)

Starting A New Wikibook

What is a "Wikibook"? edit

Wikibooks is not a traditional book publishing medium, so it can't be expected that our books are going to fit the traditional definition of what a book is. A "wikibook" is a book written using a wiki. Here on Wikibooks, we restrict the kinds of books that can be hosted to instructional books, such as textbooks or manuals. Many other types of books do not belong here.

Wikibooks doesn't need to be like regular books. Here are some key differences:

Books on Wikibooks are not constrained by the length of a printed page. There is no predefined minimum nor maximum length to a book. Some books here will be unusually long, some will be unusually short. What is the most important is that the book contains the necessary information.
A wikibook is a constantly evolving work, although there are some things that can be used to "stabilize" it too. In general, our books don't have fixed versions. However, our books can have PDF versions which remain relatively stable.
Many wikibooks tend to be similar in editorial style to traditional books, but they do not need to be. Wikibooks can make use of all the features of a web-based interface, including dynamic hyper-link navigation, and multimedia. A wikibook can also present information in a way that has never been done before.

How Much Work Does It Take? edit

Many people feel that writing a book is too big a task, and that it can be daunting to start a new book. However, writing a book does not need to be a big hassle. A little bit of advertising can help to attract other contributors, who can share the burden of creating a new book. You can advertise at Wikibooks (such as in the Reading Room), or you can advertise in other places.

If you start writing the content, other people can come along and help you with the organizing and formatting. You can ask for help with formatting and organization from other experienced book authors at the Reading Room.

Don't misunderstand: Writing a book at Wikibooks is a big deal. Books are big and daunting. However, wiki allows you to write portions at a time and to get help from other authors and editors. Before you start a new book project, seriously ask yourself if you have the time and energy to nurture it through the beginning stages of development, and help to attract and acclimate new editors to it over time. If you don't have these, your book may wither and die as an abandoned stub.

Creating a New Book edit

If the book you want to write doesn't exist, why not create it? Anyone can create a new book so long as they are willing to contribute time to it and help it grow. However, there are certain policies and guidelines about what kinds of books you can and cannot write on Wikibooks. The complete policy is located at Wikibooks:What is Wikibooks.

The process of creating a new wikibook serves several purposes:

  1. Enables you, the contributor, to teach a subject that you know.
  2. Enables other readers to learn the subject, without having to pay the exorbitant prices of textbooks.
  3. Inspires other wikibookians to contribute to your book, making it a better resource.

It has been said that the best way to learn a subject is to teach it, and so the first point above really is a double-edged sword. Not only can you as the author help other people to learn the subject, but you yourself could gain a better understanding and appreciation for it.

The second point above is another important one. Traditional printed textbooks are typically very expensive. On top of that is the fact that book publishers tend to create multiple editions of a book, one every couple of years. When a new edition of the book is released, the old versions become obsolete, even if they are more widely available, lower in price, and available used at a discount. Also, because wikibooks are available on the internet, books can be downloaded for free.

To do this, a good book needs several qualities:

  1. A good plan
  2. Solid infrastructure
  3. Sharp Focus
  4. Broad Scope

Without all these things, books will likely become either eternal stubs, candidates for a costly merger, or complete orphans. Here is some more detail on these points:

A Good Plan
A book needs a plan, a direction, a purpose. We don't need to write books that aren't helpful and informative. We don't need to reinvent any wheels. The best books are going to start out as outlines or plans. One chapter is going to lead into another. The material will be presented in a comprehensible order. Books that are just collections of related information are known as "macropedias" and are not acceptable on Wikibooks. A good plan helps to ensure your book has a unified narrative throughout, to prevent it from becoming a macropedia.
Solid Infrastructure
The book should have a good, solid infrastructure. Readers should be able to navigate the book with ease, and new contributors should know exactly what information should go where. The naming convention should be consistent. A book should also create the necessary custom templates that it needs and should also find and employ some other templates too. The MediaWiki software makes a good basis for this, and many helpful templates are available too.
Sharp Focus
A book should have plenty of focus, and not be too broad or vague. A book titled "Physics" is probably not as good as a set of smaller, more defined books such as "Statics", "Dynamics", and "Electromagnetic Waves". When readers come to your book they should know exactly what material it will contain. Another aspect of this is the fact that Wikibooks represents a complete library, in a sense: We already have books on the fundamentals of science, math, language, etc. Each new book does not need to cover the basics again and again. It is better to do one thing great than to do many things well.
Broad Scope
Every book needs to have a broad enough scope to cover the topic in full. A book such as "Introduction to subject X" can only cover, by definition, introductory material. By that same note "Advanced Subject X" by definition only covers those topics that can be considered "advanced". A book about subject X should not artificially limit itself to only covering a certain aspect of subject X. A book on subject X should cover the whole thing. A good rule of thumb is to break up material into logical subtopics, and have every book cover an entire subtopic.

On a note of practicality, these requirements are also prerequisites for a book to become a Featured Book. Gaining this distinction for your book will help it to expand and grow beyond what you can contribute yourself.

Is The Book Needed? edit

Hopefully your decision to create a new book will be mitigated by a specific need here at Wikibooks. Maybe it's a gaping hole in a particular bookshelf ("I can't believe they have a mathematics bookshelf without calculus!"), or maybe there are many smaller books on the subject that could be effectively merged into a new monolithic book. Also, before you create a new book here, it is a good idea to ensure that the book is actually right for Wikibooks:

  • Is it allowed under policy?
  • Is Wikibooks the best wiki to host this material?
  • Will other people be able to contribute to it?
  • Will other readers be able to understand this subject?

If the answer to all these questions is "yes", then you are well on your way to being able to start your project.

Target Audience edit

Implicitly, if there is a need for your book, then there is somebody who needs it. This vague somebody is your target audience, and is who you are writing your book for. Because you are writing a textbook, your target audience will most likely be school students. However, even under the banner of "school students" there are a number of different classifications that are worth considering. Students can be separated by age: young children (the target audience of Wikijunior), High-school students, University Students, and Professionals (The target audience of Wikiprofessional). Some subjects are not conducive to certain target audience, in the same way that certain styles of writing are not good for a target audience. For instance, we aren't going to attempt to teach young children about "SPARC Assembly Programming". We also aren't going to try and write a children's book using big words and complicated sentences.

Under the sub-heading of "University Students" also, there is a difference between different types of students. There is a distinct difference in the way a single subject can be taught between different groups of students: Statistics is taught differently between business majors (where it is taught predominantly using algebra), and mathematics students (where it is taught predominantly using calculus).

When considering this, there are multiple ways to go about creating a new book for your subject. Either you can make a book tailored specifically towards a single target audience ("Statistics for Mathematicians"), or you can make a single book ("Statistics") That will consider the topic from multiple angles. For instance, you can separate the book into 2 distinct sections (one for business readers, and one for mathematics readers), or you can separate each individual page into the different sections (one section for the algebraic formulas and results, and a bottom section for the calculus derivations).

Picking a Title edit

Picking a title is the first and arguably the most important task that a new author has. A good title will make a book easy to find and easy to remember. Long and complicated titles, ambiguous titles, or unspecific titles will have the opposite effect. Here are some general guidelines to get you started. Keep in mind that these are not hard and fast rules, and that many successful books have not followed these guidelines:

  1. Use a common name for your topic
  2. Avoid qualifiers such as "Introduction to...", "Advanced...", "...For Beginners", etc. You may need qualifiers if there are other books on your subject, however.
  3. Don't name a book after a particular school course
  4. Don't give your book a subtitle. If you do, include the subtitle on the cover, not in the link to the book.
  5. Don't number books sequentially.

How to Start a New Book edit

To actually create a new book you must first create a new page. Go to Help:Pages#Creating and create a new page following the directions provided.

It is important to make sure that your title is unique and follows proper naming conventions. Type the title of the book into the search box on the top right side of the screen and click on the magnifying glass icon. If a book with that name already exists, you can either pick a new title for your book, or else attempt to contribute to the existing book.

Book names should use title case. Title case is where the first letters of the important words are capitalized. There is no policy on this, it's just a good suggestion. Here are some examples:

  • "This is a Good Book Title" (title case)
  • "This is a bad book title" (sentence case)

The first letter of the book title is always capitalized by the software.

The Landing Page edit

After you create a new page you will be directed to a new blank page which is called the landing page. When a new reader comes to your book, the landing page is the first page they see. The landing page is also where cleanup templates and organizational templates for your book are placed.

There are two schools of thought when it comes to landing pages:

  1. The landing page should be a cover page, with a link to the table of contents. This follows a printed book metaphor where you see the cover of a book first, and have to turn to the Table of Contents.
  2. The landing page is the table of contents, with a link to an optional cover page and links to all the pages in the book. This is more of a web-oriented structure that can be easier to navigate but not always as aesthetically pleasing.

Wikibooks does not mandate that either of these methods be used before the other. However, option #2 tends to be the more popular one. Notice that all books really need a table of contents to stay organized and link to all the sub-pages in the book. However books don't all need cover pages, and many books do not have them.

The Table of Contents edit

The table of contents is important for a number of reasons:

For Readers
The table of contents lists all the pages in the book, and shows the intended reading order of them. If material in the book builds logically from one chapter to the next, then the pages should be read in the given order.
For Authors
The table of contents serves as an organizational outline, showing which material should be placed where and in what order. This is especially valuable when the book is first created, because the table of contents acts like a type of "to do list" to show which pages have not yet been written.

The most basic table of contents has a list of all pages in the book, one on each line such as in a bullet list. More advanced tables of contents can break groups of pages into named sections, and contain links to related books and book metadata.

Find an Example edit

Sometimes you can start off on your own book with no help and do perfectly well. Often, however, you will want to model your book's format and organization on established books. Some examples of well-established books that have been successful are Featured Books. You can use these books as good models for your new book.

Hijacking Redirects edit

A good writer will attempt to anticipate what readers will be searching for. For instance, a reader is more likely to type "Animals" into the search box than to type "An Introduction to Various Animals". This insight should play a role when you title your book, because you want your book to have a title that readers will be able to find.

Sometimes a book will have many Aliases. That is, sometimes there are many common terms that refer to the material in a book. A common example of this is an acronym of the book's title. If nobody else is using those pages, make them into redirects to your book. That way when a person searches for "Animals", "Critters", or "Creatures", they can all be taken directly to your book.

Donating an Existing Book edit

Frequently authors have books already written that they would like to donate to Wikibooks. If you are willing to release your book under the terms of the GFDL license, and if your book meets our inclusion criteria, then you might be able to donate the book to Wikibooks. We've set up a guideline to help with the donation process at WB:DONATE. We'll also cover book donations in a later chapter of this book.

People who are interested in donating books should read the entire donations page, as well as the text of the GFDL license before taking any action.

Donating a Book to Wikibooks

E-Book Authors edit

Wikibooks is only one of many resources on the web that provides free, high-quality, e-books. There are a plethora of other major websites that offer them and thousands of personal websites giving authors a platform to offer a book or two of their personal work. Many people write books for a variety of reasons; some enjoy sharing the knowledge they have learned on a particular topic or subject; Some for the gratification of, and yearning to, help and assist others. Some have been asked the same questions so often by others, that the decide to put all of them along with answers into one place by compiling a book, both to inform others and as a solution to avoiding the need to repeat the answers in the future. Regardless of the motivation, writing a book requires extensive work and maintaining the accuracy of the information is even more so over the long-term. When you choose to donate a book you have written to the Wikibooks repository, there are several advantages to doing so, including:

  1. If your book is already freely–available — Wikibooks and the GFDL license, ensures it will always remain free.
    1. If your book is not yet free — Consider the pros of releasing it under a free license to allow others to benefit from its content.
  2. Save on bandwidth — Wikibooks is comprised of servers that are free to use and are supported entirely by donations made to the Wikimedia Foundation.
  3. Save yourself the trouble — Server configuration hassles? DNS issues? Denial of service attacks? The Wikimedia Foundation (WMF), employs a number of server technicians and software developers, who deal with the technical headaches, which means that you don't have to.
  4. The Wikibooks community — With hundreds of authors, editors, illustrators, and other contributors, there is an entire community to assist with editing and maintaining its contents with updated information. Another advantage of this is the diminished responsibility of fielding the ongoing emails from readers, to point out corrections that need to be made, or with suggestions for changes to the content; by donating and uploading your work to Wikibooks, you allow readers to make changes themselves.
  5. Print—On—Demand Publishing ability — Put your book on Wikibooks, create a collection from it, and Voila! You can now have a few copies printed up.
  6. Benefit from the WMF's massive integration — All wikis operate under the CC-SA-BY license, and are free for anyone to use, since Wikibooks is a child of the MWF, it is already fully integrated with the other wiki projects. Therefore, you can easily integrate your book with images from Wikimedia Commons, import content from Wikipedia, and use it in a classroom from Wikiversity; and that's just the start!

There are many, many, more reasons that support the donation of e-books to Wikibooks, and we hope you agree!

Donating Books edit

If you've decided to donate a book to Wikibooks, you need to satisfy a few conditions first. There are a number of rules, requirements, and policies that must be followed to help keep Wikibooks a valuable high-quality free resource. If you have a book to donate, and need any help with it, you can always ask at the Reading Room. We also have a comprehensive list of policies on this issue listed at WB:DONATE.

The first step is to make sure your book satisfies Wikibooks inclusion criteria policy. Wikibooks is not a general purpose ebook host and books that do not conform to this policy may be deleted from Wikibooks. In short, here is a list of major requirements for books on Wikibooks:

  1. The book should be non-fiction, and usually should be academic.
  2. The book should use a neutral point of view.
  3. The book should not contain original research on a topic that has not been well-studied.
  4. The book should be instructional. It should not just be a listing of facts and figures, or a series of unrelated articles.
  5. Wikibooks is for textbooks, not for dictionaries, news reports, blogs, or other types of media.
  6. The book should be released under the GFDL.

The GFDL and Copyright Issues edit

The biggest hurdle to most donations is copyright issues. Wikibooks and all the books on it are licensed under the GFDL. The GFDL is a copy-left license with two major provisions:

  1. All authors to the book should be properly attributed.
  2. All edits to the book must be released under the GFDL also. Therefore, all future versions of the book that are derived from the one on Wikibooks will always be released under the GFDL.

If you are an author of a book and you own the copyright to it, you can grant Wikibooks a license to use the book under the GFDL, and you can also grant other licenses to other people for it as well. As the copyright holder, you can grant as many licenses to use the material as you want. However the version at Wikibooks, and all future revisions of that version, will always be available under the GFDL. If the book is on Wikibooks, you can still host a copy on your own website, and you can print and sell the book too. You can also allow other websites to use your book under a different license too, if you want.

It's important to realize that once you grant Wikibooks a license to use your book under the GFDL, you can not take it back. The license is a contract, and you cannot break the contract unless Wikibooks violates the license in some way. Some authors want to put their book onto Wikibooks for a trial period, and then ask to have it taken down again. This cannot happen, once the book is on Wikibooks, it is there to stay. Be certain you want to donate the book to Wikibooks, because it cannot be undone afterwards.

If you are not the sole author of the book, or if you are not the originator or owner of all images in the book, you cannot donate it to Wikibooks without the permission of all copyright holders.

Converting to Wikitext edit

Wikibooks uses Wikitext for its content, not LaTeX, or HTML, or DOCBOOK, or any other kind of markup or formatting. The biggest technical challenge to uploading a book to Wikibooks is that the book must be converted to Wikitext first, and then uploaded. This can be very difficult to do by hand, but several users have created tools and bots to help make the work easier. Ask for help at WB:TECH.

How To Structure A Wikibook

Planning edit

A well-planned book has a much higher chance of success than a book that has not been properly planned. Before you even start writing you should make some notes about what you want the book to be about, what kinds of materials it should cover, and what order it will cover those materials in.

Before you start writing anything, your book should have a definition. What is the target audience? The scope? The depth? What language is the book going to use? All books on this project, English Wikibooks, need to be written in English. However, authors have some control over whether they want to use British or American English in their books. Once a book has decided on a dialect, all the pages in that book should use that dialect to help keep the book unified. Some authors may even choose to use a different subset of English, such as e-prime or BE-850. This is something the author should decide before writing.

Create an outline for your book, either here on Wikibooks, or on paper, or even in your head. Trust us when we say that the more planning you do now, the better your book will be in the future. Having to restructure a book later is typically a long and difficult process involving page moves and lots of editing to fix links. Try your hardest to do things right the first time, and the effort will pay off.

Titles and Naming Conventions edit

We have a Naming Policy that tries to keep all the books and book pages on Wikibooks organized in a standard way. All book pages should have the name of the book as the prefix, followed by a forward slash, followed by the page name. For example, "My Book/My Page" is correct, "My Page" is not. Also keep in mind that other kinds of separators are not acceptable. For instance, the following are not acceptable ways to name a page in a book:

My Book:My Page
My Book - My Page
My Book > My Page
My Book My Page

The authors of a particular wikibook often describe the structure they prefer in a local manual of style.

You have the decision about whether to make a book structure "flat" or "deep". Neither is officially preferred. We will describe both of these structures below:

Flat Structure edit

If the book has a flat structure (without chapters) each page should be named as follows:

  • Book_Title/Page_Name

In this structure, every page is one level away from the main page of the book. This makes links easier between pages, but it means that every page in your book must have a unique page name.

Deep Structure edit

If the book has a deep or "hierarchical" structure (with pages belonging to chapters) each page should be named as follows:


All pages belong to a chapter, and page names only need to be unique to the chapter, not the entire book. This is a good logical way to structure a book, but maintaining chapter pages can be tedious, and links need to be longer, which some editors might not like.

Design Patterns edit

Developing books do not emerge fully-formed and in a perfect book shape. The process for creating a book can cause a book to take many forms which are not in themselves acceptable here at Wikibooks. However, so long as progress is continuous, various stages of books can not only be accepted here in the short-term, but also can be beneficial tools to book authors.

Books are large projects, and it is generally not conceivable that an author will be able to write, to completion, one page at a time in a linear fashion. In fact, it should be assumed that most authors are only transient members here at Wikibooks, and that they could abandon their work here at any time.

With this in mind, an author who wants to see their books succeed in the long-term should develop their book while attempting to maximize the ability for future authors to take over if the original author should leave suddenly. Books should start as a clear plan, such as a table of contents outline. From the outline, a page should progress to one of several intermediate forms. These intermediate forms allow a book to increase in size and information content rapidly, without needing to worry extensively about organization or formatting. After a book has expanded significantly in one of these intermediate forms, editors, revisers, and reviewers can polish the book to make it better and eventually make it a featured book. The general design pattern for a book that allows other authors to quickly and easily pick up where the original author left off is:

Outline → Intermediate Form → Book → Featured Book

Warning About Intermediate Forms edit

Notice that intermediate forms are not considered stable or even acceptable books. If a book in an intermediate form is long abandoned, it runs a high risk of being deleted. Stubs are relatively well tolerated on Wikibooks, and a large portion of our community will resist deleting them unless they are in particularly bad shape. Macropedias are against policy, and unless a transwiki will significantly improve content at Wikipedia (which is unlikely), macropedias can be quickly deleted. Course-like books are better-tolerated than macropedias are, but they still run the risk of being transwikied to wikiversity if you don't pay close attention to them.

In short, bending some of our rules about content and structure can help a book to grow rapidly. However, these broken rules are not acceptable in the long-term. So long as a book is being actively edited and the authors realize that it needs to improve its form and structure in time, the editors at Wikibooks will be tolerant of it.

Below we will talk about various intermediate forms, and how to grow them into proper policy-compliant books.

Stubs edit

Stubs are a page, or several pages, with only a brief amount of starter text. This starter text can often explain what the page is going to cover, and provide a small amount of introductory text that other authors can help to expand. A "good stub" should:

  1. Explain clearly what the page will cover
  2. Provide a brief introduction to the topic
  3. Provide an organizational framework (named headings, for instance) to help show where information should go.

Stubs that do not contain this information are likely to be more of a hindrance then a help to future authors, and should likely be deleted.

To grow a stub, there are two main options:

  1. Add more content, like in a content dump or import it like in a macropedia.
  2. Add more structure, by creating an outline.

Content Dumps edit

A content dump is where a large amount of material is added to a page in a disorganized way. This is great to grow the size of a book quickly, but the content will need to be organized, ordered, and smoothed out if it's going to stay at Wikibooks for long. Many books using this method become monolithic: lots of material on a single large page. To grow these books, they should be separated into subpages, given a proper table of contents, and organized properly.

Outlines edit

Outlines are not necessarily stubs because they do not need to contain any content. Outlines are a great way to plan and prepare a book, but a free-standing outline that has been long-abandoned by its original authors is generally not helpful or valuable. Outlines are good to get one author started. They are bad to get new authors interested. If you write an outline and aren't around to work on it, it will probably be deleted.

The outline phase of a book should be brief. Outlines should quickly be filled with at least a base amount of content so that future authors and editors have some raw material to work with. Editors need content to fix and mold into shape. Authors need clear indicators where content should be located and improved.

To grow an outline, content should be added to each page in the list explaining what the page should cover. Then, each page can expand individually, following the given guidelines.

Macropedias edit

Pages at Wikibooks can be seeded with articles imported from Wikipedia. This can be a great way to take existing information on a topic, and grow the book quickly using existing free material. Macropedias need to be extensively de-formatted (dewikified) before future authors can begin to contribute book-like content in a meaningful way. This is because Wikipedia often uses a much more dense formatting style than Wikibooks does.

To grow a macropedia, you need to remove Wikipedia-only formatting and templates, and start converting the material into an instructional narrative.

Courses edit

During the progression of a school course, information can be written into the book as it is received in the class. Things like lecture notes, reading notes, assignments and their solutions, and other information received through a course can be uploaded as they are learned. Course-like materials do not need to be de-formatted like wikipedia articles need to be, but they often need to be restructured, organized, and edited extensively.

To grow a course-like book, material needs to be expanded beyond simple notes into narrative prose. It also needs to be organized into a logical way, since many classes do not always proceed through subject matter in a linear fashion.

Link List or Directory edit

A step up from an outline is a link list. Link lists are collections of links to other books, other wikis (such as Wikimedia Commons, Wikipedia, or Wikisource), or other places where information about the subject can be obtained. Link lists can be helpful in organizing resources and finding places to import raw material from, but they are also very dangerous. Link lists, "Link farms" or directories are a violation of policy, and they likely will be deleted if they do not evolve quickly. If you would like to maintain a list of resources for your own use, it is typically better to do it in your own userspace where many such content policies do not apply.

To grow a link list, go to each link, gather information from there, and bring it to Wikibooks. Once you've brought the necessary information here (such as in a content dump) you can delete the list, move it into a citation, or add it to a separate bibliography page.

Page Header and Navigation Templates edit

One of the easiest ways to keep all the pages in a book linked together, and also to maintain a unified style between pages, is to use templates. Some common templates are those at the top of the page (a page header template) and those at the bottom of the page (a page footer). These templates typically provide a link back to the table of contents, and frequently also contain links to the previous page and the next page.

Shelves, Categories, and Classifications

If you've read Finding A Wikibook, then you see that there are many ways to find a Wikibook on the topic of your choice. However, whether starting a new book or expanding heavily on a book that is merely a stub, you need to ensure that your book is visible to both readers and potential contributors. The terminology used in Wikibooks for the various methods of organization can be confusing, and the proper implementation of those methods on your book can be hard to grasp. After reading the following sections you should have a better idea how this all works.

To help make the entire book visible to readers and potential contributors, most books have:

  • the template {{BookCat}} on the bottom of every page in the book, except the main page.
  • The template {{Shelves|Shelfname1|Shelfname2|...}} on the bottom of the book's main page (see below for a detailed explanation).
  • The template {{BookCat}} at the bottom of the book's category page.
  • The template {{Book category header}} at the top of the book's category page.
  • The template {{BookCat}} or, in some cases, {{Book item category header}} on subcategory pages of the book's category.

Shelves and categories edit

As a reader, browsing the shelves allows you to find books on the topic of your choice. As a writer, you have an interest in having your book appear on the shelf of your choice. The shelf contents are dynamically generated, meaning you cannot add your book to a shelf directly to have it appear there. Each shelf page has wiki markup in it that specifies a certain category to look in for pages that will be then displayed on the shelf. When you file your book's main page in that special category, it will appear on the corresponding shelf, and on larger shelves covering wider topics that encompass the topic of the smaller shelf. The details of how to do this are explained later.

The pages of your book also need to be filed in a category, but they should not be filed in the special category that matches up to the shelf in which you are filing the main page of your book. If they were, every page of your book would show up separately on the shelf, flooding the shelf display so it wouldn't be useful at all. Instead, they should be filed in a category whose name is based on the title of your book. The details of this are explained below.

Keeping these two types of categories straight is important. The category a book's main page is filed in is referred to as a shelf category, since anything filed in it appears on a shelf page. The category the rest of the book's pages are filed in is referred to as a book category, since everything filed in it should pertain only to a single book. Several naming conventions prevent confusion between book categories and shelf categories.

The name of a shelf category has a Shelf: prefix, followed by exactly the name of the corresponding shelf; the name of a book category has a Book: prefix, and is otherwise exactly the name of the book's main page. Also, by convention, normally shelves are named using Sentence case while books are titled using Title Case. For example, there is (as of this writing) a book Emergency Medicine and a shelf Emergency medicine; the book main page is Emergency Medicine, the shelf page is Shelf:Emergency medicine, the book category is Category:Book:Emergency Medicine, and the shelf category is Category:Shelf:Emergency medicine.

Filing your book's main page edit

Your book's main page is key to having your book be found by those who would have an interest in it. Several pieces of code need to be added to it for your book to appear both on shelf pages and on pages used for other methods of finding books.

Shelf category edit

If you have spent the time determining your book's subject matter and scope, then you will have an easier time determining what shelf category to file it in. At the top level, all the shelves are grouped into 12 departments. Most of the top-level shelves within a department have subshelves within them, perhaps a given subshelf may have further subshelves within it, and so on. Although most departments do have a shelf with the same name as the department, containing general references, usually when your book seems to belong on that general-references shelf you should consider narrowing the scope of the book.

A book should be placed on the most-specific shelf possible, and usually only needs to be placed on one shelf. A more specific shelf is one of many that are encompassed by a less specific shelf, so there is no need to file a book in both. For instance, a book filed on Shelf:Constructed languages does not also need to be filed on Shelf:Languages since the former is one of many shelves that are contained within the latter.

Also, file your book based on the topic it actually covers and not topics that would only be related tangentially. For example, a book filed on Shelf:Educational software should not be filed on Shelf:Microsoft Windows as well simply because it covers a program that runs on Windows.

The hard part is figuring out what shelf best matches your book's content. The easy part is actually putting the main page in the shelf category that corresponds to the most-specific shelf you want it to show up on. Simply place {{Shelves|Foo}} or {{Shelves|Foo|Bar}} on the bottom of your book's main page, where Foo and Bar are shelf names. As mentioned earlier, less is more, so do not overdo it.

Alphabetical classification edit

The alphabetical classification system allows people to search for a book by the first letter or number in its title. This is especially helpful if someone is looking for several books on the same topic that all start out with the same first word in the title.

The easiest of all the methods you have at your disposal for filing your book, simply add {{Alphabetical|*}} to the bottom of your book's main page, where * is the first letter or number in your book's title. Use your discretion as to whether to count the words "A" or "The" as the first words of your title for the purposes of filing. Ideally, if those words are not necessary, they should not be added to the beginning of the title in the first place.

Filing your book's chapters and pages edit

The rest of the pages of your book should not have any of the above bits of code added to them. They need to be filed, either directly or indirectly, in the book category of your book. Directly means they are filed specifically in that category, while indirectly means they are filed in another category that is itself filed in your book's category. Placing all your pages into a book category allows for an alphabetical index of pages to complement your book's table of contents, without having to generate such an index manually. When you create a new page in your book and add it to your book's category, it automatically appears in this index.

As you learned in How To Structure A Wikibook, your pages can be structured using a flat method or one using chapters. How you file the pages within your book's category also depends on personal preference and the conventions used by your book.

Flat filing edit

The simplest method of filing your book's pages is to put them all in the book category directly. If your book's name is Foo Bar the category would be Category:Book:Foo Bar. This could be done with [[Category:Book:Foo Bar]]. This is not the ideal option, however.

The pages should be sorted within the category to make it easier to locate them. If you do not specify the method of this sorting, they will all show up under the first letter of your book's name. Continuing the example of Foo Bar, all the pages would show up under F. Rather than manually specifying sorting on a per-page basis, use the {{BookCat}} template at the bottom of every page to sort the page based on the portion after the title. Foo Bar/Blah would be sorted based on Blah. You can also add {{BookCat}} in a template included on all your pages for the same effect.

You will notice that the category added to the bottom of the pages is red. You need to click it and create the category before it will exist. Simply call templates {{book category header}} and {{BookCat}} on the new page; the first of these templates will generate a message linking to the book's main page, and the second template will file your book's category in the shelf category(-ies) that your book's main page is filed in. The shelf pages do not list categories, only pages, so this allows people viewing a shelf's corresponding category to see both your book's main page and your book's individual category.

Book item categories edit

If your book has peripheral pages associated with it, such as templates or images, that aren't subpages of the book's main page, you should keep track of these using subcategories of the book's category, one subcategory for each kind of peripheral page. This sort of peripheral subcategory should be named with the book category name followed by a slash and the kind of peripheral, capitalized. For example, if your book is called My Book, so that its book category is Category:Book:My Book, a subcategory for gizmos associated with the book should be called Category:Book:My Book/Gizmos. Create the peripheral subcategory containing a call to template {{book item category header}}, which will automatically file the subcategory in the book category and generate a header explaining what the subcategory is. For some kinds of peripherals, {{book item category header}} also knows to file the subcategory in one or another reserved administrative category.

Usually, peripheral templates of a book are named Template:, the name of a book, and possibly a slash and a specific name. Book My Book might have a template Template:My Book/Device, or perhaps one called Template:My Book if the purpose of the template is especially universal to the book. Templates with names like these can be filed by putting {{BookCat}} on the template, which will ignore the Template: portion of their name and sort them into a /Templates subcategory.

Images don't follow this sort of naming convention. For these, use [[{{BOOKCATEGORY|<title>}}/Images]], where <title> is the name of your book, such as [[{{BOOKCATEGORY|My Book}}/Images]]. You can also use {{BOOKCATEGORY|<title>}} this way for templates that don't follow the usual naming convention but are associated with a particular book.

You may also use subcategories like this for some supplementary grouping(s) of its pages, independent of its table of contents, such as stubs. Use {{book item category header}} on the subcategory — especially if it's for stubs, because the template automatically knows to put those in a reserved administrative category — and [[{{BOOKCATEGORY}}/Stubs|{{BOOKSORTKEY}}]] (or /Gizmos, etc.) on the selected book pages to file them there. Usually this is done by a template, such as Template:My Book/Stub. (When {{BOOKCATEGORY}} and {{BOOKSORTKEY}} are used on a page of the book, they don't need to be told the name of the book since they can figure it out from the name of the page.)

Deep filing (advanced) edit

If you have structured your book using chapters and a deep structure, you may have hundreds of pages. That many pages in your book's category can become unwieldy. The more advanced option is to file pages within each chapter inside separate categories that are in turn filed in your book's category. This technique can be understood better by using an example. Take a book with the following pages (not as many as would actually be used for this method):

My Book
My Book/Foo My Book/Bar
My Book/Foo/Page My Book/Bar/Page

Category:Book:My Book would still exist and be filed in the same shelf category as the book, as with flat filing. However, additional categories would be created for all the pages under Foo and Bar, with those categories filed in Category:Book:My Book. Pages within the Foo chapter would be in Category:Book:My Book/Foo and pages within the Bar chapter would be in Category:Book:My Book/Bar.

The code used for this method is similar to that used in the flat filing method. Add {{BookCat|filing=deep}} to the bottom of the pages or in a template placed on all the pages, which will automatically file the pages into subcategories of the root book category. The pages will be sorted based on the first letter of the page rather than the first letter of the chapter, and all the pages within the same chapter are inside a unique category.

When creating the categories for each chapter's pages by clicking the red link that appears at the bottom of the page, add the category to the book's category with {{BookCat}}. This puts the chapter category into the book's category and sorts it based on the chapter's name, rather than the first letter of the book's name.

To conclude the demonstration by example, Category:Book:My Book would end up looking like the following using deep filing:

Category:Book:My Book
My Book
My Book/Foo
My Book/Bar
Category:Book:My Book/Foo
My Book/Foo/Page
Category:Book:My Book/Bar
My Book/Bar/Page
Category:Book:My Book/Images
Category:Book:My Book/Templates

Attracting Readers

Advertising edit

A book is useless if nobody reads it. That isn't entirely true, there is some educational value in the editing process. However, books are meant to be read and can be the most beneficial to the largest audience if there are active readers. Since you've put in so much effort to write your new book, you want to make sure that these readers can find it. Also, you want to make sure that other editors and authors can find it, to help the book improve. Books on Wikibooks are never "complete", and they can always be improved. Often times the best way to improve a book is just to get a fresh perspective on it.

In short, you need to bring more people to your book. There are several ways to advertise your book so that people will be able to find it. Some of these advertisement methods are on Wikibooks, and can be used to attract existing Wikibookians to your book. Some ways require additional creativity, but can reach a larger audience.

Categorization Templates edit

Having a book listed in the organizational structure here at Wikibooks is very easy. When you first create a new book, add the tag {{New book}} to the top. This will give you some helpful information, and it will also cause the book to appear automatically in the list of new books. This list is displayed in many places around Wikibooks, and your book will be immediately visible to many users.

Add your book to an appropriate shelf category. To do this, use the tag {{Shelves}}. To determine which shelf to put your book on, browse the list at Wikibooks Stacks/Departments, or ask for help at the New Books Reading Room. If you categorize your book like this, people who are browsing Wikibooks will be more likely to find it.

Featured Books edit

Want maximum exposure? The best way to get your book promoted on Wikibooks is to get it featured. Featured status isn't just something you can ask for, or something you can just do in an afternoon. It takes a lot of work, and requires your book to achieve a certain level of quality. It's impossible to say exactly what the requirements are for a book to become featured, because community standards are continually being raised. As a featured book, your book will be featured on the main page, and listed at Featured Books.

Blogosphere edit

Have a blog? Write about your book. If not, there are several active Wikibookians who do maintain Wikibooks-related blogs, or Wikimedia-related blogs who would be happy to advertise your book. Blogging about a book is a great way to attract attention to it, especially attention from non-Wikibookians.

Forums and Chatrooms edit

The internet is filled with existing communities who discuss particular topics. If you have something to write about, there is probably a community of people online who are already talking about it actively. Search the internet for websites and communities that focus on the same subject as your book, and use them as a sounding board for ideas, reviewers, and potential editors. Remember that Wikibooks is open and free, and anybody can be invited to come lend their expertise. Wikibooks also make a great place for a community to store its knowledge and documentation, writings that would not have a dedicated home otherwise.

Schools and Universities edit

If you're writing about an academic sort of subject, and if your book has reached a high level of quality, it might be useful as a classroom resource. Wikibooks are great in these situations because they are free and can be used to supplement traditional texts in the classroom.

Print versions and PDFs

In a previous chapter we discussed how to print a Wikibook, assuming a "print version" or "PDF" or "collection" has already been set up.

But what do you do when you want to print out a complete Wikibook, but none of them have been set up yet? Be bold and do the setup yourself. Here's how.

Creating a Print Version edit

Print versions are pages which contain all the pages of the book, as well as any other information that should be added to the print version. Print versions are created by creating a new page for the print version, say book name/print version, and then transcluding every page in the book, in the order in which you want them to appear. So if a book called book had the pages A, B, and C, and you wanted to have the print version contain the pages in that order, then on your table of contents page you would add

{{Print version|book/print version}}

near the top to make it display the print version box on the page. Then you would click on the link to the page and put in


and it should include the pages when you click show preview or save.

See also Help:Print versions

Creating a PDF version edit

There are a few ways that you can create PDF versions.

Your navigator edit

From the print Version seen above, click on File, Print (or CTRL + p) and choose to print into a PDF file.

Using wkhtmltopdf edit

You can save the print version the HTML file and export to PDF, wkhtmltopdf does this directly in one single command.

# basic usage
$ wkhtmltopdf Using_wikibooks.pdf

# with additional setup, eg for margins
$ wkhtmltopdf -B 2.5cm -L 2.5cm -R 2.5cm -T 2.5cm Using_wikibooks.pdf

Using MediaWiki to LaTeX edit

MediaWiki to LaTeX enables book authors to create high-quality PDFs, see MediaWiki to LaTeX

Using the Collections Extension edit

Any functionality of the Collection extension to create any downloadable files has been decommissioned. It is not known if or when a replacement might come into place.

Wikibooks now has a special extension for grouping individual pages together into a group called a collection. Once a collection has been created, there are three options available:

  1. Download a PDF version of the collection
  2. Download an ODT (OpenOffice.Org Text Document) file
  3. Publish a copy by PediaPress, and have it mailed to you.

If we replace the word "Collection" with the word "Book" in the sentences above, we can see a very clear way that this extension can be used here at Wikibooks. In addition to creating an ordinary Table of Contents and a print version, a collection can also be created that will enable PDF versions and published versions to be created quickly for your book.

There are two types of collections: Community collections and personal collections. Community Settings are created as subpages of Wikibooks:Collections. Each book should have only one (or a very limited number) of "official" community versions. The community versions can be advertised using the {{collection}} template on the book itself. Sometimes, individual users prefer a slightly different reading order to the material, or like to add additional chapters from a related book, or remove a few chapters, or any number of small modifications. In this case, the user can create their own collection in their user namespace, as a subpage of Special:MyPage/Collections. Private collections can be edited and shared with other users just like a normal wiki page.

Creating a Collection edit

Creating a collection is easy. There are two ways to do it:

  1. When you find a page you want to add, click "Add wiki page" on the left. This will add the current page to the current collection. Continue for all pages you like. When you are happy with your collection, you can go to Special:Collection to edit, save, download, or print your collection.
  2. You can create a collection on a regular page using regular wiki text. Here's an example:
  == Title ==
  === Subtitle ===
  ;Chapter 1
  ;Chapter 2


The [[Category:Collections]] at the bottom is important because it indicates to the software that the page represents an extension. To see a list of all pages in this category (and therefore all extensions) go to Category:Collections.

Here are some things that can be in a collection, and the syntax that's used to save them:

Title and Subtitle
A collection can have both a title and a subtitle. In wikitext, the title can be specified as a level-2 heading, and the subtitle can be specified as a level-3 heading. A collection may only have one of each.
Chapters and Pages
In terms of collections, a "chapter" is a large heading that precedes a group of related pages, and a "Page" is an individual page on the wiki. Chapter names can be specified with a semicolon. Pages in a chapter can be specified as a regular absolute wikilink, with a colon in front like :[[My Book/Page 1]], not a relative link like :[[/Page 1]].
Display Title
If you just use a normal link, the page will be titled "My Book/My Page" in the generated PDF and print-on-demand book. If you use a piped link, the display name of the chapter can be changed. So :[[My Book/My Page|My First Page]] will display "My First Page" as the display name in the generated book or PDF file.

Exporting the Collection edit

Once a collection is generated, either by loading pages into your collection one at a time or by loading an existing saved collection, it can be used in a number of ways:

A collection can be downloaded in PDF by clicking on the "Download as PDF" link on a collection page. It is also possible to download the collection as ODT.
Print on Demand
A collection can be sent to our print-on-demand partner PediaPress and a copy of the book can be mailed to you.

Linking to the PDF edit

Once a PDF has been created and uploaded, go back to the TOC and add

{{PDF version|filename of PDF}}

which creates the PDF version box on the main page of the book

Finding A Wikibook

Finding Books edit

There are a number of methods for finding books on Wikibooks. We will discuss some of the methods here on this page.

Search edit

The Wikibooks interface includes a search tool on the left-hand side of the page. Type in a subject that you want to search for and click Search. This will display a screen filled with books and book pages that contain that search term.

Another option, if you know the title of the book you want to find or think you know it, is to type in the title of the book and click Go. The go button will take you to the page if it exists, or else it will take you to the search page.

Some books exist for common topics, such as Algebra, Biology, or Rhetoric. Typing in a common subject name may very well take you to a book on that subject.

Shelves edit

Wikibooks has experimented with a number of organizational methods in the past, some of which turned out to be very unwieldy or difficult to use for a number of reasons. Instead of using an existing organizational method like a traditional library would use, we use a custom system that's designed to work well with our wiki software.

Wikibooks uses a series of "shelves", organized at the top level into 12 Departments. From that departments page, you can easily navigate to books based on subject, reading level, audience, and other metrics. Every shelf page will contain a list of books on that subject, a list of sub-topics, and possibly a few other lists as well.

Card Catalog Office edit

Like ordinary libraries, Wikibooks has a card catalog office (CCO) that we use to keep our books organized. The CCO keeps books organized using several methods, including by subject, by completion status, by reading level, and alphabetically by book title. There is a link to the CCO in the "navigation" box (typically located on the left-hand side of the page). Click the link that says "browse" to go to it.

Books on Wikibooks are broken down by subjects. There are ten major subject areas: Computing, Engineering, Humanities, Languages, Mathematics, Miscellaneous, Recreational activities, Science, Social sciences, and Standard curricula. In addition, there is also a department for Wikijunior, and a smaller one for Help books; there is also the Cookbook:. Each major department contains several shelves covering subtopic. Each shelf page displays a brief summary of the subject, a list of books related to the subject, a list of subtopic shelves, a list of featured books, a link to a Wikipedia page on the topic, and other useful information as well. There are many different shelves on Wikibooks, and more are created on a regular basis.

Shelves edit


The department and shelf pages are an important navigational tool for finding books. They can be accessed from Wikibooks Stacks/Departments. From there, you can navigate through the shelves to find books you are interested in. Books are listed by the subject material, but they are also listed in other ways as well. Here are some ways that a book can be listed in the shelves:

  1. By reading level
  2. By book status
  3. Whether the book has a print version, a PDF version, or both.
  4. Books for particular audiences, such as Wikijunior books for children.

Featured Books edit

Clicking the "Featured Books" link on the left side of the page in the "navigation" box will take you to the list of featured books on Wikibooks. Featured books are not perfect, but they are some of the best that we have to offer, and are good examples of what a new book can aspire to.

If you find a book that you particularly like, and want to see it listed as a featured book, you can nominate it. The Wikibooks community will discuss it, and if they agree in general, the book will be promoted to featured status.

Printing A Wikibook

Taking it With You edit

Many book authors set their books up with a print version, a PDF version or a collection. These are useful tools for saving an entire book to your hard drive, or for printing out a book for use offline. In this chapter, we're going to talk about all these options and how they are used.

Using Print Versions (HTML) edit

A print version is a combination of all the book's pages, loaded into one webpage and specially formatted for printing. Print versions for large books might take a long time to load in your browser, especially if you are on a slow connection. Some print versions are so big that they've been broken up into several pages to prevent overloading the server or the browser.

Print versions, unlike PDF versions, will automatically update when one of the included pages is updated. This means that a print version will always display the most recent version of all the pages in the book. Print versions are designed to look good when printed, but might not look very good in your browser. To make sure you see what it's supposed to look like, use the "Print preview" option in your browser before printing.

If a book has a print version, there will usually be a notice on the main page of that book about it. If there is no notice, there probably isn't a print version available. If there is no print version and you would like there to be one, you can ask the authors to create it for you, or you can jump in and do it yourself. We will discuss how to make print versions in The Wikibooks Author (Using Wikibooks/Print versions and PDFs).

Using PDF Versions edit

Some book authors go the extra mile and produce a PDF version of their book. PDF versions can be saved to your hard drive, and can be opened in a PDF reader. Contrary to HTML print versions, a PDF version might not be up to date with the current text of the book on Wikibooks. For the most up to date version, you should check back on Wikibooks to see if there have been any changes.

To create PDF versions, see Using Wikibooks/Print versions and PDFs.

Using Collections edit

Wikibooks has a special software extension called the collections extension. With the collections extension, you can create groups of pages called "collections". In most cases, the pages in a book are used to create these collections, although there is no rule about this: You can pick and mix pages from multiple books together in a collection, if you want.

On the left-hand side of your screen, there is a box with links in it that says "create a book". The links in this box can be used to create collections of pages, or to load a saved collection. We will discuss how to create and use collections in more detail in The Wikibooks Author.

Once you have created a collection, or loaded a premade one, you can go to Special:Collection to see various options. You can save your collection, you can download it in PDF or ODT format, or you can have it printed by our print-on-demand partner PediaPress. PediaPress will print and bind your collection into a book and mail it to you for a reasonable price. A portion of proceeds from these book sales goes to the WMF. None of our authors get any royalties for these books, that helps to keep the cost down for students who need them cheap!

For more information about Collections, see the relevant chapters in The Wikibooks Author (Using Wikibooks/Print versions and PDFs#Collections Extension), or visit Help:Collections.

Using A Wikibook In A Classroom

Wikibooks in Class edit

Books on Wikibooks are textbooks, and are ultimately designed to provide a free quality alternative to traditional printed textbooks. This is a major benefit to schools and students that cannot afford traditional textbooks.

It should come as no surprise then that some teachers around the world print and use Wikibooks in the classroom.

Books on Wikibooks are generally in a state of construction. Books are never "complete", because they can always be updated, improved, expanded, reformatted. However some of our better books, such as our featured books, are good enough that they should be usable in a classroom.

Finding A Textbook On Wikibooks edit

Finding a free textbook to use for a class on Wikibooks is similar to the process of finding a book to use from a traditional book publisher. First, suitable titles must be found from the catalogue. Once found, books need to be read and evaluated to see if they are consistent with your class plans. Then, the book needs to be obtained for the students.

Finding books on Wikibooks is easy, and has been the subject of one of our previous chapters. Keeping in mind that many of our books are in active development, the first best place to look for a new book will be at our list of featured books. These are the books that the Wikibooks community thinks are the highest quality. These aren't the only books in a usable condition, of course, just the best of those.

Books in a higher state of maturity tend to have printable versions, PDF versions, or collections. Lists of books with these features will be visible at Category:Books with print version, Category:Books with PDF version, and Category:Books with Public Collections.

Conversely, visiting Wikibooks Stacks/Departments will allow you to navigate to your particular subject. Most shelf pages will contain lists of books in that shelf that are featured, or that have printable versions in one of our standard formats.

Evaluating A Wikibook edit

Wikibooks has a new software feature called "Flagged Revisions", or "flaggedrevs" for short. The Flaggedrevs extension allows each page on the website to be evaluated in terms of its content, its accuracy, and its coverage. When looking at a book, see if the page has been rated previously, and if it has, see what other reviewers think about it. Obviously the opinions of the teacher will be more important than those of random internet strangers, but reviews can give a good idea about what other people think about the pages, and what features other people think are important.

As you're evaluating the book, feel free to submit a few page reviews of your own, if you are able. We will discuss the reviewer permissions and processes in a later chapter. Also, feel free to post reviews, questions, or comments on the associated talk pages. This way, any problems that you find can be addressed and resolved by other volunteer editors at a later time. Remember, books that aren't perfect for your application yet might very well become perfect for you in the future, if you're willing to write reviews, post suggestions, and maybe make a few edits yourself.

Printing and Distributing a Wikibook edit

Once you have a book selected for use in your class, you are going to need a way to distribute that book to your students. You could just give them the URL of the book, but that's a naive approach: The book could change on a daily basis, which could make your lesson plans difficult to follow. Plus, your students could be making changes that affect the quality of material that other students see. What you need to do is get a stable version of the book that you and your class can rely on. There are a few methods to do this:

  1. Permanent Links: On the left hand side of the screen, you may need to scroll down to see it, is a link that says "Permanent link". Clicking this will take you to the current specific revision of the page. This revision is preserved in the website database and is never changed. If you go to this link, the page will always look exactly the same, even if additional edits or changes are made.
  2. PDF Versions: Some books have a pre-made PDF version that is uploaded to the server. These PDF files are not going to change once you download them, but they also won't reflect any additions or improvements that have been made to the book.
  3. Collections PDF: From a page collection, the software can automatically create a PDF or ODT file for download based on the most recent versions of the pages in the collection. This means that edits, additions, and improvements that you make will be reflected in the generated PDF file. With a collection loaded, go to Special:Collection and click the "download" button.
  4. Collections Print-on-Demand: PDF versions and permanent links are nice if your class has good access to a computer and the internet. However, sometimes it's better to just have a printed book that the students can bring with them into class without needing to bring their computer too. For these cases, Wikibooks has a print-on-demand feature through our publishing partner PediaPress. With a collection loaded, click "Order this book" at Special:Collection to order a copy (or 30) from PediaPress.

Class and Group Projects edit

Traditionally, books are just static sources of information written in one particular way which may not be very helpful to all students in your class. Instead of teaching from a "Dead" or "Static" book, consider using Wikibooks as an interactive learning resource instead. Several groups and classes have successfully used Wikibooks to host interactive book-writing projects. These class projects are very common on Wikibooks, and our members do everything they can to encourage them. Students from one class can write books for students in future classes, so it's a powerful tool to spread knowledge.

Why use a Wikibooks-based Project? edit

Wikibooks makes a very attractive platform for class and group projects for a number of reasons:

  1. Not completely insulated: On Wikibooks, you're using the "real" internet, and have the possibility to interact with real people on it in constructive ways. We're relatively insulated from the bad parts of the internet because of our strict focus on educational goals. Learning how to work in very diverse groups, with people from other countries and cultures, is a very good thing in addition to your primary learning objectives.
  2. Helpful community: At wikibooks, we have a large number of volunteer editors who will be willing to help your project succeed. We can help fix problems, improve formatting, and make helpful suggestions along the way. With a little bit of input and feedback, you can create a higher-quality result than you might be able to otherwise.
  3. Integrated monitoring: MediaWiki, the software that runs Wikibooks, has a number of features for keeping track of people and their edits. On Wikibooks, you can view the complete contribution history of each student, and determine when they are making their edits, and what quality each individual edit has. You can see how students are communicating together on talk pages, and you can see how pages dynamically improve as a result of these interactions.
  4. Easy to use: The wikitext markup at Wikibooks is relatively small but powerful, and the vast majority of editing that you and your class will want to do will be simple to implement. Wikitext is much easier than standard HTML, but the two are mixable if more power of expression is needed.

Picking a Project edit

Picking a project for students to do is almost as difficult as doing the project itself. Many teachers underestimate how difficult it can be to write a complete book. It's quite a daunting task! Teachers may also underestimate the amount of time it takes for students to get acclimated on the site. It's important to pick a task that students will be able to complete, so that there is a real sense of accomplishment for them at the end. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Improve an existing book: Take a book that's in good condition, and incrementally improve it by adding examples, images, and notes.
  2. Adopt a forgotten book: Find a book that's been under-developed and try to breathe new life into it. Evaluate the quality of existing materials, and write your own to fill in the blanks.
  3. Create a new book: This is the hardest task to do. Pick a subject on which Wikibooks does not have an existing book and write one. Make sure to plan it out and try to follow some of our best practices. If you need help or input, our team of volunteers is always ready to help.

Running a Project edit

The way you manage a project can significantly affect its success. Here are a few methods to consider:

Every student writes a chapter
In this situation, you will find that groups are not working until the class reaches their subject. Groups at the end of the book will do less work than groups at the beginning.
Everybody writes a chapter together
In this way, you can have your whole class working on the most recently discussed material. However, with many hands working on a single page, you run the risk of edit conflicts. Also, some students may fall behind because they can't find enough unique work to do that other students aren't doing first.
Everybody writes a feature
Each student writes an individual feature of a page, the whole class works on a single page together. A feature can be an example, or a section, or a table, etc. Every student/group has a specific task to complete, but tasks will be asymmetrical.
Students write and review
Students are in charge of writing certain pages or certain features, but are also in charge of reviewing the work of other students. This helps to promote communication and increases overall quality of the produced book. Students spend more time reviewing and less time writing, which can reduce the volume of generated material in the end.

Suggestions edit

Here are some miscellaneous suggestions:

  1. Make sure all groups follow the writing process: Make plans, draft the material, edit, and revise. Editing and revising can continue throughout the entire project, after initial drafting has been completed.
  2. Don't hesitate to break process: it's a wiki, after all. If you've drafted, edited, and revised, feel free to draft another section, or help somebody else with editing and revising.
  3. Keep track of contributions. Keep track of individual student contributions. Students that edit early and often are more likely to produce higher-quality materials than those that try to dump large volumes of content in a single edit.
  4. Use edit summaries. Every edit should have a description. What did you edit? How much did you edit? Did you write new content that needs to be reviewed, or did you review existing content?

Correcting Errors

Errors edit

You may be here to read, but you also have the power to help if you want to. Writers aren't perfect, and sometimes when a page is written it will contain small spelling and grammar errors. You can always alert other people about the error if you want to, but it's usually easier to fix it yourself. If you find yourself fixing errors frequently, perhaps you need to progress to the section The Wikibooks Editor to learn how to fix things more efficiently.

Wikis aren't static and unchangeable like ordinary printed books are: They are interactive and dynamic. Anybody can change them at any time, even you. This concept may be very new to many people, so this chapter will serve as a gradual introduction to it.

Fixing Errors edit

To fix an error that you find, click the "edit this page" tab at the top of your screen, find the error, correct it, and click Save page. It's an easy process, but there are a lot of complicated things that you can do on a page that aren't all self-evident. We'll save discussion about most of the complicated features for The Wikibooks Editor. Here are some tips to getting started:

  1. Click the "[edit]" link next to a heading to edit only that section. The "edit this page" tab at the top allows you to edit the whole page at once. If the page is very large, finding a single mistake in the wikitext can be difficult. If you edit only one section, however, there is less to look through and individual words or sentences will be easier to find.
  2. Start small! You don't need to post a whole chapter or essay to be a valuable helper here, every single little fix counts. Fix one misspelled word, or one misplaced comma.
  3. Click the Show preview to view your changes before you save them, to make sure you are editing the right place.
  4. Ignore formatting. There are lots of symbols in wikitext that might be confusing: { = # * ; :. Don't bother with these for now. Focus on the words around these symbols.

Every error that you fix improves the quality of the book, both for yourself, and also for our other readers.

Reviewing Pages edit

Read a lot of books or pages here on Wikibooks? You might be interested in our facility to review pages. To become a reviewer, post a message (see details about this below) at WB:RFA asking to become an "editor". Then, you will be able to review pages. The next chapter will discuss reviewing pages.

Getting Help edit

Sometimes a page will have complicated formatting, and you will find yourself in over your head. Don't worry, it happens! If you feel like you do need help from an experienced editor, ask for help at The Reading Room. Don't hesitate to ask for help when you need it - there are many volunteers around who are happy to help, and happy to teach you how to help out more as well.

If you want to raise an issue about a page, and try to start a discussion about a possible way forward, or if you see something that needs to be changed but you don't know how to do it yourself, there are two possible options:

  1. Leave a note on the page's discussion page. Create a header that says, in short, what the problem is, and then describe the problem and possible solutions (if any). Other users will see this discussion and will discuss it to find a solution.
  2. Post a note about it at the Reading Room. This option should be used for big problems, or problems which affect many pages in a book or even many books. The Reading Rooms should not be used to discuss every small problem from every page, but can be used to alert the community to larger or more wide-spread problems. Also, this can be a useful alternative to (1) when editors of a book disagree about the proper way to fix a problem, and community input on the issue is desired.

Messages and Communication edit

There are lots of reasons why you might want to get in touch with another Wikibookian: To commend them for their hard work, to ask for help or guidance, to leave helpful suggestions, to discuss ideas about a book or a page, or just to say hello. Getting in touch with other wikibookians is easy, and there are several places to do it:

  1. User talk pages. Every user has a user talk page. If a users's screenname is "JoeWikibookian", his user talk page is at "User talk:JoeWikibookian". User talk pages are great places to talk to an individual user.
  2. Discussion pages. Every page has a discussion page. At the top of the page, click the "Discussion" tab. This is where you can talk about an individual page.
  3. Community Pages. The Reading Rooms are a series of pages where the community can talk about wide-spread issues. If you want to get some general input about a topic, or want to make some kind of announcement, do it there.

Leaving a message or a note on one of these pages is easy. You can click "edit this page", find the appropriate place (usually at the bottom of the page), and then click Save page. Or, you can click the "+" tab at the top, enter a title and a message, and then click Save page. It's up to you how you want to do it, but you should explore both methods.

When you write a message on a talk or discussion page, you should always sign it with --~~~~. This posts your personal signature (so people know who to respond to) and also a timestamp (so people know when the message was left).

Vandalism edit

Sometimes a vandal will add inappropriate material to a page, or remove all the content from a page. It can be hard work to fix this, so if you find vandalism, report it at Administrative Assistance. Our team of volunteers and administrators will fix the problem for you. If you want to learn how they do this, you may be interested in reading The Wikibooks Editor or The Wikibooks Administrator.

Becoming an Editor or Author edit

Wikibookians are all volunteers, and they get to choose their roles and their level of involvement. Wikibookians who find themselves fixing errors, or adding new material are taking the first few steps to becoming an editor or an author here. It is important that you find the tasks that you want to work on, and that you do things in a way that you enjoy. If you have decided that you want to be a more active participant here at Wikibooks, there are many possible paths for you to follow.

For more tips on how to become an editor, and make Wikibooks a better place, read the section on How To Edit A Wikibook.

For more tips on how to become an author and create new books and new book content, see Contributing To An Existing Wikibook and Starting A New Wikibook.

Notice that this is not an exclusive decision, you can easily become an author and an editor, or you could find a role that is neither of the two. The important part is that you find something that you enjoy doing.

Reviewing Pages

The Flaggedrevs Extension edit

Wikibooks has a special software feature called Flagged revisions, or flaggedrevs for short. Flaggedrevs allows users to review pages and grade them based on their quality. Readers and editors make some of the best reviewers because they see a large number of pages here on Wikibooks, while authors may tend to only see the books they are writing.

Flaggedrevs allows users with special permissions called "Editor" and "Reviewer" to review and grade pages. Editor permissions are automatically given to Wikibooks users after a certain amount of time, and after a certain amount of edits have been made. To get editor permissions earlier, or to get them if you aren't an active contributor, write a request at WB:RFP.

There are three judging criteria in flaggedrevs: Composition, Accuracy, and Coverage. Composition is the quality of the writing, Accuracy is the verifiable truth value of a page, and Coverage is the breadth and depth of the material. In each criterion there are 5 levels of quality: Poor, acceptable, good, great, featured. "Featured" is typically reserved for pages that are so good that other pages should use them as an example. Users with editor permissions can mark a page poor, acceptable, or good. Reviewers can mark a page as being great or featured. Because of this difference, Reviewers need to have a discerning eye for quality writing, and should probably be familiar with some of the content discussions at Wikibooks. See WB:FB and WB:RFD for examples of places where we discuss the quality of books.

Reviewing a Page edit

Reviewing a page is easy, once you have the permissions. At the bottom of a reviewable page is a box with several controls and a button in it. To review the page, set the appropriate level options in the box, and then click to save it. In some situations, you may be asked to enter a comment describing why you marked a page in the way that you did.

Note that you cannot mix a "poor" review level with the "acceptable" level. For a page to be considered stable, it must at least have an acceptable level of composition, accuracy, and coverage. Pages that do not meet this level of criteria should be treated as drafts, where users that do not yet have editor privileges will expect their changes to be applied immediately.

Page Criteria edit

When reviewing a page, there are four levels describing the quality of the page. Knowing how to review a page means knowing how to judge a book using the criteria for each of the levels. The levels are more than just grades for the page, they are also a checklist that editors can follow to bring a page up to the quality seen in a featured book. If all the pages in a book are basically featured quality, the book could easily be nominated for the honor at WB:FB. Of course, having individual pages be featured book quality doesn't mean that the book itself is also featured quality. There needs to be an emergent quality to the book where pages build on each other in a logical and consistent way for the book to become featured. If the pages don't work together, the book is probably more of a macropedia than a textbook and needs additional work.

Examining Quality edit

When reviewing the basic quality of a page, ask yourself, "How well is it written?" Wikibooks is a text-based content website, so everything we do here revolves around the quality of our writing. The Wiki process does not demand that everything be written perfectly, but that successive editors and authors can improve a page incrementally by fixing errors and omissions as they are found. Pages should aspire to be technically correct in terms of spelling and grammar, but must also have flow, consistency, and structure. Readers hate to be presented with a bland wall of text, so things like headings, lists, templates, tables, and images should be employed to break the page up into bits that a reader can easily absorb.

Well-presented information is also only as good as its accuracy. If a page is well-written and has good coverage, it's still worthless if it's untrue or misleading. Wikibooks is an educational resource, and should aspire to teach accurate information to readers.

Even then, if the amount of material that a page actually covers, as compared to the amount of material that it should cover, is lacking, its quality may suffer. Good coverage means that a page covers all the topics that it intends to cover, and covers all of them well. Consider a page called "Arithmetic" that only covers addition, or a page called "Animals" that only covers mammals. Or, consider a stub page which only has a few short sentences about a large number of topics, without actually providing any interesting information about any of them.

The composition, accuracy, and coverage of content all need to be taken into account when reviewing. There are four levels that reviewers can make use of to indicate where a page stands.

Poor/Unrated Quality edit

This page either has never been reviewed, or has been reviewed and is terrible. Spelling and grammar are likely off; the page has no flow and makes no sense. Content may be inaccurate, with the page nothing short of absurd, talking about pseudoscience, nonsense, or other garbage; content untrue, misleading, and maybe even dangerous to readers. These pages are also typically incomplete stubs, providing only a brief overview, or a lot of empty sections.

Minimal Quality edit

This page uses proper spelling and grammar and is written so that other people can read and understand it. Spelling and grammar don't need to be perfect, but it should be reasonable and easy enough for an experienced editor to clean up quickly. Accuracy of the content may be lacking with important details missing and certain aspects incorrect. The page will be short on examples, and short on discussion to explain things in an understandable way. It includes the bare amount of information on the topic, and doesn't include background information, references to other topics, examples, or in-depth discussions. This page needs an author to sit down and start drafting more content as soon as possible.

Average Quality edit

Once the words are spelled correctly and the sentences are constructed properly, it's time to focus on the overall structure of the page. Ideas should flow logically from one paragraph to the next. Later topics should build on earlier topics without going on tangents or requiring prerequisite knowledge that has never been discussed. The page should be broken down into sections and subsections, and maybe use some templates and tables to include additional information. The information it presents is not obviously incorrect, and maybe only suffers in certain details and lacks references. The page should probably include a high-level overview, some examples, some background information, and other pieces of information that readers will want.

Good Quality edit

Consistent style is the next step in page development. The page should not just be technically correct in spelling and grammar, or written with good paragraph and section structure. The page must be written in a consistent voice that properly accounts for the target audience. Wikijunior books for children should be written with high-energy and child-friendly vocabulary. Books for students, adults or professionals should all be written accordingly. To achieve this, the authors of a page should probably be familiar with pages like Wikibooks:Reading Levels. The page presents correct information, but also provides the tools to prove that the information is true. This proof can come in many ways including references to primary sources, do-it-yourself verification, or building logically on topics covered in other pages from the same book. Some books may require a certain amount of prerequisite knowledge in readers, and will take certain facts to be self-evident, so this should be considered when reviewing. Readers should be able to read this page and get all the information that they need on the topic. The page should have lots of good examples, in-depth discussions, overviews, and background. The page should set the reader up with all the information they need on this topic throughout the rest of the book, and maybe more than that.

The Roles Of The Wikibooks Administrator

Administrators edit

Administrators are regular Wikibookians, who started off as ordinary readers, editors, and writers. However, over time these users have gained experience in helping the project beyond their own books and they've also gained the trust of the community. When a user has been active for a long time, expressed an interest in helping the project, and has gained the trust and respect of the community, they can be nominated for additional tools at Requests for Permissions.

The community will discuss the nomination, and if people generally agree, that user will be promoted with the necessary permissions. There are many different types of permissions available for different uses, including importer, reviewer, uploader, administrator, bureaucrat, and CheckUser.

The list of all current administrators can be found in the special ListUsers page.

Administrator Tools edit

Administrators are just regular Wikibooks users, they are not special nor superior to any user in any way. The only difference is that they have access to certain tools which have been found to be potentially disruptive and therefore are not available to all new users by default. Using these tools requires a certain amount of trust from the community, and usually some sort of knowledge of the related policies and guidelines concerning them. Some of these tools are:

Deleting and Undeleting
Only an administrator can delete a page, and only an administrator can view and restore deleted pages. Deleting pages can be very disruptive and can be hurtful to the author's feelings, so it is not to be done in haste.
Blocking Users
Some users just cause trouble, and an administrator can block these users from editing. This is used as a preventative measure, to help prevent vandals from destroying the hard work of our editors and writers.
Importing Pages
Administrators and importers have a special tool for importing pages from other Wiki projects, such as Wikipedia. Importing preserves the edit history of the page, which is a necessary criteria of the GFDL license.
This tool allows administrators and reviewers to quickly undo vandalism.
Protecting and Unprotecting
Page protection is used sparingly at Wikibooks. Admins can use a variety of page protection options to restrict who can edit, move or create a certain page or set of pages in response to an edit war or vandalism.
Admins and reviewers can mark pages as reviewed, to help spread out the task of checking pages for problems as they are created.

Bureaucrats edit

Administrators who have been members at Wikibooks for a long time, and have been both active and held in high regard can be nominated for bureaucratship at Requests for Permissions. If the community agrees, that user can be promoted to bureaucrat. Bureaucrat nominations are more important than administrator nominations, and they are only agreed to with extreme caution.

Bureaucrats, in addition to the tools of ordinary administrators, have the ability to promote new administrators, and to set and unset the bot flag. These abilities can potentially be very disruptive to the community if used improperly, and so only well-trusted users are given these tools. Perhaps the primary role of the bureaucrat is to judge community consensus and act on its behalf. For example, for account renames (which are handled centrally), a Global Renamer will consult with a bureaucrat if the chosen name seems contentious.

The list of current bureaucrats is found at the special ListUsers page.

CheckUsers edit

By registering an account, you protect sensitive information about yourself, such as your IP address, from being displayed publicly. However, CheckUsers have special tools for examining your IP address and other information about your internet connection. A CheckUser only checks this information when there is a problem with sockpuppetry or vandalism. In addition to local policy, CheckUsers are also bound by the Wikimedia privacy policy. Abusing the tool and revealing private information about the users here could lead to serious consequences for the CheckUser, both on and off the wiki. CheckUsers often participate in issues which affect many wikis, because things like multi-user vandalism attacks are typically spread out on multiple projects.

When an administrator has demonstrated skill and perseverance in fighting vandalism, they can be nominated for CheckUser at Requests for Permissions. Because of the legal ramifications of being able to see protected information about users, CheckUsers must be very trusted, and they must also identify themselves to the WMF as being above the age of majority, except in exceptional cases. In the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, the age of majority is 18.

Because of WMF policy, a CheckUser nomination is not a regular discussion, but is instead a vote. A CheckUser must receive 25-30 supporting votes with at least 70-80% support in order to be promoted. This requirement is non-negotiable, and if it is not met the stewards at Meta will not perform the promotion.

Current CheckUsers are listed at the special ListUsers page.

Admins as Leaders edit

Admins and bureaucrats don't have any additional authority by virtue of their extra permissions, but many of them do tend to take informal leadership roles in community discussions. Admins typically have been users for a long time and have usually accrued a large amount of experience and knowledge about the workings of the project. This is especially true of experience in performing administrative duties. If they were not knowledgeable, helpful, and experienced, these users would not have been promoted to admins in the first place. Also, users who demonstrate these qualities typically are nominated by their peers to become admins.

Admins may often feel that they are "required" to act in a leadership role, and they may also find that other users look up to them for help and guidance. Users should be prepared for this additional pressure and responsibility before they accept any adminship nomination.

Understanding The Community edit

The Wikibooks community is large and diverse, but at the same time it is relatively small compared to Wikipedia. It is important to remember that many Wikibookians are not available every day, and that many Wikibookians take short breaks, or even entire seasons off from volunteering here. For this reason, it is important that discussions which require community input, such as WB:RFP or WB:RFD, be allowed to continue for at least a week or two. More important decisions, such as discussions about altering site policy, should be allowed to remain open for much longer, to ensure sufficient community involvement. There are no hard and fast rules about the minimum lengths of time required, so the judgement of the community members is relied upon to keep things flowing smoothly. Questions where the answer is obvious and unequivocal do not need to be kept open for very long at all. Complex and multifaceted discussions need more user input and therefore should remain open for longer. When it comes to important discussions, more viewpoints helps to create a more comprehensive and viable resolution.

Wikibookians are also volunteers and there is nothing that a volunteer "must" do. Wikibookians, including admins, are not required to do anything that they do not want to do: Editors cannot be forced to make edits they do not want to make, admins cannot be forced to take admin actions that they do not agree with, etc. It is important to treat all Wikibookians with the proper respect, and to treat them like valuable assets and not slaves or servants.

Norms and Guidelines edit

A general norm at Wikibooks is that only people with the power to enact a decision can actually make that decision. For example, only an admin can choose to delete a page. Only a bureaucrat can choose to promote a new admin, or rename a user. Only a CheckUser can choose to perform a check on a user. Nobody can be "forced" to do anything that they don't want to do, regardless of what the rest of the community wants.

When we start to talk about many of the admin functions in the next few pages, we will be using many phrases such as " the discretion of an admin", or "If an admin chooses...". These aren't rules, and they aren't even really suggestions. Admins, like all other Wikibooks users, are encouraged to use their best judgment when making decisions, and best judgment cannot be forced nor scripted.

Becoming an Admin edit

Nominations edit

Potential admins can be nominated at WB:RFP. That nomination can also be a self-nomination (a "request") if the user is so inclined. If it was not a self-nomination, the candidate must accept or refuse the nomination before any action can be taken. When you nominate a person for a new permission, it's polite to send them a notice to let them know about it and ask for their acceptance.

Discussion edit

In an RFP discussion Wikibookians will tend to give an approve/disapprove position, typically using the   Support and   Oppose signs. Some Wikibookians will cast bare votes like this, others will write thoughtful comments explaining their opinions on the matter. Different admins and bureaucrats have different styles when it comes to interpreting community consensus and determining a resolution. It's rarely the case that these discussions are decided by a simple raw vote tally, but it's not wrong if the vote count is used as a factor in making the decision. Admins and Bureaucrats will each like to see different levels of community participation, different thresholds of supporting versus opposing votes/comments, and maybe even other additional factors.

While it's not always encouraged, Administrators and Bureaucrats are empowered to make decisions for the good of the project, even if those decisions actually contradict community opinion. A good and wise administrator will realize that vigilantism like this is not usually a good thing, because it disregards the opinions of so many good wikibookians and because it can upset so many people.

De-Adminship edit

An existing admin can be nominated for de-adminship ("deadminship") for a variety of reasons. Nominating an admin for deadminship when that admin doesn't deserve it for some reason can be considered a very uncivil and unkind act, so be prepared to argue the case if you make such a nomination. Some reasons for nominating an admin for de-adminship (or bureaucrat for de-bureaucratship, etc) are as follows:

  1. Clear misuse of given tools
  2. Clear abuse of community trust, or wanton disregard for policy.
  3. Clear inactivity for a long time
  4. Abusive or disruptive behavior, harassment, personal insults, or any other kind of negative behavior

The vetting and discussion processes for new admins are typically not prone to much abuse, and so the people who get promoted tend to be level-headed and trustworthy. It's also worth noting that all people make mistakes, and adminship will not be revoked for every misstep and every mistake.

Deleting, Undeleting, and Importing

Deleting Pages edit

Deleting pages is a task that administrators do not engage in lightly. There are two ways for a page to be deleted: Through the Requests for Deletion (RfD) and through speedy deletions.

Requests for Deletion edit

At Requests for Deletion, Wikibookians can nominate books and pages that don't meet the project's inclusion criteria. The Wikibooks community will discuss the request and, if they agree, the page(s) can be deleted. Over time, a number of fancy templates have been created to help manage these discussions. While it isn't required to use these templates when discussing, or when closing the discussion, it certainly helps. Plus, if you don't use the templates, somebody else may come along and correct you.

A request for deletion is not a majority voting process: nothing on Wikibooks truly is. There is only one real rule that needs to be followed: When in doubt, do not delete. However, this rule does not require 100% agreement in order to delete a page. An admin must not only tally the comments in favor and opposed, but must also read their rationales. Using all this information together, the admin must come to a firm conclusion. In other words, the community may express doubts, but the deleting admin must have none.

Given the freedom of admins, there is a slim possibility that an admin may choose to delete a nominated page, despite the community being in favor of keeping that page. This is permissible, but the admin should be prepared to defend the action with solid reasoning. While possible, it is highly recommended that admins avoid this kind of vigilantism, except in the most exceptional of circumstances.

Speedy Deletions edit

Some pages can be deleted quickly, without having to be nominated on Requests for Deletion. These are known as speedy deletions or simply "speedys". A page only qualifies as a speedy deletion if:

  1. It is vandalism or spam, or other useless information that is not part of a book
  2. If it is a user page, and that user has asked the page to be deleted
  3. If it is the user page of a vandal who has been blocked forever
  4. If the page is just a repost of a page that has already been deleted
  5. If the page is part of a book, and the authors of that book have agreed to delete the page
  6. If the page has been nominated for RFD, and the community has decided to delete.

Use Template:delete for speedy deletions.

If the book does not fall under one of these categories, it should be nominated at Requests for Deletion instead of being speedy deleted. Notice that rule 1 above implies that the page history contains only vandalism or spam as well. If a page was useful, and was replaced with vandalism, it should be reverted instead of deleted. Before deleting, always check the page history.

The fifth rule isn't technically a "speedy", but it highlights an important point: The authors of a book, if there are several of them, form a mini-community within Wikibooks. These mini-communities are empowered to make decisions about their books. In fact, we like to think that the authors of a book will understand that book well enough to make deletion decisions about pages in that book. Nobody knows a book better than its author. If an individual page from a book is nominated for deletion, it is common practice to move that discussion to the book's talk page. When the authors there reach a decision, the page can be deleted as a speedy. In short, it's not really a speedy because there is a discussion about the page, and a discussion, etc. Once the decision is made, however, an admin can treat the page as a speedy, block the deletion if the content is found significant (especially if no consensus process occurred) or anyone can change the speedy into a general community discussion by re-tasking the "speedy" for a request for deletion process.

The sixth rule also doesn't sound like a speedy at all. Once a book has been slated for deletion, sometimes the {{Impending Doom}} template is placed onto the page, to give the authors time to save a copy of the book. This is done as a courtesy. The {{Impending Doom}} template puts the book into the speedy deletion category, and technically any admin can delete that book as a speedy upon seeing the template.

Books that don't meet the inclusion criteria, or that don't appear to be appropriate textbooks for whatever reason can be nominated for deletion at WB:RFD. The community can discuss the issue, and once a general agreement is reached, the page will be either kept or deleted (or sometimes merged with other work, or transwikied to another project).

Nominating for Deletion edit

When a page is nominated for deletion, mark it with {{rfd}}, and create an entry at WB:RFD with the reason for nomination. Once the community has discussed the matter, and consensus has been reached (or not), the nomination can be closed. This makes it clear that discussion is over, and clarifies the outcome. If the community decides to delete, replace {{rfd}} with {{Impending Doom}}. If the community decides to keep, remove {{rfd}} and place {{rfd-survived}} on the talk page.

Listing Nominations on the RfD Page edit

On the RfD page, list the name of the book or page using a link (i.e. [[Pagename]]) in the header of your rationale. Then in the message box, type your rationale for why you believe the item in question does not satisfy the inclusion criteria. Make sure to sign your post with four tildes ( ~~~~ ).

Purpose the RfD Page edit

A discussion at "Requests for Deletion" is not a "vote" in the sense of a democracy, majority-rules decision. Rather, debates are made until the community arrives at a consensus about what should be done about the nomination. If no consensus can be made, a user will generally attempt to synthesize a compromise solution.

Several templates are in use for different types of comments. The {{keep}} template is used when you are in favor of keeping content, and {{del}} is used if you are in favor of deletion. It is highly recommended that you leave comments near your opinion because the decision is not based on majority vote but quality of argument and community consensus.

For general comments that are meant to be neutral, use the {{comment}} template.

Viewing Deleted Pages edit

Admins can view deleted pages, and they can also view a list of a users' deleted contributions. In general, information in these pages should not be made public, unless there has been a specific request for the information (such as on WB:RFU, described below) and the page in question does not contain any sensitive or inappropriate information. Admins should be careful and cautious when viewing deleted pages, and making those pages available to other users.

Undeleting Pages edit

It's less common than page deletions, but there is a mechanism for undeleting pages as well. If a page has been wrongfully deleted, or if a community member wants to reexamine the deletion decision, the page can be nominated at Requests for Undeletion. If the community agrees to undelete the page, an admin can undelete it.

Many times an admin will temporarily undelete a page, so that an author or reader can extract information from it. It is left to the discretion of admins whether and when to do this. A page that has been undeleted temporarily can be deleted as a speedy when it is no longer needed.

Importing edit

Often a book can take advantage of work done on Wikibooks' sister projects. In this case, the page should be imported and merged into the book. This is better than a simple cut and paste operation, as it brings not only the wiki markup, but also the page history. Preserving a page's history is required in order to respect the GFDL copyright terms.

Requesting an import edit

Non-administrator and non-importer can ask for an import on this page.

Using Imported Data as the Basis for a New Book or Chapter edit

If the page is to be used as the starting point, it can simply be imported into Wikibooks by using the Import tool. The page is imported into Transwiki name-space, and then moved to whatever the new book's name will be.

Incorporating Imported Data into an Existing Chapter edit

If the page is to be merged with an existing book chapter, things get a little more complicated. The first step is to import the page as outlined previously. The imported page can be moved from the transwiki space to the book chapter - using the same name as the existing book chapter. This will cause the existing chapter to be deleted with the imported material taking its place. The administrator can then undelete all the previous material. At this point, any editor can take over and edit the chapter to incorporate old and new material, cutting and pasting to the heart's content. If the content was moved before this process, you'll want to copy the wiki markup of the existing page before beginning, and use it to replace the new version after undeleting.

To summarize:

  • Import page
  • Move imported page on top of existing chapter — this will delete the existing chapter
  • Undelete chapter material
  • Edit (or restore to its original state)


Vandalism edit

Spam is when outside groups try to use Wikibooks as a vehicle for advertising. Spammers, often automated spam programs, insert links to external commercial websites on various pages.

Vandals are not financially motivated. They disrupt the project by adding inappropriate pages and content.

Types of Disruption edit

There are several common types of disruption that have occurred at Wikibooks in the past. Some of these types have been mitigated through technical measures. Some have simply become less popular for vandals over time. Others are still in occasional use. In general, Wikibooks has very low levels of spam and vandalism, especially compared to what it once had. However, it's a problem that never goes away completely and that our administrators and vandal fighters should be prepared for.

"Friends of gays" vandalism
This is the type of vandalism where one immature editor makes inappropriate remarks about other people they know from offline. Often, it's considered an easy way to put an insult online in a place that looks "official". This can be comments like "John is gay" or "Sarah is a whore", and are usually inserted without much fanfare on a single page. The goal is to insult the target not to disrupt the Wikibooks project, so this type of vandalism is usually found in unpopular and rarely-visited pages that only the attacker and victim are likely to be looking at. Since the goal is not to disrupt the project, these types of vandals are not serious and do not need to be dealt with harshly.
Image vandalism
This is where an inappropriate or pornographic image is uploaded to Wikibooks (or pre-existing images are used inappropriately), and it is added to several pages. Particularly difficult forms of this vandalism inserts the image into popular templates, which causes the inappropriate image to be displayed in many places. This type of vandalism used to be very common, however new technical measures make it less appealing for vandals. New accounts must wait 4 days before they can upload an image, precisely because of this type of vandalism.
Page move vandalism
Page move vandalism is when the vandal renames a page to something inappropriate. A tame example would be moving Main Page to Main Page on Wheels!!. This type of vandalism used to be very common, like image vandalism. However, new technical measures such as fast reverts of page moves and requiring new users to be autoconfirmed before moving pages have helped reduce this.
Personal Attack vandalism
This type of vandalism represents a personal attack on one or more editors here at Wikibooks, and can be comprised of image vandalism, page move vandalism, or other types. Common targets are typically admins and active vandal fighters who have piqued a personal interest among the vandals. This type of vandalism usually occurs in the User: and User talk: namespaces, especially on the user and user talk pages of the person being targeted.
"Is this for real?" 'vandalism'
This is a very benign type of vandalism where new and incredulous users post test edits on pages to see if wiki is real. This type of vandalism, which isn't even called "vandalism" in most cases, is less common than it used to be just because society has become more familiar with wikis and people are less surprised by it. These types of edits should be redirected to the Wikibooks:Sandbox, or to a user's page, instead of occurring in the content or discussion pages. These users are often just being curious, and shouldn't normally be blocked because of it.
Page blanking vandalism
This is vandalism where a user deletes all or substantial portions of the content from a page. Removing all content will be obvious in Special:RecentChanges where the system will automatically insert a message that the page has been blanked; removing lots of content creates the (-14,528) alerts. Page blanking is not always vandalism, and sometimes it's a perfectly normal part of the editing and authoring process. Keep an eye out for these kinds of edits, and don't hesitate to revert them and start a discussion if you are worried.
Edit summary vandalism
Using disruptive and inappropriate edit summaries, as part of scandalous edits or even as part of edits that otherwise look normal, is still considered vandalism. Those bad edit summary messages can be trapped in the edit history of the page forever, or until it is removed by an admin or a user with oversight access.

There are dozens of other types of vandalism, and many repeat vandals have particular signatures that can be used to identify their handiwork. However, these are some of the main types to be aware of.

Watching For Vandalism edit

Some Wikibookians watch the Recent Changes list to try and monitor for vandalism. Other users monitor the vandalism alerts on IRC. Sometimes users will find vandalism and report them at the Administrative Assistance reading room. A good admin should keep these pages on their watchlist, or find another way to stay alerted about vandalism.

Many types of vandalism will become obvious on the recent changes list, such as page-move vandalism, edit summary vandalism, or page blanking.

Fighting Vandalism edit

When fighting vandalism, the first task is to block the offending user. The length of the block depends on various factors. Once the user is blocked, you can start reverting the vandal edits.

However, if there are multiple vandals, checkuser help is going to be needed to determine where the vandals are coming from. A checkuser can determine if multiple vandal accounts are coming from the same computer and if so, block all of them at once. Another benefit to checkusers is that when a source for vandalism has been blocked, no new vandal accounts can be created from that computer. Here is a general checklist or playbook to follow when dealing with a vandal:

  1. Block the vandal or vandals first.
  2. If there are multiple vandals, post a message on WB:AN to get help from a checkuser. If no checkusers are around, the stewards can be contacted at Meta to do the job.
  3. If there is a lot of vandalism, request help cleaning it at WB:AN too.
  4. Start cleaning the vandalism by reverting all page edits made by the vandal.

If the vandal creates inappropriate pages or uploads inappropriate images as part of the vandalism, they cannot be reverted and need to be deleted. Admins can delete the page, while other users can mark it with {{delete}}.

Open Proxies edit

A side note to the discussion about vandalism is the discussion about open proxies. An open proxy is an internet IP address which is available for other people to use. The result is that a person can appear to be editing from the open proxy, while concealing their real IP address. WMF policy is that open proxies should be banned for a year. While this isn't always ideal (there are many people who rely on open proxies for regular internet access) it does cut down on vandalism dramatically.

Some admins choose to mass-block open proxies, some admins choose not to bother with it. Technically, an open proxy can be blocked indefinitely, but we don't make people do it if they don't want to.

Vandalism Waves edit

Some vandals are highly determined, and may use multiple user accounts and multiple IP addresses (typically open proxies) to attack. Sometimes, these attacks can feel overwhelming. Here are some tips for getting through a difficult vandalism attack:

Block first, revert second
This way, the vandal won't be creating more messes while you go to clean up the previous messes. Also blocked users can request to be unblocked on their user talk pages. This means that if a person is blocked in error, those blocks can be reversed.
Use bot rollback
This advanced technique hides flood vandalism, and the reverts, from Special:RecentChanges.
Get Help
Even formidable administrators can use some support when dealing with a tricky vandal. Multiple users and admins should tackle the problem together. Ordinary users can recruit administrator help by posting a request at Administrative Assistance or reporting in IRC. Remember that even non-admins can undo page edits or (for reviewers) revert the page back to a good revision in the page history. The only thing admins are really needed for is blocking vandals and deleting pages.
Watch the Recent Changes List
Some users watch the list in real time on IRC, but refreshing the Special:Recentchanges page every couple of minutes is good too. Make sure you keep track of what pages are being targeted, and where the cleanup effort is making progress.
Temporarily protect pages
Administrators may need to protect, for a short period of time, pages which normally wouldn't be protected against editing. If a vandal is persistently attacking one page repeatedly, protecting that page will slow the vandal down (or cause the vandal to lose interest all together). If you need to protect a page that gets heavy traffic (such as the reading room or other discussion pages) leave a message about the protection.

Blocking and Unblocking edit

Blocking users is a necessary weapon in the fight against vandalism. However blocking non-vandals is something that should almost never be done, except in the most extreme circumstances. User blocks can be very disruptive and demoralizing. For that reason, except in cases of obvious vandalism or serial spam should a user be blocked. However, a block is not a one-size-fits-all solution, there are many options that can be set by the blocking admin to affect the way a block is performed.

Block Duration edit

The duration of a block is the most obvious option that an admin can modify. A user can be blocked for as little as a few minutes, and as long as indefinitely. When deciding a block duration, the admin should check how long similar blocks have been for in the past, and how serious was the offense.

Users who are being disruptive but are acting like a new user (adding "friends of gays" vandalism, or making test edits) should be talked to first. If they don't respond to messages, they can be blocked for a short period. If you block a user temporarily, leave a message on their talk page explaining how long the block was, why they were blocked, and what the expectations are for them to return to regular editing. Some users will just disappear after that, others will learn their lesson and become normal editors here.

Some users are not so harmless and actually make a concerted effort to disrupt the project. These types of users are "vandals", and can be dealt with more suddenly and harshly. These users, who are only interested in disruption and are not experimenting, are not ever going to become normal editors and do not need to be warned or treated kindly. Accounts which have been created for the sole purpose of vandalism can be blocked indefinitely on sight without warning.

Block Reason edit

There is a drop-down list of the most common blocking reasons. If possible, a reason should be selected from the list when a user is blocked for a common offense. Sometimes, the reason why a user is blocked is not well-suited to the pre-existing explanations, and a custom explanation is in order. When explaining a user block, be as descriptive as you can to show why the user has been blocked. These reasons will appear in the logs so that they can be considered by future admins who might be considering an unblock request.

Block Options edit

There are three options when blocking users which may have a profound effect on the user. Some of these options are cryptic:

Prevent account creation
Preventing account creation means that if an IP address is blocked, the user will not be able to create any accounts from that IP until the block expires. This is primarily useful for when a vandal is using a series of sock-puppets from a single source IP address.
Automatically block the last IP address used by this user, and any subsequent IPs they try to edit from
The second option, often called "autoblock" is used when blocking a username when the IP address is not known. This option blocks that user, blocks the user's IP address, and any additional IP addresses that the user might try to use. This can be a very valuable vandalism fighting tool, especially when sock-puppetry is suspected and no Checkusers are available to run a check. There are two things to note about this kind of block:
  1. This may large groups of IP addresses to be blocked automatically, including proxy addresses that are shared by many legitimate users (such as AOL shared IP addresses).
  2. Each block will show up individually in the block logs, and to remove the blocks or to modify the block time, each block will have to be examined individually (this can become quite a large number).
Prevent user from sending e-mail
Blocked users are, by default, enabled to send email to other users. This is a useful aid in discussing a block, or requesting an unblock. However users which are blatant vandals or spammers should have this right revoked to prevent spam or vandalism emails.

Changing Block Parameters edit

Historically, one had to unblock and re-block a user to change the settings of the block. Recently, this was changed so administrators can change the settings without unblocking. Use the "change block settings" link, or simply use Special:Block/User.

Partial blocks edit

Historically, the only way to block a user was to prevent them from editing the entire site. With the introduction of partial blocks, it is now possible to block users to, for instance, a particular textbook. This is very useful if the contributor is problematic only in that section of the project (for instance, edit warring) and is otherwise a productive editor. It is also possible to allow full editing but block email access only.

Unblock Requests edit

A user can request unblock on their user talk page. Administrators should consult the admin who placed the block, except in obvious, uncontroversial cases. An admin may, at their discretion, unblock the user or engage in a discussion with that user about the terms for being unblocked. Caution and discretion are advised, however, because many vandals use bogus unblock requests as an additional form of harassment and vandalism. Users abusing the ability to edit their talk page should have that ability revoked. Previously, this was done by full-protecting the page, but administrators can now adjust the block settings to disallow the blocked user from editing the user talk page. If abuse continues from IPs or new accounts, then protection should be placed in addition to blocking other users/IPs.

CheckUsers are privy to private system logs which are not accessible by the public or administrators. Blocks marked as {{checkuserblock}} or "per CU" etc are not to be lifted without consultation with project CheckUsers.

Emergency: Rogue Admin edit

Possibly the worst-case scenario is a rogue admin or bureaucrat account. It has never happened on Wikibooks, but it has happened on other wikis, notably the English Wikipedia and English Wiktionary, before. Typically, this happens when an administrator's password is discovered by a vandal. It is not unheard of on Wikipedia for a regular admin to become disgruntled with the project and act out negatively as well. The vandal using the administrator's account, or the disgruntled admin, can then go on a rampage blocking ordinary users, deleting pages and unblocking other vandals to destroy the project.

A quick solution would be to block the rogue admin, who can do nothing but block you (admins can no longer unblock themselves). Bureaucrats are not able to demote an administrator, so the only help after that will come from the stewards at Meta. In the event of a rogue admin, the first and most important task is for people to request help from the stewards and/or block the rogue admin if possible. Once the admin has been demoted and blocked, the cleanup effort can begin.

This scenario is a major reason why all Wikibookians, especially those with additional tools, should choose a strong password and (for admins) consider applying two-factor authentication. If a vandal is able to get access to your account, they can cause long term damage not only to the project but to your reputation as well.

See also edit

Advanced Administration

Advanced Topics edit

In this page we are going to discuss a variety of administrator-related topics. Some topics are for all admins, while others are only for bureaucrats or checkusers.

History Merging edit

The Wikibooks site licenses (GFDL and Creative Commons) require that the history pages, and thus the trail of authorship and attribution, must be preserved. This is one of the reasons why we have the import tool, instead of simply using copy and paste moves from other wikis. The import tool preserves the page history, which helps us to stay in compliance with the license.

Copy and paste mergers between pages are technically a violation of the license. There are two ways to avoid this problem. The first is to provide a backlink to the history of the merged page. This can be done with a short note in the edit summary including a permanent link to the version copied. The better method is to merge the histories.

How to Merge edit

Historically administrators used some loopholes in the deletion system to merge the histories:

  1. Open the edit view for the top revision of the target page in another window or tab;
  2. Move the source page to the target page;
    • You will be warned that the target page already exists, and asked if you would like to delete it;
    • Delete the target page;
  3. Go to the history view for the target page and undelete the deleted revisions with a reason like "history merge";
  4. Go to the edit view you opened at the beginning;
    • Save this revision with an edit summary like "restoring current version"

If all has gone according to plan, you will have your chosen revision on top, with all previous history of both pages mixed together in the page history. More recently a Merge History tool has been developed and is available to Administrators.

User Renames edit

User renaming is reserved for stewards and global renamers because the account can be used on all the foundation wikis, and is very much ignored in policy or guideline documentation. Because of this, they are given wide latitude in determining whether and when to rename users. This section will attempt to outline some of the common practices, but should not be misconstrued as a description of things that "always" happen, or that "must" happen.

The renaming process is typically facilitated through email, so people who are requesting a username change should have a valid email address registered, and should have their preferences set to accept emails from other users. In this way, if there is a problem with the rename, the steward can stay in touch with the user.

Doppelgangers edit

A doppelganger is when a person creates the same username on Wikibooks as a real user on another WMF project, such as Wikipedia. This often happens as a form of harassment or personal attack, and is generally not tolerated.

Another common occurrence is for people to create usernames that appear similar to another screenname, in order to impersonate or harass other users. A MediaWiki extension was created that prevents usernames from being created if they are too similar to an existing username. Unfortunately, this extension creates new problems, as legitimate users may be prevented from registering a desired username. Admins (not just bureaucrats) may follow this link to create a username and bypass the protection mechanism: CREATE NEW ACCOUNT.

When you create a new account for a user, make sure you get that user's email address. You can then email them the username and the password. Make sure the user does the following immediately:

  1. Change the password to something strong.
  2. Register an email address for contact, in case there is a problem.

Usurpation edit

Usurpation is the act where one user assumes a username owned by another person. Wikipedia has a number of strict guidelines on this subject, but Wikibooks does not. However, a lack of rules on the subject does not mean that username usurpations are performed regularly or without proper consideration.

While all the details are left up to the judgment of the stewards, a usurped username typically needs to be:

  1. Blocked indefinitely with little or no hope of ever being unblocked
  2. Have few if any legitimate edits, and few if any log entries (such as file uploads, page moves, etc)
  3. Have been created a long time ago, and not having been used for a long time.

If the username to be usurped has an associated email address, a request should typically be sent to ensure that the current owner of the username is amenable to the usurpation process.

Admin Promotions edit

Admin promotions, bureaucrat promotions, and granting the bot flag are performed by a bureaucrat in response to affirmative community support. Exactly what numerical value of support votes a bureaucrat must see before they will perform the promotion is variable.

About 10 support votes, or so, is a decent number of votes needed to promote an admin. Admins can be, and have been in the past, promoted with as few as 5 votes, but typically a bureaucrat should wait for a greater showing of support before any promotions. Promoting a new bureaucrat is a much more conservative process, and a bureaucrat should wait to see significantly more votes than they would expect for an average admin promotion before promoting a bureaucrat. All of these are just suggestions, of course, and depend on the activity level of the community, the reasoning behind support and opposition votes, and other factors.

Bots and the Bot Flag edit

Granting a bot flag is an issue where bureaucrats on Wikibooks have historically been very conservative. The bot flag really exists to prevent an active bot from flooding the RC list and thereby preventing vandalism monitoring operations. It's the general opinion that an account should only be given a bot flag if they have demonstrated an ability to flood the RC list on a regular basis.

Many people use automated and semi-automated scripts from regular user accounts. However, this is strongly discouraged if the user does not have the Reviewer right. If the account does not have the Reviewer flag, then every single automated change will have to be manually reviewed. Before contemplating making automated or semi-automated changes, ensure that you have the Reviewer flag on the account you plan to use. The Bot flag includes the Reviewer right.

Scripting and the MediaWiki API

While this section is most useful for administrators, any user can make use of the MediaWiki API, and hence this section should benefit any Wikibookian.

The MediaWiki API edit

MediaWiki offers a powerful API tool that can allow you to perform virtually any task that you can do on-wiki using API calls. Consider the following example:*&rvprop=content&formatversion=2

Try it on your web browser. You'll get a page that looks like this:

MediaWiki API result

This is the HTML representation of the JSON format. HTML is good for debugging, but is unsuitable for application use.

Specify the format parameter to change the output format. To see the non-HTML representation of the JSON format, set format=json.

See the complete documentation, or the API help for more information.

and a bunch of JSON text, which contains the content of the title "Pet door".

How does this help? Well, if you want to get the details of 100 articles, you do not have to manually visit all of them! Just use a simple bash script that would do this work for you.

Scripting edit

Now, how does this apply to a Wikibooks administrator? Suppose you're working on a large deletion request. If there are 500 of the pages, manually deleting each page is likely to take hours and cause frustration to you! Instead, use a Python 3 script! The MediaWiki API page on contains a list of all such API calls, and contains helpful example code from which the code in this page was derived from.

First, the script. Here it is. The annotations explain what's going on.

import requests # import the necessary modules

S = requests.Session()

URL = "" # the API location for Wikibooks

file_object = open("pages_to_delete.txt", "r", encoding="utf-8") # open the file in utf-8 encoding (otherwise files with accents and non-Latin characters may not work)
f1 = file_object.readlines()

# Step 1: Retrieve a login token
PARAMS_1 = {
    "action": "query",
    "meta": "tokens",
    "type": "login",
    "format": "json"

R = S.get(url=URL, params=PARAMS_1)
DATA = R.json()

LOGIN_TOKEN = DATA['query']['tokens']['logintoken']

# Step 2: Send a post request to login.
# Obtain credentials for BOT_USERNAME & BOT_PASSWORDS via Special:BotPasswords
# (
# You will need to make sure that the bot username has the necessary rights to perform the requested task
PARAMS_2 = {
    "action": "login",
    "lgname": "BOT_USERNAME",
    "lgpassword": "BOT_PASSWORD",
    "lgtoken": LOGIN_TOKEN,
    "format": "json"

R =, data=PARAMS_2)

# Step 3: While logged in, get an CSRF token
PARAMS_3 = {
    "action": "query",
    "meta": "tokens",
    "format": "json"

R = S.get(url=URL, params=PARAMS_3)
DATA = R.json()

CSRF_TOKEN = DATA["query"]["tokens"]["csrftoken"]

# Step 4: Send a post request to delete each page
for x in f1:
    # depends on what you're doing - you may need to tweak the script a bit
    if ("Pinyin" not in x):
    # remove possible trailing spaces
    if (x.isalnum() == False):
        xx = x.rstrip(x[-1])
        xx = x
    # tell Wikibooks to delete!
    PARAMS_4 = {
    R =, data=PARAMS_4)
    DATA = R.json()


So how do you use it? Put this in a Python file, put all the pages to delete in pages_to_delete.txt, and run it. Watch the output - if there are errors, MediaWiki will let you know. Common issues include

  • cannot find the requests module - install it using pip
  • not adapting the script. For instance, if you're performing undeletions, you may want to put the new pages in a different location from the old ones. Make sure that they work as expected! You may want to perform a test run first.

If you're stuck at any point, just ask at WB:RR.

Now, this can be easily adapted. Suppose instead of deleting, you want to undelete these pages. Then all that is needed is replace PARAMS_4 to

 PARAMS_4 = {
 "action": "undelete",
 "format": "json",
 "token": CSRF_TOKEN,
 "title": xx,
 "reason": "per [[WB:RFU]]"

Even non-admins can benefit from the use of the script. Suppose you're trying to mass-move pages. In that case, PARAMS_4 can be changed to

PARAMS_4 = {
    "action": "move",
    "format": "json",
    "from": "Current title",
    "to": "Page with new title",
    "reason": "Typo",
    "movetalk": "1", # move the corresponding talk page
    "noredirect": "1", # suppress redirects when moving (only available to reviewers and higher)
    "token": CSRF_TOKEN

While unlikely, it is possible to run into ratelimit issues when running scripts such as these. In that case, if you're not yet a reviewer, the best choice would be to become one.