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Wikipedia:Portal

Portals serve as enhanced "Main Pages" for specific subjects. Portals are meant primarily for readers, while encouraging them to become editors of Wikipedia by providing links to project space. Portals are created for encyclopedic topics only and not for article maintenance categories.

Where to find portals

To see if a subject you are reading has a portal, check the bottom of the page (in the article's See also section) for a link to a corresponding portal. Such links may look like this:

or this (see the box to the far right):

Or, in the search box, type "Portal:" followed by the subject, like this: Portal:Chess.

Portal:Contents/Portals is the main listing of portals, arranged by subject. Though it takes awhile for the latest portals to be added to it.

Category:All portals is a comprehensive listing, including all old and new portals, and even portals under construction.

Portals are also largely inter-accessible with users able to navigate from one portal to another. Universal features, such as the browsebar (which links to top-level portals), and the portals template (which links to Portal:Contents/Portals), allow for convenient browsing. Moreover, portals are also categorised according to hierarchy. Portals, in most instances, also link to their Related portals (those lateral to them) and their Subportals (those that descend from them).

Portals for top-level subjects are also linked from the Main Page.

You can also use the Special:Search box below to locate Portals and sub-pages.

The nature of portals

What is a portal?

Portals are pages intended to serve as "Main Pages" for specific topics or areas. They are analogous to Wikipedia's Main Page, the subject of which is knowledge (the broadest subject of all). Portals narrow down the scope a bit to a more specific subject, and they vary in format and approach. Like the Main Page, which itself is not an article per se, portals are supplemental to the encyclopedia, and provide various alternate approaches to exploring a subject. Innovation is desired and encouraged.

Each portal is named for the subject it covers. We have a portal called "Geography", for example. To set them apart from articles, portals have their own namespace, and so the title of each portal is always preceded by "Portal:". So, the one on geography is called Portal:Geography.

It may help to look at a couple definitions for the word "portal" from Wiktionary:

  1. An entrance, entry point, or means of entry. For example: The local library, a portal of knowledge.
  2. A website or page that acts as an entrance to other websites or pages on the Internet.

While these definitions may also fit Wikipedia's regular articles (like Geography, for example), such articles are constrained primarily to presenting a description of their respective subjects. The essence of regular articles is that they are prose overviews. That makes them less than ideal for navigating their entire subject.

When a subject goes beyond the capacity of a single page, that page is called the subject's root article (its title is the name of the broader subject). But, Wikipedia's coverage of subjects goes way beyond what is on a root article's page. For example, there are over 40,000 articles on mathematics. While the article mathematics summarizes the general subject in descriptive terms, it becomes obvious that there can be other approaches to navigating Wikipedia's overall coverage of this and other subjects.

That's where Wikipedia's various navigation systems come in, including portals. Portal:Mathematics, for instance, provides a selection of reading samples and links to delve into Wikipedia's coverage of mathematics further. A good synonym for a portal is "doorway to knowledge".

Purposes of portals

Each portal on Wikipedia acts as an alternative entrance to a subject. Portals supplement the encyclopedia. They support their subjects in various ways, including but not limited to:

  1. Providing a variety of sample content of subtopics ("topic tasters"), from within each portal's subject, that the reader may find interesting. Kind of like a magazine. Like what Wikipedia's Main Page does in general.
  2. Aiding navigation - portals are one of Wikipedia's navigation subsystems, designed to help users find their way around the vast amount of knowledge on Wikipedia to material within a particular subject. So, in addition to sample content, a portal may also present in various ways, links, and lists of links.
  3. Providing bridges between reading and editing, and between the encyclopedia proper and the Wikipedia community, via links to pages in project space (and the other namespaces) that are relevant to the portal's subject. A portal may be associated with one or more WikiProjects; unlike a WikiProject, however, it is meant for both readers and editors of Wikipedia, and should promote content and encourage contribution. Note that portals are created for encyclopedic topics only and not for article maintenance categories.

Features of portals

Most portals have some combination of the following features...

Selected content

Portals typically include one or more selected content sections. Such as:

  • Selected general article
  • Selected general articles (slideshow)
  • Selected image
  • Selected images (slideshow)
  • Selected biography
  • Selected biographies (slideshow)
  • Selected team
  • Selected teams (slideshow)
  • Etc.

In the news

Most portals include a conditional In the news section, that only shows up if there are items to display. It is powered by a search of the content of the current events portal, a major department in its own right, including its events by month subpages. To improve the results, change the parameters of the search (you can edit or add search parameters).

Manually maintained news sections, in which entries are posted by hand, that have fallen out-of-date, should be replaced with a conditional news section.

Did you know

Most portals include a conditional Did you know section, that only shows up if there are items to display. It is powered by a search of the content of Wikipedia:Recent additions and its subpages (the Did you know archives). To improve the results, change the parameters of the search (you can edit or add search parameters).

Need help?

Many readers may not know that Wikipedia has a reference desk where they can ask any subject-related question.

The Need help? section exists to provide a bridge to that project space department, increase reader awareness of it, and looks like this:

Need help?

Do you have a question about Portal that you can't find the answer to?

Consider asking it at the Wikipedia reference desk.

Get involved

On most portals, the Get involved section is conditional, showing up only when a corresponding WikiProject exists.

It provides a link between the encyclopedia and the Wikipedia community, serving as a bridge to draw readers into becoming editors in collaboration with other editors.

Subcategories

Subtopics

Recognized content

Associated WikiMedia

Other

A portal developer (you) may be creative and provide features not covered above. Innovation is desired and encouraged.

Portal development and maintenance

How to get involved

Just as with Wikipedia at large, portals can be edited by anyone. However, it is important to pay due regard to the established work of others. Editors are always welcome to maintain individual portals; if you would like to participate in the upkeep of a particular portal, note your intention on its talk page, list yourself as a maintainer at Wikipedia:WikiProject Portals#Specific portal maintainers, then get to work – thank you!

A WikiProject on Portals has been founded to coordinate portal activity. Current priorites include developing standards for all portals, further improvement to portal design, and the ongoing maintenance of portals. Other tasks include the integration of portals into the encyclopedia, and their categorization.

Immediate attention is needed on portals listed in Category:Portals under construction and Category:Portals needing attention.

How to add portal links to articles

The current method being used to place a link to a new portal in an article is to place a link like this in the list of links in the article's See also section:

* {{Portal-inline|Cycling}}

Which looks like this:

If there is no See also section, make one.

For portals that don't have an icon assigned to them yet, the default portal puzzle piece will display too big, like this:

To shrink the portal piece, use this code:

* {{Portal-inline|size=tiny|Example}}

Which will look like this:

Older style portals have portal boxes leading to them, like the one to the right.

Once a portal of an old design is upgraded to a single-page design, upgrading to an inline link will differentiate it as new.

How to make a good portal

Most portals present the following:

  • A selected article and/or picture;
  • Links into the main category for the topic and possibly subcategories (some portals actually appear in the description page for the main category);
  • General information about the subject, or links thereto;
  • Links to other related portals (using templates);
  • (mainly for editors), Links to related WikiProjects;
  • {{Sister project links}} can be used to add Wikimedia sister-project links to a portal;
  • Links to specific showcase articles within the scope of the portal topic;

You may want to embark on an effort to fill the related categories with appropriate articles if this has not been done already (or add it to the portal's "to do" list so visitors can help out).

How to create a portal

Before creating a portal, check to see if the subject is already covered at Portal:Contents/Portals (look for synonyms), and be sure to read Wikipedia:Portal/Instructions.

There is no single standard design for portals, but the most widely used layout is the {{Basic portal start page}}. The use of this design is recommended due to the ease with which it can be created and maintained. For further ideas on portal design, browse existing portals. For step-by-step instructions on how to set up a new portal, refer to the instructions page. Unlike WikiProjects, portals should not be created for an article maintenance category, but only for encyclopedic topics.

How to categorize a portal

  • For a simple portal, simply add a specific subcategory of Category:Portals to the bottom of the portal page.
  • For a complex, multi-page portal, a portal category is needed.
  • Portal categories are generally named [[Category:TOPIC portal]] where the portal itself is named [[Portal:TOPIC]].
  • Portal categories are categorized under Category:Portals subcategories just like portals.
  • Portals with their own categories are only categorized in that category, which in turn is put into the other categories that the portal would have been in.

Portals and the core content policies

Portals are subject to the Wikipedia's five pillars and must comply with Wikipedia's core content policies (neutral point of view, no original research, verifiability, etc.).

References

It is common practice not to include references in portals. As on the Main Page, readers should be able to verify the portal content by following a prominent link to a relevant article, and checking the references there. This is called "follow through".

Content that is unique to a portal may be challenged in the portal, and must then be referenced in the portal, in the usual way, by inline citation using any of the accepted methods.

Content that is transcluded from another article does not need to be referenced in the portal as it should already be referenced in the original article. Any challenges to transcluded content must be done in the original article and not in the portal.

See also