Special namespaces for portals and lists

For a tentative complete list of custom namespaces, see Namespace

This page is about a proposal to create special namespaces in the wikipedia for pages that serve as "portals", lists, and other "pseudo articles" that serve the purpose of navigation.

On the german wikipedia, there are already more than a hundred portal-pages that serve as overviews and entry points to specific topics. There is also a far greater number of lists and timelines for navigation, and, especially to have an overview over missing pages. After some discussion in the chat, there was a proposal made to move such pseudo-articles out of the main namespace. The proposal (in german) can be found here: Mittelfristig einen neuen Namensraum NAVIGATION schaffen?.

The same topic came up on the wikitech-l mailing list, and I (Duesentrieb) was asked to put a translation on the meta wiki. So in the following, I will give a brief account of the proposal and the discussion so far. The discussion should be continued at the bottom of this page and/or on the talk page.


The original proposal was posted by Bdk after a discussion with Duesentrieb and Paddy on 04:01, 14. Sep 2004 (CEST). The situation is that there are a great number of pages in the german wikipedia (and probably in other wikipedias, too), that are not really encyclopedic articles but serve as overviews, introductions, navigation-pages, etc. Specifically, there are portal-pages (see for instance the pages linked from de:Wikipedia nach Themen), general lists, collections of abbreviations, reference tables, timelines, etc. (I would personally even add the Main Page to that list).

It is now proposed to move such pages to either one special namespace (called "navigation" or some such), or to several individual namespaces ("Portal", "List", and maybe others). Obviously, this does not apply to navigation-bars and timelines that are integrated into articles as templates. Also, note that the "special" articles are not defined by their form (list, etc), but by their nature: they do not define or explain an object or concept.

The advantages of this separation would be the following:

  • easier to determin the number of "real" articles
  • easier to list all portals, etc
  • easier to exclude/include from search, indexing, etc
  • possibility to adjust the skin for such pages, to make it obvious that they are not "real" articles.

The implementation of this could however require some work: setting up a new namespace is not a big problem, but movin lots of pages is. Maybe it could be supported by a bot looking for pages that have a title of the form "List of..." and "Portal...", which is the convention for such articles in the german WP.

Summarized Arguments from the DiscussionEdit

  • (idea) The new namespace(s) should be included in the search by default.
  • (pro) Moving those pages to the Wikipedia-namespace is not a good idea: that's for information about the wikipedia.
  • (con) It may be difficult to draw a line between "purely navigational" pages and articles that contain a lot of references and serve as an overview.
  • (con) A similar effect can be achived by using categories to tag those articles (that's already done for portals).
  • (pro) Having a separate namespace for lists and "database pages" may resolve conflicts when a lot of list-articles are created (which are now frequently up for deletion because they are thought to clutter the main namespace).
  • (con) Use the Wikipedia namespace instead, treat it as a kind if appendix.
  • (pro) Page titles would be clearer when using separate namespaces for lists: [Portal:History] is marginally better than [Portal History], and [List:Cities in the Netherlands] is much better than [List of the Cities in the Netherlands]. That's an argument against using a common namespace for those: separate namespaces would make migration more transparent and keep the links readable.
  • (con) lists are just preparations for categories: once all entries in the list have a page, the list can be replaced by a category.
  • (disc) Portals should be separate from lists: It's a different concept. List-like portals are evil.
  • (disc) There is no real difference between lists, database-articles and lists of abbreviations. They should share one namespace.
  • (con) when an explanatory stub is added to a list, it may (by some definition) have to be removed from the list namespace.

From wikitech-l:Edit

  • (pro) Allow special settings for this namespace (for example, CSS)
  • (pro) Don't count those pages as articles
  • (pro) No more need of [[category:Portal|Foo]] to put [[Portal Foo]] at letter 'F' (the new title may be [[Portal:Foo]])
  • (hint) Namespaces can be added in InitialiseSettings.php, using the $wgExtraNamespaces variable.
  • (hint) Some features (like list of all portals, correct sorting in categories, etc) require a software-patch
  • (hint) The namespace is known to the skin, so a namespace-specific style is not problem.
  • (hint) Regarding sorting in categories, there's a feature-request in bugzilla: Bugzilla:450.
  • (idea) Namespace filters would make sense on many pages - Special:Allpages, Special:Newpages, Special:Recentchanges, Special:Most wanted ..
  • (con) They belong into the main namespace: They exist to present the whole of a subject with a nice design. That would attract many contributors who feel lost in a general encyclopedia.

I hope I recounted the arguments correctly. If not, please re-state your ideas and concerns below. -- Duesentrieb 13:05, 15 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Bug reportEdit

I made a request on Bugzilla: Bugzilla:1676. --Aphaia | WQ2翻訳中 | talk 20:00, 11 Mar 2005 (UTC)