Wikipedia:Portal

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What is a portal?[edit]

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[edit]

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.

How to find portals[edit]

Portal:Contents/Portals lists all portals of reader-ready quality.

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).

Links to portals are often found in the "See also" section of relevant articles. Links to portals may also be found at the top of an article's talk page (as part of WikiProject banner templates). 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.

Portal maintenance and development[edit]

How to get involved[edit]

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 needed 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 in the directory of portals, then get to work – thank you!

A WikiProject on Portals has been founded to coordinate portal activity. The current objectives are to develop standards for all portals and to ensure maintenance. Other tasks include the integration and categorisation of portals.

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

How to add portal links to articles[edit]

Within articles, this template is meant to be placed at the bottom of the article in the See also section. If there is no See also section, you can put it in the External links section instead; there is no need to create a new section just to house this template. If there is no External links section either, just put it below the article text in the place that seems most appropriate. There are no particular rules about the placement of portals on other kinds of page.

Entering the link at the top of the section will allow it to sit on the top right. Add a portal link by typing {{Portal|<portal name>}} for example {{Portal|Energy}}. If more than one portal is to be linked use a second parameter, for example {{Portal|Energy|Cycling}} (illustrated on right). If there are problems with the regular {{Portal}} causing undesired layout effects use {{Clear}}, {{Portal bar}} (example shown below), {{Portal-inline}}, or an icon-free text link * [[Portal:Energy|Energy portal]],

You can float{{Portal}} to the left by preceding it with a ":"

How to make a good portal[edit]

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 portals (using templates) and for editors;
  • Links to related WikiProjects ({{Sister project links}} can be used to add Wikimedia sister-project links to a portal);
  • Links to specific articles;

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[edit]

There is no single standard design for portals, but the most widely used layout is the "box portal". 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 article maintenance category, but only for encyclopedic topics.

How to categorize a portal[edit]

  • 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.

See also[edit]