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Wikibooks:What is Wikibooks?

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This page attempts to define what Wikibooks is, what it is not, and what distinguishes it from other Wikimedia projects. The descriptions on this page are relatively brief. Detailed discussion or debate should happen on the talk page.

What is Wikibooks

Simply, Wikibooks is a collection of open-content textbooks. The site should primarily be used for developing textbooks, textbook-like books, and supporting book-based instructional materials (for example, annotated texts such as on the Works of Shakespeare with aids for reading and study, or extensive book summaries).

Because the word textbook is open to interpretation, this document exists to help clarify which types of content are acceptable for Wikibooks. For example, The Complete Works of Shakespeare might be considered a textbook in an English Literature course, but such a text would be inappropriate for this site.

Wikibooks includes instructional texts

Wikibooks is for textbooks, annotated texts, instructional guides, and manuals. These materials can be used in a traditional classroom, an accredited or respected institution, a home-school environment, as part of a Wikiversity course, or for self-learning. As a general rule, only instructional books are suitable for inclusion. Non-fictional books (as well as fictional ones) that aren't instructional aren't allowed on Wikibooks. Literary elements, such as allegory or fables, that are used as instructional tools can be permitted in some situations.

Wikibooks includes both minor and major book-like projects.

Materials which may not be appropriate for Wikibooks should only be removed in accordance with the deletion policy.

Wikibooks includes annotated texts

Although we do not permit verbatim copies of pre-existing works, we do permit annotated texts, which are a kind of text that includes an original text within it and serves as a guide to reading or studying that text. Annotated editions of previously published source texts may only be written if the source text is compatible with the project's license.

As a point of overlap between the two projects, Wikisource also allows the inclusion of annotated texts. If you would like to write a sparsely annotated text or a sparsely critical edition of a text, consider hosting your work more appropriately on Wikisource instead.

Wikibooks includes video game strategy guides

Historically speaking, video game strategy guides and walk-throughs were banned early on at Wikibooks. But following a successful 2021 proposal, it was decided to allow this content in accordance with the strategy guides policy; it has additional rules and guidance, and it should be consulted before creating a video game strategy guide at Wikibooks.

What Wikibooks is not

Below is a list of things that Wikibooks is not. Keeping this list in mind while editing will help us stay on task.

Wikibooks is not a free wiki host or webspace provider

You may not host your own website, blog, or wiki at Wikibooks. If you are interested in using the wiki technology for a collaborative effort on something else, even if it is just a single page, there are many sites that provide wiki hosting (free or for money). You can also install wiki software on your own server. (See the MediaWiki installation guide for information on doing this.)

Wikibooks pages are not personal homepages. Wikibookians have their own personal pages, but they are used for information relevant to working on free textbooks and other content on Wikibooks. If you are looking to make a personal webpage unrelated to textbook work (e.g. posting your résumé), please make use of one of the many free homepage providers on the Internet.

Wikibooks is not a soapbox

Wikibooks is not a soapbox, or a vehicle for propaganda and advertising. Therefore, Wikibooks modules are not:

  1. propaganda or advocacy of any kind. Wikibooks modules must always adhere to the neutral point of view. You might wish to go to Usenet or start your own blog if you want to convince people of the merits of your favourite views.
  2. personal essays that state your particular opinions about a topic. Wikibooks is not a vehicle to make personal opinions become part of human knowledge.
  3. advertising or self-promotion. We don't need books or modules on items just because a contributor is associated with them. Please note that Wikibooks does not endorse any business and it does not set up affiliate programs.

Wikibooks is not a mirror or a text repository

  1. Fiction or literature — Wikibooks does not allow original fiction or literature. One place to write original fiction is Fiction Wikia.
  2. Primary research — Wikibooks is not a place to publish primary research. Examples of things not allowed on Wikibooks include proposing new theories and solutions, presenting original ideas, defining new terms, and coining new words. In short, primary research should be published elsewhere, such as a peer-reviewed journal, or our sister project Wikiversity.
  3. Published texts — Wikibooks is for collaboratively developing new open-content non-fiction texts. Wikisource is for hosting static texts that have been previously published and are now either in the public domain or have been released under a compatible license. Exceptions are made for annotated texts, which are a kind of educational material that includes an original text within it and serves as a guide to reading or studying that text.

Wikibooks is not paper

Wikibooks is not paper. Thus, Wikibooks has no size limits, can include links, etc. It also means that the style and length of writing appropriate for paper may not be appropriate here. The authors of a Wikibook module don't worry about an event occurring tomorrow that makes all the large, expensive paper copies outdated, as the Wikibook will change as well.

Wikibooks is not an encyclopedia

Wikibooks is not an in-depth encyclopedia on a specific topic nor are pages encyclopedia-formatted articles. Books build knowledge from one page to the next, with interdependency between pages. Books in progress are sometimes organized in an encyclopedic manner until developed into proper books. For an encyclopedia, see our sister project Wikipedia.

Wikibooks is not a news service

Wikibooks is not the place to publish news articles. That is covered by our sister project Wikinews.

Wikibooks is not a dictionary

Although a dictionary is a book, the needs of a general-purpose dictionary are better served at our sister project, Wiktionary. Also:

  1. Wikibooks is not a thesaurus. There is a thesaurus project at Wiktionary:Wikisaurus. Books that only give lists of synonyms or slang should be deleted from Wikibooks.
  2. Exception: Wikibooks does allow and encourage projects that require supplemental dictionaries or thesauri, such as a glossary. For example, a mathematical textbook might need a glossary of math terms; a foreign language textbook might include an English-to-foreign and foreign-to-English dictionary. For these dictionaries and thesauri to remain, they must be secondary and auxiliary to a main text.

Wikibooks is not for developing new Wikimedia projects

New Wikimedia projects should be proposed at Meta-Wiki and not developed at Wikibooks.

Wikibooks is not censored for the protection of minors

Wikibooks is not censored for the "protection of minors" (content-rated). First, anyone can edit a module and the results are displayed instantaneously, so we cannot guarantee that a child will see or read nothing their parents may find objectionable. Second, Wikibooks has no organized system for the removal of material that might be thought likely to harm minors. However, modules can be, and are, censored by consensus.

It is important to note that content that would typically be considered offensive is usually a violation of one or more of the previously mentioned policies or contains copyrighted content, which is removed from this project without regards to its social value. Random defacement of pages and adding profanity is usually considered an act of vandalism and removed quickly without any formal community discussion taking place. Unfortunately you might just be viewing some page on Wikibooks immediately after this offensive content was added, and although we try very hard to clean up stuff like this as quickly as we can, we do miss some stuff every once in a while.

Pages have "flagged revisions" which have been validated by users to be of at least minimal quality. If set in Special:Preferences for a user, choosing to view only the stable version of pages will often provide a reading experience that is free of vandalism.

Further reading

Similar pages on other projects