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Wikibooks:User pages

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Wikibooks' user pages are pages made available to its users for anything that is compatible with the Wikibooks project and agreeable to the community. Their main uses are communications, discussions, notices, trial workings and drafts, notes, and (limited) self disclosure if desired. It is a mistake to think of user pages as a homepage, such as may exist on some websites. Wikibooks is not a blog, webspace provider, or social networking site and its user pages are provided mainly for project purposes. Moreover the same general expectations exist as on any other Wiki pages.

As such, user pages are more of a way of organizing and keeping notes about the work that you are doing on articles in Wikibooks, and also a way of helping other editors to interact with and understand those with whom they are working.

Terminology and page locations

Note: "Your" in this context means associated with you, not belonging to you.
  • Your user page has a name like this: User:Example (quick link to yours). Its normal use is to give basic information if you wish, about yourself or your wiki related activities. You don't have to say anything about yourself. If you prefer to put nothing here, then you can redirect it to your user talk page for the convenience of other editors.
  • Your user talk page (sometimes abbreviated to your talk page or user talk) has a name like this: User talk:Example (quick link to yours). Its normal use is for messages from, and discussion with, other editors. For more information on using talk pages, see Help:Talk page.
  • Subpages - You can create subpages of these, such as User:Example/draft page on violins or User:Example/test and their related talk pages, by navigating to the red-linked (non-existent) page and clicking on the Start the ___ page link. A list of existing subpages can be seen using Special:PrefixIndex (for example, Special:PrefixIndex/User talk:Example/). You can usually have anything on a subpage that you might have on a user or user talk page, except for a few items (see below) that must be visible to other users if posted. Hierarchies of subpages are also possible. You can have as many subpages as you want but keep in mind that Wikibooks is not a free web host, please use subpages within reason.
  • User pages or user space - All of these pages taken together are your user pages or user space. While you do not "own" them, by custom if used reasonably and within these guidelines, you will mostly be left to manage and set them up entirely as you wish.

You also have subpages ending in .js and .css to store any scripts and skin customizations that you may wish to have when you edit Wikibooks. Only you and administrators can edit such pages, although anyone can view them.

User talk notification

You will be notified if anyone edits your user talk page or leaves you a message there. The alert and links below are automatically displayed on all pages until you view the page.

The links Special:MyPage and Special:MyTalk are shortcuts that take any user to their own user and user talk pages. If someone is to visit your (or someone else's) user or user talk pages a proper page link will be needed (e.g., [[User talk:Example]]). In practice, user and user talk pages are mostly visited by clicking on user signatures in discussions, and links shown in page histories and diffs.

Options available from user pages

In addition to the usual information accessible from a page such as page history, "Discuss this page" and the like, users visiting user and user talk pages can also click "User contributions" (in the sidebar or at the bottom of the page) to see what contributions you have made at Wikibooks over time, and "Logs" to see records of other events related to your editorship, done by yourself and by others. (Note that having your user page deleted does not delete any list of your wider contributions.)

Visitors to your user page can also click "E-mail this user" if you have opted in your user preferences to be able to send and receive email. Your email address will remain private unless you reveal it yourself, select the option to reveal it (in preferences), or reply using an email system outside Wikibooks.

What may I have in my user pages?

There is no fixed use for any of your user pages, except that in the vast majority of cases your user page traditionally has something about you, and your talk page will be where messages can mainly be found and will appear. Provided other users can quickly and easily find the pages they need, you are free to organize any of these within reason.

To start with, you might include a userpage notice on your user page, talk page, or both. The text "{{user page}}" will generate a tag which looks something like the one below. This can be helpful to clarify pages that are not part of books (your user page, or other drafts). It also helps if people find your page in copies of Wikibooks elsewhere and want to locate the original.

You might also want to give your contributions wider licensing, for example by releasing them into the public domain or multi-licensing them, by putting a notice to this effect on your user page, or on a subpage linked from it. Note that you cannot give them narrower licensing: all of your edits on Wikibooks, including all userspace edits, are licensed for free use under the GNU Free Documentation License and the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License as part of Wikibooks.

User pages are often mirrored by other sites as well. If there is material you would not want copied, reposted or reused do not post it on the site.

Besides brief personal information and communication, other uses of user space include (but are not limited to):

Note that certain kinds of material must not linger indefinitely in user space, see below.
Significant editing disclosures
(voluntary but recommended)
  • Things other editors may find helpful to understand, such as alternative accounts (if publicly disclosed)
  • If you are editing for or on behalf of a company, organization, group, product, or person (etc.) which you wish to be open about in order to gain a good working relationship with the editing community.

    (Editing must always be neutral and within textbook standards. Editors tend to distrust concealed conflicts of interest and agendas. Openly disclosing such interests gains respect, invites others to help and shows a desire to edit appropriately.)

Notes related to your Wikibooks work and activities
  • Current or planned books, topic areas, to-do lists, reminders, books worked on, accolades and other successes, collaborative works, draft proposals, (constructive) thoughts on Wikibooks textbooks or policies and how they should be changed, etc.
  • Expansion and detailed backup for points being made (or which you may make) in discussions elsewhere on the wiki.
Work in progress or material that you may come back to in future
(usually on subpages)
  • Drafts, especially where you want discussion or other users' opinions first, for example due to conflict of interest or major proposed changes
  • Drafts being written in your own user space because the target page itself is protected, and notes and working material for books (Note some matters may not be kept indefinitely).
Useful links, tools, and scripts  
User space archives
  • Old talk page threads, etc. Note that some content may not be kept indefinitely in userspace if unused.
Matters that are long enough in length, or active enough, to allocate them a page of their own  
Personal writings suitable within the Wikibooks community
  • Non-article Wikibooks material such as reasonable Wikibooks humor, essays and perspectives, personal philosophy, comments on Wikibooks matters
  • Disclosures of important matters such as absences or self-corrections that you would like other editors to know about, etc.
  • Statements of congratulations or condolence for major events, especially if related to Wikibooks editorship or major life-events.

    (Make sure the user wants these to be publicly mentioned on the wiki, they may wish it to be private.)

(usually on subpages)
  • Trial pages for templates, unfamiliar or specialist markup (including LaTeX), etc., as a kind of personal sandbox.
  • Pages to test bots and scripts without doing harm.

    Note: User pages and user subpages can be transcluded and substituted, so they behave like templates, and can be tested as such.

Reasonable personal information
  • For example, languages you know (see Wikibooks:Babel) or fields you have knowledge in.
A small and proportionate amount of suitable unrelated material
  • A number of users have Wikibooks and sister project content such as (free use) pictures from Wikimedia Commons, favorite Wikibooks books, or quotations that they like.

    Note: Pages used for blatant promotion or as a soapbox or battleground for unrelated matters are usually considered outside this criterion. For example a 5 page résumé and advertising for your band will probably be too much, a brief 3 sentence summary that you work in field X and have a band named Y will be fine.

You are also welcome to include a simple link to your personal home page, although you should not surround it with any promotional language.

User pages are also used for administrative purposes, to make users aware of blocks, warnings, or other sanctions if they happen, and to notify of matters that may affect books you have worked on or editorial issues you have been involved with. Others may also edit your user pages, for instance awarding you an award or leaving notes and images for you, or adding comments and questions. Although you have wide leeway to edit your user pages, a few of these matters should not be removed (see below).

Userspace and mainspace

Details about yourself should not normally go in the main namespace (reserved for books only), and books should never link to any userspace pages.

In the rare case that you or something closely connected to you may have a related book at Wikibooks, that is always treated as completely separate from you as an editor. You should avoid a conflict of interest and generally avoid editing about yourself or matters closely related to you in any book.

Personal and privacy-breaching material

Some people add personal information such as contact details (email, instant messaging, etc.), a photograph, their real name, their location, information about their areas of expertise and interest, likes and dislikes, etc. Once added this information is unlikely to ever become private again. It could be copied elsewhere or even used to harass you in the future. You are cautioned to think carefully before adding non-public information to your user page because you are unlikely to be able to retract it later, even if you change your mind.

Privacy-breaching non-public material, whether added by yourself or others, may be removed from any page upon request, either by administrators or (unless impractical) by purging from the page history and any logs by Oversighters.

What may I not have in my user pages?

Generally, you should avoid substantial content on your user page that is unrelated to Wikibooks. Wikibooks is not a general hosting service, so your user page is not a personal website. Your user page is about you as a Wikibookian, and pages in your user space should be used as part of your efforts to contribute to the project.

In addition, there is broad agreement that you may not include in your user space material that is likely to bring the project into disrepute, or which is likely to give widespread offense (e.g. pro-pedophilia advocacy). Whether serious or trolling, "Wikibooks is not a soapbox" is usually interpreted as applying to user space as well as the textbook space, and "Wikibooks is not censored" relates to textbook pages and images; in other namespaces there are restrictions aimed at ensuring relevance, value, and non-disruption to the community. You do have more latitude in user space than elsewhere, but don't be inconsiderate. Extremely offensive material may be removed on sight by any editor.

The Wikibooks community is generally tolerant and offers fairly wide latitude in applying these guidelines to regular participants. Particularly, community-building activities that are not strictly "on topic" may be allowed, especially when initiated by committed Wikibookians with good edit histories. At their best, such activities help us to build the community, and this helps to build the collection of textbooks. But at the same time, if user page activity becomes disruptive to the community or gets in the way of the task of building that collection, it must be modified to prevent disruption.

Excessive unrelated content

Unrelated content includes, but is not limited to:

Writings, information, discussions, and activities not closely related to Wikibooks' goals
  • A blog recording your non-Wikibooks activities.
  • Extensive discussion not related to Wikibooks.
  • Extensive personal opinions on matters unrelated to Wikibooks, wiki philosophy, collaboration, free content, the Creative Commons, etc.
  • Extensive writings and material on topics having virtually no chance whatsoever of being directly useful to the project, its community, or a textbook. (For example in the latter case, because it is pure original research, is in complete disregard of reliable sources, or is clearly not related to a textbook for other clear reasons.)
  • Communications unrelated to Wikibooks, with people uninvolved with the project or its related work.
  • Games, roleplaying sessions, secret pages and other things pertaining to "entertainment" rather than "writing a textbook". Such activities are generally frowned upon by the community. Games of no educational value relevant to the project are routinely deleted at requests for deletion.
Promotional and advocacy material and links
  • Advertising or promotion of an individual, business, organization, group, or viewpoint unrelated to Wikibooks (such as commercial sites or referral links).
  • Extensive self-promotional material, especially when not directly relevant to Wikibooks.
Very divisive or offensive material not related to textbook editing
  • Polemical statements unrelated to Wikibooks, or statements attacking or vilifying groups of editors or persons (these are generally considered divisive and removed, and reintroducing them is often considered disruptive).
  • Material that can be viewed as attacking other editors, including the recording of perceived flaws. The compilation of factual evidence (diffs) in user subpages, for purposes such as preparing for resolving disputes, is permitted provided it will be used in a timely manner.
  • Users should generally not maintain in public view negative information related to others without very good reason. Negative evidence, laundry lists of wrongs, collations of diffs and criticisms related to problems, etc., should be removed, blanked, or kept privately (i.e., not on the wiki) if they will not be imminently used, and the same once no longer needed.
Personal information
  • Personal information of other persons without their consent.
  • Inappropriate or excessive personal information unrelated to Wikibooks.
Wikibooks content not suited to userspace
  • Images which you are not free to use (usually fair use images; see below).
  • Categories and templates intended for other usage, in particular those for textbooks and guidelines.

In general, if you have material that you do not wish others to edit, or that is otherwise inappropriate for Wikibooks, it should be placed on a personal web site. Many free and low-cost web hosting, email, and weblog services are widely available, and are a proper place for content unrelated to Wikibooks. For wiki-style community collaboration, you can download the MediaWiki software and install it on your own server if you want full control, or use one of many online wiki farms.

Advocacy or support of grossly improper behaviors with no project benefit

Statements or pages that seem to advocate, encourage, or condone the following behaviors:

Vandalism, copyright violation, edit warring, harassment, privacy breach, defamation, and acts of violence (includes all forms of violence but not mere statements of support for controversial groups or regimes that some may interpret as an encouragement of violence).

These may be removed, redacted or collapsed by any user to avoid the appearance of acceptability, and existing speedy deletion criteria may apply. To preserve traditional leeway over userspace, other kinds of material should be handled as described below unless otherwise agreed by consensus.

Categories, templates, and redirects

Do not put your userpage or subpages, including work-in-progress books, into categories used by Wikibooks textbooks (example: Category:Shelf:Physics study guides).

Especially, note that templates and stub notices often add categories themselves. You can prevent this while a book is being drafted, by putting tlx| between the {{ and the template name, like this: {{tlx|stub|any parameters}}

You can also force a portion of text to be ignored by adding <!-- in front of it and --> after it, or by adding a colon before "Category", like this: [[:Category:Shelf:Bridges]] to temporarily force a category link to act like a plain wikilink.

User talk pages should not redirect to anything other than the talk page of an account controlled by the same user.

Pages that look like textbooks, copy pages, project pages

Userspace is not a free web host and should not be used to indefinitely host pages that look like textbooks, old revisions, or deleted content, or your preferred version of disputed content. Private copies of pages that are being used solely for long-term archival purposes may be subject to deletion. Short term hosting of potentially valid textbooks and other reasonable content under development or in active use is usually acceptable. When a userspace page reaches a point where it can be included as an book consider moving it into mainspace or using its content appropriately in relevant textbooks.

Userspace is also not a substitute for project space (Wikibooks:...), nor should a userspace page be used as primary documentation for any Wikibooks policy, guideline, practice, or established concept. If your user page related to the project becomes widely used or linked in project space, or has functional use similar to a project page, consider moving it into project space or merging it with other similar pages already existing there.


Do not include non-free images (copyrighted images lacking a free content license) on your user page or on any subpage thereof (this is official image use policy and the usual wide user page latitude does not apply). Non-free images found on a user page (including user talk pages) will be removed (preferably by replacing it with a link to the image) without warning and, if not used in a Wikibooks book will be deleted entirely).

There is also broad consensus that you should not have any image in your userspace that would bring the project into disrepute and you may be asked to remove such images. Content clearly intended as sexually provocative (images and in some cases text) or to cause distress and shock that appears to have little or no project benefit or using Wikibooks only as a web host or personal pages or for advocacy, may be removed by any user (or deleted), subject to appeal at deletion review. Context should be taken into account. Simple personal disclosures of a non-provocative nature on sexual matters (such as LGBT userboxes and relationship status) are unaffected.

Copyright violations

The same rules for copyright apply on userpages as in mainspace. Text must either be non-copyright or out of copyright, otherwise only a short quote can be used. If you use text from another source on your userpage, it should still be credited to the author, whether or not it is in current copyright.

Simulation and disruption of the MediaWiki interface

The Wikibooks community strongly discourages simulating the MediaWiki interface, except on the rare occasion when it is necessary for testing purposes.

CSS and other formatting codes that disrupt the Wikimedia interface, for example by preventing important links or controls from being easily seen or used, making text on the page hard to read or unreadable (other than by way of commenting out), or replacing the expected interface with a disruptive simulation, may be removed or remedied by any user. Inappropriate internal or external links that unexpectedly direct the reader to unreasonable locations may also be removed or remedied by any user. Text, images, and non-disruptive formatting should be left as intact as possible. Users of such code should consider possible disruption to other skins and to diffs and old revisions.

Ownership and editing of user pages

This section applies to all pages within your user space.

Traditionally Wikibooks offers wide latitude to users to manage their user space as they see fit. However, pages in user space belong to the wider community. They are not a personal homepage, and do not belong to the user. They are part of Wikibooks, and exist to make collaboration among editors easier.

Other users and bots may edit pages in your user space or leave messages for you, though by convention others will not usually edit your user page itself, other than (rarely) to address significant concerns or place project-related tags. Material that clearly does not somehow further the goals of the project may be removed (see below), as may edits from banned users. Most community policies including no personal attacks and be civil will apply to your user space, just as elsewhere. (Purely content policies such as original research, neutral point of view etc., generally do not, unless the material is moved into mainspace.)

As with all other edits, user space contributions are irrevocably licensed for copying and reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License and GNU Free documentation license.

Finally, a small number of notices and tags, if placed, may not be moved to a less visible subpage or deleted without discussion.

Removal of comments, notices, and warnings

Policy does not prohibit users, whether registered or anonymous users, from removing comments from their own talk pages, although archiving is preferred. The removal of material from a user page is normally taken to mean that the user has read and is aware of its contents. There is no need to keep them on display and usually users should not be forced to do so. It is often best to simply let the matter rest if the issues stop. If they do not, or they recur, then any record of past warnings and discussions can be found in the page history if ever needed, and these diffs are just as good evidence of previous matters if needed.

A number of important matters may not be removed by the user – they are part of the wider community's processes or exist to prevent gaming of the system:

  • Declined unblock requests, blocks, validly imposed edit restrictions, and confirmed sockpuppetry related notices (while any sanctions are still in effect)
  • Requests for deletion tags (while the discussion is in progress)
  • Speedy deletion tags and requests for uninvolved administrator help (the patrolling administrator will quickly determine if these are valid or not; use the discussion page to object and post a comment, do not just remove the tag).
  • For IP editors, templates in Category:User talk header templates and notes left to indicate other users may share the same IP address.
  • __NOINDEX__ added to user pages and subpages under this guideline (except with agreement or by consensus). Note this can safely be removed from talk pages and subpages where it has no effect. (see below)

Editing of other editors' user and user talk pages

In general, it is usual to avoid substantially editing another's user and user talk pages other than where it is likely edits are expected and/or will be helpful. If unsure, ask. If a user asks you not to edit their user pages, it is probably sensible to respect their requests (although a user cannot avoid administrator attention or appropriate project notices and communications by merely demanding their talk page is not posted to).

Handling inappropriate content

On your user pages

If the community lets you know that they would rather you delete some content from your user space, you should consider doing so—such content is only permitted with the consent of the community. Alternatively, you could move the content to another site, and link to it.

Although other editors will aim to respect your user space, if corrective action is needed and not undertaken the inappropriate content will eventually be removed, either by editing the page (if only part is inappropriate), by redirecting the page to your main user page (if entirely inappropriate), or by community discussion at requests for deletion.

On others' user pages

The best option if there is a concern with a user's page is to draw their attention to the matter via their talk page and let them edit it themselves, if they are agreeable. In some cases a more experienced editor may make non-trivial edits to another user's user space, in which case that editor should leave a note explaining why this was done. This should not be done for trivial reasons. If the user does not agree, or does not effectively remedy the concerns, or the matter is unsure or controversial, then other steps in this section can be taken including uninvolved user opinions or proposing the page for deletion.

If the material must be addressed urgently (for example, unambiguous copyright, attacks, defamation, etc.), the user appears inactive, the edit appears unlikely to cause problems, or you are quite sure it is appropriate, then remove or fix the problem material minimally and leave a note explaining what you have done, why you have done so, and inviting the user to discuss if needed. If the entire page is inappropriate, consider blanking it, or redirecting the subpage to the userpage, or to the most relevant existing mainspace or project space page.

Unsuitable pages, media, and images in userspace may also be nominated for deletion or (if appropriate) speedy deleted, but special care should be taken as the user may be expecting leeway and take it personally, and there are a few exceptions. Users with a strong editing record and/or most of their contribution edits outside their user space should be given a little more leeway in this regard than users whose edits consist solely or mostly of user space edits or promotional-style activity. See deletion of user pages below.

Editors may add __NOINDEX__ to a userspace page that is a source of concern, which will remove it from search engines and can also provide a lightweight alternative to deletion, or prevent external indexing during discussion. It will not affect the page for legitimate userspace purposes or on the internal search engine, and should not be used to make a point, nor removed without discussion or consensus.

User pages and leaving Wikibooks

When a user leaves Wikibooks, their user and user talk pages are usually unaffected and may be edited again at any future time. Some users place the {{retired}} template on their user and talk page to let others know that they are away for an extended period or permanently. Blanking user and user talk pages (i.e. overwriting with a blank page) is always acceptable provided non-removable notices (if any) are left intact.

Protection of user pages

As with article pages, user pages are occasionally the targets of vandalism, or, more rarely, edit wars. When edit wars or vandalism persist, the affected page should be protected from editing.

Most user page vandalism occurs in retaliation for a contributor's efforts to deal with vandalism. Administrators may protect their own user pages when appropriate, and are permitted to edit protected pages in user space. Sometimes a non-administrator's user page may be the target of vandalism. Such pages should be listed at Wikibooks:Reading room/Administrative Assistance and may then be protected by an administrator.

In cases in which semi-protection is insufficient to prevent vandalism to a non-administrator's user page, an editor may create a .css suffixed sub-page containing their user page content within their user space, transclude the sub-page into their main user page, then request that an administrator fully protect their user page. (for instance, create User:Example User as {{User:Example User/userpage.css}}.) This method will completely prevent further vandalism by limiting user page editing to yourself, and administrators. Note that the addition of inappropriate content to your user page after locking other editors out is considered a serious offense.

Repeatedly inserting copyrighted content or other inappropriate material on your own user pages after being notified not to do so, or misusing user space following a block (e.g., for personal attacks) are both considered disruptive and may lead to the pages being protected to prevent further disruption. User pages may also routinely be protected in the event of a ban.

Vandalism of talk pages is less common. Usually such vandalism should merely be reverted. Blocks should be used for repeated vandalism of talk pages, where policy permits. In rare cases, protection may be used but is considered a last resort given the importance of talk page discussions to the project.

Deletion of user pages

The usual deletion processes are requests for deletion and (if within speedy criteria) speedy deletion.
For issues only affecting specific revisions on a page (where other page versions are fine) revision deletion is usually more appropriate.

Deleting others' user pages

In general other users' user pages are managed by that user. Except for blatant or serious matters, it is preferable to try contacting the user before deletion (see above). However, unambiguous copyright violations, attack pages, promotional text, and privacy violations can be speedy deleted using a suitable template, such as {{delete}} or {{copyvio}}, other pages likely to require deletion (or where remedial action is not taken) may be submitted to deletion discussion.

Take special care to speak appropriately and explain the concern; many users will take it as a personal affront or attack if an unknown user announces they are going to delete a userspace image or page and an uncivil or heavy duty approach can discourage new users who are unaware of expectations and might enjoy contributing. Remember that a limited amount of personal information (perhaps a short biography) and a freely licensed tasteful personal photograph or two are usually allowed if the page reasonably complies with other requirements.

Simple use as a personal web page is not in itself a speedy deletion criterion, although clear advertising and promotional use is. The only exceptions are that test edits and the re-creation of deleted material (within limits) are permitted in user space. A user's contributions that consist solely of a lone edit to their user page should not normally be speedy deleted unless it consists solely of spam or other speedy deletable material. They may have simply created their page as their first edit, and could return at any time. Such pages should be sent to requests for deletion and the user notified as normal.

Deleting your user page or user talk page

See also: Help:Pages#Archiving

Unless they meet the criteria for speedy deletion (copyright violations, attack pages, unambiguous promotion, no other significant contributor, etc.) or you are permanently leaving Wikibooks, it is unlikely that your main user page or user talk page will actually be deleted. However they can be blanked which has the same effect, and specific offending revisions can usually be selectively deleted or redacted if required.

User talk pages and user talk archives created by page move are generally not deleted; they are usually needed for reference by other users. Individual revisions, log entries, and other user space material may be deleted or redacted for privacy reasons, or due to harassment, threats, gross offensiveness and other serious violations. Exceptions to this can be and are made on occasion for good reason, including a wish to permanently leave Wikibooks. In addition, nonpublic personal information and potentially libelous information posted to your talk page may be removed as described above.

Deleting your user subpages

You can freely blank any subpages in your user space yourself (other than the few items that must not be removed) and request the deletion of subpages that have not had other significant contributors (by adding {{delete}} to the top of the page). Alternatively, you might consider simply making the page redirect to your user page. This is normally sufficient for most people's needs. Subpages tagged for deletion will be deleted if there is no overriding reason the page must be kept.

Blanking of user subpages may be interpreted as a deletion request. If you want to keep the page history, leave a note to that effect on the blank page (e.g. "blanked to page history – please do not delete"). If you want it deleted completely then use {{delete}}.

Pages which were moved into your user space from somewhere else, and user talk archives created by page move, may not be deleted in this way. These must be listed at Wikibooks:Requests for deletion. To move them back where they came from, ask at Wikibooks:Reading room/Administrative Assistance.