Featured portals

Featured portals

This page has a long and confusing history. It was moved to this title by ResMar out of his sandbox in 2012. But his edit history from then doesn't show which sandbox it came from. Certainly not User:Resident Mario/Sandbox.
Originally, it was under WP:FCDW, which once had many subpages. This was since moved from there to Wikipedia:Featured content dispatch workshop, and from there to Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/Featured content dispatch workshop by Steel1943 in 2017. In January of 2023, I moved it to Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/Newsroom/Featured content dispatch workshop (since it was a subpage of the Newsroom).
Meanwhile, the FCDW page was marked as historical by ResMar in February 2013, revived by The ed17 in July of that year, and finally marked historical again by ResMar in July 2015.
So what is the deal with this article itself — the "featured portals" draft you're looking at right now? Who knows. It's linked to, and mentioned, at archive 87 of SandyGeorgia's talk page, where we find a conversation in January 2012 between ResMar and SandyGeorgia about it. Even though I've spent weeks looking through the annals of ancient Signpost discourse, I have no idea what the hell they are talking about.
ResMar left Cirt a message about it here on January 20, and Cirt said he would look at it. Did he? Who knows. But anyway, Cirt is no longer around: or maybe he is, but he's not supposed to be. So I guess maybe it doesn't matter. He's listed as an author on this draft, but he has never edited it, and it's not clear which sandbox ResMar moved this text out of. So maybe Cirt being an author was just planning ahead for the future development of the draft, in which Cirt was going to add onto it and edit some more.
So what is the deal right now? Well, for starters, Wikipedia:Featured portals is no longer an active process. Indeed, the entire institution of portals was very close to the chopping block by 2018, and another proposal to delete the namespace was made in late 2019. While portals weren't deleted or deprecated by either discussion, they are hardly the cornerstone of Wikipedia that was once hoped for. The "portal wars" of 2019–20 were rather grisly, and created an entire arb enforcement category for them. Of course, it hasn't been the basis for any actual arb enforcement actions in '20, '21, '22, or '23, so maybe people are less rambunctious than feared. Or maybe we're just not that interested in portals anymore.
Looking at RecentChanges for the Portal: and Portal talk: namespaces combined, the latter is suggested: the whole days of July 18, 17, and 16 have just 367 edits between them (roughly 122 per day). Compare this to mainspace — where 500 edits goes back just 6 minutes. Or Wikipedia: (2 hours), or Template: (4 hours 7 minutes).

The highest award for any piece of content on Wikipedia is recognition is "Featured" status. These are the articles, lists, topics, pictures, and portals that represent the best Wikipedia has to offer, and are thus meticulously written, referenced, and maintained to shine brightly as our best work.[1] In this Dispatch we will focus on Featured portals—what they are, what makes them tick, and how, with some work, you can get your own coveted today!

What are portals

Portals are content centers, pages intended to serve as local hubs for their respective topics or areas of reference. They are usually associated with one or more Wikipedia:WikiProjects, which often take up maintaining their topical portals; however, unlike WikiProjects, they are meant to serve both our community of editors and our readers, and thus, as Wikipedia:Portal describes, "should promote content and encourage contribution." Portals themselves originated on the German and Polish Wikipedias; early in 2005, both WikiProjects and Portals were introduced onto the English Wikipedia, and later in that year a special namespace (the namespace "Portal:") was established for them.

Featured portals were first proposed by CJ in late 2005; by mid 2006 the current guideline had been established, and by late 2006, 40 portals had already attained the status. Since that time the number of portals has slowly built up, and as of writing there is a total of 1100 portals on Wikipedia. Featured portal nominations has seen a steady stream of submissions, and as of now 157 portals have attained Featured status, the highest percentage of all the Featured processes—one in six being "Wikipedia's best content."[2]

Anatomy of a portal

Although there is no committed standard for portal design, by and large the majority of portals use the {{box portal skeleton}} template as their base. The reason for this is simple: it is a simple, compartmentalized, ergonomic, and easy-to-access design, the wide acceptance of which lends a common visual identity to the otherwise unstructured portal namespace. Most portals are created by first substituting {{box portal skeleton}}; the instructions for creating and designing a portal can be found at Wikipedia:Portal/Instructions.

According to the Portal guidelines, the requirements for a portal are an Introduction ("A short summary of the topic. If possible, this should contain an attractive image emblematic of the topic."), Categories ("Links to the most important categories related to the topic."), Subportals or Related Portals, and Topics ("Links to the most important articles related to the topic.")

Portals' visual bases and mostly governed by Portal:PORTALNAME/box-header, where all of the colors and styles of the boxes are defined. In addition to this, many editors chose to add a padded border to their portals, giving a further visual identity to their work with a non-white background. The Introduction is generally given the full width of the page, and then the remainder of the page is divided into two columns of content; the bottom of the page, which contains all of the Categorization, Related projects, and related sections, is also usually given the full width of the page. It is also not unusual to separate a Portal into subpages—for an example of this, see Portal:Arctic.

A featured portal is:

    • (a) Useful. It covers a topic that is sufficiently broad and prominent to justify it as an entry point. Because portals promote the best of Wikipedia's content, a featured portal is selective in what it displays. It showcases only high-quality content that is preferably already featured.
    • (b) Attractive. It displays Wikipedia's content in an aesthetically pleasing way. The colours are coherent and complementary, and do not detract from the content. Featured portals have no formatting issues. Red links are limited in number and restricted to aspects that encourage contribution. Article and biography summaries should not significantly exceed 200 words in length.
    • (c) Ergonomic. It is coherently constructed to display Wikipedia's content logically and effectively in ways that enhance usefulness and attractiveness. This display is the primary aim; encouraging contribution is secondary. Colour combinations comply with accessibility guidelines.
    • (d) Dynamic. A featured portal should be dynamic and regularly/frequently update the selections of content displayed within subsections. It is structured to display the broad scope of different aspects of Wikipedia's content in the topic. Featured portals may be designed to reduce the required frequency of manual updating; however, they may be designed to have a higher turnover of content displayed, using structures to ensure regular or frequent updates (e.g., Randomly-rotating-content, date specified content or WikiProjects). Featured portals that require maintenance and are not updated for three or more months are summarily demoted.
  1. It adheres to the standards in the Manual of Style and the relevant WikiProject guidelines; this includes conventions on naming, spelling, and style (see Portal and Portal guidelines).
  2. It has images where appropriate, with concise captions, linked credits, and acceptable copyright status (see Wikipedia:Non-free content).
  3. It is not self-referential: it does not speak of itself beyond (if at all) a welcome note or instructions to operate a feature. Aspects of portals that encourage contribution may be self-referential.
  4. It should include links to other Wikimedia Foundation projects where applicable. For all portals that have their central focus subject as a specific group of lifeforms, excluding humans, there should be a link to the Wikispecies project.

The most important part of a portal, for both reviewers and readers, is the content, and no featured portal is complete without a choice display of high-quality articles and media. The most common content elements are:

These are not, by any means, the only possible sections; Portal:History, for instance, contains a non-standard "Featured portal" section, as well as "On this day" from the main page. Content is rotated in one of two ways: either on a monthly schedule, or on a random selection that rotates every time the page is loaded or purged. Most portals use the second method, as it exposes all of the content at the same time, and requires little to no maintenance.[3]

The first step to setting a content section up is creating a Layout template, at Portal:TOPIC/SECTION/Layout. Layouts generally have many common elements, so it helps to look at the implementation of an existing featured portal when designing your own. Once you have a layout template, start creating numbers subpages containing the content; for instance, Portal:TOPIC/Selected article/1, Portal:TOPIC/Selected article/2, and so on, using your layout template to make the job easier. Once you have accumulated a sufficient amount of content (20 is considered the benchmark, but upwards of 50 pieces is not unheard of), you should create the topical subpage (Portal:TOPIC/Selected article). This page should in turn have instructions on using the layout template to implement new sections (and updating the section's max= parameter on the main page, as well as a list of content, often using {{numbered subpages}}. It may or may not contain a "Nominations" section as well, for nominating potential topics which do not quite meet requirements. With everything ready, you can go to the portal page and create a section for it using {{Random portal component}}, save the page, and viola, your portal section is ready!

Finally there are the categorization and miscellaneous that is relegated to the bottom of the portal, or, in some cases, to a subpage or subpages (accessible with tabs for navigation):


  1. ^ And, formerly, Featured sounds as well, however this process was shut down last year due to inactivity.
  2. ^ In comparison, 1 in 1110 articles are Featured articles, the ratio for Featured lists is similar, and that of Featured pictures is even wider.
  3. ^ If a portal on a monthly schedule loses its selection for 3 months, it can lose its featured status.


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