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Wikipedia:WikiProject Short descriptions

WikiProject Short descriptions
Farm-Fresh quill.png
CategoriesWikiProject Short descriptions, Pages with short description
Project banner template{{WikiProject Short descriptions}}
Has goals?Populate all articles with short descriptions.

This is a project to populate all Wikipedia mainspace articles with a short description suitable to allow a reader to identify which search result is most likely to suit their needs.

The short description will have other uses too.

State of the projectEdit

Out of 5,666,340 articles, 1,394,230 have a short description template. 4,272,110 articles do not have a short description.

1,394,230 / 5,666,340 (25%)

24.60548 % complete – Help make this bar green!

Sub-tasks: personal and WikiProjectEdit

WikiProject Medicine short descriptions:Edit

For the existing descriptions on Wikidata, that are currently being shown to readers on mobile:

A further group to consider are articles where there is currently no description on Wikidata. For these a machine-generated description is currently shown on mobile, created by Magnus's autodesc script:


Pole DancingEdit
Professional wrestlingEdit


  • Category:Judo -all articles under the Judo category and its sub categories (Judoka, events/competitions, federations/institutions, clubs/dojos, techniques, media) as per March 31, 2019   Done CASSIOPEIA(talk) 15:34, 2 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Category:Mixed martial arts‎ - all articles under the Mixed martial Arts category and its sub categories (mixed martial artist/fighters, events/competitions, federations/institutions, teams/training orgainsations, techniques, media/tv series, executives/announcers/journalists/personalities, sport arenas, weight classes) as per April 8, 2019   Done CASSIOPEIA(talk) 17:01, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Category:Brazilian jiu-jitsu‎/Grapping /Jui-Jitsu - all articles under the BJJ Karate category and its sub categories (BJJ practitioners, events/competitions, federations) as per April 19, 2019   Done CASSIOPEIA(talk) 16:17, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Category:Karate - All articles under the Karate category and its sub categories (Karateka, events/competitions, federations/institutions, techniques/kata, fictional character) as per April 19, 2019   Done CASSIOPEIA(talk) 16:17, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Category:Taekwondo‎ All articles under the Taekwondo‎ category and its sub categories (practitioners, events/competitions, federations/institutions, techniques/form, films, venues, schools) as per May 6, 2019   Done. CASSIOPEIA(talk) 16:48, 6 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Category:Boxing‎ - working in progress. CASSIOPEIA(talk) 16:17, 19 April 2019 (UTC)

Subway stationsEdit

  • Doing, will complete all of them.--Ymblanter (talk) 15:20, 2 April 2019 (UTC)




South AfricaEdit

Why is this a good thing?Edit

  • It helps readers find the article they need from a list of articles produced by a search engine. It could save a lot of people a lot of time.
  • It concentrates the mind on what the article should actually be about. Particularly when creating a new article or patrolling a new page.
  • It will prevent the use of inappropriate short descriptions from Wikidata being used as the first contact for our articles. Wikidata vandalism does not show on Wikipedia, and slips by our defenses.
  • It will reduce the temptation for vandals to try to attack Wikipedia through Wikidata. This does not help Wikipedia directly, but it is a serendipitous side effect.
  • There are other places where a short description of a Wikipedia article is useful, inside Wikipedia. It is possible to display the short description as an annotation after an internal link by using the template {{annotated link}}, although this displays only those short descriptions added within Wikipedia or imported from Wikidata by a Wikipedia editor. "See also" sections, Outline lists, Index lists, and any other place where a list of plain Wikilinks would be improved by a short description of the target article can make use of this to advantage, and it may at some time become possible for Category lists to also use the short description annotation. It may also become possible at some stage for the page display to be toggled to display or not display the short description, making them visible only when wanted. (Disambiguation pages are not an appropriate place for annotated links. The reasons are explained on the template documentation page.)


How to write a short descriptionEdit

  • Preferably limit to about 40 characters, but function is important. A slightly overlong description is better than a wrong, misleading or useless one.
  • We have a template {{short description}} for the purpose. This will insert the short description into the magic word, and add a maintenance category so we can identify which pages already have a short description. The template may be modified to do other useful stuff.
  • Use sentence case, start with a capital letter, terminal punctuation is not needed for sentence fragments.

What if a short description is redundant?Edit

To start off, WMF plans to display a short description from Wikidata if the magic word has no short description. If the Wikidata short description is objectionable, we will have to put something in to take its place. If it is wrong on Wikidata you could delete it there, but only do that if you are confident that it is not appropriate for Wikidata. Eventually the Wikidata descriptions will be turned off and if there is no short description nothing will be displayed. One way to deal with this is to do nothing, but if someone adds a template with a blank short description, or with the word blank, or a non-breaking space, just leave it like that, as it shows that someone has checked and decided that a description is not necessary. If you find a blank and think a description would be better, put it in.

  • Redirects – could be left as a blank or use "Redirect page"
  • Disambiguation pages – can be "Disambiguation page" Where a more specific category is available, a more informative short description can be used, for example, in Category:Bird common name disambiguation pages, a more informative description {{short description|Bird common name disambiguation page}} could be used, but be sure to check that the name covers all the articles it disambiguates.

(Add other page types that can be treated similarly here}

Adding and editing short descriptionsEdit

Short descriptions can be added and edited using the standard Wikimarkup editor (edit source), but for most cases it is convenient to use the short description helper gadget.

The Wikidata description viewing script is useful to show what is available at Wikidata (see below)

How can I see the short description in desktop view?Edit

The template includes the class shortdescription. That allows anybody to add a definition to their Special:MyPage/common.css like this:

.shortdescription { display:block !important; }

Just copy and paste the code given or customise the display to suit your preference. You can't miss this one:

.shortdescription { display:block !important; background-color: #FFFF80; }

Alternatively there is a gadget available in Preferences, which can be selected as an opt-in. It does not appear to be working consistently yet. Or one could use, User:Galobtter/Shortdesc helper which is compatible with Page assessments gadget, shows the short description if it exists, allows editing of only the short description, shows the Wikidata description and allows it to be imported and if desired, edited.

  • This script introduces the short description as a class .mw-page-description which can be highlighted by a line of css like .mw-page-description { background-color: #FF80FF; }

How can I see the short description on WikidataEdit

  • You can click on the Wikidata link in the sidebar to go to the record, where you can read or edit it, or
  • You can enable a view of the Q-code, short description and alias, complete with links, at the top of every article just below the title by installing User Yair Rand's script.

Editing using Shortdesc helper gadgetEdit

The Wikidata description, Q-number and aliases can be displayed by another gadget, that should be installable through mw.loader.load("// rand/WikidataInfo.js&action=raw&ctype=text/javascript"); This is useful to allow you to check what is available at Wikidata, and provides links to Wikidata in case you want to edit there.

For example, at Plebeian Council these gadgets display:

Wikidata: plebeian council (Q15056619), Ancient Roman assemby
Aliases: Comitia Plebis Tributa, Concilium Plebis, Plebian Assembly
The principal assembly of the ancient Roman Republic (Edit)

Another example, at Political institutions of ancient Rome:

Wikidata: political institutions of ancient Rome (Q2915100), no description given
Aliases: None
Missing article description (Add)

A third example at Roman consul:

Wikidata: Roman consul (Q40779), political office in ancient Rome
Alias: consul
political office in ancient Rome (Wikidata · Import · Edit and Import)

The first two lines are the item, description, and aliases at Wikidata, complete with link to the item at Wikidata. displayed by User:Yair rand's gadget. The third line is the current short description on Wikipedia, if it exists, a notice that the article description is missing, or the Wikidata item displayed for possible use, displayed by User:Galobtter's Shortdesc helper gadget.

Editing with shortdesc helper

If you click on (Edit), (Add), (Import), or (Edit and Import), it should open a small editing window in the third line with the current short description and give the options (Save) and (Cancel). Edit will import the description from Wikidata and allow you to change it before saving, while Import will import the Wikidata description as is and save. It can be edited later. Edit and Import will open the edit window with the Wikidata description and allow you to edit it before clicking on (Save) or (Cancel).

If adding a new short description, either type it in from the keyboard, or drag and drop from the article text and edit as appropriate.

Adding a short description on Wikipedia does not do anything on Wikidata. To edit on Wikidata, click on one of the links (not shown in this example) in the Wikidata item description or Q-number to open the item at Wikidata.

The Shortdesc helper will provide a standardised edit summary describing the edit.

Which articles have a short description on Wikipedia?Edit

Auto-generated and bot-generated descriptionsEdit

  • Keep in mind that we are working on making infoboxes generate descriptions automatically, so it may not be necessary to add descriptions manually or semi-automatically for certain groups of articles; though improving those automatic descriptions is always welcome. Also bots may or likely will be used in areas where descriptions are possible to be gotten from the lead automatically due to similar format such as for sportspersons.
  • Automated addition would be subject to the usual conditions for bot runs. Automation would be complicated by the need to produce accurate, concise and policy compliant short descriptions. This may not be possible, but if you have a plan, and it works, that would be very helpful.
  • Semi-automated tools would be extremely helpful. If you can produce a script that is easy to use, checks through a category for the presence of short descriptions, and when absent checks for a Wikidata description and opens the page to allow the editor to check if it is suitable, then adds the description or allows manual addition and saves on a click before going on to the next article, it would accelerate the work by orders of magnitude.

Auto-generated from infoboxes and other templatesEdit

Already doneEdit

Template Approx. no. of articles
{{Disambiguation page short description}} 302,414
{{Infobox settlement}} 502,215
{{Infobox Australian place}} 13,543
{{Infobox element}} 398
{{Infobox number}} 397
{{Infobox musical interval}} 42
{{Day}} 365
{{Year nav}} 2,825
{{Given name}} 13,735
{{Surname}} 51,273
{{Infobox museum}} 3000–4000[a]
{{Infobox hospital}} 4,564
{{Infobox church}} 11,379
{{Infobox television episode}} 10,816
{{Year nav topic5}} 6,791
{{Infobox album}} 152,341
{{Infobox professional wrestling team}} 538
{{Infobox kana}} 51
  1. ^ Not all transclusions of {{Infobox museum}} have an automatically generated description.

Work in progressEdit


  • User:DannyS712 bot Task 4 – Short descriptions for articles about bilateral relations (approx. 3,000 articles)
  • User:DannyS712 bot Task 20 – Short descriptions for outlines (approx. 400 articles)

Templates and modulesEdit

Templates and modules that are useful for this/created for helping with short descriptions:

Can we use the Wikidata description if it is good?Edit

Yes, but check that it really is good, and don't hesitate to improve it. Wikidata short descriptions are public domain and can simply be copied, but mentioning the source in the edit summary would be preferable. The helper gadget handles this for you when you click "Import", and you can also choose to edit the summary beforehand.

Can I copy the Wikidata short descriptions with a bot?Edit

You need to check each one to be sure it is appropriate. This is content you will be adding, and you are just as responsible for it as for any other content. Semi-automated copying should not be a problem as long as it is done properly, which means at least checking that the short description agrees with the lead section. If you come up with a good way to do this, please mention it here. There is enough for everyone. We have about 5.5 million articles to do. It will not happen overnight.

Which articles can I work on?Edit

  • Start with topics where you are sufficiently familiar to be able to write a good short description. If you run out, do anything that you are confident you can handle. If in doubt, leave it out.
  • Follow BLP policy scrupulously. Avoid areas if you are topic banned.
  • Consider working though your watchlist (or part of it), or a WikiProject's articles, or a category.
  • If you like Outlines, work through one, they may be a good source of short descriptions if well annotated, and if not, you can annotate with the short descriptions as you create them.
  • If you don't have the time or inclination to work on this systematically, consider just checking and adding a short description on articles that you will be editing anyway.
  • All articles need a short description, Featured, Good, A and B class could be prioritised, but at this stage numbers are important, to get WMF to stop displaying dubious Wikidata descriptions.
  • If you are a bot operator, there are bot tasks to be done.

What can we do about bad short descriptions?Edit

  • Fix them, this is Wikipedia.
  • Follow Bold - Revert - Discuss, or you can start with discuss in uncertain cases. The short description is just another piece of content.
  • In the case of a content dispute, get talk page consensus.
  • For a BLP violation, blank or preferably replace, and provide an edit summary to explain.

Join the projectEdit

Add your signature to the list.

  1. Peter (Southwood) (talk): 11:49, 16 February 2018 (UTC)
  2. Jheald (talk) 16:46, 16 February 2018 (UTC)
  3. Not a very active user (talk) 04:58, 28 April 2018 (UTC)
  4. HotdogPi 21:32, 28 April 2018 (UTC)
  5. Galobtter (pingó mió) 05:10, 29 April 2018 (UTC)
  6. So far mostly fiddling with Peter (Southwood)'s ones. Johnbod (talk) 15:02, 8 May 2018 (UTC)
  7. EstablishedCalculus 20:21, 25 May 2018 (UTC)
  8. Focusing on the larger taxa of insects. AddWittyNameHere (talk) 04:12, 1 June 2018 (UTC)
  9. — AfroThundr (u · t · c) 17:22, 13 June 2018 (UTC)
  10. Sam Sailor 19:01, 21 June 2018 (UTC)
  11. Newslinger talk 20:39, 25 August 2018 (UTC)
  12. Jmertel23 (talk) 14:38, 11 October 2018 (UTC)
  13. Vinvibes (talk) 09:06, 9 December 2018 (UTC)
  14. Qwertyxp2000 (talk | contribs) 23:40, 10 December 2018 (UTC)
  15. SamCordes (talk) 05:49, 12 December 2018 (UTC)
  16. CASSIOPEIA(talk) 13:46, 12 December 2018 (UTC)
  17. Stregadellanonna (talk) 11:11, 20 December 2018 (UTC)
  18. Clovermoss (talk) 23:15, 31 December 2018 (UTC)
  19. --DannyS712 (talk) 18:10, 6 January 2019 (UTC)
  20. JTP (talkcontribs) 02:29, 11 January 2019 (UTC)
  21. Zeke, the Mad Horrorist (Speak quickly) (Follow my trail) 06:49, 11 January 2019 (UTC)
  22. Ntmamgtw (talk) 15:50, 19 January 2019 (UTC)
  23. Galatz גאליץשיחה Talk 21:30, 22 January 2019 (UTC)
  24. Daviddwd (talk · contribs) Daviddwd (talk) 04:39, 25 January 2019 (UTC)
  25. Fettlemap (talk) 17:33, 25 January 2019 (UTC)
  26. YuriNikolai (talk) 23:17, 8 February 2019 (UTC)
  27. rogerd (talk) 04:50, 11 February 2019 (UTC)
  28. BRAINULATOR9 (TALK) 20:37, 19 February 2019 (UTC)
  29. --Kew Gardens 613 (talk) 13:42, 28 February 2019 (UTC) I can do this in my regular course of editing as part of WP:NYCPT
  30. CoolSkittle (talk) 17:41, 28 February 2019 (UTC)
  31. Mooeena💌✒️ 20:28, 8 March 2019 (UTC)
  32. · · · Serenity Mask 1:56 11 March 2019 (UTC)
  33. J947(c), at 03:30, 29 March 2019 (UTC)
  34. DarkGlow (talk) 15:37, 31 March 2019 (UTC)
  35. The Eloquent Peasant 00:40, 4 April 2019 (UTC)
  36. <RetroCraft314 /> 02:22, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
  37.  AltoStev  Talk 23:09, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
  38. AcoriSage 00:27, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
  39. MainlyTwelve (talk) 20:23, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
  40. Lepricavark (talk) 20:53, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
  41. Lafayette Baguette talk 23:35, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
  42. JoeHebda (talk) 18:43, 22 April 2019 (UTC)
  43. Rob3512 chat? what I did 14:06, 24 April 2019 (UTC)
  44. Hmxhmx 12:45, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
  45. Aspening (talk) 04:28, 25 May 2019 (UTC)
  46. Gronk Oz (talk) 16:15, 26 May 2019 (UTC)
  47. Kpgjhpjm 07:10, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
  48. Fylindfotberserk (talk) 16:24, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
  49. OwenwongHY (talk) 07:33, 7 June 2019 (GTM+8)
  50. OliverEastwood talk 03:26, 7 June 2019 (UTC)
  51. Ipigott (talk) 16:25, 21 June 2019 (UTC)
  52. ___CAPTAIN MEDUSAtalk 00:23, 22 June 2019 (UTC)
  53. Taketa (talk) 18:13, 23 June 2019 (UTC)
  54. Laterthanyouthink (talk) 12:03, 24 June 2019 (UTC)
  55. Amkrausesten (talk) 01:20, 29 June 2019 (UTC)
  56. Ayenaee (talk) 16:01, 14 July 2019 (UTC)
  57. Ionmars10 (talk) 01:04, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
  58. Willbb234 (talk) 08:32, 6 August 2019 (UTC)
  59. Poydoo (talk) 17:52, 10 August 2019 (UTC)
  60. AmericanAir88(talk) 15:36, 14 August 2019 (UTC)
  61. TheAwesomeHwyh 18:07, 18 August 2019 (UTC)
  62. BEANS X2 (talk)-
  63. Squeeps10 Talk to meMy edits 03:05, 25 August 2019 (UTC)
  64. 🐈ogueScholar🗨₨Talk 02:05, 26 August 2019 (UTC)
  65. DGG ( talk ) 00:32, 29 August 2019 (UTC)
  66. EDG ( talk ) 13:35, 26 September 2019 (UTC)
  67.   Ganbaruby!  (talk to me) 06:09, 21 October 2019 (UTC)
  68. Michepman (talk) 02:37, 24 October 2019 (UTC)
  69. — Ched (talk) 22:19, 29 October 2019 (UTC) (been doing them for a while now)
  70. DocWatson42DocWatson42 (talk) 20:00, 1 November 2019 (UTC) (ditto Ched's comment)
  71. Looking at ways to generate them automatically ‑‑Trialpears (talk) 20:09, 1 November 2019 (UTC)
  72. ArkayusMako (talk) 10:25, 15 November 2019 (UTC)


  • We could add initial ones by bot such as "is a medical condition" to all articles that have "infobox medical condition" in the lead and "is a drug" to all that have the "drugbox" in the lead. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 04:02, 20 February 2018 (UTC) (copied from WikiProject Medicine talk page)
  • Pages with a bot-generated short description following a formula like this should be added to Category:Bot-generated short descriptions so that Wikignomes can follow up and improve them. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 08:32, 20 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Add tracking categories for when a template-generated (not bot-generated!) short description is overridden. While overwriting them isn't a bad thing, it may be useful to catch instances where the short descriptions were written before the template's short description was finished and implemented. -BRAINULATOR9 (TALK) 21:04, 20 February 2019 (UTC)
  • We might have a bot do fill redirect pages with {{short description|redirects to (page that the redirect redirects to)}  AltoStev  Talk 20:58, 6 April 2019 (UTC)
    It's a nice idea, AltoStev, but unfortunately I don't think it will help anyone. Let me give an example of why not. There's a redirect called French Federation of Undersea Studies and Sports which points to our article at Fédération Française d'Études et de Sports Sous-Marins. If you go to mobile view and start searching for french federation of un, the only suggestion you get is 'Fédération Française d'Études et de Sports Sous-Marins' with a line underneath stating 'French diver training and certification agency'. The redirect and its short description ('Redirect page') don't show up in the search, but the target and its short description do. --RexxS (talk) 22:32, 6 April 2019 (UTC)


Add {{User Short descriptions}} to your user page to be included in Category:WikiProject Short descriptions participants. The userbox looks like this:

 This user is a participant in WikiProject Short descriptions.