Wiktionary:What Wiktionary is not

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Wiktionary is an online dictionary and, as a means to that end, also an online community. Therefore, there are certain things that Wiktionary is not.

What Wiktionary is not

  1. Wiktionary is not an encyclopedia, a genealogy database, or an atlas; that is, it is not an in-depth collection of factual information, or of data about places and people. Encyclopedic information should be placed in our sister project, Wikipedia. Wiktionary entries are about words. A Wiktionary entry should focus on matters of language and wordsmithing: spelling, pronunciation, etymology, translation, concept, usage, quotations, and links to related words.
  2. Wiktionary is not an arbiter of what is good English; correct English, acceptable English, suitable English, or even grammatical. Wiktionary describes usage, it does not prescribe nor proscribe it, and adheres only to its criteria for inclusion, which state that any term or meaning that can be shown to be in sufficiently widespread use may be included. By including or not including a certain term, it by no means accepts or attempts to promote a certain point of view, but is simply documenting, explaining what is in use in English or any other language.
  3. Wiktionary is not a crystal ball. Wiktionary does not try to predict which new words will actually achieve use. It usually depends on verifiable proof of usage over a year.
  4. Wiktionary is not paper. Thus, Wiktionary effectively has no size limits, can include links, can be more timely, etc. It also means that the style and length of writing appropriate for paper may not be appropriate here. There is less need to use abbreviations. There is less need to exclude arguable entries. If enough people support a well formed entry, then there should be no need to call for its deletion.
  5. Wiktionary is not a soapbox, chatroom, or discussion forum. However, there are discussion rooms to discuss Wiktionary-related topics.
  6. Wiktionary is neither a mirror nor a repository of links, images, or media files. Any content added to Wiktionary may be subject to merciless editing or deletion.
  7. Wiktionary is not a free wiki host or webspace provider. You may not host your own website at Wiktionary. If you are interested in using the wiki technology for a collaborative effort on anything other than writing a dictionary of all words in all languages, even if it is just a single page, there are many sites that provide wiki hosting. You can even install Wiktionary's wiki software on your server.
  8. Wiktionary is not a battlefield. Every user is expected to interact with others civilly, calmly and in a spirit of cooperation. Do not insult, harass or intimidate those with whom you have a disagreement. Rather, approach the matter in an intelligent manner, and engage in polite discussion. Do not create or edit entries just to prove a point. Do not make legal or other threats against Wiktionary, Wiktionarians, or the Wikimedia Foundation. Threats are not tolerated and may result in a ban.
  9. Wiktionary is not censored (nor is it content-rated). Anyone can edit an entry and the results are displayed instantaneously; thus, we cannot guarantee that someone will not see or read something objectionable. In addition, Wiktionary has no organized system for the removal of material that might be thought likely to harm minors. However, entries can be censored by consensus.
  10. Wiktionary is not just for English. Wiktionary is a dictionary written in one language and covering all words in all languages, just as Wikipedia is an encyclopedia written in one language of all topics from all language-areas. Each Wiktionary seeks to define all words from all languages in its own language, so that readers will be able to find definitions of all words in all languages in their own language. This Wiktionary is written in English, so it is in a way an English dictionary, an English-to-anything and an anything-to-English dictionary all in one. Although one could look up être at fr.wiktionary (fr:être), its definition will be in French. So if that person doesn’t speak any French, they still wouldn’t know what être meant, and it wouldn’t be of any help to them.

Wiktionary is not Wikipedia

Main article: Wiktionary:Wiktionary for Wikipedians

Although Wiktionary and Wikipedia are sister projects, Wiktionary is not Wikipedia. Some of our policies are similar to some of Wikipedia's policies; others are quite different. The way we do things here is similar in some respects to the way things are done at Wikipedia; in other respects, it's very different.

Differences in content
  • Unlike Wikipedia, Wiktionary does not have a "notability" criterion; rather, we have an "attestation" criterion, and (for multi-word terms) an "idiomaticity" requirement. There are some similarities here — neither Wiktionary nor Wikipedia is for "things made up one day" — but also some differences. Our "attestation" requirement is much less subjective than Wikipedia's "notability" requirement; and we include all terms in all languages, including very obscure or rare terms, provided they meet our criteria for inclusion (CFI).
  • Wiktionary is a secondary source for its subject matter (words and phrases) whereas Wikipedia is a tertiary source for its subject matter (topics). This means that while Wikipedia documents what other people say about topics, Wiktionary documents words and phrases itself without relying on the statements of other people. As a consequence, the requirements of verifiability are very different. Verification on Wikipedia asks "can we find a credible source that says it is the case?" while on Wiktionary we ask "can we find real-life examples to show it is the case?". This also means that whereas Wikipedia discourages original research and relies on the research of others, Wiktionary users themselves actively research terms and their meanings.
Differences in community
  • Wiktionary has a different blocking policy than Wikipedia, and administrators don't usually issue warnings unless edits can be assumed to have been made in good faith.
  • Because there are so many pages on Wiktionary with relatively little content, talk pages of individual pages are not often used. Instead, discussion is usually centralised in Beer Parlour, Tea room and other discussion rooms.
  • Unlike Wikipedia, which encourages users to be creative with user boxes on their personal pages, Wiktionary allows only userboxes that are relevant to your work on Wiktionary itself. This includes most importantly language userboxes, which display the languages that you know.
Differences in organization
  • Unlike Wikipedia, Wiktionary's page names are case sensitive. Hand and hand are different pages. When several pages exist that differ only in their capitalisation, the template {{also}} is placed at the very beginning of the page to redirect between them.
  • There are no disambiguation pages on Wiktionary, and we do not create redirects for alternative forms, spellings or inflected forms of words. Instead, a small stub entry is created with a template that links back to the main form. Many such stub entries are created automatically using various bots.
Differences in page format and wikitext
  • Wiktionary has a very rigid page format, detailed at Entry Layout Explained.
  • Wiktionary makes heavy use of templates for all kinds of things, and each language often has its own set of templates. Learning to use the templates of the language you are working on is very important; templates can be found at Category:Templates by language. Categories, formatting and linking also often use templates for consistent formatting.
  • Wiktionary uses language codes extensively for any language-specific purposes involving templates. For example, many templates use en to refer to the English language, or cmn to refer to Mandarin Chinese. Knowing the code of the language you are working on is very important, and necessary for almost any kind of editing on Wiktionary.
  • On Wiktionary, categories are often added to pages by the templates used on that page, so there is no need to put them directly on the page. In particular, headword-line templates and context templates are most commonly used to add entries to the appropriate categories.

See also