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The concept of "namespaces" can be confusing to new wiki users. However, the good news is that for the most part you can ignore them! The following description is an attempt to explain namespaces for those with an interest or with a particular need to know more about them.

You can consider namespaces to be a way of differentiating between "types" of article withing the wiki. Pages or articles can have a specific role or purpose, and namespaces are a way of showing that. By default, a wiki defines a list of basic namespaces, which are listed at the bottom of this item.

Using Namespaces

Most user created articles will go in the default "Main" namespace, so no special action needs to be taken when creating or referencing the page. Referencing a page in a specific non-default namespace such as the main Help Contents page for the wiki requires the namespace to be stated followed by a colon then the page name: Help:Contents. Because a colon is used to delimit between a namespace and the page title, it is best to avoid using colons in page titles. Using a colon won't "break" anything: In most cases it will work perfectly OK, but if you happen to put something in front of the colon that matches a namespace in use then the page will be placed in that namespace and this may subsequently cause odd results when retrieving pages based on the namespaces. Also remember that the plug-ins may be added to the wiki software that introduce namespaces beyond those listed in the table below.

If you need to create a page in a specific namespace, such as adding to the "help" files for the site, then you need to specify the namespace; you can either place a link in another page to your new page, such as [[Help:My New Page|More help]] and then follow the link to add the content, or you can enter Help:My New Page in the Search box in the wiki's navigation panel (left side of page) then follow the red link at the very top of the search results page.

Namespaces vs Categories

It is important not to confuse namespaces with categories: A page will always exist within one single namespace, but it may belong to any number of categories. Namespaces are defined within the wiki software configuration, while categories may be defined and added by the users.

Default Namespaces

This wiki has the following namespaces defined: These are the defaults for any MediaWiki installation.

Name, linked to list of all such pages Notes
"Media" pseudo-namespace for images and other files themselves, as opposed to the image description pages; see also below
"Special" pseudo-namespace for special pages (list: Special:SpecialPages)
main main namespace, no prefix, or optionally a colon (this is needed when using the page as a template)
Talk see Talk page for this and the following odd-numbered namespaces
User registered users (list: Special:ListUsers) have a user homepage User:username (linked to by the system from user names in lists of edits, e.g. on page histories, and from signatures on talk pages); this and subpages of it can be used to present oneself, for project-related bookmarks, and for drafts, tests, and other working material. One can put here material to give oneself one-step access to it from any page in the same project, and one can put here links to give oneself two-step access to the link targets from any page in the same project as the user page.
User talk  
OpenUru the project namespace for matters about the project, such as guidelines and discussions; see also the Help namespace
OpenUru talk  
File images and other uploaded files, with image description pages (list: Special:ImageList)
File talk  
MediaWiki system messages (list: Special:AllMessages), editable by users, or if protected, by sysops
MediaWiki talk  
Template the default namespace for templates: the wikitext code {{name }} refers to and includes the page Template:name
Template talk  
Help typically used for the MediaWiki User's Guide.
Help talk  
Category each page (list: Special:Categories) represents a category of pages, with each category page displaying a list of pages in that category and optional additional text.
Category talk