wikiHow may be confusing because of the plethora of commonly used acronyms, terms, and procedures. This page hopes to clear the confusion by providing a glossary of terms. Each entry provides a brief sketch which is intended to hone your understanding of some aspect of wikiHow (wH). The entries below should be considered introductory guides which become a foundation for understanding wH. These are not comprehensive treatments.

Following the glossary is a list of Links for Acronyms and Abbreviations. If you do not see what you seek in either place, please ask your question of an experienced user, and feel free to return here to share your new-found knowledge by expanding this list.

Because wH is alive, growing and organic, it is in a state of flux; ever-changing. Thus, this list will always be incomplete, a work in progress (as is all wH content). Your help in making wikiHow content better is appreciated.

EditGlossary by Letter


  • Abuse Log: The abuse log is a filter currently used to identify:
    • potentially terrific edits based on the edit summary
    • instances of some of the more common vandalisms
  • Access: Access is the the ability to use a tool. Sometimes access to certain tools and/or parts of the wikiHow database is determined by user privileges and other times by administrators removing rights.
  • Admins/Administrators: Admins or administrators are ordinary wH users who have extra rights, privileges and responsibilities. Admins have the power to move articles; block users; protect pages; delete pages; and moderate the forums.

    A list of current admins can be found here. Admins are among the most trusted and knowledgeable wH members and are equipped to handle most any of your needs. Don't hesitate to contact them. That is what they are there for. (You might be able to catch one who is actively on site by watching the scrolling activity in the right side bar.)
  • ANB: The ANB or Administrator Notice Board is a clearinghouse where wikiHowians can report potential violations of policy. The ANB is frequently reviewed by admins and appropriate action is taken.

    Instructions for using the ANB: General instructions are at the top of the ANB page; specific instructions are provided when a section is edited. Please do not take any action on suspected policy violations except to report them on the ANB and follow the directions there (or directions given by administrators). As in all wikiHow matters, if you are unsure about what to do, please ask before you act.
  • Anonymous/Anon: wikiHow functions through a policy of anonymity. Anyone can edit unprotected site content anonymously (as an IP address) and nobody is forced to reveal their information here. Everyone is, however, encouraged to create an account, thereby gaining access to additional tools and data records.
  • Archive: Archives are a repository for older content on talk pages and discussion pages. When pages receive too many messages, the pages take longer to load and are harder to navigate. The messages can be archived by transferring a set of messages onto new pages which can be labelled, organized, and accessed.

    Instructions for archiving your talk page can be found here. If the task seems too daunting, post a help request and it will soon be serviced.
  • Article: Article creation and improvement is the primary objective of the community. All articles are hosted on the internet by wikiHow servers and are freely licensed to the world. How-to articles on just about every subject can be found here. The articles are constantly being bettered through minor edits, major overhauls, and additions of images, tips, and video. Without articles, we would not be here today.
  • Assume Good Faith: Assuming good faith is a guiding principle when dealing with all others: At all times, every action should be assumed to be well-intentioned. Even if an action is obviously not well-intentioned, the strongest corrective action is, most often, to proceed as if the objectionable action was performed because of a lack of knowledge or because of a simple misunderstanding. The wH site is founded on kindness, so assuming good faith is a cornerstone.


  • Backlog: "A reserve or accumulation, as of stock, work, or business".[1] Example: NAB Backlog (hidden to Non-Boosters).
  • Blacklist: A spam blacklist exists on wikiHow, where administrators and staff can add links that have been found to be disruptive to the mission of the community. wikiHow server software is programmed to prevent publication of any edit containing a link that is blacklisted.
  • Blank/Blanking: Blanking has to do with a user purposefully removing all or a significant portion of the content from an article, talk page, or discussion page - i.e., "blanking" the page or some content. If it is evident that the blanking is vandalism, you can restore the content and place the {{blank}} template on the user's talk page or leave a personal note for the blanker, remembering to assume good faith. You can also restore any good-faith edits, discuss comments, and talk page messages.
  • Block/Blocking: Blocking is an action initiated by an administrator to stop an account from making any edits. Each block is placed for a specified amount of time and there are a limited number of reasons for blocking, all aimed at preventing disruption to the site and articles. Blocking proceeds only after following a set of strict guidelines for warning before blocking (set by consensus of community members over the years).
  • Booster: A booster is an experienced editor who passed a series of written tests on wikiHow policy/article editing. A booster has access to an extended set of tools and privileges, including the New Article Boost (NAB) tool. The primary function of NAB is to process new articles, bringing them up to a minimum quality standard.

Currently, boosters sift new articles into two piles:

    • Promoted articles - those articles that conform to wikiHow policy and also meet minimum wikiHow standards for content and formatting. These articles are indexed and can be seen by the public.
    • Demoted articles - those articles which need some work to meet minimum quality standards

Boosters also tag articles according to what actions need to be performed.

    • Ultimately, these tags funnel the articles into various queues on the Community Dashboard, called "greenhouses" so the community can know which articles need TLC in order to grow and blossom. Any wikiHowian can flag the articles when they see a need for improvement. If you do not have the time or ability to make an improvement on the spot, please tag the article so that the community will be alerted to the need you have identified.
  • Bot: Bot is short for robot. A bot is an automated process that is actually a computer program written by the wH engineers to automate tedious tasks. An example is the bot (program containing software code) that identifies words that are not in the wH dictionaries. The bot you all have met is the welcome bot. It is software code that identifies new user account creation (or a first edit as a anon), then leaves an automated message on the newcomer's talk page.
  • Bunch Patrolling: (seldom used) Bunch patrolling (BP) is checking a group (bunch) of edits at one time. Articles that are eligible to be included in a bunch patrol group are limited to edits that mimimally affect the site, typically talk page messages or discussion page messages.
  • Bureaucrat: A Bureaucrat is a user that is able to grant user rights to editors.


  • Category: Each wH article can be assigned to a category (or two). The categories are arranged hierarchically (like an outline) and some categories are nested within larger categories. The categories, taken together, act like a filing system to organize articles about similar topics into groups. Each category must contain five or more articles.

    For example, a category about board games, might contain articles about building a chess board and strategies for playing Monopoly as well as articles about finding valuable antique board games.
  • Categorize/categorization: Categorizing is the process of assigning an article to a category in this list. The article should be put into the most narrow (lowest level) category that accurately fits the article. The primary software tool to help with categorizing can be found in the Community Dashboard. You can visit it here.
  • Checkuser: A checkuser is an administrator who has the privilege to view a user IP address (a unique computer address for each individual internet-enabled device). Knowledge of the IP address enables the checkuser to determine that one person is operating multiple accounts (sockpuppets). Creation and use of multiple accounts is carefully monitored; each linked account can be blocked by an administrator.
  • Coach/Coaching: Experienced wikiHowians coach the newcomers by gently guiding them to understanding. The purpose of coaching is to make learning easier, to clear roadblocks, and correct missteps in the early learning process. Coaching is art which requires:
    • Knowing the tools and policies
    • Judging the level of complexity a newcomer is ready to handle (without being overwhelmed)
    • Accurately accessing a newcomer's openness to new information
      There are many elements to coaching, but two of the most important are showing kindness and assuming good faith.

      Ultimately, the goal of a coach is to make the newcomer feel at home in the community and to enable the newcomer to understand and use the tools, wikiHow format, and wH ways.
  • Community Dashboard: The Community Dashboard provides access to often-used tools such as Format Greenhouse, Recent Changes Patrol, and Method Editor. It conveniently gives at-a-glance visual status for each tool.
  • COPPA: COPPA stands for Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, which is a United States federal law. The law mandates that US websites cannot retain information having to do with users under 13 years of age without parental consent. To comply with the law, no user under the age of thirteen can operate an account unless a parent or guardian supplies documented permission. wikiHow administrators must stop use of underage accounts. They do so by blocking those accounts and removing all personal information.

    Please use the ANB to report specific edits in which underage users state their age.
  • Copyedit (ce): Copyediting is the process of going through an article from top-to-bottom and correcting capitalization, grammar, punctuation, and word use. Awkward passages are smoothed by judicious word selection and by changing the order of the sentence parts.

    Copyedits can also be a smaller part of the whole copyedit process, such as a single instance of changing verb sense from singular to plural so that subject and verb agree in number, e.g., "they says" gets changed to "they say" by a minor copyedit (abbreviated as ce). Copyediting on wH also involves removing textspeak and use of personal reference: I, me, my, mine, and similar first person pronouns.
  • Copyvio: Copyvio is a shortened form of copyright violation. It refers to directly copying all or a portion of an existing work and incorporating it in a wH article with or without permission. Copyright violations are illegal and can result in prison time and heavy fines.

    Direct quotes are sometimes allowed (if properly cited), but, by and large, anything that is the same (or nearly the same) as something elsewhere on the web gets cited as a potential copyvio. This is a legal designation and there are many nuances, so only those few who have detailed knowledge of the copyright violation process and are trusted to act in the best interest of wH can handle copyvios. However, any editor can tag an article as a potential copyvio if the article is not already flagged by the site software robot (bot).


  • Dashboard: The dashboard refers to the Community Dashboard. It allows access to often-used tools such as Format Greenhouse, Recent Changes Patrol, and Method Editor as well as giving the at-a-glance visual status for each tool.
  • Delete/Deletion: Deletion can only be done by administrators, but it can be requested by other wikiHowians. Articles are typically deleted by a consensus of boosters and Administrators according to their interpretation of the deletion policy. Any image, video, or page can be deleted and, after deletion, the content cannot be accessed by a regular user.
  • Discussion Page (Discuss Page): The discussion page of an article can be accessed by clicking the Discuss tab on any article. This page contains messages sent by users (and bots) about the article.
  • Draft: A draft is a version of an article that has not been published for all to see. These are kept in your My Drafts for 365 days (found in the drop down list that is revealed by hovering over MY PROFILE in the green wikiHow bar overhead).
  • Dup: Dup is short for duplicate and is a common reason for deletion of an article, but it's also commonly seen as a reason for merging. A duplicate article is judged by title comparison to an existing article, however, it generally contains much the same content as the older article.


  • Edit War/Edit Warring: The persistent undoing of an edit or a reversion. This anti-collaborative activity often occurs when an editor repeatedly instates edits that are not in the best interest of the article or edits which push a personal agenda. In order to stop the back and forth, an administrator restores the most appropriate edit and often protects the page as well as coaches the parties involved in the edit warring.
  • Edit Summary: An edit summary is a brief, informative recap of the editing, additions, or removals performed during an edit. These show in the article history. Complete, concise edit summaries help everyone know who did what and when.
  • Editing Fellow: An individual member of a smallish group of editing fellows under the employ of wikiHow. Editing fellows create articles or expand existing articles under the direction of the staff. Their work is often research-based.—Sometimes, they add sourced content; other times they test the effect of adding or removing certain types of content.
  • Editor: Any user of wikiHow is an editor, because we can all edit articles as we see fit.
  • Exlinks: Exlinks means external links, or links that lead outside of wikiHow.


  • FAC: FAC stands for Featured Article Candidate. Anyone can nominate an article for consideration as a Featured article by placing {{fac}} on its discussion page.
  • Fact check: Fact checking is the process of reviewing an article for accuracy, typically after the article has been tagged for its accuracy being in doubt.
  • Featured Article/FA: When an article is Featured, it stays on wikiHow's main page for a period of 48 hours and is announced on the RSS feed. The author of the article receives a blue star next to its title on their user page.
  • Featured Author: A featured author is a wikiHowian who has started articles, five of which have been designated as either a rising stars (RSs) or been honored for featuring. (See Featured Article/FA.)
  • Format: Formatting is the process of making the steps of an article more clear and concise. Formatting also focuses on streamlining an article for easier reading. In a wider sense, formatting refers to changing the look and positioning of words (and images) within a document.
  • Forums: The wikiHow forums provide a user-friendly way to:
    • get to know fellow wikiHowians
    • showcase and discuss individual or group activities
    • highlight and discuss individual or community concerns
    • announce and comment on site features (and changes)
    • report bugs
    • chat with your fellow editors
    • get caught up on wikiHow happenings
    • relax through forum games
    • suggest new categories


  • Help Team: The wikiHow Help Team is a dedicated team of experienced users on the site who can answer almost any question thrown at them. Feel free to click the above link and post your question(s) on the help team talk page. You will soon get an answer.
  • History: Each page on wikiHow has a history of the changes made to the page starting with page creation. If the page is unprotected, any of the versions can be viewed, edited, and saved as a draft or can be published.


  • IFD: IFD stands for Image for Deletion and is not often seen on wikiHow. It is a template to nominate inappropriate images for deletion.
  • Intern: An intern is an individual, often a college student, who is on the wikiHow payroll and under the direction of staff. The employment stint is short-term, usually for the summer.
  • Intro: Intro is short-form for introduction, a necessary part of an article which piques reader interest and provides an overview. When editing, it is the few sentences before the actual steps.
  • Import: A user can generally import images and videos to wikiHow from sources like YouTube, Flickr, and Wikimedia. Tools make it easy to upload images and add them to articles and to embed a video. Generally an article may contain an image for each step or sub-step, but only one video and no intro images.
  • IRC: IRC stands for Internet Relay Chat and is a convenient way for editors to chat back-and-forth rapidly. wikiHow's IRC channel can be accessed using these steps.


  • Last Good: When an article is vandalized multiple times, it sometimes cannot be returned to a non-vandalized version using a simple rollback. Instead an earlier (nonvandalized) version is opened for editing and saved, leaving the edit summary, "revert to last good," meaning the article has been returned to the last non-vandalized version.


  • Magic Word: In wikis, magic words are key words which cause the software to perform certain actions. The most often used magic words are __Parts__ and __Methods__ which are used to designate whether the sections of an article are subdivisions of the directions (parts) or provide separate ways to accomplish the same task or goal (methods).
  • MediaWiki: A heavily modified version of MediaWiki is what powers wikiHow. MediaWiki is a free, open-source software that also powers Wikipedia, Wikia, and many other wikis.
  • Merge: Merging is a process that involves two articles, where good, 'usable' content is taken from a newer article and merged with (added to) an older article. After merging the content, the newer article title is redirected to point the older title.
  • Method Editor: The method editor is a tool in the Community Dashboard to screen, edit, and incorporate suggested methods in existing articles. The methods should improve the article by adding content that is not already in the article.
  • Methods: Methods are different ways to accomplish the same end result (which is implied by the title of the article). Methods are usually incorporated by adding sections as described here and adding the magic word __Methods__.
  • Move: Moving a page is a method of changing an article title and is available only to New Article Boosters and Administrators. Article content is moved to a new title using the Special:Movepage tool.
  • Mylinks: Mylinks is a set of links (or other information) that displays in the right sidebar. Edit the page User:YourUserName/Mylinks to get started or read How to Create My Links on wikiHow.


  • NAB: NAB stands for New Article Boost. A booster or NABer can patrol articles new to the site and generally make them better using the New Article Boost tool. He or she also has the option to "promote" them (make them available to the public) or "demote" them (hide them from the public until they are ready for readers).
  • NFD: NFD stands for Nomination for Deletion, a template that signals that an article might need to be deleted because it goes against our deletion policy. Anyone can place an NFD template, but only boosters and admins can remove one.
  • NFD Guardian: The NFD Guardian tool is an application that admins and boosters can use to vote on articles with the NFD template. If so many votes are received either way, the article is either deleted or the template removed. It is also possible to edit the article and 'save' it from deletion through the tool.


  • Page Protection: Protecting a page from editing can only be done by an administrator. Protection prevents certain levels of users from editing the page. If a page is protected, it is generally due to it being a highly visited page or a subject of a vandalism attack or an edit war.
  • Parts: Parts are sequential sections needed to accomplish a task. An an example might be: Preparing your computer, Installing the software, Configuring the program, and Using the program. Parts are incorporated by adding sections as described here, then adding the magic word __Parts__.
  • Patrol (Patrolling): Patrolling recent changes on wikiHow is a big part of daily activity and is necessary to maintain quality and screen out bad content. Patrolling generally prevents bad edits and spam, enables users to make quick, good edits to new articles, and is often a good way to learn the "ins" and "outs" of the site as well as wikiHow policies.
  • Patrol Throttle/Patrol Throttling: The act of limiting the number of patrols a user can perform each day. Administrators can place this limit on users (typically newly active) who do not yet have a grasp of wikiHow protocols. This action limits the possibility that vandalism is accepted on articles and also limits the possibility that good edits or essential communications are rolled back. Throttling also encourages the patroller to slow down and carefully consider each patrol while providing the opportunity for experienced wikiHowians to coach the patroller appropriately.
  • Patroller: A patroller is a user that uses the RC Patrol App to patrol new edits.
  • Persistent Footer: A footer placed on your Mylinks page which displays across the bottom of nearly every wikiHow page. The persistent footer, can put many links at your fingertips almost everywhere you go.
  • PNB: The PNB stands for Patroller's Notice Board. Its common use is to inform other patrollers of users to watch, new patrollers, trolls, etc. It is different from the ANB because this board is not to report people who may need to be blocked/coached, this is for notifying patrollers of some users to look out for while they patrol. This is not often used. Instead, posts are usually made the the Patroller on the Rise section of the ANB (Administrator's Notice Board).
  • Policy: A policy is a set of rules that all admins and users of wikiHow must adhere to and that admins pledge to enforce. Every policy has been passed with the approval of the existing community.
  • Policy Violation: The main policy violations are: frequent vandalism, placing inappropriate images, and users under the age of 13. Please report these on the ANB.
  • Post: A post is a message in a forums thread (series of dialog).
  • Protect/Page Protection: Protecting a page refers to the action only an administrator can do. Protection prevents certain levels of users from editing the page. If a page is protected, it is generally due to it being a highly visited page or a subject of a vandalism attack or edit war.


  • Quality Guardian: The Quality Guardian is a tool where wikiHow users can vote on whether or not new images and videos added to the site should stay. Two votes either way will remove or approve the image.


  • RC: RC stands for Recent Changes, which are new edits to the pages.
  • Redirect: A redirect is a specific code on an article that redirects you to a different article. This can be used for duplicate titles, merged articles, articles that are frequently created with no real hope of becoming an actual how-to, articles that have had their name changed, and so on.
  • Related wikiHows: Related wikiHows are other articles on related topics that are linked from an article. These allow users to read more articles about that topic or a closely allied topic.
  • Request: A request refers to a requested article. Any user can request an article that they would like to see on wikiHow, and any user can answer that request by writing an article.
  • Revert: Reverting is the action of returning to an earlier version of an article.
  • Rollback: Rolling back is the action of undoing one or more edit(s) on an article (rolling back to the better state).
  • RS/Rising Star: RS is short for Rising Star, and Rising Stars are selected by New Article Boosters in the NAB tool. Rising Stars are generally very well-written new articles that required little effort to fix on the Booster's part. Not every article gets a Rising Star, and Boosters use their discretion when awarding them.


  • Sandbox: The Sandbox can be used to test editing capabilities or used to help learn wikiHow's mark-up code.
  • Sock/Sockpuppet: A sock or sockpuppet is a term for alternative account. wikiHow users generally use sockpuppets for editing articles they don't agree with, vandalizing, or testing features.
  • Section: Some wikiHow articles have sections for different parts of a task or for alternative methods. Sections can only be created in Advanced Editor mode and, once they are added to an article, the article can only be edited in advanced mode. (The guided editor does not currently support sections.) Additional information can be found in How to Divide a wikiHow Article into Subsections.
  • Spam: Spam is unwanted content. Usually it takes the form of advertising a particular business or enterprise, usually, but not always, with links and across many articles, talk pages, forums threads, or discuss pages. Spammers will not be tolerated on wikiHow, so do your part by reporting them on the ANB.
  • Spambot: Spambots are software robots that can create multiple instances of spam quickly. Spambots are generally blocked for long periods of time, even forever.
  • Spammer: One who places spam on (usually many) wikiHow pages, usually articles, discussion pages, forums threads, or on talk pages. Please report spammers on the ANB so an administrator can take timely action.
  • Speedy: Speedy stands for speedy deletion and is reserved for egregious instances of vandalism and unwanted content. Any editor can place a {{speedy}} template on an article and is encouraged to do so. Administrators are quick to respond to these instances. They analyze the supposed transgressions and take appropriate action: deleting the page, blocking the user, changing the tag to an NFD, or simply removing the tag (as unjustified). Valid speedy deletions include:
    • offensive language
    • sexually objectionable content
    • patent nonsense or gibberish
    • commercial content such as a phone number or company name in the title or prominently throughout the article
    • content farm submissions
  • Split: Splitting an article refers to a process that turns an article into multiple articles. Moved content is published under a new title (or titles) and the moved content is deleted from the original article.
  • Steps: The steps of an article make up the body of the how-to content. Each step provides an action and, together, the steps tell the reader how to accomplish the action implied by the title. Each step should be in-line with the Writer's Guide.
  • Stub: A stub is short article which gives a pretty good idea of how to accomplish a task, but is not necessarily complete: There is room to expand the content by adding steps or detail within the steps. Stubs get the point across but that point is not fully formed and article requires some fleshing out.


  • Template: A template contains a message and can be used on articles, talk pages and discussion pages. They are created with double curly brackets {{templatename}}
  • Thread: A thread is a string of forums posts that, hopefully, pertain to one subject or concern.
  • Throttle: Administrators can limit daily patrolling activity while a user learns the policies.
  • Tip: The tips section of an article contains helpful tips and hints that could not be appropriately added to the steps of an article. Tips improve the article, but might not fit within the step sequence or they might contain an extra idea.
  • Troll: A troll on wikiHow is someone that does things to annoy other users to encourage a reaction. Such people are encouraged to be reported on the ANB.


  • UIB: UIB is short for User Info Box, a special template that people can place on their user page to tell others about themselves. There are many UIBs that tell what wikiHowians like, do, etc.
  • Unblock: Unblocking is an administrator action which relieves a block placed on an IP address or account. Instances of unblocking may occur, for example, when a block was made accidentally, when a block is successfully appealed, or when a block length is being extended.
  • Undelete: Undeleting is the restoring of an article, page, or image that was deleted. This is an administrator-only action.
  • Unpatrol: Unpatrolling is the process whereby a user has his or her recent patrols undone by the Patrol Coach or by wikiHow staff.
  • Unprotect: Unprotection is act of opening a previously protected page to editing. This is done if the admin thinks vandalism will not frequently recur. In-so-far as is possible administrators try to keep all the pages open to edits by everyone.


  • Vandalize/Vandal: When someone vandalizes an article, they are making unwanted, incorrect, annoying or similar edits to an article. The person who is vandalizing articles is considered to be a vandal.


  • Warnings: The warnings section of an article contain things that readers should be careful of or watch out for.

    Warnings (along with coaching) are typically given to individuals before blocking. Warnings are given to contributors who have violated guidelines or policies or who are otherwise disruptive.
  • Whitelist: A whitelist is a specialized list of items that are allowed on wikiHow pages. Whitelists that are often used:
  • the spelling whitelist of words that are correct, but not in the standard wikiHow dictionary
  • external links that would normally be black-listed or disallowed, but are given special approval
  • wikiHow Intern: The user name shared by the various interns. (See intern.)
  • WikiVisual: An entity that is paid to create images and other visual media that match or enhance article content. Common visual images are serial cartoon renderings, short, sequential video segments, and enhanced screen captures. Please leave WikiVisual feedback or request images here.
  • WRM: WRM is a bot that publishes articles that wikiHow pays professional writers to create. WRM stands for Wiki Raw Materials and this entity can be seen publishing articles in great quantity. Please leave WRM feedback—good or bad—about any of the WRM articles.

EditLinks for Acronyms and Abbreviations


EditSources and Citations

  1. backlog. (n.d.). Dictionary.com Unabridged. Retrieved August 19, 2015, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/backlog

Article Info

Categories: Writing and Editing | WikiHow User's Manual | Help | Patrolling