Submissions:2021/Global templates, and their special challenges for English, French, and Spanish languages

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This submission has been accepted for WikiConference North America 2021.


Global templates, and their special challenges for English, French, and Spanish languages


Global & Local, Relationship Building & Support, Inclusion & Diversity, Depth & Breadth for Newer Editors, Tech & Tools

Type of session:



The most important technical issue with the Wikimedia wikis is the lack of capability to share the code of templates and modules across wikis. They implement some of the most notable features of our sites, such as infoboxes, formatted references, hatnotes, "citation needed", sports results tables, and thousands of others, but unlike it is with MediaWiki extensions (and to a certain extent, gadgets), using them across different wikis and localizing them is extremely difficult. Despite being very important and affecting practically all Wikimedia wikis, this problem is frequently overlooked and ignored. However, it is a problem, and many editors have repeatedly asked to address it since 2004. There is a proposal to address it, called "Global templates". It has been supported by well over a hundred editors from many wikis, but three things are needed to implement it successfully:

  • Unquestionable community consensus from many wikis, both larger and smaller.
  • A commitment from MediaWiki engineering leadership to invest resources in developing the infrastructure for it.
  • A plan, or at least a draft thereof, for using this infrastructure once it is deployed.

This topic was briefly presented at Wikimania 2021 under the title "Global templates, component templates", but this proposed presentation will be different in two important aspects: 1. It will be more detailed. 2. It will focus on the specific role of the communities of the English, French, and Spanish wikis in this process.

This presentation will:

  • Show the problem.
  • Show the proposed solution.
  • Discuss the current status of development.
  • Show the particular challenges that English, French, and Spanish wikis will have in the process.
  • Give a stage for the communities of these wikis, and possibly others, to comment.

Academic Peer Review option:


Author name:

Amir E. Aharoni

E-mail address:

Wikimedia username:


Affiliated organization(s):

Wikimedia Foundation staff member, but this presentation is personal and not in my official WMF capacity

Estimated time:

40 minutes - 20 minutes presentation, and hopefully a lot of questions

Special requests:

1. Please schedule this as early as possible in the day. I'm in the UTC+3 time zone. 2. Would be nice to get it interpreted into Spanish and French.

Have you presented on this topic previously? If yes, where/when?:

Yes. Wikimania 2021 and some other events. See . However, I never did this with focus on English, French, and Spanish wikis, and this is important.

If your submission is not accepted, would you be open to presenting your topic in another part of the program? (e.g. lightning talk or unconference session)


Useful links: