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A namespace is a collection of pages which have content with a similar purpose, i.e. pages where the intended use is the same. Namespaces can be thought of as partitions of different types of information within the ECApedia, and keep "real" content separate from user profiles, help pages, etc.

Technical overview

Pages exist within a namespace, and this can be distinguished using the namespace prefix of a page, which forms part of the title of a page, separated with a colon (:).

For example:

Title Namespace
Foo Main
Project:Foo Project
Help:Foo Help

The "main namespace" does not have a prefix. Also, pages in the main namespace cannot have names starting with any of the existing namespaces prefixes followed by a colon.

Pages can be moved between namespaces simply by changing the prefix part of their title.

Subject and talk namespaces

Most namespaces have an associated discussion namespace (or "talk" namespace). All discussion namespaces have odd-integer indices, and the discussion namespace index for a specific namespace with index <math>n</math> is <math>n + 1</math>. The namespaces with even-integer indices are subject namespaces. The subject-talk duality can be explored using the {{SUBJECTPAGENAME}} and {{TALKPAGENAME}} magic words.

Built-in namespaces

The following 8 namespaces all have associated discussion namespaces.

Index Name Constant Purpose Comments
0 Main NS_MAIN "Real" content; articles Has no prefix
1 Talk NS_TALK Talk pages of "Real" content
2 User NS_USER User pages
3 User talk NS_USER_TALK Talk pages for User Pages
4 Project NS_PROJECT Information about the wiki Prefix is the same as $wgMetaNamespace[1]
5 Project talk NS_PROJECT_TALK
6 File NS_FILE Media description pages
7 File talk NS_FILE_TALK
8 MediaWiki NS_MEDIAWIKI Site interface customisation Protected
9 MediaWiki talk NS_MEDIAWIKI_TALK
10 Template NS_TEMPLATE Template pages
11 Template talk NS_TEMPLATE_TALK
12 Help NS_HELP Help pages
13 Help talk NS_HELP_TALK
14 Category NS_CATEGORY Category description pages
15 Category talk NS_CATEGORY_TALK

2 other namespaces have negative indexes and have special purposes. You cannot create or delete pages in these namespaces, and there are no corresponding discussion namespaces.

Index Name Constant Purpose
-1 Special NS_SPECIAL Holds special pages
-2 Media NS_MEDIA Alias for direct links to media files

  1. Unless manually set, $wgMetaNamespace defaults to $wgSitename.

Custom namespaces

It is possible to define additional namespaces to group additional classes of page together. This is done using the $wgExtraNamespaces configuration variable.

For a thorough overview, see Manual:Using custom namespaces.


Some namespaces, like Project and Help, only exist for convenience and do not have any extra functionality compared to the Main namespace.

Template namespace pages can be transcluded without namespace prefix.

User namespace pages are associated with user accounts. Changes to user talk pages generate an automatic message notification.

File and Category pages have special functionality, as described in Help:Managing files and Help:Categories.

All pages in discussion namespaces have "post a comment" feature (see meta:Help:Section#Adding a section at the end).

See also