MediaWiki extensions manual
Release status: stable
Implementation Page action
Description Wikipedia content gets exposed externally in different ways, and this project intends to make it easy for people to be able to return to the origin and contribute to it.
Author(s) Santhosh Thottingal, Pau Giner, Jan Drewniak and others
Latest version 1.0.0 (2018-12-18)
MediaWiki 1.32+
Database changes No
License GNU General Public License 2.0 or later
  • $wgExternalGuidanceKnownServices
  • $wgExternalGuidanceSiteTemplates
  • $wgExternalGuidanceEnableContextDetection
  • $wgExternalGuidanceMTReferrers
  • $wgExternalGuidanceDomainCodeMapping
Quarterly downloads 3 (Ranked 136th)
Translate the ExternalGuidance extension if it is available at translatewiki.net
Issues Open tasks · Report a bug

Wikipedia content gets exposed externally in different ways, and this project intends to make it easy for people to return to the origin, and contribute to it.

External third-party tools transform and deliver our content with different purposes such as providing an automatic translated version, provide a voice version, and many others.

This contributes to provide access to knowledge to more people, but it often makes it challenging for the consumers of such content to contribute their knowledge.

External Guidance adjust the content delivered to these external tools to include ways for users to contribute to it.

Goals and scope

External Guidance is intended to support the following goals:

  • Communicate the nature of the content delivered. Users accessing content that originates from a Wikimedia project should be aware of the origin of the content, and how it is different from the original content.
  • Surface that it is possible to contribute. We want to keep the user expectations that our content is collaborative, and users can still participate even when it is delivered externally.
  • Guide users on how to contribute. Participation in this context may require some additional steps and context information, and we want to guide users through the process.

The specific ways to support these goals will depend on the specific external use of the content, and specific initiatives will be created to support each type of use. The first initiative to support is the external delivery of machine translated pages.

External guidance for machine translated pages

Workflow diagrams showing External Guidance integration with Google Translate search results. You can check the interactive version.

Several machine translation services provide options to translate web pages. Examples include Google Translate, Bing Translator, Yandex Translate, among others. In many cases the contribution experience is not ideal with options not working when delivered from the translation service servers or generating confusion. For example, it is unclear whether "edit" should lead to edit the original (in a language the user may not know) or the target language version (which may not exist or be different from the translation if it does).

As translated pages get exposed to more users (e.g., being exposed as part of their search results) we want to apply the following adjustments when the content is delivered for the translation of an external service:

  • Indicate that the content is an automatic translation distinguishing from a regular community-created article, and whether a local version of such content exists or not.
  • Remove non-working elements to focus on the content the user is accessing.
  • Surface an entry point for contribution that provides access to a page where the different possibilities for contribution are explained with enough context for the user to decide.

Mechanisms for tagging and measuring the impact of these contributions allow communities to better understand and control the editing activity generated from translated pages.

You can get more information on the details and track the progress of the project on Phabricator.


  • Download and move the extracted ExternalGuidance folder to your extensions/ directory.
    Developers and code contributors should install the extension from Git instead, using:cd extensions/
    git clone https://gerrit.wikimedia.org/r/mediawiki/extensions/ExternalGuidance
  • Add the following code at the bottom of your LocalSettings.php file:
    wfLoadExtension( 'ExternalGuidance' );
  •   Done – Navigate to Special:Version on your wiki to verify that the extension is successfully installed.


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