Wikipedia:Merging

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For the WikiProject, see Wikipedia:WikiProject Merge.
This page is about merging of articles. For merging and splitting of categories, see WP:Category intersection.
"WP:DA" redirects here. For the list of articles that have not been edited in the longest time, see Wikipedia:DUSTY.

A merger is a non-automated procedure by which the contents of two or more pages are united within a single page. Merging creates a redirect from the source page(s) to the destination page, with some or all of the content copied and pasted into that page. Editors should use their discretion to decide whether or not a discussion should occur before spending the time to merge articles.

Do not use the discussion procedure described below to propose:

Reasons for merger

There are several good reasons to merge pages:

  1. Duplicate: There are two or more pages on exactly the same subject, with the same scope.
  2. Overlap: There are two or more pages on related subjects that have a large overlap. Wikipedia is not a dictionary; there does not need to be a separate entry for every concept. For example, "flammable" and "non-flammable" can both be explained in an article on flammability.
  3. Text: If a page is very short and is unlikely to be expanded within a reasonable amount of time, it often makes sense to merge it with a page on a broader topic. For example, parents or children of a celebrity who are otherwise unremarkable are generally covered in a section of the article on the celebrity (and can be merged there).
  4. Context: If a short article requires the background material or context from a broader article in order for readers to understand it. For example, minor characters from works of fiction are generally covered in a "List of characters in <work>" article (and can be merged there); see also Wikipedia:Notability (fiction).

Merging should be avoided if:

  1. The resulting article is too long or "clunky"
  2. The separate topics could be expanded into longer standalone (but cross-linked) articles
  3. The topics are discrete subjects warranting their own articles, even though they might be short

Merging—regardless of the amount of information kept—should always leave a redirect (or, in some cases, a disambiguation page) in place. This is often needed to allow proper attribution through the edit history for the source page. Superfluous redirects do not harm anything, and they can be helpful in finding articles, e.g. from alternative names.

You may find that some or all of the information to be merged is already in the destination page. That is fine; you can feel free to delete the redundant information and only add new material. If there is no information to be added to the destination page, you can simply redirect the other page there, but please make this clear in the edit summary.

Proposing a merger

Users may determine whether pages should be merged. If the need for a merge is obvious, individual editors can be bold and simply do it. This might be appropriate and easy where, for example, there are two stubs with nearly the same title with slightly different spellings. Bold edits might be reverted, so if a merge is going to take a lot of work to implement, that is something to consider if there is any room for doubt. Articles that have been separate for a long time, especially on controversial topics, may have editor support for remaining separate; these are the best candidates for discussing before merging.

In most circumstances, a local discussion conducted on an article talk page should attract sufficient input. This should include the proposal itself, the list of the affected pages, and a merger rationale. To start a discussion, perform the following steps.

Step 1: Create a discussion

This is usually done on the proposed destination page's talk page, but exceptions exist:

  • If the intended destination is a combination page that does not exist, do not create its talk page, as it may be speedily deleted (WP:CSD#G8) or nominated at Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion.
  • Having a discussion on the source page is acceptable. Don't move an existing discussion to another page.
  • It is recommended not to start discussion on a talk page that is regularly archived.

Example: if suggesting that Foo be merged into Bar, create a proposal to merge Foo into Bar in a new section at Talk:Bar. Start a new section at the bottom of that talk page and include the proposal itself, the list of the affected pages, and a merger rationale. A good example is the following section:

== Merger proposal ==

I propose that [[Foo]] be merged into [[Bar]]. I think that the content in the Foo article can easily be explained in the context of Bar, and the Bar article is of a reasonable size that the merging of Foo will not cause any problems as far as article size or undue weight is concerned. ~~~~

Notify involved users (optional): As an optional step, it may be necessary to notify users involved in the affected pages, who might not be watchlisting them. Simply go to those users' talk pages and start a new section, leaving a neutral invitation to participate in the merger discussion. Make sure to provide a link to the discussion page. Please ensure that the notification of involved users does not breach WP:Votestacking; that is, canvassing support by selectively notifying editors who have or are thought to have a predetermined point of view or opinion.

You may also use the following standard templates on the users' talk pages:

{{subst:Mergenote|<source page>|<merger discussion talk page section>}}

Example:

{{subst:Mergenote|Foo|Talk:Bar#Merger proposal}}

Step 2: Tag the relevant pages

Do not use "subst" on these templates.

To propose a merger of two or more pages, place the template {{merge|OTHERPAGE|discuss=Talk:THIS PAGE#Merger proposal|date=November 2014}} at the top of each page or section. The date parameter is used to add the article to Category:Merge by month. If the date parameter is not used, a Wikipedia bot will add it in a day or two.

Please use the discuss parameter to direct to the same talk page. Otherwise, two separate discussions could take place in each of the respective talk pages. If the discuss parameter is not specified, the "Discuss" links lead to the top of each article's Talk page.

If you know which page should be removed, use {{mergeto|DESTINATIONPAGE|discuss=Talk:DESTINATIONPAGE#Merger proposal|date=November 2014}} on that page, and {{mergefrom|SOURCEPAGE|discuss=Talk:DESTINATIONPAGE#Merger proposal|date=November 2014}} on the page that will remain and will receive the contents of the source page. Unless a discuss parameter is specified in these templates, all "Discuss" links to lead to the talk page of the destination page, avoiding the two separate discussions problem that may occur with {{merge}}. It may still be preferable to link direction to a section on the talk page; this is useful for directing the reader to a specific section of a long talk page, when it may not otherwise be obvious where the discussion is located.

If multiple articles are proposed to be merged, their titles can be separated with a vertical pipe. For example, {{merge|OtherPage1|OtherPage2|discuss=Talk:Destination1#Merger proposal|date=November 2014}} proposes that the tagged page, as well as OtherPage1 and OtherPage2, be merged.

Step 3: Discuss the merger

Discuss the merger proposal in the new discussion section; make sure to follow proper decorum and standard talk page guidelines, which includes staying focused on the content, not on the involved editors, using threaded discussion formatting, not biting newcomers, and being clear and concise.

You may be able to evoke a response by contacting some of the major or most-recent contributors via their respective talk-pages. The {{mergenote}} template is available for this purpose, which must be "subst:"ed. For example, place {{subst:mergenote |SOURCEPAGE |Talk:DESTINATIONPAGE#Merger proposal }} on the talk page of contributors to the source page; and {{subst:mergenote |DESTINATIONPAGE |Talk:DESTINATIONPAGE#Merger proposal }} on the talk page of contributors to the destination page.

In many cases, a hybrid discussion/straw poll is used, but remember that polling is not a substitute for discussion. Example formatting:

*'''Merge''' - <insert reason for supporting merger here> ~~~~
*'''Don't merge''' - <insert reason for opposing merger here> ~~~~

Caveats

  • If you are unable to merge the pages, or you believe that the merger may be controversial, you might want to add a listing to Wikipedia:Proposed mergers.
  • When proposing a merger of pages within "Wikipedia" namespace (any pages that begin with the "Wikipedia:" prefix), do not include this prefix in the parameter.
  • Due to technical limitations, the above templates are incompatible with cross-namespace mergers (mergers between pages from both the article and Wikipedia namespaces). Such instances are rare.
  • Do not use the above templates to propose a category merger. This should be requested at Wikipedia:Categories for discussion, which uses a separate {{cfm}} template.

Step 4: Close the merger discussion and determine consensus

During discussion, a rough consensus to proceed with the merger may emerge. If enough time (normally one week or more) has elapsed and there has been no discussion or is unanimous consent to merge, any user may close the discussion and move forward with the merger.

General advice:

  • If you propose a merger, and nobody objects within 30 days, then it is unlikely that any editor will object to you boldly performing the merger.
  • If you see a merger proposal that is older than 30 days, and nobody has objected, and you personally believe the merger is appropriate, then it is unlikely anyone will object if you boldly perform the merger.
  • There is no required 30-day discussion period. If a consensus in favor of the merger is formed in less than 30 days, then anyone may perform the merger whenever they want. If the proposal is obvious (e.g., the mistaken creation of a second page for the same subject under a slightly different name), then a discussion need not even be held.
  • Mergers do not need to be approved by an admin. If the discussion is contentious, however, you can post it at WP:Proposed mergers to get some help.
  • If a page gets merged, and someone later objects, then a new discussion can be held. Mergers can be easily reversed if a consensus against the merger is formed shortly after the merger was performed.
  • If there is a consensus against the merger, or, for older proposals, if there is no consensus or no discussion and you don't believe it is appropriate to merge the pages, then please remove the merge proposal tags, and, if necessary, close any discussion.

In more unclear, controversial cases, the determination that a consensus to merge has been achieved is normally made by an editor who is neutral and not directly involved in the merger proposal or the discussion. If necessary, one may request that an administrator who is not involved close the discussion and make a determination as to whether consensus has been established; such a request may be made at the Administrators' noticeboard.

To close a merger proposal discussion, the {{Discussion top}} and {{Discussion bottom}} templates are used in the following manner:

== Merger proposal ==

{{Discussion top|1=The result of this discussion was to ... ~~~~}}

<discussion>
.
.
.
{{Discussion bottom}}

After closing the merger proposal discussion, place the following template on the source page's talk page:

{{Old merge full|otherpage=<destination page>|date=<date merger was proposed>|result=<result of discussion>|talk=<merger discussion talk page section>}}

Step 5: Perform the merger

See #How to merge, below. The main reason that the merger backlog includes more than ten thousand articles is because the people who support the merger neglect to undertake this final step. Any editor, including you is permitted to perform mergers in accordance with consensus. Merging pages does not require intervention from an administrator.

Special cases

Tagging multiple pages

When proposing that more than two pages be merged, it helps to be as informative as possible.

Add the following template to the top of each source page:

{{Merge|OtherPage1|OtherPage2|OtherPage3|target=<destination page>|discuss=<merger discussion talk page section>|date=November 2014}}

Add the following template to the top of the destination page:

{{Merge from|OtherPage1|OtherPage2|OtherPage3|discuss=<merger discussion talk page section>|date=November 2014}}

Controversial mergers

More than 99% of merger proposals are handled directly by the editors involved in those articles. But if you believe that your proposal will be controversial, then please follow the directions at Wikipedia:Proposed mergers to request extra attention from uninvolved editors.

Merger as a result of a deletion discussion

While mergers are generally not proposed from the onset of Articles for Deletion (AfD) discussions (also see Wikipedia:Deletion policy#Alternatives to deletion), it is not uncommon for editors, in an effort to mediate and/or compromise, to suggest that the article(s) nominated for deletion instead be merged to a parent article. If there is a rough consensus for a merger at the end of a deletion discussion, the following template is placed at the top of the nominated article:

{{Afd-merge to|destination article|debate name|debate closure date}}

Similarly, the following template is placed on the destination article's talk page:

{{Afd-merge from|nominated article|debate name|debate closure date}}

This informs users involved in those pages that content is to be merged as a result of a deletion discussion. It is the involved editors' job, not the closing administrators' job, to perform the merger. Proceed in the manner described above and at Help:Merging.

Merger proposed after a deletion discussion

Merge is one of the outcome options that can be considered at a deletion discussion. See WP:ATD-M. Deletion discussions generally reach a broader spectrum of editors than a particular talk page. As such, talk page merger requests proposed after a deletion discussion, such as at Articles for deletion, where the merge outcome option was raised by someone participating in the deletion discussion, should identify and overcome the reason(s) listed in the deletion discussion when requesting an action different from the outcome of that deletion discussion. This does not apply if a merge outcome option was not raised by someone participating in the deletion discussion. Alternatives to talk page merger requests that follow a deletion discussion include formally relisting the page for deletion through an appropriate deletion discussion venue or posting a request at Wikipedia:Deletion review.

How to merge

Shortcuts:
For information on moving pages, see Help:Moving a page.

While some mergers can be done boldly, most others (as described above) require a rough consensus.

There are two basic types of merger; which to use depends on how much content of the source page you want to keep:

Also remember that almost all article pages have a talk page. To avoid losing quick access to that historical discussion, a link to the source article's talk-page should be placed at the top of the destination article's talk-page, such as:
Article merged: See old talk-page [[talk:PAGENAME|here]]
or use Template:Copied:
{{Copied|from=source|from_oldid=source|to=destination|diff=|date=}}


Perform the following steps to merge an article into another article:

  1. Copy all or some of the content from the source page(s) and paste the content in an appropriate location at the destination page. Save the edit, leaving the following edit summary (as required by the Creative Commons Share-alike 3.0 license):
    Merged content from [[<source page>]] to here. See [[Talk:<merger discussion talk page section>]].
    Ideally, do any necessary copyediting and rearranging in a separate, second edit rather than when you first paste the moved text. (This two-step approach simplifies attribution for the license by separating your contributions from the material that was created at the other page.)
  2. Redirect the source page whose content was just merged by replacing everything with the following:
    #REDIRECT [[<destination page>]] {{R from merge}}
    If the content was merged to a single section within the destination page, it is recommended that the source page be redirected directly to that section. In that case, replace everything with the following:
    #REDIRECT [[<destination page>#<section name>]] {{R from merge}} {{R to section}}
    Save the page, leaving the following edit summary: (also required by the CC-BY-SA):
    Merged content to [[<destination page>#<destination section, if applicable>]]. See [[Talk:<merger discussion talk page section>]].
  3. Tag the destination page's talk page with {{merged-from|source page|date}}, and the source page's talk page with {{merged-to|destination page|date}}. Place these tags at the top of the talk pages.
    As an alternative, experienced users can add {{Copied|from|from_oldid|to|to_diff|to_oldid|date}} to both talk pages. Place at the top of the talk pages.
  4. Check Special:WhatLinksHere for the source page and fix any double redirects. Otherwise, a bot should fix any such problems within a day or two.
  5. Provide further attribution by using the {{Merged-to}} and {{Merged-from}} templates, if not already done in step 3. See the template's documentation for more details. If the source page has any merged or copied templates, for example, you will need to copy those tags to the destination page.
  6. Check the merged content for non-free files. If any of these files are present, edit the non-free use rationales to replace the old article title with the new one. This is required under the non-free content criteria.

Full-content paste merger

Shortcut:
  1. Open the source and destination pages in two separate edit windows/tabs.
  2. Cut/paste the entire content from the source page into the destination page and remove the {{mergefrom}} tag.
  3. Save the destination page, with an edit summary noting merged content from [[article name]] (This step is required in order to conform with Wikipedia's licensing requirements. Do not omit it nor omit the page name.)
  4. Delete all the text from the source page and replace it with #REDIRECT [[NAME OF DESTINATIONPAGE]] {{R from merge}}, note the merger (including the page name) in the edit summary, and save the page.
  5. Edit the destination page again and delete the redundant content, editing until it looks good and consistent. The destination can be tagged with {{In use}} temporarily to prevent edit conflicts.
  6. Save the destination page. (Edit summary of "cleanup after paste/merger" is appropriate.)
  7. Check "What links here" on the source page for double-redirects.
    • Double-redirects will fail to link, and must be renamed to redirect to the current page name.[1]
  8. Add {{Merged-to}} and {{Merged-from}} onto the talk pages of the articles, specifying the corresponding article in each case. This not only helps clarify attribution at the destination, but helps prevent inadvertent later deletion of the source history. This step is optional but recommended.
  9. Afterwards, DO NOT ask for a history merger between the two articles. See this link for the reason

Performing a merger in this manner is beneficial when you want to include all the content from both articles in the article history of the final article.

Selective paste merger

Shortcut:
  1. Open the source and destination pages in two separate edit windows/tabs.
  2. Cut/paste the non-redundant content from the source page into the destination page.
  3. Be sure to remove the {{mergefrom}} tag from the destination page before previewing
  4. Preview and edit the destination page until it looks good and consistent.
  5. Delete all the text from the source page and replace it with #REDIRECT [[PAGENAME]] {{R from merge}}.
    • Note that PAGENAME in the code above should be the title of the destination page.
  6. Save both, and note the merger (including the page names) in the edit summaries. (This step is required in order to conform with Wikipedia's licensing requirements. Do not omit it nor omit the page name.)
  7. Check "What links here" on the source page for double-redirects.
    • Double-redirects will fail to link, and must be renamed to redirect to the current page name.[1]
  8. Add {{Copied|from=source|to=destination|diff=permanent diff}} onto the talk pages of both articles. This not only helps clarify attribution at the destination, but helps prevent inadvertent later deletion of the source history. This step is optional but recommended.
  9. Afterwards, DO NOT ask for a history merger between the two articles. See this link for the reason

Performing a merger in this manner is beneficial when the source document includes a great deal of material that is not needed in the final article.

Pages to merge

List of merger templates

See also

Articles to be merged
(refresh)
All articles 10,850

Notes

  1. ^ a b In order to prevent technical errors from occurring (a redirect that redirects back to itself, creating what's known as an infinite loop) the software fails to link any double redirects (read more at Wikipedia:Double redirects). Although it's a good idea to fix the most important ones if you can, any that you miss will eventually be fixed by automated scripts ("bots") later on.