Wikipedia:Moving a page

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In Wikipedia, a page can be renamed if the existing title is incorrect; this is called moving a page. A page may also be moved to another name space without changing the base title—for example, a userspace draft may be moved to article space. A page may be moved to a new title if the previous name is inaccurate, incomplete, misleading or for a host of housekeeping reasons such as that it is not the common name of the topic or it is an article that was created as a subpage and is ready to "go live". Please be aware of Wikipedia: Article naming guidelines. When a page is renamed, its page history is attached to the new name, and the previous title is automatically redirected to the new name (bots and administrators have the option of suppressing the redirect). Only autoconfirmed users may move pages due to persistent pagemove vandalism. If you are an unregistered user or registered but not yet autoconfirmed, you may request a page move at Wikipedia:Requested moves.

When a page in the file namespace (that is, images and media) is moved, the associated file is moved as well. Only Wikipedia administrators and file movers can move these pages, and they can generally only be moved for one of eight reasons. To rename a file, place {{rename media|new name|reason}} on the page of the file.

Pages in the category namespace cannot be moved. To rename a category, it is necessary to copy the category's description page to the new name, change every page in that category to be in the new category instead of the old one, then delete the old category. This is time-consuming and should only be done if there is a very good reason to do so. To change the name of a category, see Wikipedia:Categories for discussion.

Reasons for moving a page[edit]

There are many reasons why you might wish to rename a page:

  • The subject of the article has changed its name
  • The title has been misspelled, does not contain standard capitalization or punctuation, or is misleading or inaccurate
  • The title does not follow Wikipedia's naming conventions, such as that it is not the common name of the subject or it is overprecise
  • It needs to be disambiguated in some way to avoid confusion with an existing, similarly named topic, or it exists at a disambiguated name but should not because it is the primary topic
  • It is an article at a descriptive name and the scope of the article has been reduced, extended or otherwise changed
  • It is an article that has been created as a subpage of a Wikipedian's user or user talk space for development purposes and it is ready to be posted to the mainspace

Before moving a page[edit]

In several cases, you should list pages that you want to have renamed/moved at Wikipedia:Requested moves, especially:

In these cases, follow the instructions at Wikipedia:Requested moves.

Do not move or rename a page by copying/pasting its content, because doing so fragments the edit history. (Wikipedia's copyright license requires acknowledgement of all contributors, and editors continue to hold copyright on their contributions unless they specifically give up this right. Hence it is required that edit histories be preserved for all major contributions until the normal copyright expires.)

If you find a cut-and-paste move that needs to be fixed, please follow the instructions at Wikipedia:Cut and paste move repair holding pen to have an administrator take care of the problem.

If you need administrator help in a simple pagemove situation which is blocked by history at the target of the move, the easiest way is to tag the page that needs to be deleted to make way for the move (the target) with {{db-move|page to move from|reason for move}}.

How to move a page[edit]

The move option in the Vector skin appears when you move your mouse cursor over the small drop-down menu, shown here. (Other users may not have the "TW", which is the optional gadget, Twinkle).
A common example: moving a userspace draft into place. The intended article name is entered without any prefixes.

To be able to move pages yourself, you must be logged in and you must have an autoconfirmed account (i.e., generally you must have had the account for four days and made at least ten article edits with it). Moreover the move will fail if a page already exists at the target name, unless it is simply a redirect to the present name that has never been modified, in which case you can move over the redirect (check the edit history). If you cannot move pages, you can request a page move instead.

To move a page:

  1. Choose the "move" option via the icon near the top of the page you would like to move. In the default Vector skin, this is in a drop-down menu to the right of the screen, after "History" and the "Watchlist" star (see picture). In the Monobook skin, it is a tab at the top. If there is no "move" link at the top of the page at all, the page is most likely protected from moving, and only administrators can move it. You can ask for the page to be moved at the move request page.
  2. Click "Move" on the drop-down menu.
    • Choose the appropriate name space prefix from the drop-down box. For pages in "main" Wikipedia space (i.e. articles), choose "(Article)".
    • Enter the new name of the page under "To new title".
    • Give a reason for the move (which is like an edit summary). Although filling out the "Reason" field isn't required, you should state a reason for the page move.
    • Choose whether to also move the page's talk page (this box should usually be left checked).
  3. When ready, click the Move page button and, if successful, the page will be renamed to the new title. The old title will become a redirect page, so any links to the old title will still go to the new page. However, note that double redirects (pages that redirect to the original page), will not automatically follow to the new page, so you will have to refer them manually (as explained at How to fix a double redirect and Checking for double redirects). However, if you're an administrator, you can move pages without leaving a redirect behind.
  4. A successful page move will be recorded in the Move Log (against the old page name) and a "move has succeeded" message will be displayed, on a page looking like this: MediaWiki:Movepage-moved.
    • If the old page was protected, its protection settings will be copied to the new page, and this will be recorded in the Protection Log (against the new page name). If Pending changes was enabled, the settings will be moved but they will not be logged against the new page title.

Post-move cleanup[edit]

Change the boldfaced title in the article lead[edit]

Since the article name is reflected in the lead section, that section may need to be updated to be consistent with the new name.

Fix double redirects[edit]

  1. Open the what-links-here for that page (there may be a shortcut link on the page-moved summary screen to let you do this, but the what-links-here link will in any case be in the toolbox, which is near the bottom of the sidebar unless you've customized your skin away from the default Vector).
  2. In the section of that page marked filters, click on the button labeled "Hide links". This will result in the page only showing redirects to the prior name. Open each of the redirect pages (best to do so in new tabs), click edit this page for each one, and change their target to the name of the page to which you have moved the page. Though this is an important cleanup step, if you miss some, they will normally be fixed by a bot shortly afterwards.
  3. If there are more than 50 redirects listed (rare) on the "what links here" page, don't forget to navigate to all parts of the list using the "next 50" or other links available.

Moving the page creates a redirect from the old title to new one. Generally, there is not any problem with it – for example, one should not change inbound links in articles to bypass the redirect. Though, if the page is included to a navigation box, then corresponding link in the box should be edited to avoid redirecting, for cosmetic reasons.

Editing of this redirect itself is usually not helpful, but if such a need exists, then a special care should be taken about inbound ("double") redirects. If the page was moved because of a misnomer (i.e. its content has a sense, but does not match the title), then its old title should be replaced or deleted. It should be done quickly, otherwise bots will start to alter redirects bound to the old title, pointing them to the new title, which is obviously not a correct solution in the case of a misnomer.

Contrary, if the page had a lot of legitimate inbound links, but has to move due to a title usurpation, then inbound redirects should be promptly examined. If most of redirects rightfully belong to the page just moved, then the old→new redirect should not be replaced until bots fixed those double redirects. Early replacing the old→new redirect with old→something_else can be especially disruptive, since bots start to "fix" redirects to "something_else" target – see example after usurpation of the title Viper.

Categorizing redirects[edit]

Redirects should be categorized per the WikiProject Redirect style guide.

Interlanguage links[edit]

Check to see if there are any interlanguage links. If you see an 'Edit links' link at the bottom of the list of links, update the Wikidata item associated with the page.

Sort key[edit]

If the page has a sort key, change how this article is to be sorted, if appropriate.

Files: containing non-free content[edit]

If you moved an article which contains any non-free content (such as images or sound clips), you will need to edit the files' own Wikipedia page, changing the non-free use rationale to refer to the new article title. This is to ensure continued compliance with the non-free content criteria (part 10c), which if not followed, may result in the file's speedy deletion.

Page histories[edit]

The "move page" function keeps the entire edit history of the page before and after the move in one place, as if the page had always been named that way.

The move itself is recorded in the edit histories of both pages. This feature was introduced in MediaWiki 1.5 and does not work retroactively: older moves are only recorded indirectly, in the page history of the old page name.

You should never just move a page by cutting all the text out of one page, and pasting it into a new one; old revisions, notes, and attributions are much harder to keep track of if you do that. (But you may have to if, for instance, you're splitting a page into multiple topics. If you do, please include a note in the new page's edit summary and talk page stating where you took the text from.) Also see #Fixing cut and paste moves below.

Moving redirect pages[edit]

A page that is a redirect can be moved like any other page, although it is rarely useful because it has the same detrimental effect on page history as copy-pasting content to a new page, and making the old page a redirect: when moving a redirect page to a new page name, the redirect on the old page (now directing to the new redirect page) will have to be altered in order to avoid double redirects. So the content of the old page will no longer redirect to the page containing the history of that old page. The effect is that the whereabouts of the page history of the old page (now seemingly a "recently created page") are a bit trickier to find, while on the other hand the new page has a history attached to it not clarifying why it would need to be a redirect page. However, if a redirect page has to be evacuated (for example, to reuse its title), but contains a valuable edit history, then it should be moved (unless merging of history is suitable).

If a redirect page does not redirect to the page it would need to be redirecting to, then the only viable strategy that respects page histories is to adapt the redirect on that page, without moving the page.

Moves where the target name has an existing page[edit]

Non-administrators cannot complete a move where the target page exists (except sometimes over a redirect). Moving the existing page out of the way will not help, as it leaves behind a redirect which cannot be overwritten either. Administrators can delete a page and move another page to the deleted name, in one step.

If the new title already exists and isn't just a redirect to the old title, with no history, and you are not an administrator, the wiki will tell you that you can't rename the page. If this happens, list the move at Requested moves, or (if the replacement of the existing page merits further discussion) nominate the existing page for deletion (typically via Articles for deletion).

Moving over a redirect[edit]

Shortcut:

If the new title already exists but is just a redirect to the old title, with just one line in the page history, the creation of the redirect, then you can rename the page. The most common case in which this applies is that of re-renaming a page back to its original name. As mentioned, this works only if the redirect that was automatically created in the first renaming has not been edited.

The information about the former creation of the redirect over which the move takes place is lost. If it was the result of an earlier move of the page that is now moved back, that information is still available in the history of that page.

More moves back and forth are possible, and the page history of the current title always shows all moves, and that of the other title only contains the edit line of the latest move.

As mentioned, recording a page move in the edit history of the page itself is a feature introduced in MediaWiki 1.5 which does not work retroactively: therefore of older moves back and forth only the latest is recorded.

There was a bug in earlier versions of MediaWiki that caused inaccurate dates in edit histories. In these versions of the software, if a page was moved over a redirect, the edit history of the newly created redirect would show the latest move with the correct user name, but with the date and time when the overwritten redirect was created. The date and time of the actual page move was therefore lost (though it appeared in the recent changes list). See this comment at talk:PETA for a demonstration of this bug.

Requests for moves over redirects can be posted at Wikipedia:Requested moves.

If a redirect has more than just one line in the page history but still a minor edit history, add the following code to the top of the redirect page that is in the way (place the code above the redirection):

{{db-move|page to be moved here|reason for move}}

This will list the undesired page for deletion under criterion for speedy deletion G6; see Wikipedia:Requested moves/Technical requests.

Usurping a page title[edit]

Shortcuts:

Usurping a page title is the process of moving an existing page to a new title followed by creating a new page (such as a new article or a disambiguation page) on the old title, or redirecting the old title to a different destination.

Once the move of the original page is completed, the old title instantly becomes a redirect, and the redirect can then be edited to become a separate, possibly unrelated article, disambiguation page, or some other type of page.

It is permitted to usurp a page title for a new article, and it generally does not require administrative assistance, though good judgment should be used in determining if these are best positions for both the old and the new page.

If in doubt, holding a discussion before such a move following the instructions on the requested moves page is recommended. If you wish to create the new page initially before a decision is made from a discussion, you can create it using a different, unused title for the new page you wish to create, and then usurp the title once this is agreed.

If you do decide to boldly usurp a title, it is strongly recommended that you modify all pages that link to the old title so they will link to the new title. To do this, while on the new page bearing the old title, click on "what links here" below "toolbox" on the left. This will list all the pages linking to the old title. Once you reach this list, edit each of these pages and modify the links to the new title of the old page. For helpful tools and advice, see Wikipedia:Disambiguation pages with links.

If there are so many pages linking to the old title, that you feel you cannot make all the changes yourself, or for any other reason, you feel you cannot change them all yourself, place the template {{converted}} at the top of the new page you created on the old title. This will let others know that this move was recently made, and that all these changes are necessary.

Move restrictions[edit]

Anonymous users and new users who are not yet autoconfirmed can't move any pages. With a few exceptions, established users have the technical ability to move any page.

Move-protected pages[edit]

Administrators can protect pages from moves, so that only administrators can move them. If a page is protected from moves only, the "Move this page" link will not be available. In this case, you can ask that an administrator move it for you, but you should not manually move the page by copying the contents to the new page and redirecting the old page to the new page, as this destroys the page history.

Pages that are protected from editing are automatically protected from moves.

Moving a file page[edit]

Shortcut:

Administrators or file movers can move pages in the file namespace. When such a page is moved the associated file is moved as well. The move leaves a redirect that functions like the file itself. For instance, the image can be displayed by linking to a redirect to it. In non-controversial cases you can request a file to be moved by adding the template {{rename media}} to the description page of the file.

Files uploaded to Wikimedia Commons cannot be renamed by Wikipedia administrators or filemovers. Commons:File naming describes how Commons files should be named. In general, Commons aims to provide stable file names as there might be external file clients and file moving involves significant human and computing resources. Thus renaming should be used with caution. To request the rename of a file at Commons, follow the instructions at Commons:File renaming.

Renaming categories[edit]

Pages in the category namespace cannot be moved. To rename a category, it is necessary to copy the category's description page to the new name, change every page in that category to be in the new category instead of the old one, then delete the old category. This is time-consuming and should only be done if there is a very good reason to do so. To change the name of a category that is not newly-created, see Wikipedia:Categories for discussion.

Other notes[edit]

Avoid moving a page while the edit box of the corresponding Talk page is open: when you hit "Save page" you overwrite the redirect to the new talk page (you do not get the usual warning that the page has been edited while your edit box was open) and get a duplication of the contents of the talk page, with your latest addition added to the old instead of the new one.

It is useful to copy the message "Page ... moved to ..." to the new talk page, especially if there has been discussion about the name of the page.

Moving a page shows up in Recent Changes under "Move log", which links to a log of all moves. It also shows up on the watchlist if the page is watched; after the move both the old and the new name are watched.

Subpages, such as the archives of a talk page, and the documentation page of a template, are not automatically moved along with a page move, unless the box labelled "Move subpages ...", which is only available to admins, is checked.

Double redirects[edit]

Redirects to redirects, a.k.a. Double redirects, aren't automatically followed (this prevents infinite loops and spaghetti linking). If your move is uncontroversial, you may wish to check the What links here for your page, and if there are multiple levels of redirects, (indented and also labeled "(redirect page)"), go fix the links to point to the new location directly. Remember that there may also be cross-wiki links from other Wikipedia language versions which also need fixing. Neither of these steps are required, however, as bots usually perform this duty shortly afterwards a move. Don't fix double redirects if you think your move might be controversial and be reverted.

Talk subpages[edit]

When moving a page, the talk page is automatically moved as well. A talk page may include subpages, such as archives, todo pages and the like. To ensure that these subpages are moved, check "Move all subpages, if applicable" during the move process.

If subpages were not moved, they will show as redlinks on the new talk page. To locate lost subpages, use Special:Prefixindex; enter the name of the old article page followed by a "/" and set the namespace to Talk. Move individual subpages as needed.

Moving a portal[edit]

A portal consists of a main portal page plus tens, sometimes hundreds, of interconnected subpages. To rename a portal efficiently, post at Wikipedia:Requested moves/Technical requests to ask for an administrator to move the page and its subpages, and once that is done, post at Wikipedia:AutoWikiBrowser/Tasks to ask for an AWB user to scan all the portal pages to fix the outdated links.

Undoing a move[edit]

To undo a move from page A to page B, simply move page B back to page A. But if someone intervened to the AB redirect, then the move cannot be fixed without special privileges.

Note that usual "undo" link on history or diff pages does not work on moves. An easy way to rename the page back is clicking "View logs for this page" from the history page, typing in the previous page name that you want to revert to and then "revert" link from the corresponding record in Special:Log.

The software requires that the redirect be pointing to the page you're moving it from. Therefore, if a user moved page A to page B and then to page C, you cannot simply move C to A. If a bot has not "fixed" the double AB redirect yet (see above), then you have to:

  1. Move page C to page B
  2. Move page B to page A

If page A has subsequently been edited, or the move software is behaving weirdly, only an admin can sort things out:

  1. Delete page A (make sure it has no useful history – you may wish to add an explicit author credit on a talk page to compensate)
  2. Move page B to page A
  3. Delete page B (should be a history-free redirect to page A)

"Move wars" are highly unproductive, and leave vast numbers of pointless redirects littering the place, which some poor soul will have to fix.

After undoing a move, if you do not need B as a redirect, tag it for deletion (using the appropriate process on the wiki you're using, for instance 'speedy deletion' or 'votes for deletion'), or (administrators only) just delete it.

Swapping two pages[edit]

Shortcut:

There are two methods to swap pages A and B, preserving history.

Classical sequence
  1. Move page A to the title C (previously non-existing, and preferably to a name useful for redirecting)
  2. Tag page A for deletion (the method of doing this depends on the wiki), or (administrators only) just delete it.
  3. Move page B to the title A (allowed because A is deleted)
  4. Tag/Delete page B as above
  5. Move page C to the title B (allowed because B is deleted)
  6. Tag/Delete page C as above, unless it is useful as a redirect to B
Improved sequence
  1. Move page A to the title C (previously non-existing) without creating a redirect
  2. Move page B to the title A (allowed because A is evacuated) without creating a redirect
  3. Move page C to the title B (allowed because B is evacuated)

The improved sequence does not require deletions, but it relies on the redirect-suppressing (red move) feature, which is available for few users outside administration. You can think about it as a compressing two operations (moving and deleting the resulting redirect) to one. The classical sequence has an advantage that it relies only to conventional operations such as WP:CSD#G6. Help with this task can be found at Wikipedia:Requested moves.

Same sequences, but with only two moves, can be used for half-swapping (chain shifting) two pages (such that A would become C and B would become A).

Fixing cut and paste moves[edit]

Some more complex cases are explained at Wikipedia:How to fix cut and paste moves

Many past renamings took place before the move page function was created by our hard-working developers, and others are done by people not aware of this function. Such manual moves were done using cut and paste. As a result, the page history of an article or talk page can be split among two or more different pages.

In some circumstances, administrators are able to fix this by merging page histories.

Warning: this procedure may only be undone by an administrator, by spending quite silly amounts of time: to undo a merge, every single version has to be manually reassigned to the correct source page (by deleting the revisions that are in the correct location currently and moving the other revisions to their new correct location, then undeleting the revisions that were in the correct location). Do not do this if you are not sure what you are doing.

Follow this procedure to merge page histories:

  1. Suppose we wish to merge edit history from Alabama/History (old title) into History of Alabama (new title):
  2. Delete History of Alabama, with comment deleting to merge page histories – back soon.
  3. Move Alabama/History to History of Alabama, using the move tool.
  4. Undelete the History of Alabama article.
  5. Edit History of Alabama to restore the most recent version (or use administrator rollback).

Note that the page history will often look wrong until the last step here is carried out, because it doesn't update after an undeletion until the next time the page is edited.

Merging page histories of pages with many revisions[edit]

Suppose that the page History of Alabama had too many revisions to be deleted or deleting it may cause other disruption. The following procedure can be used to merge page histories in this situation:

  1. Move History of Alabama to Alabama/History with a move summary like "history merge, will be back at correct title soon". Answer yes when asked to delete the Alabama/History page.
  2. Undelete the revisions of Alabama/History containing the page history.
  3. Move Alabama/History back to History of Alabama.
  4. If needed, undelete the remaining revisions at Alabama/History.

Move vs rename[edit]

The terms "rename" and "move" mean the same in this context. They just refer to different models for picturing the operation:

  • rename: keep the page but give it another name; the page history is now attached to the new name; a new page with the old name is created which redirects to the new name and whose page history records the renaming.
  • move: move the contents and the page history to a new page; change the old page into a redirect; change the page history into one that only records the move.

Since the system marks the page with the old name as new page, it applies the first of the two models. (The entry in the page table connects a new page name to the page ID. The revision table just gets entries about the move, nothing else, because the relation between page ID and revision IDs remains the same.) This model avoids "changing the history", a kind of "historical revisionism".

"Rename" may have other meanings on Wikipedia. See Help:Rename.

Automating multiple page moves[edit]

Administrators and other users with the "move-subpages" right are also given an option to move up to $wgMaximumMovedPages subpages and talk subpages can be moved along with a move target if enabled. Currently this is enabled for all Wikimedia wikis with $wgMaximumMovedPages set to 100 by default, but raised to 500 for Wikibooks wikis, which have a greater need for this ability.

See also[edit]