Wikipedia:Naming conventions (long lists)

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Long stand-alone list articles are split into subsequent pages (alphabetically, numerically, or subtopically) to adhere to the Wikipedia guidelines on article size.

Basic naming[edit]

For a list article that consists of a simple lead section and most of its content in a list, the form "List of foos" is preferred, sometimes with a redirect to it from "Foos" if that main article does not exist. Examples: Use "List of hotels in Botswana", and a redirect at "Hotels in Botswana" (the ultimate main article on the topic being "Botswana". For a "List of chemists", "Chemists" already redirects to "Chemist", so nothing further need be done.

For an article that mostly consists of a list but also has a lot of well-developed material on the nature and history of the topic, the form "Foos" (e.g. "Hotels in Botswana") may be preferable, with a redirect to it from "List of foos", since the list is only a part of the truly substantive content.

When the list is split (or if it was initially created in split form), it is up to local consensus on these articles whether the main article should be the bare list name ("List of foos"), or the first article in the series ("List of foos: A–H"). Regardless, one must always redirect to the other, so that readers are never left confused as to why the initial list page seems to be missing.

Long (split) list naming recommendations[edit]

Several styles have been used. As indicated below, the preferred style is "List of foos: A" (for numeric divisions "List of foos: 1") and for ranges "List of foos: S–Z" (numeric: "List of foos: 1–20"). Complicated formats like "List of foos: X, Y, Z" or "List of foos: U–W, Y–Z" for short ranges are discouraged, and are certainly too unwieldy for long ranges. It will be difficult for readers to guess at such names (while "List of foos: A–M" and "List of foos: 1–20" strongly imply "List of foos: N–Z" and "List of foos: 21–40", respectively).

If the preferred style is not used, redirects should be created from the preferred-style article names to the actual article names, as readers will come to expect an article to be at the preferred name rather than a variant.

When ranges are expressed, do so with the en-dash (–) character, not a hyphen (-), em-dash (—), minus (−) or other similar character, nor the – HTML character entity, in the article titles. Redirects should be created from the hyphenated versions of the article names to the real locations, as not all readers are aware of, or have the keen eyesight to see, the difference and may not be able to easily enter the en-dash character.

The most common methods of splitting a long list into multiple sub-articles are by ranges of letters of the alphabet (or by individual letters for very long lists), by numerical ranges (or individual numbers for very long lists), or by some kind of topical division, such as geography, field, language, etc.

Models (see examples below)

Preferred:

  • List of foos: A
    • List of foos: 1
    • List of foos: Africa
    • List of foos: Physics
    • List of foos: A–K
    • List of foos: 1–9
    • List of foos: Africa and the Middle-east
    • List of foos: Physics and chemistry

Common and acceptable (variants not shown):

  • List of foos, A
  • List of foos (A)
  • List of foos – A
Note: That is an en-dash, not a hyphen; a version of the name with a hyphen should exist as a redirect to the real page.

Deprecated as ambiguous, hard to read, or longwinded (variants not shown):

  • List of A foos
  • List of foos A
  • List of foos:A
  • List of foos starting with A
  • List of foos/A
Note that the subpage feature is disabled in main namespace.
Examples

Special cases[edit]

In some situations, the subject matter does not lend itself to such simple nomenclature, and other schemes may be devised on a case-by-case basis. Some examples might even be considered "problematic" (though a supposed "ideal solution" might not be immediately apparent, either).

Examples

Generic templates[edit]

Template:Compact ToC 
Navigational template: See template documentation for syntax. {{Compact ToC}} can be used in several different ways for creating custom tables of contents for split list articles, including ranges and one-page-per-letter setups. The template supports many additional features, including sections for numeric and symbol entries, configurability of layout, and links for standard (References, etc.) or custom sections.
{{Compact ToC|name=List of foos|center=yes|side=yes|n=[[List of foos: N–Z#N|N]]|o=[[List of foos: N–Z#O|O]]|...|z=[[List of foos: N–Z#Z|Z]]}}
Example showing every letter, with links directly to sub-article sections:
{{Compact ToC|center=yes|side=yes|n=[[List of foos: N–Z| N–Z (next page)]]|o=|p=|...|z=}}
Example showing each letter for this sub-article, and a range for the next one, with a link to that next article's top:
Examples of list subpages: List of foos: A, List of foos: N–Z, List of foos: North America, or whatever is desired
Template:A-Z multipage list 
Navigational template: {{A-Z multipage list|name}}:
Example with name = List of foos; cat = Foos; cat sort key = Foos, List of:
Example of list subpage: List of foos: A
Note: this template has built-in categorization; in the actual rendered example here, the categorization features were omitted to prevent this guideline page from being improperly categorized.

Migration strategy[edit]

There is no obligatory migration strategy to convert all multi-page lists to the preferred style. However:

  • When starting a new multi-page list (or splitting an existing list into several pages), consider if adoption of the preferred style is possible; if not, try to keep as close to it as possible, and create redirects from the names expected by this guideline to the actual page names.
  • For existing multi-page lists: if there's no apparent reason against it – such as established consensus at the article's talk page, recommendations of other, topic-specific guidelines like Wikipedia:Naming conventions (pieces of music), etc. – the list should be migrated. Please note that this often entails a great deal more than simply moving the pages, as the table of contents/navigation templates will have to be updated, many links may refer to the original names of pages, and utility templates (e.g. {{Cuegloss}}) may depend upon the original names.

See also[edit]