Wikipedia talk:Disambiguation

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WikiProject Disambiguation
WikiProject icon This page is within the scope of WikiProject Disambiguation, an attempt to structure and organize all disambiguation pages on Wikipedia. If you wish to help, you can edit the page attached to this talk page, or visit the project page, where you can join the project and/or contribute to the discussion.


CHCM is currently just one article, for a radio station, but I think it should be a disambiguation page as that is also the abbreviation of Chicago Hospital College of Medicine, a former name of Chicago Medical School. — Preceding unsigned comment added by AHelpfulStar (talkcontribs) 03:25, 9 August 2014 (UTC)

  • See WP:TWODABS. Since the radio station is almost certainly the primary topic, a hatnote at the top of that article ought to be sufficient. --R'n'B (call me Russ) 10:10, 9 August 2014 (UTC)

"code of honor"?[edit]

This language is a bit over the top and out of place on a guideline. I attempted to change it to a more standard and neutral phrasing but was reverted on the grounds that it's been around a while. Nikkimaria (talk) 23:11, 11 August 2014 (UTC)

WP:FIXDABLINKS. The reference to a code of honor appears to be an in-club reference, establishing a barrier between those who know what they are doing and everyone else. It is very bad form. A "code of honor" is typically a tenuous agreement between powerful camps, and does not sound much like a "consensus". At the very least, there should be a link to the origin and acceptance of this code of honor.
Preferably, the page, WP:D, should document what is done, why it is done, and the downside of doing other things, in simple terms that make it easy for someone new. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 23:23, 11 August 2014 (UTC)
Agreed with Nikkimaria and SmokeyJoe. I've long thought this wording sounded childish and/or judgmental, and excuse to later give someone shit for not being as perfect a disambiguator as one's own supreme self. We have no need for language like that here. Also we have gnomes who do this sort of cleanup regularly, because that's what they like to do. Not everyone is a great or happy prose writer.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  11:26, 13 August 2014 (UTC)
As a disambiguator, the notion that this language should be disposed of because disambiguating is "what they like to do" sounds like a proposal to dump garbage in the street because street sweepers are thrilled to pick up stray bits of garbage. It is just plain untrue. Disambiguation is often tedious, but we do it because bad links are bad for readers and bad for the project. Editors generally should not make messes and expect others to clean them up. I therefore oppose the removal of this language.
Furthermore, despite our constant efforts, the number of disambiguation links to be fixed is now steadily climbing, and we have just lost one of our best tools for fixing these links when the dabserver went offline. If this trend is not reversed, editors trying to fix the old links will never get around to the new ones. While not always the case, the editor engaged in the page moving or disambiguation page creating is quite often the editor in the best position to know why a move has been made and how those incoming links should be fixed. This is particularly the case where the fixes to be made rest on technical distinctions. bd2412 T 13:01, 13 August 2014 (UTC)
The message needs to be there, whether or not it's in this exact language: if you instigate a page move, you need to clear up the resulting mess. But sometimes it's an admin who actually does the move, because it's been non-trivial; some editors can't be bothered clearing up anything; there's no way to enforce anything. It's a mess, but needs discussion.
Ideally, perhaps, it needs a bot or gadget which can be used to say: "X is at present the title of an article; it's being moved to X(y) so that we can move the dab page from X(disambiguation) to X, or perhaps create a new dab page altogether; look for all the incoming links to X now, before we do the move, and change them all automatically to link to X(y)." It's as mechanical as that, or should be, because - at least in theory - all the incoming links to X were correct (weren't they?). Of course, as it's being said that "X" is not the primary topic, there's the chance that some of those links were wrong - but moving them all over automatically will make the situation no worse than it was before; someone can then, at their leisure, check the incoming links to the page X(y) (formerly known as "X"), and fix anything which needs fixing (which already needed fixing before we did the automatic run).
Would that work? If so, do we need to make a Bot Request for it? What would be the mechanics of running such a bot: we'd need to request and activate it, with the two parameters "X" and "X(y)", before moving any page with the intention of re-using its old title. There may be some other circumstances where this will be useful. (Any case where there's an existing article at primary topic Y, and there is consensus that another article, currently at Y(a), is now the primary topic: the first can be moved to Y(z), but its incoming links need to be sorted out before the now-primary article is moved from Y(a) to Y).
In short I suppose I'm suggesting that we get some technology to do the job which human editors are now sometimes doing, sometimes neglecting, sometimes arguing about. PamD 14:21, 13 August 2014 (UTC)
BD, PamD: I reworded this to be more straightforward - can we work with that instead of using this phrase? It gets across the message that people should clean things up, IMO, without the problems of the current wording. The bot/gadget issue needs discussion but isn't directly relevant to the wording. Nikkimaria (talk) 02:00, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
The "code of honor" needs to go. The message can be "If you instigate a page move, please check that the incoming links are repaired after the move is carried out." -- JHunterJ (talk) 09:51, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
It's a bit more than that. Really, it should be, "If you instigate a page move, this can create a lot of incorrect links, which frustrate readers and make Wikipedia less accurate. The number of incorrect links needing to be fixed is already overwhelming, and it can not be assumed that incorrect links created by the move will be fixed by other editors. Therefore, please check that the incoming links are repaired after the move is carried out." bd2412 T 12:53, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
If the specific words "code of honor" bother people, then I have no problem getting rid of them. But whatever replaces them needs to communicate something more than "it would be nice if you would fix these links." As BD2412 suggests, we need to explain that failing to fix the links degrades our readers' experience, and that fixing them is an important part of maintaining the quality of the encyclopedia. --R'n'B (call me Russ) 13:08, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
Works for me; BD2412's wording gets the points across clearly without being weird about it.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  11:13, 18 August 2014 (UTC)

Because this is about moving articles, I've flagged up this discussion at Wikipedia_talk:Requested_moves#Cleaning_up_after_moves_-_dab_pages_etc. PamD 14:33, 13 August 2014 (UTC)

If the basement is flooding, and if not for the expert herculean efforts of a few upholding a code of honor, experts at mopping, it would be disastrous, maybe it is high time for a rethink.
  • If ALL disambiguation pages were at foo (disambiguation), then accidental linkings wouldn't occur, any editor would likely notice the non-ideal link, the situation might become self-managing and stable. An additional advantage is that someone with difficult connectivity, someone who checks hovertext before donloading a page (someone like me), is not going to be so easily disappointed at mistakening downing a disambiguation page, or mistakeningly not downloading a disambiguation page (disambiguation pages are sometimes exactly what I want).
  • Perhaps the text should say "must", with implied consequences, such as automated reminders and warnings appearing on their talk page (typically more than sufficient punishment to encourage a change in behaviour).
  • If page moves of a longstanding titles are prone to create broken links and this be inherently controversial, perhaps these pages should be move-protected?
--SmokeyJoe (talk) 23:45, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
Some thoughts in response: the degree to which disambiguation fixing has stalled can be seen in the last few months of this report. However, it is impossible to eliminate the placement of at least some disambiguation pages at base page names, as there are some pages (like John Smith) for which no topic could reasonably be designated as primary. I do like the idea of automated reminders that links from the moved page remain to be fixed, and I have long advocated for some technical bar to making undiscussed moves of pages with large numbers of incoming links. bd2412 T 00:52, 15 August 2014 (UTC)
Would redirecting John Smith to John Smith (disambiguation) help? If so, let's make that a standard thing to do, end of problem. It's dark:30 my time and my caffeine's run out, so maybe I'm missing something.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  11:13, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
People would still be making links to John Smith, and those links would still be pointing, ultimately, to a disambiguation page. A reader following such a link, or searching for the topic, would be in no better a position. The best thing that we can do is fix as many links as we can, and hope that editors who have the knowledge to do so will fix the links that their page moves create. bd2412 T 22:40, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
Ah, so all dabs at foo (disambiguation) wouldn't help. Move protection of heavy pages, and auto-reminders to link-breakers sounds like they could be good ideas. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 23:20, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
Those, definitely, would be good things. It would also be nice if editors would get a warning when they are about to add a bad link to an article. bd2412 T 00:30, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
I've been trying the latest version of WP:VE, and one of its few good points is that when you make a link it shows whether the target is a dab or redirect! PamD 03:20, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
I know - I beta tested it! bd2412 T 20:46, 19 August 2014 (UTC)

When is a list not a list[edit]

Is Noakes as disambiguation page or a list page? If it's a DAB page I was going to clean it up to one link per line but there seems to be some difference. GimliDotNet (Speak to me,Stuff I've done) 06:54, 13 August 2014 (UTC)

  • It is a DAB page. If it were a list, it would present summary information on the surname, its origin, distribution, etc (it doesn't), and there would be a reason to group together these people (there's not, they are disparate and unrelated).
However, I wish people didn't feel the need to unthinkingly feel the need to apply a "one link per line rule". In some cases, multiple links, such as Bishop of St Davids and Archbishop of Wales are likely to be appreciated by readers quite possibly looking for these subjects, while others, such as English and actor are trivial and thus link-clutter (link clutter not appreciated in a list article either). --SmokeyJoe (talk) 07:28, 13 August 2014 (UTC)
  • It is not a dab page, since there is no ambiguity between anything listed on that article. It is an unreferenced list article, which can presumably be fixed. If it can't, then "of English origin" needs to be removed. That still won't make it a dab page though. —Xezbeth (talk) 08:28, 13 August 2014 (UTC)
  • It's a surname page, so can have as many blue links as anyone wants to add. I wish there was a way to find, and link to, a list of all biographical articles sorted by DEFAULTSORT, so that we could include a link to a useful list. It's possible for living people: this shows us 10 people, with some overlap with the 9 in the dab page. PamD 10:12, 13 August 2014 (UTC)

Link to Wikiproject with same phrase[edit]

Can (en.Wikipedia) Wikiproject Gender gap task force be added to Gender gap disambiguation? I think it is one of those few disambiguations people might actually come to looking for a wikiproject. Thanks. Carolmooredc (Talkie-Talkie) 21:50, 13 August 2014 (UTC)

  • I would add that as a hatnote, not an entry on the list. bd2412 T 12:59, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
Thanks! That makes sense. Carolmooredc (Talkie-Talkie) 01:56, 15 August 2014 (UTC)

RfC: Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Self-references to avoid#Should we be linking readers (via disambiguation notes, etc.) to the Wikipedia/Help/Manual namespaces from the mainspace?[edit]

Please see Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Self-references to avoid#Should we be linking readers (via disambiguation notes, etc.) to the Wikipedia/Help/Manual namespaces from the mainspace? and comment. olderwiser 00:09, 14 August 2014 (UTC)

Are these entries ok in this dab?[edit]

Joe Hale. Ran into this at List of Liberty University people where it's used as a link. Thanks. Dougweller (talk) 11:59, 14 August 2014 (UTC)

Thanks. Dougweller (talk) 16:17, 15 August 2014 (UTC)

Ambiguous disambiguation for “Fairy Queen”[edit]

Three articles listed on Fairy Queen (disambiguation) are slight variations on the same name: Fairy Queen (the folk character), The Fairy-Queen (a musical work), and The Faerie Queene (a poem). It seems to me like any of these titles could be used for any of these subjects, and the word The, a hyphen, or a spelling variant really don’t do enough to disambiguate them from each other. What do others think? (And if this is the wrong place to ask, please feel free to move the discussion.) — (talk) 00:17, 18 August 2014 (UTC)

  • I think alternate spellings and the hyphen are insufficient disambiguation. Especially for folklore things like this that don’t have original well defined spelling or hyphenation. The leading “the” is also insufficient disambiguation, as it is often dropped or added to titles without a widely respected rule. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 00:35, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
    • These differences can't be considered individually. I don't think there is any dispute that the primary topic for this title is the folkloric Fairy Queen, to which all other uses refer. The Spenser poem actually uses an unusual spelling, The Faerie Queene (not "Fairie Queene", although this is also unusual). The opera has both a leading "The" and a hyphen, and appears to be the only usage with a hyphen, which is an unusual punctuation mark to include in the phrase. If there was an article titled Fairy Queen., I would find that to be insufficient because it might not be surprising to find a period after the phrase in some circumstances, but for punctuation that could not as reasonably be expected, WP:DIFFPUNCT is sound. bd2412 T 01:51, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
      • I'm not sure that I mean to disagree with much or any of that. DIFFPUNCT is sound in that small differences are often sufficient. I think it is well agreed that terminal periods and commas are not suffcient. Terminal punctuations ! and ? usually are, but maybe not for words typcially used with exclamation or question marks. The hyphen versus space, I'm not sure what others have thought, but I think it insufficient because hyphens and spaces are often interpreted identically, including by search engines. Fairy/fairie/faerie spelling variations I think are not sufficient as a special exception because it is a word used very often in pre-Modern English literature (when English spelling became important), and in modern times is used with spellings alluding to pre-modern English.
The question is not so heavy, because all the topics are strongly related, and derive from the same source, Fairy Queen. That article I think would be well improved by mentioning more notable derivative topics, and treating the page as a broad-concept article (DABCONCEPT). --SmokeyJoe (talk) 02:32, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
The thing here is that each version has several small differences. The inclusion of a leading "The" is a difference, and the use of a hyphen is a second difference, so these add up to distinguish the specific title from the general concept. With the Spenser poem in particular, there is a leading "The", an unusual spelling of "Fairy", and an unusual spelling of "Queen". We have plenty of actually ambiguous topics to address, such as the dozens of meanings of the exact word, "Mercury", so I prefer that we not trouble ourselves with manufacturing ambiguity where it doesn't really exist. bd2412 T 03:34, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
Re-reading, I think my idle responses were not answering the question. I think there is enough ambiguity to justify having the dab page, and for hatnotes. I don't think there is enough ambiguity to call for further disambiguation of the titles. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 04:37, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
  • The dab page looks fine, the article titles look fine, there are useful hatnotes in place where appropriate. I've added The Fairy Queen (Fablehaven) to the dab page, and changed the redirect at The Fairy Queen, which was pointing to The Fairy-Queen, to now point to the dab page. I think it's all OK. PamD 09:44, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
    How about the incoming links to The Fairy Queen - have you also fixed those, so they don't point to the disambig? bd2412 T 22:42, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
    Oops, forgot - it's so easy to do so, isn't it. On second thoughts, and looking at the "What links here", it does seem better for that redirect to go to the opera, so I've reverted myself. I've also checked the incoming links, fixed a couple, and all the others seem to be opera-related so correct. Not sure what I was thinking of in boldly changing the redirect! Well spotted. PamD 23:30, 18 August 2014 (UTC)


I propose to amend to Wikipedia:Disambiguation#Disambiguation page or hatnotes? to note that the situation is not much different if there are three pages, of which one can be identified as primary. In that case, if links to the other two pages will fit neatly in a hatnote, there is still no reason to have a separate disambiguation page. bd2412 T 15:47, 19 August 2014 (UTC)

If any editor creates a disambiguation page for a primary topic + two non-primary topics, IMO it should be kept. "Fit neatly" is not a bright-line standard. -- JHunterJ (talk) 20:26, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
We can develop a bright-line standard if needed, but my thinking here is as follows. Suppose there is a primary topic "Foo", with two non-primary topics, "Foo (bar)" and "Foo (foobar)". The reader who types "Foo" is probably looking for "Foo", but on the off chance that they are not, why have a hatnote sending them to look at a separate "Foo (disambiguation)" page to choose between "Foo (bar)" and "Foo (foobar)", when we can about as easily have a hatnote offering links to "Foo (bar)" and "Foo (foobar)"? bd2412 T 20:45, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
And once threedabs, then fourdabs for where three pages fit neatly in a hatnote? Or fivedabs on rarer occasions? No, think the current guidance is fine: no dab for one non-primary topic, optional for two non-primary topics (meaning that if someone creates it, more justification to delete it is needed than "threedabs"). -- JHunterJ (talk) 11:13, 20 August 2014 (UTC)
I would argue in the other direction; there's no reason that Foo_(disambiguation) shouldn't exist just because we have Foo and Foo_(snorkelweasel), and they use DAB hatnotes instead of linking to the DAB page. Anyone aware of how WP works at least a little, which is nearly everyone literate and with Internet access at this point, and who is also aware that there are at least two meanings of "Foo", is liable to expect that the Foo_(disambiguation) page exists. There's no particular reason to make someone create a DAB page after introduction of a third Foo article, when the DAB page could have already existed. It would also be a boon to automation, statistics gathering about disambiguation, etc.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  00:07, 20 August 2014 (UTC)
In theory, a disambiguation page like that is harmless. The problem comes where editors assume that because a disambiguation page exists, the article hatnote must point to the disambiguation page, and therefore not to the only one or two other possible articles to be referenced. Disambiguation pages are tools, like redirects where there is more than one possible target. They are not an end to themselves. Furthermore, they require watching, and maintenance to the extent that people unfamiliar with disambiguation will tend to add links to non-matching titles, WP:DABCONCEPT titles, prohibited external links, references to their garage band, and the like. Our goal here is to write an encyclopedia that is informative and easy to use. Making unnecessary disambiguation pages does not necessarily hurt our goals, but it has the potential to do more harm than good. bd2412 T 02:08, 20 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Yes, I agree that a hatnote pointing to two other uses is better than a dab page listing only those two plus basename, as it saves readers' time. But if there are other articles which make "See also {{in title}}" a useful addition, then we need the dab page.PamD 05:56, 20 August 2014 (UTC)