Template talk:Distinguish

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Under what circumstances should this template be used without linking to an article?[edit]

An anon has been adding this template to 116 Clique to distinguish the article from a band without an article. Is that how it should be used? The template documentation doesn't elaborate. Walter Görlitz (talk) 07:42, 22 January 2015 (UTC)

@Walter Görlitz: See WP:NOARTICLE. --Redrose64 (talk) 13:01, 22 January 2015 (UTC)
Thanks @Rose64:. Not redlinked, simply text as in this edit: {{Distinguish2|196 Clique}}. Walter Görlitz (talk) 15:12, 22 January 2015 (UTC)
Seems to me that this template just serves to help people, so its proper use is dependent on judgment, not rules. If there's some other topic that may be notable, even if it doesn't have a Wikipedia article at the moment, and which is reasonably likely sometimes to be confused with the article topic, then the template may be helpful. It doesn't necessarily matter that the reader doesn't have another WP page to go to to find out about the other topic; the important thing is that they realize that the present article is not about that topic. Mind you, I would expect such cases to be rare, and I have no idea whether the case you're referring to might be such a case.W. P. Uzer (talk) 15:32, 22 January 2015 (UTC)
While there might be some hypothetical possibility where a non-article link might be warranted as IAR, in general, the purpose of hatnotes is to help readers locate other articles. A non-article hatnote would be subject to verifiability and I don't think anyone would want to see a footnote in a hatnote. olderwiser 15:55, 22 January 2015 (UTC)
Yes, WP:HAT says "Hatnotes provide links to the possibly sought article or to a disambiguation page." I would say that if there is no link, it's not a valid hatnote. This template is just one of dozens, so if not resolved here, the matter perhaps deserves discussion at WT:Hatnotes. --Redrose64 (talk) 16:28, 22 January 2015 (UTC)
This one is somewhat different though, since it also has the purpose (presumably) of stopping people from thinking that the information in the article concerns their sought topic. That purpose is served even if we can't provide any information on their sought topic - they can Google it instead, once they realize that WP isn't helping them. W. P. Uzer (talk) 17:08, 22 January 2015 (UTC)
No, I don't see any basis for this one being different. It's always been used to direct readers to other articles. olderwiser 17:22, 22 January 2015 (UTC)
Have you not read what I just wrote? I know you don't like changing your opinion on anything, but you could at least respond to what another person writes, instead of just claiming "not to see". The fact that something has "always been done" doesn't mean that doing differently must be wrong. W. P. Uzer (talk) 18:20, 22 January 2015 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I mean, a case where this might be important (and may be similar to the case that provoked this discussion, I don't know) is if there are two hockey players, say, with the same name, and we have an article about only one of them (because the other one is just the other side of our arbitrary boundaries of notability, or else is potentially notable but hasn't had an article created yet). It's important not just for preventing reader confusion, but also for avoiding potential damage to reputation (and perhaps also for stopping editors from adding information to the wrong article), that it be made clear in a prominent way that this person is not that person. Maybe there's a better way, but this template seems a good enough method on the face of it. W. P. Uzer (talk) 18:38, 22 January 2015 (UTC)

Can we bring this back to the original question?
Should they only link to articles or can we, as in this case, offer distinguishing from a similarly named band? Walter Görlitz (talk) 06:06, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
Well, we obviously can, if we think that the upsides (prevention of potential confusion to some readers) outweigh the downsides (unnecessary distraction to most readers). I think we've established that it would be very unusual, but that doesn't mean it must necessarily be wrong. W. P. Uzer (talk) 11:18, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
I don't think that the subject should be specific to this template, so I've left notes at WT:Hatnote and WT:WPDAB. --Redrose64 (talk) 14:23, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
If the hatnote is making factual claims, then it is subject to verifiability requirements. I don't think a hatnote is an appropriate vehicle for distinguishing unencyclopedic topics. olderwiser 14:26, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
"No article" does not necessarily imply "unencyclopedic". Verifiability requirements would of course have to be satisfied, as with anything else. What alternative vehicle do you suggest? W. P. Uzer (talk) 15:18, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
Why not take your hypothetical hockey player example a step further? There are hundreds if not thousands of persons named John Brown who are not mentioned anywhere in Wikiepdia. Surely someone might be confused by their John Brown not being listed. But Wikipedia is not a directory and is not a catalog of otherwise unnotable entities. WP:Verifiability is a core policy and WP:Notability an important and widely supported guideline. If an entity is so unnotable that a stub cannot be written or that a verifiable entry cannot be added to some other article or list, the risk of confusion is vanishingly small. On the other hand, the potential for disruptions caused by editors feeling justified in adding otherwise trivial cross-references is significant. olderwiser 18:11, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
I think we can assume readers will be aware that different people can have the same name, particularly one as common as John Brown. But if there are two relatively equally obscure hockey players called Bruff Nargs, and one of them has an article here titled Bruff Nargs (hockey player) (or just called Bruff Nargs, about a hockey player) you can surely see that confusion is likely to arise, and that it would be a good idea (i.e. would help people) to try to prevent that confusion with a hatnote? Anyway, I don't know of such a situation in reality, so I'm not going to continue discussing it until some such actually arises. W. P. Uzer (talk) 20:43, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
No, if they are in fact equally obscure, then both should either have or not have a mention in Wikipedia. If one does not satisfy even the minimalist criteria for a verifiable mention within some other article or list, then no I do not see any significant potential for confusion. olderwiser 22:09, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
Definitely not. It opens up a can of worms of editors being able to add the name of their favourite band/book/teacher/pet to the top of a similarly named WP article without any need for it to be notable. Bands are a particular problem as, at least in the UK, every major act of a certain vintage has dozens of tribute bands all with deliberately very similar names. But given that notability would not apply there's nothing to stop any individual an editor has heard of being mentioned at the top of e.g. a BLP. And once one is added then what's to stop dozens more being added?--JohnBlackburnewordsdeeds
Some kind of "at least close to notability" requirement would obviously have to apply. By which I don't mean we should make rules for this or even bother discussing it much further except in relation to some specific case; I'm just making the general point (unfortunately often ignored by the people who deal with disambiguation-related tasks on WP) that rules on WP never have to be enforced just for the sake of it. W. P. Uzer (talk) 15:31, 23 January 2015 (UTC)

If the other entity is somewhere close to notability, and is verifiable, then it should be possible to add a mention of it to an existing article and link there in a hatnote: thus "196 Clique" could be mentioned, with a reliable source, in the article on their home town, or record label, or genre of music. If no verifiable information can be found to support such a mention, they don't belong in a hatnote - just as disambiguation pages do not include information other than links to existing Wikipedia articles. So I would oppose the use of unlinked hatnotes. Hatnotes are to link to other WP articles: no article, and no mention in any article, means no hatnote. PamD 16:25, 23 January 2015 (UTC)

Sounds reasonable, but there may still be cases where no mention in any other article would be justified (or hasn't been made yet), and yet the possibility of confusion might reasonably be expected to exist (see my hypothetical hockey player example somewhere up the page - we might know only that he was born in London and played for some team, and neither of those things is enough to justify a mention in any other article). You don't give any reasons for your opposition, you just state it (like other disambiguation people doubtless will) as if it's a predetermined rule. Anyway, I don't think this Clique 196 deserves a hatnote - not because of its not having an article (which in itself is somewhat irrelevant to the potential likelihood of readers' being confused) but because the name isn't similar enough to the name of the band in the article. If the name was identical or virtually so, and the other band had something approaching notability, then it would clearly be to everyone's advantage (readers, editors, both bands) to have a hatnote, regardless of whether the other band could be shoe-horned into some other article. But it would still probably be opposed vigorously by the disambiguation rulemongers. W. P. Uzer (talk) 17:25, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose unlinked hatnotes, which give undue weight to topics whose notability has not been established. If the editors of the 116 Clique article feel that this other group 196 Clique might be confused with their group because of the similar name, then make the distinction in the 116 Clique article's lead section, providing a reference demonstrating the other group's existence, such as their official website. The fact they exist would be a lower bar than demonstrating notability through mentions by third-party reliable sources. This would be particularly appropriate if "116" feel that "196" is infringing on their name. Wbm1058 (talk) 17:30, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
Sounds cool to me, as long as you don't then get another group of rulemongers saying "...no reliable source has made the connection between this and the article topic..." (When I say "sounds cool", I mean in the more hypothetical case where the names are practically identical - I still don't think it's necessary in this xxx Clique case.) W. P. Uzer (talk) 17:38, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
  • None per WP:NOARTICLE (to answer original question), and per PamD. A mention elsewhere yes. Widefox; talk 13:25, 19 February 2015 (UTC)

Template not working[edit]


The template is suddenly giving issues. Example is on Windows Mobile and Windows Phone. --Rsrikanth05 (talk) 09:00, 15 April 2015 (UTC)

I reverted the recent change to the template. Wbm1058 (talk) 11:20, 15 April 2015 (UTC)
Thank you. --Rsrikanth05 (talk) 12:08, 15 April 2015 (UTC)
  • I re-reverted you and changed the {{{4}}} to a {{{3}}} for the third parameter link if there was no fourth parameter and fixed this issue correctly. Rsrikanth05, my one bit change seems to have resolved your issue, please report back if you find any new errors with the template and I'll happily correct them. — {{U|Technical 13}} (etc) 12:22, 15 April 2015 (UTC)
Will do. --Rsrikanth05 (talk) 12:29, 15 April 2015 (UTC)
Thanks a bunch, Technical 13. As always, you're a hero! Face-smile.svg
It was unlucky that the fault didn't show up on my sandbox test. Anyway, I added new tests there.
A little background: I made the change after a request for it was filed in Module talk:Hatnote § Just a note
Best regards,
Codename Lisa (talk) 15:38, 15 April 2015 (UTC)


Shouldn’t the “or” in Not to be confused with X or Y and Not to be confused with X, Y, or Z be changed to “nor”?
PapíDimmi (talk) 02:33, 12 July 2016 (UTC)

I don't think so: there's no "neither" in there, and it wouldn't make sense to add one. The sentence would have to be recast as To be confused with neither X or Y., at which point it would need a "nor", but as it is, I think it's okay. --McGeddon (talk) 18:57, 27 October 2016 (UTC)
Grammatically, the sentence does not require the word “neither.” “Nor” would fit better in the sentence “Not to be confused with X or Y,” because you’re not saying “Don’t confuse it with X, or don’t confuse it with Y”; you’re saying “Don’t confuse it with X, and don’t confuse it with Y,” a.k.a. “It shouldn’t be confused with neither X nor Y.”
PapíDimmi (talk | contribs) 05:44, 28 October 2016 (UTC)
"shouldn't be confused with neither" is a double negative - the sentence would have to be "it shouldn't be confused with either" or "it should be confused with neither". --McGeddon (talk) 08:30, 28 October 2016 (UTC)
To reply to the original question: No. "Or" is correct in these phrases. ("Nor" is usually only used after "Neither", or in phrases like "Nor yet ...", but not in the sort of phrases this template produces.) PamD 11:18, 28 October 2016 (UTC)