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Wikipedia:Merging

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A merger is the process of uniting two or more pages into a single page. It is done by copying some or all content from the source page(s) into to the destination page and then replacing the source page with a redirect to the destination page.

Any editor can perform a merger. No permission or discussion is needed if you think the merge is uncontroversial; just do it (but it might get reverted). Otherwise, the merge should be first proposed and discussed, as detailed below.

When performing a merger, one should remember to reconcile talk pages, and to attribute copied content, as required by Wikipedia's license. At minumum, this means adding words "Merged content to/from [[page]]" to edit summaries. See How to merge below for details.

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. Short 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 would be 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

Proposing a merger

If the need for a merge is obvious, editors can be bold and simply do it. See How to merge below. This includes stubs whose titles differ only in spelling, for example. Note however that bold edits might be reverted, despite the work in implementing it. Articles that have been separate for a long time should usually be discussed first, especially those on controversial topics. To start a discussion, perform the following steps. If the merger is difficult to perform or if it may be more controversial, you can request assistance and feedback at Wikipedia:Proposed mergers.

Do not use the discussion procedure described here to propose:

Step 1: Create a discussion

This is usually done on the proposed destination page's talk page. Exceptions:

  • If the destination does not exist, do not create its talk page (it could get speedily deleted).
  • If a discussion exists already, do not move it (for example, having a discussion on the source page is acceptable).

For example, if suggesting that Foo be merged into Bar, create a proposal 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 to merge [[Foo]] 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 is concerned. ~~~~

Notify involved users (optional)

You may optionally notify involved users (e.g. contributors to the source and destination pages), who might not be watchlisting them. One way is to simply notify them directly from the merger discussion page:

{{ping|User1|User2|User3|...}} Message text. ~~~~

Alternatively, go to those users' talk pages and start a new section. Make sure to provide a link to the merger discussion. You may use the following standard templates to leave a standard message:

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

Please respect neutrality when making invitations to participate in the merger discussion. WP:Votestacking, that is, canvassing support by selectively notifying editors who have a predetermined point of view or opinion, is inappropriate.

Step 2: Tag the relevant pages

Do not use "subst" on these templates.

To propose a merger of two or more pages, place the following template at the top of each page or section:

{{merge|OTHERPAGE|discuss=Talk:DESTINATION PAGE#Merger proposal}}

If you know which page should be removed, use

{{mergeto|DESTINATIONPAGE|discuss=Talk:DESTINATION PAGE#Merger proposal}}

on the source page, and

{{mergefrom|SOURCEPAGE|discuss=Talk:DESTINATION PAGE#Merger proposal}}

on the destination page.

Please use the discuss parameter to direct to the same talk page. Otherwise, two separate discussions could take place. If the discuss parameter is not specified, the "Discuss" links lead to the top of each article's Talk page. In {{mergeto}}, {{mergefrom}}), it always leads to the destination talk page, but it is still preferable to link to a specific section of the talk page.

If multiple articles are proposed to be merged, their titles can be separated with a vertical pipe. For example, {{merge|Destination|OtherPage|discuss=Talk:Destination#Merger proposal}} proposes that the tagged page, as well as Destination and OtherPage, be merged. This works with {{mergeto}} and {{mergefrom}} as well.

In other namespaces

  • Do not use the above templates to propose a category merger. This should be requested at WP:Categories for discussion, which uses a separate {{cfm}} template.
  • For a merger of pages within "Wikipedia" namespace (titles with the "Wikipedia:" or "WP:" prefix), do not include this prefix in the parameter.
  • When proposing a merger between two different namespaces, these templates won't work because of technical limitations.

Step 3: Discuss the merger

Make sure to follow standard talk page guidelines, which includes civility and staying focused on the content, not on the involved editors, using threaded discussion formatting, not biting newcomers, and being clear and concise.

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> ~~~~

Step 4: Close the merger discussion and determine consensus

During discussion, a rough consensus may emerge to proceed with the merger. Any user may close the discussion and move forward with the merger if enough time (normally one week or more) has elapsed and there has been no discussion or if there is unanimous consent to merge. Admins are not needed.

In more unclear, controversial cases, the determination that a consensus to merge has been achieved should be made by an editor who is neutral and not directly involved in the merger proposal or the discussion. You can post it at WP:Proposed mergers to get some help. If necessary, one may request that an administrator who is not involved to close the discussion, at the Requests for Closure noticeboard.

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

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

The discussion...
  ...

{{Discussion bottom}}

After closing the merger proposal discussion, place the {{Old merge full}}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>}}

Merges can be easily reversed if a consensus is formed against it shortly after it was performed. If there is a consensus against the merger, or if there is no consensus or no discussion and you don't believe that it is appropriate to merge the pages, then please remove the merge proposal tags and, if necessary, close any discussion.

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.

Merger as a result of a deletion discussion

In 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. See also Wikipedia:Merge what? for an essay encouraging not to just vote merge in AfD discussions.

How to merge

  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. Publish the edit, leaving the following edit summary (as required by copyright):
    Merged content from [[source page]] to here. See [[Talk:merger discussion section]].
    Ideally, do any necessary copyediting and rearranging in a separate, second edit rather than when you first paste the moved text (to simplify attribution).
  2. Redirect the source page whose content was just merged by replacing everything with the following:
    #REDIRECT [[destination page]] {{R from merge}}
    Or if the content was merged to a single section, the following:
    #REDIRECT [[destination page#section]] {{R from merge}} {{R to section}}
    Publish the page, leaving the following edit summary (also required by copyright):
    Merged content to [[destination page#section]]. See [[Talk:merger discussion section]].
  3. Reconcile talk page tags. If the source page has a talk page:
    • Move all {{merged-from}} and {{copied}} templates to the destination page's talk page.
    • Reconcile {{WikiProject ....}} templates: copy them from the source page to the destination and remove duplicates (look out for alternative templates; e.g. {{WikiProject Software|Computing=yes}} is the same as {{WikiProject Computing|Software=yes}}). Once copied, change the source article WikiProject templates so that they contain |class=redirect (even for WikiProjects that do not yet support a redirect class).
  4. Optionally: Tag the destination page's talk page with {{merged-from|source page name|date}}, and the source page's talk page with {{merged-to|destination page name|date}}. Place these tags at the top of the talk pages.
    As an alternative, experienced users can add {{copied|from=|from_oldid=|to=|to_oldid=|to_diff=|date=}} to the top of both talk pages.
  5. Optionally: Fix any double redirects found at Special:WhatLinksHere. A bot automatically fixes this problem but it may take a day or two.
  6. Check for non-free images (or other files). If any were moved, edit the non-free use rationales on their page to update the article title. This is required under the non-free content criteria.

Afterwards, do not ask for modifications in page history (so called history mergers, see details) – it is not necessary for copyrights and only makes a mess.

See also

Pages to merge

Articles to be merged
(refresh)
All articles4,523

Wikipedia:WikiProject Merge was initiated to clear merger backlog. Current pages tagged for merging can be found at Category:Articles to be merged, which lists pages that have been tagged for merging on a particular month (tagging began in September 2006).

List of merger templates

See here for a table with examples.

Other guides