Wikipedia:Naming conventions (precision)
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|This guideline documents an English Wikipedia naming convention. It is a generally accepted standard that editors should attempt to follow, though it is best treated with common sense, and occasional exceptions may apply. Any substantive edit to this page should reflect consensus. When in doubt, discuss first on the talk page.|
|This page in a nutshell: Be precise, but not overly precise, when necessary; don't title articles ambiguously when the title has other meanings.|
Article titles give the reader an idea of what they can expect within an article. A reader may have found your article with a search, with Recent Changes or accidentally, or in some other way that robs him of the context, so do him a favor and name your articles precisely.
If a word or phrase is ambiguous, and an article concerns only one of the meanings of that word or phrase, it should usually be titled with something more precise than just that word or phrase (unless it is unlikely that the related usages deserve their own article). For example, use Apollo program, Nirvana (band), Smoking pipe; rather than simply Apollo, Nirvana, Pipe (See disambiguation for more details); but over-precision is not necessary either and should be avoided, so not United States Apollo program (1961-1975), Nirvana (Aberdeen, Washington rock band), etc.
Minor spelling variations
If two or more pages differ only in small details of spelling (including use of diacritics and capitalization) it may be advisable to create a a disambiguation page or provide links between the pages (see WP:HATNOTE), or if closely related, combined into a single article page, to reduce confusion for readers and editors. Which action is appropriate depends on whether the similarly titled pages are discussing the same or different meanings of the title.
If the two titles have the same meaning
In this case the other naming conventions policies and guidelines should be used to determine the most appropriate spelling of the word, and make all other synonyms redirect to that spelling. Having multiple pages for the same topic is an undesirable content fork.
Note that in many cases, the exact capitalisation of the article's title does not affect search. Also, there are guidelines for treating spelling differences due to national varieties of English that are also applicable to article naming.
If the two titles usually have a different meaning
- Diacritics: canon vs. cañon
- Capitalisation: WASP vs. wasp; Red Meat vs. Red meat
- With or without hyphen(s): Saint-Louis vs. Saint Louis
- Punctuation: Airplane! vs. Airplane
In this case, try to avoid confusion, per the general principle: When a reader enters this term and pushes "Go", what article would they realistically be expecting to view as a result? (quoted from Wikipedia:Disambiguation#Deciding to disambiguate)
If there is a reasonable chance the reader might have been looking for the other meaning, use an appropriate disambiguation technique:
- Top of the page disambiguation notice: for example WASP and Wasp both have such notice.
- Disambiguation page: for example many acronyms (like PIN or FLAs) lead to disambiguation pages. If a different capitalisation is the topic of another Wikipedia article, don't forget to link that article from the disambiguation page.
- Adding a parenthetical (bracketed) disambiguator to the page name: for instance when both spellings are often or easily confused. Use Passio (Pärt) and St John Passion (disambiguation) instead of Passio Domini Nostri Jesu Christi secundum Joannem and Passio Domini Nostri Iesu Christi secundum Ioannem. Common disambiguators are listed in User:Kevinkor2/Research into names of Wikipedia articles.
See Wikipedia:Disambiguation for guidance on which disambiguation technique would be most appropriate in which case.
Conflicts over precision
A conflict over the precision of a word may arise. The best way to handle such conflicts is through authoritative dictionaries (the most authoritative being The American Heritage Dictionary, Oxford English Dictionary, and Merriam-Webster's). A term that has fewer definitions is often the more appropriate choice. This is not a sure-fire way of judging precision, however.
If a consensus is impossible to reach on precision, go with the rule of thumb, and use the more popular phrase.
Name your pages precisely. If you want to discuss a particular version of realism – for example, Platonic realism – then don't call your page realism; call it Platonic realism or even Platonic theories of universals. Notice that Platonism is also ambiguous.
Only a very few famous philosophers can be referred to by a single name. Socrates, Plato are fine; but compare James Mill and John Stuart Mill, or Roy W. Sellars and Wilfrid Sellars. Remember that there are famous non-philosophers who might have the name in question, about whom we might eventually want to have articles! Best to do a Google search first.