Wikipedia:Requested moves/Closing instructions

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The following are guidelines for closing Wikipedia:Requested moves discussions. Please only apply these after the normal seven day listing period has elapsed. These guidelines are addressed to formal move requests that occur on talk pages, i.e. controversial move requests, but are instructive as to the necessary page history investigation and preservation and cleanup procedures advisable upon any move. Requests listed in the technical requests section can be simply removed after they have been processed. Where technical moves are contested, move the listing to the contested technical requests section.

Failure of an RM closer to follow the spirit and intent of these instructions, especially about properly weighing consensus with applicable policies and guidelines, may result in the initiation of a Move Review.

Who can close requested moves[edit]

Conflicts of interest[edit]

In closing a discussion, it is important to avoid conflicts of interest, because such circumstances cast doubt on the fairness of the closure, and often make the closure unstable. Even the appearance of conflict of interest is worth avoiding, for the same reason. Remember that there is no harm in erring on the side of caution.

Apparent conflicts of interest can arise in different ways:

  • Any editor who has participated in a move discussion, either in support of the move or in opposition to it, will very likely be seen as a biased judge of that discussion.
  • An editor who has previously closed a move request relating to the same article may be seen as biased, especially if the previous request they closed is similar to the new request.
  • Conflicts of interest may arise, or appear to arise, in many ways, and it is good to be alert to these possible circumstances.

No user, whether an administrator or otherwise, should ever close an unwithdrawn requested move discussion in which they supported or opposed, and in which the result of discussion is not a unanimous result. However, it is fine for a discussion participant to close a requested move in the following circumstances:

  • If the nominator wishes to withdraw a proposal about which no one has yet commented, or which is unanimously opposed. In this case, the nominator may close the discussion as "withdrawn".
  • If the closer's participation in the discussion has been limited to clarifying questions, or is otherwise neutral with respect to the proposed move.

If any question of conflict of interest does arise, the best solution is for the potentially conflicted editor to recuse him or herself from closing the discussion, and leave it to someone who is more clearly neutral.

For discussions that appear to be particularly contentious, it often is best to ask at the administrator's noticeboard for an impartial administrator to assess consensus. Such an administrator should be familiar with the relevant policies and guidelines (especially WP:AT and WP:PRIMARYTOPIC) and move request procedures. It is highly advised to avoid asking a specific administrator to close in such circumstances, and it is generally unhelpful to solicit a closer before the move request has neared the time for closure.

Non-admin closure[edit]

Experienced and uninvolved registered editors in good standing are allowed to close requested move surveys. Any non-admin closure must be explicitly declared with template {{subst:RMnac}} placed directly after the reasoning for the close within the {{subst:RM top}} template.

Non-admin closes normally require that:

  • The consensus or lack thereof is clear after a full listing period (seven days).
  • There are no more than a few associated subpages that need to be moved along with the move of the page under discussion, such as voluminous talk page archives. (Administrators have the ability to move up to 100 pages in a single click.)

Non-administrators are reminded that closing a discussion calls for an impartial assessment of consensus or lack of consensus, through arguments supported by directly relevant policy and guidelines are given more weight (while keeping broader Wikipedia policy, guidelines, and consensus in mind). Any editor wishing to express an opinion on the requested move should join the discussion, not close it.

Some editors do not approve of non-admins closing contentious debates. Non-admins should be cautious when closing discussions where significant contentious debate among participants is unresolved. All closures of requested moves are subject to being taken to review at WP:Move review, but the mere fact that the closer was not an admin is not sufficient reason to reverse a closure.

Occasionally, a move involves a redirect with multiple revisions, and requires technical intervention. Editors are permitted to close the discussion and file a technical move with a link to the closed discussion. The results of discussions in favor of moves should generally be respected by the administrator (or page mover). If an administrator notices a clearly improper move closure, he or she should revert the closure and re-open the discussion.

In any case where a non-admin closer does resort to a technical move request, the closer should actively monitor that request, and be ready and willing to perform all tidying after the move (as instructed below), such as fixing double redirects, fair-use rationales, and navbox links included on the page. If a non-admin closer is not willing to wait for the technical deletion and perform the follow up in this manner, they should only close requested moves that do not require technical intervention.

Page mover closure[edit]

Editors with the page mover permission are able to perform certain technical moves without administrator assistance, such as a move over a redirect with more than one edit via a Round-robin page swap. A user is granted the page mover right after demonstrating a good understanding of the Wikipedia page naming system and decent page moving experience.

Determining consensus[edit]

Consensus is determined not just by considering the preferences of the participants in a given discussion, but also by evaluating their arguments, assigning due weight accordingly, and giving due consideration to the relevant consensus of the Wikipedia community in general as reflected in applicable policy, guidelines and naming conventions.

Unlike articles for deletion, where lack of participation requires relisting, no minimum participation is required for requested moves because for most moves there is no need to make a request at all; the need arises only because of a technical limitation resulting from the target article name existing as a redirect with more than one edit. Thus, if no one has objected, go ahead and perform the move as requested unless it is out of keeping with naming conventions or is otherwise in conflict with applicable guidelines or policy. Further, any move request that is out of keeping with naming conventions or is otherwise in conflict with applicable guideline and policy, unless there is a very good reason to ignore rules, should be closed without moving regardless of how many of the participants support it. Remember, the participants in any given discussion represent only a tiny fraction of the Wikipedia community whose consensus is reflected in the policy, guidelines and conventions to which all titles are to adhere. Thus, closers are expected to be familiar with such matters, so that they have the ability to make these assessments.

If objections have been raised, then the discussion should be evaluated just like any other discussion on Wikipedia: lack of consensus among participants along with no clear indication from policy and conventions normally means that no change happens (though like AfD, this is not a vote and the quality of an argument is more important than whether it comes from a minority or a majority). However, sometimes a requested move is filed in response to a recent move from a long existing name that cannot be undone without administrative help. Therefore, if no consensus has been reached, the closer should move the article back to the most recent stable title. If no recent title has been stable, then the article should be moved to the title used by the first major contributor after the article ceased to be a stub.

Note that according to Wikipedia:Consensus § No consensus:

Therefore, if a page has been moved from a longstanding title, and it is not possible to move the page back to its original title during the discussion, the default title will be the title prior to the contested move. For example, if an article is created at Soda can and stays there for years prior to being WP:BOLDly moved to pop can, and a move request is filed leading to a decision of "no consensus", the article must be moved back to its longstanding title. This is the case even if the original page was placed at pop can or fizzy drink can or orangutan-flavored soft drink can, as long as soda can took over through consensus and can be determined to be the actual long-standing title.


Relisting is an option when a discussion cannot otherwise be closed. See Wikipedia:Requested moves#Relisting for instructions and more details.

Relisting and participating[edit]

Please note that while there is no consensus forbidding participation in a requested move discussion after you have relisted it, there are a sizable number of editors who consider it an inadvisable form of WP:SUPERVOTE. If you want to relist a discussion and then participate in it, be prepared to explain why you think it was appropriate.

Moving procedures[edit]

Edit history of destination page[edit]

The majority of target names for move requests already exist as redirects to the present names. Whether a redirect or otherwise, that existing target title should be investigated to see whether it has a minor or major page history. If it has a minor page history, generally meaning it only existed as a redirect, and was never a duplicate article, never had content that was cut and pasted to the present title, nor merged there, it may simply be deleted. However, if the target page title has a major history it should never be simply deleted, as we need to retain such page histories for proper copyright attribution. There are three ways to deal with target pages with major histories, dependent on circumstances. In the event this situation presents itself on a move, click "show" below for instructions.

Cleaning up after the move[edit]

It is important that you clean up after any move you perform. Accordingly, you should not close any move if you are unwilling to do the necessary clean up tasks listed below.

Fixing double redirects[edit]

Moving a page changes any redirects that pointed to the original page location, into double redirects. These make for an unpleasant experiences for the reader, waste server resources, and make the navigational structure of the site confusing. It is the responsibility of the closer to fix these. Periodically a bot will attempt to fix any double redirects missed but that does not relieve the closer of the responsibility which should be handled soon after the move.

The "move succeeded" summary page that you are taken to directly upon a move provides a link entitled "Check what links here" specifically geared to listing offending double redirects created by a move. Fix any double redirects shown on the resulting page.

Some talk pages, archive pages and subpages that you may also have moved, may also have had redirects that have become double redirects. These associated moved pages are listed at the bottom of the move succeeded page. Open up the prior page names (which should now be themselves all at redirects) and click on "What links here" in the toolbox on the left hand side of the page, then click on "Hide transclusions" and "Hide links". This is the manual procedure to perform the same search the move succeeded page provides with the "Check what links here" link noted above.

Redirect categories
Redirects are required by the editing guideline to be sorted to maintenance categories for tracking purposes. Editors who are less familiar with this may tag redirects with the {{Rcat shell}} template (with either no parameter or an empty first parameter) for assistance with sorting redirects.

Fixing fair use rationales[edit]

Please check whether there are any images on the moved page with fair use rationales (any Commons images can be immediately excluded, easily recognizable by the logo on the image page: Commons-logo.svg). If you find such fair use images present, change all mentions of the prior article name, to the retitled name, so that the image is not marked for deletion as orphaned.

Fixing category sort keys[edit]

Many pages have a template above the page categories in the form {{DEFAULTSORT:Name}} Where the name field provided in the template is the old title of the page (pages are sometimes categorized in other ways), change it to the new title. Alternatively, in some pages categories are piped in the category links themselves, e.g., [[Category:Monty Python films|Name of Film]]. In the example you would fix the name of the film.

Fixing hatnotes, DAB pages and first sentences in leads[edit]

Though not as common as the above, a move may occasionally render a hatnote obsolete. The documentation page at {{Hatnote templates documentation}} may be instructive in finding a suitable replacement, if one is needed (sometimes simple removal may be appropriate). Often the reason for the hatnote is because there is either a disambiguation page related to the topic, or another topic pointing to yours and vice-versa per WP:TWODABS. In such cases you should visit either the DAB page or the other article with the hatnote, and replace the old name of the article you have just moved, with its new name. The first sentence of the article's lead section may, following the move, need tweaking to conform the language to the changed title.

Sidebars and navbars[edit]

Pages that have a sidebar- or navbar-template will need their page title in the template edited from the old name to the new. Until this is altered, the old page title, which usually becomes a redirect to the new title, will appear as a blue wikilink instead of as the unlinked page name in boldface type.


Occasionally, a page has an accompanying editnotice in the template namespace. For example, the editnotice for 0.999... is Template:Editnotices/Page/0.999.... Sometimes, a page may be accompanied by a group editnotice (like this one), or more rarely, a protection editnotice (like this one). If a page with an editnotice is moved, the editnotices should move with them. Currently, this requires the technical assistance of an administrator or template editor.

Fixing talk page archiving[edit]

Some archiving bots have hardcoded page names in their archiving settings. After closing the move and moving the talk page archiving, the bot settings should be updated on the talk page to the new name of the talk page. In some circumstances, this will involve updating (moving) a hard-coded bot subpage.

Moves of disambiguation pages to primary topic titles[edit]

Unlike most moves where the pages that link to the moved title will still point to it after the move because of redirects, when a disambiguation page is moved to a primary title, this severs the connection between pages which linked to the primary title. For example, if Foo is moved to a parenthetically disambiguated name, and Foo (disambiguation) is then moved to Foo, everything that linked to Foo, now leads to the primary disambiguation page. In such instances, significant cleanup involving hand dabbing of the pages that formerly linked to the title may be needed.

There may be occasion to retarget to a disambiguation page a redirect that is left behind from a page move. If [[Foo (ambiguous)]] were moved to [[Foo (more focused)]], it may be that the redirect left behind should be retargeted to [[Foo (disambiguation)#(Appropriate section)]]. In such a case, significant cleanup may again be necessary to disambiguate the links to the left-behind redirect.

Wikidata update[edit]

Near the bottom of some "successfully moved" pages is a link to the associated page on Wikidata that might need to be updated (this may be done automatically when a page is moved). In the upper right of the Wikidata page is an "edit" link (scroll to the right if necessary), which is used to update the main information in the topmost box. The leftmost field is for the new page title, and the description field in the center can be used for any type of disambiguation (do not include the "(disambiguation)" in the title field), Wikimedia lists, and so on. Alternative names can be included in the rightmost field. When finished, click "save" in the upper right, and the Wikidata page will be updated.

Moves of other pages[edit]

If a page is to be moved as the result of a move request, mention should be made of this in the move proposal and a notice should be placed on the talk page of the article to be moved (unless of course it is hosting the discussion). Generally, a move request on whether to move X to Y should have no impact on page Z's title, unless it is initiated as a {{multi-move request}} that mentions moving Z as a possibility. This is because the editors most interested and aware of Z are not able to contribute their expertise to the naming discussion, since it's happening at a different place without any notice given.

These situations often come up when Foo (barge) is proposed to move to, say, Foo (enormous sailing thing), and someone mentions that they think the barge is actually the primary topic. A consensus of these barge enthusiasts may then informally suggest that the existing article Foo be moved to Foo (bar), without actually notifying Foobar-interested editors by signaling at Talk:Foo that a move request involving that page is taking place. This often leads to strife and another, more contentious move request. If consensus at X signals that Z should move, close the request at Talk:X, do not move Z, and file a new move request at Talk:Z.

Even if consensus is clear, when closing a move request do not move articles that have not been nominated to be moved except in the very clearest and not-even-plausibly controversial situations.

Three possible outcomes[edit]

There are generally three different outcomes for requested moves. The closer should clearly show which outcome has taken place so that other editors may quickly see the progression of consensus regarding the title; it is much easier to move an article that has never had a firm consensus about the title.

1.  NOT MOVED should be used when a consensus has formed to not rename the article(s) in question. For instance, a proposal to rename Bob Dylan to Squeezy Joe would likely result in everyone (or nearly everyone) agreeing that the proposed move should not take place; this notifies other editors that they should probably not propose this move in the future until and unless circumstances change.
2.  NO CONSENSUS should be used when there is neither a strong consensus to move nor a strong consensus to keep the current title. This may be because a discussion has fractured into several possible titles and none seem especially suitable, or simply because equally strong arguments and appeals to Wikipedia policy and outside sources were found on both sides, without a clear winner in the discussion.
While it is usually bad form to re-request a move if consensus is found against it (until and unless circumstances change), it is not considered bad form to re-raise a request that found "no consensus" to move. (Various proposals to set a specific timeframe that must be waited out before re-raising have been set forth, and none have been agreed upon; however, in the absence of further evidence or arguments, successful move re-requests almost always take place at least three months after the previous one.)
3.  MOVED should be used when consensus is found to move. If there is any question whatsoever as to which title it should be moved to, please note this in the closing summary (e.g. MOVED to Squeezy José). This almost always sets a consensus for the new title, and further requests to move the page are likely to fail unless new information or arguments are brought forth.
There are rare circumstances where multiple names have been proposed and no consensus arises out of any, except that it is determined that the current title should not host the article. In these difficult circumstances, the closer should pick the best title of the options available, and then be clear that while consensus has rejected the former title (and no request to bring it back should be made lightly), there is no consensus for the title actually chosen. If anyone objects to the closer's choice, they may make another move request immediately, hopefully to its final resting place.

Closing the requested move[edit]

When you complete an entry on the project (whether the move was accepted or rejected), remove the {{requested move/dated}} tag from the talk page, or change {{requested move/dated}} to {{requested move/old}}. You should also add and sign a comment to indicate whether the move was accepted or rejected in the discussion area for the requested move. This can take the form of an informal note or a more formal close (see below). To ease things a little bit, you can use this script by Andy M. Wang.

While historically, there have been other options for formally closing the move request survey on the affected article's talk page, nowadays we exclusively use the twin templates {{subst:RM top|result of the discussion.}} and {{subst:RM bottom}}. For requests that for some reason did not apply, you can use {{subst:notmovedmalformed}} or a similar statement based on the circumstances.

Step-by-step formal closing procedure[edit]

After clicking the [edit] tab next to the move discussion, you may follow these step-by-step instructions for closing an RM discussion:

Before closing After closing Description
==Requested move== ==Requested move== Leave the heading alone; the close starts below it.
{{Requested move/dated|Foo}} {{subst:RM top|'''RESULT.'''}} Replace text on left with text on right. Add {{subst:RMnac}} within the template if necessary.
DISCUSSION DISCUSSION Body of the discussion stays unchanged.
{{subst:RM bottom}} Add the bottom template.
  • If additional explanation is provided as to why you have closed the move discussion as a certain result, add additional comments immediately after '''RESULT'''..
  • Save the page with an edit summary such as "Closing requested move survey; page moved/not moved".

After closing, the page should look similar to this:

Requested move
The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: RESULT. [Additional comments]. Example (talk) 10:24, 21 August 2017 (UTC)

FooFoobar – rationale of nominator. Example (talk) 10:24, 21 August 2017 (UTC)

  • Supports/Opposes with discussion

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

Add {{Oldmoves}} or {{Old move}} to the talk page if so desired[edit]

After the move is complete, the {{Oldmoves}} or {{Old move}} templates may be added to the top of the talk page (or updated if already present), allowing editors to see previous move discussions that might otherwise be archived. This is helpful for titles that are likely to be challenged again, so that any would-be re-proposer can make reference to previous arguments and consider how a consensus may be formed to move. In the case of pages with multiple move discussions, these templates should always be added/updated after the closure of an RM.

Automatic removal of request from Requested moves page[edit]

Once the article's talk page has been updated, there's no need to return to the Wikipedia:Requested moves page and delete the article's entry there; this will be performed automatically by a bot.

Using move protection during RMs and immediately after RM closes[edit]

Some RM discussions are contentious; undiscussed, unilateral page moves during a discussion or page moves made immediately after and contrary to an RM close decision are disruptive and hurt the integrity of the RM process. Admins monitoring RM discussions should use their discretion to move protect articles during contentious RM discussions when they believe a premature, undiscussed unilateral move would be disruptive to the discussion. The same discretion should be used to start or continue move protection immediately after the RM close. Generally, such move protection should be limited to no more than 30 days under normal circumstances. The RM closing comment should reference the move protection.

Bot considerations[edit]

Malformed requests[edit]

A request will be listed in a special section titled "Malformed requests" on Wikipedia:Requested moves when the listing bot fails to successfully interpret the request. Please remember to use {{subst:requested move}} – rather than manually format the request yourself – to avoid this issue. Possible causes and solutions include:

  • The request was appended to an existing talk page section. Add a new section header immediately above the {{Requested move/dated}} template.
  • Text was inserted between the section header and the {{Requested move/dated}} template. Move that text above the section header or below the request, or remove it.
  • Look for a blank space after the section header == equal signs, including on the line following the heading, and remove any.
  • It is OK to change the auto-generated level 2 header to a level 3 header, thus making the RM section a sub-section of an earlier-started discussion.
  • The page requested to be moved is a redirect. Only pages with non-redirecting content should be requested to be moved.

"Time could not be ascertained"[edit]

A request will be listed in a special section titled "Time could not be ascertained" on Wikipedia:Requested moves when the listing bot cannot ascertain the date on which the request was made. Please remember to use {{subst:requested move}} – rather than manually format the request yourself – to avoid this issue. Possible causes and solutions include:

  • The move request is not signed. Sign the move request, and the problem is solved. If you are signing for someone else and you use {{Unsigned}}, you must place today's time/date stamp for this to remedy the problem, so you can use the form {{subst:unsigned|Foo|~~~~~}}, and note this uses five tildes to place the time stamp, or the actual timestamp can be copied from history - but adding (UTC) is required, and the hidden left-to-right mark at the end of the date must be deleted: position your mouse pointer just to the right of the year 2017 and press ← Backspace once - if the last number "7" is not deleted, then you have probably deleted the hidden left-to-right mark, and Show preview will confirm the change before you save it.
    Also remove the <!-- Template:Unsigned --> comment from the end of the line – the bot allows up to 23 bytes following the timestamp at the end of the line, and that comment is 26 bytes long.
  • A missing – between the proposed move and the proposal description will prevent the description from appearing. This can be fixed by simply adding the missing &ndash;.
  • Unusually formatted signatures will prevent recognizing the end of the proposal description, for example, if the date is formatted Month Day, Year instead of Day Month Year. This can be fixed by editing the timestamp or adding a formatted time stamp.[1] In the first case, December 20, 2012 was changed to 20 December 2012, in the second case, a second time stamp was added.

Header confusion[edit]

Occasionally two sections with the same section heading will appear on a talk page. When this happens, the bot will link to the first one, even if the current move request is the second one. This can be remedied by giving the section containing the current move request a different name, such as "Requested move 2", or by giving the older section a different name, like "Requested move (month year)". A duplicate header for the same discussion can be deleted.