Wikipedia talk:Deletion policy/redirects

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  • Asassineted, Asassineted, Asassinated, Asassinated, Assassinated - all redirects to List of assassinated persons. I suggest that all but the correct spelling be deleted immediately. Btw, I'm not sure I found all the variants. --Zero 11:11, 19 Oct 2003 (UTC)
    • Why delete? Imagine that a person with spelling problems in english (like me, for instance) is looking for assassinated persons? Unless the redirects use an enormous space in the wiki, i say keep. Cheers, Muriel Gottrop 11:26, 19 Oct 2003 (UTC)
    • Unless a redirect is problematic, it is highly unlikely to be deleted. Is there any reason these are problematic? Angela 11:30, Oct 19, 2003 (UTC)
    • Is this serious? Do we have entries for every possible misspelling of every article, to accommodate people who can't spell? Tony Blare Tony Bliar Tony Blaire Tony Blear Tony Blaer Tony Blér? Adam 15:35, 19 Oct 2003 (UTC)
      • Keep, of course!--Ruhrjung 07:34, 20 Oct 2003 (UTC)
      • I think that was some sort of passive-agressive performance art by someone who disagrees with our policy of keeping redirects. -- Ifrog
    • I think we should fix the misspellings, but I suppose we could keep the misspelled redirects. They won't have anything linking to them once the articles with the misspellings are fixed, but they will at least be there for the next time someone misspells them. Adam Bishop 17:54, 19 Oct 2003 (UTC)
    • Agree w/Adam. It is the place of a Dictionary to catch mispellings and direct user to correct spelling; not a legit function of Wikipedia, except in special cases - Marshman 18:03, 19 Oct 2003 (UTC)
    • Keep. It's long been a wikipedia policy to keep spelling mistakes. We might even get a lot of google hits by being one of the only sites that link to these alternate spellings. - SimonP 18:34, Oct 19, 2003 (UTC)
    • (I'm the proposer.) I'll add that not only are the spellings ending in eted really silly, the whole set of words violate the rules for article names. They are past tense verbs. If anything, the names should be assassination etc. Who is ever going to type in assassinated (spelt correctly or not) as an article title? Also, though it is true we keep mispellings after they are fixed, in this case someone created all these variants intentionally at the same time. Is that what we want people to do? --Zero 13:12, 20 Oct 2003 (UTC)
      • I don't think people are going to type them as article titles, but someone might make a link to assassinated, which would then go to the right place instead of being a red link. Adam Bishop 13:17, 20 Oct 2003 (UTC)
        • There used to be one or two, but it's debatable if it shouldn't redirect to Assassin (as other variations) -- User:Docu
    • Delete. I feel like someone's trying to make a point, but this is just over the top. -- BCorr ¤ Брайен 00:52, 21 Oct 2003 (UTC)
    • I think they should be deleted, but the Wiki has some sort of love affair with the redirect. Having all those redirects will probably encourage misspellings, but at least they'll be easy to find in the future. [1] The policy should be only to redirect common misspellings. Two of these return virtually nothing in Google and don't register in Google's built-in spellcheck: [2] [3] These two at the very least should be deleted. -- Minesweeper 01:32, Oct 21, 2003 (UTC)
    • Delete. I'm in favour of typo-correcting redirects for proper names, where someone can't reasonably be expected to know how to spell something (e.g. Lyme Disease, Lime Disease, maybe Lime's Disease) but not improper, dictionary english words. -- Finlay McWalter 13:14, 22 Oct 2003 (UTC)
    • Keep. Wartortle 21:36, 22 Oct 2003 (UTC)
    • Delete. David Stapleton 14:20, Oct 24, 2003 (UTC)
    • Keep. No reason to delete redirects. -- Jake 14:26, 24 Oct 2003 (UTC)
    • Delete. Excessive redirects just clog up search results. -- Viajero 00:12, 25 Oct 2003 (UTC)
    • In alphabetical order
      listed here VfD note added Google hits
      Asassinated twice yes 858
      Asassineted twice yes 0
      Assasinated no no 19,000
      Assassinated once yes 630,000
      Assassineted no no 5
      Keep Asassinated(858), Delete Asassineted(0), Keep(not on VfD) Assasinated(19k), Keep Assassinated (630k), Delete Assassineted(5) (needs a VfD entry). I think that 5 typos on Google is too few to be worth having as a typo redirect. Does anyone think that 5 is enough? If no, I'll VfD it; if yes, I won't. I did Wikipedia searches for all of these. None make it hard to find the real entries. JamesDay 13:21, 25 Oct 2003 (UTC)
    • Keep. -Nydigoveth 18:10, 25 Oct 2003 (UTC)
    • I agree with JamesDay Lirath Q. Pynnor

Problematic redirects

In relation to some redirects listed on VfD:

Redirects are kept unless they are problematic. Is there a reason these are problematic? Angela

  • That's why you just deleted Unia Wolno I guess. Must have been problematic. --Wik 05:22, Nov 6, 2003 (UTC)
    • As I said in the reason for deletion - see the village pump. This had been discussed as the page had only been created due only to technical errors as the author in question had tried to use an unallowed character in the title. The only content the page ever had was a redirect to Unia Wolnosci. There is no reason for this redirect to exist, Unia Wolno would serve only to confuse in search results because there is quite clearly no such thing. It is not simply a misspelling so there is no value in keeping it. It had not been archived by Google or linked to by anyone as it had only very recently been created and had never contained any content. The page creator had specifically asked for speedy page deletion. So, weighing up these options, I feel that to have kept this page would have been more problematic than deleting it. There are no advantages to it being kept, and many disadvantages - upsetting the person who wanted it deleted, confusing people who could not understand why Wolno would redirect to Wolnosci and being annoying in search results. The redirect here is both meaningless and worthless. Angela 13:49, Nov 6, 2003 (UTC)

What to do with page history if a redirect is listed for deletion?

It often happens that the complete contents of an article on a "minor" topic are merged into an article on a broader topic. There seems to be some uncertainty about the best thing to do with the page that covered the minor topic. As far as I was aware, the most usual practice was to add the content to the broader article with an explanatory edit comment such as "content moved from name of article", and then to make the first page into a redirect to the second. That way, if someone wants to know the history of the content, they can follow it back through the history of the main article to the point at which it was added, see from the edit comment where it came from, and then go to that page (now a redirect) and explore the history of that page. To me, that seems an adequate way of doing things. I think it enables readers to ascertain the authorship of any piece of writing in the Wikipedia easily enough, at least as far as is possible in a system where anonymous contributions are allowed. (Attributing contributions is required by the terms of the GFDL, you see.)

However, a lot of people seem to have developed a phobia of redirects, and keep wanting them deleted. To preserve the history of contributions to an article and satisfy those who, for whatever reasons, want the redirects deleted, it is possible to merge not only the contents but also the histories of the pages. This is done by deleting the main article, moving the sub-article into its place, and then undeleting the main article again. This combines the histories, and thus also enables readers to ascertain the authorship of each contribution. However, my personal opinion is that this is not as nice a method, because it makes the history more confusing. Below is a discussion from Wikipedia:Votes for undeletion on the subject. -- Oliver P. 03:05, 16 Nov 2003 (UTC)

Begin text moved from Wikipedia:Votes for undeletion

The content of [Invalid insect taxa described by Horace Donisthorpe] was used, and the page was deleted anyway. This is a violation of the terms of the copyrights of the original contributors, because the content is now being used without acknowledging their authorship. I thought we had a policy that any article whose content was merged into another article was to be kept as a redirect to that article. I think that would be a good policy to have, as it enables people to study the history of the content and who added what to it. -- Oliver P. 00:30, 16 Nov 2003 (UTC)

  • I have merged the histories to prevent this problem, but the information should not be included in the article anyway. The rough consensus was to delete it; people should not attempt to get round that by sneaking the information into another article. Contents from VfD below. Angela
    • Merging the histories is a very ugly solution. The history of an article is supposed to show the development of a single article, not of all the articles that went into it. Merging the histories of two pages with very different content obscures what has actually taken place, and removes the usefulness of the "diff" feature, because much of the time it would be comparing completely different pages. It just confuses the reader, and makes it more difficult to follow the history of the content, not less. I think it makes sense to merge the histories of two pages if they have much the same content, especially when one has been created as a cut-and-paste of the contents of the other, because in those cases the "diff" feature would be useful. What exactly was wrong with my proposal of keeping Invalid insect taxa described by Horace Donisthorpe as a redirect? As for the inclusion of the content, that's a separate question from the one about whether it should get its own page, and as you can see from the discussion below, at least two people who advocated deletion of the page accepted the move of the contents. -- Oliver P. 01:17, 16 Nov 2003 (UTC)
      • I thought it was standard practice to merge histories in order to acknowledge authorship. I don't think keeping a redirect is sufficient for this as you can't assume that those who would accessing this page for details of authorship would necessarily have access to the history of the article that redirected to it. Angela 01:28, 16 Nov 2003 (UTC)
        • Okay, my disaproval of your merging the histories was a bit harsh, sorry about that... I wasn't aware of it as a standard procedure. I think most people just redirect the "lesser" articles to the articles that they were merged into. I prefer that method, because then histories of pages that started out as separate entites stay that way, and their histories are less confusing. As long as the redirect isn't deleted, anyone can check the "What links here" list to find it, and then click on "Page history" to get the history of that redirect. But how many readers would know to do that is another matter... -- Oliver P. 02:12, 16 Nov 2003 (UTC)
          • I guess it depends partly on your views regarding redirects. Considering that many people prefer them to be deleted, I'm not sure what other solution there is, but I do concede your point that it makes the history look confusing. This probably isn't the right page to discuss it though. Angela 02:18, 16 Nov 2003 (UTC)
    • When merging/redirecting I typically say something like "from ***" in the edit summary, so that people can follow that chain to find the history. It is difficult though - another problem with using the GFDL. Ahh well - we all have our burdens to bear. Martin 02:37, 16 Nov 2003 (UTC)

End moved text

Attempting to preserve attribution by merging page histories coulld be wrong: by essentially corrupting the history, it really removes attribution. An alternative and preferable option would be to move with a comment like:

(moved content from really silly article title - see talk page for attribution)

Then copy the page history of really silly article title onto the top of the article's talk page, with a note asking people not to delete this history as it may be required for the GFDL. Martin 14:36, 16 Nov 2003 (UTC)

The problem is you can't copy the actual history, only a list of the contributors, so you don't have any idea of how much work each of those people have put in. The GFDL says you need to list "at least five of the principal authors of the Document". With just a list, you won't know who the principal ones were. Angela 18:28, 16 Nov 2003 (UTC)

True, but this is also the case when you merge page histories - the versions get interspersed, making it practically impossible to tell who the principle authors are. A copy of the history, with edit comments and major/minor marks, is certainly better than merging history, and probably good enough. A redistributor will always need to make a judgement call on who the "principal authors" are anyway. If the merged text is but a small part of the overall product, maybe nobody nobody who edited it will be a principle author. Martin 18:46, 16 Nov 2003 (UTC)
I've added your suggestions to Wikipedia:Deletion guidelines for administrators but I was wondering whether an alternative solution might be to move really silly article title to Talk:Sensible title/partial history and keep the history there instead. It means it's in the talk namespace, so people won't object to it like they object to redirects in the main namespace, and preserves the actual history. The really silly article title can then be deleted as it won't have any history. Would that seem a better idea? Angela 19:07, 16 Nov 2003 (UTC)
That's a really good idea, yes. Best of both worlds. Btw, are you the only admin who does this history merge thing, or are there others that you know of? If there are others, could you point them here? Martin 19:19, 16 Nov 2003 (UTC)
I just thought everyone did it but I don't know where I got that idea. I probably misinterpreted something somewhere but now I think about it I can't remember who else I've seen doing it. I think we need a page that announces changes to policies affecting sysops. Otherwise, are others going to be aware that things like this are suggested? Or can I assume they have Wikipedia:Deletion guidelines for administrators on their watchlists? The Wikipedia:Announcements page wouldn't seem appropriate although I have used that before. Angela 19:40, 16 Nov 2003 (UTC)

I think that moving articles with silly titles in order to preserve their history without keeping the silly title is a very good idea. But I'm not sure about moving to [Talk:Sensible title/partial history]. That looks like it's either the talk page of [Sensible title/partial history], or a subpage of [Talk:Sensible title]. (The ambiguity there leads me to conclude that actually I don't like titles of the form [Talk:A/B] at all. In fact, I'd go further... I don't like subpages at all! I thought they'd already gone out of fashion by the time I arrived, but for some reason they've crept back in. But I suppose this is a matter to bring up somewhere else.) Either way, it looks like a talk page, which is misleading.

I think that a page in the article space whose content is used in another article should be kept in the article space, if possible, to make it clear that at least some of what is in the history is article-type material. I'd suggest moving the page to whatever title best describes its content. For example, if someone writes a stupidly titled article that nevertheless contains some useful content about Joe Bloggs's acting career, then it could be moved to [Joe Bloggs's acting career] before being merged with and redirected to [Joe Bloggs]. Then people will know to look in its history for material on Joe Bloggs's acting career. If the content can't be categorised that easily, it could be given a vaguer title, like [Joe Bloggs (further content)], or something like that. - Oliver P. 01:57, 8 Dec 2003 (UTC)

That's an excellent idea. I reworded Wikipedia:Deletion guidelines for administrators to reflect this. Angela. 04:12, 8 Dec 2003 (UTC)
Seconded. Martin 20:09, 8 Dec 2003 (UTC)
The problem I have with doing history marges, when content from a duplicate article is used in the 'kept' article, is that (as pointed out above by Martin) this makes the history almost totally unusable. The only circumstance under which I do a history merge is when someone did a cut-and-paste move, where the two histories don't overlap. Then you're just essentially pasting it back into one big long history.
For duplicate articles, I find a far superior solution is to move the second article to some suitable archive location (I usually move it to a sub-page of the Talk: page of the kept article), and leave a pointer to that location at the top of the kept page's Talk: page. I would suggest we adopt this as the preferred strategy, and not history merges. I'm open to standarding on a different canonical location for the 'discarded' page; whatever people want to standardize on is fine with me. Leaving it in the main namespace as a top level name (as opposed to a sub-page), as anything other than a redirect, I'm not sure is a good idea, because someone may come across it and.... start editing it again, or link to it, or something. So the "better name" option is one I don't think works, alas. Noel (talk) 16:33, 12 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Offensive redirects

You might want to delete a redirect if one or more of the following conditions is met:

  1. The redirect is offensive, such as "Joe Bloggs is a Loser" to "Joe Bloggs".

I disagree with this condition. If the phrase "Joe Bloggs is a loser" is one which is well-known enough to be mentioned in the article on Joe Bloggs, then the existence of the redirect firstly helps people to find Wikipedia's content on that phrase, secondly makes it easier to link to the content, and thirdly prevents people who have failed to find the content from re-adding it at the obvious title, not realising that it is already covered at a different title. Exactly the same argument applies to the phrase "Joe Bloggs is great", of course, if that is a phrase which is well-known enough to be mentioned in the article on Joe Bloggs. To allow one but not the other is contrary to the spirit of NPOV, since we are pointing people to content that flatters the subject, without doing the same for content that paints a less favourable picture of them.

But then again, perhaps what was meant was that redirects that express any POV about someone should be deleted. Then "Joe Bloggs is great" would be deleted along with "Joe Bloggs is a loser". But I would disagree with that, too. The principle of NPOV doesn't mean that points of view are not to be included, but that differing points of view should be discussed in an unbiased manner. I think that the same philosophy applied to redirects would say that it is all right to include redirects that express points of view as long as it is done fairly. If an article is NPOV, and redirects are made according to the points made in the article, then "good" redirects and "bad" ones will usually end up existing in much the same ratio as "good" points and "bad" points in the article, which seems appropriate to me. What do you say? -- Oliver P. 01:57, 8 Dec 2003 (UTC)

First, there's the "slippery slope" argument. If offensive redirects shouldn't be deleted, then some bright spark is going to create dozens of redirects to Jew, Negro, Police and any other category whose detractors have been creative with language over the years. I think that if several redirects form a pattern of abusive titles, they should all go together.
However, that doesn't address all cases, since often there is a single redirect to a single article. In those cases, I think that if the subject of the article is not being treated in a manner consistent with Wikipedia being a respectable and responsible encyclopedia, then we should rectify the situation by toning down the abuse (or the sycophancy, if it's positive comment).
Obviously this is subjective, but that's why we have "votes for deletion" rather than "unassailable arguments for deletion", and obviously it's self-consorship, but I think that's justified if the effect is a genuinely more considered and reasonable treatment of the subject. Basically, what I'm against is the idea that contributors might be getting a kind of childish glee out of turning their favourite slander, abuse or slogan into a "real entry in a real encyclopedia". Onebyone 03:47, 8 Dec 2003 (UTC)
And, I should add lest I cause further offense, that the childish glee of one person will be defended by a number of other people on grounds of that person having a valid POV which should be reflected in the article titles which point at the subject. They don't, because it isn't Wikipedia's job to record every opinion on the planet, only to reflect every interpretation of information which might generally be regarded as notable. Opinions as to what is notable can be dismissed, and indeed commonly are when a page is deleted with a non-unanimous vote. Onebyone 04:00, 8 Dec 2003 (UTC)
An individual article is of limited size (personally I prefer to keep them fairly short), so it can only mention some of the synonyms, slogans, etc. associated with a topic. Hopefully over time the main article will evolve to cover the most noted ones. (Separate, more specialised articles can cover less well-known ones in the proper context.) I'm only advocating creating redirects for those synonyms, slogans, etc. that are actually covered in the article, so there wouldn't be an uncontrollable explosion of them. -- Oliver P. 13:51, 8 Dec 2003 (UTC)
The fact that Joe Bloggs is great can be expressed in the article. We do not need a redirect to express this point. There is no point having a redirect for every fact expressed in an article and people should not be encouraged to link to Joe Bloggs is great. They should be linking to Joe Bloggs. It also causes problems if the article is changed and later no longer mentions that Joe Bloggs is great, making the redirect confusing and misleading. Angela. 04:08, 8 Dec 2003 (UTC)
Oh, I didn't mean that there should be a redirect for every fact or opinion expressed in the article. I just meant that if the actual sentence (not just the sentiment) "Joe Bloggs is great" is talked about in the article (if it is, for example, a slogan he used in his election campaign, or the title of a song/poem/football chant that was written about him, or a recognised catchphrase of his) then it makes sense to redirect it to the article where it is discussed. Then if someone looking for content on the slogan "Joe Bloggs is great" tries going to the page for Joe Bloggs is great then they would be redirected to that content. Someone mentioning the slogan in another article ("John Smith habitually wore a T-shirt with the slogan 'Joe Bloggs is great' emblazoned across it") can link the slogan and be confident that it will take readers to wherever the content on that slogan is. The content might be at Joe Bloggs, but then again it might be at self-aggrandizing slogan. By having the redirect in place, people don't need to worry about remembering where the content happens to be at that moment when linking to it, as long as people are keeping the redirects up to date. And having redirects at the titles of minor topics (poems, slogans, album tracks, etc.) to larger topics (collections of poems, political campaigns, albums, etc.) discourages the creation of new pages devoted to the minor topics by pushing readers towards the more general pages, which most people agree are preferable. (But if the material about a subtopic ends up with a wildly disproportionate amount of coverage in the article on the general topic then I still advocate splitting off a separate page for the subtopic, of course.) -- Oliver P. 13:51, 8 Dec 2003 (UTC)
This is not something we ought to be encouraging. Such redirects do not help people to find a page. If they search for "Joe Bloggs is an idiot", they will be presented with all the pages which contain this statement. The redirect will not help. It will also look misleading and make people think we have more than one article on Joe Bloggs if they see page titles with Joe Bloggs, Joe Bloggs is cool and Joe Bloggs doesn't know what he's talking about. People will use this as an excuse to create offensive redirects on purpose. At present, the policy states that such titles may be listed on VfD, which doesn't mean they will be deleted - just that they will be discussed. If you remove it from the policy, there will be nothing to discourage their creation. Angela. 18:03, 8 Dec 2003 (UTC)

Oliver, I think your concerns are already dealt with, at least in part: if the phrase "Joe Bloggs is a loser" is one which is well-known enough to be mentioned in the article on Joe Bloggs, then it is may be spared by the following text:

avoid deleting such redirects if:
  1. They have a potentially useful page history (not relevant here)
  2. They would aid accidental linking (possibly, unlikely)
  3. They would make the creation of duplicate articles less likely (this may well be relevant if the phrase is sufficiently well known)
  4. They aid searches on certain terms. (possibly the case, though unlikely)
  5. Someone finds them useful. (again, possible)

The deletion policy expresses this issue as a balancing act (because it was the only way to avoid me and Daniel Quinlan settling it by a duel ;-)), which I think is basically correct - and VfD is currently the way we try to find that balance. However, we could add another point to the policy:

avoid deleting such redirects if:
  1. The topic of the redirect is mentioned in depth in the article in question (such as AIDS Kills Fags Dead to anti-gay slogan).

I'm not sure that's perfectly expressed, but something along those lines would, I think be reasonable. There would still be the possibility to discourage offensive redirects that Angela and others dissapprove of, but we're explicitly taking into account Oliver's desires too. Martin 19:40, 8 Dec 2003 (UTC)

> They would aid accidental linking

I think we need to discourage such linking, not encourage it by promoting redirects for the reason that such links be used. They should not be used.

>They would make the creation of duplicate articles less likely

I agree this one is important

>They aid searches on certain terms.

I think they hinder searching, not aid it, as I said above.

> The topic of the redirect is mentioned in depth in the article in question

I've no objection if it is a major part of the article. I just want to avoid people creating idiosyncratic redirects for the wrong reasons.

>There would still be the possibility to discourage offensive redirects that Angela and others disapprove of…

It isn't the offensiveness of redirects I disapprove of as such, it's more the uselessness. I would oppose Joe is great just as much as I would oppose something offensive being said about him if I saw no need for that redirect. Angela. 19:59, 8 Dec 2003 (UTC)
I don't believe you really have a problem with useless redirects: I believe that your real concern is the cluttering of search results and other awkwardness caused by the useless redirect. I believe that if you never noticed the existence of a useless redirect, perhaps due to a change in the interaction of meta:redirects and searching, then you would not have a problem with them.
Anyway, if you have no objection to adding something about tending to keep redirects that are a major part of the target article, then we may be able to all agree on this part, at least. Martin 20:07, 8 Dec 2003 (UTC)
Well, I really do, but I'm not quite sure why. :) It annoys me when there are 10 redirects to a page as I just see them as superfluous, but, yes, if they could be accounted for in some way in the search that would improve things. I am generally for redirects, just not huge numbers of them for one article and not ones which could cause confusion or are meaningless. Anyway, I have no objection to adding the "keep redirects that are a major part of the target article" to the policy. Angela. 22:25, 8 Dec 2003 (UTC)
Careful, he said "if the topic of the redirect is covered in depth in the article", and you said "if the topic of the redirect is a major part of the article". Those don't even express the same goal, let alone mean the same thing... Onebyone 02:12, 9 Dec 2003 (UTC)
Don't they? It's a slight difference, perhaps, but the details will be done on RfD anyway, we just make a framework... Martin 19:27, 9 Dec 2003 (UTC)
I'm happy with either case - if the topic of the redirect is a major part of the article and/or it is covered in depth in the article would seem a good reason for a redirect. Angela.

Fighting over pre-emptive redirects

I've drawn some ire from Michael Hardy over my efforts, as part of Wiki Syntax, to either fix or delete redirects pointing to missing articles—such redirects being candidates for speedy deletion. (Obviously, it's the delete part that is being debated.)

(See my initial post, his reply, and each other's reply.)

I feel he's gone overboard by plastering warnings all over redirect-target-000.txt. (I reverted him once on the basis that that wasn't the place to discuss policy, but I'd rather not engage in an edit war.) He's also considering filing this for VfD, so it should be obvious that there's a bit of a disagreement in the air.

Could somebody from Mount Olympus deliver unto us a bit of wisdom on that matter?

--Fbriere 23:49, 25 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Note: He's also modified WP:RFD to reflect his views on that subject.

(I should also point out that this talk showed what appears to be a clear concensus on that policy.)

--Fbriere 01:15, 26 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I now realize that Michael has actually protected redirect-target-000.txt. (No template, no inclusion in the list, I only found it in the log. Isn't this contrary to policy?) This is getting a bit annoying...

--Fbriere 04:08, 26 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I've reverted the change to WP:RFD, as I couldn't find any discussion of the changes. You should probably list the protection of redirect-target-000.txt at WP:AN/I, since this appears to be against policy. --Carnildo 05:02, 26 Mar 2005 (UTC)
"Pre-emptive redirects" are of no value and have been candidates for speedy deletion for a long time. If Mr. Hardy wants policy changed, he can get a consensus to do so. His protection of the page was a blatant violation of the policy that one does not protect a page one is involved in a dispute over. -- Cyrius| 15:05, 26 Mar 2005 (UTC)
I have edited tens of thousands of Wikipedia articles. On many occasions I have created pre-emptive redirects. In some cases their value is very obvious (e.g., I see the someone created a redirect from "complex societies" to "complex society"; I've done the same thing hundreds of times). In other cases the question of their value or its lack is delicate and may require input from experts in the field. An obvious case being a redirect from a misnomer to a correct name. By that of course I do not mean to suggest that misnomers are NEVER appropriate article titles; the question of whether a misnomer is the right title is precisely the kind that may require expert input. The page I protected was nothing but an incitement to wholesale vandalism until I added a conspicuous warning against the "policy" of vandalising pre-emptive redirect pages. I realize some practitioners of that policy were judicious in their application of it, but the statement of the policy did not reflect that at all; it just incited unthinking vandalism. It actually encouraged the use of the word "broken" to refer to any redirect whose target does not exist! That is destructive of Wikipedia's purposes, to say the least. Michael Hardy 21:24, 26 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Glad to see you join the discussion, Michael!
I do hope that more knowledgeable people will chime in and expand upon the usual arguments (broken redirects appearing in blue, double redirects not working). Speaking only for myself, what annoys me with broken redirects is the utter lack of information or context they provide. A broken redirect is saying "foo is bar", without any information on what foo or bar are, or what context these words are taken from. Maybe in field A, foo=bar, but not in field B. How can we judge if the redirect is appropriate, since we have no information on whether it points to foo (A) or foo (B)?
Basically, if "Saint Petersburg is a city" is unacceptable as an article (even a stub), why shouldn't "Leningrad means the same thing as Saint Petersburg" be held to that same standard?
I would think that if someone strongly believes in the need for a redirect, that person should also be willing to spend a minute or two to write a stub. And if he/she cannot gather enough information to do that, then I question whether there's enough information to justify the redirect itself.
Here's looking forward to an informative discussion of this question. --Fbriere 21:53, 26 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I've just noticed that my critics and I were both mistaken about what the long-standing policy actually says. What confused us was that the emphasis in the statement of the policy was misleading. Read the paragraph starting with "However" after item #6 at Wikipedia:Redirects for deletion. In view of the list of exceptions in the paragraph beginning with "However...", I've revised item 6 at Wikipedia:Redirects for deletion in a way that is really just a changed in emphasis and I hope will avoid some rash deletions-without-due-deliberation. It now reads as follows:

  1. 6. If the redirect points to an article that does not exist and does not help avoid the accidental creation of duplicate articles, it can be deleted immediately; but first you should check whether there is an alternative place it could be appropriately redirected, and whether any of the exceptions noted below are applicable.

Michael Hardy 03:52, 3 Apr 2005 (UTC)

A bit hasty

Looks like Michael may have a point about Fbriere being a bit fast on the trigger: Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals, which you had on your list, redirected to Endocine disruptor, an obvious misspelling of Endocrine disruptor. Did Fbriere bother checking, or was he in a hurry to just slash away? How many obvious fixes did he overlook in his haste? -- 10:24, 26 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I just browsed, and I found 8 obvious cases of mistakenly deleted redirects, most plainly obvious. How tight is QC on this project? -- 11:11, 26 Mar 2005 (UTC)

As you can probably imagine, there's no official QC on this; us volunteers merely flag the redirects, and rely on you to give the final word. However, given the hours I've spent Googling, cross-checking articles, writing stubs and asking redirect authors to add a stub to their redirect, I think I've done more than my share of due diligence on this. (Frankly, I do find this more fun than fixing gazillions of brackets...)
As for Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals, I'm willing to bet there wasn't any link pointing to the redirect—that would explain why I didn't spend too much time peering over each syllable. Sorry 'bout that.
Hi, me again from a different computer. You're flat out wrong: all of the redirects and what they link to were clearly visible, as you should know. I know because I got into an edit conflict on that page as you blew through them and I wanted to see why the page had changed so quickly. -- 14:36, 26 Mar 2005 (UTC)
If you have questions regarding other redirects, I'll be glad to answer them. (I'm not watching them, so you'll have to flag me somehow.) If you think I'm flat-out wrong, feel free to refuse them—I won't be offended.
--Fbriere 11:32, 26 Mar 2005 (UTC)
I only picked on the fairly obvious and plainly visible -- you know, where the words in the redirect link were spelled differently from target or were clearly mistaken ("theorem theorem"? Come ON). (Okay, the football stadium thing wasn't as obvious, but it didn't seem possible that there was no List of English football stadiums. I don't think I counted that, though.)-- 14:36, 26 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Of the 34 broken redirects that I deleted, I see that 165.76 has found homes for five of them (thank you). Of those five, three would not have been obvious to me at all, one was a misspelling of a district I've never heard of and one was caused by a double word ("theorem theorem" -- I should have caught that one). I applaud 165.76's efforts but I hardly believe the QC is lacking here. Many of the broken redirects were caused by articles being deleted by VfD, and some were simply pointing to pages that had never been created. By the time Fbriere tags them, we have almost certainly reached, if not passed, the point of diminishing returns in the QC department. We can have perfection (with a deadline of eternity), or we can have productivity. It would really help if people would create at least a substub at the end of pre-emptive redirects they create. Broken redirects are listed as CSDs for a reason. SWAdair | Talk 11:53, 26 Mar 2005 (UTC)
I've never heard of the district either; on the other hand, its name was spelled differently in the redirect and target links, so that should have been a clue right there.-- 14:36, 26 Mar 2005 (UTC)

This is a bit of a tempest in a tea-pot. It's worth noting (as some will no doubt recall :-) that the last time we did a bunch of these "non-existent target" redirects on WP:RfD (sorry, I don't have the time to dig through the history to find the reference), I didn't simply delete the whole bunch, willy-nilly. Instead, I went to a lot of effort (as you can see see by the existence of this template, as well as some other ones) to try and exercise a fair amount of judgement, and not simply delete them all, including any that looked like the might be useful. As you can see from my note here about this batch, again I'm going through this list carefully, and not simply bulk-deleting them. I can't speak for others, of course, but I am trying to exercise some care here. (I even found an article that had been mistakenly deleted!) Noel (talk) 12:50, 26 Mar 2005 (UTC)

My point is that the essential reason for doing all this is a kind of fastidiousness, and if so then by God you should actually BE fastidious instead of relying on the tool. It was trivially easy for me to spot the screw-ups, and if that's the case then there's something wrong with the process or the way it's being implemented; either way, the quality of Wikipedia is being reduced, even if only incrementally. -- 14:36, 26 Mar 2005 (UTC)
You're absolutely right, Hardy-Littlewood-Selberg-Levinson-Conrey theorem was sloppiness on my part—though given its orphan status and the fact that Critical line theorem doesn't mention this alternate name, one might question the usefulness of such a redirect. Nevertheless, I'm glad you caught that mistake (and any other I may have made), which is, after all, the point of Wikipedia. (And my hat's off to SWAdair's Modern warMilitary science.) --Fbriere 19:40, 26 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I can definitely confirm what Noel said about non-existent redirects listed on WP:RFD being treated with care. And here's my 2 cents worth on why I do not agree with changing policy to allow redirects that point nowhere:

  1. For me, redirects are like the "See instead" items in the index of a paper encyclopedia. They exist to point you to the correct article. For this reason double redirects are bad (these would be like a "see instead" pointing to another "see instead", which then pointed to the real article - which would be annoying). Equally redirects that point nowhere are bad (these would be like a "see instead" pointing to something which did not exist - also annoying).
  2. Yes, the people who try to clean up these redirects are not perfect, and do sometimes make mistakes. But these redirects were created either by a mistake, or deliberately. If they were created by a mistake, then attacking the person who tries to fix it and in turn makes a mistake, seems to miss the point: Wouldn't it be better to direct that concern to whoever made the mistake in the first place? (i.e. without the first mistake, there would be no second mistake).
  3. If redirects that point nowhere are added deliberately, then surely the people who add these can also add a minimal one sentence substub at the target? That must take as much effort as adding the redirect, but without introducing any of the problems of redirects that point nowhere. To add a redirect that points nowhere and to not add a corresponding substub, seems like claiming that you know enough about something to say that two concepts are related, yet do not know enough to actually say in the briefest of terms what either of those concepts are. That seems a somewhat odd position to take.
  4. As a matter of practicality, the number of redirects without targets is kept very low (typically below 400) in large part because of efforts like WP:RFD and Wiki Syntax to apply the current policy that redirects should point somewhere. If redirects that point nowhere are allowed, then you should expect that the number of redirects that point nowhere to increase. In other words, if you think redirects without targets are rare, and so not very annoying, and therefore it's OK to allow them, then you're missing the cause-and-effect of current policy → result.

-- All the best, Nickj (t) 00:02, 27 Mar 2005 (UTC)

question regarding biographical articles...

I create a new article (for example John Doar). Am I supposed to go and create redirects like [[John M. Doar]] and [[John Michael Doar]] and maybe a few others if there might be a "jr." or something thrown in? Morris 04:15, Mar 29, 2005 (UTC)

If it makes sense to do so. Be sure to check what links to the redirects, and edit any articles you find so that, if they are talking about the same person, they bypass the redirects, and if they're talking about someone else, turn the redirect (or the original article, if appropriate) into a disambiguation page. --Carnildo 04:51, 29 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Does it make sense to do that proactively, even if ALL of the existing links are to John Doar? Morris 13:46, Mar 29, 2005 (UTC)
It's quite possible that, in the future, someone'll link to John Michael Doar, and if it isn't a redirect to John Doar, they'll think there isn't an article on him and write their own. I ran into just such a problem with my article on Daniel Daly -- I created it and all the redirects I though neccessary, but I missed that some articles linked to Daniel "Dan" Daly, and guess what? someone wrote an article there. --Carnildo 18:55, 29 Mar 2005 (UTC)