Wikipedia talk:Disambiguation

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WikiProject icon This page is within the scope of WikiProject Disambiguation, an attempt to structure and organize all disambiguation pages on Wikipedia. If you wish to help, you can edit the page attached to this talk page, or visit the project page, where you can join the project and/or contribute to the discussion.

What is a place name?[edit]

I have noticed the place name disambiguation template {{geodis}} is being used, and abused, for municipalities, hamlets, unincorporated communities, townships, districts, suburbs, boroughs, constituencies, landmarks, provinces, regions, islands, rivers, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

It's not being helped by the fact that the template specifies the following, rather vague, definition: distinct geographical locations with the same name.

Could we define a clearer definition, including a list, of what's supposed to be in and out? --Midas02 (talk) 01:27, 11 May 2015 (UTC)

I don't know that any of those are abuses. A place name is the name of a place; the term is distinct from, for example, a human name. bd2412 T 02:01, 11 May 2015 (UTC)
A river, a mountain, an island, ... would you call that a 'place' and/or a geographical location? And a province, is that a place? It's rather an administrative entity. I don't find it trivial at all. --Midas02 (talk) 03:52, 11 May 2015 (UTC)
Personally, I do not consider mountains or rivers to be "places" in the same sense as the others. If a dab page has towns, two rivers and a mountain on it then I would probably use {{disambiguation|geo}}. I do not think any of the subdivisions you mentioned need to be treated differently though. —Xezbeth (talk) 08:30, 11 May 2015 (UTC)
According to Wikipedia:

The terms location and place in geography are used to identify a point or an area on the Earth's surface or elsewhere. The term location generally implies a higher degree of certainty than place, which often indicates an entity with an ambiguous boundary, relying more on human/social attributes of place identity and sense of place than on geometry.

I would therefore consider a mountain or a river with a fairly fixed geographic location to be a "place". bd2412 T 14:50, 11 May 2015 (UTC)
I've always interpreted "place" in the strict way: towns and villages. From the template description, it seems "geographical name" would maybe have been a better definition then.
I'd like to gauge what other experienced editors make of this template. Could I ask you to put a cross in the following two columns for all entries. It's not a firm vote, rather trying to capture how others feel about this. Feel free to add entries if you feel it's necessary.--Midas02 (talk) 21:43, 11 May 2015 (UTC)
Item In Out
Formal communities (town, village, city, ...) xx
Informal community (suburb, quarter, borough, ...) x x
Administrative or other entities (region, province, county, arrondissement) x x
Election related (constituency, district) x x
Island x x
Mountain x x
River x x
Landmark (Cape, rock, ...) x x
School xx
Ship xx
Automobile xx
Person xx
Album xx
Song xx
Film xx

FWIW, I think the template is applicable for most geographical entities. olderwiser 18:10, 13 May 2015 (UTC)

I agree that the template {{geodis}} seems to be applicable to a very wide range of topics and perhaps this is to an extent to which its usefulness might even be questioned. Related templates may be considered to include:

Perhaps there are topics within the general description of geography that might also warrant their own templates. GregKaye 10:40, 28 June 2015 (UTC)

Hat notes in disambiguation articles[edit]

Are hat notes suitable for disambiguation articles, or should that go in the see also section only? GimliDotNet (talk) 17:41, 14 May 2015 (UTC)

I would say that anything that would go in the hatnote of a regular article would go in a "See also" section on a disambiguation page. bd2412 T 17:44, 14 May 2015 (UTC)
Kind of hard to parse this question. In case it means something else, I would clarify that a) hatnotes are not used on disambiguation pages themselves; b) at a real article, if something is already in a hatnote (or listed in a disambiguation page pointed to by the hatnote), it is redundant to add it again in the "See also" section.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  20:37, 6 June 2015 (UTC)

A disambiguation of disambiguation pages[edit]

There may be an irony in that (add: the titles of) Wikipedia disambiguation (navigation) pages are often not disambiguated. This also leads to an issue with regard to WP:CRITERIA Consistency which presents the ideal that "The title is consistent with the pattern of similar articles' titles.". In actuality in which many of our navigation purposed disambiguation pages are titled "Foobar (disambiguation)" while other pages (all of which - according to WP:Disambiguation#Page style presents "a list (or multiple lists, for multiple senses of the term in question)") simply presents a title in the typically singular form "Foobar".

If I visit an article named "Foo" (a title presented in singular form) I may naturally assume that the article entitled "Foo" will be concerning a subject on a topic named "Foo" or "foo". I will not necessarily expect to find a list of Foos/foos. For some time not I have regarded that less ambiguous titles might go along the lines of "Foo (disambiguation)" or "List of F/foos" in a pluralised "List of .." type format.

Without a disambiguation of disambiguation lists these lists fundamentally fail WP:AT which presents the ideal that "The title indicates what the article is about and distinguishes it from other articles." A title such as John Smith presents a single name as of a single entity (person or organisation) who/that, in this case, would be called "John Smith". However, what we find in the article is a very long List of John Smiths and yet, failing to follow the format provided by the many "Foo (disambigution)" articles, the navigation page is not disambiguated from anything from amongst its extensive content.

I also think that the fact that Wikipedia editors have developed such a vast body of collaborative work to the point that it requires navigation deserves, if anything, celebration and I think that editors can be rightly proud that we have developed multiple articles that may all be referenced by use of identical terminologies. To erroneously describe a "List of foos" as "Foo" helps neither the reader or Wikipedia.

On the topic of helping the reader I also think that it would be to the benefit of readers if we moved towards the use of "navigation" based terminologies and this is an issue that was previously raised in the thread Wikipedia talk:Disambiguation/Archive 43#Disambiguation pages are navigation pages. In web searches:

That's a ratio of 1060:1 in relation to the raw data results.

My interpretation is that "disambiguation" is a necessary editor concern in relation to the differentiation and frequent dissection of terminologies so as to fit mainly technical article address requirements. Reader concern however is, arguably, navigation of content and, in effect and even though it has its advantages, a title such as "Foo (disambiguation)" fails WP:UCRN. The main thing that this format of title achieves is a non commonname disambiguation from "Foo"

My suggestion is that we develop a Wikipedia preference for disambiguation lists for a topic such as "Foo" be placed at titles which might be presented in a format such as:

If a decision was taken to adopt something like a ".. (.. navigation ..)" disambiguation option then, if I were to be given the tools, I would be happy to action any currently required changes. I believe there are only ~2000 "... (disambiguation)" articles so this type of change would not take long.

However, beyond a potential encouragement for editors to think more in accordance to reader navigational needs, the main issue presented here is the WP:Precise titling of disambiguation lists according to the ideal that "titles should be precise enough to unambiguously define the topical scope of the article". This is something that our current titles fail to do.

GregKaye 06:22, 26 June 2015 (UTC) clarification "the titles of" added to the first sentence. I honestly don't see that such c clarification was needed as the second sentence presented the policy quote "The title is consistent with the pattern of similar articles' titles." and the second paragraph began "If I visit an article named "Foo" (a title presented in singular form) I may naturally assume that the article entitled "Foo" will be concerning a subject on a topic named "Foo" or "foo". ..." and the third paragraph began "Without a disambiguation of disambiguation lists these lists fundamentally fail WP:AT" GregKaye 04:47, 30 June 2015 (UTC)

I (an experienced wp editor) have no idea what your first sentence "Wikipedia disambiguation (navigation) pages are often not disambiguated" is supposed to mean and much of the rest of your posting is also incomprehensible. You appear to have learnt little/nothing from the response of editors to your (afaics) similar proposal in March. If you can't explain clearly what you think the problem is and precisely how you think guidelines/policy (e.g. WP:Disambiguation) should be changed then please stop flogging this WP:DEADHORSE. DexDor (talk) 06:53, 26 June 2015 (UTC)

DexDor There are two issues and perhaps they would both be best discussed with reference to an example. The list content with the web address for the en Wikipedia namespace John Smith has large content including listings for 111 people who are presented in Wikipedia as being called "John Smith". Examples include:

As mentioned there are 111 subjects with the title "John Smith" and yet the title of the navigation list "John Smith" is not disambiguated from any one of them. The content at John Smith also presents 96 subjects with titles that may not have needed any disambiguation at all and these include titles such as:

Again for many such titles no disambiguation will have been IN ANY SENSE required and, in connection to these articles, a categorisation as "disambiguation" is incorrect.

Added to this is the fact that the common name terminology for navigational contents (such as those that are frequently used in Wikipedia) is "navigation". We use the relatively obscure terminology as related to the editorial concern of "disambiguation" and, in relation to the many articles that require no disambiguation, we use it inaccurately.

What we are doing is that we are providing a facility of navigation. This is a horse that seems to be alive and well in every other location that I have seen other than Wikipedia. GregKaye 12:55, 27 June 2015 (UTC)

@GregKaye: When you say "I believe there are only ~2000 "... (disambiguation)" articles", what exactly do you mean by that? Category:Disambiguation pages has about 260,000 pages in it, and picking a few random pages from that group leaves me with the impression that at least 20% (over 50,000) have "(disambiguation)" in the title. By the way, I am not averse to the proposal, as I do agree that an undisambiguated disambiguation page title can sometimes be a shock to the reader. bd2412 T 13:48, 27 June 2015 (UTC)
@GregKaye:, with respect, you appear to be profoundly confused when you state Again for many such titles no disambiguation will have been IN ANY SENSE required and, in connection to these articles, a categorisation as "disambiguation" is incorrect. The articles not categorized as disambiguation. The disambiguation page simply helps readers find articles with information about subjects that may be referred to as "John Smith". The examples you mention appear to use a form of natural disambiguation by including a middle name. It would be nearly impossible to establish that these are never known as simply "John Smith". As to your other point, so far you have been the only person to ever propose using "(navigation)" in place of "(disambiguation)" and your argument regarding any benefits are extremely unclear. olderwiser 14:28, 27 June 2015 (UTC)
@BD2412: Fair enough in regard to the number of pages. Category page listings of these navigation pages that I looked at typically contained between 15 and 35 pages marked "Foo (disambiguation)" amongst contents in which 200 articles were presented per page. At a potential average of 25 such article listings on each page that would make a large content of 260,000 / 200 * 25 = 32,500 articles.
@Bkonrad: With respect please specify what WP:DISAMBIGUATION is required so as to differentiate an article title such as John Blair Smith from an article title such as John Smith (professor). As far as I know the title "John Blair Smith" has primary topic in regard to the namespace John Blair Smith. This the title for this BLP topic. What further "disambiguation" is required? As far as Wikipedia's WP:Goal of presenting an encyclopedia is concerned, I think that we should aim to get our content right. GregKaye 14:58, 27 June 2015 (UTC)
@GregKaye: Can you prove with certainty that John Blair Smith is never referenced as John Smith? The inclusion of "Blair" is necessary to disambiguate that John Smith from the others. As to encyclopedic goals, you haven't presented anything convincing that there is an actual problem, let alone that your proposed solution is appropriate. olderwiser 15:04, 27 June 2015 (UTC)
@Bkonrad: Please, WP:DISAMBIGUATION in Wikipedia "is the process of resolving the conflicts that arise when a single term is ambiguous". I don't see that there is anything "ambiguous" about a title such as "John Blair Smith". In Wikipedia we go by WP:COMMONNAME and I would have thought that this would stretch to the use of user focussed terminologies such as "navigation".
Comment I really think that habits of naming in Wikipedia are totally out of step with presentation methodologies elsewhere.
I do not think that there is benefit in presenting the relatively obscure terminology of disambiguation when commonname terminologies are available.
I am unaware of any other source that presents navigation pages in the way we do. GregKaye 15:29, 27 June 2015 (UTC)
The ambiguous term is "John Smith", not "John Blair Smith". Is that really so difficult to understand? I mean seriously? As for the use of the term disambiguation, that Britannica uses a different method that is in effect impractical if not impossible to implement with Wikimedia software is irrelevant to whether the term itself actually presents any problem. olderwiser 15:36, 27 June 2015 (UTC)
Spot on. John Smith is an ambiguous term and, in parallel to this, a substantially sized navigation page has been developed in regard to people possessing both names "John" and "Smith". There is no reason to disambiguate a title such as John Blair Smith from a title such as John Smith (professor). There is however a reason to disambiguate a title such as John Smith from a title such as John Smith (professor). You are right in you identification of the ambiguous term. GregKaye 15:56, 27 June 2015 (UTC)
So you are claiming that John Blair Smith is NEVER referenced as John Smith (or John B. Smith, of which there are several included on the page)? Do you have some evidence to support such a claim? olderwiser 16:00, 27 June 2015 (UTC)
I am claiming that the most commonly recognisable name of many if not all the 96 articles mentioned is something other than "John Smith", I am claiming that, if there is an article title that need disambiguation from an article title such as John Smith (professor), its John Smith and I am also claiming that, on the issue of navigation pages, we are very far from an application of WP:CRITERIA in relation to Consistency. We highlight the presence of a navigation page in some cases but not in others.
Can you please specify in which aspects of Britannica's method you regard as being potentially impractical within a context of our use of Wikimedia software? GregKaye 16:11, 27 June 2015 (UTC)
I really don't understand your point regarding John Smith. Unless you are completely certain that no one would look for John Blair Smith under John Smith, then you would be doing readers a disservice by not including it on the disambiguation page.
Wikimedia has a technical limitation in that the article title must be unique. Britannica does not have this limitation and can use other methods for helping readers distinguish the articles that are not readily applicable on Wikipedia. olderwiser 16:18, 27 June 2015 (UTC)
If a reader has, for instance, incomplete knowledge of a subject such that the reader do(es) not know or remember the full commonname of a subject then it may be perfectly valid to present (the title of the biographical article of) that person within the content of a navigation page. The issue here is one of description. There is no disambiguation involved.
Britannica has both an extensive and (in many cases) a relatively rich titling and subtitling system and a web address system that parallels many aspects of our system of article title differentiation. See: Wikipedia:List of Johns whose Britannica article titles contain broad description
A search on immediately presents:
A search on site: John Smith British explorer produces a heading in a search engine listing as: "John Smith | biography - British explorer |". It seems to me that Britannica's requirements and methods are quite similar to ours. The only difference is that they use parenthesis in internal search lists, vertical bars in html titles that appear on search engine lists and they use hyphens in the web addresses for their articles while Wikipedia uses underscores. The differences are mainly cosmetic. GregKaye 17:34, 27 June 2015 (UTC) additions added in brackets GregKaye 04:58, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
You're still missing the point about John Smith. You presume John Blair Smith should not be under John Smith, yet offer no evidence. And you go on to present a mostly irrelevant description of what Britannica is able to do without the constraints of Wikimedia software. All of which is even more irrelevant for the topic of this section. olderwiser 17:38, 27 June 2015 (UTC)
Well, it would be presumptuous of me to try to speak for Greg Kaye, but I don't think it is accurate to say "you presume John Blair Smith should not be under John Smith." If I understand him correctly, he is saying that John Blair Smith should be under John Smith, but that the function that is being served by doing so is "navigation", not "disambiguation". In other words, his concern appears to be entirely about terminology, not about page content. --R'n'B (call me Russ) 18:07, 27 June 2015 (UTC)
But that makes no sense to me ... if we cannot eliminate likelihood that John Blair Smith might be referred to as John Smith (or John B. Smith) then the subject is ambiguous and requires disambiguation. olderwiser 18:47, 27 June 2015 (UTC)
I totally agree with your point to the extent that "we cannot eliminate likelihood that John Blair Smith might (on potentially rare occasion) be referred to as John Smith (or John B. Smith)". There is also, arguably, the likelihood that readers may search for him with searches such as "John Blare Smith", "John Blaire Smith", "John Blaine Smith" or, if she or he is having real trouble remembering the most generally recognisable name by which he was most commonly known, she or he might simply search on "John Smith" (which I think should redirect to something like "John Smith (.. navigation ..)" and then work through the navigation list in search of the bio for the, amongst other things, "president of Union College, New York" None of this changes the fact that the title "John Blair Smith" requires no disambiguation.
In every other web setting I know a reader/user focussed presentation is given of search functions and navigation facilities. However, instead of offering reader focussed facility of search and navigation, we inaccurately present search and disambiguation. In this we present a non-commonname description of navigation pages that is focussed on editorial process rather than reader needs.
I also think that there would be a degree of value for editors in the development of a culture that presented readers needs to the forefront. Articles can be misplaced. On one instance, despite the presence of a hatnote on the article of the cricketer Graeme Wood I failed to notice the link to journalist Graeme C.A. Wood which I think was partly due to the fact that he is more commonly recognisable (certainly by me) by designations such as Graeme Wood (journalist). I think that a potential trap may be that some editors may get so caught up with the process of disambiguation that utility and navigability can be forgotten. I appreciate that Wikipedia presents as "the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit." but, all the same, surely reader's needs should be prioritised over the perceived needs of editors. GregKaye 07:21, 28 June 2015 (UTC)
The last sentense of your first paragraph shows that you still don't understand what other editors are telling you - "John Blair Smith" may not require disambiguation, but "John Smith" does. I can't see the relevance of your cricketer/journalist example to how disambiguation pages (note: that's the name we currently use on wp - not "navigation pages") are titled.
Do you have any evidence that renaming "Foo (disambiguation)" to "Foo (navigation)" (which is the closest I can find in the comments above to an actual proposal to change anything) would make things easier for readers? "Disambiguation" may be a rare word outside wp, but the meaning should be clear to reasonably intelligent readers from the content of the dab page. Being a rare word in the real world has an advantage that it's unlikely to crop up in article titles; we can be pretty sure that any page with "(disambiguation)" in the title is a dab page that's not true for "(navigation)" (see Course (navigation), Breadcrumb (navigation), Oboe (navigation) ...). Even if you think that a mass renaming of dab pages would have a marginal positive effect on readers the huge negative effect on editors (and hence indirectly on readers) should be taken into account. DexDor (talk) 09:22, 28 June 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── DexDor Please note the request that I have presented above: ".. please specify what WP:DISAMBIGUATION is required so as to differentiate an article title such as John Blair Smith from an article title such as John Smith (professor)." That was and is my simple request in regard to which I would be quite happy for you to tell me of your view. What disambiguation is needed? What? Please!

On the navigation page titled John Kennedy (disambiguation) the first person that gets mentioned is John F. Kennedy. What WP:DISAMBIGUATION has been required in this or the many parallel cases presented on the same navigation page.

Please consider the format of Wikipedia navigation pages. Many have titles in the format "Foo Bar (disambiguation)" and yet these pages frequently have content in formats such as "Foo Bar Baz"; "Foo Baz Bar", "Baz Foo Bar", "Foo Baz Bar Qux" and so on. In any of these cases in which commonname has been rightly used, ".. please specify what WP:DISAMBIGUATION (has been) required." Please.

What I understand is that other editors have not, truth be told, justified how the topic of "disambiguation" is of relevance in these cases. No one has explained, for that matter, how the Wikipedia content at John Smith is in any way disambiguated from any of the many topics in that navigation list that are actually called "John Smith". What should I have understood from the above?

I think that my personal preference would be for the titles of article navigation pages to be presented in a format such as:

Foobar, (article navigation guide)


Foobar, (article navigation page)

A title format such as those presented above would serve to disambiguate a navigation page entitled "Foobar" from any number of articles that are also entitled "Foobar" while simultaneously applying an accurate and commonname description to the navigation content. GregKaye 12:16, 28 June 2015 (UTC)

No one has explained, for that matter, how the Wikipedia content at John Smith is in any way disambiguated from any of the many topics in that navigation list that are actually called "John Smith". Now you are simply being obtuse and not hearing what others have said. Whether there may be any benefit to calling disambiguation pages something else is another matter, though I agree with DexDor. The current convention works just fine. You have not clearly explained any actual deficiency. olderwiser 12:48, 28 June 2015 (UTC)
Bkonrad with good faith I have clearly presented the issue (at 15:29, 27 June 2015) that "WP:DISAMBIGUATION in Wikipedia "is the process of resolving the conflicts that arise when a single term is ambiguous"". As you will have read I have contended that this does not apply to John Blair Smith and John F. Kennedy in situations in which the articles are listed in locations such as the navigation pages John Smith and John Kennedy (disambiguation).
No one has presented anything with any substantiation to show how such inclusion fits into any definition of "disambiguation".
I have also presented (at 06:22, 26 June 2015) that many of the lists, such as "John Smith", that we label as "disambiguation lists" "fundamentally fail WP:AT which presents the ideal that "The title indicates what the article is about and distinguishes it from other articles."" That is what I "have said".
I am quite happy, for instance, for us to agree to differ in regard to an importance in regard to these issues. However I am not going to lie and say that I agree with your interpretations. Titles such as John Blair Smith and John F. Kennedy require no disambiguation according to any definitions of the word that I have seen. The title of the Wikipedia listing that contains the navigation presented at the namespace John Smith is not disambiguated from at least half of that page's substantial content.
Without substantiation DexDor has asserted "The last sentense of your first paragraph shows that you still don't understand what other editors are telling you" and similarly without justification you label me "obtuse". Please, either present a definitions based argument and justification for your position, (and/)or desist from your personal attacks. Your argument is that, even in the case of someone whose commonly recognisable name is "Foo Baz Bar" and even if they may only have been very rarely known as "Foo Bar", then this is adequate justification for the application of a "... (disambiguation)" label. You see this as sufficient justification in regard to the current practice of our encyclopedia. I do not.
Please take some time to consider the contents at WP:PA, WP:CIVIL and WP:WINNING. Please consider presenting your arguments and leaving things at that. Please. GregKaye 15:41, 28 June 2015 (UTC)
Ignoring the condescensions, your claim that article titles such as John Blair Smith (ignoring for the moment John F. Kennedy which is a different case) do not require disambiguation is utterly unfounded and is little more than a fantasy. You have not addressed the fundamental principle—that you cannot reasonably exclude likelihood that readers might look for our link to this person using the ambiguous name John Smith. And I guess we will continue to disagree regarding your frankly bizarre interpretations. olderwiser 19:11, 28 June 2015 (UTC)
Please let's step back from the habit of "ignoring" range of related issues that can be considered to get this issue in perspective. Most (I consider) fundamentally or perhaps I should say centrally is the issue that, in web based contexts, when a content that presents a sequence of hypertext links is presented, the COMMONNAME given to that form of content is "navigation". Please also consider that our policy is present titling that, "someone familiar with, although not necessarily an expert in, the subject area will recognize" and that, when adding in the concept of naturalness, that "such a title usually conveys what the subject is actually called in English." In many cases in which, for instance, a fuller form of personal name is used by a person and, in many cases, it would be a misrepresentation of that person merely to present them according to an abridged form of their name.
In connection to other examples that I have given above, coming from the UK, I have on a number of occasions enjoyed a pint of John Smith's. I do not drink pints of "John Smith" because, if I did, I would likely and justly be arrested.
There are many other examples in which topics that are covered in Wikipedia are overwhelmingly known by one common name and yet Wikipedia helpfully and charitably gives reference to the subject by other possible renderings of the subjects name. My interpretation is that this is mainly done in order to give assistance to readers who are either ignorant of the subject or who had temporarily forgotten what the subject is commonly called. In many cases I do not personally see the issue here as being "disambiguation" but the provision of assistance to readers to "navigate" their ways to the actual article topic that they seek. The issues for readers are "search" and "navigation". These are the commonly used terms as they commonly appear across the web.
Please also do not ignore the issue that titles of Wikipedia navigation pages - such as the one for people who are known by the names "John" and "Smith"- are not disambiguated from subject titles that are actually called "John Smith". GregKaye 05:52, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
I can't even parse the 1st sentence. DexDor (talk) 20:56, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
Try reading the second sentence and the op in context. GregKaye 04:38, 1 July 2015 (UTC) (reply placed out of sequence)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think, in a nutshell, what GregKaye is saying is that if you go to look up an architect named "John Smith", you would expect to find the article at "John Smith (architect)", and if you go to look up a navigational page listing a collection of people named "John Smith" you would expect to find the page at a title like "John Smith (navigation)". bd2412 T 23:35, 30 June 2015 (UTC)

"if you go to look up an architect named "John Smith", you would expect to find the article at "John Smith (architect)", and if you go to look up a navigational page listing a collection of people named "John Smith" you would expect to find the page at a title like "John Smith (navigation)"
That's a logical position, but one that I would refine.
"Look up", if it means "search", as in input 'architect "John Smith"' into the Wikipedia internal search engine, or the google search engine with "+wikipedia", then No, search engines search all content, not just titles, as well as other things such as looking what what past searchers chose after doing a similar search. No, a title does not necessarily have to reflect typical search query terms. Though it might.
If "Look up" means looking at a listing, such as an index listing in a traditional book thing, or a perusal of the Wikipedia Category system, then yes, I would like to be able to expect that if John Smith is primarily known as an architect, then "architect" will be in the article title. Unfortunately, this is not Wikipedia practice, as instead, if the name is unique, then no matter how obscure the person, no additional information is usually included in the title. Unfortunate, but probably not worth trying to change, because ascribing a single concise occupation to every biography opens a different can or worms, possibly leading to worse incongruities.
On the other side, if I were perusing a list, whether any list or a filtered list, and I saw "John Smith (architect)", I would expect that this person is primarily known as an architect. Also, knowing a little bit about Wikipedia, I would infer that there are other John Smiths who are not architects. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 00:50, 1 July 2015 (UTC)
Our title policy, however, suggests that the title of an article should indicate precisely what the article is about. I am not necessarily agreeing with Greg's position, but I am not disagreeing with it either. I am contemplating the fairly stark fact that "John Smith" is not a title that tells you that the page is a list of people by that name. Granted, no one in their right mind should expect that "John Smith" is an article on any one particular person, but the principal applies to more obscure ambiguous names like Alfred Loomis, which is unusual enough that you wouldn't expect there to be three of them. bd2412 T 01:16, 1 July 2015 (UTC)
I agree with you, and am not sure whether to agree or disagree with GK. With effort, I sometimes see that he is trying to make sensible changes. He doesn't have your clarity or English, and I appreciate you attempts to interpret. Alfred Loomis is a good example. I would be nice, one might think, if all Alfred Loomiss included the occupation for which they are known, but then when you come to the first, Alfred Lee Loomis, attempting to summarize his occupation into one or two words rapidly runs into increasingly complicated problems. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 02:10, 1 July 2015 (UTC)
The simple logic is that, if a page is named "Foo Bar", a reader can expect to find an article on the subject of "Foo Bar". The reader would not necessarily expect to find a list of topics that are genuinely called "Foo Bar" and other topics that may be commonly known by names such as "x Foo Bar", "Foo x Bar" and "Foo Bar x".
This, on a literal reading, fails the basics as presented in the opening paragraph at WP:AT and i find it ridiculous to label a page in the format "Foo Bar (disambiguation)" as being amongst WP:Malplaced disambiguation pages. Perhaps these pages (when marked as "disambiguation") may be regarded as unhelpfully and, in many cases, erroneously named but I think that is crazy to assert, without justification, that these pages are "malplaced". On what grounds do we say this?
My contention here is that, if editors end up at pages such as John Smith, John Kennedy and James Maxwell when they are looking for bios such as those for John Blair Smith, John F. Kennedy and James Clerk Maxwell, then this may (admittedly by my complete WP:OR conjecture) be likely because the the reader has simply forgotten (of forgotten the exact rendering of) the actual rendering of the subject's commonname. I also find it difficult to understand the titling of pages such as James McCartney (disambiguation), Harry Crosby (disambiguation), William Clinton (disambiguation) when they contain listings for people such as "James Paul McCartney or Paul McCartney (born 1942), British singer", "Bing Crosby (Harry Lillis Crosby, 1903–1977), American actor and singer" and "[[Bill Clinton|William Jefferson (Bill) Clinton]] (born 1946) was the 42nd President of the United States (1993–2001)". In the first case we have someone who is regularly known as Paul McCartney sometimes as Sir Paul McCartney. I think, that inclusion into the listing on the "James McCartney" page is certainly justified but I think that this may mainly be for the sake of potential reader interest and for the provision of potentially helpful options of navigation. A reader whose name was James McCartney may, for instance, find it of interest to note that the great musician, at least on some legal documents, shared their name.
I would also find it questionable, if navigation pages for names such as Eldrick Woods, Caryn Johnson, Charles Holley ever developed, if these page were labelled as pertaining to disambiguation and if the likes of Tiger Woods, Whoopi Goldberg and Buddy Holley were included in such lists. I mention some famous examples and even from this starting point I would argue that the articles on these people require no disambiguation. It is "navigation" that is usefully and beneficially provided.
Again my underlying contention is that it would be beneficial to move to terminologies that focus on readers needs than editor process. What are our priorities in article titling? Is it just to pigeon hole topics into the most concise possible rendering? Is our process purely about dissection? I personally think that such views are a trap that editors regularly fall into and I think that this example from yesterday is illustrative of a type of request that regularly comes up. I don't think that (what I perceive to be) our filing and sorting focussed mentality is always helpful. GregKaye 06:47, 1 July 2015 (UTC)
  • Comment IMO @SmokeyJoe: makes a valuable point by indicating that "ascribing a single concise occupation to every biography opens a different can or worms, possibly leading to worse incongruities." While Wikipedia policy does not require occupational or other information to be applied to bios that are simply titled by an unambiguous WP:COMMONNAME designation such as for John Blair Smith, I think that it is also fair to point out that there is nothing in policy that necessarily restricts disambiguations to the presentation of a single occupation similar description. Again policy presents that WP:Disambiguation ".. in Wikipedia is the process of resolving the conflicts that arise when a single term is ambiguous." Nothing is mentioned to state that the disambiguation must be restricted to a single occupation. Again, reference can be made to content at, Wikipedia:List of Johns whose Britannica article titles contain broad description. This list contains examples such as:
Please, my presentation of examples like this is not an invitation for the presentation of ludicrously examples of disambiguation as editors, I think, argumentatively presented in the previous discussion. In many cases a more basic disambiguation might be presented in many cases so as to potentially present something like Foo Bar (author and activist). In some cases I think that a presentation like this may have great benefit in assisting reader navigation of content. Some readers may know "Foo Bar" as an author while others may know "Foo Bar" as an activist. This, however, is a side issue in the current discussion. GregKaye 06:11, 2 July 2015 (UTC)

Place of the disambiguation page when there is only one blue-linked article[edit]

Hello, lately I've noticed an inflation in the creation of disambiguation pages with only one blue-linked article. Usually about villages and cities, where one of them has an article, and the other ones are redlinked. Notwithstanding the fact that MOSDAB should be followed and blue links should be added to the redlinked entries, I have always been under the impression that, in this case, the disambiguation page should wear the (disambiguation) qualifier, so that the sole existing article can take the primary location. That would seem rather logical, as there is no other article to contest the primary location.

But others sometimes disagree. Can someone remind me if there is an official policy for this kind of situation? --Midas02 (talk) 19:37, 2 July 2015 (UTC)

Could you show us an example or two, please? PamD 22:11, 2 July 2015 (UTC)
I'll give you three: Mrtvica (disambiguation), Urney and, Dolenci. I had already asked to move the first page myself, that's why it has the disambiguation qualifier. You'll notice, although these dab pages have multiple valuable entries, each only has one existing article. --Midas02 (talk) 01:57, 3 July 2015 (UTC)