Wikipedia talk:Disambiguation

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WikiProject Disambiguation
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 or contribute to the discussion.

When to include a dictionary entry at the top[edit]

I've had debates with other editors about whether it's appropriate to have a dictionary entry as the lead sentence (paragraph, page...) on a disambiguation page. MOS:DAB seems quite clear on this, at MOS:WTLINK:

"When a dictionary definition should be included (see Wikipedia:Disambiguation § What not to include), rather than writing a text entry, create a cross-link to Wiktionary."

However, that "(see link)" clause kicks back to here, specifically WP:DABDIC, where it says:

"A short description of the common general meaning of a word can be appropriate for helping the reader determine context."

This gets interpreted as a license to add a lead dictionary definition to any disambiguation page.

Looking back at when this was added here in 2006, the revision summary refers to what "was agreed on WP:MOSDAB", which did not say at that time anything about exceptions -- it just said, as it does now, "no; include a Wiktionary link".

I don't believe I've ever seen a dab page where adding a top definition of any kind is helpful for disambiguation. Practically by definition, if there's a disambiguation page, the "common meaning" is ambiguous. (If there's a preferred meaning, that sounds an awful lot like a primary topic, and we have a well-defined practice for dealing with that.)

I propose striking the sentence " A short description of the common general meaning of a word can be appropriate for helping the reader determine context." Alternatively, I would like to see a clearer description and examples of when this would be appropriate.--NapoliRoma (talk) 08:02, 25 January 2017 (UTC)

Support striking the sentence per NapoliRoma's rationale. Wherever explanatory text is really needed, it is allowed, but suggesting the practice in the guideline has led to over-application. —swpbT 15:49, 25 January 2017 (UTC)
Question. Have there been cases of over-application? What I've seen so far has tended to be on the other end of the spectrum – people being overzealous in applying the MOS or taking as proscrived anything that's not explicitly allowed. – Uanfala (talk) 15:36, 29 January 2017 (UTC)
When this topic has come up before on dab-related talk pages (sorry, can't find a reference to link to at the moment), I think the general opinion was that a brief definition was appropriate in some cases with the argument being that that simple definition may be all that some reader may need (i.e., it is unhelpful to force them jump to another link just to look the term up in wiktionary). FWIW, I'm OK when this is used judiciously and anytime we try to make hard and fast bright line rules we usually end up causing even more controversy than warranted for such a trivial matter. olderwiser 15:56, 29 January 2017 (UTC)

LRU disambiguation[edit]

Okay, I'm a little confused with where to put this so if I'm in the wrong place, I apologise. I haven't dealt with disambiguation pages before, I don't think.

I was looking up LRU on Google and was directed to the disambiguation page on Wiki:

The first entry was clearly the one I wanted but I was a little confused by the brief summary, which is sometimes all you need to know, so I read the article. Having done so, I'm wondering if the text on the disambiguation page is accurate or should be changed. (Please note, out of my field of expertise, which is why I'm throwing this over to someone else.) The text reads:

"Line-replaceable unit, a complex component of a vehicle that can be replaced quickly at the organizational level."

It's that word, 'organizational' the I'm wondering about - should it be 'operational' instead?

Thanks for dealing with this, whoever does.

Mathsgirl (talk) 11:09, 30 January 2017 (UTC)

I have fixed the explanation. I took the opening line from the article and replaced the description on LRU. - GB fan 11:18, 30 January 2017 (UTC)


We need to introduce and explain this term somewhere, and provide an anchor for OVERDIS, OVERDAB and OVERDISAMBIG shortcuts to it. The concept comes up frequently at RM, and has for years, but is not properly codified in the DAB rules.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  07:14, 3 February 2017 (UTC)

As long as I've been working on disambiguation pages, I've never run across that term. What does it mean? — Gorthian (talk) 07:18, 3 February 2017 (UTC)
I guess it's a title like "Joe Blenkinsop (English footballer, born 1965)", when plain "Joe Blenkinsop (footballer)" would distinguish him from the existing "Joe Blenkinsop (philosopher)" and "Joe Blenkinsop (guitarist)". (Imaginary example). PamD 08:45, 3 February 2017 (UTC)
Ok, how about adding the following to the end of WP:NCDAB #2:

The parenthetical phrase should only include the minimum information necessary to distinguish the topic from others with the same name. For example, if there is only one footballer named "Joe Blenkinsop", his article should be titled "Joe Blenkinsop (footballer)", not "Joe Blenkinsop (English footballer, born 1965)".

The anchor for the proposed shortcuts can go at the top of bullet #2, if no one objects. I'm not sure we need to introduce the term "over-disambiguation" to the text (like Gorthian, I haven't come across it before), but we can if people feel otherwise. —swpbT 16:40, 3 February 2017 (UTC)
  • I've always used the phrase "disambiguator is too WP:PRECISE" when moving pages that have been disambiguated too much. -- Tavix (talk) 16:57, 3 February 2017 (UTC)

Order (mathematics) and Order (number theory)[edit]

Something needs to be done about these two WP:INCOMPDAB pages. bd2412 T 23:27, 5 February 2017 (UTC)

If any changes are to be made, this will definitely have to be done by someone with relevant subject knowledge. – Uanfala (talk) 23:36, 5 February 2017 (UTC)

Fake news (disambiguation)[edit]

More opinions on the styling of a primary topic are welcome at Fake news (disambiguation) in the section Talk:Fake news (disambiguation)#Primary topic . Widefox; talk 00:16, 9 February 2017 (UTC)

Pages about hurricanes and tropical storms[edit]

What to do RMs on hurricanes, tornados, and tropical storms, like Talk:Hurricane Kathleen (1976)#Requested move 5 February 2017? I don't think I can provide so many. Clearly, those RMs come and then usually fail. What else to do about this issue if we can't limit the number of such RMs in the future? --George Ho (talk) 04:05, 15 February 2017 (UTC)

Given the IP number on that one example, and the behavior, this is pretty certain to be a sock of User:N-C16. I would report these to WP:SPI. (See the archive here). If the RMs have been opened within the last day or two, ask for a block. If not, a block won't be useful. But keep an eye out for more. — Gorthian (talk) 04:21, 15 February 2017 (UTC)
You're right; ones that were done one week ago are not useful. But the RMs were relisted. George Ho (talk) 04:48, 15 February 2017 (UTC)
Somehow, Hurricane Trudy (1990), whose name that IP challenged, was merged into 1990 Pacific hurricane season. Pinging SkyWarrior about this, though I must put good-faith and thanks to him/her for those efforts. George Ho (talk) 04:51, 15 February 2017 (UTC)
Maybe they can be procedurally closed, if they were all opened by socks. You might ask at WP:AN, since you're aware of all of them.
I thought that multiple-tropical-storm pages were set-indices now, instead of dab pages. These RMs have not been coming up on the DAB project alerts. — Gorthian (talk) 05:53, 15 February 2017 (UTC)
Actually, you alert the admins there. I'll notify the related projects about this discussion. Thoughts? George Ho (talk) 06:07, 15 February 2017 (UTC)
I filed an SPI. Now I'll go ask for procedural closes. — Gorthian (talk) 07:41, 15 February 2017 (UTC)
Okay, I posted it at ANI. I'm off to bed; I'll check back in the morning. — Gorthian (talk) 07:56, 15 February 2017 (UTC)
I notified WT:WikiProject Disambiguation and WT:WikiProject Tropical cyclones about this discussion. The sock issue can be handled differently, while the matter is about tropical storms and hurricanes themselves. George Ho (talk) 07:58, 15 February 2017 (UTC)

I was pinged here, for obvious reasons. Essentially, I relisted them all RMs without comments for the simple reason of, well, given this issue, I expected most of them to get at least one oppose !vote; because of that, I didn't want to close and move it as uncontroversial since it very much was, and I didn't want to close it immediately as not moved because, well, that's just bad faith. If socks opened the RM then that's a different matter, but I honestly didn't suspect that at the time, nor did I realize (or notice) that some of the RMs were open just a single week after the other one closed. SkyWarrior 11:41, 15 February 2017 (UTC)

@SkyWarrior: I replied at ANI about the ones currently listed at RM. Seems like a lot of work to be made. You can do the "procedural close" and point to either the ANI case or a recent SPI case. George Ho (talk) 17:53, 15 February 2017 (UTC)
Looks like NeilN beat me to it. Thanks for the heads up anyways, I'm only on Wikipedia for a few hours anyways on the weekdays so I can't get around to doing these things if they happen during a time I can't be on. SkyWarrior 19:35, 15 February 2017 (UTC)

Putting aside the sockpuppet issue for a minute, my interpretation of WP:NCDAB is that you should only use parenthetical disambiguation in titles when natural disambiguation isn't possible. In the case of hurricane names that have only been used once, there is no need for further disambiguation if the title is "Hurricane XXXX", so I would favor removing the "(year)" part in those cases. Kaldari (talk) 18:49, 15 February 2017 (UTC)

@Kaldari: Thanks for your input. Question: are "tropical storm" and "hurricane" interchangeable? If not, why are base titles redirected to SIAs? George Ho (talk) 19:29, 15 February 2017 (UTC)
Not sure I understand. Can you give me an example? Kaldari (talk) 19:33, 15 February 2017 (UTC)
Tropical Storm Allison (disambiguation) includes cyclones, tropical storms, and a hurricane using Allison. Cyclone Allison redirects to that SIA. Hurricane Allison previously redirected to Tropical Storm Allison (2001), but I recently changed its target to the SIA. Another is Tropical Storm Colin, redirected from Hurricane Colin and Cyclone Colin (created by me). Tropical Storm Kiko, redirected from Hurricane Kiko. George Ho (talk) 19:50, 15 February 2017 (UTC)
@George Ho: I would say that a hurricane is also a tropical storm, but a tropical storm isn't necessarily a hurricane. So including hurricanes in the Tropical Storm set lists is fine, but I personally wouldn't redirect Hurricane X to a set list unless it actually needed disambiguation. Otherwise, we're just adding an extra step for anyone trying to find the article for that hurricane. Kaldari (talk) 23:03, 15 February 2017 (UTC)
Kaldari, there are extensive style guidelines for storm articles; they mostly agree with you. — Gorthian (talk) 22:39, 15 February 2017 (UTC)

Shall we continue the case-by-case method, or shall we make a wider, central discussion? George Ho (talk) 00:42, 16 February 2017 (UTC)

See also Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Tropical cyclones/Archive 35#Category:Set indices on storms. None of the set index articles on tropical storms should have "(disambiguation)" in their titles, but the project hasn't decided on how they'd like to phrase the "List of XXX named YYY" titles instead. But that project would be the appropriate place for the discussion, I hope. -- JHunterJ (talk) 14:30, 19 February 2017 (UTC)

DETERMINEPRIMARY clarification[edit]


"Among several other proposed criteria that have never won acceptance as a general rule, we do not generally consider any one of the following criteria as a good indicator of primary topic:

The last two seem like they are supposed to be indicators that something should *not* be the primary topic. But "we do not generally consider any one of the following criteria as a good indicator of primary topic" and the first two examples seem to say 'these questions are *independent* of whether this should be the primary topic,' which is not the same thing. I think this need clarifying. NPalgan2 (talk) 00:02, 18 February 2017 (UTC)

This was brought up recently. I agree they are confusing, and I don't think either fits in this list of irrelevant criteria. The next section (Birmingham, Perth etc.) conveys that relevance only to particular groups is a relevant criteria for determining a primary topic. And the recent prominence bullet appears to be at best a restatement of the longterm significance criteria, with a contradictory example; if arising recently wasn't a valid criteria, you would want an example of something that was primary even though it was recent. I would get rid of both bullets; I don't think they clarify anything.--Trystan (talk) 16:49, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
While I agree these are still a bit confusing, they are better than they were previously. I think some better examples, and perhaps some counter-examples might give better context for application. I'm not really sure I follow @NPalgan2: in saying only the last two are supposed to be indicators that something should *not* be the primary topic. As I read the list, they all seem to be describing criteria that in various ways are not exclusively determinant of primary topic. And I'm also not sure I agree with @Trystan:'s assessment that the next section (Birmingham, Perth etc.) conveys that relevance only to particular groups is a relevant criteria for determining a primary topic. That section seems fairly clear that even though for some groups (such as USians and Scots) Birmingham and Perth might have one specific primary referent, in the global context the primary topic for these terms are otherwise. That is to say, I think it describes the third point rather than contradicts it. For the fourth bullet, I agree it is largely a restatement of long-term significance olderwiser 19:11, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
You're right about the 3rd bullet, it agrees with and summarizes rather the contradicts the following material about Birmingham and Perth. I don't see a problem with the 3rd bullet.
The 4th bullet... it could be stated better. Do people ever really make the argument "Yeah, maybe Use X is not more notable/common/searched-on than Use Y, but Use X has ascended to widespread notability and prominence recently, so Use X should be the primary topic"? If so, doesn't "whaaat? don't be silly" suffice to quash that? Needs to be rewritten if kept. Herostratus (talk) 19:36, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
Isn't that also true of the third bullet? Surely no one ever proposed that having primary relevance limited to only certain groups was a good indicator of a primary topic. The last two bullets, rather than previously-rejected positive indicators of a primary topic, are valid criteria that weigh against something being a primary topic, which is something else entirely. I'd suggest rewriting the introductory sentence to be broader, such as:

Some general principles for determining a primary topic include:

  • While long-term significance is a factor, historical age is not determinative. (Kennewick, Washington is primary for Kennewick over the much older Kennewick Man)
  • Being the original source of the name does not make a topic primary. (Boston is about Boston, Massachusetts, not the English city that first bore that name)
  • A topic may have principle relevance for a specific group of people (for example, as a local place name), but not be the primary meaning among a general audience.
  • A topic that has only ascended to widespread notability and prominence recently should be weighed against the longer-term significance of alternative topics. (Muse does not take the reader to an article about a current band)--Trystan (talk) 19:54, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
These are improvements, IMO. Although in #4, I think I'd characterize the typical point of contention as more often popularity than "notability and prominence". An example where there is no primary topic (although one topic is overwhelmingly more popular) is Madonna. olderwiser 20:27, 18 February 2017 (UTC)