Wikipedia talk:Disambiguation/Archive 14

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Archive 10 Archive 12 Archive 13 Archive 14 Archive 15 Archive 16 Archive 20

meaning vs label

It seems to me that articles on the actual meaning of the word get overrun by disamb links on labels, I give examples in benzene first line links to benzin, in ozone a link to o-zone and in Stratosphere first line refers to Stratosphere Las Vegas not actual alternate meanings but labels attached to a record, band or hotel. I am unable to find a clear wiki guideline on how to deal with this situation. I feel that these links belong in the See Also section at the most but not with a prominent pole position on line one. Your thoughts? thanks in advance V8rik 23:24, 31 January 2006 (UTC)

While I'm open to alternate ways to present this, the problem is that it's impossible to draw a line saying "This article is so unimportant we won't give it a dablink". And if someone were looking for the Stratosphere Las Vegas (or the album Stratosfear by Tangerine Dream), wouldn't they type "Stratosphere" in the search box? How would they know to look in the "See also" section? That's usually for articles related to the main article, not variants on the name. Do you really think those one-line, italicized, indented dablinks are obtrusive? —Wahoofive (talk) 00:53, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
Disambiguating at the bottom of an article has been tried and pretty much abandoned, since few readers will scroll down to the bottom. Those hatnotes don't look too bad. Whatever helps the readers ... Chris the speller 05:41, 1 February 2006 (UTC)

Replace Wikipedia:Disambiguation#Disambiguation pages

I think the start of the "disambiguation pages" section should be replaced with a link to the same stuff in the Manual of Style, as per this edit. The Manual of Style info is more current, and the only alternative is to keep both sections synchronized, which I don't think anyone wants to do. If the two are ever out of sync (as they are now), people can get the old info and think it's policy. I'm sure that kind of redundancy is supposed to be avoided. ··gracefool | 21:40, 3 February 2006 (UTC)

If this page is out of date, fix it. The style content on this page is supposed to be a quick synopsis of what's in the style guide. —Wahoofive (talk) 00:18, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
Looking at the examples and wording there, I fail to see anything out of date? That being said, I'm not opposed to taking the larger blocks and moving them to the MoS:DP, leaving a shorter Wikipedia:Summary style entry.
--William Allen Simpson 00:32, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
After a careful side-by-side comparison of WP:D and MoS:DP, I haven't found anything particularly out-of-date, but there are things in each that might be better in the other. I agree with Gracefool that it could be easier to understand (and maintain) with some simple text swaps.
--William Allen Simpson 02:03, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
I just spent a couple of hours carefully swapping the text. The one swap that didn't work well was the complete example (Lift). There wasn't really a good spot for it in MoS:DP, as there are so many other shorter examples. At the beginning, it conflicts with the {style} navigation template, and at the end it just seems too little too late. Therefore, I left that example here. It seems reasonably visually helpful, and hopefully one example won't be too hard to keep in sync with the style.
--William Allen Simpson 04:00, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
A different example wouldn't be such a bad idea. Or Lift can just be cut down; it doesn't matter whether it matches the real page or not. —Wahoofive (talk) 04:10, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
Better yet, this is an on-line project. Just link to the example! Done. This matches the form of all the other examples in the article. Of course, somebody should check the examples from time to time to ensure they actually continue to demonstrate the principles....
--William Allen Simpson 05:18, 4 February 2006 (UTC)


What's the right way to handle this edit? On the one hand, bypassing the redirect is good. On the other hand, you're not supposed to pipe links in dab pages. I'm inclined to say the way it is now is fine, but it's an interesting corner case. -- RoySmith (talk) 23:20, 3 February 2006 (UTC)

It's fine, it's the clearest way to do it. That rule can be broken to enhance readability. ··gracefool | 23:27, 3 February 2006 (UTC)
Bypassing the redirects is not good, and is contrary to several guidelines. Wikipedia:Manual of Style (links) says, Automated processes should not replace or pipe links to redirects. Instead, the link should always be examined in context. (For more information, see Wikipedia:Disambiguation, Wikipedia:Redirect#Don't fix redirects that aren't broken, and Wikipedia:Redirects with possibilities.)
--William Allen Simpson 00:48, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
How about this? *[[Conducting]] is performed by a conductor, the person who leads a musical ensemble Chris the speller 02:40, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
That's a non-parallel construction, Chris. "Conductor may be...conducting is performed by a conductor"? There's probably some kind of twisted language you could use to make it work, but I agree with Gracefool that this is a time for an exception. And hey, I should know, I'm a conductor. But leaving the redirect is fine, too. —Wahoofive (talk) 05:03, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

Bottom links

Okay, it's time to completely remove the "bottom link" option. Who's with me? Can anyone even find a page which uses a bottom-link dab? Horse sure doesn't. That's a holdover from when Wikipedia had, like, 200 pages. —Wahoofive (talk) 00:36, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

Actually, I've run across them many times. Also, {{disambig}} (or worse {{dab}}) at the top! Let's mark as historical, and mandate changing them.
--William Allen Simpson 00:48, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
Looks like horse was changed by 2004-05-19 15:54:10 Mark Richards. That would be about the same time as Disambiguation was taking hold (and just before templates were finished).
--William Allen Simpson 01:02, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
After looking at the earliest archives, I re-wrote the section to clearly indicate bottom links are deprecated.
--William Allen Simpson 01:17, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
I can go along with a statement that they were once common but were not found to be useful, and now are strongly discouraged. Chris the speller 02:45, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

Disambiguation for Perfect Murder

I was trying to do a disambiguation page for the term Perfect Murder but am not sure how to go about. The reason is that there is a film and a band of the same name and I think a disambiguation page is needed for it. But with Perfect murder taken what do I do? Do I just create a new page for Perfect Murder with say Perfect Murder (Crime) and put the links on Perfect Murder? Lummie 02:53, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

This is the time to create a new disambiguation page, Perfect murder (disambiguation), and it would have links to the film and band. The template {{otheruses}} would be used in Perfect murder instead of the first line (disambiguation link), and {{otheruses2|Perfect murder}} would be used in A Perfect Murder instead of its disambiguation link. This is explained in WP:D#Top_links. Go ahead, BE BOLD. There are a few of us who will be right behind you. Chris the speller 04:51, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

Well, Lummie had it almost right! If users cannot figure it out for themselves, the instructions are not clear enough.

  1. "Perfect murder" is actually the least likely reference.
  2. There's no strong candidate for Primary topic.
  3. The related articles are all in Category:Fiction.
  4. Therefore, move "Perfect murder" to "Perfect murder (fiction)".
  5. Edit "Perfect murder" into a Generic topic disambiguation page.
  6. Replace the hatnotes on the existing pages to point to Perfect murder (disambiguation), and create the page as a redirect, including the template {{R to disambiguation page}}.

Now, where should this kind of checklist be added? Looks like the section on Disambiguation pages.

--William Allen Simpson 22:55, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

Done. Please check out the two short new sections for clarity.

--William Allen Simpson 00:11, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
Just as Rome, Iowa and Rome (TV series) do not need links back to Rome (disambiguation), the three "Perfect murder" articles that have qualifiers in their names do not need hatnotes linking to the disambig page. WP:D also needs to have that refinement added, I think. Chris the speller 03:47, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
I've always replaced any existing link templates with a new one to the disambiguation page.
  • I see that in your explanation above: and {{otheruses2|Perfect murder}} would be used in A Perfect Murder instead of its disambiguation link. That's been my practice, too.
  • A Perfect Murder (band) didn't have an existing link back, so I didn't add one. You're correct that this appears inconsistent.
  • Should all existing hatnotes be removed? Or should all disambiguated articles have links back? Or just continue the current situation where old ones are replaced but no new ones added?
--William Allen Simpson 09:10, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
When an article has a qualifier in its name (in parens, or following a comma, as in the Rome examples), the rule should be that a hatnote is not needed, and might be considered distracting. Of course, there might be a few cases where an editor should bend the rule, if he or she can imagine a way that a reader could get to the wrong page. My count of articles above was wrong, and only two have such qualifiers, not the film article. A music article might be written which links to "A Perfect Murder", shooting for the band but landing on the film article, so the film article should have the hatnote. The new music article's link should of course be fixed, but until then, the hatnote would be the backup. There is no reasonable way a reader could land on "A Perfect Murder (band)" while looking for the fiction sub-genre or the film, so no hatnote. The "Random article" button could get you there, but you weren't looking for anything specific, so you can't be misled. I don't think our time would be best spent looking for qualifier-in-parens articles that have hatnotes, because too much investigation would be needed in each case before ripping out the hatnote. Chris the speller 16:46, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

What should be in the dab pages?

I actually have two questions. Sorry, if it's in the main page, I must've missed it. Is there some sort of criteria for including entries in the dab pages. For example, Legion; there are two entries under video games, which I'm not sure if they deserve to be there. Should I leave them there or remove them. My second question is, if a red link exist, should I link other words in that line. In the case above, Legion (book) is a red link, should I link William Peter Blatty? I'm guessing the answer is no, but would like affirmation.

The above unsigned comment was posted 20:59, 11 February 2006 by Gflores
If you can reasonably expect an article to be written, then leave the redlink. (In this case, though, the guild entry is overlinked.) This is not often an easy decision. If it's the flavor of toothpaste preferred by some minor anime character who doesn't even have his own article yet, take it out. For the book, the author's article has some info about the book, so linking to the author will help the reader. Chris the speller 22:32, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

Water treatment

I'm inclined to add Water treatment to the new category Category:Water treatment. I believe this is quite a useful starting page (more so than most disambig pages). Is this appropriate?

I also think Water treatment needs to have most of the wikilinks removed (wikilinking usually not needed in disambigs). I'll remove those if there are no objections. Cheers, Singkong2005 03:41, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

This should not be a disambiguation page, in my opinion. These are not different meanings for the same words, but subtopics of a very large topic. Maybe "Water treatment" should be an overview page, resembling a multi-stub page, introducing the subtopics. Don't remove wikilinks yet. Chris the speller 04:38, 15 February 2006 (UTC)
I agree with Chris here. The history shows that it started as a redirect page, then a disambugation page in 2004. But, the terms added since then really point to inclusion in a wikipedia:summary style article. Many of the links are to tiny stub articles. Moreover, there is already an extensive disambiguation page at treatment where some of these terms belong.
--William Allen Simpson 05:39, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

minimum amount of links

By their very nature disambig pages are designed for more than 2 articles, and preferably more than 3. If anyone fails to understand why I'd be happy to explain but assuming everyone is with me, shouldn't this be part of the official policy on disambig pages, don't create a disambig page with only two items. Vicarious 01:01, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

While most disambiguation pages end up having more than two links, there are times when there are appropriately only two links. When there are two articles with the same title, neither of which is considered a primary topic, there is occasion to have a disambiguation page with only two articles. However, if one is a primary topic, then there would not be a disambiguation page, and just a disambiguation link at the top of each of the two pages. Three or more articles would require a disambiguation page, primary topic or not. -- Natalya 02:24, 16 February 2006 (UTC)
While agreeing with Natalya in principle, the current text applies even when there isn't a primary topic. Indeed, the example of "Quaoar" has no primary topic. A simple reading of the text would not allow two topics. That said, there are a lot of them with only two topics!
--William Allen Simpson 03:19, 16 February 2006 (UTC)
Natalya is right, but might not have gone far enough. Some editors feel that there are already far too many "primary articles", and that most of them were not properly set up. By extension, most article pairs are not as lopsided in importance as the two Benjamin Franklins currently found in Wikipedia, and so most pairs should not have a "primary article". Therefore most pairs should have a disambiguation page. In fact, I fixed one today, where "Matthew Miller" was the shorter of the two articles, with far fewer links, so should not have been primary; but neither article should, therefore it became a disambiguation page with two links. I have also found a good way to handle the situation where there are two links on a dab page (or one, after removing questionable links) — search Wikipedia for a third article that has been overlooked, and add its link to the dab page. This works more often than you might think, especially with human names. Chris the speller 03:28, 16 February 2006 (UTC)
Since Quaoar redirects to 50000 Quaoar, wouldn't that in effect make it the primary topic? While it may not reside at the what would typically be the primary topic name, the practical result is the same. olderwiser 03:53, 16 February 2006 (UTC)
If you're looking for more fun primary topic discussion, Vicarious, take a look at the Primary topic abuse section higher up on this page. -- Natalya 03:44, 16 February 2006 (UTC)
I'm surprised that several of you disagree so I'll explain my reasoning. If you go to a disambig page first then 100% of the people that visit the page will go to the wrong article (as in, not the article they were trying to find) on the first attempt and then get it correct 99% of the time on the second attempt (100% if the disambig page is descriptive enough but it's always possible someone will pick the wrong one). If we automatically send them to one page, even if it's the far less popular one then, let's say 20% of them will be at the right article the first page, and 100% by the second page (unlike the 99% for the disambig because first off, you're looking at the enitre article so you know you're not at the right page, better than the one sentence description, and there's only two pages, so by going to the other one you have to be right). In short, it doesn't even matter which you make the primary page, it's definitely worth the effort to pick the more popular one but either one is better than a disambig page. Vicarious 14:12, 16 February 2006 (UTC)
I don't believe the balance of benefits favours the argument for sending users to a primary topic unless it is likely to be right for the majority of readers. Using Vicarious' example above, in the case where everyone is sent to a disambiguation page, 100 users each use 2 clicks to get to the page they want. In the suggested scenario, 20 users get to the page they want in 1 click and 80 users get to the page they want in 3 clicks (Clearly with at least 6 alternative meanings of the term concerned, the 80% are going to have to be redirected via a disambiguation page). The average number of clicks per user is lower in the first scenario. However, similar arithmetic favours Vicarious' suggestion in the case where more than 50% of readers find the right page first time, so I believe this should be the threshold for deciding which course to take. Elroch 14:28, 16 February 2006 (UTC)
Whoa, I think I've discovered where our disagreement is, in my suggested scenario, 20 users get to the page they want in 1 click, and 80 users get to the page they want in 2 clicks. Because there are only two options the first article does NOT link to a disambig page, it links directly to the other article. This entire argument is only intended to imply to disambig pages with two articles, and that they should be deleted. Vicarious 14:46, 16 February 2006 (UTC)
There is/has been discussion on this general topic already in the "Primary topic abuse" section. -- Natalya 17:45, 16 February 2006 (UTC)
  • Yes, the guidelines specify that two topics link to each other, and there is no disambiguation page. The guidelines also specify "... links should point to the article that deals with the specific meaning intended." Arguing about how many clicks that shouldn't happen are more efficient belies the fact that they shouldn't happen!
--William Allen Simpson 17:53, 16 February 2006 (UTC)
    • I'm not sure if I'm being blamed for something here but I can assure you I want a policy, not a precedent, and indeed the precedent doesn't even exist yet. I'm not sure what "lonelypages" you're refering to, if done correctly there shouldn't be any loneliness. Although I've been around wikipedia for a while I've stayed away from policies for the most part so I'm not familiar with how to do this but I'd like to have a vote on this topic. My vision for it is I present a paragraph in favor, someone (possibly William) presents an argument against and we let people choose. Because it's for a policy addition and a concensus is ideal I have no problem with a minimum of 90% or something in favor for it to be accepted. Vicarious 19:29, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

Try to understand the differences between "policy" and "guidelines", and what votes (straw polls) actually mean, and that the only "precedent" comes from an arbitration committee decision (and that is limited). Also, knowing about Special:Lonelypages (listed as "Orphaned pages" under the "Special pages" menu on the left). It will take a bit of reading and experience to grok.

  1. Meanwhile, we already have this existing guideline (two articles "disambiguation link" to each other).
  2. Just because you found two articles plus a disambiguation page doesn't mean the disambiguation page should be deleted.
  3. For example, the pages HD64180 and HD 64180 disambiguation link to each other, plus there is a HD-64180 disambiguation page with only 2 entries.
  4. There are plenty of other examples. This is not something that needs a lot of rules and overspecification.
--William Allen Simpson 06:10, 17 February 2006 (UTC)
  • As already stated, deleting the disambig page does not create lonely article because both articles link to each other, there's as much connectivity as ever. I'm not sure if your example was meant to prove a point but it looks ripe for deletion itself (actually for redirect). And there does need to be a policy so you and I only have to disagree on this once and not every time we run across a disambig page with only 2 links. Vicarious 13:16, 17 February 2006 (UTC)
    • An example of where "more than 2" and "one is the primary topic" don't work are the olympic dabs--e.g., 1984 Olympics, which is a dab to summer & winter articles. Neither is appropriately the main category, so 1984 Olympics can't correctly redir to either, and in fact there will never be more than 2 entries on the dab page. Elf | Talk 19:32, 28 February 2006 (UTC)

So what would you do with Tanase? - Jmabel | Talk 18:51, 19 March 2006 (UTC)

I'd make Tanase a redirect to Constantin Tănase, and leave Tanasi alone. These are different terms, and if you think there is a considerable chance of confusion (I don't), put a hatnote in each article. Chris the speller 23:50, 19 March 2006 (UTC)
Although none of the terms are exactly common, "Tanase" and "Tanasi" both frequently turn up as transliteration of the Cherokee word -- which in fact shares derivation with the name Tennessee. I'd say leave it as a disambig -- direct links to either *should* be relatively unlikely, but in any case I think it'd be easier to spot misdirected links if it is a dab page than a redirect. olderwiser 03:30, 20 March 2006 (UTC)
Agreed. But the page was labled with Tenasi instead of Tenase so I fixed that.
--William Allen Simpson 14:34, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

Sweeping edits by Wikilights and Richard Arthur Norton

Today, there were various sweeping edits by a new Wikilights (talk · contribs), as the first 3 contributions (and thus far, the only contributions). That might be a sockpuppet indication.

I spent a little more than 1 hour carefully reading the edits and mostly reverting them. A few seemed reasonable. Unfortunately, Wikilights removed wording that was fully argued here recently, such as requiring consensus for primary topic pages. Also, the long-standing code of honor to fix links.

Immediately after my careful review, Richard Arthur Norton (1958- ) (talk · contribs) reverted back to the bad version (although without using the word revert in his edit summary).

Over time, I've made some significant edits here. But before making any edits, I've spent a lot of time reviewing the history of the text and the discussion.

Please use the discussion page to propose any major changes.

--William Allen Simpson 03:10, 16 February 2006 (UTC)


  • Consensus is needed for major changes according to the opening statement. Wikilights (talk · contribs), who made the changes, only changed wording that made the information more clear. If we need consensus to change any word, then please change the opening statement in the article so the rule is clearer. Yes, I did use the phrase "restored rewording, why would we have to discuss correcting grammar or making the wording clearer?" as my edit summary.

Wikilights (talk · contribs) changes:

  • "we don't really want lots of twisty little stubs" to "avoid lots of little stubs"
  • "To conform to our normal naming convention" to "To conform to the naming convention"
  • "A code of honor for creating disambiguation pages is to fix the mis-directed links that will be created when the disambiguation page is made." to "The creator of disambiguation pages should fix the resulting mis-directed links."

All changes seem to make the text easier to read and more like a professional entry. I urge others to review the changes and see if they agree or disagree. I also believe the opening paragraph should be changed or the entry should be locked if its true that changes can't be made before consensus is reached. Does consenus have to reached before someone reverts somone else changes? We need to have clearer rules and have entries locked that require consensus. What do you think? --Richard Arthur Norton (1958- ) 03:43, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

I agree that the changes to the "Primary topic pages" section should have been reverted, as the meaning was changed by the rewording. However, the rest of the changes were generally gramatical in context, and helped to make sections of the guidelines clearer. Yes, if the edits did change the meaning of the sections, then they should be reverted (as with the aforementioned Primary topic pages), but the rest only seemed to clarify, and I feel would be beneficial to be left in. -- Natalya 03:55, 16 February 2006 (UTC)
Changing "Deciding to disambiguate" to "When to disambiguate" doesn't make it clearer, because it may be taken as determining the right point in time. Maybe "Whether to disambiguate" would work, but it wasn't broken, and doesn't need fixing. This is not to imply that I am completely sold on all the other changes. This is just one example. Chris the speller 04:35, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

Sorry about not reading the discussion before jumping in with what i thought were copyediting. But please, look at the changes on their own merits: "in a titular fashion" vs. "as a title"? "consensus of editors" is circular advice for someone editing, as is usually the case, unsettled or obscure topics by him/herself, and is unhelpful advice on what objective basis consensus should be sought when there is a disagreement. Since Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, the goal would be to be consistent with credible sources. I thought i was correcting an question-begging oversight. "Double disambiguation" is not even necessary as a guideline, since it offers no advice but simply describes an occasional phenomenon, with no guidance on whether it is encouraged or discouraged or treated in any different manner. Without deleting the paragraph, I just simplified the needlessly confusing wording. The "code of honor" sentence is grammatically awkward, and, frankly, a silly way of saying "the creator of dab pages should fix resulting broken links." I don't mean to be abrasive, and I certainly understand that some of the changes are toss-up judgment calls or mere preferences, but that's no reason to revert every edit. Wikilights 06:58, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

In my opinion, as a user of the guide, most of the controversial edits were entirely justified on the grounds of improving the language. Some of the changes were to language that looks unnecessarily pretentious (eg "in a titular fashion") others were to language that seems unnecessarily informal for a guidance document (eg "are not magically invalidated"). It is my opinion that all of the changes of these two types were worthwhile, in accordance with good practice in publishing. However, there were one or two edits where the meaning was changed (eg the change to "general reference publications or careful use of search engines").
I think all the edits that made the language clearer should be reincorporated, and any other edits discussed here as to their merits. Elroch 13:23, 16 February 2006 (UTC)


So, RAN thinks it would be useful to examine every change? He only lists three (of dozens):

  • "we don't really want lots of twisty little stubs" to "avoid lots of little stubs"
    • Yes, I left that change in, what's your complaint? (Although clearly the youngster doesn't remember Adventure, and the "maze of twisty little passages....")
  • *"To conform to our normal naming convention" to "To conform to the naming convention"
    • Yes, I left that change in, what's your complaint?
  • "A code of honor for creating disambiguation pages is to fix the mis-directed links that will be created when the disambiguation page is made." to "The creator of disambiguation pages should fix the resulting mis-directed links."
    • No, that code of honor wording is long-standing and important! However, I left the remainder of the sentence as "A code of honor for creating disambiguation pages is to fix all resulting mis-directed links."

That's why reflexive reverting isn't a good idea, Mr. Norton! Why didn't you bother to actually read and compare the work?

That's why I spent over an hour carefully evaluating all the changes! It would be helpful to have the same consideration by others.

All changes seem to make the text easier to read and more like a professional entry.

And no, it's not true that the newcomer Wikilights made things more clear. As noted by Natalya and Chris. Merely shortening sentences is not the same as clarity.

Am I wedded to the old text, written by many others over the past 5 years? No, but by the same token, this isn't a page for writing experiments. Other folks that find a paragraph needs clarity have started a talk section, blockquoted the text, and proposed a change for discussion!

Finally, I'm somewhat offended by your implication about professionalism. Before you continue in that vein, I suggest that you figure out who you're talking about.... Although (I just noticed) doing a few things here leaps Wikipedia to the front of my Google entries, I've done a few things elsewhere, too.

--William Allen Simpson 07:59, 16 February 2006 (UTC)
Since it seems to heading in this direction, shall we examine more changes? There do appear some more that are solely grammatic and worth keeping. The rest may be debatable.
  • In "Deciding when to disambiguation"
    • in a titular fashion to as the title
    • are not magically invalidated for to apply to
    • In "Confusion"
      • they to he or she (that's a common grammar rule! Not even a style choice), removing as a result.
-- Natalya 12:39, 16 February 2006 (UTC)