Wikipedia talk:Disambiguation/Archive 25

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Another way to determine whether to Disambiguate?

This is a proposal for addition to the project page. Another way to determine whether to disambiguate may be to enter the term in OneLook reverse dictionary search and see what comes up. The OneLook dictionary results may provide guidance on whether to disambiguate. Thoughts? -- Jreferee (Talk) 16:32, 15 June 2007 (UTC)


Arbuthnot (surname of today's front page featured article) could use a disambiguation, and has had one, but other editors feel a redirect to a category is more appropriate. Anyone else mind taking a look? Arbuthnot -- JHunterJ 18:49, 2 June 2007 (UTC)

I proposed that Arbuthnot (disambiguation) be renamed and moved to Arbuthnot. It's been noted at Wikipedia:Requested moves, and discussion to support or oppose the move is on "Talk:Arbuthnot (disambiguation)#Requested move". -- JHunterJ 12:04, 21 June 2007 (UTC)

Lists of people by name and disambiguations again

Islam (disambiguation), Hillary, and Agnes (name), for examples, do not disambiguate any articles that might have been entitled with the single name, and (in the last case) provide linkable encyclopedic-article information about the name; I removed the {{disambig}} from each (and moved the Islam list to Islam (name)), but another editor reverted without explanation. I've restored the corrections, but others may want to check those pages as well. -- JHunterJ 15:42, 22 June 2007 (UTC)

I have put Hilary (disambiguation) up for AfD myself, but the consensus seems to keep the disambig page (despite being obviously against this guideline). Does this mean we should start thinking about tweaking the guideline itself?
Patronyms and given name seem to be a very common pattern for disambiguation-- I don't think they are useful (the question I always ask myself is "Is someone likely to type that name (and only that name) to try to find one of the articles?). Apparently, many feel that is the case, however, and so it's reasonable to question ourselves about the continued relevance of that bit of the guidelines.
After all, the guideline should reflect consensus, and it looks like name lists are very resilient to XfD (thus no consensus). Coren 00:01, 23 June 2007 (UTC)

The administrator made a useless edit to Islam (name) to prevent further non-admin attempts to move Islam (disambiguation) there.[1]

Standard and Standard (disambiguation)

I'm getting some negative feedback related to my edits to these pages, and I'd like some suggestions from the people around here. First, here's the summary of the situation that I posted at WP:DPL: "On December 6, Standard (disambiguation) was forked out of Standard in an apparent attempt to turn Standard into an article, although the resulting stub was basically a dictionary definition. Since that time Standard has turned into a (messy) dab page itself, so there are parallel dabs. Standard (disambiguation) is in much better condition. The first thing we need to do is merge the dabs back to the plain title."

I performed that merge, but since that time, the dab was pulled back out again and the plain title restubbed. I took that as a primary topic claim and now I've redirected the dicdef to Standardization and remarked the dab page as a dab. Does that seem like the ideal solution, or should the dab be at the plain title as I originally intended? At the very least these changes are making it very difficult to sort out the page histories. Dekimasuよ! 23:57, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

Empty disambiguation pages

Many dab pages I find, for example Osinovka, are completely devoid of any links to articles. Sometimes I will find dab pages for two or three titles (Ferdinand David), only one of which has an article. For these, I may prod or speedy them, as they are completely useless. Even if a dab page has two links, it would be much easier to redirect or delete and create a dab link message on the top of the page. Of course in theory articles can eventually be created, then making the dab page useful, but I advocate simply recreating the dab when articles do exist. What is the policy for that? This page didn't really seem to say anything. There could and should be thousands less useless dabs if those with only one or two existing articles were redirected or deleted. Reywas92Talk 15:03, 27 June 2007 (UTC)

Not to disagree with your general findings, but the situation can often be improved by making the best of what you have. In this example, the first entry of Osinovka should be rearranged to:
  • Osinniki, a town in Kemerovo Oblast, Russia, formerly Osinovka
And then another entry can become:
So now two entries take the reader to useful articles, just by chasing down "What links here" for the red links. A minor pain, but less tedious than the Afd process, IMO. I did not investigate all the other entries, nor did I do a general search to see if any Osinovka articles were missed, or created later and not added to the dab page. Chris the speller 17:24, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
Remember, red links are good, at least if they identify a topic that might someday merit an article. Better to have a disambig page that contains a few red links than not to have anything about the topic at all. On the other hand, if there is really only one potential topic on a disambig page, then get rid of it (the dab, not the topic), by all means! --Russ (talk) 17:46, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
Redlinks in articles are good for the reasons you mention. Redlinks in disambiguations are not good, unless they have a blue link in the description linking to an article that places the redlinked subject in context. If there is only one blue link for any of the topics, there's no need for a dab. --—Preceding unsigned comment added by JHunterJ (talkcontribs) 18:39, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
I don't entirely agree. Of course I do agree that it's best if there is a blue link on the line to provide some context for the redlinked topic. But if that's not possible for some reason, I still think a red link is better than nothing. Say I have heard something about a 19th century Canadian artist/politician named Ferdinand David and I go to look him up on Wikipedia. Should I just get redirected to an article about a German musician, with no indication that the Canadian person ever existed? I don't think I would find that very helpful. At least now the redirect page tells me (a) that the person did exist and (b) that there is no Wikipedia article about him, and (c) provides an external link to another site that may have some information; which, while admittedly far from ideal, is better than simply removing all mention of this person. --Russ (talk) 18:59, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
I agree that non-existant links should be included on dab pages, but only if there's a reference/citation/source. Unfortunately, some people don't like {{fact}} check tags on dab pages and remove them immediately, then the links to non-existent pages eventually get removed by other people... This is another example of how messed up the dab system is. ∞ΣɛÞ² (τ|c) 07:20, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
It should be about as easy to use the reference to create a stub page for the entry, instead of citing the redlinked entry on the dab page. Then the stub can be expanded (or discussed for deletion if actually non-notable) through the usual Wiki procedures. No evidence of dab system messed-up-ness here. -- JHunterJ 11:48, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
One may not have enough time at the time of dab page creation/editing to create articles for every reference found. That's the neat thing about collaborative editing: other people can pick up the slack begun by others--but collaboration only works when deletionists don't get their way... ∞ΣɛÞ² (τ|c) 15:15, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
Article-style references (and especially {{fact}}) are not appropriate on disambiguation pages: they are not articles.
Adding the sources as comments next to the redlink entry should be perfectly fine, however. --Piet Delport 20:24, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
More contradiction. References/sources are the same thing; how they're implemented is irrelevant. ∞ΣɛÞ² (τ|c) 03:56, 29 June 2007 (UTC)
Not contradictory. A comment is not visible to a casual user, but is visible to editors considering to delete the entry. Since dab pages is not articles, article style sources is unnecessary clutter. Taemyr 05:45, 29 June 2007 (UTC)
Eep² presumably means that it is contradictory in his vision of "Wikipedictionaria". --Piet Delport 07:27, 29 June 2007 (UTC)

This red-linked Ferdinand David may survive for a while, if the cleanup artists check "What links here". Many editors would prefer your external link to be in an invisible comment, though. Chris the speller 19:20, 27 June 2007 (UTC)

Indeed, checking "what links here" provides a possible blue link, which I added to Ferdinand David. -- JHunterJ 11:14, 28 June 2007 (UTC)

Incomplete parenthetical disambiguations

There are many pages on Wikipedia that have "incomplete" parenthetical disambiguation and no clear primary topic, for example "Foo (album)" when there are several albums titled Foo.

Sometimes, there are enough disambiguation targets to warrant double disambiguation, such as with:

but what should happen in other cases, where there aren't?

The available options appear to be:

1. Redirect to the main disambiguation page, for example:

2. Duplicate the relevant subset of the main disambiguation page, for example:

3. Delete the incomplete disambiguations.

My thoughts:

  • Duplication is simply a bad idea: it's a major maintenance hazard, for little or no added convenience.
  • Redirection is much less objectionable, but is it something we should encourage? Most or all of the current redirects are the side effect of moving an article to a less ambiguous name: once all incoming links have been fixed/updated, there should be little reason to keep the incomplete disambiguation around. It's not something you'll type or link to accidentally.
  • Deletion is bold, but on consideration, it sounds like the best option to me so far (assuming there are no other reasons to keep the page/redirect).

What do you think? --Piet Delport 16:25, 22 June 2007 (UTC)

I agree with the deletion conclusion (once the incoming links are fixed); that's an excellent proposal. This would not apply if "Foo (album)" were a primary-album-topic article, even if "Foo (2007 album)" or "Foo (Bar & Recognizers album)" also existed, right? -- JHunterJ 16:50, 22 June 2007 (UTC)
Right, those would not be an incomplete disambiguations. A good example of this would be Lost (TV series) versus Lost (2001 TV series), as discussed earlier on this talk page. --Piet Delport 17:02, 22 June 2007 (UTC)
I'm glad you brought this up, as I have often wondered what to do when encountering this situation. I have taken the "redirection" approach, but I do agree that deletion is the best option in most cases.--Paul Erik 19:03, 22 June 2007 (UTC)
I don't feel too strongly about this one way or the other. But a potential problem with simply deleting the redirect, especially with ever-changing pop culture items like albums or songs, there will always be a likelihood that a well-meaning contributor will create a new page at that title for their favorite performer. Experience with pop culture article seem to indicate that contributors are less likely than average consider whether there are any other albums with the same name and that maybe perhaps the new album by my favorite artist shouldn't be at Title (album). Redirects are cheap. I don't see the harm in keeping them around unless there is some risk of confusion. olderwiser 02:42, 23 June 2007 (UTC)
Good point; such redlinks would constantly beg creation. I think this is a great argument for redirecting all incomplete disambiguations, with a supporting guideline and tag template: that would make it clear that the page should not be re-created (whether with duplication of the main disambiguation page, or a new article). --Piet Delport 01:38, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
This wouldn't be a problem if you people ("consensus") would decided on a proper dab navigation system. For example, Life (album) should have an "otheruses" template on it that links to Life (disambiguation) (and other articles with "Life" in them should at least link to the general term life or have Life (disambiguation) in the "See also" section). ∞ΣɛÞ² (τ|c) 06:28, 23 June 2007 (UTC)
That is correct. If you had your way the dab system would be completely useless. Taemyr 14:09, 23 June 2007 (UTC)
Um, no. If I had my way, the dab sysytem would actually be much more useful. As it is now, it's only marginally useful. Wikipedia's navigation system sucks petunas. ∞ΣɛÞ² (τ|c) 21:37, 23 June 2007 (UTC)
You can have your way: fork. --Piet Delport 01:07, 24 June 2007 (UTC)

OK, in view of the above, i propose we standardize on redirection. This would more or less involve:

  • Adding an "incomplete disambiguation" section to the guidelines, covering briefly:
    • What they are (titles that are plausible disambiguations (see naming conventions), but not specific enough to identify an article)
    • What they are not (implausible typo or misnomer (CSD R3))
    • How and why to redirect them (dissuaging inadvertent article creation)
    • When it's OK not to redirect them (double disambiguation, recognized primary topics)
  • Creating {{R from incomplete disambiguation}} to tag the redirects with

Comments, corrections? (JHunterJ, Paul Erik: are you happy with this over deletion?) --Piet Delport 03:55, 24 June 2007 (UTC)

The R from incomplete disambiguation is another good one. Yes, I agree with Bkonrad (and continue to disagree with Eep²). -- JHunterJ 12:50, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
Yes, this looks good. --Paul Erik 14:39, 24 June 2007 (UTC)

I certainly disagree with the idea of deleting the redirects of Foo (album) to Foo (disambiguation) once the incoming links have all been fixed. For one thing, some people will continue to make the mistake and link to Foo (album). More importantly, Foo (album) is actually very likely to be a search term, especially among experienced Wikipedia users. If I'm looking for an album named Foo around here, my first guess will be to type Foo (album) as a search. What do I expect to find when I do that? Ideally, I'd like to go straight to the article I'm looking for and, if that's still ambiguous, I'd like to be redirected to a disambiguation page that lists only the albums named Foo. Of course, I understand that this is problematic for maintenance purposes so redirecting Foo (album) to Foo (disambig) makes sense. A more cumbersome yet closer to ideal solution would be the following complicated scheme. Keep Foo (album) as a dab page among albums and transclude it in the Foo (dab) page. This is a bit tricky because 1- you need to use noinclude syntax to make sure that only the list of albums is transcluded and 2- you need to place a comment in the source of Foo (dab) to make sure that if people add other albums named Foo, they edit the Foo (album) dab page. If this is all very confusing, all apologies but I can do it for Dream (album) to show you what I mean. Pascal.Tesson 16:53, 24 June 2007 (UTC)

While I think that that's the best solution for the best of all possible worlds, one in which people will follow the lead of the consensus that sets up these transclusions and maintain them, I think that the idea mentioned by older ≠ wiser and others is the way to go.— The Great Redirector 05:05, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
I considered the transclusion idea too, but eventually dismissed it: it's finicky and hard to get right on a large scale, and raises interesting new conundrums: What if the "Foo (album)" you're looking for is actually a "Foo (EP)"? What do you do about "(book)", "(novel)", "(novella)", ...?
In general, disambiguations probably form more of a fuzzy heterarchy than a discrete hierarchy: it often makes sense to view a disambiguation subset in the context of nearby entries. (This can be done by redirecting titles like "Foo (album)" straight to the relevant section of "Foo (disambiguation)", if any.) --Piet Delport 07:19, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
Experienced users who enter "foo (album)" in the Go box and get redirected to a (well-edited) generic disambiguation will have no trouble finding the article they were looking for. If the dab list is quite long, the redirect can go to a particular section (#Music, #Albums, etc.). -- JHunterJ 11:03, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
Well I guess my idea does kind of stink. :-) True, getting redirected to a well-structured disambig page will never be a problem and any transclusion trick would scare away newbies or tech-shy editors. But keeping the redirects is still important. Pascal.Tesson 23:22, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

OK, looks like everyone's happy. I've started by creating the tag, {{R from incomplete disambiguation}}, and corresponding Category:Redirects from incomplete disambiguations. --Piet Delport 04:48, 27 June 2007 (UTC)

I created a guideline section: Incomplete disambiguation. Please review it, and improve as necessary. --Piet Delport 08:13, 30 June 2007 (UTC)

Confusion over R to disambiguation page

A not uncommon confusion over {{R to disambiguation page}} is that it should be used for all redirects that go to a disambiguation page, instead of only deliberate links to generic topic disambiguation pages. The primary source of this confusion is obviously the name: unless you read the guidelines/documentation, there's no indication of its somewhat specialized purpose.

So, should we rename this template to something less confusing? I'm thinking something like "R from (disambiguation) page" or "R from (disambiguation)". --Piet Delport 05:18, 27 June 2007 (UTC)

Maybe the docs need to be more explicit -- redirects to dabs (other than the ones from "(disambiguation)" pages) should also be tagged as unprintworthy, but that can be done with the {{R unprintworthy}} tag instead. I don't know much about template coding -- can it check the "ARTICLENAME" suffix and tell if it ends in "(disambiguation)" and use the proper categories based on that? -- JHunterJ 10:49, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
Before you could have a template check the page name, you'd have to have someone put a template on the page to start with! What could be done (but might annoy people) is to change Template:R to disambiguation page to display a big, ugly warning message if the string "(disambiguation)" is not found in the page title, or put the page in a category of "mislabeled disambiguation redirects" or something to that effect. (Just ideas off the top of my head, not really thought out....) --Russ (talk) 16:03, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
I don't think we should over-engineer this: the simple course of fixing the misleading name could be enough to practically solve the problem. --Piet Delport 23:27, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
"Over"-engineering, when done voluntarily by people with the type of disposition to be Wikipedia editors in the first place, isn't bad at all -- as long as the (over-involved, too-contrived) solution doesn't cause more problems than it solves. :-) -- JHunterJ 23:38, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
Right, but why use an overly complex solution to a symptom (inappropriate use of a template) when there's a perfectly good and simple solution to the cause (the template's misleading name)? :) --Piet Delport 01:00, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
Where is the documentation for this template, anyway? --Russ (talk) 11:42, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
The template itself, the category, and Generic topic and Links to disambiguation pages in the guidelines. --Piet Delport 05:10, 30 June 2007 (UTC)

OK, so {{R from (disambiguation)}} then? --Piet Delport 05:03, 30 June 2007 (UTC)

Anybody out there? —Piet Delport 01:12, 18 July 2007 (UTC)

Third opinion requested

Can I please have a third opinion on [2]? Pennsylvania Route 19's primary meaning is designation existed for at most three years, while the U.S. Route 19 designation has existed for about 80. Thank you. --NE2 00:31, 22 July 2007 (UTC)

I'd say that Pennsylvania Route 19's primary meaning is probably U.S. Route 19, therefore it should redirect there. Then add a hatnote to U.S. Route 19 with something like {{redirect|Pennsylvania Route 19|the now disfunct historical route|Pennsylvania Route 39 (1920s)}}, which produces: sgeureka t•c 08:44, 22 July 2007 (UTC)

CSD G6 and dab pages with potential

Have a look at the discussion here. I fear that the G6 criteria for speedy deletion is being misunderstood. It says that disambiguation pages with only one link can be speedy deleted, but my feeling is that this should only apply when there is only one entry. Someone has interpreted "only one link" as applying to dab pages with one link and several unlinked links. My feeling is that this depends on the disambiguation page in question. Some are obviously not needed, but some are less clear. Even those with only one link may have had more in the past and may have more in the future. Disambiguation pages (especially those for people's surnames) can have great potential for expansion, and shouldn't be nipped in the bud like this. Equally, unlinked entries can sometimes be helpful, and deletion of small dab pages shouldn't be carried out on a robotic basis like this. What do people here think? Carcharoth 13:35, 22 July 2007 (UTC)

Whoa, Carch, surname articles are not dab pages, bad example. But I agree that it's not good to speedy such dab pages, and will go a step further: why not just rdr to the one link? This kind of decision should be left to the many good editors who have experience with dab pages, and should not be carried out by bots and general-purpose admins. We perhaps need a template for dangerously short dab pages so experienced dab editors can patrol them. Chris the speller 14:34, 22 July 2007 (UTC)

Proposed change to opening paragraphs

I found the second paragraph to this page as it stands today to be somewhat problematic. It says it's an "example," presumably of disambiguation, but it's really an example of how to create a wikilink, followed by some wording that implies that the act of making a link creates a disambiguation page (funky use of the word "Now"). It does back into part of the subject of disambiguation by giving examples of pages with unambiguous names, but it doesn't really clearly say it's doing so, and then fails to set the stage for the concept of disambiguation paths.

This is my shot at rewording the intro so that it more clearly gives an example of an ambiguous term, examples of unambiguous page titles, and then introduces the crux of the problem, which is how to get the reader from an ambiguous word to the unambiguous pages.

Disambiguation in Wikipedia is the process of resolving conflicts in article titles that occur when a single term can be associated with more than one topic, making that term likely to be the natural choice of title for more than one article. In other words, disambiguations are paths leading to multiple topic pages that could use essentially the same term as their title.

For example, the word "Mercury" can refer to several different things, including: an element, a planet, an automobile brand, a record label, a NASA manned-spaceflight project, a plant, and a Roman god. Since only one Wikipedia page can use the generic name "Mercury", unambiguous article titles must be used for each of these topics: Mercury (element), Mercury (planet), Mercury (automobile), Mercury Records, Project Mercury, Mercury (plant), Mercury (mythology). There must then be a way to direct the reader to the correct specific article when an ambiguous term is referenced by linking, browsing or searching; this is what is known as disambiguation.

Any objections or refinements to this change? --NapoliRoma 23:06, 24 July 2007 (UTC)

Works for me. i haven't read it that carefully before and was expecting a definition of disambiguation pages rather than the more general concept. That might make it easier to grasp the concept, but that's me. . . (John User:Jwy talk) 03:16, 25 July 2007 (UTC)
That's the next thing I want to tackle. The "Deciding to disambiguate" section dives into what not to put in a dab page before the section describing dab pages appears. I think the "what not" sub section should be moved lower, so we can define dab pages and dab links first before getting into their nuances.--NapoliRoma 14:56, 25 July 2007 (UTC)
I honestly don't see that much of a difference in meaning, so I don't mind this (positive) change. Possible exception: I don't know if multiple topic pages is ambiguous at the moment - multiple-topic pages or multiple topic-pages (or is it already clear because there is no hyphen, in which case just ignore me). – sgeureka t•c 08:17, 25 July 2007 (UTC)

Overhaul of disambiguation links section

Continuing the makeover, while trying to keep the content pretty much the same.

In the Disambiguation Links section, I removed the "Top links" and "Bottom links" subsection -- since we don't want anyone to use bottom links, it didn't make sense to keep them as apparent equal weight. So, we only talk about links at the top, and moved "don't bottom-link" to a new "guidelines" subsection. This eliminates the false start in this section of the article.

I redid the template examples to make them a bit clearer. This still strikes me as incomplete/redundant information, as it's covered in several other pages -- as well as "otheruses" and "otheruses2" getting covered twice in this article.

I also took several other guidelines that were jammed in at inopportune times and moved them into the new guidelines subsection -- for example, the part about not disambiguating pages that are not ambiguous.

A question: the "otheruses2" example seems to be a poor choice, since "otheruses" could have been used in the same place. Shouldn't there be an example or reason explaining why one should use one or the other at different times? If there is no reason, the article should err on the side of simplicity and just pick one for people to use going forward.--NapoliRoma 23:03, 25 July 2007 (UTC)

Link back to unambiguous page name

I agree with Rich Farmbrough's deletion of these paragraphs:

Ensure that the "(disambiguation)" page links back to an unambiguous page name. The unambiguous page name should redirect to the primary topic page. This assists future editors (and automated processes).

For example, the primary topic Rome has a link at the top to Rome (disambiguation), where there is a link back via Rome, Italy (rather than directly to Rome).

Are there editor's being assisted by this? Are there automated processes that are being assisted by this? What if there is no redirect to the primary topic page? What if the disambiguation page is disambiguating a title where the primary use is itself a redirect, and the page it redirects to has its own disambiguation page? For example, Puma redirects to Cougar, and both phrases have (disambiguation) pages. Unless there's a more definite reason to include this guideline, I'd like to see it gone. -- JHunterJ 11:29, 14 July 2007 (UTC)

There are a few situations in which it's slightly helpful. I'm not sure if it's enough to merit keeping the phrase. I did do a little fixup work on the dab page to make it conform to the rule again. If people are encouraged to link to Rome, Italy rather than Rome, then when the primary topic distinction falls apart at some point (say, due to a blockbuster hit film of the same name), and the dab gets moved to the plain title, less links will have to be cleaned up. Dekimasuよ! 03:19, 15 July 2007 (UTC)
I think its useful to keep it. If you get to the page by a roundabout way, its useful to have the original there to click on and the formatting keeps it from confusing the usual lookup. What problem is it to keep it? (John User:Jwy talk) 06:30, 15 July 2007 (UTC)
I misread the topic here. I'm still not sure I understand it (its unclear were the deleted quote ends and the comments begin). But if the general intent is to have the primary topic line on Rome (disambiguation) reference directly to Rome, I am all for it. Rome unambiguously points to an article. (John User:Jwy talk) 05:23, 18 July 2007 (UTC)
What if there is no redirect to the primary topic page? What if the disambiguation page is disambiguating a title where the primary use is itself a redirect, and the page it redirects to has its own disambiguation page? -- JHunterJ 11:04, 15 July 2007 (UTC)

For the record, the text in question comes from this larger edit (which was discussed here and here (but i don't see any rationale for these particular paragraphs)).
On consideration, i agree with Rich Farmbrough and JHunterJ that it makes little sense: if you want to avoid direct intentional links to the primary topic to aid disambiguating incoming links, the disambiguation page is the least useful place to do it; you'd want to make it a general linking policy first.
I think the text should be adjusted to reference the Manual of Style's Linking to a primary topic, instead. —Piet Delport 17:01, 17 July 2007 (UTC)

OK, done. —Piet Delport 04:23, 30 July 2007 (UTC)

Fixing links to disambiguation pages

What is the correct way to get a link to a disambiguation page fixed, when I can't select the correct alternative? Is there a template to be used?

I found on the List of awareness ribbons page that Purple ribbon is a symbol of Lupus, and I have no idea what wolf should I be aware of. :) The Purple ribbon page didn't help either in deciding (but at least I cleaned it up a bit). Belegur 13:00, 27 July 2007 (UTC)

Well, in this specific case, I'd assume it was supposed to point to a disease, and the most likely candidate on the dab page would seem to be Lupus erythematosus. Then you could decide whether changing the link yourself to point there is being bold, or an unverifiable edit.
Aha -- turns out there's a tag you can use in the latter case: if you feel uncomfortable making the change yourself, tag it with {{dn}} (for "disambiguation needed")
There should be a discussion of this tag added to this article.--NapoliRoma 13:30, 27 July 2007 (UTC)
Thanks, at first I was intimidated by the six possibilities under the medicine section... But this should be the correct one, so I changed the links. --Belegur 13:43, 27 July 2007 (UTC)

Bias against visiting disambiguation pages?

I do not understand why Wikipedia prefers to display articles based on popularity at the expense of disambiguation pages. While this may be slightly more convenient for the majority of users, I feel it detracts from the purpose of an encyclopedia, which is to inform. Why are disambiguation pages viewed as something to be avoided? Do they harm the sensibilities of users to see alternate meanings of terms that are in fact ambiguous? I would like to believe that an encyclopedia gives priority to conveying the various meanings of a term rather than jumping to whichever topic is perceived to be more requested, for the sake of convenience. Perhaps this is an option that could be offered at the user level - for example a button entitled 'Disambiguate'. I would prefer to have the option of an encyclopedia that isn't presumptuous whenever I enter an ambiguous word or term.

I have noticed that the emphasis on popularity also affects the display of results from the Search button. Alternate meanings of terms are displaced by terms (and extended terms) that are more popular. This makes the results less informative than they otherwise would be.

I propose increasing the use of disambiguation pages for terms that are lacking primary meaning. Popularity should not determine primary meaning - common knowledge should. Alternatively, I propose adding a Disambiguate button to force more comprehensive results for users who so wish. Pendragon39 05:50, 2 August 2007 (UTC)

My irritation with disambiguation links stems from being directed to 'default' articles which are large and waste my limited bandwidth. This can be seen as a convenience issue Pendragon39 05:58, 2 August 2007 (UTC)

Having a look at Whatlinkshere pages always proves to me that most people don't care to check where links go when they create them (and I am sometimes no exception). Having the primary meaning at the main-name page guarantees that at least the majority of links lead to the intended article. Having a dab page at the main-name page would mean that almost every user needs to click through two pages to get to the right article, instead of the occasional user having to follow the "xxx (disambiguation)" link and need three clicks for the right article - so I think convenience, time and bandwidth would in fact go up if there were unnecessarily many dab pages at main-name pages.
As for "an encyclopedia gives priority to conveying the various meanings of a term" - no, not really. That's what dictionaries such as Wiktionary are there for. – sgeureka t•c 06:14, 2 August 2007 (UTC)
My alternative proposal for a Disambiguate button would avoid bandwidth issues as this would be user chosen. For all terms that are encyclopedic a disambiguation function is fundamental. This option is not presently available and the Search button is of little help because its results have been thoroughly Google-ized. Pendragon39 15:44, 2 August 2007 (UTC)
There should not be any bias against disambiguation pages. The page naming conventions are clear that "in most cases, the generic term or phrase should be the title of the actual disambiguation page", with primary topic pages reserved for uncontroversial cases.
What page(s) prompted your comment? —Piet Delport 06:39, 2 August 2007 (UTC)
The word 'cricket'. It is common knowledge that this word has two meanings, yet popularity has made the game of Cricket (note the capitalization) the primary meaning. Both Cricket and cricket redirect to the sport. This has been argued several times, suggesting it is not a clear cut case of primary vs obscure. It is a case of what most people are likely to be searching for trumping other considerations.
Search results for 'cricket' and 'crickets' are ranked as they would be on Google or similar search engines, ie. popularity in place of meaning. Pendragon39 15:44, 2 August 2007 (UTC)
I think you may be taking one particular case and extrapolating institutional bias. In any case, "Wikipedia" isn't one entity; it's Brownian motion in action. This week, consensus might be for the "Cricket" page to be specific; next year, consensus may be for it to be a dab.
On pages I'm most interested in, I can quickly find examples of both treatments (Solaris is a dab, Java is the island). Neither goes directly the actual page I want to read/edit, but I try not to get worked up about it, since if everyone's done their job right, the reader is usually one, and at most two clicks away from whichever page they're really trying to get to.
It might be a nice hack to have the search engine place "term" and "term (disambiguation)" as the top results if found. Then again, I think the search engine is pretty weak in general and could stand a complete overhaul.--NapoliRoma 16:42, 2 August 2007 (UTC)
I'm extrapolating from the guidelines for dabs. There is what are most people likely to be searching for and what constitutes a generic vs primary topic. Does popularity of Cricket change cricket from a generic to a non-primary meaning? On the basis of search results it does, but not on the basis of common understanding of the word. I'm disappointed Wikipedia doesn't take advantage of case sensitivity to disambiguate terms such as cricket and Cricket, or sandy and Sandy.
If the guidelines cannot be made clear enough to avoid changes to consensus or 'annual' challenges to it as one of the Cricket editors put it, then I'm more in favor of getting a dabs button and avoid the issue entirely. Wikipedia is full of dab pages and has no tool available to make use of the concise information they display.
If every go/search function in Wikipedia is Googlesque I'm not going to stay irritated for long, I will just use Google instead. It does the same thing more efficiently and with more options. Who knows, Google may someday parse Wikipedia's dab pages and use them to present results based on knowledge Pendragon39 18:59, 2 August 2007 (UTC)
My opinion is that if dab pages were given stronger support as the preferred choice, there would be a lot fewer issues with what specific topic belongs at the main page. Dab pages seem to be viewed as a negative by many users. However dab pages should be viewed as an improvement in this electronic document and not be tied to the way the paper versions deal with this. It addresses the problem where different readers have different perspectives on what a terms primary usage is. In reality primary usage will vary based on many perceptions. This is not to say that every term will be a dab page, some like Paris will not be disputed, but others that have ongoing move wars or never ending discussions would clearly be helped. It may also help remind sloppy editors, myself included, that many of the topics at a page are not the ones you expect. Vegaswikian 19:45, 6 August 2007 (UTC)

Proposition: three Wiki-wide article-naming methods - People, Places and Things.

...has been moved by its author to Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions.--NapoliRoma 22:40, 6 August 2007 (UTC)

I'm a bit concerned at the seemingly chaotic nature of Wikipedia's naming schemes, namely for its (settlement) conventions: these vary according to the level of knowledge of contributing Wikepidians, as well as the "regional" tastes of the same when contributing to articles about their own region. While using "local" disambiguation methods makes comprehension easy for those originating from the same region as the article, the same does not at all take into account the search methods of readers originating from countries foreign to the same. Not only this, but intermixing disambiguation schemes do not seem to take their subject into account; this is important. Recognition of "subject" is an instinctive first step of comprehension for a reader seeing an article title for the first time - and it would be very helpful to use a constant method to make this clear for the same (especially when the same non-disambiguated word may be two of these subjects: take Cork for example). Conflicting naming methods also cause confusion (here the comma is used both for disambiguation (in places) and titles (in names).

Based on my observations, it is for reasons of easy identifiability that most respectable mainstream reference works use three article-naming methods: One for People, another for Places, and the third for Things (entities).

The below most probably will repeat already-existing methods and conventions, but for reasons of clarity I think it best to present this suggestion, in excluding any citations and references to existing Wiki rules, as an independent essay in logic and rationality as a whole. The below has only the functionality of Wiki as a media as a whole in mind.


Printed reference works often use "Lastname, Firstname (title)" (the latter with or without parenthesis): this "People" method (namely for for alphabetisation purposes) is in use by most English publications and easily identifiable by readers of the same.

Yet Wiki has no need for such methods, as it is not an alphabetised list. A chosen method should all the same be consistent in order to retain its identifiability for the reader. After much thinking about the both the media that is Wiki (technology, organisation schemes), I have concluded that a functional "People" method would be:

The reasons for this are multiple. Firstly: the "People" method would retain its identifiability through its use of the comma, as I propose that "People" be the only subject that uses the comma outside of parenthesis (not for disambiguation) in contrast to other methods (please see the sections below). People's names, named thus, with very few exceptions, can be recognised as such; disambiguation will also be recognised as such thanks to a constant use of parenthesis () for the same.


Places are the most problematic of all three categories. Placenames are repeated sometimes even within same regions, and often across several countries: thus a naming method for the same should make every effort to accommodate a sometimes very extensive disambiguation. Another plus for a "Places" method would be that its disambiguation (easily identifiable as such) reflect the international aspects of English Wikipedia: using low-level administrative regions only as disambiguation pays no thought at all to this. For this I also think it would be useful to "locate" placenames properly - without exception, at least as a base. Also, readers from one country looking for "Placename" in another will practically never use "local region" as a second term in their search query; articles named thus are lacking here, too. For these reasons I suggest:

...this will no doubt displease more than a few who have worked hard to make articles of their contribution reflect the language they are accustomed to using with their own countrymen in their everyday lives, but again, such a methodology of comfort does not pay any thought at all to foreign researchers or Wiki as an international media, nor does it pay any thought Wiki as a whole. I think the above method, if consistent, although sometimes requiring much disambiguation, would be the best method as it answers the media's need for international recognition of placenames, searchability, and "Places" subject identifiability.

Things (Entities)

This subject is the simplest of the three: examples above are perhaps inventive. Anyhow, the possibilities of disambiguation are endless (descriptive, sub-topic, etc.), but through all this it is most important that disambiguation be recognised as such for clarity - thus the choice of parentheses through all three suggestions above. I might also like to suggest that possibly ambiguous terms be disambiguated with an identifier... Perhaps one clarification: A "thing in a place" where the place is an integral part of the thing's title is still gets "thing treatment": University of York is an entity with its own identity and title - it is a thing. As are Fjords of Norway. Disambiguation in the logic of the above, if needed (not here), would be "University of York (Canada)", just like any other "Thing".

Other Issues

The above is an essay on a base system that covers as much as Wiki as possible. No doubt, no matter the method used, there will always be some conflicts and exceptions, but the above is the best means I have found to date to keep these to a minimum. I'm sure that some will provide conflict examples as a criticism of the above, but I'm certain that these will remain infinitely minor in number in comparison to the total weight of Wiki articles. If they're not, well, we've got something more to talk about below.

Another issue may be Consensus-created "exceptions" (such as non-disambiguated "famous" placenames), but this is a second level of debate - and one, in my humble opinion, that should only be imposed upon an already-functional and coherent article naming system.

Fire away. THEPROMENADER 15:23, 4 August 2007 (UTC)


My first thought was that this discussion should take place on the talk pages of WP:NAME, WP:PLACES and WP:NAMEPEOPLE. Disambiguation cannot be done satisfactorily unless there is agreement on naming conventions. Chris the speller 17:25, 4 August 2007 (UTC)

Since the above proposition is a co-ordination of different article-naming conventions, it would be best to discuss this at the root somewhere (between all three). Granted, perhaps here was not the best place for this proposition. I don't think it would be useful to split things up; in a way it is simplification proposition between Wiki's many conventions. Any suggestions about a one place this question should go? THEPROMENADER 22:22, 4 August 2007 (UTC)
Agreed. I have move the topic here: Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions. THEPROMENADER 00:38, 5 August 2007 (UTC)

not ambiguous?

Part of the policy reads, "For example, Solaris (1972 film) is clearly about one specific movie and not about any of the many other meanings of 'Solaris'." I can't tell you how many times I've ended up at dab pages and been looking exactly for something like the completely unrelated one. Furthermore, if I don't see it, I assume that it isn't in Wikipedia--a lack of link to dab page also hurts. As such I'd like to disagree with the claim that there isn't value to these links and that people don't use them. Pdbailey 13:27, 11 August 2007 (UTC)

Disambiguation geographic

This may not be the best place to ask, but where else?? I am in Maine, have entered data into Wikipedia many times - now I have a problem. There are 3 [maybe 4] Eagle Islands in Maine, one is a Wikipedia page, another is a link on the Maine lighthouses page, and there are two more maybe [at least one]. How do I do disambiguation and article/pages to cover this geographic conundrum? A reply on would be fine, or here. --Dumarest 20:42, 12 August 2007 (UTC)

The best place to ask about the naming convention would be the talk page for WP:PLACES, I think. But the guideline itself may be enough to let you figure it out. After the articles are properly named, disambiguation is fairly straightforward. The safest way may be to use a format like "Eagle Island, Somerset County, Maine" if they are all in different counties. Chris the speller 21:42, 12 August 2007 (UTC)

Redirect to disambiguation from (disambiguation)?

I don't mean to sound like I'm upset that a page I nominated for speedy deletion was kept because I'm actually curious if there is some purpose I'm not aware of. Why do we need pages like Mantle (disambiguation) when mantle is the disambiguation page and the page in question just redirects to it?

If a reader inputs "mantle" and selects go they get the disambiguation page, as they should. If the same reader selected search instead mantle (which is the disambiguation page) appears second under Mickey Mantle, while mantle (disambiguation) is listed as number 11. I have a difficult time seeing someone look at the results and saying "Well it says mantle, but how do I know if it's the mantle I'm looking for? Better search the list." Anynobody 10:11, 13 August 2007 (UTC)

This was recently discussed and explained at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (disambiguation pages)#Links to disambiguations pages on a disambiguation page. (Until that time, I wasn't so sure of the logic of this procedure as well.) – sgeureka t•c 10:52, 13 August 2007 (UTC)
Actually, I think the more relevant reference is Wikipedia:Disambiguation#Links to disambiguation pages. To summarize, we have redirects like Mantle (disambiguation) for the relatively uncommon situation where another article discusses the ambiguity of the term itself, as opposed to linking to one of its specific meanings. This signals to editors who hunt for and fix links to disambiguation pages that this link ain't broken and doesn't need fixing. --Russ (talk) 13:52, 13 August 2007 (UTC)

I'm going to designate the Mantle (disambiguation) type pages as: (disambiguation) for general reference.

Do the (disambiguation) pages have any effect on server resources? (Maybe I should ask this kind of question at the Village pump?) I've also noticed that the (disambiguation) page in question is now a red link.

Does anyone else think the policies and guidelines are discussed on too many different pages? For example Wikipedia:Disambiguation is a fairly detailed page which refers us to Wikipedia:Manual of Style (disambiguation pages). Why isn't there just one page, does one carry more weight than the other? Anynobody 01:43, 14 August 2007 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Disambiguation covers the mechanics of disambiguation across all of Wikipedia, while Manual of Style (disambiguation pages) mainly covers the style and formatting of disambiguation pages themselves.
Mantle (disambiguation) should not have been deleted: it's the appropriate target for the links from Mantel (disambiguation) and Mantell (disambiguation), for example. Piet Delport 2007-08-14 02:17

Disambiguating by links to Wikipedia:Find-A-Grave famous people

I've noticed a user adding links to disambiguation pages in a form I'd not come across before. My initial inclination was to remove them, but thought I'd get some other opinions about what to do with them. For examples, see [3] or [4]. It seems many of the pages that link to that page [5] are similar. olderwiser 12:03, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

I think Wikipedia:Avoid self-references (or an aquivalent) applies. I see you already notified the wikipedian who added these links (and I also agree with your statement there), and since he stopped, I'd just revert his edits to hndis pages and wouldn't pay it more attention. – sgeureka t•c 21:54, 28 August 2007 (UTC)


Can somebody please look at the history of Autoroute? --NE2 05:15, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

Yes please! Apparently it's just the French word for "expressway" (or "freeway" or "motorway" -- as if there were really a difference between these) -- does that mean that's it not? Ewlyahoocom 19:05, 28 August 2007 (UTC)

First names

Is there a consensus somewhere that people should not be listed by first names like this? CambridgeBayWeather (Talk) 18:25, 28 August 2007 (UTC)

Well, that page (Amanda) isn't (currently) a disambiguation page, it's an article about the name. And since the list is hopelessly incomplete, it's really kind of pointless -- a "See also" section with a link to {{lookfrom|Amanda}} (i.e. All pages beginning with "Amanda") would probably be better. IF IT WERE A DISAMBIGUATION PAGE, then the only links to people that should be on it are those people who are generally known by just their first name (and none spring immediately to my mind). Ewlyahoocom 18:58, 28 August 2007 (UTC)
The thing is I was going to clean up Robert the same way but what happens to "Robert of foo"? CambridgeBayWeather (Talk) 19:03, 28 August 2007 (UTC)
ISTM that "Robert of Foo" qualifies as a person who is generally known just by their first name, so they could be listed on a disambiguation page (although you should first check to see whether Robert I, Robert II, etc. disambig pages already exist, as in fact those two at least do). --Russ (talk) 19:11, 28 August 2007 (UTC)

The consensus is at MoS:DP#Given names or surnames, not this guideline. Amanda is not a disambiguation page, so it does not fall under the rules of MoS:DP or WP:D. It is probably not a good idea to delete these lists. I treat such pages the same, whether they are given name pages or surname pages, or a combination. If they have the hndis tag, I trade it for {{Given name}} or {{surname}}, as I have recently done for Veikko and Viik, and hundreds of others. All of these are no longer a concern for editors who are cleaning up dab pages, but I have hundreds to go. More laborious cases are those like Tina, where I had to split the given name article from the dab page. Chris the speller 21:07, 28 August 2007 (UTC)

You guys probably are not aware that there was a very extensive and well-structured list of lists rooted at List of people by name, and it was deleted. You may see here how impressive it was. You may also look into the deletion review. Now I see these useless lists creep back into articles about personal names. Whatever. As long as they do not clutter disambiguation pages. `'Míkka 22:15, 28 August 2007 (UTC)

Now that Míkka mentions it I do remember the discussions. After looking at all the various things I think that Ewlyahoocom's suggestion is the best one. A manual list of people by first names is way too much work and the automatic All pages beginning with "Robert" would work better for those who are looking for a Robert but are not sure who. Thus the Robert page, for example, could be pruned down. Completely remove all people with the first name "Robert" and move the "Robert of foo" to a disambiguation page as necessary. CambridgeBayWeather (Talk) 22:28, 28 August 2007 (UTC)

Disambiguation list items with no links?

I've come upon a disambiguation page (dark side), where there are entries in the list with either no links (because no articles exist for this topic), or links to pages where the term "dark side" is not included. Should these entries be removed from the disambiguation list? Ferengi 17:48, 29 August 2007 (UTC)

All links that are not about the term should be removed, but there really isn't any harm in leaving the reference to things that could have an article created in the future that need disambiguation. I recently unlinked Edgar Allan Poe from Romance because the reference was for his poem and not the poet, but left the reference even though there isn't an article for the poem. --Bobblehead (rants) 18:36, 29 August 2007 (UTC)

Primary Topic- Whole vs Parts

I think there should be clarification in this guideline over whether Primary Topic is considered on a "one on one" basis (Meaning Topic A compared to Topic B is more notable, Topic A compared to Topic C is primary, etc) or whether you take into consideration, collectively all the other alternative usages (Topic is clearly primary over the collective and combined usages of Topics B, C, D, E etc). I ask this because it seems that the current culture of disambiguation has turned Primary Topic into a type of "Prizefight" where there must be one clear, "winner" to hold the Primary Topic crown. Topic A is compared individually to all other usages and is then given the titled of "Primary topic". The ill in that method is that it often discounts the laundry list of articles on a disambig page (that covers a wide range of topics, subject genre and cultural notabilities) and is often a reflection of systematic bias. If Topic A is compared to the collective usage and notability of the other competing usages then it becomes far less clearly a "primary" topic then if it was compared one on one. In those cases I think it would be more prudent for this guideline to encourage the Disambiguation Page to be considered the "primary" location. To that I extent I would like to propose a change to the wording of Wikipedia:Disambiguation#Primary_topic (changes being made are bolded)

The change is essentially one word (any to all) and an extended clarification urging for more consideration of disambiguation page being the primary location over trying to slug it out and declare one article the "Primary Topic" crown winner. I believe this can go a long way to quell some of the discontent that primary topic debates have and in the long be a better service to our broad and diverse readership who may not always be looking for the one single article that has won the "Primary Topic" prizefight.AgneCheese/Wine 19:27, 4 September 2007 (UTC)

I think I agree with the general point you make here -- that primary topic status should be determined holistically and not through one-off match-ups against potential contenders. But I'm not sure I like the phrasing of or that there is a sizable number of competing alternative usages on the disambiguation page. It is also not merely a matter of counting how many other links a term might also refer to. For example, there is quite a list at London (disambiguation), but few people would argue that London, England is not the primary topic. For me, the line is whether one use of a term is overwhelmingly more well-known than all the others. Admittedly, that is a little fuzzy -- but then I tend to prefer guidelines that articulate general principles rather than overly specific rules. olderwiser 00:35, 5 September 2007 (UTC)