Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (definite or indefinite article at beginning of name)

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RfC: Apply this Guideline to Redirects[edit]

The following discussion is an archived record of a request for comment. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
Consensus is clear that redirects with an extra "the" (or lacking a required one) be allowed as they aid searching and especially linking. --GRuban (talk) 02:45, 1 January 2016 (UTC)

Proposal: change the first sentence to "This article is about naming conventions for Wikipedia articles AND REDIRECTS" adding the words "and redirects"

Several editors have suggested that this policy does not apply to redirects. This seems counterproductive for redirects are commonly turned into articles. All the logic of the policy regarding search etc applies equally to redirects.

  • Support as proposer. Legacypac (talk) 06:44, 19 November 2015 (UTC)
  • Support as these are not needed per normal Google search engines - however support leaving a few major ones likely to be searched via Wikipedia search bar and currently used as redirects (The United States, The United Kingdom, The United Nations, etc). But we don't need one for every single possible combination of proper nouns ie the history of the United States. МандичкаYO 😜 10:16, 19 November 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose The guideline does not, and should not, apply to redirects. In many cases, redirects with an extra "the" will aid both searching and linking. (The most obvious example is newspapers - many newspapers have "The" in their name and many do not. If you're looking for or linking to a newspaper article, you can't be trusted to guess whether or not that particular paper will have "The" in the article title or not.) More generally, if people use "the" something as a search term, then it's good to have a redirect there. The history of the United States is an excellent example - it's getting plenty of page views and leads people where they want to go, so it's a good redirect; and no guideline can change what search terms people will use.
Some "the" redirects may not be as useful, but many of them will still be cheap; meaning, yes, we didn't really need them, but now that they are here we shouldn't delete them either. Actually bad "the" redirects can and should be deleted, but not because they violate a naming convention for articles. Sideways713 (talk) 12:02, 19 November 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Sideways and per common sense. Redirects are not articles and they serve different purposes. The proposal, essentially, is that we should only have "the" at the start of the redirect if there is a "the" at the start of the article. However, this doesn't make sense. If the title of the article should start with "the", then it will start with "the" and there is no room for a redirect beginning with "the". If the article should not start with "the" then it won't start with "the", but that doesn't prevent that a redirect starting with "the" being a reasonable term to use when searching or linking. It is all too easy to assume that everyone entering a term into our search bar, or adding a link to an article, is automatically familiar with all our article naming conventions, or even knows whether the title ought to begin with a "The". A quick quiz should illustrate the point. How many of these groups have a "the" at the start of their name, and how many don't? And if you don't know, why would a redirect from "The Foo" to "Foo" be objectionable but a redirect from "Bar" to "The Bar" be unobjectionable? The Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Spice Girls, The Animals, The Eagles, The Pleasure Mob, The Rap Pack, The Hughes Turner Project, The Bleeding Heart Band, The Clockwork Flowers, The Fat Tulips, The Montanas, The Muffin Men... BencherliteTalk 12:43, 19 November 2015 (UTC)
  • Oh, incidentally, if you want to start a request for comment, it's actually quite helpful to use {{RFC}} so that it gets displayed elsewhere as a request for comment. Otherwise it doesn't work, really. I've added the template for you this time. BencherliteTalk 12:46, 19 November 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Sideways and WP:RPURPOSE. When a title could begin with The, it's common sense to have that alternative title as a redirect. It's helpful for our readers to find what they are looking for. -- Tavix (talk) 15:43, 19 November 2015 (UTC)
  • oppose. Although redirects will sometimes follow this guide they will often not, in particular as when a article title includes or omits the definite/indefinite article a redirect will often be created to deal with the other case. E.g. Old Man and the Sea is a redirect to The Old Man and the Sea. The redirect does not follow this guideline quite deliberately; it exists for e.g. people who know the name but not well enough to realise "The" is part of it.--JohnBlackburnewordsdeeds 14:43, 20 November 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose redirects have more purposes than one. All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 18:04, 20 November 2015 (UTC).
  • Oppose per all of the above. The most common use of redirects is to make sure that titles that fail WP:AT and the naming convention guidelines, but which someone might conceivably search for, get them to the right article.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  21:05, 21 November 2015 (UTC)
  • Do not understand What might anyone do if this rule were changed? Blue Rasberry (talk) 15:37, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
Bluerasberry, I think we could expect to see many redirects of the form "The Foo → Foo" deleted. --BDD (talk) 22:23, 30 November 2015 (UTC)
  • Comment I think what we should be proposing is: "If 'the Foo' is common in running text, then we should keep redirect 'The Foo'; otherwise delete." But I'm not sure whether we even need to write that down as a guideline. Deryck C. 15:23, 2 December 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Sideways and per common sense. This policy is unnec. on redirects. Pincrete (talk) 20:49, 7 December 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose. If this passed, then we'd have to delete The Los Angeles Times, which is a redirect to Los Angeles Times. I can't imagine why we'd do such a thing. Even if you gave a pass to all newspaper article titles, then we'd have to delete The Melvins, which redirects to Melvins. Equally unthinkable. OK, so maybe you give a pass to all newspapers and rock bands. Now what about The United States, The Netherlands, and The Ukraine? OK, so newspapers, rock bands, and countries. And the list of exceptions just keeps growing and growing. I haven't even gotten to book titles (The Childe Cycle), royalty (The Queen of England), or stock phrases (The end of the world). NinjaRobotPirate (talk) 01:06, 12 December 2015 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the debate. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

articles or pages[edit]

The nomenclature in this policy, guideline, whatever it is, is confusing. I have rolled back a change by User:Guy Macon to where it was when I pointed out the inconsistency at Wikipedia:Redirects_for_discussion/Log/2016_October_3#The_Scott_Block_Theatre, to which User:Tavix and User:Guy Macon were the only contributors except me, the nom.

It was a pretty minor nom in itself on a Neelix redirect per WP:X1 that I was not quite sure of. The WP:THE discussioon is really rather tangential to what we do about the redirect for The Scott Block Theatre. (I can stir the shit by asking why do we not create The Scott Block Theater as {{R from incorrect spelling}}).

Essentially we have to decide whether WP:THE is for articles (i.e. anything in reader-facing space except redirects) or pages (i.e. anything that has a URL accessible from the Wikimedia back-end). The language in the self-declared "article" (in the intro: I argue it is not an article, articles live in mainspace not WP space) flips and flops between saying "article name", "article title", "page name" and "page". This is not exactly a definitive way of stating the guideline or policy. Oh, sorry, British, being polite. American English: This is a fucking crap way to make bollox out of a simple statement, geddit?

I should appreciate others' views. Si Trew (talk) 23:07, 4 October 2016 (UTC)

  • Fukkit, we do have The Scott Block Theater, another Neelix creation, sheesh. I should have just taken WP:X1 like other editors do without checking. Have rod, have spine, will manufacture. Si Trew (talk) 23:14, 4 October 2016 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Can we please discuss the question at hand (whether WP:THE applies to Wikipedia articles or to all Wikipedia pages) without getting bogged down with a discussion about one individual page? And can we please keep it consistent, either saying that it applies to Wikipedia articles throughout the guideline or saying that it applies to all Wikipedia pages throughout the guideline and not saying one thing one place and another thing another place?

For anyone who thinks this guideline should apply to all Wikipedia pages, you do realize that you are attempting to set a policy that tells me that I cannot name pages in my own userspace (that are not otherwise disruptive) as I choose, right?

And you do realize that you are attempting to set a policy that will not allow both of the two redirects The king of England and King of England to exist, right? --Guy Macon (talk) 02:40, 6 October 2016 (UTC)


Looking for a policy clarification. I recently made a proposal to change The Pentagon to Pentagon (U.S. Department of Defense). Some editors disagree. I was just looking over this page and, though it seems to largely agree with my suggestion, I see some ambiguities that are not really clarified. Not that this is the most pressing of issues but it seems some consistency in warranted.

As a note of comparison I see that the Encyclopaedia Britannica has the following article titles:

Not that WP has to follow EB precisely but obviously they seem to feel very conservative use of the is warranted.


-- MC — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:55, 31 July 2017 (UTC)